Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Response From CVS

Below is the response I received from a CVS Customer Relations Representative:

"Thank you for your e-mail regarding your thoughts on our new pharmacycommercials for CVS/pharmacy. The pharmacists in the commercials areactual CVS pharmacists sharing their stories of experiences they havehad with our customers. I am sorry to hear you have not had such apositive experience, and I apologize for any inconvenience.We appreciate the time that you have taken to express your thoughts onour company. At CVS, customer input plays an important role ininfluencing how we run our business. Therefore, I have advised theappropriate departments of your comments. We value your patronage and look forward to serving you again soon."
Sincerely,Melissa PinaCustomer Relations Representative

Believe it?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ridiculous CVS Television Commercials

Anyone else seen the ridiculous CVS television commercials? The ones in which a caring, concerned pharmacist tells a story about how much they care for their customers, and how much they have personally done to help their customers? I have to laugh everytime I see one of these commercials. I have been in several area CVS stores, and never have I seen a caring, concerned pharmacist or pharmacy staff in the store! They are usually so busy and impersonal! What a crock of STUFF!

Our Impact

I just finished what I like to call my mini-winter break vacation. As a State employee, I have both Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays off, so I usually take a few vacation days in between to make it a nice vacation, usually one that does not include going on a trip. This year’s mini-winter break vacation seemed to have a theme throughout: DEATH. But, not to worry, it wasn’t DEATH as in a horrible, tragedy, but more a realization as to what LIFE is all about.
I started my brief vacation with a visit to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia where I witnessed Body Worlds, the Gunther von Hagens’ anatomical exhibition of real human bodies. As you enter the exhibit, there is a memoriam to the men and women who have donated their bodies to the exhibit. These were once, living, breathing human beings, now preserved, displayed for all the curiosity seekers like me to see, bones, muscles, nerves, and other anatomical parts in full view. The viewer is informed that no information would be provided as to who these people were in their living state. In addition to the full grown human beings, there were fetuses in varying stages of development, from the beginning of the fourth week in uteri, to infants that were stillborn, many with different ailments. I must say this exhibit was amazing!
On Saturday night, I went to hear one of my favorite country music duos, Brooks and Dunn at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. What a fantastic show! During the song, “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone”, visuals of many in the country music business that have died flashed behind the musicians. One could not help but recognize greats such as John and June Carter, Merle Haggard, and Tammy Wynette. All these individuals touched many lives.
Then it hit me! Not all of us become famous individuals that will touch the masses, but we all touch someone in our lives. Like those anonymous donors to Body Worlds, most of us will never be known but by our immediate family and friends. Many of us will live and die, never known to the world, but remembered only by those we did come in contact with. So what is important in most of our lives the impact on those we do become involved with. This, and “grabbing all the gusto” we can in our hopefully long lives. But, whether we’re here a few minutes or 60, 70, 80 years or more, we need to keep in mind the only thing that really matters is what affect we have on those we interact with. And hopefully, it will be a positive remembrance of us when we’re gone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Now To Wait For The Decision

Well, the NJ Supreme Court heard arguments today that could legalize gay marriage in the state. David Buckel, senior staff attorney for Lambda Legal, argued this morning in front of New Jersey's Supreme Court that the state, "has created a second-class citizenship" by denying same-sex couples the right to marry. The case, Lewis v. Harris, was heard with a unusually filled courtroom. Now the wait is on as the court is not expected to rule on the case until sometime this spring.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

And We Think We Got Alot of Snow!

The National Weather Service measured the snow in NYC's Central Park...26.9 inches! Down my way near AC, we got about 4-5 inches, and the most I've seen registered in NJ was 11.5 inches. Now double that, and add a few more inches, and that's what NYC got! Now that's alot of snow. There is nothing more beautiful than Central Park in the snow! And there's nothing more ugly than the NYC streets come tomorrow afternoon after all the cars and people have made their way through it. It'll no longer be white snow, but dark muck! But the park will continue to be in its beauty for a few days anyway!

No Wonder Bush Doesn't Hunt With Cheney

Dick Cheney accidentally shot a hunting partner during a quail hunting weekend. Cheney was said to have been uttering, "There's Osama" shortly before spraying his hunting partner with gunshot. Bush was reported to have said, "No way do I hunt with Cheney."

A Big Week For Gays In NJ

This week could see another huge benchmark in NJ for gay individuals. NJ could become the second state to legalize gay marriage in a case that will be heard before the NJ Supreme Court. The New Jersey Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Wednesday that gay and lesbian couples hope will lead to same-sex marriage rights in the garden State. While alot of states in the US are moving to ban gay marriage, with amendments making the only legal marriage that between a man and a woman, NJ has been among the few states that instead has chosen to give more rights to gay couples. Seven gay and lesbian couples, some together as long as 30 years, and some raising children, sued the State of NJ in 2002, arguing that a state statute defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. This case was rejected at trial and appellate court levels, but legal analysts say the NJ Supreme Court could swiftly legalize gay marriage. "New Jersey's court has a long and proud history of interpreting cases in favor of civil rights, and a victory in this case would be in keeping with that tradition," said Sally Goldfarb, a family law professor at Rutgers University Law School in Camden who studies family law issues. "The New Jersey Supreme Court has not hesitated to overturn state laws, and so these litigants are in a better position than they would be before most other courts across the country." So, the 3,700 registered same-sex domestic couples and many more may soon realize the benefits of real, legal marriage in NJ. One can only hope for the best.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Arrogance of NJ State Officials Is Unbelievable!

Last week, those of us like myself who work for the State of NJ, learned that former Human Services Commissioner James Davy was being investigated by the US Attorney General's Office. It appears Davy may have violated federal corruption laws when he solicited business from state contractors four days before he resigned from his position of Human Services Comminssioner as part of the usual "house cleaning process" that is done anytime a new Governor comes into office. (Governor Jon Corzine accepted Davy's resignation and appointed Kevin Ryan to replace Davy). The probe follows a report in The Star-Ledger about an e-mail Davy sent to all 21 county Human Services directors on Jan. 13, four days before his departure. In it, he encouraged them to hire him as a consultant to advise them on spending $1.7 million in child abuse prevention grants they were expecting to receive from the department. The "Plain Language Guide to New Jersey's Executive Branch Ethics Standards," published by the ethics commission, spells out restrictions for state officials seeking employment, which include not soliciting employment with any vendor doing business with the State if one has "direct and substantial contact with any consultants or vendors doing business with the State." Davy could not be reached for comment, but in earlier interviews he said he was "kicking himself now" for sending the e-mails before he left office Jan. 17. (DUH!!!). Davy also said he had researched post-employment restrictions. "The advice I've always gotten is that, if you're not the one who's directly involved in negotiating or shaping the initiative or contract, then it is not necessarily a conflict under the law."
So, you can imagine the talk around the office following this report. Some chalked it up to just plain stupidity, but I have to say it is just plain arrogance! Most ethical and moral individuals would not even need a law to say this is wrong! Why would anyone think he/she has the right to seek employment from a contractor with whom you have oversight on the contracts received, directly or indirectly. Sure, as Commissioner, Davy himself would not directly negotiate the contracts, but he could certainly influence staff under him in awarding contracts! But, because individuals like Davy think they can do whatever they damn well feel like, do such arrogant, unethical, immoral things!
Those of us who are the low peons in the system are afraid to take a $2.00 box of chocolates or some homemade jam from someone contracted with the State, or as appreciation for work well done by a family, for fear we are violating State Ethical Standards. But people like Davy can look for employement, probably involving hundreds of thousands or dollars, for their own personal gain! It makes one stop to think just what kind of people we have in the higher echelons of State government!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cindy Freed!

Police dropped the charges filed against anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan after she was arrested prior to Tuesday's State of the Union Address. The unlawful conduct charge against Sheehan was being dropped, said Deputy House Sergeant of Arms Kerri Hanley. An apology was also given to Ms. Sheehan. "They (Capitol Police) were operating under the misguided impression that the T-shirt was not allowed," Hanley said. Maybe there is justice afterall? Or maybe the Bush people just wanted Cindy out of the way for the night, but realized what a negative impact the arrest would have on Bush's erroding approval rating?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Christian "Backlash" Against BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN?

ABC's World News Tonight did a story about the Christian Backlash against the movie BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. I have not heard of any such "backlash" of any significance yet, but ABC's ratings must be down so they will cater to the conservative Christian right. Time Magazine did a story on BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN in the January 30, 2006 issue bringing to light the lack of protests and concern the movie has brought. Time's story actually said, "In a more benign and constructive way, America is now experiencing the Brokeback breakthrough." So to ABC I ask, "Where is all this backlash?"
In the World News Tonight story, ABC reported that religious groups say gay-themed movies show just how out of touch Hollywood is with America. "It's a sad day for American when a small group of very determined activists are dominating the awards ceremony," said Janice Crouse, the senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, a think tank associated with the Concerned Women for America. I would argue with Ms. Crouse that perhaps it is she and her group that is the "small group of very determined activists," not those gays in Hollywood pushing their agenda. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was released in a limited number of theatres, but it has moved into more and more movie theatres in more and more areas of the US. Sure, as ABC put it, "The Oscar best picture nominees are apparently not playing in Peoria, as the saying goes," but who really cares!
I am so sick and tired of the conservative Christian right thinking they are the only right people in this country. And I am tired of ABC news trying to make more of this "backlash" than really exists! I think America is ready for a movie like BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. And more importantly, I think America is ready for more tolerance of gays. It is the "small group of very determined activists" like Crouse and other conservative Christians that keep us in the dark ages!

Way To Go Cindy!

Cindy Sheehan was arrested in the House of Rep's Gallery just before Bush's State of the Union Address because she refused to cover up an anti-war t-shirt. "She was asked to cover it up. She did not," said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman, adding that Sheehan was arrested for unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor. Sheehan could receive up to one year in jail, but I doubt she'll get any time. However, if Bush wanted, he could get rid of Sheehan for at least a year. Sheehan seems to be the only one in the US continuing to voice her opposition to the war in Iraq. Way to go, Cindy!
I did not watch the State of the Union Address last night, as I previously said I would not do, but from what I have read, Bush did not offer many answers to the continued presence of the US in Iraq, or when that presence would end. How many more will have to die, Mr. Bush? Isn't it about time the American people get some answers? Isn't it about time our troops and their families get some answers?
Thank you, Cindy Sheehan!