Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just in Case You've Forgotten...

About the bailout and the arrogance that continues to go along with the recievers of the bailout, let me remind you...



"Peter Kraus worked hard in the three months he spent at Merrill Lynch this fall — and the $25 million in bonus cash he earned for his troubles was just enough to allow him to afford to buy Carl and Barbaralee Spielvogel's apartment at 720 Park for $36.63 million, twice what they paid for it two years ago."
--Crooks and Liars







So, as I'm sitting here hoping that tomorrow, the bacon I have will substitute for "hog jowls" and the one can of greens in the cabinet will do for the "greens" I'm truly hoping that Mister Kraus has a happy and wonderful new year, Lord knows he worked for it.

Truly, I'm hoping all my friends and readers here in the blogosphere have a wonderful new year! I realize I don't do this very much on this blog but today I want to leave you with a New Years Prayer:

A New Year Prayer

Holy Father,

God of our yesterdays, our today, and our tomorrows.

We praise You for Your unequaled greatness.

Thank You for the year behind us and for the year ahead.

Help us in Your new year, Father, to fret less and laugh more.

To teach our children to laugh by laughing with them.

To teach others to love by loving them.

Knowing, when Love came to the stable in Bethlehem, He came for us.

So that Love could be with us, and we could know You.

That we could share Love with others.

Help us, Father, to hear Your love song in every sunrise,

in the chriping of sparrows in our backyards,

in the stories of our old folks, and the fantasies of our children.

Help us to stop and listen to Your love songs,

so that we may know You better and better.

We rejoice in the world You loved into being.

Thank You for another new year and for new chances every day.

We pray for peace, for light, and for hope, that we might spread them to others.

Forgive us for falling short this past year.

We leave the irreparable past in your hands, and step out into the unknown new year knowing You will go with us.

We accept Your gift of a new year and we rejoice in what's ahead, depending on You to help us do exactly what You want..

I say it again, we rejoice!

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Morning Conversations...

Normally the boy and I just grunt at each other first thing in the morning until we get ready to go out the door, then it is just the usual "do you have your keys" and "is the car warmed up?" then as I go out the door "your lunch is on the table" and that's it until we get to work where we make a point of being nice to each other with "see you at four" "ok" "have a great day" "you too" and "I love you", "I love you too"

This morning however it went something like this:

7:15 the boy stumbles out of his room and all the way back to the laundry room to get his clothes out of the dryer, opens the dryer door and closes it, turns the dryer back on. Then he stops back through the kitchen to get something to drink and heads to the shower then turns around in all his cute sleepy maleness and says to me "when my clothes get done will you bring them up to me?"

Now normally this would get my feathers in a ruffle because not only does it insult that feminist who swore she would never raise a man dependent on a woman, but he knew the clothes were only in there warming up for him so he wouldn't have to put on cold wrinkled clothes in this cold house.

I think that was pushing it a bit don't you? But he was just so darn cute with his sleepy self that I just can't be mad. Besides I have just decided it must be in the genes and they just can't help it....

*edit*

Of coarse then, when he got dressed, he went out into the cold and cranked the car for me so I wouldn't have to get in a cold car... :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

22 Days!

My! How time has flown! Three weeks until Inauguration Day! Woo Hoo! So, if you are still as interested in the process as you were before the election, head on over to change.gov/openforquestions sign up for an account and start reading, submitting your questions or voting on the questions of others. Be sure to read some of the questions others have submitted, believe me it's worth it :)

Scrappy Doodle

...or the case of the disappearing/reappearing cat.

Ok, so I'm going to post something personal today...all you big important people from NASW or NYU or Columbia or USA.gov or Senate.gov be sure to show up today so I can be really embarrassed...

Most of my loyal readers remember all the cat trauma I've had over the past year so I won't rehash that. When I took most of them to the pound I kept my Georgie and Minnie. I have to tell you a bit about Minnie's history so you will understand Scrappy Doodle's story.

A couple of years ago some kids came to the house and told the boy that some other kids were torturing this kitten and that he needed to do something about it. Why the boy, you ask? Ahem, because he is the son of the "cat lady" and would certainly know what to do about it. The boy goes running out of the house on a mission to save the tortured kitten, because if the truth be told, I became the cat lady because he attracts every animal known to man. You all know "cat lady" is a euphemism for "indiscriminate animal collector" right?

Minnie fit in the palm of my hand and boy was she angry. We had, I think, five cats at the time. She systematically proceeded to whip every one of them with her little bad self. Even Tiger, who was my dog killer. The Tiger/Minnie saga is a story for another day :) Georgie, Scrappy Doodle and Rosebud (boo boo) were born in this house and had every right to it. Minnie was adopted, grudgingly.

Now, I love Minnie, but she sure does make it hard sometimes. She has good habits that I love. For example she's very clean. So much so that she cleans up after everyone else. If they forget to cover their poop in the cat box, she goes in there and covers it for them. She keeps the sand that they kick out close to the box. I've even seen her drag the covers back up on the bed with her teeth trying to make it up because we are slobs and don't do it. She never throws up and she doesn't get fleas. She waits patiently for big old hog George to eat and then eats his leftovers. She cleans every skillet of leftover bacon grease which keeps her coat very shiny and healthy looking. If there is a strange cat or dog in our yard she will have a fit until she can go out to run it off.

This is where we get to Scrappy. The first cat she ran off was Rosebud. Rosebud was our ninja cat and was very aloof and independent. When Minnie went after her she just said f-this and went off to find herself another place to live and has not been back. We know boo boo is ok and have not worried about her. Even if she's living out in the world all alone, she's ok because she prefers it that way. Scrappy on the other hand was hard to run off. They went at it for months. Even Tiger hated Scrappy, so she had two against one. Then we had all the other cats/kittens and I guess she just figured she better go find another place to live like Boo Boo did, but she would always come back and hang around just to irritate Minnie :)

Doodle was fine as long as it was summer and warm but, you see, it was getting cold and being the stalker she was, she knew the population of cats had dwindled. So she decided the time had come to make her appearance back at the old home place.

Thanksgiving week Minnie started having a fit, going around to every window and hissing and trying to get out. There was no calming her. She had to go out right then or she would surely die. :) So, if you have ever had cats you know there would be no peace until Minnie was out of the house. We let her out. She went straight for Scrappy and there was such a ruckus the boy had to go out to see what was going on. Of coarse he comes back in all excited and says "Mom, Scrappy's back" "Nu uh" "She is too, look" Ok, so I take a closer look and sure enough it's Scrappy. Dangit. She's been gone for a year and a half at least and looks like death warmed over. She had definitely been living outside because she was covered in leaf particles, spiderwebs and other unknown substances and the very tip end of her tail was frostbitten. I just thank God she was one of the one's I had fixed or I'm sure she would have had a string of kittens with her.

Scrappy always tickled me. She was the runt of the litter and as is usually true of runts, she was the toughest. We thought she would die for a week or so but when she finally recovered from being laid on in gestation by big old george, she was the first one out of the box to go exploring. She was the first one to find the cat box and the feeder. She was the first one to make it up on my bed and she was the first to go outside and the first to jump off the roof. Fearless is what we should have named her.

So it's been about six weeks now and while they still fight if they get too close to each other, Scrappy and Minnie have sort of agreed to coexist.

The only problem now is her return has awaken the sleeping giant George. He now thinks, since Scrappy can go out because she goes out and does her business and comes back in, he should be allowed to also go out. No, George, you don't know what it means to just go out and do your business. You think you have to go over and visit the trap lady and we can't have that. So as I'm typing this I have a wailing, pissed off sleeping giant mad at me, going from room to room, window to window, hollering, wanting to know why he can't go out....all the while Scrappy is sleeping peacefully in the boy's room :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sorry We Missed You...

Was looking for a Coexist widget and found this...it would be funny if it weren't so sad...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Census.gov has a New Tool for You...

I was so excited to run across this last week, I downloaded it, then got busy and forgot about it. It appears to be an indespensible tool for those of you out there that need to crunch large datasets.

The program is called DataFerrett and is still in beta testing. DataFerret searches throughout the DataWeb for needed facts and figures and presents you with a complete list of what is out there for your use. This was taken from the DataFerrett site:


"What is the DataFerrett?

DataFerrett is a unique data mining and extraction tool. DataFerrett allows you to select a databasket full of variables and then recode those variables as you need.

You can then develop and customize tables. Selecting your results in your table you can create a chart or graph for a visual presentation into an html page. Save your data in the databasket and save your table for continued reuse.

DataFerrett helps you locate and retrieve the data you need across the Internet to your desktop or system, regardless of where the data resides. DataFerrett:

* lets you receive data in the form in which you need it (whether it be extracted to an ascii, SAS, SPSS, Excel/Access file); or
* lets you move seamlessly between query, analysis, and visualization of data in one package;
* lets data providers share their data easier, and manage their own online data.

DataFerrett Desktop runs from the application icon installed on your desktop."

Find the tutorials page here.

This was taken from the DataWeb site:


"TheDataWeb brings together under one umbrella demographic, economic, environmental, health, (and more) datasets that are usually separated by geography and/or organization. TheDataWeb is the infrastructure for intelligent browsing and accessing data across the Internet.

TheDataWeb provides access across the Internet to demographic, economic, environmental, health, and other databases housed in different systems in different agencies and organizations. TheDataWeb is a collection of systems and software that provide data query and extract capabilities, as well as data analysis and visualization tools, i.e., the DataFerrett."


DataFerret and DataWeb seem to be excellent programs for those of you that have newer computers and large monitors. The problem I had with it was because of my smallish monitor I could not access the bottom action buttons even with making the image smaller. Strange, I know. I will go give it another try later to see if I have any better luck. In the meantime it would be great if some of you out there could give it a try and let me know what you think. :)

I was Assaulted by an Angry Two Year Old on Christmas Eve

This story should probably go on the pink page so no one else can read it but, oh, what the hell...

The first time I went to the store that day it was to cash in my 6 bucks in change so I could get some more butter, pie crusts and eggs because I had run out. I get to the change counter and there is a 6 person line. I think, "well I'll just go round up my stuff and come back." That took about a minute. I get back to the line and there is one guy finishing up and three women, obviously together. A woman and her two granddaughters. The first thing that slightly irritated me was that the guy finishing up was determined that the change counter counted all his change and so kept returning the rejected coins back to the tray to get counted again. He did this about five times but finally finished, took his little slip and went to cash out. Then the girls proceeded to get ready to do their business.

Now here is where I kick myself for not listening to my inner voice that said "explain that you only have six bucks and see if they will let you go ahead of them" but did I listen? Nope, not me. I stood there and silently (sort of) watched as they dug around in their three bags of change and loaded it, one handful at a time, to the tune of four hundred and forty two dollars and some change. Do you know how long it takes for Coinstar to count four hundred and forty two dollars in change? I do. About an hour. It was a sweet story when I got home and thought about it. The grandmother wanted to do something for her granddaughters for Christmas so she let them hit her change jar. Lord have mercy, they only hit half of it :) She was a sweet lady and the girls were so obviously giddy that it was really hard to get mad at them.

Then, later on that day, some more money arrived to my house and I went back to the store because i needed a few more things and knew the store was going to close at five. It was about four and raining and 78 degrees and muggy...typical Mississippi Christmas eve. I pull into the packed parking lot and decide to wait on a handicapped parking space because I know if I get soaked I will get seriously sick. Even though I have a sticker, normally, in that case I would just park somewhere and cuss people who park in handicapped places without a sticker. But that day I decided to wait. I look up to see a big ole green Expedition or Excursion or some such huge unnecessary vehicle with it's owners loading their stuff into said vehicle. So I think "ok, I'll wait for that space, it shouldn't be long." Ok, brace for it, this is where the story starts to deteriorate into pettiness and blatant racism. The owners of said vehicle could see that I was waiting for their spot. Did they get done with their business and move out of said spot? Nope. They took their sweet time loading their small amount of groceries into the vehicle then proceeded to have a conversation with another lady in the parking lot and then when she was about to walk away to go into the store they said "wait do I have your phone number?" So she had to walk all the way back to give it to them. Then they decided they needed to go back into the store with her. Needless to way by this time smoke is pouring out of my ears.

Normally I would have just been mildly pissed at my misfortune and stupid choice of person to wait on. Kind of like how you get pissed at yourself for changing lanes in the grocery store thinking the line you choose is moving faster only to get in the one that has to have a price check or some such time consuming action immediately after you get in it.

Not that day though. The enjoyment that they were getting in making me wait was so blatantly obvious. They would look over at me and laugh every so often. Luckily about the time they decided to go back in the store the car beside me decided to come out so I could immediately go into that parking space. You could see the disappointment on their faces.

I get in the store, get my buggy and head for the greens and who is there? You guessed it...the group from the vehicle. Now this group consisted of an older woman, two 20-something haughty b***hes, dressed in daisy dukes, cheap jewelry, tight shirts and lots of makeup, two 20-something guys and the two year old is sitting in the buggy. They are taking up the entire "greens" space. The two 20-something women are arguing over whether they want mustard or turnips. The two year old's buggy is by the cabbage. Whoa is me, I decided that this was the path of least resistance and just went for the cabbage, thinking I could just grab a head and go. About the time I reached, in front of the two year old, to grab a head I felt this sharp WHAP! in my side. I had been punched by the two year old! I let out an OUCH! before I could stop myself, dammit. It shocked me more than it hurt. The boys' father told his mother and of coarse she knocked the crap out of him right there in the store and half-heartedly told him to apologize, a word I'm sure the two year old had never even heard before. I felt so bad. I looked at the kid and told him not to worry about it, that it wasn't his fault. Because, you know, it wasn't. At the time, I'm thinking that he was only doing what he had been taught at home. To hate. As I walked away from them I heard very loud giggling and guffawing. I'm sure they thought it was just hilarious that their child had hit an old white woman. Needless to say they went everywhere I did in the store but I finally managed to get finished and get out of there.

It was only when I got home and had time to reflect on the incident that I realized what I had done that made the child strike me. I quite simply had invaded his space and as one who places a high value on her own personal space, I should not have invaded his. He was just trying to remove me from his space. So then thinking about two year olds and how they relate, I got really tickled about him standing up for himself. It did make me wonder though, what was going on in his home that would make him feel so fiercely protective of his space in the first place.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More than 1,000 American Historians Call for Equity in the Stimulus Package in an Open Letter to Obama

Something told me not to move that "contact your representatives" widget when I was re-arranging the layout of this page... I'm re-posting the letter in it's entirety below. Click the title link for signatures, actions to take and for a link to the open letter of the same ilk from economists and to sign their petition.

"Open Letter to President-elect Obama

December 18, 2008

Dear President-elect Obama,

As students of American history, we are heartened by your commitment to a jobs stimulus program inspired by the New Deal and aimed at helping "Main Street." We firmly believe that such a strategy not only helps the greatest number in our communities but goes a long way toward correcting longstanding national problems.

For all our admiration of FDR's reform efforts, we must also point out that the New Deal's jobs initiative was overwhelmingly directed toward skilled male and mainly white workers. This was a mistake in the 1930s, and it would be a far greater mistake in the 21st century economy, when so many families depend on women's wages and when our nation is even more racially diverse.

We all know that our country's infrastructure is literally rusting away. But our social infrastructure is equally important to a vibrant economy and livable society, and it too is crumbling. Investment in education and jobs in health and care work shore up our national welfare as well as our current and future productivity. Revitalizing the economy will require better and more widespread access to education to foster creative approaches and popular participation in responding to the many challenges we face.

As you wrestle with the country's desperate need for universal health insurance, we know you are aware that along with improved access we need to prioritize expenditure on preventive health. We could train a corps of health educators to work in schools and malls and medical offices. As people live longer, the inadequacy of our systems of care for the disabled and elderly becomes ever more apparent. While medical research works against illness and disability, there is equal need for people doing the less noticed work of supervision, rehabilitation, prevention, and personal care.

We are also concerned that if the stimulus package primarily emphasizes construction, it is likely to reinforce existing gender inequities. Women today make up 46 percent of the labor force. Simple fairness requires creating that proportion of job opportunities for them. Some of this can and should be accomplished through training programs and other measures to help women enter traditionally male-occupied jobs. But it can also be accomplished by creating much-needed jobs in the vital sectors where women are now concentrated.

The most popular programs of the New Deal were its public jobs. They commanded respect in large part because the results were so visible: tens of thousands of new courthouses, firehouses, hospitals, and schools; massive investment in road-building, reforestation, water and sewage treatment, and other aspects of the nation's physical plant--not to mention the monumental Triborough Bridge, and the Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams. But the construction emphasis discriminated against women. At best women were 18% of those hired and, like non-white men, got inferior jobs. While some of the well-educated obtained jobs through the small white-collar and renowned arts programs, the less well-educated were put to work in sewing projects, often at busy work, and African American and Mexican American women were slotted into domestic service. This New Deal policy assumed that nearly all women had men to support them and underestimated the numbers of women who were supporting dependents.

Today most policy-makers recognize that the male-breadwinner-for-every-household assumption is outdated. Moreover, experts agree that, throughout the globe, making jobs and income available to women greatly improves family well-being. Most low-income women, like men, are eager to work, but the jobs available to them too often provide no sick leave, no health insurance, no pensions, and, for mothers, pay less than the cost of child care. The part-time jobs that leave mothers adequate time to care for their children almost never provide these benefits.

Meanwhile the country needs a stronger social as well as physical infrastructure. Teachers, social workers, elder- and child-care providers and attendants for disabled people are overwhelmed with the size of their classes and caseloads. We need more teachers and teachers' aides, nurses and nurses' aides, case workers, playground attendants, day-care workers, home care workers; we need more senior centers, after-school programs, athletic leagues, music, and art lessons. These are not luxuries, although locality after locality has had to cut them. They are the investments that can make the U.S. economically competitive as we confront an increasingly dynamic global economy. Like physical infrastructure projects, these jobs-rich investments are, literally, ready to go.

A jobs-centered stimulus package to revitalize and “green” the economy needs to make caring work as important as construction work. We need to rebuild not only concrete and steel bridges but also human bridges, the social connections that create cohesive communities. We need a stimulus program that is maximally inclusive. History shows us that these concerns cannot be postponed until big business has returned to "normal." We look to the new administration not just for recovery but for a more humane direction—and in the awareness that what happens in the first 100 days and in response to immediate need sets the framework for the longer haul of reform.

Mimi Abramovitz, Hunter College
Rosalyn Baxandall, SUNY Old Westbury
Eileen Boris, UC Santa Barbara
Linda Gordon, New York University
Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
Alice O'Connor, UC Santa Barbara
Annelise Orleck, Dartmouth College
Sally Stein, UC Irvine"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just Checking...

Ok, all the pages have had a makeover, except for the blues page and the pink page, which is now just for me. I would like to know which one's you like the best and which one's you like the least. There still needs to be some tweeking done on a couple to suit me but, I'm pretty much done with the project.

I do have a couple of posts in draft and will try to get to those sometime soon. Can't promise anything, will be cooking and shopping most of the weekend. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Me and the Boy and the Promise...

Maybe I've told this story before but I'm old and the older we get the more we repeat ourselves, so bear with me, it's worth repeating. Most people just look at me like they just don't get it when I tell this story, or they just think I've lost it, or that I'm making it up. I swear I'm not.

When the boy was born we had a brand new Toyota truck. How we came to have that truck is another story for another day. Just think, me, nine months pregnant, hour long bus ride home from work, sitting by a man with a coat on that smelled loudly of wet dog. It was pure insanity, mine, how we came to have that truck.

About a month later when I could see the ex was going to continue to drive it drunk and not work, I called up the bank and told them to come get it because we could not make the payments. They did.

This led to three and a half years of me being on foot with a newborn, another story. We made it. Finally I could stand it no longer and humbly asked my mother if she could help us get a vehicle. I wanted to go be a courier and could not do that without a vehicle. She did and I did, to make a long story short.

The boy, throughout his life, has had what I like to refer to as his "special" time of the year between Christmas and his birthday at the end of March. All is right with his world during this time. He learned how to walk, finally learned how to talk, was potty trained and so many other wonderful things during this time of year that are just too many to mention. Except this one that I will never forget. I will never forget anything about it.

Everyday when I would pick him up from daycare and when we would finally get off work (I would take him with me to finish up delivering the remaining packages for the day) sometimes we would just sit in the truck and talk before going in the house. I don't know why we did this but it was a special time for us with no distractions, just me and him.

Up until this time, aside from the old time spirituals I used to sing to him when he was a baby I had never spoken to him about God. I tried to teach him right from wrong, but this was not a particularly spiritual time in my life. Not that I didn't believe, just that I had too much else going on.

When I found out I was pregnant, I prayed and I made a promise. I promise My Lord that if He would just let me have this child I would make sure he had a childhood and I would keep him safe. I would make sure that he remained innocent and that no one on this earth would take his innocence from him before he was ready. He did and I now know that I did.

The past couple of days around here have been wonderful, heart-wrenching, sad, beautiful and just a various array of emotions that I just can't really do justice to. So this leads me back to that day in the truck.

We were just sitting there and my boy, out of the clear blue sky, says to me "Mom, you know I'm God's child don't you?" The entire world stood still for a very long time. I felt as if I was in a trance. There was no world outside of that truck. I looked over at that child and there was not one trace of anything evil or deceptive in that face. His eyes were big and round and as clear as I have ever seen. Yet, they had an earnestness to them, like God was speaking to me through my boy and I had to know one day I would lose my boy because one day the Lord was going to call him to work for Him. This time has come. It may not be today or tomorrow but it will be soon.

Two days ago the boy bounded into my room with that same look on his face and said, "Mom, I've finally figured out what I want to do with my life. I want to get my social work degree and go on to be a brother and go do God's work all around the world."

I just can not describe all the different waves of emotion that are washing over me right now, but I know it's true and it's the way it's supposed to be. Pray for me so that I will be able to let him go and not fold and for the boy so that he might find the proper direction he needs to lead him down this path.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cartoons

*EDIT*

If you landed on this page looking for "social work cartoons" CSL Cartoon stock has a pretty good list here and the directory page for social work(ers) is here. You can order whatever strikes your fancy from the CSL cartoons site. Great AIG Cartoons here

FYI...

Five spyware programs on your computer at the same time will make your computer crash and burn and it will take you twelve hours to painstakingly remove each one. Plus, you will still have the spyware infection.

If you get a comment from Valencia or Sarah or some such innocuous name with no linkback with the original name but with a separate business website link, do not, I repeat, do not publish that comment. In fact, don't even open it in your email notification.

We put up the Christmas tree Friday night and with three cats it is still standing! :) We have been here since we put it up...I know they are waiting...

The story of the missing and found third cat is in draft and will be published shortly. I'm waiting to see if a fourth shows up. We heard cats fighting all night last night, so I'm figuring it's one of the missing trying to get back home for Christmas.

Snow before the middle of December in Mississippi sucks...

Oh, and it really sucks President-elect Obama and family can't occupy Blair House early so their girls can go to school on time because of "receptions" being given by the outgoing president. Classy to the very end...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

NASW Standards for the Practice of Social Work with Adolescents

If you live for adolescents like I do be sure to check out this NASW page. As always click the title link.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Check it! :)

Check out my Christmas present to myself at the bottom of this page :) Guaranteed to get rid of any holiday blues you might have :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Red Carpet Rolled Out for the Poor

Since the election I have felt somewhat uninspired as if I'd been to a great party, partied until I was blind and now all that was left was the hangover. I've been halfheartedly searching the internet for something to write about...nothing inspired me, until sometime over the weekend I found this:

"The Stafford Foundation yesterday officially launched its million-dollar project to bring disadvantaged people to President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration next month, and the effort was immediately deluged with interest."

"...Virginia businessman Earl W. Stafford announced the start of the initiative to host the needy as well as the sick and forgotten at what he calls "the People's Inaugural."

"Stafford, 60, whose family runs the faith-based charitable foundation, already has paid $1 million for more than 300 rooms and an array of amenities for his guests at Washington's JW Marriott hotel, on Pennsylvania Avenue at 14th Street NW.

He is also shelling out $600,000 for a prayer breakfast, luncheon and two inaugural balls at the hotel."


"Stafford, who kicked off the project at a news conference at the hotel, wants at least 30 percent of his guests to be people in need and is willing to provide gowns, tuxedos and the services of beauticians so they can have an unforgettable experience.

Largely motivated by his Baptist faith, he said his goal is to get deserving people to the inauguration who would not otherwise have the opportunity. The hotel overlooks the Pennsylvania Avenue inaugural parade route and will feature a heated terrace tent for people watching the festivities.

Stafford is a Fairfax County resident who heads a technology firm in Centreville. With him at the news conference were his wife, Amanda, and children Earl Jr., Jessica and Mark.

"The people's inaugural project is a historic investment that allows those who would not . . . have such an opportunity to come to our nation's capital in Washington, D.C., and join in the inauguration and celebration of our president Barack Obama," Stafford said. "We are thrilled to give them a front-row seat."

Cooperating agencies, including the National Urban League and Washington's Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, will help the foundation identify people to be invited and help them get to Washington. Stafford has said he also plans to reach out to homeless shelters, community organizations and military hospitals in search of guests.

Stafford was asked whether Obama might attend the Marriott events. "That certainly would be icing on the cake," he said.

Lavern Chatman, president of the Northern Virginia Urban League, said the idea was not to have all the Stafford guests be disadvantaged. Organizers also want some movers and shakers so the disadvantaged and well-heeled can mingle.

"You want people . . . who [the disadvantaged] look up to," she said. "We want them to be able to say, 'I sat across the table from a muckety-muck in Washington, D.C.' "

She said the Urban League will put out a call to its affiliates seeking candidates. Final selections will be made by the National Urban League, and Urban League staff workers will escort the invitees to Washington.

"It's going to be out of sight, unbelievable, fantastic, awesome," she said. "I don't know any other words. It's really going to be a legacy thing -- something I can tell my nieces, my nephews, that they can tell their children, their grandchildren."

To learn more about the Stafford Foundation visit www.thestaffordfoundation.org."


Pretty cool, huh? :) It sounds like the recipients will be getting the full inaugural experience! I know I would certainly like to shake that man's hand. I suspect there will be many more stories of inspiration to come.

Friday, December 5, 2008

If you are keeping track...

If you are trying to keep up with who the Obama team will be and find it all somewhat confusing because you don't know the potential choices , where they've been or what their history is then The Washington Post has a really cool page up to help you with that. As always click the title link to be taken to the page. The graphic at the top of the page just hits the highlights, scroll down for a more in-depth article on each of the departments.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tribute to Odetta is up on the blues page...

Well, my day is off to a grand start...I think I'll go back to bed....

pull the covers over my head and not come out until this afternoon.

1) 5:30 am woke up to find I have no sugar or creamer for the coffee which meant I had to get out in the freezing weather to go pay triple for it at the Shell station by the interstate because that's the only place open that time of morning.

2) 5:45 am crank up the car and head out to the Shell station...put foot on the brakes, hear gggrrriiiinnnnddddd...not good. I have brakes which means it's way more serious.

3) 7:45 go take the boy to work.

4) 8:15 on the way back on the frontage road pass one cop car that looks at me funny. I thought, oh you're just being paranoid because you don't have your seatbelt on.

5) 8:16 pass another cop car that looks at me funny...k, wtf?

6) 8:20 get to the stop sign on the frontage road, don't come to a complete stop because I'm a little freaked about said brakes, cops looking at me funny and the fact I've only had one cup of coffee which was not enough. I turn right make it about 500 yards, look in the rear view mirror and first cop is behind me with his lights flashing. Geez, I think, are they going to get me for not stopping at that stop sign? Thinking this is already going to be a no-christmas, have running list of what all this will cost us. Cussing self.

7) 8:26 find a place to pull over, roll down window and wait.

8) 8:28 cop comes up to back window and starts asking me if I was just at "Pop's Around the Corner"(local biker bar where there are at least a couple of shootings/knifings etc a week) and did a man jump out of my car? Well here is where it gets funny. I have my black "David Copperfield" hat on, sweats, no bra, pink crocs, thick socks and my coat. Yep I was stylin' The cop looks almost apologetic as he asks me that question, by now he's seen the handicapped tag and sticker in the window and has had a good look at me. I told him where I had just come from and what I had been doing and he just says "well I guess it wasn't you then"

9) 8:35 look up to see if it's ok to get back on the road only to discover second cop has pulled up behind first cop. You know, first cop might need some backup against little ole me. Drive down the road going to cash in the change at the change machine at the grocery store so I can get some gas.

10) 8:45 pull into the grocery store, see third cop car, ignore it and go on about my business, get that done, go to get the gas, third cop car is still there, figure I've had mine already and don't really think about it. Go in pay for my gas, pump it and start to drive off.

11) 8:55 third cop is standing behind my car and motions for me to roll down my window and asks me for my insurance card. Geez, mister, I think...I learned my lesson when Madison County took $1600 from us last year. Pull it all out and show it to him. He thanks me and tells me I can go.

12) 9:00 get home to find the stray dogs have pulled over the garbage can, managed to get the locked lid off of it and there is garbage all over the street and in the yard and in the driveway.

So, it is now 10:37 and I'm going back to bed....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I was going to write "I've Got Nothing" but then...

I opened my hotmail box, the one where all my social work subscriptions and job related information goes. I found this jewel. The first link will take you to the download page and the second link will take you to the full 246 page pdf.

Reform Matters Toolkit

"Women's advocates can play an integral role in making sure that health reform plans address women-specific needs and the challenges that women face in the health care system. Building on the National Women's Law Center's longstanding work on women’s health and health care coverage, the Reform Matters Toolkit provides the resources women's advocates need to be full participants in the health care reform movement and policy debates at the state and national levels. The toolkit explores various health care reform proposals and their impact on women's access to comprehensive, affordable, quality care."


Reform Matters Toolkit pdf


Table of Contents

On the first link's page there is a place to sign up to receive updates to the toolkit as they are published.

You might also be interested in NWLC's Women and Medicaid Toolkit for Advocates.

"Medicaid is a critical source of insurance for low-income women. It covers one-third of all poor women in the U.S., and 40% of single mothers. Over 70% of adult beneficiaries are women, and women are twice as likely as men to qualify for Medicaid coverage. In other words: advocating for Medicaid means advocating for women’s health. Expanding and protecting access to Medicaid is integral to ensuring broader access to health care for low-income women and reducing income-based health disparities.

This toolkit provides a general overview of the ways Medicaid provides health care to women, including analysis of program barriers and select states’ eligibility guidelines, and offers a framework for advocacy. Specifically, the toolkit focuses on the unique challenges associated with low-income women’s access to health care, and offers policy solutions to improving health outcomes and access to care for this population. Almost 18% of women ages 18 to 64 remain uninsured, and over 35% of women with incomes below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level lack health insurance. To improve the health of low-income women, we must advocate for an expanded Medicaid program."


Lastly, you might want to add Womenstake to your blogroll.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oh, Dear Refrigerator, Why Can't You Cook?

Or you could call this post, plainly and simply...procrastination. I was on a roll yesterday. Today, however, is a totally different story. I-just-don't-wanna-do-anything...

The greens are washed and in the fridge. The sweet potatoes are baked and in the fridge waiting to be made into the casserole. The cranberry sauce is chilling. The marshmallow/pineapple stuff has been made and is in the fridge. The pie crusts are done and in the freezer waiting... the cornbread has been made. All the spices are out on the counter, so I won't forget one. The giblets are all done and cut up...in a bag in the fridge. The stock is in the fridge waiting for me to skim the grease off of it. The recipes are all laid out. The turkey is in the sink, in cold water, waiting for it's new batch of cold water to help it thaw so it can be salted overnight. The rolls are in the freezer, ready to go. All the dishes are done, the last load is waiting to be put up. The stove and oven are clean. The counters are all clean and the floor has been mopped. There are two loads of laundry waiting to be put up and another in the dryer waiting to be folded and put up. The cat box has been changed and all the garbage is at the road waiting on pickup, then the cans need to be brought back to the garage.

So...I could go take a nap, huh? You know the only thing I hate about doing all this? I'm starving, the fridge is chock full and there's nothing to eat. But I do it all for the boy. It's what he lives for (not really, but his feelings would be terribly hurt if I didn't do it) and really the only thing he asks of me. It makes it all worthwhile when he comes home from work and tells me they had their Thanksgiving dinner at work yesterday and sighs and says "mom, you sure have me spoiled" :)

I'm thinking, a grilled cheese sounds pretty good about now, so I'm going to go do that then chill and watch the View and some soap operas for a bit before I get back at it. I think I've earned it, don't you?

Monday, November 24, 2008

WOO HOO!!!!!!!

While I don't have it in my hands as of yet, IT'S OFFICIALLY UP AT THE BOARD--I HAVE A LICENSE TO PRACTICE SOCIAL WORK!!! Yep, that's me..."prin" LSW :) It was a long time coming and despite all the unmailed test scores and various other delays I finally have it and have already applied for a state job...wish me luck and keep me in your prayers because I-am-so-ready-for-this!

Also, I just want to take this time to thank everyone who helped me get to this point...you know who you are :) Without all your love and support, especially with this blog, I surely would have lost my sanity before now with all the waiting. Thanks again!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If I was 20 Years Younger, I Might be in Love...

Ran across these jewels over on Feministe tonight and I think Lauren might be right when she warns that these might trigger fangeeks...


"Friend of Feministe Jay Smooth was named one the Sexiest Men Living in 2008 in Salon’s 3rd annual awards this week, rounding out a list of men who “make us giddy for all the right reasons.” Chuck your Brad Pitts, your George Clooneys, and your Matt Damons, and give me a heaping helping of a confident, feminist dude who challenges his audience to think deeper about the world and the culture around us and does so with impeccable style and a subtle sense of humor."




Thursday, November 20, 2008

Postcards from Amerah--Heads Up on this Seasons Giftcards

This was forwarded to me from Amerah just a few minutes ago. Thanks!


"I wanted to give everyone a heads up that if you tend to give gift cards around the holidays, you need to be careful that the cards will be honored after the holidays. Stores that are planning to close after
Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though
the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them
from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as 'Bankrupcy Planning). Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.

Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide closing
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's to close 150 stores nationwide
Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
Cache will close all stores
Talbots closing down specialty stores
J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)
Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
GAP closing 85 stores
Footlocker closing 140 stores mo re to close after January
Wickes Furniture closing down
Levitz closing down remaining stores
Bombay closing remaining stores
Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
Whitehall closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick )
Macys to close 9 stores after January
Linens and Things closing all stores
Movie Galley closing all stores
Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores
JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
Wilson Leather closing down all stores
Sharper Image closing down all stor~s
K B Toys closing 356 stores
Loews to close down some stores
Dillard's to close some stores


Kathleen Schanz
Sunoco, Inc. - Legal Department
1735 Market Street, 27th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone (215) 977-3284
Fax (866) 611-9928
kmschanz@sunocoinc.com

Keith Olberman on Gay Marriage--Watch This!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Emily's List Success Stories

Here's the latest email from Ellen R. Malcolm, President of Emily's List. I know I wear my Emily's List bumper sticker with pride. How about you?

"Things are changing in America. Doesn't it feel great?

I can't thank you enough for everything you did to make this happen.

As you watched the results come in, I hope you took a moment to appreciate the impact that you made in the election of Barack Obama, and in the many tight Senate and House races that we were able to win with your help. I feel proud and thankful every day for the difference that we made together, and I am so deeply grateful for your support.

As with other historic moments in our lifetimes, I don't think we'll ever forget where we were on election night 2008. All over the country, change, at last, was in the air, and we have supporters like you to thank for it. We’ve put together a collection of snapshots and footage from election night and post-election coverage from some of our most exciting races so you can really see what a difference you made.

Click here to watch the video

Each election cycle, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the support that EMILY's List donors provide again and again for our candidates and the WOMEN VOTE! program. This year, you outdid yourself, and our entire nation is better for it.

Thank you again for your incredibly generous support and the difference you have made.

Warmest regards,
Ellen Malcolm

Ellen R. Malcolm
President"

:) Postcards from Amerah :)

37 Days until Christmas!!!!



The Time is coming !!Ho Ho HO
Let it snow!
~You have just been hit with an e-mail snow ball!~



It's the start of.....

Snow Ball Fight
2008 &2009
Rule to this game:

You can NOT hit someone who has already hit you!

Now...

go out there and get as many people as you can,
before they get you!

I got you first! and you can't get me back!
Nanee - Nanee - Nanee!
(hehe)



We do not stop playing because we grow old;

we grow old because we stop playing.

Never Be The First To Get Old!!!!!

Grandad's Meme

Grandad over at Head Rambles woke up grouchy this morning and his post turned into this meme:

Grandad’s Meme
Name six people you would like to see smacked with a shovel/lump hammer.

Here's my six...

rosie o’donnell
elizabeth hasselbeck
bush/cheney as one
katie couric
elizabeth hasselbeck
anyone with the last name lohan

yeah, i think you are supposed to tag some people but since I have precious few readers and don't want to lose those...do the meme if it would make you feel better this morning :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

OK, here I am in all my glory...

For years I have purposefully not posted pictures or videos of me...didn't want to scare anyone off. Click the title link and it will take you to the very first picture of me on the web. I wish they would hurry up and post the rest of the videos because they are much better. This was the first one we did. The boy was too far away from us but you can hear it if you turn up your volume. So, I never said I was bubbly, did I? :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Switching Gears--Postcards from Amerah

This arrived this morning from my dearest friend Amerah. After yesterday, I really needed to see some beauty in this world. Aside from the beauty of the subject, the Obama's love story, this has got to be Clay Aiken's best work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ok, You are Still Lurking...

You can find the actual comment left by AIG Blog Relations by clicking on the title link to this post, it's the last comment, but if you click on AIG Blog Relations when you get to the page you will get an error message...what's up with that? Beats me.

Hey, AIG...Stop Lurking!

Over the course of these past few days since I posted about your recent escapades you have lurked around on my site over five times and if the last time I posted is any indication, you will be here many more times before all is said and done. I already know you have people dedicated to find out what is being written about you in the blogosphere, hence..."AIG Blog Relations".

If you have a new justification for why, at the same time you were begging us to give you yet another 40 billion, your executives were yet again, getting spa treatments, playing golf, and god only knows what else, then speak up. Oh, and not the same ole, same ole...I already heard your latest justification on the news. Which by the way did not really explain why you felt the need to hide the fact that you were having a conference in a posh resort.

Believe me I do understand that your executives might need some stress relief. I need the same stress relief every time I have to go to the grocery store and stand there in the isle trying to decide what I have coupons for, whether I can afford that big pack of friggin hamburger meat or if I have to forego that because we need toilet paper or laundry soap, then I too, feel that same aching need for a deep tissue massage or a nice relaxing round of golf....friggin, not...

You say some of your employees have been receiving death threats? I am not surprised. There are so many people out there who have lost everything and are finding it hard to even get in to a food bank so they can feed their children. I understand your arrogance and complete disregard for others will not allow you to comprehend this scenario, but you need to hear me when I say...You People Need to Stop! Don't you have friggin conference rooms in your own corporate building? Have you ever heard of catering? Or better yet, pot luck? Somehow, in the middle of my rant, I just laughed out loud at that vision....corporate execs in $5000 suits schlepping a big ole' crock pot of beef stew all the way from the parking garage...cracks me up...

In my world one does not spend money one does not have. One does not buy that new pair of shoes if one's rent has to be paid or one's children have to be fed. One does not go on vacation, even a learning one, if one is begging the government and the taxpayers to pull one out of the friggin jam their own arrogance got them into.

I'm sure in your mind you think I could not possibly know what I am talking about or truly understand the scope of the situation, so that is why I'm asking you to stop lurking and justify yourself....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Alice Walker on President-Elect Obama's First Visit to the White House

Go read the article. It's beautiful.

AIG is at it AGAIN!!! Dear Lord, Please Make it Stop!!!

Click the title link for the reponse I got from AIG blog relations...remember that? Where they assured me they recognized the problem and were doing everything in their power to put an end to it? Not only are they asking for more money but here's the article about their latest retreat. On ABC News last night the reporters discovered that AIG had told the Phoenix resort to disguise their presence...

"Even as the company was pleading the federal government for another $40 billion dollars in loans, AIG sent top executives to a secret gathering at a luxury resort in Phoenix last week.
Brian Ross investigates the insurance giant's "seminar" at a posh resort.

Reporters for abc15.com (KNXV) caught the AIG executives on hidden cameras poolside and leaving the spa at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, despite apparent efforts by the company to disguise its involvement.

"AIG made significant efforts to disguise the conference, making sure there were no AIG logos or signs anywhere on the property," KNXV reported.

(click here to see the full KNXV report)

A hotel employee told KNXV reporter Josh Bernstein, "We can't even say the word [AIG]."

A company spokesperson, Nick Ashooh, confirmed AIG instructed the hotel to make sure there were no AIG signs or mention of the company by staff.

"We're trying to avoid confrontation, keep our profile low," said Ashooh. "Some of our employees have been harassed.""
Here's the the news video.

Makes me sick...I think it's time to use the "Contact" widget don't you?

Short Rant...

Two or three years ago the treehuggers (or drug companies) decided that albuterol inhalers were a major contributing factor in global warming (in fact, they made it sound like it was the single most detrimental contributing factor) because they are powered by chlorofluorocarbons which deplete ozone in the high atmosphere and as usual have decided to push us into using a completely ineffectual product, an inhaler powered by hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) compounds.

First, I think this is just the drug companies wanting to finance a new product and needing us to do it for them. Second, I do not now nor will I ever understand how an inhaled drug that goes directly into your mouth and subsequently your lungs contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer. But, as of January 2009, I will be forced to use an HFA type inhaler, against my will.

Here is where I want to tell you a story. I was at a human resources agency a couple of months ago and while I was waiting to be seen I was talking to this elderly lady and her son and her social worker. During the course of this conversation I watched this woman try to get enough medication from her HFA inhaler to get some relief (at least ten attempts). As far as I could tell she never did. Why, you ask? Because these types of inhalers do not propel the medication to where it needs to be. It merely goes to the back of the throat and stays there, never reaching the lungs. The only thing it does is cause throat irritation, which can lead to upper respiratory infections which are very bad for people already suffering from breathing difficulties.

And now, here is the absolute best part...now, they are saying that we have to wash the damn thing regularly because not only are they outrageously expensive but without the washing they can clog and only deliver about half of their entire prescribed amount. That's for a 200 actuation metered inhaler, only about 100 gets delivered. They can also clog and only deliver partial doses at a time. Do you hear me swearing? Wash a friggin inhaler whose cap has always been on when not in use and then only by me?

I have avoided talking about this subject because I have been in denial plus I figured other people would be as livid as I was and do something about it...complain...and complain loudly. As always the masses have simply accepted what the drug companies have forced on us and not said a word. Well I'm saying it and saying it as loudly as my little blog will allow. I-DO-NOT-WANT-AN-HFA-INHALER!!!!! End rant.

Oh, and click the title link for the full article.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Free "Yes We Did" Sticker

Click the title link...you know you want one :)

Here's your chance....Change.gov

It is simply amazing to me how much crap I've read in the course of these past four days. President-elect Obama, it seems, is expected to have already made good on all of his campaign promises. Can you say "instant gratification?" Geez...let the man get in office before you start with all the criticism. But first why don't you go here and simply tell him what you want, what your dreams are, rant, complain, or whatever you want to do. Being the kind of man that he is, he has provided you with a place to do just that. Do you know of any other president, ever, to even care, much less provide a convenient form to do it with? I think from now on I will be spending a good amount of time on that site. I will stop reading all the crap and just do what I want to do...believe.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Saw this on the news last night...took a minute to process...

**edit**

Shoot, I forgot to include the link to the article where you can watch the actual video and hear the boys mother speaking about it and see the actual pain in her eyes that I am feeling. You can see it here or by clicking the title link.

For me, Wednesday morning was a bright and shiny new day. I was full of hope and dreams and a certain amount of satisfaction that I played a tiny part in the outcome. All day Tuesday, Wednesday and most of Thursday, I felt this way. This is one reason I wanted to get that first video posted (see below). It showed the exuberance of an entire side of town that doesn't normally have enough hope or belief in the system to even bother to vote. I was proud of the fact that out of 1.9 million registered voters in Mississippi 1.2 million of us (a record) believed/cared enough to go vote. Just to hear all those cars honking and seeing all the smiles on the faces as they honked was a miracle in itself and dammit, it brought tears to my eyes and even more important to the boy's eyes. When I saw that I knew I had done what I set out to do from his very birth...to raise a caring, socially conscious being. I know if I were to die tomorrow, he will be alright.

Then came the Thursday evening news and I had to come on back down to reality and realize that racism is still very much a living, breathing rabid animal. I cannot tell you the sadness that envelops me as I am about to post this article. I just want to go take to my bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep. Sleep...for long enough for change to actually happen. I can't do that, I know. I have to go on fighting for change until I die. It is my lot in life and I live with it. Ok, deep breath...hear is the article taken from WAPT's (our ABC affiliate) website...

"Some Pearl Students Told Not To Say Obama's Name

PEARL, Miss. -- The Pearl Schools superintendent said that a school bus driver and a coach were disciplined for allegedly telling students not to say President-elect Barack Obama’s name.

Reporters with 16 WAPT News received several calls from upset parents that said a school bus driver told the children on a Pearl school bus that if they said Obama’s name, they would be written up and taken to the principal’s office for disciplinary reasons.

Another parent said that a coach at Pearl Junior High School told students that if they speak Obama’s name, they would face expulsion.

Parents said the incident is sad as America begins a new presidency.

"They feel like they are afraid to say our president's name because they will get in trouble," mother Canishia Simpson said. "They shouldn't have to feel that way."

Simpson's son Reginald was one of two students removed from a Pearl school bus Wednesday morning.

Reginald Simpson said kids on the school bus were saying, "Obama is our president." That's when he said the bus driver told the kids not to say the president-elect's name because she didn't want to hear it.

"Somebody said, 'This is history, woman,'" Reginald Simpson said. "She pulled over and kicked me and the kid off the bus."

The two boys were left at Pearl High School. They were later taken to Pearl Junior High School, where they attend school.

"We teach our kids not to be racist, and here it is going on," Canishia Simpson said. "I feel hurt by this."

School officials looked at surveillance video from inside the bus. They told Canishia Simpson that the bus driver overreacted.

In a separate incident, a girl's basketball coach at Pearl Junior High School told students they would be suspended for saying Obama's name.

"I did have two incidents and the principals did review the bus driver tapes. It appears that some persons, out of disappointment and disillusionment with the election, may have been so frustrated that they said something inappropriate to students,” Pearl Schools Superintendent John Ladner said. “We have taken appropriate steps with the bus driver and the coach.”

Ladner would not say what disciplinary action was taken.

"This is what the whole election was about, to support someone," parent Venus Neagu said. "Now they are facing consequences for it."

Neagu's son Devin was on the bus Wednesday. He did not get kicked off, but his mother said she plans to confront school officials about the incident.

Both of the students kicked off the school bus were allowed to ride on Thursday. They won't face any disciplinary action from the school.

“As adults and professionals we are not going to deprive anyone of their excitement over the current election of President-elect Obama, or any other candidate,” Ladner said. “The whole nation was excited, and in no way and at no time will children be disciplined for saying the name of the president-elect of the United States. Any employee who would attempt to do that would be corrected and disciplined. We expect professional behavior, respect and demeanor of staff and students. It is unfortunate that some employees mishandled this situation but they have been disciplined and I have spent the day clarifying our policies."

Pearl's school superintendent said no child will be punished for saying Obama, Barack Obama or President Obama.

Ladner said this is a part of our history now, and students will learn it."



These were junior high school kids with justifiable exuberance...I just want to say "get a grip, bitches...slap, slap, punch" It's probably a good thing I wasn't on that bus or in that gym class. Disciplined, my ass. I personally think they should have both been fired on the spot with no compensation whatsoever. To me, it was terrorism, plain and simple.

**edit again**

Oh, and if you want to read a flip side to the issue and more, Pandagon has a great post up about it.

Don't worry about Rahm...Waxman is on it...

Let me start with a little history read in an AlterNet article here.


"Paying Wall Street bonuses was not supposed to be part of the plan. At least that's how Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson explained it to Congress and the American people. So, on Oct. 1, when the Senate, including Obama, approved the $700 billion bailout package, the illusion was that this would magically loosen the credit markets, and with taxpayer-funded relief, banks would first start lending to each other again, and then, to citizens and small businesses. And all would be well.

That didn't happen. Which is why it's particularly offensive that the no-strings-attached money is going to line the pockets of Wall Street execs. The country's top investment bank (which since Sept. 21 calls itself a bank holding company), Goldman Sachs, set aside $11.4 billion during the first nine months of this year -- slightly more than the firm's $10 billion U.S. government gift -- to cover bonus payments for its 443 senior partners, who are set to make about $5 million each, and other employees.

Whereas Wall Street may not believe in higher taxes for the richest citizens, it does believe in higher bonuses for the head honchos. No matter what the market conditions are on the outside, steadfast feelings of entitlement tend to prevail."



Below is an excerpt from the communication sent to Citigroup from Henry Waxman, Chariman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The entire communication can be found in pdf form by clicking the title link.

"Press accounts report that the size of the bonuses could exceed $6 billion at some firms receiving
federal assistance.4
While I understand the need to pay the salaries of employees, I question the
appropriateness of depleting the capital that taxpayers just injected into the banks through the
payment of billions of dollars in bonuses, especially after one of the financial industry's worst
years on record. As one newspaper recently reported, "critics of investment banks have
questioned why firms continue to siphon off billions of dollars of bank earnings into bonus pools
rather than using the funds to shore up the capital position of the crisis-stricken institutions.,,5
To assist the Committee's investigation into this issue, I request that you provide the
following information and documents for your company as well as any affiliates or subsidiaries:
1. For each year from 2006 to 2008, the total compensation and average compensation per
employee, paid or projected to be paid to all personnel, broken down by salaries, bonuses
(cash and equity), and benefits; and a description of the reasons for the year-to-year
changes in these amounts.
2. For each year from 2006 to 2008, the number of employees who were paid, or are
projected to be paid, more than $500,000 in total compensation; the total compensation
paid or projected to be paid to these employees, broken down by salaries, bonuses (cash
and equity), and benefits; and a description of the reasons for the year-to-year changes in
these amounts.
3. For each year from 2006 to 2008, the total compensation paid or projected to be paid to
the ten highest paid employees, broken down by salaries, bonuses (cash and equity), and.
benefits; and a description of the reasons for the year-to-year changes in these amounts.
4. Documents sufficient to show all policies governing the granting of the bonuses to the
groups of employees referenced in items (1) to (3).
Please produce the requested information to the Committee no later than November 10,
2008. To the extent that 2008 year-end bonuses have not been finalized by that time, you should
notify the Committee as soon as those bonuses are determined and supplement your response
with updated information and responsive documents."


I don't know about you but I'm going to keep my "contact your representatives" widget handy...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The National Women's Law Center's Platform for Progress

Remember when it was said that we could celebrate our victory for about five minutes then we had to hit the ground running and go back to work? Here is just one example of what that meant. Click the title link for the full pdf.


National Women's Law Center"s Platform for Progress

Highlights of the program:

"Supporting Women in the Workplace
* Close the wage gap and ensure women are paid fairly
by passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the
Paycheck Fairness Act, and the Fair Pay Act
* Improve benefits for workers by raising the minimum
wage, protecting overtime pay, expanding the Family
and Medical Leave Act, providing paid leave days,
and establishing parity for part-time workers
* Improve anti-discrimination laws so that women who
are subject to discrimination in the workplace can
receive fair compensation for their losses
* Break through the glass ceiling by expanding
opportunities for women in nontraditional fields and
at the highest levels of their professions
* Pass an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination
Act
* End discrimination in the military by establishing
gender-neutral, performance-based standards for all
military positions, ensuring a fair process for women
to challenge discriminatory actions, and repealing
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Building Economic Security
* Ensure access to high-quality child care by requiring
that care meet basic health and safety standards,
funding statewide quality rating systems to promote
higher quality care, increasing the reimbursement rate
for child care assistance, supporting initiatives
targeted to expanding access to high-quality infant
and toddler care, doubling the number of children
receiving child care assistance, increasing the
Dependent Care Tax Credit, and increasing funding
for Head Start and Early Education
* Help women move out of poverty by increasing the
benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit, expanding
the Child Tax Credit, improving child support
enforcement, eliminating arbitrary barriers in the
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and
Supplemental Security Income programs, and
expanding access to unemployment insurance
* Protect and strengthen Social Security, the foundation
of women’s retirement income, by rejecting
proposals to divert Social Security revenues into
private accounts, raising additional revenues, and
improving benefits for low-income individuals
* Increase women’s retirement security by expanding
access to employer-based retirement plans,
establishing spousal pension rights in definedcontribution
plans, prohibiting gender discrimination
in the pricing of annuities, and making the Saver’s
Credit refundable
* Reform the tax system to promote fairness and ensure
adequate revenues for needed investments by ending
tax breaks skewed to the wealthiest Americans and
special interests, ending the preferential treatment for
income from investments over income from work,
collecting taxes owed by businesses and investors,
and ending unwarranted corporate subsidies
Improving Women’s Health
* Reduce the number of uninsured women by creating
a health care system that leaves no one out, provides
comprehensive benefits, is simple to use and
understand, and is sufficiently and fairly financed
* Increase funding for research and programs that help
to prevent and treat health risks for women and their
families
* Protect a woman’s right to decide to have an abortion
* Expand access to affordable birth control, including
emergency contraception
* Invest in comprehensive sex education and end
federal funding for abstinence-only programs
Improving Women’s Education
* Increase efforts to recruit girls to, and retain them in,
fields of study in which they are under-represented
and restore legal protections against unequal sexsegregated
education
* Ensure that students have the same legal protections
against sexual harassment as employees of schools
* Level the playing field for girls’ athletics
participation by requiring better monitoring and
restore requirements for schools to ensure equal
opportunities for female students
* Strengthen enforcement of anti-discrimination laws
by government agencies
* Reduce the school dropout rate for girls by requiring
schools to monitor dropout rates and provide dropout
prevention programs targeted toward the needs of
girls, including pregnant and parenting students
* Ensure adequate funding for education at all levels by
fully funding schools in low-income districts and
expanding financial aid programs for post-secondary
education
Guaranteeing Equal Rights
* Promote a fair and independent judiciary with
judicial nominees who have a demonstrated
commitment to fundamental rights
* Consult broadly during the judicial nomination
process and ensure Congress fully exercises its role
to advise and consent
* Enact a comprehensive federal ban on sex
discrimination and adopt the international
Convention on Elimination of all Forms of
Discrimination Against Women
* Fully fund domestic violence programs and ensure
victims have needed supports
* Strengthen protections against human trafficking
* Ensure fair treatment for immigrants"

Yes We Can--Yes We Did!

This morning I am a happy person! I did my part and while President-elect Obama did not carry my state---he almost did. This is an accomplishment of profound proportions. Georgia(52%-47%), Alabama(61%-39%), Mississippi(57%-43%), Louisiana(59%-40%). These are really significant numbers to me because they prove finally, that there is change coming here in the deep south and that makes me happy.

So normally I don't interject the boy into this blog because this is my deal, not his but I was just so proud of him yesterday I have to share one of the videos we shot. It's one of only two that have been uploaded so far. There will be others and yes even one with me in all my hugeness. I'll edit this post as they are uploaded but for now here is my boy...although after yesterday I think I must stop calling him "the boy" :)



Me and Mark (my mechanic, you know the one...the one that gave me the car I'm driving now and has kept me rolling all through school, awesome guy!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Please Go Vote Today!

Before I go out to do my VideotheVote duties today I wanted to leave you with some links all taken from Mother Jones Magazine of places to go if you have problems voting:

"The most conventional way voters can report a problem is through a voter hotline, of which there are several. Several television networks host hotlines because they give the networks an early look at voting irregularities that may become major stories. CNN, for example, is operating 1-877-GOCNN-08, which offers to patch a caller through to his or her local voter registrar if necessary...

The voting rights coalition Election Protection is hosting 1-866-OUR-VOTE. The coalition, which bills itself as the "largest voter protection and education effort in the nation's history," has call centers in Washington DC and around the nation. Staff receiving calls forward legitimate problems to "tens of thousands" of volunteers on the ground nationwide, most of whom are lawyers, law students, or otherwise legally trained. Those volunteers have been instructed to build relationships with local election officials, which they can use to address voting problems before they have the opportunity to swing a local, state, or federal election. Almost 20,000 reports from concerned citizens have already been posted to Election Protection's online database . Major issues are blogged daily. Election Protection anticipates hundreds of thousands of calls leading up to and on Election Day. (Like Google, Election Protection also provides information on early voting, voter ID laws, and voting locations, customized to your location.)

More technologically savvy voters can report problems via Twitter or wiki. Twitter Vote Report allows users to send a text message to 66937 (MOZES) beginning with #votereport or to call 567-258-VOTE to submit a report by touchtone keypad. Election Protection also has Twitter capability. An election protection wiki hosted by the Center for Media and Democracy allows users to look up vote purgings and other challenges to voting rights on a state-by-state basis. VotersUnite.org offers a sortable election problem log. A voter suppression wiki investigates incidents of disenfranchisement and permits users to add comments.

Reports are already flowing in. CNN claims it has received 10,000 calls since mid-October. Election Protection says its hotline has received more than 50,000 since August. But it can be difficult to assess the reports that come in. In one typical instance, Mother Jones followed up with a voter complaint — made on our interactive map that allows users to share voting stories, problems, and solutions — that alleged newly registered absentee voters in Manhattan would not receive their ballots in time for election day. Multiple officials in the Manhattan board of elections assured Mother Jones that they had worked around the clock to make sure every newly registered voter would have the ability to exercise their rights before or on Election Day.

Despite the efforts of voting rights group to shine more light on voting nationwide, America will almost certainly be faced with a thicket of voter fraud and voter intimidation accusations after November 4, with no clear picture of which are realistic and which are overblown. The only way this election will not resemble 2000 and 2004, when Election Day was followed by months of howling, fair and exaggerated, about vote fraud, is for one candidate to win an electoral college victory so decisive that instances of fraud are dwarfed by a seemingly nationwide consensus by American voters.

Technology has made voter education easier and vote oversight stronger, but the only foolproof strategy to avoid vulnerabilities in the vote is to win big. If that's the case, complaints can be examined to improve the quality of future elections, but needn't be fought over to determine "who really won.""


This is your day America, go out and do your duty :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pioneer Thinking

Lately, I have been wanting to eliminate the chemicals from my life. I do this from time to time and should live by this code...chemical free, as I do feel so much better when I do. Pioneer Thinking is going to help me do just that and so much more :) Please check it out, I'm sure you will find many helpful remedies there for whatever ails you...I going to try these because when I start working I will be spending a fortune on hair color. If my gray came out with that lovely white streak or some such other beautiful combination then I wouldn't worry about it but no, each individual strand is partially gray in a haphazard random pattern and not only that but the rest of my hair didn't stay the same color but turned this really ugly black :( Did I mention that I can never find a color that suits me or if I do then, either the store doesn't have that color when I go back or, more likely, I can not remember what the name of the color was that I so loved. So, maybe these will work:


Covering Gray Hair Recipe
Homemade Hair Dye
By Purdue University

Wash your hair with one of the following rinses. Pour the selected rinse through your hair 15 times, re-rinsing with the same liquid. On the final rinse, wring hair, and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing with clear water.

Covering Gray: Simmer 1/2 cup dried sage in 2 cups water for 30 minutes, then steep for several hours. Apply to hair and leave on until dried. Then rinse and dry. Repeat weekly, until desired shade, then monthly to maintain color.

Sage And Rosemary Natural Hair Dye
By Teresa Smith

SAGE. I am sure you know that it is a healing herb and it relaxes as a tea. In a bath, it smells good and eases my breathing.

I make a strong 'tea' of Sage and a bit of Rosemary, strain it and refrigerate it, and before I wash my hair, I spray it on the base of the gray patches of hair, even have massaged it in. leave it for 5 - ten minutes and then wash as usual, and care for my hair as I normally do. After a few weeks of this (I do this almost daily), the gray is disappearing.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Witness: Photographers, Journalists, and Social Workers Respond to Tragedy

This looks very interesting:



Location: New York City
Event Date(s): December 3, 2008
Event Time: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Speaker(s): Grace Christ, Donna DeCesare, Jack Saul, Bruce Shapiro
Contact:
Quito Ziegler
docphoto@sorosny.org
1-212-547-6909
Please RSVP.

"Unlike social workers or therapists—the witnesses of the helping professions—journalists and photographers function mainly to inform, interpret, and bridge rather than to help directly. Documentary photographers can inspire understanding and compassion with their images and can contribute to opening paths to assistance.

Yet, there are pitfalls and ethical challenges when documenting stories about communities or individuals who have been through traumatic experiences. This panel will explore ways to strengthen the impact of documentary practice, sharing knowledge and practices of inclusion across disciplines.
Panelists

* Bruce Shapiro, Executive Director, The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma (moderator)
* Grace Christ, Professor, Columbia University School of Social Work
* Donna DeCesare, Photographer and Associate Professor, University of Texas School of Journalism
* Jack Saul, Assistant Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

This event is sponsored by the Open Society Institute Documentary Photography Project and the Columbia University School of Social Work.

DeCesare's exhibition Sharing Secrets: Children's Portraits Exposing Stigma is part of the Moving Walls 12 photography exhibition organized by the Open Society Institute and is currently on display at the Columbia School of Social Work. For more information about the Moving Walls exhibition, please visit www.movingwalls.org.
Location

Columbia University School of Social Work
1255 Amsterdam Avenue
(between 121st and 122nd Streets)
Concourse Level, Room C03
New York, NY"

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cyberquilting

Click the title link for more information.

"Cyberquilting Goals/Objectives
Cyber quilting Cacus

2008 Allied Media Cyber Quilting Caucus

The Cyber Quilting Experiment is a project examining how the internet can be used as a resource for social justice work and movement building activities. As with the Highlander Folk School in the Civil Rights Movement, the cyber quilting experiment is to be a space where activism, cognitive engagement, and skill development intersect, equipping women of color activist and organizations with the cyber tools needed to bring about radical social change. The experiment is composed of three spatial internet components: (1) A Space to End Violence against Women of Color; (2) A Space to Envision a Better Day; and (3) A Space to do Media Justice work. Each internet space will "quilt" together artist, scholars, and activists to either create new projects or to collaborate on existing projects.

Three Spatial Components of The Cyber Quilting Experiment

The three spatial components are interconnected and complex because each component encompasses essential resources for the development of social movements: activism/contentious politics, cognitive engagement/dissidence, and skill development.

Ending Violence against Women of Color:

This spatial component creates an online space where women of color who are committed to ending violence against women of color can meet and strategize.

Envisioning A Better Tomorrow Patches: This spatial component creates an online space where women of color to use various types of art to create visions of better world.

Media Justice Center: This spatial component creates an online space where women of color will use education, activism, and alternative sources of information to work with other media justice activist to etch out what media justice is and how it can be used to help scholar, activist, artist, groups, and organization to further their social justice work.

Overall Goals of the Cyber Quilting Experiment

* To be a cyber resource center for women of color who are committed to social justice work.
* To lay the internet groundwork for future collaborations and social movement activities.
* To find creative ways to make the internet and cyber resources available for the masses.
* To develop a comprehensive database of women of color organizations, community groups, activist, scholars, and artist.
* To develop an archival space where individuals and groups can download or view "How To" (i.e. put on a grassroots fund raiser, how to stage artistic protest, how to put on a conference, etc.)
* To create internet spaces where activist can meet and talk about who they are, what is the work that they do, what would they like to see happen, and how can they collaborate to make it happen.
* To educate scholars, activist, community groups on how to use various internet technologies.
* To create a Skill Share Intergenerational Technology Protest Workshop.
* To find creative ways to make the internet accessible for individuals, communities, and groups committed to social justice (i.e. Regional/quadrant cyber houses/ libraries with internet access).
* To use video conferencing, Google groups, Google documents, movie-making websites, blogs, list serves, phone conferences, Youtube, marketing newsletters, Twitter, digital worlds (i.e. Second Life), and social networks cites (i.e. Friendster, Facebook, and Myspace) as mechanism for social justice organizing.
* To create a social networking site (i.e. Activist Facebook) for Women of Color.

To learn more contact us at cyberquilting@gmail.com"

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Cry for Help

Today I want to ask for your help. A fellow blogger K8 the GR8 who I adore has a special needs child whose school is in dire need of any support we can offer. When you have the time go over to her site and read one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read "The Secret Fire". I believe that God gives special needs children to those of us he deems special enough to handle it...those who have a grace, strength and courage the rest of use just don't have. I am going to repost her post from today complete with links so that if you can help you will know where to go and what to do.

A cry for help

"Parenthood is by no means a sure thing. In our heads, we form a theatre of characters… the characters who play us are nicely predictable, the children - our imagined children - that act out cute renditions of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ in our heads are often sadly far from the parallel reality. The trouble is, you never know what shape the jelly mold of combined DNA will actually take until it’s too late.

Let me throw you a hot spud… when you’re walking down a populated street and your gaze falls upon a disabled child being pushed by a resilient parent, your gaze is not of admiration or respect. No. If you’re like me, like most of the planet, you’ll feel a sudden sadness. You catch a smell of pathetic tragedy that such a child occurred and you make a concerted effort not to stare.

As you walk away, you say to yourself: ‘Oh please God, don’t ever let that happen to my babies.’

God listened as that prayer left my lips as a young woman, and made his decision right there and then, not to grant it. He proved to me that I was capable of loving the impossible, and I’m infinitely glad now that he did.

I felt like a martyr at first. I felt weak for accepting help, ashamed to even entertain the thought of handing my broken child over to capable hands for more than an hour at a time. I would’ve shoved the kid back up into my womb to grow into adulthood if I could, but instead I found an even safer haven… a paradise of open-minded un-adulterated top-quality care.

St Catherine’s ’special school’ approached me when Laughingboy was but a few months old and began taking him regularly in therapy classes at the tender age of one, the date he first started was the 3rd of September, 2002. I remember this date vividly for it was the day of Laughingboy’s last seizure, the regularity of these had been slowly growing more and more violent with each day passing so their sudden halt was amazing to us. Even his neurologist was lost for words.

Since that fateful day, St Catherine’s has carried my cross and has done the work that I could not possibly do. I cannot describe the guilt and grief I felt before they took my hand, the knowledge that I should be constantly entertaining this tiny rag-doll, this perpetual baby that couldn’t even acknowledge my existence. All I could do was wrap him up safe and leave him, staring into oblivion until I returned again. How selfish my free time became!



He acknowledges my existence now. He turns his head and smiles and giggles and kicks his perfectly formed legs with glee. St Catherine’s gave him those legs. They brought him swimming, they made splints to help his bones form properly and placed him in a whole array of positions so that his entire muscle mass developed. I couldn’t have done that. They play endless games and engage him in hand-over-hand entertainment, they sing to him and gave him the ability to lift his heavy head, all on his own. I can’t sing for peanuts.



St Catherine’s is in trouble.

This is where I become sheepish because this is where you come in, and I know that by now you have whiffed the familiar sweaty tang of a beggar-lady who is aware that a bended knee is not always a shameful thing.

St Catherine’s owes the Revenue Commissioners €1.25 million. The payments from the HSE and the Department of Education were halted suddenly in 2006 and now the school is in severe debt - while they are cagey with the exact number, I believe the number floats somewhere around the €6 million mark.

Needless to say, their belt has been tightened. There is now a bare minimum of staff, we the parents were informed at a meeting - I think even before the staff were - that redundancy packages were being bandied about. They have halted all counselling services for staff, cut weekend respite to the bare minimum, and let the extra nurses go. They have stopped all external training seminars thus halting progress in its tracks, and have put a stop to trips to the swimming pool.

But the worst of all. All those new babies, those new broken children in tireless hospitals are now on their own. Harry Cullen himself, a voluntary worker, CEO of the school, has to call these distraught parents ‘at such a vulnerable time’ as he said, and explain to them that the inn is full.
THE INN SHOULD NEVER BE FULL.

Apparently the HSE don’t want St Catherine’s to close, so they have told the school to create a recovery plan by the end of October and then they would talk further about the possibility of some cash. Mr. Cullen is not holding his breath however, he can see like the rest of us that the HSE seems to be in dire trouble itself.

And what of the Department of Education? I’m fearful of what to tell you, also I don’t know for sure. I sense that the school is staring down the barrel of a large gun, that’s all I can give you, really. The lack of information is quite bizarre.

The Revenue Commissioners are sympathetic to a point, but cutting through all the ducktape that pins St Catherines to its virtual interrogation chair will be very, very expensive.

So who is left? I’m afraid the answer is you, and your brothers, your sisters, your neighbours and your talkative coalman. Please help this amazingly worthy charity in any way you can. Their bank details are below, a standing order is there too… €5/month would be just out of this world, and the tax from this mighty gift would return to the school at the end of the year. They’ve even put together Christmas cards, if you’d like to buy some.

I’m slightly biased, I’ll admit, but they do a job that is way and above any amount of cash and you know it. Schools like St Catherines all over Ireland are suffering too, but I offer this one to you. I would do anything to stop it from liquidating so I ask you humbly for your help. Thank you so much for reading all of this, if all you can do is link to this page I would be eternally grateful.

-o0o-

And now for the official extras:

If you live in Co. Wicklow, freetext “Autism” to 50308, before 31st October 2008. If you join this affinity plan, 02 will donate 5% of your bill to St Catherine’s service until 31st December 2009. If you don’t live in Wicklow, text “autism” to 087-9245894.

Their banking information is as follows:

Account Name: St Catherine’s Association Ltd
Bank: Allied Irish Bank
Address: Church Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland
Account No: 009920234
Sort Code: 93-35-54

And if you click HERE(here, I've linked to her page with the link as it is a downloadable form), you’ll find a printable standing order.

This is the website for the school; St Catherine’s EDC… you’ll find a lot more information on their services here. (Thanks to Prin for reminding me!)

-o0o-

Again, THANK YOU for any help you can give, you have no idea what this means to me!"