Monday Reads: Raking Bad

Finnish woman trolls Trump

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

I’m one tired old lady and there’s a long list of things wearing me out including a record breaking cold snap which always bests me and my drafty old house. Then, there’s me waiting and listening for the status of my many friends in California and their various fur babies. I have one friend still sitting in his apartment in Chico, basically surrounded by smoke.

The pictures are overwhelming and the stories even more so. What makes it even more awful is that the Placeholder in the White House thinks that lazy Californians just don’t rake enough leaves and so they ask for these deadly, destructive infernos. Oh, and he can’t even keep the name of the totally destroyed Paradise, California straight. He miscalled it “Pleasure” several times while visiting what remains. This man is a clear and present danger to all living things.

The people he visited were less than enthusiastic. This included some of his voters.

When President Donald Trump rolled into town Saturday, some Camp Fire evacuees in Chico shelters felt like they were a world away, though they were mere miles apart.

Trump joined Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom in the morning for a tour of the devastation to the Paradise area and a visit to the incident base in Chico before heading to Southern California in the early afternoon.

Some evacuees were grateful for his visit. Others were relieved they didn’t have to shake his hand. A few had no idea the president was in Butte County at all.

Paradise resident Michael Reasons, who has been staying at the Neighborhood Church evacuation center in Chico, said that Trump’s visit meant “nothing” to him. Reasons, 50, was walking around with signs for his missing dog Saturday afternoon.

“For me, it doesn’t make a bit of difference,” he said. “I know what kind of person he really is.”

What those impacted by the fire really need right now is positivity, and to know that they are genuinely cared about, Reasons said.

“He really has a hard time showing compassion for, you know, people,” Reasons said. “I don’t really have a lot of respect for the guy.”

Ambrose Reuter, a 68-year-old Paradise resident, said he didn’t vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016 because he didn’t like either candidate, but he appreciated the president paying a visit.

“It meant a lot that he came out personally,” Reuter said between bites of KFC chicken outside of the church.

Paradise resident Laura Owens, who described herself as a Trump supporter, struggled to answer when asked what it meant to her that the President came out. Owens, 46, has been staying at the East Avenue Church in Chico with her three teenagers, parents and two dogs.

The first night, they slept in a tent outside because the shelter was at capacity, she said.

“I heard he was coming, but that’s so far out of this realm,” Owens said. “Even though that’s amazing and it would have been nice if he had come here, I can’t think about that.”

Meanwhile, Paradise resident Joe Redfern, 72, said he was relieved that Trump didn’t make a stop at the East Avenue Church. He suggested that the visit was purely politically motivated.

“He’s only doing this because politically, he’s being forced to do it,” Redfern said. “I don’t think he knows how to show empathy, sympathy. I don’t know how else to describe it, but Donald is for Donald.”

Glenn Murray, of Chico, held a similar opinion. Murray, 53, evacuated to the church from Chico on Nov. 8 and even though the evacuation has been lifted from east Chico, he has returned night after night to visit with the friends he made there.

“He realized California has a lot of money and a lot of power,” he said. “He realized he can’t do what he did in Puerto Rico.”

Paradise resident Kimberly Comeau, age 50, who lost her home on Clark Road, had just a few words about the president’s trip.

“Is he going to throw paper towels at us?” she asked.

Probably the weirdest Trump thing on the fires is what we now know as the “Finnish Forest Raking” method of Forest Fire prevention which is another one of those things cooked up from the Dotard’s brain.

You gotta rake it till you make it.

After President Donald Trump suggested Finland has few wildfires because the nation spends a lot of time “raking and cleaning” forest floors, many were confused. Not least of all the Finns themselves — or the Californians Trump was visiting, whose state has been devastated by fires that have killed at least 76 and burned hundreds of thousands of acres in the past two weeks.

But confused or not, Finns took to social media — vacuum at hand — to prove their dedication to their newfound civic duty.

Under the hashtag #haravointi (“raking”), some Finns spent this weekend grabbing their gardening tools — with the more creative types picking up their vacuums and Roomba devices — and visiting the woods to document their public service.

“Just this afternoon I was busy meeting my raking quota,” one tweet reads.

“Taking pride in a good day’s work maintaining the forest,” says another.

The Finns might not have been serious, but the US president seemed to be. During his visit to Northern California Saturday, Trump told reporters that America should follow the lead of Scandinavian nations like Finland, which “spend a lot of time” on forest preservation.

The Finnish President, of course, denies the entire thing.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said in an interview published Sunday that although President Donald Trump claimed the European leader told him Finns rarely have forest fires because they “spend a lot of time raking,” he doesn’t recall discussing that with Trump when they met last weekend in Paris.

Niinistö told the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat, a CNN affiliate, that the subject of raking was never brought up in his conversations with Trump. He said that they did discuss the California wildfires when they met, and that he told Trump “we take care of our forests.”

The Finnish President told the newspaper that he intended to convey that although Finland is covered by forests, the nation has a good monitoring system which has helped to prevent catastrophic wildfires. He added that he only sees raking in his own yard, and surmised that raking perhaps came to Trump’s mind after he saw firefighters raking some of the burned areas in California.

Still, Trump mentioned raking while surveying the devastation in Northern California on Saturday.

Trump always turns a national disaster into some kind of Monty Python parody of the Minstry of Mayem and Mishap. But, the devastation and loss of life from the fire is real. As usual, the heros are local.

Jeff Evans steers his white Dodge Ram along a narrow dirt road, scanning the blackened trees and ashen ground for two skittish dogs

They come running when they hear the truck, and Evans offers them dog biscuits from the big red box of Milk-Bones he keeps on his floorboard. Good, he said, giving them a pat. They’re doing OK. He can move along.

Checking on the dogs is just one chore on Evans’ list. He’s one of a handful of people left in Concow, Calif., a mountain hamlet tucked deep in the woods that has been under mandatory evacuation orders since the Camp fire tore through here Nov. 8. If he leaves, he can’t get back in.

His neighbors stuck on the outside have been emailing him requests. Because the gas in the generator powering his electricity — and his internet — is limited, he hops online for a few minutes each day, answers their questions and gets going.

“Every single morning until the afternoon, I’m huffing it,” Evans said. “I’m going and going and going. There’s pigs to feed and goats and ducks and chickens.”

Not to mention the eight dogs he’s rescued.

“We’re stuck here anyhow,” he added. “We may as well do something valuable.”

A thin man with a bushy mustache and a quick laugh, Evans, 59, has become an unofficial keeper of Concow. Neighbors send him addresses and ask if he could please go see whether their houses burned down. Almost always, the answer is yes.

From Chico, the nearest city outside the massive evacuation zone, thick smoke obscures the Sierra foothills towns and their devastation.

Okay, this is a story near and dear to my heart because as a fifth grader I started asking my school if I could just opt out of the pledge of allegiance. I felt that there were a lot of nice countries–naming England as one–with flags and similar stated goals. Why not do something like recite the Preamble to the Constitution instead? I remember being being threatened by a Girl Scout Troop leader who thought I shouldn’t be a scout if that’s how I felt.

I do remember suddenly, the pledge disappeared from classrooms in all of the District. I was never sure why though. It could’ve been a visit from my mother or quite likely a District lawyer that showed them they were on the wrong side of the constitution and a SCOTUS decision and any law suit. So, that was around 1966 and you would think since the big court decision was way back in the 1940s that would be that. But, then there is this:Student who refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance expelled, Texas attorney general backs school” from USA Today.

Months after a student was expelled for refusing to stand for her school’s Pledge of Allegiance, the Texas Attorney General is intervening on the school’s behalf.

The mother of Windfern High School senior India Landry launched a legal battle against the Houston-area school, saying her daughter wasn’t able to practice free speech.

India, now 18, was sent home last year after sitting during the pledge. Her mother, Kizzy Landry, said when she came to pick up India, the school provided little details as to why her daughter was kicked out. Later, the principal told the mother”She can’t come to my school if she won’t stand for the pledge.”

India said she sat during the pledge before this incident, and wasn’t punished.

“I don’t think that the flag is what it says it’s for, for liberty and justice and all that. It’s not obviously what’s going on in America today,” India said last year.

Months after a student was expelled for refusing to stand for her school’s Pledge of Allegiance, the Texas Attorney General is intervening on the school’s behalf.

The mother of Windfern High School senior India Landry launched a legal battle against the Houston-area school, saying her daughter wasn’t able to practice free speech.

India, now 18, was sent home last year after sitting during the pledge. Her mother, Kizzy Landry, said when she came to pick up India, the school provided little details as to why her daughter was kicked out. Later, the principal told the mother”She can’t come to my school if she won’t stand for the pledge.”

India said she sat during the pledge before this incident, and wasn’t punished.

“I don’t think that the flag is what it says it’s for, for liberty and justice and all that. It’s not obviously what’s going on in America today,” India said last year.

There was also a lot of ruckus about this when students started refusing to stand for the pledge during Vietnam War protests. This isn’t a new thing and it’s certainly something that I thought was decided by the courts decades again. But then, everything unconstitutional is now up for debate again. From Lawyers.com:

As far back as 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requiring all public school students to recite the pledge of allegiance was a violation of their First Amendment rights, because free speech includes the right not to speak against your beliefs (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)). And as the Court made clear more than 20 years later, public schools must also respect students right to express their opinions through actions (known as “symbolic speech”), as long as they aren’t being too disruptive (Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969).)

The Supreme Court hasn’t directly addressed the issue of students refusing to stand for the pledge or the national anthem—clear examples of symbolic speech. But federal appellate courts have agreed that public schools may not force students to stand during the pledge. And just as public schools (including colleges and universities) shouldn’t punish students for exercising their First Amendment rights, they also shouldn’t withhold privileges—like participation in school sports—for the same actions.

Texas is wrong on this but then I assume they’re going to keep dragging it through the court process to see if Trump has stacked the courts enough to get a different result. Some folks will just not be convinced that this country and its people are not their personal christianist pisspot.

So, that’s it for me. I need to get back to grading oh, and maybe some raking around Swamplandia.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


33 Comments on “Monday Reads: Raking Bad”

  1. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Oh jeez gosh – how astute these bought and paid for Dems are. We sure don’t want to go after rampant corruption or out of control banks, do we? We’ve got POLICY to push – because a GOP led Senate is going to work across the aisle with us!!!!!111 !!!!!!

      Meeks certainly lives up to his name, doesn’t he?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Politico is just pushing Republican talking points.

      • NW Luna says:

        Republicans always make noise about anything the Dems do. We should ignore them. As for “distraction,” the issue of Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors should be a focus of the new House majority.

  2. dakinikat says:

    After a 181-year ban, House Democrats aim to allow religious headwear on the floor
    By MEG CUNNINGHAM Nov 19, 2018, 12:35 PM ET

    https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/181-year-ban-house-democrats-aim-religious-headwear/story?id=59292019&cid=social_fb_abcn

    Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women newly-elected to Congress, is helping spearhead an effort to allow religious headwear, such as hijabs or kippahs, on the House floor.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I don’t get any of this “religious wear” stuff.

      This includes hijabs, yalmukes, crucifixs, whatever that people insist on wearing as a badge of honor.

      I find it irritating because I am unsure what this is supposed to signal to me. I should know that you practice Christianity, Judaism, Sikh, Muslim? This makes you a better person then I am? That your principles are stronger then mine because you pray? My belief is that how and what you practice should be private not blasted all over the place as a symbol of what you believe. Frankly I don’t care.

      It is also my understanding that there is a “supposed” separation of church and state but now, on the congressional floor, we are about to witness a “spearheaded” effort to allow Muslim women to be wear hijabs or kippahs as an expression of their faith.

      I guess I am supposed to applaud this effort but I would feel exactly the same if this were being pushed by Christians or anyone else. Speaking for myself I am fed up to here with the fundie Right forcing their “religious beliefs” down my throat so my “intolerance” covers every other faith demanding “rights” as well.

      Worship whatever makes you happy but keep it to yourself. I don’t need to know.

      • Enheduanna says:

        I think it’s fine – it’s not hurting anyone. As you say – I’m pretty sure there are quite a few crucifixes being worn. I welcome even just the appearance of diversity. What a refreshing contrast to the old white men party.

        OTOH I will agree it’s probably best to be discreet. Although I am atheist I think Matthew 6-5 hits the nail on the head.

        I keep flashing to the scenes in Star Trek movies of their federation councils….hahahaha

      • NW Luna says:

        I’m suspicious of any religious or cultural norms which keep the women covered up but not the men. I don’t care how damn traditional or “respectful” they are. They all have the effect of encumbering or hindering freedom of movement.

      • quixote says:

        Agree! And so do those original Enlightenment thinkers, the French. Once you start allowing some relgious advertising (and that’s what it is: advertising. Perhaps it’s an identity, but it’s still advertising) where do you stop?

        Also agree with Luna about “modesty” dress, as found in way too many religions. Muslims are the ones currently making a big deal of it, but it’s also Orthodox Jews, various super-backward Xtianists, etc. If it was modesty they were worried about, anything unostentatious would do. No, it has to hamper movement and, at “best”, make women invisible. Plus, it’s a big flag for shame culture where it’s somehow up to women to prevent men from thinking or doing certain things. That’s a logical impossibility doomed to failure, which is then of course women’s fault.

        We shouldn’t *begin* to be buying in to that claptrap. It’s the opposite of respectful. To women. (The woke delusions of the anything-non-Western-is-good crowd notwithstanding.)

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        I am fed up with the imaginary friend game. However, whatever they allow so-called Christians to get away with should be allowed for other delusions. No playing favorites.

  3. Enheduanna says:

    Love the bear on the deck…..lol

    My heart is breaking for all the families without a home now and the critters….

    I just hope Dump’s visit finished off the GOP permanently in California. How anyone can give credit to that whiny-ass man-baby fake is beyond me.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Shooting with multiple victims in Chicago.

    • NW Luna says:

      Not again.

      • NW Luna says:

        Shot by her ex-fiance. Male “domestic” terrorism again.

        • quixote says:

          Yeah. That term “domestic” violence is annoying me more and more. Way to disappear both the perps and the victims.

          And then the connotations. Dictionary definition: do·mes·tic (də-mĕs′tĭk) adj. 1. Of or relating to the family or household: domestic chores. … 3. Tame or domesticated. Used of animals. 4. Of or relating to … internal affairs.

          Tame, chores, animals, nobody’s business. When what we’re really talking about is murder and torture to maintain a system of unpaid servants.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Speaking of distractions…. This should piss off the military even more, not to mention that nearly all will miss Thanksgiving with their families.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      I remember that Edwards (blast him for a philanderer but his policy stands were excellent) wanted to contest but Kerry didn’t, or that was the story then. Statistically the results were very, very odd

      • bostonboomer says:

        I remember that too. Kerry was just afraid of being attacked by Republicans. Just think what could have been if Gore and Kerry and fought back.

        • quixote says:

          It’s been the story of our lives for decades now. Repubs trample civil rights and steal elections, Dems say nothing because that would be rude. Or something.

          And here we are.

  7. dakinikat says:

    My internet and tv are going up and down atm. It’s been this way since late this afternoon. I’ll try to keep popping in but it’s getting challenging.

  8. dakinikat says:

  9. OG says:

    Don’t see anything to do to help unless everyone live in cities in high rises. Who wants to do that?

    The Finish President said they take care of their forests. I thought Findland had mostly snow and ice. Never knew they were s big forest country.

  10. NW Luna says:

    Wow — this sounds like a wonderful exhibit.

    The dazzling Harlem Renaissance that flowered nearly a century ago celebrated in Ohio

    …what makes the Harlem Renaissance special — what makes it such a shining moment in American history — is its legacy of literary, artistic and musical brilliance.

    That’s why it matters that “I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100,” a wonderful show at the Columbus Museum of Art, is named for a poem by Langston Hughes. (“Besides,” the poem concludes, “they’ll see how beautiful I am/ And be ashamed,–/ I, too, am America.”)

    That’s why it matters that the first works in the show are portraits of artists and writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Aaron Douglas and W.E.B. Du Bois: They were among the bold, creative spirits who made the Harlem Renaissance happen.

    I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100, through Jan. 20, at the Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio. columbusmuseum.org.