Best Christmas Ever


Time for my annual Christmas story.

Best Christmas Ever – 1971
I wrote this back in 2007, for my personal blog on MySpace.
We were telling Christmas stories at work the other day, and I told my “best Christmas ever” story.  After I told it, I thought it might make a good blog, so here it is.

The location: Visalia California, the house on Divisadero Street, just down the block from the junior high I attended (now called a “Middle School” for reasons known only to the bureaucracy of schools).

The year:  1971   8th grade  Jim is 14 and knows Santa’s secret identity.
Top item on the Christmas wish list:  A 10-speed bike.

I had spent MONTHS hinting, suggesting, begging, pleading, and pretty much making a pest of myself asking for a new 10-speed.  Each time it came up, the parents made it clear that they were just too much money, and I was “not going to get one…. sorry.”  Well, Mom said “sorry”, Dad just said “NO”.  They wouldn’t budge. Not even a “maybe”, or a “we’ll see”.  Always “NO”.  By around December 15th, I had pretty much written off the bike, since, as we all know very well, parents don’t lie to their kids!  I don’t recall if I had a back-up wish list or not, and can’t recall anything else I might have asked for or wanted, but I do recall wistfully wishing there really were a Santa, because if there was, I might very well get that bike!  {Big sigh}
Well, Christmas rolls around, and despite being a worldly wise and mature 14 year old (aren’t they all?) I had a bit of trouble getting to sleep Christmas Eve.  I finally drifted off, and didn’t hear any commotion in the living room all night.

The time:  the crack of dawn, Christmas Morning.

I woke before anyone else, even my two younger sisters.  The sun was up, but just barely.  I tiptoed down the hall, turned the corner into the living room, and stood there in utter shock.  There, in front of the tree, was a brand new, shiny green Schwinn 10 speed bike!  ( I know, you saw that coming, but bear with me)

I sat on the end of the couch, and stared at it for probably 15 minutes.  I just could not believe it.  They had so completely convinced me that I was not going to get the bike that I was just totally blown away.  I finally noticed that I was sitting there in my underwear, and I was starting to get cold.  I decided to jump back in bed, so I made my way back to my bedroom.  I laid there in bed for a few minutes, not even able to really believe the bike was there.  In fact, I was so afraid that it was just wishful thinking, or a dream, that I got up, went back into the living room and touched the bike, just to be sure it was real!  I went back to bed for a while, and waited for everyone else to get up.  While I lay there waiting, I was just in seventh heaven.  I got my bike!
That also set the stage for never completely  believing my parents again when they said no…..  but I don’t  think they thought of that at the time!
Oh, and the very first time I rode that bike, later that morning, I promptly ran into the back of a parked car, while trying to watch the gears change!

Good Christmas holidays before and after, but this is the one that I will always think of first.  I hope your holiday will be a good one.

A lie, or ignorance? Trump supporters overlook falsehoods


On Thursday, December 15, 2016, Donald Trump was in Hershey, Pennsylvania, at another of his “Thank You” rallies. Apparently still on the campaign trail, he spent an hour going on about how terrible things have been under President Obama, and how great they’re going to be once he’s sworn in. Hey, Donald? Barring some historic action by the Electoral College, you won. How about working on building your administration? With people other than Fox News talking heads? (what is Fox going to do when all of their “talent” is no longer available? I suppose that’s one way of creating ‘new’ jobs!)

This particular blog was spurred by Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux’s Friday appearance on Fox News’ Hannity program. Sheriff Boudreaux’s appearance was regarding the recent arrest of two Mexican nationals in the apparent homicide of Cecilia Bravo Cabrera. In the lead-up to Sheriff Boudreaux’s appearance, Sean Hannity played a clip of Trump’s Hershey speech, where the President-elect made the following statement:

The murder rate, in the United States, is the largest that it’s been in 45 years. Nobody knows that. They (the media) don’t tell you that.”  This was in a segment where he’s talking about building the wall, and illegal immigration, and how that was the reason for the high crime rate.

Then Hannity comes back to reinforce the point that it’s illegal aliens who are largely responsible for that “fact”. Then into the interview with the Sheriff, who did very well holding to the facts in the matter, and not letting Hannity spin his words, regardless what the lead-in might lead you to believe about the case.

The murder rate, in the United States, is the largest it’s been in 45 years.” Well, not exactly. The homicide rate in the United States is at a 51 year low.

FBI statistics at

The homicide rate has been dropping every year of President Obama’s time in office (and before. Even in W’s terms). I found the information in a quick Google search. You’d think Trump’s speech writing team would bother to make the same effort.

Hannity certainly didn’t call out Trump for his falsehood, and so far neither has anyone else that I’ve seen. President Obama has been raked over the coals by the right-wing for his “if you like your doctor, you get to keep your doctor” comment regarding the Affordable Care Act. Trump blatantly lies* about the homicide rate in this country, and… crickets.

This seems to be a habit with Trump and his supporters. The truth is expendable, when a good lie generates your applause line. Fox News certainly won’t call out Trump for making false statements, so we’ll have to see who will.

Oh, by the way, did you see that Fox News finally came out with their own “independently verified” report that the Russians really did hack US, and try to swing the election? And that Putin was in the thick of it? They’ve for so long toed Trump’s line that there was no Russian involvement that I wonder how this will creep it’s way into their broadcasts? Will they maintain they knew and broadcast the truth all along? Do they even care that we have the video in our archives? Probably not.

So – largest murder rate in 45 years. Except that it’s not. But maybe the FBI is lying, and Trump is right. And building the wall will fix that.

I think you can see why Trump “loves the poorly educated”.

*of course, to be a lie, Trump has to know the truth, but make his statement anyway. Maybe he believes what he says, I don’t know. I do know the information is wrong, and it’s easy to verify. Maybe he’s not technically lying, but he’s telling a lie -i.e., something that’s not true.

Image: Youtube Trump TV Network

Congressman Nunes blocks me from his Twitter feed!


Oh my goodness.

I’ve been banned from Devin Nunes’ Twitter feed!


Seems Mr. Nunes (or more likely someone on his staff) doesn’t appreciate my questions.


I’ve asked a couple of other questions, either on Twitter, or through his Congressional web page, generally without response. I did write a blog here complimenting him for voting yes on the violence against women act, so while I’ve been critical fairly often, it’s not been completely negative.

Whatever the situation, I must admit I’m a bit tickled. Blocked from his Twitter feed. Quick, hand me a fan and find me a fainting couch!

Image: @DevinNunes Twitter 

World AIDS Day 2016


“World AIDS Day is held on the 1st of December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.” –

Some “fast facts” from the website:
“More than 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV, and 1 in 8 of them don’t know it.”
“From 2005 to 2014, the annual number of new HIV diagnoses declined 19%.”
“Gay and bisexual men, particularly young African American gay and bisexual men, are most affected.” –

Currently, there are 36.7 million people world-wide living with HIV/AIDS. 1.8 million of those are children. A large percentage of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 35 million people have died from AIDS related illnesses since the start of the epidemic. –

With treatment, HIV/AIDS has gone from a fatal condition, to a treatable disease. Although no cure currently exists, treatment with antiretroviral medications halts the spread of the virus, and the damage done to the infected person’s immune system.

The newest wrinkle is HIV/AIDS prevention is PrEP, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. “When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%. The pill (brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.” –

Tulare County averages about 30 new HIV infections a year (2011-2013).  Condoms, regular testing, and PrEP are all steps to take to reduce the risk of HIV infection, and to prevent the spread of the disease.

theSOURCE LGBT+ Center will be offering, in conjunction with Clinica Sierra Vista, free confidential HIV testing, on Friday December 8, 2016. Testing will be available from 3pm to 5pm at 208 W. Main St., Suite B (downstairs in the Montgomery Square), Visalia.

World AIDS Day is a global moment of remembrance for those who have died, recognition of those currently infected, and to focus on the continuing efforts at prevention and treatment.

“Millions voted illegally”? Where’s the beef?


“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally” – Donald Trump, 12:30 pm 11/27/2016 via Twitter.

Really, Mr. Trump? Care to provide any evidence of this rather extraordinary claim? No? Why am I not surprised?

The source for the latest ‘Chicken-Little-says-the-election-was-rigged’ disinformation looks to be a Tweet by someone named Gregg Phillips, who on November 11 Tweeted,

“Completed analysis of database of 180 million voter registrations. Number of non-citizen votes exceeds 3 million. Consulting legal team.”

When asked for the evidence and how the data was analyzed,  Phillips refused, saying on the 15th,

“No. We will release it in open form to the American people. We won’t allow the media to spin this first. Sorry.”

It’s now the 27th, Trump has finally seen it and, as is his wont with things he’s “seen” or “heard” people talk about, he’s jumped on this band-wagon-of-the-minute.

Phillips, in the meantime, has not provided any evidence to back up his claims.  Which is not surprising, since in the last decade or so, almost every case of illegal voting activity or manipulation that’s been uncovered has had a Republican at it’s core. (Don’t believe me? Google it.)

We have the most robust, clean, and transparent election process in the world, but there are plenty of people willing to cast doubt to further their own political and financial schemes. The voting itself is the most secure and trusted on the planet, Chicago’s reputation not withstanding. What is true is that Russia and Russian sponsored actors hacked the DNC (and probably others), and spread false information leavened with just enough factual evidence to let the tabloid media (whether print or online) spout their nonsense, usually unchallenged by those who soak it up with an uncritical eye.  I can’t count how many nonsensical and outright lying “news” stories I’ve seen scroll by on my Facebook and Twitter feeds this election cycle.

Rather than being a resource that instantly puts the world’s collective knowledge at our fingertips to make us all smarter citizens, the Internet has been overrun with nonsense and easily disproven drivel. Too many are unwilling to check the facts, while accusing others of being “low information” voters.

President-elect Trump has, for some time now, been guilty of reposting nonsense.  Even when easily disproven, it doesn’t seem to matter. Whatever suits him for the moment, whatever serves his narrative of the day, gets put out there.

Now he repeats the claim that “millions” voted illegally.  Not a shred of proof, not a bit of reasoning, not an iota of truth. It doesn’t matter, because like Nixon’s “if the President does it, it’s not illegal”, and now Trump’s “the President can’t have a conflict of interest”, whatever the Internet says must be true. As long as it serves your purposes.

It’s going to be a long four years.

Trump Tweets: Safe Space for VP


Oh, the irony is delicious.

“The theater must always be a safe and special place.” – Donald Trump via Twitter 11-19-2016

As recently as February of this year, was announcing the imminent death of “safe spaces”, and that wussy progressives would not be able to defend them once real Americans stood up and made challenge. Or something like that. It’s a bit difficult to follow their reasoning when it comes to things like this, since logic and facts seldom creep into their rantings.  (Breitbart is, of course, the site that until recently was run by President-elect Trump’s now-right-hand-man Steve Bannon)

There’s been a boatload of ridicule directed at those who offer, support, and use safe spaces on the Internet recently. Cutesy memes and Facebook posts have snickered at safe spaces, full of derision and snide comments.

Now, their knight in shining conservative armor has thrown a spanner into that carefully crafted ridicule.  President-elect Trump has Tweeted that a “safe space” is required for his Vice-President-elect when he goes to the theater. I’m wondering if he will release a list of other safe spaces, so that Mr. Pence will be able to find them as he tours the country (no doubt denying that Trump ever said anything about it).

It’s going to be an interesting four years. If he lasts that long. Whispers of impeachment have already started, and not by whom you might  suspect as the logical sources. No, these murmurings are coming from members of his own party, who would much rather deal with a President Pence. The Donald may need to designate his New York City Trump Tower as a “safe space”. Gilt in gold, no less.

I’m converting to Islam


If a religion is so powerful that the strongest nation on the planet is afraid of it, I think I should reconsider my atheism. Membership has it’s privileges, as the old commercial goes. There must be something to it, if it can cause the world’s greatest democracy to toss aside all of it’s ethics and laws, it’s history, and the promises made in a treaty* signed all the way back in 1797. We’re not afraid of Christianity, but, boy-howdy, are we quaking in our boots over Islam!

The Trump campaign promised to require registration of Muslims, after cutting off immigration from certain countries.  I’m sure someone will pipe up with “the registry only applies to immigrants from certain places”, but as anti-government agitators love to remind us, government programs only get bigger. We can be sure that, even if implemented as only requiring immigrants to register, it won’t be long before the alt.right will demand that ALL Muslims be registered.  Hopefully they won’t go as far as requiring crescent patches or tattoos, but with this bunch I wouldn’t rule out anything.

At any rate, such a powerful force must be something to be reckoned with. If it’s enough to do this much (self-inflicted) damage to the United States and it’s vaulted freedoms, we would be foolish not to convert, right?

The Nazis started with registrations and ID patches. We know where that ended up. The United States incarcerated, without charges or trial, 120,000 citizens who just happened to look like the people who attacked Pearl Harbor. Now we face the prospect of our government registering people because of their religion.

If the Trump administration follows through on it’s promise of a registry, I hope there’s a bunch of us that go in to sign up, and flood the program with millions of “radical Islamic terrorists”, or whatever the alt.right will be calling them. Let’s show them what they’re really up against!

That’s one powerful god-force. Or god-fear. Or just simply fear. It’s the politics of a third-world dictator, blown up to super-power status. It’s “look over there! Danger! They’re coming to kill you! (don’t look over here, where we’re taking your money, your rights, your freedoms, and your futures)”. It’s bread and circuses as the barbarians approach, this time from the inside.

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves” – President Abraham Lincoln

Ok. So I’m not really going to convert. I no more believe in Allah than I do Yahwah (oh, wait… sorry, that’s the same guy. Abrahamic religions can get so convoluted).  Or Odin. Or Santa Claus and the tooth fairy (sorry kids).

I don’t recognize the United States promised by Donald Trump. His promise to “make America Great Again” rings hollow to someone who has always believed we were great, flaws and all. (The battle for LGBT rights and marriage equality exposed a lot of those flaws!) The first week of transition activities reveal a clueless group, who have no idea how to deliver on even the basic functions of assuming power, let alone actually being able to carry out what they promised on the campaign trail.

So far nothing Trump is doing is creating any faith that the next four years will be anything other than one disaster after another, one scandal after another, and the diminished stature of the United States on the world stage. (but Russia will love us, right?)

A minority of voters has sent a clown to the White House, and he doesn’t even seem to want to be there. I would say, “heaven help us”, but…  well, you know.

*”Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” – Treaty of Tripoli, 1797

theSOURCE LGBT+ Center issues a statement on the 2016 elections


Some people in our community are anxious about what the election might mean for the LGBT+ community. We have faith that we live in a time where people want to be understanding and tolerant. We’ve experienced this since theSOURCE was created. People and places we never thought would be open and accepting stepped up to support us. We have friends in our local elected officials and still more supporters at the state and Federal levels of government. Still, we know there is a need for theSOURCE to be visible and continue to work on those issues that are important to the LGBT+ community.

Now more than ever, we are here to work and partner with all of our community. We are open Tuesday through Friday, 3pm to 6pm. Come down and hang out, even if it’s just to say ‘hi’. Send us a message and let us know how we might be of assistance. If you want to get more involved, there are several ways to help. As has been mentioned, “we are stronger together”.

Congratulations to the winners of Tuesday night’s elections! We look forward to working together for all of our community’s benefit.

theSOURCE LGBT+ Center, 208 W. Main, Suite B, Visalia. Located downstairs in the Montgomery Square.

Posted for theSOURCE LGBT+ Center by Jim Reeves, Board Member, Community Liaison

President Trump?



We’ve elected a billionaire blow-hard to lead the free world. After burning all the bridges to the very people he needs to make his barely articulated plans work, now he has to actually start delivering on his ‘vision’. He talked about rebuilding America’s infrastructure in his speech this morning, but his first rebuilding job will have to be with the Republicans in Congress. They actually control the purse-strings to whatever it is he hopes to do to “make America great again”, but since they are loathe to spend money (except on war), I’m not sure how he plans to change their habits. They may have voted for him, but many did not endorse him. Revenge against those that have spurned him has been the Trump pattern, and it does not bode well for the future of Congressional relationships.

The stock markets around the world are in shock, and some trading has been stopped to prevent massive losses as the business world reacts to the idea of President Donald Trump. The international business community is extremely unsettled by our choice.

Global leaders are no doubt scrambling to figure out how to deal with the prospect of a United States President who is clueless about the rest of the world. They had a bit of exposure to that with W., but even he was head and shoulders above ‘The Donald’. The Russians, the Chinese, and other totalitarian regimes are undoubtably gloating right now, as they’ve just seen the American people do in one day what they’ve been unable to do in sixty years:  weaken the United States internationally. Trump has bragged about his negotiating skills, but Vladimir Putin is not interested in building a hotel in New York. Kim Jong Un won’t be sitting across a table, negotiating for a golf course in Pyongyang. Xi Jinping isn’t looking for a Trump casino for Hong Kong. Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania are wondering how long before they are “Ukrained”. Poland is wondering if there will be a NATO around to defend them from the same fate.

Elections have consequences, and we don’t have a clue what they will be this time around. If President Trump delivers on the things he said as candidate Trump, we may have just taken the first steps to WW III. I have been afraid for some time now that climate change would lead to global war by the end of the 21st century. Now I’m concerned we’ve moved that date up to the middle of the century, or even sooner. The unraveling of the tapestry that has held the world merely on the brink of nuclear war since 1945, and Trump’s idea that climate change is a Chinese hoax, could cause us to ignore the increasing stresses from unrest, displacement, famine and drought, until it’s too late. At some point, possibly in India and Pakistan, political failures and social unrest due to millions of displaced people (and the absence of a strong, respected political leadership in the United States) could lead to an actual nuclear war. North Korea might decide to nuke Japan.  Israel might decide the United States is an unreliable partner, and that it needs to take the ultimate sanction against Iran. Instability around the world will increase as the planet warms, and the United States may be increasingly impotent to do anything about it.  Global flashpoints will become conflagrations.  Our only leverage will be nuclear, and that’s not really an option.

All this might come to pass because half the people in this country ignored the endless examples of why Donald Trump should not be President of the United States, and believed the easily and repeatadly disproved lies about Hillary Clinton. It makes me think Isaac Assimov was correct when he said “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” We’ve now reached a point where enough people have decided a hukster con-man is the better choice for President than is a woman with a stellar track record of public service and experience second to none in the international arena.

Half this country has gone insane. President Donald Trump. To follow President Barrack Obama. It’s like we just have to see if the gun is loaded, so we point it at our foot and pull the trigger. I wonder if we’ll bleed to death?

I hope my nightmares are unfounded. I hope President Trump surprises us all. I’m not confident that either is true.


Photo: Associated Press

FBI – full of sound and fury, signifying nothing


Well, imagine that. FBI director James Comey today announces “oops, never mind, nothing to see here, move along.”  All the furor generated by him, heralded by Fox News, the Trump campaign, and wingnuts everywhere, turns out to be, to quote Shakespeare:

“but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

The damage done to our democracy by idiots, poor players, and walking shadows is not insignificant.  It’s going to take a long time, and a lot of hard work from the next several Democratic Presidents and Congresses to fix.

Starting Tuesday evening, I hope we begin the process.  Then, on January 20, 2017 we can really get started, with Madam President.

(AP Photo/John Locher)