Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Winning And Losing

It appears my experiment with Blogster may have ground to an abrupt halt. Like Blogstream before it, the site owner isn't making enough money to satisfy himself and is reluctant to spend on upgrades. Sometime overnight, there was a hardware failure which has taken the site offline I guess. All the volunteer "Blogster Team" can say is that there is a hardware failure and that "Tony" has been notified. Something temporary is being used with limited functionality, except the server still doesn't answer queries so functionality is more like 0 than limited.

I'm not really sure this is a bad thing. There are people there who seem to want to fight all the time. I guess that's the downside of "social media". It's not a bad blogsite, it does focus on social blogging as opposed to educational/opinion blogging. There is a very vocal, nasty bunch of Conservative nut jobs there that tend to want to rule the roost. If one wants to put forth an opinion that is more liberal, one will find oneself in a rather messy situation.

It became so bad that 18 or so fellow bloggers moved to a forum cum blogsite as a way to get away from the vitriol. I looked at the site and wasn't interested and that means I will lose contact with some of the bloggers I've met there. Possibly not a bad thing. A couple of them are over here in Blogger. I have found one of them, but the other is still lost in the Blogger vacuum.

I've never defined my style of blogging since it isn't for me always about my opinion of something. Sometimes it's a diary that I don't choose to keep private. While I can find those willing to interact on my political posts, I've not been lucky here finding the social bloggers. Maybe my fault, I don't know. This place isn't friendly the way both Blogstream and Blogster were/are but at the same time it also isn't full of drama mamas.

I can't say I'm back because I don't know that I am, and besides, who but the spammers ever leave comments here? You all do realize that thanks to the spammers my page views grew by leaps and bounds? When I left in march I think I had somewhere around 50,000 page views after 3 years as an actual in use blog. Without posting a single thing, I managed, in a few short months to triple that number and OMG, you should see the number of spam comments I need to go delete.

That might be a full time job right there. As near as I can tell the comments are almost all on just one post. I'm thinking that if I delete that post the spamming might stop? I hate to do that but if I'm going to post here, I need to do something about the spammers. I can't shoot them, so I'll try deleting the post and see if that stops the onslaught. I'm getting around 4000 spam comments a month on that post. I'm just a popular blogger I am, I am.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Moving Day

I have moved myself to Blogster. This place has acquired too many spammers and hackers for my comfort. I was upset when Wayfarer's blog was hacked and taken over by a pornographer, but now Mr. Ornery's closed blog has been hacked and taken over. I can't deal with that on any kind of sane level. These were e-friends of mine and I'm seriously upset.

I'm getting far too many spam visitors, and am accumulating close to 40 spam comments a day. It's no longer fun here.

Since I'm aware now that closing the blog wont stop the hackers, I'm just going to leave everything exactly the way it is and I won't be back. If this blog acquires another post, it won't be me. I don't know how to protect myself from that happening. So I took this opportunity to warn you all.

It's been fun, enjoy yourselves and stay away from the spam if you can.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Told You So

I've always wanted to say that. I told you so is such a satisfying use of 4 words in the English language, isn't it? Admit it, more than once any of my readers have found themselves with the sudden lift in spirits that the ability to use those 4 words brings. It's a rush, almost as good as winning the lottery because you aren't any richer, but you have the proof that you were right! Yay! I was right! Then reality sets in. And being right becomes less important in the over all scheme of things.

I have a really hard time dealing with people who spout the GOP theory of trickle down economics. I'm not seeing evidence that it works, but that doesn't seem to be stopping anyone from saying that trickle down is evidence of a free market. Where? Even more important, where do people get that idea? Exactly what part of people are unemployed because there are no jobs that they have the skills to fill escapes them?  Furthermore, since they are unemployed, where is the money to acquire the skills supposed to come from?

The reality of the situation should have indicated that something is wrong with this theory, but it doesn't. I'm not surprised since we've become the type of Christian society that doesn't seem to understand the meaning of Jesus and the covenant God created with his people by allowing Jesus to die on the cross. To some degree, that becomes understandable when you realize that a large segment of Christians actually believe Jesus, born in the Middle East was blond and blue eyed. Spoke English too. After all, the Bible is English, right?

Jesus appears absent from most Christian churches these days. He's been replaced with Politics and Money. How else do you account for the hatred of the poverty stricken? If one were to follow the example of Jesus as it says to in that Bible, people would have to give up something to assist in caring for those less fortunate. Pointing fingers and ordering the "lazy" to get a job isn't quite it. But that's only my opinion. Oh! Wait! The holder of the very highest religious position within Christiandom, Pope Francis also says so. Ahem!

Another opinion I've held, is that corporations are not job creators. WE, the consumers are the creators of jobs. WE buy the products in sufficient numbers to create a demand and people must be hired to meet that demand. THAT'S the "free market" that I hear so much of these days, only that's not what we have. We have a market that bears a marked resemblance to that market created by monopoly. We've been there during the Gilded Age, we did that and it didn't work then. So, why are we trying it now?

If you need proof that our economy runs on how we shop, what we buy and how much of it, I suggest you look at Staples as an example. They're closing 225 North American stores. They are doing this in order to better serve their customers, according to them. And where are they intending on serving these customers? Why, online of course.

Instead of keeping stores open for the convenience of shoppers, they're enlarging their website to handle the increased traffic that online shoppers have brought them. Online shoppers are the drivers of this particular bus. That's really a negative since if the same volume of shoppers had gone out to the stores to buy their products, the stores would be left open and the people there would have jobs. While it is a negative, it is also proof that our economy doesn't run on the corporations as job creators, it proves that the CONSUMER is the job creator. Only, in this case the consumer is the job destroyer.

So, now I want to hear from all you believers in the poor corporations that don't create jobs because of unions and taxes. You tell me where, since its entirely driven by the increased use of the internet as a shopping tool, Staples is creating unemployment for the workers in 225 stores because of unions and taxes. And when this situation becomes widespread enough to affect  your own ability to support yourself and your family, you can take pride in the fact that you built this. Oh yeah, don't look to the government to help you out because you fought to destroy the programs you will need. For your sake, I hope you won't be successful in that but if I'm wrong, well, I told you so.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

With Green Eggs I Prefer Ham, Not Spam

I have suddenly become a popular blogger. I'm not doing a single thing different than I've ever done and I'm an overnight sensation for reasons I've yet to figure out.

Since April 27, 2006 when I wrote my first blog post on another platform, I've averaged 50 visitors a day. Back then I was an eager beaver and I ran around the Blogstream commenting on other people's posts which got them visiting me in return. They must have liked what they saw since there were days I had many hours of fun in my comment section answering the words of wisdom they left on my page.

It was an easier website to use in many ways than Blogger. It was created to help the novice promote themselves so they were visible to like minded individuals. We spent hours online at a time speaking with each other and having fun. Pranks were played, parties were given and a good time was had by most. I can't say all since there were people who felt left out who wanted to be a member of the in-crowd.  Trolls and bullies exist everywhere and we had those there too. What we didn't have until the very end was spam.

From my Blogger statistics I knew I was receiving 25 to 40 visits a day. On days I posted, I might get 70 to 90. With a monthly total of 700 to sometimes as high as 900 a month. In the past week, I've gone from those figures to near stratospheric heights.  Yesterdays pageviews were 244. My monthly total now stands at 2368. I need to be careful, the rarefied air up here might make my nose bleed.

Of course, there are the usual 10% of visitors who are leaving comments. It seems, no matter where I am, my percentage of comments to page views remain the same. Since all of those are anonymous and contain invites to websites I'd rather not visit, I believe they're spam. Of course, they're nice spam, since they leave me such wonderful compliments.

The following are excerpts of some of my comments, with my answers. It's the polite thing to do.

"Hey there. This is a very well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your helpful info". {Comment is on the post about Hubby's grandmother throwing a fork and putting out the eye of his granddad.}

Me: Well thank you for the comment and might I suggest you be very careful who you throw a fork at? Come to think of it, you might try sticking that fork in your own eye. I'd consider that a welcome punishment for spamming my blog.

"Can I simply say what a relief it is to discover someone who understands what they're talking about online?"

Me: I'm so glad you're relieved. You'd feel much better if you'd spell relief GAS-X. You're leaving quite the stink in here.

"This is the story of men and women these days. Make positive you get history into account. It also adds to the disadvantage on the mileage when it comes to the reselling of your car or truck."

Me: I bow to you. For the first time in 8 years a comment has left me speechless. Just don't ever let me catch up to you since I wield a pretty mean baseball bat and while reselling value mileage may vary, you won't get squat when my bat meets the fender and whatever else I can beat on of your vehicles. Just call it stress relief for having to put up with all you spammers.

I'm not sure at all where these are coming from, but I suspect it's from something called webwiki. It's a directory of blogs that added me in May of last year and the posts these comments are coming in on are all from that month. Most popular is the tale of Hubby's grandparents. With over 4000 pageviews it's the single most popular of my posts. It appeared here the day after webwiki added me.

Webwiki has a Facebook page. It seems to be the only way to contact whoever owns the site. I'm not interested in opening myself up to more problems via a FB page so I have no way to ask that they remove me. I never asked to be aggregated there, I've no idea how to get rid of this except to take down the offending post and there isn't any way to know that would work. I also can't say for sure that is the problem so I'm going to continue to ignore it until something happens that becomes the last straw. Now, I think I'll go scramble some eggs.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lying To Myself

At my last doctor visit, she didn't feel I was as "far along the curve" as she thinks I should be. At first I was wondering about a possible health issue that we might be missing. I took a virtual trip through the Mayo Clinic, WebMD and other sites like Medicine (dot) net. I don't advise that. Unless, of course, it's Halloween and you're looking for a way to scare the bejeezus out of yourself.

My entire attitude towards the changes I'm making is one of having to give up everything I like which would make the extra years I'll live pretty damn boring. I had settled on a 90/10 percent ratio of healthy versus unhealthy and had you asked me, I would have said "Achievement Unlocked". Since I believed I had managed the changes I couldn't understand why my weight loss stopped, and why my blood pressure was still higher than it should be. Of more importance to me was also why I'm not consistently feeling better.

I decided that the only way to know what was going on would be to create a journal of everything I consumed and how active I actually was. It was an enlightening 2 months of recording my life in one of those black and white composition notebooks that pages are stitched into. I didn't want any of those pages tearing out.

I discovered that the incidents of consuming the bad things like doughnuts, muffins, pieces of cake, slices of pie, pieces of candy were a lot more often than I was admitting to myself. I also failed in the fruit/veggie department. Instead of the 90/10 percent, I am actually closer to the 50/50 percent which obviously isn't enough.

Activity level was adequate and would have been beneficial IF I had actually accomplished the 3 hours per week of physical exercise. I found the exercise was more like an hour a week of stretching and 0 strength building or aerobic activity. That inconsistency alone would explain the total exhaustion on the days at work where I'm mopping floors and carrying laundry through the halls of the buildings to the onsite laundromats. At the end of those days I have difficulty getting out of my rather low to the ground car.

I have 0 resistance to temptation and part of my problem is clients who worry about my lack of food intake. Someone with resolve would have no problem saying no to the goodies they offer even though it hurts their feelings. I'm going to get around that by purchasing some fresh fruits like apples, oranges or pears to take with me to eat when I'm working. I can cut them up and put them in baggies to stick in my tote bag. It's not going to stop them from offering, but it will give me the backbone to say no.

Now I have to figure out what kind of strength building exercise I can do that won't kill my knees and hip. Walking isn't doing it so I guess some kind of squats will be in the plan. I've fallen outside on the ice 3 times this Winter so anything that strengthens my legs and helps me keep my balance is a good thing. I may lack the "joy of exercise" gene, but I also don't have the "joy of falling on my ass" gene either. It's all about choices these days. And taking better care of me.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Life Or Something Like It

After almost 2 years of trying to build a caseload with some hours to it, I'm finally up to 20 hours a week. Well, technically it's 19.5 work hours and an hour travel time. Still, it's an increase in pay. Doubly so since I received a $1.65 an hour raise.

Our office coordinator got fired and the one that left the state in 2009 was rehired. She and her husband had moved to Florida where she was unable to find employment so they came back to New York State. They gave her my old on-call job and she was waiting in the wings when the new coordinator apparently screwed up big time. Trust me when I say it was big time. My boss doesn't fire anybody. She just makes your life miserable until you quit.

When I have contact with the coordinator, I am the one with the issue I'm asking her help on so I tend to follow up on things. I use my age as an excuse and usually ask if I have the correct information. That avoids the going to the case when you aren't supposed to go issue, and also keeps things running smoothly when there's a change in how the client's care gets paid for. Some cases start life as temporary for a number of hours and if I go for longer than the approved hours the company has to pay me, and can't get paid. Sometimes those cases switch to a different program and become permanent at so many hours per week. If the coordinator doesn't pay attention, mistakes happen. Since I follow up on my end, changes in schedule get caught before the damage happens.

The oddest thing was that while P was coordinator if I asked for more hours I'd get told we weren't getting any cases. The first week that C was back, the subject of my hours came up. I asked for more hours since my case load was down to 12 hours a week. In 2 days she found cases for me that now have me working 19.5. In a week and a half, C picked up 17 new cases. Although cases have been assigned, there is still the potential for me to pick up more hours since the first aide on the case sometimes doesn't work out. It's been hurting my income to have gone from 26 hours a week down to 12 especially since we were being paid minimum wage.

I have space in my schedule for 6 more client hours. With the increase in pay, I may not have to take all of that. I might though because when it comes to my retirement, it might make my monthly payment higher. I can't retire at full benefit until 66 and actually might, depending on how I feel, actually wait longer than that. We'll see. I have arthritis and it does limit things like stair climbing which so far, I don't have to worry about. It's something I need to consider before asking for more hours. The pain might not be worth it. Also? Some of these senior buildings have periodic outbreaks of bed bugs. I'm not sure I'd want to take cases in those 3 buildings.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The More You Know

In all honesty, the ACA or Obamacare health insurance plan is only great if you're very low income. If you make less than 138% of poverty level it's a major deal. If you're higher in income than that, its not so great.

Youngest is a family of 5 making just under $50,000 a year. His insurance for 4 of them will cost $1190 per month. That's a Bronze plan with some pretty steep co-pays. That monthly premium is 24% of his income. He will get his "subsidy" with his taxes next year. In the meantime he has to pay that amount every month and still make his mortgage, school and property taxes. His heat and utilities. His food, clothing, car expenses and telephone. With 23% of his household GROSS income gone to health insurance every month.

Included in that household income is my 21 year old granddaughter who has to buy her own insurance. She can't be included on their policy because she works. Her job is part time at Kohls and she has to pay her student loan, transportation to and from work, clothing for her job since Kohls requires their employees to "dress well". However, her part time income MUST be included in household income since she lives there.

Without her income they would qualify for a better subsidy. However, if she was to be forced to move, she doesn't make enough money to support herself. There are no apartments within walking distance to her job since the town this particular Kohls is in opted to have a commercial corridor that is an absolute nightmare to drive in. Trust me I've driven there. Rents in that area are as high as $800 per month without amenities like heat. Homeowners are paying the taxes these businesses don't pay due to the designation as an Empire Zone. Towns must make the taxes up somehow.

Public transportation in this area operates 6 days a week from 6 am to 6 pm. If you work outside those hours, take a cab for the princely sum of $7 to $10 one way. Her choice would be to have a vehicle or a roof over her head. Nice choices there.

Should she have the audacity to apply for Public Assistance she will immediately be sent to Working Solutions where they will be happy to help her find an additional part time job. Heaven forbid that the state should require these businesses to employ people for more hours in order to earn the tax incentives. The incentive is earned by the number of new employees that business hires. This is accomplished by hiring part time help to employ more people. At least at Kohls they don't do the 180 day temporary workers the way Walmart does.

However it would be nice to have a set number of hours that an employee is expected to work every week. Can't very well move out of Mom's basement if this week they work 18 hours and next week might be lucky enough to be given 24.

In New York State over 6 million people have moved away taking with them $97 Billion in taxable income. The state is trying to attract new business with these Empire Zones. So far only retail establishments have taken advantage of the deals and they aren't paying anything close to a living wage. In the meantime the necessary tax is being collected from the residents and low income employees who used to be a member of the middle class.

Somehow or other we've decided that the blame for our failing systems should be placed upon the poverty stricken people and seniors who need the safety nets our tax dollars are paying for. The Pentagon can waste billions of our taxes killing our children in wars instead of using that money to rebuild our crumbling roads water mains, sewer systems and bridges. Now there's a job creating idea that won't require tax incentives that get passed onto a failing middle class.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

An Eye Rolling, Tongue Biting, Facepalm Day

At a client's this morning listening to him commiserate with his neighbor about the money the neighbor's latest DUI is costing him. He refinanced his house 2 years ago for $20,000 for lawyer fees because the ambulance chaser guaranteed him he'd get the charge reduced and keep him out of jail. Two years have passed and he now wants $15,000 more. Seems the state passed tougher laws and made them retroactive which now included the neighbor's incident. Of course, both the lawyer and the state are the problem here. Of course they are.

The neighbor is looking at 5 years in jail because this particular DUI was his 4th or 5th. He was telling my client that his wife will lose everything because she won't be able to keep any of it without his income. He owns his own auto repair business, it runs out of the garage next to his house. This set up was made possible thanks to a very large insurance settlement she got from the death of her first husband. She hasn't a dime of it left.

I kept leaving the room in an attempt not to hear this man whine. My eyes were beginning to hurt from all the rolling they did and my tongue was pretty near to the bleeding point from the biting of it. They are in this mess because they made the choice to be there.

She had a million dollars from that settlement. She spent every damn penny of it on toys, booze and cocaine. He's not even a good auto mechanic since he drinks from the time he opens for business every day. He's the one who chose to drive drunk all the times he got caught. He's the responsible party here, not the state or the lawyer.

After the neighbor left, my client continued to speak about the situation. His thoughts on the subject exactly paralleled those of the neighbor. The problem wasn't that the neighbor made a choice to break a law, it was the problem of the lawyer and the state. His sympathy for the mess the neighbor is in has outweighed his ability to judge who is ultimately responsible.

I found myself asking my client how he would see the situation if the neighbor had injured or killed someone while he was driving drunk, for the 4th or 5th time? His response was: "Oh, well, that's not what happened", and he proceeded to continue to sputter about lawyers only interested in money and the state trying to take away a man's livelihood. I didn't say anything more since I am aware that in another 20 years, if I should live that long, this could be me.

What happens to the brain as we age is a mystery. Some people suffering from dementia have short term memory loss, mood swings and behave in a manner that suggests they need a parent. For others the mind seems to stay sharp but there are these lapses in judgement. There doesn't seem to be any way to predict which form an older person will suffer from. One good thing I've learned over the past few years is once they get to that point, there is absolutely 0 chance of changing their minds.

Monday, February 10, 2014

When Opportunity Has Been Stolen

The 2014 Farm Bill has passed and it only included $8 billion in cuts to the SNAP program instead of the $40 billion that the GOP wanted. I should be happy about that, but I'm not. To me it's just another punishment for our nations poorest people and it's celebrated by our nations richest people along with what remains of the upper class because most of them feel that the problems in our society are caused by those at the lowest end of the income scale. They're the lazy, the moochers, the reason we have to pay so much tax.

The Farm Bill is just another example of the bill of goods being sold to this nation by the very moochers at the top who want to continue their mooching unabated and unrestrained by the truth. People in the middle, who work so hard and find themselves unable to get ahead, are angry at those below them who qualify for assistance when those with higher incomes can't even when they need it.

No matter how many times you tell these people who blame the poor that the problem is the behavior of the corporations protecting their bottom lines, they simply don't agree with that. No matter how many times you tell the finger pointers that wealth is not limitless and if a small percentage of people are hoarding most of the available wealth, there is no opportunity for the rest of us to advance, they won't believe it.

If all the wealth is packed into 1 pie, cut into 8 pieces and expected to feed 8 people, 1 person taking 4 pieces leaves 7 people to divide what's left among themselves. There is no more pie to add to the inadequate share the remaining 7 people received. Which means that 1 of the 8 is on top of the heap and the other 7 have 0 opportunity to advance.

Here, maybe these pictures will help you.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Misinformation Super Highways

Much like Ivory Soap the internet is 99 and 44/100% pure. The question is, pure what? I suppose the answer to that depends on what day of the week it is.  How much anyone has had to drink before sitting down in front of the keyboard. How angry the mood is. And how stupid the person cares to act in order to be heard.

When it comes to the stupid, I'm not referring to those whose opinions on anything differ from mine. I'm referring to those willing to threaten rape, murder or other means of bodily harm when someone disagrees with them. Now that's stupid.

The creation of social media, whether it be blog sites, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Youtube, etc. has given Joe and Jane Doe a voice. Given what they've got to say and how they say it, I'm not so sure this is a good thing. The fact of the matter is, the internet is opinion based, which makes it a less than reliable education tool. Unless you are inclined to learn how hateful your fellow man is. That is the quickest lesson one can learn given how widespread trolling, spamming, pedophilia, pornography, hacking, catfishing and bullying has become.

I was raised to believe that a polite society doesn't discuss religion or politics in a social setting. Since they seems to be the 2 major topics of discussion 24/7, it's a given that the internet isn't a polite society. I can live with that since I have control over myself, and my account here in Blogger and in Twitter allow me the luxury of deleting what I'm seeing rather than jump in and argue. I don't do that often here in Blogger. In Twitter, I just unfollow people who are hell bent on arguing with everything anyone else says. What bothers me is the outright misinformation spread online.

That misinformation affects most of the major issues we face today. Whether it be politics, religion, healthcare, economics, education, or any other issue, we don't have the facts of the matter since we make it far too easy for opinion to rear it's head. Online, if you try to connect people with factual sources to help them understand the reality, those facts are ignored.

If that information didn't come from our favorite pundits who pose as journalists, it's a lie. For someone who does want the truth, or who wants to listen with an open mind to both sides of the issue, the information they need is too hard to find. Much of what one would find is more misinformation spread by an online blogger saying what they are saying because it gets them traffic.

After 8 years online, I'm not sure I know the truth anymore either. What truth I do know is found in my offline experience. I see prices for essential goods and services advancing beyond what people on fixed incomes can afford to pay. I see far too many working more than one job to begin to make their ends even wave at each other let alone meet. I also see too many entitled people believing they have the right to dictate how those farther down on the food chain must live.

We aren't truly recovering, we're just moving sideways and sooner or later that too will destroy more of our lives. A tool that could be used to advance our knowledge of what's really happening is being used to spread agendas, and not many of those address the real problems in our lives. Problem is, thanks to the internet we don't even understand the scope of our problems let alone how to fix them. We're too busy being fake 24/7 and getting lots of friends. After all, that's what the internet is for, right?

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Inhumanity of Selective Outrage

I don't mean to sound as if I don't believe the wholesale slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan is anything other than appalling. It's stressful to the dolphins and extremely painful. It is, by any definition of the word, inhumane. I would prefer it not happen, however, I will not participate in the online outrage over the centuries old practice that provides the fisherman of Taiji with their income. You see? I still shop for some of my meats at grocery stores where I know that meat comes from factory farms.

My income doesn't purchase as much as it used to and with Hubby and I needing different types of foods, I can't always afford the higher priced meats at the grass fed farms. I can eat fine on rice, beans or lentils, and other plant based foods, Hubby can't since all that fiber would cause him serious suffering since he has Crohn's Disease. I have to make decisions that I'm not always happy with, and buying some meats I know came from factory farms is one of those. Since I must make that kind of choice, I don't feel I can meddle in the affairs of others who make the choice to participate in such a horrendous event.

What outrage I do have is against the Japanese government since they insulate the other residents of Japan from the truth about the slaughter and the fact that Japan allows dolphin meat to be mislabeled and sold as another type of fish. Dolphins, like Tuna have high mercury content so anyone in Japan trying to limit their consumption of mercury is being conned. I'm assuming things here that may not be truthful since I'm aware of the number of US citizens who willingly participate in the destruction of our own food supplies by purchasing the poultry and meat produced at our ever increasing factory farms. It may be that the Japanese know and don't care anymore than we do.

Which brings me to my objections to the online outrage over this practice. Both Facebook (according to my family members) and Twitter are awash with posts condemning the practice. We, however are not condemning any of this.

Piglet's teeth being clipped off prior to being placed in the cage it will spend the rest of it's life in. They do this so they can't bite into the pig in the next cage. This is done without anything for pain.

Unwanted piglets that are bashed to death by farm employees. 

Laying hens kept in tiered cages. Allowed to urinate and defecate on the caged animals below them. They are cleaned by overhead sprays and if that were all that effective, why is he wearing a hazmat suit?

Chicken with an infected wound that largely went unnoticed due to the housing of up to 14 birds in a cage. The beaks are clipped off so they can't cause damage and the leg spurs are also clipped. The mass of animal pressing against the cage wires can cause wounds which then become infected due to the haphazard disinfecting process. 

These farms produce massive amounts of excrement that pollute our land, water and air. The animals are nothing more than a profit making commodity. They're bred to grow larger than their bone structures can support which leads to a lifetime of pain. They're kept in cages they can't even turn around in. Lying on the bars and wires with such overweight bodies leads to skin breakdowns and very painful sores similar to those suffered by the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes. These sores untreated, lead to septic infections for which antibiotics are regularly given. 

I'll listen to your outrage over what's happening in Taiji, but until you show the same outrage over what's happening at every single factory farm in the United States I'll consider your words the empty whine of the faux poutraged.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Some Days Are More Precious Than Others

A number of things running around in my head. Nothing worth blogging about, although I admit that's never stopped me before. I'm in a post Christmas season let down mode. Since I had more spirit this past year for the season, the let down seems to be deeper and longer. Oddly, my spirit was so high due to all the early snow we had. I hate snow but I loved having it while Christmas shopping.

I didn't have a penny more to spend than I've manged in the past few years, but I didn't mind a bit. I shopped, I wrapped, ate popcorn and drank hot chocolate with whipped cream.  I sang Christmas carols, although only when home alone and only to the cats. Demonkitteh seemed to prefer the more commercial songs while Precious seemed to understand the reason for the season.

We've spoiled Demonkitteh with store bought toys, cat beds, litter boxes and litter while Precious learned to play with leaves, grass, mud, ticks and fleas. Not for him the plastic pans with store bought litter in them, he prefers to do his business in the great outdoors where he can commune with nature.  I had to learn to respect his preference and I do so willingly, since despite my attempts to confine him, he never once showed his displeasure by leaving an unwelcome deposit in my home.

During the pre-Christmas cold and snowfall, Precious had been spending hours in the house as close to the woodstove as he could get without setting his fur on fire. There were days when he seemed to have cabin fever since he was quite willing to put Demonkitteh in his place should their paths cross and the opportunity present itself.

He wanted to go home to Dave. I knew he did. I could sense it in his demeanor, but he didn't do so because when Dave moved back in, he brought with him a woman and a dog. A small dog, Shih Tzu, but a dog nevertheless. Precious wasn't having a bit of that. So he stayed here until the woman became dangerously ill. She's unable to care for herself without the kind of help Dave can't handle. She found it necessary to move in with her daughter and she took her dog with her. There's an apartment in the same building her daughter lives in so she has her own place and she has daughter and granddaughter to help her.

Last week Precious went to visit Dave and discovered that the dog was no longer there. I don't think he trusted it because he did come back here, but he soon found his way back to Dave. He's been spending his nights there now for close to a week, and when he comes to visit here where there is ample food, he's back to acting frightened of Demonkitteh again.

Winter isn't over by a long shot. I'm concerned that one of these days Dave won't let Precious out early enough so he can come for breakfast before I go to work. Once I'm gone for the day and Dave leaves, poor baby will be outside in whatever winter weather develops. The idea of leaving him out in a storm bothers me no end, and I can't trust Dave to see to it that he's inside when he leaves.

He's made his choice and we all just need to learn to live with it. On the bad days Hubby said he'll be home or at least home early, largely due to his concern that Precious is outside in the cold. This is not the ideal situation, but it's what we have to deal with so we're doing the best we can. At least he has a quiet roof over his head at Dave's and all the food he wants here. What a life.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I Have My Obamacare, I Think!

As of January 1, I have health insurance. Sounds great, right? Here I am at the age of 64 with the ability to have needed tests and procedures to diagnose a problem I have and get it taken care of. Except for a couple of small details. Or maybe details which turn out to be not so small.

The insurance company has sent me a card, and a booklet explaining my responsibilities under the plan. What they haven't sent me is the booklet which lists plan providers that I am limited to. Also? Doctors I know who accept this plan, aren't taking any new patients. Those who are accepting new patients are ones I wouldn't let touch me with a 10 foot pole. Trust me, I know which doctors are good here and which aren't. You find that out in my line of business.

So, for the next 9 months I won't be doing anything except seeing the doctor I've been seeing who tries her best to help me without sending me for the expensive tests I can't afford. She was hoping I'd get ahead of the curve with the ACA so that her suspicions can be confirmed. At this point we're guessing, but the treatment she started has helped so she may be on target. I won't die from it if she's wrong. In 9 months I'm Medicare eligible which may be the step needed to put me ahead. We'll see.

Another thing. With the $1.65 per hour raise I got, I may find myself over income limit and no longer qualify for medicaid. Yes, I qualified for medicaid at 109% of poverty level. According to statistics 40% of the working population make less than $20,000 a year, 53% make less than $30,000, and 73% make less than $50,000 a year. It's nice to know we weren't as unsuccessful as we thought we were. While I may be in the 40% right now, we used to be in the 73%, 14 years ago. Those were 2012 statistics, I imagine the 2013 stats will be worse.

If I can keep the physical condition I'm in now and grab 6 more hours a week, I'll at least be able to retire after reaching the 53% category. I can't retire at full benefit until I'm 66 so that does give me time. Now I just need my joints to hold out. Always something, right?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Trap

In my younger days I tried marijuana a couple of times. Unlike Bill Clinton I inhaled. I stopped using it after those 2 times since I didn't like what it did to me. I'm a Type A person and while I really, really could use something to cool my jets, anything I use tends to take the entire stuffing out of me which renders me entirely useless and unable to do anything except sit and grin. I certainly don't have a problem with others using it, I just don't like it for me.

When Colorado and Washington legalized it's use, I thought it a good thing. I think it should be legal and available for whoever wants to partake for whatever reason. I paid 0 attention to the entire subject until Friday when I logged into Twitter and started reading tweets from Goldie Taylor. Miss Taylor is an MSNBC contributor and one of the few whose opinions interest me.

The legalization of weed is a liberal issue, and when two states did so there was a lot of celebrating and dancing in the Twitter streets. It looked, on the surface, like a liberal win, which surprised me since Colorado is a Tea Party State.

Miss Taylor read the information on the law and began tweeting about the flaws she found in it. Essentially, in her opinion, and mine, it's little more than a way for the state to make more tax money while preserving it's number one industry, the prison system.

The law states you may have weed on you ONLY if purchased from a state licensed dealer. State licensed dealers are charging close to $500 an ounce plus a 25% state sales tax. This means buying marijuana is legal for the rich and not for the poor.

Colorado prisons are privatized. The company which operates them has a contract with the state that requires the state to provide a certain number of bodies to be incarcerated. On the surface, this new marijuana law would have reduced the number of incarcerated since it stopped making possession anything more than a misdemeanor offence for which a fine would be levied. That would apply only if the possessor displayed the weed or opened the bag. I'm assuming the holder of the weed would have some sort of receipt proving the weed was purchased legally.

For the poverty stricken in the state of Colorado and in many other states, illegal sale of weed is a major source of income. Given the price of legal weed this will still hold true for the most part simply because residents in those neighborhoods aren't going to be able to afford the price of legal weed.

Legal dealers are paying a premium for their licenses, they aren't going to tolerate a loss of sales to a cheaper illegal dealer, so I would think they'll start turning them in. The state is rubbing it's hands together and mentally spending that 25% sales tax that they have probably been fantasizing over since the people chose to legalize weed. If those figures aren't where they believe them to be I'd be looking for the state to begin cracking down on the illegal sales which will then provide the bodies necessary to feed the prison industry.

I can't really find much to celebrate in this law, but like all things without any history to examine and form a conclusion on, we simply have to wait and see. As it stands right now, this isn't anything to crow about.