Daily Reads

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dear God....

This is less than a two hour drive from me.

26 Dead at Newtown CT Elementary School

I'll give NBC some credit, they don't seem to be counting the shooter in that number, since other outlets are reporting 27 including the primary shooter, though it seems there is possibly a second one.

And right on cue all the gun haters are out claiming that if we just banned guns this wouldn't have happened.  That the UK banned hand guns and hand gun crime has gone up steadily since then would suggest that it might not be too successful.

What would be much more successful is not making target-rich, defense-free environments out of our schools and hospitals.

If there is indeed a second shooter who survived, it will be interesting to see how many folks in state government suddenly have second thoughts on their votes to get rid of the death penalty.

If I'm sounding a little callous, it's just because I'm working my way mentally around the edges of this thing, it being far to horrible to face head on.  That and I've never been one for hysterics and "sensibility" in the Jane Austen sense of the word.  I also don't personally know anyone involved so it's a little more removed emotionally.  I really am not up for contemplating a classroom of dead kindergartners.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


The last few days have been ... long.

I've got an elder daughter who has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, bad enough now that the school is having to put together an IEP.  We've tried attending class, but within the first hour or so she breaks down in tears for an hour or more.  So she's staying home for now until we can get the PPT meeting set up, probably in early January.

Younger daughter has a bad cold/flu along with abdominal pain.  She's on her eighth day out of school.  I think at least part of it is feeling jealous of the attention her sister is getting.  But it's getting old, spending tons of time at the doctor's and the hospital, just to be told there is nothing really wrong.


So I'm thinking about stuff that makes me happy.  I've got a piano, though it isn't playable yet; my mother is going to get me a piano tuning/check up for sometime after Christmas, so soon.

The other thing I haven't had in my life for years that makes me happy is horses. I spent most of my childhood trying to convince my parents to get me riding lessons, but my father was quite adamant that "only the children of doctors and lawyers" learned to ride.  Which always seemed a bit weird since his father, admittedly the child of a judge, had not only ridden horses, but had worked out in Montana and Wyoming for over 10 years as a cowboy, after attending the Cornell Ag school.  My grandmother always said that if Grandpa had been alive I would have probably had my own pony by the time I was six or seven.  But he had died when I was only six months old, so no horses for me.

When I was 13 we moved and I only had one music lesson a week, there being no clarinet teachers in the area, the closest stable was walking distance, and the lessons cost the same or even less than the music lesson, and the neighbor who was a builder got his kids lessons there.  So I got to ride.  A year and a half later we moved to Galway and I took lessons for the next two years until I went off to college.  I took lessons for a year in grad school, and then again for a few months about 10 years ago, until I had a fall and cracked my tailbone hard enough that it hurt to stand or sit or move for several months.

At this point I'm creaky enough and fat enough that I'm not sure I want to get back on a horse, but I want to be around them, maybe learn to drive, which has always looked pretty fun.  I was never that good a rider, being not the most physically adept person out there, but I always got on well with the animals.

At my second stable we had a large dapple grey hunter, more draft than thoroughbred, named Lord Jim.  I remember going into his stall one day to tack him up for the lesson to find him lying on his side, doing a very good impression of dead.  I called his name and he flicked an ear and an eyelid at me, so that worry was dispelled.  Now I just had to get him up.  I called him again and walked up to him.  His ear twitched.  I poked his rather vast stomach with my boot.  The ear twitched again.  I poked harder.  Same reaction.  I gently kicked him, and got the "Oohh!, that's the spot! can you move a little to the right now?" look from him.  At this point the instructor came to see what was taking so long.  The instant she looked over the door he was on his feet looking guilty.  I have been since given to understand that this a sign that Jim liked me and trusted me, but I'd rather have had a little less trust, since it wasn't like I could physically pick the beast up.  On the other hand, it did mean that I could get him to do stuff that most of the other students couldn't, much to the instructors' surprise, since I wasn't that good.  When they'd ask how I did it, I'd look at them say I just asked Jim nicely.  He liked me, so he'd do it.

At my first stable my favorite was an outsize pony (14.3 or so) named Pivot.  There were days when he wouldn't do what I asked him to, especially in the beginning.  I can remember a frustrating five or ten minutes when I couldn't get him to canter on the correct rein for love nor money, and much to the frustration of the instructor.  She finally had me get off him so she could show me how to do it.  Pivot crab-stepped the entire way around the ring, and wouldn't even for her.  But again, he liked me, especially after that first summer.  My second summer there, I was usually in the first group lesson of the day, and I'd get him, because I was one of the few students who could go in to tack him up and not have him play lame.

I also remember one day watching the owner give a "lesson" to a very small child, a toddler really, whose parents just wanted her to have the experience of being on a real horse.  Even though the stable did have some real ponies, much smaller than Pivot, he was the owner's choice for this, and watching I could see why.  As he was led around the ring with this tiny child on his back, whose feet didn't even go past the saddle leathers, he was walking on glass.  He knew what he had on his back, and that he had to take special care of her.

We moved at the end of that second summer.  We were visiting two years later and I stopped by the stables to find out that the previous winter someone had been poaching in the state forest the stable abutted, and shot him in the pasture, thinking he was a deer.  I still think of him fondly after nearly 40 years.

Well, if they actually do sort out the tax situation and I don't have to come up with an extra $60 to $70 a week in federal taxes next year, maybe now's the time to get started again.

Monday, December 10, 2012


As are many others around the blogosphere, I am tired of politics.  I'm following it, but just don't have the energy at the moment to get worked up about it.  I'm preparing for economic disaster to the family fisc starting January 1st, and after that it's pretty much going to be playing it by ear, since no-one in DC seems to have a clue what is actually going to happen.

So, instead I'm going to be happy because I now have a piano.  My husband isn't too sure about it; when I told him a few weeks ago that I would be able to get one if I took care of the moving of it, his first and only question was "Why?".  To which the answer was, "I want one, I played for years, and I've missed having one for the last 20, and the girls want one too".

So I spent the last week tidying things up, and taking down the old guinea pig palace since it was in the only sensible spot for the piano.  I have a friend who's family could really use the money and gave him $100 (since he'd have to round up at least one other healthy male - uprights are heavy, and possible rent a truck) and said that they could pick up our spare fridge that has been living in the shed since we moved, since their's broke a few weeks back.

So yesterday afternoon, said friend get a U-Haul and a friend, went to my mother's friend's to get the piano which they needed to get rid of (so now those friends are happy), brought it to our place and got it into the back room (so now I'm happy), took the fridge from the shed (so now we're both happy, I can use the space more than an unused fridge), and presumably got it set up in his house, so now he and his wife are happy.

All told not a bad days work all around.

Now I just have to finish cleaning the downstairs for Christmas, and so we can have the piano tuner in. Needless to say the move wasn't kind to the tuning, and since it hasn't really been played in many years,  the action is stiff in places, and doesn't always rebound completely.  But it's a Beckwith, and even grossly out of tune it sounds pretty decent, especially for something that cost me $100 and a 30+ year old refridgerator.

And then this morning, I got back to work after taking the youngest to the doctor's to find a basket of recorders at my office door.  My mother seems to know from whence they came, and since she doesn't need a full consort of Aulos and some other less expensive wood ones, it looks like I may also now have a full set of recorders, only missing a garklein, and a contra-bass. Though it looks like they've been sitting around unloved for quite a while, so they'll all need a thorough cleaning.  But again, FREE! The bass and the two tenors alone would set me back about $600 new.  There are also two aulos altos, an aulos soprano as well as two wood sopranos and one wood sopranino.

Obviously this is music week.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

A Mindless Saturday.

It's finally Saturday.  I think I've figured out the meds (had to cut the Toprol dose in half, I was so sleepy), I had good solid, long, sleep last night, I've started picking up the kitchen and living room, and taking apart the old guinea pig pen, and in between, I'm playing stupid facebook games, logic puzzles, and watching really bad SyFy channel horror movies.

I'm always amazed that when something is falling towards someone they back straight up, when two steps sideways and they'd be clear.

So far, we've watched methane causing earthquakes and flash freezing people, a snow globe which makes things happen (with at times rather bad special effects), and later on, they will be showing their new for this year piece of Christmas disaster porn, which seems to have the same girl in it as last year's. But it has Ed Quinn, so at least the eye candy will be good.

And hopefully tomorrow, I'll get my piano.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Greece, here we come!

I haven't posted anything for a week because I've been tired.  I've also started back on Prozac, so I'm a little calmer about impending doom and don't have to work out as many frustrations in blogs and screams.

It's just so amazing to me, in the horrified fascination sort of way, that so many supposed adults, who call themselves Democrats and Americans, think that a compromise means that the other side does exactly what you want them to.

As a country we're broke, and unlike the average American who upon finding themselves deep in debt starts cutting back, takes a second job, etc, etc., the president and the Congresscritter (D)s think that we can spend out way out of it, by taxing the citizenry, and that we don't have to cut a single thing, except maybe "Later".  Like anyone with even half a brain believes that.

It's not like Ø won with anything resembling an "overwhelming mandate".  The Dems didn't even get the House back.  So why they think that that gives them the right to do whatever they want, and half the country be damned, I understand intellectually, but not on an emotional level.  To use standard leftist terminology "It's not FAIR!"

Of course, that when they get their way the entire country will be damned either hasn't occured to them, or they just don't care.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

The obligatory Happy Thanksgiving post

And indeed, the sentiment is honest.

I do have much for which to be thankful.  I have a good husband, two (usually) good daughters (hey, they're teenagers, some angst is to be expected), a nice house, a job, working (for now) cars.  We are all in reasonably good health, and we can afford to put a Thanksgiving dinner on the table.

I hope my few readers will have lists as good or better.

I'll try to put my usual ranting/venting/pessimism on hold for a day. 8)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mind numbing idiocy/willful blindness

My sister who is a doctoral student at Cornell just posted this on her Facebook page:

I was happy to see Cornell students exercising their political voices today, and pleasantly surprised that the pro-Palestine/pro-peace rally dwarfed the Hillel sponsored pro-Israel rally across Ho Plaza. Also impressed to see one of my Coptic students front and center standing against the violence, contra his pro-Zionist family.

I'm wondering why she is surprised, pleasantly or otherwise, that the pro-palestinians would outnumber the pro-Israelis.  Likewise why my sister thinks that only the pro-Palestinian protesters are for peace.  Her area of study is middle-eastern archaeology, and she knows enough Jews that you would think she would know that there are far fewer Jews who would like to see a full-fledged conflict than there are Palestinians.

I'm actually going to be a good family member and NOT post any response, because it wouldn't do any good anyway.

It just boggles my mind that supposedly intelligent people refuse to see that the Palestinians, or at least their chosen leadership, are intent on destroying Israel and killing every Jew, no matter if it kills every Palestinian in the process.  How do these supposed "intellectuals" sleep at night?  How can they automatically demonize every Jew, even when they know Jews?  I don't demonize every Muslim, though I admit to believing that while there are some, indeed many, good people who are Muslims, they are good people in spite of, not because of, their religion.


Glen Reynolds has an interesting little column today, A Solution to Secession Fever -- Federalism.  And everything he says in it makes sense.

Except...  I don't see our current federal government being willing to give up any of those improperly asserted powers without the application of force. 8(

He is quite right though that the White House probably doesn't give a rat's tuchus about the fact that over one million people have signed secession petitions.  What I find more interesting is the response of some progressives which was to start another petition to have the feds strip anyone who signed such a petition of their US citizenship and deport them.  I don't recall the folks on the right suggesting that when the progressive left got their knickers twisted after the elections of '00 and '04.  We offered to pay for them to leave the country since so many had sworn that that's what they'd do if Bush won, but I don't recall anyone suggesting forcibly removing folks who were unhappy with Bush.

More proof, as if we needed it, that the left has some pretty strong totalitarian tendencies.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Girls - bodies or minds?

Just saw the 4everygirl campaign ad. It includes a line to the effect that girls need to know they are valued for more than their bodies. 

Yet we had a national party campaign for women's votes almost exclusively on sex. On the ability for these same girls to have free contraception and abortions. This was pushed as the *only* concern for women. 

Aren't these two messages working against each other? If girls are valuable for more than just their bodies, it would seem that in politics they should be treated as if they might just possibly have interests and concerns outside the ability to have consequence-less sex. If a major political party thinks that the only thing that will get women to vote is an appeal to their hormones, that party *is* valuing women only for their bodies.

Thursday, November 08, 2012


OK, life sucks right now.  I don’t see Congress getting off its collective asses and fixing anything tax wise, because the Democrats won’t help working people unless they are allowed to “stick it to the man”, and Republicans want to see some actual spending cuts put in place other than gutting the military, one of the few Constitutionally mandated roles of the federal Government. 
So, we’re looking at another $250 or more in federal taxes a month starting January 1st.  Instead of telling me it won’t happen, do something about it! Don’t tell me to not worry about it.  Don’t tell me anything which can be interpreted as “Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.”  I haven’t been down sitting at Congresscritters offices because *I* have a job I have to go to.  It’s a sucky job, with management who seem to only be interested in cutting costs, no matter what it does to staff morale.  Heck, they’ve rewritten my job description to require only a Bachelor’s degree.  Which isn’t a professional degree in my line of work, but I’m sure it comes cheaper.  And that’s all they care about. 
I’ve got crappy dumb terminals which I have to help people with and every time they cause issues making folks lose 30 minutes or more of work, I’m told that there isn’t a problem, it was fixed years ago.  Well, guess what?  It ain’t fixed now!  But replacing those three Citrix terminals with desktop computers is too expensive.  That those damn terminals have probably cost a few grand in staff time this year alone doesn’t matter, those costs can’t really be quantified, and the cost of the boxes can. 
They’ve dropped my health insurance plan, you know the one I’ve had for years that the president promised that if I liked it I could keep it?  Well, thanks to the Democrats and their PPACA, passed through probably illegal procedural moves and without any bipartisan support, that plan has gone away.  My options were paying more which I don’t have because of the other tax increases for a Cadillac plan which a) does more than we need because we have Tricare Standard too, and b) will be taxed at 40% starting, I believe, in 2014, or getting a High Deductible Health Insurance plan with an HAS, except that I can’t do that because of the Tricare.  So now we’re stuck with less money to pay for the expenses which Tricare doesn’t cover.  Thanks folks.
Our NEW car is 10 years old, our other “new” car is 17.  I’m dropping cable TV in a few weeks because we can’t afford that.  I don’t know how we’re going to be able to pay for my daughters’ music lessons next semester.  I guess they’ll both have to give up something they love.  I need to get them both new pairs of glasses.  That will eat up all our non-assigned reserves for a few weeks.  This year I have bought myself ONE new skirt, two or three new tops, and some cheap underthings.  My husband hasn’t bought anything other than work clothes this year.  I’ve gotten the girls some new school clothes, but they need new shoes, and I can’t do that and get them glasses too, not within a few weeks of each other.
But everyone assures me that now that Obama has been re-elected, even though the Senate and House are still held by different parties, and Harry Reid still refuses to even discuss a budget, the economy will improve, and gas prices will go down, though Obama assures us that they were so low in 2008 because the economy sucked even worse(?) .  Electric prices are going to go up, but that’s OK, because somehow making electricity and oil cost more will help the economy and our bosses are all going to give us raises or something? 
Tell me how it’s going to get better.  Give me specifics.  I don’t want any more damn unicorn farts and skittles.  I want numbers.  I want to know how repeating things that failed spectacularly during the last four years is suddenly going to do what you wish it to now.  I want proof.  I want to know that I’m not going to have to give up my TV, and my phone, and keep the lights off, and the heat at 60 all winter.  I want assurances that none of us are going to lose our jobs as our employers try to keep their lights on and their doors open.  I want assurances that when it all goes south, as it almost assuredly will, you won’t look stunned, and WILL be able to help me out.  Because it’s your fault.  You didn’t listen, you didn’t think, you voted based on feelings. 
I WILL be saying “told you so” but it will give me only a little bit of schadenfreude, because I’ll be hurting worse than you.

My wonderful family /sarc

Baby Sis: Oh my god. My feed is filled with angry political posts. Seriously people, STOP. Instead of looking forward 4 years, and trying to get your conservative or liberal parties in shape so you can "WIN" next time, how about worrying about NOW? As if WINNING has anything to do with running a country or helping people?? For the sake of whatever deity or philosophy you happen to hold true, could you all stop your posturing and posing and instead of assuming you're right and smarter than everyone around you, actually try to help the country and help the people in it now? 

Younger Sister *(YS): BabyS: Hunh, my feed is *mostly* full of calm, reasoned discussion - some of it disappointed one way or the other, but not angry (and yes I have friends in all sorts of parties, as well as none). Do you have a problem with your friend-mix?

ME: Hmm. YS, You blocked me for "offending" your friends simply because I disagreed with them. I never called them names, I never swore at people, I just used facts to explain my position. You on the other hand, called me "delusional" and "mentally unstable" for not agreeing with you politically, and attacked friends of mine personally on my wall. I'm glad your friends can be "calm" and "reasoned". But I've had way too many people including family call me names and tell me that if I disagree with them in any political area it's because I "hate brown people" or am stupid or evil. I hope this means that you've become less dogmatic and are willing to entertain the notion that those who disagree with you may have something of substance to contribute to the conversation. None of us is ever 100% right, in any sphere of life.

YS: I blocked you for making alarming and outrageous statements. You were claiming that it was better that a family member have died than that women be allowed to make their own healthcare decisions. I found that "beyond the pale". Wishing death on people is outside common decency, and should not be tolerated. And BTW. I only blocked you from certain parts of my list. You then chose to de-friend me entirely, without waiting to discuss it. There you go. You can disagree with me on tax policy, and you can disagree with me on social policy - but when you make statements that cause a reasonable person to question your sanity? Well, remember that I'm a reasonable person. And so are most of my acquaintance. You may not come to my wall, and say things that make nice people I know cry. Bad form, dear. I won't allow it.

ME: You did the same thing, and not only disagreed with people but you called them names. I never said you or your friends were delusion, or insane, or evil, or stupid. You did all of the above. And your blocking meant that I could read everything, where you told all your friends how evil and deluded I was, and I couldn't post anything anyplace.< It also seemed that disagreeing with you on tax policy meant that I was making statements leading "normal" people to question my sanity. The same with disagreeing with you on social policy. I should also add, that thanks to the PPACA, my employer is no longer offering the health insurance plan I've had for years. I can't afford the higher payments for the cadillac plan, especially since it will get a 40% tax in a few years, and the IRS says I can't get a high deductible plan, because I'm covered by my husband's Tricare. And I NEVER said it would have been better for someone to die rather than have a certain medical procedure. And I don't know anyone, including devout Catholics, who wouldn't agree with me on that. You are equating using the procedure for elective purposes with using it for life saving purposes, and that's flat out disingenous. Sandra Fluke claimed that her friend was denied contraception by Georgetown, when in actuality their policy covered birth control for medical reason, just as the Irish Government paid for me to be on the pill when it was prescribed to keep me from throwing up and passing out every month. And if you are going to claim that not paying for someone's birth control is "DENYING THEM MEDICAL CARE" I could claim that other people not paying my mortgage or rent is "denying" me shelter. And now, I'm dropping the subject.

YS: Before dropping the subject, I must tell you that you specifically *agreed* with the extremist position of "no abortions ever, under any circumstances" - a ridiculous position, but one you held forth on with enough vehemence to cause me to receive alarmed private messages from several nice people I know - nice people who have been the victim of sexual assault, nice people who have had to make the terrible kinds of choices that the Republican platform would deny them. You upset them, and made them wonder who on earth you were, and why you were allowed on my wall. You were incredibly rude.

ME: Your friends must have mis-understood me, because I don't believe in abortion myself, except for the life of the mother, (and I don't count gee, a baby would crimp my lifestyle as meeting the "life or mental health" criteria). If I were pregnant, unless it were ectopic, i.e. the baby would die no matter what, I'd have a hard time having an abortion myself, even if I knew there was a chance it would kill me. If someone else wants an abortion, I'm not fine with it, but I'm not going to stop them. But..unless it is to truly save their life I don't want my tax dollars used to pay for them. Nor do I think that a religious organization should be forced to pay for something it finds morally unacceptable. I paid for my own pills for years after coming back to the states, and they are really extremely cheap. You could have contacted me and let me know what was going on, instead of just blocking me, making Eilis wonder what she had done to offend me in that particular thread. I didn't unfriend you for nearly a week.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Bad news, Good news

Well, the insurance company was able to get the adjuster out this morning, and yes, the car is totalled.  Having had time to look at the damage without trees sitting on it, yes, it's bad.  And there is a strange piece of metal on the lawn which probably came off the car.  And it makes a very scary rattle when you turn it on.  So, yes, it's dead, Jim.

But then there was the good news.  We're not getting Blue Book value, we're getting replacement.  Which is a lot better.

I'm going to try to stop over at the local used car place, which we've bought a few cars from over the years.  They have another Subaru, a year older, but much lower milage, for just a bit more than we're getting from the insurance company.  If nothing else it should last until we've paid off the other car and actually have some money each month for a car payment.  It also wouldn't raise the car insurance bill much at all.

They've had the car for a while, so hopefully it won't disappear before I can get there and see if it will work.  It's not a sports version so the seats shouldn't be those weird bucket type things, which they are using in the newer Imprezas.  I sat in two today, and yes, I need to lose weight, but those things were not designed for normal size women with hips.  I could lose every extra pound I own, and they would still have been uncomfortable.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Well, that wasn't much fun...

I got to miss the hurricane for the most part, since I left Saturday afternoon for a conference in Woodstock, Vermont.  I spent Friday evening and Saturday morning helping the spouse get the yard tidied away, and then headed out. Spouse continued to do some prep work, like shopping for supplies and taking lots of exterior pictures so we'd have something to compare if anything happened.

Sunday wasn't too eventful, anyplace, though I did have some nice CE classes.

Monday, the girls didn't have school, which made spouse happy, since he'd have had to get up more than an hour earlier than usual to drive them.  He headed off to work, because I swear that Sears would stay open through anything if they thought a single customer might show up.  But the Governor was closing the road to all but emergency vehicles at 1pm, so they let folks go.  Husband got home before the bridge was closed and shortly after that they lost power for half an hour or so.  It was back for less than an hour when it went out again, this time for good.

I got back to my B&B a bit before 5 so I could change for the dinner at 6.  My phone had decided to eat it's battery that morning, so I hadn't been in contact with anyone since noon, when they lost power and internet access. (Facebook is a great way to text when your phone isn't working.) I called home to see how things were going, and spouse says, you know how you've been concerned about the willow?

Our house is to the left, you can see the side porch railing.  The willow is on the other side of the privacy fence on the neighbor's property.

Me: yeah, what about it?  Spouse: You don't have to worry about it any more. Me: Where is it?

From almost the same place, see the railings?

As far as we can tell the only damage at all from the storm to the house is to one of the railing uprights where it was hit by part of the tree.  I have several 2x2s in the shed, so that will be very easy to replace. The privacy fence is pretty much destroyed, except for the panel closest to the road, which happens to be one I had wanted to take down since it makes it hard to see what is coming when you are pulling out of the drive.  The drive is past the tree, behind where the car is.  In all previous storms with high winds or lots of rain, including Irene, we'd ended up with a lot of that tree in our yard, but it was all the front yard and/or the driveway.  So we'd decided to pull the car further towards the back of the yard.  If we'd parked it in the usual spot it wouldn't have been touched.

As it is:

Here is a shot from the street:

And from our 2nd floor window:

And lastly a really good shot of the inside of the willow which explains why it came down at 4:15 on Monday, before the winds had even really picked up:

Today, the neighbor and their insurance folks and tree folks came over to assess the damage, and then came back later with a chainsaw and a bolt cutter and excavated the car and the back porch.  The car has a pretty massive dent in the roof (on the inside you can see a definite drop and the light is kind of loose), and the back window is broken, probably because of the piece of tree which went through it.  However all the other windows are intact, and all the doors open and close just fine.  So it's going to the insurance adjuster on Saturday to see whether they think it's worth fixing, which they won't, because it's a 16yo Subaru, however, as long as it's safe to drive, we'll just get the rear window fixed, and plan to replace it next spring after we finish paying off the other car. We've driven another car for over a year after it was supposedly totalled, so keep your fingers crossed that the roof damage is just "cosmetic".

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Let's send the bills to Ø, Reid and Pelosi!

In posting a comment over at Buttercup's I had an idea.  I don't know if its a good one, but I'm throwing it out there.

A lot of us, contrary to Ø's promises are losing our health insurances.  The plans we were promised we could keep if we liked them are not there anymore, or they are too expensive since we're not getting any raises, and the premiums keep going up.

I think starting today, any bill we get which is costing us more than it would have without the PPACA should be forwarded to it's architects, Ø, Reid, and Pelosi with a demand for payment.  They assured us this bill would save us money.  It isn't, and so they owe us.  If nothing else, we need to make them feel the financial pains and insecurities that they have forced on us, perhaps it will beat a little of their hubris out of them, but if nothing else, the eye for an eye does make the first harmed feel a little better.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thoughts on the debate

The last post was just a very rough sort of minutes of the debate with a few of my own comments.


the MSM is going to claim this as a glorious win for Ø.  He didn't fall apart, and someone actually trained him out of saying "uh" and "um" as every other word.  Though he did start "uh"ing a lot when starting his answer on Bengazi and Libya, which suggests to me that he was trying to remember which lie he was supposed to trot out.

He lied, or was at least creative with the facts on a number of occasions.  He claimed that the AZ immigration law allowed LEOs to pull people over just to check their papers with only a suspicion that they might be illegal.  I seem to recall that it was quite specific that that could NOT take place, the stop had to be for another, legal, reason, such as running a red light.  He lied about Romney's tax plan, and kept bringing up the $5T in cuts which wouldn't have anything to make them up, completely ignoring the fact that quite a few outfits, including some not notably conservative friendly have said that's false.  He's also ignoring the fact that every other time we've cut taxes, we've seen actual increases in the amount of revenue coming into the Fed.

All told, I think Romney held his own, but Obama managed to not be too petulant, and to speak well, so if you aren't a political junkee, you don't know which bits you shouldn't believe.

I don't know that this will turn things around for him, but they didn't hurt him.

I assume that the next debate must be the foreign policy one, and I hope Mitt can pound him on his failures in the Middle East.  He started on it well tonight, but we need more.

We also need to see more and more of the "These policies aren't working" type jabs.

And now I'm going to play a stupid Facebook game for a few minutes, and head off to bed! (I'm sure I'll have more to say on the debate tomorrow, but right now, I'm starting to see double, and it's not from drinking, more's the pity.)

Presidential debate #2.

These are rough notes from tonight.  I'm not going to go back and tidy them up.


Interesting backdrop.  An eagle with a ribbon saying "union and constitution forever".  Ø would have trouble if he really thought he had to support that.

Jeremy - as a soon to be graduate, can you assure me and my parents that I will be able to get a job?
Romney, finally, knows what it takes to get economy growing.  (lots of platitudes to begin with), knows what it takes to get jobs growing, and more jobs
ØØ: "Your future is bright." wants to build on the 5M jobs made in the last 39 months.  Jab to R wanting to let Detroit go bankrupt, 0 said no, we need to bet on America.  Standard lies.  Need to control our own energy, energy of the future, solar, wind, biofuels, reduce deficit in balanced way, wealthy to pay more, use money from wars to fix America
R: fewer people working today than when Ø took office.  President's policies have not worked, R has a 5-point plan to help people without jobs, will help to get rising incomes.
Points out that bankruptcy necessary for GM/Chevy to come out stronger.  Ø lying.  Says R didn't want bankruptcy to have any way for them to stay open.  Claiming that Rs policies are why middle class families in trouble.

Is it not the job of the energy department to get lower gas prices?  Ø highest oil and natural gas production in years, higher coal production and employment, but also have to look to the furture, why they doubled fuel efficiency standards, why the push for "wind, solar, biofuels", this why lowest oil imports in years. (forgetting that the depression might just have something to do with that).  Efficient energy, need to reduce demand.
R: lets look at policies, not rhetoric.  Oil production down on federal land, same with gas, because licenses and permits cut in half.  Romney uses "renewables".  Doesn't need a president keeping us from taking advantage of oil, gas, or coal.  R wants to see NA energy independent within 8 years.  more drilling, more permits, Keystone pipeline,
Candy: is this $4/gallon the new normal?  Is it in the gov't role to bring it down?
Ø: we are using oil more efficiently, says drilling more on federal lands than we did under W.
Claims Romney wrong, Romney stating that production on federal lands down, Ø keeps saying, no we're producing more.
Romney also talking about energy secure.
Candy: if policy working, gas prices would be down? Ø, claims that the reason gas prices are up is because the economy is getting better.  Claims that we've built enough pipelines already.  Claiming that people creating wind power in co and ia, tax credits.
Candy, actually stopped president.

Romney tax plan, will not reduce share of taxes collected by higher 5%, nor will he raise taxes on the middle.
Ø, philosophy on taxes simple. give the middle a break, has cut taxes for the middle and small businesses.  If reducing deficit a moral obligation, has to cut spending, and raise taxes on the higher end.
R: more women in poverty than in 2009.
Candy: Romney just wants to give tax cuts only to middle class OK? Obama, no.
Oh God, big bird.
Romney - math adds up, I've run businesses and made it add up, I ran the olympics and it added up, I ran MA and it added up.  I've balanced budgets my entire life.

Young woman wanting to know what president going to do to remove inequalities in the workplace, that women only make 72 cents on the dollar.
Ø touting Lilly Ledbetter.
Romney, points out that women need more flexible schedules, women have lost more jobs than men over this administration.
Oh, god, women's health care.  "Romney wants politicians in DC deciding women's health care". Millions of women rely on PP for cancer screenings, for contraception, it's a pocket book issue.
True that not just women's issues, but family issues.

Questioner, worries about return to the Bush years. What difference between R and Bush?
energy independence, wants to curtail trade with china, add more with SA, balanced budget,  (brought up .5T deficits outrageous, and now 1T), championing small business over big business.
Ø: First uh of the evening, but almost not there.  Digging way out of policies to get the top doing well middle not so well. 5.2M new jobs over last 3 years.  Romney last person who will get tough on china. A task force on trade, twice as many cases against unfair trade practices. GB didn't want to turn medicare into a voucher, didn't suggest defunding PP, didn't plan to deport lots of folks.  Social policy too extreme.

Black voter asking Ø why should he vote for him again. Says cut taxes, end war in Iraq, focus on al-qaedi OBL dead. Health care reform so can't be jerked around by insurance, toughest wall street reforms since the 30s, saved an auto industry.  Reducing deficit in a sensible way, using savings from war to put people back to work.  Has kept his commitments, and those he didn't, not for lack of trying, and will do them in his second.  Comparing Øcare to Romneycare. think whose promises will be better for you.
R: You know what you will get if you elect Ø.  Where is the plan for reforming medicare and SS? Where the immigration plan? Deficit doubled, not halved. Deductions in middle class health insurance premiums going up, not down.  President wants to do well, but his policies not doing that.  Ø a great speaker, but now we have plans to look at.

What to do with illegal immigrants?
R: wants to make it easier to come here legally, 4M in line waiting, won't grant amnesty, doesn't want magnets for those here illegally, kids of those here illegally, should have a pathway to become a permanent resident.  Ø didn't do it, though he promised, and he had a (D) congress.
Ø: second "uh".  Have said we need to fix a broken system, done what he can on his own, tried to do stuff with congress.  Has made it easier to get here legally.  Put more border patrol on, and flow of illegals lowest in 40 years (perhaps because economy bad), need to go after the illegals who are criminals, not students.  For young people who have grown up here, need to give a pathway to citizenship, has done it administratively.  Lies about AZ law, they can't stop people just because they look illegal.
R explain self-deportation.  Says that e-verify a model for the nation, not the whole law.  Why hasn't the president explained why he didn't do the law for illegals in his first year that he promised.
Ø, republicans in congress need to get serious about immigration.

Question about who denied extra security in Benghazi?
Ø, not just reps of US, but reps of Obama, so no one more concerned.  Lots of uhs..  Beef up security throughout the region, find out what happened, so won't happen again, find out who did it so we could get them.  Says he did this while on the phone hearing about the attack as it went on.  Attacking Romney for his statement that evening.
R: Standard boiler plate.  Found it most troubling that the day after the ambassador assassinated, President flew to fundraiser in Vegas. Stuff that happening suggests that president's policies in the ME not working. Watching President's policies unravelling.
Ø going on about "we're going to hunt down those responsible for this crime". Upset, claims that anyone on his team would play politics with foreign policy is offensive.

Ask of president, what doing to keep assault weapons out of hands of criminals.  "Weapons designed for our soldiers in war theaters don't belong on their streets".  Admits that most violence in Chicago not assault weapons.  That a lot of causes of violence.  wants a comprehensive strategy, wants automatic weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
R: we need to enforce our current laws, not new ones, and work on the culture of violence.
Families, two parent families increases opportunities for children and lessons odds of poverty.  F&F, can't imagine why this put in place, thinks american people would like to see it investigated fully.  CC trying to bring question back to question of unbanned weapons.  Candy cutting away from F&F.
Ø: R for awban before against it.  Against it to get NRA endorsement.  More teachers will cut gun voilence.

Outsourcing of jobs, what plans to bring them back?
R: We have made it less attractive to stay than to go.  As president, will work to make it more attractive to stay or come back.  Trickle down gov't has never worked.  Wants us to be the most attractive place for businesses of all sizes.  Also need to make sure all countries we trade with need to play fair.  China has been a currency manipulator for years, Ø refuses to label them that.  R will do so, so can impose tariffs if need be.  Key to bringing back jobs, not just punishing others, but make attractive, lower tax rates - Canada 15%, US 35%, where would you rather be? Regulations have quadrupled in last 4 years. Want regulators to encourage not crush business. Øcare a deterrent to hiring.
Ø we need to create jobs, need to lower corporate tax rates, but have different ideas on how to do this.
Claims that we should be taxing any money a company makes overseas here, without that tax people will move jobs out of country.
R we can compete with any country if playing field level, we have to make us more attractive. President's characterization of R's plan false.
Ø, some jobs won't come back, the low wage, low skill.  We don't want them, we need best science and research.  Claims that if we don't invest in research we won't get the next Apple (did Jobs get any fed money? I don't think so).)R: gov't doesn't create jobs!

What do you believe is the american people's greatest misperception about you as man and candidate?
R: I care about 100% of americans, I want them all to have bright and prosperous future, I care for all our children. I want to help with my business experience.  Passion from belief in God and we all God's children. we don't have to settle for what we are going through.  Don't have to settle for $4gas, 47M on food stamps, 23M unemployed.
Ø I don't believe that gov't creates jobs. free enterprise greatest job engine, believes in risk takers being rewarded, but everyone needs to have a fair shot, and pay their fair share.  We all need to play by the same rules. Fundamental difference in how we need to move this country forward.  47% means Romney talking about veterans and retirees, soldiers, 47% think of themselves os victims? I want to fight for them, and when they succeed we all succeed.  All generations need the same opportunities as previous ones.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's been a long week.

It's been a long week.  Politics is what it is, and while I feel I need to follow it closely, because what is happening now is so crucial for all of us, at the same time, I'm sure that it is a significant (if not the most significant) stressor in my life right now.

The allergy testing is ongoing; I have another round of skin tests, this time food, on Thursday, and then a meeting with the doctor on the 2nd to discuss the whole shebang and what it means.  At least it would seem that cats are only a mild problem which is good since we have three.

The girls are having their usual health issues, elder's headaches are still there, so we're hanging on until her follow-up with neuro in a week and a half, to see if there are any meds we haven't tried yet.  Younger has a stress injury with her right foot which the fancy orthopedic support brace/boot thingy isn't helping, but she starts with PT this week, so hopefully something good will come of that so that she isn't as cranky as she has been lately.

At least nothing (that I know of ) is going on with the spousal unit.  I really can't deal with any more health issues on top of work.

Work...  I'm supposed to have someone coming in tomorrow morning to do some air quality testing.  Here's hoping they find something; you can't fix things until you know what the problem is.  I suspect that if we were to remove the carpet which had the most serious flooding, and replaced the windows so that they could be opened to air the place out on a regular basis, things would improve drastically. I'm not in a patient care building, so we're allowed to open windows, but these are the original, 50+ year old metal frames, and they are rusted shut.  Management had a great chance to upgrade things when they remodelled the space six years ago for my department, but they didn't want to spend the money.  Heck, I couldn't get them to replace the cracked window panes at that time - it took over three years!

I'm going to try to get to sleep soon, so that I'm working on more than 5 hours sleep tomorrow, though I've gotten 12 hours the last two nights.

Here's hoping the coming week doesn't feel as long as this past one has.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Thousand Burning Nuns

Seriously, I have no intention of ever doing something like this, and certainly not all on my little lonesome, if only because, as Ben Gates in National Treasure says, you can't imagine how much I really, really, don't want to go to jail.

But today I can see how people can feel the need to terminate political figures with extreme prejudice.  I can also better understand how you can have a civil war with brother killing brother, neighbor killing neighbor, and former best friends now worst enemies. I loathed Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and all their little sycophantic underlings before today.  But until today I did know just how much I could hate.  Beginning today, if they are on fire I will not piss on them.  Beginning today, if I hear that something evil has befallen them, I will celebrate like the Palestinians on 9/11. Beginning today not a single one of them can claim membership in the same country or even species with me.

I just got the annual benefits enrollment package.  And I am going to have to drop my health insurance at work and leave us with just Tricare, the insurance which most doctors would prefer charity cases over.

For the 12 years I have worked at this institution we have had two or three choices, the more expensive ones covering more stuff with lower copays, but all of them available to everyone who wanted them.  For the last several years it has been two versions of Aetna, a PPO1 and a PPO2.  I have chosen 1 because my share of the premiums for the family plan has been about $43 a week (which is actually less than 10% of the total premium), and since we have Tricare which functions as a secondary insurance, it just didn't make financial sense to pay 50% more for something which wouldn't give us that $1K more of benefits.

This year, HR has decided to give us two offerings, the PPO2 at the same $64 a week, or a High Deductible Insurance with an HSA, at $15 a week.  Except that since I am married to a man who gets Tricare I can not, by law, choose the HDI/HSA plan.  HDI/HSA primary members cannot be covered by any other health insurance.  Their spouses and children can, but not them.  So unless I could figure out a way to get off Tricare, which I suspect would require divorcing my husband, and even if it's not that difficult, I'd never be able to get back on, I can't use that plan.  

So they say, I can just pay another $20 a week and get the higher plan.  Except that over the last four years my raises haven't even covered the increase in the cost of gas to get to and from work.  On January 1, 2013 Social Security will go back up from 4.3% to 6.3%, which is almost another $20 a week for me.  The child tax credit is being halved, so that's another $10 a week in tax.  Add in the return of the marriage penalty and the loss of the 10% tax bracket and that's another $20 a week too.  My husband is also going to see the SS/MC increase so that's another $10 or so a week.  

So add it up, the tax increases we will see in two months, thanks to the Democrats, will amount to nearly $60 a week.  We can't really cut anything other than the SS from my husband's share of the income because pretty much everything he brings in is already spoken for, and anyway, working in retail, his hours haven't always been consistent this past year (surprise).  So I'm looking at my take-home dropping $50 a week.  

I can tell you right now that I don't have a spare $50 a week.  I certainly don't have the spare $70 which I would need if I were to change to the PPO2.  I'll be very lucky if I see even a one percent pay raise this year, partly due to some less than stellar job performance on my part due to both health issues and morale issues, and partly due to the organization having recently turned into cheap bastards.  They've been around well over 100 years and only had the first successful unionization three years ago.  I know that the appearance of the unions hasn't helped management any, but if they hadn't started treating the employees as easily replaceable cogs rather than partners there wouldn't be a union.

I don't mind my job, but I hate my work place.  I hate being treated as an idiot and given no say in how my job can be done best.  I hate being expected to accept being "dissed" by management at every turn with a smile and a "May I have some more please?" attitude. 

I knew when the PPACA was passed that I was going to lose my real health insurance (I don't count Tricare as real), but my family, dyed in the wool Dems that they all are, kept assuring me that I was over-reacting and nothing like that would ever happen.  I got to call my mother today and remind her about that.  

And the worst of it is, that by dropping my health insurance with the institution, I am saving them over $20K a year, and there is no way they will give me a penny of it.  Basically, my reimbursement from work is dropping over 30%.

I worked my ass off to get a good job so I could have real health insurance, and thanks to those &^%$#%^&* assholes in DC I'm working as hard as ever, my taxes are going up almost 50%, all the necessities cost more every day, and I can't even afford insurance better than they give to the folks on welfare (okay, sometimes Tricare is better, but the docs I work with have said that the pay from Medicaid is often better than Tricare).  

My standard of living is sinking like a rock, I can't give my children the things they want, and not even some of the things they need, and the folks in Washington, who think they rule me, want me to just suck it up like a good little peon?

Ben Gates:  Of all the ideas that became the United States, there's a line here that's at the heart of all others.  "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and provide new Guards for their future security."

Here's hoping that we can overthrow this Government at the ballot box in November.  Otherwise at best, we need to stock up on tar and feathers and start a march on DC.  If, God forbid, Zero gets another term, we need to start that march on the 7th.  

Who's with me?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Yet one more reason I hate federal fingers in health care...

I should have been at the local party campaign HQ earlier this evening, for its (sort of) grand opening, and to meet Tom Foley, who someone from state had managed to get to promise to show up.

However, I spent 30 minutes this afternoon having lots of little needles pricking my back, lying there itching, a *lot*, for 15 minutes, having the nurse come in and measure things, clean me up and slather some anti-itch stuff on me, and remind me that I'm due back at 3 on Thursday so they can retest some of the stuff that came up negative this time.   Thursday evening I can use my antihistamines, and then I'm off them again on Friday morning for the next set of testing the following Thursday.  I have to figure out how to get ahold of pieces of fresh lobster and scallop, about a teaspoon worth of each, to fresh cook (microwaving for 30 seconds I'm told will do) the night before and bring for testing.  I can see being able to buy a single scallop, but I don't know any local places which sell shelled lobster meat. I'll check with the office on Thursday for the retesting to see if they have any suggestions.  Lots of other patients seem to be able to do this, so hopefully they can tell me how.

I made the mistake of stopping at the local stand-alone ER which has lots of outpatient clinics to see if we could schedule my daughter's PT for her foot.  And discovered that they can't see her until next Wednesday unless I'm willing to take time off of work to come and fill out the registration paper work.  After that my mother can bring her to appointments, but for some reason the registration paperwork must be filled out on the day of the first appointment and in person.  I can't even fill it out and fax it.  I'm going to see tomorrow if the stand-alone PT outfit can see her sooner without my having to be there.  I would have done it this afternoon, but I was just not feeling up to it.

I've run into this before, but it makes no sense to me.  It's a scheduled appointment, they can see my ID why can't I give them her info in advance rather than having to take time from work, which I don't have?  My mother has been able to take the girls to all of their regular doctors and specialists with no problems, but for some reason if a clinic is attached to a hospital, it must be the parent and the parent alone the first time.  I've seen this at Children's in Hartford, and also at the hospital where I work.  I'd rather do the 15 minutes of registration after work the day before, so I don't have to get me or me and my kid there at 6:30 for a 7am test, but the rules won't allow it.  I'm not sure what the feds or the insurance companies think is likely to change in 24 hours, and I could do the registration at 7am for a 7pm test, but if the date changes, it's no good.

It probably is the same sort of thing as with HSAs and the high deductible insurance plans.  You can only have an HSA if you have a high deductible plan, and you can't have a high deductible plan if you are covered by any other insurance.  So I can't do it because we're covered by my husband's Tricare.  If I opted out of Tricare, I could have the HSA/HDI, and then my husband and children could be covered by both, but the primary on the HDI can't?!?!?  And what about all the stuff that regular insurance plans don't cover, like cataract lenses which correct astigmatism too, or dental work which costs far, far more than the maximum annual payout?  I've been told I should just do an FSA, but $2K of dental work is something I'd like to be able to put away for over more than 1 year.

Anyway, I left the clinic, came home, realized I was getting hysterical again, and decided to just call it an evening.  Now that the itching and rash have pretty much subsided, I'm feeling much better, but I guess I'm going to have to list that as an allergic reaction.  Or rather as a sensitivity reaction, since apparently you are only allergic to something if you develop a rash or respiratory problems.  Which is odd, since the Epi-Pen is specifically described as something for people with allergies, and anaphylaxis is usually a sudden severe drop in blood pressure, which has nothing to do with skin, lungs, or sinuses.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Anxiety and depression -- election worries or just new medication side effects?

The title says it all.

The last week I've been progressively more short tempered, panicky, weepy, and just unpleasant to be around for everyone including myself.

I'd like to put it down to being too wrapped up in following politics, but I suspect the reason is the more mundane one of getting new meds for my asthma.

I've been having these sinus problems for about two months now, and after two rounds of antibiotics with a course of prednisone in the middle, which put 10 pounds on me which looks like about 20, I ended up at the allergist's.  I've had allergies all my life, but this is the first time it's been bad enough to go see a specialist.  Apparently they are worse than I thought, because they did some breathing tests and I was slightly obstructed, which I hadn't even noticed (common with asthmatics, you just get used to not breathing that well, and the abnormal becomes your new normal), and I guess that combined with working in a place that is carpeted which flooded three months ago, shortly before all the symptoms, along with some shellfish allergies meant that I left the office with three more appointments for testing and a script for an epi-pen.

That alone is requiring some adjusting of my world view and may account for some of the emotional instability.  But I also found out that my rescue inhaler is being discontinued, and I love the breath activated device, since it requires no co-ordination, and it worked better during my pneumonia in 2001 than the nebulizer did.  And my preventative of choice, Advair, is also being discontinued, at least in the purple disc form.  So I've got a new inhaler type preventative, QVar which doesn't seem to be helping much at all.  Though that could be because I've had to stay off the antihistamines until after the skin testing.  I have the first round tomorrow afternoon, and I'm hoping that mold comes up big time so I can use the test results to get work to do something about the regular flooding of my library.  I'm also hoping that cats don't come up too big, since we're not getting rid of them, and the youngest is only about four, so we'll have him for a long time.

But I've yelled at my mother, my daughters, vented at work, and find myself in tears watching Castle as they leave Alexis off to her dorm room at college.

So I either need some new asthma meds, need my workplace to be remediated, need the election to happen and the right guy to win, or some antidepressants.  Or a combination of all four.

Work has also decided to do change to a new office supply vendor and give us an extremely limited set of approved options, none of which are the things I normally use.  I can't even get refills for my Day Runner, because I "have Outlook on the computer".  The fact that I don't have access to my outlook account unless I am in my office on my desktop computer doesn't matter, I'm just supposed to haul printouts around, which doesn't sound terribly professional to me.  Not that they'll let me get a 7-hole punch so my unprofessional printouts can at least travel in a nice case....

I need to win the lottery, damn it!  Or at least find a new job, not that there are very many here in Connecticut within an hour of where we live.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Let's be shallow.

A post over at Buttercup's got me thinking.

It started with this picture:

As I said, I'm being shallow here.  We're not looking at either of the men who are the whole reason for the event, we're looking at FLOTUS.  And in this picture, we're seeing one mean ugly woman.

Which is a pity.  Looked at objectively, ignoring one's personal opinion of her and her husband's political leanings, she's no model, but she's not physically unattractive.  Her attractiveness problem isn't what's on the outside, it's how her outside reveals her inside.  She obviously doesn't want to be there; it's not just the scowl on her face which would erode granite, it's her body language.

Here are a few photos found elsewhere on the web to prove my point.

I also like this one:

Michelle can look like someone you'd be happy to have a coffee and chat with.  If she looked like this all the time, her press would be a lot more positive, from both sides of the aisle.

The one thing I've noticed is that very, very few of her happy photos have her husband anywhere near.  I do not think they have a happy marriage.  Whether it's because she is a "beard" as I've read rumored in more than a few places, whether it's because he's a narcissist and can't/won't love her the way a husband should love his wife, I don't know, and it's not really my business.

I'm inclined though to put more blame for their problems on him than her, because when they are apart, she seems much more normal and better adjusted than he does.  I just hope someday, before it's too late, she figures out what she needs to do to be happy, and does it.

I also hope that some day she realizes what a great country this is and that while we are not perfect, we are the best there is, and we need everyone to work together to improve rather than dividing us to demand more from one than another.  I hope she comes to realize that life isn't a zero-sum game, and if we don't separate into little ghettos of race, ethnicity, or creed, we can all win.  No matter what happens next month, or in future years, by virtue of having been a first lady her words and actions will always carry weight with many, and I'd love to see her learn to use that for the improvement of all Americans' lives.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


Which I will not be watching.  I'll get to read about it tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow. And the day after that.  And the day after that day after.  I'll get to see plenty of clips.

But by not watching, I won't be screaming at Ø, I won't have to listen to his condescending tone of voice, and his likely strings of "uhhh"s since he won't have a teleprompter.

The debates aren't going to change my decision on voting against Ø, and watching it in real time will raise my blood pressure. So for my mental health I'm going to watch Castle reruns, and maybe check in at a few of my regular blog reads.  I suspect watching Castle will be much more relaxing.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Does Ø really want to lose the election?

His re-election team created an e-card for his Tumblr page.  And this is what they came up with.  

Of course it's now down the memory hole with apologies for not "properly vetting" posts.

But Ø's team actually has people on it who think this is appropriate, and not in the least offensive.

But it's offensive on so many levels.  First, do we really need to go around talking about our "lady parts"?  My first thought was what happens if this shows up on a page you are at with your seven year old, but then I realized the only people who would be reading pages posting this sort of dreck with their seven year olds are the sort who think it's appropriate and don't have trouble telling their children stuff that isn't age appropriate.

Second, for the party which supposedly is "for women", it's incredibly demeaning to imply that the only thing we think is important is to be able to have consequence-less sex.  We don't care if we don't have jobs, we don't care if the few children we do bother to give birth to have a decent home, two parents, a decent education, or a hope of a decent job themselves, we just care that we can rut like animals without worrying about being punished by children.

I thought campaign stuff was supposed to make you want to vote for people, not run away, or even worse laugh at them.

Things to be angry about, part the zillionth.

Can you imagine the public outcry and outrage if this were being done by a Republican White House?

Obama urges companies to break federal law for his reelection

I've been hearing about this for a while, but no place "mainstream".  What are the odd that we'll hear about now from any of the so-called mainstream news outlets?

I would strongly suspect that I have a better chance of winning the lottery tonight than hearing about this on MSNBC.  I would still probably have a better chance if I didn't have a lottery ticket.

I think I need to steal Rachel Lucus's "Why I drink" label for this blog.

Edited to add: I just saw an article on the ABC blog which Jake Tapper is involved with.  Of course Jake is one of two or at most three journalists who seem to be willing to ignore their personal political leanings for actually delivering News.

Monday, October 01, 2012


Last night, knowing full well that I had to get up a little after 6am for work, I didn't even end up in bed until after midnight, and then it took forever to fall asleep.

This morning as I was driving the younger child to school we looked up and saw a beautiful full or nearly full moon.  Which probably explains the sleep issues, since no one else in the family slept well either.

I got into work, took my antihistimines, and after two hours my face is starting to hurt again.  I have a work order request in to maintenance to check for mold and mildew from the flooding.  I suspect it will by a cool day in hell before they do check, and unless they find the toxic black mold the building won't get remediated, since very few years they think about tearing it down (it's from the '60s and built as well as you'd expect, i.e. not very).  I couldn't even get them to replace the rusting out window frames or even replace the cracked glass when they remodeled the area six years ago.  And if it's needed, it will cost much, much more than that.  Of course if they had replaced the windows, I'd be able to open them, and air the place out properly....

And politics is getting tiring.  I keep reading it, and it's just a constant drum beat of how great the (D)s are doing, and how the (R)s are losing so badly.  Lots of crappy polls, like the latest from Public Policy Polling for Connecticut, where Ø is leading by 7, but if you fixed the internals he'd probably be losing. They did poll nearly twice as many (D)s as (R)s, which is correct for this state, but there should have been even more (I)s than (D)s.  Instead they only had about 20%(I), less than their (R) representation.  But you can't unskew the poll because they do their Romney/Obama internals by how the respondent listed themselves on the Very Liberal/Somewhat Liberal/Moderate/Somewhat Conservative/Very Conservative continuum, which can't really be mapped to where the (I)s live very well.  Though if they are mostly Moderate, that would suggest that if you unskewed it, Romney would be winning.

But I'm getting too tired of it all.  I'm going to work the polls, I'm going to vote the way I think best, and I'm going to hope that the perception the media is spinning is just that, spin.

Or we are really, really screwed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Telling it the way it is

This man is a treasure.  

This first video is addressed specifically to black Christians.

And this is for all Christians and Jews.

This is a man who isn't willing to let his parishioners get away with simply voting for a candidate's skin color, or because they have always voted a certain way.  He wants people to actually look at what the parties and the candidates stand for, and then vote the way their conscience dictates based on their religious beliefs. Because sometimes the party you have always supported changes, and no longer represents you.  Sometimes people with different skin color from yours can have the exact same values.

I am proud to call this man and all others like him my fellow Americans.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Techology. It's wonderful. Except when it isn't.

A few months back I inherited my sister's old MacBook.  It's a MacBook 4,1, which she bought at least four years ago, maybe 5.  When she upgraded a year ago she gave it to my daughter, who then upgraded to brand new Windows laptop this summer.  As mom, I get the hand-me-downs, and since my other box is a netbook, this was nice.

And then yesterday Chrome updated to v22, and no longer supports OS X 10.5.  Which is what I'm running.  We also discovered yesterday that my daughter's new iPod, which my mother had won online and given to her since she didn't need it, won't talk to Leopard either.

So it's off the Apple support sites and stuff to see what to do.  Thankfully, I am by no means the only person running Leopard right now, so there were lots of questions, and even more important, lots of answers.

I have a copy of Snow Leopard on order for a whopping $19.99 + tax.  The problem a lot of folks had been having is that you can't get it in the online store, but thankfully one commenter said it was available by phone.

So here's hoping that within the week my box will be running better, and my daughter can get stuff onto her iPod.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shouldn't the folks who have to use office equipment be asked what they actually need first?

The copier I had in my department for years and years was still working well, but the organization decided that we needed to own all our own copiers, and have 3-in-1s.  

Sounds great.

Problem is, I'm a library.  I have to copy odd sized journals and big heavy books.  A Dell scanner with an 8.5x11 piece of glass just isn't going to work.  Especially when the glass is at about shoulder level, because that's where the copier stand puts it.  In trying it out, so that I had some facts to back up my complaint to management I injured my wrist/thumb, ending up on light duty for nearly two months with lots of PT/OT and then a cortisone shot. (And trust, me getting shot in the joint between the wrist and the first bone leading to the thumb is not fun.)

In the meantime, it was found that actually quite a few departments who had been given these new fancy machines needed bigger scanning beds, so the rentals which hadn't been sent back were kept and shuffled to those who needed them.  

I went from a nice little IR 3530, which was the perfect hight to an IR C4080i; the glass is three or four inches higher, meaning that the only way I can scan bound items is to stand on my tip-toes.  It takes absolutely forever to warm up, because it does color, which is nice, but not at all necessary, and it takes up a lot more floor space.  I am also beginning to suspect that the weird way I have to stand to make copies is a major contributer to the return of the plantar fasciitis pain.  It's bad enough that people ask what's wrong as I limp through the halls.

Translation: I hate it.

I don't use it a lot, but I had to copy some stuff yesterday and it worked just fine.  Today, after scanning a 10 page article and hitting print, after printing two pages, it happily informed me that I needed to replace the toner cartridge.  Which of course I don't have, since I didn't get a spare with it.  And unlike most copiers, this gives you no wiggle room.  When it says you need to replace the toner, there is NO. MORE. TONER.  At all.  So I've just spent several minutes standing uncomfortably on my toes, and lost all of it.  To e-mail this I'm going to have to scan it a page at a time into my office scanner attached to the computer which takes a lot longer.  And I'm going to have to wait a week or so to get the new toner in.  Grrrr.  I ordered one of each color cartridge and two black, since one is going directly into the machine the instant I get it.  And of course I can't find out who else in the hospital has one of these models, if anyone, because no one can use the "everyone" e-mail list anymore.

Of course, if they had just talked to me before getting the Dell, they would have found out that I needed the larger glass, and we would have done it right the first time, instead of simply replacing the printer with a much more expensive one since we don't use it for copying.  Grrrrr.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Partisan stupidity.

I just saw this ad on CBS out of Hartford this evening. The whole damn thing is a lie, because it's based on the premise that Romney/Ryan are planning to do away with Medicare for current seniors, all to scare CT seniors to vote for Ø and the (D)s.

In announcing the release of the ad, the DCCC said, "The ad highlights that Roraback is running on the ticket with the Republican plan to end Medicare and force Connecticut seniors to pay $6,400 more every year to fund tax breaks for millionaires."

And then I find that the (R) candidate for CT-5, whom the ad targets by name, puts out a press release which starts out just fine, threatening to sue CT TV stations which air the ad, due to the provable falsehoods in it

“Without a doubt, the Advertisement contains false information deliberately intended to mislead Connecticut voters and defame Roraback’s reputation. Because the Advertisement conveys messages that are plainly disproven by fact, we respectfully demand that your station immediately stop airing the Advertisement and that no further airings of this misleading content be allowed on your station.”

and then:

The letter says that the ad, which says “Meet Washington’s tea party Republicans,” defames Roraback’s character and falsely claims that Roraback supports budget proposals from Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

I mean really, for the folks who vote (R), a primary reason is because we want people who will support plans to try save the country's financial situation. And here is a candidate claiming that he is being defamed by being connected with the plans of those at the top of his ticket. 

Kim Du Toit used to refer to the Democrats as the Evil Party and the Republicans as the Stupid Party. The (R)s are working hard to prove him right.

The Food Police

Today we get to read about the food police.  The USDA, at the behest of Congress acting on marching orders from Mrs. Ø, have changed the rules for school lunches.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that school lunches need help.  Lots of help.  The meat tends to be what a friend in college referred to as "Grade Z but edible".  The chicken patties are made from unidentifiable bits of the chicken (which apparently is often just a version of pink goo, including bits of bone!) with too much bread.  The vegetables aren't the best quality to begin with and they tend to be over cooked.  The pizzas are either cheese (with not enough cheese and too much grease) or pepperoni (same issues) and very "eh" crusts.  The grinders are on hoagy shaped rolls of WonderBread, again using processed lunch meats from smooshed up bits of beast, such that you really can't tell the pork from the turkey by eye-balling it, and not always by taste.

But now there are new rules.  And those rules seem to dictate foods that most kids don't want to eat (the stuff they will at home if they can get desert afterwards, but only then), and the folks tasked with creating the new menus seem to have even less of a clue.

From Townhall:
Nancy Carvalho, director of food services for New Bedford Public Schools, was quoted as saying that hummus and black bean salads have been tough sells in elementary cafeterias. That means even smaller children are going through the day fighting hunger pains, which can never be considered a good thing.
Who in their right mind feeds gradeschoolers humus and black bean salads?  My children liked that sort of thing occasionally, but I doubt they'd want it at lunch, and not the way the school makes it, nor in the tiny portions the school gives out.

The article continues:
One government official tried to put the blame on the students."One thing I think we need to keep in mind as kids say they're still hungry is that many children aren't used to eating fruits and vegetables at home, much less at school. So it's a change in what they are eating. If they are still hungry, it's that they are not eating all the food that's being offered," USDA Deputy Undersecretary Janey Thornton was quoted as saying.
Ms. Thornton just put her finger on the problem. The government is trying to impose a new diet that children are not accustomed to. It’s not reasonable to expect them to either eat what the government deems healthy or go hungry.
Many will opt to go hungry, and that’s the government’s fault.
And here is where the nanny state issues start really rearing their ugly heads.  The only reason that children won't eat these meals is because their parents don't know how to feed them right at home.  Ms. Thornton is clueless.  My children got large servings of vegetables at night.  They got good meat, and pasta or potatoes.  For breakfast they got healthier cereals, like Cheerios or cornflakes or oatmeal and fruit juice.

And they still aren't scrawny, and one, the one who was the most physically active of the two, is technically obese/morbidly obese.  Her weight issues started even while she was skating.

The standard American diet (referred to in some quarters quite appropriately as SAD) is the problem.  It's not the quality of the food, as in whole grain bread vs Wonder.  It's not the quantities.  It's the high levels of carbs we have been taught to think is healthy.  It's the low levels of fat, fat which is especially needed by growing children and active teenagers.  It's the low levels of fat which make the food tasteless so we have to add tons of sugar to make it palatable.  It's the low levels of fat which leave us hungry two hours after a 400 calorie breakfast, even though 400 calories of bacon and eggs will leave us sated for four hours, even if we're being moderately active.

The other problem is the science.  Every year we are told that eating foods containing nutrient X is really, really, bad for us, and it's a wonder our ancestors survived long enough to reproduce.  And then a year or two later, we find out that, fancy that, nutrient X is actually necessary for optimal functioning and we have to start adding it back in.  This year's must eat food also turns out to be next year's you-really-need-to-cut-back-on food.  Look at butter vs. margarine.  Unless you have a lactose issue, butter has no more calories, and not having tons of weird chemicals, it's much, much healthier.  I admit we still have some "I can't believe it's not butter" or some Olio in the fridge, but that's because it's so much easier to spread than butter. But we don't use much, and I do all my cooking with lots of butter.  I eat lots of meat, and I'm discovering that as I cut carbs, the fat is actually starting to taste really good.  And guess what?  My blood pressure is back where it was 20 years ago, even if my weight isn't, though the fact that I haven't been able to cut the sugars and carbs as much as I like is probably the main culprit.  We live almost next door to a Dairy Queen, and in the summer when you don't have central air, the will power, it is weak.

My elder daughter is opting out of the school lunch her new high school provides, (they get it shipped in from a nearby school which has a kitchen) and is eating at the college cafeteria (her school is on a community college campus, and starting next semester she will be taking some classes on the college side).  She says the food is much better and not surprisingly, it really doesn't cost much more.  But I'd rather pay $4 for her to get a piece of pizza and a small salad from the salad bar than $2.65 for the standard school lunch which she won't eat most of any way.  The younger one, the one with the weight issues, tried her new school's lunch, and while she says the caf isn't bad, she prefers to make a sandwich with good quality lunch meat (like real chicken breast) than buy it.  And I can afford to do that quite easily for the cost of the school lunch.

We've already seen cases where schools have examined brown bag lunches and found them deficient, in one instance taking away a child's chicken sandwich and giving her the school's chicken nuggets and soggy vegs.  The child ate one nugget, drank the milk, threw the rest out, and was hungry for the rest of the day.  The mother was understandably irate, especially since her child eats lots of vegetables at dinner, and is in no way malnourished.  You don't actually need to eat something from every food group at every meal.  And the school had the nerve to charge her for this meal which was of far worse quality than the one she had packed, and which her child wouldn't eat.  Children are picky eaters, and if all your child will eat is a PB&J sandwich, they are better off eating that than staring at a plate of soggy fries and nuggets.

So when does the tar and feathering begin?