Good People Doing Good Things … Little Things Mean A Lot

We don’t hear about what the good people around us are doing, often quietly and without fanfare.

Filosofa's Word

I started today’s good people post about a single person, Mama Rosie, who is doing wonderful things.  But, she is doing so many wonderful things, and having such an impact, that I quickly realized I would not be able to finish it in time, so I switched gears (another symptom of my bouncy mind) and decided to write about multiple good people doing good things.  I went in search, and I found these …


I had never heard of the band Midnight Oil, but of course daughter Chris had … she knows every band that has existed since the beginning of time (and refers to my music as “bad taste”).  Anyway, the band Midnight Oil, an Australian band dating back to the 1970s,  is giving a concert in Fremantle, Australia on 29 October.  According to the band’s lead singer, Peter Garrett, every single cent will go to support marine…

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Good People Doing Good Things — Team Rubicon

A remarkable and uplifting story about some of the good people who seem to be ignored by the media.

Filosofa's Word

His name is Jake Wood and his story started with a simple Facebook post: “I’m going to Haiti. Who’s in?” It was January 2010, and the island of Haiti had just suffered a devastating earthquake with a still-disputed death toll of between 100,000 and 315,000.

Jake had only been out of the U.S. Marine Corps for a few months, and was planning to enroll in business school when he began seeing the pictures of the devastation in Haiti and thinking how much it reminded him of similar scenes from Iraq and Afghanistan, where he had served two tours of duty.  He realized that the skills he had acquired in the service, including the ability to adapt to difficult conditions, work with limited resources and maintain security in a dangerous environment, were sorely needed. And that was when he put out the Facebook message.  Wood persuaded his college roommate, a firefighter…

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Good People Doing Good Things — Communities

During these nervous times, we need to remind ourselves that there are good people (and dogs) doing good things intros world!

Filosofa's Word

It’s been a rough couple of weeks … 2 hurricanes slammed the continental U.S., another even stronger one devastated the archipelago of Puerto Rico.  Four major earthquakes have hit Mexico so far this month. Political upheaval and controversy reigned, not only here in the U.S. but around the globe.  We all need to look to something positive, look at those people who thumb their noses at trouble and just roll up their sleeves and get down to the business of helping others.  Today’s ‘good people’ are those who take the meaning of the word ‘community’ seriously, who believe that we are all in this together and we need to set aside differences to help one another.


hatley.png Julius Hatley is 95-years-young, a World War II veteran, and lives alone in Ft. Worth, Texas.  At the beginning of summer, back in June, Mr. Hatley’s central air-conditioning as well as a smaller window…

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Pardon?

In light of the recent decision of The Trumpet to pardon this man, I thought an old post reflecting Joe Arpaio’s outstanding character might be timely, though this post deals with a related matter (and, no, this post will not appear in my forthcoming book):

Courting Failure

I found two pieces of information about the federal court system interesting and worth pondering. Consider the first item from the New York Times about the number of vacancies in our courts:

The number of vacancies on the nation’s federal courts has reached an astonishingly high level, creating a serious shortage of judges and undermining the ability of the nation’s court system to bestow justice.

Of 856 federal district and circuit court seats, 85 are unfilled — a 10 percent vacancy rate and nearly double the rate at this point in the presidency of George W. Bush. More than a third of the vacancies have been declared “judicial emergencies” based on court workloads and the length of time the seats have been empty. By far the most important cause of this unfortunate state of affairs is the determination of Senate Republicans, for reasons of politics, ideology and spite, to confirm as few of President Obama’s judicial choices as possible.

This, in itself, is an embarrassment, though it seems unlikely this Congress could do anything to make itself look worse. But the number of important court cases backing up due to Congress’ reluctance to either nominate or  confirm proposed justices raises serious questions about the ability of these people to govern this nation — if we had any doubts.

On the other hand, we read a good piece of news from Phoenix, Arizona regarding a decision by federal district court judge Murray Snow regarding the country’s self-proclaimed “toughest” sheriff, Joe Arpaio, and his policy of racial profiling in defiance of federal mandates and constitutional principles guaranteeing equal rights to all citizens in this country. A case was brought against Sheriff Arpaio by, among others, Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres, a Mexican tourist who was in the United States legally when deputies took him from a car in which he was riding with a white driver and kept him detained for nine hours while they determined whether or not he was indeed in the country legally. The country’s “toughest” sheriff has apparently a defiant attitude toward federal laws and a declared policy that reflects his own particular brand of racism — and, sad to say, keeps him secure in his office.

Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio has required prison inmates to wear pink underwear and saved taxpayers money by removing salt and pepper from prisons. He has, at times, forbidden convicted murderer Jodi Arias from speaking to the press.

The stern Maricopa County Sheriff has said the federal government will not stop him from running his office as he sees fit. But on Friday it did.

A judge [Murray Snow] ruled Friday that Arpaio’s routine handling of people of Latino descent is not tough enforcement of immigration laws but instead amounts to racial and ethnic profiling.

Some of those profiled sued Arpaio, and Judge Murray Snow found their complaints to be legitimate.

The federal court in Phoenix ordered “America’s Toughest Sheriff” — a moniker Arpaio sports on his website — to stop it immediately and has banned some of his operating procedures.

The sheriff’s office has a history of targeting vehicles with occupants with darker skin or Latin heritage, scrutinizing them more strictly and detaining them more often, Snow ruled.

As is the case here, it is not unusual for the courts to do things right in this country. Indeed, one might say the judicial system is one of the great strengths of this country and something we can be very proud of — and which keeps us this side of barbarism. But the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to act on federal court appointments means that many cases will go untried and  innocent people will suffer unfairly. In the case of the country’s “toughest” sheriff, the case took eight months between the days of the final testimony and the decision itself.  One suspects that Judge Snow’s calendar is filled to the brim. Can we agree that this is yet another strike against the Congress?

The founders thought that incompetent politicians would simply be voted out of office. Alexander Hamilton says this repeatedly in the Federalist Papers. That doesn’t often happen, however, because they have enough wealthy backers to convince gullible voters at election time that they are doing a bang-up job on the voters’ behalf, and a great many people simply don’t care. So we are faced with Congressmen who hang on to their offices for dear life, by ignoring their civic duties and their constituents but pleasing those who hold the purse strings, knowing that it beats real work and pays very well. In spite of the fact that it might lead to inefficiency (though that ship has already sailed), there surely ought to be term limits on congressional offices. It would force the politicians to be a bit more responsive to their constituents and less concerned about reelection. Politics would be less a career choice and more a temporary respite from the business of making an honest living. That’s one the founders missed, for all their prescience and political savvy.

Good People Doing Good Things – Bunches Of ‘Em

We need to remind ourselves that there are good people in this world doing remarkably good things! Thanks to my friend Jill for this post!

Filosofa's Word

The last few weeks I have reported on some extraordinary people doing good things for others – Mohamed Bzeek who fostered children with terminal illnesses, Michael and Camille Geraldi who adopted 88 special needs children, the Habitat for Humanity building homes for low income families, and last week, the Pollination Project providing small seed grants to others to do good works.  Those, my friends, are tough acts to follow.  So today, I decided to pick a few of the many, many people who are out there doing small acts of kindness.

helping-hands


A Boy and His Best Friend …

This first story is about an 8-year-old kid whose heart is in the right place.  His name is Paul Burnett, and his best friend since kindergarten is Kamden Houshan.  Kamden was born with a tumour on his T2 and T3 vertebras and he is a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair.  The problem…

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Big Brother IS Watching …

A very important and deeply disturbing piece.

Filosofa's Word

Big Brother is watching us all … and his name, at least one of his names, is Google.  Let me tell you a little story.

eyesJane Doe wanted a new pair of shoes.  She had in mind a pair of Reebok sneakers in white with light blue trim.  Jane goes on line and puts a few key words into a search engine, probably Google.  A number of options are listed including on-line sites such as Amazon, and also listed are stores near Jane’s home.  Wanting to try on the shoes for a good fit, Jane decides against the on-line sites and chooses a store or two near home.  On Saturday, Jane picks up her wallet and cell phone and heads to the first store.  They do not have the colour she wants, so she goes to the second store, finds exactly what she wants on sale, so she happily pays…

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Good People Doing Good Things – Many, Many, Many

We need to read these stories these days! They help us all keep our balance! Thanks to Jill for writing this.

Filosofa's Word

Last week’s ‘good people’ story about the couple who adopted 88 children with disabilities is one that may not be top-able, so I won’t even try.  Today I shine a spotlight on three good people whose good deeds, though on a smaller scale,  did not go unnoticed.  Today’s first good person did not adopt 88 children, but he did adopt two …


Jody Thompson and his wife Jeannie did not plan for a large family … in 2015 they had two children already, Ryan (15) and Charley (8), and life was pretty fine.  Jody was a police officer with the Poteau, Oklahoma police department and it was just as he was about to go on duty on that day in April, 2015, that he responded to a call about a report of child abuse.

When Thompson and other officers arrived at the house, what they found sickened them.  Thompson, who…

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Antiquated Constitution?

About one hundred years after the Constitution was adopted in this country Henry Adams was convinced it was already obsolete. As the grandson and great-grandson of Presidents he might have been concerned that the document tied the hands of the executive. That would be understandable. It certainly is the case that when it was written, one of the major concerns of its authors was to limit the powers of the President. Perhaps it limited the executive too much. Adams thought it made government stagnant and he hoped that when Grant took office the situation would be remedied. It wasn’t, however, since Grant didn’t do much of anything except make some bad appointments and get mixed up with the Gold Scandal. Adams came to believe that Grant was a living argument against Darwin!

But there does seem to be some truth in Adams’ concerns. A document written in the eighteenth century, especially one that didn’t even mention corporations, seems antiquated at best and positively outdated at worst. Large Wealth has gained the upper hand and turned our Republic into a corporate oligarchy. Further, consider the powers granted to the U.S. Senate which is the body that was targeted by Adams for most criticism. It has immense power and its members seem to be around forever gaining more and more power. The Senate is able to abuse that power even more readily than the President — something the framers did not foresee.

Madison, for example, was convinced that no minority, within or without the Senate, could ever stall the workings of a democratic system because the majority would simply sweep them aside. In Federalist # 10, Madison expresses almost naive confidence in the ability of a majority to eliminate what he called “factions,” or those small groups within and without government that would misdirect the public good. He says “If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by a regular vote.” But then Madison was also convinced that those in Congress would be the best and brightest in the country at large, “whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of the country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary and partial considerations.”  Yeah, right.

Let’s consider some of the powers of the Senate listed in Article II Section 2 where, ironically, the document explains some of the powers of the President (note the repeated qualifications):

[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law.

It is precisely the powers to “advise and consent,” as Adams saw it, that pretty much tie the hands of the executive and can bring government to a halt. In fact, as we have seen in our day, the Senate can simply refuse to act on presidential appointments and they remain vacant for years. During Adams’ lifetime, Secretary of State John Hay was repeatedly frustrated by the Senate’s reluctance to ratify treaties Hay had painstakingly arranged. The two-thirds majority required for ratification was the killer. It seems that this power is the one Adams most strenuously objected to as it ties the government in knots. It was certainly one of the most hotly debated topics at the time of the writing and subsequent adoption of the Constitution: would the President be hindered from doing his job or would he be given enough power to do the job and then abuse that power? It was a difficult line to draw.

But given the snail’s pace with which this government goes about its business; its susceptibility to the influence of “factions” and PACs; the lack of term limits on members of Congress; the persistent misreading of the second amendment; and the unrestricted influence of large corporations on the election and functioning of officials within government, a strong case can be made that the Constitution can no longer do the job it was designed to do more than two hundred years ago. Rexford Tugwell, part of F.D.R.’s “brain-trust,” years ago proposed a revised Constitution that was widely discussed but went nowhere. Perhaps it is time to reconsider.

Good People Doing Good Things – Charles Feeney

A truly inspiring man who reminds us that there are good people out there doing great things!

Filosofa's Word

The past several weeks, this weekly post has featured average, everyday people doing good things for others, and really, that is perhaps the best sort of philanthropy there is.  It motivates us all, reminds us that we don’t need to be wealthy or powerful to do good things, to help make the world just a little bit better.  Giving, after all, begins in our own backyard. Today, however, I want to focus on a man who is, by most standards, wealthy, but his philanthropy far exceeds his own personal wealth.  His name is Charles Francis Feeney, but his friends call him Chuck.

Feeney-1While others may have given more in their lifetimes, notably George Soros, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet, there are some things about Chuck Feeney’s generosity that stand above the rest.  First, often referred to as the James Bond of philanthropy, Feeney does not toot his own horn, and…

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Puzzled about the ACA – take this quick quiz

This man is one of the few among us who truly understands the ramifications of the Affordable Care Act which has been the target of the far Right for so many years and which is helping so many people. It’s worth read.

musingsofanoldfart

Now that the AHCA effort by the President and Republican majority has fizzled, it would be appropriate to step away from the rhetoric and ask a few questions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I would also suggest you may not want to listen only to politicians on this as I have learned the health care awareness of politicians is not as high as we need it to be and some are more interested in optics than impact.

The questions and answers have been provided by a retired benefits actuary, consultant and manager for a Fortune 500 company.

Question 1: The ACA is: (a) undergoing a death spiral, (b) a disaster and will implode, (c) doing well in a number of places, but needs help in a few others.

Question 2: The reasons for rising costs under the ACA are: (a) adverse selection where more bad risks are signing up than good…

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