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This Holiday Season, Shop Responsibly

It’s Thanksgiving week, the start of America’s favorite month­-long festival of capitalism. It starts this week with three of the biggest shopping days of the year, and no doubt many of you will be out there trying to score some bargains this weekend. If you’re headed out into the crowds or just planning on sitting at home and clicking your way to a bountiful Christmas, keep in mind the following tips to shop responsibly this season.

  1. First and foremost, keep it civil. There is absolutely no shame in taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to help stretch your family’s dollar, but be mindful of your behavior.
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I want to thank Jeb Bush for running for president and for being so terrible at it

We live in an time when it often feels as if there are no consequences.

After losing two wars, a financial crisis and a concerted effort to prevent a recovery, Republicans now hold more elected state and federal offices than any time since the Great Depression. Instead of preventing gun deaths, the gun industry profits off them by raising the specter that universal background checks will somehow lead to confiscation. The gun lobby has prevented researchers from even looking into “the basic questions” of gun violence and gets a heads up from the Centers for Disease Control whenever the government agency is about to publish any study related to firearms.…

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I'd personally like to thank Dr. Walter J. Palmer, killer of Cecil the lion

I’d personally like to thank Dr. Walter J. Palmer, killer of Cecil the lion

My Facebook feed has been an endless stream of diatribes against Dr. Walter J. Palmer, DDS, the American dentist who paid over $50,000 to murder a lion lured out of a wildlife sanctuary. With the help of some guides, Palmer shot Cecil, a human-friendly animal, with a crossbow and then “hunted” him for the next 40+ hours as the animal slowly died from the arrow fired into his majestic body by the rich white man from another continent.

I’d personally like to thank Dr. Palmer. Not because he killed a world-famous lion and forced it to spend the last two days of its life in tortuous pain.…

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One way to help correct radical income inequality

One way to help correct radical income inequality

Federal Communications Commission chairman Thomas Wheeler has proposed increasing the current Lifeline telephone subsidy to help the poor get Internet service. Such access is good for the economy, good for job and service searches, and good for connecting poor children and their families to their schools, churches, health care providers, and governmental institutions.

Most of us know the Lifeline program as “Obamaphones”, even though the service subsidies began in 1985 under Reagan based on some of the same reasons the FCC chairman now promotes the high-speed Internet service. The need for the subsidy is based on the estimate that fewer than half the households with income less than $25,000/year have Internet service, while more than 95% of households with income above $150,000 do have it.…

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Proportional fines: A way for the wealthy to give back to the society that has given them so much

Proportional fines: A way for the wealthy to give back to the society that has given them so much

A couple of weeks ago New York Times writer Neil Irwin wrote a piece in the Business Section about why a nation with our wealth is reluctant to ask for more from its richest citizens. Some of the reasons given included: low taxes encourage greater investment and entrepreneurship; the rich have grown accustomed to their income and have built their lives around it, a situation that should not be disturbed; redistribution of wealth downward is too much socialism; and it’s unclear who the rich really are and what population would benefit from upping their taxes. Polls showed that older people, including recipients of Social Security and Medicare, were especially concerned about the cut-off limit for increased taxation, and more importantly, which population might profit.…

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Athiests win victory in Warren, Michigan, allowed to have "Reason Station" in City Hall

Athiests win victory in Warren, Michigan, allowed to have “Reason Station” in City Hall

Last summer, Warren mayor James Fouts denied an athiest group the right to have a “Reason Station” in the Michigan city’s City Hall. The Reason Station was athiest Douglas Marshall’s response to a “Prayer Station” the mayor had allowed to set up shop in the City Hall atrium.

When denying the permit to Marshall, Fouts compared athiests to the KKK and Nazis, saying, “The city has certain values that I don’t believe are in general agreement with having an atheist station, nor in general agreement with having a Nazi station or Klu Klux Klan station.”

The ACLU, in conjunction with Americans United and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, filed suit and, yesterday, they scored a win:

If a church can have a prayer station inside city hall, then an atheist can have a reason station there, too.
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[CC photo credit: Jeffrey Bruno | Wikimedia Commons]

Pope Francis and the Christmas Miracle

A few days ago I posted an article on my Facebook page about a speech Catholic Pope Francis gave, a speech the Washington Post described as “roughly the equivalent of a CEO sending his or her top executives off to Christmas vacation with a cleverly-worded list of everything they do wrong at the company.” The speech makes it clear that Pope Francis is not a Catholic insider in the traditional sense. He did not ascend to the Papal throne as many have by working their way through the hierarchy of the Vatican nestled in the City of Rome.

Over the past year Pope Francis has continued to be a free spirit.…

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Giving Thanks

Like many of you, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Being a literal person, Thanksgiving is a time and an opportunity to give thanks for the many things in our lives that we are truly thankful for and blessed with. The people, the opportunities, the occasions, the events, the connections, and sometimes just being alive. Oh sure, we have our challenges, and there is no question that those of us that live our lives out loud have been challenged more than we thought we would be this time of the year. Many of us were and still are profoundly disappointed by the election results and many of the issues that continue to drive us to be better activists and better people.…

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How much of America does the GOP want to turn into California?

On Wednesday, we finally learned that two Democratic members of Congress from California will keep their jobs.

This was remarkable for two reasons. First, Democrats in Congress got some good news for maybe the first time all year. And, secondly, these two victories mean that a Democratic incumbent in California hasn’t lost a House seat in 20 years.

Hmm. I wonder what happened in 1994 in California that suddenly changed the fortunes of Republicans.

*waves fingers in a dreamlike motion* It was called Prop 187. Governor Pete Wilson rode this contentious ballot measure to ban undocumented immigrants from all public services to an easy re-election.…

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Who is going to win the governor’s race?

Is Schauer tied with Snyder? Down by 5? Somewhere in between?

This may be old hat for some of you, but people keep asking me what’s going on with the polling in the Governor’s race and I thought I would put together a little primer. For reference, just in the last week, NYT/CBS has had Schauer up by 1 point, while the Detroit News/WDIV has Snyder up by 5. A couple weeks ago, we saw two polls come out in the same day, one with Schauer up 3, one with Snyder up by 8. EPIC-MRA’s current poll has Snyder up by two, when last week they had him up by 8.…

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Curtesy of Sharon Baseman with her permission

With Mark Schauer, it’s the little things

There are many variations of the saying that the ultimate measure of a man (or woman) is not what they do when they are in public but what they do when they are alone. Another simple, quaint saying is, “it’s the little things.” If we were to juxtapose those two sayings we might just end up with something that would be a fair predictor of the people we know, or wish we knew better, including candidates.

During the Town Hall forum televised Sunday evening between Mark Schauer and Rick Snyder, I was live-tweeting during the telecast and interacting with those who were hanging in there with me.…

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