Talking With Crooked Tongues

OK, I know I am getting old, and perhaps my memory is not what it was.  Moreover, perhaps, I’ve imagined certain memories; will someone please correct me if I am wrong?

For example: isn’t it true that just a few years ago the Republican party was against Obamacare, insisting that if created there would be death squads and people, not sure who, would pull the plug on grannies, hastening them to their graves?

Now, fast forward to today — is it true that “some” Republican presidential hopefuls presently have called to do away with Social Security and Medicare, effectively pulling the plug on both grannies and grand-papas?

Please, tell me I am wrong in thinking something here is, and always was, outrageous.   

On the other hand if I am right, and my memories are true, we have been witnessing a mysterious and ancient art: talking out of both sides of an ambitious politician’s mouth, without guidance from a working brain.

A Lesson Learned


First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.-

— Reverend Martin Neimoller, a Christian minister who was interned in Dachau during WWII.

Guns and Supermarkets


In 1984, while shopping at the local supermarket on Long Island, a neighbor’s child, a well- known bully, harassed my daughters. In no uncertain terms I told this individual to cut it out. Seconds later the bully’s mother approached me with her handgun pointed directly at me, yelling that I had accosted her child. I told my children to leave the store immediately, but they ran to the store manager, instead; the manager refused to get involved.

Customers ran out of the store; the woman and I exchanged words, all the while she held me at gunpoint. Suddenly, and without warning the woman and her family left the supermarket, got into their car and drove away. I ran to the manager’s office and demanded to know if he had called the police. He said he had not. When I asked why, he told me, “Mrs. M*** is a very good customer.” 

I asked him to let me use his phone; he would not allow that, either. In order for me to call the police, I had to return to my home. Afterward, the police told me they visited my neighbor’s home, discussed the situation with her, and ascertained she had done nothing wrong. She had a carry permit; the gun was legal. Moreover, because she worked at the airport as a customs agent, she was considered a peace officer, and frankly, because of her peace officer status they believed her story, not mine.

Then I called the main office of the supermarket chain. They informed me the store manager was within his rights not to get involved. A lot has changed since 1984. Now, it seems we have an armed populace that seems inclined to turn a supermarket into a battlefield.

Even with my experience in the supermarket so many years ago, I do not carry a firearm, although I’ve been thoroughly trained in firearm use. Without modesty, I will tell anyone who asks that I am a good shot, but I am also well aware firearms are merely tools. Just owning a weapon will not keep you safe. No individual is not a cabinet maker simply because he owns a power saw. And all the exciting movie scenes featuring shootouts are created and enhanced through the skills of the film’s director and its editor. Those scenes are merely fiction, which we as civilized people should never wish to emulate; and finally, there are many aspects to self-defense that do not rely on firepower.

As for my gun-toting neighbor — not long after our encounter, both husband and wife lost their jobs at the airport because of “abuse of power” issues; in other words bullying. Their eldest son assaulted and cracked open the skull of a classmate during school hours, on school grounds. Within two years of my encounter with them, the family had to sell their home and move away. The following year, a federal investigator visited my home, looking for information; it was then I discovered that the FBI was investigating the adults of the family for criminal activity.


Josephine Baker

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Josephine Baker is often remembered as a trailblazing singer, actress, and dancer of the Jazz Age but few people know that during World War II she supported the Allied cause by working as a spy for the French Resistance. By the start of the war, Baker had already been living in France for many years; she had become a French citizen in 1937 after marrying Jewish Frenchman Jean Lion. Throughout the war, she maintained a busy performance schedule in many of Europe’s wartime cities which provided an excellent cover for her covert activities. 

Baker served as a sub-lieutenant in the Women’s Auxiliary of the Free French Air Force and helped spy for the French government by gathering information at high society events held at embassies. Her fame gave her the unusual ability to visit neutral nations during the war so she assisted the French Resistance by smuggling secrets written in invisible ink on her sheet music. She helped other intelligence agents secure travel visas by including them as part of her performance entourage. Baker also helped many people in danger from the Nazis get visas to leave occupied France. Toward the war’s end, she performed for liberated prisoners at Buchenwald who were too weak to move.

For her service to France during the war, Baker was awarded the Croix de guerre and the Medal of the French Resistance with Rosette. She was also made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur — the country’s highest decoration — by General Charles de Gaulle. When Baker passed away in 1975, she became the first American-born woman to receive full French military honors at her funeral.

To introduce young readers to Josephine Baker’s fascinating life story, we recommend “Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker” for ages 7 to 10 (, “Jazz Age Josephine” for ages 4 to 8 (, and the recently released “The Many Faces of Josephine Baker: Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy” for ages 12 and up (

Adults interested in learning more about her remarkable story may enjoy “Josephine: The Hungry Heart” and ( and “Josephine Baker in Art and Life” ( — as well as the excellent film “The Josephine Baker Story” (

For more true stories of heroic women who worked as spies and resisters during WWII, check out the excellent “Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue” at

And, for more stories about girls and women who lived during the WWII years, visit our “WWII & Holocaust” section at

Impeach Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis

Subject: Impeach Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis


We must protect our state from an elected official violating the laws of our country.

That’s why I signed a petition to The Kentucky State House, The Kentucky State Senate, and Governor Steve Beshear, which says:

“Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has defied the Supreme Court ruling and a direct federal judge order to fulfill her religious believes and to discriminate against our gay community. By doing this she is not upholding her duties of her office. If her religious believes will not allow her to uphold the duties of the office she holds then we must remove her from office.”

Will you sign this petition? Click here:



I’m sick and tired of reading about Clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky, whining about her religious rights, and her religious liberties as she blithely tramples on the civil rights of others. My solution: IMPEACH THE BITCH!

Same Sex Marriage

“Were it not for the fact that Davis is an elected official she would be fired. The only way to remove her from office for her civil crimes is to impeach her. Please sign this petition to demand that impeachment proceedings be started against Clerk Kim Davis. The Job She is refusing to do has nothing to do with religion or her religious beliefs. We can not permit her to use her bigotry to refuse to do her job by hiding behind Christianity. She must be impeached and replaced by someone mentally more capable of properly performing the job she has continually refused to perform..”

July 1956


Twenty years later, much had improved.  Children no longer worked in mines, but whenever there was need, which was all the time, many of us found a way to earn money.

In July of 1956, while other girls spent their days at the town beach, I worked my first full-time job in a sweatshop; it was not a fun job. I was just 15. In those days children under 16 were no longer allowed to work in factories, but because I am tall, I lied about my age and easily passed for 16. No one ever asked to see a birth certificate or a “picture ID.”  Nevertheless, whenever the authorities came to inspect the shop, the owner had me hide.

My duties at the shop were simple. At first I merely trimmed finished garments, preparing them for shipping. Soon after, the operators taught me to run the button and buttonholer machines, and I started earning “real” money.  Thankfully, high school graduation marked the end of my career at the sweatshop.  I had an opportunity to attend a four-year-college — the first in my family to live that dream.  I walked away from the factory, but not without a backward look.

Admittedly, I carried away a few fond memories of the place, along with some not-so-fond memories.  Still, working there I had been able to earn much needed money for commuting expenses, to buy text books and pay student fees for my first year at the City College of New York.  

Because I was a  good student, I had learned a lot of things at the sweatshop — things that had nothing to do with stitching on buttons or working perfect buttonholes, or even the complexities of marketing children’s garments — things that before taking the job I didn’t know I would need to learn. Yet, without a doubt the most important lesson I had mastered after working three long summers at the factory was that I would never return.  Never.  No matter what other people said about being able to earn good money or being prideful.  I would never go back.