Wednesday, November 29, 2006

So how is that booming Texas economy?

Jim forwarded me this from a friend:
Yesterday I got real bitchy, because TXU, the fascist regime that they are, turned off my electricity again. I had mailed the check, but because of the holiday they didn't get it in time. So a couple of hundred phone calls later, I got it turned back on, with all the fees and whatnot added in. Plus the fee to cancel the check that I had mailed. Whatever. It still upset me and made me stressed out.

But what hit me later was the fact that I was stressing harder than I needed to because of my little house guest. Ashley, sweet, sweet, dear Ashley, Ravenne's best buddy in the whole world, is staying with me this week. Her father and her two brothers are staying at a hotel. In the last six months that man has had to endure more than most people do in a lifetime.

Edward is a nice man, a good father, a single father, to two rambunctious boys and Ashley. He had a good job working for the school district and had just bought a house and a used mini van. One day he collapsed after having suffered from migraines for a few weeks. His children called 911, and he was rushed to the hospital with a near fatal case of spinal meningitis. He was in a coma for 3 days and in the hospital for about a month. During that time, he lost his job. Then he lost the car. And then the house. They had to move into a really rough apartment complex that he could barely afford, and he started working nights at the grocery store, leaving his 3 kids alone overnight. But his strength wasn't back yet and between walking to and from work and the overnight job, he couldn't manage, and quickly lost that job. Then he went to work as a manager at Jack in a Box. But they couldn't work around his having to walk his kids to school, so he lost that as well.

Now the crappy apartment complex that they were living in was just bought by another company and they have decided to raise the rent in the middle of every one's leases and if you can't afford it, then they are evicting everyone. Right now, as I said, Ashley is staying with me, her dad is unemployed and not able to get a job because he is too busy walking over 20 miles a day to get her brothers to school and to meet with charity organizations to try and find some help for their family. I have done as much as I can, but he doesn't like asking for help, so I never know if I'm doing enough.

All I'm saying is that with the holidays coming up, and Ashleys birthday in about 2 weeks, this guy has got to be losing it. But he's cheerful, tries to stay positive and is fighting for his children with an amazing tireless strength. I gave him a ride today, and he apologised the entire time. I told him that there have been times when I was in a bad way, and if I didn't have my family, my friends, people that stepped up and helped me, then I wouldn't have made it. And I know those people would want me to help someone else if I could.

So my little day of a few hours with no electricity seems rather silly now. It's back on, I still have a roof over my head, and my kids still have a home. Not such a big deal really when you think about it.
I'll add to that story two more anecdotes. I just returned from getting a part-time job at a community college for $7.40 an hour, the only "benefit" is you are in their retirement annuity system instead of Social Security. Unless you are an upper income employee and stay a long time this is actually a "disability" instead of a "benefit."

Pat is also applying for temporary Christmas job at $7.50 an hour tomorrow - "We will work you 12 to 16 hours a day for 10 days with no overtime."

Once many people get a good job with benefits they start voting Republican because of the one constant Republican promise - we won't tax you as much. They overlook that the richer friends of Republicans are getting better deals and they don't care what government services and regulations are cut. The best a good Democrat can say is that if you are an average citizen your taxes may go down because we will make sure everyone pays their fair share of taxes and we will attempt to help the less fortunate and prevent the most blatant unfair labor and health practices. Some DINOs won't promise that much. Who you vote for, how you vote, affects a lot of people.

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