Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Night Words

Last night I made a point of going to bed early (for me) because I have a cold and feel pretty lousy.  I lay in bed trying to sleep.  Words tumbled through my head with a repetitiveness that I knew would mean I would not get to sleep early.  I lay there listening to my thoughts hoping that the words would leave and I could sleep.

You would think after all these years of writing I would know when to just give in and get up.  The repetitiveness of them should have been a clue because I couldn't stop repeating certain phrases.  I know other writers tell me they keep a pad of paper by the bed but that doesn't work for me.  For one thing, it would disturb my husband if I were to sit up and turn on a light to write this down.

I tossed and turned for quite some time before I finally got out of bed annoyed with myself for not being able to turn my brain off.  It is funny how I can lay in the dark with my eyes closed, trying to relax and empty my mind enough to sleep but I won't sleep.

The interesting thing is I got up and wrote a long poem about a true moment and didn't think it particularly good.  I zipped it off to one of the people who reads for me, as she usually gives me objective feedback.   So did I then go to bed?  No, because for some odd reason the words excite me and rev me up.  I have to go through my shut down routine all over again.  This involves checking email and a whole odd nightly routine that I must do.  By the time I was done, it was nearly 11:30.  Not early anymore and I'm not getting extra rest like I need. 

The good thing though, now the words were out and written.  I fell into bed and almost immediately fell asleep.  Somehow getting those words on paper allowed me to settle the chaos in my head enough so I could sleep.

 This morning I get up to read an email from my friend.  I am slightly concerned it will be a commentary on how completely awful my poem was.  Yes even I have doubts about my work sometimes.  There is an email and she loved it.  It is a relief that the forceful words weren't just a jumble of twaddle and make sense to someone other than my warped mind.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Polite and intelligent

On Facebook, I just watched a video of protesters talking to police about why they were being forced to take down signs in the rotunda.  The young man speaking was eloquent and intelligent.  He spoke passionately but politely.  The police were polite and asked nicely.  The protesters took their tickets.

It is amazing to me how some people can characterize the protesters as thugs, violent and other unpleasant names.  In reality from what I've seen and heard they are polite and firm.  They are there to state their opinions and protest.  They aren't causing damage.  They aren't breaking things.  They aren't threatening anyone.  They are there voicing their opinions and beliefs (loudly). 

They aren't getting discourse from the Republicans.  What are the Republicans afraid of?  Why won't they discuss with an open mind and heart?  What stops them from listening to all of these people?  Unfortunately I don't have the answer to that.  I can make assumptions but I'm not willing to do that. 

When I went to the rally and meeting I was hoping for a republican or two to be there so I could hear their side of this.  I want to KNOW why they are doing this and what they think they will accomplish.  Sadly none showed up.  All we get from them is name calling and bullying tactics.  The rules only apply to everyone else, it would seem, not to them. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fix Wisconsin (and maybe the US too) part 2

On a state level we have to have a balanced budget.  We are not (as a state) allowed to have a deficit.  We need to pay the bills and care for our people.  We need to not punish one group or another.  We need to not be contentious about the hard times we have right now.  It is time to pull together and work hard to make things work.

On a federal level we don’t have to have a balanced budget.  That is the first change I would make.  Just as the individual cannot spend more than they make, our government needs to not spend more than it makes.

Here are some things to consider if the above doesn’t work to make the budget work.  Let’s look at the taxes that haven’t been raised in say the last five years.  If it hasn’t been raised then it is time to raise them.  I know NO ONE likes to pay more in taxes, however, we aren’t going to have this luxury.

Here’s the thing – taking money away from the poor – not going to fix the problem.  Why not you say?  Well because they are poor and don’t have any money.  Therefore, we can’t get more income from them.  It doesn’t save money to stop paying for preventative care and birth control.  It costs more money in the long run.  Plus the poor have it hard enough.  Let’s not make their lot in life worse.

We need to look at luxury items.  Yes I know the corporations and the rich people are cringing.  Here is the thing – if you have extra, then you need to give back.  Oh don’t worry I don’t think you should give till you are poor – I just think you have the ability to pay more so you should.

We need to encourage employment here.  I don’t know if we are necessarily going to be a manufacturing country anymore but we need to figure out how to keep our people employed.

We need to have a national healthcare plan so that everyone has equal access to care.  This means we need to rein in the insurance and pharmaceutical companies.  They make HUGE profits.  This is at the cost of the individuals who have to pay for all this crap. 

Education needs a revamp.  Teachers who excel at their jobs need to be compensated appropriately.  Those who aren’t good teachers need to be washed out.  Our schools need to step away from you are in grade X and will learn this.  They need to accommodate the students’ level of knowledge.  If a five year old is reading at a twelve year old level – they should be taught at that level.  We need to get our kids an education.  Studies show that more education means less likelihood for a need to rely on aid of any kind.

The society in US is a prude.  There is nothing wrong with sex or the naked body.  Like everything else we need to educate our populace (starting at a young age) that sex is normal and natural.  Virginity isn’t a prize to be clung to like some Victorian spinster.  It is a state of being.  You either have had or haven’t had sex.  Therefore we need to teach our kids how to have save and protected sex.  There are too many dangers in unprotected sex.  Pregnancy is the least of the worries.  There are all sorts of sexually transmitted diseases that will do everything from make you uncomfortable to kill you.  That needs to stop.  Oral sex is still sex and kids need to know that.  We need to teach our kids to respect their bodies and themselves. 

This leads to a woman’s right to control her own body.  Every woman should have the right to say what she wants to happen to her body.  No one – NO ONE – gets to say whether it is the right time for her to have a baby or not.  If she is pregnant and makes the difficult and heart wrenching decision to terminate that pregnancy, that is her choice.  No one – and in particular – no man gets to say she shouldn’t do that.  No I’m not pro-abortion – I’m pro-CHOICE.  That means that I think all the options should be available to women without recriminations for choosing one over another.

We have one planet to live on.  We need to respect our planet and figure out a way to live in harmony with all the creatures here and with the environment.  If we destroy our planet than where are we going to live?  Cut government subsidies to the oil companies unless they are developing other types of energy.  It is clearly obvious that nuclear energy is NOT the way to go.  The question then becomes what is the way to go?

How are we to accomplish all of these changes and adjustments?  Well here is the first steps I can think of:
1.      Meet with respect and an open mind.
2.      Discuss options and ideas
3.      Formulate a plan of action
4.      Execute that action plan
5.      Evaluate that plan on a regular basis
6.      Revise the plan as is needed
7.      Repeat…

There you go in three pages I’ve fixed the government and our society.  I know that people will read this and think – this woman is NUTS.  That’s okay because I probably am.  See I expect my elected representatives to actually do their job and represent ME.  I expect them to listen and hear all sides of an argument before they make a decision. 

Maybe I’m just idealistic in my belief that the founding fathers (there should have been mothers involved too) had it right with government for the people by the people.  I think that if we all pull together and get down to brass tacks we can make our country a better place for everyone to live, work and play. 

Obviously we won’t cure all the ills in one big meeting but let’s at least be open and have the discussions needed to bring our economy and lives back into a balanced place.

Now if you have managed to get to the end of this and still are reading – good for you – let me know what you think.  I’d love to hear others ideas about how to fix these difficult problems.

Fix Wisconsin (and maybe the US too) part 1

So much strife and dissent has occurred in the last three months.  It is exhausting to try to keep up with all the things that are going on.  Frankly I’m tired of the spoiled little boys and girls who are making the decisions in our government.  It is all about one party or the other and not what it should really be about. 

What should it really be about you might ask?  Here is my take on that. 

Our elected officials are not sent to Madison (or Washington) to get rich or to push their agenda (or the agenda of one entity – party, company, industry, person).  They are sent there to represent the people in their district. 

I know many districts are diverse with a number of opinions and beliefs.  Here’s the thing – the only way to find out what your constituents want is to LISTEN to them.  It is to have an open door police to take their phone calls, emails, and in person appointments to determine what they actually want you to do. 

If they aren’t doing this then they are not in touch with what the people in their district want, think, feel, or believe.  Even if they won an election that doesn’t mean the constituents agree with the legislator’s beliefs.  Therefore you have to do the above to stay in touch with in order to vote according to how the constituents want. 

Here is what I see we need to do (this is my opinion not anyone else’s and not based on some political agenda – no funds were taken from any special interests other than my own to form these opinions…)

·         Every employee needs to look for money saving ideas and present them in a professional way to offer options to the chiefs.  The people in the trenches see where there is waste.  They see where the programs work and where they don’t work.  These are the people who should be able to say – oh we can save money here…
·         Every employee needs to look to conserve everything from the energy bill (turn off those lights that aren’t needed) to the supplies they are using.  The savings may be small but pennies add up.
·         Every employee needs to be willing and flexible to the changes that will come down the chain of command.  Try something – if it doesn’t work fine but don’t just dismiss it because it is a change from what you are used to. 
·         Every employee needs to be doing their job to the fullest and best of their ability.  Get the work done – then go find more work.  If you are done with your work offer to help someone who isn’t done yet. 
·         Every department in the state (and the federal level too) needs to look at the ideas presented by the employees and determine whether they can be implemented.  If they can GREAT!!!  If they can’t – tell us why.  If an employee knows the why of it they can look at the situation differently and come up with a better solution.
·         Every department needs to look at their budget and determine where the fat is.  There is almost always excess.  Yes it is a difficult thing to say – if we don’t do this it will adversely affect our customers.  However, how many people will it affect?  Is it a small enough number that it could be dropped without too much difficulty?  Are there alternatives out there for the services and can we direct the customers to these services. 
·         Every department needs to look at the top level of administrators and determine how many there are and if there are too many.  These are the people who are paid the most and if we have to reduce the number of employees this would be the best place to start.  Now I’m not saying get rid of key people – that is just stupid.  I’m saying look for the “too many chiefs” syndrome and trim there.
·         Every unit in the department needs to look at the workflow to see how they can make it more efficient.  This will allow their people to do more with less.  We are doing it anyways we might as well make it easier.
·         The unions need to encourage their members to do all of these things.  They need to look for better ways to negotiate in order to complete the contracts quicker and with less strife.
·         The unions need to survey their members to see what is important to them – do they want a higher wage?  Do they want better benefits?  What is most and least important to the members?
·         Once these things have been done then the leaders need to meet – not just with department heads but with the employees of the state, the unions, the public – to discuss how much has been saved.  If we have made the budget balance – woo hoo – everyone do a happy dance.  If not – start the process over again.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writing Momentum

I’ve been working on a manuscript since Thanksgiving weekend.  I’ve got 500 pages double spaced done.  I’m not done with the story though.  I’ve not written since January and have been frustrated with my progress (or lack of really).

I have friends who read for me.  You all know who you are so first THANK YOU!!  They often yank me back on track, encourage me, and offer an honest critique. One of the friends I sent this manuscript to has been sending me her thoughts on it as she progresses through the manuscript.  This has been great on this project for me. 

Since I’ve not written much in the past two months, it has made me go back to reread what I’ve got done.  I started reading again and low and behold – I didn’t want to stop.  I just wanted to read through this book.  It grabbed me and enthralled me.  Now I know that may sound conceited and that isn’t how I mean it.

The story captures so many of the things I’ve been coping with lately.  Some of it really resonates with me right now with the political issues we are dealing with. 

Aside from that though, these characters are familiar to me.  They seem almost more familiar than some of my family members.  It is like sitting down with old friends to say “Hey what’s going on in your life.”   Then I read some more and wow I know. 

I’m hoping to get back to writing soon.  I can see the next chapter in my head.  I know where I’ll be going and what I’ll be having these characters doing.  (No spoilers though so keep reading.)  I just need the time to sit down to the computer and work.

Interestingly enough, at my work they are doing some repairs which will involve lack of access to the elevator and asbestos removal on another floor.  Since I have asthma I don’t want to be in the building for the removal – yes I know they seal up the space but I still don’t want to be around.  So I will be having some unexpected free time at home. 

Now I just have to pray to the Goddess of Inspiration and hope she blesses me….

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rally

Last night Ken and Alicia stood on the bridge with about 75 - 100 other people protesting the governor's budget and the actions taken by the government.  Mom and I drove by several times, honking to show our support.  Mom took pictures (of course) and then I took her home. 

Ken and I went to the information meeting.  I was really hoping that a republican or two would show up so we could have an intelligent debate.  However, they didn't.  It was a room full of like minded people.  I was afraid that it would become a pep rally.  It did not.  I heard intelligent questions put to a former representative and a union leader. 

There were people from all sorts of jobs - teachers, farmers, secretaries, and business owners.  It was a moving and intelligent conversation about the affects of what this budget will mean to so many people. 

I've always considered Whitewater to be conservative and Republican.  The good ole boys club is definitely in affect there.  Last night I was proud to say I grew up there.  People came out for honest and open discussion.  It is too bad the Republicans didn't show up, I think it would be good for them to actually hear what these people have to say. 

One other comment - there were things said about a rep - I don't know if they are true so I'm not going to repeat them.  However, here is my opinion on an elected officials job.  If you run for office, you better be prepared to speak to and meet with all the people in your district whether they voted for you or not.  Your job as an elected official is to represent the people in your district.  Your job is to hear their opinions and desires when it comes to a bill or topic before the legislative review.  Your job is to LISTEN to these and determine what the majority of those people want.  Then your job is to vote based on the majority of those people.  All of this is whether you agree with what these people want or not.  They are the ones who you are standing for.  It isn't your opinion that counts - it is THEIR opinions that count.

If you can't do that, then you should not be in office.  If you can't listen to everyone and determine what the majority of people want, then you have no right to sit in Madison or Washington as a representative.  Our government is meant to be a government of the people by the people.  It is a founding idealism and if you as an individual can't follow that - then don't run for office.  I think a lot of our representatives have forgotten that.  It isn't about who gave you money to run but about the people and what their needs are.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drawing to a Close

The week is drawing to a close and I'm exhausted.  However, I'm still planning on going to the rally tomorrow in Whitewater.  It is at 6 pm at the flagpoles.  If you are local - come on out.  There will be a debate in City Hall at 7 pm.  I am most interested in that.

Here I am 47 years old and I've never been politically involved.  I still don't think I'll vote by party lines.  However, I am definitely going to make sure I know who I'm voting for.  This is definitely a different experience for me.  See I'm considered a baby boomer so is my husband.  We are at the tail end of it though.  We were barely born in the 60s so we weren't involved in the protests at that time.  My sisters were in High School and College / Tech School during the Vietnam War protests. 

I believe strongly in standing up for what you believe in.  I've just never felt the need to band together.  Don't get me wrong - I've written letters to legislators and newspapers.  I've fought for what I thought was right.  I just never had a whole lot of other people agreeing with me before. 

There is stress.  I am not sleeping.  I'm worrying about a whole list of things.  Under the worry though is the knowledge that this NEEDS to be done.  I know some of you disagree with my beliefs and my comments on here.  That is just fine by me.  Everyone is allowed their opinions. 

I've had a word or two from friends (or a lot more than that).  Here's the thing.  In my emails every day I get a LOT of stuff from all sorts of unions.  I read them.  I look through them and try to find the primary source of their information.  When they use inflammatory verbiage and inappropriate language - I stop reading and discard the email.  When they give us data - I go look for more data to back it up. 

I don't know if it is because I'm a writer and I want three (at least) solid sources for information or if it is because I just do research.  I want the primary source of the information.  Every day we hear propaganda from each side.  We hear horror stories and rumors. 

I don't want that and I try not to pass that on.  I want FACTS.  I listen to both Fox and MSNBC.  Fox is horrible and incorrect all the time.  MSNBC is incorrect some of the time and some times they blow things out of proportion. 

When I want NEWS I try to gather information from a primary source.  For instance - I was told that teachers make over 100,000 grand a year with their benefits.  I googled it... boy is there a lot of crap out there and a lot of opinions.  This is what I did - I went to the Department of Public Instruction.  They have an Excel spreadsheet which gives highs/lows/average wage and average benefits for each school district.  I looked there.

I'm not always right.  I've been known to get upset and say what I've been told.  Then I calm down and do the research and find - oopppss not quite the right information.  But I try not to do that. 

The only way I can battle the stress of the situation and keep any amount of sanity is to ferret out the facts as I am able.  These are not always reassuring but at least I know I have the facts.  There are things worth fighting for and I'm sure the history books will report what the winners did as being right.  I wonder if those who live through it will have the courage and the voice to tell what it was like to live in these times.  History can't express the worry, fear, and all the other emotions that flood over you as you watch this unfold.  Only people can do that.  Hopefully there will be people brave enough to share how they feel with all the turmoil.  Will you?  Post if you are...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Budget Beating

Tonight I worked for an hour and half trying to figure out our new budget because I got tentative notification of the date that our checks will be lower.  Our household isn't going to be doing anything.  All I can afford from this point forward is to just pay the bills. 

A HUGE concern for me is the cost of gas.  If that continues to go up we could be having further issues because it will affect my expenses which are already too tight.  We already buy a minimum for groceries every week so I can't cut anything there.

Many things are rumbling through my head tonight.  I'm worried for my mom because the new budget which is being projected will raise her premium for her prescriptions coverage.  This will mean she is either spending more on the premium or paying for scripts outright.  I'll have to figure out which is most cost effective for her.

What happens if the cost of food goes up?  It's an area I'm already scrimping on.  What happens if the cost of heating / cooling goes up?  Tonight my house is set at 68 and I HURT.  In the heat of summer, I can't handle the heat and my daughter gets sick from it.  A/C is a necessity for us.  What if we can't afford to run the a/c though?

I can see a second job in my future but I'm worried there won't be any available.  With so many people having to scrimp and save it is possible all the part time positions will get snapped up.  Plus I have limitations on what I'm able to do. 

There is definitely a lot to think about right now.  I know I'm not the worst off and I know I'm not the only one.  Still it doesn't help when I spend my evening trying to figure out where the money is going to come from. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Summing up the week

It has been an eventful week.  There has been a lot going on in the political arena.  It had the unexpected benefit of creating a family gathering with little arguing and a lot of agreement on the one topic which seems to have unified the family.  Surprisingly this is politics. 

One of my sisters has been going to the protests and she shared her experiences.  I loved the stories about the farmers driving their tractors and manure spreaders - seems very appropriate.  The rest of us just discussed whatever details we had heard and some of our fears.  When a topic negatively affects every member it definitely pulls the family together.

Mom's 80th birthday was Saturday.  She is as spunky and sassy as ever.  She goes to Curves and the Aquatic center to work out regularly each week.  She volunteers to help out at the church.  She is busier than I am and seems to have more energy. 

All of my siblings were together on Saturday.  We were only missing two brothers-in-law and a lot of grandchildren / great grandchildren.  It was a good gathering.  My aunt came with her two grandsons.  They are very handsome young men.  It is strange how when you don't see them for a while you lose track of how old they are.  Now these two young men are the same ages as my two younger daughters roughly.  However, when I saw them I was like - wow they got to be handsome adults.  What's up with that?  I guess I still see them as the little boys that tagged along at the family gatherings. 

It was a busy and full evening with much delight, discussion, and even a scare.  My sister's mother-in-law stepped wrong and fell down the basement stairs.  She's about my mom's age so you can imagine how bad this could be.  Fortunately, she was banged and bruised but had no serious damage.  We are all grateful no lasting damage was done. 

I submitted a poem and an essay to a publication today.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed to see if they get published.  I have to print out the new version of it though because I made some pretty drastic changes. 

For me the best news - I tried another pain killer and I think I may have finally found a replacement.  The first dose went VERY well.  No side affects and pain relief.  So hopefully my search for a new drug has ended.  I will still be careful taking it the next couple of times but if it continues to perform well then I will bid the Darvacet a sad but fond farewell.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Various information

I know that some of you are probably tired of the political stuff.  I know I'm stressed and tired of it.  It is hard for me to understand why someone or a group of someones would so completely ignore what is right and what a huge number of people want for their own state... but that is neither here nor there...

I've said all along I don't trust Walker's numbers.  I don't trust that he is telling the truth.  Here is a link to an article I found to be very interesting.


On the topic of fiscal responsibility - perhaps EVERYONE should look at this graph - now it is for the national level but it speaks to which party is the more fiscally responsible...


I work at a state university.  The tension at work is palpable.  The anger, frustration, and disappointment hang in the air like cobwebs in a deserted house.  Worry is etched on every one's face and determination to stand up to this situation is in the stance of nearly all the employees.

I hope that the Republicans and Walker see sense and stop tearing down Wisconsin.  If not I hope they are prepared to lose their jobs.  There is a rally tomorrow in Madison.  If you can, please go - voice your opinion - whatever it is. 

I drove around the capitol square today.  People crowded the sidewalks and near the building.  I saw a lot of people - no thugs, no violence, no disorderly conduct.  I saw people gathering to voice their opinions.  It made me proud.  Now if only there was someone there to listen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Core Beliefs

With all the posts on politics I've offended some people.  Some of these people were long standing friends.  I'm not sure whether they will continue to be my friend after this bout of political sharing.  In every day life, I'm pretty middle of the road.  I'll vote for the candidate and how he or she represents themselves.  I don't consider myself either Democrat or Republican.

One of the friends who disagrees with my point of view told me to explore the different beliefs of the parties and present a more balanced view.  My first thought was - it isn't supposed to be a balanced view - this is my blog about MY opinions.  However, I like to keep an open mind and I like to listen to a lot of different perspectives.  So I thought I'd start at the heart of the beliefs. 

Here are the core beliefs of the Republican party (http://www.gop.com/index.php/issues/what_we_believe/)

What we believe
We're fortunate to live in America
You can be what you are, and become what you are capable of becoming
Helping those around you is worthwhile
Small government is a better government for the people
You know what to do with your money better than government
Free markets keep people free
Our Armed Forces defend and protect our democracy

Now to be fair - after each of these statements on the site they have a statement of what this means to the republicans. 

Here are the core beliefs of the Democrats (http://strongdems.com/tag/core-beliefs/)

We stand for:

•Liberty
•Justice
•Equality for all
•Community
•Strong Middle Class Jobs
•Defense of our shores
•Modern Infrastructure
•Economic Stability and Prosperity
•Energy Independence
•Environmental Protection

I look at these two lists and think - were they copying from each other the day they wrote these?  Okay there are a few differences in their wording but let's look at these lists.

Dems - Liberty, Defense of our shores  Rep - Our Armed Forces defend and protect our democracy :  This seems pretty equal to me - not the same wording but the core ideas are there.

Dems - Community    Rep - Helping those around you is worthwhile :  Here we might be a bit further apart.  The Republicans seem to be saying that it is OK to help others... the Dems seem to be wanting you to be involved in your neighborhood and society - maybe a bit broader point but without further definition it is hard to tell.

Dems - Justice and Equality for all     Rep - You can be what you are, and become what you are capable of becoming:    Dems seem to be spewing words from the constitution - not a bad thing but how are you defining it?  Reps are just vague and here is where I have to say I take SEVERE issue with them.  They have this in their core beliefs but if you are a woman they are going to tell you what to do with your body.  If you are gay or lesbian they are going to prevent you from being married... so maybe they need a codicil on their statement.

Dems - Economic stability and prosperity     Reps - You know what to do with your money better than government:    Reps - have you seriously looked at the bankruptcy rates and the credit card debt - are you sure that Americans have a clue about money?  I think we may need a remedial course in money management all the way around... Dems - true statement and any reasonable person would read this and say "yes I agree" but what do you mean by it, how will you achieve it?  I want more details from you on this...

This leaves four principles for the Dems and three for the Reps which I can't really match up - perhaps they decided to have things just slightly different so the teacher wouldn't think they were cheating??? 

The Dems say they want a strong middle class and the Reps say they believe a free market keeps people free.  Economists will tell you that if the middle class is doing well the the economy is doing well.  I believe (not an expert) that most economists agree on this ...  

Free market is a whole different thing.  If we look at NAFTA and other free market deals all that really did was allow companies to take jobs out of the US and move it overseas.  Now nearly everything is made overseas where there are little to no workers rights or protections..  Do you know if your clothes were made in a sweat shop?  ABC news did an interesting report where they took everything out of a house that was not made in America.  The house was nearly empty.  They then put back only made in America items.  Overall I believe (didn't see every report) they found items that were the same cost or less that were made in the US.  The only items they didn't find to be less expensive were the appliances - only ones still made in US are the top of the line WOLF appliance (made in WI I think).  So why are we buying foreign made goods so much?  Why aren't we putting our neighbors to work?

The reps also say we are fortunate to live in America - yes we are.  That doesn't mean that things are perfect here.  They also claim to believe in small government being better for the people.  A principle I agree with.  I don't want the government regulating my womb.  I don't want the government telling me who I can marry.  Oh wait the reps do that - maybe someone should show them their core beliefs and explain them to them so they remember that.  (That may have been slightly bitchy or all out bitchy but I'm not apologizing for the republicans)

On the other side of the aisle the dems stand for modern infrastructure, energy independence, and environmental protection.  I'd argue with this but I can't.  I too believe if we have these things it makes our country better.  Yet I don't want to go into debt to achieve these things.  If we go into debt though initially will it stimulate the economy enough that more revenues will be generated to cover the debt?  I don't know - again I"m not an economist. 

Here is my thing - when we are talking about ideals.  I agree with both parties.  I like the principles of each and think they have some great core beliefs.  The problem occurs when they try to implement these beliefs.  There needs to be a strong independent spirit in our politicians.  They have to be above things like their own greed in accumulating power and money for their own aggrandizement.  Unfortunately most politicians aren't. 

I see these beliefs and I want to weep for joy in the wonderful idealistic tone of them.  Then I look at how they have been applied.  I think at the heart of it our politicians have forgotten they are hired by the people to serve the people.  Few of them are doing a good job.  Sadly it seems to me that recent events have proven that money can buy an election.  Just look at Wisconsin.

Democracy is Dead

I was trying so hard to not post the political stuff and just give it a bit of a rest to see if things would calm down and work out.  They've worked out - or should I say they have been rammed through. 

It is interesting to read comments on articles.  I find that the Democrats letters and such are about compromise and working together.  The Republicans are about name calling and bullying.  I have found this to be the case with those commenting on articles - in general. 

I'm not saying that the dems are better than the republicans but it seems as if people are just not informed.  I read a comment on an article last night where the person said that teachers were all making six figures and getting multi-million dollar retirements.  It was so ridiculous and yet so sad.  Any public sector employees wages are public record - go LOOK. 

What the Republicans did last night was a travesty in the name of democracy.  I'm sure that the assembly will ram it through - they showed that with the last time they voted on this bill.  Here are my predictions for the future...

Walker will still lay off employees under the premise that is financial bill didn't go through.  He will also implement more furlough days under this same guise.  I think when he's done with that he will start looking at other benefits like sick time, base pay, vacation pay etc. 

I think the power plants will be sold for a rock bottom price.  I think we are going to see gas at the pumps and in our furnaces go up drastically and horribly. 

I think that he will close all the clinics that help with cancer screening for the poor.  I think we are going to see an increase in babies (no birth control) and then in abortions or worse in babies being born to people who don't want them. 

Walker I feel is trying to put us back to the 50s.  We aren't there and won't go back.

In the meanwhile the unions, democrats, AFL CIO, women's groups and whoever else gets a fancy to will sue.  It will take a while but these suits will eventually go through the courts and hopefully will win.  The sad thing is - in the long run it is tax payers who are going to pay - look at Milwaukee County.  Some of these things can't be undone.  Some of these things will permanently change how Wisconsin is and not for the better. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For Shame

I watched John Stewart last night and he talked about Pete King from NY who is calling for McCarthy like hearings within the Muslim communities.  This is appalling.  McCarthyism was one of the worst things in our recent history. 

Saying that one group is responsible for the ills of our nation is ridiculous.  It makes them scape goats when in reality it isn't the Muslims but the extremists in all religions and view points. 

I've heard recently about laws being passed to make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions.  I've heard the rhetoric from whichever wing (can never keep the extremists straight) where they are condemning abortion but then also turn around and condemn single mothers. 

Here is my thought on that issue - NO ONE has any right to say what I do with my body and whether I choose to be married or not. 

We need to get out of people's lives and let them live them.  If they aren't breaking laws or hurting others then leave them alone. 

If King wants to study the radicalization of anything great - do it in general terms across society - don't pick on one group.  It didn't work in WWII with the Japanese.  It didn't work in the 50s with Communism.  It won't work now with the Muslims.

It seems some of the political machines forget that we are supposed to be a religiously free country. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just another Sunday...

Well my morning has been interesting.  I've not accomplished a lot.  I was rudely woken up by my daughter complaining about my husband.  She made up for it nicely by making breakfast.  Then they went off to Walmart and I was going to take a shower but they kept bugging me with calls.  So I waited till they were home. 

I worked on some insurance stuff - gotta love insurance.  I have to send in my receipts for over the counter drugs now with a prescription from my doctor to get reimbursed for them.  Now don't think I'm getting paid - this is money that is deducted from my pay check for this purpose.  I used to be able to go to the pharmacy and buy what was needed using the card from the insurance company.  Now however I have to buy it, save the receipt, have a prescription from my doctor.  When I have all of that I get to mail, fax, or email it in to the insurance company so they can reimburse me.  I don't think anyone is happy about the process.  I know the insurance company wasn't when I called to talk to them about it.

Now that I have that stuff done, I have to figure out something for lunch.  After lunch who knows what mischief I'll get up to.  Maybe I'll take a nap.  Maybe I'll work on genealogy.  Maybe I'll write.  Such wildness on my part I know.  This is just another Sunday though and thankfully I think it will be a quiet one.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Drugs are bad...

Well three up and three down I guess.  My Darvon / darvacet have been taken off the market.  Since finding that out I've been trying to find a replacement.  I've tried Tramadol which made me feel like my head was going to explode; vicaden which did nothing; and finally percacet which made me itch everywhere, having ringing in my ears and gave me chest pains. 

Needless to say these are all going on the list of don't bother taking again.  Percacet in particular will be avoided.  The bad thing aside from the reaction is that I asked the doctor to just give me like five pills because really after one dose I'll know whether I can take it or not.  He didn't he gave me a full prescription.  So now I have three bottles of drugs I can't take.  I have no idea what to do with these drugs as we aren't supposed to flush them anymore.  I guess I'll call the pharmacy to see what they say. 

It is back to the drawing board for me and pain management.  Hopefully we can find something that works and doesn't give me awful side affects...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Look Forward

I'm feeling a lot stressed out tonight.  I get all sorts of emails from my union and other political places and I try to be very conservative about what I pass on.  Today one of the things I got from my union was a link state employees can go to plug in their gross income and then answer questions about union status and insurance.  It will tell you how much you might lose from your check if this goes through.

Someone who is good at math do the math for me.  Okay I've already done the math.  I'm losing 11% of my income.  In one check I'll be losing nearly $200 in the other I'll be losing about $65.  This is on top of the 3% they are already taking for the furlough days. 

On top of this possible loss of funds, I'm looking at a strong possibility of being laid off because I'm still on probation.  The governor said today that layoff notice will go out tomorrow afternoon to 1500 workers who will have to be cut.  You only get like 65% of your income on unemployment right?

Then I look at the pump and gas just keeps going up and up.  It was $3.43 a gallon yesterday and they are calling for it to be nearly $5 a gallon before summer. 

On the news tonight I heard that our city is looking at having to up either taxes or fees because of the cut to the recycling program proposed by Walker's budget.  This doesn't address the nearly $300,000+ that the school district is losing (not sure on that number)

All I can see is money out of my pocket.  I'm trying to meet my bills and stay on top of things but at this point I don't know if I will be able to. 

It doesn't help that most of this is just a what if thing.  Will I get laid off?  Will I lose 11% of my income?  Will fees and/or taxes go up in the city?  Will gas prices go up?  If gas prices go up will food prices go up?  How many will end up unemployed? 

I guess the question becomes will there be a second job available for me when I need it?

Money and Politics

It seems like lately all I'm doing is worrying about money and politics.  Politics are definitely driving the concern about the money situation.  Gas is nearly 3.50 a gallon.  This definitely affects my budget.  It is one of the biggest sections of my budget.  I know that as the gas leaps up in price the less likely I am to go anywhere.   Certainly with the unrest in the middle east this is not going to go away anytime soon.

The unrest at home isn't helping either.  Work - because I work for the state - is difficult because everyone has really low morale.  It is like there is a blanket of despair covering the employees.  I know I'm not the only one worrying about money and where we are headed with this budget repair bill and the budget proposed by Walker. 

It very much concerns me that he wants to trash our educational system.  Now don't get me wrong - I've said for years it needs revamping.  From a parents perspective I don't see it fulfilling the needs of our children.  However just pulling out nearly a billion dollars isn't going to make it better - it will in fact make it worse. 

Wisconsin I believe is second in the nation for its educational system.  Yes it needs work - but don't most things.  Generally if you get teachers together - they are pretty smart and willing to look at ways to improve things.  Ask what can be done.  Ask what are some ways to cut costs without hurting the children. 

Unfortunately I don't believe Walker knows how to do that.  I think he has his agenda and to hell with anyone who doesn't agree with him.  Sadly that only works for dictatorships - last time I looked Wisconsin isn't a dictatorship - wait - maybe it is now...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Back to the salt mines...

My to do list did not get to done... but I did relax and spend some ME time while I was off.  I'm actually looking forward to going back to work.  I know I have a lot on my desk - it was there when I left.  I also know that the moment I step into work the stress level will be quite high with all the political stuff going on.

I've spent the last five days organizing and sorting through writing stuff.  I have it more the way I want it now and hopefully that will last - I just have to maintain it now.  In going through I've gotten a couple of ideas about what I want to do with a few articles and hopefully I will have time to get those done. 

I didn't get to write at all.  I need to get back to that.  Hopefully that will happen this week and I can move forward with the manuscript I am working on.  I didn't get any work done on any of the other manuscripts either.  I think if I'm not in the mood to write I'll go back to editing those so I can move forward on getting them published. 

As I said - my to do list didn't get done and those are still on my mind.  I would like to get those projects submitted to a couple of places though so I can move on to other projects.  I have about a half a dozen in the works... it is just a matter of time and motivation to work on them...  

Catching Up

Over the weekend, I got three manuscripts edited and worked on two other manuscripts.  Ken and Vicki did all the errands on Saturday.  Sunda...