Saturday, August 18, 2012

People I Have Forgiven

I am enjoying retirement so much that I have taken to heart a bit of advice from the Talmud: "Live well. It is the best revenge." Accordingly, I hereby forgive all the people who have “done me wrong” over the past 80+ years. Although a few of these events were done deliberately, most of them were so minor that the perpetrators never knew they hurt me.
The following is a list of a few that I remember. If I missed any, I intend for them to be on the list:

The grade school kid who won all my marbles in just five minutes.
The other grade school kid who made me look ridiculous in a “friendly” rough-house on the playground.
The classmate who won the lead in the junior high play. I wanted that part because it including holding hands with the female lead.
Another classmate who beat the crap out of me in a boxing match in gym class.
The fellow soldier who told everybody he thought I was queer. (Gay in today's parlance.)
The boss who fired me on Friday afternoon, then hired me back on a lesser job the following Monday.
The CPA who refused to sign off on my application for certification, even though I had single-handedly performed several audits for him.

I highly recommend following the Talmud's advice. It feels great!
My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I Can't Believe Someone Really Said This

What do these three events have in common?

(1) December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor was attacked. 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 were wounded. Eight battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer were either damaged or sunk.

(2) September 11, 2001: Four suicide attacks against the United States resulted in almost 3,000 deaths. The twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were destroyed and a section of the Pentagon was demolished. The attackers intended to crash a fourth plane into the United States Capitol, but crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pa.

(3) August 1, 2012: The Affordable Healthcare Act required new health insurance policies to include FDA-approved contraceptives, an annual well woman preventive care visit with her doctor, and screening for gestational diabetes, STIs, HIV/AIDS and HPV. Also required are screening and counseling for domestic violence, and breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling, all without cost to the patient.

I am sure almost everyone will agree that the first two events were, as FDR put it, days that will live in infamy. But GOP Rep. Mike Kelly, who, I am ashamed to say, represents Pennsylvania, said, “I want you to remember Aug. 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”
Mike has a perfect right not to like the requirements of August 1, but to place them on a par with the loss of lives and property of the other two is absolutely stupid. I am having a hard time getting my head around the fact that someone thinks such a thing, especially someone elected to represent us.

On a lesser note, GOP Rep. Bill Young of Florida recently displayed his understanding of the problems of low-wage workers in a 4th of July discussion with a voter in St. Petersburg. The subject was a bill in Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.

Citizen: Do you support that?
Young: Probably not.
Citizen: Ten bucks. That would give us a living wage.
Young: How about getting a job?
Citizen: I do have one.
Young: Well, why do you want that benefit? Get a job.

Perhaps the conversation was a bit too complex for Young to understand.
My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Who The Hell Is Grover Norquist Anyway?...George H. W. Bush.

That's a question that needs an answer, George, so I decided to look it up. And the answer is . . . he's just a guy who is fixated on one thing and one thing only. As he puts it, “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” In other words, he wants to eliminate government. Period.
One of the ways he hopes to accomplish his goal is through his Taxpayer Protection Pledge, in which the pledger promises to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
In 1985 Norquist founded the Americans For Tax Reform (ATR),which he claims was in response to a request by President Reagan. Although the stated primary policy goal of ATR is to reduce government revenues as a percentage of the GDP, ATR also states that it "opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle." As stated by a Reagan staffer, the idea is to “starve the beast.” According to an ATR spokesman, as of 6 July 2012, a total of 539 incumbent lawmakers and candidates have signed the pledge.
Officially Norquist is a lobbyist for ATR, so why does he exercise such a strong influence over Republican Congressmen? Because of the principles he advocates, he is loudly singing the same song as the “tea party,” the all-powerful NRA, the Conservative Caucus and other far-right causes.
The fallacy of the “no-government” group is that there are some activities that only government can perform efficiently. Imagine how well 50 individual state militias would fare against almost any invader. Would we really need several competing highways between Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia? What organization would or could finance basic science research? If there were no educational requirements, would there be communities that decided that public schools were a waste of money? Whose private money would be good nationwide? If banks were unrestricted, what sort of mechanism would be set up to prevent another great depression? (Admittedly, the current mechanism is not operating 100% efficiently, but it beats nothing.) But you get the idea.
As G.H.W. Bush says, conditions change. If your landlord decided to double your rent, would you give up food, or would you look for some way to increase your income?
A nation after government elimination does not enjoy freedom – it suffers chaos.
My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.