If it walks like a duck..

Today’s post isn’t a letter to anyone.  It is just a post about my thoughts.  I think like 99.9% of all Americans, conservative and liberal, regarding the government shut down….I am o-v-e-r-i-t!

Here’s my list of thoughts in no particular order on this Monday:

1.  Even I am sick of talking about the shut down and that is serious.  When I can talk politics all day every day and I am sick of it you know there is a problem.  I’m opting to read gossip magazines to find out the latest about the Jenner split BEFORE I read the latest happenings on the Hill.

2.  Regarding the closing the WWII memorial – here’s the deal folks – stop scheduling the Memorial Flights until it reopens.  The monument is CLOSED whether you like it or not.  Also, tone the drama down a bit.  The veterans aren’t exactly “storming” the monument.  They are walking quickly towards it, but they aren’t exactly “storming” it. If some of the veterans miss seeing the memorial, well that’s sad, but think of all of the veterans that lived without a memorial up until it was built.  Memorials are amazing, but they are statues – they do not make the person or define the experience.  Let’s stop acting like this is a trip to the Holy Land.

3.  The rollout of the Obamacare WEBSITE has been a disaster.  I want to be clear – I’m not talking about the entire program just the website.  The firm who designed the website gets two thumbs down from me.  It’s 2013 and you KNEW that there would be MILLIONS of people hitting this website at one time.  Experiencing this many technical glitches is unacceptable.  I may be a loyal Democrat, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

A bad website doesn’t mean the entire program is a bust.  Everyone take a deep breath and let’s see what happens when the refresh button actually refreshes.

4.  Two big thumbs up to Obama for the gas prices.  Here in Kansas City gas prices are a $2.97/gallon for unleaded. Woohoo – that sure helps right now.

5.  As much as America HATES the thought of career politicians, the whole mess we are currently in makes me stop and think about the benefit of career politicians to keep us out of future messes.  Before we get all high and mighty voting all of the bums out of office think about what got us here in the first place.  There may be something said for career politicians knowing what it takes to negotiate and just how far they can push each other until we end up with monuments being shut down, WIC programs not receiving food and our nation’s food supply not being monitored.  

Hey these are just my thoughts…

Now back to reading about the Jenner split.  Wake me when we hit the debt ceiling.

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URGENT Congress- a must read response to LaPierre’s interview

Dear Congress:

I know you all are on Christmas Break.  I hope you can take a second to read this.  I’m sure you already know that Wayne LaPierre , the NRA’s spokesman, gave a press conference on Friday and appeared on Meet the Press.  Some Congressman and Senators have  issued statements also supporting no new gun control laws that would infringe on the 2nd amendment.  LaPierre asked that we put an armed security guard in all of our nation’s schools.

“If it’s crazy to put more guns in schools, then call me crazy.” LaPierre said.

You’re crazy Mr. LaPierre.  That was easy.

Here’s why.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics in 2009-2010 there were 98,817 schools in the United States.  This year we had Sandy Hook – that is one mass shooting out of 98,817.

Since 1927 there have been 11 school shootings. I am in no way minimizing these tragedies.  I, like any other concerned parent, realize that one tragedy is too many. However, common sense tells me that the odds are that my child will be safe.  Common sense also tells me that restricting the access to assault weapons would have also reduced the number of casualties in these shootings.  It’s not more guns to arm our teachers and added armed  guards to attempt to shoot intruder, it’s less high-powered guns to reduce the number of casualties.

Here is another point that Mr. LaPierre and politicians are leaving out.  The onset of most mental illness in people is 14 years old.  If mental health really needs to be overhauled in this country why have politicians frequently tried to cut school funding for vital programs like school counseling?  In some states school counseling programs have been eliminated altogether.

What do school counselors do?  According to the School Counselors Association,”Secondary school counselors are professional educators with a mental health perspective who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population.”

The legislative update from the School Counselors Association reads:

The Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP), the only federal program dedicated to creating and expanding school counseling services in America’s public schools, remains funded for FY12. Although the House of Representatives attempted to eliminate the program, the Senate and House ultimately agreed to fund ESSCP at approximately $52.296 million. The FY12 funding amount is a cut of 0.189 percent from FY11, which is the amount that was cut from all education programs.

I went through the list of each state and who has funded school counseling programs.  You can read the complete list here.

Some interesting findings:

Connecticut
Is school counseling mandated for grades K-8? No
Is school counseling mandated for grades 9-12? No
Is a mandate being considered? No
Certification rule (see p. 111)

Colorado 

Is school counseling mandated for grades K-8? No
Is school counseling mandated for grades 9-12? No
Is a mandate being considered? No
Other: Colorado is a local control state, which means many pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public education decisions (issues of curriculum, personnel, school calendars, graduation requirements, classroom policy, etc.) are made by the 176 school district administrations and their school boards.
Certification rule (see p. 165)

and my own great state of KS

Kansas
Is school counseling mandated for grades K-8? No
Is school counseling mandated for grades 9-12? No
Is a mandate being considered? No
Certification rule

I’m not a journalist, just a concerned parent.  I know that if we really want to do something to improve mental health in our nation, it is early detection and intervention.  Not funding and mandating school counseling is wrong.  There is still a need to ban assault weapons.   Putting armed guards in 98,000 of our nation’s schools costs money.   I would rather us arm every school with a qualified school counselor than a security guard.  

If I remember from the last election cycle, most of you ran on fiscal responsibility and no more “politics as usual”.  Show me you stand by your promise.  Fund programs that work like school counselors instead programs we know don’t work like armed guards in schools. Require that every school in our nation have a qualified school counselor with mental health screening for our youth.  Not only can we help prevent tragedies like shootings, but also other mental health initiatives like suicides and bullying.

Thank you,

Aimee Patton

Parent to a six-year-old and voter

Hey…From President Obama

I watched the debates last night.  I will say it even though it pains me greatly – Good job Mitt!  Mitt obviously won the night. I think the problem with Obama is he didn’t seem engaged.  I think with President Obama there are two modes – engaged and not engaged.  He is either speaking so passionately that the audience ends up yelling, “Amen!” or he is disengaged and he sounds like those professors from college where you had to pinch your hand to keep yourself awake.  Obama was talking, but I can’t for the life of me remember any of it.

The best observation of the night came from my 6 year old.  “Maybe they both can be President and just take turns.”

After the debate, I immediately receive fundraising emails from both candidates.  Downloading the Romney VP app signed me up for a flurry of GOP email that I can’t delete fast enough.

There was my daily President Obama email.  In the subject line just one word:  “hey”.

Now, I am not naive to think that President Obama actually sits down to compose emails to me every day.  I know he has people doing that for him.  Here is how I imagine this creative process going:

Group of campaign staffer Gen Ys around a table.

“O.k. so let’s review this email before it goes out.” Staffer A

“Looks good, dude.” Staffer B

“Wait! We need a subject line.  It’s got to be an attention grabbing headline.  We’ve got to say something that will make people really want to open this email and donate to President Obama.”  Staffer A

“Hey dude, I’ve got an idea.” Staffer C

“Eureka!  That’s the subject line.” Staffer A

“What?  Hey dude, I’ve got an idea?” Staffer C

“No.  Just ‘hey’.  It’s simple, casual and to the point.” Staffer A

The whole group erupts giving each other high-fives.

And there you have it.  The subject line of “hey” was typed and sent to millions around the country.

Maybe it didn’t play out this way, but for God’s sake hold someone responsible for this laziness.  I type emails to my family and friends and use the subject line “hey” usually dude follows the hey.  This shouldn’t be coming from the President of the United States.  I realize we are now a casual society, often wearing jeans to work, but this is taking it a step too far.

This reminds me of when I get lazy filing papers away.  I have been known to mark the folders “stuff” when I am just too lazy to actually develop a good filing system.

There is your next subject line campaign staffers – “stuff”.  I give you permission to use it.  I’ll use another word to describe the subject line and President Obama’s performance at the debate – lame.  I have a feeling that one won’t be showing up in a subject line any time soon.

Come on campaign staffers – carb load yourselves, smoke those cigarettes you just starting smoking this campaign cycle, drink a few Red Bulls and look alive.

In the tradition of Obama’s subject line emails, I’ll use one word to wrap this up.

Later

Papa John’s pizzagate – the outrage

Hold on to your deep dish, the founder and CEO of Papa John’s pizza made an announcement that his pizza costs are going up.  Why the spike in your cheese and pepperoni pizza?   Healthcare reform is causing Papa John’s to be forced to offer health care insurance to their employees.  It’s Obama’s fault that the cost of your pizza is going up.

Now the perks of a Papa John’s delivery drive are already too numerous to list.  You may not know this, but Papa John’s employees have many more perks besides receiving excellent, base-level pay delivering pizzas to the American dinner table.   Offering employees health insurance is just icing the cake for Papa John employees that already have the following lesser known benefits:

  • Each employee receives a company car.  Every time I answer my door for my delicious Papa John’s pizza I am frequently blinded by the glare of the brand new Merecedes that each driver has parked in front of my house.  Papa John’s offers only the finest fleet of top-of-the-line automobiles to each of their drivers.
  • All employees are always dressed in their finest Papa John’s pizza uniforms.  Similar to our Olympic athletes, each employee is styling  in the latest Ralph Lauren designs when they deliver my large veggie combo.
  • How many pizza chains can claim they offer a chauffeur for their delivery drivers?  Papa John’s drivers don’t drive; they sit in style as a chauffeur drives them from hungry house to hungry house again in those beautiful Mercedes.
  • Since each employee stands on their feet all day making our favorite pizza pies, Papa John’s brings in masseurs to keep our pizza makers in tip-top shape with regular, on-site massage.
  • Each employee also already receives sessions with financial planners who help them make wise, offshore  investments with their plentiful salaries.  One can’t just deposit millions in salaries in a regular bank.  Each employee is set up with offshore bank accounts in exotic locations all over the world.

With all of these perks, how can Papa John’s be expect to offer yet another benefit like health insurance?  Obama, how dare you force this American business to offer a benefit that allows each worker to seek out medical care without financial bankrupting them?  Covering health insurance means that each employee and their families can go to their doctor when needed.   I sympathize with Papa John’s for this outrageous request.  Thanks Papa John CEO for pointing out this outrageous requirement.  I may be able to afford the extra few cents increase to my pizza so employees can have health insurance, but I may have to stop ordering Papa John’s pizza just so I can send a strong message to Obama.  American businesses can’t be bullied like this.   I guess I’ll just have to order my pizza from another pizza restaurant so that Papa John’s can continue to prove their point about this out-of-line request on a business owner.   That will show Obama for causing pizzagate.  Shame on you Mr. President.

A note to my talk radio call in friends about gay marriage

Well, Obama did it. He finally supported gay marriage. Was it historic? Yes. Was it long overdue? Yes. Should VP Biden be getting more credit? Yes. If there is a Grand Marshal of the gay pride parade this year, I would vote for Biden over Obama. My reaction to Obama’s announcement was more of finally over hooray. This is the Obama I voted for originally. This is the Obama I have been waiting for.

After the announcement, talk radio phone lines lit up like Christmas lights on the Plaza on Thanksgiving. The same old arguments, “The Bible says,…” insert hateful remark. I listened to call after call of self described Christians spouting off hatred hidden behind the justification that it’s not me, it’s the Bible excuses. I don’t want to lay out hateful justification after hateful justification via the Bible here because it’s not worth repeating. Also, I think we’ve all heard it before.

I kept thinking to myself, if you just replace the word homosexual or gay with the word black or Jew, what’s the difference? The Bible has been used to justify all sorts of horrible behavior in the past. The South used it to justify slavery at one point in our embarrassing and horrible American history. I also kept thinking about the famous picture from Little Rock, AR, when the black students were integrating the high school and the crowd of white students behind them were screaming. Aren’t these talk radio callers the same as this angry crowd? What makes them any different? You can wrap yourself up in the blanket of Christianity all you want, but hatred is just hatred not matter how you try to justify it.

Our history has shown us that separate, but equal doesn’t work. We tried that when we educated black students separately from white students. This idea that civil unions are the same as marriage is crazy. Two responsible adults in a committed relationship should have the same rights any other adults in the same relationship and genders shouldn’t matter. Period. Do we really need to repeat history to learn a lesson that we already learned? Separate, but equal doesn’t work. Marriage for one means marriage for all.

This week I receive my very first antisemitic tweet. It came out of nowhere. It wasn’t directed at me, because of my pro-choice stance. It wasn’t directed at me because of my other hyper liberal positions. It was only because I am Jewish. Now when I first saw it there was a part of me that thought, well done. You did you homework,you Jew hater, because you obviously aren’t picking out Jews by last name alone to target. Like I said before, my last name is by marriage and not Jewish. There was another part of me that thought, wow I made it. I guess I am kind of famous in a weird way because I received my first hate tweet. I feel like it’s a right of passage in some way. I looked up the other tweets of this hate tweeter. Bette Midler was on the list. Bette! Me and Bette in the same twitter feed! Stop it. Seriously? The Jew hater had me and Bette only a few tweets away!

Another little insight into me. I was a Jew at a Southern Baptist University. I am fully versed in hatred supported by the Bible. It’s a long story as to how I ended up there and it’s not important to this entry, but I had a regular dish of hatred served to me in the form of “but it’s in the Bible’. Call it ignorance, call it closed mindedness, call it whatever you want. I’ll call it what I think it is, HORSE SHIT. It’s discrimination and hatred and it needs to be called out. If you want to hate blacks, Jews, homosexuals then own it. Don’t do it and then say, “well God said it was o.k.” That’s an excuse my 5 year old would use. The Bible also has a whole lot of other wacky stuff in it that we don’t apply, because we’ve all decided that in today’s day it’s wacky. I don’t believe we all show the sheet of blood after the marriage night to prove that our wives are virgins now do we?

Thanks VP Biden and President Obama for taking such huge leaps forward in finally making marriage equality a possibility for so many. It is long overdue. Keep it up. There are a whole group of good people who just want the opportunity for equal rights who are depending on you.

Catholic hospitals offering birth control – where is the outrage politicians?

I was not going to post today, but something is bothering me.  It has to do with my good buddy Rick Santorum and his victory speech about the war on religion.  I was doing some more thinking about it and how he is rallying everyone behind this belief that religion in this country is under attack.  Why does he think so?  This is based on the Obama decision to have employers make contraception for women be available and affordable.  The shock…the outcry!  The assault on religious freedom, never mind the victory for women or the fairness in no longer having women pay extraordinary costs in planning pregnancies or regulating painful periods.  Anyway, that argument is a little too rational, let’s go back to the argument about freedom.  The attack on freedom (insert big movie music)!

As I was remembering Ricky’s speech, he brought up our founding father’s again and their quest for religious freedom.  I keep having this vision play out in my mind: founding fathers all standing together in Boston Harbor.  One of them gives the same type of speech as Santorum about freedom.  The crowd goes wild.  Everyone is ready to fight the British.  Now founding father looks over at his slave and says, “Hand me my gun, let’s all go fight for freedom!”  My point, this is not about religious freedom for all, just Christian freedom.  The people Santorum are kissing up to want everyone to say Merry Christmas and pray to Jesus in public school.

In all fairness I did two seconds of research about Catholic hospitals and birth control.  If our politicians are fighting against this mandate for women to receive birth control, because of religious freedom then I thought it only fair to check out some of these Catholic hospitals to see what types of services they are offering.  I checked out our local St. Joseph hospital.  Sure enough they are owned by a large Catholic, non-profit.  I know they have a great reputation and they are in a large network of Catholic hospitals all over the nation.  Under this umbrella was a women’s health group of physicians that offered a full range of services included annual exams.  I gave them a quick call.

Sure enough the lovely receptionist told me they offer a full range of contraceptive options including the IUD.  Hold it, politicians in Washington please read this:  this large Catholic hospital has their physicians offering their patients birth control.   If President Obama’s mandate was such an assault to the Catholic church and Catholic hospitals, why are they offering this product from the devil to their patients and making money off of it?  Where is the outrage about that politicians?

Here is the deal politicians, I am calling you on this religious freedom bullshit.  Fine if you are a church and do not want to offer birth control.  I totally get that.  Not fine if you are a church affiliated hospital and you are profiting off of birth control from your physicians and politicians are using you as a platform to gain votes.  Absolutely not o.k.  You owe your employees birth control the same way your physicians are profiting off it from their patients.  Do the ethical thing and call your politicians and tell them to stop using you as a political point.  I do not know how you could live with yourself if you didn’t.  I am sure that is the ethical thing and God would be proud of you for standing up for the right thing.  Of course, I am just a Jewish girl from Kansas.  What do I know.

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