Friday, December 28, 2012

What's the real motive behind the New York Journal News publishing names and addresses of gun owners?

A newspaper in New York is releasing the names and addresses of individuals in Westchester and Putnam who have registered handguns. I have to ask myself why they're doing this. There can only be two reasons:

1) Let people know who has guns in their neighborhood so they can decide whether or not they want to remain living there or move there if they're thinking of moving.

2) Encourage residents to harass gun owners into giving up their firearms.

Now, if number one is the case, then the newspaper publisher could have done this by simply publishing the number of registered firearms in each area, even broken down by neighborhood, and names/addresses would not be necessary. Individuals could look at those numbers and decide for themselves if they want to live there.

Given that, the only logical reason becomes number two. Without directly stating that people should harass gun owners, basically, the publisher of the New York Journal is encouraging people to go after the gun owners. How long until gun owners become targets of violence in an effort to force them to get rid of their guns?

Think this can't happen?

When people in any given neighborhood find out convicted child molesters live in their neighborhood, what do they do? They don't relocate, they harass the pedophile, sometimes committing violent acts upon him or her until said person leaves the neighborhood.

When right-to-lifers publish names of abortion doctors, what happens? Radical whackjobs go after said abortion doctors, often committing violent acts until the doctors give up performing abortions or wind up dead.

We all know what happens when you put information like this into the hands of radical nutjobs. I'm just waiting for the fallout from this really stupid decision.  This my friends, is why I would avoid, at all costs, registering a firearm, even if it meant I was violating the law. Am I encouraging you to break the law? No. You do what your conscience tells you.

And before you label me, no I'm not a Conservative, nor a Republican, nor am I a member of the NRA. I'm just an American with common sense. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I saw spaceships, lots of 'em

Had a dream last night. Yes, another strange dream.

I was at my parents house, I was standing in the backyard facing the southern sky when I saw what appeared to be some sort of aircraft in the skyy, lined up. Suddenly, the spaceships, of different shapes and sizes, many of them looked like the Starship Enterprise. The ships were lined up. As they began to take their places in the sky, one went left, another went right and so on until the sky filled up. The sky was filled with bright lights and starships. They were all Coast Guard too. A couple fewl low so I'd hoped that I could wave at them and they'd see me. I went into the house looking for my Coast Guard hat so i could wear it and they would see I was one of them. :It was an amazing sky, filled with bright starships, as if protecting us from something, but what?

I also remember my aunt came over to the house and she had this helium balloon with a heavy cable attached to it and a hook and then my uncle had one too. I kept trying to attach the hook to something but I don't remember what.

I went into my parents house and told them what was going on.

Somehow the spaceships came down, they were friendly. They set up these booths and they were trying to get us to live healthier, better lives. They wanted us to participate in our communities and sign oup for things. I can't remember what I signed up for.

Sometime during the dream, I think certain people disappeared, they just exploded into dust in thin air. I don't remember why. I do recall that the people who visited us were pretty nice, though I can't recall meeting any of them.

I do look back on that dream thinking how beautiful it was looking up at the night sky and seeing those Coast Guard spaceships lined up and then going out of formation and spreading out over the sky. It was friggin amazing.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Institutions of higher education take a cue from government when it comes to incompetent employees.

Generally, private employers can fire someone fairly easily if that person isn't doing his or her job unless there's a contract with a clause that somehow prevents this. If private employers can dismiss incompetent and dishonest employees, why can't it be done on the state level?  I'm referring to institutions of higher education, specifically those public institutions of higher education which may or may not be run by the state government but are still affiliated with it. Much of the management practices of these institutions stems from those used at the state government level.  

It's common knowledge at many institutions of higher education that you can't fire incompetent employees. You heard me right, common knowledge. Anyone who has enough years at the institution knows this and while they don't accept it, there's nothing they can do about it.  We've all come face-to-face with people who should have been canned long ago and we ask ourselves "why are they still here?" and that's because the system in place at the institution and within the state government, allows it to happen.

At a particular institution I know well, an employee may be terminated with just cause which includes incompetence, misconduct on or off the job, and unsatisfactory attendance. Depending on the offense, disciplinary actions include oral and written reprimands, suspension and dismissal. Despite this, everyone knows it takes an Act of Congress to dismiss an employee from the institution. Just ask how hard it is to get rid of a faculty member who is incompetent or commits an act of misconduct like sexual harassment or a person of minority status who is incompetent at his or her duties and commits an act of misconduct. It takes forever to get rid of them, if you get rid of them at all. I've seen cases where units are afraid to do anything and said individuals are allowed to resign, rather than be fired, if of course they are required to leave at all. Of course I suppose some would consider it being generous to allow a longtime employee to resign rather than have to endure the stigma of being fired but really,what message does it send? It screams that because one is a tenured professor or falls within a "protected class" or because you're related to someone in a high position, you're exempt from the rules."



What perpetuates this? Government. Who doesn't know that it's hard as hell to fire a government employee? Everyone knows when you get a job with the government it's pretty much for life. This extends to state0-run institutions, even those which are not state-governed but are still affiliated with the state (for example in Florida, the state universities are now known as public corporations but their payroll, benefits, and such are still handled by the state). 

There are,  in my opinion, two things that muck up the ability to fire incompetence. First, employee evaluations. One of the reasons it's nearly impossible to fire a long-term employee for incompetence is well...because their employee evaluations are generally good. Sure, good employees go bad, but more often than not, certain supervisors on campus give good evaluations on shitty employees because A) they don't want to be the the reason someone might get laid off, B) they like said person and want to protect them, or C) they just don't give a damn. (What other excuses could there be?) Not only does the intentional inflation of employee marks on a shitty employee's evaluation devalue the entire evaluation process but it goes against one of the reasons for evaluations in the first place---to rid the establishment of incompetence.  I've had people in positions of authority at an institution tell me it's common knowledge and yet there's nothing they can do to remedy it. Without a documented history of incompetence, how do you expect to get rid of someone for incompetence?

Second, is the problem of fear of being sued. Some supervisors fear terminating an employee for just cause but then being sued for racism. I recall a department where, for years, employees complained and yet nothing was done. The scuttlebutt among employees was the department was afraid of being sued.Whether this is the real reason certain individuals weren't let go is only speculation. Now, if it were one or two employees speculating, that's one thing, but when it's common knowledge throughout the institution then it's something different, then it's just...I don't know...negligence? Stupidity? Bullshit?

In addition, employees who witness incompetence, misappropriation of resources, bad behavior or anything else they find inappropriate, there's supposed to be a system set up where they can complain about it, however most don't use it because they fear repercussion and in the end, nothing will be done.  I'm sure at the top, they'll claim that this simply isn't true, that the system is set up to reward the productive employees and get rid of the incompetents, blah blah blah. These people sit in their ivory towers and the have absolutely no clue. They'll also say that it's not true that those who report this kind of thing will face retaliation. Sure they dispute that...they're not the ones blowing the whistle and in fear of losing their jobs. I'm sure they believe that and I'm sure the system wasn't intended to protect the wrong people, but let's face it...they're wrong and it does. I mean, really, when you can't find a single employee (one with brains and common sense that is) who can dispute this behavior goes on, then what else is there to be said? 

With any luck, sometime in the future, someone in a position of power is going to just have to have the balls to say "enough is enough" and do the right thing.  Until then, the only thing we can do is continue to bitch about it until someone finally pays attention.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Had a dream I was a General leading my troops in battle

Last night's dream. This is one of the most unusual yet!

I was somehow elected to serve in the position in the army, in what I think was a different time period, perhaps a past era (almost seemed ancient), where I sat in this wooden chair and it elevated and I'd have this old piece of paper in my hand and have to hold on to the arms of the chair and lift up a bit and it would engage us in battle. As long as I had the paper and held it during the battle I was good. I can't remember how I was put in charge of this army. We didn't fight with guns we used arrows as did our enemies. We'd know it was time to engage the enemy when we'd hear this noise, it was almost like music or something, I can't remember. I just knew that when it was time to go into battle, I had to get into this wooden chair and have the paper with me.

In the same dream, I dreamed that I was in a German prison camp with friends including Anne and Katie. There were at least seven of us and somehow we escaped and when we got out we had papers and new cars. The cars we drove were VW bugs, the new style and they were different colors. I think eventually we all traded the in so we wouldn't be spotted. BTW this took place back in WWII.

I remember running through the woods to get away from the Germans as far as I could. I thought I'd reached the end of the woods, and couldn't fo any farther when I found I could crawl behind these trees and then there was an opening, a place I could hide.

I remember finding this house I could hide in, it was abandoned. But I also somehow found out that a few Germans had escaped the Army...fleeing from ??? and then I had to make sure they didn't see me. Either they were hiding or they were just looking to move into that house. It was a huge mansion. I looked for a place to hide. I can't remember.

I know that at some point, the seven of us were separated and we had to find out way back to America. At tome point in the dream, I realized we were going to get caught and then realized I'd had the dream before and we were caught and returned to the camp but since the war was over then, the head of the camp was a little nicer and treated us better. this wasn't a concentration camp though, it was a prison during the war.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The real numbers of who does and doesn't have federal income tax liability

I did some time consuming research. According to the Tax Policy Center, in 2009, households with a positive cash flow, here are the numbers for those who did and did not have any federal income tax liability.   

Numbers showing who had federal income tax liability (total 46.9%, here's the breakdown)
 
99.8% (18.6 million) earning less than 10K
83.6% (20.6 million) earning between $10-20K
61.8% (
12.5 million) earning between $20-30K
47.5% (7.3 million) earning between $30-40K
35.5% (4.3 million) earning between $40-50K
21.1% (4.4 million) earning between $50-75K
9.1% (1.3 million) earning between $75-100K
3.5% (628,000) earning between $100-200K
1.9% (97,000) earning between $200-500K
1.9% (16,000) earning between $500K-1 million
1.5% (6,000) earning more than $1 million

Now, in that same chart, here are those who had tax liability

0.2% (30 mill) earning less than 10K
16.4% (4.04 mill) earning between $10-20K
93.2% (7.7 mill) earning between $20-30K
53% (8.08 mill) earning between $30-40K
64.5% (7.9 mill) earning between $40-50K
78.9% (16.2 mill) earning between $50-75K
91%% (12.9 mil) earning between $75-100K
96.5% (17.4 mill) earning between $100-200K
98.1% (4.9 mill) earning between $200-500K
98.1% (850,000) earning between $500K-1 million
99% (384,000) earning more than $1 million
 

So, according to these numbers, 6,134,000 positive income tax units, as they are called (those at 200K and up) had tax liability.

Now if you add in the 119,000 in the first table who earned 200,000 or higher, who had no tax liability, but should have....we now have a total of 6,253,000 at $200,000 per year and up who will have their taxes increased. (Don't forget though that we have to subtract a few from this number because Obama wants those at $250K and higher not $200K and higher. I don't know the number of those earning between $200 and 250K)

In the end, according to this table, out of 151,485,000 with a positive cash income: \

 
145,232,000 (earning $0-199,000K) will not have their taxes increased.

6,253,000 (earning $200,000+) will have their taxes increased

The numbers don't lie. So...what gives?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Everyone knows that cutting spending means reducing tax breaks...

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is part of the problem. Recently she was on Neil Cavuto's show and he asked her what she would cut if the decision was hers, she insisted that this crisis was about revenue generation. Again, he asked her what she would cut and she replied again, this was about revenue generation, then she added that the budget is already down to its bare bones. (Yeah right!) Finally she answered the question....sort of...she said that she would cut the tax breaks for the wealthy. To his credit Cavuto informed her that that's not cutting spending and she proceeded to ramble on about the nation's budget being down to the bare bones (again!).

Now...I don't know what she's smoking but we are far from bare bones. There's still fat to trim when we're still spending billions on pork. We need to decide what's important and what isn't and then we have to make cuts. A lot of those cuts won't be pretty but something has to go. 

Anyway, getting back to Eddie Bernice Johnson, she needs to be reminded that lower taxes stimulate the economy by promoting spending and investing both of which directly contribute to the recovery of the economy. No government can successfully end a fiscal crisis permanently by raising taxes. Spending cuts must be part of the solution in order for it to even be a solution at all.

If you think for a moment that raising taxes on one percent of this nation's wage earners and not cutting spending is going to solve the crisis, then we are already doomed.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Homeless guy wants a piece of the pie...

Remember that homeless guy in NYC? Officer Larry DePrimo bought him a pair of warm socks and boots when he found him barefoot outside on a cold night. The homeless guy now identified as Jeffrey Hillman is once again in the news. Here's an excerpt from the new story:
"His name is Jeffrey Hillman, and on Sunday night, he was once again wandering the streets — this time on the Upper West Side — with no shoes. The $100 pair of boots that Officer DePrimo had bought for him at a Sketchers store on Nov. 14 were nowhere to be seen. 

“Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” Mr. Hillman said in an interview on Broadway in the 70s. “I could lose my life.”
Mr. Hillman, 54, was by turns aggrieved, grateful and taken aback by all the attention that had come his way — even as he struggled to figure out what to do about it.
“I was put on YouTube, I was put on everything without permission. What do I get?” he said. “This went around the world, and I want a piece of the pie.” 

So my guess is he either hid them or sold them. What homeless person couldn't use $100 in his or her pocket? After some thinking, I'm starting to believe Hillman would have been better off just being directed to a homeless shelter for the night instead of getting a new pair of boots. What Officer DiPrimo did was a great thing but really, did any of us expect Hillman would be walking around in those boots the next day? He wouldn't...if he was hungry...or valued his life. Just think too, if he hadn't received those boots, he wouldn't have gotten all this unwanted attention that he's struggling with. 

Now, Hillman wants, as he says, "a piece of the pie".  Geez, just another person who wants something for doing nothing. If that's the case, maybe he should get his own reality show.

Anyway, if Hillman gets his "piece of the pie" what do you think he's going to do with it? 

For starters, I think he should reimburse Officer DiPrimo for those boots.


Saturday, December 01, 2012

Putting the good back in news...

I decided to embark on a project which entails collecting stories about people doing good things and publishing those stories in my blog. Every time I flip on the news it's about Benghazi, the fiscal cliff, Syria, Israel vs. the Palestinians, Republicans vs Democrats, unemployment, etc. I thought it was time we had some good news. The news media outlets tend to only report the negative and I suppose that's because negative gets the viewers attention. Oh, occasionally we hear and read about people doing nice things for others and the stories go viral and then you don't hear anything else for while. Meanwhile every day in this world, people are taking time out of their busy lives to just do something nice for other people and even animals.

Those stories deserve to be told. I think in the current state of affairs of our world at this given moment in time, we could do with being reminded on a constant basis that there are a lot of great people and that good really does prevail over evil.

Please help me spread the word about my project. I've created an email address just for this and it's GoodDeedStories@hotmail.com.  If you know a story about someone doing good, please email it to me.

Jess