Aug 12



Apr 12

Food for thought…

Explaining Socialism To A Republican

April 15, 2012


I was talking recently with a new friend who I’m just getting to know. She tends to be somewhat conservative, while I lean more toward the progressive side.

When our conversation drifted to politics, somehow the dreaded word “socialism” came up. My friend seemed totally shocked when I said “All socialism isn’t bad”. She became very serious and replied “So you want to take money away from the rich and give to the poor?” I smiled and said “No, not at all. Why do you think socialism mean taking money from the rich and giving to the poor?

“Well it is, isn’t it?” was her reply.

I explained to her that I rather liked something called Democratic Socialism, just as Senator Bernie Sanders, talk show host Thom Hartman, and many other people do. Democratic Socialism consists of a democratic form of government with a mix of socialism and capitalism. I proceeded to explain to her the actual meaning terms “democracy” and “socialism”.
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Nov 11

Obama Speaks Aussie

Down Under, Obama Has a “Chinwag”

November 18, 2011
By Ben Zimmer

Visiting Australia earlier this week, President Obama broke the ice by injecting some Australian slang into his public speeches. He used a selection of Aussie-isms like chinwag and ear-bashing for comic effect, but it’s probably a good thing that he didn’t go overboard by trying to mimic a broad Australian English accent (often called “Strine”). British Prime Minister David Cameron, meanwhile, wasn’t so lucky: he got into some hot water for an ill-advised attempt at Strine.

At a state dinner at Parliament House in Canberra, Obama got the crowd laughing by peppering his speech with local slang:

As many of you know, I first came to Australia as a child. But despite my visits, I have to admit I never did learn to talk “Strine.” I know there is some concern here that your Australian language is being Americanized. So perhaps it’s time for us to reverse the trend. Tonight, with your permission, I’d like to give it a burl.
I want to thank the Prime Minister for a very productive meeting that we had today. I think she’ll agree it was a real chinwag. When Julia and I meet, we listen to each other, we learn from each other. It’s not just a lot of earbashing. That’s a good one — earbashing. I can use that in Washington. Because there’s a lot of earbashing sometimes.

In case you couldn’t figure it out from context, give it a burl means “give it a try”; a chinwag is a good discussion; and earbashing is tedious or scolding speech. Obama closed by saying:

The alliance between the United States and Australia is deeper and stronger than it has ever been — spot oncracker-jackin top nick.

Read the complete article here: http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/3042/

Nov 11

A Defining Photo

Eighty-Four year old Dorli Rainey was the victim of pepper spray on Tuesday night.

She was participating in an Occupy Seattle protest march that spilled into the streets. When the police arrived to control the crowd, she was right there in the front lines.

Protests are nothing new to her; she is a long time political activist and is well known in the local political crowd. She even ran for mayor of Seattle in 2009, but dropped out saying she was too old. Current Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn knows her personally.

It’s no wonder that this photo has gone viral. It’s the defining photo that every photographer dreams of. Photographer Joshua Trujillo was in the right place at the right time.

“She had her head down, and I could see the spray all over her face,” he said. “Then she lifted her head up and someone splashed another liquid in her face.”

That’s when Trujillo and Rainey made eye contact through his camera — and when the photo happened.

“I recognized the moment as being something unique,” Trujillo said. “Photojournalists by nature go after the things that are unique, odd or extreme. Those are the things that affect people.”

He added: “In all my years in this profession, I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Nov 11

How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich

The inside story of how the Republicans abandoned the poor and the middle class to pursue their relentless agenda of tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent

By: Tim Dickinson – Rolling Stone

The nation is still recovering from a crushing recession that sent unemployment hovering above nine percent for two straight years. The president, mindful of soaring deficits, is pushing bold action to shore up the nation’s balance sheet. Cloaking himself in the language of class warfare, he calls on a hostile Congress to end wasteful tax breaks for the rich. “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share,” he thunders to a crowd in Georgia. Such tax loopholes, he adds, “sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary – and that’s crazy.”

Preacherlike, the president draws the crowd into a call-and-response. “Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver,” he demands, “or less?”

The crowd, sounding every bit like the protesters from Occupy Wall Street, roars back: “MORE!”

The year was 1985. The president was Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Today’s Republican Party may revere Reagan as the patron saint of low taxation. But the party of Reagan – which understood that higher taxes on the rich are sometimes required to cure ruinous deficits – is dead and gone. Instead, the modern GOP has undergone a radical transformation, reorganizing itself around a grotesque proposition: that the wealthy should grow wealthier still, whatever the consequences for the rest of us.

Modern-day Republicans have become, quite simply, the Party of the One Percent – the Party of the Rich.

Read more: Rolling Stone: How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich

Nov 11

Old people getting richer, young people getting poorer

The age-based wealth gap is big and growing, thanks to younger Americans’ debts

By Alex Pareene (A young writer at Salon)

Have you noticed how most of the Tea Party people were sort of old, while most of the Occupy Wall Street people are fairly young? Here’s an interesting factoid, from the USA Today: Old people are much, much richer than young people. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans 65 and older are 47 times richer than those 35 and younger.

It makes sense that old people would have more money than young people, because they have been working and saving longer. But this wealth gap is massive by historical standards. In 1984, old people were a mere 10 times richer than young people. Not only have old people gotten richer since then, but the median net worth of households headed by young people has declined considerably.

Households headed by adults ages 35 and younger had a median net worth of $3,662 in 2009. That marks a 68% decline in wealth, compared to that same age group 25 years earlier.

Over the same time frame, households headed by adults ages 65 years and older, have seen just the opposite. Their wealth rose 42%, to a median of $170,494.

It gets worse, for young people: “37% of the young households held zero or negative net worth in 2009, up from 19% in 1984.”

Boy, so what are all these old people complaining about, so much? (Immigrants, mostly.)
Continue reading →

Nov 11

North Dakota’s Black Gold, Texas Tea… Oil, that is

Oil Drilling Rig on Badlands

By James Milstid

You know… a part of me wants to say “Drill baby drill”. Break our dependence on OPEC oil and drill our own! Show them A-rabs that we don’t need their stinkin’ oil. We’ve got North Dakota! YEAH!

But then I come back to earth and think about it. For years, I’ve been preaching about breaking our dependence on irreplaceable natural resources. There’s a huge difference between that and breaking our dependence on OPEC oil that would do nothing to reduce our use of natural resources.

Rather, I’m talking about our complete dependence on oil. Period. OPEC oil, American oil, Russian oil, Chinese oil, Mexico, Brazil… all of it. Sure, we’ll probably always need petroleum products, but not to the extent we use today. There are alternatives.

But the oil and natural gas are there. Right there in North Dakota. It’s so tempting. We’ve known it was there since the 1950’s. But up until recently, when oil prices topped $100 a barrel, it wasn’t economically feasible to drill for it. It’s several thousand feet underground and trapped in a horizontal bed of shale. The shale is fairly shallow, which apparently makes it even more difficult to extract the oil.

Two methods can be used to extract it. Horizontal drilling and fracking. I won’t go into the science behind the methods, but fracking involves pumping tons of water and chemicals into the shale to force the oil and natural gas out. The downside is that it can cause earthquakes, get into the aquafers and pollute drinking water, cause methane leaks on the surface which can cause explosions, and a host of other nasty things.

We have free access to alternate sources of energy that blow the socks off any energy produced by oil products. The sun, wind, the sea, and geo-thermal energy are all plentiful energy sources and “on” all the time. They are clean and eco-friendly.

Why are we not pouring a ton of research into these free and unlimited resources? We have the technology. We have the need. What we don’t have is the desire to free ourselves from the bondage of irreplaceable energy sources.

Interesting articles:


Nov 11


“Tell them (the republicans) to stop worrying about their jobs and start worrying about yours because we’re all in this together, and together is the way we’re going to bring America back even stronger than it was before.”

– Vice President Joe Biden in this week’s Internet address.

Source:  Huffington Post

Nov 11

Is this racist? Donald Trump Thinks So…

Donald Trump accused Jon Stewart of vicious racism against Herman Cain in a Tuesday web video.

Stewart mocked Cain on Monday for his somewhat shambolic response to a story that he faced sexual harassment charges during the 1990s. Stewart mostly seemed to be making double entendres, but Trump saw his take, and his brief impersonation of Cain, as bigoted.

“How come Jon Stewart gets away with a very very racist rant against Herman Cain?” he wondered. “…It’s not what he said but the way he said it. The tone of his voice, the inflection. Unbelievable! Anybody else, deep deep trouble.”

Trump called for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to denounce Stewart, and asked “sleepy-eyed Chuck Todd” to criticize the “horrible, horrible thing” the comedian had done. He said Stewart had been “insulting” to African Americans and should apologize.

Oct 11