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Friday, April 28, 2006

On-line and Lovin' It!!!

I'm back on-line with my new computer and new DSL connection. It was rather simple making the switch (not that I actually made the switch; my very kind, loving husband did that) and it all worked with any discernable problems...yet. We haven't gotten everything transferred yet, but...

I'm on-line!!!

So, I'm in a good mood, sue me!

BTW, my new e-mail address, for those of you who might want to contact me, is hazardouspastimes at sbcglobal dot net.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Is a blow job sex?

Well, this will be my last post for an undetermined length of time. Hopefully, that means that I'll be apostin' tomorrow evening, but... Who nows? Switching phone service providers AND installing DSL with our do-in-yourself kit.... There's so many ways this could go wrong, it's not even funny. So, just in case, I'm leaving you with a bunch new posts (see below) and some questions.

Is a blow job sex? Is anal sex sex? How 'bout eating out? Fingering? Jacking? Rubbing? Or the various other methods two people use to get each other off?

These aren't rhetorical questions, nor am I asking them because I don't know what I think the answers are. Perhaps I will get around to explaining myself, but for now please bear with me and tell me what you think.

Oh, and don't e-mail me, because the e-mail that has been posted on this site will not function any longer.

Void Sticker


Somebody's actually doing something that doesn't make me feel snarky.

Joined by senators from the left and right, Oscar-winning actor George Clooney used his star power on Thursday to focus attention on Sudan's Darfur region, where he said the first genocide of this century was taking place.

Almost makes me feel kind of good to know that somebody, somewhere, with more influence than I is giving a damn. But, the sentiment is fleeting, and I'm going to have to ruin it...

The actor, flanked by conservative Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, and liberal Sen. Barack Obama, a Democrat from Illinois, said a young girl asked him during his trip when he would return and "stop this."

When he said it would be soon, the girl replied "that's what you always say."

I'd like to say:

It's about damn, frickin' time!!!

But, instead I have to say...again:

Get off your fat, powerful butts and DO SOMETHING!!!

This isn't a partisan matter. It's not an American matter, pride or otherwise. This is a human matter! Historically speaking, nations watched blandly while the Nazis committed genocide. It wasn't until those same Nazis started to expand that people stood up and took notice of the travesty that was going on right under their feet. You would think that something like that, something so awful and disgusting could never happen again, and yet here we go, hemming and hawwing while people are dying en masse because their religion is different than that of their neighbors. Over and over and over and over again.....

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Gouging, Gasoline and Political Gas

So, I haven't really been covering the gas cost crisis thing, because, well, so many other people have been doing it.

But, that's about to change...

Here the Senate Republicans are trying to solve all our gas woes.

Senate Republicans unveiled a proposal on Thursday to soften the blow of rapidly rising gasoline prices by giving taxpayers a $100 check and suspending a retail fuel tax.

Okay, so it's more like softening the blow, but if you're being hit by a train wreck, and they take off the caboose to "soften the blow," you're still being hit by a train wreck.

Frist calls it a Band-Aid, and yet uses the word "hemorrhage" in the same sentence. Now, I'm not a doctor, I doubt Frist is a doctor, and yet even I know you do NOT use a Band-Aid when you're hemorrhaging, you sew the wound up! We don't need Band-Aids. You know this, I know this, our "representatives" know this. We need to SOLVE THE PROBLEM!!!

What a concept! An actualy, real, honest, long-term solution. Like, um, maybe, working towards ending the necessity of gasoline altogether! But, no, wait, I'm being silly. If we ended America's need for gasoline, that might harm the profit margin of the big oil companies, and we just couldn't have that!

To make matters worse...

The Gas Price Relief and Rebate Act of 2006 was attached late on Wednesday to a controversial bill being debated this week on the Senate floor to provide emergency funds for the war in Iraq.

Okay, I'll admit that the cost of oil (and thus the cost of gasoline) is somewhat related to what's going on in Iraq, but not like this! For once, just once, I'd like to see a bill come out of the legislature that wasn't showing signs of ADD, please!

Which brings me to this...

"Americans are struggling to pay the rising cost of gas, and they are not interested in handouts to help oil companies make more money by letting them drill in wildlife refuges," Reid said, referring to ANWR.

The Dems don't like this idea. Big surprise. I know, I'm shocked too. *Yawn*

However, their plan...

If Democrats want the Senate to consider a plan to tax record oil company profits, they will have to consider the Republican plan too, Frist said.

Has absolutely NOTHING to do with helping the American consumer! It's purpose is to "punish" the oil companies and make Bush look bad. Let me say it again... *Yawn*

Yes, I'm being snarky. But...

To pay for the lost revenues, the legislation would suspend some tax credits and royalty waivers now given to oil companies.

This is the only good thing about this whole mess that I've seen yet. So, I've got to ask... Green energy, anyone? Anyone? Anyone at all?

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Libby Seeks MORE Corruption...

Luckily he failed.

Libby's lawyers had argued that Fitzgerald was given too much power - more than the attorney general - and that the appointment should have been made by the president with the Senate's approval.

All I can is -Doh!-

I mean, really... Did they honestly believe they'd get away with that one!?!

C'mon now, the American people may be gullible (obviously, since we continue to elect corrupt politicians to "represent" us), but we ARE NOT STUPID!!! Who in their right mind would honestly believe that the President should appoint somebody to investigate his own administration?

Luckily, in a small, rare victory for the American populace the judge rejected this absurd claim.

Walton said Thursday he did not need to "look far" in the law to reject the claim by Libby's defense team. The judge said there is no question the attorney general can delegate any of his functions.

Add that to this "courageous" act...

Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft had recused himself from the investigation because of his White House contacts. James Comey, who was deputy attorney general at the time, appointed Fitzgerald, giving him wide berth to conduct the investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters in 2003.

And it's almost seeming like justice might be served. Omigosh! It's a miracle!

Walton said there must be a way to appoint special prosecutors to ensure that "the perception of fairness withstands the scrutiny of the American public" when high-level government officials are investigated for alleged wrongdoing.

Let's just hope that "the perception of fairness" isn't all we're getting. Hopefully, that perception is accurate and genuine...for a change.

Void Sticker

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lost and found...

I have a habit of stumbling across blogs that I like, and then losing them again. Kind of like phone numbers and addresses. I'll get somebody's personal information numerous times before I actually manage to get it some place semi-permanent. So, now that I've found And Another Thing... again, I've saved him a "permanent" place in my links. He currently has a post about us little people that you might want to check out. Besides the conservative-apologetics, it's a good one!

Oh, and I "permanently" added Feminist Mormon Housewives as well.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the quotes...like I trust Blogger enough to think this deal's actually permanent. Hah!

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Getting to know you, I mean me

Welcome to the 2006 edition of getting to know your friends and family better. What you are supposed to do is copy (not forward) this entire email and paste it into a new one. Change all the answers so they apply to you and then send this to a whole bunch of people, including the person who sent it to you. The idea is that you will learn a lot of little things about your friends and family that you probably didn't know.
(Obviously I've chosen not to do this as an e-mail, but...)


1.What time did you get up this morning?
7:35, and very reluctantly
2. Diamonds or pearls?
Pearls, preferably in a bracelet
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
The new Narnia movie that's out.
4. What's your favorite TV show (night time)?
I don't watch television, but I have bought three out five seasons of Alias on DVD.
5. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
A chocolate muffin
6. What's your favorite cuisine?
That's tough... I'd have to go with American-style Middle Eastern cuisine.
7. What foods to you dislike?
Anything cabbage
8. What is your favorite chip flavor?
I don't know about "flavor" per se, but I prefer blue corn tortilla chips.
9. What's your favorite CD at the moment?
I have to go look...Rascal Flatts, "Feels Like Today"
10. What kind of car do you drive?
I have to go look...Ford Windstar
11. Favorite sandwich?
turkey bacon sub, with lettuce, tomatos, black olives and a little mayo
12. What characteristics do you despise?
13. What is your favorite type of clothing?
loose fitting, currently gaucho pants for this season
14. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Well, that's easy...the world. Um, at least the English-speaking portions of it.
15. What color is your bathroom?
Which one? Well, it doesn't matter...messy. The color of my bathrooms is messy.
16. Favorite brand of clothing?
Mossimo, I think
17. Where would you retire to?
My house. I want to keep my house. I like my house. I want to give my house to my kids after I die. Besides, I'm not going to be able to retire!
18. What is your favorite time of the day?
The time where I actually get to sit in my house when it's completely quiet, but that's not during the day.
19. What was your most memorable birthday?
I have a birthday? Are you sure?
20. Where were you born?
Offut Air Force Base, Omaha, NE
21. Favorite sport to watch?
My kids at play.
22. Who do you least expect to send this back to you?
Well, since I decided to blog it instead of e-mail, and I'm not even going to tag anyone, I really don't expect anyone to "send it back to me."
23. Person you expect to send it back first?
24. What fabric detergent do you use?
Color-free Cheer, we've got sensitive skin...all of us.
25. Were you named after anyone?
Two of my uncles, my Mom's brothers, and both my great-grandmas who shared the same name
26. Do you wish/pray on stars?
Not unless one of my kids asks me to
27. When did you last cry?
Hmm. Good question. I think it was when I found out that I wasn't going to get the student aid package that I'd need to go to school...wow, that was a surprisingly short time ago.
28. Do you like your handwriting?
I neither like nor dislike my handwriting.
29. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you?
That depends on how strange this other me would be.
30. Are you a daredevil?
Does that have something to do with chocolate?
31. Do looks matter?
I guess that all depends. Do they matter to me? Not particularly. But, if you come into a job interview looking all skanky or scruffy, then yeah, it's going to matter.
32. How do you release anger?
That depends on what I'm angry about or at. Usually I talk to my husband, or smoke a cigarette, or yell, depending on the circumstance.
33. Where is your second home?
You mean I can have two? Wow! Cool! Oh, it's not an offer? Then, I'd have to say my car is my second home, though I'd prefer not to have to live there thank you very much.
34. What were your favorite toys as a child?
My brother's toys.
35. What class in High School was totally useless?
Spanish. I took three years of Spanish and I still suck.
36. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Sarcasm, me? Yeah right!
37. Favorite movies?
Contact, Gone With the Wind, Never Been Kissed, and A Walk to Remember, yes, I'm a sucker for romance.
38. What are your nicknames?
Steph, Mom, honey, dear, beautiful
39. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
I prefer shoes without laces, but usually I untie the ones that do, except sneakers
40. Do you think that you are strong?
Physically? No. Spiritually? So-so. Mentally? Yes.
41. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Something very chocolatey
42. What are your favorite colors?
purple, blue and wine (dark red)
43. What is your least favorite thing about yourself?
I'm pretty much okay with myself, but if I had to say...my general appearance would be it. I'm twenty-six and I look very matronly most of the time. That seems strange to me. Not bad, but strange.
44. Who do you miss the most?
My brother. I named my youngest son after him, and they have yet to meet.
45. Do you want everyone you send this to, to send it back?
We've covered this whole "sending" thing already.
46. What color pants are you wearing?
blue jeans
47. What are you listening to right now?
The hum of the computer and the squeal of my sole non-sleeping child are each vying for my attention.
48. Last thing you ate?
Chocolate cake, after a taco salad.
49. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
If you're on my blog I bet you could guess...
50. Last person you talked to on the phone?
Angel, my foster sister-in-law (one of my) best friend type person.
51. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Presence, meaning that they are there.
52. Favorite drink?
Dr. Pepper
53. Do you wear contacts?
Nope. I'm stuck with glasses or eye surgery and I've chosen the glasses.
54. Favorite day of the year?
Any day with no poop being smeared in my house.
55. Scary movies or happy endings?
Happy endings
56. Summer or Winter?
Spring or Fall
57. Hugs or kisses?
58. What is your favorite dessert?
Anything with chocolate, lots of chocolate
59. What Book are you reading?
Democracy in America by a guy whose name I can't spell without the book because he's French, but he's dead so I doubt he'll be offended.
60. What's on your mouse pad?
61. What did you watch last night on TV?
I watched a movie (on DVD) called Osama. Not what I expected.
62. Favorite smells?
Wood burning in a fireplace, candles, lack of poop smell
63. Rolling Stones or Beatles?
Did I mention I was twenty-six?
64. What's the furthest you've been from home?
Texas, unless you count those trips to Narnia and other far-off lands I dream up every now and again.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Militarize the Military--Please!

GTL over at the Gun Toting Liberal has been making arguments against privatizing the military since...well, probably before I started visiting there. He's come up with a lot of great arguments. Personally, before he brought it up my opinion was basically "Haliburton sucks!" and I really didn't think beyond that.

But, I'm jumping on the bandwagon to militarize the military, and here's why:

The U.S. military said Tuesday it has issued new orders to private contractors in Iraq to crack down on violations of human trafficking laws involving laborers brought in from around the world to work on American bases and other sites.

An inspection completed in late March uncovered evidence that it was widespread practice among firms providing services to the military to take away their workers' passports to keep them in place, military spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign laborers - many from South Asia - are employed by contractors working in U.S. bases and elsewhere in Iraq as cooks, food servers, janitors, construction workers and other menial jobs.

Human rights groups have reported complaints by some workers that they were tricked into coming into Iraq, paying recruiters in their home countries fees for jobs said to be in the Gulf, then forced to go to Iraq after their passports were taken.

Okay, as if this wasn't icky enough all by itself, think about the effect this has on our soldiers! I mean, if the person preparing your food, and other necessary "domestic" tasks, does NOT want to be THERE, how well do you think they're going to do their job? How is the health of our soldiers going to be effected by a sloppy cook? Or a sloppy janitor?

All I can think is that this is somehow another example of the fictitious "jobs Americans won't do" in the minds of the GOP, because... There is NO way this is GOOD for our SOLDIERS!!!

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Insomnia, Reptilianism, and Mormons

Okay, so "reptilianism" isn't really a word, but I've had a major on-again-off-again lover affair with sleep debt for over a week now, so give me a break. Once again, I cannot sleep. So, after tossing and turning for about an hour (this despite taking sleeping pills that seemingly have nothing to do with actually sleep) I gave up, got up and starting surfing. I found out I'm now a Slithering Reptile, which pleases me to no end for some inane reason. Probably the lack of sleep, since pride (let alone pride over something so NOT pride-worthy) isn't usually a down-fall of mine.

Anyway, the point (and, yes, I do have one despite the incoherent rambling) is that in searching for my blog in the TTLB ecosystem I stumbled across a different blog (one right by my own!) that piqued my interest.

Feminist Mormon Housewives.

Now, ANYONE with any familiarity with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will understand why this jumped out to me. Oxymoron! That's the first word that comes to mind. So, being the curious sort...

I read Lisa's testimony (once again, it's not "my" Lisa, as in Lisa Renee from LiberalCommon Sense, though I am understanding more and more why she uses her middle name too now) and it's not the oxymoron one might think.

Now, maybe that's because I almost agree with her and now plenty of people outside the Church that would agree with her. Or, maybe it's because I'm a convert to the Church and make a much better Latter-Day Sinner than a Saint. Or, maybe it's because I've never been to Utah and the stuff she was talking about are totally outside of my experience within the Church. Or, maybe it's because.... Anyway, I'm sure you get the point. I don't think it's an oxymoron! But, (back to the pride thing I'm glad I'm not so good at) that doesn't mean it isn't and I'm not one to claim that it does mean it's not, if that makes any sense.

My point is (yes, I still have one) that if you're looking for some not-so-light, but intriguing reading that steers clear of the pressing issues of our day, then check this out!

Whew! Now here for some of those Technorati tags that probably helped boost me up to status of reptilianism...

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Guard the Borders Blogburst

I have recently joined the Guard the Borders Blogburst, and this is my first post as a participant. Enjoy!


By Heidi at Euphoric Reality

Facts are a funny thing. They are conveniently forgotten if they don't uphold one's point-of-view, and they're easily overlooked if they are randomly scattered about. But when solid facts are brought together in one place, the pattern is difficult to ignore. The facts I'm about to provide below are just such a case. People may be able to overlook a single fact, but the weight of their significance cannot be denied when they come together in one place. That is the purpose of this week's Blogburst - to look at some hard facts.

I think it's important to study the problems of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas as instructive for the rest of the states. It may be that others can write off the doom of California by saying, "Well, that's just California, a loony state of fruits and nuts - that would never happen here." But while California is tipping head-first into ruin, it is highly indicative of the chain of events the rest of us are blindly bumbling through. Arizona and New Mexico have declared official states of emergency because they are completely unable to handle the burden of the influx of illegals into their communities. Texas is not far behind with mass hospital closings, an overwhelmed and declining school system, and a climbing crime rate. Just because one lives in Idaho or Nebraska or Maine does not mean that it won't happen to you! You're just a few years behind the curve.

The following 10 facts have been pulled from the LA Times. We've posted them all at one time or another at ER or in the Blogburst.

1. L.A. County has 10 million people. 40% of all workers in L.A. County are working for cash and not paying taxes. This is because they are predominantly illegal immigrants, working without a green card.

2. Of the 10 million people in L.A. County, 5.1 million people speak English. 3.9 million speak only Spanish.

3. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.

4. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.

5. Over two-thirds of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by taxpayers.

6. Nearly 25% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.

7. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.

8. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.

9. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

10. 21 radio stations in L.A. are Spanish language only.

We need to look at the experience of California as inevitable for the rest of us - if we don't, we're only burying our heads in the sand and bequeathing that future to our children! After all, if we keep merrily careening down the road to California, we can't be dumbfounded when we actually end up in California, can we?!

Here are a few more facts on a national scale:

1. Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops but 36% are on welfare.

2. Over 70% of the United States annual population growth (and over 90% of California, Florida, and New York) results from immigration.

3. The United States receives more immigrants every year than the rest of the world combined.

4. The cost of immigration to the American taxpayer in 1997 was a NET (after subtracting taxes immigrants pay) $70 BILLION a year [Professor Donald Huddle, Rice University].

5. The lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is a NEGATIVE.

6. 29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens.

The problems of illegal immigration are not solely "border state" problems. They impact everyone. California and Texas are the two biggest economic engines in the United States - and they are teetering on bankruptcy on a catastrophic scale. If they go bust, guess who picks up the pieces? Indiana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, West Virginia, and all the rest. Illegal immigration is not - I repeat, NOT - a border state problem. It's a burden we're all bearing and a risk we're all sharing.

We are way past the point of half-way measures and temporary fixes. As a nation, we must demand a definitive, decisive, no-nonsense solution. We cannot be placated by smarmy speeches from self-interested politicians, or fooled by spin semantics ("it's a guest worker program - not amnesty"), or lulled into apathy by the drone of our everyday lives.

We cannot leave this crisis to our children. Do something! Get out of your comfort zone and get involved. There are bigger issues at stake than the price of lettuce! The time is critical. And it's NOW.


This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we’re going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

How to start a protest...?

Prague Twin and I have been discussing launching a protest against Google and at least some of its affiliates for it's crimes against humanity.

So far we've discussed a possible boycott from Google and company for a day or a week. Meaning, none of the services would be used. Or, (and this is my preference) we'd boycott by not clicking on ANY of their advertisers, possibly until they change their naughty ways.

What do you think?

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Excitement, Anticipation and Longing...

I just found out today that I will be getting DSL hooked up on the 28th, the same day I lose my current inter-net connection! I'm sooooo glad there'll be no lag-time!

I'm also drooling over all things my new computer will be able to do that this one can't. Like play music while on-line without skipping (at least, not as much). Like being able to view all the cool stuff other people tell me about without it taking 20 minutes to watch 30 seconds worth of video. Like being able to talk on the phone and be on-line at the same time. Like my computer not messing up my homework and then sending it anyway.

Ah... Life will be good once the up-grading process is complete. And if I keep telling myself this I'm almost convinced the process will be a smooth one. Almost. But this is my life we're talking about...

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Priorities, please!?!

Here it is.

A Senate measure to fund the war in Iraq would chop money for troops' night vision equipment and new battle vehicles but add $230 million for a tilt-rotor aircraft that has already cost $18 billion and is still facing safety questions.

Does this really seem like a wise choice?

Critics maintain that it's still a curious choice to be funded in a bill whose defining purpose is to replace equipment worn out or destroyed in Iraq.

The Osprey, manufactured by Bell Helicopter, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., has been in development since the 1980s and has cost the government $18 billion so far. It has suffered numerous setbacks over the years, including two crashes in 2000 that killed 23 people.

* * *

Vice President Cheney, as secretary of defense in the first Bush administration, tried to kill the V-22, to no avail. The aircraft is popular with lawmakers, especially those from Pennsylvania and Texas, which host the manufacturing plants.

"They've hijacked the bill to spend money on their toys," said Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group. "You have the V-22, which isn't even ready for fielding and it's getting money in the supplemental."

The V-22 is but one example of the Pentagon and lawmakers using the mammoth bill to skirt limits on the already rapidly growing defense budget.

I'm not trying to tell the Marines what's a good priority and what's not, but c'mon here. This isn't how I want my money spent! How 'bout you?

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

My comments are working again...

For anyone who cares, my comments are working again.

Now for my mantra: Blogger is free. I can afford Blogger. Blogger is free.

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Feingold's at it again...

I'm a sucker for election campaign finance reform. I admit it. That being said, I don't trust Feingold. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

This is what I'm talking about.

Senator Hillary Clinton is all whiny, because with a new law that's to be implemented Nov. 6th, she might not be able to get money the same unethical way as she did in the good ol' days of her husband's Presidency.

The session began with opposing presentations by former Common Cause chief Fred Wertheimer, who backs Feingold in supporting tougher FEC rulings, and Democratic campaign lawyer Bob Bauer.

Sources said Bauer warned senators they could face criminal charges if they seek general political support from an audience that later makes soft-money contributions.

It was also suggested that political events, like former President Bill Clinton's infamous White House coffees for big donors, could theoretically be criminalized under the new law. The coffees were investigated by Congress and the Justice Department, but no charges were filed.

When Feingold protested that interpretations like that were not rational readings of his law, Clinton, who voted for Feingold's bill, hammered him.

Of course, Feingold says that's not the way the law was supposed to work, rationally speaking, which is why I don't trust Feingold. 'Cause, I have to ask... Why the HELL not!?!

Why can't we expect our "representatives" to raise money cleanly and ethically? Why is it too much for us to ask for them to not be swayed by their campaign contributors? Why is it too much to ask for us to have fair elections?

When Feingold dismissed warnings that senators could face legal challenges on unpredictable grounds under the new law, Clinton exploded.

"Russ, live in the real world," a tight-faced Clinton shouted at Feingold, sources said.

"They will be all over you like a June bug," a source quoted Clinton as later saying, in a reference to Republicans and their allies.

"I also live in the real world, senator, and I function quite well in it," Feingold retorted before 20 senators sitting in stunned silence, a source said.

"She clobbered him," the source added.

The former First Lady has been careful to not upstage her colleagues. Even some of the harshest critics of the Clinton administration have conceded she has been charming. Yesterday's outburst appeared to be her first big blowup with a colleague.

Oh, well. So much for the kinder, gentler Hillary.

But, back to the point...

According to the New York Daily News, Russ Feingold is the "the top Democratic backer of campaign finance reform." All I can say, is with advocates like this, we're in trouble. Kind of makes you wonder why Bush would fare better in Wisconsin than Feingold... NOT!!!

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Dominionist vs. Discipline

Okay, so here's why I don't argue too much with the whole "you're just naive" thing. I was exploring one of my new blogrolls (like a kid in a candy store) in yet another fit of manic-seeming sleeplessness (to be repeated again tonight, obviously) and came across something icky (the topic, not the blog):

When Michael Bilodeau couldn't be there to see his 12-year-old daughter stripped and whipped with a belt, he made sure to listen in on a speakerphone from his Coral Springs home, according to police reports.

She deserved it, he told investigators, because she was a liar and 'it is stated in the Bible that it is OK to spank your children,' the reports said.

Shock, awe, disgust, and a big "huh?"

Yes, I'm the kind of person that is truly, genuinely surprised that stuff like this happens. While I logically acknowledge that humans can be very abusive creatures, and are on an all-too-regular basis... She's his own child!!!

I don't understand it. I don't want to understand it. It's just wrong!

That being said, Bob of Graphic Truth handles the topic well and I highly recommend reading his post. Being the ignorant, naive woman that I am, I know I cannot cover the topic of Dominionism with nearly the depth nor understanding that he has done, so I'm not going to try.

However, discipline is something I know, and what these people are doing is NOT discipline. These people claim to be doing this for religious reasons, a claim Bob rightfully disavows.

And he wants her to feel the pain because he's a SADIST. Not because he's a Christian, and not because he gives a flying flap as to the outcome of the "chastening," other than the obvious reflexive terror and compliance with his whims. A Christian would read their Bible and know that is exactly what Jesus Would Not Do.

I applaud him for that and thank him for bringing this rather distasteful topic to my attention. Besides giving me a great feeling of unwashed yuckiness, which I didn't particularly appreciate, but then again it's not hard to do... It gave me the opportunity and impetus to think about discipline.

First off, discipline is supposed to be an act of love. If it's not an act of love (and I do NOT mean an act of sexual gratification), then it's not discipline.

"Spare the rod, spoil the child," people say.

Well, my Bible is an "Authorized King James version with explanatory notes and cross references to the standard works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." And this is what it has to say:
Proverbs 13:24
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chastenenth him betimes.

This verse, like all Biblical verses, are not properly used in a vaccuum.

Proverbs 13:6
Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.

Proverbs 13:9
The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.

Proverbs 13:13
Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

Proverbs 13:15
Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

Proverbs 13:20
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Proverbs 13:21
Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.

13:15 is my favorite. See, it's not just about beating your child to get your way. The goal is righteousness. It's about loving your child and wanting what's best for him or her, trying to teach them wisdom and faith in the Lord. Only a fool would use the Bible to justify abusing their child. And, as the Bible says, "a companion of fools shall be destroyed," whether it be by the laws of man or the laws of God.

While I do believe corporal punish (I highly discourage the use of an actual rod) is sometimes necessary, it should be age- and transgression-appropriate, and should NOT be a first-resort. The first-resort is teaching your children the right thing to do and praising them thoroughly when they follow your instruction. Now, any parent knows this doesn't always happen. However, punishment still isn't your next step. Loving correction, redirection, and more attempts to teach the right thing to do have to come before the chastising side of discipline.

Basically, the Christian religion makes a very poor excuse for child abuse (even when you only use the Old Testament), and that's what Dominionism is, child abuse.

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Now This is What I'm Talking About!

The government did something right! Cheers! Applause! Hoorays and hoorahs!

Okay, so it happens, but it's rare enough for a little celebration.

Authorities raided offices and plants of IFCO Systems in at least nine states, the culmination of a yearlong criminal investigation, law enforcement officials said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested seven current and former IFCO Systems managers on charges they conspired to transport, harbor and encourage illegal workers to reside in the United States for commercial advantage and private financial gain, said Glenn T. Suddaby, the chief federal prosecutor in Albany, N.Y., where some arrests were made.

ICE spokeswoman Jamie Zuieback confirmed an unspecified number of raids and arrests, but declined to provide additional details because the investigation was continuing. One official, speaking on condition of anonymity because numbers were still being tallied, said the arrests were in the hundreds.

This is what we need! We need our government to *omigosh* enforce the laws we already have.

Of course, they did have to go and spoil it for me.

"ICE has no tolerance for corporate officers who harbor illegal aliens for their work force. Today's nationwide enforcement actions show how we will use all our investigative tools to bring these individuals to justice, no matter how large or small their company," said ICE chief Julie Myers.

Excuse me!?! "No tolerance," huh? Since when?

Still, this I like:

She and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff are expected on Thursday to lay out an immigration enforcement strategy that targets employers' disregard for immigration law.

It's about time! Maybe those of us who are actually US citizens aren't so voiceless after all. Yay!

Then again...

In Houston, Jose Rivera, an immigrant from El Salvador, went to one of the company's Houston operations to search for information about his 22-year-old son, an IFCO Systems employee who was arrested Wednesday. Rivera said a brother, who worked at an IFCO operation in Louisiana, also was arrested Wednesday.

"I really feel angry because this is an injustice," he said through a translator. "It's an injustice because one person, who come from another country, why can't you work?"

Because you are here ILLEGALLY!!! Thus, it's illegal for you to work here. Go back to El Salvador and work THERE, where it's legal. PLEASE!!!

Oh, well. It's a start. It's not enough. It won't appease the very pissed off American populace, but it's a start.

UPDATE: The story continues with not only a promise for more of the like, but...

The managers could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each alien involved, as well as forfeitures.

"Just a small fine or a slap on the wrist is not a deterrent," Myers said.

Most of the 1,187 illegal immigrants arrested are being processed for deportation, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Tina Sciocchetti in Albany.

All I can say is, KEEP IT COMING!!!

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Congress Makes for a Great "Union"

Not so long ago I was supporting GTL's suggestion we enlarge our representation, but now I'm having second thoughts.

This article is disturbing!

A lawmaker who retires at 60 after just 12 years in office can count on receiving an immediate pension of $25,000 a year and lifetime benefits that could total more than $800,000.

That doesn't include 401(k) benefits. And any member who lasts five years in office also can get taxpayer-subsidized health care until he or she reaches Medicare age.

Congressional pensions tend to be far more generous than those offered in the private sector. Benefits start earlier and -- unlike most private pension plans promising a fixed monthly payment based on years worked and pay -- come with annual cost-of-living increases. They also accrue a third faster than the average plan offered by private companies.

This isn't even including all they get while they're in office, or all the illegal (or what should be illegal) perks they get. I mean, c'mon!

They are supposed to be serving their country and their fellow Americans, not getting set for life!!!

And this part's just gross!

It doesn't matter what a lawmaker does before or after leaving office. Former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., who was sentenced to eight years and four months in jail after pleading guilty to bribery charges this year, is still entitled to an annual pension of about $36,000 for his 15 years in the House. That doesn't include his military pension or 401(k) benefits.


Yet, these same "representatives" have no problem screwingng over their fellow Americans instead of protecting them, as they took an oath to do.

"I don't think that many people in Congress would be quite so indifferent to the demise of the defined-benefit plan if they didn't have such a robust plan themselves," said James Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, which represents companies with pension plans.

Congress is now working on pension legislation aimed at shoring up the defined-benefit plans available to some 44 million employees and retirees, but there's no stopping the trend of companies shrinking their plans or not letting new hires join them.

Now, the question is why our representatives have such "healthy" benefits packages at the expense of we, the taxpayers? Surprisingly enough, the answer isn't because they just love to screw us over, though I suspect that's part of it.

The retirement plan, it said, "would contribute to independence of thought and action (and be) an inducement for retirement for those of retiring age or with other infirmities."

"Sixty years of results have shown that experiment to be an utter failure," commented Peter Sepp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union. The average age of senators in the current Congress is 60.4 years, the oldest in history, according to the CRS. The average age of House members is 55 years, also probably the oldest ever, the CRS said.

Well, at least one man saw the flaw:

One lawmaker who won't be getting the benefits is Rep. Howard Coble (news, bio, voting record), R-N.C., who since his election in 1984 has declined participation in either the pension or the thrift savings plan and has tried, without success, to eliminate or scale them back.

"He thought taxpayers should not have to subsidize retirement programs for people who run for public office," said his spokesman, Ed McDonald. But he's "given up on trying to reform the system."

Too bad he's given up.

Members of Congress also participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program or FEHB, which covers some 8 million federal workers. The FEHB is lauded as a model for a large-scale comprehensive health care plan, and lawmakers are frequently criticized for failing to come up with a comparable system for the tens of millions of Americans without adequate health care.

The key ingredient of the FEHB, said Robert Moffit, director of health policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, is "the government doesn't force you into some kind of straitjacket."

Hmm. Must be nice.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Flat Tax: Is it better?

After mentioning my new blogroll to d.a.n. of One-Simple-Idea, I started looking into the flat tax idea he recommends on his site.

A tax system based on a very simple 17% Flat Income Tax Percentage Rate, where:
  • only personal income is taxed; corporations pay NO income tax;

  • it is the ONE and ONLY federal tax that may apply to each eligible tax payer;

  • there is NO tax for those with an income less than N times the established poverty level;

  • N is a multiplier determined by the government, that could be higher, but never less than 1.0;

  • the poverty level for 1 person, married couple, family of 1,2,...,8+ dependents will be determined by a government agency, will be recalculated annually, and may vary by state;

  • the same income tax percentage rate applies to all tax payers with an income above N times the established poverty level for that state;

  • starting 01-January of each year, no one starts paying any income tax until their annual income exceeds N times the established poverty level, and only on income above N times the established poverty level ; the total income to date will be maintained by the government (since some people may have multiple sources of income); employers determine tax to be paid (if any) based on the total income to date;

  • there are NO graduated income tax rate percentages;

  • there are NO upper-level income caps;

  • there are NO tax loop-holes;

Well, I like the sound of "NO tax loop-holes," though I find it difficult to imagine. With the Fair Tax there's the obvious loop-hole of black markets, especially if the tax is too high (like 25%, which is currently being pushed), which is why d.a.n. has difficulty supporting it. More back-room deals are, after all, NOT what we need.

Last year about this time, the Economist had a piece on the flat tax that exemplifies that it can work.

The answer is yes: there is indeed an alternative, and experience is proving that it is an eminently realistic one. The experiment started in a small way in 1994, when Estonia became the first country in Europe to introduce a "flat tax" on personal and corporate income. Income is taxed at a single uniform rate of 26%: no schedule of rates, no deductions. The economy has flourished. Others followed: first, Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia's Baltic neighbours; later Russia (with a rate of 13% on personal income), then Slovakia (19% on personal and corporate income). One of Poland's centre-right opposition parties is campaigning for a similar code (with a rate of 15%). So far eight countries have followed Estonia's example (see article). An old idea that for decades elicited the response, "Fine in theory, just not practical in the real world," seems to be working as well in practice as it does on the blackboard.

Not only does this article offer evidence of the flat tax working in the real world, it also offers reasons why it would be advisable for us to embrace the flat tax.

So much for the two main objections. What then are the advantages of being very simple-minded when it comes to tax? Simplicity of course is a boon in its own right. The costs merely of administering a conventionally clotted tax system are outrageous. Estimates for the United States, whose tax regime, despite the best efforts of Congress, is by no means the world's most burdensome, put the costs of compliance, administration and enforcement between 10% and 20% of revenue collected. (That sum, by the way, is equivalent to between one-quarter and one-half of the government's budget deficit.)

Not only do we find errors in even professionally prepared tax forms in our current tax system, but we spend a lot of money on it, too! Think of how much money could be saved by the United States of America if we could cut out all or even most of the IRS out of our budget. Think of how much money we, the citizenry, could save if we didn't have to hire people to figure out our taxes for us. Then, think of how much money the United States of America would save if people weren't cheating on their taxes. The numbers we're talking about here are almost as mind-boggling as our national debt!

In the end, I like how the Economist put it. "The flat-tax idea is big enough and simple enough to be worth taking seriously."

Now, this doesn't mean I don't support the Fair Tax; as I've said many times, just about anything would be better than what we have now.

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo!!!

No! Wait! Come back! It's not what you think!

While exploring my new blogroll I stopped by at this blog and found this gem.

Here's a snippet:

For example, I have finally reached the boiling point on illegal immigration. We are a nation of laws, including those that control how visitors can enter this country, how long they can stay and how they can become permanent citizens. I expect those visitors to obey the same laws that citizens are expected to follow; and I expect my government to enforce the law when those visitors choose to ignore it.

It’s bad enough when the invaders (and that’s what they are) sneak across the border by night, then hide in the undocumented crevices of society. It is quite another thing to then demand, by the light of day, that their lawlessness be excused. Such have been the marches staged across the nation and in my Capitol– thousands of lawbreakers protesting my representatives’ efforts to control our borders and stop the lawlessness.

It angers me when the interlopers so brazenly demand the protection of the same law that they flaunted with their very first steps on American soil. My blood boiled as I watched student illegals skip the classes that you and I paid for to protest that you and I aren’t doing enough. I fumed as I watched illegals, waving the Mexican flag, insist that I “treat them like Americans.”

America is my home. I consider myself a generous and hospitable kind of guy, but you have overstepped your bounds when you break into my house… eat my food and sleep in my bed, and then demand that I “forgive and forget” and treat you like a member of the family.

Why it won't solve everything, Bob Griggs is tired of the protests and wants to fight back. Thus, he proposes “Nothing Mexican on Cinco de Mayo” (which is the 5th of May). Being the boycott sort, I rather like that idea. Wanna join us?

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Fair Tax--I'm a fan!

While I do not support the Fair Tax plan exclusively, I mean just about anything would be better than what we have and if something else is going to pass and this isn't then, well, I'm probably for that too, but...

Okay, so that wasn't really a sentence.

Here's my point. I like the Fair Tax. I think we could go a long way to bettering our nation by supporting that, because:

1) Our tax system is currently convoluted and gross. Not scientific reasoning, I grant, but hey, I'm a laymen.

2) Any tax system that revolutionizes American taxes should take into account the fact that there are some people who are just so genuinely poor that they should not pay taxes. The Fair Tax takes that into account.

3) It's a leveling mechanism of sorts, because it evens the playing field by quite a bit. Basically, those who buy big pay big. Those who are more frugal and/or generous, pay less. We all win.

4) Did I mention that just about anything is better than what we have now?

So, after seeing this new blogroll (I'm really starting to like those things!) on Joey's Wide White blog, I thought, ah, why not?!? Not much of a pitch, but I haven't really explored the blogroll yet and this is a rather impulsive act, so y'all have to just wait until I form something truly brilliant to say about it.

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Monday, April 17, 2006


I took a political test and got results I did not expect:

You are a

Social Moderate
(55% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(28% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

How in the world did that happen?!?

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Quality/Quantity Time

Being Easter weekend and all, I've been spending some quality/quantity time with my family. And for us, that's the way we go. Quality isn't enough; quantity is important, too.

Friday was my day with my husband. My Mom watched the boys for four hours while we did some whine-free shopping. I got my new computer (YAY!!!), but am not setting it up until we lose our dial-up connection (April 27 will be our last day, but we don't know when the DSL will be hooked up), so I don't know how cool it is. Upper-mid range is what the salesman called it. All I know, is it's so current and up-to-date that we had to buy an external floppy disk drive, because this computer doesn't have one. We also bought four dining room chairs to replace the six family heirloom oak chairs that our boys destroyed. They were expensive, so we couldn't get all six or a new table (we're actually hoping to restore the old one if at all possible), but chairs that don't fall apart are nice. Mark filled out two applications and turned them in, though he's worried that his mental health will prevent his employment. On the up-side, he's gotten healthy enough that he can acknowledge that his mental health is a factor and thus he's ready for self-advocacy, which is a huge blessing for us.

Saturday was our kids' day. We had our Easter egg hunt, which was a success by the fact that there is still one egg missing that nobody found and I can't remember where I hid it. :-/ But, the kids had a blast and I'm still finding candy stashed in various unlikely locales. Plus we played a bunch of games, watched a bunch of kids movies we've all seen far too many times (except for Narnia, that's new) and actually got three and a half at-home hair cuts accomplished. Mark even let us trim his beard, so he doesn't have the wild man look anymore, much the better for interviews.

From there things went sort of sour. Saturday night we splurged and had a steak dinner cook-out. But, Mark got sick that night (GERD) and ended up throwing up blood, so Easter dinner was postponed until next weekend, depending on what the doctor says.

All in all, it's been a good, busy week-end and I even got some of my domestic tasks accomplished, like switching from fall/winter clothes to spring/summer clothes.

So...this is what I do when I'm not blogging. Except for the shopping. That's unusual.

Happy Easter to All and to All a Good Night!!!

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Peer Pressure, or...

As y'all may have noticed, I added a new blogroll awhile back. I joined the American Bloggers for Inclusive Debates, and didn't really say much about it. (Though, I have enjoyed visiting some new sites!) After watching two bloggers I debate with elsewhere join and post about it right away, I felt kind of guilty. So, here it is...

The premise is simple. There are many issues of great concern to ALL Americans that need to be addressed by our representatives that often are not addressed at all, because the GOP and the DNC fix the debates so they don't have to address these issues. These same issues are also where the third party and/or independent candidates thrive (that is, they would if they were better able to get their message out). If we open up the debates for all participants, some of whom will not be willing to side step these issues (think H. Ross Perot for those of you old enough to remember the debates in which he participated, which I'm not but that's not the point), then we'd end up with better representation. Okay, so maybe that's not so simple, but I think y'all get the point.

We don't ask much of you. Simply put up the blogroll with the other participants and mention us once in awhile. (NOTE: I'm not in charge of this, just a participant, so I have no say as to whether or not you should be included.) If this sounds like it might be something you're interested in, click here to learn how to join and good luck!

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Kendrick Terrell Jackson

As some of you may have noticed, I have an Amber Alert ticker on my blog. As you may also have noticed, there is a child who has been missing for an extended period of time. In the event that one of you just might have information on this matter that could lead to Kendrick's safe recovery, please take a look. Thank you!

Kendrick is still missing, but he's no longer on the ticker. I fixed the link so it'd actually show his picture again.

Here's some more on his story.
The FBI are involved.

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Response to Feingold

Now, here it is, my response to Senator Feingold:

Dear Senator Feingold,

I recently sent you an e-mail requesting you not support amnesty, and you obviously didn't get the point. By supporting amnesty (the Judiciary Committee bill, in your language), you are DISRESPECTING American citizens and LEGAL immigrants alike. Giving ILLEGAL immigrants (i.e. criminals) a back-door so that they can "earn a path to permanent legal status" (your words) is NOT acceptable. While I do NOT support sending them to American prisons, as that is not where they belong, I DO support sending them back to their countries of origin. By this, I do not mean send the Mexicans back, or send the Hispanics back, I mean send ALL illegal immigrants (i.e. those who came here illegally or stayed here illegally) back to their countries of origin. This is not a racial issue, this is an matter of LEGALITY, of which you should, as a law-maker, have a better understanding.

I agree that securing our borders (Strengthening is not enough, one extra man looking out for illegal immigrants and turning one such away would qualify as "strengthening"; locking our borders up TIGHT is what we need.) is a priority. As you can see from this article, your offers of amnesty are only encouraging the problem.

The shelter's manager, Francisco Loureiro, said he has not seen such a rush of migrants since 1986, when the United States allowed 2.6 million illegal residents to get American citizenship.

This time, the draw is a bill before the U.S. Senate that could legalize some of the 11 million people now illegally in the United States while tightening border security. Migrants are hurrying to cross over in time to qualify for a possible guest-worker program -- and before the journey becomes even harder.

However, you have gravely misjudged some very important points in your assessment of the situation:

In your response to me you said, "It would strengthen border security, which is vital, while also creating a system that allows law-abiding non-citizens to enter the country legally to work when there is truly a need for their labor, and that
deals with the "shadow population" of undocumented immigrants who are already here."

I admit there are "law-abiding non-citizens" in this country. However, these law-abiding non-citizens are DOCUMENTED immigrants who are here legally; the "shadow population" of undocumented immigrants are NOT law-abiding non-citizens. They have BROKEN THE LAW by coming or staying here ILLEGALLY.

You said, "I do not support the immigration reform bill recently passed by the House, H.R. 4437, nor do I support Senator Frist's bill, S. 2454. These bills would criminalize millions of people who are undocumented or who have provided humanitarian assistance to the undocumented."

"These bills would criminalize millions of people who are
undocumented..." you said. Criminalize? Criminalize?!? No, sir! I'm sorry. They criminalized themselves when they came or stayed in this country illegally. We don't need any new laws to criminalize these millions of people; they are already criminals, Mr. Feingold. That is what being an illegal immigrant is all about! And, Mr. Feingold, I have to say that playing the semantics game and calling them "undocumented aliens" doesn't change that fact. They are criminals, due to the fact that they BROKE OUR LAWS!!!

You also said, "In other words, people who come forward and
play by the rules would be able to earn a path to permanent legal

The problem with this is that they've already BROKEN the rules. It's too late for them to "play by the rules," Mr. Feingold. If they were willing to play by the rules, they wouldn't be here. You wish to change the rules, so that perhaps they might be willing to play by them. I have to wonder, why? It's couldn't be out of concern for the American people. The American people want them to play by the rules that are already established. It couldn't out of concern of Wisconsinites (you know, those pesky constituents you're supposed to represent), because they want them to play by the rules that are already established. All I can think, it that you're doing it because law-breaking non-citizens are more important to you that those pesky people you've been elected to represent. If not that, then what? Could it possibly be that you, like your bought-and-paid-for Republican counter-parts, are equally beholden to the businesses that just don't want to let them go?

So, that leads us to this quote: You said, "The Judiciary Committee bill also would create a guest worker program that allows employers in the future to turn to foreign labor, but only when they cannot find American workers to do the job."

Do you know what the problem with this statement is, Mr. Feingold? It's not a complete sentence! You have to say it like this for it to be accurate: "...but only when they cannot find American workers to do the job for the poor wages they're willing to pay." There, that's better! You see, Americans are hard workers and do messy, yucky, laborious jobs all the time! The thing is, they get paid a living wage for doing so. These businesses that complain they can't find American workers to do their jobs are NOT offering a living wage, and that's their real problem. Take away the cheap, illegal labor, and then they'd have to offer a decent wage or close their doors. Yes, prices would go up, but then again Americans could afford it then. See how simple that is?

You said, "We must not create a second class of workers subject to lower wages and fewer workplace protections, which would hurt all workers by driving down wages for everyone."

And all I can say is, "Too late!" You've already done that and the Judiciary Committee bill which you so insistently support would continue to do that. Then again, I bet you realize that more fully than I do. In fact, I'd bet you plan on that! The thing I really couldn't get was, why? Sure, the answer for the Republicans is easy enough; they've sold out to the big businesses who stand to profit from cheap labor. But, what do the Democrats, and yourself especially, stand to gain from insistently lowering the standard of living of American citizens? The only answer I could come up with is it's for votes. Not only are you trying to "steal" the "Hispanic" vote (who, tending towards religious values, really doesn't like the whole abortion thing) away from the Republicans, but you're also securing your future "poverty" votes by ensuring more Americans live in poverty and thus need the assistance that the government so generously provides to Americans and law-breaking non-citizens alike.

In closing, Mr. Feingold, I'd like to say that while I know you genuinely do not care what I think (After all, I've never added anything to your war chest and I no longer believe what you say, but instead pay attention to what you do.), you still have reason to pay attention to what I say. Not only am I one of your constituents who actively participates in the voting process, but I have a voice and I use it. Some of those people who listen to me are some of the same who are still seriously considering voting for you should you make it through the Presidential nomination process. While they do not always agree with me, and often truly disagree with me, they do listen to me and they do respect me and they DO agree with me that amnesty is NOT in the best interests of America and her citizenry. In fact, this letter was written more for them than for you, since I already know you're not going to listen to my voice by itself. You say, "Again, thank you for taking the time to share your views with me. I look forward to hearing from you in the future." But you don't mean it. You know that and I know that. However, you might care a little bit more about those people who might actually vote for you and what they think of this whole amnesty process. I suggest you take a look at my blog (http://hazardouspastimes.blogspot.com/2006/04/response-to-feingold.html) to find out (the links also work there). You might be surprised at how poorly your supporting amnesty for ILLEGAL immigrants goes over.

Stephanie XXXXX

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My Feingold Disclaimer

First, a bit of personal history. When I got my feet wet in politics, I was a Republican sheeple. Having a bit more intelligence at my disposal than the average bear, I out-grew that by debating on WatchBlog and finding out that I was wrong far too often for my comfort when my political information came from Republican talking points. That being the case, I was also a Wisconsinite and Russ Feingold was my Senator. For some inexplicable reason, despite being a Republican sheeple, I was proud of that fact. I mean, the man refused pay raise after pay raise, how cool was that?

Then came the McCain-Feingold thing. Slap Campaign Finance Reform on a bill and they had me hook, line and sinker. I butted heads over that (seemingly) endlessly with a total disregard for the poor, selfish fools who'd actually read the dang thing. If Feingold said it would fix all our ills, then fix all our ills it would.

Then came the 2004 elections and the sense of betrayal set in. I was still being bombarded with television, radio and billboard ads. Our politicians were no less bought-and-paid for. The whole mess was a disaster and my partisan blinders began to crack. What do you mean you can't trust a politician? I was starting to understand. And, yes, I was that naive! I mean, how dare they say they want to serve this country and then proceed to serve us crap?!?

Then, I began to see...

To say the least, I still have not been able to forgive Feingold for that betrayal, so I'm not even going to pretend to be unbiased in this matter. Not that most of you would let me get away with that if I tried. But, Feingold is still my Senator, and thus my government representative and so a girl's got to try, right?

For all the good that does. See below to see what hog-wash he's trying to sell me now. Too bad he's already lost all credibility with me. But, I'm going to take a closer look at that hog-wash, just for the sake of discussion.

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Feingold's Letter

I wrote Feingold, among others, a letter requesting they respect the many American citizens and NOT support amnesty. Here's his reply:

April 12, 2006

Mrs. Stephanie XXXXX

Dear Mrs. XXXXX,

Thank you for contacting me regarding immigration reform. I
appreciate hearing from you.

As you probably know, in March 2006 the Senate Judiciary
Committee, of which I am a member, considered an immigration
reform proposal sponsored by the Chairman of the Committee,
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). The Committee considered the bill
over several days, and ultimately reported an amended version of
the Chairman's mark to the full Senate by a vote of 12-6 on March
27, 2006. I voted in favor of the bill.

On March 29, 2006, the Senate began consideration of S. 2454, an
immigration bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
(R-TN). During the Senate's consideration of S. 2454, Senator
Specter offered the Judiciary Committee bill as a complete
substitute amendment to replace Senator Frist's bill.
Unfortunately, efforts to end debate and bring this amendment to a
final vote were defeated by a vote of 39-60. Efforts to limit debate
on Senator Frist's bill also were defeated, by a vote of 36-62. It is
unclear at this time when the Senate will resume consideration of
either immigration reform proposal.

I support the bill that was reported to the full Senate by the
Judiciary Committee because it is a pragmatic, comprehensive
to our country's immigration problems.
It would
strengthen border security, which is vital, while also creating a
system that allows law-abiding non-citizens to enter the country
legally to work when there is truly a need for their labor
, and that
deals with the "shadow population" of undocumented immigrants
who are already here

The Judiciary Committee bill, as well as a separate proposal
sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Edward Kennedy
(D-MA) known as the Secure America and Orderly Immigration
Act (S. 1033), would allow undocumented aliens to earn legalized
, but only if they could show work history, satisfy
background checks, pay fines, fulfill English language and civics
requirements, and wait at the back of the line in order to obtain
permanent status. In other words, people who come forward and
play by the rules would be able to earn a path to permanent legal

The Judiciary Committee bill also would create a guest worker
program that allows employers in the future to turn to foreign
, but only when they cannot find American workers to do the
job. This approach would recognize that American businesses
need access to foreign workers for jobs they cannot fill with
American workers
, and help to avoid a future flow of
undocumented workers. This new guest worker program also
would include strong labor protections to ensure that foreign labor
does not adversely affect wages and working conditions for U.S.
workers. We must not create a second class of workers subject to
lower wages and fewer workplace protections, which would hurt
all workers by driving down wages for everyone.

I do not support the immigration reform bill recently passed by the
House, H.R. 4437, nor do I support Senator Frist's bill, S. 2454.
These bills would criminalize millions of people who are
or who have provided humanitarian assistance to
the undocumented. They do not contain the important reforms to
our immigration system that are in the Judiciary Committee bill,
which would bring illegal aliens out of the shadows and ensure that
our government knows who is entering this country for legitimate

The Judiciary Committee bill is not perfect, and it contains some
provisions that concern me. But overall it is a strong piece of
legislation, and I hope that ultimately, the Senate will pass the bill
reported by the Judiciary Committee or a similar comprehensive

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your views with me.
I look forward to hearing from you in the future.


Russell D. Feingold
United States Senator

I've added emphasis (obviously) and X'ed out my personal information. Other than that, I've left it as it is, refraining from sarcastic commentary. It wasn't an easy choice. Take it for what you will, one thing I can certainly say for good ol' Russ is that his words speak for themselves. My response will be forth-coming shortly.

Void Sticker

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Panic, Chaos and Disarray

Today has been an interesting day. First, my husband put into action our plan to change service providers. Our phone service, both local and long distance, is being changed as well as our Internet connection, which is going to be up-graded from dial-up to DSL. For some reason, paired with all the other stress I've been under lately, this created a lengthy moment of panic for me. After all, I haven't been able to blog regularly, which is bad enough, but to lose my Internet connection as well...

My e-mail address is going to change, but I don't know when. I have to devise a way to transfer all the necessary files from my current address to a temporary address, then over to a permanent address. I have to contact the various people and/or organizations that use my current e-mail address in order to keep track of me, and tell them I will have a new address but do not, as of yet, have one. This, btw, includes almost all of my student stuff, so that's going to get messy. Since I won't know what my new address will be until my old one is no longer accessible...

And that's just the start. While I was still sitting at my computer and reeling from the enormous "I didn't think of that..." blow, I heard a big CRACK! and several gasps of dismay. Knowing that two of my children and one of their therapists were out in the backyard, I rushed outside. Hand to my mouth, eyes wide with disbelief, refusing the acknowledge what I saw and yet seeing it all the same, I looked upon my children's swing-set, built just last summer. All three people, the truly important facet of the equation, were milling around looking very guilty, but not injured. The swing, the airplane (baby swing) and the glider were all dangerously askew. One length of the monkey bars was on the ground, while the other half had a few rods dangling off of it. A gigantic crack had split the piece of wood supporting the swings and half the monkey bars completely in half. I covered my face and waved away the apologies. All I could think was, "There's no way I can fix that!"

Then, time passed. The therapy session ended, with us repeatedly telling said therapist that it was NOT her fault, she was in no way liable and NO! she didn't have to pay for it. The boys were still out of sorts, and frankly so was I, so my husband figured a movie was in order. He put the DVD in the DVD player and all we got was a nice long, bright line. The tube in the TV had finally gone out. It was to be expected. The TV had already out-lived it's planned obsolescence. But, today?

That was the most easily resolved aspect of the whole affair. We simply went out and bought another TV, on credit of course. Though it did take some searching to find one that had a flat enough top to put the DVD/VCR player on, but we managed. It's just....just...

Oh, well. After all, tomorrow is another day...

Void Sticker

Friday, April 07, 2006

Entertaining Movies?

I've been sick (again or still, take your pick) and I've been trying to fulfill some of my VOID responsibilities, so I've not been posting like I should. So, instead, I'm going to ask something of y'all.

One of the ways my husband and I (and our boys) like to amuse ourselves is through watching movies. However, our recent picks have been rather disappointing. If they haven't been overly predictable (Powder, Zathura, Return to Snowy River), then they've been uninteresting (The Skeleton Key). The only recent exceptions have been The Notebook (which was predictable, but still worth watching and possibly owning) and Serenity (which wasn't too predictable, but I don't want to go out and buy it either).

So, how about it? Have you seen any good movies lately? An all-time-favorite would work, too!

Void Sticker

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Vote, Voting and the Drive to Stay Informed

Today is election day, at least here in Wisconsin. As is my usual, I've been urging those around me to vote. And, as is my usual, I've been getting a lot of the same responses, "I don't like voting when I don't know anything about the candidates." A good sentiment, certainly, but with the wrong solution. Not voting isn't the answer here, folks, becoming informed is the answer. I know, I know, "If only it were that simple..."

Usually, when faced with a national election there is a plethora of information about any given candidate. Sure, you have to separate the wheat from the chaff, the fact from the fiction, but the internet has made that easier than ever. With local elections the story's a bit different. Often there just isn't any easily accessible information, so when you find a few precious nuggets, you often have to take them for what they are irregardless of their bias.

In preparation for the up-coming elections, The Janesville Gazette put out a Voters' Guide of sorts for the local area. For a lot of people this is the only source of news they may get concerning the elections. Even for myself, it was the bulk of it. Now, this is problematic for an obvious reason. The Janesville Gazette is run and written by human beings, which means truth is not always what you get. Sometimes you get bias, and when it comes to being informed in time for electing your representative within any government arena, bias is a BIG problem.

While I couldn't find a link for the Voters' Guide (which, unfortunately, doesn't surprise me in the least), I can tell you about the two biggest bits of bias I noticed. The first was in regards to the challengers for the seat of Rock County Judge. It's a language issue there. It's obvious that Folts is their man (and I admit I'm leaning that way too, but that's hardly the point), because when Folts says something that's not quite accurate they just tell the other side of it; when Welker says something equally inaccurate, they make sure to get in a "The charge is untrue..."

Hmm. Bias anyone?

Again, with the matter of Andreah Briarmoon, they make it blatantly obvious they dislike her and don't want her to get elected onto the City Council. Frankly, I agree with them. She's an alarmist who thinks our city is run as some sort of totalitarian government. She consistently equates our city police with militant enforcers of the will of the city administrator. This is, of course, ridiculous, imo, but I expect my news source to be able to report this factually without the dripping scorn, so that each individual resident can make their own decisions about Andreah Briarmoon and her flights of fancy.

(Remember, I am NOT a journalist, nor do I pretend to be one, but we'll go more into that, well, right now.)

The real reason this gets me, I guess, is that in the same paper there was this opinion piece by Molly Ivins.

Here's some high-lights:

But while Wall Street doesn't care, nor do many of the people who own and run newspapers, newspapers do, in fact, matter beyond producing profit -- they have a critical role in democracy. It's called a well-informed citizenry.
--emphasis added

Hmm. Well-informed citizenry, huh? I agree that's important, but how exactly are papers making that happen when they can't keep their own bias out of their Voters' Guides?

Then there's this:

Television, radio and newspapers are all cutting staff, while the bloggers of the Internet either do not have the size or the interest to go out and gather news. Bloggers are not news-gatherers, but opinion-mongers. I have long argued that no one should be allowed to write opinion without spending years as a reporter -- nothing like interviewing all four eyewitnesses to an automobile accident and then trying to write an accurate account of what happened.
--emphasis added

Okay, breaking this down...

First, I have to take offense at the whole "bloggers are not news-gathers" thing. Some bloggers aren't. I, for one, am not a news-gatherer, nor a reporter, journalist or any other stripe of that lot. Nor do I claim to be! However, my friend and fellow blogger, Michael Brooks of Historymike's Musings is a journalist who goes out gathering news, taking pictures, and then posting it on his blog (as well as in actual newspapers). On behalf of Mike (and his fellow news-gathering bloggers), I am offended and disgusted with her ignorance (or assumed ignorance) of the facts. Tsk, tsk. A reporter (dripping scorn fully intentional) should know better.

She doesn't stop there, though. No, she has to push it a little bit further. "...no one should be allowed to write opinion without spending years as a reporter..."

Excuse me!?! First, it's obvious that spending years as a reporter hasn't given her any advantage in actually finding the facts. That's consistently obvious in the many opinion pieces of hers I've read. Second, since when was the freedom of the press limited to reporters!?!

Molly Ivins says, "We are in trouble." She concludes this because newspapers no longer have a strangle-hold on the news. She thinks this is a bad thing. If I could, I'd be laughing in her face about now. Apparently, Ivins thinks having access to a lot of people's opinions is bad for democracy. Apparently, Ivins thinks having access to reporters who aren't neck deep in newspaper politics (the kind within the organization itself) is bad for democracy. I, for one, don't give a damn what Molly Ivins thinks and am offended as hell that she'd dare suggest that my right to express my opinion should be limited to my ability/interest in being a member in her elitist club!

So, in conclusion, I must say, "Go out and vote!" It is, imo, the responsibility of every American citizen to be an informed voter. It isn't easy, but who ever said democracy is easy? Just don't be duped by the many reporters out there that cannot report facts without inserting their bias and be sure that if you choose to get your news from the many dedicated bloggers out there that you don't rely too heavily on any one set of us to make that happen. I have never been more "well-informed" in my life than I have been as a blogger, but I accomplish that by including a wide variety of blogs in my perusing. Unfortunately, I'm still way too reliant on reporters to inform me about local politics. Alas, I'm going to have to find a way to fix that!

Blog on!

Void Sticker

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Help, Please!

I've recently decided to go back to college. Strangely enough, I intend to get a Bachelor degree in Business Administration with a Concentration in Business Management. After contacting the Herzing College (chosen for their on-line classes) and starting the admissions process I was very encouraged and excited. My Admissions Advisor even went so far as to say that I had scored the highest on a certain admissions test of all the future students with which he's worked. That was a definite boost to my lackluster self-esteem. After all, that's not bad for someone who's (primarily) been a stay-at-home for the last eight years and often has to seek intellectual discourse through blogging.

On Herzing's website, and in their literature, they made it sound so easy. With the exception of some rather minor bits of paperwork, they were going to do all the leg-work for getting the funding necessary for this to happen. Basically, financial aid was my biggest concern, and they told me not to worry about it.

Well, now I'm worried about it. I got the financial aid package they were offering me yesterday (the paperwork, not the money) and found that there would be approximately $1,000 left over after tuition per semester. This for someone who's EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is nil, zip, zero. That's, as they wrote it, 0000. I was told (not by Herzing) that my financial aid package there would be included costs related to living expenses. I was told this by several people. I was able to confirm it on the government's site.

What is a cost of attendance?
If you're attending at least half time, your cost of attendance is the sum of
- your actual tuition and fees (or the school's average tuition and fees)
- the cost of room and board (or living expenses for students who do not contract with the school for room and board)
- the cost of books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and miscellaneous expenses (including a reasonable amount for the documented cost of a personal computer)
- an allowance for dependent care
- costs related to a disability
- reasonable costs for eligible study-abroad programs.
Costs unrelated to the completion of a student's course of study are not included in calculating that student's cost of attendance.
--emphasis added

Those in bold are all the expenses that the $1,000 per semester is supposed to cover. I'm sorry, but that's simply not going to work. I'm not going to go into all the details, but I can't work and go to college. Nor is my husband currently able to work right now (it's a matter of ability NOT willingness, and that's all I'm going to say on the matter, so don't ask). So, if I'm going back to college they're going to have to do better than this.

And, this is where the plea for help comes in. I have not yet been able to speak to my Financial Advisor from Herzing College, which is the only advice I've gotten so far. And, frankly, I want something a little more encouraging than that. So if any of y'all know something that can help me solve this little dilemma, I'd very much appreciate it.

Void Sticker

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tearing Down Walls

Today (meaning Friday...I'm still awake, so the day hasn't changed over yet, at least not in my little world) I had a visit from a dear friend. This friend is a special sort, because she actually gets paid to come and talk to me! As our Autism Service Coordinator she works very closely with our family to help meet the needs of our children, which is why she came over. Today, I think she probably met some of my own needs a little more.

There's very few people in my life that I can successfully use (and I mean that in a good way) as a sounding board. Usually, I end up being the sounding board for others and when it comes to my problems...

*moment of respectful silence*

Yeah, that pretty much covers it.

So, having a friend like this who is not only knowledgeable about the issues I face on a daily basis, but is also well-connected is a real boon. She's also in a position to meet parents who do not necessarily handle their circumstances well, so when I say something off the cuff that doesn't sound right she's not fazed. She doesn't jump to conclusions. She lets me talk and work my way through it.

So, when I told her that I wasn't "okay" with mental retardation being applied to my boys, she took it for what it was worth and she let me talk it out. I appreciated that very much, because I hadn't yet gotten past my initial reaction and I needed something to loosen up the rocks in my head. See, I wasn't okay with me not being okay with a diagnosis of mental retardation (which my son hasn't yet received, but it is a possibility), because I didn't understand that aspect of myself. I didn't know why I wasn't okay with it. And I wasn't willing to delve too deeply into my own psyche yet. Not so much out of fear of what I'd find, but out of fear I'd misjudge myself.

This meeting, this conversation proved to be the catalyst for solving that mystery. I found that as I talked to my friend, it wasn't that I wasn't okay with mental retardation itself. It wasn't that somehow I'd think less of my son if he were to be found mentally retarded. It's that, in growing up, a wall had been built in mind. It is a wall that I know others have built up in their mind and that society has built up collectively.

This wall is not so much one of prejudice, but one of misunderstanding that leads to severely low expectations. I couldn't imagine my son being mentally retarded, I couldn't wrap my mind around that, because I falsely saw mental retardation as a closed and locked door on his potential. It wasn't that I wasn't okay with mental retardation; it was that I wasn't okay with this false sense of limitation that I assumed went along with mental retardation.

I'm a stubborn person, and this can often work much to my disadvantage. However, it's also an advantage when you have people telling you something that you are not willing to believe. When my son's (Willy's) doctor told us there really wasn't any hope for him to have a successful, productive life and we should just institutionalize him so we could get on with our own lives, I very stubbornly rejected this doctor's prognosis (with the full support of my husband) and we went on to prove him wrong.

This time it's somewhat different, however, because it wasn't the doctors who were putting arbitrary limits on my child. It was me. Almost. Except, I'd rejected the possibility of a certain diagnosis, because I was not willing to put such limits on my child. I'd even gone so far as to consider pushing for a diagnosis that might not be accurate, because I could deal with it better. After all, I know autism. I can handle autism. I couldn't handle even the possibility of mental retardation, but for the wrong reason.

In the end, it's not the possibility of mental retardation that I have to eliminate from my world view; it's the walls I have built up in my brain that limits the potential of those who are mentally retarded that must be eliminated. Walls can be torn down. They can be moved, much like a mountain, and reformed into something beautiful...like stairs that reach to the height of my sons' dreams.