Saturday, December 31, 2011

Politifact Republican Candidate Report Card

How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving . . .

If you're a Republican -- I'm not -- watch what your potential candidates say. It's true, all politicians lie by definition, but you really need to watch some of the Republican hopefuls. They seem to take it to a whole new level. See The Politifact report card.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cutting at the bottom . . . Adding to the Top

Here's an interesting article from the Sacramento Bee.

. . . the city and county of Sacramento collectively increased the total amount paid to six-figure employees by $23 million, or 9 percent, while cutting 1,800 workers from their payrolls. . . .Several city and county leaders said the trend was largely unavoidable due to labor contracts and minimum staffing requirements. Many had to lay off employees based on tenure – and give the remaining employees raises due to their contracts.

You really have to wonder about unions and their contracts and the tendency of management to not eliminate their jobs.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Everything is Connected . . . Should it Be?

Today when I clicked on Blogger to create a new post, I was prompted to link my Google+ profile with my Blogger profile. I use a Chrome plug in which allows me to post to both Google+ and Facebook. I put something on Twitter and it shows up on Linked in. Everything is connected. The question I have is -- should it be?

Do I really want, or need my thoughts spread throughout the Internet? Do I need to know that things I enter here appear everywhere else? Do I want my entire Internet persona integrated through software? Or do I want, even value, the split personality that producing multiple blogs affords me? I don't know.

On one hand, integrating everything means that people can find my thoughts whether they follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or are in a circle on Google+. Don't get me wrong, I am not under any delusion that people actually care what I write. I think that most followers, friends, or circle members have the primary interest of getting me to follow what they write and only follow, friend, circle me to get me to reciprocate. And most of those hope to make money by getting me to purchase their product or service. But, enough about that.

I'm not sure that everything I say is of interest to everyone. After all, I blog about social media here, programming and IT topics on Bob Breedlove, U.S. politics on American Person and things of general interest at my website. Not everyone is interested in all those topics, even though they all interest me. So linking everything together may not make sense. In addition, linking everything means that someone has a pretty complete picture of me which they can turn into more profits for them. From a privacy point-of-view, when we stop to think about it, can be pretty disturbing.

But more on this as I see what the benefits and drawbacks of all this linking are.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Analysts see the economy improving

Who are these "analyst" guys and what are they analyzing? When they see the economy improving, what are they looking at? I think they're looking at profits. OK, profits are improving and therefore, the economy is improving. But, wait, what about jobs? Those aren't improving, so how can the economy be improving? Oh yeah, jobs aren't part of profits. In fact, jobs are part of expenses so, in an economic upturn based on profits, jobs need to be kept to a minimum.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Job Creator - a euphemism for rich person

Check out the Urban Dictionary definition. It's pretty spot on for the political use of this term. Like its big brother, trickle down economics, it's covering up the base term greed. Sure, businesses create jobs -- in some other country where the wages are just pennies a day. But the only thing that job creators are interested in actually creating is profits.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Check before you Share

There's lots of -- frankly -- BS going around the Internet at all times, but, especially during the political silly season leading up to a presidential election. Before you share that shocking fact, check it out. You can use:

Don't pass on the BS, it only stains your legs as it builds up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are Markets Running Countries?

It sure seems so with the economic problems around the world. Politicians are scrambling to make sure that the speculators and bond purchasers are happy with their progress. In Italy, it appears that the markets have forced a change in the government and in Greece, the entire country is affected by the economic situation. I have read several science fiction books where mega-corporations have replaced countries as the ruling powers. Now it seems that reality is imitating art with the exception that the ownership is not so obvious. The major influence for politicians is money and the corporations have the influence.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Did Cain Do It and Do I Care?

Herman Cain, a top-runner in the Republican't race for the 2012 presidential nomination is fighting against charges of inappropriate behavior in a former life. Do I care? Compared to what the Republican'ts have done to the country and what the would do if one of them made it to the Presidency, I don't think a little inappropriate behavor matters one iota. Of course, if it helps keep any Republican't out of the White House, then, I think it's a good thing.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Global Warming? Yeah, it's real.

Hey, all you republican'ts and other global warming deniers, take a look at this. Here's a fellow denier who TRIED to find that global warming wasn't real -- even being financed by a denier group -- but couldn't. In the end he agreed with what leading climate scientists have been saying for decades. Global Warming is real.

I bring this up, not so much as an example for global warming, but as an example to all those who stick to their closely held beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence (are you listening 1%!?). We need to believe the evidence and compromise to help the whole world, not just our friends and supporters.

Come on, republican'ts and democraps, in Washington D.C. get it together and GET TOGETHER to arrive at compromise solutions which will help all 100% of the American Persons, not just your little 1% group.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Confusing Power with Greatness

We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.

[source] This is one of the major problems with the right wing of American politics and many in the Republican party in general. They believe that might makes greatness and they are sorely mistaken. A truly great society is one in which all the people share in the profits, not just the privileged few. And, our standing in the world is not based on our power, but on our compassion.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy . . . Are you involved?

I'm not. It's not that I'm not interested. But, like much of the middle class, I'm too busy surviving to participated in a demonstration of the frustration that many of us are feeling with the world economic situation. I AM one of the lucky ones. No, I'm not the top 1% -- the super rich -- I'm solidly entrenched in the middle class. But I have a job which seems as secure as any I can see in today's environments. But you never know, so I am working like the devil to keep it that way.

So what is the issue? I'm thinking GREED. Yep, good old greed. The greed of corporations is the basic issue. It is expressed by the demonstrators in various ways, but it boils down to this simple concept. Admittedly, it's not a simple concept. After all PROFIT -- the goal of greed -- benefits even those who only work for a corporation. My 401K plan benefits when the companies in the mutual funds make more money and the values of the stocks rise. But, the benefit to the average worker is minimal.

So what can we do? My opinion is that we must make social responsibility part of the equation. We need to make it PROFITABLE. We need to make the people in the boardrooms and executive suites understand that employing Americans is PROFITABLE. We need to make social responsibility profitable. This may mean higher prices for things, but it has to happen. Hit them in the only place where they feel it -- in their PROFITS.

We also need to make them understand that, if the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to increase or remain as it is, something bad will happen. I'm not advocating anything, just reacting to the atmosphere that I perceive in the society. The pressure is building and it has to be released.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Debit Card Fees -- Good or Bad?

Take a quick look at this cartoon, then come back . . . I'll wait . . .

So what do you think? Is this a good thing or a bad thing or what? If you're a banker, you're looking to maximize your profits -- capitalism, remember? If you're a business, you're thinking it's great to have the bank pass on these fees to the consumer, so you don't have to hide them in the YOUR prices. If you're a consumer, you're thinking, "HEY, what the heck!"

If you use debit cards -- I don't -- you're thinking that this is pretty raw. Maybe you should switch to your credit card for all purchases and pay it off at the end of the month. In a way, this may be what the banks are thinking. Use your credit card, charge just a bit too much to pay off at the end of the month, more profits for the banks -- this time in interest on your credit balance. Win - ah, not so win.

Of course, this might be a good thing, if the theories of the open markets holds. You'll move your accounts to another bank with lower or no fees . . . but wait a minute. It's a hassle to move accounts, especially if you have automatic deposits or bill payments. Man, not as easy as you might think to make this market thing work -- at least for the individual.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

U.S. Poverty Rate at 15.1% -- next the revolution?

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the poverty rate in the U.S. is the highest since 1993. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to increase. Do you wonder when the revolution will come?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This one hits it on the head

Check out this political cartoon.

I think it hits the hypocrisy of the Republicans. THEIR entitlements and benefits need to be guarded at all costs including wrecking the middle class. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

9-11 10 Years Later

This Sunday marks 10 years since the tragedy of 9/11. We cannot forget the lessons learned from that and the subsequent events. Many have become part of our way of life. Travel on an airplane and you are reminded of the event by the pat-downs, body scanners, and vigilance of the TSA. We are using new acronyms as a result of this event -- HSA, TSA, IED. Our lives have changed in response to this single incident.

Many of us remember where we were when we heard the news. I was pulling into the parking lot for a conference and training session in the Bay Area when I heard the news on NPR. I called my wife and she confirmed that the event had happened. The company holding the event thought about cancelling it, but, made the right decision to keep it going. After all, with airline travel stopped, the people at the event could go nowhere anyway. I spent the first night, like most of us, glued to the TV, disbelief the first thing entering my mind when I saw the towers collapse. During the conference, attendees with friends and relatives who worked in or around the Twin Towers were on their cell phones constantly hoping for good news about them. Some got it . . . some didn't.

As I sit here thinking about the anniversary, I wonder whether we have actually learned anything? The two wars which started as a result of this incident have cost many lives and much money. They don't seem to have accomplished anything. Iraq was always a mistake in my opinion -- a useless waste of lives spawned by Bush and his cronies perhaps only to avenge the failure of his father to eliminate the problem years earlier. The war in Afghanistan seems to have not only cost lives and bled our economy but to have resulted in a stronger resistance the "American Imperialism". The corruption of the government in Afghanistan seems little better than the warped view of Islam espoused by the Taliban. And, now, 10 years later, I still read that the U.S. must stay in Afghanistan or risk future attacks. It appears we have accomplished nothing except to raise even more terrorists who hate the U.S.A. When I think about the lives that could have been spared and the money that could have gone to helping those in need both in the U.S. and abroad, I am saddened.

Perhaps that is the real tragedy of 9/11. We have failed to achieve anything in the efforts spawned because of the tragedy. We have not stopped terrorism. In fact, we may have incited more terrorism because of our actions. The world is still a mess, politically, socially, and now economically. It appears we have, again, failed to learn the real lesson of 9/11 and work on the things which really matter.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A "Media" Break - The Week on Wall Street

Like most American Persons, I have been watching Wall Street's wild week through the media. I have seen my 401K become a 0.401K then a 4.01K and finally return to a sort of 401K. Actually, the market is down only slightly at the end of the week. This makes me wonder if it isn't best to take breaks from the media "hype" about everything.

I need to remember that the media is driven by RATINGS, not my need for accurate, unbiased information. After all, news organizations are owned by the same PROFIT DRIVEN enterprises which show me Kardasians rather than people doing good in Sudan and brides buying wedding dresses or mother obsessing over their baby beauty contestants rather than information about world events. It is no wonder that news organizations will show me the one teen rioting in Philadelphia rather than the 100's doing good in their neighborhoods. Like any profit driven organization, we need to remember that their motive is to maximize their profits. Insurance companies, hospitals, all of them are only driven by anything which benefits the American Person if they can make a profit at it. Look at your jobs -- or rather look at the job you had which they sent to some foreign country because that country's person is willing to work for pennies rather than dollars per day.

OK, I'm starting to ramble, but you get the idea. We went through this week obsessing about our retirement funds only to see that things worked out OK at the end of the week. Maybe I should have taken the middle of the week off and just looked for the news summary at the end of the week

Volume was much lighter than on any other day of the week and intraday swings were far less violent than in previous days. Both signs suggested a drop in investor anxiety.
Still, the market was down for the week and posted its worst three-week decline since March 2009 when it hit 12-year lows.
 Take a break, don't pay all that much attention to the media for a day or two and save lots of anxiety and consternation. Take a media break.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Super Congress?

OK, let me see if I get this straight. The problem with Washington is the partisan divide in the congress. So, with the passing of the debt limit bill, we are going to create a "super committee" which some are calling "Super Congress" made up, in all likelihood, of the the stars of the partisan-ism and the "idiots" actually expect this group to accomplish something!? Exactly what are they putting into that "tea"?

The crux of the failure of Washington D.C. is the fact that moderates with any hope of compromising on anything are squeezed out. Perhaps congress should look at its own approval rating. Only 1.5 people out of 10 think they are doing a good job and I suspect that these are the actual Senators and Congress members themselves. I'm thinking that the 1/2 of the person also doesn't include a full set of brains. If they're divided top to bottom, it's the bottom half and if they're split vertically, then it includes only half a brain. For anyone in Washington D.C. half a brain is probably less than 50% because I believe part of becoming a politician involves having half your brain sucked out through a crazy straw.

I suspect we'll see those triggers kick in, but be overridden by the gravy-loving special interests so that the less wealthy of us will continue to suffer at the hands of the "idiots".

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Congress, Approval Rating in the Crapper

A record 82 percent of Americans now say they disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, compared with 14 percent who approve, the poll found.
The disapproval rating for Congress was the highest in the 34 years the question has been asked in the poll and up from the previous high of 77 percent set in May 2010.
So this is a surprise to anyone!? The problem is, however, that congress is doing a crappy job, but MY congressman is OK because he brings money back into the district. It's why incumbents continue to hold office.
But I think that the new crop of Tea Party idiots in the house are really laughable. At least, I'd be laughing if it wasn't so serious. These morons think that they can demand their way and get everything they want without any compromise or moderation. They are like the spoiled brats of the Washington zoo. Many of them call themselves Christian which is laughable since they don't care for anyone except themselves and their rich contributors. Christ would roll over in his grave if he hadn't risen at the very thought that these idiots can use that term.
Seventy-two percent of the poll respondents disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the debt ceiling negotiations, while 60 percent disapproved of the way Congressional Democrats acted to resolve the crisis.
You really hope that more moderate heads prevail in the future discussion of budget balancing. But there is little hope for the "gang of 12" who will work on future budget balancing efforts. The Republicans will have to put at least one of the Tea Party idiots on the panel while the Democrats will have to put one from the ideological opposite on the "gang". Maybe it should be more the "gaggle of 12" since they have about as much hope of any substantive compromises the solve the nation's problems at the geese which they seem intent on imitating.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Deficit Deal Very Close?

It's Sunday with only two more days to go and I'm seeing reports that the deficit deal is close. I wonder how much of this is real and how much is show? I'm leaning to a lot of show on both sides. Both sides want to look good for their core constituencies with the 2012 presidential election looming. (Over a year to go and it's looming!) Despite the fact that they're idiots by my definition, these are smart individuals. Certainly, they knew that extreme proposals on either side were DOA with the other side. I guess they had to make them to show their bases that they are serious. I guess we American Persons will just have to wait to see if they really can get their act together and do our business rather than just benefit their own.

Friday, July 29, 2011

No Duh!?

You gotta love this headline:

Obama ready to work through weekend for debt fix

Well I should hope so. After all, he is part of the zoo that created the mess in the first place. If the idiots in Washington D.C. were less interested in getting re-elected and more interested in benefiting the rest of us, the president could take the weekend off and enjoy his family.

Fuel Efficiency Standards

I'm listening to the President's speech on fuel efficiency standards. While doing so, I'm multitasking and ran across this quote:

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. -- Albert Einstein
Seems appropriate for the "idiots" in the "zoo" (you know, the politicians in Washington D.C.) on this and the debt limit -- and just about everything else since these ARE the same idiots that cause most of the problems in the first place.

Five Days and Counting

The Idiots in Washington (you remember that's the name for all the politicians) have 5 days and counting to deal with the debt crisis. But, as usual they all seem to be more interested in posturing for the next election rather than doing the country's business. Compromise is again out the window and grandstanding appears to be the one thing that they are capable of doing. The sound bite and media appearance are the overriding element while substantive accomplishments stand for nothing. It's too bad we can't just build that wall around the "zoo" (my new name for Washington, D.C.) and ignore them, but the impact of their idiocy affect us all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

President of a 3rd World Country

The politicians of both parties in Washington (here after referred to as "the idiots") appear to prefer presidential politics over doing right by the Country. It appears the idiots are more concerned about getting their party's nominee elected in 2012 over upholding the full faith and credit of the U.S.A. even if they have to be president of a 3rd world country. Both sides are sticking by positions which are designed to make their side look good and give them a set of "talking points" for the presidential elections rather than being the best thing for the rest of us. They are willing to stand by their untenable position even if it means fewer jobs or a lower standing in the international community. Maybe, rather than building a wall between the U.S.A. and Mexico, we need to build that wall around Washington, place all the idiots inside and lock the gate.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Shuttle Era Ends

With the touchdown of Atlantis, the space shuttle program comes to an end. 1,500 employees will be laid off tomorrow and the future of space exploration will be in the hands of the politicians as much as the scientists and technicians. It has been a wild ride and I, for one, hope it continues.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Against logic there is no armor like ignorance

Against logic there is no armor like ignorance. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter

To my mind, the politicians in Washington are the epitome of this quote. Especially the radicals at each end of the spectrum. Their personal filters are so fine that they don't allow any opinions other than those already entrenched to penetrate. This doesn't allow compromise which is the basis of our political system, thus causing the country to go down the crapper.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Silly (Political) Season is starting

By "Silly Season" I mean the U.S. Presidential election season. It would be silly if the repercussions for the country with the election of the wrong president weren't so grave. The Democrats are set, Obama all the way. The Republicans and, I guess, the Tea Party-ers are starting their search for the perfect candidate.The possibilities range from the good to the bad to the ugly (at least from the point of view of a moderate like myself). They all seem to be fighting again this cycle to prove that they are the "most conservative" or a "real conservative" or whatever sound bite will get them elected. They are all running through the first primary states -- less representative of the rest of the U.S. than some foreign countries -- to gain some advantage by showing well in these areas. They're traveling by all modes of transportation short of mule to visit the parts of the country that they feel will provide the best background for whatever media event they are planning next. And, of course, they are all bashing Obama at every chance. By the time one is actually nominated, I'm sure we, again, will be thoroughly sick of the entire thing and just want it over. At least they will provide good fodder for stand up comedians and late night talk show hosts for the next year.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you.

Reason with most people means their own opinion.

Ain't it the truth! Especially in politics today. It seems that both sides are only willing to listen to opinions which reinforce their world view. There is little-or-no movement to the middle, toward compromise. I wonder where it will end? Will it take a major disaster or uprising to make politicians and the money which support them to realize that this is unsustainable? Aren't they learning anything from the unrest in the Middle East or from the history which shows that as the divide between the rich and the poor grows, so does the pressure to change the situation? Apparently not. The quote, above, holds sway more than ever.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wealth Inequity -- 1 vs. 200

I heard two consecutive news items the other day. In the first, the CEO of Pacific Gas and Electric -- you know the company that blew up the San Bruno, CA, neighborhood -- is getting a $35-million retirement package. The very next story was about Nevada schools which will be forced to lay off 200 teachers and make other cuts, due to budget deficits. The deficit? $35-million dollars. The irony is that one person's package is enough to keep 200 teachers employed. I'm not shorting people's ability to make money for what they do, but I don't think that any CEO is worth 200 teachers, no matter what he or she does.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Race: Human

I heard an interesting interview about the U.S. Census which reported that 50% of the increase in population was among Hispanics. This researcher always goes directly to the race and ethnicity questions, checks other and fills in race: "human" which is the "only one I recognize". He calls race and ethnicity a "pigment of the imagination" when talking with his students. I like it. Actually, I view "hispanic" as a geo-political designation rather than a race or ethnicity and I like the idea of answering "other - human" to that question on all forms.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Protesting Against vs. Advocating For

The situation in Lybia brought something to my attention. The problems which can arise when you protest against something vs. the cohesive nature of a group which advocates for something. When you protest against something -- an established government, for example -- you can be joined by a diverse group of people who agree that the thing is bad. However, they don't always agree on what is good when the protest succeeds and the bad thing is eliminated. That is, they agree that the thing is bad, but not the direction to follow once that thing that you protested against is eliminated. This can cause issues once the regime, for example, falls.

On the other hand, a group advocating for something have the advantage of a goal to work toward once the bad thing is eliminated. They are working to a specific agreed upon end and the issues involved in reaching that end are less divisive that the protester case.

We can learn something from this in both domestic and international relations. If we back protesters, we are often faced with the issue that the resulting situation can be worse for the U.S. than the existing situation. Of course, as in the case of Lybia, if we are advocating democracy, we need to be prepared for the messy results of a democratic process. (Just look at our country and the divisiveness now!) On the other hand, if we back advocates, we know what the desired outcome can be and the likely results for the U.S.

In the U.S. we have much the same situation with the deficit. We protest against it, but have very different views on the outcome we want when it is reduced.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sincere Ignorance and Conscientious Stupidity

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity -- Martin Luther King "Strength to Live"

I think this is much of what we are facing in our political environment today. Factions aligned behind an opinion or idea and unwilling or unable to listen to anything which differs from that stand. And, the Internet, is a prime contributor to making this easier. The huge flow of data which come through the Internet should allow people to explore other ideas and challenge their opinions and ideas from all sides. But, it is too easy to filter ideal through the internet. We tend to read only opinions which agree with our own and filter out anything which might reflect on the stupidity of those closely held beliefs.

Get out their an sample the opposition. Look at other opinions with an open mind in the hopes that you will refine your beliefs into something which can actually move this world forward.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

9 second opinion

The news sound bite is around 9 seconds. It's interesting to note that the Twitter 140 character tweet can also be said in around 9 seconds. Are we limiting our view of the world to 9-second snippets?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Republicans are Coming!

80 Republican freshmen will hit Washington in a few days. They say that they want to change the way laws are made in the nation's capital. Let's hope that they show compassion for all people and not just their rich constituents. Some say they want to balance the budget by cutting social programs -- Social Security and Medicaid. I say, how about cutting the defense budget also. I realize that we need to spend less, but it seems that Republicans are focused on programs for working families and the poor while keeping those programs which benefit their constituents. Why not? Those poor people can't donate enough money to help with their re-election, anyway! It's rather hypocritical, though. Conservatives claim to be for family values, yet they want to eliminate all the supports which help working families stay together and make it through life. I guess God's definition of marriage as "one man and one woman" needs to revised to "one man and one woman, a housekeeper, butler, and driver".

Republicans say they want to eliminate earmarks (you know, those moneys attached to bills which benefits things like "bridges to nowhere"), while what they really want is to retain the practice of taking pork back to their constituents under a different name. After all, protecting their doaners' incomes is how they get re-elected and as we all know, a politicians primarily motivator is re-election and the retention of their power.

We can only hope that the compromise shown in the last "lame duck" session continues into 2011 so that we can all benefit from our elected legislators actually doing something. But, unless you are in outstanding shape, I wouldn't hold my breath!