Dec 302013
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and trying to finish before the final week of holy days in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb begins services.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:53 (average 5:06).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

1229-Broncos34-Raiders14

Peyton Manning set the all time NFL records for passing touchdowns and passing yards in a single season, before sitting out the entire second half.  The Broncos set the all time NFL record for storing in a single season.  This makes this year’s Broncos the most potent offense in history.

Short Takes:

From Alternet: Joseph Epstein in Wall Street Journal: The problem with America is the collapse of white rule.

There just are not enough rich, white men in power in America anymore. It is a terrible problem. Instead, what we have is some sort of self-styled meritocracy, where instead of the good old-fashioned ruling elite, people who have overcome adversity and achieved success by dint of hard work and effort, rather than their lineage, are in charge. Ugh! This must be why society is going to hell in a handbasket.

So goes the argument of writer Joseph Epstein, who penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last weekend bemoaning the collapse of white rule. Not just white rule. WASP rule.

The column, which resembles satire, but apparently is not, argues [Murdoch delinked] that modern-day “corruption, scandal and incompetence” are hallmarks exclusive to this new era of non-white rule. Because that shit never happened when whites were in charge. If only, he laments, colleges still admitted more legacies and didn’t encourage applications of non-white students. Then maybe, instead of a Senate that is 95% white, we could go back to the 100%.

And don’t even get him started about the president.

This is just one of the eight worst things Republicans said last week. Click through for the other seven.

From Bill Moyers: For the past 40 years, corporate America has spent untold millions convincing lawmakers and the wider public that government intervention in the private sector results in painful unintended consequences that harm us all. At the same time, corporate-backed think tanks and media outlets have advanced the narrative that public benefits create a culture of dependency, and by doing so ultimately do their recipients more harm than good.

The hypocrisy of these claims is becoming increasingly evident as low-wage employers — notably retailers and the fast-food industry — enjoy profits subsidized by their workers’ reliance on public benefits. These firms are the real “welfare queens” in today’s economy.

In short, our tax dollars are going to give the Walton family, owners of Wal-Fart, more money than the entire bottom 40% of American families.

From Bernie Sanders: (received in email.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy new year.  I also want to express my gratitude to you for the political support that you have given to me, and for all of your efforts in trying to move our country and the world in the direction of peace, justice and environmental sanity.

 

As we survey our country at the end of 2013 I don’t have to tell you that the problems facing us are monumental, that the Congress is dysfunctional and that more and more people (especially the young) are, understandably, giving up on the political process.  The people are hurting.  They look to Washington for help.  Nothing is happening.

  • The middle class continues to decline with median family income some $5,000 less than it was in 1999.
  • More Americans, 46.5 million, are now living in poverty than at any time in our nation’s history. Child poverty, at 21.8 percent, is the highest of any major country.
  • Real unemployment is not 7 percent. If one includes those who have given up looking for work and those who want full-time work but are employed part-time, real unemployment is 13.2 percent — and youth unemployment is much higher than that.
  • Most of the new jobs that are being created are part-time work at low wages, but the minimum wage remains at the starvation level of $7.25 per hour.
  • Millions of college students are leaving school deeply in debt, while many others have given up on their dream of a higher education because of the cost.
  • Meanwhile, as tens of millions of Americans struggle to survive economically, the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well and corporate profits are at an all-time high. In fact, wealth and income inequality today is greater than at any time since just before the Great Depression. One family, the Walton family with its Wal-Mart fortune, now owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans. In recent years, 95 percent of all new income has gone to the top 1 percent.
  • The scientific community has been very clear: Global warming is real, it is already causing massive problems and, if we don’t significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the planet we leave to our kids and grandchildren will be less and less habitable.

Clearly, if we are going to save the middle class and protect our planet, we need to change the political dynamics of the nation. We can no longer allow the billionaires and their think tanks or the corporate media to set the agenda. We need to educate, organize and mobilize the working families of our country to stand up for their rights. We need to make government work for all the people, not just the 1 percent.

 

Before we talk about 2014, let me ask you a favor. Do you know of friends, family or co-workers who might be interested in receiving our email newsletters and updates?  If you do, please forward this email and encourage them to sign-up for occasional updates. They can sign-up for our emails by clicking here.

 

When Congress reconvenes for the 2014 session, here are a few of the issues that I will be focusing on.  

 

WEALTH AND INCOME INEQUALITY: A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much while so many have so little. It is simply not acceptable that the top 1 percent owns 38 percent of the financial wealth of the nation, while the bottom 60 percent owns all of 2.3 percent. We need to establish a progressive tax system which asks the wealthy to start paying their fair share of taxes, and which ends the outrageous loopholes that enable one out of four corporations to pay nothing in federal income taxes.

 

JOBS: We need to make significant investments in our crumbling infrastructure, in energy efficiency and sustainable energy, in early childhood education and in affordable housing. When we do that, we not only improve the quality of life in our country and combat global warming, we also create millions of decent paying new jobs.

 

WAGES: We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. We should pass the legislation which will soon be on the Senate floor which increases the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, but we must raise that minimum wage even higher in the coming years. We also need to expand our efforts at worker-ownership. Employees will not be sending their jobs to China or Vietnam when they own the places in which they work.

 

RETIREMENT SECURITY: At a time when only one in five workers in the private sector has a defined benefit pension plan; half of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings; and two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for more than half of their income we must expand Social Security and make sure that every American can retire with dignity.

 

WALL STREET: During the financial crisis, huge Wall Street banks received more than $700 billion in financial aid from the Treasury Department and more than $16 trillion from the Federal Reserve because they were "too big to fail." Yet today, the largest banks in this country are much bigger than they were before taxpayers bailed them out. It is time to break up these behemoths before they cause another global economic collapse.

 

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: We are not living in a real democracy when large corporations and a handful of billionaire families can spend unlimited sums of money to elect or defeat candidates. We must expand our efforts to overturn the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision and move this country to public funding of elections.

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE: While we have made progress in recent years in expanding the rights of minorities, women and gays, these advances are under constant attack from the right wing. If the United States is to become the non-discriminatory society we want it to be, we must fight to protect the rights of all Americans.

 

CIVIL LIBERTIES: Frankly, the National Security Agency (NSA) and some of the other intelligence agencies are out of control. We cannot talk about America as a "free country" when the government is collecting information on virtually every phone call we make, when they are intercepting our emails and monitoring the websites we visit. Clearly, we need to protect this country from terrorism, but we must do it in a way that does not undermine our constitutional rights.

 

WAR AND PEACE: With a large deficit and an enormous amount of unmet needs, it is absurd that the United States continues to spend almost as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. The U.S. must be a leader in the world in nuclear disarmament and efforts toward peace, not in the sale of weapons of destruction.

 

Let me conclude by once again wishing you a happy and healthy new year — and by asking you to share this email with friends, family and co-workers.  They can sign-up for our occasional emails by clicking here.

 

This is a tough and historical moment in American history.  Despair is not an option.  Let us stand together as brothers and sisters and fight for the America our people deserve.  Thank you for your continued support.

 

Sincerely,

 

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Senator Bernie Sanders

This is a bit long for a short take, but Bernie is America’s Senator, so I passed it on.

Cartoon:

1230Cartoon

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  14 Responses to “Open Thread–12/30/2013”

  1. 3:56 You buried me in the flower bed this time.

    Fantasy Football ~ You really buried me in your litter box yesterday! Your whopping 122.54 to my measly 79.36.

    Congrats on the win.

  2. At one time, the Fat Cats seemed to care about their next generations.    But nowadays, they don't seem to mind destroying the goose with the golden eggs as long as they get theirs now.

  3. Alternet ~ Defenders of Phil Robertson have taken a front seat on the "Idiot Bus" this week.

    Bill Moyers' ~ St. Ronnie RayGun's legacy of "trickle down economics" continues to destroy our economy. But, be patient! We've only tried it for a little over 40 years. After another 20 years the top 1% will have 100% of the wealth in our country.

    Bernie Sanders ~ Kudos to America's Senator! I am on his mailing list also. I like his little polls he sends out all the time too.

    Cartoon ~ We don't need no steeeenking facts!

    • They sure have!

      Trickle down id both what Republicands do to America and what a dawg does to a fire hydrant.

      Thosewe polls are to generate contributions.

      Bingo!

  4. 4:44 All I beat was the average.

    Alternet – I see they could only come up with eight this week.  Oh well, Epstein is stupid enough to count for three.  (Does someone named Epstein really think he is part of a dynasty?  I wonder which one?  No offense intended to any actual human being named Epstein, of whom there are many, a few of whom I have known.)

    Thank heaven for Bill Moyers.  I already quoted his show once this week, Thomas Cahill was the guest I quoted, but Philip Levine got off a couple of good ones too, especially what he said to the hiring manager (who I'll bet never gave another applicant that srtaight line again).

    If you read this blog – and aren't already getting emails from Bernie Sanders – for heaven's sake, why not?

    Cartoon – but would they know one if it came to the door and showed ID?

  5. 5:30 – I support Senator Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont. He is our advocate for the working poor… :lol:

  6. I am happy for you that the Broncos won.

    I guess Epstein never heard about the Great Depression that was caused by a bunch of White guys.  He probably doesn't know that Dubya had a legacy that got him into an Ivy League college, either.  I clicked through, against my better judgment.  Anything Paul Ryan says makes me mad.  The Palins are a joke and I wish they would go home to Alaska and shut up.  As for Geraldo, anybody have a safe they want opened?

    Bill Moyers:   He is right.  Corporate America aims to make serfs out of the rest of us. The Wal Mart family and McDonalds are two that come to mind that have almost accomplished it with their employees.

    I received this email from Bernie Sanders, too. I wish he would run for Prez, or move to Ky and be my senator.

    Cartoon:  SO TRUE!

    Happy New Year!

    • Thanks!

      I bet he does know, but has a financial interesting in ignoring it.

      Agree.

      With your Senators, I bet you wish ANYONE would do that!! ;-)

      Thanks!

      Soon!