October 20, 2006

A Little Something Extra? A very little something.

"WASHINGTON - In a yearly ritual that dates back more than three decades, nearly 49 million Americans will be getting a little something extra in their Social Security checks come January. " (from Social Security Increase is Due, L.A. Daily News, October 20, 2006).

Some of you may have read my blog entry last year when we got a whopping four percent COLA increase (Social Security's 'Generous' Cost of Living Increase for 2006), and will remember that poor Mabel, like most of us on SSA retirement or disability, can't afford to live on it without drawing from ever dwindling savings...or living in grossly substandard housing or doing without necessities.

Well, this year, despite that booming Republican economy we keep hearing about, despite the ever increasing cost of fuel, food, health care (including the all too many things that Medicare does not pay for, like vision exams and glasses, dental care, and the vast majority of my medical care), rent, taxes, and basic maintenance, let alone luxuries like occasionally going to the movies or out to dinner with friends, gift giving on birthdays and holidays, charitable donations, and other such extravagances: the "little something extra", the 2007 COL adjustment is 3.3 percent.

For the average SSA retirement and disability recipient, that will work out to $33 a month.


Let's see how long my $33 will last.

$33.00 minus:
$ 5.00 - increase Medicare Part B premium (to $93.50/month)
$11.85 - the 106% increase in my Part D premium *
$ 6.00 - the increase in the Part B Deductible, to $131**
$10.15 - net increase, which will be eaten up as soon as the insurance companies increase their per-prescription co-pays for 2007 for both generic and brand drugs.

* up from $11.25 to $23.10
** up from $125 in 2006, which was up from $100 in 2005

Gee, thanks. You'll excuse me if I'm a little ferklempt at your generosity (and a little appalled at the vast disconnect in what is happening in the real world versus the world of the bean counters who figure out what the COL is and what the COLA should thus be).

But, hey! Let's keep providing free health care and other services to the legions of illegals in this country who are expected to send $60 BILLION home to Mexico and much of the rest of Latin America in 2007, more than double the amount they sent home in 2005.

October 13, 2006

What is the same, what is not alike

I just listened to a Muslim woman who was wearing a hijab without a veil, inform the interviewer that Muslim women wearing veils and burqas are no different than Jews wearing skull caps or Jewish stars, and Christians wearing crosses.

This was in response to British politician Jack Straw's stated request that veiled constituents remove their veils when in his office speaking to him so that he could read their facial expressions, an important factor in his being able to effectively communicate with them, just as he does with all of his other constituents.

If Muslim women in the West want to wear the traditional scarves to cover their hair, fine. Ditto the hijab without the veil. If they feel so religious as to have to wear the full veil or a burqa, then they ought to get back home to where they or their family came from, so they can live the restrictive reclusive lives that originally mandated such coverings, first forced on women by sexually repressed men who are so tempted by seeing any part of the female form that they must violate the female, resulting in the females' male relatives being forced to kill them. The ultimate in blaming the victim.

It's wonderful that Muslim women in the West actually (most of them, at least) have a choice as to cover up or not. Women in Afghanistan are not so lucky. Despite burqas being made optional after the Taliban was more or less kicked out, men are still forcing their daughters, sisters, fiances and wives to wear them, else they cannot leave the house. Ditto for working out of the house, or even going to school. (For sad albeit enlightening and sometimes horrifying view of the male Muslim psyche, please see the documentaries Cut From A Different Cloth: Burqas and Beliefs, and Psychology of a Suicide Bomber).

So, if you feel you must cover everything but your eyes, or cover your eyes, too, then go back to whatever repressed country you or your parents originally came from. It is clear that Western freedoms and education have done you no good if you cannot tell the difference between the amount of body surface area covered by a full hijab or burqa, and a skull cap, Star of David pendant, or cross pendant. Anytime you want to compare and contrast your hijab or burqa with my Star of David pendant, bring it on, sistah!

My Magan David

A traditional hijab with veil:

This hijab photo is from the Nomads Land Film's page on their documentary, The Price of Honor, about the culture that breeds the "honor killing" of women.

October 02, 2006

Since the vast majority of shooters are male...

...and the ACLU would probably fight any effort to pass laws prohibiting the males of our species in any way, shape, or form having firearms, access to firearms, or the physical capability of using firearms, I say we should just ban men and skip right to parthenogenesis. I'm not so impressed with the latest variations made possibility by sexual reproduction anyway, so let's just skip the XY input and male reproductive participation.

Well, okay, so maybe a sport male now and then.

Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking
What a strange world this would be
If the men were all transported
Far beyond the northern sea.

Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking

Life would be so easy then
What a lovely world this would be
If there were no tiresome men.

I'm having a hard time seeing the downside to this...

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