full life doin' nothin does take up time.
at this writing, I am looking out the window at the park, watching the water sprayed on the ice rink freeze. seasonal cold wind gusts are moving yesterday's inch of snow around and around. both cats are sleeping on the couch near me, one on the afghan Cheryl just finished knitting, the other on the Sherpa fleece the other side of some couch pillows.
I have a pile of projects going in the Ham Cave, as usual in an array of almost-done status. months of piddly little in-house things have kept me out of the Ham Cave, and I'm taking this week off of work to start undoing the piles and get room to stretch out in there.
it's a reflective week as I close in on age 62. 19 years ago, I was barely home from a heart attack, not a month into a new job at US West. too soon for the health insurance to have kicked in, with $43,000 of medical bills piled up and two weeks of twice-daily shots of LMW heparin to inject sub-Q, I had to file for medical assistance. Ramsey County taxpayers saved my life. these days, I'm returning the favor.
and at this time, warm in my house, festive with the help of my wife, 401K building nicely under the second successor to USWest, my way of life is under attack. every minute of every day, Big Libertarianism is attacking every segment of my life. I work hard, brain work, supporting almost four dozen different platforms providing Internet service to home and business, from slow ATM based equipment new in 1997 and still in use, to GPON gigabit fiber service direct to the home. when they can't figure out how to fix a streaming video service to a customer, I am one of a couple dozen guys in 14 states to get the call as well, and that area will expand over the next few years. I am in a union job with union benefits that took 70 years to accrue. another center that rolls contractors through it in our company has less than half the metrics we do.
I have new roads in front of my house, good fire protection and police protection. everybody in our immediate families has post-secondary education, many degreed. we benefitted from over a generation of government that supported the schools and colleges, fairly demanded we stay in and backed it up with staffed truancy officers for those who strayed, and as a child lived biking distance from the judge who desegregated Little Rock and frequently ran into the Congressman who rammed a money-back guarantee on military equipment through Congress.
I open the newspaper or surf the web now, and pinheads fuelled by raw unquenchable greed are in the process of wrecking it all.
millions buys election for dumbos as governors who can't get through a sentence without losing their train of thought and saying "Oops." the guy next state over who, having crashed the unions in his state and put it in a $2 billion defecit, wants to gut the state education system next. he's said to be a leading candidate for the Presidency next time around. we have 60% of our legislators in Minnesota who want to "rebuild the state's roads and bridges" on less money than it takes to put another inch of blackop over crumbling bases, because it might mean a nickel more in gas tax. the wage gap is wider than all but two states in Minnesota between black and white in a recent metasurvey, and these characters want to take back a middle of the road increase in the minimum wage, refuse to fund education gap programs in the schools, won't support transit systems and ESL that help new immigrants and second-generation Americans get into the mainstream and earn their way into society.
we have our own American Taliban, and it's the billionnaires pushing tired, failed John Birch ideology through sham TEA Parties and a slanted radio and TV empire of bad talkers with empty heads and a jungle telegraph of Today's Talking Points. there is a museum in Texas for Melvin Munn, sponsored in the 60s and 70s by the Hunt Brothers through their "Amaze Aids" heartburn tablet rolls that were a talisman of "you can talk freely here" gas stations and little stores throughout the ultra-conservative sections of the country. well, his little 15-minute LP radio talks (they would not release on tape because they were afraid the tape would break... never heard of grooves skipping, I guess) were protected speech and quite profitable for the stations carrying them. but it was whines in the wilderness for the vast majority of Americans building, expanding, rejoicing in their free and open society.
at the time, it was pretty much the extent of the propaganda.
now, it's damn near the whole spectrum. today, Senator Karl Mundt, "Mr. Republican" and a brick wall to "radical" expansion of Medicaid and welfare and encroachments, would be a RINO outcast.
and if I dropped on the floor and called 911 today, new in what will be my retirement with pension job, taxpayer, productive citizen and community good guy... I'd probably be crushed financially for life. if I got to an emergency room, they'd stabilize me. it's a toss-up whether I'd get stented or not. depends on where you are, and whether the uninsured had crashed the emergency room system. the 56th silly vote in the House to abolish the ACA (Obamacare to those who still curse "the Kenyan") was just held, predictably, and there will be another 56 to come from this split House.
The biggest issue we face today is the American Taliban working against their own interests, and those of virtually every American. the hate has to stop.
amazing what a few minutes of sitting, looking into the park and reflecting can bring. the new ice coating is hard on the rink. A little sun plays with the snow and adds depth and character in the mounds. almost as if it's promising a renewal of warmth, comfort, a new day.