Thursday, November 22, 2012

November 22, 2012

Today is Thanksgiving Day. This uniquely American holiday is used to celebrate thanks for the gifts God has given us. For some people, those gifts are obvious- a loving family, a good job, a nice home. Some celebrate their many gifts, some are internal, some are spiritual, and many are material. Others are thankful they escaped the recent Hurricane with their lives. I guess I should be thankful that I survived Hurricane Sandy with all the major stuff safe and dry, and with a FEMA grant that will allow me to move to a place that actually has electricity and heat (although I don't currently know whether I will stay in NYC after the hotel voucher expires in 9 days or else move to Colorado Springs, Texas, or Nebraska). I guess I should be thankful that I'm spending Thanksgiving with relatives in Chambersburg that I haven't seen in years. But it still doesn't mean there is a lot to not be thankful for, indeed to be irate at.

There is still poverty. Jesus said "The poor will always be with you" (Matthew 26:11). But then that passage does not denigrate the poor, it is meant to show compassion and the Christian need to care for those who cannot help themselves. Too many people cannot help themselves anymore. They need help, but the type of help they need is subject to debate. As someone who spent 8 of the last 19 months in homeless shelters, I can argue that you don't help the homeless by building cardboard boxes to "show solidarity" with them (as a report this morning on WHP-TV suggested), but by getting them off the cold streets, getting them into indoor shelter, and helping them find meaningful work so they can afford real housing.

There is still injustice disguised as "help"- Obamacare being a prime example. This program that was intended to get more people to get health insurance does nothing to control health care costs. Indeed, it shifts some of those costs to the lower middle class who cannot afford health insurance and make too much for Medicaid through the insurance penalty tax. It is driving up operating costs for small businesses and franchises (who now are forced to pay for costly insurance) (see: Denny's, Papa John's). To avoid those costs, businesses are reducing hours for employees and hiring fewer employees. It doesn't take an economist to know what that will do to the unemployment and underemployment rates. And by re-electing President Obama, the American public has approved of his undeclared wars on the unborn (by increasing aid to the eugenics loving, abortion profiting Planned Parenthood) and the Catholic Church (by the Obamacare/HHS mandates that force the Church to pay for anti-Catholic health care practices).

For many, the solution to poverty seems to be by throwing money at those who have none. Yes, part of the problem of being poor is lack of money. Just giving a block grant to someone who has no idea on how to spend that money for needs is like burning that money in a fire pit. A block grant that qualifies as poverty in New York would be a middle class grant in Middle America. Many doesn't even know how to budget- something that should be taught in schools. Too many teachers are focused not on educating their pupils, but on their pay. There is so much bureaucracy and waste in some school districts that taxpayers are paying near 5 figure property taxes for schools that pay their administrators and janitors more than their teachers and the students who do graduate know more about President Obama's personal life and Spongebob than about Algebra and Science.

There is still general insanity- the sausage making nature of American politics, the left wing activism creeping into the American education system, the various wars throughout the world, the Satanism that pervades Al Qaeda and radical Islam, disease, hate crimes, NBC News, materialism, and the worship of money which is in full bloom this time of year. But I'll leave those discussions for other blogs at another time.

Monday, November 05, 2012

November 5, 2012

Today is the 21st anniversary of my mother's death. I wonder how she would have reacted to horrors such as the Clinton Presidency, 9/11, her daughter living through Hurricane Katrina, and her son living through Hurricane Sandy.

I have spent over a week in evacuation shelters. A mandatory evacuation order was issued for my neighborhood of  Rockaway Park on October 28. Yesterday (November 4) was the first time I've been in the area since then, because I had to meet with a FEMA employee who inspected my residence in accordance with a disaster claim. Below is the front of my residence:

Afterwards, I walked toward the boardwalk, and saw:
The boardwalk was even worse:
There were several aid stations on my block, offering food, water, batteries, clothing, and even cellphone charging:

But the worst damage was on Rockaway Beach Blvd due to a fire that started October 29 and didn't end until November 1:
Due to no power and no heat (and the fact that the evacuation order has not been lifted yet), I am still in the OEM shelter system. It could be weeks or months before my building is safe to move into again, and even longer before the business district on Rockaway Beach Blvd is rebuilt.

Election endorsements won't be posted today, but it should surprise no one that I'm endorsing Romney for President in tomorrow's election. At least the NYC Board of Elections came to its senses and allowed early absentee voting for evacuated residents at each borough's board of elections office until 5PM today.