neadods: (Default)
Actually, I went the morning of the demonstration to get my fair share of souvenirs. Because I'm a bit tacky that way.

Guess who was downtown DC Saturday morning! I was convinced that the metro would overload early, the same way it had for the 2009 Inauguration and the Stewart/Colbert rally, so I'd prepped everything the night before right to the point of not just laying out my clothes, but filling all the pockets. When the alarm went off at DearGod:30, all I had to do was feed the cats and get dressed & out.

So I felt a bit silly that there was almost no one there that early in the morning. There was no one there at the Starbucks I expected to be open on 7th either, so I ended up eating a muffin I'd brought right outside it and telling other disappointed marchers that rumor was that there were open Starbucks further north.

People passing were carrying beautiful art posters from The Amplifier Foundation(.org), and told me that said posters were being given out on G-St. So post-muffin I went to check it out, and then picked up a group of women from out of town - 2 from Phoenix and one from the Caribbean (!) I walked them down to the mall, past the cops who either ignored us or in one case, wished us well. Then they peeled off in search of food and I kept going down 7th to see what was happening on the other side of the mall.

From there the gathering crowds pulled me along back to the mall; most of the marchers wanted selfies or photos in front of the capitol with their pussy hats and signs. I was there very early, but at 4th street the crowd had already become a slow river, pulling us all down 4th to Independence. The block between 4th & 3rd was already impenetrable, and more people were flooding in from the Mall and up from L'Enfant Plaza, slowly filling in the area behind Air and Space.

Yes, I did go shopping. I have a Rosie the Riveter button with the march name, and a "Nasty Women Rise!" button in BLM colors, a t-shirt, and some of the art posters that were being handed out. Planned Parenthood was selling pussy hats and giving away scarves or shirts to people who signed up for their action list. (If you wanted a pussy hat, it seemed you had to score one on the way in, from marchers on a bus or plane.) Emily's List was giving out posters (my favorite: We Are The Noisy Majority) all the way back at New Carrollton metro.

There was somewhere I'd promised to be in the afternoon, so I left very early. Early enough that one could still walk the streets, although the crowd coming up from L'Enfant was already so thick I had to let it take me to the mall and then go north up to Archives where there was a little breathing room. A *little* breathing room -- I had to ask marchers to part to let me get to my train as they flooded the platform!

The station that had been so achingly empty had a line out the door and down the block when I got back. A 3-hour wait, I was told later. And at Benfest we kept losing track of conversations or the Fluxxlock game we were playing because we were all on social media, looking at crowd photos.

I'm glad I was there. I'm glad I got out before the crowd got crushing. At least while I was there I did some tiny bit of good, pointing people in the right direction and tweeting/facebooking about where the portapotties were open and where they were locked. (So Hufflepuff of me!)
neadods: (wtf)
It's no good my discussing the election and trying to parse what the fuck just happened and what the fuck will happen. But what I can do and will do is suggest a course of action that can be taken by anyone in any country who is worried about things spinning out of control

1) Give yourself a holiday present of a subscription to a newspaper to support investigative journalism. Also give yourself 52+ sheets of professional looking stationery w/envelopes, a nice pen, 3 books of stamps.

2) Make this New Year's resolution: To sign up for the "take action" emails of at least one lobbying group that you support and to TAKE THE ACTION at least once a week. Make the call. Use the stationery.

First they came for the Muslims, and we said "Not this time, motherfuckers!"
neadods: (disgusted)
If you want to make popcorn and watch the crazy, Malheur is the gift that keeps on giving. I just finished listening to all of both live feeds today (and those are some brain cells I will never get back.) I think the part that impressed me most was how often their paranoid fantasies of persecution went so far they freaked *each other* out and someone would have to stop and talk the others down. As soon as one martyrbation fantasy was shot down, it was off to the next one without a break in step. They're gonna shoot us in the dark! They're gonna shoot us when we surrender! They're gonna grab my wife by the hair and beat the shit out of her just 'cause!

And then we find out that their shitting all over what's actually important while they act out their delusions of significance wasn't just metaphorical.

Now, this, where the govt is being sued for 666 billion by someone who thinks that all the courts, the government, and everybody and their dog is colluding against her and her part in the occupation. The linked article links in turn to the 8-page filing and wow. Juuuuuuuuuuust... wow.

In accordance with the rules of professional conduct, the code of judicial ethics and the laws that prevent judges from sitting on cases that they have a direct interest in, I am objecting to each and every judge who is a state or federal Bar Association member from presiding over my case. I am lawfully entitled to have a fair and impartial judge, and effective council and I will settle for no less. I am reserving my right to have assistance from my "Next Friends"
neadods: (wtf)
I got nothing done last night; I was glued to the live feed out of Malheur where the last 4 holdouts were pretty much losing their hold on reality as the FBI had had enough and moved in. (No, darlings, "America" was not "rising up" to "start the revolution" to save your asses. TAKE THE HINT.)

Finally I went to bed late. Come morning, the entertaining feed was over but archived (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cOlrSain0lk) - all 4.5 hours of it.

(I kind of get why people used to tour insane asylums now. It's not humane... but it's fascinating.)

But what was even more entertaining than the feed was the news that Cliven Bundy left his armed sedition HQ ranch to "help" save the mess he and his boys started -- and got his ass arrested without a hail of bullets.

Well played, FBI! Well played!
neadods: (sherdoc)
(I can't edit using post-by-email, so a little bit of spam today. Sorrynotsorry.)

One November, not that long ago, I went to the polls and voted on a state constitutional amendment, and at the end of that day was proud and thrilled to see that I, and hundreds of thousands like me, had once and for all shattered the nasty argument "when you put 'gay marriage' to a popular vote, it never wins." To this day I am damn proud of having played my part in ripping the wheels off the "traditional marriage" juggernaut.

One January, not that long ago, I heard the incumbent President of the United States say "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall" - which is when I gasped so loud I scared the cats, dropped into a chair like I'd been shot, and burst into tears. I never thought I would live long enough to see the President of the United States put sexual rights as any kind of a thing on the Presidental platform, much less on an equal historical footing as women's equality and civil rights. The President? Talking about LBGQT as citizens robbed of their equal rights? It would be as unthinkable as, as, as -- as Alabama quietly bringing down the Confederate flag!

Slightly under 2 hours ago, the Supreme Court of the United States put same-sex marriage expressly on the same footing as civil rights. "They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law," Kennedy writes. "The Constitution grants them that right.”

It is not a day of unmixed joy; in fact, it is a day of reminders that promises made have not been kept. Seneca Falls did not usher in gender equality. The crimes that caused the March on Selma have not stopped -- the first of the Charlestown Nine will be buried today, the Confederate flag still flying highest in the state, while a black church in Charlotte burnt to the ground last night in an act of arson. Stonewall led to this hour, but neither Stonewall nor SCOTUS can stop the backlash that will come.

But.

But.

But!

History has bent that little bit more towards justice today. Belatedly. Imperfectly. UNMISTAKABLY.


Four years ago, Sarah Palin nastily asked "How's that hope-y, change-y thing workin' for ya?"

Pretty darn good, Ms. Palin. Pretty darn good.
neadods: (Default)
I'm at work while he's being reburied, so I really, really, really hope that by the time I get home BBCA is either repeating the ceremony (which I fear it probably isn't showing at all) or it's all over YouTube. And not because of Benedict Cumberbatch, not that he hurts. I've been a rennrat for a very long time; actually finding Richard and giving him the due of an English king is pretty damned huge. Snippets are coming through the news, but more tantalizing than helpful. I want to see the funeral crown, hear the choir sing Ghostly Grace, read the Queen's message, not just know they exist!

However, snark still has its place - I notice that among the hastags "richardreburied" and "richardiii" is "riiip" Oh, how I love that hashtag!
neadods: (compass)
How did I not know for 13 years about the 9/11 boatlift? (Youtube link)

I knew about the people walking out over the bridges; a fandom friend's mother got out that way. I knew about the firefighters and doctors and EMTs walking in over the bridges because that was the only way in and they Had. To. Help.

But I did not know about America's Dunkirk, when if it floated, it went to south Manhattan as the towers fell, to get half a million stranded people off the island.

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn. This story should have been told a long time ago.
neadods: (compass)
Like Terry Firma, I had not seen this raw footage shot by a CBS reporter as the towers fell. Unlike Terry, I only made it for about 5 minutes of the half hour before I started crying and turned it off.

To be honest, I was so far beyond thinking of the date that I was surprised by the extra security around town and the extra flags on the bridges (plus the men waving them).

But watching that erased a dozen years in an instant.
neadods: (sod_calm)
So, we get to go back to work.

In a last-second deal that leaves sequestration - and that alone is a partial default that came about because Congress couldn't get its act in gear in time and agree like grownups, REMEMBER THAT. In a last-second deal that only delays this again a handful of months. In a last-second deal that the majority of House Republicans voted against and are today vowing to "continue the fight."

Nothing is fixed. Nothing is learned. NOTHING IS CHANGED. Wait, one thing has. The country's spent $23 billion on shutting down and restarting. Because the fiscally responsible thing to stop overspending is to spend billions for... no benefit at all.

This isn't a victory. It merely means I go back to work.

I go back to work with a smaller paycheck because I was bumped to leave without pay. I go back to work without any leave banked - meaning more leave without pay to come. I go back to work with just as much of a case as to why I earned a raise this year, but a company thrown into debt itself by loaning paid leave to hundreds of people, and thus will get nothing. I go back to work in an economy that

I go back to work with my travel plans still ruined, my Christmas spending reduced to miserly levels, a future full of echoing repercussions.

The same people who claim to be the adults who'll fix a dysfunctional govt did this to us all, acting like schoolchildren while they were at it.

And to my amazement, the same tea party that cut Boehner off at the knees twice in his own grandstanding Hail Mary plays is praising him today. In four months, will he think the third time is the charm?
neadods: (sherlock)
I'm seeing a lot of celebration on the news that there's a Senate deal that's going to fix the mess this country's in. First of all, it's a no-deal until the House blesses it... not that Boehner's got a lot of alternatives, considering that this is the second time he's tried to grandstand with a Republican alternative at the nth second and gotten cut off at the knees by the Tea Party.

Second and far more importantly, look at what the Senate's proposing. Reopening the Government until mid-January. Raising the debt ceiling until mid-Feb. This isn't fixing anything, it's not even deciding anything - it's just kicking the can down the road a few more months.

Nor, even if this does pass and the Government reopens Friday, do the repercussions in my life magically go away. Government open or not, because I used up all my leave, I'm going to have to take the upcoming federal holiday Veteran's Day as yet another day without pay (see previous post about contractor holidays =/= Government holidays.) And because I'm in the hole for leave *and* not earning any back with every day without pay that I take, I'm probably not going to have anything earned back by ChicagoTARDIS, meaning *that* will be without pay, with all the ramifications of that.

And boy howdy, is that going to impact Christmas. Do you think I'd even consider lavish spending on presents under these conditions, with pay lost and a potential repeat of this nonsense right when the bills come due? No one with brain cells would go on a spending spree.
neadods: (sod_calm)
I've been offline the last few days so that I could start clearing out my cluttered library. My mother may be right; I might have too many books.

But I thought I would pass on the latest furlough fun a friend passed on before I catch up online tomorrow.

Fact: The holidays paid for by contracting companies never match 100% with the holidays the government takes. (For example, my company gives me the Friday after Thanksgiving off, when the fed is open, but does not give me Veterans Day off, which is a federal holiday. Yes, you take personal leave for times like that.)

Fact: Even contractors who are back at work (lucky Pentagon!) have probably used up a lot of their personal leave to deal with the furlough.

2+2=even people who went back to work are statistically likely to be taking tomorrow not as a holiday, but leave without pay. Those who are out of work will be taking it as *more* leave without pay - the beginning of the third week of shutdown, which means that anyone on a biweekly pay schedule will lose an entire paycheck.

Think about that, as the Christmas decorations show up in stores and the ads start. The lucky ones will be shorted tomorrow's wages. The unlucky ones are out half a month's wages.

The ripples from the shutdown have only just begun.

And I hear that Cruz and Palin had the nerve to protest the shutting of the WWII memorial. Because that's THE most important thing that's missing right now, apparently. The only ones hurting right now are veterans and tourists.
neadods: (sod_calm)
The government has shut down because it's That Important to delay/stop the mandate that people buy their own health insurance if they don't get it through their employer. Only... I can't work because I'm caught up in the government shut down. I am prevented by the shutdown alone from doing the work that brings in the money to my employer.

Which means, I am informed, that the health care benefits that are deducted from my paycheck will run out. My options are to 1) reimburse my employer for the money that can't be deducted from my nonexistent paycheck or 2) to buy my own insurance via the "Obamacare" exchanges.

In other words, it was more important to shut the government down than to force me to pay for my own health care, except SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE I can't work, I will be forced to pay for my own health care.
neadods: (sod_calm)
Online news comments are filling up with a lot of "if all those people aren't essential, why are we wasting money on them in the first place? Let 'em find real work, hur, hur, hur."

Avoiding an entire post about why the hell people who campaigned on strengthening the economy and middle class and job creation have instead thrown hundreds of thousands of workers out of work, an illustration of essential vs non-essential.

Imagine you are a town mayor. Your town has four schools (elementary, middle, high, community college), a fire department, a police department, code enforcement (the folks who write up citations for grass that's too long, garbage in the front yard, etc.), a museum, a road crew, a law team to deal with federal and local issues, a branch of the state MVA (car licenses and titles), mass transit, a lakeside park, and a general public works office where people can file for state or federal assistance (unemployment benefits, food stamps, job search, etc.)

Because this is an older town, most of the wiring is above ground. Newer buildings have buried their power lines and telephone lines (if they even have landlines installed) but many don't. The town also has a lot of trees. The town is proud of their many, many pretty trees.

Things are chugging along as normal... until the day the tornado hits.

There was plenty of warning so everybody battened hatches and/or got out. Nobody was killed. But when it passes, your town:

1) Is 90 % out of power. The private hospital and the schools are running on their generators, but downed lines and blown transformers mean that most buildings and almost all homes are dark. All traffic lights, including the one leading to/from the interstate highway crossing your town's main road are out.

2) Is blocked in. Massive tree limbs and even more massive trees have come down, some of them big enough to entirely block roads. (True: during a hurricane, a centuries old oak blocked our main road out. The thing was about 6 feet in diameter, and stretched entirely across the road.)

Obviously, your town is in a state of emergency. You need your road crew most obviously, but you're going to need your fire department as people misuse generators and you need your cops to help keep the peace and keep an eye on empty stores.

What you DON'T need:
- Anybody else

The support staff for the cops or fire department, their PR offices and office managers are superfluous today. So are the school's teachers, janitors, office workers, cafeteria people. MVA and mass transit is shut down, code checks are suspended, the park is closed, and public works are a secondary concern.

All of those people and more are non-essential in an emergency.

But does that really mean you don't NEED THEM AT ALL?

Wow

Oct. 3rd, 2013 04:04 pm
neadods: (contemplative)
I don't know if the car-ramming followed by a shooting outside of Congress will rattle the people inside out of their posturing or make it all worse.

In the meantime, pre-shutdown I heard more than one confident prediction that we'd be back at work by Monday. With Faux News claiming that there's no "real" impact on anyone and Sarah Palin calling it a "pinprick on the economy" (Stephen Colbert was brilliant about that), there doesn't seem to be much of an groundswell outside DC to deal with the issue. In fact, to blow it off.

Me, I've gone ahead and submitted this week's timesheet. It's mostly leave, some of which I do not yet have. Next week, I'll be shifting to leave without pay.
neadods: (disgusted)
That's what the news is saying. "No end to the shutdown in sight."

Last night at 11:59, I was well off, had a small savings and a large cushion in the bank, had budgeted both my leave and that cushion responsibly, and was expecting an excellent job appraisal, hopefully with even a raise. I was also Day One into a week-long renovation by contractors of my shower stall and kitchen wall.

This morning at 11:59, without having done a single thing, I'm essentially flat broke, out of leave, and unemployed.

Some facts:

The last government shutdown ran for 21 days. There is strong talk that this one will run for at least two weeks so that it can be rolled into the debt ceiling discussion.

A government shutdown costs the taxpayers about one billion dollars a week.

Personally, I ran out of "spare" paid leave today. I will run out of earned leave Thursday morning. I will run out of all potential 2013 leave the middle of next week. Any leave I take that I wouldn't have "earned" by December 30 will be taken out of my last 2013 paycheck.

When I am out of leave (or earlier if I choose to gamble), I have to go to leave without pay. I will not be given back pay later.

The contractors, who are being paid predominantly by my parents as a birthday present, are continuing to work. I will still owe between $500-$1000 for the work being done.

My last guaranteed paycheck arrives Friday. It and my current household budget ought to take care of the bare minimum bills for this month. This doesn't include general living expenses, although my gasoline consumption just dropped drastically.

Paying down credit cards is now, officially, a luxury. If I'm very unlucky, not *using* the credit cards might end up a luxury.

I still intend to go to NYC for Night Vale because I've prepaid most of that trip. Lodging is going to have to be rethought; I certainly can't afford the fancy hotel or possibly any hotel in the area. I've partially prepaid ChicagoTARDIS, but if this situation does not improve by the end of the week, I'm going to have to make major cutbacks to that. I truly hope that it doesn't come to the point of my having to eat the plane ticket and stay home.

I am ALREADY, with "no end in sight" assuming that I will have to dip heavily into my savings and then not be paid for my time, and thus reclassifying everything as "bare necessity" or "not now" to make sure that it stretches as far as possible.

Yesterday, I was prosperous.

Today, I am poor.
neadods: (sod_calm)
They actually did it. Threw hundreds of thousands of people out of work to make sure millions of people won't get healthcare. I just went from having a big bonus and all my leave planned out through the end of the year to being out of work -- it's not just the Government that shuts when the Government shuts in this company town.
neadods: (sherlock)
One of the most hilarious and topical links to come out of today - The Running of the Interns (with animated gifs):

http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/the-2013-running-of-the-interns
neadods: (yay!)
I love everyone on the court. Well, 5 people on the court.

Neither ruling is as sweeping a ruling as I'd hoped for - personally, I think the argument striking down Prop 8 made a very clear nation-wide argument for equal rights - but oh, what advances!

Last week, Exodus International (the most famous of the "pray the gay away" scams) rolled over and died. Today, SCOTUS killed DOMA and Prop 8.

I can't say "the nation tomorrow." But "the nation, soon." So very soon.

I have to go flap my hands and do a victory dance in my cube now.
neadods: (yay!)
SCOTUS STRUCK DOWN DOMA! SCOTUS STRUCK DOWN DOMA!

It's worse than election night, the way I keep hitting "refresh" on Google news and flapping my hands around. Will they go for the gold and slaughter Prop 8?
neadods: (sherlock)
A fascinating article about the hospital trauma responses in Boston. They're saying that things pulled together so well that every single person who was reached alive - stayed alive.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/04/why-bostons-hospitals-were-ready.html

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