Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More Conservative Bullshit Emails

Okay...someone very close to me has a bad habit of forwarding conservative whack job emails. You know...the ones that blame Democrats or government in general for our problems. I have said it a million times, government is not perfect but it can do more good for the average Joe (even Joe the Plumber) than people will admit. The issue is the "We Society" (Democrats) vs the "Me Society" (Republicans...and Libertarians who are Republicans who want to smoke dope and get laid). People see taxes as less money that they can spend for themselves, ignoring all the good that can also be done with the money that we all pay according to our means ( and I pay more of our incomes than the CEO of CitiBank).

Anyway...I got sick of this and shot one back to all the people she sent it to. Here is the offending email and my response below:


"The Proposal"
When a company falls on difficult times, one of the things that seems to happen is they reduce their staff and workers. The remaining workers must find ways to continue to do a good job or risk that their job would be eliminated as well.
Wall street, and the media normally congratulate the CEO for making this type of "tough decision", and his board of directors gives him a big bonus .

Our government should not be immune from similar risks.

Reduce the House20of Representatives from the current 435 members to 218 members.
R educe Senate members from 100 to 50 (one per State).
Then, reduce their staff by 25%.

Accomplish this over the next 8 years
=0 A
(two steps/two elections) and of course this would require some redistricting.

Some Yearly Monetary Gains Include:

$44,108,400 for elimination of base pay for congress. (267 members X $165,200 pay/member/ yr.)

$97,175,000 for elimination of their staff. (estimate $1.3 Million in staff per each member of the House, and $3 Million in staff per each member of the Senate every year)

$240,294 for the reduction in remaining staff by 25%.

$7,500,000,000 reduction in pork barrel ear-marks each year. (those members whose jobs are gone. Current estimates for total government pork earmarks are at $15 Billion/yr )

The remaining representatives would need to work smarter and improve efficiencies. It might even be in their best interests to work together for the good of our country!

We may also expect that smaller committees might lead to a more efficient resolution of issues as well. It might even be easier to keep track of what your representative is doing.

Congress has more tools available to do their jobs than it had back in 1911 when the current number of representatives was established. (telephone, computers, cell phones to name a few)

Congress did not hesitate to head home when it was a holiday, when the nation needed a real fix to the economic problems. Also, we have 3 senators that have not been doing their jobs for the past 18+ m onths (on the campaign trail) and still they all have been accepting full pay. These facts alone support a reduction in senators & congress.

Summary of opportunity:

$ 44,108,400 reduction of congress members.

$282,100, 000 for elimination of the reduced house member staff.

$150,000,000 for elimination of reduced senate member staff.

$59,675,000 for 25% reduction of staff for remaining hou se members.

$37,500,000 for 25% reduction of staff for remaining sena te members.

$7,500,000,000 reduction in pork added to bills by the reduction of congress members..

$8,073,383,400 per year , estimated total savings. (that's 8-BILLION just to start!)

Big business does these types of cuts all the time.

If Congresspersons were required to serve 20, 25 or 30 years (like everyone else) in order to collect retirement benefits, tax payers could save a bundle.
Now they get full retirement after serving only ONE <> term .

IF you are happy with how Congress spends our taxes, delete this message. Otherwise, then I assume you know what to do.

And my response


I have a better idea than messing with the government. Sure it is not perfect...but how about the CEO's who make $20million plus per year and cut their pay by the percent that their stock dropped on their watch. Take the financial industry for instance. These are the bozos who are largely responsible for the mess our economy is in. Yet they are passing out bonuses to themselves and their employees like candy. And worse yet...their companies are receiving TAX PAYER $$$ to keep themselves from going under.

So many "conservatives" talk about fiscal responsibility in government and their disgucst at "pork" in the legislation. While I am not fond of the pork myself (bridge to nowhere anyone?) the amount of money spent on pork annually is far less than the money you and I are giving the banks to keep their party going. They live it up with trips and million dollar bonuses while the average Joe and Jane are being kicked out of their home because they do not have an income to pay their mortgage. At the same time we suffer because they do not want to lend money to businesses that need it and homebuyers who can actually afford a home or need to refinance their home. The "Conservatives" only want fiscal responsibility with government but not with the businesses. Let's get real here folks. You cannot have it both ways.

So...let's talk about fiscal responsibility. LET US DEMAND THAT THEY PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR US (the Reps and Senators and President Obama) FORCE THE BANKS AND OTHER COMPANIES THAT ARE GETTING ANY TYPE OF GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE (including corporate welfare) TO OPPERATE IN A RESPONSIBLE MANNER. THIS INCLUDES ONLY LAYING OFF PEOPLE AFTER THE CEO's AND EXECUTIVES HAVE TAKEN MAJOR PAY CUTS BECAUSE THEY CAUSED THE COMPANY STOCK TO TANK. The money they are no longer getting paid will save a fair number of jobs and give us all hope that our jobs will also be secure. On top of that the millions they save in trips and bonuses that they are not taking will help balance their bottom line. responsibility begins at home. Americans are running debt at record highs. We need to get our house in order by paying down our personal debts as well. Let our example only spending based on cash we have and not running credit card debts beyond what we can pay back on a monthly basis. Once we have our own house in order we can further demand the government also follow our lead.

America is a country of the people, for the people and by the people. We need to remember this. The majority of this country (the middle class, not the moneyed class) need to hold ourselves and the people who represent us responsible for the messes we create and not leave them for the next generation to clean up.

Nuff Said!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Notorious G.O.P.

with credit for the title to Keith Olberman...

GOP National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, the first African American to hold the post for the Republicans, commented today that his party needs a "Hip Hop Makeover."

As insane as it sounds for the GOP...a party of rich old white men (with an occasional woman and minority thrown in to look like they are diverse) has never embraced anything remotely different than stuffed & starched white shirts with even whiter men inside, this is comical! They opposed the Civil Rights Bill and any other legislation that would ensure that people other than straight white men were protected EQUALLY under the law. They want to write discrimination into the constitution by banning gay marriage. And of course they want to take away a woman's right to decide how to handle her body. And Michael Steele thinks that the party could be made over?

They elected him to give the party a diverse face, but the far right wing of the party will never allow such a thing to happen. He is just a figurehead. The GOP does not want or like anyone who is not white or male.

So...Steele comments that the GOP needs an “off the hook” public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party's principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop setting." This in itself is absurd given the party that he is supposed to be leading. They want Hip-Hop and other Afro-centric music banned because it has violent undertones ("Fuck the Police" anyone?).

I have 2 things to note on this though that make all of this more laughable:

- First...Michael Steele has apparently not gotten the note from rapper Nas...who declared over a year ago that "Hip-Hop is dead." So go ahead Lt. Gov. Steele...use that hip-hop to spread the GOP. It only proves that the GOP is WAY OUT OF TOUCH!

- The next comment on this was the immediate follow up to the above comment. Mr. Steele added that the party needs to reach out to all people including "one armed midgets." No joke! He actually said this! Does this mean he also wants to reach out to neo-Nazi Eskimo lesbians too?

All I can say to the GOP is good luck with guys stand about a snow balls chance in hell of even coming close to this goal.

Monday, February 9, 2009

People or Profit???

Okay...this is an issue that is the bane of my existence. One that my friends know better than to get me started on because I can get all nutty about it...even though they agree with me on it.

I quite well understand that the sole duty of a business is to do one thing...Make A Profit. People do not go into business just for giggles and hope they lose their shirt. Those that have the gumption to invest their own money or find investors willing to take a risk deserve to make a profit...especially if the company makes or sells a product people want. That is their right.

Where I diverge from that idea is that profit is more important than people. This is a "Chicken or the Egg" issue here, I know. However I strongly take the position that people are more important than profit. This is especially true in times like these where hundreds of thousands lose their jobs each month. While my thoughts might be harder for some of the mom & pop businesses to hold to, corporations are not immune from this argument.

Take Microsoft for example. They laid off 5,000 workers because their profit margin was off by $0.02 per share. Two frackin pennies!!! So because you miss the target by the slimmest of margins you have to give the axe to 5,000 people??? Correct me if I am wrong, but in this down economy Microsoft still MADE A FRACKIN PROFIT!!! Does it really matter if Wall Street does not like that you did not make as much money this year as you did last year??? Sure the stock may take a small hit...but show me a stock that is not regardless of this economy. The bottom line is 5,000 people now have to find a way to make their ends meet...and in this economy (thank you El Presidente Arbusto) that is going to be a damn near impossible task. More companies are laying people off, not hiring.

I honestly cannot believe that a company making a profit can justify laying off people. Not when people are the thing that make the company work. Here is where the Chicken and Egg thing comes in. Yes, to start a company and keep it running you need to make money...but in order to make that money businesses need workers. If you do not have people to make the product or to sell the product than all the money in the world does the business no good. You have to have people to make the product. You also have to have people to buy the product. To buy the product the people need jobs. So doesn't it seem silly to lay off people to ensure you make more profit, but at the same time ensure that that many more people are significantly less likely to be able to buy the product??? While Microsoft may not be the best example of what I am getting at (they missed their target based on B2B sales...not because XBox was not profitable (which it was). However take Hasbro...the toy maker had layoffs late last year. Now you tell me that those people were able to make sure that their kids had a Merry Frackin Christmas when mommy and daddy could not afford to buy the toys their employer once paid them to make? I highly doubt that was the case. If they do not have an income how can they afford to buy things for the holiday...or for that matter pay other bills.

Making a profit is important to businesses. However at what point does making the profit overcome the importance of the people who have to buy the product for you to make the profit???

Which brings me to the other half of this argument. When companies lay off people, especially ones that make a profit but make cuts because the profit was not big enough, they shoot themselves in the foot and the rest of the country in the gut. If people have no income, and in this economy cannot find a new job, how can they be expected to pay their their mortgages??? Yes...the financial mess is due to idiots on Wall Street over reaching for the last dollar by making bad loans, but not everyone who defaults or falls behind on their mortgage is a bad risk. John and Jane Six Pack who made a decent living until they were laid off are as much a reason why the banking sector is such a mess as the morons who steered that car into the ditch in the first place. Companies that lay off workers despite making a profit only seek to pull that car further into the ditch to the point that no tow truck could pull it out. That makes for this whole thing to become a vicious cycle that we will have a hell of a time getting out of as a nation. If we as a people do not express outrage at people like Steve Ballmer of Microsoft for making his decision, we are as complicit in things as he is. We need to voice ourselves and tell the fat cats that as long as you are still making a profit, layoffs are not an option.

As a side note, I doubt that Bill Gates would have made the decision to lay off the people given the situation in this country being what it is. From what I know about him, he is business savvy but would have told Wall Street to go to hell for demanding a sacrifice of 5,000 people to keep the stock from dropping a little bit.

BTW...I am not going to trash all companies in this rant. Oreck is a prime example of companies that understand the principle I am getting at. After Hurricane Katrina their only plant in Louisiana was wrecked. Rather than lay off workers until they were back up and running they kept everyone on payroll and paid them until the plant and office were up again. On top of that they were giving away their vacuums to people who were cleaning up their homes after the storm. Now that is a company we should all be getting behind.

So I ask you the reader...what is more important in this world...the profit or the people???

What a Tool...

So Alabama Senator Richard (Dick?) Shelby says that the Obama stimulus package will lead us all to a "disaster." My question to this right wing tool and nut job is this; Given that you supported the Cheney Administration (Bush did not have the brains to pull this mess off), do you really think more of the same policies will get us out?

Think about it Dick...deregulation of various industries (not just the financial sector) got us into this mess. You rubber stamped anything that El Presidente Arbusto put in front of you...including tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate welfare that only gave companies the idea that they do not have to be responsible, just profitable. But you apparently think that all that is fine. Well...deregulation caused the financial sector to be reckless in their approach...taking on a debt to income ratio well beyond the typical 8:1 that the financial industry considered safe, reasonable and healthy. That ratio was a time tested one that still allows for profit while giving banks the ability to handle defaults and downturns in the economy. But you, Dick, decided that making money comes before anything else and hence the banks and other industries put us here.

Well Dick...I challenge you and the Republicans and Neo-Con jobs to come up with something that is wholly different from the policies that got us here. It is obvious that more of the same is not the solution or we would not be in this mess you and your cronies created. If you cannot then shut your pie holes and cowboy up to this Stimulus Package which offers solutions that you and your ilk would not even dare to dream up.

Nuff said.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

First Post...a Positive Note my first post I am going to be positive about things...and just post some things that have happened in this current year that are positive. After that I may be ranting and raving about things.

- I have a wonderful and loving girlfriend who puts up with me. I am not the easiest person to have a relationship with and yet she is still here.

- I finally got my teaching I am now officially a teacher.

- Battlestar Gallactica is back on and it has been gripping...and I am loving it!

- Softball is starting up soon...and I am starting to look forward to it for the first time in a while.

- I am looking forward to making some new recipes this year.