Monthly Archives: February 2015

One Man’s War On Women, Among Other Things


Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker has proposed his state’s new budget.

A good-looking man; however, "don't judge a book by its cover."

A good-looking man; however, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

“Walker’s agenda takes direct aim at how the citizens of Wisconsin can participate in key programs and levels of participation, whether it’s property rights with environmental controls, parental participation with school boards, making passing referendums nearly impossible, making it harder to vote, defunding seniors’ support programs, rejecting infrastructure improvement programs, making taxpayers pay millions for not expanding Medicaid expansion as well as attacking women’s legal reproductive health rights.” (Bold is added.)

~Scott Walker Watch

“Tucked away in Republican Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget, is a clause that has nothing to do with campus funding. Yes, the proposed budget cuts 30 million dollars from the public university system. But beyond the Governor’s war on education, he is also intensifying the war on women, by proposing the elimination of rape reporting requirements on campus.”  (Bold is added.)


A clause in his proposed budget deletes language relating to sexual assault information and reporting so that no report is required:  to the State Legislature; to newly entering students; to the Department of Justice regarding statistics of assault and rape at the university; and “would also end the requirement that university employees who witness a sexual assault on campus, must report it to the Dean of Students.”  Just “sweep it under the rug,” guys.

This man’s actions have the approval of the Tea Party ultra conservatives of the Republican party and the Koch Brothers.  He is single-handedly bringing the state of Wisconsin to its knees.  I wonder if the state’s average, tax-paying citizens are aware of this man’s gross negligence, discriminatory actions and incompetence, IMHO.  His website, which asks for contributions to his campaign, states in the header:  “Scott Walker – Moving Wisconsin Forward.”

[Image from bingdotcom]

Romeo’s Patio

Romeo’s impatience to go out on the patio was finally captured on camera.

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One of the “daily morning procedures” we go through in our day-to-day lives is the impatient Romeo, waiting for Mom to open the patio door.  He runs in there to get his best “cat’s eye” view on his outer world.

I had my camera at the ready this time to capture one of our most important morning “procedures.”

Romeo waiting for Mom to open the door to patio. Romeo waiting for Mom to open the door to patio.

Oh yeah!  Patio, here I come very soon. Oh yeah! Patio, here I come very soon.

One more step to go! One more step to go!

Patio, here I am. Patio, here I am.  Pardon the blurry photo.  I was in a hurry.  Mom couldn’t get the door open fast enough for me!

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A thank you to a doctor I will never meet…

Laura, thank you so very much for this post. Dr. Kaufman is a beautiful person to comment in support of ME patients from a medical physician’s point of view.

President Obama Is Unclear About His Authorization For The Use Of Military Force

I read with interest the contents of an email I received today from Congressman Alan Grayson regarding his meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee of a week ago (I apologize for the text overrun-beyond my control):

Payable in Dollars, and in Lives.

Dear Carol:

So we had a hearing a week ago on ISIS (“we” being the House Foreign Affairs Committee), and the witnesses were three experts on U.S. policy in the Middle East, all dues-paying members of the Military-Industrial Complex. They were James Jeffrey, who was Deputy Chief of Mission at our embassy in Iraq; Rick Brennan, a political scientist at the Rand Corp.; and Dafna Rand, who was on the National Security Council staff. The White House had just released the President’s draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS, and I felt that I needed a good translator, so I asked them what the ISIS war authorization meant. Their answers were chilling: the ISIS war authorization means whatever the President wants it to mean. If you don’t believe me, just listen to them:

GRAYSON: Section 2(c) of the President’s draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force reads as follows: “The authority granted in subsection A [to make war on ISIS and forces ‘alongside’ ISIS] does not authorize the use of US armed forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.” Ambassador Jeffrey, what does ‘enduring’ mean?

JEFFREY: My answer would be a somewhat sarcastic one: “Whatever the Executive at the time defines ‘enduring’ as.” And I have a real problem with that.

GRAYSON: Dr. Brennan?

BRENNAN: I have real problems with that also. I don’t know what it means. I can just see the lawyers fighting over the meaning of this. But more importantly, if you’re looking at committing forces for something that you are saying is either [a] vital or important interest of the United States, and you get in the middle of a battle, and all of a sudden, are you on offense, or are you on defense? What happens if neighbors cause problems? Wars never end the way that they were envisioned. And so I think that that’s maybe a terrible mistake to put in the AUMF.

GRAYSON: Dr. Rand?

RAND: Enduring, in my mind, specifies an open-endedness, it specifies lack of clarity on the particular objective at hand.

GRAYSON: Dr. Rand, is two weeks ‘enduring’?

RAND: I would leave that to the lawyers to determine exactly.

GRAYSON: So your answer is [that] you don’t know, right? How about two months?

RAND: I don’t know. Again, I think it would depend on the particular objective, ‘enduring’ in my mind is not having a particular military objective in mind.

GRAYSON: So you don’t really know what it means. Is that a fair statement?

RAND: ‘Enduring,’ in my mind, means open-ended.

GRAYSON: All right — Section Five of the draft of the Authorization of the Use of Military Force reads as follows: “In this resolution, the term ‘associated persons or forces’ means individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside ISIL or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” Ambassador Jeffrey, what does “alongside ISIL” mean?

JEFFREY: I didn’t draft this thing.

GRAYSON: Nor did I.

JEFFREY: Nor did you, but I would have put that in there if I had been drafting it, and the reason is, I think they went back to 2001, of course this is the authorization we’re still using, along with the 2002 one for this campaign, and these things morph. For example, we’ve had a debate over whether ISIS is really an element of Al Qaeda; it certainly was when I knew it as Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2010 to 2012, and these semantic arguments confuse us and confuse our people on the ground, in trying to deal with these folks. You’ll know it when you see it, if it’s ISIS or it’s an ally of ISIS.

GRAYSON: How about the Free Syrian Army, are they fighting alongside ISIL in Syria?

JEFFREY: No, they’re not fighting alongside ISIL, in fact often they’re fighting against ISIL, and ISIL against them in particular.

GRAYSON: What about Assad, is he fighting “alongside” or against? It’s kind of hard to tell without a scorecard, isn’t it?

JEFFREY: It sure is.

GRAYSON: Yes. What about you, Dr. Brennan, can you tell me what “alongside ISIL” means?

BRENNAN: No, I really couldn’t. I think that, what, you know, it might be. The 9/11 Commission uses the phrase “radical islamist organizations.” I think maybe if we went to a wording like that, it includes all those 52 groups that adhere to this type of ideology, that threaten the United States. But we’re putting ourselves in boxes and as you said Senator – Congressman — I’m trying to understand what that means, what the limits are … who we’re dealing with, and it’s very confusing.

GRAYSON: Dr. Rand?

RAND: Well, first of all, I believe that the confusion is probably a function of the fact that this is an unclassified document, so it’s not going to specify exactly which groups are considered associates; that would be for a classified setting. But second, as I said in the testimony, the nature of the alliances within ISIL are changing and are fluid, and those who are targeting, the military experts, know exactly who is a derivative or an associate or an ally of ISIS, at any given moment.

GRAYSON: Why are you so confident of that? It seems to me that it’s a matter of terminology, not a matter of ascertainable fact.

RAND: Based on my public service, I’ve seen some of the lawyers, and some of the methodologies, and . . . .

GRAYSON: Okay. Here’s the $64 billion question for you, Ambassador Jeffrey, and if we have time, for you others. If you can’t tell us — you three experts can’t tell us — what these words mean, what does that tell us? Ambassador Jeffrey?

JEFFREY: That it’s very difficult to be using a tool basically designed to declare war or something like war on a nation-state, which has a fixed definition, against a group that morphs, that changes its name, that has allies, and other things. Do we not fight it? We have to fight it. Are we having a hard time defining it? You bet.

GRAYSON: Dr. Brennan?

BRENNAN: I’d agree with the ambassador. I think the issue we that need to be looking at is trying to broaden terminology and understand that it is a tenet, or organizations and groups that adhere to this ideology, and make it broad enough that if one pops up in a different country that is doing the same thing, that is a sister of this organization, the President has the authority to act.

GRAYSON: Dr. Brennan, I think that you just described a blank check, which I’m not willing to give to the President or anybody else. But thank you for your time.

So that’s what the experts had to say. Now I have a question for you: How do you spell the word “quagmire”? Answer: I-S-L-A-M-I-C S-T-A-T-E.


Rep. Alan Grayson

“‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

– Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass ch. 6 (1871).

At 12:01am Today, Marijuana Became Legal in Washington DC


Our nation’s capital city has come over to the legalization of “pot.”  This is a “huge symbolic conquest” for decriminalizing the use of marijuana in the United States.  Please see article on ReverbPress.

Of course, there are limitations:

“Residents will be allowed to own three plants and possess up to 2 ounces of pot for use at home. Buying and selling, as well as using marijuana in public, will remain illegal.”

The legalization of marijuana in Washington DC came about through a voter-approved initiative.  Mayor Bowser and the city officials could face charges and prison time for pushing this initiative through.  Nearly two-thirds of the voters in DC approved it in November’s election.


Congress, in its inevitable procrastination wisdom, tried to kill the initiative by trying to ban the funding for regulation of marijuana in the capital city.  But, Congress’ action was too late. The voters had already decided.

“There was a major reason behind the successful referendum to legalize marijuana in DC, and its imminent implementation.”

There is great significance in DC’s actions.  The prohibition and criminalization of marijuana possession affected citizens’ civil rights.  People of color were arrested three times more frequently than whites for possession.

The demand from the voters was so overwhelming, that in comparing the defunding vs the legalization of marijuana, the City Council  decided to not stand in the way of the voters’ wishes.

“Attorney General Eric Holder has presided over the first significant decline in the crime rate and the prison population in decades, and it is time for Washington to consider shutting down the ‘drug war’ machine that systematically ruins the lives of black people.”


The District of Columbia is the first place east of the Mississippi River where recreational pot is legal. Alaska also legalized pot this week, joining Colorado and Washington state.

Congress still might sue the City and the Justice Department is threatening to prosecute the DC officials … and Congress continues to huff and puff.







Lessons from a High School Student: Motivation + Perseverance = Success

This young lady has a marvelous, bright future in cancer research. I have a feeling that the world will be a better place, due to her future scientific findings.

NIH Director's Blog

Emily Ashkin Video

It may surprise you to learn that the poised young woman featured in this video was a sophomore in high school at the time the film was made. Today, Emily Ashkin is a high school senior with impressive laboratory experience and science awards to her name.  As it happens, she’s also introducing me when I deliver a keynote address at the Melanoma Research Alliance’s annual scientific meeting — today, here in Washington, D.C.

What struck me most when I heard Emily’s story was her fearlessness. When mentoring young students, helping some to believe in themselves can be a real challenge. Not Emily. She faces her challenges by seeking solutions, asking—as she does in the video—“Why can’t that be me?”

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Rusty’s Adventures in Petzone Country

Rusty really got into it this time!!

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There are times when I take out the Petzone toy and Rusty will show no interest.  TODAY WAS DIFFERENT!!

Rusty's getting interested in Petzone Rusty’s getting interested in Petzone.

A little bite to get started. A little bite to get started.

Guess that bit didn't taste too good. Guess that bite didn’t taste too good.

I'm going to get you, mouse. I’m going to get you, mouse.

I'm going to get you, mouse, even if I have to climb in there. I’m going to get you, mouse, even if I have to climb in there.

Aww, couldn't get that mouse. Aww, couldn’t get that mouse.

I think I'll try a different tactic.  I'll remain still and hope the mouse doesn't see me. I think I’ll try a different tactic. I’ll remain still and hope the mouse doesn’t see me.

Oh yeah - starting to get into it. Oh yeah – starting to get into it.

It worked!  Hello, mouse. It worked! Hello, mouse.

Come here, mousey (tongue out). Come here, mousey (tongue out).

Well, now we're getting somewhere. Well, now we’re getting somewhere.

Darn it!  That #$%&@ mouse got away again. Darn it! That #$%&@ mouse got away again.

I give up.  :-( I give up. 😦

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22 Pets Who Have No Intention Of Letting You Read Your Book

Our pets don’t like it when we turn our attention to the written word and away from them.

Are We Going To Allow Congress to Snuff Social Security Disability?


I’ve heard “whisperings” about Congress’ focus on “routing out” the fraud perpetrated by “lazy,” “shiftless,” and “indolent” receivers of Social Security Disability (SSDI) checks.  The “do nothing” Congress, under the “preeminent” leadership of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, intends to do further harm to disabled and/or extremely ill persons by reducing their SSDI monthly payments.

SS Disability

Children, veterans, patients suffering from debilitating diseases, etc., – all who depend on their small “stipends,” – will be pushed further into the poverty classification if McConnell and Boehner have their way.

Our Republican Congress is desperate to show their constituents that their “duly elected” representatives are capable of showing some “progressive” action and can contribute to the “betterment” of governing.  So, why not pick on those who are the most vulnerable and who have the weakest voice?

It is troubling that the media seems fit to avoid this subject like the plague (or Ebola?); however, I did find an article, written by William Greider, appeared in The Nation.  In it, Mr. Greider expounds on the extreme shower of disservice that Congress plans to plummet down upon those most vulnerable.

“This is why we need “bleeding-heart liberals”—politicians who will stand up to defend the scorned and tell the truth about the Republicans’ propaganda. This season, the country has two tough-minded senators assuming that role—Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders is ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and Brown is ranking member of the Finance Committee’s subcommittee on Social Security. They will be heard in Washington. Given broad public support, they can smash Mitch McConnell’s plot to disable and maybe destroy Social Security.”

I hope that these two Senators will be able to rouse the support that is needed to keep our SSDI where it is, or – am I reaching too far? – even cause the increase that is so direly needed.


[Image from bingdotcom]



Patches Isn’t Too Happy Today

Ah, my Patches had a difficult day, for sure. But, she’s doing better!

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My poor girl had her teeth cleaned today – PLUS – removal of one of her few remaining ones.  She is one of those “lucky” felines who was born with a problem of poor teeth.  Don’t know why – it just started happening when she was much younger, and every 3 or so years, she has had to have one or two or even three(!) removed.

Needless to say, she doesn’t chew her kibble – she gums it and swallows it whole.  It’s no wonder  her stomach has problems on occasion.

Cuddles with Mom for some comforting. Cuddles with Mom for some comforting.

Patches is very "touchy, feel-y" this evening - needs to be close for comfort. Patches is very “touchy, feel-y” this evening – needs to be close for comfort.

Feeling very comforted now. Feeling very comforted now.

Is starting to feel better being near. Is starting to feel better being near.

Patches looks like she still has some anesthetic in her system.  Eyes look kind of funny. Patches looks like she still has some anesthetic in her system. Eyes look kind of funny.

Patches, I hope you will feel better tomorrow, Sweetheart. ❤

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