Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

About a month ago, Senate candidate Todd Aiken dropped a couple of verbal bombshells in the midst of the presidential campaign much to the dismay of MOST Republicans.  He declared  to the world that a woman’s body has the ability to often prevent conception after a legitimate rape.  Like the shot heard ’round the world, the news wires lit up, the pundits fell over themselves head-shaking and finger-pointing at the bad boy from Missouri.  The RNC said it would not spend any money on ads for him, Governor Romney called for his resignation from the race and on and on.  BUT, Aiken did not withdraw from the Senatorial race and now that it is apparent that many of the states Republicans assumed they would win, may go the way of the Democrats, it has become a mandate to secure as many House seats as possible.   

Missouri must be saved – But how to do this now?  Romney can’t back down, the RNC isn’t going to back down too much BUT wait, there are surrogates that can speak.  What a terrific idea- We (The Republican Party) will order some of the well-known Party members who are NOT running for anything anymore to lend their support to this weak link.  Better to have a Republican in the Senate seat regardless of how crazy his must be than having a Democrat sitting there.  And so the Party faithful have been trotted out ALL IN ONE WEEK, to stand behind Todd Aikin in the hope that their mere presence will whitewash that bad taste in everyone’s mouth and mind.  

So Newt, Rick and Jim hung their principles (if they ever had any) in the closet , packed their bags and hit the road to campaign for Todd Aiken.  Uh huh, that’s what I think!

Politics has always made strange bedfellows, but this is so transparent and very, very strange!

Seal of Missouri.

Seal of Missouri. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Nice ATM

Modern Day Bank Teller

It’s not that I’m not in favor of technology;  This from a blogger who has an Ipad, Ipod, Notebook, Netbook, Kindle, digital camera, Blackberry and desktop pc!  So I’m clearly in favor of electronic convenience.  Please note I said convenience and not efficiency.  I like things that go faster and I love efficiency BUT not at the cost of someone losing their job.

Every day our President is attacked about the lack of jobs, the rising unemployment rate and the weather.  Of course mortgage rates are at an all time low, a major depression  was diverted into a recession by assisting who? BIG BUSINESS, not welfare recipients, not Social Security pensioners but still Obama is at fault.  Why aren’t people being hired?  Why aren’t new jobs being created?

I heard something on the news the other night that struck a chord with me.  Stop and Shop, one of the nation’s larger chain of supermarkets was implementing the use of their portable scanner in the tri-state area.  Apparently this techno gadget was introduced in 2008  and is in use in many of the chain’s outlets.

Customers can scan their items as they shop, a running total is kept and you can even bag and pack your own groceries as you shop.  You check out on a machine on the way out.  I certainly see the advantaage to this;  you can monitor your total so you won’t be shocked at the check out counter.  And you can check out with a machine which will surely have a shorter, quicker line than the one you choose with a cashier.  So what’s wrong with this picture?

Well from my point of view, this is automation pure and simple and when the machine takes over, the person is gone. Their job has been eliminated, their paycheck has disappeared and now that person(s) is unemployed.  Maybe he/she is collecting unemployment, maybe trying to live off their Social Security check.  Whatever…the MACHINE is now in place where a real live person used to stand.  Maybe not always smiling, maybe not always packing your groceries carefully but nonetheless, a human being, someone just like you and me who tries each week to pay the bills with a shrinking paycheck.

The grocery cashiers that I have come  in contact with over the years and depending on the state I lived in seemed to fall in one of three categories;  High School and College students working part-time after school, house-wives  looking to add income to the family and young men and women who are not or did not go on to college take this job because their options are limited.  Then in days gone by for the most part, besides the cashier, there was a bagger;  Add to above categories, the retirees who gratefully took on this menial job because they enjoyed being out of the house and seeing people and the income didn’t hurt either.

The personal scanner in one fell digital swoop, swept them all out the door.  Now isn’t that efficient?  Just think, the personal scanner took the place of two people and IT doesn’t get lunch breaks, vacations, health insurance, 401 Ks.  And to boot it isn’t unionized the way most of Stop & Shop’s employees are!! What a great solution to a weakening economy!  Raise the prices of the products, eliminate employees and my guess is the profit margin is sustained  to keep its shareholders happy.

What a vicious cycle-there are no jobs, so big business eliminates more.  The people who were gainfully employed are now NOT.  Proponents of Big Business proclaim the problem with our economy is most certainly those at the bottom of the economic ladder, blood-sucking welfare and unemployment and Social Security SO what do those proponents think when it is Big Business who actually adds to those ranks by laying off real people so a machine can take their place??

It’s not just Stop & Shop, and they are hardly the first. Over the years, in my lifetime I’ve seen the milkman disappear, the bread delivery man, the telephone operators, the bank tellers replaced by ATM machines, the gas station attendants giving way to self-service pumps, the receptionist replaced by voice mail.  At my local Home Depot, there used to be at least 6 check out counters.  Now there are four and 3 self check-out machines!

What do you think?

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I was going through a pile of old New Yorker magazines last week;  I had a dual purpose and I attacked this task with gleeful ferocity.  I accidentally discovered this cache (read hoard) in a drawer where my dear husband had been stashing New Yorkers that he hadn’t finished reading yet!

I reminded him of the deal I thought we struck in good faith a few years ago – if you subscribe to this magazine which seems to over-populate an apartment quicker than a  rabbit, then you have to keep the number of copies hanging around to a minimum-say, no more than 3 or 4.  Weeelllllll, someone was not keeping his end of the bargain because there were New Yorker magazines in that drawer from 2007!.

Right then and there, I passed the death sentence on the pile and just before I was about to toss them all, I thought I would thumb through and look for cartoons that dealt with real estate.  Actually that also was part of the deal, to give me any real estate cartoon.  As I flipped through them I started noticing several cartoons that I knew Peter would appreciate because they held some relevance to him.  IDEA! What a great birthday gift;  I ripped out lots of cartoons, phrases and pictures with the idea to put them in an album to give to him.  So I did – I think another post, not this one, will have to feature some of the cartoons – I think it turned out really good!

But of course I have totally digressed…the segué is this – in a 2008 issue an article caught my eye; Say It All IN SIX WORDS. There is was! Right in front of me in The New Yorker!!! Brevity; a good thing in writing. Exploited by texters, gossip columnists, haikuists. …Life expectancies rise; attention spans shrink. Six words can tell a story.
That’s a new book’s premise, anyway; Not Quite What I Was Planning. A compilation of teeny, tiny memoirs.  The forebear, it’s assumed, is Hemingway…..”

The article is quite long and I hope to insert more of it from time to time.  The Six Word Project started with a contest for readers of the Smith Magazine online.  The web site was ” flooded with entries.  Five hundred plus submissions per day.  That’s two, three words a minute.  “We almost crashed”. an editor said”.

I’m only look for ten or twenty, I don’t want to crash or be greedy for that matter!!  Here are this week’s reader submissions: PS did you notice the length of most of those sentences?

An entire day – still not enough time – Trish

Winter carnivals, let’s celebrate the season! – Susan Celtic Lady

Accepted into Grad school – decision time – Weez

Sauna: must find one down here –  Susan in the Grove

Should have never checked the scale 😦 – Me

Smith magazine, Ernest Hemingway, Six Word Memoir, Six Word Project.

"The Book"


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