Thursday, September 30, 2010

King's Stimulus Plan

Everyone agrees we have to get this ecomony moving again.  Everyone has their idea on how to accomplish this.  Republicans think more tax cuts (especially for the rich) will do the trick.  Democrats think they can spend their way out of rough times.  I kind of lean toward the latter, but the problem with most spending stimulus plans is people don't spend.  We give tax rebates to people for buying new homes, appliances, cars and who knows what.  The problem, most people just put the money in the bank instead of spending it.

When I am King, all stimulus rebates from the federal government will be in the form of prepaid Vista cards.  You can use them just like cash and buy almost anything.  Here's the kicker.  If you don't spend the prepaid amount in one year, you lose it. 

I am pretty sure most people will spend the money.  More money spent, more products need to be made, more jobs are created.  Let's get things moving again.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Civil Rights for Everyone

Finally, a court decision that advances civil rights.  U. S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma, WA, ruled that Air Force Maj. Margaret Witt should be reinstated.  Witt, a flight nurse, lost her job when the Air Force discovered she had a civilian female partner.

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled against public school segregation in Brown v. The Board of Education.  That led to a massive civil rights movement that eventually led Congress to pass a whole series of anti-discrimination laws.  It wasn't an easy task.  Students did sit ins. Freedom riders put their lives on the line.  Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life. 

Hopefully, Judge Leighton started the process for universal civil rights.  His decision will trigger a series of future court appeals.  I have little confidence in the Robert's Court, but I am hoping that Congress will stand up during the future lame duck session and end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" forever.

When I am King, civil rights will be for everyone.  Not just the powerful, the mainstream, the white, the rich -- but, for everyone.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Guns Kill People

When I was in high school and college, three men I admired deeply were assassinated.  There names were John, Bobby and Martin. Each was a great leader whose life was taken by an asshole with a gun.  Because of their deaths, I've always had a great dislike for guns.

While in college, I wrote one paper that I truly felt good about.  The topic was the NRA (National Rifle Association).  What I found out was amazing.  This organization had virtually every member of Congress afraid of them.  That's because they had huge membership that impacted almost any ones re-election hopes.  Best yet, they were unregulated because they weren't registered as lobby, but as an educational institution.  What a bunch of bull shit.  By the way, that paper was written in 1967 and nothing much has changed.

Today we have people shooting cops or abortion doctors in church.  You can buy a gun at a gun show and go on a rampage at your college killing students you don't even know.  Worst yet is the number of children and teens kill by gun fire every year.  One child is killed every three hours, or about 50 a week - over 3000 per year.  What a horrific waste.  Meanwhile the NRA will try to convince you that guns don't kill people, people kill people.  Tell that to the 80 adults who are murdered by gun fire each day.

Yes, I am aware there's a thing called the second amendment.  I am also aware that it has been lied about so much, that even rational people think it's an absolute right.  Well it is, if you listen to the Robert's Supreme Court.  But, that wasn't always the case.  Previous courts believed the right was reserved for those people serving in well regulated malitia - like the police and military.  Regardless, I am sick of guns that have no purpose but to kill people.

When I am King, I will out law bullets for hand guns and semi-automatic weapons .  You can have all the guns you want, but if you have one bullet your sorry ass is going to jail. In the mean time, please check out The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Friday, September 24, 2010

God's Work Tax?

When I was a young boy I use to go to church with my mother and father.  I was always fascinated when the collection plate was passed.  I couldn't believe how many people willingly deposited money into the collection plate.  I always wondered if anyone would notice if I took out a few bucks for myself. That was before my mother explained that the money was given so the preacher and the church could do God's work.

I had this view of Mother Teresa helping the down trodden with this collection money.  That was until I visited Vatican City.  As I approached the Vatican Museum, I couldn't help but notice the beggars lining the perimeter.  As I tour the museum and St. Peter's Basilica, I also remember that back in Chicago, the church was getting ready to closed down some Catholic High Schools in poor neighborhoods due to lack of funds.  Lack of funds, are you kidding me!  Sell a wing of art treasures in the Vatican Museum and you could feed all the beggars and fund all the schools for a long time.

One needn't travel to Rome to see examples of collection plate fraud.  In a near by neighborhood, we have a minister who has a mega church that rakes in money hand over fist.  Most of the people attending the church are poor working class people who reach deep into their pockets each week to keep funding God's work.  However, God's work consist of funding two mansions, each worth over $1,000,000, in a gated country club community.  Clearly, this man is no Mother Teresa.

It's hard for me to understand why people willing fund such establishments.  Worst yet, I don't understand why we have to subsides them with our money so they can avoid paying taxes.  When I am King, I'll eliminate all tax breaks for churches.  They will be viewed as businesses, and have their income and property taxed like all other businesses.  Since some of the tax dollars will go to help the poor and sick, I guess will call it "God's Work Tax".

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell - RIP

When President Clinton pushed through "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", some considered it a step forward in the battle for gay rights.  I believe that President Clinton thought it was the best compromise he could get at the time.  Well, the time has come to do better.

There is no logical reason to ban a person from serving his country because of his sexual orientation.  This is not a military problem, this is a civil rights problem.  At one time in this country, women and black men could not vote.  Blacks and whites could not marry.  How stupid are you if you think these were good ideas.  It's time to live up to our true meaning as a country.  We claim we believe in liberty for all.  Now it's time to prove it. Click her to watch a passionate plea from Lady Gaga on John McCain threatened filibuster to block the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

When I am King, civil rights won't be just for those who appeal to conservative mainstream ideas, but to everyone. I'll strike down all discrimination laws.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Spent How Much?

When I was a teacher, I knew a person who spent $12,000 of his own money to win an election to the school board.  That's a lot of money, especially when you consider that school board members don't get paid.  I kept asking myself, why would someone spend so much money for a non-paying job.  The guy must be nuts.

Of course, it was his money and he was entitled to spend it anyway he wished.  But, what did he hope to gain. In a  word, power.  It seems people will do anything to get it and to keep it.  It turned out this guy was a football freak and wanted to be on the school board so he could control the hiring and firing of football coaches.  But, since he didn't have enough like minded colleagues, he was relatively harmless.

But on the national scene there seems to me no shortage of like minded individuals.  How else do you explain Meg Whitman spending 119 million (so far) of her own money in her race to become the next Governor of California.  I mean, think about it.  California is a completely bankrupt state.  Not even the Terminator could save the place. What could she possibly gain from such an expenditure?  Can you say Presidency?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

King and Queen Golf

Today is our annual King and Queen golf tournament.  Sometimes referred to as the "The soon to be divorced tourney".  For you not into golf, let me explain.  My wife and I will both hit our drives from our respective tees, pick out the best ball, and hit alternates shots until the hole is finished.  Once you start alternating shots, the fun really begins. For example, if I hit our second shot into a sand trap, my wife will hit the next shot.  I am sure you can imagine all sorts of scenarios that would require a lot of "I am sorry" comments.

The trick is to get to the end and still be talking to each other.  There will be times when I make a suggestion and my wife will think I am nuts, and vice versa.  There is a great urge to say "I told you so", but we'll both do our best to stifle that comment.  The hard part is for me to keep my mouth shut.  As you know, I pretty much have an opinion about everything.  But, today I am going to do my best to keep my opinions to myself.  As much as I want to win, I also want my wife and I to be on speaking terms when we finish.

Believe it or not, we have won this event before.  But back then, you had to play with your spouse. Now, you just need a partner. Trust me, it's a lot harder to play with your spouse, than just another person.  Your spouse will tell you in a heart beat where you can shove your golf ball.  When I am King,  you'll play with your spouse or not play at all. In the mean time, wish us luck.

 Update: We finished 2nd and we're still talking to each other.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grown Too Quick

When my daughter was born, I was the happiest man in the world.  I looked forward to raising her to become an independent, intelligent, and confident young woman.  She exceeded all my expectations and made my wife and I awfully proud.

Early this morning, she got in her fully packed car and headed across country to the University of Washington to become a PhD candidate.  How's that for independent, intelligent, and confident?

As we hugged good bye, her mother was brought to tears.  I acted tougher, but the truth be known, I cried my eyes out later when my wife wasn't around. I already miss her, but I realize that birds have to eventually fly from the nest.  I only wish the last 23 years had gone a bit slower. If I knew all my children would turn out like her, I would have had ten more.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Man's Worth

By now,  I am sure everyone has heard about the minister in a small town in Florida who thinks it would be good idea to have a Burn the Koran Day on September 11. I've seen a couple of interviews with Reverend Terry Jones and the man appears to be totally off his rocker. He claims he wants to send a message, but is totally incapable of articulating what is his message.  During the interview I noticed he had a gun on his desk.  He claims he's been getting death threats, and therefore he's always packing.  What ever happened to "... I will fear no evil: for thou art with me...".

Basically Reverend Jones is just another nut case looking for his 15 minutes of fame.  Unfortunately, the media has probably all ready given him too much attention.  At first glance he just appears to be a totally worthless human being.  But then I remember what my father use to say, "No man is ever totally worthless, he can always serve as a bad example."  Well done Reverend Jones.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hypocrisy In Action

Christine Judd use to be the Athletic Director and Dean of Students at Cathedral High School in Springfield Massachusetts.  I say use to, because she was forced to resign her position because she did the unthinkable.  She married the person she loved.

Christine is a lesbian.  Even though she gave 12 years of loyal service to Cathedral High School, and she did nothing illegal, the Springfield diocese decided her conduct contravenes the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Church.  The same diocese allows teachers to divorce and remarry with out an annulment.  Allows teachers to openly be pro-choice.  Or allows women to use birth control and men to have vasectomies.  But, marring the one you love is just too much.

This is the same Catholic Church that knew about pedophile priests and just moved them from dioceses to dioceses.  Hypocrisy's is an ugly thing.  I am sure God is proud.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Conservative Chain Emails

Yesterday I received another conservative (hate) chain email.  As usual, it was intended to stir up fear and anger in people against Muslims.  Of course there was nothing factual about the email and I pointed this out with my reply to all.  I received one reply where someone ranted that "he learned everything he needed to know about Muslims on 9/11".  He went on to say that we were "on the verge of losing the country by you bleeding heart liberal ass holes who are now running the country.  GOD BLESS AMERICA and bring back water boarding."

Wow, there's a guy who has some strong anger management issues. But as luck would have it, I received another reply responding to the aforementioned jerk this way:  "So basically you're going to judge 1.6 billion people on the actions of 15 from the same religion? Should we do the same with Christianity because of Waco and Jim Jones? (  I would add the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and Timothy McVeigh to that list) There are extremists in every religion, creed and nation, but that's not a reason to generalize everyone in that category as an extremist."

Now that sounds like a well thought out, common sense, opinion. However, when it comes to conservatives having common sense, it's not all that common.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Evaluate The Source

Yesterday I received an email from a friend that shows a small boy having his arm run over by a car. The email was entitled THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS!!!  It allegedly shows an 8 year old boy having his arm crushed for the crime of stealing food. The purpose of the email is to inflame Islamic bigotry. The first sub heading says "May God have mercy on us who tolerate the Muslim."
My friend is a good hearted soul, but he's not the sharpest tack in the box.  If he had looked underneath the list of email addresses he would have found: False Email--

If my friend had clicked on the link, he would have learned that the pictures were accurate, but the descriptions were not.  Instead of being punished under Sharia Law, the boy is part of a common street act where the performers are hustling for money. The child was unhurt.

When I am King, every high school and middle school will have a curriculum in place to teach kids how to evaluate sources.  It won't be a one week exercise, but an on going learning experience right up to graduation day.  Hopefully, education can slow down the spread of ignorance.  There's a novel idea.