During the last few months I have been busy trying to protect our plants and bird feeders from predators. Chipmunks were burrowing in our flower beds, eating roots. Deer were spotted in the valley below, also eyeing our vegetation, and squirrels were succeeding in climbing the bird feeder poles.
I first got some little canisters at the local Ace Hardware which purportedly gave off a scent unnoticeable to humans but offensive to the deer. The unobtrusive canisters seemed to work, but I supplemented them with a deer repellent spray on the rose bushes. I bought a trap and relocated two chipmunks, four squirrels and an opposum. I haven't seen the chipmunks or opposum again, but trapping squirrels would be a never-ending process here adjacent to the woods.
So, after looking at squirrel shields available at local bird supply stores, I decided to make my own. At the hardware store I bought 6 inch diameter by 24 inch length galvanized stove pipe and 6 inch diameter dampers to fit into the top end of the pipe ( I drilled a center hole in the damper so it would slip over the bird feeder pole). I assembled and installed my own shields and painted them black.
So far they are working!
I have had a lot of thoughts and opinions which I withheld until the election was over. Now, in a less partisan way, I feel like sharing some of them.
George Will says the large turnout in this election was due to the increase in the information available to voters as the result of commercials financed by organizations funded from corporation and union funds unleashed by the Supreme Court's wise decision lifting limits on such funding. Well maybe those ads did arouse more people to go to the polls, but my opinion is that they were full of misrepresentations and outright lies and did little to "inform" the public on the issues. And in my opinion it is obscene that millions of dollars are spent on election commercials that could otherwise be put to better use.
Point. An argument for right-to-work laws is that a worker should be free to either pay or not pay dues to a union; but as a stockholder through a mutual fund investing in a corporation, I may unknowingly be contributing dollars supporting a candidate that I oppose. (Indiana is the only "right-to-work" state in the great lakes region.)
Blue Cross/Blue Shield was originally formed without stockholders (not-for-profit). In some states it still is, but Wellpoint now owns Blue Cross/Blue Shield in many states including Indiana and California. Wellpoint and other large health insurance companies serve two masters, policyholders and investors. You know what that means. The CEO of Wellpoint was recently replaced because large investors were not satisfied with earnings! Herein lies a major cause of the high cost of healthcare. In my opinion, President Obama should have pushed for a single-payer healthcare provision to be included in the law passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress.
Now to education. Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction was defeated because he and the Governor had been agressive in supporting vouchers, charter schools, and grading all schools based on standardized tests. Under his direction, the state even took over some low-performing schools and hired out-of-state corporations to run those schools. Teachers and parents had had enough. Why is it popular belief that professional educators are less qualified to decide what is the best way to improve the education process? While politicians argue that funds aren't available for preschool and kindergarten, school lunch programs are sustaining children in poverty homes, and teachers are required to teach what is on the test rather than develop the individual child, the public is told that it is the fault of the professionally-trained school administration and teachers! Public funds are diverted to private corporations, which have to serve two masters again, the student and the stockholder!
Ladies and Gentlemen, some things belong in the private sector and some things do not! Insurance companies should not be making huge profits and paying exhorbitant salaries to executives while providing health insurance. A strong public school system is fundamental to the future of our country. Public funds should not be diverted to profit- making organizations and stockholders to educate our children.
Balancing the national budget will reguire both increased revenue and budget cuts. Cuts can be made in some areas without reducing the services provided. A single-payer system will reduce the cost of providing healthcare. It may mean the elimination of some jobs in the large insurance companies, but a significant number of persons in Congress did not seem worried when thousands were about to be without jobs if certain domestic auto companies failed.
These are my opinions. You don't have to agree with me, but if you don't, start your own blog. Don't bother me with comments.