Burden of Proof…

Burden of Proof…

This nugget showed up on a friend’s FB post, which I can now no longer find. Chances are, either the friend decided it had to go, the genius who posted it blocked me, or I blocked him.

At the time, (sometime just after Christmas, I think) I thanked the guy for posting virtually every propaganda-driven talking point Alex Jones and Fox News have shoved into his brain in the name of truth. Here it is, folks. GOP trash talk, all in one convenient comment. Continue reading “Burden of Proof…”

Aftermath (Part 5): Patriarchal Theocracy

Aftermath (Part 5): Patriarchal Theocracy

patriarchal

  [pey-tree-ahr-kuh l]
adjective[1]. of or relating to a patriarch, the male head of a family, tribe, community, church, order, etc.: my father’s conservative, patriarchal ways.2. characteristic of an entity, family, church, etc., controlled by men: the highly patriarchal Mormon church.

theocracy

 [thee-ok-ruh-see]

noun, plural theocracies.

1. a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.
2. a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission.
3. a commonwealth or state under such a form or system of government.
(http://www.dictionary.com/)

Continue reading “Aftermath (Part 5): Patriarchal Theocracy”

Article: Deadly oil spray imperils dream farm

Article: Deadly oil spray imperils dream farm

Originally published in the Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester, NY, Monday, September 6, 1976
Bottom of Page 1
By PAUL JACOBS
D&C-Newsday

When she was 6 years old, Andrea Piatt lived in the best of all possible worlds. She loved horses and lived with her mother and an older sister on a farm near Moscow Mills, MO., where 130 horses were stabled. She liked cats and 12 of them roamed around the farm. And she had five dogs to play with in the big barn and horse arena named “Shenandoah” that had been built by her mother, Judy Piatt, and Frank Hampel, her mother’s business partner.

The barn was quite large and covered and enclosed a big arena used for horse shows and rodeos. Lots of people came from all the neighboring counties to attend the shows and for a little girl, show days, with their crowds, noise and excitement, were sheer heaven.

Then on May 21, 1971, Andrea Piatt’s heaven turned into hell.
On that day, a truck drove up to the farm and sprayed the earthen arena floor with about 2,000 gallons of what Mrs. Piatt and Hampel were told was salvaged motor oil, used to keep dust from blowing around.

Three days later, the little birds that always flew around in the rafters of the arena started fluttering down to the floor and dying there. A week later, hundreds of the dead birds had to be swept from the arena floor and two horses became ill and died. Within the next two weeks, 12 more horses showed the same symptoms and within a few weeks a total of 45 horses had died at the Piatt stable and 18 other horses had died at two other stables that had also been sprayed.
* * *
TWO CATS WENT next and, by the middle of June, all of the cats and dogs were dead. From then on, until the middle of the next year, every other animal that had either wandered into the barn or was brought there died or became seriously ill. And no flies or birds were ever seen in the barn. Indeed, all the birds in the area seemed to avoid even coming close to the farm.

Within two weeks after the oil spraying, Mrs. Piatt and Hampel began to feel ill, suffering from headaches, nausea and diarrhea. Andrea’s sister, then 10, also complained about feeling unwell, a feeling which gradually went away as she stopped frequenting the arena area.

But Andrea loved the arena and had always played on its floor. At that point, the Piatt family hadn’t made any connection between Andrea’s relatively mild illness and the arena so they did not prevent her from playing there. In early August, Andrea began telling her mother she wasn’t feeling well and by Aug. 21. she had become desperately ill and had to be hospitalized immediately, suffering bladder pain, diarrhea, bloody urine and headaches. The doctors at the hospital in St. Louis were so puzzled by her symptoms that they called for help from the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta, since they assumed, correctly as it turned out, that her sickness was linked to all the other events at the arena.

By this time, everyone involved—the doctors, the veterinarians who treated the animals and the families—suspected that something in the waste oil had caused all the death and illness. But no one could pinpoint what.

* * *

AND THE disease center’s team of physicians, toxicologists and other specialists weren’t successful, either. They, too, had a hunch the oil was the cause but were unable to discover what the toxic agent had been. As a precaution, though, they advised that the dirt in the arena be dug out and replaced to a depth of eight inches and that all the areas touched by the oil be scrubbed or replaced. The team took soil samples back with them to Atlanta for further laboratory testing.

Meanwhile, Andrea was being treated symptomatically but her recovery was slow and no one knows now whether she will suffer ill effects in future years. Her mother had a stroke and Hampel developed arthritic knees, somewhat like the symptoms of the dead horses. No one knows whether their ailments were related to the toxic substance in the oil spray.

At the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta, the mystery at Shenandoa[h] continued to baffle scientists despite the battery of tests that were run. Then, one day late in 1974, one of the chemists working on the case was discussing it with a colleague, Dr. Renate Kimbrough, who hadn’t been at the center when the case first came in. He told her he had found some crystals in the soil samples from the arena that puzzled him. Dr. Kimbrough, who had been trained in Germany, remembered reading about the dioxin TCDD there and suggested that perhaps the soil samples should be checked for that.

* * *

SHE PROPOSED doing the checking herself and employed the methods that had been used in Germany, materials suspected of being contaminated with TCDD were applied to the ears of a rabbit, which are very sensitive to TCDD. If TCDD was present, the rabbit’s ears would develop the symptoms of chloracne, a condition that causes disfiguring pitting of the skin. These symptoms were experienced by Dow workers during the 1960s when they were exposed to some stray TCDD.

An extract from the soil samples was prepared and Dr. Kimbrough applied it to the rabbit.

“The rabbit died,” she says, “so obviously the TCDD was there, especially since the rabbit’s ears had quickly developed the typical symptoms.”

The disease center team returned immediately to Moscow Mills, and since they knew the cause of the outbreak now, they were able to reconstruct what had happened.

They discovered that the ultimate source of the TCDD had been a chemical plant in Verona, MO, 350 miles from Moscow Hills.

Originally, the Verona plant had been operated by a company that produced Agent Orange, the dioxin-contaminated defoliant used by the United States in Vietnam. The TCDD by-product of that operation had been converted into solid waste and sent to Louisiana where it was incinerated.

Then the Pentagon ended the use of Agent Orange and the chemical herbicide manufacturer sold the entire plant to company that planned to use it for the manufacture of hecachlorophene, the antiseptic. TCDD is an inevitable by-product of hexachlorophene manufacture, too.

* * *

BUT THE new owners of the Verona plant were having financial difficulties and couldn’t afford the expense of solidifying the dioxin wastes and having them hauled to Louisiana. So, instead, they just tapped the wastes off into a tank at the plant. The tank still holds 4,500 gallons of oil heavily contaminated with TCDD.

Then the new owners contracted with a waste disposal company to dispose of the wastes, agreeing to pay $1,500 a tank-truck load for taking the materials out of the tank and getting rid of it. The disposal company, in turn, subcontracted with the Bliss Oil Co. to remove the waste oil and agreed to pay Bliss $125 per tank truck load, plus allowing Bliss to keep the waste oil to dispose of as it chose. Both Russell Bliss, head of Bliss Oil, and the original contractor assert they were not told about the dangerous nature of the waste oils.

And so one day in late May, 1971, the Bliss Oil driver took his truck up to Verona and hauled away a load of the heavily contaminated waste oil. He brought the oil back to the company’s storage facilities in St. Louis, where it was dumped into a tank with other waste oils. In the following week, the oil in that tank was used to spray three horse arenas, including Shenandoah, on the farm where Andrea Piatt lived.

At the two other arenas sprayed with the toxic wastes, animals died and two other children became sick. But the children there didn’t get quite as ill as Andrea, apparently because they didn’t spend as much time in the contaminated area, and the horses’ deaths went unaccounted for at the time.

Ironically, even some of Bliss’ own chickens were contaminated. On one farm owned by Bliss, and dumped [during] the trip, the truckdriver was stopped and ticketed by a highway policeman for being overweight. So, fearful he would get another ticket, he drove to a nearby farm owned by Bliss and dumped the excess oil on the roadway to the farm. Within a few days, a whole batch of Bliss’ chickens died.

* * *

NOW, OF COURSE, everyone knows what happened and the first of the lawsuits, filed by Mrs. Piatt in 1971, will go to trial in October. But the chemical company that put the TCDD by-product into the waste tank is out of business.

How much TCDD was sprayed on the earth floor of the Shenandoah arena? Well, it happened that Mrs. Piatt had taken a sample of earth from the arena floor during the last week of August, 1971, before it had been replaced. She had poured the earth into a quart-sized. Miracle Whip jar and labeled it “Soil, Shenandoah Stables, Last Week in August, 1971.”

That jar was sent by her veterinarian to the University of Missouri Veterinary School for analysis. But the school staff had been unable to discover the toxic agent and so the jar remained on a shelf in the lab, where it was found after the TCDD discovery had been made in Atlanta. The jar was then shipped to Atlanta and opened and its contents were studied. It tested out at 31.8 to 33 parts per million, a dangerous amount.

But, according to Dr. Patrick Phillips, a public health veterinarian for the Missouri State Department of Health, who has been deeply involved in the case from its inception, the tank in Verona still holds 4,500 gallons of waste containing 300 parts per million. The TCDD in the tank is so lethal an amount that the state hasn’t been able to find anybody willing to take the responsibility for disposing of it. A low concrete wall and concrete floor was constructed around the tank, but that is its only protection.

* * *

“THAT TANK is a real hazard,” says Phillips, “but we can’t get it removed. The federal government hasn’t any authority in a case like this and at the state level there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do. We asked companies in Louisiana and Minnesota that specialize in disposing of hazardous wastes if they would incinerate it but the state legislatures won’t let the stuff pass the state lines. One company did offer to try the job but said it would cost a quarter of a million dollars and the state won’t pay for that.

“Then we sent a sample to Amsterdam, Holland, to the people who ope[r]ate the Vulcanus, the incinerator ship, but when they opened the package and saw the label I had marked with the 300 parts, they sent it right back saying they wouldn’t touch it.

“The company that’s operating the plant now says they don’t know what to do with it and besides it’s not their responsibility because it was in the tank when they took it over.

“So it’s just sitting out there, right on the edge of town. I’m not so frightened of it as I am in awe of it, though, just because of where it is. That’s tornado country out there. A few years ago, a town only 50 miles from Verona was wiped out in a tornado. I don’t know what would happen then.

ADDENDUM:

TCDD: (2,3,7,8, Tetrachlorochibenzo-p-dioxin)
A toxic chlorinated hydrocarbon which occurs as an impurity in the herbicide 2,4,5-T or Agent Orange. It can be removed by extraction with coconut charcoal. Its half-life in soil is about 1 year.
Symptoms (caused by swallowing, breathing or skin contact with TCDD) include: Chloracne, liver damage, urinary system damage, cysts, neurological damage, gastritis, kidney damage, pulmonary emphysema, and death.

Still standing…

Still standing…

Six days left.

It appears Hurricane Sandy is the October Surprise folks have wondered about. The unexpected size and devastation in the super storm’s wake (it still hasn’t finished with the states, though the storm has finally dissolved across the lower part of Canada) leaves a lot of questions  unanswered.

The storm’s intensity has surprised the people in its path, not only with its extensive damage, but also with the areas it left mostly untouched. So, too, will this election bring about vast changes in some areas and not in others.

I had amassed twenty or thirty links to articles I wanted to read and possibly include in this post as indicators of the things you should consider when you go to the polls (if you haven’t already gone). The list below is all that remains. I suggest you read these articles before you vote, though I strongly suspect you’ve already made your decisions.

I’m off shortly to vote at an early polling place in Maryland because it’s my civic duty and because I want to make sure that I take advantage of the opportunity. Nobody knows what will happen in the next six days. As the blue sky finally shows here in Maryland, I can smile and be thankful that I survived this storm knowing in my heart how many others did not. Even if they have their lives, some of our brothers and sisters have lost everything they own, washed away or destroyed by water and mud.

There are six days left until Election Day. If you really, truly want to know what the next President will do, listen to what he does NOT say as much as what he does now. President Obama has canceled campaign stops because his duty is to the people. Gov. Romney is taking advantage to stump and offer ill-timed photo ops when he should do what he can to give direct aid to those who need it most.

I can’t say it any better than Susan Eisenhower why you should vote for President Obama and why you should select candidates for the House and Senate who will move our country forward and not simply stand in the way of progress. The numbers don’t look good, especially for the House race. The obstructionists are winning, and so we’re likely in for another two-year slog (at least) before parts of the country are finally fed up enough to choose change instead of retrograde politics.

We can no longer look to the past to recapture the golden era of cocktail parties and social-climbing. We should be all about social justice now, for those of us who are denied their civil rights through marriage equality bans, by blocking or destroying chances for our youth to reach for higher goals through the Dream Act than working at the counter at the local McDonald’s. You each have it in your hands to improve things for your fellow humans. It all comes down to this.

Two years ago I was still mourning the loss of my father from Lewy Body Dementia and reeling from the death of a board member at my theater who had finally succumbed to breast cancer when I packed up and headed to Florida for the [failed] launch of Discovery and a week at the parks.

On the way there, another friend was on the brink of death from cancer in California and my friend Richard was in the hospital for what we thought would be another relatively brief stay that turned out to be his last. His birthday was October 30 and in all the hubbub of trying to get to Disney on schedule, I managed to forget.

We made it there in time for Halloween, had a relatively up and down week where we kept readjusting our schedule to accommodate the on-again, off-again launch windows, until finally Kennedy Space Center decided to scrub the mission so they could do a thorough check of the shuttle.

We pulled out of Epcot’s parking lot late on my birthday, November 6. When we finally stopped for dinner, I chose Perkins and ordered pumpkin pie (instead of chocolate cake) in honor of Richard’s birthday. Kayta passed away while we were on the road. At some point near the same time, Richard went from ill to critical and I found myself breaking speed laws to get north as quickly as possible.

Aside from the obvious ugliness of the last few days, I have a couple of years’ worth of grief and baggage floating around in my particular morass of a brain. Coupled with this, I last spoke with my father for my birthday, almost three years ago.

Forgive me if I seem angry a lot lately. I’m sick to death of the rhetoric that says the needy should just suck it up and take the cards they’re dealt. I’ve lost so many friends in the last few years, along with family members, I can hardly keep track anymore. Many of them died because they couldn’t afford better care, or the right medicine. Funerals are in my future as we move into the real fall and winter. And as we progress through the next five to ten years, these events will increase. Baby boomers are aging and the excesses of the sixties, seventies and eighties are catching up with them.

This is the real disaster that frightens the rich. They know what universal healthcare will mean to the country as 75 million people age, become unable to give their share of the work and pay taxes. The more we understand the foundations of autism, the scope and breadth of other diseases, the costs of mega storms like Hurricane Sandy or the devastating earthquakes in Haiti, the cost of tsunamis and storm surges in Japan, the more they realize where their money will go and how hard it will be to justify their comfy multi-million dollar homes.

This hurricane has taken away so much, even though parts of the US went untouched, even as I grieve for those who are in the cold and dark because of a senseless act of nature, I’m incensed at the political rhetoric that would seem to portray these victims as money-grabbing freeloaders who only want to suck the futures away from our children.

Remember your brothers and sisters in Haiti, Cuba and elsewhere along the coast as well as your own family, friends and familiar places. The temperatures are dropping and many of these people are without heat, light, or even homes. Snow has fallen in West Virginia because of the merged cold front. It’s not just about flooding.

Don’t do what I did during Katrina. Collections of tangible goods are meaningless. These donations waste valuable time and resources. If you can spare something, give to the Red Cross, including your blood. Those of you who swear by private donations, now’s the time to step up and give money or volunteer your time if you can.

Thank you.

Why ‘Voting Your Conscience’ in Deep Blue or Red States Is a Terrible Idea For Those Who Don’t Want a Romney Presidency (The popular vote may become a factor this year.)

Big Mitt Romney Supporter Caught In Voter Fraud? (Texan Meat Loaf seeks to cast ballot from former L.A. home.)

How The United States Is Reinventing The Slave Trade

Mysterious Docs Found in Meth House Reveal Inner Workings of Dark Money Group

No Exception: Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock aren’t outliers. Banning abortion for rape victims is the new Republican mainstream.

A Fan Letter to Certain Conservative Politicians (WARNING: this post is going to be oh-so-very-triggery for victims of rape and sexual assault. I am not kidding.)

Retired NSA Analyst Proves GOP is Stealing Elections

Hatches battened…

Hatches battened…


(A Mighty Wind is Blowin’ – New Main Street Singers, The Folksmen and Mitch & Mickey.)

The DC Metro region has been in increasing panic mode for two days, in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.

People have cleared store shelves of flashlights (though not batteries, so much), milk, bread, eggs, toilet paper and water. The governments (local and federal) have shut down tight for the day, or offered liberal leave to those more essential staff.

I’ve spent the entire day getting my place ready, by charging the batteries in my laptops, LED lantern, and cellphone. I’m not ready to say “bring it” because this is a serious storm, but at this point there’s not much more I can do to prepare.

I am truly hoping we don’t lose power, but we’re ready if the worst happens. I’ve got us covered for cold (sleeping bags), car’s gassed up, though I live on relative high ground, and now that the city fixed our storm drains, and my lawn’s raked and mowed, I feel confident that we’ll be okay.

The most compelling sign that folks are taking this storm seriously is the overwhelming turnout we’ve had in the last two days for early voting, which started on the 27th. Lines wrap around the outside of polling places. It’s heartening, considering the high stakes in this year’s election. Not just presidential, but also with Maryland’s questions on the Dream Act, Marriage Equality and Gambling Expansion.

We’re nine days out. Who knew the October Surprise would have such a charming and innocent name. I have absolute faith that President Obama will handle this crisis the way he needs to, not by taking time off to work on his campaign but by ensuring that everyone in  Frankenstorm’s path will have access to safety and quick help.

I’ll check back in, maybe with photos as we reach daylight. My camera’s charged and ready. Here’s hoping there’s not a lot to photograph.

Stay safe, everyone!

East Coast Preparations for Frankenstorm

East Coast Preparations for Frankenstorm

UPDATE: A MORE PERFECT STORM: SANDY COULD MAKE U.S. HISTORY

As the East Coast braces for monster ‘Frankenstorm’, I learned something new today. Morning Edition had a news story about preparing for the storm and mentioned calling 311 as a non-emergency number for reporting downed trees and such. I had no idea such a service existed, so I checked it out when I got home.

Surprise! Not only does this service exist, it’s not exclusive to our region. If you didn’t know about it, here’s more info: 3-1-1 Dispatch

The things you should do now include the following (a sample of sensible prep):

  • Get cash now (in case of power outs).
  • Purchase enough drinking water to last at least three days for each person in the house. That translates to roughly three gallons per person.
  • Do NOT run out and buy perishable foods like eggs, milk (unless it’s shelf-stable like Horizon packaged milk) or any other product that requires refrigeration. Instead, pick up canned foods that do not need cooking except for taste. (Progresso soups, tuna, dry cereal, etc.)
  • Acquire enough batteries and make sure everything that needs recharging is at full battery. Check those batteries in long-term rechargeable equipment. (My Coleman LED lantern won’t stay charged anymore. Time to replace the battery!)
  • Gas up the car, now. Make sure you have stuff to dig out in the event you’re stuck, and toss in a sleeping bag or two, for warmth. ALWAYS clear your tailpipe of snow before running the car. People do die of carbon monoxide poisoning when they start their cars with snow-filled tail pipes.
  • NEVER use a propane stove indoors!
  • Seek out shovels, ice melt (preferably pet-safe), boots and other supplies now, while supplies are still in stores. Waiting three days could mean the difference between finding what you want at your leisure and discovering stores are entirely out of everything.

With luck, things will be better than predictions say they might be, and if you don’t use those supplies now, you’ll have them on hand for later in the season.

Stay safe and check in as needed.

Ok, here’s the rant that’s been brewing over the last couple of days….

Ok, here’s the rant that’s been brewing over the last couple of days….

I woke up to a nightmare that a polite but firm thief was in my house, taking whatever he wanted while we just sat back and didn’t call 9-11.

Now that I’m awake, I find it’s absolutely true, only it’s not my house or my laptop that’s been broken into.

Yes, as far as I can tell, Martha Coakley made exactly the same mistake Kathleen Kennedy Townsend made in 2002 when she ran for Governor and lost to Robert Ehrlich. Maryland suffered a lot from his changes and it took four years to dislodge him. It’s going to take six years to dislodge Brown. In the meantime, we have other places in the country where we should be vigilant. How many Republican senators are in the process of retiring? How many Democrats? Who’s next, this coming November? Have we forgotten this is an election year?

To all my friends who are crowing right now, thinking that somehow this is a win, I repeat: What are you and your crowd going to do for me and mine?

You’re all very good at spouting off the Tea Party’s spiel, but that does bugger-all for the folks who have real problems. It’s head in the sand behavior and a willingness to absolutely ignore how we got here in the first place. Eight years of mismanagement by the GOP can’t be fixed in one year of obstructionist work by the folks who think business as usual is just fine. The 90s are gone. They’re not coming back.

The Internet bubble burst and cost me my company. The housing bubble will cost us when we sell the house. Age and the war have cost me my marriage. My resume’s been out there for almost two years, and I’ve got the best job solution I can get: A part-time job with no paid leave and no benefits. I’ve got health insurance right now because my soon-to-be-divorced husband is paying for it. That won’t be true in the relatively near future and COBRA is no benefit. I didn’t expect this to happen to me. I didn’t get additional degrees or certificates because I *thought* I’d be covered. It’s all bullshit and every man for himself out there.

One guy’s trying to change that, but the sense of entitlement is so very strong, I don’t know now whether he’s got too much to change. And we’re not listening.

You guys who spend all your free time barking at shadows and freaking about how stupid global warming is…you can’t see that we’re choking off Earth’s resources. In the not too terribly distant future we’ll have neither affordable health care nor anything else.

Haiti is THE wake-up call. We’re not as far away from them as you might think. We already have an unemployment rate to rival the Great Depression. The poorest of us live in cardboard boxes and there are more of them than there were ten years ago. There aren’t enough prisons to hold the criminals and there’s not enough understanding or money to keep them off the street and in good paying jobs. The population is getting old and infirm and the kids are only now beginning to understand what life will be like without them. And many of us are so overweight we get sick far younger than we should. Obesity rates are linked to all sorts of illnesses, not just diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

We are imploding and nobody’s watching or cares because so many people in this country are dead certain there’s a better place at the next stop. So many people are treading water, waiting for the second coming. In my not-so-humble opinion, the next place to be is nowhere. Heaven doesn’t wait for me. I don’t take comfort from moving on to the next place. This is it, baby, and when it’s gone, that’s all there’ll ever be.

That, my friends, is what Avatar was about. What Pocahontas and Fern Gully and all sorts of other things were about. It wasn’t just a pretty movie. It wasn’t about “unobtanium” or some other MacGuffin. It was about ignoring the truth and reality of the situation in exchange for some small financial benefit to the detriment of everything that’s beautiful and meaningful about this world.

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

We have the opportunity to choose a different path, before someone comes in here and decides the United States of America are done. Once upon a time, the British Empire spanned the globe. No more. Sure, we’re bigger than they are, and we’re supposed to play nicer than they did, but really? When we think torture is bad except in certain cases, when we treat our poor like dirt, when we can’t feed the hungry and can’t employ everyone? How much longer? We aren’t the only people here. And we’re fooling ourselves if we think we’re immune, just because we’re Americans.

One of my friends on Facebook posted “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” in response to my status message last night. I say “You wake up!”

When we stop depending on the hereafter and start looking around at the here and now, we’ll get it. Let’s hope it’s not too late by then.

Comments:

DH:
Hear, hear!!!

DB:
I couldn’t have said it better myself.

GS:
Respectfully, I disagree. While I know things are tough right now, I really am disturbed by your question, “What are you and your crowd going to do for me and mine?” Bluntly, I shouldn’t be responsible for you and yours.

Mmm. “Tea-baggers”. I assume you know that’s a perjorative [sic]. Do you know anyone who associates with those folks? They’re concerned citizens who just happen to disagree with you. Name-callig [sic] isn’t helpful.

I agree that something needs to be done. I am very sympathetic to your plight, as well as anyone else without insurance – especially with children. But this plan before Congress is a monstrosity. A. It would add even more to our national debt than we have already. B. Politicians admit what they really want is a single-payer system, and they’ll pass ANYTHING to get the infrastructure in so they can change it later. I suspect you’re in favor of that, so I’m not going to try to argue this point. C. Even if it got passed, the health plan won’t go into effect for something like 4 years, but they’re gonna tax us in the meantime to pay of it. That means even less money in your pocket.

Health insurance for all is a noble goal, but not entirely realistic. Forcing people to pay for others by lowering the standards of care for everyone is not American. I believe there are other ways to accomplish close to everyone that do not heavy government involvement. The rush to get “something” done is suspicious for the same reason that I wouldn’t want to be rushed into a major purchase like a car or a home. There’s been practically no transparency to the process where obscene deals are made, incomprehensible language is used, and unintended consequences are not considered thoroughly.

Jumping over to this global warming thing for a sec. I agree, there’s something going on, and there is probably a human element, but we’re probably not the whole cause. Many of the proposals to supposedly “save” the earth would cripple our economy. I recall candidate Obama wanting to make coal-fired electricity plants “ultra-clean” to the point of pretty much putting them out of business. “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” I don’t know about your area, but out here in the Midwest, that’s pretty much all we have. That would probably mean a 40% increase in rates. We can’t build any nuclear plants, so that’s out. Solar and Wind? Too expensive yet, and not efficient enough. That “transition” would cripple the economy further because people would have even less money. I’m all for “green” technology – but we need to be using the resources we have until it’s cheaper.

Are you aware of what our national debt is? Have a look here: http://www.usdebtclock.org/. It should scare the crap out of you. It does me. The government has at estimating costs – a health care plan will cost far more than stated. You think unemployment is bad now? It could be far worse than the Great Depression. Right now, businesses don’t want to hire anyone because they’re worried about what their business costs are going to be with higher insurance rates and new regulations and taxes.

Aaaand the government won’t stop printing money and spend it. China, who we are up to our eyeballs in debt to, is telling US we’d better stop. It’s only a matter of time before we have currency inflation disaster. Everything will cost more. MORE people will be out of work.

I agree we need to come up with some solutions, but government getting MORE involved in our lives, dictating our home temps, how much money we can make, how healthy we should be because they supposedly know better than we do has dangerous historical precedents where we don’t want to go.

Before we start passing legislation or regulations that will affect every American in fundamental ways, we first need to eliminate the massive corruption in government. We have to stop spending and put ourselves on a budget just like WE have to do in our own households. It’ll take us years – maybe decades – to dig ourselves out of debt. But government spending has to stop in a major way.

Watch California. If we don’t clean up our act soon, that’s where we’re headed.

Me:
“Before we start passing legislation or regulations that will affect every American in fundamental ways, we first need to eliminate the massive corruption in government. We have to stop spending and put ourselves on a budget just like WE have to do in our own households. It’ll take us years – maybe decades – to dig ourselves out of debt. But government spending has to stop in a major way.”

You almost had me, right up to this. Before Clinton left office we *had* a balanced budget and we were paying down our debt. Bad decisions over the following 8 years (on both sides of the fence) have made it virtually impossible to get back there. And you are completely right that we’re spending ourselves into oblivion. But you have to tell me how fair it is that the guys running the big banks can give themselves BONUSES when we had to bail them out after overpricing the housing market.

Nobody (and I really do mean NOBODY) wants to take responsibility for the mess we’re in. Until they do, we’re all pretty much screwed. You may be doing just fine. I don’t know who you are, so I can’t say. Maybe you’ve got a decent job and a great health plan. Fabulous for you. Your health? Never better. Your parents? In great condition, don’t need medicine to get by on a daily basis. Not looking at nursing care anytime soon. God bless you.

But while you’re looking at the situation as an American, I’m looking at it as a citizen of the world. And from where I sit, in my kind of chilly office, with faith that my ceiling won’t cave in and that I can have my hot food out of the microwave in the near future, there are people right now who are in need and who I’m reasonably sure haven’t seen a single dime of your money sent their way because it’s not your family that’s in need. As tough as it is for me, I’ve still given something to the Red Cross and I still do give a dollar or a sandwich when I can to those folks who sit in the median strip with a cup and no place to live.

You are totally right. How sad it is for us as human beings with brothers all over the globe to have to say that we, most “powerful” nation on Earth, can’t afford to take care of our own.

How long, then, till the people who don’t have decide you’re just like the French Aristocrats or the Russian Aristocracy and decide to take matters into their own hands? It’s begun. It’s already here. And it will take exactly one natural disaster in a place that isn’t quite as remote as Haiti or even New Orleans for us to wake up and smell the coffee or the stink. Wait until it’s St. Louis that shakes to the ground.

The war in Iraq was a misguided attempt at protecting what we didn’t have in the first place. Afghanistan is the new Vietnam. We blew our resources in the wrong place, and now we’re stuck in damage control instead of having the upper hand.

We won’t get past any of this until we get past the almighty dollar. And when the Boomers start hitting the skids, you just wait to see how long it takes for insurance companies to stop covering you.

My dad’s 77, in a nursing home with dementia. I’m 46. I was born the last year of the Baby Boom. Doomsday’s coming in the next 20 years or less, and it will look like my dad.

Hope you’re prepared…

GS:
You mght [sic] be surprised that I paritally [sic] agree with you to some extent.

Balanced budget. I’d have to do some more reserach [sic] on that, but that was “balanced” on a lot of bogus paper from the tech stock boom. A lot of that was phantom money, as we discovered. So I don’t believe it was truly balanced.

Banks. Shoulda let ’em fail. I don’t buy the “too big to fail” arguement [sic]. Same for the auto makers. By propping them up, we’re only delaying the inevitable necessity to reorganize. Kinda like we’re doing ourselves. But playing the envy game over bonuses is dicy [sic]. You don’t want to be telling someone how much they can make. I’ll qualify that where they’ve taken federal money.

Looking at things as a citizen of the world. Again, a good, emotional concept, but we have to take care of our own, asd [sic] as you say, we’re not doing the best job of it. AS it is, we can’t save everyone. And on the grand scale (not counting Haiti and a few other examples), we get little gratitude for when we do try to help. It’s one thing for private citizens to give on their own – we’re the most generous nation on earth. Bar none. But enforced charity through confiscation of our hard-earned money is quite another.

Haves and have nots. I’ll flip that. The haves are feeling less and less prosperous. If more and more money is take from their profits, what motivation do they have to expand, to innovate and – most importnntly [sic] – hire more people?

We’re all one national paycheck away from a disaster – you’re right. Unfortunately, for years our government has been creating services we cannot fully fund. And that creates more and more dependency. That’s why the spending has GOT TO STOP. That means very painful choices will have to be made. Our politicians, on the whole are too gutless to face that yet.

You imply a revolution – I fear one too. It doesn’t matter what quarter it comes from, but with the adminstration [sic] we have right now – with all the tax cheats, publicly self-proclaimed communist/socialist sympathizers (facts – not name-calling), we are in danger of losing a lot of freedom in the name of “the greater good”.

You have my deepest sympathies for your dad. My two parents are pretty healthy, still. But for them, they fear what the government will do to them if we DO have government helathcare [sic]. My dad already had to deal with it on behalf of his brother with the VA, etc. He found the bureaucracy maddening. He already knows what it could become on a national scale.

JC:
>>but the sense of entitlement is so very strong,

>>I repeat: What are you and your crowd going to do for me and mine?

>>I didn’t expect this to happen to me. I didn’t get additional degrees or certificates because I *thought* I’d be covered.

Yes the Sense of Entitlement is SO very strong.

Me:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_George_and_the_Ducky

And the problem is that so many of these people who seem to object to the concept that we should share what we have also seem to value Christian beliefs. What galls me is that the Christian bible (even Thomas Jefferson’s Unitarian version) is clear about beggars and the poor where Jesus is concerned. And yet, when confronted with the same requirements, to heal the sick and feed the poor, we fail. Repeatedly.

It’s very easy to thump a bible and say these things are wrong: “It’s not *my* problem, it’s my money and I don’t care.”

But in the end it’s that same exact attitude that will take this country down and reduce it to the same level as all the other former empires. As Rome, Great Britain and France fell, so too will the United States of America. And we’ll have the nerve to be surprised when it happens.

Hypocrites, one and all.

(PS: I’d love to go back to school so I could find a job that will pay me enough to cover childcare. But see, all the schools cost too much, and the childcare is beyond my means, too. I assumed (incorrectly) that marriage meant not worrying about needing to find a job that would cover these expenses. I shouldn’t have had to. I’m trapped. And I’m lucky. It could be MUCH worse for me. At the rate we’re going, my children won’t be able to afford college either. What a world, indeed!)

SC:
As usual, I can see both sides of this.

To those who say “We can’t afford public health care”, I say “Yeah, but we can’t not afford it.” If we do not pay for people to get care now, we will be paying more for them later when they have serious problems while on public assistance.

As far as the big businesses go, I sometimes wonder what would happen if we DID let them go under. Could it really be more expensive than it has been now – after all, they couldn’t pay bonuses then, could they?

But, one of the reasons we can’t employ everyone is that we’ve become a service economy, and we’re not good at it – even if you could export service. We buy all our goods from overseas because they’re cheaper – and they’re cheaper because those companies pay their workers pennies. Can we afford to “buy American” if that’s what it takes? No, of course not.

So, what’s the answer?

CS:
Meanwhile, Obama isn’t panicking. He started, well before this election, taking a much more aggressive stand against the Wall Street banks. This tack has the potential to garner some populist support and may deflect some energy from the tea-bag crowd.

Keep in mind that the tea bag types hate republicans, too. As a political movement it has limited potential.

And while I sympathize with all that you say, I would venture to predict that your girls will get to attend college. You and I started during some pretty strained economic times, and we came through. Much of what we’re experiencing is cyclical. Hang on tight and ride it out. Our kids will be OK.

Me:
Boy, I hope you’re right. My grandfather helped cover my education expenses when I went to college and I attended a state school with annual tuition well under 20k. I have no idea how we’re going to do that in this climate. It’s not that any of us were rich. My father was a high school principal. It’s that everything was a LOT less expensive.

Back in the day you were supposed to strive towards making a salary that resembled your age. For me that would be close to 50k per year. Last year I might have broken 20k.

I have faith in Obama’s vision. I don’t have faith in the fools who think everything’s fine as it is, or that somehow we’ll break things further by changing them.

I know you understand this…

TA:
The sense of entitlement cuts both ways. A lot of folks seem to think they’re entitled to all the money their jobs get them, without having to pay their fair share towards the society in which they live. Our ancestors fought a Revolution against “taxation without representation”, but now we have taxation _with_ representation — arguably not much better, but we do have a chance to change things about our government if we feel the need. And the average person’s taxes now are much higher — and his life much better — than when we fought that Revolution.

Both Democrats and Republicans feel that the other side will take something they have, and give it to someone who doesn’t deserve it — and so they vote in their own interest. They’d be fools to do otherwise.

I don’t know how to resolve our current crises. But I fear that doing the same things that haven’t worked in the past is not the way.

Change is good…

Change is good…

Felt like I was a part of history tonight. I think our candidate said all the right things. At least I hope so.

I clapped and cheered for the woman who told her story, capped it off with her admission that she was a lifelong Republican but was voting for Obama because she just couldn’t stand another four years of Bush.

It was an amazing sea of people. I just hope he does this well when he goes head to head with McCain in September. I hung the mirrored closet doors while I was watching the show, too, so I can say I was productive. Now I need to empty the bookshelves and bring them here.

First drilling in Alaska, and now this…

First drilling in Alaska, and now this…

ThinkProgress.com: The Bush Administration’s Plan To Make The Endangered Species Act Extinct

Rat bastard. Why isn’t it January already?!?

It’s very nice that he’s setting himself up for a comfy retirement, ensuring oil development and a complete removal of roadblocks, but in the meantime?

Oh, the humanity…

Theme: Elation by Kaira.