The Creepy, Crawly World of Scary Halloween Crafts Projects (Third Edition)

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Now that I have Halloween treats out of the way, it’s on to the crafts. While you find plenty of Halloween decorations at any store near you, many tend to make their own. After all, decorating one’s house for Halloween is part of the fun. There are plenty of ways to make a home like a haunted house. On many lawns, you’re bound to see lots of skeletons, ghouls, and ghosts. Many of these are quite amusing like you see above. Some of them quite cute which are geared to children. Some of them can be quite horrifying to some trick or treaters. Then again, Halloween is one of  the few times a year you can gross and scare onlookers. Well, unless you have children since some of these decorations don’t carry a PG rating. This especially goes for décor catered to horror movie fans. Nevertheless, for your reading pleasure, I give you another treasure trove of scary Halloween craft projects.

  1. Rest your head on this fuzzy spider pillow.

Unless you’re arachnaphobic. Still, this is quite cute for a spider.

2. Candy corn bottles make an ideal Halloween display.

Though this seems more like minimalistic decor at best. Still, you can use different shapes and sizes.

3. Dried flowers look splendid in a hanging witch hat on your door.

Yet, these seem to consist of flowers that don’t look appealing. But if you’re a witchy woman, they’ll be fine.

4. A white grapevine wreath makes the perfect spider web.

I’m sure the spider in the middle will freak out trick or treaters. Or their parents.

5. Packing tape and plastic bags are perfect for ghostly figures.

You wouldn’t want to run into this woman in white. But she certainly has a ghostly presence.

6. No slayer should go without this Jason wreath this Halloween.

Actually this would’ve been much more appropriate last week. But slasher horror fans will love it just the same.

7. Nothing scares trick or treaters like a clown wreath threatening to kidnap them.

And it’s perfect for this Halloween thanks to It and Donald Trump. Creepy and dangerous clowns are in.

8. You wouldn’t want to know what’s in this jack-in-a-box.

Yes, it’s another creepy clown that will give you nightmares. Will definitely freak out onlookers.

9. Looks like someone’s had a very bad lawn accident.

Don’t worry, nobody actually got run over by their lawn mower. But yes, it’s a very gruesome sight.

10. While on the front lawn, stay away from the plants.

This goes especially for the giant man eating plant. Stay away or else you might be its lunch.

11. With these jars on display, your home will be a scream.

These bottles have a lot of stuff inside of them. Each item is as cringe worthy as the next.

12. Seems like skeletons do give bones about competitions.

Sure they may be painted in silver. But you can’t help but laugh at some of the distinctive sashes.

13. There’s no bones about these bony candlesticks.

Okay, the bones aren’t real and thank God. But they’re edged with straw while the candles are sprayed silver.

14. These jack-o-lanterns come well-stacked.

Each of them has a rather sinister smile. Though I’m not sure if they light up.

15. Please don’t go near the caged baby.

Yeah, I know creepy kids and dolls have a special place in horror movies. Best to stay away if you value your life.

16. Greet your scary guests with this black bunch of evergreens.

Comes with a flying witch at the center along with baubles and glitter. And it’s all topped with an orange bow.

17. For a festive Halloween, you can’t go wrong with this witch hat wreath.

The hat in this one has purple and black stripes. Also comes with ribbons and berries.

18. Looks like we have a mouse infestation in this pumpkin.

Well, this is an interesting pumpkin design. But yes, mice in pumpkin holes can gross you out.

19. You’ll find something witchy about this clothespin doll.

Well, not all of the stuff I’ll put on this post is scary. Yet, this witch clothespin doll seems to have vintage feel.

20. Never thought you’d find a crocheted spider web.

Well, that’s quite intricate. But on any web you should always include a spider.

21. You probably wouldn’t want to go down this valley of the dolls.

Well, that’s one way to recycle little girls’ dolls when they get older. Prepare to face this creepy doll army.

22. Nobody could ever refuse these clothespin trick or treaters.

Each of these has their own cone hat, mask, and candy. So adorable.

23. Silver spiders infest this ghoulish bouquet.

Will surely look grand at the Addams family’s dining room table. Though Morticia usually cuts off the flowers and leaves in the stems.

24. When a sign says keep out, it’s best you listen.

You really don’t want to know what’s behind there. Those doll parts make add a rather sinister effect.

25. Foam always makes a bubbly witch’s brew.

Even has some creepy crawlies inside. Wanna try? Thought so.

26. Cones can always be covered like candy corn.

Just use some embroidery floss of white, orange, and yellow and wrap it around. Simple as that.

27. Greet trick or treaters with these monster panels.

Consists of a pumpkin, mummy, ghost, and Frankenstein’s monster. And no, they’re not quite scary. So kids will find them delightful.

28. There’s something spooky about this orange tulle wreath.

It’s even decorated with lights. Also, has the word’s spooky and some bats.

29. How about a mouse on top of your witchy bouquet?

Okay, that’s pretty creepy. Otherwise, it’s a rather resplendent fall flower arrangement.

30. Care to put your candy in a mummy bin?

This trick or treat bucket is perfect for Halloween candy. And it’s so cute even mummies would want it.

31. You’ll find a lit jar on this twisted limb.

Well, this might be a good addition to your spooky yard. Though it could use a few branches.

32. This pot vampire wants to suck your blood.

But he’s more to endear kids like the Count on Sesame Street than Dracula. Comes with a cape.

33. A skull can make a rather handy flower vase.

Certainly makes for a creepy flower arrangement doesn’t it? You can also use moss, twigs, and cobwebs for extra effect.

34. This purple witch hat crawls with spiders.

Sure I know some might use these hats for costumes. But they’re quite elaborate that I just had to include a few.

35. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like a haunted home.

As far as this sampler states. Kind of a homey addition for any haunted house.

36. Wonder what trick or treat is in this potted pumpkin.

It’s probably more like something you put stuff in. But it’s nonetheless adorable.

37. You’d be dead not to have a Halloween display like this.

Yes, it’s kind of a morbid display. But then again, morbid displays are what Halloween is all about.

38. There’s something batty about this bottle light.

Also, includes spiders as well. And it even lights purple.

39. As this witchy wreath describes, enter if you dare.

Yes, that’s bound to freak out kids trick or treating. So you might want to be careful when seeing this.

40. Keep yourself clean with these jack-o-lantern soap dispensers.

Well, at least none of these aren’t scary. But one has a rather silly face.

41. Want to make doilies spider webs? Just add spiders.

These mostly consist of a doily, picture frame, and plastic spider. An easy craft project decoration you can make with little effort for Halloween.

42. Care for an eye pillow?

No, not that eye pillow. These are pillows of eyeballs. Come in 3 different colors. Perfect for a haunted couch.

43. Instead of a wreath, how about a tulle jack-o-lantern at your front door?

Though the hat and legs kind of creep me out. But I hope trick or treaters can overlook that.

44. An orange grapevine wreath should always include a large witch hat.

The hat has polka dots as well as black and orange bows. So pretty it’s scary.

45. Seems like this wreath is a real spider’s nest.

Yes, I know some people might find this terrifying. But spiders have long been a Halloween staple.

46. With blinds, black paper, and orange lights, you can create your own spooky scene at your window.

It’s not quite scary. But it’s pretty creative with a tree and pumpkins galore.

47. You’d have to be striped mad not to avoid this witchy wreath.

This one has stripes all over the wreath that match the witch legs. Includes a purple hat and orange broom.

48. There’s nothing more festive than a decomesh witch’s hat on your door.

Contains legs and decomesh trimmings below it. Not sure why it has to be so colorful.

49. Digging up a few skulls any time soon?

If you have a rusty wheelbarrow, shovel, and lantern, this is the kind of craft project for you. Best you can put the skulls among the fallen autumn leaves.

50. Wonder what this skeleton is cooking outside.

Okay, I don’t want to know. But, man, that’s a really good Halloween display horror movie fans would want.

51. Once in awhile, someone has to be caught up in a spider web.

Yes, it’s bound to freak people out and confirm their worst fears. But you have to admire how creative this is. Yet, stay away from the spiders.

52. Someone must’ve gotten stuck in the chimney.

Odd, considering that Santa goes down chimney’s on Christmas Eve with very little trouble. But this is hilarious.

53. A witch’s boot can make a lovely bouquet vase.

Contains twigs and all kinds of things. Perfect for any witchy lair.

54. Seems like one witch didn’t know what fell on her.

But please don’t take off the ruby slippers. Or else her sister will go epically batshit on you.

55. Turn flower pots upside down and you’ve got a couple of pumpkins in your patch.

These pot pumpkins seem happy. And the best part is, you don’t have to throw them away in November.

56. You’d never guess what she’s cooking in her witch’s brew.

This is another flower pot witch. But she has flowers growing from her cauldron.

57. Reading this sign, you’d wander where something wicked this way comes.

From what I see, I’d rather stay where I am. Also, it’s covered with cobwebs.

58. No spooky Halloween is complete without this a felt wreath like this.

I bet this wreath would more likely be found in an elementary school. Because it seems more cute than scary.

59. A black witch hat should always contain a few feathers.

Has a bright green bow with a couple of skulls. Along with purple pom poms and a spider web.

60. Grace your Halloween coffee table with some black potion bottles.

As you can see, you can make any bottle a potion cask. Be sure to paint them black and keep them together.

61. You can always greet trick or treaters with a skull in your lantern.

Not sure if it lights up. But it’ll certainly scare the kiddies on Halloween night.

62. Better keep away while this witch brews her cauldron.

Don’t worry, she’s a mannequin. So it’s unlikely she’ll kidnap children and eat them.

63. Baubles always make cauldron bubbles.

This one has different colored baubles over a bubbling cauldron. Got to love the word “Spooky” on top.

64. Now your child can play with these ghoulish peg dolls during Halloween night.

Includes a ghost, skeleton, witch, vampire, Frankenstein’s monster, jack-o-lantern, and mummy. Sure they may not freak people out but they’re so adorable it’s scary.

65. Seems like you have a skeleton rising from his grave.

Even has the ground light up beneath. But the light up eyes can be truly terrifying.

66. You wouldn’t want to run into this scarecrow jack-o-lantern.

Has a jack-o-lantern head and carries pumpkins. Great for getting kids off your lawn.

67. From top to bottom, these jack-o-lanterns are all stacked in black and white.

And yes, all these light up at night. Similar to the previous stacked pumpkins. But these are incredibly eerie.

68. This ghoul always keeps to himself on the stool.

But you might not want to look into the face. But it’s a truly terrifying sight at this angle.

69. Your little witch can always cuddle with these trick or treaters.

One of these is an amigurumi witch. The other is dressed as a pumpkin. Bot hare adorable it’s eerie.

70. On Halloween you can’t resist these eerie flower pot figures.

Includes a vampire, witch, mummy, and werewolf. But they’re guaranteed to scare no one. Save the neighbors during a home decorating contest.

71. You’d always want to curl up with these amigurumi cats.

One of these is a black witch cat. The other is a scarecrow. Both are cute for any Halloween couch.

72. Horror movie fans will simply adore this Chucky amigurumi.

Sure he may be a serial killing doll. But he just looks too cute to die for as a crocheted plushie.

73. These Halloween amigurumi comprise of a real monster mash.

Includes a pink haired witch, vampire, Frankenstein’s monster, black cat, and ghost. Still, you can’t resist these monstrous plushies.

74. Greet ghoulish guests with this feathery festive Halloween wreath.

The feathers are mostly black. And it’s touched with a bow and some candy corn on branches.

75. You wouldn’t believe to see a crow on a ledge at home.

And I call it a crow because ravens are bigger. But ravens are still crows, technically.

76. Roses and skeletons always look resplendent on a tulle wreath.

It’s black with purple strips on them. Still, the flowers are incredibly lovely.

77. A mad scientist can never do without their own apothecary set.

Of course, this might take a long time to pull off. The piece is painted black with all kinds of bottles and other accessories.

78. For a creepy chateau, welcome your guests with this black tulle wreath.

Includes a crow in the center along with purple flowers. And yes, it’s quite pretty.

79. Silver always goes well on a witch’s hat.

Has black feathers with silver leaves, flowers, and twigs. Fitting for any witch who wants to look good at a Halloween party.

80. Nothing makes your Halloween complete like a set of spooky nesting dolls.

Includes a ghost, Frankenstein’s monster, jack-o-lantern, black cat, and night I think. But they’re quite eerily designed.

81. Got old lightbulbs? Make potion bottles out of them.

Though it’s a certain kind of light bulb. Because a regular one has a round bottom. And an energy saving one is a coil.

82. You’d think this woman had just lost her head.

This a screen with a woman taking her own head off. Creepy but great for any Halloween home.

83. A black tulle wreath is magnificent with shiny flowers.

Well, it has orange and purple flowers. But it’s a wonderful wreath to have at your haunted home.

84. This Halloween wreath is all eyes.

Well, it’s full of eyeballs with eyes you’d find at a craft store. Yes, it’s incredibly creepy.

85. Crocheted ghost place mats are the height of horror hospitality.

You can use as a cozy on almost anything. Though it makes a rather eerie place setting.

86. Seems like we found a sick horror show in somebody’s basement.

Yes, some Halloween decorations are incredibly disturbing. The severed head and arm give me the creeps.

87. You’d think someone got murdered by looking at this towel.

This bloody towel is rather easy to do. But I’m sure that’s red dye, not blood.

88. You’d be wise to watch out for these big eyed monster.

The wreath is covered with feathers and large googly eyes. More cute than creepy.

89. You wouldn’t want to run into this fiend in the front lawn.

Guess this one was horror movie inspired. Creepy as hell. Guaranteed to give you nightmares.

90. This grapevine wreath is a perfect crow’s nest.

This one is an oval wreath with a crow in the center. A modest decoration that’s great for any haunted home.

91. Curl up on your couch with this eerie Halloween quilt.

This is a rather haunted scene. And it mostly consists of orange, black, and yellow.

92. On this deco mesh wreath you find a spider web.

It’s mostly black and purple with a web and spiders all around. A haunted door must have for Halloween.

93. You can hang these ghosts on any arch way.

These mostly consist of masks and deco mesh cloth. Very scary but cool.

94. You’re bound to find a spider infestation on this door way.

I’m sure this would make an arachnaphobe go nuts. But it’s bound to do well in any Halloween decorating contest.

95. A hefty trash bag and duct tape makes a great body bag.

I know it’s kind of creepy. But it’s perfect for a crime scene themed Halloween home.

96. A crow wreath always stands out if you add a chain.

Yes, this is a wreath with chains. And yes, it’s good for any nightmare den on Halloween.

97. There’s something rather batty about this chandelier.

It has a lot of bats on the lampshades. This would be a scream at a Halloween party.

98. An orange wreath with black lace should always go over an old window.

Includes a couple of crows. Yet, it’s bound to make a home even more haunted.

99. Grace your front door with a wreath of flowers and cobwebs.

Has cobwebs on one side and black flowers on the other. Skull is near the bottom.

100. This raven can always match this black tulle wreath with flowers.

Has black and purple flowers with a crow on the top. So lovely for a haunted home for Halloween.

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Halloween Party Tricks or Treats (But Mostly Treats, Sort of) (Fourth Edition)

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Of course, it’s that time of year again when we make dress into costumes, watch horror movies, and decorate our homes with scary decorations. Not to mention, it’s such a popular holiday that some people look more forward to the end of October than Christmas. Nevertheless, if you’re holding a party at your house, you might want to stay on this blog if you’re willing to withstand the stomach churning, gut wrenching, and unappetizing grub I have on this post. Sure this is the fourth Halloween treat post I’ve done. But each one has featured some disgusting morsels that would scare your appetite. Of course, you might try these terrifying treats on Halloween in order to not displease your horrifying host. But save on the occasional Friday the 13th, you might want to avoid these most of the year, especially Christmas. Well, unless you want to throw a Nightmare Before Christmas party. So for your reading pleasure, feast your eyes on another assortment of some gruesome Halloween grub.

  1. Your guests will get all wrapped up in these mummy Milanos.

But the new Mummy movie with Tom Cruise not so much. Hope you have plenty of white icing for the wraps.

2. People go crawling for some spider macaroons.

Okay, they may not taste like Oreo cookies. But even those afraid of spiders can’t resist these.

3. Instead of a trick or treat bag, how about a trick or treat cake?

Though please unwrap the candy before putting it on the cake. Still, the jack-o-lantern design is adorable.

4. How about you try an eyeball?

Bet these are small candy bites. But yes, you get gruesome food like this on Halloween.

5. Enjoy your Halloween night with some pumpkin hand pies.

And yes, they have jack-o-lantern faces carved in. Though the filling doesn’t exactly look like pumpkin. More like apple.

6. It’s widely said that pumpkin artichoke puke is quite tasty.

I posted a similar puking pumpkin before but it was green. Yet, on the bright side, it goes well with crackers.

7. These spider brownies will make you scream with delight.

Their 8 legs are made from pretzels. While they have large eyes and fangs.

8. No little ghoul could ever resist these Frankencookies.

Well, they’re mostly green and come in all sizes. Though you may not like the gumdrop noses.

9. Refresh yourself at any Halloween party with some shrunken head punch.

The heads are peeled apples by the way. But I can understand why this image would make you puke.

10. These witchy marshmallow pops will put you under a spell.

Each one is dipped in green icing and topped with a cone hat. Not sure what the hat’s made of.

11. Grace your dessert platter with some mummy cookie bits.

All are dipped in white icing with chocolate chip eyes. Has some drizzle to resemble wraps.

12. Send your kid to school with this ghostly lunch.

Has a bunch of ghoulish goodies no child could resist. And yes, the cheese is white and ghostly on that sandwich.

13. Black cat cookies won’t bring you bad luck at your party.

Yes, black cats may look scary. But most of them are just regular cats unlike what the Edgar Allan Poe story.

14. No Halloween party is ever complete without finger breadsticks.

Comes with a cheesy sauce. But these look quite easy to make. Just spice up the tips for the nail.

15. These gingerbread voo doo doll cookies will put you in stitches.

Well, these look quite cute with button eyes and a stitched heart. But if you love Tim Burton movies, these are for you.

16. For a spooky dessert platter, you have to feast on these jack-o-lantern cookies.

Make sure they have pumpkin spice in them. Since such flavor is more appropriate for them. While the notion of a pumpkin spice latte is utterly ridiculous.

17. These eyeball cupcakes is certainly eye-catching.

Each of them contain a lifesaver iris of your choice. But the icing is always white and bloodshot.

18. If you like The Walking Dead, take a bite out of these cookies.

Each of them contains a horrific injury designed to amuse you. Some even have severed attributes. Gory but fun.

19. These ghosts are especially cheesy.

Though they seem quite small to fit on a cracker. Then again, this is a big cracker.

20. Dip your hotdogs in some spider web sauce.

It mostly consists of ketchup and mustard in a spiderweb design. Though the aesthetics don’t look easy.

21. With these cookies, it’s always a trick or treat.

Each one seems to either have chocolate chips or mini M&Ms. Comes in ghost, pumpkin, coffin, and tombstone.

22. For your appetizer platter, this cheesy skull is a scream.

This one has olive eyes and almond slice teeth. Dip goes great with crackers.

23. All eyes are on these monstrous cupcakes.

This one’s eyes are made from licorice with mini marshmallows and mini M&Ms. Still, you might have to put them apart to eat them.

24. These Rice Krispie bars are full of monstrosities.

They basically consist of Rice Krispie treats dipped in icing and sprinkles with eyes on them. Though they’re more cute than scary.

25. On Halloween morning, wake up batty.

These are pancakes shaped as bats. Sure they aren’t black but they’re adorable.

26. Be free to drink your Gatorade from an IV bag.

Bet these were made from a nurse. Comes in 4 different colors. Though I think water will make them more scary looking.

27. These cookies seem especially witchy to me.

Has a green face with black hats. And yes, they’re more adorable than scary.

28. Of course, you might know that some pumpkin hand pies can be used for anything other than dessert.

Though whether it’s savory or dessert depends on the dough composition and filling. These have spinach dip filling and are composed of a savory crust.

29. On Halloween, half moon pies have ghoulish faces.

They’re basically made out of the same stuff the pumpkin pies I previously showed. But their faces are quite eerie.

30. Nobody could resist such nightmarish ghostly fudge.

Yes, stick your teeth in these unearthly delights. Or else, resistance will haunt your appetite.

31. Take a slice out of some flayed face cake.

Okay, that makes me want to puke my guts out. But it’s great for Halloween parties with a slasher horror theme.

32. This graveyard cake always appears well infested.

Yes, I’ve shown quite a few of them in my Halloween treat post. This one is no different. But it includes gummy worms and candy corn.

33. Want to try a chocolate mouse or two?

Yes, we all know they’re considered disgusting vermin that cause diseases. But on Halloween, they’re a delectable spooky treat.

34. A moon cake makes for an especially eerie Halloween night.

Though be sure to decorate it with cookie bats. Otherwise, it’s just a moon cake.

35. Nothing spooks your appetite like some spider cracker sandwiches.

Each one consists of ham in the middle with raisin eyes. Not sure what the legs are made of.

36. These cupcakes are simply monstrous.

Consists of monsters, mummies, pumpkins, and skulls. But they’re more cute than scary.

37. Dip your chip into some nacho pumpkin cheese.

It’s a pumpkin cheeseball covered in Doritos and olives. Has a pickle for a stem.

38. This cupcake could only scare a crow.

Has an ice cream cone as its hat. Though remove the candy corn nose before consumption.

39.  How would like to tear away this jack-o-lantern.

Well, it’s a tear away cupcake cake of a jack-o-lantern. And they all seem like they’re chocolate.

40. There’s something crawling from this cake.

This is a spider cake, obviously. The spiders are plastic and are only used for decorations.

41. Not sure if the ghost is scarier than the tree.

These cupcakes have a ghost in the front. But the tree in the back is quite frightening.

42. You might want to take these sandwiches to the grave.

Not sure what the filling supposed to be. But it has “RIP” in pepper slices.

43. Want to take a bite out of these bagel pizzas under wraps?

Well, these mummy pizzas are covered in cheese. But you’d be crazy not to see these as adorable.

44. Help yourself to some pita pumpkins.

They also seem to come with cheese. Also, is that a tortilla inside?

45. Now this dessert must be a monstrous treat.

Each of the strawberries has fangs. Might want to be careful taking a bite. Well, before the mouths bite you.

46. Might want to take a bite of some ghostly corn bread.

Sure they may not be white ghosts. But they’re great for any haunted dinner.

47. Nothing makes a spooky dinner like some spider pizza.

The spider consists of pepperoni and bacon. Also, contains olive eyes.

48. Grace your dessert platter with this webby cake.

This one has a more intricate design. But add a spider, then you have a webbed cake for any Halloween party.

49. There’s nothing greener on Halloween like a Frankencake.

It’s a Frankenstein cake. More cute than scary though. Mostly because it’s catered to kids.

50. For a Halloween barbecue, you might want a taste of these chilling cheeseburgers.

Each one has a cheese slice of a pumpkin and ghost. Not sure which one I’d want.

51. These iced pretzels make a rather spooky Halloween snack.

Consists of pumpkins, mummies, and monsters. Some of the monsters have chocolate and vanilla eyes.

52. How about a jello eyeball or two?

Okay, that’s pretty disgusting. The blood seems to make it looks worse.

53. For healthier options, perhaps some jello melon brain may suit you.

Well, not sure how much melon is in it. But jello really makes it look incredibly bloody.

54. No dessert can be scarier than an eyeball bite.

Each one is attached to a fork. Because it looks more gruesome that way.

55. This cheesecake comes complete with a chocolate spider web.

This one seems more like a gourmet dessert than the others. But the spider and web give it a Halloween touch.

56. You will certainly be swept away with these witch hat and brooms.

Consists of Oreos with pretzel sticks. Guess the top is made from a Hershey’s kiss.

57. Candy corn buns always go best with a spooky supper.

But you can bet that these are more delicious than the actual candy. Because candy corn isn’t meant for human consumption.

58. Care to try some green fingers?

They’re basically cookies with red nails. But you’d be starved to find them in this cauldron.

59. You can’t do without this cake during the graveyard shift.

This is certainly a chocolate delight with a chocolate fence. Wouldn’t mind a piece of this.

60. Serve your Halloween party guests a dish of eyeball casserole.

Despite its gruesome name, it’s basically taco salad. Those eyeballs mostly consist of olive slices and cheese.

61. This Halloween, feast on some eyeball pasta.

This one has cheese eyes and green pasta. Hope you have an appetite for this.

62. Nothing makes a better Halloween lunch like these pumpkin biscuit sandwiches.

Definitely the kind you’d want on a cold afternoon. Hope they don’t give you the spooks.

63. You’d find something ghostly inside this cake.

I can never understand how you can put cake images in these without mixing the batters. Also has icing and sprinkles on the top.

64. You’d be spiked for this pepperoni head.

This is a likeness of some horror movie villain I don’t know about. I’m sure this will be a hit for slasher horror fans.

65. There’s something slimy about this snake bread.

These two loaves are dyed with red and yellow stripes. But don’t worry, neither are poisonous. So enjoy.

66. Dare to try some deviled eyeball eggs.

They’re also bloodshot and red to incite more fright. Great for any gruesome appetizer platter.

67. Any witch should help herself to some full moon dip.

The chips on here are black and shaped as witches on brooms. One is on top of the dip that’s mostly cheese.

68. Help yourself to a severed hand pie.

Don’t worry, that’s cherry filling not blood. But you have to cut these pies in half upon serving.

69. No Halloween dinner is complete without a pumpkin baked potato.

Is cheesy on the surface with pepper nose and eyes. The mouth is made of bacon.

70. Everyone should slither to this snake cake.

I’ve had this one in my Halloween treat file for years. At least I get to finally use it this time.

71. You might want to be wary of this ghoulish pumpkin pie.

Well, one of the pumpkins is a normal jack-o-lantern. The other will give you nightmares.

72. You’d be scared not to eat these monster cupcakes.

These have different kinds of attributes. Some have multiple eyes and legs.

73. This black cat cheese ball has plenty of room for crackers.

Well, it’s not exactly a black cat. But it does look adorable I wouldn’t want to put that knife in it.

74. How about a jack-o-lantern pizza on a bun?

This one mostly consists of cheese with olive attributes. Though cheddar isn’t exactly pumpkin orange.

75. You’d be dumb to ignore these brain cookies.

Well, these are cookies with brains on top. Delectable with any zombie in need of brains.

76. Pumpkin dip can be especially cheesy.

It’s basically jack-o-lantern nacho dip. Black chips are the eyes and nose. Olives consist of the mouth.

77. No ghastly feast is complete without eyeball bread.

Sure they’re not as disgusting as the other eyeball treats. But the olives are always at the center.

78. Hope you don’t get spooked by a chocolate jack-o-lantern.

Well, it’s a chocolate jack-o-lantern cake. The facial attributes are lined with white chocolate chips.

79. No party guest can ever resist these kitty cupcakes.

Each one of these is covered with sprinkles with candy eyes and ears. So cute that it’s scary.

80. With this cake, the moon is full.

It’s a yellow iced cake that has candy bats. Surely it’s scary but quite simple.

Deliberate Sabotage

Since taking office, the Trump administration has already taken aim to sabotage the Obamacare marketplaces. First, they cut the Obamacare enrollment period from 90 days to 45. Second, they’ve cut the Obamacare advertising budget by 90% and reduced funding for in-person outreach by 40%. Nevertheless, this has caused Health and Human Services regional branches abruptly pulled out of outreach events they’ve participated in over the last 4 years. Third, they’ve shut down the Healthcare.gov website for maintenance. And finally, Trump has repeatedly threatened to end subsidies to insurance companies who cover the poor. Since Republicans have spent 7 years promising to repeal Obamacare, the healthcare law has become a political football. Recently Donald Trump has signed two executive orders sabotaging the Affordable Care Act. Both these executive orders could undermine President Obama’s signature domestic achievement sending insurance premiums skyrocketing and insurance companies fleeing from the ACA’s online marketplaces.

First, he ordered the government to allow associations of small employers or other membership groups band together and offer their own insurance that wouldn’t have to provide all the essential health benefits required under the law as well as be sold across state lines. The order also directed officials to loosen rules for low-cost, short-term health insurance. Trump claims these changes give consumers cheaper options. But health insurance (and basically everyone else) fear it could shift insurance markets back to their pre-ACA days when healthy people paid less but people with preexisting conditions often found coverage unaffordable.

According to the Brookings Institute, a version of these self-insured association plans first became widespread in the 1980s but they failed in droves because many were undercapitalized. Even worse, these earlier association plans had a history of becoming what the Labor Department referred to as, “scam artists.” And it’s known that some of these low-cost plans cover virtually nothing. The Government Accountability Office reported AHPs were “bogus entities [that] have exploited employers and individuals seeking affordable coverage.” In 1992, more than two dozen states found that these early association plans had committed fraud, embezzlement, and other criminal violations. AHPs also run a greater risk for insolvency when claims unexpectedly exceed their ability to pay and have a long history of financial instability. When a long-standing AHP covering 20,000 in New Jersey became insolvent in 2002, its outstanding medical bills totaled $15 million. Though employers paid their premiums, claims made by them and their workers remained unpaid. And it doesn’t help that even these plans’ strongest proponents want guardrails placed on what groups can qualify. For many associations offer health plans to just about anyone who needs insurance, not just small business owners. You don’t need to be a farmer to join the Farm Bureau and business associations can be open anyone filing a Schedule C tax form. Some even have skimpier qualifications that they’re criticized as “air breather” associations in which the only commonality among its members is need for air for breathing.

So it’s no surprise that insurers and state-based regulators have criticized Donald Trump’s provision as a counterproductive step that could pave way for a new batch of flimsy, poor regulated health plans. states are often well positioned with broad enforcement authority to protect their residents by preventing or quickly identifying and closing down scam health insurance operators, many of whom have long used association health plans to sell fraudulent coverage to hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting consumers. However, unlike large employer plans and Obamacare, Trump’s executive order exempts AHPs from state authority. Thus, severely hurting the states’ ability to protect consumers. Instead, the US Department of Labor would primarily enforce AHPs but without the tools, resources, and culture to protect against fraud. As a result, con artists can potentially use existence of federally approved AHPs to so regulatory confusion in order to avoid state detection and shield themselves from law enforcement. So if you work for a small business that has an association plan, you may not be able to get help from your state insurance department if claims aren’t paid.
Though association plans may work great for small businesses with younger healthier workers, those with older, sicker workers will be charged higher premiums. Should one of these younger healthier employees experience a medical emergency, their insurance may not cover the care they need. In addition, small business owners might be incentivized to fire more medically costly employees to avoid premium increases. At any rate, a medical crisis could be potentially ruinous for small business employees under these plans, particularly if they become uninsured in the process. Furthermore, association plans might give small employers more incentives to reject certain applicants based on medical needs. Meanwhile, those on the Obamacare marketplaces will find their coverage less stable and secure if they have preexisting conditions since their insurance will be more expensive and consist of fewer people. Nevertheless, though association health plans may seem like affordable insurance, they’re actually poorly regulated inferior products that are only low-cost to consumers until something goes horribly wrong. But they also destabilize the insurance market which makes more viable small group and individual insurance more expensive and less accessible to those who need it the most. Such destabilization can result in higher medical costs, fewer options, and less healthcare access in the individual market.

When less regulated association health plans compete with fully regulated markets, they create an uneven playing field that can disrupt markets. People who don’t need to cover preexisting conditions or don’t want to pay community rates gravitate toward the better deals association plans offer, leaving sicker people in the regulated markets and having to pay higher costs. Thus, regulated market insurance prices increase, sometimes causing a death spiral that crashes the market and puts consumers at risk. Kentucky experienced this in the 1990s when it reformed its individual market but exempted association plans from the reforms. Association plan enrollment shot up while regulated market insurers pulled out. Within 2 years the state’s reforms were repealed. Though association plans were only a part of Kentucky’s failed market reforms, they’re still a major reason why the state’s health disaster now serves as a lesson for other states to avoid similar reforms.

Second, Donald Trump signed an executive order ordered the government to stop paying insurance subsidies that allowed low-income people to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses that could be as high as $7,150 for individuals and $14,300 for families. Known as cost-sharing reductions or CSRs, these subsidies drawn from a $7 billion fund had been embroiled in legal and political battles between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans over whether Congress had authorized the president to pay for them. A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 60% of the public thought Congress should guarantee these payments continue. Most Republicans, however, consider them insurance company bailouts and wanted them to end.
Eliminating CSRs is an inherently unpopular policy does nothing but hurt people and waste money. Without subsidies, insurance markets could quickly unravel. Cutting them will result in insurers issuing premium increases as high as 20-25% by 2018-2020 for anyone using Obamacare. Furthermore, an already fragile Obamacare marketplace at greater risk of a last minute health plan exodus by those who assumed the government would pay these subsidies and feel they can’t take the significant financial losses. This can result in as many as 1 million Americans uninsured next year. As those insurance plans make double digit rate increases, the government will have to spend billions more on the other subsidies that 10 million Americans receive to purchase that coverage. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the move will ultimately cost the federal government $194 billion over the next decade. To put it this way, by eliminating CSRs, Donald Trump has enacting a policy where the government spends billions to insure fewer people. And therefore, one that helps nobody and hurts millions.

It’s very clear that Donald Trump’s presidential agenda is destroying Barack Obama’s legacy than trying to replace, fix, or improve his predecessor’s biggest accomplishments. Or perhaps help some of the very people who voted him into office. Though he and the Republicans see Obamacare as a political football, his actions will have immediate and very real consequences for Americans. Real people will be hurt by an administration that has actively decided to make a public benefits program function poorly. All these executive orders do is drain Obamacare of the resources it needs to deliver care to the many millions who’ve signed on to the program. Dividing the healthy from the sick in the name of allegedly expanding choice and driving up healthcare costs for sick people benefitting from Obamacare is an egregious idea that only ruins lives and helps nobody. Though the ACA isn’t a perfect and could use a few fixes, to let it fail simply out of spite is outright cruel.

Healthcare is a human right every American is entitled to and the federal government should guarantee access to all. Nobody should be turned away from the healthcare regardless if they can afford it or who has to pay for it. And if it’s taxpayers footing the bill, so be it. If a medical treatment should save a sick or injured person’s life, nothing else should matter. Because to deny medical care robs Americans of their dignity as well as their life, liberty, and their pursuit of happiness. The fact the United States has a for-profit healthcare system that discriminates against the poor is unconscionable for corporations, politicians, and employers shouldn’t decide who has access. It’s essentially indefensible that Donald Trump and the Republican Party not only think it’s okay to deny people medical care, but they’re also perfectly fine with throwing people off their health insurance. Furthermore, they don’t see any problem with letting the Children’s Health Insurance Program expire and jeopardizing healthcare coverage for 9 million kids. To believe only certain people should healthcare because you don’t want more government intrusion in your life and don’t want to pay for other people’s treatment is extremely selfish, degrading, and dehumanizing to the most vulnerable who need it. The fact the Republicans embrace such pathological ideology that government has no role to guarantee healthcare to its citizens is an absolute travesty. And it’s a viewpoint I find completely indefensible that I can’t respect it as an acceptable political opinion. In the United States, universal healthcare shouldn’t be controversial partisan issue but one every American should embrace wholeheartedly. After all, everyone needs healthcare and it’s the right thing to do. Because healthcare shouldn’t be about politics but people’s lives. Americans deserve a universal healthcare system that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Not a pay to play system dominated by corporations.

A Shallow Emphasis on Patriotism

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As president, Donald Trump constantly exacerbates cultural conflict in order to distract Americans from his destructive policies and their devastating results. Apparently, he prefers politics as a zero-sum culture war through his use of racist dog whistles to appeal to his base. He’s willing to inflict enough controversy to make sure his race-based politics dominate the public debate. During an Alabama rally in late September, Trump reignited the conflict over the NFL’s protests that San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick started last year. Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem in protest to police brutality and systematic racism ignited a firestorm across the nation which he eventually paid the price. Trump requested that NFL owners fire kneeling players, arguing that the protests were disrespectful to the flag and armed forces which soon resulted in a second wave of protests where the number of players kneeling exploded. Some team owners joined in as well though their support of Trump and their blacklisting of Kaepernick make me question their sincerity. On Sunday October 8, 2017, Trump reportedly sent Vice President Mike Pence to a Colts-49ers game in Indianapolis with explicit instructions to walk out just as players took a knee. Pence did what he was told and the media swarmed on this story like a dog over a dangling piece of meat. The action reeks publicity stunt to distract the public from his terrible policies and notorious scandals.

We must acknowledge that Donald Trump’s attacks on kneeling NFL players is nothing but a racist tirade wrapped in the guise of flag waving patriotism. Attacking political opponents as disrespectful to neutral patriotic symbols is a cheap but persuasive technique when pandering to white conservatives who don’t take nonconformity with patriotic rituals very well at all. Nevertheless, such patriotic grandstanding has been effective in convincing millions of Americans to support wars no matter how unjust and discredit anti-war protests without listening to what they had to say for decades. It has brought down political careers as well as cost political candidates election. Now it’s one thing to politically disagree with someone. But whenever a conservative plays the patriot card to shill a political opponent, it’s subtle character assassination. By questioning an opponent’s patriotism, they’re implying that their personal beliefs and actions are quintessentially Un-American and they’re unpatriotic for holding them. When Trump alleges kneeling NFL players for disrespecting the flag during the national anthem, he’s implying that they don’t love or respect America. Because only ungrateful Un-Americans would dare protest the national anthem. And the fact most NFL players are black while the audience is mostly white allows Trump to ignite racialized political conflicts in a perfect storm.

However, we must understand that the kneeling players’ disrespect for America and its flag, is nothing but a total and malicious lie. Most protestors never actually intend to disrespect the flag or the military whether they use patriotic symbols or not. The fact the Bill of Rights guarantees Americans freedom of speech has long established that openly disagreeing with your country’s policies, leaders, institutions, or government isn’t unpatriotic in the United States. Rather most people protest because to address problems in their country they want their fellow Americans to fix like systematic racial injustice. What Colin Kaepernick protested when he took a knee during the national anthem, he didn’t do so because he was ungrateful and hated America. But because he strongly believed that police officers shouldn’t kill unarmed people of color with impunity and that racism was wrong. His refusal to stand for the national anthem was his way of calling national attention to a cause on behalf of an underrepresented people who mostly don’t share his wealth or social standing. As he told an NFL.com reporter, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Besides, Kaepernick settled on taking a knee as a peaceful gesture of respect on a teammate’s advice (who was a military veteran by the way). Like what American soldiers do in reverence for a fallen comrade. Or when a fellow player gets hurt during a game. Or that you respect the flag but think the ideals it represents aren’t being realized which was exactly what Kaepernick tried to convey. Furthermore, his gesture was silent, non-disruptive, and entirely nonviolent. Judging by the fact he’s lost millions of dollars and another backup quarterback job in the foreseeable future over a cause he believes in, his actions aren’t exactly selfish for he’s gained absolutely nothing from it. Well, other than a barrage of racial slurs and death threats from Internet trolls as well as notoriety in the right-wing media machine. Nevertheless, given that the NFL mostly consists of black athletes, many of his fellow of players joined him since they like Kaepernick see their fame and success put them in a position of power to call attention to what they, their families, and those in their communities have experienced day after day.

Of course, Americans don’t like politics inserted in their sports games. Rather they would rather see sports as a respite from the partisan fray where Americans can come together to enjoy a few hours of mindless entertainment. Nor do they want any reminders that racism is still alive and well in America despite that we have Martin Luther King Day and elected a black president. Even as people of color still face horrendous systemic racial discrimination every single day of their lives that the phrase “black lives matter” incites just as much white rage as it would in the 1920s (then again, maybe not). Kaepernick knew his actions were unpopular because protests are meant to cause public discomfort to show that something is so wrong that routine American life simply can’t go on as is. Because hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists have also received the considerable backlash from the very same people who malign him. Not to mention, the cause of civil rights for racial minorities has never been a popular one in white America since it involves minorities making demands on society at large. Sure you may have white people discuss Martin Luther King Jr. in reverence on his national holiday in January. But many of these very same individuals would’ve addressed him with racial slurs, death threats, and physical violence while he was alive during the 1960s, especially in the South. In fact, King was eventually assassinated precisely for his civil rights activism he’s remembered for. Also, the FBI had wiretapped him for years because director J. Edgar Hoover was extremely racist and saw civil rights activists as Un-American communists. Oh, and police arrested and jailed him for protesting segregation multiple times. The Klu Klux Klan even burned a cross on his front lawn. We should also remember that the 1960s South also saw a spike in new Confederate memorials, Confederate flags flown at their state capitols, and numerous incidents of racially-motivated terrorism particularly by the Klu Klux Klan. Public opinion polls during that time repeatedly found that most Americans said blacks should stop the civil rights demonstrations and that the protests would ultimately hurt them. If Martin Luther King was alive today, he’d certainly take a knee for Kaepernick during the national anthem during a sporting event. After all, those who championed Jackie Robinson’s “gracious” rise said the exact same shit Kaepernick had to put up with once he started advocating for race-related causes. Mostly because he couldn’t eat at the same restaurants and stay in the same hotels as his teammates during away games.

The truth is that for many Americans, patriotism is complicated. This is especially the case with people of color who’ve endured hundreds of years of systematic racism whether it be slavery, segregation, and mass incarceration for blacks, removal and reservations for Native Americans, immigration restrictions and citizenship bans for Asians, enhanced security checks for Muslims and anyone looking like one, along with fears of undocumented immigration for Hispanics. But despite how the government and their fellow countrymen treated marginalized people, most of them still considered themselves proud Americans. Many of them fought and died for this country. And if they protested, it wasn’t out of disrespect but out of desiring the same rights, privileges, representation, and opportunities their white counterparts take for granted. In other words, they just want to be accepted as Americans as anyone else in this country. After all, it was Martin Luther King Jr. himself who said during the March on Washington in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963: “Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” People of color don’t protest out of disrespect for the American flag, but because they want their country to live up to the democratic ideals the American flag represents. Civil rights activists like King demonstrated on the streets were willing to endure violence, jail time, and even death for that. If that doesn’t express a love for one’s country, I don’t know what does.

However, white fragility and privilege being what it is, much of white America may be fine with racial equality but only in theory but most want to do what it takes to actually achieve it. Many don’t want to treat people of color as their social equals if it means losing their special whiteness perks. A lot of white Americans aren’t happy to see disadvantaged minorities who disproportionately benefit from social programs and policies. They believe in the idea that if people of color receive special benefits, they stand to lose what they have. Despite that plenty of white Americans would be much better off with racial equality even after losing their white privilege. If a person of a color is rich, famous, and/or successful, then many white Americans may resent them when they take a stand against racism. Since they may wonder why these non-white celebrities have the nerve to question a country that so richly rewarded them. For millions of white Americans it’s easier to believe in a glorious past that whitewashes all the racial ugliness than come to terms with seeing themselves as oppressors. Some may only acknowledge racism as a distant memory instead of a specter haunting, dividing, and corrupting Americans in insidious and divisive ways to this day. Either way, those in both camps will most likely view the Civil Rights Movement as a peaceful kumbaya fest that it wasn’t. Many white Americans either live in a bubble of ignorance or refuse to acknowledge that they generously benefit from systematic racism. Or that their white privilege comes at a terrible price to themselves, especially if they’re poor. And when people of color protest to their discomfort, many white Americans really don’t really want to understand. Because most would rather continue their life as it is than confront the ugly reality of racism that many people of color face. So they find ways to discredit troublesome protesters like inflicting the patriot card as in Colin Kaepernick’s case or alleging Black Lives Matter activists as cop killing thugs. They may criticize how racial minorities are so unwilling to acknowledge progress and express gratitude for living in a free country. In any case, many white Americans just want protesting people of color to shut up about discrimination and get over it. It’s one thing when whites wonder why people of color can’t express their dissent in an orderly law-abiding way whenever unrest erupts at their demonstrations against perceive injustice. But every time a person of color protests peacefully, the same whites angrily object to the message, the tactics, and the slogans’ purpose. Let’s just say, whenever racial minorities protest, it’s not how, why, and where that upsets whites. But the fact they’re protesting at all, let alone raising issues white people don’t want to hear.

Fortunately, now that we have a national holiday honoring the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., it’s firmly established that publicly speaking out against racism doesn’t make you unpatriotic. Expressing discontent of your country’s problems doesn’t make you disloyal. Nor does expecting your nation to live up to the ideals it celebrates and represents. The First Amendment makes this perfectly clear so protesting the national anthem is well within exercising one’s constitutional rights. Even if Donald Trump and his white conservative supporters claim otherwise. Still, Donald Trump’s use of patriotism to discredit NFL anthem protesters and called for a boycott until the NFL forces their players to stand is particularly disgusting. For one, forced patriotic reverence is basically what authoritarian dictators do and violates the constitution. Second, his attacks on NFL protests contain plenty of racist undertones on the idea that people of color should shut up. We all know that Trump sees nonstop racialized politics as a winning strategy to pander to his supporters. Besides, he’s encouraged supporters to attack minority protesters at his rallies, failed to condemn white supremacists in Charlottesville, called for an ESPN host’s firing after she called him a white supremacist, promoted birtherism, was sued for housing discrimination, called for the deaths of the Central Park Five, and pardoned Joe Arpaio.

But most importantly though he casts himself as a defender of national symbols, Donald Trump is far from an American patriot. He may proclaim he loves his country and wrap himself in the American flag. However, Trump often grandstands patriotic platitudes to exploit the country for his own personal gain. He’s used his wealth and privilege to get out of Vietnam, taxes, and accountability for his egregious business practices that have ruined countless American lives. He’s flagrantly abused his power and influence during his presidency such as violating the Emoluments Clause in the US Constitution. In his whole life, he’s made no personal sacrifices for the United States despite all the good his country has done for him. He doesn’t understand anything about the very government he leads nor does he express any interest to do so. He has no appreciation for American democratic principles that this country was built on such as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people along with the idea that all are created equal. He has no grasp of history and no interest in learning it. He sees First Amendment rights as an obstacle against silencing his critics and quell demonstrations against him. I mean the guy explodes into a Twitter fit accusing the media of “fake news” whenever they report an unflattering story about him. Not to mention, he’s either sued or threaten to sue people who’ve challenged him. Then there’s the fact he’s threatened to rescind NBC’s license after they reported on him wanting to increase our nuclear arsenal 10 times. Despite that he enjoys a lot of support from veterans, his long record of veterans bashing really shows he doesn’t respect those who’ve served in uniform. He’s called POWs losers, set up a fake veterans hotline, promised to donate $6 million to veterans with no intention of actually doing so, attacked Gold Star parents, claimed how he always wanted a Purple Heart after receiving one from a supporter, and claiming he knows more about ISIS than the generals. Trump has praised authoritarian despots like Vladimir Putin as well as done business with those who don’t support American interests like Qaddafi. Even goes as far as publicly stating that the US isn’t much better than Russia. Oh, and his presidential campaign colluded with Russia by initiating hacks and misinformation on his opponents, particularly Hillary Clinton. Then there are his speeches describing the US as a Hunger Games hellscape a la “American Carnage.”

Thus, we must understand that while we may identify patriotism with national symbols like waving the American flag, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, or standing for the “Star Spangled Banner.” Yet, these civil rituals are only shallow expressions of love for one’s country. Patriotic grandstanding is easy. Actually making sacrifices for one’s country or the ideals it represents is extremely difficult and may not always guarantee you praises from your fellow countrymen. In fact, it might come at considerable cost that most flag waving Americans aren’t willing to pay. We may parade our veterans and servicemen as heroes to thank for their service. But many of us have a shallow understanding on what it takes to respect their sacrifice. Our country has far too many veterans on the street while many still experience homelessness, mental illness, health problems, disability, and financial difficulties. Just standing for the national anthem, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and thanking soldiers for their service aren’t enough. We may celebrate those who take on American society to affirm its principles at a considerable risk. But we usually forget how often they faced backlash from a hostile American public. Some have lost careers and reputations. Some have gone to prison. Some have endured threats, physical violence, terror attacks, and alienation from loved ones. Some have even died. Nevertheless, who is the real patriot here? Is it the man who grandstands with American flags to attract legions in order to ruthlessly exploit the country he claims to love for personal enrichment? Or is the man respectfully taking a knee during the national anthem because he didn’t like cops getting away with murder? Is it the man who insists athletes stand for the national anthem but disrespects our men and women in uniform and seeks assistance of a hostile foreign power to win an election? Or is it the man willing to risk a lucrative career and be the most unfairly treated player in the NFL because he was unsatisfied how our country doesn’t live up to its ideals it represents? Is it the man who claims to love America but has no appreciation for its history, values, or democracy? Or is it the man willing to endure immense hatred from millions of people for championing a cause for Americans who don’t share his good fortune? It shouldn’t be hard to decide whose love of country we should honor.

The Haystack World of Straw Sculpture

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As autumn arrives, the fall festivals are in full swing. Whether it be Germany’s Ocktoberfest or some fun farm pumpkin patch with hayrides and stuff, you’ll find plenty since autumn’s usually harvest time. That and a great way to capitalize on Halloween which isn’t far behind. Nevertheless, since it’s not Columbus Day yet (or Indigenous People’s Day to those who don’t like the term), I’m not able to do the Halloween stuff which many of my readers look forward to. But earlier this week, I stumbled on a collection of straw sculptures from Japan and thought it as a way to hold me over till then. Now during the fall, farmers often collect hay to feed their livestock over the winter which consist of plants or inedible parts of plants that have been cut, dried, and stored. Farmers may typically store hay in square or round bales or in a stack. And there are people who may take a more creative approach and make sculptures. Whether they be of hay bales or for fall festivals or something else entirely. While hay sculpture isn’t as prevalent in the farm art world as crop circles, it does have some sort of presence on the Internet like Pinterest and other sites of interest. So for your reading pleasure, I give you an assortment of straw sculpture. Enjoy.

  1. Someone must’ve left a semi on the yonder field.

Actually it’s a hay made trailer truck. But it can supply a whole farm’s livestock for months.

2. When riding in a field, please don’t run into hay bales.

This scarecrow guy learned the hard way. Also, I know they used more than one bike for this.

3. Bet you don’t want to cross this wicker bull on a bad day.

Though a cow may find this guy good enough to eat. By the way, this bull is from Japan.

4. You can’t guess the length of this giant caterpillar.

Well, that one looks pretty easy to do. Just roll the bales in the right places and put a face on the front.

5. This squared bale owl will surely be a hoot.

This owl is made from square bales with some decorative additions. Like the eyes.

6. This springy straw dog is a real stretch.

Hey, that’s Slinky Dog from Toy Story. Just a few bales and a large metal coil.

7. Beware of making hay with this dairy cow.

The limbs consist of square bales. The body is a round one. But you can’t resist this bossy face.

8. This teddy bear can always beat his drum in an open field.

Well, a drum doesn’t require much since it’s round. But yes, this teddy is so adorable. Probably from Vermont.

9. This straw rat always gets the cheese.

Yes, it looks pretty creepy with red eyes and whiskers. But at least it won’t spread disease in your house.

10. This straw rabbit pulls its own cart with eggs.

Yes, this is an Easter display in hay. By that time most of the hay is usually eaten. But this is quite intricate.

11. Mater always makes hay at any time of day.

This is Mater from Cars. He’s a tow truck. And yes, he’s mostly made of bales.

12. Hop along on the Hay Bale Express.

It even has its own rails below. Consists of round and square bales with some attributes.

13. One of these bale people has all the brushes.

One has a box of cleaning brooms. The other has a role of something on a wooden stand. Not sure what it’s supposed to be.

14. A hay bear always stands proud.

Well, that’s a very intricate sculpture. And it’s standing on two legs. Bet you that would scare more crows than a scarecrow.

15. This straw sculpture is of mammoth proportions.

Guess you can pull off a wooly mammoth better than an elephant in hay. And yes, it’s supposed to be huge.

16. “We’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Straw.”

Well, one of the characters is a scarecrow. But yes, you should expect Wizard of Oz hay displays like these.

17. Oscar isn’t fond of people giving him straw.

And he has “Scram!” on his trash can. Consists of a round bale on his head and in green.

18. Minion bales always assist with evil or not.

This is from Despicable Me 2. You can tell from the purple minion included.

19. This hay bunny keeps going and going and going.

You know the pink Energizer bunny always beating the drum. Apparently, there’s a hay sculpture in its likeness.

20. Looks like these straw dogs are having a good time.

That one might be hard to explain to their kids. Not sure how someone could pull that off with families around.

21. Don’t look now, but I think it’s the Loch Ness monster in that field.

Well, it’s the Loch Ness Monster made of straw. You don’t see the rest of it because it’s probably underground.

22. As they always say, hay is for horses.

Though you might not think of a horse made of hay like this one. But don’t try to ride it.

23. We all know that Jesus was born in a barn. So this nativity scene is only fitting.

This one consists of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, animals and the Three Wise Men. Just don’t put this one in a real barn if you want to use it as a Christmas decoration.

24. You can easily get inside this straw kangaroo pouch.

You can easily see the kid getting inside the pouch here. And yes, this is from Japan.

25. You might get a lot of hay from this sumo wrestler.

Though this might be the lightest sumo wrestler you see. Because those guys really pack the pounds.

26. A straw rhino always feels at home in a field.

Sure rhinos are from Africa. But this one is in Japan. Still, pretty amazing to see this in straw.

27. If you’re going out, make sure you wear your hay heels.

Okay, that’s a play on words. But this hay heel shoe almost matches the barn.

28. Imagine seeing a giant rabbit like this in your vegetable patch.

He even has a large carrot and blue jacket. Hope rabbits don’t munch on this sculpture. So cute.

29. Thomas the Tank Engine helms the straw Santa Express.

Because Thomas is the engine. And Santa is in the caboose. The rest of the train is red and green as well as covered in wreath and garland.

30. You should be mocking hay if you’re into the Hunger Games.

Well, it could be worse. It could’ve consist of Katniss in her fire dress in Catching Fire. Because hay is extremely flammable.

31. Smoke-hay the Bear is here to tell you how to prevent forest fires.

He’s kind of like Smokey the Bear. But he’s much more flammable. Because he’s made of straw.

32. Seems like this alligator really wants the rubber chicken.

This is a pretty clever scene. Hope the guy in the boat doesn’t get eaten. For that chicken doesn’t look very satisfying.

33. Now that’s what you call a real work horse.

Well, it’s made from straw and is attached to a plow. May not plow your field like a tractor. But at least you don’t need to spread manure.

34. Hope you don’t make hay over Old Glory.

This one consists of square bales for stripes and a round bale with stars. Not an exact replica but you do what you can.

35. Too bad Will-hay Nelson won’t be going on the road again.

Though you have to feel bummed he’s not made out of a certain kind of grass. However, if he lights a joint, he won’t be around much longer. Mostly because straw easily catches fire.

36. Never thought I’d see a farmer made of straw.

This one has farmers with the cow. Let’s hope one of them doesn’t sell it for magic beans. Or burns it.

37. Hop aboard on this ferris wheel of straw.

Actually I wouldn’t take my chances on that one. Seems like the seats are square bales as far as I can see.

38. Now that has to be one giant Meer cat.

Meer cats aren’t actually that big. In fact, they’re quite small. But sometimes it helps to create an impression.

39. How about build Big Ben with bales?

Sure it doesn’t ring on the hour. But you have to wonder how so much hay can stand so tall.

40. You can even get some straw via satellite.

Well, it’s a straw satellite dish. May not get any signals. But it’s amazing.

41. You have to be a pro to ride your bike on a straw arch.

I know it kind of looks impossible to come up with. But in a straw sculpture, you can do almost anything.

42. A field is an ideal place for a very hungry caterpillar.

This is from a popular children’s book about a caterpillar that eats through so much food before pupating and becoming a butterfly. This one is made of bales and has it go over a fence.

43. This hay festival is brought to you by Cheetos.

This is a hay sculpture of Chester. Notice he doesn’t have any Cheetos on him at the moment. And it kind of seems like he’s hitchhiking.

44. Bet you’ve never seen such a dragon like this before.

Though if it burns fire, it will burn itself. Still, looks pretty cool for any fantasy fan.

45. Might not want to piss off this giant cobra.

Because cobras are very poisonous snakes. Though if it goes after you, you can easily set it on fire.

46. Perhaps you might want to go in this T-Rex’s mouth.

Though chances are it might devour you. That if  this was Jurassic Park and it wasn’t made of straw.

47. How about sit down with this white tiger?

It’s mostly made of square and round hay bales. But you have to love its eyes. So cute.

48. This Vermont teddy feels fully at home with garbage.

Well, it has trash cans in front of it. But it’s nevertheless adorable. Love it.

49. Perhaps you might want to load this semi-truck.

You’d almost mistake this straw sculpture for the real thing. Though you can put in more bales for the load.

50. Funny, I thought that was supposed to be a shoe.

It actually is supposed to be a shoe house. But it’s made from round hay bales with trimmings.

51. Out in the countryside, there’s nothing like a John Deere tractor.

Well, it’s a hay Deer tractor. So it won’t exactly run. But it’s almost spot on to the real thing.

52. For a war on straw, you can’t do better than a hay bale fort.

Sure it’s not fireproof since it’s made from square bales. But you have to admire the construction.

53. Do you want fries for this hayburger?

It’s mostly a hay bale dressed as a cheeseburger. Looks delicious doesn’t it?

54. With this straw rocket, you’ll have liftoff.

Though light anything under this rocket and it’ll instantly incinerate. Though it’s a rather impressive design.

55. Win-hay the Pooh can never resist a jar of honey.

He’s made from hay bales with a jar of honey in his arms. He’s also so cute you want to hug him.

56. There’s no hay display more epic than Straw Wars.

It’s a hay display of Star Wars. I know it’s not the kind of picture you’re looking for. But you must not underestimate the ways of the Force.

57. “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.”

Bet this one was built from an abandoned structure in Montana. Though the prince will have a long climb.

58. Any druids reading this might want to have this for their harvest festival.

It’s Stonehenge made from hay bales. Won’t withstand the test of time. But doesn’t look that bad.

59. Hope this windmill doesn’t get swept by the wind.

The tower is built of hay bales. Not sure what the blades are made of. But you’d almost think it’s real until you look closely.

60. Is this a red panda or a red raccoon?

Looks more like a red panda. Yet, it has a striped tail of hay bales.

61. Seems like the Island of Misfit Toys is full of straw.

This is a take off of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special. Kind of looks jarring to see hay instead of snow.

62. Christmas is always the time for green bales.

You can stack them up and make a Christmas tree. Though hay sculpture looks more suited for fall though.

63. I’ve seen a beached whale on TV but this is ridiculous.

Though most of these hay sculptures are in fields. Wonder if you can get inside it.

64. Though spiders can inhabit straw. All this straw made the spider.

Now this might freak people out. Giant spiders will certainly terrify the bejesus on may. Even if made from straw.

65. How about sit on this turtle’s shell?

Still, its shell isn’t rock solid. But you have to admire the design.

66. Your defenses are no match for the dreaded straw tank.

Don’t worry. It doesn’t shoot out anything. Except maybe T-shirts, I guess.

67. This straw hand gives the sign of peace.

This one uses to fingers. And it’s all made of straw. So make hay not war.

68. “We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine.”

This one is made from hay bales. After that, just add the pictures.

69. Hope this gator doesn’t swallow you up.

Relax, it’s a straw gator. You can go into its mouth. But it won’t eat you.

70. At jumbo size, you might find this ferret quite scary.

Though you have to admire how realistic it looks. Then again, it’s in a Japanese style.

71. Tokyo isn’t safe whenever this straw monster rampages the streets.

You can guess this is Godzilla, Japan’s most iconic movie monster. Though this one is only made from straw.

72. This duckie just loves to be in its little pond.

Luckily straw floats so you can see this cute little duckie. Not as big as the other straw structures. But charming.

73. Anyone can look graceful on a straw horse.

As long as the rider is also made of straw. Yet, these to really seem to go together.

74. Bet you wouldn’t see an Olmec head like this in Mexico.

Because it’s made of hay in Japan. Not an exact replica. But not bad.

75. Wonder what it’s like to take this ship on the high seas.

Almost resembles a wooden ship with folded sails. Though it’s made from hay in the hull.

76. Try to solve this riddle of the Sphinx.

You can even go inside it like these people in the eyes. But don’t try to light a cigarette inside or it’ll catch fire.

77. Nobody can resist this cuddly pussy cat.

This little guy is almost purrfect. Then again, the Japanese have a soft spot for cuteness.

78. This Triceratops could almost give you hay fever in Jurassic Park.

Yes, this is another straw dinosaur in Japan. And yes, it’s probably the closest you’ll ever see to the real thing.

79. A straw gorilla can really strike a pose.

Yes, he sure looks fierce. But I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be a straw King Kong. Wonder if he’s right next to Godzilla.

80. Try to take to the skies in this haymade biplane.

Okay, you can’t fly it. But it’s certainly a charming sculpture to behold.

Don’t Tell Me It’s Now’s Not the Time To Talk About Guns

At around 10 pm on the night of Sunday, October 1, 2017 during a Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, a gunman from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino opened gunfire on the outdoor crowd of 22,000 people below while country singer Jason Aldean performed on stage. The firing lasted for 11 minutes resulting in 59 dead and over 500 injured in what became the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. The shooter was a 64-year-old white man named Stephen Paddock who lived in a Mesquite, Nevada retirement community. By the time police reached his room, he was found dead, having shot himself in the head shortly before. Though he acted alone, Las Vegas police couldn’t find a motive. He had no criminal record or any investigative history showing he was dangerous. But what they did find was an arsenal of 23 guns and a large quantity of ammunition in his hotel room that he had occupied since September 28. The guns consisted of a handgun and 22 rifles including AR-15s, Kalasnikovs, AR 10s, and other .308 caliber rifles. Two of the rifles were mounted with bipods and equipped with telescopic sights. Over half of the guns were modified semi-automatic weapons with bump fire stocks which can simulate full automatic fire. As for the ammunition well, there were numerous high capacity magazines holding up to 100 rounds apiece. Paddock transported all this weapon stash to his hotel suite in over 10 suitcases during his stay and installed hidden cameras inside and out to monitor others’ arrival. Along with 24 other firearms found in Verde and Mesquite, Nevada, they were legally purchased from Nevada, Utah, California, and Texas as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives determined. Several pounds of fertilizer was found in his car. Though we don’t know why Paddock decided to fire upon concertgoers, all the evidence screams he had meticulously planned the whole thing in advance.

Yet, this is one of several major mass shootings the United States has experienced within my own lifetime. I’ve seen the whole scheme play out too many times in the same tragic and senseless song and dance routine. First, you have a gunman fire upon unsuspecting individuals at a public venue resulting in a high death and injury count and feelings of tear jerking shock and horror. What follows is the public in grips of mourning as further details of the shooter unfold along with tributes of victims such as thoughts and prayers. You might get plenty of public figures calling out for gun control. Only for those supporting gun rights decry how it’s inappropriate to debate about gun control in a tragedy’s aftermath. As time goes on, the story starts to fade and everyone moves on. Until the next shooting occurs to start the whole cycle over again. But whether it’s a black church, a movie theater, elementary school, workplace, nightclub, military base, college, or outdoor concert venue, too many Americans refuse to learn the harsh lessons of the costs lax gun laws. In fact, many states have enacted pro-gun legislation that make guns more readily available. Whenever it comes to causes of gun violence, gun rights advocates usually find some other excuse like mental health, violent video games, moral decay, sanctuary cities, and anything else. Anything but guns. Then they say how the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms which shouldn’t be infringed. And that gun control restricts freedom by giving the federal government license to seize firearms from law-abiding citizens. Such concepts are blatant lies. But they’ve resulted in devastating consequences. The Centers for Disease Control has been banned from researching gun violence since 1996. President Barack Obama’s Surgeon General received outcry for framing gun violence as a public health issue. Attempts to pass even the most minimal gun controls laws have gone nowhere in Congress.

Meanwhile, gun violence touches every segment of our society endangering Americans every day. There have been 1,500 mass shootings since the 2012 Sandy Hook Massacre. On average the United States experiences more than one mass shooting a day. Gun violence claims 31 American deaths and 151 injuries every day. For every American who dies from a gunshot wound, two others are wounded. And for each American shot, people’s lives are forever changed by their loved ones’ deaths and injuries. Annual costs for gun violence amount to at least $229 billion including $8.6 billion in direct expenses like emergency medical care. Gun violence increases likelihood of deaths in domestic violence incidents. It raises the chances of fatalities by those intending to injure others and among those attempting suicide. It places children and young people at special risk. And like most of America’s social problems, it disproportionately affects communities of color. If gun violence isn’t a public health crisis in the US, I don’t know what is.

Too many times we’ve been told after a mass shooting that discussing gun control is taboo. Too many times “thoughts and prayers” has proven too insufficient for the real action to prevent mass shootings. Too many times has the Second Amendment been viewed as a sacred cow by gun advocates and the National Rifle Association. Too many times our leaders have done nothing to prevent future mass shootings that it’s only a matter a time when the next one takes place. It’s already been way past time to talk about gun violence, especially for the hundreds of Americans who died at the pull of the trigger. Or all those who struggle with disabilities, lingering injuries, and PTSD thanks to some guy with a gun he shouldn’t even have. Whenever there’s a national problem that’s put Americans at risk, our nation has done something about it. Politicians have worked tirelessly to instill regulations to protect people from further harm and make sure those deaths and injuries don’t happen again. But somehow whenever there’s a mass shooting it’s different when it shouldn’t be.

Regardless of what Bill O’Reilly said, gun violence shouldn’t be the cost of freedom in America. Even in a country as gun obsessed as the United States, our society should never accept or normalize mass murder as a price of freedom. We should never accept the meaningless slaughter of children, loved ones, friends, and other living their peaceful lives for those who want to possess military grade weapons in the name of their personal freedom. It’s not freedom when you can’t go to a public space without worrying about how some psycho can easily buy semi-automatic weapons with high capacity magazines showering bullets to kill scores of innocents within minutes. True freedom is knowing we’re reasonably safe from such nutcases with these weapons. If more guns resulted in less gun violence, then the United States would be one of the safest nations in the world and we wouldn’t need to worry about mass shootings. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t work that way since the latest validated statistics confirms that more guns leads to more deadly violence. So the fact the US has one of the highest rates of gun violence and leads the world in mass shootings shouldn’t be a surprise. There is no legitimate reason why semi-automatic weapons with high capacity magazines and bump stocks should be available to the general public and carried around all over the place. If we want to ensure people’s true freedom and safety, we must work hard to make sure these killing machines are out of civilians’ hands. And ensure that those prone to violence don’t have access to a gun in the first place. We can prevent the next mass shooting and the tragic loss of life. The question is whether we’re willing to do so. But as far as I’m concerned, we need to discuss gun violence and implement common sense gun control measures now. Because if we don’t, then how many senseless tragedies must we have to bear before we do something?

The Catastrophe in Puerto Rico

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On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, the powerful Category 4 Hurricane Maria made direct landfall on Puerto Rico, ravaging the entire island with its 150 mph winds and drenching it in a few feet of rain. Save for generators powering only the highest priority buildings like hospitals. In many places there’s no fresh water you can drink, bathe, or use to flush toilets. Food, fuel, and cell service is limited. Reaching remote towns and villages takes several days for reporters and rescue workers. Due to strained communications and severe road damage, the extent of Maria’s damage on the island isn’t yet known. Though photos show who communities flooded streets, houses with torn roofs and second floors ripped apart, people waiting in long lines for clean water and fuel, and a severely crippled infrastructure. Even for Puerto Ricans living in intact houses, survival will be difficult in the weeks and months ahead. Thus, the aftermath of Hurricane Maria has been a humanitarian catastrophe. for the 3.4 million people on Puerto Rico.

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The 2017 hurricane season has been punishing for the island. Hurricane Irma had ravaged several Caribbean islands and left 1 million Puerto Ricans without power. 60,000 on the island were still without electricity when Maria hit 20 days later. Though Maria was a slightly smaller storm, it was far more devastating charted a course directly across Puerto Rico where it hit near peak intensity and passed around 25 miles from its capital San Juan. No landmass could suffer such a direct hit without at least some damage. According to the record books, Maria was the 5th strongest storm to ever hit the US and the strongest to hit the island in 80 years.

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This disaster deserves more coverage and a swifter response. But so far, federal government recovery efforts have been inadequate at best. In some ways this is understandable since few major news organizations have a full-time regular presence on the island. Also lack of wi-fi and cellphone service have hurt local journalists’ ability to report the news from there. But even a communications blackout is no excuse for Puerto Rico’s virtual absence from news coverage in favor of protesting football players and Donald Trump’s latest incendiary Twitter tantrums. Nonetheless, if this kind of devastation happened in mainland United States, you’d see round the clock news coverage from all the cable news channels for days. You’d see the affected states’ congressional delegation appear on major news networks making sure the American public knows and pressuring the president, House, and Senate leaders to take immediate action.

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As a US territory, Puerto Rico doesn’t get electoral votes in general presidential elections or representation in Congress. But Puerto Ricans have been US citizens since President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act in 1917. They can travel to the continental United States without a passport and vote in presidential primaries. They’re also protected by the same Bill of Rights as anyone else in the United States. But more importantly in Maria’s wake, Puerto Ricans are entitled to the same federal government response as state residents should a natural disaster like Hurricane Maria arise on their soil. However, though the US has long benefitted from its island territories’ geographical reach, it has taken them for granted and denied their residents full political representation. Hurricane Maria illustrates that this two-tiered system of American citizenship is neither democratic nor tenable to territorial residents. And to make matters worse a survey from the New York Times reports that only 54% of Americans know Puerto Ricans are US citizens.

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Though powerful storms often devastate communities, the true catastrophe was long in the making. Puerto Rico was no different regarding Hurricane Maria. Despite a $103 billion economy, we all knew that Puerto Rico’s government is broke and can’t borrow money to fix it. In fact, the island declared bankruptcy in May and has been trying to restructure more than $70 billion in debt. Thus, even on a good day, its infrastructure is aging and in disrepair. Certain US policies have also contributed to Puerto Rico’s economic deterioration. One is the antiquated Jones Act forcing Puerto Ricans to pay nearly double for US goods through various tariffs, fees, and taxes. The act stipulates that any goods shipped from one American port to another must be on American made and operated ships. Thus, thanks to little competition among freighters, shipping to Puerto Rico is costlier. As former New York State Assembly member Nelson A. Denis noted in The New York Times, “a shakedown, a mob protection racket, with Puerto Rico a captive market.” Economic woes have also contributed to over 8% population loss from 2010. However, since the island’s per capita income is $18,000 (which is half of Mississippi’s), its cost of living is 13% higher than 325 urban areas elsewhere in the US, it’s not much of a surprise. The population drain makes it harder for Puerto Rico’s economy to recover. And as people will likely migrate due to the storm, recovery will be more difficult.

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As Puerto Rico is an island, recovery efforts are more complicated since supplies has to be flown in or shipped over. Residents can’t drive to nearby states or cities for shelter to wait out the worst of it. Here’s a rundown on some of the major problems on the island.

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Electricity: The island’s electric company PREPA has a massive $9 billion in debt and defaulted on an interest payment in July. So it doesn’t have the money to modernize its electrical systems. Even without hurricanes power outages are common. To make matters worse, there aren’t enough workers on the island to fix the infrastructure. Mostly because young people have been leaving in droves since the economy tightened while older workers have retired en masse to secure their pensions.

Hurricane Maria has knocked out 80% of the island’s power transmission lines and as of yesterday, 1.57 Puerto Ricans were still without power. Though generators are being distributed most of them are prioritized to hospitals while most homes and businesses are dark. It could be 4-6 months before power is fully restored on the island. So you have Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents relying on generators for half a year. That means half a year that electrical pumps can’t bring running water to people’s homes. Half a year people will have to make do without air conditioning in a tropical climate. Without power, even the most basic tasks of modern life become difficult.

Taken these factors together, rebuilding Puerto Rico’s power system will be a long and difficult process. According to the New York Times, getting power back on the island “will be daunting and expensive” for “Transformers, poles and power lines snake from coastal areas across hard-to-access mountains. In some cases, the poles have to be maneuvered in place with helicopters.”

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In a disaster situation, health hinges on electrical power and it’s extremely important to get it going to suppress chances of illness. Dialysis, refrigeration for insulin and other medicine, and nebulizers for people with asthma all need electricity to be useful. But electricity also provides for sanitation that prevents many illnesses like typhoid from spreading in the first place. Puerto Ricans need power to run their air conditioning systems and get clean water from the faucet. Without it, people could get sick from dirty water, can’t dispose waste, and suffer from heatstroke. Mental health can also suffer those without access to rapid opportunities for recovery with residents suffering from depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

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Water: No electricity means no power to pump water into homes and no water to bathe, drink, or flush toilets. According to FEMA, 42% of Puerto Ricans are without potable water. One town’s only source of fresh water was a single fire hydrant. Though rescue workers have been distributing bottled water, it’s safe to say that many people haven’t received any yet.

Fuel: Without a working electrical grid, Puerto Ricans must turn to gas-powered electric generators for energy. But it’s so difficult getting fuel on the island that people could wait over 6 hours for gas if they’re lucky. Other stations are completely out of fuel and have been for days. According to NPR, while authorities don’t believe there’s a gas shortage on the island, they’ve claimed Hurricane Maria has disrupted distributing it. But when fuel runs low, lives are endangered. In the central eastern town of Juncos, the Washington Post reported on a diabetic woman afraid that the refrigeration keeping her insulin preserved will soon run out and there won’t be fuel to restart the generator.

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Cellphone Reception: Hurricane Maria knocked out 1,360 out of the island’s 1,600 cellphone towers, isolating many communities from the outside world for days and relying only on radios for news. National Guard members told the Daily Beast they struggled communicating on the ground, which has made their ability to respond to the disaster exceptionally hard. The cellular outage also means that a mainland or abroad Puerto Rican family can’t get in touch with those on the island to find out if they’re safe.
Weather Radar: On Monday, September 25, the National Weather Service reported that its Doppler radar station on Puerto Rico was destroyed. If you don’t know, that’s the radar that helps meteorologists see where thunderstorms and other weather systems move in real time. Without it makes future storms more hazardous.

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Hospitals: According to FEMA, 59 out of 69 Puerto Rican hospitals are “operational with unknown status.” Many now run on generators but there are serious issues with distributing fuel so access to X-ray machines and other diagnostic equipment remains limited. There are few open operating rooms despite an unsurprising influx of patients with storm-related injuries. San Juan’s mayor reported that two people died due to lack of diesel in the hospital they were. And San Juan is among the better places to be in Puerto Rico right now. Still, if power isn’t restored, Puerto’s health crisis will get worse. After all, electricity is involved with almost every interaction with the health system. For you need power to call a hospital, access electronic records, and running lifesaving equipment like hemodialysis and ventilators.

Farms: Agriculture only contributes 0.8% of Puerto Rico’s GDP and employs 1.6% of its labor force. But within hours Hurricane Maria wiped out 80% of its crop value which amounts to a loss of $780 million. Though the island imports 85% of its food, its agriculture sector’s destruction will increase prices and exacerbate the scary prospect of continued food shortages.

Airports: Puerto Ricans have had a difficult time getting off the island. Though San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport reopened to commercial flights on Sunday, September 24, they can expect to wait a long time in uncomfortable conditions if they want a flight. There’s no air conditioning. Ticketing computers are out. And due to FAA radar damage, only a limited number of planes take off from San Juan each day while hundreds of flights have been canceled.

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Though Puerto Rico has received government relief, response is still badly inadequate especially as relief supplies wait on the island’s shipping docks. Even as we speak, millions remain without food, water, electricity. And they have no means of getting help. However, instead of doing everything he could to help Puerto Rico, Donald Trump goes golfing in New Jersey. Only to take a tweeting break to attack San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Twitter just for speaking out for her people and calling out FEMA for patting itself on the back while the island was still ravaged when Hurricane Maria hit. Disease outbreaks have begun due to murky water and packed shelters. Residents have shown signs of Zika, Dengue, conjunctivitis, cholera, hepatitis A, meningitis, and salmonella. Now Trump says that Puerto Ricans are lazy and want everything done for them. Like they should help themselves instead of asking for a handout. Local officials in Puerto Rico are doing everything they possibly can with the limited help they have. Far from showing “poor leadership” Mayor Cruz has been there for her city almost 24/7 with little to no rest, doing whatever she could. But she knows she doesn’t’ have the resources like the federal government has like FEMA under her thumb. She shouldn’t have to beg for that response for it should’ve arrived already. It’s a shame that she has to beg a man for help who is more likely to step on your hand and leave you to drown when you’re reaching to him to lift you into his yacht. Or at least give you a lifesaver to hold. Of all the things Trump has said and done, letting millions of people suffer for days without adequate response just breaks me. Mayor Cruz wasn’t asking for a handout like the welfare recipients conservatives constantly unfairly demonize. She was asking for a lifesaver because people are dying and Puerto Rico is drowning. The island’s residents are utterly helpless and without help soon, many will die if they haven’t already. But up golfing in New Jersey, Trump tells Puerto Ricans to eat cake without any second thought to their dire suffering. Even George W. Bush’s response to Katrina was better than this.

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It breaks me more that people in my own family, neighborhood, and community will find some way to defend and support this unrespectable man no matter what he does which I feel is so morally indefensible as a Catholic, liberal, and American in that order. I have no capacity to respect Donald Trump as neither a person nor as an authority figure. To have him as president of the United States is absolutely humiliating for I’m deeply convinced that Trump is a narcissistic sociopath doesn’t believe in America, the Constitution, or in any concept of democracy. He is a total failure as a human being, let alone a president which doesn’t surprise me. But I find his cruelty utterly gut wrenching to the point of inhumanity. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico but Trump’s lack of interest in the island’s plight has resulted in very serious consequences. The people of Puerto Rico deserve better than what they’re receiving. So you’re Donald Trump and you’re reading this, then to quote Lin Manuel Miranda, “You’re going straight to hell.”

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