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Everything posted by Steve

  1. The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Okay, its a small Alabama town that has stopped paying its pensoion. It can't happen to a big city, right? http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Alabama-Towns-Failed-Pension-nytimes-93215960.html?x=0 ...“Prichard is the future,†said Michael Aguirre, the former San Diego city attorney, who has called for San Diego to declare bankruptcy and restructure its own outsize pension obligations. “We’re all on the same conveyor belt. Prichard is just a little further down the road.†Many cities and states are struggling to keep their pension plans adequately funded, with varying success. New York City plans to put $8.3 billion into its pension fund next year, twice what it paid five years ago. Maryland is considering a proposal to raise the retirement age to 62 for all public workers with fewer than five years of service. Illinois keeps borrowing money to invest in its pension funds, gambling that the funds’ investments will earn enough to pay back the debt with interest. New Jersey simply decided not to pay the $3.1 billion that was due its pension plan this year. Colorado, Minnesota and South Dakota have all taken the unusual step of reducing the benefits they pay their current retirees by cutting cost-of-living increases; retirees in all three states are suing. No state or city wants to wind up like Prichard...
  2. http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/article/111642/retiree-pays-back-california-with-interest-for-jobless-aid A South Carolina retiree has sent the cash-strapped state of California a $10,000 check as a token of appreciation for the unemployment benefits he received while living there nearly five decades ago.
  3. The people do the voting and so ultimately the fault lies with all of us. We've stopped being a Republic years ago. At least in practice. You would all poop your collective pants to know just how much of the bills that go up for vote in Congress is written by the various lobbyist groups. There are many instances of Congressmen not even knowing the particulars of bills they are supposedly to have authored or push. I recall reading an article about certain congressmen having to go out in the hall to ask a lobbyist what cogent points he is to make on the Financial Services act in the '90s. Usually the aides meet with the groups and do all the leg work and heavy lifting. Its NOT about Liberalism v. Conservatism. Those are facades. Its as much a fairly tale now as some of you make religion out to be. Most of what is pushed as conservative or liberal are nothing but the agenda of some group. Congress is not even a body of equals. Doesn't matter how honest, fair and idealistic a person you just put in congress is. Makes not one difference or iota. Why? He will never see the light of day. The senior leadership will park his or her's butt on the Indian Affairs subcommittee for water rights or some such lower level committee (apologies to native americans...but you know what I mean). The ones with the power, whether it be Reid, Pelosi, doesn't matter the party, are the ones that are completely paid off. Yeah, every once in a while they will push their politics of what they came into this game for but the real important stuff is controlled by the powers hiding in the shadows. The ones whose fingers hold the strings to the puppet politcian. Have a Merry Christmas! :content:
  4. My mom's maiden name is Scottish. An uncle on my mom's side said we were owned by a Scottish sugar plantation owner in the early 1800s. Interesting stuff. My great grandmother on my mother's side was very light skinned from what I hear. Died at 106 y.o. in 1972 so born in 1866 if my math is right (and if often isn't). ...some hanky panky went on 'methinks'....hehehe.
  5. I've always heard good things about Costa Rica. Many of the islands in the Carribean are pretty good as well. The smaller islands have almost no crime, beautiful beaches, fairly low cost of living (Dominica...NOT to be confused with the Dominican Republic, Turks and Cacois, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Guadeloupe, etc.
  6. On another note, Don't Ask, Don't Tell doesn't get repealed. It had the numbers. Not Obama's fault but I have to say one thing about him. He has governed as a centrist despite what the right paints him as. His cabinet, etc. says centrist and sometimes even right of center. The left thinks he's one of them and he needs them. He should have done something about Don't Ask, Don't Tell from an executive level. Gays are a big ally. They have money and they will be active politically. He should also change the patdown, TSA thingy that's going on. It would make him seem in tune and sympathizing with the average american and traveler. He doesn't have to go through pat downs and it would seem a good way to curry favor with the masses. The only base he has left are blacks and I'm not sure what else.
  7. Not one of, the ONLY reason. The Civil War and World War I were the reasons for the income tax. The symbol of our country, the Statue of Liberty was financed (the base was, the statue was a gift) from private donations. We've been fed a crock of sh*t and it really should be no surprise that the country fell for it. Its no surprise why the founders only allowed landed male gentry to vote originally. They were the most educated, didn't need or want government money and had a vested interest in the country. Now, I'm not saying they were right if we are a true republic all adults should be able to vote, but the old Wall Street adage that 'the masses are asses' is true. Democracy or a Republic are the best forms of government we can come up with for the time being. However, it has inherent problems and I am now of the mind that there is presently NO form of government that can stand the test of time. Its a lot better than communism, monarchy and the rest. However, I don't think there is any form of government that can last (or more specificaly be effective) for any considerable length of time because of one thing and one thing only: the human condition. We are flawed. We will eventually revert to the lowest common denominator. You can never have a perfect or even near perfect government because our species is badly flawed.
  8. It was said that the Nixon political strategy was to be far right in the primaries. This was to not only win but to solidify your base. Then go centrist in the general election, this would take away the idependent and middle from your oponent and then govern to the left of center. His presidency was exactly that. He built up himself as a staunch conservative and anti communist in his career but as presidency he did a lot left of center and even far left of center things that were way ahead of his time. Only a staunch anti communist could go to red China. There are a bunch of legislation that was considered far left back then. For example, endangered species act was considered a hippie legislation. A pro business politiican would never sign legislation that made it law to have access for the physically impaired. Which Nixon signed. There are a few others as well that were far left for his time. Including taking us off the gold standard. Clinton did the same. He governed as a centrist or right of center. Only a person seen as liberal and pro minority could pull off the changes to social welfare. He had personal flaws and usually that is enough to kill a politician but not him and there was nothing the Republicans could do to stop him. The economy was raging forward and no one cared about his personal life. At the time people didn't want impeachment and the voting reflected that.
  9. Also, another Nixon factoid was that tax evasion was originally part of the impeachment articles against him. Republican congressmen successfully (and rightfully so) argued that his tax evasion was not an act he did from an abuse of Presidential power but an act he committed as Nixon the individual tax payer not the president. Impeachment is meant to be acts the President did by abusing the power of his office. The examples named bribe and treason give evidence to that. Therefore, it was wrong to attempt to impeach Clinton of lying under oath in a civil matter when he lied under oath. In that deposition he was Clinton the individual and he was not acting on behalf of his office. Same with the reasons why the Congress didn't honor New Jersey's arrest warrant for VP Burr when he shot and killed the sitting Treasury Sect'y Hamilton in a duel in NJ. congress said Burr was acting on his own behalf and on his personal honor and was not representing the office of the VP when he had the duel. It was a civil criminal matter not a matter for the office. Those two precedents should have exonerated Clinton from impeachment. The Clinton impeachment is not only unconstitutional in fact and spirit it also sets a dangerous precedence. If a sitting VP or President commits any illegal wrongdoing while in office he can be impeached. Lets say he slaps his wife and is found to be guilty of spousal abuse. Its impeachable. If he has an outstanding traffic ticket that reaches warrant stage, that's now technically impeachable.
  10. This is the thread for all things USA, right? Okay. Here's my contribution. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101203/ap_on_re_us/us_california_legislative_vehicles California lawmakers enjoy a perk that seems like a luxurious amenity in a state that has been slashing billions of dollars from its budget: taxpayer-provided cars. The state purchases cars for lawmakers to drive around their districts and the capital under a decades-old program, spending more than $5 million for the latest suite of vehicles that includes a $55,000 Cadillac sedan and a $52,000 Lexus hybrid.
  11. I liked Avatar which is basically 'Dancing With Wolves' on an alien planet. They already had sequels planned before the movie was released. Sherlock Holmes was okay possibly good but I am prejudiced as I remember the traditional Sherlock Holmes in terms of mentality (Basil Rathbone movies).
  12. 'The Road' or my title for it 'Just Kill Me Now' Adapted from a book by the same name a few years ago, its about a father and his young son in a post apocolyptic world. Something cataclysmic happened. Its unexplained. Earthquakes, wild fires, etc. still happening during the movie, left a dark smokey film in the sky that made it impossible for plants to grow and since plants don't grow animals die off. What's left is a barren wasteland, people are scavanging for any kind of food from what is left of humanity. Some revert to cannibalism. Some form roving bands to steal from others, some commit suicide (my choice), the remainder wander aimlessly. Well made movie but its the most depressing thing I've seen since the Tottenham 'Perfect Game' dvd when they beat us in the CC semi. Its a possible political message on the environment though. It could be what will happen if you're the type to believe in global warming, etc. although to be fair, the movie doesn't suggest that. It doesn't explain how they got to the point where they are. If you see it, make sure you aren't depressed as I was when I walked into the theater. You'll leave worse.
  13. Saw it as well. Spoiler warning but having lived in LA, one tends to summarize movies the way writers pitch a movie to a studio head. Its essentially 'Dancing With Wolves' on anther planet in the future. I liked it though. A few gaps in reasonsing but thats par for the course with Hollywood.
  14. Just finished watching it as well. With regards to the unanswered questions of 'what happens now' at the ending it made me wonder. What IF we had to start all over again. Would we make the same mistakes? What would we do differently as a world? In the movie, there would be no more territorial conflict between Israeli and Arab any more or Indian and Pakistani, in fact most of the territorial issues are 'resolved'. Would they still fight or argue? Apologies if this derails into a political thread. I was just wondering. Special effects were top notch though. Agree on Woody Harrelson. He plays a great conspiracy nut. I would think there are easier ways to survive the ending of the world though. Space shuttles and build a massive station that can hold far, far more people perhaps? I would assume that the better submarines would come in rather useful and offer a fairly good rate of survivability.
  15. Thanks for your post jay. Also, thanks for sharing. I've had the 'wait scare' as well. Was dating a cute little number in LA last winter and had a bad cold a couple days after sex (unprotected) and I got scared. Very scared. Not the first time. And I was mad at myself for putting myself in that position. Everytime I get the flu I get scared. I recall writing Junglesoup about one scare and he was kind enough to reassure me. Anyway, its good to be reminded sometimes.
  16. Wow! Interesting news. I got tested again recently. Negative but I was worried because I had a bad cold for a week and JS said it was one of the signs. I re-read his post and my cold wasn't as bad as the ones that are symptomatic. Still, I was worried and it reminded me to be very vigilant. I took one of those saliva swab thingies that gives you a result in 20 minutes. I'm hopeful they'll find a cure. Much has been done already with the cocktail thingy that has kept many alive way longer than when it first appeared.
  17. There are more than a few of those cases. I may even have been one of those guys here in the states or perhaps in a moment of madness while in LOS. I've gotten tested recently and often (thanks to JS mainly) and you always hold your breath while waiting for the results even when you know you've been practicing safe sex. I had a vasectomy a few years ago and it made me a little less cautious initially because fear of getting a woman pregnant was my main concern. That was removed so I took a few more chances than I normally would have but I got that out of my head soon after.
  18. I had a strange rash in a place I'd rather not say and went to the clinic for a battery of tests. HIV being amongst them, so thankful it came back negative on all accounts. Seems it was some fungal thingy. Since hearing of JS's news, I've been extra careful. Your courage in posting has helped me JS. I get tested regularly now and don't take nearly as much chances as I did in the past.
  19. Hey JS, just a quick hello. Arsenal are in first buddy as you know. Gotta put a smile on your face. Will definitely contact when/if I get over there to see a match. All the best, Steve
  20. A true gooner. Not sure if I can get tix. I'll definitely contact you when I know for sure if I can go. I'll be the guy being held up at customs at Heathrow telling the authorities I'm not snoop dogg.
  21. I plan on going to Ashurton Grove (can't bring myself to call it The Emirates) next spring, I'll try and arrange a side trip if you're in the UK. Stay strong.
  22. I haven't visited the General Discussion area for quite some time and like everyone was truly sorry to have heard the most unfortunate news. I'd like to echo the sentiments to JS and pardon me if I also include my prayers (I know the general feeling against religion on here but I'm the son of a Deacon, can't help it ) as well. Whie going through the 22 some odd posts, I was waiting for the one or two that always seem to show up that have no clue and I was not disappointed. JS, please disregard them, those persons obviously have other issues going on in their lives that makes them vent it out on your misfortune. I feel badly that it takes something like this for me to join some of the others when I say I'd love to meet you, shake your hand and share a drink (of your choice). Maybe discuss a little football as we do in the sports thread. I admire your bravery and be assured that your post has not fallen on deaf ears. The life you saved may very well have been my own as I will now be extremely careful in my relationships. Others would have retreated in self pity and you showed great character and humanitarianism in trying to help others in your plight. Take care, thank you and all the very best. Steve
  23. You're assuming I was aware of this before I posted right? Also, not to belittle any human suffering, each person has to make a judgment for themselves. Thousands still visit mainland China despite proof of prisoner slave labor. Some may even say why visit the U.S. for certain things domestically as well as internationally. Each person has to make their own judgment. Using your implied criteria, most of us would probably have to limit our holidays to Sweden....and I bet someone could come up with a good reason not to go there as well.
  24. It would have to take something major. Something that probably most of the world would join in. More than likely of a politcal or cultural basis. Something on the level of the boycot of South Africa or Lybia years ago. If I'm consistently mistreated personally, then I'd stop going. Other than that the country can't get rid of me, I'm stuck on the place.
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