The Star-Strangled Banner

America was once the envy of the world. Now, it’s citizens have got socioeconomic inequalities comparable to places like Chile and South Africa.

Why?

Because the ultra-rich and corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes anymore. Moreover, it all started with the bullshit selfishness of  John Birch numbnuts and the Baby Boom Yuppies of the 80s who got theirs and didn’t give a half-eaten rat’s ass if anyone else got some too.  Now, we are in the same shithole of haves v/s have-nots as China:

“The turning point for both [China and the USA], launching them into ever rising inequality, took place at almost the same time: late 1970s and early 1980s. With the election of Ronald Reagan to the U.S. presidency and the policies of high real interest rates and lower taxes on “unearned” (capital) income, income inequality in the United States jumped and then kept on rising throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, before eventually plateauing at a very high level in the naughts. The overall outcome was that, measured by the Gini coefficient, U.S. inequality went from around 35 to 45 Gini points—that is, from a mid-range OECD inequality level to an OECD outlier surpassed only by Mexico and Turkey.

I would like to thank Regan Republicans & Reganomics and the Gutless Mewling Democrats who went along with the bullshit for the destruction of my country in my lifetime. Thanks guys. We took a hard right … off a cliff.

Under Eisenhower and even Nixon rich paid their taxes and the nation thrived, but under the new breed of Republicans and the Democrats Who Are Just Like Them the nation has been on a steady downhill slide. Thanks to the The Right Wingers and the Spineless “Left” [i.e. moderate right wingers] our once great schools and cities have bitten the big one.

“America has the most billionaires in the world, but not a single U.S. city ranks among the world’s most livable cities. Not a single U.S. airport is among the top 100 airports in the world. Our bridges, road and rail are falling apart, and our middle class is being guttered out thanks to three decades of stagnant wages, while the top 1 percent enjoys 95 percent of all economic gains. A rigged tax code and a bloated military budget are starving the federal and state governments of the revenue it needs to invest in infrastructure, which means today America looks increasingly like a second rate nation, and now new data shows America’s intellectual resources are also in decline …  For the past three decades, the Republican Party has waged a dangerous assault on the very idea of public education. Tax cuts for the rich have been balanced with spending cuts to education. During the New Deal era of the 1940s to 1970s, public schools were the great leveler of America. They were our great achievement. It was universal education for all, but today it’s education for those fortunate enough to be born into wealthy families or live in wealthy school districts. The right’s strategy of defunding public education leaves parents with the option of sending their kids to a for-profit school or a theological school that teaches kids our ancestors kept dinosaurs as pets. “What kind of future society the defectors from the public school rolls envision I cannot say. However, having spent some time in the Democratic Republic of Congo—a war-torn hellhole with one of those much coveted limited central governments, and, not coincidentally, a country in which fewer than half the school-age population goes to public school—I can say with certainty that I don’t want to live there,” writes Chuck Thompson in Better off Without Em.”

Jesus wept and Mammon laughed.

I am bitter about the fact my country was destroyed from within by the greedy. I am even more bitter that millions will continue to vote for Republican Thugs (instead of Mealy-Mouthed Moderates like I am forced to do) because they would rather out country crumble than see it become a land where gays can marry one another and women get equal pay.

*stomps away snarling*

Posted in are you kidding me with this shit?, I've been thinking too much, irony set on "stun", Mammon, poli-ticks, shit I think y'all should know | Leave a comment

The Tudor Society

Those who know me IRL know that I am a nonfiction history author. It isn’t quite as cool as being Betty Fokker, but I dig it.  As a real grown-up, I have become a contributor for a new website called The Tudor Society and thus I am pimping it out.

It is “an exclusive membership club for all those who love Tudor history and who want to keep learning more and more … lots of historians and authors want to be involved in this new society, and they are willing to give their time and knowledge to members of the Tudor Society, through magazine articles and talks.”

The Tudor Society has a small monthly/yearly fee, but for a few of your bucks/quids it:

  • Gives you the chance to learn from Tudor history experts in the comfort of your own home, wherever you are in the world and without having to worry about time zone differences
  • Puts experts in your reach so you can ask your own questions
  • Gives you a wide range of Tudor authorities through the monthly digital magazine, forum, chatroom and monthly expert talks
  • Is targeted specifically at the Tudor period
  • Gives you many ways to learn and interact – listen, read, chat and share
  • Offers monthly live online chats with experts
  • Helps you find the primary sources and books you need
  • Enables you to become quickly absorbed in the 15th and 16th centuries
  • Is fun – you can enjoy quizzes, giveaways and chats
  • Helps you get to know other Tudor history lovers

I’ll have articles in the monthly magazine and do web-talks and all that stuff, so it will definitely be worth your while. Smile

Hope to see you there!

Posted in I like this, dammit., life as I know it | Leave a comment

The Great Clothes Switch-Out, Fall 2014

Pity me, y’all. I am sunk deep into a first world problem. Every 6 months I have to take down the tubs of daughter-clothes from the attic and swap one set for the other in the new size. Moreover, the clothes of the past season must be carefully sorted and preserved in tubs with mothballs so that they can pass down to the next sister. The only thing I can give away to charity are the clothes Baby Spock has outgrown and since she is the size of a dried pea, that is precious little.

Lilo is no long the recipient of multitudes of hand-me-downs from cousins, because the cousins are getting to the age where 1) they have either stopped growing and will be keeping their jeans again this year or 2) wear the clothes into rags before they are outgrown and can be passed down. However, Lilo has grown out of her size tens and into size twelves and I had to go buy jeans. After years of benefiting from the hand-me-down machine, I wept.

Stitch is in the middle of largess, still benefiting from the size 8/9 passed down via her sister from multitudes of girl cousins. Yay. Now, would someone please come fold/hang all these garments that must be double checked as to size?

Spock is awash in size 5 fall/winter clothes, being at the end of the hand-me-down chain. They are all cute clothes with little wear to them because kids outgrown them so fast. That’s great. Again with the sort/fold/hang thing.

Not to mention the fact I must clean out the dressers and closets and do every bit of laundry so that the to-be-stored clothes are clean and ready for storage. Fun times.

Oh, and I have to do the adult clothes and the linens, too. We have VERY limited closet space (the house was built in 1968) and thus many things have to be stored in the attic until they are needed. Again, fun times.

Guess what I am not doing while I sort/pile/clean/fold/hang/store clothes? That’s right! I am not writing on all the myriad things I need/want to be writing! I just love it when housekeeping prevents me from writing! It’s almost as good as getting an eyelid caught on a nail!

Woe unto my privileged ass. People with real problems are going to read this and sneer.

I don’t care. Imma meep and whinge for minions anyway. So there.

Posted in daughters, life as I know it, motherhood | 7 Comments

Lunch Envy

OMG I want America to immediately adopt some of the things done by the French school system — particularly food and exercise.

Have you SEEN the school lunches French kids get? Not only is the food made fresh right there at the school, the:

“fruits, vegetables, fish and meat are sourced locally, some of them from local farms,” according to Dany Cahuzac, the city counselor in charge of school matters, including the [lunchroom]. The local bakery delivers bread, a staple of every French meal, fresh every morning. And every two days, there is at least one organic item on the menu. Once a month, an entirely organic meal is served. The only drink offered at lunchtime is filtered tap water, served in glass pitchers …  As the children come streaming into the [lunchroom], they sit down at tables of four that are already set and wait for older student volunteers to bring the first course to their table. The child who sits at the designated “red” chair is the only one who is allowed to get up to fetch more water in the pitcher, extra bread for the bread basket, or to ask for extra food for the table. After finishing the first course (often a salad), volunteers bring the main course platter to the table and the children serve themselves. A cheese course follows (often a yogurt or small piece of Camembert, for example), and then dessert (more often than not, fresh fruit).  “We do our best to vary our menus throughout the weeks and months, but sometimes children don’t like certain foods,” explains Cahuzac. “We ask children to at least to taste everything and have a few bites before they give up on a food they don’t like.” “Eating a balanced meal while sitting down calmly is important in the development of a healthy child,” adds Cahuzac. “It helps them to digest food properly, avoid stomachaches and avoid sapped energy levels in the afternoon.”

My kids get a 20 minute daily recess and a 30 minute gym class twice a week at their school. What do French kids their age get? Hint: more time for fun.

“elementary-aged students throughout the country have three set recess periods during the day: a 15-minute run-around in the morning, a 60-minute recess after lunch, and another 15-minute break in the afternoon” and “Aside from two hour long periods of gym during the week, kids often walk during school outings and field trips (which can include anything from an hour to the local library, a visit to local farms, to the lakeside for paddleboard lessons, or a hike up a local mountain). Walking is emphasized in even younger ages — indeed 3- and 4-year-olds in preschool will walk up to 2 kilometers in an afternoon to go visit the local library. Sometimes they walk to the local retirement home to sing songs for the elderly.”

WTF? No wonder the obesity rates for French children are some of the lowest in the world.

Good food is important. Good food helps kids learn. Recess is important. Recess helps kids learn.

Let’s get some good food and recess up in our schools, STAT.

Posted in daughters, health, I've been thinking too much, motherhood, shit I think y'all should know | 5 Comments

Sorcha’s Doing Well

Good news about Sorcha, for those who have been following her travails on this blog!

Sorcha has just purchased a home of her own. Her accountancy business is thriving. (it should be; she’s working her ass off.)  She has even created a niche market for herself helping facilitate hemp production via keeping her clients appraised of all the regulations. Her children are all well and happy. Prisspot had the audacity to make a pass at her and she had the satisfaction of slamming the lid down on that particular toilet.  She continues to crush all opponents in Words With Friends.

All is well.

That makes me happy.

Posted in I like this, dammit., life as I know it | 2 Comments

I’m BACK!

Howdy y’all.

My apologies for my long absence. I had to be away doing family things and the trip plumb tuckered me out.

Why did the trip wear me out so, you ask? Well, it had to do with a zillion orange barrels and three asshats.

The highways and byways were much occluded with the aforementioned orange barrels. I know road construction/repair must occur. Truly I do. What I don’t get is why it has to happen all at once and go on for MILES. Seriously, there was traffic congestion three miles prior to the tiny work crews and traffic congestion for another mile afterwards. They would shut down huge swathes of highway so that two dudes and a chick could did a small hole. It added a good hour or two onto a 5 hour trip. Just what everyone wants when traveling with young children.

There were also three asshats who made the long car trip more vexing. The first asshat was a shit-kicker in a pick-up truck who hollered at me when I was trying to turn around in a driveway and get back to the road we needed to be on. (Say hello to obfuscating detour signs!) I called him a jackass, which made him turn purple and start cussing.  Of course, I couldn’t hear him because I revved the van’s engine to drown him out. I drove away merrily, watching him blow a gasket in the rearview mirror. I think he was astounded a woman in a minivan spoke BACK to him instead of cowering before his bullying ways. In hindsight, I should have kept my peace and let him be a twatwaffle with no reprisals. Why? Because he might have been armed (‘Murica!) and we had the kids with us.

The second asshat was driving a semi that nearly ran out vehicle off the road. He decided, for whatever reason, that he needed both lanes of the freeway and I had to hit my breaks to avoid being sideswiped as he drifted over onto my side of the road. Thank God and the Sweet Baby Jesus there wasn’t a car too close behind us. The semi then casually meandered back into his lane. I couldn’t tell  what had distracted him from the slightly important task of driving.  I reckon that he had either fallen asleep at the wheel, or was talking on his phone, or was watching porn. (‘Murcia!)

The third and final asshat struck when we were almost home. After miles of following a POS car with a bad muffler that was going 15 miles per hour under the speed limit,  I passed him on a straight stretch of road. He was only going 45 so it was easy-peasy, even in a minivan. However, once I had passed him he proceeded to speed up to tailgate me with his brights on. I was going 60 mph and he was sucking my tail pipe. WTF? He goes 45 for an eternity, but can find the gas pedal to ride my bumper? We were the only two cars on the road! How small was his schmeckle that he had to pull a dumb stunt like that simply because I passed him?

Happily, I am back home and ready to blog away again. Tomorrow I have great news about Sorcha! Stay tuned!

Posted in life as I know it | 1 Comment

Fie Upon Pizza the Hut!

Have you ever seen the Mel Brooks movie Spaceballs? It’s one of the few of his movies that is suitable for children. (The biting and awesome satire in the others can be a bit much. Plus, sex jokes.) It’s a riff off Star Wars and the character of Jabba the Hut has been satirized as Pizza the Hut. Mel Brooks is sophisticated and subtle that way. 

This is Pizza the Hut:

Pizza the Hut

Stitch is revolted (understandably) by this character and terrified of him. When he comes on the TV set she runs to her bedroom, returning to watch the rest of the movie after his small part is finished. Yesterday she finally told me WHY she is so scared of it.

She said, with earnestness and emphasis, “Mom, his bubbles … don’t … pop! They just move up and down! He’s disgusting! And he has a long piece of melted cheese string that glops almost into his mouth! Right onto his tongue. And there is something wrong with his tongue! He might as well not even have a tongue!”

Stitch is right, of course. Nevertheless the fervor and intensity with which she informed me his bubbles don’t pop was so adorable coming out of a seven year old girl with a slight lisp that it was all I could do to keep a straight face. These fears are real to her, and I don’t want her to think I am laughing AT her or mocking her. However, she was doing this face:

upset stitch

with her hands clutching the air in front of her like this:

OMG why

Frankly, it was hard not to crack up at her vehement denouncement of all things Pizza the Hutt related.

I have no idea where she gets that kind of passion in her opinions. Must be from her father’s side.

Posted in daughters, I like this, dammit., life as I know it, motherhood | 2 Comments