Topping the blog lists!

You made Thinking Out Loud one of the top ten conservative blogs on "Top Political Blog" site (on April 28, 2012) with an international audience. On February 18, 2013, we hit in the top 50 of ALL political blogs. (This changes all the time, so keep reading.) Thank you.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Local Nonprofit Set To Move Operations

Milford, PA - Calling All Angels Mission, a local nonprofit, makes an announcement that they are moving their operations - and their thrift shop (aka Calling All Angels Thrift Shoppe) - to a new location.

According to members of the board (which, as a disclosure, yours truly is a member), the move came on the heels of a difficult winter that saw their bills increase beyond their income and a notice from their current landlord that she was exercising her options to end their lease after 5 1/2 years.

The Mission helps members of the community in need - be it issues with hunger, homelessness, joblessness, et al - by not only helping them out in the immediate but in the long run by trying to help them lift up out of their situations. They do this by direct means and by education. They also educate the community at large about these same issues.

For the past several years, they have worked with other area nonprofits, government agencies, churches and assorted groups, helping hundreds of families and individuals out of their situations.

The following is the press release they sent out about moving to their new space at 214 East Harford Street in Milford, PA.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Big Move For Calling All Angels Mission When Supporters Step up And Say They Can't Close Thrift Shop

Milford, PA – June 21, 2017– Calling All Angels Mission is moving their thrift shop – Calling All Angels Thrift Shoppe – to to 214 E Harford Street in Milford, thanks to the support of members of the community and two organizations in particular.

Earlier in the year, after a financial crisis of sorts (expenses were quickly outstripping income), the Mission had to evaluate if they could keep the thrift shop open or not. With an outcry in the community that, as one patron stated, “you just can't close, you do so much good in the community”, the board of directors decided to look into other ways of staying open. But then their current location was no longer available for lease and they had three months to leave.

“We found ourselves in a quandary,” say Charles Reynolds, board secretary / treasurer. “We not only needed the shop to raise the money to help as many families ad individuals as we could, but it was our way of staying in touch with the needs of the our community. But we also knew that the cost of finding a new place was going to be a challenge.”

Enter Kim Emmet and Alex Hazzouri.

When Kim Emmet of Community Vocational Services, Inc. heard that the Mission was thinking of closing their thrift shop, after five and a half years of helping so many in a community, she said she had to step in and help.

Alex Hazzouri, Executive Director of The Advocacy Alliance, offered advice and support to help the nonprofit deal with their many challenges.

“Kim and Alex are a blessing,” says Lauren Anderson-Reynolds, the Executive Director of Calling All Angels. “There are people in this world who take the time to care, to help another person, and out of the goodness of their heart, give a beautiful gift that not everyone would do for a person they did not know. That's Kim and Alex. Two true angels.”

“Since the shop opened its doors in December of 2011,” Reynolds says on behalf of the Calling All Angels board. “The Mission has grown, reaching an area of four counties in each of the three states in the tri-state area, serving a population of over two and a half million people. From its humble beginnings of helping the local food pantry to its partnerships with other area nonprofits, government agencies, churches and community based groups, the Mission will continue to grow and continue to help our friends and neighbors in need. Due to the success of the thrift shop, Calling All Angels has helped hundreds of families and individuals during their times of need, and has helped raise awareness of the plights of hunger and homelessness in our area. The board of directors want to thank the community for its continued support of their Mission, all the donors and patrons of the shop, and the volunteers and staff, without all of whom the nonprofit could not continue to help those in our community in need. And we wish to give a special thank you to, Liz Steen, Kim Emmet and Alex Hazzouri for their invaluable assistance in a time when we were the ones in need.”


The new location, at 214 E Harford Street in Milford, PA, will be slowly moved into over the next few weeks. Although it is planned that the old shop will be closed by July 14 and the new shop in operation by that time, an announcement will be made via social media and a press release as to the actual date and time of the opening, and the date for the shop's Grand Re-Opening.

***********************

Anyone who wants to help, either directly or financially, can contact the Mission at callingallangelsmission@gmail.com, visiting their current location at 611 Broad Street Milford, PA or calling 5760-409-6055.

Until later, this is just me, Thinking Out Loud.

Charles

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ousting Trump With The 25th Amendment Is A BAD Idea



Using the 25th Amendment, as many are talking about today to take the Presidency away from Donald Trump, is a nightmare. (Read more about it here.)

Hate Trump, love Trump, it doesn't matter. There are ways to legally remove a President. Investigations that reveal he did something wrong, illegal, treasonous and leading to impeachment is the only SANE way to do it.

If those in power decide to use the 25th Amendment it would not only be DANGEROUS for America today, it would set a PRECEDENT for future elections that could eventually erode the people's right to choose their leadership.

THE DANGEROUS PART

America's leadership in upheaval would be a sign for everyone from Russia and North Korea to ISIS and corporate entities worldwide to dig in their claws and complete their desires to bring America down. Many of these countries, groups and organizations have been working in various subtle ways to destabilize, destroy and/or take control of America. If the 25th Amendment were to be used, subtlety would go out the window.

It would be a sign to the financial world that America is a "bad investment" and our economy would deteriorate below the point of sustainability. Its is bad now, despite what our government would like us to believe. But with that government in turmoil, the truth will be public knowledge and it would spiral, with international financial groups taking their piece of the pie while it is in freefall. And the people will be the ones to suffer. All the thin veiled realities of the low paying, no benefit, part time work that replaced good stable paying jobs with benefits would crumble and people would lose hope. This later torn psyche of the American people would be difficult to rebound from.


THE FUTURE OF OUR DEMOCRACY PART

The use of the 25th Amendment would now have a precedence that would be a cliff we could not un-fall off of. Any popular candidate would have to worry about the entrenched powers in DC deciding he was unfit for the office and removing him for any number of reasons, so long as they all decide to do it. That is 536 voices overriding hundreds of millions who participate in the election process.

There are those who say that the people don't really get to choose. But if the Trump election shows nothing else, it shows the fallacy of THAT argument. Whether you were the half of the country who voted for Trump and declared victory in ever increasing hate rhetoric or the half that voted against him that cried in their collective beers afterward and searched out their "safe spaces", the truth is that the election process was not governed by the powers that be. If it were, then we would be looking at a different Presidency right now.

If the people lose the perception that THEY are the ones who choose their leaders, voter turnout will be even more abysmal that it currently is. Apathy on a grand scale would set in American leadership will finally, once and for all, truly be decided by those in power, those with money, those with an agenda that does not match the best interests of the country at large.


THE BOTTOM LINE

The use of the 25th Amendment in this fashion will be the final nail in the coffin for the 241 year experiment in freedom and democracy would come to a dismal end.

But hey, thats just my thoughts on the matter. Don't listen to me. Use the gray matter between your ears and look at ALL the facts, not just the ones that people want to tell you, and decide for yourself. Think for yourself. Don't be sheep.

Anyway, this is just me, Thinking Out Loud.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tell Them to STOP on the Replace and Repeal Nonesense

On the issue of Republicans wanting to start the Repeal and Replace thing all over again. ("Repeal of Affordable Care Act Is Back On The Agenda", as reported by the New York Times)

Why?? Because their guy is facing an embarrassment and their leadership is facing calls for them to step down.

But again, why?? Its all a political charade. Its all about THEM and its supposed to be all about US! So here is a quick editorial opinion on it.

OPINION - DON'T LIKE IT, DON'T READ IT - Contact your representation in DC! Dem or GOP, doesn't matter, call them, email them, twitter them, Facebook them . . . hell, go stand at the door to their offices! Let them know that the repeal crap they are trying is NO GOOD! The legislation they keep trying to write to "replace and repeal" is NOT THE WAY TO GO! Tell them to work on individual legislation to FIX the problems with Obamacare! The House started doing this with H.R. 372 and 1101! Tell them that THAT is the way to go! Make them understand this is not a thing that is a prize to be won between the political parties, this is something that affects the lives of Americans and it is OUR wishes, not theirs, that need to be listened to!

If you want them to keep doing this instead of their job, if you think that one party MUST prevail over the other no matter what it does to the American people, then go ahead and encourage this bad, immoral activity in Washington DC.

But if you, like me, want it to STOP, then do something about it. Don't wait for someone else to do it for you. Thai is the government of the people, for the people, by the people.

But hey, thats just me Thinking Out Loud!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Words

A painter paints, a musician makes music, an actor acts and a writer writes. But why? What process do these artisans go through? And why?

Words. I seek them out like a deer seeking nourishment through the cold winter. Every step leading me through the vast white wilderness, not knowing where or if I will find the victuals that will carry me onward. As they escape me, I struggle on, hopeful and desperate. Weak and soul weary, I can not go back, yet I fear I can not go forward. Fear and panic lead me to despair. Hope and the promise of life lead me down the next path. Blindly I search.

The page before me is as blank as the deepest snow, no familiar landmark nor trail to guide me. Yet it is in this vast empty wild I find the solace for which my soul yearns. Even in its vacant form, it yields the promise of things to come. For without the unfilled page, there is no canvas which to lay bare my soul, no field for the seeds within my mind to bear flower.

Then, as I despair most, they come unbidden and whole from within me.

Words, the paint that colors man's tapestry from centuries past. The whole of humanity's experience that give meaning to life and love and desire and pain flow from me.

Then comes the fear. Fear of acceptance, of rejection. Who will read, why will they read . . .will they want to read. Yet does it matter? Though it shouldn't, it does. Fear. It is the killer of dreams, the torturer of dreamers.

Am I a dreamer; are my thoughts the dreams? What vanity makes me believe my words matter; that I matter? Do I? Do they?

Doubt creeps into the darkest corners of my soul. The corners from whence no good comes, where even I fear to peer. It spreads, like a vile disease, devouring hope and dreams.

The words falter, my chi suffers a grievous blow. I am undone.

But am I? A new thought springs anew within.

No, I do not matter; my words and dreams and hopes and desires do not matter.

For they are me whether the world exists or not. My essence flares again as I regain this simple truth. Though I do not matter, nor do my words matter, they are mine nonetheless. And I have no choice but to do what I must to survive. The words must continue to soar forth from me. If they do not, I die. For it is who I am. I can be nothing less than who and what I am.

I am a writer. I have always been a writer. I must always be a writer. For a writer writes because he must, and for no other reason.

And so the words continue, free from the doubt, free from the vanity, pure and complete.

I am at peace.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Ironic, No! Sad, Yes!

Not a long blog. Just a telling one.

Don't you think it just a tad sad - I would say "ironic" but that word is not proper - that the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement is now to be know as the place where free speech died?

Berkley, you may not like what the man has to say, but YOU said he has a right to say it.

Agree, disagree, I don't care. But I would never stop you from saying it.

Have a great day - if you can.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

DeVos Not Fit For ANY Cabinet Position, INHO

A friend of mine, a college professor – who is often on the opposite end of the political spectrum than me, I might add, yet we still seem to remain civil and can actually have intelligent conversations concerning the subject – shared an interaction with Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).

As you can read, she has been teaching for some time and actually has reason to be concerned with the nomination of the Secretary of Education – it is her career and passion to teach young (and old, like me) minds. So for her, and millions of teachers out there, the selection of the next Secretary is a personal issue for them.

(I start off with the comment my friend made on Facebook that accompanied the letter back from the Senator)

“FYI and for the record, I have been teaching for 19 years and find DeVos to be completely unsuitable for the position. I had to earn a degree in education to stand up in front of my students. She has no such degree and no such experience with our public schools. She did donate a hefty sum to Scott's campaign so take that as you will.”

(And now, the letter.)

Dear Mrs. XXXXXXXX,

Thank you for contacting me in regards to President Donald Trump's nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Education. I appreciate your input on this issue and the opportunity to respond.

As you may know, a new president must nominate hundreds of top political officials to fill out the new administration and this process typically begins before the sitting president leaves office. There are three stages to this entire procedure: the first step is the nomination by the newly elected president, the second step is the consideration and confirmation by the Senate, and the third step is the appointment by the president if the nominee is confirmed by the Senate.

My role in the process of appointing top political officials is explicitly laid out in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, which states that the president shall nominate with the "advice and consent" of the Senate.

I believe a great education is one of the most essential things we can give our children, and it is important that the American dream remains in reach for every American. However, despite tripling federal investments in K-12 education since 1965 and increasing involvement from the Department of Education, substantial achievement gaps persist and our rankings among other developed countries in math, reading, and science continue to decline. A larger federal government is not the solution to any of the challenges we face as a nation, and it certainly is not the solution in education.

For decades, Mrs. DeVos has been an advocate for parents who simply want more choice in determining the best education for their children. Her passion for helping children is undeniable and I am optimistic that, if confirmed, her leadership will help generate innovative solutions that will unleash students' potential like we haven't seen before.

I grew up in a low-income community and almost failed out of high school. Since coming to Congress in 2010, I have been a strong supporter of school choice. My mission has always been to help kids growing up in poor neighborhoods, like the one I did, to achieve their dreams. My desire to achieve that goal has not and will not waiver, no matter who leads the Department of Education.

Like me, Mrs. DeVos supports and respects the value of a public school education. But if a school is unsafe or unable to adequately prepare students, she believes that parents should have the ability to pick a better, safer school for their children; whether that school be public, private, or charter. Mrs. DeVos is a supporter of all schools.

Rest assured, I am fully aware of the gravity of this decision and I will not consider it lightly. I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate begins the confirmation process.

Again, thank you for sharing your perspective with me; I hope that you will continue to do so in the future. If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of my staff.

For more information, please visit my website at www.scott.senate.gov and subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter. I also encourage you to follow me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SenatorTimScott and Twitter: www.twitter.com/SenatorTimScott for daily updates.

Sincerely,
Tim Scott
United States Senator

I responded to my friend - and I would say the same thing directly to Sen. Scott, given the chance - “Perhaps you can remind Sen. Scott that being an advocate and passionate about something does not translate to being qualified. I have been an advocate of NASA and passionate about us doing more to get us back out there and doing interplanetary exploration. But that hardly makes me qualified to run NASA. Nor does it even make me qualified to be an astronaut at NASA.”

Just because a President nominates an individual for a cabinet position (or Supreme Court . . . or anything really), doesn't mean Congress HAS to confirm them. I mean, if I were President and I had to fill all these positions, I would look to those I know for both possible candidates for those positions and recommendations to fill them. Doesn't mean I KNOW the right person for the job.

That's where the confirmation process comes in. That's where you look at the person and say yes or no. That's when you LOOK at their qualifications.

Their qualification! Not what they are passionate about! Not what they have been advocates of or for!

And DEFINITELY NOT in response to how much money they have or have given to you. (The latter of which might look suspiciously like a bribe – just saying!)

As for DeVos herself? Here is a little bit about her qualifications . . . or lack thereof.

  • She was chair of the Michigan Republican Committee. Not a qualification for Secretary of Education.
  • She is married to the Heir of Amway. Not a qualification.
  • She was the chair of American Federation for Children. Not a qualification and actually seems like conflict of interest type of thing.
  • She is head of many philanthropic groups. Not a qualification. Means she's rich, not qualified.
  • She has a Bachelor's degree in business administration and political science. A qualification, but not what one would say is a good one.

There are those that may point out the precedent set by previous Presidents where the Secretary of Education did not have a degree in Education. True.

She was George W Bush's Secretary of Education did not have one in Education. But that really didn't work out too well, if you recall. Margaret Spellings, one day after being confirmed, threatened PBS demanding they nit air an episode where an animated bunny learns about maple syrup from kids with lesbian parents (despite the fact that the episode only has the kids saying they have a mom and a stepmom, which can easily be assumed to mean dad got remarried . . . . but Spellings' mind went to the lesbian route and was offended by it). She advocated “No Child Left Behind”, and insulted Connecticut when it resisted by calling the state (not a person but the whole state) bigots. As for the student loan controversy, this followed her to University of North Carolina, where the decision to bring her in as President led to the resignation of the university's board chair.

Spellings made over $330,000 working for the Apollo Group, the parent company of University of Phoenix, a for-profit online college that has been widely criticized for taking advantage of its students and delivering poor results. Although federal education funds account for nearly 90 percent of the company’s revenue, graduation rates were as low as 4 percent under Spellings’ tenure.” ~~ News Observer, November 2, 2015


And finally, as recently as 2016, Spellings Presidency at the University was marred by her lack of discretion, insulting the LGBT community. (Seems she really still has a problem with lesbians, like she did back in 2005.

So do we want someone like Spellings? Is it a good precedent to follow, having someone in the position to oversee the nation's education system, policies and all, without a degree in education? And honestly, coming from someone who is highly educated but holds no actual degrees, do you really want someone as Education Secretary to only hold a Bachelor's degree . . . and in political science?

I think not.

As much as I thought, way back 2011, that Tim Scott was an intelligent individual who wants only what is best for his constituents, I must now say things have changed. Scott has become a party tool. Instead of dispensing his duties for the benefit of South Carolinians, he seems to only hold what the party wants him to hold as important. His response is a political one. Not a response one gives to his constituents. (And its a form response, as others have gotten the same . . . exact . . . letter. Just the name is different.)

As for the letter? It begins, very condescendingly, as though speaking to a child, when – in fact – he (or his staff) knew they were speaking to an educator with nearly two decades teaching. Very insulting. Then it goes on to sound like a press release praising DeVos . . . . not a good sign when this person is supposed to still be weighing the facts in a confirmation hearing.

There is the line about DeVos supporting public education. In actuality, her work has been more for the benefit of private institutions then for helping the public education system.

And then there is (especially in reference to the comment above about the DeVos support for the Scott campaign) the political donations. The DeVos family has been donating HUGE sums of money to Republican Party SuperPacs and individual campaigns (such as Tim Scott, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina) for decades. And do they do this out of the goodness of their hearts or because they believe in the party or the candidates (remember, she once called Trump an “interloper” and representative of the Republican Party)? In truth, in a 1997 Op-Ed in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, DeVos wrote "[M]y family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party….I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now, I simply concede the point. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government. Furthermore, we expect the Republican party to use the money to promote these policies, and yes, to win elections."

This is a telling passage in this OpEd by DeVos. But the whole editorial is even more telling. She states that “[i]n politics, money is speech. You don't have free speech without it.” She seems to feel that those with money “know more” than the politicians, therefore, their money is important to a role in free speech of all Americans. She likens campaign finance reform to an assault on free speech, saying without the big money she and groups like labor unions spend during a given election year allows voters to be more informed when they vote. Yet in the same article she states how the labor advertising done by labor unions were “misleading, and in some cases, dishonest.”

DeVos finishes off this article with a dire extrapolation of the McCain-Feingold finance reform bill.

“For those who support attacks on free speech, such as those in the many versions fo the McCain-Feingold bill, perhaps they should be thinking through to its long conclusion. They must be willing to place limits on the number of news stories the media can run, the number of editorials they can print, the number of newspapers they can sell, and the number of news shows they can air. If we are going to restrict free speech, we need to do it for everybody.”

The ideals she expresses throughout this editorial equating money with free speech, the way she places on the same level news stories and paid for political advertisements, is so far afield of free anything, let alone free speech, that one has to wonder how her priorities in life got so skewed.

Is this a person we want shaping the educational system in this country?

For my money, which is nowhere near as much as the DeVos family fortune, I can't see how anyone, even someone who benefited from this huge resource of cash, can think she is right for this or any other political position.

Senators like Tim Scott should be appalled at the level of sanctimony and privilege DeVos displays in this article.

(Unfortunately, if you read Scott's letter, it sounds his mind has been made up, despite the opposition by his constituents. One has to wonder, if not for those he represents, then for whom does he act as cheerleader for DeVos.)

I include as much information and resources as I can in this editorial of my own. I let you, the reader take form it whatever information you can glean and make up your own mind. Because, as always, this is just me, Thinking Out Loud.

Have a great day!


Charles

Author's Notes:
  • The October 6, 1997 op-ed DeVos wrote for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call is not available online. The archives editor at the paper has sent me a copy of the piece and I include it here.
  • An email to Senator Scott's office, specifically to his Communications Director Sean Smith, about claims whether DeVos contributed to his campaign have not been responded to as of yet. I guess you can take that as either a “no comment” or as “we don't care to respond to an American citizen's request for transparency. (Or maybe its just a “we're too busy to answer some nobody journalist's question” response.)