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Oct 26, 2008

    The New York Times reported that there is about to be a renaissance in the nuclear power industry. After 30 years with no new plants having been built in the US, there are proposals for 34 new nuclear power sites before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Let me tell you what I know about the power plant pictured above. It sits on an otherwise pristine area of the beautiful Connecticut River in the town of Haddam and began energy production in 1968. The town fathers thought that locating a nuke plant in Haddam Neck, across the river from the main part of the town, was a fine idea. The tax revenue generated by the plant ensured that town taxes would be low for as long as it operated, which I am sure they expected to be longer than 28 years. It would be out of the way, it would be relatively small so as not to spoil the view of the river, and would provide hundreds of jobs.

    However, these town fathers made a deal with the devil. In order for the plant to be built, they had to agree to permanent on-site storage of all the nuclear waste the plant produced. It didn't seem like a big deal way back then, I guess, because they signed on the dotted line and lo and behold, once the plant was up and running Haddam enjoyed one of the lowest town tax rates in the entire state.

    Fast forward to the mid-1980's. The river, having so much hot water continuously dumped into from the nuke plant, became home to invasive foreign species of aquatic life carried upriver by barges. Asian clams loved the warm water, as did many non-native plants and striped bass. Now the fishermen on the river loved the bass, but they were destroying other fish species in large numbers.

    And then there was the cancer. The town's medical director told me, around 1989, that there was a large number of inexplicable cancers in a residential belt that ran across the river from the plant. Unusual numbers of leukemia and thyroid cancers were occurring. Although he couldn't prove it, he felt it was connected to Connecticut Yankee.

    The regional paper, the Middletown Press, used to regularly publish little squibs about unexpected plant emissions, but these were always described as "harmless" and "uneventful". By the early 1990's, when people began to add up all the unusual things going on that seemed to be connected to the plant, these notices disappeared from the newspaper.

    And then there were the stories told by plant workers of how cursory the inspections by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission actually were. How things didn't get reported or written up. Incidents that were minimized.

    After a large enough and vocal enough group of citizens waged a bruising, heated campaign to shut down Connecticut Yankee, the plant's board finally voted to stop production and schedule the plant for decommissioning.

    Alas, the fun never ended. After Connecticut Yankee shut down, it was discovered that spare lumber and cement blocks from the site had been offered and given away to people who wanted them for home projects. But these gifts were found, long after, to be highly contaminated. The tennis court, built by a benevolent board to provide a place for plant employees to exercise in the fresh air on their breaks, was found to have been built on contaminated ground. But the worst result is forever - Haddam now has a nuclear waste dump on the banks of the river. The fabulously low taxes are gone with the wind, and nothing remains from the devil's deal but spent nuclear fuel, the memories of those who succumbed to cancer and a river that has been ravaged by non-native plants and animals.

   Why do I write this? Because there is no way in hell that anyone can ever justify to me - who lived through those turbulent times in Haddam, was told by the first selectwoman to keep my mouth shut at meetings about the plant (yeah, right) and fought long and hard to close Connecticut Yankee down - the building of more nuclear plants. The trade-off between no air emissions and everlasting nuclear waste, with all its concomitant plagues, is not worth it.

    What I have written is just what I know about Connecticut Yankee. I am sure there are  many with even more information. And I am sure that similar situations have occurred, and are occurring, on nuclear power plant sites and in the towns and cities where they sit. I don't want one more nuke plant in the US. 34 would be a tragedy.

© 2008 RC deWinter

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Posted: Oct 26, 2008 8:06am
Oct 23, 2008

 

     I just watched the entire documentary Torturing Democracy. It is chilling, horrifying, and makes me, as an American trapped in the ugly web of this government's administration for the past 8 years, want to crawl into a hole and hide my face in shame.

      Starting with how planes were sent to fly over Afghanistan, with Psy-Ops personnel dropping leaflets all over the country promising riches to warlords and peasants alike for every Arab turned over to the US government, right through to the hellhole that is Guantanamo and missing no horror along the way, this documentary outlines the deliberate, knowing, coercive steps taken by members of the US government to ensure that the CIA and the military were covered by a "golden blanket" protecting them from national and/or international prosecution with memos and legal opinions cooked up by Cheney's Gang of Five, endorsing illegal and immoral treatment of prisoners in CIA black sites, in Iraqi prisons such as Abu Ghraib and at Guantanamo.

      You will see how Cheney's bootlicking toadies used every trick they could conjure to get around the prohibitions against torture contained in the language of both the US military code and the Geneva Convention treaty.

      You will see George Bush stand before the country, blatantly lying, denying the use of torture, pretending to be appalled by what was revealed about Abu Ghraib, all the while knowing that his Defense Secretary at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, had visited Abu Ghraib and approved everything he saw and heard.

      You will see some of the prisoners who suffered the physical torture and psychological indignities telling of their ordeals. You will see an attorney who represents prisoners and also an attorney appointed to prosecute a prisoner, who, after hearing of and witnessing the brutality of Guantanamo, refused to prosecute because he could not in good conscience perpetrate such misery for fraudulent purposes.

      In the end, you will realize the lengths that soulless, conscienceless individuals will go to, see the evil and cruelty they will embrace and perpetrate, to cover their tracks while pursuing an agenda of domination by terror.

      If you believe, as I and many millions of others do, that 9/11 was an inside job, a false-flag series of acts of death & destruction perpetrated by elements in our government, this documentary is especially disturbing when you realize that these criminals were/are psychologically and physically torturing innocent victims to avoid their own guilt.

      When you see the dark machinations concocted by Cheney's Gang of Five, by Rumsfeld, by Alberto Gonzalez, by George W. Bush - who, while not bright enough to plan any of this, gladly went along with the scenario presented to him - then how can you doubt that our government would destroy its own people to serve their dark and secret purposes?

      hope that people from other countries who see the undeniable proof of this administration's deliberate contraventions of the Geneva pact and its own military code will realize that until very recently, the American people had no idea or proof of how far the criminals, sadists and psychopaths in charge of our government would go or had gone in their desperation to "prove" who was responsible for 9/11.

      I hope the world realizes that any American who openly dissents by participating in demonstrations or other legal methods of criticizing this government for its crimes is subject to arrest, to being sequestered without charges just as the victims at Guantanamo and all the unknown CIA black site facilities are held.

      I hope that everyone realizes that Cheney inserted a proviso into a piece of legislation that preemptively forbids any member of this administration being retroactively held responsible for war crimes.

      I hope everyone realizes that no matter what is said publicly, there is no doubt that PBS was threatened with funding cut-offs or perhaps worse if they slotted Torturing Democracy for nationwide broadcast before Bush and Cheney are out of office.

      Most of all, I hope for forgiveness from the people my country my country shamed, my country harmed - some irredeemably - in the name of protecting America from "terrorists," all the while knowing that the true terrorists were in the White House wearing three-piece suits, eating lavish lunches and laughing and joking as they crafted a regime of unspeakable inhumanity.

© 2008 RC deWinter

 

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Posted: Oct 23, 2008 5:25am
Oct 19, 2008

 

     I got up today, while it was still dark, at 5:30 AM, secure in (and distressed by) the knowledge that it was Monday and I had to get ready for work.

     At 8 AM I cleaned up, put on a dress, put on some foundation to attempt to disguise the trunks under my eyes, a little lipstick and a touch of eyeliner and headed out the door dreading seeing my psychotic bitchboss. (Note: I usually wear NO makeup to work but I was trying to cheer myself up. Let me tell you, at this point nothing but winning a $10 million lottery, freeing me from having to work for anyone but myself ever again, would cheer me up).

     As I walked down the four flights to the apartment parking lot, I noticed most of the cars were still in place. But as this is a complex with a diverse population, I didn't dwell on it as people here have all kinds of jobs and work all kinds of shifts.

     I got into my car and when I started it on came the radio, set to the morning talk show in Hartford that gives traffic and weather. Instead of the usual, there was a solemn voice intoning solemn thoughts about one's relationship to Jesus Christ. I thought this was a bit odd but shrugged it off as an ad for a church.

     I drove to the first stop sign in the complex and the Jesus man was still droning on. It wasn't really until then that I got suspicious about what day it was, so I turned the corner, pulled over and took out my cell phone. After finally figuring out how to access the calendar, I saw SUN OCT 19 highlighted on the grid.

     So there I was: all dressed up, no place to go and feeling like a fool (which just happens to be a line from a song I wrote many moons ago - life imitates art).

     Not to waste the effort I had put into forcing myself out the door - not to mention the extra effort I made to beautify myself - I drove out to the main drag and up the road to get milk, which we needed, and cigarettes, which I needed, went to Dunkin' Donuts for an extra large coffee, that I wasn't sure I wanted but figured I really needed, and drove home again. There was my parking space waiting for me, which never would have been the case had this really been Monday.

     I struggled back up the four flights of stairs, juggling 2 gallons of milk, my shoulder pouch hanging open with the carton of cigarettes in it, and my extra-large coffee. I was met at the door by my husband, who laughed immoderately when he saw me walk in in a dress...it's just not going to be a good day...

© 2008 RC deWinter

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Posted: Oct 19, 2008 6:18am
Oct 7, 2008

There’s this stupid, pointless computer game that I waste a lot of time playing. You may know it – it’s called Bejeweled. The object of the game is to slide these brightly-colored, glittering “jewels” around on a square to make sequences of three more. When you do that, it racks up game points using some arcane scoring method and also causes more pieces to fall and rearrange into an all-new pattern. That’s it – the entire game – you match the jewels and get points and hope the pieces keep falling with new moves to make.

There’s also this deep, ominous-sounding robo-voice that intones phrases like “Excellent!” and “Good!” when you make a particularly point-worthy play. But eventually, it tells you “No more moves”, and the game is over – the end, you have reached the point where you are stuck with nothing else with which to continue.

It’s a metaphor for life, really. You play, you make your choices and moves, things roll along quite nicely – sometimes even for a very long while. But eventually, there are no more moves. You’ve hit the brick wall. I have been feeling for a long time now that I am about to hit that wall. Hell, maybe I already have and all I’m doing now is futilely clicking the mouse against an unyielding world with no more moves.Whatever the case, I seem to be approaching the point of no return – nothing to offer and thus, nothing back.

I attended Catholic schools for 14 years. While I never bought much of the dogma, the nuns did instill in me a sense of making one’s life count for something – contributing to the greater good, giving of yourself to improve the lives of others and thereby improving oneself. For decades I lived with that thought as a foundation of my existence. Not that I was or ever will be totally unselfish, totally giving, perfection absolute and incarnate. But I tried, in little ways, to have what I was doing mean something beyond mindless consumption, more than playing along to get along, to inject beauty and charity into everyday living.

So for many years I was an activist - I walked picket lines with striking workers, I marched in Washington, I attended anti-Vietnam war rallies, I worked as a poll moderator and and as a political writer/publicity chair for a local state House candidate. I served as president of the Board of Governors of our legally-incorporated lake association, on the town board of finance, as a trustee of the local library. I donated my time entertaining children at various town functions, I gave Christmas and Thanksgiving baskets to needy neighbors through our town social worker, I rescued cats, was active in party politics on the town committee, even acted in two plays to raise funds for the library.

I failed many times. I tried more times than I can count when nothing I did made any difference for good whatsoever. I am sure I also contributed pain to other people; I am sure I was thoughtless and selfish more times than I care to remember.

My heroines have always been the people whose actions have had great impact on the many – Florence Nightingale, Joan of Ark, Edith Cavell, Eleanor Roosevelt. Now, that fire to emulate them, to do good, to contribute, to be more than just an unthinking vessel is banked and dimming. A great deal of the cooling down has occurred since my son Eben died – a stupid, unnecessary death. Some nights I brood – sleepless, tormented – about whether I could have prevented in any way his untimely leaving. Other times I am sure that in a way he wanted to die, and nothing short of locking him in a bare, windowless room could have saved him.

In any case, I am haunted, it seems, by death. This last week I have been restocking a fish tank – and every single fish has died. I have tested the water, added the right biologicals, been judicious in their feeding, and still they died. How did I ever think I could successfully raise a human being to live a happy and productive life? I can’t even raise a goldfish.

A week ago I saw my doctor for a scheduled visit to check my blood pressure and try to resolve the ongoing problems with my cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The betrayal of one’s body as a cohesive, healthy organism is one of nature’s cruelest tricks. One of the questions he always asks me, during our routine discussion of how I’ve been feeling, is “Any suicidal thoughts?” My answer is always the same. “No impulse to kill myself, but if I fell over dead tomorrow it wouldn’t much matter.”

I am at an unlit and potentially dangerous crossroad, I know. I am fighting to keep a job I despise because at fifty-seven, my chances of finding meaningful work with a high enough pay scale and excellent health benefits are close to zero. I have grieved three performance evaluations – character assassinations, really – turned in to HR by my psychotic bitch-boss.

This woman despised me 7 ½ years ago when I first began this job and she was an assistant public defender who soon thereafter transferred to the Appellate division. She – the only person in the whole outfit who wanted the job – was brought back to run the division in which I work – and my professional life has been a living hell for three years. Through a negotiated agreement in which I was represented by my worthless, in-bed-with management union, I must get a satisfactory review this month or I can be “terminated.”

Knowing that my performance is as good or better than when I received glowing reviews from my two prior supervisors but still lookingat possibly losing my income, my pension and my health care benefits is just the latest brick in a wall that has been growing higher and higher as time passes.

When I was young, just starting my career as a professional singer-songwriter, I was naïve enough to believe that talent, hard work and good intentions were enough to insure success and self-fulfillment. I have learned, alas, that no one really gives a damn about any of that – if you can make money for someone is the only criteria by which most are judged in every profession. Working in a non-profit organization as I do, the bottom line kind of blurs away, and surely competence, friendliness and a good work ethic should be enough to guarantee a long and happy work life. But not for me – I have a boss who has an unreasoning dislike and resentment – bordering on a toxic fixation – of me and everything I do.

So, there it lays…the brick wall in front, an untraceable path behind. What happens happens. When it happens, who knows what’s next?

© 2008 RC deWinter

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Posted: Oct 7, 2008 3:14pm
Oct 4, 2008
Veganism is a personal choice that should not be used to vilify those who have not made that choice. I am sick and tired of personal attacks by a small group of vegans who routinely post ugly personal comments about non-vegans - everyday Care2 members who do not mistreat or abuse animals.

Not all people who raise animals for food, especially folks who keep a small amount of livestock for personal use, treat those animals as a product or a thing. My mother-in-law, dead now for 4 years, raised chickens for their eggs and they had the run of her entire yard during the daylight hours. She fed them nutritious greens and fruit and well as grains. If one sickened, she put the sick bird out of its misery quickly and humanely. She gave her delicious, often double-yolked organic eggs away to her family, neighbors and friends. I refuse to condemn her as a person who cruelly mistreated or exploited animals. The only animal I can recall her ever putting down that was healthy was an absolutely vicious rooster that she raised from a hatchling from one of her own chickens - that bird bit and clawed everything and everyone. He did go into the soup pot for stock - and he was put down quickly and humanely.

If all animal farming was abolished right now with a flick of a vegan magic wand, every cow would be dead, and die horribly, within a month or less. So would most chickens. ducks, pigs and many other creatures that humans have domesticated.

Yes, I hate factory farming and animal cruelty, but people who keep and raise animals for food and  who treat their animals with love, respect and kindness abound. And when the animals are killed, it is done humanely, and every scrap is generally used - nothing that can be utilized is wasted. I do not fault people who keep animals for their food and other products, such as milk, eggs, fur, etc. if the animals are well-cared for throughout their lives. I used to buy raw milk from a family farm here in Connecticut. In order to sell raw milk, this family and their farmhands had to meet the strictest standards of animal and equipment care and cleanliness.

Vegans, you have embraced a lifestyle that suits your diet and your conscience. I respect that. But please stop attacking those who do not subscribe to your beliefs. Because someone consumes animal products does not make that person an unfeeling monster.
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Posted: Oct 4, 2008 3:12pm
Sep 14, 2008
I hear nothing from either of America's major political parties that tells me anyone has a CLUE how to to begin to rectify the utter and complete financial mess the Bush Regime has made of our country. I keep waiting for an announcement of intended true change in the approach of our potential leadership as they barnstorm from coast to coast. Instead, I hear adolescent exchanges of insults and recriminations and fluffy, puffy speeches about pie in the sky, national security and reform - and every successive promise seems to contradict the others.

Our economy is in a major tailspin - every economic indicator screams it: it's reflected in all the major commodity markets, in the rising unemployment figures, in foreclosures, in the number of bankruptcies filed, in the failing of major banking and brokerage firms, in how far you can stretch your own paycheck to cover your every living expenses, even in the abandonment of beloved pets when their owners can no longer afford to care for them.

We are trillions of dollars in debt to foreign interests, the bottom is rapidly dropping out of our GNP, we are selling our landmarks, our businesses and even our roads. Big business is gleefully outsourcing every service and production location it can in the interests of the bottom line. There are more homeless, more people living in poverty, more dysfunctional schools and more services being slashed by state and federal agencies every day that passes. Where improvements are being made, they're floating on borrowed money.

Most of us hate to admit that our country's well-being is inextricably tied to the health of our economy. Many prefer to think that if only government cared enough things would be better. To this I say: read history. Read the total history of our country, not just the political or social roots, but everything - the foreign relations history, the economic history and how all of these disparate factors have in the past been divided, producing failure, and integrated, producing success.

If someone - or some group - intelligent enough, knowledgeable enough, willing enough to take the heat and who cares enough about all aspects of America doesn't come up with a viable program to correct the strangling economic mess here at home soon, you can kiss everything - and I mean everything - else goodbye.

We do not have another FDR, with his powerful ability to tap the greatest financial and philanthropic minds of his age, on the horizon to rescue our beloved country. I do not believe either set of presidential candidates is informed enough, equipped enough, in touch enough or un-self-interested enough to correct our financial course anytime soon.

People, it's difficult to motivate folks who are barely paying their daily expenses, barely able to keep themselves and their families solvent. If you think people are apathetic about the causes many of you rightly embrace & promote now - animal welfare, environmental concerns, rights for the mentally and physically disabled, education, world peace, etc. - wait until Americans are standing in line for handouts again, instead of being employed, able to feel good about themselves and feeling like they live a society that values their contributions to it.

Please visit my newest photo album for a brief glimpse of the great economic divide in America today. I welcome insights and observations regarding how we, the people, can bring about effective change to restore the United States to the morally and fiscally responsible nation it once was and could be again.
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Posted: Sep 14, 2008 10:53am
Aug 28, 2008
Until we TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN, I will never be sympathetic to our tax dollars being used to support undocumented workers.

We have millions of American citizens of every religion, ethic background, sex and age doing without. We no longer have the seemingly unlimited resources to assume financial responsibility for the citizens of other countries, no matter what their reason for sneaking into America illegally.

The ridiculous lengths that some places in the US go to to accommodate illegal aliens strains the budgets of the communities that do this, to the detriment of those who support the social, medical and educational programs, the AMERICAN WORKING CLASS...and that includes 95% of the population of this country.

Perhaps it's OK with you that your elderly parents suffer indignities because of closin hospitals, rising drug costs, slashed services; perhaps it's OK with you that your kids are left out of the loop in the mess our educational system has become; perhaps it's OK with you that someone in your family is out of a job because some illegal alien will do the work for half the price - but it's NOT OK with me!

Educate yourselves as to what undocumented workers are bringing to our health care system: INVASION USA. And that's just California. President Bush by his negligence or ignorance is allowing Illegal Aliens to step to the front of the line in the United States Medical System. Emergency Rooms broke or charging legals more.

And CRAP to the argument that our immigration laws are so "tough." Go apply for Mexican citizenship or a work visa and tell me about how easy it is. AND - Mexico has a FULLY FORTIFIED southern border of its own to keep people from Central and South America from sneaking to their country. Talk about HYPOCRISY. See: MEXICO'S GLASS HOUSE- How the Mexican constitution treats foreigners as well as
Mexico's Immigration Law: Let's Try It Here in the USA
I always wonder why it is that when the media reports facts that do not agree with people's starry-eyed opinions of issues such as this, people like me are vilified and told to go look at the war funding, yet when that very same DISTRUSTED media reports favorably on an issue to the SAME folks on an issue they support - such as the media adoration of NObama, suddenly the media has it all right. YOU CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, PEOPLE...and yes , I'm shouting because you who hate the media for its FACTUAL reporting on the statistical evidence of the harm done to this country by illegal aliens swarming in to take advantage of our shrinking resources turn around and KISS the media's ass for swooning over your candidate.

The disgraceful waste of money on the war that is a favorite topic in the immigration argument is a red herring. Do you actually, in your naivete, believe that if all that war money were available for other programs it would and SHOULD go to caring for illegal aliens? NO - it should go to caring for UNDERPRIVILEGED AMERICANS - the old shunted into back rooms at nursing homes, waiting to die, instead of being given the option to be cared for at HOME; to the NATIVE AMERICANS who time and again are F*CKED by this government in education, health care, simple decent housing; to other deprived segments of our citizenry who sleep on sidewalks and and considered throwaway Americans by the rich and powerful. BUT IT WOULDN'T go to those issues either in any case. The shadow government of the US, the multi-nationals and the world banking system have NO INTEREST in the welfare of ANYONE. If they seem to greet the outsourcing of American jobs and the hordes of undocumented workers swarming here to take American jobs for one-third to one-half the pay needed to live a reasonable life in the US, it's because THEY MAKE MONEY FROM IT.

Why don't you direct your anger at the native countries of illegal aliens - most of whom are headed but corrupt dictators and their coteries of rich cronies, who steal their government's funds for their own uses while ignoring the plight OF THEIR OWN PEOPLE? If Mexico would spend its OIL PROFITS - made from SELLING IT TO AMERICA - on its OWN poverty-stricken people, maybe their citizens would be able to create and achieve a MEXICAN DREAM instead of sneaking over here ILLEGALLY and co-opting OURS. Same for all the other corrupt Latino countries south of the border. SPREAD AROUND THAT DRUG MONEY and take care of your own!

And another thing - people prate about the shit*ty conditions in the picking fields of the US. MAYBE IF YOU ACQUAINTED YOURSELVES with the ANTIQUATED LAWS governing agricultural labor in the US, you'd have a fuller picture of why working condition in the fields are so terrible! WHY DON'T YOU AGITATE FOR FULL PROTECTIONS AND BENEFITS AFFORDED OTHER AMERICAN WORKERS FOR THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY??? Maybe then Americans wouldn't be so reluctant to take on some of those jobs.

AND FINALLY - discussions about illegals always focus on agricultural labor forgetting the other industries in which undocumented workers are taking over and sucking the wages down to peanuts for Americans who still and used to work in these industries - construction, factory assembly, and other manufacturing spheres. GET REAL. It's NOT ALL ABOUT AGRICULTURE. The influx of illegal workers affects EVERY SPHERE of the American workplace. Do a little homework on the issue before you POP OFF at me and others who are Cassandras crying into an ill-wind of uneducated, all-embracing feel-good nonsense.
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Posted: Aug 28, 2008 4:40pm
Aug 27, 2008

 

News reports are trumpeting how some people - described as dedicated Democrats, are blasting the dying Elizabeth Edwards for not speaking out about her husband's affair.

How cruel...these "dedicated Democrats" are the same ones who will line up, being Democratic sheeple, behind any candidate the Democratic powers that be anoint, even if that candidate is blatantly questionable.

 I'd rather have a philanderer with common sense and vision in the White House than some slick talker controlled by unknown money. Bill Clinton was a fabulous president - and who, at the time and even now, didn't adore JFK? And think of Roosevelt - Franklin, that is, who saved this country AND the Brits - another ladies' man.

A wandering eye is less of a danger to this country and the world than cheap rhetoric and a hand open to grab whatever it can from questionable associates.

That's my 2 cents on this subject.

©2008 RC deWinter

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Posted: Aug 27, 2008 4:59am
Aug 23, 2008

Okay, this is going to be short and sweet.

Now that Care2 has been overhauled yet again, why has the ability to send email with all the email tools using Firefox been disabled?

I think this SUCKS!

 If you do too, tell Care2.

That's all, folks!

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Posted: Aug 23, 2008 8:31am
Jul 29, 2008

What jobs exist for the AVERAGE reasonably competent person over 40? Part time at SCUM (WAL)-MART? Burger flipping? Cashiering somewhere? Sales work with no guaranteed base minimum?

 

Yes, it is so easy to slide into poverty today. Let me share my story.

 

Before my divorce from my first husband, we had owned one and then another home. The second was a grand colonial, 3600 square feet on 3 floors, with a walk-up attic, central air, 2-car fieldstone garage, hot tub sunk into the back yard, a slate patio and an old iron gate around the property front and sides.

 

After my divorce, I lived in a spacious walkup but in a lousy part of town...it was a great place in a terrible neighborhood. Close to my work, though.

 

Because I got no alimony and had myself and my son to support (joint custody), I quickly got into debt with the credit cards left over from the marriage. I was overwhelmed with money problems. To give my ex credit, he helped me out financially, although under the terms of our divorce he was not obligated to do that.

 

In the way things seem to go when one is already behind the eight ball, I lost my good-paying management job at a university for political reasons. I retained the services of an excellent but expensive lawyer and reached a settlement with the university – I agreed not to sue them in exchange for some cash (one-third of which went to the attorney), a pink slip and COBRA. I was 49 years old and without a job or independent income.

 

That money from my settlement evaporated quickly. I eventually filed for bankruptcy, although working two jobs (part time nights and every weekend at a grocery store, daytime M-F as a temp with no benefits). I had to move from my apartment because the family who owned the building needed the space for a relative and the only place I could find was smaller, uglier and twice the rent.

 

Rick joined me in Connecticut in 2002. The landlord, who lived downstairs, had approved his moving in, but over the next months he grew hostile, refused to make repairs and eventually we moved out, again thanks to my ex who offered us the garden apartment in his house.

 

We were living on the bounty of my ex but eventually saved up enough to rent our own apartment.  The rent is about what a reasonable mortgage on a small house would be, but we rob Peter to pay Paul every month so there is no way to put aside any money for any kind of a down payment. My job is thanks to my ex’s wife – who was and is also a friend - who hired me as a temp.

After 3 years I was added as a permanent employee when our department had the resources to fill the position permanently. Before that, I continued to work at the grocery store nights and weekends in order to have health insurance for myself. Rick had no insurance and was using the clinic here in Middletown for his medical care, which was billed on a sliding scale according to income. Rick got a decent job, but that evaporated after 4 months when the boss hired a friend of his at a higher salary and let the last two employees, of which Rick was one, go.

 

We are constantly in debt as Rick is not working. He was only able to find one-part-time job since losing the one he had. He is now 50, no longer able to work as an auto mechanic (his career for 20 years) because of his arthritis. He is unemployed and has been unable to find steady work. The best thing about my job right now is the excellent health insurance for both of us. The woman who hired me has moved on and my current boss is a psychotic bitch. Now that I am a few years away from being 60, my employment prospects are pretty dim. If I should lose my job, we would be out in the street - we are a hair's breadth from poverty and homelessness.

 

So yes, the middle class is sinking and soon we will be a society of haves and have-nots. There will no more "kinda-having, doing okay." The well-off will have privatized as much as they can and the hell with the rest of us.

 

If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. I pray it doesn't happen to YOU.

 

© 2008 RC deWinter

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Posted: Jul 29, 2008 10:28am

 

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18
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\\r\\nCOME TO: \\r\\nTucson\\\' s 32nd Annual Peace Fair and Music Festival2014 Theme: Climate JusticeThis FREE event is Arizona\\\'s largest gathering of Peace, Justice, and Environmental groups, with Live Music, Tables, Food, Entertainment, Children\\\'s ...
by Barb K.
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\\n\\r\\nHello my C2 Family, \\r\\nFirst let me say Thank You to those of you who have so sweetly fwd my posts. You are SO AWESOME!! I will never forget your help. Anytime I can repay the favour, please tell me. Second, my Submit button has disappeared lea...
Feb
15
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New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Feb
13
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New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Feb
12
by Just C.
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 \\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\nW hy this is important\\r\\nAs a community comprised of members actively using the tools provided by this site to accomplish needed improvements to various aspects of all life (animal, human, environmental), we, the undersigned, are her...
Feb
4
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YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND IN PERSON, TUNE IN ON TV, OR WATCH ONLINE:\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n \\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n\ \r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n\\ r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r \\n\\r\\n\\r\\nFriday,&nb sp;\\r\\nFebruary \\ r\\n\\r\\n \\r\\n7\\ r\\n, 2014\\r\\n To watch the TV series: World Harmon...
Feb
1
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Message to the President, and to the Congress:It\\\'s very simple. We can aim for a UNIVERSAL Standard of $15 an hour Minimum Wage for ALL - that would be {frugally} a living wage these days. One should not have to be employed, and on government assista...
Jan
28
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\\r\\n   & nbsp;   &n bsp;  Leonard Peltier ( LPDOC ) :\\r\\n        & nbsp;    Remembering Pete Seeger\\r\\n\\r\\n & nbsp;   &n bsp;   &nb sp;&nb...
Jan
27
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Petition for Climate Change for the Rest of Us to UN in time for global summit on 23 September 2014 Please consider participating @ http://bit.ly/2014 ClimateBottomLine
(0 comments  |  0 discussions )
Petition for Climate Change for the Rest of Us to UN in time for global summit on 23 September 2014 Please consider participating @ http://bit.ly/2014 ClimateBottomLine