Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006
Everything New Under the Sun
Warning: I'm in high rant mode today.
This is sort of a continuation of a post by arc-angel666 about the shooting incident involving the US Vice President, obviously a paragon of intelligence and virtue.
(If that tongue got any further into my cheek it would invent a new form of piercing.)
Apparently the Veep was plastered at the time that he shot a man, claiming he confused him with a tiny bird. The article is here, if you'd like to read it. Not like I think anybody is remotely surprised. This is, after all, the Bush administration, the ultimate in good old-fashioned Good Ole' Boy Network.
It's scary as hell to know that the Dukes of Hazzard was actually a documentary, isn't it?
Then again, I can sort of understand. When one works with bird-brains, one could easily become confused if one encountered an actual avian. Especially when one has imbibed a couple of liquor stores' worth of potent potables along the way. Especially if you've got the Secret Service and your Good Ole' Boy buddy to cover your ass in the event you shoot somebody else's ass.
What's next? Formal Presidential recognition of the KKK as a service organization? A license to hunt Katrina survivors along the Gulf Coast? A repeal of the Bill of Rights ? Oh yeah, the last of those has been accomplished by something called the Patriot Act. All of those things are horribly offensive to anyone with a conscience. Fortunately that little personality shortcoming doesn't seem to afflict anyone in our country's upper-level government. Otherwise they might be appalled enough to do something about the rape of America's freedoms and fiscal health. They might even be moved to compassion for the victims who are being victimized all over again (and again and again.)
So much for that whole "of the people, for the people" thing. I guess the only ones who qualify as "people" are members of the species who have money and belong to the aforementioned Good Ole' Boy Network. Because the US government sure isn't working for me, nor anyone I know, nor do we have a say in how we're governed, not since the induction of easy-hack electronic voting.
Perhaps that's the answer. Next election, we need a better class of hackers.
I don't seriously believe that, by the way. I wish I could be confident that the elections were legit, that votes were accurately counted as they were cast. While I'm still dreaming, I'd also like to believe we've got a choice of two or more good people for the office of President, and comparable choices for the Senate and House of Representatives. Heck, while on that caliber of drugs, might as well throw in a winning lottery ticket and my own castle with a moat and a herd of unicorns.
I was talking to our newsman this morning, after I took him an "announcement" from the local Forest Service office, telling about a meeting to take public comment on the controversial Recreation Access Tax (RAT,) which not only constitutes a double tax and excludes the poor from so-called "Public Lands," but also was passed by Congress in about as underhanded a way as possible.
Basically it boils down to this. Public Lands, as they are called, include our network of national forests and parks. Taxes already pay for them; taxes pay for upkeep and maintenance and all of that falderol. There are additional fees on some national parks where substantial improvements have been made, such as the Grand Canyon. (If you've never been to the Grand Canyon National Park, at the edge of the Canyon is a small city. There are shops and motels and so on, huge expanses of paved parking lot, etc. Those were, of course, paid by tax money, so it stands to reason that the taxpayers have to pay another fee to access the site they paid for, right?
RAT takes things a bit further. Under its terms, not only are you required to pay if you go hiking, horseback riding, cycling or driving through any area that includes "improvements" (which may include a picnic table within a few hundred miles, a port-a-john, etc.) but if you DON'T pay, you can be fined up to $5000 and tossed into jail for up to six months. And it gets better. The way that the bill is written, you've got no appeal. Ergo if you paid the fees and the Forest Ranger just didn't see your permit on your vehicle or pasted to your leg, you have no recourse to fight the fines and criminal charges. You're SOL, suckah!
Fishing requires a fishing license - yet another layer of taxes. And of course, that licence doesn't give you access to the lakes and rivers where you can fish - those require RAT.
All of this means that if you're poor, you can kiss any hope of outdoor activities good-bye.
And lest you think that all of this sounds good, a camping permit is going for $60 or so most places - more in some. That's motel-room rates, for crying out loud - and at least a motel room comes with an ice machine down the hall.
Incidentally, the announcement wasn't sent to us by the agency. It was sent by a resident who found the thing tacked up in some obscure spot. It wasn't on the agency's website, where they normally post information. It is a public hearing on new ways for them to restrict access while raking in more fees.
Okay, end of rant for the moment.
Things are still wonderful with MC, and we got some sort of good news about 00. She finally talked to a lawyer about the situation with her son. She'd been so emotionally battered by her SOB of an ex that she really believed she couldn't get joint custody of their little boy and would probably end up in prison for being unable to pay child support. There's a whole lot more behind this but I won't go into all of the history right now.
The attorney sweetly told her no, she can't get joint custody. She can, however, get full custody and the court will require only supervised parental visits with said SOB. She can also obtain a harassment restraining order against SOB, plus as it stands now with what little she documented, the attorney will be pursuing at least six criminal counts against SOB, the least of which is parental interference. We're talking contempt of court and assault, among other things. SOB had convinced her that her depression would be grounds to deny her access to her son. The attorney said in actuality it was perfectly normal when someone like SOB was raking her over the coals daily, and when it came to standing in front of a judge, it would be one more thing against SOB - not against 00.
The attorney also literally offered her a job right then and there, telling her she was sharper and more together, in spite of everything, than the young people he got right out of law school. Unfortunately she couldn't take the job because she hasn't got a car - but needless to say, the whole discussion did a miracle on her self-esteem, all the way around. She did get a job close enough to walk to work, though she still is a long, long way from the $2400 down she'll have to pay to start legal proceedings for custody.
At least, thank God, I think she's turned a corner here. She's started her dental work and is physically healthier. Her emotional health is the bigger issue, and I hope this is the catalyst for real and long-lasting improvement.
I also hope our web biz keeps picking up so we can help her financially. MC fortunately is all in favor of helping any way we can. After dealing with a string of SOB's of my own, having actual support feels like I've been let out of a life-long prison sentence. Sometimes I'm not sure what to do with the freedom, but I know I never want to go back.
In fact, MC has met all but one of my children now. Youngest Son was temporarily working in the Valley and was staying at 00's place for a couple of weeks, so we got to see him, and I woke up Youngest Daughter and her hubby Sunday morning so they could meet MC. We didn't stay long, of course, because the kids had to get ready for work. After we left, MC made the comment that Youngest Daughter really, really looks like me. I attributed that to the fact that she'd just gotten up and was still half asleep, hehehe.
Quick side note - whatever bug bit me seems to have made its retreat. I am feeling better than I was a couple of days ago. Still a little congested and not in peak condition, but vastly better than I was.
Well, much as I've rambled on, I need to wrap this up. My Thursdays and Fridays tend to be pretty busy, and today's exceptionally so. Ergo, gotta get back to the grindstone and get grinding!
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )