Monday, December 31, 2012

We're In The 2nd Part of LOTR

It's everybody's least favorite part.  It's not a hopeful beginning.  It's not the stirring conclusion.

It's the slogging middle.  You don't know how long you'll be in this grim, grey land.  You're tired beyond imagining, barely able to summon the strength to move ahead, slowly.

Your terrain is filled with sharp rocks, cold weather, and dangerous hot spots.  You cannot raise your spirits with song or laughter - you must hide from those who want you to fail.

Life is not good, pleasant, or rewarding.  Life in the pleasant Shire is a memory that may not even exist now.  You yearn to return to that comfortable life, with friends, neighbors, and family.

You have no words of cheer.  You can't even imagine what winning looks like, let alone that you might achieve it.  The hardest part is that you MUST succeed, but you can see no realistic way to do so.

Except for 1, your friends have deserted you, died, or gone far away.  You are surrounded by those who would squash you like a bug.  Your enemies are large, powerful, and ruthless - you defeated them, only to see them return in greater numbers - and you are now fatigued and weak.  You can trust no one, even when they speak soft words of comfort.

You cling to the one thing that make your life mean something.  At times, you dream about using that one thing to get yourself the heck out of there.  Leaving seems to be the rational solution.  There is one way to end this torture,  but your "friend" urges you not to use it.

The way forward is the moral thing to do.  But the forces of immorality and self-interest cut you off at every turn.

The "eye" is on you everywhere.  There is nowhere that you can escape the omnipresent spying; if your plans were known, the mindless hordes would be sent to kill you and steal your treasure.

How do you keep going?  How do you summon the strength to continue?

We're all going to have to find out.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Back Home Again in SC

I'm finally, somewhat, recovered from my long bus trip (14+ hours). I took a nap yesterday, and went to bed at 8:00, but it worked. I bounced out of bed at my usual 5am-ish time.
The holiday was great - I saw family, spent quality time with the kids and grandkids, and bonded with my brother and sister over the death of my elder brother.
I deliberately didn't bring any schoolwork. This trip was NOT for work - it was for family.
However, that means that I have to collapse all of the necessary work into the remaining 3 days.
That barely leaves me any time to focus on the US Budget Crisis.
For, it IS a crisis, isn't it?
Periodically, the news gets its knickers in a twist, and trots out the usual gloom & doomers who pontificate about how The Heartless Republicans will, gleefully, deprive the Poor Children and Elderly of Desperately Needed Money. Oh, and don't forget Womyn, who, despite out-earning men, will surely starve without the government largess.
Yes, womyn DO out-earn men - with adjustments for Voluntary part-time work, and considering that they constitute a majority of the population, and hold more jobs than men do.
Not what the Femynist Leaders tell you? What can I say - stats don't lie, but Liars DO use stats.
IF the budget is such a crisis, why didn't the Democratic-dominated Congress pass a budget before this? Yes, I know that their "ideal" budget got shot down, but there's a cure for that - it's called COMPROMISE.
I'm sorry - I realize that "that word" is horribly obscene, not to mention a racist code word.
What makes it a racist code word? A Liberal says that, when used by a Conservative, a word is ALWAYS, AUTOMATICALLY a code word.
So, what can we expect? 10% cuts to non-entitlements and defense. In other words, the working population will take a hit. Those collecting government benefits, including Social Security. won't be touched.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Problem Is NOT Always My Faulty Hearing

I have a hearing disability. I've lost about 30% of my hearing, meaning that about 3 out of every 10 words are garbled. I hear the sounds, but can't make sense of the word. It's worse in high frequencies, so women will often find that hearing impaired people may fail to pay attention to what they say (so, ladies, you really ARE being tuned out - what you say comes in at such a high pitch, it is near impossible to understand what you say. Worse, when you become upset about not being paid attention to, the stress will cause your pitch to raise - making it even likelier that you will be ignored. The solution? Lower your voice, and talk about 1/3 slower).

Today, I snapped at my son-in-law. We had been looking for the remote controller, and, in the process, I noticed that an exercise band was caught under the futon leg. I tried to move the futon, but was having difficulty. I asked for assistance.

Unfortunately, my son-in-law decided that I hadn't heard that the controller had been found. He replied to my requests for assistance by repeating, "Mom, I got it", over and over again. When I said, "that's not the problem", he ignored what I said, and just got louder.

I really hate that. Too often, people assume that the problem is that I didn't hear them. Instead, other issues arise:

  • I'm busy with something else

  • I'm ignoring them - sometimes this goes with the above

  • I'm not aware that they are talking to me - this occurs often when someone is not facing me while they are talking

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

After the Holiday

I'm back.

I've been wallowing in grief - not the teary, helpless kind.

The soul-deadening, dry-eyed, resolute kind.

Grief for the young lives snuffed out in CT.

Grief for my brother, dead in the spirit long before his body was cold.

I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to work to make sure that America of the next century never deploys servicemen and servicewomen in foreign countries without a GOOD reason.

We're not using our best strategies:

  • We're not managing our borders - the ONLY reason for anyone to gain entrance - for a short visit or forever - is because it is in OUR best interest for them to do so.

  • We need to put a premium on the RIGHT kind of education. Government grants should be STRICTLY limited to those majors that we want to support - Mid-Eastern and Asian languages - the more obscure, the better - STEM careers - health careers and the like. Anyone wanting to become a teacher should be given grants ONLY if they also earn a certain number of credits in a degree that is in short supply.

  • NO HB1s, unless there is not an unemployed American with that skillset. No half-assed efforts to do an end-run around the rules. No playing around with fake "interviews" designed to eliminate Americans from consideration.

Out of the Loop

I've been out of town for the holidays (I left a few days earlier, due to a death in the family). I basically haven't looked at news on TV or on the Internet for the last 3 days.

It's kind of refreshing.

I tend to obsessively watch current events, looking at the interconnections and working my way through the original documents (I use for the original text of legislation). I find that the news does a poor job of getting the information out. Too often, they rely on press releases and quick conversations with legislators that favor their pre-set biases. As a result, the public is often in the dark about the "pork stuffing", hidden costs, and full implications of pending legislation. They use the sound-bites of their favored party's arguments, and fail to get the true story out.

But, for the last few days, I've concentrated on dealing with the items that I had to - family, shopping, time spent with my husband (not that I HAD to), and other immediate concerns.

It was like a mini-vacation fro reality.

I must do this again, sometime.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Life Can Be Tough

It's been a rough week. On Tuesday, I received a call from my sister that my elder brother, Mike, had been found dead in his apartment. He likely was there for days before being noticed.

Mike had been battling alcoholism for years. Due to it, he lost his job, his home, and nearly all his friends and family. Periodically, he'd surface, needing to shower or clean his clothing, and my sister or brother would take pity on him and let him in long enough to clear up.

I was spared much of this; by the time he hit the streets, I was living in SC. I was only occasionally present when he surfaced. In 10 years, I doubt I saw him more than 10 times.

He couldn't get along with others at the shelters. He claimed that they "messed with" him, but I suspect that he irritated them quite a bit - he was smart, and could use his intellect to put people down. His smart mouth, even in his youth, got him in a bit of trouble.

When he was in his 20s, he started a science fiction novel. To my knowledge, he never finished more than a few chapters. Could he have, if he had not been drinking? Possibly. My sister finished her book; I'm still trying to find time to get back to mine. In the meantime, I post to my blogs; I've run one for almost a decade. Writing is apparently in the family genes.

Mike never married. He was skittish about arguments; he was uneasy about children. Illness scared him. When my children were hospitalized, he would, briefly, show up, then, abruptly, have to leave. His squeamishness about many of life's trials seemed to be avoidance of pain.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Yet Another Self-Righteous Commenter

I'm steamed.

I went to a sight about the CN shootings, and found a commenter who used his child as a rhetorical weapon against those who disagreed with him.

Mark Dudley, who claims to be in the Army, writes:
...if you want to protect yourselves, why does it have to be with a gun? Is it because others have guns? Is it because it makes you feel powerful?

OOOOH, that's right!  It's ONLY because 'dat big, bad gun compensates me for my weak sense of self that I would prefer to be armed in a confrontation with an armed intruder!  What other reason could there possibly be?

He continues:
How could someone be so ignorant to think that my child's life is worth you keeping your gun? Right.. I agree our gun control laws are terrible. They need to look more like those in Europe, esp . the UK, where gun violence has dramatically decreased since the ban on hand guns was enacted. Let everyone keep his or her rifles and shotguns, but membership in a licensed and sanctioned hunting or shooting club should be mandatory. 

Right.  Because anyone who thinks the government might kick his door down on a pretext is paranoid.

Tell that to those killed by drones - without an indictment, trial, or access to a lawyer.  Mother Jones - a LEFT-WING paper - has more on that.

Tell that to those killed in "mistake" by zealots using no-knock laws.  Google "no knock warrant mistakes" to get a list of over 200,000 hits.
MarkDudley Oh, please!  The UK DOES have violence, both with and without guns - the only thing that came of that is to take the guns from those who would defend their homes and persons against thugs.  They have had gun restrictions for MANY years - even before WWII.  Didn't stop many of the violent from blasting away.

The key facts are:

The US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world - an average of 88 per 100 people. That puts it first in the world for gun ownership - and even the number two country, Yemen, has significantly fewer - 54.8 per 100 people• But the US does not have the worst firearm murder rate - that prize belongs to Honduras, El Salvador and Jamaica. In fact, the US is number 28, with a rate of 2.97 per 100,000 people• Puerto Rico tops the world's table for firearms murders as a percentage of all homicides - 94.8%. It's followed by Sierra Leone in Africa and Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean

Go to the link to learn more, as well as get the full report.  I would also mention that a significant percentage of those US gun murders are NOT committed by Americans, but by "undocumented immigrants".  Often against OTHER "undocumented immigrants".

I'm NOT anti your protecting your child.  Show me a case where these rampages occur on a "guns-allowed" location, and I'll buy your argument.  They happen specifically where there are NO guns allowed by law-abiding citizens.  The perps can take their time, knowing that there will be no effective resistance.

I'm a small woman (well, at least in height).  I could NOT protect myself against an armed man without a gun to equalize the threat.

So, what you are saying is "Tough luck, toots.  You deserve to die because I have FEELINGS against weapons".

Thanks a lot.  For nothing.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Finally Having Some Down Time That is Truly ALONE Time

The spousal unit is at his part-time job, leaving me free this Saturday.  The thing I really enjoy about having this time alone is the fact that I don't have the TV on all day.

The silence is WONDERFUL!

Without the TV, I can think clearly.  I'm surrounded by noise all day - the students talk non-stop.  Even when they keep the volume down, there is too much noise in the background for me to be able to concentrate.

I'll be making my plans for the day after I finish my coffee - another treat that I haven't enough of lately.

Of course, the news about the shooting in CN is on everyone's mind. It put a damper on the holiday party for our school staff last night.

Once again, the calls for gun control have been blasting everywhere. I don't think they've considered this.  Crazies are going to kill, whether they have guns, knifes, or bricks.

And, by crazies, I don't mean the mentally ill, I mean those so focused on their own self that they see others as "things" to be manipulated.  Those are the ones that are called psychopaths or sociopaths.

Is the answer fewer guns?  I don't think so.  Some of the answer lies in the acceptance that "gun-free" zones aren't.  They just disarm the law-abiding.

I would be perfectly happy to reside in a crime-free, gun-free world (well, as long as government couldn't impose their will by force).  But, as long as violence is an option, I would rather see adults in those schools be able to carry weapons than to leave everyone vulnerable in the event of a shooter.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Some Thoughts About Social Responsibility

I was reading an article about this & that in National Review, and I started thinking about social responsibility.

BNP is demonized for the Gulf Oil Spill. It wasn't intentional. The scope of it was unexpected. They dedicated tremendous amounts of money and manpower to solving the problem. They paid a fine (imposed by fiat by the Obama administration, not the courts, even before the full cost was known). They paid reparations to the communities affected. They acknowledged guilt.

But, they're considered, by the Left, to be irresponsible.

Pick any urban city. In response to a provocation, their inhabitants riot, destroying property not their own, injuring scores of innocent citizens, and creating general chaos.

They never accept responsibility. It's someone else's fault, even though it was their hands, and mouths, causing damage, and egging others on. The damage was predictable. It's happened many times before. The perpetrators do not pay for the clean-up of the damage. They seldom pay for their actions, or are fined for them.

They are considered, by the Left, to have NO responsibility for the damage. It's someone else's fault, preferably Republicans or businessmen.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What To Do About the Budget Process?

Obama wants to, FIRST, raise taxes.

That's the wrong approach.  Charles Krauthammer agrees with me.

Think about what you do with your own household - when faced with financial reverses, do you immediately start looking for a second job?


Instead, you examine what you are currently spending money on, and look for ways to reduce the expense, or to cut it out altogether.

  • You stop the newspaper, and start reading it online at work.

  • You cut your cable package to the basic, or eliminate it completely.

  • You hold off on new expenses.

  • You buy cheaper cuts of meat; generic foods; bulk supplies at discount suppliers.

  • You completely stop the frills - eating out, entertainment that costs anything, new clothes or furniture.  You buy, if you must, secondhand, or "shop" the curb deposits.

Only AFTER you have cut the monthly outgo to the bone do you consider adding income.  Your first action is to reduce expenses.

The same procedure should be undertaken by the budget-makers.

That is, if this time they will actually MAKE a budget.  Which they haven't in Obama's entire term.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

An Insightful Post

I've long enjoyed Right Wing News' John Hawkins' work.  He is thoughtful and pays attention to the personal motivations underlying the political strife.

This post, on 20 Observations About Human Nature That Liberals Would Disagree With, is quite insightful.  I noted several of them,
2) The more a behavior is rewarded with attention, fame, sympathy or money, the more of it we'll see. We recognize this almost instinctively when it comes to good behaviors, but we also tend to almost habitually block it out when it comes to behaviors we don't want to encourage.

19) Greed isn't about wanting to keep what you've earned; it's about wanting goods, products or services that you aren't paying for or haven't earned.

which were some of my favorites.

Note that most of the listed observations have to do with the culture, not politics or religion.

Some Immigration Thoughts

Let's look at what WE, the Americans, need of the new immigrants:

  • They should be self-supporting, or sponsored by someone who IS self-supporting, who will provide a guarantee that they do NOT take government benefits while still a non-citizen.

  • They MUST have at least a high-school diploma.  Preference should be given to those applying that have a college degree.  Statistics say that, if we do allow those who  haven't reached that level in, they are far more likely to be a burden, not a benefit, to our economy.

  • More recent studies have shown that the situation hasn't changed.  We have MANY Americans without specialized skills/college degrees of usefulness, who are unemployed.  Does it make ANY sense to bring in more unskilled laborers?

  • The issue of American citizens, born in this country, whose parents are illegally here, is, indeed, a problem.  I'm generally against the parents staying, once their status is known, unless they are NOT in violation of any laws, including those of using someone else's identity to get work (that's a hard thing, I know, as it's really difficult to get work without committing a crime.  Still, the suffering that the crime causes for the person whose identity is stolen is immense - it wrecks their credit, compromises their medical identity, and can cause them difficulties with the legal system).

  • NO ONE, EVER, who has illegally voted in an American election should be eligible for citizenship, or for residency. And, because I'm all about being fair, anyone who has voted fraudulently (yes, even Granny in FL who also votes absentee in the northern state she came from), should lose their right to vote - FOREVER.