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Gender: Male
Current location: Cleveland Ohio
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 45,558

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Apparently, president Obama realizes that he needs some GOP votes in order to even get some

form of unemployment extensions passed.

Remember, before the shit hit the fan in 2008, the usual amount of time you could collect unemployment was 28 weeks. Aslo remember, they extended Unemployment benefits to 99 weeks in hard hit areas after the job market collapsed in late 2008.

And don't Forget that it is the employers who pay into the unemployment funds to begin with. This is why congress has to act in order to replenish the funds that were depleted when the economy tanked. There is also the fact that business pays into the fund based on their unemplyment claims, the number of people they hire and also the line of work they are in. That is how the enemployment fund is normally funded.

So now they have extended the benefits by 45 weeks in states that have unemployment of 9% and above and extended by 35 weeks in all the other states. This is, again, over and above the normal 28 weeks of usual benefits.

I think what they are doing is reducing the amount of the long term benefits because of the first signs of recovery.

Unemployment was never looked at as more than giving people a bridge when they were separated from their jobs through no fault of their own.

I know it sounds cruel and it looks like president Obama and the Democrats in Congress are turning their backs on the unemployed but you have to realize that even if every Democrat in elected office in DC voted together they would still need some republican votes in order to pass these changes.

So you can blame the democrats if you want but I look at this as a victory of sorts because they were able to pry enough GOP support away from the republicanís leadership to help out a whole lot of people who would be shit out of luck otherwise.

Do I like the way this is playing out? Hell no, but the political realities dictates that you, meaning the democrats, should get what they can while the getting is good.

26 years ago, I was driving around Cleveland with a car full of Balloons...

I wanted to get into show business and I thought it might be fun to deliver singing telegrams.

I ended up delivering Balloon-a-grams, singing as well, for about six months before I decided that maybe I should try for a band instead.

Not to say that I didn't have a lot of fun because I did, but it was also a bit of a hassle as I took a job with a smaller local company than signing on to Eastern Onion Telegrams which was a national chain.

I think if I had taken the Onion instead of the Balloons to You, I would have probably be acting and singing in local musical theater.

I was so turned off by it that I went into the bar band thing.

I once made a promise to myself that I would make money doing the things I loved; performing, writing and politics.

Needless to say, the politics was the money maker. I still make some money doing work for various candidates but those days are gone. I also supported myself for a while writing and editing a local Independent newspaper. That was a lot of fun and I had the most leeway with that.

And as far as performing, well, I made a good bit of cash running around in a white tuxedo. But I also made a good chunk of change playing out in bar bands.

Anyway, that one and only VD that I delivered Balloon-a-grams was eventful. I think I did about fifteen deliveries over the course o the day. One to an inner high city school and the other to a suburban high school.

Guess which one treated me like I was from outer space.

I also delivered a balloon-a-gram to a construction site where the Forman's wife had ordered a "risquť" delivery.

They were pretty disappointed when I showed.

I ended up the night at a rundown strip joint. It was a young womanís first "legal" day on stage and i got to go up and bump and grind a little before I tied the balloons around her...

I'll leave that to your imagination.

Now I am on disability and still write occasionally for publication. Like I said, I also still keep my finger in the political pool. But performing, Well those days are probably over. Although I may get out to an open mic now and then.

One thing I know, realizing those dreams have made me feel kind of special. I'm not rich; don't have much money when you come right down to it. It just means that dreams can be realized even if they don't happen to plan.

Happy Valentine ís Day and if you ever get singing telegram, give them some slack. They are the grunts of the entertainment industry.

The problem I see with our country is that we have lost the capability to delay gratificationÖ.

Just look at the political and economic systems that are in place across the world. People have become so accustomed to having what they want NOW, that there is no longer a sense of working toward something longer than a few weeks.

We are bombarded with messages that play into the developing trait that new is always good and cutting edge technology gives you some kind of guru status to those around you.

Buy it now. This is the newest best thing in the world. How can you be so lame as to still be using 3G.

All of this has developed in the 1920ís but was derailed by the Great Depression which was prolonged because people were weary of using credit to get what they wanted.

After the war and all that shared sacrifice for the war effort faded away, the consumer economy kicked into high gear and has increased exponentially ever since.

It because the American way. The new immigrants werenít yearning for freedom, they wanted the stuff we could get and they couldnít.

I remember as a kid always looking forward to Christmas to find out about all the newest toys.

The car companies purposely made changes every year so that the demand would be there for cars.

And it has gotten worse.

Credit cards, second and third mortgages and we have a buy now worry about it later economy that is unsustainable.

I donít know what to do because if we suddenly all stop buying stuff, we have a recession. If that trend sets in for a long spell, we will have a depression.

I donít know how to stop the merry go round without all of us flinging off the ride and being scattered all over the fair grounds.

But we all know that 5G is already in the works and those new gizmos and gadgets are being developed as I write.
Think of the waste.

Think of the wreck pursuing things is doing to our society, our environment.

Itís even hit how people worship. New churches are sprouting up all over in the fertile lands of suburbia preaching salvation and divine justification for this most modern of lifestyle, suburban consumerism.

It just bothers me. Nags at my soul. As I get older I want to think I am getting better, more stable but Iím just kidding myself. I wanted a new guitar and bought one on credit. Sure I got zero percent if paid off in less than a year. And I did. That was a ďvictoryĒ in the relentless drive to buy stuff NOW. A very hollow victory at that.

I know that if everyone slows down just a bit, we risk ďsliding back into Recession.Ē Our leaders want us to spend to create more jobs so those people can spend. Itís a vicious cycle that I donít know if we can stop.

But if we want to survive as a species, I think we have too.

Does anyone else watch the CBS Show, Blue Bloods....

It's a well crafted and well performed police drama centered on a family of New York Irish folks who can trace their police roots back centuries.

It's very traditional, very conservative.

I wouldn't expect anything else from Tom Selleck.

I like the man, he's a good, solid actor and he is true to his convictions.

I don't like his politics but he never questions the beliefs of others at least publically that I have found.

The show is one of my guilty pleasures.

This Friday past, the show was about Selleck, who is the NY Police commissioner, being asked to add his support for the canonization of a priest who worked to get draft dodgers out of the country during the Vietnam War. This priest also aided a man who bombed a Armed Service recruiting storefront.

He questioned the morality of the priest to the point where he decided to investigate on his own.

There was also another story thread that involved faith.

It was a nice exploration of people's faith without being in your face about it.

It is also about family, the traditions within the family.

There was no violence just two crimes committed off camera.

If you get a chance to watch his show, I would recommend it.

I have a link here to the Episode I mentioned.


If Romney was a Democrat, god forbid, he would be attacked as a draft dodger....

Serving in the Morman mission in lieu of submitting to the draft in Vietnam.

And then protesting as a pro-Vietnam student?

I just wanted to point that out again just to remind people about the double standard in the media and, more importantly, how Democrats comport themselves.

Steal some hubcaps and go to jail...

Steal a country's future and you get a slap on the wrist.

Make no mistake about it, what happened over the last fifteen or so years with rewarding speculation at the expense of prudence and diligence has been sucking the soul right out of our country.

People are in a daze, wondering what to do, being bombarded with mixed messages about the future while staring in the abysmal situation that lies ahead.

Seriously, if I was in college right now with a ton of relentless loan payments facing me, I don't know what I would do.

When I went to college, I borrowed about five thousand dollars for all four years. I was able to start paying while still in schools and had paid it all off in three years.

Back then, in the not so distant past, you could work your way through college.

Now, well, the costs are so high...

I think they are so high because there is no real supply and demand equation. Think about it. You sign a paper when you are a teenager promising to pay back money years down the road...

There is a tremendous disconnect between the true cost of education and the price tag that is offered when you sign on the dotted line.

People go to school with high expectations for the future. That clouds your thinking. It has too.

Anyway, I started off thinking about kids in the inner city being warehoused in jails while other people are committing crimes a million times more detrimental to the country and they whine and whine and whine like little kids sent to their room.

Only the kids being sent to their room are receiving at least some punishment.

The best way to turn the Congress back toward Blue is to, for once, pay attention to redistricting..

Too often, the national party sucks energy, volunteers and money out of the state and local party's. The volunteers want to play in the big leagues and look at local and state elections as an afterthought.

You want to know why the GOP took the House in 1994?

Simple, the GOP captured more statehouses starting in 1990 and culminated in 1992 when they took control of drawing the districts in states such as Ohio.

The same thing happened in 2008.

By localizing the message, by bringing it down to the visceral level, Republicans have captured statehouse after statehouse and so they redrew districts.


Itís expensive and it takes time and effort from the national level to address the situation at the state and local level.

Take this Birth Control issue. Didnít they think it would cause a problem?

And it really isnít a problem at the national level. It is at the local level.

And it play right into the GOP's Heavy Handed narative about the democrats being out of touch.

I can guarantee you it is probably being discussed at those same kitchen tables that Ronald Reagan talked about back in 1980 that personalized the national budget and took it right to the people.

That took time and effort at the local level. And right there to exploit it were church groups, Rotary Clubs who were ready willing and able to fight the Democrats and paint them as out of touch and heavy handed at the national level.

The Democrats had someone who was willing to localize every election with Howard Dean and he was seen as a threat to the national political operatus and the special interests the surround and define the party in DC.

Iíve seen it firsthand as I served as the Treasurer for Cuyahoga County for eight years, from 1994 to 2002. The state was only concerned with the Governor because that was where the Jobs were.

They couldnít raise the money that the GOP could and so they were relegated to being a one trick campaign that left every other democrat on their own.

And Howard Dean got it.

Then Howard Dean got it.

With the way demographics are changing...

Will the GOP be even a credible party in four, six or eight years from now...

There was a post that claimed over 70% of the people under 35 believe that same sex marriage is ok by them.

That is one of the big wedge issues they use to drive the blue haired ladies crazy.

What are they going to use to divide people who aren't interested in being pidgeon holed anymore.

So is the US going to slowly slide back to a center left leaning nation that is more concerned with quality of life than the quantity of things...

I surely hope so because that would be the kind of country I wanted to live in and, if it ever came to that, die for.

I truly get it, I really do see why people turn to faith in order to find their moral compass...

After all, it's all laid out there for people to follow.

(Now if all the people who claim to follow the teachings of their particular higher power, the world would be A LOT more peaceful, don't you think?)

And it doesn't bother me if candidates say that he/she bounces ideas off of god, or uses god as a moral dip stick, so to speak.

Having said that, after all their postering, I want people of religion to promise that they will put the needs of the country over the needs of their denomination,

In other words, plain words that they can understand, you are an American first and a ___________ second.

You must swear to recognize that we live in pluralistic society where all sorts of ideas, practices and worship routines come together to make us a country.

The only thing that ties us all together, and what makes us unique, is our system of government.

It's tough enough already to fit all the pieces together without purposely dividing people even more with the quirks of worship that have developed over the centuries.

The one true document that defines us is the Constitution. It isn't the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the Big Book, the Moon Book...

So, I really want to zoom back to 1960 when people questioned then Senator John Kennedy if he would swear not to take his marching orders from the Vatican.

We all know what he said. He was an American first and a Roman Catholic second.

Candidates today get away with a lot. I have heard far too many candidates say they turned to god to make their decisions that their pastor is their guide. (Why is it right to have some mail order preacher as a moral guide but not the pope? JFK MUST have asked himself that question.)

What does that really mean? Especially to someone who knows some fundamentalists with really crazy ideas.

I want an American in the oval office. Preferably a democrat. I could care less if his/her moral compass points to god. After all, history is full of characters who shielded some awful behavior in the name of God.

Bottom line, I don't trust anyone who panders to believers just to get something they want.

I've seen it first hand when I ran for office.

I really think I would have done better as a politician if I went back to the family religion, Catholic, instead of looking toward the Unitarians for my spiritual guidance. (I actually overheard someone say she didn't trust Unitarians, they think too much.)

I just had to be true to myself.

It scares the bejeebies out of me that the GOP has a hard time separating P form D in their nickname.

Bottom line, I respect those who are true to their moral compass where ever iit comes from.

But as an American, it is my right to get my moral backbone from anywhere I see fit.

We are a country of laws, laws inspired many time by "God". But in the end, we are all just mortals who should really take a lesson from Icarus and not try to become a god. It's much better to be firmly attached to the bedrock of the Constitution, the higher power we all answer to in front of our peers.

The Much Ado About Nothing Party....

That seems to be what the GOP has turned into these days.

Getting all upset about the Designer Bags being used to raise funds for president Obama is just the latest in a whole slew of Fox hysteria.

And since the GOP is always interested in petty little things to get their base excited, that is all I can see them as now.

Meaningless slogans and petty controversy.

Yep, the GOP should just call themselves the Much Ado About Nothing Party...
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