Roger Answers Your Questions, Gordon, Tom, Demeur, and Uthaclena

When I’ve just written something difficult, the meme serves as a sort of intellectual “palate cleaners”, as it were.


Gordon of Blog This, Pal!, who had a birthday this month, the day before mine actually, asks:
With all the rampant de-funding that seems to be happening (NPR, Americorps), do you think it’s being done out of partisan motivations? Or simply (as I like to think of it) a case of relatively new legislators playing hack and slash without really considering the consequences?

Gordon, you attribute to these legislators a level of naivete that I just don’t find at all convincing. An opportunity to get rid of Planned Parenthood funding, for instance, is like a dream come true for the GOP, at least since 1994; maybe since 1973. Never mind the facts that 1) the funding, per the Hyde Amendment, cannot be used for abortions and 2) the services that are provided are often the only medical treatment some women get. I find it incredibly cynical that they want to, symbolically at least, support the unborn, while at the same time, imperil the born by cutting programs such as WIC (Women, Infants, Children.)

Getting rid of those damn liberals at NPR will be saving, at a cost, especially in some rural communities, of having any local radio at all. And speaking of NPR, it distresses me that a faux journalist with a microphone and video camera can help besmirch the network by clever editing, the same way Shirley Sherrod can be forced out of the Department of Agriculture based on the same clever manipulation.

Let’s be realistic, though: if cuts are to be made to the federal budget, it’ll have to come from somewhere. A good 88% of the budget has been deemed by pundits as non-discretionary. As much as I hate agreeing with columnist George Will, that’s nonsense. Most of the budget, save for payment on the debt, is discretionary; it may require Congressional action, but it’s not untouchable. But which jobs program is one to cut: a factory making weapons that the Department of Defense doesn’t even want, which employs a number of folks in the district of a powerful member of Congress, or Americorps, whose only native constituency are not-for-profits and some smaller governments?

There are choices as to what to “hack and slash”, and they seem to be quite targeted, while other programs, even within the 12% of the budget that everyone considers discretionary, have been considered off-limits by House GOP leaders.
***
Tom the Mayor, with whom I worked at FantaCo, wonders:
Do you think State budget cuts will affect your librarian job? How about your wife’s job? I know Medicaid cuts have already cost me one job and might cost me my present one.

Well, indirectly, yes. My job gets some state money, so that’s a possibility. But if the US Small Business Administration gets a 45% cut, as proposed in the Obama budget, that’d be even worse for the Small Business Development Centers, which do the hands-on counseling, and therefore, that’s not great for my colleagues and me if there are fewer centers and counselors. So it’s the federal budget I’m more worried about.

My wife’s job is with BOCES. If the district she works in decides to hire their own ESL teacher, my wife has been with BOCES longer, and with good evaluations, than any other ESL teacher in the area. So probably not.
***
Demeur, who I read regularly, relates:
Thomas, I feel for you I’m in the same boat that might sink any time now. I retrained for a different job only to have funding cut. I was lucky enough to get tied into a temp job with a government agency. I now hear that this program may be cut…

My question: Have you considered what you’d do if you had to change careers?

It’s difficult to think of my life as having a “career”. Besides being a librarian, the kind of jobs I’d like and for which I could make the case for which I’m currently qualified are writing, editing, customer service, retail sales, and some sort of instruction.
***
My good friend Uthaclena asked me – well it was more that he indicated that he didn’t understand me doing those meme things such as Sunday Stealing.

Well, here’s why I do them.

1. The process of answering predetermined questions I find as an interesting exercise for me. Moreover, I often find out things about me that I didn’t know before. It’s a controlled reveal.
2. Sometimes, when I need to write something that is difficult and/or time-consuming, it starts the writing juices going.
3. Related: when I’ve just written something difficult, the meme serves as a sort of intellectual “palate cleaners”, as it were.

And in writing this, I realize that I do pretty much the same thing at work.

We librarians generally take the next question in the queue. Sometimes, the query is a bear, requiring a certain learning curve before even attempting to respond to it. Occasionally, I get stuck, waiting for someone from a government agency or an association to call or write me back. While I’m waiting, I might take another question down the list that I know is answerable. Perhaps it’s Census data I know exists, or regulations for a type of business I’ve helped before, or a business list. After struggling with something difficult, I want a “win”, something I KNOW I can answer without great difficulty.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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