Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
It is embarrassing. The gridlock and partisanship in Washington right now is disgusting.
-- Mark Warner, Democratic Senator from Virginia, on the dysfunction in Congress; the Senate approved a temporary spending bill to fund the government through Nov. 18 and avoid a shutdown
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I get so tired of people believing and asserting that Social Security is somehow in trouble. It's not. And all we need to do is raise that cap on the tax.
Republicans hate Social Security because it has been an extraordinary success and has done exactly what it was designed to do. It is the most successful government program in our nation's history and is enormously popular.
When Social Security was developed, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, that number is 10 percent -- still too high, but a testament to the success of Social Security.
Republicans have spent years demonizing Social Security and spreading lies about its sustainability. They want to scare Americans and build support for making drastic cuts to the program or privatizing it entirely. Their long-term goal is to end Social Security as we know it, and convert it into a private account system which will enable Wall Street to make hundreds of billions in profits.
The truth is that, today, according to the Social Security Administration, Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 25 years.
Further, because it is funded by the payroll tax and not the U.S. Treasury, Social Security has not contributed one nickel to our deficit.
Right now, someone who earns $106,800 pays the same amount of money into Social Security as billionaires like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. That is because today, all income above $106,800 is exempt from the Social Security tax. As a result, 94% of Americans pay Social Security tax on all of their income, but the wealthiest 6% do not.
That makes no sense.
Do we really want more elderly people on the streets?
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
You know, we`re 50th in the world now in life expectancy. Canadians live about two years longer. Japanese people live about four years longer. And yet, we pay 30 percent more for our health care than any other country in the entire world. Are you telling me we can`t do better than this?
-- Alan Grayson
The tiny amount I can spare this year for political contributions I have sent to Grayson.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
These types of messages in this climate have the capacity to do enormous public-health harm.
--Steven Miles, bioethics professor from the University of Minnesota, offering a reward for proof of allegations made by Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann that the HPV vaccine has caused mental retardation
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
We have lit one candle today. It's going to be a bonfire pretty soon.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Arctic ice levels hit historic low, researchers say
Here's a little bit of what it says:
The amount of Arctic sea ice has melted to a historic low, with the area of land covered by ice at the smallest level since scientists began observing it with satellites in 1972, researchers from the University of Bremen in Germany report.
They said their studies indicated that continuing ice decline was related to man-made global warming.
"It seems to be clear that this is a further consequence of the man-made global warming with global consequences," researchers said in their report. "Directly, the livehood of small animals, algae, fishes and mammals like polar bears and seals is more and more reduced."
Are we going to do anything about it? As a species, I mean?
Sunday, September 11, 2011
And the source is, needless to say, The Catholic Worker paper.
The world would be better off if people tried to become better. And people would become better if they stopped trying to become better off. For when everybody tries to become better off, nobody is better off. But when everybody tries to become better, everybody is better off.
Everybody would be rich if nobody tried to become richer. And nobody would be poor if everybody tried to be the poorest. And everybody would be what he ought to be if everybody tried to be what he wants the other fellow to be.
Friday, September 09, 2011
I just came across a blog post from July 20 entitled "In 1969, We Moonwalked and Chewed Gum at the Same Time; What Happened to Us?" and I want to urge you to go read it. Here are two paragraphs that summarize the writer's point:
There's more and it's really worth reading.
Compare who we were then with what we've become, and we have to ask; whatever happened to that "can-do" American spirit? Why have we gone from gung-ho idealists, capable of solving any problem, to a country of naysayers, who can't seem to solve problems without tearing ourselves apart in the process? In the forty years from 1929 to 1969, we solved the problems of an economic system that had once caused us to slide into Depression on a regular basis; we wired almost every home in the country with electricity; we created an infrastructure that was the envy of the world; we created an educational system that turned us from a largely illiterate society into a literate one; we made it possible for everyone who wanted to, to go to college; we created a mortgage system that allowed everyone who could afford one to buy a home; and we became the preeminent manufacturing power in the world. Between 1929 to 1969, a span of 40 years, we went from one of the most devastated nations in the world to being the premier economic superpower in the world. And we did it through sheer force of will.
Look at what's happened in the subsequent 40 years. We've shipped almost all of our manufacturing overseas, and we make almost nothing that has an American name on it, and we have pretty much given up on the prospect of ever competing with the rest of the world. We have gone from being the largest creditor nation in the world to being the largest debtor nation in the world. We're more addicted to oil than ever before, and more dependent on others for it than at any other time in our history, despite the fact that technology exists to free ourselves from that addiction and dependence. And we are the only country in the industrialized world (although I guess we're more post-industrialized these days) that hasn't managed to cover everyone with health insurance.
That question, "What happened to us?" is a hugely important one. I wish I knew the answer.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
-- Gus Faucher, managing director for macroeconomics at Moody's Analytics, on reports that President Obama will introduce a plan for $300 billion to jump start the economy in a speech before Congress on Thursday
Three hundred billion dollars is better than nothing.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
When are we going to get it that the government is "us"? If any aspect of government isn't functioning well, we need to vote in people who believe in government, not those who don't!!
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, men and women proudly wore hats and shirts labeled “FDNY” and “NYPD.” When we wept for our nation, it was the bravery of the first responders that reminded us of our national character. There was a newfound respect for public service and a heartening change in how Americans viewed their government. Fire and police departments, and organizations such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, saw a surge in applicants. We didn’t just want to believe in those workers. We wanted to be them.
In the 10 years since, those and other public workers haven’t been any less heroic or any less essential. But they have been significantly less appreciated, even demonized. “There are a lot of government employees that need to go find a real job,” Rep. Paul Broun (Ga.), a Tea Party favorite, snorted in June. For too many on the right, a government worker isn’t a worker at all.
When government doesn't function effectively, we call that a "failed state". Is that what we want for our country?
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
-- Rep. Jim Cooper, Democrat from Tennessee, on the entrenched dysfunction he has seen develop during his 11 terms in Congress
We no longer search for the best ideas or the best policies. Now you are either an ally or a traitor.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Saturday, September 03, 2011
But we're still probably not going to do anything to stop this or slow it down. (By "we", I mean humanity, of course.)
A block of ice four times the size of Manhattan has split off from a Greenland glacier and melted--an event so dramatic that it's shocked the scientists who study the area.
Alun Hubbard of Aberystwyth University, Wales, said he was rendered "speechless" when he saw the now much smaller Petermann glacier. The break happened in 2010, but this is the first time photos have been available.
Greenland's ice sheet may be melting at the rate of 400 billion tons per year. According to MSNBC, Greenland has lost "592.6 square miles of ice between 2000 and 2010.
Friday, September 02, 2011
-- Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister, saying Turkey would expel its Israeli ambassador ahead of the formal publication of a U.N. report about the 2010 incident in which Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish ship in the Gaza Strip, killing nine people
The time has come for Israel to pay for its stance that sees it above international laws and disregards human conscience.