Thursday, July 28, 2011

Deer interwebz

Plz look after Boy while I is away. He wud like lolcats and nerdage. Ssankou.

Monday, July 18, 2011

@GOP: Taxes are Not a Punishment

They are a responsibility. They are a means of collecting money from the people in order to turn around and provide said people with a functional nation.

Tax money is used to maintain the roads that your donors' corporations haul their products around on, ensure that their private jets are built properly, provide them with an educated and healthy workforce, sustain oil wars for the sake of maintaining their extortionate fuel costs (though, to be fair, it is their privately-funded lobbyists who stand in the way of widespread adoption of ecologically-friendly and inexpensive fuel sources, not the state directly), and continue to create and uphold laws that ensure that life-saving drugs and treatments never go generic so their profit margins never falter. Your donor base benefits from taxation every day--indeed, far more in fact than most middle-class consumers who even now you're trying to screw in the face by replacing their Medicare and public education with vouchers so you can fund fundamentalist churches who will give that money right back to you.

Your donors are the people who most often use the tax-funded court system, trying to prevent each other from making money. They're most often protected by the rigorous enforcement of laws against vandalism--without which I'm confident far more disgruntled employees would cause damage to their factories and offices. They're most often bailed out when their decades of illicit activity and irresponsibility finally catch up with them. Not us.

Not us--us middle class goons and others who don't qualify for state assistance and never will, even if we hit rock-bottom. Not us consumers who you've turned a blind eye to when we've cried out for release from the crushing costs of insurance and debt that your donors turned toxic. Not us for whom cars are a taxable expense, not an itemized deduction. Not us who don't have a choice of what country to do our banking in.

We the middle-class are sick of paying for the lifestyles of your donors while receiving nothing in return. The intellectual elite that you seek so vehemently to silence are aware of the necessity of reasonable taxation on all sectors to maintain functional domestic infrastructure and healthy global trade relationships. Appropriate taxation is the only way to keep our roads in shape, as South Carolina's rutted tracks attest to. It is the only way to maintain a trained and honest police department, as Chicago's bribe-funded force can attest to. It is the only way to educate our youth, as the evolution-denying home-schooled kids who will never benefit your science-industry donors clearly demonstrate. It is the only way to equip our military, as Boeing is quick to remind you.

So seriously, enough is enough. Stop trying to distract your hot-headed voter corps with meaningless fights over whether-or-not churches should get state power or brown people should be allowed to immigrate. The answers are clearly established in the Constitution (no and yes, respectively) and are not up for debate--if you'd like to debate them you can do so we're not in an economy-crushing crisis. Stop prodding the powerless into attacking each other so they forget to hold you accountable for your jobs. Stop wading around in fluff legislation, waiting for the emergency imperative that you're clearly holding out for, and draft rational tax increases for the wealthy so we don't fall into the abyss that you, through your neglect, excavated.

Social Security did not cause this. Medicare did not cause this, except inasmuch as you've kept drugs extortionately expensive for the elderly so as to keep your pharmaceutical donors smiling. My grandma's pain pills are not expensive to make, distribute, or regulate. (Speaking of which, my grandma has never asked for nor received a $50,000 toy aeroplane.)

What caused this was three simultaneous wars, massive loopholes in tax laws that only the wealthy can exploit, free trade agreements that have allowed American companies to dump domestic employees because they want a fair wage, and freewheeling banking and insurance systems that ensure that unwealthy people are screwed if they get sick or their jobs get outsourced by your donors.

Those "job creators" you keep harping on haven't 'created' any substantive employment opportunities yet, despite enjoying the lowest tax obligation in our nation's history. Those "job creators" are in a prime field to put Americans to work right now--there's 14,100,000 unemployed people right now who would very much appreciate a reasonable income and group health insurance--nothing fancy. They don't want gold plated toilet seats, butlers or Bentleys--just enough support to live with dignity. Everything is in place right now for them to create those jobs you keep talking about, but they're not doing it.

Would you reckon they're waiting to create all those promised jobs until those fourteen million people and their peers drop the "with dignity" clause? Are they planning to bring their production lines back to the US the second we disband OSHA, or do we need to obliterate the pathetically inadequate minimum wage, open up our ecosystem to even more dumping, agree to pay for the injuries and illnesses we develop from from our now-unsafe workplaces and toxic food ourselves, and promise to not make them pay any taxes at all too? Are they expecting us to re-instate the Antebellum South to lure them back? Is that the trigger?

The problem is not us.

It is you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Another Note I Sent to my MP

You'd think I was retired, the amount of time I spend harassing my poor elected representative. Next I'll be writing terse letters to my local newspaper about disrespectful youths and how I've grown so fearful I don't let my corgis outside any more. Nevertheless:

Dear Ms. Ruddock,

Frank Field and Nadine Dorries' recent underhanded moves in regard to women's safe and timely access to abortion services have just come to my attention and caused me considerable concern. No doubt I'm preaching to the choir here, but I nevertheless wanted to reaffirm that your constituents will not stand for any more gross attempts on women's rights by religious fanatics and misogynists. If you can do anything at the legislative level to prevent their “little modifications” from being introduced into law, please nip this in the bud as soon as you can.

I moved to Lewisham in 2009 from South Carolina, an impoverished wasteland of Bible Belt Americana. While I would not describe myself as a refugee, my partner and I did very deliberately choose to move me here instead of him to the US simply because the UK did not appear to be teetering on the edge of a catastrophic Christian takeover at the time. So when I saw that LIFE ousted BPAS on the sexual health council a few months ago I greeted the news with dread—I knew more Fundie garbage would be dumped in our laps in time. And sure enough, now MPs Field and Dorries are seeking to sneak new regulations into the healthcare bill that will at once require women to receive unnecessary counselling and prevent abortion providers from offering it, a measure which would place private organizations with private motives between women and their reproductive rights. This, I'm confident you'll agree, is an outrage.

This sort of twelfth-century legislation crops up in the US all the time—most notably in South Dakota. There women must receive counselling from an independent “crisis pregnancy center” at least two weeks before receiving an abortion. All of these centres in the state are church-run, anti-choice, and make a point of misinforming women—from lies about cancer risks to fibs about complications, infertility, and God's Wrath, they'll make up anything. Then, of course, they don't stamp the necessary forms to prove that advisees came in—they just cheekily refuse to allow women to meet that requirement. Not that this matters—the state has driven out all abortion providers, even for when a woman's life is in jeopardy. Distressed women now have to cross to Wyoming to receive treatment--a trip of hundreds of miles, followed by weeks of paying for accommodation while they wait.

It is vital for the health, safety, dignity, and personal sovereignty of all women that these outrageous attempts are stopped in their tracks, and for the perpetrators of this attempted crime against women to be reprimanded. These scum have seen the “perforate and tear” approach crush women's rights in backwoods America and figure it is worth a shot here. It ain't. Please help them see that what they're attempting is unacceptable in any decent society.

Warm regards,

Ms. KG

P.S. Oh cool--I just discovered that a group of choice supporters will be rallying on the 9th of July in the Old Palace Yard, Parliament Square, from 13:30-16:30, over just this issue. I think I'll join them.

---And she replied!

Thank you for contacting me about your concerns over the amendments to the Health and Social Bill tabled by Nadine Dorries MP and Frank Field MP. I agree with your comments and please be assured that if the amendments are selected for debate or brought to a vote I will be opposing them. If there is an attempt to introduce them without debate I will certainly oppose that as well. Yours sincerely, Rt. Hon. Joan Ruddock, MP

And her assistant tacked on a reply too:

I hope you don’t mind me adding to Joan’s letter. I don’t know if you attended on Saturday – I was there and thought it was a very good event. Best wishes, Ms. Senior Parliamentary Assistant

Cherry O!

LinkNo, this is not a repeat of the same pie. This is a Different Pie and it actually worked out a bit better than the last one. I stuck with Smitten Kitchen and I'm very glad I did, as most recipes out there call for sour or tart cherries and a bucket-load of sugar, but this called for actual edible cherries, a bit of lemon juice, and far less white-n-sweet. I even cut the sugar down from 2/3 to 1/2c just because I thought the strawberry-rhubarb pie was too sweet and figured it might be a schtick of Deb's--and as it was, I'm glad I did. It was just right.

I served it on the 4th of July to my British oppressors with plain ice cream. Everyone said they liked it, even the two people who didn't want to eat it because they don't like fruit. We then hiked up Blythe Hill and released some floating lanterns over the city. It was lovely.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Almost Tomato Time!

Yep, it's another gardening post. Sorry, I can't help it. Plants are just so photogenic. We'll start with my lavatera, which looks like it wants to be violet this year: It's about three and a half feet tall with a laser-straight stem, covered in buds. Very excited. Last year the only one that survived came out white, and while it was lovely, I was surprised at the lack of colour.

And moving on to my courgettes, which I'm slicing off every Sunday to keep the plant active: Yes, that is a courgette leaf, and yes, that is my foot. I had no idea how big they would get. Mental note for next year: plant them further apart.

The hosta is doing its flowery thing: I know hostas are praised primarily for their leaves, but I think the flowers are pretty too.

The red shrubby thing has "bloomed" again--this is the second time this season it has put out red leaves. They're already fading fast to green. Whatever it is, I think it's happy. The red leaves are new, the lighter green leaves are from earlier this season, and the dark green leaves are from last year.

Boy's Mum has shared some of her flowering tobacco plants with me: I've managed to keep the snails off them well enough that most have gotten big and strong and are blooming in a very interesting and attractive way:
I don't think tobacco leaves this small are any good to roll up and smoke--they're purely ornamental.

But how are those 'maters? I think you'll agree they're doing just fine.