Archive | August, 2013

God Bless Us, Everyone!

28 Aug

Here in the United States we use a lot of stuff. We have approximately 5% of the world’s population and use about 30% of what the world has to offer (or more depending on what you’re counting) and even though we tend to also complain a lot here in the U.S. we really should just keep it on the down low and count our blessings…at least those of us who are in on the using of the 30% of the world’s stuff…not all of us are, but that’s another story.

I like to watch baseball and during every baseball game, at least here in New York, during the seventh inning stretch, everyone rises and sings “God Bless America.”

Personally I believe that God has done a pretty good job in blessing us…at least during my life time…and I feel a bit embarrassed every time I hear that song because it sounds to me like we’re being a bit selfish by not including others in the world…especially since we are, you know, kinda using up all their stuff along with our stuff too, and maybe rubbing it in a bit…

And we do have an awful lot of soldiers, and drones, and aircraft carriers and corporations and tanks and stuff like that roaming all over the globe keeping an eye on our stuff and giving God a helping hand so to speak.

Plus it worries me that being only 5% of the population and using 30% of everything can’t go on forever before the other 95% gets wise and starts asking God for a little help of their own…especially since we’re already complaining over here that only 1% of us is using up 99% of the 30% that the rest of the world is missing.

So I propose that maybe whenever we get the urge to sing that song that we sing the same tune but alter the words a bit and make it more inclusive…at least in the way it sounds to the rest of the world. I figure that it’s the nice thing to do, to kinda show our gratitude and not let everyone else in the world feel so left out.

So here it is. I call it “God Bless Us, Everyone!”

God bless us, everyone. And the lands that we love.

Stand beside us and guide us through the night with your light from above.

From the atmosphere to the continents to the oceans, white with foam.

God bless us everyone, on Earth, our home.

God bless us everyone, on Earth, our home!

It’s the least we can do…because I seriously doubt that we’re gonna stop using all that stuff anyway…and if God does come back to Earth someday (did she ever leave?) we might want to at least be able to say that we weren’t just in it for ourselves.

Do the Right Thing

26 Aug

Do the Right Thing!

I know that we can all, on some level or another, claim that this can be a very confusing and indirect statement or command.

What is the “Right” thing to do?

And how am I supposed to know what the absolutely, positively correct and right things to do are?

Maybe my right…is your wrong and vice versa…

Right?

I mean, some people wrestle with themselves their whole lives agonizing over whether or not some of the things that they did in life were right.

Am I wrong?

So how are any of us supposed to really know what the right things are?

Well,

and here’s the easy part…

Because whether we admit to knowing what the right things are or not…

We all know what the wrong things are…

Now don’t we?

So what does that leave?

Correct.

Look Busy

26 Aug

What Did Jesus Christ Look Like?

I saw a great bumper sticker while driving down the road the other day and it read,

“Jesus is coming! Look busy!”

That pretty much sums up religion for me.

Many of us believe that there really is a God up there somewhere and he is the boss, but since we never see him around we just pretty much pay the boss lip service then goof around all day.

But how many of us are really doing his…or her…”work”?

And when I say “work” I know you know what I mean so don’t go pretending that you found the directions confusing or hard to understand or had the wrong manual or wrong edition etc…and that’s why you were doing the job all crazy like…

But of course no matter what we think or believe we all will expect to collect our paycheck in good standing when our time on the job comes to an end.

So…better look busy…

One never knows…does one?

Go Fish!

23 Aug

Fox news, is an amazing program channel with an obvious agenda all its own. Their recent special “The Great Food Stamp Binge” was all about how the U.S. Government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, was turning our once great nation into a happy band of greedy and lazy freeloaders living on the public (Fox news watchers) dole.

What they did was profile a 29 year old jobless California man who drove a nice car, surfed all day, hung out with his surfing friends and received $200/month from the SNAP program which he spent, as far as I could tell from the newscast, on a seemingly unlimited supply of lobster and sushi.

What Fox news didn’t tell anyone was that In reality this man bears no resemblance to the overwhelming majority of SNAP recipients, many of whom are elderly, children, or who rely on the program for a short time while looking for work. Instead Fox News portrayed the California Surfer dude as the new face of food stamps in America just as President Reagan had once touted his fictional,  high living, New York “Welfare Queen” as the face or Welfare in America over 30 years ago.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, the fraud and waste rate in SNAP is roughly 1 percent, contrary to Fox News claims that the program is rife with fraud…and if one simply goes to the SNAP website you’ll see this:

Under federal rules, to be eligible for benefits a household’s income and resources must meet three tests:

  • Its gross monthly income — that is, its income before any of the program’s deductions are applied — generally must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line.  For a family of three, the poverty line in federal fiscal year 2013 is $1,591 a month.  Thus, 130 percent of the poverty line for a three-person family is $2,069 a month, or $24,828 a year.  The poverty level is higher for bigger families and lower for smaller families.
  • Its net income, or income after deductions are applied, must be at or below the poverty line.
  • Its assets must fall below certain limits:  households without an elderly or disabled member must have assets of $2,000 or less, and households with an elderly or disabled member must have assets of $3,250 or less.

That’s not much to have and if you further read the amount of assistance that one is given if one meets the guidelines you’ll find that that’s not all that much either. $200 is not going to buy you a lot of lobster and sushi and even if you try to turn those food stamps  into cash well… anyone with a serious drinking, smoking, drugging or eating habit knows that $200 probably wouldn’t get you through your first addictive week.

In fact, 41 percent of food stamp recipients live “in a household with earnings,” and use SNAP benefits to supplement their primary source of income. 76% of SNAP households included a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits.  And the USDA reports that most food stamp recipients stay in the program for only a short period of time and that single parent families and elderly individuals tended to stay in the program longer than did working poor individuals, childless adults without disabilities, and noncitizens. Seventy-four percent of new participants leave the program within two years.

So Fox news’ attempt to demonize food stamp recipients was just plain wrong and mean and incorrect and unlike their lazy, flippant, surfer dude  the majority of those who receive SNAP benefits are on the program not because they are lazy but because they are hungry.

And sadly they are mostly hungry children and senior citizens…not surfer dudes…who live in a nation of  great wealth and surplus…perhaps the greatest wealth and surplus that the world as ever seen…

So why demonize these unfortunate individuals? What is to be gained except more wealth and surplus for the wealthy and surplus worthy?

It has been said that, “Give a hungry man a fish and he will eat for one day. Teach that man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”. In the world of Fox News and their ilk, Give a hungry person a fish and he will just quit his job, lay on the beach and make communist sushi on the public dole…better to just tell that hungry person to…

“Go fish!”

Bizzarro Ball

20 Aug

Yesterday I may have witnessed the most entertaining baseball game in history.

It was already sure to be a barn burner because it featured that classic and age old rivalry of The mighty Yankees vs. the dreaded Red Sox when up to the plate stepped the Yankees third baseman, the most vilified baseball player of the modern era, A-Rod the Steroidable, while on the mound stood the home team’s hopeful and champion for goodness, Ryan the incorruptible Red Sock , Dempster.

It was a classic face off…good vs. evil…When low and behold the clouds darkened and The force for Goodness proceeded to throw 4 straight pitches at the evil Dr. of baseball, finally plunking him on the shoulder with his last pitch! The Red Sox hurler couldn’t have been more obvious about his evil intentions if he had strolled up to the plate, grabbed the bat from the Yankee batsman’s hands and whacked him upside the head with it… And all while the entire baseball world watched on TV!

Good assaulting evil? With malice aforethought? Why, that’s unheard of! It’s supposed to be the other way around. Even the umpire was so confused that he refused to throw the assaulting pitcher out of the game. One can’t punish good for doing wrong to evil can one?

Even the players of both teams were perplexed as they stormed from their opposing dugouts onto the field where, rather than engaging in angry fisticuffs, they began to mill around in confusion not knowing who to defend…or hit: The aggressive good guy who did a bad thing or the defenseless bad guy who was now the good guy just minding his own business at home?

Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, nearly died in a fit of apoplexy while cavorting about in front of the umpire trying to make sense of it all. “You should throw the bum out!” He appeared to be yelling while the umpire was trying to figure out which bum he meant.

And then from there the game simply,  evolved… or did it devolve…into a reverse…or was it perverse… form of hero saga as the Red Sox jumped into the lead by virtue of their righteous anger and mission to  show these once mighty Yankees and the world that cheating through the use of performance enhancing drugs would no longer and could never again be tolerated on such a stage!

But then, in a most bizarre twist of events, the Darth Vader of hardball, the man they now derisively called A-Roid, returned to the scene of the crime to once again stand at that fateful plate and face off against his Luke Sky-walker of a foe only to this time meet the mighty mounds-man’s  most righteous lightning bolt of a fastball with the mighty tha-whack! of a lecherous long-ball into the deepest depths of centerfield…

It was an A-bomb for A-Rod!

A shot heard round the house of he who has not sinned and far into the dark night of strange redemption… for what followed was a Yankees stampede of hits and runs that brought the forces of Red Sox goodness to their knees while elevating this cheating cheater (for it has been foretold that he hath cheated more than once!) and his cohorts to victory!

Have the Baseball Gods gone mad?

Has all hell broken loose?

For only in Bizarro World could such things happen!

And what does this portend for the future of our national pastime? Will A-Rod lead the forces of darkness through to the playoff wilderness and out into the light of the World Series, there to prevail in a bizarre and dark victory of un-justice???

Can you even imagine such a bizarre and twisted ending??? The accused and presumed guilty criminal achieving ultimate victory over his captors while out on bail and before his inevitable death sentence is served?

Why It’s unthinkable! Unheard of! Unheroic!

But in Bizarro world anything is possible!

That’s why from here on in my money’s on the Cubs!

Preying for a Little Regulation

18 Aug

I keep hearing a commercial on the radio that begins with something about how it’s no shame to find yourself in credit card debt these days especially with all of the credit card companies who try to lure you into bad debt and banks with their predatory lending practices…and I think to myself…When do you ever hear the words LURE and PREDATORY without hearing the word CRIME or DEVIANT right after them?

Unless of course you’re an animal in the jungle somewhere where there are jungles and creatures who want to eat you for lunch or dinner.

Once upon a time banks were institutions that existed to help people or communities to grow stronger through savings plans and investments and home or business loans that were affordable and designed to fit your needs and what you could afford.

But that was before luring and preying were decriminalized I guess… Now when the banks do it, it’s our fault for letting them.

Isn’t deregulation great? Whenever our government deregulates something they take the immorality and the illegality right along with it too so that corporations and institutions and people no longer have to worry about whether or not they’re doing the right thing…Just do it! It’s the other guys fault now.

Some folks say that we have too much government and others that we don’t have enough. I say that we just don’t have enough of the right kind of government…

The kind that’s of the people, by the people and for the people…remember that kind?

Eleven score and seventeen years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…about 1 score and 13 years ago we started to deregulate it…

Now, it seems, all bets are off.

Freedom: It’s what’s for dinner

Cloudy With a Chance of…

13 Aug

If you were in my town today, You’d think that Simon Bar Sinister had finally put his dreaded weather machine back together and had discovered that Underdog was in town!

I have lived in Ocean County, NJ for years and our weather has always been rainy or sunny or wind off the ocean or wind from the west, maybe a little hot or maybe a little cold…but lately it’s been hurricanes and earthquakes and tropical storms and hail and high water!

And  today at 10Am it was as black as night outside and we have been under a tornado warning for the past 45 minutes…a tornado warning! At the beach!

We have run afoul of Mother Nature and there is no denying it…whether (or weather) all you climate change deniers out there want to believe it or not…it’s happening.

And for the rest of this day I would not at all be surprised if meatballs fall out of the sky and land on my plate of spaghetti…and I’m not even taking the spaghetti outside!

If you need me today, I’ll be down in the basement and under the work bench with the cats. From now on I’m taking all of my global warming cues from them.

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