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Ovation: Young Man Gives Shirt Off His Back To Shivering Stranger.

1There’s so much madness happening around us. Armed civilians are holding federal buildings hostage. Vigilante passengers on a flight from New York to Chicago hog-tied a woman who supposedly attacked a flight attendant. Across the U.S., folks are lining up in bitter cold temperatures to buy a chance to win a record-breaking $1.4-billing-plus Powerball lottery jackpot while Sylvester Stallone is winning acting awards. The world has gone mad. It’s hard to find good news.

Twenty-one-year-old New Yorker, Lazaro Nolasco, encountered a beautiful moment last Friday evening and he captured it on video. Having boarded a somewhat empty Brooklyn-bound A train in Washington Heights, he witnessed a young man approach an elderly man who was sitting alone, shirtless and shivering, and who appeared to be unwell. As temperatures in the city neared freezing, Nolasco recorded the interaction between the elderly man and the Good Samaritan.

The Good Samaritan, literally, removed the shirt that he was wearing and helped the older man put it on before giving him a hat as well.

The younger man, allegedly, took the older man to a nearby hospital once they got off the train.

Ellen“It is strange to get an award for being nice and generous and kind which is what we’re all supposed to do with one another. That’s the point of being a human.” – Ellen DeGeneres, accepting the 2016 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Humanitarian

It’s certainly wonderful to see this reminder that random acts of kindness continue to take place around us. It might seem that we have to look a little harder to find them, but they’re happening. Kindness shouldn’t make headlines, but it should also not be ignored.


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Copyright © 2016

Diatribe: Tonya Couch, A “Woman With Means”, Is Unhappy With Her Jail Cell.

Tonya CouchOnly once in my lifetime have I checked into a motel room where I just could not bring myself to stay. I had reserved a room overlooking a mountainside stream in a popular tourist destination in the mountains. When I arrived at the motel and the clerk gave me a key, it was for a room in the motel’s “other building” which appeared to be a much older structure and did not have a particularly remarkable view. In fact, the room was pretty gross.

Feeling like I’d stepped onto the set of a Hitchcock thriller, and not wanting to make a federal case out of the disappointment I was feeling, I tried my best to make the best of it. But I simply could not bring myself to spend the night in that room. It had a dampness to it, and a musty smell, as if it had been shut tight for ages. After finding another, more expensive, room at a nearby motel the key to the disappointing accommodation was returned. It had been determined that paying for two rooms in order to not sleep in one of them was money well spent.

People are often disappointed by the lodging encountered as they travel. But rarely are they self-described women “with means” who are annoyed by the conditions of a jail cell after once finally detained after fleeing the country with her fugitive teenage son.

“She expressed a slight displeasure about her accommodations, and I told her this was a jail and not a resort.” – Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson.

Yesterday, Tarrant County, Texas, Sheriff Dee Anderson said at a news conference that Tonya Couch … bless her heart … the “woman with means” who was arrested at the Mexican beach resort city of Puerto Vallarta with her son, Ethan, who invoked “affluenza” as a defense after killing four people in a drunk driving crash … complained about the conditions of her jail cell.

Tonya Couch appears in court in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. (Rodger Mallison/Star-Telegram via AP, Pool)

Tonya Couch made her first appearance in a Texas courtroom yesterday on a charge of hindering the apprehension of a felon. She did not enter a plea because her attorney was not present for the arraignment. Her bond was set at one million dollars. When a motion was later filed asking for the bond to be reduced, the judge opposed, stating Couch is “a woman with means who can get out of the country with the right connections.” Clearly a flight risk, I think she should remain behind bars.

Her son is still being held at an immigration detention center in Mexico City after winning a delay in deportation, so his case could linger on for months. That should give her time to grow accustomed to her unpleasant accommodations.


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Copyright © 2016

Ovation: Six-Year-Old Lyle Drummonds Knows How To Date.

00000At my house, we’ve determined that young people don’t really know how to date any more. It doesn’t seem like they go on “dates” like we did when we were young. We don’t see them schedule one-on-one time together where they go to dinner and a movie, for example, or even just a walk in the park … everything seems to be done spontaneously and in groups. I think it’s great that all the girls can be friends with all the boys and it’s not a big deal if one of the girls likes girls or a couple of the guys like each other, but I can’t figure out when they expect the opportunity to fall in love to present itself.

Of course, when I was younger, I didn’t have social media. Youth of today can learn every last detail about one another, and get answers to every question they might have, before they ever meet face to face. Smartphone technology enables them to meet potential dates without so much as getting out of bed and taking a shower. I have to cut them some slack … they really DON’T know how to date. They don’t really NEED to know how to date.

Six-year-old Lyle Drummond’s mother, reality TV star Nikkole Paulun, has been taking him on monthly “dinner dates” for four months now in an effort to teach him how to date … by being respectful, courteous and having good manners.

Recently, she posted this picture of Lyle, and the accompanying text, on social media.

Lyle DrummondsOnce a month my 6 year old son takes me out on a dinner date. He opens doors for me, pulls out my chair, talks about his day & asks me how mine was, pays the bill with money he earned by doing chores, and even tips the waiter/waitress. By doing this I am teaching him how to treat a lady & how to take her on a proper date. How to show that he respects the woman he loves (right now that would be mommy). We put our phone and iPad away (except to take this photo) and sit and talk to each other about our days, things we want to do, etc. I’m teaching him proper table manners and that it’s rude to sit on your phone on a date with your mom or with anyone else. He learns the value of money and how to manage it. He learns how to do math as we add up what we want and make sure we have 15% of it to leave for a tip. Yes he is young but I believe this is something he should learn now. It’s never too early to teach your child how to properly respect others, especially women. As a woman who has been abused & treated like crap in the past, it’s extremely important to me that I teach my son how to show respect. Too many men these days have no idea how to treat women or how to take them on a nice date. It’s nice to know my son won’t be one of them. 

While it might appear that Lyle’s mother carries emotional baggage from her younger years that possibly motivate these evenings with her young son, I applaud her efforts in teaching him by example. Hopefully, she can surround him with other adults and well-mannered children whose good habits he can also mimic. The time that she spends with him will certainly be beneficial to him later in life.

It should be noted, however, that Lyle’s mother isn’t necessarily teaching him how young women today wish to be treated so much as how she believes they should be treated. If observations at my house are any indication, many young women of the 21st century prefer to be treated as “one of the guys” who might pick up the tab on every second “dinner date” or, Heaven forbid, take a young man on what Nikkole would call a “proper date” instead of waiting for him to ask her out. Statistically, the possibility exists that Lyle could, possibly, date another young man.

Regardless of the circumstances, when the time comes Lyle Drummonds will be prepared to date. He’ll recognize good manners, be respectful and attentive when dining out. Hopefully, he’ll be a better tipper than his mother.


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Copyright © 2016

Diatribe: Hey! Nobody’s Comin’ Fer Ya Guns!

download2Earlier this week, in a live address to the nation, President Barack Obama explained new executive actions intended to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer. After years of increasing gun-related violence, and a deeply divided Congress clearly unwilling to address the situation, the President took it upon himself to outline four basic plans:

  • Keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks – If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks. The FBI is overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient and will hire more than 230 additional examiners and other staff to help.
  • Make our communities safer from gun violence – The new budget will include funding for 200 new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents and investigators to help enforce gun laws.
  • Increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system – The Obama Administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care and both the Social Security Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services are working to implement procedures that will remove unnecessary legal barriers preventing states from reporting relevant information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for specific mental health reasons.
  • Shape the future of gun safety technology – The President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.

Needless to say, just moments after the conclusion of his announcement, “gun enthusiasts” and “anti-gun control advocates” quickly twisted his words to claim that their Second Amendment Rights were being trampled, that they should be able to give their guns to their children (crazy or not), and/or collect as many weapons as they want all without government interference. Not surprisingly, conservative mouthpieces (and FOX News nitwits) began spouting borderline treasonous babble in an effort to create news and drive ratings.

PalinAnd, naturally, because she thinks people care, the Queen of Teabagistan, Sarah Palin, had to chime in to share her two cents. Observe her vast knowledge of Constitutional Law in the following well-written and insightful <sarcasm> message.

“Obama wept. America is forced to weep over Obama’s release of violent criminals into our communities – like the 121 illegal aliens who committed murders after they were released from custody by the Obama administration instead of being deported. And that doesn’t take into account the others we don’t know about.

The whole world weeps waiting for American leadership in these troubled times as Islamic savages commit genocide against the Christians of the Middle East and terrorize innocent people in cities across the globe.

Meanwhile, Obama wept as he blamed law-abiding patriots for the nation’s insecurity and sought to strip them of the Constitutional rights that generations of American shed blood to protect.

Obama wept, while we all continue to weep for our country and the civilized world.” – Sara Palin, writing for Breitbart.

A quick review of the Second Amendment and its history should remind Mrs. Palin that Americans are guaranteed, in addition to the right to own guns, the right to a well regulated militia. The President isn’t stripping Constitutional rights from law-abiding patriots … he’s trying to make the nation a safer place in the future. He’s trying to regulate the weapons that are lying around back seats of pickup trucks and under beds and in glove boxes.  He’s trying to keep people with mental health problems from buying guns. He’s trying to keep children from pulling triggers. And he’s doing it because nobody else is doing anything … and because HE CAN.  Because he’s the President.

Openly defying and brazenly disrespecting your President, while hoping that he fails, is not called patriotism … it is called treason.

Wouldn’t it be great if people with guns could only shoot at other people with guns?


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Copyright © 2016

Ovation: Saving “Miss Ice River”

I spent my childhood in a beautiful area of the country where there were many forest preserves and parks. Consequently, herds of deer became famous for gathering and growing in the area. On Sunday afternoon drives to visit our grandparents, my siblings and I would gaze along the roadside hoping to catch a glimpse of a deer as we passed. They were always so beautiful and exciting to see. It felt like a rare opportunity.

Today I find a similar situation near my home. But contemporary deer are not shy like those of my youth, and are sometimes found standing in my driveway when I wake in the morning or casually lumbering across the lawn as I walk our dogs. I almost hit one that was standing on the side of the road as I drove home just last night.  They’re certainly not as frightened by the approach of humans as I remember their ancestors once were.

Recently, Minnesotan, Steven Peterson, risked his life to save a young deer after it fell through the ice covering a freezing river. He didn’t know how long the poor deer had been stuck in the Kettle River outside of Duluth when he first spotted her but knew that he had to help. Because he is deaf and he thought it would take far too long to explain the situation to a 911 operator, he decided to crawl out across the ice to rescue the deer himself.

Using a tree branch to help distribute his weight across the ice, he managed to tie a rope around the deer’s neck and safely pull the animal, who was covered in ice but had only minor wounds, to shore.  He stayed with her for about an hour to make sure the doe, which he’d named “Miss Ice River” could take care of herself before leaving her to return to the forest.

The look on this man’s face as he tells his story, and the way the deer watches him as he does so, is truly heartwarming.

The world needs more Steven Petersons.

Diatribe: The Fine Line Between “Armed Protesters” and “Terrorists”

Malheur National Wildlife RefugeWhat began as a peaceful protest and demonstration this weekend supporting Dwight and Steven Hammond, father-and-son ranchers who were convicted of arson, escalated to an armed stand-off as a group of anti-government militants took over several buildings in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon.

The group appears to be led by 40-year-old Ammon Bundy, a rancher whose family became a symbol of anti-government sentiment in 2014 when his father, Cliven Bundy, inspired a standoff between armed local anti-government activists and federal officials seeking to confiscate cattle grazing illegally on federal land in Nevada.

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers, when in reality these men had alternative motives to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.” – Harney County sheriff, David M. Ward, in a statement on Sunday.

Local families are, once again, frightened as this latest flare-up in a decades-long struggle between federal officials and local landowners over how to manage the Western range. Many ranchers in the area believe federal land policies are intrusive and overreaching. The fact remains, however, that the land belongs to the government and the ranchers are expected, obviously, to follow federal law.

“We will be here for as long as it takes. People have talked about returning land to the people for a long time. Finally, someone is making an effort in that direction.” – Ryan Payne, an Army veteran who calls the group’s action “a liberation of public lands”

Ummm … isn’t that, kinda, what ISIS is doing in the Middle East?

This isn’t the wild, wild west. Obey the law or work to change it.

Due to concerns of possible violence in the area, schools are closed until next week. Seems to me that folks in the neighborhood could use some education.


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Copyright © 2016


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