Sunday, February 27, 2011

There is a house in Abingdon

There is a house in Abingdon where the wild crocus grow.

Right on Main Street, there is a large old house in which it appears not a single person lives, not now anyhow. All the entrances are overgrown with evergreen hedge and foundation plantings blocking the doors.

The crocus have naturalized over the course of many years.

And put on a lovely show.

These crumbling concrete steps certainly do not lead to a point of entry.

But the flowers do not care.

They are happy in this setting.

Driving down Main Street Abingdon one weekend, I spotted this house and these flowers and thought you might want to see them too.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pro-choice and pro-Wisconsin

First let me offer a disclaimer. I do have a vested interest in what happens in Wisconsin. I grew up in the state, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked 3 1/2 years as a state employee. A few of my in-laws still work for the state.

Various progressive organizations were urging people to go to their own state capitols on Saturday to demonstrate solidarity with Wisconsin workers, but with Nashville, Tennessee 4 1/2 hours away and Richmond, Virginia over 5 hours distant, I felt I would have to live with my regrets.

The spousal unit and I made a day trip to Asheville, North Carolina, when what should appear but a multifunctional demonstration downtown at Pack Square. It was entirely off my radar. A quick check with had told me there were no planned demonstrations within 200 miles of my zip code and Asheville is only 85 miles away.

Relatively warm and sunny weather, an energized crowd and two, count them two, causes I could endorse wholeheartedly. Well, what's an old hippie to do but join in?

Various drummers kept the chants coordinated and the energy level high.

The group included young and old citizen participants.

Drivers honked their horns and gave thumbs up as they drove past.
Asheville, in its spirit and attitude, reminds me of Madison Wisconsin.

Wishing the Wisconsin workers the very best of luck in convincing their hot-head governor to come to his senses.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Felted Bird

Over on the right side of my blog you can find links to blogs I visit often, blogs that may be of interest to you as well. By simply clicking on the link, you will be taken to that blog's most current post .

Currently Jennevieve at House InsideOut is hosting a give-away. The felted bird you see below is up for grabs. She has also posted a tutorial on how to wrap wire bird feet.

Get over to her blog, leave a comment and maybe, just maybe, you can win the bird.
Good luck!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Taking from teachers and nurses in order to enrich corporate coffers

Since taking office on January 3, 2011 Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and the Republican legislature have passed a series of tax breaks and industry incentives that have dramatically increased the state budget deficit. Now they want to use that self-same budget deficit as an excuse to strip some, just some, of the State's union employees of their collective bargaining rights.

Exempt from the governor's union-busting legislation are the police, firefighters and the state trooper's unions. Could that be becau
gubernatorial candidate Walker collected endorsements from the Milwaukee Police Association, the West Allis Professional Police Association, the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters and the Wisconsin Troopers Association during his campaign? On Tuesday the governor announced he had hired Steven Fitzgerald, father of state Senate and Assembly majority leaders Scott and Jeff Fitzgerald - two figures Walker absolutely needs to advance his agenda through the Legislature - as State Patrol superintendent.

The way Walker has attempted to make these policy decisions palatable to the public is to sell the legislation as a way to close the state budget deficit by requiring teachers and other public employees to contribute a significantly higher percentage to to their health insurance premiums and retirement accounts, but that would appear to be window dressing. His real aim is to bust the unions.

Is Scott Walker just another corporate puppet?
A Koch Industries puppet?

Koch industries is the second largest privately-held company in the United States. They are a private energy conglomerate based out of Wichita, Kansas and have as their core industrial base the manufacturing, refining and distribution of petroleum, chemicals and energy, such dirty industries. Their ties to Wisconsin include activity in pulp and paper, a coal company subsidiary and numerous pipelines running through the state. Koch has a lengthy list of fines and government settlements not only for violating environmental laws, but also for being caught covering up and hiding those violations.

Koch industries is also famous for wielding political power.

the Koch PAC (Political Action Committee) only contributed $43,000 directly to Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign, it gave 1 million to the Republican Governor's Association. The Republican Governor's Association gave Scott Walker $65,000 support for independent expenditures and the RGA spent $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Scott Walker's democratic opponent.

What did Koch industries get for their contributions?

As soon as he became governor, Walker started cutting environmental regulations and appointed a Republican known for her disregard for environmental regulations to lead the Department of Natural Resources. In addition, Walker has stated his opposition to clean energy jobs policies, policies that might draw workers away from Koch-owned interests.

The Koch brothers, Charles and David, have lost no love for public sector unions as evidenced by the stance of the groups their money backs, groups like the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Several of these groups urge the eradication of public-sector unions.

The official slogan of Koch Industries : "Transforming daily life"

Apparently they transform it in a way that certain members of Wisconsin's citizenry object to. Today about 70,000 showed up at the state capitol to express their dissenting opinion.