I am off tomorrow to go visit a dear friend for a couple of days.
I expect to be drinking a lot of vino, laughing my ass off, and just having some girl time.
I might even shop-- which I *loathe*.
However, I feel the need for fresh air.
Did anyone hear about the computer "worm" that is going around?
60 Minutes did a segment on it Sunday.
Watch CBS Videos Online
I wonder if the internet will still be here after tomorrow?
If it is (and I am sure it will be) I'll catch you later this week.
Tom's b-day was great.
Thanks for all the happy-happys.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Today is Tom's b-day.
We stopped by my Mom's yesterday and she had a cake for him... it was very sweet.
He didn't have many special birthdays growing up. He didn't have a lot of special anything growing up. He pretty much raised himself and survived a childhood not many would. I try to let him know how special and wonderful he is. I try to make up for years of neglect. He loves with a heart as fierce as the sun. But at the same time, he is so humble, so sweet.
He works very hard and cares so much about his family, who is going through a really rough patch right now. He blames himself for not being able to be there for them. He's hurting because he wants to help them, but can't. They cannot help themselves... it is inexplicably painful to see. I want to protect him from it. Fold him in my arms and keep the pain away from him. He's been through enough.
I don't know how to help him. I cannot express how much my heart is aching for this incredible person.
Can we ever feel like we love someone enough? I can't. I can love and love and love him and still he lets me love him as much as I want-- and returns that love a thousand times to me.
I am so lucky to have him in my life, so lucky to have him as my husband and partner.
He doesn't usually read my blog, but just in case he peeks in today:
Happy birthday, sweetheart.
I love you.
PS: Thank you all for the support and congrats. It means more than you will ever know...
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Hello, dear reader.
I am off for the next few days to present a paper at a conference.
A few of tidbits of news:
I got another paper accepted to a national conference being held in July (still stunned by that one).
I finished writing my dissertation.
I am in the process of lining up my committee (5 very busy professors) for a defense date in May.
I hope you have a great weekend, and I'll be back early next week (Tom's b-day is Monday, but I'll try to find something interesting to post).
Thanks for popping in; it means more than you will ever know... I never would have made it this semester without you...
You all have a mention on the dedication page of my diss. No joke.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Here's some of the most wingnut perspectives on our president, with my perspective in italics:
1. He can't speak in full sentences without a teleprompter --RedState
Have they forgotten gems such as "Is our children learning" and "People putting food on their families"?
I can speak with a bit of authority on this topic since I am getting my doctorate in, ooh, about six weeks. One of my specialty areas is in Classical-Modern Rhetoric; Obama displays all of the signs of classic Greek oratory and civic mindedness in his speeches and conversations. These people cannot find any other way to critique his oratory so the extent of their criticism rivals that of ten-year olds with short-term memory loss.
2. He arrogantly laughed about the poor state of our economy on 60 Minutes
He explained it in his response to the follow up question by Kroft (see the full video here) but of course, the wingnut media isn't mentioning that at all. We have a president who doesn't laugh when talking about dead soldiers or dead Iraqis.
3. He's still not a citizen
Get. over. it. You. are. nutters.
4. He's trying to do too much at once
A president's job is to do things. Unlike Bush 43, who took more vacation days than any other president in history.
5. He's out of touch with the American people
So... that's why he's spent more time than any president in recent history talking to them either in town hall meetings (Indiana, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, California, etc.) or in interviews? He's been in office for 64 days and has gotten major legislation passed, has revealed his plans to fix the economy, and has managed to spend time with his family, too.
6. He and his wife are trash
This is all I'm going to say about this self-proclaimed independent conservative (this week, that's what she says she is)
7. He's leading us down the path to socialism
Shows an utter and complete lack of understanding of the term. See this post
Really, the lack of critical thinking skills or hypocrisy from some people never ceases to amaze me.
Happy Tuesday all.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I have noticed a trend in online communication lately on some blogs.
I am calling it webrage: cousin to roadrage, but much more personal.
Someone doesn't like the way you drive on the highway, they may honk at you, give you the finger, tailgate you, or worse, hit and run or threaten you with a deadly weapon. There have been cases of people getting into fist fights that started as road fights. Some have even lost their lives.
However, it seems this same mentality is being transferred to people's behavior online.
People say things to other people-- total and complete strangers--- that they would NEVER say to the someone in person (well, at least the majority of mentally stable, socially well-adjusted people).
Imagine you are in a cafe having a cup of joe with a friend. Your conversation is about politics, religion, the economy, or health care.
Out of the blue, a total stranger comes up to you and your friend and starts shouting personal attacks about your appearance, your clothes, your job (keep in mind, this intruder is a total stranger to both you and your friend). Not attacking what your positions are on the issues, but attempting to attack who you are.
This is exactly what happens online in comment threads all the time.
I have personally experienced it here on this blog; see my post from a few weeks ago about the inflammatory New York Post political cartoon and the three or four posts following it.
I had people lobbing all kinds of vitriol at me about my appearance, the way my blog looked, the fact that I am a fan of V for Vendetta and that I am a "retard" because I apparently didn't understand who Guy Fawkes was and what he represents. I'm a fan of the movie, f*cktards, I wanted to write. And it so happens I started this blog on November Fifth-- the day after Obama was elected president. But I knew these were immature, ad hominem attacks that had absolutely nothing to do with the blog post.
I got death threats. My cat even got death threats.
All over a blog post in which I *literally* copied and pasted a thread of comments from another public online domain.
I got reamed up one side and down another. 2500 hits in 48 hours.
You dare to stand up for yourself, to call someone out for doing something underhanded and completely cowardly, you're the shithead.
That's so not how it works out here in the real world.
You act like an ass hole.
You are the ass hole.
How long before the last barrier of civilized behavior is destroyed and people just start screaming at total strangers on the street or in line at the grocery store or at places of work?
I don't know about you, but the way some people treat others online, that time is not far off...
People who are cowards in real life, are cowards online.
Sticks and stones, my friends.
Sticks and stones...
If you have no idea who the Conchords are, they are a comedy duo from New Zealand who now have an HBO series.
They. are. a. riot.
Here's a clip from one of their stand-up shows two years ago.
It's "Business Time":
Hope you enjoy and are having a great Sunday.
Friday, March 20, 2009
It's been one of those weeks.
You know, the kind where everything seems to be circling the drain and you feel powerless, powerless, powerless to stop it.
It's times like this I find myself looking for Astronomy programming on TV; I need to keep my mind on the bigger picture. And since I am an agnostic, the bigger picture for me is nature, in particular the stars and galaxies and the universe. I might geek out a bit here. Bear with me...
I love the scale of things; the age of things; how precious our time is.
It's important to be reminded of that as often as possible.
Sometimes, tho', when I watch those Astronomy shows (especially The Universe on History Channel) I wish that aliens would just come to Earth to help humanity get it that we are in this shit together. And also that we're not alone.
Of course, these aliens would be perfectly friendly like the Vulcans when they first contact humans on Earth after the nuclear holocaust (without the nuclear holocaust part) or E.T. and his appetite for Reese's Pieces and gentle, non-aggressive love of botany. (M & Ms are still kicking themselves in the ass over that one.)
I saw a show on the Nazca Lines; that is some seriously freaky stuff right there. Gigantic geoglyphs that are visible only from the air built by Nazca Indians over 2000 years ago. There's over 70 of them and most of them represent things in nature, like spiders or condors:
Some of them even look like airport runways:
If you get a chance to watch it, it's a History Channel documentary called "Ancient Aliens".
Yeah, I know, I'm a geek.
I guess it's part of my need to believe that somewhere "out there" there is a civilization that has survived all of the bull shit and who are explorers of the last frontier.
One thing about being married to a physicist; he's an atheist and thinks the chance that there are other planets with any kind of "recognizable" life (distance between planet and star, duration of civilizations, the perfect confluence of solar arrangement, etc.) is slim to none (mostly none according to him).
I have to hold onto that sliver of chance tho' when times get like this.
And not watch movies like Alien or Predator or Supernova (okay, Supernova was just plain weird). Because in my little space fantasy, the aliens don't want to breed parasitically in our torsos, hunt us for sport, or blow up the universe.
Yeah, I know my naivete is showing. But it's Friday and we're all still here despite our best efforts to f*ck things up. I just hope we are still around when the aliens finally arrive.
How sad would it be if they found nothing but crumbling buildings and overgrown yards? Who'd be there with the beer and the handshakes and the how-do-you-dos?
I call dibs on shotgun if any ever come and offer us a ride...
PS: Have any of you seen Watchmen? I am curious to know what other people thought of it...
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I'm convinced that some Americans may be suffering from a clinical case of AADD: American Attention and Deficit Disorder.
First, those suffering from AADD have memory loss. Symptoms may include:
- Blatant denial of causes for the financial meltdown
- Memory loss is localized to the recall of the past eight years
- Revising the causes of the huge deficit
- Demanding that the president who has been in office for eight weeks FIX EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW!!!
- A national media that is obsessed with pitting parties and segments of the country against one another for ratings.
- Denial of the calendar year. The Dems may have a bad day, but how about that GOP in 2012?
- Erratic and inconsistent interviews performed by politicians who clearly have no clue what the average American is enduring these days
- High pitched games of verbal "hot potato" where it's no one's fault, but everyone's fault at the same time
- Unpredictable shifts in the blame game: "it's the banks' fault"; "it's poor people's fault"; "it's Wall Street's fault"; "it's the purple-ceramic-gnome-in-my-yard-that-talks-to-me fault"
- Claiming that health insurance is not part of the economic crisis
- Condoning torture and bragging about it on the news
- Restful nights
- Delusions of grandeur
- Excessive use of the word "no"
- Blatant denials of underhanded government decisions (see Chris Dodd-f*cker)
- A lack of stability
- Difficulty walking and chewing gum at the same time
- Explosive diarrhea of the mouth
- Bruising on head from hitting it against the wall
- Winding ass and scratching watch
- Erectile dysfunction or an erection if you don't have a penis
- Near death experiences
- Spontaneous seances
- Urges to start a food fight in the bakery at the grocery store
- Take regular breaths in and out
- Avoid overexposure to TV crews
- Avoid excessive amounts of TV viewing, particularly the news
- Read a good book
- Donate time to a worthy charity
- Smile, though your heart is breaking
- Stop using the stock market as a barometer to measure the recovery
- Hug and kiss those you love often
- Swear every now and then to release tension
- Walk your dog
- Make yourself a nice cup of tea using a tea ball instead of a teabag
- Laugh, laugh, laugh because if you don't, you may cry, cry, cry
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Is anyone else just straight up annoyed with the media these days?
I could care less about Meghan McCain and the stupid woman who took an unconscionable swipe at the size of her rear.
Rather, we should be having a conversation about the ad hominem attacks so frequent among pundits and how such comments are damaging to young women's perceptions of their own bodies.
It's a tale almost as old as time itself.
The female body has long been a site for control.
Modern print ads often show nubile female forms, partially clothed and oftentimes headless, or legless. The female torso is a *huge* form in advertising.
While the female body is sectioned into pieces in ads, it is also the site of countless surgeries to lift, tuck, pinch, suction, cut, peel, reduce, augment, and revise the natural body.
Cellulite is the abnormality in this dysfunctional view rather than the norm.
Stretch marks, too.
What does this tell girls about themselves?
*You are not good enough just as you are*.
It doesn't matter what's in your mind. It's the size of your waist that matters the most.
Or your breasts.
Or your [insert body part].
There is so much pressure to conform to an impossible ideal of weight and beauty and youth.
Show me a classroom full of 12 year girls, and I'll show you a group of young women who fear being ugly, fat, or visually unworthy of attention from the male gaze. That panoptic gaze that follows them into the lunchroom, into the headphones on which they listen to their pop-idols, and into their developing sense of self.
What about their minds? Their hearts? Their actions?
These are the things that women should be valued for.
Not how attractive they are, how young they are, or the size of their ass.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
So it appears there are some blog awards swirling about and I have gotten two very recently.
The first award "Kreativ Blogger" I received from two loyal blogger friends, whose blogs are Shady Lady: My Life Behind Big Shades and Feet Off the Table.
The rule for accepting the Kreativ Blogger Award is to list 7 things you love, then pass the award along to 7 blogs that you love.
- My husband (sorry, honey, chocolate comes first)
- Our catter, Emma
- My family
- Being a teacher
- Any body of water (other than icy puddles)
The second, the Lemonade Award, is for attitude. When life hands you lemons... Thanks to True Blue Texan for this sweet honor.
The protocols for the Lemonade Award:
- Link to who sent the award
- Give the award to ten other bloggers. (I'm cheating on this one--here's seven)
- Link to said nominees
- Comment on these blogs
- And post the award
That said, I am going to cross-pollinate with my post.
Here's the blogs (and bloggers) to whom I pass these supportive recognitions:
A Time for Change
Arlene's New Beginning
Apocalyptics Anonymous II
Political Morsels and Other Droppings
It Dawned on Me
I am so grateful to all whom I've met through blogging. You are all awesome people and I am very lucky to know you.
Now you have it.
The whole truth.
I am part of a conspiracy to get America back on its feet again.
I'll even let you in on some of our plans.
1. We seek to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in an ethical manner. Over 4200 American deaths is beyond enough. Over half a million foreign lives is beyond enough. One life is too many.
2. We seek to help people get and keep jobs in this country. Yes, believe it or not, Americans want to work; poverty is not a moral condition and the middle class is more than just a piggy bank for the upper crust.
3. We seek to turn away from the notion that religion can play the dual role of nature and rule (Foucault "The Birth of the Asylum"). As a result, we seek to remove morality as a means of governance and replace that outmoded code for science and rationality in the public arena. Ethics are a central part of our practice. The sick need scientific research. The health care system in our country is economically and socially biased. We believe health care is a right, not a privilege.
4. We support global climate *change* as a reality-- proven by scientists who have no stake in being correct; tenured researchers get paid regardless of their results. The environmental crisis is not a construct of conspiracy nuts to make you recycle and use efficient light bulbs and buy more fuel efficient cars. It is a warning that we need to trust empirical truth (and not the hacks who *do climate* for a hobby or ratings) so that we have a world to leave our grandchildren. It's not a fight to save the Earth. It's a fight to save ourselves from extinction. The Earth was here for billions of years before humanity. It will remain long after we are gone.
5. We seek to promote literacy and critical thinking skills in education, instead of teaching children how to take tests or indoctrinating them into some false construct of theology. Children need to know how to read, how to write, how to think abstractly and how to apply what they learn to real life situations instead of keeping knowledge in some mystical box for which only a few have a key.
6. We seek to restore the hope of America. Not some happy-touchy-feely hope. The hope of America we espouse is that we are a country of innovators, invention, equality, justice, and rationality. Our country is redefining itself in this new era of post Bush-43 America. We know that our strength lies in each other, not in some outside institution or ideology.
7. Last, this conspiracy seeks to expose any who try to treat our plans as evil, wrong, or somehow twisted. We are humanists, rationalists, secularists, and spiritualists (of every brand). We are everywhere. We are giving our country back to its people...who voted en masse for peace, prosperity and change.
And no one or nothing can undermine our determination to do so...
PS: A delayed thanks to Shady Lady and Aliceson for the blog award *blushes and looks at feet*. It's taking me a while to catch up on the blogs I read. I promise to pass it on as soon as possible.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I don't know about the rest of you, but I am grateful to live in a technological age where we have video proof when people are *lying* through their teeth and misrepresenting other's words.
Case in point. The conservative media's new bone that Obama is "breaking a campaign promise to ban all earmarks".
If fact, Obama *never* promised to ban earmarks.
Take a look for yourself:
McCain repeated the no-earmark mantra for months during the campaign.
Honestly, I am not a math whiz, but eliminating one half of one percent of the Federal Budget does very little to balance that sheet in any way.
If the GOP is so against earmarks, why did so many GOP senators request money? [Click on 'version' 5 to see Excel spreadsheet.]
GOP Top Ten in the *solo and with other senators category* of earmark requests:
Number one: Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi): 472 million and change
Number two: Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi): 396 million and change.
Number five: David Vitter (R-Louisiana): over 249 million and change
Number six: Kit Bond (R- Missouri): 248 million and change
Number nine: Dick Shelby (R-Alabama): 219 million and change
Number ten: Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): 199 million and change
Six out of 10 favoring the fiscally responsible GOP.
Dollar totals in top ten (rounded down to the nearest million):
GOP= 1.78 billion
Democrat= 1.08 billion
It's bad on both sides of the aisle-- but one party claims fiscal conservatism and "no-earmarks" as part of it's ideology.
Friday, March 13, 2009
The term: Teabag
According to the Urban Dictionary, well... you can read it for yourself if you don't know what it means in slang.
It seems there is a conservative movement in the U.S. called the Tea Party.
I get the historical reference and think it is mildly clever.
The Tea Party is planning to send as many teabags as possible to the White House in April, in protest.
What most of these folks don't realize however, is that the White House doesn't get mail. It gets sent to an off-site facility where it is processed and sorted *and opened*. If it has contents (other than a letter or paper), it gets sent through the Secret Service.
So sending hundreds if not thousands of teabags in plain white envelopes to our White House is going to cost each and every one of us American taxpayers for the time civil employees spend opening the sodding teabag mail.
Also, don't these people realize that "teabagging" the President is beyond insulting?
Seriously, you are metaphorically putting testicles into his mouth?
Here's what some of those in the thick of this plot [note sarcasm] are saying (here's the link, I cannot make this sh*t up):
Christine writes: "I already have a teabag hanging from my rear view mirror".
Citizen of the Republic writes: "Put your money where your teabag goes". (Ummm, between your legs?)
Ganga writes: "I have my teabag hanging and will send a picture".
Cowgirl at heart: "I have my teabag ready".
Price of a tea bag: $.07
Cost of postage to mail teabag: $.42
Being a teabagger teabagging the President of the United States (and apparently not aware of the meaning that has been generated among 13 year old boys): Priceless.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Have I ever told you I love out-takes almost as much as the top ten things that make me laugh?
Had to share this:
So sorry to have worried some of you.
I had to go cold turkey for this week on blogging and the blog world. I am hooked...
I am in the midst of preparing for a conference presentation and getting that last darn chapter of my diss finished was getting tough with my blogging addiction. :)
I'll get a chance this weekend to catch up on all of your blogs,too, I hope.
I've missed you all and look forward to getting back in the mix soon.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
There is a great article from this week's The Nation that speaks to the heart of what ails America and how to try to re-direct the narrative that those in power for the last eight years have imprinted on all aspects of American life.
"It's mine. I want it now. Government is bad, but let it tell you who you can marry, when to get and stay pregnant, and what kind of theology to practice (rather, you must practice theology or you are immoral)".
In the article, Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher Jr. suggest (correctly, I might add) we need to reconstruct how we view traditionally Marxist paradigms about economics and governance as a means to help the economy recover.
For anyone who is gasping in horror at the mere mention of Marx, I highly suspect he or she has never actually *read* Marx, much less had to discuss his theories in a written text or in a conversation beyond crying: "Socialist"! Coming from someone who has indeed read, studied, lectured, and written about Marx, I hear this brand of essential fallacy all the time.
The major problem with predicting that our country is "turning Socialist" demonstrates this poor understanding of Marxism.
Marxism, as Ehrenreich and Fletcher so cogently describe, was an idea about how to rearrange production and ownership, and to a certain extent, governance. Basically, Marxism deals with the material aspects of the manufacture of goods, performance of services, and who owns the means of producing and directing those things.
However, in light of the needs of our current situation, as should be obvious, Marxism by it's very foundations does not apply here.
We are watching our manufacturing sector sink into oblivion, while ownership has become nothing more than a signature on an empty piece of paper, a deed or a title. In this case, the banks own a larger portion of "stuff" because people tend not to buy with cash.
Market fundamentalism from Smith (et. al.) has helped us into this crisis. In such a system we (consumers) don't need to know anything because---
**The market always takes care of itself.**
How very very far from the truth this is as we have come to realize in the last two years, especially in the last eight months.
In a sense, there is a wicked irony to that truth. The market did take care of itself--- first.
The new economy must be based on a sustainable way of doing everything. This means not spending more than we have, becoming energy independent from foreign oil, fixing healthcare to work for the sick and not for the insurance companies, and mending our dysfunctional relationship to capital.
In essence socialism in the 21st century represents the harnessing of technology (broadly construed) and then using social organization to ensure that the most people receive the most benefits from that technology (be it manufacturing, energy, or elsewise).
If you paused for just a moment to reflect on the logos of this thinking, you would see that we cannot possibly apply traditional Marxist principles because our means of production have been largely outsourced, and those who control that production are going bankrupt (or fleeing to other countries where they have absconded with millions of dollars).
Who controls the money in our country?
Not the government (at the moment).
What are the banks doing to solve the credit crisis?
Nothing. Some have temporarily suspended home foreclosures, but for the most part they are sitting on their hands and not lending anyone anything.
What is at the core of socialism as a social (not economic) practice is that it suggests citizens get together and collectively decide on solutions to problems. Sometimes people refer to it as "participatory democracy". However, as Ehrenreich and Fletcher claim, we have no model for implementing such democracy on the scale that is required in the present circumstances.
Regardless, we are all in this together.
This is the message we need to take from an old understanding of socialism and not the fear the invocation of such a word inspires.
What happens to your neighbor's home affects the value of your home.
If people continue to be without health care, rates of home foreclosures due to healthcare costs will continue to increase.
Researchers from Harvard claim that 49% of home foreclosures and bankruptcies are precipitated by high health care costs or the expense of illness.
It's a range of problems with which we are faced.
The means of economic growth in our country are so intertwined with and so dependent on the banking industry.
The only other entity in this country with any money at all is the government.
And we need the government to loan and spend the money that the banks refuse to.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
...but here's something totally giggle worthy.
Who knew a hideous blue carpet remnant could be so entertaining... the music is perfect, too.
If you don't crack a grin watching this, there is something wrong with you.
I'll be back tomorrow.
Happy Saturday, all.
Friday, March 6, 2009
I know this is a normal cycle of happenings when a shift in power occurs in our country.
People whose person didn't get elected get scared and think the other guys are going to run rampant and turn our country into [insert nightmarish outcome here].
Consider the ongoing review of our Bill of Rights.
One thing folks seem to forget is that Freedom of Speech covers a range of issues. It should be collectively looked at from time to time to be sure it isn't being abused. For example, recent online gatherings of militia groups ready (and planning) for succession.
One blogger [who shall remain nameless in fear, yes fear that I will get flooded by death threats for a third time in so many weeks] has been claiming that the US is going to run out of food, so people need to stockpile dry goods and non-perishables alongside their weapons to protect said food.
"People will kill for food if they get desperate enough" wrote the blogger, to which 178 zombies replied, "Yes, master".
The other side of the coin is people trying to squash freedom of speech, namely trying to ban books from publicly funded schools.
Case in point:
If a nation's ethics are so bound to the books it reads, and it's people cannot be responsible for their own thinking, then that nation does not deserve to be free.
Banning books is an act of cowards, dullards and lay-abouts.
I would add the group known as "obsequious crack lickers" (Stephen Colbert 3.5.09 about Dittoheads), but that's another post entirely.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Here it is, straight from the horse's mouth (or perhaps the other end in this case):
Apparently, being healthy and having access to healthcare isn't part of being an American.
You have to be of a certain class to get it.
And once again, progressives are the ones who are starting class warfare?
We are hearing all over the news that Obama is "raising taxes".
Rarely is it mentioned who the victims of these "higher taxes" are.
Here's the truth: Obama is allowing the *Bush tax cuts* on the wealthiest 1% of people in this country to *expire* in 2010. Since 2001, corporate taxpayers have received almost half a trillion dollars in tax relief. And that doesn't include deductions.
A half of a trillion dollars.
Their taxes will go up roughly 3-4.5%: 33% goes to 36% and 35% goes to 39.6%.
This is a small group of people compared to what, 99% of the wage earners in this nation?
These corporate taxpayers are the same group we are bailing out.
If you want to get a sense about who will be affected and how, check this out from The Tax Foundation.
Charitable donation tax deductions are being reduced, too.
There has been an outcry that people won't donate to charities because of this.
My thinking is: if you are giving to charities in the spirit of charity, it won't matter how much you get out of it.
That's what philanthropy is: a gift that is given without expecting something in return.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
According the The New York Times, many states have started spending nearly $50 billion dollars that might create up to 400,000 jobs. This in the first three weeks since the bill was made law.
John D. Porcari, Maryland's transportation secretary, said the state: "would quickly put 10,000 people to work resurfacing dozens of roads, painting and repairing bridges, and putting up guardrails".
The construction industry has an unemployment rate twice that of the national average.
When people against this legislation characterize it as a "New Deal" type of package they are wrong.
This package is intended to spend money quickly (states must begin spending money within four months) and states have a lot of leeway on how it gets spent in terms of public works projects.
Many states are opting for smaller, previously shelved projects to repair roads that are in terrible condition.
Some places are opting for major projects, such as the one causing problems in the state of Washington's legislature over whether or not to tear down the Alaska Way viaduct, an elevated highway in Seattle that "blocks off its waterfront" in order to replace it with a tunnel.
Although there are many fights to come within states about how best to spend the money, two things are for sure.
The money will get spent.
People will go back to work.
Families, grocery stores, gas stations, truck drivers, pavement makers, steel workers, restaurants, even banks will benefit from the workers on these projects having a paycheck.
Additionally, people will get off unemployment and other types of public assistance, freeing up those state funds for other things.
Sounds like stimulus to me.
But what do I know?
I'm just a grad student who tries to see the bigger picture... and doesn't expect immediate gratification from a bill that is only three weeks into action...
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
It seems we Americans narrowly escaped losing our First Amendment rights according to a newly released memo from October 2003. Here's a link to the 37 page text in all of its nauseating glory.
Newsweek reports that the order was only officially revoked October 2008; three months before Bush left office.
And progessives are the Socialists?
Seems we had an administration full of them for the last 8 years...
This is a question I am having a hard time answering.
More and more it seems we (the audience) aren't getting news, we're getting cycles of sound bites recycled, and recycled and recycled until something new comes along.
Nevermind the fact that we are in two wars, the government of Mexico is getting overrun by drug lords, and there is a huge world of news out there that the American media simply doesn't cover. Correspondents seem perfectly happy twittering at a safe desk in a safe office somewhere and copy-and-pasting from the AP wire.
Case in point: Flight 1549.
Don't get me wrong.
I think it's great that the plane landed safely and no one died and the pilots and crew (and all of the rescuers involved) should have been given some air time.
But a whole week?
Those folks couldn't wipe their heinies without the media discussing it.
Now the latest crush is on Rush.
Soon, it will be Sebelius.
Over it all is bi-partisan "analysis".
I think Americans are talking to each other, online.
And that scares the hell out of the big media corporations (six of whom control 90 % of the global media market--including all magazines, news outlets, movies, music, books, etc.).
You may need to let that sink in for a moment.
Six companies (or seven depending on who you believe) that control 90% of what people all over the world read, listen to, and watch.
In my opinion we're starting to dialogue without the intermediary-media pitting us against each other.
Frankly, I think it's about effing time.
PS; Thanks to those who left test comments. They came through so apparently the html god got over it's tiff with me. Comments are again open. Yay!
For some reason my blog is going haywire.
Several people have emailed me saying they tried to leave comments and cannot.
I just checked my html and cannot find the problem.
I'd ask you to leave me ideas in the comment section, but apparently that may not work.
For those that read and comment would you try leaving some test comments for me?
Thanks and I hope I can get this figured out...
Monday, March 2, 2009
While Congressional GOP members publicly decried ARRA 2009, there were some deals being made for the Omnibus Spending Bill, 1,124 pages which contain 9,000 earmarks, 40% of which are for GOP congressional pet projects.
While the bill itself has many redundancies with respect to ARRA, it is primarily an appropriations bill to support programs already in place. However, there are several politicians on both sides of the aisle that got funds for their own projects, something the beltway politicians like to call "SOOEY!"
Click here for a list of both Democratic and Republican members who got funding for clients of PMA Group, of whose 396 most recent issues, 309 were for defense.
And this information is for one lobbying group. One.
This bill passes at a time when the Justice Department is investigating earmarks and campaign contributions.
Some examples from the list of the 9,000 earmarks:
Oil Region Alliance sponsored by Collin Peterson (D-MN, House). Pricetag: $200,000.
Sustainable Las Vegas sponsored by Shelley Berkeley (D-NV, House) and Henry Reid (D-NV, House). Pricetag: $913, 000.
A Myrtle Beach International Trade and Convention Center sponsored by Lindsey Graham (R-SC, Senate). Pricetag: $950,000.
The Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY for digitizing and editing the Cody collection sponsored by Barbara Cubin (R-WY, House). Pricetag: $190,000.
For a complete list of disclosed earmarks click here and scroll down to "Appropriations Resources"
So while they cried "pork!" at the tops of their lungs into any microphone that was placed before them, they were working on a bill that is indeed pork.
Here's the cherry on top: Beltway GOP members are blaming President Obama for signing it and the Democrats for writing it.
Yes, you read that right: Blaming Obama for signing a bill that the GOP itself voted for and amended for its own projects.
We wanted transparency in our government and it appears we are getting it.
Sometimes, however, I wish the Emperor would put his old clothes back on.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Instead of my usual Sunday rant, I am going to be grateful today.
I feel like I have been chewed up and spit out after over 2500 hits in two days because I posted about something (again) that I believe in as an American and supporter of our president and the diversity in our country.
I had a lot of people try to shut me up this week. Got threats against my person, my [insert family member], my cat.
Come on, how fucking childish do you have to be to wish that someone's cat dies?
So here's what I am grateful for:
Tom: he has been unbelievably supportive. He wanted me to close shop after the attacks this week. He hated seeing me all worked up over people who were mean, violent, threatening and really just downright hateful.
He took me out on Friday for an awesome night. We had a great dinner at a local Korean place. Incredible.
Family: for those of you who know me, I have a great mom. She has been there with me through thick and thin. The best and worst times of my life. Not to say the rest of my large family isn't awesome, too, but she has really shown me what it means to be a good mother as well as a good person.
Friends: I have been honored to know so many people in my life that I call "friend". I am also immensely grateful for those whom I've met in the three months since I started blogging. You have given me a very tangible web of support here online that makes me a stronger and better person for knowing you. Thanks. I really can't say it often enough.
Our cat: she's alive and well and acting like a ten year old cat (instead of the 16 year old cat she is). She's gained weight, and the latest flare up of her CRF is stabilized. We still get a little more time with our little catter. We love her.
Health: I have to pause and remember how good my current health is, especially this time of year each year. I am a cancer survivor and was diagnosed 12 years ago next month. Still kickin' and still tickin' in complete remission.
Endurance: I am on the cusp of attaining a goal I set for myself eight years ago. I am about two months from my Ph.D. and cannot believe for the first time in those eight years... I'm not going to be a student anymore! I will always be a student in a certain sense, but the official schooling is coming to a great close.
Hope: Yeah, this one's a tough one. Because when I see the way the world it is, and how people choose to treat each other, this is a hard one. I hate my hope and fear the loss of it at the same time. But it has never left me, despite my many efforts to shake it off. It is a constant presence in my life whether it is just a whisper or a shout. It is always there. Telling me that change and time are gifts not to be squandered.
We only get this moment. Right now. And right now I am grateful for all of you.
Happy Sunday, all.