Featured Quote

In 1913, Henry Ford wrote the following as the directors had been reaping the rewards of profits - "The wages we pay are too small in comparison with our profits. I think we should raise our minimum pay rate".

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If you can manage to get through this....

10 Scariest Republicans headed to Congress

I was afraid before... but now I am terrified that these hate-filled psychopaths will take our constitution and wipe their sorry butts with it before flushing this Nation down the toilet.

The Statue of Liberty has a poem by Emma Lazarus on a tablet in it's pedestal which has been embraced by our Nation for decades :

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
I hold that Illegal Immigration is just that, Illegal.  Find them, give them counseling on legal immigration, throw them out and let them start over, come back the right and legal way.  But the blind hatred espoused by the people in that list and those like them makes me very nervous.  They target for persecution anyone that appears as though they might not have been born here.

They shout for Liberty, Freedom and the Glory of our Nation - all the while embracing ideas that have lead to oppression, racial cleansing, genocide even.  They ask government to leave them alone!  "Oh, and by the way, government, while you are leaving us alone, make sure anyone else can never legally do the things we disagree with, like gay people getting married or serving in the military or women choosing to have an abortion for any reason."

Their attitudes are why we have bullying against LBGT kids - and bullying in general.

None of these things that they seem so proud to believe can EVER be acceptable in the United States of America that our Founding Fathers established.

On a side note... watch this... 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Airport Insanity

Okay, so discarding a bit of liberty for the illusion of safety - Airport Scanners.

Seriously, take a look at the image there...  enlarge it... you can see who trims the hedges and who is hanging low and to the left...

That is waaay to much to reveal in a crowd.  Even if the person seeing the images is in another room and can't see the actual person and even if the images are not saved any where - yeah, right - there is no way I am going to accept the option of either having someone see THAT or Grope me Down.  That is way too invasive.  Not to mention way too much opportunity for misuse and abuse of the images.

The United States Obsession with Other People's Bedrooms

I must say, WHAT THE FRIKK?
"An equal application of law to every condition of man is fundamental." --Thomas Jefferson to George Hay, 1807. ME 11:341

"The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens." --Thomas Jefferson: Note in Destutt de Tracy, "Political Economy," 1816. ME 14:465
 "Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual." --Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819.
The United States has become totally obsessed with outlawing what some people choose to do in the privacy of their own homes.  Contrary to the will of our Founding Fathers (as shown above), we have passed laws and enshrined practices that infringe on the equal rights of others around us.  One group that has been disproportionately affected - or targeted - by this unconstitutional attack are homosexuals.

It completely baffles me how many people imagine that in order to secure their own liberty, someone else's liberty must be restricted.  That reasoning is in direct opposition to the Foundation of our Nation.

Marriage is a secular institution in our country, because in order to legally be acknowledged by our government, religion can not, legally, play a part in it.  Yet, gay couples are barred from entering into this binding agreement solely on the basis of religious objection.  I claim solely on the basis of religious objection, because there is no logical, reasoning objection that can withstand any scrutiny.  I firmly believe (and herein should lay humor) that gay people have the same rights to pay higher taxes, have someone fiscally interested in their demise and be prohibited from enjoyable promiscuous activity as any other coupling of free people.  If having Marty and Bert marry would diminish, in any way, your marriage, then you don't have much of anything to begin with.

I don't have a lot of the same perceptions of military service as many people do.  Some seem to enshrine anyone who has enlisted as some sort of automatic hero - regardless of their personality and habits.  I hold that assigning the label of hero to anyone simply because of their occupation is demeaning to true heroes within that occupational field.  I believe anyone should have the opportunity to serve their country.  There have been gay people in every military throughout history.  Some have been great leaders and extraordinary heroes of their time.  What opportunities at excellence are our 'leaders' denying our country by this modern and misguided exclusion?  I mean, were the armies of Rome demoralized and ineffective?  I firmly believe (again, humor to follow) that gay citizens should  have the same right to endure grueling, mind-and-spirit-breaking training, travel to foreign lands where everyone hates them and have an equal opportunity to get shot or blown up for their country.

I truly believe that we as a Nation have yet to fully realize the potential laid out in our constitution - and hope to be around when we finally achieve it.  I will do my small part to attempt to move us a little closer to that potential.

A little bit on Truth and Truthiness

I am a big stickler for Truth.  Sometimes I may not like what people have to say, but if its True... well, then, its True.  At the same time, many people don't like what I have to say, but its True.
I don't believe that you should ever support or stand behind a lie.  Once a talking point has been proven to be false - admit it was false.  Tell people why you believed it, then tell the Truth.

If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.
Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
The first reaction to truth is hatred
Never assume the obvious is true.

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.
The truth, of course, is that a billion falsehoods told a billion times by a billion people are still false.

... okay, so for this post, I am adding a quote box on one side or the other... 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tea Party Seeks to Suppress the Will of the People

States' Rights and "Will of the People" are heavily advocated by the Tea Party platform... at least most of them.
So, when a Tea Party candidate runs for office, one would expect that they uphold those principles.

Not so for Alaska's Joe Miller.  He has filed a Federal Court petition to force Alaska to discard any write-in ballot with a candidate's name misspelled.  I believe Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, his opponent, may get the short end of that stick.

In seeking to force the state to bow to federal meddling, Miller is trying to thwart the intent of the voters who can't spell Murlowski.  Mercowski? Er, Murkowski.  So much for listening to the People.

Articles from NPRYahoo! News and Christian Science Monitor

Can I come to your party?

I am having trouble finding a good party or group to get behind.  My odd mix of Moderate Fiscal Conservative and Liberal Moderate Social views does not seem to have a good representation out there.  So far, Reform Party looks good - but I am concerned about the activity level and the history of in-fighting and splitting.  I can see where any smaller party can have those issue though.  I hope they - perhaps we - can build something larger and more solid now.

I have looked into the larger Green Party.  I love some of their ideas :
(from gp.org platform)
11. The Electoral College is an 18th century anachronism. We call for a constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College and providing for the direct election of the president by Instant Runoff Voting. Until that time, we call for a proportional allocation of delegates in state primaries.
a. Re-formulate all international trade relations and commerce as currently upheld by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB), and the nascent Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) to protect the labor, human rights, economy, environment and domestic industry of partner and recipient nations so that the growth of local industry and agriculture has the advantage over foreign corporate domination. 
We call for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act. Many of its provisions, along with many of the other so-called National Security Acts, undermine and erode our Bill of Rights, and contribute to the destruction of the democratic foundation of checks and balances between the branches of government. 
a. More progressive taxation. Sales, corporate and income taxes should be adjusted to relieve the burden on those less able to pay and increase the burden on large and multinational corporations and the super wealthy, who do not pay their fair share. Raise the state income tax for higher income people. Also, reduce income taxes for low-wage workers to encourage people to seek employment rather than relying on public assistance.
b. Raising corporate taxes. The corporate share of taxes has fallen from 33% in the 1940s to 7% today, while the individual share has risen from 44% to 85%.
 9. Adopting a reduced-hour (30-35 hours) work week as a standard. This could translate into as many as 26 million new jobs.
Think of how much more productive in you own life you could be with an extra 5 to 10 hours per week! How much more time with family and friends.

and some I just don't know about :

10. We advocate that prisoners be granted the right to vote. [See section H.Prison Conditions on page 35 in chapter II]
n. Our defense budget has increased out of all proportion to any military threat to the United States, and to our domestic social, economic and environmental needs. The United States government must reduce our defense budget to half of its current size. The 2005 defense budget is estimated at around $425 billion, and that does not take into account military expenditures not placed under the defense budget
o. The U.S. has over 700 foreign military bases. We urge our government to phase out all bases not specifically functioning under a U.N. resolution to keep peace and bring home our troops stationed abroad, except for the military assigned to protect a U.S. embassy. Many of these bases are small and can be closed immediately. We advocate further reductions in U.S. foreign military bases at a rate of closure of 1/4 to 1/5 of their numbers every year. 
We do have lots of military bases and the budget is really big compared to any threat we currently face.  However, If we close the bases and cut the budget - we loose all of those jobs and flood our already stressed job market, skyrocketing unemployment and poverty.  Its fine to have ideals, but you can't enact ideals because there are always unintended consequences.  If you don't have a plan for all the consequences, you have a disaster.

2. Every jurisdiction should have a civilian complaint review board with subpoena power and the ability to order the dismissal of police officers who make false arrests and abuse those whom they arrest.
5. We call for citizen control of redistricting processes and moving the "backroom" apportionment process into the public light. Give the 10-year redistricting process to the Census Bureau or an independent agency. Minority representation must be protected and secured in order to protect minority rights. 
I am just not sure how fair that really is.  You are drawing lines to increase the numbers of people that fit or don't fit a certain profile - racial profiling.  Fair would be straight lines across a state every certain measurement, or every certain number of counties from North to South... or East to West.  Drawing lines to include the most or equal numbers of x or y doesn't seem really fair to me.
k. Under the agency of the United Nations, we demand that our government renew and initiate government funding and support for family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that request it.
I prefer to end or greatly curb all foreign aid...  If we are getting loans from China (etc) then we don't have the money to loan other countries.  Aid and Charity are things you can do when you can afford it.  Apparently, we can't.
I do support making family planning, contraception and abortion available in OUR country to all who request it.  If you are against abortion, don't have one and you can advertise and educate all you want - just don't legislate anyone else's choice.

My local Green Party is all about total non-violence and ending the Death Penalty.  I am not that lenient by a long shot.  Heck, I support a quicker application of the death penalty in open-and-shut cases where the conviction is unquestionable.  Murderers, serial rapists, child molesters and other such criminals need to be taken completely out of the world as quick as possible.  While in prison, they need to be made to work to help support their rehabilitation.  They don't need coddling, three meals a day and a roof over their head to reward their criminal behavior.  I would prefer to only house real criminals in prisons - not 'victim-less' criminals like people who smoke or possess pot.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Okay, so, I've had this loan with a predatory lending company who shall remain citi financial nameless for over two years.  I've been paying a minimum of $277 a month - for a long time I was paying $300 to help cut the interest.
The interest rate has been moved down from 25% (!!!) to 22.99% - which they claim is the lowest they can offer.
So far, I have been unable to refinance this loan with any other establishment - banks, credit unions, etc.  Apparently, they are concerned that I may not be able to pay a lower payment with lower interest. ????? Seriously?  Two and a half year track record of paying higher payments with higher interest and you think I'll quit now?
This is a prime example of the financial industry's practice of keeping people down.  There is no real risk of me suddenly not paying this.  My "numbers" don't figure out correctly, so nobody will cut me some slack on this interest rate.  Whatever the payment turns out to be, I'd still pay over that amount - maybe that is their problem, I cut into their profits by paying it off quicker.
Bottom line is that I have to pay more money than someone who already has more money.
I've tried again, which is why this is on my mind - in my head - right now.  If I don't get this one... I'll try again after I've gotten my Income Tax Refund and paid my balances down more.

Update : 11/21/2011
It took a long, long time, but I've refinanced that loan.  I am now paying 14% interest.  Not great, but a LOT better than 23%!  I've also consolidated a couple high interest credit cards into a lower interest (11% instead of 22% or more) loan.  Oh, yeah, the Myth of the "Income Tax Refund" payoff... its never enough and something else always comes up.  Even this year coming up, I will be using the refund - which should be bigger - to make repairs to my car.

And why is my refund going to be bigger? Well, that is the awesome part.  If it works like I calculated... I switched some stuff up in my Health Care cost planning...  I increased my deductible on my work health insurance, lowering my premiums.  I stopped the Flexible Spending Account (pre-tax) and went with a Health Savings Account at a local Credit Union.  This way, the contributions I make to the HSA are tax deductible, but I paid taxes on them, so at the end of the year, I get that tax amount back - my federal savings plan.  I earn interest on the amount in the HSA.  I would like to keep the HSA at twice my deductible at least, but I am not there yet.  There are no catches to the HSA like with the FSA, which was spend it all or loose it.  The HSA contributions I make while healthy could still be there - gaining interest - when I am older and not as healthy.