Welcome to the somewhat unbalanced mind of Orbson Rice.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Girl with the Beautiful Eyes

The little girl with the beautiful eyes. There is sorrow in that blue that few of us have ever known, this little girl with the beautiful eyes. Against the wall she leans, her gaze far off and the little colorful helicopter on her sweater covered in days’ worth of filth. The little girl with the beautiful eyes has seen too much. I wonder what her joyful days were like, this little girl with the beautiful eyes. I wonder whether there were birthdays with balloons and presents reflected in those beautiful eyes. I wonder if she watched as the bombs stole her parents away from her. Did she see it happen through the tears of those beautiful eyes? Did she see the other children, tens of thousands like her whose lives would be so different if they didn’t call Syria home? She will never be the same, this girl with the beautiful eyes. She’ll be broken even if she is able to find sanctuary, the memories haunting behind those beautiful eyes. Will she be able to find someone to help her, the girl with the beautiful eyes? Someone to love her and care for her and show those beautiful eyes a better world? A world where dreams can come true. A world with a home and people to love her and her beautiful eyes. I don’t know if she made it out, the girl with the beautiful eyes. 10,000 sets of beautiful young Syrian eyes are missing. I almost hope they are closed forever, for there are some things that beautiful eyes should never see. 50,000 sets of beautiful young eyes will never see light again. I do not know if hers are still open, the girl with the beautiful eyes. Did she find a place to rest her heart? Was she turned away, the girl with the beautiful eyes? I think I will call her Amena, the girl with the beautiful eyes. If she is forgotten, if she is lost, she at least deserves a name. She deserves to be remembered, the girl with the beautiful eyes.


We have been asked to build a wall around us both literally and figuratively. We have been asked to turn away from the innocent. To allow them to suffer and even die because they are not convenient to us, because they may make our lives a little more difficult. I reject this. I reject this with every ounce of morality in my soul. We are facing great difficulties in our nation: poverty, homelessness, environmental destruction, rampant political and corporate corruption, demagogue leaders who seek to divide us. But, regardless of our political views, we have to agree on this one thing. We must treat our fellow human beings with compassion and love. We live in a country that was built on letting people in. Our country’s greatest symbol screams out to the world,

“Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

If you cannot look into the eyes of a child like Amena with compassion and empathy then you can no longer call yourself pro-life. If you support sending unaccompanied children back to countries where they will be forced into gangs, raped and murdered then you cannot call yourself a Christian. If you are not willing to open our nation’s golden doors for the innocent men and women who are only seeking a better life, then your morality has been corrupted. I am agnostic but believe that wherever the truth in life rests, it must be for those who are willing to reach out a hand to their fellow human beings. Though perhaps my words will fall on filtered ears, where truth is alternative and compassion is mocked. Then find guidance in another. Listen to Pope Francis as he says, “We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories….”

I will remember Amena. I will hope that those beautiful eyes are gazing out at something wonderful. Something healing. I will remember that there are other Amenas throughout the world. In Syria, and Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Africa and Alabama. I will think of all of the world’s little boys and girls, men and women who only need a chance to survive, to thrive. Let’s put aside our differences and come together to say that we will not turn away from them, not choose the easy, selfish path. We will welcome them, and look them in their beautiful eyes and let them share their stories with us. Then, in whatever way this world takes us back into it, we will know that for generations of beautiful eyes we made a difference.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump Signs Executive Order to Sell Grand Canyon

On Wednesday, U.S. National Parks openly defied Donald Trump’s executive gag order by tweeting facts on the effects of climate change. Thursday morning, Trump took his revenge. Signing yet another executive order, Trump sold the rights to the Grand Canyon National Park to ultra-conservative group, Jesus Loves Corporations (JLC) for the fee of $1. The JLC has spearheaded efforts to take over wetlands, drill for oil in nature reserves and close national parks for drilling companies. They’ve petitioned for the Grand Canyon rights in the past but had always been denied. Trump spoke about his decision: “The parks are mine now and I can do with them what I like. What’s best for the country. This is a great day. Wonderful. Tons of jobs. Tons. There’s going to be money falling from the skies because of this.” 

A JLC spokesman was on hand as Trump signed the order and he discussed their plans for the former national park.  “Today is a great day for those who love Jesus. We are pleased to announce the new site for the “Jesus is My Savior Theme Park and Gun Range,” a wholesome park that will be fun and educational for the entire family. It will bring job growth to the region and increase tourism. At the same time, the park will spread the gospel, something the Grand Canyon never did.”

When asked how they planned to build a theme park in the Grand Canyon, the JLC spokesman stated, “Well, of course we’ll need to fill it in. It’s a huge project, just like Noah’s Ark, but we are extremely thankful that President Trump has agreed to have the federal government help with that part of the construction.” According to plans, it will cost roughly $800 billion to fill in the Grand Canyon with cement. Trump defended the cost citing job creation and the spread of good wholesome values. “The Grand Canyon is not ‘grand’, it is merely a giant hole in the ground. If you had a hole in your backyard you’d fill it up right? I had a hole in my backyard and Mike Pence came over and helped me fill it right up. Felt great to finally put something in that hole. Something beautiful. Look, the Grand Canyon is not profitable but the ‘Jesus is My Savior Theme Park and Gun Range’ will make buckets of money for everyone.”

Construction on the ‘Jesus is My Savior Theme Park and Gun Range’ will begin on Monday, April 17 of this year. According to released documents the park will include such innovative attractions as the Lazarus Rising Rollercoaster, AK47s for Toddlers, The Great Dinosaur Myth Exhibit and The Book of Job Gift Shop and Food Emporium. The highlight of the park will undoubtedly be the one of a kind experiences such as the Do-It-Yourself Crucifixion and the Alter Boy Experience, a wonderful opportunity to have your children spend some enlightened alone time with one of the park’s priests. Admission to the park is expected to be $149 per person, though $499 will give you access to both Experiences as well as your own souvenir bible. Some in the religious community are already excited. Father Michael Carrington of the Church of God but Only My God Not Yours spoke, “I can’t wait to see the legions of boys and girls on their knees and having good time.”

Will this be the beginning of a National Park sell off? Perhaps Trump’s latest tweet might hold the answer, “Told them to shut up, they didn’t. Now one of them is gone. Sad. What do they have to say now? Nothing. New jobs. Winning.”

In Orbson News:

The Orbson Oracle: Reports from the U.S. House of Representatives confirm that after the massive outcry from Trump’s new “Burn this Fucker Down” environmental policy they have decided that they would include partial coverage for both gas masks and oxygen tanks in their new health care program.

Orbson’s Call to Action: Trump’s administration will seek to punish Sanctuary Cities by denying them Federal funds. We should contact the mayors of these cities and let them know we support them. Further, we should commit to prioritizing these cities (if possible) in any vacation plans. That way we support their kindness and compassion with our pocketbooks. Likewise, we should encourage other cities to become Sanctuary Cities by letting them know that we won’t be spending our money there if they don’t. Evidence suggests that Sanctuary Cities create greater harmony between police and immigrant communities without significantly affecting crime rates. In fact, there tends to be better reporting of crimes in those cities. I frequently visit Seattle and Portland which I am proud to say are both Sanctuary cities. How about you?

Orbson Rice's Call to Action: If you are not already familiar, seek out and follow EarthJustice on Facebook. They are an environmental law firm that has a top rating on Charity Navigator. Their tagline is "Because the Earth needs a good lawyer." THE ISSUE: Congress is attempting to rush through three bills that EarthJustice calls the "Dirty Bundle". If passed, these will allow the deregulation of companies that actively pollute the Earth, stripping away protections like The Clean Air Act. Read about the trio of environment shattering bills on their website and then take action. ACTIONS: Contact your representatives and/or make a small donation to this worthy organization. Even $1 can make a difference.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Progressive Screaming - Get Your Protest On!

The fool shouts and in doing so proudly displays his foolishness. A wise person shouts through his actions and the ripples reverberate through society. Around our great nation the demonstrations and protests are underway. Please remember that it was Gandhi who said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” Screaming profanities and insults, or committing acts of violence or vandalism will not change the world for the better. We progressives, who have criticized the conservative right for so long, must not take up their mantle by acting with immaturity and ignorance. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard. We must allow our minds to be in control, and focus our anger towards the goals of progress and positivity.

Progressive Screaming

1. Hey Congressional Democrats, show up to the inauguration. The egomaniac wants the stage all to himself. Deny him. When Trump is asked to take the oath of office, turn your backs to him and sing or chant to demonstrate your dedication to equality and positive change. Wear a sign over your crotch that says “Not for you!” Carry umbrellas with the words “Not ready for Trump’s Golden Age” on the top of them. Then, just as he places his hand on the Lincoln Bible (don’t get me started on using the Bible in a country that isn’t supposed to favor one religion) stand up as one and hand-in-hand walk away singing,

“Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: don't give up the fight!” – Bob Marley

2. Speak only the truth. Sometimes the truth can hurt, sometimes the facts do not fall in our favor. We must show our integrity by embracing all truth regardless of personal gain. We MUST STOP sharing memes and articles that are unverified or clickbait especially from liberal sources. Verify your facts before you say them, post them or act on them. Do not give conservatives ammunition because they will use it to fuel their propaganda machine. Support those groups and news agencies that verify facts, speak truthfully and don’t just have flashy titles with little substance. If we are going to look down on Trump supporters’ ignorance we cannot do so while standing on the precipice of a shaky foundation. Eventually we will fall.

3. Remember who the enemy truly is. Attacking individuals is never the solution, attack the ideas. Then, show the country, the world, your own ideas through carefully thought out planning. Have a platform, a goal and a plan of action to achieve that goal. Highlight injustices while simultaneously showing that there exists better solutions for the challenges facing us. Be honest. Remember, when you factor in those of voting age who did not vote, only 26% of the country voted for him. That means 74% did not. Speak to them. Protest to them.

4. Make phone calls. That has been shown to be the most effective form of protest thus far. Have your representatives on speed dial and call them for each and every thing that happens in this new administration that goes against something you believe in. Be intelligent, prepared, sincere and kind. Contact corporations that support the administration and let them know that while you respect their right to their own beliefs you will no longer be spending money with them. Did you know the Koch brothers own Brawny, Quilted Northern and Dixie cups? Learn about the items you buy every month and then adjust accordingly. Find the companies that support your beliefs and invest your dollars in their products. Contact the new company and let them know why you are making the switch. Even one phone call per week from each of us can change the world.

5. Protest like progressives, with your minds. Sing, chant, stand silently, strip naked, but do it peacefully and with purpose. When someone yells at you, calls you names or throws things at you, do not allow yourself to give in to hate. Sing louder. Stand taller. If you see those abuses happen to someone else, rush to their side, take their hand and combine your strength with theirs. Thank the police for offering their protection. Remember most of them are truly wonderful and selfless people. Bring them cookies. If you do see problems, know your rights. Record them, be ready to send the video to news agencies immediately (have them on speed dial), but do not allow yourself to give in to the rage that we are all feeling. Dr. King, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and You.

“History has its eyes on you.” People are going to be talking about these next years for decades. We are a part of a fundamental shift in the direction this nation is heading and you my friends are on the right side. Be remembered for how you fight. Finally my friends, know this: Whether you are marching in Washington D.C. with hundreds of thousands of people or there are just 5 of you in a small town in Idaho, I will be there standing with you in spirit. I believe in you. Now go out into the world and get your protest on!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Spray of Deception

Today I found myself watching a stream of the Trump press conference. As he spoke of a new Golden Era, I cannot help but wonder whether these lurid Trump accusations that have been showered down upon us lately have been manufactured to keep our attention off of the number one issue. Let’s face it, Republicans are a whiz at deception. Perhaps these latest leaks are merely distractions from the flow of underhanded and terrifying things Congress is actually doing behind the curtain. Perhaps they believe that your innate ability to be easily distracted by shock entertainment will render you unable to see through the mist of corruption. Still you should not be pissed, for we were already aware of the yellow of their bellies. They can try to hide their cowardice and corruption but you should be relieved, because there are many of us who are watching. Here are but a few examples of the rain of deceit occurring in the last few days:

Who Needs Ethics? Congress attempted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. The first act of this Congress was to try to kneecap the very watchdog that works to ensure that our politicians act ethically. If that is not telling, I do not know what is.

The Let’s Spend Billions but Not Tell Anyone Rule! House Rules package with a carefully placed addition specifying that the Congressional Budget office should hide the expenses for repealing Obamacare from the public. They don’t want us to know just how much money or how many jobs were lost because of their actions. Transparency at its finest.

The Asshole’s Guide to Employee Management: The revival of the Holman rule which would allow Congress to lower certain federal salaries to $1, essentially firing employees in positions they don’t want them doing. I guess we now know why Trump asked for names from the Energy Department for those working on “Climate Change” as well as names from the State Department for those working on “Gender Equity.”

Introducing The Beautiful Grand Canyon Oil Fields: Another carefully placed House Rules Package trick that will make it much easier for Congress to give away federal lands without reimbursement, or citizen input. One guess who will benefit. Developers who line Congress’s pockets.

I think it may just be time to call your representatives and tell them to put these rules where they belong, in the toilet. As for those of you who are counting, there are actually 14 “Golden Shower” references in the first paragraph. Hey, I may be paying attention to the corruption and evil but that doesn’t mean I’m not still laughing. Can you find them all?