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Four years ago this video featuring a crying child named Abby went viral. She started crying because she had heard yet another ad on the radio urging voters to choose one of the candidates who were running and she grew tired of hearing such ads all the time.

Ironically the 2012 elections were tame compared to the hell that’s currently going on with this year’s elections. Tomorrow the Elections From Hell will be over. In some ways it will be a relief but in others it will lead to a divided nation that will take a long time to heal, thanks in large part to Donald Trump’s blatant maligning of everyone except for white Christian heterosexual men with no disabilities along with the DNC’s blatant siding with Hillary Clinton during the primaries at the expense of other candidates. (On a side note, I find myself wondering if the DNC was so enthralled with Hillary Clinton from the beginning, why did it even bother to run a state to state primary campaign in the first place? They could’ve just said “Hillary Clinton is our candidate—like it or lump it!” and saved taxpayer money on running the Democratic primaries.)

These days I only express my political opinions in this blog because social media has become such a toxic cesspool of political trolls trying to pick fights with people for the fun of it. Even then I try to keep those political opinions to the bare minimum because I didn’t create this blog for political opinions. (Besides there are so many political blogs out there—ranging from the alt right to far right to center right to center left to far left to socialists to communists to outright anarchy—that any political blog I write would probably get lost in the shuffle no matter how well written and well researched my posts are.)

These elections have had an effect on my life. Not only have I quit writing my political opinions on social media but, as I wrote before in this post, I have jointed the #DEMEXIT movement by re-registering as an independent because I’ve become so disgusted with the DNC shenanigans during the primaries. Thanks to reports that the Clinton campaign had hired professional trolls, I no longer trust anyone who writes pro-Hillary Clinton posts on social media because I automatically assume that they are getting paid to do so.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll support The Donald. He has become so odious and toxic that I would never vote for him even if his name was the only one on the ballot. Then again there are still those persistent rumors that he’s waging a fake campaign because he really wants to help his friend Hillary Clinton win as well as gain free publicity for this new venture called Trump TV that he plans to embark on after the elections. (Which shows that he is expecting to lose because, otherwise, why create a time consuming project that could potentially affect his ability to devote time to the duties of the Oval Office?)

These elections have turned into a freak show that’s more suited for an episode of The Jerry Springer Show than for something as serious as choosing a person who will become the leader of the United States of America for the next four years. When you have Donald Trump continuously spewing crazy stuff on a daily basis you know that things have gone wrong. But that’s not all, folks! Hillary Clinton enlisted Jennifer Lopez for her help at a rally and Lopez responded by doing a sexy gyration while wearing thongs. Clinton got on stage to speak after Lopez finished doing her thing. Madonna is also doing her thing to help Hillary Clinton by offering to perform oral sex on anyone who votes for Clinton.

What’s even more disgusting is that the media has not only played along with all of these shenanigans but it has even attempted to blatantly alter the elections as well. This headline says it all: This Election Has Disgraced the Entire Profession of Journalism. This sketch from last weekend’s Saturday Night Live have further driven the fact of how journalism has become an incredibly big joke in the United States and it has become a detriment to coverage of this year’s elections.

All of these shenanigans are enough for an average American voter to feel tempted to just not bother with voting. I have a better solution than that.

Instead of focusing on voting for president, let’s turn our attention to towards the down ballot elections. This year there are plenty of people running for the Senate and the House of Representatives. This is one of those years where we need to focus on these other races mainly because the Congress serves as a check and balance on the White House. With Donald Trump’s outright disdain for the Constitution and Hillary Clinton’s pro-fracking policies (and that’s not to mention that her running mate, Tim Kaine, favors the TPP) we desperately need a Congress that will stand up to the president no matter who will occupy the Oval Office.

As to who to vote for president, that’s a tricky question. Both of the major party candidates have issues. My solution is to vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party because I can’t stomach voting for either Clinton or Trump. I know it’s not an easy decision. If you’re leaning towards a third party candidate, you’ll be facing messages like this one from Keith Olbermann.

You’ll have people saying either “A vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump” or “A vote for a third party is a vote for Hillary Clinton” on the grounds that voting third party siphons votes away from the two major parties. That’s true to some extent but I think this automatic equation of voting third party equals voting for Trump or Clinton is total bullshit.

In reality voting for a candidate means that you’re voting for that candidate. A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Donald Trump. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Hillary Clinton. A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Jill Stein. A vote for the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson. A vote for any of the lesser-known third party candidates (such as Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party) is a vote for that candidate.

It’s stupid thinking that voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is really a vote for Donald Trump because 1) they don’t have the exact same policy positions and 2) if I was a strong Donald Trump supporter, I would personally prefer voting directly for Trump just so I would feel pride in voting for the candidate whom I’m the most excited about instead of this “let’s vote for a third party candidate and hope the elections will swing to Trump despite wasting our vote on not voting directly for him.”

I know that voting third party isn’t going to lead to Jill Stein going to the White House. What I’m hoping is that if enough people vote for the Green Party so it’ll receive at least 5% of the votes, it will qualify for federal funding for the next elections so maybe the Greens can use that funding to build a grassroots movement that will eventually grow to a genuine party with enough power that it can win elections on the state and local levels and, one day, it’ll field candidates to Congress and the White House. It’s past time for the American voters to have more voting alternatives than just Democrats and Republicans. Other Western democracies have more than two parties and many of them have smaller populations than the U.S.

I would advise people to vote for the candidate whom they feel is best suited for the White House. If that choice happens to be a third party candidate, then vote third party. The only exception I would make is if you live in the key battleground states (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada) where the margins are very tight between Clinton and Trump, I would suggest holding your nose and voting for Clinton. That’s because a Trump presidency would be a major disaster for the U.S. and possibly the world. (Remember, this is the same man who has a history of multiple bankruptcies.)

In fact, there is a website called Trump Traders where people who live in solidly blue states (just like where I live) can trade votes with a person living in one of the aforementioned swing states. I’ve just signed up and I feel even better about voting for Jill Stein so the Greens can get the 5% needed and having my counterpart pull the lever for Hillary Clinton in order to keep Trump out of the White House.

As for me I live in a state (Maryland) that’s projected to go for Clinton so I have that luxury of choosing a third party candidate. If you live in a solid pro-Clinton or pro-Trump state then you have that luxury to do the same. Don’t let other people scare you into thinking that “a vote for a third part candidate is a vote for Clinton/Trump/the other side.”

I’m going to end what I hope to be my final political rant before the elections with this video of Kate Smith doing the definitive version of “God Bless America.”

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Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2016
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 4, 2016

I stuck to my resolve to just stay as close to home as possible this Labor Day holiday weekend. September 5 was Labor Day so I spent the morning watching the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade while continuing to enjoy the glorious weather (which was sunny and warm but not too hot and the humidity was very low).

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The local Eleanor & Franklin Roosevelt Democratic Club marched with signs touting Hillary Clinton while chanting “I’m With Hillary!” A few people in the crowd started yelling “Bernie!” There were literally no cheers or clapping hands or anything. It was mostly silence except for the few people who were yelling Bernie Sanders’ name. The crowd’s reaction is the perfect metaphor for this year’s elections, which I’m not going to get into here because I could easily go off on a tangent where I write at least an extra 20 paragraphs and I’m really not in the mood to do that right now.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

A peace activist bicycles through the parade while he holds his sign.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The one other political group in the parade whose picture I took was of a group who were protesting the proposed TPP trade agreement that President Obama is trying to get the Congress to ratify even though it is very controversial.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

After the parade ended I went back home to eat lunch. I drove back to the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. I parked at St. Hugh’s Church then walked the rest of the way to the festival ground for the last day.

The Greenbelt Theater was having a free showing of the classic movie Brigadoon. The story was kind of hokey but I loved the music and dancing in that film. I ran into a friend after the movie and I socialized for a bit with her. I perused the craft tables and hung around the used book sale (which was giving away its inventory on the last day of the festival) while enjoying the continuing wonderful sunny with low humidity weather. I also took a last few pictures of the festival.

The last day of the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The last day of the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The last day of the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The last day of the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

I basically hung around the festival until 4 p.m., when I could pick up my painting from the art show. Here is the painting I showed at the Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show this year.

picture5

You can learn more about how I created this piece right here.

It’s very appropriate that I did a certain action today just a few hours before the start of the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Today I did something that I once considered unthinkable and it’s also the sort of thing that will shock some members of my family when they learn this: I have joined the #DEMEXIT movement by changing my voter registration from Democrat to Independent. This is the first time I have ever changed my party affiliation in my life and I’m now glad I did it. In a way I felt I had to after seeing the horrible shenanigans on the part of the Democratic National Convention and Hillary Clinton that had been going on for many months and it came to a crescendo in Philadelphia just a few months ago.

I have followed in the footsteps of other longtime Democrats by quitting the party entirely such as this person and that person.

In some ways it’s sad that it has come to this for me. When I was 18 my high school held a special assembly that was only for students who were either already 18 or who will turn 18 before Election Day that November. The assembly was led by two women who were from the local elections board and they were there to register us as new voters. We were given voter registration forms that we could fill out then return to the two women. I registered my name and address. When it came time to check party affiliation, I chose the Democrat Party. It was a no-brainer for me. I lived in a heavily Democratic state (Maryland) and I come from a long line of mostly Democrats, especially on my mother’s side of the family.

In fact I had a distant cousin named Harry Banahan, Sr., who was devoted to Democratic politics. I don’t remember whether my Grandfather Banahan was also Harry’s uncle or cousin but Harry was definitely my cousin on my mother’s side of the family. Grandfather Banahan died a few years before I was born and I was never in contact with the other members of his family when I was growing up. (For some reason that have become lost in time since most of the people directly involved are now deceased, the members of my grandfather’s family decided to cease most contact with my grandmother after my grandfather died.) I didn’t meet Harry until after I was an adult and I only saw him in person twice—once when my Grandmother Banahan died and once when my aunt (my mother’s older sister) died a few years later. Both times were little more than a brief meeting at the funeral and I had never gotten into any in-depth conversations with him. (He was a few decades older than me. I remember he socialized mostly with my mother and other people who were either her age or older.) We never called each other or exchanged letters or anything like that. To me he was just a distant relative whom I only met twice in my life but had no other contact with him.

Harry Banahan, Sr. died back in February at the ripe old age of 98. I only learned this because one of my other cousins said that she had found his obituary in The Baltimore Sun. (For the record I didn’t go to his funeral because I didn’t know about his death until a couple of months after he was laid to rest.) Reading his obituary online, it was no mystery as to why he was a loyal Democrat his entire life. At 16 he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was one of the many New Deal programs that Franklin D. Roosevelt created to help those who were burdened by the Great Depression. He left the CCC to serve a machinist apprenticeship at the B&O Railroad’s Mount Clare Shop but later returned to the CCC when he was furloughed. He was called back to the railroad but he later went on to serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war he owned and operated a couple of sporting goods stores and he also was a purchasing director at the Baltimore Civic Center (now known as the Royal Farms Arena).

According to family lore (which I haven’t been able to independently verify) he ran as a candidate for the Baltimore City Council a few times in the 1950’s but he lost every election he ever ran in. He most likely ran as a Democrat because Baltimore was—and still is—heavily dominated in local politics by the Democratic establishment. Despite those defeats, he still kept tabs on local politics. His obituary mentioned that William Donald Schaefer (who was both former Baltimore Mayor and former Maryland Governor) was a friend. Harry Banahan was mentioned in this 2007 Baltimore Sun article where, at the ripe age of 90, he spoke with then-Governor Martin O’Malley about how he strongly supported the erection of a statue dedicated to Schaefer. Cousin Harry was probably thrilled when he got his wish because one can now find William Donald Schaefer’s statue in Baltimore at the Inner Harbor between Harborplace and the Maryland Science Center (both of which were built and opened during his days as Mayor).

It’s easy to understand why Harry Banahan was loyal to the Democrat Party his entire life. He benefitted directly from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program at a time when he needed the work. Thanks to that start from the CCC, he eventually became a successful businessman while supporting his wife and children with no help from anyone else. He was even able to spend the last years of his long life with complete dignity. There’s a charming story on the Little Sisters of the Poor St. Martin’s Baltimore website about how, at the age of 95, he was crowned the King of Valentine’s Day. Harry’s wife had passed away by then so an older woman was selected to be his Queen: 101-year-old Florence Curtis.

While Harry Banahan, Sr. was personally and professionally well-served by the Democrat Party throughout his life, unfortunately I can’t say the same for myself. Despite my own lifelong loyalty to the Democrat Party, that party hadn’t done much to benefit me personally. In fact that party seemed to have gone out of its way to alienate me. It started when I was a student at the University of Maryland. I was a Journalism major while minoring in Government and Politics. I was looking for a potential summer internship when I saw a notice through the College of Journalism where the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was looking to hire a few interns for the summer. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. I was a registered Democrat and that internship would have tapped into both my major and my minor so I applied.

I received a callback where they wanted to talk to me and we were trying to set up an appointment where I would meet with someone for a face to face interview. I was trying to schedule a time where it wouldn’t conflict with classes, especially if there was an important exam being held that day. While we were trying to figure out an appointment time that would work for the both of us, the woman I spoke with suddenly blurted out, “You don’t really want this internship, do you?” That was totally out of the blue because I don’t recall giving any kind of vibes of not being interested. (Hell, if I wasn’t interested, I would never have applied in the first place.) I protested that I really did want that internship. We finally settled on a date and time. But then the DNC called either a few hours later or a few days later (I don’t remember which) and found that, for some reason I don’t remember, we had to reschedule my interview. Again while we were trying to figure out schedules I got the same “You don’t really want this internship, do you?” question over the phone. I felt like I was being discouraged from even trying to get this internship, which made me more insistent that I get an interview for this internship just so I could show those people that I could do the work.

I managed to get an appointment that worked for everyone concerned. On that day I used public transportation (I didn’t have a car at the time) to go to the DNC’s offices in downtown DC and did a few interviews with the various departments that were looking for interns but I didn’t get an internship. But I still remember that “You don’t really want this internship, do you?” sudden jab all those years later and I especially started to remember it even more in recent months given how I’ve seen the DNC behaved. I’m at the point where the DNC thinks of rank and file members like me as riffraff who don’t really matter because we aren’t the 1% with incredibly deep financial pockets and I really don’t want to belong to an organization who doesn’t really want me around. This recent link I found has a headline that says it all about the current Democrat Party’s attitudes about its own members who aren’t powerful and wealthy: Liberal Elites Hate the Left.

Despite that early disappointment regarding not getting that internship at the DNC, I still remained a loyal Democrat for many years. As time went on I discovered that my relationship with the Democratic Party was becoming more and more one-sided. It was like a woman who falls in love with a conceited yet charismatic man who frequently ignores her while screwing around with several other women at the same time (and he might even be already married to someone else). Yet when he says a few kind words to her (and maybe even give her a single red rose) that are little more than throwing a bone, she starts to hang on those words while thinking “He likes me! He really, really likes me!” She continues to remain loyal to that cad while he continues to screw around behind her back. I never wanted to be in that situation in my private life so why should I expect similar treatment in from my affiliated political party?

Ever since Jimmy Carter lost the 1980 elections to Ronald Reagan I’ve seen the Democrat Party shoot itself in the foot over and over again.

In 1984 Ronald Reagan was running for re-election while running those now-classic “It’s Morning in America” ads, which definitely resonated with a lot of people. Gary Hart had thrown his hat in the race in the Democratic primary yet the establishment wanted former Vice President Walter Mondale to be the nominee. Gary Hart won the first few primaries, which would echo Bernie Sanders’ primary wins a few decades later, and I remember those victories freaked out the establishment in the DNC who really wanted Mondale. I started seeing results in later primaries where, in a close race, the DNC enabled Walter Mondale would get the lion’s share of the delegates even though the popular vote was tied. Despite the DNC’s love for Walter Mondale, I remember seeing footage of the two on the campaign trail and, to be blunt, Gary Hart performed way better than Mondale. And he had the charisma that matched Regan’s and, well, Mondale just didn’t resonate with a lot of people despite the DNC’s insistence that Mondale be its nominee. While I can’t say for sure whether Gary Hart would’ve defeated Ronald Reagan in 1984, I’d like to believe that he would’ve come much closer to Reagan than Mondale’s dismal results on Election Day.

In 1988, when Reagan was constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third presidential term and Gary Hart decided to try running for president as a Democrat again, the DNC decided that Michael Dukakis was the man who would beat Reagan’s vice president, George H.W. Bush. This time Gary Hart’s campaign was done in by a scandal of his own making (remember the ship Monkey Business?) so the DNC got its way again by having Dukakis as its candidate. I remember Dukakis was just as timid on the campaign trail as Mondale was. Whenever Bush or any other Republican tried to pin the dreaded “L” word (liberal) he would go to great lengths to avoid discussing being a liberal. Then there was that idiotic photo he did of himself in a tank while wearing military gear, which earned him total ridicule nationwide. I remember reading in The Washington Post about two or three days before the election where Michael Dukakis said that, yes, he’s a liberal in the tradition of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. It was a lovely rebuttal that would’ve been awesome had he uttered it months earlier. Sadly that rebuttal was too little, too late and George H.W. Bush became the next president.

In 2000 Bill Clinton’s Vice President, Al Gore, ran against George W. Bush, the son of President George H.W. Bush. It was also the year that Ralph Nader received a lot of attention because he decided to run for office on the Green Party ticket. For years I’ve heard loyal Democrats blame Nader for splitting the Democratic vote and ensuring the reality of a President George W. Bush. At one point I believed this. Recently there have been web pages debunking the idea that Nader was the spoiler in that election, such as this one. And there are my memories of Gore as a campaigner. I remember he came across as stiff and cautious on the campaign trail. He seemed like he was literally afraid of taking any kind of risks. I remember when I watched An Inconvenient Truth a number of years later and I saw a different Al Gore who was arguing passionately on why the U.S. needs to focus on climate change right now before it’s too late. It was too bad that Al Gore didn’t show that passionate side of him when he was on the campaign trail because he probably would’ve ended up in the White House by a more decisive margin that wouldn’t needed the intervention of the Supreme Court.

In 2004 John Kerry ran against incumbent George W. Bush but he ran a totally lackluster campaign. I remember when the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth challenged John Kerry on his Vietnam War record and John Kerry didn’t even respond at all. In fact I remember when he seemed to make himself scarce after the Democratic Convention and there were no calls for volunteers to help on his campaign. He did perform brilliantly in the debates against George W. Bush but that was about it. It was no wonder he lost that year.

Even when the Democrats win the White House they turned out to be disappointing. In 1992 the economy was going through a recession and the Democrats had a chance to regain the White House for the first time since 1980. Bill Clinton was elected president and he proceeded to act so cautiously to the point where he supported the Defense of Marriage Act (which was a big “FUCK YOU!” to LGBTQ persons who wanted the legal right to marry their partners) and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (which was also a big “FUCK YOU!” to LGBTQ people who wanted to serve their country in the military). He championed NAFTA by calling it the best thing for American jobs when, in reality, it hastened the corporations sending well paying jobs outside the U.S. because they could pay impoverished Mexicans less money while not being required to care about such things as occupational safety. Despite his cautious nature, his siding with corporations who wanted to ship American jobs overseas, and willingness to constantly appease the Republicans (especially those who really loathed him and were out to get him) I voted for him again in 1996 because I fell into the whole “we must unite to re-elect Clinton because Bob Dole is far worse and he’ll outlaw legal abortion and destroy the country if Clinton is defeated” argument and, besides, I was still a loyal Democrat at this point. I even remained a loyal Democrat when Bill Clinton was impeached during his second term because he lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. (It says it all when the Republicans have been trying to find something on the scandal-prone Clintons that could hold up in a legal setting—ranging from Whitewater to the Rose Law Firm—and the only thing they could make stick is that Clinton lied under oath about getting blowjobs from Monica Lewinsky. And even that didn’t last long since Clinton ultimately prevailed and he stayed in his President job until his second term ended.)

In 2008 I chose Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the primaries because he was promising hope and change. Given the economic crisis when Wall Street literally tanked the economy I felt that a latter-day Franklin Delano Roosevelt is what this country needed and Obama talked like he was FDR reincarnated. I didn’t even care about the color of his skin—he could’ve had blue or purple skin and I still would’ve voted for him because I loved what he was saying at the time. But once he was elected he started putting in Wall Street types like Tim Geithner in prominent positions in his administration. Even his primary rival, Hillary Clinton, was given the position of Secretary of State. I’ve written in the past about how let down I felt about President Obama (especially when he did this compromise with the Republicans where the wages of federal employees like my ex-husband has been frozen for the last few years just so he could prove that, yes, he’s not a stereotypical “tax and spend liberal”). Despite my disappointment I voted for him again in 2012 mainly because the Republicans had put Mitt Romney as its candidate and this is the guy who loved to say stuff like “I like being able to fire people.” Plus I heard the message from Democrats saying that “we need to vote blue, no matter who, because the alternative is worse” and I believed it enough to help reelect President Obama. But it turned out to be all for naught because it ended up being the same old thing as before. At that point I declared myself as being through with supporting President Obama.

Over the years I didn’t just vote Democrat. When I was married my husband and I used to donate to Democrats running in various races, especially on the state and local level. (I haven’t made a financial donation to any political candidate or campaign mainly because of tight finances stemming from my divorce.) I even did some volunteer work on a few campaigns for Democratic candidates (most recently for Bernie Sanders during this year’s primary). But, in the end, the Democrats only did a few token things that I approved of (such as keeping abortion and birth control legal) while not doing much to help average people getting back on their feet, especially after the 2008 economic collapse.

Things really came to a head this year with the primaries and I finally came to my senses and decided that enough is enough. I decided to support Bernie Sanders because he was someone who had long fought for the underdog in the Senate and he felt that this country needed an ambitious program similar to FDR’s New Deal as a way of revitalizing America one again. He was also determined to run a clean campaign by refusing to accept large donations. Instead he encouraged average people to donate small amounts of money and he managed to raise enough money to be able to take on Hillary Clinton and her benefactors (mainly Wall Street). He remained strong throughout the primaries and he even won several states. But then Hillary Clinton’s campaign did some shenanigans that have really lowered my opinion of her even more than previously.

First there were the reports that the Clinton campaign had hired Internet trolls who went around to various social media sites, write multiple posts praising Clinton while trying to start fights with Bernie Sanders supporters. But starting online social media fights weren’t enough. These people tried to shut down pro-Bernie Sanders Facebook groups and one troll was accused of posting child pornography in some of those groups then report those same groups to Facebook for having child pornography that he posted online.

One result of these professional Internet trolls is that I no longer take any pro-Hillary posts seriously on social media because I have no way of knowing whether he/she is really a genuine Hillary Clinton supporter or if that person is really a professional troll who was hired by the campaign to post favorable stuff while bashing Bernie Sanders. I tend to ignore whatever argument that supporter makes regarding how favorable Hillary Clinton is because there’s always the possibility that this person is just a paid plant who really doesn’t really believe what he/she posts. The downside is that real Hillary Clinton supporters (the ones who really believe in her candidacy and who aren’t being paid by her campaign) are now unfairly lumped in with the paid trolls and their arguments get dismissed by myself and many other people as well. I know it’s not fair to the true believers but that’s on the campaign for hiring these professional trolls in the first place instead of cultivating voters to their campaign and electrifying them in a way that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have done.

But the one thing that has made me resolve to never vote for her is that Hillary Clinton has her own election scandal. There have been reports of frequent voter fraud in favor of Hillary Clinton in places like IllinoisMassachusettsKentuckyArizonaNew YorkCalifornia, and Nevada. In addition a hacker known as Guccifer2 has been hacking into the DNC’s servers while providing plenty of data dumps on how tight Hillary Clinton is with the DNC and the mainstream media. Then there is the recent Wikileaks release (which happened just days before the start of the Democratic Convention) of some previously confidential emails from the DNC that pretty much proves that the primary elections were rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton from the very beginning at the expense of other candidates (especially Bernie Sanders).

As a woman I would love to see a woman occupy the Oval Office in my lifetime. But just having breasts and a vagina isn’t enough for me. The woman who deserves to be known as the first woman president would have to represent the vested interests of the 99% instead of the 1% and, based on that alone, Hillary Clinton is ill-suited for such a historic first given her close Wall Street ties while showing little interest in any kind of reforms (such as reinstating the Glass-Steagal Act that was originally passed during the Great Depression in order to regulate the financial industry and was repealed during her husband’s administration). If she does get elected she will have way too much baggage to be an effective leader, as this next link puts it:

A Hillary Clinton presidency, then, would face a national majority of citizens in open rebellion. Either intuitively or consciously they are incensed with the dominance of corporate political power. This is the template of governance Ms. Clinton helped create, the one in which she is historically and demonstrably comfortable, and the one which finances her campaigns for elected office.  Wed to those donors, and locked into this mindset of the New Democratic Party, her presidency could not and would not alter significantly the status quo. Proudly she claims as much: “Let’s not start from scratch,” she says.  Corporate dominance would remain unchallenged, the rebellion ignored.

Rebellion scorned will escalate; first to spirited demonstrations we have already seen, conceivably to violence.  Only substantive reform can accommodate it.

Reform is neither difficult nor unprecedented.  Our history displays a number of means of subordinating corporate interests to the welfare of the American people. More than a century ago—in the “Gilded Age”—the nation faced a similar crisis and dealt with it successfully.  And a century before that, effective mechanisms were in place to restrain corporate dominion, even though the threat of it was already visible.

If all that isn’t enough, Hillary (and her husband, Bill, for that matter) just can’t avoid getting involved in some scandal. Starting with Bill Clinton’s days as Arkansas Governor, there has been one scandal after another that resulted in investigations of the sort that would have ended other people’s political careers a long time ago. The Clintons seem to be the type of people who just can’t avoid getting into trouble. Sure sexism (involving Hillary’s gender) and classism (regarding Bill growing up in a poor family) may have something to do with it but crying sexism and classism can only get you very far before people conclude that you’re crying “Wolf!” way too many times. And then there is the one common denominator to all of these scandals: a Clinton was involved (either Bill or Hillary or both).

If Hillary Clinton was the only Democrat who had issues, it would be bad enough. But it seems like the entire Democrat Party is out of step with its traditional supporters (workers). A few weeks before the convention in Philadelphia the party decided against adding a platform that would’ve opposed the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, a multi-nation trade agreement that was negotiated completely in secret and it would not only have a negative impact on workers but it could also affect the environment as well as national sovereignty. (The TPP has been derided as “NAFTA on steroids.”)

The biggest irony is that had ex-Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, both Bill and Hillary Clinton, and other neoliberals had been dominant in the Democrat Party back when my cousin Harry Banahan was 16, there would have been no CCC or any other New Deal program available for him and it’s most likely that he would have lived the bulk of his life in poverty instead of the long and fruitful life he actually lived. It’s also possible that he would not have lived as long as he did since poor people generally tend to have less access to things like healthy food and medical care. And I seriously doubt that he would’ve been as loyal to the Democrats as he actually was.

Right now I’m registered as an Independent. I might have converted to the Republican Party had they not gone off the deep end years ago by catering to fundamentalist Christian extremists, white Southern men who pine for a return of the Confederate States of America, and devotees of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. The Republican downward spiral started with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and I think it may be on the verge of hitting rock bottom. The fact that a total buffoon like Donald Trump became the official nominee on the Republican Party while channeling both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini by saying all kinds of outrageous hateful stuff against everyone except heterosexual white Christian men with no disabilities says it all about the GOP these days and I don’t want to have anything to do with them. (The only good thing I can say about the Republican National Committee is that at least they provided equal resources to all 17 candidates who ran under their banner and there were no reports of election rigging to favor one candidate. In other words, Donald Trump got his nomination the old fashioned way—he earned them in totally fair and clean primaries.)

Even though I will probably vote for Jill Stein on the Green party ticket because I agree with nearly everything on the Green party platform, I decided against registering as a Green. That’s because I had a brief encounter with them back in the 1980’s when I was still in college and they were then-known in the U.S. as the Citizens Party and I soon became unimpressed because they had organizational problems back then. Basically they would field a candidate for the presidential elections then you wouldn’t hear from then until the next elections. While some of the organizers talked about needing to field candidates on the state and local levels in order to build a genuine grassroots movement from the ground up, they frequently didn’t follow through. Had they done so starting in 1984 (when they fielded excommunicated Mormon and feminist Sonia Johnson as their presidential candidate), they probably would be a real force to be reckoned with today instead of a being a marginal party that is rarely taken seriously by many people.

I know my friends on Facebook are begging people to not vote for a third party candidate because of the threat of a potential fascist Donald Trump Administration. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m now 99% convinced that those rumors of Trump running a fake campaign to both destroy the Republican Party and elect Hillary Clinton to the White House are actually true, I might have held my nose and voted for Clinton in an effort to thwart a modern day Hitler or Mussolini. But those back and forth exchanges between Trump and Clinton seemed so forced and scripted that I’ve seen the children in my church act more convincingly in special plays that are held during the annual Religious Exploration Sunday service each spring. That’s why I’m convinced that this year’s race is totally fake. Sadly this is something that some mainstream media outlet could’ve uncovered a la Watergate in the 1970’s if it weren’t for the fact that much of the mainstream media is dominated by just five or six corporations—with nearly all of them making donations to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

In any case I refuse to take part in a fake campaign by voting for either Trump or Clinton and I am looking forward to voting for my first woman for president—Jill Stein. I will also vote for the people running for lower offices as long as they are people whom I respect, regardless of whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or some other party. To me a vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would be rewarding them for unethical behavior that is probably illegal as well and I refuse to do it. My friends can beg me or cajole me either on social media or real life but I’m not going to budge on this. If I end up losing friends over this, so be it. I’d rather follow my conscience and be at peace with my decision than to give in to peer pressure and do something I’ll end up regretting years later.

I’m sure my late cousin and loyal Democrat Harry Banahan would’ve been disappointed to hear that a member of his extended family had left the party. But I’d like to believe that he would’ve understood had I spoken to him about how I feel that today’s Democrat Party is not the same Democrat Party as the one that gave Harry a job in the CCC when he was 16 and I had been getting increasingly alienated from my own party because of it. In some ways, I feel like the Democrat Party had left average people like me a long time ago and I doubt that they’ll miss me at all.

American Flag

On this Labor Day I’m posting this because next year’s elections could have a potentially devastating impact on labor in this country, especially if the elections boil down to a Clinton vs. Bush campaign because neither one of them are very friendly to the workers in the United States. I know that I’ll probably piss off some of my friends with this stance (especially those in my Unitarian Universalist congregation) who have already indicated their support of Hillary Clinton but that’s life. As a woman, I would love to see the first woman get elected to the Oval Office in my lifetime. In fact, I would be overjoyed if such a thing happened. I just don’t think that history-making woman should be Hillary Clinton for reasons that I’ll go into right now (and none of them have to do with Monica Lewinsky, Whitewater, or Benghazi).

Lately I’ve been getting more and more concerned about how the mainstream media in the U.S. seems to be gunning for a retread of the 1992 Clinton vs. Bush Presidential Election next year, except it would be former President Bill Clinton’s wife, Hillary, running against Jeb, the son of former President George H.W. Bush (and the younger brother of former President George W. Bush).

Here’s my take on this: I think it’s a horrible idea. It sends a dangerous message that the only people who can ever hope to occupy the White House are the ones who were either born into or married into the Bush family or the Clinton family. It creates a plutocracy not unlike the Kim dynasty in North Korea. I don’t consider this a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. This is an American issue and it’s one that’s for the future of democracy of a nation. Limiting the White House only to people who are members of either the Bush or Clinton family cuts out many other brilliant and talented people who would be capable of serving in the Oval Office and who could improve the United States as a country. Had there been such a limit in the past, think of the people who would never have made it to the White House so they would have never made an impact on this country like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter.

Let’s say that Hillary wins next year. When she serves her two terms (assuming that she gets elected to a second term), will the Oval Office seat next go to Jeb Bush? And if that happens, will the Oval Office next be given to Chelsea Clinton? And if that happens, will one of the children of either George W. or Jeb get elected to the White House? And so on and so forth.

I know some of you will say that it’s not fair to judge either Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush on what their relatives have done when they were in the Oval Office. In Hillary’s case, I’ll tell you as someone who was in a long relationship and marriage until recently, I know first-hand that people who stay together longer tend to share the same outlook on life in terms of political beliefs, religious beliefs, ethics, interests, etc. That was why I stayed with my husband for as long as I did despite his flaws. We had a lot in common and he wasn’t always such a total putz—that came later after he left me for our seriously mentally ill friend but that’s another story. Would Hillary have even considered marrying Bill in the first place had they not shared the same goals and beliefs? Probably not. Besides, Hillary hasn’t said or done anything that would indicate that she would rule this country differently from her husband.

As for Jeb Bush, I realize that many families have members who have rebelled against or distanced themselves from their families and you get situations where the children are either more liberal or conservative than their parents. But Jeb has never struck me as the rebellious type and he has never said or did anything that indicates that he has distanced himself from both this father and older brother politically. So I don’t think he would be that much different from when his father and brother served in the Oval Office.

While George H.W. Bush signed the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act, the fact that he relied on Ronald Reagan’s supply-side economics and the fact that he constantly catered to the right wing religious extremists tempered the good he did when he signed that act. While Bill Clinton was better on women’s issues (like keeping access to abortion and birth control legal), his advocation of NAFTA and his repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act pretty much helped start the 2008 economic collapse and it has led to workers getting screwed over more and more while jobs get increasingly outsourced to China, India, and other Third World countries. And that’s not to mention the notorious Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act and his sacking of Jocelyn Elders as Surgeon General because she advocated masturbation as a form of safe sex. George W. Bush basically continued the economic policies of his father’s and President Clinton’s, which led to the 2008 economic collapse. On top of it, he lied about the weapons of mass destruction that supposedly were in Iraq as a pretext for a U.S. invasion against a country under false pretenses.

If the mainstream media and those in the political establishment have their way, the American voters would choose between going back to the failed policies of George H.W. and George W. Bush by electing Jeb or going back to Bill Clinton’s pro-corporate policies that screwed the average workers while catering to the right wing (such as enacting and signing legislation similar to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which had really screwed the careers of many people in the military simply because they were gay, lesbian, or bisexual) by electing Hillary. Then there’s Hillary Clinton’s refusal to say where she stands on the controversial TPP agreement, which could have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy and environment. (The latter issue alone is why the Social Action Committee at my Unitarian Universalist congregation has considered the TPP to be a moral issue and have set up letter writing tables after Sunday services on this issue over the past few years urging President Obama and our elected representatives to vote against the TPP.)

There are also questions as to how much of a feminist Hillary Clinton really is. Sure she’s given speeches on women breaking the glass ceiling in corporations. As for lower income women, Hillary Clinton could’ve had a chance to help them when she served on Walmart’s Board of Directors by speaking up for the unionization of Walmart’s workers (many of whom are women). But she remained silent on that issue during her tenure there.

I’ve read theories on the Internet written by various people that the reason why Donald Trump has gone to the top of the popularity polls on the Republican side is that people are looking for alternatives to having another Bush occupy the White House. It seems plausible to me but, to be honest, Trump is too much of a buffoon for me to take him seriously enough to even consider supporting him. Every time I do a search for his name in Google News there’s yet another outrageous statement from The Donald that has me questioning his suitability for the Oval Office. (And that’s not to mention the multiple bankruptcies that his various companies have undergone in recent years. I just don’t want someone doing to the U.S. economy what he’s done to his own companies in the past—bankrupt it. That could result in the U.S. going into something like the Great Depression while taking the economies of several nations down with it.)

I think people on all sides of the political spectrum are looking for anyone other than a Bush or a Clinton for President.

For now I have decided to throw in my lot with Bernie Sanders. I recently attended a house party and I really like what he said. I’m well familiar with the guy since, over the years, he has made frequent television appearances on various shows where he has consistently given thoughtful insights into the problems facing this nation. The only person on the Republican side who has come even close to Bernie Sanders is John Kasich and that’s based on watching the first Republican debate. At least John Kasich was the only candidate who expressed his concerns for the poor and why he has never regretted allowing his state (Ohio) to accept the Affordable Care Act while other Republican governors have refused to do so. But, like Sanders, Kasich hasn’t been taken seriously by the media or the political establishment.

Given the mainstream media anointing Hillary Clinton as the next Democratic nominee for the White House, I know that Bernie Sanders has an uphill battle. (Come to think of it, there’s something really perverse about the mainstream media and/or political elites anointing anyone as either the next Democratic or Republican nominee a full year or more before the first of the primary elections even begins. I grew up in an era where the elections weren’t even mentioned in the media until the year that they actually took place in. But I guess that’s what happens when much of the mass media is concentrated in the hands of only seven companies these days.) But I’m ready for something radical because I’m pretty much fed up with seeing the deterioration of this society that has been going on for my entire adult life (ever since Ronald Reagan was elected President back in 1980).

I’ve seen too many people my age and younger go to college only to be offered low paying jobs that a few generations ago required only a high school diploma. I’ve seen too many homeless people on the streets, some of whom hold signs saying that they are vets who have returned from either Iraq or Afghanistan. I’m seeing a lot of homeless people panhandling on the streets while I see homes in the same area where the homeless tread that are either boarded up because the slumlord can’t be bothered with doing any kind of repairs or they are unoccupied because the developers made them so expensive (such as using granite to make kitchen countertops instead of using just wood) that the minimum price of a new home is at least $200,000 and people can’t afford to buy them. (A new development is currently being built in my area where prices start at $350,000. And it’s for a townhouse.) Heck, I’ve even seen panhandling homeless people in the suburbs (mostly in the parking lots outside various malls and shopping centers). Right now I’m seeing more and more African Americans getting arrested and killed by the police for trivial reasons like failure to use a turn signal (such as what happened to Sandra Bland).

As for me, I used to make money selling my crafts at various craft shows. Now I’m extremely picky as to where I’ll sell my wares because I’ve done too many shows in recent years where I’ve made just enough to recoup the original vendor fee that I paid. I know it’s because too many of my potential customers are either unemployed or underemployed because I’ve had so many people tell me “I wish I could buy something from you but I can’t afford it any more because money is too tight” that it’s not even funny. I’ve even had people ask me if I could lower my prices. I’ve tried cutting prices but, right now, my prices are so low that if I was to go even lower, I would not even make a profit.

I was taught in school: if you work hard and apply yourself, you can make a decent living. But I’ve seen people work hard and apply themselves and still can’t get ahead because their pay have been frozen or their companies pay them extremely low wages. This also flies in the face of what I was also taught in school: if you make a mistake, you can always reinvent yourself with just enough ambition and gumption. I used to read stories in school about immigrants who came to this country with just the clothes on their backs and little money in their pockets but they managed to create successful lives for themselves and their families. But what I’ve seen over the past several years have turned what I was taught in school into total lies.

I am tired of living in a society where if you make one wrong move or mistake, no matter how slight or minor, your whole life gets aversely affected and you have a hard time turning it around so you are forever condemned for a decision you made between the ages of 18-25. If you enter a field that years later becomes obsolete due either to technology or outsourcing to Third World countries you’re screwed, especially since there is literally no government or business investment in retraining for positions that companies say they want to hire people for. If you enter a long-term relationship or marriage that goes sour for whatever reason, you’re condemned to financially struggling, especially if you haven’t been lucky enough to land one of the few high paying jobs that are out there in this tough economy. I’m tired of living in a society where, if you’re not a white heterosexual man who was born into a higher class so you can attend an Ivy League school with sky-high tuition, you’re condemned to financially struggle. I’m tired of living in a country where the 2016 elections may boil down to a man who’s both the son and brother of previous presidents and a woman who’s married to a previous president and the mainstream media has hyped this as destiny. I’m sure that the Founding Fathers didn’t fight a revolution so the presidency would be opened only to people whose last names are either Clinton or Bush and both sides have been anointed by Wall Street corporate elites with lots of funding.

I’m also tired of not seeing much of an opposition in this country to the status quo (other than the Occupy Wall Street movement, whose encampments were later forcibly dismantled and suppressed by law enforcement, and the current Black Lives Matter movement). I know that, in some cases, it’s because the corporate-dominated mainstream media have tended to ignore them. But there are times when the activists themselves have been out of touch with the concerns of ordinary everyday working Americans. One recent example: a few weeks ago a local peace group decided to hold an event in the local coffeehouse in my area on a Sunday afternoon that would include a movie followed by people writing letters to the local elected officials regarding that highlighted issue. Paper, envelopes, stamps, pencils, and a sample letter template would be available so people can write letters.

The issue in question wasn’t about income equality or police brutality or the TPP or the Keystone XL pipeline or the environment or the increasing power of the Koch brothers in this country. It was about U.S. foreign policy but it didn’t focus on whether the U.S. should go after ISIL in Syria or should Congress uphold President Obama’s recent deal with Iran that could possibly bring peace to the two nations. Nor was it about U.S. policy in Saudi Arabia, Israel, and/or other Middle Eastern countries. It also wasn’t about North Korea or China either. Nope, the issue was about the Obama Administration’s policy in Thailand.

Thailand?!? Are you kidding me?!? Don’t get me wrong, I know that Thailand has plenty of problems these days but there are so many more pressing issues affecting the United States right now that these activists should focus on instead of Thailand. An average working person is more worried about his/her job being outsourced to China and the possibility that he/she won’t be able to find another job in this tough economy than what’s going on in Thailand. Peace activists focusing on U.S. policy in Thailand would be like a firefighter focusing on saving only one tree when the whole forest is on fire.

All of the crap that’s been going down since Ronald Reagan was elected President back in 1980 has left me with a cynical outlook on life that Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh can appreciate. This reality I’ve seen is the main reason why I wrote this post a few days ago where I was less-than-enthusiastic about my friend trying to start a Wondering Contest that’s supposed to encourage people to wonder. (Basically my thesis is that if you’re living with economic uncertainty, the only wondering you’re going to be doing is wonder where your next paycheck is coming from and wonder if it will be enough to afford all the basic necessities for survival.)

Yes, I’m dying for change. That’s why I enthusiastically voted for Barack Obama back in 2008 only to end up being disappointed by him. While he did some good (such as doing away with President Clinton’s horrible Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military policy and increasing access to health insurance for millions of people who were previously uninsured), he appointed Wall Street people to his cabinet, some of whom were the same people who helped with trashing the economy in 2008, while ignoring genuine progressives like Howard Dean and Paul Krugman. That’s not to mention the ongoing Sequestration where federal employees like my ex-husband has had their wages frozen for years while allowing Wall Street companies to get bailouts for their trashing of the economy in 2008. If the Republicans hadn’t put up an opponent who said stuff like “I like being able to fire people” while proving that he didn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone other than those in the top 1%, I might have considered voting against reelecting President Obama. But, no, they had to put up the disaster that was Mitt Romney. Bernie Sanders has been a Democratic Socialist for years and, if you look at his voting record, he has long advocated for the underdog in the Senate.

Bernie Sanders is also getting attention from the media and the political establishment and they both see him as a threat. Right now I’m seeing efforts to derail his campaign, such as what happened recently in Seattle when he faced two hostile two women claiming to be from the Black Lives Matter movement. However other people affiliated with the Seattle chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement have disavowed those two women. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone connected with either Hillary Clinton’s campaign or the GOP is responsible for this in an effort to discredit Sanders. So far these attempts hasn’t worked but I’m sure that these kinds of Richard Nixon-style dirty tricks will continue in the coming year.

If he fails to get the Democratic nomination in favor of Hillary Clinton and if Jeb Bush gets the Republican nomination, I’m going to vote third party. Seriously! Right now I’m looking at the Green Party as a possible alternative (although I am definitely open to other parties as well) because I refuse to take part in this plutocracy that’s disguised as “free elections.” I know that some of you will say that voting for a third party is “throwing away a vote.” Well I consider voting for either a Clinton or a Bush to be “throwing away a vote” because the American people deserve way better than this.

To be brutally honest, if I really wanted to live in a country where the top leadership is opened only to one or two families, I would’ve moved to North Korea years ago.

Free Tutorials

While there are lots of great software out there (including both proprietary and open source), sadly there are a lack of manuals that can explain how to use the software that are written in a clear concise manner that doesn’t assume that you are already an expert. This article on Opensource.com has some tips on how to write a software manual that’s easy to follow for the end user which can easily be applied to other types of situations (like writing instructions on how to knit a sweater, for example).

A tool wrap, house slippers, and other things you can make from a pair of worn-out blue jeans.

Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.

Miscellaneous Links

This has got to be the coolest use of 3D printed technology yet. Mat Collishaw and Sebastian Burton collaborated together to create a 3D printed zoetrope that does an animated reproduction of Peter Paul Reubens’ Baroque painting Massacre of the Innocents with very impressive results.

Here are some gorgeous Edwardian Era photographs of two girls that were actually shot in color between 1910-1914.

8 Ways Privatization Has Failed America

America’s elites are leaving it to die: TPP, Baltimore, Amtrak & the deteriorating fabric of a nation

Back in 2004 the spouse of an employee at the video game maker Electronic Arts wrote a blog post about what it’s like to be in a relationship with someone who works for a company that constantly demands its employees to work 12 hour days, six days a week. That post hit such a raw nerve with people that it quickly went viral for a while. Sadly it seems like not much has changed in the video game industry since that blog post first went live, according to this article titled The Horrible World Of Video Game Crunch.

Lately it seems like I’ve been writing new shorter posts about some other website that has interested me. I decided that I needed to do something a little bit more streamlined so I’m not constantly running back to this blog with new updates. I have to organize myself a bit more because I have other things that I also need to spend time doing.

So I’ve decided to start a new feature called Link-O-Rama where I’ll provide links to other places on the Internet that have interested me and I want to share with you. I don’t know how often I’ll do this feature other than I’ll do it once a week only if I have a link to share. If I don’t have other links in mind for a given week, I’ll skip a week or two.

So here are the first links for this new feature that I’d like to share with you.

FREE TUTORIALS

How to use leftover crayons to create small funky Valentine’s Day hearts.

Make a “no sew” bed for American Girl dolls or other 18-inch dolls.

MISCELLANEOUS LINKS

If, for whatever reason, you need to do some research on clothing, tools, toys, or furniture of the past or you just want to experience a quick trip down memory lane, Wishbook Web is a great resource. The site has scans of old store catalogs from Spiegel, Sears, Lord & Taylor, Wards, JC Penny, FAO Schwarz, Simpsons-Sears, and Eatons. The vintage catalogs posted at that site range between the years 1933-1988. This site also has a Flickr account full of more retro goodies like vintage greeting cards and obscure CD labels.

It’s never too late to code. A story about how people over 50 can learn to code and even start new careers.

I built my rabbit a cart and now he delivers me a beer! Seriously! That video is totally cute.

My father suffered a spinal cord injury that left him in a wheelchair for the last several years of his life. Geoff Raismen says that his research has come up with a new way of beating paralysis. It’s too bad that my father, who passed away in 2000, didn’t live to see this.

A musician’s tale about the hard choices she’s facing regarding putting her music on YouTube and the response from YouTube after her post gained media attention.

An awesome video by Creavite using kinetic typography that also has a serious message about the current state of education: I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate.

Pictures of LEGO Minifigs designed as hipsters.

Here’s a really beautiful yet informative graphic on the development of the various world’s languages, which visually show why some languages (like the ones spoken in the Scandinavian Peninsula) seem so similar to each other.

Jane Perkins is a British artist who creates stunning works of art using everyday objects she finds in recycling centers, second-hand shops, and junkyards.

A brief excerpt from an open letter to Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do you REALLY want to help your party and your country? If so then stop sucking all the (financial/political) oxygen out of the system giving other (genuine) progressives a shot at the White House.

A two-minute educational video on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) narrated by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

Here’s a cat’s perspective on the Superbowl, which is this coming Sunday.

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