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Thursday, October 23, 2014
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    Monica Smith

    Monica Smith
    Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."
    Number of posts: 185
    Email address: email
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    Posts by Monica Smith:


      Southern Poverty

      It’s not necessarily bad to be poor

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Sep 29, 2011
      Balled up dollar bill

      I don’t say that because poverty used to be a virtue (and, as far as I’m concerned, still is) but because the definition of poor depends to a large extent who’s counting what. If people don’t report their income to the tax man, there’s no way for our government to know how much or little they earn, unless somebody who’s holding a lot of unearned income for them files a report. Most of the country is still on the honor system. Which is, of course, why a whole lot of banksters got away with cooking the books.

      But, that’s neither here nor there…

      Southern Motives

      What jobs and Troy Davis have in common

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Sep 25, 2011
      Republicans smash a sandcastle to beat the tide

      They were destroyed by an idea. Let me try to explain.

      I spent $240 at a children’s clothing store the other day and it felt good. ‘Cause I’m a job sustainer when I do that. Then I went to the P.O. and spent another $11 to send the stuff across the country to a grand kid that’s having a birthday. The guy behind the counter was glad to see a job sustainer too.

      Which makes me think that, again, we’ve allowed the conservatives to write the script…

      Southern PR

      Fake doctors, fake bankers and home-grown terrorists, oh my!

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Sep 18, 2011
      Fake doctors, fake bankers and home-grown terrorists, oh my!

      Our Federal Bureau of Investigations has had a busy week, according to the summary press release for the week of September 16, 2011.

      Of course, most of these are not current violent crimes that are being addressed, so probably don’t account for the fact that there’s been a significant drop in that category. Nevertheless, we can hope that putting some of these nuts out of commission, will have a salutary effect.

      To highlight a few:

      Southern Interventions

      Obama does an intervention

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Sep 10, 2011
      Obama does an intervention

      I don’t mean Libya. According to rumor, Obama had to be dragged into that intervention by the women in his administration.

      I was beginning to wonder if his mother had deprived him of knowing what abuse looks like when he sees it by protecting him from an abusive father. When authority stands silent in the face of abuse, it becomes complicit – disastrous for a person in his position. Victims of spousal abuse know all that. For centuries, they have been told that more obedience is required if beatings are to cease.

      That his conservative colleagues on Capitol Hill are into abuse big time seemed not to have registered with President Obama.

      Southern Kids

      Healthy, Hunger Free Kids

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Sep 6, 2011
      Healthy_Hunger_Free_Kids_Act

      You’d think that adult persons, competent enough to be employed by the Detroit News, would know better than to let their jealousy of the younger generation be on blatant display. You’d be wrong. Richie Rich is getting a free lunch. Oh, no!

      Check this out: A new federal program plans to give every student in qualifying schools two free meals and snack. Every student, regardless of income. Even those who don’t normally qualify for free/reduced meals. Proponents of the program say this will help erase the “stigma” of getting free food when other classmates pay for their lunches (or bring their own). Is that a good enough reason to spend billions of dollars feeding kids who aren’t hungry?

      Southern Deceit

      How many ways to deceive?

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Aug 30, 2011
      Lies and Deceit on Healthcare Reform

      Today I’d like to point out two in connection with the Affordable Care Act, which has recently been in the news because some study by the Kaiser Foundation determined that most Americans don’t know what the health insurance reform effort was/is actually all about. And there’s a good reason for that. The health insurance industry, whose profits are certain to shrink, even if their customer base gets bigger, don’t want people to know. And their agents in various state government positions don’t want to tell the truth either.

      Southern Billionaires

      Lord of Little Rock, DIY Guy

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 26, 2011
      Warren Stephens, Chairman, President and CEO, Stephens Inc.

      Thinking that perhaps his message will have more impact, if, instead of submitting to interviews, he communicates his ideas directly, Warren Stephens, the $2.5 billionaire CEO of Little Rock’s Stephens, Inc, has authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Under the title, “Business Regulation vs. Growth: The View from Middle America,” which he probably didn’t choose, Stephens, purporting to speak for firms with revenues between $25 million and one billion a year, identifies the problems these middle Americans have with uncertainty.

      Southern Views

      Cause, consequence and coincidence

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Aug 20, 2011
      Cause, consequence and coincidence

      It is really difficult to dispute the claims of a person, in this case one Fred Siegel, published in the Wall Street Journal, under the title, “Who Lost the Middle Class?” who can’t tell the difference between cause, consequence and coincidence. But, I’m going to try by responding to just a few assertions, beginning with his first paragraph:

      Forty years from now, politicians, writers, and historians may struggle to understand how America, once the quintessential middle-class society, became as socially stratified as Europe or even Brazil.

      Southern Views

      Privacy is a valuable commodity

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Aug 18, 2011
      Privacy is a valuable commodity

      Rupert Murdoch, the founder and chairman of News Corporation, knows well that privacy is a valuable commodity. That’s why his organization invaded the privacy of victims of crime by hacking into their cell accounts. One man’s privacy is another man’s profit.

      It’s also why the American subsidiary of News Corporation, News America Marketing, has spent over two million dollars trying to get a whistleblower, Robert Emmel, to shut up about the underhanded strategies News America used to do a Tonya Harding on its competition.

      Southern Politics

      What about Scott?

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Aug 12, 2011
      What about Scott?

      What is it about politicians named Scott that they seem to get a leg up on the competition when it comes to elections? It’s not that a name beginning with the letter ‘S’ has the same “first-in-the-alphabet; first in line” advantage that’s accorded to the ‘A’s and ‘B’s. Maybe it’s just a matter of familiarity that’s derived from Scott tissues and Scott bikes and archery equipment, that accounts for the relative ease with which a Scott Walker, a Scott Brown or a Rick Scott can jump to the head of the line. Of course, in the latter’s case the electorate went for notoriety, instead of common sense.

      Anyway, in the process of putting together what I’m going to call the “Barney Fife Brigade,”* members of the House whose cluelessness pretty much demands that they be replaced, I came across yet another Scott whose antics might just make voters think twice about what’s in a name. This one’s from Georgia, Austin Scott, who came in with the Tea Party crowd in 2010, squeezing out a moderate Democrat because, just maybe, voters confused him with the other Georgian Scott, David, who’s been representing parts of Atlanta since 2003.

      Southern Malaise

      The trickle-down club is unhappy

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Aug 8, 2011
      US Treasury Yield - chart

      And with good reason. The presumptuous Standard and Poor’s downgrade of United States Treasury bonds isn’t working out real well. As a last-ditch effort it looks like a bust. The Asian markets are reporting that the bonds themselves seem minimally affected.

      The 10-year Treasury yield increased to 2.579 percent, from 2.563 percent at Friday’s New York close, while the yield on two-year Treasuries fell to 0.268 percent from 0.292 percent, contrary to some predictions of a much more aggressive initial market reaction.

      But, to see the real source of the malaise…

      Southern Politics

      The Dirty DC Dozen

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 5, 2011
      The Dirty DC Dozen

      We don’t even need to know who they are to know that the designation of yet another special or super group to decide which pound of the public’s flesh to cut is a bad idea. The Catfood Commission was made up of the Gang of Six. This time there are twelve, as yet un-knowns. Twice as bad. Double trouble.

      Actually, the long term effect may well be worse. Because, instead of bringing a halt to the tradition of Congress sluffing off its obligations, a tradition that perhaps commenced with the creation of the Federal Reserve, a private bank to manage the currency, the designation of yet another artificial body of surrogates puts the stamp of approval on the shirk.

      Southern Politics

      Georgia Bleeding Banks

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jul 20, 2011
      Georgia Bleeding Banks

      Only sixteen so far this year from Brunswick on the coast to, most recently, Stockbridge and Atlanta. In Stockbridge it was the High Trust Bank that let people down and in Atlanta it was One Georgia Bank that got acquired by an outfit called Ameris. If it seems like there’s not been a lot of fuss and bother, it may just be that the FDIC is working like it ought.

      Southern Politics

      Physician, heal thyself

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jul 17, 2011
      Physician, heal thyself

      That’s obviously a dismissive injunction; another way of saying “mind your own business.” However, directed at Congressman Paul Broun, M.D., it might well be a recipe for disaster, since, if his prescription for the economy is consistent with his medical perspective, Broun seems stuck in a medieval frame of mind–relying on blood-letting and, if the patient is already bleeding, the amputation of another limb.

      But, don’t take my word for it. Here, with the subject heading, “Broun’s Bill to LOWER the Debt Ceiling,” is Broun’s prescription:

      In the midst of our economic emergency, which is beginning to resemble a full-on Greece-style meltdown, every politician in America has taken to the soap box to say the exact same thing: We need to reduce our national debt and cut spending to get America back on track.

      Southern Views

      CAUTION: Deprivators at Work

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jul 15, 2011
      Wheels on Wheels

      New Hampshire is one of the richest states in the nation and has one of the lowest unemployment rates. One reason for those realities is the further reality that the really poor cannot survive in regions where babies freeze to death in their beds in winter. So, if they’ve got any sense, they head South.

      Rochester–“It’ll be the first time since 1972 that we will have to institute a waiting list,” said Strafford Nutrition Meals on Wheels Director Emily Sylvain, the day before her new fiscal year kicked in on July 1…

      Southern Money

      Swiping our Money

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jul 8, 2011
      Swiping our Money

      What do bankers and agents of government have in common? For the most part, they are middlemen acting on someone else’s behalf. This is what makes them competitors. At least, according to the banksters. They see the public purse as a pot of money and they want a part of whatever falls out, when the strings are loosed. Dodd-Frank is an effort to limit how much they can claim.

      It ain’t pretty, but it is good to know that fees banks can charge on debit cards range from 21% to 23%. That’s Dodd-Frank at work. The banks used to charge over 30% — a transaction tax. Who knew?

      Southern Business

      Chastening the Lord of Little Rock?

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jul 6, 2011
      Chastening the Lord of Little Rock?

      Evidence that a person is well on his way to becoming an icon can be found in his name being used, as an aside, to validate otherwise spurious theories by the likes of Stephen Stanley – sitting up in Stamford, Connecticut writing for Market Watch that Keynesian economic policies are (ought to be) about to be replaced.

      I don’t question that Warren Stephens, the billionaire banker and Lord of Little Rock, likely agrees with Stanley. He said as much in an interview with the Wall Street Journal – simply referring to Stephens in a caption of an illustration to an opinion piece, is to elevate him to the status of icon as is so often done with Ronald Reagan.

      Southern Bizness

      To market, to market….

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jul 3, 2011
      To market, to market....

      Our commercial class does perceive itself to be in competition with government (private v. public corporations) in the interest of managing and manipulating the population for fun and profit. If we don’t appreciate that, it’s largely because we don’t conceive of the manipulation of people as the primary function of government. Although some irascible and unwieldy people are in need of restraint and deterrence, the liberal expectation for government is that it address the vagaries of nature and the natural impediments to human sustenance and survival. That is, we’re into caring and sharing, rather than control.

      Southern Politics

      How to seduce a conservative?

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jun 21, 2011
      How to seduce a conservative?

      Flattery. Why does it work? Because conservatives want to be seduced and they want to believe good things about themselves. Besides, their lack of awareness keeps them from recognizing that the flattery is fake.

      To the self-directed, fake flattery may seem abhorrent. In accordance with the golden rule, it’s not something they want to do. Indeed, it seems almost immoral. But, when you consider that conservatives are practically inept — that many, if not all, their endeavors end in failure and failure is, in turn, incapacitating — flattery based on even the most minimal achievement is a…

      Southern Lobbyists

      Commercial Man

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 9, 2011
      Evan Bayh

      A rumination prompted by the announcement that the cherubic dimple-cheeked Evan Bayh is about to go on the road as a shill for the secretive Chamber of Commerce.

      The Chamber is home to the commercial man, the middleman, the person who prospers by taking a “cut” from the producer and consumer side. In the bi-polar or bi-lateral arrangement of reality, there is no obvious place for the commercial man. This is and has always been perceived as a good thing because it means the position is uncontested. That is, the “trader” or, in the early days of European settlement, the “factor” has a free hand in claiming as much profit from the exchange and trade of goods as possible.

      Southern Politics

      Mitch McConnell, juvenile terror?

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jun 1, 2011
      Mitch McConnell

      When our eldest grandson was about four and his mother failed to satisfy some demand, he kicked her in the shins. Since this happened at grandpa’s pond, he was immediately hauled to “his” room to let it register that such aggression was simply not going to be tolerated. But, what I most remember is the feeling of shock that such a little person would attack his own mother. In retrospect, it seems the notion that inflicting punishment to get what one wants is a very primitive one. Bullies are born, it seems; not made. And some, if Mitch McConnell at age 69 is an example, never grow out of it.

      Southern Politics

      Thank you, John Boozman

      by | 1, Add your Comment | May 22, 2011
      US Chamber of Commerce

      That’s what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said recently to the newest junior Senator from Arkansas when it awarded him the “Spirit of Enterprise” award in recognition of his job creating agenda while he served in the House of Representatives and voted in concert with the agenda of foreign and domestic buyers and sellers 94% of the time. Boozman proved himself the friend of the middlemen, including the purveyors of health insurance and a host of financial engineers, by voting against the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank. That the legislation became law anyway suggests that Boozman knows how to have it both ways.

      Southern Candidates

      Newton, don’t speak for me

      by | 3, Add your Comment | May 15, 2011
      Newton, don't speak for me

      Newton Gingrich opined to the Associated Press, “There are the things you want to say and what you need to say,” presumably about himself, but I hate it when pols disavow their connection to their own words by retreating into the second person. So, let me take him literally and point out that I “need” to reject his designation of Barack Obama as a “food stamp president.”

      Who knows what that even means? Presidents don’t print, fund or distribute chits that can only be used to purchase food which, if it’s not consumed by humans, will be thrown away to sustain an army of vermin…

      Southern Rights

      A short history of human husbandry

      by | 0, Add your Comment | May 10, 2011
      Babies Hatching

      Once upon a time, when the continent was sparsely populated (the indigenous peoples having been largely killed off by the introduction of pestilent disease) and natural resources seem so abundant they would never be used up, public bodies (corporations) were organized mainly to distribute the resources to the favored or privileged populace via an assortment of rights:

      • water rights
      • grazing rights
      • hunting rights
      • logging rights
      • mining rights
      • trading rights
      • building rights
      • fishing rights, etc.

      Some of these rights promoted the practice of what we call “animal husbandry.”

      Southern Views

      Sharing and caring at the VA

      by | 1, Add your Comment | May 5, 2011
      Sharing and caring at the VA

      The Veterans Administration is announcing the start of a new program. As of May 9th, they’ll be accepting applications from family caregivers of post 9/11 veterans for stipends, training and other services.

      VA now provides additional support to eligible post-9/11 Veterans who elect to receive their care in a home setting from a primary Family Caregiver. Eligible primary Family Caregivers can receive a stipend, training, mental health services, and access to health insurance if they are not already under a health care plan. Applications can be made starting May 9, 2011.

      Assistance with the application process is available. Caregiver Support Coordinators are stationed at every VA Medical Center; or dial toll-free 1-877-222 VETS (8387).

      Who would dispute this is a good idea? Only people who have convinced themselves that being independent and incompetent is a great way to live, as long as it doesn’t affect them.

      Southern Justice

      A Lesser Evil

      by | 5, Add your Comment | May 2, 2011
      A Lesser Evil

      Democrats like to ask why citizens in the heartland keep voting for people who don’t have their best interest in mind. The conclusion I’ve come to is that, more often than not, it’s the lesser evil they pick. In Georgia, on the edges of the Marshes of Glynn, drug court seems to be a lesser evil for many a weakling who’s fallen into drug addiction, and some who haven’t.

      For some reason, I want to admit, up front, that I consider it reprehensible for our agents of government to concern themselves with what individual persons inhale, ingest, inject or, for that matter, excrete from their own bodies. Also, I generally find the NPR program “This American Life” rather insipid, although on a long road trip, it’s better than religious talk radio. I mention that to explain why a story in this morning’s Georgia Times Union about a Glynn County Superior Court Judge, Amanda Williams, threatening to sue the producer of “This American Life” because she didn’t like the story, Very Tough Love, he did about a drug court she brooks no contradiction in running.

      Southern Politics

      Preachermen

      by | 12, Add your Comment | Apr 26, 2011
      Preachermen

      This little rant is in response to the Graham heir entering the lists on the side of the “birthers” and Muslim bashers. Though I personally think the latter springs from a lingering sense of resentment towards matriarchal muslin frocks.

      It used to be said that “those who can, do and those who can’t, teach” — a slur undoubtedly perpetrated by people whose ability to master the practical skills of reading, writing, measuring and calculating time and distance was deficient for the tasks at hand. A more accurate and up-to-date version of the observation would be “those who can, do and those who can’t, preach.” Not only is our society inundated with people making a living out of telling us how to get to heaven, but warnings about hellfire, both in the after-life and here on earth turn out to be reliable income-producing occupations.

      Which explains, to a large extent, I would wager, the growing antagonism on the part of the ministers of EuroAmerican religions towards preachers from the Middle and Far East.

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