Don’t Take Away The Breadcrumbs

So today it was announced that they want to cancel the meager cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase that federal workers were slated to get for 2019. 


A mere 2.1% increase in federal pay (compared with a more than 4% projected increase in private sector pay for 2018) is basically just enough to cover inflation for 2018 forecast at 1.9%.


In effect, without the cost of living adjustment, about 2 million federal employees end up with a net decrease of 2% in their standard of living because of inflation and no pay increase to offset. 


This is on top of the fiscal year 2011 and 2012 federal pay freeze that President Obama prior enacted. 


Why are we picking on the federal workforce when:


1) The U.S. economy is booming at an annual 4.1% increase

2) Of the $10 trillion tax cuts, 20% is being showered on the wealthiest 1%.


Le’s just call a spade a spade–the pay freeze (i.e. cut after inflation) is really being driven to downsize government by driving employees out


Many of these are good people, hardworking people, and those that not only serve their nation but also sacrifice for it. 


With midterms around the corner and another Presidental election coming in a couple of years, why would you want to alienate 2 million workers instead of getting respect and even greater dedication?


As was written on this simple pair of blue jeans:

“Don’t beat your croutons, you’ll get breadcrumbs.”  

In this case, don’t beat up your federal workforce by taking their meager breadcrumbs, to begin with. 


Instead, let’s show our appreciation for federal employees service to their country. 😉


(Full disclosure: I am a federal employee and am proud to serve.)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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A Three-Party System

Yeah, these signs say a lot about our two-party system of government. 

“Republican: Because everyone can’t be on welfare.”


“Democrat: Because everyone can’t be greedy.”


Sort of the age old story of competing interests. 


Certainly also a good dose of Fear vs. Greed. 


And where the rich get richer and the poor get welfare.


It’s good to have the 2 extremes of the political thinking spectrum, because it shows us perhaps where the middle is. 


Neither extreme is good, but rather it’s a balancing act. 


We can’t have more than 50% of the wealth owned by the top 1% of the people. 


And we can’t have everyone on entitlements where no one is working, innovating, and producing. 


Yes of course, some people will have more than others and some people will need help. 


There needs to be motivation to “get ahead” and there must be a social safety net for when bad things happen. 


This is life.


But the to extent that we can have the most people in respectable jobs earning a reasonable (true living) wage and that there is equitable prosperity to go around for everyone–this is ideal.


Really 2-parties is not enough, because extremes tend to get more extreme–this is the momentum of polarization and politicization until the extremes tear us apart. 


Instead we need a strong centrist party (or parties)–that can not only play to, but also execute the middle of the road approach. 


It’s not all or nothing, but rather compromise to a logical and reasonable solution on every issue. 


No, we don’t want to get rid of ICE, and we don’t want open borders. 


No we don’t want entitlements that bankrupt the nation, and we don’t want people down on their luck going needy. 


No, we don’t want women who have been raped or incested or otherwise can’t raise their children being forced to have them, and we don’t want babies being murdered in the late stages of pregnancy. 


No we don’t want to blow up the planet, and we don’t want our enemies besting us. 


We don’t want pollution in our air, water, and streets, and we don’t want to strangle the economy with endless and mindless regulation. 


And on and on. 


It’s high time to move to the center where common sense reigns.


It overdue to have a legitimate 3+ party system that talks real solutions to the people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

1-2-3-4 Open Up The Government’s Doors

1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


     5-6-7-8 Let our nation operate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


     5-6-7-8 Fix our broken directorate



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s Doors


    5-6-7-8 Better for us to negotiate



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Get things done for Goodness sake



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 We have no more time to cogitate



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Get the employees back to progress the state



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Blaming each other only exasperate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Democracy means we must work it out



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Polarized politics destroys our clout



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors

   

    5-6-7-8 The people are sick and tired of this useless way



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Terms limits are needed to sway



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Dysfunctional government can’t continue unabate



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


   5-6-7-8 We’re sick and tired of ignoring realpolitik



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors

   5-6-7-8 Grow up and show some unifying leadership



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Finally put people’s needs first



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Stop playing with our country’s fate



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 National security and our economy depend on it



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 It’s time to get things done and not wait



1-2-3-4 Open up the government’s doors


    5-6-7-8 Serve the people and cut out the hate


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

@Sawgrass Mills Mall

Thought these alligators were pretty cute at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Florida. 


Sawgrass with over 300 stores and outlets is the 10th largest mall in America. 


And much of it is very upscale–apparently, the economy is very good for some people.


By the time, we got out of there, my head was spinning with sampling the stores and merchandise.


It was a delightful retreat to pass some nice outdoor eateries by the Colonnade with these creative and colorful alligators. 


Remember most of this place was built on Everglades swamp, so there are plenty of real alligators to go around. 


My favorites from these:


#4 – Forever Glades


#7 – The colorful blue, pink, and orange gator.


#9 – Relax and Rejoice


What are yours?


Not sure, why I took #1–the watermelon alligator–in the other direction, but it adds effect and I hope you enjoyed these. 😉


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Begone With Daylight Savings Time

Daylight saving time is one of those ideas that should be relegated to the dustbin of history. 


It serves no functional purpose and is actually a negative for society overall. 


Originally devised to have longer daylight in the Summer months by moving the clock forward an hour, it was also thought to save electricity by having more daylight.


However, research on the energy savings have had at best mixed results and the extra hour of sunlight in the evening in Summer with sunset extending to after 9 pm is necessary why???


Let’s face it…it is stupid to move the clocks twice a year “springing forward” in the Spring and “falling back” in the Fall. 


Aside from the nonsense of actually having to move the clocks, it is disruptive and unhealthy to our sleep and other bodily patterns–was anyone else up too early for work this morning and hanging around until it was actually time to go in?


And it’s not only people’s bodily cycle that gets messed up, but animals too. One of my colleagues complained this morning about their dog needing to go out for their walk early this morning–apparently, the dog didn’t get the message about daylight savings time. 


Time is not something to mess with–it should be stable like the other natural cycles of good ‘ol Mother Nature–that we depend on as the “Laws of Nature!”


We don’t change the number of days in December from 31 to 32 (taking it from perhaps October, which we can easily cut back on to 30 or 29 days) to extend the joyous holiday and  the shopping season which is good for economy.


We also don’t mess with the number of days of the week–perhaps, for example, we should shorten the week from 7 to 6 days, so that we can have a more frequent rest cycle and rejuvenate our bodies and minds more frequently. Who wouldn’t vote to get rid of Mondays and just start the week with Tuesday instead. 


Change is a good thing when it actually has a net benefit to society and it is more than negligible, but continuing to move around the dials on the clock, just because someone woke up one day with another cockeyed idea is not something to keep repeating.


It’s time to recognize the bad idea for daylight savings time for what it is and restore stable time like a tick-tock that we can all set our watches consistently to. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Pennies From Heaven

So I ran into this lady in downtown Washington, D.C.


She posed for the picture and made sure to line up the top and the bottom posters to get it just right


It says:

“Not One Penny In Tax Cuts For The Rich”


Makes intuitive sense doesn’t it: the rich already are blessed with…riches!


Any more pennies in their war chest is sort of a drop in the billionaire bucket. 


With tax reform is on the table now…we need tax relief for the middle class and to grow the economy. 


The rich really do not need to get any richer.


Especially with a national debt over $20 trillion already–and not including future entitlement obligations that exceed projected revenue for social security and medicare, which bring the debt in excess of $70 trillion!). 


The gamble with this whole tax reform plan is that the $1.5 trillion or so in proposed tax cuts over 10 years translates into a much bigger economic expansion that makes up for that revenue loss to the government and more. 


If not, well then Uncle Sam bet wrong and our annual deficit gets bigger and bigger (already $666 billion in FY 2017).


Tax cuts for the rich today and estate tax cuts to pass wealth between generations–when they impact the top 1% are ridiculously targeted to those who really don’t need it, and many of the decent ones, like Warren Buffetdon’t even want it


Let’s have a heart and help the people that really need the help–let’s narrow the growing divide between the haves and the have nots, and move to eliminate the class system that elevates one child of G-d over another. 


– While some live in McMansions, others are homeless.


– While some eat steak and drink expensive bottles of wine every night, others go hungry and thirsty.


– While some wear fancy designer clothes, expensive jewelry, and different outfits every day, others don’t have a clean shirt on their back. 


It’s nice to think that some “deserve it” more than others, but we also have to think who really needs it more. 


And if the pennies do ultimately come from Heaven (as all blessings do), then let us distribute these with compassion and lovingkindness as we know our Creator would want us to. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Don’ t Upset The Barista

Guns and Coffee on Smartphone.jpeg

Interesting sticker on this guy’s smartphone this morning:

“Guns and Coffee”


And the Starbucks mermaid in the center is packing two pistols in her hands, instead of the usual fishy fins. 


Now the good thing about this particular guy was that he was also wearing a lapel pin from a prominent law enforcement agency here in Washington, D.C., so that was comforting. 


I’ve heard about the economic trade-off (“opportunity costs”) between “Guns and Butter,” meaning how much we choose to budget for defense vs. civilian goods/social entitlements.


But this is novel–“Guns and Coffee”–I guess you can have your coffee and your 2nd Amendment rights as well. 


What happens if you haven’t had your coffee yet, does the little mermaid shoot first and ask questions later? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)