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,


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....


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 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 or 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 would be funny if it weren't so sad...

Friday, December 26, 2008 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



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


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"

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.