Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Thought Provoking Question on C-Span Today

The question posed to callers on C-Span today was, "Do you see signs of an economic recovery?"

It provoked a lot of different answers, many of which reflected confused and disgruntled citizens, in my opinion. How the host was able to keep a straight face when some of the people rambleed on regurgitating the news blurbs that are spoon fed to them, was beyond me. I imagine it's a very high stress job and that's why the host constantly changes.

The one gentleman who seemed to be conscious and on topic was, thankfully, engaged by the host to answer a few more questions.

If I ever had the nerve to call into this show, this is what I'd have to say on the topic.

California's economy is in a shambles and it's mode to recovery is sadly "one step forward-two steps back".

We see new business development in the form of Kohl's Department stores opening up in spaces where the bankrupt Mervyn's once stood, stimulating the economy of the cities where they are located bring tax dollars once again, but the majority of the jobs in these stores are low wage, part-time and come with no benefits.

We see road construction along our major highways, but that construction was spurred by bond measures the people voted for years ago and will have to pay for in the years to come while the repair of our city streets lay waiting. I recognize that one of President Obama's initiatives was to fix this country's roads. Those companies who fix roads the people who work there are in that business specifically and you're not going to find an out of work roofer or framer or an automobile dashboard assembler being hired on a road crew to repair potholes or widen streets. You may be able to employ that water truck driver or that materials hauler or the heavy equipment operator for a time, but that is not enough.

...and this is where the discussion turns from economic recovery to economic despair.

In this instance, the goal was big, but not big enough. Modeled after an era where train track was necessary to connect one community to another, public transportation in the form of high speed trains should of been the top priority to replace an ailing government owned AmTrack system. Look at the devastating train accident that occurred in Chatsworth, California, on September 12, 2008. Look at the technology that could have, that should have been in place to stop a train from an impending collision. It harkens back to 1895-1900 at Grand Central Station in New York City when it took human tragedy to make mass transit safer. Why does it always have to come to the loss of lives to make things change for the better?

Our century old water infrastructure is crumbling under our feet because cities across the state asked it's citizens to cut back on their water usage and only water their landscaping certain days of the week, but the ebb and flow of the pressures have created great strain and we have seen more water main breaks than at any other time in history.

California laid off teachers because property tax revenue dwindled due to the credit crisis and the ensuing mortgage industry downturn. Everything good in a prosperous economy is tied to housing. If you build a house, you just put people that manufactured the products that go into that house to work; you employed construction workers to build that house, you created service jobs to maintain and improve that house and people with jobs will buy that house, people working at a mortgage company will make a loan and now a home owner will pay taxes to benefit the community. A homeowner will want to buy new furniture for their home and get a better job and a new car because of their higher income and on and on it goes. But people are fleeing California because the cost of living here is too high. The cost of establishing and running a business in California is prohibitive when you have to consider taxes and health care insurance. When employers hire unskilled labor pools due to these high costs, people desperate to support their families both here and in foreign countries, it drives down wages and there becomes a bigger disparity between the seemingly middle class and those who struggle constantly with poverty.

...and this is where the discussion turns from economic despair to political opinion.

US Citizens should get a free education. You have to be able to take care of yourself and your own before you can take care of others. That was big screw up #1 that helped to drag down the California economy. Butter it up with NAFTA and you added insult to injury and drove manufacturing jobs away. The auto industry seized up and those good paying jobs that were there for so long, for generations, are now gone and won't ever be coming back.

And this next sections outlines how the medical and insurance industry failed.

The next paragraph was taken from The Centers for Immigration Studies, "Guestworker Programs for the 21st Century": "The United States has had two agricultural guest worker or Bracero programs with Mexico, and one program, H-2 and H-2A, that permits U.S. farmers to recruit foreign farm workers in any country, although most come from the Caribbean and Mexico. None of these programs fulfilled their stated purpose: to add workers temporarily to the U.S. work force without adding permanent residents to the population, and to do so in a manner that does not adversely affect U.S. workers. Instead, the Bracero programs laid the groundwork for one of the world's great mass migrations — that from Mexico to the United States — and the H-2A program has been wracked by costly disputes."

Since our country's borders were not secure enough, now you have a growing population of undocumented workers having babies to create an anchor child. You now have a population of citizens of poor workers with compromised health care. And you wonder why our health care system is failing? Everyone knows that hospitals won't turn away a patient who comes through the emergency room doors regardless of their ability to pay.

I'll go on and write more later, but once I started to touch on the health care crisis, as I was laying down on my stomach on the bed typing on my laptop, in my distress over the subject due to the fact that I have a preexisting health condition and cannot secure health insurance on my own, I had to take a shit.

I'll be writing more later on: Redefine the path to citizenship. Make English our national language. Making college mandatory.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yin and Yang about Whole Grain

The lastest food buzz is about whole grain. Why eat whole grain you ask? It's a fiber thing. Fiber makes you poo more and if the poo is flowing out at a faster rate due to more fiber in your diet, supposedly you'll absorb less calories which could turn into fat and as a result, you'll weigh less.

An added benefit to eating more fiber, too, is you'll feel fuller longer and that should lessen your hunger pains.

What happens if you don't eat fiber? Constipation, hemeroids, colon cancer, diverticulitis, etc.

So eat your Cherios.

I'm Moving

Don't worry. It's nothing that major.

I'm moving all of my recipes away from my general "My Life in Orange County" blog and into a new specialized blog entitled "My Red Recipe Book". Indeed, I do have a red recipe book at home that I add recipes into when I find something that peeks my interest and due to my severe lactose intollerance, the majority of the recipes I collect are dairy free or modified to be dairy free so I can eat them. I will only post general food topics here going forward.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dinner at the Diner is Out!

Read: Two-meal diet aids in oldest man's longevity

If you believe that learning from others mistakes is vital, you should read the link above about the diet and lifestyle of the worlds oldest man. There is nothing fancy about it, no tricks in the least. And it makes sense.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Family Extortion

So my mom calls me up and says she needs money to fix her car so she can go to her doctor's appointments. I just was fired from my job and fresh off of a nice driving trip with my son to San Jose. I don't and I won't tollerate this type of demand from anyone knowing that I can fix things myself when I don't have the funds. O.K. mom, I'll be down to your place at around dinner time.

Assessing the problem from what she told me on the phone, she needs maybe fuses and a flasher. I don't know anything about the car she drives, so I locate the manual and parts at my local Kragen. And I'm off.

On Labor Day weekend, I drive to El Cajon and it takes over 3 hours in traffic. I'm not a happy camper in traffic because my last job required me to drive in traffic for a minumum of 3 hours a day. I'll fidget with the radio, take sips of water, chew gum, sing, watch for accidents, avoid idiot drivers, try to stay in the lanes that are moving, look at other peoples rides, anything to pass the time. The drive was grueling. By the time I got to the Oceanside rest stop, the base fire truck was parked on the side of the road and clearly everyone was rubber-necking to see what the hell was going on. All they were really doing was slowing down the flow of traffic wih their presence - nothing going on! ARG! So after I pass that, they traffic picks up a bit and starts to flow nicely after Carlsbad.

I get to my mom's place and make her test all of the lights with me since she said her blinkers are out on the inside of her car. See, Jiffy Lube does this shit for me, so I don't have to worry about it. But anyway, OK Mom, left, right, stomp on the breaks, turn your lights on and off. She had a side light out on the front left. Great. I snip the plastic ties are holding up her felt formed under dash cover, locate the flasher near the steering column, pop it out of the holder and switch it with the one I bought. Then I go to the other side of the car and open up the fuse box and with the needle nose pliers, pull each fuse out and examine it for a break. And it turns out none were broken. OK, so I position myself under the front end of the car to pop out the housing to where the blown light is and retrieve the bulb. It's corroded, yuck. I have to remove the corrosion and clean off the connection so it will work again.

So then I hop in my car with my mom and she's got something to return to Kragen while I have to pick up the tiny light bulb so her blinker on the outside will work. And we go to the Kragen in Lakeside. It's not a long drive, but it's not around the corner or in the neighborhood either. Grr. Thank God, this little dopunk auto shop (and I mean so dopunk that it comes equiped with a southern accented hick - good lord) has got the part. We get back and I finish up the car and by this time, I'm not hungry, just hot and irratated. So I decided to spend the night at my moms. This equates to sleeping on the floor in the living room because she lives in a senior complex full of efficency apartments.

The next morning, we get to talking and I asked her, "What would you be doing if I wasn't here today?", and she says "walking". I can do that. So blah blah, after I find some sort of breakfast - oatmeal with no sweetner - I said lets go walking in Balboa Park. She doesn't like to drive into San Diego. I don't know why she doesn't, but she doesn't mind that I do. So the GPS is not working, and I just decide to turn it off and go by my internal compass which works a good 95% of the time unless I get turned around, but that's not hard to fix, now is it? 8W, 5S, look for the signs to go to Balboa Park and we're there in no time flat... it's 9:30AM on a Sunday morning and nothing is open. All the museums open at 10AM and so we park near the entrance across from the natural history museum. We get around the corner and the first thing out of her mouth is, "I'd like to go there". I must have "Sucker" written on my forehead, huh. I said we can go there once we are done with our walk. I walk with her to the botanical gardens and around he fountain, then over to the art museum and she needs a break. I love to hear the bells chime and off in the distance... a pipe organ? Oh, I got to see that... I didn't know Balboa Park had a pipe organ pavillion... cool. We walk back to the visitors center because you know how old people like collecting stupid colorful cards to places they will never go... it sounds as though she wants me to pay for a gd sd bay tour on a fucking boat. Shit. I hate visitor's centers now... And then we walk to the back and go out to find a cafe coffee cart. Atleast it smelled good. We walk a little further down the sidewalk and I hear the pipe organ again and I'm drawn to it's sounds.

As we were walking by, we had to pass the Japanese Frendship Garden. It's a separate area with a separate fee I guess with a special garden inside. Well, ya seen one Japanese garden, you pretty musch seem them all. Koi pond? Check. Highly sculpted bushes? Check. Maple tree? Check. Tea house? Check. Pagota? Check. Yup, same stuff. And it didn't open until 10AM either.

It turns out the Spreckles Pipe organ pavallion has a concert every Sunday afternoon for free and I had caught some of the warm-up from the organist. The stage doors were closed and locked and my mom is complaining that she's hot yet again. So we walk back to the visitor's center and rest.

After she's ready, we walk in the shade of the buildings back up to the Natural History Museum and eariler she said she wanted to go there, so hell, why not? And it's got A/C so maybe she'll stop complaining she's hot. Nope. We go through the two floors of exhibits using the elevator because she can't handle stairs anymore or atleast thats what she tells me and then on the third floor she's pooping out again. So I said it was time to go.

So I drive back to El Cajon and it's lunch time and we're hungry. Mom wanted for me to go to a greasy diner, but I wasn't feeling it. I drove by this place called the Downtown Cafe atleast three times and it looked fun so that's where we went. And I paid. I paid.

What did I pay? A day and a half of my time, the gas it took to get there and back and from el cajon to SD and el cajon, the museum tickets, the lunch and car parts. But I didn't "loan" her any money I wouldn't get back and I gave her some advice about her debt. She won't file for bankruptcy to get rid of those damn credit cards. And it pisses me off.