Entries from blogs tagged with “Citizen Journalism Academy”
Coming out of the conventions I cannot help but note that the level of discord is acerbic and escalating. The word liar is bandied about freely - frequently focused on opinion and beliefs. Intent is questioned and painted as base. Plans are challenged with high emotional content. Most exchanges are a few sentences long (or less). Horrendous problems are reduced to short sound bites.
In our own little LJW world, ad hominem attack is the coin of the realm. Both sides are absolutely certain as to the righteousness of their opinions. Contrary opinions are belittled and reduced to ridicule. A poster may be cosigned to psychiatric services for expressing anger at what in his/her opinion is a gross misrepresentation.
Now, I spend much time buried in our nation’s history with emphasis on our civil war. I have recently been reading James McPherson’s book “Battle Cry of Freedom“. I would commend it to our free wheeling debaters on here with focus on the political and civic environment from 1850 to 1860. In my reading a similar environment to the one today existed (different topic). That one led to a civil war and 600,000 casualties.
I cannot help but wonder where we are headed with our current debates. Having thoroughly debased the opposition is compromise any longer a possibility? Are we really so sure that our opinions are transcendent and our opponent’s ideas are so worthless? Shades of my kindergarten playground!
One of the basic tenants of Mr. Obama’s campaign was a more equitable distribution of income. The process to be used to achieve this goal was not presented in detail at that time. After almost four years I would contend we can see the outlines of his approach.
The Democrats created in Mr. Obama’s first year in office a 1 trillion a year imbalance in our annual federal national budget which continues into the foreseeable future. Many Democrats call for continued spending at that level of GDP or perhaps a further expansion to 25% of GDP. It is my contention that the only way we can pay for that is to soak the upper half of the middle class because they are the group paying the taxes now. No rationale increase on the wealthy would cover an increase so large.
It is also my contention that for the most part there is no such thing as a “Bush Tax Cut” .The current tax rates on the people who pay most of our federal taxes (upper middle class) are in excess of what they were paying pre the Reagan tax cuts. While presumably ending those cuts would also increases taxes on the rest of us, in fact the expansion of deductions since Reagan means the near 50% paying little or no federal income tax now will see no increase. Letting the “Bush Tax Cuts” expire will tax the upper middle class at a rate unique in our history (except wars), exempt about half the tax payers from federal taxes and barely nick the rich.
I further argue that the ACA is an exemplar for all future broad based entitlements (Social Security and Medicare) where they will be heavily means tested. The ACA will be and most other federal programs are already. Note that part of the rational for the $ 600 billion in cuts to Medicare is a change in the means te4sting formula. This enhanced means testing on broad based national programs will devastate the upper half of the middle class, expand entitlements significantly to the lower half and essentially hold harmless the rich.
In short through tax and entitlement policy the Obama administration is relentlessly moving toward redistributing income from the upper half of the middle class to the lower half of the middle class while avoiding most impact on their rich donor set? In fact his administration may well smother any ambition to make more than about $50K as the government in one form or another will take most of it in excess to that level. Only the already really rich (>.1M) will still have incentive to achieve.
We on this list have on several occasions had discussions as to whether the Democrats ever had the votes in the 111th Congress to pass a tax increase.
If my research is accurate from July 7, 2009 to August 25, 2009, and September 25, 2009 to February 4, 2010, the US Senate had only 40 (39 at one point) Republican Party Members. To establish a filibuster 41 votes are required. During that period the Republicans by themselves apparently could not muster a filibuster to block a Democratic Party attempt to raise taxes.
During the same period The US House had over 250 Democratic Party members - more than enough to pass a tax increase if so inclined.
It would seem that there was at least a four month window of opportunity during the 111th Congress to pass a tax increase (any version favored by Democrats) if the party leadership could have held their respective caucus to the task. Does anybody know what happened?
I remember back in the old war movies where that line was frequently used just before a character sacrificed himself for the survival of the group. You do not hear it much today.
Elsewhere on here I have posted a series of opinions as to just how we are all sharing in supporting the future of our nation. The wealthiest among us have an effective tax rate lower than that levied on the middle class. Almost half of us draw or anticipate drawing federal benefits but pay no federal income tax. The investment of public funds for personal aggrandizement is rampant and growing. The clamor in this space and the national media is focused on more- much more - for me or for my friends. The collusion between elected officials and the overwhelming numbers of “rent” seekers is flaunted – whether it be the enacting of selected tax breaks, the provision of unsustainable public pensions or other costly largess (like maybe a new recreation center).
We seem to have lost focus. However we may perceive the need for some public service somebody has to pay for it. There are few volunteers. Can we really expect that those who our involuntarily anointed to pay will not reciprocate by finding their own way to avoid paying? After all, is that not what is happening. To quote Mrs. Helmsley “only the little people pay taxes”. It has become everyman for himself and somebody else can take the consequences.
I wonder just how long this can continue before we are once again confronted with a scene where somebody must “take one for the gipper”. Will there be a volunteer? I am beginning to think not.
Oprah earned $222,000,000 last year. She likely paid a lower percentage in taxes than you or I did. Do you hate her for being intelligent enough to become wealthy and give mega money to the charities of her choice (many of them are outside the United States) rather than the government?
Do you despise Romney or Brad Pitt for being wealthy and giving their money to the charities of their choice?
Do you feel people lose their common sense during the months prior to Presidential elections in political debate?
Whoa Toto, there they go again. We all know that certain posters on here argue for an ending to the so called “Bush Tax Cuts”. They make it sound as if only the rich would be impacted. They are lying! Many of you already pay more tax today then you would have pre the “Bush Tax Cuts”! They would increase that further!
A quick look at the income tax rate tables (IRS source) and one finds that today the upper half of the middle class has an income tax rate of 25 % (or greater) for income greater than $69K. In 1965 (pre-Reagan) the 25% rate started at inflation adjusted $85 K. Looks to me as if today the middle class is already paying more in taxes than they were pre the “Bush Tax” cut.
How could any intelligent person call the current tax system a tax cut when the middle class is already paying more than they were at one of the high points in our taxation history?
Now in 1965 the 36% marginal tax rate began at in inflation adjusted income of $170K while today the 35% bracket starts at an income level of $379K. This is clearly the reverse of the way we have come to tax the middle class. The rich (greater than $250K or so) have made out like bandits – they and they alone received a big tax cut.
The Republicans have tax proposals that would seemingly reduce taxes for all but (absent real detail) appear to raise taxes on the middle by reducing deductions used primarily by the middle. The President proposes a modest tax increase on the rich (nowhere near 1965 levels) while his surrogates propose substantial tax increases on the middle to address a budget imbalance that the President refuses to address through cuts or meaningful tax increases on the rich.
The guy in the green coat and the fire and brimstone machine has gotten loose again. Neither party proposes to help the middle income taxpayer but both work to focus the middle on marginal issues to protect the elites. Isn’t that what it is all about – protecting the elites.
Don’t let that man in a green suit confuse you. Unfortunately, I think Toto retired. If you don’t want a substantial federal tax increase you better pull back the curtain yourself!
If you are up, one of the most important space exploration events is happening now through early Monday morning (August 6), the landing of Curiosity. Media coverage is pretty spotty. Fortunately there is NASA TV for us night owls. http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html
CNN is covering this at least on line but they are getting their feed from NASA, so go right to the source.
Update! Curiosity has landed..first photos.
You may not realize it but we are getting a good lesson about the way science works, or at least should work. The lesson involves an independent study of planetary temperature data designed to examine some of the global warming skeptic's concerns about the nature of the data used in previous studies on climate change. The new study was conducted by a group of scientists involved in a project called BEST- the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study.
Some of the study's conclusions include the following:
- The heat island effect in urban areas is not biasing the estimates of land surface temperature.
- Poor quality weather stations are also not biasing the global estimates of land surface temperature.
- Adding more temperature data gives results that are consistent with those in previous studies.
- The best fit to to the data-(BEST did not use traditional climate models but a correlational approach) are a model that combines volcanic activity (the effect by the way is to cool climate) and carbon dioxide concentration. Variation in solar input is NOT an explanatory factor in current climate trends.
The BEST group has submitted their analysis and results for publication and what is really admirable have opened up their data sets and analytical methods to public scrutiny. The study by the way was funded in part by the Charles Koch foundation.
Now it easy to say well we knew a lot of this stuff from current work-but an important aspect of science is the confirmatory aspect of science- it's what should enable us to gain confidence in our ideas-while others fall by the way side as not tenable. I don't expect these results to convince every one and they may also be flawed in ways that aren't immediately obvious. But maybe they will nudge the scientific and political debate to where we can have a serious talk about how to deal with global warming.
The BEST Website is at http://berkeleyearth.org/
There is also an interesting commentary from the study's principle investigator who has changed his mind and global warming and it's causes based on the results of the study.
Several people have reported seeing these wonderful insects over the last couple of days. These are sometimes called velvet ants. They are not ants but mutillid wasps. The females are wingless and usually brightly colored-orange or orange and black, though a few are grey. The males are winged. The females are enter the burrows of ground nesting bees and wasps and lay their eggs on or near the larvae of their host. The eggs hatch and the Mutlillid larvae feed on the host's larvae.
Mutillids can pack a powerful sting-especially the one pictured here. That probably is the origin of the other common name as a figure of speech- "Cow Killer." The females are extremely active and never seem to stop moving so it is difficult to get a decent picture of them. Fortunately I had a plastic lid to a lens filter handy and was able to trap this one long enough to get a good shot.
Poet Timothy Pettet, Kansas City, Missouri, is drawn to the prairie, small towns (think Cottonwood Falls and Linwood, Ks), their cemeteries and their history.
Pettet, who is in the process of finalizing an Opera entitled Mona and Zero, made his way to a cemetery outside Linwood today to research the Chance family. By a differing means of chance, Pettet met Stuart Sweeney (Union Pacific car inspector), who has information about the approximately 30 members of the Chance family Pettet is interested in.
Pettet, who made his way into Linwood with the intent to research the lone cemetery, that sits atop a cottonwood treed shaded hilltop, at The Linwood Library, was directed to one of the town's yearly fund raising events hosted by The Lion's Club when he asked a member from the Sheriff's department to direct him to a restaurant.
Wes Knight (stonemason) invited Pettet towards a cooker of pulled pork, homemade potato salad and a selection of desserts even though the fundraiser doesn't start for several hours (it is open from 3 -7 pm Saturday evening - donations accepted).
Knight, Sweeney (sons Jacob and Andrew) and fellow BBQer Phil Rosewicz (Civil Engineer Amy Core), all of Linwood, spoke about a shelter, prescription eye wear and other uses the money from the Lion's Club fundraiser has provided the Linwood community since the mid 1950's when now deceased charter member Casey Jones helped set up tents along the road in which chickens were smoked..
These days, the smokers are filled with pork and chicken and club members remain downtown with their specialty smokers.
Pettet left Linwood with an affirmation of why he is attracted to the prairie and small town comraderie.
Pettet will be reading poem 'Switching Way Back' and discussing additional projects on KLWN live from The Runaway Pony Sunday, July 29th, between 8:30 and 9:30 am.
With all the attention Google is getting with the fiber plans in Kansas City, I thought it was a good idea to share some things I've heard, and see if anyone knows more.
A few years ago, I was sitting in the barbershop. The gentleman next to me was telling us that he'd received a letter from Sunflower/Knology (don't recall which who it was. or exactly how long ago it was) announcing that they would be deploying fiber based internet in his area. He lived southwest of town, somewhere near the Wakarusa school.
A call to Sunflower (or whoever) at the time, and a few inquiries since, have not elicited any more information.
However, there is one more interesting item. About a year ago, I was googling trying to find information about fiber deployments. Somewhere, and I can't find it again now, I saw a map of the Dougas county area that showed fiber deployed in a narrow band north and south of Clinton Lake.
Is there anyone out there with a fiber connection from Knology? Does anyone know anything more?
Yes, I know I haven't posted an IPS photo in a while. Don't give up hope. I haven't.
Locally Westar has introduced Smart Grid technologies that are billed as helping individuals track and manage their power usage and also help the power company manage its load. Does this technology, though pose a threat to civil liberties in ways we haven't thought about yet? I don't know... but a cousin in Canada sent this link to me from a Canadian Libertarian think tank...not a site I would normally visit...but it does provide an interesting take on the new smart grid technologies.
For the record, neither my cousin or I use old style incandescent bulbs and personally I like my smart meter. So check the article out. What do you think? Are these fears real or vastly overblown?
If you've lived in Lawrence for any length of time, you've heard the stuff legends are made from. Amazing keyboardist, song writer and vocalist Mike Finnigan (he originally landed in Lawrence to attend KU on a basketball scholarship) makes it big. Ok, make that huge!
Back in the day, we danced to Finnigan and Wood and held our breath. We knew he was bound to leave us. And we wanted him to. He had music to share with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Etta James, Taj Mahol, Cher, Ringo and Leonard Cohen (yes, I picked a few at random).
Finnigan and Woods hit, Crazed Hipsters, is a frekin classic.
I was thrilled to hear Finnagin and his band were playing at The Bottleneck last night and again tonight. I hadn't heard him play for years.
He may be the old kid on the block, but he brought a new kid with a newbie old sound along His son, Kelly Finnigan, and band Monophonics (mono phonics.com/).
The pride with which father introduced his son last night was obvious - and for good reason. Kelly has stage presence, voice, soul and talent to die for. He may not resemble his dad physically, but he inherited the music gene and then some.
In a society where offspring of famous talents (think Julian Lennon and Presley), often disappoint, Kelly surprises and just keeps bringing it. And bringing it. His performance of My Baby Shot Me Down was my favorite of the night, but each performance was brilliant.
Monophonics isn't 'just' Kelly Finnigan - here then are the rest of the band, each one a stand out in their own right: guitarist, Ian McDonald, Myler O'Mahony, bassist Alex Baly, saxophonist Ryan Scott, trumpeter drummer Austin Bohlman.
With voice and soul reminiscent of Joe Cocker, Kelly oozes stardom.
The Monophonics music is described as psychedelic soul - known these days as black rock.
Students, if you've completed summer finals, treat yourself to this two in one concert for $16. If you have a final tomorrow, you know you either know it by now or you don't!
Music lovers of any generation really do not want to miss this concert.
As I have repeatedly opined in this space, the current level of federal expenditures coupled with the added costs of new programs such as Obama Care can not be sustained by our current tax income supplemented by any rational increase on the rich. For my efforts I have been accused of fuzzy math.
Now the Washington Post weighs in on my side of the argument. Whether or not we raise taxes on the middle class is certainly open to discussion. Lying about the true intentions of the Democratic Party is not! Mr. Obama come clean and explain your party’s real program. Continuing to argue that it will be painless to all but the rich will only further destroy whatever credibility you have left. We deserve to know your intentions if you are re-elected
There has been a lot in the news about the great drought of 2012 and what the high temperatures might be telling us about what is happening to climate. So rather that rely on "some people say" as a source, I decided to check climate data from NOAA to get some perspective on the situation. NOAA has a great time series of statewide data for important weather parameters including average temperatures, precipitation and several measures of drought severity.
First of all how does 2012 stack up so far temperature wise for Kansas?
My firs NOAA data plot shows June's historical temperature data just by itself:
Notice that June just by itself really isn't so extreme historically. But my impression as a biologist who spends a lot of time doors, is that this year HAS been abnormally warm so lets look at year to date historical data shown in my next plot:
This shows a quite different story. As you can see the year to date temperature through June is very extreme. The year to data average temperature for the state is 55 degrees F. The next closest year to date average for Kansas appears to be 1986 at 54 degrees F. Going back to the 1930's, 1934 is the dust bowl year that comes closest at 53 degrees F. So temperature wise- so far this year is historically abnormal. However many of the record highs of the 1930's still stand.
Another concern is of course the several drought and NOAA provides several drought indices. Not being familiar with how these indices relate to each other I chose just to plot the basic Palmer Drought Severity index which uses local temperature and precipitation data to provide an index of drought severity that can be used to examine historical data: Negative values of the index represent more severe local drought conditions.
Notice that 2012 does not even come close in severity to the earlier droughts, including some relatively recent droughts of the 1980's. What is interesting is that the Palmer index suggests that the drought of the mid 1950's was in some respects more intense than the drought of the 1930's.
So the data suggest that yes it has been really abnormally warm so far in 2012. On the other hand the Palmer data suggest that the current drought is not (At least through June) as severe as a number of other droughts we have had.
One problem we have of course looking at historical data is that agricultural practices have changed since the 1930's. Much of the marginal land that was farmed then is not farmed now or is farmed using large scale irrigation. Farmers today tend to use tillage and other conservation practices that that probably are moderating local temperature and precipitation to some degree compared to earlier years. This might explain the greater number of extreme highs during the 1930's when conservation practices were not as widespread.
If you want to have your own fun looking at climate data, check out the NOAA site at:
There is a pull menu where you can select your state or region. You can also filter the data in various ways. This is a good way to check one's perceptions of climate change against historical data so you won't have to rely on what "some people say" or the infamous "they say" as a data source!
A link the drought indices is here: http://www.drought.noaa.gov/palmer.html
If you are into looking at extremes in terms of temperature and precipitation weather underground has a link to climate data. Go to www.wunderground.com and select the climate tab. Have fun!
We have a winner for Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s The Divorce Girl: a story of art and soul
We had 25 entries from fifteen different contestants in The Divorce Girl giveaway. The Divorce Girl: a story of art and soul is Kansas State Poet Laureate's latest book which has been released as of July 7th by Ice Cube Press.
Goldberg has scheduled readings from July 7th, 2012 through January 13th, 2013 in Kansas, Missouri, Vermont. Minnesota, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Florida, and Tuscon. Additionally, Goldberg will host Skype book group sessions through WOW program. Her book may be purchased locally at The Raven bookstore.
Drum roll please.....
Our winner is Frankie8!
Congratulations to Frankie8!!! I'll be in touch via the secure ljworld messaging service to find out how to get your book to you. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I have.
Thank you to the other contestants. I encourage all of you to purchase the book and embrace it at upcoming book clubs. Goldberg does make appearances at them to discuss her book.
I was zipping back across town early this morning when I noticed a gentleman with a long tool changing gas price numbers on the sign at Westside 66 to a lower number.
My first thought was that if I had not been driving, I'd have given him a round of applause. I then wondered what, if anything, I've done recently that would warrant applause; that of course led to this blog topic.
So go ahead, toot your own horn, break your arm patting yourself on the back.
What have you done recently that makes you deserving of a bow and a round of applause?
GIVEAWAY!!! Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s novel ‘The Divorce Girl: A Story of Art and Soul’ free book GIVEAWAY!!!
No, I'm not giving away the book's entire plot, but if you leave a comment, you'll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of State of Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg's soon to be released novel, 'The Divorce Girl: A Story of Art and Soul'.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of the book a couple of months ago. I made time to read 'The Divorce Girl' when I recently house sat east of Lawrence on my friend Richard Gwin's gorgeous property. I alternated between picking blackberries, (and ticks) and reading the exquisitely written novel. It was one of the best weeks I've had in years!
'The Divorce Girl' is told through the eyes of main character Deborah Shapiro. This isn't your run of the mill coming of age story about a girl growing up and surviving turbulent times. It is set in New Jersey and is a tenderly written, intricately woven masterpiece of blending varied cultures, poignant human flaws, child abuse and a never ending search for oneself through internal and external processes.
Goldberg's idea of giving main character, Deborah, a camera, which then enables her to carefully scrutinize every person, place and thing without (too much) suspicion, was not only brilliant, but masters movement throughout the book as well.
This novel is officially set to be released July 7th by Ice Cube Press (www.icecubepress.com) Be the first on your street to own a copy!
Goldberg is the author of 14 books, including upcoming non fiction "Needle in the Bone: How a Holocaust Survivor and Polish Resistance Fighter Beat the Odds and Found Each Other'.
Besides being our state Poet Laureate, Goldberg is the founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches. You may follow her at www.CarynMirriamGoldberg.com
Books may be purchased from The Raven Bookstore - 8th E. Seventh St., Lawrence - at a ten percent discount. Goldberg is happy to make an appearance at your book club.
Entrees may be continued until midnight Saturday, July 7th. The winner will be announced Sunday. Happy summer reading and good luck!
It had been decades since I'd seen Bill Lynch play. I'd stopped going to dances and local performances once I had children and only recently did I fall back in with the 'in' crowd who enjoy meeting and dancing our caloric needs and weekend nights away.
I was excited this past month when I learned Lynch would be coming to town and would perform this past weekend.
I was disappointed however at how a local business used a big name performer such as Lynch for their bait and switch.
Here is what happened. Online tickets were a few dollars more than those purchased direct from the business - which opens daily at three for drinking and ticket purchases. My son is more likely the age group who frequent the establishment, so I sent him in - three days in a row - to get tickets.
The problem was that their computer 'was down' and they couldn't run any tickets off. I wised up and started calling in advance rather than send my son in a fourth or fifth time in the heat. Each time I was told they still had no means to run the tickets off, but the problem would be solved the next day. There was even discussion that they were bringing in another computer specifically for the purpose to run off tickets.
Saturday, the day of the concert, I called and still no tickets had been printed. I expressed concern that the performance would be sold out. I was assured that it would not be and that I could even wait until that evening to purchase my ticket at the $13 fee.
I arrived early to insure getting a ticket and to save seats for additional friends. No one was at the door at that time. At some point I went to get water for our group and the bartender asked me to go get my wristband. I went to the doorman/ticket taker and was surprised when he told me the price was $16. I mentioned all the times I'd tried to purchase tickets. I was referred back to the bartender (perhaps he is a manager). He wasn't interested in how many times I'd attempted to get tickets or that I'd been assured I could purchase them that evening for the original fee. He said they still had to pay for the price of running off the tickets. I asked why they couldn't just f' ing stamp my hand. I got a look that told me if I didn't back down, I'd be escorted from the establishment. I went to buy my ticket. The doorman said, "So you get the $13 price?" I could have lied, but I did not. I told him I was required to pay the $16.
An hour later, I mentioned to a friend in the bathroom what had occurred. Several other women spoke up and said they had the same experience.
My questions: How much extra money did the establishment make by doing this? (there were probably a couple of hundred people there)
How could they say the extra charge for tickets at night cost $3 more than tickets during the day that they never had?
When did they become able to run tickets off?
Is this a common practice used by this establishment?
I would gladly have paid more for a performance by Bill Lynch. The issue wasn't about the price, it was about the practice by the establishment that cost many people time and effort.
Please share your experiences with bait and switch practices.
In this world of online formats where anonymity allows people to share the utmost in personal likes and dislikes, family histories and life experiences are cried about, laughed over, examined intellectually or thrown out as an off the cuff remark, it's easy for members of a forum such as the ljworld to become family.
Upon graduation from The World Company Citizen Journalism Academy five years ago, I began writing blogs. I was naive, inexperienced and technically challenged to say the least.
One commenter who immediately assisted me with support and knowledge was Multidisciplinary - multi.
Her off beat sense of humor, knowledge of online forums, quick wit, astute wisdom, array of sites to supply photos and links to back up conversation really added much to our blogs. She even invited me over to her house on numerous occasions to teach me first hand how to scroll blogs and put folders together.
I have to admit, I first thought, because of multi's handle, that she was a he and also a police officer. She got a kick out of that.
I was saddened to learn last evening that she passed away on Monday of this week.
I know there were times multi and I gave each other digs, other times she managed my song title blog sites when I was too busy to alphabetize it myself, and she suggested numerous blog topics for me to write about. She also became much like the twin sister we always joked that we, as Scorpio woman, were. I'll miss her in ways I'm just beginning to realize. Her outgoing personality, outrageous sense of humor and embracing hug made her a popular favorite at our backyard group gatherings.
Many of us have special memories of Multi, please share yours.