Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Credit History & Employment

One of many sore points in today's economy is an employer's ability to check the credit history of job applicants. This is an outrageous invasion of privacy and should not be allowed. It stands to reason an applicant's credit history might be spotty if he/she has been out of work for a period of time or experiences a financially catastrophic medical procedure.

Individual credit histories should not be made available to employers who might use the information as a hiring qualifier. To state the obvious, job skills and credit histories have nothing to do with one another.

In addition, just as employees are often required to give a two-week notice before quitting a job, it should be mandatory for employers to give the same notice prior to layoffs or closings.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Truth Emerges

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich appeared on the Ed Schultz Show yesterday, where he hit the nail on the head regarding our current state of immovable affairs:

What the Republicans want to do is keep the unemployment rate as high as possible because history has shown it's the best way to make sure a president is a one-term president.

Reich, who is also a UC Berkeley Professor, went on to say: "President Obama needs to make sure the public understands what republicans are doing, what they've been doing for more than two years with their just say no attitude, which is to sabotage the presidency and to undermine the economy."

Related commentary from Reich's web site: "The disconnect between Washington and the rest of the nation hasn't been this wide since the late 1960s. The two worlds are on a collision course: Americans who are losing their jobs or their pay and can't pay their bills are growing increasingly desperate. Washington insiders, deficit hawks, regressive Republicans, diffident Democrats, well-coiffed lobbyists, and the lobbyists' wealthy patrons on Wall Street and in corporate suites haven't a clue or couldn't care less."

In essence, GOP hatred of President Obama far outweighs their concern – or lack thereof – for the American people. Their number one goal is not jobs or fixing the economy, but getting rid of President Obama come 2012.

Click here
to see Friday's video with Reich from the Ed Show (MSNBC).

Cut Congress Benefits (CCB), Part One

Job security is a constant source of worry and stress for most Americans. Unlike members of Congress, we don't have assured benefits at the end of our working lives. Some of us have to make choices between paying rent, buying food or obtaining medicine, much less deciding what to do with a pension.

The perks enjoyed by members of Congress appear to rival those of a financially thriving corporation. While the base salary of a junior member of Congress is $174,000, they also have access to an "allowance" that helps fund their office staff. For instance, House members are allotted more than $900,000 to pay the salaries of up to eighteen employees. On top of that, they receive $250,000 for travel expenses and mass constituent mailings (also known as "franking"), the cost for which is borne by the taxpayer. Worse yet, Senators receive $3.3 million for office expenses. Some senators also receive $500,000 to hire up to three legislative assistants.

According to a report from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) and Our Generation (OG) advocacy groups, "Federal legislators earn 3.4 times more than the average full-time American worker and are among the highest paid legislators in the industrialized world."

Furthermore, the report states: "Congressional salaries and benefits are compared with what private sector workers receive, and with those of foreign legislators. Members of Congress receive an annual salary of $174,000 - which alone puts them in the highest-paid 5 percent of U.S. workers. They also, however, receive a host of additional benefits that put their total annual compensation at around $285,000. By comparison, the average full-time American employee earns just $50,875 annually."

David Williams, president of TPA, says: "Congress has run up a $14.3 trillion debt and a $1.5 trillion deficit, yet they are still among the best compensated employees in America. It is time to hold our representatives in Washington responsible for their job performance. With the high salaries Congress is collecting, we don't think it's too much to ask that they do their jobs and get our economic house in order."

The TPA also points out that that if congressional salaries were cut to $100,000 taxpayers could save $39 million each year.

Current annual salaries for top positions in the House and Senate:

• Speaker of the House ($223,500)
• House Majority Leader ($193,400)
• House Minority Leader ($193,400)
• Senate Majority Party Leader ($193,400)
• Senate Minority Party Leader ($193,400)

Many of us would be more than grateful for just a fraction of such salaries, willing to work our fingers to the bone to earn the money. That's more than can be said of our legislators at the moment.

Members of Congress also enjoy an annual cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA), unless Congress votes against it. Why not leave constituents to vote on whether members of Congress receive annual COLA’s instead? Because congressmen and senators know they would never be granted raises if they let us decide the issue.

If members of Congress faced the same level of financial and healthcare insecurity the average American deals with every day, perhaps their voting consciences will take a direction for the better. Most important of all, perhaps the sense of urgency and panic many of us feel will be experienced by those in power and will propel them to set aside the poison and acrimony now polluting Washington D.C. and get down to business.

Pay cuts for members of Congress should be implemented, above and beyond any wage freezes currently in place. Since the rest of us have to live within our means, right in line with the virtually non-moving Cost of Living index, so should members of Congress. If they cannot live on their wages, so be it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Denial Mode

I was listening to NBC's Jamie Gangell interview Mitt Romney with Chris Christie the other night, and was struck by a comment made by the New Jersey governor: "Romney is our best chance of taking back the White House."

Take it back from what, where or who? Take it back to the disastrous times of George W. Bush? Do Republicans really think the general populace has forgotten what Bush did to the United States in eight short years?

Or perhaps right-wing politicians are living in convenient denial, in their minds truly forgetting what their party did to our country.

Speaking for myself, I have daily reminders of their handiwork in the cost of food, healthcare and the consequences of their current non-action, not to mention just trying to survive in general.

I doubt I'm the only one.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Onwards & Outwards

As mentioned in my blog post Media Skim, I was rather puzzled by the lack of coverage on the Occupy Wall Street movement. However, it's hard to ignore when people are assembling in every major city to make their displeasure known, including the bloody place where I live at the moment.

Local news channels in my current place of residence are not known for their impartiality. In other words, it's fairly obvious to which political side they lean on any given day. It's one of the reasons I tend to look to the web or cable news, in particular MSNBC, to get a reality check and to shed the feeling that I live in a veritable Twilight Zone.

I was surprised when people gathered at the capitol nearby to carry on their own Occupy Wall Street demonstration, and even more stunned when local news channels reported the event. It was peacefully organized and well-attended, but resident senator Orrin Hatch naturally cast his own brand of alarmism into the mix:

"We are going to have riots in this country because of what these people are doing."

"These people" are tired of carrying the burden for everyone in America, which is something right-wing extremists like Hatch will never understand. I'm sure he would be perfectly happy if we all just sat back and swallowed the financial inequities that have nearly crippled our country.

On an unrelated note, I'm doing my damndest to get out of the place where I currently reside. I realize the political and economic climates are the same everywhere in the United States at the moment, but to get away from a community that tries to control what we view on television or attempts to foist their religious views non-conformists is a good start.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Media Skim

I fully support the views of the Occupy Wall Street movement. I knew sooner or later people would grow tired of class and financial inequity; the constant burden placed on them even as they lose their jobs, benefits and homes with no signs of relief in sight.

However, I'm not sure what to make of the disparity in media coverage. I didn't realize the demonstrations had spread to other US cities until a headline at the UK’s Daily Mail caught my eye:
Occupy Wall Street protests spread across U.S. to Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago as cities brace for more demonstrations.

One glance at my usual news source,
MSNBC, displays not one mention of the incidents as of this morning. Why is that? It's certainly not typical for people to take to the streets in America. When they finally do take action, it's NEWS. I've heard brief mention of the demonstrations, but nothing as intense as the boringly ridiculous coverage of celebrity weddings and split-ups. If I'm gleaning reports from the wrong source, where do I go to find decent coverage – other than a British online newspaper?

Think Progress and Wonkette have been tracking the various protests (re: A Complete List of National Politicians Who Have Embraced the Occupy Wall Street Protests), but I'm flummoxed as to why major media outlets skim over the topic.

Is every money-making machine in the hip pocket of Wall Street these days?

In my opinion, the protests are long overdue. Hard-working people are weary of footing the bill as the wealthy virtually get away scot-free.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Catching Up

A computer crash and a death in the family have kept me away for quite awhile. I hope to get back in the political swing of things shortly.

My estranged husband, who was still my best friend, passed away on September 2. Rather than go into all the details, I wrote about him on my primary blog Irish Eyes. Click here to read the entry. I've been helping his brother with arrangements and other details, so the last week has been like a blur and quite difficult.

The day before my birthday last month, my computer literally sizzled inside the tower and gave up the ghost. There was no reviving it, I'm afraid. I dragged out my old computer (Windows XP, last updates from 2007), and managed to work with that for a short time. I now have a newer system. Just yesterday I finished re-loading all my essential software programs and documents. I hope everything holds out until I strike it rich! ;)

Today I will be spending some time watching the commemoration events for 9/11 victims. It's hard to believe ten years have passed by so quickly, yet the memories are still fresh. In fact, it was right around this time ten years ago that Wilbert and I began to date.

Today is sad for many reasons.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

True Colors

Come next election time, I don't think people will forget how the "Repugs" were willing to sacrifice them just in order to make President Obama "look bad." If the right-wing's lack of concern for their constituents or the American people in general wasn't obvious before, it surely is now. Their rabid hatred of the President seems to override all else, even common sense and basic compassion.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Them Girlies

Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman have given women in politics a terrible name, lending credence to "air head" theories sometimes perpetuated by men in similar positions.

Being a woman, I'm likely to support a female candidate if she makes sense on issues and doesn't seem to be primarily driven by self-advancement (and little else).

Palin and Bachmann are both major embarrassments, frankly.

I can only think of three female candidates I could in all conscience vote for if they ran for the highest office after President Obama's second term: Hillary Clinton, Claire McCaskill and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Big Surprise

Oh, for crying out loud! Both political parties have their equal share of perverts and idiots. Let's just get back to the business of governing already.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


A remark from Dublin Taxi about President Obama's recent visit to Ireland:

I can say that after listening to the words of Mr. Obama you have the future in a safe pair of hands.

Well said.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tenderfoot Slash

Here's a novel idea: Let's cap congress/senate salaries at 40K per year; limit their pension amounts and force them to find and pay for their own medical insurance coverage instead of sponging off the taxpayer.

Who'd run for office then? Only those truly motivated by the needs of their voting districts.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pay Freeze


> Who gets a paycheck in a shutdown? Congress

If there's going to be a government shutdown, the first pay freeze should occur in Congress. They don't deserve their exorbitant salaries in the first place, and it's their fault the shutdown is looming to boot. Why should they get paid?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

GOP Tripe

Who on earth do they think they're fooling?

> GOP Budget Plan

I listened to MSNBC while Republicans rattled off their plan, irritated by their misguided implications that President Obama is at fault for our current financial woes. Where were these people when Bush was spending like a drunken sailor? Why didn't they publicly gripe when Wall Street fell in 2008, yet again with Bush at the helm?

The right-wing has no real concern for the common people. Don’t be fooled by their patronizing rhetoric. If they truly wanted to help the American people they’d make a sincere effort to take away tax cuts for the rich, just for starters. As history has shown, doing so swings the deficit the other way and creates jobs.

God forbid!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

I've been so bad about posting blog entries in the last few months. Finishing an eight-part anthology kept me rather busy for quite awhile. However, I'm slowly but surely making my way back into the real world.

This morning I spent some time browsing the articles at Think Progress. A few of them caught my eye (articles are linked while my comments follow the links):

Rep. Trent Franks Warns 'I Don't Know That The Country Can Survive' If President Obama Is Reelected: Who is this numb-nut, and where was he when Bush was President?

Bar-Owning GOP Montana State Representative Says Stricter DUI Laws Are Destroying A Way of Life: Only a drunk would defend drunk driving. Trust me, I know. Alcoholism runs on both sides of my family, and my second husband was a souse. They defend drinking in any form, on any level. Drunk-driving is a deadly serious matter and not to be taken lightly. And no, I'm not a lush despite my bloodline.

In 2010, CEO Pay Went Up 27% While Worker Pay Went Up 2%: One of the things I'd like to see change in America – aside from bigotry, animal-cruelty and poverty – is the sense of self-entitlement certain people seem to have in their jobs and various walks of life. I worked for a corporation many years ago, and was disgusted daily by the behavior of CEO's and other executives. It wasn't just the ridiculous amount of money they received; it was the arrogance and implication of the "I'm better than you" mentality that offended me. Nothing seems to have changed in the present, but the system desperately needs an overhaul. Didn't we once fight a well-known war for independence to get way from narcissistic and imperial superiority?

Several GOP Senators Take Credit For Infrastructure Funding They Voted Against: Typical phooey from the GOP. They haven't accomplished much of anything since the overblown election last November, and now they want to hitch a ride whether they agreed with H.R.1 or not.

Indiana GOP Rep Says Women Will Pretend To Be Raped To Get Free Abortions: First of all, I don't know much about Indiana politics. However, I do have strong opinions about the abortion issue. Ultra-conservatives don't want abortion to be legal, and they'd love to see Roe v Wade reversed. The issue they often rally against – having the opinions of others rammed down their throats – is the same thing they are trying to do to anyone who doesn't see life from their angle. Anyone can believe what they want, but I'd rather not have conservative views or the right-wing perception of morality forced on me, either. If they decry the views of others being heaped upon them, why turn around and do the same? Contrary to popular belief, conservatives are not at the right-hand of God.

White House Blog: Health Reform One-Year Anniversary: I've always been a proponent of healthcare reform and was supremely happy when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law last year. Having been through my fair share of medical issues, including problems with my insurance company and financial crisis despite the coverage, I fully support the law. I just wish public option had been part of the plan. I still believe members of Congress should relinquish their benefits while the rest of us struggle in the current economy or fall victim to the selective caginess of insurance companies. If Republicans are so intent on saving money over basic healthcare – which is a right, not a privilege – they should start in their own backyards.

Finally, I think President Obama is doing a wonderful job. The man has faced nothing but obstacles – foreign and domestic – since he stepped into the White House. He has dealt with the hurdles with great aplomb, decisive action and unruffled tenacity.

Irrelevant right-wing loudmouths – we all know who they are - need to take a powder and fade into the sunset.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Books & Stuff

My publisher added Passion Forsaken to Amazon (Kindle). Here's the details:

Quixotic Crossings, part two of the Collective Obsessions anthology, will be coming out next month. Saints preserve me! I don't know how much more excitement I can stand...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Slim Peckings

Since last October, I've received multiple publishing contracts for books written under one of my fiction monikers Deidre Dalton. Needless to say, I'm over the moon about my good fortune. I've worked long and hard for many years on my writing. To receive one publishing contract is incredible, but to have six in hand is a dream come true.

However, it leaves little time for anything else at the moment. Editing and finalizing several books for release in 2011 requires a great deal of focus, and it's where my head has to be for the foreseeable future.

I'll try to "political blog" as often as I can, which might not be much in the coming weeks.