The Soapbox Archives:
I was thinking...
If I'm dancing (well) with someone, then we're speaking the same language. The only "foreigner" is someone who can't or won't dance.
Hopefully you've noticed that the monthly Boston Swing Dance is in a new location this month. It was disappointing to have the venue move because it was only two (long) blocks from my house. I was around when it moved last time from Cambridge. I can't blame them for moving, though. The manager of the St. James Armenian Hall booked all the dates for September, October and November so there were no open dates for the dance. It's a pretty shabby way to treat someone who's been a reliable and trouble-free renter for the past 15 years.
What's really crappy, though, is the hidden rent increase.
The hall's manager decided to enforce a state law requiring a "crowd control manager" on duty during the dances and he decided that he would be that (paid) crowd control manager, even though Roger Weiss is already a certified crowd control manager. Since it would have made sense for the manager to be there *anyway*, this was basically a rent increase that would have had to be passed on to the dance's customers (a $2 increase in the admission fee).
Roger really, really, *REALLY* didn't want to raise the price of the dance. And being denied any dates for the first three months was pretty much a slap in the face after 15 years of an event that doesn't cause trouble and doesn't involve alcohol. I think it's great that Roger was able to find a new venue for his dance and that's in the same neighborhood as the old location.
However, I was still looking around and saw a forest green convertible Mustang with the 4.6L engine (215 hp?). That was a sweet car, but after staring at the car for a while, I thought "rear-wheel drive" + "convertible" + "New England"...this is a reallly bad idea. Plus I really couldn't justify getting two cars at the same time.
I saw a convertible Volkswagen Beetle today on the highway and I thought that I'd never buy a convertible. You must be wondering why I felt that way.
Last week I was driving on Route 2 near the ramp for I-95 North and all of a sudden, I saw a car "fly". Yup. Three cars ahead of me, a lime green Beetle flipped into the air and landed on its roof. I swear that it reached at least five feet off the ground. I remember seeing it in the air over the two cars in front of me. It was interesting that the car stayed intact and that the roof of the car was not crumpled; it did not lose its shape. The driver was helped out but she walked away with no more than a limp. The car that hit it from behind lost its entire front bumper but that driver seemed to be unhurt. You have be impressed that the first car *landed* on its roof and didn't pancake.
Getting back to the convertible Beetle, I was thinking that it had no rollbar so, if the same misfortune happened to this car as to the one I saw in the accident, the driver would die, There'd be no protection for the driver in the case of a turnover.
Of course, there are stupid people out there who say that it was only an accident and it wouldn't/couldn't happen to them. That's the definition of "accident": it's something bad that happens in spite of your best precautions and all your skill. I'm sure that the driver in the flipped car didn't think that her car could leave the ground while she was driving it.
In the current presidential campaign, I've heard a lot of rhetoric but I'm not sure if everyone's making the right connections.
Our beloved former governor made a very mean-spirited remark that 47% of the country was not paying income taxes. It was meant as a sound bite to placate some very deep-pocketed fellow-travellers. That I understand. He felt safe to make such comments in a friendly environment. However, as someone in a high-profile situation, he has to take some responsibility for the people he denigrated (hey! I got that word right.)
We have these two ideas:
The devil is in the details:
If Romney wants these 47%ers to pay more taxes, he's going to have to *raise taxes*.
There is a distinct difference in what poor people and wealthy people will do with their tax savings.
Supply Side Economics (what George H. Bush referred to as "Voodoo Economics") says that businesses will invest their tax savings and hire more people. In an ideal world, that might be true, most likely in a thriving economy. However, we live in reality and in our case, a recession. A business isn't going to retool and reinvest their tax savings in their company unless they know that their business is going to improve. They're not going to hire more people until they know that there is going to be more demand for their products. If customers don't have the money, they're going to cut back on their spending and businesses won't hire when demand is low.
The Middle-class and the Lower-class segments of our society have different priorities. They're out buying food and clothes for their kids, gasoline for commuting to work, heating oil for the winter, medicine and health care for their families and they'll be glad to have *one* roof over their heads. They're going to have less "discretionary" cash because they have to spend a higher percentage of their income on the essentials.
What do the wealthy do with their tax savings? They'll buy new (additional) homes, new cars, new yachts, and perhaps, if they think of it, put them away in off-shore bank accounts.
But that's not my main issue with our former Governor.
When he was "pre-campaigning" for the Presidency, he was giving speeches around the country while still governor of Massachusetts. During those "non-campaign" stops, he would criticize and insult the people of Massachusetts. He didn't have the honor to resign while backstabbing the people who elected him. While he was still governor, his lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, couldn't assume the office and get the benefits of the incumbant candidate in the upcoming election. Romney left her out to dry and she got hammered in the elections. Mitt Romney has no use for loyalty.
But that's not my main issue with our former Governor.
When campaigning for the US Senate against Ted Kennedy, Mitt Romney promised that he'd be a better Senator for the gay community than the most liberal (i.e., open minded) Senator in the country. Mitt Romney now says he changed his mind. Mitt Romney promised to be a better Senator for those who are Pro-Choice. Mitt Romney now says that he's changed his mind. Mitt Romney's health care plan in Massachusetts was the model for "ObamaCare". Mitt Romney now says that he's changed his mind. Mitt Romney extended the ban on assault rifles in Massachusetts after the same federal law expired in 2004. Mitt Romney says that's he's a life-long hunter (a documented fib) and has changed his mind. Mitt Romney has demonstrated that he will say whatever he needs to say to get elected. The truth of the matter is that he has no convictions when it comes to winning votes.
So, the thing to consider here is, suppose you ask Mitt Romney if he's going to use the Presidency to promote his (Mormon) religion. Of course, he is going to answer with the the right answer: "No". The question is, are you going to trust him to not change his mind yet one more time?
I love reading editorials and opinions because I want hear other ideas. I'm open to listening to others to find out where they get their facts (if any) and to make sure my opinions are valid. Here is an interesting one from The New York Times on September 17, 2012.
"You should format all of your pages in 'Red' to highlight your commie views. At least Mitt Romney is a real American, you can't say the same for B. Hussein Obama, the puppet of Soros!"I always thought that it was ironic that the "Red States" are the Republican states.
On one hand, I was amused by the email.
I made him think. I'm sure he doesn't do it that often and it must have hurt his head. Maybe he'll be like the Scarecrow and find a brain eventually.
Demeaning someone because of their *name*? That's so 4th grade. I bet this guy thinks that anyone with a Middle East-sounding name must be an Arab terrorist (even if they're Jewish). Anyone who isn't with him must a communist? I don't think so. Most grown-ups wouldn't think so, either.
As an aside, I wanted to educate some of the ignorant. Our president's name is Barack Hussein Obama II; yes, he was named after his *father*. How many people name their kids after themselves in this country? Do we blame the kids for that? Obama is a family name in Kenya. Africa? African family name? It makes sense to me. Barack is a Swahili name. Again, black president, black name. What part is confusing? Hussein was the president's grandfather's name. Look at the real meaning of the name. How many of you were named after a grandparent? In a multi-cultural society like the United States, it's rather immature to make bigotted assumptions from someone's name.
Let's face it: in any discussion, the first person to swear or resort to name-calling loses the moral high ground and the argument. It means that they have nothing interesting to say. Their only strategy is to divert attention from the message by attacking the messenger; they' can't fight the facts.
On the other hand, I was also disappointed.
I wanted a meaningful, mature, and intelligent discussion [on the topic I brought up].
I spent a couple of hours writing my editorial (and many more on this one). I rewrote entire paragraphs several times to make sure my ideas were clearly stated. Don't get me wrong; I like writing my editorials. It's just that this correspondent spent about 10 seconds to throw out an unrelated insult because he didn't have anything better to say.
I had been hoping that someone would come forth and try to get me to change my mind. No, I don't mean by diverting the subject to Barack Obama, but to justify Mitt Romney's actions. This writer is just too angry to listen to other people's opinion. He might just be too self-centered to see anyone else's point of view; he's certain not going to entertain the possibility that he might be wrong. I'm open to finding a common ground that everyone can support. I'm not a cold-hearted conservative nor am I a bleeding heart liberal; I'm somewhere in between. I bet most of you are too.
It's disappointing that this writer was finding fault with me for having an opinion; perhaps he'd prefer to be in a country where the Right controlled all manner of thought and expression, something like Germany, circa 1937. Every US citizen (of which I am one) has a right to disagree with me and a right to express that opinion, but we're not going to get anywhere by calling each other names. I hope that other readers take a few minutes to actually read and consider what I wrote instead of coming up with the mindless knee jerk reaction of the ignorant and uninformed. I took Civics in high school; I wonder if this writer ever did.
Perhaps it was my fault. It's the job of the speaker or writer to get his or her point across. It's not the responsibility of the listener to figure out what the speaker meant. Therefore, let me rephrase my point:
Suppose, in a hypothetical situation, you got married. Whether or not it was explicitly said in your wedding vows, you're really promising to be with that person "for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, for better or worse, until death do you part." (i.e., forever). Suppose you're married to that person for 25 years. Suppose a pretty young thing comes by and all of a sudden, you decide you want a trophy wife, someone younger and more attractive. Suppose you forget all your wedding vows and dump your spouse of 25 years on the curb.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's *exactly* what Mitt Romney did. He made a lot of promises to whole segments of the electorate to get votes. And when something better came up (the Republican nomination for the Presidency), he dropped his promises like a hot potato and chased after something (much) more attractive. I can see someone "modifying" their views over time. Turning 180 degrees on your public views? To suck up to the people whose vote you now covet? That's like swapping out your soul.
Which brings up my original point: I'm not voting against Mitt Romney for his political views. No, I'm voting against Mitt Romney because he has no honor and no convictions.
When Mitt Romney was "pre-campaigning" and maligning the good people of Massachusetts while still Governor, I decided that I would *never* vote for him. I was hoping any *other* Republican would win the nomination so we could concentrate on the dialog.
It's much like our local view of baseball. Ask any Red Sox fan which team(s) they root for. A die-hard Red Sox fan will always answer: "The Boston Red Sox....and any team playing against the Yankees!". That's how I feel about Mitt Romney. I wish there was a different Republican in the race. I did like John McCain in the last election until he selected a running mate who was dumber than even Dan Quayle. in the past; he's shown a willingness to talk to Democrats and work with others to get what he wanted.
I had considered including the name and email address of the person who wrote in. Any email sent to me here is fair game. However, I thought that it was more likely a fake name. Even the email address could be faked or created for this single purpose so I'm not going to bother sending a direct reply; I'm sure this writer will see this editorial eventually. After all, anyone can go and create an free anonymous email account in Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL. I'm guessing that it's more likely someone I know who's afraid of getting (public) grief for his or her opinion and doesn't want me to write about them. :^) I hope this serves as an good example...of how not to get people to listen to you.
But yet, thank you to the person who wrote in. I really had nothing interesting about which to write for this week.
I just read about Barney Frank's appeal to the GLBT community, including the Log Cabin Republicans, about Mitt Romney's desire to add a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Mitt Romney wants an amendment to take away rights that some people in America now have (though he thinks it's not worth the effort). Is that what America wants as the first new addition to the Constitution in 40 years?
I'm thinking about another time when "well-meaning" people tried to criminalize an act that had been legal up to that point: The ban of the sale and production of alcohol in the US with the 18th Amendment. Luckily, the country got a clue and repealed it with the 21st Amendment. The Constitution should be used to guarantee rights, not to take them away.
I have to laugh at the supposed "threat" of gay marriage. Who cares? Some of the first gay marriages are already ending in divorce. There's nothing special about gay marriage; it doesn't affect me and it doesn't affect straight couples. I have a lot of divorced friends who are totally against ever getting married again; they're all shaking their heads at gay couples for wanting to get married at all.
Mitt Romney is good at using false premises to justify his political agenda. He says that gay marriage is a threat to "traditional marriage as an excuse to attack gay marriage. And he's wrong. What's the *BIGGEST* threat to traditional marriage? Answer: Divorce. 50% of all marriages these days end in divorce. I want to see Mitt Romney take on a crusade against divorce. :-)