Archives For January 2011

Where Does the Money Go????

January 30, 2011

There has been a lot of talk lately about deficits and such. It “seems” some of our politicians have finally gotten the message but this is not the first time so I am more than a little skeptical.   But they still are living in a different world than the rest of us as they don’t seem to have a clue as to what causes this problem. They want to blame it on everyone except the elephant in the room. That elephant is shown on the graph to the right. This is the discretionary budget for 2011. You have to scroll down pretty far to see all of it but I think it is worth the effort.

Let’s say we eliminate the following departments entirely:

  • Commerce (they keep business from gouging us)
  • EPA (they make sure our air is breathable)
  • Interior (they manage our national parks and such)
  • Treasury (they keep our money flowing)
  • Energy (they keep the oil companies at bay)
  • NASA (they help manage our many satellites)
  • Agriculture (they help our farmers)
  • Justice ( they help us enforce our laws)

If we eliminate all these departments entirely we could cut our spending by 11%. That is a pretty substantial amount but eliminating those agencies would be pretty serious for our day to day living. But wait, there is another way to do the same thing and that would be to cut the military budget by15%. The military would probably have to order one less aircraft carrier, a few less million dollar bombs, and maybe even cut the Pentagon staff by a few percentage points.

Which would be better for it’s citizens?  I don’t know of anyone who claims to have an IQ above 60 who would have to think much about this. But it seems that our politicians just can’t seem to understand!  They say it is impossible to take even 1% from our military as then we would be putting our sons and daughters at risk.  All the rest of the countries in the world manage their defense with a small iota of what we do and their sons and daughters are safer than ours. Of course the reason for that is that they don’t put them in harms way in the first place.

Do we really need to spend hundreds of times more for our military than almost any other country on the earth? Do we really need to be the “enforcer of democracy” around the world or can that happen within the population actually seeking democratic freedoms?  Do we really need to be the policemen of the world? How about we change and become a peacemaker superpower instead? I bet we could do that and eliminate our deficits at the same time.

If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.

If all you have is a military on steroids then everything looks like a conflict we need to be involved in.

But what to I know….

Thanks to my Quaker friends at One Minute for Peace for providing me with the graph to the right. See them at:

www.afsc.org

www.oneminuteforpeace.org

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Just me and my hubby during our visit to the headwaters of the Mississippi River. It was fun to wade in water which in a few months would end up in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thanks God….

January 28, 2011

While I was doing my usual volunteer thing at the local soup kitchen a few weeks ago I mentioned something to the folks there. Well it seems that my story is making the rounds there now so I thought I would talk a little about it here.

Now that I am in my senior years my morning prayers seem to be more frequent and more focused. I think my warranty expired when I turned sixty as now almost every part of my body seems to be going haywire!  I have had more tests in the last four years than I have in the previous sixty. Enough for the background info here so let’s move on to the main story.

So now every morning when I get up I take an inventory of all my body parts to see which one hurts the least. I then thank God for not having pain in that part of my body.  Let me set the record straight here. I don’t blame God for any of my pains; most of them are a result of a lifetime of self abuse.  Yeah I know I am a “glass half full” person. Being the alternative and focusing on the hurting parts just doesn’t make much sense to me. I, like all of us, have my good days and my not so good days but I thank God for all of them. It sure beats the alternative.

If you want to borrow my prayer technique go ahead.  I don’t think God would mind the duplication and I don’t either. So, this morning I thanked God for my left elbow. It has not given me any pain all day long. :)

And the journey goes on…..

Rep. Kucinich Sues Over Olive Pit In Sandwich

ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press

January 26, 2011

WASHINGTON — Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is suing a congressional cafeteria for dental damage he says he suffered after biting into an olive pit in a sandwich wrap he bought there.

Kucinich’s attorney, Andrew Young, declined to comment Wednesday on the lawsuit seeking $150,000 in damages from companies involved with the Longworth House Office Building cafeteria. A spokesman in Kucinich’s congressional office also declined to comment.

The civil suit filed earlier this month in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia said the wrap “contained dangerous substances, namely an olive pit,”

I don’t want this blog to be known as only picking on Republicans. There is certainly enough tom foolery going around in all the other political organizations that warrant some study not to mention all the other groups who need picked on from time to time.  I want to become known as an all around “picker” not a specialized one. In that vein the story above seems to be racing through the internet world so I thought I would poke some fun at it too.  In case you don’t know Mr. Kucinich is considered a “liberal” by most folks who call themselves Republicans and a Democrat to everyone else. In fact he ran for president in the Democratic primaries the last time. Didn’t get very far but he did run….

Now I don’t want to make biting down on an olive pit seem trivial. I know I have bitten down on my share of such things. There have been olive pits, pieces of peach pits, stones in bean soup, and of course un-popped corn. It is not pleasant but I don’t think it kept me up weeks and weeks fretting over the event.  But that must be the case here. I guess Mr. Kucinich’s life must have been turned upside down by this event.  Why else would he seek $150,000! Why else would he wait more than two years to file for his pain and anguish. It would have been much more effective if he had filed right after and then blamed Mr. Bush for it! After all everyone was blaming Mr. Bush for everything else back then (not that he didn’t deserve it).

I don’t know for sure as I really as I don’t really know Mr. Kucinich that well but I will go out on a limb here and guess that he is a lawyer?  Lets give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he really needs to money. Maybe his wife recently informed him that she wants a new olympic size swimming pool in the backyard. I guess there could be hundreds of reasons to wait two years but it does sound a little suspect to me.

But what do I know….

Source:

http://www.theindychannel.com/politics/26625950/detail.html

Wisconsin–October 2009

January 28, 2011

 

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Just your typical well used Midwestern barn

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WASHINGTON — To hear the Republican leadership tell it, the once-sacred Pentagon budget, protected by the party for generations, is suddenly on the table. But a closer look shows that even as Speaker John A. Boehner and Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, insist on the need for military cuts, divisions have opened among Republicans about whether, and how much, to chop Pentagon spending that comes to more than a half trillion dollars a year……..

The discordant Republican voices on military spending have bred confusion on Capitol Hill, among military contractors and within the military itself, where no one is exactly sure what the members backed by the Tea Party will do. It also shows why taking on the military budget will be so hard, even though a widening deficit has led the president and the leaders of both parties to say this time they are serious.

(Excerpts from the article- click the link below to see the entire story)


Ok, here is one for the books. While Republican have always been eager to cut money from old and/or poor people they almost never want to cut any money from our war  machine. They think every million dollar bomb we have is absolutely necessary.  So to say “Republicans are split” is in itself quite a statement. I don’t think much of the Tea Party but they do have a good side. Anyone that is willing to tackle the military establishment is pretty brave in my books. To even call the military budget a “defense” budget is a joke. The rest of the world “defends” themselves on many times less per person than we do and they all seem to be getting along fine.

I don’t know why all those yahoos in the press can’t get the message to the American people about how the U.S. spends  twenty times more per citizen on it’s war machine than any other country in the world and more than one hundred times more than most! Why don’t more people know that? Much of the rest of the world thinks that Americans are just cowboys itching to get into another fight. Given what we spend for our “fancy six shooters” that might not be too far from the truth.

So, this latest split in the Republicans has the military contractors confused. Maybe that in itself is a very good thing. They won’t know who to give their generous donations to (ha). Lord forbid they give it to someone who might be cutting into their profits!! Until congress tackles the elephant in the room of fiscal responsibility their efforts will never be considered serious. We could cut our military budget in half and almost no one outside our military contractors would even know it :)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/us/politics/27pentagon.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&src=ig

With China presently holding more than $1 trillion of our debt the above cartoon is probably more reality than any of us would like to believe. Someday they may just call in all our IOUs.  I read an article recently about how the Chinese are now convinced that they have the purest form of capitalism and have very little to learn from the U.S. anymore.

This is kind of like a chicken/egg type thing but it is no wonder our government is drowning it debt. I read someplace where the average citizen now has over $5,000 in credit card debt!  That doesn’t include the trillions and trillions of mortgage debt that almost everyone has.  Talk about living beyond your means! At least our government borrows at a much lower interest rate :)

Someday we may come to our senses. Someday…

Source: http://mediagallery.usatoday.com/Editorial-Cartoons/G373

Grand Canyon–December 2005

January 24, 2011

 

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I think this is my favorite shot of all the pictures we took on the Grand Canyon. We couldn’t get to the North Rim as it was snowed in the week we were there. Planning another trip back maybe this year or next.

 

Monday, January 17, 2005 (2)

This picture was taken from our front porch of our neighbor’s barn. I think this barn inspired us to take pictures of others.

Some people seem to think that those two holes on the sides of your head are for relieving pressure from your brain when you have to think too much.  Kind of like that weight  thingie we put on the top of a press cooker. I will hereby tell you they have another use. They are for listening. Listening includes hearing things that you don’t already know or maybe hearing a different explanation for things you think you already know.  Many of us seem to get something in our head about a subject and then batten down the hatches on our brain holes.  That seems to be particularly true of our politicians the last decade or so.  I think someone epoxied all the politician’s brain holes as soon as they arrive in Washington. We need a good ENT guy to check that out!

Some seniors I have come across seem to think that when you reach a certain age you are not able to learn anything more so they effectively fill their brain holes with cement.  Let me tell you that the condition for all of the above has a name.  All us seniors love knowing the technical names of all our infirmities; this condition is called “Lazy Minds”.  Let’s call it LM for short.  All the best conditons are known by their initials. :)

Lazy minds allow us to think that we have all the answers to everything and there is nothing worth hearing anymore. That was kind of like that guy from the U.S. patent office who wanted to close it down in the early 1900s as everything had already been invented! But I must say that LM is not a condition limited to politicians and senior citizens. It afflicts almost all of us. Particularly all of us in the United States.  We don’t seem to think we can learn anything for anyone else so we close up our brain holes to anyone who doesn’t speak our form of English (if you can even call it English anymore).

Jonas Sulk invented a vaccine for polio about fifty years ago and he became very famous for it.  Can you imagine if someone came up with a vaccine for LM how famous they would be?  Not only famous but also very very rich.  I wonder if any of the pharmaceutical companies are doing research to cure LM? Maybe we should tackle that as a national priority after we have the cure for cancer.

And the journey goes on….