Wednesday, December 16, 2020

MacKenzie Scott Has Been Quietly Giving Away Most of Her Fortune to Charities

If the name Mackenzie Scott doesn't sound familiar, maybe it should.

She's the former wife of the one of the richest people in the world... Jeff Bezos. But that's not why we should all know her name.

She's become a financial angel to charities throughout America by giving away the majority of her fortune.

Four months ago she gifted $1.7 billion to 116 organizations nationwide. She followed that up Tuesday and gave $4.2 billion to 385 organizations; and there's more to come.

At a time when the coronavirus and the economy are major challenges, Scott has given to Goodwill, Meals on Wheels, YMCA and The United Way, the NAACP, Global Fund for Women and hundreds of other organizations to make life easier for Americans.

So on behalf of all average Americans, I'm thanking her for her generosity and humanity.

There are other billionaires that donate to good causes and we generally hear about them - Bill Gates, etc al, and recognize them as household names.

It's time to add Scott. She deserves it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A Season of Hunger: 1 in6 Children Live in Food- Insecure Households

Millions of Americans are more concerned about where their next meal will come from, than the political chaos under the Trump regime.

Food banks are running out of supplies in every state. If not for volunteers who gather and distribute food to the needy, things would be even worse.

The fact is since the coronavirus hit the effects of lockdowns has increased hunger across the nation.

Last year more than 35 million people experienced food insecurity. Experts say this year there will be over 50 millions Americans looking for help to feed their families.

With multiple federal aid programs set to run out soon, many pantries fear they will run out of food.

The crisis is acute. Congress has to get it's act together before the year ends before it gets worse.

The number one thing Congress can do is to pass an economic relief package ASAP. Food is a basic human right and hunger supersedes so many things.

Here's a link to key statistics providing all the challenges Americans face today to put a meal on the table.

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Day Has Arrived: Electoral Votes Are Being Counted

 

At long last. 

The day has arrived when the final act of the 2020 election is completed.

This morning the first results have been recorded by Vermont's electors who cast their three votes for Joe Biden. Later Tennessee cast it's 11 electoral votes for Trump.

This count will be happening throughout the day. Normally it's the least controversial part of a presidential election.

Not this time.

Trump and his minions haven't stopped their assault on fair elections yet. Today crowds of Trump protestors are defying reality and refuse to believe the election is over.

In other words, Trump and his base are poor losers. Their attempt at subverting democracy has failed at every turn. Over 56 judges have ruled against the frivolous lawsuits filed by Trump supporters since Nov. 3rd.

The final slap-down came from the Supreme Court when it refused to entertain Trump's lawyers baseless accusations.

Sometime this evening Biden will address the nation following Electoral College certification. The message? Time to move on from the distractions by a segment of losers in our society.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Something to Look Forward To Every Week: The Sunday Comics

Growing up there was one thing that I looked forward to every Sunday; the Comic section.

While my Dad read the news sections, and my Mother read all the ads, I always curled up somewhere and feasted on the comic strips.

They were in glorious color. Full pages of hilarity that made my Sunday mornings fun. I eagerly followed the adventures of Alley Oop; Barney Google and Snuffy Smith; Blondie; Buck Rogers; and Flash Gordon.

The subjects ranged from adventure, detective, and humor strips to dramatic strips with soap opera situations like Mary Worth.

Some comic strips ran all week and culminated in a color presentation on Sundays. Little Orphan Annie and The Phantom are two great examples.

Some of my favorite current cartoon strips are Garfield; Peanuts; Family Circle and Calvin and Hobbes.

Some of my vintage favorites are Dick Tracy; Tarzan; Nancy; Beetle Baily; Hi and Lois; Broom Hilda; Superman; Prince Valiant; The Flintstones; The Lone Ranger; Mutt and Jeff; Batman; Pogo; and Andy Capp.

In a time when laughter is at a premium, we can still count on the Sunday Comic pages to start our day out right.

Did I fail to mention your favorite strip? If so, let me know what it is. There's nothing like reader input to know if I'm on the right track.

Have an enjoyable Sunday. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

A Quizzical Look at Walls

 

Walls divide. Walls protect.

The Great Wall of China is the longest wall in the world.

People walled-off from civilization are generally poor, and ignorant. It doesn't mean that their not happy.

Being walled-in is a feeling... not an actual wall.

Walls made from curtains, wood, brick, stone, glass, plastic, iron, steel, concrete and adobe. 

There's no end of material to make walls from.

Cardboard boxes make great walls when your a kid playing games that require protection from incoming snowballs during the winter.

Historically, walls leave behind stories for future generations. Examples like The Berlin Wall; The Walls of Jerusalem; The Walls of Jericho; Hadrian's Wall; The Walls of Constantinople; and Trump's Incomplete Wall all give us glimpses of other times.

Try reading Jean Paul Sartre's short story "The Wall" for an inside look at the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

Or, my favorite short story, "The Rats in the Wall" by H.P. Lovecraft (1923). It first appeared in Weird Tales.

Some walls are built not to divide or hide, but to honor military forces, like The Vietnam Wall; and The Military Wall of Honor in Schenectady, New York.

 As Joseph Fort Newton once said, "Men build too many walls and not enough bridges."

Friday, December 11, 2020

Something To Look Forward To: New 'Indiana Jones' Movie

What America needs right now is entertainment as an escape valve from the stress of the pandemic, and a presidential election from hell. 

Reality has really been shitty. But you know that.

Watching Netflix and hundreds of other entertainment platforms has been the salvation for millions of stressed out Americans.

THE FUTURE

He's coming back! One of my favorite escapism movie heroes, Indian Jonesportrayed by Harrison Ford, has been given the go ahead to produce.

THE RETURN

Disney confirmed that Indiana was grabbing his whip and ramming on his hat for a 5th movie yesterday. It's been 41 years (Wow! It's been that long) since Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. 

The last film, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull came out in 2008, 20 years after the third movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was released. 

Prior to that there was Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984).

Indiana's new adventure is due out in 2022, and as far as I can tell it doesn't have a title yet.

Meanwhile, I'll be consuming all of the escapism type movies I can find, joining millions of other Americans.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

A Couple of Thoughts About Dealing With Reality

Reality has always been a problem for people.

That's where daydreams came in. 

Humans physically stuck in harsh environments needed an outlet from their misery. Thinking about being somewhere else more pleasant gave them something to hope and dream for.

But what happens when people can no longer tell the difference between what's real and what's imaginary?

That question is just one of the many dilemmas Americans are facing this year.

Trump and his supporters have challenged every aspect of the election that Joe Biden won with ridiculous court cases that have been thrown out with scorn. The score is: Courts 56 - and Trump 0

Be that as it may, Republicans are defying the reality of the election and court losses to curry future favors. GOP pols are looking the other way as Trump tries to overturn the election results.

We have a constitution and it held up. This time. Barely.

Millions of Trump's followers have suspended reality, like it was negotiable, and have entered into Trump's world. A world where believers don't wear face masks because Trump doesn't, despite what healthcare professionals advise. 

Like Jim Jones followers, Trump followers are willing to die from COVID-19 if he asks them to.

It's difficult to understand how intelligent human beings can get so carried away with an alternate reality that they lose touch with the real world around them.

Daydreams are one thing. 

Massive delusions are quite another.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

We All Need a Purpose in Life

Long story...shortened

I have PTSD, but have learned how to live with it.

Recently, I discovered that I had a purpose again to my life. Frankly, up until now, I didn't think I was worth much to anyone anymore.

I saw myself more as a burden to my wife of 46-years, Shirley. She's a champ. Without her I wouldn't be blogging. More on that in a future post.

The main thing I want to convey today is that I'm now caring for my father (he's 92-two years old) fulltime as his Alzheimer's has been getting worse lately. My older sister was overwhelmed with his increasing needs.

That's when Shirley and I dedicated ourselves to making his last days as comfortable as possible and brought him up to Medford, Oregon where we live. 

Now it's time for me to re-connect even more to humanity. Challenges will come. It's life. We know that. We're counting on love and compassion to carry the days ahead.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

My Evolving Blog is a Work in Progress

 

WORK in PROGRESS

I'm still passing judgement on priorities for this evolving blog.

I'm experimenting with this new format. Not sure I like it yet.

This format will only offer one short subject a day with an accompanying photo. Maybe that's a good thing. People tend to read shorter articles these days.

What do you think? Email me at richarddavestancliff@gmail.com and share your input. Have a great day!



Monday, November 30, 2020

Taking a Blog Break: New Format/ Direction Coming Soon For AS IT STANDS

 

Pandemic Diary - Day 151

Dear Diary,

The election is over and so is my political crusade against the Trump regime.

It also means that I'm reducing the political content in this blog to one-third of what it was.

In addition, I'm reducing the coronavirus coverage and ending my Pandemic Diary format on December 12th.

Some Background on this Blog

The name of my first newspaper column while in college (1975-1979) was, AS IT STANDS. It was a silly play on my last name, but has endured for 43 years - in one form or another.

When I became the editor of The Desert Trail (1983) Newspaper in 29 Palms, California my college column found a new home throughout my journalistic career.

Photo on left: I'm sitting on the left (pointing a finger) at some guy (can't remember his name) who was running for judge in the county.

It was on live radio (1985), and the host (in the middle) was Gary Dainuagh. 

It was my first foray into political reporting, but certainly not my last.

AS IT STANDS has appeared in daily and weekly newspapers for 24 years. 

During that span, I was the managing editor of a group of five newspapers in Palm Springs. From there I went on to become a publisher of three newspapers in Northern California. 

The last time my column was in a newspaper - The Times-Standard, (Eureka, Calif) was April 1, 2012 (here's a link to my columns there).

The next home for my traveling column was this blog. The rest is history. Look to the right of this page and you'll see all of my past posts.

I'm taking a blog break and will return with a wider variety of content. Hopefully, something for everybody. See you again on Saturday, Dec.12th.

Peace out, dude and dudettes!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

What Does a 'Joker' Spider, a Pigeon, and a Dormouse Have in Common? Unique Stories

 Pandemic Diary - Day 250

Dear Diary,

I'm always amazed when scientists keep finding new species amidst the extinction of hundreds of others daily.

A recent example is the discovery of the "Joker" spider. Yup. That Joker. Batman's longtime nemesis (shown above). 

The newfound spider wears a striking red-and-white pattern on its back that resembles the Joker's unnerving smile with his white facial makeup. At least that's what the person who named it thought.

It's debatable.

Under Not All Pigeons Are Created Equal

What do you think a pigeon is worth these days?

Recently a Belgian racing pigeon (who knew they raced?) fetched a record price of 1.9 million dollars.  

Meet two-year old "New Kim" (Shown above) who set a new world record price at an auction in Knesselare, Belgium on November 15th.

Really Embarrassing: Glutton Dormouse Trapped in Bird Feeder

The dormouse that you see crammed into this bird feeder was apparently plumping up for the winter.

He did such a good job that he had to be rescued after becoming so chubby he couldn't escape.

All was well however, when someone eased him out and he waddled to a nearby hedgerow.

Thanks for stopping by.

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