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photo by Sheri Dixon

Friday, December 11, 2015

It's All Going According to the Plan

Hang onto your hats, kids. Come the first of the year, we're gonna see the ACA do some fine imploding. Oh, there are several fronts this will happen on, but lemme share the one that'll get me up close and personal.

I'm for the ACA and what it stands for. I was and still am thrilled that millions of people who were considered 'uninsurable' before are now covered. I understand that this is a big country and some compromise had to be worked into it in order for it to pass.

At the time, I was really squidgy about two things that were compromised away---

-The lack of a public OPTION

-The lack of comprehensive regulations against the insurance companies

The ACA, AS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN, would have had a public option- open enrollment Medicare for all who wanted it. Not FORCED to get it- anyone who wanted it INSTEAD of private insurers. This would have given the private insurance companies true competition instead of handing them a lovely gift of millions of customers who wouldn't pay for insurance unless they were compelled to- say by a tax penalty if they didn't. That part stayed in, and the new customers were handed to the private insurers like the Best Christmas Ever.

But they took out the public option to the wailing of the GOP who said it smacked of socialism, communism, fascism, every ism you can throw at something to make it look bad when it's really an outstandingly good idea. Ya- both parties now work for their corporate owners, but the GOP is hands-down much more open and serious about it. The insurance companies didn't WANT true competition, and certainly not from MEDICARE, which is the BIGGEST INSURER IN THE NATION and runs on a lean 4% margin instead of their cushy and profitable 35%. Because while Medicare is not a BUSINESS, they are- it's their job to make money for their investors and stock holders and to do that you have- large margins and profits which are made when you- take in way more than you pay out which happens when- you raise premiums and deny claims- which they do ALL THE TIME- nothing personal- it's just BUSINESS.

This is why something like people's lives should NEVER be at the mercy of the free market. Ever. Nothing personal- it's just business.

Now, there WERE some regulations that stayed intact and they have been very good for people- millions of people.

- you cannot be denied insurance due to pre-existing conditions. (You can, however, be charged out the ass for it)

- you can stay on your parents' insurance till you're 26 (as long as you're also in college, which is a whole NUTHER huge expense)

- insurance companies MUST spend 80% of the premiums you pay them on your actual medical care or refund the difference. We actually do get back a check from BCBS every year in the neighborhood of about $30. WHEEEEEEE doggies.

No regulations against the insurance companies becoming monolithic giants who would corner individual markets. No regulations against how high premiums could go. Those were gutted out of there because you cannot hamper and hobble the free market- just give them all those new customers and they'll do the right thing by them. *wink wink*

When the healthcare.gov marketplace opened up, Texas had three different insurers you could choose from.

***Because remember, kids- there's no such thing as 'Obamacare insurance'. You can't buy Obamacare brand insurance any more than you can buy a Travelocity brand hotel room. You go to to Healthcare.gov and choose from PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES- Blue Cross, Humana, Aetna...like you go to Travelocity and choose from Marriott, Motel 6 or LaQuinta.

Last year there were two in Texas and this year? One. Blue Cross has the entire Texas market for individuals buying off the marketplace. That's not a marketplace- it's a corner on the market.

So individuals can 'choose' from one provider.

Also new this year---individual plans do NOT include any PPO's. None. Zip. Zero.

Also new this year---Blue Cross is discontinuing some individual plans already in existence and those people have to choose from one of the marketplace HMO's. Unsurprisingly- the discontinued plans are PPO's. Unsurprisingly- they are targeting the people most likely to, yanno, use insurance.

Alec's individual plan? Good to go- he can keep his PPO.

Myself and a friend of mine? Discontinued. Choose a new HMO.

Alec is young, male, and healthy. I'm over 55 and female and my friend is female in 'child-bearing years'. Not difficult to figure that out.

The reason given is that all the new people they were FORCED to take have driven up costs and they just can't afford to, you know, provide health care for people anymore the way they had been doing. Which is ridiculous considering every national health care company logged RECORD PROFITS LAST YEAR BECAUSE OF ALL THE NEW HEALTHY PEOPLE WHO SIGNED UP AND WHO ARE OBVIOUSLY COVERING THE COSTS OF THE PRE-EXISTING CROWD AND THEN SOME.

So it's bullshit. They are raising premiums and cutting plans just because they can- just because it's good for their bottom line and that's not because they are evil, selfish rat bastard weasels, it's because we TRUSTED PRIVATE BUSINESS TO TAKE CARE OF PUBLIC INTERESTS, and it's their job---by definition---to make money.

It's a business' job to take in more than they pay out. Period. What that looks like in this case, in real life, is that thousands of people can no longer access places like MD Anderson, who will be out of network for them.

Every single person of a 'risk group' age who buys insurance individually will no longer be able to choose their doctor and that ain't the fault of 'Obamacare'- that's the dictate from your precious PRIVATE INSURERS.

If you are covered by a LARGE business' insurance plan---you can still have a PPO. If you're on Medicare or Medicaid---you're golden anywhere.

So Alec, Ward and Joe (who has both Medicare and VA) are good. If I get anything 'bad' between now and when I turn 62 and can access Medicare, I'm screwed.

So...

When the ACA implodes after the first of the year, you'll hear it broadcast far, wide and loud from the Right that 'THEY KNEW IT- THEY'VE BEEN WARNING US- THEY SHOULD'VE BEEN ALLOWED TO OVERTURN IT AND NOW LOOKIT THE BIG OL' MESS IT IS AND SEE HOW RIGHT THEY WERE!'

Just remember, it was THEM who made damn sure it would never work.

It was the GOP governors in EVERY RED STATE that made damn sure their own constituents suffered by rejecting the Medicaid expansion that would have covered anyone not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid but not rich enough to pay the outrageous private insurance company premiums.

We live in a corporatocracy, folks. They're not people and they don't give a rat's ass about individuals.

People die. Corporations don't die- they change leadership and go on. And on. And on.

We're being told that the insurance companies 'have to' cut plans because there are too many sick people they were forced to take care of. That's bullshit.

We're being told that social security and every single social safety net program will have to be cut or eliminated because our deficit is too high and they're unsustainable. That's bullshit.

We're being told we need 'austerity' to bring our country back to greatness. That's true.

The austerity should NOT be coming from the bottom, though- taking from those (US, people- they're talking about US) who can ill-afford to lose more, taken under the guise of , "Think of your children and grandchildren- sure, you'll feel the pinch a little, but it's going to be so much better for THEM!" THAT'S BULLSHIT. The only ones, ONLY ONES that'll be better for is those at the top.

Trickle down is a scam of the highest order.

HAS ANYONE YET SEEN ONE DAMN DROP OF IT??? No. And you won't.

They'll keep feinting throwing the ball and we keep running after it eagerly, joyfully, tongues lolling, looking confused while they laugh and bank our money. Over and over and over again.

No more.

I will NOT let them kill me, or my husband, or my son. Fuck that.

I'm not being dramatic- hundreds of thousands of people die in the US every year of TREATABLE THINGS. No one has to round us up and execute us. All they have to do is deny us access to health care.

If a Republican, ANY REPUBLICAN gains the presidency, we WILL see the dismantling of every social program including Social Security and Medicare. If that happens, my family will be gone. I've never stated or thought of leaving this country of my birth. I love America. I love my home with a fierce and abiding fervor. I love the IDEA of America as it can be.

But I will not let it kill us. Will not.

Oh, I know it'll look like we're 'just like' those Republicans who hollered, "If that Obama gets elected I'm OUTTA HERE! This ain't MY idea of America!!!" but it won't be anything like that at all. They were pissed that a black man had the balls to live in the White House. I'll be pissed that my husband won't be able to get the medical care he needs to stay alive and my son will be ripe for their fucking cannon fodder and I will not let either thing happen.

America needs to get its collective head out of its ass. Stop being so 'exceptionally' proud and ignorant and look around. We are increasingly violent at our own hands- not some foreign enemy that's mostly ginned up fear. And since when is it American to be so damn AFRAID? Our income disparity in this country is worse than in any other industrialized nation, bar none and we're celebrating that by giving those at the top our government, our money, our lives (both in our willingness to work for low pay in awful conditions for long hours thanks to Right to Work laws, and our willingness to accept less and less in the way of health care access, thanks to the flaws in the ACA) and happily doing so because 'some day, I could be rich, too!'

We need to stop being so stupid. Our government isn't working for us and that's not because it's 'too big' or 'Obama's a tyrant who shreds the constitution!'

NAME ME ONE THING HE'S DONE THAT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL. ONE. NAME ME ONE THING THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS DONE THAT KILLS ANYONE OR HINDERS YOUR FREEDOM TO PURCHASE STUFF THAT CAN KILL OTHER PEOPLE. ONE.

Helpful hint---GETTING GAY MARRIED HASN'T KILLED ANYONE YET.

If our government isn't working anymore, it's because it's being run by those who don't care about it working for the masses (that's us). We don't need to 'take it back!' from the libruls/libtards/any other clever ignorant hate-mongering name for those currently in charge---we need to take it back from the corporations and banks who OWN IT.

The ACA is imploding by design. Not the original design, or the design that SHOULD HAVE passed- design by the corporate entities (that's the private insurance companies) who owned the politicians who hacked it to pieces and are now fixin' to get even richer off of the suffering and death of Americans.

And anyone who says, "Well, that's the way it is now and there's nothing I can do about it" can just kiss my ass and get out of the way.

Because I don't WANT to move, and I'll do everything in my power to make sure I don't have to in order to keep my family alive.









Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Blink of An Eye

My son and his friends are looking at Denmark. Or the Netherlands.

Not for a visit, but to move there.

I'd say, "I don't know how I feel about that" but it'd be a lie. I know exactly how I feel about that.

I'm excited at the youth and strength behind such a plan- I remember (not that I'm that old)having much the same thoughts as they do, albeit less farther-focused. My main thought was to get the hell out of Wisconsin. Took me a while, but I did it and have never looked back. Actually crossing the US border and staying across never occurred to me.

I'm proud that we've raised a human with such an independent bent. A free-thinker who knows more about current events and social issues, politics and world events than most adults do. Someone who loves his country but is not brainwashed to believe that the US is #1, that the US must remain #1 and that everyone on earth wants to be us and all other places are backwards shitholes. I'm proud as hell of that. He doesn't HATE America---there's a big ol' middle ground between screaming "We're #1!" while wearing a flag t-shirt and clutching an eagle by the throat... and yelling "Death to America!". Big. Ol'. Middle ground.

I'm terrified that once he boards a plane and is out of my Mama Bear reach, our economy and society will continue on the ungracious, unattractive and (unless something changes RADICALLY QUICKLY) inevitable sliding into the social squalor that is the morning after for all societies that become 'too big for their britches' and I'll never see him again. I do not believe we are in danger of a Mad Max No Food Zombie Apocalypse. But we're NOT #1 anymore, we never WERE the gloriousness of a Leave It to Beaver fictitious utopia, and we're looking like a B-film starlet after one too many cosmetic procedures in a frantic attempt to still look 21 at age 51 instead of...Katherine Hepburn at age 81- gorgeous and not giving a shit, just going about living life.

So it scares the hell out of me.

But then I realize...if we are (and we are)headed for an age of disgruntled frumpiness and depressed economics, still steered by bullheaded backwards financial initiatives and punitive social agendas...where does that put my son, as an American in America?

If he can get college-educated and come out of it with zero debt (and he can in Europe), if he can get a job that can support him and won't kill him with low pay and dangerous workplace conditions as well as short work weeks and hours (and he can in Europe), if he can have access to health care without paying almost 20% of his gross pay in premiums (you see where this is going...), then that's where he needs to be. That's where I WANT him to be.

Until the US gets its head out of its far-right, pseudo-religious, egotistical ass, the only place my son and others like him will have even a marginal shot at having a life that is the Norman Rockwell American Dream...is outside these borders.

And that's a fucking shame.

Last night my son was looking for a 'new' book to read- he'd just finished up the last of the Game of Thrones series and like his parents he HAS to have a book in front of him at all times. He was going through all the shelves in the house that hold a total of about a thousand books- very few fiction other than the 'classics'. He found a medical guide (huge old tome) that was 'new and revised' in 1905. He found a little book of PHOTOGRAPHS (it was capitalized just like that because PHOTOGRAPHS were such a new thing) from a 1800's World's Fair. He found a box of crystals and yak hair that'd been sent to him for his birthday half a dozen birthdays ago.

He looked around this log cabin and said, "Our house is full of weird shit." And he smiled.

The world is full of weird shit, son. Most of it delightful, intoxicating and smile-inducing. I'm so happy we've taught you that, and I hope you never forget it.

Step across the borders and grab the American Human Dream wherever you find it- for yourself, your friends, and all humans.

A blink of an eye ago, I was fifteen and eager to find my spot in the world. Now I'm watching my son do the same. My great-grandparents came to this country looking for a better life and the next two generations stayed put in Southern Wisconsin. I left and came to Texas and now my Texas-born is looking even farther afield.

He has his roots here in a log cabin in East Texas full of weird shit.

No telling where his wings will take him.



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Slogan Solutions: the Deadliness of The Easy Fix

The Flat Tax

Slash Government Waste

Entitlement Society

Just Get a Job

Adoption Not Abortion

Trickle Down!

Make America Great Again!!!

Wipe Out the Terrorists

Show of Strength

Let Go and Let God


We are not encouraged to think critically. We are trained to listen to our elders, our leaders, our superiors, from the second we are born till the moment we die. Crowd control is really the basis of every single ideology- political or spiritual.

Crowd control.

Every ideology has its own goals and agendas and every one of them depends on getting the largest amount of people on your team. When there are small numbers of people involved, positive reinforcement works. Talk your team up, show people what works and how their life will be better if they sign on, positive reinforcement is a great way to individually affect lives and effect growth for your cause. One on one. One at a time. A solid foundation for the future of your goals.

But, damn that's so slow. It's slow and tedious and requires actually, you know...talking to people and living all the good parts of your philosophy your own self as an example. Whew, that's exhausting and honestly kind of boring.

Humans being mammals, and of a community (herd) persuasion, the one thing that gets everyone's attention and action in a heartbeat is fear. Good old fashioned Fear.

Fear of death, fear of attack, fear of privation, fear of eternal damnation...Fear.

Now here's the good part.

Just something that causes instantaneous panic- like an earthquake, or tornado, or Facebook going down for an hour---all that Fear needs to be directed at something to be effective. So we also need---An Enemy.

The Enemy has to be an entire demographic---something big enough to rally anOTHER entire demographic into action.

Liberals, Nazi's, blacks, gays, conservatives, women, men, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Japs, Spics, Yankees, Rebels, Educated Elites, Rednecks... every single group can be demonized and utilized by another one. If they look, talk or live differently than you ALL THE BETTER to make them seem less like you, like your family, less human.

Now you have Fear, and an Enemy. People are afraid, confused, possibly panicked, and looking for an answer, and they want it to be easy, and blunt, and seemingly air-tight. Enter the Slogan Solution.

They are astounding in their stark simplicity.

So we have our Slogan Solution, and we have an Enemy. It's so easy, especially if the topic is all twisty and gnarly and somewhat painful to consider---merely cave to the Slogan Solution and it'll all be better in no time.

Now the hard part.

Take any one of the slogans above and hold it in your hand. Turn it over and around and really consider-

-what is the real issue it's addressing?
-what caused or is causing that issue?
-what caused THOSE circumstances in the first place?
(I know- this is hard. Keep going.)
-what can we do to address the original issues- NOT what's in front of us now, but what caused it? Treating the cause of a disease instead of merely masking the symptoms, as it were.
-what can we do, going forward, to make sure those original causes aren't given the environment to thrive?

The operative word that should come out of every mouth when given a Slogan Solution is "HOW?"

How are you going to do this? What steps exactly will need to be taken and what's the toll it will take on all involved?

You may think that 'Let Go and Let God' doesn't fit with the rest, but it does, unless the same above steps are taken. If a situation is so hopeless that all you can say is 'let go and let God', you need to be damn sure you have already done YOUR OWN SELF everything possible to remedy that situation and that means going thru the above steps. Let go and let God at its finest is saying, "I have done everything I can and everything I know how in order to make this better. That's either good enough or it never will be."

Slogan Solutions are great things to throw around, to rally behind and to wave a flag or holy book to. Catchy, inspiring, seemingly completely sensible.

But what does it do to your Enemy? Remember, your Enemy is an entire demographic of mothers, fathers, children, families who are in reality all insidiously exactly like your own. No 'buts'. Exactly. Like. Your. Own.

So hold their feet to the fire, these Slogan Solution Spewers. Demand that they tell us HOW. Insist that they relate to us the cost in dollars and human lives.

Refuse to be blinded by the simplicity of an Easy Fix.

Don't live in Fear of the Fire.

Stop, drop and roll.

Stop being afraid.

Drop the big questions on the fear-mongers.

Roll over their sorry asses and support your fellow humans.

All of them.













Sunday, June 21, 2015

Who Could've Known?

"Who could've known Dylann would take the guns we know he has out of his room filled with racist propaganda and go shoot up a church? Did NOT see THAT coming!"

What the hell, America?

Young black men get killed all the time and we're told that it couldn't be helped- it's their culture that they are steeped in and it makes them violent, aggressive, dangerous. It's the cultural norm for this demographic.

Not armed, you say? Not committing a crime at the time? No worries- we can find a whole shitload of 'evidence' pointing to past transgressions that we can use to justify what was done.

Adam Lanza? James Holmes? Dylann Roof? Well, lets see here. Adam shot himself in the head when the cops showed up, but the other two were taken alive and are in jail. Obviously armed to the teeth and apparently not at all shy about shooting people dead, yet they were taken into custody alive.

And not only that, there is ZERO focus on the 'culture' they were raised in. Zero. They are simply labeled, 'troubled young men who just snapped. Who could've known?'

I guarandamntee someone knew. Someone knew they were messed up and STILL gave those boys guns to play with. Someone knew and STILL turned their backs and said, "Just boys being boys...they'll grow out of it" or WORSE- silently (and/or not so silently) approved of the mindset that led up to the last horrible moments.

Our 'culture' is every bit as sick as any other- MORE sick because we refuse to acknowledge that behavior like this is NOT an accident, NOT an isolated incident, and NOT surprising. It's ingrained into us and we don't even see it while being VERY vocal about, "I'll tell you what's wrong with THOSE people".

Maybe because I sit here in the glittering rhinestone that is the center of the shiny buckle of the Bible Belt that I see it more acutely- this barely-submerged, intolerant, judgmental bullshit that condemns an entire culture; admonishes them to FIX THEMSELVES, why don't they just fix themselves? Why aren't they more like US?

We have an entire log-jam in our eyes yet we snipe at their speck.

Yanno what doesn't help?

It doesn't help for us to be 'that guy'.

That guy we all know who always turns shit around to be about him. You're sick? He's been sicker. You're hurting? He's been hurt WAY WORSE than you. We need to stop being 'that guy'...stop saying, "Well, yes your community is hurting, but SO IS OURS", "Well, yes the cops looked to have used a tad too much force, but think of the INNOCENTS the cop was protecting---they didn't KNOW if he was armed or not".

'That guy' is a douche. When we're faced with something awful, we need to stop putting our own spin on it, protecting our own flaws and weaknesses. A young white man went into a church of black Christians, announced that black people are destroying America and shot them dead.

No one put him up to this. His thinking isn't isolated AT ALL (he just acted on it). It IS about race because he SAID IT WAS.

It IS about the culture he embraced- 200% about the culture of hatred and racism and everyone around him either embraces the same thing or knew DAMN WELL he felt that way.

Who could've known? Everyone around him.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/barrierbreaker/why-it-might-be-time-to-accept-that-white-lives-matter-more-a-black-atheist-reacts-to-dylann-roofs-bond-hearing/



Sunday, June 14, 2015

What to Do With the Last Cookie

Let's talk stereotype. Wait. That's a word with many bad feelers attached to it so let's just use 'generalization' instead.

IN GENERAL, when I express frustration about a situation to a man, I won't even get to the end of the description of said situation before the man will interrupt me and say, "Have you tried ______?" or "Maybe you just need to __________."

Because that's what guys do. They fix shit. They get presented with a situation and their first (and sometimes only) response is to offer a way to FIX IT. A lot of times the problem with that is they don't really know the background behind the situation or the possible ramifications of various solutions because they're not focused on that. They live simple: Problem/Solution/Done.

IN GENERAL, when I express frustration about a situation to a woman, they listen. They nod. They may (depending on the woman) offer a sympathetic hug and a, "Oh, honey- that must be tough" or a glass of wine and a , "Wow- that's some bullSHIT right there!"

Because that's what women do. They listen. They know I just need to give a situation voice and let the words hang there in the light of day so I can see them for myself from all angles. They know I've already considered back stories, side stories and all possible ramifications of every single solution about a million times in my head so when I say

"I just don't know what to do about this"

What I'm really saying is, "I haven't decided which course of the twelve rolling around in my head I'm gonna take with this."

IN GENERAL, men are presented with a problem and that's what they focus on. The problem at hand, like it's an isolated event with no connection to anything else. They see the problem and they solve the problem in the most logical (and quick) manner and done. All that other stuff that may be affected by the solution will just have to shuffle out and fix itself.

IN GENERAL, women look at a problem as a symptom of other shit all around it. Deal with that other shit and the problem goes away.

EXAMPLE-

Two kids are fighting over the last cookie. Mom comes in and asks each one how many cookies they've already each had. If the answer is lopsided, the one who's had less gets the cookie. If it's the same, there are several ways to go
-Mom can have one break the cookie and the other choose which half he/she wants
-Mom can point out some treat one has recently gotten that the other one didn't and counsel compassion and generosity
-Mom can pull the 'you're the older one and therefore have already eaten more cookies in total than your younger sibling, hand him the cookie' card
-Mom can remind one of the siblings that they don't even LIKE that kind of cookie and to stop being a dick and let their sibling have it
Mom looks at the background, context and future possible issues surrounding the current cookie battle and uses this as a teaching moment that will hopefully prevent it from happening again- the kids will have witnessed and now have tools to judge what to do in the future that is a fair solution to them both.

Two kids are fighting over the last cookie. Dad comes in, takes the cookie and eats it. Problem/Solution/Done.

While it might be tempting to say, "Dad's solution is clearly the best way to go" (especially if you're a dad who likes cookies), all that has taught the kids is to take their fight underground when dad's around. Which is kind of (?) a lesson in primitive teamwork, but doesn't really go very far to engender communication and empathy skills since 99.999999% of the time the bigger one will just eat the cookie...in front of the little one...slowly...luxuriously...

So while dad is in the living room, washing his cookie down with a nice iced tea as he watches the news BECAUSE TO HIM THE ISSUE HAS DISAPPEARED WITH THE LAST CRUMB, the kids' goal is now to grow up to be big and strong as quickly as possible because the biggest most powerful person can take pretty much whatever they want for whatever reason, and that whoever you are, you might be the biggest one minute, but the next minute someone even BIGGER will come along so you'd better cram that cookie in your mouth quick before your mom hears your younger sibling holler or your dad comes and takes the cookie for himself. Self-preservation above all.

That's the difference (I think) between most MODERATE conservatives and most MODERATE liberals.

I say MODERATE because there are extremes on both sides that most EVERYONE agrees are not feasible or humane.

IN GENERAL, conservatives see a problem and look at how to deal with it. They focus on how to punish current behaviors that are unacceptable- financial, moral, ethical- to deter future wrongdoing. It's direct, it's logical, it's clean (at least on the surface). Punish the end result harshly enough and no one will do it. Easy.

Except punishments cost money. Lots of money. Liberals are loathe to spend money on punishments because

IN GENERAL, liberals see a problem and walk it back to all possible causes. They focus on eliminating the environment that causes unacceptable behavior- financial, moral, ethical- so people won't go down that path in the first place. It's involved, it's complicated, it's messy and seemingly impossible (at least on the surface). Eliminate the causes to a problem and the problem will no longer exist. Easy.

Except that sort of thing costs money. Lots of money. Conservatives are loathe to spend money on stuff they can't see the direct and immediate benefit of.

Here's the thing.

In the real world, we need both. We need people who are wired to focus on eliminating causes of problems, and we need people who are wired to focus on punishing those who persist on behaving badly even tho they have no reason to...because those people will always be around. They are a small minority, but they will always be around.

Because sometimes the kids just dig their heels in and refuse to cooperate regarding the last cookie and mom ends up giving it to dad anyway before sending them to their rooms for being uncooperative, hateful little shits.

MODERATE Conservatives and liberals are not mutually exclusive groups whose beliefs are 100% anathema to the other- we've been brainwashed to think that by the media and the extreme factions of both sides.

MOST conservatives don't want people dying for lack of health care or children going to bed hungry at night.

MOST liberals don't want a pony in every yard and mass murderers set free because 'they just had a bad day'.

MOST everyone loves America, and their families, and is compassionate, and knows money doesn't grow on trees.

We need to work off the strengths of each other instead of tearing each other apart for the differences.

We need to find ONE THING we can agree on and go from there.

We need to embrace the word 'compromise' because otherwise we're doomed, and as grownups we know no one gets their way ALL the time. We do know that, right? That just because someone has a different way of attaining the same solution you all want, doesn't make it WRONG, it's just DIFFERENT.

The end goal is attaining the America that CAN be- not a monument to any one religion or ideology, but 'with equality and justice for ALL' and 'Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness'. All that stuff. What a great idea. We should try it sometime.

Because right now, we're fighting over crumbs while someone else has all the cookies.













Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lowered Expectations

Life is full of compromise.

My New Year's resolution was to blog thrice weekly, and not only did I not manage that, but now we're going on the thrice month without a blog post altogether. Now, one could say that's an epic failure of outstanding magnitude.

Or

One could look at what else I've been up to and think, "Good gawd, how did she manage to get any sleep at all the last three months?" Because we're heading into a huge physical move at work into a brand new facility, we've been out of town some, the Boy finished up the 9th grade which literally took a village to accomplish, we obtained and are still cozying up a 'city house' in Denton in addition to the farm where baby goats have been born, projects undertaken and my entire guinea pig breeding program re-worked. I'm also concentrating more on helping a loved one with their writing than my own writing for the foreseeable future so what I'm saying is

both the road to Hell and my life are paved with good intentions.

So the Lowered Expectation version of my utterly attainable yet just out of reach resolution is, "Hey. I'll do the best I can. You can't have everything."

And I've been thinking about that very thing as we go into another ridiculous circus of clown cars presidential election year. Because one thing that's hurt us A LOT the last two elections is the apparent loss of the American citizen's ability to compromise.

In the beginning, it's pretty easy to grab onto a candidate who embodies, nay even mirrors, all the things you personally hold near and dear and hop on that bandwagon wearing the t-shirt and grasping the bumper sticker. Then they start falling by the wayside.

At the end of it, we get to choose (realistically) from two people- two people who have made it that far by pissing off the least amount of folks in their camp and by kissing the asses of the biggest donors who pay for the ads that state that their competitor is doing the exact same thing...but in a bad way.

Here's where we SHOULD look at each one, decide which one lines up the closest with how we think our nation needs to go for the next four years and vote for that one. Not, "Hold your nose and vote the party", not, "Screw it- I'm not voting because voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil so I'm voting my conscience" which sounds better than, "I hate them both because they're not ME so I'm pouting and not voting,but I reserve the right to bitch about whoever wins".

It's not 'selling out'. It's not 'voting for the lesser of two evils'. It's making a freaking decision and compromising because you're a grown up and realize that in a country as big as ours is there isn't ONE GUY OR GAL who will go in and do ONLY what you personally want. That's toddler-think.

ANY candidate who hollers, "NO COMPROMISE" should be put in time out with no dessert and treated like the hellacious brat he/she is.

ANY candidate who vows to deny American citizens rights that other American citizens enjoy should be despised, not celebrated. *Just as a reminder- that means EVERYONE- not just everyone like YOU, because no matter how loudly you holler "BUT THEY'RE NOT REAL AMERICANS" while stuffing your fingers in your ears, it doesn't make it true. People of ALL colors, genders, orientations, political parties and religions (or NOT) are, in fact American citizens just like you. For realsies.

Here's the thing that we all should've learned in kindergarten. We don't get our way all the time. When we try to do the wrong thing by someone else, it generally comes back to bite our own ass. Our parents, our teachers and Jesus all tell us to SHARE- help the little guy, denigrate the bully.

When we took a vote on stuff in class or our friend groups, not everyone won- some people got their way and some didn't. If the winners gloated and stuck out their tongues they were told to stop being such dicks. If the losers burst into tears and ran home they were told to stop being such babies. For god's sake look around- we are an entire country of dicks and babies and we REWARD that, vote them into office and then wonder why they go to DC and do nothing but throw shit at each other like a passle of chimps.

In years past, a candidate was celebrated (and elected) if they vowed to work for ALL their constituents, not just those of their own party and if they promised to 'work across the aisle for the betterment of the entire nation'. Now that's called being a traitor, being a RINO, being a DINO. Dicks and babies rule.

We need to grow the hell up. Stop looking at a candidate and thinking, "Will he do what's best for ME?" and start thinking, "Will he do what's best for ALL Americans?"

That's not selling out, it's not lowered expectations- if anything it's the exact opposite. It's demanding of YOURSELF that you stop being selfish and acknowledge that other Americans' rights are just as valid and precious as your own and demanding that they be protected, too.

Compromise is not a four letter word. You're thinking of 'MINE'.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

American Heroes

While everyone is singing the praises of Chris Kyle- American Sniper, I'm not so quick to join the choir.

Oh, not because I don't think he was a good American or a good sniper or a good guy- I'm sure he was all of these things. And his death was a tragedy, as all death is.

I do question the common sense of 'treating' PTSD with loaded automatic weapons...I think that's sort of a dangerous version of getting back up on the horse that threw you...and Chris Kyle's untimely death seems to lend credence to that line of thinking.

Yes, I've heard and read some of the articles and interviews from other American Snipers that are less than complimentary, but here's the thing. It doesn't matter. Chris Kyle is dead.

He came home, wrote a book, got himself killed, and had a movie made about him. Then, to top it all off, the Texas governor-elect deemed it necessary to give him his own holiday...Chris Kyle Day is a 'thing' now in Texas and will be every year.

You know what else is a 'thing'?

A literal shit-ton of Veterans in this country that are homeless.

They're homeless and sick physically and mentally because they went off to fight for something they were told was worthy and came back broken and shattered.

There's so many the VA can't handle them all. There's so many going un-handled that they are killing themselves off at a higher rate than the war is killing them. More veterans have killed themselves after coming home to the country they fought for than have been killed in (fill in the blank of your favorite current war).

They're getting killed in war and they're killing themselves when they get home and you know who else is killing them?

Police officers. *Remember when they were called Peace Officers? What the hell happened to THAT?

Seriously.

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/shocking-video-released-cop-killing-homeless-veteran-drunk/

Our police officers are killing our veterans. Are they twitchy and drunk and drugged up and armed and dangerous? (the veterans) They can be. Or not. Raymond Keith Martinez was not any of those things except drunk- a state of self-medication he kept himself in for lack of proper help and medication.

51 years old, drunk and loitering. Shot dead.

Nicholas McGehee- purple heart recipient. Shot dead.

Tommy Yancy- served in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as boots-on-the-ground service after 9/11. Beaten to death.

AJ DeVillina- a High Desert Marine. Shot dead. On Veterans' Day weekend.

Are these men not also heroes? How were their sacrifices any smaller than Chris Kyle's? Why is their legacy and story not movie-material?

What about Chad Littlefield- the veteran who was killed with Chris Kyle? Only because of his proximity to Chris Kyle do we know his name and story.

And Eddie Routh- the man who killed both Chris and Chad- he's famous too, or infamous...heading for life in prison because someone thought it would be a grand idea to arm him in a 'safe and controlled situation'. He suffered from PTSD- just another broken pawn on our empire gameboard.

It's not that I begrudge Mr. Kyle his Official Texas Day. I just wonder where the Official days of remembrance for all the others are.

I guess they all can't have their own day because we'd run out of days right quick. Maybe we could give them each an hour because

Every 65 minutes, a military veteran commits suicide.

Look at this-

http://www.pbs.org/coming-back-with-wes-moore/about/facts/

The story and movie everyone should be talking about is NOT the story of Chris Kyle. It's Raymond, Nicholas, Tommy, AJ. It's Eddie and every veteran who is homeless and jailed and beaten and killed and who kills themselves in despair and hopelessness.

We are failing them. They stepped up and served and we are backing off and letting them fall.

We're watching them fall, sometimes pushing them over the edge, sometimes killing them before they kill themselves. That is not the hallmark of a civilized compassionate nation.

Every 65 minutes another tiny light in our national sky blinks, wavers and goes out and no one even pauses to notice.

In the time it took me to write this we lost another one. Before I go to bed we'll lose two more. By morning another half dozen will be dead.

And on and on and on...our country keeping time in corpses piled up of those who served and were summarily cast aside.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Less Than Inspiring

Yanno what I'm sick to death of?

Inspirational stories.

"What an awful thing to say! How can anyone be anti-inspirational story?"

I can. I can totally be anti-inspirational story because they are inherently cruel.

Oh, I get it. Overcoming adversity, surmounting great odds, rising above a humble perhaps even squalid beginning, yada, yada, yada.

Don't get me wrong- I'm not disrespecting those stories or those people because their accomplishments are worthy and to be lauded. What I *do* take issue with is that their stories are so often used as a weapon of derision for those who DON'T 'measure up'.

You know- the rest of us.

Try to talk about the difficulties of getting ahead in our society without the benefit of a beginning that includes the right neighborhoods, relatives or money and someone slaps up a story about the kid who makes a million dollars out of spunk and bootstraps.

Say something about a challenging- even life-threatening- health issue you or a loved one is fighting with, and BAM there's a heartwarming tale about a guy who beat cancer with a good attitude and sunshine enemas.

Natural disaster? There's the inevitable family talking about how blessed they are because they done found that baby up in that tree alongside the cat- both alive and well.

So what does that tell us? That the family next door who are all dead now weren't blessed? They somehow didn't pray right or well enough or went to the wrong church?

The thing about inspirational stories is that they celebrate those who do something that, given the exact same circumstances, OTHER PEOPLE CAN'T DO. They have some freak combination of luck, right place/right time, genetics, temperament and opportunity that the rest of us don't. Oh, for sure they work hard and go out on limbs and persevere sometimes to an extreme.

But they make the news because what they have done is SO UNUSUAL that it's remarkable.

If everyone really COULD do what they did, it wouldn't be inspirational- it would be mundane.

To hold up one of these stories and crow, "If THIS person could do it- anyone can if they want it bad enough" is cruelty pure and simple.

Because MOST people can't. Or for damn sure they would.

Tell that person who has worked two or three jobs at a time and never quite gets ahead that they just aren't trying hard enough.

Tell the person who is fading away with disease that they just need to take X miracle cure and have a better attitude.

Tell those people who lose loved ones to natural disasters that God needed more angels so he took their family up to heaven.

I have a better idea.

Why don't we support a society that doesn't make everything such a hard-scrabble for so many?

Why do we accept as normal people having to work 60+ hours a week just to stay clothed and fed and their family barely cared for...and then say, "Hey- I did it- my kid can too!" Isn't the whole point of life to make things BETTER for your kids?

There's not a damn thing wrong with looking at how things are and saying, "This is BULLshit! No one should have to work themselves to literal death. No one should have to feel responsible for the outcome (bad or good) of their own healing. No one should ever EVER have to think 'maybe if I'd prayed harder, suffered more, just had more gumption even though I bled bullets to get even this far'...no one."

in·spi·ra·tion
ˌinspəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun
1.the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.


Instead of holding up a very few blazing stars to blind and shame us with their superiority, let's be truly INSPIRED to foster an atmosphere where success is not only attainable, but normal...and fill the skies with starshine.

PS- They were hunting hogs the other night. I heard the lead dog from afar, right through the walls of the house and over the sound of the TV. Rhythmic baying, deep and insistent coming closer, closer- probably down the creek bed. I went out onto the porch and was assaulted by the savage cacophony of the entire pack; lead hound over it all, but the high adrenalin growling, howling, barking, snapping of the back-up dogs; an assortment I knew even without seeing them- Catahoula and Pits and crosses of Mastiffs- everything big and bloodthirsty enough to haul a huge tusked feral hog to the ground.

My livestock guard dogs were frantic and answering them outburst for outburst with offensive fervor and I silently hoped there would be no physical confrontations between them.

Holding my breath in the aural primal hurricane, it inched up to our place, across it, and drove on through the night leaving only the sound of the early spring peepers in the creek, full moon peeking through the scuttering clouds.







Monday, February 2, 2015

I Got Nuthin' But Excuses

Well, that resolution lasted a good two weeks. Isn't that the average length of a resolution?

I been busy, ya'll.

Busy with the mundane workings of a lower-middle-class pear-shaped-middle-aged woman's life.

I've hit the wall. The wall that's right there after work has been tended to, the family is fed and clothed, the critters have been cared for and all that excess shit that yammers for attention is slapped into submission. The wall says, "Come to me- rest your head against my lovely vertical surface...smooth and cool and blank as a goldfish's eyes. I allow you to do nothing. Sweet, sweet nothing."

"My house needs cleaning".

"Nonsense. The house is fine. Your furniture is covered with a protective layer of dust and dog hair. All that mess will still be there tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next day..."

"I need to write something- I need to blog, to dive back into my unfinished book(s), to come up with something that will result in a check in the mail or professional recognition."

"Ha. It is to laugh. You know no one reads anything you write. All those words you so carefully knit together? No one cares. Just let it go."

"I have so many projects that need done around the farm- I have to get out there."

"No one cares but you. Everyone else thinks everything is just fine the way it is. Relax."

So I lean on the wall and the wall is smooth and cool and blank as a goldfish's eyes. I doze with my forehead against the wall.

I hear the noises of my life. Little dogs barking. Boy playing music. Cat singing the Song of His People before puking. My dear-departed mother-in-law's grandmother clock chiming the quarter hour. The soft hum of the ceiling fans. Gomez brushes the hair from my forehead. "Caramia? You OK?"

He just had another birthday- 63 on Saturday. He's sexy and kind and makes me laugh when he winks. On accounta he's got just the one eye. I'm going to hell, I'm sure of it.

And it's OK. It's all OK. I have a job that's both challenging and flexible doing something I believe in passionately. Our little farm is my Heart, pure and simple. I'm surrounded by family both blood and chosen- Boy, Ward, Joe, Jordan...all here right now and close at hand and safe.

And suddenly the wall doesn't look so good anymore. It's smooth and cool and blank when I need squishy and warm and messy.

My life is squishy and warm and messy.

And it's OK. Even busy and scattered and demanding.

It's OK.

Everything will shuffle out eventually just the way it's supposed to. I'll try to do better at this blogging stuff, but no promises. In the meantime, here's something from a REAL writer. It's important and gritty, uncomfortable and brilliant.

Until next time, ya'll. Hug your family. Right now.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/02/02/malcolm-x-was-right-about-america?mc_cid=0fc2917621&mc_eid=d461ac6f14

PS- Sorcha is turning into one helluva dog. She's smart and ridiculous and exactly the dog I need for this part of my life. I thank her every day for choosing me.



Monday, January 19, 2015

Damned if We Do, Damned if We Don't

I'm a woman. Granted, I'm an older woman who no longer has those 'parts' that get pregnant, but at one time I did. And three times I used 'em.

I really enjoyed getting pregnant, loved every minute of BEING pregnant, survived three natural childbirths (the last one at home), and was/am a passable mother. No one's in jail and everyone is normal-on-the-surface which is as much as you can ask.

So I'm past all that child-bearing mess, but still feel pretty strong kinship to those who are still 'in the trenches'. And those Sisterchicks are suffering.

Here's what we get from about the time we're three years old-

You can be anything you want to be

You are nothing unless you're pretty

Don't be stuck up

Don't be too easy

NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE

BOYS WILL BE BOYS

(That one always confused me- so who are the boys supposed to have sex with if girls have to remain virgins and homosexuality is wrong?)

If you get pregnant you MUST keep the baby

If you have an abortion, you are going to hell

Having a baby and being a mother is the highest and most blessed calling for a woman

DON'T ASK US FOR ANY HELP, YOU SLUT!

You're only worth 70% of what a man makes for doing the same job

WHY DO YOU KEEP ASKING US FOR HELP?

Stay at home with your kids if you love them

GET BACK TO WORK!

You are not really happy unless you're married. And Christian. And not a lesbian.

You are nothing unless you're pretty.



And now we're dying. We're dying at a larger rate than women in Lithuania and Bosnia, ya'll. Not from Ebola, or cancer, or being struck by lightening- we're dying in childbirth or complications thereof. The most natural thing in the world for a woman to do- we're dying of it.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/apr/12/maternal-mortality-rates-millennium-development-goals

Why? Are we really 'the weaker sex'?

Not at all.

So what's the difference between American women and say...women in Serbia?

Access to health care.

Here in the Land of Profit and Free Market, women are penalized JUST FOR BEING WOMEN- we are walking, talking, menstruating and birthing pre-existing conditions.

We're unstable and must be controlled. For our own good, of course. And (surprise surprise) it's the Red counties where women are suffering the most from regressive and restrictive regulations on their bodies.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/01/15/republicans-are-killing-women-us-maternal-death-rate-climbs-female-deaths-rise-in-gop-counties/

But it's OK if it ends up killing us.

At least it's mostly not the pretty ones dying.

PS- My dog is destroying a plastic bottle. Methodically, intensely, turning it into a pile of unrecognizable shards. She is focused and serene. Biting hard is relaxing. I envy my dog.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

We Can't Afford It

The nation is broke, we can't afford to feed poor children, take care of sick people, house the homeless and comfort the old people. We can't afford to invest in roads, or schools, or new technology.

We can't afford it.

But we can afford the hell out of corporate subsidies ("We must take care of the JOB CREATORS!") We can afford to buy and send off drone after drone and bomb after bomb ("For FREEDOM!") and we can afford to do all sorts of other things as long as they don't smack of 'entitlements' or 'welfare' or 'socialism'.

Because that stuff's bad, ya'll.

That socialism stuff...just, *** I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Except it's not.

We have entire cities going bankrupt because of a capitalistic free market free-for-all that we're currently in the throes of. Oh, you hear that it's really because of the poor people...those lazy poor people...

So they come in and declare the cities bankrupt and put 'private consultants' in place. And yanno what they do? They part and parcel the whole shebang out to the highest bidder and completely ignore that THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE LIVING THERE.

Because they don't matter. They're just poor people. Those lazy poor people.

But what if? What if the poor people (who happen to live there) were given a voice and the power to effect their own change? What would they do to their city?

Well, it'd all go straight to Hell, that's what. They're poor. They don't have college degrees. They don't have business cards or ties or anything that would give them the authority and wisdom to know what's right for them, for their cities.

Or not-

http://www.geo.coop/blog/co-operative-revolution-reading-pa

This End of America the Capitalist Free Market...this may be what we have to endure- our 'labor' if you will, to get to the other side and onto our next phase of national life.

Maybe we can get it right this time and not be such douchebags to each other and the rest of the world. Maybe.

PS-
The sun came out today. It was glorious. I'm hoping to see it again tomorrow.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Too Big For Our Britches

We all heard it growing up- "Everyone wants to be an American!" "Everyone wants to move to America!" "America is the greatest country in the world!!!" We heard it, we absorbed it, breathed it, lived it, that belief oozed out of our very special little snowflake American pores.

I believed it till I grew up and started talking to people from some of those other countries, who were sort of surprised because, well, they LIKE where they are and wouldn't WANT to leave.

They don't want to be American.

"Outrageous! They're just jealous!"

Are they? What the hell of?

"They can't have GUNS there!"

Ummm...they don't WANT guns there. They are horrified at how often we kill each other by accident and by virtue of passionate moment. Horrified.

"They have high taxes there!"

Yep. They sure do. They also enjoy high wages, universal health care, free education THROUGH COLLEGE, short work weeks, long vacations, all sorts of goodies we don't have because we're too selfish/shortsighted/bullheaded/gullible to do otherwise. Because we're told that to be otherwise would be to give up our freedom.

So we're free.

Free to be underpaid.

Free to be sick.

Free to be uneducated.

Free to be over-worked.

Free to die at our desks because we can't afford to retire.

That's some Freedom there, boy howdy. FreeeeeDumb.

My favorite, of course, is "Well, sure those places can afford all that nice stuff for their people- WE take care of their security! WE protect the entire world!" WE saved all their sorry asses in WWII!"

Somewhere along the line we went from 'benevolent uncle' to 'empire-builder' without missing a beat; seamlessly, insidiously, relentlessly. We bring Freedom to the rest of the world...whether they want it or not. With sanctions and bombs and occupations and drones, we pound 'em with Freedom till they bleed and die, deliver enough Freedom to obliterate their buildings, their people, their societies.

"You sure do hate America! Why don't you just go live over yonder in one o them Scandinavian places if you love it so much?"

I don't hate America. I love America and it happens to be my home, my birthplace. I'm an American and know that the idea of America is still alive, still viable, and very much a good thing. We need to get back to that.

We need to stop being so damn afraid of ourselves that we startle, aim and shoot into the mirror, turn the gun when we hear a twig behind us and shoot ourselves. We're killing ourselves because we ARE each other.

We need to stop being so damn selfish and afraid that someone somewhere will 'get something they don't deserve' and just take care of each other. "judge not..." and "love each other" are direct orders from your Christ, remember?

We need to stop thinking that we are the best at everything and have the only ideas that make any sense and especially we need to stop looking down our noses at the rest of the planet like they're simpletons.

Because they're not. And we need to look at what's working in other places and not have a knee-jerk SOCIALISM COMMUNISM HITLER! reaction because that's just stupid.

We need to stop being stupid. But I don't know if we can.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/01/11/country-crazy-inquiring-minds-elsewhere-want-know

PS- One of my friends lost her husband recently. Cancer. That's just the last of several in my little universe and every time it happens I think, "That could've been me. It so easily and quickly and nearly was me." It's going on five years since we almost lost Ward and I remember it so vividly- staring at my sleeping ten year old son and thinking, "What will I tell him? How can I do this alone?" I didn't have to...I DON'T have to. Ward's still here. Not 'by god's grace' but by his own amazing stamina and the skill of the medical staff Ward's still here. It's the little miracle I wake up to every morning and go to sleep to every night.And no matter what else happens every day...it's enough.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

You're Not the Boss of Me

I apologize if you were looking forward to more 'commenting on this here article' blogs and less 'crazy pissed-off old lady rantings' but if it's any consolation, todays is neither.

Because I had an idea. One of those 'just popped into my head and seemed so brilliant I'd never forget it but typed a few hints into my phone...just in case' ideas.

So many ideological discussions go South (or worse)over 'things I'm willing to pay for'. Things I want MY tax dollars to be put towards. Those kinds of things. Some people don't want to pay for anyone else's health care, or schools or roads, or bombs to send overseas to screw with other people's health and schools and roads.

In general, we're told that we all pay taxes for all the stuff we all need and we can't pick and choose.

But why couldn't we?

It's not like the tax forms aren't already confusing enough- just add another section. Right up there at the top they already ask if we want to donate to the campaign fund or some such (I dunno- I just skim over that, giggling).

So here's what we need to do- we need a section on the regular old 1040 EZ tax form, right under where it says 'taxes you paid last year and taxes you still owe' that breaks it down so we can choose.

Please denote what percent of your taxes you'd like to go to each of the following-

Universal Healthcare for all Americans

Infrastructure repair (roads, bridges, etc.)

Your local public schools

Elderly services

Veterans' services

Alternative energy investments

Community and public colleges

Put towards the national debt

Military spending

NASA

School lunch programs

Homeless relief

National parks and wildlife areas

Corporate incentives and subsidies

Please be sure the total is 100. TOTAL AMOUNT MAY NOT BE ZERO.



See? It wouldn't be that difficult and then everyone could give according to their own consciences. Everyone who wrings their hands about the national debt can work to pay that off, everyone who wants us to bomb the shit out of all those 'backwards sand-filled places' can give to that, all us bleeding heart liberals can give to universal health care and national parks, and so on.

Wonder how much would be raised for 'corporate incentives and subsidies' considering Americans now pay an average of $36 towards the food stamp program and over $6,000 towards corporate subsidies. Per year. Every single one of us. See?

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/19844-food-stamps-are-affordable-corporate-welfare-is-not

Fine. I did end up bringing an article in here.

And all this time you thought the bad guys taking all YOUR hard earned dollars were those lazy-ass poor people. Oops.

The point is, WE should be deciding where our tax money goes. And obviously, our elected representatives just up and lose their damn minds once they hit the Beltway.

This could fix that. And my guess is that at the end of the day, the military and corporations would have a lot smaller budget than they do now- and what a shame THAT would be...

PS- Day before yesterday Alec and I ate lunch at a table outside What About Kabob's (a gyro place) and I had to take off my sweater because it was sunny and 71 in January. It was 21 last night. Fifty degree drop in 24 hours. The only saving grace is that it'll come up again just as quickly. Here in Texas winter lasts about a month or so...but just a few days at a time.







Monday, January 5, 2015

...And Thanks For All the Fish

For all the uproar about Global Warming/Climate Change- Is it man made? Is it human-accelerated? Is it even a 'thing' at all or just something the scientists made up with the help of a pile of treehugging dollars? here's something that is indisputable.

Whether or not we're killing the world as we know it (and we are- just in case you were still on the fence about that), we are 100% certainly killing the world for some of our fellow travelers, because we're killing them. All of them. Every single precious one of them.

I mean, lookit this-

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/01/dead-grandmother-dream-causes-florida-man-to-snap-and-destroy-spiritual-girlfriends-car/

No. Wait. That one'll give you the heebie jeebies. Lookit THIS-

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/wildlife-news/141231/13-species-we-might-have-say-goodbye-2015?mc_cid=aa67eacf04&mc_eid=d461ac6f14


These are not little things; things that no one would miss like mosquitoes or cockroaches or possums or Paris Hilton. These are 13 arguably more noble creatures than humans, including our much more human-acting cousins the gorillas.

And unicorns. My god- we've just about eradicated the actual unicorns.

Tigers, rhinos, leopards, dolphins...WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

Poached. Squeezed out. Polluted out.

Genesis 1:28- "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

And Boy Howdy, did we.

I can just see God returning to Earth from whatever great golf course in the sky he's been at for the last few thousand years and walking into what is, for all intents and purposes, the dreggish remains of the biggest kegger in the universe.

Shaking his head, God would say, "And this is why we can't have nice things."

PS- I had an entire weekend at home, ya'll. From Friday 10pm till today (Monday) 2pm I was at home, flat refusing to leave the yard. I'm here to tell you there is nothing sweeter than getting out of pajamas, taking a nice scalding hot shower, and putting on clean pajamas instead of going-out-in-public clothes. Nothing.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Resolution

I never make these. Because I know in my heart and my head and everywhere in between that I'll never keep them. And yet, here I go- making one in front of ya'll and everybody.

This last year I completely sucked at blogging. I'ma changing that here and now. Twice a week, people. Ya'll will see a new blog twice a week. And at least for the most part, I'ma changing up the format from 'just shit that pops into my head and out my fingers' to 'just shit that pops into my head and out my fingers that relate to this linked article'.

There will also be a post script with something warm and squishy at the end.

We'll see how long this lasts...

IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A BURNED-OUT WASTELAND

One thing I've noticed in most of the shit-hits-the-fan books I've come across is that when the world ends, the big cities pretty much eat themselves almost instantly...like within hours of (fill in the blank with your favorite zombies, terrorists or nuclear attack). And I have several problems with that scenario.

Oh, sure you can point to New Orleans during Katrina or Ferguson after Michael Brown's death, and I'm not saying that right at the git-go, there won't be people losing their damn minds. But that will be happening whether you're in a metroplex or out in the country. You can't tell me the good ol' boys won't be all gun-happy and the fundamentals won't be all shut into their churches and both groups will fend off anyone else, enemy or not. You just can't. Between small-town mentality and survivalist hermits, in a lot of ways, being in the boonies would be more dangerous than a big city 'when the lights go out'.

Because here's the thing.

People in a big city are used to adapting to a lot of other people and situations- most out of their own personal control. There are many micro-communities in a city in the form of either individual neighborhoods or individual buildings, city people literally brush elbows with each other every single day.

Most things are walking distance- and that is a huge benefit when the world is 'blown back into the dark ages' by zombie terrorist nuclear weapons.

Even lacking zombie terrorist nuclear weapons, some cities are already in practice-mode for the end of the world. Detroit is one. Flint Michigan is another one, and the source of today's hopeful message.

Here ya go- literal food for thought.

http://civileats.com/2015/01/02/an-urban-farmer-breaks-new-ground-in-flint/?mc_cid=0f47f3273c&mc_eid=d461ac6f14

See? Even WITH gangs around and even WITH obstacles, this chick is getting shit done and growing food in a place that for all intents and purposes has given up on itself (by outside observers' standards). I submit that when the going gets tough, and after the initial zombie terrorist nuclear warfare smoke clears, that the big cities will not, in fact, be molten piles of the remnants of the dregs of society and places that even rats will be loathe to habitate.

I submit that residents will pull together, regroup, and get shit done.

As proof, please see these badass grannies-

http://thebabushkasofchernobyl.com/

2015. A brand new year. Lets not screw it up.

PS- The other day was weather-challenged to the max. It was cold. It was windy. It was the kind of gray that pushes on my sinuses and gives me a headache straight down to my knees. I headed out the door and across the foot bridge to let the horse out for her afternoon of eating weeds and looking majestic. I'd crossed about halfway when I was stopped dead in my tracks by the upward rising of a Great Blue Heron lifting silently from directly beneath me. He seemed to use his wings as mere suggestions of flight; they were completely silent and barely moved at all- he was suspended a few feet above the creek and was carried downstream with the current.

As I walked to the barn, the horse was feeling the biting of the wind. She snorted and tossed her mane, pounding back and forth in her pen and into the stall, going from full-speed to zero an inch before the gate. I opened the gate and she floated out, prancing on air and dancing on invisible pillows. Turning her huge liquid doe eyes to me, she came close, closer, closest. I could see every eyelash and feel her breath. She paused for effect for just a moment, then snorted horse snot all over me, wheeled around and thundered up the hill, tail high and mocking.

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