First of all, I’m a bit miffed because I live on the east side where most of the poor people live and all the early voting sites are on the west side that has fewer people but way more money. That sucks. With that off my chest though, I am glad that I have the good fortune of having wheels that I can use to get myself to the west side. I will also be using my wheels to help as many people as I can to get to the polls from now to the 8th.



I went to the gym this morning and then decided to go vote. Usually I vote on voting day. I like to vote on voting day. It makes me feel all patriotic and connected to the people who are my neighbors.



This time, though, I went early because I’m alive today and there is a chance that I could get run over by a truck or knocked off by some radical Christian Trump supporting terrorist before the 8th, and that would suck if I hadn’t voted for the future of my yet to be born granddaughters and sons. So I voted.

I was really surprised at the line. This is the third day of early voting in Florida and there were about 20 people in line ahead of me. When I got up to the table to sign in, I asked the lady if it had been this busy the whole time. She said it had, that it had even been busier and it was steady from open to close every day. That makes me happy. The people who live here vote blue way more than red.

After I left I went to the gas station. While I was pumping, a fellow who was driving a truck with the logo of a painting company on it said to me that he really liked my Volkswagen Beetle. I thanked him and asked if he liked my bumper stickers. He looked and thought for a moment and then said, “Yeah, Bernie Sanders. I like him.”bernie-sanders-1274425_1280

We got to talking and I told him I’d just voted. He told me he hadn’t yet but was thinking he was gonna vote for Trump because he just hates Hillary. I told him that I got that, but I voted for Hillary because if she wins Bernie will get to be head of the finance committee or Secretary of Treasury or something. He thought about that. Meanwhile his partner showed up and jumped in on the talk spewing hateful anti-Hillary Trumpisms. I went on about Bernie and, long story short, by the end of the conversation I had both of them saying that it might be a good idea to vote for Hillary so that Bernie will be in a better position to get his policies enacted.



Hey, you just never know what will happen when you get into conversations with people that you think are scary and you have nothing in common with. I hope both of them go vote today before our conversation wears off. 

[© Kos Media, LLC Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified. “Kos” and “Daily Kos” are registered trademarks of Kos Media, LLC.]



In response to the tragic situations brought about by drug abuse, many causes have been suggested: poverty, feelings of hopelessness, unemployment, ignorance, thrill seeking. “Bit PhRMA,” over prescribing by physicians and more are all considered to play a part in today’s drug crisis.

Yet, I suspect that there is something else, something that is so prevalent in our American way of life that we no longer see it as a problem That is our desire for immediate gratification, which contributes to drug abuse. We want to feel good and have the good things in life immediately without enduring any discomfort.



In 2007, I wrote a column, “Never waiting for what we want leads to problems,” even before the seriousness of our substance abuse issues were fully understood. That column was prompted by an iPhone ad that stated in big bold print, “Waiting is so last week.”

We are a society that is impatient for everything. We do not save money for the future regardless of whether money is tight or adequate. Poor people end up forfeiting their partially paid-for possessions and some rich people declare bankruptcy and let others suffer the fallout.

Commercials for vehicles advertise, “no credit, no problem.” approved-29149_640Budgeting is “outdated.” It is what parents and grandparents might have done. As a child, I recall my parents wanting to buy a house. The money just wasn’t there, so we lived in many small unfashionable apartments for six years until there were funds for a down payment. Do people still do such things today?

These thoughts bring me back to my hypothesis about instant gratification and substance abuse. Prohibition clearly didn’t work, so alcohol was legalized and became part of the American social and economic fabric. Alcohol traditionally offered an “escape” from life’s everyday stresses, even though more problems followed heaving drinking. Our country has learned to adapt to drunken driving deaths, broken families, violent behavior and health problems because these problems rarely come in big batches or lead to immediate deaths.



But in the past decade, alcoholism has taken a back seat to pills, which promised to do away with physical aches and all other painful situations. What few people, including physicians, realized initially was that these pills would addict more swiftly and deadly than any liquor had before.

When the easy and constant supply of pain pills finally dried up, the heroin and drug dealers were waiting in the wings. So now the addiction and overdoses from pain pills have been supplanted by even more astonishingly large numbers of overdoes and deaths from lethal street drugs.

We seek immediate gratification. We want high paying jobs and homes that have every convenience, but do not want to suffer through years of schooling and training that is necessary for those good jobs. We want to feel good physically, but choose to not eat in a healthy fashion, exercise or seek appropriate medical care. We get frustrated easily with our family, neighbors, jobs, bosses or those who drive too slowly.

Looking for a quick way to feel very good works for the moment, but as with drug abuse, the joy is fleeting and many lives are damaged instantly.



Unless we Americans become a society that values future planning and can again learn to delay gratification, we  are likely to see our drug culture continue to ruin lives.

Drugs themselves are physically addictive, but they are also culturally addictive in a society that wants to feel good at all times without doing any of the heavy lifting.

[Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist. She writes a weekly column for the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch.  We share this article which first appeared in the Herald-Dispatch with her permission. Ms Mufson’s email is]



What we learned this week about Donald Trump is that he is easily impressed.  His position is that if another country’s leader is nice to him, then he will be nice to them.  If that person pays him a  compliment, then he will pay them compliments.



And so it goes with Mr. Putin.  Really, Mr. Trump?  Are you so short-sighted?  Have you really looked into President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Russia?  I will tell you.

For the last several years, President Putin has set back in time the personal freedoms of the Russian people.



Due to his policies, the inflation rate in Russia is out of control and making the lives of the people extremely difficult to maintain a decent living and lifestyle.  Unemployment is on the rise as businesses can no longer afford to pay the salaries of all their staff.  Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live.  His policies and changes in laws have stripped the people of personal rights.  It appears that he is trying to consolidate his power and become the next Czar of Russia, and not the president of a democratic state.

There has been a growing dissidence among the people of Russia, especially among the better educated and progressives.  Their dissidence is being met with a very strong, iron hand.  It has been recently reported by citizens that approximately 3000 Russian citizens have been “going missing”  per month.

My friend is one of those.  We met and became friends on-line prior to my planned vacation to Moscow in 2011.



I was looking for a Moscow native to agree to be my personal guide during my visit.  I hoped to experience a more personal side of Moscow than most Americans would ever be offered.  He was fluent in English and at that time, worked for an American architectural firm in Moscow.  He did not disappoint.  I met him in a suburb and we walked around the neighborhoods, an open air market, went into a Russian Orthodox Church



and a shopping center.  I witnessed the lives of a sampling of Muscovites that I doubt many other Americans have experienced.

He is a talented architect and an aspiring play/screenwriter, winning a first place award several years ago in a competition in London.  He had become increasingly vocal about his contempt for President Putin and his policies enacted over the last several years.  He signed a petition on the unsecured internet site of the White House in May of this year which was asking President Obama to address the atrocities that were occurring and being committed in Russia by President Putin and his notorious band of hit men.  We just learned last week that these servers and previously learned that the servers for the Democratic National Committee had been hacked by the Russian government.

My friend “went missing” less than a month after signing that petition and hasn’t been heard from or seen since. 

So apparently, Mr. Trump supports thugs who kidnap people and does God only knows what to them.  He also supports a wannabe dictator who is attempting to consolidate his power and expand it by illegally annexing other countries.  He supports a man who is assisting a dictator to commit genocide of his own people in Syria. 

With this example, what can we anticipate if Mr. Trump were to become the POTUS?  If this does not cause you concern—it should.

[Richard Moberly is a contributor to  He lives in Jacksonville, Florida.]

HE SAID – SHE SAID by Beth Rankin

HE SAID – SHE SAID by Beth Rankin

[EDITOR’S NOTE]  Beth writes: “The concept I want to write on in goingplaces is about the misses in communication we all have with people who are close…and knowing that, perhaps, we can make a greater effort to try to be clear and not inflammatory in our conversations with people who are not so close. Anyway, you’ll know when I get it off my mind….”  Beth’s blog is:  Go visit her and say “Hi!”  We all understand that friendly greeting!

308083_259534974087419_983851575_nEven people who love each other have problems. Maybe it’s a Venus/Mars thing but I don’t think it can be explained that simply. Basically, many people just do not know how to communicate.  They know what they want to say but they forget to make time for the feedback loop…they forget to listen. They forget to check that they were heard correctly. And also, it seems, they forgot to stay patient.

Oh, we all say lots of words. No question there. I am a good example of the blah blah blah. But there is a difference between talking and communicating.

This past week was the county fair and I helped out for a few hours at the booth operated by the county Democratic party.  It is set up with information about candidates running for ALL the races from president on down to dog catcher.  Only kidding about the dog catcher, but down to the local level.


It was pretty funny watching people as they walked by the booth. For some, we were obviously invisible, as if they had blinders on the side of their face closest to us.  For others, we must have been emitting some kind of sensory beam as they walked as far away as the sidewalk allowed. Cooties, I guess….just as well they stayed away.

Other more passive aggressive types hollered “Vote for Trump!” as they cleared our frontal zone.  I managed to suppress my “in your dreams!” or a more colorful response in the interest of community  fellowship.

communication-1082657_1280The funniest part was when I walked down about five booths to the county Republican booth. It appeared to be a father and son who were there. The older one was in his 50s; the younger one maybe 20.

There was a banner “Make America Great Again” festooning the back of the booth so I asked, “So, how will we all make America Greater Now?” The answer, they proudly sang in tandem,  “Vote for Trump!”

Great, I said. Many will. And then what will happen?


“Oh”, I helped them along, “what has he suggested will make it better than it is now?”

“Get rid of all the illegals!” Dad shouted.

“How?”……pause….and then with more strength he opined, “round them up.”

needle-1419606_1280When I suggested it might be hard to know where they are, they got stymied.

When I told them that most illegals came in legally on visitor visas and overstayed their  permitted time limit, they did not know that.  But they rallied and said all foreign visitors would need to check in with the authorities as they moved around the country. I told them when I was working in Germany in 1981, before the fall of the USSR, I had to turn over my US passport at the place we stayed so they could report our presence to the police. I asked them if that was what they wanted here. They said only the foreigners would have to do it. Really? And how can you tell someone is a foreigner?  No answer.

When I asked how the illegals would be rounded up, they didn’t know, but it would be done because Trump said it would be.

I then dared to ask how getting rid of illegal farm workers would make Oregon great. They had no idea the role illegal workers play in this state, let alone the country.

occupation-1426385_1280Dad was very annoyed by that time and stomped off. I hollered after him that one way to make America great was not be a quitter and learn to communicate…give and take…listen and talk….then we could discover our commonalities and work together.

Son looked at me sheepishly. I guess the herd mentally was getting to him too.




I get the impression from reading letters to the editor and columnists in many newspapers, that who can be a Christian these days is extremely narrowly defined.

I was brought up to believe that “Christians” are folks who at some point in their lives made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and who, to the best of their abilities, hold fast in their daily lives to the teachings of the Jesus of the gospels.



I am becoming more acutely aware that there is an increasingly large number of people of the fundamentalist persuasion who believe that anyone who does not believe as they do are not, and cannot be, Christians. And, incidentally, who would want to be? On the opposite side of the fence an equally large segment of the population seems to have given up religion altogether.

This does not shock me, especially, but it causes me to carefully assess how fundamentalists and right-wing political groups have for all intents and purposes hikacked the “name above all names,” and turned away from Jesus’ essential teachings and practices.

I have frequently asserted that Jesus was, undeniably, a liberal. He was gentle, caring, accepting, generous and helpful. No one, by any stretch of the imagination, could say that Jesus was a bigot or that he turned aside from those people who were considered, by the common definition, “sinners.” He certainly did not shun people who thought differently than he did. He called at least three such persons to be his disciples!

As a matter of fact, in the Gospels, on numerous occasions we see him eating and drinking with “sinners” and other people who were considered outcasts by the religious leaders of his day. I like this. I think I would have felt right at home among these people! Jesus apparently steered wide of the prevailing political persuasions of first-century Palestine. On one occasion, he essentially said that we are to keep religion and politics (government) separate. Even when his fellow countrymen were being crushed under the massive machine of the Roman Empire.Religious-freedom

My point is, simple, that we have reached a place where one’s faith and/or one’s belief have become something of a line in the sand. Although the Bible has “little-to-noting” to say about what is acceptable when it comes to marriage (and marriage was certainly different in both the Old and New Testaments than it is today), we have a large segment of “Christians” who want to say anyone who defines marriage differently, i.e. what is presently legally, socially and morally acceptable, cannot be a “Christian.” Obviously they know nothing about today’s prevailing marriage customs in much of the

We have almost reached the point, too, where one cannot be both a Christian and a Democrat! And, if it’s a clear choice, I have come to a decision about which I would prefer to be!

Among my severest, sometimes outright mean, critics are people who say I cannot be a Christian, as they define the term, because I don’t believe as they do. And I certainly don’t! They are, to a man, fundamentalist pastors. The women who cannot be pastors can still be outspoken “Christian” zealots!

Oh, by the way, as the evangelical/fundamentalist Christians increasingly embrace Donald Trump, as I’m suspecting they are, I must fairly ask:  Is Donald Trump a “Christian?”donald-trump-1276068_1280 I don’t know, and I have no right to judge, but, frankly I can say with confidence that he doesn’t appear to be very “Christ-like!” I’m not in bad company when I say this because, apparently, Pope Francis thinks so, too.