Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Girls Next Door

This will break your heart: an article in the current issue of Vanity Fair, "Sex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door."

Don't read it if you think you might be offended or repulsed by the details. Even if you think of yourself as not the squeamish type, this story will make your stomach turn.

Why do I bring it up, then, and provide a link to it? What can we learn from the story of 12-year-old girls sold BY THEIR OWN RELATIVES to pimps for a few hundred dollars, sold again, treated worse than animals, forced into heroin addiction so they could be manipulated later by being denied the drug, locked into motel rooms where they were forced to perform degrading and humiliating acts for disgusting men, "johns," who are often respected community members?

Here's some of what I learned:

---ALL these girls come from dysfunctional families without a positive male role model.

---The no-tell motels along every highway in the U.S. are making big bucks from the trade.

---Hollywood, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, the music industry, the clothing industry, and pornographers are all making big bucks from the marketing of women and girls as sex objects, making push-up bras for 8-year-old girls, selling slutty clothes and high-heeled shoes to pre-teens, portraying the victims as willing participants, normalizing sexual and domestic abuse. (Trafficking of women generates more than $32 billion per year worldwide.)

---Here's how "normal" it has come to seem: Lee Iacocca plays golf with Snoop Dogg (or whatever he has decided to call himself most recently), an admitted former pimp whose so-called songs degrade women and glorify their abuse.

---The victims are often further victimized by the legal system; police and court officers may not be aware of the circumstances of their lives, and the pimps force them to commit crimes for which they are arrested while the pimps go free; and nobody believes --- because how can you believe? ---- that their own relatives sold them into virtual slavery from which they can't escape.

---What can be done to stop this: Follow the example of Sweden, whose Sex Purchase Law began in 1999 to lock up pimps and johns while providing housing, education, health care, and jobs for their victims; resulting in a 50% decrease in prostitution. (Do NOT legalize prostitution! Countries that have tried that, for example Holland and Australia, have seen increases in sex trafficking and organized crime.)

---Take care of your children. Help other people's children. Don't support any person or business that lends support to human trafficking. Make society a place where none of this is acceptable. Make sure your state and federal representatives are on the right side of this issue by writing to them or calling their offices.

Monday, May 30, 2011

To the Beaches...And Family

We didn't wait for Memorial Day, and good thing: Although it was overcast and sprinkilng the day we went, it was even worse on the holiday weekend.

Here are some photos from the day:

Later in the week, we went to see the Columbia River at flood stage. 
 You couldn't even get out to the dock, but some people were out there fishing. They must have gotten there by boat, or else they'd been camping out for days.


Finally, I couldn't go to my parents' grave-site on Memorial Day, but some wonderful loving family members went there for all of us.

Thank you!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Family Reunion, 2012

The Freeman and Huldah Nickerson Family Organization will be holding a reunion one year from now, June 16-19, 2012.

The reunion will be held at Camp Nauvoo, 1095 South Warsaw, Nauvoo, Illinois 62354.

Camp Nauvoo is on the south side of Historic Nauvoo, a little over a mile from the temple. Visitors can stay in tents or cabins or at RV hookups at the property, which also includes The Lodge, a two-story building that seats 250 people and has a full catering kitchen. 

Freeman and Huldah Chapman Nickerson joined the LDS Church in its early days, and Freeman marched with Zion's Camp. They followed the Saints to Nauvoo, and continued to Iowa. Freeman Nickerson died January 12, 1847, in Chariton River, Pioneer Crossing, Iowa, en route to the Great Salt Lake Valley. Huldah died March 22, 1860, in Provo, Utah.

Freeman also fought in the War of 1812 and served a mission to Canada with Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. Huldah gave birth to nine children, three of whom died in infancy or childhood.

Freeman and Huldah's daughter Caroline Eliza Nickerson married Marshall Moore Hubbard; their son Elisha Freeman Hubbard married Almera Wilson, who gave birth to my grandmother, Emma Jane Hubbard; and she married Don Carlos McBride. Their daughter Elaine McBride married Nephi Hurley Pratt, and they had six children. And so here we are, planning to go to this family reunion where we will celebrate the faith and fortitude of our pioneer ancestors.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sandra's Birthday

Sandra calls me her oldest sister because I'm the oldest of all her sisters, not because I'm older than her.

On her birthday, I want to thank her for her example of staying true to the right through all trials and struggles, of which she has had many.

I hope you have a happy birthday, Sandra. Sorry I can't celebrate with you on the 28th, but I'll be out there to visit you as soon as I can.



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Medicare, Medicare, Medicare

I don't care if the Republican budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan doesn't cut Medicare for people my age but "only" for people who will be seniors a few years from now. It's just plain wrong to eliminate Medicare.

And that's what Ryan's proposed budget would do: turn Medicare into a plan that would enrich private insurance companies while depriving seniors of basic health care simply because they would not be able to afford the private insurance fees.

That budget won't do what it claims to do (save Medicare OR save money for seniors and taxpayers), and is losing support even from Republicans. When Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) forced a vote on it yesterday, 5 Senate Republicans were brave enough to vote against it, and all Senate Democrats voted against it.

Yet the Republican lies continue. My own Congresswoman, Jaime Herrera Beutler, repeats the same old lies on her website, and appears to believe them.

NG, who for once told the truth when he called the proposal “radical,” “too big a jump” and “right-wing social engineering,” backtracked, and then was joined by other Republicans as they saw public opinion swing against them.

The public outrage over the Republicans' callous plans to decimate Medicare while pretending to "save" it was exemplified by the voters of the super-conservative Republican district in New York State (District 26) who voted in a Democrat to replace the Craigslist philanderer. What was that election all about?

Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, got it right when he said: “There were three fundamental lessons that both Democrats and Republicans learned from the special election in New York, and they are Medicare, Medicare, and Medicare.”

He added, "Republicans, independents and Democratic voters rejected the premise that we can terminate Medicare in order to fund tax cuts for big oil companies."

There are lots of ways we can find to balance the budget.

They do NOT include cutting Medicare for seniors of any age, now or in the foreseeable future.

They DO include cutting tax breaks for big oil companies, returning to pre-Bush tax rates for people earning over $250,000 a year, providing a single-payor health insurance for people besides seniors and veterans, and cutting fraud, waste, and abuse in the current Medicare system.

They might also include bringing our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Imagine those thousands of young people, focused as they are on accomplishing worthy goals, working on our infrastructure, delivering aid to poor families, helping older folks...

There's so much we can all do, including prodding our Members of Congress  who voted for the Ryan plan. Maybe they just need to know we're not as gullible as they think we are?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Cassie sent me this (Thanks!), and I love the pictures that accompany the beautiful words and music.

Here's another one she sent:  "How Great Thou Art," sung by Susan Boyle

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It Can Wait

Thanks to Ellen for posting this. It affected me very deeply.

How important is that text message, anyway?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Some Taddypoles For You

Happy Birthday, Soleil!

I hope you have a wonderful celebration today, and hope we can visit you soon.

Here are some taddypoles for you, from our back yard pond, like the ones we saw last year, remember?

You can also see a little glob of eggs in the upper left corner. They look like they'll be ready soon to let more taddypoles into the pond. We're leaving the algae in the pond for now because it helps the taddypoles hide and gives them places to find food.


Grandma Wynn

Still Here, Breathing. And You?

Actually, I'm writing this on Friday, May 20, the day BEFORE the Rapture is due to hit the West Coast.

I think I'm safe in writing it, though, since it's already May 21 on the other side of the world, and all those people are still there. Except for those who were going to die on May 21 anyway.

I note that the preacher who predicted the Rapture has amassed millions of dollars in savings and gave his workers the day off, with pay. Because they were going to need that money in the following days?

Also, just one point no one seems to be bringing up (except comic strip writers and comedians): "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone" (Matthew 24).

Friday, May 20, 2011

Whatever Lola Wants...

With that sweet face? Are you kidding? Whatever Lola wants, Lola's gonna get!

(Lola, a rescue dog of unknown ancestry, joins Cory and Megan and Mugwai.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Major General's Song

("It's the same as the Pirate King tune!")

Best version ever, and it has subtitles.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I've Got a Little List

I've seen so many great versions of this song from "The Mikado," and I like this one best:

I looked up the original lyrics, and I won't include them here because they include some that are objectionable. I love how every production makes changes for the time and place. 

I think I should be one of those "extra-lyricists." Because I've got a little list, too!

Anyone else?

Here's another version. I especially like the Lord High Executioner's entrance in this one. Also, the "singular anomaly" ...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reo's 60th

It is the 60th, right? Oh, you spring chicken, you. Happy birthday! Here are some things I admire about you (listed fairly randomly):

You have a great sense of humor. You tell great stories, and you tell stories on yourself.

You stick up for your family.

You work hard, you don't compromise your principles, and you keep at it when the going gets tough.

You stay strong to the truth even when it seems that the people around you who should be supporting you are trying to hurt you.

You are loving and compassionate.

You reach out to family members and work hard to keep in touch.

There are lots more, of course. But, hey, if everyone in the world had only these qualities, what a wonderful world it would be.



Monday, May 16, 2011

[Fill in the Blank] To Plead Not Guilty...

Don't you love that kind of headline? In this case, it's the International Monetary Fund bigwig who some people were thinking would be the next president of France, who has been accused of assaulting a maid at the Sofitel Hotel in Manhattan.

Of course he's innocent until proven guilty, but he sure acted guilty, leaving the hotel in a hurry and boarding a flight to Paris, where New York police apprehended him just before the flight was to leave. Also, the maid identified him in a police lineup. He's infamous in France for his affairs, so maybe he thought this maid would be happy to service him.

But all of that aside, my point is just this: Who thinks it's news that some guy is going to plead not guilty to such a charge? You? Me? Nah, nobody. Of course he's going to plead not guilty. Duh.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In My Own Back Yard

I found frog eggs in the pond yesterday morning! I was pretty sure they were laid by Pacific Tree Frogs (Pseudacris  regilla ), but I looked up the information on the website just to be sure. And I was right.

See that light colored glob just to the right of center in the photo, with some little white globs inside it: That's the egg mass, small eggs in little loose globs of 20-70 each, attached to leaves or sticks in the water. (Not like those big, grape-sized eggs in huge hand-sized globs which are typical of the Northwestern Salamander, Ambystoma gracile; or Northern Red-legged Frog, Rana aurora.)

But then I was worried that these might have been laid much earlier and then died in our recent spate of bad weather. However, as I read more, I was reassured that I'll be able to see these eggs hatch, because it turns out their egg-laying can continue for up to 4 months after breeding season begins.

So, the eggs should hatch in 3-5 weeks, and then the polliwogs take another 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 months to develop to adulthood. I'll take photos every day. (And I'll figure out how to make them BETTER than this one!)

I've been hoping we would find eggs in our pond, as we hear the frogs "singing" every night. More frogs equal fewer mosquitoes and more music.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Even Superman Needs a Mom

I saw this on my sister Ellen's blog, and I love love looove it, so I'm sharing it here:
Also, while I'm at it: Tomorrow is Ellen's birthday, and her hang-gliding plans show what a brave and great spirit she is. I'm really looking forward to reading about it when the right conditions turn up, AND seeing some more photos.

Happy birthday, Ellen!

Friday, May 13, 2011

NG's bid for the presidency

I don't want to write out the whole name of this obnoxious, unscrupulous, hypocritical, lying politician. But you'll know who I'm talking about, even if you don't immediately recognize those initials, when I say that he announced a week ago that he was going to announce by Twitter that he was going to announce that he was going to announce that he was going to run for president in 2012.

Nobody who has been around for more than a couple of years believes he's a serious candidate. Remember when he ran before? Remember when he was Speaker of the House? Remember how he announced to his wife while she was in the hospital recovering from breast cancer surgery that he was leaving her for another woman?*

(*When asked earlier this year about NG's seriousness as a candidate, that former wife said he has never been interested in being president, just in making more money. Oh, wait, does that remind you of any of the other current Republican candidates?)

And now, his pronouncements using the racist code words to denigrate President Obama, his attempts to claim that he was in some way responsible for the budget-balancing of President Clinton's presidency, his praising GE for being so "clever" in avoiding paying corporate taxes...

The super-conversative pundit John Podhoretz has "welcomed" NG's candidacy by reminding us of how NG claimed his extramarital affairs and other immoral acts were driven by his love of America.

(Here are NG's actual words on that topic: “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”)

Podhoretz writes,"Yes, he actually said he misbehaved because he loved his country too much....Newt Gingrich never received more than 100,000 votes in his life. He’ll never be president..." Thank you Mr. Podhoretz!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Someone I'm Not Crying For

Omar bin Laden, the fourth-oldest son of the mass-murderer, has supposedly come out with a statement that the killing of his father was "criminal" and his burial at sea was "humiliating."

This is the same son who left his father's training camps a few years ago because he didn't agree with the killing of civilians, who wrote in a book that his father encouraged him to participate in suicide-bombing missions, and who described in that same book being forced to live in inhumane conditions as a child, so I doubt that he really wrote that statement.

If he did, I would like to say to him, and if he didn't, I would like to say to whoever did: This monster has killed thousands of people, including many more Muslims than non-Muslims, bringing grief to their families; and has coerced gullible and ignorant followers to participate in plans to kill thousands more. Where is your concern for those criminal acts, those humiliations, those hardships?

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Victory for the Muslim World

I'm glad to read in today's paper that not all Muslims and not all Pakistanis think the U.S. was wrong to have killed the monster Osama bin Laden. 

Pakistani rock musician Salman Ahmad has called the terrorist's death a "victory for the Muslim world." 

The Australian reports that Ahmad said, "In the last 1400 years of Islamic history, there has rarely been a man or woman - Muslim or non-Muslim - who has caused more damage to Muslims around the world than Osama bin Laden."

Ahmad's band, called Junoon (Urdu for "Passion"), is one of the most popular acts in Asia. The band's song "Ehtesaab" ("Accountability") was banned because it mocked Pakistani leaders for their corruption.  

Here's the band's website. Check out the beautiful song and video, "Open Your Eyes."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day!

This is for my mother, like my birthday wishes for her, even though she's not on this earth to read it.

Every time I see a beautiful sunrise, or a field of flowers, or a Steller's jay, or a great blue heron, or a grove of trees that inspires reverence for God's creations, or a beautiful sunset, I think of you, Mother.

I want to call you and say, "Mother, I just saw this beautiful sunrise" (or whatever it is I'm looking at), "and it made me think of you."

Thank you for teaching me by your example to love the beauty of nature. Thank you for taking us all to Muir Woods, to Point Reyes, to the redwood forest, to the ocean.

Thank you for that time when you and Daddy woke us up so we could see that Scarlet King Snake. Oh, you don't remember that, do you. It was one of so many times that you helped us appreciate the beauty of our Earth. You and Daddy had been out for one of your evening walks after you put us to bed, and when you saw that snake, you brought us out to see it. You weren't afraid of it, and you explained why most king snakes are white and black, but this one wasn't a coral snake because it didn't have the bright yellow stripes of the coral snake.

Thanks, Mother, for everything.



Thursday, May 5, 2011

No More Photos, Please!

Could everyone please stop putting photos of the monstrous terrorist murderer OBL on every page of every print and online newspaper and blog?

Because I don't want to see his face ever again.

And, also, while you're at it, could you stop telling us what Karl Rove thinks President Obama should do next?

Because I don't care, and nor does anyone else in this whole great country or anywhere else in the whole wide world, give a flaming flarg what Karl Rove thinks about anything.

And one more thing: Could you stop pressuring President Obama to release photos of the monster at his death?

Because what's wrong with you people, anyway, you people who want to see those photos?

Thank you in advance,

Aunt Louise

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let's Move!

Michelle Obama dancing with middle school students in D.C.

Monday, May 2, 2011

2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner

Seth Meyers did a great job with his speech. I especially liked his quip about what Ron Paul and Rand Paul have in common with Meyers and his dad: "We're both not going to be President of the United States." It's fun to watch President Obama laugh gamely at the jokes at his expense.

And hilarious to watch Donald Trump frown at the jokes about him. Hey, he's fired anyway. What a loser.

And notice how Obama responded to the jokes about America's failure to find Bin Laden. He kept that secret well, didn't he!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1, 2011: A Monster Is Dead

May 1, 2011---just months before the 10th anniversary of the Al Qaeda attacks on America in 2001:

I wouldn't ordinarily be happy at the death of another human being, but Osama Bin Laden was not a human, but a monster. He killed thousands of people, including Muslims, including citizens of Pakistan where he was sheltered, and he was directing operations to kill thousands more.

He and his co-terrorists watched the Twin Towers burn, watched people fall to their deaths. As President Obama said when he announced this a few minutes ago, Osama Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader, but a terrorist.

Now I add to this what I have said to many friends and family before: my gratitude for the brave souls on Flight 93 who kept that plane from its intended destination, the White House. In doing that, they saved the lives of hundreds or even thousands more people, not just those who worked in the White House, but people working nearby, including me. Thank you. I am alive today because of you.

And thank you to the brave souls who went into Pakistan today to put to death that monster. Many more people will continue to live and contribute to humankind because of you.