Flying Squirrel's Journal
Member since: Fri Aug 20, 2010, 06:40 PM
Number of posts: 1,191
Number of posts: 1,191
I am the same DU member who formerly posted under the name FlyingSquirrel (no space). I killed this profile by changing both my password and email at a time when I felt I had developed an unhealthy addiction to the internet in general and DU in particular. Not sayin' I'm any better now ;-)
The general population who works for an employer will pay 4.2% FICA and 1.45% Medicare this year (next year it goes back up to 6.2% unless Congress extends the break we've been getting for the past two years.)
Me? I pay 10.4% FICA and 2.90% Medicare because I'm self-employed. (Goes up to 12.4% FICA this year)
My Adjusted Gross Income for 2012 was $8,100 - whereas the Federal Poverty Level for my family of two was $15,130 for the year 2012.
So, regardless of the fact that I made just over HALF the FPL for myself and my daughter, I get to pay an additional $620 in taxes -- for programs they're doing their best to raise the eligibility age for and/or completely do away with, and make sure I never see a penny of my contributions returned to me.
This I already knew. But then I get a rude awakening to something I had paid little attention to thus far: The eligibility age for the Child Tax Credit.
It was bad enough that they reduced the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $800 - this credit has helped a lot of people like me. Then this year I discover that my daughter no longer qualifies because she turned 17 last year.
Oh, I'm sure the Federal Government had a really good reason for making the cut-off age be 17 instead of 18. She should have gotten a part-time job (in this economy?) I specifically forbade her from even trying to get a part time job because she has had a hard time passing all her classes as it is - she's had to make some up in summer school the past three years, and this year she is very close to not graduating unless she can make up for a failed English class. I think it's a bit more important for her to get a high school diploma than flip a few burgers to help out financially this year - it's her future I'm thinking about.
So there's another $745 that I had anticipated receiving, gone... another 9.2% of my overall income.
This, again, for a family of two making 53.5% of the Federal Poverty Level. That extra $1,365 would have really gone a long way for us.
But we really need to keep those tax breaks for the rich going, don't we?
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:12 PM (9 replies)
to make filibuster changes, so even after all his bluster about how he'll use the 'nuclear option' if McConnell won't accept a watered-down version, he doesn't hold a vote. (That should keep the Republicans shaking in their shoes next time he threatens them with, well, ANYTHING.)
Meanwhile, the Republicans don't have the votes to overturn Obamacare, but they hold numerous votes about it all the time, wasting taxpayer time and money.
What's wrong with this picture? Is there some reason he couldn't have held the vote to at least see how it might have turned out? Is there some reason he couldn't have gotten the votes on record? Oh, because we want to reserve the right to do the same thing if we're ever in the minority again? That's called PLAYING TO NOT LOSE. And it almost always results in the team that's doing it LOSING. Here's who's really losing: The American People! The filibuster was not meant to be used in this fashion, by either party. If our party cared about that, they wouldn't be trying to reserve the right for themselves. They'd just do what was right.
Well, wah. Now we can't get anything done that the public overwhelmingly supports because of those big bad Republicans. What else is new. I'm thoroughly disgusted and I'm done watching this game. Just not gonna watch anymore, it's too hard on my blood pressure to have my hopes raised and dashed by 'Give 'em hell Harry...or not!' any more.
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:06 PM (3 replies)
This one for example
The above thread had at least 23 recs at one point
Here are a few suggestions:
(I opposed a blanket unrec function before and still oppose it)
1. A thread which has been alerted on and gets at least 2 votes to "HIDE IT" may be unrecommended by any DU'er.
2. Replace recs with thumbs up/thumbs down. Use thumbs up to determine placement on Greatest Page, but thumbs down is shown as well which would make it quick and easy to notice if there is a large percentage of DU who disagree with its placement on the GP.
3. An alert on an OP (whether successfully hidden or not) will trigger an automated PM to anyone who recommended the thread, letting them know that an alert had been placed and asking them to revisit the thread, and decide whether they want their recommendation to stay or want to undo their recommendation. (This is my favorite option of the first three that came to mind)
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Mon Nov 26, 2012, 02:57 AM (16 replies)
Usually when they make changes to the site they'll post a thread explaining the reasoning but so far I've heard nothing. At first I didn't mind but sometimes it makes it easier than going thru all the latest threads (particularly on my phone.)
What's the general opinion here, like 10 recs? Liked 5? Don't care?
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Sun Nov 25, 2012, 05:33 AM (3 replies)
When did the threshold jump to 10 recs to get on the greatest page? Not that I'm complaining..
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:39 PM (5 replies)
Earlier today.. don't remember everything about it, it was a post by a DU'er who had been here since 2001(I think) with low post count, freaking out about all the election fraud/intimidation etc. The alerter was saying we needed to lock it cause it would depress turnout - some were calling the poster a troll, others were sympathetic. Anyone have a link to the post? Or know what happened? Would I not get an email if the post was simply deleted instead of hidden? I voted to leave it and said we didn't need to censor such posts and that they would drop on their own.
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Tue Nov 6, 2012, 06:05 PM (2 replies)
I almost feel silly having to point this out, but after the Republican who claimed that a raped woman's pregnancy was a "gift from God," it just seems like a good time to point out that which is obvious to me: Neither life nor death is inherently good or evil (or inherently good or bad, if you prefer.) If you buy the argument that God is only concerned with creating life, and not in causing death as well, then death is Satan's job. Those with the mind of a three-year-old believe this, and point to the story of Adam and Eve where they were going to live happily in the Garden of Eden forever till the serpent messed things up for them (and, by extension, all the rest of us.) The reality of the matter is plain to see: Everything, including or perhaps especially life, has a beginning and an end. If you believe in an all-powerful God, you must believe that this is His will.
To believe otherwise, you'd have to believe that God wants the world overpopulated, with all the misery this would cause, or perhaps wants a perfect number of each species on the Earth after which He would take away our ability to reproduce (thus robbing us of the joy of having children). Anyone with an ounce of sense can see that this is not likely to be the case - a loving God would not want to deprive us of joy.
Furthermore, if you believe in an afterlife, the absence of death would prevent one from going to Heaven. Well perhaps we'd all have Heaven on Earth. But if each person's idea of Heaven is different, how could that be? I wouldn't much like a Heaven without babies or children, where I was forever separated from those I love who had already passed away.
The point I'm making here is that life may be God's will but so is death. Whether it's a gift or not depends on your perspective - I, for one, cannot understand how some of those starving children bloated with hunger could perceive their miserable existence as a gift but maybe that's just me.
We've been given free will. That means there's God's will and there's human will on this earth. Sometimes they coincide, and sometimes they don't. A man raping a woman sounds like human will to me, not God's will. If a baby is conceived as a result - a result of human will, not God's will - that baby was therefore created from the will of the man who raped the woman. And thanks to medical advances (the result of God-given intelligence as well as God-given human free will), the woman who was raped now has the free will to choose whether to have the baby or not, and live with the consequences of her decision in this life and perhaps the next - at least in this country she does, at the present time, thanks to those who have paved the way for her to have such a choice.
Nobody who thinks she should have a choice in that matter also thinks that murder is acceptable in society. Nobody who thinks she should NOT have a choice in the matter has to be in her shoes and live with the results of the rapist's actions. And nobody who is making her business THEIR business is truly affected by her decision, or her ability to make her own decision. It's not like society is going to legalize infanticide and make it possible for a woman to come into their home and kill THEIR baby (born or unborn). This is simply not a situation where society has a clear interest in legislating away a certain action by one of its members.
And this post won't convince a single person on the other side of the issue. But I had to write it anyway.
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Wed Oct 24, 2012, 04:53 AM (3 replies)
On DU2, I took over the DUzy awards for a short time before life intervened and I had to take a hiatus from DU. Hosting the DUzy's was fun, but what I like even better than humor is essential truth. (Of course, humor is often good for pointing out truth - but what I saw a lot of times in the DUzy's were just people angling for an award for the sake of attention.)
So, I'd like to propose a new weekly item here on DU: The RILTRu award. It stands for:
"Reply I'd Like To Recommend" and it's pronounced "Real True".
To recommend a reply in a thread, either PM me with the link, or reply to the post with with "RILTR" as in, "That's a RILTR!" Or RILTRu if you prefer. I'll do a site search on the term.
To get the ball rolling, here's my first "RILTR":
In the thread "Dolan took a swipe at the LGBT community and marriage equality in his prayer at the DNC." by Zorra,
Reply 136 by sabrina 1
(Occasional humorous comments also welcome if they illustrate an essential truth.)
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Sun Sep 9, 2012, 07:42 PM (4 replies)
Someday I hope to see a time when this song no longer rings true.
Which way are you going, which side will you be on?
Will you stand and watch while all the seeds of hate are sown?
Will you stand with those who say, "Let his will be done"
One hand on the bible
One hand on the gun
One hand on the bible
One hand on the gun
Which way are you looking, is it hard to see?
Do you say what's wrong for him, is not wrong for me?
You walk the streets, righteousness but you refuse to understand
You say you love the baby
Then you crucify the man
You say you love the baby
Then you crucify the man
Every day things are changing, words once honored turned to lies
People wondering, can you blame them
It's too far to run, and too late to hide
So now you turn your back on all the things that you used to preach
Now it's "Let him live in freedom, if he lives like me"
Well your light has changed, confusion reigns; what have you become?
All your olive branches turned to spears
When your flowers turned to guns
Your olive branches turned to spears
When your flowers turned to guns
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Tue Aug 7, 2012, 10:32 PM (14 replies)
(and I know it's ironic that this is my first post after returning from being TS'd as an 'obvious troll')
I know what you're asking: "Friends?"
But with me it's true, though I probably don't know you. I consider people I haven't met to be friends until proven otherwise, and political orientation does not (in and of itself) disqualify someone from being my friend.
I have one such friend in "real life", whom many here would dismiss as a 'wing nut.' He has a pickup truck with a dog in the back and an Obama sticker that says "Does this ass make my truck look big?" He was over a few days ago, and I introduced him to my very liberal landlady, who has a "Mama for Obama" sticker on the back of her car, as my "Redneck Right Wing Crazy-ass friend" or some such thing, to which he grinned and said "You bet your ass!"
I consider this man extremely intelligent, funny, engaging, perhaps even charismatic. Sure hope he never runs for office. But I digress.
I've never heard him mention anything about his religion, so I assume he's probably not a fundamentalist, since you can never get that type of person to shut up about their religion (whatever it might be).
Generally speaking, as far as I can tell, he's also normal in the kindness department. He's human. He's not rich, but he's doing ok. He smokes pot occasionally. He's happily married. He's a nice guy. He'd make a great Democrat
What I'm saying here is that I don't believe half of the entire country is stupid, or insane, or motivated by religious fundamentalism. I do believe that there are a large number of people in this country who, while intelligent, are being played like violins. As Mark Twain once said, "It's easier to fool someone than to convince them they've been fooled." But I don't believe they're bad people, and I would be happy to call most of them my friend if I met them in person.
While this person was at my house we did engage in a small amount of political banter. He said something about how it bothered him that there was so much disinformation out there in the media and elsewhere. I hesitated, but decided not to engage with him on the subject . Being an intelligent person, and knowing as he did that I was also intelligent, he was quick to add that he understood there was misinformation on both sides. I let it go, since I felt it was unlikely I could change his mind and I value his friendship.
The thing about this guy is, he enjoys getting people riled up. The vast majority in my area are Democratic, so he's in the clear minority. He gets a kick out of it. Hey, whatever makes him happy. But I then had to wonder, beyond that, what motivates him. And it made me think about how humor is a major motivator for him. We all love humor, we love to laugh. Sometimes we like to laugh while making fun of someone or something. I enjoy watching Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart (The 'Daily Show'). I like listening to liberal talk radio. I like reading this site, especially the political cartoons.
Not all of these jokes or cartoons are funny, some just make me angry. But some do make me laugh. I'm sure Republicans are laughing as well about jokes which make fun of Democrats, Democratic leaders, and our ideas and ideals.
But it occurred to me that when I laugh while listening or reading funny stuff about Republicans, it is usually accompanied with an emotion. And having seen some of the jokes on the other side of the aisle, I get the feeling that a different emotion is involved.
The emotion that I get after laughing is sadness. I would venture to guess that it's the same for many who frequent this website and are on the same side of the political fence as I am. We believe we're right, we believe that the things that most Republicans do are harmful to the country, we know people (or we are people) who have been affected by what we believe to be Republican politics or agendas; and we feel it's unnecessary, we can't understand it. So we laugh at the ridiculousness of many things, but we're also sad because of what we believe the end result of these things is, how they affect real people.
So my challenge to my Republican friends is this: When you're watching Fox News or whatever commentary you like, listening to conservative talk radio, or reading a political cartoon that makes you laugh, pay attention to your emotions surrounding the laughter -- before, during or afterward. Is there an underlying sadness? Or is it something else?
Because what I'm getting, for the most part, is something else, and it's this: Meanness.
Now I'm not one of those who say "Mean people suck." I don't agree with that statement. I think most people do not suck, even the mean ones. They're people, they're just as worthy of being here on this planet, there's a reason they are the way they are, and there but the grace of God go I.
However, I do believe that mean people make the world suck. I also believe that people can change -- most of them, anyway.
So here's my challenge to you. Examine yourself, question the emotions that are involved in your laughter, and if it's meanness, ask yourself if that's the kind of person you want to be. Ask if you want to have any part -- even if it's a very small one -- in helping make the world suck.
Ask yourself if it's possible that the little jolt of pleasure you receive when you laugh at something which is intended to be mean, is the way you're being controlled by those who are putting out the message you're reading or listening to.
Question what you perceive as being reality; question what part or role you'd like to play in life. Question what you'd like the people who knew you to think about you after you're gone.
Wishing you the best,
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Wed Jun 13, 2012, 08:12 PM (3 replies)