This is the United States I Love

A while back I watched singer Ted Nugent rant and rave and literally threaten to kill the president. And his audience clapped. It seemed to be a culmination of all the extreme right wing’s thoughts and actions over the last 3 years.  It scared me and sickened me because, after all, these are the people who, out of fear and loathing, are amassing arsenals in their homes. If they feel that way about the president and his supporters, what will they do to me and the people I love?

And then this morning I watched an amazing You Tube video called BoatLift : an Untold Story of 9/11 Resilience and I cried. This short film epitomizes the United States I love. It is the United States we can be, but not if we continue to spew hatred at each other, not if we continue to demonize candidates and claim they are what they are not just to scare voters and ourselves.

Watch this video. It will make you proud. Hopefully it will remind you of what we were and what we can be again. Beware of outside influences and money that foster fear and hatred.  That is NOT who we are. This is what we are:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/MDOrzF7B2Kg?rel=0

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Publishers be E-Damned!

First Harper Collins changed their contracts so that if libraries bought their e-books, they had to buy a 2nd copy after the book was downloaded 26 times. Then Random House decided that libraries must pay 300% more for their e-books than previous prices.

But today was the kicker. Amazon.com announced that J.K. Rowling’s new novel, The Casual Vacancy, an adult novel about a small English village and the effect of a man’s death on the village would be released on Sept. 27.  Little Brown is the publisher and the list price will be $35…($21 if you pre-order it through Amazon), and$19.99 for the Kindle e-version!

Can we say “Price Gouging?”

The average list price for printed best sellers is currently $28 and $13 for e-versions so this represents a 25% raise in price for what is sure to be a mega-seller in print, but a 46% hike for the e-version over other best sellers! And please explain to me why digital versions of books should ever cost this much. It is not like the publishers spend a lot in printing fees, storage or shipping costs like they do for the printed versions.  Once they develop the digital version they use virtually the same marketing, cover art and author contracts, so why the exorbitant prices? I’m sure most authors don’t get this extra money. It is simply GREED on the part of publishers.

This week the Dept of Justice lauched an anti-trust lawsuit against Apple and 6 publishers regarding their collusion in price fixing of digital books http://www.examiner.com/literature-in-lexington/dept-of-justice-files-anti-trust-lawsuit-against-apple-big-six-publishers

Little Brown belongs to Hachette one of the six publishers in that lawsuit which has already made an accommodation.

Attention, Department of Justice :  Heads up!

A Modest Proposal

One of the travesties of today is the plight of our military. A miniscule percentage of our population has been fighting our wars and have been deployed numerous times. This puts enormous strain on their spouses. Compound this with a rise in suicides, debilitating injuries and lack of jobs upon their return,and we can easily see that our brave soldiers are under water, so to speak.

I propose that not only should communities support the families, employers find them sustainable jobs, schools help their children but  to give them a leg up, any soldier who is fighting or has fought in a foreign war or police action should be given free utilities for life. Our country owes them relief from the cold or heat at a minimum while they are reentering civilian life. It is a small thing, but could be huge to them, especially those who are homeless and can little afford to set up an apartment for themselves. We all stood by and watched them fight for us and too many of them die, now let’s all think of what WE could do to help current and former members of the military and their families.

http://www.operationhomefront.net/?gclid=CLfCg-yBra4CFYoZQgodVRODSw

http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces/get-involved

Candidate’s Wives

I’ve been glued to the TV and the current political debates for seemingly months, and I think newspeople and pundits have missed a crucial piece of the picture, candidate’s wives. Has anyone else noticed the preponderance of blondes? I know that Republican candidates’s wives are usually blonde, but this year’s crop must make hair colorists dizzy with delight. Of course, I realize Herman Cain’s wife was not blonde, but he effectively hid her from view while campaigning, so she hardly hit the tv screens of America.

One that stands out above the rest is Newt Gringrich’s wife, Callista. Her hairstyle is not only glaringly blonde, but seems to defy the laws of physics. It never moves, and never changes. I saw her late at night in Iowa and then brutally early the next morning, and not a hair had moved. Does she sleep sitting up in a chair? The sassy sweep on the left side of her head was firmly in place.  I think her hairstyle resembles a helmet. I have been paying particular attention, surmising that perhaps it was a wig, but no, it seems to be her hair. I guess that when one has a revolving acount at Tiffany, one must look perfect at all times. I can’t visualize her in a garden behind the White House, can you?

Oh, well, not going to happen.

Finally!

Today the last of our troops crossed over to Kuwait, thus ending the longest, most expensive, biggest mistake in this nation’s 235 years. You can argue about the motivation behind this war, but even the most adamant of supporters must agree it was partially based on the lie that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

It was a war fought by gallant armed forces who returned time and time again and have, I’m afraid, been irrevocably damaged by it. They and their families have born the burden while the rest of us have sat back and tsk tsked. Others have postured and demanded that we remain and have soothed what must be their guilt by loudly thanking soldiers “for their service.” These soldiers gave much more than service. They gave not only their blood, but their careers, their families, and for too many, their mental wellbeing.

This morning on one of the talk shows I watched a member of the Bush administration assert that we have left Iraq better than we found it. How can that be?  Upwards of 110,000 Iraqi civilians have been verified killed, countless thousands have been injured. Many areas have not been rebuilt, others have no electricity or still have rolling blackouts and no running water.  Untold thousands fled the country while sectarian violence was exacerbated. Over 4,800 American soldiers have died, over 32,000 have been injured. This can not be better.

I say thank God we have finally left. We had no business there. It is time to rebuild this country. It is time for our soldiers to come home and rebuild their strength. If they can…

http://www.reuters.com/article/slideshow/idUSTRE7BH03320111218#a=2

Welcome Home.

On Traveling Through Oklahoma

While traveling between Tulsa & Oklahoma City recently , we encountered this wonderful radio show called Open Line on KJGG (?) FM. This is a call-in show covering half of Oklahoma whereby folks can buy & sell or trade items. One woman wanted someone to clean her house. Another wanted to sell her old ” like new” king mattess & sofa sleeper. There were rabbit hutches, stock carriers, old pick ups, & A diesel tractor on offer & a plea for some “fryin’ rabbits already dressed.” [Maybe he should hook up with the guy who had rabbit hutches for sale .]One man assured us he had a banjo that “looked like a banjo, sold like a banjo, but played like a guitar.” only $250. In the middle of this, it was announced that 2 horses were loose up by the middle school. My favorite was Reverend Joe who was trying once more to sell his model airplanes for $5,000. He needed $6900 to fix the church roof & remarked things would just get more expensive. One man wanted some 2″ pipe. When asked how much, he said, ” lots.” He wanted to build a corral.  [perhaps for those horses by the school.] Another lady had a large turkey platter for sale along with a set of Longhorn horns. She may have also been the one who said her set of dishes on sale were “real pretty. They weren’t from Walmart.”

Then there were the announcements. The Community Church was having a Chili Supper for Hunters. Bring in your deer. There will be a prize for the biggest. [What do you do with the deer doing the supper?] The local library was the most enterprising. In addition to the book sale which would have books for sale for 10 – 25 cents completely cataloged,(!!!) they announced a cookie exchange. Just bring in a couple of dozen. (obviously no health dept here) The top event of the week at the library was the showing of the movie “Scrooged.”
All in all. Good down home helpfulness.

Now Texas is something else. As we were approaching Amarillo we encountered the “Jesus Christ is Lord, Not a Swearword Truck Stop!” … Enough Said!!

We Need Leaders Not Readers !!!

This afternoon Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain was asked about his recent unintelligible comments about Libya and other foreign policy subjects. He went on a diatribe saying that no leader can know everything, That is why you pick and choose what your interests are and hire good people who know about the rest. He ended his comments with the statement that “We need leaders not readers.”

OMG, Be still my retired librarian heart!

I spent most of my adult life fostering reading, seeking out facts and the truth of any subject for myself and more importantly for any library patron seeking assistance. To hear someone who is ostensibly running for president make such a statement chills me to the bone. There were actually people in the audience cheering this imbecile. That scares me even more. They are the same type of “Americans” who cheered executions, booed a gay soldier and look up to a cast of presidential contenders who continue to pander to their fears, who denigrate educated people as “elitists”, and who make fun of  men of thoughtfulness, and  compromise.

At least Herman Cain has explained this phenomenon.  These candidates and voters are obviously not readers …  and proud of it!    We are in deep do-do!

Los[t] Leaders

A  market research firm, IHS iSuppli, divulged this week that the new Kindle priced at $79 actually costs $84.25 to produce.  Add the free shipping and packaging that Amazon provides and we have what is known as a Loss Leader.  In grocery store lingo that is a cheap product which lures in shoppers. Even though the store may lose money on that specific product, businessmen bank on the fact that shoppers will buy many other products while in the store which will eventually glean profits.   I’m sure Amazon hopes that new Kindle owners will purchase books and magazine subscriptions through their own store eventually recouping their costs.  In addition, this model of the Kindle has ads on it. Another money making proposition.

This leads me to think about our own Los[t] Leaders…those politicians in state houses as well as Washington that are spending more than they are taking in. I think they should take note of the Amazon model. First, they could open government stores linked to food stamps, social security payments and other services they provide. Taxpayers might be induced to buy Statue of Liberty keychains, or John Boehner golf clubs, Nancy Pelosi jewelry or Mitch Mcconnell throat lozenges. And just think of the opportunity for billboards on the Washington Monument or on the side of Air Force One….Maybe we do need businessmen in office:)

Busywork in Congress

Do you remember when you were little and a teacher gave you busywork…usually repetitious efforts that had no real useful intent, but just kept you busy, while she could help the students who needed more work, or step out of the room for a few moments, or took a day off and got a substitute teacher she didn’t actually trust to teach you, so used busywork sort of as a place holder.

Well imagine my surprise when I realized that that is precisely what Congress is doing in 2011.  Rather than actually address the deep problems our country faces, rather than bring forth their own jobs producing legislation, or, God forbid, actually pass the Obama jobs bill, the Republicans have been doing Busywork. They are continually coming up with legislation which is meaningless. For example, today they spent time haranguing about their bill to declare “In God We Trust” as the motto of the U.S.   That despite the fact that it is already considered the national motto.  Wikipedia states “In God We Trust” was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956.”  Busywork.  Other important legislation they have been pushing  guarantees that taxpayers wouldn’t be forced to pay for abortions. The fact that legally that is already forbidden didn’t stop them from doing it again and again.

Why are they doing this? Could it be they think the teacher has left the room, and they can’t do any real work until she returns?

Could it be that they are incapable of coming up with any new legislation and must restate the laws they like ad nauseum.

Methinks the truth is that Busywork is all they can do.

One More Poll

Since I am truly masochistic at heart, I’m watching the Sunday Morning News Shows. The pundits are scrabbling for a glimpse at political news. It seems that there are probably 125 different polls going on simultaneously. Forget Pew and Gallup, let’s concentrate on the DesMoines Iowa inner city poll,  Florida commuter polls, the Helena straw poll.. Candy Crowell is trying to show some significance in purchased halloween costumes. (It seems the nation is so disgusted at politicians that they would rather be a zombie this year.)

Who will win, who will win? It looks like there are approximately 100 pundits who rotate on the various news shows and weigh in on their world view weekly. Once in awhile one takes a week or two of vacation, but then come back energized and they are everywhere.  Since they and their minions seem to be in charge of what we think about the candidates, our economy and our neighbors, I think we need one more poll.

The “Ricki’s World View Poll of the Best Pundit”

In this poll, I am not giving you a list of choices…there are over 100 for God’s sake. I just want everyone to comment on which of these yeasayers and naysayers most succinctly and logically voice their views of the looming election and candidates. Is there one out there who has a substantive knowledge of concepts, honestly voices these ideas and is not just a flunky for either party. Just comment your vote.

Next time we may have a poll of the worst pundit, so while you are voting, keep in mind who is nothing but a party parrot.

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