Thursday, April 15, 2010

say yes to the tax

Sorry, I just can't help but climb onto my political soapbox for this one.

The South Carolina legislature pass a tax increase in cigarettes last night, raising the tax by .50 cents a pack. That tax would still be lower then the national average, but it is a significant step.

Now I am of the mind that some South Carolinians will simply say "that's to much" and will give up smoking. Hopefully many do, as it is an activity that has a high potential for some serious life threatening diseases to the smoker. But realistically, that isn't likely to happen right away. So at least for the short term, this tax could represent an influx of new monies.

The bill hopes to help give funding to our state's Medic-aid program, which is in dire need of funding. Not too long ago, our budget shortfall threatened to make it possible to cut funding to our disabled citizens, which would have a terrible ripple effect. That proposal was tabled. It is possible that this pending tax bill was planned to help with that issue. Other proposals for the bill was to help with funding for agriculture and transportation issues, but they were removed to help spur the passage of the bill. It isn't a perfect solution, nor will it be a long term solution, but it is something that would help bring funding to one aspect of our state's budgeting needs. The bill passed.

Our governor has promised to veto the bill. His apparent reasoning is that we need an off-set tax in that bill someplace equal to the tax increase. Ok, this is where I scratch my head in wonder and say WHAT???

We are in a budget shortfall because our legislature and our governor has cut taxes and spent what used to be a budget surplus. They ignored the fact that economies have downturns and acted as if the sky was going to be sunny forever and there would never be a rainy day. Then the thunderstorm hit. All of a sudden people were getting laid off, and losing homes, stock portfolios took hits, and a whole lot of  South Carolinians signed up for unemployment and state assistance. That rainy day fund quickly went dry. Our elected officials in Columbia looked for ways to tweak their budget to stem the flow of money pouring out too quickly. They even took a little unpaid furlough. It is obvious that spending had to get under control, but that was only part of the solution.

SC depends on  taxes and fees to operate. We have a fairly low sales tax, lower for food, a lottery for which we get about .25 out of every dollar, lower property taxes on higher higher valued homes, the lowest cigarette tax in the nation. In all honesty there isn't much more that I can see where we can reduce the state's revenue stream. We get some funding from the feds for programs, but that only covers part of the state's needs. The rest must come from ourselves.

A few weeks ago I had emailed both my state representatives about the threatened cut to disability. The one response I got was honest, but still disappointing. They were hoping for yet received federal funding to help offset this crises. After speaking with people in other states, I realized that that funding was likely not forthcoming. We are a little more on our own when it comes to our state's citizens who are low income, or disabled and in need of healthcare.

Therefore I am appalled that our governor would even consider vetoing this matter. Cutting more taxes elsewhere fixes nothing, we need to start looking at ways of upping our state's income, as we also look for ways to operate smarter, and a bit leaner. Sorry to bust your bubble Mr. Sanford, but to make more money for our budget, you have to earn it. To earn it in government means a phrase you apparently find horrific...higher taxes. Yes, its an ugly combination, but it is right now a very necessary one. Sign the bill.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Futility and the pillow

Yes I know really strange blog title, but let me explain. My head rested on my pillow last night, but there was little snoring to be had on my part. Sleep was an effort in futility and my pillow was an up close and personal witness to that little fact. Lately I have not had much problems with missing sleep, thanks to a major life changes, but now and then insomnia rears its ugly head

I've dealt with insomnia for most of my adult life. Sometimes one of those little cogs in my brain will fixate on something, and like a hamster on an exercise wheel, will go round and round and round, with no destination or end in sight. I have to be very careful not to watch television or a movie too close to bedtime, especially if it is violent or there is a catchy tune in there somewhere. My brain will latch on to that with the tenacity of super glue, and I will lie awake half the night while I wait for my brain to stop running on that damned wheel. Trust me those catchy tunes are the worst, especially the ones from movies involving beleaguered princesses.

Sometimes, it in anticipation of an expected event, like a trip I am going to be taking, or something fun and personal, I have been working on achieving and it all comes together tomorrow. All that hyper, nervous energy just won't tamp down enough for me to do much more then toss and turn, all night. Did that just give you a certain Bobby Lewis song for your brain to chew on? Well it did me. Sorry about that, lack of sleep, makes my brain work in more then it's usual strange and mysterious ways.

Most of the time, my insomnia is due to stress, sudden or long term. Before I separated from my husband, insomnia was a common theme in my sleep patterns. I didn't realize until afterwards how the extreme negative environment of my relationship was affecting something as mundane as sleep, until a couple of months after we separated.  My sleep patterns had gotten so bad that I needed medication for a short time to reset things. Sudden stress episodes, especially the negative ones, will have me lying wide awake at 4 A.M. while my brain plays every possible scenario, with imagined dialog,  by the people involved in the situation, and no sure outcome from any of it. My overactive imagination takes full advantage of the situation. It is most frustrating.

This last is the reason I was up making coffee this morning at 4:30, having given up on getting any real sleep, and I am sitting here, still in my pajamas, wishing the coffee cup wouldn't empty so quickly. I had an unexpected and very unpleasant turn of events that happened yesterday that is all part of the whole nasty, let's get a divorce thing. Someone,  not sure quite yet who the real instigator is, tried to pull a fast one, even though I tried to make clear many things about this matter weeks in advance, so this very thing would not happen. It ended up being a very upsetting day without being able to resolve a single aspect of it till later this morning. That makes for the perfect setting for" Sylvie ain't getting a wink of sleep".

So all my friends and co-workers out there, please be patient with me today. I am a bit punchy, still grouchy, want a nap, that just isn't going to fit into my schedule, and am just hoping and praying, ( I do a lot of that these days) that all this goes away soon, and I can once again enjoy  6 to 8 hours of blissful sleep.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sylvie is...a movie promoter

Amazing. A little over a year ago, I mention a particular brand of toilet paper in my Miss Mom Column over at The Spartanburg Spark. That begin an interesting journey, as I was eventually contacted by a marketing company connected to Procter and Gamble who owns several great brands that we all know and many of us use. I have been sent several items to try and review to my readers. Now I am have the opportunity to try something new.

I was sent a press release package from P &G today. They also tossed in a cute popcorn bowl and some microwave Orville and Redenbacher's popcorn. My movie loving kids will have that popped up and eaten in no time.

P&G have partnered with Walmart in an effort to bring more quality  entertainment options for families. They did a bit of research with the Association of National Advertisers Alliance for Family Entertainment, and discovered that parents are wanting something they can view together as a family. The first product of this new venture is a made for television movie named Secrets of the Mountain. It will air Friday, April 16 at 8/7c on the NBC network.

The film is part dealing with family dynamics and problems and part treasure hunting adventure. Think National Treasure with kids as the treasure hunters. At least that is what I got from the trailer that I was able to view. One key line, and a theme of the film is "Families don't run away, they run together".

This is not the first foray into television programming for P&G. They have sponsored or produced television shows for over 50 years. A partnership with the Walmart corporation hopefully will be a winner for the companies and for we the viewers.

Which brings me to this. I will not be able to watch the premier of Secrets of the Mountain because of a scheduling constraint, but you can. I would love your take on the film, and will post your views as a follow up. In addition I have an opportunity granted to me to give away a DVD of the film and the CD soundtrack produced by Randy Jackson. If you are interested, email me. I will hold a drawing, and then announce the winner. The will receive their price directly from P&G.  The soundtrack features a variety of new and established artists. That could be a nice addition to your family's entertainment collection, and is a advance before these are actually released sort of thing. Walmart will be selling both the DVD and the CD as a package later this year.

Monday, April 5, 2010

new look....again...sigh

Well it took a complete template redo, reload of certain elements and a little html tweaking to get the tracking to work on this here blog again. I only tried it about a half dozen times, before I got an email from Google, with instructions, to reset everything and where to put in the code I needed to get analytics working again.

Maybe one of my classes, when I go back to school this year should be on website design and maintenance. It is so easy to muck something up.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Oh reader, where art thou?

I use a program called Google Analytics to track the visits to this here website, and I was noticing a slow but upwards trend. Then something happened after the first of the year. Either the visit tracker is broken, or no one is visiting my blog anymore. I sure hope that it is the former and not the latter.

I know that someone is aware of my little blog and the things I discuss here, especially the spammers who are hoping that I am idiotic enough to publish their comment hawking some nefarious product no one really wants to buy. I get about one of those comment attempts every couple of weeks, usually for an older post.

It is discoveries like this one that makes me wonder if I am beating my head against a literary rock. I write to share with others, and I now wonder if I am wasting my time here. I know I can see more fruitful ground over at The Spark, and it was this little blog that helped me get my start there, but should I continue with Sylvie is a Blogger? Should I close the door here and open up another elsewhere? Or should I say chuck it all, and keep writing, even if I am the only one who ever reads this thing? At least I have a free place to store what ramblings I pen.