Suppressing The Vote…

I see where the federal courts have struck down some State’s voting laws as unconstitutional in that they were really about suppressing the vote. To me that is a good thing. But in my mind our entire election process needs to be changed to allow everyone to vote when it is convenient for them.  Why are we stuck to one work day to cast our choices of who will do the people’s business?

One of the basic problems with America’s democracy is that we vote at a much lower level than almost any democracy in the world.  Too many of us, for whatever reason, just don’t bother to show up to do our duty at the polls.  I kind of like Australia’s solution to their similar problem.  They made it against the law not to vote!  Well not quite but they did impose a fine on those who don’t vote. There solution caused participation to leap to almost 100%.  Amazing… but that is probably not a viable solution for us. We are too ornery to use such a simple answer.

Politics-2.jpgAnother possible solution is to make it very easy for everyone to vote. Don’t just open the polls during working days or especially working hours. Give people more options. One of those current options that I recently took advantage of is early voting. That is going to my local courthouse and casting my ballot when it is convenient for me. But according to the graphic at the right only about half the States provide this option and it seems abundantly clear which States are denying the choice to their citizens.

It is widely recognized that southern States have a history of  doing everything possible to prevent minorities for voting. In the past they did with with poll taxes and tests. Now they do it by other means. In my opinion the federal government should regulate voting processes and take it out of the hands of States with their racial and gender biases.  Voting should be as easy as going to the grocery store for milk.

Corvette Museum – Bowling Green

ISOA Banner  On my most recent uRV trip I visited the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green KY.  I am not necessarily a Corvette or even a car fan but I recognize that Corvettes are a significant part of America. They are our answer to all those expensive foreign cars like Porsche and such.

One of the things that drew me to this particular place was the story on the Velocity channel about how the main display area collapsed into a giant sink hole a couple of years ago. Of course this event is a major part of story now for them.

I worked in a service station in the 1960s but can honestly say the only things I recognized when looking at these modern day motors were the alternator and the master cylinder. Every thing else is foreign to me.  :)

click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view..

Part 8 – My Venture Into Asperger’s – Myths..

Neuro Banner  This is Part 8 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s.  This post is primarily about myths that have grown up around Asperger’s and Autism in general. Since the source is rather long I have edited it somewhat and  will for the most part let it stand by itself..

 2016-10-09_10-38-37.pngMyth:Asperger’s Syndrome only affects children: Therefore adults can and should grow out of it with time.Many people have a tendency to think that Asperger’s Syndrome only affects children and that adults can and should be capable of growing out of it.

Such thinking has evolved in parallel with the idea that all children with ADHD can be medicated and will  eventually grow out of the condition.Similarly, people also presume that adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, should somehow have been cured of it via early intervention therapies and other treatments by the time they reach adulthood.

Such ideas are both erroneous and extremely harmful to adults with Asperger’s Syndrome who struggle daily to attain some small degree of acceptance and understanding for their symptoms.

As it stands, there is no cure for Asperger’s Syndrome because it is neither a disease nor a disorder that people can turn on or off at will or that can be treated and made disappear by the use of medication.

Myth:Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome are attention seeking, cold, aloof, loners, who don’t care about the needs of others.

This is perhaps the most harmful myth of all. It has been said (and sometimes by fairly prominent people within the media) that Asperger’s Syndrome is just an excuse for some people to behave like sociopathic jerks.

This is not true. As with the formerly more well-known form of classic Autism, those with Asperger’s Syndrome do not choose to have this challenging condition.

They are not trying to be deliberately rude by avoiding eye contact, social interactions or loud, unfamiliar environments such as parties or large family gatherings simply as a way of gaining attention.

Part of the problem for those with Asperger syndrome is that personal relationships, including familial relationships, often require them to try and take part in hyper social activities that contain all of the many unwritten rules and social cues, those with Asperger’s Syndrome find so confusing.As a result they will often avoid taking part in such activities.

Yet get a person with Asperger’s Syndrome in a one on one situation, without all of the distractions of a loud or unfamiliar environment, and you will often find that they are very warm, witty and generally caring people. It really is as simple as that….

Another very simple truth is that the vast majority of those with Asperger’s Syndrome desperately want to be liked and accepted by others. They just don’t know how to achieve this because unlike neruo-typicals, those with Asperger’s Syndrome were not born with the same intrinsic toolbox of social understandings and awareness’, that those born without Asperger’s Syndrome take for granted.

Myth: Asperger’s is a dangerous mental illness that makes People more prone to Violence

Asperger’s syndrome is not a mental illness. It is a neurological/developmental disorder.  Unlike classic or severe Autism, those with Asperger’s syndrome are often not diagnosed until school age when they’re lack of interaction with peers and the inability to automatically understand social cues begins to mark them out as being in some way different from their peers….

Those with Asperger’s Syndrome are no more prone to violence than the general population.  The only crime it appears those diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome are guilty of is that of being somewhat eccentric by exhibiting behaviours that do not fall within the realms of what society considers ‘normal’. Once again these are issues of socialization, not violence.

In conclusion, Asperger’s Syndrome, is considered a “developmental disorder” that a person is born with. 

While no one knows exactly what causes Asperger’s Syndrome, what is becoming clear is the fact that the levels of misconception and suspicion that often surrounds adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, make it a tough and lonely disorder to live and deal with on a daily basis for many. 

One key way in which we can begin to redress many of the myths and misconceptions that surround the experiences of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome would be to encourage those with the condition to discuss their struggles openly and honestly without all of the leering suspicions that have become so much a part of their daily lives.

Source: Myths, Lies and Suspicious Minds – Debunking the popular misconceptions that surround the lives of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome | Seventh Voice

For whatever reason I tend to wash my dirty laundry in public here at RJsCorner. That is certainly what I am doing here. But one reason I am doing this is to try to personally understand and get you to understand this condition.  I will likely continue to do that even after the 10 posts I have originally dedicated to this topic.

Empowering Fascists,Racists, and Bigots…

2016-10-16_09-41-50.pngWhen I came across this posting on Facebook recently  it struck me as the biggest harm done by the current political environment. I might also add conspiracy theorists to the list.  Putting evil words in your opponents mouth does not make it a reality.

Of course Mr. Trump and his poisoning rhetoric is the source for most of these things.  But Mr. Trump could not have spread his contempt for our country  and almost everyone  except old white uneducated males, and of course himself, if it has not been for the GOP voters who rushed him to the presidential nomination.  That is the main point for this post.

Mr. Trump by his hateful rants has given an emancipation proclamation for white supremacists, racists and bigots. He is telling them that it is alright to openly hate others different from you. He clothes this proclamation in “throwing off being politically correct”. As most things coming from Mr. Trump’s mouth that is flat out wrong.

But in the end it is not about the GOP party but instead about the GOP electorate, that is those who voted to put this guy in office. That is why the fascists, racists and bigots have been able to take control of the GOP.  If the party is to survive this political season they have to broaden their base and ideology. They cannot continue to drive blacks, hispanics, women, handicapped, and most other minorities away from their party.  They can no longer keep a segment of the populace in their fold simply by their  placid rhetoric. Actions are required, maybe radical action…. but this time sane radical actions.

But then again recently I saw the GOP Speaker of the House say that if Hillary is elected that she will take the country down in flames with all her evil intent.  Even though I put the primary cause of this current toxic environment on a radical fringe in the GOP electorate there is still plenty of blame for the leadership.

Another thing that is poisoning our political processes is the mantra that the other party is EVIL and intent on destroying our nation.  To some extent both parties have a hand in this toxic stew.  We as a nation have to accept as we have in the past, particularly before 1980, that the other party loves our country as much as they do. They just have a different approach to doing what they think is necessary to preserve and even enhance our greatness. We need to recognize that this is not a good guy/bad guy scenario. Like it or not we are all in this together…

Our primary view should be what is good for the nation, not what is good for the party. Parties mean nothing in the overall scheme of things…


“Anybody But Hillary”…

“Say something often enough and people will believe it.”

I’m not sure who originally said the quote above but it is certainly true during the current presidential campaign. But if you step back and look at the facts it often tells you a different story. The below words are from Red Letter Christians by Kathy Vestal. She has managed to address almost all the things in a small number of words that most people criticize Hillary for. (I hate blah, blah, blah..) :

2016-10-18_08-18-16.pngTake, for example, Benghazi. Exactly what did Hillary do? What should she have done? It’s hard for most of us to say. And it’s easy to forget that, during the George W Bush administration, there were 13 attacks on embassies and consulates, and 60 deaths. Or that in 2011 Hillary, then Secretary of State, warned Republicans that their proposed budget cuts to her State Department would be “detrimental to America’s national security.”

But we have been told, over and over again, that Hilary failed Benghazi. We’ve heard it so many times it sounds reasonable.

And then the emails. According to Newsweek Magazine, between the years of 2003 and 2009, the Bush administration “lost” 22 million emails, many likely pertaining to the controversial Iraq War. I think I can understand  how this might happen, and how you and I might make that same choice.

Let’s bring this down to a level we can understand. What if someone hacked into your personal or work email server, and all of your emails were now accessible to the public? Would you go in and try to delete before others found them? I would….

Many other attempts to discredit her have been tried. Her husband’s infidelity. Her religion (Yes, she’s Christian).   I even read once that she missed Chelsea’s first day of school, making her not only an unfit president but an unfit mother. By all indications, Chelsea is a well-adjusted, intelligent, and promising young woman whose relationship with her parents is admirable…

But I like Hilary because she’s tough and smart. She has proven she can stand up through public humiliation, through the tensest of partisan opposition. She understands foreign policy. She understands diplomacy and how to interact with world powers. She knows what the presidency entails. And as the Obamas have said repeatedly, she is more experienced and qualified for the presidency than any other candidate of either party in our lifetime.

After years of “Anybody But Hilary,” it may be hard for Americans to really see the first female nominee of a major US party. But we who follow the red letters of Scripture should look again. Jesus looked at those he was taught to despise–the Samaritan, the woman at the well–and saw their gifts. The gifts of the despised, Jesus showed us, are sometimes the only thing that can save us.

Source: Red Letter Christians

They say Hillary is not trustworthy and that is why many don’t like her.  I will admit that she doesn’t have the charisma that often is associated with our president. She is not the “good old boy” that her husband was.  She is not a back slapper that George W was.  She does not have the “simplistic” characteristics of Reagan.  She is a wonk who concentrates on the best way to solve problems. Does that make her untrustworthy?  Maybe to some, but in the end that is what makes a good president in my mind. I never liked LBJ very much as a person but the things he accomplished as president were extraordinary.

I don’t mind telling you that when I voted early yesterday I did not even slightly hesitate when it came to the presidential selection.  There was no choice in my mind.  “It had to be Hillary”.

Wisconsin Cows…

5star-banner  Sometimes 5star images including the one below come from overlooked places. When we do our annual visit to northern Wisconsin to see the in-laws my brother-in-law takes us on a leisurely trip into the hinterland. On one of those recent trips we came across a herd of dairy cows and stopped to say hello.

Since Wisconsin is known as the “Dairy State” this scene is somewhat common.  I enjoyed our “up close and personal” visit to my dairy producing friends and I kind of think this picture is well deserved of its 5star Status


If Only…

It is nice to read an article that finally admits that we can never unite under a common political cause. Our fundamental beliefs prevent that from happening:

When they disagree, it’s often because they have incompatible values.

Most Democrats believe it’s inhumane for society not to guarantee a certain minimum standard of things like food, shelter, and health care; most Republicans don’t.

Most Democrats believe women ought to control their own reproductive lives; most Republicans don’t.

Most Democrats believe the wealthy ought to shoulder more of the burden of funding the things government does; most Republicans don’t.

These aren’t just fleeting preferences — they spring from fundamental ideas about how the world works and how it ought to work.

And yes, we do live in a polarized age. But that’s in large part because both parties have become more internally consistent about what they believe. There are problematic consequences for the government’s ability to perform basic functions (even those that ought to be removed from ideology), but the differences are substantive and substantial….

What I’d like to hear is a presidential candidate answer the unity question by saying,

“I wish I could unify the country, but I can’t. All I can do is do the best job possible, even if I know that no matter what happens a healthy portion of the population is still going to hate me.  But I’ll try to do right by them too.”

That would at least be honest, even if the candidate would be pilloried for not buying into the myth of a unity that is always supposed to be awaiting us if only we can put aside our differences.

Source: No president can unify our hopelessly divided country

Given the still adamant Trump supporters even after so much ugliness about him has come out  I have to agree that values differ greatly among us in the U.S.  Some concentrate on one part of our constitution as being sacrosanct, and some another. Some want to throw the entire document and all of government along with it out the window.  As the article above says Democrats  believe that everyone should be their brother’s keeper. When our fellow citizens fall on harsh times we should be there for them as a society. (Kind of sounds like the words of Jesus if you ask me but I won’t go any further with that thought here. ) Democrats believe that government has the duty to do the people’s business especially when individual citizens can’t do it themselves.

Since it has been a long time since I claimed the Republican mantel I can only guess by their actions what my Republican friends believe . Republicans put the pre-born into a much higher category than those who have left the womb.  They will fight to insure that every life conceived is brought to birth but then don’t seem to care much about it after that.  They believe that government is to do the least possible and let the capitalist systems take care of the rest. They ferociously cling to their guns as their main protection against their conceived evils of the world.

With this great disparity  of values I agree there can never be  a president to unify the country.  All we can hope for is that whichever party holds the power they do the best within their mindset and we  count on checks and balances to reign them in when they exceed their bounds.  Maybe there is something that can bridge this gap between us but right now I seriously doubt that it can happen anytime in the near future.

Is WikiLeaks is part of Wikipedia?


Snippet Banner   One of my favorite sources of information is Wikipedia. They do a good job of checking the validity of their information and even provide a means for me to challenge the validity of their documents.

Here is what Wikipedia says about Wikileaks:

2016-10-17_12-47-39.pngWikiLeaks is not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation in any way whatsoever.“Wiki” is a generic word that anyone can use; it is not a brand name or trademark. A wiki is any website that allows the creation and editing of interlinked webpages via a web browser. There are many wikis in existence, run by various organizations, which contain various types of content; thus, albeit one of the largest and best-known examples, Wikipedia is only one wiki among many.

Source: Wikipedia:WikiLeaks is not part of Wikipedia – Wikipedia

I give rather generously to Wikipedia each year as I know their funding is somewhat limited.  With all of this Russian hacked stuff coming out from Wikileaks I questioned the wisdom of continuing to do this this year and in the future. What I found is that WikiLeaks is no more a part of Wikipedia than Trump is a part of the Republican Party…

All of these unchecked and Russian hacked documents out there now is from a rogue hacker who cares less if they are legitimate or not.

Please Don’t Confuse WikiLeaks with Wikipedia.  They are not even remotely the Same…

Something Soothing…

ISOA Banner  There is just something soothing about seeing people do good words in Jesus’ name.  Given our totally insane political season we all need something soothing. Catholics seem to be especially suited and tuned to doing good works. With that in mind one of the places I HC Tqg226.jpgvisited this year during my uRV trips was St.Meinrad Archabbey in Ferdinand Indiana. It is one of only two archabbeies in the nation. I visited here many years ago but the experience  affected me even more this time. The serenity of the place almost melted away my pent up anxiety caused by our current times.

Catholics seem to be much better at doing good works as Jesus commanded. It is a strong part of their heritage and I much admire that.  The monks who live there have dedicated their lives to prayer and and a simple life of few possessions. I have to admit that I don’t quite understand a life totally committed to prayer. I’m sure I could never even begin to do that.  Too much patience required and too little technology…🙂

Here are some more pictures of this peaceful place.  If you are ever in the area I would strongly suggest you take a few hours to visit.

The Stone Ceiling of Religions

There are a lot of things about today’s religious establishments that hinder their outreach to the 21st century population. The glass, or maybe stone ceiling is one of them.

Faith leaders grappling with women’s inclusion in religious leadership roles are in danger of the same pitfall. By focusing exclusively on “what is traditional” for their religion rather than asking the crucial question: “What change is necessary for religion to thrive?” they risk alienating 50 per cent of their flock. They also deprive the entire community of the talent, skills and enthusiasm that women would otherwise contribute.Insisting
that men continue to wear the trousers when it comes to religion might be traditional, but, as the pantalon rouge debacle illustrates, it may not be worth the price.

Source: Religion must either modernise or face obsolescence

I know much of the Christian establishment takes their traditions in this matter from the Apostle Paul, who by the way was a lifelong bachelor, instead of Jesus who had several women in his inner sanctum.  To me it is important to realize that early Christian writings, including much of the New Testament, were written at a time that women were not much above slaves in the social hierarchy.  It would take another 20 centuries that women began to be accepted on an equal basis as men.

Just because most religions started a couple of millennia ago doesn’t mean that they should be stuck in that time period. Things change and the church should change with them. I am willing to bet that Jesus would celebrate women being in full leadership roles today, even if it was unheard of in his day.  I think the church would be better off but instead we stick to following centuries old traditions that were formed by ancient cultures as if somehow they were better than today.

If religion is to strive, or maybe even exist, it must use all human resources at its disposal.


A Step Forward..

It continues to trouble me how many so called Evangelicals are lining up behind a candidate that is very contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Are they really that duped to think that the candidate really cares about them or their beliefs? With that in mind it is heartening to see at least some standing up to the hateful rhetoric.

Which is why I and several other Red Letter Christians joined #EvangelicalsAgainstTrump yesterday. You can read our full statement here, but I’ll quote the crux of why I joined this public witness:

2016-10-08_07-49-32.pngBecause we believe that racial bigotry has been a cornerstone of this campaign, it is a foundational matter of the gospel for us in this election, and not just another issue. This is not just a social problem, but a fundamental wrong. Racism is America’s original sin. Its brazen use to win elections threatens to reverse real progress on racial equity and set America back.

Donald Trump’s campaign is the most recent and extreme version of a history of racialized politics that has been pursued and about which white evangelicals, in particular, have been silent. The silence in previous times has set the environment for what we now see.

The only thing that can challenge bad religion is true faith, lovingly bearing witness to a better way. I’ve decided to  join my sisters and brothers in #EvangelicalsAgainstTrump because I love my sisters and brothers who’ve been deceived and because I love my neighbors who’ve been the targets of this hateful campaign.

Source: #EvangelicalsAgainstTrump & the Struggle of Faith – Red Letter Christians

It is a step forward to see not every Evangelical is falling for the hype of a very narcissist candidate. Now if only the main stream media would cover these types of thing being Christian might get some credibility back it has lost in the election cycle.


Part 7 – My Venture Into Aspergers – The Aspie Quiz

Neuro Banner  This is Part 7 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s.  This post is primarily about the Aspie Quiz.

After studying this condition for a good while I took the Aspie Quiz. The Quiz is a pre-diognostic tool to help determine if you might be autistic.  The quiz is a group of 50 questions that are rated on a scale of 1 to 6. The answers to the questions are grouped in various categories including: Talent, Perceptions, Communications, Relationships, and Social skills.

After completing the quiz I was given the results as shown below. It took some time to really determine what this graph says but I have come to the conclusion that I am significantly skewed toward the Neuordiverse/Aspergers side of the spectrum. Particularly in the talent area and to a lesser degree to the other categories.   As I was looking over the results it struck me that I have never thought to group these situations together but when I do that trends definitely appear.

HC Tqg219

The basic results of the quiz are that I have both neurodiverse and neurotypical traits. That is, like my deafness, I am in between two worlds.  I am probably described at a highly functioning Aspie.  That is, the neurodiverse side of me has not greatly impeded my ability to function in the neurotypical world.

My strongest Aspie category is in the Talent area. Part of those characteristics are:

  • I get extremely focused on special interests almost to the exclusion of everything else. When I get involved in some things the world completely disappears. My total focus is on the topic at hand. That proved to be somewhat beneficial in my last career stage in the business world. I was a software tools developer and was able to create apps that would normally have taken 2 to 3 people to accomplish.
  • I have an extreme need to catalog information. During my thirty year career I religiously kept a weekly index card of all the things I did. This card stack grew to over 6 inches high before it was moved to a computer when PCs were available.

Perceptions is my second highest neurodiverse category:

  • It upset me greatly when someone says they will be there at a particular time and then don’t show up or are even late.
  • I dislike it when people walk behind me but I literally hate it when people are tailgating me.
  • My eyes have always been sensitive to glare and I am hypersensitive to many smells, particularly  the smell of mint; it overwhelms me. My brain doesn’t see anything but the smell.
  • I can’t seem to do anything unless I have it down in list form and thoroughly follow it.
  • During conversations I guess I often miss when it is my turn to talk. There just doesn’t seem to be any pattern to it. If I don’t barge in when I want, I have to wait until there is a very noticeable pause to know it is my turn. I often just barge in.

There are numerous other areas in day-to-day traits that I don’t seem typical but I will leave those things to another post. Stated simply I often have always had trouble getting my feelings across and communicating with others.

So here I am between two worlds.  That seems to be where I have been my entire life. That is not necessarily a bad thing but it has presented many challenges in my life. Much more on these sort of things in future posts….

Maybe Hillary Is Right After All…

Snippet BannerHere is a little snippet about this political season.

2016-10-13_11-34-39.pngDuring my four hour drive of on my latest uRV trip yesterday a political epiphany hit me. Maybe Hillary is the best Democratic candidate for president after all.  The main reason for this is that she is probably the best equipped to take on the GOP choice for 2016. Hillary has been around for a while and has some pretty thick skin as well as experience and is probably the only candidate in the party that can go toe-to-toe with Trump and make him look the fool that he is.

2016-10-13_11-37-07.png In the primary season Trump managed to humiliate, bully, and shout down 16 GOP wannabes. He was sure he could do the same thing with a Democrat but he totally underestimated Hillary’s ability to withstand his attacks.  I suspect as more shoes fall in this last month of the race this election will rival the Johnson/Goldwater one for one-sided results.  Simply speaking someone of Trumps demeanor has no place in any public office let alone the Oval Office. That hopefully will be abundantly clear very soon.

In the Name of Jesus, Stop Executions

I am thoroughly pro-life in all its forms.  Yes, abortion kills a living being but so does war and executions. Pro-life means believing in the sanctity of life before and after birth. Jesus made that pretty clear in his teachings and I intend to follow him in that and most all other regards.

Some folks will argue that the death penalty is necessary for the most heinous crimes, the “worst of the worst.” But it is increasingly clear that when it comes to executions in America, we are not killing the worst of the worst. We are killing the poorest of the poor. One of the best determinants of who gets executed is not the atrocity of the crime, but the resources of the defendant. As renowned death penalty lawyer Bryan Stevenson has said, “Far too often, you are better off being rich and guilty, than poor and innocent.”….

Geography often determines who dies. Texas is the death state, accounting for roughly half of all executions. This year six of the 15 executions in the U.S. were in Texas, and every remaining execution of 2016 is in this one state…

It blows my mind and breaks my heart that we continue to trust our very imperfect government with the ultimate and irreversible power of life and death. It is time to end the death penalty in America. In the name of Jeff Wood. And in th2016-08-20_06-47-21e name of another executed man … named Jesus.


Source: In the Name of Jesus, Stop Executions – Red Letter Christians

It is amazing to me that one State is responsibly for half the executions in this country.  What is it about Texas that makes it the execution capital of the world? Why are they so intent on vengeance, even wrongfully pointed vengeance? There must be something significantly different about the people in that region of the country than the rest of us. Anyone who has read many of my posts know I don’t have much respect for the State of Texas. For being such a bible-thumping State they just don’t seem to care about people, especially people different from them.

Geography,  race, and wealth,  have much more to do with who dies by execution than the type of crime committed. Thanks again Shane for helping me remember that….


Starting Out…

Today’s 5Star post is when I was just starting out treating photography as a serious hobby in 1970. It was taken with my first 35mm camera that is absolutely primitive by today’s standards. The picture quality is pretty low as it was scanned about 6 years ago from the original 5×7 print, but the composition is pretty good for a beginner.🙂

The Pyramids.jpg

Why America’s good fortune won’t last

All we seem to hear lately is how the bottom rung of the employment ladder is stuck at dreadfully low conditions. Part of that of course is the low minimum wage level. Historically, mainly due to GOP gridlock, it has not been increased nearly enough to keep up with the times.

But it is nice to see that significant gains have taken place in recent years.

The 2015 Census data on income and poverty is out — and for the first time since the Great Recession, it’s unambiguously great news.

Median household income was up 5.2 percent compared to 2014 — the largest one-year gain since 1967 at least. Income gains were strong up and down the income ladder, with the biggest percentage gains coming from the bottom income brackets. Poverty fell by 1.3 percentage points….

Second, this huge gain in median income is actually the first statistically significant increase since the recession struck — and despite its size, did not recover the lost ground since 2007. Median household income is still down 4.6 percent from 2007, and 5.2 percent from the all-time 2000 peak.

Source: Why America’s good fortune won’t last

While this report is good news, we still haven’t recovered from the meltdown that  was caused by poor regulation during the Bush administration and the way the GOP still stalling budgeting enough to fully carry out Dodd-Frank there will likely be another meltdown in the not too distant future.

I am going to make a “47%” comment here that might not be acceptable to some but I kind of think that many “trapped” in low wages are there because of their unwillingness to take personal responsibility for their circumstances.  The unemployment rate is now at historically low levels. The median income is rising but still there are those who are not benefitting from these statistics.

Yes, the employment opportunities are different than they were when I joined the job market some fifty years ago. For whatever reasons we have allowed large corporations to shed their pension plans, kill labor unions, and even the idea of a full-time employment.  I worked for thirty years at the same company while it is said that those entering the job market today will change jobs seven times during their working lives.

When a business is making something that is no longer in demand they often recover by retooling for a more modern version. It seems that is what job seekers need to do also. Retool by doing what is necessary to get skills that are in demand. One of the hindrances to doing that is the high cost of education right now. In order to get a good job you need a good education. In order to get a good education you need a lot of money.  Kind of a catch-22.

That is where government should step in. There is no reason why schooling has to be as expensive as it is today anymore than why healthcare needs to be so expensive.  Many European, and especially Scandinavian countries, provide free education and healthcare for all it’s citizens. That seems like a no-brainer to me but stubbornly we in the U.S. refuse to follow their example.


Ode to the Re-enactors…

I love going to events that include re-enactors.  It brings history alive so to speak.  The “Feast of the Hunter’s Moon” was one of this events.  For this pictorial post I want to concentrate on those folks.  This event which is just north of West Lafayette (Purdue) has been going on for about 30 years now.  I’m sure many who are in these pictures have performed in a lot of them.

Click on any image to see a larger slide show view

Even a number of visitors such as the couple pulling the antique baby carriage  and the two young ladies shown above dress up for the event.

The Appeal of Simplicity In A Complex World..

2016-10-03_09-38-51.pngI loved the quote in the title above when I came across it recently on the CNN Channel’s GPS.  Too many people want easy-to-understand answers to all the problems around them. So when someone comes along and tells them that the solution to gross wealth inequity is to build a wall around the country they jump on board. When someone tells them that the answer to terrorism is to ban all Muslims and deport those citizens who don’t take a loyalty test They say “yeah, yeah”. In my mind the people who do that are just too lazy to take the time to understand the complexity of the issues.  “Get rid of immigrants and all the jobs will come back.” “Ban Muslims and there will be no terrorists in the good ole USA”. HELL YEAH!!!

I have made it known several time on this blog recently that simplicity is one of my current goals in life. To lead a simple life free of stuff is the central part of it. But there is a difference between trying to simplify your life and thinking everything has simple answers. There are unknown connections between many things in life that make “simple” answers almost impossible.

A long time ago on PBS there was a series called Connections  hosted by David Suzuki. It showed how many diverse things were connected in this world. It seems that almost everything interrelates with everything else. Nothing is isolated onto itself. The answer to wealth opportunity inequity requires serious contemplations and attacks. A big part of it is simply perception.

  • Too many people are wrongly convinced that they don’t have a chance in this world so they think and act (or maybe don’t act) accordingly.
  • Too many people think that they are unable to learn so they don’t even try.  The slog along in high school and then expect a high paying job when they get out.
  • Too many people don’t take the time to “think” and ponder the issues to find the most viable solution.  They are convinced that if they can’t find a job where they are or with their current training then there is nothing else they can do.
  • Too many people are just too lazy or have such low self-esteem to believe that they can do something about their circumstances in life. They want simple answers and easy options.

The appeal of simplicity in a complex world is enticing indeed…

Part 6 – My Venture Into Asperger’s – Body Language

Neuro Banner  This is Part 6 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s. As usual I will start out with a personal story and then show how that links into Asperger’s. This post is primarily about my body language.

I have never thought too much about body language. I know I am told that it is a very significant part of communications but I just don’t see how that is? Since I am now deaf and the auditory world no longer exists I no longer can read the tone of a conversation and I know that is a problem. It is like many conversation here in the comments section of RJsCorner; things are misunderstood because of the lack of the non-verbal clues.  Since I have been deaf for about 30 years now I do seem to be getting better at reading body language but still struggle with it on a daily basis.

Now on to how this relates to autism and particularly Asperger’s:

Understanding nonverbal communication, which includes body language, facial expressions and tone of voice, is essential for navigating social interactions successfully. So much of what is communicated, especially the emotional content, is conveyed through our bodies and voices, rather than the spoken word. While most of us receive no instruction on how to read nonverbal clues, we recognize the clues that tell us the true meaning of what is being communicated.

However, individuals on the Autism Spectrum may struggle to understand this mysterious language, which leaves them misinterpreting what is actually being communicated. It’s the nonverbal clues that allow a listener to judge whether the speaker is being sincere, is joking or being sarcastic. Without recognizing the true message, the response is often inappropriate.The ability to understand nonverbal communication can be improved through instruction, though when you try to break down what you need to teach, the complexity of the task becomes apparent.

Source: Ready Body Language – Autism Asperger’s Digest Autism Asperger’s Digest


People who have autism spectrum disorders have difficulty with reading even the most overt social cues in context. They have extraordinary difficulty with reading more subtle body language, including messages often conveyed via the eyes. In addition to difficulties with attending to and interpreting information that is embedded in social context, some have great difficulty with attending to and coordinating two sources of sensory input at once. ….

Source: Should We Insist on Eye Contact with People who have Autism Spectrum Disorders


The Republican Establishment…

I am one of those people who need to thoroughly study a situation before I make any serious decisions.  And then there are people like Mr.Trump who are convinced they can reinvent the world without bothering to study it. That is a very dangerous delusion but is inherent in a pathological narcissist. They think they know everything already so no study is necessary.  Mr. Trump  proudly admit that he doesn’t read books or much of anything else for that matter.  What does matter to him is what others say about “him”. He pays attention to that and little else it seems.

Donald Trump’s near meltdown in Monday’s debate surely gave queasy stomachs to Republicans who have bowed before his candidacy despite their better judgments. Trump threatens to give conservative appeasers a very bad name.

Let it be said that at least some in the party will be able to stand proudly after this god-awful election is over. We’re witnessing real courage among those members of the party of Lincoln willing to say openly how genuinely dangerous a Trump presidency would be.

For those whose livelihoods depend on building big audiences among pro-Trump rank-and-file conservatives (think radio talk show hosts and commentators of various kinds), joining the Never Trump camp carries real risks. For liberals, opposing Trump is about the easiest thing in the world, so we should honor the daring of our temporary comrades.Unfortunately, the Never Trumpers are a minority on the right. More typical are House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the most prominent among the GOP contortion artists who are hedging their bets.

Source: E.J. Dionne Jr.: Never Trumpers in Suburbia Remain a Problem for the Republican Establishment – Truthdig

It is heartening to see so many  large newspapers who are traditionally Republican come out and say Mr. Trump is just not equipped to be president. If there is any hope that his candidacy will not permanently stain the GOP brand it hinges on more than just retired and past leaders and newspapers renouncing him.  When so many endorse him out of fear of repercussion if they don’t they are obviously putting party or maybe self over principles.  None of this seems to matter to the 25% or so of the nation’s electorate who would probably vote for Hitler if he were the party’s candidate but  I hope it matters to most of the rest of us.

It is nice to see that after the first debate more and more who are long time party advocates rejecting this particular GOP candidate. Yes, I too believe that fundamental change is needed in areas of how we govern ourselves but Mr. Trump is NOT the person to latch on to to make that happen.  He is far too unstable at his core.

That being said I am becoming more and more confident that he will be thoroughly beaten a month from now. I HAVE FAITH…

Enough said about this topic and Mr. Trump. I hope I never use his name in another post on the site…. Question Everything….

Remembering Don V….

5Star Banner.png

I know the picture here on this 5Star post is not clear or particularly focused but it gets its rating from my memories. It was taken by a small Kodak camera in 1969 and is of my friend Don V.  He was the friend that got me interested in  Bob Dylan and things “folk”. I will always thank him for that.  Even in my deafness I still love those songs floating around in my head.  I occasionally bring out my old 33rpm records to just look at them and remember the times.

Don got married soon after he graduated from Purdue. He also got drafted and sent to Vietnam where he was killed by a sniper a week after he arrived.  About 7 months after his death his wife gave birth to a fatherless child.  The Vietnam tragedy really hit home for me. When I found his name on the Vietnam Memorial Wall years later I broke out crying as the memories flooded my mind.

The picture may not be great but the memories are eternal…

In Memory of Don.jpg

About Make-up…

Lord knows I have my problems in life, I have even been blogging about some of them in my Celebrate Diversity posts lately. So I can understand how so many women are addicted to their make-up. I also admit that I am not very well attuned to the social scene so I really didn’t know much about Alicia Keys, but I admired her audacity.

By baring her bare face, Keys has revealed how makeup can become a crutch and a mask. rtx2nduh1The very fact that women are so encouraged to apply makeup communicates that we should be concealing our imperfections and that our human, flawed selves just isn’t what the world wants to see. All the negative reactions to Keys’ bare face showed people are more comfortable seeing a celebrity doused in layers of foundation and eyeliner than one who looks, well, human.

Keys wrote in an essay on Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter published in May that before she gave up cosmetics, she had gotten to the point where she was nervous to go out in public without makeup:

Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn’t put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me. [Lenny Letter]

Source: Alicia Keys, America’s makeup-less feminist icon

2016-10-01_07-52-40.pngTo me and my Asperger’s, women with lots of make-up have always intimidated me. They seem to be hiding their true selves or as they see it their imperfections. I have always been drawn to women who let their natural beauty shine.

I looked up Alicia on Wiki and found her to be a very energetic and creative person. Her sidebar bio from that site is to the right. I don’t know about you but I much prefer the lady in the picture above to the one at the right.

Telling young girls that it is a necessary part of life to hide your imperfection under layers of paint does, I’m sure, do damage to many.  It is heartening to see that there are many young girls who are finally renouncing that idea and going “naked” so to speak.  I guess panty hose are becoming a thing of the past, perhaps make-up is not far behind.

Yeah, I know there is a $billion+ industry that will fight this new trend tooth and nail. They will pull out all their marketers to convince you that going without make-up is like going with clothes. But I think eventually, perhaps even in my lifetime, that most women will not be afraid to show people their natural beauty. Marketing is a super strong force in our society and will continue to be used to entice people to buy their products.  I hope more and more like Alicia can just say “NO”…

Feast Of The Hunter’s Moon…

ISOA Banner  Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending  The Feast of the Hunter’s Moon in Tippecanoe County Indiana.  It is one of the largest re-enactor events in the Midwest. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of what was there. More on this in a later post:

As Usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view

Part 5 – My Venture Into Asperger’s – Eye Contact

Neuro BannerThis is Part 5 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s and it is a biggie for me. As usual I will start out with a personal story and then show how that links into Asperger’s. This post is primarily about my struggles with eye contact.

2016-09-24_13-59-05To most people eye contact, that is looking into the eyes of the person you are talking to, is a normal process. To me it is quite painful and it always has been.  It is as though I am looking into that person’s soul and that is just someplace I don’t want to go. Whenever I do it it is almost as if I freeze up and stop thinking.  I have never understood why I feel this way when so many others don’t.

Even in my early childhood I imagined that something was seriously wrong with me.  Why was eye contact so painful?  As I got older I managed to have “roving eye contact”. That is I would occasionally glance into someone’s eyes while mostly looking elsewhere . That worked pretty well for many but then there were those who almost glared at me when I did that. 

As I was graduating college and ready for the job interviews I knew I had to do something as people would find out I was defective during an interview if I didn’t look them in the eye. Fortunately it didn’t take too many interviews before I landed a job. I almost took the first offer officially given in order to not have to do anymore interviews.  Looking back I think the lack of eye contact was also probably one of the reasons I had few second dates.

When I became deaf at the age of forty  in some ways it was almost a God’s send. I could now just watch a persons lips and therefore didn’t have to look into their eyes.  People would understand that was what I had to do and therefore not expect eye contact. It actually made my life a little easier, at least in that issue…

Now lets see how this relates to Asperger’s:

An Aspie Point of View — Eye contact hurts.. no, not in the painful sense but it’s quite uncomfortable. I always feel that I’m revealing more than I want to with eye contact and that I’m receiving more information than I want to know.

Source: Life with Aspergers: Aspergers and Eye Contact

This was my primary “aha” moment in my discovery of Asperger’s. I found out that my pain in making eye contact was not just me but others felt it too.  It was soothing in a way to understand it might be a neurological problem shared by others.  I wasn’t totally weird after all. This revelation started my  journey where I discovered many other personal aspie characteristics.

I like being a unique person and in a way Aspergers helps me be just that. Wouldn’t it be boring if all of us were the same? I am now half way through this planned ten part journey into Aspergers but maybe it will go beyond that point and into a regular weekly post. It is that important to me and I hope you will get some additional insight into this syndrome.

My Visual World…

Being deaf my world is primarily visual. So one of my most endearing hobbies is photography. I got my first 35mm camera right out of college. It, besides my 1970 Mustang,  was my first extravagant purchase.  I  have upgraded cameras many times since then and now have a fully digital GPS enabled one sitting beside me on all of my micro-RV trips and even around the homestead.

Most of the posts here at RJsCorner are primarily words  but I do intertwine them with occasional pictures such as in my search of America.  I think it is about time to put more focused solitary pictures here that tune in to pure beauty.  And that is what I intend to do here and hopefully weekly in the future. It will be categorized as 5Star Pictures as that is how they are labeled in my Adobe Lightroom 6 libraries. Oftentimes beauty is beautiful in its own sake but sometimes it is equally about the story surrounding it.

I want to start out this series by going back to 1944. No, I didn’t take the picture as it would be another two years before I was even born. But it is one of those pictures that I truly love for its innocence and for the person photographed.

A Pretty Little 5 year old.jpg

This beautiful little girl would become my wife in a mere forty-two years from the time it was taken. To me there is something enchanting about that face. Beauty personified, but maybe I am prejudiced .


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