Feb 212015
 

I keep reading reports about how states, especially red states, keep cutting basic services because of budget shortfalls.  That would not be necessary if states would just tax its citizens fairly, instead of giving preferential treatment to the super rich.

0221tax_the_richRoads are crumbling, bridges require repairs, schools need upgrades and public pension systems remain underfunded. How can states and cities find the money to address any of these problems? One way could be through their tax codes.

According to a new report, if the rich paid the same state and local tax rate as the middle class, states and cities would have hundreds of billions of dollars more a year in public revenue.

Last month, the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that the poorest 20 percent of households pay on average more than twice the effective state and local tax rate (10.9 percent) as the richest 1 percent of taxpayers (5.4 percent).

That preceded the new report from the left-leaning groups Good Jobs First and the Keystone Research Center which finds that if tax laws were changed to compel the highest income earners to pay the same rate as everyone else, states and localities would rake in up to $128 billion a year in new revenue. If just the top 1 percent of earners were compelled to pay the typical middle-class tax rate, the report says the change would raise more than $68 billion in new annual revenues… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alternet>

Think of the good those $billions could do.

Oregon is better than most states in that regard, but we don’t go far enough.  Even though I’m just above the poverty line, I still fall in the top tax bracket of over 10%.  It’s only fair that the rich should pay a higher percentage than the rest of us, because states spend more to satisfy their wants than to meet our needs.

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Feb 202015
 

Lately, blowing Oregon’s horn has been more difficulty than normal, given the national exposure of the Kitz scandal and Oregon’s more ludicrous Republicans.  So, before Rachel does a segment like Monica Wehby Wants to Be the New Governor’s First Lady, I’ll blow Oregon's horn while I can.

0220PorOrOn Wednesday, the Portland, OR city council voted unanimously to increase the minimum wage for city workers and contractors to $15 an hour, currently the highest minimum wage anywhere in the country.

They amended the Fair Wage Policy, which sets the floor for about 173 full-time city employees and contractors. Most of the affected workers are janitors, parking attendants, and security workers paid by contractors who are subject to the policy. The wage increase could also trickle out to those who work for third-party vendors that honor the Fair Wage Policy.

Workers who won’t be covered include 1,800 seasonal and part-time employees mostly working for the Parks Bureau, many of whom have a capped number of hours they can work each year, often making their part-time status involuntary.

The wage hike comes as a bill is being considered in the Oregon legislature to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour from its current level of $9.25…

Inserted from <Think Progress>

Toot! Toot!!

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Feb 192015
 

If everything goes as planned, I’ll have articles posted and links sent before I take my friend to dinner today, although that will entail some hurry-up.  Then I’ll have a few days to catch-up on chores before a major prison volunteer day next week, when we’ll have a class of University students coming in to meet with my guys.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 5:06).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: In an effort to distance himself from the legacy of his brother, George W. Bush, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will use a major foreign-policy speech on Wednesday to assert that, if elected President, he would harm the nation in completely different ways.

“A lot of people are looking at me and thinking that I’m just going to be a rerun of my brother,” Bush told reporters before the speech. “They are greatly underestimating my ability to create chaos and destruction in ways that are uniquely mine.”

As an example, Bush said, he was unlikely to invade Iraq for a third time, calling such an action “too derivative.”

“George already did it, and Dad did it before him,” he said. “Call it my independent streak, if you will, but I want to spawn some disasters of my own.”

To that end, Bush said that he and his foreign-policy team were already scanning the globe for “new and different places” where the United States could become involved in open-ended and pointless quagmires.

Andy isn't telling us that his faux Bush is lying just like the real one does. He's just like his brother, a Neocon hawk. GW ChickenHawk intended to conquer six more countries, after Iraq. The only thing that prevented him from more invasions is that Republican incompetence bogged him down in Iraq.

From Daily Kos: When teenagers are flashing "white power" signs at sporting events, rest assured that racism is alive, well, and here to stay.

In a week when a Mississippi judge was indicted for slapping a disabled black man and calling him a "nigger," when Chelsea soccer fans chanted racism at a black fan and refused to allow him on the train, and when we learn St. Louis police vocally encouraged each other to turn off their cameras before beating a young black man they later dropped all charges against, it's not as if we needed more proof that racism is thriving in 2015, but it keeps on coming.

White students from Flower Mound High School began flashing a "White Power" sign in the middle of the game for all to see against the predominantly African-American Plano East basketball team. In the image above, it also appears that several students near the sign may have painted their faces brown in "black face" to mock the Plano East team.

After the game, players from Plano East discovered that their team bus had been urinated and defecated on. While several students have confirmed the incident on the team bus, the district has yet to confirm it. Witnesses have also stated they heard students hurl racial slurs at black students, particularly after one student was injured.

Here we have more examples of how the Republican Party reaches out to African Americans.

From NY Times: Ms. Brown, who is a Democrat like Mr. Kitzhaber and as secretary of state was the first in line to succeed him under Oregon’s Constitution, has promised to make a series of immediate moves that she says are “needed to restore the public’s trust in government.” She also said she would address economic issues facing working families.

The swearing in of a new governor also brings a kind of cultural shift to the state capital. Mr. Kitzhaber, 67, a former emergency room doctor, forged his political identity as a moderate Westerner, usually in boots and jeans, who often reached out to the state’s rural and more conservative areas, which have struggled economically.

Ms. Brown, 54, by contrast, is more a product and a reflection of the state’s largest and perhaps most liberal city, Portland. She is a yoga enthusiast and a cyclist who often rides tandem with her husband, Dan Little, from their restored early-20th-century home in southeast Portland. She is also bisexual, having come out in an essay on a website about elected officials who are “out,” and is being recognized by gay rights groups as the first openly bisexual governor in the nation.

Welcome Kate. I trust you'll do fine job.

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Feb 142015
 

As someone, who frequently blows Oregon’s horn, having my governor resign under pressure is difficult for me.  I’m still not certain he did anything criminal, but there is certainly an appearance of impropriety.  The sad part is that Kitz has been a damn fine governor, far better that the extremist the Republicans offered.  Given the same choice, I would vote for him again.

0214KitzOregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, ending a storied 37-year career in politics, relinquished his office Friday after a week of escalating pressure.

In a defiant statement issued just after noon, the governor bowed to a public corruption controversy involving allegations that he and fiancée Cylvia Hayes abused his office. He will step down Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Democrat Kate Brown, now the secretary of state, will take his place, becoming the state’s 37th governor.

"I understand that I have become a liability to the very institutions and policies to which I have dedicated my career and, indeed, my entire adult life," Kitzhaber wrote, after accusing the media of depriving him of due process. "I have always tried to do the right thing, and now the right thing to do is to step aside."…

Inserted from <The Oregonian>

Filling in for Rachel, Steve Kornacki covered the story.

Bye, Kitz.  May your life going forward show you all the kindness you have shown Oregon.

Kate Brown, the incoming Governor, is not a very high profile politician.  Transparency is one of her main hot buttons.  She will receive instant notoriety for being the first openly bisexual governor in the nation.  Republican State Senate Minority Leader Red Ferrioli, displaying standard Republican hate, will boycott her swearing-in.  To the best of my knowledge she is monogamous, but I can’t help imagining how the clown car would react, if Oregon had both a first gentleman and a first lady at the same time.

Hi Kate.  Welcome.

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Feb 112015
 

Day 98.  Yesterday’s volunteer meeting in prison was excellent.  Our CoDA group talked about making amends.  Often people are not receptive, when we try.  When that happens, we should accept that without bitterness.  Obtaining a favorable response is not the purpose of making amends.  Our willingness to do so unloads the baggage; so we don’t have to carry it anymore.  The down side, as usual, is that I’m quite worn out today.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:04 (average 5:43).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Democratic Party of Oregon: 2015 Legislative Session Agendas

In November, with your help, Oregon Democrats won resounding victories in the State House and State Senate. And thanks to you, they’re already making a difference.

To learn more about what Democrats in the Oregon Legislature are working hard to accomplish right now, view the Democratic session agendas for the Oregon State House and State Senate.

Click the links for House and Senate.  It’s is what Democrats are doing in Oregon. It might well serve as a model for the nation.

From MSNBC: ‘Bears’ have own plan for Jeb Bush campaign site

 

Since MSNBC took down the video they put on YouTube, we’ll try again. We still don’t know what bears do or don’t do in the woods, but they certainly do on the Bush!!  :-D

From Upworthy: Dealing with the mess we’ve made feels overwhelming. Does swapping out your lightbulbs, writing your legislators, and sorting your trash really change anything? How can one person make a difference?

It turns out that our little actions, all added up together, do make a big difference. If everyone in the United States turned off the water while they brush their teeth, the daily savings could be up to 2.528 billion gallons. That’s more than twice as much water than the entirety of New York City uses in a day.

In this tongue-in-cheek video, a cat shows you how he makes a few tiny changes that have a big impact.

 

I have to say that cats are the wisest of creatures.

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Feb 062015
 

Maddow

You need to go a long, long way to find someone, who is a bigger fan of Rachel Maddow than I am, but last night she was so dismissive of my home state, that I feel I should take a few minutes to reply to her, tongue in cheek, even though I’m sure I will remain a Rachel fan without interruption.  Let’s begin with some video.

On the Republicans and their brand of InsaniTEA, she is accurate, but I have already covered everything she brought up, here, except for the idiot with the buzzer.  I will add, however, the money that propels such TEAbuggery to the forefront comes from out of state.

Now we come to Kitz.  There is certainly the appearance of impropriety there, and if the investigated does reveal quid pro quo, he should resign, and I would have no trouble supporting his successor, Kate Brown.  Either way, it’s time for Kitz to get a new girlfriend.  He should not accept the first person to apply for that position, either.  I know who tat would be.  The last thing Oregon needs is for Monica Wehby to become First Mistress.

On the owl, it’s certainly understandable that the bird is angry.  How would you like to live in a park with Bush in the name.  If only there were two, Oregon could brag about the most aggressive pair of hooters in the country.

At least Rachel ended on a high note, and I hope Oregon’s bear couple does appear on her show.  I just hope she does not ask them what they do, or don’t do, in the woods.

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Jan 312015
 

It’s day 87, and I’m still hard at work effecting the changes needed from my ISP switch.  I need to change my login info at literally hundreds of websites.  Plus I haven’t even begin to start reconfiguring the notebook computer yet.  Tomorrow is the highest holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, an unholy perversion of blessed orb light between the Cheats and the Chickens. I’ll be meditating, but I’m bound to be disappointed, because I’m cheering for both teams to lose.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:51 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Guess who owns JebBushforPresident.com and won’t give it back?

The answer is CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater! They are a self-described "bear couple."

The Oregon techies bought the domain name in 2008, when Jeb Bush was rumored to be seeking the Republican presidential nomination, reports Business Insider. Phillips and Rainwater are no supporters of Bush, though — in fact, they wanted to use the website to blog about LGBT rights and draw attention to the former Florida governor’s dismal equality record.

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! Oregon leads the way!!

From The New Yorker:

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney told supporters on Friday that he was “incredibly relieved” to be able to keep the approximately five to ten residences he owns across the country.

“Having to talk about how much I care about ordinary Americans and so forth—I was game for that,” he said. “But having to sell all of those houses? That was going to be brutal.”

The 2012 Republican nominee said that he was especially glad he did not have to part with the car elevator in his eleven-thousand-square-foot mansion in La Jolla.

Andy’s doing news again. Little Lord Willard already had that house. In addition, he drowned his sorrows over the whipping he took in 2008 by going on a $multi-million mansion buying spree.

From MSNBC: A couple of weeks ago, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) raised a few eyebrows by complaining about Americans receiving disability benefits. “Over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club,” the senator said at a New Hampshire event. “Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everybody over 40 has a little back pain.”

Since I took note of Paul’s comments, it’s only fair to also mention that the senator’s office has since elaborated on the same point. Whether or not he’s made things better or worse is a matter of perspective.

Paul spokesman Brian Darling pointed to two data points – 27.7 percent of disabled beneficiaries are diagnosed as having ailments related to “Musculoskeletal system and connective tissue” and that 14 percent have “mood disorders.” That adds up to 42 percent, he noted. (There’s also nearly 4 percent who cite injuries, which presumably could cover back injuries.)

Steve Benin, the author, probably thinks he made it worse. Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot may belittle mood disorders,but most of the time they are severe mental illnesses, that kind that might even drive people to vote for him.

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