Saturday, June 04, 2005

Further Proof That If You Look Hard Enough, You Can Scare Yourself.

Remember my earlier post about the United States of Jebus, or Jesusistan? Here's a story that will make you wet yourself. A proposed bill would remove the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over "any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer or agent of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official or personal capacity), concerning that entity's, officer's, or agent's acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government."

So if a President says, "It's God's will we go to war," does that mean we go?

Friday, June 03, 2005

I got my paycheck today, and it's a nice one. Of course is mostly gone. I had to pay three credit card bills (one was a couple of slurges on AMEX) and am down to $300. And I still have to pay me by putting money in savings.

Why does payday have to be so depressing?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Aye Carumba! as Bart Simpson has often said.

I get all fired up to write a little piece on the death of the Republican Party and the birth of the Christian Party, and I run across something that makes me really angry. What to do, what to do?

Why, write about them BOTH!

June's Texas Monthly ran a story about Hubert Vo's victory in the Texas legislature election from a predominantly Republican district. Here's an interesting quote (emphasis mine):

“AS A POLITICAL FORCE, the Asian community is still in its infancy,” says M. J. Kahn, a Pakistani American real estate developer who represents Alief [Vo's Houston district, and a suburb of Houston] on the Houston City Council. “We haven’t decided yet whether we are Republicans or Democrats.” Kahn decided to run as a Republican in 2003, after Arab Americans had voted in record numbers for George W. Bush in the previous presidential election. But the political allegiances of Houston’s immigrant community are fluid, and last November a plurality of the city’s Muslims—many of them frustrated with what they perceived as racial profiling by the Justice Department after September 11—voted for John Kerry. Kahn sees the fickleness of Houston’s Muslim vote as an indication that neither party has succeeded in winning the community’s allegiance. “In some ways, we feel for the Democrats, because it is the party of minority rights and of education, which is a very, very big issue for us,” he says. “But in other ways, we feel close to the Republican party, because many of us are small-business owners, and we are conservative when it comes to our families and our religion. The challenge for Republicans and Democrats is to convince us that their party is our party. Until then, this community is up for grabs.”

I think that's an interesting quote. Houston's Muslims support the conservative values of the Republican party, but prefer the minority oriented focus of the Democratic party. Why? Could it be the take over of the Republican party by the Christian Right?

Then I ran across a list of the ten most harmful books of the last two centuries. Since it's on a conservative (read "Christian") site, I knew it would have a few corkers on it. Sure, Marx, Hitler, and Mao made the list. So did a few others I don't agree with. But what hit me was a couple of runners-up: The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin and Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead.

I can understand Darwin (given the site), but Mead? Hell! Her theories were invalidated a few years ago when it was revealed she made up some of her data.

Some bloggers out there have started calling the United States "Jesusistan." Even though I prefer the United States of Jebus (see previous posts), he's not too far wrong. We're watching the country turn into a religous state on the same level as Iran. And, frankly, I'm scared.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

It's been a long time since I took economics in college. Having said that, I've been thinking about credit card debt and its impact on the economy.

As Americans' personal savings rate continues to plummet, consumer debt is on the rise. Hardly surprising when you consider the financial consequences to banks. If you have a savings account, and you're very lucky, you might get 3% interest. Who pays it? The banks! The reason they can pay you 3%, if you're lucky, is they tey can loan out that money at higher interest rates. If your bank issues credit cards, they could charge 19%. What do they do with the difference? Why they pay off their investors, of course.

If everyone stopped spending on their credit cards and started saving, you can bet banks, and their lobbyists, would be getting laws passed requiring us to carry balances on our cards.

My grandmother is almost 90 and has Alzheimer's. In the last few years, she has applied for every credit card offer that came her way. Guess what? She was accepted! When these companies checked her credit, they saw she didn't have a mortgage. (She paid off her home many years ago.) She didn't have a car payment (because the family always bought her cars). All they looked at was her $700 per month Social Security income and said, in their best Austin Powers voice, "Yeah, Baby!"

My mother has taken over my grandmother's finances, and is preparing for the day when we have to put her in a nursing home. She needs to go now, but is adamant that she will stay home. She is having a hard time using $700 to pay for grandmother's medication ($500 a month) and her ten credit cards. The credit card companies would prefer that she charge the medicine and pay them, but that isn't in the cards. So, she's stopped paying the cards. An attorney told her that they were unsecured loans, and all they can do is call you day and night until they write the debt off.

If we assume that many seniors are doing the same thing, taking every card they are offered, and then failing to pay off their debt, it's no wonder we have a new bankruptcy law.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

In response to a comment to a previous post, I must share an email conversation I had with my nephew recently. He had sent a photo of his girlfriend. She's a marine, and I noted that she was smiling all pretty in the picture, so I told him she didn't have the face of a trained killer, like he did.Our army at war.  Sean's "War Face." He complained that he didn't know I had that picture. I reminded him that he let me copy the CD of photos he took when he was in Japan. I told him one of the most important rules in life: Always destroy embarassing pictures. And never let yourself be photographed doing something potentially embarassing.

When he asked me what I thought of his girlfriend, I complained that military uniforms make everyone look the same. I said I'd need bikini photos. He told me that he had some bikini photos, but they were on her camera.

"How can you sneak pictures of her butt with her camera? She sees 'em, she'll delete them!" I said. I told about another of life's major rules: Always use your camera for booty shots. And turn off red eye reduction. It doesn't do any good to take a picture from your hip if the little light flashes.

Besides recycling something I've written elsewhere, what's the point of this? My new digital camera has a range finding light that prevents me from shooting from the hip. So there was not photo of the hottie at the Crawfish Festival. Sorry. I'm chicken.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Since I started this blog last year, I have kept a notepad by my bed to catch any stray thoughts in the middle of the night. I read somewhere that a lot of writers do it to catch those great ideas in the middle of the night.

Here's one of mine. It is completely unedited.

Don't like to play chess with a dog
*No sense of strategy
*chase things
*keep burying the pawns

I'm almost embarrassed that I saved it.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I owe Pete Townsend an apology. I have made a lot of jokes at his expense the last couple of years. And then I went to the Crawfish Festival yesterday.

I got in line behind a gorgeous brunette who was a head shorter than me. She was wearing a black top, white shorts, and who cares what else. Let me tell you that her legs were fabulous! Her quads curved seductivly to her knees, while her calf muscle delicatly sloped to her ankles.

As she opened her wallet to pay for her ticket, I spotted her driver's license. (It was below her delightfully shaped breasts. I couldn't help but notice.) Dammit! She was a minor! As Jimmy Carter said, I lusted in my heart, and that's why I must apologze to Pete Townsend.

Of course, I didn't give her my credit card and call it research. He's still a moron for doing that! Besides, I'm trying to pay my credit cards off.