Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Calling all Trump supports...and all Clinton supporters...Calling all Voters...

Hi, all. I'm back, with more to say about this upcoming election. Any of  you that know me very well know that I usually do not choose to be public with my opinions about politics, in general, but this election has me feeling very differently. One thing I will get on the table right up front is that I will NOT support either Clinton or Trump. These are not good choices by any measure, and I'm not even talking about all of the he said/she said crap that is being slung back and forth between the two, which I'm confident most of you find as abhorrent as I do. Both of them seem to be determined to expand government. Expanded government automatically means higher taxes. Who wants that? Well, besides 'our' politicians. Clinton is also for taking guns away from everyone and for partial birth abortion. Even many of you who consider yourselves liberals don't support either of those. Trump is all for building a wall between us and Mexico (do you suppose it will work as well for us as it did for China?) and frisking people indiscriminately. Like those will work. These are crazy extreme ideas from both of these candidates, and will only serve to divide our country further. We must ask ourselves, do we really want more divisiveness in our country? I don't.

So what are our options? Well, the first and best option is NOT to vote for either of them, but to vote third party. I'm hearing a lot of arguments against doing so, and I'm here to tell you, you're drinking the kool-aid. Our system of government is NOT a two party system. It is a multi-party system, and it is up to us as voters to teach these politicians that we are sick of the garbage they are spewing at us. If the Democrats and Republicans can't offer candidates that are reasonable (I'm not even saying "good", but just NOT bad) choices, we will, as an electorate, choose a third-party candidate who will be a voice of reason in Washington.

It is no secret that I have been strongly advocating for Evan McMullin. I won't go so far as to say that he is a perfect candidate, but when compared to Clinton and Trump, he comes out smelling like a rose. When he talks he doesn't raise his voice. Score 1 for Evan. He actually has experience in Washington, which may not seem so great to those of you who support Trump because your sick of "business as usual" in Washington, but I would remind you that Carter ran on that same platform in 1976, and he was pretty much useless in Washington because he never learned the art of compromise. Let us not forget that there is a reason Carter was booted out after one term. McMullin has spent time in the CIA and working on foreign policy in Washington. That automatically makes him better qualified to deal with foreign policy than either Clinton or Trump. McMullin bills himself as a conservative, but he is more moderate. I firmly believe that he has the best potential for reaching across the aisle and finding ways to compromise on some of the key issues that we, the voters, care about. Yes, I think we need to tighten our borders, but I don't think a fence is the best way to handle that. We also need a path to citizenship for those whose only crime is crossing the border, and whose children are citizens of the U.S. by birth. This is an issue we can compromise on.

And when it comes to compromise, that is what I'm talking about. All of us, liberals and conservatives, let's work out our own compromise and band together to send Washington the message that if they can't or won't offer us decent choices for candidates we will make our own choice. Vote for Evan McMullin, and make a statement as well as a decision your conscience can live with. 

                               "To him who has ears, let him hear."

Thus ends this segment of my thoughts on this election. Since this is my blog, and I am already well aware of how contentious the discussions are about the election, comments are closed. I hope at the very least, I have provided some food for thought.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Taking a Detour - My Perspective on the 2016 Election

After much consideration, I feel strongly that the time has come for me to put my thoughts about the coming election into words, so I'm hi-jacking my blog for this purpose. Many of you know that Norm and I are backing Evan McMullin's candidacy for President, and probably wonder why. There are many reasons, but here are just a few.

First, let me assure you that we are NOT supporting Hillary Clinton, which we have already been accused of. NO! A vote for Evan McMullin is a vote FOR Evan McMullin, and not for or against anyone else. Just because we don't support your candidate of choice, don't assume that we do support your opposition. One thing I learned in a writing class I took in college is about "slant". The use of various forms of words to denote a negative or positive viewpoint. It has left me somewhat jaded about much of the news, but here's one thing I can tell you about slant. It is unreasonable to accuse me of being "Anti-Trump", when you would only describe yourself as "Pro-Trump". If you describe yourself as "Pro-Trump", then in all fairness, you should describe me as "Pro-McMullin".

Another argument I have heard is that "third-party candidates never win." Let's talk about that. First, let me state that this comment is not true. You may have seen the meme on Facebook that says "A Vote for Lincoln is a Vote for Douglas". And, yes, I have seen the number of blogs that argue that Lincoln was not a third party candidate. But lets take a look at the historical record, and then you can decide for yourself. Note, first, that Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, so by the time he ran for office the U.S. had already had 60 years of elected Presidents. In 1860, there were THREE other candidates in addition to Lincoln for President: Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas. Prior to 1858 when Lincoln ran for senate as a Republican, he had served as a representative of the Whig Party, which had been the primary opposition party to the Democratic party up to that point. On July 6, 1854 the Republican party was formed, and eventually replaced the Whig party as the primary opposition to the Democratic party. Now, if my math is any good, that means the Republican party was ONLY 6 YEARS OLD when Abraham Lincoln ran as the Republican presidential candidate. In our day and age, we think only of the Democrats and Republicans as the primary opposition parties during an election, but at the time Lincoln was elected, that wasn't the case. In my view, the Republican Party WAS the third (or fourth) party at the time of the 1860 election. I will grant that a third party candidate has not been elected President since then, but that does NOT mean it can't happen. It is on us as voters to make that decision, and not to allow power-hungry egotists to make that decision for us.

Now, to move on to the next part of the question. Why would I (well, we - both Norm and I - we are together on this) choose a Libertarian or Independent candidate? The best answer I can give to that is that I feel disenfranchised by the Republican party. While I have never declared party membership, intending always to identify as an independent, I do espouse conservative (and what I hope would be considered christian) values, both morally and fiscally, and have felt that, until 12 years ago, the Republican Party best represented my interests and values. In the past 12 years, however, I feel like the Republican party has moved away from me, and no longer represents the conservative values that I hold dear. If the Republican Party won't represent my interests, then I will be on the look-out for a candidate/party that will. This year, that person is Evan McMullin. I also believe that by choosing a third-party candidate, I am pushing against the two-party system, and by doing so, requiring those who would run for elected positions to straighten up and fly right. I want the people I vote for to have sense of responsibility to the people, good character, integrity, to be able to control their anger, and not come across as power-hungry. I want better choices when I go to the poll to vote, and neither Clinton nor Trump represent any choice at all. Can anyone honestly tell me that they have any respect for these two? If you don't respect them, why, oh why, would you ever want them to be the leader of our country???

Thus ends this segment of my thoughts on this election. Since this is my blog, and I am already well aware of how contentious the discussions are about the election, comments are closed. I hope at the very least, I have provided some food for thought.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Another Great Day!

I'm sitting in the Gaither's Special Country concert, and thinking what a fantastic day it has been, and how fast the week seems to be flying by. The fiddler just played "The Orange Blossom Special" and burned it up. Joyce Martin sang "Nine to Five", and could easily give Dolly a run for her money. Levi Bowman, son of Becky Isaacs Bowman had the crowd as singing along on "Back Home, Again". Adam Crabb could make you cry when he croons Hank Williams "Whippoorwill".

This is the icing on the cake on a day that has already been filled with sea kayaking, fudge that was made here in Alaska, another afternoon, concert, and another excellent dinner in the main dining room. Like I said, "such a great day."

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Cruising the Tracy Arm Fjord

Here is a small taste of some of the grandeur we have witnessed on this trip. This is Sawyer Glacier. On Tuesday we cruised into Tracy Arm, and this is a part of what we saw. The landscape here in Alaska is quite rugged, and stunning scenery abounds. Yesterday we got off the ship in Juneau and took the Glacier Express bus up to Mendenhall Glacier. The first thing we saw was a mama black bear with her cub, fishing for salmon. Then we walked up to Nugget Falls and spent a couple of hours soaking in the beauty and taking pictures. After that we hiked back down to the Visitors Center where Norm was happy to be able to purchase His senior Federal Park pass. We saw a short movie that described details about the Mendenhall Glacier, and viewed a few dioramas with the same theme. By then we were getting tired and hungry, so we went back to the drop point and caught the next Glacier Express bus back to the dock.

Lunch was found at Tracy's Crab Shack, and was a fun experience, if pricey. We shared a "number 1" which included a king crab leg, an order of crab cakes, and crab bisque. We were both pretty hungry, so we took the option of adding a second leg to the order. The crab was succulent, and nearly melted in our mouths. After we were done, Norm agreed that it was worth the cost.

Last night was not a music night, but Andy Andrews was the featured guest speaker, and he had some good things to say. Stay tuned...more to come, later.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gaither Cruise - It's more awesome than we could have imagined!

We are into the second full day of cruising, and it has been amazing! We have already had four concerts, and each one is better than the one before. We've seen the Gaither Vocal Band, The Martins, The Isaacs, Charlotte Ritchie, Wesley Pritchard, Gene MacDonald, Buddy Green, Reggie and Ladylove Smith, Russ Taff, Angela Primm and motivational speaker Andy Andrews. All of the artists are so personable. I've had personal conversations with Ladylove Smith, Angela Primm, and Jonathan Martin and enjoyed having an opportunity to talk to them a little bit. I also shook hands with Adam Crabb (GVB), and said "hi" to Becky Isaac Bowman - who I saw on the Lido deck the very first day of the cruise.

Our staterooms seem spacious, and the food is wonderful. Last night was our first Gala night, and it was fun to see all of the ladies and gentlemen dressed up in their finest. We have another concert early this afternoon noon, and then this afternoon around 3:00 pm we should enter the Tracy Arm. We're hoping for more photo op's. Lunch will be a salmon bake by the Lido pool, today.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, will be our first port day, when we pull into Juneau. Norm and I are planning to hop on a shuttle and go up to Mendenhall Glacier and take pictures (you're all so surprised, right?).

This had definitely been the trip of a lifetime, so far. Will try and report in, again, later in the week.

Blessings to all!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gaither Alaskan Cruise - 48 hours and counting!

It's almost here, and I am so excited, I can hardly stand it. Planning has been going on for months, and to have the countdown down to 48 hours seems unbelievable. I have my checklist for what to pack finely tuned, and started putting clothes in the suitcase last night. Just a few things left to pickup at the local discount store, and the shopping will be done. It's going to be great! Can't wait!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Quinoa and Tofu One-Pan dinner

So - no excuses - just haven't been here in a while. But - I have a recipe request, and this is the best place for me to share it. This is one of my original recipes, though I'm sure you can find similar ones elsewhere on the internet. This one is customized for my families preference. So - here goes:

Quinoa and Tofu One-Pan dinner

3 T coconut oil or olive oil (most recipes call for 2 T, but that is never quite enough for me when I'm cooking)
2 cloves garlic, chopped or put through a garlic press
1 med/lg onion, chopped
1 lb firm tofu, drained and cubed
2 C Quinoa (if you don't buy clean quinoa, make sure you clean it before using. The brand I buy comes already cleaned)
1 whole tomato, chopped
1 T curry powder
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t garlic powder or granulated garlic
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
4 C chicken broth or water, or a combination of the 2 (I used 3 cups home-made chicken broth and 1 cup water)
2 C fresh spinach, stems removed and chopped

Using medium high heat and an extra deep 12-inch frying pan, heat the oil and saute the garlic and onion until the onion turns translucent. Add the tofu and seasonings. Continue frying until the tofu just starts to turn brown. Add the quinoa, broth, and tomato. When the broth starts to bubble, turn the heat under the pan down to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the spinach, and simmer 5 minutes more. Serve! This recipe lends itself to all sorts of variations, especially changing the seasonings. If you're not a fan of curry, but like italian, use oregano and sweet basil in place of the curry powder, coriander, and cumin. If Mexican is more your style, leave out the curry powder and coriander. Increase the cumin to 1 teaspoon and add a quarter teaspoon chili powder. At the end of the cooking time, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped cilantro and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Have fun coming up with your own combinations. Enjoy!