david holding goliath…hostage

Effects of the Republican Government shutdown

According to The Atlantic, following are the men and women who lined up behind Representative Ted Cruz in favor of shutting down the government…until changes to The Healthcare Law are effected. (Listed alphabetically, followed by constituency and its population as of 2012.)

  • Justin Amash…Grand Rapids, Michigan…190,411
  • Michelle Bachmann…Stillwater, Minnesota…18,542
  • Marsha Blackburn…Brentwood, Tennessee…39,012
  • Mo Brooks…Huntsville, Alabama…183,739
  • Paul Broun…Athens, Georgia…118,999
  • John Carter…Round Rock, Texas…106,573
  • John Culberson…Houston, Texas…2,161,000
  • Ron DeSantis…Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida…29,116
  • Scott DesJarlais…Jasper, Tennessee…3,279
  • Jeff Duncan…Laurens, South Carolina…9,083
  • John Fleming…Minden, Louisiana…12,992
  • Scott Garrett…Wantange Township, New Jersey…10,387
  • Phil Gingrey…Marietta, Georgia…58,359
  • Louie Gohmert…Tyler, Texas…99,323
  • Tom Graves…Ranger, Georgia…133
  • Vicky Hartzler…Harrisonville, Missouri…10,008
  • Tim Huelskamp…Fowler, Kansas…565
  • Jim Jordan…Urbana, Ohio…11,639
  • Steve King…Kiron, Iowa…283
  • Raul Labrador…Eagle, Idaho…21,025
  • Tom Massie…Garrison, Kentucky…1,466
  • Tom McClintock…Elk Grove, California…159,038
  • Mark Meadows…Cashiers, North Carolina…1,974
  • Randy Neugebauer…Lubbock, Texas…236,065
  • Matt Salmon…Mesa, Arizona…452,084
  • Mark Sanford…Charleston, South Carolina…125,583
  • Steve Scalise…Jefferson, Louisiana…433,676
  • Dave Schweikert…Fountain Hills, Arizona…23,031
  • Steve Stockman…Clear Lake, Texas…1,095
  • Marlin Stutzman…Howe, Indiana…807
  • Randy Weber…Pearland, Texas…91,252
  • Ted Yoho…Gainesville, Florida…126,047

So let’s see.

As of 2012, the Census Bureau tabulated the population of the United States as in excess of 315,000,000. They are served by 435 elected officials to the House of Representatives. The 32 who perpetrated the government shutdown serve a total constituency of 4,778, 186…a little more than 1% of the entire population.

In other words, 310,221,814 Americans are being held hostage by 4,778,186 of their fellow countrymen…via the 32 representatives who say they represent their constituencies.

 This is one time when…

…goliath should haul off and wallop…david and his slingshot!!!…

………hugmamma.

English: David and Golias Česky: David a Goliáš

 

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tiger or leopard…they don’t change…

With the presidential campaign dominating the news, there’s obviously much talk about both candidates. Since I’m neither a politician nor a pundit, I can only speak to what I surmise from all that’s been “hung out to dry.”

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

I liken President Obama and Governor Romney to the “tiger who can’t change its stripes” or the “leopard who can’t change its spots.”

Obama is the product of divorced parents, an African American father and a Caucasian mother. Raised by a single mom, with the help of her parents, Obama managed to graduate from Harvard, work in public service, serve as a senator, and go on to become the first Black President of the United States. His upper class status is the result of his current salary of $400,000 a year and earnings from books he has authored. He’s made known the taxes he has paid, as well as his charitable donations. Time and again Obama has indicated he’d be willing to pay higher taxes as part of the wealthy 2% in our society.

Romney’s background is one of affluence, having grown up in an upper class, Caucasian family. He served as governor of Massachusetts, followed by a career at Baine Capital where he continued as sole owner and served as CEO for several years while he ran the Winter Olympics in Utah. The perception is that Romney’s wealth amounting to hundreds of millions has been acquired through chicanery. He is revealing only the minimum information required as regards the taxes he has paid, and the specifics about his foreign, offshore holdings.

Dreams from My Father

Dreams from My Father (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the one hand President Obama’s life is an open book, several in fact. Among them, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance . By contrast, Governor Romney seems to be playing his hand very close to his vest.

As ordinary citizens both Obama and Romney are free to live their lives as they so choose. Their capitalistic endeavors are their business.  However, when they ask me to consider their qualifications for President of the United States, trust means a great deal to me. And I have little faith in someone who is dealing me a lot of doubletalk.

I understand there are those who will vote for Romney because they don’t like Obama’s politics. At least I know what his politics are.

Aside from making himself a multi-millionaire many times over, I’ve no idea who Romney is. My overriding  impression is that he will hold tight to his wealth and help others like him do the same.

I credit both presidential candidates as being…

President Barack Obama, joined by First Lady M...

President Barack Obama, joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters, Sasha and Malia, and Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, prepares to read “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak on Monday, April 13. 2009, to children at the White House Easter Egg Roll. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…exactly as they seem…

………hugmamma.

egyptians, no different

I haven’t as yet delved into what the media is printing about the current Egyptian uprising. I only know what I see and hear on TV. At the moment, until things resolve themselves one way or the other, it’s a lot of information to digest. Trying to decipher what I think of everything isn’t something I can wrap my brain around right now. The outcome of their fate ultimately rests in the hands of the Egyptians themselves, from the top politico to the peon in the street.

The one thought that runs through my mind is that because of technology, a combination of television, computers, mobile devices, the internet and its myriad of tools, people around the world, living in hovels or palaces, can witness what occurs in other countries. And like snapshots retained in our memories, what we see can fester in our subconsciences for a long time, until we decide to act upon them.

It’s my personal feeling that both President Obama and the Tea Party Movement have been catalysts in what we are now witnessing in Egypt and Tunisia. While there are those who disagree, I think the President has shown himself to be a champion of the middle and lower classes. From health care reform embracing 13,000,000 Americans without insurance to speaking up for better education for the less fortunate, he has shown himself to be the son of a woman who died of cancer while fighting for health insurance coverage.

The Tea-Partiers have successfully shown millions at home and abroad, that the masses can unite via the internet to unseat politicians, replace them with candidates of their choosing, and ultimately, influence government decisions. Heady stuff for a movement started by 2 Atlanta housewives, Amy Kremer and Jenny Beth Martin, strangers to one another, who were stewing over the economic downturn and its negative impact upon their lives. (My post of 11/3/10, “two housewives,”founders of tea party movement”.) Power to the people has never been more overwhelmingly proven than in what these 2 ordinary citizens initiated, to have it become the Tea Party Movement as we know it today, a force with which to be reckoned.

History has proven time and again, that people will rise up to challenge whom they perceive as their oppressors. We who enjoy the benefits of an American democracy can do so far more rationally than countries ruled by dictators. We can protest without provoking full-out civil war. I think we learned our lesson a long time ago under another president I admire, Abraham Lincoln. He too was not a favorite of all Americans, but he did the best he could, according to the principles in which he believed, one being that all people, including slaves, should live freely.

The Egyptians, and Tunisians, want to choose how to live their own lives. Like us they want to earn a living, provide for their families, take pleasure in small things, and give their children hope for a better future. Not so much to ask for really. In fact, they just want what we Americans already enjoy.

I may have oversimplified the unrest that rages in the Middle East. But sometimes the experts complicate matters by interjecting too much hyperbole. I’m not an expert, just an ordinary housewife who understands that people like me just want to make a decent life for our families. Not a big deal really, but, in fact, it is a really big deal when we’ve only got one chance to live our best lives.

people the world over want the same things…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…hugmamma.

“news trivia,” wall street journal

“david vs. goliath”………..Corporate giant Wal-Mart got a “stone between the eyes” when historical preservation groups united, using their “slingshot” to stop the world’s largest retailer from building on a 52-acre site bordering Wilderness Battlefield. It was here that “Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee clashed for the first time in battle in 1864.” Evidently there were 30,000 casualties with neither side winning the battle conclusively. But it looks like the “little man” went nine rounds and won this time. Yayyy for “David!!!”  (Wall Street Journal, 1/27/11-“Retailer Retreats From Civil War Battlefield”)

“protestors to have front row seats at royal wedding”………Looks like 62-year-old Brian Haw has had his ticket to William and Kate’s April 29th wedding since June 2001. Did he know something the rest of the world only learned recently? No. It seems Haw has been a long-time “resident” of Parliament Square, a small grassy park, that sits across the street from famed Westminster Abbey.

As a peace campaigner protesting sanctions imposed upon Iran, Haw gained entrée into “a very, very beautiful part of town,” according to Colin Barrow, leader of Westminster City Council. Spending most nights there in tents, Haw and his associates, seem able to invoke squatter’s rights because “The court of appeal made an exception for Mr. Haw, partly because he has been protesting so long, allowing him to continue to camp while his case is reviewed by the high court.”

So while 7 foot-tall metal barriers were erected around Parliament Square, per orders from London Mayor Boris Johnson, space was made for Haw’s 5 tents. Protestors for a variety of other causes who followed Haw’s example over the years, moved their encampments “to the adjacent pavement, which technically doesn’t fall under Mr. Johnson’s order, but rather the Westminster City Council. Hoping to close that loophole, the government last November proposed to outlaw tents in and around the square. But the law is unlikely to be passed in time for the big wedding.”

Once Haw pitched his tent in 2001, didn’t the politicians foresee that he was setting a precedent? I’m sure they weren’t naive enough to think he was just going to go away. Why would he give up prime real estate once he “dug in his heels?” (Wall Street Journal, 1/26/11-“Westminster Squatters Just Aren’t On Wills and Kate’s Guest List”)

“still overpaid, but why ?”……… The L.A. Angels hired Toronto outfielder Vernon Wells for “a $23 million salary in 2011.” In doing so the team is guaranteed to have baseball’s “most expensive outfield–one that actually costs more than the entire payroll of several teams.” Fellow outfielders Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu will make $18 million and $9 million, respectively.  Meanwhile the Angels are “still on the hook for the remaining $11 million on Gary Matthews Jr.,” who was sent packing in early 2010. The total payout costs the team “43% more than the next priciest group.” Unfortunately, this outfielder foursome “combined for 9.7 Wins Above Replacement–a metric that measures a player’s total value over a Triple-A call-up.” The Red Sox quartet scored roughly the same, but the foursome, Carl Crawford, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, and Jacoby Ellsbury, are earning almost $22 million less than their counterparts in Anaheim. “Even the much-maligned Chicago Cubs outfield of Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, and Marlon Byrd produced more value for significantly less money.” I may not know baseball, but I know when money’s being flushed down the toilet…big time! I continue to maintain what I posted in “a hand up,” on 7/27/10. Millionaire athletes should consider investing a portion of their mega bucks into helping the careers of athletes, like ballet dancers who are as talented, but are paid “peanuts” by comparison. (Wall Street Journal,1/26/11-“The Absurdly Expensive Angels Outfield)

and the world goes round and round, sometimes spinning upside down…hugmamma.

 

 

 

children, “clean slates”

A favorite saying has been that “Children are clean slates, upon which adults leave their chalk-mark.” Although babies are most likely born with individual personalities, it’s also very likely that adults influence their development to a great degree. Our passions and prejudices are passed along directly, or through osmosis. We are human, so it’s impossible to guarantee perfection when raising children. Nonetheless, we should make a concerted effort to guard against leaving a legacy of negativism to future generations. Easier said than done.

Change is inevitable; life isn’t stagnant. But while we can’t stop change, we can  control its direction. Viewing life through a baby’s eyes, it would seem only natural that he or she would want a pleasant environment in which to grow and  flourish. It’s not far-fetched to think that adults would agree.

Unfortunately, life has had a head start, our world seems already “set in stone.” War is waging all around us. Battles are being fought on every front: rich vs. poor, liberals vs. conservatives, Wall Street vs. Main Street, blacks vs. whites, Muslims vs. Christians, U.S. citizens vs. illegal immigrants; big businesses vs. small businesses. On the front line fighting are the stockholders, politicians, consumers, lobbyists, NAACP, Ku Klux Klan, “skinheads,” religious fanatics, families, farmers, pharmaceuticals, health insurance companies.

The fallout from our self-inflicted war is its negative impact upon our society, particularly our children. Many fear they will be saddled with our trillion-dollar national debt; I fear they’re already saddled with a psyche of distrust and dislike for anyone and anything, alien to the world in which they’ve been raised.

Children are “killing” children, as in the case of Tyler Clementi’s suicide brought about because his college roommate and a friend posted pictures on YouTube, revealing that Clementi was gay. Obviously the instigators grew up with a certain mind-set, and felt certain their revelation would be well received by millions having the same mind-set. That way of thinking, “us against them,” has been generations in the making, passed along without thought of the consequences to the most vulnerable among us, our children.

When we become adults I wish we could remember how it was growing up as children. Rose, a black girl at the orphanage where my mom worked, was forever picked on because she was mentally slow, stuttered, and built like an Amazon. With nowhere to go when she graduated from high school, my mom brought Rose into our home for a couple of years, to share what little we had. Another orphan, Fuji, was teased because he was slightly built and had effeminate tendencies. And I can remember telling “white lies” in elementary school to cover up being poor, wanting desperately to be accepted by others. How did we children know that being black, disabled, gay and poor were qualities that set us apart, like lepers, like outcasts? Why did our perpetrators know they could victimize us, and not be punished by the adults? It’s no wonder we grow up doing what was done to us, or by us, as children. Can the cycle ever be broken? I hope so.

I’m still trying to “wrap my brain around” the Human Rights Campaign. While I can’t identify with gays in their perception of life, I know in my gut that they are human beings deserving of the same respect that I demand for myself. Knowing several gay men, I’m aware of their incredible talent for business, and commitment to doing their utmost in their positions, most of them in management. Perhaps because they feel they have to prove their worth above and beyond their straight peers, gays are sensitive to their surroundings and those who cohabit them. Granted, there are those who are jerks, just like there are straights who are jerks. I avoid both, not because they’re gay or straight, but because their personalities don’t coalesce with mine. Period.

Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is not an easy undertaking, not because it CAN’T be done, but because of society’s pervasive mind-set. Get rid of the mind-set, and I don’t see a problem. As children, weren’t we told to “get along with others?” I don’t remember being told only to play with “straight” boys and girls.

One of my best childhood guy friends, Michael, was very fashion conscious, seemed like one of the girls during sleepovers, eagerly joined in learning new dance steps, and was as heartbroken as me when my boyfriend and I broke up. My brothers referred to Michael as a “mahu,” (Hawaiian for “gay”), but that didn’t deter me from having him as a close friend. My mom thought he was a great friend, my girlfriends liked him, and my other guy friends, sports jocks, liked him as well. In fact Michael wasn’t gay for he had a serious crush on a mutual friend, who felt badly that she couldn’t return his feelings.

I couldn’t imagine the world without the gay men I know, and about whom I care. They’re like me in all the ways that matter. They love, they feel, they bleed. Why wouldn’t I let them defend me by serving our country? Their sexual preference seems to be the only obstacle to military duty. Delete that, and it seems a “no-brainer.” But eliminating historical prejudices, especially ones based upon subjective interpretations of the Bible, seems an impossibility. My one voice can’t “move mountains,” but as Gandhi said “Everything you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s important you do it anyway, because no onelse will.”

For me, those discussed in Eve Conant’s Newsweek article “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,”  are the faces of the Human Rights Campaign, gays who want to serve and, perhaps, die for our country.

Joseph Rocha had always wanted to be in the military. He enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday, trained to become a handler working with explosive-sniffing dogs, and found himself part of a small, specialized unit in Bahrain. Banned by law from discussing his sexual orientation, he had a hard time explaining to his peers why he didn’t party with them, or even join their bawdy conversations. He became an outcast. Fellow sailors ridiculed him for being gay. At one point they locked him in a dog kennel. Another time they forced him to eat dog food. In 2007 he was discharged after signing a document admitting his homosexuality. But if “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed–as many expect will happen in the coming year–Rocha says he wants to serve again. “You never lose that sense of duty and service and love for country,” says the second-generation Mexican-American from Sacramento, Calif., who will graduate from the University of San Diego this spring. “It’s a unique and beautiful thing most of us feel we were robbed of and would take the first chance to have it back.” …

Lissa Young, 48,…A West Point grad from a military family–her father was a fighter pilot–Young had an exceptional 16-year military career before she was outed in 2002. At that time, she was a Chinook pilot and West Point instructor who had just been selected for promotion to lieutenant colonel. …

To fly commercial planes, Young needed new training, but her financial security–including her retirement benefits–disappeared the day she was discharged. She was in her 40s with $50,000 to her name and no job experience outside the military. … she was hired by Raytheon as a salesperson for air traffic-control systems in the Middle East. But she felt awkward in the corporate world. …She…made her way to Harvard.

Now Young is on the verge of getting her doctorate in education, still hoping to teach at West Point as a civilian if she can’t rejoin the military. As a cadet at West Point, she was the first female to serve as a deputy brigade commander, and she returned later becoming a full-fledged instructor. ‘I’m a product of West Point,’ she says ‘They molded me, I took an oath to dedicate my life to leading soldiers.’ …being in the Army and serving isn’t what I do, it’s who I am.’ She would love to fly again, and if allowed back in, wants to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. …

Bleu Copas, 34, joined the Army after the attacks of September 11. ‘I thought it was the honorable thing to do,’ says the native of Johnson City, Tenn. But after almost four years in the service, the then-sergeant–and fluent Arabic speaker–was anonymously outed. …He accepted an honorable discharge. ‘My commander told me he didn’t want to do this, that I was one of his best leaders,’ …Despite what happened, he says he wants to return ‘for the same reason I signed up in the first place: to serve my country.’

The Army invested a lot of time and money in Copas before it dumped him. He spent 18 months in intensive Arabic training in Monterey, Calif., and had top-secret clearance for handling sensitive documents. These days he works a desk job at the Department of Veterans Affairs back home, helping soldiers transition to civilian life. He doesn’t feel comfortable in a suit and tie, and he’s forgetting his Arabic. ‘It’s very rusty now; I don’t have a lot of use for it in northeast Tennessee.’ He says he’s not bitter, but it’s clear he’d like a change. ‘I’ve been told I’m too forgiving; maybe that plays a role. But if there are new opportunities, I just want to take them.’

After 9/11 ousted gay vets felt hopeful they would be recalled to service. ‘These were high-performing people who knew the nation was in need and couldn’t imagine the military wouldn’t want them,’ says Bridget Wilson, a San Diego lawyer who has represented gay and lesbian soldiers for decades. Yet pilots, linguists, and trained gunners watched from the sidelines as the military loosened restrictions on high-school dropouts and former drug users to boost recruitment for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ‘It really made us crazy when they waived convicted felons into service,’ Wilson recalls.” 

If my daughter were to go to war, I’d want her fighting alongside soldiers who are the best in their fields. But I don’t anticipate having to worry about my child going to combat, so I’ll leave it to the parents of children who might one day decide to enlist. Would it be better that they be caught in a hailstorm of fire with trained soldiers, gays and “straights?” Or all “straights,” some having been drug addicts or felons before joining? I’m not saying they can’t change, but what’s their proven track record? 

just my opinion…hugmamma.