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Can you help FDL keep poking the powers?

3:00 pm in Technology by dakine01

As Jane notes, Firedoglake has been around now for nearly ten years. I’ve been hanging around myself for at least 8 years and recall the days of “Zed!” and “Frist!” (ya probably had to be there). I’ve built ziggurats in the comments and I’ve been EPU’d.

I am at Firedoglake for the simple reason that I believe in Firedoglake. FDL does provide independent journalism and questions all sides of the political spectrum. If an action was bad when it was being done by the Bush Administration, it is just as bad when it is being done by the Obama Administration.

What do you get from Firedoglake when you visit? Do you come to read the calls to action from Jane and others at FDL Action? Do you follow Jon Walker and the latest Election or Marijuana legalization news? Some people like to know how technology news is effecting them through Bytegeist while others look to find the latest with the Justice for All movement. There’s plenty of general News and analysis each day as well as pointed stories from Kevin Gosztola and others pointing out where the emperor has no clothes. Arts and Culture shows us that there is a serious side to the Arts no matter how much some people might try to denigrate artists being politically active and aware. And MyFDL gives you and everyone else an opportunity to provide your 2¢ on just about any topic. Last but not least, you might follow the wonderful weekly Book Salons that are most Saturday and Sundays from 5PM to 7PM Eastern time. Organized by Bev Wright, the topics of the books cover the entire range of topics covered by folks at Firedoglake and partners.

If you ever wonder if FDL is effective in calls for protests, advocacy for Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou, and Edward Snowden, Support for Occupy, Marijuana Legalization, and Equality for all, the events of the past week with the DDoS attacks should answer that question. If FDL were not effective in calling for protests, raising awareness of the abhorrent treatment of whistleblowers, income inequality, and all the other issues brought to light here, there would be no need for Firedoglake to endure these type of DDoS attacks. The fact that they ARE occurring proves that Firedoglake is effective.

The unfortunate downside to that effectiveness and the attacks though is the cost to Firedoglake to overcome the attacks and keep things up and running so we can continue to report and call for action. Can you donate to help keep us up and running? It can be a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation but either way, we need the support. Think of the news and analysis you receive from Firedoglake that is not available anywhere else. Think of the integrity and independence that Firedoglake provides.

Please help us keep the lights on.

October: Domestic Violence and Breast Cancer Awareness Month

7:31 am in Breast Cancer, Domestic Violence by dakine01

Poster - Domestic Violence Awarness Month

Poster – Domestic Violence Awarness Month

October is a busy month. Schools have settled into the day-to-day routines. The sports world is busy with the MLB Play-offs; NFL, college, and high school football seasons are in the mix; the NHL has started its season; and NBA basketball training camps have started. College basketball has started having “midnight madness.” The news and weather shows are providing fall foliage reports.

October is also the “awareness” month for two causes that I support very strongly – Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness. In 2009 and again last year (2012), I wrote diaries concentrating on Domestic Violence Awareness. In 2010, I wrote a diary about both issues together.

As I have mentioned, I know why Breast Cancer Awareness is an issue I care deeply about. My sister survived nine years after her initial diagnosis with breast cancer back in 2003. As well, many folks who hang out at Firedoglake know that Jane Hamsher, Marcy Wheeler, and now Christy Hardin Smith have all had their battles with Breast Cancer. Here are a few statistics on Breast Cancer from the American Cancer Society:

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2013 are:

  1. About 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
  2. About 64,640 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
  3. About 39,620 women will die from breast cancer

I have had a number of friends over the years tell me about their experiences as victims of Domestic Violence. I would wager most all of us know multiple individuals who have been victims of Domestic Violence though we probably do not know exactly which of our friends and acquaintances these are. Here are some Domestic Violence statistics from and

Very sobering numbers for both of these issues.

This is the opening to an article one of my sister’s very best friends wrote for the book A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors:

The first thing my best friend did after her diagnosis was throw herself a party.

Roughly 30 women were there – cops’ wives who’d befriended her during the 10 years she was police reporter for the local daily newspaper, journalist friends, neighbors, her physical therapist, the county attorney, daughters of friends, camping buddies. Some were breast cancer survivors; the rest of us, friends who were now more sharply aware than ever that any day we could join that unwelcome sorority whose numbers now include one of every eight American women.

My friend, Cissy Taylor, had had just one request in advance: bring a scarf or a hat for me. Already anticipating her chemo-induced baldness, she’d asked the women closest to her to join her in preparation. So we did – offering regal turbans, exotically patterned scarves, cozy knit caps, broad-brimmed and flowered hats, each of which she tried on and considered with an expression of combined merriment and gratitude.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor
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Things to not be thankful for

12:38 pm in Uncategorized by dakine01

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

I, like so many of us, have much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving 2011. I have the love of my family, even when we may not see each other for years at a time. I have my friends from all the times of my life, both “real” time and digital.

But for all the things we have to be thankful for, there are an equal number or more of things for which we cannot be thankful. Or at least, I cannot be thankful.

For example, while I can be thankful that the EPA may be willing to take a stand on fracking, I cannot be thankful that there will probably be gigantic loopholes in the rules that will mostly render them useless.

I can be thankful for FDL members helping out with #OccupySupply as well as being thankful for a District Attorney who knows how wasteful it is to arrest people for exercising their first amendment rights while not being at all thankful that we have elected officials so thin skinned as to demand an apology from a teenager speaking her mind.

I can be thankful for the sacrifice of a Bradley Manning while wondering how many folks who do not support Manning are in full support of people stealing emails from scientists because the scientists believe humans are causing climate change.

I can be thankful that US officials condemn Egypt for using excessive violence on protestors in Tahrir Square while wondering about the deafening silence from so many officials about the excessive force used to evict protestors in the US.

I can be thankful for the failure of the “super” committee to reach an agreement to further eviscerate the social safety net while being not at all thankful that so many of the Beltway Village Idiots Pundits and Politicians seem to think that people need the safety net because of some personal failings.

I can be thankful that some news outlets finally are reporting on the millions of working poor along with the millions of long term un and underemployed even while I try to not be thankful that Wall St wannabe MOTUs are joining the ranks as well. (It is difficult sometimes to not be as ungracious to them as they have been to us although I do try to keep from sending out to many negative thoughts as my karma does not need the bad reflections)

So yes, I am thankful for much this year as I am most every year at Thanksgiving. But there is as much to be unthankful for as there is to be thankful.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor

The Very Serious People Missing the Interconnectedness of Everything

12:15 pm in Uncategorized by dakine01

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

As we see the various articles today about President Obama and the “grand bargain” being offered to get Republican votes for raising the debt ceiling, we also see further indications of the total cluelessness of so many of the folks who live inside of the beltway village.

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post explaining how good jobs would attack the so-called deficit problem. This is without addressing the $3.7T plus costs of our wars since 2001 nor that the cost of the Bush/Obama tax cuts are far larger contributors to the “problem.”

The last few days, I have seen a couple of articles reinforcing for me that Pete Peterson and his acolytes are winning the battle. Just last Friday (July 1), Bloomberg had this article on the Government Accountability Office releasing a study (pdf) on how people are going to have to delay collecting Social Security and “buy an annuity” in order to pay for their retirements:

“The risk that retirees will outlive their assets is a growing challenge,” according to a study from the Government Accountability Office released today. Increased life expectancies and health-care costs coupled with declines in financial markets and home equity over the last few years have “intensified” workers’ concerns about how to manage their savings in retirement, the report said.


“The risk that retirees will outlive their assets is a growing challenge,” according to a study from the Government Accountability Office released today. Increased life expectancies and health-care costs coupled with declines in financial markets and home equity over the last few years have “intensified” workers’ concerns about how to manage their savings in retirement, the report said.

Of course, the study does not and cannot explain how we are all supposed to be able to come up with the cash to buy an annuity nor does it explain how we’re are supposed to find insurance companies that will actually be around to pay off on the annuities, even if we could afford them.

Today’s (Thursday July 7) Washington Post continues in the same vein with this column from Michelle Singletary:

A survey by First Command Financial Services found that almost half of respondents said they plan to work into their 70s. Those participating were ages 25 to 70, with annual household incomes of at least $50,000.

Seventy-six percent who haven’t retired yet said they are likely to consider working at least part time when they do retire. Many said they planned to work longer because they need the income. Some who said they have sufficient savings wanted to keep working so they could delay pulling from their retirement nest egg for an idle period that could last 30 years or more.


Recent research by EBRI found that even if workers delay retirement into their 80s, there is still a chance they will not have enough money in retirement.

In 2003, EBRI created a retirement security projection model to assess people’s retirement income prospects. The 2011 version added a new feature, which allows households to see whether delaying retirement past 65 could help meet their income needs. The model found that 84 is the age at which 90 percent of low-income households would have a 50 percent probability of having enough retirement income.

Once again, we seem to be missing a key ingredient here – the actual jobs that would allow people to keep working, even if they wanted to work until 84 years old.

Last Friday’s (July 1) NY Times The New Old Age blog was a bit closer to reality being faced by many of us, with the results of a second GAO study:

There’s a long list of reasons that older people suffer malnutrition and weight loss, a geriatrician recently told a Senate subcommittee on health and aging: smell and taste diminishing with age, high rates of depression, medications that that suppress appetite or upset stomachs, disabilities that make it hard to shop and cook.

But at the same hearing, an official with Government Accountability Office pointed out another, perhaps more basic problem: poverty.

What a new G.A.O. report calls “food insecurity” remains stubbornly high among seniors with low incomes. In 2009, about 19 percent of households with a low-income person over age 60 faced this problem — meaning that the older adult was uncertain of having enough food or unable to acquire enough.

Unemployment is officially at 9.1% (roughly 14M people) and underemployment is nearly double that. Social Security has been one of if not the most effective government program of all time, yet all we hear out of Washington is how there must be “shared sacrifices” (from all but the very richest of us of course) so Social Security must be “on the table” for budget discussions, even though Social Security has not contributed one dime to the “problems” with the budget.

Tuesday’s LA Times had this column with the headline, “What’s Behind GOP Attack on Product-Safety Database?” For me, I think it is just a variant of the Republican health care plan that now former Rep Alan Grayson noted:

Don’t Get Sick! And if You Do Get Sick, Die Quickly!

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy

Behind Every Statistic There Is a Human Face

11:51 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

Back in January of 2009, I wrote a diary titled I Am Unemployed but Not a Statistic. I was thinking about that diary this morning. With all the discussion of statistics, unemployment rates, jobs created or unemployment claims filed, there is a human being somewhere who is affected. I started Just A Small Town Country Boy as an attempt to put a human face on just one of those people (myself) who sits behind the statistic. But as we all know, I am just one voice among the millions.

I am not alone as a human face though. Every time the politicians decide to vilify a teacher, there is a human being back there, on both sides of the issue. Yes, even the politicians have to be considered human. Every state and public sector employee who is laid off or demonized is a human being. We hear about the occasional worker who commits suicide; sometimes we see the stories about individuals since we do all love the human face of the stories and the human interest story has long been a staple of TradMed. Just last month there was the story of the “laid off federal worker confronts Obama at a town hall meeting.” One human face confronting the President about losing her job because of federal budget cuts. How many millions of other federal, state, and local workers have lost or are losing their jobs due to budget cuts and austerity measures?

When McDonald’s had their McJobs fair day back in April, they were planning on hiring 50K workers in one day. They wound up hiring 62K (out of over a million applicants). Each of those 62K who were hired and the over 900K who were not hired are human beings with a story to tell of how they arrived at this point. Students trying to find summer jobs or mid career people who were caught in a “rightsizing” (one of the more Orwellian terms going around these days), all are humans trying to survive.
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Will the Gang of Six Receive the Gang of Four Treatment?

9:55 am in Economy, Government, Media by dakine01

I won’t say that great minds think alike but I had to laugh when I saw a link to this from HuffPo’s Ann Stark. Beyond Teddy Partridge’s Firedoglake post from Sunday night “Anti-gang Enforcement Needed On Capital Hill,” Ms Stark’s tweet about the Gang of Four rather crystalized for me some thoughts about how easily the Beltway Village Idiots Pundits fall into their usage of short hand terms without really any apparent understanding of the genesis of those terms. Whether it is the “Gang of Fourteen” or either of the two “Gang of Six” in the US Senate, I wonder if they want to remind people of the fate of the “Gang of Four.”

From Time Magazine Gang of Four On Trial:

After many delays, the “evildoers “finally enter the dock

The long parade of limousines and buses knifed through Peking’s wintry smog just before 3 p.m. As police and soldiers kept away curious bystanders, sober-faced men and women emerged from the cars, strode through the gates of the public security compound at No. 1 Zhengyi (Justice) Road near Tian’anmen Square and entered a large, brightly lighted courtroom. After taking their seats, the 35 judges and 880 “representatives of the masses” looked on impassively as the ten defendants were led into the court by bailiffs to hear the charges against them.

Thus began the long-awaited trial of China’s notorious Gang of Four and six other high-ranking “evildoers.” The carefully orchestrated courtroom drama, which is expected to last for several weeks, is the most important show trial to take place in the 31 years that the Communist Party has ruled China. The most celebrated defendant is Jiang Qing, 67, the widow of Mao Tse-tung, who, along with her allies in the Gang of Four,* led Mao’s reckless and violent Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. They were arrested four years ago, shortly after Mao’s death in 1976. Also on trial are a group of senior military officials who allegedly plotted with the late Defense Minister Lin Biao to assassinate Mao in 1971 and seize supreme power for themselves.

Now I am not advocating that the current “Gang of Six” from the US Senate be subjected to a “show trial” for their zeal in dismantling the social safety net under the guise of “saving” it. But when these men have to next face the voters, they probably will not want to highlight their participation in cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, all while preserving tax cuts for the top of the income chain.
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Hopelessness, Despair, Suicide

9:44 am in Economy, Government, Jobs, Unemployment by dakine01

I don’t know if suicides are more in the news lately or if I’m just noticing them more due to paying closer attention to the various news sources and possible causes. In March I wrote this post asking (rhetorically) “How Many Suicides Will There Be?” after seeing an article at the LA Times on a Costa Mesa, CA city employee who had committed suicide after receiving a lay-off notice.

Today’s (Friday, April 15) NY Times has an article on a study linking suicides to the overall economy. From the article:

The suicide rate increased 3 percent in the 2001 recession and has generally ridden the tide of the economy since the Great Depression, rising in bad times and falling in good ones, according to a comprehensive government analysis released Thursday.

Experts said the new study may help clarify a long-clouded relationship between suicide and economic trends.


In the study, which appears in The American Journal of Public Health, researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined suicide rates per 100,000 Americans for every year from 1928 to 2007.


To investigate the effect of business cycles, the researchers calculated the average rate during periods when the economy contracted and compared it with the average during the years leading to downturns. The sharpest increase occurred at the start of the Great Depression, when rates jumped 23 percent — to 22.1 in 1932, from 18.0 in 1928. The study found smaller bumps during the oil crisis of the early 1970s and the double-dip recession of the early 1980s, among other economic troughs.

Peterr has had a couple of posts at Firedoglake in the last two years on this topic as well, here and here. From Peterr’s first post:

When otherwise mentally healthy people get laid off, see their savings spiraling down the tubes, have banks threatening to repossess their homes, or get otherwise personally caught up in our national economic crises, they are miserable while trying to figure out what to do in response and how to come to terms with their new reality. When people with underlying mental health issues (clinical depression, PTSD, substance abuse, etc.) find themselves in these circumstances, however, it becomes exponentially harder for them to cope with the exterior economic stresses.

Hopelessness and despair due to the economic environment.

Peterr’s second post was more in line with this post from Jim White today on the suicide of Clay Hunt of the IAVA (Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America). From Peterr’s second post:

Desperate times and desperate circumstances lead desperate people to take their own lives. Suicide has many causes, and it seems that each victim has his or her own mix of issues and pressures that led them to kill themselves. Whatever the specifics of each case are, the two aftereffects of suicide are the same in every case: someone is dead, and the lives of their family and friends and neighbors are twisted with grief and often guilt.

From Jim White’s post:

So the Pentagon knows that returning vets face a high suicide risk and yet the Pentagon refuses to include these deaths among the official suicide figures. This means, of course, that the suicide figures actually are even much higher than the Pentagon admits.

As a veteran of the USAF, I managed to avoid serving during a time of “hot war” but I had many friends from my home town, high school, and college who served during Vietnam. I think we are seeing a very similar effect of the “disposable people” with the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. We send men and women to fight in a foreign land and when they return it seems to become more of “Yeah, but what have you done for us lately?”

Whether it is due to economic hopelessness and despair or post traumatic stress disorder hopelessness and despair from serving in war, we are seeing too many suicides from people who seem to feel the world has left them with no other option.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has lots of helpful information for those who are concerned about this issue, including warning signs of suicide and knowing how to respond to them.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It’s free, confidential, and they’ve got a national network of 130 crisis centers to help. If that’s too much to remember, just call 911.

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy

Family, Friends, and Facebook

10:45 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

I’ve been coming around to Firedoglake and hanging out for about five years now. I think I actually first discovered FDL a bit before the Libby trial (via Huffington Post) but it was definitely the Libby trial that got me paying close attention. It did take me a bit of time to really figure out the commenting system at the time. Not that it was difficult to post a comment but I’m arrogant enough to want my comments read rather than have them just be "EPU’d."

I forget the exact date but I guess it was about three and a half years ago that Jane did a post suggesting that FDL commenters and readers join Facebook and "friend" each other and try to build off the larger community. As a help, she’d had the programmers set things up that we could link to our Facebook profiles through FDL (that’s the little Facebook "F" that appears next to some folks FDL nom de blog)

I am so very thankful to Jane for that suggestion.

Because of Jane’s suggestion, I was able to get to know a few folks out in the South Central Texas (Austin to San Antonio) area when I was living in San Antonio. We got together for a couple of picnics where I was able to meet "TexBetsy," "Gnome de Plume," "YellowdogJim," and "greenwarrior" among others. I missed out on a couple of the picnics or that little list might have been a bit larger.

But as much as Facebook helped me to contact and become "friends" with fellow commenters across the country (and over half of my Facebook Friends list is comprised of people I "know" through FDL), it has allowed me to connect and re-connect with family and friends and former co-workers from almost every time of my life.

Not long after I had joined Facebook, I realized that my younger cousins just might already be on there so I went looking and lo and behold, there they were. I started with Katie and through her, found her sisters and her first cousins (granddaughters of one of my fist cousins). Now the family members include cousins that I don’t think I’ve actually met face to face, or at least, I have not met them as adults. And their spouses or significant others.

It was also through Katie that I started re-connecting with people I’d grown up with and gone to grade school and junior high with in our small home town. Now, I have many of my former classmates (who just celebrated their 40th high school reunion a couple of weeks ago) as Facebook friends.

I have friends who attended the same small military high school as I did. There are a couple of college drinking buddies on the list, a couple of folks with whom I worked when I was in the USAF, and other people with whom I’ve worked over the years.

There are friends and connections with my sister and brother who are also on my Facebook friends list. There are children and grandchildren of friends and family who have accepted my Friend requests or whose requests I have accepted.

All of this is just by way of saying a big thank you to Jane Hamsher for having made the suggestion to join Facebook. It’s possible to ignore all the Facebook games and such yet still use Facebook to re-connect with formerly lost aspects of a lifetime.

Thank you Jane!

And because I can:

Richie Hayward RIP

They Really Are Insane, Part II

11:17 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

It gets somewhat frustrating to read the cheerleader stories on the economy, or from the supposed economic experts on the same day and in the same paper where there are other stories plumbing the economic problems of average, everyday, yes, real Americans.

First off, we have the somewhat ludicrous cheerleader opinion piece from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in today’s (Tuesday August 3) NY Times titled Welcome to the Recovery. It’s impossible for me to pull out a couple of points of idiocy from this piece as almost every line of it is a misdirection, strawman, or flat out untruth.

From there, we go to this piece discussing a speech Monday by Fed Chair Ben Bernanke:

While the United States has “a considerable way to go” for a full recovery, “rising demand from households and businesses should help sustain growth,” Mr. Bernanke said on Monday in a speech in Charleston, S.C. “We are maintaining strong monetary policy support for the recovery,” he said in response to an audience question, without discussing any further action the Fed could take to aid growth.

The remarks signal that Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues, when they meet in Washington next week, will stop short of making major changes in their policy statement or taking new steps to lower interest rates and reduce unemployment, said John Ryding, a former Fed researcher. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, “seems likely to pick up in coming quarters from its recent modest pace,” Mr. Bernanke said.

Yeah, who cares about nearly 10% official Unemployment and the Un/Underemployment nearly double that? David Dayen had a post at FireDogLake yesterday on a Krugman column on how this is the "New Normal" for employment. Looks like Krugman is correct (not that that is a shock mind you.)

These speeches and such are contrasted by this story in today’s Times on "99ers."

In June, with long-term unemployment at record levels, about 1.4 million people were out of work for 99 weeks or more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not all of them received unemployment benefits, but for many of those who did, the modest payments were a lifeline that enabled them to maintain at least a veneer of normalcy, keeping a roof over their heads, putting gas in their cars, paying electric and phone bills.

I’m one of those "99ers." I was laid off in April ’04, a few months before my 52nd birthday. I exhausted my unemployment benefits and used up my retirement plans. As I’ve said before, the only consolation in that is knowing that even with paying early cash out penalties, I still got to use more of it on myself than those who watched their plans swirl down the toilet in the Crash of Too Big To Fail.

An Economix blog post in today’s Times offers some discussion on why "laypeople" think the Great Recession is still ongoing. Using Alan Greenspan’s analysis from Sunday’s Meet the Press(!) to explain:

MR. ALAN GREENSPAN: …I think we’re in a pause in a recovery, a modest recovery. But a pause in the modest recovery feels like quasi recession. Our problem, basically, is that we have a very distorted economy in the sense that there has been a significant recovery in a limited area of the economy amongst high-income individuals who have just had $800 billion added to their 401(k)s and are spending it and are carrying what consumption there is. Large banks, who are doing much better, and large corporations, whom you point out and the — and everyone’s pointing out, are in excellent shape. The rest of the economy, small business, small banks, and a very significant amount of the labor force, which is in tragic unemployment, long-term unemployment, that is pulling the economy apart. The average of those two is what we are looking at, but they are fundamentally two separate types of economy.

We truly are in Bizarro World when Greenspan seems to have the best handle on the problems being felt by those of us who refuse to give up our job searches no matter how much the cheerleaders want us to just accept the status quo.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy

Too Numb to Cry So I’ll Try Laughter

1:23 pm in Uncategorized by dakine01

Have I mentioned today that I NEED a FREAKIN’ JOB?

Well I do and as I search for employment sometimes it’s all I can do to stop myself from just curling up in a fetal position, cursing the fates and furies/Gods and Goddesses or any other entities or "supreme beings" that I can blame.

But now that I’ve gotten the obligatory whine out of the way, I’m going to talk about some of the folks who are in far worse straits than I am, as difficult to believe as that may be.

If you want to have your heart torn out, watch the video with this Seminal Diary from Michael Whitney. Or read this diary where Michael talks with some of the fishermen effected by BP’s environmental catastrophe (it seems Tony Hayward decided to upgrade it from the moderate environmental impact he first called it).

I’m only without a job. The folks in the Gulf of Mexico that are dealing with this disaster are out of a life style. As Michael reports in the second linked diary above:

Now he has nothing but oil. Raleigh estimates that, since the oil sinks into the soil where the oysters grow, it will be at least 10 years before Grand Isle fishermen can harvest oysters again.

Ten years can flash by in an instant it seems, but not when you are waiting for the return of your livelihood. I’m six years into my unemployment/underemployment life now and can’t imagine facing another four years of this. I never anticipated I could go this long; yet as I say, I’m blessed compared to what these folks are looking at. And there are thousands more who lived and worked along the Gulf who are looking at years and years of lost wages, lost lives.

I could never do this type of work. Nor could I do the work on the oil rigs. A few years ago I tracked down a high school classmate who has worked oil rigs in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico and tug boats plying the Intracoastal Waterway and was visiting him on Tybee Island, GA. After I had gotten motion sickness while we were standing on floating docks, Joe told a story about how he’d been on a rig in the Gulf when a storm came up. He said there was an accountant visiting the rig the night of the storm who got deathly ill from the motion. I told Joe, that was me.

But it’s not just the motion. All these people in the Gulf affected by this disaster are used to hard work. Now they are watching their lives be smeared by the actions of the "Drill Baby Drill" crowd who can’t seem to connect the fact that all those regulations they decry and worked to avoid, were in place for a reason. As Steven Pearlstein noted in a column at the Washington Post the other day,

The biggest oil spill ever. The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The deadliest mine disaster in 25 years. One recall after another of toys from China, of vehicles from Toyota, of hamburgers from roach-infested processing plants. The whole Vioxx fiasco. And let’s not forget the biggest climate threat since the Ice Age.

Even if you’re not into conspiracy theories, it’s hard to ignore the common thread running through these recent crises: the glaring failure of government regulators to protect the public. Regulators who were cowed by industry or intimidated by politicians. Regulators who were compromised by favors or prospects of industry employment. Regulators who were better at calculating the costs of oversight than the benefits. And regulators who were blinded by their ideological bias against government interference and their faith that industries could police themselves.

I’m only without a job but I still have my family and friends, most of whom are, if not OK, at least available for support. The folks affected by this disaster are looking at all their families, friends, neighbors and they are all in the same horrendous situation. I can not begin to fathom the pain they are in as they watch their oil fouled lives begin and see the mealy mouthed promises and word parsing from BP and their elected officials.

Please visit the Firedoglake BP Oil Disaster Page for their on-going coverage.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy