Star of Wonder, Star of Night

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Tonight is a unique opportunity to see the conjunction of the planets, Saturn and Jupiter, looking in the sky to some people like a large star, perhaps the same Christmas Star the three wise men (kings, shepherds) saw that guided them to Jesus’ birthplace.

In my neck of the woods, the Northeast USA, sunset is at 4:25pm, and the best time to see the star/conjunction is an hour past sunset looking towards the southwestern sky. With binoculars, you may also be able to see Jupiter’s four large moons.

Some links to read about this special sight while you’re waiting for sunset:

From NASA: The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. They also have a few links to watch it live if you can’t get outside to see it as well as other informational links.

The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn 2020: Fun Facts

Here’s How You Can See the ‘Christmas Star’ in the Night Sky

Apologies for my quick drawn rendition of a Christmas Star. (c)2020

Waiting in Joyful Hope with Michelle Frankl-Donnay

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As we come to the last Sunday of Advent, I have finally decided to recommend an Advent book. The book itself begins with Advent but continues with daily readings throughout the Christmas season. What I have really come to share with you is the author, Michelle Frankl-Donnay.

I have been reading her reflections for a few years now, and she is by far my favorite person to read their reflections. They are a wonderful blend of spirituality and real life with the enormity of the universe for perspective. Professor Frankl-Donnay teaches chemistry at Bryn Mawr College and her science background gives an entire feeling with the mixing of the scientific and religious. Whenever I am reading her books durng the holiday seasons, I am wonderfully surprised at my reactions and how much I get emotionally from her reflections.

In addition to the current book, Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2020-2021, she can also be found at her blog:

Michelle Frankl-Donnay

Quantum Theology

Twitter

Election Connection – Georgia Runoff – Why You Should Care About Georgia

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Living in New York, why do I care about a runoff election in Georgia? And more importantly, why should you care?

Two words, one hashtag: #MoscowMitch

Mitch McConnell, Senator of Kentucky and overall partisan hypocrite.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t start out with calling names, but believe me there are much worse that would be applicable that I am refraining from. He has no conscience. He has no shame.

We came out, 80 million + of us and we sent a clear message that we want the Trump Administration and its policies gone. G-O-N-E. With the amount of votes and the states that flipped from 2016 and especially the states flipping that have been Republican strongholds for years, Arizona and Georgia, it is clear that Republican tactics and policies have been rejected out of hand.

Currently, Senator McConnell is the Majority Leader in the Senate. He has single handedly halted legislation in Congress.

The House of Representatives have passed laws for the past two years – hundred of laws – and sent them to the Senate. Mitch McConnell decides what is brought to the floor for debate and to be voted on. He’s brought nearly none of them. Not voting rights, not covid survival checks for struggling American citizens, not state and local government monies to offset their covid spending for police and fire, not money for testing and PPE.

All Mitch McConnell does is confirm judges, most of them unqualified as determined by the American Bar Association. Many of them with less experience than anyone else on the bench. Mitch McConnell blocked most of President Obama’s agenda including judges and one Supreme Court justice.

On the night that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Mitch McConnell was communicating his intention to confirm a “replacement” justice as soon as possible despite the election coming in mere weeks.

He cried in saying farewell to fellow Senator Lamar Alexander who is retiring and has yet to say any words of condolence for the almost 300,000 Americans who have died during the pandemic this year from covid.

He tells his followers that he doesn’t want to “bail out blue states” while ignoring the reality that the blue states bail out the red states each and every year, and blue states receive less in federal aid than Republican run states.

To put it simply, Mitch McConnell is despicable.

He has already said that he will block Biden’s choices for judges and any Supreme Court justices that are nominated. He will not advance for vote any Cabinet confirmation who he doesn’t agree with.

In other words, McConnell will single-handedly hamstring the Biden Administration that the majority of the country has voted for, has spoken in favor of.

President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris have been given a mandate to get this country on track and to be better; to move away from corporate welfare and debilitating trade wars and help the people in this country who desperately need the help. They can begin to address the racial disparity that’s been built into our system since its founding.

All that is for naught without the Senate though.

As of this writing (a few days before publishing), 126 House Republicans, 17 Republican Attorneys General, and untold numbers of GOP Senators have signed on, either by name or by silent complicity in attempting to overthrow the will of the people, to have the courts intercede and throw out the election with lies of nonexistent voter fraud and disinformation.

However, we have a chance to nip this un-American, unpatriotic behavior in the bud: if we win the two Senate seats in the Georgia runoff happening on January 5, 2021 and you can help even if you don’t live in Georgia and can’t personally vote for Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.

Money is still needed.

Volunteers are still needed – for phone calls, for texts, for transporting voters to the polls on January 5th.

We also need to remind people that when they go to the polls during early voting beginning on December 14 (yesterday) and finishing on January 5th, they need to vote for BOTH Warnock and Ossoff. If they are BOTH elected to the Senate, the Senate will be tied 50-50, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be the deciding vote and the Democrats will control the agenda.

Start by going to Vote Save America’s Georgia Page. It will give you all the information you need to get started in volunteering, in getting out the information, and in getting out the vote.

Next week, I will talk about the current Georgia’s Senators’ blatant corruption.

Vote Save America – Georgia Runoff

Jon Ossoff

Rev. Raphael Warnock

Fair Fight

COVID Information Updates

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As the virus continues its rampage throughout the United States and in other parts of the world, I wanted to update my information center.

It can be found here: Covid Information Center

What follows is some related links that I am sharing here and will update their respective subject posts by next weekend. There will be more as news warrants it.

If there’s something that you found helpful that isn’t on one of my posts, please comment below or email me. Use the subject line so I don’t misread your email as spam.

Fauci: We won’t be able to sit in theaters without masks until a year after an effective coronavirus vaccine is created

Emergency Preparedness and Checklists for Everyone

Biden-Harris Transition Website

Biden-Harris Plan for Covid-19 Reponse

Clicking for entire thread will take you to Twitter. (c)2020

“…Nothing Ever Really Ends, Does It??…” – Chuck Shurley (Spn, 5.22)

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Supernatural ended a week ago, and I am still not over it. I have many thoughts about the finale, both positive and negative, and I am still not ready to confront them.

In lieu of my opinions and emotional upheaval, I decided to share a few links of things that posted in the days leading up to the last episode.

BEWARE SPOILERS

Continue reading

The Other Side of Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving today is fraught with its past and the reckoning that is still to come in many ways.

For those of us who grew up in non-Christian households, Thanksgiving was and is the great equalizer. We can all celebrate it without the regligious baggage and without not fitting in. We gather as a family, we express our gratitude and our love, and it’s the one day of the year that nearly everyone has the day off, at least until a couple of years ago when retailers began to open on Thanksgiving Day.

There are of course exceptions, but it is a day for everyone.

Of course, that is also not the entire story. From the Native American prospective, settlers coming to the new world caused trauma beyond belief. We are only beginning to open up and discuss and educate ourselves to be inclusive, but also to move forward as a country.

While I believe the original Thanksgiving story despite knowing its clear embelllishments, I think it’s important to distinguish between the Columbus and future expeditions theft of land and genocide and that early settlers and Native Indians, as they were known at the time, did work together, and to celebrate the help that the Native Peoples gave to the Pilgrims should be recognized. The Pilgrims, and other Native-friendly settlers wouldn’t have survived the new world without the help of the indigenous people already living here.

Here are two ways to begin educating ourselves:

Native American Tribal Map

Thirty Everyday Phrases that Perpetuate the Oppression of Indigenous Peoples

Supernatural Lists: Charities and Organizations Worth Looking At

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UPDATED: 25 NOVEMBER 2020

For a number of years, Supernatural merchandise has been offered with a portion of the proceeds going to charities chosen by the actors.

They’ve been offered through different organizations, although more recently, they are primarily offered through Stands.

What follows is a list of some of those charities and organizations if you can spare some time to volunteer or money to donate.

The series finale aired last night and can be watched today on The CW app.

Election Connection: Georgia Senate Runoff

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There’s a lot going on here. Please read through the graphics, links, and information, and then use this post as your starting place. I will add information in new posts weekly.

We flipped Georgia blue for Joe and Kamala; we can flip the Senate blue and get to work for the American people.

Tomorrow is the first day that absentee ballots will begin to be mailed out.

The deadline for voter registration is December 7th. Even if you requested an absentee ballot for the general election, you MUST request a new one for the Jan. 5th runoff. Early voting begins December 14th.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

How to Help Win the Two Georgia Senate Runoff Elections

My Voter Page for Georgia. All the information you need from the state of Georgia for the runoff.

Request your absentee ballots at this link.

Vote Save America is working with America Votes – Georgia to help make sure to help make sure the organizers who’ve been there 365 days a year are getting as much funding as the candidates themselves. There’s a ton of interest, energy, and donations flowing into the state, so America Votes – Georgia is making sure they get distributed directly as needed to groups that are having the biggest impact on the ground.

They include:

  • Asian American Advocacy Fund
  • Black Male Voter Project
  • Black Voters Matter
  • BlackPAC
  • Care in Action
  • Collective PAC
  • Color of Change
  • Georgia Alliance for Progress
  • Georgia Conservation Voters
  • Georgia Equality
  • Mijente
  • New Georgia Project Action Fund
  • Poder Latinx
  • UNITE HERE

Donate here to make sure Ossoff and Warnock get Every Last Vote.

The Get Mitch Fund will go directly to the two candidates.

Election Connection: ELECTION DAY! IT’S HERE! IT’S NOW!

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Today is Election Day; the last day of the 2020 Election to make your voice heard.

My Home Page is now temporarily an Election Resource Page. It includes voter protection hotlines including for the deaf and hard of hearing, some informative graphics from Vote Save America including how to volunteer and help people waiting in long lines.

When the polls close tonight, it will probably not be over. Here are a few resources to follow or get on email lists. It is also a good idea to support investigative journalism. I can’t afford a lot, but the two things I subscribed to in the last year or so are The Washington Post (on Kindle) and Cafe Insider, which features former US Attorney Preet Bharara and a few of his closest friends and associates who bring national security information to life on several podcasts with interviews on a variety of other subjects as well. These are both well worth the monthly subscription.

Others:

Vote Save America

Dan Pfeiffer’s Message Box

Pod Save America

Marc E. Elias

Ron Klain

Rachel Maddow

Preet Bharara

Connie Schultz

Andy Slavitt

Andy Slavitt’s Podcast: In The Bubble

Penzeys Spices – they have really stepped up in the last four years to help Americans know the issues and walk the walk on their values and ours.

Jesus on Twitter – I know, I know, but this Twitter feed has a way of distilling things into simple terms and reminders and adds a calming feeling in the midst of chaos. (And this Jesus Twitter specifically)

And of course, your own Representatives and Senators. Know who they are, know their online and phone information and continue to hold them accountable. They work for you.

Please add any of your own recommendations in the comments.

Below the cut are some graphics related to VP Biden’s policies including a comparison and timeline between his and Pres. Trump’s covid response/reactions.

Continue reading

Election Connection: 7 Weeks: 49 Days Until Election Day

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As Jon Lovett and Jon Favreau said last week, it’s time to:

GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!

What is is your plan to vote?

I was originally going to fill out an absentee ballot and mail it in as soon as humanly possible, but looking at my other choices, I’ve decided that my PLAN is to vote early and in person. There won’t be any lines and there are two early voting polling places very near my home.

No procrastination. No time wasted. No worries about mail sabotage from the current Postmaster General and/or AG Barr.

On October 24, I will be voting early.

If for some reason that doesn’t work out, I can still request a mail in ballot by October 27. [NOTE: This is specific to my state of residence. Check your own deadlines at Vote Save America – Find Your State.

I’m ready to go!

Here are some handy links from my friends at Vote Save America for all of your voting information needs. They are your one stop shop to get out the vote.

Be A Voter

Save These States or Adopt one of the critical battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Every Last Vote. Make sure they’re all counted, including your own.

Learn more about the Candidates and why VP Joe Biden is the best choice to be the next President at this crucial time.

Save America and MOBILIZE.

Donate where it counts.