Bradner Pond


The hazy red sphere lifted above the brown cattails, pin oaks, and dead sycamores on the eastern edge of Bradner Pond in Northern Ohio.  It reflected in the rear window of the rusting hulk of the 1927 model A Ford.  The passenger door, the rear fenders and the cloth roof had abandoned the rusted out, black four door sedan years ago.  The rubber tires had rotted. The front end rested on what remained of the rims.  The rear axle rested somewhat precariously on rocks rolled from a nearby field to keep the rear wheel rims off the ground.

“Tequila” by the Champs ripped the cool stillness of the morning, as the teens worked feverishly wrapping the frayed rope around the right rear rim of the old Model A Ford.   To be truthful the the rope was rope in name only.  The boys had actually pieced together the “rope” from clothes line and binder twine.  They had modified the rim so that it would hold two hundred yards of the rope which now stretched across the dark blue waters of the pond and disappeared into the tall grasses, brush and cattails.  Chris, Mike and Eddie stepped back and admired their work.


The War on Christmas

 To start with, as far as I am aware, neither the city,  the county, or the state, or the federal government has outlawed a citizen from celebrating Christmas in whatever manner they choose fit on their own property.  What governments can and have done under the first amendment to the constitution is outlaw public funds being used to celebrate particular religious holidays.  In other words the government may not use your tax dollars to celebrate a particular religion.  For example, the government may not use your tax dollars to promote or celebrate Hindu, Jewish, Christian or any other religious holiday.  This protects you from having to support, through your tax dollars, Hindu, Christian, Jewish or any other religion.

Now, how to greet people with good spirit during this holiday season.  

If the person you are greeting is known to be a Christian, wish them a “Merry Christmas”.  If you don’t know the person’s religion, but you still want to wish them well in this season, a generic “Happy Holiday” would be nice and appropriate. 

Finally, for those who still want to present themselves as victims of a “War on Christmas”, to them I say “Happy Holidays” and a “Bah Humbug”!

Saving Social Security

imageI have never published an article whole cloth but this article explains the solution so well that I must.
This originally appeared on Robert Reich’s blog.
Republicans would love to get rid of Social Security and Medicare. But they can’t, because Social Security and Medicare are among the most popular of all federal programs. Besides, most Americans have been paying into them their whole working lives, and depend on them.

So how will Republicans attempt to end these programs? By doing nothing to save Medicare and Social Security.

The trustees for Medicare and Social Security — of which I used to be one — say Medicare will run out of money by 2026, three years sooner than last projected, and Social Security will run out in 2034.

But this doesn’t have to be the case.

Here are three easy fixes to Social Security and Medicare that Republicans don’t want you to know about.

First: Raise the cap on income subject to Social Security payroll taxes.

This year, that cap is $128,400, meaning that every dollar earned above $128,400 isn’t subject to Social Security taxes.

So the typical CEO of a big company, who makes over $15 million, pays Social Security taxes on just $128,400 of his or her income, a tiny fraction. While the typical nurse practitioner, who takes home around $100,000, pays Social Security taxes on every dollar of his or her income.In this era of raging inequality, that’s not fair. And it’s not even logical. Raise the cap.

Second: To help rein in Medicare costs, allow the government to use its huge bargaining power to negotiate lower drug prices.

Big Pharma has gotten legislation barring the government from negotiating lower drug prices. That legislation should be repealed.

Big Pharma says this would mean less research on new drugs, but that’s baloney. Pharma already spends more on advertising, marketing, and lobbying than it does on research.

Third: To deal with a basic reason why Social Security and Medicare are running out of money, allow more young immigrants into the U.S.

The basic reason why Social Security and Medicare are running out of money is the American population continues to age and live longer – leaving a relatively smaller working population to pay into Social Security and Medicare.

What to do? Allow in more young immigrants. Immigrants and their children are the fastest growing segment of the working population, already contributing billions in payroll taxes every year. Instead of shutting immigrants out, allowing more immigrants into the country will help secure the future of Social Security and Medicare.