Category Archives: Politics

A Photo Journal – Henry Carroll – Page 70-71

As the 2018 political season wound down, I found it to be a perfect time to tackle Page 70 and then subsequently Page 71 of THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT:


Photo Journal - Page 70
Page 70 – Take a picture of something you hate.

There are few things in the world I hate more than the “stick-to” narrative. This belief that everybody has a right to express their political opinion, except for artists and athletes. Since I happen to be both (Monstars, represent!), it is something that hits home.

When a plumber or a line cook expresses a political opinion, nobody is out there saying, “Stick to plumbing” or “Stick to cooking”.

But whenever an athlete or an actor expresses a political opinion you hear a chorus of “Hey pal, stick to sports, just stick to sports.”

Which is weird because athletes like Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali (to name just a couple) have been instrumental in leading social change.

Even stranger still is the people who come down on artists. It is the job of the artist to say some thing. That is the point of art. It isn’t always political, but sometimes, that is going to be political. Banksy is probably the greatest political artist of our times. It would be tragic if he was silent.

By the way, thanks to Michelle for making my “Stick to Photography” sign!

Page 70 leads to Page 71 of THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT:


Photo Journal - Page 71
Page 71 – Email me the picture and I’ll email you a picture of something I hate.

Page 71 asked you to send your hate picture to the author of A PHOTO JOURNAL, and then he would email you back a picture of something he hates. The author of A PHOTO JOURNAL is Henry Carroll. This is what he emailed me back.

Not sure what page we will check in with next time we check in with THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. It’ll be a surprise to all of us!

+++++++

A reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is PETS:


WEEK 166 - PETS
PETS


A PETS image is any photo of a PET(S) or anything related to a PET(S).

Happy photo harvesting!

#BlueWave2018

I decided to make a few abstract images to commemorate the Blue Wave in the 2018 Midterm Elections.

I was quite the historical night and a very successful night for the Democrats.

Consider:

  • Despite facing tremendous gerrymandering in many states, Democrats gained between 37-39 House seats. The most since the post Watergate Midterm.
  • Despite the worst Senate map that any party has faced since 1960, the Republicans only managed to flip deep red states North Dakota, Missouri, and Indiana. They were unable to flip Montana and West Virginia. Meanwhile, the Democrats flipped Senate seats in traditional red states of Arizona and Nevada. When all is said and done, the Republicans will probably also flip Florida. Which will be by far the greatest Republican accomplishment of the night.
  • Democrats flipped over 300 state legislative seats.
  • Democrats flipped 7 governors.
  • 15 Represenatives with A Grades from the NRA* lost. All lost to Moms Demand Action Candidates.
  • Jared Polis became first openly gay governor when he was elected in Colorado
  • First Native American women elected to Congress. Sharice Davids in Kansas. Deb Halaland in New Mexico. Davids is a lesbian, which makes her the fist openly LGBT member of Congress from Kansas as well.
  • The first two Muslim women were elected to Congress in Rashida Tlaib and Ihan Omar.
  • Krysten Sinema became the first openly bisexual woman elected to the Senate when she won in Arizona.
  • Democrats currently lead the House popular vote by 6.8%. That number will be closer to 8% when all votes are counted.
  • Voters in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah all voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  Those are all red states by the way.
  • Michigan voted to expand voting rights. Approving same-day voter registration, made it easier to request absentee ballots, and reinstated straight-ticket voting.
  • Maryland passed a measure to implement same-day voter registration.
  • Florida passed Amendment 4 which restores voting rights to 1.4 million formerly incarcerated Floridians that served their times and paid their debts to society. That leaves only Iowa and Kentucky as the only backward states that don’t.
  • Trump’s campaigning, fearmongering, and constant lying had next to no effect on the results.  Trump endorsed candidates won about 50% of the time. Which is about the same as just flipping a coin.  For the record, he came to Iowa to campaign for Rod Blum. Rod Blum lost.
  • Midterms usually have little effect on the Presidential election, but a few things that will make it easier for the Democrats to win in 2020 (besides a historically unpopular President). The states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania all elected Democrat Governors. While that doesn’t mean that they will go blue in 2020, but if they would’ve went blue in 2016, Hillary would be the President right now. It is much easier for a Presidential candidate to win a state when they can attach to a governor’s existing campaign apparatus. Florida is considered a swing state, it consistently votes red. However, by the slimmest margins. Amendment 4 could easily swing Florida blue. While Ohio has become increasingly red, Virginia is now solidly blue. They almost offset each other. While people have claimed that Texas is purpling for years, it isn’t quite there yet. However, traditional red states Arizona and Nevada are now definitely swing states. New Mexico has become a blue state.
  • If you were to move the vote 6% towards the Republican candidate in 2 years, the Democrat candidate would still win the White House.
  • Turnout for the midterm election was historically high. More than 49% of eligible voters actually voted.
  • For the first time in history more than 100 women will serve in Congress.
  • Young voter turnout increased by 188% If you ware wondering if you are a young voter, you are if you between the ages of 18 and 29.

All in all, it was an incredible midterm with many fascinating, historical results.  Below are my abstract salutes to the Blue Wave:


#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

#BlueWave2018

It will probably be quiet for a few weeks here in Iowa. However, I expect 2020 presidential hopefuls will start hitting Iowa sometime in January. I have a goal of trying to see as many of them as possible.

*A domestic terrorist organization

08-04-08

The folder 08-04-08 is filled with images of Teresa and I’s trip home from Kentucky.

On the way back we stopped in Springfield, Illinois. Springfield is noted for being home of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. It also home of the Springfield Old Capitol Building where both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama made their announcements that they were running for President.

Abraham Lincoln, the man who said:

“How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

and

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

and

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

and

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”

and

“Stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.”

and

“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

Barack Obama, the man who said:

“The cynics may be the loudest voices – but I promise you, they will accomplish the least.”

and

“Where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can.”

and

“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.”

and

“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.”

It is startling how far the level of political discourse has fallen in just a couple of years. Hopefully in 2020, we will elect somebody to the White House that’s command of the English language is above that of a 4th grader. (Not hyperbole – Studies show that speeches given by the current President hover between a 3rd grade to 7th grade reading level.)

It would also be nice if that person wasn’t a homophobic, a misogynistic, sexist, racist, jingoistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobe. But I don’t want to get too greedy here. But if I were getting greedy, I would want a President that wasn’t bought and sold by corporate interests. A president that stood up to despotic leaders like Putin, Jong-un, and Bin Salman, instead of carrying water for them. If I was getting super greedy, I would want a President that wasn’t accused of sexually assaulting 22 different women. I know. That is totally a case of he said, she said (Jessica Leeds), she said (Ivana Trump), she said (Kristin Anderson), she said (Jill Harth), she said (Lisa Boyne), she said (Mariah Billado), she said (Victoria Hughes), she said (Temple Taggart), she said (Cathy Heller), she said (Karena Virginia), she said (Tasha Dixon), she said (Bridget Sullivan), she said (Melinda McGillivray), she said (Natasha Stoynoff), she said (Jennifer Murphy), she said (Juliet Huddy), she said (Rachel Crooks), she said (Samantha Holvey), she said (Ninni Laaksonen), she said (Jessica Drake), she said (Summer Zervos), she said (Cassandra Searles).

Here are some pictures from the trip home:


Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

We also visited Lincoln’s Tomb. If you are ever in the Springfield area, I definitely recommend visiting both. I wish we would have had more time to visit more Lincoln exhibits in the area!

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entry to its original glory:

Back to Civilization

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will probably involve Little White Lye Soap. All of you have been stocking up on Little White Lye Soap, haven’t you?

Flowers, Always and Always

REMINDER

It is once again time for me (and by me, I mean you guys) to pick out my photos to enter in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. Once again, I am going to leave it up to a popular vote.

The Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest allows you to enter up to 6 photos.

There are 4 Categories:

1. Nature
2. Photojournalism
3. Photoshop Enhanced
4. Hidden Treasures of Boone County.

I have selected 60 images for you to consider. To simplify things, I have split the 60 photos into 6 sets of 10. If you wish to exercise your enfranchisement, clicking on the link below will take you to Poll #1. Vote for one of those pictures and then move onto the next poll, until you have voted in all six polls.

The winner of EACH poll will be entered into the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

Click on the link below to start voting:

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Nominees

Voting will end at midnight, August 8.

As of this writing, if there are no votes between now and the end of the voting, these will be the Entries:


2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Nominee

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Nominee

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Nominee

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Nominee

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Nominee

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Nominee

+++++++

A friendly reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is TREE:


WEEK 151 - TREE
TREE


A TREE picture is any picture that involves a TREE or a TREE byproduct.

Happy photo harvesting!

+++++++

I must have flowers, always and always.
-Claude Monet

Monet is one of my favorite painters and his work is definitely an influence on my photography. There was a point that I could argue that my most popular photo was named after Monet’s personal garden. I called the photo “My Giverny”.

I respect Monet’s love of flowers. I like to have a wide variety of flowers in my yard. Of course, I always have to visit the Discovery Garden at the Iowa State Fair.

These are the balance of pictures from my trip to the Discovery Garden at the Iowa State Fair last year:


Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

Iowa State Fair - Discovery Garden

I have more State Fair pictures to share at some point in the future. The near future.

And the Children Shall Lead

This is the last collection of pictures from the March for Our Lives Rally.

I was going to write a parody of the views of some of the gun nuts I have known and their reactions to the news of school shootings.

Mostly a lot of hand wringing and worrying that a gun might have gotten hurt in that school shooting and hunkering down with the sticky pages of their Guns & Ammo magazine.

By gun nut I don’t mean the ordinary gun owner. I mean the guy (and I’ve know at least 2 of them) that have told me that Sandy Hook was faked.

I’m not going to do that though, I’ll just let the last set of images speak for themselves.


March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

I hope at least a few of you enjoyed this 8 week walk through my experience from the March for Our Lives rally. I would encourage everybody to attend a political rally of some kind. Even if you don’t agree with the cause. Cause, this is what democracy looks like.

Other Countries Are Laughing at Us

A few more American gun violence fun facts:

Homicides by firearm per 1 million people:

Australia 1.4
New Zealand 1.6
Germany 1.9
Austria 2.2
Sweden 4.1
Ireland 4.8
Canada 5.1
Switzerland 7.7

And the United States….

29.7

Fun Fact #2

There have been more than 1,600 mass shootings since Sandy Hook in the United States.

Fun Fact #3

On average, there is around one mass shooting for each day in the United States. (A mass shooting means 4+ victims, including shooter.)

Fun Fact #5

States with more guns have more gun deaths.

Rhode Island (5% gun ownership) has the least amount of guns and the least amount of gun deaths per 100,000 people.
Alaska has the highest gun ownership and the most gun deaths per 100,000 people.
Louisiana is second.
Mississippi is third.

Fun Fact #8

States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.

States that have at least 1 firearm law designed to protect children have (at the aggregate level) 5-10 gun deaths per 100,000.
States that don’t have any such laws have 10+ gun deaths per 100,000.

Fun Fact #9

Most gun deaths are suicides.

Over 22,000 suicides in 2016.

Fun Fact #10

Guns allow people to kill themselves much more easily.

Fatal Suicide attempts:

Cutting: 5.1%
Poison: 7.4%
Gun: 96.5%

Fun Fact #11

In states with more guns, more police officers are also killed on duty.

Low Gun States: .31 per 10,000 law enforcement officers
High Gun States: .95 per 10,000 law enforcement officers

Fun Fact #12

Specific gun control policies are fairly popular.

Preventing the mentally ill from purchasing guns – Republicans 89% – Democrats 89%
Barring gun purchases by people on no-fly watch lists – Republicans 82% – Democrats 85%
Background checks for private sales and at gun shows – Republicans 77% – Democrats 90%
Banning assault-style weapons – Republicans 54% – Democrats 80%
Creating a federal database to track gun sales – Republicans 56% – Democrats 84%

That was fun. Hopefully look at these pictures will be fun. A couple of my favorites are in there:


March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

My 2 favorite pictures are the one with a woman holding a sign that reads:

“No way 2 prevent this, says only nation where this regularly happens…”

This is a reference to THE ONION. Every time there is a mass shooting they publish the exact same article with that headline. The only thing that changes is the name of the town. Sometimes comedy can really shine a harsh spotlight on some uncomfortable truth.

Next to her is a woman holding a sign of a parody tweet that we see after every single mass shooting. It reads:

“US Lawmaker
@boughtbyNRA

I’m devastated to hear about the tragedy (insert city here). My thoughts & prayers are with you.”

The number one response that absolutely despise after a mass shooting is the person that says:

“It is too early to politicize this.”

It is too early to discuss policy that could prevent mass shootings to happen, but don’t worry, I’ll let you know when it is okay.

Cause let me tell you something, if I were to be killed in a mass shooting. There is no mourning period for you to ask, “What could we have done to prevent Chris from being mowed down at that Waffle House he loves so much next to that seedy motel in Kansas City.”

That doesn’t go just for guns.

If I die because the government is allowing big corporations to dump harmful chemicals into our drinking water. Wait no time to discuss what policy could enact to prevent another person from dying in the same manner.

But thankfully, I think the “too soon, but it is always too soon” people have mostly dried up.

However, the other one that I have begun to despise is the “thoughts and prayers tweet” from some congressman that is lining his pockets with NRA/Russian money.

I’m not against thoughts or prayers. As a man of faith, I believe strongly in the power of prayer.

However, maybe the standard prayer for lawmakers shouldn’t be:

“Dear God, I hope these people that just got mowed down will make it upstairs. Please bring comfort to their devastated friends and family. Make sure this NRA check doesn’t bounce. I know it is harder for Russia to funnel money to them these days. Amen.”

Most of that prayer is solid. We all know how inconvenient a bounced check can be. But perhaps next time they could add a line about being granted the wisdom to come up with policy that will help prevent such tragedies in the future.

I don’t pretend to speak for God, but I’ m willing to guess God’s answer won’t be: “Blame video games.”

The other sign that really speaks to me is the person holding the sign that says:

“I have asthma. It is easier to get a gun than an inhaler that saves my life.”

I know I have posted a ton on the March for Our Lives Rally. The reason isn’t just that I support some basic common sense gun control policies. I mean it is ridiculous that the CDC is banned from doing research on gun violence. The Dickey Amendment is a cruel joke that needs to be repealed.

The reason isn’t that seeing so many from the younger generation out and motivated and educated and trying to make a difference in the realities of their existence gives me lots of hope for our future.

Gun control isn’t the issue that I’m really passionate about.

The 2 issues that really move the needle for me are social justice and health care.

The fact that anybody in the richest country in the world (for now) can’t afford health care or their prescriptions is a flat out abomination. Double sad because (like gun violence) every other developed country in the world has figured this one out.

The sign sticks with me because I know it is true and I have been there before. It is a place nobody should be. Not even in the poorest countries in the world.

But I digress. There is one more bout of pictures from the March for Our Lives Rally in the hopper.

Books Not Bullets

A brief history of school shootings in the United States. Maybe you’ll detect a trend:

July 26, 1764 – Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Enoch Brown school massacre: Perhaps the earliest shooting to happen on school or college property, in what would become the United States, was the notorious Enoch Brown school massacre during the Pontiac’s War. Four Delaware (Lenape) American Indians entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, and shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown and nine children (reports vary). Only two children survived. However, this incident may only incidentally be considered a school “shooting” because only the teacher was shot, while the other nine victims were killed with melee weapons.

Then nothing until….

November 12, 1840 – Charlottesville, Virginia

John Anthony Gardner Davis, a law professor at the University of Virginia, was shot by student Joseph Semmes, and died from his wound three days later

Then nothing until…

November 2, 1853 – Louisville, Kentucky

Student Mathews Flounoy Ward took a pistol to school, where he shot the schoolmaster William H.G. Butler as revenge for what Ward thought was excessive punishment of his brother the day before. Butler died, and Ward was acquitted.

August 16, 1856 – Florence, Alabama

The schoolmaster had a tame sparrow and had warned the students not to harm it, threatening death. One of the boys stepped on the bird and killed it; he was afraid to return to school but did so. After lessons, the master took the boy into a private room and strangled him to death. The boy’s father went to the school and shot the schoolmaster dead.

The 1860s

6 shootings – 8 deaths

1870s

7 shootings – 3 deaths

1880s

11 shootings – 2 deaths

1890s

8 shootings – 13 deaths

1900s

14 shootings – 13 deaths

1910s

19 shootings – 12 deaths

1920s

10 shootings – 5 deaths

1930s

9 shootings – 10 deaths

1940s

8 shootings – 11 deaths

1950s

17 shootings – 14 deaths

1960s

19 shootings – 44 deaths

Including:

August 1, 1966 – Austin, Texas

University of Texas massacre: 25-year-old engineering student, Charles Whitman, got onto the observation deck at the University of Texas-Austin, from where he killed seventeen people and wounded thirty-one during a 96-minute shooting rampage. He had earlier murdered his wife and mother at their homes

1970s

31 shootings – 38 deaths

1980s

42 shootings – 51 deaths

1990s

66 shootings – 94 deaths

Including:

April 20, 1999 – Littleton, Colordado

Columbine High School massacre: 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold, students at Columbine High School, killed twelve students and one teacher. They injured 21 additional people, and three more were injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair committed suicide at the end of the massacre.

2000s

67 shootings – 101 deaths

2010-2014

92 shootings – 96 deaths

2015-Present

76 shootings – 86 deaths

Here are more pictures from the Des Moines March for Our Lives Rally:


March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

There still are a few more pictures from the March for Our Lives rally left. But not many.

The Mount Rushmore of Presidents Vol. 1

It is time to crack into the final spot I hit in South Dakota with my Mom last year. Mount Rushmore.

People (particularly bored sports talk show hosts) are always trying to make comparisons in the sports world to Mount Rushmore. Who would be on the Mount Rushmore of Iowa State athletics? (Dan Gable, Fred Hoiberg, Troy Davis, Jack Trice) Who would be on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore? (Lebron, Magic, Jordan, Wilt) Who would be on Cyclone basketball’s Mount Rushmore? (Hoiberg, Niang, Tinsley, Grayer) Who would be on Cyclone football’s Mount Rushmore? (Troy Davis, Jack Trice, Seneca, Matt Blair)

That type of thing?

But does the Mount Rushmore of Presidents have the 4 best Presidents on it?

According to the official results of the 2018 Presidents & Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey, they did a pretty good job.

A little about the survey:

The 2018 Presidents & Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey was conducted online via Qualtrics from December 22, 2017 to January 16, 2018. Respondents were current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, which is the foremost organization of social science experts in presidential politics.

Here is their Top 10 Greatest Presidents

1. Abraham Lincoln
2. George Washington
3. Franklin Roosevelt
4. Teddy Roosevelt
5. Thomas Jefferson
6. Harry Truman
7. Dwight D. Eisenhower
8. Barack Obama
9. Ronald Reagan
10. Lyndon Johnson

Therefore, the creators of Mount Rushmore did manage to pick the 4 top Presidents that were available to them. FDR hadn’t been President when Mount Rushmore began. He was President when it was abandoned however. During WWII, the United States couldn’t afford to spend any more on the project. At this point, it is safe to assume it will never be finished.

Here some pictures from the trip to Mount Rushmore:


Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

A few more pictures of Mount Rushmore are still stretching their legs, waiting for the call to get into the game.

Grandmas for Gun Reform

It is Thursday. That can mean only one thing. Time to check back in with more pictures from the March for Our Lives Rally from back in March.

But before we get to the pictures, here is a little fun fact:

90% of gun owners (including me, technically) don’t belong to the NRA. Despite the NRA claiming to represent gun owners, it does not. Almost all of the funding for the NRA comes from gun manufactures (heck they probably get more money from Russia than they do from individual gun owners) because the actual aim of the NRA has nothing to do with representing the views of gun owners. The NRA has one purpose and one purpose only, that is to increase gun sales. By any means necessary.

This is why the NRA LOVES school shootings. They can put out their scare propaganda and send their followers running to get guns. Thus sending the profit margins of their true benefactors through the roof.

This is the reason that a staggering 90% of gun owners don’t belong to the NRA. They don’t reflect the views of the average gun owner.

There are roughly 75 million gun owners in the United States. Sounds like a lot, until you realize that is less than 30% of the population. Of those 75 million gun owners, less than 5 million gun owners belong to the NRA.

These are the statistics on gun control measures that the NRA has lobbied against for their benefactors (and probably the Russians).

Universal Background Checks: Over 70% of NRA members favor universal background checks, Over 89% of gun owners – non-NRA favor universal background checks.

Ban on assault style weapons: Over 40% of NRA members favor ban; Over 50% of non-NRA gun owners favor ban.

Ban on high capacity magazines: Almost 50% favor ban; Over 60% of non-NRA gun owners favor ban.

When gun owners that don’t belong to the NRA were asked why they don’t belong to the NRA this was some of the responses:

25% I disagree with the NRA’s political beliefs.
22% I don’t feel that the NRA represents people like me.
49% I don’t see any benefit to being a member of the NRA.

Several people wrote in answers like:

“There’s no place for politically moderate, POC gun owners in the NRA.”
“They give us actually lawful gun owners a bad name.”
“They hijack issues, spread fear and propaganda all to sell, sell, sell!”

I bring up these statistics because people try to paint people that are for more gun regulation, with being anti-gun. There is more than enough meat on the bone to be a gun enthusiast and understand that there is common sense gun control laws (since the majority of gun owners favor gun control) that can be passed that can help stem the tide of the genocide that is going on in the schools (but not just the schools) in this country at a rate that nobody wants. I mean, besides the NRA and gun manufacturers.

(These statics are from a Pew Research poll)

More pictures from the rally:


March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

Yes, there are more photos from the March for Our Lives Rally in the hopper. How many more? Only time will tell! Stay pumped!

USA Not NRA

Here is another collection of images from that snowy day around the Iowa Capitol during the March for Our Lives Rally. I thought I would share the words from a pamphlet that a guy was handing out:

“The Second Amendment

A Sacred Covenant of Ethnic Cleansing and Slavery Between the Nation State and Settler Militias

There is a myth that has infiltrated the core of the American imagination. It is the belief that the Second Amendment is a result of the Revolutionary War, thus, a right to self-defense and to protect the country from any enemies that rise. It is also believed that if the government fails to protect its citizens, the citizens have the right to revolt. However, the historical context that led to the creation of the Second Amendment is actually based on the process of land annexation and the mitigation of local populations through assimilation, genocide or slavery–much of which took place at the point of a gun. The colonists that built this country ousted the British for many reasons, but fundamentally, ‘what colonists considered oppressive was any restriction that British authorities put on them in regard to obtaining land.’

The Second Amendment is actually a sacred religiopolitical covenant between the Nation State and the settlers of this continent that recognizes the fundamental ideology of land expansion through ethnic cleansing and slavery. It is nothing more than recognition that this cleansing and slavery. It is nothing more than recognition that this country was founded on the actions of generations of Europeans with a maniacal lust for Indian killing and the control of Black people. Men were expected to bear arms (at one point it was the law) in order to protect themselves, their families, the State and process of westward expansion. In essence, extreme violence was a god given right and an obligation of the average “citizen” that took on the singular role of a vigilante and that formed into small groups that cleared the way for the rise of the American government. The average citizen was a raider, a ranger, a frontiersmen, a marauder, a pirate and the average colony was a settler militia, an armed household, and a slave patrol.

The nation state did not create the Second Amendment to protect its citizens from invasion but to allow its citizens to invade. It is written permission to continue on with the doctrine of discovery, manifest destiny, westward expansion, i.e., the work of the white supremacist. As Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz writes, ‘The astronomical number of firearms owned by US civilians, with the Second Amendment considered a sacred mandate, is also intricately related to militaristic culture and white nationalism. The militias referred to in the second amendment were intended as a means for white people to eliminated Indigenous communities in order to take their land, and for slave patrols to control black people.’

The violent approach to Indigenous and Black populations is still practiced in current day American society. For instance, Native Americans have the highest police murder rate per ethnic group in the county and vast majority of these deaths are through the use of a firearm. According to the Center for Disease Control, ‘for every 1 million Native Americans, an average of 2.9 of them died annually from 1999 to 2015 as a result of legal intervention’. For the Black population the number is 2.6, for the Latinx it is 1.7, for Whites it is .9 and for Asians it is .6. This is a startling statistic because Native Americans only make up .9% of the population. However, these deaths are probably under reported just like the other epidemics that Native Americans face, such as missing and murdered women, abuse, rape, stalking, runaway children and violence committed by non-tribal members. According to Matthew Fletcher, director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, ‘The data available likely does not capture all Native American deaths in police encounters due to people of mixed race and relatively large homeless population that is not on the grid.’

The notion that there is a rise in gun violence in this country is actually a misunderstanding of history. There was just a period of time in the late 19th and early 20th century where guns were not essential for the coercive control of brown people as the government had created reservation internment camps and implemented Jim Crow laws to segregate ‘problem populations’. However, the rise of the NRA, gun lobbying and the mass production of automatic weapons tied to a long held gun fetish in the American imagination has given white supremacists updated permission to dust off their ancestors weapon of choice and reenact the violence that this country was founded upon. America is a young country and lacks a distinct culture of its own, but one thing is certain–Americans covet their sacred right to free real estate, cheap labor and the gun, thus, the Second Amendment is but permission to steal, kill and dominate in order to fulfill this expectation.”

If nothing else, it is an interesting piece of reading and you can think it over while you are looking at this collection of pictures from the March for Our Lives rally:


March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018
This guy spoke about losing his son to gun violence and the miracle of forgiving the person that killed his son.

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018
Remember these activists.

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018

March for Our Lives - 2018
Late birthday present ideas for me: A resist fist

March for Our Lives - 2018

The gentleman that spoke about losing his son to gun violence had an incredible story. I wish I would’ve caught his name. He spoke about forgiving and then helping raise the kid that killed his son. He concluded his speech about how his son’s murderer (who was also his son’s friend) recently had a son of his own. That baby has a birthmark in the shape, size, and on the same part as his murdered son.

“Don’t let anybody ever tell you that miracles don’t exist.”

He concluded his speech.

The two high school girls I told you to remember, they gave the last speech before the marching started. Their speech was also very impressive. They talked about the fear and horror they felt when their school was thought to have an active shooter on campus. While it ended up being a false alarm, something clicked in them on that day and they decided to be more active in the political process.

They arranged a meeting and spoke with their U.S. Representative David Young.

Representative Young in a condescending tone, explained to them that while gun ownership was a right (a horrible misunderstanding of what is a “right”) and that voting was a privilege. Dismissing them because they were not old enough to vote.

They concluded with saying:

“Well David Young, we will be able to vote in November and it will be our PRIVILEGE to vote against you.”

Then they lead the marching.

Don’t worry, there are still plenty more March for Our Lives Rally photos in the hopper. Get pumped, or remain pumped.