technical difficulties

my laptop has been cutting off in the midst of whatever i’m doing at a high rate, the last few days.  yesterday I backed everything up on my external hard drive.  I don’t know when things are gonna go south, but apparently my wordpress is a lil bit wonky too – not showing my blogroll either.  so..this wknd may be a new pc wknd.  yikes.  everybody’s diggin in my pockets.

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necessarily uncomfortable reading

I highly recommend it

I highly recommend it

My father has always been interested in economics/money/business issues, and being a black man, has of course dealt with those issues as they intersect with race.  So a couple months ago, when I saw that Latoya was reading a book called The Color of Wealth: the story behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide, I knew it’d be something he should read.  So I recommended it, and he bought it, read it, and loved it.  I wanted to read it, too, and by the time he was done with it – he definitely wanted me to read it.

So I started the book last month.  It’s only 291 pages, so I could get through that fairly quickly – except for the subject matter.

The book begins with an overview:  an introduction to the premise of the book, why it is important to look at the racial wealth divide in this country with a more critical gaze, and spotlights how ignorant most of us are about the facts behind the current state of US wealth.  I could totally get down with this.  I learned a lot, and got to laugh a little.

I was actually on a plane [with my mom] at the time, and I kept stopping to show her things, because it was so interesting.

Then I began to read chapter 2: Land Rich, Dirt Poor: Challenges to Asset Building in Native America. A few pages later I got to the section on colonization and treaty making, and I got tears in my eyes.  I tried to keep going, but I couldn’t.

I put the book down and didn’t pick it up again for a month.

Dad kept asking me how things were going with the book, I kept telling him that I hadn’t really looked at it in a while.  I told him how upset I was when reading about the atrocities of the US government against Native Americans.  This one chapter was bringing out a lot of uncomfortable feelings for me.

Finally, last week, I picked up the book again.  Made a little headway, and put it back down – still not done with chapter 2.  This morning, I told myself to just read it and get through it…and to write about why it was so hard to do.

Continue reading

almost, doesn’t count?

falling-moneyThanks to Liss, I had to watch a bit of the American Idol final auditions to keep my heart from palpitating.

See, for some reason, I am not appreciating all the townhall meetings.  All the talk about stimulus, with action still not forthcoming – blowing up into a battle between the Left and Right.  Lots of ways to spend money, not so many ways to *make* money.  The talking is actually really annoying, and I’ve passed the point of being disgusted with the folks who are supposed to be representing us and acting in our interests.

The longer I live, the more it becomes clear that we are all the same.  None of us has ever come this way before.  Some of us are better at learning from others and others’ mistakes, but most of the time we’re all just making it up as we go.

When you figure out that we’re all just making this up, you realize how much more important it is for those people in positions of responsibility to learn as much as they can about whatever it is they’re responsible for.  We have to be diligent, because we are actually running things.  That is a scary thought sometimes.

So check it out:

According to Kanjorski, on September 18, 2008 the Fed tried to “stem the tide” by pumping money into the financial system but it didn’t work and decided instead to announce an immediate increase in deposit insurance to $250,000 per account to stop the panic.

Said Kanjorski: “If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2 p.m. that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S., would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.

::shudder::

in the black

I’m just now realizing how big the intersection between politics and race has become.  It’s like a volcano that’s been puffing for awhile, and is getting ready to blow up.  I knew that there were people out there who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a black man [whatever the personal cost to themselves], but I didn’t have the expectation that someone I work with would have the audacity to almost come out and say it – to me.

Yesterday, I and another black female coworker were verbally accosted with rumors of Obama being a terrorist.  This guy that we work with has always raised some red flags with me [TNTC, really, but most glaring were his backwards views about gays], but yesterday took the ever-lovin’ cake.  I had just heard about Palin’s accusation that Obama is friends with a terrorist (Bill Ayers) and hadn’t heard any actual facts about it.  So this guy swoops in on the convo and says that he heard they live next door to each other, and they’re friends, and that guy [Ayers] helped Obama get his house [in that neighborhood], and it’s all true.  Because – and I’m quoting here –

they couldn’t say it on TV if it wasn’t true.

::crickets::

Yeah.  For real.  Then he says to me, “You’ve gotta watch Fox News, see?  They’re the only ones that are actually fair.  They have a Republican and a Democrat on Hannity and Colmes.  See, otherwise, you’re just getting one side of the story.  You gotta watch Fox News!”

I thought he was joking.  Really, I did.  I’d never heard anyone say out loud [not even a Republican, and I’m surrounded by them here] that Fox News actually is fair.  And believe it.  I asked him if he was joking.  He wasn’t.

Then he just kept going – he doesn’t think that America’s ready for a black president.  He thinks that all the white people will just think he’s only going to help black people [I suppose this might be due in part, to the fact that most people expect others to be like themselves and then begin to project their own characteristics on others.  In this way, it can be inferred that those white people that assume Obama would only help blacks would – if they were in a similar position – only help whites.]  He was quick to remind me that he wouldn’t have a problem with a black president – but other people might would.

After I’d had all the nonsense I could take, I went back to my desk.  But our friend continued to pontificate, telling my female coworker that this whole financial meltdown happened because – wait for it – the terrorists helped Obama help black people get houses/mortgages they couldn’t afford, and now – since they’re not paying on them – we’ve got all these problems on Wall Street.

Yup.  I know someone who believes that ish.  Or at the very least, said it out loud.

I’m actually amazed at the lengths that some people will go to, to support their racism.  These folks are deluding themselves, choosing policies that will actually hurt them but they figure they can live with as long as a white guy is running the show.  Wow.  Tell me how much has changed?

I wanted to talk about the whole financial debacle in more depth but it’s getting late…I suppose my basic point was this: how can you possibly suggest/promote new programs, or increase funding for current programs, and discuss the raging deficit – and then say you’re not going to raise taxes?

Where the *hell* would the money come from???

To me, that is why McCain looked like a ninny tonight.  Sixteen years later: It’s still [or once again, actually] the economy, stupid.

like sand through my fingers

Recently, I’ve been spending money like it’s going out of style.  Which, in a way, it is.  I’ve been called a spendthrift many a time, but for all the name-calling, I do ok when it comes to saving.  Well.  It’s all relative, right?  Depends on who you’re comparing me to.

I have a good plan – I hide my money from myself.  Money is taken straight out of my check for my 401(k), and two savings accounts – before I even get my share (which goes to my checking).  Then – out of my checking account, comes more money towards a high-interest savings account.  That leaves me with enough to pay my bills.

For everything else – there’s MasterCard.

Basically, I pay for everything I possibly can, using my credit card.  This is because I get cash back on purchases, and I don’t get anything back from using checks, or my check card, or cash.  I rarely even carry cash anymore.  [So when I’m at work and feenin’ for a bag o’ chips, you can find me digging through all the crevices in my purse, or biting the bullet and sticking a freakin’ $20 bill in the change machine.  I know.  I’m half-crazy.  Anyway.]  But I was reading an article about how using credit cards makes people spend more, and it got me thinking.

I can completely attest to the fact that I spend more freely because I know I can just pay off the card by the end of the month.  Of course, I have to keep things within reason [i.e. within a range I can actually pay off].  The problem with that is that I sometimes forget what I spend, or what my current balance is.  So when I looked at my bill last week and it was much higher than I wanted it to be, I was a tad bit peeved with myself.

Generally speaking, my financial philosophy can be summarized thusly: I view myself as a conduit for money to pass through, in order for me to get the things I want/need.  I am not a money storage facility.  This is why I have to take every step I can into fooling myself into thinking I have less money than I actually have – so I won’t spend it.  And if I know that I’ve got money somewhere, it needs to be a lil bit harder to get to – so I won’t spend it.

Knowing myself is really half the battle.

But anyway, I had been doing well for a while, and then things kinda crept up on me…within the last month, I’d say.  Every day I got off from work I didn’t feel like cooking.  So I ordered takeout, picked up fast food, etc.  That adds up.  Quickly.  Then there was my dad’s bday to prepare for, baby showers to buy gifts for, graduates to congratulate, my trip to HH, etc., etc., etc.

That doesn’t take into account my higher gas prices, which I don’t fully take into account, considering I don’t have an actual budget.  [Yes.  I know I’m supposed to have one.  But I can’t seem to make myself do it.]

So, this week, inspired by my friends who are also trying to get handles on their fiscal outlook, I decided to tighten my belt.  I am proud to say that I have eaten at home every night this week.

Baby steps, y’all.  Baby steps.

I’m really thankful, though, for the knowledge I’ve gleaned from people who have been looking out for me and my finances my family.  I coulda been in a bad way, because of my habits.  It wasn’t SO long ago that I carried a balance on my credit card and collections on my credit report.

I understand now, that I’ve got to maintain relationships with people who want to be as fiscally responsible as I do.  We have to encourage each other to keep our priorities straight.

And if we eat at each others’ houses, we won’t have to cook as often.

nothing but the ice

I’ve been mulling over a lot in the last few weeks.  Life is happening, and I’m still kickin’, but I’m battling some severe apathy right now.  Sometimes it gets like that, and I’m not sure if it’s fatigue-related or what, but here I am.

Right now, I’m thinking about how teeth-grittingly peeved I was when I read this.  Commentary from here to there echoed many of my thoughts, and I just wanted to watch dancing shows and not think about it.  (And of course, this means I have the joy of knowing that Susie‘s gone, even though I kinda started to feel sorry for her at the end.  Eh.  I did not like her.  Her dancing was all over the place.)

My point?  I just knew R. Kelly was finally going to jail.  He was on freaking video, y’all.  I didn’t watch the vid, but a friend of mine sent me the stills back whenever they first broke [forgetting that I in NO way wanted to see them].  I’m a believer in the idea of innocent until proven guilty.  But when the defense says to me – “who you gonna believe? Us or your lying eyes?”  I choose my eyes.

Video is a powerful exhibit.  I thought it’d be enough.  I should’ve known better.

When you come out and call yourself something like the Pied Piper, I start thinking that you’re just laughing about getting away with murder child rape.  The story of the Pied Piper is one about how a grown man takes advantage of selfish/ignorant parents and lures children into a situation they think is wonderful, but in reality removes them from their homes and families forever.  Tell me again how that’s not making a mockery of this situation?

Those that have the gall to come up with some victim-blaming excuses are inexcusable, in my book.  This girl was thirteen (13!) at the time the video was shot.  Over and over, though, it comes down to the woman’s responsibility to shut a man down for any type of sexual abuse.

It makes me tired.

And I wasn’t looking for much.
Just. ice.