Thursday, October 06, 2011

American Dream Movement

Dennis Trainor, Jr. explains what The American Dream Movement is doing in D.C. beginning today.

If you're in the D. C. area, why not join them? It's times like these that I really hate it that I live so far away from New York City and D.C. where the biggest protests happen.

The time is now. The message is clear. If we want our country back, we're going to have to fight for it. Back from whom, you ask?

From assholes like this. Because how in the fuck they think this economy is sustainable is beyond reason. They'd be smart to realize that the most dangerous adversary to have is the one who has nothing left to lose.

Jobs gone. Houses foreclosed. Cars towed away. Kids who can't afford college. 401ks decimated. People dying because of a lack of basic health care.

Yeah, being that One Percent must feel really swell. As long as you can ignore the underlying feeling of it being temporary, I suppose.

They've got it all until the Revolution comes.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Unemployment Diary: Hallmark's Cards for the Unemployed

Echoes here, doesn't it?

I've been trying to come up with a post, but the news is so bad, the brainpan so desolate, I can't think of what to say. The depression or The Depression?

MathMan showed me an article that made me want to nutpunch somebody. An irrational response, but there it is. My reaction was visceral. What, you may wonder, could upset me so?

Hallmark has launched a series of cards offering - - what? condolences for a career? get well from your unemployment spurred depression? watch your savings go Over the Hill? -- yeah, Hallmark now makes a card you can run out and purchase when your friends and assorted accomplices lose their jobs.

Swell, huh?

I think it's charming how the people in the HuffPo article who support the idea have jobs or will be hawking the damn things. Sure, sure, Hallmark is responding to consumer need out of the goodness of their hearts. In that case, they should be giving them away.

Do I sound bitter? I know I do. After 21 months without a job and having only had three interviews in that time, I'm back to bitter. I've already cycled through all the other fucking emotions. There are millions just like me out there. And by out there, I mean your friends, your neighbors, the guy biting his nails to the quick as he watches the dollars rack up as he pumps his gas. And the longer we go without a job, the harder it's getting to find a job.

Listen, if you ever make the tremendous mistake of sending one of these cards, please be sure to include a check, some cash or a prepaid credit card. Because your friends don't need another piece of paper to remind them that times are about to get even tougher. They need help. If you can't give them a job, give them something that will help them no matter how temporarily. Ten minutes of not worrying about how you're going to pay your bills is ten minutes less than you would be worrying.

And when you're in this situation, any time not worrying about money or bills or finding a job or what assholes say about the unemployed is a good time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wide Sarcasm Sea

Here's a perfect example of why we're getting nowhere. Our media continues to keep us mired in the most ridiculous places.

The setting:  Morning Joe
The main cast for this segment:  Joe, Mika, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post and Peggy Noonan, a serious woman of serious words in her own mind
The subject: The blood lust on the Right, specifically the sustained applause for executions in Texas during this past week's Tea Party debate televised on CNN

First Peggy declared that this was really nothing. You see drooling, babbling weirdos at Left Wing events, too. It's nothing, inconsequential, the crazy uncle at dinner who wants to tell you about his most recent tinfoil needs.

Eugene Robinson would have none of it. No, not true. First, there is no equivalent of this kind of disgusting behavior on the Left and second you'd never see a far left group be allowed to have a national debate on television.

Joe stepped in, cutting off Robinson, but in a way that made Peggy admit that as one of the people in attendance at the debate, she was shocked at the audience reaction to the high number of executions in Texas.

She recovered quickly though by attacking the Obama Administration and evoking the words Monica Lewinsky and Whitewater. Then she coughed dust.

Yes, that was the only arrow left in Peggy Noonan's quiver. Trying to make some sort of connection between a president who is trying desperately to work with a recalcitrant and craven Republican House of Representatives to fix the fucking economy and events so moldy they would have felt comfy in my mother in law's fridge. I suppose when you're left with nothing but crazies to the right of you and a widening gap between you and the Left, you've gotta reach far to take a slap.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I'm a little obsessed with first impressions. I think this is common for the unemployed because we're reminded by the job "experts" that everyone we meet is a potential networking contact. So recently, when I had my first encounter with the new neighbor across the street, I was extremely kind. Because he? Was not a happy man.

He was angry. Understandably so, of course. His basement had flooded and he wanted someone to pay for the repairs and losses. He was convinced that the fault lay behind the culvert that lays between our property and the one next door. It backed up and caused the water to pool in his yard, eventually seeping into his his garage and basement family room.

I listened and empathized with him. But hadn't the former owners told them of the flooding issue? No. That sucks. He should definitely report that to the realtor at least because nondisclosure is punishable, I think. He'd call the realtor.

Still I had the detached attitude of a bystander and a renter. Sure, I'd call my landlord and let him know to expect a call. Their loss across the street didn't affect me, but I felt awful for them. And angry for them, too. The people who sold them the house used to fuss at me to keep the neighborhood kids from playing in the culvert because they left debris there that clogged the pipe and led to some flooding. I reminded the kids all the time to stay out of the ditch. But kid debris - discarded soda cans, candy wrappers, and popsicle sticks weren't the issue. A ton of soil had clogged the pipe. The walls of the culvert were nothing but red Georgia clay.

I walked away from the encounter feeling sorry for the guy, but thinking he sounded like a dick and glad my landlord would have to deal with the headaches.

Fast forward a few days. I was out mowing and the new neighbor pulled into his driveway. When he got out, I waved, removed my earbuds and asked him if he'd gotten in touch with our landlord.

He crossed the street and told me where things stood. Things seemed to be moving along reasonably well. Another neighbor was using his tractor to remove the soil and the city was looking it fixing it. I was glad for him, but still. What a loss.

I asked him what he did for a living, a sad opening, but it was all I had. He was coming home from work. A little embarrassed, he told me how he worked for a company that does something with sewage and septic tanks. I probably smell bad, he tugged at the sleeve of his blue work shirt.

Not at all. Hell, I was mowing and hadn't had a shower all day so who was I to notice?

I pulled another conversation thread and the story unraveled. His job was okay, paid the bills, but it wasn't what he wanted to be doing. He was thinking about going back to school to be a teacher. He loved economics. When he got out of the military - he'd had multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan - he was surprised to learn that he couldn't get a job in law enforcement because he'd never pass the psychological exam. Three different police departments told him that.

He'd been discharged honorably after a severe injury. He was part of a convoy that was attacked by IEDs. His humvee ran over one and exploded everyone was killed but him and one other soldier. He had shrapnel embedded in his body.

He talked about the choices we make. He'd initially gone to Georgia Tech on a baseball scholarship and to study engineering. Something didn't work out with baseball and he told the coach to keep his scholarship and walked away from school. Joined the military because there weren't a ton of options and besides then he could travel.

He didn't foresee 9/11 or what our country would do in response. Nevertheless, he loved the military and served a long time. Now he was married to a woman he'd met a year ago and was a stepdad to three kids. His wife, like me, was looking for a job.

Here he was. The man I met before was reaction and emotion. He had every reason to be angry.  Now he was interesting and funny and earnest like you'd expect someone to be after they've lived the life he has. I was the glad that I'd been empathetic to him during that first meeting because if I'd responded to his frustration with anger, had taken what he said personally, we might never have had this conversation.

As a writer, one of the most important things I can do on any given day is listen. He didn't realize it at the time that he was offering me the gift of his story. Later he asked me what I did for a living and I hesitated to tell him that I'm a writer. It's an awkward moment for me. I told him about that I worked in association management before I was laid off. He asked what I was doing these days. I suspected he was comparing my situation to his wife's?

Looking. And writing. I paused.
Oh? Writing what?
A little of this and that. Working on a novel, I blog.
That's cool. A novel? He waited, but I didn't say anything, changed the subject instead.
Better get back to mowing.

Neighbors become friends. Angry men become heroes. Stories get told.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Fred Flintstone, Governor of New Jersey

I hear people say they like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Yeah, you like him like you like Fred Flintstone. You're willing to overlook his obnoxious behavior because he comes across like some kind of regular guy. A straight shooter. An ethnic Archie Bunker in a tie.

Well, the truth is he's an obnoxious jerk who's really only in it for himself. I don't think for one second that his vision has anything more to do with the greater good than does that of Dick Cheney or the Koch Brothers. He's about Chris Christie and his power. And he doesn't give a shit which little people he has to step on to obtain it.

His behavior toward his constituents tells you everything you need to know about how little he respects them.

People just give Christie a pass because he looks like your dumbass cousin Tom who doesn't give a shit whether anyone likes him or not either. It's a phenomena that needs a name. We think we like those people who do their utmost to repel us. We think if we like them, then they'll like us back and we'll be in some special club.

We're not after the guy who likes everyone. Think Mitt Romney, my friend, who is so heck bent on making people like him that he's performing more intricate dance steps than Chaz Bono will do on Dancing with the Stars. I get dizzy just listening to Mittens.

To his credit Christie did defend his choice of a Muslim judge when the haters turned up the steam on their Muslim disgust, but that just goes to show you that it remains a universal truth that rarely, if ever will you find someone who is all bad or all good.

No, Christie's exactly what he seems. A kiss up, kick down bully who wants to cut social services and programs that we've all worked long and hard for. And why? So that rich people can keep more of their money, of course. And so that people who contribute to him might make a profit off privatized things like education and libraries. But don't believe me. Read for yourself, my darlings.

Don't be fooled. Just because someone looks like they'd sit right down with you at Ryan's Buffet and enjoy the hell out of those  cinnamon rolls doesn't mean they get you. Trust me, Chris Christie doesn't even see the point of getting you. 

Monday, August 22, 2011


Housekeeping is a lot like government services. You only truly notice it when someone stops providing it.

You know why you don't have any clean underwear and there isn't any bread in the pantry?

Because we fired the teachers, firefighters and police officers in order to give tax breaks to the wealthy and to wage wars we can no longer explain.

The money only goes so far, my darlings. Something's gotta give and ain't it gonna be those with the most.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This blog at five

I'm still pinching myself over the fact that I have this blog back. I'm trying to repost some of the best old work, but it's time consuming and sometimes I tumble down the memory hole when I read the old posts. I can remember what was going on with our family or what was happening between MathMan and me. Crazy times. Silly times. Painful times.

A couple of observations. About politics. How little has changed. About money and the economy; ditto. About family; we came through it and yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. In many ways, we're still fighting the same battles.

The good news I can now listen to a few songs without feeling bereft or like I want to kick myself.

Small victories.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011



Sometimes it seems like they only let us vote to add some legitimacy to their crimes against The People.


I don't think anyone leaves Congress with less money than they came with these days. And if they do, they're obviously doing it wrong.

If any of my kids tell me that they plan to run for state or federal office, I'm going to jump up and click my heels because at least then I can count on a spot in one of the nicer nursing homes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

For Rick Perry

You take the stage with what can only be called
A shit eating grin meets aw shucks.
Thunderous applause in your head, the adoration of the crowd
Tell us what we want to hear
Tell us what we know is true
You seize the mic like you seize the day
All gusto and outsized
A Lone Star, ready to rumble.
I close my eyes to listen to your message of redemption
The sinner nation needs you now.
You take a deep breath ready to speak, to sermonize
Tell us what we want to hear
Tell us what we know is true
Your detractors are many
The blue and cold-blooded serpents in the weeds
Not now, they hiss. Not ever.
A run from you would be a reminder
A visual and audio rerun of the last one,
The compassionate usurper
Inauthentic, a sneak-thief of your very self
He told them what they wanted to hear
He told them what they knew was true
Let them come then, you will not waver
Chosen, appointed, annointed
By the Christian God, sponsored by the Oil and Gas Industry and The Republican National Committee
You will be a force with which to reckon,
You reckon.
You're up there now
In front of the banner
The red of his blood, the white so pure, the true blue of the ages.
Tell us what we want to hear
Tell us what we know is true
My eyes remain shut
A wish that others will do the same
For when you speak, we are reminded
Of what we know is true.

Monday, August 08, 2011

I Write Letters

Dear Rich Lowry or should I say the man for whom Sarah Palin's wink launched a thousand erections,

I saw you on CSPANKme last night. It was a rerun of you boring a bunch of young Conservatives to death as you droned on about President Lincoln. The show was taped on a Friday night and those poor kids just wanted to hit the bars and hook up, but there you were, nattering on, equating the political parties of today with the political parties of 1860. You were taking great pains to illustrate a connection between Democrats today and the Southern Democrats who supported slavery. You said something about how they had to deny the part of the constitution that states All men are created equal. I think. Anyway, I may have nodded off from boredom. Or maybe it was because you were sucking both the oxygen and the sense out of the room. Whatever.

You owe an apology to those kids for misinforming them and for cutting into their fun time. Sheesh, man, don't you remember what it was like to go to those conferences?

I'm writing to you today, Rich Lowry, to let you know, in case you hadn't noticed, anyone who would have identified as a Southern Democrat in 1860 would now identify as a Republican. You failed to mention that.

You're welcome,


Dear Rush Limbaugh,

My mother took me to see the re-release of Disney's Song of the South in 1972. I was seven years old. Even at that tender age, I understood that Tar Baby had a racial meaning and was a phrase I should not repeat if I didn't want my butt blistered.



Friday, August 05, 2011

Trickle Up Economics

The time for small thinking has to be over.
The time for hearing what we can't do because it isn't politically expedient for some goon is over.
The time for saying that what we need is more bad policy to fix the mess is over.
We need change. Radical goddamn change.

Here's an idea:

Give every household with an income of less than $200,000 a raise. Tie it to nothing. Just here's $40,000 over the course of 2012 to spend as you wish. Take income taxes out of it.. So each month, every household with income of less than $200,000 would get an additional paycheck. And then, in 2013 when demand has helped create new jobs and there are more people paying income taxes and more people spending money and the economy is humming again, the payments stop. It's a finite thing from the very beginning.

Take the Goldens, for example, if you do a standard withholding, with deductions for Medicare and Social Security and including state taxes, we would net an additional $2,641.91 per month.

Here's what the breakdown would look like for someone in Georgia:
Monthly Gross Pay $3,333.33
Federal Withholding $330.42
Social Security $140.00
Medicare $48.33
Georgia $172.67

Dude! Do you know what we'd do with that money?

We'd spend it!!! I already have a long list of things we don't spend money on because we don't have money. Let's start with the orthodontist. Don't you think he'd like us to pay our bill? Of course he would! And guess what? After we pay off Nate's teeth, we'd have Sophie right in there getting the wires put on her crooked teeth.

Everybody wins!

We'd get the refrigerator fixed, buy me a laptop, make payments on MathMan's student loans, go to the dentist, buy new eyeglasses for MathMan, pay off our private loans, take a vacation that doesn't include a cat, remember to buy birthday cards, help Chloe with her tuition,buy some clothes for MathMan and me, repair the dented car and perform regular maintenance on it, go to the movies have dinner out, join the local gym again, and I might even take a class or two to help me find a new job.

And that's just off the top of my head. We also need a new mattress, I could use some new running shoes and my undie drawer is looking pretty dismal these days.

And we'd also save. A little. Not a lot. I won't lie.

For those people who would fuss that they aren't included in this scheme, I say you win, man, you win! Your boat will be lifted with this tide, as well. Dr. Orthodontist gets his scratch, for example. Without some kind of radical change, I can assure you that Dr. Ortho is not getting his money and Nathan will die an old man wearing vintage braces.

How do we pay for this? Well, it's a socialist idea to be sure -a transfer of wealth, but isn't it about fucking time that the flow go the other way? We've spent the last ten years transferring the nation's wealth to the very wealthiest and the ship is tipping. We need to balance things or we're going down. So yes, the wealthiest are going to have to pay a little more, but for heaven's sake, they've enjoyed a windfall since President George W. Bush cut their taxes. They can afford it. Trust me.

And when it's all said and done, those with the most also have the most to lose. You'd think they'd be ready to get this economy working again, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Thank you for the ongoing support

Dear lord, I'd noticed a spike in online searches for information pertaining to Nancy Pelosi's breasts. I don't get it, but there are many things I don't get.

So! I'm pleased to report that through an anonymous contact with access to the House Fitness Center's women's dressing room, we now have photos.

You can thank me later.

Monday, August 01, 2011

You better run, better run faster than my bullet

Foster the People. It's not just the name of a band, it's good fucking idea.

Debt ceiling "deal." We need music to which we can gather our torches and pitchforks...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adventures in Real Parenting: Would I lie to you?

The Spawn love Sunbeam bread. They claim it tastes superior to the White Wheat I prefer them to eat (please don't lecture me about whole wheat bread - been there, tried that. Ended up composting most of it. Time and time again.). While extolling the superior taste of Sunbeam, The Spawn claim that it has a far better consistency and texture.

For those of you who don't know, here's a mom thing. We lie. A lot. I'm not just talking about the Easter Bunny or Santa or why there isn't any more ice cream in the freezer - "Daddy must have eaten it....?"< MathMan loves when I sell him out. It's part of the parent code. Whoever gets to the lie first, wins. No. Parents lie about little things and big things. For example, I've learned a way to get The Spawn to eat White Wheat bread without knowing it. I wait for the first few slices of Sunbeam to be removed from the loaf's package then I take some slices of White Wheat and stick them between the smooshy Sunbeam. The crusts might have a variance in color, but that is hidden by the yellow on the packaging.

No one is the wiser.

This is a tradition passed on from mother to mother. Like my mother who sneaked liver into our hamburgers (that explains that) to prevent us from contracting the pernicious anemia that ran rampant through generations of her family, I force fiber onto The Spawn so that The Actor, Cupcake (aka Resident Evil) and The Dancer aren't completely bound up with biological poisons.

Without fibbing, obfuscation and outright lying, I wouldn't be able to complete a day of parenting.

From Webster's New Pocket Dictionary. To obfuscate - Confuse; obscure.
Spawn: "Where is my Juicy Fruit gum? I swear I left it on my dresser."

Me: "I don't know. Did you leave it in your pocket and take it to school? "(hee hee, I've developed a recent craving for Juicy Fruit gum...)

Spawn: Can I go to Florida with my friends over Spring Break?"
Me: "We'll see." (We'll see in momspeak means I'm not going to say "no" now because I don't feel like fighting about it now, but this is my way of buying time until you either forget or give up badgering me about this and go pester your father.)

Outright lie.
Spawn: "Mom, did you ever smoke pot?"

Me: "Of course not!"

When we first think of having babies, we make plans to be perfect parents. We make mental lists of all the things we'll never do to our kids. Back in my pre-parenting days, I had a long  list of judgmental and naive I will nevers.

I had not a clue.

Now a seasoned parenting professional, I  see the error of my earlier ideals. In fact, with parenting, there are no ideals. Not if you want to stay sane, that is.

Monday, July 25, 2011


The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
- Unknown

I frequently complain that The Spawn are stubborn. And lazy. And spoiled. And too smart for their own good. Geez, I just shouldn't have procreated. I'm a sucky mother.

Anyway, back to stubborn. Stubborn runs in the family. My mother would have you believe that the stubborn comes from my father's side, but that's just not so. The hot-headed - that comes from the paternal branch, but the stubborn? That's Mom.

Mom grew up poor as one of five children. Her mother held the family together and her father was often away working and drinking. The family lived in a rural area of the Southeastern Indiana hills. A big weekend was a trip to Granny and Grandad's. That was a real treat.

Granny and Grandad lived on a small farm. I remember going there as a child and playing with old Dairy Queen dishes and spoons on the front porch. We'd put hedgeapples on the country road in front of the house so that the cars going by would smash them. They looked like green brains dotting the tarred road. The thing I remember most is the outhouse. Even in the early 1970's Granny and Grandad didn't have an indoor toilet. Can you imagine? Not much had changed since my mom as a kid - my great-grandparents remained on that farm, frozen in time, until they died..

When my mom (let's call her L'il R) was about six years old, she and her brothers, sister and cousins were spending a weekend at Granny and Grandad's. They were just sitting down to supper at the big country kitchen table when they heard the crunch of tires as a car rolled into the dirt driveway. Now if you've ever lived in the country or watched The Waltons, you know what happened next.

Everyone, young and old, leaped up from the table and raced out the kitchen door to see who was there. L'il R grabbed her hot dog and carried it with her.

Granny ordered L'il R to take her hot dog back to the table because there was only one for each person and Granny didn't want the dog to steal the wiener from her. L'il R refused and before she could bat her long, black lashes, the pooch was running down the wooden porch steps, the hot dog hanging from his mouth. She began to wail.

The visitor was ushered inside and everyone returned to their supper. L'il R continued to cry and demand another hot  dog. Granny told her that there weren't any more hot dogs. L'il R cried harder. Granny told her to sit down and be quiet. Eat what's on your plate

Shedding more tears, L'il R ran to the screen door and announced that until she got another hot dog, she'd just hold the screen door open and "let the flies in."

That was enough for Grandad.

My mom. The only kid in that whole mess of brothers and sisters and cousins to ever get a spanking from Grandad.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lessons from My Drive

Okay, so you know that I've been wearing a groove in the road from here (NW Georgia) to NYC. Well, in all that driving I've burned a lot of cash and a lot of fuel. Neither of those ideas much please me, I can tell you. But aside from that, I want to tell you something that I noticed.

There are a lot of people living close to the edge. Let me explain.

Th apartment in Brooklyn turned out to be a three floor walk up in a working class neighborhood. The reason I'm telling you this is for purposes of numbers. Population. See, for every three floor walk up, it's probably safe to say that there are approximately three people or three families living in what may be, to the middle class eye, defined as rather sparse conditions. (I wouldn't even begin to describe how the upper class or uber-rich person might define such living conditions. Come to think of it, those conditions simply do not exist to the uber-rich. They simply can't see it.)

On my drive, I passed plenty of small old houses, manufactured housing, starter homes, apartment buildings, and rundown abodes. There were plenty of once beautiful, sprawling farms in Pennsylvania dotting Interstate 81. At one time, those farms were tidy, painted and proud. Now many of them have fallen into disrepair and neglect.

Everywhere I looked as I drove through the Shenandoah Valley, I could see farms and old homes. I was struck by the size of some of the farm houses that likely housed large families at one time. Now they are dwarfed by the size of a typical McMansion in a gated community. And these new palaces likely house families no larger than four people.

As I surveyed this slice of the American landscape, I was struck by the notion that there are more of us living close to the edge than there are those who are comfortably in the middle or sitting on top.

As gas prices rise and all the associated costs go with them, I can't help but wonder how this economy is going to sustain itself. The price of petroleum touches so much, how can we not reach the breaking point sooner rather than later? How will people who are already on the edge keep from going over?

I know that we're in that often-discussed category of being one paycheck away from disaster. Now that I'm unemployed, we're spurred on to cut costs, but we'll also be making some choices between what gets paid and what doesn't. The two essentials - fuel and food - can be cut back some, but not completely. Those ever-expanding bills shrink what we can pay toward our mortgage, healthcare, and other expenses.

In the meantime, every time The Dancer tells me that she needs gas in her car (calm down, it's a 95 Celica that was a gift from her aunt), I cringe. That edge moves ever closer. Even if I do find work, the edge is going to continue to inch toward us as daily living costs go higher and higher. We are not alone in this. I'm afraid we'll have plenty of company in that economic tumble down. The old adage "safety in numbers" will have a bitter ring to it when counting the number of people at the bottom.

Originally posted May 22, 2008

Friday, July 22, 2011

The High Way to Hell

How does hell want me? Let me count the ways.....

Drunkard - maybe, though cyclical
Liar - Uh, I've been known to tell a few whoppers, yeah
Thief - If office supplies count
Sports fan - Not so much, unless you count politics as sport
Blasphemer - Jesus Christ on a Whole Wheat Cracker yes
Money Lover - If I had it, I promise I would love it
Pagan - Only on my college applications. See Liar.
Homosexual - Part time
Prostitute - If only I'd had the foresight to get paid for it
Witch - Not exactly, but I'm often caled something that rhymes with it
Atheist - Check
Gambler - Hello, MegaMillions! Let me love you.
Porn Lover - Tasteful lesbian porn only
Whoremonger - Let's leave my friends out of this.
Child Molester - No. I hope there's a special corner in Hell for this category.
Evolutionist - Well, it's a theory that I think is pretty cool.....
Pot Smoker - Not anymore, not for a long time
Lesbian - I say half. MathMan thinks two thirds.
Fornicator - Oh, once or twice, I suppose
Masturbator - Only my vibrators know for sure
Hypocrite - Most definitely
Psychic - There was that time that I told Darling Sis if she went out something bad would happen and it did.
And you?

H/T Pharyngula

Originally posted June 2, 2008

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bloggers Talking about Bloggers Talking

Setting: (Now that the kicking and hair pulling has stopped) MathMan and I are once again sitting across from each other at the big oak desk behind our respective laptops. I'm reading blog RSS feeds. MathMan is probably doing something very important like checking out his fantasy baseball stats.

Me: Uh oh. (under my breath) That sounds familiar.
MathMan: Huh? What?
Me: Oh, nothing.
MathMan: No really, what?
Me: Well, dooce and her husband had a disagreement about how she pronounces Cray-on.
MathMan: It's cran.
Me: Says you.

Originally posted June 3, 2008

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Adventures in Real Parenting: Why She Was Once Called Resident Evil

Yesterday, as I drove The Actor home from school, my cell phone rang. It was Resident Evil calling. I pushed my Blue Tooth earpiece button.

"Hello?" Nothing. "Hello? Hello? Resident Evil, hello?" I pushed the button again. Maybe she'd accidentally dialed my number.

Again came the defiant voice of Amy Winehouse singing Rehab. Yeah, I know, that's a delightful ringtone. I pushed the Blue Tooth button again.

"Hello?" Nothing. Shit. She was home alone for just a few minutes while I raced out to pick up The Actor. What was I thinking to leave her home alone? What if someone had gotten into the house and she was hiding in her closet trying to call me for help, but afraid to speak for fear of discovery. Shit! Shit! Shit! I am the worst mother ever! Panic button almost pressed.

"HELLO! HELLO! RESIDENT EVIL, ARE YOU THERE? ARE YOU OKAY?" My heart raced and The Actor looked at me like I was insane.

Finally, she answered me. "Mommy....."

Oh. Shit. "Are you okay?" I asked, the fear making my voice crack. Why was I whispering? Oh yeah, the possible home invader terrorizing my child....

This time she spoke clearly in a normal voice. "Mommy?"

I was about to lose my shit. "Resident Evil, are you okay?"


Panic shifted to annoyance. "Why didn't you answer me?"

She paused.

"I was giving you the silent treatment," she announced.
Originally posted on January 23, 2008

Monday, July 18, 2011

Will Cuddle for Gas Money

I just received an important memo from the Pussies for Peace. Facing grant cutbacks and skyrocketing expenses, they have elected to step up their fund raising activities. In addition to the biannual bake sales, four scheduled car washes (don't believe what you hear about cats and water) and one gigantic yard sale later this month, the PfP are looking for new ways to raise money to keep the PoofMobile running so they can take their message of peace from across the nation.

Their new scheme is more akin to the good old fashioned kissing booth. I don't know, though, it just appears a little........unseemly.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Times are tough all over, but you wouldn't know that from listening to our idiot president or his Siamese co-joined twin Johnny Mac. They're doing okay. We're just out here livin' it. What could we possibly know?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Terrorist Training Activities in the Front Seat of My Car

Here are the youthful terrorists plotting their next caper

Newsflash: I Am Raising the Next Crop of Domestic Terrorists

About that fist bump.....The Actor and I did the fist bump nearly every morning as I dropped him off for school. It was a very brief moment we shared before I sent him into his middle school to blow up toilets. Now our secret is out. (Will someone please make sure I have 600 thread count sheets on my bed in Gitmo? Thanks.)

Originally posted June 10, 2008

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Middle Class Illusions

I've got to hand it to Bob Herbert. Today he was on in more ways than one. He wrote this piece for the NY Times and then he was on MSNBC's Morning Joe where he noted that it's harder and harder for Americans to 1) Be in the middle class; 2) Hang on to their place in the middle class; 3) Move into the middle class from the working class. Now, I don't know about you, but I find the topic of class divisions refreshing. I don't think it's discussed enough.

I was especially interested when Herbert brought up the fact that at one time, a middle class lifestyle could be obtained and maintained with one salary earned by a man with a college education or a good manufacturing job. (Credit where credit is due - Pat Buchanan was sitting there, too, agreeing with Herbert and reinforcing his position. His feminine alter ego Bay was nowhere to be seen. Thank goodness.)

The main point that Herbert was making was that the American middle class has been losing ground for quite a while and most of us haven't recognized it or let ourselves be aware of it. Where my dad, a forklift driver for (please forgive me) Monsanto who worked a lot of overtime - thank you, dad - was able to afford a nice home, nice cars, vacations, a swimming pool, etc. and my father-in-law, a Chicago public school teacher, supported six kids in a three bedroom ranch on the NW side, imagine now trying to pull that off. First of all, those jobs like my dad's just don't exist so much anymore. And I can tell you, a teacher's salary cannot support a family of five, never mind six.

One of the things Herbert pointed out was that the struggle to maintain middle classdom has been masked by a growing use of credit. Lord, yes. The other point he made was that when women went to work outside the home, in large numbers, their income helped mask the ground being lost by men in their buying power. That was true in my family, as well as in MathMan's. My mom went back to work when I was in the third grade (1974ish). MathMan's mom got a job outside the home in the early '80s. I suspect that one of the reasons our moms went to work was to stretch their husband's paychecks. I know for a fact that my mom went to work to help pay her McAlpin's and Shillito's bills. Those were the ones she trained us to retrieve from the mailbox before Dad got home. We dutifully hid them in her underwear drawer.

Identifying the problem doesn't fix the problem, but for about three minutes today, viewers of MSNBC were reminded that what they think is a comfy middle class life is fleeting and getting harder to hold on to all the time. With the increasing impact of rising fuel costs and all the associated things that will increase in cost, too, most of us who thought we were middle class will find our grip loosening even more to the point that many of us will slip into the vast pool of poor without ever being able to put the words to what is happening to us.

Originally posted June 10, 2008

Friday, July 15, 2011

This is why she's always been in gifted classes

Always thinking, The Dancer has come up with a great way out of our financial difficulties.

Scooters to replace our cars? Nope.
Pantyhose on our heads and robbing banks? Nope.
Agreeing to finally work the pole? Nope.
Getting a job? Well, she did that, but it will only help pay her dance studio fees.

Her solution?

Watching wrestling. Except here we pronounce it rasslin'.

My brother, Uncle Chief of Police, would be so proud. He was a "Rowdy" Roddy Piper fan back in the day.

Because I spent a large chunk of my teens trying to get out of the Full Nelson, that's why.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Adventures in Real Parenting: More from the School of Benign Neglect

Yesterday, Lisa at Lemon Gloria wrote about some slight anxiety she's having about parenting. She and her fiance Nick spent the weekend with some friends who have one little boy and the experience gave Lisa some new perspective of parenting. In her post, Lisa wondered:
...You need to be vigilant: You hear the most surprising things. It never occurs to you that you might hear, from the living room, "No, sweetie, don't put a strawberry in Lisa's book. She doesn't like that." Which leaves you to wonder if at some point, when it's your own kid, you get really tired and are just like, oh, go ahead, put the strawberry in the book..
To which I left two comments. In the first, I repeated what MathMan had asked me to convey.
Your fears are well founded.
In the second, I was a little more full frontal me - as in Yeah! Parenting by benign neglect! Woot!
Oh, yes, yes, and yes. Go ahead with the strawberry, go ahead with the paint on the white sofa, go ahead with the Barbie hot tub in the toilet. It all happens because at some point, the 100% vigilance is boiled down to:
1) No blood
2) No fire
3) No sharp objects
4) Not near mommy's laptop
5) Just don't tell daddy
I thought of this this morning when I had the following conversation with Cupcake:

Cupcake: I'm hungry.
Me (not taking my eyes off the monitor): Uh huh.
Cupcake: Can I have a smore?
Me: Absolutely not. Not for breakfast!
Cupcake: Well then, what? There's nothing to eat! (in a really whiny tone that made me grind my teeth)
Me: There's cereal.
Cupcake: No.
Me: I could make you some scrambled eggs, toast? Peanut butter and brown stuff? Yogurt? Fruit?

All was met with snorting derision. I had a blog post to finish and some pictures to edit.

 Originally posted June 12, 2008

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Rascist in Me

Ah, my racist roots. Where shall I begin?

I grew up in a white working/middle class family in Southeastern Indiana. Need I say more?

My dad, a forklift driver for Monsanto (again, please forgive me) for over thirty-five years was a hereditary racist. Not outwardly hateful, but basic, a black person is different and therefore less racist. He, a man with high school education and a solid hold smack dab in the middle class via his factory job, considered himself better than anyone of color. Or at least that's the impression he gave us through his words.

I later understood that part of what we heard was fear. He feared that his place in the middle class was threatened by the encroachment of minorities which were, in his world, African Americans. That fear mirrors the fear and racism now being displayed towards Latinos, especially in places like where we live here in Georgia. Factory jobs have all but disappeared and the sames kinds of jobs at in that pay range are scarce. Blame the Mexicans. It's easier to do that to rail at the powers that be who made the financial decisions to close the factories and outsource the jobs.

What uneducated people understand better maybe than educated people do is the law of resources. They understand that if there are people on top, they are supported by lots of people down below. They also understand that when things are limited, it's a fight for survival to hold on to what you've got and it's an even greater struggle to obtain more. That was my dad. He understand in a very basic way that there were only so many jobs to go around in that factory on the Ohio River bend in Addiston. And if all the sudden a lot of "them" were getting those jobs, then a lot of "him" would be losing theirs. The jobs were not limitless. Quotas became a buzzword. Reverse discrimination was murmured. Rumors were rampant about how "things were shifting" in that factory and many others.

To be honest, I never saw my father be disrespectful to anyone of color. In my mind's eye, I can see him, like most white people I knew (and even now, know), treating people of color with a "certain kind" of respect, a careful respect, a subtle arm's length approach that said "let's just get through this with these fake smiles as quickly as possible because, dammit, my cheeks are starting to hurt." That kind of respect. Not exactly grudging. Not exactly sincere.

But the words. Oh my. My own cheeks burn a little when I think of the string of epithets we kids used to hear coming from our dad's straight-toothed grin. Holy cats, some of those phrases would peel your skin off, leaving you there a strung together diagram of sinewy flesh and moist bones like a picture in an anatomy text book.

I won't list those words and phrases here. But there were plenty of them and they were quite colorful. To my child's ear, some of them were funny and lyrical, comical really. Some referred to continent of origin, I suppose. Others were based, naturally, on darkness of skin. My father didn't make up those words, of course. He learned them from his parents and the other superior, but poor, whites he grew up around in that small Ohio River town.

I remember once riding my bike down to see if Dad was at my grandparents' house. He wasn't there, but Grandma was. She was sitting on the back porch snapping green beans from her garden.

"Do you know where Daddy is?" I asked, leaning my bike into the grass and hopping up the cement step onto the porch.

"Well, I think he went out to help the ni**ers with something," she answered in her crackly grandma voice.

I did not bat an eye at this. I was probably ten years old or so. It was nothing for my grandma to point out my summer color. "You're getting brown as a berry," she'd say, adjusting her whistling hearing aid. "Better watch it or people will mistake you for a picaninny."

Let me just tell you right here and now if anyone spoke that way in front of me now, I would make such a nuisance of myself explaining why that is unacceptable.

When I hear racist language from unrelated adults, I don't call them out. I hate to admit it, but if an adult uses that kind of language in front of me, I leave, I don't school them. I figure they know that they are doing something wrong and choose to behave that way anyway. If they say something racist in front of my kids, I leave, taking my kids with me and I explain why that language is unacceptable.

Believe me when I tell you that this is not a defense of my father's racism, but back when he used those words, it was more common, even in "polite" society. How horrifying. My mother, once distressed that I used the N word, instructed Dad to talk to me and make sure that I never said that word again. I'll never forget the day he told me that if I even thought that word, the nearest ni**, he stopped himself, the nearest black person would come and cut my ears off. Thanks, Dad. That was brilliant. Make me afraid of black people.

But that is how racism is. It's part of who we are. Some of us are raised with it. It comes in different varieties - mild to scorching, but it's there. It's what we do with it that defines us. See, it would have been very easy for me to simply absorb my father's attitude about African Americans and to go through my life assuming superiority to people of color simply because I'm white and of European descent.

Never mind that most of my ancestors were extraordinarily poor, one was brought to Virginia as a criminal/slave for fighting against the British in Scotland. When the lady on the rock invited other countries to send their poor, my ancestors were pushed onto the damn boats - steerage, of course. Even so, we were taught that we were superior somehow.

Instead I chose to reject my family's racism. When Mathman and I started our family, I informed my father that racial slurs would not be tolerated in front of our kids. He has complied. I once got into an ugly shouting match with my paternal grandfather in our front yard because upon learning that I was dating a Moroccan while in France, he had the nerve to ask me why I just couldn't date nice American guys?

Nice American guys is code for white, of course.

There's my proof that I will call my family out on their racism. I may share the DNA, but I do not share their views. I wish I had the spine to be just as forceful with unrelated racists, but I don't. I'm quite convinced that nothing I could say would change their behavior if they're an adult in 2008 and still using racial slurs.

Now that we're about to see racism of all varieties on the most public display since the Civil Rights Era, I'm curious to see just what kind of character America has.

Let's just say, I'm not terribly optimistic.

Originally posted June 13, 2008

Monday, July 11, 2011

Closer to It

Like the last couple of Springs here in Georgia, this one got hot fast. By early June, it seemed like we were as hot as we'd be in July. When you opened your car door, waves of canned heat smacked you in the face. The pavement shimmered in the glaring sunlight. The only thing saving us from being all brown and dusty by now were some well scattered showers and a better than usual accumulation of rain in March and April.

It wasn't like June 2004, our first full summer in the Deep South, when it rained so much we pretended we were living in England as we spent mornings indoors, having tea and watching The Secret Garden and Hope and Glory over and over until we had the dialog and accents down pat. That was a glorious year for the garden and the mosquitoes. What we didn't realize was that those June rains portended a new phenomena for us. Hurricanes.

Coming from the Midwest, we'd endured blizzards, deep freezes and withering heat waves. We'd even run through hail in our bare feet as tornado sirens blasted in our ears, but hurricanes were new to us. We rode out Hurricane Ivan with a mix of excited curiosity as it swept up from the Gulf Coast and rain-soaked and wind-blasted even us, tucked up into the Northwest Georgia pine forest.

A couple of days later, we named a litter of kittens after the Hurricanes. Frances, Ivan, Charlie and the non-hurricane inspired Morris. They were born on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend and we thought those fitting name for those babies of a stray we'd taken in. Their mama kitty McGuffy, had squeezed her thick, pregnant body into the crack between the wall and our youngest daughter's bed when it was time to have her babies.

Morris, the last to be born, is a yellow, long haired tabby who turned out to be a very large cat with a penchant for peeing where he shouldn't. We still have Morris and, though he'd never earn an academic scholarship to Kitty University, he's likable enough and the children love him. I'd like to ring his maned neck for his bad habits, but mostly, I love him, too. The ill-mannered oaf.

But I was telling you about the weather. It was really, really hot here. And then, a couple of days ago, we got a break from the searing heat and dripping humidity. No longer was driving in my un-air-conditioned car a draining chore.

Now I could ride with all the windows down and the sunroof open and not feel like I'd just run a marathon. Where before I'd felt all hot and sticky and crabby from the open air drive, now I felt a sense of openness and closeness with the outer world. When the air-conditioning worked, I would ride with my windows sealed tight, the outside world banished as I tooled along in my hermetically-sealed existence.

When people ask Southerners and Southwesterners "How do you stand the heat?" and we answer "I go from air-conditioned house, to air-conditioned car, to air-conditioned workplace," we are not kidding.

Spring and Summer and a good block of Fall in warmer climes means never really breathing in the fresh air if you can help it. If you're even slightly asthmatic, it could trigger an attack. Even if you're not afflicted, you may find the boiled afternoon air to be hard to breathe.

So the last couple of days, we've flung open the windows and enjoyed the fresh air. Driving on the freeway, I'm inundated with the smells and sounds of traffic. The large trucks make a terrible racket as I glide past them. Sometimes there are cars, with the music so loud and obnoxious, that I wish for a semi to come and drown out the throbbing noise. Even the morning traffic jam is nicer as I sit in the far left lane and listen to the tall, dry grasses rustle and whisper alongside the idling vehicles.

But when I get out into the country, closer to home, I'm treated to the sounds of birds carried on the wind and the smell of flowers lining the roadsides and dotting the fields. And, of course because it is the country, the occasional whiff of death emanating from some unseen animal corpse hidden in tall weeds or silage or worse, the smell from the factory chicken farm.

At home, we've shut off the central air and opened the windows, as well. Now as I sit writing, I can listen to the clicking of birds on the large, swing-arm feeder. I can hear the bluejay and tufted titmouse knocking the sunflower seed against the wooden feeder's edge to get at the meat inside. I hear the flapping of wings as the female cardinal takes flight, startled by the arrival of a male, and I eavesdrop on the quiet conversation between the male and female house finch as they take turns keeping watch as the other pecks about in the feeder.

The other day I noticed that when a male cardinal is eating, he doesn't mind if other bird species come along and join him. But if a female or another male cardinal lands, there is a bit of a scuffle before only one is left to eat. The mockingbirds, for their part, engage in rowdy chases, making a pinched noise as they fly at each other. The male redwinged blackbird, solitary and friendless, screeches loudly just as he lands to eat. No one, but no one, is allowed to join him on the feeder.

The swing arm feeder is positioned right outside the window to my left. Around it grows an unruly Chinese wisteria that loops and dangles. The birds have developed a queuing system of landing on the drooping vines to await their turn in the flat, wooden feeder. This works well for the sparrows and finches who blithely alight and hang on as the wisteria bounces to a stop, mid-air. Sometimes, though, a larger bird like a cardinal will try to land on the vines and they and the vine will dip down, down, down closer to the ground. Quickly, I hear wings beating as the surprised bird jumps to the safety of the air, leaving the wisteria boing-boinging up and down like snapped elastic.

Last evening, drowning out the sounds of the birds as they settled down for the night, were the noises of our neighbors' barky dogs. In front of us, the German Shepard dogs were having a growly conversation about something exciting. Next door, the Australian Shepard and his companion were debating something in loud woofs and an occasional bay. Beyond them, the little dogs, a rag-tag band of chihuahuas and rat terriers, were carrying on in their squeaky yips and yaps.

I wondered if Sasquatch was strolling through the neighborhood again. Then there was a crescendo of yelps and yaps and barks and then nothing except the occasional soft note from the wind chimes.

This morning, I've been treated to the good morning sounds of the wild birds and the er-e-er-e-eeeerrrrr of the penned roosters down the road. The occasional red-winged blackbird screams out as it prepares to dine at the feeder and there are crickets adding a low background noise. Large bees hover and glance at me through the screen. I'm relieved that they are out there and I am in here.

The male cats, Tiger and Pyewacket, exchange a territorial hissing and yowling through the glass of the back door. A sleeping child, who apparently stayed up late watching a movie last night, stretches on the sofa, breathes deeply and turns over for more sleep. The curtains framing the large front window shimmy on the breeze, as the sun and clouds try to agree on how hot it's going to be today.

I like being closer to it.

Originally posted June 21, 2008

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Adventures in Real Parenting; Maybe They Should Issue Licenses to Parent

The children are very inappropriate. The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of their parents, MathMan and me. Our crime is being ourselves in front of them.

Oh, and laughing. Just like Mrs. Brown admonished us when we laughed at Howard W. when he did the Donald Duck voice in first grade.......if we laugh, we'll only encourage them.

Cases in point.

The Actor.
The Actor has been using his timing, improvisational and mimicking skills to do a very inappropriate imitation of someone with special needs. Even as he launches into this character, he's aware that it's wrong. "Don't say retarded around me! It's special needs!"

Yesterday evening at supper I told him that karma was going to catch up with him and he'd end up with a brain injury of some sort and then we wouldn't be laughing, would we? He only seized on the phrase "karma is going to catch up with you," and started running around the great room asking if karma was behind him.

My very politically aware self was horribly offended by this and insisted that he stop.

When I'm laughing so hard that I have to hold my sides and gasp for breath, my demands are hardly effective.

The Actor had another baseball game yesterday and couldn't find his cup. No wonder. When I'd finally had enough of the cloud of dust that rose up anytime you walked across his carpet, I started cleaning. His cup was exactly where he left it: under his dresser.

When he got home, he noticed his cup where I'd left it on top of his dresser and asked where I found it. I answered from the kitchen where I was doing something with Cupcake.

She recoiled in disgust. "Did you pick up his cup?

"Yes, with my teeth."

"Ewwwww. Mom," she paused and then ventured into another venue of gross. "I bet you would if it was Daddy's."

"Ewwwww. No way."

She wasn't going to let me off that easily. "Come on, admit it. You know you would have....."

The Dancer.
She has been home more than usual. It's been quite lovely to have her around except she's on a total health kick and I have to sneak around if I want to eat confectioner's sugar straight from the canister. What a nag.

Now that she's around, the bickering has escalated, though most of it is put on for show. It hasn't been that long since my siblings and I engaged in witty banter that made our mother develop a fondness for gin.

Yesterday I was clucking about the nonsense that went on at the supper table when The Dancer looked at me steadily and uttered a four word solution.

"Duct tape and a sock."

Originally posted June 23, 2008

Friday, July 08, 2011

What a long, strange trip it's been

Welcome back to PoliTits.

Thanks to Bob Mutch who was kind enough to turn over administration of my old blog to me. I realize it's mostly writer's vanity, but I am thrilled to have this old blog back.While I'll continue to write at That's Why, my plan is to use this space for two purposes.

1. Repopulate it with the best of the old material.
2. Write new content about politics and, yes, sex. It's been suggested that I try my hand (again) at some erotica. I think yes. Here's the place for that.

In the meantime, pardon me while I rebuild.

Special note about Bob. He's left us some links in exchange for the blog. You'll find them under Valuable Resources.



Thursday, April 21, 2011

iPhones clandestinely track their users' locations

Apple devices appear to be tracking their owners' locations and storing data about people's whereabouts without their knowledge, according to a report posted Wednesday on a site called iPhone Tracker.

The illegal observation started in June 2010, when the newest version of Apple's mobile operating system was free, according to two researchers who say they discovered a hidden track folder and posted it out of concern for users.

Apple has not responded to the claims.

The researchers have posted a program online that will let any iPhone user see a map of his or her site over time, going back to June, when iOS 4.0 was released.

The program's developers, listed as Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, say this data is stored on a person's iPhone or 3G-enabled iPad and on computers that are synced with those plans. There's no proof, they say, and that the data is also transmitting to Apple as it's collected.

"Cell phone providers collect similar data approximately inescapably as part of their operations, but it's kept behind their firewall. It usually requires a court order to gain access to it, whereas this is obtainable to anyone who can get their hands on your phone or computer," they write.

"By inertly classification your location without your consent, Apple have made it likely for anyone from a envious spouse to a private investigator to get a detailed picture of your movements."

The location data appear to be collected at chance intervals over time, using cell phone towers to triangulate approximate locations, they write.

They say these data are store in a file named "consolidated.db," and that it's "unclear" why Apple would collect this information.

"One guess might be that they have new features in mind that need a history of your location, but that's pure conjecture. The fact that it's moved across devices when you restore or migrate is evidence the data-gathering isn't accidental," they write on the iPhone Tracker site.

Some iPhone users expressed indignation at the news.

Sam Biddle, an editor at Gizmodo, used the downloadable program to map out his recent whereabouts, which he says was a frightening experience.

"This is a map of everywhere I've been for the last months. Everywhere," he writes on that tech site. "I didn't carry around a tracking device. The FBI isn't sending goons in unmarked vans to track me. All I did was use an iPhone."

He adds: "The data itself is jarringly accurate. Even though it appears to rely on tower triangulation rather than GPS pinpointing (meaning you're not safe with location services switched off), the map I was able to generate with mapping software the security duo released visualizes my life since the day I bought my iPhone 4 in July.

Everywhere I've been. Bus trips home. Train trips to visit family. Vacations. Places I'd forgotten I'd even gone. Zoom in on that giant blotch over New York, and you can see my travels, block by block.

"My entire personal and professional life -- documented by a phone I didn't know was also a tracking device.

It's all accessible -- where I've been, and when. I don't really have anything to hide, which is why I don't mind sharing the map. But it's just not right to have no choice in the matter; I don't want this information bouncing around in my pocket with me."

Others, including Forbes writer Kashmir Hill, wonder if this feature is "cool or creepy." She decides on "cool," writing that the program is "like a persistent, pervasive, secret location-diary."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Insurance Protection from All America Auto Transport

As is known to all, auto transport is a risky affair as any vehicle that is shipped is susceptible to dents, scratches and/or other forms of damage. The only assured way to protect the likely damages that occur to your vehicle during shipping is to go for auto transport insurance. Auto shipping insurance also protects your car from natural calamities as also the vagaries of the weather.

Insurance policies offered by various auto transport companies may be different.
It is essential that you ascertain from the auto shipping company  what types of damages will be covered if the vehicle is impaired during the shipping process. If you consider the coverage provided by the auto transport company to be inadequate, you can find out if it is possible to buy an additional coverage.

Further it is necessary for you to know which parts of the vehicle will be covered in case of an accident and more importantly, the insurance coverage offered by the auto transport company should also protect you against vehicle theft. One important factor that should weigh with you before choosing an auto transport company is the amount of insurance coverage that will be provided by them.

There are a few things that you must check to receive proper insurance coverage. Never hesitate to ask questions about the auto shipping company’s insurance policies. You should study the insurance policy documents of the auto shipping company and to satisfy about the genuineness of the documents, you can even crosscheck with the auto transport insurance provider.

Beware that some auto movers may provide only very restricted insurance coverage – at times, it will be even less than your vehicle’s actual market value. It has to be stated that there may be a few unscrupulous auto transport companies that may try all types of tricks to evade paying insurance claim. It is also important to personally verify whether the car transport company has a valid insurance certificate.

Please note if your auto shipping company avoids or deliberately delays settling your damage claim, you are at liberty to file a complaint with local Better Business Bureau. This apart, you can also report the matter to the Department of Transportation for speedy redress and as a last resort you can also approach the law courts. But it is prudent to first attempt to sort out your complaints with your auto shipping company and if you still feel that you are not getting justice, you can take recourse to other measures.

Quite often, the insurance coverage provided by the auto transport company may not be sufficient to cover the expense of the vehicle replacement. It is therefore preferable you contact the company's insurance agency and know firsthand the terms and conditions in the policy. When transporting luxury vehicles or any other unique types of vehicles, you must ensure that the insurance coverage includes the blue book value of the vehicle.

Most reputed and frontline auto transporters that are licensed and bonded like All America Auto Transport (AAAT) will ensure safe shipping and will carry proper insurance so that they can quickly reimburse your damage claims.  AAAT guarantees proper insurance coverage for vehicles and ensures that full coverage is provided in the event of damages to the vehicle during its custody.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Obamas income drops by two thirds but still a millionaire

WASHINGTON: The annual income of the US President Barack and his wife Michelle has dropped by more than two-thirds to $1.73 in 2010 as against $5.5 million in 2009, the White House has said.

Obama and the First Lady filed their income tax return jointly and reported an adjusted gross income of $1,728,096, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a blog posting yesterday, the last day of filing the tax returns for the year 2010.

"The vast majority of the family's income is the proceeds from the sale of the President's books. The Obamas paid $4,53,770 in total federal tax," he said.

The family also reported donating $2,45,075 - or about 14.2% of their adjusted gross income - to 36 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was a $1,31,075 contribution to the Fisher House Foundation.

Carney said that the President is donating the after-tax proceeds from his children's book to a Fisher House scholarship fund for children of fallen and disabled soldiers.

The President and Michelle Obama also released their Illinois income tax return and reported paying $51,568 in state income taxes, the White House official said.

On the other hand, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden reported an adjusted gross income of $3,79,178. The Bidens paid $86,626 in total federal taxes for 2010. They contributed $5,350 to charity, in both monetary and in-kind donations, he added.