"The Times, They are a Changin" Bob Dylan
Change is inevitable, growth is optional. It is our reaction to change that will lead us in a direction of growth. Letting change bowl us over will be our downfall. Harnessing the change and guiding it to the best of our ability is the only way to help bring progress to our lives. We must collectively take this Bull (sh*t change) by the horns and do our best to prevent it from destroying our China Shop. I wish Andy Borowitz wasn't just a humorist as his recent piece is potent. He fantasizes that Obama signs an order which requires all presidents to be taxpayers.
Meanwhile, our non-taxpaying
Pres-Elect appointed some seriously destructive cronies to head some very important positions. The actions of these new leaders must be scrutinized and protested when injustice occurs. Here are some of the more concerning picks (so far)
and without a doubt, this list will continue to grow.
Steve Bannon: Chief strategist & counselor - Connected to white supremacist
Michael Flynn: National security adviser - Connected to fake news stories
Jeff Sessions: Attorney general - Accused of racism, extremely anti-immigrant
Betsy DeVos: Dept. of Education - "school choice leads to God's kingdom"
: Labor secretary - Against raising minimum wage
: Environmental Protection Agency - Climate change skeptic
: Housing and urban development - Zero experience
: Energy secretary - The one he forgot that he wanted abolished
Health and Human Services - Huge ObamaCare Critic
: Secretary of state - BFF to Putin
"True friends are never apart, maybe in distance but never in heart."
"Everyday People" Sly and the Family Stone
Now take our friendly neighbors to the North as an example of how to pick a diverse and representative cabinet. Their handsome
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (you must admit, he is eye candy) selected experts in their field to fulfill the responsibilities of their jobs. What a concept...? Here is a sample of their cabinet and notice that 50% are women and many of different races and religions.
Minister of Health is a doctor.
Minister of Transport is an astronaut.
Minister of National Defense is a Sikh Veteran.
Minister of Youth is under the age of 45.
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is a former farmer.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness was a Scout.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development was a financial analyst.
Minister of Finance is a successful businessman.
Minister of Justice was a crown prosecutor and is a First Nations leader.
Minister of Sport & Persons w/Disabilities is a visually impaired Paralympian.
Minister of Fisheries/Oceans and Canadian Coastguard is Inuit.
Minister of Science is a medical geographer with a PhD.
Diversity at its best
"Heart of Gold" Neil Young
We should take more advice from Canada and express gratitude for the generous talents they have shared with us like Celine Dion, Neil Young, Michael J. Fox, Drake, Seth Rogen, Edgar Bronfman, Samantha Bee, to name just a few. But they also lost a Canadian talent this week as
died at the young age of 69 from a heart attack. Not only was he the dad on Growing Pains which helped launched young Leo DiCaprio's career, but he was also a composer, a talk show host and the real father of 3 sons including the rock star Robin Thicke. Condolences to his fans, friends and family. Yes, we must thank Canada for many talented people but one person we'd like to give back is Ted Cruz and this wonderful music video expertly expresses our desire. Hope you enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oG3BwIXsog
"Back in the USSR" Beatles
Bi-partisanship in DC is blooming over the CIA's investigation of Russia's hacking escapades during our election season. Of course our Pres-Elect and his BFF Putin, flatly denies the allegations. Seems Trump has selectively dismissed his memory of this quote encouraging the Russians to spy on Hillary:
"I will tell you this, Russia: If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
We knew back in October that they were snooping around the DNC's emails but just this week intelligence agencies also determined that Putin had his fingerprints on the funding of fake news stories against Clinton. It turns out they were also targeting congressional seats. Gee, why would Putin and his comrades want to help Trump and his supporters? Oh what a messy global web we are entering. Many of our legislators on both sides of the aisle want more answers to this situation as they request deeper investigations. In addition, the DNC was warned of this breach but didn't seem to take it seriously enough.
"Do You Know Where You're Going To?" Diana Ross
40 Electoral College voters are demanding a classified briefing on the hacks before they make their historic selection next week. It's a long shot but many (of us) are hoping the Electoral College will vote their conscience and the will of the popular vote which had Hillary garnering nearly 3 million more votes. So far about 20 may have defected and plan to vote their conscience. 37 are needed to change the election. A Harvard law professor is giving pro bono legal advice to these embattled electors, many of whom are getting threatening messages to vote a certain way. Godspeed to these important decision makers.
"I Can't Get No, Satisfaction" Rolling Stones
Michigan Voter ID
The extreme voter ID Law requiring Michiganders to present their ID at their precinct when voting or to their Clerk's office within 10 days of the election will not be brought to the Michigan Senate during this lame duck session. This law would have been a hardship for many voters, most of them dems. But don't wipe your brow in relief just yet; most likely we will see this bill return in 2017.
On one of the last days of this congressional session and during the wee hours of the morning, a bill was finally passed to provide the much needed funding ($120 Million) to assist Flint with its
lead water disaster. Though passing this bill months earlier was the intent of our Michigan Senators, better late than never is still appreciated. The bill also requires the EPA to warn States with 24 hours of excessive lead in their drinking water if the State is negligent. The Flint pipes are still leaching lead and the water still isn't drinkable without a filter though the levels are decreasing. Let's hope 2107 will hold a brighter future for the citizen of Flint.
Ohio Heartbeat Bill
Though Gov. Kasich vetoed an unconstitutional bill that would have prevent abortions after a heartbeat is detected, he did signed into law the felony (for the docs) producing restriction on abortions after 20 weeks. Anti-abortion laws are becoming more prevalent in this country. 43 States currently have restrictions on the procedure either relating to weeks or phase of gestation. It's mostly men setting these rules and always women who are in danger. Without safe and accessible abortions, women will be forced to revert to back alley butchers. If they really wanted to prevent abortions, they would shower money into pregnancy prevention and birth control. Should the Pill really cost more than Viagra?
We've come a long way from our First Congress
as we enter our 115th Congress on Jan. 3, 2017
"Mother and Child Reunion" Paul Simon
With all of our complaints, we still live in one of the best countries on Earth, but we still lack some of the advances other countries take for granted. The whole issue of maternity and postpartum care could use some updating. A few weeks ago, I shared a video of by
about the importance of paid Parental Leave and now that their baby daughter has arrived, they created another important video about the lack of postpartum care we provide in this country. Our infant mortality rate is almost twice that of Germany and the Netherlands and postpartum depression in the US is 30% compared to 15% in Sweden where after birth care is much more attentive. Take a look for yourselves:
"Baby Its Cold Outside"
While we are modernizing our existence,
Lydia and Josiah decided to update this 70 year old holiday favorite as they and others felt the lyrics were a bit patronizing to presure the heroine to stay for the night. Seems even old songs should be politically correct and teach consent. These new lyrics are sweet but I didn't have a problem with the old ones, though proceeds from the sale of this new version will assist the
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
"Military Madness" Graham Nash
Prayers and thoughts go out to the devastated people of
entering their 6th year of war and chaos. The government now controls Aleppo again while dangerous evacuations take place this week. Back in March of 2011, Syrian protesters, just like their Arab neighbors, took to the streets to demand their repressive
President Bashar al-Assad
be removed from office. But unlike his neighboring leaders who all fell, Assad took a deadly stand against his citizen and with the help of his Russian friends (among others), he's still in office today after 100s of 1,000s of deaths. And where have the world leaders been to help save these lives? Harsh words about our world response to this catastrophe is eloquently spoken by this Arab-Israeli women. We need to heed her plea to help.
"Calling Doctor Love" Kiss
Israeli men have one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world. They, on average, live to the age of 81. Research has found that a determining factor for this old age expectancy rate is their requirement to serve in the Israeli army. Being in the army forces them to be physically fit which is good for overall health. A complete analysis of this issue is in this article.
An additional interesting fact about the IDF is that more Israeli-Arabs are starting to enlist. In the last 6 years, there has been an increase of 650% of non-Jewish enlistments. Bravo to all Israelis who serve and to those who volunteer their efforts like our son,
and our bonus son,
"The Stranger" Billy Joel
Arabs in the Israeli army provided me with this segue to the plight and flight of the Jews from Arab lands. For thousands of years, Jews lived in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and many others Arab countries. Yet in the mid 20th century, they were abruptly expelled. Many of these Jews from Arab nations feel like their heritage is being forgotten. In the region's conflict, it seems that Palestinians are the only "legitimate" refugees. This excellent piece by
spotlights their history and gives them a voice.
"Million Reasons" Lady Gaga
This week's musical selection is by the uber talented Lady Gaga. She has a million reasons to walk out the door but just needs one to stay. There are a million (minor) reasons the people we love drive us crazy but we need to remember the big ones that keep us close.