Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Running Out of Patience?

I receive regular e-mails from the DCCC on a regular basis and the last one I received caught my attention because it contained words that struck me as a Bushism. (For the uninformed, a Bushism is a mangled quote and is a trademark of the former Bush administration and, of course, Bush himself.) In it, Michele Bachmann ( a republican Congresswoman) is quoted as saying, "We're running out of rich people." This is such an ignorant remark that now I'm wondering if she actually meant to say, "All the rich people are running out of this country." Now that would be truthful but we know that there has been a clear trend for quite some time now of deception coming from the GOP so we're left not knowing if she's just ignorant or can't really see what's been going on for more than eight years now. It's quite possible that she refuses to see.

You see, the U.S. economy has been taking serious hits ever since a policy was instituted in this country of giving tax breaks to businesses that took their industries out of our borders. Outsourcing has been one of the most harrowing economic blunders ever to hit this country in its wallet. Just to illustrate this for everyone, fiscally, it is like giving your child an allowance for feeding your neighbor's dog while ignoring your own. So how do we fix the problem?

Well, first we need to take away that ridiculous tax break they've been giving to these businesses who don't care about Americans or their livelihood or how they're going to pay for all that stuff pouring in from Asia. The second action is to institute a special import tax for all those goods coming from our outsourced supply which comes from many countries. The tax break should go to those who are investing and banking on our own fiscal health right here in the good ol' USA.

I have had several people ask me, if I went into politics, what my own key issues would center on. Several ideas come to mind including the one above but in all honesty I have felt that the insurance industry is one that has needed serious reform for decades. The reason why insurance is such a financial burden on this country's citizens is because the office that was supposed to regulate the agencies and companies does nothing of the sort. As a matter of fact, if you call the Insurance Commission on most issues you will find that they work in close alliance with the insurance companies-not with the people, who they were instituted to represent.

The insurance companies claim fraud eats into their companies' coffers when, as a matter of fact, they spend more money on investigating fraud than the so-called fraudulent claims cost. The real issues are on the amounts of money it exacts from consumers while giving nothing in return and, with the help of the Insurance Commission, making it impossible for many people to get the money entitlements they deserve. You won't see any commercial for that on T.V. It's not fair for an insurance company to penalize those people who pay their insurance premiums faithfully and don't make any false claims. State Farm and all the rest would have you believe that they have no choice but they do.

If the average person looked at the insurance budget he is on currently and the policies he's signed, he'll find he is over insured in many areas- including his automobile insurance. Not only that, he'll find that any amount of income he could have used as truly discretionary (i.e. to buy luxuries) is sunk into insurance premiums which are never returned to him in any amount. To me, this is almost feudal and somewhat like having to deal with the Mafia.

A more honest system of insurance would be rebating. What do I mean by that? Well, in essence, any and all policyholders who pay for their insurance in installments would, after a certain time period, have a portion of their premium money returned if they have made no claims on their insurance. This could jumpstart the economy in a way never before seen just by putting money back into the hands of the person who earned it. This is the only fair way to reward someone who has managed to live in a responsible way. I would call it the 'good citizen' rebate. I would like to see this happen with every type of insurance with the possible exception of life insurance which works on a completely different basis.

In conclusion, I'd like to mention that an economic recovery for this country is going to take time and a lot more effort if we really want to turn every aspect of the problems around. It may take more than four years of Obama's administration but if we all work together on the issues a lot can be done in four or eight years. The Clinton administration proved that so let's get to work. Okay?

The Castle Lady with lots of love !

Friday, February 13, 2009

Brainstorms in the Dead of Night

     I have a book that I would recommend to any writer for its comradely support. It was published specifically for this reason and there is one entry in there I have read a couple of times now. The book title is : Rules of Thumb- 73 Authors Reveal Their Writing Fixations. The entry by Samantha Hunt reminds me of my similar experience with inconvenient inspirational moments:
Knock, Knock, Knock
     Sometimes if I'm lucky, I'll wake up in the middle of the night with a phrase or sentence echoing in my head. I have never felt responsible for these words plucked from an unconscious reservoir, but rather imagine that they have arrived here, in the dead of night from some exterior source, possibly even off the lips of someone I was talking to in a dream. The phrases rarely make sense. "You weren't going to do all that you nosy queen of habitat," I remember one of them saying.
     Despite the lack of meaning gleaned from the phrases, I feel that to ignore these words would show a terrific lack of respect for mystery, and so it is my one writing rule that I force myself to get up in the wee hours and record these ( really often very dumb) messages so that I might remember them in the morning. "Into the forest I walk with the good bear. Goodbyes and lacerations." What the heck does that mean? I haven't the slightest idea, but I wrote it down anyway. It's the rule.
     Perhaps these phrases are the lowliest of words, the desperate beggars that come knocking at midnight wanting to be put to use in a story. Maybe they are ghost phrases destined to wander in ambiguity until some mortal tries to make sense of them. Or perhaps they are stern warnings that I am just too dense to decode. Or else maybe they are gifts , gifts of nonsense. It doesn't seem to matter. All I know is that were I to ignore these foolish words I would somehow cheapen the value of all words. So in the dark I obey these voices, these midnight inconveniences, not out of superstition but because they connect me to that which is most crucial to my writing: the gloriously inadvertent, the perfectly unintended.
     While I may not be able to relate to everything she wrote I have had moments where I have woken up with a paragraph burning to roll off my pen. I also have obeyed these voices and been pleasantly surprised at the revelations and wise words which seemed to come out of nowhere. I feel that this is spiritual and must not be ignored. I believe all writers should practice this because we are a special breed and we certainly know who we are, don't we? Ms. Hunt takes it seriously and I think we all should. The truth is that if we are dyed-in-the-wool writers we can't help it anyway!
     There are times when I am in the park walking and then a couple of divine sentences overwhelm me and I know that one of those rare moments is upon me. The perplexity is being caught without pen and paper to jot them down as quickly as possible. I have also woken up in the wee morning hours grappling for any pen and paper in the room. At one time I started carrying a mini-cassette player around with me when I had one of these inspirational moments in the car. These revelations can come at any time so it is imperative to get them recorded, somehow, as soon as possible. I've also been without means only to find out later when I could get to writing materials that my memory had lapsed by then and those fleeting gifts of wit were gone and irretrievable.
      If you get these one-offs occasionally or even frequently- and it's okay if you don't, it won't make you any less a writer- then by all means make sure you keep something handy to be able to jot down these ideas, crazy witticisms and outright nonsense ( if you will !) as quickly as possible. It's for a very good reason you were chosen to hear it. 
Just me, The Castle Lady with inspirational hugs and kisses !