Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Honest work at the polls.

The first time I worked for the county at the polls was over thirty years ago when I worked for a credit union. My boss was a Republican. The year Carter was running for President, he signed me up to work the polls as the Republican representative. I worked and never spilled the beans that I was really a Democrat. I wore a small gold peanut under my jacket lapel so I knew it was there but it wasn't visible.

I was going through my calendar today and see that I've agreed to be "trained" as a poll worker the 20th of the month. Have any of you ever worked at the polls? I highly recommend it. The job is clerical and any literate person can do it. You don't have to stand on your feet much and you get paid. In my county the county clerk pays $125.

I particularly like it when a young person comes in and it's the first time they have voted. Last election I worked in the fall of 2008, a man of at least 80 came in and stated that was the first time he'd voted. I was in awe. I don't get why people don't vote. I had a school friend killed in Vietnam. I had other friends who were treated badly when they returned from that war. I vote in their memory.

I am a registered Democrat. There is an equal number of each party working that day. This is to keep any hanky panky from happening. If all the workers were one party it is theorized that thae party would "fix" the vote in their favor. This has never happened when I worked and it's not been reported to have happened in any election in my county since I've lived here. So, the system works.

Reggie reminds me that some years past a car would be parked near the polls and as voters came out after voting they would be handed a half pink of whiskey if they said they voted for the favored candidate. I'm not sure how they knew they voted for them, but I suppose if they didn't carry the election at that poll, it would be obvious. As far as I know this doesn't happen here.

For some reason it is difficult to get Republicans to work at the polls. Every year there are public service announcements on the television local news, recruiting workers and it's always mentioned that in particular they need Republicans. Maybe someone can explain why this is. All the Republicans I've worked with seem to be good people. Other than some polite debate there isn't any arguing about anything.

The Easter week has been quiet. My birthday also happens to be this week, but I'm not planning anything special for it. Last Saturday my very best girlfriend Anne, who lives out of town but who grew up in a house in sight of mine, threw me a surprise party. In my entire life I've never had a birthday party let alone a surprise one. She worked in cahoots with other friends and I walked right into it as an innocent. It sure was fun though. I've got the pink balloons and a mass of daffodils to show for it.

I love flowers. In the spring Daffodils are my favorite. Otherwise I adore stargazer lilies. In Kentucky and southern Indiana where I grew up, you will find fields of daffodils. If you inquire you usually find out there used to be a farm house there. I imagine a farm wife setting out bulbs a hundred years ago. This flower makes new bulbs under ground. If you don't control them, they will move across the field as a herd of sheep grazing.

Anne filled four vases with daffodils. She got most of them from a pasture across the road from where her daughter lives in the county where I grew up.

My opinion on flowers is give them to your friends and family now. Don't send them when they die. Imagine receiving a bouquet of wild flowers wrapped in damp newsprint held out to you by someone you love. Magic!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sitting in chairs quietly.

The Kentucky State Legislature spent the past week end working on the new budget. This was announced in an hysterical voice meant to indicate "we are working really hard for ya'all up here in Frankfort." What I find astonishing is this group of elected officials can somehow find the time to debate and pass a bill allowing the Bible to be taught as literature in the public schools but cannot do the job of passing and keeping a budget balanced.  It has already been announced that millions are to be cut out of the budget from public education. Perhaps if these elected officials were to work more quickly we could save the approximate $70,000 we spend each day the Legislature is in session.

You may recall my mention that our Attorney General stated he was not going to waste the taxpayers' money to sue the federal government over the health insurance purchase mandate. A herd of Kentucky legislators wrote a letter to him strongly urging him to join the suit. If he had done this he'd be spending money we don't have even after the cuts to education.

We Kentuckians are often disappointed to learn our state is near the bottom in things like education but not the absolute bottom. Usually Mississippi or Arkansas is sitting on the bottom. Today it was announced that Indiana is joining the aforementioned suit. Oh well, thank goodness for Indiana!

In case you may have missed it Donald Trump hates Rosie O'Donnell. He is reported to recently say he hopes her newly announced show will fail, just as all her other shows have. In the book, "Who's Who in America" the description of Donald Trump is "well known sore ass." Rosie can be a little wound up about conspiracy theories, but she's smart and funny and speaks up. Nothing she does will cost Donald a dollar so he should just be quiet.

A poem about spending time in rooms in chairs:

The adults are captured and sit on
Chairs lining the walls in the large room.
They entered willingly, sit quietly, and
Seldom talk to anyone but clerks.

Men come alone or with the wife.
Women come with their sister or
More usually their daughter or niece.
Sons don't bring in the elderly parent.

This is an observational study on my
Part, as I am always alone myself at
These morning appointments where
My body but not my soul is examined.

As I am captured here with the others,
My mind wanders to a life where I have
Children and at least one daughter with
Whom I would be talking, while waiting.

March 29, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Green Eyed Woman

Two days after surgery on my eye, I'm in possession of a dilated pupil and a blood red eye. Reggie took a picture with his phone while I was at the eye doctor's yesterday. It looks a little better today but it's still red!
In my entire life I've never had surgery where they "put me to sleep". Five years ago there was the removal of two cataracts but I was awake. Over all it was reasonably pleasant. I'm glad it's over and I hope my vision becomes clear. From talking with the doctor it seems I'll need to not only go back this Monday, but every three months for a year.

I'm happy at the news that our Attorney General here in Kentucky is not tagging along with a few other AG's and filing suit against the federal government, trying to keep the health insurance purchase mandate from taking effect. He said that although he personally was in favor of Health Care Reform, the problem he had with the suit was it was based on bad law, the suit was a political stunt and he wasn't wasting the taxpayer's money to get involved. I applaud the man. He's running for the Senate seat vacated by that idiot Jim Bunning. You will remember he was a baseball player, longtime senator and author of the histrionics last month when he held up legislation extending unemployment insurance.

A friend sent me a news item about the lone male prostitute in the state of Nevada having quit. He said he only had 10 patrons and those were the female prostitutes in the same brothel. The owners of the facility state they plan on hiring a new male prostitute as soon as possible. Whew! I've always felt that if it is usual for men to be able to walk into houses of ill repute and purchase the services of a woman for sex, the opposite should be possible for women. The reasons given for a man to obtain sex with a professional is he likes variety and sometimes he just doesn't want to have to put up with a relationship with one woman. Hey, you pay for sex one way or another anyway, so why not make it an honest transaction. From my personal experience with men and sex those reasons are good enough for me!

Until this is possible for women I say we are not truly equal. SMILE

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Recken They're Leaving.

Last night several of my friends and I were glued to our computer screens tuned into C-Span [I don't have fancy cable to watch it on TV]. I had been watching all day while I did other things and sat down after supper with a pot of tea, abandoning all Sunday night network TV. It was a wonderful thing to watch. When those GOP guys shouted out and acted like drunken sailors, it was only better. I enjoy seeing who is and is not working for the people who elected them.

It is interesting to me how when the GOP was in power the last eight years and used every sneaky method to get the tax cuts for the rich, the big pharma bill [which was not funded and added to the deficit], the starting of a war, there wasn't any near riots on the streets, racist shouting, and uproar in the house by the liberals.

I stayed up long enough to watch President Barack Obama speak, as well as Congressman John D. Dingell. What a guy Rep. Dingell is and what a history. Some corporate thug fires his father because he was working to get a union in his plant in Michigan. He ends up going to California to recoup from TB. After that his dad becomes a Congressman and begins working for health care for all. Then his son Rep. John D. Dingell grows up to continue his dad's fight for health care for all. There he was when health care reform gets passed.

This is testimony that when you know something is right, you never give up.

There are YouTube videos of the group haranguing Congressmen going into the house over the week end. There were several break ins at Democrat representatives and party offices. I was told by my sister, who does not agree with me on this issue, that there's as much hate speech and hate deeds done by my side. I have yet to see it. I know if I saw some guy telling a disabled man he should "work for his health care," I would have taken the guy aside and taught him the realities of life's insecurities.

Oh, by the way all those Rush acolytes who will soon be moving south to Costa Rica, please be sure to have your passports ready.  They are required at our border leaving or coming back.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Warm Rain

I live in Louisville Kentucky, out on the edge of the older part of the city in a place called the Highlands. Unless you are on a high floor of a tall building you would never know how high the Highlands really are. There are no up and down hills. With everything built up, it seems you are on flat ground of about the same elevation as the nearby city center.

I have been writing on other things today while watching the Health Care Reform Bill debate in the House of Representatives in Washington. People who oppose the reform are cat calling at people in favor of the reform. All the ugliness of bigotry is shouted when a Representative walks near the crowd. Although no one in the hate filled group will ever admit it, I know they have friends and family who have suffered because of the greed of health insurance companies. If there is coverage for the poor and the middle class, I know there are people in the crowd today who cannot imagine not being insured, who will only get health care in their later life because of this reform.

I have friends who are against this bill. They have insurance because they have jobs or were retired from jobs where the large corporation or the government has a great health care plan. One of my friends in a discussion this past week told me she was happy about her current health care. She was treated for breast cancer. Her husband has chronic illness and has been in treatment for it for decades. The only thing that worries them is the eventual cap on coverage. I told her that the current plan for reform requires insurance companies to pay out 80% of premiums collected for all those on the plan and there will be no caps for covered people.

Another friend had to take bankruptcy because she was uninsured after a divorce. Her illness was not chronic. She prays she will get insurance with this reform because she can't take bankruptcy again so soon.

My belief about health insurance is there should be no profit making insurance carriers. The best way to handle this is a single payer plan. Everyone should pay health insurance premiums.

I wrote this poem this evening:
Rain falls in the evening, and a long
Smear wets the glass of a window.
Though it is nighttime here I see
Across the yard a reflection
In the light from inside the house.

Stepping outside I feel warm air and
The dampness of the night is more
Than refreshing as I breathe in the
Scent of growing green spreading
Across the field into the distance.

Though rain will continue tomorrow and
Snow will dust the green the day after,
Spring has arrived to the Bluegrass and
There are reports of hat making class and
Horses train again for the Derby.

March 21, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

He made his stand on the stand

A man in Louisville Kentucky took the stand yesterday to speak about the murder of his wife. She had left him several times and had done so again, living nearby with relatives. She came back to their home to get some of her personal property when she was assured he was not there. He was at home and they argued. He went through the entire argument on the stand and said, "She told me she was going to get a lawyer and was going to take half of everything I owned."

"I don't know what was happening all I know is I shot her and kept pulling the trigger." At the utterance of this sentence he began crying.

The man was eventually removed out of his home and arrested after a several hour standoff with police.

Two days before he killed his wife, she asked a judge to give her an order of protection. The video of her begging for this is so sad to watch. The judge did not grant the order.

This man's adult children testified for the prosecution.

Today a mental health professional is going to testify to his mental state at the time of the crime. The man is said to have had anger issues most of his life.

I say he is insane if he thinks that testimony yesterday is going to get him off. The fact that he thinks "I shot her and kept pulling the trigger" as a defense proves the arrogance of this man was on full display.

The thing I don't get with this kind of thing is, how is communal property "his"?

As ineffective an order of protection can sometimes be, a judge not granting one is amazingly naive.

If convicted, the man will most probably get a life sentence. He is 66 years old.

I would guess that his property will be sold for legal fees, as he has the best paid legal defense attorney in the county.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The unknown cost.

I went over to the outpatient department of Audubon Hospital this morning. I'm having eye surgerey next week.  Today, my appointment was "some time between 7 and 10 a.m." I was told I should arrive at least 30 minutes before 7 if I was trying for that time. No coffee or yogurt or anything. I imagined the scent of a toasting bagel and coffee as I left. It was dark but standing by the truck the sky was aglow with the lights in the city.

Arriving at the hospital about 6:30 a.m., I found the door to the "West Entrance", though no one mentioned that was the door I should use.
The waiting room was empty except for a man and woman sitting. I signed the sheet and sat down. The man was having surgery today, though he had not had lab work, as I was getting, and they said they'd have to do some labs first.
A young woman with long blond hair, called my name and I followed her across the hall and into a room in the back. Her name was Elizabeth and she is an RN. She lives in Oldham County and when she mentioned that I said, "You have two hospitals out that way don't you?" She said that was right and they would have another soon as well as another for children. I said, "Building hospitals and closing schools, huh?" She agreed.
They had a recliner for me to sit in and she asked me about two hundred questions. After that we went to another room in the same sequence of rooms and there was another recliner. She asked me to strip to the waist and put on the gown provided. I did. She returned and told me to sit in the recliner and she put up the foot rest as I leaned back.
Stickers were placed all over my front, alligator clips were attached and an EKG was run. Then blood pressure was checked and four tubes of blood collected. That was it. She told me I was free to go and the results would be sent to my doctor. I redressed and left.
It was still dark and about 7:40 a.m. I got in the truck and drove away back by the post office box. Gas had been $ 2.71 when I came by the Kroger station near home and all other stations were either $2.61 or $2.59. I stopped and bought fifteen gallons of gas.
This whole thing will be repeated next Wednesday when I'm expected at the outpatient surgery center at 6 a.m. I can't wait to hear Reginald's reaction to that early hour. I may take a cab and let him come later to collect me. I have a friend who is a cab driver, so that whole thing can be arranged.
Oh, and I asked the woman who checked me in for the lab work, what the cost of this was going to be. She actually looked shocked that I asked. Her answer was she didn't know. No, she didn't know who knew.
I said, "You know I've been in business a long time and I cannot imagine that I'd get much work if I couldn't tell a client what the cost would be for work they wanted."
"Well even if they know the procedure, there's no way to know if there will be extra charges because of something that happens which we don't anticipate."
I said, "I know but isn't there a basic price list?" No there wasn't. I asked her for the phone number of the business office. It took her about 5 minutes to find that but I have a number I can call and ask. I'll bet there will be a similar song and dance.
Healthcare, the only business that provides a service for which no defined price is known prior to the beginning of the service.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Madness all the time.

The onslaught of March Madness has begun. My reaction is "YAWN". It's worse than the months before an election; constant broadcast and newspaper publication on a single subject!

I may stop listening to news and throwing away the sports section of the newspaper until the first of April.
High schools and universities should be about education. I don't have a dog in this fight because we never had children, but my taxes go to support the schools like everyone else. School should be about teaching and learning. Maybe also a bit of socialization but public schools and my tax dollars should not in any way support the insanity of sports.
You want a paid college sports program? Start a minor league for all the major sports and run it like a business.
This is not a popular opinion but it's mine. I discuss this with my friend Reginald and he agrees college sports teams are professional warm ups for the NBA and NFL but doesn't see any harm in it. He says all the sports programs are self-supporting. I might agree to it if they were kicking back a major part of their revenue to the educational process in the school, but they're not.
The governor of Indiana told the Floyd County Board of Education to cut $6 million from their annual budget. The school board promptly closed four schools over the objections of the parents, i.e. taxpayers. The governor, who wants to be the GOP's next Presidential candidate, stands up and says it's dumb to close schools. They should have cut all the extra curricular programs. I'm sure no one would say that might include basketball or football.
The local Jefferson County Kentucky school board saw what their neighbor Floyd County did and now are trying to "subtly" reverse the desegregation plan because of money. They're wanting to close schools, increasing class size and laying off teachers. This is insanity. It's like the local and only mass transit system in Louisville, TARC. They run the thing like drunken sailors and now are going to cut at least 20 routes, some of which have packed buses on express routes during rush hour! How do you run a mass transit system by cutting popular routes? Why you run it into the ground!
I think instead of the major profession of politicians being lawyers, they should all be accountants and be paid by the number of citizens they serve.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Found Things

It's interesting to me how things I cherished at one point in my life can lie in a drawer for a decade unremembered. I took on the task of cleaning the top drawer to my bedside table last week. I knew it needed to be done. I'd not seen the bottom of that drawer since at least 1994. It's the drawer where I toss everything from a card with new bobby pins to some over the counter drug Roger wanted me to take back in the years he was in my life.

I remember that drug. It's in a small clear capsule and the drug itself is brown. According to his instructions I was to take about 10 of these at one time. After that I had dizzy spells and really bad constipation. I stopped taking them. When he brought me replacement bottles, I tossed them in that drawer. Cleaning the drawer I tossed fifteen bottles in the trash!

I also found twenty-seven eye shadow compacts, some of which were new and some of which were exact duplicates. There were seven mascara wands! My friend Ann tells me I should replace my mascara every three months. I bet some of those were at least six years old. What's funny about this is I wear make-up maybe six times in a month and make-up to me is just mascara and eye shadow.

But that's not what I said I cherished. Cleaning that drawer led me headlong into cleaning out a hammock where I found seven stuffed animals; from a Gund bear I bought from the Hug Factory long ago, to small bears that friends had given me for my birthday because they didn't know what to get me. One was a "friend" bear with a cute saying from Ann and one was a bear wearing vinyl red fetish clothing and a small whip!?
Sometimes I realize I've lived lives that I don't even remember the details of any more!
Eventually I got around to cleaning the small drawer in my chair side. This is the old green broken down Lazy Boy near my computer. I found hundreds of rubber bands from the daily paper, uncountable packets of salt and pepper from Dairy Queen biscuits and gravy, from back when I could hardly pass the place in the morning without stopping. Buried under all that was a book mark. I don't remember who got it for me, for I could tell I'd not have bought it myself. The picture is here. I've begun to use it again and it is, as I type, buried on page 363 of "South of Broad." I hope to finish reading that book this week. Then the book mark will be buried in another book.