Why is this so?
Keeping Me Awake at Night
Connection to the world is vital and extraordinary. Today, most of the world is connected to each other via the internet. It is considered as necessary as all other daily sustenance, food, water and oxygen, although the world existed and functioned before it's invention. The same could be said, however, before the discovery of fire, the inventions of refrigeration and indoor plumbing. It existed, but not as well.
The internet, like language, books, newspapers, radio and television is a media for learning. It has the advantage of it's "instant" appeal. When something happens in the world, knowing is a click away. It creates many questions in the need to understand the "why, "how", " implications and meaning" of a situation or incident. Each situation allows for as many interpretations of any given issue as there are people existing in the world.
Much of what I see on television, or the internet leaves me uneasy, scared, completely mystified and sleepless in St. Louis. I created this hub to gain insight into questions pertaining to a myriad of diverse questions created by the happenings in the world, the disturbing events that have become an everyday reality in our lives, the fodder for television series, such as Criminal Minds. Opening our minds to the daily, bizarre, disturbing, often violent, newsworthy events is of little consequence if unexplored. Ultimately, communication is key to understanding. Understanding must exist before anything can change.
Looking to the future
September 25, 2010 - Someone's son; A serial killer
- Dateline NBC ran a story last night called "In Broad Daylight", which detailed the story of a serial killer.
- What goes wrong when someone's "son" kills someone's "daughter"? Is there a common link among serial killers? Animals instinctively kill for food, but aside from rabies it is not done premeditatively to satisfy other needs. What void would compel a man to habitually accost a stranger, rape and kill her? Is parenting the issue or genetics...nurture or nature? Is it external influences, such as television or the hype generated by the news media? What are your thoughts.
John Gardner in his own words
September 26, 2010 - Laid Off
As a relatively new member of the ranks comprising the unemployed, the number of predators preying upon this unfortunate group is shocking. With my confidence diminished and my ability to support my newly divorced status dwindling, it is difficult enough to trudge through the crowded trenches towards starting over in the workforce without fielding the cons from the honest job prospects. My rapid, life-altering changes are disorienting, disconcerting, depressing and disheartening. I don't quite yet feel like a member of the human race. I have been relying on the myriad of jobsites on the internet to get my resume out in the world. I've had a few legitimate "hits", but the majority are either work-from-home scams or schools trying to enroll me in programs now over-saturated with new graduates, ie. medical billing and coding. Registration on these jobsites usually involves the "required" submittal of your phone number. I have had at least three persistent callers with undecipherable accents that would make any response from me other than "say what" incomprehensible. I hang up and upon checking the number on the net, find countless complaints that these are relentless scammers. You learn to just ignore the phone for 1-800 or out-of-state numbers. I have found that the agency I trust has been my best source for legitimate jobs, although it appears that employers are taking advantage of the sheer numbers of the desperate unemployed and have adjusted their salary incentives down accordingly.
Local, St. Louis, KSDK television newscaster, Art Holiday, interviewed an economist early this week and stated he had heard that many 50+ year olds may never be employed again. He asked the guest expert her thoughts on this and she agreed, basically saying that employers are hiring new graduates that accept a lower starting salary than the experienced worker. Do you agree with this or do you think there is a more positive way for 50+ year olds to view their future in the workplace? Maybe this doomsday rhetoric is another ploy to scare the mature unemployed into scaling down their salary requirements? What are your thoughts.
September 27, 2010 - Homeless in St. Louis
The Locust Street office where I worked 13-years prior to my recent layoff gave me a bird's eye view of the homeless struggling in their day to day life. The regulars would smile and wave to me as they passed my window on the dismal world of their existence. I shared a cigarette with one gentleman on a fairly regular basis. Outside on break on a beautiful day, a young homeless man politely greeted me with "Hello, how are you today" and I responded with the customary "Fine, how are you?" He was smiling as he told me fine, but he added that he had a toothache. When he moved his hand from his face it was painfully swollen and red. I was stunned to see he appeared to be very ill with cellulitis, but accustomed to bearing up under desperate circumstances he continued to struggle with a smile. I have been ridiculed by some who have never gone without a meal, for handing out a small stipend to provide the most destitute with a meager measure of comfort. The choice of comfort was their's and I did not give with judgement or reservation. Slapping me in the face would not have shocked me more than the harsh critiques I was admonished with, accusing me of perpetuating the problem. I cannot process the idea that they will just "go away" if there are no handouts. They have no where to go.
I find the apathetic indifference from those with all the creature comforts, those that have never had to go hungry, those that go home to a warm or air-conditioned abode comes with little effort. Some of the privileged dismiss another human being in need without breaking stride. Many of the homeless have confided that they are afraid of the shelters. They are afraid they will be beaten, robbed or killed for the clothing on their backs. Today many of the homeless are veterans, yet some of my harshest critics claim to be patriots.
Do you believe that handouts are detrimental to the homeless or the city? What help do you believe is in the best interest of those living on the streets?
Homeless in St. Louis Documentary
Disgrace in America
September 28, 2910 - Living on the brink
My original goal was to try to be positive and attempt to enjoy my unplanned, imposed vacation from the daily grind of employment. I no longer had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to begin the routine of preparing for my workday, the 90-mile, roundtrip commute and stressful schedule of yet unknown events that comprised at least 10-hours away from home. Yet, I was lucky. The economic downturn did not personally affect me until late in May of 2010. Fatigue, while I was working, was one of my daily battles. Now laid off, my fatique, fueled by isolation, fear and depression, envelopes the atmosphere of everyday. Today I arose at 6:00 a.m. to walk my dog and begin another routine of online job hunting and cancelling a doctor appointment I recently scheduled to take care of one of my yearly medically advised obligations (put off for 3-years due to my work schedule). Cancelling my appointment today is due to a "pending issue" regarding my unemployment. Rendered helpless by the siystem, I am unable to contact anyone other than via email. Now, I must wait, without my weekly stipend, until the "forces that be" make their decision regarding the future of my unemployment earnings. I have been advised by my neighbors, many of who are subsisting on the same, to relax. They tell me they have experienced the same "pending" issue and iIt is just a glitch in the system and aside from blatant cheating, I'll be back on the dole shortly. Still, I am adjusting my frugal spending to nothing until I have the reassurance of my weekly check deposits. This surprise began last week. The next day I received a notice in the mail that the COBRA I am now paying for every month does not include Rx's. I recently signed up for insurance coverage when I was informed that changes have occurred that make it affordable to me. When I was notified that the coverage was effective, I called specifically to verify that prescription coverage was included in my plan, as it was while I was employed. I was told "yes, everything is the same". I had accumulated $210 out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions I take for an autoimmune disease involving my small bowel. I sent my receipts with the proper forms and got a letter telling me now that my COBRA does not include drug coverage. I immediately emailed the company that handles the insurance coverage. I have not yet received the courtesy of a response.
These recent "glitches" have sent me into a tailspin...a downward spiral. My divorce was finalized less than a month prior to my layoff. I had signed a lease for my apartment less two-weeks before my layoff. I proceeded with the move as I had no other options. I am at an age where retirement is closer than any prospects of starting over. The idea of school and the struggle to qualifiy slips further away in the rear-view mirror as I close in on depression. I have worked hard, climbed the ladder, struggled everyday through pressing on, even as my autoimmune problem worsened, for what? The only life-jacket strapped on me right now is the realization I am not up shit creek without a paddle alone. It is alarming to me that the one thought that gives me relief is the option to permanently opt out. The economy cannot take that away.
I am one of the luckier ones, still. I have my best friend, my unconditional love, my sweet, gorgeous, 7-year old Scottish Terrier. He deserves better. I feed him well, walk him often, but I look at him and realize as he stares back at me that he knows something is wrong. Dogs recognize and are affected by depression. So, I'll keep trying for now.
I don't know
Unemployed Suicide Video
Depression and the unemployed
September 29, 2010 - The right to bear arms
The news is that a grandmother in her late 60's to early 70's fired her gun and injured a 12-year old neighborhood troublemaker. The article states he had been throwing bricks, broke some windows and would not cease and desist his destructive vandalism.
The grandmother was not the only disgruntled individual in this particular Chicago neighborhood. Apparently, the mischievous juvenile has a reputation as a malcontent. Understandably, the situation is frustrating and stressful, but shooting him seems out of control and irresponsible, putting others in harms way. The article went on to explain that the grandmother may have been trying to protect herself. However, the child in question stated he was playing basketball. It appears the child, derived from the statements of numerous incidents from other neighbors, needs some professional intervention, but not a bullet.
With the right to conceal and carry a weapon, do you think these types of incidents will increase? How can a country that upholds a conceal and carry law prevent impaired citizen's from accessing this right or can they without infringing on civil rights?
Grandmother shoots 12 year old troublemaker
October 1, 2010 - Cash = Zero
So, I've worked hard all my life. However, I have become a victim of the all encompassing, economic downturn; circumstances beyond my control. I am now subsisting on unemployment. It is inadequate to support the debt I have incurred through living in the manner I became accustomed to and worked all my life to support. The past is closing in. Although I did not use a credit card, I obtained a low interest rate offer due to my excellent credit rating, which I gave to my adult, non-working daughter. She has health issues that have interfered with her ability to hold a job. She puts health insurance, car insurance, prescription costs and groceries on this card. It is her only lifeline. At the time of my layoff her father, whom I divorced years ago, has taken over making the payments as a loan to me that I will pay back. He is now becoming overwhelmed with the cost of, basically, paying someone else's way. He is angry that our daughter does not make much contact with him.
I have been fortunate in my life, but now I am at a loss. I need help in making some life-altering decisions. Short of consulting a lawyer at this point, I would like some control over my own life while I still have options.
If I continue this downward spiral, could filing for bankrupcy help me, especially since I do not personally use credit?
What about going underground? Is this an option some take when their circumstances become unbearable?