Monday, December 27, 2010

The Political Tsunami

After the recent election the Republicans started speaking of the tsunami they started and how they are rushing in to "take Washington back". I agree a tsunami was started - but I don't believe it is like they think.

Just as the water gets drawn out into the ocean before the big wave comes crashing in, I think a few Independents leaned a bit more right of center and voted for Republican candidates in this last election. But most of the races were fairly close despite the generally accepted fact that Democrats don't vote in mid-term elections in the quantities they do in Presidential elections. The Tea Party movement was the quake that started the tsunami and Independents may have sucked a few votes from the Democratic candidates, but the big wave is just being formed. There are several factors building the wave as I see it and here are just a few:

  • The Democrats will vote in the next election - in similar numbers as in 2008. Contrary to what the GOP would like us to believe - we still like this President a lot and believe he is doing a good job.
  • Those of us who were seriously disappointed at the recent compromise on the Bush era tax cuts (and other similar compromises) do not blame the President - but we are hopping mad at the Republicans for leaving him little choice by holding the jobless Americans and 9/11 first responders hostage. Independent voters were watching.
  • If current politics continue over the next 2 years - Independent voters will begin to get turned off by the "Party of No". They are very fickle voters - they will move back left.
  • The Tea Party candidates that were recently voted in are big on noise and small on content. They couldn't say exactly what they would do to fix the problems they were against - except to block the things the Dems were trying to accomplish. They complained a lot but had no alternatives. They still don't.
  • People are really starting to take notice - as I have - of the bitter comments and selfish proposals that show the Republicans have no compassion for those less fortunate. They want to keep their money and don't care if other people are jobless, homeless, sick or without insurance.
  • Probably the biggest force in this massive wave is the fact that the Democratic policies are working. We stopped a pending depression from occurring and the economy is beginning to recover. Progress is being made on nearly every front. These are positive and measurable gains that should be easy to demonstrate during the election. New roads, new bridges, new health care reform, old jobs saved, new jobs gained, less discrimination, Wall Street reform, etc. etc. - these are big accomplishments and actions speak louder than words.
  • While many of the above programs are expensive and have necessarily added to the national debt, the Republicans can't use that against us since they chose to add much more to the national debt with their tax cut extensions. It was irresponsible of them and it shows they don't really care about the national debt at all. That is very counter to what the Tea Party supposedly stands for - and what the Independent voters fell for.
Now I'll admit - I often daydream while watching the waves in the ocean and this might be just wishful thinking on my part. Plus, I've been wrong before - I honestly didn't think the last election would be quite as successful for the GOP as it was. Still, I feel in my gut that 2012 will be a big shock for the GOP. It is impossible to tell and many things can change in the next 2 years on either side. So this article is merely a prediction - time will tell if I have the clairvoyance to sense the real political tsunami.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Few, The Proud, The Brave

Several days ago I expressed my thanks to the lawmakers on Washington who voted to repeal the Don't Ask - Don't Tell policy. In doing so I forgot to thank some other very important people who were instrumental in having this policy reversed - those brave military soldiers who put their careers, reputations, and possibly even their lives on the line by standing up and demanding equal treatment. Through the years this policy was in place, thousands of qualified, dedicated brave Americans were released from service simply by being "outed" as gay or living their lives openly. Some of those brave Americans took it upon themselves to challenge the policy and those who support it for the better good of all homosexual people in the service. They used their unfortunate circumstances to help keep others from facing the same inequality.

So - to those brave gay soldiers who stood up and said "stop this!", who brought their cases to court, who lobbied for change - I say Thank You! You have done your job as an American soldier by protecting the rights and freedoms of everyone in this great country.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Miracles

I was raised Catholic and have always been a very spiritual person. In my college years back in South Dakota I was the one reminding people that "Jesus is the reason for the Season." The commercialization of the Holidays always bothered me. But as I traveled, read, learned, and moved to a larger city, I discovered that I am Christian simply by the fact that I was born into a Christian family. The reality is that there are many other religious beliefs and customs in the world and none are less important than those taught to me.

I'm a logical thinker and when I hear the story of the Nativity, it sets off a lot of questions in my head because there are some big logical gaps. Did the Inn not let a couple with a baby stay even days later when the Wise Men arrived? Is it possible the bright star in the east was really just the planet Venus? The immaculate conception, the miracles - all of it is not very logical at all. But these questions did not make my faith diminish - in fact I feel more connected with God than I ever have before. How is it possible?

It is possible because God is beyond Logic. I believe miracles are possible because God is larger than we are and not bound by our laws of physics, time and space. I still don't have all the answers and I never will - but I'm thankful that I've allowed myself to realize that part of the miracle of God is that everyone's individual beliefs - no matter how different - can all be correct at the same time.

Since I was raised Catholic - I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Please accept it in whatever faith is in your heart - even if you feel you have none. May the miracle of Christmas bring joy to the world and peace on Earth.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


America's military is stronger than ever today as President Obama and the current administration repealed "Don't ask - Don't tell".

We are stronger because healthy educated willing and able-bodied people are able to serve and protect their country - all of them.

We are stronger because some military personnel are no longer subject to blackmail by being forced to hide their sexual identity in order to protect our freedoms.

We are stronger because hundreds of linguists capable of understanding the language of our enemies can get back on the job.

We are stronger because equality has finally triumphed over bigotry.

This is a giant step in the right direction for America. Thank you to all those who voted to repeal this policy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Just For The Record

A new crop of Republicans will be taking office next month so I think it is very important to take note - NOW - of the state of the current economy. It is important to do it now because you can sure bet that the Republicans will try to take credit for every gain we have had over the last two years - even though they voted NO on EVERYTHING.

So - just to review - two years ago - after 8 years of Republican's driving our economy into the dirt, President Obama inherited a gigantic mess of a scale that still amazes me. Since then some unpopular solutions were proposed, some hard choices made and even though progress has been slow - we have made significant gains.

Most news stories about our economy now show sure signs of significant recovery. The current Holiday shopping season has been very good - with spending at levels not seen in years as was reported across most major news sites today. This is a link from an article I purposely took from Fox News so the nay-sayers would have a harder time refuting it. It is an AP article and appeared nearly identical on USA Today and other news sites.

But, of course, they are trying to refute it - but not on Fox News online. There were only 2 comments posted on the article on Fox News but there are hundreds posted on USA Today - mostly negative. It's important to note where the negative comments are being posted because it is all politically motivated. They know that most liberal thinkers don't see Fox News as a legitimate news source and the goal is to preach negativity to those who are trying to be neutral. But we will cover all that that again another time.

As of now our economy is looking a bit brighter and I sincerely hope it does continue over the following years and into the next Presidential election. But I want credit for the recovery to go where it belongs - to President Obama and the Democrats who are currently the majority in Washington. Good job!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One HD - Under Gauze - With Low Lighting and Fuzz-ness for all

I'm way behind on technology due to a tight financial situation. Everything I have is old, outdated, broken or slow. One item that is high on my list of devices to replace is my TV. I've been eager to get an HDTV but now I'm not sure it's needed. Even with my old 700dpi set (which was the shizzle in it's time) the picture is somewhat "fogged". The set is still working perfectly - it's the broadcast that's been "adjusted".

It seems the folks on TV don't really approve of being seen in crystal clarity. We can see every blemish, imperfection and even a bad makeup job now. So, to protect their image (so to speak), they have resorted to the old blur the screen technique. This seems very counter productive in my opinion. I'm supposed to pay gobs of money for a TV that is stunningly clear, only to have a fuzzy picture. Chelsey Handler - I'm talking to you! But she is only one of the guilty in this crime of technology.

I suppose if I wait a bit more I can get a 3D TV for a reasonable price. But will it be worth it? How long will it be before someone decides they look too fat in 3D and use a picture flattening technique.

For every action - there is a similar reaction.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Myth - Tax Cuts Create Jobs

The Bush tax cuts have been in place since 2003. If the theory is, as claimed by the Republicans, that those tax cuts create jobs then why do we have the largest unemployment rate in decades? Something is wrong with that claim.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

No Pleasing Them

I am MOST upset that President Obama bowed to the Republican pressure and extended the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. It is just wrong. But, I'm going to save my comments on this topic for a while as we see how this plays out.

What I do want to comment on is the commenters - those folks who are likely working for a political action group that spend all their time bashing President Obama and his policies by commenting on news stories online. These folks work under multiple anonymous screen names turning every story from kittens to cars into a bash on Obama. I want people to take notice - today - on how transparent these folks are. They got their way - the tax cuts are likely being extended. But you won't find a positive comment on any story about it in the online news. We saw this before when President Obama agreed to off-shore oil drilling just days before the devastating spill in the Gulf. Then and now there should have been overwhelming praise for the President from the GOP that he did something that they demanded. You won't find it. That doesn't suit their plan to bash bash bash. It really is a shame that these people use a medium that should be a great tool for productive conversation and turn it into a slanted political podium.

So - now that we can clearly see what these folks do - we can view their rants as political BS and continue to ignore them. In addition - we can ignore their demands, and hatred and stop trying to compromise with them. They won't be satisfied no matter what we do so if you can't ever please them then lets never appease them.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Stimulated and Improved

I was on vacation over Thanksgiving week and I spent it on a fantastic solo bicycle tour from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Key West, FL - camping the whole week. We were blessed with fantastic unseasonably warm weather and despite some periodic strong headwinds, I was able to complete the 440 mile trip without any major obstacles.

But there were a few obstacles - mostly in the form of road construction. US1 through the Florida Keys is a notoriously dangerous 2 lane road with heavy traffic consisting of mostly recreational vehicles (boats, RV's etc.) with no shoulder to speak of. Some areas through the Keys have bicycle paths that are in bad disrepair. But all of that is changing and the progress made so far is fantastic. The lanes are wider with turning lanes, shoulders nearly a car length wide (which might allow for better evacuations during hurricanes) and even the bike paths are being improved though the entire stretch. It is a wonderful improvement in safety and comfort with a touch of "green" with the added bicycle lanes.

I saw lots of people working on these road improvement projects and I also saw lots of signs indicating they were being funded with government stimulus monies. In my opinion, this is how economic stimulus is being done right. Rather than just give people tax money back, it is being invested in our infrastructure while putting people back to work at the same time. It is a double win situation. Everyone gets to enjoy these road improvements throughout the country while workers are able to feed their families and maybe even spend some earnings on other things further helping the economy.

I complement President Obama and the current administration for doing economic stimulus correctly.

Quick Fix

I'm constantly amazed at the number of things that can be fixed with one of two things:

Duct Tape

Either make it stick together or not stick together.

By the way - if you removed some duct tape and glue remains - just put a little WD40 on it and it will come right off.

Recessions are very profitable

Companies have discovered (or maybe planned) that they can run with far fewer employees as long as the fear of losing their jobs keeps the remaining employees working 2 or 3 or 5 times as hard as they did before. I wrote about the stress of this situation for the remaining employees here and I can tell you first hand it is very real. But corporations are not concerned about the stress their employees are under because it is money in the bank for them.

Most companies have begun to recover from the worst part of the recession but they haven't hired back employees. In fact they won't until they are forced to. The force that will make that happen will not be government related. We will also soon see more people fired for lashing out at their supervisors. Other good employees will finally get the the breaking point and their productivity will decline. There will soon be a large increase in stress related illness, death and suicides. Some of those suicides will include office shootings and other tragic events.

When employees are dead or hospitalized, profits will suffer. Then - possibly - corporations will be forced to hire a few more people. In the meantime you will find businesses supporting policies that keep the recession going. Fear is not only a great motivator, but also very profitable.