Lunacy Prevails

Here’s how America debates. Eighty million viewers, give or take 80 million because the folks at Nielson just make this stuff up, tuned in thinking their favorite cop show would be on, but instead found a woman in red and a man with orange hair talking about TPP, which sounds like yet another drug for medicating children on airline flights.

Then they hear the orange guy call the woman in red a liar, followed by the woman in red calling the orange guy a tax cheat.

Which provokes a fight over the remote. Suddenly buying costume jewelry from aging TV stars on shopping channels seems riveting. Or maybe it’s time to consider a reverse mortgage.

Tune back in to the post-debate “analysis” and we find out who won. Turns out the red lady was “presidential” and the orange guy was a lunatic. Give lunacy a chance.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.  The Lorax, Dr. Suess

By Blue Bronc, a Trail Mix Contributor

Banned book week has once again arrived.  Each year the power of the Internet has shown light on the various efforts to ban books in school libraries, in public libraries and from the printer’s presses. The ‘net provides communication between the smallest villages and the largest cities about efforts to prevent writings from being seen.

Censorship is a step towards subjugation of the people. If children are not allowed to learn, and seeds of dreams are not sown, the results are a people fettered from knowing their potential.  Hiding what others have written, does not make a world, quite the opposite.  Taking a thought from others and multiplying it many times is what makes a great world.

i-read-banned-bookThis year’s list from the American Library Association:

The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country. We compile lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. The top ten most challenged books of 2015 include:

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

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A Cautionary Tale

By GrannyMumantoog, a Trail Mix Contributor

Some recent news articles have shown that there are still people out there trying to mess with voter registration. Mostly they are just using scare tactics by making people think that there is much more voter fraud than has actually been proven to be true. In addition, there are still some people working to get last minute laws enacted to make registrations and voting more difficult. In this crucial election it behooves us all to be ever vigilante and work on behalf of ensuring that everyone who can vote is legally registered!

dont-voteA few days ago, feeling a little paranoid about the state of voter registration, I decided to look into the subject a bit. I discovered that there are wildly different rules, deadlines and methods available for people to register to vote in different states. I learned that my state had a nice online area where I could check my registration status so I did! As expected, I was registered just fine! What I didn’t expect was that my oldest son (Turning 50 Monday yikes!) was not! He had put in a change of address with the DMV some time ago and I remember that I talked with him about making sure his change of address was on his voter reg too. Well, apparently he didn’t do that in time and yes, it turns out that there is a deadline to do it. You can’t just show up at your previously recorded poling place, as he thought he could. His deadline had passed and he was no longer a registered voter! Needless to say I emailed him a link to the voter reg page and he took care of it that day.

This got me thinking that I should share this information with as many people as possible. I was amazed to see how many different deadlines exist when you look at the lists by state! This election is too important to leave anything to chance!

Here are some links people can use. Two of them are to find out more about voter registration in each state. One is a universal form to use to register online, for people who are not yet registered. If all else fails, people should be encouraged to check their state’s official website and find a page with voter information they can click on! For the most part, there’s only a couple week left to accomplish this.

Rock The Vote offers a handy online form taking registrants step by step and linking to one’s state registration site if applicable:

Be aware that some states do not have online registration so voters need to be even more aware of deadlines by mail, determined by postmarks, or in person.

The New York Times has all the state deadlines an links to each state’s online registration where applicable:

Here’s another site with deadlines listed by state:

Now, go  forth, and get out the vote!

So Long Arnie

Mourning Arnie tonight. Grew up a short walk to his course, Bay Hill (Orlando). He and his family good friends to my parents. My first paying job in life was on his greens crew as a high school student. One of my tasks was carefully removing weeds from the putting greens with a steak knife, not marring the surface. More than a few times he would be playing through and stop to inspect my work, was proud he never complained, as he was prone to do when his beloved course was not meticulously maintained. Pic here is my Mom and Dad at one of his famous New Year’s Eve parties, where they would dance the jitterbug with he and wife Winnie, she and Mom were big buddies.


Debate or not Debate

By PatD, a Trail Mix Contributor

While getting set for the kick-off game on Monday between Team Hillary and Team Trump, an article on the background of how this superbowl came to be caught my eye.

The State of the Presidential Debate
How should candidates—and voters—argue about politics?
By Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

Aside from historic references, political insider tales and the discovery that a man named Ailes is still coaching debaters, it had other lessons worth sharing. The following excerpt seems applicable to recent discussions on the Trail:

“Political argument has been having a terrible century. Instead of arguing, everyone from next-door neighbors to members of Congress has got used to doing the I.R.L. equivalent of posting to the comments section: serially fulminating. The U.S. Supreme Court is one Justice short of a full bench, limiting its ability to deliberate, because Senate Republicans refused to hold the hearings required in order to fill that seat. They’d rather do battle on Twitter. Democratic members of Congress, unable to get the House of Representatives to debate gun-control measures, held a sit-in, live-streamed on Periscope. At campaign events, and even at the nominating Conventions, protesters have tried to silence other people’s speech in the name of the First Amendment. On college campuses, administrators, faculty, and students who express unwelcome political views have been fired and expelled. Even high-school debate has come under sustained attack from students who, refusing to argue the assigned political topic, contest the rules. One in three Americans declines to discuss politics except in private; fewer than one in four ever talk with someone with whom they disagree politically; fewer than one in five have ever attended a problem-solving meeting, even online, with people holding views different from their own. What kind of democracy is that?”

Will we individuals ever return to civil discourse, civil discussion and civil debate while civilly listening to those with whom we disagee let alone allow, expect and want that of our government leaders and representatives?

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Our Default Choice

Hillary Clinton had to fight Bernie Sanders to the finish line, and now struggles to keep Donald Trump at bay. For someone who was supposed to have this thing in the bag, she has fumbled her way throughout this process, belying the mantra from supporters that she is supremely qualified, presenting the ultimate resume for office. Her incompetence as a candidate raises a question about her potential skill in office. What’s her agenda? Can anyone name three things she’d do without googling it? All I’ve seen are clueless mistakes that provoke doubt, calling half of her opponent’s voters “deplorable”, questioning whether they are smart enough to do their own research, at the very least prevaricating in her various and conflicting comments about the email mess, dodging the media, obviously to avoid questions about the Clinton Foundation and so much more. No wonder she and her supporters simply hope to run out the clock focusing on Trump. That’s the whole campaign: I’m not Trump. Anybody’s guess who I am. No mandate there. Another president half the country hates.