Linda Loftin

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Little House on the Santorum Pra

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm

If you liked watching the TV series Little House on the Prairie during the 1970’s, then you’ll love Rick Santorum’s vision for the future of this country. Yes, let’s return to those idyllic days when the little woman had no control over the events that occurred to her own body. Let’s return to the days when public education was not prevalent and the little woman was in charge of the children’s education. She provided readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic in the home setting, with a babe on one hip and one eye on the hearth. Little pigtailed girls and reluctant lads poured over the Good Book, because, indeed no other education was needed, save what was between those pages. No other learning’ was required since college was for the rich heathens who wished to have their morals thoroughly corrupted.

Unlike Ma on Little House, our Santorum Stepford wife, will be having a babe on the hip every year or two. Like the typical mother in the 1870’s, our perfect Santorum mom will end up with at least 10 children, unless she is unfortunate enough (or fortunate enough, depending on your view) to die of birth complications before her mission is accomplished. Health care is an option only for the wealthy in our perfect Santorum world, since the government no longer assists our hearty pioneers in any activity of a personal nature. Contraception is outlawed and if the little lady isn’t holding an aspirin between the knees to prevent yet another babe coming into the world, then it is her duty to have as many as nature and God choose to bestow upon her. Those who choose abortion or even contraception will be imprisoned, leaving the Head of Household free to take up with a more acquiescent mate.

If this bucolic scene is reminding you of current day cults of ex Mormon fundamentalists minus the polygamy, then you are envisioning Rick’s idea of heaven on earth. The little woman doesn’t work outside the home; it might give her big ideas, and anyway it’s a bit difficult to have a career with a dozen little ones at home. Yes, it’s true that the Amish have a similar lifestyle but there is one huge difference; they have a choice of whether or not to join the church and live as their fore bearers did. In Santorum’s perfect world, there is no freedom of choice for women. The men will control our bodies and when they control our bodies, they will also control our minds. Since our only profession will be educating our children and having as many of them as possible, surely there will be no need for us to vote. that pesky 19th Amendment, was pushed through by uppity womenfolk who didn’t know their proper place, so let’s eliminate it.

Unfortunately for Rick, however, we ladies do still have the right to protest, and the right to vote. Come November, we will not be voting for Rick, or for any other candidate that believes that the government has the right to determine the fate of women without consulting them. If you think I’m just being optimistic, look at what has happened recently. The Koman Foundation, after a right-wing takeover, attempted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and the enraged outcry from women was so loud that Komen backpedaled. Their reputation is ruined of course, and their pink-ribbon endorsed products will no longer grace the shelves of many females who previously saw them as an organization benignly focused on funding the cure for breast cancer. In Virginia, women were so incensed over the religious-right governor’s proposal to invade women’s bodies with probes if they dared to consider self- determination, that he quickly recanted and then stated he had no idea what was in the law he proposed. Now it looks like the power of women is such that his high hopes for an invitation to become a vice-presidential candidate have been destroyed. Listen up, Santorum wannabes; sisterhood still is powerful. Your attempts to send us scurrying back to the days of my great-grandmothers will only end in defeat for you. My advice is to get off the woman-hating political bandwagon before we ladies send you to the coal cellar with a swift broom to your backside, where you will have plenty of time to ponder your political exile.

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Using My secret Decoder Badge

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2012 at 11:40 pm

I remember the 1950’s when children could get secret decoder badges from Captain Midnight and the Secret Squadron. All you had to do was cut out the paper covering over your jar of Ovaltine (drink of power for little investigators) and send it straight to the Captain and he would send you the badge, free of charge. Oh, wondrous day when that prize appeared in your mailbox and you could finally interpret the mysterious messages that Captain wanted to send you over the little black and white TV your parents owned.

Move ahead in time by about 60 years, and we find a new captain and new secret messages, but where is our decoder badge? Captain Newt Midnight and his Secret Squadron, want you to understand their secret codes, but they forgot the decoder apparatus, leaving it to the “elite media” (myself) to do the decoding for you.

When Captain Newt gets on the airwaves he likes to refer to the “food stamp president.” The decoded message he wants to convey is that President Obama wants to give away the nation’s wealth to the poor and to racial minorities, no doubt because he is also a racial minority and because his mother, during one difficult time period, collected food stamps.

Caption Newt also likes to say that “poor children lack a work ethic” by which he intends his audience to know that the poor and non-lily white among us don’t get ahead in life because they are lazy. He intends to remedy this situation by putting our school’s hard- working custodians out of business and turning over the cleaning and minor repairs to the the children in poor schools. Of course if you you attend a tax enriched school district, you could stay in the classroom and learn. However, if you are one of the deserving poor, there is no need for you to learn much at all, since you will grow up and become a recipient of food stamps, while your counterparts on the Main Line go to Harvard and Yale.

The Captain informs us that President Obama adheres to a “Kenyan anti-colonial worldview.” We certainly need our decoder badges to understand this statement. Kenya is in Africa and Africans are black people. An anti-colonial worldview means that black people must have a chip on their shoulders against the whites who came unbidden to their county and proceeded to act as though the country weren’t already owned. Therefore, we are supposed to understand that our President has a vendetta against Caucasians, never mind that his mother was Caucasian and that he barely remembers his father.

Newt likes to refer to those ideas and activities that are “fundamentally alien to the American tradition.” That means that if the founding fathers didn’t come up with the idea, that we shouldn’t favor it either. That includes gay marriage, Medicare, Social Security, a woman’s right to own her body, and tacos and the people who eat them.

The Captain speaks of the “radical European socialist agenda” of Mr. Obama. By this, he means to say that Europeans enjoy universal health care, among other humane benefits of a civilized society. Newt fails to mention that when someone isn’t covered by health insurance and needs to go to the emergency room, that the taxpayers pay for that person’s care anyway.

Captain Newt and the Secret Squadron are happy to tap into the underlying resentment that a certain portion of the Republican party has towards the poor and the racial minorities. They know, however, that they can’t come right out and say exactly what they mean because that would be too overtly classist and racist, so they use euphemisms that skirt just on the edge of the unacceptable. They know their intended audience will “get it” and indeed they do, judging by the uproarious applause they produce when he coyly opines his views to his chosen people.

It was most interesting for me to learn that more than 20 years ago, Newt wrote a booklet on the effective uses of propaganda that he sent out to his fellow Republicans. The title of the booklet was “Language, a Key Mechanism of Control.” This missive told what positive words and phrases to use when running for office and referring to yourself, and it highlighted the negative language to use when you want to refer to your opponents. Some of the words to use when you speak of your worthiness to hold office, are flag, liberty, hard work, and prosperity, but when it comes to anyone who is running against you, you must make sure to say they are anti-(flag, family, jobs) as well as use words such as liberal, radical, and collapse. The National Teachers of English were so impressed with the booklet that they awarded it the Doublespeak Award of 1990. I believe that we can agree that Newt retrieved this gem from his attic, dusted it off, and has found it very useful here in 2012.

At Sixes and Nines

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I’m all at 6’s and 9’s these days. I’m in a confused state of mind over the current political references to those numerals. We have Herman Cain’s simple to understand 9-9-9 plan. Michelle Bachmann helpfully informs us that when you turn those nines upside down you have 6-6-6 which seems to imply that Satan is interested in Republican politics and that he is favoring Herman Cain since Cain did kill Abel. It logically follows that Mrs. Bachmann is implying that that Mr. Cain is the Antichrist. Should we worry? Do his pizzas cost $9.99? If so, and we turned those numerals upside down, that would be even more proof that he is the Beast! But if Michelle is implying that Herman is the Antichrist, what happens to our suspicions that President Obama deserves that title? After all, the Illinois lottery did draw the 6-6-6 combination the day after Election Day in 2008. Perhaps there is an assistant Antichrist, sort of like a Vice President of evil.
The other nines that confuse me are the expansion of the protests of the 99% that are occupying cities and towns all over the country. Why aren’t they happy that 1% of the population controls the lion’s share of the wealth? Look at all the jobs the 1% has created lately, or at least will create in some distant future if only we promise to not make them pay any taxes. Herman Cain will eliminate considerable pesky taxes when his plan goes into effect and the wealthiest in this county, who generally depend on their investments to supply their income, no longer have to pay even 15% in capital gains taxes and won’t have to worry about estate taxes or gift taxes. Of course, when they go to the grocery store and spend $200, there will be $18 in sales tax, the exact tax a desperate and unemployed person will pay, or would pay if he could still afford to go the grocery. Herman tells us we should change our habits and buy used items. I wonder where you buy used food? Will restaurants sell customer’s half pieces of toast and other leftovers from outside the back door?
H. L. Menchen once said that “for every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is wrong.” Like everybody else I love simplicity but anyone who tells us there are simple economic or political answers is just wanting to make things easy for us, so we don’t have to think too hard. When we start thinking, we start to realize that the complexities we face defy catchy slogans. Maybe that’s why the 99%/Occupy Wall Street groups haven’t developed a list of demands yet. Perhaps they understand that a complex society requires complex solutions and that it’s easier to raise questions than to answer them and that politicians who try to make it easy for us are doing us a disservice.
As for me, I think I’ll go listen to the Jimi Hendrix song ‘If 6 was 9” written in 1966, which implored me to let my “freak flag” fly despite the “white collared conservative” who would prefer my demise. I personally doubt that most conservatives really wish that my kind would “drop and die” as Jimi surmised, but I’m sure that they would at least like to see that the 99% majority with relatively few assets increase to 99.9%; after all what red-blooded American wants to share?

A Letter to Jim Gerlach

In Uncategorized on September 28, 2011 at 11:59 am

I am reproducing a letter that I just sent to my congressional representative, Jim Gerlach. I felt compelled to email him as a result of an e-newsletter he sent out in which he stated that he told a group of high school students that there was no better role model for today’s
youth than Ronald Reagan. I couldn’t let that
statement stand without a bit of rebuttal.
Here is my letter. I wonder if he will respond?
Sir,
I read your e-newsletter in which you stated that there is “no better role model” for today’s youth than Ronald Reagan. I think you need to rescind that statement. Do you really want today’s teens to believe that Reagan is the very best role model ? How about Abe Lincoln, who was also a Republican? Don’t you think that the religious folks in your district just might name Jesus as a better role model than Reagan? Don’t you think that you have exaggerated Reagan’s exalted status just a wee bit and owe your constituents an apology? I know that Republicans have decided that Reagan is getting close to God in his perfection but don’t you think it is just a tad presumptions to elevate his role model status to that which is above other religious icons? The actual truth is that if Reagan were alive today, the current batch of right-wingers would never vote for him. It is easy for people to ignore history but a brief Internet search will confirm my observations. For example Ronald Reagan said that those who refused to raise the debt limit ceiling were irresponsible. If Reagan is such an icon, shouldn’t all Republicans have been for raising the debt ceiling instead of threatening to close down the government and therefore being the cause of our country’s downgraded credit rating? Would those who are anti abortion say that Reagan is the best possible role model when he signed a pro-choice law when he was governor of California in 1967 that was the most liberal in the country at that time?
I consider it most ironic that Those who would never vote for Ronald Reagan today, hold him up as the Republican saint.
Sincerely,
Linda Loftin

Buffet The Vampire Slayer

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Warren Buffett, billionaire, has pointed out the inherent unfairness of our current tax structure, where the uber-wealthy like himself pay a 15% tax rate while the middle class folks like his secretary pay as much as 35% in federal taxes. The vampires from my blog title today, are those who wish to suck more of the life blood out of the middle and lower classes while leaving their own kind unscathed. 

I have wondered why it is that the Republicans are so intent on protecting the pockets of the super rich and the big corporations at the expense of the rest of us. I also  have wondered how any voters except the mega-rich can ever cheer on this stance. How can anyone except the top 1% of earners think it a great idea to protect the private jet setters and yachters at the expense of those of us who drive 10 year old cars while also praying that they last another 10 years? Isn’t it time that our congress takes the side of the middle class in our nation of increasing wealth disparity?

The Republican candidates like to cite statistics that say that 47% of our countrymen pay no taxes. They are talking about federal taxes of course, not all taxes. What they don’t tell us is that most of the people who don’t have to pay federal taxes earn less than $20,000 a year and most of the rest are people who get social security because they are retired  and, as a couple, make less than $32,000.  Do we really expect the elderly, making less than this to pay more federal taxes when they already paid social security taxes once when their contributions were first deducted from their pay checks? Do we really expect the working poor or those who have lost jobs to pay federal taxes when they aren’t sure where they are getting their next meal? Why would these candidates espouse this mantra, all the while protecting the second home mortgage deduction for the fellow who uses it to claim his yacht as his second home?

I believe the typical congressman/woman does not understand or care to understand the the fact that more and more people are losing their grip on the middle class life. I recently took advantage of a Groupon to take a two hour cruise down the Patomac on the Sequoia. This is the yacht that served nine presidents before being sold as an austerity measure by the Carter administration. The yacht is usually booked by congressional elites for parties. The night before our cruise, Eric Cantor had booked the boat for a very successful fund raiser. I chatted with the bartender, who mixes drinks for the elite functions on this yacht, but also tends bar at less ritzy venues. I asked him about the tipping habits of the congressional crowd, who as we know were generally quite well off before they ever went to Washington. He told me that he would much rather tend bar for the Plumbers Union than for any glamorous congressional function because congress  types are notoriously poor tippers while common folk like plumbers give generous tips. He didn’t speculate on why this is so but I know why. Those who have always had money have no understanding of the difference a few dollars makes to a waitress, a bar tender, or any tip dependent person who has to rely ‘on the kindness of strangers’ to pay their bills and feed their kids. These congressional members are the same ones who feel that their own should be protected while at the same time believing that the ever shrinking middle class, the working poor, the unemployed, and the fixed-income elderly should carry the load created by the elimination of economic safety nets. The truth is that they simply don’t get it. They don’t understand the reality of not being able to find work because jobs have been shipped off to the third world, in order that corporations can make ever larger profits.  The wealthy Republicans who want to protect their own at the expense of the rest of us will never “get it” but we have the power to vote anyone out of office, or see to it that they never get voted in to office. Not all the rich are in the category of those who don’t understand the reality of the economic struggle of most Americans. You will be able to tell who understands and who doesn’t if you listen carefully to what they say. Do they lie and tell you that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme because they want to destroy it?  Do they sit around with the desperate unemployed and joke that they too are unemployed and are truly puzzled when we don’t laugh? Do they tell you that everyone should pay federal taxes no matter what their situation? Do they tell you that protective regulations that we have worked hard to put in place are unnecessary? Do they  lie and tell you that getting rid of regulations will provide you with a job and do they fail to tell you that their campaigns are financed by the billionaires who want regulations eliminated so they can stuff their coffers ever fuller? 

Republican candidates are currently whining about class warfare but what they are really  whining about is the fact that we ordinary folks are on to them. We have figured out that they care only about their own class and will do anything to protect the wealth that they, their friends, their corporations, and their lobbyists have accumulated. Let’s all remember that the next time we vote. 

Thoughts on the 9/07/11 Republican debate

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

The only candidates that the pundits want to discuss are Romney and Perry but I believe that if the Republicans want to win the 2012 election, they need to nominate John Huntsman.  In watching the debates last night, I observed how reasonable and presidential Mr. Huntsman appeared. He is a conservative, but compared to the views of the rest of the candidates, he seems moderate. I believe he would get the independent votes, as well as the more conservative and moderate Democrats. I believe he would be elected. As governor of Utah, his state was number one in job creation, not 47th as in Massachusetts under Romney. Huntsman has vast experience internationally. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, has been an ambassador three times, and has lived overseas on four occasions. He bushes off Bachmann’s silly assertion that the president can order up 2$ a gallon gasoline, by stating that this is not something under presidential control. He is a man who believes in science and in the facts of evolution and climate change. He is conservative but reasonable. He would be elected.

Fortunately, for the liberal Democrats, the Republicans will not use their common sense this year. They will nominate a candidate who can not win the support of the nation. They will nominate a fringe candidate who’s views will send the centrist majority in this country scurrying back to Mr. Obama.  Do they really believe that Perry, with his “Ponzi scheme” view of Social Security will win over the nation? Do they believe the nation will
cheer on a man who, as the long time governor of Texas, managed to oversee a state that has over 26% of it’s population without health insurance? Do they believe the nation will accept a man as president who has managed a state with one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country and yet, has responded by cutting the education budget? 
Will the nation accept a man who has overseen the execution of more prisoners than any other state and is proud of the fact, despite the speculation that some of those killed were innocent of their crimes? This “trigger-happy cowboy” as he has been called, will not resonate with the country as a whole. He doesn’t believe in climate change and his solution to the arid conditions in his state is to pray for rain, an action, unfortunately, which does not solve the problem. Mr. Perry  will ride his horse back to the drought stricken, uninsured, and under-educated state where he came from and Mr. Obama will  be president for another term. 

Mr. Romney claims he is not a career politician like Mr. Perry. He has, however, spent the past 20 years trying hard to be a career politician. He had one term as a governor, but other than that has failed in his many attempts to secure a political office. His business experience consists to buying out companies and then getting rid of the workers. Is that the kind of president we want? Do we want a man who
sits around for a photo op with the unemployed and callously makes jokes about also being unemployed while he sits on his assets of 250 million dollars? Do we want a president who created the individual health insurance mandate and then refuses to endorse it for the nation? 

The rest of the candidates from last night’s debate also looked unelectable. Mr. Cain has a 9-9-9 plan for federal taxes, sales taxes, and corporate taxes, but that looks to me to be plan that benefits the rich and puts a big burden on the poor and working classes. Mr. Santorum tried to emphasize that he is the candidate of moral issues as well as economic issues and he doesn’t want corporations to pay
any taxes. I don’t believe the majority of Americans want their morality legislated, nor do we want to see corporations pull in billions of dollars and pay no taxes on their loot. He also believes we should get rid of aid to the less fortunate by eliminating food stamps and housing subsidies. He is the kind of Republician who would just like to eliminate any assistance to the poor. I wonder if he would also just like to have hospitals turn away the uninsured. Maybe the poor can just live under bridges until they starve to death or die from untreated disease.  Well, I’m sure Mr. Santorunm would pray for them and that will be a great comfort. 

Ms. Bachmann rambled on about her distaste for socialized medicine but what does she think it’s called when the huge numbers of people who can’t afford health insurance end up in hospitals who are obligated to treat them and send us taxpayers the bill? How can these people not see that if we are all required to pay something towards a national health insurance program, that it would be fairer for all of us? Do Americans really enjoy having the uninsured pay nothing while the rest of us pay for their hospital treatment? The conservatives like to try to scare us with the words “socialized medicine” but we must face the fact that we will be paying for the uninsured unless they are also required to pay something, unless we just want to deny care for anyone who can’t pay and let them die untreated. 

As for Ron Paul, he has some good ideas but Americans will never accept the idea of no federal regulations, no rules about safe cars or car seats or required vaccinations to guard again deadly outbreaks of disease, no free school
lunches for children in poverty, no minimum wage, and no federal disaster relief. We have these things because Americans demanded them and we aren’t about to do away with them. 

Mr. Gingerich didn’t add much to the discussion last night. He is fading fast. He made some noises about how great charter schools are, dispute the fact that research has shown that the majority of students in these schools score no better than their public school counterparts. He also made a statement that claimed that Mr. Obama conducts “class warfare” but the last time I looked, it’s the Republicans who are looking to amass wealth at the expense of the middle and working classes as well as at the expense of the poor. 

The bottom line is that these candidates are too radical for the majority of the American public. The one electable candidate, Mr. Huntsman, will not be the nominee and all the others are too far right for our centrist countrymen. Mr. Obama will be re-elected. 

No Hershey kisses for these students

In Uncategorized on August 22, 2011 at 9:58 pm

 Foreign students were expecting a summer of getting to know Americans when they paid between $3,000 -6,000 to come to Hershey this year. They believed they would work a little, make friends, and travel on their temporary J-1 visas.  These students came from many different countries, such as China, Turkey, and Ghana.  They were students with majors such as medicine and engineering. They were excited about the program they had been promised. What they got was a glimpse of America, alright, an America that gets its labor as cheaply and as exploitively as possible. They were promised cultural enrichment, and what they got was work in an isolated industrial park packing Hershey candy and toting heavy boxes, usually on the 3rd shift. They had no benefits or sick days and they worked for minimum wage. They rarely saw any American employees. They were expected to work at a breakneck speed. When they got paid, they found that high fees were taken off the top of their pay for the substandard lodgings they were given. 

They learned something else about America though. They
learned that in this country we have the right to protest
when we are placed in untenable circumstances. On Wednesday,
August 17, some 300 students walked off the job and staged a
protest against the Hershey Corporation.  J-1 visas were
never meant as a means for American companies to get cheap
labor at the expense of local unemployed workers. The State
Department conceived of the J-1 program as a friendly
cultural exchange program where kids from other countries
could come here for a few months, practice their English,
and see the country. They traditionally work at seasonal
jobs where local establishments can’t find enough local help
to fill the positions, such as waitressing at the shore. A
J-1 visa was never meant to fill positions that local
workers should have. 
When the students spoke up to complain about the company’s expectations, they were told they needed to be quiet or they
would be deported. Being deported meant that they would not
get refunds for the thousands of dollars they and their
families had spend for this supposed experience of a
lifetime. 
As would be expected Hershey Corporation is refusing to take responsibility for this particular “cultural experience” and is pointing fingers at its subcontractors. Well, if I subcontracted out a cultural enrichment program, I’d made sure I knew how it was being run because I would realize that I had the ultimate responsibility for the students experiences.  If I were the corporation that made this kind of mistake, I’d apologize, and be deeply embarrassed and ashamed of myself. 

The web-site that encouraged the students to come here for the summer shows happy young people at a scenic vista and promises students a chance to”live your dream.” 
Instead of a dream, there was the reality  of lifting boxes that one Chinese student explained as “very heavy, sometimes we can’t do…..but they ask faster, faster.” 

The New York Times reported that the students worried that they had been used for jobs that local Americans could do, but for less pay. Their concern seems to be correct since Hershey has reduced it’s full-time work force by 700 since 2007, even though the plant has grown. Dennis Bomberger, of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. States that Hershey plans another 500 layoffs next year as well. I wonder if they are expecting a large influx of foreign students next year who have an imperfect ability to speak English, and therefore an imperfect ability to complain well enough to be understood? If so, they better look for students who can’ t speak any English because the kids that came here this summer learned how to raise awareness of their plight.

What I’d like to know is the answer to the question the students raised. Why isn’t Hershey Corporation using local workers to pack their Kit-Kats? With unemployment figures above 9%, surely there are some people living in a 25 mile radius of Hershey who would be  pleased for the opportunity to be employed. We have to wonder why local workers weren’t recruited. It seems that Hershey might not want to have to pay more than $7.25 an hour for this hard work and they might not like the idea of having to give a real employee health benefits or sick days. That would be my guess, what is your guess? 

My daughter found this video on You-Tube. You may find it as interesting as I did so check it out.  Go to http://youtube.com  and do a search for the video Justice at Hershey. The foreign students explain their situation. 

An Idea for Social Security

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I’ve read several ideas for keeping the Social Security retirement system solvent and haven’t much liked what I’ve been reading. I don’t like the idea of means testing because that turns the system into welfare. Right now, everyone gets the check and therefore no one looks down on anyone else. When you turn it into a welfare system, you soon will have those who don’t get checks heaping as much criticism on those who do as we see today in the welfare system. There would be complaints about what the recipients purchase with their checks and questions about whether or not they really need the money or if they are scamming the system. Instead of the stereotype of “welfare queens” driving Cadillacs, we’ll be heaping scorn on “oldsters with gold-plated walkers.” In addition to this, means testing might indicate that you could pay into the system for 40 years and get nothing out of it because you have squirreled away your savings and therefore have too many assets to qualify. That would certainly not encourage savings.

Despite some on the right-wing fringe wanting to eliminate Social Security entirely (RicK Perry, for example), the vast majority of us like the concept that when we are aged and unable to work, we will get a check every month that represents our 40+ years of labor in the workforce. There is, however, one segment of our society that gets Social Security retirement checks but never was engaged in working outside the home for pay. If a spouse has never worked in a paid position, they are still entitled to Social Security in retirement and I’ve never seen any mention of eliminating this practice. This system worked very well in the post World War II era when the Rosie Riveters and WACS/WAVES retired into the home to raise the abundant Baby Boomer generation after their men returned from harrowing experiences abroad. But in the late 60’s when feminism surfaced and women started exercising their options to work for a paycheck, the Social Security system that rewarded women for staying in the home became less and less necessary. These days, the vast majority of both spouses work, even if they have children.

Do you realize that if a couple has been married for 10 years, then divorces, that the spouse who didn’t work or only chose to work an occasional part-time job, can get a Social Security check based on the former spouse’s earnings at age 62, if she or he has not remarried? Theoretically then, a man can marry at 20, 30, 40, and 50, be married for 10 years to each spouse, and each of those ladies can get 50% of whatever his Social Security check would include, even if he hasn’t retired, as long as the woman has reached age 62. His own check is not affected at all. So, if he gets a check for $2,000 a month, or would be eligible for such a check even if he is still on the job, each of these ladies could be getting $1,000! Of course, that would be a highly unlikely scenario, but it is a possibility and it highlights the absurdity of the system that is a leftover from the days when we were expected to stay home and have our husband’s slippers, pipe, and martini ready when he walked in the door each evening.

I think it’s wonderful when a family can make a choice to have one of them stay home with the children. My own son currently stays home with the babies while his wife gets the paycheck. It certainly makes for a more relaxed family life, but it also can realistically only be taken advantage of by the more affluent families. The majority of families have to have two paychecks in order to meet their monthly obligations. In that regard then the current system actually favors those who are better off. It could be viewed as a reverse means-test.

I would be strongly in favor of a system in which each person gets Social Security based on their own record and not their spouse’s record. The current system is a relic from the days of sexism and should be abolished. I also believe that if a family chooses to have one spouse stay at home for a number of years, that the spouse staying home should have the option of paying into the Social Security system just like those are employed do. The spouse staying home would make a contribution to the system that would be equal to 6% (the same percentage that those employed contribute) of the dollar amount of the worth of their duties (day care, housekeeper, etc). The employed spouse, who would in this case be considered to be the employer of the stay-at-home spouse, would also contribute 6% (the amount employers currently contribute). It would be a much more fair system, would be geared to the way we live today, and would contribute to the solvency of the system instead of helping to drain the system as is currently configured. This system would need to be eased into gradually, as it would not be fair to suddenly pull the rug out from under those who have counted on the current method.

This is not a solution that would solve all the problems of solvency, but this, along with other sensible tweaking of the current system, such as increasing the top limit for deductions above the current $106,000 income limit, would certainly be better than eliminating cost of living raises or means-testing.

Word count: 825

I’m no Foxy babe

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I’ve been traveling recently, out to the middle of Ohio and then on to Cleveland and northwestern Pennsylvania. Have you noticed how televisions have become omnipresent lately, springing up in every doctor and dentist’s office, as well as in hotels and even in fast food establishments?I find it very annoying to never be able to enter a building these days and be able to read or just be alone with my thoughts. Instead, I have my personal space invaded by cheery announcements. I entered a urgent-care facility some months ago with what turned out to be a broken shoulder. I was not comforted by the game show above my head. Things are bad when you can’t even be alone with your pain. I need to be thankful  that the physical therapist’s office relied only on a radio, but since their facility is being moved and upgraded, I wouldn’t doubt that the new office will get on the media bandwagon. 

Ever-present everywhere TV sets, playing at top volume aren’t my biggest complaint; my worst aggregation is aimed at what some establishments are allowing to be aired. I can’t recall the number of times I’ve stayed in hotels/motels in the last two years and have been expected to endure Fox News with my breakfast. Once, in Alabama, there was even a McDonald’s restaurant that blasted me with Fox. My breakfast bagel isn’t on a friendly basis with wide-eyed but low IQ’d bimbos providing patently false information under the supervision of the discredited Rupert Murdock. Dispute becoming increasingly curmudgeonly in my old age, I am not by nature, a confrontational person. However, I have been so offended by the Fox misinformation machine that I find myself needing to be a one person conscientiousness raiser by letting the manager know that Fox is not compatible with healthy nutrition. Once, in a Marriott, in the DC area, I was thanked by another disgruntled customer for telling  management that the barrage of political attacks by the right was not the proper food for customers. Mostly, though, no one seems to care that the channel has been changed. I don’t ask for anything unreasonable. The Today Show or Good Morning America,  or even the Weather Channel is perfectly fine with me. I don’t need anything radical. 

I stayed at a Comfort Inn in western Ohio last week and once again had the unpleasant task of informing the management that I find Fox News offensive, and could he please change the channel to something non-political. When asked, all managers and front desk personnel have been unfailingly polite and accommodating and have changed the channels or even given me the power of the remote so I could make my own choice. I’ve chosen neutrality even though I would have been happiest with total silence so I can work my crossword puzzle in blessed peace and quiet. 

I saw some progress recently. I just returned home after a stay in a Comfort Inn in Titusville, Pennsylvania for four days.I  recall that the last time I was there, I needed to speak up about the inappropriateness of the choice of Fox in the breakfast room. This time, I entered the eating area with trepidation  and for each of those four mornings, my eyes went first to the TV, not to the coffee machine. What did I see? Every time I looked up at the screen, the Weather Channel greeted me! Can you imagine how excited I was by this event? I think I’ll take credit for the substitution. You can also make a difference when you are in any public setting in which political rhetoric is being broadcast and you are being expected to drink that particular koolaid. Speak up politely and make sure the channel is changed. Fox News, like smoking and pornography, are choices that need to be confined to the privacy of one’s home; only, of course, when children are not present!

I Am Callng Youuuu-ou-ou!

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm

It’s apparent that God has called just about every Republican in the presidential race this year and has urged them to run. Rick Perry is coyly hinting that he is getting stronger and stronger signals all the time on his God hotline so he will soon be in the race. Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Tim Pawlenty have all been personally advised by God to run for president. Rich Santorum was called but one wonders if God speaks to Catholics, or only to Protestant evangelicals. Can God endorse Catholics as well as Protestants? I was a youngster when John F. Kennedy was running and back then all the grown-ups were scared that the Pope was going really be the one running the country. I was scared that I’d have to end up having to eat fish sticks every Friday. I’m betting that even today, your average Protestant evangelical doesn’t believe Catholics are on the way to heaven.
Mitt Romney has also alluded to a special calling but Fox News doubts this. One of their anchors has announced that Mormons aren’t Christian at all. I suppose that means that he’s lying about his calling, because we know Fox News doesn’t lie.
How did Barack Obama get elected without a God endorsement? I guess it just goes to show that the lack of a heavenly nod isn’t what it used to be in the days of Noah and Moses. Back then God had some real clout and when he told you to do something and you did it, you got rewarded with dry land and the Ten Commandants. Today, you get less than 20% in the polls, unless you are Mitt, who has surprisingly high percentages considering that funny underwear and all.
Does all this God endorsing of Republicans mean that God has changed his mind about the things he asked his son to relay about assisting the sick, and how the poor were going to inherit the earth? Since this crop of Republicans refuse to have anything to do with health care for all, and certainly don’t want the wealthy to have to pay another penny of taxes in order to save programs that benefit the poor and elderly, it appears that God has turned Republican on us! I suppose God can change his mind. He seems to have done enough of that when the harshness of the Old Testament turned into the love fest of the New Testament. Now, two thousand years after Jesus tossed the money lenders out of the Temple, God has seen the error of his ways and now bankers are some of His best buddies. These days, God won’t even issue His special cell phone number to a Democrat, so we really should be getting the hint that we are no longer the chosen ones. Brotherly love, charity, and mercy are out in 2011. These days the rewards go to the rich who get richer. Did even one greedy Wall Street executive serve time in prison? Of course not; what he got was a fat year-end bonus. That should prove my point.
I’ve seen the light and will promptly change my party affiliation. I’ll get one of those special transmitters that comes with the party of God so I’ll know what I’m supposed to write about here next time. Stay tuned! In the mean time, if you see any poor, downtrodden, unemployed, or any of the other “least of these” please just push them aside. They might have been part of the “in crowd” two thousand years ago, but we know who is favored these days.

PS: Listen to Slim Whitman’s yodeling version of “I am Calling You” on You-Tube. I promise that you will have a heavenly feeling after that calling.