The content of this diary has been moved to the GMO Skeptic blog.
My Uncle R committed suicide in 1981 using a handgun purchased for his part-time post-retirement job as a security guard at McDonald's. He left a strategically placed note for Aunt J, which she discovered lying on the kitchen table upon her return from grocery shopping. It was a short note, with no explanation and a couple of simple requests:
J: Don't go downstairs. No extraordinary measures. RJoin me below the orange curlicue for more about his life and death.
My brother, who is two years older than I am, couldn't wait to turn 18 so he could buy a gun. The result was a gun fail.
When I was growing up, my family was a liberal, union-loving, gun-hating bastion of Kennedy Democrats. I did have one uncle who was a hunter, but he was considered a bit batty and pretty much ignored. Somehow, though, my brother became fascinated with guns. Not for hunting, as we had a standing offer from Uncle Batty to take us boys if we ever so desired, but just for having and for shooting.
Once he turned 18, Paul (name changed for privacy) rushed over to K-Mart and plunked down money for a .22 caliber rifle. If you know anything about guns, you know that a .22 is a decent starter gun for target shooting and for hunting small game. It won't bring down an elephant but is perfectly adequate for squirrels and rabbits.
Of course, that's not what Paul bought it for. His goal was to shoot. At stuff. To punch holes in things like tin cans and homemade paper targets. Naturally, he decided to set up a shooting range in our shared bedroom.
A little background is in order. At the time, we lived with my parents in their house a mile north of the Detroit city border. It was a typical close-in suburban home, built in the 1940s as a 2 bedroom house on a 40 foot wide lot, with neighboring homes on all sides. At some point, the attic was converted into a 3rd bedroom and that was where the 4 boys in the family grew up.
So Paul set up his shooting range, which consisted of a cardboard box stuffed full of newspapers and affixed with a hand-drawn target, then proceeded to exercise his 2nd Amendment rights. He even offered to let me take a shot but I demurred. I didn't know it at the time, but I'd get all the target practice I would ever need when I joined the Army a year later.
After shooting three or four rounds, Paul called it a night. He was on a limited budget and the rifle purchase had left little capital for ammunition. As an older brother, of course, he took his role as educator of younger brothers very seriously, so he carefully explained the pros and cons of different types of .22 ammo. I recall there are .22 long and .22 short bullets and that center-fire cartridges are considered to be better than rim-fire for some reason.
While waiting at the school bus stop the next day, I was chatting with my next door neighbor. His house had been built by the same builder as ours and had the same floor plan. Likewise, the attic had been converted, but in his case, to 3 rooms instead of just one big room. His bedroom was closest to our house. When we were younger, we had run string across the gap and used tin cans as primitive telephones.
That morning at the bus stop, he told me that while he'd been reading in bed the evening before, his window had shattered and something had whizzed by a few inches from his head. I put two and two together and quickly concluded that one of Paul's bullets had drilled through his target box, through the wall of our house, and through my friend's bedroom window.
"Geez," I said, "I wonder what caused that?"
"Dunno," he replied. "But it was kind of scary."
The bus arrived and we climbed aboard. I made a mental note to tell Paul to either build a better target or not shoot indoors anymore, and I did just that when I saw him later that day. As for his prized rifle, a year or two later it was confiscated by the police when he used it to shoot a guy in a bar over some stolen mail, a shooting which landed him in the state penitentiary at Jackson for a year. But that's a story for another day.
Many people who lost their jobs in recent years can tell you how hard it is to secure a new job. The unemployed, even with the now revoked extension in unemployment benefits, have been falling farther behind every year. Meanwhile, our immigrant population is doing quite well.
Government data show that since 2000 all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal). This is remarkable given that native-born Americans accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the total working-age population. Though there has been some recovery from the Great Recession, there were still fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job was 5.7 million above the 2000 level.A Changed Labor Market
Comparing the number of immigrants working (ages 16 to 65) in the first quarter of 2000 to the number working in the first quarter of 2014 shows an increase of 5.7 million. In contrast, the number of working-age (16 to 65) natives holding a job was 127,000 fewer in the first quarter of 2000 than in the same quarter of 2014, even though the number of working-age natives overall increased by more than 16.8 million. This 16.8 million represented 66 percent of the overall growth in the working-age population. (See Figures 1 and 2 and Table 1). Since the number of working-age natives grew, but the number working did not, the share of working-age natives holding a job declined significantly.Younger Americans Are Faring The Worst
Natives have lost jobs in some high-immigration occupations such as production, office and administrative support, construction, architecture and engineering, and transportation and moving. However, one of the key things that happened to natives is that young people, particularly the less educated, have not found jobs over the last 14 years. The population of natives 16 to 29 grew 16.2 percent from 2000 to 2014, but the number working actually declined by 2.6 percent. These new entrants to the labor market are not finding jobs and so the number and share not working has exploded. It is less the case that established older workers have lost jobs, though that has certainly happened as well. But proportionately it is younger native workers who have fared much worse over the last 14 years. What seems to be the case is that as new immigrants arrived, they filled what jobs became available and the employment rate of younger natives fell dramatically.Here is the link to the full report: Center for Immigration Studies -- All Employment Growth Since 2000 Went to Immigrants
UPDATE: Because I'm seeing some confusion in the comments, this is why I wrote this diary:
None of the Democratic women in the Senate are players for 2016. It's either Hillary, or American women wait another generation to break the thickest of all glass ceilings. -- From a comment by another diarist (not me!) in another diaryWith all the diaries for and against Hillary Clinton (and I for one, am getting tired of them since we should be focusing on this year's elections), one would think that there is only one potential Democratic presidential candidate for 2016 and that only Senators can become president. But that's silly. Leaving aside men for purposes of this diary, here are 82 capable Democratic women who have achieved success in the United States.
Granted, some don't want to or can't run for president, but these are women who show that focusing on a solitary candidate 2-1/2 years before the election is exclusionary and unnecessary. Also, keep in mind that this is just a short list of currently active Democrats and doesn't include former senators, representatives, governors, or mayors who might run.
And if anyone is thinking but what about name recognition?, how many Americans had heard of Bill Clinton before 1992? Or Barack Obama before 2008? Or for that matter, Franklin D. Roosevelt before 1932? (It took 4 ballots at the convention before FDR was selected as the candidate.) Let's keep in mind that the election is a bit less than 2-1/2 years away. That's plenty of time for a credible campaign, especially with the United States being blessed with so many exceptional women.
U. S. Senate (16 Democratic women)
CA Barbara Boxer
CA Dianne Feinstein
HI Mazie Hirono
LA Mary Landrieu
MA Elizabeth Warren
MD Barbara Mikulski
MI Debbie Stabenow
MN Amy Klobuchar
MO Claire McCaskill
NC Kay Hagan
ND Heidi Heitkamp
NH Jeanne Shaheen
NY Kirsten Gillibrand
WA Patty Murray
WI Tammy Baldwin
WA Maria Cantwell
U.S. House of Representatives (60 Democratic women)
AL 007 Terri Sewell
AZ 001 Ann Kirkpatrick, 009 Kyrsten Sinema
CA 006 Doris Matsui, 012 Nancy Pelosi, 013 Barbara Lee, 014 Jackie Speier, 018 Anna Eshoo, 019 Zoe Lofgren, 024 Lois Capps, 026 Julia Brownley, 027 Judy Chu, 032 Grace Napolitano, 035 Gloria Negrete McLeod, 037 Karen Bass, 038 Linda Sanchez, 040 Lucille Roybal-Allard, 043 Maxine Waters, 044 Janice Hahn, 046 Loretta Sanchez, 053 Susan Davis
CO 001 Diana DeGette
CT 003 Rosa DeLauro, 005 Elizabeth Esty
FL 005 Corrine Brown, 014 Kathy Castor, 022 Lois Frankel, 023 Debbie Wasserman Schultz, 024 Frederica Wilson
HI 001 Colleen Hanabusa, 002 Tulsi Gabbard
IL 008 Tammy Duckworth, 002 Robin L. Kelly, 009 Jan Schakowsky, 017 Cheri Bustos
ME 001 Chellie Pingree
MD 004 Donna Edwards
MA 003 Niki Tsongas, 005 Katherine Clark
MN 004 Betty McCollum
NH 001 Carol Shea-Porter, 002 Ann McLane Kuster
NM 001 Michelle Lujan Grisham
NV 001 Dina Titus
NY 004 Carolyn McCarthy, 006 Grace Meng, 007 Nydia Velazquez, 009 Yvette Clarke, 012 Carolyn Maloney, 017 Nita Lowey, 025 Louise Slaughter
OH 003 Joyce Beatty, 009 Marcy Kaptur, 011 Marcia Fudge
OR 01 Suzanne Bonamici
PA 013 Allyson Schwartz
TX 018 Sheila Jackson Lee, 030 Eddie Bernice Johnson
WA 001 Suzan DelBene
WI 004 Gwen Moore
Female Democratic governor
Governor Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Female Democratic business executives
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
GM CEO Mary Barra
Female Democratic mayors from 100 largest US cities
Houston, TX (5th largest)- Annise D. Parker
Baltimore, MD (24th largest)- Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Oakland, CA (48th largest)- Jean Quan
I ran out of gas while driving home to Michigan after visiting a friend who was serving in the Air Force. Unknown to me, gas stations were closed early Sunday mornings in Alabama. Even those alongside a major Interstate highway. I'd left Biloxi Mississippi while it was still dark, thinking my almost half full gas tank was more than enough to get me to the next open gas station. Boy was I wrong.
That trip was when I discovered that draining the leftover dregs from gas pump hoses could score enough gas to make it to the next station. Unfortunately, the next one was closed, too. And the one after that. Finally, I ran out of gas in a long stretch of lonesome and pulled to the side of the highway near an exit. The sign at the top of the exit had an arrow pointing right and said Food -- Gas -- 15 Miles. Yikes!
Traffic was sparse and the few vehicles that sped by did not look my way, even after I hung a white flag from the antenna. Until finally, a car pulled up behind me and the nice man offered a gratefully accepted ride to the nearest gas station.
We hadn't gone far, though, when he said "I'll bet you have a nice cock." I couldn't believe I'd heard that right, so I asked him to repeat and he did. Then he put his hand on my leg.
It was about 7 in the morning, a nice sunny Sunday, and we were driving past empty cotton and soybean fields, beautifully plowed in ruler straight rows in preparation for winter. Nary a tractor or farmer to be seen, no buildings, no other traffic. Just me and my Good Samaritan.
I was 22 years old at the time, an Army veteran standing 6' 5" tall and weighing a fairly muscular 220 pounds. The last fight I'd been in, just a few weeks before by chance, had seen me disarm and wrestle to the ground a guy who'd attacked me with a police-style billy club. But what if this guy has a gun? a little voice inside me wondered. This'll teach you not to run out of gas in Alabama, the voice added helpfully. I might be imagining this last part, but I could swear the theme from Deliverance was running through my head. In stereo.
"No thanks," I said. "Would you take me back to my car now?"
Which is what a woman unshaped by fear would be able to do. Say no, fully expecting that it would be enough. If it wasn't enough, the woman unshaped by fear would know beyond a doubt that she could beat the guy to a pulp. And if the woman unshaped by fear were like me, a man unshaped by fear, she would believe, as I fully did, that if he started reaching for a gun she would grab his arm and she would break his fingers. No means No, dammit!
Fortunately, none of that was needed. He just nodded and turned the car around and dropped me off. A short while later another car pulled up behind me, this one filled with four young ladies on their way to Radford University in Virginia. They took me to a gas station (Finally open. Yay!) and I was soon back on the road to Michigan.
And that is what it would be like for a woman living in a world unshaped by fear.
This diary may be considered a complement to this diary, which was prompted by a comment from a man who had never met a rapist in his 50 years of life. It started me thinking that maybe my extra 8 years of life have broadened my circle of acquaintances. You see, one of my childhood friends was a serial rapist.
I was 15 years old when it sank in that my friend Kenny (not his real name) was a serial rapist. It was the summer of 1971 and I lived in an all white working class neighborhood in Michigan. A girl I liked, Lucy (name also changed), who was 14 at the time, told me one day that she had gotten married to Kenny a few days earlier. Twice. I asked what she meant and she told me.
First, a little background on Kenny. He was 18 and a hoodlum. That was not unusual in my neighborhood. My oldest brother, Mickey, was a member of a motorcycle gang and had been in and out of juvenile detention, county lockup, and ultimately, the state prison at Jackson. In fact, the only photo I have of Mickey as an adult is from his prison ID. Both of my other brothers spent time locked up, too. I was the white sheep of the family. I never went to prison.
But back to Kenny. He owned a motorcycle. He was very athletic, good at baseball and football. And for a small guy, maybe 5' 9" and 150 pounds, he was one heck of a fighter. In some ways, he was like another big brother, because he looked out for me in a tough neighborhood that wasn't always kind to bookish nerds like me. He helped protect me when my brother Mickey was in prison and later on, too, after Mickey was shot to death. Kenny also knew how to throw a kickass party and he was a good source for scoring dope. Anything from grass to heroin.
As I mentioned, Kenny had a motorcycle. And that's where the story Lucy told me starts: With a motorcycle ride.
If you're familiar with the rapper Eminem, you've heard of 8 Mile Road, which is the northern border of Detroit. Although I was born in Detroit and spent part of my childhood in the Charles Terrace housing project, my family had moved up in the world by the time of this incident. All the way to 9 Mile Road. Anyhow, Kenny took Lucy for a ride on his bike and they ended up some 35 miles or so north of 9 Mile. Way out in the boondocks back then. And Kenny pulled a "Put Out or Get Out" (POGO) on Lucy.
POGO is where a guy takes a girl for a ride in his car, or his motorcycle in Kenny's case, to a remote area and threatens to leave her there unless she provides sex. No gun, no knife, no beating necessary. Simply a choice. Between sex or possible death at the hands of strangers while walking 35 miles home. Lucy decided to surrender her virginity. Another name for POGO is rape. Maybe Republicans wouldn't consider it to be "legitimate" rape, but sane people would.
I'd heard rumors about guys who did that to girls. It was a kind of an urban legend back in the day. I'd even heard whispers that Kenny had done it, and more than once, but I didn't really believe those whispers until Lucy told me about her experience.
Shortly after hearing her story, I left her house and never went back.
Here's why, I think. When I was seven years old, I'd been molested by my older sister. It was no big deal and I quickly put it behind me. I mean, other than suddenly going from A+ student to hardcore troublemaker constantly in the principal's office. The forced trip to the psychiatrist. Oh, and that other thing, where I was an emotional zombie until I was in my 20s. So basically, no aftereffects. As long as I didn't think about it. Surely Lucy would be fine, too, and I wished her well.
I'd like to say that I told Kenny off and refused to have anything further to do with him, but I'd be lying. We stayed friends of sorts, although not nearly as close as before. Two summers later I was a seventeen year old high school grad doing Army boot camp in Fort Knox, Kentucky. On my way to a better life thanks to military training and the GI bill.
I'm sure you're expecting a happy ending to this story but I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint you. I never saw Lucy again. I don't know what happened to her, although I do know that her older sister was involved in a "train" (multiple guys lining up to have sex with her) this one time while she was having her period and it got kind of messy and grossed the boys out. A little. Not a gang rape per se, as she was a willing participant. Willing to have sex with multiple boys in exchange for acceptance and a little affection. Perhaps she'd even been POGO'd when she was younger. Those are the kind of things that went on in my neighborhood and, I suspect, many other neighborhoods across America.
As for Kenny, well, in his early twenties he cheated a biker gang on a dope deal and his dismembered body, garnished with hacked off penis stuffed in his mouth, was discovered in four plastic garbage bags left at curbside for the garbage man. Poetic justice, some might say. Perhaps so. And Lucy, if you're still out there somewhere, please forgive me for not being a good enough friend. You deserved better.
Our Chin-Chihuaha mix died recently of congestive heart failure. He was 6 years old. My wife would like another dog and asked me to check with the progressives on Daily Kos to see if anybody has puppies available or a dog that needs a home.
The budget is tight, so no pure breds. We live in southern Arizona, so a local dog that we can pick up or could be delivered would be very helpful. Something in the southwest such as southern California or New Mexico might also work.
My wife has rheumatoid arthritis, so she prefers small dogs of perhaps 10 to 15 pounds that she can handle without too much wear and tear on her joints. As the dog would spend a lot of time with her, it should be a friendly lapdog type rather than a boisterous outdoorsy type.
If you have such a dog or know someone who does, please leave a comment or send me a DKOS message.
There are several good diaries today about the verdict travesty in the Trayvon Martin case. My goals are to add a few thoughts about the prosecution's court performance and also, more importantly, offer a few suggestions about how we can channel our righteous anger about the verdict into positive action that benefits our nation.
First, a bit about me. I was raised in a public housing project on the East Side of Detroit. I misspent my youth hanging around with street gangs and motorcycle gangs as well as some mind-numbingly vicious career criminals and an assortment of dumbass petty thugs. Half of my childhood friends are either dead or in prison.
One thing I can say with a high degree of certainty is this: I know thugs. Some of my friends are or were thugs. But Trayvon Martin was no thug. This young man did not deserve to die.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has sent an Oklahoma minister's lawsuit against the State of Oklahoma regarding an image on the state's license plate of a Native American shooting an arrow into the sky back to the trial court.
When Oklahoma looked to redesign its license plate five years ago, the iconic image of a young Apache warrior shooting an arrow skyward depicted in Allen Houser's "Sacred Rain Arrow" statue was a clear choice of a public that looked at more than 40 designs that featured Native American art, cowboy images and western and wildlife themes.Proceed below the orange snogging snakes for more.
But a Methodist minister claims the plate is an affront to his Christian beliefs, and a federal appeals court ruled last week that the minister's case can proceed. -- Fox News
As pointed out in another diary, Ann Romney is ordering her husband's faithful flock to 'dig deep' like never before. Considering that many of the 53% are still suffering the ravages of the Bush Recession, one wonders how much deeper they can dig the hole left them by Republicans during the past 30 years. That, however, is another tale for another day, as this diary focuses instead on one of those Big Lies frequently told by conservatives.
I'm sure you've heard this one before. Mitt Romney merely repeated one of the standard talking points of the right when he told Scott Pelley the following during their interview on Sunday:
And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent.Yes, you've probably heard that one before. But did you know that it is a bald-faced lie? Here's why: Capital is not taxed. Read that statement again if you were too busy spitting out a mouthful of coffee for it to register. What I'm saying is that capital is not taxed in the way Mitt claimed, not at the corporate level, not at 35 percent, not at any percent.
In its simplest form, capital is defined as "financial resources available for use". From a business perspective, this generally refers to cash on hand and the factories, machinery and equipment owned by the business. That capital is used to generate something that IS taxed: Profits.
Income, in other words. Corporate profits (i.e. total earnings less expenses) are taxed because, plain and simple, they are income. Note the distinction. Capital is NOT taxed. Profit IS taxed.
So why did Mitt Romney say capital is taxed? Because he's lying. And also because of a long-standing Republican determination to make business profits untaxable.
Ok, EdG, you're saying. We all know that stocks are capital investments, and stocks are taxed even though you say capital is not taxed. Well, think about that for a minute. When are stocks taxed? Stocks are taxed when they are sold at a PROFIT. In other words, if you're a good investor who buys low and sells high, the income from your stock sale is taxed, although it is taxed at a lower rate (the capital gains rate) than most other types of income.
Let's put this in Mitt Romney terms. Mitt, or his "blind trust", goes to the stock exchange and buys 10,000 shares of Apple Computer at $600 per share, which is an investment of $6,000,000. This six million dollars is NOT taxed, because it is capital. A year later, Mitt sells the stock for $650 per share, realizing a profit of $500,000 less expenses. This five hundred thousand dollars IS taxed, because it is profit. Simple, right? Capital: Not taxed. Profit: Taxed.
Let's look at it another way. Suppose that Apple Computer sells 10,000 shares of stock at $600 each. That is $6,000,000 coming into Apple's hot little hands. Is it taxable? No. It is not taxable because it is not profit. People who purchase Apple shares directly from Apple are essentially loaning money to Apple, in hopes that Apple will invest the money in new products that generate profits (taxable!) that Apple shares with investors through dividend payouts.
On the other hand, Apple Computer does not benefit directly from Mitt Romney type transactions. Shares that are traded on a stock exchange are a sale from one private party to another private party. As noted earlier, any capital gain on that sale is taxable because it is profit to the seller. Apple cannot use that money to invest in products and it has little control over the price of shares sold on the open market.
So where do we stand? Capital is not taxable while profit is. Mitt Romney's income is taxable because it is profit. It has not been taxed at the corporate level, instead it is taxed at the personal capital gains rate paid by Mr. Romney.
And that, of course, raises the question of why Mitt Romney's income is taxed at a lower rate than your income or my income. It is taxed at a lower rate because rich people like Mr. Romney have convinced Congress to treat it as though it is better than your income. Bottom line, though, is that Mitt Romney's income was never "taxed once at the corporate level", so his whole premise is a lie.
Now, I will point out as I conclude this diary that this is a simplified explanation of corporate earnings, capital, stock, Mitt Romney's income, and the other topics discussed herein. I also glossed over stock dividends, which are another matter altogether and can, to some extent, be considered as doubly taxed. But in summary, capital is not taxed while profits are taxed. And anyone who claims otherwise is lying.
You snivelling 47 percenters just do not understand how hard it is to be Mitt Romney. Because you lack the ability to care for yourself, you look at self-made men like Mr. Romney with inexcusable envy. I beg of you: LEAVE MITTNEY ALONE!!!! Let me tell you just a few stories that highlight the hardships and almost unbearable sacrifices endured by Mr. Romney in his life and in his campaign for President of the United States.
Just yesterday, according to the AP, Mr. Romney pointed out that "My campaign schedule has been hectic. I’m not even going to be able to go home today.” By home, he was referring to his second home in nearby La Jolla, CA. Can you imagine the pain of flying in to collect $1,000 to $50,000 per person donations from 650 people while being unable to even pop in and visit the car elevator in your 3,600 square foot garage? Can you??!!??
Even Mrs. Romney had to recently stand up for her man, saying "Stop it! This is hard!" when her husband came under fire from Republican pundits for running perhaps the worst presidential campaign in recorded history. She continued, "It is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt's qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country."
By 'all Americans', of course, Mrs. Romney was referring to the 53% of us who pay Federal income tax, not the moochers who live on Social Security income or military combat pay. Especially not those who were unable to exercise enough personal responsibility to be born with a silver spoon in their mouth.
Have you ever heard how hard Mr. and Mrs. Romney had it when they were a young married couple? The horror story about how Mr. Romney's father bought them a house that they later sold at a handy profit? The nearly unbearable misery of struggling through an education at Harvard University while living hand to mouth on the paltry income generated by selling off stock shares given Mr. Romney by his father?
As if that's not enough agony, just think about all the liberal handwringing about Mr. Romney's tax returns. We know for a fact that Mr. and Mrs. Romney are generous people. Price Waterhouse accountants even wrote a letter proving the Romneys gave an average 13.4% in charitable contributions the past 20 years. Why, even subtracting out the mandatory 10% tithing forced on them by the Mormon Church, that still leaves a generous 3.4% to all other charities combined.
And finally, did you know that Mr. Romney did not get an inheritance from his wealthy parents. According to Mr. Romney, "What I got from my parents when they passed away, I gave away to charity and to my kids." That's right, you leeching 47 percenters reading this diary. This man is so selfless that he gave away one million dollars to Brigham Young University (the Mormon Church's college) and his children. I'll bet you haven't given away a million dollars. Losers.
So, I beg of you, miserable freeloading scum reading this diary. For once in your life take some personal responsibility and show that you care about more than you and your victimhood. For the sake of America and for the sake of delivering us from a disastrous 4 more years of Obama economic recovery and social equity -- LEAVE MITTNEY ALONE!!!!
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