1sunfight’s Weblog

July 31, 2008

Obama and McCain on Economic Issues and Other Positions

Filed under: Daily Observations,Economics,McCain,Obama,politics — Julie P @ 12:12 am

There is one thing that I have noticed when people run for an elected office, any office, often times they do not know what the issues are or where the candidates stand on the issues. This presidential election cycle is no different. People claim they do not know where Barack Obama stands on the issues, yet he has enumerated them many times. It appears that people have bought into the spin that Obama does not have a plan, but he does. However, if people know so little about Obama’s positions on the issues, even though they have been discussed many times and are available on his website, then it is fair to believe that people have no idea what McCain’s positions are either. After all, if Obama can repeat his positions over and over, then the same can be said for McCain. On that note here are the positions that both candidates hold on economic issues, just to clear this up. Furthermore here are where they stand on the issues that are available on the Obama website and the McCain website. If you plan on voting, then now is the time to inform yourself and quit believing all of the spin.

July 30, 2008

Reading the Tea Leaves, Who will be the VP?

Filed under: McCain,Obama,politics,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 12:12 am

Once the dust has settled after the presidential primaries and both parties have their presumptive nominees going into the party conventions people begin to read the tea leaves as to who will be their vice presidential running mate. There is much speculation as to who it could be, the speculation splashes across the front page of every newspaper website there is with only 26 days left to the Democratic convention and 33 Days until the Republican convention. Here is a list of who the pundits believe could be on the Democratic ticket and who could be on the Republican ticket. Since I am not a physic or pretend to be able to read the tea leaves, I will wait until the conventions, but I am interested as to who could possibly be second in command of the United States.

 

July 29, 2008

US Record Deficit

Filed under: Daily Observations,Economics,politics — Julie P @ 2:03 am

I am your average American on the street; the person who gets up and goes to work every day, working 50 hours a week; the person who obeys the law; and the person who worked their way through college and paid for college while there, because I am the average American who suffered an occupational disease and was forced to leave a fourteen year career, leave behind a business and retrain for another career and believed the time to pay for higher education was while there and not afterward. I am the American who has a strong work ethic, discipline, and has the ability to practice self discipline and delayed gratification. Yet, I am your average American who is outraged at our current Administration for their fiscal irresponsibility because this Administration lives in a fantasyland of live for the day, and to hell with tomorrow, consequences be damned.

Thomas Jefferson believed in fiscal responsibility for a nation and not to borrow money to finance a nation, especially with foreign money, yet here we are with a $483 Billion deficit, or to put it another way, $815 Billion in debt because we have had for nearly eight years of the most irresponsible, arrogant, dry drunk for a president whose only concern is his legacy. George Bush you have squandered our good name and reputation, you have squandered our future with your arrogant incompetence, and you have done it with by spending too much money on war with no end, and you have done it by borrowing money from foreign governments and foreign institutions. You ruined three businesses before you even entered politics and now you are determined to have your legacy, your precious legacy, to be the president to bankrupt America, to ruin America, not even Herbert Hoover was that stupid, President Bush. You hide behind your false patriotism; you flaunt the American ideals I previously stated about discipline, the practice of it, delayed gratification, and the American dream of self employment and higher education, but all you have shown is your stupidity, and complete lack of understanding of managing money, building for a united future, and no true understanding of American values. I pity the next president because the person will inherit your precious legacy, a legacy of fiscal irresponsibility. Get the hell out of the White House and do it today.

July 28, 2008

Obama Overseas Trip

Filed under: Daily Observations,Obama,politics,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 12:58 am

If there ever was a time in American presidential election history more important than this one it did not happen in my lifetime. I have lived through thirteen presidential elections; with seven of them I was and am eligible to vote in. This is my thirteenth election year and this is the one that I am proud of; this is the one that will make all of the difference; this is the one where America will witness a passing of the torch from one generation to another.

Presumptive Democratic nominee US Senator Barack Obama recently went on an eight day tour of the Middle East and Europe solidifying his position as a world leader. His trip was all swish and all net, not one mistake. Barack Obama not only looks presidential, he is presidential. Job well done, Barack. Job well done.

 

 

July 27, 2008

Off the Cuff

Filed under: Daily Observations — Julie P @ 7:00 pm

I saw this video on CNN and could not help but hearken back to a New Year’s Eve morning when I arrived at work to see a champagne colored, four door Mercedes sedan sitting in the middle of the hair salon I was working in at the time. My first client of the day was there with me at the moment of discovery; both of us ran back out into the parking lot, so we would not embarrass the woman who drove her car into a business and broke out laughing. Some people just should not be allowed to drive under any circumstance.

Great Lakes July Update

Filed under: Environment,politics — Julie P @ 2:04 pm

As news becomes available on the preservation and protection of the Great Lakes, I will provide it.

What the Great Lakes Compact is versus what is not is available on the Council of Great Lakes Governors website: Compact versus Uniform laws. A recent update concerning this compact states that it is awaiting approval in Washington later this year. There are some concerns though is that election year politics may complicate the process.

The Compact serves two main purposes: diversion of water from the Great Lakes and the restoration and preservation of the Great Lakes from toxins and invasive species. Concerning invasive species here are recent developments: The Ninth Circuit Court ruled in favor of a coalition of environmental groups in an effort to ward off invasive species. A brief synopsis of the outcome prohibits discharging polluted ballast water without a permit. On the Canadian side of the border a comprehensive progress report concerning toxins in the Great Lakes and the bilateral strategy within the Great Lakes basin is available.

Obesity in America

Filed under: Daily Observations,Obesity,politics — Julie P @ 12:26 am

Most of my life I have been runway model thin, but after I quit smoking in my mid thirties I put on roughly forty pounds, which I welcomed. However, along the way I had been the recipient of rude, unsolicited remarks, even at a healthy weight. I had my suspicions as to why this occurred; people were jealous because many were overweight, or that was my opinion of them. So while on a recent trip to the United Kingdom I noticed I felt like I fit in with my body size. I did not feel as though I stood out in a crowd; I was part of the crowd. When I got back to the United States I suddenly felt very out of place physically, I was not a part of the cultural norm of being overweight. To me it was no longer an opinion, I saw what it was like to be somewhere else where being very large physically was not a cultural norm, at least not like it is where I live. The scorn filled comments were coming from a place of envy.

Last week I got the confirmation that my assessment of where I live is that people are indeed overweight, in fact, many are obese. I first saw the results of a CDC obesity survey on CNN. It is true; the state I live in is the eighth fattest state in America with just over 28 percent obesity rate. But, what I found startling was how obese the rest of the country is. We have a very real obesity epidemic going on. (CDC results) It became even more real when I looked at their obesity trend data covering 23 years of data. The United States has gone from being mildly overweight to being a nation with extremely high obesity rates for most of the country and occurring within a generation.

To me this is a call to action in the United States instead of focusing on other people who are a healthy weight. The CDC has come up with a list of contributing factors like eating too many calories for the amount of physical activity that is undertaken, environment, and genetics. These to me are the basics, but to me we need to look further we need to look at the amount of junk food we consume, and I am not talking just about soda and candy, which are plentiful are widely consumed; and I am not talking just about fast food too, another pit fall. We also need to look at the processed food that is sold in every grocery store across the United States. So much of our food is loaded with sugar, and fructose, which is the silent part of the equation. It is making us obese and very unhealthy. Recently in California there was a bill banning trans fats; if one state can take the right step by banning an unhealthy additive in food, then it is within reason that all states can ban trans fats and put restrictions on the amount of sugar and fructose put added to our food. It is killing us.

In the meantime, Americans need to look out for themselves by looking at what and how much food we are putting into our mouths. We also need to get physically active instead of sitting in front of the television, playing video games, and living online. We are killing ourselves by eating our way into an early grave.

July 20, 2008

The Insanity of Clothes

Filed under: Daily Observations — Julie P @ 4:36 pm

I have a love hate relationship with clothes; I always have and I always will.

Growing up and well into my adulthood I had been runway model thin and slightly above average height, which made finding clothes that fit me, especially pants, challenging. On the other hand, the clothes that I could find that fit were always of high caliber standing, fueling a lifelong passion for beautiful clothes. This is the backdrop of my love hate relationship with clothes.

After I quit smoking in my mid to late 30’s I put on some weight. It was not a lot, about seven pounds. Until that time I had thought I could not put on weight, so I resigned myself to the Twiggy look, but after seeing weight go on I went on a very disciplined regimen to gain weight, which I did. Although it was followed by some weight loss due to a stressful semester in college, two vicious colds, and an unpleasant drop in income. Once I found a job where I could buy all the food I wanted and got me off my feet I went back to my ideal weight and size.

Currently I am roughly 40 pounds heavier than I was in my mid thirties and seven inches bigger around. Last winter when I went to replace clothes that no longer fit and to add to my wardrobe, since I needed more professional clothing for my new job, I had a fit. Like in years gone by it remained difficult for me to find clothes that fit properly.

I buy beautiful suits cast off by wealthy women who have nothing better to do with their time than to go shopping and buy clothes they will never wear, but instead of returning them they get sent off to consignment shops to be sold. In my winter trip to the consignment shop knowing my size and measurements I tried on clothes in “my size”. The clothes fit, but after trying them on they were not as pretty as I thought they would be, so on a lark I tried on designer clothes in smaller sizes that I liked. Lo and behold they fit. I bought the “size 4’s” and hung them along with the “size 6 and 8” pants that populate my closet, with some of my “size 6” pants becoming too tight these days. Yes, the very pants that I bought and had hemmed because they always come a couple of inches too long. Of course, in the same trip I found an extremely beautiful red velvet dress labeled “size 10”. In my mind it is not possible to be all of those different sizes. I even have similar problems with shirts and blazers. The only type of clothes that I am able to find that are consistent in their sizes are jeans, with many of the ones own a size 8, but not all, and my t-shirts, or other clothes that can be labeled “size medium”.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I went out to add a few summer pieces to my wardrobe since I do not have as many professional summer weight clothes as I would like. I pilfered the racks of clothes trying on all sizes from “size 4” to “size 10”. Most of the clothes, including the “size 8’s” were too small. I was not the only person experiencing the same thing. The four other women in the fitting room were having the same problem. We all concluded that summer clothes must be made smaller than winter clothes. I will go so far as to say that summer weight clothes are also not as forgiving as winter weight clothes. Summer clothes do not camouflage body imperfections, both real and imagined.

I did leave with a few items, a beautiful “size 8” dress, jeans, and blouse along with a “size 10” pair of linen shorts, and the softest of silk “size 10” designer pants that are being altered because they are four inches too long.

I have had this same conversation with many women over the years about the lack of consistency in clothing sizes. Until recently I never had this conversation with a man, not one, and then I heard something from one man about his difficult time with finding pants. I wrote it off since he is short, until I got into an e-mail exchange with my brother about his diet that evolved into the same conversation I have experienced with women. Clothes are labeled one size, yet is another, with clothes from days gone by and still hanging in the closet, being much smaller still.

Not once in my life did I ever consider that men would have this problem as well. Their clothes are clearly labeled in inches for this, that, and the other. And to be perfectly honest, most of the men I have ever known, and what I see going about their lives, do not appear to have the same concern with clothes as women do, so I never thought they cared about clothes. I was wrong.

In my brother’s e-mails to me he was just as exasperated as I am with finding clothes that fit. While on his diet he has lost 35 pounds and is looking to lose another 7 pounds, which is consistent with my weight gain and consistent with the same problems that I just described.

I can only conclude one thing; that even though manufacturers claim they have universal sizes and measurements for clothes, manufacturers, in fact, do not. They have slip shod guidelines for no obvious reasons. I have heard the argument that it is about size inflation because Americans have gotten fat, and that we need our egos stroked, yet that does not explain the experiences that I have, even within the high end designer clothes where that position is especially prevalent. Plain and simple, there is no guideline for clothes sizes, just estimates, and it is maddening for both women and men. We just want a little more consistency in sizing, so we do not have spend two hours in a store trying on clothes until we find what fits us.

July 13, 2008

Why Women Work

Filed under: Daily Observations,politics — Julie P @ 10:41 pm

Many years ago I heard a lot about women entering into the workplace, just that statement alone baffled me. I knew from my own family that women always held paying jobs outside of the home going across three generations. My grandmother worked in a garment factory, even after my grandfather was forced into an early retirement. My mother always held down some type of job as a teenager, then as an adult she worked a retail candy counter selling candy and would eventually be promoted into the credit department of the department store where she worked until she was forced into an early retirement. Even in my childhood my friends’ mothers worked outside of the home, or most of them did. My sister and I also worked and started working at an early age. My sister would babysit, jobs that I would later inherit, and we would both wait tables. I did take a job once selling shoes, and another job working odd jobs at an antique store. My sister found the job she has to this day through a co-op program at the high school she attended. She is currently in a management position that she hates, but the money she earns from that job is needed to send her children to college. Without the money, there would be no college education for them. As a young adult I went to cosmetology school and had a 14 year career in it, until I injured both of my wrists. It was at that point I took a delivery job that would allow me to reverse the damage done, support myself, and give me the flexibility to attend college. It took me seven years to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I was the first woman in my family to obtain an education beyond high school and the second in my family to obtain a bachelor degree. My father and a male cousin had both acquired associate degrees. Those are the only other instances of post high school education in my family.

The jobs that women worked over these three generations were a necessary income for the family, without the income our lives would have been different. I can only speculate on what that would have been. However, the women’s incomes of my grandmother and mother’s generations were secondary income. In my grandmother’s case she would go from part time to full time after my grandfather suffered a heart attack and could not work at the railroad job he had. He took an early retirement and worked a job at a gas station. By that time my mother and uncle were either still in high school or were already out on their own, thus changing the dynamics for the latter part of their marriage. However, it remains the same that both of these women were responsible for the caretaking and nurturing of the children along with taking care of the home.

My sister and I went on to lead different lives. My sister married immediately after high school to her high school sweetheart. Both my brother and I tried to dissuade her from her decision to marry at that time, both of us for different reasons. I simply thought she was too young to get married and that she and her boyfriend should delay getting married until they were a little better established in their jobs. My ex-brother in law still needed to complete his studies in plumbing, which included an apprenticeship that he had a difficult time finding. His first major life and character challenge. He failed and he failed miserably at it. He gave up and would come to define himself going from one restaurant job to another, with no ambition to improve his standing. My brother being old enough to travel in the same circles as my ex-brother in law had the opportunity to see his behavior when my sister was not around. My brother thought him to be a philanderer. He was just that. He abandoned my sister and their newborn son claiming she had trapped him. He married his girlfriend, took everything they owned, and left them in debt. Her second marriage was to an accountant. She kept her job as her income was necessary for them and the two children they had together along with her son from her first marriage; a child he would go on to adopt. Although my second brother in law did earn more money than my sister, her income went up the longer she remained and took job promotions.

I moved to another state and worked as a hairdresser to support myself. I was the first woman in my family to not marry right out of high school and to live independently. After six years I damaged my wrists because of repetitive motions that came from doing hair. I was forced to switch careers.

As an independent woman I had been involved in a serious relationship with a man who when I first met him had his own business in a technical field, lost it, started out all over again with a technical firm, and migrated into a Fortune 100 business where he was a project manager for the security installation of the security system for the Pentagon. He is an extremely intelligent person who is very analytical; self motivated, a risk taker, and had a down to earth spirit. These qualities got to him where he was without a college education. These are qualities I like that in a person, any person, but when it comes to men this is extremely important. Lacking in goals, lacking in self direction, lacking motivation just does not get it for me, especially when that standard is the one I am held to as well. The sad thing was when he reached this level I saw his down to earth nature change as he became a part of the American success story. He acquired a high paying career with the accolades that went with it; the exposure to very rich, very powerful people. My former boyfriend acquired upper middle class social status. He was flying at 30,000 feet. I no longer recognized the person I had come to love, because he was not that person. It had become a matter of all status and image. Simultaneously we both agreed to part ways, but for different reasons. He was spending too much time working, neglecting our relationship, his friends, and his needs. He was turning into a workaholic jerk. For him, I did not fit the image of the proper girlfriend of someone of his stature. He never did fully explain that to me, but I understand trophy girlfriends and trophy wives. That is what he needed me to be and I did not fit the bill. I am too common.

That is how I learned I am middle class and that middle class women work outside of the home. We work, we work because we have to, and we need to because that is what women do. We work all kinds of jobs, part time and full time, we work as waitresses, we work as middle managers, we work professional sales, and we do what men do.

Women from upper middle class families were the ones with the option not to work outside of the home, and did not work. In exchange they had children, so the married couple would have someone to pass their wealth to, they took care of the family, including the man, they took care of the home and provided a stable environment for the man to live in, to succeed at their jobs and careers. Once they got bored with staying home and wasting their minds, degrees, and being financially dependent on the man, women of the upper middle left the home in droves to find self fulfillment, instead finding it through others.

I write this entry because there are some out there who do not know this about women and working.

July 12, 2008

Seventy Year Old Woman Gives Birth

Filed under: Daily Observations,politics — Julie P @ 10:15 pm

One of things about debating online is that offers a person anonymity, thus allowing people the opportunity to state strongly held beliefs without fear of consequences. In this environment it has allowed me learn how men really feel about women. It is a reminder that women have not gained much, if any, ground in gaining equality.

In an open debate the subject of a woman aged seventy giving birth to twins, one a male the other a female, in India was introduced. The woman is married and that in this committed relationship the couple made this major life decision together and then executed it. They had IVF in order to produce a male heir to their property, even though they had adult female children who they could have passed the property on to. Both of the latter facts went overlooked and the woman was judged as a selfish person; the man was completely omitted along with the fact that male babies are preferred over female babies, and the transfer of property and wealth was and still is the domain of males. (I am not going to broach the subject of female feticide and infanticide as these practices do not take place in Western culture to my knowledge and the men who decided the woman is selfish are western.) On that note there are several observations that I have held to be true about men’s views of reproduction and the role that men play in it. During the debate I did ask what they thought about the husband’s role in the situation was. The question went unanswered, yet it was answered and here is why.

Society still holds the belief that reproduction is the domain of women; that men only can look in, especially with the advances of birth control, and cannot participate as they cannot carry a fetus to term and at the end of the gestation period bring a baby into the world. It is the one aspect of the human experience men are locked out of, so they remove themselves and hate women for it. In that framework, men also do not see, or choose not to see, that women become the primary nurtures of the child or children, because men, like it or not, still see themselves as the financial providers of their offspring. To illustrate my point, I mentioned the Indian couple going to any length to produce a male heir. It was not only to have a male child to pass property on to, but it was also mentioned that male child was needed to work the farm to provide for the family; i.e. the male’s role is that of the money maker. Regardless of what society a person lives in these roles are the accepted norm. In Western society this norm plays out in the legal arena too with awarding custody of the child or children to the woman, and assigning child support (aka known as financial responsibility to the man.) What men, or the men in the debate, do not recognize is that this view damages them as well. It separates them from their child or children, not only at the time of divorce, but from the time of birth. Men do not get to spend the time they would like to with their child or children, the child or children do not get to form a more intimate relationship with the father because men are too often absent from their child or children’s lives while they leave the home to earn a living. Patriarchy is damaging to men just as much as it to women, but until men recognizes this it remains easy to brand women selfish, selfish in reproductive choices, selfish in financial responsibility, selfish in general, and abdicates men from this fact.

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