Sunday, May 24, 2015

In the news...

The news is interesting lately. A Seattle couple left their entire estate--$847,237+ to the U.S. Government in gratitude for the opportunity of living in this country. Both were immigrants--he from Nazi Germany, she from Ireland--and had no family at all. Many of us, myself included, spend so much time moaning about what's wrong with this country--tax cuts for the rich, cuts on all kinds of aid to the poor, silly laws about food stamps and groceries, guns all around us--that maybe we should stop and take a break to think how lucky we are to live in this country. Most of us have food and shelter, we're safe, and as a friend reminded me today, some people would kill for a chance to come to this country. I for one am going to work on gratitude while continuing to fight to make our country the best it can be for all citizens. There is a discouraging note: some economist or such authority noted that at the rate the U.S. spends money, that legacy will be spent in 31 seconds. But it's the gesture that matters.
In new from France grocers are now by law not allowed to discard outdated food--they must either donate it to feed the poor or to be made into animal food. This was on Facebook, and most comments were enthusiastic. I was a bit dismayed by one that said it made so much sense it will never happen in America. That's the attitude I'm talking about above. I do actually know a man who buys industrial waste for conversion into animal food. It's a small step but a start.
And in news that I find really important, Nebraska lawmakers have voted to ban the death penalty, on the grounds that no one has the right to take another life. Maybe we're moving toward being more humane.
The Maldives is (are?) being taken over--by the ocean. The tiny group of islands in the Indian Ocean may be the first country to disappear into the ocean. It has 200 inhabited islands, and tourism is the biggest business--it's lush and tropical. I saw nothing linking this to global warming or climate change, but one can't help but wonder.
Meanwhile, we in North Texas share their concern. We're being taken over by storms, torrential rains, and floods. Major highways are under water, some lakes are above their capacity, river are overflowing. In central Texas, hit particularly hard, a family of four disappeared when the house they were staying in was swept away by water; the father was found and is intensive care. The mother and two young children have not been found. Others in that some town had to be rescued by boat. Be careful out there folks--and don't drive into water. It amazes me how many people you see being rescued from low-water crossings and flooded intersections, in spite of all the warnings. Sometimes people who try to beat low-water crossings aren't lucky enough to be rescued.
Jokes abound--I saw a picture of an ark, and there are lots of pleas for whoever is praying for rain to please stop. Of course, by August, we'll wish we had it. Meantime, we wish there was a way to send it to California.

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