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Friday, September 28, 2012

It’s the third grade stupid

image from

I call myself stupid because the answer I've been seeking was right under my nose. I've been watching programs about education and reading just about everything I can get my hands on, but I think I found the answer I was looking for. It all came to me when I downloaded the latest Time magazine article titled " Why Third Grade Is So Important: the Matthew Effect by Annie Murphy Paul.

Just about Everything I've come across recycles the same-old problems such as parents, unions, government, bureaucracy, students, vouchers, punishment and money, and it's left at that until the subject comes up again. I think education is the key to all our problems.

I agree with the author when she states that the single most important year of an individual's academic career is the third grade. This is the year these students start learning  how to read-and decoding words by learning the alphabet. They go from, in her words, learning to read to reading to learn. It's a pivot point because according to Donald J. Hernandez, a professor of sociology at CUNY-Hunter College, third graders who lack proficiency in reading are four times more likely to become high-school dropouts.

It usually goes this way: struggles in the third-grade lead to a "fourth- grade slump" as reading- to -learn dominates the instructions. The substandard readers will begin to avoid reading out of frustration, and the traits of failure begin to take place. It gets even harder as the inferior reader progresses because classes in science, social studies, history and even math have to come to rely more on textual analysis.

Researchers have said that what distinguishes a super school from the rest is called the "Matthew Effect," taking from a Biblical verse found in the Gospel of Matthew: "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath: It just reinforces what we have know all along," the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

Some states have recognized the importance of reading and are taking a hard line stance: third graders who aren’t reading at-grade level don't get promoted to 4th grade. "Mandatory retention" bills have already been passed in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, and Oklahoma and are being considered in Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, and Tennessee. I'll have to keep that information to myself because, if my daughter found out, she would be asking for transfer to one of those states. She's been in and out of her principal's office and often overruled when she recommends a student for retention.

The author recommended some ideal alternatives: teachers and parents could get together and come up with an individualized learning plan for every third grader who needs help with reading-it might take specialized instruction, tutoring or even summer school. As she said the most important thing is taking action, and researchers have told us that we shouldn't assume that reading problems will work themselves out.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Victoria’s own Cartoon Network

I look forward to my morning Victoria Advocate. I pour myself a cup of coffee, skip the front page and go straight for the comments section and latest anti- Obama letter- to- the editor. I need my morning chuckle and I'm hardly ever disappointed.

This morning, a letter writer compared diehard Obama supporters to a flock of sheep. He had the audacity to lecture us because I'm pretty sure he voted for a  ticket that had Sarah Palin on it. This type of Republican can never figure out why someone would vote or think differently from him. They're sheep; that's his answer.

I don't know who the "YOU" the letter writer was referring to but since I'm a proud diehard, Obama's supporter ,I'll take that title for the purpose of this blog.

Last night I was watching a show where I was reminded of the severity that the 2008 Wall Street financial crisis brought upon this nation. President Obama has yet to hear these words from his fed chairman," Mr. President, if we don't act by this weekend, we won't have an economy on Monday morning." Republicans act as if that chapter isn't in the book. The Republicans think the president should have brought this country back to where it was with the $867 billion stimulus bill in two years or so. They'll say that's a lot of money, and that's true but eight trillion dollars of capital was taken out of the system by Wall Street. The $867 billion stimulus was equivalent to hunting whales with a BB gun. The administration didn't complain. They went out and stopped the 750,000 per month job losses. There are several charts out there to look at the difference between the job losses between 2008 to 2012. This has been a jobless recovery but it would take another blog to explain the reasons why.

There's no question that Solyndra was a bad investment, that was started by the Bush administration but that was no reason to continue it. The administration learned its lesson from the fiasco; they will now give federal grants to research universities and allow them to pick the winners and losers. That idea is picking up because private companies are also funding those research laboratories. We're not going to give up on solar energy; we used to be the leaders of this wonderful technology at one time, but we sold it to Germany.

You have to ask the people of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa if keeping GM alive was a good idea. Never mind, the president is up by eight points in Ohio and leading in those other states. That's a good metric. The Chevy Volt has not taken off as expected because it's too expensive, bad marketing, and gasoline prices aren't that high. I remember when my Toyota Prius stuck out like a sore thumb, but now they are everywhere. If Israel strikes Iran, GM will have a back load of Volts to fill. Republicans like Mr. Bunch are rooting for America to fail so they can tie it around the president's neck. I remember when we bailed out Chrysler years and years ago, but I don't remember Democrats rooting for their products to fail.

President Ronald Reagan didn't take a sledgehammer and personally tear down the Berlin Wall with his own hands but Republicans give all the credit to him. I understand the reasoning because metaphorically we always give to credit to the president at the time. Not so, with the killing of Bin Laden. Anyone who has read about the attack knows that even though they had nine months of intelligence (not Bush's) they only had a 50-50 assurance that Bin Laden actually lived in that compound. The anti -Obama types would still be hammering the president if that mission had failed. That's OK because most Americans knows that with the support of the Commander in Chief, al-Qaeda have lost a lot of their leaders. The president doesn't have to worry about his foreign policy credentials.

I would like to know how Obamacare has sucked up Social Security money. Perhaps he meant Medicare, but I doubt that he would criticize Paul Ryan for using the same  $716 billion to balance his budget proposal. Obama took is from the providers but Ryan Paul took his from the seniors.

What can I say about another writer who probably gets all their news from Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity? I read this recent study, which is similar to the one Farleigh Dickinson University put out in 2011.

 “The largest effect is that of Fox News: all else being equal, someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer just 1.04 domestic questions correctly — a figure which is significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all. On the other hand, if they listened only to NPR, they would be expected to answer 1.51 questions correctly; viewers of Sunday morning talk shows fare similarly well. And people watching only The Daily Show with Jon Stewart could answer about 1.42 questions correctly.”

MSNBC viewers also did worse than those who watch no news at all but only in the international news section of the study.

Among those who did the best in the study are people who only listened to NPR or watched Sunday morning talk shows or “The Daily Show

I don't need a study; all I need is my morning Victoria Advocate comment section;that’s proof enough.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Really,it’s the bias liberal media?

I've been watching politics for longtime and I have yet to hear a campaign say that the  liberal bias is the number-one reason a campaign is seen as being behind.  Even the right leaning Rasmussen Poll and Fox News  Poll has Romney/Ryan behind. I saw  a Romney staffer tell a reporter yesterday, that their internal polls show them ahead in some swing states.  I imagine if he really had data, he would have and shown it to Fox News by now.

A lot of people are skeptical about polls, and that's understandable, but when you have 20 polls that all show Obama ahead in all of 'em, I believe there's at least a trend.  I also believe that Karl Rove is the person to watch because, when he starts using most of its cash for downhill candidates; it means he's given up on the presidential race.  Mitt Romney will spend three days in Ohio, but that's three days that's he's not in Florida, Virginia, Colorado and Iowa where the president is leading and gaining steam.  Mr. Romney cannot lose Ohio and Florida and win the election. No Republican has ever lost Ohio and won the presidency.

The Republicans say that they still have a lot of time, but 26 states have already started voting.  The Romney camp has put all their eggs on in one basket; the upcoming debates.  It is my opinion that Romney has to beat Obama to a pulp in the first debate, or he'll never be able to recover.

It's really too bad because Mitt Romney is not a bumbling nincompoop, he's a good businessman, intelligent, and yesterday at the Clinton Global Initiative, he looked very presidential in laying out a worldwide plan.  He even told a funny joke about how a few good words from President Clinton can do wonders for one's campaign.  He said that he was expecting a pretty good bump in a couple of days. Mitt Romney might have gone down as Jon Huntsman did, running as the moderate he is, but he's trailing the president by a good margin because he doesn't believe in the stuff he is saying.  For example, on Univision, he told a moderator that he was proud that the Obama campaign is calling him the grandfather of Obamacare.  The next day, his campaign said he was just being facetious.  A couple of years ago, he railed against those using the ER for their medical needs  he correct;y said it was driving up the cost of health care.  Two years ago Romney said that's why he believed in universal health care.  Sunday he told Scott Peavey of CBS 60 Minutes that the  uninsured wouldn't be without health care because they could use the emergency room.

I really expect the polls to tighten as the election nears because some Republicans, really hate President Obama.  Buzz Feed is reporting that over a million copies of the film claiming President Obama's true father is a Chicago Communist is now being shipped to Ohioans.  Republicans have always relied on the fear card when they are clearly behind.  They don't realize that the president has been in office for close to four years and people have already made up their mind about him. They dismissed the propaganda in 2008. A lot of voters who usually vote for the Democratic party may be disenfranchised with voter suppression laws, but  we will have to wait and see.

I really don't know why Texans are wasting their time trying to persuade voters not to vote for Obama by writing fact- challenged letters because the state will give all their 38 electoral votes to Mitt Romney.

I enjoy watching Joe Scarborough, host of "Morning Joe" hyperventilate and bang his head with the palm of his hand after hearing yet another gaffe from Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan.  This morning there were still talking about the story in the blog "Politico"about the Romney camp being furious at Paul Ryan for the AARP event and because he is using PowerPoint presentations as part of his stump speeches.  On the other hand, the two will be appearing together because Mitt Romney can't generate that much excitement from his stump speeches.  It didn't have to be this way, but the GOP decided to leave their best players on the bench for the 2012 presidential election.  That decision may have been disastrous because the Democrats had a uphill challenge in holding the Senate, but if it was held today; they would win the Senate and gain one senator.  The ineptness  of the Romney campaign is making a likable and pretty  good politician Republican senator, Scott Brown, to go  negative in trying to keep his seat in Massachusetts.

Tighten up your chin straps, buckle up your seats; we are in for nasty 40 days down the stretch.

It's funny how that goes because, if you're a Republican, you are taught at a very young age to hate unions.  That has its limitations because Governor Scott Walker and Paul Ryan are barking at the owners' to settle the strike and bring back the union refs.  The National Football League is a $9 billion industry, but it's allowing its main product to suffer just to show who's in command.  Severe Injuries are up because the replacement referees are not equipped nor do they know what to look for from these professional players. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

It’s another one of those letters

I'm a very optimistic person by nature, sometimes to a fault, but it's who I am. I would rather watch Fareed Zakaria's special "Putting America Back to Work" than to watch a gloom and doom scenario of a six month melt-down if we don't start bringing down the debt. I wanted to write my thoughts about some good ideas coming from the Clinton Global Initiative but a stupid letter caught my attention.

First things first, I'll answer this letter -to -the editor of what the author thought was 18 questions for Democrats but it really only amounted to five questions, and the rest are at best assumptions with an ending of "duh." I was a little hesitant because this letter falls into the “why bother" category. I'm assuming the letter writer forgot about the financial crisis of 2008, the 700,000 job losses a month and the Republican's part in that fiasco. His letter is to Democrats, so I assume he thinks his party is doing fine, and America is in line with his thinking. It'll be useless to tell him that consumer confidence is at 42% and rising or that his leader Mitt Romney thinks he's even with the president because of one national poll. I'm sure the letter writer doesn't know the importance of the battleground states; if Romney loses Ohio and Florida; it's over for him, and he's losing both right now.

1...The first question calls for speculation; a more proper question would be; why did you vote for Obama? I'm not into hero worship, and I know one man can't possibly handle all the problems for 300 million people, but I do know the role of 535 members of Congress. I do admire the president's intelligence,  I like his history of pulling himself up by his bootstraps from welfare, to the president of the Harvard Law Review, state senator, United States Senator  and then to the president of United States.

2... The president did not accomplish anything that would satisfy a right-wing republican. The president assembled advisers to come up with a stimulus bill to stop the massive job losses he inherited. The first piece of legislation he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (equal pay for equal work) which gave the author's wife, daughter, girlfriend, niece the opportunity and to get equal pay for equal work. I believe the Affordable Health Care Act will reform our health care, make it accessible for 31 million Americans and eventually lower the cost curve. Meanwhile, he was instrumental in repealing “Don’t Ask Don't Tell" and did I mention that “GM is alive and Bin Laden's dead." That’s off the top of my head.

3.... Like all presidents, his future accomplishments depend on the makeup of the Congress. Will it be another one of obstruction? I see him setting back in his oval office chair in his third year of his second term ,reaping the benefits of the policies he put in place.

4.... I would like to see the evidence of the president attacking the first or the second amendment... I would have liked him to go after the ammo extension clips.

5.... A good course of government and civics would answer the author's worries about a single man lead us toward socialism or communism...I don't have time.

6-10 & 14... Again the author did  not offer any evidence for his charge of speaking out of both sides of his mouth but he's a Mitt Romney supporter; he must give a lot of leeway on this. The letter writer has to come into the 21st century because then he would know the Air Force, I, is equipped with loads and loads of communication equipment; it's a 24/7 job. I don't know of any appointments that are going to Chicago hoods, and his characterization of giveaway programs sounds a lot like Mitt Romney's 47% comment. The administration's green jobs are on the back burner until the economy recovers.

11-13... I guess the entire work force is public and private; 7% of the private sector workforce is unionized and 32% of the public workforce is unionized. The administration never attempted to bring up or pass what labor wanted;CARD CHECK laws. The president (much to the dismay of the unions)stayed out of the Wisconsin recall battle and the latest Chicago teacher strike.Large companies are moving out union supported areas to benefit their their bottom line; you know, lower wages with no benefits.

The writer (not knowing that the GOP Congress holds the purse strings) says the president is spending us into total oblivion. Check the Fortune 500 companies’ balance sheet, check the Wall Street CEO's bonus checks, the Dow Jones Averages, and the fact that other countries are still investing in America. What your Democratic friends say is totally irrelevant because nationally, Democrats are lined up behind Obama, you might check what prominent Republicans are saying about Romney. Just go online and you'll find it in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or RedSate.

15-18... The president's defense Secretary Robert Gates (holdover from the Bush administration) initiated the defense cuts of our bloated defense system. I've yet to hear the Pentagon ever tell Congress that they didn't need more money. The defense cuts will be negotiated. You'll never apologize because you will never admit that Bush’s premeditated attack on Iraq was the worse foreign policy ever perpetrated by our nation. You will never admit the fallacy of two tax cuts for the wealthy while engaging in two wars, and passing a $7 trillion prescription-drug bill was a colossal mistake, that we're still paying for today. I just read where Texas was breaking ground on their end of the keystone pipeline. I like your closing line because like the start, it doesn't have any basis in the truth and doesn't really make any sense.

The letter writer is a low- information voter who will always vote Republican but other than what he learns from Fox News; he's clueless. I've never seen a letter from him praising Mitt Romney, but he falls into the typical hate Obama crowd. He reminds me of Ann Coulter and Bay Buchanan, who this weekend tried to convince the panel on the ABC and NBC talk shows that Romney was right about the 47%. It also falls in line with what will be the new attack talking point Fox News and the GOP will use against the president. Yesterday, Chris Wallace tried to make headlines by saying that “President Obama has time for Whoopi Goldberg but not for foreign leaders." That's so childish because the Secretary of State will continue where she left off with the foreign leaders when they come to the U.N. summit. The leaders know that she talks for the president and he is just a cell phone call away. The president has enough self confidence to delegate his authority without fear of losing his authority. His opponents will also try to make hay out of him saying that the unrest in the Middle East was a bump- in- the- road Mitt Romney immediately pounced on that saying that the killing of our ambassador and three other Americans was not a bump- in -the- road That’s a sign of desperation because it's totally irresponsible to think that a president would think that the killing of Americans was not of the utmost importance. Any reasonable person should know that the president meant that a new democracy will have some bumps in the road.

Well if nothing else;I feel a lot better now.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gradual Change

We pulled into the driveway of my sister's Texas City home around 12:00 P.M. and for the next 10 hours; it seemed everyone had to tell us what went on in their lives since the last time we saw in November of last year. In one way it was sad because a funeral brought us together but there was plenty of time for laughter and catching up.

My brother in-law was grilling the last steak as we were pulling up, and he said to go inside, and that he would meet with us in a couple of minutes. After blowing our diet, we went into the living room where the television was on but no one was watching or listening to it until we all saw a long line at a Houston AT&T lighting up to get the latest in iPhone 5. That set- off my 82-year-old brother-in- law, so for the next hour or so; we took a trip down memory lane.

He started telling us about his boyhood days where his feet were so rough, that he never felt any pain while running on the old gravel roads. He had us both wondering if the old sticker burrs were still around because we haven't seen them for ages. We recalled the old grass spears that we used to chuck at our friends. We didn't know if they were still around, but our wives reminded us that it has been quite a while since we old coots have been on the ground.

When the ladies left the room, he proceeded to tell me stories about my grandparents, uncles, and a lot of stuff I just vaguely remembered. He told me about the downtown Deluxe Club, where I remember my stepdad taking me after paying the utility in person and in cash. He said that he was probably at the club at the time, but he was in the back, playing in a high-stakes poker game. He told me everyone in town knew where you could buy after- hour booze on Plantation Road, and another one was somewhere in Dutch Lane. There was no fear of the sheriff's department closing them down because that's where they got their beer after they got off. He said the really high-stakes poker games were up on upper Mission Valley road and slot machines could be found at any CWA or VFW hall and then he swore up and down that it was common knowledge that our old Sheriff Monty Marshall, would give the local clubs a heads up anytime the Texas Rangers told them about an upcoming raid. He said only time, there was trouble is when the wives would complain to a higher authority because their husbands were gambling with the family grocery money.

We left at 5:00 P.M. for the funeral home where we would spend the next two hours visiting before the priest came to give the rosary. About 8:30 that same night, we went to another family gathering where the crowd was much younger.

Two of my nephews said they were laid off and were rehired six months later, to do the same work but this time as contract labor, at a lesser wage with no benefits. They said that they learned what it was to walk in someone else's shoes. They used to look down at the contract labor because the contract labor would often do the menial jobs, so that the conventional employees could be trained for the more technical jobs. He said the only difference now is that the company no longer hires typical permanent employees where they usually have to pay benefits and a higher wage. They both did what they had to do to retain their homes, but they admit they were lucky.

Change is gradual because, when my wife told me that she wanted to be cremated; I was against it because of religious and family tradition. I had a change of heart yesterday and little did I know that I was the last one to come to that decision. In Houston, which serves that area and Galveston, there is a 2 to 3 day waiting period because they have a lot more bodies to tend to. The visitation is the same, which is really for the family, there is no religious objection to it, and you eliminate those next-day burial services. I certainly don't have anything against traditional burial services but this may be another practice that may be gone in the future.

Changes are gradual and we can either accept them or fight them, but it's inevitable.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The way I see it

It's unfortunate these political arguments always end with the name calling except in a few cases. I've had more than my share but nowadays, I'm choosier with whom, I argue with. I write a political blog, so I understand that readers will disagree with my viewpoints, but if we can't have a rational discussion; then it's not worth discussing.

I downloaded the latest Vanity Fair because it had a behind the scenes look at President Obama. The author of the article is Michael Lewis. He said that President Obama does not like politics. He’s not like Bill Clinton, who can tell you who is running for county judge in some obscure district in Montana. He’s not like Lyndon Johnson, who would shake your hand, pour you a drink, and light your cigar knowing all along that he was going to stab you in the back to get what he wants. He’s not superficial, so that makes it awful hard for him to broker a deal with the opposition party. That’s where Joe Biden comes in, and it sheds some light on why we have gridlock. Many times the constituents are highly polarized, and they pressure their representatives into not compromising, which is not the way Washington is supposed to work. There is no clear-cut truth certain ideology or solution, but many don’t believe that.

I've had my share of arguing with right wing Laissez-Faire capitalists and those who still live in the "Red Scare" days of Joe McCarthyism. To them, sharing or doing something good for someone is considered socialism because we know anything government spends on the poor, minorities and the disadvantaged is outright socialism. It doesn't matter if they have any boots; they should assimilate themselves pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. I'm going to be 67 years old, and I have yet to meet any of those people bellowing “socialism” who knows the definition of the word. They just call any government expenditure- socialism, but they'll be there to collect their Social Security and Medicare. Oh, if they only knew how their company placed their bids for government contracts... That's OK by me because I know the true meaning, of "we the people" and I believe and understand the general welfare clause of the constitution.

During the Clinton years, it was about the children and what that ill moral man did in the sacred White House. We heard about Reagan never taking off his jacket while he was in the West Wing and other superficial tales. Today the Reaganites throw out “what are we going to leave our grandchildren “when talking about the debt and deficit. There was no such talk when we borrowed money to give two tax cuts to the wealthy, engage in two wars, and put a seven trillion dollar drug prescription bill on the credit card. They will never mention the environment and leaving our grandchildren a healthy planet. Republicans shrug it off saying it's the greatest hoax ever.

I know that they are varying opinions about the state of our economy, and you're pretty naive if you think one economic philosophy or economists knows all there is to know. No one cans accurately predict what the Asian markets or European markets will do to influence our economy. Others can stay up all night worrying about the debt and the deficit, but I would like our government to worry about jobs because without jobs the inevitable will happen. We owe a lot of the debt to ourselves. We also know that we need to reform our tax structure, entitlements and defense spending but at the same time invest in education, infrastructure and innovation. We don't need to drastically bring down the debt and deficit; all we need is a downward trend in the outlining years.

Then there is that group who wants to cut down the size of government, so it would fit nicely inside a Radio Shack outlet. You heard it during the GOP presidential debates where Ron Paul and Rick Perry wanted to eliminate five government agencies. They’ll call Social Security, a Ponzi scheme and want the feds to send Medicaid block grants to the states. They have their eye on privatizing Medicare and eliminating good public schools by issuing school vouchers. This group will fight tooth and nail against any private/ public ventures because  if successful; it ruins their argument that government is totally inept. They don’t want to raise taxes because it might give the government the money it needs to be more efficient; notwithstanding making Grover Norquist wave that “no new taxes “pledge in front of their faces.

This group knows that government is the equalizer, and they can’t stand it. It gets in their way when they try to pollute in order to get more profits, cheat consumers, discriminate or implement unfair work policies. This powerful group has a lot of big money behind them, and they have already brought the private sector unions to its knees, and it now only represents 7% of the working force. All that’s left is the public unions which represent about 30% of public workers and it is in their sights. This started 30 years ago when they pitted good union labor jobs performed by high school graduates against workers from third-world countries. That is the formula for concentrating all the wealth at the top and leaving little for consumers to satisfy our demand problem. It’s a perfect storm of low or stagnant wages and tax cutting. All is not lost Wall Street is at 13,000, Fortune 500 companies have $2 trillion in reserve, and the banks have another $2.5 trillion sitting in the vaults of the Federal Reserve.

This will have to serve as my old Saturday morning vent because I will be out of town attending to personal matters.
Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Let the 47% eat cake

This is the first of more to come

There has been a lot of “first time I've ever heard of that" in this presidential campaign, but I've never seen a campaign self- destruct in a period of two weeks. I can't imagine how Mitt Romney would have reacted to the 2008 financial crisis or a terrorist attack. I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he implemented Romneycare but in the clip I posted, he seemed at ease telling the fat cats that he wasn't gonna worry about those people. He made similar remarks after the NAACP convention saying, “I’m not going to give them free stuff." Mitt Romney said those words were off the cuff but I'm not buying it. 

Mitt is hitting on a popular Republican theme for not raising taxes on the 1%. The Republican argument is that 47% of taxpayers don't pay income tax is running thin. Most people understand that because of unforeseen circumstances, many taxpayers were laid off, and they now fall into a bracket where their deductions, credits, and adjustments allow them to receive back more than they paid in. Older people living on their pension and Social Security checks are in that 47%. Students entering the job market for the first time might be in that 47% and so the point being; not everyone who ended up not paying income tax last year is a deadbeat Obama voter. Talk about class warfare.

Mitt Romney is not one to preach about government handouts because he only pays 13% to 17% income tax on his earnings while the rest of us pay more than that. We don't have tax shelters in the Cayman Islands. His tax plan calls for 20% cut across the board, but it still gives him a very healthy tax cut. The wealthy will get their tax cut by eliminating some middle class deductions and credits; however, it has not been announced.

I don't know why the conservative pundits are angry at Mitt Romney. It's the same message they've been preaching. I think that they want him to say the words that will win him the presidency and then enact the Ryan budget which will be devastating for those who are already struggling.

The Romney apologists will now reset their aim on the indigent, making them the scapegoats for all our ills. The same ol' made-up stories of poor people loading their grocery baskets with prime ribs and other expensive food, paying with the Lone Star card and driving off in a brand-new Lexus. These stories are as close as the storytellers will get to understanding economics'. If you ask them for the percentage of GDP, Welfare, the SNAP program and Medicaid represent; they will say it doesn't matter because they don't know. 

I still believe that Mitt Romney is an intelligent businessman, but now I think he's a con artist because he must know that Wal-Mart (one of his top donors) will not let him go after China for its currency manipulation. It's that currency manipulation that allows Wal-Mart to buy cheap Chinese products and sell them to us at a good profit.

Mitt Romney has been trying to please the base, but they can see right through him because, as they say, “a leopard doesn't change its stripes." Mitt Romney should have run as a moderate Republican because that's what he is. He's a Rockefeller, country club Republican, and it's easy to see that in his economic plan and tax policies

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lady,you made my day

My wife must've thought I was going over the edge this morning because I couldn't stop laughing. I was laughing at a letter titled “Democrats are contradicting themselves." I'm sure there are times when Democrats contradict themselves because they are human,like everyone else, but this is certainly not one of those times. I don't think you can be called a hypocrite for distinguishing the differences between voting, which is a right, and showing  a picture ID to gain entrance to an event, which is a choice. There is no statistical data that shows rampant voter fraud. If legislators want to enact" ounce of prevention" laws, they should be aware that the right to vote should never be infringed.

The letter writer (on good source I'm sure) thought it was ironic that some ticket holders were denied entrance to the Democratic National Convention because they didn't have a picture ID. Being a good conservative letter writer, she made several assumptions to back up her outrageous claim of hypocrisy. First, the people asking for ID were probably hired by the convention hall to provide security, not deny someone the right of voting. If anyone has seen a picture of a political delegate, they know they have about 20 pieces of ID around their neck to get into the different events, meetings and who knows what. I wouldn't be surprised if the tickets were color coated because the delegates had assigned seating. The president, vice president and other important dignitaries were going to be inside the convention center; enhance security measures are to be expected and demanded.

It's not only the Democrats who think that the overnight voter ID laws were politically motivated because it made it harder for the poor, elderly, students and minorities to vote. Federal judges are looking at these newly enacted voter suppression laws enacted by Republican governors.

Excessive security measures are not necessarily considered racial issues because you will find that most Libertarians (white or black) think they are in an intrusion of our civil liberties.

The letter writer chose to use the" victim card" because decent superior, conservative, Christian patriots like her are now in a minority. You certainly can't call her a racist because she's bulletproof; you see she's a proud American Latina...:-)

The letter writer didn't have to do any research because all she had to do watch the DNC convention on MSNBC.  She would have learned that the president insisted that the platform keep in the reference to God, no matter how all the delegates voted.  She would have seen that the voice of disapproval  outshouted the” yeas” but she would have seen the blown- up picture of the platform with "God" inserted, as Mayor Villaraigosa asked for a recount.  The Democrats were well aware of the optics and how their opponents would try to use that against them.  It didn’t work for the GOP and they should move on.  I don’t think God cared one way or the other.

Elsewhere, the Sunday talk shows were about foreign policy and what should and shouldn't be done. It's a shame that the administration sent out Dr. Susan Rice to say that the turbulence was caused by a 14-minute video clip. Although all the details are not in, it's not hard to assume that the attacks were coordinated for maximum coverage. The protesters were angry about a prominent Al Qaeda member being killed by a drone, natural unrest, some anti Americanism because of our alliance with Israel and it all was done to coincide with the anniversary of 911. There are legitimate questions to be answered about security, and some will talk of curtailing foreign aid. In the past, we would have not  seen these protest and because like them are not; ruthless dictators would have nipped it in the bud before it got started. The new leaders are going through growing pains as well as the people. We mustn't forget that on the other side of the street, our Libyan friends were holding up signs apologizing for the murder of the ambassador and three other Americans.

I've heard the expression that conservatives aren't really Republicans, but I thought that it was just a “Don’t blame me for Bush" line. Conservative Amy Holmes, told Howard Kurtz of CNN's "Reliable Sources" that the GOP was a tool or a launching pad, but her ideals and ideology come from a conservative mindset, even if it's in a third party. I'm beginning to understand now. You see, you never get too old to learn.

I've heard so many outcries of how Romney should be 6 to 7 points ahead because of our poor economy and that was coming from prominent Republicans.  If that's so, it reminds me of the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Seattle Seahawks  game yesterday.  Paul Ryan took the kickoff and fumbled giving the Democrats 3 points.  Then Mitt Romney punts and gets it blocked giving Obama a touchdown.  Sure, they can make a comeback but they need to run the table and get some help from the Obama campaign.  The Mitt Romney campaign has a lot of money left and I have no doubt that they will carpet bomb the battle ground states in late October through November but now the onus is on Mitt Romney to look like the overwhelming better choice after debates with President Obama.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Romney is starting to scare me

A few months ago, I said I would not fear a Mitt Romney presidency because Congress would be somewhat of a deterrent for his most irrational policies. I've changed my mind because of his bellicose rhetoric as a potential Commander in Chief. I now see him as a person who would "shoot first and ask questions later."

About four months ago, Mitt criticized the Obama administration for endangering the family of the blind Chinese activist, Chen Guagcheng, seeking asylum in the United States. He did not know that Hillary Clinton was working behind the scenes with China to work out a successful deal from the Chinese government that they eventually received.

Recently, Mitt drew fire from some Republican leaders for interjecting his political criticism of the administration's handling of the recent death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American's deaths in Libya. Mitt Romney has been trying to paint President Obama as an appeaser and being weak on terrorism. Pundits thought that the cowboy rhetoric was coming from the neocons on his staff, but a reporter said that most of the hot air was coming from Mitt himself. Mitt Romney is used to being in charge, and he doesn't like being painted as being weak on foreign policy. Mitt says that he would have a strong military which would demand respect around the world. How naive, we can't bring in the Marines to start indiscriminately shooting protesters in a foreign country. We took the rational approach and sent in the FBI who quickly arrested four suspects. The suspects may not be the ones who attacked the U.S. Consulate, but they might lead us to the ones who did. It's in the hands of the FBI, where it should be. The president has dispatched two navy warships to the coast of Libya, as a show of force. The situation in the Middle East is very unstable right now, but it can only be handled by one Commander in Chief at a time.

I really don't mind Mitt questioning the latest actions of the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, who recently started a new round of bond-buying, known as quantitative easing or QE3. Mitt Romney and the Republicans think this move is a political one, even though the Federal Reserve is an independent entity. Ben Bernanke is a conservative Republican who thinks our economy is in dire need of more stimulus. He knows the risk of inflation, but these actions will keep the interest rates low enough to help the housing market and small businesses with hiring and training costs. The stock market immediately rose after the chairman's decision. We'll have to wait and see the aftermath, but it's a step in the right direction. Consumer confidence has started to pick up.

I know President Obama is up by six points nationally and is leading in all the critical swing states but the Republicans desire to remove Obama from office might outweigh any question they might have answered in a poll. The Democratic voters might just say that the presidents got it in the bag, so it's not imperative for them to vote. I even saw where Pennsylvania's voter ID law might be overturned or at least put on hold until after the election, but that state is too important for Democrats to start getting complacent. They need to keep registering voters as if the law will be upheld. I got a kick out of one of the Republican judges saying that his ID card could open any Federal courthouse, but it would not entitle him to vote because it does not have an expiration date on it. He also said something to the effect that steps should be taken to ensure elections are free of fraud but can a law that was enacted overnight really assure us of its true intent. For example, it took Georgia up to five years to work out all the kinks before presenting it for a successful vote.

I'll be watching because, as predicted this election will be one to behold. It might even surpass the 2002 Bush V Gore fiasco.

Meanwhile, I'm going to keep up with that 77-year-old Texas grandmother who was caught speeding and refused to show the police officer, her driver's license, so she got yanked from her car and thrown to the ground. Of course, all this was caught on the police video, and the broadcast went viral. I don't really know what the correct procedure should have been but in hindsight, I think the police officer should've called for backup, disabled her car because you don't want a speeder to take off again; putting herself in danger. It's a good thing that these confrontations with old people are rare. It was just a speeding ticket, and the police knew where she lived, so it's not like the police didn't have the ability to give her a summons at her home. Perhaps this is a lesson for old people...:-)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I had to bite my tongue

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My wife and I had a pleasant journey to Corpus Christi this morning, and it's always a relief to hear the GPS lady say, “you have arrived at your destination." We anticipated some rain but we just got scattered showers on the way up there.

Our company decided to turn over their retiree healthcare plan to a company called Extended Help who will help us with the transition. They even set up a free seminar with the company. I admit that I had a little anxiety because change is hardly ever easy.

As we entered the Holiday Inn hallway, I noticed an old friend  and a couple of other people with him as he was pointing at me and laughing. In the five or six seconds, it took to approach him; lot of things were going through my mind," did I have egg McMuffin on my chin or was my fly open?" It was a relief to hear him say," there is one of those Obama voters who is responsible for us being here." As we were going to our seats my wife asked me “what’s this plan have to do with Obamacare?" I just shrugged my shoulders, sat down and started looking around the room at faces that I recognized but couldn't place a name to. I estimated the crowd to be about 150 to 200 people, but some were from Corpus Christi.

When the speaker said “good morning" you could have heard a pin drop because everyone in the room was anxious to hear every word she said because this was an introduction to a very important decision, we had to make. We all wanted to get all the information we could, before we signed up with the new plan.

As it turns out, we had nothing to worry about because it's a simple choice between a Medical Advantage plan and a MediGap plan. The plans may be less expensive than what I'm on now,  but I will be required to fill more new paperwork. That’s OK because  this company is getting paid by our company to take me through the most economical steps.  She advised us to use a land line or a freshly charged cell  when it came time for the processing because the complete interview would  take one hour or more.

We did learn that the government would not let us be denied for pre-existing conditions, and that the plan will have no lifetime caps... The instructor told us that these plans had nothing to do with Obamacare, which drew a lot of laughs from the skeptics. At the beginning of the seminar, we were handed cards where we could submit our question for the instructor. Three of the seven cards that were submitted asked if this plan had anything to do with Obamacare. On our way out, another old buddy of mind wished us a safe trip and then said, “I don't believe for a minute that this has nothing to do with Obamacare." And that's just it," you can lead a horse to water, even stick his nose in it, but you can't make him drink."

On our way back and as we were approaching I-37N, we could see that it was going to rain, but we never anticipated that we would be driving through a big downpour. For the next 15 miles or so, the cars around us, we're not traveling more than 45 miles an hour. Many cars were parked on the emergency lanes, and I thought of that but looking for a place to exit was more dangerous than remaining in the middle lane and plowing ahead.

We had already forgotten our little excitement until we got into downtown Refugio, when out of nowhere we heard the loudest siren ever. I didn't know what it was, I assumed it was a tornado warning, and I didn't know what actions I was supposed to take, so I just kept driving forward. I wasn't alone, because people were just milling around filling their cars, going into restaurants, and doing their business as if the siren never went off. Refugio needs to go digital.

Up until three years  ago,I didn't think we had that many skeptics or naive people. I used to laugh at the preposterous tales and say to myself “no one will believe that." Oh yes, they will!