Suppressing The Vote…

I see where the federal courts have struck down some State’s voting laws as unconstitutional in that they were really about suppressing the vote. To me that is a good thing. But in my mind our entire election process needs to be changed to allow everyone to vote when it is convenient for them.  Why are we stuck to one work day to cast our choices of who will do the people’s business?

One of the basic problems with America’s democracy is that we vote at a much lower level than almost any democracy in the world.  Too many of us, for whatever reason, just don’t bother to show up to do our duty at the polls.  I kind of like Australia’s solution to their similar problem.  They made it against the law not to vote!  Well not quite but they did impose a fine on those who don’t vote. There solution caused participation to leap to almost 100%.  Amazing… but that is probably not a viable solution for us. We are too ornery to use such a simple answer.

Politics-2.jpgAnother possible solution is to make it very easy for everyone to vote. Don’t just open the polls during working days or especially working hours. Give people more options. One of those current options that I recently took advantage of is early voting. That is going to my local courthouse and casting my ballot when it is convenient for me. But according to the graphic at the right only about half the States provide this option and it seems abundantly clear which States are denying the choice to their citizens.

It is widely recognized that southern States have a history of  doing everything possible to prevent minorities for voting. In the past they did with with poll taxes and tests. Now they do it by other means. In my opinion the federal government should regulate voting processes and take it out of the hands of States with their racial and gender biases.  Voting should be as easy as going to the grocery store for milk.

A Bad President Can Do An Enormous Amount Of Damage…

I’m sure I am not the only one to see this presidential election as the strangest of all the fourteen I have voted in. And I’m also sure that I am not the only one who is planning to vote for the least of two evils. The source article below proves that fact:

2016-09-04_15-14-49.pngI’m far more frightened about a Trump presidency than I am enthusiastic about a Clinton presidency. And why shouldn’t I be? The prospect of Donald Trump being the most powerful human being on Planet Earth is genuinely terrifying…. Among other things, Trump is impulsive, ignorant, vain, petty, bigoted, insecure, and possessed of an almost pathological narcissism. Every president faces crises during which the lives of large numbers of people, both in America and around the world, depend on that one individual’s judgment and calm. It’s little exaggeration to say that in the wrong circumstances, Trump’s copious personality defects could result in absolute cataclysm.

So when 80 percent of Trump supporters and 62 percent of Clinton supporters tell pollsters they’d be “scared” if the other candidate won, but only 29 percent of Trump supporters and 27 percent of Clinton supporters say they’d feel “excited” if their candidate won, we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, even a great president won’t turn America into Shangri-La in four or eight years, but a bad president can do an enormous amount of damage in the same time. And that’s more than a good enough basis on which to decide your vote.

Source: Why voting out of disgust is as American as apple pie

I have pretty much read about all the presidents in my life time. LBJ was pretty much a bully who liked to intimate those around him.  He got off on yielding power. He was one one of my least favorite presidents but he did get a lot of important things done. There was the Great Society, Civil Rights Acts, and Medicare. He was not a great person but he accomplished great things. And then there was the Vietnam war…

Even though Nixon was a very paranoid person he also accomplished quite a bit in office. That is until Watergate brought him down.  Reagan was a dichotomy of sorts. He ran on a balanced budget but in reality spent like a drunk sailor.  His extreme spending on military things is what caused the Soviet Union to collapse and that was temporarily a good thing.  George W. Bush ran as a compassionate conservative and on a business platform but the stock market was actually considerable lower and in much worse shape when he left office than when he started and he proved to be anything but compassionate.  I can’t really say that he accomplished anything that I thought worthwhile during his time. And then there were the two wars and resulting “off the book” spending that drove deficits ever higher.

Obama was the one that I pinned my hopes on to turn things around. He seemed like a compassionate guy but in reality he has been merciless in his deporting immigrants and seemingly indiscriminate killing with drones. And then there are the two continuous wars that seems impossible for him to get us out of…

What I have learned from my fourteen times voting for president is that you don’t have to like the person you are voting for but you do need to at least tolerate  what they stand for.  I can say there is not a single thing about Trump that makes me want to vote for him.

So here I am voting for the least of two evils again…. 63 days and counting until this madness ends…. Thank God….


It’s Hard To Be A Law Abiding Citizen..

I will say again but this time add a kicker, It’s Hard To Be A Law Abiding Citizen…When So Many Aren’t. It just seems human nature, the dark side that is, to not want to do what you are told. This is characteristic of our teenage years but goes way beyond that for too many of us.   We know there are concepts of the common good and the rule of law but somehow they don’t apply to us.

What brought this thought up was my recent uRV trip to southern Illinois. As usual I traveled almost exclusively state and county roads and quickly discovered that enforcement of traffic laws in that part of the country seems to be ZERO.  I never saw a police car during my total seven hundred miles of travel.

I want to make a blanket statement and that is at least 90% of the adult population in the U.S. break the law weekly if not daily. No, they might not rob banks or kill anyone (although with all the guns and taverns around I wonder why) but what they do is totally ignore our country’s traffic laws.  They run red lights on a regular basis and most often exceed the clearly posted maximum speeds by at least 10 to 20 mph. There are also the tailgaters, I seem to get the most upset about them!

I make it a rule while traveling the country in my tiny RV to never go faster than the posted limit but that is very difficult to do without a lot of stress. Here I am going 55 mph and many are passing me going 70 or more. Some dangerously so… They pass on curves with double yellow lines!   Even 18 wheelers were ripping by me and within a minute or two were gone from site they were going so fast..

2016-07-11_12-42-37.pngThe “rule of law” as far as traffic laws are concerned is just totally ignored in many parts of the country.  It seems law enforcement agencies have raised a white flag and handed over our streets to speeders and reckless drivers.

Just for the heck of it I looked up the statistics of the worst drivers by State.   It surprised me that Illinois is about in the middle of the pack.  Montana is the worst but as usual Texas isn’t far behind in any “worst” category.

2016-07-11_12-20-58.pngDon’t even get me started on the “distracted drivers” out there. It seems every other car had a driver with a phone welded to his ear and was more involved in conversation than with driving! I do like my road trip around the USA but I just wish people would drive more sensibly, at least while I am around.  :)

Sadly I know there are too many people that have so little control over their lives that they think they have to constantly risk it on the road in order to get someplace a few seconds earlier. They just don’t think they have the time to obey traffic laws. The absence of law enforcement means lawlessness, especially on our roads.

Bill Clinton takes on protesters in coal country

I know it is quite chic to be a Hillary and Bill basher right now. Especially with the Basher-in-chief, read that as Trump, tweeting almost hourly  lies and conspiracy theories about them.  But I must admit that I do miss Bill Clinton sometimes.  My 401k especially misses him!

He might not have been able to keep his zipper up but he was the master of logic in his thinking. The rally in West Virginia shows that he hasn’t lost it. He says things that I would have said in the same circumstances.  He just has a way of putting things in very simple and real terms. Let’s look at some of his most recent quotes:

2016-07-07_09-30-45.png“I’m not like a lot of people. It doesn’t bother me to have protesters at rallies,” the former president began.

“I’m glad they come, because I think one of the biggest problems in America today is we seem to be less prejudiced about a lot of things, except we don’t want to be around anybody who disagrees with us. You notice that?”…

Hillary Clinton seemed to confirm that perception in March, at a town hall in Ohio, when she said that a transition to clean energy would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” She later said she had made “a misstatement,” but the comment contributed to her loss Tuesday in West Virginia, a state whose Democratic primary she had won by a landslide in 2008.

“I think ‘Make America Great Again’ means that we’ll make it like it was in the 1960s, even if [we] have to put another wall up,” he said. “Well, if you think you can do it, have at it, but no place else in the world that mines coal has been able to do it.”

“Don’t tell me we can’t bring different kinds of jobs,” he admonished. “Don’t tell me you’re not smart enough to do it, and don’t tell me nobody over a certain age can learn this stuff.”

SOURCE:  Bill Clinton takes on protesters in coal country – The Washington Post

Bill Clinton is a debater. He loves facing off with those who might not think as he does. Now that he will no longer be seeking a political office  he doesn’t parse as many words as most politicians.  He is free to say what he thinks and often does just that to the embarrassment of his wife.

This post is  very much aligned with the one from yesterday about being replaced by robots. Let’s face it coal is quickly becoming yesterday’s energy resource and therefore needs to be replaced by other commodities. It is as simple as that. But the problem is that there are just too many in certain areas of the country who depend solely on coal as a means of income. There is little else available to bring income into the family.

We can’t go forwards by going backwards, it is that simple. Now I admit that it will be decades, if it even happens that rural Pennsylvania and especially much of West Virginia can replace coal jobs. The short term solution will probably be to simply move someplace else. But that is emotionally hard for some to do…

It really is this simple: Donald Trump should not be president of the United States

I have some pretty strong feeling about the Trump candidacy but no where close to the author of the source below. But I do share is simple conclusion,


Did I shout that loudly enough for you?

Since he clinched the nomination, Trump has managed the seemingly impossible by becoming even more erratic and even less presidential th2016-06-10_09-01-56.pngan he was during the primaries. The insults, the transparent lies, the racist taunting and bullying, the demagoguery, the narcissistic self-obsession, the incapacity to take a position and stick to it, the failure to raise funds and manage a campaign — the man has no business running anything of public consequence, let alone the government of the most powerful nation on the planet.It really is that simple: Donald Trump should not be president of the United States. If there is even a small chance of successfully deposing him at the convention — an act that, if it worked, would deprive him of the means to compete in the general election — it should be undertaken. The alternative is complicity in a politically reckless and blatantly irresponsible endeavor: the attempted election of a candidate who deserves to lose.

Source: It really is this simple: Donald Trump should not be president of the United States

I don’t think Mr Trump is an idiot but his actions certainly indicate that.  I have an idea that he really doesn’t want to be president so he is saying the most outrageous things to finally turn people away.  The problem with that is that the more outrageous he rants the more his “base” cheers!! I just can’t fathom what the thoughts are behind that group.

Are his supporters so pissed off about almost everything that they want to take down the U.S into flaming oblivion? They didn’t get their share so they are hoping that the next time around they will be luckier.  Or do they actually believe that he can “fix” anything? Either way that group scares me to tarnation.  We have had a good 240 year existence, is that about to end?  I don’t know but I kind of hope we can hold it together at least as long as I am walking this earth🙂.   I don’t expect I have more than a decade or so left, can we at least hold it together that long? I certainly would appreciate it…

Great Britain’s reign lasted about that length of time and so did the Roman empire.  Have we run our course? Is it time for another country/belief system to take over. I can see China is chomping at the bits to have their time at the throttle.  Would communism prove to be more long lasting than capitalism? Maybe we will soon have a chance to test that out.

Is Trump the beginning of the end for the USA and its form of democracy? Is this where the wings fall off our soaring aspirations of diversity? I don’t think I will be around when it happens but they say that everything on the Internet will always be around so maybe these words to serve as an “I told you so” after I am dead and buried.

I didn’t count them but this post probably has the most question marks of any I have written.  :)

It’s Got To Change…

2016-06-07_08-02-26.pngI am definitely hoping, praying even, that the GOP is decisively rejected in the coming election. With Trump at the top of the ticket, and my faith in the sanity of most of us in the U.S. , I can see that very possibly happen.  If it happens it will finally turn the Supreme Court away from it radically conservative base and allow for fundamental change to happen.  The first thing that needs to change is not about gun control but instead about our elections process.

In 2012, Democratic candidates for Congress received more votes than Republican candidates. For the first time in 40 years, the party that received the most votes failed to take control of the House. The people did vote for candidates who believed in gun-control reforms. Obama had it backward: it’s the Republican mapmakers who gerrymandered our democracy so effectively after the GOP’s historic 2010 victory who have made it hard for the voters to affect elections. The strategy was dubbed REDMAP, for Redistricting Majority Project, and it was brilliant in its execution. With $30 million or less than the cost of some losing Senate races — smartly spent in the right districts in the right states — Republican strategists turned the House of Representatives red for a decade, and maybe longer.

SOURCE: The GOP screwed themselves: The brilliant gerrymander that gave Republicans the Congress — and created Donald Trump –

Computers are great things that have advanced our society in numerous ways but that power is also used by the dark side.  It is used for elected officials to chose their voters and that is definitely not what the framers of our country intended. In previous posts on this topic I have showed you the utter stupidity of how congressional maps are drawn. With enough computing power now available making sure that your guy gets elected is almost a sure thing.  Majority rule is no longer valid when it comes to electing  so many of our federal office holders.

It seems the only way that will happen is to take gerrymandering to the Supreme Court and declare it unconstitutional, which it surely is. We need to either take the ability to set up congressional districts away from State governments or strictly regulate how they are determined at least for federal elections.  If we put some sense back into this process the will of the people will once again be accomplished.

Yes, there are simply too many guns in the hands of too many unstable people in this country and that must  change but the more damaging practice of rigging elections strikes at the bedrock of our democracy. It has got to end and end soon…


Trump’s favorite foreign leader

2016-05-21_08-13-02.pngVladimir Putin is a thug. On this, I suspect, most people outside his country’s borders would agree. In recent years, Russia’s new czar has started a new Cold War, invaded and annexed Crimea, ignited a civil war in Ukraine, and propped up a genocidal dictator in Syria. At home, journalists and opposition leaders who’ve dared to criticize Putin have been beaten, jailed, shot, and poisoned. Now we’ve learned the lying dictator even rigged the Olympic Games in Sochi, turbocharging his athletes with steroids and substituting clean urine for their tainted samples. In a great irony, Putin has exploited the West’s tradition of free speech by funding a TV network, RT — formerly called Russia Today — here and in Europe, spewing out a steady stream of pro-Russian, anti-American propaganda. On RT, there’s just one American political leader who is routinely praised; his election, Putin’s stooges say, may lead to “improved relations between the U.S. and Russia.” Guess who?

The admiration goes both ways. Donald Trump has called Putin “a strong leader” and says it’s “an honor” to receive his praise.

SOURCE: Trump’s favorite foreign leader

The location for the above picture was not mentioned in the article but it does get your attention. 🙂 This post will be my weekly rant against the insanity of many of my fellow citizens.  I know well less than 10% of the eligible voters have voted for Mr. Trump but even that number greatly disappoints me. Yes, I agree that our government process and even our capitalist system is in need of a very serious shakeup but Trump is simply not the answer.  He is so uninformed about so much that he could seriously damage the U.S. and even the world as a whole if he ever managed to occupy the Oval Office.

Why can’t these Trump backers realize that?  I try not to look down on people as that is just not my nature but these folks are so ignorant of the world today that it leads me to be skeptical about humanity. They just don’t seem to understand the damage he could do.  They don’t seem to realize that our whole way of life could disappear in a very short period of time if grossly bad decisions are made.  When it comes to a Trump/Clinton election I admit that I  am not enthusiastic about either but I am scared of one of them.

I don’t know, maybe I am just listening to too many of the pundits who seem to be on a 24/7 concentration on Mr. Trump. Maybe I would be better off just turning off all those yahoos who seem to think that he even has a chance to rule the world? Maybe I need to have confidence that when the other 90% of us go to the polling place in November that very few of us will be pushing the Trump button.  Worrying about “woulda/shoulda/coulda” is just a waste of my precious time. But it is hard to ignore the constant drumbeat around this megalomaniac narcissist person.

I Am Sick Of People Saying “I’m Not Allowed To Say Merry Chritsmas”!!

2015-11-14_11-03-09The War on Christmas has been going on for a decade or so now, and though it may not rage with quite the fury it once did, it still serves everyone’s interests. The conservative Christians who gear up for the war every year get to feed their sense of persecution and the belief that their lives are a righteous struggle against the large and sinister forces working to destroy them. Conservative media get something to shake their fists at them for a couple of months. And the rest of us get to feel superior and mock them for being so ridiculous…

2015-11-14_11-07-18For most of this country’s history, Christianity was so dominant in American life that no one else’s culture needed to be considered in anything but an occasional way. If there were prayers in school, then of course they would be Christian prayers. If there were signs out for the holidays, of course they’d acknowledge only the Christian holiday.

But as the country grew more diverse in all kinds of ways, ignoring the growing minority of non-Christians no longer seemed like the neighborly thing to do. So among other things, department stores decided that to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone, they’d put up signs reading “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Source: The War on Christmas is back! Here’s why this sorry spectacle never goes away.

2015-11-14_10-42-59Now that it is officially the Christmas season I need to get this post off my chest. First off I will proclaim that I am an avid follower of Jesus Christ and I certainly celebrate his coming to earth. What I am going to write here may get some of my readers riled at me. But I’m sick of the thing that always goes around this time of year complaining about not being allowed to say “Merry Christmas”!

I have lived long enough to realize that until relatively recently “Merry Christmas” was the only symbol for the month of December. It was in every store and most all December advertisements.  How come things are changing?

Almost every culture throughout history have celebrated this time of year.  Here is a little about why from Wiki:

2015-11-14_10-34-03The Winter Solstice is the day where there is the shortest time between the sun rising and the sun setting. It happens on December 21st or 22nd. To pagans this meant that the winter was over and spring was coming and they had a festival to celebrate it and worshipped the sun for winning over the darkness of winter. In Scandinavia, and some other parts of northern Europe, the Winter Solstice is known as Yule and is where we get Yule Logs from. In Eastern europe the mid-winter festival is called Koleda.

2015-11-14_10-36-36Part of my roots is native-American so I will site an example. Soyal is a traditional solstice celebration which is held by the Hopi Indians on the day and night of the winter solstice. Many cultures all over the world celebrate the solstice since the shortest day of the year carries a lot of symbolism for cultures which live by the cycles of the seasons. For the Hopi, the Soyal ceremony is one of the most important ceremonies of the year…

2015-11-14_10-44-51I did a study and found dozens of holidays in different cultures for this time of year. Since we are a nation of diversity more so than ever now it just makes sense to not focus exclusively on just one of them. Contrary to some of the ranters it is not illegal to say “Merry Christmas” but don’t get upset that other cultures among our American population celebrate other things too.  The term “Happy Holidays” includes them without degrading the usual Christmas cheer. We are quickly becoming a nation of minorities so just get used to sharing this holiday season with others. I know that some Christians are upset that they don’t have exclusive control of the holiday season anymore but all I can say about that is “Get Over it”.


Some Evangelicals Seem Oblivious To Their Church’s History…

2015-09-10_07-54-15Both Cruz and Huckabee have branded the action against Davis as “judicial tyranny,” tapping into a surge of public support for a figure presented as an outspoken Christian jailed for her beliefs. – ‘Not a leg to stand on’ – But their stance is a thorny one for Republican presidential candidates who, if elected, must swear to uphold the US constitution…..

“It [this story] poisons the brand, and I think we’re already seeing Republicans as a group starting to back away.”

Source: Martyr or lawbreaker? Kim Davis case roils Republicans – Yahoo News

This is old news now so I guess its time for me to step in.  I shutter when I think that once again stories like this are supposed to represent those who follow Jesus Christ.  Kim Davis is simply confused on so many levels. She took and oath to uphold the duties of her office and then blatantly refuses to do so.  By doing that she  seemingly wants to force her religious beliefs on others.

The early Christians took a completely different stand  when their jobs conflicted with their beliefs.  For the first several hundred years of Christianity, that is before King Constantine hijacked it, being a Christian meant you were to actively live out your faith. For instance if you were a Roman soldier and you wanted to become a Christian you were required to find a different job.  If you had other similar jobs that conflicted with the teachings of Jesus you had to leave them. It was as simple at that.

By refusing to do the sworn duties of her office Ms. Davis is  by de facto trying to force her view of God on others who don’t share them. This is not exclusively a Christian thing, it seems to be endemic of most religions today. Each so adamantly believe that they are the only ones who truly know God and his wishes therefore it is their duty to get others, by force if necessary, to believe of their brand of religion.  When we come to accept that none of the thousands of belief systems around today have a total lock on spiritual truth we will realize that each of these thousands have a right to believe what they want but they don’t have a right to force their beliefs on the rest of us.

Here is s snippet from Facebook that illustrates this problem.


Slippery slope indeed.  I can see the millions of variations of this theme.  Believe what you want, that is your right, but don’t try to “force” others to believe it too.

If Kim Davis had really wanted to be true to her Christian roots she would have said “My spiritual beliefs no longer allow me to fufill the duties of my office so I therefore resign.” But if she had done that she would not have had her fifteen  minutes of fame she seemed to so much seek…


Celebrating Our Disabilities and Our Personal Failures…

I want to forewarn you that this post is going to include some ranting and will probably offend some people. I am sorry if that offends you but I need to speak my mind on this topic.

2015-09-01_10-17-45People who don’t come here often probably don’t know that I am deaf.  I went deaf about thirty years ago from a congenital disease. Before you ask, no a cochlear implant is not a possibility for me.  When I started going deaf I was first exposed to the “Deaf” community (with a capital D”. To them being deaf is something to be celebrated! Most but by no means all of the Deaf community were born deaf. But there are some who, like me, went deaf later in life. In large cities they form their own communities; often living close to each other and pretty much stay within that community. Many have as little to do with the hearing world as possible.

My hearing loss was a gradual thing that started in my college years and resulted in a total loss of hearing about twenty years later. I looked into the possibility of joining the Deaf community but decided it wasn’t for me.  Yes, it might have been easier to just give up on living with the 99% who are not deaf. Communications certainly would have been easier but that is not a road I chose. The Deaf community like everything else has its dark side.  To me part of that dark side is that they consider giving a child a cochlear implant in order to allow him to hear is child abuse. They say it denies him his deaf culture!  They treat their disability as something to be cherished, not to be overcome. I simply don’t see it that way. I have maintained my life in the hearing world and will continue to do so for the rest of what remains of it.

This discussion brings in a wider topic.  I recently saw and advertisement on one of the cable TV channels about a new program that celebrates obesity. Since for the most part obesity is a self-inflicted thing that greatly increases your likelihood of heart disease and other serious health conditions I can’t understand celebrating it.  Maybe it is just too hard for some to tackle their extreme overweight condition so they rationalize.

It seems strange that we are now starting to treat our disabilities and person failures as something to celebrate.  But maybe it is just easier, you might say lazier, to do that. Rationalization is a strong thing.


How About…

 Spouting Off… Being Loud But Not Being Obnoxious

One of the things I missed the most about my hiatus from RJ’s Corner is spouting off. It does the heart good to question everything and sometimes put forth a thought or two.  I plan on doing that rather frequently in the future here  on the new/improved blog so get used to it!🙂

QE BannerI hear all the latest rumbling (as in ready to explode in a bout of diarrhea) about how the peace accord worked out with Iran is so worthless.  Some seem to think that our only solution to conflicts around the world is war. “Blow the bad guys away” is their mantra. Of course the loudest of these critics are the Republican presidential contenders and those in Congress.  I got an idea to turn that around.

MyScans167How about we send all the kids and grandkids of those folks off as the first line in the battle. Let’s make them put their loved ones lives on the line. I bet if that were a requirement the opposition to trying peace this time would quickly die out.  There is nothing like “skin in the game” to change people’s attitudes.

2015-02-08_08-42-25In the same light there are all those senior citizens out there that are so opposed to allowing  our citizens to obtain reasonably cost healthcare. How about taking all those folks off Medicare and let them fend for themselves in the cutthroat business pre-ADA.  I bring this idea up frequently when I get into it with them and have yet to have any of them accept my proposition.

I’m Back……..

Walking The Plank…



I dread to think about how our totally politicized Supreme Court is going to rule on the latest attack on affordable healthcare for almost ten million of us.  Will they essentially make those folks walk the plank as Steve Sack shows in this editorial cartoon. It is widely known that most of the yahoos on the court vote primarily on their political alignment. The law and original intent just doesn’t seem to mean much to them.


Military SpendingI also see where the Republicans have recently come out with their budget proposals for the coming year. Take a look at that very little orange slice of the current budget pie to the right. That shows our current food stamp allocations. It seems that tiny slice is where they want to do the severest cuts. Part of their budget is to increase the dark blue area even more! They don’t think it is big enough yet.  Please tell me how anyone can actually believe that they are serious about their budget proposal when they take the elephant in the room off the table for cuts???

Why does it seem that we are living in an upside-down world right now???


A Sad Day For The Possibility of Peace In The Middle East…



The Palestinian problem is the primary driver for so much of what happens in the Middle East. To see a solution taken off the table by Israel is tragic for all the world.  Give peace a chance…..

Doing Something About It….

2015-01-15_11-41-11Why is one bandwidth-hungry town building its own 1Gbps fiber network for its citizens when AT&T already offers them 6Mbps DSL? That’s the question AT&T would like to ask city leaders in Chanute, Kansas, a small town of roughly 9,000 people that is petitioning the state to allow it to offer greater access to the high-speed fiber network that it built to support town utility operations.

SOURCE:  AT&T wants to know why a town is building a 1Gbps network when it already offers 6Mbps DSL.

Starting this post I will admit that I spent a very large chunk of my time in the corporate world with AT&T. They currently provide me with a pension that helps enable me to live happy, wild, and free in my retirement years. I certainly am thankful to them for that. But that doesn’t mean I can’t criticize them where criticism is necessary.

AT&T, like most monolith corporations, is mainly about picking the lower hanging fruit to maximize their profits. If there ever was, and I think there was, a time when what is good for the public was any significant part of the decision making it has long passed. When AT&T was a regulated monopoly they lived the concept of “universal service” which meant that everyone has a right to the same quality of telecommunication service. So, even though it was not as profitable AT&T was obligated to provide service to smaller communities.  Of course when deregulation occurred during the Reagan years universal service fell by the wayside.

Getting back to the point here AT&T is introducing 1 Gps fiberoptic service in their most lucrative markets while at the same time doing very little to help other areas where improving the infrastructure might bite into profits.  This is probably the case for the particular quote above.

6 Mpbs was a few years ago considered a blazing speed but not so much today. Streaming video and other such services coming on line demand more and more speed and bandwidth. Without some government regulations we are quickly approaching a have/have not condition for access to information in the country.

I personally am stuck with a 1 – 2.5 Mpbs line that comes and goes several times on a daily basis. That means they are currently introducting speeds one-thousand time faster than they provide me. That is because I am near the limit on the distance from the AT&T central office for their copper wire network. Everyone north of me and in the rest of the county in general is limited to a 0.056 Mpbs speed and that is now unusable for almost any kind of internet action.

So, when I read the article above I thought “good for you Chanute, Kansas”. If the FCC won’t require AT&T and others like them to provide workable Internet connects then they should be able to bypass the current infrastructure and build their own. That idea doesn’t help me, or my neighbors to the north, much as we are the third poorest county in Indiana and barely have the money to patch any potholes let along string some fiberoptic lines in our area. Sadly this is just another case of the “have vs the have-not” which is quickly becoming the norm in the American Aristocracy…

Houses passes bill easing rules regulating Wall Street

Republican proponents insisted the new legislation would reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses and spur creation of new jobs.

SOURCE:  Houses passes bill easing rules regulating Wall Street – Yahoo News.

RegulationsI think every one of those GOPers in this new congress need to have the words above tattooed on their foreheads. Ok more realistically written on a Post-It note and stuck on the foreheads. I’m sure that mantra is going to be their reason for every bill they pass in the coming two years as it has been for the last couple of decades. But as usual there is a big difference between rationalization and reality.

It’s funny that when they are in power Wall Street almost always does worse than when the Dems are there. When Mr. Bush came into office the stock market was at 11,000 when he left eight years later it was at 8,000 mainly due to GOP decisions made while he was in office. Then came Mr. Obama and the stock market went from 8,000 to almost double that in six years. I don’t know when the 1%ers who control more wealth than the rest of us combined are going to realize that the GOP are just not that good for them.

The “Regulatory burdens” that this new GOP majority want to eliminate are what was put in place to reign in the worst capitalistic greed. It doesn’t seem to concern these yahoos that the lack of regulatory burdens is what caused the near complete collapse of our entire economy just six short years ago.  To me, and I hope many of you, regulatory burdens are the necessary rules for living in a people centered democracy but yes I do realize that we have become much less people centered in this new century. I pray that we can turn that around.

Eliminating taxes and therefore government is the goal of much of Republican’s action. They seem to do a good job of listening to their rich donors but not so much in listening to those who elected them.  I know I have spent a lot of words here hitting on the GOP majority now in congress but that doesn’t mean that I think the other party did much better. All those yahoos need to learn some basic lessons about representing us. A democracy is about all the people not just about those who finance the political campaigns. They are there to do the people’s business not to blindly follow whatever their leadership or even more so the monied interests tells them to do. It is a shame that one of the first things they wanted to do as the new majority was to give more power to those who almost put us down. But maybe even more shameful was the second thing and that was to start whittling down Social Security. Shame on all of them for that mentality… and shame on us for not taking them to task for not doing the people’s business….

How we went to the Dark Side…

2014-12-13_09-44-02This is terrorism’s sick genius. Terrorists invite us — seduce us — to share their Manichaean worldview, to respond to savagery with savagery, to join them in madness. “Make us safe!” Americans demanded. And so our elected leaders launched two wars, saw WMD where there were none, launched surveillance programs with virtually no limits, and embraced “enhanced interrogation.” As justification, the White House and the CIA joined Machiavelli, Marx, and Stalin in insisting that the end justifies the means. Lots of individuals bear responsibility for the horrors detailed in the Senate committee’s torture report. But if we are honest, that journey to the Dark Side was a collective failure — and sobering evidence of how fragile our principles really are.

SOURCE: How we went to the Dark Side – The Week.

These are very powerful words from William Falk over at The Week. Powerful words that I adamantly agree with!  Being a Star Wars fan I thoroughly appreciate the title of the article. It  seems as a country we have gone the route of Darth Vader instead of Luke Skywalker and our abject fear is the primary motivator. A fear that seems to drive so much in current-day America. A fear that is driving us away from long-held principles of morality.

Our obsession with fear is exactly what the terrorists want. They can spend a few bucks and maybe a martyr or two to force us to spend billions in order to keep an event from happening again. Our fear illogically causes us do things we know in our hearts is not what America is, or at least was.

The very idea of Guantanamo Bay Detention facility is against so many principles of our American system and yet it has survived two presidents and more than a decade of legislative bodies.  The logic goes that the people held there are terrorists and not American citizens so that is OK and since Guantanamo is not really American soil so we don’t have to live by our principles there.  But that does little to ameliorate the fact that we are ignoring our basic moral standards in the process. Our abject fear allow us to keep prisoners there without any charges or proof.  We simply fear them and that is enough. It has been found that many of the people have been held there  for over ten years were innocent of any of the accusations against them. Yeah some of them are bad guys but does that justify our imprisoning others who are not?

I realize that these events since 9/11 are not the first time we have allowed our fears to obliterate our principles but the magnitude of the reaction I believe is at the head of the class.  Those who study recent history ( I realize that “recent” is a relative term) know that we imprisoned  over 100,000 of our citizens simply because of the color or their skin and the slant of their eyes. They looked like the enemy and so they were to be feared. Japanese Americans suffered because of that fear.  And this was not the first time we let our fear overcome our principles.

This is not the first time we have moved to the dark side but it is probably our darkest episode. I just pray at eventually we will move back into the benevolent “force” that until recently has guided us so well…

Beam Me Up Scottie….

2014-11-26_09-08-20Ferguson has been dominating the news lately. Especially after the grand jury decisions. This post is not going to be about that except to say that needlessly taking another life is as tragic as all those lives lost previous to that young man. I thoroughly support a police officers right to defend himself and that is what the grand jury decided.  The way to defend himself is the matter of this post.

The point is that there should be a logical alternative to using lethal force against someone who you feel threatened by. That is especially true for our police officers who keep us safe. Reaching for a lethal weapon should be the last alternative, not the first one.

It seems that since the first episode of Star Trek was shown more than forty years ago we have come pretty far toward actually implementing many of the technological advances dreamed up in the series.  No, we haven’t got a teleporter yet, that’s the one I am waiting for, but we have accomplished much in other technological advances. One thing that is totally doable today but is being held back by an obsession is the phaser. You know the one that Kirk almost always said to set on stun.

Since we seem to have appointed ourselves as the policemen of the world we should be inventing new technology toward doing that job right. Why do we need to kill someone who may be threatening physical abuse on us? Whey is it necessary to take a life in order to preserve our own? I kind of think the total reason for it comes from our obsession with guns. If we found killing another person was as tragic as surely God does we would leave our weapons on stun and only use the kill setting for imminent death situations.

No police officer, or anyone else for that matter should have to decide within a split second to take another life when there are logical alternatives available. If we were able to disable someone attacking us without extinguishing another living soul I”m sure most of us would take that option. A taser is a good starting point but is just not that accurate and must be used close up. How about a laser guided wireless taser? We can laser guide our bombs so why not a temporary disabling beam?  I know the NRA would fight it as taking away our constitutional right to a “real” gun but isn’t it about time we told them where to stuff all their opinions. We have needlessly killed enough young men, especially it seems those of color….

Beam me up Scottie, or at least put our weapons on stun…..


You Are Accountable For Your Actions… Or Maybe Not

I would like to believe that we are all accountable for our actions. We should all learn that actions have consequences. It is something every father should teach every son and every mother teach every daughter. But there are also things in life that tell us otherwise.

Some of us Christians have the idea that since we are just miserable sinners God does not hold us accountable for their actions. We therefore believe that God doesn’t really mind whether we do what he says because he knows we are so weak and pitiful and therefore expects nothing from us, including accountability.

Some of us say our actions are a result of their genes. Our ancestors were less than honorable so we are too. 

Some of us say we are the way we are because our parents mistreated us or did not teach us how to live a fruitful and accountable life.  They gave us bad examples of how to be.

To ALL those ideas I say poppycock!!

God did not put us on this earth to be “poor miserable people”. She put us here to love Her and to love each other and that certainly includes being accountable for our actions. I have come to believe that the primary purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to teach us how to live our lives in a Godly manner. Yes, I admit that we don’t do a very good job of that and haven’t since our creation but that is not because God wants it that way. Jesus Christ came to earth to clearly tell us that and to show us a better way. It is sad to me to see so many Christians who discount that fact in favor of saying we are not accountable for our actions or maybe more appropriately inaction.

Sure we all have different life experiences that affect our current situations. For me it was an extreme narcissist mother who thought primarily of herself. Little including her own children mattered as much to her as her own personal circumstances. Even though my exposure to her was somewhat  limited due to her abandoning me at the age of nine, it had a definite affect on me and that was to go to the other end of the spectrum with my self image. So our parents might have not given us much to go on things about life but it is nothing that can’t be overcome within ourselves.

We are all accountable for our actions, or at least we should be…..


Its Time For The People, Not State Governments, To Elect The President..

Almost all of these states give their electoral votes based on a winner-take-all system. A candidate receiving 50.1% of the vote in New York, for instance, will garner the state’s 29 votes. Collect 270 total votes, and the presidency is assured. As the National Review’s Jim Geraghty explains, however, there is no constitutional requirement that states allot their electoral votes this way, however. They could do it based on a simple vote in the statehouse. They could even, legally, decide to apportion them based on a coin flip, or whichever candidate is taller. Both Maine and Nebraska, for instance, divvy their votes based on the winner of individual congressional districts. SOURCE: BBC News – A rule change that could lock Republican 2016 victory.

I love the look from a different angle that my British friends give me over at “The Week” website. Given the extremes that the GOP seems will do to maintain control of U.S. politics I can clearly see more red States going the way of Maine and Nebraska in making their own rules in how to cast votes in presidential elections. That seems to be the logical next shoe to drop. But I have a radical view that would thwart that plan.

Lets allow the people to elect a president. Let every vote count! I know that is a radical idea but I think its time has come.🙂  The electoral college served a purpose during early U.S. history when information took days or even weeks to pass through the country. It made sense for each State to send people to report their State’s votes.  Flip forward to today and this concept has no validity whatsoever!

Let the people’s voice elect the president as it does for all other Federal and State offices. Quit this electoral college stupidity. I hear there are laws still on the books in various State that deal with the times that a horse driven vehicle approaches a motor driven one. I know the one in Indiana that was finally nullified a few years ago said that the motorized vehicle had to leave the road until the horse passed. Its time to get rid of this archaic election rules and let the people elect the president.

I have lived in Indiana most of my life and have voted in each presidential election since 1968. But my vote has only counted during two of them. My first vote was for Richard Nixon. I was a naive Republican in those days, The second time was  in 2008 when most people in Indiana were, like me almost overwhelmed by the rhetoric of Barak Obama. All the other times my vote was thrown out. It is time to allow people, not State governments, to decide who will be their president.

Why America needs more billionaires

America needs more Mark Zuckerbergs, not fewer. How to create them? There is no magic formula, but Henrekson and Sanandaji find the rate of billionaire entrepreneurs correlates positively with nations that have lower taxes, more venture capital investment, and less regulation. High capital gains taxes seem particularly harmful. Worrying about those things would be a good start for Washington. While inequality hasn’t made it harder to get on the success ladder, it does make it more costly to stay stuck at the bottom. A more entrepreneurial U.S. economy generating more high-paying jobs will ensure more people are making that climb to the top rungs. SOURCE:  Why America needs more billionaires – The Week.

I certainly agree with the title of this article. America needs more billionaires but it is how they accumulate those billions that matter and especially what they do with them later. Those who invent the “better mousetrap” create jobs and wealth beyond themselves are of great value to our country. Let’s look at a century ago when Henry Ford invented the assembly line. He made billions in today’s dollars but he also gave his workers wages much greater than the current standards. Everyone benefited from his new methods. Yeah, I admit that assembly line work is stifling but it was about the only good paying jobs available during those times.

Today there are thousands of Henry Fords around who have made the latest things. Guys like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are to be celebrated for their entrepreneurial lives. But for every Jobs there are probably dozens who are getting richer by paying slave wages to their workers. In other words they are getting rich on the backs of those they employ. I believe that this condition is as bad or maybe even worse than it was a century ago before a stubborn progressive Republican president took on the robber barons of his time.

Who will take on today’s robber barons? Walmart is an essential part of many small communities including mine. I make frequent trips there every week as they are about the only place to shop now. They are widely known to pay minimum wage for most of their workers while their corporate profits continue to rise and their owners who for the most part inherited their stocks get vulgarly wealthy.

It used to be that corporations were based on a three-legged stool. The three legs were  customers, owners, employees. As long as these three entities were balanced a corporation was considered healthy. But now days the employee leg has been cut off almost up to the seat level. The stability of the stool is no longer viable.

America needs more billionaires that’s for sure….

Imagine: The Democratic States of America

2014-10-29_08-29-05Without the South, the country could very well be renamed the Democratic States of America. Secession would have numerous policy implications. The deficit would likely shrink, since despite the South’s fondness for anti-government rhetoric and ideology, the region benefits substantially more from federal programs than it pays into the federal treasury. Serious gun control legislation might actually make it through Congress. ObamaCare would probably work better (the South has led the way in refusing to expand Medicaid), but it might also be possible to pass the kind of sweeping reform of the health-care system (single payer) that proved impossible for Obama. In sum, the U.S. without the South would look an awful lot more like Canada and Europe than it currently does — while the newly independent Confederate States of America would likely look like, well, nowhere else in the civilized world. Rates of poverty, already among the highest in the nation, would probably leap higher still. Guns would be ubiquitous. Without a meddlesome Supreme Court to uphold reproductive rights, women in the New Confederacy might find it impossible to obtain abortions. Something similar would probably hold for gay rights (not just with regard to marriage, but even including sexual activity itself) and, of course, for African American voting rights. (Ten out of 11 states in the South have passed voting restrictions in the past four years. Imagine what would happen without what remains of the Voting Rights Act and the oversight of federal courts?) So what do you say? Is it finally time for us Northerners to encourage the South to go its own way? SOURCE:Imagine: The Democratic States of America – The Week.

I too have often wondered what the U.S. would look like if the southern States were to actually do what they often threaten to do and that is to secede from the U.S. The above words are an interesting take on that possibility. Yeah Obamacare would most likely work better as indicated by the map above. The vast majority of people without  health coverage are from those infamous States. The description above almost sound like utopia to me. So many of our current problems would disappear if you believe what the author says.

I must admit that I too have an ingrown prejudice against the South. I still blame them for our bloodiest war in history. I still blame them for their adamant opposition to civil rights of all our citizens. They just seem to be on the wrong end of history’s lessons so often.

The Democratic State of America sounds good to me but when you look at the maps my State of Indiana is more like the southern States then those above the Mason-Dixon line.  The Republican have a veto proof majority in our State government so they have pushed through some pretty radical legislation of late. And of course Indiana was a hotbed for the KKK about a century ago.  Would Indiana become the “new South” if the South jumps out of the union?

Silliness I guess but this kind of thinking keeps the brain cells active….🙂

A Bad Idea.. At Least For Now…

2014-10-11_08-51-14Americans have a thing for starting over. We love the idea of breaking from the past, beginning from scratch, getting a new life, setting out on a fresh path. No wonder, then, that some of us seem to be taken with the idea of solving our political problems by calling a constitutional convention to craft a new founding document — one that is less… well, it sort of depends on what you find intolerable about the present system. Conservatives spend their days dreaming of a balanced budget amendment, term limits for Supreme Court justices, and special protections for the free enterprise system. Libertarians worry about ever-expanding executive power. Liberals agonize over the influence of wealthy special interests on all branches of government. Centrists fret about generalized governmental dysfunction and the danger that it will lead to the kind of breakdown that we’ve seen in presidential democracies throughout the developing world. I have sympathy for a number of these complaints, especially the ones highlighted by the liberals and centrists. But that doesn’t mean calling a constitutional convention is a good idea. On the contrary, it’s an atrocious idea — and one that would be likely to make our very real problems far worse. SOURCE:  The myopic folly of demanding a new constitutional convention – The Week.

I thoroughly agree with the folks over at “The Week” that a constitutional convention in the U.S. is a bad idea right now. With all the partisan groups running around the country with their heated rhetoric and not listening to anything anyone else says this is especially a bad time to be fiddling with our foundation documents.  I’m not sure that there is really ever a good time to do it but for now it is best to stay away from the foundations.

But it would be nice to get some people in charge who don’t have a battleship full of baggage! All those guys in Washington seem to have a personal agenda of one sort or another that often trumps the people’s will. All this “right to bear arms” stuff is totally illogical if we take all the words of that amendment seriously. The amendment was to protect militias not guns.  All the gay marriage antagonizers must come to realize that the government is not in the religion business. They simply create legal documents that bind us together. If you want to tag homosexual unions as immoral that is fine but that is not the government’s business.

Until we can manage to at least get along with each other at some of the most basic levels we need to step back from anything that has any long-term consequences. I’m not personally sure that we will ever come to any level of agreement about anything now but at least we can hold out some hope that our children or grandchildren will be able to manage that feat. As long as we don’t pollute their thinking too much maybe they will see a common cause when they take the reigns of power. I don’t know but at least I am hoping that to be the case.

But what do I know….

Don't Wonder Why….

Don’t wonder why some people go crazy, wonder why all of us don’t.

Ok, that is my observation for today. Yeah, some people go over the edge when life overloads them but don’t we all get overloaded one time or another. I know I do. I see things that just don’t make any sense no matter how you look at them:

Violence – The amount of violence in our society simply astounds me! I know Americans are on the whole more aggressive than most other countries but we seem to be unique in expressing that aggression in violent ways. American football is an obsession for many and it is by far the most violent sanctioned sport on this plant. The most popular video games feature someone with a weapon killing the “bad” guys”

Guns – We have a love of guns and weapons of destruction far above almost everyone else in the world. I think we have more guns that people. The primary purpose for guns is to kill something or someone.

War – I don’t think I can even recall all the wars we have been involved with in my lifetime. It seems if we don’t have someone to go to war with we go out and generate some.  We spend more on our military than all the rest of the world combined. How insane is that!!

Narcissism – Narcissism is spending your life concentrating almost totally on yourself. Selfies are an indication of that condition. I try to be an ardent follower of Jesus Christ and when he tells me the two most important things in life are to love God and the love each other. Narcissism is the exact opposite of that.

Greed – The dark side of capitalism is greed. It is endemic to our way of doing business. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and for many that is the way it is supposed to be.

Corruption – Corruption invades too much in our society. It seems that daily there is yet another politician, religious figurehead, or business man who is exposed for corruption.

Incompetence – There are just too many people who think they can make the big bucks with this or that scheme and sadly many do. They would rather cheat and scheme than put in an honest days work. Someone recently, I think it was Steve Jobs, say it that it takes 10,000 trys to become an expert at something. Too many are just not willing to put in the effort. And then there are the current crop of politicians. Too much incompetence among those folks.

Why do we have to face all these stupid things day after day? It’s enough to make anyone crazy. Don’t wonder why some people go crazy, wonder why all of us don’t….

Maybe We Got It Wrong…

2014-08-09_19-13-53This is probably not a good post for a U.S. national holiday but here goes anyway. Fools rush in where….

A few hundred years ago, which is a very short amount of time in world history, we were part of the Great British empire. We bowed to the king and paid our share of taxes. Then some hot heads came along and convinced us that we would be better off on our own.  They, like many Californians today, just didn’t like the idea of paying taxes and found every excuse to avoid doing that.

Long story short here we are today with one of the worst, and the absolutely most expensive, healthcare system in the world.  A murder rate and gun ownership one of the highest in the world. Of course those two items are not unrelated.  Spending more on our military than all the other countries in the world combined let alone being so stressed out we seem to have no time for family.

While over in England they were recently judged to have the best healthcare of a first world country. Their gun ownership is a small fraction of our and they have less murders per capita l in a year than we do in a month. They, like most other countries spend miniscule amounts on their military.  They take the time for afternoon tea and meals with family. Britain also seems to learn from their mistakes much sooner than we do. They outlawed slavery many years before we did. They never tried to get rid of their alcohol as they realize that it is an integral part of their culture. They didn’t practice segregation to nearly the extent we did.

Maybe we got it wrong all those years ago. We let a few hot heads convince us that what we had was not a good thing.  Canada which is our neighbors to the north also rate pretty much as well  as England in all the mentioned categories. It is always fascinating to me to consider the results of various decisions both corporate and personal and to think about the consequences if we went the other way.

I know you can’t unscramble an egg or re-join a country so the above thinking is a total fantasy but it is interesting to ponder about how different my world would be today if we had not listened to those hot head rebels so many year ago. Now before you begin to flame me please realize that I love this country but we could learn a few lessons about doing it better from some of our neighbors, especially our British ones.

Three Charts to Email to Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law

Problem: Your right-wing brother-in-law is plugged into the FOX-Limbaugh lie machine, and keeps sending you emails about “Obama spending” and “Obama deficits” and how the “stimulus” just made things worse…. 2014-08-10_09-58-44 2014-08-10_09-58-54 2014-08-10_09-59-20 SOURCE: Three Charts to Email to Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law Updated | Dave Johnson.

In the old days, that is the time before I gave up on all the cable news channels I used to get a weekly dose of Fox News.  As they say keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It was anything but news……

That’s all I want, or need, to say about this topic. It is too toxic to go any further into the idiocy of it….

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