Archives For July 2012

A Wrong-Headed Idea…

July 31, 2012

Source: States explore new ways to tax motorists for road repair – USATODAY.com.

States are looking for new ways of taxing motorists as they seek to pay for highway and bridge repair and improvements without relying on the per-gallon gasoline tax widely viewed as all but obsolete.

Having to import oil from the Middle East is the primary reason so many of our kids die in our frequent foreign wars. Not giving those who don’t use as much oil as others some break is wrong-headed idea in my mind.  We need to tax the gas hogs on the road not the guy who is driving a sub-compact to save gas and therefore lives.

I understand the need to raise revenue to keep our highways safe and reliable. It seems to be very difficult in today’s environment to change or especially raise any kind of taxes.  But lets look at the overall affect of how we choose to tax and not just the most obvious. The biggest users should pay the biggest bills. I know that sounds too simplistic but in reality that is usually the best solution.

If you choose to have a vehicle that takes twelve gallons of gas to go one hundred miles, more than likely it is a big honker. If I choose a car that takes three gallons to go the same one hundred miles it is likely a sub-compact. More than likely your eight mpg vehicle weighs considerable more than my sub-compact so it does more damage to the roadway.  So, what is wrong with charging a gasoline tax to raise revenue for road maintenance?

I know our tax code in general is way too complicated. That doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Let’s not complicate the road tax. Keep it the way it is and simplify all the other taxes to match.

I’m just a simple guy so what do I know….

The one thing a man can do better than a woman is to grow a beard  - John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley)

I am not used to pulling quotes from my hero John Steinbeck. That duty usually fall to my other hero Will Rogers. But when I came across this quote in Steinbeck’s book Travels with Charley recently I knew I had to include it here.

My wife, like most of you guys out there already know, thoroughly believe that she can do absolutely everything better than I can. She has made a life out of constantly bringing up my faults at least as she sees them. She says she does it to make me better. It seems to be another life goal for wives is to improve their husbands. That starts on the wedding day and usually doesn’t end until “death due us part”. If my wife dies before I do I have no doubt she will give me a long list of items I am to read daily about improvement for the next ten years.

So when I gave her the above quote it stopped her dead in her tracks! She just did not have a comeback for that one. Thanks John for letting me win at least that one.

Act Your Age!!!!

July 29, 2012

I don’t know how many times I have heard the title of this post. I defiantly don’t want people putting me in a pre-defined box! I guess that makes me ornery but I really don’t care. When someone says act your age they are really saying lie back and do what you are supposed to do. What a bummer man….   Besides that just which age do you want me to act.

  • In my mind I feel like I am thirty-something but with the wisdom of a sixty-something. Yeah, my body seems to constantly remind me that it is older than that but I defiantly poke back against it on a regular basis.
  • My spiritual self thinks I am in my prime. I have struggled for many years with my place in the universe of God.  I have only recently discovered, at least to my satisfaction, where I belong. But, I feel I still have many more years of discovery ahead of me. So spiritually I feel almost like a babe-in-the-woods.
  • Intellectually, I know much more than I did decades ago. When we are teenagers we all seem to think that we know more than our parents. But, as the years pass we realize that mom and dad really did have some life lessons that we could have benefited from if we had taken the time to listen and take them to heart. Now that I am on the back side of the hill I seem to have the wisdom that I so adamantly desired in my earlier years. So, where am I intellectually? Hard to say… I still have many more things to learn and I hope I never grow out of that. I have asked “why” my whole life and I intend to ask that even on my deathbed.
  • Emotionally I imagine myself still in my peak years. I don’t let things bother me as much as I used to. In my younger years women totally intimidated me because I just didn’t understand them. I still don’t understand them but it doesn’t bother me anymore :)
  • Chronologically I guess I am in the last 15% of my life. But that doesn’t really mean anything. I have always, or at least mostly believed in quality not quantity so I hope the years I have left will be the best ones. At least that is what I am striving towards.  With all this wisdom and peace I now have I think I can still accomplish much in my life. I see those who are younger around me who seem to be following very troubled paths. Maybe I can just help them to find out what it took me years to discover. That is if they will listen, and they probably won’t. I didn’t when I was their age….

About Your Doctor…..

July 28, 2012

TODAY Health – Diet, Fitness and Wellness Blog | TODAY.com Blogs – Doctors behaving badly: 7 types to watch out for.

This is a very interesting article about seven things you should watch out for in the doctor that is treating you. It isn’t often that we get this type of “insider” information about the medical establishments.  I always get a kick out of the way they say they “practice medicine”. That term is meant to infer that they don’t always get it right; they are still practicing. I don’t know about you but I certainly hope the doctor who is about ready to cut me open has at least practiced on a few other before he gets to me :)

I really advise you to read this article by clicking on the source file above. But here are the seven categories that you need to watch out for:

  1. Script-Happy
  2. Sleep Deprived
  3. Biased
  4. Flirtatious
  5. Dishonest
  6. Out of Date
  7. Privacy Breaching

I don’t know about you but the ones that concern me the most are numbers 3,5, and 6.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is really the case then I say let the Democrats emulate the Republicans in their do-nothing attitude. There has been talk about the Senate Democrats letting the all the Bush tax cuts expire and forcing the ten-percent reduction in the military budgets by doing nothing. Will the Republicans be flattered by this imitation of their strategy in congress? I kind of doubt it. :)

But at least it would result in some restructuring of our debt increases. Will it be good for the jobs picture? It can’t be any worse than it is. The conservatives said that tax cuts to the “job creators” (meaning rich)  would create jobs; never happened in the ten years since. How long do we need to wait ;) If the Republican are really for no new taxes and all tax cuts then maybe they will agree to a middle class tax cut to put them back to where they were with the Bush cuts. It sounds like a win-win situation for everyone except those who are filthy rich. They might have to fork over a little more of their obese discretionary income. They may not be able to buy a second or third vacation home but they should get by.

This idea seems too good to be true for a Democrat strategy so I’m pretty sure they will screw it up before the end of the year. After all they have proved to be pretty good at caving into Republican demands lately. But at least I can hold out hope for this one.

But what do I know…

A Picture is…..

July 26, 2012

 

 

 

If a picture is worth a thousand words this one is certainly it.  Our current congress is so afraid of the NRA that they panic when ordinary citizens bring up the topic of gun control.  Yes, the NRA is a very powerful lobby but until more congressmen stand up to them they will continue to have a strangle hold on civilized debate about weapons of mass destruction….

 

via Ron Paul ‘Revolution’ strikes at GOP state parties – First Read.

“Look at the next generation,” Paul said on MSNBC. “I mean, there is so much excitement out there. The big deal is that the next generation are sick and tired of what they’re getting and they’re looking for something.  And what we’re offering seems to appeal to the young people.”

I guess anything would be an improvement over what we have now so I salute the folks who are leading this charge to change the Republican Party. The quote above says that the next generation is sick and tired of what they’re getting, well the same can be said for many of us in the current or past generations as well. We too are sick and tired of how it is now. This is not the way to govern the most powerful nation on earth.

Much of what Ron Paul says is appealing especially in our current environment. He sees little need for government; he thinks it is out of control. I can certainly agree up to a point. The main differences I have with Mr. Paul is that I think our government has a purpose in our lives and that is to do the people’s business.

  • We need someone to keep capitalism in check so that decisions are made with the public good and not just for corporate profits.
  • We need someone to make sure our food and medical supplies are not going to kill us.
  • We need someone to protect our homes and our lives.
  • We need someone to keep our employers from turning us into serfs.
  • We need someone to make sure our kids get an education so that we are able to compete in tomorrow’s world.
  • We need someone to the minority, and all of us are a minority in one regard or another, from the tyranny of the majority.
  • We need someone to work out plans for being  citizens of the world
  • We need someone to assure that the safety net is in place for the “least of these”. This should be Christianity and other religions job but they just don’t seem up to it.

Could we accomplish these things with less of a bureaucracy than we presently have? I’m sure we could. Can we do them so that they are less intrusive in our lives. Sure..

But let’s not throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water. The people’s business needs to be done to make our lives safer and more fruitful…

We need to do something that is totally foreign to us and that is to look for good examples around us. Do other governments do somethings better than us. Could we learn how to manage our healthcare system from our neighbors to the north? They do it much more inexpensively than we do and they cover all of their citizens and statistically they even live longer than we do. Could we do our military in a different way. We could look at those who spend enormously less than we do, and that includes everyone else, to learn some lessons.

We should never be too proud to look to others for good examples of how to do things better. But given our severe and almost paranoid belief in doing it our way I’m afraid we need to get deeper into our hole before that happens.

But what do I know….

If we could just send the same bunch of men to Washington for the good of the nation, and not for political reasons, we could have the most perfect government in the world. – June 8, 1924   –Will Rogers

I ran across this quote recently and was again amazed how true Will’s sayings are to today. Political reasons seem to dominate our whole country in the 2000s. One hopeful thing that this quote reminds us of it that it was also that way in Will’s day but it somehow changed after that.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take another full blown depression to make that happen. We came very close to one thanks to Mr. Bush but that wasn’t enough to put politics aside.

If only the people we elect did things for the good of the nation instead of for political reasons.

But what do I know…. Next to nothing I guess…..

Here we are ending day eleven of our trip heading home. The were a few sites I had picked for visits today but my wife just isn’t feeling up to it. She has really not done well this entire trip.  Maybe the elevation along with all her many usual ailments was too much for her. So we called it quits this morning. Maybe a future trip back to Denver to see some of the sites but that is not likely.

Since all we will be doing from here out is interstate driving I will end our 0n-the-road reports here with a story about our breakfast at Denny’s last Saturday morning. As we were leaving Mesa Verde on our way to Canyonlands Utah we stopped for breakfast at Denny’s in Cortez (there were no local places to try) for breakfast.  While we were there a number of men came in separately who most of the staff evidently knew. They were given a number of hugs and “How you doing honey” (at least that is what I could lipread). All of these about half-dozen men had several things in common.

They all had facial hair, one was like Wild Bill Cody (handle bar mustache and goatee). Others were adorned with more hair. All but one had his beard appropriately trimmed.   The only untrimmed one looked like the mountain man played by Will Geer in the movie Jeremiah Johnsonwho always called the star “pilgrim”.  I have watched that movie so many times I can quote most of the lines.  I think I am getting a little off story here so let me back up.

All of these gentlemen had big metal belt buckles, and I mean big!  I postulated that they wanted to make sure their pants wouldn’t fall down. I don’t know why they must have been worried?  The other thing was that they all had their heads covered with a cowboy hat. They never took their hats off the entire time they were there. I would almost be willing to bet that the hat was the first thing on in the morning and the last thing off at night; that is if they even took it off then! But I can’t see wearing a hat to bed??

I guess these guys are what is known as Colorado cowboys. At least they all tried to look the part. We left before they did so I didn’t see if they rode in on trucks or horses. But I didn’t see any horses so I assume they all had heavy-duty pickups with dust and dents all over them. It would just be so disappointing if they didn’t.  I will always remember our time in Colorado….

Here I am heading toward Denver in a few minutes so the most recent gun slaughter is on my mind. I know President Obama will also be heading for Denver. I selfishly hope he doesn’t hold up my travels.  It just amazes me that we in the U.S.  so quickly forget all these types of shootings and there have been so many of them in recent years.  Of course we have many more guns per capita than any other country in the world so it should not be surprising that this occurs on such a frequent basis. We are also the number one exporter of guns.

I’m sure the NRA is gearing up for their usual “Don’t touch my guns” counter-attack from those like me. I will likely be flamed for this but we must find a way to prevent these types of terrorism even if it means limiting those who like to shot guns on the weekend to buying less than 6,000 rounds of deadly ammunitions at a time.  But the ever powerful NRA will never even allow that and any congressman that would even suggest it would find millions of dollars in NRA money against them in the next election! I mourn all those killed and wounded by this yet another gun nut among us and I, as usual, futilely hope we can find a way to keep the next one from so easily getting these weapons of mass destruction. President Bush didn’t need to look to Iraq for WMDs. We have millions of them here.

And no guns don’t save lives I don’t care how many road signs the NRA puts up I will never believe that.  Statistic always show that more gun owners are killed by their own guns than the bad guys they are so fearful of.