Thank you all for your kind comments about my writing.  From a very young age I have always enjoyed writing and as an adult  have written technical papers and reports in my field and a novel (unpublished) but have never written a non-fiction, biographical book.  Nevertheless I am inspired to consider it, and yesterday (with your donations) picked up two books from Borders – one on writing a bullet-proof book proposal, and another on becoming a freelance writer.  Truthfully I’d be happier making a living (if one can) as a writer than in my profession where I’d risen to the place where long hours, travel and high stress were job requirements! 

But before I get to work on a book (or book proposal) I think I need to email Rep. Bunning about his blocking the extension of jobless benefits.  According to the New York Times, Mr. Bunning has single-handedly blocked consideration of a bill to extend expiring unemployment and related health benefits for 30 days, arguing that the Senate should first find a way to pay for the expense. 

“I don’t know how you negotiate with the irrational,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, told reporters at an informal morning briefing. “I don’t know how you prevent one person who decides they hold in the palm of their hand the livelihood of hundreds of thousands who have lost their jobs.”

Unless Mr. Bunning relents, it appears that the added unemployment pay will lapse for tens of thousands of people.

The Washington Post quoted Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) as saying “It’s going to create hardship across America.” He said Bunning’s action would result in 400,000 people nationwide going without an unemployment check, with that number rising each day.

“It’s hard to argue with a senator who wants to become fiscally responsible, and we should be paying for as much as possible,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) according to McClatchy. “I respect the right of each senator to hold up major legislation. However, when it comes to unemployment benefits, I don’t think it’s fair to punish people who’ve already lost their jobs.”

It is so disheartening that people in the most dire of straits have become pawns in this political game.  For many of us without jobs, our jobless benefits (which we paid into as workers, some (like me) for decades) are our only income.  Blocking benefits for 30 days might strike Mr. Bunning as a benign way to call attention to the Federal deficit but I can assure you that it will mean that many more people will slide that much closer to foreclosures, to homelessness, to going hungry and sleeping on the street.  Those who can will dip into their meager savings to pay the mortgage, rent, utilities and other bills, but those who live from benefit check to benefit check will forego paying bills, damaging their credit and falling further behind on their obligations.  It will mean more anxiety, sleepless nights, and tension in families. Another hit on our waning hope. We really don’t need this Mr. Bunning.