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Number of posts: 181
Email address: email
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Posts by Monica Smith:
- water rights
- grazing rights
- hunting rights
- logging rights
- mining rights
- trading rights
- building rights
- fishing rights, etc.
You’d think that adult persons, competent enough to be employed by the Detroit News, would know better than to let their jealousy of the younger generation be on blatant display. You’d be wrong. Richie Rich is getting a free lunch. Oh, no!
Check this out: A new federal program plans to give every student in qualifying schools two free meals and snack. Every student, regardless of income. Even those who don’t normally qualify for free/reduced meals. Proponents of the program say this will help erase the “stigma” of getting free food when other classmates pay for their lunches (or bring their own). Is that a good enough reason to spend billions of dollars feeding kids who aren’t hungry?
Today I’d like to point out two in connection with the Affordable Care Act, which has recently been in the news because some study by the Kaiser Foundation determined that most Americans don’t know what the health insurance reform effort was/is actually all about. And there’s a good reason for that. The health insurance industry, whose profits are certain to shrink, even if their customer base gets bigger, don’t want people to know. And their agents in various state government positions don’t want to tell the truth either.
Thinking that perhaps his message will have more impact, if, instead of submitting to interviews, he communicates his ideas directly, Warren Stephens, the $2.5 billionaire CEO of Little Rock’s Stephens, Inc, has authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Under the title, “Business Regulation vs. Growth: The View from Middle America,” which he probably didn’t choose, Stephens, purporting to speak for firms with revenues between $25 million and one billion a year, identifies the problems these middle Americans have with uncertainty.
It is really difficult to dispute the claims of a person, in this case one Fred Siegel, published in the Wall Street Journal, under the title, “Who Lost the Middle Class?” who can’t tell the difference between cause, consequence and coincidence. But, I’m going to try by responding to just a few assertions, beginning with his first paragraph:
Forty years from now, politicians, writers, and historians may struggle to understand how America, once the quintessential middle-class society, became as socially stratified as Europe or even Brazil.
Rupert Murdoch, the founder and chairman of News Corporation, knows well that privacy is a valuable commodity. That’s why his organization invaded the privacy of victims of crime by hacking into their cell accounts. One man’s privacy is another man’s profit.
It’s also why the American subsidiary of News Corporation, News America Marketing, has spent over two million dollars trying to get a whistleblower, Robert Emmel, to shut up about the underhanded strategies News America used to do a Tonya Harding on its competition.
What is it about politicians named Scott that they seem to get a leg up on the competition when it comes to elections? It’s not that a name beginning with the letter ‘S’ has the same “first-in-the-alphabet; first in line” advantage that’s accorded to the ‘A’s and ‘B’s. Maybe it’s just a matter of familiarity that’s derived from Scott tissues and Scott bikes and archery equipment, that accounts for the relative ease with which a Scott Walker, a Scott Brown or a Rick Scott can jump to the head of the line. Of course, in the latter’s case the electorate went for notoriety, instead of common sense.
Anyway, in the process of putting together what I’m going to call the “Barney Fife Brigade,”* members of the House whose cluelessness pretty much demands that they be replaced, I came across yet another Scott whose antics might just make voters think twice about what’s in a name. This one’s from Georgia, Austin Scott, who came in with the Tea Party crowd in 2010, squeezing out a moderate Democrat because, just maybe, voters confused him with the other Georgian Scott, David, who’s been representing parts of Atlanta since 2003.
And with good reason. The presumptuous Standard and Poor’s downgrade of United States Treasury bonds isn’t working out real well. As a last-ditch effort it looks like a bust. The Asian markets are reporting that the bonds themselves seem minimally affected.
The 10-year Treasury yield increased to 2.579 percent, from 2.563 percent at Friday’s New York close, while the yield on two-year Treasuries fell to 0.268 percent from 0.292 percent, contrary to some predictions of a much more aggressive initial market reaction.
But, to see the real source of the malaise…
We don’t even need to know who they are to know that the designation of yet another special or super group to decide which pound of the public’s flesh to cut is a bad idea. The Catfood Commission was made up of the Gang of Six. This time there are twelve, as yet un-knowns. Twice as bad. Double trouble.
Actually, the long term effect may well be worse. Because, instead of bringing a halt to the tradition of Congress sluffing off its obligations, a tradition that perhaps commenced with the creation of the Federal Reserve, a private bank to manage the currency, the designation of yet another artificial body of surrogates puts the stamp of approval on the shirk.
Only sixteen so far this year from Brunswick on the coast to, most recently, Stockbridge and Atlanta. In Stockbridge it was the High Trust Bank that let people down and in Atlanta it was One Georgia Bank that got acquired by an outfit called Ameris. If it seems like there’s not been a lot of fuss and bother, it may just be that the FDIC is working like it ought.
That’s obviously a dismissive injunction; another way of saying “mind your own business.” However, directed at Congressman Paul Broun, M.D., it might well be a recipe for disaster, since, if his prescription for the economy is consistent with his medical perspective, Broun seems stuck in a medieval frame of mind–relying on blood-letting and, if the patient is already bleeding, the amputation of another limb.
But, don’t take my word for it. Here, with the subject heading, “Broun’s Bill to LOWER the Debt Ceiling,” is Broun’s prescription:
In the midst of our economic emergency, which is beginning to resemble a full-on Greece-style meltdown, every politician in America has taken to the soap box to say the exact same thing: We need to reduce our national debt and cut spending to get America back on track.
New Hampshire is one of the richest states in the nation and has one of the lowest unemployment rates. One reason for those realities is the further reality that the really poor cannot survive in regions where babies freeze to death in their beds in winter. So, if they’ve got any sense, they head South.
Rochester–”It’ll be the first time since 1972 that we will have to institute a waiting list,” said Strafford Nutrition Meals on Wheels Director Emily Sylvain, the day before her new fiscal year kicked in on July 1…
What do bankers and agents of government have in common? For the most part, they are middlemen acting on someone else’s behalf. This is what makes them competitors. At least, according to the banksters. They see the public purse as a pot of money and they want a part of whatever falls out, when the strings are loosed. Dodd-Frank is an effort to limit how much they can claim.
It ain’t pretty, but it is good to know that fees banks can charge on debit cards range from 21% to 23%. That’s Dodd-Frank at work. The banks used to charge over 30% — a transaction tax. Who knew?
Evidence that a person is well on his way to becoming an icon can be found in his name being used, as an aside, to validate otherwise spurious theories by the likes of Stephen Stanley – sitting up in Stamford, Connecticut writing for Market Watch that Keynesian economic policies are (ought to be) about to be replaced.
I don’t question that Warren Stephens, the billionaire banker and Lord of Little Rock, likely agrees with Stanley. He said as much in an interview with the Wall Street Journal – simply referring to Stephens in a caption of an illustration to an opinion piece, is to elevate him to the status of icon as is so often done with Ronald Reagan.
Our commercial class does perceive itself to be in competition with government (private v. public corporations) in the interest of managing and manipulating the population for fun and profit. If we don’t appreciate that, it’s largely because we don’t conceive of the manipulation of people as the primary function of government. Although some irascible and unwieldy people are in need of restraint and deterrence, the liberal expectation for government is that it address the vagaries of nature and the natural impediments to human sustenance and survival. That is, we’re into caring and sharing, rather than control.
Flattery. Why does it work? Because conservatives want to be seduced and they want to believe good things about themselves. Besides, their lack of awareness keeps them from recognizing that the flattery is fake.
To the self-directed, fake flattery may seem abhorrent. In accordance with the golden rule, it’s not something they want to do. Indeed, it seems almost immoral. But, when you consider that conservatives are practically inept — that many, if not all, their endeavors end in failure and failure is, in turn, incapacitating — flattery based on even the most minimal achievement is a…
A rumination prompted by the announcement that the cherubic dimple-cheeked Evan Bayh is about to go on the road as a shill for the secretive Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber is home to the commercial man, the middleman, the person who prospers by taking a “cut” from the producer and consumer side. In the bi-polar or bi-lateral arrangement of reality, there is no obvious place for the commercial man. This is and has always been perceived as a good thing because it means the position is uncontested. That is, the “trader” or, in the early days of European settlement, the “factor” has a free hand in claiming as much profit from the exchange and trade of goods as possible.
When our eldest grandson was about four and his mother failed to satisfy some demand, he kicked her in the shins. Since this happened at grandpa’s pond, he was immediately hauled to “his” room to let it register that such aggression was simply not going to be tolerated. But, what I most remember is the feeling of shock that such a little person would attack his own mother. In retrospect, it seems the notion that inflicting punishment to get what one wants is a very primitive one. Bullies are born, it seems; not made. And some, if Mitch McConnell at age 69 is an example, never grow out of it.
That’s what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said recently to the newest junior Senator from Arkansas when it awarded him the “Spirit of Enterprise” award in recognition of his job creating agenda while he served in the House of Representatives and voted in concert with the agenda of foreign and domestic buyers and sellers 94% of the time. Boozman proved himself the friend of the middlemen, including the purveyors of health insurance and a host of financial engineers, by voting against the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank. That the legislation became law anyway suggests that Boozman knows how to have it both ways.
Newton Gingrich opined to the Associated Press, “There are the things you want to say and what you need to say,” presumably about himself, but I hate it when pols disavow their connection to their own words by retreating into the second person. So, let me take him literally and point out that I “need” to reject his designation of Barack Obama as a “food stamp president.”
Who knows what that even means? Presidents don’t print, fund or distribute chits that can only be used to purchase food which, if it’s not consumed by humans, will be thrown away to sustain an army of vermin…
Once upon a time, when the continent was sparsely populated (the indigenous peoples having been largely killed off by the introduction of pestilent disease) and natural resources seem so abundant they would never be used up, public bodies (corporations) were organized mainly to distribute the resources to the favored or privileged populace via an assortment of rights:
Some of these rights promoted the practice of what we call “animal husbandry.”
The Veterans Administration is announcing the start of a new program. As of May 9th, they’ll be accepting applications from family caregivers of post 9/11 veterans for stipends, training and other services.
VA now provides additional support to eligible post-9/11 Veterans who elect to receive their care in a home setting from a primary Family Caregiver. Eligible primary Family Caregivers can receive a stipend, training, mental health services, and access to health insurance if they are not already under a health care plan. Applications can be made starting May 9, 2011.
Assistance with the application process is available. Caregiver Support Coordinators are stationed at every VA Medical Center; or dial toll-free 1-877-222 VETS (8387).
Who would dispute this is a good idea? Only people who have convinced themselves that being independent and incompetent is a great way to live, as long as it doesn’t affect them.
Democrats like to ask why citizens in the heartland keep voting for people who don’t have their best interest in mind. The conclusion I’ve come to is that, more often than not, it’s the lesser evil they pick. In Georgia, on the edges of the Marshes of Glynn, drug court seems to be a lesser evil for many a weakling who’s fallen into drug addiction, and some who haven’t.
For some reason, I want to admit, up front, that I consider it reprehensible for our agents of government to concern themselves with what individual persons inhale, ingest, inject or, for that matter, excrete from their own bodies. Also, I generally find the NPR program “This American Life” rather insipid, although on a long road trip, it’s better than religious talk radio. I mention that to explain why a story in this morning’s Georgia Times Union about a Glynn County Superior Court Judge, Amanda Williams, threatening to sue the producer of “This American Life” because she didn’t like the story, Very Tough Love, he did about a drug court she brooks no contradiction in running.
This little rant is in response to the Graham heir entering the lists on the side of the “birthers” and Muslim bashers. Though I personally think the latter springs from a lingering sense of resentment towards matriarchal muslin frocks.
It used to be said that “those who can, do and those who can’t, teach” — a slur undoubtedly perpetrated by people whose ability to master the practical skills of reading, writing, measuring and calculating time and distance was deficient for the tasks at hand. A more accurate and up-to-date version of the observation would be “those who can, do and those who can’t, preach.” Not only is our society inundated with people making a living out of telling us how to get to heaven, but warnings about hellfire, both in the after-life and here on earth turn out to be reliable income-producing occupations.
Which explains, to a large extent, I would wager, the growing antagonism on the part of the ministers of EuroAmerican religions towards preachers from the Middle and Far East.
The Senior Senator from Kentucky and Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has issued a preemptive dither about the prospect of corporations contracting with federal agencies having to disclose contributions to candidates for public office whenever they exceed $5000 in a single year. The Washington Post refers to it as a “slam,” but, from my observation of McConnell, a dither is more likely than a “slam,” and certainly there’s no dunk.
“outrageous and anti-Democratic abuse of executive branch authority.”
Does have the ring of strength, until you consider that to accuse a Democratic chief executive of being anti-Democratic is to indulge a self-vitiating claim. But, clearly, the Senator has reason to be annoyed.
The Okefenokee is a swamp on the Georgia/Florida border. That means it’s a forest standing in water, interspersed with some open waters connected by man-made canals. The Okefenokee Swamp Park people describe it thusly:
Headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, Okefenokee is a National Wildlife Refuge which covers nearly a half million acres.
Okefenokee Swamp Park is a convenient point of entry and a magnificent show-window for the “Land of the Trembling Earth.”
Alvin Greene, the ex-military man who volunteered himself as a candidate for the United States Senate in 2010, was the object of some amusement. That he got 28% of the vote, while the incumbent garnered a solid majority with 62% is of interest, mainly because this post is about percentages and South Carolina and a couple of other more or less significant southern states.
Percentages are numbers and numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole truth either…
To put a southern handle on this story, let me refer you to the Arkansas banker, Warren Stephens, opining in the Wall Street Journal about the disaster that’s coming as what he calls “the federal government allocating credit.” The reason the Congress reclaiming the purse strings is a disaster in his book is because that’s what was reserved to the Federal Reserve Bank when it was set up as a private corporation by the Congress. Why Congress gave up the power of the purse is a matter of speculation for another day.
Worthy of Comment
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At this time in my life I am beginning to view so much of what is happening around me through an increasingly cynical prism. As a friend is quick to point out, though, that behind every committed cynic there is a disappointed idealist wondering what happened to a world that once seemed so good and full of possibilities. I blame Shakespeare for part of my mental dyspepsia. It all began back in university when a supercilious professor dressed down a fellow student for misspelling the bard’s name. Now after reading Bill Bryson’s book Shakespeare: The World As Stage, I find that the Read on →
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My husband is from Western North Carolina. That part of the state is kind of like one of those remote places along the Amazon where the natives live in isolation from the modern world and have their own customs and language. I am positive that it is the only place in the world where the word “They” is an exclamation of surprise or disbelief. Rather like the all too common “Fuck” is used today, “They” can be tailored to a custom response. Said very slowly, while shaking the head, “TTHHEEEEEYY”, means agreement. Tacking Lord on the end signifies extreme amazement, “They Lord!” We Read on →