News & Views

A variety of headlines catch my attention every week.  Some have a spiritual focus; some of them indicate a new viewpoint or trend in thinking…and some are simply outrageous and I can have some fun with them!  You will also find additional news items (often with a political or more specific focus) plus my corresponding commentary, on my Personal Notes page or the new Political Juggernaut page.



March 31, 2020:  Concern about Chinese ‘Biosecurity’ Risk Raised in November, 2019

I found this article quite fascinating.  In view of the Chinese wet markets already reopening while China continues to grapple with COVID-19, it does make one wonder just how strong that connection actually is.  According to, several instances of  Chinese nationals “attempting to bring samples of highly contagious pathogens prompted an FBI warning of China’s ‘biosecurity risk’ to the U.S.” in November, 2019.  One year, earlier, in fall of 2018, a Chinese biologist had two vials confiscated from his personal luggage.  Although the vials appeared to be labeled “antibodies,” a detailed inspection led “personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials.”  A third incident which had occurred in May, 2018, caused the FBI to conclude there was an “alarming pattern, which resulted in the November, 2019 intelligence report.

March 12, 2020:  Biodegradable “Soapy” Handwash Kills Coronavirus on Hands in 72 Samples

According to, “Two Israeli companies have joined forces to make your handwashing 100 percent effective in killing viruses…it begins with the Soapy hygiene microstation, already used in several countries.”  For details on product, click here.

March 9, 2020:  Freedom From Religion Foundation Pleads with Pentagon to Not Adopt “Creator of the Universe” as Space Force Hymn

Well, I can’t say I find this unexpected…the FFRF decried the recently written lyrics for the Space Force Hymn as “thoroughly religious,” and having “nothing to do with the military or space.”  By their own reckoning, they deem that “a quarter of active service members identify as nonreligious.”  In their letter, they adamantly state that “The importance of keeping the U.S. military secular in order to protect the religious liberty of all servicemembers cannot be overemphasized.”

New discovery!  There is both a Space Force Hymn as well as a Space Force Anthem.  In researching this Freedom From Religion Foundation complaint, I discovered an article from Rev. David A. Newberry, clarifying that “Creator of the Universe” was indeed designed to be sung in a setting of corporate worship.  The United States Space Force Anthem, written in July of 2018 by Matt Greminger, utilizes 9 instrumental sections and words more common with other military branch trademark songs.

March 4, 2020:  Space Force Hymn Titled, “Creator of the Universe”

According to, Rev. James F. Linzey,  Air Force Captain, “felt led by God to write the Space Force Hymn.  He set his pen to paper…on February 22, 2020, he completed what became Creator of the Universe, the Space Force Theme.”

A recorded version of “Creator of the Universe” is not yet available.  However, a 2018 spoof “Space Force”-theme video imagined what the theme might be while “sung” by President Trump.


February 24, 2020:  Four U.S. Companies Researching Coronavirus Vaccine

According to, Peter Navarro, the White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, has stated that President Trump is continuing to take a very “hands on” approach to monitoring and communicating with U.S. labs working on the project.  On Feb. 21, published information that the Texas company, Greffex, Inc., “had completed” the vaccine this week and was moving on to the testing phase.  Greffex stated that it had used an “adenovirus-based vector vaccine,” translating to meaning it is genetically engineered, rather than a living or dead version of the virus. Greffex CEO has made the preliminary statement that if the government approves the vaccine, “Greffex will distribute the vaccine to other countries for free.”

Peter Navarro also mentioned a product named remdisivir, manufactured by Gilead Sciences, which is looking promising. and have stated that Drugmaker Moderna Inc. has “shipped its first batch” of coronavirus vaccine, ready for human testing. In addition, the Director stated that Trump was bringing back “the infrastructure” of medical product-related items such as drug ingredients, face masks, sterile gloves, and point-of-care diagnostic field equipment back to American production.

February 19, 2020:  Coronavirus Victims Can Be Reinfected, Chinese Medicine Weakens Heart Tissue

According to, “Medically cleared patients have been getting reinfected” by the Coronavirus in the epicenter of Wuhan.  Additionally, current “medicine” being used in China “can have” the side effect of weakening heart tissues so that a second bout with the virus makes victims “more susceptible to cardiac arrest.”  A Feb. 10 article in recognizes three Chinese doctors, all of whom received official government backlash from sharing online insights of concern regarding the virus.  The first, Liu Wen of Wuhan Red Cross Society, has since died of the virus.  Another made claims of being beaten for sharing information, and prior to his passing, Liu Wen was required to sign a document stating he would not “spread rumors online.”

February 14, 2020:  Coronavirus Impact on American Economy Beginning to Materialize

There will, of course, be substantial discussion regarding virtually every aspect of the Coronavirus over the months ahead.  This tidbit, however, caught my attention because it enumerates, in real-time terms, some already-felt economic aspects of the epidemic — without politicization, simply based on product-producing manufacturing shutdowns, travel bans, and economic downturns being experienced across China.

The reports the following industries/areas are already starting to feel the economic impact of multiple thousands of Chinese people impacted by the coronavirus:  wedding industry, technology, luxury real estate and mortgage rates, tourism, US city Chinatowns, and colleges/universities.   The economic news comes amid information that “China has reportedly appointed its top military biological weapon expert to take over a secretive virus laboratory in Wuhan after the outbreak of the coronavirus, sparking conspiracy theories that the health crisis could be connected to the army.”  The expert, however, Dr. Chen Wei, also has an impressive record of formulating virus-combating vaccines.

February 10, 2020:  El Salvadore Government Finds Genuine Repentance in Prisoners Receiving Jesus

I really wish testimonies like this received more publicity.  Just a dream, I know — but this is an awesome article regarding 600 male prison inmates in Izalco and their encounters with the One who transforms lives.  According to, “More and more men began to find Jesus in a chain reaction of grace.  The new converts changed dramatically.  They were no longer angry and depressed.  They became cooperative and friendly…today, El Salvador’s government leaders see evidence that Christianity is good for violent offenders…the transformation is an obvious miracle.”


January 25, 2020:  Coronavirus Information You May Not Know, US Evacuating Americans

I found this news link on the Coronavirus quite interesting and thought it was worth sharing.  According to, researchers are investigating the possibility that the coronavirus (designated “2019-nCoV) “might have jumped from the host species– bats–to snakes and then to humans at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.  However, how the virus could adapt to both the cold-blooded and warm-blooded hosts remain a mystery.”  According to, on 1-26-20, “The United States government is reportedly preparing to evacuate American citizens from Wuhan as the novel coronavirus continues to ravage the region,” estimated to exceed 200,000 “in less than two weeks.”

January 15, 2020:  Newly Dedicated “Space Bible” Sends Military Religious Freedom Foundation into Orbit

Don’t be fooled — the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is apparently “first cousin” to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, as evidenced by its theatrical reaction to having a Bible blessed prior to its potential use to swear in officers of the newly formed Space Force.  This is actually rather humorous in a can’t-believe-it sort of way.  According to Tony Perkins of (Family Resource Center),  Rev. Randolph Hollerin’s blessing over the King James Bible resulted in MRFF’s Mikey Weinstein’s description of the act as a “shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, excluvist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy,” among other passionately vehement word choices.  Wow.  Really interesting article to read…it’s the crazy world we live in right now….


December 13, 2019:  “Abortions are Magical” Christmas Gift Candles —What?

Wow, this is “Christmas macabre” at its best…or should I say, worst?  According to, Texas Equal Access (TEA) Fund has decided that candles with a unicorn silhouette and the phrase “Abortions are magical” are a merry and joyful gift to bestow upon its faithful volunteers.   The story first broke with, which reported, “If you volunteer for TEA, which raises money to help women afford abortions in Texas, apparently, you can earn yours for free.  It’s not clear whether TEA will also be offering the candles for sale, but the comments note that there are several supporters interested in purchasing them.”

The article also commented that “Christmas is a bizarrely popular time for abortion rights groups who often release special “gifts” just for holiday giving” — including abortion gift cards!

December 3, 2019:  Beware — in the Chess Game of Social Media, Trump Actually Outmaneuvered and Loses ‘Keep America Great’ Domain

I scanned this article twice because I thought I had misread the content! reports that Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer has just purchased the domain name “Keep America Great.”  Why in the world would a Trump competitor have an interest in the Trump-associated 2020 slogan?  Well, Steyer has apparently decided to use use it for anti-Trump purposes — as indicated by his huge orange ad that states “Trump is a Fraud and a Failure” when you first click on the website.

Interestingly enough, apparently this is a strategy in which Trump, himself, has also been involved.  According  to the article, Trump bought a Latino website just created by Joe Biden, and earlier in the election had purchased  An additional website called “–your voice, your choice” sells Alon wellness supplements.  However, you can find Trump re-election news by going to .

And the games continue.

November 7, 2019:  70% of Millennials in Poll Say They are ‘Likely’ or ‘Extremely Likely’ to Vote for Socialist Candidate

My first reaction to polls with such claims is usually a dismissive, Right — another skewing of statistical information.   According to contributor Jarrett Stepman of, however, “An annual poll conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation again found that the younger generations have a far sunnier view of  socialism and communism than their elders.”  The poll breaks down the ages as those having the most unfavorable view of capitalism as Millennials ages 23-38 and “Gen Z” 16-22 year olds.

Marion Smith, Executive Director for the Foundation, stated, “The historical amnesia about the dangers of comunism and socialism is on full display in this year’s report.”  This is the fourth Report issued by the Foundation.  Smith also warned, “When we don’t educate our youngest generations about the historical truth of  100 million victims murdered at the hands of communist regimes over the past century, we shouldn’t be surprised at their willingness to embrace Marxist ideas.”  (italics mine)

Stepman’s article also cites “efforts to reframe our country’s origins”  (such as the 1619 Project discussed in Political Juggernaut a few weeks ago) as contributing to general misunderstanding and confusion regarding America’s Founders and documents.

October 31, 2019:  Did You Know Democrats Often Outsource Choosing Judicial Picks to the American Bar Association?

Well, I certainly didn’t know that.  And I’m guessing that a lot of you might not have been aware, either.  My first question was — why would that ever happen?  In understanding the functions of the different branches of government and their accountability to their constituents, that seems like a really odd practice, to me…however, Family Research Council just published this really interesting little article on its website which explains the situation, and shares the summation, “Justice may be blind, but the American Bar Association is not.  That’s the biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s Senate hearing, when Ninth Circuit Court nominee Lawrence VanDyke became the ABA’s latest contestant on, ‘conservatives don’t have talent.’…he never imagined the country’s largest attorney organization would stoop to label him ‘not qualified.'”

The American Bar Association has political bias?  OK, I can hear you saying — c’mon Deb, how naive are you?  Well, I am definitely that naive!  Or maybe I should say, I have been.  The situation is succinctly questioned in the Opinion Section of the Wall Street Journal,  where the Editorial Board asks on its website, “How can a judicial nominee who has edited the Harvard Law Review, clerked for a top circuit judge, litigated extensively at the district and appellate levels and served as Solicitator General of two states be deemed ‘unqualified’ for the bench?”

Further enlightenment comes from a Sept. 27, 2019 article on, in which analyst Carrie Severino writes, “The ABA has a history of taking liberal positions on issues including abortion the death penalty, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and the Second Amentment.  The organization’s ideological bias has long tained its ratings of judicial nominees.”

While that assessment was “news” to me, apparently the ABA’s bias is well known among with those who work with the organization on a steady basis.  Senator Mike Lee is quoted on the website as describing the ABA as “any other special interest group” and called for “suspending the unique access” the American Bar Association has grown accustomed to enjoying regarding their active involvement in the judcial confirmation process.

August 29, 2019:  Lesbian Priest Hands Out Gas Cards for Women to Travel to Abortion-Friendy States…I’m Speechless

This is a small, virtually insignificant bit of news as reported by  But the contradictory nature at the core of each of the components is mind-boggling.  First, a “priest” in God’s house preferring the death of abortion to God’s gift of life; living an “alternative” lifestyle rather than adhering to the Biblical truths of Romans 1.  And…this “priest” actually being CEO of the pro-abortion group National Abortion Federation, and partnering with them to hand out gas cards so gals can drive to an abortion-friendly state to kill their babies.   Yet this is not what has left me speechless.  It is Reverend Katharine Ragsdale’s crowd-rousing chant, ‘Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.’  Yes, I’m speechless.

May 20, 2019:  Native Coloradan Robert F. Smith Pays Off  Morehouse College 2019 Graduating Class Student Loans

This caught my eye and attention for two reasons.  My first response was to question the accuracy of the headline–as in, did he really do this?  Secondly, I am genuinely impressed by the generosity of the act, itself, and I wondered if he had shared a spiritual basis for his generosity (he did not).  Smith is a native Coloradan and states Smith “has a net worth of about five billion dollars,” and is the first African-American to have “publicly committed to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.” quoted Smith as saying to the graduating class, “The opportunity you access should be determined by the fierceness of your intellect, the courage in your creativity and the grit that allows you to overcome expectations that weren’t set high enough.”   Morehouse College is described by the article as being an “all-male historically black college located in Atlanta, Georgia.  From the site, “30 Inspiring Robert F. Smith quotes about success and life.”

May 17, 2019:  Restricted Abortion Laws:  Now a Cadre of 5 States

I actually find this quite fascinating.  In general, news media outlets tend to cover this topic with a one-liner or maybe short paragraph and then move on…making it very easy to focus only on the publicity of those states who continue or choose to expand parameters in which abortion can be performed.  According to, “Over the past few months, multiple states have passed laws that greatly restrict or all but outlaw abortion…several states have considered increased restrictions on abortion, especially bans on abortions once the heartbeat of an unborn baby is detected…”  Currently, the states counted in this cadre are:  Alabama (most recent), Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio.  To read an insightful article written by a man whose birth was a result of his mother’s rape, click to Personal Notes.

May 17, 2019:  University of Colorado Apologizes to Christian Group

Hard to believe this type of legal activism is even necessary…however this may end up being a precedent case to help turn the tide of unnecessary regulation of Christian groups on college campuses.  According to, “The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has agreed to a settlement with a Christian apologetics student group who were de-affiliated with the college for stipulating that leaders in their group must adhere to mainline Christian beliefs.”  Or, as a representative from the legal defence group Alliance Defending Freedom  stated, “It would be absurd for the university to require the vegan student group to appoint a meat-lover as its president.”


March 4, 2019:  Where-O-Where is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

These two releases regarding AOC actually have me laughing.  First, an announcement came out around a week ago regarding an allegation AOC funneled campaign funds to her boyfriend in the fall of 2017…and now has reported “Ocasio-Cortez has no district office and no local phone number — unlike New York’s three other freshman members of Congress…Ocasio-Cortez has used her deceased father’s Bronx condo on her voter registration since 2012…but the (Washington) Post could find little indication she continues to live there…”


February 25, 2019:  Colorado Plans to Join Anti-Electoral College States in Vote

Although our family has been in Colorado only 13 years, I lament that we moved in at the turn of political tide and that legislation and policies have changed the state so dramatically over the last decade-plus.  This article, written by journalist Jack Davis, and posted by, makes the pivotal point in the argument against eliminating the electoral college, currently proposed and supported by 11 other states.  In this popular vote vs. electoral college vote discussion, Davis points out that in the 2016 election, the popular vote distance between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump boiled down to “two states — both of which support the national popular vote project — alone vastly increased Clinton’s totals.  Clinton’s 4.27 million vote margin in California and her 1.73 million votes in New York gave her the 6 million vote margin….Clinton trailed Trump in the other 48 states….”  Hence the reason our Founding Fathers created the electoral system….on top of which, consider that California has declared itself a Sanctuary State and that much of New York does the same…allowing non-citizens to get all sorts of citizen-only benefits, including their verbal statements that non-citizens should be allowed to participate in American elections….NOTE:  FOR A RECENT ARTICLE ON DOUBLE-VOTING IN CALIFORNIA, CLICK HERE.

February 22, 2019:  President Trump Draws Definitive Line Between “Family Planning” and “Abortion Providing,” Withdraws Federal Financial Support

As might be expected, this is a controversial move and will no doubt be challenged in court.  According to, “The change means federally funded family planning clinics can no longer refer a patient for abortion and must maintain ‘a clear physical and financial separation’ between services funded by the government and any organization that provides abortions or abortion referrals.”

February 15, 2019:  Anatomy of  Voter Fraud Via Actual Vote Counting

OK, my upfront disclaimer:  no political commentary follows.  This report caught my attention because I remembered the topic of “potential voter fraud” in New Mexico from the November 2018 election.   At the time, it was a suspicion, not-even-quite-an-allegation based on 8,000 “suddenly found” absentee ballots in the largest county of the state.  This report outlines results actually tabulated since last November.  According to,  an “audit report” requested by losing candidate Yvette Herrell and conducted by  Full Compliance Consulting LLC, reported this finding:  “Nongovernment groups are ‘almost certainly’ engaging in at best aggressive — and at worst fraudulent — procurement of absentee ballot applications.”  The additional conclusion of the audit is that vote irregularities in this single county would not have changed the election.  However, this audit covered only one county, and if similar practices occurred throughout the state — yes, the result of legitimate votes cast may have been thwarted.

February 12, 2019:  Editorial:  Big Tech Enabling Identity Politics To Flourish

Emilie Kao writes a thought-provoking editorial for regarding “punishment” for the “crimes” of “misgendering and deadnaming.”  Her winning paragraph for me?  “Identity politics is poisonous to freedom.  It divides Amercans up by ethnicity, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc., and ranks us in a hierarchy based upon decrees of ‘victimization.’..,this is deeply out of step with America’s founding, which championed the legal equality of each citizen based on inalienable natural rights..”


January 3, 2019:  “Woke” and “Wokescolding”

OK, I for the first time heard a national newscaster use the phrase “being woke” just a couple days ago.  And the topic was not someone having overslept!  I was quite surprised. According to Wikipedia (not my favorite source), “Woke is a political term of African American origin that refers to a perceived awareness of issues concerning social justice and racial justice…”  The online resource, connects the growing acceptance of the word to #blacklivesmatter starting in 2013 and “reminds readers that there is more than one reality to life in the United States.”  Conservative writer/speaker Ben Shapiro has declared that 2019 is the “year of the wokescold” — describing such individuals as “the new representatives of moral panic.”



September 6, 2018:  Report on Pro-Life Pregnancy Center Saving Both Lives and Money

This is a quick-reading, very interesting article that not only discusses interesting statistics, but also how the model of a “pro-life counseling center” was developed.  According to, research-gathering firm Charlotte Lozier Institute (affiliated with the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List) recently released a substantial report that details how “pro-life pregnancy centers across the nation provided free services to 2-million people and saved communities $161 million in costs in 2017.”  The article also quotes that “400,100 free ultrasounds were administered, registered nurses and medical sonographers contributed 400,100 hours of free services last year and 679,000 free pregnancy tests were given out last year.”

August 31, 2018:  Revealing Human Weakness Now…Or Later?

This little editorial piece from author/personality Bill O’Reilly points out the really pervasive issue of public slander occurring over social media…without consequence, most of the time, to anyone except the one being slandered.  I feel his point is well taken:  Is anyone any longer safe from the tarnish of assumptive-truth — when there are no facts to actually substantiate the portrayal offered?  One of his points:  “If great men like Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy were alive today, they never could have governed.”  A quick read worth pondering!

August 29, 2018:  President Trump Hosts Dinner for Evangelicals, Also Issues Concern Regarding Midterm Elections

This is a very interesting article.  The dinner was hosted 8/27, a night I worked and so missed the news.  I don’t know if it received any/much coverage or not, but it’s my opinion that this President has been so singularly pro-Christian (as well as pro-religious freedom) that it should have been shared through many outlets.  Even as Trump praised the pastors/leaders for their good works in their respective communities, he also urged them “to make sure all of your people vote,” according to  He continued with the warning, “If they don’t, we’re going to have a miserable two years and we’re going to have, frankly, a very hard period of time…”  In addition, I have included a video from Lance Wallnau regarding an apparent continuation of concern for the Christian community, expressed by President Trump.

August 24, 2018:  Former KKK and Nazi, Now denouncing Hate Groups

These are the testimonies I love to read….men or women with a heart of Saul, who become “transformed into Paul’s” so God may use them in radical ways….Do you remember Ken Parker from last year’s Charlottesville white nationalist rally?  According to, Parker’s heart transformation began soon after the rally with a conversation he shared with filmmaker Deeyah Khan, who was making a documentary on hate groups.  The respect he was shown in their time together started Parker questioning his reasons to hate.  He later chose to interact with his black neighbor, Willliam McKinnon III, at a community BBQ.  McKinnon is quoted as saying, “God was working on his heart that day when he came to the table that day, it was divine.”


July 30, 2018:  Jeff Sessions:  “We Have Not Only the Freedom to Worship, but the Right to Exercise Our Faith.”

At one time, anyone in America making that statement would have been stating an obvious situation.  While announcing the creation of a new Justice Department Religious Task Force, Attorney General Jeff Sessions pointed out, “In recent years, the cultural climate in this country…has become less hospitable to people of faith.  Many Americans have felt that their freedom to practice their faith has been under attack.”

July 20, 2018:  Who Pays Attention to Theology?  More People than You Think

According to, “Most churchgoers will put up with a change in music style or a different preacher, but they will choose to leave a church if the foundational beliefs are tampered with.”  This article reports the results of a new survey from Lifeway Research.

July 4, 2018:  Gender-Neutral Language Regarding God Changing the Episcopal Church Book of Prayers?

I was quite surprised to come across this article on  “The Episcopal Church will consider whether to add gender-neutral language regarding God to its Book of Common Prayer at its 79th General Convention, which starts Thursday (7/5) in Austin, Texas.  The debate s centered on making sure that the faith’s prayer book is clear that God, the supreme being, is genderless.”  The last revision took place 39 years ago.  Among the more unusual potential additions to the Book is “A Christian’s duty to conserve the earth” and “A ceremony to celebrate the adoption of a transgender person’s new name.”  I am not sure what to comment…read it for yourselves, folks!


May 24, 2018:  California Judge Rules in Favor of Christian Baker

County Superior Court Judge David Lampe is quoted by as stating, “The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the State’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace…the right of freedom of thought guaranteed by the First Amendment includes the right to speak, and the right to refrain from speaking.  Sometimes the most profound protest is silence.”  Tastries Bakery, owned by Cathy Miller, declined to create a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2017.  The Supreme Court continues to review a similar court case involving Colorado baker Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cake Shop, dating back to 2012.

May 18, 2018:  President Draws Distinction Between “Abortion” and “Family Planning” in Title X Funding

I hope this moves forward!  According to, “The White House says this is part of the Trump Administration’s policy to protect the unborn and also make sure taxpayers don’t support the abortion industry.”

May 9, 2018:  Bill Nye States Abortion Supports Positive Climate  Control…Really???

Oh my gosh, this is one of the oddest statements applauding abortion that I have ever read.  According to, Bill Nye’s recent Planned Parenthood luncheon speech included his view, “What’s the one thing to do about climate change, if you want to think about the big picture?  Raise the standard of living of girls and women…when you raise the standard of living of girls and women, they have fewer kids…”  According to a KSAT tweet, cost of the Bill Nye luncheon was $5,000/person, with all proceeds benefiting Planned Parenthood.


April 24, 2018:  Horizontal Convoy Across All Lanes Helps Prevent Suicide

The story attached to this incident highlight the benefit of cooperation in an unusual way.  Think about the “driver diversity” that might have come into play had there been a screening for these participants…Black-white, older-younger, Democrat-Republican-other,  West Coast-East Coast-Midwest, religious-nonreligious….the list could go on and on.  However, the facts and focus were simple when police put out a call for assistance:  help us save a life.  I was pondering how much could be accomplished if this sense of working together could be instilled in such a simple way as we all, together, set out to save a country, save an economy, save a neighborhood.  Focusing on unity, not diversity.  Focusing on a common value and transcends personal opinion.

April 20, 2018:  Refashioning Culture One Book at a Time?

This is really interesting In the time long-long-ago in a state once considered trend-setting rather than self-destructive (California), the reading lists were designed to expose maturing readers to thinking, concepts, situations and writing styles far removed from their own experiences.  Understanding other points of view and other historically documented societies/cultures was considered part of “education.”  Not so much so, currently, it seems.  Dr. Thomas D. Williams wrote an insightful piece for on the motivation behind Gentleman Quarterly’s recent article “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read.”  Coming in at number 12 is the Holy Bible, portrayed by the article editors (no specific names listed) as “certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced.  It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and at times even ill-intentioned.”  Dr. Williams points out, “The core of the GQ proposal, however, is the surgical excision of books that serve to keep traditional values alive…the brave new world that the cultural left wishes to establish cannot come about as long as ‘folklore’ (which includes art, literature, history, and other sources of national identity) remains rooted in the ideas and values of the Judeo-Christian west.”  Also “out” – Mark Twain, multiple works by Ernest Hemingway (“toxic masculinity” on display, you see), the book Lonesome Dove (ditto: reason just stated),  works by J.R.R. Tolkien, Kurt Vonnegut, others.  Article worth reading!

April 10, 2018:  Don’t Expect Your Wait-Person to Offer You a Straw in California

 I laughed off this ridiculous, going-nowhere legislation until I realized it was already law in parts of California.  In January, 2018, California Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D) introduced legislation that would penalize restaurant servers for distributing drinking straws without a customer requesting them.  Indeed, he first envisioned no small penalty:  either 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine.  Calderon was quoted as stating that there needed to be “created awareness” regarding the “detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways and oceans” due to the “one-time use plastic straw.”  While the legislation has languished and suffered modification revising its exorbitant penalties, I found it interesting to note that San Luis Obispo and Davis already have such laws, and in 2014 Manhattan Beach banned restaurants from utilizing polystyrene products such as plastic forks, cup lids, straws and foam coolers.  Marvin Stone of Washington, DC, originally patented the first “paraffin-coated manila paper” straw in 1888.  Paper straws dominated the scene until the 1960’s, when plastic straws began overtaking their use.  If you have a minute, click on the paper straws link for a very interesting history offered by