Monday, January 20, 2014

The Inhumanity of Selective Outrage

I don't mean to sound as if I don't believe the wholesale slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan is anything other than appalling. It's stressful to the dolphins and extremely painful. It is, by any definition of the word, inhumane. I would prefer it not happen, however, I will not participate in the online outrage over the centuries old practice that provides the fisherman of Taiji with their income. You see? I still shop for some of my meats at grocery stores where I know that meat comes from factory farms.

My income doesn't purchase as much as it used to and with Hubby and I needing different types of foods, I can't always afford the higher priced meats at the grass fed farms. I can eat fine on rice, beans or lentils, and other plant based foods, Hubby can't since all that fiber would cause him serious suffering since he has Crohn's Disease. I have to make decisions that I'm not always happy with, and buying some meats I know came from factory farms is one of those. Since I must make that kind of choice, I don't feel I can meddle in the affairs of others who make the choice to participate in such a horrendous event.

What outrage I do have is against the Japanese government since they insulate the other residents of Japan from the truth about the slaughter and the fact that Japan allows dolphin meat to be mislabeled and sold as another type of fish. Dolphins, like Tuna have high mercury content so anyone in Japan trying to limit their consumption of mercury is being conned. I'm assuming things here that may not be truthful since I'm aware of the number of US citizens who willingly participate in the destruction of our own food supplies by purchasing the poultry and meat produced at our ever increasing factory farms. It may be that the Japanese know and don't care anymore than we do.

Which brings me to my objections to the online outrage over this practice. Both Facebook (according to my family members) and Twitter are awash with posts condemning the practice. We, however are not condemning any of this.

Piglet's teeth being clipped off prior to being placed in the cage it will spend the rest of it's life in. They do this so they can't bite into the pig in the next cage. This is done without anything for pain.

Unwanted piglets that are bashed to death by farm employees. 

Laying hens kept in tiered cages. Allowed to urinate and defecate on the caged animals below them. They are cleaned by overhead sprays and if that were all that effective, why is he wearing a hazmat suit?

Chicken with an infected wound that largely went unnoticed due to the housing of up to 14 birds in a cage. The beaks are clipped off so they can't cause damage and the leg spurs are also clipped. The mass of animal pressing against the cage wires can cause wounds which then become infected due to the haphazard disinfecting process. 

These farms produce massive amounts of excrement that pollute our land, water and air. The animals are nothing more than a profit making commodity. They're bred to grow larger than their bone structures can support which leads to a lifetime of pain. They're kept in cages they can't even turn around in. Lying on the bars and wires with such overweight bodies leads to skin breakdowns and very painful sores similar to those suffered by the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes. These sores untreated, lead to septic infections for which antibiotics are regularly given. 

I'll listen to your outrage over what's happening in Taiji, but until you show the same outrage over what's happening at every single factory farm in the United States I'll consider your words the empty whine of the faux poutraged.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Some Days Are More Precious Than Others

A number of things running around in my head. Nothing worth blogging about, although I admit that's never stopped me before. I'm in a post Christmas season let down mode. Since I had more spirit this past year for the season, the let down seems to be deeper and longer. Oddly, my spirit was so high due to all the early snow we had. I hate snow but I loved having it while Christmas shopping.

I didn't have a penny more to spend than I've manged in the past few years, but I didn't mind a bit. I shopped, I wrapped, ate popcorn and drank hot chocolate with whipped cream.  I sang Christmas carols, although only when home alone and only to the cats. Demonkitteh seemed to prefer the more commercial songs while Precious seemed to understand the reason for the season.

We've spoiled Demonkitteh with store bought toys, cat beds, litter boxes and litter while Precious learned to play with leaves, grass, mud, ticks and fleas. Not for him the plastic pans with store bought litter in them, he prefers to do his business in the great outdoors where he can commune with nature.  I had to learn to respect his preference and I do so willingly, since despite my attempts to confine him, he never once showed his displeasure by leaving an unwelcome deposit in my home.

During the pre-Christmas cold and snowfall, Precious had been spending hours in the house as close to the woodstove as he could get without setting his fur on fire. There were days when he seemed to have cabin fever since he was quite willing to put Demonkitteh in his place should their paths cross and the opportunity present itself.

He wanted to go home to Dave. I knew he did. I could sense it in his demeanor, but he didn't do so because when Dave moved back in, he brought with him a woman and a dog. A small dog, Shih Tzu, but a dog nevertheless. Precious wasn't having a bit of that. So he stayed here until the woman became dangerously ill. She's unable to care for herself without the kind of help Dave can't handle. She found it necessary to move in with her daughter and she took her dog with her. There's an apartment in the same building her daughter lives in so she has her own place and she has daughter and granddaughter to help her.

Last week Precious went to visit Dave and discovered that the dog was no longer there. I don't think he trusted it because he did come back here, but he soon found his way back to Dave. He's been spending his nights there now for close to a week, and when he comes to visit here where there is ample food, he's back to acting frightened of Demonkitteh again.

Winter isn't over by a long shot. I'm concerned that one of these days Dave won't let Precious out early enough so he can come for breakfast before I go to work. Once I'm gone for the day and Dave leaves, poor baby will be outside in whatever winter weather develops. The idea of leaving him out in a storm bothers me no end, and I can't trust Dave to see to it that he's inside when he leaves.

He's made his choice and we all just need to learn to live with it. On the bad days Hubby said he'll be home or at least home early, largely due to his concern that Precious is outside in the cold. This is not the ideal situation, but it's what we have to deal with so we're doing the best we can. At least he has a quiet roof over his head at Dave's and all the food he wants here. What a life.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I Have My Obamacare, I Think!

As of January 1, I have health insurance. Sounds great, right? Here I am at the age of 64 with the ability to have needed tests and procedures to diagnose a problem I have and get it taken care of. Except for a couple of small details. Or maybe details which turn out to be not so small.

The insurance company has sent me a card, and a booklet explaining my responsibilities under the plan. What they haven't sent me is the booklet which lists plan providers that I am limited to. Also? Doctors I know who accept this plan, aren't taking any new patients. Those who are accepting new patients are ones I wouldn't let touch me with a 10 foot pole. Trust me, I know which doctors are good here and which aren't. You find that out in my line of business.

So, for the next 9 months I won't be doing anything except seeing the doctor I've been seeing who tries her best to help me without sending me for the expensive tests I can't afford. She was hoping I'd get ahead of the curve with the ACA so that her suspicions can be confirmed. At this point we're guessing, but the treatment she started has helped so she may be on target. I won't die from it if she's wrong. In 9 months I'm Medicare eligible which may be the step needed to put me ahead. We'll see.

Another thing. With the $1.65 per hour raise I got, I may find myself over income limit and no longer qualify for medicaid. Yes, I qualified for medicaid at 109% of poverty level. According to statistics 40% of the working population make less than $20,000 a year, 53% make less than $30,000, and 73% make less than $50,000 a year. It's nice to know we weren't as unsuccessful as we thought we were. While I may be in the 40% right now, we used to be in the 73%, 14 years ago. Those were 2012 statistics, I imagine the 2013 stats will be worse.

If I can keep the physical condition I'm in now and grab 6 more hours a week, I'll at least be able to retire after reaching the 53% category. I can't retire at full benefit until I'm 66 so that does give me time. Now I just need my joints to hold out. Always something, right?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Trap

In my younger days I tried marijuana a couple of times. Unlike Bill Clinton I inhaled. I stopped using it after those 2 times since I didn't like what it did to me. I'm a Type A person and while I really, really could use something to cool my jets, anything I use tends to take the entire stuffing out of me which renders me entirely useless and unable to do anything except sit and grin. I certainly don't have a problem with others using it, I just don't like it for me.

When Colorado and Washington legalized it's use, I thought it a good thing. I think it should be legal and available for whoever wants to partake for whatever reason. I paid 0 attention to the entire subject until Friday when I logged into Twitter and started reading tweets from Goldie Taylor. Miss Taylor is an MSNBC contributor and one of the few whose opinions interest me.

The legalization of weed is a liberal issue, and when two states did so there was a lot of celebrating and dancing in the Twitter streets. It looked, on the surface, like a liberal win, which surprised me since Colorado is a Tea Party State.

Miss Taylor read the information on the law and began tweeting about the flaws she found in it. Essentially, in her opinion, and mine, it's little more than a way for the state to make more tax money while preserving it's number one industry, the prison system.

The law states you may have weed on you ONLY if purchased from a state licensed dealer. State licensed dealers are charging close to $500 an ounce plus a 25% state sales tax. This means buying marijuana is legal for the rich and not for the poor.

Colorado prisons are privatized. The company which operates them has a contract with the state that requires the state to provide a certain number of bodies to be incarcerated. On the surface, this new marijuana law would have reduced the number of incarcerated since it stopped making possession anything more than a misdemeanor offence for which a fine would be levied. That would apply only if the possessor displayed the weed or opened the bag. I'm assuming the holder of the weed would have some sort of receipt proving the weed was purchased legally.

For the poverty stricken in the state of Colorado and in many other states, illegal sale of weed is a major source of income. Given the price of legal weed this will still hold true for the most part simply because residents in those neighborhoods aren't going to be able to afford the price of legal weed.

Legal dealers are paying a premium for their licenses, they aren't going to tolerate a loss of sales to a cheaper illegal dealer, so I would think they'll start turning them in. The state is rubbing it's hands together and mentally spending that 25% sales tax that they have probably been fantasizing over since the people chose to legalize weed. If those figures aren't where they believe them to be I'd be looking for the state to begin cracking down on the illegal sales which will then provide the bodies necessary to feed the prison industry.

I can't really find much to celebrate in this law, but like all things without any history to examine and form a conclusion on, we simply have to wait and see. As it stands right now, this isn't anything to crow about.