Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Several county clerks in Kentucky are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples based on their "Christian" beliefs. Basically they're arguing nullification. An idea that rears its ugly head every couple of generations or so.

One clerk's argument is that the voters in Kentucky passed a ballot measure and how can the Supreme Court say that it's wrong? Well, like it or not the Supreme Court is the final arbiter on what is constitutional and what isn't going back to Marbury vs. Madison under chief justice John Marshall. Frankly, which of your civil rights would you want to leave to the tender mercies of your neighbors?

As an example. Back in the seventies Oregonians had a bumper sticker "Don't Californicate Oregon." I'm sure there were some of us would have liked to pass laws that kept "furriners" out. The Courts would have ruled such laws were unconstitutional, and rightly so.

The constitution has a mechanism to deal with his complaints. It's called an amendment.. You don't like what's happening? Try to amend the constitution. Good thing that it only takes thirteen states to block you.

You aren't being persecuted, far from it. Being required to respect the rights of others is not persecution it's just a fact of life. Live with it.

Monday, August 17, 2015


I totally forgot about the police, fire fighters and EMT's when I wrote yesterday's post. I'm a fan of Blue Bloods and a first season episode pegged rookie Jamie Reagans's pay at under $47.000. Subtract the standard deduction and I guess Jamie isn't "pulling his weight." Even though like most other cops he's basically on call 24/7.

Big brother is a detective and their average salary is in the upper eighty grand neighborhood. Which is probably why the wife went back to work as an ER nurse. Still I'm betting their combined salaries don't put them in the $42,000 tax bracket. With two kids I guess they "aren't pulling their weight" either. Even though one of them is periodically risking his life and the other is trying to save the lives of ungrateful asshats like OldMan. 

I suspect that firefighters and EMT's probably pull down similar wages to run towards events that the rest of us run AWAY from. And remember that seventy one cops and over three hundred fire fighters died when the towers collapsed on 9/11. 

So Mr or Ms I pay eighty grand in taxes just what does it take for the folks who risk their necks to save your life and property to "pull their weight," If you're telling the truth about you taxes you are a sorry excuse for a human being. If you're putting out talking points to echo Romney's forty seven percent you are still a sorry excuse for a human being, 

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Some folks can't seem to think past the ends of their noses.

If you don't pay at least $12,000 a year in Federal Taxes, you aren't even paying your own way! And less than $2,000 of that is for welfare. So if you have 2 children and a wife, you need to be paying $48,000 a year in Federal Taxes, just to be paying YOUR OWN WAY!

So for all you Party Of Stupid (POS) Whiners...You're welcome! I pay almost $80,000 a year, so I'm paying your way too! 

Unless you are in the 5%, you should stop whining, as it makes you look like an entitlement baby!”

Ran across this charming bit of philosophy on the net yesterday. Frankly I don't know if this person really pays $80.000 a year in taxes or if this is the opening salvo in this election cycles's version of Mitt Romney's “47 percent.” Anyway I decided to have a little fun. 

After spending some time with the IRS tax tables you'd have to be pulling down about sixty grand a year to owe about $12,000 in taxes. And then to have this sorry excuse for human being tell us that if you have a family you should be paying a hell of a lot more. How many average Joe's do you know who make close to two hundred thousand a year?

Anyway that got me thinking. In my scenario this person lives in a big city, say New York or Boston, has a nice apartment and their very own parking space.  Perhaps this is how a  couple of weeks might play out if the little folks who really keep the country going just don't show up.

You're getting ready for work, your housekeeper is due in today. She calls in sick, doesn't know when she'll be in. You usually stop at the local deli for breakfast. It's closed. The owner, the cook and the person who runs the register haven't shown up. Hungry, you head for the office. The doorman is missing. The guy/gal at the front desk is missing. You get to your office. No receptionist, no office assistant. Your computer is wonky. No techies available. The phone is ringing off the hook and you have to answer it yourself. Too bad.

Time to head home. The engine sounds a little rough so you swing by your favorite garage. Nobody there. Guess you'll have to take a cab tomorrow. You get home to your grubby apartment and fix dinner (I'm assuming this doofus is single) cupboards are starting to look a little scant. Better swing by the neighborhood bodega in the next couple of days,

The engine may be running rough but you still have to get to work. The streets are strangely quiet. No cabs, no buses and almost no subways. Nobody to drive them. Ignoring the chattering engine you discover that the situation at the office is the same as yesterday. Recalling the state of the larder you head out a little early via the bodega. It's closed. Not even the owner is in sight. Did you really think that guy made that much money a year?

Your favorite place for dinner is closed. No cooks, bartenders, wait staff or bussers. They sure as hell don't make that kind of money. Hell, tipped staff often don't even make federal minimum wage. The engine may still be missing but tomorrow is Saturday; a good time to head for a real grocery store. Unfortunately the shelves are looking bare. There haven't been any grocery deliveries for three days and most of the stockers, checkers and deli staff appear to have also disappeared into the unknown.

You manage a loaf bread that's a little stale, some lunch meat that hasn't hit the expiration date, some wilted vegetables and some canned goods. To make life even more interesting your gas tank is below half full. The gas station is open but you can't get all you need because there haven't been any fuel deliveries for several days and the manager is trying to stretch supplies. Between explanations he/she is manning the cash register. Don't bother to go searching for another station. They're in the same straights.

You manage to get through the weekend. Comes Monday, oh did I mention it's July and there's a heatwave, and your neighborhood is beginning to smell a little “ripe.” The trash haulers are AWOL, too.

First of the week and no improvement. When you stagger into your apartment that evening the lights are flickering. Turns out your power comes from a coal fired plant and they haven't gotten any deliveries for more than a week. By midweek your apartment is a mess. You're being hit with rolling blackouts and “please don't use the AC” because we don't know when the coal is coming in. As the lights go out again you find yourself wondering if living near a nuclear power plant would be a good or a bad situation.

So Mr. or Ms. (I'm assuming it's a guy since the sign in was OldMan) I pay $80.000 in taxes you've just been brought to your knees because all the peons you dissed in your comment just disappeared a la A Day Without a Mexican. Without all those little people cleaning houses, manning the cash registers, stocking the shelves, waiting tables, delivering the food or gas and picking up the garbage your comfortable life grinds to a halt. It just might be a good idea to show a little respect now and then.

Think about it. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Senator Tom Cotton believes we can bomb Iran's nuclear capabilities back to zero  with no repercussions. Tommy this old Bob Dylan is just for you. 

Masters of War

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run further
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
The runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggeers
For the others to fire
Then you sit back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world.
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
I might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do,

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you thing that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead.

Bob Dylan

What else is there to say? 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Agnes Keith married a member of the British Foreign Service, Harry Keith, in the early '30's. She moved with him to Borneo. They had a son in 1940 just as the war started. They were scheduled for leave in Britain and Harry was ordered back to Borneo. Agnes went with him. When Japan entered the war, Borneo was occupied by the Japanese, civilians were interned. The Keith family spent the next three and a half years in what amounted to prison camps. The family survived, barely. She chronicled the story Three Came home. This is the intro to her book.

"I have written this book for three reasons"

For horror of war, I want others to shudder with at it.

For affection for my husband. When war nearly killed me, knowledge of our love kept me alive.

And for a reminder to my son, I fought one war for him in prison camp. He survives because of me. He belongs now to peace. I remind him that is better to give more and to have less - and to keep the peace - than to fight.

The Japanese in this book are as war made them, not as God did, and the same is true of the rest of us. We are not pleasant people here, for the story of war is always the story of hate; it makes no difference with whom one fights. The hate destroys you spiritualy as the fighting destroys you bodily.

If there are tearrs shed here, they are for the death of good feeing If there is horror, it for those who speak indifferently of 'the next war.' If there is hate, it is for hateful qualities, nor nations. If there is love, it is because this alone kept me alive and sane."

Agnes Newton Keith

Her words still ring true today as the war drums begin to beat again.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Tuned into Burt Wolf''s Travels and Traditions this afternoon. It's a travelogue program on PBS, rather light weight and in this case somebody should have double checked the the script. To be honest, I doubt that one person in a hundred would have caught the error. He linked Attila the Hun with the Mongols. Since Attila went to join his ancestors around 450 CE and the Mongols started their rampages across Central Asia and Eastern Europe around 1200 CE there a bad case WTF are you talking about!!!

Now there's at least one sword and sandal epic centered on Attila and his supposed efforts to marry the sister of one of the last Roman emperors, Valentinian III ruler of the Western Empire until he was assassinated in 455. The USA network also also did a miniseries about ten years ago. Not bad. I wonder if Valentinian was really THAT much of an idiot. Attila was  Hun. His armies included members of his own tribes, soldiers from other tribes, but I'm pretty damn sure there weren't any Mongols. 

The Mongols began their conquests under Genghis Khan in the early 1200's,reaching it's greatest extent by the end of the century, then fracturing into four separate khanates. The Mongols were known for their brutally ruthless battle tactics. If your city surrendered you lived. If your rulers insisted on resisting and the Mongols laid siege to the city, when the city fell you died. Brutal, Incredibly brutal. They ravaged Poland and Hungary. Destroyed the Russian cities of Kiev, Vladimir and Moscow. 

It took me less than five minutes of strenuous research on Google to double check my facts. If I could do it so could who ever wrote the script. And I'll just leave it at that.