Monday, July 17, 2017

A Rainbow Today

A storm came along this afternoon and produced this beautiful rainbow.

Some Beautiful Flowers

I got my hair cut yesterday. I went to the Newseum afterwards and saw these beauties on my walk there.

The size of the blossoms on these hibiscus is amazing.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Juggler Craig Quat at the Smithsonian Folk LIfe Festival

You could say that Craig Quat is just a juggler but he is so much more. I saw him juggling which he was amazing at but I heard him talk as well and that was truly amazing. He's using juggling to help people with cognitive challenges.

Here's more from his profile at the Smithsonian site
Craig Quat is the founder of QUAT PROPS and inventor of the Juggle Board. He researches alternative understandings of juggling and explores new ways of expanding the accessibility of juggling through creation of innovative adaptive equipment. Quat’s work not only challenges the traditional conventions of juggling, but also the social perceptions of disabilities.

Quat is originally from New Jersey, but now lives and works in Cardiff, Wales, where he develops new types of juggling props specifically designed for people with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. Many of these props will be demonstrated for the first time in the United States at the 2017 Folklife Festival.

Here's part of an article from Autism Highway about Craig:

He is by far one of the most amazing people to ever cross our path here on the AutismHWY!  Craig Quat and his uber creative company Quat Props is a game changer for people that like to challenge themselves, build skills and have fun while they are doing it. Craig’s talent and love of CIRCUS has become his life’s calling. It has catapulted him into the fantastic and creative purpose to make juggling accessable for ALL people. The importance of this work is easy to see as the mind/ body and central nervous system connections are truly the heart and soul of being human. Craig has found an amazing way to work the inroads of connection through his love of juggling and CIRCUS!

Craig and  partners actively teach people to organize their brains by juggling! At first this may seem a bit mind boggling yet, Craig clearly knows and demonstrates rapidly the immense value juggling has. Through the creation of his “Juggle board” and other engagingly fun exercises he utilizes the importance of focus, connection and rythym that will spill over into everyday tasking. Watching him work with varied individuals live at the 2016 ANCA World Autism Festival was truly fascinating and very moving. You could literally see him gage the inner thinking of each person he was “juggling” with. Through this rythmic creative patterning Craig stimulates quick rolling -turn taking actions which must occur sequentually, causing many brain connections to be made.

Really interesting ideas.

Three Strikes and You're Out — The Senate "Health Care" Bill

In baseball you have three strikes and you're out.

That's what should be applied to the Senate "health care" bill. I put quotes around it because it really isn't about care or about people's health. It's just a way to give a huge tax break to the rich. And it leaves people with pre-existing conditions with insurance premiums that few will be able to afford.

And now there is an additional amendment to the bill by Ted Cruz. From Huffpost story here's how two insurance organizations are reacting to it:
Two organizations representing the U.S. health insurance industry just called a new provision of the Senate Republicans’ health care proposal “simply unworkable in any form” and warned that it would cause major hardship, especially for middle-class people with serious medical problems.

The organizations, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, speak for the businesses that would be responsible for making the new system work ― or at least attempting to do so.

That may help explain why, with a vote on the bill planned for next week, they are letting loose with what, by Washington lobbying standards, sounds like a primal scream.

In a publicly posted letter to Senate leaders, the two groups focused their attention on an amendment that would undermine the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The amendment, crafted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), would allow insurers to resume sales of policies that leave out key benefits, such as prescription drugs or mental health. More important, it would allow insurers to discriminate among customers based on medical status, charging higher premiums or denying policies altogether to people with existing medical problems ― from the severe, like cancer, to the relatively mild, like allergies.

Another problem with the bill is what it will do to Medicaid. There is now a full court press by the White House to get Republican governors, who object to the bill, to support it. It looks like the effort isn't paying off very well. From the Post:
“I’ve still got to come back to my concerns with regard to the Medicaid population,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.) on his way to a private session with Vice President Pence here at the summer meeting of the National Governors Association. Pence had earlier delivered a detailed speech to the entire group defending the bill.

Sandoval’s views, along with those of three other governors whose states expanded Medicaid under the ACA — John Kasich of Ohio, Doug Ducey of Arizona and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas — could prove decisive in determining whether the Senate passes legislation next week. Republican senators from those states are closely watching how their governors respond to the newly revamped legislation as they decide whether to support it.

Kasich, who did not attend, issued a statement calling the revised Senate plan “still unacceptable” because of its Medicaid cuts and possible impact on the private ACA insurance market.
Republicans are not going to be deterred by this. The bottom line is it's a tax cut bill for the rich not a health care bill. So they will continue to try and get this horrible bill passed.

But as far as I'm concerned this is strike three so you're out!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Wallenda Family Troop

Yes, they are still at it the Wallenda Family. And they were fantastic.

From at story in the Post:
If it seems like the Wallendas are everywhere these days — well, there are a lot of them by now. After nearly a century as a brand name, the acrobats in the family have split off into groups: Tino’s immediate family performs as the Wallenda Family Troupe, while his nephew Nik Wallenda and Nik’s aerialist wife, Erendira, have made names for themselves with their TV-friendly daredevil stunts. (Both have dangled by their teeth from trapezes hanging from helicopters, Nik 250 feet above a Missouri theme park and Erendira 300 feet above Niagara Falls in June.)

Nik’s act tends to veer from the family’s tightrope roots. But “I feel that there’s a place for everything,” his cousin Alida said. “There’s a place for the modern, there’s a place for the traditional.”

Even if the “traditional” carries an unusually high occupational hazard rate. Tino said he recognizes the constant potential for death but gives a shrug.

“The casualty rate of driving cars is much greater than tightrope walkers, and there’s lots of tightrope walkers,” he said. “You just have to be careful about what you do.”

The pictures don't exactly do justice to what they are able to accomplish.

More of the Wallenda Family Troop

More from the Post article:
“We do a lot of traveling eight to 10 months out of the year, so with a lot of people, it’s difficult to get up and go,” Aurelia said. “You pack a suitcase, you get in your trailer, you go to a hotel — that’s moving almost every day.” She brought her 1-year-old son, Marcus, to the festival.

Though she joked about Marcus joining the family business in a few years, it’s fair to assume that he’ll at least try it out. Alida’s three children — Ysabella Cortes, 15; Lucas Cortes, 7; and Tomas Cortes, 5 — joined the show on Thursday, and young Tomas even sat on his father’s shoulders as he walked the high wire.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Trumps and Russia

Its' hard to wrap my head around this one.

Here are a few quick thoughts on it. 

If the Democrats had done this, the Republicans would be introducing articles of impeachment. Or at the very least screaming at the top of their lungs about it.

But since it's there guy, the Republicans don't care. Showing once again party before country each and every time with them. How low they have come. I have no respect for them at all.

As for the Trumps, well it's hard to figure out if anything illegal really happened. We'll have to wait and see what comes out the investigation.

My problem is that the story changes all the time. It changes and new information is forth coming only when the press is about to print a story pointing out that previous statements are not correct. Kushner has had to go for a second time and change the information on his top secret application.

If nothing happened, everything should be out in the open. They should have just said this is what happened. This is who we talked to. This is when we talked to them. But the story, explanation and rationally changes just about every day.

And that what makes me think there is more to this than they are saying. Since after all what they're saying changes every single day. Hell sometimes every hour it changes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Sailor Circus at the Smithsonsian Folk Life Festival

What a great group of performers. I got to sit and watch them under the big top as they showed off their skills.

Here's more about them from the Smithsonian website:
Originating in 1949 as a high school gymnastics class, Sailor Circus Academy is America’s oldest continuously operating youth circus. Now part of the Circus Arts Conservatory, Sailor Circus has grown into a complete community-based circus school that offers expert comprehensive training in the circus arts. Through extremely rigorous interdisciplinary performing arts and psychomotor skills programs, students learn to excel in the circus arts in a safe, nurturing, and creative professional environment.

In the early 1950s, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus approved reference to Sailor Circus as “The Greatest ‘Little’ Show on Earth.” For more than six decades since, thousands of students have trained under the direction of many dedicated coaches and volunteers. They also continue to benefit from opportunities to work with legendary circus artists who make southwest Florida their home and still contribute to their community’s circus cultural heritage.

The growing success of Sailor Circus is reflected in the artistry represented in its seasonal full-house performance events, which are inspiring new demand for expanded instruction in the circus arts from the community at large—a vibrant example of the revival of interest in the circus arts in America today.

Here's a link to their Facebook page

Amazing Acrobatics

 Here's a great sequence from these acrobats.

Sailor Circus Roller Skating and More

 Just a little fun on roller skates.

Sailor Circus and the Man on the Hoop

This guy was fantastic. It was amazing what he could do with his body.