Saturday, June 23, 2012

Be careful what you ask for ...

For the past week, I’ve been caught in a whirlwind of door-to-door begging. I was a canvasser and wouldn’t have made my constantly rising “quota” to save my life and instead of being fired I quit.
Now, this was not an easy decision for me. My parents said work the last day anyway. Its $54 a day for traversing local neighborhoods in 105-degree heat and asking them to support something they had never heard of until I showed up, clipboard in hand to ask them for their hard-earned money.
It was horrible, to say the least! We’ve had 100-plus days of heat and I was walking from noon to 9 p.m. Brutal work, I tell ya.
The bosses were fresh-out-of-college 20 somethings, (ready to change the world). Cynicism was not part of their perky, upbeat, urban-dictionary-found vocabulary. It was sickening.
In addition, if you did not meet an almost-unattainable quota within three days, you were ousted.
The nonprofit, grassroots organization is raising money for itself to spread the word about the importance of the American Jobs Act, introduced by President Barack Obama in his second year of the four-year term. It was immediately knocked out of contention by the Republican-led House of Representatives and committees are tearing it apart trying to salvage aspects of the legislation.
The intent is good. In a nutshell, if the greedy 1 percent of our population, who hold 98 percent of the wealth would be taxed an additional penny (yes, 1 cent), it would garner $80 billion to pay for the American Jobs Act. The stalemate in Congress since President Obama took office is that Republicans, the Grand Old Party, have vowed to vote No on every single piece of legislation the President has brought before them. The GOP has kept its vow.
Maybe the job is not meant for middle-age, old-time Hippies who still want to save the country. It’s a young person’s job and unfortunately the employee base in my hometown of Pueblo, Colo., (home of the Consumer Guide) is made up of middle age, laid-off, vulnerable and desperate people.  In my first week, all three of us hired were out of a job because we could not meet the quota set by people who had never heard of Pueblo, let alone studied its demographics before.
Regardless, I am happy with my decision. And I hope the best for ColoradoFairShare.org.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Life is pending

For the 23 million of us unemployed these days, our lives are just pending…waiting for our resumes to be acknowledged, waiting for that job to come through, waiting for the next check, the next lead, the next glimmer of hope.
I, myself, am bored to death. In fact, in February, after rounding the corner of my four year out of gainful employment, I tried to kill myself. And those haunting words that things would be better off if I was dead are always on my mind.
What a stressful way to live! Only 5 percent of my thousands of resumes have been acknowledged.
My unemployment of $53 a week stopped last month. It doesn’t sound like much. But until you go through life without $53 a week can you understand.
I truly believe ageism is at fault here. The same jobs my 18-year-old nephew gets are jobs I’ve applied to days before! I’ve actually been told by one call center that the interview process would be stopped because of my age.
“We wouldn’t want to train someone like you,” the interviewer said. “Once you find a job in your field you will leave, (true). That’s why we prefer applicants in their 20s.”
The gall. The humiliation. The actualization that I have hit my 51 year, and am now unemployable. I’ve worked since I was 15 years old. Serving in the U.S. Navy as a journalist on a sub tender, and joining civilian papers for the next 30 years, I am a dependable employee.
My life is pending, and I am sick of it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Being broke is no joke

Unemployed for the past year, my savings are gone. I’ve moved back in with my mother. I am living on $44 a week on unemployment, which has been shut off for two weeks until my federal emergency unemployment comes through. It could be a month or two before it starts again. Unemployment, which I have paid into since I started working at 15 years old, is my only source of income.

I live on food stamps. Two hundred dollars a month is my saving grace – along with food baskets from the Salvation Army every three months. It’s illegal, but last week I had to sell $40 worth of food stamp groceries for cash in order to get gas for my car.

Being unemployed is boring. After you apply at every restaurant, shop and business within a 30 mile radius you reapply again.  

I believe my age (50ish) is playing some part in the neglect my full resume garners so far. I’ve redone my resume so many times so it adheres to the job requirements, and even that specialization has not helped a bit. Not a nibble. Not one call.

I volunteered for a while – to network, connect with my community, and help out others less fortunate – but without gas I can’t even do that anymore.

Before I was unemployed, I would frequently take weekend road trips all over the state but being broke stopped the trips and many other things you think you can’t live without, until you do have to live without.  
I shaved my head and am saving on haircuts this year. While I have never indulged in a manicure, now it is getting rough to do it myself because I can’t afford luxuries such as polish remover, et al.

Even eating out would be a thrill. Getting out of the house to have someone else cook a great meal for you – wow! What a concept. (First thing I will do when I get a paycheck.)

People judge you on what you do, and when you do nothing, some people make you feel like nothing. Being broke is a humiliating, humbling, numbing, and horrible existence.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's About Time

Finally, after promises and ‘evolving,’ President Barack Obama announced his support for same sex marriage; although he did not go as far as declare a national referendum on the matter.

It’s about time.

We are a nation of hypocrites. We claim to believe everyone is equal but we still have yet to pass an Equal Rights Amendment after nearly 40 years of coming up to vote – year after year.
Now, the time has come – forced by the Vice President Joe Biden announcing his support of same sex marriage on “ Meet the Press” over the past weekend. I watched the show and didn’t feel like it would create the outcry it has – especially by Gay Republicans who are pissed it took President Obama so long.

With this being an election year, the matter wasn’t supposed to be discussed until closer to November, but Biden pushed the issue to the forefront. Good for him, too. Not like a lot of white men lawmakers are jumping on the boat, but the national secretary of education also came out in favor later on last Sunday.

So, the issue is out there. It is only fair.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made racial discrimination illegal. It should have been updated years ago to firmly spell out that any discrimination against any other human is illegal.

However, there is still some question about how the nation’s highest court would rule on the issue. The last time the Supreme Court considered anything close was in 2003, when it ruled 5-4, to overrule an earlier decision regulating private sexual conduct for consenting adults. As he dissented, Justice Anthony Scalia, reportedly, said they were “largely signing on to the so-called homosexual agenda."

Isn’t about time we ensure everyone in America is treated equally?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Incorporate Your Uterus

The GOP calls it a “manufactured” idea but recent actions all lead to the War on Women and groups throughout the United States are preparing to make our voices know. In my hometown of Pueblo, Colo., we are staging protests to counter anti-choice fanatics by out local Planned Parenthood.
We have planned a symposium which will discuss several areas in which women are still poorly represented and even discriminated on. The War on Women is real, and with women holding a majority of voters in this country we should be screaming back for male legislators to keep their business away from our business.
Even though the Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider the dreadful Citizens United decision it may come to this: incorporate your uterus.
Good news out of Florida as the state becomes the first in the South to end the practice of shackling pregnant inmates in labor. The bad news is 35 states still shackle women in custody during labor.
More good news: teen pregnancy rates are down to record lows thanks in large part to the successful use of contraception. More bad news: Republicans continue to push for a return to abstinence-only sex education.
If at first you don’t succeed, try jamming a “heartbeat” abortion ban through a different committee. That’s the GOP way in Mississippi apparently.
In Arizona the Republican controlled House passed a 20 week abortion ban that outlaws abortions at 20 weeks gestation rather than 20 weeks post-fertilization. The bill now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer (R) for signature.
In Oklahoma, the push for personhood could end up becoming a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. But not all conservatives think this is a good idea.
Sen. Mitch McConnell insists there is no War on Women and cites a host of his female Republican colleagues as proof. The problem with McConnell’s evidence is that each Republican he cites has publicly criticized her party for attacking women and contraception. Oops.
Thankfully we have Herman Cain around to explain the gender gap for us “other people.”
Sony may be supporting anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers” by distributing the anti-choice movie “October Baby.” A portion of the profits from the film go to funding these groups. Let them know that’s not acceptable.
California finds toxins in “nontoxic” nail polishes.
People in Kansas are standing up for contraception after the state has stripped funding of critical family planning programs.
With Rick Santorum exiting the presidential race will the attacks on women’s rights slow down? Not likely with these guys still around.
The Seattle City Council on Monday made it illegal for businesses and other entities to ask nursing mothers to stop, cover up or move to a different location in public areas, confirming that feeding children in public really shouldn’t be a big deal.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ryan Budget is a Slap in our Faces

As The White House put it House Republicans  “stacked the deck against the middle class," by approving Ryan budget that gives millionaires an average $150,000 tax cut, creates more breaks for Wall Street managers and preserves giveaways to oil companies.

Just another example of how the "establishment" turns a blind eye and deaf ear to the millions of Americans struggling to keep food on the table and afford the gas to get to work.

Names for Rep. Paul Ryan the budget also makes radical discretionary cuts across the board. By 2014, more than nine million students will see Pell Grants fall by as much as $1,100, and about 900,000 students would lose their grants altogether, it is estimated.  Clean energy programs would be cut nearly 20 percent, Head Start would offer 200,000 fewer slots per year, and critical medical research and science programs would see drastic cuts. 

It is imperative we call our Senators and ensure they put a stop to this biased, unbalanced budget that is a direct hit to the 99 percent of Americans who fall under the top 1 percent who control and attain all the wealth. 

Meanwhile President Barak Obama has offered a balance plan that will reduce our deficit by more than $4 TRILLION by asking the 1 percent pay their fair share. It also enacts responsible spending cuts and will help bring economic security back to the middle class and seniors.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Yes, women can benefit

Most people don't know this, but the big health care bill that President Obama signed has a ton of benefits in it that impact women specifically. And studies show that the more people know about what's in the bill, the more likely they are to support it and use those great new benefits. Right now--when health care is in the news and lots of people will be talking about it--is a great time to share what's in it that's great for women with your friends and colleagues.
Top 5 Benefits for Women in the Health Care Law
1. Being a woman is no longer a "pre-existing condition."  Yes, women were denied coverage for just being women before the Affordable Care Act was law. Insurance companies would classify pregnancy, c-sections or even being a domestic violence or rape survivor as pre-existing conditions 1and deny coverage on that basis. Women will no longer be denied care2 for pre-existing conditions.
2. Insurance companies can't charge you more for being a woman either. Before the Affordable Care Act was law, women were sometimes charged up to 150% more than men of the same age. The health care law makes gender discrimination illegal.3
3. Having a pap smear still sucks, but at least you don't have to shell out a co-pay for it.Breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, domestic violence counseling and screenings and a whole bunch of other preventive care measures must be covered by insurance companies.4
4. You also don't need a co-pay for birth control anymore.5 And when 1 in 3 women in our country can't afford it, that's a big deal.
5. Have kids? Or want to? The law helps with that too. If you have kids, they can stay on your health insurance until they're 26 years old--regardless of whether they live with you or are married or not.6 And if you want to have kids, the law will help you get pre-natal care and counseling and help with breast feeding and supplies too.7
1. "I Am Not A Pre-Existing Condition," RH Reality Check, October 14, 2009
2. "The Affordable Care Act Gives Women Greater Control Over Their Own Health Care." White House Fact-sheet
3. Ibid
4. "Preventive Services Covered Under the Affordable Care Act," Department of Health and Human Services Fact-sheet
5."Women's Preventive Services: Required Health Plan Coverage Guidelines," Department of Health and Human Services Fact-sheet
6. "Young Adult Coverage," Department of Health and Human Services Fact-sheet
7. "Women's Preventive Services: Required Health Plan Coverage Guidelines," Department of Health and Human Services Fact-sheet

Healthcare in High Court


Today, March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether to keep or kill the largest reform package for healthcare in America, and their decision affects the 99% far more than the 1% (*of which most judges probably fall into that category.)
I am part of the 99 percent and this action scares the bejesus out of me. First, I was witness to the fiasco when the Supreme Court basically stole the presidency from Al Gore, and plunged us into a four-year debacle that had the younger George Bush sending this country into spiraling debt. (Remember President Bill Clinton left office with a balanced budget). But I digress.
For the next three days, the Court's Honorable Judges will decide whether 30 million Americans will be able to get health insurance - something that should be an inalienable right! Twenty-six states, including my home state of Colorado (how embarrassing) joined forces to question the validity of the newly-embraced moniker of Obamacare, named for our beloved President Barack Obama, who passed this law as one of the first he signed during his first term.
Insurance companies forced this action because Obamacare will mandate that no-one with a pre-existing condition can be denied health insurance (jeez, who needs it most!). It also limits how much insurance companies can charge older people.
Obamacare also expands Medicare and will open coverage to more than 15 million who earn too much to qualify. The Congressional Budget Office says by 2019, with Obamacare, 95 percent of all Americans will have health insurance. 
I don't. And I don't think it should be an issue. Everyone needs health insurance. Without the Veterans Administration (VA - I am a U.S. Navy veteran) I would be dead. I wonder how many others who are uninsured couldn't wait.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Okay, I like Obamacare

Obamacare turns two years old today. It's a big day for the young law. That's why people across the country are joining us today in saying Thanks Obamacare.

  • Thanks from the 20 million women in the U.S. who have taken advantage of the law's preventative care benefits.
  • Thanks from the 973,000 Coloradans who received at least one new preventative service in 2011.
  • Thanks from the 28 million children in the U.S. for getting rid of lifetime coverage benefits.
  • Thanks from the 2.5 million people under the age of 26 who are now able to stay on their parents' health insurance.
  • Thanks for making sure no woman is ever denied coverage by removing pregnancy and domestic abuse as pre-existing conditions.

Friday, March 16, 2012

We are the 99 percent

Welcome to my blog. My best advice for getting involved is to do it locally. Find your group to continue plugging away at the situation this country is in: We are the 99 percent