Kristin Beck, who spent two decades as a Navy SEAL, has a challenge for Donald Trump in the wake of his morning tweetstorm announcing a ban on transgender service members. From Business Insider:

“Let’s meet face to face and you tell me I’m not worthy,” Kristin Beck, a 20-year veteran of the Navy SEALSs, told Business Insider on Wednesday. “Transgender doesn’t matter. Do your service.”

Beck is a bonafide American hero:

Beck is not just your average service member. Born Christopher Beck, she served for 20 years in the Navy with SEAL Teams 1, 5, and, eventually, the elite 6. She deployed 13 times over two decades, including stints in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. She received the Bronze Star award for valor and the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat.

“I was defending individual liberty,” she said. “I defended for Republicans. I defended for Democrats. I defended for everyone.”

Beck’s missions in Afghanistan helped take out Osama bin Laden. What an embarrassment to this nation and a stabbing insult to patriots like Beck, who simply want to serve their country.

[Article first appeared in Daily Kos, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Reprinted with permission.]





I usually start seeds for some vegetables and flowers in April, but this year I got a late start and didn’t get anything planted until Memorial Day weekend. Late starts notwithstanding, some very nice tomato seedlings grew into healthy big plants and they are fruiting nicely. Except one, which I discovered had been infested with stink bugs. (Not the one pictured above). Little b*stards will hide if they see you coming, although I’m pretty fast at catching them. They have spread to only two other plants, but I’ve hand-picked about a dozen bugs and drowned them in soapy water. I’ve also discovered the soapy water spray, which is just dish soap (non-antibacterial) and water. 1 to 2 tsp dish soap to 32 oz water. Be sure and spray them directly top and bottom thoroughly. It kills by clogging their breathing, which is through their skin.

Most of the ‘mater plants seem healthy so far and are growing like little weeds. They like this late summer weather, now that our summer monsoon has finally broken after 33 rain-free days. Even if it doesn’t rain, it gets cloudy and cools things down a bit.


I actually was able to start cucumber seeds this year in a pot and they are doing quite well, to my surprise. In past years I never seemed to be able to get them going enough either in a pot or in a raised bed to make any cucumbers worth eating or canning. Oh, I’d get a few, but nothing to write home about. This year I planted them in a pot full of iris from the garden, stuck a trellis in there, and they are climbing up like crazy.

Some seeds I have started in years past re-seed every year after that somewhere in a garden. I pull them up morning glories in the front yard routinely because they are all pink and they strangle everything like the relative to bindweed that they are. But I started some blue ones from seed, which I’m sure will revert to a purple somehow and then die off. Pink ones are hardy and show up every time I disturb the ground.


I do like petunias so far. I had planted climbers and patios, mixed. The climbers survived and re-seeded, so they pop up in the oddest places and in the most interesting combinations. This pot full ranges from cream with fuschia stripes, the same in a mirror image, and then every shade of pink to red. They’ll go to seed again this year and pop up somewhere else next year.

I have so many packets of old seeds, I’m going to throw them all out into the garden this fall and see what comes up. I will have rose campion in the garden already, thanks to kishik!

They are much bigger now and will be ready to plant in the fall.

I’ve got a lot going on in the garden, but it’s too hot to do any work, until the afternoon. Then it clouds up and cools off, so I hope to get something done later today. This morning we are going to a fair and we intend to get back before it gets hot.

What’s going on in your garden these summer days?

[Merry Light’s  gardening piece documenting her experiences first appeared in Daily Kos, Saturday, July 29, 2017. It is reprinted by permission of Daily Kos.]





Rarely do I find myself in a situation where, as we say, “I don’t know what to think.” I have one of those very active brains where various matters of interest constantly swirl around like bees before a hive. Then, all of a sudden, a particular subject will begin to develop and coalesce and force its way to the forefront of my mind, and I am ready to write a draft.

Over the past several weeks, I have been mulling over the opposing perspectives of the Donald Trump administration. On the one side, the “died-in-the-wool” Trump supporters seem to believe that Mr. Trump is doing just fine. They point to the executive orders he has signed; his appointment of a well-qualified, conservative justice to the Supreme Court; and, his reversal of many of the Obama administration policies which they found particularly odious. For example, EPA environmental protection regulations and the ban on transgender persons serving in the military.


On the other side, the “resistance, indivisible” Trump despisers point out that Mr. Trump has still not accomplished a single one of his major campaign promises, i.e. repeal and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a restructuring of the tax code, or any infrastructure improvement plan–all of which were strongly emphasized during his campaign.

And, overshadowing all of the pros and cons–that is, whether or not anyone believes the president is an enormously successful administrator or a failing, loudmouth buffoon–no one can deny that the Donald Trump administration is awash in scandal! Not merely a tiny, insignificant wrinkle in the start-up; the administration, since the campaign itself, has continually teetered on the brink of implosion.

My mind is constantly asking itself–no matter what news media I turn to–what can I believe is true? Or false? How do I assemble a rational presentation of what the future holds? And sometimes, I think it doesn’t matter. Everything will work out in the end.

Then, North Korea tests another intercontinental ballistic missile which its leaders hope can deliver a nuclear bomb to the Golden Gate Bridge! Some incident, i.e. shooting down an enemy military jet in Syria, the collision of a U.S. military vessel and a Japanese container ship, or a terrorist attack anywhere in the world get all stirred into the common, everyday Washington, D.C., cesspool of obstruction over this or that.

It’s enough to drive a sane man bonkers!

Just the other day, in our local post office, the lady in front of me glanced up at the television (which is generally set on the Weather Channel) and said to nobody in particular, “We’re going to keep on ’til we start a war with Russia!” I heard her, and I thought, “Lady, it might take a war with Russia to get us back on track!” It startled me when I realized what I had said. After all I grew up during the Cold War! But nothing seems to bring us together than a good old-fashioned international crisis. It’s just that I am not sure we can ever again have a “good old-fashioned international crisis.” A cringe ran down my spine. The truth is that there are rogue nations on both sides of us who would like nothing more than to annihilate us!

I’d like to think that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was absolutely right when he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” but he said those words long before the age of nuclear weapons. 

When will everything no longer work out well…in the end? I suspect we are rapidly approaching that time, if we are not already there, when we have a lot more to fear than fear itself!

(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins (all rights reserved)



Someone died. And I got a cornea to fix a vision problem.

Each of us has the opportunity to think ahead to a possible situation where we might not be able to live, but can donate parts of our own bodies that can make someone else’s life better. Thinking this way does not make your death happen. It makes a precious gift happen if and when. What a legacy. Go this website if you already do not have it marked on your driver’s license.

Years ago I lost a husband to brain cancer. At the time the “shit hit the fan” I was quietly told by the neuro-oncologist that we had three to five years. Well, he lived ten years and the doctor really had no idea how. The last MRI, done about eighteen months before his death, showed that this incurable cancer had not grown. For some reason, his brain chemistry caused it to act differently. It was that summer I decided and got things in place to donate his brain when the time came. Heading to a neurological research program, perhaps whatever he had in his brain chemistry could be identified and help someone else. I wanted to make lemonade out of the very sour lemon we had been given.

Perhaps this concept is not so hard for me because I appreciate the sentiment of Thanksgiving. While I don’t count my blessings daily, I give thanks after we return to our driveway after a road trip, when we have a good day at the farmers’ market, when one of my kids has a wonderful achievement. Thank you. Thank you Lord. Thank you God. Thank you Man in the Moon. It doesn’t matter who receives your thanks. It’s recognition that we are not alone. And the One who is honored hears it all.

Being part of society means I choose to be active. I offer skills and energy within my capability to issues I feel are important. As I age perhaps the working parts are not as usable to someone else as if I had died early.

But letting them harvest whatever can be used is one more way I can give back to my community.

When we feel this connection to others, our world is safer. When we feel we can have an impact, our world works smoother.

[Beth Rankin, entrepreneur, business woman, social activist, lives with her husband Graham in McMinnville, Oregon. She is a frequent contributor to Columnist with a View. The bulk of her writing can be found at:  www.goingplaceslivinglife. This article appeared in the July 23, 2017 issue. <>]



                                           DAN RATHER

“Donald Trump’s speech last night in front of the Boy Scouts of America was not only highly inappropriate. It was disgusting.

“I would like to hope it is a nadir in our country’s political discourse, but it seems like the slide downward only accelerates. So it stands as a sad encapsulation of our current age.

“No doubt many in the crowd were riled up by Mr. Trump’s stale rhetoric of ‘fake news’ and lies about his ‘massive’ electoral victory. But the Boy Scouts is a diverse organization with chapters in every corner of this nation. And today, many are no doubt wondering whether they belong in a group that is supposed to be built on community and service. Many of these boys may be wondering more broadly whether they belong in a country led by a man like this.

“Scouts learn the importance of being ‘trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.’ How few of those adjectives apply to our current Commander in Chief. A man who can’t control himself to act in a manner befitting the setting, is a man without the steadiness of character to run a nation. A grown man who is so insecure as to seek affirmation in a group of teenagers is not a man with the maturity to lead a nation. A man who is so self-absorbed as to make every utterance about himself and his needs is not a man with the vision to elevate a nation.

 “Part of being president is to be the leader of the entire country. And every president I can remember (and that’s a lot of them) reveled in moments when they had a venue to shake off the partisanship of Washington and speak in exalted tones to the people. But whether it’s dedicating an aircraft carrier or talking to Boy Scouts, Mr. Trump so far has seemed incapable of performing that simple task.

“Bluntly put – and there is no joy and having to say this – he is tearing apart the norms of our nation. So it is incumbent on those who recognize the damage being done to stitch back the bonds that unite us and work hard to muffle the echoes of his divisiveness.”