Tuesday, April 26, 2016

CALIFORNIA COURTIN'

,

Well, it has started – last Friday afternoon (4/22) I received my first 2016 Presidential Primary political phone call – a recorded message from The Donald asking me to vote for him to make America great again.  Isn't that the same day he had a new delegate guru describing how his candidate is evolving to be more presidential?  

I expect many prospective California voters are being called and  many others not formally committed are being contacted, too. That's also why I'll probably hear from all the rest of the candidates -- Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, any others left by June, or newcomers (this crazy year anything is possible).  I can handle this vote-seeking attention just this one year since California likely won't garner such attraction again.  
 
I’ll be interested to see what other candidates I hear from and when, before May 23rd  -- that’s the date by which California voters must register (if they haven't already), or re-register their political affiliation ((if they want to change), to vote in this Presidential Primary election.  

We will have six party ballots from which to select one, depending on our registration status for this Presidential Primary election June 7, 2016:                      
         
  • 3 will be closed to all California voters but those registered members of each respective party                 Republican, Green, Peace and Freedom.
  • 3 will be open to all California voters in addition to registered members:  Democratic,  American     Independent, Libertarian 
There’s been some confusion in California with some voters believing they were registering as Independents learning recently they’re actually registered as members of the American Independent party – likely quite opposite political philosophies.   So, state government election officials have hastened to change registration forms to rectify that situation.  Meanwhile, those whose intent was to register as Independents are double-checking their voting status. 

This is a portion of the now corrected California voter registration form:   
                     Political Party                    (Item 14)   

                    ·  The person registering to vote may indicate which (if any) political    
                             party they prefer                
                    · Currently, there are six qualified parties:

                          · American Independent (not to be confused with “independent”

                             voters who do not wish to affiliate with any party); Democratic;

                            Green; Libertarian; Peace and Freedom; Republican

                    ·A person may choose not to state a party preference by marking “No Party

                         Preference”.

                    ·Under current State law, “No Party Preference” voters

                              ·may vote for any candidate for statewide or congressional office.

                              ·may not be able to vote for some candidates in a primary election

                              for President of the United States or party committees
                    
This confusion in California’s registration ballot was not designed to make voter registration more difficult for citizens.   That is unlike some other states where efforts have been made to deliberately complicate the voter registration process -- make it more difficult for some voters to register instead of easier --  under the guise of making it more secure from abuse which has not been documented as even being a problem.  We do need to be able to vote.

(Sorry about any small print as Blogger doesn't seem to be following the regular size print I selected then later tried to correct after finding it had been arbitrarily reduced by the print size troll.)



          

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

California Foreshadows Nation's Change


Recent years when we celebrate our various national holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day,  I've often reflected on our nation's changes, especially those occurring during my lifetime.  This country has experienced numerous domestic challenges including some associated with  demographic changes.  Now we are encountering one of the most profound in our nation's history which is slowly expanding.   California officially became the third state following Hawaii and New Mexico where another ethnicity has surpassed Caucasians as a majority, U.S. census records reveal.       

Latinos are now the majority ethnicity group in the State of California.  Whites became a minority in the Los Angeles area just a few years ago when our population changed to the degree that no clear majority group existed among whites, African-Americans and Latinos.  Now Latinos have emerged as California's new majority ethnic group.     

I am a member of an ethnic minority for the first time in my life as there are now more Latinos than whites in California.    A population ethnic change is a trend across our nation.   Some may wonder what, if any, implications this may have for our lives?   I offer my experience as reassurance that this ethnic change has been a gradual, though increasingly rapid evolution, which has been non-disruptive in my life.   This California white person's life continues much as usual, but is enriched.   I have never expected it to be otherwise.  Perhaps how we think about such changes has some influence on their outcome.   I can only hope residents in the rest of the nation where such change occurs adapt as well in the years ahead.

We live in an ever-expanding world as are many nations composed of increasing multiple ethnic groups with varying beliefs and languages.  Newcomers to our United States generally learn our American English language.   We native English speakers by honing our skills in other languages can only benefit us all.   In this digital social media world I read recently about needing to learn even another specialty language, too -- how to write some computer programming code language -- as this is becoming an expected skill needed in the future by all, but that's another topic for a future discussion.

In the years to come, though maybe not in my lifetime, there are going to be other categories in addition to ethnicity, such as religion, where a once considered minority group in this nation may increase in numbers greater than the majority group we've known throughout our lifetime, even since the beginning of our nation's history.

We can only strive to see that any type of new majority groups will be more understanding, accepting, compassionate, tolerant, and fair to existing minority groups than some, once in the majority, have been since the founding of our great nation.    In the meantime, we would be wise to put our best foot forward, as the saying goes, toward how we treat others in order to reflect favorably on our minority group.  I'm sure we will want others to treat us well.-- perhaps better than some of us have treated them.

I think we need to think carefully about these matters when we consider who we would want as the next President of our country and representing us around the world.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

PROCRASTINATION & PRIVACY

Well, I've really done it this year.   Get the coffee pot primed.....gather the microwavable foods and sandwich makin's at the ready.....make sure there are some fruits, nuts, other energy snacks at hand -- guess I'll definitely be spending this weekend doing my federal and state income taxes.

I pulled together all the paperwork, gathered the tax booklets and forms, or printed them off the Internet --  collecting this all in one file by the time January ended.  Why I haven't done any more since then would be hard to explain.  I remember hearing we had more days than usual this year to submit our returns and pay our taxes.  I'm sure I've had good reasons why I haven't done more before this, but I expect you would likely tell me, "That's no excuse!"

Since I began doing my taxes manually, by default, after my husband's death (he had always done them), I've just continued doing so.   I've become much quicker at the process as each year passes.

Yes, I know I could hire someone, or I could do them online or with a computer program, but I confess to having an attitude about doing so.   I've always liked playing with numbers so the mathematics isn't an issue.  But, something is terribly wrong with a tax system into which we pay that has become so complex we have to pay even more just to have somebody else figure out how much tax we owe -- even if our government tries to pacify us by making the cost of doing so tax deductible.    

Of course, hiring someone does create employment opportunities, so this may be our government's idea of one way to address creating more jobs.  I hope this doesn't mean I'm not a good citizen.  Maybe I better have a glass or two of the ol' vino with which to relax and contemplate this matter after mailing my tax form envelopes Monday.

At least I am supporting the postal service, so that must count for something toward my good citizenship.  I still like receiving mail in the box outside my home's front door.   Besides, I've never had a problem with anyone hacking into my ordinary mail -- not that they couldn't access it in other ways.   As much as I appreciate the digital world's mail speed, I can't help wondering if that older mail system provides more privacy ... as long as what's been mailed gets there.  I must say in all my years I've never had anything I mailed or that I knew was sent to me be compromised.      

Perhaps you don't procrastinate or fret about privacy, so maybe my thoughts are just tilting at windmills.

Friday, April 01, 2016

SENIORS BEWARE

4/9/16 Up Date
Another phone scam today similar to one I've received in years past.    This was an accented English-speaking male stating he was with Windows technical department.  When I asked why he was calling me, he said they were receiving some technical signals my computer was seriously infected.  I ended the conversation.   Had I responded they would have determined I had a computer, requested other information that ultimately would lead to their being able to access my computer and/or threatening technical dangers if I didn't have them correct the problem -- for a charge, of course, by giving them a credit card number or other means of obtaining money from me.


Scams focusing on seniors -- other than political!  This is no April Fools Day joke.

Last week our local Kiwanis Club served a pancake breakfast preceding our local senior center's Senior Scam Stopper program.  California's Contractors State License Board (CSLB), State Senator Carol Liu, Assemblymember Chris Holden, and the City of Claremont presented this seminar.   Panel presenters from CSLB, Department of Business Oversight, Senior Medicare Patrol/Community Senior Services, U.S. Postal Inspection Services presented informative facts in an interesting, entertaining manner followed by discussion, along with having literature available.

Scams commonly used against older consumers range from auto repair to insurance and Medicare fraud.   Require written estimates, pay attention to the small print and guarantees and any work you're having done.    CSLB representatives discussed home repair fraud.  The importance of hiring licensed contractors,the need to require a written contract specifying costs, completion time, payments, along with all the precautions to be taken.  Get written change orders on any contract -- don't rely on verbal changes.

I occasionally watch TV's Judge Judy or People's Court with Judge Milian whose show features Harvey Levin at the conclusion of each court case.   He frequently reinforces Judge Milian's admonition in some cases to add the statement "Time is of the essence" to contracts which adds legal significance to completion time. 

The Medicare Representative advised we all need to check the forms we receive relative to our health care that report what Medicare and/or any supplemental insurance is paying out to be certain the charges are legitimate.  Given all the code numbers, honest mistakes are sometimes made, but billions are being paid out in intentionally false billings by individuals deliberately defrauding Medicare and our health care system that may be charged against our accounts.   Perhaps if we could prevent the bulk of these losses, Medicare could afford to provide dental care and hearing aids for all who need them rather than none at all or in the limited medical manner now.

Prevalent in recent years are phone scams to which I can personally attest to receiving.  Several times I've had calls with the IRS scam.   Before this scam was in the news my first call came on a Friday afternoon of a long holiday weekend.  The male accented speaker was very polite, but subsequent calls that day, and Saturday became much more aggressive.  I allowed all of those calls to be recorded on my answering machine.  I checked several sources and learned I could report these calls to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) web site which I did.  In more recent years I've received recorded alleged IRS messages spoken by an unaccented English-speaking female, but its the same scam in a different form. 

Just a few weeks ago I received my third Grandma/Grandpa scam phone call with which readers here may be familiar.   If I've answered the phone I resist the temptation of playing games with these people, but have been known to say, "Oh, you're full of BS!" and then I immediately hang up.  This time the phone rang again a few seconds later, but I didn't answer and no message was left.    Acquaintances of mine have told me stories about others known to them who have succumbed to these phone seductions to the tune of losing thousands of dollars.

In one case, one couple disregarded their bank teller's efforts to dissuade them from withdrawing a large sum which they subsequently mailed away.  To this day, they persist in being angry at their real grandson, because he's neither thanked them or paid them back the several thousand they sent.  They're convinced they bailed him out of a Mexican jail despite assurances from him and his family he had not been in Mexico, much less made that call.    Receiving such calls we should simply check with family regarding the alleged missing person or simply hang up on all these calls -- give NO information.

Calls from those representing themselves from banks, businesses, any institution or organization can be double-checked for authenticity by phoning them at official numbers previously known to you to verify the number and/or information you've been given before giving any information or taking action.

There are various means of credit card, especially debit card, fraud.   They discouraged use of debit cards.  Check your monthly statements and annual credit reports for any listing errors -- request yearly free copies.
Specifically mentioned were the risks being taken any time a credit card is taken out of sight to print the charge such as at a restaurant.

New credit cards with chips require protection since they can be readily copied from within a wallet or purse from a distance with electronic devices crooks have now -- some users thwart this copying by wrapping their chip cards in aluminum foil, or purchase protective cases designed to prevent access.  (I think credit card companies should provide protective covers with each chip card they issue but they don't.)

We computer users need to be on the alert to avoid all those defrauding email invasions which may or may not go automatically to spam.  Also, beware of those contests, notices you've won an inheritance, requests you loan money, etc., etc.  Ordering items whether on the Internet or other, you can be scammed, so make certain the padlock icon is present on the site at the very least, or pay through other associated secure sites.

Some of these scams can come through regular old-fashioned postal mail -- ads with a way to earn money from home by mailing packages they'll send you then cashing the check for postage they pay you.  The first small check or so might even clear the first time to lull you into trusting, but none for the big bucks will later.  Lotteries, foreign and domestic, are generally basically scams in one form or another -- some, where there never are any winners.

Coincidentally, local TV news has recently focused on love scams.  Seems there are many people, including some of us oldsters, who make friends on the Internet, including with others around the globe  -- eventually becoming so emotionally involved that requests for money/loans we favorably respond to.   Men and women going through significant life changes with the loss of spouses, other family, friends, or just feeling lonely are often emotionally vulnerable and can be most susceptible to establishing such new intimate friends or romantic connections.  A desire to help others can also be a seduction for many caring oldsters.   I expect many bloggers like me have received hard luck story emails, usually from another country, asking for financial help. 

I think what can be concluded is that if you're asked, sooner or later, to send any money, it's a scam.   So don't!   Also, I know it's simplistic, but don't let greed get in the way -- as the saying goes -- if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Friday, March 25, 2016

CALIFORNIA MATTERS

CALIFORNIA MAY MATTER THIS ELECTION PRIMARY!

The 2016 Presidential Primary state elections to select our two major political party's candidates convention delegates continue to be the most unusual, even bizarre, in my lifetime -- considering the rhetoric used.

This year, candidates need to acquire western states delegates to reach the necessary total to become their party nominee at the convention.   For so many election years the required total would be achieved much earlier in the year, following  mostly eastern states primaries vote tally.   So...California's June 7th primary is taking on more significance.

Once ignored Californians can now anticipate for the next couple months or so being subjected to all the hoopla first hand we've read about taking place in other states as candidates seek votes for their respective July political party conventions.  In fact, some candidates have already been in the Los Angeles area holding campaign appearances.  I suppose we'll soon have TV commercials, phone calls, and mail flyers to plague us voters which we've largely been spared previous years.   I've been signed up several years with our local "No Knock Registry".  That means I have a decal on my door also stating "No Solicitations", so I won't have those door-to-door campaigners.    

Here's how it looks up to this point from my perspective.....

The Democratic party candidate-choosing has proven to be more of a two candidate competition than anyone had anticipated.   They each are defining their positions on the major issues facing our nation and the world, allowing those who are paying attention to distinguish how they're different and how they're the same.  They stress intent and action, but they also have an underlying design toward national and international unification.  Personal attacks and negativism have been absent, fortunately.  The  front runner candidate continues to be expected to achieve the required nomination numbers by their July 25-28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania convention.   

The multiple Republican party candidates have continued being whittled down in number and now are three.
The third -- whose behaviors indicate he may be the only sane sensible one in the group -- has acquired the least number of delegates and is said to be unable to obtain enough more to become the candidate. 

Debates of the other two most prominent Republican candidates have revealed intent to institute alarmingly extremist irrational approaches to addressing our nation's and the world's issues in a destructively divisive manner.  Their debates, and I use that term loosely, have waffled all over the place from focusing on actual issues to denigrating one another -- and lately even disparaging each others wives.

The current Republican leader offers what appear to be overly-simplistic knee-jerk type problem solutions reflecting a failure to understand and consider all of an issues complex nuances, coupled with a repelling enthusiasm for initiating personal attacks on his opponent(s).   Frankly, I find it scary, even dangerous,  to think that leading candidate is expected to secure enough votes for the nomination.   One fly in this ointment is despite gradual increasing overt support, there continues to be a lot of open and covert opposition to his becoming the nominee.  How, or even if, the Republican party can prevent that, should they decide to do so, will be interesting to observe in the months ahead, then later at their July 18-21, Cleveland, Ohio convention.

The Democratic party is expected to continue as a political force, basically consistent with their long established principles, whatever the outcome of their convention.  The same may not be true for the Republican party which long ago strayed from principles for which they always said they represented.  Years ago a vocal Republican party minority segment began disrupting congressional legislative function, then more recently has been trying to hijack their party's election primary. 

Voting outcomes to date in both party primary results clearly reflect a desire for change, but..... from what to what?    






Sunday, March 06, 2016

DROUGHT, BLOOMS, $$$, ATHLETICS, TAX WOMEN



DROUGHT IN CALIFORNIA 

The good news here in So Cal, eastern Los Angeles County, is that El Nino’s rain has found us again and snow is falling in the mountains from two storms coming through.   Northern California had mountain snow melt much of the past month reducing what had been a promising accumulation toward decreasing our drought effects.   We still will need even more rain and snow.   


SUPER BLOOM IN DEATH VALLEY

Death Valley actually received more rain than normal and the previously barren dry cracked earth is now asea with a rare Super Bloom of wild flowers - see outtakes you can view.  

I'm reminded of suddenly seeing just such a glorious colorful sight in the Arizona desert outside Scottsdale one spring in what had always been a barren area we had driven through periodically for several years.


LANDSCAPING $$$ SHOCK

Local city efforts to increase our environmentally green status to the max prompted seeking new bids with the current contract due to expire according to our local weekly newspaper, The Claremont Courier.    They reported our City Council is in a state of shock at the increased cost from $657,068 annually to $3 million. 

Bids from other landscapers were luke warm using the new parameters—no chemicals, no leaf blowers and no weeds and an increase of mulch use in planters.  

The previous contract was based on limited use of chemicals, the use of battery or electric blowers and varying degrees of weed tolerance.  

Moderation of some expectations has temporarily been made with a short term current contract extension to allow city officials to study the matter further.   What kind of increased costs will we individual home owners incur? 


WATER RATE $$$ EXCESSIVE

Our city continues to seek ownership of our water company through eminent domain legal procedures since the current owner refuses to sell.   Golden State Water Company, considered a public utility, is a wholly owned subsidiary of American States Water Company.  City officials and residents have been unhappy since long before the drought with the pricing mechanisms Golden State Water has used and the repetitive rate increases an impotent state Public Utilities Commission keeps approving.  

A concise article with this link to Capitol Weekly notes:  Claremont had the highest rates of 10 surrounding communities surveyed, and that rates doubled between 2008 and 2013, with another rate hike sought in 2014.”   We reportedly pay $50 more than our next door neighbor city La Verne for the same amount of water. “La Verne is used for comparison because of its similar size, population, and water sources. Claremont has more wells producing less costly water than La Verne but surprisingly La Verne water rates are lower.”   


HEALTH PRODUCT $$$ DISCRIMINATORY TAX ON WOMEN

 California AB 1561 – read the announcement for more facts.  

“Assembly members Garcia and Chang are working to end a longstanding tax on women in California.  Across the world, countries as well as select  states in the U.S. are organizing to repeal the sales tax on feminine hygiene products which are necessary health products for women.  From Canada, to the UK, to Malaysia, political leaders have repealed, reduced, or are under pressure from activists to jettison the “tampon tax.”...  To date, only five states in the United States & Canada have taken this action and eliminated taxation on tampons and sanitary napkins.”   See map.
                   
CNN’S Jackie Wattles reports five New York women have filed a lawsuit against New York’s tax department and its commissioner. “Their demand: Stop imposing a 4% ‘luxury tax’ on feminine hygiene products.”  Legislation has not been making significant gains toward enactment.  "Similar bills have been proposed in states including California, Utah and Virginia.”
                                    
                   
ATHLETICISM FOR OLDSTERS


My city of Claremont, California is a little over 14 square miles in size with a population of approximately 35,000.  The amenities in addition to the universities here include several retirement communities where I've also had the pleasure of providing Speech-Language Pathology services as well as in various other health services settings and hospitals in the surrounding area.   Pilgrim Place, one I have served, is:  “A senior community for those serving in religious or charitable organizations.” 

Our newspaper this week reported a special screening would be held there of Emmy-winning filmmaker Eric Goldfarb’s inspiring documentary on Senior Athleticism entitled “Impossible Dreamers,” featuring legendary golfer Gary Player.   Many other senior athletes appear including the Pilgrim-Pacers.  Their activity is integrated through six short segments beginning at about 19 minutes in and scattered throughout the hour and a quarter of the vimeo.  Pilgrim Place residents are very active in our city, also producing a a renowned annual festival attracting visitors from around Southern California and elsewhere.   

You can determine for yourself whether or not you might want to engage in any of these athletic activities and just how competitive you feel with some of these 60+ to 90+ years oldsters.   As for me, I need to walk more – just regular walking.    

 
                                   

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

PRES. PRIMARIES PROCEED

Super Tuesday continues to make this Presidential Primary year a surreal, entertaining, but serious event.    One of our two major political parties has been undergoing internal ideological changes for quite a few years.  They've skewed  away from moderate conservatism to a more conservative position -- actually extremely conservative or even beyond. 

Many of their more traditional party members  have been facing an increasingly perplexing dilemma  as they try to accommodate the more extreme element of their party.  Doing so has not been easy since that element's original small number has had  a "my way or the highway" attitude.   We citizens of all political persuasion experienced the consequences of that obstinate position when exercised in our Congress for too many years -- so many issues on which they failed to take action.    Too many of that group lacked either the willingness or skill to employ the finer points of governing which include a need for negotiation and compromise.

So now, this same political party has produced a multitude of candidates who desire to become President.   Their few candidates who could be slightly more inclined toward moderate conservatism have largely been excised from candidacy as various state primary election totals have been eliminating them.

In the beginning, one unexpected candidate flamboyantly entered that parties political race turning the campaign dynamics upside down.   He has resorted to appealing to voters basest values  in a most negative manner with promises to likely continue the same tactics, or worse, if he becomes the party candidate.     He is winning in most of the state primaries to date. 

Considerably fewer states voters have kept two remaining challengers in the race -- men whose rhetoric raises the possibility they could  bring a troubling degree of religion into governing -- more theocratic than democratic.  One other candidate with governing experience who could be the more rational of all continues to hang on at least through his state's March 15th primary. 

Speculation has had some pundits saying we may be witnessing a demise of one of our two major political parties, but maybe the party is being rejuvenated -- just not as they have previously presented themselves.   Will some party members leave?   Will they throw their support to the other party?   

I still wonder if a new third political party and candidate will emerge in the next couple weeks as a former NYC mayor said he would run if candidate options consisted of those we now see to be emerging as the  contenders.

Our other major political party has two candidates that appear to be winnowing down to one -- the person expected to be their nominee as state primaries proceed.   The rhetoric from these two has been mostly respectful, issue oriented and framed to appeal to voters.   We'll begin to see the increased tensions as candidates become the final nominees campaigning toward the November Presidential election. 

I firmly believe in our nation's need for a strong two party political system.    Others views are important.  Often the numbers of those of like mind do form another party, but seldom have they attracted enough supporters to be elected to national governmental office.    In some situations a strong third party can adversely affect a final election's outcome but it's premature to examine that possibility further. 

Will we see one of the major political parties in existence throughout  my entire lifetime begin to fade from the scene?   Will another party, perhaps with disenchanted members of that fading party, form a third party?   We hear mention of the possibility of holding an "open convention" in hopes of preventing a candidate  unwanted by party leaders becoming their nominee.    We'll see what develops -- especially after March 15th. 








Saturday, February 20, 2016

INDEPENDENT LIVING AT HOME

Just before I began writing this the lights instantly flicked off with the TV screen simultaneously going to black.  Just as quickly the lights and TV came on again before I could reach for my chair-side flashlight.   Well, I wondered, what was that all about ..... car hit a light pole? .....  squirrel or rat on the transformer? ...... power company activity?   Later, a TV news story reported an earthquake in So Cal at a sufficient distance that I didn't feel any jolts or shaking effects, but think that must have caused my brief power outage.  Just one more unpredictable event in life.

 * * * 
Now, I'm hearing on the news a possible third political party candidate is having his supporters rev up activity to be ready in case he decides to join the Presidential Primaries fray.  He'll probably  need to do so in March if he makes the leap.  Would he be a savior or a spoiler I wonder?   All in due time.

* * *
This past week I attended an afternoon social sponsored by REAL Connections (click on link),  a group whose progress I've been following  since before their official July 2012 launching.    This is a membership program created especially for people 60+.   The purpose is to enable people to " live in place" independently, in their home, apartment, or  mobile home.   Members form a "village" or a community of mutual support -- the village organization is a "go-to" trusted  resource to facilitate enjoying vibrant living by staying connected with others. 

People of all ages can volunteer and local organizations can join in serving the older adult community.   Some of the membership benefits include a single, trusted source to call for information, referrals and resources; access to a network of pre-screeened service providers, transportation, "personal assistant" type convenience services, social activities.   I haven't chosen to join to date, but increasingly doing so is attractive.

Most of those present as members or prospects like me at the casual social appeared to be Boomers.   Some volunteers were younger including a lady with an elder friendly dog and pup.  I met and talked with a nurse who decided she would join and coincidentally a couple other nurse volunteers.   A gentleman member there, active at the organizational level. too,  mentioned he also had an application pending with the retirement community where we met, noting he was on a three year waiting list, laughingly adding that by doing so he was hedging his bets.    

Our local Community Senior Services has included REAL Connections as one of our areas resources for ageless living.   REAL Connections is associated with countrywide Village to Village Network (click on link) where you can view a U.S. map, explore whether there's a Village near you and obtain information to aid in starting a Village in your area should that be a possibility you might want to promote.   


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WHAT'S NEXT?

Can't believe it, but summertime is here in Southern California with temperatures in the 80's -- pushing 90 degrees in record February heat.   We're all wondering what happened to our El Nino rains?   Something about a high pressure system pushing the storms to the northern part of California as instead we're receiving dry hot high winds..

That's just fine as long as they keep dumping snow in the four mountain ranges -- Shasta Cascade, Klamath-Siskiyous, Sierra Nevada, and the Coastal Mountain Range -- all together said to be a total of 138 mountains more or less.   Snowmelt from those Sierra Nevada mountains  provide many of us a portion of the water we rely on as described here.    Now weather predictors tell us El Nino's rains will come the end of February and in March -- we'll see!

Last Weekend I checked out my local area strawberry patch as February had been the earliest I had ever known those addicting luscious red fruits to be ripened for sale.   Not only was the stand open, but they had first begun selling berries this year in December -- just before Christmas!   Had I only known I would have been their first customer.   One more indicator of our climate changing.

I continue to wonder what's next in this political year as candidates have rigorously pursued voters, first in Iowa and next in New Hampshire.  Now they're off to South Carolina with their numbers not winnowed down enough to suggest who would actually receive their political party's nomination though both major political parties have unexpected front runners.   Rumbling in the background continues that a possible third party candidate may join the fray if he doesn't like the two major party finalists selected.

So far this rather unorthodox election campaign has resulted in an increase in the number of election primary voters.  More citizens fulfilling the voluntary responsibility expected of those of us  living in our democracy/republic is encouraging.   Pundits, candidates and voters are finding not much is predictable which makes this election of interest to more people, I think.  

I  know what principles, political issues and plans to resolve our nation's problems are important to me.  I know the candidates whose views I can most closely share presently.  But we have many more election primaries in the months ahead as each candidate tries to effectively express themself to convince voters to select them.  The bottom line is the candidate in each party who becomes their party nominee needs to be electable!  

I don't think Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem did their candidate and women voters  any favors by suggesting we should vote on the basis of gender.   Coming from an older generation, cognizant first hand of gender discrimination, I do understand the intent of their words.  But, frankly, I was offended, and I think many younger generation women might be resentful, too.  Hopefully, the candidate won't be penalized by voters.    

Some pundit discussions I've heard have included observations that democracies around the world are being clobbered by extremist anti-establishment candidates.  The world is truly in a state of flux and our nation is not an exception.  What could this mean for our future?


 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

ANOTHER HUMORIST GONE

"Write if you get work!"   and   "Hang by your thumbs!"

Bob Elliot died Tuesday at 92 -- Half of the Bob & Ray (Goulding) comedy team I fondly remember first laughing with beginning in "radio days".  Click on the following link for a taste of their low-key deadpan type of humor that influenced future comedians:
 
Internet Archive building an Internet Library with streaming video.