Fighting For The American Worker

I stumbled upon this website yesterday. Why this organization hasn't been featured on the major media stations, I haven't a clue. Or maybe I do........
Anyway, here is their mission, as stated on their website:
Our mission is to unite the 50 million workers in Change to Win affiliate industries whose jobs cannot be outsourced and who are vital to the global economy. We seek to secure the American Dream for them, and for all working people, including:
A paycheck that supports a family
Universal health care
A secure retirement
The freedom to form a union to give workers a voice on the job
This gives me hope. There is an ever- growing trend of workers who have simply been unable to achieve the "American Dream". They are now organizing and vocalizing. And we all need to support them with our voices and our dollars (if we are able).
Check out their website (as linked in my title). Let's put an end to Slave Labor once and for all.


problems don't go away by turning your head another way......

i wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper. i will be surprised if it is published being i gave a challenge to the writers, the editors and the publisher to re-establish their priorities, join the community and actually focus on covering stories that affect us all. the last 2 days in a row the "top story" has focused on OSU personnel. i am fine with these stories as a side piece, but on the front page with the big headlines? please......... there are much bigger stories to cover such as the latest fiasco with our city's largest private employer, the lack of affordable housing, the homeless adults and youth and children who roam our streets at night, the lack of living wage jobs, even the often skewed priorities of our city government.
reading our newspaper, you would believe you have stumbled upon Mayberry, USA. problem-free zone. i myself do not buy the newspaper but rather skim through it online. i cannot in good conscious support this paper financially until and unless changes are made.
it would be wonderful if a publisher came into town and decided to create a new paper, a paper that focuses on the hard hitting journalistic pieces. a paper that isn't controlled by some corporate monopoly and therefore is free to report how and what it wishes. what a dream it would be to be a part of something like that!
i wonder how one would go about finding such a person................hmmm.........


Sign of the Times........

this is for those who insist: "the economy is doing swell!"
my spouse works with the public on a daily basis. some of his customers are employees of a large high-tech company (large for our city standards). said company is in the midst of a big scandal involving the former chairwoman, prompting a federal investigation. (can ya guess which company i am referring to? our local paper has an awesome opportunity--FOR ONCE-- to do some real journalistic work, some real deep, investigate work with this story but so far, nothing. just reprints from the ap. spouse said an employee of said company hinted that the paper may be on the company's payroll. would not surprise me.......) anyway, back to my little story.....people are jumping ship (or planning on it) left and right, at least according to what my spouse is hearing from these poor folks. many are coming into the place of business where my husband works and asking him such questions: "what is your salary? is there vacation and sick leave? a medical plan?" my spouse answers politely, but has a difficult time holding back his emotions--which range from hysterical laughter to anger to sadness.
when he tells these poor souls he is paid an hourly wage that ain't deviating too far from minimum wage and that there are no benefits of any kind, these folks asked, stunned, "how on earth do you support yourself and your family?" when my husband says "we have no children. we can't afford it. we live in poverty. we're barely making it." these folks shake their heads. wow.
when you've been out of the job market, out of touch with the reality of today's job scenario, you can indeed suffer from a bit of "sticker shock" upon hearing such information.
i wonder how many of them are rethinking their desire to depart...........

Proposition 42 Fearmongering

our state has an interesting proposition on our ballot for the upcoming november election. proposition 42 would increase the restrictions on the use of credit scores by insurance companies. there is already in effect, since 2003, a ban on the use of credit scores to determine rates for current insurance customers. proposition 42 would add to this restriction new customers.
i decided to check into the "no on 42" people. i found some interesting little tidbits. for starters, nowhere does their site say this new restriction would raise rates, only that it "may". i also noticed they were backed by 48 businesses, 21 of them which are in the insurance industry.
i'm smelling a little bit of bias here..............
i put little trust into those studies that claim a person's credit history determines their accident and claim filing history. these studies are funded by the insurance industry. what i find interesting is something i read insurance companies "assume". according to one website that explained some of the logic behind the insurance industry's reasoning for using credit history to determine rates, if you file a claim for minor damage due to an accident, it's often because you lack the income/funds to pay for the expense yourself........ read that again. the insurance companies say if one files a claim for minor damage due to an accident it's usually because they lack the income. now why is it the insurance industry says credit report scores do not show or determine ones income? why is it the insurance industry says they do not ever ask for a person's income nor is income considered when establishing rates? here is some little proof, in a roundabout way, that THE INDUSTRY DOES INDEED use income as a means for determining rates.
also interesting is that insurance companies are not required to show you the score they assigned to you. therefore, most of them don't. i am smelling more dirty little maneuvering here..........
sigh. need i mention that insurance scoring is quite profitable, especially since almost nobody qualifies for the lowest-tier pricing. insurance premiums are a recurring little for insurance companies, and the scores help justify higher premiums.
i see this resistance to proposition 42 as simply about keeping the insurance industry free to continue to swim in their capitalist profit making. i think the measure is fair. using numbers to determine someone's potential for filing claims is ridiculous. numbers only assume. they never take into consideration the person in his or her entirety.
vote YES on 42.


replacing one addiction for another?

i had an interesting experience this afternoon. i had just returned home when there was a knock on my door. opening it, i found a male close to my age, late 30's/early 40's. i noticed he had on a large, silver cross, hanging from a silver chain. it stood out against the black t-shirt he wore. he smiled and handed me a small piece of bright pink paper. he told me he was from a drug rehabilitation house where he himself had once been a client.
always intrigued to hear about people's life stories, their struggles, how they overcame them, i gave indication that i was interested in hearing more of what he had to say. he told me this treatment facility was a christian/bible-based facility, privately funded. clients stay, free of charge, for one year and receive room and board and treatment. at the present time they only treat males, but plans are underway for the creation of a facility for women. he told me everyone affiliated with the center are christians and that the graduates go on to become ministers, house managers, evangelicals. he said they have an 84% success rate, which given they treat primarily meth and heroin addicts, i would say those results are excellent.
in time, he began to quote scripture to me. this has always bothered me, especially when i haven't asked for a religious sermon or lesson. i respect people's right to practice whatever religious or spiritual practice they deem fit. religious freedom. however, i also wish to enjoy my own religious freedom (or freedom from religion as some may say). today though, i merely nodded my head and smiled. instead of focusing on my own discomfort, i felt the urge to focus more on this man. i noticed he was rattling off verses left and right in great speed. the look in his eyes was almost half-crazed. then it hit me: had this man simply traded one addiction for another?
it isn't that uncommon afterall. i've heard stories of people who, having spent years being addicted to binge eating, upon giving up this addiction, replace it with exercise. they become utterly fanatically obsessed about exercise.
after i went inside, i began asking myself some questions. are people required to listen to christian teachings in order to receive treatment at this facility? are people required to convert to christianity in order to receive treatment and graduate from the program? do you have to agree with their religious views in order to receive treatment?
when you are in the throes of addiction, you are vulnerable to the suggestions of others, especially to those who you are seeking assistance from. i know having been to my share of counselors for traditional psychotherapy, it is easy to look up to them as someone who holds the answer, the solution to your personal misery. it is therefore very easy to take what they say as "gold". without question. and this is all without the added element of drug addiction. add in a drug addiction and i would say the chances of making a convert out of someone is quite high (no pun intended).
does this treatment facility have as it's main goal rehabilitation or conversion? it is possible, in their eyes, to merely treat without converting? what about the client who enters and is hindu? muslim? jewish? agnostic? aethiest?
given this man's presense of near fanatical enthusiasm, i have to wonder. did he simply change one addiction for another? the end result may look better in the eyes of society, however addiction is addiction. and when you are caught in its cycles, you have lost your own power, your own voice. and the world needs people who are using their own voice, not the voices of others. that isn't empowerment, no matter how loudly you preach from your pulpit.

finally someone who gets tough on drunk drivers

as someone who has been in two accidents involving drunk drivers, i can only say "it's about time!" after reading this article.
people who choose to drink then get behind the wheel of a car need to have much more accountability. all too often they are released back into to society only to repeat again.
the first accident i was in involved a young male, early 20's. he hit me from behind, thankfully the only damage done was to my car. the guy was so drunk, he could barely walk. i remember he kept thinking he could fix my car....the second accident i was involved in was quite different. this time it was 2 men who had stolen a car. they ran a light, plowed head-on into the car off to my left who then plowed into me. at the time i was driving a small 2-door honda. the car off to my left was a pinto wagon with a long front end. just moments before the impact, i had been in the same lane and position as the pinto but something told me to "get right", which i did. as i explained this to the officer, he said it was a good thing i had listened to that voice. if i hadn't listened to it and instead had been hit first, given the size of my car, i likely would not have survived the impact.
talk about having one of those surreal moments. i was already experiencing some mild shock. upon hearing that, i began shaking all over and had to be guided back to my car. i have experienced driving phobias ever since that accident.
in the first accident, the guy's parents insurance paid to fix my car. in the second accident, the driver was homeless, had no insurance and being the car was also stolen, i had no recourse. thankfully i had uninsured motorist coverage. but, i received nothing for the emotional/physical/mental pain and trauma i experienced--and still experience. i remember the prosecutor called me and said i could have the driver's boombox. it was his only possession. of course i refused. i didn't need one of his possessions. i needed him to fix my car. i needed him to pay for the therapy i was in need of.
i was young and thoughtless. i drove drunk a few times in my late teen years. however, i grew out of it. why? largely because of the accidents i was in. they caused me to really think. i realized the responsibility i had when operating a car. oh there were times when i wanted to drink when i was the driver, but you know what? i didn't give in to the temptation. i know first hand the dangers of driving drunk. and in a way i am thankful for the accidents i experienced for they showed me first hand, at a young age, what can happen when you mix drinking and driving. i just thank god the few times i did it, i didn't hurt anyone.


starving oneself to make a buck.........

while i am happy to see this issue brought to public attention once again, i am sceptical as to whether any changes will be made. simply saying only women who weigh 125lbs and up are allowed to walk the runways isn't enough. we need to change our thoughts we hold on beauty and ultimately, truly embrace the idea that we each hold our own vision of what we define as beauty. as attractive. and weight is simply numbers and doesn't, in and of itself, equate whether one is healthy or not.
i have to laugh at the 125lb comment. many of these models are close to 6 feet. a 125 lb woman who is close to 6 feet cannot be healthy. i am 5' 5" and while i ain't sharing my weight, doctors often underestimate my weight by a good 10-20 lbs. even when i was a young girl, my weight never went below 120-125. when it did, i looked unhealthy. for a woman, i have a lot of muscle, which means for a woman, i am very strong. just ask my hub. the other day i moved our king size foam mattress into another room--all by myself. : )
i say let's do away with the height and weight requirements altogether. let those who know how to compose themselves and walk the runway elegantly hold the title of "model" (which leaves me out--put me in heels of any sort and i stumble all over the place).
until real changes are made in the mindsets of those who operate the modeling world, women will continue to starve themselves to fit into the next outfit. i don't know about you, but women need to not only eat healthy, they need to be free to fill themselves with good chocolate and ice cream now and then. and even some greasy, delicious french fries. all without having to worry whether they may put on a few pounds and be criticized for it, or worse, told "sorry, no work for you my dear".



i've been thinking about that word the past few days............"entitlement".........a friend of mine who is a social worker told me we aren't entitled to squat...........i laughed as i told her "i dare you to say that to donald trump!"
i asked her to define entitlement for me and she had a difficult time.........it's a sense of "i deserve this because......." i said "i believe i am worthy--i believe we are all worthy--of having everything we desire simply because we exist." this is when she said she agreed but said making one worthy doesn't make one entitled. i asked her again to clarify it for me. when the conversation ended, i was no more clear than i was to begin with. but i have continued thinking about the word.......
maybe it's the difference between demanding and wanting. an energy of "i am going to get this no matter what the consequences".
maybe it's the art of creating our desires with ego interference--from the place of fear. (uh oh--my ego just stood to attention upon hearing that one!)
sigh. the circles we spin when first we practice to get clear...........
i cannot think of one person, myself included, who i have not seen have a sense of entitlement at one point or another. it's difficult not to. we're taught to compete with one another, taught that there isn't enough to go around (which actually, if we do not begin living in balance with our planet, that may not be an altogether untrue statement at some point in the very near future). we're taught to look at one another as the enemy--someone who may steal or take our "stuff" (whatever it is we define our "stuff" to be--food, employment, money, relationships, etc. etc.). i completely understand this mindset. it was ingrained in me from a very early age that i was not to trust others, that i needed to hold on tightly to what was mine. this lead me to feel afraid of everything and i mean everything. with this fear of everything came the feeling of entitlement. ironic, isn't it, that behind entitlement, at least for me, is fear. our society portrays the energy of entitlement in a way that is powerful. in charge. in control. all of those factors, we believe, make us fearless. but in reality, we're really running around like frightened children, demanding what we believe we're entitled to, clinging to what we have, distrusting others whom we think *may* be out to take what it is we are clinging so tightly so.
i don't know about you, but this is an utterly exhausting way to live. the question is, how to break out of this mindset. and do i even want to? or better yet, can i trust myself, trust that i will be ok if i break free of it?
whew.......that's a big question and i am not sure of the answer.........which means there will be no appropriate or well-defined ending for this piece. nothing nice and neat in which to wrap it up. there will only be the void of "i don't know". but in that void comes the desire TO know.


gone are the days of the "built to last" product.......

i am in possession of a DVR (digital voice recorder). for those of you who don't know what they are (and i didn't until i picked up the thing), it's a tiny little device, smaller than even the smallest cell phone, that enables you to record music and voice files. it's made mostly of cheap plastic and weighs in at maybe 2.5 oz. holding it in my hand, i know it is built to fall apart in 1-2 years.
remember when cd's first came out? everyone RAVED about them. they were built to last. last oh so much longer than records and tapes. what a joke. i have records and tapes from 20 plus years ago that still work better than cd's i bought in the 1990's. then came the dvd's. supposedly better than the cd's. another scam. i cannot tell you how often we rent one of these dvd's only to have them skip or pause or cause the picture to look as though it's melting on the screen.
my sister-in-law owns one of those kia's, another commodity that is consists of a lot of cheap plastic, another in a long line of cars that are no longer built to last. it's 2 years old. during a recent visit, we set out for a drive in her kia. honest to god, i feared the thing wouldn't hold the weight of 3 adults and 1 dog. absolute piece of shit. made so many squeaky noises. everything from the steering wheel to the dashboard to the door handles--piece of cheap ass plastic. poor dear--she's had nothing but troubles with this car ever since she bought it. but, as she said, it's a good thing she bought the extended warranty, which is laughable considering the car will likely fully expire before the warranty expires.
ah, the extended warranty. notice how popular that term has become? companies know their products are cheaply built, aren't designed to last the way they did in the "old days" (sigh.......). so they will charge you a small amount of money for their pieces of shit product, which will seem very attractive to the consumer. wow! lookit how CHEAP so many products are now! then company says for an extra $100 or so bucks, you can get the extended warranty. considering the throw-away society we live in, many americans would simply opt to throw away their product once it broke, died, etc. rather than go through the hassle of the warranty. in short, the companies win.
i LONG to pick up a picture frame and say "wow! now that is made from real wood. real silver!" i LONG to pick up an eletronic item and say "wow! this sure is heavy!" i LONG to test drive a car and see well-made parts. hell, i LONG to get inside of a car and know i could engage in a demolition derby and walk away with my car having only a few dents and scratches--the engine and all major components still in tact and ready to rock and roll............reminds me of a car accident we witnessed a few years ago. a guy driving an early 1990's honda smashed into the back end of a 1960's american made car (chrysler, chevy, don't remember the model--just one of those big boats, made when cars were built to perform and made to last and were heavy as hell). the guy's front end was munched up pretty good. the american made 'boat'? a long scratch and a minor 6" dent. THAT'S IT! i learned to drive on one of these "boats". i put her into a ditch on more than one occasion, drove (stupidly) drunk through some big pot holes and always returned her home in the same shape as when we left.
today, different story. plastic is found everywhere. lightweight, cheaply made plastic. (derived from oil of course.)
forgive me for sounding ignorant and perhaps naive and out-dated, but tv's and computers and phones and stereo and electronic equipment etc. etc. are SUPPOSED TO BE FRIGGING HEAVY. you know--built to last. 'tis why my spouse and i often shop at goodwill. not only are we saving items from going to the landfill, we have a good chance of buying an item that will last longer than their newer, supposedly 'more approved' counterparts.
i realize change is a constant. i'm not wanting to see a return to the big gas guzzling cars of the past or the huge stereo speakers and computers of the past. i think there can be a balance. a balance of a well-made product in a size that is suitable to the consumer AND to the environment. built to last.
built to last.............with the days of plastic upon us, that seems to be a thing of the past doesn't it?


too many thoughts for one little brain.......

so many things running through my brain........the evils of capitalism........the lack of democracy in the workplace..........the damaging effects of the individualistic perspective.........the grossly inflated housing market..........the lack of affordable housing and a livable wage...........what to make for dinner........
i once heard a great phrase. "if you want to find something to offend you, you never have to look far or hard."
so many things piss me off..........so many injustices and inequities that i know aren't necessary. that i know can be changed. and yet with each ounce of energy i spend on simply diving into my opinions, entering the pool of my values and thus experience the difficult feelings, i become worn out. little by little.
i think it's time to retrain this tired brain of mine. or at least give it a break....
i often ask "why am i here?" ok, i used to ask that question. now i ask "why did i come here at this particular time?" my feelings have been an excellent indicator in allowing me to discover my own values and beliefs. and yet given my particular set of "rules" runs so contrary to much of the current social system, i simply have to ask "why the fuck did i choose this time in history in which to make an appearance?"
what gives me faith is knowing i am not alone. while i may be in a minority, i know the kind of world i hold in my heart is one that others also share. i'm reading an interesting book (college text book actually) called "health and social justice: politics, ideology, and inequity in the distribution of disease". while the books focus centers on health, it discusses many of the current inequities in today's society and how the following are detrimental to creating positive health states for all: capitalism, lack of a livable wage, grossly low minimum wage, cost of health insurance, our ever-growing global economy and transnational corporations, segregation, lack of pressure/regulations on corporate america to enact policies that put the earth and human well being ahead of profits...........
sigh. until there's a shift in consciousness amongst our government and corporate/business leaders, people will continue to struggle to create the changes they desire so that ALL have equal opportunity for pursuing happiness. until such a time, the shit will continue to blow in the wind.
which brings me back to my brain. my tired brain. she needs a lot of rest right now. self-love. dark chocolate (honestly--it has been proven to raise serotonin levels). i now see the way things are. i have received plenty of validation to support my own views, my own feelings. now i need to put it all on a shelf, give it the time and rest needed to figure out what to do next. if i choose to do anything at all. learning to live amongst the inequalities in a way that is simple and quiet, raise a family, grow as much of my own food as possible, have as minimal of an impact upon this planet as possible.........'tis sounding like a very appealing option for me. question is, is this enough? i don't know at the moment. or to better put it, i awaken to the knowing within me.
until that "awakening" occurs, my body is telling me winter is approaching. i've spent enough time focusing outward. it's now time to turn inward. and rest.


Remembering 9/11

like many people, i remember where i was when i was told of the attacks on 9/11. i remember the look on my husband's face as he told me--a look of disbelief and fear. i remember my first reaction. "no." denial. couldn't be happening to us. this was america. the world loved us. the superpower. the light of good. the light of strength. the light of freedom.
that morning marked the beginning of what i call my awakening. an awakening that has been wrought with rage, confusion, grief and the most intense sensation of feeling utterly overwhelmed. on 9/10 i was living an illusion, inside of a (supposedly) safe little bubble. 24 hours later, i was questioning everything i had been told about our government, our place in the world, our values, our culture. let me tell you.....when i say i have moments in which i wish to god i could crawl back inside that bubble, i ain't kidding! it is so very parallel to the scenes in the matrix when neo is first awakening to the truth of his existance. awakening is messy and will try both your mental your emotional sanity.
it's easy to remain wrapped up in the anger: anger either felt at our government or in the religious terrorists. or both, depending upon what you believe to be true about the events of that day. however, when we remain wrapped up in that anger, it is easy to forget about the thousands of people who died oh so unecessarily on that day.
so maybe today, just for today, we can focus on the lives lost instead of our anger. we can pause and reflect on those lives, how they were a part of our world. their families and friends left behind. we can reflect on how so many of us stopped our outside lives and instead focused inward. we slowed waaaaay down and remembered our common connection. not to sound cliche, but we remembered how precious, how truly precious, life is. we remembered what is important--truly important--more than ANYTHING ELSE--and that is our relationships with one another.
peace is actually very simple. all we need to do is remember who we really are and then live that consciously, moment by moment. and maybe one day, i (and others) won't need some individual or global tragic disaster in order to do so.