Travelin’ Shoes by Full Circle


A women’s quartet with sweet harmonies, acapella.

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The President and His Plants

And I don’t mean arugula.

I feel awfully sorry for this little girl, and she had an incredibly exciting opportunity that she will remember always. I am glad for her for that.

However, for the country, eh.

Backstory: At a recent town hall meeting where Obama spoke he supposedly called on this child in the audience, completely out of the blue, to ask him a question- which was, of course, a soft ball question, but it’s not the child’s fault the President doesn’t really do spontaneous.

How do we know this? Well, I don’t know, but I do suspect, for the following reasons.

Her mother is a major donor and worker for the Obama Campaign. That would be the woman sitting next to her at the town hall meeting. At least, if the guy at that link did his homework.

But this puzzles me:

Michelle Malkin links to this Boston Globe story where we have this quote:

Kathleen Manning Hall, Julia’s mother, was shocked when her daughter said she wanted to ask a question. They wrote it down beforehand, and Julia didn’t miss a beat when Obama called on her.

Now, when I first read that I understood it to mean that when they planned on going to the meeting Julia told her mother she wanted to ask a question, so they wrote it down together before the meeting. Nothing wrong with that. But then I was puzzled when I learned what the actual question was:

But notice this from Gateway Pundit:

Julia read the following question off a piece of paper: “As I was walking in I saw a lot of signs outside saying mean things about reforming healthcare. How do kids know what is true and why do people want a new system that can help more of us”.

She wrote her question ahead of time and it was about things on signs at the meeting she was going to go see?

The President, more importantly, didn’t really answer her question, but then, her mother didn’t have her ask a question so the President could actually answer it. It’s just more campaign-style theater, designed to give him a flattering starting point for his prepared remarks. You can read his response here.
It strikes me as full of vague platitudes and assurances more suitable to the campaign trail (and not really helpful there) than governance, and he leaves a lot of things wide open (what does ‘etc.’ really mean in the context in which he uses it?).

Look, even the old gray New York Times, which has been the President’s mouthpiece and public relations office for at least the last year, is having trouble backing him up on these assurances:

These assurances reflect an aspiration, but may not be literally true or enforceable.

Obama has long said (when he didn’t think he was being taped) that he WANTS a single-payer, universal health care system. That’s socialism. That’s what he wants. He has also said it’s going to take a little time to get there. That’s what the health care bill is for.

Jacob Hacker, primary architect behind it has said:

“Someone told me this was a Trojan horse for single-payer. Well, it’s not a Trojan horse, right? It’s just right there. I’m telling you. We’re going to get there, over time, slowly, but we’ll move away from reliance on employer-based health insurance as we should, but we’ll do it in a way that we’re not going to frighten people into thinking they’re going to lose their private insurance. We’re going to give them a choice of public and private insurance when they’re in the pool, and we’re going to let them keep their private employer-based insurance if their employer continues to provide it.”

That little girl is one of the President’s more innocuous plants, and the Health Care Bill may be one of the worst.

Or maybe not- you decide:
Do what the majority of legislators (and the President, who wants it passed even though he is ‘unfamiliar with the details) are be too irresponsible to do, read the bill: HR 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009″.

Here’s the HTML version with links.

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Not under my heart, but in it…

One of the Progeny has, twice now, hyperventilated to the point that she ended up in the ER. Her fingers go numb and tingly, her hands curl up, she doesn’t make sense when she talks, she loses her balance, she loses feeling in other parts of her body.

The first time it happened I took her to the ER.

The second time she was visiting friends in another part of the state and they took her to the ER. The doctors there told her to learn how to breathe better when she sings (that’s when it started this time). I told her I’m going to be reminding her to carry along a paper bag at the same time I remind her sister to bring her inhaler when the go gallivanting about the state.

The symptoms were reported to me over the phone when they were already on their way to the ER. I thought it was probably just hyperventilating again, but when I suggested that, her sister (who was in tears and upset herself) insisted it wasn’t. Still, I thought it was, while at the same time I was worried that it wasn’t, if that makes sense. I told them to try and have her breathe into a bag or something on the way, but then we got cut off.

I decided not to jump in the van and race across the state to get to her until I got the call back from ER about what was going on. This was sensible, reasonable, and practical- and I worried all the time that I was being a bad mom (this Progeny is legally an adult). I packed my overnight bag, hung up some clothes I’d left out on my bed while wondering if that was the sort of thing a good mother would do, or should I sit and stew. I brushed my teeth, finished putting the Cherub to bed, drank a cup of coffee for the journey (it was 11:00 at night) and then we got the call back that everything was alright.

Whew. The HM and I sat down and worked on breathing properly ourselves and had a little chat.

“Did I ever tell you,” he asked, “That my mom used to hyperventilate and have to breathe into a paper bag?”

“Um. No,” I said, a little frustrated with him. This would be helpful information to have had, of course, as perhaps there’s a genetic reason for it. Why hadn’t the man mentioned it before?

He could see I was kind of annoyed, but he thought it was just nerves. Reaction from the previous hour or so of tension and worry. He went on:

“Yeah, it was her husband Joe- you met Joe, didn’t you?”

Me: “Joe? Was he the ice-cube guy?” (this is a dumb and meaningless story that is only significant because it’s the only thing I really remember about the one I’m thinking of, so don’t ask)

He: “No, that was a different man. I don’t even think she was married to that one. I think he was just a live-in.”

Me: “Sorry. I can’t keep track of them. If that wasn’t Joe, then I didn’t meet Joe. What about him?

He: Well, I was visiting them once and woke up in the middle of the night because it was one of the times he was flinging furniture around, and Mom was in the room with a paperbag on her head, breathing deep.

Me: ON her head? Usually you just scrunch it up and put it over your mouth and nose. Are you sure it was ON her head? I had visions of the unknown comic from the Gong show. Boy, that’s old.

He; Well, it was my mom. It was on her head. And later one of my sisters told me that when Mom was a girl she used to hyperventilate and would have to breathe into a bag.

Me: Well, you never told me that. That sure would have been useful to know, because after all…..
Oh. Wait.

Uh, never mind.

He, grinning: You were thinking maybe genetics?

Me (sheepishly): Yeah.

He laughed at me, but not unkindly. Then he went to bed and left me up with my caffeine.

This child? She’s adopted. Sometimes I forget.

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Have thrift shops gotten too trendy?

Is that why the prices have gone up? Or is it because their overhead went up with the minimum wage increases, the cost of insurance thanks to the CPSIA, and reduced inventory, also thanks to the CPSIA? Or both?

Some of this is an excellent illustration of the economic concept of supply and demand, of course. I understand that the purpose of most thrift shops is to use the money they make for other programs, so the more money they can make, the more money for their other programs- rehab, job training, and so forth. And if the local market can bear fifty dollars for a broken end table and twenty bucks for a dress (and if there are trendy yupppies in your area feeling virtuous about repurposing, then they will pay those prices), then that’s what a good thrift shop manager will charge. If enough people will not buy at those prices, eventually they’ll come down (or the shop will stop taking those sorts of goods, or an employee or two will be let go, or the store will go out of business…). I also understand that it’s really actually costing them money to sell some underpriced items- yesterday we were out of town and found a thrift shop where prices are still shockingly low- I bought a great stuffed rhinoceros yesterday for just sixty cents, and if that had been all I bought, it would have cost them more to sell it to me than it would have for them to just toss it. In fact, I also found a pair of Ecco Shaker shoes for a dollar, and shoes were half price so they were fifty cents!) But I do not know how they could actually afford to sell the things they had for so little and pay their staff and pay overhead (the building rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc) So then you bag up multiple similar items and make it a two dollar bag, or whatever you judge it takes to pay an employee to price the item, put it out on the shelf, and then ring it up when somebody buys it (and if the customer pays with a charge card that takes another percentage out of your income).

But still, some things are insultingly over-priced.

Our local thrift shop exists for the purpose of helping mentally disabled adults, and (bearing in mind I am the mother of the Cherub, who is a mentally handicapped adult), I think they let their clients, as they call them, price the goods. There are still good bargains to be found at ours (I think because it’s not a chain), but there are also things there from the dollar store with their original one dollar price tag still on them that are priced from 3-5 dollars- and quite often it’s some item a customer could still go to the dollar store and buy for a dollar. I’ve seen wicker baskets priced for five dollars when I know they came from the local Wally world which still has them in stock and is selling them for five dollars.

BonnetTip to Frugal Homemaker

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Ribbit

From Pip

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