Archives for July 2013

Good news for students…for now? Not so fast…

Awaiting President Obama’s signature is a bill that will reduce the costs of borrowing for millions of students.

Don’t get completely happy about it; the bipartisan legislation links student loan interest rates to the financial markets. This means that at current market rates, students obtain lower rates now but, once the economy improves, rates will tick upwards and in synch with market conditions.… [Read more]

Things that don’t mix

Many things don’t mix well, such as:

  • Drinking and driving
  • Tea and Pepsi
  • Negligent actions and guns
  • My mother and a garden hose (don’t get in range, you’ll get wet, very wet)
  • Republicans and common sense
  • Mental health issues and guns

It’s the last item that I’m going to write about today.

Several weeks ago I wrote in a post or comment about a young man with whom my wife has conversations.… [Read more]

Another stop on the state of the economy road trip

“How about a ‘grand bargain’ for middle-class jobs?” Indeed, that is the question. While Congress spends its time on the time-wasting activity of yet another ‘down with Obamacare‘ vote (does this latest vote make 40 attempts to snatch healthcare coverage from the country’s previously uninsured citizens?), President Obama spoke at a another stop on his ‘state of the economy’ road trip.… [Read more]

Manning not guilty of ‘aiding the enemy’, guilty of illegal leaking of documents

Three years after Army Pfc.Bradley Manning’s arrest for leaks of U.S. government and military secrets, the WikiLeaks trial that began in early June has come to an end: a military judge found Manning not guilty of “aiding the enemy.” Manning, however was found guilty of illegally leaking documents which carries 20 other legal specifications And a potential sentence of up to 154 years in prison when all charges are aggregated.… [Read more]

Banks *still* behaving badly

Yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) — the independent agency responsible for  assisting consumers in “obtaining reliable, efficient and sustainable energy services at a reasonable cost through appropriate regulatory and market means” — released a notice on the allegations against a J.P. Morgan Chase affiliate. JPMC has been accused by  federal energy regulators, after a investigation that began approximately one year ago, of using “eight manipulative bidding strategies” to garner what the regulators deem to be “excessive payments” from electricity markets.… [Read more]

The Emperor’s New [Farming] Clothes

For decades, the needs of agricultural rural states and more urban areas have been balanced by the once every five years Farm Bill. Farming states seek maintenance of the patchwork of subsidies and crop insurance programs in place for eighty years, and urban states answer the needs of constituents receiving nutritional assistance.  Never mind that rural states have SNAP/food stamp recipients in significant numbers, as well.… [Read more]

The Way it Is

“Standing in line marking time, waiting for the welfare dime ‘Cause they can’t buy a job The man in the silk suit hurries by As he catches the poor old ladies’ eyes just for fun he says, “Get a job”[Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: Should Weiner withdraw?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

Should Wiener withdraw?

Sincerely, Lorena Bobbitt, Manassas, Virginia… [Read more]

Rep. King, Empathy and the ‘Others’

“Deep in my heart, I do believe, that we shall overcome someday…” As I stood in the pouring rain Saturday in Atlanta for the Trayvon Martin rally, my mind wandered to another time, another place. I could have been standing in the rain for a rally during the 1960s. I could have been in any city in America.… [Read more]

“Washington has taken its eye off the ball…”

Speaking at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, President Obama delivered a speech yesterday on the state of the US economy. Providing context he discussed how far the nation has come, fiscally speaking, since the beginning of his first term. For those short on memory, lest we forget, the nation has fought its way back from a financial meltdown and a housing bubble; Wall Street had run amok, the financial services sector was in danger, homeowners saw their housing values decline and, with it, the net worth of many Americans experienced a sharp devaluation.… [Read more]

How Your Online Life Can Affect Your Offline Life

It seems like our online and offline lives are getting increasingly difficult to keep separate. Particularly with so many of us owning smartphones, it’s as if we’re never truly disconnected from the lives that we’ve built on the internet. Yet, most would still be willing to make a distinction between the virtual online world and real life, thus the debate continues to be (at least for the time being) how the virtual world affects our reality.… [Read more]

Municipal Debt and Congressional Hypocrisy

Since the City of Detroit made history by declaring the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history, there has been much talk about credit ratings, debt burdens and the legalities of bankruptcy, which allows those who declare it to take time to restructure their financial obligations and, often, to repay less than what was previously owed.… [Read more]

Weiner (or, at least, some part of him) is back in the news

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner is back in the news. When Weiner left his political office under a cloud of shame due to a ‘sexting’ scandal, he was clear that there were other shady pictures that could make their way to the public’s attention. That day has come.

“This behavior is behind me,” said Weiner in a statement that he released today.… [Read more]

Is Religion Sneaking into our Schools?

Californians in the Encinitas Union School District recently attempted to ban yoga from physical education (PE) in public schools because of its religious origin. It sounds silly, but keeping religion out of the classroom has become an increasingly valued part of upholding religious freedom in Americans schools.

Here in America

Often when religion makes an appearance in the public sphere and becomes embroiled in legal difficulties we expect to find the ACLU and people who are considered to be ‘angry, politically correct atheists‘ behind it.… [Read more]

Language barriers…my turn

Many of us face language barriers on a daily basis. For most of us in the U.S., English is our “birth” language so we don’t have a hard time with it. However, English is a difficult language to learn so someone coming to our country may face numerous language-based challenges. We need to be aware of that and compensate for it, and not hold it against that person because that’s wrong.… [Read more]

The Return of Witches of Elections Past

I was wondering when one of 2010’s greatest and most hilarious political flops, that of Delaware Tea Partier Christine O’Donnell, would emerge from her disproportionate drubbing for the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden by Sen. Chris Coons (D).

Christine O’Donnell is back, this time with a tale of political victimhood woe from the Internal Revenue Service.… [Read more]

History, geography, military secrets, beer, racism and religion

This is a post about history, geography, military secrets, beer, racism and religion. I know you’re thinking and wondering how I’m going to meld those topics together. Well, read on for the answers…

History. Many years ago, well about 57 or so, the US Coast Guard gave me an all expense paid trip to Ebeye Island.… [Read more]

Bulletproof

“Some will die over oil kill over land Charge you for taxes and Blame Uncle Sam Read you your rights and charge you for nothing Now who’s really gangsta And tell me who’s frontin’ Murder your sons, ravage your daughters Here overseas and across the waters Tanks and missiles, bombs and grenades Inject the land with guns and aids”[Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: How come Bank of America pays .01% interest when their profits are up 63%?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

How come Bank of America pays one hundredth of one percent interest when their profits are up 63 percent?

Regards, Henry F. “Mister” Potter, Bedford Falls, NY

Mrs. Vera Newman,San Francisco, California.Photo: James Bartlett

Dear Henny HalfPenny Pincher, sorry, I meant Baron Von Bankenstein,… [Read more]

Understanding the Need to Take Time off to Reflect

Waterlily

It’s summer and half the year is already over. Days tend to pass very quickly when one is busy with work or  taking care of kids. Sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming as there are so many things to do on a daily basis. You can get mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day.… [Read more]