Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri - RIP

Terri Schiavo is finally released from indignity of life and death. I don't give a flying fig about battles between her family and husband. The role of state changes things, naturally. Family goes to court to have Terri's tube reinserted. County level, state level, and federal district court. Florida legislation and the governor gets sucked into the drama. Life protestors and those siding with the husband increases its ranks, leading to shouting matches outside the hospice and courts. Legislation struggles and defeats the parents' efforts to get tube re inserted. Angry people proclaiming to be proper Christians send hate/death mail to those who voted against Terri. Governor Bush tries to put Terri under state custody to insure that she has the feeding tube on. That gets knocked down by courts.

Governor Bush pleads to brother President Bush and US Congress for help. Bush and Congress drop their daily routines. But again, it is defeated. Ping Pong anyone? Demonstrations outside the hospice on Easter Sunday. Family asks them to go home and spend the Easter Sunday with their families. Most of the demonstrators defy the family's request to take a rest stubbornly wear LIFE taped on their mouths for the rest of the day. Appeal courts reject family's claims to protect Terri. Family exhausted all possible legal venues shortly before Terri died.

228 years ago, the people living in the colonial 13 states, the federalists, founders, etc would've been aghast at the idea of government intervening willingly into a private life and situation. The legislature or the governor would've been tarred and feathered. Not a pretty sight.

Yes 2005 isn't 18th century. We are in the age where politicians, most particularly right to life conservatives, seize any opportunity to advocate their agenda. There is a cartoon with the Capitol Building where the Congress convenes, is hooked into an I.V. bag labelled "POLITICS".

Politicians, most whom create/enforce/repeal policy, have altered Medicare funding to save money. Those who are in the same situation as the Schavios were, want to be on life support receive the same support the Schiavo family had? Politicians regardless of their political and social affiliation can't renege forever. Politicians never learn from 200 years of progress and mistakes.

I'll have to make a living will. Soon. Make it so iron clad that a politician can't touch it. This is an age of uncertainty.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire March 25, 1911

Anyone remember 8th Grade Social Studies? My teacher droned about labor rights that came into force during the Industrial Revolution. People, mostly immigrants, women and children worked in what we would consider dangerous today. No safety rails, protective gear, no bathroom breaks, long hours, and so on. One day, the teacher mentioned an industry in New York City, called the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. A fire had spread throughout the building. Doors were locked, elevators not functioning, and some staircases weren't properly maintained.. Our class saw a film clip of young women throwing themselves from the flaming factory only to be splattered onto the sidewalks below. My class was riveted and feeling relieved that we re in a school, not in a factory 100 years ago.

Congress woke up and put labor laws into motion. Around the same time, Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" attracted controversy about Chicago's meat industry, most particularly about an unfortunate worker meeting his demise.

I'm a member of my labor union..I pay my dues each month. I should be more appreciative of the union origins. Last action I took was for health insurance stuff. The perks included development workshops and self defense.

Labor Unions doesn't seem to be much nowadays - more about benefits. They would agree to certain conditions for a certain time. The next group or generations of workers would be usually screwed with longer hours or lousy benefits to appease the hiring company. I don't recall hearing any resounding victory from the labor side. Last I remember the Queens bus line went on strike a month ago or so, leaving commuters to take other transportation options. Lasted for a week or so (I admit I wasn't too concerned because I don't live in Queens) - conditions were met and the bus drivers went back to work. The commuters commute.

Some companies see Labor Unions as an interference for progress or growth. Naturally the company would pull up stakes and move to another countries for cheaper and disposable workers. The companies seek higher profits and revenues. Wal-Mart's solution is to bar workers to unionize and offer part time work to avoid benefits. Companies lay off workers and give executives higher pay raises. A lace factory located near my hometown upstate finally closed after some private and state labor battles and relocated to Mexico. Most of the former employees spent their unemployment drinking beer and shooting deer.

I'm no student of Labor Union.. Any comments? Agreements? Voices of dissent?

Sci-Fi Reality

I'm currently reading "Children of Dune", the third book in Dune Chronicles. Saw this quote and liked it very much...

"You did right! Your judgments cannot be based on any such foolish abstract as that Atreides notion of equality. That's what kept you sleepless, not Paymon's death. You made a good decision! He was another dangerous tool. You acted to maintain order in your society. Now there's a good reason for judgments, not this justice nonsense! There's no such thing as equal justice anywhere. It's unsettling to a society when you try to achieve such a false balance."
The Baron Harkonnen to Alia the Regent
It's very familiar, isn't it? I can imagine Cheney saying this to Bush.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

St Paddy's

Be a Jolly Irishman(woman)! Laugh off your worries and have craic with your friends!

The holiday is a religious event in Ireland whereas here in the States, we have parades, people add O' to their surnames, wear green and tacky jewellery. Even the Irish (the deaf ones, too!)fly over to New York and Boston to partake in celebrations.

I've actually seen St Patrick's church in Slane, Ireland. It isn't much - perched atop of a hill overlooking the city. Church ruins and surviving cemetery plots dot the very green hill. There s a statue of St Pat with a snake entwined around his staff. It's life sized - nothing grand or imposing. A small and weather beaten metal fence enclosed the base of the statue. Legend has it that he drove the snakes out of Ireland. To begin with, there ain't no snakes (and I can vouch : no roaches!) on the Island.

As most of you know, St Pat brought Christianity to the island and squelched the pagan religion (snakes). Some historians say St Pat tolerated the pagans and had good working relations as opposed to open warfare (sound familiar?).

I didn't have an opportunity to observe how the Irish observe St Pat's as my grad school class went to Geneva that week to observe WTO, Red Cross, etc. We did hit a local pub in Geneva and every one celebrated. We met some American blacks who played for Swiss pro ball team and some of the many international expats living in Geneva. Good memories that night except for an unpleasant one. A nasty encounter with a moron (and very inebriated) man from Chicago studying in France who thought people from the east coast - particularly New Yorkers - are automatically assholes. I nearly slapped him because he took my writing pad and tried to throw it out. My classmates pounced on the Chicagoan demanding my notebook back and his (very embarrassed) friends were able to wrench the pad away from him. They apologized profusely and removed him. We brushed it off and went on to enjoy the evening.

I'm off to Four Faced Liar and if I'm up to it, Side B bar tonight.. Remember: Be Jolly and laugh now and then :)

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Man in Subway II

I boarded a downtown train and nearly gave out a yell in fright once I saw what was sitting across from me. A lump of a man wearing a shabby business suit, penny loafers, and a ski mask. The kind the IRA wears when they're robbing a bank or summat.

The man was repulsive yet I was morbidly fascinated. Several moments, he took the ski mask off. His skin was white and very flaky. His slitted eyes nearly disappeared into folds of white and flaky flesh. The chilly weather must not agree with him. He put it back on again. On and off and on.

The poor gentleman wasn't comfortable on the molded train seats. He tried to recline as the seats were a Lazy-Boy. Eventually he picked himself up and left couple train stops before me.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


I envy people who do not eat breakfast. Some people say it's for dieting while for others, their stomachs aren't the breakfast kind. They'd get sick or have no appetite whatsoever. Lucky bastards.

For me, I *need* breakfast or I'd get sick and weak. Depleted energy. Gas up in the morning and ya good to go. I'm terribly lazy when it comes to cooking breakfast during the work week. Earliest time I can wake for work is 6:30 but that is rare.. I'd hit the snooze until 7 or 7 15 and leave for work by 8:15. Not a lot of time, to shower, cook, and watch TV for today's weather.

I hate spending $$$$ on chocolate crossiant at a local shop or a sugar donut at a chinese bakery. And coffee too. I'd eat at work but that's delayed energy.

Sometimes I'd have yogurt with sausage links or hot oatmeal and have a snack later before lunch. Not filling. Experimented with eggs. Scrambled eggs is too much work cos you got to scrape the flakes off the pan and wash the pan, and the bowl where you mixed the eggs, milk and cheese. So yesterday I tried fried eggs. I slapped the fried eggs between two slices of oat bread, a dash of salt and pepper. Some of the yolk would drip into the dish and you'd use the bread to swipe the remaining yolk and eat it. Delicious. I had no snack cravings until lunch.
Did the same thing today. I know eventually I'll get sick of fried eggs and bread. Least there are breakfast that's easy to prepare...