Springfield, MA Gas Explosion

Copyright 2011 Regina D. Kleiner

I live in Springfield and somehow did not even feel or hear the explosion that rocked us last night.  That is probably because I was in a car heading north away from the city at the time.  I am so grateful we drove a different way, or we might have been passing downtown at the time of the explosion.  My first thought was, “Great, Springfield doesn’t need this.” We still haven’t cleaned up from the 2011 tornado damage. We still have damage from the freak October snowstorm.  Thank goodness we didn’t suffer much damage from Superstorm Sandy.  We have been in “negotiations” with casinos to renovate downtown in the tornado zone, and now more of downtown is destroyed.  And all of this is AFTER we spent millions renovating downtown.  It was beautiful.  Not so much anymore.  This is one of those times when I believe the government needs to step in and do something.  I don’t see how we can recover from one disaster after another.  I’m supposed to go to a Springfield Falcons game today, and I don’t know if I dare at this point.  What is happening to my city?  We are the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Dr. Seuss.  Throughout the city you can find beautiful high tops (sneakers) that were decorated by local artists.  We have amazing shows at City Stage and Symphony Hall, not to mention games and concerts at the Mass Mutual Center.  We need to get this city jump started again!  My only consolation is that at least Scott Lively, our local bigot, can’t say this is God’s wrath on the gays.  It was a straight gentleman’s club that blew up.

 

 

 

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A Request

I haven’t written in a long time, and I know there’s no excuse. However, I have been working on my books. Yes, that’s right, books. I self-published my book, Never Coming Back, as both lesbian fiction and as erotica on Amazon.com. Here’s where the request comes in. I have sold over 100 copies, but the regular version has only one review and the erotica version has only one review. If you read either and liked it, would you please review it for me? Amazon won’t promote your book if you don’t have reviews. And remember, 3 stars should mean it was all right. Unfortunately, the one reviewer I have on the erotica version didn’t understand that and gave me 2 stars for a mixed review. That brings down my rating. I appreciate all the reviews I can get.

Thanks!

You can find both here:

Sara S. Jansen

Show Some Respect!

English: Flag of the United States of America ...

Flag of the United States of America (Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

Okay, I have decided that it is time for another one of my rants. So you have been forewarned.

Personally, I am so sick and tired of all of the disrespect floating around the Internet. Especially on Facebook. Now admittedly I don’t spend a lot of time on other social networking sites, so it is possible that the disrespect is just as bad on those sites. However, it is specifically the Facebook posts that get to me the most.

What disrespect are you talking about? I know that’s what you’re asking. All one has to do is read all of the pictures, postings, statuses, videos, and so on to see the disrespect. Come on! How can you miss it?

Specifically, I am referring to the disrespect perpetuated by the far right who are upset about the election outcome. This has manifested in a slew of pictures being posted on the Internet of upside down United States flags. I am politically independent, so I have been able to let most of it go. But I can only take so much.

Both of my parents are veterans of wars. I have many uncles who served in the military. My father even gave up his kidney for the war. He was bayoneted in the kidney by a Japanese soldier during World War II. My mother served in the military for 23 years, and continued to serve by working for the civil-service after she retired from the military, and she currently works for the VA. That is a lifetime of dedication to the United States of America.

I, personally, take it as disrespectful to see the American flag flipped upside down, whether it is on someone’s profile picture or it is a picture of a McDonald’s with an upside down flag. I don’t care if it was a flagpole malfunction. It is disrespectful either way.  I’m not fond of the flag with Obama’s face on it either, by the way.

The second thing that gets me all riled up is the disrespect shown to the President of the United States. I understand that people are upset that Romney didn’t win. I understand that people are upset that Obama did win. The fact of the matter is, Obama did win. The fact of the matter is, he is and will continue to be for another four years, the President of United States. The most powerful man in the world. Show the man the respect he deserves. I don’t want to hear about people wanting to punch him in the face. I don’t want to hear about people threatening to kill him. As far as I’m concerned, both of those actions mean that the people who say them deserve to be thrown in jail. Show some frickin’ respect people!

If you don’t like this country, you can move. You can move to Canada where they have socialized medicine, legalized gay marriage, and 45% of their population is atheistic. Or you can self deport to Mexico. I don’t really care. But I do care about what you do to our flag and what you say about our President.

Gas Rationing Can Lead to Love

gas lines

gas lines (Photo credit: SpecialKRB)

It appears we have gone back to gas rationing in this country.  No, not everywhere, but for millions of people in NY City and Long Island and New Jersey, people will once again have to pay attention to the number on their license plate. The last number of your plate determines whether you can buy gas on even or odd days.  NYC Mayor Bloomberg signed an emergency order on Thursday, and the gas rationing is to begin on Friday with odd-numbered plates.

His website quotes, “Last week’s storm hit the fuel network hard – and knocked out critical infrastructure needed to distribute gasoline… Even as the region’s petroleum infrastructure slowly returns to normal, the gasoline supply remains a real problem for thousands of New York drivers. Earlier today, I signed an emergency order to alternate the days that drivers can purchase gas, which is the best way to cut down the lines and help customers buy gas faster.”

Of course, this doesn’t answer the question of the thousands of people waiting on foot in line with 5-gallon cans to run their generators.  This doesn’t account for the out-of-towners that need the gas to help the residents, to drive to locations and deliver the food, water, clothing, and other goods collected from the rest of us in the nation.  The pictures of the lines are unbelievable.  They remind one of another time.

Those of you over the age of 40 will remember the gas lines of the mid-1970s.  At the time, we imported over half of our oil supply from the Middle East.  Our alliance with Israel caused those oil-rich Arab nations that attacked Israel to cut off all shipments of oil to the US. The gas-guzzlers we were driving at the time exacerbated the problem.  Cars were lined up around the block.  Gas rationing was nationwide. Patience was stretched thin and tempers flared.  Violence ensued.

One can only hope the gas problems in NY and NJ, created by the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy, will not have the same results. Most of us are not affected.  Most of us can only sit in front of our televisions, or in front of our computers, and look at pictures of the unbelievable scenes being played out before us.

When a tornado ripped through my state, through my neighborhood – in fact, directly over my house – I witnessed first hand the effects weather can bring. My daughter and I felt like we were living in a war zone. Everywhere we looked we saw torn up houses, overturned or crushed cars, uprooted trees, strewn belongings, and debris – so much debris. I even had to show my ID to get into my own neighborhood. You can still see the damage in the trees, now dead and overgrown with vines.  You can still see it in the houses – the ones not being repaired or torn down, as the owners do not have insurance, or did not have the money up front (to be reimbursed later by the insurance companies), or did not have the inclination to start over.

The first time I saw anything like this was in my childhood, from the blizzard of ’78.  Then I moved to northern Florida just in time for Hurricane Frederick.  With the spread of the Internet, I have seen through pictures and video the devastation of a tsunami in Japan, and earthquakes around the world. I have witnessed the devastation in my father’s Vermont neighborhood due to Hurricane Irene. On business trips, I have seen the damage done to hundreds of acres of crops in upstate New York. I watched many of our trees in western Massachusetts, weak from the tornado, crumble under the weight of the freak snowstorm on Halloween last year. What I didn’t see firsthand, I saw on the television and the Internet. And now this.

We are becoming a society of PTSD sufferers.  I watched the Twin Towers fall at least one hundred times in September of 2001.  I cried for the thousands that died.  I cried for the people swept out to sea during the tsunami in Japan.  I cried for the loss of life for all of the earthquakes, volcanoes, bombings, wars, you name it.

But I am glad that I cry for them. I would much rather suffer PTSD, possibly over-reacting to every warning we receive on the Internet and the television, than be desensitized by it all. I love that people are reporting random acts of kindness after Sandy. I just hope we can keep it up.  I hope that we don’t turn to violence. I hope that we keep helping each other – that we cross all political, socio-economic, racial, gender, ethnic, age – all social boundaries, to help our fellow man. That is my hope for the future, and for today.

So, if you haven’t already, find a shelter that can use your old clothes, coats, hats, mittens. Or donate some food, and your time, to your local food pantry.  Or donate money to the relief effort, or to save starving children somewhere in the world.  Just start somewhere.  And start now.

 

Politics Take a Back Burner – Sort of

The election is finally over, and we can return to normalcy now.  Well, as normal as you can get with a noreaster’ on its way, devastation still taking its toll on the northeast, and people still spewing hatred. I think I have had enough of politics for now.  Not only was I subjected to it on the television, and the Internet, and the radio, but from my own daughter. Not much of a surprise that her class chose this time to study how our government works.  Therefore, I got to hear all about our Constitution. A wonderful document, and I wish I was entitled to all of the rights under it, but that is a different topic for another day.  The leap into civics and history made me think about some little known facts. Might as well overdose on the politics, and explain some concepts that might be interesting (or at least my commentary on them I hope will be…)

Just to continue this theme of politics, let us consider the electoral college.  Why did the founders of our great nation design the electoral college?  Well, to begin with, they didn’t think the common man (not woman, as they were still considered goods and chattel) was smart enough to know how to vote. They thought that the non-landowners were too stupid to decide properly and would merely vote for whomever was local and popular. Don’t believe me?  Well, initially, only landowners were allowed to vote, and only if they were white and male.

Need more evidence that the electors didn’t trust the general public?  Each state had to pass its own law stating that the elector must vote the way of the popular vote of that state.  And not all states have passed such a law.  That means that the elector can vote any way he (or now she) sees fit, despite the will of the people.

Now many would point to the concept of losing the popular vote but winning the electoral votes as evidence that the electors are up to something.  However, the way Congress is set up, which determines how many electoral votes a state receives, makes it so that the total popular vote in the country doesn’t make much difference.  It is the popular vote in the state that can, but not necessarily, determine that state’s electoral vote.  Some states even split their electoral votes based on districts.  So, a candidate can win a whole bunch of states, lose the nationwide popular vote, and win the election.  Of course, we saw that in 2000.  Many states are now signing a compact to give their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the nationwide popular vote, but it will not take effect until they have the majority of the electoral votes.  If enough states sign, it will change the face of politics forever in this country.  See National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

By the way, the only US President to ever win all of the electoral votes was George Washington.

Aren’t you glad you know that?

 

 

I’m So Tired

Vote for me!

Vote for me! (Photo credit: cheerfulmonk)

 

Yes, I am tired.  I’m tired of this Presidential Election. I’m tired of the negative ads. I can’t fathom how these people plan to work together after the election is over. I’m tired of the automated phone calls. I won’t even answer the phone if my contact list does not recognize the number. I’m tired of the glossy campaign ads clogging my mailbox. We could start saving the environment by eliminating those eyesores and recycling bin fillers. I’m tired of everyone talking about what I should and shouldn’t do – in my spiritual life, with my body, in my job, in my bedroom, and with my vote.

 

Let’s spend our time cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy. Let’s spend our time figuring out how to get people back to work, turn the power back on, start an intelligent conversation about equality.

 

Tomorrow morning, we will all wake up and we will have elected a different government than we have now.  What will we have accomplished?  Staying up late and making us even more tired.

 

I’m going to bed.  I’m tired.  G’night.

 

 

Let’s Go Back to Being American

united states currency seal - IMG_7366_web

united states currency seal – IMG_7366_web (Photo credit: kevindean)

The US Election Day is finally upon us.  Boy, will I be happy when it is over.  No more political ads.  No more mud-slinging.  No more lies.  No more accusations.  I hope we go back to being a United country, where we are all bound by a common thread – being American.  Not the kind of American that judges others.  Not the kind of American that says their beliefs are better than others’ beliefs.  Not the kind of American that thinks their rights are more important than the well-being of others.  Not the kind of American that tries to force their beliefs, their religion, their judgments on others.  Let’s face it, bipartisanship is never going to happen in politics.  Not really.  But that doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that we show bipartisanship in our daily lives.  That we show each other love, and kindness, and understanding.  That we cross the divide – whether that is the divide of race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, occupation, nationality, locale, you name it.  Let’s show each other love and compassion, and help our fellow man… and woman.  Instead of looking at pictures of the devastation in NJ and NY and other places and just counting ourselves lucky, let’s lend a helping hand.  If not directly to them, then to others, even in our own neighborhoods, schools, and businesses.  Give someone a helping hand, or your spare change, or your shoulder to cry on.  That’s the American spirit I miss.  Where is the love?