Archive | January, 2015

All You Need is a Dollar and Bread in your Bag

26 Jan

If you watched the Republican rebuttal to the President of the United States’ State of the Union speech last year, The speaker kept talking about how what every American really needed to have was 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 was enjoying.

But This year’s Republican rebuttalist began by letting us know that this year Republican’s had a much different plan for America, because she, like all conservative Republicans, felt our pain. And that all Republicans politicians everywhere realize that we Americans are tired of working hard for low wages, are afraid of our family’s futures, and are hurting during these difficult economic times of high deficits and uncontrolled government spending.

Then she offered a little more clarity and substance as to what American’s really need to do to live in a more perfect American, and Non- President Obama, world. And if you were watching and listening like I was, then here is what we all learned about what we need to do in order to make the United States a better place in which to live.

1. (Don’t worry about low wages)  Live simply!

2. (Don’t worry about the future) Don’t waste anything!

3. (Don’t worry about economics and unemployment) Rejoice in the knowledge that in America you have been given freedom: to…sacrifice, dream and enjoy hard work.

Then she went on to punctuate every Republican’s ideas about what America needs and doesn’t need:

America needs the Keystone Pipeline, fewer overseas trade barriers, lower taxes and more military spending!

American Does Not need: “Obamacare” and abortions.

And finally she concluded by reassuring all of us hard working Americans, living in this great country of ours, that wealth and privilege are not important!

So don’t despair America! You do not need wealth and privilege! All you really need is a dollar, a dream and bread bags to keep your feet dry. Live simply! Work hard! Don’t waste anything. Be free and have babies! Make sacrifices!… Big oil, Big business and the Military will protect us… And if you get sick…just suck it up and feel better.

Because that is how Joni Ernst, the newly elected senator from Iowa, who gave this year’s Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, did it in her life and became the successful citizen that she is today! Of course the $460 thousand dollars that her family received from the federal government in farm aid and subsidies didn’t hurt either. Nor did the $200 thousand dollars in county contracts her father’s construction company received while she served as auditor of Montgomery County, Iowa.

Really, I ask you…Who needs wealth and privilege in America these days, when you’ve got all that bread in your bags… huh?

It’s All About the Spread

22 Jan

The National Football League is the most profitable “non-profit” organization in the world. And its product, football, is beloved by millions of adoring fans and Its football games are watched by millions of people… but most importantly and what makes it the premiere sports league in the history of the world is that its games are wagered on by millions and millions more.

Over 100 million dollars, that we know of, was wagered on the Super Bowl alone last year. And people will bet on everything possibly involved with the game from the exact length of the Star Spangled Banner as sung by the guest singer during the opening ceremonies, to the final score of the game, to the heads or tails of the coin flip, to the over/under of the final number of points tallied in the final combined score of the two teams. You name it and it can be bet on.

But one thing you don’t want to bet on is whether the NFL is going to kill their golden goose. And that is why the mystery of the New England Patriot’s championship footballs with the illegally missing air… shall remain a mystery. For to accuse, substantiate and penalize, as in suspend, someone before the biggest game of the NFL year would be to plunge the point spread of said game into the unknown and send the sports bookies running for the hills.

Imagine the New England Patriots without their immortal quarterback in the huddle for the big game or sans the winningest coach in NFL playoff history on their sidelines because of suspensions for cheating? Who wouldn’t bet on the Seattle Seahawks to win? And what if the team found out to be cheaters, then actually went on to win the game? Cheaters can’t win! I want my money back! Las Vegas itself would explode and disappear beneath the desert sands of the Mojave!

So where did the air in those footballs disappear to? Thin air? Hmmmmmm there’s a thought. If thin air does in fact exist then perhaps it was thin air that was in those footballs in the first place? Certainly Tom Brady, doesn’t know. He handles footballs for a living and even though he has said that he prefers to play with an under-inflated football he really can’t tell the difference between one with too much air or too little air when he holds it in his hands during a football game. At least that’s what he had to say in today’s official press conference.

How about head coach Bill Belichick? Does he know? He’s been around footballs all his life and today he revealed in his press conference, that he only just found out on Monday that footballs had air inside them! So he doesn’t know where it went either?

And the NFL Commissioner? He’s still looking for the missing air and who took it, and this investigation could probably take quite a while because looking for missing air and who took it is like looking for…uh…air… in a haystack I guess. Anyway, I can save everyone a lot of time and tell you right now who took the air.

It was a quiet, unassuming and soon to be discovered ball boy who loves Tom Brady, New England and Patriots everywhere and he was just trying to help out his boyhood hero by trying to make his balls feel good…uh…ummm…so he took the air. And…uh… absolutely no one told him to do that. And…uh…he is so sorry and…uh…it will never happen again because he is the one and only one who will be suspended and never heard from again.

How much you wanna bet I’m right? I’ll lay you 10-1 on the over/under of the NFL’s psi gauge.

What’s In a Color?

21 Jan

Tonight is the night of the President’s state of the Union Address, so here is a question for the ages.

If President Obama’s father is black and his mother is white then one half of his lineage can be traced back through black ancestors while the other half of his lineage can be traced back through an equal number of white ancestors so…Why is President Obama a black man? Isn’t he also a white man?

Unless of course “race” as we really define it, simply is about the color of one’s skin and goes absolutely no deeper than that. And what does color define other than appearance?

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”                   -Martin Luther King, Jr.

I do hope that day gets here someday soon. How about you?

Here’s What’s Wrong with College

16 Jan

Here’s  what’s wrong with college…

Pro football coach Jim Harbaugh, was paid 5 million dollars to be the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers until he was fired at the end of this season. He worked for a billion dollar ball club, part of a mufti-billiondollar non-profit network of 32 football teams in America. He, His coaches and players performed in giant stadiums before millions of adoring fans, who paid top dollar to see them play, and they all earned hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars each year because after all this is pro football in the United States in the year 2015. And that is what the market will bear in a democratically free country operating within a capitalist economy.

Now Jim Harbaugh works as the head coach for the University of Michigan football team. He is once again going to be paid 5 million dollars per year to do his work alongside coaches who will also be very well compensated. They will do their coaching in giant stadiums and in front of millions of adoring fans. Their university is part of an incredibly large organization that is worth billions of dollars and they all will profit from money that comes from licensing fees, ticket sales, network television contracts, merchandising, video game sales and monies directly related to the players personalities and likenesses…just like in the pros where he used to work.

Except, unlike the professional SF football players, none of the University of Michigan players will be paid anything! And when Mr. Harbaugh and his coaches look up into the stands at their adoring new fan base, each and every one of the students sitting up in those stands will owe on average 29,000 dollars in student loans to the University of Michigan, (besides having paid for their tickets) part of over 1 trillion dollars owed in total U.S. student loan college debt.

College football is almost exactly the same product with almost exactly the same access to profit that professional football enjoys So who gets the money that would otherwise make EVERYONE in the professional football arena rich? (including the fans who have to be pretty well off to afford the ticket prices) And why does college tuition keep getting more and more expensive every year for college students… at a rate 4 times that of inflation?!

Anyone? …(No offense to coach Harbaugh. I know he’s just doing his job)

The Taxman Cometh

15 Jan

Here’s an interesting bit of news that contradicts just about everything you think you knew about finance, government and taxes… At least everything that you’ve ever been told by everyone or thought to be true yourself, simply because it would seem to make perfect sense. That is if we all lived in a fair and just society.

But according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy ( a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that works on federal, state, and local tax policy issues) their newest study on taxation in the United States reveals that, in 2015 the poorest fifth of Americans will pay on average 10.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the middle fifth will pay 9.4 percent and the top 1 percent will average 5.4 percent.

The tax study’s major conclusion is that  “Virtually every state’s tax system is fundamentally unfair. Unfair tax systems not only exacerbate widening income inequality in the short term, but they also leave states struggling to raise enough revenue to meet their basic needs in the long term.”…  And to make matters worse, several states have adopted or are considering changes that will further lighten the tax load on their wealthiest residents.

And you thought that rich folks pay more in taxes because they make more money didn’t you?

It seems that States and localities have regressive tax systems because they tend to rely more on sales and excise taxes (fees tacked onto items like gas, liquor and cigarettes), which are the same rate for rich and poor alike. Even property taxes, which account for much of local tax revenue, hit working- and middle-class families harder than the wealthy because their homes often represent their largest asset.

Of course we know that The federal income tax system, primarily taxes individuals at a graduated rate, and those who earn more pay a larger share… But don’t forget that the federal system also uses payroll taxes to raise large sums for Social Security and Medicare, which also comes out of the pockets of many low- and moderate-income Americans who pay little, if any, income tax. So when you here stories about how 47% of Americans don’t pay any taxes at all, and in fact make money from the government…well, plain and simple, that’s a lie. When you put all of the federal, state and local taxes together and subtract those from earnings, the United States is #1 in income inequality…in the world!

Wherever there are rich folks passing by you can always find poor folks left in their exhaust. And I believe that it is safe to say that poverty is a waste product of wealth. Seriously, when the richest 1% hold about 38% of all privately held wealth in the United States, and that is more than the bottom 90% who also hold 73% of all debt, and 15% of all Americans live below the poverty line…then how can you possibly imagine that what I just said about the wealthy and their exhaust being poverty, isn’t true?

There should be an AA for the wealthy, as in Avaricious Anonymous: A place for the money abundant human to go and stand in front of his or her fellow citizens, be welcomed, and then declare. “I’m really rich…but all I really want is more!” and get some help.

But I doubt that we could help them, or even help ourselves, if we found we were in the same condition, for no matter how hard we seem to try, and no matter what facts are presented before us, we still seem to believe that wealth equals hard work and goodness… while poverty equals sloth and iniquity…and who doesn’t want to be good…really, really good?

So it’s time to embrace the obvious, if you dare. The poor are poor because they have no money, not because they get free stuff from rich taxpayers. So enjoy your money while you still have it, because the inequality is getting worse not better, and rest easy in the knowledge that the poor are getting the shaft… just like the rest of us. And if you are rich than you can just rest easy, because giving folks that shaft isn’t really hard work at all.

And We’re Off…

10 Jan
On the very first day of the new Congress, the new Republican majority took steps that could very well damage the foundations of Social Security. In addition to providing benefits to retired senior citizens, Social Security  also includes a disability-insurance program for those who want to work but can’t due to health reasons. And sometimes when the disability-insurance program runs short on funds, Congress transfers money from elsewhere in the Social Security system to prevent benefit cuts. The transfers are needed every now and then to keep the money flowing to the proper recipients depending upon those who come and go within the system. These transfers have never been considered out of the ordinary and in fact it has been done by Congress 11 times over the last seven decades. That’s an average of once every 6 years or so…
Apparently the system’s trustees are expecting the Social Security disability-insurance program to face a shortfall next year, and are expecting Congress to do what previous Congresses have always done… but…What the new (and improved?) Republican policy says is that transfers must from now on “improve the overall financial health of the combined Social Security Trust Funds.”  Experts say that because of the new and rather vague language used, it would likely mean any reallocation would have to be balanced by new revenues or benefit cuts.” Because a “transfer” of funds doesn’t necessarily mean an “improvement” of funds…does it?
Republicans are saying that this new language is meant to “improve the overall financial health” of the Social Security system but it may just also provide a loop hole (and who in Congress doesn’t love a loop hole?) to clear the way for proposed Social Security cuts, which would be consistent with congressional Republicans’ goals based on their recent past attempts to make cuts, changes and reductions within the Social Security System.
So, If the disability-insurance program is starved of funds then people will inevitably have to face Social Security reductions of one kind or another. Already multi-employer pensions funds, which cover about 10 million U.S. workers, have seen reductions in pension benefits proposed and approved by Congress in last December’s budget spending bill. And if you are a member of a public pension program than you know that a recent and popular government tactic has been to starve your pension of funds by simply withholding promised and negotiated contributions to your fund.
This government policy of trying to break our retirement programs and then declaring them broken and in need of fixing is not only very disturbing, but most definitely immoral, and most probably illegal. But the bigger and more disturbing question that I have is…why? Why this attack on the working poor and middle classes and their promised retirement incomes? First job displacement in the recent past, then wage stagnation in the present, and now proposed reductions in our future pensions?
We already know that our Congressmen and women are bought and sold by big monied interests and as a result are doing their bidding but what are they up to now? Have they been heavily investing in Nursing Home Futures? Or are the banks pushing for a future of more “Reverse Mortgages” because selling the underwater kind just didn’t bring in enough ill gotten gains?
So what’s the deal? Does anyone out there know? I’d like to hear your thoughts because this new Congress is off and running and I sincerely hope we are not all trampled in the process…and then cast off because we are not “financially healthy”…or rather broken…as in broke.

There’re No Helmets in Sledding!

9 Jan

https://i0.wp.com/www.gopusa.com/news/files/2015/01/Sledding.jpg

It’s winter here in the northeast and with this latest cold winter blast of frigid air, failing snow and falling temperatures come thoughts of my youth and how we would spend our days after school sledding on the golf course hill down the block or ice skating on the pond in the backyard. We’d get home from school, put on every warm thing we could find and head for the hills! And we had so much fun that If it hadn’t been for dark, we’d never have come home! Back in those days there were kids outside all day, every day and parents didn’t go looking for you unless you’d been missing for at least a day or two! In defense of our parents, there were usually plenty of extra kids at home anyway, and maybe some of the neighbors kids too…But I digress because…

According to a recent story I saw in the news, some U.S. cities, faced with the potential bill from sledding injuries, are closing hills rather than risk large liability claims. What?! How does one close a hill?! And who’s being billed for sledding injuries? Well, according to a study from a children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio, between 1997 and 2007, more than 20,000 children each year were treated at emergency rooms for sledding-related injuries!

What has happened to America’s children? Kids don’t know how to drive sleds anymore? Back in the 60’s we didn’t even know that sleds came with directions or that you had to learn how to drive one. But apparently kids all over America are now crashing their sleds into signs, trees and suburban debris like they’re Helen Keller hanging the laundry! Sorry Helen, great lady, great movie…everyone should see it, but I digress again…

Anyway, judgements against local towns and cities have skyrocketed into the millions every time little Johnny or Jane careen off a snow coaster and into a garbage can. Can this be true? Crashing into things on ones sled used to be the entire point of sledding in the first place! Where else, as a kid,  could you careen about at breakneck speeds, while wearing 8 layers of warm padding, boots that could accommodate 4 more pairs of feet than you had, and all on piles of nice soft fluffy snow? Back in those days Crashing had another name and that name was… stopping. And even if we did manage to hurt ourselves and limped back home…it would be entirely our fault! There was no liability in sledding!

And here is how bad it has become for potential sledders of the 21st century. Dubuque, Iowa, is the latest city moving ahead with a plan to ban sledding in all but two of its 50 parks. Say What? Dubuque, Iowa?? How big could a hill in Iowa be, let alone dangerous? What can a kid crash into in Iowa? Corn? On the cob?

Some cities are even posting signs warning of sledding risks, or have workers put pads around posts and hay bales around trees to help protect sledders from making poor choices… and parents are helping their children by scouting out potentially dangerous hills in advance and outfitting their tykes with helmets…good grief! Parents and helmets? Two ingredients that definitely would have gotten yourself laughed right off the “Iowa death run” slope back in our day. Oh, and we had signs back then too. They almost always said “Keep Out!” But we didn’t…

Oh well, it is most definitely a modern world now filled with lawyers and emergency rooms…and did I mention lawyers? Lawyers! This is what today’s grown up sledders decide to become after they graduate college with a degree in anything not involving computers and realize they owe $160,000 with no means for getting a job and paying it back. Time to go to law school then start chasing whatever is moving and sue whoever owns whatever it crashes into!

I know, It’s just that I’m old now, grumpy, non forward thinking, and living in a brave new world. And anyway, soon global warming will eliminate the fine art of sledding from even the most mountainous of Iowa’s…mountains? And the world will become a safer place for children everywhere, who will probably find themselves being forced to wear helmets throughout the day no matter where they roam for fear of being sued by their future lawyer siblings annuity college fund’s mutual trust attorney for having damaged their self esteem by calling them poo-poo head while pushing them off the training toilet…ahhh youth! What I wouldn’t give for a good hill, a rickety wooden sled…and a good crash!

The Mouse's Soapbox

observations from a certain, unique perspective - especially, these days, about dating

dancingnomads

Travelling the world and dancing

ruminationville

a gated community for the overthinker

Southern Georgia Bunny

Adventures of an Southern Bunny everything from dating, sex, life and shake your head moments.

Three's a Herd

Mothering a preemie, a princess, and a work-in-progress

Michele Kendzie

family photojournalist, scrapbook designer, and mom of three unschoolers in Fredericksburg, Virginia

lilrant

...What you see is what you get.

ScribbleDartsfromtheHeart

creative expression and imaginative exploration

J.R.Goldrich

Perspectives, Musings, and Messages from the All

Making it write

mostly poetry, partly peculiar.

a cooking pot and twisted tales

Thoughts and Tales...A Lifestyle Blog with a Zing.

opening the shutters

Musings of a Mad Woman...

Terminal Cruise

One woman's weird and wonderful world

The Arm Chair Pontificator

Satirical & Poetic Musings Of A Self-Proclaimed Nobel Prize Winner

jeffrey m hartman

Examining Special Education In Concept And Practice

alesiablogs

A Blog About Ordinary Life Told In Extraordinary Fashion!

KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog

Rural doctor, mom, writes poems, dance, sing.

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

%d bloggers like this: