So much fucking racism. Everywhere. I feel dirty because of it, as if I had waded through mud and then had more poured over me.

I’m here because I don’t know where else to vent right now. I just got into it with the guy next door, a white man in his 60s who does not own anything except a pickup, and who thinks Ron Paul is the bomb and that Obama is not a person. He told me and the neighbors that Obama isn’t a person. He said he stopped being a person when he called that Cambridge cop stupid, the one who arrested Professor Henry Gates. I said, “for being a black person in a white neighborhood?” and this neighbor said “Yeah, that’s right.”

I pointed out that Obama said the behavior of the police department was stupid but he wouldn’t listen.

Yelling ensued, mostly from him, after he realized what I had said. The neighbor was so angry that he was shaking and yelling. I walked away to get the mail, thinking he’d calm down, and the rest of the neighbors tried to help him.

God help all of you who work with an idiot like this. I’m retired so I don’t run into this so much as some of my friends do. It must be terrible. This old fart is my age and I liked him until tonight. Not sure we’ll be speaking to each other ever again.

I’m shaking right now myself.

Watch this guy whine about how he works harder than anyone else and that’s why he deserves more money than the rest of us, yada yada, blarty-blart, and then read about Buffet and others below. Their attitudes about money and taxes are refreshing:

Apparently, he feels put-upon and under-appreciated for the hard work he does which creates a lot of jobs. He also feels that small business owners are losers and that they don’t create “real” jobs.

He’s a Marketing Manager.

And then there are Buffet and others who understand the idea of a social contract.

From the 2003 Annual Report of Berkshire Hathaway:



On May 20, 2003, The Washington Post ran an op-ed piece by me that was critical of the Bush tax
proposals. Thirteen days later, Pamela Olson, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Treasury,
delivered a speech about the new tax legislation saying, “That means a certain midwestern oracle, who, it
must be noted, has played the tax code like a fiddle, is still safe retaining all his earnings.” I think she was
talking about me.
Alas, my “fiddle playing” will not get me to Carnegie Hall – or even to a high school recital.
Berkshire, on your behalf and mine, will send the Treasury $3.3 billion for tax on its 2003 income, a sum
equaling 2½% of the total income tax paid by all U.S. corporations in fiscal 2003. (In contrast, Berkshire’s
market valuation is about 1% of the value of all American corporations.) Our payment will almost
certainly place us among our country’s top ten taxpayers. Indeed, if only 540 taxpayers paid the amount
Berkshire will pay, no other individual or corporation would have to pay anything to Uncle Sam. That’s
right: 290 million Americans and all other businesses would not have to pay a dime in income, social
security, excise or estate taxes to the federal government. (Here’s the math: Federal tax receipts, including
social security receipts, in fiscal 2003 totaled $1.782 trillion and 540 “Berkshires,” each paying $3.3
billion, would deliver the same $1.782 trillion.)
Our federal tax return for 2002 (2003 is not finalized), when we paid $1.75 billion, covered a mere
8,905 pages. As is required, we dutifully filed two copies of this return, creating a pile of paper seven feet
tall. At World Headquarters, our small band of 15.8, though exhausted, momentarily flushed with pride:
Berkshire, we felt, was surely pulling its share of our country’s fiscal load.
But Ms. Olson sees things otherwise. And if that means Charlie and I need to try harder, we are
ready to do so.
I do wish, however, that Ms. Olson would give me some credit for the progress I’ve already made.
In 1944, I filed my first 1040, reporting my income as a thirteen-year-old newspaper carrier. The return
covered three pages. After I claimed the appropriate business deductions, such as $35 for a bicycle, my tax
bill was $7. I sent my check to the Treasury and it – without comment – promptly cashed it. We lived in

SELECTED QUOTES from “I DIDN’T DO IT ALONE: Society’s Contribution to Individual Wealth and Success:”

“I personally think that society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I’ve earned.”

— Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

“My wealth is not only a product of my own hard work. It also resulted from a strong economy and lots of public investment, both in others and in me. I received a good public school education and used free libraries and museums paid for by others. I went to college under the GI Bill. I went to graduate school to study computers and language on a complete government scholarship… While teaching at Syracuse University for 25 years, my research was supported by numerous government grants… My university research provided the basis for Syracuse Language Systems…”

— Martin Rothenberg, founder of Syracuse Language Systems and Glottal Enterprises

“Lots of people who are smart and work hard and play by the rules don’t have a fraction of what I have. I realize I don’t have my wealth because I’m so brilliant. Luck has a lot to do with it.”

— Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, Inc.

“The opportunities to create wealth are all taking advantage of public goods–like roads, transportation, markets–and public investments… We are all standing on the shoulders of all that came before us, and creating a society for our children and those that come after us. We have obligations as part of that.”

— Jim Sherblom, venture capitalist and former chief financial officer of Genzyme

“I feel like there’s no way I’ve done this by myself… Every single person we worked with has contributed to making Hanna what it is today… People in Sweden don’t like paying taxes either, but nobody would ever suggest that you would close schools because you didn’t have enough money to keep them open.”

— Gun Denhart, co-founder of Hanna Andersson clothing company

I found this at Sadly, No and thought it was instructive:


If you can’t see the entire graph, click on it or the link above. The green line taking a dive to the bottom is our current situation.

job losses graph 1991 to now

Crash Course by Chris Martenson:




I’m 2/3 of the way through this series of lectures right now, and it’s quite interesting.

A Brushfire Sunset

I took this a week ago, around 4pm on the 210 freeway, in Upland. The smoke is from the Triangle Complex fire which started in Santa Ana Canyon just outside of Corona and spread to the Chino Hills and Diamond Bar.  Hundreds of homes were lost and debris landed in our garden that had traveled at least ten miles. 

Brushfires have a distinctive smell.  You learn that smell as a child and when you step outside on a windy day the scent makes your heart speed up, causes a little fear even among those whose houses are safe, but imagine what that first whiff does to the heart rate of people living in canyons and on hillsides. 

The Santa Anas are strong winds that spring up when the valleys have a few days in a row that are a little warmer, after a few colder days.  The winds dry out the air and a small grassfire that would easily be put out on a calmer day will race to become a wall of flame, climbing into the trees and leaping across roads and freeways. 

The fires are out for now but brushfire season is all year now because of the changing climate.  More Santa Ana winds predicted soon.

Oh Joy.  Do we get to play the snowball email game next?

P.Z. Myers, a noted scholar of evolutionary biology (and an outspoken atheist hero YMMV) who posts over at Pharyngula at Science Blogs, committed a social faux pas by standing up a group of his drunken fans while visiting Philadelphia.  Branded a sinner for his heresy, he has been ‘tagged’ by a fellow blogger, and as a result  “tagged” my friend Tim http://thetimchannel.com/ as well!   Tim was chosen at semi-random by PZ as a result of his ongoing participation in the comment section of his blog, and now Tim has tagged me.  Thanks so much, Timmy-boy.

You pay your money and you take your chances, and the rules for being “tagged’ are thus:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Write six random things about yourself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six Random Things About Me:

1. I got married at 19, nearly 39 years ago.  Next month is our anniversary.

2. I have three kids, a boy and two girls, supposedly all adults now.

3. I have two elderly cats with health issues.

4. I’m not only a native Southern Californian, I’m a native of Los Angeles County. 

5. I make a mean pie; boysenberry, apple, pecan, they’re all killer.

6. I always want to have the last word. Want, as opposed to have to have.


My Chosen Six, some of whom will certainly not thank me,  are: Ranuel, of  http://ranuel.livejournal.com/, Elayne, of http://elaynocentricity.com/blog/, Fred http://jabberclarks.blogspot.com/index.html, Theo aka Teho (who probably has no clue who I am http://teho.vox.com/,  Christina http://sayingnothingcharmingly.blogspot.com/ , and Doug http://shyzaboy.blogsome.com/

I Feel Very Thankful

Especially after watching this:

“The Places We Live”

by Jonah Bendiksen.


It’s a photographic study of slums in Venezuela, India, Indonesia, and Africa. Four households in each area can be viewed as the owners tell their stories. Uses a 360-degree panning program.

Thanks to Elayne for showing me this site.


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