Friday, December 9, 2016

I could turn myself inside out.........

With all the crazy things going on in this country I could turn myself inside out with anguish, frustration, irritation, disappointment, etc.  Instead, I'm going to take a step back and watch while the morons in Congress (mostly the GOP) continue to show their incredible stupidity, brainlessness, idiocy, ineptitude, and lunacy and hope that they all sink in a huge lake of their own poop, waste, refuse, detritus, scum, trash, dregs and dross.

If I could just understand how those who say they're conservative and are looking for government to be kept out of our lives reconcile the Republican stance on transvaginal probes into a woman's vagina, pushing a Christian religious agenda that seems totally contrary to their so-called Christian values and faith in a country that is supposed to be free from one religion being established through legislation, denying voting rights to so many who have legally voted for decades, shoving millions of dollars into corporation coffers while pulling tons of money from the mouths of children.

Now that the least qualified individual ever to run for the highest political office of this country rigged the election so he could be president, the more than 65 million of us who didn't vote for him but gave our love and vote to oh-so-qualified Hillary Clinton will now have to stand back and watch this racist, bigoted, misogynistic egomaniac ruin the country with his inability to understand what the job entails, his fascist tendencies, his illusions of being 'king', his stacking his cabinet with people who have no experience and actually dislike the departments they're supposed to head. Ah, but they have donated to his foundation or otherwise sent money his way so Cabinet jobs can be bought.  I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to use the US Treasury as his personal bank. Donald J. Trump is the sleaziest, most corrupt, uneducated, two-faced, profiteering mercenary ever to run and win the office.

His avarice, stinginess and unscrupulousness is legion.  So, as I watch what will unfold, I cry inwardly for the damage he will do to the people who are not rich, White and mostly male. We will become a third class country, the laughingstock of the world, and so many of the people who voted for him will watch in horror as he goes back on every promise he made to them and screws them out of their Social Security, Medicare, health insurance, voting rights, and a whole host of other rights they thought were guaranteed by the Constitution.

My fervent wish is that Trump is in for only one term OR less and that his whole Cabinet and everyone around him gets prosecuted for massive wrongdoing as soon as possible.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dear Jared Kushner

Dear Jared Kushner:

I read your letter stating that your father-in-law, Donald Trump, is not anti-semitic or a racist. You are wrong. You see him from a very narrow perspective.  You see him as your wife's father, your kids' grandfather and the guy who came to your wedding.  And when he looks at you he sees a rich, White, good looking individual who happens to be a Jew so you're good with money.  You fit into his compartments nicely.

What the world sees, however, is an extremely boorish, loudmouth who denigrates so many different types of people including, of course, Jews. And he has surrounded himself with people who are obviously anti-semitic. There is no denying that.

Your family background is gripping but that doesn't make you an expert on who is or is not an anti-semite.  Words matter. Actions matter. Decisions matter. Acquiescence in the face of blatant anti-semitism is hard to ignore. That's what you seem to be doing.  You describe him as  being loving and tolerant. Where was his tolerance for a disabled reporter? Or for people who genuinely disagreed with him?  Yes, he is tolerant, for those who decry the Jewish people, Blacks, women, feminists, Latinos, Muslims, Gold Star families.

There are many questionable qualities your father-in-law has and concern for others is not one of them. He is not humane, except for his own tight little family. Anti-semitic? Yes. He has appointed the vilest of people to be in his inner circle. Anti-semitic is just one of the horrendous qualities he has displayed.  Open your eyes. He is not who you think you see. And the world knows and understands this.

This is the article I was responding to:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I am done, for now!

Okay, I'm done with the whole crappy mess.  The damage is done. And it is damage. The Republicans tore our country apart, piece by piece. They're very good at it. And if you think I'm being partisan here, I don't give a crap.  They went LOW.  No matter how you feel on each side, there is no doubt that the Republican mind is filled with racist, bigoted, misogynistic, convoluted thinking that hatred of Muslims, Blacks, Latinos, the growing LBGTQ community, Jews, women, the old and infirm is normal. Why else would the vitriolic epithets hurled at all these groups come so readily to the lips of so many GOP (read 'Trump') supporters?

If you think we should give the guy a chance, I'm not anywhere near ready. Again, the damage has been done. The outright lies, the obvious lack of intelligence, the stirring up of hatred, the complete putdown of so many, the snide remarks resulting in his opponent being marked for physical jeopardy (don't think that wasn't meant), the secretiveness, the refusal to show his tax returns, the myriad of lawsuits, his vile language and actions with and toward women. Vilifying your opponent with lies (and she has been vilified for decades because she is a woman) just cements the pettiness and viciousness with which Trump will always be known.  He is a piece of work and it's not good.

Both candidates have flaws. But some flaws are WAY OVER THE TOP.  When you run for the highest office in the land, you don't go for the miserly, boorish, garish, uneducated, least ever qualified or fit for the job, who thinks it's okay to stiff people who work for you and bankruptcies are good business practice as long as he doesn't lose any money.  You go for the most qualified, educated, intelligent person who has a proven dedicated life of service to so many others; who has a wealth of experience dealing with those who were across the aisle in Congress, world leaders and whose foundation has helped millions around the world.

Planning to dismantle all the good that President Obama accomplished during eight years of the most vitriolic assaults on his (and his whole family's) character while stifling his ability to  move this country toward a more humane and good world, is the proof that the GOP doesn't give a damn about most Americans, only their religious, bigoted and uneducated agenda and their desire to take away so many rights that Americans hold dear.

I don't tolerate unbelievable stupidity well at all. The next four years will be filled with that, I fear. An ignoramus doesn't become a genius. Trump will remain what he is: a self-centered, power-grabbing, money-grubbing zhlob (isn't Yiddish terrific?) surrounded by people (mostly men) who have designs to make this country what it was back when White men were the only ones who mattered.  This does not bode well for so many and I cry when I anticipate the damage that will be done.

But, it is what it is. I will do whatever I am able to do to combat the stupidity and hatefulness by speaking out or writing about it or signing petitions or whatever I can do. I am encouraged by all the people who want something better for this country than what will be offered for the next four years. And no matter how much damage the Republicans will inflict on us, it will be undone in years to come.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What do you do in the wee small hours?

In the wee small hours of the morning, when I find it difficult to sleep, I rise from bed and tiptoe into the living room, tap the base of a small lamp, pick up the book  I'm in the middle of reading, settle into the rocking chair and immerse myself in a different world.  It's during these times that worries retreat to a faraway place, so far away that when my eyelids finally start drifting downward, my only thought is to get back to bed before I fall on the sofa fast asleep.

These kind of nights have started to happen a bit more frequently of late. To what do I attribute these sleepless episodes? I'm at a place and age in my life where worrying seems to be walking toward center stage.  My life has been an extraordinary ride, full of excitement, wonder, good times, good health, lots of laughter and much happiness... intermingled with those times that are filled with sadness that happen to everyone.

So, during some of those wee small hours, the book gets put aside and I start talking with myself, having a two-way conversation, you know..... one of those "On the one hand....", then "On the other hand...."  Sometimes those conversations take me all over the place, sometimes they stay right on point, on one particular area of worry.  I've yet to come up with any perfect solutions or clear cut answers to the myriad of questions these conversations raise.  But sometimes, once in a while, the conversation crystalizes enough for me to tap the worry down a bit and convince myself that I or we will get through whatever it is that has to be tackled.  Somewhere, deep down, strength seems to wend its way to the fore, clear my head at least for a while and I feel once again in command.

Wherever I got that strength from I am thankful that so far it has appeared when I need it the most.

So, what do you do in the wee small hours?

Copyright. 2017 © Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A response to an Arizona Republic article

I'm posting this as a blog so more people will read it.

After reading a column by a local reporter in the AZ Republic this morning, I wrote him the following email:

Mr. Goodykoontz:
Once upon a time, honesty and fairness were considered virtues. Today’s mass media have thrown them out and replaced them with the abdication of all pretense of responsible reporting. Donald Trump and the GOP get to say whatever they want, lying through their teeth with savage, vitriolic words slithering out of their mouths and the media lets all of it slide. The lies are left to boil in the cesspool of public thought, unchecked by the Fourth Estate which silently condones them by their silence and inattention. But, should Secretary Clinton say or do anything about calling out the abominable behavior of Mr. Trump or his supporters, she is pilloried, drawn and quartered by the media. Journalistic ethics have been thrown out the window in favor of creating controversy for the corporate heads who see these tactics as a stream of money for selling more papers, attracting more viewers and listeners and generating more and more profits. As corporate entities own all the media and most big companies lean Republican, it’s easy to see that bias also plays a huge part in what gets reported and how it’s reported.
The media have abdicated their prime responsibility, to present the truth. Your question at the end of your column today: Will the media recover? is easily answered. No, it will not because until profit is taken out of the equation, pandering to a gullible public who eats up controversy and accepts lies as truth will be seen as a money-maker and that, above all, drives the news business today.


Reisa Miller

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

That DASH is not some esoteric concept

I haven't written a blog entry since May.  That's the month when life as we knew it came to a screeching halt. And in the ensuing time, that Dash concept or idea has occupied my thoughts sporadically, at least a few times each week.

The Dash: that imaginary line from the beginning of one's life -------------------- to the end. The Dash: to be filled with all the things that make life worth living: all the actions, reactions, the good, bad and ugly, the positives, the negatives, the learning, the understanding, the caring, the striving, the loving, the uniqueness........ the laughter, the tears.

The Dash: It's a finite length of time, unknown to us as to the length of our own Dash but hoping it will be a long one.  For too many, it's unbearably short.  But even if it isn't, we all think that Dash could go on forever.

Personally, the Dash is now playing a more important role in the life of someone I love. And when the looming fact that the Dash is possibly heading toward its finale, we do everything in our power to prolong it, to coax it, to coerce it, to push it ever onward so that the end is totally out of sight, even if that means draining every resource you have, seeking out every possibility on the face of the earth to make that Dash continue long into the future.  It's a daunting task to ferociously seek out ways to lengthen the Dash but finding strength in a situation like this is not hard.  It is what we do, we humans, who love so deeply that we'll relentlessly find a way to make the Dash continue through its long and winding road.

So, to those of you who understand what the Dash is all about, make sure the space that it takes up is lived to the fullest, with the most happiness, good deeds, good words, humaneness, kindness, good intentions and always, always, lots of giggles.

Copyright © 2016, Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 9, 2016

My Memories of Gramma

We lived in a four-family house in a small, working-class suburb just north of Boston. My Gramma lived downstairs from us, my aunt and uncle lived in the apartment next to hers, we lived above her apartment and the last one was rented out. The house had originally been owned by the mayor of the city many, many years before and was a single family home before it was turned into a four-apartment house.

As a youngster, I was always at Gramma's, my mother's mother. I got a lot of exercise running up and down the back stairs several times a day from our apartment to hers for one thing or another. She had a large stuffed rocking chair in the kitchen. Who had rocking chairs in their kitchen? She also had a small icebox in the kitchen and I remember watching the 'iceman' come to deliver a block of ice when needed. Wonderful aromas emanated from her little pantry where the cupboards, stove, sink and a regular, but small refrigerator were located.

When I was about eight years old, my mother asked if I would sleep downstairs every night to "keep Gramma company." I eagerly agreed to it.  Gramma had a daybed in the living room  and her bedroom was in the front of the house.  I loved sleeping down there. Every night, Gramma would walk through the living room on her way to her bedroom, softly reciting evening prayers, especially the Shema as she went. And I would listen very carefully trying to remember the Hebrew words, not really knowing what they were or what they meant.... only that I knew they meant something really special to her by the way she said them.  But what I strained to hear and try to repeat to myself was really a corrupt version of the actual Hebrew words. It isn't until decades later that I found out how the actual Hebrew was supposed to be pronounced. I remember the moment when I realized the connection between her words of prayer and the real words of the Shema and how, all those years, I had been saying them so wrong!

Every morning, Gramma made breakfast for me and every morning all I ever wanted was her "finekochen", an egg scrambled with cottage cheese and a glass of milk.  She would sit with me while I ate and we would talk about lots of things. Some of those conversations included discussions about the news of the day. That was a treasured time and provides warm memories that I hold close to my heart of someone I loved very much and who loved me so.

Her apartment was a place of safety and refuge whenever I got into trouble upstairs. And she had good hiding places, too! Gramma's house was my second house, a place that was always filled with good food and lots of love.  I know I've written about a bit of this before but, as I get older, I treasure even more what I've experienced in my life. And those memories of my Gramma are some of the sweetest.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

To answer your question, Mark Curtis

Mark Curtis:

To answer your question as to whether there is any candidate that would make me leave my home country............

My husband and I actually had a conversation along those lines today.  If we were younger , say in our 40's we would seriously consider leaving this country if any Republican got into the White House.  The unfortunate thing is that there are so many countries in the world that are not worth moving to because they all have similar problems: bigotry, racism, misogyny, homophobia, unbridled hatred, wars, etc. What it comes down to is we have more people willing to bring their hatred out in the open and actually act on it. Kindness, intelligence, humaneness, care of others, working together to make things good for everyone - those things are slowly being erased from the American scene and replaced by, for want of a better word, idiocy.

Don't you want to live in a country that prepares for the future, not turning it back into the nightmare it used to be for many of our citizens who are not White, Christian and male? The current breed of Republicans seems to base their world view through their Bible, their homophobia, their racism, their greed and hatred. Who wants to live in that kind of world? But that's what the United States will become if any Republican gets in to the White House.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

It's a disease

I just can't stand to read the crap reported by the MSM (those corporate shills) anymore. And the crap is supplied by Republicans: the largest group of mealy-mouthed, illiterate, ill-informed, racist, bigoted, misogynistic pieces of the lowest form of humanity.

Republicans: full of hatred, vile, whining little hypocritical bastards who can't understand that the world sees them as super assholes. Their corporate masters pull the strings and their menial peons do their bidding: they repeat the lying sound bites that have been shoved down their throats and these poor shlubs march off toward the edge of the cliff without realizing they've been had.

The Republican presidential candidates can be defined as an intellectual lightweight who reveals his stupidity with every word that comes out of his mouth, has a Narcissus complex and who has no clue what government is all about (Donald Trump); a Dominionist crazy person who wants to Christianize the United States (Ted Cruz) (for a really good explanation of what this movement and Cruz is all about, I recommend you read this blog on; and a nondescript seemingly quiet, woman-hating, brain-cell deficient nut (John Kasich) who is as creepy as the other two.

Republican thinking: It's a virulent disease.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Kindness, where have you gone?

Kindness has taken a hike.  It used to be a distinguishing characteristic of United States citizens. Parents instilled it in their children.  It was practiced everywhere, in schools, in public, at gatherings, in social situations, in business situations (sometimes), even at sports events! But that was then and this is now.

The now I'm referring to is the current cloud hanging over the entire country, courtesy of the Republican candidates running for President. It's not just kindness that has disappeared. It's civility, it's tolerance, it's compassion, sympathy, decency, thoughtfulness, gentleness, consideration.

Trump uses the worst language to describe Mexicans, Muslims, "Others" who are not like him. But when anyone else describes him in a negative way, out of his mouth drops not so subtle threatening remarks insinuating that something dire will befall that person. The entire Republican party engages in cruel, relentless, malevolent, hard-hearted, revengeful, unkind, lying rhetoric all the time to discredit all who don't march to their narrow, zealously religious, Constitution-bashing, anti-everything goose-stepping mentality.

There is a difference between Democrats (Liberals) and Republicans (Conservatives/Tea Party).  One sees the good in a nation filled with a variety of cultures; the other sees only that a variety of cultures is a threat to their way of life.

Being kind to one another should not be an afterthought.  It should be a distinguishing feature that people from around the world think of when they think of the people of the United States. Sadly, the Republicans are destroying what little good reputation we still have among the world community.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

We need a Democrat in the White House.....PERIOD.

There's screaming and finger-pointing in the Democratic camp.  Hillary. No, Bernie. Bernie.  No, Hillary.  It should be clear to anyone with an ounce of brains that we're screwed if any of those Republican imbecilic, whiny, dangerously crazy liars running on the GOP side ever gets into the White House.

Any Democrat who'd rather vote for any of those foaming pieces of GOP crap than whoever the Democratic nominee is, is the equivalent of a left-wing Tea Party idiot and can be labeled as incredibly stupid. Our lives depend on electing a Democrat to the presidency.......... period!

If you must, hold your nose and vote for ANY Democrat because if you don't we'll have a country not worth living in, especially for women and minorities and the young and the old and the infirm.  How many of you want to put up with all that GOP crap against women's rights and the rights of everyone who isn't a big, fat, white, ugly, so-called "Christian" male who thinks like a neanderthal?  How many of you want to let your sons and daughters go to war again?

Your lives and your souls will be owned by the extremely rich and the rest of us will wallow in the dirt, scratching for any little tidbit of humanity that the Oligarchs might throw our way.  And there won't be much. And then there's the Supreme Court. We're doomed as a nation if any Republican gets in and THAT'S the bottom line!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Two Sides to Arizona

We are New Englanders, born and raised. We moved to Arizona to be closer to our children and  that's the only reason we moved here. We've been here nearly eight years and these are my thoughts about living in this state .

Arizona is an absolutely gorgeous state.  The sunsets are spectacular with breathtaking colors. The weather is interesting, varied and very pleasant. This is a huge state and contrary to popular notions that this is just the 'desert southwest', Arizona has four seasons.  The northern part of the state is known for excellent skiing and is, in fact, one of the premier skiing destinations in the country.  Spring and fall around the state is a glorious show of gorgeous colors in native plants, from desert to high country.

Arizona skies, sunsets and sunrises, mountains and deserts are a photographer's dream and since photography has become my avocation, I am overjoyed at all the opportunities I get to capture the beauty Arizona has to offer.

We have also managed to meet some really wonderful people here. Interestingly enough, most of them have moved here from out of state, many from back east. Some of them are even related to us. Yes, we have family members who live here, too.

But there is a very dark side to this state. Politically, it's a hell hole. It's run by kooks, right-wing religious nuts, anti-education, anti-environment, anti-open government, pro dark money, money-grubbing, greedy, intolerant, misinformed, self-absorbed and terribly stupid people.

The current governor, Doug Ducey, wants to cut Arizona from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He cites the backlog of cases. But the real reason is the 9th Circuit leans to the liberal side.

Ducey is also beholden to the Koch brothers. They funneled a huge amount of "dark money" to his run for governor; he has gone numerous times and he's attending the latest "gathering" of Koch 'paid for' politicos and is attended by hundreds of rich conservatives who spend wildly on their candidates to push their agendas and spend wildly to oppose other candidates (read "liberal, Democrat, progressive, all others).  In other words, Ducey is a Koch puppet.

The GOP-heavy legislature is one of the sleaziest groups ever to run a state. They have stolen money from kids, the poor, the infirm, veterans, schools.... the neediest who live here in order to cut taxes for the rich and corporations.  They've kicked people to the street, made it a crime to be homeless, made it their business to dismantle the public school system and championing charter schools who take public money with no accountability. One of our legislators runs one of the biggest charter school systems in the state but doesn't see a conflict of interest.  Ninety-eight million dollars has been cut from the state's public universities and Ducey thinks he's terrific for restoring eight million!  Arizona ranks 48th in education spending and the Superintendent of Public Education has no background in education at all.  All she does have is an 'R' next to her name, nothing else that would qualify her for such a position.

The Arizona legislature isn't bright enough to understand how to meet the needs of its people. It waits for its marching orders from the likes of ALEC, the Center for Arizona Policy run by Cathy Herrod, both of whom actually writes legislation. She's ultra-conservative and has managed to involve herself in the running of the state as if she was an elected official.

People, here, don't understand the danger of the Right Wing Nut jobs who run the state. It's a "My way is the only way" stunted, misogynistic, unintelligent, bigoted, racist, bullying kind of thinking. A caveat: Arizona is not the only state afflicted by the Dark Side.

So, on the one hand, we have amazingly gorgeous scenery, weather, some good friends and of course, we're close to our sons.  And then there is the The Dark Side that is Arizona politics. The good outweighs the bad by a long shot because it will remain as wonderful as it is. And The Dark Side, well,  that will change because there is always hope that the nutcases will be voted out and more intelligent heads will finally prevail.  If the state is to survive, that will happen sooner rather than later.  And that's a good thing.

Am I glad we're here in Arizona? Yes, as long as I concentrate on the parts that I love: close proximity to our sons; my photography; the weather (which makes me feel good); the scenery; the friends we've made; the benefits of warm weather casual living (never having to shovel snow, fall on ice, wear layers of clothing to keep warm, skidding down the highway) and a myriad of other wonderful things that make Arizona wonderful and unique.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Conversations in my Head

I'm positive I'm not the only one who has experienced this.

I'm driving around town and a thought runs through my mind. It may be something I needed to remember or part of a list of things I need to do. More likely, though, it's a few words or a sentence either from the radio or in conversation with someone riding with me that proves to be the impetus for an idea for a blog post.  It becomes a running conversation with brilliant points being made, cogent sentences and it could go on for a few minutes.  My last thought is:  Will I remember all the ideas and points that just ran through my head long enough for me to write it down?  More often than not, by the time I get anywhere near my computer or a notebook or just a piece of paper, the thoughts are in the wind, long gone, out the door, disappeared and lost in a puff of wind.

The same thing happens as I'm about to fall asleep. The thoughts come swirling through my head like a locomotive barrelling though the tunnels of my mind. I get up to make notes and it's as if the doors to the locomotive have opened and all the ideas have flown the coop, down the tunnel and are, once again, in the wind.

I can't tell you how many incredibly wonderful blog ideas I've had in the last few years that have never been written as brilliantly as when they were writing themselves in my head.  I need a recorder in my head, something, where I can just push the button to record all those incredibly intelligent streaming thoughts and ideas and have them available for playback when I'm ready to write a blog.

A tape recorder, even attached to my body, isn't the answer. Many times, when these attacks of brilliance happen, I'm not alone and appearing to talk to myself when in the company of others gives rise to a whole host of other problems.

I do have a fairly decent memory, though, so dear readers, rest assured that the posts you do read here are carefully thought out, at least in the beginning.  That stream of conversation I experience elsewhere has a habit of showing up once I actually start writing about something.

Now, where was I?