words used as clubs

“Sticks and stones…” goes the childhood taunt. Words. Used loosely, they lose meaning. Used with precision, they can guide a nation back to sanity.

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I hear, read, and see these words everywhere this week, yet ignorant or deliberate use of them to “win” over the other guy serves only to inflame. A club over the head doesn’t get my attention, it prompts retaliation. Too many use these words in club-like statements to deflect or to assign blame, hitting, wounding, breaking bonds of our common interests.

“Patriot.” “Hostage.” “Gun to the head.” “Snake oil.” I could go on. I catch myself spouting them, a habit quickly acquired, a bad habit.

Here’s another word: SHAME!

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balls for the Speaker

A low front moved in yesterday. My late mother, who was an elementary school teacher, noted she always knew when the weather was about to change because her kids acted up more than usual. Apparently it works using cats as your weather predictors, too:

That isn’t to say the boys were bad all day. At one point they came to me for “a little chat”. (“Un petite chat” ~ Hee! Hee! That’s a pun!)

“What’s the matter, boys. You seem upset, on edge?” I asked.

“It’s that speaker fellow. The television keeps saying he’s a nice person, but he needs some balls,” said Andy, his fuzzy little Persian face scrunched into a scowl, his whiskers cutely framing his smoochy little mouth.

John Boehner. Yeah, he does look like a nice guy!

John Boehner. Yeah, he does look like a nice guy!

“It hurts,” piped in Dougy. “We know what it’s like to need your balls and they are gone.”

The boys are empathetic, a characteristic of black Persian cats. I mean, there are people who don’t like blacks. There are people whose eyes bulge in rage once they realize “Persian” and “Eye-ranian” are the same. There are people who are allergic to cats. Then there are people who are superstitious about black cats. And there are people who want to send a few B1s and B2s across the ocean to wipe out those Persian “cats”. I’m unaware of any issues with black Persians…!

“Jeez, Andy and Dougy!” I said. “I thought you were just acting up! So you were trying to find your balls, eh?!”

“Oh yeah!” they exclaimed. “We have lots of balls we’ve lost over the months. You know the ones we really, really like, the ones our auntie gave us, that we bop ahead of us chasing them through the house like we’re playing soccer, the ones we keep losing under chairs and sofas till you find them and give them back to us…!”

The boys, by this time, were hopping up and down in excitement! Oh yes, I know exactly the balls they mean:

Wow! It even has a little bell inside! No wonder the boys love, love, love their auntie! It's a favorite toy!

Wow! It even has a little bell inside! No wonder the boys love, love, love their auntie! It’s a favorite toy!

“Well, you have several of these balls, in different colors. Are you willing to give the speaker as many as two? This is an important question because he’s playing with a whole lot of people, and he needs lots of balls if they are all going to play along with him…!”

I was a bit concerned. The boys made this incredibly thoughtful gesture, but these are a favorite toy, not to mention a gift from a much beloved auntie.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” the boys exclaimed, jumping up and down, thrashing their tails with increasing excitement and commitment to the mission to share their favorite balls with the speaker. “We don’t need to share any with that other guy, though. He seems to have lots of balls to play with.”

The cat brothers correctly guessed why this fellow's smiling: he has plenty of balls to play with, providing he doesn't lose them under chairs and sofas....

The cat brothers correctly guessed why this fellow’s smiling: he has plenty of balls to play with, providing he doesn’t lose them under chairs and sofas….

“I like the idea a lot, boys. I have plenty of postage and you have plenty of balls. Let’s send those balls to Washington today, before the blizzard hits!”

“Mrow!” purred the boys. They may be black Persian cats, but they are patriotic native born black Persian cats, no matter what Donald Trump says.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Here’s where you send your gift of balls to the House Speaker Boehner:

The Honorable John A. Boehner
United States House of Representatives
1011 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-3508

Andy, Dougy, and I thank you!

nyah! nyah!

Day Three: America continues to be held hostage by evil forces. Depending on your point of view, they are on the right or the left, below.

OK. Get it out of your system!

OK. Get it out of your system!

Nyah! Nyah!

The level of discourse matches the maturity of these defaced photos. (Oh! I missed half of them! Perhaps you want to complete the job!)

The level of discourse matches the maturity of these defaced photos. (Oh! I missed half of them! Perhaps you want to complete the job!)

“You started it”

“No, you started it!”

“No, you started it!”

“No, you started it!”

“Twice everything you say! Nyah! Nyah!”

“NO FAIR! I’m going to pull a Constitutional yellow card on you!”

“Times two! Hee! Hee!”

“WAHHHHHHHHHHH! MOMMY!!!!!”

It’d be kind of funny if so many people’s lives weren’t diminished, imperiled, and put on hold by these people posturing in Washington.

Did your Congressman chose this flag as the one referred to in the Pledge of Allegiance?  [yesterday's loyalty test...]

Did your Congressman chose this flag as the one referred to in the Pledge of Allegiance? [yesterday’s loyalty test…]

Pray for both sides to work again for the people of the United States of America, not a party line. Pray for a quick resolution. But, more to the point, we each need to pay closer attention to what we vote into office.

The photos are the official US Government photos of these individuals. The improvements are mine.

US governmental shutdown crisis

When I tried to understand the dysfunctional Belgian parliament a couple of years ago, my Belgian friend Anthony posted a video that made a very complex situation perfectly clear!

When I tried to explain the dysfunctional US Congress and the probable shutdown of the US government, yesterday, I realized my explanation for why he, Anthony, (and the rest of the world) should be concerned fell well short of a clarification.

Here is a pictorial explanation, Anthony, starting with the Democratic Party point of view of the probable US governmental shutdown crisis:

...as viewed by Democrats

…as viewed by Democrats

There. Keep that image in mind when comparing the Republican point of view with that of the Democrats:

...as viewed by the Republicans

…as viewed by the Republicans

Of course, there is a significant subset within the traditional (rational) Republican party, the Tea Party. Here is their point of view:

...as viewed by the TPers

…as viewed by the TPers

There! Though it seems desperate, the three political elements of this crisis actually aren’t all that far apart in their respective points of view!

I hope this is more clear, Anthony. (As a guy who appreciates his maths, I hope you like how I threw in a little maths jargon for your amusement!)