Saturday, December 17, 2016

Pretty Accurate from the Center



This article from The Atlantic is pretty close to how THIS Centrist sees things.  However, it uses the term "Moderate", which implies someone who doesn't get too involved.  (In the past, being a Moderate worked, because things just naturally moved to the Center, via compromise.  Now, not so much.) 

Moderates: Who Are They, and What Do They Want?


 

Believe Me Now?


"42"..... as in raise the tax rate on the top 1-1/2% to 42%.
As I've said repeatedly, I think that ending Supply Side Economics is one of the most important things we could do for our times.  In the 35+ years that it has mostly dominated, things have not "trickled down"... the wealth has concentrated further up.  Take a look at how much good could be done if we change this: 


People further up the economic ladder complain that about 47% of our populace pays no taxes at all.  Well, maybe if things were shaken up somewhat, more of them would move further up the ladder and pay taxes! 


Friday, December 2, 2016

Keep On...



"Believe you can, and you are halfway there."  ---Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Service with Dignity


There's a lot of talk right now about whether rescinding trade deals really helps or hurts workers.

There's actually another discussion we should be having:  how can we realistically make a service-based industry a better thing for workers?  For one thing, there's no guarantee we can bring substantial manufacturing jobs back home.  Secondly, many jobs were replaced by automation/computerization.

It's helpful to look at other examples.  While we cannot be exactly like other countries, we can learn from them.  In Germany, about 71% of the workforce is in service jobs.  Yet, since there is not such an income gap, having a job like this is not taken as a mark of "shame."  In fact, if you see German wait-servers at work, you can see they treat it as a real profession.




Although politicians can't change our behavior directly, they do seem to exercise outsized influence on people.  Maybe if they came out and talked about our "nameless, faceless" service industry workers, if they reminded everyone of the respect that McDonald's and Wal-Mart workers should have, maybe that would make a difference.

And, once again, dumping supply-side economics would be a good thing.  There are many articles coming out where a few radical, open thinkers in the "1%" are saying the same thing.  They value a stable society and argue that better wages are part of this.  They admit that huge windfalls for the wealthy don't "trickle down."  They remind their audiences that the wealthy need middle-class customers to buy their stuff.  They remind others that, if the middle class isn't stretched so thin time-wise, they can volunteer in ways to make the world a better place.

Some of these thinkers admit where the windfall to the rich goes:  it goes to buying up stock in their own companies.  This artificially raises the price of stock, which gives the CEOs, who get part of their income off their stocks, more money.  One of these enlightened one-percenters pointed out that every Wal-Mart employee could have gotten a raise of over $4000 with the money Wal-Mart spent to buy up  and inflate its own stock.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Examine the Policies, Don't Attack the People



The really big problem, IMHO, has been 35+ years of largely unchecked supply-side economics  (aka "Reaganomics" or "Trickle-Down Economics").  With the exception of a few years in the 1990's, this one-sided policy has been used most of these 35 years.   It usually goes along with slashing the budget in certain key areas that only the Right can love.  (As an occasional "corrective", it might have been all right.  Not in constant use.  Google the concept; you'll see a lot of details.)

 People who might otherwise have challenged it have been deflected from taking a good, hard look at it by leaders who have tried to roll all this up in a form of public "Christianity" ever since the 1980s.

People need to know who "Grover Norquist" is.  He's browbeat practically every prominent post-Reagan Republican into accepting this position.  He's never been elected to public office.  He's an economist educated in elite schools, holding sway over elected representatives.


Grover Norquist


Supply-side also usually saddles future generations with federal deficits.  (Fortunately a Centrist balance turned this on end in the 1990s, and we had a subsidy.  Until another supply-sider, George W. Bush, came in and gave sudden, ill-advised tax refunds.)  

The promise is always that when the wealthy and corporations have their taxes cut significantly, this financial "good will" will "trickle down" to the middle and lower classes.  Study after study shows it doesn't work. And it's never been implemented in a way that forces investment in the economy and jobs FIRST, BEFORE the tax breaks. 

When the "charitable" giving of those profiting from supply-side in the '80s was reviewed, it showed the wealthy still not sharing at nearly the rate of the middle class.  AND the wealthy often donated to the high-priced universities they'd attended, such as Harvard or Yale.


There has also been talk of weakening or dismantling the Dodd-Frank banking regulations.  Remember that last time banks weren't properly regulated?  The 2008 housing & economic meltdown.

I'm not asking for a Liberal tax & spend agenda, either.  Just something closer to what happened in the '90s (minus the bank deregulation.)

YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS!!!!!  This stuff relates to a lot of the social policies and social unrest that have built up. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fastforward to the Past










NEWS EXTRA!!!!


BREAKING NEWS: The FBI is investigating irregularities into the 2016 World Series. Director James Comey has decided to make this information public before there are leaks from Kurds attempting to show that Russians were attempting to influence the outcome of America's favorite pastime.
      It has recently been revealed that the originator the Cubbies' curse, William Slanis, was actually of Russian origin; his actual name was William Stanislavsky. He was a Cold War era spy for the Russians. Although Communism has failed and Slanis has long since passed, there is evidence that his Moscow relations, close friends of Vladimir Putin, had been working with WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, to influence the outcome. The attempt was to create a tied score, to create more disruption and suspicion in American culture at a time when many Americans were already saying, "Holy smokes... how'd we end up in this situation?"
      This came after high-ranking Russians insisted that they would be observers at all games, to ensure that the outcome was not rigged. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, in private talks which were secretly recorded by the CIA & just made public, said, "It's absolutely possible for you to have observers at at the Word Series. It's called 'buying a ticket.' Just make sure you do it early." There are now investigatons opening into how many World Series seats were bought by Russians, their exact positions in the stands, and how the tickets were paid for.
      There are also investigations into complaints from all major league teams that the umpiring was rigged throughout the entire season. Many fans took up this position over the season, but felt their opinions went unheard. Ken Bone (the "red sweater guy") commented exclusively (to every major news outlet) that a system is rigged when you can no longer yell at the umpire, "The ump needs glasses!", due to political correctness run amok. (This in spite of his own use of eyewear.) His remarks are under suspicion, now, because he first gained fame by wearing a RED sweater ("red" for Cardinals, not for communists, at least not until more innuendo surfaces) and talking in ST. LOUIS!!!
Russians, knowing that baseball is already steeped in superstition, felt that they could mastermind this. If successful, their next step was to muscle into the Ukrainian vodka business, the true fuel of that part of the world.
      Neither Putin nor Assange would comment. But it has been discovered they speak regularly on red phones named "The Bat-**** Super-Crazy Phone."
It is not known yet whether Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg has been favoring the posts of one team over the other. Alogorithms are being carefully analyzed by the FBI, the CIA, and Mad Magazine.
      Megyn Kelly is undergoing serious new hairstyling, sources reveal, to be prepared to take on this story live. Although Ms. Kelly would not comment herself, one of her staffers leaked, "It's so stupid to have to make it about a woman's hair at a time like this, but you know how it is..."

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Right Spirit



"I sing God's music because it makes me feel free.  It gives me hope. With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues."  --Mahalia Jackson, Gospel Singer, on her choice of music

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Solitude


Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all,—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

 
Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1883


"Solitude" is Wilcox's most famous poem. She was travelling to Madison, Wisconsin, to attend the Governor's inaugural ball. On her way, there was a young woman dressed in black, crying, sitting across the aisle from her. Miss Wheeler moved next to her and tried to comfort her.  When they arrived, the poet was so unhappy that she could barely attend the festivities herself. Looking in the mirror, she suddenly recalled the sorrowful widow and she wrote the opening lines of "Solitude." 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Declaration

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  --Thomas  Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, July 1776.

Link to full text of the Declaration of Independence




Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"Peanuts" Firsts (and Last)


The "Peanuts" comic strip looked somewhat different in the early 50's.  It had a very different "vibe" then, too.  Charles Schulz ended up disliking his work from those years.  But I actually prefer them, especially from about '52 to about '54.  (I like the content of the ones earlier than that, too, but not so much the art.)

Here's some to think about:

The strip started running on October 2, 1950.

Snoopy started out as sort of the "neighborhood dog", rather than Charlie Brown's.  Here he's first named, on November 10, 1950.  (Hey, November 10th was Martin Luther's birthday! Any connection?  Nah....) 


Violet wasn't in the first cast of characters.  She made her appearance on February 7, 1951.  Initially the strip got some mileage out of the new girl references. Notice the braids! 


The first time Charlie Brown was called a "blockhead" was on August 16, 1951.  This time, it was by Violet.  (Lucy hadn't made her first appearance yet.)


The fist Sunday strip ran on January 6, 1952.  Some of us Christians who celebrate by an organized church calendar recognize that date as "Epiphany."  Coincidence or plan?  Probably coincidence, as there are no Star, Wise Men or Twelfth Day of Christmas references.


Lucy made her appearance on February 3, 1952.  At first, she was an adorable baby/toddler.  Her main ways of bugging Charlie Brown back then were asking too many questions and asking too many favors of him. 


There were so many other "firsts."  Schroeder started out as an even smaller baby, before Lucy showed up.  He began his piano playing early, seemingly because Charles Schulz said he enjoyed drawing real musical scores in his strips.

Here's how it ended.  This strip ran February 13, 2000. I've run this one before, but I think it's worth running again:





Saturday, May 28, 2016

Zig-Zags


Overheard:  "I blame Obama for Trump." 

     Well, I blame "W" for Obama.  And I blame Clinton's sexual peccadillos for "W" getting into power and for the failure to launch something more Centrist  (we were "almost" there!)  And I blame Regan's 2nd term  for cementing the Republican "Let's help the rich get richer" operations, which pushed too many people right into the arms of the Dems. That time led to a greater imbalance in favor of the wealth and of corporations, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the eroding of the middle class.  There was an outcry for more economic equality, but this also opened to door to all this extreme societal liberalism. (We could otherwise have marched slowly & steadily towards compromises on decent treatment for everyone without this new sensibility that we shouldn't have our own opinions about morality anymore.) 

     The pendulum swings just stink... and they've affected nearly every aspect of our lives.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

OK... You Knew It Was Coming

Here's a look at our weirder-than-ever political season:




Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) would be an improvement over what we're offered: 




This image made me think how much I wish we had someone T.R.-like now: 


                               Yeah, I really mean this one the way you think I do:

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hail, Hail, Fredonia



This is no foolin'.... Fredonia is for real, and I've been there! 




But no "Duck Soup" in sight!



Happy April Fools' Day!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Reflection

(Lent)


"Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ...willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.” ~Martin Luther; 1st of the "95 Theses"