This Blog is not often used, but will remain available.

This Blog is no longer active. I intend to keep it open for researchers. The "GOP Chat Room script" remains a popular Internet destination.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

California Parks, alive and thriving

Authors Note: The state of California has adopted our plan, without acknowledgement, of course. I sent the Executive Director of Calparks Org. a letter outlining our plan in August 2009, shortly after I published the blog article.

California's parks need not close. They need not fail our citizens and our communities, and we need not lose this important heritage.

California's park system is in danger because of the dreadful budget problems in our state. Closure of parks endangers not only the livelihood of those who work in the parks, but also the communities that rely on revenue generated by the associated tourism.

In desperate times like these, old ideas with a new spin can keep our parks out of private hands and open for everyone's benefit and enjoyment. Let the communities take care of the parks.

Communities surrounding parks could establish cooperatives, where the people who work at the park would be funded by park entrance fees. Workers could live at the park in exchange for taking lower pay, and accumulate points based on years of service toward a life-estate ownership interest in a small parcel of land suitable to build a modest sustainable dwelling in, say, five years.

Workers would be chosen by a governing board, at the outset. Once established, the workers themselves would choose new workers based on commitment and knowledge of the park. In this way, those who work there would have a stake in the park as well as the community. To assure that park professionals would have a role, their applications would receive priority treatment.

Title to the park itself would remain with the state, but the revenues would stay with each park. It may be necessary to institute or increase entrance fees to make this model work, but it would be far better than either facing the closure of our parks or turning parks over to the private sector.

Deborah Lagutaris, J.D.
Harris Freeman, M.B.A.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Man Shot Churchgoers Over Liberal Views

Every day, people have to suffer and die because of the horrifying acts of the "moral" right wing. Iraq, Afghanistan, U$, all over the world. The same mentality drives it all. I am right, therefore you should die if you do not agree.

By DUNCAN MANSFIELD, Associated Press Writer
29 minutes ago

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - An unemployed man accused of opening fire with a shotgun and killing two people at a Unitarian church apparently targeted the congregation out of hatred for its liberal social policies, police said Monday.


Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said a letter had been been recovered from the SUV of Jim D. Adkisson, 58, by investigators seeking clues about the motive behind the attack. Authorities said he was an apparent stranger to the Tennessee church where gunfire punctuated a children's performance based on the musical "Annie." Two people were killed and seven wounded Sunday.

"It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that and his stated hatred of the liberal movement," Owen said at a news conference.

No children were hurt, but five people remained in serious or critical condition Monday. A burly usher who died is being hailed as a hero for shielding others from gunfire Sunday at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Witnesses said some of the men present tackled a man who pulled a shotgun from a guitar case before at least three blasts rang out.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Seeds--Bruce Springsteen--circa 1980

Well a great black river a man had found
So he put all his money in a hole in the ground
And sent a big steel arm drivin' down down down
Man now I live on the streets of Houston town

Packed up my wife and kids when winter came along
And we headed down south with just spit and a song
But they said "Sorry son it's gone gone gone"

Well there's men hunkered down by the railroad tracks
The Elkhorn Special blowin' my hair back
Tents pitched on the highway in the dirty moonlight
And I don't know where I'm gonna sleep tonight

Parked in the lumberyard freezin' our asses off
My kids in the back seat got a graveyard cough
Well I'm sleepin' up in front with my wife
Billy club tappin' on the windshield in the middle of the night
Says "Move along man move along"

Well big limousine long shiny and black
You don't look ahead you don't look back
How many times can you get up after you've been hit?
Well I swear if I could spare the spit
I'd lay one on your shiny chrome
And send you on your way back home
So if you're gonna leave your town where the north wind blow
To go on down where that sweet soda river flow
Well you better think twice on it Jack
You're better off buyin' a shotgun dead off the rack
You ain't gonna find nothin' down here friend
Except seeds blowin' up the highway in the south wind
Movin' on movin' on it's gone gone it's all gone

Monday, March 17, 2008

An Open Letter to Hillary and Barack

An Open Letter to Hillary and Barack


Please stop smearing one another. That’s what Republicans do. Stop acting like Republicans. Start working together as a team now, to defeat the Republicans.

At that point in time, I will believe that you are truly Democrats. No more whisper innuendo campaigns. That’s so Rove-Goebbels.

There is a celery-string’s worth of political differences in your “opposing” views. Hillary says, we will have sort of a one-half of a public healthcare system. So does Barack. Yawn!!! People want affordable, dependable, knowledgeable health care providers. They will pay what they can for that service. That seems fair, doesn’t it? After all, people are never going to stop getting sick. Why let private insurance companies profit from not treating people? Shame on you. That’s welfare for the rich. Is that what you mean by market efficiency? Sounds more like the sucking black vortex to hell to me.

People want to end the war on Iraq and bring their family members home. You want to leave troops there to guard the obscenely expensive new embassy we built there after we invaded and despoiled the country.

People are tired of hearing about your hairsbreadth differences and tired of dirty campaigns. This material on Barack’s pastor is old news. How lame, really. Especially since the Pastor was right, and Barack was wrong.

Barack wrote in his blog: “I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies."

George Herbert Walker Bush said in 1988: “I will never apologize for the United States — I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.”

It’s time to differentiate yourselves from your alleged opponents!

Apologize publicly for all the lies and innuendo you have spread about one another. Proclaim a healing of America. Start telling us what you would do as a Democrat instead of arguing within the Republican framework.

We know who pays your bills. Shame on you, Senators, for not changing the laws so that we have publicly financed elections. That explains everything, does it not?


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dwight Eisenhower's warning

Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961


Public Papers of the Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960, p. 1035- 1040

"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers."

What if the Top One Percent Owned More than 1/2 of all Corporate Assets?

This is not a future scenario, folks. Already happened. And we wonder why we have no control over our government?

Read more here about its effects.
Progress Action Now commentary

January 29, 2006
Corporate Wealth Share Rises for Top-Income Americans
New government data indicate that the concentration of corporate wealth among the highest-income Americans grew significantly in 2003, as a trend that began in 1991 accelerated in the first year that President Bush and Congress cut taxes on capital.

In 2003 the top 1 percent of households owned 57.5 percent of corporate wealth, up from 53.4 percent the year before, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the latest income tax data. The top group's share of corporate wealth has grown by half since 1991, when it was 38.7 percent.

In 2003, incomes in the top 1 percent of households ranged from $237,000 to several billion dollars.

For every group below the top 1 percent, shares of corporate wealth have declined since 1991. These declines ranged from 12.7 percent for those on the 96th to 99th rungs on the income ladder to 57 percent for the poorest fifth of Americans, who made less than $16,300 and together owned 0.6 percent of corporate wealth in 2003, down from 1.4 percent in 1991.

The analysis did not measure wealth directly. It looked at taxes on capital gains, dividends, interest and rents. Income from securities owned by retirement plans and endowments was excluded, as were gains from noncorporate assets such as personal residences.

This technique for measuring wealth has long been used in standard economic studies, though critics have challenged that tradition.

Among them is Stephen J. Entin, president of the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation in Washington, which favors eliminating most taxes on capital and teaches that an unintended consequence of the corporate income tax is depressed wage rates. Mr. Entin said the report's approach was so flawed that the data were useless.

He said reduced tax rates on long-term capital gains may have prompted wealthy investors to sell profitable investments. That would show up in tax data as increased wealth that year, even though the increase may have built up over decades.

Long-term capital gains were taxed at 28 percent until 1997, and at 20 percent until 2003, when rates were cut to 15 percent. The top rate on dividends was cut to 15 percent from 35 percent that year.

The White House said it did not believe that the 2003 tax cuts had much influence on wealth shares. It also said that since wealth is transitory for many people, a more important issue is how incomes and wealth are influenced by the quality of education.

"We want to lift all incomes and wealth," said Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman. "We are starting to see that the income gap is largely an education gap."

"The president thinks we need to close the income gap, and he has talked about ways in which we can do that," especially through education, Mr. Duffy said.

The data showing increased concentration of corporate wealth were posted last month on the Congressional Budget Office Web site. Isaac Shapiro, associate director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, spotted the information last week and wrote a report analyzing it.

Mr. Shapiro said the figures added to the center's "concerns over the increasingly regressive effects" of the reduced tax rates on capital. Continuing those rates will "exacerbate the long-term trend toward growing income inequality," he wrote.

The center, which studies how government affects the poor and supports policies that it believes help alleviate poverty, opposes Mr. Bush's tax policies.

The center plans to release its own report on Monday that questions the wisdom of continuing the reduced tax rates on dividends and capital gains, saying the Congressional Budget Office analysis indicates that the benefits flow directly to a relatively few Americans.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Republican Dirty Tricks Blog

I became aware, just today, of a website that catalogues Republican Party or right -wing Dirty Tricks that go back to 1800, and carry forward to today. Read it and weep for America. Is this who we think we are?

Republican Dirty Tricks

For a nation that prides itself on its high moral stance, how can it be tolerable to allow people who engage in continual bad acts to control America? This is Machiavellian to the extreme. Some will claim that it's just human nature. I disagree. Human nature can be both good and bad. Moral systems and laws exist to restrain the bad. The right-wing agenda seems to be that the ends justify the means. In my experience, it has never appeared that good ends are achieved by using dishonest and deceptive tactics in pursuit of those ends.