7 Quick Takes: Washington State Primary Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Gubernatorial race. The good news is that Governor Inslee had triple the votes of the other 30+ people running. Even better news is State Parasite and chair thief Tim Eyman doing poorly. (A friend of mine in state government told me that he is a succubus, not a parasite. I still stand by my designation.)

The bad news is that Governor Inslee’s challenger Loren Culp is an absolutely incompetent police chief from a tiny town in eastern Washington who is running on a spite platform not enforcing any of Inslee’s policies… and also being sued for intimidating and threatening a teenage sexual abuse victim while refusing to investigate her abuse by her step-father. The reason this is bad news? There are idiots in this state who will vote for a can of Goya black beans if the Washington State Republicans named it as their candidate out of sheer cussedness because the Democratic western half of the state has all the population and thus controls the government. Governor Inslee has mandated masks and put a stop to reopening statewide due to our COVID spike, and there are people who are cranky about this… most of whom also live in counties where the COVID case rate is now higher than Seattle’s. There were better people in the race to have voted for instead of Culp.

To demonstrate why I think Culp is an idiot: he held a COVID party an “Insubordinate Victory” rally on a meadow in Leavenworth for over a thousand people with no masks or social distancing… IN A COUNTY EXPERIENCING A HUGE COVID SPIKE!!!!! (Chelan County, home of Leavenworth, has 50,000 fewer people than Skagit County where I live, and their case numbers are 1.5 times ours.) I would be willing to put money on a chunk of COVID cases being reported as a result of that event (if attendees tell contact tracers the truth).

— 2 —

Lieutenant governor race. This is the one good piece of news–the top two candidates in the lieutenant governor race are both Democrats, so we’re covered if something happens to whoever wins the gubernatorial race in November. They’re decent enough people that my county’s Democratic party was chill with us picking between the two of them.

— 3 —

Voting by mail. Washington is a vote-by-mail state, and our primary was fine… BECAUSE VOTING BY MAIL WORKS. Our very Republican secretary of state Kim Wyman (who I actually like) has written op-ed’s on the subject this year and has even explained why undocumented immigrants voting is a fallacy, citing voting rates in Yakima County (huge number of farmworkers) as her example and pointing out that it would be ludicrous to register to vote if you’re trying not to be noticed by the government. (I also live in a county with a large number of migrant workers and can tell you with certainty that they’re not voting, partially because some of the people in county government are strongly anti-immigration and would not be in power if the migrant workers could vote.)

— 4 —

Mask take #1. I thought this image was good…

Don't be that person.

— 5 —

Mask take #2. I also thought this was good, and it has been shared by friends of mine who fall all over the political spectrum, so it isn’t just a “liberal” thing.

— 6 —

Why I support teachers right now. Friends of mine who are teachers are COVERING Facebook with posts right now on their back-to-school prep, which is normal for August… but my friends are all talking about the online apps they’re looking at to reach their students and making recommendations for their various subject areas. They’re taking all the lessons they learned from being thrown into remote education this spring and making changes based on what didn’t work well.

I have heard so much complaining online about how teachers are lazy because they don’t want to teach in person during the pandemic, and all these posts are showing the exact opposite. Teachers are readjusting their teaching styles and the way they used to teach to fit the current situation in order to keep their students and themselves safe.

— 7 —

Aid for Lebanon. If you want to help after the explosion in Beirut, here are some charities that are good:

Aid for Lebanon

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Back to School with COVID-19 Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

First thing: COVID-19 is real. It is very much still a pandemic, and it is spiking everywhere including my county where July has been the worst month on record. There are also, apparently, six “types” of COVID, which explains why some people have a milder case than others.

You can deny all of this as much as you want, but doing so involves ignoring science and sticking your head in the sand. You also come off looking like an utter fool.

Neil Degrasse Tyson on science.

— 2 —

Second thing: SHAME ON ALL OF YOU WHO ARE MAKING CATTY COMMENTS ABOUT TEACHERS BEING LAZY BECAUSE SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE OVERWHELMINGLY CHOOSING TO START BACK WITH DISTANCE LEARNING IN THE FALL!!! None of the teachers I know are happy that it’s what is having to be done, and all of them miss their kids fiercely. These are already people who are being asked to teach a variety of kids while not being given the resources to do it adequately in addition to being asked to act as human shields in the event of a school shooting. None of them are paid nearly enough to also be put at risk of dying a miserable death from a virus we are still figuring out how to control. (The “novel” in “novel coronavirus” means that is is “new” and that we still know too little about it to control it well.)

— 3 —

I have known since around Memorial Day that it was a very slim chance of Daniel returning to in-person education this fall because of my family’s COVID-19 risk factor. My parents are elderly, my mom is being hit with some health challenges at the moment, and both Daniel and I have some pretty scary underlying health issues that put us at severe risk of complications if we were to contract the virus. My parents and I discussed it at length and tried coming up with some contingency plans in the event that Daniel did return to school with other kids, and there was no good solution. I have prepped everything this summer in what I call the “Schroedinger’s cat model” which was that Daniel was either going to be there in person or he was not going to be there in person, but we were going to plan for both eventualities to exist.

— 4 —

The local school district is offering some in-person options for kids who need it for reasons, but it will be remote learning for almost everybody this fall. What will that look like for Daniel? Hard to say. I will be contacting his new teacher either tomorrow or next week to see if we can have an IEP meeting via Zoom to talk about this. In fact, I predict a lot of IEP Zoom meetings will be happening in the district over this next month as teachers try to figure out how to adapt each student’s IEP goals to the remote education model.

— 5 —

The college where I work just had an all-college meeting today, and I was invited to attend as a staff member. The gist of it is that almost everything will be online for the third quarter in a row. There will probably be some students wetting their pants because they skipped Spring Quarter in hopes that the world would be normal by fall.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha… NO.

— 6 —

What does this mean for me? Well, I’ll have to explain to one of my students who is Internet-phobic that they will not see my beautiful face in person for the foreseeable future… and they will not be happy. (If I’m lucky, they won’t drunk-dial me again for reassurance, and I won’t have to have my kinda-sorta new boss put the fear of Jesus in them. Not that this happened during Spring Break…) My current boss will possibly have more one-on-one hours to give me than I can legally accept, and I might get lent out to the entire campus again or (God willing) embedded with my favorite instructor to teach people how to love Accounting.

— 7 —

The only thing I can predict about this fall is that things will probably stay unpredictable. Woo.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Working My Political Nerves Edition

7 Quick Takes

Comments are turned off because I want to vent my spleen about political stupidity, I cited my sources (and used a variety of them that are known to be local and as neutral as I could get them in these partisan times), and I pay the hosting fees here so none of this is up for debate. πŸ™‚ (Disagree with me? Go vent on a blog for which you pay the hosting fees.)

— 1 —

Trump administration trying to suppress COVID case numbers. The Trump Administration is ordering hospitals to bypass CDC in reporting COVID data. Why would any sane presidential administration order hospitals not to send their data to the agency whose job is to deal with disease control? I mean, the CDC has people who are trained to interpret this data, and who have done this beautifully for decades.

Unless… could he be trying to suppress the number of cases to make it look like he hasn’t completely failed in handling the pandemic? Yeah… sounds about right. Also, it’s scary that I have more science and medical training than most of the people on Trump’s Coronavirus Taskforce. (I was pre-med in college, and parenting Daniel has required as much training as it takes to be a CNA and medical assistant due to his special needs and a lot of the things involved in his hospital discharges. I know this because I’ve had to train nursing students a few times during Daniel’s inpatient stays.)

— 2 —

The collective good. I shared the below image on Facebook last week, and a friend (whose family is British) made an interesting point. She said, “they were British and believed in the collective good in a way that clearly Americans don’t, to our shame.”

London blackout

She has a point, and she managed to help me explain why I find the pissiness over having to wear a mask to be so self-centered. I (and so many other people) wear them because we’re trying to protect other people and we believe in doing things for the collective good, even if we have to sacrifice a little bit of comfort. It’s why I and many other Democrats find some Trump supporters to be so odious–the decisions they’re praising are showing that they are in it only for themselves and not for the rest of the country.

— 3 —

Ted Yoho’s verbal assault of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If any of you think that this was OK or appropriate, please click the “x” on this tab and get off my blog. (For those who are wondering what happened, Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida accosted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she was going to vote, and told her she was “disgusting” before calling her a “f*cking b*tch”. Rep. Yoho claimed it didn’t happen that way… but PEOPLE WITNESSED IT HAPPENING THAT WAY.)

Seriously, I get that AOC infuriates people, but there is no excuse for Rep. Yoho’s behavior… especially as HE HAS DAUGHTERS HER AGE. I wonder how he’d react if someone did that to one of his daughters. Also, his apology was a non-apology (“I am sorry if you understood me to be saying…” is not an apology) and did not address the things he said, but rather the “abruptness of the conversation”.

/goes to look up Ted Yoho’s opponent so she can donate money to them

— 4 —

The civil rights abuses happening in Portland. From a friend of mine who lives there:

It’s absolutely terrifying, but our community has come together and it really feels like everybody here in Portland is trying to do their part to support the protests. We live downtown, just a few blocks from the Justice Center where everything is happening, so we see, hear and know about everything first hand. I know that there is a narrative being spread that the protestors here in Portland are nothing but violent anarchists, trashing the city and causing chaos, and that we deserve this… that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a complete and total lie, being spread by people who aren’t even here, and its horrifying. It’s the people of Portland who are down in the streets — moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, teachers, teenagers, and everything in between — everybody is getting involved, chanting, holding signs, linking arms, taking up space, and protecting eachother. Normal people like you and me. The police and the feds are the ones causing violence, and everyone who has actually been down there can see that clear as day. Once the sun goes down, they start marching in lines down the streets shooting indiscriminately into the crowds.

I’m sure nobody has mentioned that Trump legally needs permission to deploy any troops within the borders of the United States. The mayor of Portland got tear-gassed by them a few nights ago, and a federal judge has just issued a restraining order against the troops to keep them from assaulting or arresting journalists and legal observers.

Seriously, these officers had no identification on them and they were using rented vans to take people off the streets. (DHS *FINALLY* confirmed that they were responsible.) The people taken were people who were legally assembling and protesting, not the anarchist idiots (most of whom are white supremacists) who had caused damage. The governor of Oregon, the mayor of Portland, a few House members, and both senators from Oregon have told the troops to leave, but the acting secretary of the DHS has refused. Tom Ridge, the first ever Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has called him out for his actions, which is saying something. Legislation is currently being drafted to prevent unidentified agents from doing this again, and the US attorney for Oregon is asking for an investigation because this is stuff that happens in third world dictatorships, not a first world country.

Trump is threatening to send troops to Seattle, and I’m pretty sure Mayor Jenny Durkan (former prosecutor for the US Attorney’s office) and Bob Ferguson (attorney general for Washington state, who has yet to lose a battle against the present administration) have the lawsuits written and prepped to file.

Y’all, these weren’t violent protests, and this isn’t “to restore order”. This is Trump flexing his muscles, it’s completely inappropriate, and people aren’t tolerating it.

— 5 —

Campaign propaganda. The image on Trump campaign ad depicting a police officer being attacked by protesters isn’t from the last few months in the United States. It’s from pro-democracy protests in the Ukraine in 2014. This follows the use of a picture of former Washington governor Gary Locke to depict Biden as being soft on China, and the claim that a picture of immigrants jumping over a border in Morocco depicts the US-Mexico border among other misuses of photographs.

Lesson: Campaigns need to google stock images before using them on campaign propaganda.

— 6 —

Seriously, Washington GOP?!?!? Loren Culp, the sheriff in a tiny county in eastern Washington and one of the Republican candidates for governor in Washington, is being sued for intimidating a sexual abuse victim, threatening to charge her with making false claims, and failing to report her allegations to child welfare authorities as required by law. Another county investigated the claims the victim was making and found that she was telling the truth.

Why would we want a law enforcement official who behaves so deplorably as our next governor?!?!? Seriously, the GOP in my state really are showing that they are horrible people (and also a special kind of stupid), given that he’s their current favorite. (I fear that even the state GOP here is getting sick of Tim Eyman, our state’s unofficial parasite.)

— 7 —

Some Facebook humor. Y’all need to start referring to your masks as “face cloaks”.

Fetch me my face cloak!

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Voting and Other Fun Activities Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Reminder to vote. Some of you might live in states with a primary coming up to decide the ballot for things like House member, senator, governor, etc. All of those positions determine policy both in Washington and in your home state, so please do vote. Your senators confirm judicial nominees and Cabinet positions, for example.

— 2 —

On voting by mail. I received my ballot in the mail today for the August 4 primary because of the entire state of Washington voting by mail. It was a wonderful surprise when I moved up here to find this out, and it is actually an amazing thing. My ballot has a tracking number on it keyed to my name, and I can enter my name in and it will tell me if my ballot has been processed yet. I’ve actually only voted in person a handful of times since I hit voting age 22 years ago, and those are the few times I’ve had problems with my ballots. I’ve never had a problem with my absentee ballot ever in California or Montana, and Washington’s system has been lovely. (I voted in person in Ohio and Minnesota.)

Washington’s REPUBLICAN Secretary of State (emphasis added to show that this not a purely partisan issue with Democrats) wrote an opinion piece on why voting by mail really does work. My only complaint about my ballot this time is that Tim Eyman is listed as a candidate for governor instead of in his own electoral position as State Parasite. (Yes, that was catty. The truth hurts, y’all. Dude is useless and just creates legislation to screw up the state.)

— 3 —

Sweetness. Mom has taken to watching travel videos on YouTube, and Daniel will hang out and watch with her. Currently, they’re watching a Rick Steves one on Budapest. I’ve walked into their room to do things on occasion (they have a printer/scanner and the cats usually hang out in there) and have had to play “figure out the city” a few times.

— 4 —

Duolingo. I decided to get back into language learning during quarantine and have been learning Spanish and Arabic on Duolingo while also reviewing my French. They have a ton of different languages (including Klingon and High Valyrian) and the way they teach seems to work well for me.

— 5 —

Special intention. I have a special intention needing prayer. Please and thank you!

— 6 —

Darn those onion-cutting ninjas! This is beautiful.

— 7 —

/blinks repetitively I walked into the dining room 30 minutes ago to find one of my dad’s shoes on the leg of a dining room chair and encyclopedias stacked on top of the seat. When I found him, my first words were, “what did you break?”

(Part of his shoe was coming loose, so he was gluing it down with shoe goo.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: No Politics Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

4th of July. It was a quiet 4th of July here in terms of family activity. My dad grilled hotdogs, and I got to see quite a few fireworks shows from my bedroom window… because various people on my cross-street and some of the other cul-de-sacs spent HUNDREDS of dollars on fireworks which they set off for probably 3 straight hours from 9:00 p.m. to midnight. Our poor cats were curled up in my mom’s closet because it sounded like we were being shelled. (My town does allow fireworks between certain hours on the 4th of July, but a lot of other towns don’t.)

— 2 —

Back to Work. Summer Quarter started this week, and I’m getting to tutor for the first time ever during the summer because everything is online. I’ve met with all of my students at least once now, and the first-week stuff that always comes up is getting ironed out.

For those who are wondering, we aren’t going to know if we’ll be back on-campus for Fall Quarter until August. I’d prefer to stay online because the COVID risk is still high here, and my family is still locked down really tightly, so I wouldn’t be able to work on campus. I also know that our college president is risk-averse, so I can’t see him putting the student body in danger.

— 3 —

What leadership looks like. We have a new superintendent here in town and this was what his second day on the job looked like.

I think he’ll be great for the district if taking food, school work, and masks to migrant students is what he does on the second day he is in charge.

— 4 —

Bujo Instagram account. I have a new Instagram account for my bullet journal (bujo). I haven’t done a huge amount with it yet, but will try putting my spreads up before I fill them out. (I can’t show the filled-out ones because a few of them have student names in them, and I’m trying to keep everything FERPA-compliant.)

— 5 —

John Rutter. If you know the music of John Rutter (English choral composer) at all, you’ll appreciate this parody of his work called “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Rutter” by Pitchcraft. The best part: THEY’RE SINGING IT TO JOHN RUTTER!!!!!!!!!!!! (He loves it.)

— 6 —

/glares at Minion. I just went to go grab a couple of cartons of formula to feed the kid and prep tomorrow’s morning feed because doing it in the morning when I’m tired makes me want to cry. I get in the guest room (where we keep all the fun stuff) and notice a couple of cartons that had been on top of the boxes were on the floor. I picked them up and found them to be empty… WITH FANG MARKS IN THEM. My cat child had bitten them and they had leaked on the carpet.

I was not happy. Meanwhile, Mr. Black Paws is sprawled on the guest bed letting me know that he is magnificent and soft and cute. I told him that he is none of those things and is instead a VERY BAD CAT. (He is not sorry.)

— 7 —

Recommendation. If you are a bullet journal junkie, go check out Planning with Kay. She is delightful, features her house panther in her YouTube videos, and the community during her livestreams is amazing.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Back to Politics Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Where to find cloth masks. In honor of Washington starting to require cloth masks in public a week ago, here are a couple places where you can find them:

Etsy (this shop makes amazing ones)
Old Navy (they are my recommendation for a mainstream store)
Kohl’s
Macy’s
eShakti
Fred Meyer (they’re a Northwest big box store chain)
Target

Just put “masks” in the search bar. You’re welcome.

— 2 —

Yakima, Benton, and Franklin counties. All y’all in those three counties who are refusing to mask up are the source of many of the new COVID-19 cases. It’s the reason Governor Inslee has had to go visit you and make it a gross misdemeanor not to wear a mask in public in just your counties. I know you hate the governor, but your stupid partisan hatred is causing the rest of us to give up ICU and hospital beds to accommodate your patients. So, please grow the [insert word] up, and just wear a damn mask.

Snuggles,

The western half of the state who already pays for all of your services

— 3 —

/facepalms I think the Skagit County Chorale would like to have a word with these choir members who sang at a Pence event about how choirs can be superspreaders.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the Skagit County Chorale are local to me, and the choir’s cases are 10-20% of my county’s COVID-19 cases. The two women who died are connected to me through church friends.

— 4 —

Some beautiful music. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is our opening hymn for Sunday morning, and I found this beautiful version from the Spelman College Glee Club when I was searching for something to put my church’s Facebook page.

— 5 —

I can’t even with this… If you attempt to explain this away, you are a horrible human being and your voting privileges need to be revoked. Telling black people that they “need to learn about their history or go back to it” is racist as [insert expletive], and it shows that Trump doesn’t understand American history at all. The reason we want to rename places and take statues down is that the people did horrible things, and those things should not be glorified.

Also, if anyone is afraid that not having these statues will cause us to forget our history, I need to introduce you to an amazing thing called a “book”.

— 6 —

Weekend plans. Given the spike we’re having in COVID-19 cases right now in my area (which for us means that we’re up from no new cases for a week to 5+ new cases per day), a family gathering this weekend is OBVIOUSLY not happening. It will just be my household and we’ll have hot dogs for dinner on Saturday night. We’ll also see how much we get shelled by idiots playing with fireworks. (They are unfortunately legal on the 4th in my town during certain hours.) All the parades and events in my area are cancelled because the people in charge actually believe medical experts who are saying it’s a bad idea. (All those states who reopened early and have spikes in infection rates are proof of why the leadership needs to be listening.)

— 7 —

A sign of things to come. This makes two Republican candidates for governor who are having legal issues. (This is the other one.) I’m wondering who the GOP in Washington is going to try next, given that they seem to be attracting idiots.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Wildcat Sanctuary Edition

7 Quick Takes

I’m taking a break from talking about racial reconciliation, BLM, and masks to share one of my favorite charities with you: the Wildcat Sanctuary. In terms of my giving, they are second only to my church. (I also will sometimes donate off of their wishlist so Ramsey can have another box to sit in.) I invite you to check out their page to learn more about their work, the captive wildlife crisis, and why you shouldn’t adopt a hybrid cat (Bengals, Savannahs, Chausies, and Safaris).

Their videos are set to appear first on my Facebook wall, and watching them is a highlight of my day. I also will watch them when I’m falling asleep at night. Here are some of my favorites and some that show how wonderful the sanctuary is. Most of the videos I am showing are of the medium cats and cougars because they are my favorites, but they do have lions (all but one of whom were rescued from zoos in Argentina two years ago) and tigers.

— 1 —

So you want to work with wildcats… Here are interviews with some of the caretakers. Elyse works with pretty much all of the cats, is the vet coordinator, and does a lot of operant conditioning. You also get to hear from the hybrid caretakers and the ones that do a lot of the medium-sized cats.



— 2 —

Essey, my sponsored cat. Full disclosure: I fell head-over-heels in love with Essey when I saw the first video below. (She’s a tiny girl just like I was at her age!) I looked to see how much it would be to sponsor her, and it was thankfully within my budget. I also included her intake exam video so you can see what an intake exam looks like at the sanctuary.


— 3 —

Serval cuddle puddles. Servals are probably my favorite cat to watch after the cougars. They look like something out of a Dr. Suess book and their cuddle puddles are adorable. I also love the chirp that Rocky (one of the servals) is making about a minute into the video. (This is one of 12-13 videos that they made as part of one of their fundraising drives last year when they posted every hour on the hour from the sanctuary.)

— 4 —

Washington cougars. While I root against the Washington State University Cougars as they are the archrivals of my parents’ alma mater (Go Dawgs!), I am smitten with these three babies. They were trapped on the other side of the Cascade Mountains from me and were taken in by the sanctuary because Washington state doesn’t allow the rehab and release of apex predators. People suggested names based on places in Washington, and the sanctuary decided on Rainier (girl), Quincy (boy), and Tacoma (boy). Rainier is my favorite, mostly because she’s a little pistol. My favorite video on the site is probably the second one where Elyse is feeding them and she calls out “Cougars!” as she is clicking the tongs.) The cougars are now big enough to move down to Cougar Cove where they live next to another cougar family, the 5-Wild.




— 5 —

Inside rooms for the cats. The sanctuary is unique in that they provide both an inside temperature-controlled room for each of the bigger cats (and bungalows for the hybrids) and an outside fenced habitat. Here are some videos that showcase the insides and the hybrid habitats.




— 6 —

Enrichment. In addition to providing a lot of space for the cats, they also provide enrichment for the cats to destroy. Apparently, they have an entire shed dedicated to this, which includes a spice rack. In addition to the obvious favorites of catnip and tuna, the wildcats also go crazy for seasoning salt. Of course, the cats like boxes–that’s just a given. πŸ™‚



— 7 —

Andre the cougar. Andre, one of the cougars in the 5-Wild, decided to eat some cardboard a couple weeks ago and developed a bowel blockage that had to be removed with emergency surgery. He was down in Quarantine for a week afterward so they could make sure he healed properly. I think the cutest thing ever is the fourth video down when Rio (the blonde female caretaker) walked in and started fussing over him and babytalking him… and he starts chirping/meowing at her. He even meowed for Judson (the male media person for the sanctuary). πŸ™‚ (Cougars can also purr and one of the caretakers in the first take describes them as sounding like a bunch of motorboats.) Andre is back with his cougar posse in his habitat and doing well.




For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.