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Annoying Autobiographical Pause : Seeking The Good

November 26, 2013 - Author: newscoma
Zeus Says Hey!

Zeus Says Hey!

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday and the eventual non-existent war on Christmas, I have been thinking about a few things. Mainly that we have a lot more shit to worry about than fighting over holiday media missives which are basically weapons of mass distraction.

I don’t know but I’m rather tired of the negative. In the last few months, I’ve had to adjust my thinking that outrage for the sake of being outraged is not something I really want to be apart of. And I’ll be damned if I haven’t become a hell of a lot happier.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you what has worked for me.

1. Leaving my comfort zone has been a good thing for me. I have some habits (good or bad) that I still embrace but I realized that one thing I needed to do was become hungry for positive. I like snow flakes, dogs make me happy and people that smile easily.  It’s hard to be excessively angry all the time. Life is going to occasionally give you a shit casserole that you are completely powerless of avoiding and you’re just going to have accept. Might as well just swim through it because their is going to be some tasty brie on the other side of the river. French cheese heals all that ails you.

2. I have learned that it is okay to be pissed off. It is not okay to let that be an anchor. If you want to punch the air, take two seconds and go watch Kid President, who is from Tennessee. Taking his advice, I’m trying desperately how to learn the Ray Lewis Squirrel Dance. It’s angry enough to release a lot of aggression. Find some grass and slam it against your chest. Trust me, just go ahead and do it.

3. Avoiding the news on the weekend has helped me immensely. Binge watching British television is extremely therapeutic.

4. If you think the country is going to hell in a hand basket covered in bees, what can you do to help in small meaningful ways? Listening to a friend or a stranger without judgement can be a small gesture and it helps me. I want that, so why can’t I give it? Oh, but you see, I can do that. Problem solved campers. I want this country to quit being crazy too yet I’m learning the value of the small.  Bees are tiny but pollinate the planet. See what I did there.

5. I’ve been trying to do what I think is right not only for me but for other people. If I’m wrong, that’s okay too. All I got is a cup of try and if the tea in the mug tastes like it came from a grub garden, the best I can do is make another cuppa.

6. I learned that there is a difference between being a 24/7 critic of everything. Yes, I will judge folks bad behavior and I own it. Yet have you ever noticed the pretty smile of the woman that sells you a six-pack and a pack of smokes? Those things are important and I’ve learned that saying Thank You to other people makes me feel better about myself.

7. On a last note, as I get older and my brain doesn’t work as well as it used to I have created an exercise for myself. I don’t have a photographic memory, but I do try to take note of intimate things that make my friends and family happy. It works for me.

8. Finally, if we need to look at things that are absurd that we cannot look away from, let me leave you with the fact that Mike Huckabee wants to move DC to Nashville because of George Jones. Yes. This happened. It is kind of like Balloon Boy, which we should never forget.

9. Laugh.


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What Makes You Vote?

November 19, 2013 - Author: newscoma

I’ve had several conversations this past week about the election next year and then the metro elections in 2015.

The issue that presented itself in these discussion that I had with various folks went back to are we voting for people who will actually govern or casting votes for social issues.  It honestly is a discussion that has gone on for eons but it still gave me some pause that some things are not that easily put into a box. It’s not that simple, but sometimes it comes down to that one particular issue that forces a person angrily to the voting booth instead of a complete package of what is going to happen in the coming years.

With so much attention being put onto different issues such as civil rights, the different theories on education reform, rural economic loss and the impending growth of population in urban areas and wasteful government spending that only benefits those in control, which issues of infrastructure growth do you concentrate on? How do the people who govern deal with the incredible anger that is projected and then grows like The Blob daily as there is honestly no news cycle.  Our society gets angry, it blows up and then we go to the next day’s cup of outrage which is like pouring the morning’s coffee.

I don’t think I have any concrete answers to issue-based voting versus the reality that we still need governance in regards to actually running the state or this country. Yet there are things we know, if your house is on fire you’ll want the fire department to show up. Roads need to be maintained as public transportation is not where it needs to at in urban areas and is completely non-existent in rural communities. If you like food, you’ll want those farming implements to be able to get down backroads during harvest season. We need teachers to be allowed to teach and not just robotize our children into memorization experiments to justify educational bureaucracy. Do we want privatized services that are paid for by tax payer dollars which I think is a huge question we need to be discussing.

We also need to be talking about women’s reproductive health issues, which have are consistently being interfered with as well as treating all citizens in this country as equal. It can’t be piece-milled by elected officials who are currently not governing because they are too busy obstructing progress. And what is the opposition of progressing forward? It is regressing backwards which is something we just do not need in this country.

I will admit that in my voting history I’ve voted both ways. I have voted right down the ballot on candidates I thought would ignite social change and I’ve also held my nose when I cast a ballot for someone who had a plan for infrastructure that I knew would benefit my community. Mind you, I wouldn’t have asked some of those folks to dinner at Chez Coma because I didn’t agree with much of their social platform, but I knew when it came to getting needed services to my community, I felt their plan would work.

We live in an angry world right now, so I’m looking at candidates that aren’t just telling me what I want to hear but those that have a plan they are willing to fight for. On both different planes, because I truly believe that is what we need right now.

And although I adore history, I don’t want to hear about what your grandpa did. I want to hear what you are going to do for my nieces and their children and their children’s children.

Tell the public what you are willing to fight for if you are running for office. What kind of seeds are you going to plant that will grow a tree which will be here much longer than we will be.

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Frank Talk About Absolutely Nothing

November 18, 2013 - Author: newscoma
I also own this hat. You know I do!

I also own this hat. You know I do!

Things. All the things tied up together:

  • I do not own a bowtie. I think I would look smashing in a bowtie. People have discouraged me. I think their negativity means that they are made of bees. To repeat myself, I would look smashing in a bowtie. Also, I hope you are never eaten by a shark but I wouldn’t mind if they scared you a little bit you bowtie detractors. I do, however, look rather horrible in suspenders.
  • There are times that I go in public to shop, and I have written about in the past, I get overstimulated. This happened this weekend at Goodwill but I bought a groovy shirt. One of the people standing next to me had on perfume made out of cheap whiskey but seemed cheerful enough. Not judging just needed to get out of there quickly. P.S. It was in Franklin.
  • Is Elisabeth Hasslebeck high? Elderly pregnant women? What does Fox News give their anchors before they go on air. Whip-its?
  • Is Bob Woodward high and is he still living in 1973?
  • Do not look at my nose until the weather has properly changed as I do not want to have to defend the term “bats in a cave” as Tennessee weather has a lot of bats. You know, in caves on your face, that are of course disgusting. It is true though that only your close friends will hand you a tissue. Others will just be grossed out and leave you alone abruptly leading you into life-time therapy bills to struggle with your (Okay, my) abandonment issues.
  • I find this to be incredibly gross. Why not just pay folks?
  • Bobo Fay knows what Bigfoot likes to eat. I am not making this up. I think Bigfoot really doesn’t want to break bread with Bobo Fay but maybe that is just me.
  • I need to remind you that Rob Ford is a real person. He is also the mayor of Toronto. He is REAL, CAMPERS!! I think he should visit Hoots just for the hell of it. If bad and horrendous behavior can get you on a reality show (which is happening) then do I need to steal a car, throw rabid raccoons at 4th-graders and burn down a Taco Bell? (disclaimer: I do not want a reality show.)
  • Hate to say it (no I don’t) but Fox News’ Stuart Varney can cheerfully kiss my ass.

On an ending note, I think that dogs have souls. If you don’t agree with me, tell that to your dog.

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JLL, Ducking Reporters And Recent History

November 13, 2013 - Author: newscoma

The only time that you really need to duck a reporter is if you are seeing Tyler Durden on a regular basis and are a member of Fight Club.

Apparently this has not been taught to some folks down at the legislature.

From our fine friends at Pith in the Wind:

Secondly, our Andrea Zelinski tells us that the state’s corrections commissioner just completely ducked Channel 4′s Jeremy Finley at the state’s budget hearings.

We presume that Finley wanted to talk with Commissioner Derrick Schofield about his I-Team’s work documenting cell phones at maximum security prisons.

At a press availability after the hearing, Finley kicked it off by asking about the TBI investigation into documents and video Channel 4 has aired.

“Can we talk about budget today?” Schofield said.

“We can ask about budget, but I’ve got questions for you as well about the cell phones,” Finley said.

“We’ll talk about budget. We’ll do a separate for you,” responded the commissioner.

?Finley was satisfied with that. Then, post-interview, as Finley suggested they go further down the hall into the belly of the Capitol Building, the commissioner ducked into a nearby elevator and his flack said the commissioner only wanted to talk about budget today and would talk with Finley another time.?

Finley didn’t ask about Fight Club. He asked about cell phones in prison which is a damned good question.

This is just part of the story. A scathing audit on the business practices of Jones Lang LaSalle was released this morning. For those of you who haven’t been following along at home, Phil Williams from Newschannel 5 can keep you up to speed.

Take, for example, JLL’s recommendation that the state demolish the Cordell Hull state office building and sell off four other state buildings.

The company not only got paid for that advice, but the State Building Commission has already approved commissions of $2.7 million for JLL to negotiate just five leases for new space.

On top of that, invoices show that the Haslam administration agreed to pay JLL another $1 millionto supervise the decommissioning of the state buildings.

And when state employees are moved, JLL also gets paid to supervise that process, as well.

“If I were JLL and I got money for each building that I said to tear down and then I got to oversee that and get money and then I got to oversee leasing space and I got money for that … I could find lots of places for people to go, I could find lots of buildings to tear down,” Jones said.

But the best example of the potential conflict may be a building in MetroCenter.

JLL got paid to advise the Tennessee Lottery to move out.

Then, the company got paid to advise the Department of Children Services to move in to the very same building.

There’s more, campers as Williams reported in June that our governor of the state of Tennessee knows JLL pretty darned well.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Does Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam have a financial stake in a massive new contract to outsource the management of state buildings?

That’s the question uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

The Haslam administration insisted that the contract is about saving taxpayer money, not about making the governor richer.

But our investigation discovered the governor’s office was directly involved in the decision to give hundreds of millions of dollars of your money to a corporation he knew well.

Recently, the state signed a $330 million, five-year contract with a multinational corporation, Jones Lang Lasalle, to manage all of the state’s buildings. It’s a company that, our investigation discovered, candidate Bill Haslam listed among his major investments.

“The fact that he was invested in this company that got this contract is disturbing if he’s still invested in it,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner of Nashville.

Let’s remember that Bill Haslam’s financials are hidden from public view.

Connecting the dots is always an interesting game to play. Unfortunately, this is all of our tax money playing musical chairs. It’s something we all need to be aware of.



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A Day In The Life In Nashville

November 12, 2013 - Author: newscoma

I’m sitting alone.

This is my time of the day before every day life catches up with me. The Temptations, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and Earth, Wind and Fire have played within the last 25 minutes. The waitress, who is named Michelle and has a smile that could light a fire in a blizzard told me it is Motown day.

I find it agreeable.

There is a man sitting alone at the bar, slowly draining a bottle of Budweiser. He looks sad. I am just speculating, but there is a weary fatigue hanging over him like a wet wool blanket. I hope “There Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” comes on soon to cheer him, as it usually cheers me.

We will see.

The coffee isn’t very good, but it is warm so I’ll take it. In my pocket there is a grocery list and I’m looking where to buy a cord of wood for the next couple of days. Small things as I read political articles for the next day to include in the Buzz.  Politics is rather mean-spirited these days, so I listen to the rolling guitars playing loudly in the background for comfort, and I think of my mother who knew when I was drowning in work and disbelief, due to the bad behavior of so many elected leaders, would put on Miles Davis and John Coltrane to comfort me.

The lady sitting at the table next to me has her back to me. She is most likely in her late sixties but I can see a red ribbon tattoo on her back that is surrounded my angel wings. It is peaking out shyly from the top of her sweater, one which you see older women wear all the time. I know there is a story here. I don’t know what it is, but my imagination has comes up with several scenarios.

The sad-looking man just laid his phone down and is rubbing his eyes. Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell can’t show up quickly enough as the Supremes are just not cutting it right now.

It would have been my parents 50th anniversary on Sunday. She isn’t here anymore but Cari Wade Gervin wrote the story of her father yesterday on Twitter. It was beautiful and I will not lie that I found it dusty reading it yesterday and then again today.

And then, unexpectedly, my friend Bohan showed up out of the blue and it was a good thing.

A good day in Nashville watching how things work while Marvin Gaye serenaded me from beyond. As Warren Zevon always said, “Enjoy every sandwich.”

Damned skippy.

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Close At Hand

October 30, 2013 - Author: newscoma

I wrote yesterday about legacies and that politics as usual were hurting good folks. Today, I read a story that was very interesting about the consequences of politics of this Modern Age via Vibinc.

Shouts erupted at Rep. Scott Tipton’s (R-Colo.) town hall in Montrose, Colo., on Saturday, according to the Montrose Daily Press, with the congressman facing heat for the government shutdown.

“You don’t hold America hostage,” one attendee yelled at the congressman.

Resident George Schupe added, “No more shutdown, no more de-funding.”

Tipton called Obamacare “broken from the start” and told anecdotes of insurance costs increasing as a result of the law.

“That’s not true!” yelled people in the audience.

Tipton ultimately voted for the bill that lifted the debt ceiling and ended the shutdown.

I feel this is a two-fold story. One is that there CAN be consequences to bad behavior in politics. Leaders who are disingenuous can be voted out of office.  The second issue is that it is up to the American public to hold our elected officials accountable. That is up to us.

There is a lot of word soup out there right now. Yet may I introduce you to Madison Kimbrey, who doesn’t mince words. Did I mention she is 12 years-old?

Things aren’t broken, campers. They are not despite what everyone has been screaming from the top of the hill. We are just fed a lot of remains of the Southern Strategy which has been expanded by Koch Brother interference and a culture of fear.

Walt Kelly, the cartoonist and satirist of the cartoon Pogo, once wrote ”We have met the enemy and he is us.” The quote was his way of attacking McCarthyism. And it worked.

We all have to find our way to stand up to the bullies be it in the way an eloquent 12 year-old did or in pointing out the obvious, as Kelly did.

I leave you with another Kelly ancedote.

Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle. There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blasts on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us. Forward!



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A Legacy Of A Million Papercuts

October 29, 2013 - Author: newscoma

I don’t think I would want my legacy if I were a politician to be that I allowed people to die of a million paper cuts. That my lasting impression in the history books to say I gridlocked instead of forging a path to make government more efficient. It would be horrendous to people I know that did try to create a better world who are looking upon us know with millions of talking points to decipher before we as an American society know what the actual facts are.

There was a government shutdown a couple of weeks ago and I am not reminding you dear readers, but I do wish the media would mention this on occasion instead of BORKED WEBSITE!!  Yes, it’s borked like a dog with three sprained paws but it is fixable. The Affordable Care Act is the law. If you have a problem with that, give the Supreme Court a call. I’m sure they will appreciate your outrage.

It’s the facts that get confusing. Which new education “reform” is the right one? Why aren’t we taking care of our veterans the way that we did in the past? Do we have the infrastructure we need for the next decade, or the for the next generation for that matter? We apparently have a political structure, so far divided in so many ways, that only lives for the next news cycle. These days that cycle runs hourly and has become a cyclone that the Weather Channel couldn’t keep up with. It appears that although there appears to be motion, there isn’t much activity when one is running in place. It’s stagnant and the losers are your average Americans who have fallen on hard times.

This week, food stamp benefits will be reduced. Meet fellow Tennessean Angela Phillips who is from Knoxville, and you will see that this could have just as easily happened to a member of your family:

The SNAP program has become a last resort for people like Angela Phillips, 44, who never thought that she would have to accept food stamps.

Phillips, who is divorced with three kids, worked for years as a paralegal and executive assistant, at one point making about $45,000 a year. Then the economy turned, and she suffered a string of job losses along with some health issues related to a shoulder injury from her time serving in the Army years ago.

Phillips, who lives in Knoxville, Tenn., said she juggled things as best she could for a long time, eating little while her kids were with their dad so she could feed them well when they were staying with her. Still, she said she struggled to explain why she couldn’t always give them pricier, healthy foods like fresh fruit.

She ended up applying for SNAP benefits in July of 2012, while working part-time.

“It was a huge benefit for me to be able to know that I could feed my family,” she said.

Phillips is currently working as a temporary administrative assistant for a national lab, but the employment is erratic and she says she makes about $17,000 a year. She’s also a full-time student.

These are the stories that our elected officials need to read. She is a veteran and someone who got slammed by economic realities in the last few years. There is an old saying that most people really just do want a hand to help them up, not a hand out and this is a perfect example that we must recognize this instead of fearmongering and dismissing people living in poverty and the working poor.

Ms. Phillips could be me. I’m one of so many folks that are one paycheck away from a crisis and a lot of people I know are in the same boat.

Legacies are important. Politicians do not need to put a throat on the necks of people for political gain and media exposure. When we go to war, we are Americans, not political parties. Maybe we should just consider we are all Americans who need to help one out all the time. It’s something I would love to see happen but I’m not holding my breath.

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Fixing What Needs To Be Fixed

October 24, 2013 - Author: newscoma

I will let Helen explain to you the moronic antics happening in our country right now.

They close the government and then complain when government-funded national parks are closed.   They whine about activist judges but then run to the Supreme Court when elections don’t go their way.  They scream for freedom and then make it harder for people to vote.  They complain about the liberal media but then spend all their time getting interviewed by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.  They take issue with Obama being born in Hawaii with a Kenyan for a father, but have absolutely no problems with Ted Cruz being born in Canada with a Cuban for a father.  Now on that last one, I half agree.  In truth, I have no issue with either birth certificate.  But I never did fancy hypocrisy much.  These days, the Republican platform is so crooked it could get lost behind a cork screw.

Honey, I get it.  The web page for Obamacare is a piece of shit.  So let’s fix it.

And let’s look at what Steve Ross is talking about this week in regards to building from the ground up.

From my vantage point, there needs to be more communication and coordination between the State Party, County parties, and elected members (in county, state, and federal positions). By establishing a caucus system, more communication would be required between and within the County and State organizations to ensure members of the state and executive boards didn’t lose the confidence of their constituents.

In both posts what we are seeing is about fixing things that are broken. On a national scale, we see a lot of snake oil salesmen talking out of both sides of their mouths. On a state level, we are seeing folks actually bypassing the traditional structures of party politics and attempting to fix things that are not working. (OFA is a perfect example of just getting out there in areas and getting things done.) Without a conversation in this big-assed long state that covers 440 miles, unless there is communication then everything gets muddled in a tar pit made out of jello.

Governance through dismissing facts or through fear mongering doesn’t work in the long haul. It’s sexy in the short term but Americans have a tendency to get fed up and when they do, Katie bar the door. Dismissing the power of constituents on more localized or regionalized areas doesn’t work either.  Public service is about serving the public. It’s not a Miss Universe pageant, campers.

And I won’t stutter when I say that my complete weariness over everyone being outraged all the time has grown so tiresome that I have considered moving back to the farm and playing with the fox pups that frolic around. There are ways to be involved but just yelling about it on Facebook or Twitter doesn’t make a hell of a lot of difference. Reaching out to other people who want to see changes in media and messaging does. If you feel that soldiers are being treated shabbily when they return home, do something. If you are angry about Voter ID laws that are blatantly discriminatory, they are places you can go to help the underprivileged get what they need. Want to help kids in poverty, there are a ton of organizations that could use your help even if it is only four hours a month.

And why are we only hearing from the Cantors or the Cruz’s of the world and not other folks? I will tell you, cable news believes that those folks bring more eyeballs to its network, so everyone gets a poop sandwich with a side of infotainment news.

It ain’t news, kids. It’s a clown car at the circus.

Each and everyone deserves a better day, I believe this. And it is up to all of us to make sure that we at least try to make an effort to make sure that we leave this world a little better than we found it.  Listen, Be Grateful, Remember To Try On Other People’s Shoes, Understand and Ease Along.

We can do this if we just try.

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Annoying Autobiographical Pause: The Gratitude Project

October 14, 2013 - Author: newscoma

Katherine Coble has a post this morning that I think you should read. It’s about private pain in a world that isn’t so private especially when you have been blogging or in social media for awhile. That is how I met her, back in the day before blogging was making a glorious run in Tennessee and prior to when it reformed itself into niche marketing.

I owe countless phone calls to people who deserve a response from me. I owe emails expressing concern and kindness and that I couldn’t respond to because I have felt a bit broken, like a discarded toy that a child no longer plays with. The months of August and September were just blurs of bone-shattering motion that were soul emptying. Like Coble, I don’t want to talk about it and I can’t really other that I can say that I don’t think I have felt such grief, disappointment, adrenaline and bottoming out in such a short period of time. These things were out of my control but I got washed out with the tide with them anyway. I guess we never really are in control and there is no doubt in my mind that at 48-years-old new lessons can be learned. It’s a new normal.

We simply aren’t in control even when we think we have got this shit. We don’t.

I’ve tried very sincerely to revisit that I need to be more grateful for each day, even the smallest things. I have a new car, great friends who love me and whom I love, a family that I would fight a bear to protect and I have looked for joy, which I have found. And I have found that negativity has to be excised like a cancerous tumor. You don’t want that shit to metastasize. There are times that my throat fills with the events that happened in those two months. I have to remove it as best I can.

Gratitude is an important thing, campers.  I asked on my birthday on Facebook for people to tell me what they were most grateful for and it was one of the best gifts I received.  I wasn’t phishing, I generally needed to hear other discuss their joy of life. What makes us happy and what are we grateful for? The answers were mixed and it hit me we need more of that in our lives. It’s easy to rely on anger as a crutch, it’s harder to find those little things that are good in this world and in this state.

I met a man this year who is battling (with a vengeance) Stage 4 prostate cancer. He’s not much older than I am. And I’ll be damned if he isn’t always smiling and says he is kicking cancer in the nuts. He’s fatigued and tired of day after day radiation treatments but his eyes are always smiling and is so direct about his journey. I sort of love him because I need him a hell of a lot more than he needs me.  I thought to myself why can’t I be grateful just to hear my sister and father’s voices on the phone when this man is facing serious illness and finds the good instead of the bad? It’s important to put the negative in a box and bury it like a time capsule. Not the feelings and emotions of grief which have to be processed, just the cloud of contrary crap that floats around.

No, I’m with Coble, I don’t want to talk about the details. Yes, I want each day I spend on this planet to be filled with the laughter I hear, the joy of a dog wagging her tail, the accomplishments of my friends being celebrated and looking forward to the next day.

I’ll return those calls and emails soon. Right now I need to enjoy the sun to wash away what is ailing me. No one asks for a poop sandwich but when you get one, you have two choices. You let it consume you or you look for grace, so I think I’ll go with door number two.

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Observations From Far Away

October 3, 2013 - Author: newscoma

I am worried about this country because, quite frankly, I don’t think I know what is happening at any given moment. Media is a weird thing these days.

Can we just try, for once, to be nice to each other for one damn day? Just one single damn day.

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Tennessee, Public Service And The Game Of Chicken

October 1, 2013 - Author: newscoma

The government shutdown that occurred last night may be one of the most selfish acts that elected public servants have done in a long time. They aren’t losing their pay or anything other than the goodwill of voters. And now it is us up to the voters to vote when the time comes because there is nothing more horrific than hurting folks for the sport of it.

Not only was it selfish, it was rather politically stupid.

So we are all informed of what is going on, let us head to the Dean’s house who has a breakdown of what is going to be hit the hardest in Tennessee.

Some Impact

Some federally-funded food programs may be affected if shutdown lasts longer than one month

Commerce and Insurance
Consumers needing help with the exchange may not be able to reach federal call center staff. This may cause a significant influx of calls to our Insurance consumer assistance section. Additionally, (if shutdown is lengthy) Medicare payment to Tennessee MCOs may be disrupted.

Economic and Community Development
Reimbursements may be delayed for federally-funded programs. If lengthy, grants to communities for infrastructure will be affected.

Impact on technical assistance. If lengthy, funding to districts may experience delays.

Environment and Conservation
Slower review of permits that require federal review and slower processing of federal grants.

WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program can only sustain a shutdown to approximately October 10th. A prolonged shutdown could affect personnel as much of the federal funding Health receives covers administrative costs.

Labor and Workforce Development
If longer than 7-10 days, OSHA would need to be funded with state dollars. If prolonged shutdown, staffing would need to be adjusted.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
Funding available for the next three months. If prolonged, federal funds would end by approximately January 2014.

Weekend drills and annual trainings will not be conducted.  Students who are in schools will be recalled.  Monthly pay may be affected depending on length of shutdown.


Safety and Homeland Security
Possible impact on the issuance of handgun permits and commercial driver licenses with hazmat endorsements due to background checks.

Significant Impact

Human Services
SSA and SNAP programs can only sustain themselves for a limited period without federal funding. Federal funds would expire within 10 weeks, with some variations and some state funds still remain. SSA indicated that they would restore any state funds that are used to cover FFY 14 expenses. DHS would need to make staffing adjustments downward according to funding streams.

Oh wait, there is more. Let’s look at the furloughs the Tennessee National Guard are going to hand down. And let’s not forget WIC which feeds low-income children.

 If Congress doesn’t end its budget impasse quickly, the impact on some areas of Tennessee government could be felt within a week to 10 days, according to Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.

The most immediate concern is the federal government’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC), which provides provides food and counseling to low-income women and their young children, according to a review ordered by Haslam, a Republican.

WIC “can only sustain a shutdown to approximately October 10th,” the review says. “A prolonged shutdown could affect personnel a much of the federal funding Health [Department] receives covers administrative costs.”

The state agency charged with ensuring workplace safety would have to be funded with state dollars if the shutdown lasts for more than a week to 10 days. In the event of a prolonged shutdown “staffing would need to be adjusted,” the review says.

I realize I’m not saying anything new here. After a booze-filled weekend in Washington, what we have here is a game of chicken. You remember this game from Rebel Without A Cause and it is a very stupid game.

The bottom line is that the Affordable Care Act is law. It is real. It is happening, and thank goodness for me personally it is because I’m going to have to schedule a bit of surgery once I get covered because I couldn’t be covered before due to a pre-existing condition.

I do not want my elected leaders to have temper tantrums. And that is what happened. If our public servants (say it three times like the movie Candyman so these folks will remember) don’t starting acting like leaders and not children, our country is in trouble.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if you are given the privilege to be elected to office you better damn well treat it with the respect it deserves. This isn’t Disney World. These are real people that are the citizens of the United States of America. They aren’t chess pieces to play with.

Get it! It’s not hard.

Rant over from Newscoma, who has been in a bad mood for most of the summer.

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The “Gotcha” Society

September 20, 2013 - Author: newscoma

We live in a world, or maybe I’m just cynical these days, where everyone is looking for any moment to say “Gotcha!”

It’s either “Gotcha” or “I told you so!” or anything where kindness or understanding is thrown out into the yard like dirty bath water on Saturday in 1943. It happens in politics, among friends, at work or in the news. There are things that I think are a lot more effective, so I have really had to re-frame my thinking recently that I just don’t want to be apart of that in the least. I may not be remembered for being a kind person and that’s okay, but I’d much rather have a legacy of love and understanding than one of creating pain.

It hit me recently that I just do not want to be the person that beats down others and, quite frankly, I don’t want to be in any kind of Fight Club either.

And there is so much to swallow right now that it is hard to breathe.

We decided as a country due to the worst Congress I can recall to make hungry families hungrier. It isn’t a hard thing to do when two former political rivals of different parties can come together and call in a unified manner to feed the hungry.  Tennessee has a 16.6 rating for people being assisted on SNAP. So, who is going to feed them?

And people who mock victims of devastating gun violence to sell more guns, find your empathy and the real pain of loss that American families are going through after losing loved ones. Why do we blame the victims of rape and domestic violence when that could be our sibling, our child or our friend?

Why does everything have to be a “Gotcha!” moment? Come on, campers, it’s gross.

The recession has left an invisible trail of lives which will never be the same, and yet we make people trying to rebuild their lives into parasites for political gain?

And Stephen Yeargin says it best about what we are going through during these gobsmacking times in our country.

You can run from the label “Great Recession” all you want to, but the fact remains that we have endured the worst economic conditions since the 1940s, worse than the crash of the 1980s. And yet, somehow, we have decided to blame those that lost their jobs for their own plight. I must say “we”, because you and I are both responsible for the actions of who we send to congress, whether we agree with their actions or not.

Thanks to today’s United States House of Representatives vote, you have ninety days after losing the only job your household may have before choosing between mortgage payments and eating. And if you live in Tennessee, you can be assured that there is no help coming from the state government. At all.

Because helping people is a bad thing? Aren’t you a public servant if you are in office?

Government is not a corporation or a business. Roads aren’t built by Wal-Mart and schools should not be run by lobbyists or people that have no idea that education opens doors, doesn’t slam them shut. Do you like that park where your kids play, rarely do corporate interests pay for that unless there is a tax write-off.

This country thrives on overstimulation in the media to the point that no one can hold on to one thought for more than three seconds. And Chuck Todd, who says it’s not his job to be a journalist might want to get a job at Pilot Flying J to be a shill instead because why the hell should we trust a guy who is paid to indeed be a journalist but says he won’t. I have no words. The majority of people receiving SNAP are in very red Republican states. Shouldn’t we know that Mr. Todd? Shouldn’t we know the facts and not the punditry of the Affordable Care Act?

Or is that inconvenient for you?

And we see people being paid handsomely for bad behavior or a predatory lack of action that does nothing to help and yet intentionally hurts people. Let’s just pull the rug out from people who have already taken the brunt of a brutal and devastating decade. Speak up, reach out or at least talk with other like-minded people to make sure that everyone is on the same page. I’ve always been told that government was about three simple factors: Educate, Incarcerate or Medicate.

We’d like that back please.

This isn’t a “Gotcha!” moment because real people with very difficult problems from politics to inequality are on the verge of drowning in invisibility and in the shadows.

That isn’t how I was brought up and instead of wearing a bracelet that has WWJD, why not learn from the lessons that he taught, not from platitudes that push an agenda.

It isn’t hard.




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