27 February 2013

Changes with the Blog

Hello Readers,

The blogs Common Civic Good and The Angry River Rat have been silent for a while because of some personal issues and some time constraints. With these issues, I feel that the blogs mission need to carry on even if I cannot spend the time on them as I once did. My goal is to keep them alive.

Changes will be made to make this happen.

  1. Blogs will not be cited like academic sources. (It was what I found most fun about writing articles was the research.)
  2. Twitter will be used more to link other articles, and to provide mobile commentary.
  3. Blog posts will range from 500 words or less. (No more Epic 5 page posts.
  4. I reserve the right to edit posts after publication for grammar and spelling mistakes.
  5. Common Civic Good and The Angry River Rat will sometimes run the same post. (Time constraints are the reason behind this move.)
Even with these changes I hope my blogs will provide meaningful comments in the political realm.


19 September 2012

Why Occupy Wall Street Hurt Romney's Chances

A post came  to light off of Mother Jones about some comments  Mitt Romney made during a fundraiser in Boca Raton Florida. Romney stated:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
This was a private comment made during a fundraiser of wealthy businessmen. At first thought we could assume that this was a misstatement, but today he doubles down  and said that his comment was, "not elegantly stated." He wants to focus more on the people in the middle.

Here is the problem with that is that only 7% of the population pays no tax not 47%.People in this 47% pay federal taxes for medicare,gasoline, and other broad base federal taxes.  The 47% number comes from people that pay no income tax, but that includes people get tax credits for children, houses, and other tax breaks. 

The funny thing is that majority of the "middle class" uses these tax breaks to help maintain their middle class lifestyle. An attack on these tax breaks is an attack on the middle class. It does not help that Romney's status as a wealthy elite and vague tax policy looks to hurt the middle and lower classes

Now how does Occupy Wall Street fit into all of this? About one year ago to a movement came into place  to highlight income inequality. It was different than all other movements that its agenda was formed by the mass than the leadership. It was not a formed by an organization or corporation, but with disgruntle people who wanted a change the current system. They decided to change the system by an old fashion protest. Unfortunately, their organic formation was their downfall. Without central leadership, the Occupy Movement was easily broken up by desperate city governments fearful massive civil unrest.  Many argue that the Occupy Movement was a flash movement, but I would disagree.

The Occupy Movement's emphasis on income inequality has made income inequality in the forefront in the news. Because of the Occupy's message people were aware of income inequality, and made this a campaign issue in 2012. So when Mr. Romney made his comments, it helped ignite a fire and anger that Occupy help build.

See the Full Romney video here.

04 October 2011

Would Reagan be Considered a Democrat, Now?

I have found this video comparing speeches between President Ronald Reagan and President Barack Obama about closing tax loopholes to millionaires.  The cuts of the video show eerie similarities between the both men's speeches. It raises the question has the Republican party gone so far right that Ronald Reagan would be considered a Democrat in this political climate.  We know now that President Nixon would be with the Republican war on the EPA, but Reagan would be disastrous blow to Republican ideals. Propping up a man who would agree with your opponents more than his party. It is troubling. Here is the video

30 September 2011

Fighting the Good Fight

Well, it has been a couple of months since post has been typed on this blog, and with fall approaching it is time to start working hard on the blog. I missed some fun stories ranging from government showdowns, world riots, and a stagnate economy.

As a journalist/scholar I have been really lazy. We will see if we can change that. Game on!

04 July 2011

Happy Fourth of July

Take time to be thankful for all the freedoms that we have. Enjoy this Monday.

30 June 2011

Why We Need a Compromise on the Debt Ceiling

The clock is ticking for the Congress to reach an agreement on the Debt Ceiling. The Debt Ceiling was created in 1917 and is used to cap the amount that Congress can borrow. The original Debt Ceiling was set at 11.5 billion dollars, and now the ceiling is at 14.26 trillion. Debt ceiling is usually raised at the time of a spending  hikes or tax cuts is the reason for the raising of the ceiling.

Now today's impasse is that Republicans with the help of their Tea Party base are finding the raising of the Debt Ceiling unacceptable, unless drastic cuts are made to lower the deficit. The cuts that the Republican propose are for 2.5 trillion dollars of cuts for the next ten years in exchange for the Debt Ceiling to be raised.

The Democrats on the other hand want to make it an 80/20 split between cuts and tax increases. Some of the options that the Democrats have mention was to get rid of tax breaks for items like yachts and private jets, and have even gone as far to rescind the Bush Tax Cuts from people that make more than 500,000 dollars. Meager hikes that only affect the wealthy individuals on luxury items.

The problem that arises is the the Republican Party does not want to increase taxes on anything. The idea of raising taxes on yachts or private jets is a non-starter. Pretty much it means do not tax anything or anyone, but only accept budget cuts to social programs. This is disturbing in American society. What is being set up is Un-American.

Here is why. One America is about setting up equal opportunity for all of its citizens. Hence in the Declaration of Independence our founding fathers wrote all men are created equal.( Now we know their understanding and what is accepted now are different, but the idea stays the same.) If all men/women are created equal should be allowed to have the same opportunity. This is where social programs helped equalize the opportunities  for people that were at a disadvantage.

 People who argue with this rationale say that once a person made it to the top that they are a self made man and owe no one for their success or should pay higher taxes. This is laughable. Anyone who was successful has had help. Lets take a store for an example. Minimum wage is 7.25 nationally. Living wage is considered about 11 dollars an hour. The person who starts a business usually pays minimum wage not living wage. Once some one has more money the wages do not change. These people that work 40hrs a week on minimum wage are more likely to rely on government assistance than people who make more. The sad thing is that its their labor that makes huge companies successful.

I do agree we need to lower our debt. If we do not we will be on a course to ruin, but we have to be reasonable human beings and not allow our greed to hamper this process. We are only as strong as our weakest link, and if we follow with only cuts we will become a weaker nation.

15 June 2011

Summer Reading List for the People of the Missouri River

Summer is a time to catch up on reading that has been put off, and with the interest in the high water on the Missouri River I have some reading recommendations for people that are interested in the current flooding of the Missouri River. These books are long and comprehensive, but of a high academic quality.

Through my studying of the Pick-Sloan Plan two books I would recommend if you want a comprehensive history on the dams and the Corps are The History of Large Federal Dams: Planning, Design, and Construction in the Era of Big Dams, and Big Dam Era. Chapter 6 (p235-292) in Large Federal dams covers the Missouri River the building of the structures and the Pick-Sloan Plan. Big Dam Era covers the Missouri River from the implementation of the Pick-Sloan Plan to the 1990s. This book is about 200 pages. Granted both are written by the Corps, but they good comprehensive background histories. Luckily, they are now online in PDF format and the full text can be accessed on-line which is better than writing the Corps for a copy or trying to find them in a library.

If political history is more of your thing then I would suggest; Dammed Indians Revisited by Michael Lawson, Unruly River by Robert Kelly Schneiders, Cadillac Desert by Mark Reisner(Chapter 6 p170-213), and River of Promise River of Perilby John Thorson. It is alot of reading, but they are interesting books to give a perpective of the Corps, Janklow, South Dakota, and politics surrounding the dams. Finally, if your interested in the legislation of the Pick-Sloan Plan I would recommend The Missouri Basin's Pick-Sloan Plan A Case Study in Congressional Policy Determination by Marian E Ridgeway. In my opinion the best book that describes the legislative process of the Pick-Sloan Plan without reading thousands of pages of Congressional documents.

Summer reading List
 The History of Large Federal Dams: Planning, Design, and Construction in the Era of Big Dams, and Big Dam Era.
Big Dam Era
Dammed Indians Revisited
Unruly River
Cadillac Desert
River of Promise River of Peril
The Missouri Basin's Pick-Sloan Plan A Case Study in Congressional Policy Determination

I know these are huge books and more time is required then the average reader might want to put in, but these are the best. So these are my recommendations for summer reading. Please leave comments on what you think or other good books or articles on the topic. If you read or had read any of these works feel free to comment on them.