Friday, June 23, 2006

Bittersweet Symphony

I have been neglecting you haven’t I?

On Wednesday at work, our department foreman got a call. Well, The foreman on days apparently got in a wreck, a big one. He rear-ended a semi on US 30, and was care flighted to one of our hospitals here in Fort Wayne, (we have three with helicopters). He was looking really bad at first, and that night, they said he probably would not make it. But by the next day, it was in the news, and he was in serious but stable condition. His name is Casey Mack. He is really (and I am serious) one of the best supervisors I have ever had, and that is saying a lot, because I have had some shitty ass bosses. He is a great guy, and everyone I work with is shocked. It always happens to the wrong people, and everyone has said, that there are more than a few bosses in the plant who should be the one that rear ended a semi, not him.

We are hiring AGAIN!!!! Nobody took me up last time, I guess everyone is earning $17.00 an hour (starting wage, plus cost of living). We are hiring a few more hundred people, apparently more that 37,000 people across the country have taken the buyouts at GM and Delphi. And we have a new 50 million dollar extension on the plant, plus an entirely new building across from the plant, that will cost a fortune I am sure. So, we will be adding people from other plants, and when that runs out, we may permanently hire new people here, which is a once in a lifetime thing. The last time GM hired anyone of the street was when I came in, in 1997, through about 2000. I was in the first 100 people to be hired in my “home” plant, in Delphi Dayton, OH, which is now a HUGE parking lot. (Actually, it is just leveled). But the other plant for that location is still operational, that is where my mom works. I got my mom hired on in 1999, and the chance has perhaps come again.

I am not so sure on having more kids. Angi wants some NOW, NOW, NOW. I just don’t to become overextended, I mean, depend on every dollar I get. That, and I feel I don’t need to be the Brady Bunch, with a litter of kids, and repopulate the whole Earth. As if there is not enough people in the world, and it’s a real shitty world. On the other hand, I do feel a need to give my son and daughter some siblings, because I miss the tiny little babies. They were so small, and adorable, and exhausting. They both got up every hour on the hour, and that is after the nightmare of the neonatal unit. Can I go through that again? But I want to contribute more to this world I live in. Boy, that sounded dumb and corny. What to do????? Keep on keepin’ on, and think really hard, that’s what.

And I freaking LOVE that song by The Verve. Gots to go to work now.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Idaho girl becomes superhero for a day

Idaho girl becomes superhero for a day
Sun Jun 18, 6:57 AM ET

Most days, 6-year-old Aubrey Matthews spends her energy fighting a brain tumor growing behind her eyes. But the first-grader managed to foil crimes and chase an arch-nemesis through Boise on Friday, serving the city as the superhero "Star" with assistance from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Idaho, The Idaho Statesman reported.

When she donned her blue and metallic superhero costume, Star took on the super-powers of X-ray vision, superhuman strength, speed and blowing power — and a mission: To capture the villain who had stolen a golden star from the Idaho Historical Museum.

After Star was alerted by authorities, she hopped on a Life Flight helicopter to reach the crime scene, where she found a clue linking the crime to a known evildoer.

The chase was on, with plenty of opportunities for Star to use her superpowers along the way.

Before catching the bad guy, she rescued people from a "smoke"-filled building, saved a citizen from drowning in ParkCenter Pond, and vindicated ferrets at Zoo Boise who had been framed for stealing the golden star.

It was a busy day for Aubrey, a little girl with an incredible imagination whose biggest foe is the inoperable optic glioma tumor growing in the center of her brain. The tumor was diagnosed when Aubrey was 6 months old.

"I try to enjoy every day with her," said her mother, Elisa Matthews. "Life is just precious, and you can't blow it away. You have to take it for what it is, no matter what it is."

The tumor is inoperable because of its location and the way it grew into her optic nerve and against her hypothalamus, said her father, Dave Matthews.

Aubrey began chemotherapy when she was 15 months old. The tumor was stabilized for three and a half years but started to grow again last summer. A second round of chemotherapy began in August and was completed in January, her father said.

So far the news is good — the tumor has shrunk some, and Aubrey isn't as ill as doctors expected her to be after the chemotherapy. She has not lost her hair and her white blood cell count is stable, representing a small victory over the toxic chemotherapy drugs.

Most kids making a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Idaho wish to go someplace, to meet someone or to have something special.

Aubrey's request — to "be" something — is the rarest kind of wish, said executive director Marcia Karakas. It's the first time in at least 10 years that a "be" wish has been received in the Idaho office, which serves the state's lower 35 counties.

Windermere Real Estate's 150 employees took part in scripted superhero scenes, and the caper was filmed by Area 02, a local production company, for a special premiere this fall.

"I'm overwhelmed with all the time that people have put into this," Dave Matthews said. "The whole day is centered around her, and it's just awesome. This is truly a dream come true for her."

Aubrey came up with other superhero characters to help her fight crime — Lion Lady, Frog Lady, Dog Man, House Lifter, Sky Girl, Martian Manhunter and Tree Girl — all played by volunteers. She also helped design the costumes.

"I think she's brought out the child in all of us," said Jessie Gillingham, volunteer coordinator for the foundation.

By noon on Friday, Star had rescued a hostage from the villain's grip and tied the miscreant to the replica Liberty Bell in front of the Statehouse, cheered by hundreds of fans.

"I'd like to thank you for your extreme bravery," Mayor David Bieter said when the bad guy was in custody. He swore Aubrey in as an honorary police officer and proclaimed June 15 as Make-A-Wish Day and Star Day.

"You have shown extraordinary crime-fighting skills," Boise Police Mike Masterson said before presenting her with an Aubrey-sized police uniform.

For the little girl whose strength helps her fight cancer, it was all in a day's work.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Record Deficit...... Eh, Deficit Schmeficit

Okay, we currently have a record deficit. We have TWO wars (Iraq, Afghanistan), and one on the way. (IRAN). Yet the effing bums in Washington- Republicans, Democrats, who the blank ever...) just voted themselves a raise!!!!


Our country is completely and utterly SCREWED.

Your congressman just got a raise
Tuesday, June 13, 2006;

Posted: 7:53 p.m. EDT (23:53 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Despite record low approval ratings, House lawmakers Tuesday embraced a $3,300 pay raise that will increase their salaries to $168,500.

The 2 percent cost-of-living raise would be the seventh straight for members of the House and Senate.

Lawmakers easily squelched a bid by Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, to get a direct vote to block the COLA, which is automatically awarded unless lawmakers vote to block it.

In the early days of GOP control of Congress, lawmakers routinely denied themselves the annual COLA. Last year, the Senate voted 92-6 to deny the raise but quietly surrendered the position in House-Senate talks.

As part of an ethics reform bill in 1989, Congress gave up their ability to accept pay for speeches and made annual cost-of-living pay increases automatic unless the lawmakers voted otherwise.

The pay issue has been linked to the annual Transportation and Treasury Department spending bill because that measure stipulates that civil servants get raises of 2.7 percent, the same as military personnel will receive. Under a complicated formula, the increase translates to 2 percent for members of Congress.

Like last year, Matheson led a quixotic drive to block the raise. He was the only member to speak on the topic.

"I do not think that it is appropriate to let this bill go through without an up or down vote on whether or not Congress should have an increase in its own pay," Matheson said.

But by a 249-167 vote, the House rejected Matheson's procedural attempt to get a direct vote on the pay raise.

The pay raise would also apply to the vice president -- who is president of the Senate -- congressional leaders and Supreme Court justices.

This year, Vice President Cheney, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Chief Justice John Roberts receive $212,100. Associate justices receive $203,000. House and Senate party leaders get $183,500.

President Bush's salary of $400,000 is unaffected by the legislation.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

June 6

June 6

1944 D-Day

On this day in 1944, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the go-ahead for largest amphibious military operation in history: Operation Overlord, code-named D-Day, the Allied invasion of northern France.

By daybreak, 18,000 British and American parachutists were already on the ground. At 6:30 a.m., American troops came ashore at Utah and Omaha beaches. At Omaha, the U.S. First Division battled high seas, mist, mines, burning vehicles-and German coastal batteries, including an elite infantry division, which spewed heavy fire. Many wounded Americans ultimately drowned in the high tide. British divisions, which landed at Gold, and Sword beaches, and Canadian troops, landing at Juno beach, also met with heavy German fire, but by the end of the day they were able to push inland.

Despite the German resistance, Allied casualties overall were relatively light. The United States and Britain each lost about 1,000 men, and Canada 355. Before the day was over, 155,000 Allied troops would be in Normandy. However, the United States managed to get only half of the 14,000 vehicles and a quarter of the 14,500 tons of supplies they intended on shore.

Three factors were decisive in the success of the Allied invasion. First, German counterattacks were firm but sparse, enabling the Allies to create a broad bridgehead, or advanced position, from which they were able to build up enormous troop strength. Second, Allied air cover, which destroyed bridges over the Seine, forced the Germans to suffer long detours, and naval gunfire proved decisive in protecting the invasion troops. And third, division and confusion within the German ranks as to where the invasion would start and how best to defend their position helped the Allies. (Hitler, convinced another invasion was coming the next day east of the Seine River, refused to allow reserves to be pulled from that area.)

Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, commander of Britain's Twenty-first Army Group (but under the overall command of General Eisenhower, for whom Montgomery, and his ego, proved a perennial thorn in the side), often claimed later that the invasion had come off exactly as planned. That was a boast, as evidenced by the failure to take Caen on the first day, as scheduled. While the operation was a decided success, considering the number of troops put ashore and light casualties, improvisation by courageous and quick-witted commanders also played an enormous role.

The D-Day invasion has been the basis for several movies, from The Longest Day (1962), which boasted an all-star cast that included Richard Burton, Sean Connery, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum-and Fabian, to Saving Private Ryan (1998), which includes some of the most grippingly realistic war scenes ever filmed, captured in the style of the famous Robert Capa still photos of the actual invasion.