the eve of july 4th: we hold these truths to be self evident

When is the last time any of you read the Declaration of Independence?

When is the last time you read the United States Constitution and brushed up on the First Amendment and the other ideals on which this country was founded contained within?

Why is it to be a good American or a good person these days you can’t express your opinion safely without fear of retribution, retaliation, verbal abuse, or more?

When did we as a nation become so ugly and regress a couple of centuries?

When did it become a crime to see something you find heinous and say so?

Sorry not sorry but on the eve of our nation’s birth do we all need reminding of what our forefathers fought, bled, and died for?

Want to see the ugliness in mankind? Share a major media outlet post about what amounts to inhumane human warehousing in border detention centers.

They did it in World War II as well – to Italian Americans and Japanese Americans.

It wasn’t OK then and it isn’t OK now.

You can read about it in the Smithsonian but I bet some of you will view our very inconvenient history as “fake news” too.

During World War II, the U.S. Saw Italian-Americans as a Threat to Homeland Security

The executive order that forced Japanese-Americans from their homes also put immigrants from Italy under the watchful eye of the government.

Smithsonian Magazine

By David A. Taylor

smithsonian.com

📌“The incarceration of Japanese-Americans is the best-known effect of Executive Order 9066, the rule signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. And for good reason. The suffering and punishment placed upon innocent Japanese-Americans was a dark chapter in American history. But the full extent of the government order is largely unknown.

In addition to forcibly evacuating 120,000 Americans of Japanese background from their homes on the West Coast to barbed-wire-encircled camps, EO 9066 called for the compulsory relocation of more than 10,000 Italian-Americans and restricted the movements of more than 600,000 Italian-Americans nationwide. Now, the order has resurfaced in the public conversation about immigration.”📌

This issue of detaining immigrants shouldn’t be about Democrat versus Republican, and I am shocked at how limited and ugly a lot of you are. This is an actual humanitarian crisis in my opinion and I am entitled to it.

I’m not saying that I think people should be in this country illegally, but sometimes there are extenuating circumstances and it has been proven that some of the people that are in these detention centers don’t actually belong there.

We are a nation of immigrants. We are also at one of the ugliest times in our history at present.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Yeah. Those words. Remember them?

The latest report on the state of border detection centers as I saw it on NBC News turned my stomach. Human warehousing and the images yes I did say reminded me of images of concentration camp victims behind barbed wire. That is my opinion because of how graphic the images were, and right or wrong, how they struck me.

It was my opinion. Not an assault on Jewish people or the Jewish religion. Mankind is capable of great atrocities.

One of my readers on my blog’s Facebook page went absolutely cuckoo for Coca Puffs.

I was stupid. I didn’t know what concentration camps were. I was uneducated. I was a bad person.

I bet they don’t know the complete history of those camps either. Like I bet they don’t know the multitudes of people other than Jews who were killed. Gays, gypsies, and those who could not sign onto their polices and ideologies. My grandmother who was Pennsylvania German of German descent talked about this when I was very little. Apparently there were family cousins of her family’s who were persecuted. I never got all of the details and when I was little and truth be told I did not know if I should believe her because no one talked about that. Then when I was older, I learned more in history classes. I learned what she had said all those years ago was true.

And this person did not stop. They actually started posting black and white photos of bodies stacked up in concentration camps in World War II.

On and on and on.

It went from having their say to being and feeling verbally abused and accosted. My opinion = ignorance (their exact words). That I was ignorant because I deleted the photos of dead bodies they kept posting. That I was stupid and ignorant and didn’t have the decency to blog under my complete name and “create a false sense of authority with my page title.” That I should “crawl” back under my rock because I was stupid and had no “clue” of reality. Again, their words.

It was a barrage of ugliness…from someone who actually knows who I am and who was fine with me when I defended their business because I felt someone had been unfair once upon a time. Someone I used to respect from what little I knew of them.

So I decided since they weren’t stopping, I had to make a decision. I removed their comments and them as well from the page. I didn’t want to, I don’t like to do that, but sometimes I have to.

There are plenty of people who post opinions contrary to mine. But they’re not abusive about it. When people get abusive I remove them. And it’s not when they are just abusive to me whose page it is. It’s when they are abusive to others on the page or just abusive in general. Or when they post things that are truly fake news. I removed someone else for that on this same topic.

All of this vitriol and ugliness for expressing my opinion. Many people have many different opinions on this topic of immigrant detention and the detention centers. But they discuss it without dripping hatred from every word.

I am a descendent of immigrants like the rest of us. I am descended from Germans, Italians, and the Irish. All three nationalities that have been discriminated against in this country at one period of time or another. And yes, my ancestors did come here legally. They came here for a better life. And I think they would be deeply saddened to see how this country has regressed.

When I was little I remember my Irish grandfather telling me of the signs in Philadelphia shop windows when he was a little boy that said “Irish need not apply.”

When I was little I remember tales of my Italian grandfather and his brothers having to change the name of their business during World War II to sound more “American.”

This was the same grandfather who got stuck with his mother in Italy during World War I as a small child. They had sailed back to the “old country” so that my great grandmother could introduce her relatives to her American born son. When he came back with his mother after the war, he was treated differently by even the kids in his neighborhood. They viewed him as non-American. He was born an American citizen.

I’m not talking about giving illegal immigrants health insurance cards and sending them on their way. I am talking about basic humane treatment pending the outcome of their cases. I am not talking about ignoring the poverty of Americans and problems that we already face in every nook and cranny of this country. I’m talking about what I feel is an actual humanitarian crisis. And I think in this country today we are faced with more than one humanitarian crisis.

Then someone else took me to task because they said this immigration debacle was happening under the prior administration at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Was it? I don’t know. And that’s not the point. I was talking about something that I find morally reprehensible that if it did occur in the past as in three or four years ago I still would’ve found it morally reprehensible.

And then there was the guy who said if I had a page for my blog, I should take the abuse. That I am overreacting. That I am a “coward” for not taking the verbal accosting. That I have a poor character and that I should be neither judge or jury.

Essentially I should shut my mouth like a good little woman and take the abuse and allow the vitriol to pollute yet another social media page.

Whether or not I am overreacting is NOT their decision. It’s my decision and not so unusual. I don’t have to tough it out or suck it up, I can choose to stop feeling harassed and harangued. I can choose to have others not feel harassed and harangued. I can choose to erase some of the ugliness.

This whole thing about detention centers and other ugly things going on in this country is something that is not (or should not be) about political parties. To me it’s about right and wrong. It’s about we did something similar as a country during World War II and why are we doing this now? It’s about how our soldiers have gone to war for centuries over similar behaviors to fight for our rights and the rights of others. It’s also about these family separation policies where little babies are literally ripped from their parents’ arms and how is that OK? Why are adults punishing the children who are not responsible for what their parents chose to do? And what about the people who have proper paperwork and green cards and/or are new citizens of this country who live in terror of ICE raids?

Again, I remind people we are a nation of immigrants, founded by immigrants.

When did we become so ugly a country? Do you hear yourselves? Do you think it’s OK to attack every person you know or may not know because their opinion is not a cookie-cutter samey-same opinion you share?

Do you seriously think law enforcement is not tracking these vitriol loaded comments?

Why are we are losing ourselves and what makes us Americans? Why are we allowing this? We can’t even have conversations anymore where people are on different sides of an issue no matter what the issue is.

You don’t have to like my opinion but I am entitled to it until they repeal the First Amendment.

A friend of mine said something I will close with:

The ugliness of history comes back to us in this form because we’ve never actually acknowledged that ugliness. And we all know that saying that says “if we don’t learn from the past, we are bound to repeat it.”

Well here we are repeating the ugliness of American history and the saddest part is that this is only one part of the ugliness. Many a trifling uglies are happening right now in the US because of history. And it’s all as sad and disturbing as separating kids from their parents and putting them in cages without the basic necessities And it hurts. It hurts to know that America elected people who would allow it. We are in…distress and no one can save us but us. US.

Happy Independence Day!

We can do better and be better Americans. All of this divisiveness has never done our country any good. Look at our very history. Look at the ugliness of things like the American Civil War.

I don’t know what it will take for us to come together as a country and unite. But maybe on this Independence Day we can as individuals reflect on how and why this country was founded.

United we stand, divided we fall. And right now this country is pretty damn divided and it just breaks your heart.

dear duracell, thanks for the exploding battery

Your eyes do not deceive you, that is indeed a partially melted down AAA battery by Duracell. It was taken out of a new pack of batteries recently purchased by my husband.

Sometimes I succumb to cooking gadgets and I had bought us a pair of electronic salt and pepper shakers. I had taken the housing apart on the salt and pepper shakers to insert the batteries. Each shaker takes six AAA batteries.

I had just put the batteries in one of the shakers and was going to close up the housing of the unit and I accidentally touched the side of the battery and burnt the side of my hand a little. It wasn’t a bad burn by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not what you expect when you put fresh batteries into something. I am just grateful that the damn thing didn’t explode and get battery acid in my eyes.

Duracell likes to advertise they are the most trusted brand of battery. Not so much for me anymore.

visiting the lockwoods

Today I went to St. Paul’s in Exton for the Loving Our Earth Expo. It was a lot of fun and they had interesting vendors and terrific speakers including Mike McGrath from You Bet Your Garden.

While I was there, I decided to find the Lockwood family whom are buried in the graveyard adjacent to the church.

St. Paul’s is quite old and was started around 1827. It actually was apparently and offshoot of one of my favorite churches Old St. David’s Radnor. It was consecrated by Bishop William White in 1829. I will note they could probably use some angels to get some of the headstones in that graveyard repaired.

The Lockwood family are the people for whom Loch Aerie was built. I have been meaning to visit their graves for a few years, so today I made the time for it and I’m glad I did. I will also note one of the newer buildings is named after the Lockwood sisters.

sometimes there is just twitter love

Sometimes I just love the Internet, specifically Twitter. Lately it’s been dismal because of all that tweeting from places like bathrooms in the White House. When someone disses a genuine U.S. hero months after their death, it gets a little dismal.

But then up pops an Internet coyote, and a Main Line one no less! Radnor Coyote felt they had to have a voice after Radnor Township Police issued a coyote warning, I am guessing.

Now Radnor Coyote is a media darling. Everyone is talking about them – philly.com , Delco Times , and TV reporters galore! (Well come on, let’s face it, @RadnorCoyote is a heck of a lot less scary than the cougars that roam Wayne and pop up at local Wayne watering holes like The White Dog or Paramour right?)

I am not sure if they are howling at the moon tonight or not because from my windows the moon is under cloud cover.

Radnor Coyote is very witty. They are an excellent twittersationalist, so check them out!

reaffirming the gratitude jar

I have mentioned for years now that I have a gratitude jar. I had read about it a few years ago and it was just a simple thing to make us as human beings focus on the positives and the good things in our lives.

Sometimes when a bunch of negative things happen all in a row, it’s hard to stay positive. I find it hard to stay positive because I do not think by my very nature I am naturally positive. I have to work at it.

I think positive for me has been learned behavior, and it’s something I have to relearn and reaffirm again and again. Hopefully, someday it will be second nature to me.

A quote I found on another blogger’s post about gratitude jars is something I would like to share:

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~Lao Tzu

I think that’s a pretty powerful statement. In the instant gratification social media-centric world in which we live, this quote which is pretty damn old is still current, isn’t it?

Lao Tzu was known as the father of Taoism. Mind you, many modern writers feel this is NOT a real person at all, but a legendary figure whose writings were actually created by many different people. And yes I got off on a tangent, so back to the gratitude jar.

Having a gratitude jar is a simple reminder that life is not all bad or all difficult. Having a gratitude jar helps you focus on the things that are wonderful in your life. Even every day little things are wonderful.

Having a gratitude jar helps us reaffirm the many positives in our life. Life can be hard. I am not trying to be Pollyanna and say everything is always wonderful with fuzzy caterpillars that turn into magical butterflies. I am more of a realist than that.

I just think we live in a completely crazy world at times and a simple thing like a gratitude jar is a great way to keep us honest and keep us thankful and keep us grateful.

Here is an old post from girls on the run on how to make a gratitude jar with your children (click on the hyperlink).

Some people empty their gratitude jars on an annual basis and re-read everything at the end of the old year or beginning of the new year. I don’t do that. I intermittently check out what I have written in the past and add a new note to the jar. I don’t add notes every day. Sometimes I go quite a while without adding anything. This morning I added two notes.

I will close with something I learned as a small child while attending Saint Peter’s School in Philadelphia. We used to learn songs seasonally for lack of a better description, and in the fall around harvest time or what would’ve been harvest time since we were at school in the middle of Society Hill, we used to sing a song called Simple Gifts. It was a Shaker song / hymn written by a Shaker Elder named Joseph Brackett in the 1840s.

Even Yo Yo Ma has recorded a version of it. It’s a classic in my opinion and it’s very beautiful. And I am not a particularly religious person although I have my faith.

The song was largely unknown outside of Shaker communities until the composer Aaron Copland used its melody for the score of Martha Graham’s ballet Appalachian Spring (Shakers once worshipped on Holy Mount, in the Appalachians), first performed in 1944.

Mr. Copland also reportedly used “Simple Gifts” a second time in his first set of “Old American Songs for voice and piano”, which was later orchestrated

Here are the lyrics and thanks for stopping by:

Simple Gifts Lyrics

Joseph Brackett (1797 – 1882)

(Shaker dancing song)

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

  ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,

  To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

  Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

santa will be bringing pipeline liens in pa this holiday season? sounds pretty grinch-y.

Letter threatens mechanic’s lien against pipeline property owners

WGAL News 8

Lebanon County PA: The Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline is now operating through the Susquehanna Valley.

But some landowners along the route in Lebanon County received an alarming legal notice in the mail this week.

The pipeline runs through northern Lebanon county, where crews only left a few weeks ago.

But this week, resident Deb Wolfe got a letter in the mail, claiming she was going to have a mechanic’s lien placed against her property because of a contractor that was not paid for their pipeline work.

The letter explains Dykon Blasting is requesting money from Williams Transco and Welding Construction for work done on the Atlantic Sunrise through Lebanon County.

The Wolfes aren’t the only property owners facing this potential headache.

I only just learned about this but this is certainly food for thought with regard to Adelphia, Sunoco/Mariner East/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer Partners, right?

To follow are screen shots from Just The Facts Please on Facebook and please connect with them directly on this:

american on american terrorism is NOT o.k.!

Today the news broke that someone in this country that someone is mailing pipe bombs to people like the Clintons, Obama, George Soros, and others.

That is truly a WTF moment.

These actions are not what the USA is about. These are not the actions of loyal Americans, but acts of domestic terrorism.

These actions are horrible. I don’t care what your politics are or what political party you belong to, no one should be mailing anyone pipe bombs.

I posted the New York Times article they published a couple of hours ago on my blog’s Facebook page with the sole comment of WTF. Sorry not sorry, it’s how I felt.

After I posted the article, the comments started. The one person who liked the article as in liked it because it was a good thing someone was mailing pipe bomb things to high ranking Democrats, took me to task because apparently I hadn’t posted articles when some Republicans were mailed envelopes with suspicious content.

Excuse the hell out of me, I didn’t know it was a domestic terrorism contest between political parties. I also had been blissfully unaware of that news report.

I used to be a total news junkie. I don’t watch the news very much anymore. Ever since this administration came to Washington our country has devolved into an angry hateful nation.

That is not my America. To me that is not being an American.

Truthfully, I am kind of sick of both political parties at this point.

The Democrats in Chester County evicted two teenage girls from the “Sunrise Movement” an event recently because they didn’t want them asking Governor Wolf environmental or pipeline questions at an event. They bought event tickets fair and square. So wrong. Of course one of the young ladies was already essentially ridiculed this summer by Wolf’s golf spike shoe wearing opponent Scott Wagner.

The younger voters might not have all the life experience of an older person, but they are the ones who will be inheriting the hot mess this country is becoming. Don’t discourage involvement. People are growing apathetic enough, myself included if I am honest.

The anger and rage coursing through this great nation is utterly terrifying. It has to stop.

We need to get back to civility within our political system.

In my humble opinion that also means we need to start systematically electing different kinds of politicians. We need to have representatives in elected office who actually represent us, not special interest groups, big donors, political party bigwigs.

Since the founding of this great nation people have fought and died for our freedoms. People need to remember what it is to be an American, and part of that is the ability to embrace differences in others. We are all not supposed to be identical. We are a nation founded by immigrants, and those people risked their lives to come here to escape political persecution, religious persecution, etc.

We need to stop the anger.

We need to stop the violence.

We need to just hit the pause button even in our own individual lives to be appreciative for the gifts we have been given by God.

Do something nice for a change. Turn off the political vitriol.