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On rain, doing away with mirrors, abortion plates & airline actions

POSTED April 19, 2017 10:38 a.m.
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Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day.
That's an old English nursery rhyme that some of us feel like singing after yesterday's drenching.

Yes, we've had more than enough. But it looks like there is some sunshine in store for us.

Do you think there is a link between the "Pray for Rain" signs that popped up all over the Valley toward the end of our five-year drought and the generous rainfall we've been seeing this season? I think so. I think so.

It is wonderful seeing the lakes so full - even New Melones Reservoir which has been dreadfully low the past few years.

Let's count our blessings!

* * * * *

Social media can be a good device, especially in a small town like Keyes. I'm a member of the Keyes City News page on Facebook and routinely see the chatter between residents. It's becoming a sort of local community bulletin board where neighbors report thieves lurking around, police activity and ... lost dogs.

Sarah Stout posted about her Chihuahua Buddha being lost. At least two other women in Keyes reported seeing him on Buddha's big outing. Sarah chased after the leads and didn't find him. "He finally came home after like five hours," she reported.

Feels a bit like Mayberry.

* * * * *

Snowflakes alert.

By the way, I didn't make up the term "generation snowflake" but the definition is a term used to characterize people who became adults in the 2000s and 2010s as being more prone to taking offense and less resilient than previous generations, or as being too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own.

This story comes from Laguna Hills High School where mirrors were removed from the girls' bathrooms and replaced with notes of affirmation like "You are important" and "you are loved."

Oh brother.

Okay, yeah, I get that we place too much emphasis on outside appearance but, really, what if you want to check to see how your hair looks or that facial scratch you just got or that broccoli that still might be in your teeth?

It personally drives me nuts to walk into a public restroom - such as McDonald's - and see the mirrors removed.

* * * * *

Speaking of looks, I'm a bit amused by Facebook users who think they look like certain celebrities after uploading their images, which then undergo feature contortions to morph into the next closest celeb. Often the person looks nothing like the celebrity but they will go on about how they look like that celebrity. A cousin of mine shared that she was Jennifer Lawrence's doppleganger when she really does not even come close.

I was once told I was a spitting image of singer Robin Thicke. Not. Another told me a long time ago I looked like televangelist Joel Osteen. Gross. Another said I looked like Charles Shaughnessy, the actor who played in the 1980's sit-com The Nanny. Not even.

All are off the mark.

I look like me.

* * * * *

I don't think I would have believed it had I not looked into it. There is actually a bill in the state Senate that, if passed, would establish a specialty license plate celebrating abortion in California. Can you imagine in your wildest dreams that a Democrat would want to celebrate the murder of fetuses that would grow into viable human beings? Is this not a reprehensible example of how far gone state leaders are? They don't say it's celebrating freedom but "Reproductive Freedom."

The author is none other than Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Santa Barbara Democrat. Let's just say her opponent in the 2008 race, Republican Tony Strickland said of her: "Less government is better government. Hannah-Beth looks at California residents as an ATM for whatever program she thinks is needed. She wants to tell people how to live their lives, and I believe in the individual."

The California ProLife Council has also put out warnings about these other bills that attack the sanctity of human life:

• AB 569 which would prohibit churches or other ethically motivated organizations and employers from dissuading or in any way disagreeing with an employee's "reproductive health care decisions" including abortion. As written, if employees are insured, the bill would appear to require insurance coverage of employees' abortions and abortions for employee's dependents.

• SB 320 Would require state Universities and Community Colleges to provide chemical abortifacients (such as RU486) to students;

• SB 481, which allows nursing homes to declare patients unfit to make their own decisions, give them a note to that effect, and then implement ‘medical procedures' which apparently may include "assisted suicide."

• SB 743 would ensure government funding of abortion under all Medi-Cal providers and Planned Parenthood.

* * * * *

Mike Rowe of the TV show "Dirty Jobs" is a favorite of mine. He is most eloquent on many matters. So I thought I would share what he said about the recent flap over a United Airlines passenger being dragged off a plane. I wish I had written this. I'll paraphrase to make his comments shorter:

"Like most people, I don't enjoy seeing passengers dragged down the aisle of a commercial airplane, limp and lifeless. Nor do I enjoy seeing them hogtied at 37,000 feet, (which I've also had the occasion to witness - in person - and more than once.)

"These kinds of episodes are always disturbing, but what bothered me initially about this video was not just the violence, it was the obvious ease with which it could have been avoided. A little common-sense and the freedom to apply it could have resolved this situation in a dozen different ways. Last night however, I watched a tape of United's CEO, Oscar Munoz, as he attempted to walk back some earlier comments. He told ABC news that the passenger in question - David Dao - ‘did nothing wrong.'

"Now, I'm no longer disturbed. I'm merely terrified.

"Is Oscar serious? God, I hope not. I hope he's just doing the typical ‘over-apology' thing CEOs do when their ‘crisis experts' tell them they've got to say whatever it takes to win back the public trust. I hope he's just reacting to some lawyer who told him before the interview, ‘for the love of God, Oscar, don't blame the victim!' Well, Oscar certainly didn't blame the victim. But in the process of finding him blameless, he suggested that millions of passengers are under no obligation to follow a direct command from United employees. And that's a hell of a lot more disturbing than a beat-down in the main cabin.

"Here's the thing. It's easy to forget that we have no right to fly. Buying a ticket doesn't change that. So, when we board the plane, we have no right to remain there. We can be legally removed if we're too drunk, too loud, too creepy, too suspicious, or too big for the seat. We can be removed if we stink. We can be removed if we're insubordinate. We can be removed for whatever reason the airline deems necessary.

"Obviously, airlines don't like to remind us of such things, because it makes them sound mean. So they bury the truth in the fine print of a 37,000-word contract, and tell us how much they love us in sappy commercials and mandatory safety briefings that try oh-so-hard to make us smile. But the facts are clear: if you want to travel by air, you must agree to do what you're told. If you don't, you subject yourself to fine, arrest, constraint, forcible removal, and/or a permanent ban from the friendly skies. It's all there in the fine print.

"Personally, I support this policy. I support it because I don't want to fly across the country in a steel tube filled with people who get to decide which rules they will follow and which they will ignore. I've been on too many flights with too many angry people to worry about the specific circumstances of their outrage, or the details of why they took it upon themselves to ignore a direct command. A plane is not a democracy, and the main cabin is no place to organize a sit-in. The main cabin is a place to follow orders.

"Moving forward, what matters most to me is a heightened respect for the rules, and a heightened respect for the people who enforce them. Obviously, the policies that led to this particular fiasco need to change. But the greatest enemy we face in the friendly skies is not bad service - it's anarchy. And I have no interest in flying with anyone who doesn't follow orders. Do you? Does anyone?

"But through it all, I'd make damn sure the world understood that passengers on my airline still need to follow the orders given by my people - even if they think those orders are stupid or unfair. And for that, I would make no apology whatsoever."

If only the rest of the world could speak with as much common sense as Mike Rowe typically displays.

Do you have any feedback about this column? Let Jeff know by emailing him at jeffb@cerescourier.com. He will read it, promise.

 

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