Sunday, March 29, 2020

No, Covid-19 is NOT a message from God to us!

An email is circulating on the internet making this claim:

"Surprising message from Bill Gates about the coronavirus"

The liar who wrote this letter opens with these lines:
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has released a powerful message about what we can learn from the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe. Bill Gates said the virus is sent to remind us of the important lessons that we seem to have forgotten.  ...multi-billionaire Gates, 64 - who donated £85 million to combat the virus last month - believes that despite the chaos, there is 'a spiritual purpose behind everything that happens'.  In an open letter, entitled 'What is the Corona/ Covid-19 Virus Really Teaching us?', he wrote....

Bill Gates did not write this.  I guarantee he did not.  It's wrong to misuse his name by passing it along, even with a question mark.

Evidence--he would not make these mistakes that appear in the letter:
1)  " perhaps we should to."
2)  "  the power of freewill "
3)  " We can choose...  to look after only our self. "
4)  "  see it as a *great corrector* " 

This fake letter uses quotation marks on the lines "I'm a strong believer" and "As I meditate," but the quotes are never closed at the end of item 14 or anywhere else.

If there were an "open letter" from Bill Gates, it would be published in the NY Times, or at least signed and dated, not passed around on the internet without the slightest bit of authentication.

The whole idea that the Covid-19 pandemic is "sent to us" by some Higher Power for any purpose is offensive to me.  The God I serve does not send us bad things " to remind us of the important lessons that we seem to have forgotten."

God can take good and bad events that happen and make some limited good come out of them, but please do not attribute earthquakes and viruses to God trying to tell us something.  That is a very outdated idea though some instances of this belief appear in the Bible, especially books of the Bible that were written 2-3,000 years ago. 

In the Gospel of John, the disciples of Jesus ask him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:1-12).

Jesus answers that neither the man born blind nor his parents sinned and caused his blindness.  Then he heals the man.

As I see the scene, Jesus looks at the man with compassion and hugs him.  Then Jesus mixes his saliva with mud and gently spreads it on the man's closed eyes, at the same time giving him a positive meaning for his long years of blindness: it was all "so that God's works might be revealed in you."  

In other words, "You are special.  God has loved you all along and planned that you would meet me and be healed."

I'm not sure that the chance to meet Jesus and go down in history was that consoling to the blind man.  Maybe he wanted to argue, "I would rather have had my sight all this time.  Couldn't you pick someone else to demonstrate your miracles on?"

You don't complain, however, to a famous rabbi who is about to heal you. 

Jesus's words to the man and to his audience still contain the idea that the blindness was deliberately planned by God.  This view of God as intending every event on the face of the earth leaves us with a God who plans accidental drownings, fatal car accidents, deaths in tornadoes, even sets in motion murders and an occasional holocaust.  No.  

God allows gravity to exist, avalanches to crash down mountainsides, DNA to make random errors in reproduction of cells.  God allows people to make foolish and even evil choices.  

But the idea that there is "a spiritual purpose behind everything that happens" (as asserted in this letter)--purpose behind every earthquake, car accident, heart attack, and epidemic--is superstition masquerading as religious faith.

It sounds pious because it acknowledges God to exist and to be all-powerful.

It provides the comfort that God is watching us closely and wants good for us.

Nevertheless, it sets up a God who is monstrous, who actively intends evil for purportedly good ends.

It's like the father who beats a child in order to "correct" him or her.  

Many of us have grown up with fathers or mothers like this or worse, but it's time to give up the heresy that the Creator of the universe or universes wants to create human or animal suffering for some sort of corrective purpose.

Please!  God is powerful, but not powerful enough to manage a kind of gravity that never causes a fatal fall.  Cell reproduction apparently cannot occur without an error in the DNA every now and then.  

Viruses evolved.  They exist in one species or another, and humans who slaughter and consume smaller animals will occasionally, unwittingly, cause a virus flourishing among bats or birds to take hold in homo sapiens.

Do not jump to the conclusion that the Maker of all planned for the novel corona virus disease of 2019 to become a pandemic.  

Do not create for yourself a vain idol, a blasphemy, for the purpose of cloaking a random event with meaning.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How screen time has quadrupled

Screen-shot life expands from politics
to work, classes, meetings, worship services
The idea that meetings and work and classes can all be conducted online is wishful thinking.

I don't buy it.  I don't want to spend hours and hours at a screen just because we are all homebound.  

I'd rather just read a book or garden or write.

Al-Anon meetings--NO, not online.

Hebrew classes--NO, not the same as hearing and speaking Hebrew in a classroom.

Pilates via video--NO, not me. 

Church services online--NO thank you.  I'll light a candle at home or take a walk with a view.

Now the UCLA Extension wants me to take my quarterly writers' workshop online.  using the Extension's version of Facetime.

I took my first-ever UCLA Extension 100% online class this winter quarter, with Liz Stephens.  I'm sure she's a great person, but I never met her or the other students.  

When you're all writing memoir, it's hard enough to become vulnerable and to give helpful but gentle comments without trying to do that through the internet. Misunderstandings occur when difficult subjects are handled by email or texts.

This online class took much more time than an in-person class--all time spent in front of a screen.  Horrible for my posture and my wrists.  More screen time, anyone?  Not to mention more time spent watching cable news, texting, using Twitter, etc.

Posting my writing, reading other people's posts, submitting comments--that part wasn't so bad.  

But reading other people's comments on the readings, and then commenting on their comments on the readings, as well as reading their comments on my comments on the reading--all that was billed as "discussion." 

Which it was not.  

I've already paid for this course (when I expected it to be in a classroom), so I'll bumble along, but I certainly will not sign up for another distance learning workshop on memoir writing.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

The Tough Year Ahead...

My brother Bill is a surgeon in the Seattle area.  He sent me this article from the Washington Post:

"Coronavirus will radically alter the US: Here's what may lie ahead based on math models, hospital projections, and past pandemics."

Thank you so much to the authors: Joel Achenbach, William Wan, Carolyn Y. Johnson, and Ben Guarino.  

Very helpful to see rough outline of the next year or more--a series of bumps in the curve if we social distance correctly and a year or more of social distancing.  

In a nutshell:
1) A flat curve lasts longer than that curve that shoots up and then down.  It slows the rate at which people catch the virus, so it doesn't overwhelm the hospitals, but overall it's a year to 18 months until most people have been exposed and we have vaccines for Covid-19.

2) Expect 2.2 million deaths in the US (population 328 million) if there are no changes in social and work habits; 1.1 million if there are some changes.  We're unlikely to get to the limited outbreak seen by South Korea because we lost time, the whole month of February.

3) Quote from article: "Most deaths will be driven by an overwhelmed health system."

4) In 1918 "Economic pressure on business owners and workers caused the public to resist adopting restrictions."

Flatten the curve!

READ MORE in the Washington Post:

Monday, March 16, 2020

Does Putin control your vote?

President's pitch for ATTN: in 2018

President Obama's plea to get out there and vote is more important than ever for 2020.

Watch this video:

Apathy is what Russia wants.  

"My vote doesn't matter" is what Putin wants you to think.

If every American had voted in 2016, dt would not have been elected.

If all of us vote in 2020, we will be rid of him and can get on with our lives.

ATTN: is a media company based in Los Angeles, founded by  founded in 2014 by Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno

Listen to President Obama's 4.31 minute pep talk on Facebook or Twitter.

Note: it's true that nearly 3 million more votes went to Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016 than went to dt.  But we needed 4 million to prevent the election of this self-labelled "stable genius."

You may say, "I live in a blue state" or "I live in a red state" so my vote wouldn't have counted.

Yes, that may be true.  But if everyone in the blue and red states voted, then people in the purple states would take notice.  Voting would be more respected in the USA.  Not voting would stand out like a purple thumb, like an invitation to tyrants: "Come, take over my country."

Enough young, thinking people would vote to overpower the votes of the 30% who wear MAGA hats.

We need your vote in 2020.

I'm not asking you to be patriotic.  

I'm not asking for two years in the Armed Services.  

I'm asking you to protect your own interests, to do the bare minimum: think and vote.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Who knew we needed a director for global health security?

Dr. Beth Cameron
NTI vice pres. for global biological policy and programs

The stupidity of our president continues to endanger us all.

Dr. Beth Cameron published this article in the Washington Post today titled, "I ran the White House pandemic office.  Trump closed it."

Her credentials:
Beth Cameron is vice president for global biological policy and programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. She previously served as the senior director for global health security and biodefense on the White House National Security Council.

This office was established after the 2014 Ebola epidemic.  Your average president would have known better than to close it, but dt is not average.

"Who knew that would be important?" he explained at a press conference, posing as an everyman who could not be expected to understand that an epidemic might happen.

But he's not your average Joe, he's president.  Many lives are in his hands.

Three people lost their lives in Charlottesville in 2017--Heather Heyer and two helicopter pilots.

Then 176 more people lost their lives on the Boeing 737 in Tehran that was shot down in a panic over possible war between the US and Iran.

Now 80 people have died in the US from Covid-19 because our government didn't respond fast enough--partly because there was no pandemic office in the White House to corral the president and make him take needed steps in January and early February.  

And many more died in synagogue and mosque and church mass shootings by extremists empowered by the president's rhetoric against Jews, Muslims, immigrants, and others.

The 45th president is causing Americans to lose their lives at an alarming rate.

Fortunately, there are only 235 days for him to endanger our lives before the November 3 election, when he will become a lame duck with clipped wings: March, 18 days; April-30 days; May, 31 days; June, 30 days; July, 31 days; August, 31 days; September, 30 days; October 31 days; November 3 days.

Then President Biden and Vice President Klobuchar will begin the transition and clean-up work.

Here's what Dr. Cameron writes, in part:

When President Trump took office in 2017, the White House’s National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense survived the transition intact. Its mission was the same as when I was asked to lead the office, established after the Ebola epidemic of 2014: to do everything possible within the vast powers and resources of the U.S. government to prepare for the next disease outbreak and prevent it from becoming an epidemic or pandemic.
One year later, I was mystified when the White House dissolved the office, leaving the country less prepared for pandemics like covid-19.
The U.S. government’s slow and inadequate response to the new coronavirus underscores the need for organized, accountable leadership to prepare for and respond to pandemic threats.
In a health security crisis, speed is essential. When this new coronavirus emerged, there was no clear White House-led structure to oversee our response, and we lost valuable time. Yes, we have capable and committed global and national disease-prevention and management organizations, as well as state and local health departments, all working overtime now. But even in prepared cities like Seattle, health systems are struggling to test patients and keep pace with growing caseloads. The specter of rapid community transmission and exponential growth is real and daunting. The job of a White House pandemics office would have been to get ahead: to accelerate the response, empower experts, anticipate failures, and act quickly and transparently to solve problems.
She holds a Ph.D. in biology and is a member of the Council for Foreign Relations.  Read more about her.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Low-paid caregivers and Covid-19 Transmission

Serenity at a skilled nursing facility near Kirkland, Washington
Here's one way that transmission works.  

1) An underpaid caregiver works at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, but she needs two jobs to make ends meet, so she also works at another skilled nursing facility ten miles away.  

2) When the outbreak occurs at Kirkland, the CDC refuses to test the severely ill patients because none of them has traveled or been on a cruise.  Several are hospitalized, but no quarantine is implemented by the CDC.  The hospital takes quarantine measures just in case.

3) Three days after the death of one of the patients, he is tested for Covid-19 and found positive.  News goes out around the world on Feb. 29, a Saturday.

4) Caregivers are reluctant to return to Kirkland, but it's their job.  Some continue working there and at the other jobs they have.  No workers are quarantined.  No other nursing homes ask their employees if they have a second job at Kirkland.  

By Saturday, March 7, 70 workers were out sick from the Life Care Center with corona-like symptoms.  A federal team of nurses and doctors arrived to take over some of the work.

A few days earlier my cousin's daughter, whose mother lives at a nearby nursing home, was told that a caregiver from Life Care Center in Kirkland had also been working at her mom's place.

"Criminal!" she said.  

Yes, criminal on the part of the CDC and the nursing home management for not foreseeing and forestalling contamination by employees of more than one facility.

But the caregiver with two jobs probably just saw continuing to work at two places as a necessity, not a crime.  She probably has only a few sick days per year.

Do these caregivers even have health care insurance themselves?  Maybe Medicare for all is not such a bad idea.  Maybe it would help everyone to be healthier.

By Saturday, 13 residents and one visitor to the Life Care Center had died.  

Three other senior residences had reported cases by Saturday: Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Aegis Living Marymoor in Redland, and Ida Culver House Ravenna in Seattle.

Actually, the first case of Covid-19 in Washington was reported on January 20

The first individual in the United States to be confirmed as positive for the new coronavirus by the Centers for Disease Control was indeed a resident of Snohomish County, Wash. That was on Jan. 20.

This guy recovered. 

My cousin's widow and I in February
The first death, reported Feb. 29 by the US president, was a man in his 50s in Kings County, which includes Seattle.  Of course, dt said the death was a woman in her 50s, not a man.  Of course, he said this death was not related to the outbreak in a nursing home. To him, facts are elusive and unimportant.  

Meanwhile, my cousin's widow continues her quiet life in her beautiful facility.  She's about my age, 71.  She watches the squirrels outside her sunny window.  She takes herself down the hall and around the corner for her meals.  

She reads magazines but doesn't watch much news.

Probably no one has worried her with news of the new corona virus.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Is the idea of "biblical womanhood" worth fighting?

Rachel's first memoir

A year ago, before dying of an obscure virus appeared in the nightly news, Rachel Held Evans was hospitalized for a UTI and a flu-like illness. 

Things spiraled down; she had seizures, perhaps encephalitis, and was put in a coma to control them, but she never recovered.  She died May 4, 2019 at age 37.

Everyone was shocked and saddened, especially feeling for her two toddlers.

I decided to read one of her books: the first one about growing up in Dayton, Tennessee, where the Scopes monkey trial was held in July, 1925.

Earlier I had decided not to read her work because engaging in debate with advocates of "biblical womanhood" seemed so pointless.  I'm so far beyond that.

But Rachel took it seriously and gained fame for her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master (Thomas Nelson, 2012).

She reached a lot of women with the message that the Bible supports equality for women.

She argued with many right-wing men.

My reflections about the experience of meeting her through her first book are published on the website for Christian Feminism Today:  "Respecting Rachel--At Last."

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Elizabeth Warren: Losing a dream

Elizabeth Warrem

We are grieving.  I'm in tears as I watch and rewatch Elizabeth Warren standing in front of her home in a purple quilted jacket discussing the decision to end her campaign.  

The only thing more courageous than running for president is announcing the end of that campaign.

Her voice breaks on the word "gratitude" though she continues to speak loudly and clearly, forcefully.  Her husband stands behind her.

We lost Amy Klobuchar two days ago.  Months earlier we lost Kamala Harris and Kirstin Gillibrand.

"I wonder what your message would be to the women and girls who feel like we're left with two white men to decide between, " asks a  young female reporter.

"One of the hardest parts of this is all those pinky promises and all those little girls who are gonna have to wait four more years," she replies, her voice breaking again.  "That's gonna be hard." 

"I say this with a deep sense of gratitude for every single person who got in this fight," she continues, listing people, ending with "every single person who just moved a little in their notion of what a president of the United States should look like."

She promised that she would be taking on the issue of gender in politics in a more direct way, as Mother Jones reports but NBC didn't.

"I will stay in the fight for the hard-working folks across this country who've gotten the short end of the stick over and over.  That's been the fight of my life."

"I have no regrets at all... We have ideas now that we talk about now, that we just weren't talking about even a year ago," she continues, listing a few of them.

  • a 2% wealth tax
  • universal child care
  • cancelling student loan debt for 43 million Americans
  • raising Social Security payments

The two big causes of her defeat are "what a president should look like"--a male--and how to get the current male threat to our nation out of the White House.  

These were the two impediments to her becoming president.  If people weren't so terribly afraid of four more years of dt, she might have been the nominee.

Meanwhile, the ogre continues to flail about.  His tweet on her dropping out was so mean, once again using that ridiculous insult to her and to a beloved historical figure, Pocahontas.  His every move underlines the urgency of getting him out of the White House and off the stage.

All those months of watching her and Amy do well in the debates.  Then and in 2016 it seemed possible to have a woman president.  But now the most we can hope for is Amy to become the running mate of Joe Biden.  

The voters have given up on everything except getting dt out of the White House.  Republicans blocked the only legal means of removing him, and he immediately tried to start a war with Iran.  

244 days left of enduring his presidency--after I get through today.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Covid-45, the crowned virus

Corona virus

We have a crowned virus in the White House.

Corona means "crown" in Latin.

The president has virtually been crowned.

Impeachment and trial don't remove him from office.  He defies the Constitution.

He calls anything he doesn't like "a hoax."

His son claimed that Democrats "want millions" to die of the Corona virus--all because many are informing the public and trying to confine the outbreak.
Kim Jong-un

He nearly started a war with Iran.  He obeys Putin.  

He ignored Saudi the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

He admires Kim Jong-un.

His words support white supremacists, who shoot up Jewish worshippers, Muslims in mosques, and black people in churches.

He has infected us all with despair.  


We must get rid of him.

There are 27 days left in March.  30 in April.  31 in May.  30 in June.  31 in July.  31 in August.  30 in September.  31 in October.  And then three days in November until we have a verdict in the election.  

A total of 241 days left until his defeat--not counting today.  

Go for it.  Stop the virus.

Read Timothy Snyder's On Tyranny: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century.


Friday, February 28, 2020

Are men too emotional to be president?

Amy Klobuchar
Are men too emotional to be president?

Andi Zeisler, co -founder of Bitch Media, asks this question in the Washington Post on the day after the Democratic primary debate in South Carolina.  

Accompanying the op-ed piece is a photo of Amy Klobuchar holding her hands up between Joe Biden and Tom Steyer, who are passionately yelling at each other.

She later said she also held the podium at times, thinking Steyer in his emotional state might knock her off the small wooden platform she was standing on to increase her height.

The male ego is a wonderful phenomenon, and in the case of dt, his tender ego has gotten his presidency in all kinds of trouble, including a near-war with Iran.

Could we please give up our stereotypes of what women are like and what men are like?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

250 days left of the 45th presidency

Make orange a happy color again
There are only 250 days left until we have a new president.

  • 2 days in Feb, not counting today, which is half over,
  • 31 days in March, 
  • 30 days in April, 
  • 31 days in May, 
  • 30 days in June, 
  • 31 days in July, 
  • 31 days in August, 
  • 30 days in September, 
  • 31 days in October, and 
  • 3 days in November.  

I think I can survive until then.

When I consider the possibility that he might be re-elected, my thoughts swing to "NO!  I will commit suicide if Trump is elected again."

Of course, he’s not worth it—but living through his presidency is so wearing on the soul and spirit.  The deaths he has caused.  The lies.  The ever-present orange swash of ego spread across the airwaves and headlines.

Let's count down together.  Somebody make a reverse calendar to pull pages off each day.  250, 249, 248....

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 -- presidential election


Let's all pull together... enough of the Democrats infighting.

Welcome everyone from John Bolton to Hillary Rodman Clinton into the struggle to cleanse our nation.

Someone will be the nominee: Biden? Sanders? Klobuchar? Warren?

And he or she will select a good running mate.  Don't give up.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A Mother's Nightmare

Afrin is in the knob on the upper left border with Turkey.

Absolutely the saddest story ever: the healthy baby girl who died overnight in freezing weather after her family fled bombing in Idlib.

Her name was Iman Ahmed Laila.  Her family was living in Afrin, Syria, on the border with Turkey after fleeing Idlib.

Laila succumbed to the extreme conditions at the temporary refugee camp on Thursday.
In a statement, the Syrian American Medical Society said the child had died before reaching the Al-Shifa health center.
There are 6.2 million people, including 2.5 million children, displaced within Syria, the biggest internally displaced population in the world, according to the UN.
Her mother is inconsolable.  Her father carried her to the medical clinic in vain.

The photo above was taken in the summer--imagine living in a tent in below-freezing weather with young children.

By Voice of America News: Henry Ridgwell on the Turkish border -, Public Domain,
We wouldn't treat a dog like this, but our president pulled out of Syria and left Russia and Turkey and Bassar al-Assad to their own devices.  

We elected dt.

Well, nearly 3 million more people voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who would not have let this happen, but the Electoral College voted for dt.

And this innocent one lost her life.

A report in Daily Sabah, a Turkish pro-government daily, on March 24:

Monday, February 24, 2020

Pausing for tears: Kobe's memorial

Alicia Keys playing Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"

"A piece of me died... a piece of you died," said Michael Jordan.

All of Los Angeles and much of the world were watching the memorial service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna this morning.   The whole service is now available on YouTube from ESPN and others. 

Michael cried, Shaquille O'Neal cried. I cried at home watching.

The words "girl dad" are now a proud label, especially in homes like ours with three daughters, no sons.

"Wake up, grind, get better" was Kobe's manta, said one speaker.

Kobe's "fierce determination" was held up.

No mention was made of the wrongful death lawsuit Vanessa Bryant filed today.

Beyonce began the service, and both Jennifer Lopez and Ciara wore amazing Kobe-themed nail designs. 
Sabrina Ionescu speaking at Kobe's service

Sabrina Ionescu spoke movingly of Kobe as her mentor and inspiration in playing for the Oregon Ducks.

"I wanted to be a part of the generation that changed basketball for Gigi and her teammates. Where being born female didn’t mean being born behind, where greatness wasn’t divided by gender.
“ ‘You have too much to give to stay silent.’ That’s what he said. That’s what he believed. That’s what he lived. Through Gigi, through me, through his investment in women’s basketball. That was his next great act, a girl dad."
Sabrina Ionescu speaking
Sabrina is the NCAA all-time leader in career triple-doubles and the Pac-12 Conference all-time leader in assists.  She spoke about playing a game in Colorado a week after the helicopter crash. 
“ I do before every game, I prayed. This time, I was thinking about Kobe and Gigi. His voice is still in my head, even if his body is not on this earth. And all I wanted was a sign that in some way he still heard me too.
“I looked off into the sky and there it was: a beautiful golden sunset, the boldest yellow, Lakers yellow, and further in the distance, a helicopter. There was my sign that he will forever be with me. I heard his voice in my head, the last line from one of his books, ‘Walk until the darkness is a memory, and you become the sun on the next traveler’s horizon.’
WNBA star Diana Taurasi, whom Kobe called "the white Mamba," gave a moving speech about Kobe as a mentor for women in basketball and about Gianna Bryant, giving the filled Staples Center audience a brief moment to laugh.

“Her skill was undeniable at an early age. I mean, who has a turn-away fadeaway jumper at 11?” Taurasi asked. “LeBron barely got it today.”

Despite all the loving memories, there are other lessons Kobe taught us. 

  • Don't get in helicopters if you don't have to.  
  • Don't fly in fog.
  • Don't trust someone else--a pilot, a helicopter company--to make all the decisions about your safety. Look out for yourself.
  • Danger can come where you least expect it.
  • When in doubt, take the slow route.  Be late.  Or don't go.
  • Saving an hour or two of time can mean the loss of years.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

I voted today...

Beautiful new voting booths
I voted today, and I feel free of the heavy weight of the 2020 election.

LA County has brand-new easy, touch-screen voting booths, so it was fun.

They print up a paper record at the end, and the voter gets to look at it and approve it.  Then it slides into a box for storage.  

So much better than the punch machines with their hanging chads, and better than fitting a numbered ticket over two prongs and then stamping a black circle on the ticket to match the candidate's name in a booklet.

Voting has been open all day since Feb. 21 with virtually no lines, close to my home.

I don't like mail-in ballots because they don't get counted on election day.  I want my vote to count from the beginning.

I was surprised by the sense of relief I felt to have my primary vote cast.  I voted for Amy Klobuchar for president.  

All at once the election was over--I could stop watching the anxiety-making coverage.  

Voting was at Olympic High School on Lincoln at Ocean Park Blvd.

 I parked ten feet from this sign, walked in, voted, and was done--less than 10 minutes from getting out of my car to climbing back in.

 Here's the cool touch screen.

I even put on the microphones and listened as the candidates' names were read off to me for each office.

I always enjoy seeing all the other languages that a citizen can use for voting in Los Angeles--everything from Armenian to Korean.

Long live freedom to be different--long live immigration.  

And afterward I got a red, white, and blue sticker saying "I voted!" in thirteeen languages.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Menacing fog near the Kobe crash site

Near the crash site on Las Virgenes Road

 Today I drove up Malibu Canyon on my way to an event in Simi Valley.  

At 5 pm, I noticed that under the clouds a layer of menacing fog was moving in from the ocean over the Santa Monica Mountains, toward the site where Kobe Bryant's helicopter crashed four weeks ago.  

It was scary and eerie.  I pulled over to take a photo.

Malibu Canyon
As I drove up Las Virgenes Road, I passed the site of the crash, still restricted from traffic by yellow police tape.  

I pulled over again, pausing in memory of those who died.  

Kobe's and Gianna's blood and ashes are scattered on that hillside, along with those of the pilot and six other passengers.

The crash was so easily avoidable, so unnecessary.

Don't commute by helicopter.

Don't trust someone else with your safety, even a pilot.  Look out for yourself.  

Is there a war breaking out?  (Like the conditions in Tehran when the Boeing 737 was shot down by missiles.)

Does the fog look dangerous?  Make your own decision.  

Note on Feb. 24: Vanessa Bryant files wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express.

Malibu Canyon Road

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Marine One flying overhead...

Marine One

The 45th president of the US is visiting California today and Wednesday.

The problem: where to sleep tonight, Tuesday, February 18?

Surely not at the beach hotels in Santa Monica or the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.  He can only sleep at his own hotels, pouring money into his pocket at the expense of the US government.

But he owns only one hotel in California, advertised as in Los Angeles but actually tucked way off in the boonies--the ocean side of the Long Beach area mountain known as Palos Verdes.  Not accessible by motorcade.  Only by helicopter.

California doesn't want Trump hotels.  California doesn't like Trump.

As a result, he had to fly to Las Vegas to spend the night--more his style than anywhere in CA. Being in Vegas gave him the opportunity to stick his face into the limelight of the primary caucus in Nevada coming up on February 22.

He landed at LAX Tuesday afternoon, made a trip to San Diego, took Marine One to Santa Monica, and took a motorcade to Beverly Hills for a fundraiser (his only reason to bother with California).  Traffic was screwed up all over from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills.

Roz kept track of Air Force One via her traffic controllers app; all other plans were vectored away to open the air space.  There was only one unidentified plane in the area--probably Air Force One.  It had no call sign.  Later in the evening she watched virtually as unidentified AF One flew east toward Las Vegas.

Off he flew to Trump Hotel Las Vegas--and then on Wednesday morning made a visit to Bakersfield, where he has never been before.  He went to please Congressman Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader and gave a small speech--no, I mean a Very Big Speech!

And poof, he's gone--flying eastward, back to the swamp.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Planes grounded by coronavirus

By CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM -
This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's
Public Health Image Library (PHIL),
 with identification number #23312.

The outbreak of the new corona virus, COVID-19, has its impact on the sky above Santa Monica.

"That Boeing 787-900 from China stopped flying over last Wednesday," reports Roz. 

It crossed over our house every evening about 5:30 pm, loaded with up to 300 passengers.

But on Feb. 5 most airlines blocked travel to and from China.

Hospitals and the military are preparing for a possible global pandemic.

Are we past the point of containment?   See this Washington Post article. 

Los Angeles is a major crossroads of the world.  Will I be quarantined in my home?

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Tuesday Night Massacre: Prosecutors Resign

Prosecutors Quit Roger Stone Case After Justice Dept. Intervenes on Sentencing

"These resignations are the canary in the coal mine," said Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the DEA under President Obama, speaking on MSNBC.

Here are the courageous four of the headline above, described by the New York Times

  • Jonathan Kravis, Asst. US Attorney, who resigned completely from the Justice Dept.; 
  • Aaron S. J. Zelinsky, Asst. US Attorney for the District of Columbia; 
  • Adam C. Jed, Special Asst. US Attorney, who worked on the Mueller investigation; and 
  • Michael J. Marando, Asst. US Attorney for the District of Columbia.

"On Tuesday, the four main federal prosecutors working on the obstruction and perjury case of Roger J. Stone Jr. shared another distinction: They quit the case. The abrupt withdrawals came after the Justice Department overruled their recommendation for a stiffer sentence for Mr. Stone, a longtime friend and informal adviser of President Trump. One of the prosecutors resigned outright."

"Get ready to die," Roger Stone told a witness, NY radio host Randy Credico..  For that and other interference, Stone was convicted of witness tampering.  He himself was also convicted of lying several times to protect dt and was recommended to have a sentence of 7-9 years--until dt demanded that it be reduced.

Stone also posted an image of the face of the judge in his case with the cross hairs of a gun over it.  Then she banned him from social media.

"The prosecutors--one of whom resigned from the department--were said to be furious over the

"The Stone case was one of the most high-profile criminal prosecutions arising from the nearly two-year investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III."
reversal of their sentencing request, filed in federal court late Monday," wrote Katie Benner, Sharon LaFraniere, and Adam Goldman in their NYT report today headlined "Justice Dept. Acts To Ease Sentence For a Trump Ally." 

Furthermore, the four only learned of their sentencing recommendation being reduced after Fox news had reported it.

The president complained that Colonel Vindman had misled Congresss about his July 25 phone call, but actually "his version of the call closely tracked the written record released by the White House," the article noted.  Vindman's actual offense, in dt's mind, was that "he did testify that he thought it was inappropriate to ask a foreign country to tarnish the president's domestic political opponents."

Two more female political appointees whose recommendations for promotion in the next day or two were withdrawn on Tuesday:

  • Elaine McCusker, the Defense Dept. official who questioned the aid freeze.
  • Jessie K. Liu, a US attorney who prosecuted Roger Stone.

Being female and opposing dt is a recipe for disaster.

Another woman under attack is Victoria Coates, a deputy national security adviser who was rumored to be the "Anonymous" who wrote   She is not the author, according to the publisher, but there is "feverish speculation about whether she would be pushed out."

Lesson learned by dt?  "The Republican party will not hold him accountable, no matter how egregious his behavior," says Chuck Rosenberg.  It's "a breakdown of the system like nothing I've ever seen in my career." 

Trump continues to lie outrageously: "These people [Mike Flynn and Roger Stone] were hurt viciously by these corrupt people."  Actually, Flynn and Stone are the corrupt ones, convicted by courts for their corruption.

Ari Melber on The Beat with MSNBC today details the worst threat to democracy since Nixon's Saturday night massacre, calling it "the Tuesday night massacre" as many have.

"A Republic if you can keep it," said Ben Franklin, quoted often by Democrats during the Senate impeachment trial.  

"And we can't keep it," said a lawyer today on Ari Melber's The Beat.

This president has "infected the Justice Department with a virus, another guest said.  

He defies Congress and controls the Justice Department through his hand-picked Attorney General William Barr.

So much for the balance of powers.  The legislative branch and the judicial branch have been taken over by the executive branch of our supposedly "three equal branches" government.

We're becoming the Soviet Union--a totalitarian state.

"We're headed toward a descent into authoritarianism," warns Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Amy Klobuchar: "We can't take another 4 years."

May Senator Amy Klobuchar
or any other democrat become the 46th president

As I entered the parking lot for my Pilates class, a wave of nausea swept over me.  I'd been listening to National Public Radio, and someone was announcing:

Trump tweeted last night that the sentencing guidelines of 7-9 years for Roger Stone are "very unfair," so the Justice Department rushed to replace the guidelines and recommend a "far less" long prison term.

Suddenly my stomach was reacting, clenching toward expulsion.

Injustice.  Letting off a man convicted of foreign interference in an election and witness tampering, a man who also committed perjury for the president. 

Having a "Justice" Department headed by Attorney General William Barr, who takes orders from dt.  I hate needing to put justice in quotation marks.

It's just too much to bear.

"Trump pretended to be different.  He was lying," writes Paul Krugman in today's New York Times, then listing the major broken promises:

  • Promise: raise taxes on the rich.  He did the opposite.
  • Promise: not cut SS, Medicare, and Medicard.  He's now proposing cuts in them.
  • Promise: rebuild infrastructure.  Nothing done in over three years.

"The question now is whether Trump will pay any price for betraying all his promises," notes Krugman.

He may get off the hook to inflict another four years of his insanity on the United States of America--unless we ALL vote.  

He spent today being the creep on the sidelines of the New Hampshire Democratic primary election, insulting Democrats.

Tonight he's tweeting "some really scary, dark stuff" says Nicole Wallace.

Senator Amy Klobuchar captured my sense of frustration and desperation tonight in her speech in New Hampshire--(see her 17-minute speech on YouTube).

  • "Our country cannot take another four years of Donald Trump.  
  • The rule of law can't withstand another four years of a president who thinks that he is above it. 
  • Our collective sense of decency can't handle another four years of a president who doesn't care about it.  
  • Our democracy can't tolerate another four years of a president who wants to bulldoze right through it." (minute 11 to 12 of her speech).
"I will bring this country together instead of tearing it apart," she continued (minute 14). 

"...That's what's lacking right now in the White House--that empathy.... What is lacking is that sacred trust between the people of this nation and the president of the United States, and my friends, I will restore that trust."

May Senator Klobuchar become the 46th president of the USA--she or any one of the Democratic candidates.  We can't take another four years of Donald Trump.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


God's righteousness is like the mighty mountains

How is it possible that this man who has 

  • asked Ukrainians to investigate the former president of the US,
  • lied about it and tried to cover it up,
  • refused to allow witnesses at his trial, and 
  • refused to supply emails and other documents--

how is it possible that US senators do not convict him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress?

And that's not even counting all the criminal acts documented in the Mueller Report.

I will never understand--except that "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," as John Dalberg-Acton (1834-1902) wrote.

The senators have power, and they want to retain it.  They fear dt and his supporters.

Here's how the New York Times reports on this catastrophe:

A Republican I Can Respect: Mitt Romney

Senator Mitt Romney announcing his vot
 to remove Trump from office
I have tremendous respect for ⁦Senator Mitt Romney.

Thank you, Senator Romney, for respecting your oath before God, honoring your country, caring about the #Senate and the #RuleOfLaw and the separation of powers. ⁦

Your courage, honesty, and truth-telling will long be remembered.

In fact, I'm serious about the button I wear: Anyone but Trump 2020. Mitt, I'd vote for you. You have so many qualities that this pitiful man lacks.

I'm so disappointed in Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Lamar Alexander, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and many others--the whole GOP senate except for Senator Romney.

You weak senators swore an oath before God, but you voted to protect your brief political careers.

May God judge you as harshly as history will.