The Great Wide Whimsical World of Dr. Seuss Costumes

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With their rhyming schemes, illogical logic, fantastical buildings, nonsensical vocabulary, and spectacular illustrations, the works of Dr. Seuss have entertained generations of children for 80 years with And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Since then, Dr. Seuss would write more than 60 books which would sell over 600 million copies and be translated into more than 20 languages by the time of his death. They’ve also spawned numerous adaptations such as 11 TV specials, 4 feature films, 2 Broadway musicals, and 4 TV shows. Many of these books have become literary classics for the ages like The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who!, If I Ran the Zoo, Fox in Socks, Hop on Pop, I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew, The Lorax, The Battle Butter Book, and Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Born Theodore Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, he adopted the name “Dr. Seuss” during his days at Dartmouth and Oxford, the latter from which he dropped out from to work as an illustrator and cartoonist for Vanity Fair, Life, and other publications. Though to be fair, he adopted the name “Dr. Seuss” during his Dartmouth days in the 1920s so he can continue working as editor-in-chief for The Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern under the administration’s nose. Because they caught him drinking gin in his room with 9 of his buddies and told him to resign from all extracurricular activities, including the magazine. Yet, he also worked as an illustrator for Standard Oil’s advertising campaigns and a political cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM. Nevertheless, Dr. Seuss’s books surely belong to a world of their own. Though he never had kids of his home and kind of hated them, his kids’ books are still being read to this day.

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Since Dr. Seuss’s work is so significant in children’s literature, the National Education Association has adopted his birthday March 2, as Read Across the America Day. And it’s not unusual to see many elementary school teachers dress up in Dr. Seuss costumes or decorate their rooms to fit into Dr. Seuss’s world of fantastical whimsy. So for your reading pleasure, I bring you an assortment of Dr. Seuss costumes by his fans of all ages.

  1. As you can see, you’ll find plenty of fish in the sea.

Well, these seem simple enough with One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Unfortunately, the Star Trek version is Gold Shirt, Blue Shirt, Red Shirt Dead Shirt.

2. You can’t stop until you have 10 apples on top.

I’m not familiar with this book. Guess it’s one of the Dr. Seuss’s more obscure works.

3. You can’t celebrate Christmas without looking like the latest thing in Whoville.

Nevertheless, I may not be a fan of fashion magazines. But I’d certainly would love to see what one in Whoville looks like. Also, like the hair.

4. For a simpler costume, may I suggest Daisy Head Mayzie?

Never heard of this book either. Then again, it was originally published in 1995, 4 years after Dr. Seuss died.

5. Horton always insists on keeping his word because an an elephant is always faithful 100%.

This is from Horton Hatches the Egg where he agrees to sit on the egg for an irresponsible bird name Mayzie as she takes a trip to Palm Beach. Yet, the Horton Hears a Who costume is far more common.

6. “I am the Lorax and I speak for the trees.”

Too bad the Once-ler didn’t listen to him and turned the Truffula forest into a wasteland out of greed. Still, this is a cute costume.

7. How about try some green eggs and ham?

Yes, Sam I Am is certainly a popular costume. However, though harmless in the Seuss world, nobody should eat green eggs and ham, which can make you vomit.

8. Nobody can resist this star-bellied Sneetch.

However, know that this sneetch has a star on its belly to exude its racial superiority over the bare-bellied ones. Because star-bellied sneetches are racist.

9. Would you like green eggs and ham?

Yes, it’s another Sam I Am costume. And yes, it has a fork in his green eggs and ham.

10. Looks like she has a wocket in her pocket.

That’s from a book about strange creatures living in a boy’s house. Still, this is adorable.

11. You better listen to the Lorax and not cut Truffula Trees for thneeds.

Because the Lorax doesn’t mess around. Too bad the Oncler is more concerned with growing his business to even care.

12. I bet this little Grinch wants to steal Christmas.

He even has a stuffed dog with reindeer antlers. Love the green fur.

13. Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose always has room on his antlers.

Though the creatures residing on his head are basically taking advantage of him. Still, this a Seuss costume you don’t normally see.

14. Even the Grinch can’t resist this little Cindylou Who.

This one just consists of a pink shirt, a cute hairstyle, and black pipe cleaners. So adorable.

15. The Lorax loves hanging out with the Bar-ba-loots and the Once-ler.

Though keep in mind, the Once-ler never shows his face. Still, these are cute.

16. Now this is a literal Cat in the Hat.

Though she’s probably one of the cats who come out of the Cat in the Hat’s hat. Yet, it’s surely an inventive costume.

17. Up on Mount Crumpet, Max the Grinch’s only friend.

Even has an antler on his head. Nevertheless, this is a pretty simple costume to make.

18. As we all know the Cat in the Hat is accompanied by Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Well, I had to put in the Cat in the Hat at some point. After all, it’s Dr. Seuss’s most famous book.

19. There’s something fishy about this little girl.

I have to admit this is quite clever. Like how it just consists of fish on a yellow dress.

20. Horton will always try to preserve Whoville since a person’s a person, no matter how small.

Here’s the Horton Hears a Who costume. This one just consists of ears, T-shirt, and an air vent pipe.

21. The Cat in the Hat never leaves without the Things.

Helps if the Cat in the Hat has his blue umbrella. Still, the things are so sweet.

22. These things were born to teach.

Yes, these are elementary school teachers dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2. And yes, they didn’t use any blue hair.

23. These Truffula trees will never leave their Lorax or Bar-ba-loot behind.

Well, the Truffala trees look easy for the parents. Hope they don’t see the Oncler any time soon.

24. Have you ever seen a fox in socks?

Nice she has the book with her. Still, Fox in Socks doesn’t really have much of a plot since it’s a beginner book.

25. Hope you enjoy this green eggs and ham.

In the Seuss world, green eggs and ham is mostly harmless. In the real world, such a dish needs thrown out since it can cause trichinosis.

26. Dr. Seuss is always a hit for the whole family.

Consists of the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, the Lorax, and the Fish in the Bowl. Like how they used the wagon.

27. Wearing socks on your limbs is always foxy.

Yes, it’s another fox in socks. But this one has bigger ears and a shorter tail.

28. My, that’s a beautiful Truffula tree.

This one has a pink tuff and a long striped dress. Hope she doesn’t run into the Oncler anytime soon.

29. Don’t mess with the Lorax or the Truffula trees.

Even has a Truffula tree to carry. Like the fuzzy yellow whiskers. Brilliant.

30. The fish in the bowl is always a voice of reason.

Well, at least in the cartoon. Then again, it might be a different Dr. Seuss fish.

31. Wouldn’t any girl want to have a daisy on her head?

Sure it’s another Daisy Head Mayzie. But I guess it’s an easier costume to do.

32. There’s a lot to love with this Lorax family.

Well, this is more from the CGI movie since a couple of the characters aren’t in the original book. Also, we only see the Once-ler’s hands.

33. You’re never too old for Fox in Socks.

Then again, she’s probably a teacher. But this fox costume doesn’t seem to require much.

34. You’ll find a lot of things in this family.

There’s even a Thing Mom. So who’s the Thing Dad? Maybe I don’t want to think about it.

35. This fuzzy little Lorax just wants you to stop exploiting Truffula trees.

Well, the Lorax is furry and has a fuzzy mustache. So this kind of sticks.

36. Here we have Sam I Am with green eggs and ham.

Helps if the green eggs and ham are on a skillet. Though they wouldn’t pass health inspection.

37. Nothing pleases like a happy star-bellied sneetch.

Except having to integrate with a bare-bellied sneetch. Yet, this is a clever costume.

38. Seems like this family really takes to Dr. Seuss on Halloween.

Consists of the Grinch, a Star-Bellied Sneetch, Cat in the Hat, Cindylou Who, and Things 1 and 2. So sweet.

39. Yertle the Turtle seeks to rule all turtle kind.

By the way, Yertle the Turtle is a stand-in for Adolf Hitler. He makes the other turtles stand up so he can see further and expand his kingdom.

40. The Cat in the Hat always knows where it’s at.

Still, while he might be a fun guy, he can show up without warning. Also, doesn’t seem to care most of the time.

41. How about some green eggs to go with that ham?

That’s a rather inventive costume. Still, kids, don’t eat green eggs and ham. It’s unsanitary and could make you deathly ill.

42. Celebrate Christmas with Cindylou Who and the Grinch.

Well, these are adult costumes. But hope the Grinch doesn’t steal your Christmas. Oh, wait, he can’t.

43. A black cat should always have a long striped hat and a red bow tie.

This is a Cat in the Hat tutu costume for women. Not my cup of tea but not bad.

44. You can always count on Horton to lend a helping hand.

After all, he’ll save Whoville if it’s the last thing he does. By the way, this is a Horton tutu costume.

45. Daisy Head Mayzie can always do with a flower on her head.

Once again, I’m not familiar with Daisy Head Mayzie. But this is kind of cute.

46. You’d almost think this Lorax could scare off a lumberjack.

Though the Lorax didn’t exactly carry a bag with him. Still, this is most likely a kid’s costume.

47. A Cat in the Hat should always stun.

Yet, another tutu Cat in the Hat costume. Because he’s such an iconic Dr. Seuss character.

48. She must be from the punk side of Whoville.

What else could explain that distinctive hair style? Still, I think it’s quite clever.

49. Green eggs should always go with the ham.

And yet some green eggs and ham costumes. But these go together as a group.

50. The family that always reads Dr. Seuss together stays together.

Consists of Cat in the Hat, Sam I Am, a Star-Bellied Sneetch, and Things 1 and 2. Love this.

51. Nobody can ever forget the Cat in the Hat’s sidekicks Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Well, these kids are cute. But the white makeup seems to provide a creepiness to them.

52. Cindylou Who always looks perky in pink.

Well, this is more of a pink Santa dress. But it’s certainly appropriate.

53. The Lorax always feels at home in the woods.

After all, the Lorax speaks for the trees. Hope he doesn’t see any loggers nearby.

54. This cat’s hat really stands out.

Helps if he has a little fish in the bowl as a trick or treat bag. So adorable.

55. There’s something fishy about this guy.

Mostly because he’s the Fish in the Bowl from the Cat in the Hat. And he usually serves as the voice of reason.

56. Thing 1 and Thing 2  always enjoy the classroom.

I suppose these are elementary school teachers. Like the tutus.

57. Cindylou Who surely hopes to join the Christmas festivities.

Well, that’s cute. Love the little red cape and the Who hairstyle.

58. Nobody can resist little Cindylou Who with a large red bauble.

Well, she at least has pigtails and long lines in her hair. So adorable.

59. Seems like we have all kinds of fish in this bowl.

There’s one fish, two fish, red fish, and a blue fish. Just like that Dr. Seuss book.

60. I’m sure you’d want to cuddle this little star-bellied Sneetch.

Of course, this kid probably has no idea what the Sneetches story is about yet. Yet, so cute.

61. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are always at your service.

Don’t tell me that they have sexy costumes of Dr. Seuss characters. Because Dr. Seuss should never be sexy. His books are for children for God’s sake.

62. Yertle is the king of all turtle kind.

However, Yertle is obsessed with expanding his power that he’s willing to exploit his fellow turtles for his own benefit. He’s not a nice guy.

63. Who children are always up for a Christmas parade.

After all, everyone in Whoville loved Christmas a lot. But the Grinch who lived just north of Whoville, did not.

64. These things always get around on all fours.

Yes, these are dog Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes. And yes, I’m sure someone would find them cute.

65. I thought there are only supposed to be 2 Things not 3.

Then again, if you want to dress in the same costume, who’s going to stop you. Still, have to put them on the post.

66. Cindylou Who shine in her candy cane dress.

Sure it’s an adult Christmas costume. But it’s cute nonetheless. Like the hair.

67. We seem to find all kinds of fish here.

Includes, one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, old fish, and new fish. And it seems they’re all teachers.

68. When you’re a thing, you got to have blue hair.

Seems like it to these girls. They even have blue tutus to match.

69. This Lorax family always speaks for the trees.

Consists of the Once-ler, a Truffula tree, the Lorax, and a Bar-ba-loot. Yet, remember we never see the Once-ler’s face.

70. Whos always know how to party.

This is especially during the Christmas season. And these two are going all out.

71. You’ll surely know what kind of fish these are.

Just remember the rhyme of one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, old fish, new fish. Simple as that.

72. What’s a Whoville girl without a crazy hairdo and dress?

I mean we should know how Who women and girls dress. But this is so adorable.

73. Bet you’ve never seen Truffula trees like these.

Sure they may seem pretty now. But as far as the Once-ler is concerned, they’re resources to be shamelessly exploited.

74. Seems like this Lorax is meant for a different forest.

Once again, please don’t make Dr. Seuss sexy. Seriously, his books are for children!

75. A Sneetch should have an ample amount of feathers.

Well, this doesn’t appear to be a difficult costume. Yet, we all know why she wears her star on her torso with pride.

76. What’s with that daisy, Mayzie?

Actually, it’s supposed to grow out of her head. I know it’s crazy. But hey, this is the Seuss verse.

77. The Once-ler is a man with great style.

Well, he certainly rocks in that green, striped suit. Yet, we all know how he got a hold of it.

78. Who can ever forget Gertrude McFuzz and her spectacular tail?

Gertrude McFuzz is a story about a bird who feels inadequate in her tail feathers. So she tries to change herself. This is the result.

79. Hope you can join Cindylou Who and the Grinch for Christmas time.

Though the Grinch would prefer you not to, especially when he’s wearing that humiliating sweater. Though the guy looks pretty cool in his costume.

80. The Once-ler can always rock it with his electric guitar.

Well, this is more from the movie. But yes, he certainly looks great in his green suit, indeed.

81. Perhaps you might like a bite of his green eggs and ham?

I’m sure you can’t resist this little guy as Sam I Am. So sweet.

82. The Once-ler’s quite taken with that Truffula tree.

Hey, Truffula Tree, don’t go near him. He wants to cut you down and make you into a thneed.

83. This little Lorax loves a fuzzy tree.

Doesn’t hurt if his costume is fuzzy either. But he speaks for the trees. So cute.

84. It’s only fair for Thing 1 and Thing 2 to wear red dresses.

Not too bad. But at least it doesn’t look like the sexy version. Like how they’re wearing blue leggings.

85. Of course, Cindylou Who can have yellow hair strands.

Yet, she still wears pink and has a red bauble with her. So sweet.

86. Well, these two Whos are in the Christmas spirit.

Apparently, some people like to dress up as Whos during the Christmas season. But these costumes are at least green and red.

87. Here are some Whoville children in their back to school best.

Funny how the Grinch is wearing a suit. Yet, wonder how long it takes Whoville women to do their hair.

88. Hope this costume reminds you of all the places you’ll go.

It’s from the Dr. Seuss book people get for their graduations. But she certainly resembles the cover.

89. Is that a Noothbrush?

Well, it’s kind of hard to explain since it appears in There’s a Wocket in My Pocket. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting choice.

90. Perhaps you might want to check out this fish suit.

It’s more or less supposed to reflect One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Still, it’s pretty creative.

91. One wonders all the places this little guy goes.

Helps if it’s a box with balloons. Still, this baby is so cute in it.

92. Yertle is always lord of all turtles.

This is a more plain version. But then again, the turtles all looked the same in the story.

93. Nobody could resist a fox in socks.

This one has a girl in a red tutu and furry ears. Yet, she is so irresistibly cute.

94. These things always stick together.

Guess this is the couple’s costume of Thing 1 and Thing 2. And both sport red shirts and blue hair.

95. If you’re a bird in Seuss, it’s best that you’re tickled pink.

Then again, Dr. Seuss’s birds look pretty strange. But you have to admire this girl’s feathers.

96. Now here we have a literal Cat in the Hat.

Well, it is a black cat in the hat. But I don’t think it looks too happy to entertain your kids.

97. Nobody could resist this little yellow Sneetch.

Even has a star on its belly. But let’s hope this kid doesn’t make it a mark of superiority. So cute.

98. I’m sure you’d want to hug this little fox.

Yes, Fox in Socks is a popular costume. But you have to love this one, too.

99. Have to love the red bows on this Cindylou Who.

Yes, Cindylou Who has a strong following, especially during the Christmas season Yet, this costume is adorable.

100. This little Fish in the Bowl has his own container.

Okay, that’s pretty clever. Still, you have to feel very bad for him in Cat in the Hat.

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The Political Backlash Against Public Protest

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Now that we’ve embarked on the winter of our discontent, millions of Americans find their civil liberties, health, and personal safety either severely compromised or under constant threat. Since January, the Trump administration and Republican Party’s actions have repeatedly illustrated that it has no respect for America’s democratic values or its people. Regardless of what Trump supporters believe in, these are not normal times. Supporting such an unrespectable man is inherently unacceptable. Not because I’m a liberal Democrat who doesn’t respect other people’s values or opinions I don’t agree with. Though that may be true to some extent, especially if their beliefs can be translated into policies undermining mine or anyone else’s quality of life, fundamental rights as human beings, and affordable access to basic needs and opportunities. And I am deeply convinced that Trump’s presidency as well as Republican politicians in the federal and state governments champion policies that do nothing but screw Americans’ lives in more ways than one. For many including myself, resistance to Trump and the GOP isn’t strictly due to politics nor is it in any way optional. Yet, though I have turned to blogging the occasional diatribe several times, many have staged protests such as taking to the streets numerous times. Over the past year, a historical level of protest and activism has spilled out into the nation’s parks, streets, and sidewalks. The Women’s March anchored in Washington D.C. with echoes across the nation, was perhaps the single largest day of protest in American history.

Nevertheless, since the end of 2016, a Republican lawmakers in more than 20 states have introduced wave of anti-protest bills in state legislatures. These pieces of legislation attempt to criminalize and penalize protesting in various ways such as increasing fines and jail sentences for protestors obstructing justice, tampering with or trespassing on infrastructure such as railways and pipelines, picketing, wearing masks, or refusing to leave an “unlawful protest.” Anti-protest bills in North Dakota, Tennessee, and Florida remove liability from drivers who “accidentally” hit and kill protestors. A bill in Indiana initially instructed police to clear protestors from highways by “any means necessary.” Proposed legislation in Washington and North Carolina label protests, “economic terrorism.” A bill in Minnesota charges policing costs to protestors. Bills in Michigan and North Carolina allows businesses to sue individuals protesting them. A bill in Arizona uses anti-racketeering laws to seize protestors’ assets. And a bill in Oregon would require public community colleges to expel students convicted of participating in a “violent riot.” As the ACLU’s Vera Eidelman said, “The proposed bills have been especially pervasive in states where protests flourished recently. This flood of bills represents an unprecedented level of hostility towards protesters in the 21st century. And many of these bills attack the right to speak out precisely where the Supreme Court has historically held it to be the most robust: in public parks, streets and sidewalks.” The United Nations has also decried the trend as “incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law” and that they represent “a worrying trend that could result in a detrimental impact on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in the country.”

Despite that some media articles portray the recent increase in legislation targeting protesting due to large and almost daily demonstrations since Trump’s inauguration, this troubling trend actually began before he took office. Anti-protest bills in Washington, Minnesota, Michigan, and North Dakota were among the earliest introduced as a direct response to the labor movement lobbying to raise the minimum wage, Black Lives Matter demonstrations erupting following police killings, and resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline by Indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock. Still, due to Trump’s 3 executive orders on policing, Republican domination of most state legislatures, the Trump administration’s pro-policing and pro-business attitude, and the rise of constant and spontaneous anti-Trump protests, you get an atmosphere where many powerful interests have stake in suppressing mass dissent. Of course, journalists, civil liberties experts, lawyers, and Democratic lawmakers have addressed that these bills criminalize peaceful protests and chill dissent. They note that penalties for these actions already exist. For instance, there isn’t a single city or county in the US that can’t already prosecute people for intentionally obstructing cars or pedestrians or for trespassing on private property. When a protest in Baton Rouge grew so large it spilled into the streets, the problem wasn’t that law enforcement couldn’t arrest anyone engaged in wrongdoing. In fact, quite the contrary since the police relied on existing trespass or obstruction laws to dramatically and unconstitutionally overcharge peaceful protestors. Not to mention, many existing laws always attempt to balance between the right to protest and the ability to drive. Also, anti-protest legislation is obviously unconstitutional since it violates the First Amendment protecting freedom of speech. Several of these bills have already been rejected such as those in Virginia, Michigan, and Arizona. But many still remain under consideration so anyone with an interest in protecting dissent must still remain vigilant and vigorously opposing those still on the table.

Yet, there are disturbing trends behind introducing such flagrantly unconstitutional legislation are false assumptions about protesting. For instance, Arizona’s anti-protest bill was explicitly based on the claim that protestors are paid to be in the streets. The “paid protestor myth has long existed as well as been codified in police training manual and Trump’s rhetoric. However, while seasoned activists mostly dismiss the paid protestor idea as a joke, the politicians introducing these anti-protest bills are deadly serious. And it’s mostly believed that liberal billionaire George Soros who usually distributes the protesting paychecks that don’t really exist. Despite his Open Society Foundation offering grants to those working on specific projects like civil liberties and criminal justice reform, there’s absolutely no evidence he’s paid people to be in the streets. Yet, that didn’t stop Washington State Senator Doug Eriksen specifically naming him and the Sierra Club as intended targets while introducing anti-protest legislation in his state. Another protest myth is behind a measure in Georgia’s pro-policing bill package which creates a new felony for protestors throwing “human or animal excreta” at police during demonstrations. Yet, though throwing literal shit at cops has often been cited in police manuals, there’s no evidence such incidents actually happened.

Additionally, another alarming trend besides punishing people with significant imprisonment and fines based on claims with no supporting evidence, anti-protest bills also attempt to redefine what a “riot” means so more actions can fall under this category and to link protesting to terrorism. Arizona’s proposal would’ve expanded the state’s anti-racketeering laws to designate rioting under organized crime. It also would’ve redefined rioting to include vandalism. Washington’s bill went a bit further to recharacterize protests as acts of “economic terrorism” like a non-violent demonstration hurting a company’s bottom line is being re-classified as a serious threat deserving severe punishment.

Of course, the recent anti-protest legislation surge isn’t the first time state legislatures tried to clamp down on effective demonstrations. In 2006, Congress passed The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act which allegedly protects animal enterprises by defining “eco-terrorists” as animal and environmental activists who successfully pose a threat from businesses profiting from critters. This legislation tied protesting to “terrorism” that animal rights activists were imprisoned despite doing nothing more than running a website. After AETA, the conservative bill mill known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) produced model legislation for the state level, expanding on AETA to further erode Constitutional rights and heavily punish animal rights and environmental activists. Hopefully, none of the proposed bills were passed by any state legislature.

However, we should really keep in mind that Republican lawmakers didn’t stop there. Instead, they used an incremental approach of inserting these failed bills’ key provisions into other legislation. Some of these can include using specific language like ecological terrorism or including the same penalties for a more limited number of offenses than the original legislation. So keep that lesson in mind when it comes to this round of unconstitutional and punitive legislation.

Fortunately, many of these current anti-protest bills are so obviously unconstitutional and based on outright lies that they’re unlikely to past. Already many have failed while others have been sent back to committees for revisions to make them more acceptable to lawmakers and the general public. And we should expect to see some parts of these bills introduced elsewhere should they fail in their current form. Even so, the fact so many of these anti-protest bills that have been introduced will likely have a chilling effect on dissent as well as create a climate of confusion and fear. Few people would be as willing to protest if they thought they could easily get arrested, fined, jailed, or even killed. The lack of clarity over where these bills stand in the legislative process, the low likelihood they’ll bass in their current forms, and the actual consequences if they do is enough to cast doubt among any would be protester.

Civil liberties advocates are now questioning which individuals or interest groups are behind this legislation wave targeting mass protest and the right to dissent. ALEC is most likely involved due to its anti-worker and anti-environmental platform which many of these protests are at odds with. Yet, ALEC’s model legislation strategy is commonplace and well-absorbed so it doesn’t need formal organization from above. Lawmakers could simply copy or adapt legislation from other states. Another possible organizing force behind anti-protest legislation are police unions and their coordinated efforts of law enforcement. Thanks to the Trump administration’s pro-policing stance, it’s not much of a surprise for law enforcement organizations prioritizing criminalizing protest activity.

Americans have a love-hate relationship with protesting. On one hand, it’s disruptive to normal activity as it’s supposed to be. But on the other hand, it’s an American tradition that’s helped to advance considerable progress on civil rights and improved living conditions. Many of what the US has accomplished to create a more perfect union was made possible thanks to public protests. Of course, not all of them have been peaceful such as the labor protests during the Gilded Age. Nevertheless, even without that, it’s possible I may not be able to attend college or write this blog today. Nevertheless, to criminalize peaceful protests is a flagrant violation of the First Amendment which guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of petition. Criminalizing peaceful protest isn’t only unconstitutional, it’s un-American and unacceptable. In a representative democracy, when people come together to voice their dissent, they help create change. Today, state representatives should be celebrating that their constituents are getting out into the streets and making their voices heard. Yet, tragically, thanks to corporate campaign donors, state reps call their efforts “garbage” and are proposing bills that would criminalize protests or even put protestors’ lives in danger. Sure they won’t admit to it when promoting these bills. But that’s the ultimate aim. Legislators in states with significant protest activity should listen to those voices speaking out, especially in moments of disagreement. Not silence them.

The Spouting World of Water Fountains

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Whether in a scenic garden, a street, or a public park, you’re bound to find fountains spouting jets of water into the air during the spring and summer months. Though you may often see them as fancy water jets for people to look at and throw pennies in, they originally used for providing water from springs, reservoirs, mountain rivers, and aqueducts to cities, towns, and villages before the days of indoor plumbing. And until the late 19th century, most fountains were operated by gravity and needed a source of water from higher ground. But many also used siphoning to make water spout, too. Though we often think fountains were invented in Ancient Rome along with the aqueduct, both technologies actually come from the Greeks. Ancient Greek fountains were mainly made from stone or marble with water flowing through bronze pipes and emerging from the mouth of a sculpted mask representing a lion’s head or an animal’s muzzle. The most famous fountain in Ancient Greece was the Enneacrounos in Athens’ Agora which had 9 large spouts. But even that isn’t as impressive as the fountains of ancient Rome that contained decorations of bronze or stone masks of animals or heroes. Medieval Islamic as well as European Renaissance and Baroque fountains are often held as artistic masterpieces. Nevertheless, since we now have indoor plumbing, most fountains are now seen as decoration. Well, save for the occasional drinking fountain. Now since they tend to be popular in gardens, you can find many of them sold at any home improvement or garden store. And they come in all different, shapes, sizes, and forms. So for your reading pleasure, I bring you a treasure trove of water fountains to delight in.

  1. You can always make water spout through pipes.

Sure this mostly consist of pipe from the gutter drain. But it certainly works.

2. Even a miniature garden can use its own fountain.

Not sure if a mini garden fountain is quite right. Yet, I can see why someone would want one.

3. A small indoor fountain can bring some watery joy.

Helps if it has a colorful seahorse, coral, and golden shells. Then again, I kind of consider fountains more of an outdoor thing.

4. Sometimes a hollow stone column, a basin, and a metal spout is all you need.

Well, it doesn’t look like much. But it certainly goes with the garden scenery.

5. A watering can makes a wonderful fountain spout.

Well, that’s pretty inventive. Doesn’t hurt to put plants in it either.

6. What do you mean water can spring up from rocks?

This is a more naturalistic fountain for gardens. And yes, you barely notice it except for the water spouting at the top.

7. Even a small ceramic fountain is no less impressive.

Yes, it’s a rather small structure. But its deep blue color will certainly make an impression.

8. With copper pipes and water jets, you can make the water flow anywhere.

This one is shaped in a wheel with holes in the pipes. So the water can trickle down exactly where it’s supposed to.

9. You can go as high as you want with buckets and a watering can.

Yes, you’ll find quite a few DIY varieties on here like this one. Yet, this fountain has a certain kind of charm.

10. In this fountain, it takes a long time for the water to flow down.

This one appears to be made of copper from what I can tell. And are those things shaped like leaves?

11. Though most fountains are made of stone and marble, a tree stump one is always close to nature.

This one is even made with tiers still containing the bark. Great for any rustic garden.

12. Even a simple design can do the trick.

This one just consists of a stone bowl and a small jet. It’s not fancy but it will do.

13. With this fountain, you’ll find water flowing down all the steps.

This one is best suited for a wall as you can see. But it will surely go well with wooden fencing.

14. A mosaic fountain should always boast magnificent tiling.

After all, who doesn’t go for colorful decorations now and then? Love the brilliant blue.

15. A stone basin can sometimes be a lasting feature.

Here’s another mosaic fountain with blue tiling. Yet, this one also has lovely white edging and a stone basin tricking water down once it’s full.

16. A bowl and pitcher can be just as nice.

Even helps if both are intricately decorated. As long as you have the pitcher pouring into the bowl.

17. The larger the water receptacle the better.

This one uses a large stone jar that’s against a stone wall. Perfect for a garden, though I wouldn’t drink the water in it.

18. Sometimes an old bathtub can make the perfect fountain pond.

Well, that’s pretty ingenious. Just put the jet in with a bunch of rocks and you’re done.

19. With a box fountain, you sometimes need to cut corners.

Because if you don’t, where could the water flow like this? Well, it can overflow but that would make a mess.

20. When you have a pump, expect water to flow from buckets.

This one uses 3 buckets and a faucet. Certainly an interesting fountain to see.

21. A long thick log of bamboo is great for making a water wall.

A water wall is a certain type of fountain that has water flowing from the top down like a waterfall. Pretty simple explanation, really.

22. Speaking of water walls, check this one out of a Japanese arch.

This one is made from wood in the Japanese arch style. But it still has water trickling down from it.

23. Sometimes a large stone water jar is all you need.

This fountain has a stone jar tipped to have water spilling over the rocks. Fairly simple concept to apply.

24. Got some old tubas? Make a fountain out of them.

Hey, if the old Sousaphones don’t work, you might as well. Since you can surely have water flowing in them.

25. For a simple but modernist concept, try a fountain of raised metal bowls.

Sure it might not look like much without the water. But it spouts where it should and creates a couple waterfalls, too.

26. Since fountains are water fixtures, I’d say a dolphin motif seems appropriate.

I guess this one is made for indoors or a courtyard. But since everyone likes dolphins, I’ll put it on this post.

27. With 3 large stone jars, who knows what fountain you’d have.

These jars are of all different shapes, sizes, and colors, too. Great to have in any garden.

28. If you want the water to flow somewhere, a trough of brick should do the trick.

Yes, that’s a fountain. And yes, it takes a lot of room. But it’s not too fancy and has a stone basin at the end.

29. Sometimes 3 rock fountains can be better than one.

This one consists of rocks of different shapes and sizes. Wonderful centerpiece for any rock garden.

30. No fountain can be nearly as impressive as one with 3 bronze horses.

And it has water spouting from all their mouths. Yes, they look majestic, but I’m not sure about the spouting part. Well, to each his own.

31. Sometimes a water fountain can leave room for flowers.

This one even has a place for water to fall in a rocky stream. Nevertheless, you can’t help but love it.

32. This fountain head is nothing short of angelic.

This is an impressive bronze fountain that’s probably seen in a park. Yet, it’s nowhere near the ones you’d see in Italy or France.

33. A rocky waterfall always gives a naturalistic charm.

Yes, it almost seems like water is flowing from the ruins. And yet, it’s perfect for a scenic garden that’s most likely near a mansion.

34. A mosaic fountain should always be tiled to impress.

This one even has a white border and a lion’s head. Love the floral design.

35. There’s nothing better than a fountain attached to an urn for flowers.

This might be from some French chateau. Yet, it certainly goes well with the landscape.

36. A wooden bucket and pump fountain is never complete without a washboard.

Well, it certainly has a rustic feel to it. Yet, you don’t need to prime the pump to get any water in this one.

37. A modern black fountain has a certain kind of elegance.

Though I wouldn’t say it goes with a wall of flowers. But you have to like having its spouts together.

38. You can’t have too many teapots with this fountain.

Seems to me this is for an Alice in Wonderland garden. Still, at least it’s original and clever.

39. This stone arch fountain almost resembles ancient ruins.

Though I’m not sure if an arch would have a stone bridge within it. Yet, I understand it works with the waterfall.

40. With enough metal teapots, you can fill a whole cup.

This one even has string holding the pots up. Not sure how that works. But I like it.

41. A square flat fountain can always please.

Well, it’s great among rocks. Love the water coming out of it. So pretty.

42. For a more Southwest feel, this fountain of ceramic pottery is just for you.

Well, large ceramic pottery, anyway. Still, the stand is totally supposed to resemble adobe.

43. A stone enclosed waterfall is always a wondrous sight of beauty.

Almost thought it was from Maymont at first. But then I realized the Maymont one had lions on it. Still, love it.

44. A large fountain should always have a bowl overflowing.

Guess this is supposed to be for a courtyard. Love the blue and purple tiles.

45. How about a fountain with a large wagon wheel?

Not sure if the wheel turns. But I guarantee there’s water coming out of it.

46. Who knows what you can come up with when you have a bunch of empty bottles?

Though only 3 of these spout water. The rest have their bottoms facing.

47. This stone fountain has 4 metal spouts coming from it.

Well, it may be rather plain to some. But I do like how it has a basin to go with the pavement.

48. A metal garden bicycle can fit all kinds of pots.

Well, this is an interesting concept. This one has a pottery pitcher pouring into multiple pots. And a flower pot in the front, too.

49. No fountain is as whimsical is a ferris wheel of buckets.

I know some people might think it strange. But it’s from Pinterest. Of course, you’d probably not see that at a garden store.

50. Glass bowls make great fountain tiers.

Well, whatever works I guess. Though I do love the artistry on this one. So pretty.

51. A blue mosaic fountain almost appears heavenly.

It even has water coming out of the sun which is kind of weird. But it’s nevertheless impressive.

52. Put a wheelbarrow near a pump and watch the water flow.

Helps if the wheelbarrow is quite rusty. And the receptacle is a rock edged pond.

53. When you pour a jar, you can make a waterfall.

Well, if you have something to constantly put the water in the jar first. But it goes well with the plants.

54. Sometimes inspiration can come in the strangest manifestations.

This one has bottles in a bucket like champagne or beer on ice. Yet, instead of ice or alcohol, it’s water.

55. Sometimes you can do with 3 spouts on a wall.

This one must be in the Spanish mission style. Simplistic yet with a certain elegance.

56. When you pour the kettle, water comes out for the flowers.

Sure the kettle is rusty. But at least pouring it in a large bucket makes does wonders. Love it.

57. From this fountain, the water almost resembles sails.

Yes, it’s certainly meant to impress. And it even has a boat bottom to go with it.

58. With the right stonework, a fountain can always have a serene water way.

Well, the fountain is far off in the back in this picture. But it surely appears pleasant as the water flows to the basin.

59. Presenting the vortex fountain.

It’s basically a fountain that creates a whirlpool. And yes, it looks pretty cool.

60. On a mosaic fountain, you can never have enough water jets.

Sure this looks incredibly expensive. But I’m sure many rich people have something like this in their gardens by now.

61. Female nudes appear in all kinds of art and fountains are no exception.

And I guess there’s water spraying from her nipples. Wonder what kind of garden this is supposed to be for.

62. A marble fountain should always have a black sphere on top.

Yet, it sure seems perfect in a courtyard setting. Still, think it’s quite spectacular.

63. What comes in one watering can, comes out in another.

This is more suited for steps. Yet, it certainly has a whimsical touch.

64. You’d almost be stumped to miss this fountain.

And as you can see, it’s within a stump. Helps if you have plants growing around it.

65. Sometimes a small black fountain is in simple elegance.

Well, it’s in an oval shape with a square receptacle. So classy.

66. A Moorish garden is always a spectacular sight.

This is from a botanical garden in Missouri. But yes, it’s in the Moorish style that’s supposed to be close to paradise.

67. Why stick with one waterfall when you can have 3?

Well, seems like the kind of fountain for a patio. Yet, you can’t hate this one.

68. A spherical spout is almost out of this world.

Now that’s interesting. Not necessarily my taste. But unique enough for this post.

69. Best to put some gravel if you have a stone waterfall.

Yes, I know it’s a compact waterfall for a patio. But it’s amazing to see nonetheless.

70. A fountain at a corner patio can always impress.

Still, I’m sure this one doesn’t come cheap. But it sure looks pretty cool.

71. For an old cabin look, a wooden fountain will surely do.

Sure it might somewhat resemble a Jacuzzi. Well, if it weren’t for the jet spout.

72. A wall fountain can be so much simpler if you have bamboo.

Sure bamboo may be cheap. But for some reason I don’t imagine ancient China or Japan having water fountains. Well, at least ones appear like those we’re used to.

73. Sometimes it’s best to go with nature when it comes to waterfalls.

Well, that certainly looks almost naturalistic. Quite lovely if you can get my drift.

74. For a more rustic fountain, a pump and 3 wooden buckets should do.

Well, it’s certainly quite unique to put on this post. Nevertheless, the buckets always overflow.

75. A flowery fountain has water coming from the petals.

Well, when you’re doing a fountain post, you have to go with some unusual examples. This surely takes the cake. Yet, you have to admire it.

76. A colonnade is a fine addition to surround a fountain.

This is from a park in Houston. And though it’s not fancy, it’s surely spectacular.

77. A small fountain in a patio works best when stacked with stone.

After all, everyone has to adore a water jet in a small pool. Stunning to say the least.

78. Well, everything seems square on this fountain.

This one is made from concrete. Not fancy, but not bad.

79. Sometimes concrete and stone have a simple magnificence to them.

This one’s title has the words, “affordable simple design.” Yet, it’s probably the case if your net worth is over $2 million and you run a casino.

80. You can always create wonders with enough stone fountains together.

For some reason, they remind me of steaming rocks. Yet, it’s a lovely garden addition.

81. A mosaic fountain can always use a vase.

This one has a blue one with arms. Also like how the tile is painted. Beautiful.

82. A stone ship should always have a water wheel.

So when the dragon spurts out water, the wheel turns. And it seems like it spilled some from what I could tell from the wet spot.

83. Peacocks look especially grand on a tile fountain.

After all, there’s almost no bird as pretty and with a long feathery train. Love the flowers, too.

84. This fountain boasts a real carnival of animals.

I guess this is for a zoo in California. But you have to admire the animal art on it.

85. This angel fountain boasts a wall of water.

This is a lovely structure. Love how each wing has water raining down.

86. A brick fountain always has a sold foundation.

Of course, it’s not graceful like some of the other fountains here. But it’s certainly interesting to look at.

87. A brick waterfall should always enchant.

Have to admire the brick work on this. Also has a gravel pool for the water.

88. Sometimes you can find a fountain in the most interesting formation.

Not sure what shape it’s supposed to be on the top. But you have to admire the waterfalls.

89. Never thought you’d see water coming out a glass sphere.

The glass ball fountain is supposed to be of a unique design. Not sure if I can understand the concept.

90. A Gothic fountain can always impress in the garden.

Well, it’s more like Gothic Revival. And more suited for old cathedral courtyards than anything.

91. You can’t take the Earth for granted in this fountain.

After all, there’s no other planet like it that we know of. Nevertheless, it’s quite lovely.

92. Didn’t know there were any adobe fountains out there.

Actually, it’s not made from adobe. But it depicts an Pueblo Indian scene as far as I can tell.

93. As water flows, this fountain ignite flames in no time.

Guess you need fire to make a fountain more spectacular. As if water doesn’t accomplish that already.

94. You’d almost swear the water’s coming from the sky.

I know it seems hard to wrap your head around. But there must be a device that makes the water come out from the floating faucet.

95. Things are getting grassy with this fountain.

Well, it’s a grass ball fountain. Makes sure you trim it once in a while though.

96. A dragon fountain is always a splendid sight.

This is from China, by the way. Though you’d probably already guessed that. Yes, it’s a magnificent dragon.

97. A hurricane eye fountain always flows water in a spiral.

It’s meant for a patio, especially one with stone pavement. Yet, it’s quite sublime.

98. It takes a broken large pot with some little ones to really make a splash.

Another fountain in the Southwest patio style. But this one is quite colorful to behold.

99. Here we come to a Japanese scene with its own water wheel.

Yes, it’s a fountain with a small picturesque scene. But you can’t help but love it.

100. It always rains a rainbow with a fountain wall of lights.

Well, at least at night, anyway. But the water and colors are simply spectacular.

Why We Need to Stop Likening Donald Trump to Andrew Jackson

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As president, Donald Trump has often been linked to Andrew Jackson in both good qualities and bad. Trump has braced the comparison since he chose to grace the Oval Office with Jackson’s portrait as well as laid a wreath at his grave at the Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee to honor his 250th birthday. Though he doesn’t try to claim that he shares the policies and attitudes Jackson embraced, he’s proposed to be in the 21st what the seventh president was during the 19th. After all, what made Jackson so fondly remembered by some was his connection to ordinary people as well as his embodiment of populist politics. Meanwhile, detractors often note how Jackson was an unapologetic racist and slave owner whose harsh treatment of Indian tribes eventually led to the Trail of Tears. And they often remark compare it to how Trump used racism to win over the support of working class whites as a political outsider taking on the establishment and riding into Washington to return power to the people. However, though understand Americans’ need to make historical comparisons, I find the idea of likening Trump to Old Hickory deeply insulting to Andrew Jackson and his memory.

Now I understand that Andrew Jackson wouldn’t rank among many Americans’ favorite presidents for very justifiable reasons. Sure he was an unapologetic racist who defended slavery without question and his policy on Indian removal in the Southeast resulted in tragic consequences such as the Trail of Tears, destruction of tribal culture, and genocide. In addition, Jackson’s dismantling of the Bank of the United States led to the Panic of 1837 as well as decades of frequent bank failures and economic instability until the creation of the Federal Reserve. Jackson’s practice of appointing personal associates, wealthy friends, and party loyalists to federal offices as a reward for victory generated what would later be called the spoils system which led to a lot of government corruption for decades and eventually the assassination of a US president. And yes, I understand that like Trump, Jackson could be especially harsh on his enemies, violated political norms and constitutional concepts he didn’t like, had some anti-intellectual tendencies, was obsessed with the media, occasionally had little regard for the law and institutions, and was seen by his detractors as an unstable demagogue and a would-be dictator.

However, besides inspiring distrust in certain elements of political elites in their day along with some other qualities, Trump and Jackson have little in common. In fact, Andrew Jackson would’ve despised Trump and liken his sham populism to an image of William Henry Harrison drinking hard cider in front of a log cabin. Jackson certainly would’ve been greatly insulted of Trump citing him as his hero and a reflection of himself. Such notion that a draft-dodging elitist and opportunist who’d apply to his high-born privilege in order to skirt the consequences for his legion of despicable business practices and did nothing to demonstrate a commitment to public service could resemble Old Hickory basically desecrates almost everything about him and what he stood for. Whenever you see Jackson’s portrait in Trump’s Oval Office, don’t see it as being enshrined in a place of honor regardless of what you think of him. Rather think of Jackson’s presence in the Oval Office as one of great misfortune of having to see a man like Trump exploit him as nothing more than a mere prop to shamelessly project his faux populist image in order to deceive his constituents with no second thought. Only to betray his lowly supporters by using his presidential power to enrich himself along with his elitist friends, backers, allies, as well as the GOP and corporate establishment at the common people’s expense. All Jackson can do is hopelessly watch by, unable to tell the world what he was all about in his defense while Trump distorts his image and legacy for his own benefit. Jackson may not have been an exemplary role model, but he was certainly no Donald Trump. And we should see Trump’s honoring him as nothing short of disgraceful to a man who’s currently turning in his grave.

By all accounts, Andrew Jackson was a complex and fascinating man who remains one of the most studied and controversial Americans in the 19th century. Whether you love him or hate him, there are plenty of qualities about the man you have to respect as well as the impact he made. And despite all the awful stuff he did, there’s a reason why historians rate his presidency so highly. Generations of parents named their sons after Jackson, often placing both his names before their surname. Jackson’s election to the presidency comes off as a vindication of American ideals and affirms American greatness. Jackson’s unapologetic defense of slavery and infamous policy regarding Indian removal have marred his complicated legacy and for very good reason. The fact he made his fortune speculating Indian lands as well as owning (and possibly trading) slaves doesn’t help his reputation. Yet, he was a staunch believer in popular democracy (at least among white men) and believed in the sanctity of the American Union with almost religious conviction. But despite his lasting reputation as an aggressive, no nonsense, I’ll-do-things-my-way kind of guy, Jackson was far more than the one dimensional caricature he’s often depicted as. He was self-raised, self-educated, and well-read in current events (with a subscription to 17 newspapers). He conducted himself as a quintessential Southern gentleman with exquisite manners and a rather gallant attitude towards women. Though nasty and spiteful to enemies, he was generous, considerate, and loyal to his friends and a devoted husband to his wife Rachel. Though strong in his convictions and an intense partisan, he was not without moments of compromise and indecision. And he wasn’t above appointing cabinet members who disagreed with him like his closest advisor Martin Van Buren as well as Edward Livingston and Louis McLane. Nor did he always hold grudges for he welcomed Thomas Hart Benton back into the fold despite being a longtime foe. Furthermore, he considered his word his bond as well as strived to exhibit fidelity, honor, and integrity.

We need to understand that what attracted ordinary people to support Jackson was totally different than what attracted people to Trump. Though 19th century political campaigns often involved nasty mudslinging, Jackson’s appeal to the common people had much more to do with the great positive sentiment Jackson evoked in the average Americans at the time. What ordinary Americans loved most about him was that he really was one of them. His father died before he was born while his mother died in his teens. Everything Jackson achieved in life came through his own efforts. What Jackson projected is the belief that any kid can grow up to be president. If a poor kid from the Carolinas can reach the White House, then it must be the case that talent, grit, and honor could make up for the humblest beginnings. His modest background as a self-made man on the frontier who championed those of his former station cast him as an outsider from the aristocracy of Washington’s political elite. The people loved him for it and voted for him out of affinity and pride. His 1829 inauguration saw one of the largest crowds by that point as he took the oath of office at the US Capitol’s East Portico. After the ceremony, Jackson invited the public to the White House for a reception where thousands of his supporters held a raucous party, inflicting a degree of damage to the fixtures and furnishings

And Andrew Jackson had done plenty in his lifetime of public service to earn his supporters’ admiration that they were glad to cast their vote for him. He served as a courier to a local colonial militia during the American Revolution and at the Battle of Hanging Rock during his early teens. At 14, he was taken captured by the British, where he braved small pox, starvation, and being slashed by a British officer for refusing to clean his boots. When he moved to Tennessee as an adult, he spent much of that time in the service of his adopted state and the US. He helped write the state’s constitution and served as a circuit judge. He represented Tennessee in the House and the Senate. He was governor of Florida while it was a federal territory. Most famously, Jackson commanded Tennessee militia and later US Army troops during the War of 1812, earning the name “Old Hickory” for his resilience in combat and willingness to endure the same hardships as his men. He fought a war against the Creek Indians with an arm in his sling from a shoulder wound. His victory at the Battle of New Orleans was the signal triumph of the American armed forces between the Revolution and the Civil War. During that time, Jackson was broadly acclaimed as second only to George Washington among the pantheon of American military heroes. Because despite the War of 1812 being virtually over for 2 weeks thanks to the Treaty of Ghent, the British had still viewed the Louisiana Purchase as illegitimate. Had the Brits seized on New Orleans, they were prepared, treaty or no treaty, to declare the Louisiana Purchase a dead letter and redraw the political map of North America. Jackson’s victory ensured that the British wouldn’t renegotiate peace terms ending the war. Though some people questioned Jackson’s politics, nobody questioned his courage and patriotism.

We should also understand that there was much more about Andrew Jackson than this image of a wild backwoodsman initially suggests. When a young woman from South Carolina named Julia Ann Conner visited his Hermitage in 1827, she found him to be nothing like she expected. Rather she wrote him to be a “venerable, dignified, fine-looking man, perfectly easy in manner.” She noted how Jackson kept articles he received from the Washington’s family on his mantelpiece as “preserved with almost sacred veneration.” Conner even joined him in a game of chess and referred Jackson as an “excellent player” as he “frequently directed my moves—apparently much interested in the fate of the game … there were no traces of the ‘military chieftain’ as he is called!” This is a very different portrait of Jackson than what many Americans are used to. But it nonetheless explains much of his character. Though he may come off as reckless, he more often played games in politics and war with skill and patience. His enemies and much of posterity never quite understood that what was the most fundamental fact about Jackson wasn’t a problem with his temper, but more often than not, his ability to control it and harness that energy in ways that would’ve driven other politicians to ruin such as intimidating his foes or advancing his agenda. Sure he was prone to fits of rage and for getting into duels and brawls, especially as a young man. But he was self-aware enough to understand his weaknesses and took care to compensate for them. With that came a kind of self-restraint, which worked so well his closest advisor, Martin Van Buren marveled how Jackson could turn anger on and off at will. But as Conner noted, he was as at home with his chessboard as he was with charging blindly forward. Though he certainly was a powerful personality, Jackson’s rise from his humble beginnings could never be possible without his shrewdness, resourcefulness, as well as his capacity to cultivate himself while retaining an image as a fearsome and violent man of action he used to his advantage. Yet, seeing Jackson this way makes the idea of him being a reflection of Trump astoundingly laughable.

Andrew Jackson’s distrust for elites and the Washington establishment was also very different from Trump’s. A political centrist and believer in Jeffersonian principles, Jackson believed that monied and business interests would corrupt Republican values. While his defeat of the Second Bank of the United States and his opposition to federal public works projects hurt ordinary Americans, his rationale behind both reflects that sentiment. Back in the 19th century, legislatures often granted corporations charters to build infrastructure which gave them valuable privileges. State governments often shared corporate ownership with private investors. Jackson feared that public investments offered unearned advantages to insiders that would surely lead to corruption and as he put it, “destroy the purity of our government.” Nevertheless, despite vetoing the Marysville Road project, Jackson’s administration saw more federal funding on infrastructure than all his predecessors combined. And Jackson’s Marysville Road veto had more to do with it connecting two towns in Kentucky, which he viewed as nothing more than a pork barrel project for Henry Clay’s home state.

As for the Second Bank of the United States, well, it was a public-private corporation partly funded by taxpayers but controlled by private investors, some of whom were European. Despite its hold on the nation’s currency gave it immense economic powers such as destroying state banks by calling in their loans, it faced no democratic oversight. And its capital was twice the federal government’s expenditures. The Panic of 1819 was particularly devastating for ordinary Americans thanks excessive land speculation, unsecured loans, misrepresentation, and the unrestrained use of paper money. The Bank did little to relieve since it was deeply enmeshed in these inflationary practices. Jackson opposed the Bank because he considered it a privileged, monopolistic, and undemocratic corporation. He was sure the Bank made dubious loans and campaign contributions to influence politicians and editors as well as to even buy elections. When the bill to renew the charter reached his desk, Jackson vetoed it bristled with populist attacks ringing eerily familiar. He charged that “The rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes.” They sought special favors “to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful,” rightly leading “the humbler members of society—the farmers, mechanics, and laborers … to complain of the injustice of their government.” In his farewell address, Jackson warned that the people, “have little or no share in the direction of the great moneyed corporations,” and were always “in danger of losing their fair influence in the government.” Today, you’d find many of these anti-big business sentiments in a Bernie Sanders speech against the Citizens United ruling, a Supreme Court decision that Jackson would’ve certainly not enforced. Trump, on the other hand, clearly sees absolutely no problem with corporate influence on government as illustrated by his donations to various political entities including Citizens United, receiving generous campaign contributions, and appointing billionaire CEOs to cabinet positions.

Nevertheless, what’s the most outrageous about the Trump-Jackson analogy is the most basic. Regardless what you think about him, Andrew Jackson was the president who more than any other, secured the future of American democracy. For the quarter-century before Jackson, presidents were essentially aristocrats who essentially appointed their own successors with the Election of 1800 being the only exception. When he was elected to the presidency in 1828, he won with 56% of the popular vote which was 12 points more than his opponent, John Quincy Adams. By frustrating Adams’s bid for reelection, Jackson broke the mold and became president at a time when states had started abandoning their property and residency voting requirements, which he both encouraged and benefitted from. Sure Jacksonian democracy fell short of today’s model since most women and blacks couldn’t vote. But by enfranchising all white males other than property owners, it represented a huge step forward from the unabashed elitism characterizing the 18th century. That elitism was part of why many in the political establishment in Jackson’s time likened him to a dangerous demagogue as well as an unstable, would-be dictator. We should note that the Founding Fathers came up with the Electoral College and election of senators through the state legislatures because they harbored a lot of distrust toward the common people and likened democracy to mob rule. Jackson knew this and as president, had repeatedly called for a constitutional amendment to abolish it for reasons we don’t have to get into after 2016. And it was certainly why then Speaker Henry Clay encouraged the House of Representatives to choose John Quincy Adams over Jackson in 1824, which resulted in his appointment as Secretary of State. Furious Jackson supporters would call this a “corrupt bargain” because their candidate won at least 42% of the popular vote. Yet, because no candidate received a clear majority of electoral votes (due to the race consisting of 4 different guys), the decision fell to the House. Still, had Jackson succeeded in eliminating the Electoral College, Trump would’ve never become president since he lost the popular vote by the largest historical margin of anyone who’s ever won the presidency.

Moreover, Andrew Jackson’s character and worldview reflected a genuine conviction in the people’s ultimate wisdom. He came to that populism through his experience and his own humble beginnings. As a self-made man, he saw his political mission to remove what he believed to be corrupting influences such as the Second Bank of the United States, entrenched federal appointees, and money speculators. That so ordinary Americans which he called “the planter, the farmer, the mechanic, and the laborer” could rise to prosperity. In other words, Jackson believed the federal government should benefit the interests of all Americans and that political participation should be a right. And he expanded the role of the presidency from mere executive to active representative of the people. Another one of Jackson’s most central beliefs was the inviolability of the federal Union and that concepts like secession and nullification were unacceptable. The fact he was willing to go to war with South Carolina when it threatened to secede during the Nullification Crisis illustrate this. Jackson believed that popular democracy spoke most clearly when the nation spoke as the nation. Not as separate polities in individual states. And that the union must be preserved above all else. His ideas in popular democracy and devotion to the Union above all else have left an indelible mark in the American consciousness, both of which he considered as inseparable. Generations after him have built on them and expanded on and in ways even he wouldn’t have imagined. Yes, his idea of popular democracy only included all white men. But it nevertheless provided a foundation for women and minorities to campaign for their voting rights as well as inspired almost every liberal and progressive movement and policy ever since. Jacksonian democracy became a touchstone of American politics that every presidential candidate since had to possess a common touch or effectively fake it. His idea of the president being the people’s representative has helped shaped the modern American presidency as we know it. And the Jacksonian concept that the union must be saved above all else strongly influenced the Union cause during the Civil War. Jackson’s policy during the Nullification Crisis set a precedent for Abraham Lincoln to follow through by sending military force against the Confederacy.

Andrew Jackson may have done plenty of terrible things that have hurt a lot people during his lifetime as well as led to plenty of negative repercussions even after he left office. He could sometimes be woefully wrong on what he thought was best for the American people. He may have stood on the wrong side of history in regards to defending slavery and removing Native Americans from their land so his friends could build plantations. Yes, he personally profited from stealing land from the Indians during the Indian wars. Yes, he brought a new coalition to elites into power such New York politicians, Pennsylvanian businessmen, and Southern slaveholders. And yes, he tended to their special interests as any typical politician. Still, Jackson was no opportunist and didn’t use populism as a political device. He didn’t use his image as a temperamental man for mere theatrics. He wanted to accomplish things. He never ever threw his friends under the bus even it was expedient to do so. He never embarrassed foreign dignitaries nor handled diplomatic disputes with anything other than moderation and skill. Nor did he try to profit from the presidency since he asked a friend to settle his business affairs after he won the election so he could focus on being president. But regardless of how we view Jackson today, he was a military hero who served his country in combat and a politician who generally placed the nation’s interests above his own. He symbolized the democratic struggle among the great majority against unearned power and special privilege. Furthermore, he was a firm believer in American democratic values as he once said, “As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience, and of the press, it will be worth defending.”

As Thomas Hart Benton said of the Jackson presidency, “Great is the confidence which he has always reposed in the discernment and equity of the American people. I have been accustomed to see him for many years, and under many discouraging trials; but never saw him doubt, for an instant, the ultimate support of the people … He always said the people would stand by those who stand by them.” Andrew Jackson was a very flawed man whose life and legacy reflected the best and the worst of America in his time and all time. Yet, even the ugliest parts of his life and legacy don’t dismiss him as any less than a man who tried to be worthy of the American people’s support. After all, despite that America has viewed itself as a beacon of liberty, democracy, and prosperity, it was also built on slavery and Native American displacement and genocide. And Jackson’s attitudes and actions regarding slavery and Native Americans are so glaring that they can’t be ignored. Nor should they be. Though his grave sins keep us from viewing him as an icon of reverence, Jackson’s life should teach us that even heroic men like him are seldom pillars of perfection. Jackson knew this for though he may have been critical of the founding generation, he nonetheless appreciated those responsible for crafting and refining the systems of checks and balances on which the nation was based. Even though he didn’t always observe them as president. Not to mention, a lot of Jackson’s own supporters didn’t always agree with him including close friends and advisers. Still, if Jackson and his fellow Democrats can get things so badly wrong, then we’re forever vulnerable as well. History may well remind us that we’re always at risk of falling short in the unending search for a more perfect Union.

Nevertheless, while Jackson shouldn’t be idolized on a pedestal, he doesn’t deserve outright vilification either even if he deserves being called out for his sins. Nor should he ever be reduced to a one-dimensional caricature since there’s nothing simple about him. Such approaches do a disservice to him as the complex and fascinating man he was and how he should be remembered as. Nor should he be embraced by a president who knows nothing about him, shares none of the causes he championed, and praises him so he can depict him in his own image. Donald Trump is no Andrew Jackson nor does he even come remotely close. Unlike the 7th president, this unrespectable man has repeatedly demonstrated that he cares more about himself than the American people and what is best for this nation’s future. His praises of dictators show he has more affinity for a culture common in authoritarian systems where ruling regimes have a monopoly on truth. Though he has promoted himself as a successful businessman, he’s very much a product of inherited wealth and unearned privilege which have gotten him where he is today. And he often used his status to avoid military service, federal taxes, and taking responsibility for his despicable business practices. Nor was his success the result of his hard work and natural ability. It’s very clear that Trump’s populism is a sham. Then there’s the fact Trump has promoted his real-estate investments during his presidential campaign as well as acknowledges that he “might have” discussed his global business interests in his talks with foreign leaders since his election. Even as president Trump hasn’t separated himself from his business, which puts him in clear violation of the Emoluments Clause. It’s very clear he’s profited from both his campaign and his presidency. His business interests abroad might have an impact on American foreign policy. To equate Jackson with Trump normalizes the latter in ways that should offend us in 2017. Jackson for all his faults doesn’t deserve to be equated to this unrespectable man, regardless of his sins. Jackson may not have been a great hero to many people’s eyes for very good reasons. But what Trump embodies basically goes against almost everything that Jackson stood for as well as exemplify why Americans still admire him today.

The Rejected Inventions Hall of Fame

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Necessity is often considered the mother of invention. Yet, as with many parents, sometimes they produce children who don’t seem quite right. But with necessity, it’s more often than not. While we have moments like the Wright Brothers 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, you have lots products you can only see in drug stores and infomercials. Nevertheless, inventions are supposed to be technological breakthroughs that make our lives easier. Unfortunately, this post doesn’t showcase these achievements. Instead, it covers the many contraptions that the world has rejected after a certain amount of time and forget about them. Some may have seemed like good ideas at the time only to go horribly wrong. As with others, we’re not sure what the rationale behind them was. But they kind of look ridiculous nonetheless. Anyway, for your reading pleasure, I present to you a treasure trove of crazy inventions from the past you might want or see. Or might not depending on what time you came from.

  1. Don’t worry, this body armor will protect you.

I guess the tin hunter costume didn’t quite make it for the Wizard of Oz. Also leaves arms exposed.

2. A wheeled watchtower always helps you spot the enemy coming from anywhere.

Though it requires strings and stakes to keep it balanced when kept in a stationary state. Also, looks as ridiculous as it is dangerous.

3. With these we can see and hear everything.

Because there’s nothing to let people know you’re snooping on them like goggles attached with megaphones. Also, makes people look like complete idiots.

4. This contraption gives you a whole new meaning to the word, “helmet hair.”

I think this might’ve been for perms. Yet, it sure seems like what you see straight out from a Star Trek Enterprise hair salon.

5. In the 19th century, you can take a ride in a rich guy’s 6-wheeler.

And I see they have the driver in the front like they would in a coach. Because he’s a commoner. Wonder how this car makes turns.

6. Now you can  take take your baby to the park and listen to music at the same time.

The radio attached was supposed to keep baby occupied. At least until mommy’s favorite radio soap opera comes on.

7. With these goggles, you can watch TV from anywhere.

Too bad it blocks your face from the world and looks pretty dumb. But you still have to use antennas for a signal.

8. This brush will give any bald man a nice shiny chrome dome.

Then again, I know some bald men who just shave off their hair and show their scalp off proud. No need for a brush and polisher like this.

9. Keep your baby safe during a gas attack with a gas powered baby carriage.

While keeping baby safe and sound, it gives an impressing of constantly being under siege by chemical weapons. Also, kind of resembles a little fallout capsule.

10. These cone masks will help you see through a snowstorm while you’re out.

These look more like cone bags you put on your face. But then again, these were built for function, not effect.

11. With this trailer, you can make room for everybody.

So how do you extend it? What’s it’s limited capacity? How much would it cost?

12. With an amphibious bike, you can travel on both land and water.

Helps if it has floaties as well as floatie wheels to keep you buoyant. But sure doesn’t protect you from getting your clothes wet.

13. Ever tried to scrub yourself in hard to reach places and see what you look like? We have just the solution for you.

Man, how did anyone stay clean without this? Also, how does this work in the shower?

14. Ever wanted to read before bed but don’t want to sit up? These reading glasses are just for you.

Not sure how they work. But they sure make anyone look like a space alien.

15. Keep yourself warm this winter by wearing a jacket with electric heating.

Sure it might do the trick. However, it might pose a fire hazard should something go wrong.

16. Now you can avoid hitting pedestrians by catching them with this metal net.

However, it might run the risk of pushing pedestrians to where they might not want to go. Also, not the safest thing in the world.

17. Nothing amuses guests more than taking their picture with a gun.

Yet, I’m sure you’ll get no smiles using it. But it’s a safer gun does make safer to play Russian roulette with.

18. A flying platform will always take you to high places.

Yes, it seems quite futuristic indeed. But keep in mind the guy’s wearing equipment to protect himself from injury. Let that sink in.

19. Don’t forget to protect your horse from gas attacks.

Yes, this is a gas mask for horses. Well, it was WWI so what do you expect?

20. Why should 8 hours of sleep get in the way of your chainsmoking habit?

Yes, there are a lot of stuff on here related to smoking. Because most of them are from before 1970.

21. Featuring one of the first eco-friendly cars of its time, the pooch mobile.

Now you can save on gas and give Fido hours of exercise. Though you might sometimes have to stop every time he needs to relieve himself.

22. Nothing says speed like a jet-fuel powered motorcycle.

Uh, isn’t jet fuel more flammable than gasoline? Besides, I don’t think this guy is taking any safety precautions.

23. Why keep multiple bikes when you can have one for the whole family.

Even includes a sewing machine for mom to work on. Only seats 4.

24. Help little Susie take her first steps with this baby walker.

Seems a bit extreme to get your kid to walk this way. Besides, my sister and I started walking at 9 months with little prompting.

25. Everything is always squared with these bikes.

So how do square wheels get you anywhere? I mean most wheels are round for a reason.

26. Get the latest bits about yourself by wearing the psychograph.

The psychograph was made to advance the study of phrenology. Well, it was a 19th century pseudoscience. That gives you plenty to know about why we no longer use this.

27. Why smoke one cigarette at a time when you can smoke a whole pack all at once.

Because if one cigarette alone won’t kill you, a whole pack lit at the same time surely will. Go ahead increase your risk for lung cancer.

28. Is this woman getting a perm at the salon or having her brain infiltrated by aliens?

Actually, she’s just getting a perm at the beauty parlor. But yes, I know what you’re thinking.

29. Eating peas is a breeze with a peastick.

But this lets you eat peas one at a time. And there’s a device which could let you eat 6 of them all at once. It’s called a fork.

30. Why should parents debate about carrying the baby when you have this?

Because this baby carrier wouldn’t meet any child safety requirements. Besides, why take your baby ice skating when you can call a babysitter?

31. A fork with a crank can always help you eat spaghetti.

Yet, this takes 2 hands to operate. There is another device that lets you eat spaghetti with one hand. It’s called a fork.

32. With these earphones, you can eavesdrop any conversation without anyone knowing.

Too bad this is so bulky that you won’t be fooling anyone. Also it will make you look like a total idiot.

33. With a holder like this, you can share a cigarette with ease.

Because there’s no cigarette holder that says “till death do you part to lung cancer” like this one. Also, the movies seem to make sharing a cigarette look cooler without one.

34. Drying your hair should always be an out of this world experience.

Again, this is beauty salon equipment. Not space alien technology. Know the difference.

35. With this hat, you can keep all your toiletries in one place.

Only has room for comb, brush, and toothpaste. But it’s quite stylish and nifty just the same.

36. This little restrainer will keep rover out of the bushes.

After all, there’s no device that suggest you’d might want to serve him with a salad. Yes, I can see why that didn’t see the light of day.

37. A reduce-o-matic helps you lose weight while you sit down and relax.

Sorry, but this kind of weight loss product will only slim down your wallet. Also will make you look like an idiot.

38. Every wallet should always contain some cash and a pistol.

Too bad the pistol is only small enough for a bullet. So you’d have to make the shot really count.

39. With this tea maker, tea will be ready in no time at all.

This is an antique tea maker from the Victorian days. It’s supposed to heat it before pouring it in the pot. Wonder how many accidents it caused.

40. Keep baby out in the fresh air and out of harms way with a baby cage.

This was for babies in small apartments. I know it looks pretty crazy. But yes, sometimes old-timey childcare practices fall out of favor.

41. With this blow dryer, you’ll definitely be blown away.

Seems like the hairdryer has a pretty interesting history. But still, this would be great if you’ve spent the day out in the rain.

42. Need relief for a hangover? This mask should help.

However, make sure you keep it in the freezer with ice overnight. Still, this is kind of crazy.

43. Now I’ve never seen a pair of binoculars like this.

I guess this must’ve come from the 1950s. Still, I wonder if it has any sensors on it. Or is it just an ordinary pair of binoculars?

44. You know they have bidets to wash your butt? Here’s something to wash your breasts.

Uh, it’s actually not that hard to wash your breasts. You can easily get your boobs clean with a washcloth in the shower.

45. Ward off mice and rats with this cat mew machine.

It says meow a lot so the mice wouldn’t come anywhere near your home. Though to be fair, you’d probably break it for being annoying.

46. Now you can see where you need to go with this scrolling map.

Think of it as an old-fashioned GPS. Because that’s what it is. However, it might not be able to recalculate so you might have a hard time with it.

47. Now you can smoke in the rain with a cigar protector.

Because why should a wet day reduce your chances for lung cancer? Also includes an umbrella.

48. Shoot in those hard to reach places with an M-3 curved barrel submachine gun.

Not sure why anyone would use these if they weren’t criminals. I know it looks as lethal as it is pointless.

49. Attaching brooms to your car makes tire tracks a thing of the past.

Actually this was meant to protect against flat tires. Not sure if it did the job or all cars would have it.

50. Protect your baby from kidnappers with this black light detector.

No, I’m not sure how a black light guards baby. Besides, black light is more associated with raves and such.

51. A dimple maker always makes your cheeks perk up.

That looks very painful. But yes, even today some women go through pain to achieve beauty perfection.

52. With this icebike, slippery roads are a thing of the past.

Still, the wheels are quite spiky. So having a car run into one will result in a flat tire.

53. A glamor bonnet provides a vacuum to aid complexion.

For some reason, that woman seems like she’s in a hostage situation than a beauty salon. Also, the ad had to go out of its way to say it’s not a deep sea diving helmet.

54. A smog helmet will protect you from harmful pollution in the park.

Though instilling pollution regulations and the EPA really deterred smog attacks in the US. Still, might be great if you live in China.

55. An external turkey roaster can always cook to perfection.

Seems like this chicken is getting a starlet beauty treatment. Besides, there’s another device that can cook turkeys just the same. It’s called an oven.

56. A steam powered buss will take you where you need to go.

Sure it doesn’t look that big. But at least it’s faster than traveling by horse.

57. Now you can watch your favorite shows on the go with this mini TV.

Yes, they had TVs that small back in the day. But I’m sure the reception on them was terrible.

58. A portable sauna gives you the same treatment within your home.

Though you’d have to spend a lot of time in a large sack. But at least you can read in the process.

59. A fire box trap can always catch pranksters attempting to cause trouble.

I know we don’t like people pulling fire alarms for no good reason. Still, not sure if it will deter anyone since its attachment is quite flimsy.

60. Why should bedridden people not be able to play the piano?

Yes, they actually had one of these. But at least you can fold it in when you’re done with it.

61. A turntable and projector set makes for a real entertainment center.

Well, I guess it’s handy to play music and movies in one place. But I don’t think many people could afford a projector then.

62. A one-wheeled motorcycle will always take you down the road.

I don’t know about you. But this looks like a major accident waiting to happen. Even worse that the guy isn’t wearing a helmet.

63. With illuminated tires, you can always find your car.

Though these tires have light bulbs in them and are plugged to something. Still, perhaps we can pull it off with glow sticks or solar panels t0day.

64. A flying bike may help you get off the ground.

For one, I don’t think this bike flies. Second, I’m sure the last guy who rode it ended up in a terrible accident.

65. A ciggy umbrella lets you smoke in the rain.

So you can expose yourself and others to cancer in all kinds of weather. And looking like a moron, too.

66. You can have all kinds of family fun during a nuclear holocaust in an economy sized fallout shelter.

However, you might have to assemble it yourself, first. Also, may not protect you against radiation exposure.

67. A car sled should always be equipped with a jet engine.

This is from Russia, by the way. Not sure if this actually flew. But at least you can get a laugh out of it.

68. Nothing makes riding the waves fun than riding a motorized surfboard.

Yet, for some reason, this is more of a motorized raft on a river. Not sure how it could ride tidal waves.

69. Now cleaning your neck has become so much easier.

Nevertheless, this neck cleaner more or less resembles a torturing device. Besides, you can easily clean your neck with a wash cloth in the shower.

70. Tesla’s oscillator will be a marvel to future generations.

This was an electric generator meant to replace reciprocating steam engines. But that was superseded by more efficient steam turbines. Other than that, I’m not sure what else.

71. This radio hat will let you listen to music while on the go.

Of course, it might cause a lot of noise since it doesn’t come with headphones. Also makes you look ridiculous.

72. A parachute jacket will be a lasting marvel to aviation.

We should keep in mind that the inventor died while testing this device jumping off the Eiffel Tower. It should give us the idea of its effectiveness.

73. A pipe for 2 always has enough tobacco to go around.

Still, I’m not sure if you’d want to smoke like this. There are more awesome ways one can get lung cancer.

74. You can always get the grass cut with a power mower deluxe.

Well, at least you don’t have to worry about grass getting all over you during the riding portion. Still, kind of resembles a spacecraft.

75. You can always get a great shot with a punt gun.

Too bad it’s so big that you have to ask a friend to hold it for you. So not that great isn’t it?

76. A shower hood can always keep your makeup from smearing.

Uh, isn’t getting your makeup in the sower kind of the whole point? Besides, I don’t think it does its job.

77. The Isolator can always help you concentrate on what you’re doing.

Sure it kind of resembles a diving helmet with an oxygen tank. But that’s beside the point.

78. The beauty micrometer always makes sure your face looks right.

But for God’s sake, please don’t put me in that! I’m sure it’s a torturing device for a face.

79. If you can ride on a bike, why not skate with two?

That doesn’t look safe at all, especially if he falls. Still, has kind of steampunk feel to it.

80. This hairdryer comes with its own cap.

Yes, it’s another hairdryer. I know it looks pretty ridiculous. But sometimes even nice products like hairdryers start out that way.

81. Why stick with bulky life jackets when you can use these swim aids.

I bet these are made from old bike tires. Besides, I think these might be harder to put on than life vests.

82. Motorized roller skates can get you there with great speed.

Nevertheless, these were notoriously dangerous for obvious reasons. And that’s why they’re not around anymore.

83. Nothing massages your scalp like this electric vibrator.

The picture file calls this the “scalp molester.” Nevertheless, I’m not sure if I’d want that massaging my head.

84. A solar bath apparatus can always relieve headaches.

No, I don’t think so, especially with a migraine headache. Not sure why people thought that back then.

85. Back in the 1950s, you can get a spray tan from a machine.

As to why you’d want to look like an Oompah Loopah, I have no idea. Still, not sure how it compares to a tanning booth.

86. Bet you never laid your eyes on Edison’s electric pen.

Yet, it’s attached to so much equipment. So you can understand why this invention never got off the ground.

87. Now you can watch your favorite shows with this portable TV from 1967.

Sure it might make you look like you have your head stuck in a pipe. But sometimes it doesn’t matter when watching your favorite sports team.

88. Listen to your favorite records with an upside down phon0graph.

Not sure how the record could stay in place like that. Also, why?

89. Soup too hot? Attach a small fan to your spoon.

I know this looks silly and pointless. But that’s modern dining technology for you.

90. Wooden bathing suits were once the next new thing of the summer.

Because nothing characterizes 1920s swimwear like barrel chic. You can see why we don’t have them now.

91. With this machine, the blind can find their way through the magic of sound.

Yet, the contraption is a bit bulky. Besides, blind people already have something to help them get around through sound. It’s called a cane.

92. Why put on new skates when you can just clip on the blades?

Okay, that seems rather reasonable. But what if the blade snaps off and you trip and fall.

93. Why go through flipping newspaper pages when you can have yours faxed?

Because a folded newspaper with sections is much better to store than one rolled out. It’s very simple really.

94. Give your dogs exercise by tying them to a wooden beam on your car.

Note to pet owners, please don’t do this. Seriously, it’s cruelty to animals and could kill them.

95. Now you can call someone and see who you’re talking to.

Funny, how we use Skype with the Internet if we want to see who we’re talking to. But this is pretty neat.

96. The sun bath helmet protects you from UV rays.

Uh, did the inventor know that UV rays can absorb? Probably not. Also, only protects the face.

97. An aerocycle can take you anywhere you want to go.

Looks really dangerous if you ask me. Wouldn’t want to go on it.

98. Now you can have your cup of coffee while you’re on the move.

Sure people think a coffee maker in their car is convenient. But come on, it’s probably not the safest thing to have. Or every car would’ve had one.

99. An all-terrain vehicle must have lots of spare tires.

Then again, some of those may not be spare tires. But yes, it’s a bit bulky compared to newer models.

100. Stimulate human speech through pumping with the Euphonia.

I’m sure it didn’t work that well. Also, looks incredibly creepy, especially with the doll head.

On the Firing of FBI Director James Comey

The decision to fire Comey happened so quickly that virtually no one had any warning. Various media outlets reported that multiple senior FBI and Department of Justice officials having no knowledge of Trump’s announcement ahead of the White House’s release. In fact, one CNN reporter tweeted about FBI sources texting him on whether the Comey news was true. Congress didn’t know either. Senator Dianne Feinstein knew about Comey’s firing only 20 minutes before White House announced it. Senator John Cornyn claimed he learned about it on his iPhone during a meeting. Comey found out while trying to recruit FBI agents in Los Angeles from a TV in the background. Comey laughed in response thinking it was a prank. Nevertheless, whether you liked him or hated him, his firing has profoundly troubling implications for the United States government. Like it or not, Comey was one of the few people in the Justice Department truly independent of Trump and willing to hold him accountable for his actions. And his ousting raised serious questions on Justice Department independence and possibly the integrity of American democracy as we know it.

As a liberal Democrat, I am no fan of FBI Director James Comey. I am still mad at him for his mishandling over Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, especially when he released a statement about discovering more of them in late October. Back in July, he claimed that while her use of a private e-mail server as Secretary of State was “extremely careless” in regard to classified information, he didn’t recommend bringing any charges against her. Then in late October, he wrote a new letter to Congress saying he discovered new Clinton e-mails that could be relevant which turned out to contain no significant new information. Nonetheless, the damage was done and Comey’s rogue conduct in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election may have cost Clinton the White House. But it also gave the impression that the FBI was intervening in an election and politicizing the US legal system. Comey’s behavior certainly violated longstanding FBI norms against trying targets of an investigation in the media. It didn’t help that in March 2017, Comey announced that the FBI had been investigating into Russian interference and links to the Trump campaign and whether there had been any coordination since July 2016. So if the FBI was looking into Trump’s connections with the Russians last summer, why didn’t Comey mention it earlier? And why did he decide to say anything about investigating Hillary’s e-mails instead? So, on one hand, I can totally see why Comey’s firing was deserved.

However, Comey’s dismissal is deeply disturbing since Donald Trump fired him and why. According to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, it was over mishandling Hillary Cinton’s e-mail investigation last year. Sure Comey’s surprise public announcement of recommending no charges brought against Clinton “was wrong” because “it is not the function of the [FBI] director to make such an announcement.” The FBI should investigate while the Justice Department should decide whether to bring charges. But as Rosentein states, Comey, “announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.” Yes, Comey “laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial,” which Rosenstein writes, “is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.” And yes, Comey shouldn’t have told Congress about the FBI’s discovery of new Clinton e-mails while his defense whether to “speak” or “conceal” the investigation does him no favors. As Rosenstein argued, “When federal agents and prosecutors quietly open a criminal investigation, we are not concealing anything; we are simply following the longstanding policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information.” Now I can’t disagree with Rosenstein’s points. Yet, it’s very clear the Trump administration is lying their asses off. Because while Comey certainly did mishandle Hillary’s e-mail investigation, Democrats have made strikingly similar criticisms about his behavior for months. They’ve even argued that Comey’s decision to send the letter in October might’ve put Trump in office.

In addition, what Rosenstein wrote in the Justice Department letters completely contradicts everything Trump and his boss Attorney General Jeff Sessions have said about Comey and Hillary Clinton since the campaign. Trump repeatedly complained that Comey was too soft on Clinton and responded to his late October letter to Congress saying, “It took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made.” And he has long maintained that the FBI director was right to release it. If he has any complaints about Comey’s behavior, it’s that he didn’t go far enough. Then Senator Jeff Sessions that Comey had “an absolute duty, in my opinion, 11 days or not, to come forward with the new information that he has.” And he defended the FBI director’s July statements on Clinton stating that Obama’s Justice Department had put him in a position so he “had” to speak for himself. Neither of these men cared whether Comey violated longstanding FBI norms against trying investigation targets to the media. And it’s obvious there’s no reason to believe either would change their minds. Because both these men benefitted significantly from what Comey did. Besides, during his first week in office, Trump had asked Comey to stay on his post and he planned to serve out the full remainder of his term. By then, everything about his actions in the Clinton investigation were well-known. What changed between now and then that would’ve led Trump or Sessions view Comey’s handling of the situation so differently, is impossible to fathom. Nor would it make any sense. Besides, a New York Times report that Sessions had been “had been working to come up with reasons” to fire Comey since at least last week.

Donald Trump is a notorious liar and has a long history of corruption. For years, he called New York tabloids using a fake name. He claimed that climate change was a Chinese hoax before alleging he never said that during a debate. He’s constantly lied about his wealth that we’re not even sure how much he makes. He’s promised to release his tax returns but still hasn’t. He denied mocking a reporter with a disability when there’s a video showing him doing just that. He said Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination. He denied telling America to “check out [the] sex tape” of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. He promised to get behind a healthcare bill that covered everyone, lowered deductibles, and avoided Medicaid cuts. But he endorsed the American Healthcare Act which does the opposite on all 3 counts.  It’s widely reported that Trump lies all the time that we just assume it whenever he opens his mouth or is on his Twitter feed.

Another reason is that what’s changed between January is that in March, Comey revealed the FBI is investigating whether Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. Two days after his testimony, CNN reported that “the FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” And that the information came from “human intelligence, travel, business and phone records, and accounts of in-person meetings.” Though CNN’s reporters cautioned the info “was not conclusive,” the FBI was pointing in a direction it could implicate Trump officials. Had the bureau actually found hard proof that the Trump campaign had coordinated with the Russians, it would’ve been the kind of scandal that topples a presidency. By early April, the FBI investigation into Russia had to form a special unit for it in Washington. Meanwhile, the House investigation had stalled thanks to Rep. Devin Nunes’s weird insistence on backing up Trump’s wild claims about Obama spying on him in Trump Tower. And the fact Nunes was chairing the investigative committee despite that he served on Trump’s campaign and transition team. At the same time, the Senate proceeded slowly due to being given only limited funding and staff. But it was to the point where senators publicly complained about the pace. So that left the FBI conducting the most serious investigation to Trump’s Russia ties by far. And it was one Congress or journalists couldn’t match. The bureau had money, trained investigators, and access to powerful surveillance tools. But most importantly, it had a director entirely behind the investigation. This is easily illustrated in a report from the New York Times. According to them, just days before Comey’s firing, the FBI director asked the Justice department “for a significant increase in resources for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, according to three officials with knowledge of his request.”

Since at least last spring, there have been ongoing allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Vladimir Putin is no fan of western democracy and has repeatedly tried to show his people how it’s no better than any other government system. Trump has praised Putin on multiple occasions along with other authoritarian leaders. And there’s mounting evidence multiple members of Trump’s campaign and administration were in direct contact with Russian intelligence in the run up to the election. And several have lied about it. Trump’s association with Russia has been the center of a scandal he can never shake off. And his sudden decision to oust Comey ensures that the scandal will haunt the rest of Trump’s presidency and hopefully end it prematurely.

Recently a report from CNN states that the FBI’s Russia investigation is just heating up. Grand jury subpoenas were issued to associates of fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. They wrote, “Investigators have been looking into possible wrongdoing in how Flynn handled disclosures about payments from clients tied to foreign governments including Russia and Turkey.” We should also account that President Barack Obama and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had warned Trump about Flynn well in advance. We all know that Flynn was fired for lying about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Now Flynn has sought immunity from prosecution (which he didn’t get) as it became clear he accepted money from the Russian and Turkish governments without properly disclosing it. Trump’s son-in-law and Senior White House aide Jared Kushner also held undisclosed meetings with Kislyak during the transition period and only made them public a few months later. Even more disturbing, then Attorney General designate Jeff Sessions lying under oath during his confirmation hearings. He told lawmakers he had no interactions with the Russian government. Only it turned out he had held conversations with Kisylak so he promised to recuse himself from the FBI investigation. Well, sort of. Because Sessions recommended that Trump fire Comey.

For a president to fire the FBI director looking into him and his associates, it’s natural to question about a cover-up. Nevertheless, Trump has repeatedly denounced the Russia story as “fake news.” He was reportedly very angry when Sessions recused himself from any investigations into the 2016 election in early March. Less than 24 hours before firing Comey, he apparently called the investigation of or hearings on the subject a “taxpayer funded charade,” and asked when it would “end.” In the letter in which he fired Comey, Trump stated that: “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation. I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.” It’s obvious he intended to shield himself from cover-up allegations.

A report from Politico states that Trump “had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia.” According to an adviser, Trump, “repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe.” Several other people familiar with the events said that Trump “had talked about the firing for more than a week, and the [Justice Department] letters were written to give him a rationale for firing Comey.” Now this makes a lot more sense than what the administration said. Jake Tapper from CNN quoted a “source close to Comey” claiming the FBI director was fired for refusing to provide Trump “with any assurance of personal loyalty,” and because the bureau’s Russia investigation wasn’t going away but “accelerating.” And two New York Times reporters stated that on the day before the firing Trump, “told people around him that he wanted Mr. Comey gone, repeatedly questioning Mr. Comey’s fitness for the job and telling aides there was ‘something wrong’ with him.”

Trump has a long history of covering stuff up. It’s easy to presume the real reason behind Comey’s firing had something to do with the ongoing Russia investigation. However, we don’t really know that. Nevertheless, over the years, despite never facing a serious criminal investigation, he’s repeatedly bumped against one. Mostly because Trump has been able to use his money, power, and celebrity to get away with stuff that would’ve landed someone else in jail. So it’s no surprise he’d use his presidential powers to obstruct and subvert justice. All his life, Trump has gone to great lengths to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. He has viciously retaliated when anyone challenges him on them. And he has often rationalized them, often by blaming the victim. He seems to have been mixed up with the Mafia. His casinos have paid civil fines for evading money laundering rules. He’s been involved in empty box tax scams. Not to mention, he may have committed criminal tax evasion with his Trump Foundation. It’s possible Comey’s firing could’ve had something to do with Russia. But the FBI could’ve easily found some totally unrelated criminal misconduct. Or that Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns has nothing to do with Russian bribes or blackmail. What we do know is that Trump appears covering something up. We’re not exactly sure what it is. But it sure seems like something big and important. Since all the evidence seems to paint a very clear picture of a president deciding to fire an FBI director to obstruct an ongoing investigation before stitching together a shaky justification for doing so. In short, Trump fired Comey out of self-preservation which is consistent with everything else he’s done all his life.

Nevertheless, Comey’s firing was among 3 instances where Trump fired major Justice Department officials who served in the Obama administration. In his first 4 months in office, President Pussygrabber has fired the acting attorney general, asked 46 US attorneys to resign, and dismissed the director of the FBI. Some of these moves don’t seem unusual, at least in isolation. But take them together and it raises the question whether Trump has been trying to impede investigations into himself or his associates through muscling out independent actors in the Justice Department. Shortly after he was sworn in Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend his travel ban in court. Though this move was unusual, it was aimed at someone who’d eventually leave her post once Jeff Sessions was confirmed. Yet, Trump would call her “an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration” who “betrayed the Department of Justice.” Not to mention, Yates had given Trump’s White House counsel Doug McGahn a disturbing briefing warning that then-National Security adviser Michael Flynn was, “potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail.”

In March, Trump asked for resignations from 46 US attorneys held over from the Obama years. In case you don’t know, these people are powerful DOJ law enforcement officials in their states and districts with a tradition of acting mostly independently. Yet, there’s a precedent for a new president to replace all his predecessor’s appointees though Trump has yet to nominate a single person for a US attorney post. But the firing of Preet Bharara stands out because Trump had asked him to stay on several months earlier and he refused to step down. ProPublica later revealed that Bharara had been investigating Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s stock trades. Even more interesting, the New York Times reported that the day before he asked the US attorneys to resign, Trump’s office placed an unusual call to Bharara’s office for a call back. According to the report, Bharara reviewed Justice Department protocol and decided it wouldn’t be appropriate to return Trump’s call. Bharara suspects something weird going on, sending cryptic sounding tweets. One of these referred to the “Moreland Commission” which New York Governor Andrew Cuomo created to investigate state politics and hastily shut down as part of a political deal. Now Bharara was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate as US attorney was one of “the nation’s most aggressive and outspoken prosecutors of public corruption and Wall Street crime.” His tenure as the US attorney for the Southern District of New York prosecuted nearly 100 Wall Street executives for insider trading and other offenses. Hell, he was even speculated as a potential candidate for attorney general. Nevertheless, Bharara has sworn that serving as US attorney was “the greatest honor of my professional life” and that “one hallmark of justice is absolute independence, and that was my touchstone every day that I served.” However, the fact he operated on Trump’s home turf and possibly angered many of his donors probably had something to do with his firing.

But Trump’s firing of Comey is different since it’s the move with the least precedent and justification. The FBI director is a nonpartisan appointee who serves a 10 year term. Recent new presidents usually keep their predecessors’ FBI directors on as Trump said he’d keep Comey on, too. The only recent firing of an FBI director was in 1993 over alleged financial misdeeds. Democrats and Republicans alike may have dealt intense criticism to him over his handling on the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. But by January, he seemed to have all that behind him as Trump had told him he’d keep his post. Nevertheless, Comey’s ouster calls the independence of the US’s top law enforcement institutions into serious question, which is deeply troubling. Even Democrats deeply critical of Comey’s handling of Clinton’s e-mails have reacted in horror since he was clearly independent of Trump. And like Bharara and Yates, was highly regarded for his work. With his and earlier two firings, Trump has sent an unmistakable message to the Justice Department and other law enforcement officials refusing to toe the White House line may not keep their jobs for long.

Democrats have good reason to compare the Comey firing to the biggest political scandal: Watergate. If you’re American, Watergate has a singular resonance that nearly every scandal eventually has a “-gate” added to its name. And they’re quick to call to create the position that ultimately led to Richard Nixon’s downfall: a special prosecutor with broad investigative powers and the freedom to follow evidence without needing congressional approval. Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey remarked that the Comey firing was “disturbingly reminiscent of the Saturday Night Massacre during the Watergate scandal and the national turmoil it caused.” What Markey describes is when Nixon tried to kneecap a dangerous investigation into his own wrongdoing. In October 1973, special prosecutor Archibald Cox issued a subpoena ordering Nixon to turn over copies of taped conversations in the Oval Office. Nixon refused before ordering Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson to fire him. Richardson refused and resigned in protest. Nixon then gave the same order to Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus who refused and also quit in protest. So Nixon turned to then-Solicitor General Robert Bork who agreed to do what the other two officials would not. After Cox was out, Nixon, according to the Washington Post, “also abolished the office of the special prosecutor and turned over to the Justice Department the entire responsibility for further investigation and prosecution of suspects and defendants in Watergate and related cases.”

And that’s where it becomes all the more relevant. It’s not just that Trump fired the guy charged with leading the explosive investigation into whether his campaign colluded with the Russians as Moscow searched for ways to ensure Hillary Clinton’s defeat. It’s that Trump is putting that investigation back into the hands of a Justice Department led by Jeff Sessions. Sessions’s own ties to Russia and his own lies about them make him spectacularly unfit for any role in determining the Trump-Russia investigation’s future course or who’d be leading it. And we all know that Trump won’t let the executive branch investigate his own and his associates’ actions. By ousting Comey and putting FBI and Justice Department independence into question, Trump has given employees potential motivations to leak further in an administration already plagued by damaging anonymous leaks from intelligence agencies and law enforcement already. And those leaks could have serious consequences. After all, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s famous source Deep Throat turned out to be a high-ranking FBI agent.

Yet, when Nixon tried to curb the Watergate investigation through firing Justice Department officials, it led to bipartisan backlash. A new special prosecutor was appointed who seriously pursued the matter, a congressional investigation moved forward, and it all ended with Nixon’s resignation in order to what seemed like certain impeachment. But back then there were principled Republicans like Ruckelhaus, Richardson, John Dean, and Senator Howard Bakker who put country over party and acted with courage and honor. The political system has considerably changed since 40 years ago, especially in the Republican Party. Whether serious investigations into Trump will continue depends on a large part on how congressional Republicans act since they control the House and Senate. But now we have Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan who Trump is unfit for office but won’t act. So far for the most part, they’ve been willing and eager to try to defend Trump and shield him from potentially damaging investigations. Though several Republican senators did criticize him the night of the firing and the party can come under increased pressure to create a special bipartisan committee investigating either Comey’s ouster or the Russia scandal.

Still, despite everyone demanding for a special prosecutor and that the next FBI director be independent and impartial, it would be naïve to think that the Republican Party cared about the integrity of American government institutions to force Trump into complying with some basic ethics guidelines and undertake meaningful financial disclosures. But we should remember that this is the same party that blocked Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court during the Obama administration because they didn’t want the highest court in the land to flip Democrat after Antonin Scalia’s sudden demise. In the Trump administration, we have Ivanka Trump hawking a book from inside the West Wing and nobody having any clue what kind of sweetheart deals corporations or foreign governments with business before the US government are striking with the Trump Organization. And in exchange for turning a blind eye towards Trump’s corruption, Republicans get a slate of conservative judges, a solid roster of business-friendly regulators, and if they’re lucky, a giant tax cut for the rich and millions cut off from Medicaid benefits and Obamacare exchanges. Nevertheless, the price is obvious. The deeper you get in bed with Trump, the more tightly your fate is intertwined with his. And keep in mind, that last week, House Republicans had a big party at the White House for passing a profoundly malicious healthcare bill nobody wanted. But whether Republicans will continue sucking up to Trump or put nation over party remains to be seen. Nevertheless, a reporter from Marketwatch has said that McConnell and Ryan won’t do their jobs out of fear that exercising their duty could rile up Trump’s supporters, which may cost them their power. And because of their fear of the mob, they enable Trump’s narcissism, incompetence, corruption, and contempt for the Constitution and the American people.

It’s clear Comey’s firing doesn’t seem to faze Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who’s said he doesn’t see any need for a special prosecutor or an independent commission to review Russia’s influence on the 2016 election. He also implied that calls for another investigation were “partisan” arguing that Democrats should be in favor of Trump’s decision. Sure Dems have bemoaned how Comey handled Hillary Clinton’s e-mail probe. But not to the degree that they wanted him fired, least of all by Trump. And it’s especially the case since he was the man investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as seemed to be among the few who could’ve truly held Trump accountable. Besides, several congressional Republicans are now beginning to question the timing and rationale behind Comey’s firing, too. Senator John McCain said in a statement, “I have long called for a special congressional committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The president’s decision to remove the FBI director only confirms the need and the urgency of such a committee.” Senator Richard Burr tweeted, “I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order.” And that, “His dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the Committee.” Not to mention, the Senate’s Trump/Russia investigation has started getting serious as the committee announced it’s issued a subpoena to former National Security adviser Flynn and demanded he turn over related documents. Committee Chair Burr and ranking member Senator Mark Warner have also declared they’d subpoena anyone else asked to produce documents but didn’t. And they’ve asked the now ousted Comey to testify. But as far as Republicans are concerned there is still a long way to go.

Yet, what’s certain is that replacing Comey with a well-qualified FBI director or continuing with existing congressional inquiries will not remedy the situation ousting him has put us in. We all know that Trump is going to replace Comey with a swamp crony and that congressional Republicans squabble amongst themselves over this for the time being. What’s needed is a separate investigation featuring sworn testimony from key players, subpoenas, and documents into why Comey was fired. But even so, it’s obviously clear Trump fired him in order to obstruct an ongoing investigation. America can’t afford to have Republican leaders protecting and defending Trump again and again. Even they know he’s a thoroughly unfit, corrupt, dangerous, and unrespectable man. Even if their party does benefit from his horrible leadership, their stance to stick by him as long as they get what they want is profoundly troubling as well as sets a terrible example for the country. And it’s especially the case if what they want is a maliciously cruel healthcare plan nobody else wants that would cut healthcare access from millions of Americans and will result in many deaths if it becomes law. For the sake of the nation, congressional Republicans need to put their country and constituents first. Or else, his erratic ways will eventually drag them down with them. Though breaking with Trump might risk riling up his supporters, they should remember he is incredibly unpopular with record low approval ratings. So it’s best they reconsider before it’s too late, even if it does cost them their careers in the long-term. If they don’t, then the American people will certainly need different lawmakers to represent them. To let Trump get away with firing the guy investigating his and his associates Russia ties is morally indefensible and an unforgivable shame.

To the Honorable United States Representative Tim Murphy of the Pennsylvania 18th District

Note: I was going to e-mail this to my congressman on his website as a way to express my righteous indignation at his voting for the monstrosity known the American Healthcare Act. But since it’s rather long and the language is so colorful and direct, I thought it would be better to publish this piece on my blog and open to the public. Of course, this is probably not a good way to treat a US Congressman. However, in my defense, he pretty much deserves to be humiliated as much as any of the 217 Republican Congress responsible for passing this morally reprehensible bill. Even more so if that particular congressman is none other than House Speaker Paul Ryan. As a citizen, I believe it is our duty to hold any Republican who supported the AHCA accountable. Since I can’t write 217 blog posts for each GOP congress member who did, then I hope my piece to Murphy sets an example. A legislator voting to deny Americans healthcare is inherently unacceptable and there is no justification for it. People’s lives are at stake depending on whether it becomes law and we cannot let that happen. The AHCA is an absolute moral disgrace and any legislator who supported it must never live it down.

Dear Congressman Murphy:

I am writing to you to express my seething moral outrage and disgust on your vote in favor of the American Healthcare Act on May 4, 2017. You claim you voted but repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act in order to save Southwestern Pennsylvania. But in reality, you voted for a bill casting tens of millions of people off their health insurance, slash hundreds of millions from Medicaid, and send premiums through the roof for older and poorer Americans. The AHCA is a bill of unspeakable cruelty as well as a policy depicting nothing but appalling disdain for the human dignity among the most vulnerable and a flagrant violation of this nation’s ideals.

Voting in favor of such morally indefensible legislation virtually destroys your credibility among your constituents as their US representative. Your support for this bill expresses that you would put the interests of your party, your donors, and your career over those of the very people you were elected to represent. It absolutely horrifying that you could even think your vote in favor of the AHCA was your way of rescuing Southwestern Pennsylvania from the ACA when the AHCA is significantly worse. The AHCA is not an important first step to fixing our nation’s broken healthcare system. But it breaks it down even further by making healthcare even more unaffordable and inaccessible for Americans. And it undoes many of the ACA regulations and consumer protections that have significantly improved and increased healthcare coverage for millions of Americans. I understand that the ACA needs fixed since it does not lower healthcare prices nor cover everyone. However, any ACA replacement bill that does away with these protections as well as deny and worsen coverage for Americans like the AHCA is absolutely unacceptable. Your vote for the AHCA did not rescue Southwestern Pennsylvania. But instead you condemned and sold out Southwestern Pennsylvania. If this bill is ever made into law, people will die and blood will be on your hands.

Looking at your website, I see headlines of articles regarding your advocacy for people suffering from disabilities, drug addiction, and the mentally ill. Under the AHCA, states can apply for waivers to opt out of ACA regulations and protections, allowing insurance companies to deny the very care these people need. They can eliminate required coverage for mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and prescription drugs. They can offer policies with annual and lifetime limits. They can deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions like mental illness and disability. It even sabotages Medicaid which a lot of the people you claim to champion depend on. It is a disgrace that the Schizophrenia & Related Disorders Alliance of America recognized you as “Exceptional Legislator.” It is an appalling shame that the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems recognized you as “Mental Health Champion.” Your vote for the AHCA was a profound betrayal to these people since they are among the most vulnerable in society. It is deeply cruel of you to call yourself their champion but are willing to throw them under the bus. Well, you can consider yourself their champion no longer. If you truly are, you would have vehemently opposed this legislative travesty in the first place. As a “Mental Health Champion,” you should have voted against it even at the expense of your career. Twenty-one of your fellow congressional Republicans were willing to do just that. Sure you may claim that you secured $15 billion for mental health and addiction treatment in the AHCA, but that is a very empty gesture. Nor does it shield anyone suffering from addiction or mental illness from being turned away from the very treatment they need. You have lost any semblance of credibility in order to be a “Mental Health Champion.” Now you are just another lapdog for the Trump administration.

I do not care what you believe in or why you voted for the American Health Care Act. What your views makes no difference to me, especially in matters of life or death. Even as a Republican congressman, your support for the American Healthcare Act is completely inexcusable on so many levels. As a lawmaker, you were charged with representing your constituents’ interests, which the AHCA completely goes against. Most Americans do not want it especially if it puts their healthcare access in jeopardy. Practically every organization in the medical establishment condemned it. The AHCA is a vicious piece of legislation threatening people’s access to healthcare which is irresponsible, inexcusable, and dangerous. This goes especially for an “Exceptional Legislator” and a “Mental Health Champion” like you, which you completely failed to live up to when voting for that morally indefensible bill. Twenty of your colleagues from your own party understood that, including four from Pennsylvania. They may not be in good shape in 2018 but they are significantly better people than you will ever be.

Whether you like it or not, your vote for the American Healthcare Act illustrates that you advocate a healthcare vision that demeans human life and is indifferent to human suffering. May you never be allowed to forget it and may you have to live with your vote for the AHCA for the rest of your days. I sincerely hope you are held responsible for what you have done, especially if the wretched bill becomes law. Let your name be dragged through the mud wherever you go. May the disabled, addicted, and mentally ill spit on you for selling them out. And may your constituents greet you with the anger and revulsion over your betrayal that you deserve. As my congressman, I have lost all respect for you and nothing else on your record could ever change that. There is nothing you can do to redeem yourself for not even Jesus could ever forgive what you did. If you have to support legislation threatening Americans’ access to affordable healthcare, then you are not worth the blood that flows in your veins.