Medicare in Peril

INTERESTING STUFF – 19 November 2016


Wow – it's been a hard slog to get through this past week, hasn't it. As a result, I wasn't paying as much attention as usual to collecting items for this post.

Given what I was spending most of my time on, about half today are related to our great political upheaval. If you're tired of that, well there are a handful of others that will, I believe, brighten your day.


Whew – work restoring the interior and exterior of the U.S. Capitol dome has been going on since 2013. Surely you've noticed the scaffolding during these three years every time the news used a shot of that building.

Apparently, the project came in under budget at about $60 million dollars. Here is a video about it:

There are a lot of before-and-after photographs at The Atlantic website along with some terrific historical photos dating to the dome's original construction in the 1860s. Worth your time.


On Tuesday, the Oxford Dictionaries announced the international “word of the year.” It's a hyphenated word this time, “post-truth,” an adjective. The official definition as it will appear in the dictionaries:

”Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

You can read about why it was chosen at the Oxford Dictionaries website where you can also find out about the other words on the shortlist – alt-right, Brixiteer and coulophobia among them.


There is a lot of reporting like this these days:

”On Sunday night, Hadas Gold, a Politico media writer, began receiving threats on Twitter. One image superimposed a yellow star of David on her shirt and a bloody bullet hole in her forehead. Another photoshopped her face on a corpse in a concentration camp oven.

“The message that came with the photos: 'Don’t mess with our boy Trump, or you will be first in line for the camp.'”

Horrendously explicit anti-Semitic images and pamphlets are being snailmailed to Jewish journalists. I won't post examples on my blog; you can see some here.

In addition, there are many incidents of anti-Muslim attacks and slurs. One of the most heartbreaking is Muslim mothers trying to keep their daughters safe by imploring them to not wear hijab out of the house.

And of course, our country's old standby - many more aimed at African Americans. There is a long list of examples from Twitter here that will make you cry.

This is how it is now for non-Christians and people of color in the United States.


Remember last Monday when I told you about how Americans are wearing simple safety pins to show their solidarity with people of color and immigrants who are too often now in danger? I explained that it had begun last June by people in Briton who disagree with the Brexit vote.

Now it turns out that the history of wearing simple pins as protest is even older than that. In case you missed the comment from 83-year-old Patricia Read on that post, here is what she wrote:

”I had the enormous good fortune to live in Uruguay and Argentina in the early 1960s. One of the stories I learned from my British, Australian and other expat friends was that during WWII the custom was to wear a straight (common) pin.

“Generally it was worn in the lapel. This was also being done in England. The reason was to 'prick Hitler's balloon.'

“Imagine how happy I was to see that same spirit come out of England again. But how unhappy that it has to be so.”

So for people who say the safety pin trivializes the issue, instead of that we now know - thank you, Patricia Read - that it carries a powerful, historical precedent.


Vice president-elect Mike Pence attended last night's performance of Hamilton in New York City where the audience loudly booed him as he entered the theater.

After the final curtain call, Brandon Dixon who plays Aaron Burr, addressed Pence directly from the stage with the cast gathered around him

Some of the audio is muffled so here is a transcript of the main point:

"We have a message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out. Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton American Musical, we really do.

"We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights.

"But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.

"Again, we truly thank you for [inaudible] this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women, of different colors, creeds and orientations."


That's the contention of this video. What do you think?


A solitary dish washing robot living out his life in the back room of a restaurant is enlightened to the world that exists beyond his four walls and with the help of a small friend he breaks free of confinement.

A lovely, little short film by student Tom Teller which was produced on a budget of $2,000 in the spring semester of 2015.

You can see more of Teller's work at Vimeo.


TGB reader Katie send me a link to a story about * that ends like this:

”When the levers of power are seized by the small hands of hateful men, you work hard, you stand with those who are most vulnerable, and you don't give up until it's morning again. The rest is commentary.”

That's not giving anything away because the story that gets to that final paragraph is haunting, smart and compelling. It is called, What to Do About Trump? The Same Thing My Grandfather Did in 1930s Vienna.

There are important things to learn between the title and the ending. You can do that here.


What's a Scottie pinwheel? It's so cute your smile will break your face. And thank Darlene Costner for that.

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.


Thanks Ronnie. We needed this respite after a rather tumultuous week.
Right now America could use a few good Scottie pinwheels.

I do far more than my share of reading and watching the news. And yet, somehow, I managed to be totally unaware of the word "post-truth" until it was named Word of the Year this week. Apparently my electon-year bunker is more secure than I'd imagined.

Thank you so much for posting the Hamilton speech. I had heard, on the news, of the VP-elect's attendance at the play. I'm glad to read the words directed to him by the outstanding cast. Bravo.

So struggling to deal with where we are, but "post-truth" hit me as to why I am feeling so much anger. Coincidentally, yesterday I adopted a stance that will probably have me unfriended on Facebook by many friends and family, but I am determined to see it through. In every instance I encounter that calls for fact checking, I will comment and link to or hoaxes. com or Fact or Fiction or whatever. I'm so done with letting my FB be filled with lies and distortions. May be off FB before I can make it an official New Year's Resolution. I will try to carry this forward in all areas of contacts as well.

Climate deniers and haters be damned! No apologies.

The piece from Liel Lebowitz about what her Viennese grandfather knew is so wise, so clear. We don't need recriminations; we need to find our values and stick by them with eyes open.

Another piece, by a wise old friend who has seen a lot, Tom Engelhardt, is also very much worth reading for a historical contextualization of how we got here. It's not a happy picture, but we now know we are not in happy circumstances.

After reading the piece by Liel Lebowitz I just had to share it on my Face Book page. Thank you Ronni.

I felt it validated by decision to not 'make nice' and give * a chance. The horrible results of doing so are that by giving * time we are giving him time to solidify his hold and do great harm. We MUST start fighting now and never stop until this take-over of our government has ended.

Donnie, as during campaign, keeps media and public attention diverted to shiny objects - in this instance on the Hamilton audience boos, to distract from his settlement of his fraud case. Donnie paid $25m to settle his fraud university case.

Thank you for the Scottie pinwheel. It brought a real smile to my face for the first time since the election. I'm a Scottie owner three times now,but am now on my last Scottie and last dog.

He'll do his darnedest to silence the media. I hope we as seniors encourage young people to read newspapers. Too many of them get their notions of the world from tainted and slanted sources.

We'll need investigative journalism now more than ever to keep informed on what the bastards are up to.

Very respectful statement to Pence from cast of "Hamilton".

* saw fit to twitter that "Our wonderful future V.P. was harassed last night... this should not happen!'

Then further "The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!"

So now we can't even make a respectful comment to one of *'s staff?

I can hardly wait until somebody actually is rude and disrespectful.

Thank you, Ronni, and thank you, Darlene, for the Scottie Pinwheel. It helped.

And Tom Teller's short film was incredibly moving.

But oh-the-horrible-news-that-just-keeps-pouring-in. The architect speaking at the end of the video about the restoration of the Capitol Dome said, "... the beacon of hope for millions around the world", but it's hard to believe in his words today. As Jon Stewart said, "Nobody asked * what makes America great". The values that made it once a "beacon of hope" and that are being trampled daily now is one answer.

Thank you, Ronni, and thank you, Katie, for your contributions to the question of "what to do".

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