Month: December 2016

CARING FOR PEOPLE OR FOR #1 ABOVE ALL OTHERS??

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In up-coming blogs, I intend to share with you a story that took place in the early 1990s, a story of Americans who extended helping hands to Russians suffering in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But—PLEASE—let no one misread anything I write here as in any way condoning Russia’s meddling with our 2016 election.  What Vladimir Putin did to put Trump in power was absolutely despicable—not to say “deplorable”!

Moreover, the collusion of the triumvirate of Trump-McConnell-Ryan marks them as traitors not only to the United States as a nation-state, but to the very fabric of American life, for it strikes at our freedom to select our leaders.  What they did/are doing is treasonous—in spirit, if not in fact.  And now they compound their wrongdoing by dragging their feet on the matter of a full-fledged investigation—an investigation in the manner of those probes into Watergate and 9-11, not the weak-willed cover-ups the they are proposing.

Theirs is the behavior of political hacks—NOT of American statesmen.

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FRIEND—OR UNFRIEND?

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Facebook offers several options in dealing with others’ posts.  Basically, you can “like” something or “share” it, but if you care to do so, you may also comment on it.

Sometimes commenting—or even simply sharing—is tantamount to opening Pandora’s box.  I am always somewhat astonished by the vitriol that is unleashed in some comments.  Facebook offers relative anonymity—or at least the knowledge that one is unlikely to meet so-and-so on a daily basis, if ever.  Knowing this, some folks seem to think it gives them carte blanche to engage in hateful, personal name-calling—such as they would probably never use in face-to-face discourse.  (There is a certain degree of cowardice there, I think.)

Well, Facebook does offer us some recourse.  You can, of course, simply ignore such comments or memes and happily scroll right on past them. (Probably the best option.)  Or, if it really gets under your skin, you can “hide” or delete a given post.  In more egregious instances—you are fed up with a given person’s rants—you can “unfollow” him or her.  This seems a reasonable choice in lieu of responding discourteously yourself.  But in really extreme instances, you can “unfriend” the person from your Facebook life.

For the most part, I enjoy Facebook.  I love connecting with former students and colleagues—a godsend for someone whose acquaintances are quite literally spread all over the nation!  I share and/or comment on things I find interesting or amusing, but I certainly do not assume that everyone who stumbles onto my page will always agree with me.  How boring would that be?

For the record, I rarely “hide” things (and I hate that Facebook wants me to explain why when I do—isn’t it enough that I simply do not want to see that thing anymore?).  But I do choose to hide things that are especially crude or cruel.  No, not mere language.  I am never offended by language that Ms. Manners might frown upon in elegant society.  (Frankly for me to be offended by mere words would be incredibly hypocritical—not to mention just plain phony.)  To date, I have “unfollowed” only one person.  And I did “unfriend” a person who persisted in calling me names. . . .

I am quite sure others have used these tools to protect themselves from me too.  So be it.

SOME GOOD NEWS ON THE WRITING FRONT!

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MY writing front, that is.

Over a month ago, I finished the manuscript for the first book in what is—so far—to be a three-book series.  Recently I received a phone call from John Scognamiglio, Editorial Director at Kensington, telling me he liked it.

He liked it!

The story is a take-off on Pygmalion/My Fair Lady—but with a twist: my heroine has the Professor Higgins role.  She tries to teach a man she thinks is common dockworker how to become a gentleman.  This first book in the series will be titled My Fair Lord and will be available in ebook format next fall.

The series will be called Once Upon a Bride.  The next two are also take-offs on well–known tales: Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but with twists.

The heroines of all three of these books are young women who once attended the same girls’ boarding school where they were known as “The Three Hs” (their names are Henrietta, Hero, and Harriet) and were ostracized because they did not subscribe to the shallowest aspects of the society of their peers.

Will there be more?

I hope so.  I shall keep you posted.

WHO OBJECTS TO RECOUNTS—AND WHY?

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Ah! The irony (or hypocrisy) of the whole thing!

Trump told us repeatedly that the election was being rigged and now he and his lot object to having votes recounted in States with very narrow margins. Why? Did he really know something all along that few others were privy to?

This election is what it is: a done deal and—if we are not vigilant—a disaster for America that threatens to undo decades of social progress. Social Security, Medicare, and Voting Rights—among other things—are coming under attack. (This is aside from the Affordable Care Act which always gets Republican knickers in a twist—how many times have they voted against it now? And still without a viable alternative.)

But why the big brouhaha over recounting votes?

We are told that (a) yes, indeed, there were instances of voter fraud; (b) some voting machines were so old and obsolete that they did not record votes accurately; and (c) in some cases the machines were hacked into by forces, foreign or domestic, seeking to sabotage this most sacred of democratic processes.

Why on earth would anyone object to finding out if these allegations are true and then try to find ways to preclude their ever happening again?

We already know that we have a systemic problem in voting for the highest office in the land. Several times (five, I think) the distribution of Electoral College votes has turned out to be inconsistent with the popular vote—twice in this young century! That really does need to be remedied, though I would argue for refining the EC, not eliminating it outright. However, that issue is only tangential to the issue of recounting votes.

Recounting all votes for every election would be prohibitively expensive, but it does seem prudent to do when the win/loss margin is only two or three points. The EC issue would require a Constitutional amendment, but voting recounts could be handled legislatively.

However, I won’t hold my breath for the next Congress to address this issue.