Friday, September 21, 2012

No Secrets in the Office

It's the weekend and I'm trying to get excited.

There's just not that much exciting to share...

 Oh I'll tell you about what happened two days ago.
I was walking into the office (12 min late..) and I realized I had forgotten to eat breakfast.  I really really wanted a Snicker's bar and it just so happened that one of my coworkers stocks Halloween candy, including small Snicker's bars, outside her office.  I looked down the hall and she wasn't in her office and no one was around.  "Good good." I thought to myself as I hurried over. "Snickers don't make a good breakfast, lets keep this between you and me" I telepathically sent to the candy bowl.  Just as I grabbed out the Snicker's, Miss Gail walks up behind me and goes "Well look at you." and I realized that I still had my purse, my keys and my sunglasses on and I was raiding the candy bowl.  She laughed and laughed at me because I gave her a Deer-In-The-Headlights look and then noticed I had a Snickers bar and teased me for that.  After escaping her, I headed to my office and the admin assistant, volunteers out of no where "That, Lindy, is why it's awesome to be an adult!"  and we had to talk loudly about how it's awesome that we can eat Snickers for breakfast.  And of course, my supervisor, who thinks I'm hilarious and awesome, came out of his office to see what the commotion was and give his 2 cents on candy for breakfast.  I don't think there was anyone left in the office to discuss my Snickers for breakfast.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In Which I Discuss My Feelings On The Farm Bill 2012

Congress unlikely to pass 2012 Farm Bill

I don't know how much you have been paying attention to the climate, farms, food, and congress, but there is something important going on in our country that is greatly and purposely being overshadowed by the election.  That is the passage of the Farm Bill.  The Farm Bill is what provides all those subsidies to lazy farmers so they can grow corn for oil instead of food and it allows dairy farmers to spoil their milk instead of sell it and it pays farmers to not farm the land.  Shoot.  If you believe all that stuff, you are uneducated in science.  But, I'm not going to go there.  The Farm Bill, started in 1949, is why our food is so cheap.  It's why you can get meat at McDonalds for $1 but can't buy fresh fruit for $1.  It's why wetlands are being made and why ecosystems are being restored.  It helps manage predators and find a balance between wolves and ranchers.  It's helping save the Prairy  Dog and helping to eliminate the Emerald Ash Borer.  It's one of the largest pieces of legislation and sets a lot of statutes and laws for the entire US Department of Agriculture.

I am just trying to explain the magnitude that it affects your life and your food sources in this country.  Good, bad, regulates our food and keeps it safe and so on.

Since I've become aware of it 3 years ago, people in Congress and advocacy groups and lobby groups have been working to craft the next one.  It was suppose to be voted on two years ago, but then the election came and all of the congressmen were switched in and out, etc. and the person who was championing it then, Senator Dorgan, was voted out.  So all of the work he and his team and the other interested stakeholders was for nothing.  He left, and whoever came in next had to start all over again on the bill.

Okay, cool.  That's how Congress works.  I can accept that.

But now, the Farm Bill 2008 (last time it was renewed) is up for renewal.  It has to be passed before September 30, otherwise all the changes/laws/rules/everything will revert to what they were in 1949!  I heard from some guy on The Hill once this summer that this will cause something weird for the price of milk and that dairy farmers are going to make out big.  But neither side wants to have a Farm Bill debate before the election.  The two factors that are not allowing it to pass is:
1.  Food stamps - food stamps (now called SNAP) are regulated through the Farm Bill.  Some people want to cut down funding even more and remove food stamps.
2.  Farm loans - (I think) this one some people want to change the interest rate or the amount farmers can get with farm loans from the government.

And they don't want to debate this in fear of losing the election.  I think this is chicken shit.  A stinky polluting pile of it.  When it comes down to the wire, are you going to choose keeping the baby and yet another mouth to feed or eating the baby when there is no food left?  I guess my point is, people who run this country, don't understand the actual fears and actual needs of the country.  All these moral debates are debates for first world countries, for people who don't have to worry about where the next meal comes from, and that's cool.  Go America!  Yay Success!  But you still have to keep your foundation strong.  You still have to worry and take care of what makes this country successful, and that is the farmers and the availability of food.  Without food, nothing else really matters, does it?  And by ignoring this fundamental need, congress is alienating Middle America (please read that in Pauly Shore's voice from Son In Law).  Congress is alienating the people who feed the rest of the country, and alienating people who eat.  But for their own selfish reasons and quest for power, they are failing to do their job.  Their job is to regulate this country that keeps it's citizens safe, secure, well-fed, and free.

I don't feel any of those things lately.

And to top it all off, there is a major drought occurring that severally cut down corn production in this country, which is going to cause meat prices to go up and all other prices will follow.  To help the farmers with this emergancy disaster drought, instead of passing the Farm Bill and working together to figure out how to adapt to this strange extra hot, extra dry weather over the Bread Belt of our country, Congress passed a quick band-aid fix.  All farmers in disaster zones get to apply for disaster funding to keep them afloat this year.  Yes...I do support this, and I wish it could have been worked out and thought about.  But the funding has to come from they took it from the funding pool that funds environmental programs.

Climate change caused drought - drought made farmers go out of business - government gave them money to stay in business - government took money from programs that work to adapt to climate change - government does less to help people adapt - disasters get worse and people are even more poorly prepared for them - government gives them more money to "bail them out".

I think I'm beginning to understand the people who were against the bail-outs, and against a "welfare state".  I'm not against welfare, no, but maybe there is a better way than just handing out checks.  Last time our country was like this was during the Great Depression and there was the Dust Bowl.  To fix it, a man created the Soil Conservation Service, which is the early predecessor to the USDA and to the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Services), only my favorite branch of the USDA.  The Soil Conservation Service is what taught farmers (through local, community and grass roots programs that still exist today) how to better farm the land and conserve it.  But he couldn't have done it without the people and without the government both.  What he did was help people help themselves.  How can the Government help us to help ourselves?  My personal answer is: Education.  But I'm of the belief that the more you learn, the more successful you can be.

Friday, September 7, 2012

U-Turns Are A Sign Of Good Luck In My Book

Okay.  I noticed today that there are at least 6 different grasses growing outside my work and along the roadway and they are all "blooming" (whatever it is called when grass lets go of their pollen) all at the same time!  It's no wonder I have a head cold and mucus and stuffed sinuses.

Here is a related story of my drive home last night:
"La te da...this is a long te da.  Maybe if I go 80 mph I'll get home faster.  Shit!  That guy is speeding up and not letting me pass and I'm at top truck speed!  Phew, going downhill, perfect for coasting and gaining more speed.  Shit!  That part of the expressway used 1/4 tank of gas...better go slower....65 it is.  What way should I take to get over to the other expressway?  Past my work?  No, too long, too many stop signs...but I can basically drive it with my eyes closed. Well, except that one part with all the kids...I gotta stop swerving onto the side walk there.  Should I go up all the way to where they expressways meet?  No because then it'll be like I drove into Nashville to drive out again and I can't picture it in my mind.  Let's take Briley.  Briley north or south?  I can never remember...I want the exit that goes west.  So stupid.  Gotta go west on the north road.  I hate Briley Parkway.

*take exit*

Whoop, hope there's no cops around, I'm going to go 55.  Stupid town, no one knows how to drive properly around here...always 5 miles below the speed limit.  Oh hey, was that the entrance to 24?  It couldn't have been, I didn't see the big green sign and the circle that tricks me.  Good, it wasn't the entrance.  There it is.  Why are there all those cops and lights flashing there?  Better not hit the cones, gotta get in the left lane.  Left lane here I come!  Oooh...two left lanes I guess.  Barely missed that one cone.  Are they blocking the entrance ramp?  Can I sneak around them?  I'll slow down.  Doo dee doo...cops are you constructioning before or on the entrance ramp?


Is that light red or green? I don't know!  The pain.  Must. Itch. Eyes. Now. 

Oh my God that was horrible.  Damn, I missed the entrance ramp.  How the hell do I get to Antioch now?  I'm NOT taking Nolensville.  Agghhh, tears and mascara everywhere. I still can't see.  Oh hey, there's the entrance ramp from the other directions!  I'll take that.

*Makes Illigal U Turn At Light*

I wonder what Kimmy would say about that U-Turn, she hates them."

And that is a non-edited story of my drive home last night.  (The pain is from the allergies hitting my eyes. )