Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ridiculousness, Irritants and Outrages

It's been an interesting, sad, pleasant week altogether. Much, I suppose, like most weeks. There were two deadly explosions, one planned by two Chechen nationals, one unplanned. in a fertilizer plant in Texas shortly after our beloved governor made a commercial announcement about bringing business to Texas because there is less government interference with business in our state than anywhere else. Nicely done, Guv. I'm guessing that's why this plant that exploded hasn't been inspected since 1985, and why workers in Texas have the lowest wages, and the lowest percentage of insurance coverage in the country. And, yes, some of this idiocy made me ask questions.

1. While waiting for some programs I actually wanted to watch, I've had to watch the end of the movie "Snow White and the Huntsman" a couple of times. As the credits roll by, there is this disclaimer,"This film is purely fictional. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is unintentional," or something like that. Really? I need to call my family attorney back and tell him that we can't sue; that dwarf character wasn't really modeled after my Uncle Jack? I'd swear it was his life story. But since y'all included the disclaimer I guess we're okay.

2. I've talked before about all the road construction going on in Fort Worth, and how the area being cleared looks like a sad moonscape. Or Mars-scape. I'm sure there will be grass and trees planted when this is over, but for now it is quite depressing to look at. While going to pick my husband up last week, though, I saw the most offensive billboard that a tree-hugger like me can imagine: "Open prairies, meet more open lanes." I have searched for who is responsible for such an offense, but no one comes up in my search. It is probably the city of Fort Worth. Or perhaps the company from Spain that is building the road, and will reap the profit from the tolls. But for those of us who love nature, and even for those of us who simply seek balance (whether or not we actually find it) it is a hateful idea that we can't have both. Why can't we all just get along and recognize the need for infrastructure AND natural areas, such as prairies and grasslands?

3. Another food question: My husband has recently diagnosed himself with lactose intolerance, and so we've started buying lactose free milk. In regular milk one usually gets about one and half weeks' of freshness dating. I noticed on the lactose free milk, we got about two months. Why does removing the lactose increase the fresh factor by so much?

4. Another great irritant that anyone who has ever read The Chariot knows, is Walmart. A few years ago they put out a great ad campaign about how all their stores were going to the low pollution light bulbs. Oh, great. They did something. Can we talk about your many individual stores? I can't tell you how many times I've had to ask the cashiers NOT to put one item per bag. Again, they always say it's what most customers want, which speaks to the hypocrisy of many Americans, and how much fear of germs we allow ourselves to live with, promoted by the media and chemical companies who have "anti bacterial" products to sell....back from the rabbit chase. I accept fault in this case for not realizing I needed to stop at the store, and not having my reusable bags with me. But I also fault other customers for wanting one item per bag. AND WalMart for not making their commitment to greener practices more all encompassing.

5. We hear a lot about student loan debt, free education, the need for more higher education, etc, etc, etc. I worked for six years in a university financial aid office, and have watched my siblings kids, and my stepsons get ready for college. I myself have a great deal of student loan debt that I will likely not live long enough to see paid off. I remember seeing parents in my old office near tears because they were strictly middle class, couldn't possibly save enough to pay for what colleges now cost, and why do some people get a basically free ride while their children get almost nothing but loans. It is a very sad situation, and not one with simple answers. But one feeling I get when I look at congress talking about how to finance college, and I see mostly old white guys being against any kind of help for the middle class to pay for college, and I can't help wondering if their real fear is nothing more than offering higher education to Americans is leading us down that terrible path toward (GASP!!!) socialism. And that word strikes fear into anyone born before 1960. Even though most of them have no idea what it really is, or could ever bring themselves to admit that every successful country is a blend of socialism and free markets. And a better educated population benefits the entire country.

6. There is a group of congressmen called "The Gang of Eight" who are responsible with coming up with proposals for immigration reform. One of the proposals is background checks. There are several states, mostly red and southern, who have proposed certain types of ID being required before people can vote. But all these people think it is too egregious an insult to submit to any kind of background check in order to buy a gun? Stop the silliness over a simple background check, please! PLEASE!!!!

7. Last weekend I saw a commercial starring Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of the global banking firm Goldman/Sachs. I think we all know that Goldman/Sachs is among a small group of bad guy financial firms whose excesses led to the great recession of 2007, and from which we have still not recovered. The commercial was in support of marriage equality. I am all for marriage equality. But is there anyone worse who could have been used to speak to that cause? Was Blankfein trying to find a redemptive factor for himself? Because economic injustice has made him a fabulously wealthy man, and his company obscenely profitable. I'm not sure that any kind of public service announcement will make this man palatable to me until some of the twelve-million people in this country who would love to work but can't find a job, or families who have been put out of their homes by the bad behavior of Goldman/Sachs get some kind of justice. Again, I am for marriage equality. But the image of Lloyd Blankfein is irredeemable to me. I know. That's not a question. Okay-why did they pick him? 

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