This news item in the Washington Post is an interesting and ironic example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Helen Beristain voted for Trump despite the fact that her husband, who is from Mexico and is undocumented, warned her that Trump wanted to “…get rid of the Mexicans.” She apparently thought somehow that Trump only meant the “bad” Mexicans.

Too bad for her, because her husband, who has no criminal record of any kind has been deported. It also appears from the WP story that his deportation was expedited so that court rulings to prevent the deportation, at least temporarily so he could have his day in court, would not take place until he had already been removed from the U.S.A.

It is a tragedy that a man who has lived in the U.S. for almost 20 years, raised two children who are American citizens, and paid his taxes, is being forcibly removed from his family. I am not sure how much sympathy I can scrape up for her but that does not make it any less of an injustice.

So much for those “family values” the Republicans keep talking about.

Read the entire article  in the Washington Post and see what you think.


I voted early, today.

Have you voted yet? If not, and your state has early voting, you should do so now.

“Those who refuse to participate in politics are destined to be governed by their inferiors.” — Plato

28. June 2012 · Comments Off on The Justice Who Fell From Grace With the Conservatives · Categories: Commentary, Health Care, Politics

How ironic that the conservative Supreme Court Justice Roberts, former darling of the Teapublicans, should be the deciding vote to declare Obamacare to be Constitutional.

And how quickly the ideological right can turn on its own in a self-righteous temper-tantrum when they don’t get their way. Even before the ruling was completely read and understood, the right wing talking heads had declared Roberts a traitor.

Yet Roberts truly did return a very conservative decision—much to the chagrin of the pseudo-conservatives. He said it himself when he wrote “it is not our job to save the people from the consequences of their political choices,” thus refusing to take a political stance and doing his job by making a strictly Constitutional decision. He also wrote: “The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. … The federal government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance,” even correcting the government’s oral argument for upholding the law from one under the Commerce clause of the Constitution to one under the ability of Congress to levy taxes.

Update: The government did provide a number of written briefs to the court based upon the Congressional ability to levy taxes.

The reason that this is a truly conservative decision, despite the Teapublican protests to the contrary, is that Justice Roberts ruled on strictly Constitutional grounds rather than political ones. And that has the right calling him a traitor.

I guess that they are too politicized to understand what a true conservative really is.

To be fair, I certainly do not agree with all of the decisions made by Justice Roberts or the Supreme court as a whole. And yet another irony is that, while I agree with this particular decision for various reasons, I think the liberal Justices were not incorrect in their reasoning as they would have used the Commerce clause of the Constitution to uphold the law. Justice Ginsburg wrote, “Unlike the market for almost any other product or service, the market for medical care is one in which all individuals inevitably participate. … Virtually every person residing in the United States, sooner or later, will visit a doctor or other health care professional.”

Regardless of which Constitutional clause is used as the foundation for the argument to uphold Obamacare, the United States of America is a better place today because more of our citizens have access to affordable health care—including the Teapublicans.

25. April 2012 · Comments Off on N.C. Episcopal bishops oppose Amendment 1 · Categories: Equality, Family, Freedom, Politics

On the subject of Amendment One, proposed for inclusion in our state’s Constitution, a pastoral letter signed by all three Episcopal bishops in North Carolina concludes with these passages:

Whether we agree or disagree with same sex marriage, civil unions or unmarried couples cohabiting, we can agree as people of faith that, as the book of Genesis says, all human beings are “created in the image of God.” That means that all persons are to be treated with the love, respect and dignity that befit a child of God. Therefore we do not believe that the Bible or the Constitutions of our state and nation should be used to oppress, harm or restrict the human rights and dignity of any human being. On the contrary, Jesus has taught us that the greatest and most important of all the commandments of God are to love God and to love our neighbor.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.“ On these two laws hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

Amendment One falls dangerously short of that standard.

Your Brothers in Christ,
Michael B. Curry
Clifton Daniel
G. Porter Taylor


MEET in front of the Progress Energy Center. See the link for information about the Progress Energy Center and directions.

TIME between 9:15 and 9:30. LOOK FOR a tall sign “People of Faith AGAINST Amendment  One”

We will go from there to the start and then get more instructions. Wear good shoes, and your  ’Vote Against’ t-shirt if you have one. We will march behind our new banner and (if the buttons come in Thursday) they will be available for $1.00 each.

Parking is an issue so car pool if possible.

This website will participate tomorrow, January 18, 2012, in protest of the SOPA law. That law would restrict the Internet freedoms of everyone for the somewhat questionable  financial benefit of a few media companies. In order to restrict alleged piracy, they would restrict the entire Internet. Web sites could be closed without any warning or even proof that they were in violation of any law—except the laws of greed.

Read about SOPA and the protest.

This bill will break the Internet as we know it.

13. January 2012 · Comments Off on I was Laid Off By Mitt Romney · Categories: Opinion, Politics

Well, actually it was Bain Capital which fired me, but Mitt was largely responsible for many of the actions of Bain.

I started working for Interpath Communications, Inc., a local ISP/ASP here in RTP, North Carolina, in October, 1999. Interpath was a subsidiary of Carolina Power and Light, which is now Progress Energy.

In about May of 2000, Bain Capital purchased an equity share of Interpath from Progress Energy. I knew we were in trouble when we heard that a capital company out of Boston purchased such a large equity share. It was a common subject of discussion around Interpath in those days to speculate on when the first layoffs would be.

On the morning of August 11 of 2000, we came in to work and each found a sealed envelope on our desk. We were locked out of our computers and there were armed guards at the entrances to the computer room.

Interpath Layoff Letter

Interpath Layoff Letter. Click to view enlarged.

After opening and reading the contents of our envelopes, about 80 of us went into one meeting room and the rest went into another. I was in the group of 80 that were being “laid off,” “restructured,” “downsized,” “rightsized,” “released,” “let go,” “terminated,” or any of the other words used to say you were fired.

No one even had the common decency—or guts—to sign the letter.

Yes, Mitt does like to fire people. He fired me and eighty others in one day at one company!

It took only two years to dismantle a perfectly good company. Here is a link to a 2002 story about the divestiture of most of Interpath’s then remaining assets, As Interpath Fades, Employees Offered Severance or Move to Maryland.


Disclosure: I still own shares of Progress Energy, most of which were purchased through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan while I worked at Interpath.

The GOP — That’s Greedy Old Poops to you — is now fighting against the very thing they campaigned for:  tax cuts.

But these aren’t tax cuts for the grossly rich, which they still defend vigorously and will gladly destroy the economy to protect. These are tax cuts for the people that need them the most. They want to let expire an existing tax cut for regular working folks.

To quote from the article in today’s News & Observer:

Many of the Republicans who fought hammer-and-tong to keep the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts from expiring on schedule are now saying a different “temporary” tax cut should end on Jan. 1 as planned.

The tax break extension they oppose is sought by President Barack Obama. Unlike proposed changes in the income tax, this policy helps the 46 percent of Americans who owe no federal income taxes but who pay a “payroll tax” on practically every dime they earn.

There are other differences as well, and Republicans say their stand is consistent with their goal of long-term tax policies that will spur employment and lend greater certainty to the economy.

“It’s always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn,” says Rep. Jeb Hensarling, “but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again.” The Texas lawmaker is on the House GOP leadership team.

This bozo is using typical Republican convoluted illogic to contradict himself in a single sentence. Please, Jeb, explain to us how tax cuts for the poor and middle class is so different from tax cuts for the grotesquely rich.

Apparently voodoo economics is like  voodoo science. Can you say “There is no global warming?” When repeated frequently enough by idiotic, wacko talk show hosts and moronic, power hungry politicians, makes it true in the minds of the . . . idiots and morons who say it.

And like second-hand smoke, which has been banned in many places, it poisons many who have to listen to it too frequently as well.

So the Greedy Old Poops think that tax cuts for the obscenely rich are the only ones that can help “get the economy moving again.”  How can you people live with yourselves?

I just love it! The Greedy Old Poops think it is OK for the super-rich to get or keep tax cuts, but not for the rest of us. Did you vote for these <place disparaging name of your choice here, such as shitheads> because you thought that they would cut your taxes? I sure didn’t.

Read the complete N&O article below, but do so at your own risk. It will increase your blood pressure and put you at risk of a stroke — which you can’t afford to get treated thanks to the damn Republicans. I sure could use some Obamacare right now.

**PRESIDENT** Obama released his long form birth certificate today so bozos like Trump cannot complain about him not being a citizen anymore. Well some will complain anyway but they are clearly too stupid to think for themselves.

But without the “birther” crap for ammunition, Trump is now saying that he wants to see PRESIDENT Obama’s grades because he does not think the PRESIDENT was smart enough to get into Harvard Law School.

Here is an interesting article by my Representative in Congress, Democrat Brad Miller. I intend to hold another house party to support him for 2012.

“Dump the Trump”

I have not commented on the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico since it started, but I feel it is now time to do so. What a freakin’ mess!! BP — What were you thinking? What are you thinking?

One cannot call this a spill because an overturned glass is a spill; a wrecked railroad car with its contents leaking on the ground or into a stream is a spill, a tanker run aground is a spill. Each of these is inherently limited and thus contains within itself the limits of its potential damage.

The hole in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is an unchecked tap into a (according to BP) huge reservoir of oil and natural gas with the potential to poison a huge portion of the planet. This is the largest human-caused disaster in all of history.

As oil keeps gushing into the Gulf and the scope of this human and environmental disaster increases exponentially, I watch the people of the Gulf Coast attempting to cope with it and realize that there is no way that this is going to be stopped any time soon. Nor will a complete cleanup even be possible. The oil is not only present on the surface of the water, in fact the vast majority of it is hidden, unseen beneath the surface, like the iceberg that sank the Titanic.

We have run the ship of our oil dependency upon the iceberg of huge multinational corporations whose greed has run amok and caused them to “drill, baby, drill” without regard for safety, the ecology or the welfare of the inhabitants world’s coasts. Neither land-dwelling nor marine nor human nor plant nor animal is safe. All is at risk.

So-called “Experts” are saying that the effects of this disaster could spread as far as the Arctic. How can anyone believe that this is the limit? Is there any reason not to believe that there is no limit; that all of the world’s oceans and coastlines are at risk? If the oceans are poisoned and the food chain collapses, where will that leave us?

Please see my Facebook group, Boycott BP and join for updates and to participate in planning or taking non-violent, non-destructive, peaceful action.!/group.php?gid=117870021588108

Unfortunately we will always require petroleum products, if not for fuel then for plastics, shampoo, lubricants, pharmaceuticals and many other products we use each day. Our civilization is built upon the foundation of fossil fuels. While we move our home to another foundation we must take drastic steps to ensure that events like the Gulf Disaster or the Exxon Valdeze can never, ever happen again.

Regulate the Oil Companies

We need to ensure that oil is located, drilled for and produced in a manner that is safe for the workers and the environment. In order to achieve this we need greater regulation of the oil industry and more inspectors who must be given the unalterable authority to shut down any operation on the spot and without any requirement to obtain permission from anyone. This person must be the ultimate authority on site or otherwise.

We also need to ensure that the pipelines and ships that carry oil from well to refinery to distribution centers and on to the gas stations and other outlets are also regulated and made safe.

No oil or chemical-related company or industry should be exempt.

Reducing Our Dependency on Oil

Clearly we must reduce our dependency on oil as we transition to renewable energy. There is no other way. There are many things each of us can do. Here are just a few with which we can start.

  • Use CFLs.
  • Purchase a fuel efficient vehicle. A REALLY efficient vehicle. To me that number starts at 35MPG and goes up. My Gen1 Prius gets 48MPG on average.
  • Walk or ride a bike to the store when possible.
  • Turn off lights that are not in use.
  • Don’t waste water.
  • Don’t leave vehicles running just to keep the air-conditioner of heater running.
  • Keep tires properly inflated.
  • Keep vehicles properly maintained.
  • Replace old hot water heater with on-demand heaters.
  • Replace old appliances with new, energy efficient ones.
  • Get an energy audit from your energy company (electric or gas) and perform the actions they tell you can save energy.

There are many more but you can start with a few of these.

But remember, I am not laying all of the blame for this at the feet of the consumers. We must regulate the energy companies in order to make whatever energy source we use safe, dependable and clean.

Call your elected representatives and let them know we want clean dependable, and safe energy now and that regulation is the only way to get there. Don’t wait. Do it now! Would the BP Disaster have occurred if we had taken action after the Exxon Valdeze? We can prevent the next one.