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.

Rah…

Rah…

Gimme an M!
Gimme an E!
Gimme an H!

What’s it spell?

My opinion of the current presidential race.

I know I need to go and read the stuff people are saying and writing about the front runners. Sooner or later I need to make a decision. (Primary is in just a few weeks. Better get cracking, huh?)

So, riddle me this, Batman:

Do any of these geeks promise to follow up on impeachment? Do they even discuss the topic? How about Guantamo? The environment is a big deal, and I know most folks on my side of the fence have already declared where they stand. How about this one: If elected, who would Hillary take as VP? Obama? Edwards?

Can a President turn around and serve as VP?

I’d like to thank Andy for providing the Fact-Check RSS link. I know I need to make a decision soon, but my head is so wrapped up in local crap (see my living room for a clue), I just have no desire to dive into the load of crap reading material and talking points. I was cynical before. I’m not apathetic now. Just numb. I can’t concentrate enough of my energy to unpack a box, let alone choose a president.

If you have strong opinions, one way or the other, and you want to share why you think I should vote one way or another, feel free to drop a comment here. At least it will be entertaining…

Maybe…

Comments:

  • DF: Ron Paul!! 🙂
  • CD: Kucinich is serious about impeaching Cheney.

    Not that I’m voting for him. I already decided about a year ago that I would vote for Obama in the primaries.

  • AM: Kucinich is the only one talking impeachment openly and unabashedly from what I can see. He really can’t get the nomination, so it depends on whether you believe in voting what you believe which is also splitting the vote, or whether strategy has some place in your decision. Of the front runners, I find that Edwards is the only one taking any risks that could be conceived of as *leadership*. Heck, the repubs are calling him both “ungenuine” and “a socialist.” But, he does seem to be the one to scare them. Yes, he’s kind of a golden boy, but he worked his way up from nothing with smarts and hard work, and he has always talked relentlessly about *for the people* and benefiting those who have not been so lucky as to advance as he has. On a balance of issues, leadership, and electability, I go John Edwards.
  • LM: No way Hillary takes either of her competitors. None.
    Wesley Clark seems likeliest to me.

    Edwards is an actual Democrat who won’t scare the stupid people or give them too much negative ammo right off the bat. Please remember that these candidates are fighting the media first and any competitors a distant second.

    Obama is smart, and Hillary is smart. But the media and its attendant narratives will work ceaselessly to destroy either while flattering and mollycoddling whichever lame asshole the Reichwing picks.

PSAs R Us

PSAs R Us

Our church is holding a free showing of An Inconvenient Truth:

Spotlight on Global Warming

A free showing of the acclaimed video by Al Gore: An Inconvenient Truth. A discussion session follows. Printed material also available.
When: Sunday October 8 at 1:30 p.m.

***A special thank you to Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light for providing us with this great opportunity. Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light (GWIPL) is a non-profit initiative that helps congregations, religious institutions and others in the Washington, D.C. area work for a more just, sustainable and healthier creation by reducing the threat of global warming. Visit gwilp.org for information and resources.

The Washington, DC Green Festival is coming October 14 and 15 to the Washington Convention Center. This seems like a very good time to investigate solar panels, green building materials and so on. I’m thinking maybe we’ll go Saturday. Anyone else interested? http://www.greenfestivals.org/content/view/10/33/ [Dead link]

O’Malley/Brown fixed their web site so the video doesn’t automatically launch. It still doesn’t say explicitly that they’re running for Gov/Lt.Gov, but you really have to be living under a rock if you’re in the Metro DC area and you don’t know they’re running against Ehrlich (our soon to be Ex-Governor, if we have anything to say about it.

Well, isn’t that nice???

Well, isn’t that nice???

Ok. I’m usually relatively paranoid about my financial stuff, because if I don’t watch it like a hawk, checks start to bounce. Having DH and me using the same account to pay everything (like the mortgage and food) means that if one of us isn’t paying attention, the other one draws the account down to zero.

So, I’ve been religious about using the download feature I get with USAA. Until about Tuesday, that is, when I started getting an error that the software couldn’t verify the financial institution. WTF?!?

I just got off the phone with their tech support, and I’ve got this nasty, paranoid feeling that everyone is in cahoots with everyone else, and they’re all conspiring against us.

“As of April 25, we no longer support anything older than Quicken 2004. That means we don’t support downloaded data or any of the other automated features of the site.”

How nice for Intuit.

So, when I’m done venting, I’m off to the nearest store to purchase the most recent version. Yeah, I know I could download it off the site. I just don’t feel like dealing with the problem if I need to reinstall the software later. I’d rather have the disk. Call me old fashioned.

Oh, and while I’m out I can go buy some more gas for the car. Which leads to the second rant of the day.

See this article on CNN: Bush takes aim at rising gasoline prices and then tell me that this isn’t the Oil Companies (en masse) holding out for complete deregulation of the oil fields throughout our continent. Fun stuff. Just blackmail the American public until we’re forced to turn over the Alaskan territories, and forget all about those nasty EPA regulations that are supposed to reduce greenhouse gasses, because, like, we all know that Global Warming is just a myth, and besides, we’re just treading water here until the Rapture anyway, so why keep the earth nice?

Feh.

Musing About Death…

Musing About Death…

I’ve had this post brewing in the back of my mind since I started listening to Rent (and really, since I saw the movie last fall).

I think my thoughts have solidified enough to write what I’ve been thinking, on and off, over the months.

Warning!!! Serious musings on the value of life, the meaninglessness of death, and other associated issues follow. Some seriously graphic depictions of a chronic illness – of which some of my friends have been diagnosed, are described. Please read at your own risk.

I am 42 years old at the writing of this post. I will be 43 this coming November.

While this may not seem to be a significant birthday to most of you, for me it’s a major milestone.

My mother (born on in 1934, died in 1978), was 43 years old when she finally succumbed to Chronic Progressive (now called Primary Progressive) Multiple Sclerosis.

She was bedridden, unable to do anything for herself, from approximately 1968/69 until her death. Her doctors treated her with cortisone, but it didn’t help and she eventually moved home to be cared for by her parents, including her father (a General Practitioner for his neighborhood).

I was 14.

This is background information, intended to explain why I am suddenly obsessed (I don’t think there’s a better word right now) with listening to the music – and particularly the words – of the soundtrack. It’s not really a music virus. I’m attempting to absorb the incongruity and irony that is Rent. It is a monument to survival in the face of difficult, sometimes horrifying circumstances. And it was written by someone who faced his own final deadline without knowing it.

“No day but today,” indeed.

If one was to investigate why I have taken on so many time-intensive projects, why I have felt the need to commit my self and my time so often and so intensely, one really only has to look at the first three paragraphs, and to listen to the music and the words of Rent to fully understand.

Life is short. It’s an overused cliche and a state of mind all at the same time – a personal philosophy which very often drives my sense of purpose.

It’s impossible to pack everything into a single life. There isn’t enough time in the day, not enough energy in the world. But that simple phrase – no day but today – explains so much about why I find it so utterly offensive that anyone could condone the taking of life (ANY life).

I don’t have answers. I don’t know what to do if someone else takes a life. Is it okay to take that person’s life in exchange? I don’t know. I suppose it’s appropriate to think, in theory, that by taking a life one forfeits the right to keep one’s own, but do any of us have the right to take that life? How can we say that it’s okay to take a life in one case and not okay to take a life in another, depending on circumstances?

Those who speak on behalf of the righteous believe that they have the authority to do as they please, based on their conception of “right” and “law.” I believe there are basic rights and laws that are incontrovertable and not definable by any written work. And yet…

There is the question of abortion. There is the question of capitol punishment. There is the question of justice in the face of an attack on innocent bystanders who happened to get to work too early in the morning and were in the path of incoming airplanes carrying other innocent bystanders. There is the “rescue” of a people oppressed, who then take the opportunity to incite civil war based on religious belief.

How do we reconcile ourselves to allow one of these acts and not another? How can people look at each other and decide, based on belief, that one person should be allowed to live while another should die?

And, in the end, what do we accomplish when we set out to “protect” one life from being taken by another? At what cost?

I’ve been accused of being idealistic. Unrealistic. A pacifist (and that’s apparently an evil thing to some people).

I don’t have answers to these questions, but they are burning me up inside. I am trying to coexist with an increasingly hostile environment. And the only thing that saves me from moving on to something “better” is that I have no clear assurance that there is, in fact, something better. I think there may be something different, but I have no guarantees that this is the case. And I have learned that there is no better purpose to life than to live it here and now.

I can intellectualize life in 40 years. I have extant examples of people who live well into their 90s – even in my own family. But I also have shining examples of extended life gone horribly wrong, too. It shows in the face of my mother-in-law every time we go to visit her in the nursing home. She and my mother (had she lived) would be near the same age. It shows in the vivid descriptions of my friend’s father, who suffers from dementia. It shows in my family history – where we live to old age if we don’t die of cancer, but with dementia, or heart disease, or blindness, or in some other enfeebled state. None of my oldest relatives, save possibly Great Aunt Annie and First Cousin Thrice Removed Harry, maintained useful lives into their 90s.

There is, in fact, no day but today.

So how do I reconcile this knowledge with seeking out life-threatening activities in the name of protection and service? The short answer is, I can’t. I am told that it must be done. Someone has to do it. My response is “why?” All the justification in the world doesn’t seem to make it better, when those who should serve to protect my interests fail to understand what my interests are and how I interpret them.

The Earth is a wonderful land. It truly is. Anyone who has visited the Grand Canyon or the California Redwoods or the wilds of the Adirondack mountains knows what I mean. I can’t speak for other lands – my experience is far too limited, but I can take what I know of North America and extend it globally. And if we don’t start recognizing that what we have is a gift (from God or whatever), and that it and ALL its people with the same respect and reverence, then in the end we will have nothing.

When I see global warming warnings brushed aside in the name of our human importance and our innate right to do as we please, when I hear that we can go to war against a people because we are protecting another people, when I hear that a person may be killed for the $60 someone else thinks is more important than the life of that person, I feel ill.

We will soon be short on doctors. We will lack teachers to teach the people how to save themselves. We will descend into the next Dark Ages as our world heats up. And we will have no one to save when that time comes. It won’t be my children who will see this horrible change, but their children, or their children’s children. A few generations more and the only thing left will be the cockroaches and a few stragglers who will be left to pick up what’s left.

Can we break the cycle? I wish I knew – for the sake of my children. I want them to know a world where everyone is treated the same, regardless of the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, or their last name. I want them to know a dark sky filled with stars. I want them to see a world where people respect each other, help each other. Where one person’s worth is not judged by his bankbook or her DVD collection or the political connections he has.

And for me? I wish I had more time. And if I didn’t that I knew when I was leaving, so that I could plan accordingly.

And that I could do something to make this world better than it is right now.

And that my actions would inspire other people to do the same.

And finally, that nobody would have to experience what I have. But then, I guess people don’t learn unless they have examples, do they?

On the warpath today…

On the warpath today…

I heard this morning on WAMU (which is what I listen to at 6 freaking am when I have to wake up for my Child who’s Not being Left Behind) that our illustrious President is willing to spend any amount to repair the damage in New Orleans so that it will rise again. He’s on the side of the poor. And he wants to fix what’s broken.

If he’d spent half the amount of money he seems to want to pledge for the repair of New Orleans in fixing the problems with the levees and helping to support the poor residents who’ll suffer most from this disaster, and if he’d spent time actually researching the backgrounds of the individuals in whom he’s trusted to protect our country and not his right to retire fat and happy, he wouldn’t have to call for spending this amazing amount of money. Over 200 billion dollars. In a deficit. While we’re still at war.

Don’t believe me? Listen to the reports from NPR:

Bush Calls for Bold Plan to Rebuild Coast

New Orleans Residents Wonder How They’ll Rebuild

And best of all

Who Will Foot Bill to Rebuild New Orleans?

A quote from the third story: “You’re a fiscal conservative until you get hit by a natural disaster.” –Trent Lott

Who’s going to pay for George W. Bush’s mistakes and those of the individuals he has in charge? We are. For decades and possibly generations to come.

Now, how long do you really think it’s going to take before the concept of a raise in taxes comes across? Remember that tax refund you saw at the start of his administration? Don’t get too fond of it. If it isn’t already gone to your car in the form of gas, it will be soon when the right finally realizes that taxes are necessary evils.

And finally, my own DH blows up in someone else’s blog space, because he can’t stand that people are picking on our President. The fact is, there’s so much to be angry about with the way our government is handling this current crisis, that it’s actually a release to laugh at something (even if it’s doctored), that makes Our Prez look even more ridiculous, but this is what set him off.

No, I have no idea how John Kerry would have handled the problem. No, I don’t know what Al Gore would have done. It doesn’t matter to me. They didn’t get elected. GWB did, and what he has done with his presidency is squander our hard-earned savings, pander to the right wing and old money interests.

Nothing on this planet would please me more than seeing him taken down – impeachment is too good for him.

KMH, I may not agree 100% with everything you said to my DH, but I am so there.

In many ways, I wish tomorrow was the 24th.

Comments:

ML:
For that matter, the levee request was around 105 million as opposed to the 200+ billion this will probably take.

Funny; I don’t remember your DH being particularly jingoistic, so I’d imagine there’s more to the story.

Me:
Someone pushed his “That’s Not Funny” button and he went off.

I had to stop our conversation this morning. He’s no better with me right now.

Having him in exile without a reliable means of communication besides phone is a REAL pain!

ML:
Ah, found the exchange. Some of the comments in this discussion on the note were interesting.

What I see in that exchange is essentially “Hey, there’s a lot wrong you can talk about without taking cheap shots” and a response of “I really don’t care whether it’s a cheap shot; I’m upset enough that I’m beyond that.”

As far as the bathroom break note goes, there are certainly reasons to be disquieted. But the reason the note’s getting as much play as it is are probably more based on all the other reasons people are upset with CIC, rather than the contents. (Now, the manner this note was written? Not “Pls. effect a short bathroom break,” or “When will there be bathroom break?” but instead “I think I may need . . .” seems odd.)

The photographer insists he didn’t know what was in the note when he took the picture. I actually have some problems with this – they say that the image was blown up and cleaned before publication; since the unidentified contents could well have been something more important or classified I wonder whether telephotos may end up banned from some of these locations.

KMH:
word.
one of my buttons, in turn, is “i chose to put you on my friends list and now you’re posting things that i don’t agree with, so you should alter your blog to cater to my feelings and stop writing things that i find offensive, because as one of the people who chose to read what you write i get to tell you what you should and shouldn’t say.”

wrong month to play that game with me. figure out how custom friends lists work, or, hell, unfriend me (it’s not like i do this for the clickthroughs), but do NOT tell me what i get to write in my own goddamned friends-locked journal.

on the other hand; eh, whatever. didn’t sound like he was having a particularly good week BEFORE he wrote himself off of the disney trip and had computer breakage. sorry if drawing the line in the sand stepped on any toes in the process.

Me:
Re: word.
I am, as I said, right there with you. I already pointed out to him that your space is, in fact, your space.

And he is, for the record, having a seriously sucky week, simply made suckier by the trashing of said laptop.

I’m personally ready for a do-over myself.

CS:
I guess New Orleans could rise again, but then, so could the flood water. Wonder which one he meant.

Good money after bad…

Good money after bad…

LA Times: Police May Force Out Residents

Makes you just want to smack somebody upside the head.

Fully
Emasculated
Management
Agency

Give the money to someone else for crissakes and just lock Michael Brown up.

From a comment:

Not to mention this story:

The Memory Blog: Infectious Disease Research in and Around New Orleans

The heretofore unmentioned fact that Tulane and other universities in and around NOLA were running Level 3 Biolabs (anthrax, mousepox, HIV, plague, etc.)

So… if there’s been a breach of said labs, we can add L-3 bioagents to the deadly brew seeping in an around the city.

Alert Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Michael Crichton, They’re On!

My friends are doing a much better job of reporting the news right now, so I’m leaving it to them. A friend of mine (not on the flist) shared with me about Michael Brown but at least four folks got there before I did. I’m relieved but this isn’t over. I suppose he’ll make a convenient scapegoat…

I see some folks have missed my point here…

I see some folks have missed my point here…

Perhaps this summary might make more impact?

Comedy Central’s Daily Show: Hurricane Katrina Intro (9/6/2005)

When the White House considers that damage control is as important for its image as it is for the destruction of an entire American city, there is something wrong with the leaders of the country.

There is no slack to cut here. The President has a responsibility to his people to be sure that all of them are cared for. The concern for Trent Lott’s lost house pretty much sums it all up.

And it doesn’t change my mind one iota that we are doing the right thing, asking for his impeachment. His assumption that we have, as a whole country, mandated his behaviour is wrong headed and dangerous, and he is the biggest threat to our national security. I’m not talking here about our ability to protect ourselves from terrorists, but our ability to care for our own.

I don’t know about you, but I am seeing huge gaps between what we have been promised and what we have seen delivered. This gap is in the cost of living, in the rising poverty levels, and the general failure of our leaders to provide equal opportunities for everyone.

Let’s face it: As someone pointed out recently, if the flood had been New York, we’d have seen the helicopters within 24 hours.

It may be decades before New Orleans can be inhabited again. FEMA’s failure is every bit as much GW Bush’s responsibility as it is the head of the agency’s.

May he receive the same treatment we saw fit to give those prisoners of war.

That’s it…

That’s it…

Ok. I’ve finally had enough.

Over this post about Chief Justice Rehnquist by JTN I’ve finally given up and have dropped him from my friends list. There’s simply no excuse for the comment, and with so little regard for other people’s opinions, I can stop wasting my time reading his comfortable posts about the gourmet food and easy life of the “haves” of this world.

I’m done.

Now here’s why. I’ve been flipping back through the last week’s worth of blog postings. I’m suffering from a case of “incensed” and I need to get it out of my system before I’ll be worth anything to anybody.

First, though, some blogs worth mentioning: …and are all keeping readers up to date on what the media, and our current administration have done during this man-made crisis. In addition to her other posts, is also handling the weather updates.

There has been a nearly universal outcry in my corner of the web sphere. Most of the people who are on my f-list have noted that they feel, as I do, that our government has fallen short in its responsibility to protect the people of our country.

The feeling of wanting to comment, to say something meaningful, to fix blame has spilled over into our mailing lists. Several of the lists I’m on have shut down conversations on the topic because the potential for flame wars is enormous.

Here, for what it’s worth, is my own personal view on the subject. You may take it or leave it, as you see fit, because this is my space and here I am entitled to my opinion.

Four years ago, almost to the day, New York City suffered an attack. It wasn’t driven by the uncontrollable winds and weather patterns of this world. It was formulated by men, as an attack against men.

We grieved. We raged. We planned and stewed and went to war over this action. And we are still at war today, four years later, with no end in sight and no recognizable value except as a means for “liberating” a people who die daily because of other men’s actions against their “liberators” or their proponents. And we are still no closer to catching the actual perpetrator of the crime for which we went to war in the first place.

We are in this war because of the actions of one man and his administration – President George W. Bush. No nicknames, no beating around the… well…you know what I mean. We would not now be sending our valuable National Guard resources there were it not for the Draw Down initiated by Bush Senior and soon to be continued by Junior. And we would have more resources in every way to fight the natural disaster that is New Orleans. No terrorists were at work here, except for Bush, who can find the time to appear for photo opportunities while still wondering at the inability of the local infrastructure to handle the crisis.

You should be asking yourself why.

Why did it take so long for the military to move south to handle the hundreds of thousands of homeless people (of all economic levels)?

Why didn’t the money go to supporting our homeland infrastructure instead of the wrong-headed Homeland Security or, worse, the war based on fiction and hearsay?

Why are we on the brink of seating a judge who found there was nothing wrong with the way our prisoners of war were handled because, after all, they’re terrorists, aren’t they?

And we should be asking what as well.

What are we going to do with all the people made homeless, displaced by the storm and its aftermath?

What makes the President think we’re simply going to smile and forget the diverting of funds from our home to the war?

What on earth could our President have been thinking, bouncing into the war zone that is now New Orleans, simply for a photo opportunity?

And what made his mother, wife of Bush Senior, say:

“What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this–this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.”

Barbara Bush: Things Working Out ‘Very Well’ for Poor Evacuees from New Orleans
By E&P Staff

How dare she. Someone caused the riff raff to be shipped to her backyard, and they might not want to leave. Oh the horror.

A month ago or so, I ranted about the press, in regard to their treatment of the London Bombings. I got lots of support and some denigration from our boy who I mentioned above. Well, it seems the BBC has noticed what I was talking about. Here’s what they have to say now, in the wake of Katrina: (Thanks, for bringing it to my attention):

“As President Bush scurries back to the Gulf Coast, it is clear that this is the greatest challenge to politics-as-usual in America since the fall of Richard Nixon in the 1970s.”

Viewpoint: Has Katrina saved US media? By Matt Wells

And as if that wasn’t enough, you should read this article as well. Of all the nerve…

White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage
By ADAM NAGOURNEY and ANNE E. KORNBLUT

We, in this area, live in privilege. Most of us (at least the ones I hang out with most) can afford to leave if we have to, and with much of what we care about still intact. There are so many people who were caught in the storm but who couldn’t leave because they couldn’t afford the escape routes and who now choose not to abandon what little they have, that it’s simply mind boggling. They were talking on NPR this morning of 10,000 dead. We have here our own tsunami, and yet the federal government waits until the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court dies to announce that flags should remain at half mast. And they are more concerned about controlling the political damage than they are about fixing the actual infrastructure of our country. And in the meantime, people are still heading over to Iraq and they are still dying because the war was more important to this administration than maintaining our own country.

These are your tax dollars at work, folks. You have paid for the situation we are in. And if you voted for this current administration, everything that is happening in New Orleans is as much your fault as anyone’s in high office.

One day, the history books will look back at George W. Bush’s reign and consider it to be another coming of Hitler. His actions are as evil, as founded in wrong-wrongheadedness, as anything the Third Reich could possibly have done. Sure. His target is not motivated by the hate of a religious population. Far worse, it is the poor and destitute who are his targets. And when the body count has finally been calculated from his 8 year reign, the numbers will run high.

One more statistic, and I’ll let this go for now:

Poverty Rate Continues To Climb
2004 Census Data Show Labor Market Is Still Struggling

By Jonathan Weisman and Ceci Connolly, Washington Post Staff Writers

Can’t happen in America, huh?

Where will you be on September 24? I know where I’ll be.

I will have space in my car for at least one adult (depending on my ability to find babysitting for the girls). More if I choose to drive the van (assuming we haven’t sold it by then). We will be going to the metro and riding down to the mall from there. More details will be available soon at this space. Folks who might entertain coming in from out of town, and who need crash space, are completely welcome to our house. We’ve already got one futon in use, but there’s two, plus floor space and another pull-out bed and maybe one more bed space.

Make your voice heard. Hold this administration accountable.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.