Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Greatest?

I am not bad about sharing videos. I usually do not have time to watch them myself, and I always feel bad when anyone else posts videos and I just move on.

But watch this, please. If this is the ONLY video you watch this week, watch this one. It is about 3 1/2 minutes from the series of the new HBO show called "Newsroom." It's written or produced or something by the same man who did "The West Wing." Jed Bartlett never threw any punches and there are none thrown here.

And then let me ask you a question - why is the US the greatest country on earth?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Can My Son Catch a Break?

BabyBoy's current position was terminated this morning. He is heartbroken, because he was trying so damned hard. But he is a bit of a smartass and I guess his humor was unappreciated. Plus he pissed off someone from corporate headquarters several weeks ago by not being at the Front Desk (he was a desk clerk at a flea bag motel) when this person wanted into the office.

Except Gary (the brand new manager) had given BabyBoy permission to lock the office and make a couple of walks around the property each shift. It allowed BabyBoy to have an idea what was going on (flea bag motel = hookers and drugs) plus it gave him a little exercise. Of course Gary will not defend the kid, so he is now jobless.

His work history is not the most stellar. His last job sounded great on paper, but he ended up working almost no hours and receiving very little money - just enough to pay gas to get him back and forth to work. So he was unable to save any money or move forward. He's done summer work. He's lost more than just this current job. (Although he was not fired - technically, so he will be eligible for unemployment benefits).

It just doesn't make any sense. He had been part time (32 hours a week) for several months, but the last few weeks he has been working 40 (or more) while training his own replacement.

He spoke with a Navy recruiter last summer and then with an AF one in the spring. He was all set to join the USAF until allergies in April/May sent him to the doctor who dianosed allergy induced asthma. He had asthma as a child, but has not had any problems in YEARS. It is possible that he could make it through basic training with no problem, but if he had one.....

I am telling myself that this will just bring him something better, but it sounds hollow even to me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

God's Blessings? Or His Anger?

If you are on Facebook, you know about the "Notes" section where we each have something akin to our own personal 'blog. With something that Ahab posted about the right wing swearing that the shootings in Colorado being a sign of God's wrath, I was reminded of a note I wrote almost a year ago and thought it was pertinent to what is happening now.

Several months ago, I turned on the news briefly before going to bed and saw that Osama bin Laden had been found and killed. I felt no joy; I felt no sadness; I just felt that it was one more step in bringing home our men and women overseas. I told my son and went to sleep (on the couch because DSD was going through a horrible snoring phase). I was awakened sometime later (maybe 2 hours, but I don’t think so) by BabyBoy leaving the house and returning and he obviously was not happy so I got up to talk to him. We ended up having a very long conversation about the celebrations that were taking place across the United States but specifically in New York City and Washington, D.C. since the death of bin Laden. I do love it that my son is such a thoughtful, caring person and I am very proud of a lot of the things he said that night and how much I learned from him. I am not going into any details, but he made me think. A lot.
            Less than a week later I was talking to my cousin in Texas about this issue and she recommended that I read a book, “Unconditional: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness” that she had just finished. She said it made her see the current events in a different light. Lucky for me, I tend to download any and all free books for my Kindle and I already had that one on there. I had to wait until after finals but I did start the book. It was very interesting, very informative and a lot more than I wanted to shove into my brain in the very short week I had between terms, so I only read about half of it. I will finish it though, because the little I read made me realize some of the things that I was doing wrong with my life. That while I have tried for years to live my life in a manner that Jesus would approve, I realized that I had some seriously deep-seated anger, and even hatred festering in my heart. It wasn't healthy. And some of it is still there, but I work hard to forgive those who have wronged me, because that is what I am called to do.
             The next break I had from school, I was looking through my Kindle for something to read and found, “The Divided States of America: What Liberals and Conservatives Get Wrong about Faith and Politics in America.” I thought it may help me understand the points of view of others and maybe to see what I was misunderstanding about the current culture clashes. I started it. I wasn’t terribly impressed to be honest, and I wanted to read something that didn’t cause me to use my brain quite so much. I think I read about 25% of it, but the message I received from the author was that Conservatives shouldn’t be quite so strident and unforgiving and Liberals are anti-God, anti-religion, anti-love, fairly stupid and driving God out of America because we support marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose. The main theme though, was that God has blessed America because America has always followed God’s teachings and that if America continued to disrespect God by allowing abortions and marriage equality, God will probably remove His Blessings.
            About a week ago a friend posted this as her status on Facebook:
             “Ok, been reading in the OT book of Ezekiel which talks about the destruction of nations
that do not fear God. One of the notes said this: “There is no permanence apart from God, even for a great society with magnificent culture and military power". Does that not sound like the United States?”
             I asked, “Are you saying that the United States is apart from God and that this will cause our destruction?” She said yes and there was more discussion and the combination of all four of these incidences has been weighing on my mind. I cannot speak for my friend, but I truly believe that if I asked her she would name abortion and marriage equality as two of the things that are keeping us apart from God.
             So this is the message that I have received. #1. Retribution is acceptable and it is even acceptable to celebrate loud and long after killing someone who has caused harm. #2. Liberals hate God and God hates Liberals. #3. If we allow marriage equality and defend a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions, even if that means she may have an abortion, the U.S. is headed down the path to Sodom and Gomorrah.  (And in
case anyone cares, I spelled that correctly on the first try!) So with these thoughts in mind, let’s take a look over the past almost 520 years since dear ol’ Chris arrived on the hallowed shores of this great continent and see what
was done to receive God’s blessings, shall we?
             First we have almost the complete and total annihilation of all of those living in what is today Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. No, it wasn’t all on purpose, some were killed by airborne pathogens that they had no immunities to, but it may have been the lack of food, clean clothes, and overwork on top of the chicken pox, measles, mumps and whatever else was unknowingly carried on the Nina, the Pinto and the Santa Maria. Then there is the move into what is today the United States of America and Canada. The French actually weren't horrible to the Native Americans in Canada, much, because they needed them and it was damned cold up there. But in the Carolinas? Georgia? Florida? Anyone remember that really great trip the Cherokee were taken on? The Trail of Tears!
             During all of this, of course, there was the slave trade. Yes, I know that many who were brought to the States were already slaves of other tribes in Africa. Did that make those who were brought here feel better? Did that make it right? Murder, rape, beatings, and selling family members away from each other were a Godly thing to do?      What about the complete and total subjugation of women? “Well now we have a complete and total breakdown of the American family where there are no fathers and women choose to have babies on their own and some of the time HOMOSEXUALS adopt/have children.” Well THEN women were brood mares with no freedoms, no choices, no options who could be forced to marry by her parents. Children were not taught to think for themselves (I know some still aren’t) and beatings were fairly regular, for both of them. And would you rather have a lovely same sex couple
raise your child or have them grow up in an orphanage as was the norm for a very long time? Because a loving family is all a child in the system will ask for and I am ok if that family is comprised of two moms or two dads.
              And even after slavery was finally stopped, the Native Americans were pushed and shoved off lands they had been given by the U.S. government, because gold, or oil, or something was found on it. Black people were still treated as second class citizens and paid less for doing the same job as the white man (if the black man could find work) and women were still chattel.
             Since the end of the Revolutionary War the cry to “go West, young man” was loud and
proud and YEA! MANIFEST DESTINY. It is God’s will.
             And there were more Indians murdered for their lands and then the Spanish in Texas and California and Cuba. As we “helped” those “savages” who had no idea how to live, how to govern, how to rule, how to sow and reap the “correct” way. Not to mention that many of the Spanish were “PAPISTS” and they didn’t worship God and Jesus in the correct way. As American boys murdered 250,000 Filipino men, women, and children in our bid to “help” those Islands because they were not bright enough to help themselves. (Those were the lucky ones, by the way, the dead. The non-dead women? Let’s not talk about them.) 
Some of the atrocities committed throughout the last 5 centuries make Abu Ghraib look like a family vacation.
             So for the last five centuries America has been close to God, blessed by Him, and NOW we are apart? Now abortion, and marriage equality, and women having brains and lives, and the removal of state sanctioned prayer from the schools and football games are going to cause our destruction?

Then so be it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Most Depressing Friday

BabyBoy was, of course, at the midnight premiere last night of "The Dark Knight Rises." He is a huge Batman/Dark Knight/Nightwing fan. Probably my fault for allowing his obsession to grow at age 4 and ensuring he had all of the latest toys. And the sheets, comforter, and curtains. He is now 23 and has different ones, but still sleeps on Batman sheets and has a Batman blanky. And my heart hurts for those others, half a continent away, who were probably just like him - counting down the days until the release of this movie, dressed up in costume to attend, talking about it for the last 6 month - who are now gone. Whose obsession has been cut down just like their lives.

What the fuck?

Is there anything to be said that has not? Anything that was not said after the rash of school shootings in the 90s? Anything that was not said after Ms. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and others surrounding her killed?

How does some kid in his early 20s have possession of an AK47?

AN AK47!

I am certain that representatives of the NRA are Aurora bound already. I am certain that someone will speak eloquently about the 2nd Amendment and the nation's right to bear arms. When does someone speak eloquently of the nation's right to attend a freaking movie in the middle of the night and come home safe? When does someone speak about a parent's right to take or allow their child to attend a movie and know that the child will leave the theater alive?

I fear drunk drives, or BabyBoy falling asleep at the wheel at 3 am (he was less than 5 miles from the house), or, CHRIST, an earthquake - really. Who imagines your child, spouse, sibling, parent being shot while watching a movie?

A friend from my hometown lives in Aurora, CO. Her 17 year old daughter did not attend last night's premiere, although I am not certain why not, because she had tickets.

Her friends attended though. And all survived. So far.

Must we fight gunfire with gunfire? Are we destined to return to the violent time when everyone was armed? Because I am considering buying a nice little pink handled gun and applying for a concealed weapons permit. ME! And I am anti-gun! I am PRO GUN CONTROL.

But I am also sick of the senseless violence.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

And The Bullshit Kept Rolling!

That stupid sheriff in Arizona held a press conference yesterday and it is available to watch on the web. Someone linked to it on Facebook. I did not watch it and I am not going to link to it here. Sorry folks, the guy is crazy and the publicity is not helping and do not tell me that he is doing all of this investigating on his own damned time. Tax dollars are being wasted, but that is different, of course, and more important than spending them on health or education, just as it has always been more important to fund wars and not humanitarian aid.

I am so sick of it already and the closer we get to November the uglier it is going to get.

#The Birther Movement is a live and well, although the courts are battling against it from what I have seen.

#Allen West (yay! Florida) is allowed to stand up in public and claim that over 80 House Democrats are COMMUNISTS and his fund raising efforts are through the roof!

#Rush Limbaugh is allowed to make fun at the President's Ivy League (read - progressive) education and  no one dares correct him and remind him that all of the Bush boys and Mitt Romney were educated by Ivy League colleges.

#Facts are debated as 'theory' and trying to discuss anything that is based in fact receives as much commentary as the proverbial cricket.

I am reading "The Crucial Decade - American 1945 - 1955" at the moment. A friend recommended it many months ago and I have not taken the time to read it before now. It is very interesting and it is allowing me to brush back up on some of my history classes, but what I am getting out of it is that the right has won. We have returned to the lovely hallowed ground of the early '50s - before African-Americans and women had rights - before Vietnam - before the horrors of the growing debt crisis - because on almost every single page I can hear Rush, Allen West, John Boehner (why may actually be Robert Taft reincarnated). But most Americans (and certainly none on the right) are going to read this book. Most Americans are going to watch Fox News, listen to Rush, and google Sheriff Dipshit of Arizona for their entertainment.

I tried to figure out how to move to Australia, but they have no interest in my degree in American Politics.

I wonder if Canada would take me?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Econ 101

I took macro and micro economics in the summer of 2008, back when I thought I was going to be an accountant when I grew up. After those classes and Accounting 101, I decided that my future was going to take a different path.* But I took those classes and I received A's in them. But they did not actually stick too closely (I purged them as soon as the classes were completed and grades were in!). So I have a couple of questions from those who may know/remember/understand these things better than I.

If I am a small business owner, is it not true that I will be paying taxes on my 'net' income and not my 'gross' income? (Provided of course that I do not ship any of my income to Switzerland or the Cayman Islands and pay taxes on everything that I should).  So if I get a nice little government aided start up loan and rent a building for a boutique, buy inventory, pay the bills, etc all with that start up loan (making the loan payments, of course) and at the end of the first year, after all bills are paid, I have a profit of $75,000 then that is all I have to pay taxes on, right? Am I correct so far?

So in Year 2, business picks up and I need to hire a cashier for the afternoons. $10/hour - 20 hours/week for some future fashionista after school. And my profit is $100K for that year, am I now allowed to take that almost $11K off the top of my profit? Instead of paying taxes on the $100K that I made (after paying rent, untilities, loan payment, merchandisers), is it not correct that I would pay taxes on just over $89K? BECAUSE AN EMPLOYEE IS A TAXABLE DEDUCTION?

Looking at it even closer, that employee is going to cost me more than the $11K in salary, are they not? Medicare and social security matching? Unemployment insurance and Workers Compensation? So wouldn't it be closer to the truth to say that I would be able to deduct maybe $15K for that ONE employee?

So whether my tax rate is 20%, 50%, or 90% I am not paying taxes on the salaries and benefits that my employees are receiving?

I know that this is simplistic and I know that there are other factors and facts involved, but I am trying to ensure that I have an actual grasp on this subject before I make an ass of myself!

And if you stop by and do not leave a comment explaining why I am wrong, my reputation as an ass will be your fault!

*I have great respect for accountants, because they got through all of those boring classes. Of course they would probably shudder at my adoration of classes like "Beauracy - The 4th Branch" also. It takes all kinds.

Not My Imagination

My last two posts were about what I perceive as the rampant racism that has reared its ugly head in this country since Barack Obama was elected President. I am thankful that, while raised in the deep, dark south, I was not raised to be a racist and any attempts to change my beliefs have failed. (My ex was not a racist when we married and he was active duty - or he hid it well - but after spending a few weeks in our hometown he returned with an 'us vs. them' mentality.)

I am told (quite often) that I 'throw the race card' with no thought. That bringing up race is my first, instead of my last, idea to counter an argument. So while I found this article over at Fallenmonk disheartening and disturbing, it was a huge relief to realize that it's NOT just me. Others see what I see. Others understand that the recent assaults on women, on the poor and middle class, on the sick and homeless are bad, but our descent into the Southern Plantation mindset is truly happening and things are going to get worse instead of better.

I considered (and am still considering) posting the link to my Facebook page. I am not expecting anyone to actually read it or comment on it. I can get almost 200 comments on my status update of "W00T! It's Constitutional!" But I have seen almost nothing on my posts about the TB breakout here in Florida, or about Gov Nikki Hailey's comments about the sympathy that South Carolina has for rape victims, but there just isn't any money  to help those same victims (both links are above).

I am sad about what is happening in this country. I am appalled that the Republican party spent two years trying to pick anyone but Romney but now they have jumped onto his bandwagon in a manner that tells me they have NO IDEA what or who they are supporting - what or who they will be voting to implement. As someone who was not necessarily a John Kerry fan, I can understand voting against someone, but I could tell you why I was voting against W. Do people know why they are voting against Obama? Do they not see the what has happened in the history of this country?

"For most of our history, American economics, culture and politics have been dominated by a New England-based Yankee aristocracy that was rooted in Puritan communitarian values, educated at the Ivies and marinated in an ethic of noblesse oblige (the conviction that those who possess wealth and power are morally bound to use it for the betterment of society). While they've done their share of damage to the notion of democracy in the name of profit (as all financial elites inevitably do), this group has, for the most part, tempered its predatory instincts with a code that valued mass education and human rights; held up public service as both a duty and an honor; and imbued them with the belief that once you made your nut, you had a moral duty to do something positive with it for the betterment of mankind. Your own legacy depended on this."

This does not sound like Mitt - raised rich, bullied in school, no respect for the family dog, the workers who depended on him, or his own beliefs. Mitt is all about Mitt. When did that happen in this country? Can it be stopped?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Let's Pretty Things Up, Shall We?

I am from the south. Even though I was born and raised in NW Florida, my little hometown is so close to the Florida/Alabama border that there is almost no difference in the two. Sure Florida's peninsula is a little more enlightened than the area I still live in, but, not much! (Marco Rubio - 'nuff said) But somewhere along the lines, I developed a soul, a conscience, I don't know what so that I understand that judging others on the basis of their appearance, their beliefs, their lifestyle is not acceptable. (I am not trying to say I learned this on my own, my parents did raise me to believe that all people are equal) Many who still live in that little hometown are still horrible racists although they hide it behind the birther issue (dead giveaway in my eyes), or their belief in a 'free' America.

But to come across two separate articles on the same blasted day about the rampant racism of the south makes me wonder if we have not started some space/time reversal process. I just posted about the 'church' service that was restricted to white 'christians' only and now:  “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another," Tennessee has decided to 'help' history by, well, changing it. Or at least whitewashing (pun not intended but it works).

Early in 2011 the TEA BAGGERS in Tennessee made some  suggestions  demands of the newly elected Legislators - to "fix" history so that the founders didn't appear so mean.  This occurred in other states (Texas) as well, but it did not go very far in Tennessee, but HEY! They're back.

OK, to be truthful even the 2nd link is six months old, but I missed it then.

Either way, attempts are being made across this nation to stop teaching the truth of history, at least as far as we know it. In Texas. In Tennessee. Probably in Georgia and Alabama and Florida.

It is disturbing on more levels than I can even comprehend.

Just For the White Folk

Two days ago we celebrated the 236th birthday of America. Of that fateful day when colonists became rebels and staged a full blown war for freedom. Yes, freedom of white men ONLY, but somewhere in my mind things were getting better. Slavery has been abolished for years. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. There is a man in the White House who is not white. Shouldn't we be further along than THIS?

In Guin, AL a church put out flyers inviting all "White" Christians to the celebration of our nation's birth. KKK membership NOT required (although it's OK if you have one). And when things are all said and done?  "Sacred Christian Cross Lighting Ceremony"

But they aren't burning a cross, you understand, they are just.... well... BURNING A FRIGGING CROSS.

Many of the residents of Guin (according to the story) are appalled and many of the commenters are also, yet I bet sometime tonight (celebration started Wednesday and concludes today with that, yes, cross burning) many will gather in the name of the Great White Hope or some such nonsense.

I am seriously sickened by this nonsense.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A New Work Computer!

I have always done most of my postings from work. I think about them off and on for the morning and write them up at lunch... or before if it is really important. I get my work done, so it has never been an issue.

So part of the reason that my blogging has slacked off over the last couple of years is that as technology advanced my computer system at work did not. Yes, I am still on Internet Explorer 7.0. Is that crazy or what? At home I use Google Chrome, but before I switched to that I was on IE 9.

So I have a lot of difficulty making comments on the posts of others even when I do visit them. I can't even see the entire posting menu (yesterday's linkage was a lot of guesswork) and I wouldn't mind a "New Blogger Look" but there is no way to figure out how to do that.

But tonight, while I sleep and dream this piece o' crap (it's not really, but it seems like it) will disappear and on Thursday when I return to work a brand new machine will be in place!

Hopefully it allows me to 'blog more, comment more, and, you know, work more efficiently!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Facebook Discussion - Retold

Early yesterday (Sunday 1 July 2012) morning the lovely Lola had to GO! We normally get up anywhere from 5:30 - 6:30 am during the week, but she is good about letting me sleep later on the weekends. DSD worked late on Saturday night, so I waited up for him and was late getting to bed and I was not ready to be awake at 8. But I had no choice. I took her out, got her breakfast, and settled in to see what exciting stuff had happened during the night with all 347 of my 'friends.' (I have no idea how I ended up with that many friends - it makes me nuts!)

Immediately I was informed that the USDA was promoting 'Food Stamp Parties' to get the entire United States of America into the Food Stamp program to ensure our continued dive into that horror known as socialism. With no preceding comment, my friend Gigi, posted this link. It's another 'blog. Someone's opinion about how we are all going to die. I Googled "food stamp party" and found links only to other 'blogs and, that lovely bastion of bullshit, Fox.

I asked how and why this lovely 'blog was shared with no corresponding links to the allegedly pamphlet about these parties and I was informed that THIS WAS ON THE NEWS. Want to guess which channel? Because none of the mainstream media was carrying it. I could not even find it on Heritage, as much as I hate even looking there.

I did go to the USDA site and discovered that there is a program in place to encourage the elderly to see if they qualify for food stamps. Florida's pilot program? Began in 2002. Of course while W was in office and during the time he was telling us to shop and don't worry about all those children he was planning to murder in that little place in the Middle East called Iraq. And his little brother was governor of my beloved state. Damn radicals! I provided the link for her, but she suddenly became busy with the new grandbaby. But first she provided me with a link to Fox (I have it if you want to see it) about a new radio commercial ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO LOOK INTO FOODSTAMPS.

I could not find any other links to this so I did watch the YouTube Fox provided. Of course YouTube is visual, so Fox so kindly added some visual to the nice lady talking about how she was feeling so much better now that she was eating nutritionally sound meals - and I cannot make myself watch it again to tell you about the visuals, but I think they were perfectly healthy Americans taking advantage of the system. You know, instead of people like my aunt who worked hard her entire life, raising 4 children on her own for years (she left the bastard who fathered said children after discovering he was a child molester!), who was struck with a debilitating eye disease in her mid-30s and has been on social security disability for almost 30 years. She is not on food stamps. She has her pride, you know! (She also has my parents who take her half of everything they grow in their garden).

My aunt would be better off if she was receiving food stamps. (I am not begrudging her anything my parents do for her, she is a wonderful lady, but I am concerned about the stress of it killing my mother!) 

Many elderly and disabled people would be better off receiving the tiny bit for food provided by the state.

But this, my friends, is something that must be avoided at all costs! Stop letting the government interfere in our lives! LET'S TAKE A STAND AND KICK OBAMA OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE.

The uninsurable with insurance. The elderly and disabled with food. Women being allowed to make their own medical decisions and receive equal pay for equal work. When will it end?

When they put a Republican back in the White House.

I'm sad about the stupidity that is rampant. I'm sad about the hate that is everywhere.