On the Failed Bailout

Just in case you missed hearing this, Congress voted down the Wall Street rescue package.  With six weeks to go before the elections, the House voted to save their own skins instead of taking the big hard steps necessary to keep our economy from spinning out of control.

There is plenty of responsibility and blame to go around to all parties.  This problem did not start last week or last year or even 5 or 10 years ago.  We’ve been building a precarious scaffold of economic crazies for a long time.  But today we got slaughtered. The House voted against the bill; the stock market is down 777 points.

I confess that I don’t understand most of what’s going on.  Although I’m a smart person, my brain just isn’t wired to get this stuff that I’ve never heard of and makes no sense.  All I know is that it feels as though I’m being asked to fork over huge bucks to save Wall Street moguls who reaped enormous profits while dragging their companies into risky territory, getting us into this in the first place.

But I do get that voting against a bailout is a bad thing.  Unemployment is going to go up as companies can’t afford to make payroll.  People will lock down their spending to necessities, which will mean even more businesses going under.  Retirement is even longer away because suddenly I have far less money to rely on.  It’s scary, very scary.

Someone needs to sit down and write a bullet-point short essay that explains what’s going on, and what the consequences are for NOT taking a step.  The average person just doesn’t get it, and I think Congress voted to save their jobs and not risk a loss on Election Day.  Even if your constituents don’t want it, if it’s necessary, I want the folks in Washington to have the guts to take hard unpopular steps if it’s in the best interest of the country.

The only small bit of light I see in this is that John McCain can’t get any credit for saving the country by his actions last week.  It’s a small light, I’ll grant you, but I really do see the failure as the responsibility of the Republicans more than the Democrats on this one.  I think they’re going to pay a price.

Take a look at this animated look at the credit crunch that aired on ABC News tonight.

Take your energy and do something with it

Rolling your eyes about Sarah Palin’s latest TV interview with Katie Couric?  (if not, you should be).  It’s so easy to do that and talk about how stupid she sounded, making fun of her and denigrating the whole process.  I’ve done that.  But this isn’t constructive at all.

Take that energy and do something with it:

Just make sure you’re not just complaining about potential witchhunts.

Educating Yourself to Vote

The economy is in the toilet, we’re fighting multiple wars, Sarah Palin still annoys the neck out of me … but all is not dark.

I talked with my 22 year old college nephew the other day and it brought me great hope.  It was probably the longest conversation we’ve ever had about serious things – an hour! – and included quite a lengthy discussion of politics.  His parents are conservative Republicans and he lives in a red state, but he is surprisingly open.  (I know, there’s an implied judgment there but it still was a surprise to discover he was not opposed to gay marriage.)

We talked about Right to Life and that life involves more than unborn babies, it also involves facing the death penalty and taking a life then.  We talked about politics and how I ended up a Democrat, but that I actually do vote for the candidate I think is best for the job, which can (and has) included voting for a Republican.

We talked about how to educate yourself to vote this year, watching the candidates on TV as well as analysis but also reading papers (in print or on the web) to see the words spelled out, summarizing positions on important issues.  And that the presidential candidates and their VP picks needed to be considered as a package because if anything should happen to either Obama or McCain, we’d have a new president and that person had better be prepared to step in and lead.

And we talked about voting itself.  That it’s a priviledge and a responsibility, and that even if you aren’t really sure which one to vote for, you may dislike one more than the other and that gives you your choice.  I told him that I didn’t care whether we voted for the same candidate (although obviously I hope he picks mine).  What mattered was that he take the time to vote.

I felt kind of like a League of Women Voters commercial – but happy that we could have this discussion without any badgering, raised voices, or snippy remarks.  He’s growing up.  Maybe so am I.

Shopping and Other Heavy Thoughts

I’m having a hard time right now living in my body.  My knee hurts a lot and I actually bought a folding cane this week to have in case I need it.  I’ve been aware of my size and feeling uncomfortable physically but also in my head as I see myself in a mirror or think about the fact that finding clothes that fit and actually look pretty is usually an exercise in futility.

Today’s outting to do that ended in a little mini-meltdown at the Avenue over a display of sweaters that were too long, too ugly, and not in my size.  I’m not desperate enough to buy just something to cover me – but I do need some new things because the clothes from last fall are snug around the hips.

The right solution is to magically adhere to a food plan, watch the weight drop off, and skip happily into the future as a thin person. But that’s not happening.  Right now I’m hanging on by my teeth to staying in one place on the scale.  The idea of working the WW plan just seems to have a reverse response in that I start sabotaging myself as soon as I try.  So I’m not.

There’s a difference between being fat and accepting that you will always be fat even though there are health and other issues associated with it, and being fat and trying to change it.  I’m somewhere in the middle between them right now, I think.  I’m really really tired of defining myself as my body size.  And I also want to be able to accept myself in this body size without turning that into a decision to stay at this supersize forever.

Many of you have suggested/recommended/advised that I get some therapy help.  And I do understand where that comes from.  I am making the choice not to.  Twice before when I asked for help from someone in a therapy role, I was abused, once physically and once emotionally.  I’m not going there again.  Instead I’m going to listen to my friend Amy in Hawaii, who is the most positive person I know.  She’s focused on living her dreams, not dwelling on the things that get in the way.

I don’t even know what my dreams are anymore; I’ve been too focused on my body and not my heart.  It’s time to pay attention and ask myself some questions.

UPDATE — Head over to Beula’s Dear Ethel site and read Friday’s post on Self Respect. Great list!

Update on my Houston Family

Donate to the American Red Cross — your help is urgently needed.

The post-Ike situation in Houston is getting very bad.  We hear so much about hurrican preparations but don’t think about what it would be like to live in a place after a major hurricane has whirled through, leaving destruction in its wake.  But we saw all of this in 2005 with Katrina in poor New Orleans, which is still recovering from its devastation.  People suffered from no food, no water, no power, sewage spilling into the streets, debris and damage everywhere.

The same thing is happening in Houston.  Parts of the city are destroyed; others have debris to be cleared but not so much property destruction.  But millions of people have no power under that humid Texas heat.  Food is rotting, tempers are flaring, and energy is sapped.  Relief workers need supplies themselves so they can take care of those who need their help.  Many areas in southeast Texas still are flooded.

I’m grateful that my family is safe.  My brother has a ranch (a fancy name for a house in the middle of nowhere that needs a lot of work) about two hours outside of Houston.  The whole family has retreated there and are enjoying AC, water, power, and literally time to relax.  My nephew’s foot surgery, originally scheduled for last Friday and rescheduled for tomorrow, has been rescheduled again along with all elective surgeries.  All Houston schools are closed for the week at least, so my sister-in-law doesn’t have the pressure of getting back for her teaching job.  And my brother’s office is still powerless so there’s no point in his even trying to work, though there are things he can do on the laptop even without the internet.

They have me and my mom to relay information and news updates while they wait for power to be restored and they venture a return.

They’re very lucky.