Dec 312015

I decided that after spending so much time on the negativity of US politics, I wanted to finish the year with some positive notes.  So here are 6 short takes that made me feel good, and I hope they will do the same for you!

Happy New Year!


The Province — Two children seized from their British Columbia home on Christmas Eve weren't overlooked by Santa thanks to a couple of Mounties and a businessman.

RCMP in the Interior city of Trail say the constables visited a local home on Thursday to check on the well-being of five- and nine-year-old girls.

The visit resulted in a social worker with the Ministry of Children and Family Development apprehending the children and taking them to a foster home at 10 p.m.

santa and sleigh

So Santa has a bigger wardrobe than just that red suit with chimney soot on it!  Click through for the rest of the story.

Upworthy — No matter where he is in the world, Santa Claus appears to be a popular guy.

Case in point: His recent visit to a shelter for migrants and refugees in Sarstedt, Germany, on Christmas Eve. The facility has been a temporary home for those from war-torn Syria and Afghanistan.

Santa's pit stop there shows that, regardless of where they are in the world, children go through the same stages of excitement when Santa comes to town.

Click through for more pictures of Santa's visit to a refugee centre in Germany.

The Province — When Erin Barrett decided to take her personal battle with ovarian cancer to Facebook, she had no idea her message about the “silent killer” would travel the world and be shared more than 240,000 times.

“It made me sort of a bit anxious putting it out in public like that — I’m a very private person,” the 35-year-old Vancouver mother of two told The Province, as she sat waiting for her third and final chemotherapy appointment at the B.C. Cancer Agency on Tuesday.

But Barrett felt a “moral and ethical responsibility” to post about the disease, because she considers herself lucky for being diagnosed at stage one — most women don’t get the diagnosis until stage three or four, when it’s often too late.

She was diagnosed early because she was in “overwhelming pain” during her second pregnancy, so her doctor ordered some scans. On Sept. 21 he found the tumour, which was “bigger than a volleyball.”

erin barrettErin Barrett cuddles her daughter Edie, born on Sept 24.

Three days later they delivered her daughter Edie while also removing Barrett’s left ovary, Fallopian tube and the nearly six-pound tumour.

Thinking beyond herself in hopes of helping others.  Her reward, not that she was looking for one, was a show of support from people around the globe!  Click through for the rest of the story.

CBC — A recent strong solar storm is expected to give Canadians across the country a special New Year's Eve northern lights show.

The aurora's swirling colours may light up night skies as far south as 50 degrees geomagnetic latitude, says the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This means that cities along the Canada-U.S. border and farther north might get a chance to see the display.

northern-lights saskatchewanPhotographer and tornado hunter Greg Johnson took this photo in Saskatchewan. The photo was taken at night, and the lights seen are the from the full moon and aurora borealis. 

northern lights finland


northern lights norwayNorway

northern lights alaskaAlaska

northern lights icelandIceland

It doesn't get much more beautiful than this! The first time I was the northern lights was in the summer of 1960 in central Ontario.  I have seen them many times since, especially when I lived in the north . . . almost a daily occurrence especially during the winter where the light reflects off the snow.

Huffington Post — "Some teacher reflexes never cease."

So said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's photographer, who captured this sweet moment between Canada's leader and a young student sitting on the steps of Parliament.

justin trudeau steps

The boy was "having a bad day while on a school visit," and Trudeau — a father of three who once worked as a French, drama, and math teacher — hunkered down for a quick heart-to-heart.

When I first saw this story, I was proud to call Trudeau my Prime Minister. Don't get me wrong, he's not perfect and I don't "worship the ground he walks on".  But he looks at the seemingly inconsequential like this boy, and takes the time to listen.  This has shown up also as he greeted refugees. The greatest gift we can give to another is our time, our heart and listening.

Upworthy — This kid has a point. About life. About relating to other human beings.

This lad is spot on!  I  am learning Persian and when I use a few words at the market or at physio, faces light up.  I have noticed the same when I greet Julio and Alberto at the grocery store in Spanish.  My pronunciation is not perfect, but I try.  It is about respect.

My Universe — 






Dec 052015

I remember Sunday morning, 18 May 1980 at 8:32 am.  I was up and getting ready for church.  On this sunny morning, there was a great warm blast of air that came streaming in my window with force.  It was very unusual.  It wasn't until later that I learned that Mount St Helens in Washington state had erupted.  I was living in Victoria, BC at the time.  We experienced ash depositing on everything, but not like those in the US.

From The Washington PostEarly Thursday morning, southern Italy woke up to see this remarkable display — Mount Etna, Sicily’s tallest peak and active volcano, was erupting after two years of silence.

The sky glowed red above Sicily, seen above from Calabria, Italy’s most southern region. The skies were cloudless on Thursday morning and Mount Etna was capped in white snow.

Image result for mount etna

Mount Etna on a sunny quiet day. (Wikipedia)

Image result for mount etna

Mount Etna on a sunny quiet day. (

Then early on Thursday morning, nature broke loose.  

Click through for some more images.  The images following are from The Huffington Post and show the raw power of the volcano's eruption.

mount etna

mount etna

mount etna

mount etna

mount etna

Mount Etna 2002 eruption

The earth's fury can be awesome to witness, but very terrifying at the same time.

Oct 312015

It is that time of year again when leaves are falling, temperatures are cooler, and days are getting shorter, which conversely means nights are getting longer.  It is also time to turn the clocks back by 1 hour.

Salvadore Dali time

Remember to set your clocks back by one hour before you go to bed Saturday night to adjust from Daylight Savings Time, which officially ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, November 1.

This is also a good time to remember to check your smoke detector and change the batteries.

Now, enjoy that extra pillow time and remember, it is a limited time offer!


Good night!

Apr 072012

On Thursday evening I was able to sleep over an hour for the first time in over a week.  Since then I have been sleeping almost continuously, except for eating and for pretend Romney is in the bowl runs.  I feel totally groggy.  I have a holiday greeting planned for tomorrow, but that’s all.

Feb 052012

The best thing I can say about the Nevada Caucuses is that I slept through them.  Romney outspent his opponents, as always, and sailed to an easy victory.  Gingrich was a distant second.  Santorum was fourth, but it appears that he is now trying to froth his way into a VP spot.  No other Republican candidate is worthy of mention.

5NevadaMitt Romney handily won the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, solidifying his status as the front-runner and increasing his momentum as he seeks to use the month of February to ease doubts within the Republican Party about his candidacy and begin confronting President Obama.

Mr. Romney ran well ahead of his three opponents on a night that delivered his second decisive first-place finish in four days, following his victory in the Florida primary on Tuesday.

Mr. Romney appeared elated as he took the stage at his election headquarters at the Red Rock casino hotel here, kissing his wife, Ann, who reminded the crowd that Nevada would be important in a general election, and hugging his sons before delivering a speech geared toward the fall…

Inserted from <NY Times>

Here are the latest stats with 43% reporting.





Goose Stepper
























And here is the current delegate count.











On Tuesday, Missouri has a primary.  Colorado and Minnesota have caucuses.

Jan 132012

Yesterday I slept late.  I ducked my email to finally attack that huge pile of paperwork and got it done in a few hours.  I napped in the late afternoon.  I’m current with replies.  Tomorrow I have housework to do.  What dominated the news today was Republicans attacking Republicans over attacking another Republican for acting like a Republican.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today it took me 3:44 (average 4:25).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From USA Today: The Justice Department is defending the legality of President Obama’s recent recess appointment of a national consumer watchdog and other officials from criticism by Republicans.

The department released a 23-page legal opinion Thursday summarizing the advice it gave the White House before the Jan. 4 appointments. Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz wrote that the president has authority to make such appointments during a congressional recess of the current length. Seitz argued the Senate’s periodic pro forma sessions in which no business is conducted have not enabled the chamber to advise and consent to regular nominations, as it is empowered to do under the Constitution.

That makes sense to me.  The sham pro-forma sessions left the Senate out of session for purposes of fulfilling their duty to advise and consent.

From Crooks and Liars: Less than two days after the NYCLU demanded that Brookfield Properties remove the barricades preventing the public from accessing Zuccotti Park, the property management company has done just that. Tuesday evening, the barricades were removed and stacked off to the sides, permitting visitors to enter the park.

With freedom comes responsibility; according to one occupier, “Brookfield Security said unless we do something stupid the park will remain open!”

Good for them.  I’m glad they got the park back.

From Alternet: It’s almost as if Republicans are actively striving to get a reputation for being mean to poor, hungry people. On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett plans to start restricting eligibility to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the food stamp program). Specifically, the state is imposing an “asset test” — anyone under 60 years old with savings of more than $2,000 is no longer eligible for assistance.

Here Republicans are making certain that, before a needy family can get food, that have to be unable to buy medicine and pay medical expenses.



Jan 022012

In December, Politics Plus dropped in Uniques and Visitors, but Page Views, Hits and Bandwidth were up.  Because I was ill for almost half the month, I’m surprised that we did that well.


Unique visitors

Number of visits




Viewed traffic *



(2.03 visits/visitor)


(10.96 Pages/Visit)


(34.72 Hits/Visit)

26.04 GB

(867.3 KB/Visit)

Not viewed traffic *





5.79 GB

Not viewed traffic is people who read our blog without coming here, using RSS Readers, such as Feed Demon, and Aggregation sites, such as Google Reader and MyWeb.


Here is our most recent ClustrMap, last updated on January 1.


Our ClustrMap reset the morning of 2/28/2011, starting over from scratch. This map counts only visits since then. The largest circles represent over 1,000 visits. The tiniest represent one to ten.

Our average durations were up from 279 seconds last month:

Number of visits: 31,478 – Average: 299 s

Number of visits




79.4 %



5.2 %



2.5 %



3 %



2.4 %



3.9 %



3.3 %

Search engine referrals were mixed.

21 different referring search engines







55.2 %


38.1 %

Stumbleupon (Social Bookmark)


38.4 %


56.9 %

Microsoft Bing


2.1 %


1.7 %



1.5 %


1.1 %

Google (Images)


0.7 %


0.6 %

Microsoft MSN Search


0.5 %


0.2 %

Unknown search engines


0.3 %


0.2 %



0.3 %


0.1 %



0.1 %


0 %



0.1 %


0 %

Microsoft Windows Live


0.1 %


0.1 %



0 %


0 %

Earth Link


0 %


0 %



0 %


0 %

MetaCrawler (Metamoteur)




0 %





0 %





0 %





0 %





0 %




0.1 %





0 %

Our top five non-blog referrers are:                4,277              2,379         539             276                161

Our top 15 blog/news referrers are:

There is an extra, because there was a tie for 15th place.

Here’s some linkey-love in return  The best ways you can spread the message to others is to use the share button at the bottom of each article to list our articles on the the networking sites where you belong. Quote PP articles on your own blogs also helps.  The operative commandment here is “thou shalt steal.”  We’re on the same side here, and I encourage it.  Even if you want to repost a whole article, that’s OK.  Just link back, please.  Also, feel free to swipe my graphics in the articles.  If they are labeled with our Politics Plus URL, they are my work.

The top fifteen commenters for December are missing.  I went to copy the names at 8:45 PM on the 31st, and it had already reset.  I thought it reset at Midnight EST.  I guess I’ll just have to do it earlier in the day. The widget is in the right column.  I don’t count, as I’m the resident big mouth, and I try to reply to every comment, except replies directed at someone else.  Those who leave their URLs in their comments, get linkey-love here. Hopefully I’ll get them next month.

We have 604,268 links on other websites, down from 656,839 last month.

We have 3,050 articles and 27,150 comments, as of midnight 1/1.

I recommend using your own avatar. Go to Gravatar.  Sign up using the email address you use to post comments here and upload the image you want to use.  Whenever you comment under that email address here or on any WordPress blog (several others too), that image will be your avatar.

We also have a special announcement.  I have authorized two other people to post articles on Politics Plus.  On the subjects of Canada and Canadian politics we have Lynn Squance, who understands the US better than any Canadian I have known.  On the subjects of Health Care and Medical Issues, we have SoINeedAName, affectionately known here as Nameless, who is a doctor.  I do not know when we can expect to hear from them, but they have the access to post any time they choose.  Please welcome them.

Your participation remains a major part of what makes this blog worth reading, not to mention worth writing. Many people who visit here have told me that they come here to read your comments in addition to my articles, and people continue to write comments about your comments on other sites.  Politics Plus exists to help end right-wing insanity and send the Republican Party the way of the Whigs.  Thank you all for all you do, here and elsewhere, to help make that happen.  Together we will make a difference.