The Valor Of Fire Fighters

We worry about opoids. We worry about measles. We worry about vaping. We worry about Trump. We worry about health issues and health costs. We worry about a LOT of things on a daily and seemingly unending basis.

But do we ever take the time to worry about firefighters? Do we spend even a minute of our day thinking about what these men and women do to protect homes, people, lands, and forests?

And most of all — do we think about what happens to them in the long term? Do we consider how the smoke and the fumes from burning buildings … especially from prefabricated homes that were prevalent in the Paradise, CA fire — affect them? No one knows for sure the aftereffects of the “noxious mix of plastics, metals, household cleaning chemicals and who knows what else” that escape from burning residences, but there’s little doubt firefighters will suffer toxic consequences.

In fact, everything that burns has the potential to cause harm. Even the neon-pink fire retardant that’s used to control wildfires can result in harmful after-effects.

Yet these brave men and women put all this aside to climb hills, clear brush, dig lines, trim trees, and hike for miles in their efforts to control a wildfire.

You may be fortunate enough to live in an area where wildfires are a rarity. Because of this, it’s probably difficult to imagine what it’s like to “breathe smoke.”

Which is most likely why Trump (who lives in a state with a low frequency of forest fires)  has made budget cuts related to various fire and emergency response programs.  And why he tweeted — falsely — about the “gross mismanagement of the forests” following the deadly Camp Fire in California … and vaguely threatened he would cut funding if the policy didn’t change . (Odds are the only fire this man has ever experienced is the one burning in the fireplace of one of his extravagantly plush homes.)

In case you’re wondering, I have no skin in this game. I simply felt more people need to recognize the dangers — and the after-effects — these brave men and women encounter every time they put on their flame-resistant apparel, gather up helmets, boots, flashlights, tools, gear bags, etc. and head towards a blazing inferno.

IMO, they are a special breed of humans.

The incentive for writing this post came from this article in The Guardian. Trump’s quote related to funding can be found here.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Creativity By Brutus

I follow the blog of a very talented poet who goes by the name of “Brutus.” While Brutus is quite adept at humorously downplaying his own work (as noted in his “comments” section), many people (including me) find his poetic abilities quite impressive.

The main thing I’ve noticed when reading Brutus’s compositions is his proclivity for rhyming. In my opinion, this is a special talent. Speaking personally, I have found it’s very difficult to express your thoughts within a metered format. Nonetheless, he seems to have conquered this ability … and does it quite well.

While I appreciate most all of his work, I was particularly impressed with the following. Apparently it was something he posted earlier this year and I just came across it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

He’s entitled it “Wrinkles — I Have More Than My Share.”


Don’t trace the lines around my eyes
To see what they have seen
Don’t touch the wrinkles on my feet
To be where they have been
Don’t feel the scars upon my flesh
To understand my pain
Look into my heart and know
I’d do it all again


Love Affair


From CNN Politics

“Look at Putin — what he’s doing with Russia — I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done — whether you like him or don’t like him — he’s doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period.”

“It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond. 

“I have no relationship with him other than he called me a genius.”

– AND –


From The Daily Beast: Olga Skabeeva, the host of 60 Minutes, the most popular news talk show in Russia, predicted:

“A Republican majority in the Senate won’t allow the president whom we elected, wonderful Donald Trump, to be sent off. It’s impossible. He has 90 percent support in the Republican Party.”

From AlterNetKaren Shakhnazarov, another prominent Russian media figure, said:

“They say Trump is making Russia great. That’s basically accurate. The chaos brought by Trump into the American system of government is weakening the United States. America is getting weaker, and now, Russia is taking its place in the Middle East…. So when they say that Trump is weakening the United States — yes, he is. And that’s why we love him…. The more problems they have, the better it is for us.”

And from the same source — Dmitry Kiselyov, Russian television host, recently voiced his support for Trump, describing Biden as the U.S. president’s …

“most dangerous rival” and urging him to “keep digging in Ukraine for the sweetest kompromat of all: proving that Ukraine — not Russia — interfered in the U.S. elections.”

Ain’t love grand?

Is Your News Source Biased?

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

I daresay most of us read or listen to “the news” most everyday. In fact, some might even describe themselves as being a “news junkie” — while others simply keep up with with current events via headlines in the local paper or TV newscasts.

I would describe myself as being in the middle. I do check the latest headlines on my computer a couple of times each day, and I also read entire stories or articles that either affect me personally or that I find interesting. Or upsetting.

One of the news sources that I especially like is NPR. According to this website, they have one of the highest ratings in factual reporting (VERY HIGH). However, I must be totally honest. The website also states NPR leans slightly left.

Overall, we rate NPR (National Public Radio) Left-Center Biased based on story selection that leans slightly left and Very High for factual reporting due to thorough sourcing and very accurate news reporting.

Even so, in a nation with news sources that are notably either hard-left or hard-right in their reporting, it’s refreshing to find one that only leans slightly left.

But beyond their (slight) partiality, the really important part to me is NPR’s reputation for accurate news reporting — meaning they aren’t coloring the news to promote their bias.

We all know that partisanship is a major factor in politics — and when it comes to what we read and/or listen to, most of us tend to choose the news source that supports our personal position.

As a result, it can sometimes be a bit unnerving when we come across a news story that goes against our leanings … only to discover what we’re reading or hearing is not only accurate, but neutral. In other words, the news source has not “taken sides” but is simply sharing something they believe their readers will find interesting …or “newsworthy.”

Of course, in order to have confidence that what we’re reading is truly neutral, we need to do a bit of research. This means being open to other sources of information that may (or may not) coincide with our personal opinion.

I urge readers to visit the Media Bias/Fact Check website and take a look at a listing of news sources that are considered to be the “least biased.” Then while you’re there, check out the news sources that you tend to favor and see where they rank.

If you’re up to it, share with the rest of us the news source(s) you personally prefer.

Image by torstensimon from Pixabay