Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tax Time

Another tax story; this one from Sojourners magazine. The author of the story makes no bones about the fact that she is proud to pay taxes and considers it her civic duty… "I feel paying taxes is one of the most patriotic things I get to do as a citizen of the United States. I'm proud of my country. My taxes pay for roads, schools, police protection, trash pickup, health care, and social services for seniors and people with disabilities. Taxes create the kind of community that I want to live in." And you should know that she lives in D.C and that means she has no representation in Congress or the Senate. She really knows what taxation without representation means.

Then this about Warren Buffett; Mr. Buffett is one the richest men in the world and can (and will) tell you that the rich are not taxed enough. He's been saying this for years and no one listens. Her story continues…"We overtax the poor and undertax the wealthy. It's a fact—ask billionaire investor Warren Buffett. He has offered to bet a million dollars
that no member of the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans can prove that the group pays a higher percentage of income in payroll taxes than their receptionists do. This is a very safe bet. Well over two years later, he's had no takers.

Billionaires paying a lower tax rate than the folks who answer the phones? I don't care what your politics are; that's just unfair.

And Buffett is just talking about federal payroll taxes (income, Social Security, and Medicare). On top of that, many of the taxes you and I pay—sales, property, excise, energy—are not based on our income, but on our consumption. The same sales tax is added to everyone's purchase regardless of the buyer's ability to pay—and this disproportionately affects the poor, who spend the highest percentage of their income on daily necessities. Same for property taxes. They are based on the value of your house, sure, but the taxing body doesn't ask what your income is before they calculate your tax. It just is what it is."

By Jennifer Hope Kottler

From The Writer's Almanac

with Garrison Keillor:
"It's the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, born in Zundert, Holland (1853). As a young man, he was deeply religious and went off to do missionary work in a coal-mining region in Belgium. One day he decided to give away all of his worldly goods and live like a peasant. But his religious superiors thought he was having a nervous breakdown. They kicked him out of the mission and he had to go home. It was then that he started to draw and paint. He taught himself with art books and by studying the masters."

Health (mental) care in the 19th century. It's still the same in the 21st...

RNC Spending Spree

Raises Questions as Michael Steele Takes Heat - ABC News:

"The expenses were not racked up by Steele, but staffer Erik Brown in the name of entertaining young Republicans."

Young Republicans are males...only? Young and dumb males? And did the female Young Republicans have a separate but equal form of entertainment? I bet Erik is quite the intellectual. Not.

For Sale

So it begins…once more we're on the move, or I should say that we're planning on it. Like most Californians, we move a lot, in fact, I believe that California holds that dubious record; the Golden Stater's move more than the citizens of any other state. I think this would be our tenth move since we married, 47 years ago? Whatever.

We signed on with a realtor yesterday and that starts the process. Yes, we know this is not the best of years to be selling houses but we need the change; we've been here for six years and that's enough for us. We had aspirations of being true country folks again when we moved here and thought we had made a wise choice, being half an hour away from a medium sized city with its benefits and five minutes away from a small town with its benefits? As it turned out, the benefits of country life turned out to be negligible. Fresh air? Not here; harvesting and field burning are the norm here and you cannot believe how much dust is raised throughout the county when they start shaking trees to harvest almonds and walnuts. Then there is the burning of the rice fields at the end of harvest and that spreads a pall over this end of the valley. Then there are the politics of a Red County…and not even basic cable…dialup internet…no shops…no theatres…no art…one grocery store and they know it…

I better not get started on negatives; let's just say it isn't for us anymore. Plus the fact that my two recent back surgeries have left me unable to contribute much to the maintenance of a large house and a small orchard. I'm definitely getting better, but it is a long process and even then, with the spinal fusion I have, heavy lifting is out of the picture forever. (Yippee!)

The surgeries also contributed to our decision because we found that the thirty minute drive to the hospital became an hour round trip and that might happen a couple of times a day. On a fast moving two lane highway. What does the future hold? I'm almost 70 and so I have to assume that there will be the possibility of more medical needs.

Where do we go from here? We're looking at Chico first and I also want to investigate co-housing in Nevada City. If these don't work out for us…it's the 'Big Island' for sure! Truth is, that would be my first preference but it also requires a lottery win. We're hopeful about the possible sale. The economy is showing signs of something? And Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By just sold her place in record time and is now looking to buy somewhere else. That's positive news and that is the kind we're looking for.

Wally says NO

To just about everything…


 

Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act - Vote Passed (246-178, 5 Not Voting)

The House passed this legislation to provide tax incentives for small business job creation, extend the Build America Bonds program, and provide other infrastructure job creation tax incentives. It now goes to the Senate.

Rep. Wally Herger voted
NO.


 

Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act of 2010 - Vote Passed (239-175, 1 Present, 14 Not Voting)

The House approved this measure that would provide funding for disaster relief, summer jobs and small business programs. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Rep. Wally Herger voted
NO


 


 

FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act - Vote Passed (276-145, 8 Not Voting)

The House passed this bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration through FY 2011 and expedite the transition to a new air traffic control system. The bill now heads to the White House for the President's signature.

Rep. Wally Herger voted
NO


 


 

Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 - Vote Passed (220-207, 3 Not Voting)

On Thursday night, the House agreed to Senate amendments to this legislation that would make changes to the 2010 health care overhaul law and revise student loan procedures. It now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it on Tuesday.

Rep. Wally Herger voted
NO


 

Way to go, Wally!

Monday, March 29, 2010

GOP

The party of family values? Michael Steele's RNC ran up almost $2K at strip club

Got to love it! we could try to make this stuff up, but why bother?

F=Failed

Most of the news this morning is focused on Michigan and the F.B.I. raids on the Hutaree militia. So, yes, I had to do it…I visited the Hutaree website. Besides being a very weird and dangerous looking website, a lack of common education was evident as well. I know it's not a popular idea, but I see the proliferation of these militia and 'end times' groups as hard evidence that we have a failing education system. Seriously failing! And it has been for years, as these people, the Hutaree and others like them, were raised by parents with the same failed education. And it's happening to the children of these group members. It's not just a Michigan problem, it's everywhere and we will see a proliferation of these groups in the near future as more and more uneducated young men discover that there are no jobs for them. Danger? It's a young man, age 16 to 28, with no job, no family and no prospects of obtaining them. The 'militia' groups are looking for these young men and we can only watch it happening. We failed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Most Companies

Pay No Federal Income Tax - CBS News

I've been saying this same thing to friends and family for years. It's not a big secret and anyone and everyone can and should know about it...so why isn't this a headline story? A major headline? And why aren't we all mad about it?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

From Charles Blow

an Op-Ed Columnist at the NYT-
"Whose Country Is It?"

Regarding the Tea Party "...they were disproportionately white, evangelical Christian and “less educated ... than the average Joe and Jane Six-Pack.” This at a time when the country is becoming more diverse (some demographers believe that 2010 could be the first year that most children born in the country will be nonwhite), less doctrinally dogmatic, and college enrollment is through the roof. The Tea Party, my friends, is not the future."

Our nations demographics and the Tea Party. A story that they cannot swallow...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Something different

Since we are always looking for meals for two, we scour the frozen food aisle at Trader Joe's place whenever we can. That's where we found Polenta Provencal… Says four servings as a side dish but we ate two apiece as we made it into our entrée. Takes all of ten minutes from start to finish, that includes setting the table. Stir in frying pan for seven minutes and then serve. This is good!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

GOP Senators

Refusing To Work Past 2PM, Invoking Obscure Rule

Isn't there one Senator with some backbone? A Senator who will defy this rule? What will they do if you ignore the rule? Toss you out? I don't think so! C'mon...it's not a boys & girls club house, it's where we expect our (mature) Senators to be about the nations business. (These people are beyond redemption.)

Herger

calls health care bill a disaster | bill, press, associated - Local News - Orland Press Register:

"'This bill brings us even further down a bad road for America,' he said in a statement. 'It's a road where big government directs the future of our economy, bureaucrats take the place of doctors, and federal mandates replace individual freedoms.'"

Wally is a liar. Plain and simple. Our economy was ruined by the banks because there were no government regulations. Insurance companies have already taken the place of doctors. And federal mandates can protect us from the insurance companies.

Herger needs to be removed from office at the first opportunity. Actually, he should be so embarrassed that quitting now would be his best option.

The man is a disgrace!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

azcentral.com blogs

Joe The Plumber in Arizona same day as Sarah Palin

Yikes! With McCain, Joe the Plumber and Sarah Quittypants all in Arizona at the same time, Idaho may lose its reputation as the home state of the crazies!

Obama to Sign Health Care Bill

Into Law as Republicans Challenge Constitutionality - ABC News:

"'Some Republicans say their party made a mistake by not making more of an effort at bipartisanship, now that the bill is becoming law... A lot of the things Republicans said are going to be discredited. It is going to be a very painful and difficult situation for Republicans to work their way out of,' said David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush who is now a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Frum dubbed the passage of the health care bill as the GOP's Waterloo.

'If you lose something as important as this, and you pick up some seats in 2010, great, maybe you lose them in 2014,' Frum said. 'This bill will still be there. This bill will still be there forever.'"

Can you believe it? A 'conservative' Republican with his head screwed on tight. He'll be kicked out of the party before he makes it to work today.

Losers!

Our US Census form is sitting on the kitchen counter and is almost complete. I will be sending it in on the 1st of April, although I don't think it would be a problem if I were to send it in earlier. The information won't change between now and then. It's a very short form and I'm surprised at that. They have this wonderful opportunity to gather all sorts of data and it's being wasted. I seem to remember that at one time there were two forms, a long and a short and every so many? households would receive the long form. Of course I am old enough to remember when every household was visited by a census taker and that's a long time ago.

You can probably tell that I'm not afraid of that piece of paper that constitutes the census for 2010; apparently there are some that are afraid of it…or simply hate it. If I Google the words us census 2010 I get 10,400,000 hits, more or less. When I started looking at the top hits, I was surprised to find that most were helpful and not paranoid. There were all sorts of websites designed to make sure that all ethnicities were going to be counted; that's a good thing! The form itself looks to be designed to gather more info on the Hispanic population and I wouldn't be surprised to see a big jump in the numbers for the Hispanic population throughout the nation. Also a good thing, though I do hope that all of the other population groups are counted fairly. And if you look at the Google hits, you will see that just about every ethnic group is represented and aid in filling out the forms is easily found.

But what about those who are paranoid about the census? I am going to presume that it is a small but vocal group. Delusional in the extreme…but paranoia is catching and those infected with it are quite convinced that they are correct. Witness the Tea Party. On the other hand, if they don't send in the census forms, they lose. They don't seem to have thought that part of it out very well. Hmmm? Would it be a bad thing if we did lose them? Nah!

From the Genn Letters

Male Answer Syndrome

I subscribe to these twice weekly letters from Robert Genn and find them interesting just about every time. But this letter really attracted me...although Mr. Genn is speaking to artists, MAS seems to be virulent these days and particularly hard hit are the politico's. I wonder if they will ever have some form of vaccination or antibodies available for it? Not that I would ever need it...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh, Wally!

My representative in Congress, the honorable Wally Herger sent out his email update on the health care bill...
"They forced this massive, trillion dollar legislation through without any Republican support and against the will of the American people.  Although they have passed this bill, the fight is not yet over.  Along with other Congressional Republicans, I will fight to repeal this destructive legislation and start over with solutions that focus first on lowering costs." 
Amazing! I guess our family isn't part of the American people. That's what Wally says...despite the many emails I sent him declaring that we supported the bill. It's very difficult to live in a bright RED county. Basically, we have no representative in Congress. Wally votes and parrots the party line. We simply don't exist in Wally's world. Sigh.

This is good...from Alan Colmes

The Shame Of The Republicans
"...Republicans went out of their way to incite an unruly crowd of tea partiers."

A lot of detail here about the behavior of the Congresspersons that were simply too immature to feel embarrassed by that unseemly behavior. Perhaps we should be embarrassed for them. I know they embarrass me!

That said, will we have to endure this much longer or will the MSM find something else to focus on? If we're lucky...but please, let's not go back to seeing and hearing Sarah Quittypants again. That one is done!

Found

"The American people, regardless of their view of its legality, should not be forced to pay for someone's abortion." 

Okay, does this same argument work for those of us who don't like our countries various wars? Afghanistan? Iraq? Drugs? 

It’s over…sort of

Gracious losers? I don't think so. The Health Care Bill has finally passed and now the sniping from the Republicans has begun in earnest and will continue for the duration of this Presidential term and on forward…forever? The Republicans, in their entire history, have never seen a piece of social legislation that they have liked. And that same history will show that the Democratic Party, alone, has brought us the legislation that has made us a great nation, starting with Social Security (No, it's not broke; not even close…just another lie) and then the Civil Rights legislation. It's good to remember that when the Civil Rights bill passed, the Southern States all jumped from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in anger when they saw that all Americans were going to be treated equally. That alone should tell you a whole lot about the Republicans. In fact, we would all be living in caves if the Republicans had their way. Caves that they owned and we rented. Finally, the Democratic Party has begun to help all Americans with this landmark health care bill.

No, I'm not a Democrat. I don't belong to either party and wish that all political parties would disappear as they only create power and all power turns to evil after time. Disappear? It will never happen and so I will just have to live with it. But it does let me direct my anger or support to either side and that's a good thing. But, I don't see my support going to any Republican until they abandon this rigid conservative stand. Conservatism is evil. There is no other way to describe it as far as I am concerned. Balance is what is needed and that is Centrism. I am very much a Liberal but even I know that Centrism is the only thing that will work for all of our benefit. Centrist Party? Anyone? Anyone?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tea Party Leader, GOP

Condemn Racial Slurs Hurled at Black Lawmakers:

"'You don't see any black folks in these groups,' said Rangel. 'Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever.'"

That's very hard to dispute. And here you see 'the leaders' trying to backpedal as fast as they can because they know that the truth will hurt them.

US Health Care Vote

Prompts Slurs, Spitting from Protesters

Amazing stuff, but not unexpected. Now the question is; will the Republicans finally distance themselves from the Tea Baggers? They have been using them all of this time and now they look like a liability. If they don't do something, the voting public will always put the two together in their minds. Republican=Tea Bagger and vice versa. Right now, it looks like the Grand Old Party has sunk to new lows...what a shame.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Film at 11

Something I just read...

Health Bill Will Cut Deficit by $100 Billion Over 10 Years, House Majority Leader Says, Citing Report

The proposed final health care legislation would cut the
federal deficit by more than $100 billion over the first 10
years, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said on Thursday,
citing a finding by the Congressional Budget Office that is
expected to be released on Thursday. The office found that
the overhaul would cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion
over the subsequent decade,
Mr. Hoyer said.


Well...now what will the Tea Baggers and other ugly conservatives come up with? The Congressional Budget Office is run by a bunch of 'Socialists'? They really ought to be happy with that report. If we can save a trillion dollars, we could go start a war somewhere. That's the kind of stuff they love...

‘The grass is always greener

over the septic tank'…I think that's the title of a book and a play by Erma Bombeck. Being country folks, we have had a few septic tank tales to tell over the years and now we have another. We had our septic tank pumped yesterday and it was a memorable experience. We called a local outfit and were given a price, $450, and that was that. Not a 'thank you for calling' nor any kind of follow up questions, such as asking about the size of the tank or even our address. Just a brusque $450! So I turned the page in the Yellow Pages and called someone in Chico. Oddly enough, they had an ad in our book despite being in a different county altogether. The person who answered this time seemed interested and asked all of the right questions and then told me that I could probably have it done cheaper by someone local as his price was going to be $350. I told him he had the job and we made an appointment for the next day. Five minutes later he was on the phone again and asking if he could come right now? Sure! Fifteen minutes later and he was backing down our driveway. Thirty minutes later and he was all through and writing out a receipt. That's when he asked me why had I called him instead of a local? I told him that it has become my experience that since we live in a smaller and less populated county, the local businesses seem to think that they have a lock on our business. And then he told me that he was really surprised that their prices were higher than his as he has to pay $200 to empty his tank at the sewage treatment plant in Chico, while in our county, the trucks are sent to a large field out in the country where the driver opens the valve and empties the tank as he drives around the field. Yikes! That is so gross! Is that even legal? He assured me that it was the normal method here and besides that, it was free.

You city folks have no idea….

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Immigrants

in America during the 19th Century:

"Putting them on a boat and sending them home would end crime in this country.'"

How times have changed...some 3 million (est.) will watch Saint Patrick's day parades across the country today. A huge number of pints of green beer will be hoisted and for a day, everyone wants to be Irish. By the way, they don't do this in Ireland.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lost

I became lost this morning and ended up on YouTube. I had spotted a comment in the latest issue of the Economist about the grand old song, 'I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK!' sung by the World Famous Monty Python Chorale and so I went looking for the video. Of course it was there, plus so many others! I was soon mesmerized by all of the possibilities. Then I saw this video...an advertisement for Captain Beefheart's Magic Band and their album, 'Trout Mask Replica' Yes! I once owned this album. Go ahead, get lost in YouTube...it's fun! But it sure does waste some time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Websites

for Political Campaigns | NetBoots

This is so cool! Imagine...websites just made for conservative candidates. (because they can't create one themselves - their fingers, and minds, are only made for typewriters)
But I do have to wonder...what if a Liberal tried to buy one of these? Would they sell it to him? And how do they know of your 'persuasion' before selling it to you? The mind boggles at all of the possible questions I still have!

Bad News

"Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track
and kill suspected militants, according to military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States."

Suspected? Is that what we do now? I'm sure no mistakes were ever made. For shame!

Early morning thoughts

I've had two cups of tea and I'm thinking that I might change over to coffee for the rest of the morning. Good idea…

Ah! Not bad at all. Now what was I thinking as I was waiting for the coffee to steep? Yes, I was thinking of death and the possibility of life after death. Possible? Sure, I believe it. Why not; no one can say otherwise with any authority. The authority of experience. Anyway, I thought about the fact that here I was, standing in a kitchen filled with marvelous inventions and thinking about things like that and I had to question again; why is it that large life forms, such as humans, can have such wonderful intellects? We create amazing things and yet we can question our own presence here on this planet. We can wonder. Isn't that great? We have the ability to wonder about all sorts of beautiful things and yet, we are also determined to savage one another. To kill and to maim. To hold dominion over one another. How can we possibly do that when we are so wonderfully made? Shouldn't we spend more time enjoying our existence? And smiling at one another because we also know we are equally made.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Texas Conservatives

Win Vote on Textbook Standards - NYTimes.com:

“I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley,"

This alone is a good enough reason to abolish States. When idiots can wield this much power and it affects states other than their own...it's simply criminal. (I wonder where he received his education?)

By the way, David...it's not a 'notion by the left', it's a fact by the majority, including the Supreme Court.

Tea Party Avoids Divisive Social Issues

    That's the headline for a story in the NYT. The Tea Party doesn't want to believe that social issues are financial issues…of course they are, unless you rid yourself of all social concerns. Have no social concerns and the money spent there will be freed up for??? The poor and the mentally ill will be someone else's problem in a country ruled by the Tea Party. The Tea Party says that they want to have a 'Big Tent' but believe me, the poor won't be invited in for the show. The story goes on to explain that the Tea Party founders are going to focus on the economy and taxation as a way to bring in Dumbocrat's. In their view, we should see states regaining power and the federal government shrinking. 'States Rights' is rearing its ugly head once again and with that we have anarchy. States are only lines on a map anymore; when states were founded, there were very powerful social divides between them that made the argument for States Rights convincing. But now, with a homogenous population, where's the need for a state at all? And It can be argued quite logically that if we have States Rights, we certainly should be able to have County Rights. And don't forget City Rights. So who is in charge? We already fought a Civil War with States Rights as the match that lit that particular fire.


 

(Yes, I'm anti-state. I believe that states are an anachronism. And think of the money we could save!)

Friday, March 12, 2010

How could I?

Bad day yesterday. Bad night last night. Because my computer was locked up and inaccessible to me. I had forgotten my password; my new safe and secure password. But there it was, written carefully three times on a card that I had placed in front of me as I logged on for the first time with the new password. Failed? What went wrong? I keyed it in again. Failure. If I made a mistake when creating the new safe and secure password, I had to make it twice, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to create it. The next half hour was spent trying every permutation of the carefully chosen password and each time I met with failure. I let my wife try her skills at cracking into the computer while I went to the netbook and Google to look up "missing password vista". I found a whole lot of information there, including some things I didn't want to read; 'if you can't break the password code, you will have to re-install Vista and destroy all of your current data and programs'. Sob! There were also a lot of bold ads for pricey password finding programs and I passed on those and went for 5 free programs that were listed on a PC forum. One after the other, CD's were burned with ISO files and the computer rebooted to read the CD drive upon booting. And one after the other they failed. Finally, I went to bed. It was too terrible to contemplate. In the morning I decided to view the $$$ pay per fix programs. I was desperate. I started at the low end and I'm glad I did; I picked the lowest priced one, $13, and went through the whole download, unzip, burn the ISO file onto a CD and then reboot. A GUI screen showed up and I chose to delete the existing password; I really didn't want to know what my mistake had been. Zapping the password would let me open Windows quite easily and that's all I wanted. But now, I'm worried about putting a password back in place…will I make a similar mistake? Well, I will put one back in a few days but it will be a joint effort on our parts. I want a witness!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

From Brain Rage:

Why Does A Salad Cost More Than A Big Mac?

Many years ago...35? we lived in a very small town with a one school school district and that school (K - 8) had a cafeteria and some cooks. A beautiful kitchen with old fashioned oak lined refrigerators. The head cook purchased all sorts of fresh foods and they cooked lunch and a light breakfast for students and staff. Everyone loved the food! Those of us who couldn't eat there were jealous when we heard about the turkey lunches made from fresh turkeys. Purchased locally. The pastries were out of this world, or so I was told. Baked fresh, early in the morning and every day. Did I mention that it was also quite inexpensive to eat there? But then it changed...the county Sup't of schools decided to take over all food purchasing for the school as they could buy cheap government commodities. In fact, as I heard it; they were told by the feds that they had to buy those commodities. Well, the head cook, a very nice lady, tried her best to make something good with the tons of cheese they sent her. Cheese? After awhile the cooks started quitting until there was only one left and then they had to subscribe to the county meal plan where the meals are cooked somewhere else and trucked in every day. The kitchen is dark now and I heard that they sold the refrigerators. The fact that this cafeteria once produced good and healthy food is just an old story and after awhile it will be forgotten altogether.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tell me no lies

As I read about the case against 'JihadJane', I noted that one of the charges against her was that of making false statements to a government official.
I'm certainly not making light of her problems and her alleged crime, but shouldn't there be an equal law that would directly affect government officials making false statements to citizens? Seems like that would be the right thing to do and it would certainly be applicable in all sorts of instances...Imagine walking into the Senate or the House with that law under your arm and an FBI agent accompanying you. Book em! 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What I just read

The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman

Great book. Although the reviewer has missed some pertinent details from the book, such as the fact that during the last few years with the Mohave Indians she was not a captive and was quite free...something that her biographers have always tried to hide. It would not be appropriate for a 'white' woman to want to stay with the Mohaves and so that little fact was always edited out.
As I read it, I couldn't help but think about how 'men' throughout the ages have tried to belittle and subjugate any that they felt were inferior to themselves. The Americans here were determined to erase the savages from the land. Savages...and this from English/European stock who had once lived in caves and were painting themselves blue when the noble Romans were invading their country. And before the Romans it was the Greeks. The Syrians. the Egyptians...on and on it goes. Always someone who deemed themselves better determined to erase the perceived inferior.
The book also refers many times to our national shame, Manifest Destiny, a subject that was still being taught in high school in a positive manner during the 1950's. Somethings never seem to change.

Manifest Destiny
Mohave (Mojave) Indians

From Ratchet Up :

Compressed Sensing

Read about this in the latest Wired. Read it and you can see just how fantastic this can be...it's at times like this that I wish I were 20 years younger. Make that 40 years.

From Slate Magazine -

Slate Magazine - Editorial Cartoons

Here's some comedy to go along with the teacher controversy...

Dear Wally

As you can see, Wally Buffoon has the interests of small business owners at heart. Not!

Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act - Vote Passed (217-201, 14 Not Voting)

The House approved this bill that would provide $13 billion in payroll tax relief over 10 years for employers who hire unemployed workers and extend through 2010 a law that allows small businesses to deduct up to $250,000 in qualified expenses. The bill goes to the Senate.

Rep. Wally Herger voted NO

From | The Economist

Jerusalem: A city that should be shared

Israel has no intention of leaving a viable Palestinian state. They aim to crush and remove any Arab settlement despite their 'Peace Talks'. In ten years it will all be over and the Arabs will have been pushed off their lands forever and then the useless diplomats can all go home and shake their heads at the futility of it all over cocktails.

"One reason for the apparent futility of Palestinian dissent is the Israeli security barrier that bites into the West Bank and runs through chunks of East Jerusalem. It prevents most West Bank Muslims from reaching the city’s holy places and has cleft its Arab districts in two, leaving tens of thousands of Arab residents on the wrong side. Further impeding access, traffic lights flick green only briefly for cars from Palestinian districts while staying green for cars from Jewish settlements for minutes."

From The Economist

The war on baby girls: Gendercide

A story well worth reading. Besides the horror of a 100 million missing girls there is the fact of the population imbalance that can only lead to violence on a large scale as the boys become young men, and without wives, they will turn to violence. Sociologists have known for years that young unwed males are most prone to violent behavior. Any truthful man can tell you the same thing...

"In any country rootless young males spell trouble; in Asian societies, where marriage and children are the recognised routes into society, single men are almost like outlaws. Crime rates, bride trafficking, sexual violence, even female suicide rates are all rising and will rise further as the lopsided generations reach their maturity"

Rambling

I started this post with a purpose but soon forgot it. This is typical for those of us with an INFP Personality Type. Sorry about that...

When we lived in Roseville and went to the local Presbyterian church, we got involved in a school breakfast program. The church had a very small storage building on the corner of their parking lot, close to the street. This street location was about a block away from a local elementary school. The building had been closed for many years but a wonderful group of church men opened it up and painted it, renovating the inside and adding the necessary plumbing and wiring to convert it to place where volunteers could make and serve breakfast. The same group went to the local grocery stores and milk suppliers to beg for anything they could give. And they did give. We told the school what we were doing and they spread the word to their students; breakfast would be served, for free, starting about an hour before the start of school. Pretty soon we were feeding breakfast to 80 or 100 students a day. It was great. We even fed parents and encouraged them to come in with their children. We made great friendships with them and we saw real changes in attitudes; children who once scowled as they came in the door were now running in to get a hug from one of the cooks. The school praised the program, as well fed children are children that can learn.

That was over twenty years ago. Do you think that the number of students needing breakfast has dropped since then? No, but the breakfast program is gone now as the 'elders' of the church decided it was diversion and not a ministry. No one else has come along to duplicate it.

Roseville is a wealthy city, home to plenty of millionaires. But to serve this wealthy city, you need citizens who aren't quite that lucky and they have to work. Usually both parents have to work…heck, not usually - both parents always have to work. What happens to a young family when both parents have to work? Slowly but surely, the family breaks down as a unit. Tired moms and dads don't make good parents. Children have no one to talk to when they come home from school, etc, etc…you know all the stories about this, why should I repeat it? This is just how it is in today's 'modern' world.

So, how did we get to this modern world where the wages of just one parent are not enough to support a family? We elected Ronald Reagan to high office. That was the turning point. And yes, I was there. I was a union carpenter and had been making enough to support our family in the style of the middle class; we had bought our house in the usual way, which was by giving the bank a statement of earnings where in a month I had to earn four times the estimated house payment. Then we gave the lender a ten percent down payment. We had purchased a new station wagon for our family with those wages. We had affordable health insurance which was needed when our youngest was suddenly rushed to the hospital for surgery. He was soon well enough to come home and we didn't have to sell the house to pay the bill. But it all changed with Reagan. My wife thought she should help to pay the bills now that my wages were no longer keeping up with prices. We were lucky, as she found a job working at night in the snack bar of the local drive-in theater. Our children still had mom at home when they arrived after school.

Those kinds of jobs are pretty rare today and so a family today is split apart by the demands of work and more work. And getting nowhere. Wages have not kept up with prices and the middle class is shrinking at a terrific rate. We are heading towards a Have vs Have not society and it's not far away. And those school breakfast programs are needed now more than ever. Heck, we need schools now!

How did we allow this to happen? By electing buffoons to represent us in the Senate and the House. By electing presidents with IQ's below 100 and then celebrating the fact that he's a 'good old boy'.

I suppose it's an ok thing for the Tea Party to assail intellectuals because we certainly aren't producing a lot of them anymore. And I can almost guarantee that our next President will be a buffoon with the intellect of a rock or a sack full of hammers. Take your pick.

You can see that at the end of this post I was really rambling and just hoping to find a way out of it…it's hard to have a conversation with yourself that makes a lot of sense.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Fit of Pique

The other day I said that Obama had lost me because of his statements regarding the firing of the teacher's in Rhode Island...let me be clear; I will be voting for him in 2012. I cannot possibly vote for a Republican. Every single one that has been elected in my lifetime (except for Ike) has been a disappointment and a disaster for this country...how could I vote for one?

Op-Ed Contributors

Why Social Security recipients don’t need a cost-of-living adjustment this year. - NYTimes.com:

"With the deficit expected to reach 10.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, it’s important that we spend every dollar wisely."

Tell me again why it's wise to spend more money on defense than the rest of the world, combined? If you tell me often enough, maybe I will understand...but here's the facts as I understand them; it costs us $1 million dollars per year per soldier in Afghanistan and the proposal that they don't like here is to send a measly$250 bucks to Social Security recipients...one time.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

From Alan Colmes' Liberaland

Tom DeLay: People Are Unemployed Because They Want To Be

How could I not post a link to this bit of whimsy by Mr. DeLay...?
And you know what? People actually elected this bozo!

I’m through

Obama just lost me. His embracing the firing of all of the teachers at a Rhode Island school is simply wrong. It's defying the facts for some stupid political point. A political stunt that will do irreparable harm to schools and students all over this country as dim witted school boards see an opportunity to balance their budgets by firing all of their teachers and starting over with poorly paid new teachers. You don't think so? Then you don't know diddly about school boards. They are most often run by bureaucrats that have no interest in students and have never seen the inside of a classroom. That's what happens in large districts and I know whereof I speak; I taught for the Los Angeles City School District. In small towns, they are usually run by long time local families that use the school board to give them health insurance. They never see the schools, they simply show up at board meetings to make certain they don't lose their insurance. I also know about that as well; personally! That's school reality. You want to know why there is a teacher's union? Because there are school boards. You think there is any virtue in the two groups? Very little - as they spend their time fighting instead of addressing the problem with schools all over this country. Parents. Parents who consider the school and the teacher to be their baby sitter. Parents who will not teach their children manners and common courtesies. Parents who won't or can't see that their children are fed and clothed before sending them to school. Parents who think that 'magic' will buy the supplies and paint the room and fix the heaters and the leaky roof. Magic, indeed! Taxes; money pays for those things and nobody wants to pay. This country has abandoned the public schools and their responsibility to this institution. There is no longer any equality in education. The wealthy, and I'm talking about Republicans in general, have sent their children off to charter schools or private schools and now consider the public school to be a drain on their wealth. They are unwilling to face their responsibility to society as a whole. And Obama thinks that firing a bunch of 'baby sitters' will fix the problem? Take a look at the test scores at that Rhode Island school in about 4 or 5 years and you will see the exact same results as you see today unless there is a sea change in the way society views their responsibilities. I doubt it will happen.

Here's what I would love to see…a nationwide exodus of school teachers. A nationwide call for education majors in colleges and universities to change their majors to something worthwhile.

Friday, March 5, 2010

From Informed Comment - a link to Harper's...

The revision thing: A history of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies—By Sam Smith (Harper's Magazine):

"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind."

This would be low comedy to read if it weren't so terribly false; incredible lies!...and we're stuck with the results of these lies; in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan. Yes, Crimes Against Humanity! Perhaps we should all be charged with that crime because we allowed the lies to be told...

Amazing

Google answers questions for half of the world. Google answers 35,000 queries every second.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More Coffee?

I was reading through some of the posts to the Wall of the Coffee Party Facebook page and came across this one from a Wingnut…

"…Is this party for me? I hate the Democrats they are war mongers. I hate the Republicans they are war mongers. I hate Liberals who think they are elite and educated. I hate Religious Wacko Conservatives. I love the Constitution and Ron Paul? What is this all about?..."

Did you happen to notice the 'hate'? And the most telling of all…hating the educated. It's a hallmark of the Rightwing; they hate intellectuals and they prefer to be ruled by bumpkins, such as our last President. How do we change that kind of reasoning? By education and it has to start at the lowest levels, the elementary schools. But what do we do? We starve our schools to death by refusing to pay for what they need to educate our children. When it comes to statistics, we're already near the bottom among the industrialized nations when it comes to education and we seem determined to go even lower than that. Because we hate intellectuals? Doesn't seem like a good enough reason to do the damage we are doing.

Less Hair

After some mild protest on my part, we went to the store where they sell haircuts (Supercuts) and it wasn't too bad. Fast was what it was and that was much appreciated. I think back to the thousands of hours I wasted sitting in barber shops; it makes me cry! Who knows, I could have invented something in those hours and then made a fortune, but no…I was trapped beneath a dingy sheet while the barber droned in my ear about some baseball game or the weather. Boring! And that's why I stopped going…but this experience wasn't too bad as I had a nice young lady cutting my hair and as she trimmed she asked me questions, got the conversation going so that I could talk about 'me', a favorite subject. It was just slightly obvious that she was doing this as required by the management, even so, who doesn't enjoy talking about themselves and what they were doing that day. And since she was personable, I got in a few questions of my own. She likes crowds and so she works the weekends ( An Extrovert) and she feels that her job is fairly recession proof as our hair keeps growing. Duh!

With a pleasant conversation going on, the time flew by…and then it was over. Well, K said this was the way to do it and he's right. I'll be back.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Remember that song…

'Hair' ? I love it! Well, my wife wants to get a haircut and she wants me to join her in this and she is giving me some pressure. Very light pressure, but truth is…I don't want a haircut. Never have wanted one and I never will. I've never met a barber that I liked and doubt that I will. Besides, hair is to be ignored. It grows, so what? Let it. Same could be said of fingernails but since a long fingernail will get in my way, I choose to cut them. Hair doesn't get in my way. It does its 'thing' while I do mine. Okay, I did spend about two years doing the bald look, shaving my scalp clean and although it was a chore, it certainly felt good. Also, I used to have a full beard and had it for quite awhile, but eventually it got in my way and so I shaved it off. I've experimented with goatees and mustaches but found them to be high maintenance and quit them after a short time. Maintenance; that's probably why I liked the shaved head as I could do that in the shower without a mirror and simply shave everything on my head and face. No boundaries. Except for my eyebrows of course. They've never done anything to me and so I wasn't going to do anything to them. But if they don't stop growing those wild hairs, I may be tempted to shave them off. Maintenance, it's all about low maintenance.

Okay…I'll try it this time. Maybe I'll like it.

Have a Cup!

I was clued in to the Coffee Party phenomena by Birds on a Wire and it didn't take me long to join right in, though I doubt that I will ever see any Coffee parties in this bright 'Red' part of the state. I might hear of one in Chico…

Naturally I spent some time exploring the movement, both before and after joining and I was amazed at the trash talk and vitriol expended on this movement by the Right Wingnutters. They really are a nasty and mean minded bunch. Odd; I can dish out insults to the Wingnuts right here on my blog but I would never think of going to one of their blogs and insulting them. They can choose to read what I have posted or not. That's really how it's supposed to be done. Civilly. You already know how I feel by the reading of my post, why would you think I would change because you insulted me? Or do these people still have that playground mentality that made them bullies? It's time for them to grow up.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

From Liberal Values » Acorn

Cleared By Brooklyn Prosecutors; Tape Found To Be Edited

Why am I not surprised? Republicans will do anything these days. These days? They've always been this way.

Mr. Postman

delivers bundle of bad news - washingtonpost.com

What do I think? I think it's it's time to go. It's a buggywhip industry in the 21st century. What does the postal service do that can't be done better, faster and cheaper by competing services. For those who never have to go to the post office, the exposure to USPS bad manners is minimal, but for those of us who use a PO box, we dread seeing one of those yellow slips in our box which means that we will have to get in line and confront the staff in person. Rarely pleasant! If it were truly a private industry, it would only be a memory by now...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Jamie Oliver

His TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food | Video on TED.com

This is important! 18 minutes to spend wisely.

NYT Op-Ed Contributor - Al Gore

We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change - NYTimes.com

Great article and very revealing as it proves once again that those on the right have an agenda to block knowledge. At every level.

In the back of my mind I had this thought; scientists should, as a group, sign a statement where they vow that they will NEVER EVER talk to a reporter again. Reporters don't know a thing about science so what's the use? It wouldn't work the other way round...scientists know nothing about reporting so there is really no need for these two groups to have any kind of interaction....because if they do, the reporters will report something...anything, even it's not true. Reporters report, that's what they do.

There could be exceptions of course; the reporter would have to have an MS degree or higher. (That's not going to happen!)

My head hurts!

Do you ever get the feeling that you can't take one more email or survey or blog? When you feel like your drowning in a sea of information that you didn't even ask for? I know I have. In the past, I was an IT guy, an instructor and I worked for a department in the corporation where we were tasked with finding out new ways to handle data; from the simple to the complex. There were times when I was overwhelmed by it and had to shut down the computers and hide for awhile. Okay it was just a weekend, but…That was seven years ago, an eternity when it comes to the growth of available data and the programs to handle it. I couldn't possibly jump back into that sea, I would drown in an instant!

Anyway…the current issue of the Economist has a fascinating 14 page article on 'Data' and how it is being managed or not. All very revealing. Today's corporations and companies are going to drown in that same sea if they don't get onboard with data management. Even the smallest of enterprises needs to be fully aware of how this data flood can change their lives. And I haven't even mentioned how it affects our private lives…scary! Unless you are prepared mentally for it by being aware. Some odds and ends from the articles


 

The amount of digital information increases tenfold every five years. Moore's law, which the computer industry now takes for granted, says that the processing power and storage capacity of computer chips double or their prices halve roughly every 18 months. The software programs are getting better too. Edward Felten, a computer scientist at Princeton University, reckons that the improvements in the algorithms driving computer applications have played as important a part as Moore's law for decades.

Researchers at the University of California in San Diego (UCSD) examined the flow of data to American households. They found that in 2008 such households were bombarded with 3.6 zettabytes of information (or 34 gigabytes per person per day). The biggest data hogs were video games and television. In terms of bytes, written words are insignificant, amounting to less than 0.1% of the total. However, the amount of reading people do, previously in decline because of television, has almost tripled since 1980, thanks to all that text on the internet.

Nestlé, for example, sells more than 100,000 products in 200 countries, using 550,000 suppliers, but it was not using its huge buying power effectively because its databases were a mess. On examination, it found that of its 9m records of vendors, customers and materials around half were obsolete or duplicated, and of the remainder about one-third were inaccurate or incomplete.

…the New York Times a few years ago used cloud computing and Hadoop to convert over 400,000 scanned images from its archives, from 1851 to 1922. By harnessing the power of hundreds of computers, it was able to do the job in 36 hours.

Wal-Mart, a retail giant, handles more than 1m customer transactions every hour, feeding databases estimated at more than 2.5 petabytes—the equivalent of 167 times the books in America's Library of Congress