Monday, March 27, 2017

False Alarm

Followers of Banana Winds might expect, at this point, for the Captain to take a victory lap around the deck after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives failed to pass their “American Healthcare Act” – “the World’s Greatest Health Care Plan of 2017”.

But like the failed Trump administration, we on the Banana Winds are ready to move on.

Because there’s a greater concern in the world today that has the ship in an uproar!

On Sunday, three girls were denied their right to board a United Airlines flight because they were wearing leggings.

Two were describes as “early teens”, the third a “10-year-old”.

Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demanding Action for Gun Sense in America” (MDAFGSIA...?), witnessed this travesty of justice and immediately took her concerns to Twitter.   

As these things go, the tweet went viral. Thousands of people around the world became outraged, threatening to never fly United again!

Anyone remember this classic?
Even celebrities got involved in the protest… because, celebrities.

The Captain looks forward to my next flight on United with Chrissy Teigen!

Seriously, the Captain has addressed the issue of leggings and yoga pants previously. (here and here)

Since then, leggings/yoga pants have become a regular feature of most women’s closets.

In fact, today at Walmart I saw a 60-something woman wearing yoga pants.

Sadly, there are just some things you can never un-see…

I have a friend who wears yoga pants regularly, and she looks cute in them! 

She also keeps her bum covered in a much-appreciated touch of modesty.

And did you know yoga pants are the fastest-growing fetish on internet porn sites?

Or so the Captain has heard…

So why are leggings/yoga pants prohibited at United Airlines?

Well, actually, they are not.

What Ms. Watts did not know – and did not bother to find out – is that the young ladies in question were traveling courtesy of United’s “Buddy Pass”. As relatives of employees, they are allowed to fly for free.

Non-Revenue Passengers.

And for those flying for free on United, there is a Dress Code.

Anyone else can wear leggings / yoga pants.

Okay, maybe not everyone...
Captain’s Note: Does anyone remember the “good ol’ days” of air flight, when people actually dressed up to travel? 

In the late 80’s, when the Captain was but a young preacher, the local Rabbi gave him sage advice: “Always dress up when traveling by air. You will get better service.”

Here’s the deal. If you are using a “Buddy Pass”, you are representing the company. And since the company is paying for your ticket, the company has a say in what you will wear.

It is, perhaps, trying to stop a fashion tragedy like this…

Rather than protesting, we should say “Thank You!”

Frankly, sometimes there are “rules” in life.

Be it known that the Captain would never infringe upon your right to self-expression…

... or your right to being comfortable. Lord knows I have flown enough to appreciate that!

But if you want to ride for free, you have to abide by the rules.

If you can’t, then join all those people who get to wear whatever the hell they want and buy your own damn ticket!

Captain’s Note: For what it’s worth, the last time the First Mate flew to Los Angeles, her ticket cost $750 - coach! How much is your self-expression worth to you?

The problem here is not the airline policies. United is free to make any policy it chooses. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else!

The problem here is Social Media and people who don’t bother to check out the facts before they post their faux outrage online.

Even Ms.Watts is surprised by the uproar her un-informed tweet created: "Even more outrageous than leggings discrimination and lousy corporate policy, is the fact that there was a shooting in Cincinnati and a shooting in Las Vegas this weekend and so many more shootings this week and weekend in which people were killed and injured,… not to mention, a serious issue with missing black women and girls... But here we are talking about leggings."

Perhaps you should have thought about that before you tweeted.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Johnny One Note

Dear Readers: The Captain would like to apologize for the repetitive use of images of President Donald Trump in today's post. However, this was deemed necessary to convey my point. I apologize to those who, like me, are sick and tired of seeing his ugly mug everywhere; I will try to do better in the future. - The Captain


When the Captain was but a wee cabin boy, the high school music department presented its annual musical production. That particular year it was a variety show. A very talented young man – who would later meet a tragic and untimely end while trying to make it big in Los Angeles – sang “Johnny One Note”, from the 1937 musical “Babes in Arms”.

Here’s Judy Garland doing the original.

That song came to mind recently as the Captain was reading through a Facebook post about, once again, President Trump.

Turns out that the President lied about being wire-tapped by President Obama during the recent presidential campaign.

Yet one Trump supporter replied to the allegation: “I don’t care what he does so long as he turns the Supreme Court pro-life.”

You see? Johnny One Note.

I have mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again. The job of the President of the United States of America is about more than just nominating a Supreme Court justice who will overturn Roe v. Wade.

First and foremost, the President is the nation’s Chief Dreamer, the Caster of the Vision, the Enabler of the American Dream.

He also gets to appoint Cabinet Secretaries, the people who will advise him and help shape the President’s dreams. In addition, there are some 2,000 other government jobs that are nominated from the Oval Office.

Then there is the Federal Budget. A President is expected to lead the way in determining where our tax dollars are spent, and he gets to sign off on the final budget approved by Congress.

The President also is the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. militaries, and has always within arms reach the “Football” – the briefcase capable of launching nuclear weapons against our enemies.

May it never be used. Amen.

And the President is the chief Ambassador of the United States, meeting with other world leaders to confirm and coax harmonious and mutually-beneficial relationships between the nations.  

In the past, many have also seen the President of the United States as someone to look up to: a father figure, a moral leader, a hero.

So the job of President is multi-faceted. And many of these facets have direct implications upon our lives and the state of our nation – our safety, our security, our economic viability.

But thanks in no small part to the “Johnny One Note”s out there who voted for Donald Trump based on a single campaign promise – and keep in mind, these were just campaign promises – we have a President who is detached, has filled his Cabinet with cronies and others who have absolutely no experience, has no military experience or respect for the military (beyond their ability to blow shit up!), has an unstable temperament, and is a chronic liar and manipulator.

If you want to see how the President is doing on his campaign promises, click this link:

Not to make unfair comparisons, but the President seems to operate from a mindset similar to what Adolph Hitler wrote in 1925 in Mein Kampf

“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.”

Nonetheless, his approval ratings are abysmal, especially for a newly-elected President. Even failed TV host Arnold Schwarzenegger is trolling him!

And world leaders are definitely uneasy about this administration.

Germany's Angela Merkel reacts after Trump says Germany owes NATO money!

Japan's Shinzo Abe re-positions after an uncomfortable handshake with Trump.
And these are our allies!

As for the Johnny One Note who thinks this President will fulfill his campaign promise about abortion - apparently Johnny's sole concern - Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch told the Senate panel interviewing him today that if the President had asked him to overturn Roe v. Wade, he would have turned down the nomination.

Here’s looking to Election Day 2020!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Jumpin' Back Into the Fray!

For several months now the Captain has been publicly quiet about my political opinions.

No, not on the Banana Winds. This is my ship!

Sorry, dear readers, but you come here voluntarily.

During the Presidential Campaigns of 2016, I and many of my colleagues were criticized by others for daring to express our political opinions on social media like Facebook.

“You should stick to preaching and quit talking about politics!”

A colleague was so beset upon by Trumpites that he finally relented and created a private Facebook group for people to share his concerns with a similar political bent. So now, as the saying goes, he’s “preaching to the choir”.

And that, to me, is a great loss in our American democracy.

If that thinking – of preachers being silent – was universally applied, it would quiet more than 600,000 voices in America. Many of them compassionate voices, intelligent voices, informed voices, moral voices.

It would also include some prominent names who have made complete asses of themselves in recent months, throwing out the very basics of the Christian faith in a fool’s quest for presumed political power.

So maybe that would not be so bad… if universally applied!

Having been bit once several years ago, the Captain is naturally reluctant to publicly take a “side” – although I suspect most know my political leanings anyway.

Think of it as “Don’t ask, don’t tell”.

But if you ask, I definitely will tell you what I think!

You’ve been warned!

During the campaign season, Facebook became increasingly political – and increasingly polarized – to the point I took a couple extended sabbaticals from the social media site.

For the sake of my already sketchy mental health.

I found myself yearning for the good ol’ days of Facebook, when it was filled with the saccharin-sweet pictures of puppies and kitties and what you’re having for dinner and “Good night, Facebook” posts.

But now, after two months of the Trump presidency, the Captain has decided to re-enter the fray.

The wise person would probably counsel, “Tread carefully!”

And normally the Captain would avoid confrontation. I don’t like confrontation… unless it involves ships and canon and swords!

So I chose an easy target, an “Allen West Republic” post.

Captain’s Note: In case you don’t know who Allen West is, he is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, dismissed from the Army for firing a handgun too close to an Iraqi detainee’s head. He was swept into politics by the Tea Party, elected by Florida to the U.S. House of Representatives. Although he raised a record $17 million for his re-election, he lost after only one term to novice Democrat Patrick Murphy. Like many failed politicians, West is now an out-spoken right-wing political commentator and Obama-hater.

Here is the post:

From your meme to God's ears, my friend!

Here is how I responded to the meme:

“You have a very short memory. Go back and look at the economic mess President Obama inherited from President Bush. Obama bailed out the banks, saved the auto industry, doubled the stock market, and reduced unemployment. And millions were able to get health insurance that couldn’t before. Tell me how you suffered…”

Captain’s Note: I have to confess that I was inspired to use this approach by a post written by Scott Mednick, who, in response to a similar comment, listed many of President Obama’s positive accomplishments and after each one asks, “Has this caused you to suffer?” [You can find the full article here.]

You see, I hear so many on the Far Right crying about how bad the last eight years have been, but when put to the test they can’t identify what was so bad about them. Their arguments usually denigrate to name-calling.

The first to reply to my query started with complaints about her taxes going up, her insurance premium going up, her insurance deductible going up.

Frankly, those were complaints before President Obama’s term in office, and will be complaints for decades to come. I don’t like paying taxes either, but I sure enjoy what that money provides!

And if the Congressional Budget Office is correct, she is in for a real disappointment should this American Health Care Act pass.

But then she switched to rants that indicated she was working off of “talking points”.

“The National Debt is more than twice what it was. We now owe China, a communist country, a ton of money. Our media was pretty much state-controlled.”

Then she added, just for effect, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

You'll be proud to know the Captain restrained himself from making a snarky retort about President Trump’s alleged sexual preferences…

Yes, our National Debt is high, higher than it was when President Obama took office. But bailing out the Big Banks and the failing automobile industry cost money, most of which has not been recovered. And then there are the wars President Bush got us into.

As for the money we owe to China, out of a nearly $20 Trillion total debt, China holds just over $1 Trillion. Japan holds a little more. In fact, we owe most of our National Debt to ourselves through securities and bonds! And some $5 Trillion is owed to the Social Security Trust Fund, which Congress raided to pay for other projects, leaving IOU’s in its place.

And now the Republican Congress has the gall to tell us Social Security is unsustainable!

Then another person replied:

“OMG you are as bad as the former WH occupant. Blaming Bush for everything – even 8 years later he never accepted responsibility for all of his failures.”

Captain’s Note: Failing proper punctuation and syntax, one can only assume she is referring to President Bush’ failures. Her writing is unclear.

Then she posted a link from some unknown person who listed all of President Obama’s perceived personal failures.

The Captain replied, “You argue by posting some random guy’s blog? Seriously?”    

A few entries later, the first woman reappeared.

“Wow… you are a liberal in every sense. My healthcare costs weren’t doubling and tripling every year before the ACA. You want to explain why I am responsible for someone else’s health care?”

I passed the opportunity to thank her for the compliment, choosing instead to explain how insurance works.

“That’s how insurance works. Everyone pays in so there’s money to cover the need. Do you really think what little you want to pay for your health insurance will actually cover the cost if you had a major surgery?”

Now, being on an Allen West post, I was expecting to eventually get slammed. But it was surprisingly quiet.

Until this morning, when it got real. Some guy in a necktie posted this:

“Thank God the country rose up against Democrat lockstep koolaid drinkers like you last November. Can’t believe some people are incapable of seeing through leftist liberal spin and naively swallow it. Don’t be a useful idiot for the left.”

Captain’s Note: We really need to stop using that horrid phrase “koolaid drinkers”. This is a reference to the 1978 massacre in Jonestown,Guyana, in which cult leader Jim Jones convinced over 900 of his followers – all American citizens – to drink poison-laced Flavor-Aid. It was a tragedy that should never be repeated nor made light of.

When I finished laughing about that "leftist liberal spin", I wrote back,

“Can you give me some specifics, or did you just want to insult me?”

He followed with this taunt:

“And did you forget that Clinton had Osama Bin Laden back in the 90’s and let him go? How partisan can someone get? Holy cow, just stunning.”

I could be THIS partisan... but I'm not.

Again, no specifics. Just more “blah blah blah”. And for what it’s worth, President Clinton never “had” bin Laden. He launched several military strike to get him, but failed.

As President Bush failed to do for the next eight years.

Did I mention that President Obama oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden? 

But let’s not give him credit for that.

Unlike before, throughout all this exchange I have been at peace. I have felt no anxiety. In fact, it has been quite entertaining!

And here's why.

Now that President Trump is in office and we have had the opportunity to see him in action, the differences between him and his predecessor(s) have become quite plain. 

The Trump Administration’s daily barrage of lies and missteps are indefensible and have made it so much easier to see just how good the past eight years under President Obama were.

I suppose for that we should say, “Thank you, Mr. President!”