Sunday, February 01, 2009

Nothing New Here ...

Its been so long since I last blogged. I just need to keep this thing alive.

I'm on Facebook and Google Groups and at least two e-mail accounts. Makes for a lot of computer time. Gotta get more comfortable chairs.

I'm sitting here on the first Sunday of February, holding my breath like everyone else. The sun is shining today, its warm for February -- 35 degrees. I'm warm, comfortable, reasonably well fed. Ran 10 miles this morning just to make myself tired and really, really hungry. Where am I going from here?

At my age, I am now starting to think that maybe I've lived through the best it will ever get, and its only going to go downhill from here. But then I think, jeez, its been bad as hell all around my little upper-middle-class bubble -- probably all my life.

I've worked hard all my life, if you can count white-collar 50-hour-workweeks as "hard" work on a global standard. I think I work pretty hard for my money today, too. But sometimes wonder whether I'm really adding value to the world for all of my "hard" work.

So I'm holding my breath. Where do we go from here? Where do I go from here? What can I do to help and protect those around me -- especially those who depend on me for their well being? I'm thinking about that a lot lately; and fervently hoping that we'll all find a way to work together to make a better world to work in, raise families and care for our elders in, to play in ... and so it goes.

I'm confident in the resilience of my children and their generation. I think they already live in that better world; they've made it so for me and mine. I look to them as role models now for leading us into their future.

Hope and fear, joy and shame, peace and anxiety -- all these are playing around with my head to day. On one of my long, uphill climbs running St. Paul's High Bridge yesterday, I came up with a simple motivating mantra. It worked yesterday as I challenged my physical abilities. Maybe it can work for all my remaining tomorrows, trying to live good and useful for the rest of my time on earth.

"You can, if you do."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gay Marriage Cop Out

Daughter Amy and I exchanged this rant duet after taking a little quiz posted on ABC News' web site to figure out which candidate you would choose based on quotes on issues.

The only one I "agreed" with McCain on had to do with Gay Marriage.

Don't have time to look up the quotes just now, but thought I'd post the rants. First mine, then Amy's response.

Deb ...

Yeah. I decided that I don't really care if you call a gay couple "married" or if you just make sure that they enjoy all the same legal rights as married couples.

I though both candidates were chicken on this one.

Churches "marry" people -- bless relationships that 'come from God' and stuff like that. If you don't believe two men can be "married" in the eyes of God then don't go to a church that blesses gay guy unions. And make the sign of the cross to protect you from the evil spirits whenever you see a gay guy couple on the street. Tell your kids all those gay guys will be going to hell (the smart ones will figure out that's bull**** eventually). Do whatever you have to do to float your own boat, but don't assume you can sink someone else's.

Because we separate church and state in the U.S. of A., you can be legally married without going to a church. Judges and ship captains or other 'licensed' individuals can witness such a union.
But in this context, 'marriage' is just a neat little package of domestic-union legal rights and obligations that includes having a blood test to disclose presence of sexually transmitted diseases, joining of and continued joint ownership of economic assets and debt obligations, assuming power of attorney for health care decisions, and defining parental rights and obligations (should children be acquired during the marriage by birth or adoption). The 'benefit' of being legally married in this sense is that you don't have pay a lawyer and accountant to set all this up for you. It's pre-built and fairly simple to do.

I see no reason not to extend this legal package to any 2 people, man/man, man/woman or woman/woman right here, right now, for any purpose. Some financial worrywarts think it will create too many situations where businesses have to pay domestic partner benefits for this whole bunch of extra "marriages". But that's a whole other bunch of bull crap to be pondered some other time.

The current 'marriage' package is specifically designed for 2 people forming a domestic unit for the purposes of living together, being 'dependent' on each other (taking care of each other), buying stuff together, paying taxes together, etc. so it makes sense to limit it to 2 under this definition. And if these domestic relationships for 2 don't work out, there's plenty of legal precedent around adoption and divorce to provide tools for dealing with things when these unions dissolve.

But, frankly, I think that anyone should be able to form a legal union of any number of people for domestic alliance purposes and have neat little packages to help define legal rights and obligations that would apply in every state in the union. We'd just have to figure out what that would look like when it's more than 2 people.

Government shouldn't care if sex is or isn't happening among consenting adults. If there are dependent children involved, government should protect kids if sex is happening TO them or among their adult caregivers in ways that would cause them harm. (I assume it is illegal to have sex in front of your kids if you're a hetero-sexual married couple or show them hard core porn?)

Government should care about whether or not people are complying with any and all legal commitments made as a result of becoming a domestic unit. And that people are being granted all of the rights they are due as members of such a unit.

Government also should get involved in making sure that the little legal packages for domestic unions that are set up to reward and promote the concept of people committing to and taking care of each other make good sense for all involved, and that they have well defined 'rules' for dissolving unions when necessary. (Just like it does for business partnerships and contracts).

So I think that saying gay marriage should be legal or not legal is silly. And leaving legal definitions of domestic union, whether you call it marriage or not, for each state to define would be way to confusing and messy in our mobile society.


It's a long rant! But, well said. That's pretty much how I feel too. I think it is ridiculous when people say things like, what next, dogs and alligators getting married?

Haha I don't know if people have said that exact thing, but you know what I's just a way to make gay people seem like even bigger if our government should view the union between two men the same as the union between a person and an animal or two animals. Uhg. I just hate stupid people who feel it necessary to meddle in other people's business for the simple reason is just not "right."

There are a lot of things that are just not "right" And as you said, the government should have a way of controlling those things, treating them as crimes or breaches of contract if you will. But, two homosexual people getting married affects NO ONE! No one. No one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Long Time No Blog

I suppose I should update this thing once in awhile. But it's so dang hard to sit in front of the computer on a beautiful summer day, so I waited until now -- a beautiful fall day.

It's been such a full spring and summer. I'll try to catch up, but not today. Instead I'll just pop in a few links to pictures from middle daughter's wedding -- just last weekend.


My Camera (which I did not have control of for most of the evening)

Sarah's Camera:

Shower Pics from July:

So far, its just the reception photos from my camera. Not much coverage of the ceremony yet, which was beautiful despite the fact that the best man FORGOT THE RINGS!!!!

Some quick substitutes were found and it all turned out just fine. Real rings were installed at the reception during the best man's sheepish speech.

I had so much fun dancing -- 3-plus hours worth -- that the evening flew by. I want to do it all over again!

As for my bloggin career, I have a whole pant-load of stuff to throw at republicans so stay tuned.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Meme Tag

Book: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time"

And then I looked at the front of the envelope and I saw there was a postmark and there was a date on the postmark and it was quite difficult to read, but it said "London, 16.10.97 NW2.

Which meant that the letter was poasted on the 16th October 1997, which was 18 months after Mother had died.

And then the door of my bedroom opened and Father said, 'What are you doing?'

I tag Laurie, Sarah, Amy, Tom and Justin (but I don't know if they blog, so they can send me theirs by e-mail and I'll publish, if they'd like.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I love living in Minnesota

Short subject today. We were talking at our running club workout this morning about how we all know so many people who are runners.

We weren't talking about all of our running club friends. We were talking about all the people you meet at work, parties, and other life events who run. As we chatted, we were all surprised that we had all thought the same thing; a lot of people do this -- more than you'd think.

But I'm guessing its a Minnesota thing for there to be so many "surprise" runners in our collective encounters.

I'm also glad to live in Minnesota because there are so many beautiful places to run. This was my first Minnehaha Creek run. It was so pretty and peaceful. So, thanks, all you green-space warriors of days gone by. We're very lucky to have what we have.

Over and out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm tired of this

I'm tired today. I just completed a 32+ mile training week. First time above 30 miles.

But this isn't what I'm tired of.

I'm tired of the phrase, "Government must live within its means."

And I'm tired of Republican blowhards who talk about taxpayers like we are vulnerable adults being abused by greedy Democrats who want to 'rummage around in our pockets' and steal all our loose change.

Yes, Minnesota families are strapped by high oil prices and all the other high prices that entails. But the Repugnicans have been blathering this phrase for years.

And, yes, we ALL have to do a better job of living within our means; what do we really need and what can we really afford to have?

But in Minnesota, as in most democracies, taxpayers are the government, damn it. We decide what we want and authorize elected officials to pay for it.

The intelligent argument is not that the big 'G' is shakin' down poor Mister Taxpayer. It's that all of us consenting adult taxpayers don't agree on what we want government to spend money.

Elected officials who are now trying to make decisions about what to spend and how to find the money to do so were, um, elected -- by taxpayers. And I, for one, think its more honest to talk about how to craft tax policy to pay for what we need and want, than to disingenuously promise not to raise taxes today and then put spending on a credit card for tomorrow.

It's pretty easy to see, if you put half a brain cell on the task, that these slick-talking conmen are trying to get us to believe we can get something for nothing.

"Wah, wah, the democrats want to waste your money on afterschool programs for teens. You shouldn't have to pay for that; school budgets are bloated enough as it is, this is a waste of taxpayer money ... blah, blah, blah."

But hey, that 13-year-old who broke into your garage last week? He used to play basketball after school and keep his nose clean. Now he's joined a gang. Too bad you can't afford to risk losing your home owner's insurance to claim that stolen bike. Somebody ought to regulate those companies, why isn't government spending money on that.

Oh wait, those guys who sounded so great when they said they wouldn't rummage in your pocket to get your vote, they rummaged around a few insurance companies too and found some pretty good campaign contributions to go with that free market mantra they're always chanting. Too bad for you and all of us.

Here's a thought. We could let all those districts who elect 'no tax' advocates have their way. They don't pay any taxes, they don't get any services. It will be a bit inconvenient for those of us who have to drive their stretches of highway, or find a clean public restroom in their town (or a clean public restaurant, for that matter).

Maybe it could be an a la carte approach.

Here you go, don't pay for roads or transit. We won't tax you for roads and bridges and we won't fix 'em either. Buses and trains won't come your way. And maybe we'll have to exclude you from using our airports, too.

Or don't pay for public schools -- use the money you save to send your kids to Catholic school (psst, you'll probably pay more in the long run). Hope your town doesn't have kids with special needs. Those kids won't get to go to school in your district. Their parents will have to move away. Other parents will move away, too. So your property values will probably go down. But at least you didn't have to waste your hard-earned money on those bloated, failing public schools.

Ugh; such hyperbole. My message? Please try to pay attention. What do you want from government? Let your legislators and candidates for legislator know.

Do vote for people who say they share your priorities for government spending, and hold them accountable to find pay-as-you-go ways to pay for it.

Don't vote for people who promise you can have your cake and eat it too. They are likely full of shit and want your vote for some dark-side reason of their own; corporate welfare for their cronies or to continue W's war for oil so their industry peeps can sustain their profits.

I'm glad to be sitting in the sun, spouting my bilge into the pipes of the internets, and not still running, at least for today.

Over and out.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

People I wish would just shut up

Jason Lewis.

Here's one of the reasons why I wish he would just shut up.

People who learned economc theory 40 years ago in college, from 10-year-old-texts, and haven't learned anything since, should have to publish a warning: Reading this column may be hazardous to your understanding of reality.

I'm not an economics expert and don't claim to be. But neither is Lewis.

His Johnny One Note obsession against taxes and government spending leads him astray, thinking he has useful answers when he applies the big words he learned in school to the problems of the day. Jason, your pseudorationale that blames our teetering consumer economy on the looming threat of expiring tax cuts is just as silly as the stimulus plans you are mocking.

Bear in mind, I don't think we need to send everybody temporary money to spend to "save" us from recession, either. But I also don't think simplistic theories that lowering taxes to stimulate people to invest in making more stuff, or working harder (for less) to produce more stuff will do it either.

There are real, new circumstances at work in the world that are threatening more than just our economic survival. Those real, new things have unfortunately coincided with yet another example why government regulation is good for babies and other living things (i.e., subprime mortgages and lending/investment bubbles) to create a pretty scary one, two punch.

So here's what I think, Jason. Maybe we need to produce less (or at least produce what we make more sustainably) and spend more for what we buy. We should pay more because labor is paid more, not because resources cost less (won't happen anymore) or because CEOs manipulate productivity for inordinate shareholder value. Taxes don't disincent labor in America; low wages and the rapidly shrinking inventory of jobs that can pay a decent middle-class living do.

And then there's this boogeyman -- Government Spending. Oooooo, that's scary kids. Where does Jason think government spending goes? Into a black hole to another universe where it is never seen again? Or does it pay wages to laborers who work hard for their money and spend it on necessities and nice-to-haves. Or pay to buy stuff from businesses that pay people to make stuff -- or at least to pick it out from factories in China and bring it here to the U.S. of A?

Even when non-deserving people -- those who can't find jobs that pay them to work harder for less -- get welfare checks and food stamps; Hey, they're buying stuff from businesses that make stuff or fly it in from ... you know where I'm going.l

And somehow, in a global economy, where shrinking oil supplies, climate change, increasing competition with third-world countries for the natural resources that we used to steal, cheat, buy at incredibly low prices for ourselves, nations destablized by economic disparity -- etc., etc., -- I just don't think that the world's stock markets are flipping out over the possibility that George Bush II's tax cuts will expire.

If these savvy economics and investment professionals aren't secretly hoping that the US government will start figuring out how to pay for what it consumes with a realistic approach for matching revenue to spending, its likely because they belong to the "get something for nothing" crowd to which Jason belongs. As long as they've got theirs -- whether its a welfare check or the cream skimmed off the economic backs of the poor schmucks who work hard for their money -- that's all that matters. "Don't tax me for the common good, or to pay for my stupid tax-cuttin' president's stupid decisions to take us to war (It's not like it's even helpeding get us access to more oil). I know best how to spend my money, like on three TVs from China via Walmart and my big, gas-guzzling SUV to keep my family safe in my next fender bender by killing yours."

Oops. I just fell off my chair in the throes of self-righteous blather.

Anyway. I just wish Jason Lews would shut the F... up.

Over and out.