Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Musings 62--Four straight years of more poor folks!

While Hurricane Katrina has done her part to blast away at the US economy, it is time to take notice of a little reported story about the poverty level in the United States of America.

The government released the figures on poor folks for 2005. (See link.) The news is not good. There are well over a million more people that are certifiable poor this year than last year. As a matter of fact, the poor rolls have been swelling for the last four years. It seems that the Bush economy is helping everyone but the poor. They are getting farther and farther behind.

Ironically, the last time we had four years of consecutive increase in the number of poor was under the leadership of Bush the Elder. What does that say about the apple falling under a Bush? Ok, it was a tree but I am sure that you get the point.

The poverty rate is now dangerously close to 13 percent. Now I am not a mathematician, but I can multiply a little bit. Twenty years ago there were fewer people in the United States than there are today. So 13 percent now is a bunch more people than then. Let us do some math: Thirty years ago there were about 250 million people in the USA. That means that at today's rate 32 million were poverty level. Today there are about 300 million folks in the USA. At the same rate, that means there are 39 million living in poverty. Most of the seven million difference are people who have fallen out of the middle class. Mr. President's economic polices do not bode well for the guys in the middle. The ground is fast falling away under their feet.

The rich are doing quite well--thank you very much! CEO's still get large bonuses and stock options from large corporations. The largest recipients of social welfare today is not a poor unwed mother living down the street with six kids. It is, however, the large corporations that get benefits and tax breaks that only the poor can dream about.

Basically, what this report proves is that the middle class is a dying breed. Real family income for those in the lowest bracket went down 5 percent while the top braket increased by 40%. If we continue at this rate, by the end of Mr. President's second term we could well have two classes of people in this country--the working poor and the affluent rich.

In the New Testament, Jesus said that we would have the poor with us always. I just didn't know he was talking specifically about me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Musings 61--Are Rush and Bush back on the drugs?

I read and then listened to Rush Limbaugh's rant about Cindy Sheehan being like the forged documents CBS used during the election. (See link) I told my wife that he was nuts. She agreed because she has never liked Rush, but I listen to him sometimes for amusement.

After Rush did his rant on Sheehan, he then said he didn't say it and tried to scrub the audio from the airwaves. (See link) Alas, it was all over the place anyway. Now this is not like the little slimeball to just outright lie. Usually, he tells just enough truth to save his bacon when he gets caught. Thus, I come to the conclusion that he is back on the dope. He has made several miscues of late--miscues that he wouldn't make if he were thinking straight. I suppose that his fans will defend him no matter what. Fools usually can't stop being fools. It is a life long pursuit.

Now Mr. President is seemingly in the same boat. We know that he used to tip the bottle quit a bit back in the day. (For those of you less informed--yes, booze is a drug.) I used to think that his pig-headedness was just his nature. But, upon reflection, I now conclude that he is back on the booze. How else can you answer his weird behavior in Texas with the Sheehan lady. Even Richard Nixon saw that it was fruitless to beat a dead horse when his poll numbers were at 39 percent. Mr. President's is a 36 percent and falling like a rock. Methinks there is liquid refresher somewhere in that bike he rides all over the place. That could also be the reason he wrecks so much.

I think that we should get Mr. President and Rush together and let them have a party. They could pop pills and drink booze and talk about their great scamming of the American people with the war in Iraq. I am told that it does not take much booze or dope to give one a false sense of security. Thus, they could both just pig-out on their drug of choice.

Now I just read that Lance Armstrong is being investigated for using banned substances in that French bike race he has won so often. Since he and Mr. President went for a ride down in Crawford, I must conclude that there is something funny going on there too. If evidence comes out that Rushbo was close by then I think I am really on to something.

It would all be pretty funny if there weren't lives in the balance. So get some help Mr. President. Join AA. You could probably really get into that "Hello my name is Mr. President and I'm an alcoholic," thing they do. And Rush...ah, hell...keeping poping those pills. They're good for your heart.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Musings 60--The Madness of King George, again!

So the King is in Crawford on his ranch taking vacation number 20 since he was first appointed by the supreme court to be commander-in-chief. This particular vacation is about five weeks long. My last one was eight days, but, in fairness, the King has a higher paygrade than I.

Cindy Sheehan has taken up semi-permanent residence on the road to Castle Crawford. She is a good lady who gave her son to King George's cause. She is not of noble birth so she cannot just waltz up the road and knock on the King's door. That would not be proper. Everyone has to know their place in King George country.

Cindy Sheehan would qualify as a serf to King George. Serfs always give a portion to the King, and Cindy Sheehan has given her portion, more than most--her son.

Cindy Sheehan wants an audience with the King. The King says that she had her audience last year. Being the busy guy that the king is, he does not have time to see her again. There is too much brush to cut and too many bicycles to fall off of. Also, one must not forget the fund raisers that take up so much of the kings time. I mean, you can't be a king if you pay too much attention to one person. It is all for the greater good, anyway.

The king drives by Cindy Sheehan whenever he decides to leave his Crawford castle. The dust stirred up by his horseless black SUV's settles nicely over the tent city called Camp Casey. Serfs are used to dust. It gives them character, and so does serving in the military while fighting the King's wars.

The king also has bunches of "yes men" who are in the process of spinning Cindy Sheehan's quest for an audience. Like all "yes men" they are feathering their own nests by doing so. The king rewards his servants who don't die for him. Those who die get their just rewards in heaven. The king must not take his eyes off the "greater good." It is good to be a king doing God's will on earth.

Bunches of folks placed crosses up along the road to Castle Crawford to commemorate the deaths in Iraq. A "good christian" man and a loyal subject of King George chained a pipe to his truck and ran over most of the crosses and about 70 flags. (Remember the flag? King George was all about an amendment to make it sacred when he was running for office.) Sometimes loyal subjects get a bit out of hand.

Years ago, I saw the movie "The Madness of King George." I have come to the conclusion that our current King George must be suffering from the same illness as the English guy. How else can one rationally understand the logic that rules our foreign policy. I hope he soon gets better, and, maybe--just maybe-- seeing Cindy Sheehan each day will help take the madness away.

Of course, no matter how bad things gets, we must say, "All hail King George. Long live the king"--because if anything happens to him we get Vice-King Dick. He would be madness squared.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Musings 59--Bits and pieces

There are bunches of things I'd like to write about today, but time only allows me to comment briefly on each. I do have a real job that requires my time and effort.

National Bits and Pieces:

Peter Jennings is dead and a classy part of media journalism goes with him. I can remember watching him as a teen-ager when he was the 26-year old anchor for the nightly ABC news. He later quit and went overseas for several years until returning in the early 1980's to the anchor desk. In April, he was told that the had lung cancer. He vowed to return, but, alas, he did not. Of all the news anchors, I felt that Jennings was the brightest and most unbiased. He had dignity in life and death. He will be missed.

Judith Miller is sitting in a jail cell supposedly because she will not turn over a source to the special prosecutor in the Plame Case. There seems to be more and more mounting evidence that Miller is not the martyr that she seems to be. Upon farther evaluation of her writings, I have found that she was a cheerleader for the Bush Administration during the run up to the Iraq War. She was the embedded correspondent with the units looking for weapons of mass destruction, and upon at least one occasion, inferred that such weapons had been found. She also was one of the reporters who wrote that the WMD's could have been shipped to Syria before the war began. Thus, I don't know if she is a biased reporter or just suffered from getting information from bad sources. It seems that she and the U. S. Department of defense used many of the same sources. Hmmmmmm.

There is a woman down in Texas who is sitting outside Mr. President's home in Crawford, TX waiting for a chance to ask him a question. Cindy Sheehan, CA, was told by Mr. President that her son "died for a greater good." The question is, "What is the greater good?" I'd kind of like to hear the answer for that myself. I doubt Mr. President can tear himself away from his vacation to meet with her.

My heart goes out to the Marine Corps Reserve unit in northern Ohio, which had 19 members killed in action last week in Iraq. Losing one is bad enough, but when it comes in bunches, it is staggering to communities.

Personal Bit:

The old horse died a few days back. He had been in poor health and the stuff he loved the most--the sun--eventually helped in his demise. We've had days and days of 90-100 degree heat, and the old guy just finally laid down and died. He will be missed. I remember when he was born 29 years ago. We have no more horses now at Murdock Farms. His name was M. T. Nighthawk, and he was a good one.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Musings 58--Look to Ohio

When Jean Schmidt (R) defeated Paul Hackett (D) for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District seat by about 4,000 votes on Monday, it was a warning shot to all that are running for reelection--the voters are not happy.

Schmidt was suppose to win--big. She did not. Hackett, a veteran of the current Iraqi war, was the rush job candidate for the democrats. He was an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve who had referred to Mr. President as that "son-of-a-bitch that lives in the White House that I'll defend with my life." He further stated that he was not happy with the way the war in Iraq was being conducted. These were bold statements, but it apparently got him some votes. In a district that is overwhelmingly republican--usually between 15 and 20 points worth in any election--Hackett cut it to just four per cent.

Hackett's full statement was in the USA Today and later repeated in the Washington Post. "Bring 'em on!" was "the most incredibly stupid comment I've ever heard a president of the United States make," he said. He also told the newspaper that, while he was willing to put his life on the line for the president, "I've said that I don't like the son-of-a-bitch that lives in the White House."

Now for all of you who like straight talkers, here is your man. It is quite refreshing. Hackett doesn't pussyfoot around. He just spits it out. Tact is not his big thing. He an Dick Cheney could turn the world blue in a debate.

I personally think that running Iraqi vets that are not happy with the war is a great way for the dems to counter the right wing bashers of anything that is called democrats. It also takes away the agrument that dems are not patriotic. I mean, how can you use that mantra if the candidate is just back from the war zone?

Since, Ohio is in the middle of it's own scandal--coingate--and the fact that 20 plus marines from the state have died this week, maybe some eyes will be opened as to the ignorance of the republican leadership in both state and federal govenment. I am hopeful, but I am not holding my breathe. Conservative republicans are the most stubborn of all the political classes. But, I'm still hopeful.

Ohio is turning into one of those states that every one looks to for trends. To me that is amazing because for years nobody even knew where we were on a map. It is nice to be noticed--I think. Time will tell, as it always does.

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