Friday, February 01, 2013

A Test!

For those who think we shouldn't allow foreigners to become citizens, and also for those who think we should: here's a sample citizenship test from the Monitor newspaper...
Hint: If you went to school in this country, you have learned ALL the answers to these questions. Whether you remember them, or whether perhaps you "misremember" them, here's your chance to find out.
No peeking at the answers now!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

No Wonder...

Socrates: “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

Saturday, January 05, 2013

From Time to Time...

I try to provide a modest public information service. Here is today's special:

"The Obama Phone!"

'...Who qualifies?
The free cell phones only go to those who qualify for the program under the exact same eligibility requirements that have been in effect since 1996.'

For the full post, go to:

Monday, December 31, 2012

Nothing To See Here, Move Along. Or: It Has All Been Foretold...

"Something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest threat to the American economy is the American Congress," said Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia... Oddly, this was foretold by no less a luminary than...

Mark Twain, who famously fulminated against the U S Congress by claiming that in his belief there was no uniquely American criminal class except for the Congress. Then there was ...

Will Rogers, who had a lot to say about government, this jewel for example: "Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate?"

Sunday, December 30, 2012

No Fiscal Cliff Deal In Sight... Lions and Tigers and Bears, O My!

This Oh!-No!-A-Disaster!, one should remember, is the result of the Grand Bargain of a year ago to prevent a... ummm.... errr... fiscal disaster. To prevent that disaster, the disputatious politicians agreed to create the conditions for a disaster a year in the future. All with assurances among themselves that surely, now that we all Know What We Are Facing, we will work together constructively. In complete denial of the fact that an utter inability to work together constructively is exactly why they created the poison pill of the sequester. In an end-times moment now they will prevent the current fiscal disaster by... ummm... errr... creating the conditions for a disaster yet another year in the future! Remember, you read it here first.

Friday, December 28, 2012

More W-P Comments: December 2012. Wrapping up an eventful year. Although perhaps not more eventful than any other.

MAYBE - These costs wouldn't go up so much if we didn't continually create more shot-to-hell veterans. Not attacking other countries would go a long way to reducing the costs of veterans benefits. It seems to me to be especially egregious to begin a new generation of veterans of foreign wars (Iraq, Afghanistan) before we even cleared the backlog from previous ill-advised adventures (Vietnam).
How about we have them start with the Constitution for the United States, and that obscure Paine document "Common Sense".
For those who venerate the founding fathers (and cite "What They Would Have Said"), consider that the enduring legacy of those founders was based in a classical education, including works in Latin and Greek.
If they bypass Twain or, worse, use that new Bowdlerized edition of Huckleberry Finn, there can be no doubt: the nation is doomed!
Most government reports are well massaged cover-your-@$$ documents. Excusing schedule slips, cost overruns, and mission creep.
I've contributed my share to the heap.
My American Lit (11th grade) teacher got reamed for requiring her students to actually read actual literature instead of the standard-issue text. Which DID have a nice red/white/blue cover and the word America. Pablum inside. School board-approved pablum.
All this reading distracts the students, of course, from the main point of school: to take an endless series of multiple-choice tests. Can't muck up the test-prep classes with reading for information or knowledge (or, gasp!, for fun).
Epicurus: The "Problem" with the clinton era tax rates is that lots of people got richer, not just the rich. If I'm rich, but so is everybody else, then I'm not special enough! Time to put the middle class in their place; in the poorhouse that is.
A freebie for a golpher.
But if we check with Unskewed Polls, they will assure us that this poll and others like it are "Oversampled" and all a plot by the leftist-socialist-marxist-muslimist-obamaist media to portray the GOP as insensitive to the plight of the poor. And how could anybody think such a thing?
I'm Shocked! Shocked! To find that a Murdoch Mouthpiece is a dedicated neo-con manipulator of public opinion. The likelihood that this will cause any Foxhole appreciators to do more than circle the wagons against the depredations of the liberal-socialist-marxist-muslimist-mainstream media is highly remote.
Actually, jhillmurphy; I do believe the Republican party is a handmaiden of the Rupert Murdoch media behemoth. To quote the old adage: "Follow The Money". And they certainly do!
Murdoch is just taking a page from William Randolph Hearst here. If you don't like the news, manufacture some of your own. Make the news, make a buck. 
True. One might hope it becomes a trend! Promise 'em a soapbox if they'll resign. It seems to work, at least for those who would rather screech than think.
Quite correct: If He will pay more than You, I will sell to Him. That's why oil prices aren't set by the president. They are determined by worldwide bidding. NG prices are down locally now because of a local excess. Export will soon rectify that.
An even better opportunity to help the trade deficit is to more aggressively market American Tobacco! No matter the death and destruction, We Can Make Money! Greed Is Good!
Rep. Boehner gets lots 'n lots of face time on the teevee. What more could any good patriotic American politician ask for?
I think rstone2 probably has the future pretty well mapped out. I think that is exactly what they're planning out there in the back room. Wonder what they'll come up with. I sure hope they share it with the rest of us. OH!: Maybe a Constitutional Amendment!
Staying in business, with a payroll of TAXPAYING employees is better than sending the money to Afghanistan in the form of guns 'n bombs.
Wow, whatta concept! Raise taxes to the level of the Clinton years, and at such *HIGH* rates, rich folk will move to... umm... Let me ask you; where will they move to?
There's a law against masturbation? I thought it just made you blind. Like some justices.
If the European is here legally then we don't care that he's here. If the European is here illegally, then we sure as heii don't want him here!
Too bad the natives who were here back when didn't have an INS.
Not even legislators - Lame Duck legislators. Vote and Get Out Of Town. Leave no fingerprints on the bill.
Well, COLLEGE FOOTBALL! Easily the most important factor in quality of life.
The problem was; If we didn't cut taxes from the Clinton years, we'd PAY OFF the national debt! And that would be a BAD THING! Thus spake G. W. Bush. Even so, the CBO foretold that the tax cuts proposed by G. W. Bush were unsutainable, and would result in HUGE deficits. Thus, congress, ever willing to punt on third down, agreed to the tax cuts, but set them to expire. Some (silly people) thought this would actually happen. The more stalwart of the "Drown It In The Tub" group figured they could scream "Tax Increase" loud enough to keep the cuts from expiring. So far, both the exploding-deficit AND the don't-let-the-cuts-expire groups have proven to be right. Meantime, we are all screwed.
Stepping off the curb is no problem; getting run over by the bus is a problem! Look both ways first.
I think that's WHINER-ies
I am an atheist. I do not believe in Nostradamus. I also do not believe in drrealitycheck.
I have already downloaded a printable 2013 calendar. Just have to get a printer now, and I will be all set for the next year. When, if I'm not mistaken, the End Times will surely arrive! Unless they don't.
On the upside, if this were to actually occur, we wouldn't have to worry about our taxes going up!
The quote from Hard Times seems highly apropos to me.
That the pollution isn't so bad because it could be worse seems a poor argument to me.
Dickens got it right.
That's why we call societies such as ours is becoming "Dickensian".
Exporting the oil will be fine for Exxon-Mobile and RPetco. You won't see any of the money though. In fact, the foreign profits will go untaxed by the US government, adding to the profits of the Oil Corporations. Why is it that people think the country is a completely socialist economy, with government owning the businesses? In fact, it's the opposite; the businesses own the government!
Farmers "invest" when they plant their field, expecting (at least hoping) to show a future return on that investment. The government likewise USED to invest in: schools, roads, dams, aqueducts, parks, seaports, railway systems. But now, NONONO! The only thing we can afford to invest in is a bigger military.
I guess I haven't been paying attention: The feds are following the California legislature in their budget craziness. I wonder, if (when) the federal government joins Ca. in paying their contractors with IOU's, how will the Military-Industrial complex deal with that? Will Blackwater stage a sit-down strike?
Wow! This could mean the outbreak of peace!
I see that WILL4567 is another of those who has no knowledge of the Constitution whatsoever. I find this widespread ignorance of the founding documents of the country profoundly upsetting. "Article 1, Section. 7.All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives"
Any submittal by the president, or the senate, or the Wall Street Journal (or other Rupert Murdoch mouthpiece), or anybody else has NO LEGAL basis.
Further, even where there is a legal requirement for a budget submittal (such as in the case of the state of California), the lawmakers routinely fail to do their job. With no consequences. Since they are the lawmakers, of course, they will never cause a law to include consequences for their own illegalities.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..." What became of that Well Regulated Militia that was the FIRST clause of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights?
Considering that all income below $106,000 is taxed at an ADDITIONAL 12.7% (FICA); why not allow the Bush-era (and Obama-era) tax cuts to return to the Clinton-era rates for income greater than that 106K? And remember, that tax reductionof 12.7% is for ALL income greater than 106K, NOT adjusted income.
If tha maximum amount subject to FICA is somehow considered to be a significant number, then why not let it be a significant number as a threshold for tax rates generally? Instead of a made-up number for Social Security only?
"Regulators also said that the fish is unlikely to harm populations of natural salmon,..." BULL! Sieving the seas for feed for these pen-raised fish depletes the food supply for free swimming wild fish. The few remaining wild fish, since the hatchery fish are also flooding the rivers and nearshore areas, competing with the perpetually endangered wild Salmon.
Face it folks; there's too much money to be made off the "management" of the living resource to allow it to recover to a sustainable level.
Maybe they should be labelled "90-plus percent Salmon"?
Or "Ten percent Pout"?
My personal solution: If I don't catch it, I don't eat it. Unfortunately, that's a very expensive solution, and not available to non-coastal inhabitants.
Thank you, angel16. I was about to point out that same obscure factoid. Mr. Kelsey was in considerable trouble for her "Obstructionist Attitude".
12/22/2012 9:52 AM GMT+0700
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Back when I was fishing salmon commercially, I caught an Atlantic Salmon while trolling for Chinook off Cape Mendocino (California). It had apparently gotten out of a net pen somewhere in British Columbia when the sea lions tore the pen open. Travelled many hundreds of miles. There have been lots of observations of these genetically altered fish (chemically neutered) attempting to spawn in BC waters. Disrupting the nests of native salmon.
Chrichton was also a Medical Doctor, had some knowledge of biology. And some knowledge of the fact that many species can switch genders. Ask a breeder of Parakeets. Or the zoo where the *virgin* Komodo Dragon laid eggs that hatched!
Surprising to me that Mr. LaPierre would want to see armed Police from the "Jackbooted Thug Government" holding our children hostage. How could we get our kids free from the schools? Turn in our GUNS? What is this man thinking?
If you hire enough guards, it would certainly solve the unemployment problem.
I thought it was called "Plan B" after that scifi classic "Plan B From Outer Space". You know, the one with the attacking pie tins?
Yeah; Plan 9 replaced Plan B, when they ran out of bad dialogue. One can hope the same will happen in DC.
Less than 60 senators is not "Control of the Senate". Toss in a few *Dem* senators from little red states, who can be easily logrolled by a threat from a plutocrat to buy enough votes for their next GOP opponent to defeat them (think: Ben Nelson), and the "Democrat Controlled Senate" is the very definition of logjam.
Mr. Ornstein is quite correct: the House and Senate are in fact the arbiters of their own rules. They can choose to organize themselves as they wish. There is, on the other hand, the act of succession. The shift back during the Eisenhower (?) years from V.P. to cabinet officers in order of seniority was changed to the Speaker of the House, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, et cetera, to insure that whoever the president was he was an elected official, albeit possibly elected only by a teensy majority of a teensy congressional district of a teensy state. Still, the president would never be an UNELECTED person. The house selecting a private citizen is legal, but conflicts with this. I think it would be interesting but, face it, we have LOTS of interesting conflicts going on already. Might not want to add this one.
12/26/2012 4:00 PM GMT+0700
"A little more stable". Heh. And hey, Hacim, the unemployment rate already passed 10%, except it's going down, instead of up, as you would obviously prefer it to.
The "unelected" part, while it won't happen here, follows pretty logically from the last time the congress actually acted in a rational and also successful way: they appointed a "Base Closing Committee" to choose which military bases to shut down. The members of Congress had no say except an up/down vote. Saved them from being able to swap votes for "you vote for my air base, I'll vote for your navy base" pork. They abandoned their sworn duty because it was just too too traumatic!
If he had nukes, he could do more than "Drown It In The Bathtub".
Yep, the federal deficit is likely to go down. However, state, local, and *personal* deficits are gonna go up! Way up!
This very definitely falls into the category of "be careful what you wish for".
Enrich the rich, yes; benefit the rich, I don't think so. How does it benefit the rich to be citizens of a country that is both bankrupt AND ungovernable? They seem to have left the "enlightened" off the concept of "enlightened self-interest".
Taxes will go up only on the *few remaining* employed people. Income tax is only collected on income. With no tax base, the tax rates become fairly meaningless.
12/26/2012 4:24 PM GMT+0700
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Saturday, December 01, 2012

More W-P Comments: November 2012

Bain Capital "We Make Money The Old-Fashioned Way: We Liquidate."
James Stanton! Wasn't he Abe Lincoln's Secretary of War?
Must be pretty old by now.
Fox News: Not particularly noted for worrying about the accuracy of their reporting. I found the claim about the "laser" a bit confusing though. I would have assumed that the laser referred to was a laser sighting device. That is, the machine gun possessed a laser sight. NOT a Tom Clancy fantasy at all. That this meant the ability for the CIA group to mount some kind of counterattack does not follow. The entire history of the CIA in fact, argues that when it comes to actual conflict situations, they are a pretty hapless lot. Unless they're using an X-Box to fly a drone equipped with cruise missiles, or something that IS Tom-Clancy'esque.
Believing in the math illiteracy of the American voter is a pretty safe bet, sadly.
It also seems safe to bet against the ability of the majority to remember the path that got us here. Voters were seemingly unable to remember the prosperity of the Clinton years, even DURING the Clinton years. How else explain why they voted to UNDO President Clinton's "Disastrous Tax Increases"? Now, W. "Mitt" Romney promises to continue and extend the "Job-Creating GW Bush Tax Cuts".
FEWER people working for government; MORE people working for private industry.
But by all means, cherrypick the numbers you prefer.
Adam M: To quote from Inherit the Wind... "Your Honor Is Entitled To Hope!" Sadly, the past doesn't seem to qualify as a teaching (or learning) event.
A poll of my closest neocon evangelical old white guy republican friends shows W. "Mitt" Romney winning by 53-47%! Clearly, a historic landslide is in the making.
Pay no attention to that 47% of whining losers!
And yet... and yet... These self-satisfied monocultured boffins have an amazing record of success. Successfully persuading people to believe them.
Even at the bottom of the 2008 depression, when President Bush was disliked by 65% of the population, that still meant that 1 in 3 people thought he was doing a GOOD JOB!
That phrase "Low-Information Voter" comes to mind, but seems a bit mild to describe the true extent of the epidemic of ignorance.
Just guessing here: If Iran (or any other country) starts flying spy planes (drone or manned) over, or even near US airspace, the USAF will shoot that sucker down! Only responsible umm... response possible.
Nice to know the Iran government is also acting responsibly in defense of its airspace.
Well, yes, @Chippewa, Medicare works far far better than most medical insurance plans. At a lower cost as well.
Now my own personal healthcare plan has been: "Don't Get Sick". It worked great for a long time. Not so well now. Medicare seems to be a good supplement to my personal plan.
Rick Scott, of course, milked medicaid for bazillions in fraudulent payments. That was the seed money for his election fund. And got caught at it. Of course he hates government healtcare! Stands in the way of his giant paydays.
Thank you RustBeltWoman. Just because I look like an old white guy doesn't mean I belong in that demographic.
That's quite true; the GOP also welcomes (provisionally) rich black guys, rich hispanic guys, rich asian guys. As long as they know where they belong!
Insisting on absolute purity and devotion to the party's "principles" is a good way to shrink the constituency. The only way that is gonna work is if you can also figure a way to shrink the pool of enfranchised voters. The southern democrats did that with poll taxes and poll tests. The pesky Supreme Court ruled that unconstitutional. Perhaps if we returned to that, the GOP could stay afloat. As long as the poll test was pretty much ABC for their semi-literate (I am being generous here) base, while requiring complex explications of constitutional law for the "brown races".
IRRATIONAL: Well chosen word, to describe the notion that the government, supposedly forbidden to make any law regarding the establishment of religion, should make a law regarding the partnering of citizens based on the rites and rules of a religious organization!
If. marriage is a sacrament (as many DOMA defenders describe it); Then, the government may not pass any laws regarding marriage!
I do believe Gov. Jindal is correct: It would probably be impossible to "dumb down" the GOP beyond its current level. He himself, of course, was a contributor to this state-of-the-party, looking at the sort of things he was claiming back during his moment of fame as director of Katrina Recovery.
As far as running for president. Sorry, Bobby, you can run, but you can't hide.
Prominent Texans want to secede? I don't live in Texas, but I'd be happy to sign the petition!
Heck, forget the peaceful secession; Fire them before they have a chance to quit!
Now I consider, it really isn't so much about smart vs. dumb. It's that the GOP is the party that embraces the notion that it's ok, a good idea really, to "Create Your Own Reality". And so off to Neverland, with no way back.
Comfort Zone OR "Dance With The One Who Brought You Here".
You are correct, it's not a good reason.
Well, W. "Mitt" Romney promised some pretty big gifts himself. Only his gifts were to the uber-rich who were going to vote for him in any case, to get that radical socialist communist foreigner muslim et tedious cetera out of the White House. He was bribing the wrong people! Rep. Ryan had it right: the election was decided by the "Brown Peoples" in the cities. They just can't quit speaking in those old code words that are the legacy of Ronald W. Reagan. In a few more cycles, the GOP will consist entirely of residents of senior care facilities.
Geez; People might think Washington is not serious about the economy? Funny, I got that impression all the way back when Dick Cheney said that "Deficits Don't Matter" (as long as I'm in charge).
Well, don't you see: The water is rising, but HEY! He was having sex! People are being bombed and strafed, but HEY! She was having sex! People are starving, but HEY! They are having sex! Can't permit that sort of behavior now, can we.
It's the Reality TeeVee effect. The more unreal, the more we pretend it's real.
Do we sense something a bit odd here? We must not, nonononono! permit Iran to have any access to fissile material. Because they might, umm, "Have WMDs". Meantime, back at the ranch, Canada is selling enriched Uranium to India, which in fact DOES have WMD's. So do the perpetually failing state of Pakistan, the perpetually bellicose state of Israel, the perpetually petulant state of N. Korea, and, top 'o'the heap, the ONLY country ever to actually Drop The Bomb, the USA. Why this obssessive focus on Iran? Do we really believe they (the rich, powerful, comfortable, leaders, that is) are really intent on committing total suicide?
Won't end. Just a new set of players. There are too many Gods who really love Jerusalem. It's their favorite vacation spot. So, the acolytes of these gods have to fight to secure a choice reservation in Hotel Jerusalem. Even the "Christians" looking after the church there drop censers and duke it out from time to time.
A couple of quotes: "Do you now, or have you ever, advocated the violent overthrow of the government of the United States?"... "We need to starve it and shrink it and drown it in the bathtub."
As far as Senate Majority leader Harry Reid: "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives..." Article 1 Section 7 US Constitution. Posters like likethesoup2 appear to be advocating that Senator Reid act contrary to the Constitution. Either that, or likethesoup2 is an ignoramus.
"You know, not just to people who look like us and act like us,..." Yeah, Mr. Speaker Boehner; how do you speak to people who don't look like Us Amerricans?
First off, consider NOT stereotyping everybody who isn't, or doesn't resemble, an Old White Guy as a Foreigner/Suspicious Possibly Criminal Invader
You mean... Umm... "Severe Conservative W. "Mitt" Romney wasn't what? Severe enough, or conservative enough?
Solon was, of course, ostracised for his efforts. Pisistratus was known as The Tyrant, evoking a vision of the philosopher king and, after his sons INHERITED his power over the state, tyranny came to be regarded as a bad thing. Perhaps even, much later, giving rise to the phrase "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely".
Face it, we aren't getting out of this alive!
Very true. Some reflection will show that the much-loved mortgage interest tax deduction doesn't end up saving the homeowner anything at all. It simply allows the buyer to purchase the same house for MORE money, at a HIGHER interest rate. All well and good for the homebuilding industry and the banks, but not too helpful for you (and especially me).
Right now, with home prices down and interest rates way down, would be a good time to phase out this deduction. Trying to convince the shopper for a new home of this is probably out of the question.
...lite. Well chosen ID! The immigrants don't go to the US for the dole, they go there for the sweatshop jobs that are being returned to the US from the former third world countries of Asia. Meanwhile, the "Brain Drain" that used to flow toward N. America is now reversed and flowing toward Asia.
"Under 60". That is the crucial number. Here (in S.E. Asia), 60 is considered not elderly, but aged. Heck, in Thailand when they say ancient buildings, they mean pre-vietnam-war era.
Us "non-young" Americans are pretty much either among W. "Mitt" Romney's 47%, or we better figure to create a business that doesn't show up on any local government's radar.
When I sent my resume to Lockheed some years ago via a friend who was working at the skunkworks, he told me that Lazy L was "looking for younger engineers". My work in aerospace with NASA, the Air Force, the Navy, as well as at Adobe, Minolta, etc. DISqualified me!
I was over 40. And way over 30.
The reason the "Bush Tax Cuts" were originally set to expire in ten years is that, even as they were enacted, the budget projections showed that they would cause an unsustainable deficit in future years. The "plan" on the Dem side was to show the cuts were wrong; the "plan" on the GOP side was to make them permanent based on the idea that "Deficits Don't Matter" (thanks for that little insight, Dick Cheney).
Wow! Hard to undersestimate the significance of that fact, judithalamance! I guess that means we will have a different president come January.
Ahhhhh, Senator, I saw you palm that card: "Coupled with gradual age increases within Medicare and Social Security; ..." Sure sounds like being fiscally responsible. However, if you couple the demographics of a society where older people (by which I mean, Over Sixty) can't find work alongside a continuous raising of the age at which these people can get SS or Medicare, the result is that by the time I get to SS I will be bankrupt. Or have starved to death.
The POINT of these programs, Senator, is to prevent those beyond working age from ending in poverty. Personally, I would rather work. In fact, I do work. Unfortunately, not for money, because the "Job Creators" won't pay "Obsolete Engineers". Fix that, then you can raise my retirement age.
But during the presidency of G. W. Bush, "Deficits Didn't Matter". Deficits only matter when the president is a Democrat.
Actually, Mr. Ricks is incorrect: in truth the GOP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch and his various "News" organizations. Fox-News especially included.
Mr. Ricks didn't speak "yessir" to Rupert. Bad Guest!
Interesting: Fox-News excoriates Susan Rice for toeing the party line (the CIA talking points) about Benghazi, but then dismisses Mr. Ricks for NOT toeing the party line (Fox-News' talking points).
"Job Creators" not creating jobs (oh; except in Chinese sweat shops) isn't going to help accomplish anything either. They should start creating jobs in American sweat shops!
11/30/2012 4:23 PM GMT+0700
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