On another note, I just read this article in the SF Chronicle
about the University of California
system and a new pricing policy at UC Berkeley, also known as Cal, the flagship of the 10 campuses.
The phrase "the house always wins" came to my mind, but I'm not sure why. On the face of it, this sounds like a step in the right direction for the struggling middle class. But then again, bringing in more out of state students and limiting in state students really rankles me. I say that as the mother of a high school junior who is at this very moment sitting for an AP Bio exam.
The comments raise the 1% - 99% divide issue, which I am sure is a sensitive topic for all public and private colleges and universities. I am only now beginning to wrap my mind around what is right and wrong with higher education financing and costs. I'm wide open to other opinions. What is your collective experience with higher education, if any?
I just returned from my local CVS Pharmacy where I needed to pick up an Rx for my son. The doors were boarded up with wood - not to keep patrons out, but because others let themselves in - at 3 am.
The store manager was there mopping up after the early morning break in. He looked exhausted and his Monday was off to a pretty shitty start.
"They" took things, meaning drug store items (all the ibuprofen you can eat!) and holiday decorations. Of course they fled before the police could arrive.
My first thought, after knowing no store employees were hurt, was how overwhelming it must feel to experience such need. But need for what? Aspirin? Nutcrackers for their kids because they couldn't afford nice presents? Or because the resale value on the street is high for wooden soldiers? I don't mean to sound facetious. But I think of the phrase: "helpless people have a way of controlling everyone around them." So, the perps break in and so many others have to account for and clean up their mess.
But need is real. And ever so evident right now. Oakland Local
is once again live blogging the Port of Oakland
work stoppage this morning. I am torn in my feelings about this. The soundbites from the truckers who will loose pay because they can't work bother me. A lot. My husband and I go round and round on the merits of some of these actions. Does a movement and its voices have to be coherent right out of the gate in order to garner momentum? Evidently not. But how about respect or growing cohesion?
It's grey and cold here in the Bay Area today. There is need everywhere and its never felt more acutely than during this three month trifecta of too much food, thanks and gifts.
But my thoughts keep turning to the nice manager of our local CVS. The look on his face and the exhaustion in his eyes. I need to mull this over. What are your thoughts on this?
My travels took me to a very wealthy, shall we say, white, suburb of San Francisco the other day. It’s a beautiful, bucolic town. Not my cup of tea. But nobody really asked. It costs a lot of money to live in a community like this. Most people are very nice, law abiding, and well meaning. And blonde.
Before heading home, I stopped at the Post Office to mail some things. This is what greeted me:
I had heard of Lyndon Larouche
, but had never bothered to research his paranoia, excuse me, positions. But whatever they were, I couldn’t imagine they merited an Adolf-style mustache on the President of the United States.
“Why have you made the president look like Hitler?” I calmly asked one of the two women at the tables.
“President Obama is ruining the world economy,” one answered.
“But what is it necessary to put that mustache on him?” I asked again.
“Because he is just like Adolf Hitler,” she replied without blinking.
“Adolf Hitler targeted, isolated, and murdered millions of Jews,” I said, ramping it up a bit.
“And how many people will die because of President Obama?” the woman said.
I would like to tell you that I shot back with something intelligent and worthy of Mr. Obama. But I didn’t. The vacancy in this woman’s eyes was not a challenge. The mental illness that invites people to provoke others is a no-win situation. I couldn’t engage with her crazy.
The irony of this, of course, is all the information that has been written about Larouche’s cause
and it’s connections to right wing/white supremacy/ Hitler sympathizing organizations and teachings.
Listen, I know as much as the next person that these ladies have a constitutional right to paste a clearly unique mustache that telegraphs only one thing on a photo of the president of our country.
But is it necessary? Really? And must they assault people outside of federal property with such a disrespectful and disgraceful image? Really?
And why is it that Occupy protestors all around the country have been hammered by police , when these women are allowed to display this garbage in peace and tranquility?
The Glass Steagal - Hitler connection is a stretch for me. Call me dense, but it’s a stretch. These people are disgusting. Is there no respect left anywhere for anyone?
Say what you will about George Bush - and believe me, I never had one good word to say about him - I never dreamed of drawing an Adolph Hitler mustache on his face.
Nor would I ever do such a thing on Newt, Mitt, Michele, or even Sarah, all of whom I loathe.
This is the nutjobery that our president faces every day...at the same time that politicians in Poland are saying that what they fear the most from Germany right now is that Merkel won't act fast enough to staunch the bleeding in the EEU which, might I add, will flow across the pond to our shores if the debt crisis there is not dealt with.
Hope that Larouchey
thing works out for these two women. Just sayin.’
Occupy Writers is an interesting website someone sent me. A statement by Lemony Snicket, whose series of unfortunate events I simply loved, is pasted below. I am awaiting the outcome of the U.C. Regents meeting today and any news on a general strike at the various campuses. So, please use this post to address the Occupy Movement, Syracuse and related stories, or anything in the news you'd like to discuss. Many thanks! by Lemony Snicket Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance
1. If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.
2. “Fortune” is a word for having a lot of money and for having a lot of luck, but that does not mean the word has two definitions.
3. Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.
4. People who say money doesn’t matter are like people who say cake doesn’t matter—it’s probably because they’ve already had a few slices.
5. There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.
6. Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.
7. Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.
8. Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example.
9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.
10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.
11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.
12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.
13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.
And then there are new words. Words that Congresswoman Gabby Gifford is learning every day.
There are things I want to blog about and issues I want to address, but they pale in comparison to THIS
report that I just watched. Or at least I'd like to pause for a day and honor this couple by pondering the miracle of this story.
H/T to Mistah Charley for providing the link. Each section is well worth watching. I was amazed and in awe of this brave, beautiful young woman, her brilliant and dedicated husband, and the family and community that has supported them through this long ordeal since last January.
It feels wrong to make a crack about "surveyor's marks" right now, so I won't. Though I guess I just did. Perhaps instead I need to remember those who died and the true miracle of this woman's survival and the people who have dedicated their lives to professions that made it possible.
H/T to reader Tom for providing two links worth reading and discussing. First, this ESPN
post with video (and 2,200 comments no less, which are as illuminating as the blog post itself) on Sandusky's childhood and how people who have known him on a personal level through the years were blindsided by these allegations.
Further down in the article is mention of a phrase I'd not heard before. "Socially adept preferential child molesters." Yikes. So how does someone who "likes to be with children" turn into a predator who harms them? And must we have a nice name for everything? How about "sick mo fo?" (that is for those whom the charges have been proven.)
Along those lines, I recall meeting a woman at a dinner party many years ago who worked as a psychologist counseling prisoners. Her clientele were all sexual predators. She told us that she explained to the men that they were not bad people, but that their actions were bad. I'm going to mull over those words of hers again. I'm not sure I like them.
We also have THIS
link to an interesting blog post. It ties in with what I heard on NPR this morning about New York state's legislature now pondering a bill that would require coaches to become "mandated reporters." Do we really need a law to tell coaches that they need to report suspected child abuse? Really?
I'm still scratching my head about that missing DA. I need to find more on that to read. But between the current AG and the former AG-turned-governor, there is so much to absorb about the Keystone State.
They say that's all it took to end Rick Perry's presidential candidacy and career the other night.
One of the things that you learn as a young reporter who does live shots, is to never "number" what you are going to say. For example, you don't say that there are three reasons why the DA declined to press charges and they are, one...two.... Because by number three, I can guarantee you that most reporters, especially me, would forget the third, and you'd stand there looking like a fool in front of a camera. You do it once, you don't do it again.
Curiously, I don't fault Perry for this gaffe. Imagine the pressure. Imagine how many things are swirling in their heads at these moments. However, Perry doesn't want the lead live shot on the 10 O'Clock News. He wants to run the nation. And if you've got big plans to wield an axe, you better know what you're aiming for.
What bothers me most is the fact that 53 seconds is all it apparently took for every pundit to crawl out of their hole to declare the guy dead meat. And what I want to know is why it took three YEARS for these same folks to pant over whether Sarah Palin was going to try to be our fearless leader of the free world.
Three years of stupidity. Gaffes. Mangled English. Strangled syntax. Confused thinking. Blatant lies. Not once, that I can recall, did anyone declare her over. It was just a matter of more, more, more for our media.
She's stupid? Varrrrooooom!
She's ignorant? Giddyup!
She's inarticulate? Geronimo!!!
The final thing I'll say here is that part of my problem with Perry - and my problems with the man are too many to enumerate right now - is that he's big hat, no cattle, just like a certain president we were stuck with for 8 years. The voice, the mannerisms. God, it causes my head to fall on my desk in despair.
But lest you missed it and wasn't mining HuffPo the other day like I was, here's a fun tidbit that is making the rounds.
Carrie Fisher, actress, etc., had THIS
to say about her recent weight loss and time at a posh psychiatric hospital back east. Perhaps she meant the president of another country. Or the president of a corporation, or university. Perhaps she meant another former president of the U.S. But my money is on the man whom my husband used to refer to as a 'dry drunk.'
We'll never turn back the clock on those three years of cultural/political and media hell. But if it only now takes 53 seconds, then perhaps there's hope.
The more I read about this travesty, the more disheartened I become. I heard Joe Paterno's gravely voice on the radio the other day praying for the victims and their families. It turned my stomach, to be honest, and that was before I knew how much he
actually knew. What was apparent was that dissent and disgust were being run up the flag pole and that it was only a question of when and how many heads would roll.
What I didn't realize until this morning when I read this terrific column
by San Francisco Chronicle writer Scott Ostler, was the fact that so many folks were aware of the abuse but ran the other way. Members of the sports staff, even janitors, refused to say "WTF are you doing?"
to Sandusky. The university president had even been advised of the problem.
And now people at the university are protesting Paterno's firing by the Board of Trustees.
Why does it always seem that damage control is what matters most to these folks? They swoop in, have their emergency meetings and fire folks once word gets out to the public.
How is this different from the Catholic church, other than in the size and scope of the problem?
What will it take for once and for all for grown-ups to defend society's most innocent victims?
Or is this like the "near misses" we hear about in the airline industry? We learn of two planes almost colliding and we gasp. But we never heard about the myriad events just like it where planes flew too closely together or almost touched wings while landing on parallel runways (SFO is a fun one for that!) Events that the FAA logs on a regular basis. But what we don't know is actually much better for our collective consciousness.
I wonder how many of these travesties (children, not planes) continue all around us, within view of people too busy saving their own sorry asses.
I am wide open to hearing a different point of view. But if this were the archeology department, I doubt rioters would take to the streets. A culture of sports obsession and ferocious competition, which then glorified the guys who brought such victory to the Nittany Lions, is part of what permitted this to occur and then to be so violently protested.
What a loathsome creature. There, I said it. I found nothing redeeming about Ruth Madoff during her interview with Morley Safer. If I were her attorney, I would have said: don’t bother, Ruthie. The little people ain’t gonna like you much.
It was a tour de force of "me me me" without an ounce of remorse or an element of empathy.
Yet I saw in her son’s face an enormous amount of emotional pain. I took him at his word that Bernie Madoff used and betrayed his children.
The relationship with Andrew Madoff's fiancé is a little less clear. Why does anyone stay engaged for 3 years? No one does. No one does unless they want to protect their own assets from being swept up by the creditors still zeroing in on the Madoff’s remaining dough. And losing money that way means no more Botox of the kind that kept the poor woman’s face frozen in Upper East Side perfection throughout the interview. That happy couple had zero connection with one another. No hand touches. Bad body language. Phooey.
But now back to Ruth. Did I believe her? I didn’t care enough about her to care about her truth. She didn’t even know what a ponzi scheme was? Really? My teenager knows what one is. How can you be in the high finance world in Manhattan and not know what that broad term means, even if you don’t know that your own husband is the poster child for such fraud.
She tried to kill herself, but can’t recall with what? Or how much she took? Really?
She went to the U.S. Post Office on Christmas eve to mail a bunch of jewelry to her son. Really? She stood in line with the unwashed masses and probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in family heirlooms to mail, what, parcel post? First class? Insured? She had no friends, or even a courier service who could bike messenger that pouch over to Andrew’s apartment? Forgive me my cynicism.
I don’t know if it was the $300 ($500?) color job, the cashmere sweater and very expensive skin, or the nasal insouciance that turned me off more. Sure, Ruth was probably tranq-ed up the wazoo. And I probably would be too.
But what I never heard, once, from any of them, was how sorry they were for the people who were wiped out. Now, either Morley Safer didn’t ask that question, in which case shame on him. Or I simply didn't hear it. But had I been Mrs. Madoff ("what's the point in divorcing?") I’d have made sure that my feelings on the matter were included in the interview. Unless I was so darned self-centered that I couldn’t care less and I didn’t have any feelings.
And that’s essentially what I saw: you can take the girl out of the entitled, but you can’t take the entitled out of the girl. This interview was to sell one of two books designed to profit family members. I don’t care how you slice it. My thoughts remain with the folks who lost their funds to these frauds.
My understanding is that is exactly what the protestors intend to do.
For the best coverage of Occupy Oakland, I recommendOAKLAND LOCAL. Click on the name or the photo to the left to take you to the latest updates on Mayor Quan and the protestors.You can also see the city's very outdated updates HERE on the city's website. Yesterday I spoke with a city employee who said she could not even walk to Walgreens without going through a back door and exiting far down the street, that's how tight things are in the buildings around Frank Ogawa Plaza. She also said that the city simply did not have the funds to pay police this much overtime. Her sympathies lay on both sides, she affirmed. But that when protestors did not allow paramedics through to help a fellow occupier who fell 14 feet from a tree, her patience was tried.For my part, I'd still like to know why the mayor has to travel to Washington to seek federal aid. Doesn't she have a team to do that? Which hotel did she stay in? What was her per diem? And did she fly first class?
Something tells me that when these questions are asked and answered, people will not be any more thrilled with her than they are now. Just sayin'.