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Of Politics, Sports and Sex

OK, so there won't be a LOT on here about sex, but tell the truth, that's most of the reason you entered this site, right? So, I'll slip some things in from time to time just to keep you coming...back.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

My sister, Laurie posted a series of photos on Facebook from her recent visit with us. Looking at the photos of me, it strikes me that I have never looked older, heavier, happier or more in love with my family.

Sure beats being young, fit, grumpy and lonely, as I once was.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

So right on in today's DailyKos:

The media has gone into high boil over the actions of a handful of IRS employees in Cincinnati. The IRS is deliberately targeting political groups! They even admit it! Can impeachment be far behind?
Next step, tie this to Benghazi and any other fact-free psuedo-scandal close at hand. Step two, moan about the general incompetence and corruption of government. Step three, demand scalps — but not before there's time to spin out a good half dozen Sunday talk show seasons on Taxgazi, or Tax and Furious, or whatever brand the pundits decide has the most snap.
You know this one must be the real deal, because every news channel, newspaper, local anchor, radio nutjob, and water cooler wag is singing the same tune. Hell, even Jon Stewart is on step two.
There's just one minor problem: the exact purpose of the IRS office in question IS to look at political groups. Specifically, to weed out purely political groups that promote or oppose candidates from obtaining a tax status that's supposed to go to nonprofit educational organizations. The crime of the IRS agents in Cincinnati? They were doing their job.
But what about the specific targeting of Tea Party groups? Doesn't that show that this was all just a witch hunt against groups with right wing ideologies? Uh, no. It came up at exactly the time the office was getting flooded with a bunch of hastily prepared applications spewing from the Tea Party's messy birth. The edict went out expressly because the office was being flooded with a bunch of hastily prepared, clearly political, applications all using very similar terms. In fact, the entire group of IRS employees in question was created to address the influx of possibly political applications. If the office had suddenly received a hundred applications for exempt status all claiming to be from the Sierra Club, wouldn't you want them to pay a bit more attention? I would. What if those applications had all been from groups using Muslim Brotherhood in their titles? Would the same pundits still be on the air screaming about the IRS getting all political?
Behind all this are the staggering numbers. Out of thousands of applications, only a handful were rejected. You know what happens while a nonprofit organization is waiting to get this approval? They get to operate as a nonprofit organization. The harm caused by this action is exactly zero, and exactly no groups have sued the IRS in response to their rejection. They simply amended the application and tried again.
These are agents doing their job. They responded to an unusual influx of groups with political language in their applications all going after a designation that excludes groups that carry out many political actions.
The only scandal here is that this is being reported as if the IRS did something wrong in injecting itself into politics. The law requires that the IRS inject itself into politics. Don't like it? Change the law. Don't attack the people trying to enforce it.

Not only that, but those of us in the Land Trust community are getting such a laugh out of all this. Land trusts have been targeted for the past 5-6 years by the IRS undergoing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of audits. We even invite them to our annual Land Trust Conference, where the IRS holds seminars to bring us up to date on their progress, but it's all such a witchhunt since they are finding so little relative to what they're spending.

Something tells me the Tea Party groups won't be taking the same approach.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

As much for posterity as any other reason, I'll post this here for future reference.

My letter in today's Daily Local News:

http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20130507/OPINION02/130509703/a-few-recent-headlines-contain-some-positives?nstrack=sid:593146|met:300|cat:0|order:4
This was an interesting article in the NYT last week about confidence in women and men. Some interesting quotes from the story and my reactions:

“I firmly believe one of the unintended consequences of the feminist revolution has been that men in my generation are raised without a strong self-identity, and, in essence, grow up to be little more than boys looking for mothers.”

As much as I'd like to believe that, I'm not sure men weren't looking to marry a woman like their mom back in the day anyway. It was just accepted that it was that way. Now a man is expected to do many of those things himself. We don't like it, but we understand it.

One 58-year-old mom wrote that mothers “might as well have had, as a friend of mine puts it, ‘our vocal cords cut.’ We want to talk in nice voices and stay calm and sit down and have a heart-to-heart. Our children want the five-minute version — direct, to the point. They come back at anything we say with smart remarks that knock the wind out of our sails.”

Kids don't want the 5-minute version - they want the 5-second version.

More women wrote about conflicts with other women than about conflicts with men. One retired Army officer wrote, “Girls and women are highly critical of any other girl or woman who exhibits confidence. Men, on the whole, do not ‘shut down’ women who are intelligent and confident, but women do.”

This was my favorite part of the whole article. Women like to blame men for their lack of achievement in the workplace, but this suggests it is other women that play more of a role. Not sure that's true though, or won't be until women are in more positions of power to be in a position to have that power, but maybe it's truer in companies I've never worked for.

 “As a believer in Jesus Christ, I see myself as redeemed, forgiven and covered in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I believe that this is how God sees me, all the time and without exception. I believe that his smile and delight in me is unwavering. This view of myself is quite simple yet with profound implications. It allows me to accept criticism without self-condemnation and to accept affirmations without exalting myself. This is the ideal view of myself that I am always working at. It is a struggle, but a good one.”

Needless to say, I'm not the classic Christian she is, but I love her point anyway. What's wrong with having flaws, whether we realize them ourselves or others point them out to us, in either a constructive or sarcastic or attacking way. It's all okay. We're all flawed. The main point is to take those criticisms and analyze them to see if we see truth in the observation and try to do better.

(There is another blog post to come, if I remember, based on the idea that "It's all okay...all of it...everything." And it is as simple as it is profound.)

Anyway, I sent the entire article to the ya-ya's and yo-yo's and one of the two reactions to it was this:

Dear Jamie Louise (inside ya-yo humor), Thanks for the David Brooks article I really got a kick out of it because I was just talking to a young 30ths daughter of a friend about the differences in Men and women today.I believe women are no longer willing to put up with "the power over" good ole boy syndrome of the past several hundred years. They are remembering their feminine powers which include use of intuition as a way of knowing, and many old ways of healing,body, mind and spirit. Women also see life in a fuller spectrum of color and emotion,possibly because we give birth and have to be caregivers. Anyway, it's my opinion that throughout history men have found these powers threatening at different times and in certain ways and thus the use of Physical power over was used to control and contain.  History is not a pretty picture. We seemed doomed to repeating our mistakes and there has been continuous war on the planet since the beginning. Maybe" Herstory" could offer something new. Maybe men and women could not compete but work as partners where everyone gets to bring all there gifts to the table.Women wouldn't have to be like men in order to succeed. Love ,in other words could reign, instead of fear. If we look to the microcosm,  a marriage let's say. Where each is loved and respected and encourage to grow and develop and be in true team partnership. How great is that. And couldn't the macrocosm be just an expansion of those principles. I really also don't believe that if given a choice, any mother that birthed a baby wants to send that child to war. Women are on the rise and my prayer is that men will not be intimidated, but will support the movement and we can change the world side by side blowing wind beneath each others wings. These are just some of my thoughts. Love you Jamie and hope to see ya soon, Karen Louise

To which I responded:
 
J “Jamie Louise” J I love that.

I agree with everything you say here, but I would put it another way. I think women have far more power than men, but don't understand how to harness it…or, as you say, may need to remember how to use it. It’s kind of like Dorothy in the WoOz, with her ruby slippers. She had the power all along. All she had to do is use it.
 
Easier said than done, I know, but you’re right – Love is the most powerful tool of all! I love you too, Karen Louise and I hope to see you and Jack sometime soon too. – Jamie Louise!

Monday, May 6, 2013

This is such a great article in last week's NY Times.

I wanted to excerpt parts of it, but there's not much I wouldn't want to highlight. That said, here is the best of it:

Democrats got 1.4 million more votes for all House positions in 2012 but Republicans still won control with a cushion of 33 seats.

Look at how different this Republican House is from the country they are supposed to represent. It’s almost like a parallel government, sitting in for some fantasy nation created in talk-radio land.

As a whole, Congress has never been more diverse, except the House majority. There are 41 black members of the House, but all of them are Democrats. There are 10 Asian-Americans, but all of them are Democrats. There are 34 Latinos, a record — and all but 7 are Democrats. There are 7 openly gay, lesbian or bisexual members, all of them Democrats.
 
Only 63 percent of the United States population is white. But in the House Republican majority, it’s 96 percent white. Women are 51 percent of the nation, but among the ruling members of the House, they make up just 8 percent. (It’s 30 percent on the Democratic side.)

 Now let’s look at how the members govern:
To date, seven bills have been enacted. Let’s see, there was the Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship act — “ensuring the stability of the helium market.” The Violence Against Women Act was renewed, but only after a majority of Republicans voted against it, a rare instance of letting the full House decide on something that the public favors. Just recently, they rushed through a change to help frequent air travelers — i.e., themselves — by fixing a small part of the blunt budget cuts that are the result of their inability to compromise. Meal assistance to the elderly, Head Start for kids and other programs will continue to fall under the knife of sequestration.