Friday, December 31, 2010


Many of us will make New Year's Resolutions of a personal nature, such as lose weight, save money, start a family or continue educational goals.  I wish you perseverance and success in whatever you endeavor to achieve and, above all, I wish you PEACE of mind and PEACE in your heart.

My personal New Year's resolution is to continue the process of living a more 'organic' life when it comes to family food preparation. 


I do have a wish that involves getting more people involved in helping each other rather than helping themselves.  As stated in an earlier post regarding the 99ers (those who have lost their unemployment benefits after 99 grueling weeks of searching for non-existent jobs), it is my hope that those of us who can help someone will gladly do so.  

If you are in the business of hiring or finding someone employment, please go to and see if you can help these families get back on their feet.  If you can help someone with an immediate need, do not be shy! help is needed and much appreciated.  Simply connect with a 99er on the forum and reach out!


For those needing other ideas, let me tell you that all you have to do is step out of your front door and see the need in every community for volunteers who will help gather non-perishable goods and deliver to soup kitchens and food pantries.

Step out a bit further and sign up as a volunteer to help teachers in the over crowded classrooms.  The job of making copies, gathering materials or shopping for classroom supplies allows the teachers to do what they were hired to do: Teach!.

Teachers are wearing too many hats as unlicensed counselors, surrogate parental figures, shopping assistants, secretary and receptionist at the same time.  That is definitely not in their job description and yet, we expect them to be more every single year while using them as scape goats for a deteriorating school system they did not create.

The schools are usually glad to get other adults help children read at grade level or doing one-on-one Math to help them become proficient in subjects in which they feel lost because they require a little bit more time without distractions to understand the concepts.   

If you choose to be a mentor, Thank YOU! for helping a child, a community and, by extension, our country.

For those who would say: "That's the school's job", I would like you to take a step back and take a look at the conditions of the schools.  

It is against the law to turn children away because they are bursting at the seams.  They must be able to squeeze as many kids into crowded classrooms as possible. Period.  Let the teachers deal with it!

Some of these kids sit on the floor because there are not enough desks available, yes! this happens in the United States and not far from my front door, in a middle class community with too many homes and not enough schools.

One of our teachers in Middle school purchased several desks out of his own money to make sure less kids would be sitting on the floor.  

Several teachers I know allocate part of their salary to purchase school supplies because parents can't afford to send $25 - $50 a year to cover costs or think "that's the school's problem".

When we have a classroom with 40 kids and 20 of them show up without a pencil, notepad or glue sticks, the teacher knows they have to supply what is needed or the kids will fail to learn.

We seem to forget that teachers have bills due, mortgages, kids of their own and elderly parents to help and support.   I don't know a single teacher that does not have a Staples or Office Depot account and I assure you, it has nothing to do with their own needs, but those of your kids and mine.

Once upon a time I thought I help out at the school for a month or so and ended up staying for a decade.  I know these hard working Americans and I have to tell you, some are Republican, Democrat, Jewish, Catholic, etc, and it does not matter one iota.  

They all share the same frustrations and relentless dedication to our children.  I have seen them struggle daily attempting to keep every child in their room from falling through the cracks.  Their sheer determination is impressive.

Someone once said: "Helping others is a very selfish endeavor".

I hope we all decide to be selfish in 2011.

What is your New Year's Resolution?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Help the 99ers

Christmas is over and the New Year is fast approaching.  There are millions of Americans who have not had the fortunate pleasure of enjoying a Holiday Season without stress or the looming doom of losing their homes.  

Many of us are not able to help financially and yours truly is included in this group since I barely make enough to help support our family, but thank goodness I can write and help spread the word and now, you can too.

If you are able to help a 99er go to the website created by Nicole Sandler, a radio host who is unable to help financially but is getting people together so we can all help each other.   has an active forum that allows people in desperate need to tell their stories.  This allows people who are in a position to help to do so.  Some people have offered a spare room until someone got back on their feet, another may want (and be able) to send a month's rent or help with a utility bill.  

This organic movement happened out of desperate need to help and Nicole Sandler saw the opportunity to have regular folks help regular folks.  We all know the 99ers are not unemployed because they want to but because American corporations are hiring millions of people overseas and hardly any of us in the USA.

McDonald already has over 3 million employees, they don't need anymore.  Wal-Mart has more potential employees than they are able to handle and we need to stop thinking or assuming that people are lazy.  That is a talking point that has had enough mileage with no basis in the truth.  Engineers are not lazy, they are unemployed because no one is hiring.  People with several degrees are applying for minimum wage jobs.  People with no degrees are competing for the same jobs.  NO ONE IS HIRING. Period.

We can help each other.  We have to.  Those of us who still have compassion and the ability to help have a moral inclination to do so, and for those of you who can't help in any financial or physical way, you have the option to inform as many people as possible that there is a way to help the 99ers by passing the link on to as many of your friends, co-workers, family members and neighbors as possible.
Who knows? you may be instrumental in helping a 99er family start 2011 on the right foot.

Thank you for reading, until the next time, I wish you PEACE.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Senator Rockeffer on Media and Public Interest

Senator Rockefeller exploded and verbalized what many of us have been saying for a long, and exhausting time. We all know someone who only uses their television to play games or watch movies. We all know someone who only turns it on to watch sports.

The committee meeting focused on Fox and MSNBC, but it can apply to every network that that turns news pieces into intertainment. Information, positive or negative, is meant to educate, not to entertain. That job should be reserved for networks who do reality shows or focus exclusively on the insipid life of celebrities.

Watch this video and comment below on how it makes you feel. I for one, would like to see better quality programming, journalistic integrity... and a lower cable bill.

John Stewart's rally and discussion with Rachel Maddow may be more relevant in lieu of Senator Rockefeller's remarks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TSA and Personal Invasion

Travelers are appalled that their private parts are being examined by people without a medical degree in exchange for the privilege of getting from point 'A' to point 'B' in a sardine can filled with aggravated passengers and jaded flight attendants.

Radio talk shows are having fun with the story, while some are clearly in favor of being fondled and equating it with the price you have to pay for freedom,  others are stating that none of this stops anything bad from happening.

Body scanners may not be as safe as they want us to believe.  No one can attest that a frequent flier (think business traveler) who is exposed to these machines a few times a month for the next few years won't develop health problems.

Fact:  Those body scans that are completely private, isolated, no one will ever see..... have made their way to the inter-webs and available for your perusal.  Do you recognize anyone you know?

Fact:  The effect of physical molestation perpetrated by TSA agents on children is something both parents and children will have to deal with for years on end.

Fact:  The radar machines used for fully body scans cost upwards of $150,000 a piece.  Tax payer dollars have made the India manufacturer wealth(ier).

All this TSA intrusion is very profitable.  Some seem to think that crossing the line to "fondle a man's junk" or a woman's nether regions is a very small price to pay for the privilege of allowing wealth to flow freely overseas.

What do you want to do?

Are you willing to forgo Thanksgiving and Christmas travel in order to keep YOUR money in the bank and send those airplanes out with empty seats? Are your willing to make that kind of a stand? or are we going to continue to complain while we forgo our civil rights?

My opinion:  I choose to stop feeding the beast.  I will not allow my children to be man (or woman) handled and we are more than willing to stay home.  No vacation is worth a cavity search or having a pre-teen subjected to a total stranger touching parts they don't even want their mom to see.

Solution:  Bomb sniffing dogs - not intrusive and highly efficient, just ask Israel or read this Israel-American Wordpress account. 

This Washington Post article on hiring perverts for TSA positions is just the tip of the iceberg.

This article from Wired has additional information about TSA illegally saved scans.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Chuckle

A friend sent me this and thought it might make you smile:

News From The Manitoba Herald, Canada
"Reported" by Clive Runnels

Canadians: "Build a Damn Fence!"

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

"I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn't give any milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves." A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumours have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching half a dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the '50s. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age." an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies.

"I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them." an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors does one country need?"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Olivia Emisar: Why Democrats should vote on every election

Olivia Emisar: Why Democrats should vote on every election

Olivia Emisar: Tips For Women: How To Leave An Abusive Relationship

Olivia Emisar: Tips For Women: How To Leave An Abusive Relationship

Olivia Emisar: Musings of a writer

Olivia Emisar: Musings of a writer



Olivia Emisar: Happy Halloween!

Olivia Emisar: Happy Halloween!

Olivia Emisar: Politics, Opinions, Facts

Olivia Emisar: Politics, Opinions, Facts

John Stewart at Rachel Maddow

Regarding last night's John Stewart interview, @WendyLefty had an insightful comment on Twitter that summarizes well the intent of today's post "Jon Stewart interview reminds me that TV isn't real, we have to be our own heroes".

Before you continue reading, let's get something straight, today's post will be filled with personal opinions and interpretations based on my untreated addiction to political issues and relentless information overload that I seek like a junkie in a street corner.

*If you want to see the interview, scroll to the bottom of the page*


On November 11, 2010 John Stewart had his first interview on the Rachel Maddow Show.  He was not yelling for government reform but quietly stating his wish and desire for news media to differentiate themselves from what he does for a living: A comedic satire meant to enlighten and laugh.

When Mr. Stewart referred to his recent Washington rally to "Restore Sanity" he made it clear that the rally had been exactly what he wanted it to be.  This has caused much consternation for those on the left who wanted it to be more, much more.

Talking heads on the left were disappointed by the wasted opportunity of over 250,000 people who could have been told to take action on one policy or another.  The wasted opportunity to demonize the Tea Party or the GOP. (heck! he could have done both!).  OMG!  He did not even tell people to go out and vote!.  He "failed"  to promote a progressive agenda and instead, he played excerpts of the bombardment Americans receive from both sides on any given day.

Ed Schultz took offense to being included in the segment's rally and so did Keith Olbermann. Their knee jerk reaction to being included among those they criticize on a daily basis for spreading hate and fear is understandable.  Their passions are directed towards helping real people get much needed and deserved health care, living wages, protecting social infrastructure that helps our seniors live out their lives with dignity while preserving their quality of life.

Most of us have helped raise funds to provide health clinics across the country and would never have raised a dime to help our neighbors in various states if Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz had not directed the light into the shadows of those suffering in silence.  Their intentions, passions and frustrations are well understood by the majority of the population and we are painfully aware that competing networks have never done anything to effectuate changes that will benefit the country or the population.

Keith Olbermann and Ed Schulz are passionate individuals that have chosen to direct their shows to serve the American people, they are fighting on our behalf, not on behalf of the corporations.  It is understandable why they had such a visceral reaction to being included in that segment because they felt that their honorable intentions and justified outraged had been watered down to a level they despise.

"The Rally to Restore Sanity" turned off the noise for 1 day.  That's all, just one day in which like-minded individuals decided to take a break from "noise" and share a beautiful day and a show together without pressure, hatred, or fear.

The rally to restore sanity was reminiscent of those tail-gate parties we had before the football games.  We sat around with a group of friends, we talked, we laughed, we barbecued, we ate, we had drinks and listened to the game on the radio because no one wanted to go into the stadium and break up the camaraderie.  We had, collectively, established our priority for the day without being shouted at or told what to do.


What was John Stewart saying to Rachel Maddow last night?

In a nut shell, he wanted the news to be accurate, stop bombarding people with nasty sound bites, stop repeating the same story over and over, until it becomes "The story".  Much like Balloon Boy which was broadcast on every channel without any facts.

Speaking of "Balloon Boy", that story had my heart on my throat until they said it was a hoax.  I immediately felt anger about being betrayed and my emotions manipulated by the irresponsible networks.  John Stewart made a good point by using this story as an example.  There were other stories going on, but laziness and tabloid sensationalism glued viewers to a non-story increasing the network's ratings exponentially, so why try harder?

When Michael Jackson died, the news should have been that Michael Jackson died.  They should have stated what they knew and moved on.  The historical accounts of Michael Jackson's carreer should have been reserved for those channels whose special niche is entertainment, not for CNN who failed to report any kind of news for about a week.

The same day that Michael Jackson died, so did Farrah Faucet.  She died of cancer and she became a blurb at the bottom of the screen that news organizations could not be bothered with.  There was also a bombing on Baghdad that killed 61 people. Peru's indigenous people claimed a victory over land developers. There were roadside bombs in Russia. Five people in the Sudan were sentenced to death for killing an American diplomat.

There were many other stories that day and through the ensuing week, but we heard nothing except speculation and relentless analysis of a story that was going nowhere.  Once again, we were assaulted by every network covering what was easy, not what was important.

This was John Stewart's point last night.  News should do news, not entertainment.  Networks should not cumulatively transition the same stories from one segment to the next with a different host.  There are more news than that, there is more to choose from, there is a lot that is not being said because one story snowballs into "the only story".   That, we all have to agree, this is noise.

John Stewart's rally to restore sanity gave all of us addicted junkies a much needed mental health break from the noise.  For having the courage to not politicize and let the rally be what is was meant to be; a day to relax in the company of new friends, I feel a debt of gratitude that should have been expressed a lot sooner.  I needed to detox and see friendly and likable people for a change.


Obama said "We are the one we have been waiting for" and frankly, he is right.  No one is going to fix the mess we are in but us.  We have to be our own Superman, our own Superwoman.   We have to do it together in the same manner we all agreed it was time to restore sanity.  As @WendyLefty stated, "... We have to be our own heroes".

PEACE to you all and thank you for indulging my addiction, see ya in "Da Twitter".


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Politics, Opinions, Facts

It is unfortunate that people can't differentiate opinions from facts and base major decisions, such as voting, on bumper sticker slogans and the consistent repetition of lies.

We all have opinions, but there is only one set of facts. If I say that "George Bush was the worst president Americans ever had" some may take offense to it and use the force of their convictions to dispute my opinion. Even Democrats may balk at such a strong statement and immediately look for a president worse that Bush to prove that there are others out there that did not fare well. Someone might even bring up Nixon as an example or Ronald Reagan with a failed "trickle down economics" platform that never worked.

However, If I clearly delineate facts with figures and results that affected our lives in a negative manner such as cost of living, foreclosures, outsourcing jobs, Bank Bailouts, unpaid wars, mandates without funding, Katrina fiasco, 9/11 inaction, job loses, family incomes shrinking, the rich getter wealthier and the middle class shrinking, I may have a reasonable point in stating the above opinion.

Unchallenged Statements Should Bother You
When the son of Dan Quayle stands in front of a camera and states "President Obama is the worst president we ever had" and wins an election, it should trouble Americans that no facts are required to back up that position.

When someone blames the past 10 years economic failures on Obama, it should bother you that we remain unusually silent. When we don't challenge the vitriolic contents of the statements, nor do we go beyond the surface to understand who is pushing what agenda, it should bother you.

What should really bother you the most, is having the facts and doing nothing about it.

Reactions to Facts and Opinions

It is my opinion that Democrats don't like to fight. Once the facts have been established and opinions validated, they shake their collective heads and move on with their business.

It is my opinion that Republicans like to fight. They don't necessarily fight democrats but their own party. In this past mid-term election, rational thinking republicans decided that democrats could have pulled the car out of the ditch a lot faster and their republican representatives could have helped things along instead of playing up to the corporate masters.


Democrats stayed home hoping that their disgust with the situation was evident (that'll show'em!).

Republicans went out to vote against both parties by endorsing 3rd party lunatics that will make it even harder for their own party to work effectively. (that'll show'em!)


Mitchell Bard wrote a very good article on the Huffington Post titled "Three Good things for Progressives to take from the midterm elections". One section of the article resonated with me when I read it and it has to deal with my very own feelings of frustration at our collective short memory, our need for instant gratification and our visceral need to punish someone, anyone, just to feel better about ourselves.

... it's frustrating that Americans have such short memories. It was George W. Bush and a Republican congress who, over the course of most of the last decade, plunged the United States into the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, widening the gap between the wealthy and middle class to levels not seen for nearly a century. And it was traditionally conservative principles of deregulation and unfettered corporate power that created the housing bubble and nearly brought down the financial system.

But the voters are now trusting the same people responsible for leaving the country in tatters, who are proposing the same failed strategies again, to fix the problem? It makes no sense.
It's unreasonable to think the Democrats could fix this deep mess in less than two years. And it's even more irrational to punish the Democrats, who at least made efforts to start undoing the GOP-inflicted damage, while rewarding the Republicans, who practiced strategic obstruction, putting political gain over finding solutions that would help Americans in need.

Finally, it's frustrating that the dishonest campaign waged by Tea Party-dominated Republicans was funded by a post-Citizens United flood of millions of dollars of anonymous corporate and private money, with figures like Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and the Chamber of Commerce essentially buying the election.

I strongly urge you to read Mr. Bard's article in its entirety not only because it is well written but because it specifically addresses a variety of points that should resonate equally with democrats and republicans.

Final Thoughts:

"Either you are with us, or against us" ~ President Bush.

What if we, the citizens of this country, had united and said: "What you are proposing does not work for us, therefore Sir, YOU are against US".

Do you think we would have slashed the educational system? Do you think we would have 2 unpaid wars? Do you think for a second that the corporate funded tea party would have emerged? Do you think the Supreme Court would have been allowed to rule that corporations are people?

Our Democracy is not a football game!

A clear loser and winner in real life delineates oppression not democracy. It does not matter who the perceived winner is, democracy must work for all people in order to be effective and productive.

Perhaps the next time you hear President Obama wanting to compromise with the opposition, you will not roll your eyes and walk away but will take a moment to realize that he is truly committed to this democracy thing and he clearly understands that games are to be played on the court, not the house or the senate.

To reconstruct President Bush's statement:  Either you are part of this great country or you are not. Pitting citizens against each other only allows the distraction to shine the light away from what must be cleaned up.

This is a game we cannot afford to play.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Keith Olbermann

Is Joe Barton and Comcast responsible for Keith Olbermann's time out?

And who the hell is Joe Barton?

Joe Barton is not only a senator from Texas, but also the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  This in itself is not nearly as memorable as his standing up for BP during the oil spill in the Gulf Coast and apologizing to BP on behalf of the country.

Apparently, we Americans are totally uncouth and forget our manners.  After all, when a guest spills a glass of wine on our white carpet, it is our obligation as good hosts to overlook the event and minimize the situation to make our guest feel comfortable in our home while ensuring its return.

So what's the difference between a glass of wine and a few billion gallons of crude oil and toxic dispersants on our pristine beaches? According to Joe Barton, absolutely nothing.  We are just rude hosts who don't know our place and it is up to him to apologize on our behalf to the British Company soiling our shores and destroying families, health and the financial security of an entire region.

What does this have to do with Keith Olbermann?  Beside making his list as "worst persons", he also called him on the carpet for his apology to BP's Tony Hayward.

The fact that I mentioned when I started that Joe Barton is the Chairman of the Energy and House and Commerce was done on purpose, you see, Commerce includes Broadcasting.

For a detailed account of how much money has been funnelled to Joe Barton from the multi-nationals he is supposedly the watchdog to save us Americans from their greedy and poisonous shenanigans, you can read the report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Comcast has made no bones about being a major Republican supporter raising over $200,000 for George W. Bush and funding the likes of Joe Barton to get whatever they want when it comes to consolidations and monopolies that affect Internet usage and users as well as television programming.

Silencing Keith Olbermann is just the first step in getting rid of the opposition.  If Keith Olbermann is to return to MSNBC it will be under strict rules that will keep him silent in a variety of issues.  Something we see now in terms of Rachel Maddow and Chris Mathews shows where they never speak negatively or report any news that could affect MSNBC, including the Comcast grab of the network they work for.

Even though the deal is not final yet, there has been a shift in management and backroom deals that have a great deal to do with Keith Olbermann's sudden dismissal. 

If you are still following all of this, you may also be aware that Joe Scarborough (of Morning Joe), also a host on MSNBC, has contributed to republican candidates with no adverse effects.

Comcast wants to get rid of Net Neutrality and is pushing for Internet users to pay for contents. (what a sweet deal! I wonder if we will be charged per tweet as well?)

Keith Olbermann has been outspoken about Net Neutrality while Republicans have been strong supporters of the Communications Industry power grab.  If they succeed, consumers will pay for blogs, (hey, you may have to pay me so I can pay them for the right to write).

This new Republican Congress has made it clear that they will support the Telecommunications Industry against an open Internet. (Thank you Tea Party!).

Comcast has been buying up companies and milking consumers for years for slow service.  The United States has the slowest Internet service of any industrialized nation and President Obama has been pushing for equalizing the playing field.  (Guess what happened in this last election? opposition members were assigned to Neutralize any progress that would benefit consumers in the United States).  All together now! "Thank you Tea Party!".

If you want to read in depth what Net Neutrality means to you now and what it will mean later if these corporations keep running our government, please read Free Press most excellent description.

Keith Olbermann does not balk at shinning a light where one is needed and right now Comcast and Joe Barton would like the lights to be turned off, so they sent Keith Olbermann out of the room for a time out while the shift of power in Washington will be scrutinized a lot less by the few remaining hosts with liberal opinions and an excellent research staff.

Keith Olbermann has been made an example of and there will be more to come.

The Center for Public Integrity reports that telecommunications have been heavy contributors to the Political Action Committee (PAC).

From their website (and please notice the last entry):

Top PAC Contributors

■National Cable And Telecommunications Association, the principal trade association for the cable industry — at least $40,000

■Verizon, the telecommunications giant — at least $40,000

■Koch Industries, the energy giant run by Charles and David Koch, both well known GOP backers — $37,500

■Comcast, the cable provider — $37,000

■AT&T, another major telecommunications company — $36,500

■PACs gave at least $3 million to Barton’s campaign account and his Texas Freedom Fund PAC. Barton received over $1.9 million more in contributions from PACs than from individuals
The list below will show you the connections Barton has with lobbyist.  Former staffers are now lobbyist that cuddle Joe Barton and nurse him tenderly to keep doing the industries dirty deeds (courtesy of the Center For Public Integrity and a matter of public record).

■Jeffrey MacKinnon was Barton’s legislative director from 1985-1993 and helped Barton in his role as Deputy Republican Whip. He is now a lobbyist at Ryan, MacKinnon, Vasapoli & Berzok, LLP

■Cynthia Sandherr was Barton’s legislative director for five years. After a stint at Enron and a role in President George W. Bush’s transition team in 2000, Sandherr now works for Deere and Company

■Stephen Craig Sayle worked for Barton from 1989-1992 as legislative counsel, and later spent three years as a staffer on the House Energy Committee. He is now a lobbyist for Dow Lohnes PLLC

■Timothy Day was a legislative assistant from 1987-1991. He is now vice president of Teradata Inc, an analytic technology company, and lobbies on its behalf

■Joseph Fortson worked as Barton’s legislative counsel from 2003-2004 and is now a lobbyist for Apple, Inc

■Jeanne M. Haggerty was policy advisor from 2002-2004 and spent two years as a staffer on the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. She spent the past few years as a lobbyist for the Biotechnology Industry Organization

EDIT 11/07/2010:  MSNBC will re-instate Keith Olbermann on Tuesday November 9 2010.  It will be interesting to find out if MSNBC viewership will go through the roof on this particular day and if so, will they retain those ratings on the long term?

Twitter was abuzz with petitions to re-instastae Keith Olbermann and he broke Twitter silence to thank people for their support.  Shortly after that tweet and over 250,000 petitions and barrage of phone calls to MSNBC, the decision to re-instate Keith Olbermann was made.

Keith Olbermann on Joe Barton:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


As a writer I have a tendency to write volumes, but in this particular case, very few words are needed. 

The videos are part of a documentary made in 2003.  This documentary is split into 5 parts and are best watched when you are not multi-tasking.  I have watched #1 three times and every time I find something else that fills me with gratitude for those who are here, in the moment, making a positive difference in people's lives and with hope for a future that shines a bit brighter. 

It is my fervent hope that these inspire you and allow you to see the better side of humanity to counteract the constant bombardment of negativity we are exposed to on a daily basis.

Please watch and leave your thoughts, share this with others, stay in the moment.

PEACE to you and yours - Olivia






Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Today's Blog is just for fun. 

I have had a lot of fun with my own furry ones, but my activities revolved around tossing Frisbees, throwing balls, running, walking, and basically keeping each other company.

Even as a teenager, it never occurred to me to dress up the dogs.  Either I had no imagination or found it too undignified for both humans and dogs.

We have to admit that there are some people out there that are heavily vested in making their pets part of every human holiday, some are quite creative and some are just too funny.  It is obvious that people love their furry family members to spend this much time and effort.

Going Bananas?

Aren't these referred to as hot dog? or sausage dogs?

"Humans are obsessed with food items"

In honor of Emilia?

Cops and Robbers
"Seriously, I do not like the cat behind bars, it is just wrong!"


Clever use of construction paper.  Hope the princess arrives soon with that magical kiss.

"I am not evil, my human is"

"Humans are strangely creative"
"My owner is one sick puppy!"  


"My Human is an Idiot!"


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why Democrats should vote on every election

Democrats have been called every name in the book when it comes to politics. They have been accused of being spineless and not engaged. They have been called socialist and intellectual (as if that was a bad thing). They have been called ineffectual and big spenders and have been accused of raising taxes.


Intellectuals: Democrats are intellectuals because they value a solid education that will allow them, and their offspring, to mingle effortlessly with the rest of the world. This can be taken as a fact and rejected as the insult it has become.

Spineless: Democrats don’t want to polish their guns and declare violence against offensive behavior. They like to reason and meet in the middle. If that makes them spineless so be it, because people who value an education are repulsed by violence, racism, and aggression.

Big spenders: Democrats are very likely to spend tax payer’s dollars on education, job training and creation as well as health care benefits.  Republicans on the other hand don’t think twice about blowing trillions of dollars on wars, contractors, oil companies and obsolete weaponry.

This may very well be a tie depending on how we look at it, however, one could argue that social investment is more profitable in the long run that destruction and genocide.

Engagement: To hear the pollsters, Democrats are sitting out this mid-term election and yet, everyone I talk to is voting early and for democratic tickets because they can’t stomach another 8 years resembling the previous administration.

On November 2 we will find out if this is true or just another lie to discourage people from showing up at the polls. Perhaps the best way to counteract this mind game is by quietly, intellectually, and efficiently proving this to be wrong.

When President Obama stated clearly in his many speeches “I can’t do it alone”, it is unlikely that he expected those who elected him to shrink the democratic stronghold in Congress and the Senate during the mid-term elections.


It is an accepted notion that Democrats have always been on the side of human beings and Republicans on the side of corporations. In times of prosperity there was room for corporations to milk the constituents, but in today’s economic climate, balance must be restored for the good of the people and not the benefit of corporations.

For those who scream “I want my country back” (presumably all the way back to the Middle Ages or Revolutionary days), Democrats need to continue on a path of “Taking our country forward”, presumably towards the 21st century where the rest of the industrialized nations happens to be.

If Democrats want to become on par with industrialized nation, they should NEVER skip an election; Local elections matter and vetting everyone running from dog catcher, to city council, to mayor and governor MATTERS.

If Democrats want to maintain their VALUES of social fairness and equality, they should NEVER miss an election.

If Democrats want their children to learn facts and truth, they should NEVER miss an election.

If Democrats want to avoid seeing unqualified candidates polluting the airwaves, they should NEVER miss an election.

If Democrats want to prove that they truly believe in a better future while improving the present, they should NEVER miss an election.

If Democrats want to stop the idiocy of treating elections like a football game with clear losers and winners, they need to VOTE because the future of our country is not a game, it is a very real and serious situation that demands clarity, maturity and well though through objectives.

It takes intellect and reasoning to move forward because any jackass can destroy, but only people of good will can build a strong and healthy nation.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Women and Politics

I have been wondering why there is such a visceral revulsion among women when we hear the names of Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, former Ebay executive Whitman, or Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard. Let’s add to the mix Senate candidate Sharon Angle (known as Obtuse Angle and extremist wacko) and Sue Lowden (known as the “chicken lady”).

It is not that the revulsion has not been earned, is that there is more to it than that. A lot more that makes us cringe while we laugh at their stupidity and collective insanity.

We watch the men in our lives laugh at them with gusto.
We see that Saturday Night Live can't keep up with the amount of material they have to choose from.
We see that Comedy Central’s Colbert and Steward don't have enough time in their half-hour shows to cover all the jokes.
We notice that Bill Maher is restraining himself in his HBO weekly show.

Don’t get me wrong; women laugh too, we just can’t do it as loudly.

There is a knot at the pit of our collective stomachs that won’t allow us to let loose those hearty laughs that are so well deserved. The knot in our stomachs feels like a primal warning alerting us to upcoming dangers that screams “Laugh at your own peril”.

As we half-pay attention to the laughter emanating from the comedy show, we catch a glimpse of our daughter doing her Science homework and we cringe as the latest joke about Sarah Palin or Christine O'Donnell wheezes by.

We feel rage as the crowd in the studio can’t control their laughter while our other student is intently reviewing her debate class manuscript for errors and clarity.

THERE!!!! That’s the visceral revulsion, right there! Sitting at the kitchen table and working hard to be the best people they can possibly be.

Our collective revulsion is brought on by primal protectionism that no man-made law can amend.

Our daughters’ futures are compromised by the disgusting circus side show provided by the Sarahs, Christines, Whitmans, Fiorinas “chicken lady’s” and wackadoodles of this world who are ridiculing us all.

These females have effectively become our enemies because they threaten our daughters’ futures.

Mothers don’t believe that “Every woman for herself” is an appropriate motto with which to raise our children. Perhaps it is due to the fact that women are the ones who hold communities together by caring more about others than they do about themselves.

As mothers, we are women of vision who can see far and wide into a future when these young ladies sitting at the kitchen table will be full-grown women.

We are terrified by these latest entries into the political arena and the harm they are going to cause to women everywhere when it comes to career advancements, equal pay, the right to make personal choices about their lives and their bodies, but most importantly, the right to be taken seriously as a mature and responsible adult by a population that has been laughing to their heart’s content about the ineptitude of women everywhere.

We are reacting to our daughters’ futures.

We are reacting to the hurdles they will have to jump to be taken seriously because the “Chicken Lady”, or the Fiorina’s of this world are single handedly attempting to destroy the work done on our daughters’ behalf by their grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

Our venerable ancestors got us the vote. They strove for equality. They demanded respect. They paid with their lives, their sweat, their tears and they sacrificed so, we, the women of today, would not be laughed at, or dismissed with scorn and contempt.

Decades of having our voices heard are now being put in jeopardy for a juicy contract with Fox News or being a player in a multi-national corporation who needs insiders to erode the fabric of our democracy for their own greed.

These females don't care about others, they don't care who is buying and selling them, they don't have a vision of how their incompetence reflects on women everywhere.

These females are out for themselves and this makes real women cringe in disgust wanting to lash out and scream: "Sit down and shut the hell up!."

We Resent Them

We resent any woman who allows herself to be used as a prop.
We loathe them because they have sold out to the highest bidder.
We can’t stand them because they lack integrity or character.
We cringe because they are laughable when they speak.
We squirm when they defend their ignorance.
We are appalled when the facts prove their lies and they brush it off as if it does not matter.

Most of all, we are insulted when they defend their ignorance as something to be proud of because they are “Earthy” and “One of the people”, or worse, they claim to be "Just like you."

Our daughters’ are earthy and part of the people, and they are NOTHING like these females.  That last statement simply adds insult to an already infested injury.

Our daughters don’t hide their intellectual abilities or dumb down to be accepted. They work hard to stand their own ground and have their accomplishments recognized.

It is costing our daughters a great deal of effort and grief to be the strong and reliable citizens this country needs, but it is also building up a character their great-grandmothers and grand-mothers can be proud of.  So NO! these females are nothing like our daughters, yours or mine.

Let's get something clear right up front, women, real women, far outnumber the females in our country. We know these poor substitutes for real women are not representative of who we are and what we are all about.

Our knee jerk reaction is not due to the fact that we consider these females to be incompetent, insipid, bought and paid for by corporate media and multi-national corporations, or the fact that they are opportunistic individuals lining their pockets at tax payer's expense. This is not the problem, we have already put up with the same type of individual from their male counterparts, and even though, we despised these individuals as well, we did not have the same visceral reaction we have to these women.

The Ramifications

We have fought hard to shed stereotypes and be considered serious contenders in the political arena and when a female is disguised as a woman representative, we know we have been betrayed.

The next time a real woman tries to run for president, she will have to fight the image of nasty, vicious, opportunistic, and incompetent Whitman and Fiorina. They will have to fight the indelible image of dimwitted, uneducated, and uninformed Palin and O’Donnell.

Women know that these females are nothing more than empty vessels we can vote against, what we will never regain is the less rocky terrain we had before they were injected into the 24/7 news cycle.

Thanks to these females, our struggles have gotten harder, our roads have gotten steeper and we are rightfully resentful of these Saturday Night Live candidates that are jeopardizing our daughters’ futures for the sake of the mighty Dollar.

Perhaps women’s organizations can’t state these opinions as bluntly as I have, but then again, I am not an organization, I am a mother who needs to sound out the primal scream: “Laugh at your own peril.”

Our daughters’ future is in peril. We need to sound the alarm and vote with our clear vision of the future. These females cannot be allowed to represent us, nor can we trust them with anything of value, least of all, our daughters’ futures.

Leave your opinion, I'd like to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Buying American Made Products

There was a time when buying foreign products did not seem to matter in the United States nearly as much as it does now. 

Americans failed to see the connection between products and employment because we manufactured many products to be exported world-wide.  With the manufacturing industry practically disappearing, unemployment rates high and consumer dollars short, it may be a very good idea for everyone to allocate some of their purchasing power to American Made products.

Some will immediately call this "protectionism", but the fact of the matter is that there is nothing wrong with protecting your job and those of your neighbors.  For those who think protectionism is wrong, just take a look at all the jobs that used to be done in the United States but are now being done overseas:  Call Centers, Technical assistance, manufacturing of American named products, construction materials, Industrial tools, Clothing... the list goes on and on and the jobs are gone.

No one is saying we can't own a Sony TV (I certainly do), but when it comes to items made in the USA that are well made and useful, there is nothing wrong with avoiding the Chinese made product and buying American instead. 
Buying American made products could save your job, your neighbor's, or create jobs for a family member or friend. In these economic times, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’, you should buy American made products if they are available.

Buying American made products can become complicated since many American companies are nothing more than nostalgic remnants of a by-gone-era. Many American companies are part of multi-national corporations that have shipped their jobs to other countries and funneled the profits to off-shore accounts...Read the rest of the article

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Medicare, Insurance, Disability - Things you need to know

This article was writen years ago but it is as relevant today, as it was then.  This is not my whole life anymore, but has been a huge portion of my adult life and hopefully, it will help you get to know me better, know why I write and how much I care about the human condition.

A friend on Twitter got me thinking about how many people are in the same boat.  I hope this helps you, or you can pass it to anyone who can be helped by it.

I speak from the heart when I write this article, I hope it benefits you and your family:

Long term disability insurance was not part of our vocabulary. We never gave it a second thought, all of our employers provided it and we had a vague idea that it was necessary.

We were healthy, young and strong. We did not pay attention to the standard forms that we signed and hence, our mistake. Instead of retiring at a respectable old age with the company and a healthy 401K, we found ourselves immersed in medical appointments, surgery, physical therapy and our income had gone down to 60%. Add to that the infant and toddler and if you can visualize stress flowing off the charts, you have just gotten a glimpse of our lives.

Disability insurance provided by the employer is typically the minimum required by law in some states. In others, long term disability insurance is a voluntary choice and it is up to the employee to pick up the coverage they need.

If you are in a car accident or your house burns to the ground, chances are that you are going to be emotionally distressed, but in the back of your mind, you know that insurance will replace your losses and your heartbreak will be relegated to the family keepsakes that cannot be replaced. Life goes on after a fashion and soon you have a new roof over your head and you get to start over.

However, If you are injured at work and are unable to work ever again due to the fact that you no longer can perform the duties of your job (specially a physically demanding job), you will be receiving zero income almost immediately.

In our case, the insurance company gave us 60% of our income. That is a whooping 40% less income to live on. Furthermore, the contract clearly stated that this income was there until social security kicked in. In fact, through a series of mishaps, Social Security did not kick in until almost 4 yrs later. That 60% had to pay for all medical expenses since "pre-existing" conditions were not covered by medical insurance.

Upon social security coming into place, all retroactive pay from social security went to the insurance company (another little nugget buried in those forms we did not pay attention to) and they stopped paying.

As far as medical coverage, Medicare does not kick in until 2 yrs after receiving social security benefits, so all medical expenses need to come out of that little check every month.
Had we requested additional information from the insurance company, we would have learned that for a small deduction we could have had 100% coverage FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES from the disability insurance, and that they would not be entitled to any of the retroactive money paid by social security. That means that we would have had the FULL salary check and the social security check in addition (are you ready for this? the almost $200,000 retroactive pay).

As stated earlier, some employers are not required to provide permanent disability coverage, but if they do, the people to check with is NOT your employer's HR representative, but calling the insurance company directly and telling them you want to increase your coverage beyond what your employer offers. Request a meeting and set a time where you can devote your full attention to what they have to offer and you can comfortably afford.

Let me tell you that even if you know next to nothing about insurance coverage, common sense dictates that you don't want to have LESS money that what you have now. This is an excellent starting point to visualize your future financial picture.

Don't let them tell you that you won't need the coverage if you go on Social Security Disability because Social Security pays less than 50% of the income you currently receive and it is highly dependent on how many work credits a person has contributed. To make it even simpler, the average Social Security payment is under $900 a month and many get a lot less. To add insult to injury, there is a maximum amount any family can get. Typically, it is slightly above poverty level or far below.

Imagine yourself healthy, strong and with a full life ahead of you and all of the sudden you need to live on less than $900 a month, or less, and are riddled with pain and constant medical appointments. If you are married, chances are that your spouse will bear the financial and emotional brunt of making ends meet while providing the best quality of life you and your family can have.

The Spousal Caregiver is expected that he, or she, will make ends meet and adjust accordingly. Unfortunately, there are too many variables in our loved one's conditions that keep the playing field from being level or fair.

Chronic conditions come with a host of unexpected crisis and upheavals that cause emotional stress and empty wallets. Complications and the progression of illness and disability has forced many to loose their homes and downgrade the living standards substantially.

In a perfect world we could live on love, but it is a fact that we need money for everything; a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes for the family, cars and insurance, utilities, etc. These things are not going to disappear or be reduced to anyone's current income level. Therefore, it is important to maintain your income levels as high as possible in the event of a major loss due to disability or illness.

I urge you to check your coverage and crunch the numbers. I urge you to not put it off, because this should not happen to you.

This happened to us and we were in our mid 30's. The financial hell and the decisions we have had to made are not wished upon anyone.
Thank you for listening.

Wishing you PEACE

Related Articles:  
The Naked Patient   The Naked Spouse 
The Naked Doctor

Image: Medicare By Arturoportilla at en.wikipedia [Public domain]