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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: South - Carolina and Dakota
Home country: Oz
Current location: Kansas
Member since: Mon Nov 15, 2004, 04:30 AM
Number of posts: 37,402

Journal Archives

Kansas has four seats in the US House

in two of those districts - the first and the 3rd, the Republican incumbent is running unopposed.

In how many other House districts is that true?

Let's do a survey. Check in and tell me if it is true in your state.

Of course, one sad fact is that for Democrats to win in the 1st is a near impossibility. In 2010, the Democratic candidate only got 23% of the vote. But still that is 44,000 people who did NOT want to vote for the Republican. They should have that option again this year. In 2008, our candidate only got 13.2% of the vote, but still, again, that was 34,771 people.

Further, in the Kansas State Senate, in 7 of the 40 districts, Republicans have no Democratic opponents. They are districts 15, 16, 31, 32, 33, 35, and 37. In most districts there are two Republicans running in the primary, and that will be the real contest that decides the future of Kansas. If the Republican moderates lose the primaries, then we are even more toast than we have been. There will be nothing to stop the far right project of the tunnel to the 8th century.

The same is true in the Kansas house, lots of Republican primaries. In some districts there are three Republicans running (hopefully two of them are conservatives), but often no Democratic opposition. In 41 of 125 House seats, one party is running unopposed, including 6 where the Democrat is running unopposed. The Republican only districts are (I know most people don't need this information, but perhaps the KDP can use it) - 6, 8, 9, 13, 15, 16, 17, 20, 26, 27, 45, 48, 61, 64, 68, 70, 74, 77, 78, 81, 82. 94, 99, 101, 104, 107, 108, 109, 113, 118, 120, 122, 123, 124, and 125. The Democrat only districts are - 32, 34, 35, 37, 46, and 103.

The hope that Brownback would face a backlash over the ultra-conservative crap that he pushed through in this session seems unlikely to come to pass. He's already got a lock on 1/3 of the House, unless moderates show up in droves in the primaries. Maybe I should hope that the moderates lose the primaries and those voters come running to elect Demorats. But otherwise it is looking to shape up as Kansas electoral massacre part II.


anyone who roots for Lebron James is clearly a troll.

Opposing deficit spending is just silly, and as any tradfitional economist would tell you counter-cyclical. In the last 150 years, the Federal Government has probably run deficits in 140 of them, and we have done just fine. In WWII, the debt was greater than the GDP and the country did just fine. In fact, we prospered.

One of the troubles with supposed trolls, is that we, as Americans are swimming in a sea of excrement, crap that fills the airwaves and newspapers and books and the internet. False ideas and lies and distortions and propaganda - excrement. Our public discourse is so full of excrement that everybody who swims in it is bound to get some in their mouth, or in their head, and then spew it out like its not some crap that was catapaulted into their mind.

Some people, true trolls, embrace the crap, believe enough of it that they have gone over to the dark side.

Yet others, sincerely believe themselves to be on the side of the angels, are faithful followers of brother Dee Morris, and belong to the Antioch Wiccan church* and yet, because they, like all of us, are swimming in a sea of excrement, have accidentally swallowed some bad ideas - like the Balanced Budget Amendment.

All too quickly, we, the pure liberals, suspect the latter of being one of the former.

My position is, that even if they are right in their suspicions, we should still treat both the same. We should try to win them over to our side, by offering the hand of friendship as well as a relentless barrage of facts and logic. We should try to persuade and educate those who disagree with us, even though we are likely to find that NOBODY, not even US, ever wants to admit that they are wrong, and efforts to persuade will often be met by stubborn resistance following Newton's Second Law of Arguments.** But still I think it is better to try, and to have malice towards none, to try to win people to our side rather than driving them away with contempt and aspersions as not being sufficiently pure or enlightened.

And finally, who is that trip-trapping on my bridge?

*(inside joke - this is a parody of Charlie Daniels' "Uneasy rider" where the redneck, after being accused of having voted for George McGovern, defends himself saying "I am a faithful follower of Brother John Birch, I belong to the Antioch Baptist Church ..."

** Newton's Second Law of Arguments is a parody of Newton's Second Law of Motion - "for every argument there is an equal but opposite counter argument (at least in the mind of the person making it)'

a pretty good summary

except it leaves out the part about Democratic complicity.

Democrats keep using their bully pulpit to say "Republicans are right"

Will tax increases, even on the rich, hurt the economy? Republicans think so.

Major Democrats say - Republicans are right.

Do we have a serious budget deficit problem which requires spending cuts and entitlement "reform". Republicans think so.

Major Democrats say - Republicans are right.

Will tax cuts create jobs? Republicans think so (or claim they do).

Major Democrats say - Republicans are right.

The other insane part is that Republicans are offering economic policies which have clearly failed, but that Democrats are NOT offering a clear alternative. Instead Democrats concede most of the terms of the argument. They agree with Republicans that we have a problem and they agree with most of the proposed solutions. The Democratic alternative to the Ryan budget seems to be Simpson-Bowles.

Well, I guess that offers a clear choice. Republicans want to break my left arm and Democrats want to break my right arm.

Hmm, tough choice. Left or righ? Right or left? Which arm do I want broken?

Fortunately for Democrats, I am left handed, but still ...

My response as a voter to BOTH of them is "How about I break BOTH of your arms instead?"

except it is not about hate, Bill

It's about which side you are on, Bill. It's about who your friends are.

You don't want to see Romney attacked for being an investing member of the .1%, because you yourself, and some of your bestest buddies are investing members of the .1%

"The key locution in this fandango: "And you and I have friends here who invest in companies.""

and boo hoo hoo, they should not be attacked, even though, as you yourself said,

"you can invest in a company, run up the debt, loot it, sell all the assets, and force all the people to lose their retirement and fire them."

So, even if Romney, and some of your "friends here" fired and looted and stole the pensions of some workers, well we don't want to attack them for it.

It's too bad that you cannot talk to some member of the media and say "you and I have friends here who have been fired and had their pensions stolen."

But no, Bill, once again, no matter how much a slick politician might talk about how he feels the pain of ordinary people, the real truth is, in the words of Bender "you don't know any of my friends, you don't look at any of my friends, and you certainly would not condescend to speak to any of my friends."

Well, if somebody fires you, and steals your pension, or that of one of your friends, it might be a very logical thing to hate such a person, but it doesn't have to be a hateful thing to want to see a thief held accountable, if not in the courts, at least in the voting booth.

I write as though there should be a standard

otherwise communication is impossible and if I say the word "rich" I might as well say the word "guipure" or "flibbertigibbet" because they all mean the same thing, which is precisely nothing. Because rich could mean this or it could mean that.

It seems to me, though, that there is a concerted political effort by many of the rich (as I call them, members of the top 20%) to define themselves as middle class, and to claim that only the top .1% are "really rich". Or perhaps it is defined in an operational way as "somebody who lives on investment income". Which would mean that if I had investments that made $25,000 a year and I lived on that amount, which I surely could having often lived on less, then I would be considered rich, whereas somebody who had a job making $400,000 a year would not be considered rich since they are living on their salary rather than on their investments.

Either way, I consider that to be a pernicious effort. One that I oppose every time it rears its ugly head.

What makes it pernicious, is that it allows policy makers to put forth policies which they claim benefit the "middle class". Two primary examples being Obama's promise to not raise taxes on the middle class, which he then defined as "households making less than $250,000". Except that plan ends up providing about as much benefit to the top 5% as it does to the bottom 60%. Or the payroll tax cut which is again touted as a middle class tax cut, but provides 27.1% of its benefits to the bottom 60% and 26.7% to the top 10%. In the name of the supposed middle class, benefits skew upwards, as the definition of middle class and the definition of rich both skew upwards.

I am on the side of the truth

and of the bottom 50%.

Those above the median income are perfectly free to have solidarity with the bottom 50%, but they are not free to delude themselves that they are part of it.

The thing is that the bottom 50% is getting squeezed, not just by the top .1% or by the top 1%, but by the top 50%. Many people in the top 50% don't wanna pay more taxes to help out the bums in the bottom 50% Instead they want more for themselves.

If all the AGI in the US in 2007 was divided equally among all the taxpayers each taxpayer would get $62,369.
Take away the greedy top .1% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $54,986
Take away the greedy top 1% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $48,620
Take away the top 5% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $41,069
take away the top 10% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $36,000
take away the top 50% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $15,287
take away the bottom 50% and divide the rest of the pie equally and each taxpayer gets $109,451
take the top 10% away from the top half and divide the rest of the pie equally and each gets $61,890

If I could split the bottom 50% in half, I could show that the bottom gets much less of the pie than the top half. In fact, in 2005, the bottom quintile got 3.4% of the national income and the next quintile got 8.6% - 250% as much as the bottom quintile.

For a person in the top 10% to say "I am not rich" says to me that they are thinking/saying "I should get a bigger slice of pie for myself". I think that outlook of "I am not gonna share with those below me, because I want more for myself" is a bigger part of the problem than any infighting I am doing here by expressing my opinion of the facts.

Edit - just to include some other averages

average income of the top .1% - $7,437,986
average income of the top .9% = $755,246
average income of the top 4% = $227,956
average income of the next 4% = $165,389
average income of the next 40% = $61,890
average income of the next 25% = $21,835
average income of the bottom 25% = $8,735

I could say

that I have learned that people will make up all kinds of ridiculous straw man arguments and hurl vitriol instead of listening and discussing with those who disagree with them

but really I already knew that.

Perhaps Pascal made that point very well in his Pensees.

Q: Why are you hitting me?

A: Aren't you from the other side of the lake? (i.e. the other tribe)

"Ideas on earth are badges of friendship. Friends agree with friends in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagree with enemies in order to express enmity." Vonnegut


What's my next line?

I think it may be this

"I'm telling you. People come and go in this forest, and they say 'it's only Eeyore, so it doesn't count.' They walk to and fro saying 'Ha ha!' But do they know anything about A? They don't. It's just three sticks to them. But to the Educated - mark this, little Piglest - to the Educated, not meaning Poohs and Piglets, it's a great and glorious A. Not," he added, "just something that anybody can come and breathe on." House at Pooh Corner p. 88

But I cannot help noticing the response Eeyore got to his little rant.

"Piglet stepped back nervously and looked around for help."

Well that's what WOULD happen.

Yep, here's how George W. Bush described them

"Our enemies are innovative and resourcefull, and so are we. They never stop thinking of ways to harm our country and our people,

and neither do we."

George W. Bush, accidentally telling the truth

That was my email signature line in 2005.

I added this, about his re-selection

"I prophesy to you this evil man will plunge our Reich into the abyss and will inflict immeasurable woe on our nation. Future generations will curse you in your grave for this action." Erich Ludendorff

the abyss? Did I exxagerate? Be hyperbolic?

You decide. For myself, I think western civilization came that close, all too close, to going down with a crash.


immeasurable woe? Okay, maybe it is measurable, like 12.7 million unemployed even now. But nobody has really measured the number killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor the long term effects.

An election is coming up. Let's learn from our past mistakes, shall we? Don't vote Romney, don't vote Republican, don't return to the disastrous policies of George W, Bush and Ronald Reagan.

about poverty - how poor have you been, as an adult?

Just for fun, I calculated my own wages compared to the poverty line over the years. I graduated from college in 1985 and got a job that November, working for Uncle Sam at the USAF. So, starting in 1986.

1986 - 299%
1987 - 0% (quit the last job in November (after getting promoted) and didn't have a paying job. Bought a trailer and some land for $4,500 in July and lived there for a year before going to graduate school (saved about $3,000 in rent expenses and much later sold the land for $22,000)
1988 - 96% (based on the school year rather than the calendar year, I know I made $5900 for my first year as a graduate assistant and $6100 for my second year)
1989 - 95%
1990 - 40%
1991 - 76%
1992 - 0% (started my own store in June 1991, made no money, but lived in the store and covered some living expenses that way. So my real income was somewhat higher through 1998, but I wasn't really living well in a basement for a year with no hot water, but considering the upstairs was practically a library, that's living well for me)
1993 - 124% (in Feb, got a job at a satellite dish factory)
1994 - 160%
1995 - 39% (sorta quit and then got laid off from the factory in March, made some money shovelling snow the next winter which does not show on my FICA earnings report)
1996 - 69% (first got a job at another satellite dish factory, then a part-time job at the bar down the street from my store)
1997 - 123%
1998 - 129% (in June sold the building and moved, mostly working temp jobs for three years in Iowa also made some money as a landlord from the building I bought, but that was negated, and then some, when I later sold the building for a huge loss)
1999 - 168%
2000 - 180%
2001 - 190% (in those two years I ALMOST made it out of the bottom quintile if I hadn't gotten fired in March 2002 ...)
2002 - 113% (not including some $4,000 I made from unemployment, got a part-time janitor job in August)
2003 - 145%
2004 - 201% (full time janitor in May)
2005 - 237%
2006 - 219% (went back to part-time in October, as I called it "semi-retired", partly was afraid Bush would wreck the banking system. No point working full time and saving if the banking system collapses and wipes it all out, and besides, my house was paid for by then)
2007 - 104%
2008 - 113%
2009 - 130%
2010 - 116%

25 year average 126.64%. 22 of 25 years in the bottom quintile, and no health insurance until May 2004.

Anyway, perhaps TMI, but that is my experience with poverty and near-poverty. I'd like to hear your stories.

One person can make a difference - Happy Earth Day

Just got back from another after-prom party. As usual, nobody was recycling. This time instead of constantly picking cans out of the trash, I decided to try something different. I took an empty trash can and put a hand-made sign that said "recycle" on it. In that manner I managed to recycle 96 cans and 26 plastic bottles. Still ended up with a fair number of cans in the trash. I doubt if more than 70% were recycled.

And, of course, 96 cans is only 2.5 or 3 pounds, which hardly makes any kind of dent in the 1.34 billion pounds that get thrown away every year http://journals.democraticunderground.com/hfojvt/171 Still, it is better than nothing. Those 1.34 billion pounds generally get thrown away one can at a time. Hopefully I also helped to remind fifty or sixty young people that recycling is a good thing, that they can get in the habit of recycling.

At another job, I was moving some bottles from the trash to the recycling, and one of the bartenders sarcastically asked if I was going to "save the earth". Obviously, I am not. I am not an Atlas who can pick up the world on my massive shoulders. But I can do something, and I think that every little bit helps. I recycle more than my share of the total 2.73 billion pounds used each year, even though I cannot personally reduce the amount discarded even from 1.3400 to 1.3399 billion pounds on my own.

But I can do a part. If the earth doesn't get saved, it won't be because I didn't do my part. Like John Lennon, I am sure I am not the only one, and hope that others someday will join us.
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