We’re All in this Together or the Winter of Our Sequestration

This is it. The date that this thing kicks off.

Or is it?

Will it be like a whip crack or more like a slow burn?

Who knows?

I don’t know but I do know this–you can’t get blood out of a turnip.

You might have heard of the old sci-fi movie, The Incredible Shrinking Woman. How about what’s pertinent in this economy–the incredible shrinking middle class? And so there aren’t enough of us “turnips” to keep it going. Waiting for the haves to become magnanimous enough to want to pony up more of their income is like trying to reach the end of a rainbow. Has anyone ever done it? Probably not.

Not counting Jesus, after being dead and buried, has anyone ever come back to tell us about it?
Definitely not.

I think of it more and more of late. Can you really count on the taxes those that receive unemployment benefits have to pay to Uncle Sam? I guess you have to but it probably doesn’t amount to a whole hell of a lot.

The poor? Nope. They haven’t any income to speak of.

But the middle class? I guess those of us that qualify ought to feel flattered, as much as we are called upon to save the day.

Potholes in the road or crumbling infrastructure? All right y’all, let’s tighten our belts so that the road crews can commence to shoveling that gravelly stuff that damages our car’s paint jobs into those eye-rattling craters.

Natural disaster? Give ’til it hurts.

There’s an ever expanding baby-boomer generation on the precipice of retirement–well, you know what time it is.

It’s alarming to wonder what will happen those of us in the middle class retire due to necessity or are fortunate enough to be able to afford to do so do so.

Did I say that it was shrinking?

It bears someone wondering about it.

I had a spirited conversation about the looming sequestration the other day–about the bite my income had already taken with the payroll tax hike. About the second (or is it third) year of a non-existent cost-of-living increase.

Loss of personnel in my office through buy-outs, aka early retirements, in 2011 and since then, through attrition or whatever other reason–positions that went bye bye.

In other words, increased workload with less people.

I don’t understand why the government doesn’t at least ensure that all of the federal agencies employ watchdogs to ferret out any hint of fraud, waste and abuse. In the military, they used to have what was termed the attaboy program, awarding those that found ways to save their agencies money. And it doesn’t only have to be those of us employed in the federal government doing it. Big and small businesses could participate as well. They could make it a contest in the schools and colleges–can you find a way to save?

Health care–not with a slash-and-dash mentality but when it comes to diagnostic tests: can we eliminate those that are unnecessary, especially when it comes to treating our seniors?

Universities, apartment complexes and the like: when it’s raining, your enormous lawns don’t need to be watered.

Law enforcement personnel, sitting in your cruisers in shopping center parking lots, idling engines and wasting gas–maybe you could take a stroll around some of the establishments instead? Help preserve the ozone layer, meet some folks and help your waistline in the process.

There are countless ways that money and resources could be saved if these types of measures were employed. If restaurants could give away the food they throw away to homeless shelters or the poor, just think of the amount of waste that would eliminate! The same with grocery stores–seniors and the disadvantaged could be the lucky recipients.

All told, wouldn’t these actions help ease some of the pressure off of those of us in this new minority, the disappearing middle class?

Sequestration. There has got to be a better way. This rolling up to the cliff, dangling us over it and expecting the middle class to suck it up or pull a rabbit out of our collective hats, is getting old. Congress has got to do better.

We as a nation have got to do better. I think we can.

A True Valentine’s Day Gift

As I go about my daily activities, I have to shake my head when I think about the many instances of hatred/inconsideration/nastiness that I witness or experience on a given day. The co-worker who doesn’t speak to you when they see you in the morning but doesn’t hesitate to ask for your assistance (like you’re the expert) when the copier is jammed.

The other day I ran into the nearby grocery store to find something inexpensive to purchase so that I could write a twenty-dollar check. Yes, check. I needed the money to pay my barber and I refuse to pay the foreign ATM fees that my bank charges if I don’t utilize their machines. Besides that, my barber doesn’t take credit cards.

I realized there was no gum or candy display at the checkout counter where I stood. When I turned to leave, I damn-near broke my neck on the person’s grocery basket, which she had placed on the floor directly behind me.

I did a Dick van Dyke before I fell over the basket (for those of you too young to have ever seen the introduction to the 60s Dick van Dyke TV show, check out one of the retro TV networks sometime). Let’s just say that I caught myself as I took a flying leap but before I hit the floor.

The woman made some Urkel-type (Family Matters, now I know that you’ve heard of that show!) remark, like, “Did I cause that?” instead of saying what she should’ve been saying, which was, “I’m sorry. Are you all right?”

Actually, she should’ve had sense enough not to place her basket behind the person standing in front of her. We were the only two there in line so it wasn’t like we needed to be jammed together out of necessity. I say all that to say, respect a person’s personal space, people!

Ah, I feel better now. But when things like that happen to me or I see it happen to others, it makes me wonder: When did we forget how to love our fellow man?

I used to have a neighbor who used to say her goodbyes (loudly) to her friends around two-thirty in the morning, only a few yards from my bedroom window. Couldn’t that have been done while they were still in the house?

We all know someone who snatched a parking space from another driver waiting patiently; walked up to a group and interrupted them without saying excuse me or allowed the elevator door to shut in the face of someone that was about to board it. Why? Would it hurt that much to hold the door for that person, clean up behind yourself when you’re in a public space or stop and give that misdirected traveler directions?

When did that get to be an exception, rather than the rule? Young men, don’t try to step through the door that a mature woman just opened for herself. Not cool. Can we go back in time, just a little bit? No, I’m not asking you folks to give up your tablets, I-Phones or other technological gadgets. Just go back to what your mama taught you when you were growing up. Along with looking both ways before you cross the street; saying please, excuse me and thank you–showing your fellow man some kindness and consideration this Valentine’s Day.

And every day.

Did You Think it Would be Like This?

I think that most of us that write consider ourselves to be creative types. Thinking of a topic to write about, proofreading it endlessly, submitting it to editors, agonizing over the content they want you to cut out or defending that which you think should remain in your piece is difficult enough. Add to the burden self-published authors have to carry–setting up book signings and personal appearances, not to mention financing them–is enough to make one want to jump back into bed and crawl under the covers, if you’ve got a primarily introverted personality like I do.

And don’t even bring up the fact that we live in the digital age! Having to construct and maintain a blog, websites and heaven knows what else–unless you’re a teenager or a retiree–when there are barely enough hours in the day to do that and everything else in your life.

What about you fellow authors out there? Did you think it would be like this? I’ve been around since the days before the advent of digital publishing and e-books (gasp!) so I’ve seen the transition. Although there are many benefits to it, the mere fact that almost anyone that owns a computer can publish or have a book published, proofreading and editing notwithstanding.

Out of the now mind-boggling number of published titles out there, you now have to wonder–what will make yours stand out? I have to admit that I didn’t.

I’d like to hear from you. What did you think it would be like, author of the Twenty-First Century?

The Lesser of Two Evils

“But I don’t like either one of them.”

Yeah? Well, pick the lesser of two evils.

I already know who I will be voting for in the presidential election November 6  and I don’t feel this way. However, for those of you who are undecided and tend to look at both candidates as choices you’d rather not make, select the lesser of two evils.

Because when you think about it, what choice do you have than taking an apathetic stance?

Look at it this way–if you don’t make a choice, you make it by default.

Sure, you can write-in a candidate but quite frankly, that candidate usually doesn’t win. That person would have to be well-known and his or her viewpoint extremely popular among the undecided masses for that to happen. Even then, there aren’t enough undecided people eligible to vote for person to win the election.

President Obama’s and Governor Romney’s views differ a great deal, which should make the choice that much easier. After all, whose way of thinking aligns the closest to your own?

If that doesn’t sway you, think of all of those people in this country, Black and White, that died fighting for the right to vote.

Think of those in other countries that are still fighting.

C’mon! Stop the Madness!

Ever since I saw the preview of the Dr. Phil show regarding the episode that featured George Zimmerman’s friends (who shall remain nameless), I waited with anticipation.  I attempted to keep an open mind.

And then I watched it.

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially people I don’t know.  Why?  Because I don’t know them, of course.  But I was bitterly disappointed .

I’m glad that Dr. Phil did ask most of the questions I would’ve liked to ask George’s “friends” — a policeman, no less, and his female companion.  I believe they were married.

It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is how, try as he might, the male friend of George Zimmerman could not summon up a compassionate look or timbre to his voice whenever he spoke about Trayvon Martin.  He appeared to me, like a deer in the headlights, although it smacked of being fake as well.

How could he talk of being “heartbroken” for Trayvon’s parents and stepmother, yet walk in an aggressive, nearly Wild West-like, down the street, packing a firearm during the opening remarks of the show?

And funny how, barely before the firestorm of outrage had begun to die down and Trayvon’s body had grown cold, that this man and his female companion had managed to squeeze out a book (supposedly) on George’s behalf.

Also funny how he kept announcing that he was the friend of George Zimmerman, the most hated many in America, although that could have been a publicity ploy by the staff of Dr. Phil.

He kept mentioning that he wanted the evidence to be played out in court, yet there he was on a talk show.

With a newly-published book.

Who had proudly announced that he had harbored a fugitve.

And is a member of the police force in Florida.

He was “concerned” about George Zimmerman being unable to earn a living in the future.

Well, Trayvon Martin will never be able to earn a salary, nor is he living.

He matter-of-factly, even proudly announced, that he had helped George Zimmerman select and learn how to fire the weapon that killed a teenager who will never reach manhood.

Man, I wish I could have asked him questions!  For instance, was it he who suggested that George Zimmerman lose weight to rid himself of that stocky build and appear thinner and possibly, more vulnerable to the public?

And with George Zimmerman’s own skirmishes with the law, why did he even help him purchase a gun?

Why didn’t he try to talk him out of owning one?

As Dr. Phil stated, he could’ve retreated that evening instead of following Trayvon and worse still, getting out of his car to pursue him.

Maybe he should have told George to give up being part of the Neighborhood Watch program since it seemed to make him more combative as opposed to proactive or helpful.

Was George paranoid about crime or being a victim of it?  According to the words I heard come from his own “friends'” mouths, he seemed so.

With George Zimmerman on a neighborhood watch, who needs Yosemite Sam?

I will be following his cour case very closely…

What the —-?

What is that age-old question?

Why can’t we be satisfied?

Let’s add another question to that — why can’t we live in this world with others?

We in America live in what most people the world over would descibe as the finest country in the world as well as the wealthiest.  Although we do have a disturbing number of people that live in poverty, when it comes to food, many of us throw away what many folks in other countries would call a banquet.  We waste water and other resources like they grow on trees.  And we still haven’t learned from those nations that have been fighting off-and-on for decades, some for centuries.

The more advancements we make in health, technology and things that improve our creature comforts, the less civilized it seems that we become.

Take that guy that shot up that religious sect in Wisconsin.  What the —–?

Not to mention the gunman in Aurora, Colorado.

And the one that shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Those that shoot or use other weapons to kill people who are different races are bad enough.  Those that target anyone randomly or don’t hesitate to kill children or the elderly to me are beyond help  What is it that they get out of it?  Do they wake up one day and just decide to kill folks?

Being able to procure weapons of any kind as well as police badges and equipment that they can use to impersonate them on the internet just boggles my mind.  Who came up with that bright idea?

It truly makes me wonder.

Hey!

I’m new at this blogging thing so bear with me.  My name is Pamela D. Beverly.  I’m not a psychologist, psychiatrist, nor do I play one on TV although I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once.  I don’t profess to know everything.  I’m just a student of human nature.

How is the state of race relations in America in 2012?

Sure, we see interracial couples all over the place.  And the reactions they still elicit in this day and age are another story.

But what about the non-romantic, day-to-day situations?  They, in my humble opinion, still leave A LOT to be desired.  George Zimmerman and President Barack Obama notwithstanding, what say you?

No rants, please.  I just want to have a friendly discourse with you-all out there.

As the late Rodney King uttered all those years ago, “Can we all just get along?”