Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Month: March 2011 (page 1 of 2)

Paying Attention to Sarah Palin

The headline on CNN’s Political Ticker boldly stated:  “‘I’m through,’ Palin says”.  Even the first sentence stated, “Sarah Palin says she’s done.”  I got all bubbly and excited inside.  ‘Finally!,’ I said to myself, ‘we won’t have to hear about Sarah Palin anymore!’

And, just like what happened in the tech and housing markets, the bubble burst.

Sarah Palin is sticking around. 🙁  She’s just not going to “whine about the media”.  Apparently, Palin is saying this after NOW came to her defense in regards to a “sexual slur directed her way from comedian Bill Maher”.  I’m paraphasing, but Palin went on to say that she doesn’t need NOW’s help.

She really doesn’t get it, does she?

Does Palin even know or understand the history of the Women’s movement in this country?  Does she understand that the whole reason the country (and the “lamestream” media) pays any attention to her is because of organizations such as NOW?  Her right to have five children or her right to not have five children is owed to the many women who came before her – is she aware of this?

I’m guessing she isn’t.

All five of my grandparents were born before women had the right to vote.  Two of my three grandfathers (two biological and one step) celebrated their 18th birthdays before women could vote.  I owe (and, my mother and grandmothers owe) the right to vote to the women who came before us.  I have the right to earn a living to the women who belonged to NOW during the Feminist movement.

I realize that Palin doesn’t agree with NOW (the National Organization for Women), although I don’t understand entirely why, but no one is asking her to donate money or give a speech for them.  Palin used that old quote “I need NOW’s defense like a fish needs a bicycle” to show her disdain.

Actually, Sarah, you do need NOW’s defense.  It is groups like NOW who fought for our rights – who stood up when we couldn’t – who still fight for what’s right in our country.  What you really need is to get your head out of your ass and stop believing your own right-wing press clippings.

You weren’t ready to serve as Vice President in 2008 – you actually were reason #3 for why I didn’t vote for McCain – and you won’t be qualified or ready to serve as President in 2012.

A Quote

I saw this quote from Mark Twain and I liked it so much, I thought I’d pass it on to you, my gentle readers.

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Bachmann – Why can’t this woman get anything right?

Why would anyone vote for Michelle Bachman for President?  This woman rivals only Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin for misleading information.

In the last month, Bachmann has gone out of her way to get it all wrong. And, when she gets called out on it, she blames the media.

It would be laughable if this was a sitcom, but this is real life.  Bachmann is considering (she’s announced that she will be forming an exploratory committee) a run for the Presidency.  The last thing this country needs is a President who can’t get anything right – literally.

On Febuary 25, in an interview on the The Laura Ingraham Show, Bachmann said the following:   “I’ve given birth to five babies, and I’ve breast-fed every single one of these babies.  To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies? You want to talk about the nanny state? I think you just got a new definition of the nanny state.”1

Except, per usual, Bachmann gets it wrong.  The government is not planning on purchasing breast pumps.  The IRS changed the classification of a breast pump to be a medical device, which means if you spend 7.5% of your yearly income on medical expenses and one of those expenses is a breast pump, you can deduct it.  Now, if Bachmann wanted to say that it shouldn’t be a deduction, why didn’t she say that?  Why would she want to leave the impression that the government is making decisions on whether or not a woman should breast feed?

I have an answer, but I’ll keep it to myself.

Moving on…

On repeated occasions, Bachmann keeps insisting that there is, well, let’s quote her directly.

“There was a Congressional Research Service report that just was issued in February, and we discovered that secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress, over $105 billion was hidden in the ‘Obamacare’ legislation to fund the implementation of ‘Obamacare’. This is something that wasn’t known. This money was broken up, hidden in various parts of the bill.”2

Oh, snap!

Except, it isn’t true.  According to Fact Check, the $105 billion wasn’t hidden at all.  It is completely out in the open.

Yet, another misleading on Bachmann’s reign of error.

<sigh>

I could go on, but I’m all ready tired of hearing about Bachmann and we still have more than a year and a half left to go before the next Presidential election.
Posted from WordPress for Android

You Can’t Run the Government. .

You can’t run the government like a business and anyone who thinks you can is a fool. The whole goal of business is to make a profit. Oh, sure, most businesses have a mission statement with a lofty goal about exceeding customers’ expectations or adding value. In all the ones I reviewed, I only found one company who was honest enough to tell the truth. After the phony provide value statement, the next line was “To be profitable”.

None of the government’s goals are to “be profitable”. If the government made a profit and didn’t return it to the taxpayers, there’d be hell to pay.

However; running the government like a business is what all these “Reagan” Republicans are all about. They cut taxes – in a failed attempt to create jobs. You don’t cut you income when you need it most. Companies that do that usually end up hanging Going Out of Business signs. You don’t cut Research & Development money (in government’s case education) and expect to stay ahead of the competition.

Government is not a business and it shouldn’t be run like one.

Oh and lest you think I’ve forgotten – RECALL WALKER!

Posted from WordPress for Android

The Morning After – Totally Embarrassed!

Governor Walker and the Senate Republicans have completely embarrassed my wonderful state by making this end run.  It wasn’t about balancing the budget.  Walker doesn’t care about working people – that’s what state employees are – working people who – when compared to private workers in similar jobs earn much less for the same education and experience.

As far as paying for their pensions, they all ready do – the pension money comes from deferred pay.  Is Walker set to give them the deferred pay upfront?  I’m betting not.

And, he’s taken away (according to the original bill) the right of state workers to protest “who participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit−down, stay−in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the of operations or services of state government, including specifically purported mass resignations or sick calls.”

And, I harp on this A LOT, but I don’t want my state giving away our energy assets without any bidding involved.  And, yet, there my state government goes…

My Republican mother brought this up the other day when we were discussing the elimination of state workers’ rights.  Maybe, you’ve heard it before:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

– Pastor Martin Niemoller

For those people who have no problem negotiating downward, think about this: Whose rights do you think Walker’s coming for next? What does his buddy, David Koch, want now? He’ll get our energy assets and then he’ll be allowed to underpay workers and Walker will see to it that workers have no rights.

When I discuss this matter with people who disagree with me, they all just don’t get it. They don’t see how wages have stagnated in this country for the last thirty years. How deregulation has directly lead to the current bad economy. It’s like they’ve never read a history book or knew about the early unionists who had to fight for decent wages, working conditions and a forty hour work week. It’s like they’ve never had a bad job, where the employer expected more and more and gave less and less.

Gave is probably the wrong word. Your employer and my employer do not “give” us anything. We earn it. I love my job and I love the place where I work, but I haven’t always been so lucky to work for a company where my work is appreciated. My last company could’ve used a union. They “gave” a 1.1% raise – a total insult – and then expected 90 hour work weeks (I’m salary, that means no overtime) – AND, for further insult to injury, because of the bad economy one Vice President actually said that we (the team I was on) were “lucky to have jobs”.

That’s how non-union shops treat people, like cattle and not with any decency or respect.

That’s what’s on the line with Walker. He wants to roll back the times and make our state one where you can see the clear lines of the haves and have nots. And, all of the haves will have contributed to his campaign.  If you think for one moment that Governor Walker is on the side of the hardworking people of this state, you are fooling yourself.

One last item:  Where are the jobs Walker religiously promised during the campaign?  I haven’t seen one thing in this budget that will create one job.

Can you say RECALL, boys and girls?

Walker’s Anti-Union Success

If the budget was all about balance and not destroying unions, then why – as a friend put it – did “Walker and his henchmen” pull the collective bargaining rights out and pass it?

I’ll tell you why. This isn’t about our great state. It is about Governor Walker making his friends over at Koch Industries happy. Watch who takes over our state owned energy assets and then ask yourself if this was about a balanced budget.

Worse – he campaigned on how he will create jobs. I don’t see anything in this budget that has created one job.

Can you say RECALL, boys and girls?

Posted from WordPress for Android

A CEO sitting with a Tea Party and Union Members…

My Republican Mother told me this:
A CEO, a tea party member and a union member are sitting at a table with a dozen cookies sitting there. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies and says to the tea party member, “Look out, that union member is trying to take a piece of your cookie.”
If you don’t find this funny, you don’t really understand what’s going on in the country.

America Is NOT Broke …the Madison speech by Michael Moore

I don’t often pay attention to Michael Moore, but I think he touched on enough important points in his speech on Saturday, March 5 in Madison to pass this on to you, my gentle readers.  This is reprinted without any permission what so ever!

“America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer “bailout” of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can’t bring yourself to call that a financial coup d’état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we’d have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic — and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.

I have nothing more than a high school degree. But back when I was in school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order to graduate. And here’s what I learned: Money doesn’t grow on trees. It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with good wages that we use to buy the things we need and thus create more jobs. It grows when we provide an outstanding educational system that then grows a new generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and thinkers who come up with the next great idea for the planet. And that new idea creates new jobs and that creates revenue for the state. But if those who have the most money don’t pay their fair share of taxes, the state can’t function. The schools can’t produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us millions of jobs.  That too caused a reduction in tax revenue. Everyone ended up suffering because of what the rich did.

The nation is not broke, my friends. Wisconsin is not broke. Saying that the country is broke is repeating a Big Lie. It’s one of the three biggest lies of the decade: 1) America is broke, 2) Iraq has WMD, and 3) The Packers can’t win the Super Bowl without Brett Favre.

The truth is, there’s lots of money to go around. LOTS. It’s just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to see some of that money that used to be yours. So they have bought and paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their bidding for them. But just in case that doesn’t work, they’ve got their gated communities, and the luxury jet is always fully fueled, the engines running, waiting for that day they hope never comes. To help prevent that day when the people demand their country back, the wealthy have done two very smart things:

1. They control the message. By owning most of the media they have expertly convinced many Americans of few means to buy their version of the American Dream and to vote for their politicians. Their version of the Dream says that you, too, might be rich some day — this is America, where anything can happen if you just apply yourself! They have conveniently provided you with believable examples to show you how a poor boy can become a rich man, how the child of a single mother in Hawaii can become president, how a guy with a high school education can become a successful filmmaker. They will play these stories for you over and over again all day long so that the last thing you will want to do is upset the apple cart — because you — yes, you, too! — might be rich/president/an Oscar-winner some day! The message is clear: keep you head down, your nose to the grindstone, don’t rock the boat and be sure to vote for the party that protects the rich man that you might be some day.

2. They have created a poison pill that they know you will never want to take. It is their version of mutually assured destruction. And when they threatened to release this weapon of mass economic annihilation in September of 2008, we blinked. As the economy and the stock market went into a tailspin, and the banks were caught conducting a worldwide Ponzi scheme, Wall Street issued this threat: Either hand over trillions of dollars from the American taxpayers or we will crash this economy straight into the ground. Fork it over or it’s Goodbye savings accounts. Goodbye pensions. Goodbye United States Treasury. Goodbye jobs and homes and future. It was friggin’ awesome and it scared the shit out of everyone. “Here! Take our money! We don’t care. We’ll even print more for you! Just take it! But, please, leave our lives alone, PLEASE!”

The executives in the board rooms and hedge funds could not contain their laughter, their glee, and within three months they were writing each other huge bonus checks and marveling at how perfectly they had played a nation full of suckers. Millions lost their jobs anyway, and millions lost their homes. But there was no revolt (see #1).

Until now. On Wisconsin! Never has a Michigander been more happy to share a big, great lake with you! You have aroused the sleeping giant known as the working people of the United States of America. Right now the earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge. Your message has inspired people in all 50 states and that message is: WE HAVE HAD IT! We reject anyone who tells us America is broke and broken. It’s just the opposite! We are rich with talent and ideas and hard work and, yes, love. Love and compassion toward those who have, through no fault of their own, ended up as the least among us. But they still crave what we all crave: Our country back! Our democracy back! Our good name back! The United States of America. NOT the Corporate States of America. The United States of America!

So how do we make this happen? Well, we do it with a little bit of Egypt here, a little bit of Madison there. And let us pause for a moment and remember that it was a poor man with a fruit stand in Tunisia who gave his life so that the world might focus its attention on how a government run by billionaires for billionaires is an affront to freedom and morality and humanity.

Thank you, Wisconsin. You have made people realize this was our last best chance to grab the final thread of what was left of who we are as Americans. For three weeks you have stood in the cold, slept on the floor, skipped out of town to Illinois — whatever it took, you have done it, and one thing is for certain: Madison is only the beginning. The smug rich have overplayed their hand. They couldn’t have just been content with the money they raided from the treasury. They couldn’t be satiated by simply removing millions of jobs and shipping them overseas to exploit the poor elsewhere. No, they had to have more — something more than all the riches in the world. They had to have our soul. They had to strip us of our dignity. They had to shut us up and shut us down so that we could not even sit at a table with them and bargain about simple things like classroom size or bulletproof vests for everyone on the police force or letting a pilot just get a few extra hours sleep so he or she can do their job — their $19,000 a year job. That’s how much some rookie pilots on commuter airlines make, maybe even the rookie pilot who flew me here to Madison today. He told me he’s stopped hoping for a pay increase. All he’s asking for now is enough down time so that he doesn’t have to sleep in his car between shifts at O’Hare airport. That’s how despicably low we have sunk! The wealthy couldn’t be content with just paying this man $19,000 a year. They had to take away his sleep. They had to demean him and dehumanize him and rub his face in it. After all, he’s just another slob, isn’t he?

And that, my friends, is Corporate America’s fatal mistake. But trying to destroy us they have given birth to a movement — a movement that is becoming a massive, nonviolent revolt across the country. We all knew there had to be a breaking point some day, and that point is upon us. Many people in the media don’t understand this. They say they were caught off guard about Egypt, never saw it coming. Now they act surprised and flummoxed about why so many hundreds of thousands have come to Madison over the last three weeks during brutal winter weather. “Why are they all standing out there in the cold?” I mean, there was that election in November and that was supposed to be that!

“There’s something happening here, and you don’t know what it is, do you …?”

America ain’t broke! The only thing that’s broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it’s one person, one vote, and it’s the thing the rich hate most about America — because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!

Madison, do not retreat.  We are with you. We will win together.”

Walker’s Budget – Bad for Wisconsin

Even if Walker’s budget didn’t include the restricting of rights for our fellow citizens, it would still be bad for Wisconsin.  I applaud our Democratic lawmakers who have stood firm in their joint refusal to return home.  They are true PATROITS, who do not want our state sold to the lowest bidder, as Walker and the rest of the Republicans want.

Let’s look at the Senate bill, shall we?

Right there on Page 6 is this paragraph:

“Currently, this state owns and operates numerous heating, cooling, and power plants that were constructed by the state to provide heating, cooling, and power to
state facilities. The Department of Administration (DOA) determines the method of operation of these plants and may delegate this authority to any other state agency that has managing authority for a plant. This bill permits DOA to sell or contract for the operation of any such plant. The bill exempts such sales and contracts from the requirement for approval of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that may otherwise apply under current law. The bill provides that the net proceeds
of any sale, after retirement of any outstanding state debt and any necessary repayment of federal financial assistance, is deposited in the budget stabilization fund. The bill also allows DOA, at any time, to petition the PSC to regulate as a public utility any person who purchases or contracts for the operation of any plant under the bill. Under current law, the PSC has regulatory authority over public utilities, including the authority to set rates for utility service.”

Now, take a look at this section (Page 26).

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).(emphasis mine)

Right there, Walker is giving away our state. It doesn’t mention how much money our “numerous heating, cooling, and power plants” might bring into the state. It doesn’t say how much money the state will make off the sale. And, if we sell off the plants, won’t that mean the state will then have to pay for the privilege of using plants we paid to build and maintain?

And, let’s think who is going to benefit from this no-bid, no approval sale?  Could it be Koch Industries – Walker’s second highest campaign contributor?  You watch – bill passes, Koch moves in – state loses.

What’s next?  Oh, yes,  he wants to take away state employees’ rights to protest the state government.  Take a look, it is on page 5.

“Under current law, the governor may declare a state of emergency if he or she determines that an emergency exists resulting from a disaster or the imminent threat of a disaster. This bill authorizes a state agency to discharge any state employee who fails to report to work as scheduled for any three unexcused working days during a state of emergency or who participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit−down, stay−in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the of operations or services of state government, including specifically purported mass resignations or sick calls. Under the bill, engaging in any of these actions constitutes just cause for discharge.” (emphasis mine)

I don’t have a problem with demanding employees to show up for work during a state emergency, but saying that they will be fired if they strike? That’s going too far. We don’t allow private companies to fire striking employees and public employees deserve the same rights as the rest of us.

I want to digress from going over the bill for a moment and point something out.  Someone I know keeps harping on Wisconsin teachers and how they need more competition, etc.  I would like to point out that indeed Wisconsin teachers’ salaries are in the top 50% of the nation.  I would, also, like to point out that so are our children’s test scores.  We pay our teachers more than 50% of the nation and in return we have students who test in the upper 50%.  For what more could you ask?

Then there is the Assembly bill, which has all ready passed.  That’s where Walker takes away the funding for family planning.  In other words, even if you’re poor, you don’t get birth control pills.

Under current law, DHS provides funding for family planning services, including maintaining a state plan for community−based family planning programs and specific annual grants. This bill eliminates this family planning services funding.

(emphasis mine)

According to the Huffington Post, this will save the state a whole 1.9 million dollars a year.  Has Walker thought about how much having unwanted babies will cost the state per year?  They’ll need childcare, food (more money from WIC) and educations.  According to BabyCenter‘s calculator, the total cost of raising a child in the Midwest from 0 to 18 is $243,068. I don’t know how much of that will be paid by Wisconsin taxpayers, but I’m sure some of it will. How about we don’t have the mother become pregnant in the first place? I’m sure we can find other ways of saving 1.9 million. We could always make Walker pay for his own residence and not maintain the governor’s mansion for him. According to State Sen. Bob Wirch (quoted on PolitiFact), it costs one million dollars over a four year term. If Walker paid his own way, we could save $250,000 per year. It would at least be a start.

If this isn’t enough to convince you that Walker and his budget is bad for Wisconsin, well, I just don’t know what else to say.  There are more items, but I’m not done reading the thousand plus pages of the budget.

So, as I’ve said before and I’ll say again, Let’s RECALL Walker!

Wedding Bells for Everyone

Have you ever gone to a wedding and heard someone whisper, “I give it six months”?

Have you ever been the one doing the whispering? Be honest now.

Well, I’ll be honest, I have.

I have known couples where I didn’t give them six minutes who are still together twenty years later. And, I’ve seen couples whom I thought were perfect for each other who split up.  My mother always taught me that you don’t know what goes on in someone else’s relationship. She isn’t often right, but she is in this case.

Which brings me to the topic at hand – gay marriage. How can someone actually think that not allowing marriage for gay people is protecting straight marriage? How can anyone in this modern age propose to decide who should marry and who should not?

Isn’t that the samething as sitting in a church and passing judgment on your fellow human being’s love? And, in passing this judgement, you don’t even know the couple!

Why do Boehner, Palin and the rest of the right feel the need to “protect marriage”? Why isn’t he out to protect civil rights?

How can we decide that one couple deserves protections and special tax breaks while another couple doesn’t? I don’t think I would want that much power over another person – to determine the love of their life. It is a decision that should be left up to the individual couple.

You really want to protect marriage – how about mandatory pre-marital counseling and making it harder to get a divorce. That might “protect” marriage.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Older posts

© 2018 Top Of My Head

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑