Category Archives: Politics

Our story, integration


In response to two of David Brooks’ columns about “our” problems, 7/23 & an earlier one, I wrote the following. From the recommendations and replies, I gather I’m not the only one who feels this way…

 

Bill Abbott
Oakland California July 23
David,
The “we” you see is not the one I experience. You write,
We post-Cold War Americans haven’t really settled on what story we are a part of.
Really? I’m pretty clear what story I’m part of. Objective truth exists and is important. We are measured by how we treat the least among us. Science works because it is based on reality. Hope can overcome fear. Do unto others as we wish to be done to ourselves. The challenges we face mean we have no-one to waste, yet too many people are poor, marginalized and left behind. Women’s rights are human rights. Black lives matter. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Love wins. We don’t educate our neighbor’s children because of charity, we educate them because we will have to live with them. We are not perfect, we have never been perfect, but we can always get better. That’s my story. That’s the story of my country, and of humans in general.
The first President I voted for was Jimmy Carter, in 1976. I’m still waiting for a Republican I could vote for to appear on a ballot. Any ballot. Local, State or Federal.
In an earlier column, you wrote, “As a nation we seem to have lost all enthusiasm for racial integration.” Maybe that’s true for you. Its not true for me, or my friends, or our kids, or the cities and states we live in. Come visit us in Oakland. We are still working on it. Its hard work, that doesn’t mean its not the right goal.
Bill
546 Recommend
6 REPLIES
Mark Thomason commented July 24
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Mark Thomason
Clawson, MIJuly 24
@Bill Abbott — Not everywhere is California. To win, we need the politics of the Venn Diagram overlap. I don’t devalue what you say, nor what is said in other regions. I say there is enough in common to make a politics that will resonate with a majority of voters, without using hate and fear.
2 Recommend
TinyBlueDot commented July 24
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TinyBlueDot
AlabamaJuly 24
@Bill Abbott
Mr. Abbott, please consider running for office in some capacity. Your remarks are clear, intelligent, and convincing. And I agree with every word you wrote, perhaps especially the line, “We are measured by how we treat the least among us.”
Recommend
Leslie Durr commented July 24
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Leslie Durr
Charlottesville, VAJuly 24
@Bill Abbott Brooks isn’t talking to you or to many of us. He’s talking to the disaffected white people who have been co-opted by the Republicans to ‘look over there, not over here.’ And, yes, some of them actually read the NY Times.
Recommend
Au Gold commented July 24
A
Au Gold
New Jersey, USAJuly 24
@Bill Abbott Well said!
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Pete Hollister commented July 24
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Pete Hollister
Oregon WIJuly 24
What a great comment. Bravo!
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Leslie Durr commented July 24
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Leslie Durr
Charlottesville, VAJuly 24
@TinyBlueDot We really need people like you who resonate with Bill Abbott’s words in places like Alabama to run; Oakland already has it down pat.
Recommend

Things to know about retirement, USA, married couples.


#1  Can one spouse can retire with the other spouse’s social security benefit?

Yes, a surviving spouse can choose to use their own Social Security Insurance* (SSI) benefit OR their deceased spouse’s SSI benefit – whichever is larger. But not both. SSI was created when a many (but not all) women’s jobs were in the home, and many (but not all) men’s jobs were outside the home. The spouse working outside had an employer and cash wages, the spouse keeping the home had neither.  So a non-working spouse who had no SSI benefits on their own could continue to collect the benefit their spouse had retired on, if the spouse died.

Here’s the clever bit: If both spouses had SSI benefits, each started drawing them when they retired. If one spouse died, the survivor could switch to whichever benefit amount was larger. Say, for example, Pat and Kim both worked and both earned maximum SSI benefits. If Pat starts drawing at age 62, the amount they get is substantially less (30% in my case) than if they hung on to “Full Retirement Age” – (66 2/3 years, in my case).  If Kim keeps working, or can otherwise hold-off starting SSI benefits, Kim’s monthly benefit will be larger, even if both have at least 40 quarters of paid employment and contributed the full amount required by law, every year. Thus, Pat and Kim have different monthly benefits from SSI and always will for the rest of their lives.

IF Kim dies before Pat, Pat can change to drawing Kim’s higher monthly benefit, but can’t keep their own benefit. Pat’s old benefit simply vanishes. If Pat doesn’t want Kim’s higher benefit, they keep their own and Kim’s vanishes. If Pat dies before Kim, Kim already has the larger benefit.

So the SSI monthly payment is a benefit for a living person, but it is not an asset which can be conveyed to a person that the original recipient chooses. This is a key difference between SSI, and employee pension plans, and 401Ks and the like. 401Ks, etc., etc., are assets. There are rules about how they are used, and rules about when and what taxes are paid on them. But they are as real as any other account at an investment firm.

 

#2 Is there a minimum amount you must withdraw from a 401K, every year?

Yes. Starting when you turn 70 1/2 years old. In one example I found, its 1/26 of the value of the account, a bit less than 4%. But it is complicated and Morgan Stanley’s retirement fund people say to come talk it through with them on the way to picking a number.

See topic 4, in:

http://fa.morganstanley.com/jteam/retirement_planning_mistakes.htm

There are retirement calculators that cover this as well, with their own lore, sacrifices and mod-cons:

http://www.choosetosave.org/ballpark/webapp/#/estimate

So if you’re 61 and haven’t retired yet, you don’t have to do anything. Yet. If you are working and can pack more money into the 401K, it’s probably wise to do so. If you wonder how much your 401K is worth to you as income, now, today, and you’re less than 70 and 1/2, its likely you can take out less than 4% each year. If you take out more than it makes every year, its a “decreasing asset” and you’ll have to judge your rate of consumption vs. expected lifespan. You can look up your life expectancy, for starters:

http://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html

If your 401K is with a different investment firm, they’re who you should speak with.

 

More as I get it. I’ve foot-noted “Insurance” below.

*”Insurance” as in “Social Security Insurance” is misleading.

Conventional insurance products are based on shared risk and supposedly conservative investments. Every week, month or year, you send in your pennies, along with everyone else. All the pennies get invested wisely enough to cover whatever payouts are made over the lifetime of the product. Automobile and home products typically last 1 year, “Term” life insurance lasts for a fixed period, ending at a birthdate or some other agreed point in the future. Payments can be spread out over the term the insurance covers, or be one-time at the beginning.

“Whole” life insurance stays in force as long as the insured person is alive and the regular payments are made. The payout becomes an asset for survivors.

SSI is none of these things. If you want to start a fight, call it a modified Ponzi scheme. The money it pays out comes directly from the regular contributions collected immediately before the payout. Sort of. There need not be a pooled asset which yields profits which support payments. The term of art for this is “Pay as you go”, which is more attractive than “Ponzi Scheme”.

The details, where the devils lurk, are that a pay as you go scheme such as SSI starts with lots of contributors and no recipients. So the first funds collected did, actually, go into some investment, likely US Treasury Bonds, the most boring, safe asset. You’ll note this has the effect of retirees-to-be investing in the National Debt. Then the Baby Boom arrives and goes to work and the number of workers contributing is vastly larger than number of recipients. So the surplus continues going into bonds where it props up the National Debt.  Hiring new devils every year.

One wild-eyed argument against SSI is that NONE of the Treasury bonds will ever be sold, because actual tax dollars would have to pay them out. On the other hand, the Treasury pays bond dividends regularly, and returns the principle at the end of the bond’s life, to all the other bond holders inside and outside the USA. Does SSI surplus go into conventional “T-notes” similar to what anyone can buy, or are there conspiracy-special T-notes that pay no interest and don’t return the principle, because they exist only to suck up SSI surplus? I don’t know and I’m too busy to look it up, today.

A more plausible SSI disaster scenario is that the number of contributors won’t keep up with the number of recipients. This is the “SSI will go bankrupt” trope, and if nobody does anything about it, it will happen. Increasing the payments made by contributors or decreasing the benefits going to recipients seem like logical steps, but logic isn’t universally popular. It *could* happen. If nobody does anything about it.

So the payroll deduction is called “SSI” and it’s a gift to us from history, outdated and misleading marketing language. If we imagined we were as adult as other developed nations, we might make “SSI” part of taxes, in general, and make the payout an expense that must be paid, like our Congressperson’s retirement, medical and dental coverage.

An example that pleased me: The difference between an abstract class and an interface, in Java:


Here’s the punch line:

In Java, Prussia can extend (“be a”) one of the super-classes, Holy, Roman or  Empire, but only one. Prussia can implement the other two as interfaces, but only with methods and fields uniquely its own. If Prussia is to be Holy, be Roman and be an Empire, the strictly hierarchical relationship of those three super-classes has to be worked out separately and in detail, in advance. I can only imagine Herr von Bismark would approve.

 

And the whole magilla:
1) What is the difference between an interface and an abstract class?

An abstract class defines data (fields) and member functions but may not, itself, be instantiated. Usually, some of the methods of an abstract class are abstract and expected to be supplied by a sub-class, but some of the methods are defined.  Unless they are final, they can be overridden, and they can always be overloaded. Private parts of an abstract super class, for example, data, are not available to a subclass, so access methods (public or protected) must be used by the subclass. An abstract superclass is “extended” by a subclass. A given subclass may only extend one super-class, but a super-class may extend another super-class, in a hierarchy. (This avoids the complexities/difficulties of multiple inheritance in C++)

An interface is a proper subset of an abstract class, but has a different scope and use. An interface has ONLY abstract member functions and static, final, fields, aka constants. Any subclass has to provide all the variable fields and code which implements an interface. The implementing class cannot override the interface’s member signatures – the signatures are what the interface *is*. It is possible to overload an interface’s signatures, adding or subtracting variables, changing return or variable types, but the overloads do not satisfy the requirements of the interface. The implementing class(s) must contain actual member functions to satisfy all of the signatures in the interface, because there is no default, no code in the interface.  As used above, a given class ‘implements’ an interface, it does not ‘extend’ it. These limitations to an interface allow a given class to implement more than one, which retains most of the utility of multiple inheritance without, as it were, opening Plethora’s bag. (grin)

For example: In Java, Prussia can extend (“be a”) one of the super-classes, Holy, Roman or  Empire, but only one. Prussia can implement the other two as interfaces with methods and fields uniquely its own. If Prussia is to be Holy, be Roman and be an Empire, the strictly hierarchical relationship of those three super-classes has to be worked out separately and in detail, in advance. I can only imagine Herr von Bismark would approve.

Today’s note to Speaker Boehner. Raise the debt ceiling. Raise my taxes. Reduce spending. In that order.


(I sent essentially the same points to our Senators and Representative Lee too.)

Speaker Boehner,
Budgets, a borrowing limit and taxes are the topic du jur. Here are my priorities:

#1 Raise the debt ceiling. The Tea Party wackos can say anything they want, but they don’t have a majority in the congress to override the veto of the Adult in Chief, nor do they run the Senate. You’re playing “dog in the manger” and it belittles you, your party and our country. You’ve stated your opinion. The nation does not agree. Time to do the people’s business, without gimmicks or gotchas.

#2 Raise my taxes. We’re well off. Really. If we’re paying 17%, of our income in taxes, as Turbotax tells me, then it should probably be 18% or 19%. Thousands more, per year. Giving rich people tax breaks and living on the credit card is crazy. Time to stop. Paying down the accumulated debt would be good too.

#3 Cut spending. Start with all the things people say they now get that they don’t need. Not what other people get, what they benefit from themselves. Don’t cut something that benefits Paula to make Peter happy. People willing to give their own money, in the form of higher taxes, or forgo benefits they enjoy, lower payments, have something to say. People who want to cut other people’s benefits or get a net reduction in what they pay and have someone else fix the problem aren’t worth your time. That would include the majority of the Republican Party and pretty much all of the Tea Party.

Stand tall. Show some leadership. Propose an unconditional rise in the debt ceiling, at this late hour, and see who the real patriots are. Stanley Crouch once observed that not getting what you want is a democratic act. Perhaps the fundamental one. Kings and dictators and juntas rule by inspiration and conviction. Democracies are ruled by compromise.

Cutting billions of dollars in spending at the last minute under intense pressure, while the tinfoil hat brigade just want to wreck everything they don’t understand, isn’t any way for our great nation to be governed. You’ve had months to prepare for this business. Tossing out plans the CPO hasn’t scored yet isn’t doing what I pay you for. Your district elected you, but having asked to be Speaker, you work for me too. You’re doing a terrible job. Come to your senses.

Raise the debt limit. Raise my taxes, and your own. Cut spending on what we can’t afford. Or step aside and let an adult take the job.

Best regards,
Bill Abbott

abbott.bill@gmail.com

Burning Korans on 9/11… None dare call it treason!


Plans to burn copies of the Koran this Saturday, in an event staged by Dr. Terry and Sylvia Jones, pastors of (the seemingly mis-named) Dove World Outreach Center, in Florida, are going forward. What part of Christianity this has any connection with is a mystery. I just read the announcement and their list of 10 “reasons” to do this on their web site. It’s at the same level of idiocy as the Middle Eastern and South Asian idiots who burn our flag and chant “Death To America”. Now we’ve got the facts. Both the Christian and Muslim faiths contain bigoted, bloody-minded trouble makers who would rather start a fight than bring any life to the teachings they claim are their inspiration. This transcends any one religion…. but there’s little comfort in it.

I don’t forget that burning the Koran is completely legal, protected, “speech”, as are maintaining idiotic views. Only incitement to immediate violence, and hate speech, are illegal. How close these bozos come to crossing either of those lines may be decided in court. But, as a general rule, burning some inanimate object that represents what you don’t like is as American as apple pie, and dates from before our nation was founded. Burning pictures, effigies, flags, books, records, CDs, periodicals, articles of clothing and government publications are time honored traditions. Long may they wave. Burning religious books is less common than burning non-religious works that are alleged to contain religious content.

Burning holy books of other people’s religions, for example, Korans, seems like a singularly poor plan. At its most fundamental, confusing the 19 9/11 suicide terrorists and their nut-job associates, enablers and guys who still live in caves, with the vast majority of Muslims, only gives aid and comfort to the nut jobs. More than anything, more than their hate and animosity toward us, bin-Laden and the rest want to be the arbitrators of what is Muslim and what is not. Their highest aspiration is to throw out the “liberals” that we know of as the Saudi royal family and put in some “old time religion”, as they define it. Particularly at Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. When someone tells the whole world that these losers are the true face of Islam, it is their dream come true. It’s what they want. And it’s what they use to recruit the pious, alienated and depressed to their cause.

To the second half of my headline, this building up of the al Qaeda viewpoint as the dominant force in Islam puts our men and women in uniform at risk much more than any of the spirited debate in this country about going to war in Iraq, . No-one can’t say how many jihadi’s were motivated by Code Pink or myself or Senator Obama arguing against the war in Iraq. (“Many in the United States oppose the war in Iraq and even in Afghanistan… would you like to become a suicide bomber?” is not a strong argument…) How stupid to you have to be to think burning Korans isn’t many, many, MANY times worse? Why is it our right wing goofballs seem to make common cause with jihadi right wing goofballs? Is the cock and bull patriotism they spout just so much hot air, and it’s really pan-national conservatism that they pledge their allegiance to ?

Does anyone else remember, in the days after 9/11/01, Patrick Buchanan and his ilk (Pat Robertson?) talking about how it was really the liberal’s fault that al Qaeda attacked us? After all, its the liberals, with their emphasis on women’s rights, multiculturalism, acceptance of gay, lesbian and trans-gender persons. and acceptance and support for religious and cultural minorities, that really made bin Laden and al Qaeda angry. If Buchanan, et al, has been able to institute a stiff, conservative, male dominated, alcohol-free, religiously schooled, GLT people back in the closet, state, with modest clothes, strong penalties for women having sex outside of marriage, civil society segregated by sex and no wild and immoral music, films, books or TV, well, obviously al Qaeda wouldn’t have attacked us,,, If we were just like the Taliban in Afghanistan!

Other reasons to not burn Korans:

Outside of the Southern and religious parts of the USA, book burning is most strongly associated with the Nazis, and to a lesser extent the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Neither exactly role models for our nation.

In the Southern and religious parts of the USA, book burning, record burning, etc, have a long history, with no notable accomplishments or benefits. Why reinforce failure?

The Dove World Outreach Center note that these are the ‘end times’ on their web site. Are public demonstrations by people who want the world to end in a conflagration which starts in the Middle East acting the best interests of our whole nation?

These tit-for-tat things never end well, whether its two siblings in the back seat on a long road trip, small nations weakening each other with ‘prestige’ wars, until an empire outside the neighborhood conquers them all, trade wars or vandalism inspired by school sports rivalry.

The essence of Christianity, we were taught as Catholics, is that Jesus Christ died for us, so that sins could be forgiven. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “Vengance is mine, sayeth the Lord” are well known parts of the Christian New Testament, along with “Turning the other cheek” and the story of “The good Samaritan”. If Jesus had been big on burning books, we’d have heard about it. Love, forgiveness and compassion are the strengths of Christianity.

There is no more good in a Christian burning Korans than in some Muslim wacko burning Bibles; Hindu wackos burning the Sikh texts; Buddhist wackos burning the Hindu Bagivad Gita; Shinto wackos burning Buddhist texts; or Protestant “Orangemen” wackos marching through predominantly Catholic neighborhoods in Belfast or Derry. Its provocation, and unhelpful.

I just sent this letter to our Representitive Lee. Just In Case She Wondered. Yeah, President Obama’s organization emailed and asked me to do it. I was happy to jump in.


Dear Representative Lee,
As your constituent, I’m writing to tell you why I’m such a strong supporter of health reform.

I was once a young person with a minimum wage job and no health insurance. I had no regular doctor. If I got sick, I treated myself with over-the-counter medicines and hoped I got better. If something serious had happened to me, I would have been yet another indigent in the Emergency Room. I couldn’t help but compare this development with my childhood. My dad was in the Navy and I was a military dependent until I was 21. I experienced “socialized” medicine first hand- seeing the doctor that was available, going to a big building full of doctors and patients, It worked fine. In fact, back in the 1960s, it was being operated by a large fraction of 18-22 year-olds who were either draftees or who volunteered to get some hope of picking a billet.

My late, first, wife was a writer, an independant, and simply could not find comprehensive health insurance. We’d lived together for 8 years, and I proposed to her and we got married. At the stroke of a pen, she suddenly had the same coverage I had. I’m not sorry we got married, but the system is perverse. We tried for months to find coverage for her. It wasn’t there. We had a pile of cash in the bank. And this was 25 years ago! She died at a young and untimely age, but not from the notional cause (weight) that the insurance industry claimed made her a bad risk.

As an adult with choices I have Kaiser through my workplace. Terrific health care, comprehensive, focused on “health” rather than “treatment”. They don’t bill some pot of money in the skhy for each and every step they take. They do their best to keep me healthy and keep the money they can save.

We pay more for health care than any other nation, and I can assure you that we don’t receive what we’re paying for. The for-profit insurance model is based on denying coverage and excluding the sick and potentially sick. Its simply wrong. We’re already paying more than any reasonable, “world class” system would cost. And getting less.

My wife and I are looking at retirement in another 10-15 years. And our son will leave school and start his adult life in 10 years or so. Our existing health-care system will be spurting money and not addressing either public or private needs in 10 years. We’ve got to fix this thing, and we can’t wait any longer,. People I love are depending on it.

The Republican party has an irrational mistrust of any collective social structure. They are intent on destroying even the for profit insurance we now have. That’s why the Randian lunatics want private health savings accounts. They want to peel off the healthy and well paid, so that there’s a “moral” hazard to being poor, or sick, or both. If you want coverage, in their universe, you should work harder, become rich, and pay out of your wallet. Unless you’re in Congress, of course.

Now they broadcast scary lies and dissemble in ways that should make them blush. I don’t know what their mothers taught them about sharing, or taking care of others. I know that their stone-wall opposition to health care reform is based on fear and delusion. Don’t be frightened of them. You’re from the Bay Area. They’re not serious players in our district.

There are others who would rather have the perfect package, as they understand it, and won’t accept compromise. They’re wrong. There is not a majority of voters in favor of single payer. Maybe someday. Not now. As Stanley Crouch observes, “Not getting your way is a democratic act.” Please don’t draw an imaginary line in the imaginary sand ad require the nation to line up on the right side. Lets get STARTED on fixing our broken health care system. Nothing final is going to happen this year. With your help, perhaps we can start something.

Please see my message to you, along with the stories and photos of other Americans from your district and across the nation, at http://my.barackobama.com/HereFor

Thank you.

Bill Abbott

Words (cliches) to live by.


I was looking for the exact quote Thayer at the San Francisco/Marin free flight model airplane club uses as his email signature and succeeded. Its by Fred Buechner, cited in the “What Color Is Your Parachute” book by Dick Bolles

“There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work . . . (and) the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Fred Buechner

Nice one, Fred. Thanks for putting it where I’d see it, Thayer, Dick, and Bill.

More good quotes are at: http://www.careerlab.com/comments.htm

Here’s the executive summary:
1 Love. – the Prophets
2 Know thyself. —Socrates
3 Inches make champions. —Vince Lombardi
4 Nothing gold can stay. —Robert Frost
5 Work is love made visible. —Kahlil Gibran
6 No great thing is created suddenly. —Epictetus (A.D.200)
7 Well done is better than well said. —Benjamin Franklin
8 No wind favors he who has no destined port. —Montaigne
9 Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. —Seneca
10 Do first things first, and second things not at all. —Peter Drucker.

Extra, mentioned in passing by the author of this page, William S. Frank:

Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all – Winston S. Churchill
Time in life is short. You can only read so many books, so choose wisely. – Martin Bucco
Nothing good happens fast –
Actions speak louder than words –
Talkers are no good doers – Shakespeare
Never give in, never, never, never, never; in nothing, great or small—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. – Winston S. Churchill
Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair. – Edmund Burke
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there –
Begin with the end in mind. – Stephen R. Covey

And I can’t resist two of my favorites,
To finish first, first you must finish
The racing driver’s job is to win the race at the slowest possible speed – Juan Manuel Fangio

Dr. G. R. Tiller, M.D. Murdered.


In memoriam, Dr. George Richard Tiller, M.D., August 8, 1941- May 31, 2009.

Rest in Peace, Dr. Tiller. If the name isn’t ringing a bell, he was a doctor, in Kansas, who would perform late term abortions. Constantly threatened, shot over a decade ago, he was assassinated as he ushered at his church, on Sunday. A victim of violence which can fairly be called terrorist. Not the first doctor assassinated by anti-abortion activists. FoxNews’s Bill BO’Rielly repeatedly rabble-roused against him in recent years. Why DOES O’Rielly hate our freedom?

If you don’t like abortions, don’t have one.

Want to stop other people from having abortions? Make accurate and complete sex education a priority, and make sure a wide variety of contraception alternatives are readily available. This is proven to work.

Love babies? Help some teenage mother take care of hers. Help her finish high school Help her get the training and experience for a real job that pays more than minimum wage. Do the same for the father. Nothing is better for a child than an educated, self-reliant parent. Two educated and self-reliant parents are even better.

Want to teach only abstenence, allow no abortions and restrict informations and access to contraception?  Sorry, you’re delusional. The data’s in. Whole, *European*, countries, Ireland and Romania, for example, tried it. It doesn’t work. Saudi Arabia has and carries out the death penalty for sex outside of marriage. That doesn’t stop it.

I’ve GOT to stop reading political blogs!


Its anybody’s guess whether Fox or the Hillary Dead Ender’s at NoQuarterUSA is funnier/scarier/more pathetic/further beyond description. Halidane was right, the “blogosphere” “is not only queerer than we imagine, its queerer than we CAN imagine!”

All of you people need to put down the mice, back away from the computers and go out and do something positive with real people in the real world. Donate blood. Send a personal letter and some small gifts (paperback books, dvds, gameboy DS games, you know, stuff for 19 year olds) to our men and women serving overseas. Go volunteer at St Vincent De Paul and feed hungry-people. Help your neighbor with their garden. Send some money to Save The Children or Amnesty International. Write letters for someone Amnesty is trying to help. Spend time with your family.

In short, STOP HYPERVENTELATING ABOUT HOW SORRY AND FRIGHTENED AND PUT UPON YOU ARE. %)(*$%!!!! You’re doing better than 90% of the world already. You’ll be fine. Have some dignity for crying out loud!

Thank you for your attention.

Bill

We’ve come so far. We have so far to go.


Funny how history works out. If the G. W. Bush campaign hadn’t smeared McCain out of contention in 2000, we might be looking at the closing days of the successful Second McCain Administration. Osama bin Laden might be dead. And Jeb Bush might be the President Elect.

The spew on the Fox blog from people who think BHO is the anti-Christ or the enemy of America is sad. We’ve got plenty of real enemies. Freedom and justice always have plenty of enemies. Winning is easy, and teaches little. People show their true colors in adversity. Both the Obama and McCain campaigns have a lot to teach about how to address adversity. For starters, someone who see only the worst in others often brings out the worst in themselves.

“Healing our nation” is far too abstract. How to we find a way to work with the wingnuts who want to argue that Obama’s a secret Muslim who hates whites and wants to destroy our economy? Republican losses in the House and Senate are mostly moderates. What’s left is more ideological and less reality-based. The election of a Democrat as President, and Democratic majorities in both houses means the lid is off the box and all the loons that were a fixture of the Clinton years will be back at full cry. The lopsided results at the polls won’t stop them from arguing that they election was stolen, and appeals to patriotism won’t get them to honor the elected government. (Clinton’s second term was worse than his first…)

The fact is, the RIght contains treasonists, people who value their own opinion, and their benefit, over any law. That’s why they are always slinging the word around- what people fear is what they’d do themselves, if they could. I’ve heard Obama compared to Hugo Chavez… hard to take that seriously, but its meant seriously.

At least in France the Right can point to the Terror and the Paris Commune and the left can point to the Occupation to justify their worst fears of each other. Its mostly theory, here, except for Reconstruction and 100 years of Jim Crow, lynching, poll taxes and the rest… hmm maybe that’s why a certain stripe of conservative goes on about Obama’s hating whites…. And there WERE genuine bomb-throwing Anarchists, smaller in number but no less murderous. One band of leftist jerks really did make a wagon bomb (as in horsedrawn…) with sash wieghts wrapped around the explosives for increased anti-personel effect, and set it off next to the Los Angeles Times building….

But I digress.

We’ve come so far. We have so far to go. The journey is the reward, I suspect. The new lands, new peoples, new main courses and favorite stories, and the company of those we meet on the road. Peace.