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So, after two months of steamy Georgia summer weather which has restricted my outdoor prowlings, even at night, I am back with more news. The best news is that we are all well. Magi has developed into a sleek, muscular fellow. He weighed 11 pounds when Mike and Judy took him to the Extreme Vet recently for his first of hopefully many annual check-ups. He looks like a Bengal cat. I would show a picture if I could get Mike to figure out how to do it. Word Press has revised (improved no doubt) the format of how this page looks, and we don’t see where to go to add pictures. And, Mike is too impatient with the process to spend much time figuring it out. So you will have to look up Bengal cats on line if you want to see what Magi looks like now. Please do, for he is quite smart-looking.

Mike recently found out that he does not have COVID antibodies after his first two immunizations in February. He had his booster two weeks ago, so maybe this will kick something in. He says he will get tested again in October. In the meantime, he is restricting his activities again. He will be doing the Berman Center work entirely online until he has immunity. Things wouldn’t be so bad if not for the people who are still not vaccinated. They have put themselves and everyone else at risk, and they seem not to care. It is hard to understand or accept how ignorant and selfish people can be. Mike didn’t want me to say that, but I have overruled him.

Oh, we made some progress. There is now a dimmed out picture of Magi below with a little pinwheel of doom going round and round just below his left eye. Maybe this means it is still loading. Maybe there is a deeper and more nefarious meaning. Maybe it means Mike still has no idea what he is doing. Time will tell, and time seems to be what I have a lot of these days.

Magi, my Bengal Brother

There has been an interesting development in the sports world—awareness and concern about the mental health of the athletes. We hear about ACLs, tendon transfers, concussions, and fractures of all kinds, but if a player gets depressed it is hidden from view. Athletes train to be tough and competitive, and hate to show any sign of weakness. Mental health issues have been thought of as signs of weakness in the sports world until recently, but that is changing. In sports from tennis to football to gymnastics top athletes are admitting to their difficulties and seeking help. There is absolutely a mental side to every game. If an athlete loses self-confidence their performance is likely to suffer. ESPN has done a story about Drew Robinson, a baseball player who made an unsuccessful suicide attempt last year. The Atlanta newspaper ran a good story about him in the July 25 Sports Insider section. He tried to make a comeback playing after he recovered from his injuries, but suffered somewhat of a set-back in his depressive disorder. Wisely, he decided to let baseball go. But his team, the San Francisco Giants, has hired him as a mental health advocate for the team. Likely he will also serve as an advocate to the community at large. Mike has spent his professional career treating patients with addictive and mental health disorders. He says they are painful to live with and carry a stigma which makes such conditions hard to bear. It is a good thing, and about time that this is changing. Athletes with mental health disorders can seek treatment and recover instead of suffer in silence. So can anyone else who has troubling issues with anxiety, depression, addiction, or other mental health symptoms. Help is available, y’all, so do talk with someone about what is troubling you.

Mike has had a positive development in his effort to get his book published—he has a literary agent. The agent seems to be experienced and successful in his field, and we are hopeful. He gave Mike the assignment of writing a book proposal which, it seems, is a big hairy deal. I guess publishers don’t want to read the book, just the book proposal. So, it had better be good. Mike is just about ready to finish Book Proposal 1.0 to send to his agent. He hopes it is close to what the agent needs and is hoping for. Maybe in another year or so The Twelve Step Pathway – A Heroic Journey of Recovery, will be jumping off the shelves, so to speak. Mike has also hired a website designer, and his author’s website will hopefully be active by the end of September. He will be blogging on the website, but I will continue to blog as well from right here at Georgia Cat Speaks. I suppose there will be a link between the two.

From our home to yours we wish you a happy and healthy new year, 5782. Let’s hope it is a year when people stop being so angry and start being nicer to each other again. Oh, and by the way, for you optimists I am happy to report that people are still having babies. The lovely people next door just had their second little girl. She is precious! I guess this means that they hope for a good world for their children to live in. I believe this will be so if everyone works for it–or most people at least. We cats will survive regardless, but it will be the kind of world I want to live in if love prevails and xenophobia is the big loser. Until next time, so long from Happy Meadows.

Happy 4th

So, happy birthday USA! It’s a beautiful day here in Georgia, and mostly things are well.

Mike finished the book of cat stories he bought when he and Judy went to Highlands a few weeks ago. There is a used bookstore there, Shakespeare’s, which they can’t stay out of. The book he bought there is Great Cat Tales edited by Lesley O’Mara, copyright 1991 by Castle Books. Famous authors included in the collection are Damon Runyan, Mark Twain, Colette, P. G. Wodehouse, Emile Zola, and Rudyard Kipling. It is a great read if you can get your hands on a copy. Two of the stories are about a cat caught up in a love triangle between a loving mistress and a jealous boyfriend. In both of the stories the boyfriend tries without success to drown the cat. Justice prevails, of course, and one of the cats even manages to kill the bad boyfriend. I thought that was a little excessive. Besides, once dead the bad boyfriend can’t ruminate about being bested by a cat. This story, Ming’s Biggest Prey is by Patricia Highsmith. Mike didn’t think it was as well-written as most of the others. For one thing, the word “Ming” was used at the start of 72 sentences in the story. What kind of a person would count the number of sentences that start with the word “Ming”? I don’t know about you, Mike. This reminds me that in the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, written by Gertrude Stein, the name Gertrude Stein supposedly appears over 600 times.

This was the week that Mike submitted his book for publication. He has decided to call it The Twelve Step Pathway – A Heroic Journey of Recovery. He is mostly satisfied with it although it still needs some work. Most of the 8 submissions he made got immediate responses. One was somewhat encouraging, one was a “thanks, but no thanks” and the others simply acknowledged receipt of the submission. He has a lot of work to do in establishing a greater social media presence. Wish him luck.

Mike is getting over the first cold he has had since March of last year. He finally got rid of it by giving it to Judy who has been coughing up a storm. She is now getting better as well.

Magi will have been with us one year on July 14. He is pretty nice and gets along with the twins and me just fine. Lady Bug is another story. She simply does not like him, a fact that seems to distress him not at all. He is not quite as annoying as he used to be, his previous primary amusements being chase the other cat, jump on the other cat, and bite the other cat. Lady Bug warns him off with whines and growls which usually discourage him. He still starts his games around 4 in the morning which gets him thrown out of the bedroom with the door shut behind him. This doesn’t seem to bother him that much either.

The world remains a troubled place. Pray for it. Thank you. Stay safe, be well, have some fun, and if I might suggest it, try brats for your picnic. And share with your cat (or at least let him lick your fingers). Bye-bye.

First Day of Summer

So, greetings from the world of the Georgia Cat on the first day of summer. It is a beautiful day and not too hot. So, what is new?

Mike has signed the Charter for Compassion. He thinks it is the right note to strike in these disturbing times. He is an admirer of Karen Armstrong, and has been ever since he read her book entitled The History of God. He says it is really about the history of the ideas about God, but you have to admit, the title is catchy. A few years ago she started the Charter for Compassion. There is a great TED talk of hers about it. You might want to check it out.

How about them Hawks?

Mike’s book project is moving forward. Most of what he has to do now is establish a social media presence. In that regard he will be writing his own blog. I will let you know when it starts.

Emory University is stepping up and owning their inglorious racist past. They used to have a policy in which they did not accept people of African descent into their medical school. They have just issued a public apology to Dr. Marion Hood who was denied admission to the medical school there around 60 years ago. At least they returned his $5 application fee at the time. When Mike’s father was in college at the University of Minnesota there were quotas for the number of Jews they would accept—at a state school–not a private school. Moses Gordon wanted to get into their engineering school, and actually was admitted as one of the few Jewish students because of his strong academic performance. Mike says he thinks there were less than 10 black students in his medical school class at the University of Illinois back in the sixties. And, one of them was from Nigeria. Furthermore, there were less than 20 female students, in a class of 200. He is just now wondering for the first time if he would have made it into medical school if the competition for the slots was fair. We shall never know.

So, Juneteenth is now a national holiday. Speaking as a black cat, I couldn’t be more pleased (or surprised.) Since I am committed now to be totally non-political in my blog, I can’t say why I am surprised—just that I am—and pleased.

I hope all of you have a delightful summer. It is certainly my plan to do the same. I will write again when more needs to be reported. Be well, be safe, and remember, love is the answer. Bye, bye.

Mike’s New Project

So, here we are again. Mike and Judy took off for a few days to the mountains of North Carolina, leaving me and the other cats in the care of Michelle. She’s a great Big Sister, and a super good sport, as she is allergic to cats. I guess they had a relaxing time while away. It was the first vacation they have taken since 2018. Between Mike’s chemo, and the COVID mess, normal life has been on hold. We are hoping for a prolonged stretch of normal.

I may have mentioned that Mike has taken advantage of his enforced isolation by working on a book. He has made good progress, and is moving into a new stage, that of trying to get it published. Getting a book published by a traditional publisher is challenging. When Mike wrote his first book, Autobiography of a Georgia Cat, he talked with a lady who had been in the business. She told him the it was almost impossible to get a book published without an agent—and that it was even harder to get an agent. This proved to be the case, and Mike eventually went the self-publishing route. Since that time (1999) much has changed, most especially the world of social media. Mike has learned that in order to get published an author has to have already established a reputation and a following. He has to build what is referred to a a platform. This involves building a social media presence. At a minimum this must include activity on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, and an author’s blog. Mike has not only committed to establish a platform, but also to not complain about it. He is already on Facebook and Linked-in, and just opened a Twitter account. He has contacted a publicist to assist him with navigating the journey through the blogosphere, twittersphere, etc. All of which is leading up to saying that he will start a new blog that will be written by him, not by me. He has promised me that he will continue to help me with my blog. Once the new blog is up I will give you all the details and put up a link to it from my blog. I promised to give Mike all the support that I can.

So, the world is still a crazy place, but we need to make the best of it as it is the only world we get to live in. And don’t forget, Cats Rule and Dogs Drool! Until next time, be safe, be well, give someone a hug, and pray for peace.

Great News

So, Mike had a meeting with Dr. B., his lymphoma oncologist. She said his recent scan looked good (no evidence of recurrence), and that she wants another scan in 6 months. In his most recent meeting with Dr. K., his multiple myeloma oncologist, he also received a report of no evidence of recurrence. Mike gets periodic blood tests to follow this, and will have another bone marrow biopsy in December. So, this is great news. Even better, Mike feels fine and is enjoying his life. We hope you all are as well.

Happy day after Mother’s Day to everyone. Mike and Judy went out with Michelle to celebrate Judy and her place in our little family. I include a picture from the event. Are they not adorable?

Mike continues to work on his book, and feels as though he is making good progress. I will keep you posted.

Life gradually moves back towards normal. Don’t think, however, that things will return entirely to the way they were pre-COVID. That cannot and will not happen. Most industries have been affected by the pandemic. As one example, the health care industry is down over 500,000 jobs since February of 2020. A great many people have either died or contracted chronic illness from COVID. It will be interesting to see what a post-COVID world looks like. I hope you all will make a positive adjustment. Mike always talks about the importance of learning to deal with both uncertainty and change as critical life skills. Good luck to all of you with the new world.

And speaking of the new world, the sides are lining up and gathering ammunition to face each other in what Mike thinks will be the Great Battle of the next 20 years or longer. On the one side we have the people who want justice and equality for all people, and the other side we have the people who want to maintain the status quo, white privilege. Mike says it has become clear that the real danger to our nation comes from within, outside threats (China, Russia, cyberthreats, and viruses) notwithstanding. I have held forth before in this blog how, as a black cat, I am sensitive to mindless prejudice and discrimination based on differences in race, social status, color, national origin, gender or sexual orientation, etc.  I expect that our country will become a much better version of itself in due time. It will take determination, hard work, fearlessness, cooperation, and prayer, all readily available commodities. Let’s do it!

Mike took a new picture of my annoying little brother, Magi.

If you check your Encyclopedia of Cats you will find that he strongly resembles a Bombay cat. All of us are rescues, and none of us are pure-bred cats. I can’t say that being a mixed-breed cat is preferable because that would be saying that cats of a certain origin are better than cats of other origins.  This is not any more true than saying that people of one origin are better than people of other origins.  And I doubt if there is a person in the world that isn’t racially mixed in some way. People still carry Neanderthal genes, for heaven’s sake. As the line from the spiritual song goes, “We’re in the same boat brother, we’re in the same boat brother; and if you shake one end you gonna rock the other, we’re in the same boat brother.”

Well, it’s time for lunch and a nap. I hope you are all doing very well. Let’s all love one another, right now. I know, a line from another song. I can’t seem to help myself. Unlike most cats, I have learned to appreciate music and poetry. I will talk to you soon.

I’m Back!

Hey y’all! I did not expect to be gone for so long. It has been 8 months since I have posted. Mike muzzled me as I was getting too outspoken about the political situation. He is not doing a very good job of remembering how to put this together, and we have already lost what I just wrote a few minutes ago. Try, try again.

I am committed to say nothing about the former president, with the understanding, of course, that he will have nothing to say about me.

Mike’s health seems to be good. He goes for a scan in 2 weeks. It’s a routine follow-up to his chemo. I expect that he will prove to be in full remission. I will let you know, and not wait 8 months, either.

Our other cats are fine. Magi is all grown up. He is a year old this month. Lady Bug still doesn’t like him. Mike and Judy has somewhat pacified her by telling her that she is the Only Cat. I have some pictures, but not a recent one of her. Later. Mike got his first haircut in over a year a few weeks ago. His friend Chris says he looks like a hippie and sent him a tie-dyed shirt to complement the appearance. Picture included below.

Two of Mike’s elderly friends have died of COVID. I imagine everyone has been affected by this pandemic in many hurtful ways. Better times ahead.

Mike has made good progress on his book about the Twelve Steps as a heroic journey. I will let you know if he gets it published. You would think I would have a lot to say after 8 months of silence, but if I think of anything I will add it to the next post. In the meantime, stay well, and be safe. And remember, love is the answer.

An old hippie

The Twins

I honestly can’t say which one is Shayna Maidel and which one is Jackson.

Magi holding down his blanket

Shayna Maidel and her bear

 

Bye, bye!

The Black Codes

So, Mike has been reading up a storm, and has been neglecting his duties as my blogging assistant. One of his recent books was “White Rage” by Carol Anderson, the chair of African-American Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. In the book she wrote about the Black Codes which were enacted by the legislatures of 10 of the 11 Southern states that had seceded from the USA. Strangely, nobody Mike has asked had learned about this in their high school American History classes. Or maybe not so strangely. These codes succeeded in depriving blacks, whether former slaves or not, of basic human rights. President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded President Abraham Lincoln after the assassination, was from Tennessee, a former slave state. He saw equal rights for blacks as a disaster for whites and was quoted as saying, “This is…..a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” Likewise, the provisional governor of South Carolina said at their constitutional convention, “This is a white man’s government.” The Black Codes enacted, first in Mississippi, and then throughout the South, severely limited the freedom and rights of blacks. A great many blacks stayed on the plantations doing the same farm work they had always been made to do. Blacks who worked in towns were required to sign a labor “contract” with an employer which denied their right to seek better employment elsewhere for a year. If a man left his employment, for whatever reason, he was subject to arrest and return to his “master.” Most contracts required the worker to reside on the employer’s property, work sun-up to sundown 6 days per week, and not leave the property or receive visitors without permission. Wages were low and non-negotiable. Employers were authorized to whip their “employees” under age 18, but needed a judge’s order to whip older servants. An inducement to sign these contracts was the risk of being arrested for “vagrancy.” Anyone arrested for vagrancy could be put to hard labor and fined. A prisoner could be “hired out” at a public auction to an employer as a bondsman to work off the fine, often an impossibility. Vagrancy was a broad category which included being unemployed, loitering, frequenting brothels or drinking parlors, being disrespectful to a white man by word or gesture, or basically, by being black in public. Blacks were prohibited from fishing or hunting, owning knives or firearms, or to testify against a white man in a court of law. And so on and so forth….. just slavery by another name.

First appearing in North America, Black Codes were promulgated in 1685 for all the French Colonies by King Louis XIV, and issued almost unchanged in 1724 as the Louisiana Code Noir. Interestingly, the very first article in both codes says that Jews may not reside in the colony(s). (European countries and principalities, in particular, have a long history of kicking Jews out, and then, eventually, letting them back in again. Rarely, though, did Jews have the same rights as their Christian brethren until modern times.) Some choice items from the 54 articles of the Code Noir of 1685: Slaves must be baptized in the Roman Catholic Church; slaves belonging to different masters may not gather together under any circumstances; a slave who strikes his master or a member of the master’s family will be executed; fugitive slaves who have been absent for one month shall have their ears cut off and be branded; if they are absent for an additional month (or presumably, run away again) one of their hamstrings will be cut and they will be branded again; for a third offence the punishment is execution; masters who kill a slave will pay a fine; masters must provide food and clothing for their slaves even if they are old or sick; and so on and so forth.

Mike thinks that it reprehensible that the law is used as the underpinning of such horrors. What is worse is the complicity of religious agencies in this outrage. Mike thinks it is ironic that Cobb County, where we live in Georgia, is named for the author of a greater than 600 page treatise on slavery law. Thomas W. Cobb served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, then as a US Senator, and finally as a Superior Court Judge. Our city, Marietta, is thought to be named for his wife, Mary Cobb. So, the mistreatment of blacks, Jews, Indians, and other minorities in our country and elsewhere has a long and dreadful history. Mike thinks we can expect the struggle to continue with minorities demanding their full human rights, while others will try just as hard to deny them. A friend of Mike’s once defined politics as competition for limited resources. It’s more than that, but the point is a good one.

Some progress is being made in the sports world. Erik Moses has been named president of the Nashville Superspeedway,  a venue owned by Dover Motorsports. He is the first black man to hold the position of president at any NASCAR track. His previous job was as president of the XFL’s DC Defenders. And Jason Wright was named as the president of the Washington Football Team (formerly known as the Washington Redskins.) He is the fourth former player and first black man to serve as an NFL team president. Wright played for the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, and the Arizona Cardinals, and while a player served as the union representative for the Cardinals. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago. Congratulations to both men. And condolences to the Caray family and everyone connected with the Atlanta Braves on the passing of Paula Caray, wife of the late Skip Caray, the legendary announcer who died in 2008.

In other milestones, we have just marked 100 years since women gained the right to vote in the USA. Mike thinks it’s amazing that at the time that he was born women had only had the vote for 23 years. It seems so right and natural that women should vote. The greater the participation of everyone in our democracy, the better it will be for everyone. And, I’m just saying, on another important topic, Black Cat Appreciation Day has just come and gone on August 17; and International Cat Day (World Cat Day) was August 8. National Black Cat Day will be on October 27, just in time for Halloween. I’m not making this up, and I admit it seems like a bunch of silliness. Cats deserve to be esteemed every day, especially black cats. And speaking of black cats, here is another picture of Magi, although he is much bigger now.

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Magi is growing like a weed. He weighs almost 5 pounds. We had him to the vet for his shots last week, and he is good to go for a year. What a great little guy!

 

So, we had a little excitement over the weekend. Mike decided to have a couple of trees removed. One was hanging over the garage roof, and another one in front was hanging over our neighbor’s driveway and aiming at his house. Here is a picture of the worker up in the tree:

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This was a river birch that Mike had planted when they moved in 36 years ago. I think you can see where they already removed one trunk. This is what it looked like after the tree was cut down:

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Judy has wanted a pink dogwood, and now we have a nice spot for it. We will probably wait until spring to plant it. There might be room for two dogwoods.

A friend of Mike’s just called. He is sober 3 years today, a wonderful thing, and a cause for grateful celebration. I hope all of you have good things in your lives to celebrate as well. We are all certainly dealing with enough difficulties at this time; but things will improve. We even had a Zoom crash today, probably due to the increased use due to the start of school around the country.

Well, by all means stay healthy. Pray for world peace, be kind to everyone, wash your hands, and mask up. The more diligent we are about public health measures the sooner this mess will be over, and we will save lives. We have passed 5,000 deaths in Georgia, 175,000 nationally, and would like to put the brakes on. We love you all, and until next time, so long from Happy Meadows.

What a Week!

So, hello again from Happy Meadows. Not much has happened here or elsewhere, unless you want to consider: a 300 pound male black bear was captured recently a mile from our house and hauled off to north Georgia  where, we hope, he will be much happier; international cat day has come and gone; Joe Biden has picked Kamala Harris to be his Vice-Presidential running mate; the pandemic is pressuring decisions on school opening and on fall sports competitions; an explosion of unbelievable proportions took place in Beirut; and on and on. What a week, what a year!

Across the street today some tree trimming went on, during or after which our mailbox got thumped. Mike went out to look at it, and found a little frog had insinuated himself between the box and the support, his little throat vibrating like mad. Mike says he won’t fix the box until Gerald leaves voluntarily. (All our frogs are named Gerald, for some reason, and once you name a frog you have to treat it like family.) Here he is:

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Magi has seemingly doubled in size since he came to live with us almost a month ago. He and Jackson have been helping Mike read, which they have found exhausting as evidenced by this photo:

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He is a great little guy who loves to aggravate his siblings with games of chase and bite. We all tolerate it okay, that is, all of us but Ladybug. Yesterday Mike and I were in the living room when we heard a screech like the sound a cat makes when a 250 pound man accidentally steps on its foot, and Magi tore into the living room and hid under the couch. I didn’t think he was ever going to come out, but Mike got down on the floor and talked him out from under. There is a limit to what Ladybug will tolerate, and he will learn that limit, of that I am sure.

The hummingbirds have been at our feeder a lot lately. Mike got a few pictures. Here is the best one:

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So, we hope you are as well as you can possibly be. Please stay safe, wear your masks, wash your hands, pray for the world, and enjoy the beauty all around us. Until next time, remember that we love you all. So long from Happy Meadows.

Magi – Out and About

So, Magi has been cleared to mingle with the rest of us cats, and he has been having a ball. He and Jackson love to chase each other around the house. When he first came out of his room Ladybug disappeared for a day. None of us knew where she was. She is starting to get over it, but hisses at Magi if he gets too close to her. Shayna Maidel still isn’t sure what to think of him, and thus far has shown no inclination to either play with him or to avoid him. Me, I think he is great! Here are a couple of pictures:

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As you can see, he is adorable, and he loves his toy dragonfly. And speaking of bugs, look at what we encountered on a walk this past week.

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It is a Robinson’s annual cicada, the common cicada that serenades us on these hot summer days with its love song.

So, with a big election coming up it is a good time to talk about what Mike says is the biggest weapon in the armamentarium of those who want to preserve the status quo. The weapon is voter suppression. This takes many pernicious forms, some of which go back hundreds of years, and some are of recent origin.

The newest game in town is the crippling of the United States Postal Service (USPS). The post office has been under duress for years. Some of the challenges have been the advent of electronic communication platforms and the competition of private companies in package delivery. Added to that was the law passed by Congress in 2006 which requires the postal service to fund the pension fund of every employee going forward 75 years. This ties up revenue unreasonably, it seems to me, and puts the USPS at a competitive disadvantage. The post office receives no government funding, relying entirely on revenues derived from the services it provides. But it can’t really run like a business, because it can’t set its own rates. Congress does that for them. In 2020, the post office has been hammered by the COVID pandemic. The workers are considered essential, so they have had more virus exposure than people who get to work from home. Tens of thousands have had to quarantine because of exposure to known COVID cases, which has slowed production because of the resultant understaffing.  And who knows how many have died since the beginning of the year? This has placed an increased burden on the timely delivery of the mail.

In this setting, we have a president who is determined to be re-elected by whatever means necessary. He believes that voting by mail will decrease his chances, and has been attacking absentee voting all year with his statements. He says that it is vulnerable to massive fraud, which has not been the experience of those jurisdictions where voting by mail is the norm. Congress authorized 10 billion dollars in emergency COVID funding for the USPS, but the money has not been released by the Treasury Department, which is demanding control over the USPS operations. Another loan of 25 billion has been passed by the US House of Representatives, but is being held up by the Republican controlled Senate.  Very recently a major donor to the Trump campaign, Mr. Louis DeJoy, was appointed Postmaster General. He has instituted changes designed to slow the delivery of the mail, such as not allowing overtime to workers. Mail delivery has been limited to once per day. Donald Trump has attacked the USPS, calling it “a joke.” He is calling for a 400 per cent increase in rates for package deliveries, which if instituted would accelerate the financial problems of the institution as more package delivery would be diverted to private carriers. And right now package delivery is the only postal service that doesn’t lose money.

All these moves, and more, are designed to cripple the post office which could be broke by October, and to severely impact voters who depend on the mail to vote. For example, many poor people, much more likely to vote for Democratic candidates, may be unable to get off work in order to vote. Even if they could get an hour off, say for lunch, long lines would make it impossible to vote, as polling places have been drastically reduced in number in many states, especially in minority neighborhoods. Many potential voters are burdened by lack of access to child care, lack of transportation to polling sites, or are elderly or disabled. This kind of maneuvering in order to win an election is unconscionable, but not surprising. Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey has said, “Attacks on the USPS threaten our economy and the jobs of 600,000 workers. With our states now reliant on mail voting to continue elections during the pandemic, the destabilizing of the post office is a direct attack on democracy itself.” Mike thinks he will be able to vote by mail this year. but if the issue is in doubt, even though his doctor has warned him to remain quarantined until he is vaccinated against COVID-19, he will vote in person. Mike says he loves his country enough that he would absolutely risk his life to cast a vote against Donald Trump. Mike was just reading the Tao Te Ching, a translation by Stephen Mitchell. Poem #18 says, in part, “When the country falls into chaos, patriotism is born.” Still as true today as it was 2500 years ago, give or take, and still a good thing.

Happy birthday to Medicare which just turned 55 on July 30. Medicare is a good example of something which was vigorously opposed by many when it was being debated, (mostly by those who are opposed to government control of much of anything)  but which has come to be highly valued by many people and institutions (such as the AMA) which originally fought its enactment into law.  It is kind of like white and black people in the South drinking from the same water fountain and thinking nothing of it. There must be a lesson in this.

We should find out this week who Presidential candidate Joe Biden is going to pick to be his running mate. Donald is getting so nervous that he suggested postponing the election. It should be an interesting time, and as the Chinese are said to wish upon their enemies, “May you live in interesting times.” I have a lot more to say about voter suppression, so stay tuned for my next blog. Until then stay safe, wear your mask, wash your hands, pray for your socially distant neighbors, practice the Golden Rule, and be nice to your cats and dogs. And speaking of dogs, some of our Happy Meadows dog owners are leaving little plastic bags of dog poo lying around instead of properly disposing of them. Come on now, you know who you are. How about starting to live a better life by going back out and picking up your little treasure’s little treasures? Thanks a heap, so to speak. We love you all. Bye bye!