Thursday, February 19, 2009

At what point . . .

. . . do we stop awarding millions upon millions upon millions of dollars in settlements?

Go here! Basically, a FL woman was awarded 8 million in her lawsuit against Phillip-Morris Tobacco company because her husband was addicted to cigarettes and died at age 55. Now, this case will go into appeal - over and over and over again - and the settlement will most likely be reduced.

Now, I'm not immune to the woman's loss. I'm not immune to the fact that the tobacco companies allegedly knew that nicotine was highly addictive and did nothing for decades to warn people about the dangers of smoking. I know all of this. I also know that ever since I can remember, there have been Surgeon General warnings about the dangers of cigarette smoking.

Now, I don't know all the details of the case, but, if I knew about the Surgeon General's warnings, then I can guess that the man in question knew about them as well. So, he knew and yet did not stop smoking. Hmmmm! BTW - the jury found the man 58% responsible since he did not quit smoking. 58%!!!!! Okay!

Now, I'm going to sound very callous here, so be prepared. Had the man never heard of Nicorette or any of the smoking deterrents available? Had he tried any of them? Again, I don't know the full details of the case, so I can't say for sure. I can say that my father, back in 1968, quit smoking cold turkey . . . after having a 2 pack per day habit. My mother quit cold turkey (at age 69 I might add, after smoking since she was about 20) in 1994. She had tried to quit numerous times before and couldn't - the addiction, and all that jazz. What finally made her quit? She coughed up blood one day. That, dear readers, was enough to get her to stop smoking. Now, thankfully, the blood had nothing to do with cancer . . . just some other health issue that has since been resolved. The point is, she quit. The point is, my mother knew the risks of cigarette smoking and still smoked . . . as do countless other people. I have many friends and coworkers that smoke. I understand it is an addiction. I just do not think the tobacco companies should have to shell out millions upon millions upon millions of dollars when people know the risks and keep smoking.

Yes, a man lost his life because of his addiction to cigarettes. Perhaps he didn't read the Surgeon General's warning on the package. Perhaps he had an addictive personality and the first puff was all it took. Perhaps he tried every trick in the book to quit smoking . . . and failed. I don't know. I just think that the tobacco companies shouldn't be held entirely responsible for human behavior (i.e., the choice to smoke or not, knowing the risks, even after the fact).

Again, I'm sorry the woman lost her husband. I just think we have become a society that will sue for whatever reason, without accepting responsibility for our own actions. I'm just saying . . .

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why are people surprised . . .

. . . about more alleged lies from a politician? I mean, seriously people, is there an honest politician out there? Has any politician ever kept the false promises they made to their constituents to get elected in the first place? Does no new taxes sound familiar to any one?

Okay, maybe I'm being overly hard and cynical. No! I'm! Not! Our government is full of allegedly corrupt individuals out for one thing: their own advancement at the expense of the American people. Okay, maybe that's a tad bit harsh - true, but harsh. I'm sure some politicians enter the political fray full of idealistic hopes for change that are quickly shattered beyond repair by the reality of a government that is not for the people, by the people any longer. The government is in place to help the rich get richer and the poor to get poorer. I'm just saying . . .

Now, why did I start this post? Well, it appears that Senator Burris (the man who demanded he take Barack Obama's vacant seat in the U.S. Senate, no matter that the corrupt Governor of IL appointed him) didn't tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about his association with the IL (impeached, I might add) of IL. In fact, the allegedly 'I had nothing to do with the Governor' innocent senator did have contact (indirect as it was) with the Governor of IL. Go figure. See full story here.

So, now you know why I've gone on another political rant. We do not need corruption in our government. We need change. We need a government that is for the people, by the people. I'm just saying . . .

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Boycott Valentine's Day

Here's a great commentary about boycotting Valentine's Day. I absolute love it.

First - don't get me wrong, I'm all about letting my partner (of almost 15 years, btw) know how much I love him. I just agree with the commentator that a solely commercial holiday is not necessarily the way to do that. What about just saying hey, sweet baboo, i love you on February 13 or March 15 or April 1 or May 25 or any other day of the year? What about taking sweetums out for dinner one night as a surprise, for no other reason than to say hey, sweetums, i love you?

Second - well, I don't think there is a second, because my first, and this article, says it all.

I'm not against Valentine's Day and showing that someone special in your life that you love them. I'm just against the commercialization of all holidays that strip away the true meaning, just to sell a few cards, trinkets, and flowers . . . which brings me to this question: when all meaning is stripped away by commercialization, do the flowers even count?

In the end, it is the smaller moments in life - a kiss, a caress, a glance across the room, a touch on the back as you walk past the person you love, the sound of their gentle snoring in the dark of the night, and so many other things - that matter the most. Flowers die. Jewelry is lost. Love - at least in some cases - lasts forever. If not, well . . . there's always speed dating just in time for Valentine's next year. I'm just saying . . .

Seriously, though, treasure the little moments in life. Surprise your husband/wife/partner with flowers, jewelry, or whatever on any day (if not every day) of the week, instead of one day created solely by retailers for them to make money!!


Friday, February 06, 2009

I just want to know . . .

. . . who in the heck paid for this retreat?

"Don't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis," the president said at the House Democrats' annual retreat in Williamsburg.

Okay, now the President is talking about the stimulus package and the back and forth with Republicans over excess (and obviously unnecessary, at least in my opinion - see previous post) amounts in the stimulus package. Still, at a retreat??? Hasn't the President (yes, I voted for him, and no, I don't regret my vote) has given the major corporations (AIG, for example) a hard time over their retreats, and yet Democrats do the same thing. Isn't that a little hypocritical on both the President's part, and all the Democrats who attended? So, who foots the bill? The government? The taxpayers (i.e., me, you, everybody who reads and doesn't read this blog)? It just seems very strange that the President/Democrats/Whoever would take any type of retreat as the country is virtually collapsing around us.

Now, the stimulus package does need to be passed. I'm still not in agreement with the majority of the provisions of the package, nor the lack of accountability toward those receiving the money. People are losing their jobs and homes on a daily basis. The banks are not lending money (uh, wasn't that the purpose of the bailout money they received?). My 401K continues to decrease. My mother's retirement fund continues to decrease and President Obama and other Democrats take a retreat to Williamsburg! Go figure!


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Why do we . . .

. . . sometimes (perhaps often) second-guess the ones who worship the quicksand we walk upon? Are we (major English Comp faux paux generalization) somehow ingrained to second-guess, to doubt the ones we love? Is it inherent to the human race?

Now, the few readers of this blog are probably furrowing their collective brows and going . . . huh, WTF, has he been drinking at lunch again???? Unfortunately, the liquor did not flow at lunch . . . at least not today! This whole post - as with many of the posts of this blog - was brought about by a conversation between a friend and I. He made the comment about his partner telling him to do something, but he wasn't sure his partner really wanted him to do that something. No, it's not what you're thinking, get your minds out of the gutter.

My response: Sword - check. Shield - check. Lion repellent - crap, where'd I put the lion repellent. Okay, here I go . . . have you suddenly become a mind reader? Did you have dreams of (insert name of significant other) not wanting you not to (insert event of choice)? If the man told you to go to (insert event of choice), go to (insert event of choice), and quit second guessing yourself . . . and (re-insert name of significant other). : ) If you really don't want to go to the(insert event of choice), and are just trying to use (third re-insert name of significant other) allegedly not wanting you to go as an excuse . . . well, now you see why I have my handy sword and shield.

I went by myself to (insert friend's name)'s super bowl party bridge thingy because Frank (my beloved partner of almost 15 years who definitely worships the quicksand I walk upon) didn't want to go. Frank (blah, blah, blah . . . blah) is perfectly content staying home and letting life pass him by. I'm not. Once upon a time, I worried about whether I should go by myself or stay home with Frank (loves me, loves me not . . . ), even though he told me to go and have a good time. I kept thinking . . . gee, maybe he really doesn't want me to go, even though he told me to go, and maybe . . . maybe . . . maybe . . . Well, I finally quit thinking about the maybes. I enjoy bridge. Frank (love is a many splendored thing) does not. I'm not going to stop playing bridge because Frank (there's no place like home, there's no place like home . . . Frank, give my niece back her ruby slippers) doesn't like the game . . . nor would he expect me to do something like that (and no, I'm not even trying to imply anything about anybody other then me). The point of my lengthy diatribe is . . . in this life, I can only do the best I can do. Happiness is a journey, not a destination, and yet if you just sit at the train station all friggin' day in the cold, you're probably not gonna be that happy. So, my advice, dear friend, grab what happiness (even if it's just a <insert event>) you can in this life and quit trying to second-guess the man (re-insert name of significant other) that worships the quicksand you walk upon.

Please note - the colored comments above were added for this post alone, and not part of the original email response and done in a simple effort to omit names/places/events/whatever. Why? To protect the guilty, of course! Seriously, that's not why I did it. I just think that, sometimes, the names/events really don't matter . . . not to mention, some of my friends might not want their lives on public display in my blog.

My whole point, and the line of thinking, is why are we so quick to doubt what our partners/wives/husbands/lovers/boyfriends/girlfriends/whatever tell us? Is there some hidden meaning to no, honey, go ahead, and have a great time? Are we instinctively supposed to have suspicions and think our partners/wives/husbands/lovers/boyfriends/girlfriends/whatever really don't mean what they are saying? Do all our relationships come down to a simple question of doubting the words of the people that compliment our lives? I'm just asking . . .

As for me, I think my response pretty well gives my take on the situation. Like Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly . . . the friggin' parade is not going to pass me by!!!


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Stimulus Package

So, the GOP has created a list of what they consider wasteful provisions in the current Stimulus Package up for vote. I agree with some of the stuff, and disagree with others. So, here I go . . .

  • A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film - totally agree. Why should my tax dollars go for this????
  • $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship) - again, why should my tax dollars go for this? What's wrong with the current icebreaking ships?
  • $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters - same argument as before . . . why should my tax dollars go for this?
  • $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters - same argument, different wasteful provision! I don't see the government giving my office money to buy new office furniture. I'm just saying . . .
  • $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs - DISAGREE. We have overflowing landfills everywhere and we need an alternative solution. Now, granted, I'd rather my taxes not go to do this, but I do think the subject needs to be addressed.
  • $75 million for "smoking cessation activities." - AGREE. I'm sorry, but I should not have to pay for "smoking cessation activities". Smoking is a choice people make. Yes, it's an addictive choice, but I have watched numerous people over the years quit . . . and quite a few of them cold turkey after smoking for more than 40 years.
  • $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River - DISAGREE. After the devastation of the floods of 2008, I would think doing everything possible to prevent future floods is more than necessary.
  • $160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service - AGREE. Since when do volunteers get paid? I'm just saying . . .
  • $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint - DISAGREE. You would think that the GOP would care about a definite health hazard. Oh, wait, they're politicians, they care only about themselves. What in the "F" was I thinking?

You can find the full list here.

My own thinking about the excessive/wasteful items in the stimulus package is that maybe the government should cut out some of the perks of office (free postage, medical care, raises, etc.) and put some of that excess money toward the Stimulus Program. Has any one done an audit of all the perks (i.e., free stuff at the expense of the tax payers) government workers (Senators, Congressman, etc.) receive? I mean, seriously people, why should they receive all their perks after they've left office?