Sunday, January 27, 2013

Time Flies.....

.....when you are worn out.

I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since I've posted anything to the blog.  Frankly, even though our nightmarishly busy season at work is over, I'm still buried alive in work to do.

Barely into the New Year, I found out that our IT person and all round Jack of All Trades had accepted a new job and would be leaving before the end of the month.  It was a scramble to try to find a replacement, get the new guy trained and have others on staff (mostly me) pick up the rest of the IT guy's duties.  Maybe, before I am eligible (and rich enough) to retire I'll be able to get back to doing my job duties instead of taking on more.  Yeah, right.  Add to this that our Development Director will be retiring in March (that deserves an entire post of its own), and I'm in stress overload.

When I get home from work I am beat.  I feed half the cats and the dog and then choose between fixing myself something for dinner or feeding the other half of the cats.  On a good day I can do all 3 plus scoop a couple of litter boxes.  Lately, I've been asleep in front of the television by 8PM.

I'm going to make this brief so I can get to the laundry, dishes and, of course, the litter boxes.  I hope you will check out the video links below.  I have been a fan of Bill Moyers since the first time I saw one of his PBS shows many, many years ago.  I am never disappointed and always come away better informed as well as angry about the latest injustice most often committed by our elected officials.  This week was no exception.  He began with the underhanded, but typical, Washington insider BS that gave half a billion dollars to AMGEN, an American biotechnology firm convicted in Federal court in December, 2012 and fined $762 million dollars.  Our tax dollars are supporting a criminal operation - imagine that!  The second segment was about Roe v Wade.  Once again, a thoughtful and informative piece of journalism.  It also gave me hope that the forces on the Right will not continue to dismantle this critical legislation.  I highly recommend watching the full show.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Benefits of Being over 60

Trust me, I've done more than my share of complaining about aging.  Those complaints include increased aches and pains, loss of stamina and strength, and even a dulling of memory.  However, in the past few years I've come to rejoice in the fact that I've lived most of my life and won't have to face a bleak future.  The times, they truly are a'changing and not for the better.  I no longer envy the young, in any way possible.

My generation, in my estimation, lived through the best of times of American history.  We also, for the most part, benefited from a high point in education on all levels.  From kindergarten through graduate school, our educational system reached its zenith.  As baby boomers we had benefits both from having parents who lived through WWII and the Great Depression and living through major progressive changes ourselves.  Our parents witnessed and/or experienced the advent of Social Security and FDR's implementation of massive expansion and improvements in our infrastructure, from roads, to bridges and dams.  That isn't saying everything was good.  The development of the atomic bomb, the bombing of Hiroshima, the Holocaust showcased the worst of humanity.

In the 1950s President Eisenhower oversaw the building of interstate highways, connecting our nation as never before.  In the 1960s we saw the first steps toward equality for all humans, recognizing people of color and women as fully human, although that fight still continues today.  The passing of the Civil Rights Act and the advent of the Second Wave of feminism helped to provide previously unavailable opportunities to a large segment of our population.  President Johnson got Medicare passed, so that the elderly wouldn't have to go without affordable and accessible health care.  Add to all this the fact that we had the best music ever - Elvis Presley, Motown, Crosby/Stills/Nash & Young, the Beatles, Carole King, James Taylor, just to name a few of my personal favorites.  As time progressed, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, and LGBT persons were coming out of the closet and beginning to be "granted" their rights as humans as well. 

What does the future hold that concerns and worries me so much?  I'll try to make the list concise:

During a time when we, as Americans, have access to a larger amount of information via the Internet, most of us remain complacent and uninformed of the dangers which are happening, whether in our own backyards or worldwide.   It seems to me that only a small percentage of Americans are actually paying attention.  Too many are simply struggling to get by, day to day.  Others just don't care, continuing to believe that things will get better and there isn't anything to worry about.  And still others resort to paranoia about fantasy bogey-men (like the UN Agenda 21).

A couple of articles that I read this morning prompted me to put up this post.  First is this from Alternet - Alaska Militia Leader sentenced to prison   I highly recommend checking out the website for the Southern Poverty Law Center to find out more about militias and hate groups, and their astronomical rise in the past four years - Hate and Extremism

And one final link has to do with President Obama's nomination of Jack Lew for Treasury Secretary.  Although I had wished he would appoint Sheila Bair, former chair of the FDIC, I never expected that to happen.  Soon to be former Treasury Secretary had helped get her booted from the early White House team.  I would have been just as happy had either Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz or David Cay Johnston been the nominee.  I never expected that to happen either.  I hadn't been concerned about Lew, despite his wacky & arrogant signature after hearing Obama's glowing introduction to the nomination.  Additionally, NPR made a point to say that Lew had photos of the FDR programs gracing his office walls, implying that Lew was supportive of these programs.  This interview on Alternet changed my mind and put a knot in my stomach.  Below is a quote about Jack Lew from Professor William Black:
So—and he has the history, in one sense, correct. He says the problem arose before deregulation. That’s true that derivatives were already a problem before deregulation. And so, Brooksley Born proposes to deal with the problem by having a regulation to deal with credit default swaps. And then the Clinton administration, in league with Greenspan, in league with Phil Gramm, and with one of the important architects of all of this being Jack Lew, squashes Brooksley Born to destroy the proposed regulation and to pass something, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act—talk about a dishonest phrase—that not only said, "You, Brooksley Born, cannot go forward with this particular regulation," the statute actually said, "We hereby withdraw all regulatory powers to protect the nation, period. From the federal government, from the state and local governments, we exempt you from the gambling laws. We exempt you from the boiler room laws to prevent fraudulent operations." It’s one of the most extraordinary abusive things in the world, heavily involved with AIG’s ability to produce not just the disaster atAIG, but the disaster of credit—of the CDOs that blew up a larger portion of the world. And those CDOs would not have been possible without these credit default swaps.
Again, I had held out hope that Obama would get Congress to re-instate Glass-Steagall.  That ain't gonna happen with Jack Lew at the helm of Treasury.

For more about Glass-Steagall, check out these links:

Interestingly, Sandy Weil, formerly of Citigroup and advocate for the repeal of this law, has reversed his position and sees the error of his ways now that it's too late: Sandy Weil + Glass-Steagall

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

DECEMBER, 2009 – JANUARY 9, 2013

       The last couple of years have been a bit difficult for me.
  1. DECEMBER, 2009 – Caleb has tumor removed from his intestine
  2. JANUARY 1, 2010      – went into hospital due to a cat bite on my foot
  3. FEBRUARY 25, 2010 – Clark euthanized (11 years old)
  4. MARCH 19, 2010 – Charlotte euthanized (9 years old)
  5. JULY 30, 2010 – Cammie euthanized (15 years old)
  6. AUGUST – SEPTEMBER, 2010 – me back in hospital for 5 surgeries, including a skin graft
  7. DECEMBER 10, 2010 – Chase found dead (7 years old)
  8. FEBRUARY 12, 2011 – Chaz euthanized (12 years old)
  9. MARCH 11, 2011 – Colin euthanized (rescued from the street 1998 – adult cat)
  10. APRIL 22, 2011  - Caleb euthanized (15 years old DOG)
  11. MAY 21, 2011 – Cagney rescued from the street
  12. JUNE 14, 2011 – Charlie euthanized (12 years old)
  13. JUNE 24, 2011 – Cissy euthanized (16 years old)
  14. NOVEMBER 11, 2011 – Claudia euthanized (rescued from Animal Services 2005 – older cat)
  15. NOVEMBER 28, 2011 – Campbell has all teeth removed
  16. DECEMBER 12, 2011 – Colt euthanized (8 years old)
  17. JANUARY 12, 2012 – Courtney euthanized (13 years old)
  18. FEBRUARY 16, 2012 – Cordelia euthanized (14 years old DOG)
  19. FEBRUARY, 2012 – Cashew (kitten) + Contessa (about 1 year old) rescued from street
  20. JUNE 29, 2012 - Chandler euthanized (13 years old)
  21. AUGUST 2, 2012 – Crockett had all his teeth removed
  22. JANUARY 9, 2013 – Cassandra having surgery to remove all of her teeth
Prior to having to put so many of these cats and dogs to sleep, there were extensive veterinary bills for treatment in an effort to save or, at least, prolong their lives.  It's not just about "pocketbook" issues but also the emotional distress that goes along with dealing with watching so many cherished loved ones die.  

While I know that most, if not all, of these animals would have died long before had I not brought them into my home, my life and my heart, it stills takes a toll.  My own health struggles helped erode my coping skills as well.  These were choices which I made and, therefore, are mine alone to bear.  

My apologies to friends if I've been more short tempered or less communicative in the past couple of years.  It's not always easy to exude sunshine and roses through personal trials and tribulations.