Walker is a Koch whore, bought and paid for….just listen!


It’s a two part audio; someone called Walker’s office pretending to be David Koch. Quite the interesting audio, I must say, well worth the nearly 20 minutes to listen to the whole exchange. Link to the original blog site (thanks to the Beast for posing and posting!!) after the two audio links. Partial transcript there, but you really lose some of the juiciest parts if you only read the transcript…

The Beast’s blog

Awesome.

Now, as I said I think union brass are out of touch with reality; they are greedy in many cases. But that is not the case with the average union member. My dad was a union organizer for many years; I am slightly ashamed to say that when I was growing up I thought it was a stupid job whose time had passed 50 years ago. Then I moved to Arizona, the ‘right to work’ state and took a job in a casino right across the river in Nevada. I started working right when the casino workers were trying to organize for better treatment and pay. Shortly after that was when union organizers were found murdered in the parking lot of a casino. Wow. What my dad did was dangerous and valuable, and it took moving nearly 3000 miles away for me to realize that.

My home state is one of the states now trying to bust unions. And my dad is now one of my heroes.

Update: Great article. Puts my sentiments into better words than I could have, and I had been kicking around a post on exactly this.  (of course, that’s probably why he gets paid to write and I only blog.)

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Another belwether of our broken system


Money Won’t Buy You Health Insurance “This isn’t the story of a poor family with a mother who has a dreadful disease that bankrupts them, or with a child who has to go without vital medicines. Unlike many others, my family can afford medical care, with or without insurance.

Instead, this is a story about how broken the market for health insurance is, even for those who are healthy and who are willing and able to pay for it.”

I absolutely LOVE this woman’s idea.  How about a nationwide petition to force Congress (and the President, BTW) to quit receiving health insurance at taxpayer expense and require them to purchase their own health insurance at market rates?

“If members of Congress feel so strongly about undoing this important legislation, perhaps we should stop providing them with health insurance. Let’s credit their pay for the amount that has been paid by the taxpayers, and let them try to buy health insurance in the individual market. My bet is that they all would be denied. Health insurance reform might suddenly not seem to them like such a bad idea.”

Our health care system is broken beyond repair, I know this to be true.  As someone on the front lines in an inner city emergency room, I can assure you that we are experiencing the slow, dreadful, halt of taxpayer supported health care; indeed health care as a consumer commodity period.  My job has a very limited life span, even were I the ideal “Rah! Rah!” employee (and if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ve had to realize I’m not).  Or at least, it has a limited life span in its present form–a full time job with benefits and retirement.  It may certainly continue to exist as a part time job, on a contract worker basis, with no benefits and no retirement.  And I am not certain in the least that my pay will continue to be what it is presently either; I anticipate at least a third reduction in my wage in the coming years.  If not more.

Yep, system’s broken.  Ain’t no fixin’ it neither.  But making Congress pay for their own damned health insurance is a good start.

Wisconsin’s dilemma


I have been following the fight between the governor of Wisconsin and the teacher’s unions, as has probably everyone else I know.  Everyone has an opinion; some of these I heartily agree with and some I think are frankly just wacked. In particular, I think the desire to do away with collective bargaining is just evil.  Yes, unions have gotten greedy.  No one can argue with that.  And yes, they’ve lost sight of their original purpose in many ways.  But the power of the union lies WITH THE COLLECTIVE POWER OF MANY VERSUS ONE.  And it has given us labor laws, minimums on wages, health insurance, and many other things most people don’t even think about, let alone appreciate.

One thing I don’t hear from the governor’s side, even though he make much of the fact that the state is ‘broke’ is this:  He has made absolutely no mention of cutting his own salary, the salaries of his aides, the salaries of the state legislators, nor any of their pensions.  To me, if you want to be known as a great leader, you have to lead by example and go yourself where you want people to follow.  No other way will work.  Or at least, work in a manner that makes people admire you and want to follow you.

So if I were governor, here’s what I would have already told the teacher’s union.  “I have some bad news for you.  We are broke.  We can’t meet our obligations to you.  We can’t continue to guarantee pensions without some concessions from you guys.  And we can’t keep paying you with our present economic climate.  But I don’t want to lay anyone off.  We need our teachers to prepare our children for the future.  A good education is priceless.

“So here’s what I propose.  Today, I have taken a 10% salary cut, and made the same cut in my pension.  I have directed my staff to also take the same pay and pension cut, and I have spoken with our state legislators and directed them to put forth legislation making their salaries and pensions 10% less than they are presently.

“I would like you to come to the table and voluntarily make the same sacrifices my team, our legislators, and I myself have done.  This is not an easy time, and I know how much this can hurt.  But this is the only way all of you can keep your jobs.  Please join me in preserving our children’s educational future.”

Naturally, because he is one of the ‘elite’ though, this didn’t happen, and it won’t.  But if I were governor it would have.  Mr. Tin Foil says I would make a great politician.  I say I could never get elected, because my principles are non negotiable.  In a different world though….

Update: I wasn’t going to go into how the governor is a big time tea bagger and how his campaign was financed by the Koch brothers…wasn’t going to go into how WI ended up with a republican controlled legislature due to same….but found this video on YouTube and just had to link it here.

My (belated) Christmas present


I got a little cash for Christmas.  That cash went into my overtime fund; I get extras that I want by working overtime or selling craft stuff so that I don’t take anything out of our household budget.  When I got enough, and International Fleeces had their first anniversary sale, I purchased some two row mini combs.  What, you say?  I already have a comb and hackle set?  Yes, well, different products for different uses.  The Blue Mountain Handcrafts set is incredibly useful for wools over 3 inches long.  The mini combs are incredibly useful for fine fibers and for fibers less than 3 inches long.  On the larger comb and hackle set, I would have waste in the combs if the fiber was less than 3 inches.  On the mini combs I have waste that is about 1 inch.  This I can card into other wools for a tweedy blend on my drum carder.  Waste not, want not.

So here is a picture diary of my combs and the absolutely filthy merino wool I washed, dried, and then combed with these new mini combs.

As you can sort of see from this picture, the water is brown from all the mud and the wool looks tan to brown.  What you don’t see are all the manure tags and the vegetable matter (VM) that is stuck into the wool.  Merino, being an especially fine wool, has lots of crimp and therefore EVERYTHING sticks to the fleece when the sheep is out and about.  Everything.

This is the same wool soaking in its second bath.  I heat the water to 150 degrees, squirt enough Dawn detergent (the original, without enzymes) to make the water blue, and soak for 20 minutes.  As you can see, the wool is floating on the water because there’s no longer any dirt, oil, or manure to weight it down.  It expands to at least double its starting dirty size after the second wash.  You can still see all the VM in the wool though.

It gets wrung out in a towel, carefully, after three rinses; each rinse gets a little cooler and the wool soaks in each for at least 10 minutes to allow the scales to slowly close and prevent felting — sticking together.  Then it gets put outside to dry.

That’s where my new mini combs by Valkyrie Supply come in.  I load the combs with fiber, and comb from the ends to the tines.  I make at least two passes; each pass means that the fiber is transferred from the loaded comb to the empty comb.  This leaves the short fibers on the empty comb, and allows the fibers to be all in alignment on the combs, and all of the vegetable matter simply falls to the floor.  Then I diz the combed fibers into a bird’s nest — basically a long piece of the combed fibers that I twist slightly as I wrap into a spiral shape.

These are a bunch of bird’s nests that were combed out of that dirty wool.  Next comes the spinning, and I’ll ultimately end up with something like this:

This is superwash merino that I bought already washed, combed, and ready to spin.  Which feels like cheating 🙂  But you get the idea.

I’m dying up little 3 and 4 ounce batches of the wool in different colors.  So far I have Kermit the Frog green (it said Leaf Green on the bottle!) and Royal Blue which seems to be coming out more like a cobalt blue.  These may be spun on their own, or may be spun in concert for a varigated self striping yarn.

Some will be carded and combed with my angora fiber and possibly dyed after that.  I’m still thinking of a project for that.

All of this is time consuming, but very satisfying.  I get exactly the fiber I want.  And I learn something new every time I do it!  And then of course there is the fact that when the apocalypse comes, I’ll be able to spin my own fibers and clothe my family with weaving, knitting, crocheting, and sewing.  🙂

I loves me a man who will get in the shit.


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Originally uploaded by susancoyotesfan

He’s so irritated that I want to take his picture. Even more irritated than he was when I asked him if he would help me; hauling horse manure in rubbermaid tubs and buckets from the local stables to our garden would have taken me all day without his help.

We made I think four loads of three rubbermaid tubs (the large ones) and five buckets in our Prius, and then we were both ready for lunch. I still don’t have enough, but we pretty well cleaned out the aged manure and I don’t want to burn any plants taking the newer.

I tried to talk him into peeing in the garden but no luck….still. Maybe if I tell him it’s a fertility rite and it’s sexy? (it is)

It was a good day. I’ll think of this day when we’re enjoying our luscious tomatoes this summer. And babaganoush.