Monthly Archives: January 2009

Hell Holes

This video discusses many of the logical holes in the concept of hell. It also briefly touches on free will.

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More Layoffs

WASHINGTON – It’s already been a lousy year for workers less than a month into 2009 and there’s no relief in sight. Tens of thousands of fresh layoffs were announced Monday and more companies are expected to cut payrolls in the months ahead.

[…]

The recession, which started in December 2007, and is expected to stretch into this year, has been a job killer. The economy lost 2.6 million jobs last year, the most since 1945. The unemployment rate jumped to 7.2 percent in December, the highest in 16 years, and is expected to keep climbing.

Associated Press

General Motors will lay off 2,000 employees in Michigan and Ohio and halt production at nine U.S. plants over the next six months.

NEW YORK – Pfizer Inc. is buying rival drugmaker Wyeth in a $68 billion deal that will increase its revenue by 50 percent, solidify its No. 1 rank in the troubled industry and transform it from a pure pharmaceutical company into a diversified health care giant.

At the same time, Pfizer announced cost cuts that include slashing more than 8,000 jobs as it prepares for an expected revenue crash when its cholesterol drug Lipitor — the world’s top-selling medicine and source of one-quarter of Pfizer’s revenue — loses patent protection in November 2011.

Associate Press

A word from President Obama:

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says the nation can’t afford “distractions” or “delays” when it comes to the economic stimulus plan working its way through Congress.

Obama pointed to job cuts taking place at companies including Microsoft, Intel, United Airlines and Home Depot. And he said it means more working men and women “whose families have been disrupted and whose dreams have been put on hold.”

Obama told reporters Monday the government owes it to “every American” to act with a “sense of urgency” and “common purpose.”


Portland, Oregon

Mike and I have always planned to move out of Texas. We thought we would be doing it together, but in light of recent developments, we have agreed that now is definitely the time to go.

We’ve discussed this at length and considered several different places, but the conversation always comes back around to Portland, Oregon.

Although it rains a lot, the temperatures aren’t too severe, and the scenery is nice. They have good public transportation, and Portland is pedestrian and bicycle-friendly.

The public school system has got to be better than it is in Texas, although I realize that’s not saying much.

Portland is also full of lefties like us, and Oregon has the fourth largest percentage of people identifying themselves as “non-religious” in the United States. Mike was excited to learn that, with twenty-eight breweries within the city, Portland is home to more breweries than any other city in the country.

They do love their beer!

I’m not going to judge the economy one way or another because it’s broken everywhere, although it seems slightly less broken in Portland, from what I’ve been reading.

I’ve been looking into housing and it seems to be quite common for people in Portland to rent space in their homes. I’ve already found tons of ads for people renting as little as one bedroom, to those who have converted their basements into efficiency apartments.

I think this kind of arrangement might work for us because we’ll have to travel light and leave a lot behind (kitchen items, bedding, etc.) With this kind of arrangement, we could move into a fully equipped home, so we wouldn’t have to exhaust our resources right away, buying furniture and other essentials. I could get my son enrolled in school, and start looking for work right away without worrying about having a pot to cook in.

Plus, we could be around other people. I’ve found several ads placed by single moms who want to share their homes with another single parent. A few of them have boys around my son’s age. Since I’m not planning to leave until the end of February (I want to give my landlord sufficient notice) I have plenty of time to start corresponding with people and try to get a feel for things.

Of course, any sort of house share would be temporary, but I think it might be a good place to start.

I’ll start putting out feelers there, as well as updating my résumé. I suppose it can’t hurt to start sending it out now.

I’m definitely open to suggestions and advice; this is going to be quite an adventure and I’ll take all the help I can get.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2009 Rambling On


Things Can Only Get Better

About three hours ago, I received a call from my employer. They laid off three hundred employees today, and I was one of them. I will receive a layoff package that will pay the bills for about a month, but I’ve lost my health, dental and life insurance.

I’m not exactly sure how to proceed from here. I’m still a bit disoriented and even frightened, but this could actually be the window of opportunity I’ve been waiting for.

I’ve wanted to leave Texas for a long time, and the two major ties were my job and my son’s school. Now that we’re homeschooling and I’m unemployed, there’s really nothing keeping us here. I’m thinking about pulling up stakes and getting the hell out of here, once and for all.

I’m not sure where I want to go, but I want at least one state between us and Texas. I don’t even want to live on its border. Guess that rules out New Mexico.

I think the saddest part, and perhaps the biggest blow, is the fact that this is going to further delay Mike’s immigration. He and I agreed that this isn’t exactly the time to be forking over a large sum of money to an immigration attorney. Having a spousal visa won’t do much good if there’s no home for him to come to here. Besides, I need to be working in order to sponsor him.

Shit.

This came to mind a few minutes after I hung up the phone with Mike:

And do you feel scared — I do
But I won’t stop and falter
And if we threw it all away
Things can only get better
— Howard Jones

Lyrics

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2009 Rambling On


Let’s Play: Who’s the Terrorist?

NSA Whistleblower: Wiretaps Were Combined with Credit Card Records of U.S. Citizens

NSA whistleblower Russell Tice was back on Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC program Thursday evening to expand on his Wednesday revelations that the National Security Agency spied on individual U.S. journalists, entire U.S. news agencies as well as “tens of thousands” of other Americans.

[…]

“This is garnered from algorithms that have been put together to try to just dream-up scenarios that might be information that is associated with how a terrorist could operate,” Tice said. “And once that information gets to the NSA, and they start to put it through the filters there . . . and they start looking for word-recognition, if someone just talked about the daily news and mentioned something about the Middle East they could easily be brought to the forefront of having that little flag put by their name that says ‘potential terrorist’.”

Wired

Well that should narrow it down: People who discuss current events on the telephone and mention the Middle East are potential terrorists. Because no law abiding individual would ever utter such terroristic language.

No wonder they never caught Osama bin Laden. They were too busy listening in on the phone calls of private citizens talking about the news. Genius, I tell you!

Here’s Russel Tice’s exclusive interview with Keith Olbermann:

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2009 Rambling On


Positive Atheism

I don’t have much time for posting lately, but I found this and wanted to share it with you:

I have something to say to the religionist who feels atheists never say anything positive:

You are an intelligent human being. Your life is valuable for its own sake. You are not second-class in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind. You are not inherently evil—you are inherently human, possessing the positive rational potential to help make this a world of morality, peace and joy.
Trust yourself.

– Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith

Via Positive Atheism


President Obama’s Inaugural Address

Barack Obama was sworn in today as the 44th President of the United States. I am filled with a hope that I haven’t felt in a very long time.

Congratulations, Mr. President!


This video is public domain per White House copyright policy.