Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pace Cars on the Interstate

The thrill of speeding down GA 400 just isn't there for me. I hate having to risk my life every time I go into Atlanta. Drive the speed limit? Almost an impossible thing to do without getting rear ended. The idea of POSTING variable speed limits -- as is, apparently, the plan for the 285, is ludicrous.

What would work? Perhaps an idea that Los Angeles police used to use -- don't know if they still do it. They'd send out their cop cars and have them simply drive at the posted limits. Funny how people would slow down. Not cool to pass a black and white that could switch on the lights and pull you over at will. Traffic was remarkably under control in spite of the many freeways that knit that area together.

Last night I drove home on the interstates. It was pouring down rain, people did slow down -- mostly to the speed limits. It was still a white knuckle ride, lane markings not very clear. The Russian roulette of our roads is a shame and a pity. Unnecessary grief and pain. And this is to say nothing of the daily difficulty of getting from one place to another because roads are blocked by crashes. It is a very stupid system that is out of control. Let's just admit it and do something about it.

Why did it take me an hour-and-a-half to get from Alpharetta to Atlanta Thursday night? Accidents, of course. It's come to the point where I plan on those delays and start out early whenever I really want to get someplace.

Let's make it better.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Oh, my limo is waiting...

     Thinking about transportation to and from Atlanta. Living in Alpharetta, I have to force myself to drive into the city despite the fact that I have a million reasons to go there. Good stuff going on. Sometimes great.   
     Anyway, I was reading about Roswell thinking of spending -- I think it was $40 or $50 million to make a road improvement (read widening) -- tons of cement, bringing more traffic past homes. What if just a few million were invest in limousines -- you know, those stretch vehicles that go back and forth to the airport -- and use them to connect to MARTA -- or drive all the way to the city, to Marietta, to wherever commuters go.
     Organize each car so that people are going to roughly the same location and get driven to their destination. (They've already been picked up at their driveway or a parking lot that has been established.) The passenger pays a reasonable cost -- less than an ordinary limo -- but enough so that the trade-off of not using a car and paying for gas, etc. is a no-brainer.
     If there were enough of them, so many cars could be taken off the road. So much less traffic. Less stress on drivers before and after their days begin. And look at our skies -- so much less pollution. Even if the city is picking up the tab for some of the expense -- still not as expensive as building those roads that are a blight on property values, quality of life -- and sheer cost of construction-- and repair -- and upkeep. 
     I really like the idea of limousines. Doesn't have to be private -- No, we're not talking super luxury with the bar and the tv. Yet, so much more useful than buses that are inconvenient, cause terrible noise and air pollution and by nature do not get us where we need to go.
     I'd definitely go into town more often if this were a reality. A lot of the older folks I know in the suburbs say they just don't go into Atlanta anymore. Now, that's a terrible shame. It's the center of our culture and social activities.
    And, oh, yes, the limo would be available to take us home -- again, a group thing. Close your eyes, relax and wait until you get to your doorstep. Now, what's wrong with that?

Taxes reminding us of feudal lords

When there were princes and princesses, kings and queens, they taxed the serfs into starvation. Lo and behold! Our Republican "friends" have come up with a very similar idea. How very clever. Take away income tax that might pinch the rich now and then and tax ordinary people who work for a living and may make no more than minimum wage -- which puts them into the poverty pocket. It's cleverly called the "fair tax." Fair! Give me a break. There is nothing fair about it. The rich pay proportionately less, the poor pay proportionately more. Nice going, guys.

If there is immorality, this kind of tax would define it. It's stealing from the poor and struggling middle class to let the rich dance on their tables...overjoyed that they have fooled the masses yet once again. First the banks stole properties, turned them over to "investors," people with cash, who are now renting them at inflated rates -- and whoopee -- the state will jump in and tax those rents! Wow! And that is only the beginning. Healthcare this is already exorbitant, especially if you don't have -- maybe can't afford -- health insurance...and food. Yes, even food. Buy a can of tuna fish and a loaf of bread and pay a tax...even if you can't afford to buy more than those small items. You've emptied your pocket and the state has gone skipping down the street with your money. A state, incidentally, not known for it's honest and ethics. Pay your friends well seems to be the well-used modus operandi.

Good luck, Georgia. Revolt at the polls -- don't wait. Flood the halls of the Capital and scream at the "leaders" who want to steal your scalp.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

God Loves Uganda, A Very Powerful Film

Two nights ago, I sat in the Plaza Theater and watched, stunned by the story that unfolded. Find a way to see this film. This is a world-wide movement that we can't afford to ignore.
Terrible, terrible people -- spreading hate. Innocent, young missionaries going to Uganda have no idea what is behind their words and the forces being unleashed.

A very important movie -- tells the story of corruption in the evangelical church -- buying church leaders in Uganda and spreading hate messages about gays. A terrible, terrible network that has no mercy and isn't about teaching goodness and love of God. Innocent young people from the U.S. are going to Uganda as missionaries without knowing what is behind the movement -- or what they are doing to that society.
God Loves Uganda: Trailer The feature length documentary God Loves Uganda is...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I resent being among the working poor!

No matter how much I work, my money gets sucked out of my hands before I can even count it.

About our economy -- Do you remember when you could watch your television for free? You didn't have to purchase cable? Your telephone was a landline and it was cheap? You could live and work without having to pay for internet? And there was a certain joy in going to the mailbox and finding a handwritten note...we also talked to each other and got together a whole lot more.

If we go back further, before the suburbs were a fact of life and interstate highways meant we risked out lives to go out the door and get in our cars (which also cost us a fortune (cost of cars, registration, fuel, repairs, insurance, tolls)...walking didn't cost anything except shoe leather and it kept people healthy. Little wonder that we're poor, even those who work are now known as the "working poor." How cool is that? Marketing experts figure out how to sell us more and give us less. And all of us have too much junk. Not treasures, junk.

Today the stock market is going gangbusters. Yeah, and the middle class can no longer afford to invest. Isn't that terribly, terribly interesting?

We're a democracy, why can't people "get it" and vote people into office who will stand up for our rights? How can we let ourselves be so bamboozled the corporate elite that lock us out of their Okay, we did a very decent job of getting a great president into office -- but how could our country get sold down the river by so many people in Congress who pander to the rich? It doesn't make sense to me at all.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Right to a Roof

I just posted this on facebook and thought how ephemeral those posts are -- there a minute and then gone forever. So here it is:

You know, I have friends who are gay and I have all the sympathy in the world for couples who want to get married. They do deserve equal rights. However, I have much more concern for people who are homeless and living in the streets -- maybe dying in the streets.

In Germany, shelter is a RIGHT! Can't we be that civilized? What is wrong with us? We are the number ONE country in the WORLD? And we can't house our people? Tell me what is wrong. I need to know. It troubles me enormously.

Women selling themselves? And they get arrested when they really don't have any other options? This all makes me sick and not so proud of my country.

Yes, we send millions and billions to other countries. I don't mind. We are rich enough to do that. But we can't tax our millionaires and billionaires because our congress won't let them? Because the people we voted into office won't take care of those same people?

Too much is bothering me these days. And the prison system that is becoming a profit system and gleefully locking people away. Not good. We shouldn't be all that proud of how we are dealing with our problems at home.

Tonight I will go to a gathering at the home of a family whose son has been sent to prison for 15 years -- without any evidence that he actually did something wrong. The idea is to start a foundation to help other families in similar circumstances. We don't  doubt that they exist. We don't doubt it at all.

Yesterday, I was in tears. A good friend -- a college instructor who went to GSU in the masters program with me -- was unglued. Her son was stopped by Douglas County police for a broken tail light. You want to put that on your list of major crimes. They dragged him out of his car and seven cops beat him close to senseless. Then, they threw him in jail with no medical care for two days. When he got to the hospital finally, his mother was able to find him and bail him out. He is left with various charges that have to be answered in court. WAAAAAT???

I'm working on an art exhibit and short film about sex trafficking in Georgia. It's been said that we are the number one sex capital in the country. Where do you start with so many issues. It's not Denmark that is rotten.

Rereading this piece, I am well aware that it is badly organized, too many problems -- which one should come first? I'm sorry for my country, worried about my children and their futures. Worried about generations to follow. I'm old and have probably seen too much and am too aware that it all seems to be getting worse. Skies are not so blue, storms are worse, trees and green fields disappearing, poisons entering our water and our food...and not enough people who care.