Republicans are caving on immigration? I'm beginning to think that the 400 lb. gorilla in the room is simple timing. Republicans have a base to assuage for the primary and then a general election to win after the primary has passed. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that you pretend to block immigration until the primary is over and win your base, then you try to win the general by passing immigration reform before November.
Just seen on the TeeVee. An ad for these trash bags that claims we can save on the amount of plastic in landfills by using one less bag per month, enough to cover Mt. Rainier. These bags stretch and can hold more trash. They end the ad with a demonstration of how this works by squeezing a recyclable plastic bottle into the trash bag.
I was watching this video from All-In with Chris Hayes last night. At about 3:35 in the video, Chris makes the most important point which applies to so many of the current Republican rebranding efforts: Republicans saying you want to lower taxes on small business is like saying you like apple pie.
Think about the beauty of what has happened the last 4 plus years. The GOP does not own any of the positions that they want to rebrand into. They have been so out of touch that where they want to rebrand to, identifies them more with the Democratic Party than it does the GOP.
We are now at a place where the popular policy positions of the GOP are the same as the Democratic Party and the negative ones are where the Democratic Party's position is the more popular. How do you rebrand that?
I have caller ID and tend to screen calls. I got one today from "Out of Area" and actually answered it for a change. It turned out to be PPP polling on the IRS.
First question was whether I've heard of the situation with the IRS. Since Daily Kos is a daily read, of course I feel I know more than most about it.
Next question was whether it made me trust the IRS more or less. It'll be interesting to see the results here. It made no difference to me, so I had to answer the dreaded, "Don't Know."
But then it got interesting. The questions started on the subject of the IRS doing my taxes for me. My first thought is Hell Yes, that's hours of my life I'll get back every year. Would I trust them to do them? Sure, why not. But then came the question that made me think about it a little bit more: Do you think the IRS priority would be gaining the most revenue or getting your tax due to be the smallest possible. Yet another dreaded "Don't Know." My wife's uncle used to work for the IRS. Maybe it is just me, but I just think they are a bunch of people trying to do their job as best they can.
I haven't taken the time to read the investigation into the IRS, and I have one question about the motivation of the workers who caused the problem. Were they motivated by partisanship or by trying to figure out which of the many applications were going to be political?
I woke up today, now 44 years old. My wife brought me coffee in bed. I watched the news and at 6:30am, I observed the moment of silence and listened to the bells ring and watched the pictures of each of the Sandy Hook victims. I cried. I imagined them being my girls. After a little work and cleaning up of emails, the internet called and I was again enthralled with Mark Fiore's heart-wrenching and moving piece.
I linked it to Facebook and poured out my thoughts. It never showed up. As I walked my dog on an unusually cold San Diego morning, I thought about the concept of empathy. I thought about the many different friends I have and how many different perspectives they have about Sandy Hook. Many are gun-rights advocates who posted the usual. Some knew Noah Pozner. Many wanted action on gun control.
I put myself more firmly than ever in the last category. I don't think I could ever have such a strong life-preserving or family-preserving instinct that I would own a gun with the intent of ever using it on another. I don't understand a mentality that does. I remember an assignment in high school where we had to write a satire piece of the style of Jonathon Swift's "A Modest Proposal." Mine was about removing all gun laws and police and letting everyone self-police. My great teacher, Dee Frank, had to break it to me that it can't be satire if there are actually people who think that way. In retrospect, it was Stephen Colbert satire and not Jonathon Swift.
Thankfully my brain can feel empathy but can also compartmentalize. I can be sad at the same time I can be happy and thankful for the amazing family and friends I have. I am going to have a great day and hopefully see an old friend tonight. Thanks for all of the birthday wishes and thanks to the Mayan's for being ahead of their time and knowing much more than any crazy conspiracy theorist in this age would have you believe.
I just read something about why we need government. I won't post it because it was too political and I don't need that right now, but the policy comments were right on. Here's my simple policy position, government demands wasteful spending and I not only accept that, I like that. The private sector can't afford wasteful spending, Wall St. would never accept it. Whether it is the waste we have in military spending on weapons will we hopefully never use, we need to be prepared. Whether it is a teacher wasting their time and effort on a child whose parents don't care enough or can't afford to feed their child so that the child can learn, we need to be prepared. Whether it is disaster preparedness for a storm which will hopefully never hit, we need to be prepared. Whether it is all of the waste of the police or firefighters who aren't acting because a crime or emergency doesn't need to be responded to, we need to be prepared. Today we see this in its rawest form and we are reminded. It is sad that we needed to be reminded.
I read once that to write a good blog, you have to write about something you are passionate about. I wrote My Electric Ride for a while to share my electric car experience with my friends. While I still love my car, it didn't maintain my passion to blog about it. I've written a few random blogs when I had thoughts that I thought worthy of discussion. I wrote The Party of both 1 percents when I thought I had gleaned some insight into what drove Republican thinking and wanted some feedback from my conservative friends. I wrote Meet Norman Litz, hero? when I read a blog by a one percenter who was going to shut down and stop employing people. I really thought this would be an interesting example that defends my position that the very wealthy are very bad at creating jobs.
It finally dawned on me that my passion was staring me in the face. My passion is discussion. My Facebook friends may have noticed this, even the ones who proudly ignore everything I post and you know who you are. I have a varied group of friends with positions that range from Cheney Republican, to deeply religious, to liberal activist, to Occupy protester, to Republican township leader and on and on. I love you all and I love to hear your opinions. I love that I can discuss issues with you respectfully. And so each week I'll ask you to share your thoughts with me on my blog. You can ignore me, you can read the blog and say meh, you can discuss this with me on my Facebook link or you can brave the very progressive Daily Kos commentariat. While this is aimed at my Facebook friends, I welcome the discussion in the comments. I will figure out what has been rattling around in my brain for the week and give you my opinion in the hopes that you share your thoughts. So without further ado, this weeks subject is: Be Prepared. Click the Orange and give me your thoughts.
Norman Litz is a hero. He employs half a dozen employees and pulls in an eight figure salary. He is upset that his federal tax rate may go up if President Obama is re-elected and he is threatening to move and take his tax ball and leave. I think this is satire and that this isn't really his blog because it obviously points out the problem we have in this economy.
Mr. Litz is pulling tens of millions of dollars out of the economy and isn't spending it. He is only employing 6 people. That money is gone, out of circulation. Even if he isn't real, there are probably real people like this, and that is the problem. Money pulled out of the economy causes recession. That should be obvious to everyone at this point. This was posted to facebook by one of my right wing friends. Let's make this a rallying point to make people clear on what the problem really is.
I've been thinking a bit about the GOP logic and what they base their ideas on. So much has been written about their policies to help out the very wealthy, but I think we are missing the other 1 percent that drives their agenda, the freeloading 1%.
TANF has the statistics on families receiving benefits. We know the national unemployment rate is 8.2%. We have figures on underemployment. We even have the Heritage Foundation's Dependency Index which includes people on Social Security and Medicare. What I have been unable to determine is the population of purposeful freeloaders.
The purposeful freeloader population is important because it is the second driver of the policies of the GOP. They don't want to provide handouts of any kind and they make the argument that these handouts are what is ruining the economy.
I have a simplistic view of people. They want to survive and for the vast majority, they want to work and provide for themselves. I have seen a lot of circumstantial evidence to support this view and very little to oppose it. Go ahead and determine your own percent of the population that fits the bill of purposeful freeloader. Even if you hold the belief that it is as high as 1%, you have to reach the conclusion that the GOP has policy position that is fully driven by the actions of a minute percentage of the population. How does that make any sense to anyone.
I think we have a great opportunity here to explore the specifics of wealthy people who would be subject to the Buffet rule, and the jobs they create. I think we have a great example in our presumptive Republican nominee, Willard Mitt Romney.
According the Washington Post, in 2010, he earned 21.7 million and an estimated 20.9 million last year. For those two years, he donated over 7 million to charity of which 4.1 million went to his church and he paid 6.2 million in taxes. That is what it is, but the question I have is how does he create jobs.
We know that having a lot of excess funds allows him to employ car elevator installers and construction workers in La Jolla, which is good for my local economy. Quick estimate at $100/sq ft is about 1.2 million. We know he employs accountants and investment people. That has to cost a pretty penny with his money in the Islands and Swiss banks.
His net worth is estimated at above 200 million. Here we have maybe 1% of his net worth going into creating jobs. If his taxes doubled, I can pretty much assure you that the additional taxes who create more jobs than he does.
Kossaks, feel free to have some fun in the comments with this and explain what other jobs Governor Romney is creating with the vast wealth he is sitting on.
Here's an article about one of the other San Diego early purchasers. In my opinion, this car may not be ideal for this purchaser, at least at this time. In the short term, she needs a long extension cord.
Blink and ECOtality are working on the infrastructure. It will be interesting to see how this rolls out. I will certainly organize my shopping around the places that have charging stations. I think that the slow delivery rate of the cars has caused a lack of short-term incentive for these to be installed privately.
As for the car itself, I decided to play a bit to check out the performance. I've started dropping out of Eco mode a bit into drive. It's a very noticeable difference. The Eco mode sets the engine to maximize the reclaiming of energy. In Eco mode, taking your foot off of the accelerator leads to a much quicker slow down than drivers are used to. Whereas the same in the Drive mode coast just as a normal car. But the real fun was powering up steep hills. I was surprised at just how fast I could get up to speed even on a steep slope. It was very responsive. I've been a bit too busy to update the numbers this week, but everything seems to be consistent for now. No major issues and no more nights forgetting to charge.
This week we'll be expanding into 100% charging for a night. Wednesday should be our highest mileage day to date.
I just finish reading the article on the Vice President's Speech on the Auto Industry.
I've been trying to be a little less preachy and political in my rantings and postings of late, but this really struck me. It is Memorial Day weekend, a time when we reflect in and honor those people who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It makes me realize that while government is big, inefficient, and slow; it is a reflection of us, it IS us.
Not everything is great. The extension of the Patriot Act without change is troubling. Glenn Greenwald raises some excellent points about the killing of Osama bin Laden. But all that being said, I am feeling an enormous bit of pride right now.
I am choosing to be optimistic and I'm focusing on the positives while ignoring the many negatives, but that is because I'm paying attention to the direction things are moving in. While the Patriot Act is as much of an example of Government overreach in the Obama administration as it was in the Bush Administration, we are seeing a level of transparency in our Government that we have not seen before. It's not perfect, but it is moving in the right direction. While the questions raised by Glenn Greenwald about the killing of OBL are valid, word is leaking that we may now be able to negotiate with the Taliban in a way we couldn't before because of tribal customs.
All in all, I am proud of my country and the direction we are moving in. Our government is a reflection of us; far from perfect, but trying to get better. I think it helps that we have such a polarizing opposite view on government from the right. Regardless, as I make my donation to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans this weekend, I am truly proud of our veterans and I am truly proud that while my Government is a reflection of all of us, America is waking up to that reality and is running away from the individualism and tribalism that has defined us for the last thirty years.
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