Well, always dangerous, but I've been thinking. Watching too much CNN is part of the problem... reading too much Huffington Post.... In one of those strange moods I get into sometimes. Overtired and not sleeping well. So anyway... today's post... at least there IS one... is going to be dedicated to random thoughts about random things... probably.
Taxes: I really don't get the whole American thing about taxes. I've ranted about this before but here's a mini on tax day. As a society we aren't over taxed. This tea party thing that's going on just seems so stupid to me. First off.... the whole federal tax cutting thing is sleight of hand to a large degree. The cut taxes go with cut programs at the national level. And they trickle down to your state and local government, because somebody has to pay for road repair and schools. Thing is, what's been happening while we give huge tax cuts to rich people is that there's only so much taxes you can get from an increasingly poor underclass, so the roads and bridges and schools have all just been neglected. Do that, and there are more accidents, and worse yet - you the future generation who you think is going to watch over you and the society when your in your dotage.... they'll be ignorant and incapable of keeping the society going and incapable of bringing in the big bucks to care for dear old Mom and Dad.... And in some countries, the higher taxes that they pay provide working families with things like easily accessible free, high quality day care... and oh, yes.... medical coverage. And then there's all the lying that lies behind some of the current hysteria. Taxes are going up for a teeny tiny fraction of Americans and by and large, they aren't the ones who are complaining. Taxes for most of us are being lowered this year. This government isn't going to spend billions sending letters and checks. They're just slipping it quietly and inexpensively into your paycheck.
Obama's Budget: Then there's the whole thing about the bloated spending which will be carried by our children. Boy Republicans (sorry, my bias is showing here... there are Democrats using that too but not as much as Republicans). One of the things that sets President Obama apart from his predecessors is that he has a vision for the future. You spend some of this money now because it as the programs mature they pay for themseles... like new thermal windows and a good heating system cost initially but save in the long term. Or like friends of mine who spent an extra $300 for a washing machine but will save in the long term because it's incredibly energy efficient and doesn't use as much water. It's projected to save them a minimum of $50/month. It will pay for itself completely in less than 2 years. Universal health care, modernizing our power grid, all of these things will ultimately pay for themselves. They will take huge burdens OFF the shoulders of our children and our children's children. Or that's what I think. I could go on and on about this, but these are random thoughts.
Pakistan and the Taliban: I've got to stop watching CNN. I think I kind of understand the logic behind the Pakistani government's decision to give the Taliban rule over one small region. They were losing the battle, giving what strength they had into the battle. Maybe it's wiser to lick their wounds and grow strong enough elsewhere and to fight in wiser, subtler ways. Still it's obscene to see schools closed, to see people being held on the ground and beaten.... What really bugged me yesterday, was that these Taliban bullies cover their faces while they are committing their atrocities. I have to wonder why, if you believe in the truth and righteousness of what you are doing, you're not willing to show your face while you do it. Is it because it makes you more scary when you are faceless? Or is it because you know if people knew who you were, you might not last so long? In either case, it seems like the supreme cowardice to me.
IQs: I never think about IQs. I think IQ tests are kind of silly, but for some reason the topic came up in two conversations in two days which always seems like a sign to me that I'm "supposed" to talk about it. I don't know my own IQ. My brother is a genius... his IQ is 161. He was virtually worshipped in my family. In the Bronx, where we lived until I was 5, he was skipped ahead a grade. When we moved to Long Island (the legend goes), because we were from "the city," he was put into slow classes and didn't do very well. Then they discovered that he was a genius and they put him in different classes and he became a great student again. My parents allegedly chose not to find out what my IQ was because my brother's journey through genius had not served him well. One thing that never occurred to me until yesterday (isn't that odd?) is that I think my sister's IQ was 158 but nobody ever made a big deal about that. Maybe I'm wrong and it was only 148 or 138.... but for some reason it's fixed in my head that it was 158. I always thought that probably I fell off the wrong end of the genius tree and that was the real reason my parents never told me what mine is... "No reason to tell her she's retarded..." Over time, I came to recognize that despite the fact that my brother's brain was amazing... He could quote the encyclopedia. He could slice and dice anyone in an argument.... he didn't have much common sense. I think genius, like beauty, is a fluid thing. I think you can have perfect features and an ugly spirit and not be beautiful. And I think you can have an IQ of 170 and not be smart. Or maybe the analogy works better the other way. You can have odd features and a good, generous heart and be beautiful. And you can have an IQ of 100 and use it creatively. Which is beauty? Which is genius? I know what I think.
Free Speech: I keep seeing clips on the Daily Show and Huffington Post of this crazy - I mean I think he's literally crazy - person, Glenn Beck. I'm all for freedom of speech, but I wonder if our media - who uses public air ways - should not be held to some kind of standards for truth and sanity. The stuff I hear about from Fox news is scary in it's lack of integrity. But even CNN spews a lot of nonsensical dribble, off-the-cuff "reactions," and sensational crap. How else are you going to fill up 24 hours? There's so much pot stirring and so many entertaining goony birds in the pot... and many Americans don't seem to know (lack of education, maybe?) that just because somebody said it on TV doesn't make it true.
Elected (and unelected) Lunatics: I know I said the Free Speech was the last one, but when I was looking for the name of the crazy guy I ran across these... How do these people get elected? And what about that guy in Minnesota who has lost to Al Franken and everybody knows it and he's still going to thwart the electoral process and appeal again and again so Franken can't take his rightfully won seat?
Senator from NC encourages Run on Banks
Glenn Beck This is a Media Matters compilation of some of his nuttiest stuff.
Rod Blagojevich .... Alas, there are demented Dems too...
And I think I'll stop here. I'm just rambling mindlessly anyway. This has taken a while to finish because Angel has been very huggy this morning and I've had to stop repeatedly for snuggling. Not going to read this because I'll have to scrap it so I'm just going to post it and pray there are one or two coherent thoughts buried in all the garbled rambling.
One last, last thing: Assumptions and Dreams. I wanted to add a video here, but embedding has been disabled, so I'll just add the link. Britain's Idol show has found a new star in a 47 year old social worker names Susan Boyle. We make so many assumptions about people based on age and looks... And so many of us give up on our dreams. This woman is a teacher on many levels... and singing a song I especially love besides. Keep dreaming!
I hope you all have a lovely day.... even with taxes.