Thursday, 5/19/11, Public Square

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Filed under The Public Square

27 responses to “Thursday, 5/19/11, Public Square

  1. 6176746f6c6c65

    The issue will come down to gross dollars, not percentages.

    • I know that. However, I am weary of those who ignore some and exaggerate what they aren’t ignoring. It’s high time Americans quit allowing some to be praised and others blamed because of a party affiliation.

  2. 6176746f6c6c65

    I am with you on that. However, grasp of a percentage increase is seemingly much more difficult for the math-challenged among us than is “he increased the deficit by $1.6 trillion” or whatever. The second makes for a good 30 second sound bite; the former, not so much.

    As you also know, deficit increases are “good” when there are tangible benefits to be had, e.g., new weapons systems, higher stock prices, etc., and “bad” when the benefits are intangible and not capable of easy quantification, e.g., better education. long-term employment growth (although short-term job displacements), etc.

    Those who trumpet these things have identified the base prejudices of the body politic, and will ride that horse until it drops, then beat it a while longer just in case it hasn’t been dead for sufficient time. For example, a base prejudice I have identified among many of my clients is against education; they are either unable to recognize or unwilling to admit that the skills they gained in their education are, in many cases, obsolete, and do not fit the “modern economy”. While I might like my cashier to count back my change the “old fashioned way”, I recognize the computer computes it faster and with quicker accuracy, and so long as I get my $1.17, e.g., in change, that’s what is relevant. It’s not my fault that the customer is unable to look at the change received and recognize its correctness (or incorrectness) without the employee “counting it back”.

    Grumpy today for multiple reasons; all are on notice.

  3. So both the sky and 6176 are cloudy. 😉

    My granddaughter told me last night the only thing old people talk about is weather. When I protested, she asked how often I checked the weather? Well, daily, for sure, usually more often if it’s less than clear.

    She said that was proof her statement was correct. She explained people her age (15) don’t ever check the weather because it is what it is.

    I asked if she was curious whether she would feel cold or hot in the clothes she dressed in due to that day’s weather. Nope. Again, it is what it is.

    But, but, it doesn’t have to be — you could wear a sweater because the weather forecast warranted it. Nope. They’re usually wrong, it is going to be what it is and knowing in advance isn’t going to cause it to be less, more, or different.

    I understand most youth don’t look too far ahead and I know that changes when you gain responsibilities that demand you plan ahead and be prepared. But I am wondering if that trait of not being prepared is shared by more than just youth today. What do you think?

    • indypendent

      I think the younger generation are used to things being disposable in our society.

      Jobs are disposable due to corporations can do whatever they want to their employees and if you don’t like it – there’s always a warm body to take your place on the production line.

      People are disposable due to the break up of the family unit. We are so bombarded by the hate of the so-called Religious Right on what is an ‘acceptable family’ – that we have failed to encourage and uphold all families in America.

      When my kids were in elementary school, I knew of one family which the grandparents were raising their grandson. I wonder what that statistic is today? I suspect there are alot of grandparents taking on the responsibility of raising their grandkids.

      But the Religious Right are so busy making us all fear the gay marriage agenda – that I think we are missing the boat. WE need to encourage all families . Some of grandparents, some are gay parents, and sometimes a family are just a group of people that have formed a bound in love and caring for one another.

      I suspect the younger generation do not look too far into the future because of all the fear and intimidation we see in our society.

      With the onset of television 24/7 and 500+ channels – have we filled the airwaves with such fleeting and shallow shows that the younger generation has this cavalier attitude of ‘what happens, is going to happen’? And then we can talk about the political talk show – both television and radio. Are these shows simply shaping our society to engage in feuds?

      I sense a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness in our society today. And I don’t think it is just within the younger generations. That feeling is now in the middle-aged, middle class, working class.

      Could it be that our society has placed too much emphasis on the materialistic and consumerism road than to emphasize the strength of our citzens within the society?

      Religious Right folks rant about how we need to get back to our Christian roots. But then I see these very same folks hold up as examples of their political leaders/mega preachers are the men who have multiple marriages, sex scandals coming out the wazoo adn questionable financial dealings.

      And then yesterday the Catholic Church releases their study that the reason for the child molesting priests within their walls was because it was the 60’s.

      WTF…….

      What really got me about that Catholic Church Report was the part that these folks, in their wisdom?, will only use the word ‘pedophile’ if the molestation victim is 10yrs of age or younger.

      Again – WTF………

      So, I guess once they hit 11 yrs of age – they are fair game?

      To borrow a phrase for Prairie Pond – Jesus Wept.

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        indy, I’ve not looked tis up in any reference materials, but IIRC, the strict definition of the term” pedophilia” applies to sexual attraction to prepubescent children, which vaguely resonates in my memory as age 13 or younger. There is another term that applies to sexual attraction to children who have gone through puberty, which I do not recall.

        Given that, the limitation you gave on the Catholic Church report of age 10 is, bluntly, ridiculous. I acknowledge that puberty, especially among girls, is occurring earlier, but 10 as a general rule? I must also acknowledge that in my family, both girls entered puberty during their 10th year, but that was early, albeit with some genetics thrown in from their mother.

      • indypendent

        I just posted an article about this Catholic Study. There is a paragraph covering this difference in age of 13 and 10 – but the Church chose to go with the age of 10….

  4. Another thing I’m wondering about.

    A person who has done a good job of saving and preparing for the future is within five years or so of that anticipated and well-deserved retirement. It’s tempting to ignore conventional wisdom of moving your money to ‘safe’ investments because those investments that are risky are paying off nicely.

    In your opinion are we headed to another crash like the one of 2008 as some predict?

    • 6176746f6c6c65

      If one is within five years of retirement, then risk-taking should be minimized. I’m no investment advisor, but I would think that at least 50% to 75% of the portfolio should be in safer investments, with the balance in equities, annually reducing the % in equities and increasing the “safer” side by the same %.

      I’ll respond to your ultimate question with a “yes”, but demur as to timing (if I knew when, I’d write a book…). The market is still overvalued, imho, by at least 25%. I’ll not go into my rant about ridiculous P/E ratios, etc., but merely observe that the historical rate of return on securities (primarily stocks) investment is 4%. Draw your own conclusions from there.

    • indypendent

      Unfortunately, I think alot of people feel they will never have the option to retire. I know alot of people in their 30’s and 40’s who have not had the opportunity to save for their retirement because they are too busy paying for the daily living.

      With the rising costs of health care insurance premiums and the health costs that are not covered by insurance – one catastrophic diagnosis like cancer wipes out all the savings quite fast.

      I’ve known of two women who had to continue to work during their chemotherapy treatments because their job had the health insurance and they did not dare quit due to the health care costs and the prospect of not ever getting health insurance after the Big C diagnosis.

      I’ve been through chemotherapy treatments and I would hate to think that I had to show up to work every day because I used all my sick days and my boss was looking at me like a drudge on their company.

      I was one of the lucky ones – when first diagnosed with cancer, I was the one carrying health insurance for my husband and I. My company’s benefit allowed me to pay $70 per paycheck (bi-weekly). That was damn good price.

      When I could no longer work the required 30 hrs a week to keep the coverage, my husband got us on his company’s insurance which promptly raised the premium to $275 a paycheck (bi-weekly).

      So, not only did I lose out on my wages for working – I was also hit with a $205 increase every 2 weeks of money we were not getting any longer.

      And all the time – my chemotherapy treatments were going on and racking up quite a bill. Most of those costs were taken care of – but there are always things that are NOT covered by insurance.

      And, like I stated above, I was one of the lucky ones. I met men and women who were struggling with their cancer treatments and the devastation that one diagnosis can bring to a family’s finances is astounding.

      While I support health care reform – the health care costs have not been changed. It is still a racket for the health insurance companies to control.

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        I, too, am familiar with the financial strain resulting from cancer. My late wife worked through her chemotherapy, but that was more a function of her remarkable lack of nausea, feeling ill, etc., than anything else (although she did lose her hair). She felt “good”, thus she wanted to and did go to work (I wasn’t going to tell her otherwise, as I strongly dislike physical pain). Not all are so fortunate.

      • indypendent

        I also worked some during my chemotherapy because I wanted to keep as ‘normal’ a life as possible. But I was troubled with severe vomiting with mine. I never lost my hair – but it did thin quite alot.

        I was not trying to say people should not work through their cancer treatments , but my point was that these two women that I was referring to had no choice but to work due to their financial circumstances.

        And call me silly, but in a country that professes to be godly and Christian – is this really how we want to treat our fellow citizens? Make them go to work when they have been hit by a truck?

      • indypendent

        P.S. – I had to give up health insurance with my company because I could not guarantee them I could work 30 hours a week while on chemo.

        I know all companies are different – but my company was one of the better ones. My office manager and the entire company were supportive and even held my job for me without having to file a Family Leave Act request.

        But my company is a smaller company and we are treated very well. We are more like a family.

        I imagine that is similar to your wife’s employer – didn’t she work for the Independent School?

  5. indypendent

    As for the prediction of another crash like 2008 – wouldn’t that benefit the Republicans most if Obama is in the White House if/when the economy crashes again?

  6. indypendent

    My one comment about the above graph will be this –

    Reagan supporters will always give him a free pass for spending like a drunken sailor on his first shore leave because Reagan was ‘rebuilding our military’.

    Of course, Reagan also gave weapons to Iran which George W Bush declared as a part of the Axis of Evil which in turn is why we have constantly rebuild our military.

    Vicious cycle – isn’t it?

  7. indypendent

    here is an article about the Catholic Church Study Report.
    When these folks start caring about the post-born as much as the pro-fess to care about the pre-born, then maybe they will regain some credibility in my eyes.

    Until that point in time – these folks are not on any conceived level as being ‘godly’ – IMHO

    http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-18/news/29556900_1_abusive-priests-sexual-abuse-minors-by-catholic-priests

    • indypendent

      I also heard this on the news coverage about this study – The issue of the Church covering up for these molesting priests was not addressed.

      Again……???

      I’ve read several articles about the victims in these molestation cases and the thing they want the most is for the Church to really own up to their part in the cover up. And who can blame them for wanting that?

      I’ve heard the Pope tearfully talk about these molestation cases – but again – when push comes to shove, these folks pay $2 million for a study that basically blames the culture of the 60’s and 70’s for the molesting priests.

      Let’s just say, for a moment, that is even remotely true. Shouldn’t the Catholic Church be a religious group that would want to make sure the ills of the society do not penetrate their group?

      People should have the right to expect the Catholic Church to be a safe place to send their children.

      But in the end – the reason the Church got sued by victims is because of the cover up. Not because there were a few molesting priests. The Church knew what was going on and covered it up.

      Maybe the cover up was driven by the 60’s and 70’s society ills?

  8. 6176746f6c6c65

    I’ll hazard a guess that individuals were accepted into the priesthood in the 60s and 70s who would not have been earlier, due to 1) a shortage of applicants and 2) the changing of society. I’ll further hazard a guess that there are now many things in place to help guard against such folks becoming priests, due to the things that were covered up, even though the shortage continues.

    So, indy, the 60s and 70s may well have had something to do with the problem, but not in the way that is being promoted.

    • I would borrow your ‘guess’ and say the same thing happened with our military over the last decade. Due to shortages many people entered the military who would have been turned away in other times. Great if the Catholic Church has put safeguards in place to keep sick and dangerous people out of the priesthood, I wish we could say the same about the military.

      • indypendent

        While I agree with your premise with the military taking people who would otherwise have been turned away, I don’t think the military would put up with these people for as long as the Catholic Church did their recruits.

        Usually the military weeds out those who don’t make it or the recruits get themselves thrown out.

        The Catholic Church actively covered up their recruits because – as I understand it from knowing a few of their victims – the Church felt they needed to ‘help’ their priests instead of punishing them.

        Thus, the cover up was the way the Church chose to go.

    • indypendent

      I can understand why the wrong people may have been accepted during certain years but that still does not excuse the Church for providing the cover up.

      And we’ve been told there are safeguards in place now – but there have been recent cases brought to light that should have been caught under those new safeguards. And the Church is once again in the middle of it.

      I just feel the Catholic Church has basically spent $2 milllion to try to make themselves out to be a ‘victim’ of the times.

      I would respect them more if they just said ‘We screwed up’ and then went about and tried to rectify the problems. I’ve wondered about a few of those original high-ranking church members that covered this up and were promoted. Why were they promoted ?

      As long as these so-called religious people feel they can control everyone and everything – the same thing is going to happen – again – somewhere. Kinda like those recent cases .

      But there is little solace for the victims of the church and those priests.

  9. WSClark

    On the ‘nameless blog’ I can’t one Cons to say “Reagan tripled the National Debt despite raising taxes eleven times.”

    It sucks when the Tea Partier’s hero turns out to be a tax and spend liberal.

  10. Zippy

    Just skimmed the thread, folks, but I would emphasize the overall problem of innumerancy. Apologies if I’m being redundant to anyone.

    Mark Twain’s quote, of “lies, damned lies, and statistics” referred not to statistics being used to produce false information, but to draw erroneous conclusions (of course, these days–more than I’ve seen in a very long time–people feel free just to make shit up, especially in the corridors of power).

    I do think the graphic is fair representation of what has actually happened. Yes, it is true, less more debt each year is more debt and when, starting with a staggering 1.5 trillion built-in deficit in each years, those are going to be huge numbers.

    But the innumerate who complain “government’s gotten too large!” are not looking at the obvious causes of the deficit: two unfunded wars, huge increases in security and “black budget” funding, a large decrease in tax revenues (in a zig-zag back-and-forth pattern, which nonetheless remains a dramatic decrease in tax rates for the wealthy and corporations since the time of Reagan and, most frequently, Bush II) and–of course–dramatically shriveled tax receipts in what is left, due to an economy (and largely corporatized private sector) that had been shedding jobs at a frightening pace–whilst making huge profits from our misery.

    The Tea Party Express is supposed to be the “real Tea Party” (though if they took their inspiration from that insect Santelli, it may be a moot distinction). Adding equal parts innumerate flight attendant (scary enough), with paranoid selfishness and racist assumptions about society, and get really dumb math wielded with power, because it happens to also serve the interests of those who make money in the international markets–the classic first-quarter mentality–at the expense of US health.

    This psychosis is ultimately bad–was ultimately bad–for business worldwide. Hopefully, those who are unmoved by anything but profit will figure out, finally, that their survival relies on the rest of us thriving.

    If enlightened self-interest means anything anymore, the rois fainéants will have be deposed and crushed, whether it is in Washington, Damascus, Manama, or Beijing.

    P.S. Anyone catch Obama’s Middle East speech? I heard it was quite good.

  11. Zippy

    P.P.S. Gotta say it. There is so much tragedy at home — the tornadoes, the flooding. And I think we, the collective we–bear some responsibility.

    I’m gonna go all tinfoil and predict that the weird-ass weather is just, shall we say, warming up.

    They’re still suffering in Japan, and we can only do what we can do.

    But Bashar Assad is killing his own people in droves. America is the not the world’s policeman (Ahem: Germany? Almost all the Nazis are dead–step up!).

    I don’t think anyone really believes the younger Assad will suddenly become a reformer. At least Haffez gave a damn, to some degree, about the material security of everyday Syrians, or so I hear.

    Rephrased and refried from decades past, the Obama quote: Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

    Maybe the butcher will surprise us, but I think he needs to get out of the way.

  12. prairie pond

    But Zippy, dear, the military industrial complex must be fed!

    Also thanks to St. Ronnie, the procurement process expanded in the 80’s and forward to give more businesses in more states a bigger stake in the federal procurement process.

    So while the biggies in the MIC still reap the gravy, every little biz that supplies a few bolts to the Air Force thinks government spending on the military is vital. Not to mention the residual Viagra effects.

    As long as the MIC gets fat on contracts, we will continue to “police” the world. The beast’s gotta be fed.

    John Phillips said it best. “And no one’s getting fat but Mama Cass.” Heh. I kinda like comparing the MIC to Cass Elliot, although I’m not sure she’d think it is as funny as I do…

    • indypendent

      Gotta love a president that tried to get ketchup classified as a vegetable for school lunches but when it came to military spending – there was no limit!

      If you’ve ever heard Ron Reagan Jr speak about his father – he is at least honest about the man.

      I remember the time Chris Matthews asked Ron Jr if his dad really believed in trickle-down economics and Ron Jr said – obviously, even with all the evidence around him to the contrary – (I may not have gotten the quote word for word, but the the gist is correct).

      What I find so disturbing about the Conservative Republicans is this blind loyalty they all seem to display. I’ve noticed that whenever some new Republican wins, then all the Republicans jump on the bandwagon and they are all for that person to run for president in 2012.

      We saw this happen to Sen Scott Brown (MA), Gov Christie (NJ), Marco (?) Rubio (FL) – anytime the new flavor of the month comes in vogue – that is where this blind loyalty flocks.

      I don’t understand that type of thinking. I’ve said several times on this blog that I do not agree with everything Obama has said or done, but at the moment in the political world – I’ll take Obama over any of the Republican candidates.