Friday, July 13, 2012

Horse Latitudes

Cat in a sweaterIf I recall correctly, that’s the term for those areas on the sea where the wind is almost non-existent, and there is no precipitation. I’d look it up, but I have the doldrums (see what I did there?).

Not really (me having the doldrums). It’s just warm and humid again, and we’ve had so little rain this summer that many Indiana counties are in a state of emergency, including our own. It’s really pretty bad, and it’s going to be hard on local farmers. It got cloudy this afternoon, and I was hoping that the heat and humidity would spark some storms, but that hasn’t happened so far. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

I’ve been trying to get a few things done around here, but this heat really saps my energy. At least I’ve managed to get out every day this week and do my workout! I’ve kept busy with my reading (really good book: The Whites of Their Eyes by Jill Lepore, about the rise of the recent tea party movement), and I’m looking forward to our annual Florida trip in a couple of weeks. Who would think that Florida in August might be a relief from the Indiana summer? But as hot and humid as it gets in Florida in the summer, being on the coast makes for a comfortable visit. The ocean breeze feels fantastic!

I’ve also been watching the Mittens/Bain story, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that in the coming days.

Tomorrow, we’re meeting up with our friend Jamie for dinner, and we’re looking forward to meeting her boyfriend Ryan!

I don’t have a good picture for you for this entry, so here’s a cat wearing a super cool sweater vest. That is all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Be afraid

Screaming womanOver the past few days, I’ve found myself feeling more engaged politically. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve been reading things all along and doing my best to keep up with the latest. However, I finally feel like I am in battle mode, ready to start taking things on.

Maybe it was the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act; maybe it was President Obama’s wish to extend the middle class tax cuts; maybe it’s a matter of seeing the lies and misrepresentations about the President, the ACA, and pretty much everything else about him. It probably doesn’t matter what it is, but it seems that my dander is up.

As always, I will do my best to remain calm and rational, and to not lose my temper. I will do my best to not use completely insulting or pejorative terms (although “Mittens” is here to stay). But I’m ready to fight the lies with facts. I don’t claim to be an expert in politics, or any kind of policy wonk, but I’m not completely in the dark about it, either.

I will also do my best to not make it all politics all the time here, and try to mix it up a little. We’ve got lots of fun things coming up, including several concerts and tickets to all the Notre Dame home football games. I’ve got plenty of books to get to, and of course, we always love our movies. However, you can expect plenty of political stuff going forward.

You have been warned. [grin]

Monday, July 9, 2012

The gauntlet has been thrown

President Obama3Today, President Obama announced his plans to extend the Bush tax cuts for those households making under $250,000 per year, and allowing them to expire for those who make more.

I think this is a brilliant tactical maneuver, because it puts the Republicans in a a tight spot. A bit of a sticky wicket. (I am delighted to get to use that phrase!)

1. The Repubs can push the extension of the tax cuts for everyone, but this would undercut their constant bloviating about reducing the deficit. I would hope that President Obama would veto such an extension. It would also give the justifiable impression that they don’t want the richest 2% to do their part.

2. They can pass an extension of the middle class tax cuts and allow that on the richest 2% to expire.  That would mean giving President Obama a victory. That would piss off the 2 percenters.

3. They can do nothing and let the tax cuts expire, which will not only piss off those 2 percenters, it will put additional strain on the already weak recovery, and the Repubs will probably pay the price in 2014. This would also show that they are intransigent and unwilling to work together to pay down the deficit. And are they really willing to halt the recovery in order to harm President Obama, even though it would harm the country and millions of people who are still struggling? Never mind...rhetorical question.

The more I think about it, the more it seems they’ve backed themselves into a teeny little corner. This hinges upon whether or not President Obama will hang tough on this. He pissed off a lot of his own base in 2010, when he extended the tax cuts for all for two years. (I’ve written about that before...some of my liberal friends disagree, but I feel that it was politically expedient and allowed him to get another stimulus—without really calling it that—and an extension on unemployment benefits. But that is a debate that we’re pretty much beyond now.)

HowellsOne of Mittens’ financial supporters said that the poors are uneducated and just don’t understand how the “systems work.” I’m guessing that is a message that isn’t going to play well with a large portion of the population. The condescension is astounding. Can someone ask the “nails ladies” and the babysitters about this?

There is a bigger problem here, though. I am perplexed that there are still people—and the entire Republican party feels this way and has made it part of their platform—who think that trickle down economics actually works. It didn’t work when Reagan foisted it upon our nation, and it doesn’t work now. Well, I guess it depends on if you’re the 98% or you’re that 2%, because the 2% fares pretty well under such a philosophy. It’s the 98% who gets screwed and gets no portion of that particular pie. The tax cuts were extended for all in 2010. Why didn’t businesses start hiring then? Shouldn’t there have been jobs galore under the Republican philosophy? It makes no sense.

And riddle me this, Batman. If they’re so concerned about the deficit, why the hell weren’t they pitching a fit when we engaged in not one but two unfunded wars? Why are they completely unwilling to make cuts in the defense budget?

Again, never mind. Rhetorical questions.

It should be interesting to see how this plays out. Be tough on this, Mr. President. Be tough for the 98%.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


ApprovedAfter the very welcome break in the hot weather last evening, I figured that I’d start getting back into my regular workout routine today. As the morning wore on, I came to the realization that I was going to take one more day off to recuperate from several days of brutal weather and I decided to have a lazy Sunday. Ken got several things down out in the yard, and I got a couple of things done inside, but it was mostly just being slugs and watching “The Walking Dead” marathon on AMC. It was a zombie day in every sense of the word!

I was thinking a few substantive thoughts today, though, based on a couple of Bookface posts. Conservatives are still going apeshit over the Affordable Care Act being upheld by the Supreme Court, and especially that Chief Justice Roberts was the swing vote. A friend posted a link to a site that had people talking about secession. Abraham Lincoln is rolling over in his grave.

The hysteria is just out of control. Get a grip, people. There are no Death Panels™, this is not a government takeover of healthcare, and this is not the biggest tax increase in the history of the world. The right wing propaganda machine is in full gear, and I’m sick unto death of the lies.

I am no expert on the Affordable Care Act, but I’ve done enough homework to speak intelligently on it, and I am going to do my best to counter these ridiculous claims about how the ACA means the end of the world as we know it, orgies in the streets, and cats and dogs living together. Admittedly, the Obama administration has done an abysmal job on getting the message out about what is and is not in the ACA. I found something the other day that I have saved for use in future fistfights arguments discussions about the ACA. A Reddit author posted it, and I found it reposted on a website I like, Political Irony. You can read what is and is not in the Affordable Care Act, and I urge you to take a look at it. Please take the time to really learn about it, rather than listening to the lies being perpetrated by the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity.

One thing I object the most strongly to is the notion that “Oh, now we’re ALL gonna be paying for those people who are too cheap to get their own healthcare, like those fifth generation welfare queens, and if you want healthcare, get a JOB already and blah di fucking blah.” Beyond the whole concept of people being “too cheap” to get their own healthcare, the horrible “welfare queen” phrase that was promoted by Reagan, and our health insurance being tied to jobs, there is something fundamentally wrong (oh hell, I sound like Newt!) with this attitude. Because here is a newsflash: we are ALL paying already for people who don’t have health insurance. Every time an uninsured person goes to ER because they are in crisis (from what is often a manageable condition), we pay in increased hospital costs and in increased insurance costs. Every time someone declares bankruptcy due to medical bills, we all pay. I would much rather we pay for everyone to receive preventive care and live a higher quality life than continue to allow people to live in misery and die from something that could have been prevented or caught earlier.

This is something so simple to me that I can’t understand anyone who thinks that people should be left to die or go bankrupt because of medical bills.