Nov 12

Thanksgiving 2012

So, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, time to kick back from the festivities for a bit then gear up for the next big holiday, Christmas. It’s also Black Friday for so many shoppers who are willing to fight the hoards and save a few bucks on all the bargains offered by the retailers. No thank you… I’ll pass!

I’m in Arizona right now, away from the rest of my family, and planned on making my own Thanksgiving dinner. I was OK with it, we’d Skype for a while and then go take our post-dinner naps.

Then a few days ago my neighbors, Ken and Cathy, invited me to have dinner with them. I like Ken and Cathy and quickly accepted the offer. They’d also invited a couple other neighbors. Fawn is a delightful Canadian woman who moved to America 12 years ago. Alan is a very effusive 72 year old English man who moved here 26 years ago. He’s very proud of his becoming an American citizen 20 years ago. The conversations that ensued were lively and full of humor.

Oh-oh… The conversation turns ugly
Eventually though, the subject matter filtered down to religion and politics. Wow! I’d suspected that my hosts were somewhat conservative, but we’re talking uber-conservative religious right.

Ken started us off with the comment that we are feeling God’s wrath because of the sinful liberal agenda we’ve embraced and the entitlement society we’ve become. I was taken aback by his conversation starter. He’s a quiet man, but very outspoken about religion and politics.

Alan joined right in and threw in our immigration policies and cheered Arizona’s steps to curb the illegal alien problem. “Send them all back to Mexico. If they want to come to America, they should do it legally, like I did. But they (Mexicans) won’t do it because they’re not smart enough. They’re stupid, lazy people.” I came very close to getting up and leaving after that comment. I made a few rebuttals, but they fell on deaf ears.

And of course there was Obama bashing. Every tea-party issue came up… especially the so-called birther controversy. And now I don’t know how Obama is going to solve our economic crisis… I learned that he can’t even balance a checkbook. I also learned that our President is a wimp when it comes to foreign policy. And that he’s done nothing, accomplished nothing, and will continue to do nothing to move our nation back into prosperity.

Oh, and by the way, We knew where Osama bin Laden was on Bill Clinton’s watch. Clinton did nothing about it, leaving the time bomb for George W. Bush to defuse. And Clinton should have been able to get to Osama bin Laden, apparently we had the intelligence then and knew where he was.

When I asked why Bush didn’t get bin Laden, it was because Clinton’s lack of foresight ultimately allowed 9/11 to happen. Osama bin Laden went into deep underground and was impossible to track down. “Ahh…”,I said,”he must have been hidden very well. We didn’t find him until Obama became president.” The subject changed after that.

By the time I left, everyone knew that I voted for Barack Obama. Ken and Cathy were gracious hosts… they told me they’d pray for me.

Nov 12


American Gothic, painted by Grant Wood in 1930, is one of the most iconic and recognized works of 19th century Americana. Here is a great photo of the models for American Gothic, Nan Wood Graham and Byron McKeeby. The photo was shot in 1930. Wonderful!

Oct 12

Iran ready for nuclear talks…

U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

Iran and the US have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran. The Obama administration has been participating in highly intense, secret exchanges with Iranian officials since the beginning of President Obama’s term. The news of the agreement comes at a critical moment in the US, just two weeks before the presidential election.

The news has the potential to help Mr. Obama to make the case that his foreign policy has succeeded in paving the way to a diplomatic breakthrough in a decade long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Iranian officials have insisted that the talks take place after the presidential election, to ensure they know with whom they are negotiating. With all the bluster being tossed about by Romney regarding entering a war with Iran, were I Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, I would be doing everything I could to insure Obama’s reelection.

It isn’t clear whether Mitt Romney would agree to the negotiations if elected president. Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat. He has been pushing for a stronger approach to the Iran problem and has been very vocal about supporting the idea of military action.

Iran just may have handed the election to President Obama. It is certainly something to consider.

Of course, whether the negotiations would ever take place is in question. Iran has a history of agreeing to talks only to buy time and renege on their promises.

Interestingly, the third and final presidential debate will focus on foreign policy…

Oct 12


President Obama from the campus of George Mason University:

We have got to name this condition he is going through. I think it is called Romnesia. I think that’s what it is called. Now I’m not a medical doctor. But I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you because I want to make sure nobody else catches it.

If you say you’re for equal pay for equal work but you keep refusing to say whether or not you will sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work, you might have Romnesia.

If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let employers deny contraceptive care, you might have a case of Romnesia.

If you say you will protect a women’s right to choose but you stand up in a primary debate and say you’d be delighted to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases, then you have definitely got Romnesia.

Sep 12

Romney Unplugged…

When he doesn’t know a camera’s rolling, the GOP candidate shows his disdain for half of America.

Here was Romney raw and unplugged—sort of unscripted. With this crowd of fellow millionaires, he apparently felt free to utter what he really believes and would never dare say out in the open. He displayed a high degree of disgust for nearly half of his fellow citizens, lumping all Obama voters into a mass of shiftless moochers who don’t contribute much, if anything, to society, and he indicated that he viewed the election as a battle between strivers (such as himself and the donors before him) and parasitic free-riders who lack character, fortitude, and initiative. Yet Romney explained to his patrons that he could not speak such harsh words about Obama in public, lest he insult those independent voters who sided with Obama in 2008 and whom he desperately needs in this election. These were sentiments not to be shared with the voters; it was inside information, available only to the select few who had paid for the privilege of experiencing the real Romney.

See the rest of this disturbing story here: Mother Jones

Aug 12


“These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a f*** about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of. They go on and on with all this bulls*** about “sanctity” — don’t give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.

Clint Eastwood
2011 interview with GQ

Aug 12

Mitt’s 13% tax return piqued my interest…

So, Mitt Romney proudly announced today, after perusing his past tax records, that he’s never paid less than 13% for federal income taxes.

After perusing my own past five years of tax records, I’ve never paid less than 18% for federal income taxes.

Granted, our incomes are are drastically different (it would take him a mere day and a half to make my and Shelley’s yearly income), but it raises questions about the conservatives’ penchant to gift the very rich with huge tax cuts. Or not.

Our federal income taxes are primarily a progressive tax system. In a progressive tax system, as one’s income increases they pay more taxes. The percentage is adjusted based on income; as income increases, the rate or tax bracket also increases. Our federal tax system does just that, up to a point. The tax rate actually begins to decrease for the very wealthy. The decrease is generally created by the breaks and incentives allowed by our congress for the wealthy.

Even so, the wealthy person ends up paying more for government services than I do. Part of me says it’s not fair to the wealthy. I use Interstate 5 often to get form point A to point B. If a wealthy person uses the same stretch of freeway, should he pay more than me? I don’t really have a good answer for that.

I also understand the theory behind trickle-down economics, which I believe is where all this leads. If we take care of the wealthy, the corporations, the employment sources… they’ll pass the good fortune down to the working class. Correct? I’m sure that there are corporations (they are people, right?), that actually do that. But I also believe that those honest corporations are in the minority, or trickle-down economics would work.

Sales tax is a regressive tax system. In a regressive tax system, everyone pays the same rate on items purchased. Regressive tax is not based on income, rather it’s based on the cost of goods.

The math. So, I go to the hardware store and buy a new handsaw for $24.99. I pay the 9.2% sales tax of $2.30 for a total of $27.29. Mitt Romney sees my new saw and wants one too. Same price, same tax, and same total. $2.30 sales tax is not a huge amount, but it’s a much larger percentage of my hourly wage than it is his. Even if I’m making a good wage of $30.00 an hour, $2.30 is 7.6% of that. Mitt Romney makes $10,384 an hour (based on what he reported as taxable income in 2010). $2.30 is 0.022% of his hourly income.

Bottom line: I paid 7.600% of my hourly income for sales tax. Mitt Romney paid 0.022% of his hourly income for sales tax.

With a regressive tax, the lower wage earners must pay a higher percentage of their incomes to pay the taxes on purchased goods and services.

Where am I headed with all this information? I have some real honest questions about the “best” route for our economy. Is it presumptuous of me to expect the wealthy to be saddled with more responsibility to society? What is most fair for all? I believe in our country and cherish the fact that people can be successful in their business ventures, but I often wonder if everyone truly has a equal opportunity to succeed? What can we do about greedy corporate giants who appear to care less about the less fortunate?

The issues are far broader than our federal income tax system. As I delve into the arguments, more and more questions without distinct answers appear. I certainly don’t have the answers, but searching for them will make me a more informed voter.

BTW, Mitt’s reported 2010 taxable income was $21.6 million. Simple math tells me that he paid $2.81 million in taxes.

Aug 12

Timothy Speaks…

“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…”

Timothy Leary – 1969

Aug 12



Jun 12

Health Care reactions…

Pelossi: “Thank God, I have money to buy my own insurance if the we go broke…”
Boehner:” Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry…”