And here we thought his brother was the dumb one! Bush seems intent on proving that his older brother George the Lesser isn’t the biggest idiot in the family. Jeb! seems to want to claim that title for himself. Which would be no small feat.


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In last night’s Republican clown show debate, when asked the question:

Earlier this year, the Treasury Department announced that a woman will appear on the $10 bill. What woman would you like to see on the $10 bill?

Jeb! answered:

I would go with Ronald Reagan’s partner, Margaret Thatcher. Probably illegal, but what the heck?

That would be former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who partnered with Reagan in launching the era of cruel supply side economics, which succeeded in eviscerating the middle class on both sides of the pond. Which makes Jeb! a good Republican.

That Jeb! realizes it might be illegal suggests he is at least aware that the United States won the Revolutionary War, and became independent of Britain, and that Thatcher therefore wasn’t the Prime Minister of the United States. Jeb! may be the Bush family’s biggest idiot, but his idiocy goes only so far.

But it does say something about Jeb! that he couldn’t name one American woman who deserves to be honored by having her face on the $10 bill. Not one woman from the entirety of American history. For that singular and historic honor, he had to pick a woman who wasn’t even American. Which shows how much he respects American women. All American women. In the entirety of American history.


Originally blogged by Laurence Lewis. Re-blogged by Daily Kos, Thursday, Sep 17, 2015. Used by permission of Daily Kos.
BEACH PICNIC by David C. Williams

BEACH PICNIC by David C. Williams

Relaxing on the Beach

Relaxing on the Beach

Bright sunlit laughter

Sprayed with salt and sand,

That marked the time this holiday began,

Now softens at the closing of the day

To murmur, echo, listen –

Then slowly fade away.

And twilight breathes a long and heavy sigh,

To sweep crane and egret from the sky.

And loft the solitary gull on silent wing

Into the darkening, ever narrowing ring

Of somber grays and blues

That higher through the waning yellow hues

Of twilight, so peacefully diffuse.


Soft breezes wake and wandering o’er the dunes

Enfold the notes of early evening tunes,

And waft them gently o’er the misty quay

To blend with solemn base notes

From the sea.

Far out in murky depths below,

Waves regiment their courage row on row,

Then glide in silent mass

Across the ocean floor,

And gaining strength

Charge headlong with a roar,

To die in frothing foam

Upon the barren, empty bulwark

Of the shore.

They vanquished, recoil

Leaving naked on the sand

Spirit creatures from the depths

Beyond the land

Who spring on pointed claw and bold

Perform their ballet pantomime

Upon the quaking gold.

Then dart with sprightly haste and disappear

Beneath the lacy folds

Of phosphorescent glow.


And suddenly - the moon

Hangs in the sky.

A brilliant - glaring - ancient,

Lidless eye,

To gaze upon the ceaseless convolutions

Of the sea,

And guild the sand

     With silvered strands

          of unrequited melancholy.

David C. Williams is a talented poet, gifted writer and raconteur. He has published five fiction and a non-fiction book. In addition, he has published several editorial pieces. David loves flying, built his own airplanes, and, in his nineties went up with a stunt flyer. He recently celebrated his ninety-third birthday.
IN THE BEGINNING IX (Genesis Series) by L. Milton Hankins

IN THE BEGINNING IX (Genesis Series) by L. Milton Hankins

Genesis 27 is the story of how Jacob deceived his father Isaac in order to receive the blessing that was meant for the older son Esau.  Apparently old, near-blind Isaac was not aware that Esau had “despised” his blessing and how he had sold it to Jacob for a mess of porridge.  In any case, Rebekah knew, and she arranged for Jacob to dress in wild skins and impersonate his brother in order to receive the blessing.  When Jacob appeared before his father in this disguise, Isaac thought he was blessing Esau.people-852423_1280

Esau, conveniently forgetting he had given up his birthright for a mess of porridge, went to Isaac and his father discovered the deception that had been played on him.  Isaac refuses to bless Esau because he says he has only one blessing and he has already bestowed it upon Jacob.

It seems, according to the story, that the “birthright” and the “claim to the blessing” is the same thing; or, having the birthright was essentially a claim to the blessing.  The birthright was probably the right of inheritance which was sealed by the blessing before the elder’s passing away.  I have always wondered what would have happened if Rebekah and Jacob had been totally honest with Isaac all along, telling him how Esau had “despised” the birthright.

We already know that Esau was not in the best graces of his parents for having married two Hittite women.

Naturally, Esau was furious with his brother and vowed to kill him after his father was gone.  Jacob was forced to flee to his mother’s relatives for protection.  Rebekah tells Jacob she will let him know when it is safe for him to return.  In the meantime, she tells her aging husband that she will be totally bereft (“life will not be worth living”) if Jacob marries into the Hittites, as Esau had done.  Little does Rebekah know she won’t be seeing her favorite son for at least fifteen years!

When Esau learns that Jacob has been blessed and sent to the house of his mother’s father, ostensibly to marry into the family, Esau (strangely seeming for the first time to realize his father and mother’s displeasure with his Hittite wives) went to “Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaloth and daughter of Ishmael the son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.”  I’ll let reader’s figure out the family relationship here.  I will point out, however, that by doing so, Esau continued to cement his identification with the “Ishmael” side of the family. (Genesis 28:8-9)

On his way to Paddan Aram, Jacob stopped at a “certain place” called Luz to spend the night. (Genesis 28:10ff)  While sleeping, Jacob had a dream in which the angels of God ascended and descended on a ladder (hence “Jacob’s Ladder”) artwork-796_640and at the top of the ladder stood the Lord.  The Lord renewed his promise to give him and his descendants the land which had been promised on several occasions to Jacob’s ancestors. Highly impressed, Jacob takes the stone he had rested his head upon and builds an altar.  He also renames the place “Bethel,” that is to say, “God’s House.” He also promises to give the Lord a “tenth” (a tithe). As well as I recall, this is the first mention of the tithe in the Old Testament.mural-336417_1280

Jacob arrives at a well in Paddan Aram where he meets Laban’s sons and Rachel, his first cousins.  Right away, he kissed her “and began to weep aloud.” Why the weeping?  I have no idea. After the camels are cared for, Jacob returns with Rachel and her brothers to their father’s abode. Laban hears about Jacob’s arrival, and we presume there is a kind of family reunion.  It had been many years since Laban had had a similar encounter with Jacob’s father Isaac.  In any case, Laban, who was pretty “sharp” for an old guy (as we shall see) declares that Jacob is his “own flesh and blood.”  I wonder just how old Laban was?

In a way, in Chapter 29:15-30 we learn “what goes ‘round comes ‘round.”  The story is well known.  Laban had two daughters, Leah the older and Rachel the younger.  Jacob is smitten with Rachel, who is much more desirable than her plain, older sister.  Laban makes an agreement with Jacob:  if he will work for his uncle for seven years,sheep-931707_1920 Laban will give him Rachel for his wife. Jacob does his time, but Laban gives him Leah instead of Rachel. The impression is (Genesis 29:23-25) that it was late in the evening, presumably after dark, when Jacob “lay” with Leah, not realizing it was she instead of Rachel until he awakened in the morning.  Surprise!

Laban (somewhat belatedly I think) explained that it was not their custom to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one.  So Jacob agrees to work for another seven years for Rachel.  In other words, it took Jacob fourteen years of labor to get the bride he wanted.  All I can say is, Rachel must have been quite a “looker!”  I wonder how she must have felt during those additional seven years while Jacob cohabited with her sister, knowing that it was she he really wanted. I suppose it never entered Rachel’s mind that daughters were essentially nothing more than articles of trade in those days.  I should not dare think it, but I wonder if there were times during that fourteen year period when Jacob and Rachel slipped away together.  Hey, human nature is human nature!prophet-762636_1280

In the broader scheme of things, however, Jacob had deceived his father and his brother and now he has been deceived by his uncle.  He must have felt “taken advantage of.”  Actually, he told Laban that he had been deceived. (Genesis 29:25) If anyone knew about deception and manipulation it was Jacob!  Of course, he could fall back on the promise of the Lord that he was “favored” and his life would be extremely successful.

Amusingly, when a woman could not bear children, the Old Testament phrase was “the Lord had closed (sealed) her womb.”  It seems as though the Lord, seeing how Rachel was more loved that Leah, decided to make Leah exceptionally fertile and closed Rachel’s womb, or, made her barren. Figure this out!  I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to believe that God would be involved in the lives of individuals in such a direct way.

Was this at all fair?  Not in my way of thinking.  Although we are more enlightened, understanding pregnancy and child-bearing much differently; in the context of their primitive way of thinking, why would the Lord have punished Jacob and Rachel for their great love, and waiting for fourteen years to be married, by making Rachel barren? One consequence, to be sure, was that ill-feelings developed between Leah (who produced children one right after the other) and Rachel.

Then Rachel gives her maidservant Bilhah to Jacob to bear children for her.  Remember Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant? Well, here we go again! Rachel was rather dramatic about the situation, saying to Jacob, “Give me children or I’ll die!” (Genesis 30:1) And Jacob, frustrated by the whole situation angrily responds “Am I in the place of God who has kept you from bearing children?”  Fascinating that Jacob blames God for Rachel’s barrenness.

Could it be that we continue to cling to this primitive idea that God “gives us children?” That God also “takes away our children?” I frequently hear couples say their children were heaven sent, when all the while I have a different understanding of where children come from!  I’ve also heard many times when accident or disease has caused the death of a child, “God needed another little angel, so he took him or her”–or some similar expression.  Personally, though it may bring solace to some parents who are grieving, I can’t imagine believing or saying such a thing!

When Leah discovered that she could no longer bear Jacob children, she gave him her maidservant Zilpah. As though they did not already have enough children!

At last, God decided to “open” Rachel’s womb and she bore Jacob a son whom she named Joseph.  Now, I think you’ll see why Joseph was so “special.”

According to Genesis 30:21, Leah conceives again, a daughter whom they name Dinah.  It is possible that other daughters were born along the way, but Dinah is named because she becomes important later on in the story.  By this time, Jacob has eleven sons…with one more, Benjamin, to come.

       An interesting sidelight is related in Genesis 30:14-16.  Leah’s son Reuben goes out into the fields and finds some mandrakes.  In those days, mandrakes (a fragrant, flowering plant) were considered an aphrodisiac and increased fertility.  (Note: I think this mandrake story was probably inserted much later, as the people would not have understood the idea of “aphrodisiacs” or “fertility” (see the explanation above as to why some women had children while others were unable to conceive); in any case, it makes for a nice story!

       When Rachel hears that Leah’s son Reuben has brought mandrakes to his mother, she and Leah have a little talk.  Leah says that it should be enough that Rachel has taken her husband from her. Rachel, rather snarkily, says to Leah that she will let Jacob sleep with her that night if she can have some of Reuben’s mandrakes. Goodness!



So, I remember back when I was working as a farm hand for 3 months this past summer. There was a LOT of time spent weeding which meant my mind was working, dreaming dreams, solving problems, making others.


Did you know that 30% of the food we have here goes to waste? Think about your own kitchen. How much food gets stashed in the frig, only to turn some dark green color, dripping with slime?  I’m guilty. We cook too much, put the leftovers in containers and usually remember to eat as lunch the next day, but if we are out and about, they tend to migrate to the back of the shelf and then, when I realize I am low on storage containers, I look and there they are…..needing to be sterilized!

Well, on the farm there was waste also. Michelle Burger of Bethel Springs Farms has exacting standards for her customers, and rightly so. When we picked green beans only those that were perfectly straight and of course without blemishes made it into their bags. The rest were trashed! Well, not exactly. As we were picking, the curved beans got left on the ground. In the cleaning process, anything imperfect went into the compost. It all eventually gets returned to the soil as green fertilizer, but it got me thinking that much of it was edible. DSC_0009

I started taking the imperfect produce home. Lots of it. I got paid minimum wage but boy oh boy, I was bringing home tons more in food than I was earning in dinero. And so, I started canning. And canning. And canning. Buying more jars. Canning some more. Some recipes, like the blueberry barbecue sauce, were keepers. Others like the zucchini marmalade, not so much.canning July 14 2014

Meanwhile, back at the farm, I was also thinking about the Bethel Springs business model. When Michelle hired me she took a gamble with a 60-year-old arthritic chubbette, but she saw I could (almost all the time) keep up and what she also gained was all the insights I had learned from years of farm visits.  Seeing the many different ways small farmers tried to make their work as income effective as possible.

So, I suggested to her that I could provide her another income stream. I can take those cast off green beans, not ordered zucchinis, tons and tons of excess tomatoes and can can can can can for her. She’s intrigued. So are a couple of other farmers and one other approached me. 2014-08-22 16.56.32

I have to draw the line there for this coming season. I need to stretch my wings and keep it manageable.

Meanwhile, as the fields are slumbering, I am doing all the groundwork. I went to a wonderfully timed convention this week sponsored by the Northwest Food Processors Association. Walking through the exhibition hall made me realize very quickly just how “small potatoes” this business concept is. When I talked to one vendor about a dehydrator I learned his best option for me costs $100,000.  Graham suggested a Kickstarter; I’ll wait a bit.  The family just pitched in to buy me a $250 Excalibur. That should last a year…maybe two. Next is the Better Processing School, and a whole bunch of legal things like state and federal licenses and certifications, including business filing. Amd Curt Chiarelli, a friend who is a graphic artist, is designing my logo, bless him!

Now, I COULD do all this from home if I was selling it all myself at a farmers’ market. Perfectly legal within a certain dollar amount. But by offering this service  to farmers who have no time to process their product this way and packaging it for their own label means I need to step up one notch to a commercial endeavor.

So, new venture and lots of excitement! If you want to share a scrumptious recipe you use, please do!!!

AND AGAIN…by Lydia Wiley

AND AGAIN…by Lydia Wiley

I opened my eyes, to find Sheldon standing by my bed in the moonlight.  He was smirking his odd Data smirk (if Data from Star-Trek could smirk that is).

He spoke to me, “Now Avi, isn’t that much more satisfying?fantasy-519274_1280

I replied rather forcefully, “No, NO it isn’t. Not in the least! Get away from me!”

At that point, I really opened my eyes, bathed in sweat, my heart racing from my odd dream.

I could only remember bits and pieces of it, but obviously, I had been watching, too much Big Bang Theory.

It seems Sheldon was showing me some bizarre technique he had discovered, allowing one to have sex without actually touching your partner.

Frankly, I’m glad I could only remember bits and pieces of the dream.

Sheldon has always fascinated me. All his crazy detailed rules, that actually make an odd sort of sense.

but his odd reluctance to have physical contact with his woman has always puzzled me. There’s just something not quite  right about that boy!

I love women. Everything about them. Their smells, walks, shapes, skin…just everything. So I just don’t get that Sheldon! Seriously, if I am going to have dreams like this, I’m going to have to take a break for awhile.

I got up and went to the window. There was a full moon and a gentle breeze blowing the curtains gently inwards.

city-362298_1920As I gazed out over Tel-Aviv, my mind churned over recent events. My son Samuel has been asking questions lately.  I really must figure out how to answer him. He is of an age to start school this year and the other children are making fun of him because he has no mother.

How to explain to a five year old why he has no mother like the other children. Why indeed? It has never been an issue before. My sister immigrated here to help me raise Samuel and that is all he has ever known. It has been oh so normal.

Now though, he is made to feel as if he doesn’t fit in. Like he’s an outsider.

I know all about feeling the outsider. Little Jewish boy with red hair, living in Chicago. The only Jewish boy, or girl for that matter, who had red hair. Oy! the things that the other children would say to me!red-hair-946746_640

My mother would sit me on her ample lap and dry my little boy tears and regale  me with stories about King David who was also red-headed. How he felled the giant with a stone and went on to be a great king of our people.  She said the other children were just jealous.  None of them could claim even the remotest link to our great King.

So I know what my son is feeling.  But how to explain his mother died giving birth to him, without making his feelings of outcast worse?  Without instilling unwanted and undeserved guilt upon him?

Oh how I wish my wise mother were here instead of Chicago!  She would know the exact thing to say. But my father’s health prevents it.father-992908_1280

She always told me my red hair meant I had a special purpose awaiting me. Like King David.

Actually, it was my red hair that made me so attractive to Mossad.  My knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic, Farsi and a couple of other languages, the fact I’m American AND redheaded, helps me, as an agent, to remain undetected. I just ‘play’ myself.

I mingle where I am needed to mingle, and play the American tourist. None have ever suspected I can understand everything being said.

My role is information gathering and writing reports on what I observe and hear.  King Saul Boulevard decides what to do with it.  In other words, I am that rare field agent who doesn’t get his hands dirty.  My cover has never been blown.

But back to Samuel.  What to say? I have toyed with the idea of taking him sailing on the Sea of Galilee–just us boys. Beyond that, I’m clueless.child-355176_1280

“Oh Y’shua”, I began to cry out. Then abruptly stifled myself. If Mossad or Rabbi ever found out I now believe in Messiah, I would be reviled, spit on, kicked out of Mossad and maybe even kicked out of my beloved Israel!  I would lose my family, as they would sit shiva for me. I would be dead to them. I would really be an outsider then!  I have to carry this secret and it’s tearing me apart at times. But at least, if it were made known, I would get my wish to retire in one piece, ahhhhhh! Just one more pressing issue I must deal with soon, soon, soon……

And then, with the touch of Samuel’s hand on my face, I really, really did open my eyes.  All of my problems, yet none of my problems, dealt with, in my sleep.

Lydia Wiley was born and raised in the Appalachian area. These days, she is having fun learning, and hopes to never stop that process.