November 2010
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Monthly Archives: November 2010

And now a word…

not from a sponsor but from one I consider very important.

It’s Up to Us — Together
By Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO

Before signing the Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin immortalized one of my favorite quotes: “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

I don’t think that’s too melodramatic a statement for union members to consider today. We know we’re in a political bulls-eye and that the goal of our opponents is to tie us up with defensive battles—in Washington, D.C., and in the states—because they think that will weaken our offensive for jobs, good living standards and an economy that works for all.

It’s a perilous time—but one that is also ripe with opportunity. Right now, the American people, who repeatedly have voiced their desire for change, are hungry for leadership.

Someone has to turn this economy around—fast, before working families lose more jobs, more homes, more opportunity for a decent future for their children.

And it’s not going to be the political lap dogs for Wall Street and the rich—they’re not going to fix this economy. It’s not going to be the conservative ideologues or the haters.

This job falls to us—a united American labor movement.

The corporate agenda we’ve lived under for the past three decades and the recent economic collapse have left our unions bruised, smaller than we should be. So we have to be stronger than we’ve ever been to meet this responsibility.

That means hanging together. It means solidarity.

It means fighting together united by our common beliefs. It means giving one another the courage to take on those offensive fights. It means growing. And it means refusing to be divided.

For decades, we witnessed the erosion of our manufacturing sector—the outsourcing of good, middle-class jobs. That didn’t just hurt manufacturing workers. It hurt every one of us. It destroyed whole communities, fractured families, gutted the middle class and hollowed out our economy.

When President Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, it wasn’t one union that was harmed. The message was clear to all of us: “Shut up. We make the rules and you can take them or take a hike. You can’t stand up to us—we’ll knock you down.”

When public employees are attacked because they have pensions and health care benefits, those pensions and benefits—which should be a basic right—are pushed further out of everyone’s reach.

Solidarity has always been essential in our movement—but never more than now. Sisters and brothers in one state will be fighting right-to-work for less proposals; in the next state over, they’ll be fighting for a Made in America law. Building trades workers may face attacks on prevailing wages, while public employees are threatened with layoffs and transportation and manufacturing workers demand green energy jobs in this country. And everywhere, unions will be helping workers organize and grow our movement.

If we only fight our own battles, we’re in danger of winning none. And we certainly won’t demonstrate the leadership America is counting on us for.

And when I say “leadership,” I’m not talking about me, or even your union president. I’m talking about you. As our political program demonstrates year after year, nothing is more powerful in turning co-workers into activists than your face-to-face, heart-to-heart conversations. That’s leadership.

We have so much to do in the coming months and years. And it’s a core of our history, of all we stand for, that the way we win is by winning together.

So hang together. Stand together. Fight together. Lead together.

And no one—no one—can tear us down.

Diamonds are….

not a problem any more? Don’t believe that. The wars go on, financed by diamonds drenched in the blood of those who mine them and their families who are used as ‘examples’ to the miners.

the price of your diamond

Children with missing limbs. Not because they are thieves or unproductive or refuse to work. Children mutilated to show who is boss.

not just the kids

Not just the kids pay the price. Women don’t usually work in the mines so this woman’s husband or son was given a warning…either suspected of theft or just not working hard enough

I have to admit that I went and did some research on a diamond that has caught my eye and would be the only type I’d ever really want. There’s just something about ‘Chocolate Diamonds’ that appeals to me. (Add chocolate to anything and I’m there…we almost bought a car simply because it came in the color ‘chocolate’)

Then I found out that the diamonds labeled chocolate are just brown diamonds and until Levian’s PR firm put a good spin on them, were considered undesirable because of their color. They weren’t worth much, pennies on the dollar compared to the brilliant white, even less when compared to the really rare colors like pink and canary. So brown diamonds weren’t deserving of as severe a punishment.

Until Levian branded them ‘Chocolate’ and created a market for them. And created another market for cruelty.

Please, if you’re thinking of asking for or buying diamonds, look for something else. Your jeweler may tell you that his stones are conflict free but the truth is that he CANNOT guarantee that. He can’t even be sure that the source he bought them from knows where they came from. Until all diamonds are conflict free; until there are no more children growing up without hands, arms or legs; until the people digging the diamonds out of the ground are permitted to live free lives; until then…spend your money on something else.

Yes, you see right

This is about as ugly a theme as I could produce for this time of year. I could have added animated santas and lots of christmas music, but that was too much, even for me.

As much as I dislike the holidays, I dislike the hijacking of the time between thanksgiving and new year’s as somehow being exclusively christian and nobody else better ever have a thing to say about it.

I’d rather have a person say ‘happy holidays’ to me and not assume I belong (or SHOULD belong) to a particular religion. Almost every religion has a major holday in this 6 week, end of the year/solstice period. Berating cashiers for saying anything other than ‘merry christmas’ makes me want to smack that person. Boycotting companies because they include everyone in their sales by using ‘holiday’ instead of ‘christmas’ only shows a disdain and dislike of anyone with a different name for the holiday.

And yes, I use a lower case ‘c’ with the word because if you really put CHRIST in christmas it wouldn’t be in ads for snuggies and chia pets and other junk that will end up on yard sale tables by July 4. It wouldn’t be in ads for ANYTHING other than your church services.

But what is even worse are the companies that cave in to organizations like the American Family Ass. and change their inclusive wording to an exclusive one. I don’t care which wording you use, as long as that choice is truly your own and not dictated by some bully group.

So I guess you’re going to see a lot of entries like this during the next few weeks. But I think it needs saying just as much as my annual “don’t buy diamonds” (coming up soon) post.

Weird furry four-legged things

A while back I wrote about the mousey that caused me to do strange things like jumping up and down and waving my arms and making the dogs look at each other and wonder what the hell this was all about…while the mouse looked at me like he’d like to make friends. Maybe. Anyway, he went to mouse heaven courtesy of a bar of baking chocolate. Turns out chocolate isn’t any better for mousies than it is for dogs. (Although, if I had my ‘druthers, death by chocolate sounds like a fine way to go)

Now we have another 4 legged critter that I THOUGHT was maybe another mousey but I’m just not sure of this one’s provenance. I’ve only seen the hind quarters of it and they are very strange. It is bigger than a mouse but nowhere big enough to be a rat; it’s brown, not the dark grey of field mice…or even the color of pet mice, for that matter; it has a short, stumpy, FURRED tail. (Mice and rats have scaled tails) Oh yes, and the hind feet were furred.

I’ve been researching rodents on google and haven’t found anything that fits yet. I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve got a whole new species here or just a mutant. This one I’d like to capture alive just to see what we’ve got. Little chance of that, though. Anywhere I could set a live trap would be someplace Willie, our terrier mix, could get at it. If that happened, I doubt there’d be enough left to even identify the splat.

Stupid Season

You’ve heard of all kinds of seasons, I’m sure but this one takes the cake. It hasn’t been cold enough for brain freezes but something’s sure happening.

I told you about breaking my toe didn’t I? Little toe, making walking difficult and painful. So I’ve been doing a lot of sitting around rather than getting on the treadmill or doing other exercises sitting down. When I sit I want to eat. I’ve been busting my ass…literally…for almost 2 years just trying to lose -1- fucking pound. And gaining instead. So, these weeks of sitting and gorging have got to have made the scale really unbearable, right? No, I’ve LOST weight. Maybe I’ll try the twinkie diet and see if I can’t lose another 10 or 20.

Being around other people has been hard. I don’t do stupidity well and it’s been rampant. A couple really take the cake, though. Like the woman in line to vote who breathlessly told me, in case I hadn’t heard, that we had to do everything we could to vote out anybody who would support Obama. Seems he’s passed a law (all by his little lonesome self) that makes it illegal for people on Social Security to sell their houses.

Or the one who proclaimed, loudly, that “ALL I WANT IS THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY MEDICARE”. The way things are going she may get her wish and I don’t think she’s going to be very happy about it if she does.

But the ultimate topper (for this month, at least) was the 50-something woman in the wonder bra, barely ass-covering denim skirt and fuck-me shoes (and no, she’s not one of the Hollywood-type 50-somethings that might actually look good in something like that…she looks her age) and a nice shirt that was about a tone lighter than THIS COLOR.

She asked what we thought that color was called and then said what she thought it was. Take a guess. I’ll let you think it over and when I’ve got a couple answers, I put her actual answer in the comments