Focusing on Productive and Necessary Planning

Ever since getting the call on Friday from my mother about the state of her and especially my father, I’ve been mentally scrambling to figure out how to raise the money, get affairs in order when I have to leave and other issues that, in the pain of grief, I probably will not be thinking clearly about.

I’m feeling a little better now because in planning things out I know a lot of panic issues have been avoided, because there were assumptions I had about travel in times of grief that don’t apply today.

The first thing I learned is most airlines don’t have bereavement fares anymore. I was disappointed when I learned that because I figured having to get a short notice flight, especially with grief, a person would be taken advantage of. However, I’m planning all this out to try an avoid that. What I found as a good option for an out of pocket expensive sudden flight is using your airline points if you have them. It was a surprise to me that I had points available, which, on the formula I saw the airline my credit card is with, would give me a free one way trip.

I don’t have enough for a round trip ticket at the moment, but I could purchase points or use the card more often to earn points. In thinking though the possibilities, right now I’m probably going to use the points for the one way ticket. The sad reality is, and I’m sorry but I need to have gallows humor to deal with some of this, there will be another shoe that will drop and that will be a harder situation to deal with because that will have me dealing with a lot of things alone as the only heir to the estate, such as it is. So while I’m planning, I need to make sure the network is set up so when I’m faced with this happening again I’m even more prepared.

My parents don’t live near a major airport hub. The closest airport is in Columbia SC, but it still over an hour drive to their town. I thought about renting a car but the price of renting is pretty steep. Also, when I factored in the one way ticket, I didn’t want to deal with trying to find a rental place in their town to return the car.

Something I just saw I didn’t mention, which will make sense for the rental car issue, is I decided for the return trip to take a bus. It will be about two days to return back, but the cost of the bus, at the high end, will be $200. That is manageable for me now. I was tempted to take the bus round trip, but I know when I get the news, I’m not going to want to take two days on the road and end up at the end of the trip miserable then face the family. I know if I took two days to get there, they will gossip as to why I wasn’t there right away. Better to get there early.

I was able to see that Greyhound has two trips, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, that will get me into town and, what shouldn’t be a surprise but it was, they have Uber drivers. From the bus terminal to my parent’s house isn’t that far. Between bus fare and Uber the cost from the airport to their house is less than $40.

Once I’m at the house I’m sure I’ll do a lot of traveling and will be using one of the cars.

This plan helps a lot because there’s no telling when I will leave. I didn’t lock things down with an airline because if the plans changed I didn’t want to pay steep fees for flight changes. The bus fare is reasonable no matter the time and it is only a 10 minute drive from the house to the bus station. While it will be a two day ride back home, that might be what I need to decompress.

Now, how I’ve planned things at the moment is for a sudden emergency. When I mean sudden, I’m talking about the dreaded call coming within a month. Hopefully, that won’t happen and I can breathe and possibly come up with other options.

I’m doing a lot of organizing to keep myself busy. I’m gotten over the initial weight of the information and in getting this information gathered I’m not as panicked and stressed as I was days ago when I was certain I had no plan on how I was going get everything in order. What I’m doing is taking the procedures I would do for a trip and apply to this task. Unfortunately it not a pleasant idea to think about but I’m sure that’s what blocked me from working on this earlier. I always have nervous anticipation when I go on a trip. I go over the checklist in my head and, importantly, I have a set date when I’m leaving.

This planning is different because I don’t know when it will happen and when I get the word it’s not going to be pleasant.

What I’ll be working on in the next few weeks will be the trauma kit. I still have my 20+ years travel through Europe backpack which barely makes regulations on flights. Trips to the 99 cents store and Walmart will be made to get fresh clothes and the like for the bag. I want to have things set so when I get the call and I’m away from home, I can head back to the house and to the shutdown procedures before leaving. I don’t want to think about what to pack. When the shutdown procedures are complete I want to grab and go. That’s how I do my vacation and that’s how I want to run this.

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Pot, Kettle, Have You Met?

A few days ago, when The View panel was talking about health care, Sunny Hostin was vigorous in stating the Obamacare was working wonderfully for people and even though others on the panel used personal examples of the program not working. She was quick to say that you can’t use anecdotal evidence and need to look at the whole picture. A few days later, a discussion was going on about proposed cuts in the budget, including Meals on Wheels. Sonny Hostin, on this issue, was quick to use the personal example of her grandmother using Meals on Wheels to illustrate how vital the program was and when confronted with statistics, argued that people with the statistical information should talk to her grandmother.

What I saw on The View is the reason a lot of conservatives can laugh at liberals. I get where liberals can call conservatives silly and not sticking to facts, but when you don’t do it yourself, you have no supporting arguments when criticism is thrown at you. I understand why Hostin would use her grandmother as an illustration of a benefit of Meals on Wheels. Using her grandmother shows a benefit of the program, much like others, in illustrating the concerns of Obamacare, used personal examples illustrating failures of Obamacare.

I see this happening too many times with talking heads. They’re very quick to silence, over talk or otherwise intimidate people on subjects they’re passionate about. They will use whatever they can to convince the crowd they’re correct. Logic has nothing to do with winning the hearts and souls of the audience. It’s all emotions by personal stories, cold facts or gotcha moments. It’s not about presenting information and letting the viewer decide on the issue.

Look, you can’t one day you wants stats and no personal stories then the next use a personal story to buttress your facts. As a lawyer Hostin knows better, but I believe part of the reason why no one called her on the double standard she used was because she is a lawyer and, because it was a heated discussion on both topics and days apart, there might not have been pause enough to look back and think through how her argument was contradictory.

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Thin Skinned Bully DJT

The man in the Oval Office got offended by a video by Snoop Dogg, posting the following message of Twitter.







This said by the same person who spent years accusing Obama of being born in another country, demanding to see his birth certificate and college transcripts. Mr. Trump, you didn’t get jail time for your false claims and accusations. You became Commander in Chief, and even with that accomplishment you continue to make false accusations against Obama.


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Finding the Silver Lining

With a lot of the chaos I’ve been dealing with, I have to look at the humor in the absurdity of things. A lot of times life is going to do what life does. No amount of trying to force situations to what you want them to be will make them ultimately work the way you want them to be, I believe.

For me, when I start to, in a way, let go and follow the flow, take a few course corrections, things will work out OK for me. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t tried to break my own ideas. Trust me, there have been things recently that have pushed me to places I didn’t want to go, but even with what I’ve considered wrong turns, I can still hold my head up high and considering the alternatives, I’ve come out of the struggles with small battle scars.

There was another health scare with my father over the weekend. It bothers me, but I’ve gotten to a point where I’m not dwelling over the issues coming up. Somehow, someway, he pulls through the episodes. My mother has her own health issues, which she downplays because of father’s issues. I know they’re older and bluntly, it’s just a matter of time before one of those calls will be THE CALL. All I can do is financially prepare for it. Because I have the focus, all of a sudden I’m sacrificing a lot to get the funds in order and getting to the financial goals are within reach. Years of trying to save and get out of debt hasn’t worked but with this pall hanging over me I’m able to cut, pay bills and save.

Crazy that it has taken the tragedy to get myself there but it’s what has to be done.

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Black History Month

Frederick Douglass illustration by John Jennings / Donald Trump photo by Nigel Parry for CNN. Dialog over photo Reginald Mizell

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Gingrich Has No Principles

Said on Fox & Friends by Newt Gingrich:

Schumer could conjure up tears for people being held in an airport but not for the hundreds shot and killed in Chicago?

Hmm, where is your concern Gingrich? Where are your tears for Chicago? When did you march in protest for the killings in Chicago? Did you speak out against it when you were running for President? No, you blame the victims and innocence that live in a desperate environment. You criticize people like Schumer, John Lewis and the millions of people who fear the reckless actions of this President.

What is disturbing to me, Mr. Gingrich is that you denounced Trump during the Republican primaries, knowing he was a loose cannon. You had principles at that time. Now, because of a blind sense of party loyalty, not American loyalty and principles, you support Trump to a dangerous degree. You want to mock and denigrate those who peacefully disagree with the President’s policy. Your mockery suggests that those who oppose the President are disloyal to America. You disagree with that assessment? I would argue that the former acting AG would disagree with you. Since the President fired her because she disagreed with his policy, his actions speak volumes of what happens when he is opposed.

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Reminder that Change is Slow

I read an article today that talked about how a black organization was exploiting the death of a black man, using the incident as “a springboard for an organized hate campaign.” The article talks about how community leaders are trying to promote harmony among the groups, but the “organized pressure group” was stirring trouble. While the writer of the article does admit the death of the black man was tragic, if blame for his death is focused on the people of the state of Mississippi, characterizing the whole state as racist, then those that are arguing that point of view must look to the state of Illinois, Chicago in particular, and blame them for the high crime in their state and city.

See, the young man that was killed was from Chicago.

Now, you might see where I’m going with this. “The city’s murder rate is increasing” was a statement President Trump mentioned recently. He has talked about the “carnage” of the inner cities and the high crime rate in Chicago, in particular. When there is a death of a black man by police, or by misguided citizens in the case of the young man in Mississippi, it seems easy for people to blame the victim. When groups come in to protest the death, the citizens of the cities close ranks. They distrust the outside people, often labeling them as outside agitators and organized pressure groups. There will inevitably be some “community leader” which translates into a docile minister with his own agenda in the town, who will talk about unity and peace. He is the one who will be in front of the cameras. He will be the one that the establishment will shake hands with, who will stand by the police and who can be counted on the calm peacemaker who will say it’s going to get better and we shouldn’t make the incident racial.

Carolyn Bryant, does that name ring a bell? Probably not. The incident I mentioned in the opening paragraph, about the black man whose death was exploited. That was from an article written by Tom Ethridge. The young black man he talked about in the article was Emmett Till. The article was written a few days after his death and in the article, he argued that the crime in Chicago, where Till was from, was far worse and deserved the focus of the NAACP instead of them coming to the South and causing trouble.

He did write “Two white men charged with the brutal crime are now in jail and a speedy trial within the month seems definitely assured.” That did happen and those two white men were acquitted after their speedy trial.

Carolyn Bryant is the white woman Emmett Till supposedly whistled at. I know it’s hard to imagine that a black man could be killed, just because he wanted a stick of gum, but that’s what happened. I say that sarcastically, of course, because we know black men and women get killed by police for all sorts of things. No matter what, when they are shot it takes less than a day for the blame to be shifted to them. I could go on about crime and justice and race in this country and it won’t resonate enough for people to do something. People were shocked and outraged back in 1955, but, as many white people at the time thought, if he hadn’t whistled at the white woman he wouldn’t have been killed.

It was recently reported that Carolyn Bryant lied in court. This is how the New York Post described what she testified to in 1955 in an article today –

She testified that Till had grabbed and threatened her inside the store – and that he had used an “unprintable” word when he told her he had been intimate “with white women before.”

“I was just scared to death,” she said in court.

Her conscious is clear all these decades later, relatively clear I guess.

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Waking Up to Alternative Facts

I woke up this morning, as I do most mornings, listening to the Alan Colmes Show. Even though its on a progressive station, the show is a FoxNews production. The show is the worst example of liberalism. The host comes off as a smug, thin skinned know it all who, at any moment, is willing to insult and berate the callers in a passive/aggressive way.

I listen because I get so angry at some of the callers and his response I can’t help but get out of bed.

Thankfully Colmes had a guest host this morning and he allowed callers to talk without attacking them. The topic was alternative facts and what probably shouldn’t have been a surprise was that most of the callers had no problems with alternative facts. The truth is, they saw alternative facts as the truth. It was the press and those who don’t support Trump promoting fake news to undermine President Trump.

It was enlightening and sad listening to callers talk about the press secretary and the inauguration crowd estimates. The line of justification of the press secretary statements went like this with most of the callers I heard. They believed the media, who hate Trump (they hate Trump was repeated a lot by callers), doctored or deliberately misinformed the public on the photos. The lighting proved that the photo from Trump was done in the early morning said one. The Trump crowd was packed in closer said another. Some agreed with the alternative fact by the press secretary that the white covering highlighted the empty spots and if the Obama photo had the same covering, it would show the same gaps.

If you ever watched the Maury Show when screaming mothers try to prove who is the father of their baby, the hilarious part for me is when the bickering parents, who probably barely graduated high school biology, suddenly are genetics experts who point out nose, eyes and other distinctive features that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the man is the father of the child. That’s what the callers were like about the photos. The callers were ‘experts’ in lighting and Photoshop, discussing in certainty marks that definitely proved the point the administration was making about alternative facts.

Others used false equivalency to prove a point, just like the press secretary using the mistaken report of the MLK bust being removed to infer you couldn’t trust the press because they lied. Since Obama lied about something, and callers presented some rather weak examples of lies by Obama, that meant the crowd estimates his administration had to be wrong and the new administration was right.

The guest host tried to challenge callers on their assumptions and if the host backed them into a corner, the response was the same. All administrations lie so it doesn’t matter.

I’ve heard liberal hosts wondering why Trump would continue with his lies, just as insisting he lost the popular votes because of illegal voting. It plays to the 40%+ of the voter who elected Trump and see the attack on their President as an attack on them. They don’t want to investigate the information. They’re willing to accept the Maryanne Conway explanation of alternative facts because of the distrust they have of the liberal media. For over 20 years they have been fed concentrated information from right wing radio and FoxNews. They don’t want to question the news they get because it fits into their worldview. When something challenges that view they dismiss it.

First with fake news and now alternative facts, the Trump administration will have no problem in blocking attempts by the press to search for the truth. We’ve seen the blueprints with the crowd estimates. By tweeting that the bias liberal media is making false news and offering alternative facts, those citizens loyal to Trump and, more importantly, those citizens who feel right or wrong, good or bad, you support the elected President of the United States without question, the Trump administration will be able to sell their agenda to the public.

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The Miseducation of Kellyanne Conway

I heard about the Kellyanne Conway “alternative facts” statement. First, I have to say people should stop calling it falsehoods. Its lying so let’s not try to dress it as anything different. Second, I would suggest if all you’ve heard about the issue is the statement, you need to watch or listen to the complete exchange between Chuck Todd and Kellyanne. 

On my commute this morning I first watched the brief press conference that Sean Spicer gave on Saturday. He started off talking about the report about the removal of the MLK bust which was later corrected as being untrue. Spicer, in my opinion, led with the corrected report about the bust to bolster the “alternative fact” that the crowds at the inauguration were larger that the press reported. At one point, when he compared the transit use during the inauguration to the numbers of Obama’s second inauguration, he did, as one reporter said, compared apples to oranges. 

From my desktop computer and access to the internet, it was easy to see where the numbers the press secretary was giving were wrong, but what was incredibly curious was how he said how no one could tell how many people were in the pictures then used the distance and estimates of how many people could be in one space to ‘prove’ that the Trump inauguration had the most people ever.

It was a case of the new administration trying to convince the press and the public that their eyes were incorrect.

His performance was bad but Kellyanne on Meet the Press was an epic fail. At least I thought so. Listening to Kellyanne answer tough questions was like listening to a spoiled, privileged teenager explain how the vase in the living room got broken. First she gave her talking points. When Todd pointed out she didn’t answer the question she deflects the question. When he points out again she didn’t answer the question a few more times that’s when the infamous alternative truth was mentioned. 

By this point he’s frustrated with her not answering the question and presses more and she throws down the ‘you hate this administration you bad press people’ card. It was pure teenager tactics because she was in full you don’t understand us mode. She was you’re being a bully mode. She was in why weren’t as tough to X mode.

From my view she was pathetic and petty but I know supporters of this administration were cheering and giving themselves high fives. Just the quick feeds I saw from FoxNews made Kellyanne a victim. There will no doubt be memes and article links from conservatives I know that will praise her performance and will continue to blame liberals, the press and anti American agitators for the perception of a negative Trump.

There has been this much drama and today, Monday, is the third day of the Trump administration. We are going to bombarded with alternative facts and honestly I don’t think the American public will care a lot about it. Look, I follow the news and politics but I guarantee more people cared about the games yesterday than what Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday news shows. The next weeks, while Trump starts his job, I think people might have some concerns but there will be more talk about the Superbowl teams, commercials and Lady Gaga halftime show than policies and appointments by Trump.

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Trump and The New American Era

I wish everyone would remember from November 1 until now. I want everyone to remember the joy, sorrow or mixed emotions they felt leading up to election day. I want them to remember the day after the election. I want people to remember the days leading up to today, January 20, 2017.

I want you to really remember those feelings, what you felt in your head and your guts all those days between election day and now, because today at noon EST, when Donald J Trump puts his hand on the Bible and he officially becomes President of the United States, you will have no excuses, no more denials or speculations to hide behind.

Get it clear, I’m talking to the supporters and detractors of Trump. Since Trump came down that escalator, Trump has said and done things no other candidate has done. His supporters ate it up, calling him authentic and saying they liked his no-Washington style. Other that straight white men and the devoted female automatons that follow them, Trump has insulted every group in America. For the sake of winning, for the sake of defeating an enemy they felt was so evil, so dangerous to the American way of life, they decided Donald J Trump was the only person who could save America.

Those who dislike Trump, those people who were attacked by Trump, see him just as evil and detrimental to the country as his supporter feel that the Democrats, Clinton and Obama have destroyed the United States of America.

The reason I ask you to remember how you feel now, and it doesn’t matter if you like or dislike Trump, is because every administration comes into office making promises to the people and all of them fall short. Sometimes it spectacularly short. Sometimes they hit a good number of the goals. We forget how difficult a task the Presidency is, what a burden it is and we forget the enormous responsibility the Presidency is.

These last few hours of the Obama administration I’ve watched a lot of retrospectives of his time in office. I’ve come to a conclusion that a lot of people like myself would agree with. When Obama became the first BLACK president, to some he was the magic Negro who would absolve us of our racial wounds. To some he was the representative of Black people and had to be perfect and authentic at the same time. He had to represent not people but Black people. To some, and yes I’m going to be honest and harsh here, he was a nigger that had to be stopped by any means necessary.

Obama was never going to be President of all the people. He was always going to be the Black President, the Other President. He was, from jump, put into an impossible position. Political attacks against Obama would become racially charged, for the simple reason he was Black. Here’s something I’ve noticed on the retrospective on Obama. Before Obama, many of the political pundits were white, unless the discussions were on race. There was an old Cosby episode where Claire was invited to join a McLaughlin Group style Sunday morning show. By the end of the episode, even though she proved to be just as capable as them to discuss a range of topics, they told her she was only on for the black and women’s issues.

You had in Obama a capable Black man who has had a great many accomplishments during his time in office, but people dislike him. It shouldn’t be lost to anyone looking at the last few month that Obama, the Black President, is being succeeded by a man who considered Obama illegitimate. He questioned his citizenship and education. He was leader of the charge that demanded that Obama present a birth certificate proving he was born in America. When he produced paperwork, which was insulting to begin with, he declared them possibly fake and wanted to see a longer form. When that one was produced, again a humiliating thing, he still refused to publicly acknowledge he was satisfied until the closing days of the election. Even then, let’s be real, it was done with a wink and a nod, as if to say he had to say it.

When minorities talk about the struggle, when they talk about having to work twice as hard to get half as much Obama and Trump present the frustration. You can go to the finest schools, have the perfect family, with a loving and devoted spouse and seemingly scandal free children, and with that your still seen as the token Negro. Obama speaking about Trayvon Martin caused conservatives to have Fred Sanford heart attacks, yet Trump has hundreds, hundreds of statements where he crudely insults groups and he gets a pass.

Trump is who America wants. I’ve survived the Reagan administration barely, I struggled through the Bush years, now I have Trump. I’m not happy, but you Trump supporters, this is who you wanted because you disliked Obama and Clinton so much. That’s why I want you to remember this time well. When Trump becomes President, you have no excuse. This is who you wanted. I know you believe a lot on the left are too sensitive, watch what happens in the coming months and years. You have no excuse on what to expect because your brash, bully President-elect has no tried to hide who he is. You want Biff as President, now you have him.

Remember, this is what you wanted years later when you try to dismiss and make excuses for policies and the behavior of this President.

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