Tuesday, February 16, 2010
It's the middle of February and another dusting of snow has fallen on top of the previous snow in New Jersey. It's pretty and looking like a Christmas card. It makes you want to sing carols. But, Christmas is long over and Christmas songs seem tacky when Christmas is over.
But there are songs that are sung at Christmas time that aren't really Christmas songs at all. Now, I'm not talking about secular songs that mention Christmas or (C)hanuk(k)ah songs. I'm talking about songs that mention snow, sleigh rides, and other cold weather activities but NO mention of Christmas or any holidays.
Many are old songs that precede the "PC" era so that's not the reason they don't mention Christmas. They are fun songs that are suitable for a post holiday winter snowy day.
"Winter Wonderland", "Let It Snow", "Jingle Bell Rock", "Sleigh Ride", "Frosty The Snowman", "Baby It's Cold Outside" and even "Jingle Bells" are all suitable songs to play this time of year in the cold regions of the Northern Hemisphere. I'm sure there are others but that's a pretty good list. Heck, They work as songs to sing in public schools.
So break out those songs, Enjoy some cocoa by a warm fire and listen to these standards.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I've finally taking more aggressive approaches to meeting new people. I am single and I want to meet women that will be more than a one night stand. I don't want to do the match.com or other dating sites for two reasons.
One, They tend to set you up with people of the same age or close or that's who seeks you out. I know it sounds shallow but I want to hook up with females between the ages of 28-35. I've never been married and I carry no baggage in starting up a relationship but I expect the same in who I date. I can handle a divorced woman with no kids if she's not dependent or depending an ex husband. I do want a kid of my own by someone who's old enough to be established in her career but not too old to safely bare children.
The second reason is I don't want to have the "oooooeeeesh" moment where you arrive to meet your hookup and you don't like what you see or she don't like what she sees. Or the moment after accepting your appearances when one of you makes a "deal breaker" moment that means it's time to move on.
So, I found a solution in which I meet up with groups of people and maybe develop new friendships with people who share some of my varied interests.
Meetup.com is a site that allows you to seek out groups of people to engage in things you like to do in your area. Union, New Jersey while a nice town is not an ideal locale for a single man. however, I'm close to Montclair, Jersey City and Hoboken.
The first group I joined was a board game group that has Jersey City gatherings in which you can drink beer while playing popular board games or less popular games. The gathering is about 20 strong filled with a diverse group of people. If you go there to meet men and women to hook up and you find none to your liking, so what? You now have new contacts and some good clean fun on a Saturday evening. These events aren't as regular as I'd like them to be, But it does take me back to when I used to play board games with my ex fiancee in my Seattle days. If only I didn't have to get up at four the next morning.
The second group I joined is a life drawing session where I go to Hoboken to draw from a live model. This brings me back to my SVA days where we used to do this on a weekly basis. The only difference there is a hell of lot more tattoos(ugh) and piercings on the models today. I like getting back to real drawing but man am I tight! I haven't done any sketches that satisfy me. I make the same mistakes I always make and still have a hard time with hands and feet. Still it's great to be doing this. The people in this group are artists mostly, Looking to show off their work in shows or publications. This helps me to get better at my own craft. For ten bucks for three hours of this is a great deal.
As far as hookups...Well, there are women there but none I felt any chemistry with until last night. Funny enough it was she who started to talk to me. A sweet young woman who made me feel comfortable. As is usually the case I fell for her right off the bat and flustered my way in trying to be cool. I kept it friendly hoping that she will be a regular participant and I can build it up from there. Now most of our conversation was how great it was to be drawing again after not doing it for so long.
So here's the thing. My idea of a long time is 15 years, I'm a fearing her idea of a long time may be three years. She's going to school but had gone to a previous school and graduated. So I'm guessing by her appearance and her history she might be 25 years old. Or she can be as old as 28 but I'm afraid she might be a young as 23.
Now I have nothing against 23 year olds. Obviously. But I'm getting too old to date someone that young. I felt that way when I dated someone that age nearly 7 years ago and that relationship was a disaster. Anyway I might have pushed her away when I said I lived in Seattle for 14 years and SHE probably did the math and realized I was at least in my late 30's.
If only... I'm 43 now.
Anyway, Tuesdays are back to being a great night for me again. It's the only night I get to hang out because I have Wednesdays off. I do the life drawing class from 7-10 in Hoboken and head to Jersey City to do some Karaoke, where I'm starting to feel comfortable in a place called O'Connels. Now I don't have to go way down to Long Branch to have to do my Tuesday karaoke.
Now if I can find something to do on Monday nights.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Oh Please, Don't be silly. He hasn't overturned enough of Bush's failed conservative policies to get himself out of the running of most CONSERVATIVE president. He hasn't implemented enough of his own programs to indicate what direction he's looking to take us to, Socialist or otherwise.
But this isn't about Obama per Se. This post is a look at what American president was the most Socialist in American history.
To find out, You have to actually know what Socialism is.
For one thing, It isn't Communism. Communism takes control of ALL the moneys and eliminates all class structures and all property is controlled by the "people". The US was never even close to this, Nor has any president even tried to approach this goal. Nor has ANY country achieved this goal, But a few countries have tried and it ultimately failed. Communism's failure didn't take into account human nature. We like a class structure, We like to see results for our achievements. We like to feel superior to others. Communism doesn't allow for this at all.
Socialism on the other hand is more varied. It varies from country to country in advocating public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources, It allows for equal access to resources for all individuals with a method of compensation based on the amount of labor expended.
So Socialism does allow for the spoils for achievement but it does EXPECT you to achieve. Much like our forefathers, You have to EARN your money, not inherit it. Socialism gives to the ability to achieve even if you are born of humble means. Socialism doesn't expect you to starve while you seek out your goals in life.
However, Under most Socialist models, There is a limit to how much is too much. How big is too big. So many people who are super rich and the fools who think they will be, Hate this. They need to lord over people, Remind people how they control the purse strings. They want us to love them at the same time we fear them, much like the Old Testament God. Competition isn't the goal, Conquering if the goal. The Wal-Mart model or The New York Yankees model. They call it Capitalism but it's really a Corporate Oligarchy. This is not even the Adam Smith Capitalism model.
So, That being said, Who was the most Socialist American president? My basis for determining this would be who was president when the government had the most control of our resources and the most services available to the public.
No president before 1900 would fall in this category. Socialism wasn't really more than a theory at that point. People were running as socialists but that's like people these running as libertarians. It's good for talking points but it yields no results under than smug sense of superiority. Socialism had not put to practice in the USA in any significant way. But then along came Teddy Roosevelt.
Teddy Roosevelt was the first president in US history to use government to help the American people. He created huge National Parks that prevented the private sector from developing on it and gave all Americans access to it. Roosevelt also created the Meat Inspection Act, and the FDA that helped the public feel safe in what they put in their mouths. A lot of Socialism in a short period of time, mostly from a clean slate. But since most of what he put into effect still exists, and most of his successors added new programs, He isn't the most socialist president.
William Howard Taft didn't really add much to the socialist cause. He took on US Steel but really just enforced then current laws. So he isn't the most socialist.
Woodrow Wilson on the other hand, whew, what a socialist! He tried to create a "League of Nations" that was to make the US as a peer of other nations.
He helped developed the Federal Reserve and gave us the income tax. We still have both and the United Nations. Wilson also allowed women the right to vote after pretty much every other country in the world had done so. The women showed their appreciation by voting for the opposite party for the next three elections. Wilson would be the most socialist US president for a dozen years.But not the most in US history.
Because the tribunal of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover didn't add any government programs and cut taxes significantly, Socialism made no gain, It was some of the most business friendly environment. Black progress regressed in the Hoover years. That and a soft approach to big business was enough to send the US into the greatest economic collapse in US history.
The Great Depression created a call for more government to help the American people. Franklin D. Roosevelt answered that call in earnest. He created HUGE government programs. The National Recovery Act and the WPA was just the start. Social Security is still the largest government program ever created and is the least likely government program to ever be eliminated. He passed the Glass-Steagall act which was a reform on the banks reckless actions in the 1920s.
FDR definitely made the US more socialist than maybe anyone else had. However most of his programs are still in existence and more were added on over the years. One could say the US was entering the golden age of Socialism as each of FDR's successors added more government programs for decades at the same time we were fighting Communism.
Harry Truman continued this trend with the Marshal Act and the creation of the United Nations, The most Socialist entity in the world. He helped put NATO together. He integrated the military like many other countries of Europe had already done. He tried to put together a Health Care plan that was far more Socialist than Obama or Hillary Clinton can imagine, Almost as socialist as Canada. But it doesn't count because it failed to make inroads.
After Truman, People were sick of the Socialist Democrats and voted for a Republican that would roll back all the Socialist programs that were enacted before. Dwight Eisenhower would disappoint them greatly because his increase in government spending was nearly that of FDR. He kept everything FDR enacted but added some cabinets like the departments of Health, Education, and expanded welfare. The tax rate for the upper most wealthy was 91%!!! He expanded civil rights for those of color, Sometimes using the military to do so. IKE would be considered the most socialist president ever but for one more future president.
JFK was not that president. He actually cut taxes but closed loopholes and had more balanced budgets. He created the Peace Corp. but that pales to anything IKE did. Though he increased funding for NASA's space program. He also served only three years before he was assassinated so we don't really know how much more government policies he would have come up with if he served a full term or two terms. A socialist agenda, I dunno, He was assassinated by a commie.
LBJ on the other hand signed the Civil Rights Act which gave every non incarcerated American over the age of 21 the right to vote. He gave us the New Deal that expanded welfare to include health care for the poor and the elderly. School lunch programs were added to ensure that poor kids won't interrupt class with their loud stomach rumblings.A good Socialist but the most Socialist? Read on...
In 1968, You had Richard Nixon winning the presidency. A hard core Republican who used the "Southern Strategy" to squeak into the White House in a tight three man race. Although Nixon didn't grow government at the rate that LBJ, JFK, IKE, and FDR did, he did enact OSHA, the EPA and to really add to a socialist agenda, He met up with Communist China. All of his programs are still in effect. Roe Vs Wade became the law of the land and all people between the age of 18-21 were now allowed to vote. Government was bulging at the seams, Who will stop it?
Gerald Ford didn't have much to do in his two plus years in office. He wouldn't be allowed to after Watergate, A scandal that had nothing to do with Nixon's socialist tendencies. He did however end the Apollo space program so that would make him slightly less socialist than Nixon.
Jimmy Carter, Democrat, ergo socialist in the extreme! Mmmmmmmmm, not quite. A lot of conservatives would agree. After all it was Jimmy Carter that deregulated the Savings and Loans that allowed for its collapse years later in the late 80's. He also loosened regulations on lending institution that caused the huge recession that occurred thirty years late. Conservatives said so! Carter also deregulated the airline industry. He cut some taxes and he also boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. That's a pretty hardcore response to the "Evil Empire" that no one gives him credit for. So believe it or not Jimmy Carter was a president that moved the US into a less socialist direction.
It's easier to believe that Ronald Reagan didn't increase socialism. And you'd be right. He cut taxes right off the bat, Fired union air traffic controllers and replaced them. He cut government programs but curiously was never close to balancing the budget. He was a hardcore anti Communist and took action against anything that smacked of socialism including selling weapon parts to terrorists so he can fund terrorists in South America to overthrow a Democratically elected socialist leader. So no worries, Reagan is not the most Socialist US president ever.
Neither was George H W Bush. He cut taxes, He was fortunate enough to be president when one of the greatest symbol of Communism, the Berlin Wall fell. He got even luckier when the Soviet Union soon collapsed. Then he led a very efficient war against a leader that invaded another country. Probably the most decisive victory in US history. He did however raised taxes later on, He had to, the deficit was out of control by the lost revenue created by The Reagan tax cuts. Still ONE little broken promise shouldn't be enough for him to lose after all his other triumphs. Should it?
Thanks to a moneyed third candidate, H. Ross Perot, George H W Bush lost to Bill Clinton. Now Bill Clinton was the first Democrat president in twelve years, only the second in 24 years. So, He would have an uphill battle to apply a significant socialist agenda on the USA. He won with a plurality not a majority, He did raise taxes on the rich with not one Republican vote. This allowed the economy to grow at its greatest rate in US history.
But Clinton tried to get a Health Care plan that would have ensured his place as perhaps the most socialist president in US history. It was a bit too ambitious for Congress and the opposition did a good job in scaring the American people to dump enough Democrats in the 1994 election to get the first Republican majority in both house of Congress since the early 50's. After that Clinton passed NAFTA and ended welfare as we know it. He had to put any liberal agenda on the back burner. He controlled government spending so much that even the Republicans shut down the government because he cut too much. He called their bluff and they folded. He also signed the repealed Glass-Steagal Act which allowed for unregulated speculation, No government oversight which allowed for the "booming" economy of the Oh Oh decade.
So next comes George W Bush. Not a socialist. No, to call George W Bush a socialist is an insult to socialism. Although you might find some socialist leaders that stole their way into office, You can't pin the stolen election on socialism. Don't be fooled by his huge spending, It didn't go to programs for people. Bush cut taxes for the rich right after he entered the White House. When that plunged us into a recession and turned the largest surplus into the largest deficit in US history in no time, He cut taxes again on the rich.
Bush made it his agenda to make religion a big part of his administration. Religion and socialism don't mix. No socialist is he. He did make two mistakes that his father didn't. He didn't end the Iraq war when it clearly was over in 2003. He didn't raise taxes at anytime especially when it was needed to balance the budget and to pay for the wars he started. But he won the 2004 election and his father lost in 1992, so we know where W's priorities are.
Now we get to Obama. The man who won with the most American votes in US history. He's been attacked as being a socialist, a communist, a Nazi, and a radical. None of these labels apply.
He isn't a radical because a radical has to change the status quo significantly to be a radical. He hasn't stopped the two wars that Bush started, He hasn't overturned Bush's stupid tax cuts. Even when he allows it to expire it will still be lower than Reagan's rate.
He isn't a Nazi because.....Really, Do I have to explain why he's not a Nazi?
He isn't a Communist because his track record doesn't even come close to any country that called themselves communist.
And he is doing a poor job pushing the socialist agenda, Most liberals and for that matter many moderates want a single payer or a public option on Health Care Reform. He isn't pushing for either. That puts him slightly to the right for now, of Bill Clinton who was to the right of Jimmy Carter, who was to the right of Lyndon Johnson. So, Who was the most Socialist president in US history?
Well, I'm basing it on how much government involvement were involved in our personal lives and in our business lives. How much regulations were in effect and being used. I base it on how much the particular president inherited and didn't overturn. I base it on any government programs added during their presidency.
I don't base it on intent of the person, I base it on results. If he didn't overturn anything, He doesn't get credit for trying. I don't include war spending as fulfilling a socialist agenda EVEN if he started it himself.
So the president I think is most Socialist never overturned anything TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, and LBJ put into effect.
He created an agency that many conservative businessmen think is responsible for interfering with economic growth. He oversaw a law that allowed women to choose whether or not to have an abortion, He appointed two liberals and one moderate to the Supreme Court. He created OSHA that again is considered an interference in business growth by conservatives.
So, with that criteria, I proclaim the most socialist president in US history to be.........drum roll please........
Take a bow, Dick!