Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wearing my RESIST t-shirt!

You will find that this post is much like the last one I made in March ... but time does move along and I think the theme is just as important - maybe more so.

Yes, I live in a red state.  Good 'ole Arizona keeps electing Republicans no matter who they are or what they do.  So, it's pretty obvious that when I wear my RESIST t-shirt, I stand out in the crowd.  That shirt attracts some attention, not all of it positive.  But sometimes - like today - it gives me a chance to inform and educate.

I was checking out at the grocery store and the cashier said, "You're resisting, huh?"  I politely told her that I am resisting because my values are being assaulted and I really need to do something.  She said she tries to keep up with things, but it's getting so depressing, she mostly stays away from the news.  The 20-something young man who was busy bagging my groceries was listening. I remarked that if we don't pay any attention and remain silent, our lawmakers assume that silence means we agree with what they are doing.  

Young man: "I don't get why it's so important to know about the government."

Well, the social studies teacher in me saw visions of quick lesson plans and a semi-captive audience.  I had just a few moments before all my groceries were bagged and in the cart.

Me: "The government affects your life every single day and I can prove it."

Young man  (grinning ... hey, what does the old lady know, right?):  "Okay, prove it."

Me: "How did you get to work today?"

Young man: "My car."

That's when I went into my spiel about mandatory auto insurance (state government), auto safety standards (federal government), fuel taxes (federal/state), car loan interest (depends on prime rate set by feds), driver license (state), vehicle registration (state), traffic signs/lights (city government), speed limits (city), street maintenance (city) .....

Now my groceries were bagged and in the cart and I started to leave, telling the young man that government goes way beyond just his car!  The cashier said, "Thank you!" and so did the man in line behind me.  The young man wanted to know if I needed help and I thanked him for the offer, but told him I could handle it.  However ... he took the cart and started to the door!

Outside, he asked for more since I only told him about his car.  So ... in blistering heat, I told him as much as I could about other ways the government affects him every single day.  

Young man (after finishing loading my groceries in the car):  "Okay, you proved it.  But do I have to watch all the news and know everything?"

Me: "No.  But you certainly should make an effort to keep somewhat informed so you can find out if you like what our elected officials are doing ... or not.  Then you need to let them know.  YOUR views are important but they mean nothing if you don't share them with the people who make the laws that affect you."

He grinned ... did a funny little salute thing ... and said, "Just wait 'til I tell my friends!  They don't know any of this stuff!"

I think I need to buy a couple more RESIST t-shirts.  😊

Thursday, March 16, 2017

"I'm not into politics"

I was early for an appointment today and it was just me and the nice receptionist sitting in the very small lobby.  She is about 40 years old, nice dress, immaculate hair, great makeup.  Somehow, politics came up and she said:

"Oh, I'm not into politics."

Then she looked a little embarrassed and tried to explain by saying that politics and government just  don't affect her.  WRONG thing to say to a history/government teacher.  ::sigh::

So, I asked her to name the very first thing she did when she woke up in the morning - the very first thing.  She said, "I turn the light on."  Okay ... so I explained public utilities and the Arizona Corporation Commission, rates, etc.  Aha!  Government/politics involved in the very first thing she does in the morning.  

Then we went on to the bathroom, water, water/sewage rates, clean and safe water ... yep, government/politics involved in the water she flushes, drinks, bathes in.  And ... how government failed (and is still failing) in Flint, Michigan.

Breakfast.  Uh, huh ... food labeling, food safety, food packaging, food prices, farm subsidies, utilities for cooking and preserving the food.  Yep, government/politics involved before she even gets dressed in the morning.

By the time the tax guy was ready for my appointment, the receptionist had gotten in her car for the little exercise I had given her.  Mandatory auto insurance, auto safety regulations, road maintenance, traffic signs, fuel taxes, driver license, license tax ... yep, government/politics involved in her transportation.

This woman was more than a little surprised at how much government (therefore politics) is DIRECTLY involved in her life.  And she hadn't even gotten to work yet!

As I was headed down the hall for my appointment she asked how she could learn more.  I suggested she read ... and figure out what is really important to her.  That's the best I could do in the short time I had.

"I'm not into politics."   Well, honey ... politics is into you,  so get your head out of the sand and find out what's going on.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Because of women who marched ...

On January 21, 2017 women marched.  The Women's March in Washington, D.C. alone brought in 440,000 people. Crowd scientists told the New York Times that the march was three times the size of Donald Trump's inauguration crowd.  And don't forget ... the Women's March was not limited to Washington, D.C. Organizers list at least 673 sister marches from places like Russia, Indonesia, and Antarctica, with attendance of about 5 million. 

It was a day of empowerment.  But if you were on Facebook that day, or a few days after, you could read the conservative comments - written by women.  And those comments dismissed the march as being "silly" or "feminazi" or "ridiculous and unnecessary."  Oh, yes, the right wing had a field day and I expected as much.  What I didn't expect is that women would be that petty in response to a march that centered mostly around women's issues ... in other words ... human issues.

And then I read this.  I sure wish I had written it, but I didn't.  It is attributed to Ann B. Adams.  I don't know if she wrote it or if she shared someone else's words, but it needs to be repeated.

                                ********************

To all my conservative friends mocking and complaining about the Women's March on Washington and around the world, a gentle reminder:

Every time you go into the voting booth to choose your candidate - Republican or Democrat - you are doing so because of women who marched.

Every time you refill birth control so that you may plan and decide the best time for your family to have children (or how many), you are doing so because of women who marched.

Every time you go to a job outside the home to provide for you or your family, you are doing so because of women who marched.

Every time you open a checking account or credit card, buy property,  or make an independent financial decision, you are doing so because of women who marched.

The things you have today are the product of protest, social unrest, activism, and resistance.  Even the most anti-feminist 21st century woman still lives in the shadows of female activists who were willing to fight for generations they would never know.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

You might be a Liberal!

Yes, you read the title correctly:  you might actually be a Liberal.  You just don't know it.  And you don't know it because the political right-wing has been filling your head with crap for so long that you might not even know what "liberal" really means these days - or how liberals affect your lives on a daily basis.

Do you like the idea that women have the right to vote?  Liberals brought us the 19th Amendment, so if you're a woman and you like casting a ballot right along with men, then you are supporting a liberal idea.

Let's talk about work for a little bit, shall we?  Are you glad employers can't force you into working 60-75 hours a week like they used to be able to do?  Really?  Well, you can thank liberals for the 40-hour work week AND overtime!  Yeppers ... any time you make more money because you worked past that 40 hours a week, you might want to find a liberal and buy him a cup of coffee.  Oh, and have you ever been hurt on the job?  Liberals gave us the Workers Compensation Act!  And for veterans, liberals came out with the G.I. Bill of Rights.  I know three veterans right now who are using that to pay for higher education.  I wonder if they appreciate liberals as they are attending classes.  I doubt it; they are all right-wing conservatives who appear to love the benefits, but hate those who made the benefits possible.

Speaking of education!  Thousands and thousands of Americans (me included) made use of Pell Grants and Guaranteed Student Loans to get our college degrees.  Yep ... those pesky liberals wanted to make it possible for all Americans to continue their education past high school.  And for the little guys, liberals used real data and learned that the earlier children can be a part of an organized educational setting, the better chances of academic success they will have later.  So ... they gave us Operation Head Start.

Do you like the fact that you have clean, safe water to drink?  Then thank liberals for the Clean Water Act.  Of course, if you are in Flint, MI then you are probably still forced to drink bottled water because the conservatives running that city haven't made the repairs or rebuilds needed to bring clean water to all residents.  And the conservative-run Congress refused to appropriate any money for the repairs/rebuild.  Meanwhile, children in Flint are being monitored for - and treated for - lead poisoning.

If you're a senior like I am, you might just appreciate Social Security and Medicare!  I know I do!  I paid into it and now it's time to get some of it back.  Liberals gave us both.  Social Security lifted millions of older people out of poverty ... and it still does.  And without Medicare, I suspect there would be a health care crisis worse than any we've seen to date.  Thank you, liberals, for understanding the "promote the general welfare" clause of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution!  Welfare = well being.  Promote the well-being of the citizenry.

Liberals gave us the Peace Corps.  Our people go to developing/third world countries to teach them how to farm and educate and develop their economies.  Imagine that ... we send people to help those countries instead of bombing the crap out of them!  What a concept!

Liberals gave us desegregation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  For liberals, it boils down to equality and that which is promised in the 14th Amendment:  equal protection of the laws.  There are no exceptions.  Equal protection of the laws ... period.  

Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Do you like the idea that every qualified person in this country should have easy access to the ballot box?  You do?  Well, then, you need to know that liberals gave us that law.  

How about a balanced federal budget?  Conservatives talk a big game, but the last time since 1970 that we had a balanced federal budget was when Bill Clinton was President and the liberals controlled Congress.  The U.S. government suffered budget deficits every year from 1970 through 1997. Democrat Bill Clinton was president in 1998, when the government finally recorded a surplus. There also were budget surpluses in 1999, 2000 and in 2001. 2001 was the last year the Clinton administration proposed the budget.  Next came conservatives who nailed us with a budget deficit once again.

Health care reform ... there's Obamacare!  Yes, about 20 million people with health insurance, most of whom didn't have it before because of pre-existing conditions or lack of money to pay the premiums.  Actually, this was a conservative plan that liberals turned into a reality.  And now, conservatives want to dump it all and start all over instead of simply fixing what needs to be fixed ... and who gives a hoot about the Americans who will lose that health safety net! 

Listen ... you probably support much of the above.  You just didn't know liberals gave it to you - and that conservatives fought all of it tooth and nail.  The list is much longer than the items discussed in this piece ... all liberal ideas brought to you by people who understand that equality and general well-being of the citizenry are essential to our country.

I am proud to be a liberal.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Yes, it IS a big deal!

When Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be nominated by a major political party for the office of President, I let out a small gasp.  It actually happened.  To be honest, I didn't think it would happen in my lifetime.

And then the internet lit up with comments.  For most of the women who commented, this was a proud and happy moment.  But then ... the other comments started coming in, too.  And I paid attention.  Most of those comments were made by men.

"She's playing the female card!"
"So she's the first ... so what?"
There were more I will not repeat ... but my favorite:

"I don't know why, but the hussies think this is a big deal."

Yes, it IS a big deal.  Here are just a few dates from history that should set the record straight:

1776 - Women were not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence
1787 - Women were not mentioned in the United States Constitution.
As late as 1867 -  married women in several states couldn't own property. A decision of the Supreme Court of Illinois in Cole v. Van Riper noted that "It is simply impossible that a married woman should be able to control and enjoy her property ..."
It took until 1869 - for any kind of women's voting rights ...the territory of Wyoming passed the first women's suffrage law. The following year, women began serving on juries in that territory.
1916 -  Margaret Sanger opened the first U.S. birth-control clinic in Brooklyn, N.Y.  The clinic was shut down ten days later and Sanger was arrested. 
It wasn't until 1920 -  that 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, was signed into law.
1936 -  The federal law prohibiting the dissemination of contraceptive information through the mail was modified and birth control information was no longer classified as obscene. 
1960 -  The Food and Drug Administration approved birth control pills ... but it wasn't legal for everyone to use them.
1963 - Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job.  Unfortunately, many employers didn't get the message - and still don't.
It wasn't until 1965 - that the Supreme Court struck down the last state law prohibiting the use of contraceptives by married couples.
1972 -  The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. It reads: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." The amendment died in 1982 when it failed to achieve ratification by a minimum of 38 states.
1972 -  The Supreme Court ruled that unmarried people can use contraceptives through the right to privacy.
1972 -  Title IX of the Education Amendments banned sex discrimination in schools.
1973 -  The Supreme Court established a woman's right to safe and legal abortion, overriding the anti-abortion laws of many states.
It wasn't until 1974 - that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was passed,  prohibiting discrimination in consumer credit practices on the basis of sex, race, marital status, religion, national origin, age, or receipt of public assistance.
1976 -  The first marital rape law was enacted.  Nebraska enacted the law making it illegal for a husband to rape his wife.
1994 -  The Violence Against Women Act tightened federal penalties for sex offenders, funds services for victims of rape and domestic violence, and provides for special training of police officers.
 It wasn't until 2016 - that women were allowed to serve in any job (including combat) in the armed services, provided they meet gender neutral performance standards.  Never mind the fact that women have always been, in some capacity, in combat situations ... and many have died.

So, please ... how long did it take before women were granted the right to vote ... or use birth control ... or have some control over her own body ... or have the opportunity to participate in athletic competition just like men ... or serve her country in any role for which she qualifies?  

I'm one of those women who couldn't even get a library card in 1973 with my own name on it!  My card had my then-husband's name on it with "Mrs." in front of the name!  I remember telling the woman at the desk, "He's not going to check out or read the books.  He won't be bringing them back.  I will."  Didn't matter - I was a married woman who, basically, had no legal identity of my own.

This is no big deal?  No big deal?  Entertainer Elizabeth Banks said this at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia:   "We're half the population ... we're everywhere ... and we matter!"

Yes, we do.  And it matters that a woman has finally been nominated for President by a major political party.  There have been other women in our history who most certainly could have done the job, but our society knocked them down every time. I don't have a crystal ball so I don't know if Hillary Clinton will win the election, but her name will be right there! Trust me ... it IS a big deal.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Who's Who in AZ Dark Money Law!

You might recall SB 1516, a bill that was passed by Republicans in this last Arizona legislative session - and signed into law by Republican Governor, Doug Ducey.  It is a corrupt lawmaker's dream come true!  It removes any criminal punishment for people who make illegal campaign contributions!  Yeah, yeah ... and there's more!  It also allows a whole lot more dark money to be used in Arizona election campaigns.  What that means to you and me is that anyone, anywhere, can donate whatever they want to get someone elected - and we, the voters, will never be able to find out  who made those donations.  We'll never know who bought the people who are supposed to represent us.

Guess what ... that bill is now in effect and you can take every dark dollar available, and you can bet that this new Republican law will cover up a lot of corruption in the upcoming election.  And the sad thing is this:  you can't do a darn thing about it.

Wait just a minute ... there is something you can do.  You can nail those lawmakers to the wall and defeat them in the primary election ... or the general election.  You can actually VOTE them out of office - what a concept!

Laurie Roberts, columnist for The Republic, put together the following list of who voted for SB 1516 and who voted against it. You should not be surprised to know that most all Republicans voted yes ... all Democrats who voted, voted no.  Thank you, Ms. Roberts!  Armed with this information, perhaps we can actually go to the polls this year and do something that will matter:  all those who voted yes on this bill should be thrown out of office.  They put themselves, their greed, their need for power, and their downright corruption above YOU and the state they pretend to represent.

Here’s a rundown of the vote so ... how did your two representatives and one senator vote?  And if they voted yes, what are you going to do when they come begging for your vote again in November?

Republican senators voting for the bill: Sylvia Allen of Snowflake; Nancy Barton of Phoenix; Carlyle Begay of Ganado; Andy Biggs of Gilbert; Judy Burges of Sun City West; Jeff Dial of Chandler; Susan Donahue of Lake Havasu City; Adam Driggs of Phoenix; David Farnsworth of Mesa; Gail Griffin of Hereford; John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills; Debbie Lesko of Peoria; Steve Pierce of Prescott; Don Shooter of Yuma; Steve Smith of Maricopa; Bob Worsley of Mesa; Steve Yarbrough of Chandler, and Kimberly Yee of Phoenix.

Not one Republican senator voted against the bill! 

Democratic senators who voted against the bill: David Bradley and Olivia Cajero Bedford, both of Tucson; Lupe Contreras of Cashion; Andrea Dalessandro of Sahuarita; Steve Farley of Tucson; Katie Hobbs of Phoenix; Barbara McGuire of Kearny; Lynne Pancrazi of Yuma; Martin Quezada of Phoenix, and Andrew Sherwood of Tempe.

Senate Democrats Robert Meza and Catherine Miranda, both of Phoenix, didn’t vote.

Republican representatives voting for the bill: John Allen of Scottsdale, Brenda Barton of Payson, Sonny Borrelli of Lake Havasu City; Rusty Bowers of Mesa; Paul Boyer of Phoenix; Heather Carter of Phoenix; Regina Cobb of Kingman; Doug Coleman of Apache Junction; Karen Fann of Prescott; Eddie Farnsworth of Gilbert; Mark Finchem of Oro Valley; David Gowan of Sierra Vista, Rick Gray of Sun City; Anthony Kern of Glendale; Jay Lawrence of Scottsdale; Vince Leach of Tucson; David Livingston and Phil Lovas, both of Peoria; J.D. Mesnard of Chandler; Darin Mitchell and Steve Montenegro, both of Litchfield Park; Jill Norgaard of Phoenix; Justin Olson of Mesa; Warren Petersen of Gilbert; Frank Pratt of Casa Grande; Tony Rivero of Peoria; T.J. Shope of Coolidge; David Stevens of Sierra Vista; Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff; Kelly Townsend of Mesa, and Jeff Weninger of Chandler.

Republicans voting against the bill: Christopher Ackerley of Sahuarita; Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix; Noel Campbell of Prescott, and Michelle Ugenti-Rita of Scottsdale. Republican Bob Robson of Chandler did not vote.

Democratic representatives voting against the bill: Lela Alston of Phoenix; Richard Andrade of Glendale; Jennifer Benally of Tuba City; Reg Bolding, Mark Cardenas and Ken Clark, all of Phoenix; Diego Espinoza of Tolleson; Carlene Fernandez of Yuma; Randall Friese of Tucson; Rosanna Gabaldon of Green Valley; Albert Hale of St. Michaels; Matt Kopec of Tucson; Jonathan Larkin of Glendale; Stefanie Mach of Tucson; Debbie McCune Davis of Phoenix; Juan Mendez of Tempe; Eric Meyer of Phoenix;  Lisa Otondo of Yuma; Celeste Plumlee of Tempe; Rebecca Rios of Phoenix; Macario Saldate of Tucson; Ceci Velasquez of Litchfield Park, and Bruce Wheeler of Tucson.

Democrat Sally Ann Gonzales of Tucson did not vote.

It just boggles the mind at how blatantly corrupt (yes, my opinion) these Republican lawmakers are - they want that dark money and they don't want you to know who handed over the cash.  The only way they will be stopped is to vote them out of office.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

High temps can kill!

This blog is usually political in nature, but this time I'm changing topics.  Not only am I getting tired of the political scene, I'm also getting tired of seeing news stories about the abuse heaped on dogs by their reckless, careless, thoughtless and cruel owners.  And, yes ... this is ABUSE.  I'm tired of seeing stupid people drag their dogs along as they walk on cement sidewalks.  I'm tired of hearing about deaths of dogs left in backyards with no shade or water - or in vehicles.

HIGH TEMPERATURES CAN INJURE AND KILL ANIMALS! How many times do we have to say it?  

I volunteer at the North Mountain Visitor Center which is part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves.  People hike the trails every single day and every summer there are hikers who make the news when rescue teams have to bring them down off the mountains.  SIX hikers have already died this summer because they were overcome by the heat.  Heat can kill.  And that applies to dogs, too.

With the high temps now, not only are people still hiking, they are bringing their dogs with them.  STUPID!  The visitor center produced a handout for people who come in (dogs on leashes are quite welcome in the center) ... in hopes of educating.  Here are some numbers for you:

 Hmmm .... could YOU walk in bare feet on a sidewalk that is 154 degrees?  

And even if you don't live in Phoenix where the temperatures can be blistering, your dogs can still be overcome.  High humidity makes it even more difficult for a dog to cool down through panting.  Ninety degrees can quickly turn into a danger zone.

Be smart.  And ... try to educate those who are clearly showing their stupidity.  Am I harsh?  Yes.  And I don't have a problem with that.  None.  There are a lot of things I can't control, but maybe - just maybe - I can prevent some abuse down the road through education.  It's worth a try.