Thursday, January 09, 2014

Truckin' Through Thursday... in "truckin through the mush." 

Big news: It's snowing again. Now, I don't mean I'm all "Henny Penny" about it. Just saying that our current weather is 19*F with "feels like" at 10* and snow showers. 

Tomorrow, it turns to rain. Saturday it turns to sleet. Welcome, January. We went from -45* at the beginning of the week to Sunday's upcoming high of 40* - ABOVE zero, mind you. Darn nearly spring weather...

So now that 2014 is here, let's get back to the interesting stuff. Not that food, reading and knitting are NOT interesting, but I did take a slight holiday break from "The Insanity." Let's have some discussion, though. It's time.


From a study done by a Harvard economist which indicated that flexible hours would lessen the gender pay gap to those good ol' boy Republicans who want to legislate women back into servitude. We're head-slappingly going back to fight fights we oughtn't have to fight in this century. 

In the Chicago Tribune the other day, Professor Claudia Goldin (gasp! a WOMAN!) states that gender salary differentials "would be considerably reduced and might vanish altogether if firms did not have an incentive to disproportionately reward individuals who labord long hours and worked particular hours." 

Translation: How come women 25 - 69 years of age, working full time, still make 77% of what men earn? She says that the pay gap in industries with more flexible work schedules (science, technology, health) is smaller than that of other industries with more rigid workdays (those professions include financial and legal professions). 

"Quite simply, the gap exists because hours of work in many occupations are worth more when given at particular moments and when the hours are more continuous," says her study. Here's her solution to closing that gender pay gap: workers must get more autonomy in determining their schedules. Read the entire article here

I'm 55. I have worked in office settings where I had to be at a certain place at a certain time. I actually had to pay my kid's Catholic school a fee every month because I was unable to do my monthly "lunch monitor" work. Well, because I had to WORK to pay the tuition. Plus, of course, the fee for not being able to volunteer because I had to work. 

Can you see where this argument goes? Now, I have my MA and my MBA and I work a more flexible schedule. But there are still so many women stuck in "pink collar" jobs - and whether they're stuck by training or inclination, they're still stuck. And I'm not saying that we don't need those kinds of jobs. We do. 

Crap - ANY jobs now are good ones! 

That being said, why must it only be the women who've been able to break the mold of traditional office jobs who can take advantage of that lesser pay gap? Frankly, it's the ones stuck in the cube farm or in other work where the day is fairly regimented who really need the smaller pay gap. 

But of course, we're talking about women. Who, even though they are in large part major contributors to their family's incomes, are still considered "less than" by employers. Men still get more than women, for doing the same job. 

It is 2014, right? 

Of course, with jobs at a premium here in the US anyway, I suppose I shouldn't carp on it, but it bugs me that the fights that were fought in the 70s and 80s are now either being re-fought or aren't won yet. How long will this take?

Sooooooooooo... The Republicans are trying again to legislate birth control and abortion, battles we thought we'd already dealt with. Because, you know, nothing else is going on. 

But there's good news on the ACA front: Breast cancer prevention drugs must be covered. See this link and rejoice! Now, if we can get more research money toward lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer, we'd be golden. 

Yesterday on Make it Plain, I heard Dahlia Lithwick talk about Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor and her rather interesting decision regarding the Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order with one of many ACA "I don't want your birth control mandate" lawsuits. The issue appears to be a release form. 

Here's how it goes. You object to the ACA mandate. Okey-dokey. Do you fit into one of the categories that qualify? Yes. Okey-dokey. Please sign this form. 

Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, says Little Sisters. If WE sign this form then it means SOMEONE ELSE has to give our employees birth control. And we object to THAT. Their ability to give our employees birth control violates OUR religious views. Here's the story. 

Now just hang on a pea-picking moment here, good Sisters. My take on this is thus: It's none of your business what I do. If you object to providing birth control, peachy. Object. Sign the form. Move on. 

But no. You have to force YOUR religion down ANYONE else's throat. That makes no sense. Well, maybe a warped manner of sense. 

So if I object to the war (Doesn't matter which one. Pick one.) and I register that objection, then that's the end of the argument. I don't get to object to anyone else's stand in the issue. Because that slope is more slippery than an Illinois freeway right now. 

That would cause whole segments of commerce and society to collapse. 

Oh, and it would likely cause the ACA to collapse. Regardless of the good the ACA does (see the cancer drug mentioned above), regardless of the countless people it'll help. "Ye Gods and Little Fishes, we WILL NOT HAVE BIRTH CONTROL." (stomp your foot here)

Just because the Little Sisters (or insert your favorite religion here) have that belief does not entitle them to push that on anyone else. Because that, my children, is then called a theocracy. 

And let me remind you of the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli. See the first sentence? This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams. 

"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion..." 

While every one of the Founding Fathers were "religious" - they were most often "deist" - they believed in a God, but nowhere is that God mentioned in the CONSTITUTION, which is our governing document. The Declaration of Independence, a lovely document, is not a governing document. Big difference. 

Fewer Republicans...

I liken this to slavery or indentured servitude. A small percentage of the people decide that they know what religion is best. And the rest of us are forced to go along with it. Remember the old movies? What the master of the house believed, everyone had to conform with. When he prayed, the servants prayed. When the plantation owner prayed, his slaves prayed. What he believed, they believed. 

Because that's what will happen if we keep to the current trend of legislating freedoms. 

Sr. Joan Speaks
How come it's "legislating freedoms" when they do it to those of us with ovaries and a uterus, but when it comes to guns it's all "restricting my rights"? 

How come y'all are "all about the fetus" but, making Sr. Joan Chittister's point, you all could give a lamb's left leg about the baby AFTER it gets here. In fact, not only that, but you slut-shame the mothers of said children as if the fathers had no earthly responsibility toward the child now living in this world surrounded by your condescending hatred of its very existence. Because it's a CHILD now, not a fetus. As if one has more value than the other. 

According to a recent Gallup poll, "record numbers" are registering as Independents. Not Republicans. Actually, the number of registered Republicans seems to be declining. Hey, when you have to have sensitivity training to deal with over 50% of the population (and that's only the gender split, not counting racial lines), then you have problems, kids. 

Now, if the Democrats could get as good of a message-making machine, we'd be golden. As an example, we have the redoubtable Chris Christie...Bridge-gate. But on Fox, nary a whisper. What Christie scandal? 

We Democrats/Progressives should have such a news network. Though we're not really into suspending belief in the face of evidence...that could be a problem. 

Polar Vortex...

Speaking of flying in the face of evidence, there's the "isn't he dead yet?" Pat Robertson claiming that global warming must be a hoax because there are no SUVs on Jupiter.

Ok. And pickles have feathers. 

Because that sentence makes as much sense as Robertson's statement. And for good measure, Hannity, Limpblow, Trump, and the rest of FakesNews chimed right in. 

"There IS NO GLOBAL WARMING because it's cold."

Ok, guys, here's the thing. GLOBAL. That means the ENTIRE world, not just the silly little bubble you seem to inhabit. See, Australia (Remember, that's on the OTHER side of the Earth) is having summer now. That's how it works. The seasons rotate and while WE have winter here in this hemisphere (follow along, it's not hard), the OTHER hemispheres have other seasons, so Australia, in its hemisphere - the SOUTHERN hemisphere - is having SUMMER. 

And they're baking. Record high temps. Heat wave. Massive problems with heat, including wildfires, bats dropping out of the trees and destruction of homes and property. That's why it's called GLOBAL warming. Because the temperatures all across the GLOBE are changing, too rapidly, and because of us stupid humans. 

So while I'm sitting here watching the snow fall in Illinois, Queensland is having a raging fire. Because of the heat wave. 

Because of global warming. 

If you're interested, here's a story on the polar vortex


As if we weren't already bashing enough, right? Well, look at this video and just let the chills go up and down your arms. Scientology. Religion for profit. Urgh. 

Again, hearkening back to the news lately, it seems like we're on a crusade. Or I should say a Crusade. 

Now I'm the first one to say that, since the dawn of "reality TV" (an oxymoron of massive proportions) society and civility have been going down the flusher. But I don't think a massive swing back to "Puritania" will cure this. 

Common sense will. But as the sage said, "Common sense... isn't."


No pictures. Just a note that my mom likes the Nephew Afghan. I saw the bridal registry. Sorry, but I'm sticking to my own gifts: the afghan, and then I got them a convertible punch bowl/cake topper/dip thingie + a "First Christmas" ornament. Done and done. 

I'm cool with gift registries. But I'm a renegade. I'm the weird aunt who buys the kids books. Obscure books. Reading is cool. 

Oh, and I find I need to knit myself a hat. I've got a cloche pattern for a "fancy church hat" (just for fun, and I have the wool) and a really cute beanie style. I have hats; I just don't have the "right" hat and I have a ton of the grey/black/cream yarn left from the Charity Afghan. I may as well use it. 

I don't particularly care what my hats look like, because like I told Roberta from choir, I have very few (read: NONE) "cute" hats. They're all functional. 

So I've just searched something like 16 pages of "free knitting hat patterns" and I came up with several. Now to just get the time to knit one before spring...


Raisa, f/k/a "Dolly"
We had the home visit. It went fine, for the most part. There were a few stumbles. Like when the volunteer brings Raisa up the front porch and Quinn goes ballistic. Dude... it's HER territory. We should have met down the street. 

Or when, as the dogs were licking faces (and I'm talking Raisa licking the faces of Tippi and Quinn, just like a puppy does) and the volunteer kept sticking his hand between them. Great way to lose a finger or encourage a bite. 

Ok, there's "puppy licking" and the "stare and flick." The "stare and flick" you really want to avoid, because that's the precursor to trouble. With a capital "T" - which we didn't want. But Puppy Licking is submissive behavior. I learned a lot because after we were done, I contacted a friend in England with masses of years of dog experience, and a friend in TN who not only fostered, but bred, and also had years/decades of experience in huskies, elkies, wolf hybrids, you name it. And I talked with our trainer. To a person, each said, "Pfffffffth - he didn't really know what he was talking about." However, our trainer did say that perhaps he had a placement go really wrong, so he was overreacting to what was going on in our house. 

So Tippi responded quite well to Raisa. Then she became oblivious, which is a good sign. Quinn took a while, and it would've been easier if the volunteer hadn't gone all "Cesar" on us and talked about being "the alpha in the room." 

Really? It's MY house. Thanks. Aside from the fact that Kid #2 was there, and Hubby, let's face it; I'm really the alpha female in this household. Either way, the kids grew up with northern breeds and this isn't exactly Hubby's first rodeo either. 

Nonetheless, we are approved!! Raisa comes on the 18th of January. Puppy all over again. As you can see, she not only found the couch, but found the grunting hedgehog. We have the crate ordered; along with a pad for it. I have spare toys, Kong bones and dishes. We're all set except for the first few sleepless nights. 

And realistically, she's our last puppy. I'm in my mid-50s and perhaps at some point, I'll retire. We will have 3 dogs. And when Kid #2 moves out, we more or less lose our in-home dog-watching service. Though he's already said that he's kidnapping -- errrrr - DOGnaping Raisa. "After all, you have THREE and you're only supposed to have TWO." Um, dear child - we will count paws when you leave. 

Anyway, you have to add up the vet costs; the fact that you have to train each of them; the fact that you can't exactly up and take off for a trip. Of course, after everyone's housebroken and trained, we can take them with us, or leave them home longer. But you still have to think about things. Particularly since neither Huskies nor Elkhounds are small dogs. 

Random Picture...

Eskimo Snow
I used to do a lot of counted cross stitch. A lot. Masses. Of course, I still have a cache of WIPs in that media as well. You guessed that, though, didn't you?? Anyway, here's one of the pics in the hallway. I love it. I used a glossy floss on the snowman and I only outlined him. I mean, the fabric is white, so why stitch it over? I don't remember its exact title. But the frame is a lovely denim-dark-blue and it's on the Wall of Fame. One of these days, I have to get a long shot of that. When we repainted, I had hubby gather up all the stuff I'd done and put it all up there. May as well display it, right?

I should put up my Curtis Boehringer snowman for January. I also have one for February, but March is sitting in the cross stitch frame waiting on me. We won't go into the WIPs for counted cross stitch right now. 

It would make me want to retire. Well, a lot of things make me want to retire... 

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