Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Introducing Rachel

Rachel is a very special friend for me, as I've mentioned her in a few previous posts.

For starters, I didn't find her, she found me.  I was collecting trash on the Temple Grounds in Mesa (during the Christmas lights season), and she came running up to me outside the Baptistry.  She wanted food, but was content with playing with a wrapper on the ground as a toy that I was picking up.  No kidding, she ran right up to me.  I wrapped her in my jacket and she purred and fell right to sleep in my arms.

Now, three years later, she loves/tolerates me, but still enjoys it when I pet her, particularly around 1 am when she can wake me up to pet her.  She is affectionate around adults, but is frightened of small children.  And while others can pet her, I am the only person she purrs for.

She also loves the smell of the clothes fresh from the dryer, and will jump in while I'm trying to get a load of laundry out.  As she was so kind to oblige a pose for me, I took the opportunity to take a picture of her.

Blog Update!!!

Yes, I've finally broken down and updated my blog. :o) Now I just need to find a fun picture of Rachel to use for my account...

As far as colors go, I was trying to go with something like calm waters, tranquility. I've also added the Astronomy Photo of the Day at the bottom, I love astronomy, do you?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A New Year Resolution - Of Sorts

With this last illness over Christmas I finished The Shame of The Nation by Jonathan Kozol. This is a book I had heard about, in fact it was a book Oprah Winfrey mentioned in one of her shows on the shameful state of our K-12 education system. This is a book about what is broken in our school systems, from the point of view of someone who has worked as a teacher. Personally, this is a book that every voter (whether you are parents or not) should read.

I'd like to give you a quote from the book, The Shame of The Nation, from Chapter 10, page 262:

"As things stand today, the children in the schools we have examined in this book are not protected by their nation. Yet they are expected in school to perform at national standards, are graded on what are, in fact, no less than national exams that measure their success or failure according to nationally determined norms, are expected to vote someday in national elections, compete for earnings in a national job market and, because of their race and poverty, are far more likely than most other citizens to imperil their lives by serving in our nation's wars. The illegitimacy of the uneven social contract by which they are bound invites a more aggressive scrutiny than it can be accorded in the courts of separate states. These children are not citizens of Illinois, New York, or California. They are (most of them are, at least) the citizens of the United States; yet the flag that hangs above their classrooms and their schools does not defend their interest where it comes to preparation for adulthood in their nation, and the words of the pledge we ask them to recite can only mock their actual experience."

The reason for the title is this: In the last election we voted on an amendment to our State Constitution defining Marriage. Those of us who wanted this passed got it passed. As of yet, there is no State nor Federal guarantee by the Constitutions of both to provide equality in education. Public schools cannot discriminate entry due to color (Brown vs. Board of Education), but they are discriminating against the poor. Schools of the affluent get better funding (and are able to better fundraise for the students) than the less affluent. This is true even in our own backyard:

Tempe-Kyrene Differences May Have Been Unification's Undoing

Shouldn't we be doing something for the kids?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

You've Got Mail

I'm watching You've Got Mail right now and am totally empathizing with Cathleen Kelly, only without the online mail friend. :o) There is so much going on in my personal life right now, so many changes within my life and my heart. We'll see how well 2009 will be as opposed to 2008.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas To All

Just a brief note to wish everyone a very safe and Merry Christmas, along with a joyful and prosperous New Year!

If You Live Around Knoxville Tenn., Don't Drink The Water

If you've not heard about this yet, there's a new argument against "clean coal". If you live around Harriman Tennessee, hopefully you have flood coverage for your home.

On Monday there was a massive spill of toxic coal ash, the leftovers from using coal to produce electricity. It gets dumped into a nearby pond, but the dikes keeping the dumping site from spilling over failed and now the entire area is flooded with coal ash. With rains will come the flow of the ash into rivers that provide water for Knoxville and other areas of Tennessee.

Here is some YouTube video on this:

And the link for a more in depth look at what has happened:

Democracy Now!

It looks like some families will not have a very merry Christmas this year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Crooks You've Probably Never Heard Of

There are crooks and then there are the savvy crooks. The savvy ones don't leave paper trails, but because of SEC regulations, this one did.

Have you ever heard of Cerberus Capital Management? I hadn't until I heard about them on the news the other night. Cerberus used to own Mervyn's Department Stores. Yes, that Mervyn's, the ones who are now bankrupt and putting people out of work. The buyout deal "allegedly" stripped the most profitable part of Mervyn's, it's real estate, and left the stores to go under (this is still in the courts right now).

Source: Making a Bundle on Mervyn's by the Wall Street Journal.

Now, Cerberus owns parts of Chrysler and parts of GMAC. Where do you think some of that bailout money is going to go to? The employees? Only time will tell on this one.


How Hedge Funds and Private Equity Hurt Us by The Nation

Cerberus: Auto Bailout's Other Beneficiary by The Street.com

Sock And Awe

I don't know if you've heard about it, but here's a new online game based on the real incident.


New Web Sites Posted

I've posted a few new web sites to provide some information in a variety of areas.

AzStRUT is the Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology site. This is the group Data Doctors uses to handle recycling of used computers and peripherals. When you upgrade your technology this is the best way of getting the old technology out of your home.

Be Red Cross Ready is from the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross (the chapter that handles all of Arizona). This is one of the spots to start from when you are looking to get your emergency preparedness in order. The other is the Emergency Preparedness & Response site for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Enterprising Ideas is from the NOW on PBS show. This is a feature of episodes of the show highlighting how people are creating new and innovative ways to solve some of the problems in our country and our world.

Along with that comes the sites Just Price Solutions and R-Homeownership. These are both from the same non profit organization. Just Price Solutions is for institutions and organizations looking to assist the housing situation here in the U.S. R-Homeownership is the web site for individuals and families who need help with buying or re-financing their homes.

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board is the official board for rating the video games. If you are purchasing video games for children and have a question about the content of a particular game, you can go to this web site and read the findings in more detail concerning the content of the video game you have in mind.

Iraq Star Foundation and Community of Veterans are non profit sites devoted to help meet the needs of veterans and to provide civilians the opportunity to provide help for the veterans in ways that will produce the most impact on their lives.