Exactly What Is Wrong With Retirement

Once upon a time people who worked all their lives for their employer had a nice safe pension plans that allowed them to have a modest income after retirement paired with Social Security. Sure, you might not be rich, but you wouldn't be eating dog food for supper either.

Then the Republicans decided that they would convince people they were "empowered" and needed to invest in the stock market in order to "retire rich" and subsequently alleviate their friends from offering pensions while at the same time separating amateur "investors" from their hard won money.

Yesterday, the markets dropped 700 points because the fat cat friends who created the next Great Depression didn't get their way when they wanted the American taxpayer to cover their gambling debts.

Today, the good folks at the NY Times business page had this piece of advice for all the amateur investors who have to "play" the stock markets because the government has forced their retirement savings into stock heavy 401(k) plans (among other scams):

Continue to save. Big losses mean you’ll need that much more time, or good news, to bring your balances back to where they need to be for you to retire comfortably. If your employer matches your contributions, this is a great time to take advantage of the largess.

As for whether you should pile into beaten down stocks, no one knows how much further the markets will fall or how long they’ll take to bounce back. But people who move their savings to ultrasafe investments and then leave them there usually miss out on the gains when the markets come back. If you need to do that to sleep at night or avoid stomach ulcers, then do what you have to do. But it may cost you in quality of life come retirement time.

They further suggested that if you are about to retire, then you should wait so you don't "lock in your losses" during the downturn. After all, the good folks at the NY Times are absolutely convinced the American taxpayer will foot the bill for companies' losses on both sides of the coin, both in the markets and in the bailouts.

Meanwhile, back on Wall Street, the CEO's, CFO's and others eagerly await their government check so they can take the money and run into their own retirements on multi-million dollar "Golden Parachute" packages. Anyone else see something wrong with this picture?


Plant Says Zip It About Zep

Robert Plant, famed lead singer for Led Zeppelin has stated that he will not be touring with the band when he finishes his current gig with Country music diva Allison Kraus.

After their one show reunion last December, speculation of a Zeppelin reunion tour has been hot. Millions of fans registered for tickets in anticipation of the tour even without any official word from the band.

But, Plant says that no tour with him reprising his famous lyrics will happen for at least two years if ever.

Too bad for those of use who never had a chance to see Zep in our youth. I'd love to add at least one live Zeppelin show to my life experiences just as I recently added a live show by CSN this summer.

Oh well, maybe he'll decide to tour with Jimmy in the near future, but I won't hold my breath. I'll just have to be happy listening to the music and catching the various videos of them on YouTube.


Dear Gabrielle...

Gabrielle Giffords is the Congressional Representative for my area. She is facing Arizona State Senate President Tim Bee this November.

Recently, they have been airing their ads on local TV and have me confused. (I say that with some irony.) Here is my open letter to Gabrielle Giffords...

Dear Ms. Giffords:

I have recently seen an attack ad by your opponent Tim Bee which says you vote with the Democratic leadership on issues of great importance to the country, including increased funding for George W. Bush's debacle in Iraq. As we all know, limiting his access to funds is the proper course for a Congress trying to reel in a rogue President and possible criminal and murderer.

I saw this commercial and applauded your choice to exercise the power of the purse given to Congress by the Founding Fathers and rein in a criminal enterprise. I made up my mind to support your re-election.

Then, I saw your advertisement that stated you voted against your colleagues in Congress to limit funding and bring our troops home. You pointed out how little you have in common with Democrats and how pro-war you are. In short, you pointed out that you and Tim Bee have no major philosophical differences.

So, now I'm confused. I wanted to support you against a man who illegally rammed through a "ballot initiative" against gay people. I wanted to vote for you because I felt you supported a moderate agenda of social change, economic security, and a return to moral use of force.

Mr. Bee made the point admirably that you were a thoughtful and intelligent person only to have you put out a commercial saying you were the opposite and his political soul mate.

So, why should I vote for either one of you? This is what is wrong with our country today. We have far too many politicians willing to say anything to get elected and to abandon principle in order to insure a return to power.

Ms. Giffords, I was looking for a real Democrat, not a Republican Lite. I guess I'll have to skip that race or write in my old standby, Mickey Mouse.

Your confused constituent,


Workin' for the Weekend

OK, so I'm not working this weekend, but it's a catchy title. I did complete my first two days in my job this past week, however.

I began on Thursday and spent the better part of the day just having all the various steps of the billing process explained to me. Late in the day I actually sat down under my co-worker's supervision and did part of the actual billing for procedures.

On Friday, I again watched and took notes for much of the day since I will be on my own, more or less the end of next week. By afternoon I was in the middle of trying to convince the tech folks to finish setting up the proper programs and access for my use. So far, I'm still waiting on access to two critical systems and hope they can manage to get it straightened out Monday.

Near the end of the day I did some of the billing on my own. Then it was time to knock off for the day.

So far I'm enjoying it. The girls I work with are all very nice and we seem to be getting along pretty well.

So, tomorrow I start my first full week and by Wednesday I'll have to take over the billing for the rest of the week as my trainer is going to be out of town for several days as she prepares to move to Georgia with her husband.

Why Divorce is at 50%+

I shit you not... I found a Google Ad on my site yesterday for a group in favor of Proposition 102 - the latest attempt to write hate and religious bigotry into the Arizona Constitution. Now, I'm assuming these folks are stupid anyway since it would appear to be a major waste of money to advertise on the blog of a gay man who has been in a monogamous and loving relationship for over 10 years (soon to be 11 years). But, with the rich Mormons behind them and the not so rich Roman Catholics (the Tucson Diocese is recovering from bankruptcy due to pedophilia) I guess they have money to waste.

Anyway, I figured I'd see what the site was so I checked it out.

It's a little $50 flash template you can buy online with this stupid little "harp" music. But, the real kicker is their "tag line"

"What's Love Got To Do With It?"

Yes, according to these morons love and marriage are in no way, shape, or form related. And they wonder why the divorce rate among straight people is over 50%? I would venture it's because they have things a little messed up. Marriage would seem to be all about love.

Then again, this measure is primarily being driven by the Mormons (or as they like to call themselves, Latter Day Saints). The Mormons certainly know nothing about love when it comes to marriage. Their religion is based on polygamy and preferably polygamy involving adult men and teenage (or younger) women. They can say they have "changed" all they want, but there are too many raids on Mormon compounds that find teenage girls married to adult men with dozens of children for me to believe that.

The entire idea of their church is built on the sex drive of an old goat of a man. Let's face it, the polygamy idea got started because Joseph Smith saw a pre-teen kid he wanted to schtup and suddenly got a "message" from God telling him it'd be OK not only to have sex with her but to take her as one of his "wives."

So, the Mormons were beaten up and driven from almost every state in the Union and ended up in the middle of nowhere in Utah. They tried for a big image makeover in the past 75 years or so to stay on the right side of the law (at least publicly) and have now gained a measure of credibility.

To shore up their bona fides as a "religion" they are now going after GLBT people and our civil rights. At the same time, their sub groups are into pedophilia and polygamy.

One word of advice to the Mormons out there:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" - Matthew 7:3

Oh, right, that's the real Bible, they probably have never read that part.

DISCLAIMER: This is probably one of the nastiest posts I've written in a long time, but I'm very much astounded at how gullible the American public has been about the Mormon church and it's history and has allowed them to in any way, become arbiters of morality and decency in the public conversation.

Here are some resources to learn the truth behind this cult who has been allowed by our politicians to attempt to set policy:

Just search Google for "Joseph Smith and Pedophilia" and you'll find hundreds of discussions of his multiple adulterous "marriages" with teenage girls as well as hundreds of Mormons explaining away his shocking and immoral behavior with children and flaunting of the law of the land in any number of ways.

Honestly, I do know people who are ostensibly members of this cult and I have a very hard time even speaking to them because of their attempts to inject their sick religion into my life through legislation and never ever coming to terms with their own cult's history and origins.

I say if we pass a Constitutional Amendement outlawing equal civil rights for GLBT people we need to pass one to outlaw the so-called "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" on the grounds it promotes adultery and pedophilia. Likewise, someone needs to have the Pope arrested, extradited and flown back here to face trial on charges of conspiracy to conceal sex acts with children. What's fair is fair.


Goodbye to Paul Newman

newman I suppose if there is a real reward in being a fine actor or actress it is knowing that you will continue to inspire and move people long after you're gone form the physical world.

Paul Newman died today at 83 from cancer. He was at this home in Connecticut and was surrounded by his friends and family. His wife Joanne Woodward is from Greenville, SC.

In recent years Newman has been known as an activist and entrepreneur, developing his own line of food products to help support causes dear to him.

But, his most lasting contribution are the many fine performances he gave us over the years. The ones most often mentioned in his obituaries today are Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as well as The Hustler.

To me, though, one of his greatest performances was as Brick Pollit in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Williams' of course was Gay and one of the most prolific writers of the Southern Gothic theatre genre. Many of his plays examined sexual themes and the genteel decadence that runs like blood through the veins of the South.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof looked at a complicated relationship between a strong willed social climber and her husband. Brick Pollit was a college athlete who had a very close relationship with his best friend and teammate "Skipper". In the 1955 version which was used as the basis of the 1958 film starring Newman, this relationship is very much muted and all but removed from the text. Yet, Paul Newman manages to revive it enough through his excellent skills as an actor that those attuned to the theme of homosexuality and being trapped in a marriage of convenience could read Brick perfectly and identify with his situation.

Watch the scene below to see what I feel is one of the best performances by a Hollywood duo captured on film. Watch Newman's subtle style in this first scene. If you're Gay you will read his character perfectly, yet he is subtle enough that straight people would probably miss the innuendo and real motivation for his lines.

Paul, we'll miss you!


Minority Report

minority_report It seems that the geniuses at the Department of Homeland Security have moved into the realm of what was formerly science fiction.

They recently unveiled a system designed to "detect hostile thoughts" in large crowded areas. Supposedly, the system will be placed in airports, train stations, and at large stadiums and public venues to "identify" people who may have hostile intent.

The system measures a number of traditional physiological characteristics and responses, much like a polygraph. However, they are able to do it from a distance without the use of wires or physical contact.

The good folks at Homeland Security ran a test where they set up shop at a horse ring. They then coached volunteers on how to "act shifty" and got an 80% accuracy rate.

As one person pointed out they don't say whether that is 80% accuracy in catching those acting "shifty" or 80% accuracy in identifying those who were acting innocently. Regardless, the test itself proves the machine is worthless since all of the people tested were technically "innocent" and were only acting. If they can fool the machine by "acting shifty" then it is possible to fool it by purposely acting normally.

I truly wonder about where this country is headed. We have spent millions developing a completely worthless device that will probably be used solely because of political connections in our corrupt government. The people paying the price will be the American citizens who have to be questioned about the intimate details of their lives, have medical conditions exposed publicly, and face public embarrassment and ridicule because our government has gone crazy.

It's time we stand up and say "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"


McCain Banking on Insurance Deregulation

We've all seen what the rush to "deregulate" the banking and financial services industry has caused in the past weeks and months. Now, McCain wants to do the same thing to our already broken healthcare system by writing a blank check to insurance companies and waiting for the taxpayers to pick up the bill for his contributors and lobbyist friends.


The Stupidity of Direct Democracy

I will make this statement and stick by it: The dumbest of our founding fathers had infinitely more wisdom and vision than the smartest politician or political scientist living today.

I would almost say that the janitor sweeping the floor at the Constitutional Convention had more going on in the way of political vision than politicians and political scientists today. But, I exaggerate.

ConstituitonalConventionPtg I am voting for the first time in a state that has "ballot initiatives." This is the ubiquitous "Proposition" that we would hear about back east and sort of scratch our heads wondering what all the fuss was.

See, for the most part back east we sort of stuck to the model of the Founders. That is a representative democracy or as it is termed in government and social studies classes a "Republican Democracy". This means that we elect people to represent us in a governmental body and those folks make the laws, supposedly, for the public good. The rest of us can go about our daily business and not worry about the minutiae of legal language, constitutionality of laws, budgetary impact, and thousand other assorted necessary bits of information in making laws and governing.

image But, out here in the Wild West the "ballot initiative" rules. Basically, if you've got the cash you can get your crazy ass law on the ballot and try to convince people you've got enough sense to make law.

That's a little scary. For example, today my "voter guide" arrived from the State of Arizona listing nine ballot initiatives we'll have to vote on in November. Oh, and we're also voting for the people who are supposed to be making the laws that Joe Blow off the street is trying to make anyway. I can't figure out why we need one if we've got the other. Anyway, here's what we're dealing with come November:

  • Prop 100 - This one blocks the legislature from imposing a Real Estate Transfer tax. Most states have such a system that usually is less than 1% of the value of the property sold or transferred. No one has filed any official "opposition" to the initiative so, if it's that popular, why can't these folks get it through the legislature? Instead, I've got to now try to educate myself on the tax code in Arizona to understand how my vote would impact overall by reducing revenue to the state and local governments. The problem is, I doubt anyone else will do that. They'll just check a box and hope for the best.
  • Prop 101 - This one says that people can't be penalized for choosing to have a private pay plan. That people cannot be forced to use a doctor or choose a particular type of health plan or even be required to have insurance at all. Sounds fine on the surface. Unfortunately, it's broadly written and depending on how the first court to hear a case decides it could dismantle the Medicaid system, throw managed care plans and employer plans into disarray and halt any chances for Universal Coverage at the state level. But, do you think anyone voting is going to pay attention to that? Nope. It just sounds all freedomy and libertariany so, damn the consequences vote it in.
  • Prop 102 - My personal favorite. This is the constitutional amendment to define "marriage is between one man and one woman." This is backed by the LDS (reeling after the polygamy and child abuse scandals) and the Roman Catholics with a little help from the Fundamentalists. Arizona already has a law that says this, but that wasn't good enough so here we go again. Now, this is important as you will see in a moment.... this prop made the ballot after failing several times in the legislature. Late one day during debate on a property tax bill the Republican chair (and Roman Catholic puppet) cut off the microphones of two openly gay legislators and stopped debate on the tax bill. He then allowed one of his colleagues in the pay of the right wing special interests to introduce this measure in a chamber that was barely a quorum and filled primarily with right leaning Republicans. In other words, they couldn't pass it in full session so they held a quasi-legal proceeding, broke the most basic ethics rules and got it on the ballot. Remember this as we move down the list!
  • Prop 105 - This one says that in order to impose more taxes or spending requires a majority of legislators not just those voting! See, told you to remember the last one! It seems that the ballot initiative groupies think it's a bad thing for legislators to use these backdoor sessions to deal with taxes and spending but perfectly OK to do it to deprive people of their rights. Heck, I'll probably just vote against this one to protest the last one.
  • Prop 200 - This one deals with reforms in the Payday Loan Industry and was sponsored by the industry. Seems their legal status is expiring in the state and they want to put on a good face for the public. Honestly, I don't care one way or the other on this one. If you have "overdraft protection" at your bank and go over by 1 penny they charge you about $35 for that penny overnight and often as much as $5 a day after that. In my book, a Payday Lender charging $15 on a $100 loan for a week isn't nearly as extortionist as that.
  • Prop 201 - This one establishes a 10 year warranty on new homes and lots of other stuff dealing with financing and disclosures. Again, this is one of those laws that is very detailed and could have far reaching consequences especially considering the number of Wildcat developers in Arizona. But, while it sounds good on the surface, it's much too complex to ask most voters to understand and to assess long range consequences of the law.
  • Prop 202 - This is the ubiquitous western "anti-illegal immigrant" proposition. This one increases penalties on businesses for hiring illegal aliens as well as stiffens penalties for illegals who steal identities in order to pass pre-employment checks. Again, it's a pretty in depth law with lots of penalties and needs legal knowledge to fully appreciate its strengths and weaknesses. But, again, in the anti-immigration climate of the Southwest it will pass. Personally, after looking for work here for months and seeing "must be bilingual" everywhere I say if they want to make things tough on illegals, make it illegal to require employees to be able to speak Spanish. That would satisfy the "English First" crowd too. But, that might make bilking them out their money harder, so our "patriots" won't be going that route!
  • Prop 300 - Raises the legislature salaries from $24,000 to $30,000 a year. See, that's about what I used to make working full time so these folks are full-time employees (at least in my book) so instead of all this ballot nonsense, make them do their jobs or fire them!
  • Prop ??? - Called the "Arizona School District Consolidation Act" this one would consolidate 76 of 227 school districts in Arizona. Again, this is an incredibly complex issue involving knowledge of budgets, finances, shortfalls, salaries, individual education plans, job losses, job gains, how overlaps would be handled and hundred other issues. Yet, instead of this complex issue being decided by people who have the time and resources to research it fully, it's going to be made by people who are hurrying to get through voting during their lunch hour.

Honestly, I don't get this whole idea. I'm all for democracy, but like the Founding Fathers, I don't believe that every person out there has what it takes to be a legislator. That is exactly why they established a representational form of democracy. Their hope was that the best and brightest would be sent to the deliberative bodies and make wise decisions. Certainly, it can be argued that is no longer the case, and maybe even allowing this whole "ballot initiative" system is a sign that they aren't. But, whose fault is that? Our own for allowing candidates who are not the smartest to be elected. It is our fault for voting because someone seems like a "cool guy to have a beer with" or they like hunting or seem funny on a comedy show appearance or any of the other idiotic things people state in polls when they can't even think of one policy statement for the candidate.

It is too bad that the Western states do not heed the sage advice of James Madison who wrote in The Federalist Papers (no. 10):

"A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

Proposition Number 102 this November in Arizona could not be a better example of Madison's argument for Representative government. And we shall see his predicted outcome when it passes.


Hunting the King: Review

Hunting the King Hunting the King by Peter Clenott

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I thoroughly enjoyed this book that was suggested to me through Goodreads by the author, Peter Clenott.

The book follows the exploits of archaeologist, Molly O'Dwyer as she searches for the burial site of the unrisen Jesus Christ amid the deserts of Iraq in the midst of the Iraq War.

O'Dwyer, who has strange dreams of a woman named Hannaniah is driven to find her burial site and believes that Hannaniah is the daughter of Jesus Christ. If she finds her grave, she will also find Jesus' grave as well.

The action develops quickly and continues at a break neck pace throughout the book. A combination of The DaVinci Code and Raiders of the Lost Ark, the story entertains and also manages to ask some interesting questions about religion and politics.

The varying ideologies of the characters bring them into frequent conflict as they search for Jesus of Nazareth beneath the desert sands. From fundamentalist Christians working for the Department of Defense, to Mossad agents, to Islamic Imams, to representatives of the Vatican; each character has a desire not just for the truth but also for what the revelation of that truth will do for his/her beliefs.

In the end, this is a work about the power of belief over truth. After all, as Molly realizes, can she ever prove that the body in the desert is the "real" Jesus? Would she even want to try? For Molly, her faith is powerful and comforting and she is plagued by what the revelation of an unrisen Jesus could do to those whose only comfort is faith.

Well written, fast, and thought provoking with many twists and turns and a dash of paranormal spice, Hunting the King is certainly worth a read!

View all my reviews. 


Stairway to Heaven?

This story sounds a little familiar to me:

PHOENIX - Phoenix police say one of their officers shot and wounded a man who had been holding a burglar at gunpoint inside his home.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson says the incident late Wednesday happened as officers responded to a flurry of calls in an east Phoenix neighborhood, about shots fired, a wounded man who acted strangely after being let into a good Samaritan's home and finally, a break-in at a nearby home.

Arriving officers found a screaming woman who had fled the last home with two children while her mate confronted the intruder.

Thompson says officers went inside, ordered everyone out and saw the armed resident coming down a hallway. One officer shot the 35-year-old man several times, but he's expected to survive.

Officers then detained the intruder.

full_team A number of years ago, Michael and I had just moved into a rented house in my hometown. The place needed some fixing up so he was trying to fix the screens on the front windows. A nosey neighbor decided he must be breaking into our own house (in the middle of the afternoon) and called police. By the time they arrived he had finished and come inside and was taking the trash out. I was upstairs in my office working at the computer when I heard a commotion downstairs. I came down to find two city police officers with guns drawn in my back hallway and Michael with two bags of trash looking white as a sheet. As I stepped down one swung his gun in my direction before recognizing me (he was a friend of my niece).

They quickly holstered their guns but, good Lord! Had I been holding a stapler I might have been shot! They didn't announce who they were, just busted through our back door with guns drawn.

Maybe cops spend too much time watching Cops.

As it is, I'm sure that they will explain away their shooting of a homeowner who was doing their job in apprehending a criminal.

Regardless of their rationalization, they shot the poor guy "several times". How does that happen? Does some guy just unload his 9mm clip into someone before being sure of his target?

Ridiculous. At least the cop was such a bad shot he didn't kill the poor guy.


Hidden Jewel

Michael has a theory that the best Chinese restaurants are the small ones that are run by a family and tucked away from the ritzy areas. So far, he seems to be right.

Recently we had a problem with the battery in our car. We had been down to Bisbee, AZ to check out a site and interview some people for an upcoming investigation. When we got ready to leave after eating lunch at the Bisbee Grille, our car wouldn't start. We got a jump from one of our team members who lived nearby and made it back to Tucson.

chinese food Unfortunately, we couldn't get our car fixed on a Saturday because CarMax is closed on weekends. So, come Monday another person jumped our car off again and we headed to CarMax for help. Of course, they couldn't deal with it without an appointment so they sent us to a local auto parts store.

We ended up at Checker's Auto Parts on the corner of Prince and Oracle. The folks there were very helpful and we got our new battery and were ready to go, almost. Unfortunately, when you replace the battery there is some crazy security system that resets. You have to go through all these steps to make the car crank again. No one could tell us definitively what these steps were. Some said do it one way, some another.

Most agreed that we had to let the car sit for awhile. We finally were told to call a locksmith who should have the answer. We placed the call and they said they'd have to call us back. So, with time to kill and hungry, we decided to try to find something to eat.

We intended to go down the street to Carl's Jr. but saw a little Chinese place on the corner called Panda One. Michael ordered some egg rolls and his favorite Sweet and Sour Soup. He was amazed at the taste and pronounced it the best he'd had in many years, including that at a small Chinese Take Out we frequented in South Carolina.

Plus, unlike the restaurants in South Carolina, they deliver! So, out of a really stressful day we ended up finding a great little restaurant that we'd never have even noticed otherwise.

If you're near Oracle and Prince, check out Panda One, you'll be glad you did!

It's a Great Idea, but...

It doesn't really seem to work.

For the past several days I've been trying out a service called outside.in whose purpose is to map stories about your neighborhood or town that you post so others can find them.

Neat idea, huh? I thought so. I signed up on their site and found that currently you can only have one blog per sign in. Well, I have two blogs, not to mention SPIDER Web, for SPI. I asked about this and was told I'd just have to have separate accounts with separate emails for each blog. Very inconvenient but they're in beta so figured I'd do it anyway. So, I used my backup email address and signed up twice.

Then I set about "geotagging" my older posts as well as my new posts per their instructions. I submitted the older posts with info on businesses and what not in our neighborhood directly to the site. Then I waited to see if their RSS feed picked up and parsed my new posts.

It didn't. Although I linked the post to a Google Map of the place I was discussing, their system overlooked it completely. This was one of the preferred methods according to their instructions. Even the posts I submitted directly have failed to show up on my "map". Each person has an individual map that shows places they've blogged about. You can see my very bare one on the sidebar here.

So, it's a really great idea, but it doesn't seem to work too well, so will probably be taking all the links down for it shortly. Maybe if they get it working better I'll try it again, but for now I'd skip it. Too much setup for something that might or might not work in the end.

In fact, let's give this one last try... I'll put the Google Map link to my local library branch right here.

UPDATE: So, the good folks at outside.in have left a few comments here about the problems I'm experiencing. It seems that although Google Reader and other RSS readers get a full feed on my story, that Feedburner itself only is transmitting the short version that strips out the links. So, I've reworked my feed from Blogger to make sure it transmits the full feed to Feedburner and we'll see if that doesn't correct the problem.

Thanks guys for your help on this and hopefully, they'll add a special section for Blogger to their site since it seems to show full posts in one place and short posts when sent through Feedburner!


Under Palin Victims Raped Economically

It seems that when Sarah Palin was mayor she decided that if a woman had been raped they would have to pay for the rape exam as well as the forensic tests that might help find their attacker.

Poor Sarah, she just tries so hard to be a "woman" but keeps coming across like the worst misogynistic redneck man in history.

Can you believe it? A woman is raped and Palin thinks it's a fantastic idea to make her pay to find her attacker and get him off the street.

This woman is simply crazy. There's nothing else to it. She's insane, clinically.

Workin' for a Livin' (again)

For the past few months I've sent out as many as 40 resumes a week for all sorts of jobs. In that time I've had a total of 4 interviews. None of those interviews panned out. I've been told I have too much experience, too little experience, asked questions about whether I'm "sick all the time" because I've had a transplant, and faced at least one office manager who seemed genuinely surprised a man would want to work in a medical office as something other than a doctor.

HXSPcoverk I'd actually gotten very depressed as our finances continued to suffer. Michael was having trouble finding new students in this economy. After all, when people are having to choose between food, gas and piano lessons, it's the piano lessons that take the cut. He also had entered the "off season" at the kennel where he works part time and they've been cutting back hours.

The past two weeks were really difficult as I tried to figure out how we could juggle bills and pay for the essentials.

Luckily, my dear, darling friend Sandy has been looking out for me. She has spent hours a day searching for jobs and sending them to me. Last week she sent me one for a Surgery Scheduler. I thought it would be a great fit, but honestly didn't hold out a lot of hope after so much disappointment.

They called and asked me to interview with their Coordinator and team members today. I went to the interview thinking of the old song from A Chorus Line, "Hope I Get It".

I arrived at the hospital and the boss met me in the lobby. I immediately felt a warmth from her that was reassuring and there was a little "click" as we walked to the conference room to meet. As I met the girls working in the department I felt even more comfortable and at home with them. We chatted informally for most of the interview about my experience, how they did things, and life in general. I was feeling very confident about the way things were going.

They seemed very impressed by both my computer background as well as my experience in surgery and thought it would be hard to find anyone with those two qualities. I agreed and we parted on very friendly terms. Lee told me they had a "few more people" to interview and I'd hear something by the end of next week. Then she smiled and said, "Well, maybe you'll hear something sooner."

Still, I had my doubts. Sure, I could do the job, but I could also do every other job for which I'd applied. Would they find some small excuse to not hire me? Would I run into that old prejudice against bringing a man into a female workspace? I hoped not, but was still unsure.

I left and stopped by the grocery store to pick up some crackers for Michael to have as a snack at work. Then I went home. I'd been watching TV with Michael for about half and hour and trying not to think about the interview when the phone rang. Michael answered and handed it to me without saying who it was.

"Hello?" I answered and heard, "Hi! We'd really like for you to join our team if you're willing."

Willing? Good Lord, I wanted to ask if I could start tomorrow! Of course, as in any big facility the HR folks have to look at my resume and then come up with a salary package proposal. Then I have to do all the other stuff and attend orientation. But, I've got a job!

Wow, after worrying so much about it, I can't help but be thrilled! It also couldn't be a better fit for my past experience.

So, very shortly I'll be "workin' for a livin'" again!

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Who Dat?

22-Telephone-Customer-Service For the past several weeks I've noticed a number on my caller ID. It's a 505 area code and says "Imperium MKTING" on the name. I figured it was a telemarketer but am on the Do Not Call List so couldn't figure out what they were doing calling me. They never left a message.

Today, I got another call from them. I picked up the phone to hear a bad connection and some guy yelling "Hello! HELLO!" I hung up and a couple hours again they called again. Same result but this time they hung up after saying "Hello!" several times. Later, another call came in from this company with the same voice.

I decided to try to figure out who this was and what they wanted so I did a Google search and found a very interesting website called "Directory of UnKnown Numbers". This website lists numbers that frequently call people but do not identify themselves. In the listing for this number I found that this is, indeed, a telemarketing firm that works for cable companies, newspapers, and other businesses.

More importantly, I found that dozens of people had reported this same "Hello! Hello!" routine and following the first answer instead of voicemail the frequency increased dramatically to 3 to 10 calls per day, every day. They would call at all hours including weekends and holidays and even call cell phones and business phones.

I filed a complaint with the FTC and the Do Not Call list and blocked the number on my phone.

How interesting. But, I did find the website quite informative and have added a link here on the blog sidebar. So, next time you get a call from one of these numbers and can't figure out who they are, check it out for information and advice on how to stop the intrusion.

McCain and the "Strong" Economy

From Barack Obama:

Hard-working American families are anxiously trying to make sense of yesterday's disastrous economic headlines.
While they're trying to figure out just how hard the news will hit them and their savings, John McCain's advice seems to be: don't worry about it.

Right after a major global investment bank declared bankruptcy, and in the middle of the second-biggest Dow Jones drop this century, McCain told an audience in Florida that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

How can the fundamentals of our economy be strong when, just this year, 600,000 Americans have lost their jobs? When people are losing their homes? When health insurance is beyond the reach of an ever increasing number of Americans?
John McCain clearly doesn't get it.

Bullying in Nursing

I was reading the Dethmama Chronicles recently and came across her post on a new study by the JCAH on bullying among nurses at hospitals. Perhaps many people don't realize the real soap operas that go on behind the scenes in hospitals but they are much more interesting than even the most dramatic TV shows.

nurse_bullies_crop380w Many years ago when I worked for a major teaching hospital, bullying among nurses and by doctors was quite common. Usually, among nursing staff it took the form of passive-aggressive behavior but among surgeons it could devolve into downright violence at times.

It's one of the reasons I no longer work in the nursing field. While I am considering a return on the administrative side, I'm not sure I would care to return to the strange world of being an actual member of the patient care team.

While I was awaiting transplant I learned that I carried the MRSA bacteria after a routine nose swab. That wasn't too surprising since many medical people carry MRSA because of exposure during patient care. However, I knew exactly where I had picked up this resident bacterium.

As a Surgical Technologist at a teaching hospital, I oversaw students on a daily basis. One morning I was working with a surgeon who had a notoriously "bad temper" to use the preferred euphemism. However, the more appropriate description would be an egomaniac with severe anger control problems and a violent personality. He had, in the past, thrown objects at nurses, including scalpels, threatened other doctors and even shoved nurses and students. Yet, no major disciplinary action had ever been initiated because of his stature and money making ability.

That morning we were doing an AV fistula, a procedure to create an artificial link between an artery and vein in the forearm for the use of dialysis. My student was assisting the doctor under my supervision. However, she was not as quick, of course, as a seasoned pro. The surgeon became irate and decided to let us know his displeasure not by asking she be relieved but by filling a bulb syringe with blood from our patient and spraying it in my face and my student's face. Later that afternoon I learned from the PACU nurse taking care of the patient that he had tested positive for MRSA. I was incensed and approached my head nurse about the incident. I wanted to file a formal disciplinary action and told her I also wanted to file a charge for assault against the surgeon based on the fact that it was body fluid he had used.

I was taken to a quiet area of the OR and told by this nurse that it was up to me what I wanted to do. But, she added, "if you do that you'll be fired." I said she couldn't fire me for that, to which she replied "Maybe not for that, but they'll make me find some reason to fire you. Just let it go."

So, needing my job, I let it go. I was not offered prophylactic antibiotics nor any monitoring to see if I developed MRSA either actively or as a carrier. I was just told to shut up and not make waves.

To me this was double bullying, first by the surgeon and secondly by my head nurse. So, I'm all for JCAH getting involved in this issue.

During my years in the field I saw all sorts of bullying behavior. I saw nurses answer questions incorrectly in order to embarrass a new colleague. I saw nurses use their military status to take personal trips to Europe while insisting that others be fired for having to take a day off for a sick child or husband. I saw nurses hide equipment so that others couldn't use it.

I suppose that much of this comes from the fact that managers in hospitals work their way up from staff positions. In some ways that's very good since they have hands on experience. But, in many cases they are ill equipped to actually be managers. They don't know how to handle complex personnel situations and will either micro manage or wait until a situation has become completely unfixable before trying to step in. Many resort to passive-aggressive behavior to avoid directly confronting a doctor or subordinate about issues and others just become recluses holed up in their offices and unreachable.

Managing is not an easy task. But, when people who have no experience outside of medicine are thrust into that role the results are often disastrous for all.

Sure, there is a nursing shortage and much of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of colleges and legislatures. Older adults who want to enter the field and bring a lifetime of experience with them are squeezed out by high school graduates who jump into "accelerated" programs based on taking LVN classes in high school. Schools cry that they want to expand their programs but the legislatures and licensing boards won't allow them to admit more students. It's a Catch-22 and meantime the profession suffers.

While I was awaiting transplant I had the chance to experience the downside for patients of the "nursing shortage". My favorite pre-op hospital had hired a number of "contract nurses" from foreign countries. Some were excellent but quite a few lacked the bedside manner and experience necessary to deal with severely ill patients and their families.

After my first laparoscopic liver biopsy in 2006, I was more or less swinging between unconscious and disoriented for about a week. I have few recollections of that week. Although, I'm told that I was talkative and sometimes made sense but often seemed regressed to a childlike state.

I do have one clear memory. I can remember waking up in the middle of the night with my nephew (a very large man) wrestling with a foreign male nurse. I remember pain in the side of my head and this nurse leaning over me and hitting me with a handheld pulse oximeter. My nephew pulled him off of me and bodily threw him out the door. All I can recall is pain and that bit of scene.

Later I learned that I had pulled down the nasal oxygen tubing and my oxygen level had dropped. The nurse was angry that I kept taking it off (remember I was almost completely out of it) and had come in screaming at me and hitting me with the device used to measure the level telling me to keep the tubing in place.

My sister filed a complaint against the nurse and he was removed from my care and the hospital promised disciplinary action. I suppose that action wasn't termination or suspension because he was still employed there on my next visit, although he was not assigned to me.

But, this incident shows the problems of lax management and the fear of the "nursing shortage" that cuts out good candidates for the profession while retaining those ill-suited for the job.

In my opinion as both a former staff member and as a patient, I certainly am pleased to see the JCAH tackling this subject. Let's hope some good changes come out of it.


One Day Ten Years Have Got Behind

RICK It was ten years after Dark Side of the Moon, almost, when I truly discovered Pink Floyd. I'd loved "Another Brick in the Wall" when in Junior High in '79 but didn't know too much about them till about a year or two later when I discovered their landmark 1973 album.

I was hooked and became a big fan of Pink Floyd. I'd already been a fan of some of the other Prog Rock bands thanks to my older brother but Pink Floyd was special because it was "my" discovery, not a hand-me-down.

Today, Richard Wright, one of the founding members and the keyboard player for the legendary group died of Cancer. He was 65 years old.

Pink Floyd remains one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Some of my favorite rock songs are their creations: Time, Great Gig in the Sky, Money, and Comfortably Numb.

Richard Wright will be missed. But in his honor here is one of my favorite Pink Floyd pieces "The Great Gig in the Sky":

Random Musings...

It's that time of year back east where a little nip creeps into the hot, humid days. The temperature settles down some and every once in awhile you can feel Autumn stealing up on the North wind.

I wondered what that would be like here in Arizona, in the midst of a hot and dry desert. Would I feel a change? Would the lack of my favorite season make me homesick? With no leaves to watch explode in vibrant colors, would I feel that one day is just like another?

Autumn_Midlands Last week was the "end" of the Monsoon, at least according to the weather forecasters. So, we don't have the frequent storms to look forward to now. The humidity has dropped back down around 15% and the skies are blue. But what about my beloved Autumn in Arizona?

Over the past few days the temperature has been in the mid to upper 80's. It climbed to 91 today, but there was a nice breeze. It's not quite the same as back east, but I can feel a very subtle change in the weather. Maybe it's the light. Perhaps no matter where you are when Autumn arrives the light turns a little more golden as though making sure any golden or red leaf is displayed to its fullest potential.

Sure, I won't be shivering during the "Fair Cold Snap" that always seems to arrive in South Carolina round the middle of October. I won't be watching the leaves change color and smelling that special musky perfume that seems to waft up from the earth as they begin to be reclaimed by the earth. There may not be marigolds in vibrant orange and yellow blooming in pots and along sidewalks as though people are determined to hold off the grays and browns of Winter at all costs.

0219081810 But, even in the desert some things will remain constant. The imported pumpkins should begin to make their appearance in a few weeks as the desert dwellers prepare for Halloween. Even here, corn stalks will make their appearances, not as the obvious leftovers from a good Summer crop, but as decorations.

Maybe I'll miss some things, the look of the woods as they turn to a patchwork of color, the surprise of finding a late crop of peanuts to boil, the lazy and cool afternoons reading by the window, or maybe the perpetual fight between Fundamentalist Christians and the rest of us over the meaning of Halloween.

Regardless, this will be my first full Autumn away from the East Coast, it will be interesting to see what it brings here in the Sonoran Desert.



Who'd a Thunk It?

Who would ever think that I would agree with Andrew Sullivan? It is extremely rare, though I can remember a few times it has happened. But I most remember the times it didn't, like when he became a screaming ninny in the run up to the Iraq War and I thought he might take to the streets dressed as Ethel Merman belting out "God Bless America".

Yet, today not only did we agree but his column was almost exactly the same argument and examples as my previous post.

Hey Andrew, you ripping off my stuff?



While John McCain whines about Barack Obama using the phrase "putting lipstick on a pig", which, incidentally McCain himself used against Hilary Clinton several months ago, he has managed to not only duck questions about his policies but also misdirect the American people and the media.

While McCain spouts more drivel, his VP and ex-beauty queen separatist dodges reporters, and the public debates if any mention of the beehived gov is sexist, here's what's happening in the rest of the world and our Presidential candidates are NOT discussing:

  • Bush Said to Give Orders Allowing Raids in Pakistan - The order allowing Special Operations forces to act without the prior approval of the Pakistani government underscores U.S. concerns over Pakistan’s ability and will to combat militants.
  • Sex, Drug Use and Graft Cited in Interior Department -  The Interior Department agency that collects oil and gas royalties has been caught up in a broad ethics scandal — including allegations of financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct.
  • Instability in North Korea? -  South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak has ordered ministers to be prepared for any abrupt changes in North Korea after its leader Kim Jong-Il suffered a stroke, officials said Thursday.
  • Increased Violence in Afghanistan - The U.S. is "running out of time" to win the war in Afghanistan, and sending in more troops will not guarantee victory, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, warned Congress on Wednesday.

So, is that lipstick thing still all that important? I guess so, judging form the column space in newspapers, the requisite stupid emails, the TV soundbytes and other B.S.

Good job, John & Sarah, you've once more managed to dumb down the dialog to levels you can handle.



Palin's Conversion Strategy

We all know Sarah Palin is the 2008 version of Anita Bryant. I don't think anyone will argue that point. 

But, Palin is into the whole "conversion" scene with GLBT people. Her church promises to "pray away the gay" and convert gay and lesbian citizens into nice heterosexual Bible thumpers and breeders. Of course, everyone knows it's impossible. Everyone knows it is considered unethical and dangerous by psychologists and psychiatrists. Everyone knows that even the poster boy of their movement is regularly caught in compromising situations with other men, despite now being "heterosexual". Yet, they're sure it works.

Here's the part the media doesn't cover because, well, it would make the evangelicals too angry. It's not just a matter of "prayer", no this "conversion" process is abuse, both physical and psychological.

Many, many years ago I had a friend who came from a very conservative Christian background. His parents found out he was gay and decided to get help from one of these "Christian Conversion" programs. Although he was 18, they kidnapped him and sent him off to be "saved" from his "sin". 

It was not a case of some folks sitting in a room and praying. Far from it. He had his genitals hooked up to electrodes and received shocks if he showed any arousal while looking at gay pornography. He was told how dirty he was and presented with all sort of fake statistics on how just "being" gay meant you would die by the time you were 40 years old and if he didn't "become straight" he would die a horrible death of AIDS or "Gay Bowel Syndrome". He was screamed at, he was beaten, basically he was tortured until he said at last that he was "saved" and no longer a "homosexual." 

They released him then and his parents found a nice girl for him to marry. He was pushed into this marriage and even managed to have two children although he was far from "straight". Finally, he broke free completely although he was scarred from the process. He developed an obsessive-compulsive fear of AIDS or germs. He was unable to have a stable relationship with another man because he was so emotionally scarred and sufferred PTSD from the experience of being kidnapped and tortured by "Christians". 

So, here we have Sarah Palin running for VP who is the member of a church who advocates all this stuff. Sure, they'll say it's all very mundane and they just sit around praying. But if you believe that, I have some oceanfront property right here in Tucson I'll sell you.

This woman is dangerous and choosing her shows exactly where this country is headed. We've already got one concentration camp at GITMO, be assured if she and McCain get into office, we'll see more and it won't just be people with the wrong religion they come after anymore.

In Germany, they came first for the Communists, 
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, 
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, 
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . 
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

If you are a Republican this year and you don't believe in the torture and forced "conversion" of gays then this is not the ticket for you. If you are a Republican and you know and care about a friend or a relative who is gay and do not want to see them victimized by insane people then this is not the ticket for you. 

Anyone running for national office who believes in this "conversion" nonsense should be discounted out of hand. It is ludicrous, damaging, and should be illegal. Sarah Palin must distance herself from her "church" and speak out against this craziness if she is to be taken seriously as a candidate for all people. Otherwise, we know she is nothing more than the usual token zealot designed to appeal to the fringe religious crazies.

Helpful Resource: ExGay Watch


Strolling down memory lane...

Last Sunday, Michael had his high school coach on his BlogTalkRadio show, Shaman's Hand. They had a great talk about Coach Ron Klestinski's tenure at Roncalli High School in Manitowoc, WI and his induction into the Wisconsin Football Coaches' Hall of Fame this year.

Over the past few months I've also re-established communication with a high school teacher whose influence I still feel today. Susan Harrison was a fairly new teacher when I began high school at Mid-Carolina in Prosperity, SC in 1980. She was a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina and unlike many young teachers she had a presence in the classroom that demanded attention and respect. She was quick witted, extremely smart and had a passion for her subject that was infectious. I suppose it didn't hurt that she also taught history, which was my passion as well.

I took my first class under Ms. Harrison when I was a Junior in 1983. She taught me Advanced Placement History which was a college level class. The class was small, there might have been about 15 of us, give or take a couple. This meant we had a lot of time for individual attention and discussion. Ms. Harrison (as I knew her then) was also a stickler for writing and research and assigned a number of major research papers during the year.

I can still hear Ms. Harrison's voice at times when I recall one of her lessons. After all, how many U.S. History teachers back in those days bothered to talk not only about our history but the history of countries with which we had conflicts? Recently, during the trouble in Georgia with the Russians I could clearly hear her say during class: "To understand Russian foreign policy you must understand theirs is a history of invasion and conquest. The psychology still drives what they do in foreign policy."

During that same formative nine months I also had one of the best English teachers in my life. Dorothy "Dot" Lovelace had a reputation for being tough and brooking no tomfoolery. I admit, I was a little intimidated to learn she would be my instructor. However, I found that she actually had a great sense of humor that was dry and good natured and could hold her own with any class clown. She also was one of the toughest writing critics I'd ever had. In fact, this blog post would have received an "F" based on the fact I've already used passive verbs several times.

"Hot Dot" as we irreverently called her, shaped my style and gave me a lifelong love of writing and communication. To this day, when I write reports for SPI I follow her style guidelines.

Likewise, I can trace my insistence on accuracy and supported statements to Ms. Harrison and her insistence on research in historical writing.

Later on Ms. Harrison would become "Susan" at least part of the time. In my Junior year she got several of the students in her A.P. History class to work on a production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the community theater. During that process she became not only our teacher, but our mentor and friend as well. I can also trace my love of theater to Susan's influence and my critical eye for production is a direct result of her knowledge and attention to detail.

My Senior year I took Susan's World History class and continued to work with her on theater productions. It became something of a joke that she was "Susan" at the theater and when I would be working on shows in her apartment and "Ms. Harrison" when at school. Of course, my best friend's mother who also taught us in Junior High was always "Miss Jen" at home and "Mrs. Wicker" at school. Guess, it wasn't that odd, it just seemed like it because Susan was only about 10 years our senior.

I worked with Susan after graduation through the community theater for a few years and then as life happens I moved out of that environment and into other things. For almost 25 years I would sometimes run into her around town and we'd talk for a minute. During that time I heard that she'd had some health problems and then I had my health problems and finally moved from the area.

We exchanged a few emails after my transplant to catch up and then sort of lost touch again. Shortly after I moved to Arizona I got an email from Susan and since then we've been in touch frequently. I've enjoyed re-establishing our friendship after so many years.

She is now nearing retirement and I find it wonderful to be there to share this closure with her after being among the first students she taught at Mid-Carolina where she has now been for 28 years.

This year also marked another change from my high school days. Before I left South Carolina they were nearing completion on the "new" Mid-Carolina High School. It's a sprawling multi-story building across the road from the "old" high school. The site it stands on was a cow pasture when I was in high school (did I mention I went to a rural high school?). We used to hit golf balls into that field while tending the bar-b-que pit that stood next to the school. Bar-B-Que's were one of our major fundraising sources back then. My mother always said if you learned nothing else at our high school you learned how to cook bar-b-que.

So many changes in 30 years. But it's nice to know that at least a couple more classes will benefit from Susan's skill and knowledge as a teacher. I hope, like me, all of her former students appreciate just how much she shaped our lives and how much she gave to us in the form of knowledge but even more importantly in terms of friendship and genuine love for both her profession and her "kids".

Thanks Susan, from one of your "middle aged" kids.


We Shouldn't Even Talk About Her...

Such a Contrast

As I saw photos and read the quotes of participants at the Republican National Convention, I couldn't help but be struck by the contrast between Democrats and Republicans.

Republicans and their propaganda machine, Fox News, likes to label Democrats as "anti-American" yet, I saw more hope and pride in the USA in Denver than I ever saw in St. Paul. McCain and Palin don't talk about the USA they talk about how bad other people are. They don't have a vision for how great our country could be, they just have a vision of how great they can be and how much better they are than average people. 

Even the Republican rank and file seem completely lost when it comes to truly loving the USA. They think patriotism lies in bumper stickers and hating people. They can't fathom a patriotism built on elevating our citizens, improving our nation and insuring that principles of freedom and democracy survive another 200 years. 

Here is the Republican idea of "patriotism". Instead of talking about how they could correct the mess they've made or even taking responsibility for it, they chanted, they carried on and they continually made an "O" sign (a la Village People) trying to say that Barrack Obama had "zero" experience while touting their beauty queen as a foreign policy expert because she lives "near" a border!

In contrast, you saw the Democrats chanting "USA!, USA!, USA!" and waving flags and cheering for visions of hope and opportunity for all. What a difference. Just look at those three GOP boobs looking exactly like what they are: overpriveleged yuppies replete with the party 'uniform' of Brooks Brothers blazers.

Need we say more. Isn't it time for a BIG change and to send this crowd of economic and religious elitists packing?

Here's a photo of REAL, honest to goodness Patriotism and hope for the USA as a whole.


Hey Sarah...

Sarah Palin

The B-52's called....

They want their hair back....

Kate Pierson of the B-52's

Google Chrome

I've been trying out Google's new "Chrome" browser for the past 24 hours. I really like the sleek look and I love the speed. After sometimes waiting for what seems days for Firefox to open and decide it's ready to look at a page, Chrome's almost "flash" appearance was welcome.

Pages tend to load much more quickly in Chrome than in Firefox. It also has a sleeker interface which is nice. I know the new version of Firefox looks more streamlined but I only run it on my laptop because my favorite add-ons won't run on the new version. 

I like the fact that when you open a new tab you don't get either a blank screen or your homepage. In Chrome you get a thumbnailed table of your most visited websites. Even if you aren't looking for one of those, it's nicer than being assailed by the blank page in Firefox or waiting for your homepage to load.

One of the greatest features is that if you hit one of those pages so full of of scripts, flash animations, and other assorted fireworks that it causes the page to crash, it won't shut down the whole brower. In Chrome, only the tab affected is closed. It won't freeze the entire browser and force you to shut it down and restart it. That's a major improvement in my book.

Still, after 24 hours, I am missing my good old Firefox apps. I miss looking at my status bar to check the weather. I miss having my Gmail Notifier tell me I've got a new mail. I miss my WOT app that tells me if a new site I'm visiting is trusted or not. I miss 'Super Drag n Go' that allows me to drag a photo with my cursor and save it to my hard drive. I miss being able to subscribe to a site feed with the click of a button. 

Hopefully, Google will begin to catch up very quickly with application development for their brower. I do like it, but if I don't start getting my favorite apps (or better ones) on this browser it will be resigned to the recycle bin.