Category Archives: Topics

I Will Vote On Tuesday

I will vote on Tuesday. 

US Presidential Seal

How does one decide?  Some say choosing the lesser of two evils or least frightening is the way to choose, but is that a wise basis for a decision?  Keeping up with the news is impossible if you eat and sleep, let alone work.  The best I can do is consider what the candidates “bring to the table”.  I will vote based on my own opinions and analysis.

This is what I consider important when researching candidates:

Key Elements / Sources

Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump

1.      Past performance Senate Voting Record

GAO Reports

House Committees

Senate Committees


Trump:  The Art of the Deal

The America We Deserve

Donald Trump Investments




2.      Money trails Federal Election Commission

Top 10 Contributors

Federal Election Commission

1995 Tax Return

3.      Transparency Read from your trusted sources.   How much information are they willing to share?
4.      Company they keep Any mainstream and special interest media outlet.   These days it is a free-for-all.
5.      Policies Candidate Issues and Policies


Candidate Issues and Policies

100-Day Action Plan


Other sites to consider:  Be warned, every web site has an agenda that may not support your views.  Though they read “non-partisan”, they will report with an agenda in mind.  Read carefully and you decide.

  1. Brookings: 2016 Election
  2. On the Issues
  3. Where They Stand on Foreign Policy

I review sites like for Clinton’s voting record.  I look at the GAO reports from the Inspector General regarding issues during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.  I’ll read and reread “Trump:  The Art of the Deal” and “The America We Deserve” to fill in the blanks for Trump.  Did you know or remember he ran for President in 1999?  I’ll pay attention to the trail of money into their campaigns to determine influences.  I’ll read and read some more between the lines to understand just how consistent and timely are the statements they make.  I’ll visit and revisit their campaign web sites to check on their current policies; both Clinton and Trump have changed their stances on issues over the years.  Changing ideology is not a bad thing, it can be about growth.  As we learn, accumulate knowledge and skills, we change.  I hope it is good change for political candidates.

I also support Article V for a Convention of States.  I consider it a backup plan.  And, of course, I pray and keep praying.

Best wishes!

Root Cause, Sewers, Trees, and Toilets

Whenever there is a change within your community or your home’s infrastructure, there is a ripple effect.  In the case of this posting, I’d like to discuss the impact of landscaping and excavating.

Earlier this year, a new high school was started, which is great for the community!  Unfortunately, it came with a few concerns, one being the need to use dynamite during excavation.  Dynamiting went on for several weeks, even months, and during that time, we (me and the neighbors) could feel the shockwaves.  We wondered if this would cause damage to our homes.  Our glasses tinkled and books shifted, so imagine our concern for the foundations of our homes.  Then, I wondered, what about our water connections?

One thing I noticed during this time, is that the water supply to the commodes slowed, and I heard the water pipes ‘groan and moan’ after every flush.  Professionals call this ‘water hammer’.  This results when the momentum of the water following a flush makes the pipe rattle because there isn’t enough air at the end of the line to buffer the quick change in pressure.  So, how could this happen?

According to the professionals, this typically occurs if the vent pipe, the one over the bathrooms on the roof, is clogged with debris, cutting off the air flow in the DWV (drain, waste and vent) system.  The air buffer can fill with water over time as well, especially in older homes.  This does not exclude a disruption in the water or vent system during major building excavations.  Shockwaves can compromise connections or disrupt shutoff valves, causing the air buffer to fill with water, or set off a cascade of blockages.

So, what do we do?  If ‘water hammer’ gets worse or continues for more than a week (sometimes the clog clears up), call a professional to determine and fix the cause.  I don’t have the skills, equipment, or motivation to undertake such a task, and I am not qualified to advise otherwise.

If the vent is blocked, it is often because there is a tree too close to the house, clogging the vent with leaves and small branches.  This can happen any time throughout the year, during storms and when trees shed their leaves, especially in the fall.  If this is the case, a plumber will have the equipment to clear the blockage.  And while there, have the plumber check your sewer line too.  If a tree is close to the house, especially in older homes, tree roots can find their way into the sewer lines, slowly blocking the drain.  You don’t want sewer problems!  In my humble opinion, it is better to take preventative action rather than restorative action when it comes to sewers.

Plumbing Forum:  Moaning Plumbing | Home Depot

Plumbing Forum: Moaning Sound … | Do It Yourself

How to Clean a Main Line Sewer Blockage | Thumb Nail Ranch (informational purposes only)

Drains Not Draining?  Sewer Line Clog Solutions | Roto Rooter




Plants Get Sunburned Too!

It’s that time of year – high temps, sun and wind make for a scorcher!

My plants benefited from the rain in the spring, so they grew like crazy. Now, in the heat of the summer with no rain in sight, growth is under stress from the heat. Add wind, and the high temps cause major problems with flowering plants especially, including wilt and sun burn!  Over the years I’ve learned by recommendation and experience, that watering and feeding are quite a bit different during the hottest summer months than spring and fall.

When temps exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit on sunny windy days, I water potted plants twice a day.  I soak potted plants in the morning and shower them at night. Ground plants retain moisture better and drain well, so once a day is typically enough for them.

Best times to water during summer months is morning and evening:  AM – sunrise to 9am; PM – after 6 and before sunset.  If plants are wilting during midday, don’t be afraid to water them!  Best to water them at the roots to maximize uptake, but a nice misting on the leaves helps too.  I’ve done this for years to no ill effect.

Cutting back overgrowth in potted plants (below the bottom of the pot) also helps to reduce heat stress due to evaporation, and it encourages more top blooms on flowering plants. Shade helps too.  I locate my plants so they get some shade during the day.  This is why I like a patio, especially one with an overhang or pergola. These offer plants, even a raised vegetable garden, some shade during the worst heat of the day. Every living thing needs a break from the heat.

And one more tip – careful not to overfeed.  Too much fertilizer can add to heat stress, resulting in burned leaves and excessive lanky growth without blossoms (if a flowering plant).  Don’t stop fertilizing, just fertilize according to your plants’ needs and the fertilizer you use.  Every plant is different, so know your plants’ needs.  I recommend fertilizing during the morning, but you can do it in the evening.  Potted plants need food on a regular schedule, typically once a week.

Check online with your favorite gardening society for information about your plants’ preferences. There are some great books out there too.

American Horticultural Society

Container Gardening from HGTV

New York Botanical Gardens

Southern States Summer Gardening Tips


Does Your Vote Really Count?

As U.S. citizens, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about our vote.  Don’t count on one source of information, as all information, even historical data are biased in some way.  Read and educate yourself from many sources.  Compare this with your own experiences.  Education in combination with your own experiences is critical to becoming a well-informed individual.

Now, back to the topic.  The U.S. political system is fraught with confusion for the average American, and understandably so.  Our educational system spends little time on the practical application of politics compared to the amount of time spent on ideology.  The end result is that the average American is unaware of the many entities involved in the U.S. Presidential election and why.  The average American is unaware that the President is elected by electors, not by popular (citizen) vote.

Actually, there are many entities involved in electing a U.S. President, and it is important to understand their impact, including our own.  Electing a President in the U.S. involves more than the direct application of democracy, it is about indirect-democracy, a principle adopted by our founding fathers to address individual and state’s rights while maintaining democratic principles for the nation at large.  They knew it would be not be easy, but it is worth the effort to maintain a great nation.

Who are these ‘entities’ and what is their impact on our vote?  These include citizens, candidates, party leaders, local and state representatives, electors, party delegates, and the House of Representatives.  Of course there are many other behind-the-scenes party affiliates and lobbyists who also work to get their party reps, delegates and electors chosen in anticipation of the final election for President.

Does your head ache just thinking about it?  Mine does!  There is so much information and so many opinions and perspectives regarding our political system, it can be difficult to make sense of it all – but it can be done, one step at a time.  And I found a site that helps. is a “nonprofit nonpartisan public charity that provides well-sourced pro, con, and related research on more than 50 controversial issues …” including information on current national elections.  I came across this site during the 2012 election, but after the election, it was relegated to a link in the depths of my Favorites list – until today.  Take a look, visit other sites (links below), dig out your old history books, keep up with the candidates and how they will deal with your favorite issues, and VOTE.

Why does it matter you may ask, because every vote counts.  Every vote in every local, every state, and every national election adds up and leads up to the Presidential election.

2016 Presidential Election:  The Candidates and Where They Stand on the Issues

2016 Democratic National Convention

2016 Republican National Convention

5 Things You May Not Know About U.S. Political Conventions

Do You Understand the Electoral College?

Electoral College – video

How Do Different States Allocate Their Electoral Votes?

How Political Party Convention Delegates are Chosen

How the Electoral College Works

How to Become the US President: A Step-by-Step Guide and poster

  1. U.S. Citizen announces intention to run for President
  2. Primary Candidate raises campaign funds and campaigns for popular vote and party election
  3. States’ party leaders (typically members of congress) elect Electors at district or state levels or party conventions (varies by state and based on previous local and state elections – individual voter rights)
  4. States run primary elections or caucuses by political party (states’ rights)
  5. Party leaders choose delegates for party conventions (supposed to secure pledges for nominations)
  6. Delegates nominate Presidential candidate at party convention; Presidential candidate announces running mate, the Vice Presidential candidate (supposed to support voting to-date, but delegates may not be required to vote as pledged)
  7. Presidential candidates campaign for Presidential election (unites parties behind a candidate)
  8. U.S. Citizens cast ballots in the Presidential/general election as popular vote by state – this determines party Electors (confirms voters’ preference by state)
  9. Electors cast ballots for President (Electors are not required to vote as pledged, though most of the time they do)
    – IF no candidate receives the majority of electoral votes …
  10. House of Representatives elects President; and the Senate elects the Vice President – each state gets one vote in both cases.

Presidential Election Process

The Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation: The Constitution Before the Constitution

The Popular Vote vs. the Electoral College

The Top 10 Political Conventions That Mattered the Most

U.S.A. Declaration of Independence

Understanding U.S. Political Conventions

Who are the Electors?

Contact your state political party for additional information.