Posted tagged ‘politics’

Tax Day

March 26, 2018

taxes1It is Tax Day.  Don’t panic, please … Tax Day for me hasn’t been April 15 for many years, since I began having my taxes done by a professional tax accountant.   For most of my years working for Big Industry, I did my own taxes.  I would postpone filing as long as possible, then scramble to collect all the necessary records, re-remember from last what went on what line and hold my breath as I looked up the tax due in the Tax Tables.  That usually happened on April 14.  Since I started my own business and hired an accountant to do the dirty work, Tax Day has been the day of my appointment with Taxman Bob.   I gather up all my paperwork and fill out the tax organizer that Bob provides, them spend about an hour in his office as he looks through what I’ve provide, making sure nothing is missing or incorrect.  He checks to see that I’ve paid my estimated taxes (in the amounts he calculated the previous year to assure there will be no penalty) and makes sure I haven’t neglected any deductions.   Then we’re done.  Within a few days, he will call with the bad news.   It’s always bad news because I pay estimated taxes, so, at a minimum, I will owe the first estimated tax payment minus any return I might have coming.   It can be a substantial chunk of change. (more…)

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Stars for President

January 9, 2018

There is a scene in the film Back to the Future that I think of often lately.  In it, Marty McFly, after traveling to the past in a time machine invented by Doc Brown, is trying to convince a much younger Doc that he is indeed from the future by knowing the president of the United States in the future.

The scene is actually funnier here in 2018 than it was in 1985 given the propensity of show business types to decide that, based on their vast experience in the make believe world of show business, they should bring their questionable talents to government.   If that sentence doesn’t give you a hint how I feel about the trend, then go back and read it again.

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Both Sides Now

August 8, 2017

both sidesI am 73 years old. I have watched two generations of parents live their lives then slip away to whatever comes next. It seems to happen in one of several ways. The easiest way out seems to me to be what most people consider the most tragic … a sudden accident that snuffs out a life in its tracks.  Then there are the injuries and illnesses that gradually drain the life from those we know.  According to Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying, that can be a time to finally appreciate life and be the man (or woman) you were meant to be. Somehow, I suspect that doesn’t come easy. Then there are those that just getstranger old and slip away. Certainly that is sometimes just due to the aging of the body, but I have a theory why others just decide to let go and die. I think as we age, we look at the world that’s changed around us and don’t like what we see. We feel like a Stranger in a Strange Land (to shoplift the title of Robert A. Heinlein’s classic sci-fi novel). And at some point we just say, I’m ready for whatever’s next. It can’t be worse than this.
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Hello President Trump …

November 10, 2016

… Goodbye Social Media.

tmp_2659-th21438624336I did not sleep well on election night.  A man I would not allow in my home is now the president-elect of the United States. My feelings about Donald Trump were clearly stated in my election eve post, Enough.  But now the election is over and he has won, fair and square, in spite of his carping about rigged elections.  If you look at the voting demographics it looks like certain parts of the Democratic base didn’t turn out for Hillary and it is likely that the third party candidates hurt her as well.   Let me say this … if you didn’t vote or voted for a no-show in protest, you don’t get to complain.

This is the point at which, in most years, I would try to accept the will of the people and hope for the best from the winner.  But I find Trump so reprehensible that hope is difficult to come by.  Last night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer for our country, which is the best I can do for now. Perhaps the man will turn out to have a conscience after all, or as several people have told me, his theatrics reflect the salesman he is … once the presidency weighs upon him, he will be a better leader. Perhaps the Republican leadership or VP Pence will help him find a steadier course, in spite of their failure to do so during the campaign.  I can look back to voting for Romney four years ago and hope for rightward movement in some of the areas in which I am conservative.  And I will keep on praying. (more…)

Enough

November 7, 2016

(I do not usually post about politics here, which is why I haven’t posted for so long.  It’s been hard to take my eyes and mind off this train-wreck of an election.  Hopefully, this post will be cathartic and I can get back to being the realistic optimist that I used to be.)

enough2In the 2002 film, Enough, Jennifer Lopez plays Slim, a working class waitress married to wealthy contractor, Mitch, played menacingly by Bill Campbell .   Though the marriage starts out well, by the time their daughter, Gracie, is five years old, Mitch has become physically and emotionally abusive.  Slim and Gracie go on the run, changing their names and starting a new life in Seattle.  But Mitch is not only wealthy, he is well-connected with underworld types and unscrupulous lawyers.  He continues to stalk his wife and daughter, until, when Slim realizes he will never stop until he get sole custody of Gracie, she learns Krav Maga, a self-defense system developed by Israeli Defense Forces.   She develops an elaborate plan to confront Mitch in his own house and kill him in self-defense.  In the finale, she … if you’ll pardon the expression … kicks the living shit out of him but is unable to bring herself to kill him.  This gives him the opportunity to strike her and as she is lying on the floor, he tries to kick her, an eventuality her martial art trainer predicted.  Using a technique he taught her, Slim counters and Mitch falls from the second floor to his death.  Critics mostly hated the movie, saying it was unrealistic and trivialized the real problem of abuse but I have to admit, I have a weakness for movies in which a woman gets real revenge on an abusive husband, so I always enjoy the closing scene.

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(independent)

August 1, 2016

partiesIf you were consult the California voting rolls, you would find that I am a registered Republican.  Please don’t tell anyone.    As a conservative on defense and fiscal issues but a moderate on social issues, the party to which I am registered usually reflects my priorities at the time of registering.  I am used to being unhappy with certain avowed policies of my party of the moment, but I have never been embarrassed to be registered to a party until now.  I don’t blame the Republican party for nominating Donald Trump.  The party leadership did everything it could to convince a certain segment of our citizenry that he was unfit to betrump president.   Inexplicably, those citizens ignored the party leaders and nominated The Reality Show Candidate anyway. What I’m embarrassed about is that once the deed was done, so many of those who said he was unfit turned around and supported him.  GOP leaders John Ryan and Mitch McConnell were particularly outspoken in their criticism of Trump and therefore looked especially hypocritical when they decided to back him.   During the last election, I was a lukewarm supporter of Mitt Romney.   He’s looking pretty good to my eyes now.   Integrity counts.  So-called conservative talk show hosts like Limbaugh and Hannity, too, have shown their true colors and supported The Reality Show Candidate.   So, please, in spite of my current party affiliation, call me independent. (more…)

Candidates and Trolls

March 15, 2016

troll1I love the internet.   I make use of it extensively in my vocation, engineering, and my avocation, writing.   I have several blogs, a Facebook account with a page for my blog, Oldereyes, and a Twitter account (OK, I do absolutely nothing with that but it sounds good).  I play games on the internet, communicate with faraway friends via email, and use it as my primary source of news.  But I don’t love everything about the internet.   I don’t like the way young people seem to substitute online experience for real life.  I don’t like the way the click-driven culture causes material to be posted just to create controversy.   The amount of inaccurate information on the internet … and the number of people who believe anything they read there … make me crazy.   But what bothers me most is the emergence of Trolls, people who stalk the message boards and comment pages posting vitriolic, bigoted and crude commentary on just about anything.   Much of it is political, over the top liberal-conservative name calling but some of it goes beyond the bounds of a civilized society.  It didn’t worry me, though, because I tended to think of it as harmless … I regarded Trolls as pathetic recluses hiding in the anonymity of the internet.  Now I’m worried.  Why?  Things like this:

I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There’s a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches, we’re not allowed punch back anymore. … I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.
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