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Random Thoughts Before A Holiday

* The President takes as bold of an action as he possibly can and the Speaker of the House claims this ends any co-operation that was going to happen between congress and the President. Maybe Boehner missed it, but there was never any co-operation to begin with. When you make a threat, try to operate within reality, Boehner.

cooperation after

* We will sure miss this guy:

attribution:EarlG at democraticunderground,com

attribution:EarlG at democraticunderground,com

* While you are sitting back digesting the turkey and taters, the Koch brothers and their ilk will be busy preparing their demands for the state politicians they own. Did I say own? I meant own. They will whine and dine them (yep I meant whine about how tough it is to be a billionaire these days) and give them a list of must dos or they will buy new politicians. I expect a new demand will be to destroy the electoral college before the next election.

* The President asks for TV network air time for a momentous speech and the networks tell him to take a hike, “Big Bang Theory” is much more important than some silly speech. Just in case you wondered how the media views Obama or any Democrat for that matter.

* If you are shopping over the holiday weekend, remember that you do vote with your dollars. Money spent at most of the big box stores will come back to haunt you when the billionaires buy politicians with the profits. Shop local if you can. Otherwise try to pick merchants who espouse policies you do: decent pay, equal pay and decent working conditions.

* There will be many things to fight against in the next congress. One that really hasn’t been talked about much but has me worried is the fate of the Post Office. As the employer with the biggest (and I daresay most cohesive) union in the country, I believe we can expect an all out assault on the Post Office to the point of totally dismantling it. In covering this story, I expect the media will give us many stories on how bad the USPO is and how private industry could do the job better. Typical media crap.

* Have a good holiday. Take a few moments to think of those less fortunate. Then try to act in ways that could help them.

Sunday Funday: Buffalo Still Exists Edition

we can try the quiz after dinner

we can try the quiz after dinner

THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING! Or so it must have seemed in Buffalo, New York and environs last week. Epochal snowfall. Even Noah himself would have had trouble in this one. Once more a weather event points up that indeed the climate is changing and we are headed for more and more extreme incidents. Remember that little rain we had last summer? Remember those tornadoes that devastated Washington, Illinois last November? Once again Australia is burning up. Lakes in California are dried up. The United Nations says we must make drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions immediately.

Buffalo survives for this round. But the warning shots are getting louder.

We’ll mix in a little Thanksgiving trivia with the questions this week.

1) In a bit of a surprise what major world economy announced they were in recession at the beginning of the week?

2) President Obama made a major policy address on immigration Thursday. Which of the television networks carried this major address?

3) The Iowa Board of Regents will discuss a third straight tuition freeze since Iowa students graduate ranked as number what in debt load?

4) The first Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1920 by what department store? (Choices: Macy’s Gimbel’s or Penney’s)

5) The Keystone XL pipeline was “defeated” in the Senate by a vote of what?

6) Susan Hamm of Oklahoma City made headlines when she said she would appeal her divorce settlement as being too low. What was the settlement?

7) Benjy, the Irish bull was scheduled for the slaughterhouse before he was saved by activists who raised money to save him. Why was Benjy scheduled to be slaughtered?

8) History notes that the Pilgrims may have been dumped at Plymouth Rock because the ship’s crew feared running out of what staple provision on the way home to England? (hint: it was stored in kegs)

9) A wise Person would stock up now. Increased consumption and a disease called “frosty pod” threatens what staple of the American diet?

10) An Iowa man went where he shouldn’t have. R. j. Ranae Kapheim of Davenport was arrested where with what?

11) Campus shootings were recorded at two locations this week. Can you name one of them?

12) What long time humorist was not laughing this week as many women came forward with tales of sexual abuse at his hands?

13) Back in the day – 1621 – it took about how long to travel from England to America – two months, three months or four months?

14) The USDA approved a genetically modified potato for Simplot company. However, what company said they would not use this potato?

15) FDR tried to move up the Thanksgiving holiday by a week to stimulate the economy in what year?

Last I heard Buffalo had as much as 84 inches (7 feet) of snow. That is just unbelievable. Our best wishes for a recovery for those folks.

Answers:

1) Japan

2) PBS – none of the commercial networks carried the address

3) sixth highest

4) Gimbel’s in Philadelphia. Macy joined the fun in 1924

5) 59 for 41 against – therefore the against wins in Senate math

6) She got $1 billion, but since that was only 6% of her husband’s fortune, she felt it too little

7) he seemed to be gay, only hung with the bulls and had no interest in mating

8) beer – fermented drinks were often used since water could kill a person

9) chocolate

10) near the White House with several weapons and ammunition.

11) Edinburg, Pa. and Florida State

12) Bill Cosby

13) two months

14) McDonald’s said it would not use the potato for fries – at least for now.

15) 1939. In 1941 Congress passed a bill establishing the 4th Thursday as Thanksgiving. Moving the holiday was a major kerfluffle.

For those who just can’t get enough football, the Grey Cup is scheduled for next Sunday (Nov. 30) at 5PM Central time.
Happy Holiday

The People Have Spoken

the people have spoken
http://politicalirony.com/2012/06/10/the-american-people-have-spoken/

I am sure you can add many more

Joni Ernst Meeting with SCJ Editorial Board

Quoting Wonkette“You can watch the entire, excruciating hour-long conversation here, although castration would probably be less painful.”

20 reasons Not To Re-elect Branstad

branstad jobs numbers

A big thanks to Don Paulson of Muscatine for letting me use and combine his two LTTEs to his local paper into one complete list of Branstad “accomplishments.”

We need to elect Jack Hatch as Iowa’s governor! There are a lot of blemishes on the record of our current governor. Here are twenty reasons not to re-elect Terry Branstad-

#20- Branstad’s campaign pulled a dirty trick by creating a fake Jack Hatch website.

#19- Branstad actually hosted the Family Research Council’s “hate fest” in Ames earlier this year.

#18- At a Texas fundraiser Branstad admitted support for “tort reform”.

#17- In an insult to the principle of the separation of church and state, Branstad was an active participant and signed a state declaration for Bob Vander Plaats’s “Day of Prayer and Fasting”.

#16- The renovations at the Iowa Veterans Home are mired in controversy.

#15- Branstad’s Administration gave up a $1 million solar grant.

#14- His corporate tax cut will leave cities and counties short of funds.

#13- The Orascom boondoggle.

#12- With our roads and bridges falling apart, Branstad has shown zero leadership on raising the gas tax.

#11- Branstad has cost the taxpayers over $500,000 in legal fees in trying to unfairly get rid of Christopher Godfrey.

#10- Branstad illegally closed the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo.

#9- Branstad illegally closed 36 unemployment offices at the height of the Great Recession.

#8- Iowa’s water pollution and soil erosion are still a huge problem.

#7- Branstad’s Administration took the Chief Administative Law Judge’s position and made it susceptible to political pressure from the Governor’s office.

#6- Branstad still has close ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council.

#5- Branstad has failed to cut the cost of state government. According to a study reported in the 8/31/14 Des Moines Register, state spending has gone up 17.5%.

#4- Another one of Branstad’s big goals was to create 200,000 jobs. So far the net number of jobs created since 2011 is around 74,000.

#3- Another big Branstad goal was to increase Iowa family incomes by 25%. Here was another miserable failure. According to the same Register study incomes have gone up just 0.17%.

#2- Branstad packed the Iowa Board of Medicine with people that did away with Planned Parenthood’s telemedicine arrangement.

#1- Instead of expanding Medicare, Branstad tried to push through a vastly inferior health insurance plan called the “Healthy Iowa Plan”.

#0- A state auditor report has found there have been 42 settlement agreements by this Administration totaling $2.4 million dollars.

These reasons should give everyone pause about re-electing Terry Branstad. Another reason may be his health.

At the first debate, Branstad’s shaking hands and erratic behavior was plainly evident. Does he have Parkinson’s disease or something like that? The rumors persist that if re-elected Branstad will step down after a time and allow the incredibly average Kim Reynolds to become governor without having to go through an election.

I’ve Got A Thousand Million Questions

question
A line from that Moody Blues song “Question” –
“I’ve got a thousand million questions
About hate and death and war.”

And budgets and the wealth gap and the environment and health care and education and … well many more. Can I substitute for Dean Borg one week? Please?

1) Let’s start with the budget. Once again we appear to be moving to war with no talk of how we will pay for the bombs and the planes and the soldiers so on and so forth. Yet that will not stop us from going to war. However, we have bridges about to fall down, schools that are unsafe, sewer and water lines bursting around the country that are not being addressed. Why do we always have money for war, but no money for infrastructure needs?

2) An add on to the previous question, how will you pay for the next war? Please be specific on added taxes or program cuts and who will be affected.

3) Around the country we have seen corporations create major public damage to common goods like waterways, aquifers, land, health and more yet they walk away from responsibility for those damages. Tell me what you will do to relieve taxpayers of the burden of corporate irresponsibility?

4) As a country we have spent trillions to secure oil from the middle east through wars and standing armies and aid. It looks as though we will be in the middle east as long as we need oil. What are your proposals to get off the oil addiction?

5) who are you largest donors? What will they get for their investment in you?

6) When we go into war, the lives and bodies of soldiers are broken. We have been greatly negligent in repairing those broken lives and bodies. Would you favor a tax to pay for soldier maintenance throughout their lives before we send them into war?

7) Should there be a tax or cost added to products to pay for their impact on the environment?

8) Why do companies get tax breaks when they move jobs and facilities out of the US? What will you do to bring these jobs and facilities back? How will your approach work.

9) There is a new awareness of battered women in this country. What have you done in the past to address this problem and what do you propose that the government can do?

10) Finally – It has been nearly 2 years since the Sandy Hook massacre. We are killing each other as if we are in an internal war. What proposals will you advance to end this slaughter and tell us why they will work?

I could go on and I bet you could also. I really want to hear questions that affect our daily lives and see if the politicians understand what their platitudes mean.

“I’ve got a thousand million questions
About hate and death and war.”

Sunday Funday – Oops About That Harkin Steak Fry

harkin_braleyIf I am not wrong I wrote last week’s quiz as if the last Harkin Steak Fry was last week. I am a total Bozo, but I am not telling you anything you already didn’t know. If you did go to the event last week you no doubt secured an excellent seat. Hopefully you get squatter’s rights for this week.

Thirty-seven years is a long time. I think phones were still connected to the wall 37 years ago. Thank you Senator and a long life to you. By the way, I certainly hope we don’t see you as a lobbyist for any corporation.

And now: the quiz!

1) In recent years Harkin has invited 3 folks who have made noises about running for the Democratic nomination in 2016 besides Hillary. Can you name them (hint: 2008,2011, 2012)

2) Which state has had its bond rating downgraded for the seventh time and second this year under their governor who wants to be president?

3) The eyes of the world will be on what want-to-be nation next week as it votes for its independence?

4) At a Board of Supervisor’s meeting in Maquoketa, a gunman died while apparently trying to kill what county official?

5) Experimental vaccines have kept a group of macaque monkeys free from what disease for 10 months?

6) Two Minnesota senators have addressed the crowd at the Harkin steak fries over the years. Can you name them?

7) Multitudes of female Ravens fans attended Thursday night’s game wearing the jersey of what Ravens player?

8) The National Organization for Women (NOW) called for the resignation of what business leader this week?

9) On Wednesday, President Obama announced what strategy for the Middle East?

10) The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that for the first time ever fewer than half of American adults were what?

11) DNA tests revealed Aaron Kosminski as one of history’s most sought after mystery men. Who was Aaron Kominsky revealed to be?

12) Yet another major retailer announced that its credit customers may have been compromised. What retailer announced it was hacked this time?

13) What major world economy contracted at an annual rate of 7.1% in the second (April – June) quarter?

14) The Apple watch was introduced this week. The screen of the Apple watch will be made of what ultra-hard substance?

15) The sheriff of Rock Island County, Illinois resigned this week when he pled guilty to official misconduct for what actions?

It was a busy week. Bet Senator Harkin won’t miss the foofahrah all that much.

Answers:

1) 2008 – Brian Schweitzer, 2011 – Bernie Sanders and 2012 – Martin O’Malley

2) New Jersey

3) Scotland

4) the county assessor – he had a tax complaint.

5) Ebola

6) Paul Wellstone and Al Franken

7) the suspended for domestic violence Ray Rice

8) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over his handling of the Rice affair.

9) air strikes on ISIL

10) married – maybe we need more marriage equality.

11) Jack the Ripper

12) Home Depot

13) Japan

14) sapphire glass

15) cyber stalking a woman.

Americans Need To Work Together To Solve Our Nation’s Problems

together we will standLooking for a way forward, a new vision for our country calls us to step outside of our comfort zones.  How can we work together to solve our county’s problems? One of the first steps will be to properly identify problems, and their causes. Another is to let go of ideas that may have worked in our past, but aren’t working now – being willing to take pieces from our favorite “isms” and join them with others to form paths forward.

Could our national “character” use a little tweaking towards more gentleness and cooperation, and less fear and competitiveness?

Separating the ideals of how we would like government to work, from the pragmatics of what we actually have available to work with, and what is actually possible.

Can we solve the debt issue? If we (temporarily!) value the principle of low taxes less than the solving of our debt, yes we can! Through restructuring our tax systems (temporarily!) by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and changing loopholes, we can erase our enormous debt.

While doing that, we also need to discuss the deficit in our budget using sound mathematics and accounting principles rather than ideological principles. We need to be willing to reassess priorities. We need to debate respectfully how our “scope of government” and “the general welfare” might be different in this century, from the time period when our nation began.

We spend a tremendous amount of money on public assistance of various kinds. Romney’s figure of 47% will do for an example. Mathematically, is this percentage of “non-producers” in our economy sustainable? Of course not! In a perfect world, that percentage would be zero, but that is not a realistic goal. This is where accurately identifying the underlying causes of this problem comes in if we want to lower that percentage permanently.

If we are assisting people who can’t make ends meet because they are not educated enough for “good jobs,” wouldn’t investing more up front for their education be both more economically sensible and offering them more dignity as humans? If we are assisting people who can’t keep a job due to health issues, isn’t investing in supportive, early intervention health care that keeps them more productive both more logical and dignified?

The only thing keeping us from investing properly in our citizens and our future, is our fixation on the principle of “making it on our own.”  This principle needs the perspective of properly defining average versus exceptional. Our American “rags to riches” dream celebrates the success of exceptional people. We are not all exceptional people. By definition, very few of us are exceptional. Most of us are average, some of us are below average, no matter what category we discuss.

Can we solve our off-kilter political system? To perfection, no. Since so many of us are too frustrated to participate in elections, should we come up with a different form of governing? Should we limit who “qualifies” to vote, or should we pay more than lip service to educating voters?

Governing, or managing happens. In business contexts, we value the concept of managing. We seem to view managing/governing in our civil lives as evil. Either we manage our society with accountable elected officials, or we let others manage it, i.e., religious groups or business interests who are not accountable to us.

Our management needs are different now than when we began and “small government” is another principle that distracts us from improving how government does its job.

Let us admit that we cannot reach any of our desired Utopias, and work on things we can fix, together.

Laura Twing

 

 

Sunday Funday: The Last Harkin Steak Fry

Senator Tom Harkin

Senator Tom Harkin

In case you forgot today is the last annual Harkin Steak Fry. This is an annual fundraiser that helps pay a lot of bills for the Iowa Democratic Party. We can’t go this year due to previous commitments, but we do encourage all others. In case you hadn’t heard (do you live in a cave?) the headliners this year are that family from Arkansas, the Clintons.

We have been to a couple of these events. Always ran into friends from across the state. This was the main attraction for us. We did see an up and comer from Chicago name of Obama one year. I think that odd name may have held him back from going anywhere in politics.

Were you paying attention last week?

1) First the bad news. Oktoberfests in Germany are being threatened by a strike by the makers of what?

2) Jack Hatch claimed Branstad “can’t buy back his integrity.” What was Hatch referring to?

3) Eric Cantor couldn’t wait to leave his old job to get to his new job. How much will Cantor make in his first year as a Wall Street lobbyist?

4) Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager quit. This man is the central figure in the bribery conviction of what former Iowa state senator?

5) Amid crises in the Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq what group met in Wales last week?

6) A federal judge in New Orleans ruled Thursday that what company was guilty of “gross negligence” in the 2010 Gulf oil spill?

7) What would be football pioneer was released by the Rams and is now a free agent?

8) What scion of a notable American political family left her job as an NBC reporter, raising speculation one of her parents would run for president?

9) Thursday marked a major job action by workers in what industry?

10) Spontaneous combustion was blamed for a fire near Sioux Center that burned a large amount of what?

11) From the governor’s mansion to the jail house. The last governor of what state is now facing decades in jail after being convicted of corruption?

12) In a major breach of privacy what were leaked and posted on the internet?

13) President Obama pledged to defend what states against a threat from Russia?

14) A judge in Chicago had a two-fer Thursday when he overturned gay marriage bans in what two states at one time?

15) What company announced the siting of its giant battery factory in Nevada after a huge multi-state competition?

As most know, Joan Rivers died last week. She was truly a unique personality.

Now for some answers:

1) Pretzels. Pretzel bakers are threatening a strike just before Oktoberfest.

2) The hush money scandal that continues to swirl around the Branstad administration.

3) $3.4 million. That is about $10,000 a day.

4) Kent Sorenson

5) NATO

6) BP. finally someone is standing up to them.

7) Michael Sam

8) Chelsea Clinton.

9) Fast food industry protesting low wages.

10) Corn, about 2.7 million bushels.

11) Virginia. Governor Bob McDonnell

12) private celebrity nude photos, apparently hacked from a cloud storage site.

13) the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)

14) Indiana and Wisconsin

15) Tesla. The plant is expected to employ 6,500.

Should be good fall weather for the Harkin event. I hope everyone enjoys it.

Sunday Pictures

I have been collecting pictures to use in these posts for a while. Some never get posted but should.Thus, I have been toying with the idea of an occasional picture thread. Today I decided to do a short test picture thread.

what voters want

what voters want

Here's one for Bob Vander Plaats

Here’s one for Bob Vander Plaats

credit: democraticunderground.com

credit: democraticunderground.com

Still so very true

Still so very true

looks like we will be 100 years behind the rest of the world

looks like we will be 100 years behind the rest of the world

my favorite

my favorite