Archive for the ‘Don’t Make Me Cut You’ Category

Why I Hate Everybody Rant: Part II

12 Mar

Now, where were we?  Ah yes, I have already covered the part where I think Democrats are whiny, spoiled and fiscally incompetent.

Now on to Republicans (this is the part where my dad disowns me).

The Pubs have, in the past, had a reputation for this longstanding mantra of conservative fiscal responsibility.  If you believe that this still holds true, then you have had your head in the sand, my friend.

They are still pushing a financial agenda, and pushing it hard.  But it’s not a smart one, a responsible one, or even a conservative one.  The goal seems to be entirely to take from the people who need it, and hand it directly over to the people who don’t.  Republicans right now are the ultimate Anti-Robin Hoods.

Federal Budget Cuts

Republicans have held firm to their requirement that the government reel in its out-of-control spending.  An admirable initiative – like I said, we have to CUT STUFF.  But look at what they’re cutting…

Here are 70 programs that are in line for the guillotine, according to the list unveiled by Representative Hal Rogers, Chairman of the House appropriations committee.  Take a quick gander through this list.

  1. Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies -$30M
  2. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy -$899M
  3. Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability -$49M
  4. Nuclear Energy -$169M
  5. Fossil Energy Research -$31M
  6. Clean Coal Technology -$18M
  7. Strategic Petroleum Reserve -$15M
  8. Energy Information Administration -$34M
  9. Office of Science -$1.1B
  10. Power Marketing Administrations -$52M
  11. Department of Treasury -$268M
  12. Internal Revenue Service -$593M
  13. Treasury Forfeiture Fund -$338M
  14. GSA Federal Buildings Fund -$1.7B
  15. ONDCP -$69M
  16. International Trade Administration -$93M
  17. Economic Development Assistance -$16M
  18. Minority Business Development Agency -$2M
  19. National Institute of Standards and Technology -$186M
  20. NOAA -$336M
  21. National Drug Intelligence Center -$11M
  22. Law Enforcement Wireless Communications -$52M
  23. US Marshals Service -$10M
  24. FBI -$74M
  25. State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance -$256M
  26. Juvenile Justice -$2.3M
  27. COPS -$600M
  28. NASA -$379M
  29. NSF -$139M
  30. Legal Services Corporation -$75M
  31. EPA -$1.6B
  32. Food Safety and Inspection Services -$53M
  33. Farm Service Agency -$201M
  34. Agriculture Research -$246M
  35. Natural Resource Conservation Service -$46M
  36. Rural Development Programs -$237M
  37. WIC -$758M
  38. International Food Aid grants -$544M
  39. FDA -$220M
  40. Land and Water Conservation Fund -$348M
  41. National Archives and Record Service -$20M
  42. DOE Loan Guarantee Authority -$1.4B
  43. EPA ENERGY STAR -$7.4M
  44. EPA GHG Reporting Registry -$9M
  45. USGS -$27M
  46. EPA Cap and Trade Technical Assistance -$5M
  47. EPA State and Local Air Quality Management -$25M
  48. Fish and Wildlife Service -$72M
  49. Smithsonian -$7.3M
  50. National Park Service -$51M
  51. Clean Water State Revolving Fund -$700M
  52. Drinking Water State Revolving Fund -$250M
  53. EPA Brownfields -$48M
  54. Forest Service -$38M
  55. National Endowment for the Arts -$6M
  56. National Endowment for the Humanities -$6M
  57. Job Training Programs -$2B
  58. Community Health Centers -$1.3B
  59. Maternal and Child Health Block Grants -$210M
  60. Family Planning -$327M
  61. Poison Control Centers -$27M
  62. CDC -$755M
  63. NIH -$1B
  64. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services -$96M
  65. LIHEAP Contingency fund -$400M
  66. Community Services Block Grant -$405M
  67. High Speed Rail -$1B
  68. FAA Next Gen -$234M
  69. Amtrak -$224M
  70. HUD Community Development Fund -$530M

I don’t know about you, but I see a list that takes a lot of money away from:

  • programs that help the poor
  • law enforcement
  • programs that protect our food, our health and our lives
  • programs that aid our children
  • programs that invest in our future

Now, it’s difficult to determine the actual impact of these cuts, since amounts given are proposed against Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget request (which was never taken up by Congress) and not against current federal government funding levels. But make no mistake, in the Republicans’ attempt to squeeze blood out of a turnip, they have made cuts are going to be PAINFUL for the US in a lot of different ways.

All told, the above list totals about $23 billion in cuts.  Lots of programs that benefit the country are on the table, and the majority of them focus on initiatives that could grow the economy, rather than reducing waste.  Two areas that are NOT on the table, at least as far as mainstream republicans are concerned:

  1. Military defense spending
  2. Tax breaks

These two areas are the sacred cows of Republican thinking.  But they should be the answers to our substantial financial crisis.

ve-military-spending

The United States spends $711 billion on military spending each year, representing 48 percent of the total military spending in the world.

Military Defense Spending

The US spends more on its military than the rest of the world COMBINED.  That’s not just excessive. It’s absurd.  Especially when you consider that instead of paying our bills and taking care of our country’s needs, we are funding military programs that are obsolete, ineffective and wasteful.

“To amass military power without regard to our economic capacity would be to defend ourselves against one kind of disaster by inviting another,”

-US President Dwight D. Eisenhower

If we cut just 4% of our military budget, we would save over $28 BILLION, with cuts that have nowhere near the negative impact on citizens that the $23 billion above have.  But how could we possibly cut our military budget???  Well, here are a few easy places to start:


Tax Breaks

The administration recently caved and extended a lot of the Bush tax cuts, which Republicans applauded.  After all, Lower Taxes! has been their battle cry for how many years now.

While I can understand efforts to jump-start the economy, this was a very costly move that sacrificed a lot of income for the government.  And frankly, a lot of it came from people who didn’t necessarily need the tax breaks.

For years, I’ve heard the lines about how the top 20% of income earners pay 80% of taxes, and how UNFAIR this is, so stop trying to squeeze more money out of those poor rich people! I know Rush Limbaugh is a big fan of this “statistic,” and I’ve heard it echoed by other Republicans throughout the years as well.

Well I call shenanigans.

It’s true, the top 20% of income earners pay 80% of the taxes.  Because they make 90% of the money.

Actually, 80% is a darn good deal.  Especially when you consider that the wealthy are allowed so many deductions and tax shelters that they usually pay a lower percentage of tax than the middle class.  Show me a billionaire who actually pays 35% of his income in tax, and I will show you someone who doesn’t have an accountant.

In fact, the Urban Institute found last year that raising the capital gains tax for wealthy Americans from 15 to 20.6 percent would reduce the deficit to 3 percent of GDP.  Right now, it’s about 10%.

Our country is in financial distress, yet we cut money that helps people find jobs and become productive members of society, in order to keep handing out tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations who need it the least.  Why?

It has nothing to do with “trickle down” theory, which is basically the idea that if you feed a horse enough oats, he’ll crap more and then all the birds and flies that eat his poop will profit.  Trickle down, or “horse and sparrow” is largely ineffective and has been termed by Ross Perot as “political voodoo” because in general, the money never finds its way down to the bottom of the totem pole.  Instead (again, generally speaking), you just get executives with more vacations, fancier cars and bigger retirement plans.

So again, WHY do Republicans keep insisting on these Anti-Robin Hood methods?

It has everything to do with money.  But nothing to do with the budget.  Companies and individuals who have the most money fund the campaigns and get people elected who will cater to them.  Supporting policies that aren’t to the clear advantage of the corporate and wealthy means the end of your career.  It’s Democracy at its best.  Or something.

And here’s where it has gotten us:

Infographic via Center for American Progress

Social Injustice

This “Class War” as some have termed it, is extending down into the State level as well.  Just recently, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has implemented a $1.7 billion tax hike… but only on the elderly and poor people.  The same amount of money will be directly handed over to corporate special interests.

And now our children’s future is under attack.  As a parent, this infuriates me.

  • Kentucky, Wisconsin and other states are cutting huge amounts of school funding to offset budget deficits.
  • State legislatures in Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Indiana are among those considering new bills that would eliminate or severely curtail teachers’ collective bargaining rights in negotiating contracts.
  • Wyoming lawmakers are entertaining a measure to end teacher tenure, which would allow the immediate suspension or firing of teachers for any reason not expressly prohibited by law.
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently skipped a $3.1 billion payment to the state’s pension system as part of an effort to cut benefits for public workers, and some conservative lobbying groups are suggesting that states be allowed to declare bankruptcy to escape their debt—including, of course, their obligations to state pension plans.
  • Missouri has recently introduced a bill to eliminate child labor laws.

And in a slightly related topic, in some sort of attempt to cut funding for abortions, Republicans offered a bill with language that attempted to narrow the definition of rape.  While I am opposed to abortion, and thereby sympathize with the idea that my tax dollars shouldn’t pay for it, I see no reason to draw some kind of unnecessary line between “rape” and “forcible rape.”  It serves no purpose other than moving toward making “un-forcible rape” more socially acceptable in some context.  Fortunately, after significant national criticism, Republicans dropped the offending language.

However, shortly thereafter, Republican State Representative of Georgia Bobby Franklin introduced legislation that would change the language in a rape trial.  The rape “victim” would be relabeled as the “accuser.”  Because we don’t want to coddle all those pesky women who have had their lives violently interrupted and their rights dismantled by allowing them to be called “victims,” until the court has finished deciding that there was actually a crime. Of course, victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would still remain “victims” from the start.

What is wrong with this picture???

In short, while the Democrats can be whiny and incompetent, Republican politicians are proving themselves to be a**holes, determined to attack the citizens that make up this country and drive our stability and future into the ground.  Auctioning off their souls to the highest bidder.

I think I want to start my own political party.  Circus clowns, conspiracy mongers or people who lack discretion need not apply.  Same goes for people who are willing to be pushed around by an agenda that puts a price on common sense and responsibility. Unfortunately, that probably means that my party will be very, very small.

And now you know why I hate everybody.

 

Don't Be a Moron

13 Oct

Ok, can we just talk about something that is slowly but surely moving past the point of “pet peeve” and into the realm of “makes me stabby?”

Irresponsible dog owners.

I have spent the past 7 years living in two states where it seems like everybody, including myself, owns a dog. And during that time it has become all too clear that there is a prevalence of a certain breed, if you will, of dog owners that borders on reckless. Folks in this category are either too stupid to realize or too inconsiderate to care that their pets are a menace.

And I for one, am tired of encountering them and fending off their beasts.

I hope you’re not one of these people, but in case you’re worried about it, let’s go though a few litmus tests:

If you think the “All Dogs Must Be On a Leash” rule at the park doesn’t apply to your dog, you are a moron.

That’s great that your dog can walk by your side without a leash on. It doesn’t mean he will continue to walk by your side once he passes MY dog – who can’t escape because he IS on a leash.  And if you’re on a bicycle, it’s going to take you entirely too long to assess the situation, turn around, get off your bike, and intervene.  Meanwhile, your dog has already swallowed half my dog’s head.

Also, I don’t care how well trained you think your enormous brute is.  If you let him roam freely around the park because he gets more exercise that way, don’t act surprised when he makes a beeline for my dog and clobbers him.  And I don’t care if you’re 80 years old, I will scream at you for letting it happen.  Especially the second time.  I go the park to exercise, not to stand still, holding my dog in my arms until you get your ass over there to call off Bruno.

If you think your dog knows where your property line ends, you are a moron.

Look, if you want a ferocious guard dog to keep your property safe, that’s your deal.  But if you think for a MINUTE that he’s going to keep his ferociousness within your unfenced boundary, you’re just kidding yourself and putting other people in danger.  I know not to run from dogs, but when I’m jogging by your house – on the OTHER side of the street – with my headphones on, I’m not going to notice that your 100-lb German shepherd is trying to chase me down until he has a hold of my ankle.

If you think your large, aggressive/protective dog has any business being off-leash, you are a moron.

Kaelin and I were taking Hastings for a walk this week.  Our driveway is long and passes a neighbor’s property.  We could see the large dog on the porch 100 feet away (200 feet? I can’t judge distance to save my life), barking his head off like he was fully prepared to rip us to bits.  “I hope he’s on a leash,” I muttered to Kaelin as we continued on our way.  Suddenly, the dog quit barking and disappeared.

Guess who was waiting for us at the end of our driveway.  Our walk was cut short as we turned around and headed back.

I have enough to worry about with keeping my dog and children safe from moose and bears.  I don’t need to be trapped in my own driveway by your stupid dog.

If you think that just because your dog is generally benign, he should roam free and unsupervised, you are a moron.

Ok, aside from the obvious issue of him getting hit by a car or attacked by another dog or wild animal…

There’s a dog on our road that is old and probably half deaf and spends most of his day sitting by the road watching the cars go by.  Nice dog, not aggressive.  But curious.  So when I passed this house with my dog, while walking the mile to the mailboxes, he came bounding toward us.

I have a shiba inu.  He’s fast, and a bit on the hyper side when he gets excited.  His quick, jerky movements are sometimes interpreted by other dogs as aggressive behavior or an invitation to body slam.  Also, he tends to distrust other dogs and is quick to snap when he feels cornered because he’s on a leash.  So even the nicest dogs can get the signals crossed and the next thing I know, I’m by myself trying to break up a row between two frustrated animals with sharp teeth.

People, please don’t be morons.  Leash and fence your dogs.  If not for others’ sake, do it to spare your dog from the pain of my pepper spray.

 
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Posted in Don't Make Me Cut You, Pets, Stupid People

 

Protected: Just Shoot Me

03 Mar

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A Simple Request

04 Feb

On Saturday, we made a special trip to Red Robin, one of our favorite restaurants and one that we seldom get to visit because the closest one is over half an hour away. They have great food and Kaelin always gets a balloon – which, to a 2-year-old, is pretty much as close to Heaven as it gets.

We told the host that there were three people in our party and one (Kaelin) needed a highchair. We were led to a table for two. At Red Robin, a table for two is just that – there is no room for a third plate, and certainly not for the kids’ menu place mat they always give you.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to fit at this table. There are three of us.”
“We can extend the table.”

There were approximately 12 inches between that table and the ones on each side of it (which were occupied). If they extended the table, the people sitting next to us would not be able to get out of their booths. And there would still be no room for a highchair.

We explained this to the host and asked if we could just have a bigger table. Seeing several large tables empty around us, we didn’t think this would be a problem. He said ok, and went back to the front for a new table assignment. He then returned and led us to … anther table for two.

“This table isn’t any bigger than the last one,” I explained to him. “We have three people and this is a table for two.”

He muttered some excuse about how he doesn’t know how many people the tables seat. I stood there blinking at him, trying to comprehend the fact that evidently COUNTING THE CHAIRS at the table was a concept too advanced for him.

He then asked us if we wanted a booth instead. Looking around, I saw several booths nearby that were clearly meant for 4 people and would allow us the space we needed. “Sure, that would be fine.”

He then led us halfway across the restaurant to … yet another table for two.

At this point, I began to lose my patience. “Is there a reason that we cannot get a table that will seat THREE PEOPLE?” I gestured at one of the many empty table around that would suffice.

He looked at the table I had indicated and told me that he couldn’t seat us there because they couldn’t put a highchair at that booth.

I saw other non-booth tables available that could have accommodated highchairs. I considered pointing that out, but was afraid his brain might derail and explode at the possibility of other options.

I asked him dully if they had any booster seats, and the reply was yes.

Then please bring us a booster seat and take us to a larger table.

Somehow, we finally made it to a table that had enough room for the three of us and our meals – and boy, were we hungry at that point. Next time, I may just tell them we have 5 in our party, and hope we end up with a table for 4.

 

Sometimes I Think The Amish Have it Right

07 Sep

Low and behold, we now have internet and phone.   It took Time Warner 3 days, 6,531 phone calls and a supervisor visit to figure it out.   And they were only able to get the wireless internet working because J went up there and figured it out for them.

And in other technically frustrating moments, this is an excerpt from the “Help” section of this new web-based email program I’m trying to configure:

  • To reply to the sender of the message, click ‘Reply’.
  • To reply to the sender of the message and to all other recipients of this message, click ‘Reply All’.
  • To forward the message to another email address, click ‘Forward’.
  • To add the sender to your address book, click ‘add to contacts’.

The entire help section consists of those kind of statements.   Truthfully, the person who actually finds that HELPFUL should probably not be operating email.

There is, naturally, nothing in the “help” section that moves beyond the level of “Ridiculously Intuitive.”   For instance, WHY does the “Check Mail” button disappear if there are no previously downloaded messages sitting in my Inbox?   Of course, nothing in the “help” section even comes close to dealing with that issue.

But GUESS WHAT??   There’s even an FAQ section, full of SIX questions that can be answered by LOOKING AT THE SCREEN.

Can I send HTML formatted email messages?
YES!   Check the box that says “Use HTML formatting editor!”

Can I add a signature to my email?
YES!   See the BIG BUTTON AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE THAT SAYS “ADD SIGNATURE?”

How do I add someone to my address book?
This one’s a little tricky, you might want to write this down:   You click ADDRESS BOOK.   And then?   You click “ADD SOMEONE.”

I have serious doubts that these questions are asked frequently for 2 reasons:

  1. People who ask these questions are not people who can figure out how to submit a Contact Us form.
  2. There is no Contact Us form and no way to communicate with anyone for assistance, and therefore no way for ANYONE to ask questions.

Thanks, guys.

 

Now I remember why we left Time Warner in the first place.

04 Sep

Ooh, the internet… I can finally get my fix. The withdrawal symptoms were killing me.

I hate Time Warner. There internal communication structure must be akin to sending messenger rats.   Because nobody is on the same page as anybody else, and nobody seems to know what’s going on, though they’ll all swear up and down that they know. Unfortunately (unlike the last city we lived in), we don’t have any other options.

Even though we technically have internet now, I can only use it if I’m sitting on the floor in the media room because my computer has to be directly plugged into the box.

The technician came out here today to install the wireless internet and – get this – didn’t have any wireless internet equipment. So he has to come back tomorrow to finish the job. WTH???

I HAVE BEEN WITHOUT PHONE OR INTERNET FOR A MONTH BUT APPARENTLY YOU NEED LONGER THAN THAT TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO PUT A BOX OF EQUIPMENT IN YOUR TRUCK????

Ahem. Sorry. Withdrawal symptoms coming out again.

He was also supposed to install our phone line while he was here and left without doing that either. According to him, he couldn’t get it done today because there was something Customer Service was supposed to do that hadn’t been done (he wouldn’t tell me what “it” was) so I had to call customer service because they needed to talk to me before they would do “it.”

Customer Service had no idea what I was talking about. But rather than wait for me to call them, Technician Guy just left – so he wasn’t there to explain it to them.

They finally determined that the problem was due to the fact that the line wasn’t scheduled to be activated until 2:04 pm, and once 2:04 pm got here everything would be fine.

So let me get this straight… They scheduled a technician to set up our phone line at 9am, but then scheduled the phone line activation for after 2pm, knowing that the line activation was necessary for the tech to finish his job. Again, WTH???

I tried to tell them that no, that couldn’t have been what the technician was talking about because he said there was something he was unable to do, so he would have to come back out here before the phone would work. But they assured me that wasn’t the case. I asked them to call Technician Guy to figure out what he meant, but they pretty much ignored that idea.

Well guess what. 2:04pm came and went and still no phone service.

On my second call to customer service (which was actually my 5th call, but we won’t go there) the Customer Service Rep determined that the technician was waiting for them to send a signal to the modem or something. Which they did in like half a second. I pleaded with her to just CALL THE TECHNICIAN to figure out if that was in fact all he was talking about. She said she knew he meant and left it at that.

Time Warner employees must grow warts if they actually make an effort to communicate with the technicians. That’s all I can figure with the way they avoid it.

Assuming Customer Service Rep #2 was correct, I’m incredulous that the technician decided to LEAVE without finishing the job, as opposed to wait for 5 seconds to have this done. So now we’re another day without a phone.

Did I mention that this is the only house I have ever been in where my cell phone doesn’t get a decent signal?

Figures.

 

Protected: Me and Limbo Do NOT Get Along

29 May

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Dear Old Dude,

12 Mar

I realize that you are probably exceedingly fond of your canine companion, and I will even give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that in most cases, your dog is probably a shining model of good behavior.

Even so, this shouldn’t lead you to believe that you are somehow exempt from the area’s leash laws, or that your dog is behaviorally “above” the need for a leash.

Because when your 150-lb dog comes barreling toward my 25-lb Shiba Inu and starts attacking him, I will freak out very loudly while waiting on you to make your way over and “GET A LEASH ON YOUR DAMNED DOG!”

Obviously, you don’t take a hint, as evidenced by the fact that on the return home, your dog was again on the loose and you were nowhere in sight. When he again bounded in our direction, I had to pick up my dog and stand there waiting for you to show up and retrieve yours.

Frankly, I find your behavior in this situation to be inappropriate, inconsiderate, and dangerous. I don’t know if you are really a jerk, or just stupid, but if I ever see you on the public trail again with your dog unleashed, the city police will be receiving a call and you will lose approximately 2 months of social security.

Sincerely,

A dog owner who prefers to bring her dog home in once piece