Frodo Baggins Blue 2004-2016

Frodo

It is with much sadness that Jon and I tell you of the passing of our sweet, sweet Frodo.

He’s been blind for a while and recently has shown signs of dementia. He stopped eating on Thursday morning and was listless for the rest of the day. When he was the same on Friday morning, we brought him to the vet. They did blood work and glucose testing and an abdominal X-Ray. They sent us to a vet clinic in Indio, where Frodo spent the night with an IV drip and the correct insulin to stabilize him. He started having diarrhea. No change on Saturday.

We went to visit him this morning and the vet said she thought it was pancreatitis and suggested an ultrasound scan. Instead of waiting until Tuesday for their technician, we drove to Ontario and had an ultrasound there. Frodo sat in the back with me while Jon drove. He was obviously in pain; he kept shifting position and didn’t react to our petting and talking.

The results of the ultrasound were not good. Frodo’s stomach was full of fluid and a blockage of some type was not letting the fluid pass through to the intestines. The vet said one option was to return to the hospital in Indio and start a treatment of draining his stomach through a tube down his nose. Once the fluid was drained and whatever was causing the blockage was identified, we could plan additional treatment, including a possible operation to clear the blockage. We decided on the other option to save Frodo from even more days of pain with no promise of success.

The vet placed Frodo on a sofa with his head on Jon’s lap — one of his favorite positions. We started to pet him and tell him how loved he was by so many people. He went to sleep very peacefully.

It was a long and sad ride back home. The first thing was saw when we opened the door was Frodo’s bunny. We’ll give away Frodo’s toys and food and stuff, but Mister Bunny will always be in our home to remind us of the pup we loved.

Donald Trump. Successful Businessman?

Donald Trump, now a Republican presidential candidate,

Donald Trump is not a politician. His sole qualification for President is that he’s a successful businessman. Really?

Trump’s campaign platform has been light on specifics, but he has promised to lead the country through “great deals” on healthcare, trade and diplomacy.

The GOP Elites Have Themselves to Blame

by Bill Moyers & Michael Winship
The Huffington Post

Trump’s the symptom, not the disease. The Republican establishment has been infecting the body politic for years.

From their “Dark Money” bagman Karl Rove to their philosophical guru David Brooks, the GOP elites are in a tizzy over saving the Republican Party from Donald Trump and the other intruders, extremists and crackpots who have fallen in behind Trump as if he were the Pied Piper of Hamelin. But who will save the party from the elites?

Look around at just some of the other sheer lunacy their party perpetrates when it’s not trying to shut government down, redistribute wealth upward, and prevent the president of the United States (who, the last time we looked, has the constitutional right and mandate) from filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

The Republicans in southern California just got a 7-6 majority on the region’s air quality board and have set out to reverse all of its safeguards, “reaffirming new smog rules backed by oil refineries and other major polluters,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Mary Lou Bruner, a Republican crank in Texas who claimed that a young Barack Obama had worked as a black male prostitute, is on track to become a key vote on the state’s board of education, the group that, as Matt Levin at the Houston Chronicle writes, is, “already drawing intense criticism for textbooks that, among other issues, downplayed slavery and racial segregation.”

That’s important because the school board is such a major buyer of books its decisions affect editorial content in texts all over the country. So remember that Bruner is an eccentric whose Facebook declarations include “School shootings started after the schools started teaching evolution” and “The dinosaurs on the ark may have been babies and not able to reproduce. It might make sense to take the small dinosaurs onto the ark instead of the ones bigger than a bus.” Huh? Yet Republican elites seem quite satisfied to have a Mary Lou Bruner as the arbiter of what their children read in schools.

And while we’re talking about education, travel over to Texas neighbor Louisiana and look at the legacy that former Republican governor and presidential candidate Bobby Jindal has left behind for his Democratic successor, John Bel Edwards.

At The Washington Post, Chico Harlan reported:

“Louisiana stands at the brink of economic disaster. Without sharp and painful tax increases in the coming weeks, the government will cease to offer many of its vital services, including education opportunities… A few universities will shut down and declare bankruptcy. Graduations will be canceled. Students will lose scholarships… Since the 2007-08 school year, Louisiana has cut funding for higher education by 44 percent, the sharpest pullback in the nation.”

Part of this can be attributed to the precipitous drop in oil and gas prices and loss of fossil fuel industry revenue crucial to the state’s economy. But the real problem, according to the Associated Press, is that:

“Jindal, burnishing his fiscal conservative credentials for his failed presidential campaign, refused to hike taxes or approve any action that even resembled a tax hike, including trimming expensive business tax credits, even amid an economic downturn… Legislators are hearing that cuts described by the Jindal administration as ‘efficiencies’ actually went much deeper, striking at services. They’ve learned about borrowing practices that increased state debts and about threats to Louisiana’s cash flow because it spent down reserves.”

The result? A calamitous budget crisis in the second most impoverished state in the country, a $900 million shortfall that has to be fixed by June 30 and another amounting to around two billion that will need to be closed next year.

So that’s how you govern when you have the power. Thanks, Republicans!

“This is the party whose elites deceived America into war after cutting taxes on the wealthy so they wouldn’t have to pay for it.”

And while we’re at it, ponder, too, the once-great state of Kansas, where, under the right-wing ideology and bumbling leadership of Republican governor Sam Brownback, the clowns are running the circus. The state legislature there is moving toward passage of a bill that would allow the impeachment of Kansas Supreme Court justices for, among other newly-thought of high crimes and misdemeanors, “attempting to usurp the power” of said same legislature or the executive branch.

The reason? As per Edward Eveld of The Kansas City Star, “A recent state Supreme Court decision, citing the Legislature’s constitutional duty to properly finance public schools, has demanded that lawmakers fix a school funding formula by June 30 or risk the shutdown of public schools for the 2016-2017 school year.”

The court also has overturned death sentences and is considering a case that would void anti-abortion rules. The Republican legislature doesn’t like any of this one bit — not to mention that four of the seven judges were appointed by former Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius. So in a classic, don’t-raise-the-bridge-lower-the-river solution, the GOP legislators — who outnumber Democrats by three to one – have decided that the answer is to do away with the judges they don’t like and to hell with checks and balances.

In the words of Esquire’s inimitable Charlie Pierce, “They recognize no limits to their power, no curbs to their desire. There are few frontiers in democratic government that they will not work to violate, or to twist to their own purposes. And they absolutely will not stop. Ni shagu nazad, as Stalin said to his army. Not one step backwards.”

What happened to Kansas? A coup against common sense, sound principles and the “general welfare” hailed in the preamble to the US Constitution. And as it all has gone down, Republican elites seem to have developed a case of laryngitis.

We could go on. Let’s not forget what Governor Scott Walker has done to Wisconsin and Michigan Governor Richard Snyder to Flint. Check out how Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is endeavoring to “fix” higher education there. Will Republican elites please tell us where they stand on their man’s ax-wielding mania?

And what Republican poobah has dared call out Grover Norquist, whose monomaniacal crusade against government has thrown public education into crisis, turned streets and highways into bottomless potholes, and produced stratospheric deficits? (Bobby Jindal, by the way, was just one of the many who signed Norquist’s no-tax pledge, a major reason why his state is barely holding on by its fingernails.)

Finally, this is the party whose elites deceived America into war after cutting taxes on the wealthy so they wouldn’t have to pay for it. And so it goes. All of which leads us to the conclusion that what’s wrong with the GOP ain’t just about Donald Trump, apoplectic, mendacious malcreant though he is. Over decades, the Republicans have built castles of corruption and citadels of crony capitalism across the country and now the angry villagers are climbing over the ramparts. Not one step backwards? Too late.

An Open Letter to My Friends who Support Donald Trump

by Jeremy Nix, Citizen Journalist

I’m cool with you removing me from your friends list if you don’t like this post. You can even disown me if you like. But Donald Trump isn’t a good person, nor would he be a good president. I can understand a difference in politics. I can understand if you don’t like a government run by Democrats. I can understand if you don’t like certain ideologies, like Socialism. But I can’t understand why you would support someone as hateful, sexist, racist and ignorant as Donald Trump.

How do you support him so blindly? Ask yourself, are you a racist, sexist, hateful and ignorant person as well? I hear his supporters saying they like him because he tells the truth, because he’s so rich he can say whatever he feels like with no apologies. Just because Trump is saying these things doesn’t suddenly make them right. It’s not okay to discriminate against an entire religion based on a small percentage of its followers who have become terrorists by twisting the words of the religion to fit their crazy ideals. It’s not okay to marginalize an entire race of people, saying things like all the Mexicans are lazy, that they are all stealing our jobs and bringing drugs into our country.

White people also have bad apples. So does every race of people. We’re all human. Some humans are really bad people. Some are really good. And it doesn’t matter what color they are, it makes no difference whatsoever. Trump says he is just telling the truth. But whose truth? There are lazy people in every race and there are dangerous violent people in every race and every religion. Kicking all Muslims out of the country is not the answer, nor is it the acceptable behavior of a person in an extremely powerful position, like the President of the United States.

The Japanese Internment camps were wrong, Segregation was wrong, Slavery was wrong. We fought wars amongst ourselves to rise above racism and hatred. In WWII more than 60 million people died worldwide. Why? Because of twisted people who were whipping up the population into a frenzy and making ridiculous statements, killing innocent people simply because of their race or religion. The United States lost more than 400,000 lives fighting in that war, against the same ideas that Trump is pushing. The idea that certain religions are more dangerous than others and the idea that people should be judged based on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character.

We’re still healing from the damage inflicted by the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and the War on Terror. And it isn’t just ISIS or Al-Qaeda. It’s our own people in this country killing their fellow countrymen over differences of opinion, like whether or not you believe abortion is okay or what kind of political ideology you support. And then there are just the plainly insane people who finally snap and go on shooting rampages for no discernible reason at all. They just went mad.

The kind of leadership Trump is displaying is irresponsible and dangerous. His virulent ideas are seeping into the brains of his supporters. Supporters who think it’s okay to say things like “light the mother@!$%#er on fire” while a protester is being dragged out of one of his rallies. Maybe the protester was wrong to be where he was at the time, but no matter what he did, there was no reason to set him on fire. In fact, there is NEVER a reason to set anyone on fire. Unless it’s because they are dead and they wish to be cremated.

Trump’s supporters are angry, and anger is infectious. I can tell you as a non-supporter of Trump I am just as angry. We need the kind of leader that seeks to bring us together, not tear us apart. Why do we have to fight against helping each other, against common sense, against a united Nation? The American Dream is a nightmare and we are feeding it, making it worse every day. Trump is a bully, a loud mouth, ignorant, sexist, racist, disgusting example of how horrible humans can potentially be.

He is the crazy person at your dinner table who won’t stop running his mouth. The only reason he is allowed to carry on with his ugly hateful rhetoric is because you have too much respect for Grandma to get into a fist fight in her home. He’s the guy you have to endure until he leaves, all the while hating every minute that you have to occupy the same space. Lucky for us, this isn’t Grandma’s house, so feel free to punch him in the mouth in the form of getting out and making your vote count.

They always say it’s so important to make your voice heard, to get out and vote. But I’m not sure if it’s ever been more important than now. Differences of political ideals are one thing, I can agree to disagree on many matters across a wide array of topics, but racism isn’t one of them, neither is hate, neither is the belittling of women or the judgment of others based on their appearance or their disability, or their sexual preference.

By supporting Trump do you think things will go back to the way they were? Back when gay people had to hide in fear, back when people of any other color than white had to worry about getting lynched, back when it was okay to openly hate? Do you think empowered women will suddenly quit their jobs and go back to the kitchen ? Because electing Trump won’t make any of that come true. We’re past that as a nation, or at least I thought we were.

If you’re not a racist, bigoted, misogynistic jerk then voting for Trump simply because you don’t like Democrats is wrong. If you are one of his supporters and you’re just a racist and you don’t care who knows it then vote for him, but know that the good people of America will not stand for it and he will never win a fair election. And please consider pursuing an education and work on your empathy toward your fellow human beings. Whatever led you to believe that racism is okay can be unlearned if you open your mind. I’m sorry that you were raised to believe that you deserve better treatment than the rest of the people on the planet that have different views than yours, worship different gods than you and have skin that isn’t white.

To all the people, of all the races and religions that Donald Trump stands against, to all the women that don’t meet his standards of beauty, to all the good Muslims, and Christians, Mormons and Catholics and Jewish, Italians, Irish and Asians, to the African-Americans and Native Americans, to anyone who has ever been persecuted, belittled, made to feel inferior or bullied based on ignorance like the kind that Trump is spewing, please, I implore you to get out and vote against him. Don’t let the progress of this great nation be halted. We’ve come too far.

In this country we FIGHT and DIE for freedom, for Truth and Justice. We fight for what’s right. And what Trump is doing and saying isn’t right. Abraham Lincoln said:

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and cause me to tremble for safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic destroyed.”

And he couldn’t be more right. Trump IS the one percent, he IS working on your prejudices, and he WILL destroy the Republic if he is elected, make no doubt about it.

If you don’t believe me, just look at the level of crazy coming out of his own mouth:

“[I am] calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” – Donald Trump. That’s religious discrimination.

“An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud” -Donald Trump. That’s an outright lie.

“Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”- Donald Trump. This is sexism, and just plain rude.

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of @!$%#.” – Donald Trump. This is misogyny at its finest.

“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” – Donald Trump. The words of an arrogant hate monger.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.” -Donald Trump. Racist.

“Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.” – Donald Trump. Racist.

“If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.” – Donald Trump. The words of an @!$%#.

“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.” – Donald Trump. So Vain.

“It’s freezing and snowing in New York – we need global warming!” – Donald Trump. Ignorant.

“My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.” – Donald Trump. Gross.

“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are beautiful.” – Donald Trump. Sexist. As if women are possessions rather than people. And also a lie. A lie about how honest he is.

How can you support this man?

A Note from Tom Greensmith:
Ditto.