Sunday, January 28, 2018
Should We Set Up Table And Chairs On The Porch?
I had used the mild temps for splitting some firewood I had dragged out of the woods yesterday and the pile is now waiting to be stacked for drying until next winter. By the way it is only 144 days until the beginning of SUMMER! Yahoooui....
So, yes, winter has been quite friendly so far, though there have been times when the mercury seemed to disappear in the bottom of the thermometer. I can handle the cold, but snow has to be shoveled or pushed and I just hate that. Also, I can't really do up more firewood, when there is a pile of snow everywhere.
The pictures of our icicles were taken only a few days ago, now we are looking at our bare lawn.
And after the walk we need a good power nap. Live is good!
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
The Stable Genius Has Spoken
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Congratulations Mr. President!
You and your cronies have just managed to give-away 1.4trillions to the rich, you have made cuts to social programs serving the poor and the weak and now you are lacking the money to run your country. And to top it off you are asking for billions to build a silly wall along your southern border.
Congratulations Mr. President, you really made America look ridiculous.
Within only 1 year you have achieved to divide your country more than any President before you. You have shown a total disregard for learning how to lead this formerly great country. Your approval ratings are still between the lowest in the history of the U.S. and your legal battles and scandals are numerous enough that one could fill the Encyclopedia Britannica with it and still run out of paper.
Shut-downs are specific for the U.S. as
no other country makes its legislature vote to raise the country's borrowing limit, for example, to pay for spending the legislature has already approved.
And no other country shuts down its government in the same way the U.S. does.
That's not to say that other nations don't have budgetary disagreements and worse. They do. But "for most of the world, a government shutdown is very bad news — the result of revolution, invasion, or disaster," says Anthony Zurcher at BBC News. Seriously, "even in the middle of its ongoing civil war, the Syrian government has continued to pay its bills and workers' wages."
Syria's not alone. "Countries like Pakistan and Colombia have had civil wars, coups, financial crises, even defaults but never a government shutdown," says Erik Voeten at The Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog. (and those you call Sh*thole Countries?)
In Belgium, tensions between the Flemish (Dutch speakers) and Walloons (French speakers) got so heated in 2010 and 2011 that the country had no elected government for 589 days — "yet, budgets were passed, government workers were paid, and government services continued to be provided," says Voeten. In fact, Voeten adds, "I cannot think of a single foreign analogy to what is happening in the U.S. today."
And that is true. The U.S. is like a kindergarten, where the kids refuse to play with each other when they disagree about something. But every kindergarten also has a leader. The U.S. has too. But when the leader is a moron and unable to use his position to unify, full disagreements break out and the kids are throwing tantrums. But other than in the kindergarten, there are victims on the American battlefield. Workers are getting no wages, social programs don't make payouts while the shut-down is in effect.
But, strangely, the very men and women who are causing the shut-down are still getting paid - big time. Trump voters, I assume, you are happy with that. You must love the chaos and the destruction.
What a country, eh!
Thursday, January 18, 2018
OK, We've Got Some Snow And Oh Sooo Pretty
|Blue skies are temping us to get outside|
|Head Harbour Lightstation w. ferry to Grand Manan in back|
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
The fishing shed that washed across an East Coast border and touched off an international firestorm
UPDATED JANUARY 16, 2018
Beachcombing is a way of life for those who live along the shores of Canada's East Coast, which has been battered lately by several ferocious storms and is thus proving exceptionally fertile ground for scavengers.
Ten days or so ago, one New Brunswicker had the find of her life. Dianna Parker, a resident of Campobello Island in the Bay of Fundy, discovered a century-old fishing shed slumped amid the slush and sand of what locals call Fox Farm.
The structure had been part of a collection of historical buildings in nearby Lubec, Me., until a storm surge combined with high tide to rip the shed from its rotted moorings. Wave action helped the building set sail and, remarkably, pushed it clear between the pilings of the Roosevelt Bridge, the border crossing that connects Lubec to Campobello in New Brunswick. The shed came to its final resting spot on Canadian shore, where Ms. Parker discovered it.
What she did next, though, set off an international firestorm that has left relations between tiny Lubec (population 1,300) and even tinier Campobello (population 800) in a condition nearly as poor as the tattered shed.
"I went home and then back with a chainsaw," said Ms. Parker, who is feeling sheepish about the uproar and her role in what has exploded into a local saga.
The shed is still standing in Lubec, Me., on Jan. 1, 2018
Ms. Parker beachcombs regularly for wood and artifacts she can repurpose in her spare time. (She sometimes goes with her four-year-old granddaughter who believes no beach trek is complete unless she has found sea glass for her pocket.)
"It's totally legal. Look up Canadian salvage laws," Ms. Parker said. "Three days in, I found some really nice boards and they were really long. There were other people filling their trucks." To fit the boards in her small Mitsubishi SUV, Ms. Parker needed to cut them.
She was midway through her process when American volunteers arrived from Lubec Landmarks, the U.S. non-profit group that owns the shed as part of its McCurdy's Smokehouse complex, which is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Arguments on the beach broke out, insults were hurled, the shouting worsened and pictures of licence plates were taken, as were sides, along international lines.
The fracture deepened when Lubec Landmarks' president, 76-year-old Rachel Rubeor, wrote a letter to Maine Senator Angus King blaming "vandals" for taking remains of the shed from the beach. Local media picked up the story and the ensuing reaction on Facebook, where both Lubec and Campobello residents maintain community bulletin boards, has grown sourer by the day.
It is an odd and uncomfortable situation for people, many of whom are dual citizens or have family on both sides of the border and view their community as encompassing both towns regardless of citizenship.
"Geographically speaking, if you look at a map there is an international line. But community-wise, we really are one," Ms. Parker said.
Campobello's only link to the mainland is the bridge to Lubec; to get gas, residents of the island must go to Lubec or through it and back up to St. Stephen, N.B. The same goes for restaurants, banks, doctors, hospitals and police, who come from St. Stephen (via Lubec) if they are called to the island. Locals are so used to crossing the bridge multiple times a day, Ms. Parker said, that many keep their passport in their vehicles.
McCurdy’s Smokehouse Brining Shed lies broken on the beach at Campobello Island, N.B.
Justin Tinker, a civil engineer who lives on Campobello, said a primary concern on the Canadian side was the danger the shed, which has been deteriorating for years, presented to both the bridge structure and to community fishermen who often fish for lobster and scallops in the dark.
"In the last decade, we have seen this shed lose some of its end supports and start to sag and slump," he said. "I applaud what Rachel Rubeor's group is doing, but that doesn't take away from the fact they've been unsuccessful."
Ms. Rubeor admitted that her group, which relies on grants and private donations, has struggled to raise funds to refurbish the building. Last year, they launched a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of raising $125,000 (U.S.) for the project. But so far, less than $1,500 has been raised.
It is unclear now if any of the shed's remains can be used.
Contractor is hauling debris off the beach
A look inside the old brine shed
For Ms. Rubeor, who has begun trying to make amends, this fact has set in. Late last week, she arrived on the beach with cinnamon buns and began offering pieces of the shed, including bricks that appear to have been formed in Canada, to locals on the beach. "That seemed to be a civilized thing to do," she said, adding that she is apologetic for touching off a firestorm over the shed. She has agreed to an executive request that she resign from her position on Lubec's local council.
"I need to let the people of Campobello know that I am horribly, terribly sorry for all of the bad feelings that have gone back and forth," she said. "I probably was not empathetic with the Campobello side until I got talking with them. Now I feel terribly about it," she said.
On Tuesday, contractors had been hired on both the Canadian and U.S. sides of the border and work had begun to haul the shed's remains above the high tide line where it will not present a danger to fishermen.
Materials waiting to be transported back to the American side
For her part, Ms. Parker is looking forward to shedding the image of a vandal and returning to the beach.
"I don't feel that I did anything wrong," she said. "The tide itself is the vandal, really."
Monday, January 15, 2018
Trump And Stalin
According to an excerpt of the speech, Flake will criticize the President for calling the news media the "enemy of the people," calling it "an assault as unprecedented as it is unwarranted."
"Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own President uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies," reads the excerpt. "It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
Flake's prepared speech goes on to say the President's actions should be "a great source of shame" for the Senate and the members of the Republican Party.
"The free press is the despot's enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy," Flake's remarks say. "When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn't suit him 'fake news,' it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press."
Flake, who announced he will not be seeking re-election in 2018, has said he will use his remaining time in the Senate to speak out against the President when he believes it is warranted.
A frequent critic of Trump, Flake announced his decision to retire in a Senate speech in October that bemoaned the "coarsening" tenor of politics in the United States and criticized his own party's "complicity" with Trump's behavior.
The Arizona Republican has said he doesn't have any formal plans to run for President after his time on Capitol Hill.
"I don't rule anything out, but it's not in my plans," Flake told ABC's "This Week" last month.
Sunday, January 14, 2018
Live Writer Problems
Saturday, January 13, 2018
From Cold To Warm And Back To Cold
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
U.S. Couple Fleeing Trump Arrive In Halifax
It’s certainly not something every American can do but some, young enough, seem to have the drive to do what they desire – moving to Canada. And once they discover the free health care….they’re gonna stick around. Well done, folks.
CBC Nova Scotia
'There's a political motivation to it, but it's become so much more than that now'
By Emma Davie, CBC News Posted: Jan 10, 2018 6:00 AM AT Last Updated: Jan 10, 2018 6:00 AM AT
Heather Vargas and her husband Robin Vargas have made the 2,600-kilometre trek to their new home in Halifax with their dog Kingsley in tow. (Emma Davie/CBC)
Heather and Robin Vargas are the kind of people who stay true to their word.
So when the American couple said they were packing up and moving 2,600 kilometres to Halifax in time to celebrate the new year, they meant it.
After a 35-hour drive from Charleston, S.C., the couple rolled into Halifax at 6 a.m. on Dec. 31 with two cars, a U-Haul and their dog Kingsley.
The couple unpacked their boxes in freezing weather after they arrived in Halifax. (Robin Vargas)
"Every now and then, it will hit me a little bit. I'll look at him and be like, 'We made it,'" said 30-year-old Heather Vargas. "When we wake up on our Canadian couch in our Canadian apartment and we're like, 'We actually did this.'
"I knew moving in January to this climate was going to be different. But we had the polar vortex greet us our first week up here. So I think now that we've experienced that, anything else we're OK with."
Her husband, Robin, added: "I couldn't feel my face after five minutes. It was pretty cold."
'We should move to Canada'
The idea to move north started as a joke on the night Donald Trump was voted in as the 45th U.S. president.
"It just felt surreal up until that night. And then it continued to feel surreal every day moving forward. You turn on the news and it's like a reality show that is your reality," said Heather Vargas. "We said, 'We should move to Canada.'"
The couple had a lot of unpacking to do the first few days in Halifax. (Robin Vargas)
They were among the 200,000 or so people that crashed Canada's immigration website on election night.
But the next day, the couple, who are originally from Arkansas, returned to the website and started to research if — and how — they could really do this.
More than just politics
As they began to learn more about the country — and in particular Halifax — Robin Vargas said leaving the United States became about more than just politics.
"There were just a few things that weren't for us.… I don't want to say it's completely Trump — that was a motivating factor for sure — but it was more of an adventure to come out here and try something new," the 33-year-old said.
Family and friends thought the idea was "a little crazy," said Robin. Everyone rolled their eyes at first, said Heather.
"Some of them are very supportive. They say, 'We think this is the bravest thing you've ever done, we support you.' Some of them are taking bets on how long we'll last," said Heather, laughing.
Heather Vargas and her husband Robin Vargas pose on Spring Garden Road in Halifax in April, when they visited the city for the first time. (Robin Vargas)
The couple visited Halifax last spring before applying for, and eventually receiving, permanent residency.
This means they can partake in everything except voting in Canadian elections. But Heather said they still plan to vote in the next U.S. election from abroad.
Unpacking, making friends
On top of dealing with their first storm, the couple has spent their first week in Halifax unpacking, getting drivers' licences, car registrations, health cards and furniture for their new home.
"We discovered Ikea, which has been dangerous but super fun to have that in your town," Heather Vargas said.
Heather Vargas and her husband Robin Vargas unpack in their new Halifax apartment. (CBC)
While they didn't know anyone in Halifax before moving, thanks to a CBC article this summer, many people reached out to offer support and advice, she said.
"We established online friendships and now that we're in the city, we've already gone out to drinks with some of them," she said.
Her husband added: "The people are hands-down just amazing.… If you have any questions, people are just so quick to say, 'Oh here, let me help you out.' We're not used to that."
Applying for jobs
They've also been busy applying for jobs and said they each have a few interviews lined up.
"This is more or less a gamble for us, but we've always had a pretty hard work ethic. We try to do the best we can with any situation that we have and we've always held out pretty well," Robin Vargas said.
Heather Vargas and Robin Vargas toast their new home in Halifax. (Robin Vargas)
In three years, the couple will be able to apply for Canadian citizenship.
And they're planning to stick around — even if a new U.S. president is elected.
"We just have this genuine love for the society, the type of country Canada is, and its politics and its government," Heather Vargas said.
"Of course there's a political motivation to it," added Robin Vargas. "But it's become so much more than that now.
"We honestly couldn't have picked a better place to move to to really try this new adventure."