Archive | January, 2014

Building a Better Tomorrow

31 Jan

Virtual sunlight: The LED screen shows the rising sun in Tiananmen Square which is shrouded with heavy smog on January 16, 2014 in Beijing, China. Beijing Municipal Government issued a yellow smog alert this morning

In West Virginia, investigators are still trying to figure out how 7,500 gallons of a chemical used to clean coal leaked from a storage facility into the Elk River, leaving 300 thousand people without potable water for several days.

Yes, I did just write “a chemical used to clean coal.” Funny, according to our government and the media, I thought we were mining “clean” coal! How did coal ever get so dirty that it now needs to be cleaned? Go figure!


Anyway, The spill is the third major chemical accident in the region in the last five years. How many minor chemical spills there have been is still a mystery…just like clean coal I guess, but companies that pollute state waters are rarely fined and most industrial facilities are rarely inspected. I believe that this particular company was last inspected in the 1990’s so how much could they have screwed up since then? I’m sure that where you work not once being inspected or evaluated or observed by your boss over the last 20 or so years would little affect your job performance…am I correct?

And get this…The federal government’s  main law regulating chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, does not require manufacturers to show that their products are safe before they can be used, instead the law places the burden of proof on the Environmental Protection Agency. The result is that the E.P.A. has only tested around 200 of over 85,000 chemicals in use today..and you thought that after they killed Jaws it was safe to go back into the water.

But still there are many among us who cry out that government is too big and too restrictive and that we have too many regulations that keep companies and corporations from being profitable and making a decent living so they can provide jobs to our citizens. And now that corporations are people too you’d think that they might be held a little bit more accountable for the destruction they reign upon our environment and our citizens.

Try poisoning 7,500 gallons of coffee at work tomorrow and see if you get in any trouble. I bet there’s a regulation against your doing that. That’s just bad big government trying to spoil your productivity.

So what’s the big deal anyway? Most of us don’t live in West Virginia or in other polluted places where, well…people just don’t live…but the more we deregulate and the smaller and smaller and less responsive we let our government become the harder it is to stand up against large unregulated corporations and the harder it will become to find nice clean places to live…

Just get a load of China where just about everyone else lives, or at least 1 in every 6 of us, and there they have learned how to live with big unregulated corporations that help their economy to grow and grow while their environment coughs, wheezes and rubs its eyes. There as this season’s first wave of toxic smog rolled into their cities they put on their “air” masks (nice new name for a gas mask, huh?) and went outside to watch the sunrise…on television!

Yes, there the political leaders know just what the people need and want from their giant corporate fed government to help deliver them from rules, regulations and taxation as they all move forward into their bright bright future…

It’s certainly not bigger government that the people want… The people want BIGGER TVs!


29 Jan

If you watched the Republican rebuttal to the President of the United States’ State of the Union speech tonight, could you please tell me what the Republican plans and solutions to our nation’s troubles are? The speaker kept talking about them but all I could discern from her speech was that every American should have a dollar, a dream and the blessing of God and that should suffice to help them obtain a successful future, just like the one she is enjoying.

Did I miss anything?

If you heard any specific, concrete and/or alternate Republican party plans or solutions for what ails Americans please let me know what they are in the comments section of this blog post. I’d hate to think that I missed something…

Thank you. I would appreciate it.

Get Out the Vote?

19 Jan

There are 118 electoral democracies in the world and all but 11 of them guarantee their citizens the “right to vote” within their nation’s constitution.

In 2005 the United States helped Iraq to write its new constitution which included the declaration that Iraqi citizens, both men and women, would have the right to vote. And now in Afghanistan thanks to the U.S. all citizens are also guaranteed the right to elect and be elected. When the U.S. army occupied Japan after World War II we helped them to write a constitution guaranteeing “Universal adult suffrage” and in Germany after that same war the new German constitution was written to include the phrase, “Any person who has attained the age of 18 shall be entitled to vote.”

By now you probably know where I am going with this…

Amazingly, The United States, is one of those 11 democracies that does not guarantee its citizens the right to vote within its own constitution. When the country was founded, the U.S. Constitution did not define who could vote and only non-Negro men with real property or sufficient wealth for taxation were permitted to vote. Since then several amendments have been ratified which have extended the right to vote to additional groups of U.S. citizens but ironically the United States, while always helping and encouraging new democracies to include the guaranteed right to vote for all citizens in their constitutions, has never adopted an amendment that afforded such a right to its own.

So what’s the big deal? Why doesn’t the United States have a constitutional amendment simply and explicitly guaranteeing all of its citizens the right to vote? Was this a right that our forefathers simply overlooked or was there method in their mistake by accidentally on purpose creating an escape clause that might come in handy someday when say a Congressman’s approval rate was at 12 percent while at the same time their reelection rate was over 90 percent?

How are those statistics in any way shape or form indicative of a democratic and representative form of government?

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down several measures outlined in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, (an act of Congress that at least helped to strengthen and further define U.S. citizen’s rights to vote) freeing states to change their election laws without advance federal approval and effectively allowing individual states to decide what kind of voting rights citizens will and will not have and thus making it even easier for Congressmen to maintain and retain the lifestyles that they have become so accustomed to without having to worry about whether or not the will of the people, whom they are supposedly representing, is being served, let alone being heard.

Thank you Supreme Court! Whose side are you on? These are the same folks who declared corporations people…so I guess they’ve made it pretty clear.

And that leaves only one branch of the government left who might still be on our side: The president…. But in 2000, The Supreme Court stated in Bush v. Gore. “The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College.”

And what does that mean?

In the United States of America, a citizen’s right to vote is a privilege… which according to Merriam-Webster is: a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others… and that is simply not right at all. So enjoy it, if you can, while you can, because if 90% of us don’t like the jobs our politicians are doing but 90% of us keep voting them back in then this is a privilege that apparently none of us even deserve!



We Come In Peace

16 Jan

A recent WIN (Worldwide International Network)/Gallop international, “End of Year”, survey of over 66,000 people asked the question, “Which country do you consider to be the greatest threat to peace?”

Pakistan with 8%, China with 6% and Afghanistan with 5% of the votes, came in at numbers 2,3 and 4 respectively… while 24% of those polled, or one out of every 4 people interviewed, chose the most dangerous country in the world to be…

US! As in us, the United States. Yes, we are #1!

Of course if you add up all of those percentages, the top four countries chosen received only 43% of the votes leaving over half of those polled choosing other countries as the most dangerous, so I’m assuming that those who were asked the question probably voted for the country most likely posing the most immediate threat to their own…but still just about 1/4 of those asked to contemplate which country is the most threatening to the world chose the U.S.

Which either means that the USA is busy threatening a lot of countries or as I’ve often maintained…

When you’re the guy in the neighborhood with lots of guns and ammunition it’s still awfully hard to convince people that you’ve come in peace…


What’s America All About, Charlie Brown?

12 Jan


In December of 2012, after a sociopath used a rifle made by Bushmaster, one of the Freedom Group’s (or Remington Outdoor Company’s) subsidiaries, to murder students and others at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Freedom Group’s owner, Cerberus Capital Management, announced that in response to public outrage, it planned to sell the company.

However, one year later, The manufacturer, and still owner, of the assault-style rifles, said that sales of its products rose as much as 36 percent in the year since the incident. In fact, the company projects more than a 50 percent increase in profits from gun sales since 2012.The company also reported a strong demand since December 2012 across its product line, particularly for rifles, handguns and ammunition.

So, in the year since this most horrific killing of young school children by a gun wielding madman, what has changed the most in the way American’s go about their daily lives?

We buy more guns!

Can you think of any other changes that we’ve made over the last year here in the United States to help prevent or ensure that such a tragedy such as the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary never happens again?

With my apologies to Edwin Starr…

Violence! huh-yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing…

EXCEPT an increase in American’s purchase of weapons

Say it again y’all


A Big Fat Mistake

11 Jan

Bullying: The use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively impose domination over others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual…

And many times political…

Here in New Jersey we’ve had our own big bully running the state as Governor since 2009.

The trouble with bullies is that those who aren’t being bullied tend to just stand around and watch the bully do his thing rather than intercede and come to the aid of his poor victim. Perhaps it’s because we don’t want to direct his attention towards us and become his next victim or perhaps we just don’t care about who is being bullied. We may sympathize, but mostly we’re thinking, “Thank god it isn’t me.”

Then we just move along and try to stay out of his, or sometimes her, way. Why people don’t intercede immediately and en masse, to stop the bully’s bullying is a question for the ages… but usually it requires the bully’s eventual bullying of the wrong person or group or the result of his bullying being simply too egregious for the majority of onlookers to let pass.

In New Jersey, not too many folks were upset when the Governor bullied the teachers and their unions or the firefighters and police and their unions, by cutting their pensions and benefits. After all in America, who likes unions these days? Even though we are all part of what is known as the United States. Go figure. But I digress…

When he cut the budgets of family planning groups or public libraries or aid to women’s clinics or refused to return $66 million in energy tax revenue to cities, and vetoed a proposal to bolster tax credits for the working poor after slashing them in 2010, all the while using that money to help bulk up the state’s cash reserves to $648 million while proposing cuts in taxes for his wealthy friends, nobody seemed to pay much attention.

Medical services for the elderly were cut, along with child care services and opportunity grants. Nursing home and legal services were next in line, but these were fringe expenses during hard budgetary times.. so what could anyone do?

And when New Jersey’s governor cut $1 billion from public education while handing out $2.1 billion in corporate tax breaks to his favorite charity (Corporations…they are people now, you know), more than in the entire previous decade of New Jersey tax breaks, what could we say? We elected him.

But finally our big bully has picked on the wrong set of New Jersey constituents. It seems that He may finally have gone too far and hit that one last nerve that ALL New Jerseyans can feel and sympathize with.

Traffic! He stopped traffic! In New Jersey! On purpose!

In the land of, “Hey you live in Jersey?… what exit?”

He willfully and with malice aforethought, stopped the cars! Rich cars, poor cars, everybody’s cars!

And just to get back at a Democratic mayor who, during an election year, dared to say that he didn’t agree with the self proclaimed bi-partisan Republican governor!

Governor Christie closed the roads just because he wanted to say, “Nyah, Nyah, Nyah, Nyah Nyah!” to Fort Lee’s mayor.

What kind of a reason is that to stop New Jersey’s most cherished citizens: Our beloved vehicles and the road raging voters who drive them?!

Now that’s what I call a bully taking a bridge too far! (pun intended)


Fifteen months after Superstorm Sandy pounded New Jersey, the state has distributed nearly half the $1.8 billion in initial funding it received from the federal government, the state’s community affairs commissioner told lawmakers Wednesday.

At a state Assembly hearing, Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable said the state has awarded nearly $900 million in post-Sandy aid. New Jersey will soon get another payout of $1.4 billion in aid.

– See more at:

Fifteen months after Superstorm Sandy pounded New Jersey, the state has distributed nearly half the $1.8 billion in initial funding it received from the federal government, the state’s community affairs commissioner told lawmakers Wednesday.

At a state Assembly hearing, Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable said the state has awarded nearly $900 million in post-Sandy aid. New Jersey will soon get another payout of $1.4 billion in aid.

– See more at:

Think About… What You Think About

8 Jan

Here is something very interesting to consider for the new year.

The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA for short) managed at the University of Maryland found in a survey of American voters that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than those who get their news from other sources.

Simply put, the more one watches Fox News as their primary source for information about what’s going on in the world…


I live in New Jersey where a Farliegh Dickinson University Public Mind Poll examined New Jerseyans and how their television news watching affected their overall knowledge of what’s going on in the world. What they found was that those who watched Fox News as their primary news source were less informed about the world than those who…

didn’t watch any news at all!

Holy crap!

And these are not the only public surveys or studies to reach this conclusion. Several others have found that the more you watch FOX the less you will know. And don’t take my word for it. Please look it up, Google it, or check it out for yourself. Which is my entire point. Don’t just believe everything you see and hear on TV, especially if you love to watch Fox News.

Check your sources. Use multiple sources. See what others are saying. Engage in a true dialogue with friends and relatives. READ! Ask questions and expand your information base. Stop watching TV if you have to… but please, please, please make it a New Year’s Resolution for 2014 to start really thinking about…

what you think about…

And what you think you know.


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