Last Time I Checked

Post-election coverage

November 4, 2010
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has brought good news and bad news.  The good news is that the money I’ve spend in the past for my HP printer and my ebay auction items didn’t help elect Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina.  And it’s good news that wrestling fans’ investments in the sport didn’t support the win of Linda McMahon.  The bad news of course is the we Americans are so caught up in the hype, rely too much on Fox News input, and lack a basic education in our system of government to understand that it’s a politician’s job, his/her only job, to get elected!  

My top dreams for this country:

  • Campaign reform that includes truth in advertising, limits on spending, public disclosures on contributions from corporations, PACS, and individuals, campaign time limits, and a prohibition on the use of public resources under the guise of outreach to voters (i.e., mailings to constituents) in an election year
  • More campaign reform that includes strict time limits for broadcast and requires equal access to the opposition candidates 
  • Get lobbyists out of Washington and require legislators to meet with them in their home office; this will be a stimulus to local economies and eliminate the unfair advantage in access that lobbyists have to our representatives 
  • Ethics in politics: censor false statements and punish extreme hyperbole made by office holders at all levels
  • Transparency that gives the public adequate opportunity to review proposed legislation and requires congress to report back to constituents via a radio, TV, web-based, or town hall meeting on the legislation in an objection fashion
  • More coverage of legislators on C-Span (thanks to the House Majority speaker for this idea and for suggesting greater transparency)
  • Health care insurance for all Americans, paid for by both the public and private sectors, with provisions to eliminate waste, fraud, and restrictions to women’s reproduction medical procedures (if the pubs say they want less government, let them start by getting out of our bathroom, bedroom, and doctor’s office!)
  • Enforcement of the separation of church and state
  • Taxation on large corporate and individual contributions made to 501 (c) (4) organizations (this would include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other member-based organizations)
  • Elimination of many of Bush’s tax cuts, especially to individuals earning, say, $300,000 or more, but certainly those earning 6 figures
  • A more simplified tax structure but an increase in deductions for middle-class wage earners
  • Elimination of the ceiling on Social Security taxes so that we do not have to keep increasing the retirement age and do not have to worry that cuts will have to be made in the future
  • No more tax credits for oil companies 
  • No more tax credits for overseas companies unless – perhaps – there is a proven and direct connection that benefits the United States economy
  • Re-define what constitutes a small business
  • Public supported K-12 education that requires knowledge of U.S. history, the constitution, and our political system in order to get a diploma
  • Set a goal to bring back manufacturing jobs from countries like China that risk our national security and health (food and drugs for example)
  • Research the impact of immigration to our economy – the benefits vs the drawbacks economically – and give the facts to Americans
  • Stop wasting money building border walls
  • Decriminalize drugs and if we’re not going to eliminate privatized prisons, make them fully accountable and keep them from influencing legislation like they did in Arizona which is a huge conflict of interest
  • Reinstate regulations of the banking and investment industry to protect Americans from ever having to go through a financial crisis like this one again!
  • Change the Department of Agriculture subsidies to benefit local farmers instead of large corporations

Back to it

November 2, 2010
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on election day.  I have to admit I’m feeling a bit sick to my stomach, but I hope the dems have countered the foolish tea partiers’ rants and that most of America is still sane.  It’s hard to tell with some of the things I see on TV or read in the paper (whether people are sane in this country).  The pubs definitely are great fear mongerers, and it must be hard on them to see things like Stewart’s rally last weekend in Washington. 

During this campaign and all the accompanying political ads I was pretty shocked to see an ad with a world war II vet protesting health care sponsored by an over-60 group.  He said something about the generation that fought for our freedoms.  I can’t equate freedom with not having healthcare.  Seems we’d be less free if we didn’t have it.  But maybe the dems moved too fast and maybe there are provisions in it that are bad.  I know I haven’t done much research to see the red flags.  But I do believe that in today’s world there is no excuse for every person not to have access to health care via universal coverage.  And universal coverage, in my mind, does not mean that it’s the only the government providing the coverage.  My son, who is in the medical field, told me today he wasn’t sure if he supported this.  He cited the people he sees who come in with an entitlement attitude, who are obese, etc.  He thinks this might further burden an already over-burdened industry (I say industry intentionally) because there would be no controls over who accesses health care that they might not need.  We didn’t get to talk very long about it, so I couldn’t really counter his argument about that.  But his perspective, while perhaps based on ignorance or fear, is probably shared with a lot of people who feel disenfranchised about the democratic processes in this country.  Or confused.  It’s easy for me to sit here and state that I believe every American should have health care insurance that provides adequate health care.  That’s a personal value I have.  But for those who don’t share that value, I ask them to think about what would happen to them if they no longer had coverage and could not afford to get treatment for a chronic or acute health problem.       

As I posted in Facebook today, nothing could be worse than the re-election of George W.  Not even Nixon’s re-election.  Nuff said.

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Oil and water

June 30, 2010
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don’t mix.  Does the benefit of deep drilling for oil outweigh the risks?  If you answer yes to that question then you are complicit in causing damange to the environment and therefore just as responsible for paying for the cleanup as BP. 

My brother forwarded me an email that contained a letter to someone who was witnessing (and volunteering in the cleanup) the damage caused to the beaches on a pristine penisula in Florida.  The writer claimed we should stop the blame game and just get on with taking care of the problem.  I wondered if he was referring to the Obama administration or if his comment was simply generic and meant we shouldn’t worry right now about who to blame and focus instead on mitigating the impact of the oil spill.  My brother responded with a comment that we should not blame people who drive cars.  Hmmm . . . really?  Aren’t we users and over-users of non-renewable sources of energy complicit in the destruction this causes to our environment?  I’d say we’re indirectly part of the problem.  We’ve known for years we are on the downward slope of peak oil yet we continue to live our lives as though it’s a plentiful and cheap resource.   

I just heard a newly employed clean-up worker in L.A. in an interview on NPR say he hopes the oil keeps on coming because that means he’ll have a job.  Unbelievable.  I guess that’s looking for the silver lining, deciding to make lemonade from the lemons you’re stuck with, or an example of short-term (and impaired) thinking.  Maybe we should just divert the money they’re spending on all the equipment, research, PR, claims payouts, and other expenses related to the spill into a jobs training program for workers in the gulf.  We could train workers in handling and cleaning wildlife, scooping sand, making and laying booms, oil extractions methods, repairing wetlands, and all the other intricate methods needed to mitigate the impact.  Maybe there could be a think tank of all the creative types – anyone would qualify – to come up with ideas on how to recycle the oil once it’s collected in all the containment methods used.  If the people in the gulf states assert the continued need for off-shore drilling they are complicit too.  They should get off their butts and instead of looking for a check from BP, they should demand new job training in mitigating the impact of the oil spill.  You can’t have it both ways.    

If it hasn’t already, history will show Jimmy Carter as a prophet and maybe if Reagan hadn’t manipulated the political scene to enhance his chances of getting elected Carter would have been able to talk some sense into the American people.  But then again, maybe not.  As long as oil and water don’t mix, we’ll continue to drill in deep waters.

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The finish line

June 6, 2010
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is just around the corner.  End of drama, stress, and too much work!  The finish line will lead to a fresh beginning, a time for unfettered enthusiasm in what I want to do.  NO is my new mantra when someone asks me to volunteer or suggests I might like to do such and such.  Instead of dealing with organizations I want to look a little closer to home and spend time with my family.  Amazingly, two years of my life have passed helping an organization and I feel like I am recovering from being fired. 

It’s early June and I have gardening to do and grandsons to play with and projects to look forward to.  I am gaining hours and hours of my time back.  I am almost done with the filing at home and that has meant I’ve found my desktop.  Wow!  My office is turning into a room of my own.  I’ve uncovered my own stuff and I cringe at the accumulated things I set aside to volunteer.  I’ll need to spend some time to think about what I really want to focus on.  Once I cross the finish line, there will be time for that.

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Wednesdays are days with Jack

May 3, 2010
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and are almost always hilarious.  First of all, he’s four years old.  That’s the best age in any human being’s life.  His language skills are amazing, his imagination is unbelievable, and he makes me laugh.  In the car last week on the way back to my house after picking him up at preschool, he asked me if he could play Jack in the Box when we got there.  I thought to myself, what does he mean by that, the Jack in the Box I gave him one year is at his house?  Ah, he reminded before I even asked him that it was the one on the deck and I immediately knew he meant the Rubbermaid deck box that we store our patio chair cushions in.  But before I could respond, he started laughing about how the name of the game and his name were the same.  And then he thought of jumping jacks and I thought of the song Hit the Road Jack, and before you knew it Jack and I were laughing and talking all the way home.

We never did play Jack in the Box.  His mother doesn’t like that game anyway.  Reminds her of a coffin.  She turns away when the boys start playing in it.  I stand by as guard so no one gets hurt.  The boys sure think it is funny though. 

Everyone was over last night.  Jack said something really funny and we all laughed.  He got mad and said “I’m really mad at you.”  We laughed again and he said “Now I’m really really mad at you.”  And he makes these adorable facial features that really express what he is feeling or thinking.

He’s a little thinker.  His dad calls him his scientist. 

We belatedly celebrated my son’s birthday yesterday.  We had a great cake that also congratulated the runners – Tracy, Mike, Midgee, Denny, and the boys ran in the MSU run earlier in the day.  Rob ran with the boys in the one-mile race but he didn’t come home with a medal, so he’s not counted.  The cake was decorated with a pair of runner’s shoes.  We only lit one candle and after singing happy birthday to Mike the boys were trying to blow out the candle.  Their uncle Mike spoke a little too harshly to Jack about not blowing out his candle, and Jack ran off in tears.  I went to find him; he was crouching between the side of the couch and the end table.  I coaxed him out and told him we could put a candle on his piece of cake so he could make a wish too.  He wouldn’t tell us his wish until after he blew out the candle.  Then he said that he wished he could be Spiderman without getting bitten by a spider.

The mummy comment was the funniest.  That was during a sleepover when the boys and Denny were preparing for our movie night.  I was making the popcorn.  I heard them going over some movies on cable and Marty, who at 7 is becoming a great reader, exclaims “Mummy 3, how ’bout that one.”  I yelled from the kitchen “I don’t think so!” and was then told that their mom would let them watch it.  I called Tracy and of course knew the answer.  I just needed the ammunition before going into the livingroom.  I said “do you even know what a mummy is?”, and Jack said “yeah, it’s when you get all wrapped up.”  I had to leave the room.

So we agreed on the Incredible Hulk, which we watched once with them before.  Within an hour Jack, the early bird, fell asleep on my lap.  So sweet.  So hilarious. 

I look forward to Wednesdays.

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Gardening shoes by the door

April 21, 2010
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March 31, 2010 (not posted until April 21)

I just came in from doing some trimming on dead stalks and leaves.  Not too much to do at this early date as removing mulch jeopardizes perennials in the event of a frost. 

My gardening shoes are close to the front door where they will stay now that I am leaving my post as treasure of my organization.  This is a good place for them to be and for me to be too.  They will serve as a reminder that I need to step into them rather than other shoes that don’t fit me.

Things that irritate me

April 21, 2010
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Finding only one shoe (ver short-lived moment)

Blepharitis and the treatment (not your brother’s eyes)

The differences in the volume of digital and cell phones

My cell phone dying just at the wrong moment

Having no idea where to start


Having to go see an opthamologist after spending a beautiful evening inside last Thursday at an urgent care facility and then waiting inside the store to get my prescription filled (or was it in my car at the spot reserved for the window pickup)

Dealing with all the questions from the ad we posted on craigslist

Last week:

Having my husband drive me to the urgent care facility; he was irritated he had to drive me.  Notice I did not call him the usual Darling Husband

Last year:

Nothing I can remember other than my organization I’ve been blogging about

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April 19, 2010
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This post was started in February between 4 am and 8 pm

4:30 AM:  It’s still my favorite TV show.  I think with more Jack Bauers in the world, the US could save lots of money on defense.  Our military budget, the largest in dollars compared to 14 other nations, was  281.8 billion dollars in 1999 (source   To put this in perspective, let’s see how much money the US spends on educating its citizens.  From what I can tell from the following link, the feds contributed 27 billion toward pre-K through 12 education for FY 2000 (, although as a nation we spent about 324 billion dollars on education including secondary education.  This number doesn’t seem right to me, but let’s just say for the sake of this blog that it’s a good estimate.  Now let’s consider that another military cost not included in the 281.8 billion we spent in 1999 is the post-military expenditures in our federal budget.  One web site showed this as 54% of our budget, which meant that in a given year military expenses were closer to 1.500 billion dollars – one and one half trillion dollars!   Wow!  I didn’t know that.  Some quick googles seem to show this to be pretty accurate.

5:00 AM:  Now, compare this to Israel’s rank in the 15 nations cited in the first link I show.  What nation do you think, off the top of your head, would be spending more money – a nation defending itself or a nation in offense strategy?  I would have guessed that it would be a nation trying to provoke (offend) another nation, and I would have been correct – Israel (a non-provoking nation) in most comparisons ranks last in military expenditures.  Now I hasten to add that I don’t know if the expenditure shown includes what the US provides in military aid.  I would think so, but I  am not going to research this at this time.  My point is that Israel spends less than Saudi Arabia and Iran, two nations that are not exactly friendly toward this tiny country.  Oh, yes, last time I checked Israel is a country.  It is a sovereign nation.  It is recognized as such by the United Nations.  It is a democracy like the United States.  Do you think that might be a big reason why we support Israel?

Please, my anti-Israel friends living in the United States, listen up.  When was the last time you didn’t appreciate your constitutionally provided rights to the freedoms you enjoy, including free speech?  When you lend your mental efforts to Israel bashing instead of rightful support of people living in tents, you injure the psyche of the Jewish people.  You insult them.  You alienate them.  You show your profound ignorance of the plight of this population since before the first millenium.  My own UU congregation and its national association, the Unitarian Universalist Association, has erroneously condemned Israel’s “occupation” based on past resolutions of the United Nations that are controversial and subjective.  I’ve heard a UU minister joke about Israel’s biblical claim to this land, my own congregation has sponsored speakers who are less than qualified but highly prejudiced in criticizing Israel, calling her declaration of independence the Palestinian’s name for catastrophe or Nakba.

This is a sore spot with me, and I’m tired of the naive criticism of Israel.  This nation is justified in defending itself from jihad groups and those who want to destroy it.   Israel also provides the U.S. with significant intelligence because of their location in the Middle East, something that most soft liberals don’t appreciate are likely saving us from further tragedies like 9/11.

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You really got me

March 3, 2010
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The Kinks were one of the best, as were many musicians from the 60’s.  Motown – all of it.  The Stones, forever.  The Beatles.   The Doors.  Darling husband would want me to mention the Animals and, oh yeah, Elvis (even though he’s not from that decade).  The Yardbirds.  Zombies.  Even the music coming out in the late 50’s, which I listened to before I turned 10 and was listened to by my teenaged aunt, had some great artists.  Can’t think of one?  I thought the Kingsmen were the late 50’s but after a quick google found that their controversial hit Louie Louie is from the 60’s.  Turns out Richard Berry had that hit well before, in 1957.  

As I was trying to calm my urge to jump right into the morning, thinking of too many things at once, the Kinks’ You Really Got Me song popped into my head.   I Utubed it on my tinny speakers and it played while I left my chair to reheat yesterday’s leftover coffee.   It still sounded great despite the medium.  I’m now playing For Your Love and want to know why we don’t have any Kinks in our massive collection.  Darling husband, if/when you read this, please answer this!

Jefferson Airplanes is now a Johhny Depp movie

So the day started in my head as you really got me; I wanted to jump in and get started; I’m not getting any younger- none of you are!  But the day seems stronger, more compelling, more calling, more wanting.  It’s saying let’s live!  (Like we want to die?).  So I said to the day you really got me . . .  going; you got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’; yeah; you really got me now; you got me so I can’t sleep at night (true); yeah, you really got me now . . .

Cream, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Monkeys, The Troggs – With a Girl Like you (that’s me), Wild Thing (that’s me too, and you love me darling husband).  Check out a band I found – Motorhead performing a rendition of Louie Louie and Jumpin Jack Flash.

Gloria and Brown-eyed Girl by Van Morrison were two of the first songs I remember playing on a 45 until the record wore out.  

So much more . . . I want to make special mention of Janis Joplin.  She was way ahead of her time and put her soul in her music.  This clip shows a smiling Tom Jones who can’t take his eyes off her during their performance.

But the following song started many of my days in the late 60’s in a very happy mood.

All Choked Up

February 11, 2010
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Darling husband who cooks for me, buys me lovely bling and clothes that get complemented all the time, fierce protector of his family, vacuums, does his own laundry (would do mine too but I’m a bit picky), and, did I say earns a good living?  Darling husband has a few night time habits that I think contribute to my insomnia.  Here I was thinking that I had found a cure (thanks to darling husband’s considerate review of Men’s Health magazine) by taking 5-HTP.  Last night darling husband had a cough.  Now he’s had the cough for a few weeks, but it has been subsiding along with the cold that caused it.  I, too, had a similar cough due to a similar but lesser cold.  Mine is mostly gone.  Last night, his cough suddenly erupted violently.  In an attempt to not wake me up, he threw open the covers, leapt out of bed, bounded to the bedroom door, closed it, and got all choked up.  Now this choking up, which is a kind of coughing fit (he gets crazy sneezing fits too), sounds like a high-strung poodle combination cough/bark.  It’s kind of weird to hear your husband sound like a poodle.  And he really doesn’t like that I describe his cough that way.  But it’s true, and it kind of bugs me, that he sounds like a dog that I don’t like.  The poodle, I mean my darling husband, came back to bed and again soon erupted into barking, I mean coughing.  By then, he knew I was concerned and awake, so he no longer jumped out of bed to hide his poodle nature from me.  Eventually his cough subsided and I got back to sleep.

Posted in The Last Word
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These days, I am mostly happy. Not wildly happy. Happy as in feeling very content with my life. Happy with my darling husband and wonderful family. Happy I have a pooch to keep me company. Happy that I pretty much get to choose and do whatever I want. That kind of happy.