Simple economics . . .

Well, it looks like my run as an internet blogger is coming to an end, due to simple economics.

When we first moved to this area, we had a fairly reasonable rate for internet service, and we were happy enough with the provider that when I cancelled my cell phone we called them up and got internet phone for the house, using the same number.  The main problem is that they have been the only broadband internet provider we could use in this area.

Over time our internet cost has escalated to where it is no longer affordable.  It is now nearly 50% higher than it was when we started with them, and the quality of service has declined noticeably.  The last 3 months in a row, the bill has gone up every month.  There is another provider that has started moving into the area, but they can’t provide service to our address yet.

So, I’m going to call Cox in a few hours, to see if we can get a slower package, or find some way to reduce our bill.  If we can’t, it will be time to pull the plug on our internet, and that might take our phone with it.

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New year – new goals . . .

Welcome to my first blog written within the year 2016. Oh, I know – someone is going to point out that I’ve already POSTED a blog in 2016. You’re right – but I wrote it before Christmas.

Anyhow, I thought I’d start this year off by setting out the goals we’re looking at for our home improvement projects and personal lives.

First, the big one. After seeing some wonderful success with the double-pane replacement windows we’ve had installed around our home, we’re now looking at a different source of temperature offensiveness. It’s that black roof we had put on right before we closed on the house. Rather than go to the incredible expense of having another roof put on so soon, we did some digging and discovered a type of “paint” that can be applied to roofing shingles to help shut the heat out. The price seems quite reasonable – if it holds up to expectations we can do the whole roof for about $100 worth of the paint plus the cost of the labor for getting someone to apply it, which our guttering guys have already agreed to do. I think they are looking at it as a possible third income stream for them (since most of their work is seasonal).

Also, my weight continues to drop in a slow, steady, hopefully healthy way. When I stepped on the scales to weigh about a week ago, I was looking at 198.8 – yes, I did check the battery (lol) – putting my total weight lost at precisely 50 pounds over the course of one year. I’m good with that.

We’re planning to do the roof painting with money from our annual income tax refund, which leads to item number three on our plan. Any money left over will be used to pay down our credit cards, which have been used over the last year for everything from rental cars to an upright deep freezer and a PS4.

Well, I think that’s enough to get the year rolling. Today is my wife’s first day back to work for the year, and I’m sure the same is true for many of you. Drive carefully, have a great day, and I hope your 2016 goes as swimmingly as you wish it to!

A sign of the times . . .

There is certainly nothing new about getting SPAM (defined here as unwanted advertisements sent via email) in your email.  However, there has been a recent shift that I have seen in the content of the spam I am getting, and it deserves to be remarked on.

Everyone knows that our US national job market is trashed, and most intelligent people either know or suspect that the government has been fudging the numbers for years.  I know I have never been counted, because when I left the workforce, I was not eligible for unemployment, and though not old enough to retire I have not worked in about 7 years.  I’m just a part of the unofficial statistic the government prefers to pretend doesn’t exist.  The government pretends that if you are not currently drawing unemployment compensation, you are employed.

Mind you, I have NEVER been qualified for any job that payed better than $20k/yr (my last job’s official compensation rate).  Since I didn’t work that last job for a full year, I can honestly say that I have never actually earned more than $10k in a single tax year, though I nearly did the year I made PFC in the US Army.

Yet, for some silly reason I have suddenly (just in the last few weeks) started getting email “notices” that I have been selected to work at a who’s-who of Fortune 500 companies (including Sony, Ford, Google, and IBM) at salaries ranging from $5k/wk to $87,000/wk.

It shouldn’t take a genius to instantly recognize that all such ads are (at best) SPAM.  They may even be illegal PHISHING emails.  If you get something like that (especially from a company you have not recently applied to work for), there is only one correct thing to do with it – hit the “DELETE” button!

Economics by *MAXINE* . . .

Although this is funny – it’s as true today as it was when it was originally published a few years ago.

http://www.economicnoise.com/2012/11/06/economics-by-maxine/

 

Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel, “Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land.”

Nearly 75 years ago, (when Welfare was introduced) Roosevelt said, “Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land.”

Today, Congress has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of Camels and mortgaged the Promised Land!

I was so depressed last night thinking about Health Care Plans, the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc …. I called a Suicide Hotline.

I had to press 1 for English.

I was connected to a call center in Pakistan . I told them I was suicidal.

They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck……

Folks, we’re screwed.

 

Who helps minorities?

Despite liberals trying to rewrite history, it is clear that the republicans have helped minorities and women far more than the democrats:

1.  The First Hispanic Governor was a Republican, in 1863, Romualdo Pacheco of CA
2.  Republicans freed the slaves,Republicans passed the 13th Amendment unanimously – against nearly unanimous Democrat opposition
3.  Republicans passed 14th Amendment to defend African-Americans from their Democrat oppressors in the post-Civil War South.
4.  In 1869, the Republican-controlled 40th Congress passed the 15th Amendment, extending to African-Americans the right to vote. Nearly all Democrats in Congress voted against the 15th Amendment. The 15th Amendment was ratified the following year, but using intimidation, poll taxes, registration fraud, and literacy tests Democrats prevented most African-Americans from voting for nearly a century.
5.  The First African-American Senator was a Republican, in North Carolina, Hiram Revels.
6.  The 1871 Civil Rights Act effectively banned the Klan and enabled Republican officials to arrest hundreds of Klansmen. The KKK did not rise again until the Democratic administration of President Woodrow Wilson.
7. Republicans passed the 1875 Civil Rights Act that banned racial discrimination in public accommodations. Though struck down by the Supreme Court eight years later, the 1875 Civil Rights Act would be reborn as the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
8.  Republicans gave woman the right to vote. In 1878, U.S. Senator Aaron Sargent (R-CA) introduced in Congress the proposed 19th Amendment, according women the right to vote. Over the next four decades, it was primarily the Democrats who would oppose the measure. Not until 1919, after the Republican Party won majorities in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, did Congress approve what would become the 19th Amendment.
9.  A Former Slave Chaired the 1884 Republican National Convention, John Lynch.
10.  Bertha Landes, a Republican, was the first woman to serve as mayor of a large American city.
11.  A Republican President Appointed the First Jewish Cabinet Secretary, Oscar Straus.
12.  In 1924, Republican President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act, granting citizenship to all Native Americans. The law had been written by Rep. Homer Snyder (R-NY)
13.  The First Hispanic U.S. Senator was a Republican, Octaviano Larrazolo of New Mexico.
14.  The First Asian-American U.S. Senator was a Republican, Hiram Fong of Hawaii.
15.  In 1940, the Republican National Convention approved a plank in its platform calling for racial integration of the armed forces. Not until 1948 did President Truman finally comply with the Republicans’ demands for racial justice in the U.S. military.
16.  Judge Tuttle, a Republican, in 1962, ordered the University of Mississippi to admit its first African-American student, James Meredith.
17.  In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. The author of Brown v. Board of Education was a Republican, Chief Justice Earl Warren.
18.  Republicans Passed the 1957 Civil Rights Act against the filibustering democrats. The GOP improved upon this landmark legislation with the 1960 Civil Rights Act.
19.  Republicans Ended Racial Segregation in Little Rock. President Eisenhower ordered federal troops to the state, where they escorted African-American children to school against the will of the Democrat governor.
20.  After 911, under Bush leadership,the U.S. military, together with forces from Britain and other allies, destroyed terrorist camps and ousted the Taliban, liberating 27 million people from Taliban oppression, including giving girls the opportunity to attend school and giving women the right to vote.

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/politics-other-controversies/1501993-republicans-have-done-more-minorities-women.html#ixzz3BhnVaDgo

Why GMO’s are bad, and how to stop them

You are a food consumer, no matter how you get it.  But are you familiar with the old saying, “You are what you eat?”  It means if you put junk into your mouth, your body will become junk.

So look at what has happened to our society since the end of World War 2.  Diabetes rates have more than doubled.  Cancer rates have seen an exponential increase.  Obesity is officially classified as an epidemic.  Yet during the same time frame, the company that developed Agent Orange has quietly been turning your food into a science experiment – for no other reason than so they can patent it and control the supply of food to the entire world.

https://www.organicconsumers.org/essays/consumer-self-defense-12-ways-drive-gmos-and-roundup-market

Looking to the future

As the year 2014 winds down, and the world looks collectively towards 2015 and beyond, I’m giving some thoughts to what the future holds for us all.  While I don’t expect everyone out there to agree with me, here are some things I see in my own future.  This won’t all happen during 2015, but I see it all being true eventually.

1.  I think the computer I’m now using on the internet will be the last electronic device I ever connect to the internet.  I don’t want to be treated as a commodity, and I don’t think anyone has a need to know what I’m doing privately unless they can get a search warrant from a judge I can talk to.

2.  I think that the only healthy way to eat will be growing your own organic food with heirloom seeds and compost, and I foresee that Monsanto and the GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) will pull out all the stops to guarantee home gardening becomes illegal.  Monsanto cares nothing about the quality of food or your health – they want to control the food supply of the entire world.

3.  Wait times in hospital ER’s is going to get worse, and MD’s taking on new patients in private practices will almost completely stop – unless Obamacare is fully repealed.  The number of doctors currently practicing is down 15% nationwide from 2010, and nearly half those still practicing are indicating they will not accept any Obamacare-approved insurance plans.  Cash under-the-table will become the new king of healthcare.

4.  To try to eliminate (or at least control) black markets, including health care, the governments will step up efforts to transition to a cashless, digital, economy where every transaction is done electronically.  Bitcoin (and anything like it) will be outlawed, or ordered to open up to government surveillance.

Quality or price . . .

There is a phenomena that I have observed with growing frustration over the years.  I first encountered it more than 30 years ago when I started doing leather crafting.  I make wonderful, sturdy, wallets, purses, and belts, and can design several other things without much difficulty.  My wife has a purse I made for her, and almost everyone who sees it croons about how wonderful it is, until she tells them her husband made it, and can make one for them if they want it.

The problem was, nobody wanted to pay what the finished item was worth.  For an example: if I buy a ready-to-assemble blank purse kit from Tandy Leather, it will cost me at least $25 plus shipping.  Then I have to do the tooling of the design on it, which can take more than 10 hours if I work on it steadily.  Then I have to spend 2-4 hours assembling the purse (depends on the difficulty of the purse).  So it is easy to have 12 hours invested in each piece.  If we round off to $8/hr as an unskilled minimum wage (which leather crafting should NOT be counted as – it is a skill that takes a couple of years to reach competency at) I would have to add almost $100 to the price for labor – and that isn’t even looking into anything like a “profit margin” yet.  I’m lucky if I can get $35 for even the most complicated ones.

Instead, what most people who inquire about prices of my work tell me is some variation of “I’d rather spend $5/mo. (for the rest of my life) for cheap ones than spend $160 now for something that will last me the rest of my life.”  These will last, too.  My dad also does leather work, and when he married my step-mother he made her a clutch purse of the same style I made for my wife.  She was still using it up to her death in February – after over 35 years.

I’ve run into that “no profit” problem with my soaps, too.  People think they are getting a bargain when they go to Walmart and buy bar soap at  4/ $1 (or whatever the going rates are).  They don’t realize that the junk they get there isn’t even real soap.  Look at the label – there is no lye or lard in it anywhere.  Those are the two essential ingredients for real soap.  What every department store, or grocery, in the US is really selling is chemically created detergent.

Don’t forget the old folk-wisdom adage, “You get what you pay for.”  What that is supposed to mean is that if you want quality, you have to pay for it.  For the most part, that is true.  I won’t use it to defend the ridiculous prices of a DG purse or Nike running shoe, but you can’t get a purse that will last 30 years for $10 either.

Look at the world around us.  Everyone everywhere is experiencing hardship, contraction, and lack.  Cities are on the verge of bankruptcy, people who are capable and willing to work hard labor jobs are sitting at home on welfare because there aren’t any jobs available.  Factories are shutting down as their jobs rush overseas.  And I think that not only is it all related, but due to ONE common cause.

You can call it the “Law of Attraction” factor.  In case you haven’t heard, the “Law of Attraction” basically states that you get back from the universe what you put into it.  If you focus your attention on hardship, the universe will make sure you have plenty of hardship to focus on.  Oh, and every time you say, “I can’t afford that,” the universe acknowledges you with, “You’re right.”

There is only one way to turn that around, and I’m not talking about being ridiculously “Laissez Faire” with your spending.  Just stop clipping coupons, stop looking for discounts, and stop negotiating.  If you ask someone to mow your yard and they want $40 every time – pay it.  If you do anything else (except for offering more), you are saying “I can’t afford …” PLUS you are also saying that the mower isn’t worth the time he spends doing your work – the factory workers weren’t worth the time they spent making a quality mower . . . .

And we are ALL worth our time.  Yes, even you.  If you want to be paid what you are worth, start by making sure you pay others what they are worth.

Justice or legal ?

Goddess_of_justiceThe United States was, from the very beginning, an experiment.  So many facets of it’s creation were unique to world experience that nobody had ever seen the like of this before.  But the crowning achievement was the Constitution, and the fact that this was to be a nation governed by laws, not emotions or the whimsy of the rulers.  There would be clearly defined parameters so everyone would know what was acceptable and what was not, and everyone would have to face those parameters as equals.

It worked great – at first.  Between 1780 and 1840 (just 60 years!) we went from being a “mom and pop start-up” to being one of the dominant world powers.  Our system isn’t without problems, though, and a dream I recently had highlights what is perhaps the biggest one.

The dream was – well, calling it bad would be like calling the US Government “a bit off”.  In the dream, it was like I was an invisible being, wandering around observing the actions of others – and the others were mostly teenaged-to-twentysomethings, who were traveling around in gangs killing, looting, and generally living a lawless life.  They had no respect for anything or anyone but each other.  There was a serious tone of despair to the whole scene.

This may be easily dismissed as “it was just a dream” or any of the “dreams are meaningless” variations.  But I have come to believe that dreams are the subconscious mind’s effort to resolve problems we encounter in our waking, normal, lives.  And if you look beneath the surface, this dream is confronting a real humdinger.

You see, this dream tells the story of the natural result of having a “nation of laws” where the laws are divorced from the notion of justice.  Justice is the brutality of law tempered by wisdom and mercy.  It is hope that we can all become better than what we have been.  When courts, even the SCOTUS, fall into the trap of enforcing the letter of the law, justice dies.  We’re seeing the early warning signs of this now, with huge international corporations getting the government to pass laws that make 16 year-old kids wanted felons for sharing music with their friends, or single mothers with 2 jobs become criminals for using a back-up program to preserve the DVDs they spent the precious little disposable cash in their budget on. There is no compassion, no justice, to such laws.

Oh, and as an aside, I would dearly love to see someone mount a court challenge to the bizarre notion that anyone can voluntarily surrender “inalienable, inherent, natural rights” by agreeing to the fine-print in an EULA (End User Licensing Agreement).

I think our nation’s Founding Fathers knew this might happen, though, because they originally included rules that made corporations very hard to create, and even harder to maintain.  Each corporation first had to pass a “public service” test – you couldn’t just form a corporation for the sake of selling your restaurant some time off in the future.  No, it took something big, like making the Erie Canal, to form a corporation.  Which naturally led to the second condition – the corporation, once formed, was only licensed to exist for a maximum of 5 years (rare extensions were allowed, such as the aforementioned Erie Canal project).  Corporations had no “personhood” – no rights, no property ownership.  This kept them from amassing the powers they flex so easily today.