Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday and Lunch With Myra

This morning I will have breakfast at Sirloin Stockade with Bob. Later I will go to Bartlesville and meet Myra for lunch. That will be something different to do. It's been awhile since I've seen Myra.

We will probably walk around the mall and then just catch up on visiting over lunch.

I slept well last night. I awoke two or three times but got right back to sleep each time.

Missy is here beside me. She is ready to go outside but it is still dark out and we don't go out until it's light out and we can see if there is a strange cat out there.

I have Windows 10 on this laptop and I like it fine except for one thing.  When I open my Firefox browser, every time a popup pops up behind it with some sort of video.  Sometimes it's even some kind of tech wanting to help me. I always just close those windows but they are annoying. I want to ask my son what I can do to eliminate those.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday and House Cleaning

Today I will clean the apartment. I usually clean on Thursday but since I was gone to Joplin yesterday after I got my vacuum sweeper back, I will clean today. I will also make stew for lunch.

I slept pretty well last night. When I awoke in the night, it was thundering and lightning. Later, it began to rain. I always sleep well when it rains. I finally got up about 5:00.

I will need to pick up a few things at the market too. I need celery for my stew and a few other things.

It's going to be quite a bit cooler this week. We are to have a strong El Nino this winter and it's supposed to be cooler this winter and wetter.  I hope we don't get a lot of snow.

Missy is patiently waiting for daylight so she can try to go outside again.  I doubt she will want to stay out. It is too cool out there.

Not a lot going on yet this morning.  So more later....

Missy and I went out for awhile and enjoyed the cool morning. She wandered around but finally decided to come back in. She likes me to leave the door open so she can see out.

I got the apartment cleaned and all but the last room...the den. Bob called and the exercise group was going to meet for cinnamon rolls at Utopia. So I turned off the sweeper and went downtown to join them.

When I got home I vacuumed the last room...the den. I put the upholstery tool on and cleaned the daybed where Missy had lain and shed cat hair. Just as I finished the last of the den floor, the power drive belt slipped off again. I went back to Liebert Brothers and bought a new sweeper and some sweeper bags.  Now I don't know what to do about the other vacuum sweeper.  I really don't have room to store it. It still works. It just doesn't have the power drive any longer.

Lunch was ready at 11:30 and Bob came. We ate all we wanted and we have enough left for another meal.  I will be eating lunch with Myra tomorrow so I may send some of this stew home with Bob and give some to Marilyn.

More later....

I  went walking in the afternoon. It was so good to be able to do that.  I also sat in the sunshine on the carport with Missy and read my magazines. I am so glad to be finished with working.

Bob came over at 6:00 and stayed until 7:00. When he left, I took my bath and sat with Missy in the recliner.  At 9:00, I went to bed.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

No Work Anymore

This will be a different day. For the first time in ages, I won't be going to work this afternoon.  Instead, after I have breakfast with the girls, I will pick up my sweeper at Liebert Brothers and clean tomorrow. Bob and I will go to Joplin today to celebrate that I don't have to go to work. I will miss the money but  having a life again will be better. I will just have to be careful. We will eat at Olive Garden for lunch.  Then we will walk the mall and look around.

Tomorrow, it is supposed to cool off here.  I will clean house then.

Now Missy is ready to go outside. I will grab a sweater and take her out.

More later....

Well, that was short lived.  She stayed out perhaps ten minutes before wanting back in.  It is chilly out there. Maybe that's the thing she does not like.

Tomorrow I will fix stew for lunch. Stew is always a good lunch for cool weather. Tomorrow afternoon I will need to bake cookies again too.  Marilyn gave all of us some snicker doodles at lunch yesterday so I still have those. I will probably make some more sugar cookies. They are always good with fruit.

Saturday I will meet Myra for lunch in Bartlesville. We set that up before I decided to retire from my SER job. I always enjoy visiting with Myra.

More later...

Bob and I drove over to Olive Garden and ate soup and salad and then went to TJ Maxx and he did some shopping. I bought some Keurig coffees at a good price.  Then we came back home after walking in the mall.  I won't know how to act when I don't have to go to work tomorrow.

I saw on the news this evening that we Social Security recipients will not get COLA this year because there has not been enough of a raise in the cost of living this year. I wish they would tell that to the cable company, the electric company and the grocery stores.   Especially tell that to my landlady who raised the rent $25 this year and also cancelled the business cable that cost us an additional $38.00 a month.

Here are the top 10 examples of corporate welfare and welfare for the rich. There are actually thousands of tax breaks and subsidies for the rich and corporations provided by federal, state and local governments, but these 10 will give you all a taste.

1. State and local subsidies to corporations: An excellent a New York Times study by Louise Story calculated that state and local government provide at least $80 billion in subsidies to corporations. Over 48 big corporations received over $100 million each. GM was the biggest, at a total of $1.7 billion extracted from 16 different states, but Shell, Ford and Chrysler all received over $1 billion each. Amazon, Microsoft, Prudential, Boeing and casino companies in Colorado and New Jersey received well over $200 million each.

2. Direct federal subsidies to corporations: The Cato Institute estimates  that federal subsidies to corporations cost taxpayers almost $100 billion every year.

3. Federal tax breaks for corporations: The tax code gives corporations special tax breaks that have reduced what is supposed to be a 35-percent tax rate to an actual tax rate of 13 percent, saving these corporations an additional $200 billion annually, according to the US Accountability Department.

4. Federal tax breaks for wealthy hedge fund managers: Special tax breaks for hedge fund managers allow them to pay only a 15-percent rate while the people they earned the money for usually pay a 35-percent rate. This is the break where the multimillionaire manager pays less of a percentage in taxes than her secretary. The National Priorities Project estimates this costs taxpayers $83 billion annually, and 68 percent of those who receive this special tax break earn more than $462,500 per year (the top 1 percent of earners).

5. Subsidies to the fast food industry: research by the University of Illinois and the university at Berkley documents that taxpayers pay about $243 billion each year in indirect subsidies to the fast food industry because they pay wages so low that taxpayers must put up $243 billion to pay for public benefits for their workers.

6. Mortgage deduction: The home mortgage deduction, which costs taxpayers $70 billion per year, is a huge subsidy to the real estate, banking and construction industries. The Center of Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that 77 percent of the benefit goes to homeowners with incomes over $100,000 per year.

7. The billions above do not even count the government bailout of Wall Street, while all parties have done their utmost to tell the public that they did not need it, that they paid it back, or that it was a great investment. The Atlantic Monthly estimates that $7.6 trillion was made available by the Federal Reserve to banks, financial firms and investors. The Cato Institute estimates (using government figures) the final costs at $32 to $68 billion, not including the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which alone cost more than $180 billion.

8. Each major piece of legislation contains new welfare for the rich and corporations. The Boston Globe anayzed the emergency tax legislation passed by Congress in early 2013 and found it contained 43 business and energy tax breaks, together worth $67 billion.

9. Huge corporations that engage in criminal or other wrongful activities protect their leaders from being prosecuted by paying huge fees or fines to the government. You and I would be prosecuted. These corporations protect their bosses by paying off the government. For example, Reuters reported that JPMorgan Chase, which made a preliminary $13-billion mortgage settlement with the U.S. government, is allowed to write off a majority of the deal as tax deductible, saving the corporation $4 billion.

10. There are thousands of smaller special breaks for corporations and businesses out there. There is a special subsidy for corporate jets , which cost taxpayers $3 billion a year. The tax deduction for second homes costs $8 billion a year. Fifty billionaires received tax payer funded farm subsidies in the past 20 years.
If you want to look at the welfare for the rich and corporations, start with the federal Internal Revenue Code.

That is the King James Bible of welfare for the rich and corporations. Special breaks in the tax code are the reason that there are thousands of lobbyists in the halls of Congress, hundreds of lobbyists around each state legislature and tens of thousands of tax lawyers all over the country.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Last Day at Work and the Democratic Debate

This will be my last day at work. I hope I don't regret doing this because of the lack of money. I will have to be careful...that's for sure. But I won't miss the terribly hard work. Yesterday I worked until 3:30 putting away four basketsful... stacked two layer high... of DVDs and then spent the rest of the afternoon looking up books that are not in the system. At the last thirty minutes, I had another stack of DVDs to put away. I got them done before I left at 5:00.

It's the noise and the very nature of the work I object to. The noise is really annoying when you are trying to concentrate on something. When I was trying to do their inventory, I just had to go and ask people to lower their voices. I recall when librarys were quiet.  And I really think it's a disservice to allow children to check out 5 DVDs each once a week. To me, that says that instead of reading or going outside to play, children are sitting in front of the TV watching one DVD movie after another.  No wonder so many of them are obese.  Children need to be outside running off their energy.

Then there's also standing on my feet for four hours. When I was younger, that was no problem, but nowadays, it is a terrible strain and when I get tired, my voice also almost disappears. When I get home and finally get to sit down with a cup of Chia, I recuperate pretty well. But it takes awhile. I just can't see ruining my health at my age...or at any age for that reason.

Usually when I finish the DVDs, I then put away the new fiction and that also requires me to get down on my knees to put the books in the lower part of the bookcase for new fiction.  The teen room new fiction is also on low bookcases and I have to sit on the floor to put those books away. I clean and repair DVDs too and that is the one time I do get to sit down.  Lately though, I have been looking for books that are not in the system or are in the system and shouldn't be. After all that inventory, those book's bar codes evidently did not make it into the system. Some were taken out of the system and sold at the book sales but were not removed from the system. It's a mess...that's for sure.

Anyhow, today is the day Marilyn is taking Bob and me out to eat at Eggbert's for lunch. That's something she wants to do for us and we must let her do it even though we think it will strain her budget.  Tomorrow Bob and I will go to Joplin or Owasso and eat lunch at Olive Garden to celebrate my being free again.

Now, about the debate...

This Democratic debate was a real debate....nothing like the Republican yelling and insulting match.

I thought both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton did a very good job. The others were out of their element. I particularly enjoyed it when Bernie Sanders said the American public was sick of hearing about Hillary's e-mails and wanted to hear about the real issues.  She thanked him for those remarks and when the moderator asked her about them first, she reminded him that the proposed speaker of the house had admitted that the latest of the seven investigations into them was a product of the Republican Party in their effort to lower her ratings.

I agree with most of Bernie Sanders arguments about the state of our nation..especially the state of the middle class, but am leery of his wanting to make the US a democratic socialist country. Democratic Socialism is fine in smaller countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway but I'm afraid it would not work in a large country like the US and trying to change at this point in our history might wreck our economy. Besides, he could never get it past Congress.  The American people need to get those congressmen out of congress. We need to change nearly the entire congressional system. These have mostly been paid off by lobbyists and obviously are in the pocket of the NRA.  They have stymied nearly everything the president has tried to accomplish during his second term. Mostly because of the small midterm turnout of voters.

From Wikipedia:

Democratic socialism is a political ideology advocating a democratic political system alongside a socialist economic system, involving a combination of political democracy (usually multi party democracy) with social ownership  of the means of production. Although sometimes used anonymously with "socialism", the adjective "democratic" is sometimes added to distinguish itself from non-democratic forms of socialism, such as the Marxist/Leninist brand of socialism. 

Democratic socialism is usually distinguished from both the Soviet model of centralized socialism and social democracy. This distinction arose from the authoritarian form of government and centralized economic system that emerged in the Soviet Union during the 20th century. A distinction is also made between democratic socialism and social democracy in that the former is committed to systemic transformation of the economy while the latter is not.

Democratic socialism rejects the social democratic view of reform through state intervention within capitalism, seeing capitalism as inherently incompatible with the democratic values of freedom, equality and solidarity. Democratic socialists believe that the issues inherent to capitalism can only be solved by transitioning from capitalism to socialism, by superseding private property with some form of social ownership, with any attempt to address the economic contradictions of capitalism through reforms only likely to generate more problems elsewhere in the capitalist economy.

However, "democratic socialism" is sometimes used as a synonym for social democracy, where "social democracy" usually refers to support for political democracy, regulation of the capitalist economy, and a  welfare state. bourgeoisie

Democratic socialism is not specifically revolutionary or reformist, as many types of democratic socialism can fall into either category, with some forms overlapping with social democracy. Some forms of democratic socialism accept social democratic reformism  to gradually convert the capitalist economy to a socialist one using the pre-existing political democracy, while other forms are revolutionary in their political orientation and advocate for the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie  and the capitalist economy.

Sanders introduced himself as an advocate for middle-class workers who wants to redirect funding from the criminal justice system and into education and jobs for minorities.

"African-American youth unemployment is 51 percent," Sanders said. "Hispanic youth unemployment is 36 percent."

That claim rates Half True

At the debate, Sanders didn’t define the age range in question, but the most readily available "youth" data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics covers ages 16 to 19. For individuals age 16 to 19 in September 2015, the official unemployment rate for whites was 13.9 percent, for Hispanics it was 18.6 percent, and for African-Americans it was 31.5 percent. For individuals in that age range of all races and ethnicities, the unemployment rate was 16.3 percent.

While the rates for both minority groups are lower than the rate for whites, they are still well below the figures Sanders offered at the debate.

So what’s going on? Sanders is referring to a left-of-center think tank study that looked at high school graduates who were not enrolled in further schooling. They also counted not just unemployed workers, but those were working part-time due to the weak economy.

Sanders didn’t make clear that he was referring to a non-standard unemployment rate.

Clinton announced last week that she no longer supports the international trade deal, despite supporting it while serving as secretary of state -- once calling it the "gold standard." CNN anchor and debate moderator Anderson Cooper picked up on those words and asked Clinton about her reversal.

"I did say, when I was secretary of state, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard," Clinton said. "It was just finally negotiated last week, and in looking at it, it didn't meet my standards. My standards for more new, good jobs for Americans, for raising wages for Americans. And I want to make sure that I can look into the eyes of any middle-class American and say, ‘this will help raise your wages.’ And I concluded I could not."

Her claim rates Half True.

Clinton’s phrasing -- that she said she "hoped it would be the gold standard" -- implies that she was undecided on the TPP. But that doesn’t exactly match up to her prior comments. We found that her previous remarks actually gave the impression that she had confidence in the deal as it stood.

In Australia in 2012 Clinton delivered remarks on the general topic of the U.S.-Australia relationship. Here’s everything she said about the TPP in that address, with the "gold standard" comment in bold.

"So it's fair to say that our economies are entwined, and we need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Australia is a critical partner. This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world's total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment."

So it seems Clinton is saying the TPP does, definitively set the gold standard -- as opposed to Clinton hoping it will. This is in contrast to more recent comments where Clinton said she had concerns about the deal and that she ultimately opposes it.

Clinton tried to hit Sanders from the left during a lengthy discussion about gun policy after the country’s latest mass shooting in Oregon.

"Sen. Sanders, you voted against the Brady bill that mandated background checks and a waiting period," Clinton said. "You also supported allowing riders to bring guns in checked bags on Amtrak trains. For a decade, you said that holding gun manufacturers legally responsible for mass shootings is a bad idea. Now, you say you're reconsidering that. Which is it: Shield the gun companies from lawsuits or not?"

Her claim that Sanders voted against the Brady bill rates True

Before it became law in 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which mandated a five-day waiting period for background checks for gun purchases, underwent many transformations. Sanders, then Vermont’s sole representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, voted against the bill in its entirety five times.

Sanders and Clinton both brought up ending mass incarceration. Sanders said, "Today in America, we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth. It seems to me that instead of building more jails and providing more incarceration, maybe, just maybe, we should be putting money into education and jobs for our kids."

Sanders' claim about the United States' record number of inmates rates Mostly True

It’s likely he means the population in state and federal prisons, along with those in local jails. The latest federal census found more than 2.2 million people behind bars in the United States. A research center in England reports that China ranks second with about 1.65 million prisoners. But the Chinese figure fails to include many thousands of people in detention centers, and we don’t know how many that would be.
Regardless, based on population size, America has an incarceration rate higher than any other nation.

So Hillary and Sanders both made good sense and it's obvious she is very smart.  She also has valuable experience in both congress and as Secretary of State.  I will still plan to vote for her unless something completely unforeseen happens.

The problem with the vast amount of the American public, is they don't study the issues. They have no idea what they are voting for.  They vote as a popularity contest and for the one that yells the loudest. That's really scary!  That's how we got George W. Bush....actually Cheney...for president.

People need to study the issues and make intelligent voting decisions. I say all this as lifelong registered Republican. But I and many others who do study the issues try to vote for the best person for the job.  That's intelligent voting.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday and Hair Day

I will be going to Independence later this morning to get my hair cut and done. I hope I will be able to do that after I am no longer working. I will just have to play it by ear. If they don't raise the rent again, I may be fine. It will be close but I will have to be careful.

Bob came over for awhile last night and helped me eat some more of the ice cream I bought for Joyce. Joyce can't eat anything with wheat in it so she did not have my Apple Brown Betty. I bought some vanilla ice cream over at Braums and put chocolate syrup on it for her. The others got a dip of ice cream on their dessert.  We had a nice bowl of the leftover ice cream last night. He left early because he was exhausted from his ordeal.  I was very tired too so that was fine.I took my bath and Missy and I watched some TV and then went to bed shortly before 9:00.

I made a scalloped potatoes and ham casserole for lunch yesterday and we will be eating at Big Cheese in Independence at noon today. I took the rest of the casserole over to Marilyn for her lunch. I also gave her the little dab of Apple Brown Betty too. Tomorrow she is taking Bob and me to lunch at Eggberts for buying and having Bobby install the garbage disposal.  Thursday we will have stew. I bought the meat on Sunday.  I will divide it into two packages since there is quite a bit of it.

I want to call Liebert Brothers to see if my vacuum sweeper is repaired. Thursday is my cleaning day and I hope I don't have to borrow the church's vacuum sweeper again.  I am still thinking about buying that $99 Hoover that I saw at Liebert Brothers.  Evidently my old sweeper is not doing much good since I got so much cat hair in both the church's sweeper and Bob's. I'm not surprised since I bought it in the 1980s.

I e-mailed Bob's eldest son, David, day before yesterday to tell him about his dad being in ICU. I got an answer from him this morning. He lives in Rogers, Arkansas.  He hasn't had much to do with his family for years. I don't understand that since family means so much to me. To each his own, I guess. My philosophy is all you really have. Friends come and go but family is always family and there for one another.  That's why I try to keep track of my brother-in-law. He was married to my sister for 60 years and took care of her after she developed Alzheimers.

More later...

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Better Monday

Today will be a better day. Bob texted me last night at 7:00 that he had finally converted. I thought he might have to be defibrillated to get his heart beating normally. Luckily, he did not.

This morning about 7:30 his older daughter, Diana, will call to get the full story on his experience.  She lives in Wisconsin.

Today I will check to see what the status of my sweeper is. They were supposed to have put the power drive belt back on for me and they've had it over a week. I will need it by Thursday...that's apartment cleaning day. I may use some of this week's pay and buy myself a new vacuum. The carpet looks so much better after having used Bob's vacuum this past week and I got a ton of cat hair. That's a pretty good indication that  my old 1980's sweeper is not doing a very good job.

Last night's Living the Questions group was a success. Gretchen and Richard were here and also Joyce, Bobby and Karan, and Gary.  We had a good discussion after viewing the video and broke up about 8:30 or so. My dessert turned out well too. Apple Brown Betty just can't be beat. I got Gary back home about 9:00, came back home and took my bath and Missy and I sat in the recliner and watched some TV for a short time...just so I could wind down.  Then we went to bed and I slept really well.

It's light out now and time to take Missy outside for awhile.

More later....

I took Missy out for about 15 minutes and then when Merrill left, she didn't like that and wanted to come back in.

I e-mailed my nephew about his dad's weekend experience. The boys (Bob has two) are very neglectful of their father.  They never see him or stay in touch with them. I don't know if I will hear from him or not but at least he now knows.

Then I went to the hospital just in time to see Bob getting ready to leave. He went home to shower and shave and change his clothing.  He will probably come over later...for sure for lunch. I have some ham pieces thawing now and if they thaw out, I will fix that ham and potato casserole today.  We will have a veggie with it and I'll have Bob fix a salad.  I have some of my Apple Brown Betty left for dessert. If the ham isn't thawed, I'll eat out at noon. I think I can thaw it in the microwave though if I'm careful.

I am sure looking forward to last day at work at the library.

More later...

I double stacked four baskets with DVDs and it took until 3:00 to get them all put away.  Then I hunted books for all the rest of the afternoon.

Aime went ahead and e-mailed Katie this afternoon that I would be leaving on Wednesday.  She asked me about it and I just told  her the work had become too hard for me and I needed to just quit.  She understood but said "but you have done such a good job!" It would have been nice to have heard that occasionally while I worked for her the past 11 months. That isn't her style though.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

What a Sunday!

This has been a very different Sunday.  Bob A was going to fix coffeecake for the Church School Class and we were going to go to Church School and the worship service.  Then afterward, we were going to have pizza with the congregation and he and I and Karan and Bobby were providing the soda. I had bought both Pepsis and Coke in 8 oz cans.   We were having a baby shower for a 16 year old from the trailer park and then afterwards I was going to do my newsletters for the congregation this afternoon before fixing my Apple Brown Betty for tonight's Living the Questions Group at 7:00 at my apartment.

I couldn't sleep well and after tossing and turning for a couple of hours, I just got up at 3:45 and decided I would make that a night. I went into the den to check my e-mail when the phone signaled a text message.

It was Bob. He was in ICU with another A-Fib attack. He had gone in by driving himself the three blocks to the hospital and entering himself in the emergency room. They immediately treated him and put him in ICU. He waited until 4:00AM to text me about it. I jumped into my clothes and quickly made up my face and took off. Sure enough! He was hooked up to all that wiring and they were waiting to get him to stabilize and convert. They changed his meds four times but he never did convert. They brought him lunch at 12:15 or so and Denise, his younger daughter, whom I had called about 9:30, (and she came in)...she and I went to Braums to have a quick lunch. Bob was going to try to take a nap. He will be in the least overnight... and Dr. Merley, the heart doctor from Bartlesville, will come tomorrow and decided what to do to get him to convert.  He may have to have a pacemaker. Who knows.

Anyhow, I came on home to bake my Apple Brown Betty. I still have the Living the Questions group tonight. And I have to pick up Gary at 6:45.

I don't have a newsletter to write because I never made it to church except to take my soda and put it in the frig and the gift out there for the baby shower this afternoon.

I did take the time to download my photos from my camera from yesterday to my computer. I have shared a couple of them on yesterday's blog. 

Strange day!...More later....

Wisdom from Robert Reich:

Not a day goes by that a leading Republican presidential hopeful doesn’t reveal a level of ignorance and prejudice unprecedented in modern American politics. Today, Ben Carson, who is now running second to Donald Trump, said that Adolf Hitler’s mass murder of Jews “would have been greatly diminished” had Germans been allowed to carry guns. 


Whether it’s Carson on guns or Muslims; Trump on Mexicans, “anchor babies,” or Obama’s citizenship; or almost any of the Republican candidates on abortion, gay marriage, or climate change -- the leading GOP presidential candidates are reaching ever higher into loony land.

House Republicans, meanwhile, are in chaos – unable to elect a Speaker because of the right-wing know-nothings among them who want to shut down the government over the funding of Planned Parenthood and the looming debt limit.

We must face the discomforting fact that one of America's two major parties has lost its mind. How did this come about? Perhaps it's the inevitable culmination of decades of toxic bigotry and ideological paranoia spread by Rush Limbaugh and his imitators, Fox News, and right-wing hate groups -- fueled and funded by the Koch brothers and other oligarchs -- combined with blind rage that a black man became president -- that has finally eaten away enough of the gray matter of an increasingly angry, mostly white, mostly rural, mostly male Republican base to leave us with a zombie GOP.

What do you think?