Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Month: November 2010 (page 3 of 4)

Congressman Petri

According to an article on JSOnline article, Congressman Petri actually “promoted high-speed rail”.   Yesterday, he stood with Congressmen Ryan and Sensenbrenner to sponsor a bill which will allow Governor-elect Scott Walker to kill the project.  While some people are claiming flip flop, according to the article, Petri stated: “It’s the state’s call. They’re the ones that have to pay the $750,000 a year or $7.5 million a year ongoing (varying estimates for annual costs to the state). On the other hand, they’d have to forgo the $800 billion. Is that a sensible tradeoff or not? I worked to do my best to be part of giving them the option of making that decision.”

It sounds to me as if Congressman Petri isn’t flip-flopping as much as giving Scott Walker the rope with which he can hang himself.  How could $800 billion into the state be a bad thing?

Thanks, Scott!

Thanks, Scott Walker – Mr. Job Killer

I’m so glad that three of our so-called Representatives – Jim Sensenbrenner, Paul Ryan and Tom Petri – has seen it necessary to put a bill in Congress that would allow Scott Walker to return the money for the high speed rail project. According to the bill – which I have not yet read – will direct the money to reduce the deficit. Both California and Illinois (according to CBS 58 News) want the money. I’m making a guess here that if the money is returned by Wisconsin, it won’t be going to reduce the deficit.

On top of that, if the project is cancelled, 4,000 jobs will be lost. That’s four thousand people who will be affected – in a state that has an unemployment rate of 7%. Add to that “representatives from Talgo Inc., the Spanish company that chose Milwaukee as its site in the U.S. for building and maintaining high-speed trains, said the company may be forced to shut down its Milwaukee operation if the high-speed rail project is killed.” (source)

Most economists agree that deficit spending is good during a bad economy, provided that the money is used for the right projects.  Hello, we’re in a bad economy.  Government cuts should be made when the economy is running smoothly.  Actually, that’s when taxes should go up, in order to build a surplus to get us through the bad times.  Any first year economic student can tell you this.

Apparently, Walker, Ryan, Sensenbrenner and Petri have never taken an economic class.  They don’t get it.

Let’s put in simple terms:

4000 people get up and go to work in the morning.  Every week or every other week, they receive a pay check.  The government receives money from the taxes taken from said paycheck.  The bank gets paid for the mortgage or the landlord collects her rent.  Food is purchased at a grocery store.  A meal is purchased in a restaurant.  And, it goes on.  These four thousand people affect many more people.  The restaurant stays in business.  The local grocery store has to hire another clerk or two.  It is a circle.  Money travels from one person to another and along the way, more growth happens.  When the economy is booming again, the government stops spending (and, here’s where our government has been wrong throughout the last thirty years).  Private money begins flowing with new buildings, companies, etc.  The government money is no longer needed.

Paying off the deficit isn’t going to keep food on any of our tables.

We need to work together to save our rail and the four thousand jobs.

Carol

This is from 11/13/2009. I recorded my mother singing You Don’t Even Know Who I Am. I figured since I posted one of Robyn’s videos, I’d post one of Mom’s. On this one, the video is brighter. It’s at the American Legion in Gurnee, IL.

Robyn

The video quality isn’t very good.  It’s about as good as you’re going to get in a dimly lit bar.  This is my sister-in-law, Robyn, singing Black Horse & the Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall.

Enjoy!

A Nation of Lemmings…

I saw this video (see below) on CNN regarding Sarah Palin’s mistake on rising grocery prices. Anderson Cooper says in the video that this is a minor issue, but I’m going out on a limb here and say that this is a huge issue. Often times, when Palin gets a fact wrong, she blames the “lamestream media”. Her followers believe that mainstream media is consistently wrong and unfairly picks on her. She encourages this belief.

To me, that makes her attacks on a reporter (Sudeep Reddy) who points out Palin’s mistake threatening to the ability of the American people to separate fact from fiction. We’re becoming a nation of lemmings. We pass on emails filled with errors and outright lies without checking their facts and figures. We pass on “information” without researching it ourselves.

By not doing our own fact-checking, we are fast becoming a nation of non-thinkers. Worst, I read about a series of studies conducted by the University of Michigan that “when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs.”

That scares the Hell out of me — does it do the same to you?  People who can be told a fact do not change their beliefs to match that fact.

Which brings me back to Sarah Palin…

She stated the following:  “everyone whoever goes out shopping for groceries knows that prices have risen significantly over the past year or so.”

Sudeep Reddy pointed out that “Grocery prices haven’t risen all that significantly, in fact. The consumer price index’s measure of food and beverages for the first nine months of this year showed average annual inflation of less than 0.6%, the slowest pace on record (since the Labor Department started keeping this measure in 1968).” Instead of admiting her mistake, as Anderson Cooper points out in the below video, she went on the attack.

This means, to me at least, that Sarah Palin is one of those “misinformed people” who, when confronted by the facts, cannot change their beliefs to meet them.

This woman wants to be President of the United States.  She ran for Vice President, for pete’s sake.  And, yet, when confronted with a fact that goes against her beliefs, she attacks the messenger.  She cannot wrap her head around the idea that she might be wrong.

Isn’t the sign of a good leader someone who can admit that they were incorrect and adjust accordingly?

Isn’t that the sign of a good employee?  And, doesn’t the President of the United States work for us?

Have you ever worked with someone that attacks back when a mistake of theirs is pointed out?  I have.  I wouldn’t want that person being President of Dog catching, much less President of the United States.

In the next two years, I believe Palin has a long way to go to prove to the American public that she could, indeed, run this country.

That is, if someone can convince her she’s wrong.

Thank a Veteran

Today is Veteran’s Day and, because I like this post I wrote on Memorial Day, I’m re-running it.  In fact, I think I’ll re-run it on every holiday where we honor our servicemen and women.

Enjoy!

Today is the day that we honor the men and women who gave the absolute sacrifice for their country.  Without these men and women, our country would be very different than it is today.  We wouldn’t be free, the majority of us wouldn’t speak English and we wouldn’t be the amazing country we are today.

But, I wonder about those men and women who have survive.  I wonder, do we do enough for them?  Do we show our gratitude often enough?  Do we give them our thanks?

So, here’s what I purpose for anyone reading this article – starting today – every time you see a vet, tell him or her, thanks.

It doesn’t matter where you are when you do so.  If you see a soldier, Marine or sailor in uniform, shake their hand, look them in the eye and thank them for their service.  If you see someone in a hat that says veteran on it, do the same thing.  These men and women put their lives on the line for us.  They serve their country with honor and for little pay and benefits. Their families live with the separation of war and service and they’re rarely thanked.

Remember this:  If you can read this, thank a teacher.  If you can read this in English, thank a vet.

God Bless our vets and God Bless America.

And, now, my all time favorite commercial…


Losers to the Left of Me, Losers to the Right

Will you be watching the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight? According to the NBC website, Christine O’Donnell will be on the show. Why is that? She lost. What can she possibly say? What about her will be so entertaining? Are we going to make the same mistake with Christine O’Donnell that we have made with Sarah Palin?

If Leno wants to talk to a politician, perhaps, he could talk to the man who defeated her, Chris Coons. If he wants to talk to a right-wing or tea party politician, why doesn’t he talk with Rand Paul – who WON his election?

Why indeed.

It is because we are becoming a nation of losers. We actually celebrate the people who lose more than we celebrate the people who win. Last Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers trounced the Dallas Cowboys. And, what did the announcers discuss? The poor Cowboys. Hardly any praise for Green Bay and these guys kept talking about things that weren’t even game related. Worse announcing ever. During the last half, it was almost like they weren’t even watching the game.

And, that brings me back to Sarah Palin. After the Republicans loss in 2008, Palin was touted like some golden girl. We’re still not rid of her two years later. And, history is repeating itself because here comes O’Donnell onto the Tonight Show.

It’s just sad. It would be different if O’Donnell had won or had been someone with a lot of political experience and public recognition and now he wants to talk to her.

I guess it really shouldn’t matter to me, except I fear what is going to happen to our nation as time goes by and we keep celebrating the losers and dummying down everything.

Mark Haub – Twinkie Diet Professor – and Rush Limbaugh

Do you recognize the name Mark Haub? He is a professor at Kansas State University who went on a junk food diet in order to teach his students about nutrition. Well, the plan backfired, because Professor Haub managed to lose 27 pounds in two months and his “LDL, dropped 20 percent and his … HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.” (See article on CNN)

Now, that’s pretty amazing and what I’m sure a lot of people are going to say is:  “Wow!  I can lose weight by eating junk food, sign me  up!”  And, the truth is, you can’t.  It is about calorie counts.  In order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in.  This causes your body to burn off the stores of energy (known as fat), which causes you to lose weight.

Now, according to Rush Limbaugh, he has been saying that it doesn’t matter what you eat and you don’t have to exercise.  Of course, he has also said that “You don’t know what it’s like to be right as often as I am”. (You can hear this portion of his radio show here.)

Well, Rush, I’m here to tell you, you’re wrong.  (Most likely again, as the man is a walking fountain of misinformation.)

Haub did lower his intake, but he kept his activity the same, which means he burned more than brought in causing the weight loss.  Exercise is important.  It gets your heart rate up and improves your outlook.  As one fat person to another, you should try it sometime, Rush, you might like it.

Two years ago, Cheryl and I made radical changes in our eating habits – more fruits and vegetables, less red meat.  In those two years, my weight ballooned up 20 pounds because I didn’t pay attention to how much I ate and I certainly wasn’t exercising.

Last year at a doctor’s appointment, I weighed more than I ever had before in my life.  I might’ve weighed more than Elvis did when he died.  It upset me.  In Dec, I had a heart and blood pressure incident.  I was dangerously close to a stroke.  The doctor who admitted me said, after talking to me about my stress, if I didn’t find a new job, I would be dead in a year.  The stress and extra weight on my body had finally taken its toll.  Prior to the stress of that job, I had my blood pressure under control and my cholesterol numbers were right where they were supposed to be.  Based on that, I could say that you can be healthy and fat.  And, you probably can.  I was – right up until the stressful job.  Quite frankly, I think that I can either be stressed at work or fat, but I can’t be both because I won’t survive.

So, once I received the okay from my doctor that I could begin exercising, I did.  Since last October, I have lost twenty pounds.  I did this by both diet and exercise.

I have three points:

  1. One person losing weight on a Twinkie diet isn’t enough to say “Hey, everyone, eat Twinkies and you’ll lose weight.
  2. You cannot lose weight and be healthy without eating right and exercising.  You have to put in less calories than you burn.  The best way to do that is to diet and exercise.
  3. Rush Limbaugh is the last person on the planet who should be giving out health tips.

Taxes and More Taxes

The election is over and now it is time for the lame duck Congress to get back to work. But, even though it won’t do any good, I wanted to bring up taxes.

Everyone thinks – Warren Buffett the exception – that they pay too much in taxes. Because I have an extra taxable amount added to my normal salary this year, Cheryl and I have been paying a lot of attention to just how much we’ll owe in taxes come April 15th. By my calculations, between the two of us, we’ll owe a grand amount of $12,126, a tax rate of 13.40%. For a fun time, I thought, “Hey, what if we could file our federal income taxes jointly?” So, I used the IRS Withholding Calculator and did just that. If we were married, our tax amount would be $11,281, a tax rate. That is a tax rate of 12.47% and a total of $845 less. It makes me mad every time I think about it.

What is it that Cheryl and I receive from the federal government that is worth the extra $845? Do we have extra rights? Extra protections? Will the government take care of us when we’re old and gray in a better manner than a straight, married couple?

No, no and – I know you’re shocked – no.

We receive NOTHING for the extra dollars removed from our paychecks every single year. And, if Paul Ryan gets his way, it will only get worse. (Check out Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America and you’ll see his plan for two tax tiers.)

By denying gay couples the legal right to marry at the Federal level, the nation is over-taxing approximately 770,000 couples in this country.  Let’s make a big assumption, because I don’t have actual figures on incomes, that our over-taxed amount is what every other gay couple pays more than straight couples.  That works out to an extra $650,650,000 in the nation’s tax coffers.

Do we get a thanks for that?

No, we don’t.

Maybe, that’s the real reason why the right-wing doesn’t want us to get married.  That’s a lot of dough!

As a gay person, I purpose that in the next election, we come together to fight for our marriage rights.  We fight for equality.  We’re paying a lot of money to be considered second class citizens.

Who’s with me?

Below is a video I made last August.

A Lot of Things

There are a lot of things I could write today – just two days after my entire state went crazy and threw out Feingold for a know-nothing – but, I won’t. Although, I do reserve the right to say “I told you so” in two years.

I found the following video today and I want to share it with you. Hope you laugh.

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