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writer, thinker, humanist

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there must be some sort of reckoning at the end of it all, otherwise, what's the point?

08 December 2011

game or a government?

i heard grover norquist make an interesting comparison the other day. i was watching a debate sponsored by the american enterprise institute, between him and ross douthat, columnist for the new york times.

grover compared democrats and republicans as two groups going in opposite directions, one hellbent on going east, and the other hellbent on going west.  his point was that in such a circumstance, there is 'no compromise' there is instead a winner and a loser. to quote him 'we won, they lost.'  he was referring to the failure of the super-committee.

grover's choice of analogy concerned me. yes both sides have differing opinions and thank god they do. differences of opinions are healthy for the very reason that they allow a middle ground to be drawn within which the two sides can agree upon an acceptable solution to a problem and move forward; and grow.  if one side or the other refuses to give in for the sake of winning, then both sides have lost because progress is stunted. in this case, the inability to compromise and move forward is stunting our nation drastically.

grover's mindset of winning/losing and the inability to compromise is deeply disturbing. the pretense of an 'us vs. them' narrative is dangerous.  a house divided will not stand.

the other thing that concerns me is this:  why does someone like grover have so much sway over our elected officials? he is after all only a lobbyist, yet he has an amazing influence over the people we elect to office.  shouldn't our leaders be influenced by our vote and the general welfare of our nation rather that to a lobbyist? yes they should.  they are mandated to do so. yet they are refusing to do their job. anywhere in america one would get fired for refusing to do their job.

be well,


20 November 2011


Speaking of thankfulness this time of year, I wanted to thank you, my fellow taxpayers, for the hearing aids I just received, for the dental care I desperately needed, and for the pills I take to prevent a pregnancy neither you nor I can afford.   I am deeply grateful.
I inherited a hearing loss problem from my mother which means that by the time I was 36, I needed hearing aids.   For a couple of years I have been without, much to the consternation of my employer, and those of you I may have checked in as guests whilst performing my duties as a front desk clerk at a local hotel.  Thankfully I stumbled upon an agency known as the Department of Rehabilitation (funded by the taxes we pay) and they were able to hook me up with a new set of hearing aids.  Now when I greet you at the front desk or answer your phone calls, I no longer have to ask you to repeat yourself to the point of frustration.  I am able to provide much better customer service to you. We are both much happier.
I am very appreciative of the dental care I recently received. At one point I did have dental insurance, but several years without care and cleanings wreaked havoc on my teeth.  By the time I could qualify for medical benefits, two of my teeth were broken off at the gum line and I was at constant risk of an infection.  In fact I had several, despite the gallons of Listerine I used.  I worked still, in pain much of the time, at three jobs.  If you’ve ever gone to work ill you know what I mean when I say I wasn’t at the top of my game. I missed work due to infections, and was certainly less congenial and patient than usual. Once I was able to have them extracted (thanks to our tax dollars) my health improved immensely.  I was no longer fighting infections and I became much more productive and exuberant at work.  Thank you again.  We both benefit, again.  
Finally, I want you to know how extremely grateful I am for the ability to obtain birth control at Margaret Sanger’s place because my husband and I cannot support a child right now.  I learned the other day that many sisters in my age group (40 +) are the largest growing demographic among those seeking the services of Planned Parenthood, an organization partially funded by our tax dollars.  Again, no insurance means no access to reproductive health care and effective birth control.  Except for the help of Planned Parenthood, myself and many others would be at higher risk of an unwanted pregnancy.  That means we are all saving millions of dollars a year because there are less mouths to feed and less medical bills to pay.  We save millions in health care costs, fellow taxpayers, because breast cancer and cervical cancer are detected early thanks to Planned Parenthood’s commitment to holistic health.  They are dedicated to ending domestic violence as well - every time I have an appointment the staff makes sure to ask that I am in a healthy, non-abusive relationship.  Thanks to the efforts of Planned Parenthood, our tax dollars work to keep our sisters, our mothers, and our daughters healthier.  
I am quite thankful that the government is able to meet at least these minimum needs for another reason too:  I’d much rather have the government providing these services than have my care entrusted to a business whose only goal is to make money, which is exactly what happens with privatization.
Privatization is a recurring buzz word lately amongst many politicians. They tout it as the answer to our big government problem.  As American citizens, we should be very concerned that our leaders seek to privatize government functions since a business or corporation’s number one priority is profit.   When profit is the motive, then any sense of consumer safety, health, viability, and security are threatened.  Chicago Tribune writer Linda Finley Belan says it most succinctly:  “Putting profits above products and services means that companies are forced to cut corners (a nice way of saying cheat in some way), customers, employees, vendors, the community, whoever and whatever is necessary to meet the demands of the next quarterly report.”  The only reason prescriptions cost so much is because privately owned pharmaceutical companies have stockholders to pander to, who expect to make a profit in their share of the company.

Ultimately, a wide gulf is created between the wealthy and the poor since privatization necessarily destroys the middle class of a country.  How do we know these things?  We’ve seen privatization implemented in other countries with devastating results.  Chile, for instance in the 70’s and 80’s privatized everything as part of an ‘experiment’ of corporatism.  Its government was forced to take over the very programs they forfeited in the name of “free market” because the “free market” wasn’t meeting demands sufficiently enough for the majority of the nation’s populace.  There became an immense income gap with no middle class whatsoever.  Having government provide some of the basic necessities boosted the health of the nation by nurturing a middle class, bringing in balance and subsequent stability (the middle class forms a bell curve balance which has much more stability than a lopsided one percent to ninety-nine percent ratio).  A healthy middle class means a healthy nation.
By now many of you are screaming “socialist!” I would suggest that we get used to the word.  We need to grow mature enough to elevate the term and its meaning to more practical applications.  Because practically speaking, what really works for a nation and its people is a mixed economy, including both private and public elements, to a greater or lesser degree depending on politics and cultural forces.  Socialism is not a dirty word.  As one great American said “a government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”  
Among the many things I am thankful for this year, I am most grateful to all my fellow workers and taxpayers for the ability to lead a more productive life and contribute much more efficiently to my community.  I am off now to look for a better paying job.  Since I can hear, I have the confidence I need to get one, which means I can pay more taxes, which means others can get help also.  It takes all of us to make this thing work.
Be well,

18 November 2011

ONLY in america....


excellent! this article covers a meeting between tea party and o.w.s. activists. demonstrates that we can have open, civil, and passionate discussions.  we are good after all.....be well, frankie

15 November 2011


i am a bit confused about the brouhaha going on with michael moore. it seems that some people aren't sure where he fits because of the obvious fact that he's part of the one percent yet he shows up to support the ninety-nine percent (?).  actually it makes perfect sense.  first there is the other obvious fact that michael moore earned his wealth through his craft whereas the one's we're protesting earned their wealth by breaking the law in a blatant show of greed (henry paulson, ben barnake, and timothy geithner for example). second, he's been a pioneer when it comes to speaking out about social injustices and so for him to see an organized protest against greed and government corruption might be a meaningful event for him. of course he would want to be there to show his support.  maybe we should simple say "thanks for the hangin' with us, how 'bout a beer summit at yer lake house?"

be well,  frankie

16 October 2011

an interesting observation from across the pond

"Until the union between Wall Street and the evangelicals is broken, I think US politics is going to be quite grim and depressing."  this from an outsider, a UK reporter for The Independent. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/10/15/sarah-palin-nick-broomfie_n_1013121.html

14 March 2011

about a coat

kate and william's recent trip to ireland sparked a huge coat sale for burberry (reportedly the very same coat kate wore sold out within hours of the press picture release).   its a great coat i admit, and one that i might pick out on my own.  what troubles me is our willingness to be so much like someone else that we forgo our own style and creativity.  can't we be a bit more original?

22 February 2011

painful palin

from huff post "sarah palin answers questions from business group in front of mainstream media" beth fouhy and frank eltman:

"Palin said the landmark health care bill Obama signed into law last year gave her heartburn. She also defended her much-criticized claim that the law would lead to federal "death panels" determining who would receive care. Provisions of the law that were dropped called for voluntary end-of-life planning.

"My question was, 'Who are these faceless bureaucrats on a panel who will decide?'" Palin said. "Will it be my baby with Down syndrome, who maybe somebody may judge him as not having that level of productivity somebody else may have? So maybe if rationed care is part of this, maybe he wouldn't receive the care."
Palin also noted the recent increases in the price of food and mocked Michelle Obama to make her point. The first lady is encouraging mothers to breast-feed their infants as part of her campaign to reduce childhood obesity – an effort that has drawn scorn from some conservatives.

"No wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody you better breast-feed your babies," said Palin, who as governor declared October 2007 Breastfeeding Awareness Month. "I'm looking and say, 'Yeah, you better because the price of milk is so high right now.'"

Two things:    1.  i was bothered when i first heard sarah refer to herself and other women as "mama grizzlies." in fact, if sarah really believed that line of thinking she would realize that a mama grizzly would do exactly what she quotes the "death panel" would do: that is she would not keep a 'cub' that would be a burden to her family and her species. in other words "maybe somebody may judge him as not having that level of productivity somebody else may have?" well, yeah, actually.    i don't mean to sound cold and heartless, just pointing out the contradiction. nature is holy.  the picture of a mama grizzly is not something to invoke lightly.                                 

2. speaking of nature, what about its most holy concoction:  a mother's milk. why would another mother (especially an advocate for breastfeeding) attack someone for encouraging breastfeeding as a way to promote healthy habits early? and only a fool would do so by invoking a completely unconnected topic:  the price of milk.  ms. palin, food prices all over are going up because of droughts in russia and now china, and because the price of fuel has gone up - to name a few reasons.  food prices have nothing to do with our sister's initiative to promote the same thing you so adamantly promote.  you're starting to give us girls a bad name, could you maybe tighten it up a bit honey?

16 February 2011

on being gullable......

i was watching the telly the other night (i am cursed with bouts of insomnia) and was taken aback by a  commercial i watched. it wasn't the commercial itself that got to me as its content. the advert was from the 'fruit2day' bunch.  a woman dumps her purse out on her desk and finds a gunky banana amongst the precipitation of lipsticks and nail files.  i am eating such a banana now.  it is definitely ripe, has a couple of black spots on the outside, but its obviously days ahead of banishment to the freezer for banana bread. the 'fruit2day' guys made that banana seem completely inedible and offers the cubicle queen an option of a 'fruit2day' drink.  alas, all her problems are solved.  she gets her 2! whole servings of fruit and is in no way obliged to eat bananas with black spots.  there are 2topics of concern:  1.  what happens to the banana?  chances are it got thrown in the trash since i am willing to bet that few people still make homemade banana bread these days.  the problem:  a perfectly good piece of fruit goes to waste in exchange for something man processed. wasteful - an american cliche.  2. the bottle thing really irks me. while it is more convenient i suppose to drink my peach rather than have its juice run all over my arm, isn't that a great reason for a break from the cage anyway?   i know we can recycle the damn bottle, but what are the odds that we would?  according to the website of the container recycling institute (checked just now) only 1/3 of all beverage containers in america get recycled. consequently, our smart choice to drink processed fruit becomes a poor choice for mother earth.
my concern is that the 'fruit' people know that we will buy into their shallow advertising truth because they know that we won't think the thing through; we are therefore highly gullible to them.  are we okay with that?