barbra streisand…speaks

The Movie Album

I subscribe to Barbra Streisand’s blog via The Huffington Post.

It’s rare for Streisand to take center stage unless it’s to do what she does best…sing and act. I’ve found, however, that she also writes eloquently. 

With the political quagmire in Washington having a deletorious impact upon the lives of everyday Americans, I wanted to share Streisand’s heightened concern…in her own words.

As we now enter the third week of the unnecessary government shutdown, Americans should remember the words of GOP Representative Martin Stutzman, “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” This statement reflects a cultural resentment in the land over a changing America. Maybe if the President calls and says he respects the Congressman and the Speaker, the country could move forward.

As the October 1 New York Times front-page story pointed out, this shutdown was conceived in meetings sponsored by the billionaire Koch Brothers and former Reagan Administration Attorney General Edwin Meese. The purpose was to defund the duly authorized Affordable Care Act by holding the rest of the government hostage. Talking points were prepared for members of Congress and tens of millions of dollars were spent on propaganda trying to convince Americans that the health care law was going to ruin America and end their health care options.

President Obama has provided access to health care through private insurers that will both help our economy and millions of Americans. It should be noted that the ACA was based on an idea from the conservative Heritage Foundation. The 2012 GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney signed similar legislation in Massachusetts as Governor. Our country is one of the few major industrial nations in the world that did not provide access to health care for its own people. Many have a simple, single payer system.

The opening days of the ACA showed significant demand for health care access. Perhaps the greatest Republican fear is that their rhetoric about the ACA, including government “death panels,” will be quickly proven false. When explained properly, the provisions of the ACA are quite popular. Americans will soon understand that the law provides both needed benefits, and reduces medical costs and the deficit in the long run. This is the forecast by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

There is no excuse for the obstinacy of Speaker Boehner insisting on renegotiating a law passed by Congress and deemed constitutional by the GOP-led Supreme Court. There should be an immediate vote in Congress to re-open the government of, by and for the people. Let the people see the Tea Party Republicans vote.

This government shutdown has had immediate effects. It has delayed the death benefits for survivors and associated funeral costs of the soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan. This is just the most outrageous outcome of the GOP’s actions. Embarrassed Republicans quickly tried to pass an ad hoc fix. They pretend the World War II Memorial should be open and ignore that imported seafood is not being inspected. This shutdown is also costing the American people real money — over a billion dollars so far. The stock market has reacted by shredding over 600 points, as uncertainty mounts and Americans are thrown out of work.

Reacting to polls, the Republicans switched gears and decided that Obamacare was not the issue but federal spending was. A budget sequester is already in effect cutting federal spending in arbitrary ways. The deficit has already been cut in half. Our children are now being denied placement in Head Start programs, and vital other government services, like medical research, have been curtailed. The Senate also accepted the Republican total budget number, but this was not enough. The GOP decided to fool with the full faith and credit of the United States by threatening to exceed the debt ceiling.

Apparently there were enough moderate Republicans left in Congress to pass the Senate bill to end the shutdown and pass an immediate debt ceiling extension, but SPEAKER BOEHNER, fearful of the Tea Party and its billionaire backers, WILL NOT ALLOW A VOTE. The GOP position is, “Give us what we want or we will promote economic chaos.” They ultimately want to overturn the results of the last election.

In this country, our elections are supposed to mean something for policy outcomes. In 2012, the President was easily reelected with 332 electoral votes, the Democrats picked up two more seats in the Senate and received over 1.1 million more votes for Congressional seats than the Republicans. The Republicans were able to retain control of the House of Representatives because GOP-led state legislatures redrew Congressional lines after the reapportionment and redistricting following the 2010 census. According to the latest AP-GfK POLL, the approval rating of the Congress is 5%, the lowest figure ever recorded.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich noted one of the real aims of the Tea Party conservatives is to undermine the faith of the American people that the federal government can solve national problems. Given all the voter restrictions Republicans have instituted on the state level, they hope fewer and fewer Americans are civically engaged and vote. This should particularly concern American women as it took nearly 150 years of struggle to have this “right”.

I hope enough Americans draw the opposite conclusion and hold those Republicans responsible for this orchestrated and manufactured crisis fully accountable in 2014.

Coincidentally, the Heritage Foundation, of which Streisand speaks, is funded by the Koch brothers. They, it seems, are attempting to manipulate both sides of the debate over The Affordable Health Care Act.  It’s like a chess game which they plan to win however they can. And we, the American people, are the pawns in these billionaires’ game. And by the way…it’s also the Koch brothers who fund the Tea Party, dictating the direction in which it moves.

…a good read for those seeking the truth………hugmamma.

 

 
 
 

harsh reality…

Shirk The Harsh Reality

Shirk The Harsh Reality (Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks)

…the name of a blog created just this year.

I invite you to go take a peek…if you dare… http://aopinionatedman.com

The blog’s author is quite opinionated as you might guess, but he does not welcome opinions to the contrary.

While I may not agree with him in all matters, I do agree that argumentative narratives should go find themselves their own Internet home.

I highly recommend Word Press.

Four Women

Four Women (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One “harsh reality” post speaks of women as being crazed individuals who only make sense to one another. It goes on to inform men that women stir up a hornet’s nest…just because. And that we already know all the answers, before getting into an argument with men. 

A must read… women-are-crazy-the-way-to-lose-your-female-readers.”

Finally! A man who knows why women are placed on a pedestal…and offers no argument as to why we should be removed.

…need i say more…

………hugmamma.

guilty…as judged?

I visited a new blogger friend today, Jennifer at http://enjoylifeforonce.com

Judgment!

Judgment! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A post she’d written, 32 Flavors of Judgment, got me thinking about the ease with which we seem to judge ourselves…and others.

Why is that do you suppose?

Might it be that knee-jerk reaction to throw the first punch…at ourselves…or others?

Over coffee with a friend today, we commiserated at feeling the need to explain our actions to others. Especially in light of the fact that we’re both middle-aged mothers of adult children.

Why is it that we dictate to others…or allow others to dictate to us?

Having spent years digging out from under low self-esteem, I’ve never been inclined to tell others what to do. After all, I might be wrong.

In any given situation, however, our reactions can differ. Chalk it up to individual DNA.

When you come right down to it we’re all in the same boat…striving to validate our own existence.

It’s a struggle to command the spotlight…to be heard above the din…to distinguish ourselves from the crowd.

We’d all like to feel good about who we are…what we’ve become…what we’ve done. But surely it needn’t be at anyone’s expense…our own…or someone else’s…

Jennifer’s explanation was thought-provoking…in a wonderfully delicious…Baskin Robbins, banana split sundae sort of way.

32 Flavors Of Judgment…

If I judge myself based on the eyes of society, I fail because there are too many opinions.
If I judge myself based on my own criteria, I still fail because my mind changes moment to moment.
But if I learn to identify and recognize the particularly sour flavor of ‘judgement’ as it arises, I can spit it out and take a sip of water, savoring the complicated colorful glorious mess of perfection that takes judgement’s place. And then maybe I can do something from the heart.

Banana split

Banana split (Photo credit: jumbledpile)

Banana Split

Banana Split (Photo credit: amanky)

Birthplace of the Banana Split

Birthplace of the Banana Split (Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)

Wouldn’t you rather wallow in confectionery goo up to your eyeballs…than in opinions that don’t really matter in the end?

………hugmamma.

not for everyone…

Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul is where I share opinions, thoughts, feelings, helpful hints, recipes, life experiences…all meant to uplift, to give hope, to empathize, and above all, to entertain.

 Mine is not a political blog. Although I am oft-times moved by current affairs to write what I feel about something of particular concern to me. I don’t propose that others should subscribe to my way of thinking. We are, after all, a society of free thinkers with free will, are we not?

I respect that others can voice their own opinions. And I invite them to establish their own means of doing so.

 Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul is not the appropriate platform for others’ rants and raves, political or otherwise. So this is to advise that any such comments will not be read or published.

I appreciate your readership, but do not welcome conversations of a harsh nature. I will not engage in them for they only serve to stress and demoralize.

Argument for the sake of argument is definitely not my “cup of tea.” Life is too short…and too full of hope to dwell on negativity.

The internet overflows with sites that thrive upon doing verbal battle, until someone cries “uncle.” I heartily encourage those desirous of locking horns to search out others of the same ilk.

…in fact…i insist…

………hugmamma.

armageddon…according to bain

Just discovered a new blog through one of my favorities, murphysrun.Photo Bain waves is the product of an award-winning writer/humorist from Raleigh, N.C. I’ve only read one of his posts thus far, but as I commented to him, he said everything about the financial/political mess this country is in…that I’ve been thinking. I don’t think I could’ve mouthed the words better myself…or the witty sarcasm. As far as I’m concerned, Bain “hit the nail on the head.” See if you agree or not…and by all means leave him a comment. I’m certain he’ll be able to come up with a retort, whichever way you respond to his opinion. So click on http://bainwaves.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/armageddon-sick-of-this/  …

and good reading to you………hugmamma.

get an opinion…

dripping faucet

Image via Wikipedia

James from Zes Bro Plumbing fixed a trio of seemingly small issues today. Water leaked from the shut-off valve of the toilet in our main floor bathroom. The tap in our master bath had been slow-dripping water for some time now. And the outdoor spiget alongside the house was missing a piece which connected to a hose. I’m thinking the construction crew that remodeled our kitchen/dining room a few years ago might have removed it when they were contracted to also build steps leading down the adjacent slope.

James, the plumber, did an outstanding job, informing me of the structural issues and what he planned to do to repair the problems. If there were options based upon price, he would tell me what they were and allow me to decide between them. Because we’ll be remodeling the master bath next year, and to some extent the main bath, I went with the cheaper solutions. James agreed with my decisions.

In order to repair the outdoor water faucet, James had to run to the hardware store for a part. He indicated he would be gone 25 minutes, and he was true to his word. Several minutes later, he had completed all designated tasks. Plumbers aren’t cheap, but I thought his charge for parts and labor of $291 for 3 hours work was fair. My husband agreed. It wasn’t the nightmare that others have complained about when repairmen have greedily charged exhorbitant rates. And when they’ve got you “over a barrel,” what can you do but pay up, or go 9 rounds in a confrontational match.

Image representing TripAdvisor as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

Whenever I require something, from a hotel to a repair person to a furniture mover, I troll the internet looking for reviews. When we’ve traveled to another state or to Europe, I have spent many a day and night winding my way through TripAdvisor.com. Reading others’ reviews of hotels, scenic sights, and restaurants, saved me the aggravation and expense of buying into something I might regret. Of course no two people are exactly the same in their likes and dislikes, but most people want pretty much the same when it comes to basics. It’s usually the extras where we might differ. Give me clean, good value, good attitude. Helpful, friendly, charming, quality are the added perks for which I’ll pay a little extra. TripAdvisor lets me decide where I’ll spend my money.

yelp inc magazine

Image by calmenda via Flickr

Yelp is another internet tool that offers the opinions of real consumers, like you and me. And unlike Angie’s List, Yelp is free. That’s where I searched for a review on a plumber I had thought of using. The company had a coupon in the monthly ValPak envelope I get in the mail. I’m glad I turned to Yelp, before calling Southwest Plumbing. Of the several complaints, the main ones were that the workers often arrived late for the job, and the prices quoted were excessive. One was for $1,345! And the homeowner sounded unprepared for that figure, whatever it was he was having done.

Better Business Bureau logo.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s highly doubtful that I would hire someone “blind,” or travel somewhere without first doing extensive research. I can always count on TripAdvisor and Yelp to assist, any time of the day or night. They’re on-call, 24/7. And if they don’t have what I need, I just google what it is I’m looking for, or look on the Better Business Bureau’s website. Their info is not as great as the first-hand reviews available from TripAdvisor and Yelp, but anything is better than nothing.

 feel better knowing someone’s been down that road………before me  ………….hugmamma.   

freedom of speech…my voice

I began my blog because just like everyone I’m entitled to my own opinions. They’re not carved in stone, but they support my core values. We all seek to align our voices with those similar to ours, that’s only natural. When we absorb others’ opinions, we embrace those from whom they originate, whether in toto or in part. Our own experiences help to determine, consciously or unconsciously, the paths we take in life. Those of us fortunate to live in America have the constitutional right of freedom of speech. So we can give voice to our opinions and beliefs.

It’s obvious that I have found several voices which I felt offered valuable information in the endless discussion that swirls around the demise of Osama bin Laden. Hence my posts “in the aftermath…#1 through #4 (soon to be published). A couple of comments have been left which I always welcome, whether they align with my thoughts or not. I learned early on that good blogging etiquette required I respond to each and every comment left, and so I do, willingly. I wanted to reprint two such comments as a post which I recently left in answer to a couple left on the “aftermath” posts. I wanted to reiterate who it is I am as the author of “hugmamma’s mind, body and soul.”

My first comment:

I’m certain no person with a modicum of intelligence imagines that Osama bin Laden’s death means paradise on earth from here on out. But as with Hitler and other satanic evils before and after, bin Laden himself has exited the scene. But just as with Hitler, bin Laden’s ramifications in the franchisees which have been spun off will linger, probably forever. And again as with Hitler, we can still celebrate the moment of bin Laden’s passing from this world into the fiery one he so richly deserves. Hitler needed to be “taken out,” and it was done in a full-blown World War. Lucky for the world, we did not need another to demolish bin Laden.

With bin Laden gone, I’m hopeful, as are millions of Arabs, not only in the Middle East, but certainly globally, that they can finally determine the course of their own lives rather than be the pawns of self-serving men who set themselves up as autocrats. People the world over go about their business the best they know how, I think, given the circumstances, physically and economically, in which they find themselves. Not everyone was fortunate to land in the United States of America where freedom of speech, and a right to happiness is guaranteed by the Constitution. And yet, even with those guarantees, there are no guarantees. Even Americans must eke out their lives the best they can.

I’m of the mind that we’re all of this earth, so we’re all in this together, Arabs and non-Arabs, whether we like it or not. With industrialization and technology, we cannot climb back into the wombs from whence we came hoping that will spare us dealing with people and places in which we have no personal interest or concern. We are earthlings before we are Americans, and as such are already connected to non-Americans.

I’m always hoping for the best for ALL of us who inhabit earth…a little naive, perhaps…but I feel good waking up with that thought, and laying my head back down upon my pillow at night with that thought. That’s probably why I’m still a practicing Catholic. The nuns’ teachings still resonate in that I can be a vessel for good, from which others might drink. That’s what Jesus was about while on earth. We all choose what we are about.

mine is to be a positive-sayer…rather than a naysayer…hugmamma. :)

My second comment:

Whatever took place in the heat of the discussion, a very important, history-making decision had to be made. In the end, Obama had to make it because the consequences would fall upon his head. If the mission failed, he would have been lambasted the world over, not to mention how monstrously he would be pilloried in America. The remainder of his days as president would be worse than the almost 3 years he has experienced thus far. So, it seems, the man can’t do right even when he does right. But that’s the way of mankind…to find fault. Heck, even the media is on board with that.

we’re all free to exercise our freedom of speech…i do it by blogging…and others, like yourself, are more than welcome to express yours on my blog, Ed…hugmamma. ;)

“walking a fine line”

Once in a while it’s good to step away from my own blog to visit others. There are so many on WordPress that are interesting and well written. And there are as many personalities as there are blogs. Each unique unto itself.

WordPress.com

Image via Wikipedia

The Worpress community repesents a microcosm of the world at large since its members are from all over the globe. The conversations run the gamut from religious beliefs to political persuasions to everyday life. Sometimes a blog includes a range of topics, like mine; sometimes there’s a particular focus, like a journal of one’s daily activities. What’s valuable to the writer, is what drives the blog. Otherwise what’s the point?

What fascinates me about the blog world is that we all coexist, side by side, with true freedom of expression, except for what might be deemed inappropriate by “management.” Except for a short period where I was mistakenly being spammed from leaving comments a month or so ago, I’ve not otherwise seen evidence of suppression by WordPress. Heck, they’ve even allowed some spams to come through for my deletion. Although they have fortunately prohibited more than 26,000, for which I’m extremely grateful.

Just as in life, bloggers can rally with others who seem like-minded. Many do. I have. I guess that’s how we form relationships as human beings. It’s comforting; it’s secure; it’s familiar. But what’s nice about WordPress is that we can step outside our comfort zone to “test the waters” without being “seen.” We can read others’ opinions, get a feel for who they are, and decide whether or not to engage in conversation. That’s not always easy to do in real life, without “getting into it” from the get-go.

I think most of us want to be part of the larger community. I don’t imagine too many prefer isolation. I know I don’t. When I first began this blog in July of 2010, I was hell-bent on writing. But I learned in time that while I had readers, most were not really interactive. They came and they left without leaving their imprint. So I worked at making connections by getting out and about. Leaving comments on others blogs, brought them to mine where they reciprocated. I’ve formed strong bonds with a few based upon respect, compassion and positive support.  

The Westboro Baptist Church picketing at the m...

Image via Wikipedia

There’s a fine line between “telling it like it is” and expressing one’s opinions, I think.  Walking the line between both is difficult at best. Refusing to walk that line can mean isolation, a lone voice in the desert. I don’t think we were built to live like islands unto ourselves. Where are we when Mother Nature upends our lives like Katrina or Japan? To whom do we turn if our loved ones are wiped out in a tsunami, and we’re left alone having isolated ourselves from others?

8 12 09 Bearman Cartoon Freedom of Speech

As I’ve indicated, it’s hard to be true to one’s own self, while coexisting with others who feel as strongly about their own true selves. It’s a matter of give-and-take, compromise really, just as in any relationship, even political ones and religious ones. It really does come down to compromise. Being correct can be isolating.

Research still points to the fact that Alzheimer’s might be in my future since my mom suffered its effects for years before she died. That is an isolating disease. I don’t care to self-impose more years of isolation…

by not being open to compromise…hugmamma. 

only my voice

Wanted to thank those of you who read my blog, especially regular ones who have been along from its inception. 

This blog is my personal journal, with you having an insight into my thoughts and feelings. As such, there will be those that do not correspond with yours. I most definitely welcome comments, but just want you to know that I can’t, and don’t, write anyonelse’s opinions but my own, not even my own family’s. My husband and I do disagree, yes, even in certain aspects of politics. But we’re still married, continually learning about one another, even as we head into retirement.

So for those of you who continue in this venture with me, it’s a marriage of sorts. I probably won’t say everything you want to hear. What spouse does? But I’m guessing that if you’re still with me, I’m saying some things that are akin to your own thoughts and feelings. That’s all I can hope for, while remaining true to who I am.

While I generally try to live by my mother-in-law’s mantra that “words once spoken can never be taken back,” as a writer I would be hauled off in a straight-jacket, if I had to “measure” every word for its effect. It’s a “slippery slope,” and remaining on solid ground is not always guaranteed 100%.

Your comments, great, and not so much, let me know that I’m making an impact, heady stuff for a writer. But I’m not on a “power” trip, I’m just trying to do what I love doing, and that’s writing. Maintaining an active blog is almost full-time, especially with the theses I tend to write. I have no problem coming up with topics, since life’s details  never escape my attention. I do edit, and re-edit. But I don’t edit myself out. If I did that, I’d have no reason to write, since my life and my experiences are what I’m most expert about.

Our perspectives as writers, or readers, will be based upon our own lives, our own experiences. What we think, what we do, is necessarily “colored” by our framework of references. I have spoken of my own life in some depth throughout my posts. Some of you may just be catching up because my Facebook connection was not working the way I thought it was. I’m in the process of now rectifying the situation, by manually sending each one to that site, starting with the most recent and working backwards. It’s taking some time, since I’ve written so many. So bear with me.  

I’m a housewife, a mother, and a writer. I started this blog because I felt women in my position had a right to voice our opinions in the daily discussion that swirls around us, day in, day out. We’ve no way of tapping into that except for the social outlets we create.  

And so “Hugmamma’s Attention to Detail” is my outlet, my voice. I can’t speak for others. But I highly recommend blogging to anyone who would enjoy writing about their own thoughts and feelings as I do. Sometimes all we humans need, is to have a “say.” That’s where the Tea Party movement and I most definitely agree. In most other ways, I think we can agree to disagree.

for staying with me, hugs…hugmamma.