Paul Ryan inches toward a basic income

Rep. Paul Ryan unveiled the latest stage in his personal evolution on poverty and welfare Wednesday in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute. Like Sen. Marco Rubio, Ryan is part of a small Republican minority still trying to engage on substantive policy issues. Ryan is also like Rubio in that the pursuit is dragging him deeper and deeper into ideologically uncomfortable ground on which he is reluctant to plant a flag.

In his speech he endorsed the same extension of earned income tax credits that President Obama has been advocating without making overt reference to He Who Must Not Be Named. Ryan’s proposal is in some respects even more aggressive than Obama’s. Instead of providing the EITC subsidy in the annual tax return process, Ryan is endorsing Milton Friedman’s old idea of using the EITC as a monthly income floor. The proposal would only affect people who are working and would be relatively small, but this represents the first solid Republican minimum income plan to emerge since the Sixties.

Ryan’s approach to poverty relief offers the benefit of reducing the bureaucratic burden of our social welfare system. In an age of rising complexity, anything that streamlines government without sacrificing essential services should be welcome.

Its flaw is that it is too small to make a difference and only offers relief to people who have a job. That’s a bigger problem than it might sound like and it reflects an ideological misconception common all over the political spectrum.

Our economy is changing at a faster pace than ever, destroying an older category of entry-level jobs that used to be the gateway to a career. The disappearance of these jobs is feeding structural unemployment, which is driving down wages, but that’s not all.

New business models are emerging in this climate to feed off declining wages and rising unemployment. Those business models actually depend for their survival on government subsidies to working families in order to perpetuate a cycle of downward pressure on wages.

The idea that any job no matter how menial or dead-end is a gateway to independence is an almost universally accepted fallacy. No one actually believes it enough to try it on their own kids.

Affluent kids are not competing with each other for positions driving a forklift at Home Depot. They are, however, competing for unpaid internships. They are traveling. They are spending time at summer camps. They are taking the time they need to prepare for careers that might take them somewhere. They can do this because they have the money it takes to sustain these pursuits into their twenties.

Kids in nice neighborhoods might take a job to make some extra money, but their parents are working very hard to make sure that they never have to take a menial job to support themselves or their family. Why? Because taking a job too early will cut them off from opportunities to develop the complex skills and connections required to access to fulfilling careers. Research is starting to back them up, demonstrating that those who fall into these jobs tend to underperform economically for a lifetime.

For those who cannot afford these opportunities, new predatory business models await. The real winners from our assumption that a low-wage job is the cure for what ails the poor are companies like WalMart, McDonalds and Dollar General.

A solid majority of the families on food stamps are working. That statistic is the key to understanding what’s wrong with our approach to poverty, mobility, and the social safety net. The EITC, as currently structured, takes money from taxpayers to subsidize business models that depend on declining wages and desperate workers.

Our welfare system is evolving into a gigantic public subsidy to low-wage employers. WalMart employees alone cost taxpayers more than $6bn a year. McDonalds accounts for $1.2bn. Our belief that that poor people need a job more than they need anything else is leading us to block off avenues to improve their lives. Meanwhile we are spending tax money in an effort to keep them stuck in pointless jobs that will never lift them out of poverty.

For Ryan to embrace the idea of extending the EITC and converting it into a wage floor is a healthy step toward something that might someday matter. In the meantime it doubles down on a system that traps low income families in a cycle of futility while subsidizing business plans built on American desperation. Ryan’s sincere interests in improving opportunity for low income Americans and trimming our bloated bureaucracy are dragging, slowly and irrevocably toward the solution that would accomplish those goals. Let’s hope he someday makes peace with the idea of a minimum income.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Economics, Welfare State
411 comments on “Paul Ryan inches toward a basic income
  1. CaptSternn says:

    It has always been legal for a woman to have an abortion if the pregnancy endangers her life, HT, even centuries before it became legal for mere convenience. I have always said that it should be a legal option when the mother’s life is in danger, I don’t quite know why you are just now realizing that. Maybe you have never actually read what I have written on the subject?

    Now since you use Horn and Zimmerman as examples, I would guess that you would support having the woman go before a grand jury and maybe even to trial to prove that her life really was in danger, along with her doctors and plenty of actual evidence. If she failed to prove it, she would be convicted of murder and sent to prison.

    Maybe you are coming around after all.

    Now, if we can just figure out what yours and Owl’s obssession with mixed race marriages is all about …

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Look at me…look at me….look at me!

      • CaptSternn says:

        I have been, HT. Kind of sad watching you completely lose it while attempting to twist yourself into a pretzel.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      While complaining about people going off topic.

      Why bring this back to the top on an issue regarding minimum income?

      All of my discussions have been down below in direct response to people who brought up abortion

      The symptoms of hysteria are getting really pronounced.

      Hysteria – symptoms include conversion of psychological stress into physical symptoms (somatization), selective amnesia (forgetting the topic at hand), shallow volatile emotions (boom, slavery discussion out of the blue), and overdramatic or attention-seeking behavior (case in point).

      • CaptSternn says:

        You know, I wasn’t really giving this part any thought until just now. Usually when I am having a discussion here and scrolling way down, and somebody on the left brings it back to the top, I thank them for not making me and other to scroll so far down. Maybe that’s because I am not ashamed of what I have posted, I don’t paint myself into a corner and want it hidden?

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Re: mixed-race marriages, Sternn, you’re the one who made your bed, and we are merely welcoming you to lie in it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Owl, are people being stripped of their natural born citizenship and imprisoned for interracial or same sex marriages these days? Or for cohabitating?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I’ll answer for Owl…no they are not.

        Which gets us to the next question.

        Should a state have the right to refuse marriage licenses to inter-racial couples as long as they do not otherwise strrip them of their natural born citizenship, fine, or imprison them?

        You say yes.
        99% of the country says no.
        The rest of your 1% is Rand Paul and some very unpleasant people.

      • CaptSternn says:

        I say that the states have the power, as of now, to refuse the privilege of recognizing same sex marriages, polygamous marriages and group marriages. That’s it.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:


      • CaptSternn says:


      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…you have specifically said Virginia v. Loving was an overreach and that the only reason the case was needed was because the state took away rights of Loving.

        Had the state not taken away those rights, you did not think the case was warranted.

        Funny…you are attempting to be a politician. Your comment is,
        “I say that the states have the power, as of now, to refuse the privilege of recognizing same sex marriages, polygamous marriages and group marriages. That’s it.”

        You are not commenting on what you believe the states should have the right to do. You did that long ago with Loving v. Virginia as well as with your constant drumbeat that marriage is the sole province of the state.

        I absolutely get that you would hate the idea of a state refusing marriage licenses to inter-racial couple. I have no doubt that you are a decent person who would shout it down.

        However, your political philosophy to which you refuse to accept compromise, requires that you support a state’s right to do that very bad thing.

        I’m not sure if it is more funny or sad that you have trouble just typing that.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Now Stern…to your point, there would be little need for a grand jury.

      For Zimmerman and Horn, they had to somehow establish that they were in situations that could cause significant physical injury (Zimmerman could, Horn couldn’t).

      For pregnancy and childbirth, only you seem to characterize a slicing of the stomach and uterus and/or perineal tearing as an “inconvenience” rather than serious physical injury.

      I am seriously concerned about the value you place on the lives and autonomy of women. I am sure you love, respect, and value the women in your life, but your views on the value of the broader group of women is kind of scary.

      If anything, you folks should be amazed and thankful that women are willing to go though with a pregnancy and childbirth because the rational reaction to facing that situation is “no thank you”.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Well, so much for the progress I thought you were making. After all, it was you that brought up the comparison of Horn and Zimmerman. Looks like you are backtracking and trying to get out of that comparison now.

        And you still seem to be under the impression that women just sponatiously become pregnant. That condition can be avoided in several different ways by both parties, or just one party.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        And Zimmerman just spontaneously woke up to find himself being assaulted by Martin. Horn spontaneously found himself transported outside in the face (or back) of thieves.

        I’m really shocked you are placing a spontaneity requirement for self defense, because it kind of shoots holes (pun very much intended) in your support for Zimmerman and Horn.

        Failure to exercise all precautions has never been a reason to deny access to self defense, and my CHL holding friend knows that.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I love the comparison to Zimmerman and Horn. I’ve been trying to poke holes into the comparison for a couple of days now, and it is really, really hard to do.

        For folks who support Zimmerman, Horn, and the Castle Doctrine, the comparison is almost air tight, and the argument gets very sticky for you very quickly.

        You can’t argue spontaneity, so that goes out the window. With Horn, you can’t even really argue for fear of physical assault unless you recognize that he put himself in that situation for the potential assault.

        Then, you all tend to agree that as long as someone is stealing your property, you have the right to shoot the person even if you do not fear for your safety. Putting property over the rights of a woman to control her body is a losing argument.

        With Zimmerman, he had plenty of opportunities for prophylactic measures and contraception that would have avoided the outcome, but he chose not to put on that condom, and yet he was justified in shooting Martin because he feared serious bodily injury or death.

        If you do not support Zimmerman, Horn, and the Castle Doctrine, the comparisons are still sticky if you just simply look at protecting yourself from serious bodily injury, and most jurisdictions allow for self defense with a reasonable fear of serious bodily injury.

        Women absolutely face serious bodily injury in all but the most remarkable child births. Trauma to the body that any man would utilize self defense to avoid.

        Stern…I share your frustration with your position here. I’ve been trying your side of the argument to poke holes into this side of the argument for a solid 36 hours, and my folks keep coming back with arguments against those holes.

        There are a few nuggets your side can try to grab, but it is an absolute conundrum for your side (especially if you support Zimmerman and Horn).

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, I am good with your comparison. If a woman has an abortion, she should answer to the law and prove self defense. That means going before a grand jury and maybe even going to a trial, having physical evidence that the pregnancy would likely cause her death, having witnesses and experts testify, and having a jury decide.

        These are all the things you have called for, and that would include whether or not she brought it upon herself. Did you know that a CHL holder in Texas cannot claim self defense if he provoked the altercation or did not attempt to retreat from the altercation in a public place? Did you know a CHL holder can be charged with murder if he accidentally shoots and kills an innocent third person?

        Seems to me that for all your intelligence and knowledge of numbers, you are simply arguing based on emotion with total disregard to facts and reality. You got yourself into a corner in the end, and now you don’t know how to get out.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Ah…Stern…we’ve already done these arguments too…and they don’t work.

        But first…I’m intrigued by your position that you are OK with abortion as long as the woman established that she believed she was at risk for serious physical injury.

        Aside from that being a slam dunk argument that would require all of a five second checklist to complete in the abortion clinic to then be turned over the the appropriate gov’t officials, it seems to highlight the suspicion that women have for your position.

        In fact, there was laughter down the halls with this posting.

        If it not about the fetus for you all…it is about the woman. Shaming the woman or making her defend her actions…not about the fetus.

        You are saying you OK with abortion as long as the abortion happens for what you deem to be the right reason.

        This is why no one protests the mass murder at fertility clinics. This is why you are not lobbying for more research into miscarriages.

        Your side either doesn’t believe those women did anything wrong or don’t care about those fetuses, so the women don’t deserve to be shamed or punished.

        This argument will always appeal to some old folks and some men, but women are not so stupid as to fail to see the underlying issues.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Ok, HT, you believe anybody should be allowed to go around killing people freely and not have to explain their actions, not have evidence that they were in fact in danger of being killed. You believe that Horn and Zimmerman should not have had to answer to the law, not be brought before a grand jury, not be put on trial. Why, those DC snipers were well within their rights to just kill people they found inconvenient, no explanation as to why.

        You really have lost it. Even when you thought you made a point, you come to realize you messed up your entire argument. Then again, you have come to admit you support assumed and automatic guilt. I think you are having some real issues with your own points of view. I guess you will just have to work that out on your own.

        There is a new entry and I have no doubt that the subject matter will lead us right back into this discussion, unless you see the error of your arguments and try to come up with something different in an attempt to justify killing innocent people for convenience, denying human beings their very humanity and their basic human rights.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        And wheeeeeeeeeeeee….we get yanked to snipers and presumed guilt and convenience, and I’m shocked we didn’t hear about slavery too.

        I with you stern…poking holes into the argument with your positions is an absolute nightmare.

        I admire your pluck and determination in the attempt, but you didn’t bring up a single topic that wasn’t already knocked back like a whack-a-mole.

        It is a tough one for your side.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, not at all HT. You have been all over the place today, grasping here and there, falling apart, scrambling for cover … I kind of feel sorry for you.

        Tell you what, I have said I was done a couple of times, so now I will show you mercy and leave for the evening. You can use your time to regroup. lick your wounds and try to recover and hope all ths is ignored under the new entry. I might have something to say there, but I will grant you peace here.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “I will grant you peace”?

        What an arrogant, self-absorbed piece of shit.

  2. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Folks have suggested that a higher minimum wage is a better solution than a minimum income.

    A $10 minimum wage gets you to about $20,000 a year, and it seems that most agree that people could get by on that (with obvious increases for children and such).

    However, that requires the person to put in the 40 hours a week rather than taking the time to do things that allow them to increase their skills, their education, and their opportunities.

    For folks who pretend to support family values, providing a minimum income would allow more people to give up their going-nowhere jobs to stay at home with the kids (or elderly parent). More universal insurance would allow people to give up their insurance providing job in order to stay home with kids (or an elderly parent).

    Maybe our minimum income is only $10,000 rather than $20,000 (phased out as other income rises), then our person can work part time, while going to school part time or spending more time with children.

    Allowing people who want this flexibility to better utilize their time would actually free up job opportunities for folks really wanting to work their way up the food chain.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Free up job opportunities? Sure, because nobody would be doing any work.

      You get free housing, but there is nobody to build or maintain homes or apartments.

      You get free groceries, but there are no people working at the grocery stores.

      There would be no items on the store shelves because nobody would be planting or harvesting food.

      You get free health care, but there are no doctors or clinics to provide it.

      You get free electricity, but there is nobody running power plants so there is no electricity.

      You get free clothing, but there is nobody to make the clothing.

      You get free transportation, but there is nobody working in transportation.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Man Stern…are you so lazy that if someone gave you $10k you would become a layabout, smokin’ pot and eating cheetos all day.

        Most folks have aspirations beyond subsistence, but if you don’t, that is fine, take your $10k and happily go live in a nice tent in the woods. No harm, no foul.

  3. Bobo Amerigo says:

    If I had to appear at an evidentiary hearing, I’d want HT by my side.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I admit HT is tenacious, but he tends to go off on a tangent.

      I was just thinking the other day that the SAVE THE DOME cause should hire the people protesting at the Mexican border, to put that outrage to better use.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      I dunno, I think he homes in on his points and posits on them quite thoroughly and well.

      You say po-tay-to and I say po-tah-to and Dan Quayle still can’t spell it correctly.

  4. tuttabellamia says:

    “And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, – we need never read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?”

    ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

    • Crogged says:

      He was a lovable misanthrope. One can read “Country defends its freedom”, or see pictures of dead children, sometimes words fail.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      If we all wanted to be nothing but hermits, deeply devoted to studying the activity of anthills, Thoreau’s whine might make good advice.

      But we don’t. So it isn’t.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I posted it not to give advice. It was supposed to be funny.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Apparently you failed in your attempt.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        It was funny to me, so it was a resounding success. I crack up every time I read that quote. Even now, as I type.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        …if you consider gleeful solipsism to be a resounding success, sure.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Owl also seems to be having a bad day.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Hapless sociopaths like you make me cross.

      • objv says:

        Ye Owld Grump of Bellaire? Owl, hope you’re feeling better soon. That casing should come up anytime.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        So OV, are you channeling or facilitating Dan to get around his supposed “ban”?

      • objv says:

        bubba, are you suggesting that that Dan has taken demonic possession of my soul? Is he banned? What’s up with that anyways? ROR (and possibly Sassy) quit this blog because they thought you were banned … and yet you came back to life. I hope Dan returns. We’ve had too many people leave.

      • CaptSternn says:

        OV, I think when some people have their views challenged they would rather run away than face opposition. As Kabuzz puts it, they want an echo chamber, where everybody agrees with one another and supports each other. When people come in and challenge their views, they run away. They simply cannot handle their views being questioned, they cannot accept any other ideas.

        Those on the left that do stick around sink to vulgarities, insults, foul language and twisted fantasies. Dan certainly crossed the line recently. But you, Tutt, TThor, Kabuzz, Fifty and others on the right don’t sink into name calling and foul language. I think that shows a fundamental difference between the right and the left.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes Cappy in your fantasy world bubble you and your favored brethren are righteous and pure as the driven snow and everyone else who disagrees with you are the reincarnation of Satan, Hitler, and Genghis Khan amalgamated as one.

        You must have a pretty sad life if that’s what you have to convince yourself is reality to accept the world on your own stubbornly deluded fantasies only.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        OV, I don’t know where you get that absurdly ludicrous notion of anyone quitting this blog over my status but I have read all the comments on Chris’ blog and neither Sassy nor RoR have stated such. And both of them stopped commenting well prior to my perceived banishment. People come and go as they please and I wouldn’t be so presumption or conceited to to believe I would have that kind of influence over anyone. And if I did, it would be other quite annoying choice posters I would endeavor to make disappear.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Bubba: OV is half right. Sassy and Rush left in protest over your being banned yet Dan being allowed to run rampant.

        Of course, the usual debate followed about who is worse — you or Dan.

        I’m surprised you missed it.

  5. Crogged says:

    At least now the topic is seriously considered, just a scant few months ago this was a ‘crazy’ idea. I’m actually of two minds on this. One, despite the howls that will come below, our current ‘anti-poverty’ measures work fairly well. We do have chronic poor-feel free to find out for yourself what it means to define ‘chronic poor’ and the percentage of our population which fall into the category. The other mind I have is why do we have to make it so hard on ourselves (which again will prompt howls from below regarding all the hard work and self sacrifice, blah blah blah)? A child born in River Oaks has every advantage over a child born in Cut N Shoot because we have forgotten America wasn’t created just because of ‘freedom’, but also because of ‘equality’.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Equal rights, not equal results.

    • Crogged says:

      Equal opportunity, equal treatment under the law, no friggin’ “royalty”.

    • Crogged says:

      If we are going to level the playing field either the River Oaks advantages are cut or the floor raised for the Cut n Shoot child-or some combination thereof.

    • CaptSternn says:

      It is up to the individuals to do better and better provide for their children, Crogged. Your kids are not my responsibility. Seems petty and jealous to want to bring others down because you or someone else might not have as much money.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Those “kids” are your responsibility when they end up sentenced to prison, Sternn. They’re your responsibility when they end up relying on social services for things like food, shelter, or medical care, because they don’t have the education to successfully support themselves.

        So why shouldn’t they be your responsibility when they’re young and impressionable, and education could make a profound difference in their lives and prospects?

        Oh, right. Because you’re a greedy, self-involved asshole. Redundantly identified as a libertarian. Gotcha.

      • Crogged says:

        Maybe you recalled my position, but I offered we should double or triple the current estate tax exemption. Make it ten million cash–but then, done. No stocks or bonds, the rest is liquidated and the poor dears of all those hard working wealthy parents make do on a 10 million dollar lump sum. Why is it that creative destruction is only good for people who work for a living?

    • Crogged says:

      We are a modern nation state, we preserve individual liberty while accepting group action can sometimes advance individual good. You see an atomized world of pure individuality, which is fine for Thoreau and dreaming by the pond, but bothers your neighbor when you watch his house burn down.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Crogged, I have a bone to pick with you, with respect to your unorthodox views on inheritance. Your thinking has become skewed by comparing everyone to Paris Hilton. Do you really believe that a person’s estate should not be passed on to their own kids? I inherited my mom’s house. Who do you think should have gotten the house? The neighbors? I am not Paris Hilton.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        *Some* of a person’s estate should be passed on to children; probably all of it for most folks, but only up to a certain limit (as current inheritance law works, for those who bother to pay attention).

        Why do you support the generational accumulation of wealth rather than relying on individual initiative?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Crogged is just venting from his democrat envy/jealousy memo. He really doesn’t believe in “hey you have too much, give me some’. At least I hope not. Because he has become part of the problem.

      • Crogged says:

        Oh yes, my ‘jealousy’ means there is no end to the states avarice in plucking cash from those poor dead people. Look up the current estate tax exemption, get back to me and make some arguments from the real world this time.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The inheritance tax is a way of saying that there really is no private property, everything rightfully beliongs to the federal government. That’s why so many on the left support it.

      • Crogged says:

        Dead people don’t have property, inheritance is a creation of the laws of man, not a universal ‘right’.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Owl, how about a combination of both — individual initiative combined with inherited wealth, or even a symbiotic relationship? The offspring can help the parents as much as the parents help the offspring, so in that way, the offspring contributes to the wealth he eventually inherits.

        I helped my mom financially over the years — helped her pay her bills, put thousands of dollars in work done to the house which I eventually inherited.

        I am still paying off some of her credit cards, even though people tell me I don’t have to, since she is now deceased. I do it because it’s the right thing to do, it’s my personal way of protecting her sterling credit reputation, even after death, and because I made a vow to her that I would.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Plus, I took care of my mom in her final years, when she was in diapers and had dementia, so she wouldn’t have to go to a nursing home. It could be said that I earned what she passed on to me. Simple as that. Nobody’s business but hers and mine.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Tutt — For God’s sake, isn’t “a combination of both” what we already have?

        You can inherit five million dollars or so tax-free, so far as I can tell from a quick web search. I’ve certainly not been to your mother’s home, but I strongly suspect it doesn’t pass that threshold. People whose estates surpass that $5M mark are subject to taxes.

        Of course, long before death, those parents are presumably using the estates to offer their offspring all sorts of advantages in education, activities, resources, etc. There are plenty of opportunities for intergenerational transfer of “wealth” without allowing the formation of a hereditary oligarchy through the continual rolling-up of massive quantities of wealth.

        Sternn’s idiotic insistence that inheritance taxes demonstrate that “the government owns everything” are the usual feeble gabbling of a deluded fool. I marvel you put up with him.

      • Crogged says:

        The exemption means for the first 10 MILLION DOLLARS, there is no tax. None. A tax on the dead, not on property owned by the living, not on current earnings of hard work, or on the profits. A tax on the remaining estate after 10 million goes to direct descendants.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Well, then, for God’s sake, Owl, if we have a combination of both, why did you ask me:

        “Why do you support the generational accumulation of wealth rather than relying on individual initiative?”

        That right there is an either/or question on your part, implying that I have a preference for one over the other.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Because you asked, “Do you really believe that a person’s estate should not be passed on to their own kids?” That, plus your known close association with a sociopathic libertarian, strongly implied that you were inveighing against the inheritance tax in general.

        I’m glad to find that you are not as stupid as your paramour.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I was “inveighing” against the following assertion by Crogged:

        Dead people don’t have property, inheritance is a creation of the laws of man, not a universal ‘right’.

        I don’t have a problem with the inheritance tax, only with the concept that one’s estate should not logically be transferred to one’s offspring or spouse upon death.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Are you claiming that inheritance is *not* a social construct rather than a universal imperative?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        You are right. Inheritance is a social construct, like most legal concepts. But then why are certain rights considered “natural law?”

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Because some people are weenies who want to appeal to a God without actually doing so?

      • Crogged says:

        The Magna Carta set out an inheritance ‘tax’, which means the landed men for some reason didn’t think their entirety of estate should go to their heirs. Why?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Crogged and Owl: Dead people may not possess property, but then, technically speaking, living people don’t possess it, either. What does “possess” mean anyway? It is a social construct, as Crogged points out, not necessarily a matter of sitting physically upon the property, but based simply on what a piece of paper says.

        So either way, living or dead, possession of property is a social construct.

  6. GG says:

    It’s amazing that if you stay away for a few days and come back the same old arguments are being played out. Nothing personal against any of you but we always seem to lapse into the same old arguments even if the topic has zero to do with it.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      It’s all one big bore, GG.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        There is no-one here more boring, repetitive, and nonsensical than your cretinous boyfriend.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Owl, somewhere down below you call me a hypocrite because i call this place repetitive. Where is the hypocrisy? Did i say one person is repetitive and another is not? I’m referring to political blogs in general.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      There’s a saying that you can forgive someone for being stupid, but you can never forgive them for being boring.

      • GG says:

        LOL, I haven’t that one before.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        “Under pressure, people admit to murder, setting fire to the village church or robbing a bank, but never to being bores.” – Elsa Maxwell

  7. objv says:

    Homer wrote: “One of the most significant threats to a woman’s health is pregnancy and childbirth.”


    I went to the CDC site and pulled up some numbers on causes of death for women in the US.

    The rate of death due to pregnancy and childbirth was 0.6 per 100,000 women.
    Complications added another 0.5.
    All together 1.1 women per 100,000 died due to pregnancy, childbirth and its complications.

    25.6 women per 100,000 die from accidents (unintentional injuries). (With men it’s double at 51.5) page 74


    Should women be wrapped in bubble wrap, not drive anywhere, avoid stairs, stay away from water, and wear a protective helmet at all times? They are 23 times more likely to die from an accident than being pregnant.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Novel idea, but perhaps we could let individual women choose to ameliorate the risks they feel most threatened by.

      • objv says:

        Well, yes, Bobo, it’s just that Homer was indicating that a “threat” of death by merely being pregnant woman was enough to justify abortion.

        I don’t think anyone here was against contraception or opposed ending a pregnancy if the woman’s life was truly in danger.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…”truly in danger” is interesting.

        Undoubtedly, many/most women undergo significant physical trauma with pregnancy and childbirth. The rates of serious physical injury is much more substantial than the risk of significant physical injury in a fist fight, yet we allow self-defense in a fist fight.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Older women who become pregnant put themselves in danger of all sorts of potential ill medical effects. None are a certainty, mind you, but they are most definitely a hazard.

        So why shouldn’t abortion be considered “self-defense” (to borrow Houston’s term) for such women?

        Oh, right. Because it offends the childishly simplistic worldview of fetus-fetishists.

      • objv says:

        Well, yes, I would – assuming they were pregnant. 🙂

      • objv says:

        Darn, that kindle … my reply was meant to go to Homer when he asked if I’d be OK with invasive surgery done on Cap and Kabuzz. :-/

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Bless you Ob…I love folks who willingly wallow into data with me.

      Your numbers are a bit old, but no quibbles there. It is hard to get up-to-the minute data from the CDC. However, there are other things we can analyze.

      The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington did a 2013-2014 study in The Lancet, a weekly medical journal. The current estimates are 18.5 mothers died for every 100,000 births in the U.S. in 2013.

      Interestingly, that is more than double the maternal mortality rate in Saudi Arabia and Canada, and more than triple the rate in the United Kingdom.

      Fortunately, death during pregnancy and childbirth is relatively rare, but so is death in a fist fight. Assaults are the sixth leading cause of death for women of childbearing age and assaults are the fifth leading cause of death.

      We allow self defense for the fifth leading cause but not the sixth? That is lunacy.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…that second to last line should be:

        “Pregnancy and childbirth are the sixth leading cause of death for women of childbearing age and assaults are the fifth leading cause of death.”

    • objv says:

      Homer: I’ll go with the CDC over The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, but hey that’s just me.

      I believe I found the Washington Post article you got some of your information from. It contains the 18.5 per 100,000 births statistic which they say amounts to almost 800 maternal deaths.

      Even though 800 is higher than acceptable, you’ve got to realize that nearly four million babies were born last year. Deaths in this study were recorded up to one year postpartum when the cause of death was often not clear.

      There is little justification for a healthy woman to abort an unborn baby because she fears maternal death.

      I (unlike you and Owl) have gone through the “horrors” of pregnancy and childbirth. I also have seen hundreds of babies being born while I worked as an RN. In my case, I gave birth naturally both times. (For those in more pain there is this nifty thing called anesthesia to get over the worst part.) Although childbirth is no walk in the park, it is certainly no justification for abortion.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj….Certainly everyone would prefer CDC data, but they are slow. The one-year post-partum is generally a good thing in that it catches non-immediate deaths related to delivery. With that said, 50% of deaths occur within a day of delivery.

        Still…a very high number.

        Stern and Buzz want the ability to utilize self defense and deadly force during a fist fight, and they are much less likely to die during a fist fight than is a women going through pregnancy and childbirth.

        I’m happy that your pregnancy and childbirth did not result in any physical injury. It is rare to have a vaginal birth without perineal tearing and almost impossible to have a c-section without a knife wound to the stomach.

        Unfortunately, not all women are so fortunate.

        Interesting that you bring up anesthesia.

        Let’s say someone approaches Stern with a goal to slice open his stomach and poke around a bit, but the person promises to use anesthesia and sew him back up. Is the position that Stern would not have the right to defend himself from such an act?

        Let’s say the person did not want to cut open Buzz’s stomach, but was instead going to do a quick tear through the perineum. The person would use anesthesia so that Buzz wouldn’t feel the worst part and would sew him back up. Buzz should not be allowed to defend himself from that?

        I cannot imagine you would support forcing boys to go through that against their will.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…we are awfully comfortable asserting bodily control and autonomy to men. We would not even imagine the scenario where we would restrict men’s right to protect themselves from this kind of injury.

        Yet, for women, folks seem more than OK with it.

        I’m a fan of big datasets and big numbers, so I absolutely can appreciate what the statistics say in terms of likelihood of death for pregnancy and childbirth.

        However, for women of childbearing age, death from pregnancy and childbirth falls just behind death due to assault. You would never take self defense off the table for assault, but you rather cavalierly assert that abortion is not justified.


      • objv says:

        Homer: I’d be OK with surgery done on Cap and Kabuzz if they managed to get pregnant.
        Again, less than 800 women die each year from complications related to childbirth. None of us here think that ending a pregnancy if the mother’s life is in danger is wrong.

        According to the CDC 88 women per 100,000 die from assault. 1.1 per 100,000 die from pregnancy, childbirth or its complications. I don’t know where the numbers you use were generated but I suspect the source is using screwed up data.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…I’m the source of the data, and I can assure you, I’m not screwing it up unless the CDC is screwing it up.

        Undoubtedly, when you look at all women, pregnancy and childbirth deaths are low because women generally only have babies for a 15 to 20 year span. When you look at women of child bearing years, the numbers are as below.

        All races, female, 25–34 years
        All causes………………….
        Accidents (unintentional injuries) ………..(V01–X59,Y85–Y86)
        Malignant neoplasms………. (C00–C97)
        Intentional self-harm (suicide) ……… (*U03,X60–X84,Y87.0)
        Diseases of heart ….(I00–I09,I11,I13,I20–I51)
        Assault (homicide) ….. (*U01–*U02,X85–Y09,Y87.1)
        Pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium ………….. (O00–O99)
        Influenza and pneumonia ……. (J09–J18)4
        Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease ……………. (B20–B24)
        Diabetes mellitus ………… (E10–E14)
        Cerebrovascular diseases …….. (I60–I69)
        All other causes …………. (residual)

        As noted by others, as the age of the woman increases, her chances of dying during pregnancy and childbirth increases as well.

        This is true on the flipside also, with increased material death for young teenagers.

      • objv says:

        Homer, where is your link and where are the actual number of deaths? Women that age would have an extremely low death rate. With the CDC number of 1.1 deaths for 100,000 women over a lifetime you know the actual number of deaths during that age group would be tiny – yet you try to justify abortion and killing of around a million unborn humans merely on the basis of a few hundred deaths that usually were associated with underlying risk factors. That kind of reasoning is absurd.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…on my phone now so I don’t have the link. It is the same set of data from your link, but the year you posted didn’t have maternal death rates. The year before and after did have those rates.

        Undoubtedly, the absolute numbers are small. Thank goodness they are small. Yet, the fifth leading cause of death for women of childbearing age is assault (for which we allow self defense) and the sixth leading cause of death for women of childbearing age is child birth (for which you do not want to allow self defense).

        Aside for oddly drawing the line between the fifth and sixth leading causes of death, I’m not saying what you allege I’m saying. In order to utilize a self-defense argument, the person has to be in fear of death of serious physical injury.

        Certainly, there is a risk of death with pregnancy and childbirth. For you, that fear was not significant enough to stop you. Are you comfortable making that decision for every other woman?

        What about the 50 year old pre-menopausal women or the 13 year old girl who has a significantly higher rate of maternal death? Just because it worked for you doesn’t mean it works for everyone.

        Personally, the physical injury issue is by far the more compelling argument. Almost universally, during pregnancy and child birth, women undergo what would undoubtedly be classified as serious physical injury were it to happen to a man.

        I’m not comfortable saying that a woman cannot protect herself from that almost certain likelihood.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Obj…for fun…google the results for men too.

        For boys, once you hit 45 years old, homicide/assault are not in the top 10 leading causes of death.

        Never would you suggest that men don’t have the right to defend themselves from assault just because so few men that age are killed via assault.

        Yet, folks seem to be making the argument that women should be forced to give up that right because so few of them die, even though more women die from child birth than middle aged men die from assault.

        I’m baffled by the logic to that.

      • objv says:

        Homer: If you go to my link, you will see that I was using CDC data from 2010 as well – although I went to the wrong table to find the numbers on assaults. The rate was actually 2.3 for women (8.4 for men). I guess the lesson here is that it is much more dangerous to be a man even accounting for pregnancy deaths!

        Perhaps, our main difference concerns our view of what we feel constitutes assault. I don’t consider pregnancy an assault or a disease. It is a natural condition. If a pregnancy is managed correctly, there is little danger of death.

        The stretch mark defense is your lamest point. Sure, women who are pregnant may have some changes in their bodies, and yes, I was fortunate. However, do you really think most women would be so shallow as to terminate a pregnancy because they fear they will have stretch marks and an episiotomy? You must have a low opinion of women in general if you think that we would rather kill a little human being than undergo some temporary pain to give birth.

        Again and again, no one is saying a woman whose life is in danger should continue with a pregnancy. That should be a choice she makes with her doctor.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Come on Obj…you are better than that. No mention by my about stretch marks. There are much more serious outcomes for pregnancy and childbirth, but I’m pleased yours went so smoothly.

        What happens to a typical woman’s body during pregnancy and childbirth would absolutely be considered “serious physical injury” in any circumstance, and men would always be allowed self defense.

        A tiny number of fights result in death or an injury remotely similar to a c-section or perineal tearing, but we allow self defense in those instances.

        I think it is odd that we are willing to force a woman to go through that against her will.

  8. kabuzz61 says:

    Chris, time for a new piece. Homer is losing it in a very big way. I mean really.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Yep buzz…it does always help to change the topic when you cannot support your position.

      Really, let a little sunshine in. Your world and political philosophy won’t fall apart if you admit inconsistencies in your position and a little bit of bias in your perspectives.

      “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

    • tuttabellamia says:

      HT, your case for ABORTION AS SELF-DEFENSE

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Your argument for ABORTION AS SELF-DEFENSE is rather drastic, when you could so easily have CONTRACEPTION AS SELF-DEFENSE, or even ABSTENTION AS SELF-DEFENSE.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…certainly abstinence and contraception would be effective forms of self defense.

        However, failure to use one method of self defense does not preclude someone from using other forms of self defense.

        Zimmerman would have been much safer to have never followed Martin (abstinence) and certainly safer not to have gotten out of his car to go looking for Martin (contraception).

        He didn’t take those two opportunities, and then found himself in a situation where he believed he was facing serious physical injury.

        He was then justified in shooting and killing Martin.

        Failure to take all precautions possible does not mean I am no longer able to utilize self-defense.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, women do not spontaniosly become pregnant, and it was legal to have an abortion to save the mother’s life before Roe vs Wade. As OV pointed out already, very, very few women die due to pregnancy and/or childbirth.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Man Stern…you really are stuck on spontaneity. There is no requirement for spontaneity in order to employee self defense.

        Joe Horn (and Zimmerman) had time to make some phone calls and talk through lots of things. Horn had time to think about, get his gun, talk about it, and then went outside and put himself in the middle of a situation.

        There was no spontaneity in that. There is nothing in self-defense provisions that require spontaneity. Not sure why you are hung up there.

        Joe Horn had a really, really, really low likelihood of being killed if he had just stayed in his house and called the police. Zimmerman had a really, really low likelihood of being killed if he had just called 9-11 and gone home.

        Serious physical injury is much more likely with pregnancy than with what either of those two faced, yet self defense was justified in your mind for one set but not the other.

        Perhaps not surprisingly, it is the situation that penis bearers could face rather than the situations a woman would face.

        Stern…dismissing women who die during pregnancy and childbirth is pretty callous.

        More women die of pregnancy and childbirth than men our age die from assaults. Are you willing to give up your right to defend yourself simply because there is a low likelihood of it happening?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Abortion was always legal in order to save the mother’s life, HT.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…so how much of a threat must the woman be in before you decide for her that her “life is in danger”?

        Joe Horn’s life wasn’t in danger. Certainly not nearly as much as a woman undergoing pregnancy and childbirth.

        You have somehow decided the Joe Horn was justified but that a woman must be silly to have that fear even though she is way more likely to die.

        Let’s put aside death. Let’s just go with serious physical injury and pain.

        I’m pretty sure you would feel justified in using self-defense to stop someone who was going to rip you from scrotum to anus.

        Yet for women, you do not feel they are justified to do that.

        I rely on you for logic and mind-numbing consistency, but you are all over the place with this.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “I rely on you for logic [sic] and mind-numbing consistency….”

        That’s Sternn all over. And yet Tutt has the gall to complain about boring repetitiveness.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Who made those calls before Roe vs Wade, HT?

        And no, I am not the one that has been all over the place here. I just corrected what I guessed was a typo on your part. Now you argue that abortion should be legal if the woman’s life is in danger. I agree, it should be a legal option in those cases, and it was a legal option long before Roe vs Wade.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sternn, who gets to decide how much “danger” merits action?

        Oh, right. Old White men.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Now Owl believes that only old white men are doctors. The left is really falling apart today, being led by HT of all people.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…we are not talking Roe v. Wade…we are talking about an American’s right to defend themselves against serious bodily injury and death.

        It is unmistakable that women undergo serious bodily injury with pregnancy.

        A C-section involves one or more slices through the woman’s abdomen and uterus. That is something of a definition of serious physical injury.

        Something like 33% of births involve a c-section in the US. As with all types of abdominal surgeries, a Caesarean section is associated with risks of postoperative adhesions, incisional hernias (which may require surgical correction) and wound infections. Other risks include severe blood loss (which may require a blood transfusion) and postdural-puncture spinal headaches.

        Can you imagine a situation where men would be forced to go through something like that against their will?

        Something like 85% of women sustain perineal injury during childbirth.

        For the boys in the room, that is a big ol’ tear from your scrotum to your anus, and a fourth degree anal sphincter injury occurs in upwards of 15 of women.

        Can you imagine a situation where men would be forced to go through something like that against their will?

      • CaptSternn says:

        I need a hammer and chisel to get this through HT’s head. Women do not spontaniously become pregnant, and abortion to save the mother’s life was always legal, centuries before Roe vs Wade.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…please with the spontaneity stuff.

        Where is spontaneity required in order to allow for self defense? Zimmerman and Joe Horn certainly were not spontaneous.

        No one disagrees that women have been allowed to terminate a pregnancy when her life was in danger.

        Who gets to make that judgment? You evidently.

        Zimmerman decided that he was in danger of serious physical injury or death, and you support him, as a man, to make that decision.

        You have decided not to let a woman decide when she is in danger of serious physical injury or death, even when it is a much more likely outcome than what you and Buzz face as part of your life.

        Everyone woman going through a c-section has serious physical injury. 85% of women with vaginal births have perineal injury.

        Putting aside death, you would defend yourself against someone threatening to slice open your stomach or rip you from scrotum to anus. No way would you agree to give up that right of self defense.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Who made those calls before Roe vs Wade, HT?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…why are you stuck on Roe v. Wade….focus….focus…self defense.

        If we do the math here…

        About 33% of women will have a c-section, and that is by definition, serious physical injury (or as you would say, an “inconvenience”).

        About 85% of women with vaginal births have perineal trauma (Stern considers being ripped from scrotum to anus as worthy of self defense, but vulva and anus is an “inconvenience”)

        So, carry the one, take a square of 42, divide by Stern’s shoe size…

        That gets us to about a 90% likelihood that women will undergo serious physical injury as a result of childbirth.

        If you are in an altercation with someone and you have a 90% belief that you are facing serious physical injury, you are darn sure going to want the ability to defend yourself (well…at least you are going to want that ability for the boys in the room).

        Heck, if I’m stealing Stern’s comic book collection from his house, he can shoot me even if he has no fear of serious personal injury.

        Scrotums (probably scroti) and property seem to warrant self defense. The ladies out there…not so much.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Abortion to save the mother’s life was always lefgal, HT, long before Roe vs Wade.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I guess it is to be commended (or mocked) that you manage to keep repeating a statement that has nothing to do with the issue we are discussing.

        It is difficult when faced with an issue that you absolutely cannot rationally process and come out on the side you wish to come out. It is hard when you realize a one-track world view puts you in some very awkward and irrational positions.

        Most folks take the opportunity to reflect on their views, consider their perspective, and try to otherwise process the situation.

        Other people…well, they do what you are doing here.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It has everything to do with what you are saying, HT. You think it should be legal for a person to use self defense to save their life, I agree. That includes a woman having an abortion to save her life, which has always been legal. You are arguing for something that has always existed, even before abortion for convenience became legal.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        See Stern…I knew you would come around to my side on this issue.

        You are nothing if not logical and consistent.

        You believe a woman has the right to self defense with an abortion when she feels her life is in danger or when she is at risk for serious physical injury.

        Finally, we all welcome you to the pro-choice side of the argument.

        We have t-shirts and secret handshakes and everything.

        See…how hard was that?

        You stand up for women and their right to protect themselves from serious bodily injury and the chance of death.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It was always legal for a woman to have an abortion to save her life, even before Roe vs Wade. How many times have I had to say that before it finally got through to you? I’m afraid to even try to make a count.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Bless you Stern..buddy I agree with you and I’m thrilled you have come around to my side.

        You believe a woman has the right to self defense with an abortion when she feels her life is in danger or when she is at risk for serious physical injury.

        Welcome you to the pro-choice side of the argument.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        CaptSternn says:
        July 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm

        “I need a hammer and chisel to get this through HT’s head.”

        I think I’ll leave that statement up without any editorializing whatsoever…

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Homer, I’m just trying to help you. I know you think you are brilliant but most of us think your logic is not only flawed but silly.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…I always appreciate any help that you want to provide, but I do find it interesting that you are just twisting yourself up rather than addressing the issues.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        There is no issue. That’s the point. You think there is but it isn’t. Are you off your meds man?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Well then Buzz…walk me through how Joe Horn or Zimmerman was justified when a woman facing imminent physical injury is not.

        If this is so simple, please explain it to us.

        Stern is bouncing around from slavery to convenience to spontaneity and than back around through all of it again, but none of that has anything to do with self defense.

        A woman is substantially more likely to be injured or die with childbirth than you are to be injured or killed in an assault, but you would never want to give up your right to defend yourself.

        Surely it can’t just be that you have a penis and thus you don’t care about this stuff.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “If this is so simple, please explain it to us.”

        How many times before it gets through? Abortion to save the life of the mother was always legal under Texas laws, just as it should have been.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I’m with you Stern…no one is disagreeing with you there. That is not the issue at hand.

        Evidently for you, a woman does not have the right to defend herself from serious physical injury.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…you are not normally so in need of dancing. Why can’t or won’t you address the issue?

      • CaptSternn says:

        That is just another fiction you came up with on the fly, HT.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I absolutely admit my estimation of your dancing ability is a work of pure fiction.

        However, all of the data and information are factual, and it seems to make you fall back on your fictional dancing ability.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Ht, you just can’t bring yourself to admit that it was already legal to have an abortion to save the mother’s life before Roe vs Wade.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…there are at least four or five instance here where I have readily agreed with you that women had the ability to terminate a pregnancy if their life was in danger prior to and after Roe v. Wade.

        Heck, you’ve responded to those comments, so I know you are reading them, but you are absolutely letting your emotions work you all up and you are not walking through the issue.

        First it is slavery (huh?), then it is repeated spontaneity (not required for self defense) and then cycling back through Roe v. Wade (not the issue we are talking about).

        We’ve addressed all of your points about spontaneity and random goofiness, and yet you cannot engage on self defense.

        I’m not sure if it is more baffling that you won’t get to your rationale on this or if it is more sad that you can’t get to your rationale on this.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        kabuzz61 says:
        July 29, 2014 at 12:29 pm

        “I know you think you are brilliant but most of us think your logic is not only flawed but silly.”

        A bit overreachingly presumptuous are “we” buzzy?

        Let’s see what that “most” are buzzy.

        DON’T speak for me or count me in that purported “majority”.

        Anyone else?

  9. Owl of Bellaire says:

    In an amusing pushback to the loony Hobby Lobby decision:

    “The Satanic Temple… has launched a new campaign seeking a religious exemption to certain anti-abortion laws that attempt to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy. The group says they have deeply held beliefs about bodily autonomy and scientific accuracy, and those beliefs are violated by state-level ‘informed consent’ laws that rely on misleading information about abortion risks.

    “Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Satanists point out, it strengthens their own quest to opt out of laws related to women’s health care that go against their religious liberty. ‘Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state­ mandated “informational” material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them,’ a spokesperson for the organization said in a statement.”

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I wonder if there exists the option of “receiving” mandated informational material but not reading it.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I wouldn’t waste time with this crap. They are wanting headlines and attention and Olwy gives it to them.

      • texan5142 says:

        Then why did you post a reply kabuzz?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Agreed, Kabuzz. And I fell for it.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Fell for what? The opportunity to think about whether recent Supreme Court judgments are dangerously vague? I’m so sorry to have entrapped you into such a revolting prospect.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Yes, Owl, repetitiveness is revolting.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Texan and Owl, I enjoy discussions about freedom of religious expression and religious practice, and the ramifications of the Hobby Lobby decision, except when it becomes repetitive. Also, I’m not impressed by gimmicks and contrived scenarios such as this one thrown out by the so-called “Satanic Temple.” It’s a waste of people’s time.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        And it cheapens the discussion.

      • GG says:

        So Hobby Lobby didn’t want attention? Someone predicted this was going to open the floodgates, they were right.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Actually, I do think Hobby Lobby did it for the publicity.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        The Green family of Hobby Lobby, like most noisome American conservative Christians, are almost entirely like the Pharisee whom Jesus condemned for praying loudly and self-consciously in public.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Apples and grapes, as someone once put it.

      • texan5142 says:

        How so? If Hobby Lobby can claim a religious exemption why not the Satanist? Freedum for all.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        We could take that even further. What if your religion says that sexual assault or theft are acceptable? Can you also demand an exemption from the law?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        In any case, it seem this “Satanic Temple” is not a true religion, just a group of activists trying to make a point, so we are wasting our time here if we try to treat this as a noble fight for religious freedom.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Isn’t it rather dangerous to decide that one can decide on whether something is a “true religion” or not?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Yes, I had thought of that. How do you define or establish a formal religion?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I doubt it’s enough to just say it. Boom. GOP Lifer’s blog is a religion.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        But doesn’t the Satanic Temple admit it is not a “true religion?”

      • texan5142 says:

        Maybe Tutt, the supreme open the doors with the Hobby case.

      • CaptSternn says:

        One doesn’t want to be forced to pay for abortions or abortificants, the other isn’t being forced to pay for anything of the sort, they just don’t want to be handed printed material when seeking an abortion, apples and grapes.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        But, Sternn, why are you so callous about others’ religious liberties?

      • CaptSternn says:

        There are no religious liberties in question here, of any sort. If a person voluntarily seeks servies or goods, and they get printed material with it, nothing has been forced on them and they have not been forced to do anything nor pay for anything.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Apparently, Sternn, you understand most current anti-abortion legislation about as well as you parse the Constitutuion, which is to say, not at all successfully.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Owl, please specify the state or federal law that requires a wman to have an abortion, then we can discuss it. Until then, your example has no standing.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Supreme Court decisions have the force of law.


      • CaptSternn says:

        Um, was that a misplaced reply, Owl? Try again, what are the federal or state laws that require a woman to have an abortion?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        No law requires that a woman have an abortion.

        *Roe v Wade* requires that women have *access* to abortion.

        Why are you confused on this issue?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Women do have access to abortion. They might even be given some printed materials on the subject when they go to a clinic or doctor seeking an abortion. You are claiming that violates religious beliefs, but it does no such thing. They don’t have to voluntarily seek an abortion to begin with, as you have finally admitted.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Many state laws do not allow the woman to refuse the information and yet to receive the abortion. Often, in fact, the doctor is required to *read* the information to the woman, as if she were some childish ward of the state in need of education.

        But I understand, Sternn, that your penis means you don’t need to worry about such things, and are automatically right.

        I can’t decide if you’re a dick or an asshole.

      • CaptSternn says:

        So no religious violations and that means the case has no legal standing.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        …unless your religion claims that you shouldn’t have to listen to unscientific lies.

        …which is exactly what the Satanic Temple is claiming.

        Reading is fundamental, Sternn. You should try it sometime.

      • CaptSternn says:

        They don’t have to listen to anything because there is no requirement to have an abortion. No standing for their legal case.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        There’s no requirement to get married, either.

        But, oh, that’s right, Sternn: you’re the perpetually torn perineum who thinks there’s no problem if the Commonwealth of Virginia institutionally denies marriage licenses to mixed-race couples.

        You are, really, such a rancid, useless piece of shit.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I think it is a valid point to the goofy ruling, but as a pro-choice person, I would rather not give the anti-choice folks more fodder that folks seeking abortion services aligned with Satan.

      With the said, the “informational materials” are rife with inaccuracies and half-truths (and just bad science).

      Interestingly, folks in favor of the information, the transvaginal ultrasounds, and the waiting periods are folks who like to claim they are just giving women the information they need to make an informed choice.

      However, none of those informational materials highlight that every significant research study shows more women die as a result of childbirth than as a result of an abortion and a full-term pregnancy is over 20 times more likely to result in serious medical complications for the mother.

      Odd…you would think that folks really interested in giving women complete information would want to tell women complete information.

      Heck, from the woman’s perspective, abortion is the right self-defense option, and we all know that many of our conservative brethren and sistren here believe in standing one’s ground.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, I think you meant to say that you are pro-abortion. You should watch those types of typos.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        well…we all know that I love abortion, and we just had unsuccessful abortions with our three kids…dang it, they were slippery critters.

        Stern…I just don’t understand why you want women to die.

      • CaptSternn says:

        I don’t understand why you want innocent people butchered by the tens of millions, HT. Then again I don’t understand people that are pro-aboprtion to begin with.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I cannot believe you do not support a woman’s right to defend herself. You would think that would be right up your alley.

        Sure, the woman likely willingly put herself into the situation (woman = Zimmerman), took some action that increased the likelihood that a threat would materialize (woman = Zimmerman), and then found herself faced with such a threatening situation (fetus = Martin), and decided to take action to remedy that threatening situation (woman = Zimmerman).

        Stern = save a fetus, kill a woman!

        HT = abort a fetus, save a woman!

        Call us when you are speaking out and protesting the fertility clinics where mass killings are occurring on a daily basis. I’ll happily wander down and watch that protest.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Abortion was always legal to save the mother’s life. The question in Roe vs Wade was if it should be legal to kill innocent people for simple convebnience. The court said yes, and that is right with you because you are pro-abortion. We get that. I was only correcting your on your typo.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…every fetus threatens the life of the woman. I know you support the right of people to respond when faced with life threatening situations.

        Pro Self Defense = Pro Choice

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I’m pleased you are coming around to our side of this argument.

        If a woman’s life is threatened, she should have the right to terminate her pregnancy.

        Pro choice = Pro Self Defense!

        I appreciate allies from unconventional sources.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Not so, HT. The vast majorities of pregnancies do not endanger the life of the mother. Why are you so hung up about my correcting your typo anyway? You are pro-abortion and you have never even acted like you are ashamed of it.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…why are you getting so defensive about this?

        It really is just a natural progression of your thoughts on liberty, bodily autonomy, and self defense, and I welcome you as an ally on the pro-abortion side.

        You certainly do not seem to be the kind of person who would deny a woman the ability to stand her ground against a threat to her life…unless you think only men like Zimmerman deserve that ability.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Man Stern…this is some scary stuff…I’m glad you are on board with women having the option of self-defense here.

        After a C-section, 40% of women have uterine tissues become infected, called postpartum endomyometritis. It is 20 times more likely with C-section than after a vaginal delivery.

        You know what has a zero percent likelihood of postpartum endomyometritis? The morning after pill.

        Decreased or absent bowel function is often a complication with childbirth. These risks are round regardless of delivery, but the risk is as much as five times greater after a C-section.

        You know what doesn’t have these complications? The morning after pill.

        Stern…surely your previous position on abortion was not due to the fact that men don’t have to deal with this icky stuff.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, I am not the one getting defensive. I simply pointed out that you seem to have made a typo. The vast majority of pregnancies do not threaten the life of the mother, and since it was already legal to perform an abortion if the mother’s life was in danger, that has absolutely nothing to do with current positions or discussions on abortion

        I am anti-abortion, so you, being on the other side, are pro-abortion. I don’t see why you are getting defensive about it.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Captain you fell for Homer’s word games. He isn’t interested in your point. He is prodding you. But he did reveal one things, the pro abortion people are supported by satanic worshippers. Now there is a ringing endorsement I’ll share.

      • texan5142 says:

        Fuck you kabuzz, no one is pro abortion.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Don’t be so sure which way it is going, Kabuzz. 😉

      • CaptSternn says:

        Nobody is anti-choice, Texan. HT knows he is throwing out the grenade, then he gets all upset over it, acting as if he had no clue. I suppose he would have said the abolitionists were also “anti-choice”. Hey, if you don’t like slavery, don’t own slaves, but don’t legislate your morality on others. Be “pro-choice” and allow people to own blacks as slaves if they have the opinion that blacks are not quite human. The only difference here is the criteria being used.

      • texan5142 says:

        Fuck you too Sternn, you yell freedom but it ring hollow. You would be a slave owner in the old south.

      • texan5142 says:

        Stupid ass , you are a tool!

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, Texan, I would be an abolitionist, and you would be “pro-choice”. You see freedom as being able to deny others their very humanity and their basic human rights, just like HT and so many others.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I’m not playing word games…Stern is in favor of abortion if the health of the mother is threatened.

        One of the most significant threats to a woman’s health is pregnancy and childbirth.

        Young women and minority women face even greater threats to their health when faced with pregnancy.

        Surely Stern would not be against young women and minority women being able to protect themselves from this threat.

        I personally, did not find Martin to be a threat to Zimmerman enough to warrant deadly force in self defense, but I wasn’t there, and I did not know what Zimmerman was facing and what he was feeling, so who am I to try to say Zimmerman shouldn’t have killed Martin?

        I mean, Zimmerman probably shouldn’t have put himself in that situation, and there were a dozen chances for Zimmerman to change his behavior and not be in that situation, but he didn’t do anything illegal (despite people suggesting maybe he shouldn’t put himself in that situation), and once he was there, he protected himself in a way that made sense to him.

        Maybe the woman should have used better protection, or maybe she shouldn’t have gone out with the guy in the first place, but once you find yourself in a threatening situation, you still have the right to defend yourself.

        Martin might have been causing Zimmerman significant pain and fear and the interaction could have caused permanent changes or even death to Zimmerman’s body, but there seems to be a few thousand years of data to suggest that pregnancy causes significant pain, fear, permanent changes to a body, and even death.

        Funny, you support dudes taking control of the situation and defending themselves, and it is nice to see you coming around to supporting a woman’s right to defend herself.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Wow…stern…calm down…see…you are getting almost hysterical with now bringing slavery and all shorts of stuff into this.

        I guess if we trust Zimmerman (and you do), he was feeling pain and fear of death, so he utilized the mechanism he had to kill Martin and stop the pain and fear.

        Women face almost certain significant pain and fear during pregnancy and childbirth, and have a very real chance death and serious medical complication, and it would seem only fair that you believe they should have the right to defend themselves from that pain and fear.

        Why do you support men’s choice in this type of situation and not women’s?

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, really? You didn’t see martin being a threat to Zimmerman as he was standing over Zimmerman, beating his face and bashing his head into the concrete pavement trying to kill him.

        You compare that to a woman being pregnant? Even though pregnancy isn’t a threat to a woman’s life in the vast majority of cases? Are you serious? No, you just seem very desperate at this point.

        And hey, men and women have access to birth control, so the whole thing can be avoided in the first place. But once the woman become pregnant the choice has already been made. Only you take the view that a woman can go out and kill an innocent person because she finds that innocent person inconvenient.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Zimmerman had lots of opportunities to not get involved in the situation, from the very beginning all the way through to getting out of his car and all sorts of decision points along the way.

        Hey, people make bad decisions all the time, but that doesn’t mean they give up their right to defend themselves.

        So, you are saying that the pain Zimmerman was feeling was more painful than pregnancy and childbirth?

        Seriously, you cannot be making that argument at all. Are you seriously diminishing the pain of pregnancy and childbirth?

        You already are dismissing the rather alarming statistic regarding the number of women who die during childbirth…as though the women don’t matter.

        And now you seem to be saying that the pain of childbirth is not as bad as the pain of a fist fight.


        Would Martin have killed Zimmerman? There is the chance that he would have killed Zimmerman. Certainly, he was causing physical pain.

        Would a pregnancy kill a woman? There is a very real chance that it could. Certainly, pregnancy causes significant pain and fear, and women have the right to exercise control to stop that pain and fear from happening.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Very few women die during childbirth in the U.S., HT, and you know that. Basically you are claiming that Martin was justified in killing Zimmerman because Zimmerman was just there, and Zimmerman was in the wrong for defending his own life.

        You claim some people have the right to kill innocent human beings because they exist. How dare they exist since they are an inconvenience to somebody else. That makes them less than human, property to be disposed of.

        Of course that is the straw at which you grasp because you have no logical argument for killing innocent people you or others find inconvenient by the tens of millions, to treat them as less than human and as nothing more than property.

        It just comes down to the typo you made in the original comment of yours. And as you have continued to demonstrate, you are pro-abortion.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Geez Stern…you are kind of losing it…your tap dancing is turning into something like a mambo at this point.

        First you get a little hysterical and start talking about slavery and stuff and then you are so wound up you are not even following logical trains of thought. I’m worried about you buddy.

        I mean, I never said anything about Martin being justified in killing Zimmerman. Really, scroll up and look…I’ll wait.

        In fact, I said Zimmerman was in pain, scared, and fearing for his safety. I would think anyone facing that kind of pain and fear for their safety would be justified in using deadly force for self-defense.

        Then you get somewhat inappropriately hysterical with a really callous dismissal of the lives of women with “very few women die during childbirth in the US”. I mean, I value the lives of all women, and I’m just not as capable of cavalierly dismissing those deaths simply because I don’t have a uterus.

        Plus, I value the lives of people outside the US, not just in the US.

        Interestingly, maternal death rates in the US are at 25 year highs, but hey, you and I don’t have a vagina, so we really don’t care about that.

        Having a child is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do. It’s the sixth most common cause of death among women age 20 to 34 in the United States. Assaults are the fifth most common cause of death among women age 20 to 34.

        I’m assuming you would be OK with women using self-defense for an assault where they are about to be killed, but heck, at this point, I cannot really tell where you are coming from any longer.

        Are you so particular that you will approve self-defense for the fifth leading cause of death but not the sixth? Seriously, that is the complete absence of logic and something of a textbook definition of hysteria.

        Hysteria – symptoms include conversion of psychological stress into physical symptoms (somatization), selective amnesia (forgetting that I wrote that Zimmerman was justified in killing Martin), shallow volatile emotions (boom, slavery discussion out of the blue), and overdramatic or attention-seeking behavior (goes without saying).

        Most self-defense laws fall along the lines of: You can use deadly force, with no duty to retreat, if you reasonably believe you are in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

        We’ll we’ve already established that there is a fear of death, and I guess we have to decide what “reasonably believe” means. You seem to believe Zimmerman that he reasonably believed he was at risk during a fist fight, but it seems that you want to make that decision for women. How odd.

        Deaths during fist fights are infinitesimally small, but man, we support self defense there. A much more statistically likely death with pregnancy and childbirth…nah…not so much. Oddly, one of those events is highly unlikely to occur to you, without a uterus.

        I guess we could talk about serious bodily injury.

        Stern…imagine your perineum (or get a handheld mirror and check it out). Now imagine someone about to rip your perineum from your scrotum to your anus, also tearing open the sphincter at the anus. Not that you would have a duty to retreat, but let’s just assume you have no chance of escape. I think the reasonable person would believe that to be an imminent danger of seriously bodily injury.

        Well, I guess you would believe that if it was your perineum or any other dude’s perineum.

        Most women have perineal tearing during childbirth and 35% to 40% have injury to the anal sphincter. Yet, for women, you seem to blithely dismiss it. Odd.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        HT: Even if we look to “blame the fetus” for endangering the life of the mother, it’s not as though the mom’s injury or death would be the result of premeditation, sudden passion, or even temporary insanity, so it’s not as though you would use self-defense in a case such as this. Any harm to the mom caused by the fetus would be entirely accidental. We can’t use self-defense against any and every potential threat of accident; otherwise, we could kill every car driver, because all have the potential to cause an accident. Therefore, your little tongue-in-cheek game has no relevance, except as a joke, which is was meant to be in the first place.

      • tuttabellamia says:


      • kabuzz61 says:

        Captain, don’t let Homer play you. Consider him for what he is. He is just pushing your buttons. He doesn’t believe a word of what he is saying. Unless you consider him stupid.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Well, HT, now you are suggesting that an unborn child is deliberately attempting to kill his or her own mother by beating her face in and bashing her head on a concrete sidewalk. I think you have totally lost it at this point.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Cap: Kabuzz is like that little kitten who used to sit on your shoulder while you were at the computer, except this cat is giving you advice as you type. 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        And yes, HT is pulling your leg, wasting time instead of doing something useful like helping his wife with the boys.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Cap wrote: Don’t be so sure which way it is going, Kabuzz.
        I know which way it is going. IN CIRCLES.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Actually Tutt and the gang (rival band of Cool and the Gang), there is no requirement that the fetus intentionally be causing the physical injury.

        There is very little tongue in cheek here.

        If a man was faced with the prospect of having his stomach cut open and sewed shut against his will or was faced with a painful ripping of the perineum against his will, there is no chance in the world that the man would not be justified in taking self defense action to stop that violence from occurring to his body.

        Heck, folks here are supporting Joe Horn for protecting the stereo equipment of his neighbors, but not supporting the right of a woman to not have her body tortured, ripped, and/or cut open.

        I mean Stern has forcefully defended Zimmerman and provided endorsement of the Castle Doctrine and Joe Horn.

        It seems as though he believes in the right of self defense when a man feels threatened in a fist fight.

        He even believes a man can defend his house and his property, and even the property of someone else with Joe Horn.

        He is happy to defend his castle, yet he does not support a woman’s ability to defend an even more elemental castle, her body.

        Significant physical injury with the chance of death with pregnancy and childbirth against her will? No self defense.

        Someone stealing your neighbors stereo? Heck yes, self defense to shoot them in the back.

        Seriously, this cannot be your position.

      • CaptSternn says:

        That’s odd, HT still seems to think women just spontaniously become pregnant. I thought that by now he would have figired out what causes that condition.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        With regard to the intention of the fetus to cause injury or death to the woman, there is no absolute requirement that there be intent for self-defense to be utilized.

        Let’s say we have a CHL holder has a problem with severe somnambulism and will sometimes find himself downstairs eating a midnight snack and getting back into bed without waking up.

        Well tonight, our night walker snags his loaded gun from the nightstand and is dreaming that there are intruders in the bedroom. He points the gun at the bed, yells for the imaginary intruders to get out, then he fires a shot that barely misses the wife in bed.

        His wife, also a trained CHL holder, rolls over to get her gun in her nightstand, looks back to see her husband pointing the gun directly at her, and…well I guess she is supposed to just sit there and get shot since the sleep walking husband is not intentionally doing this.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        So it would be a case of self defense against the legislators who insist a woman bear her child, POSSIBLY endangering her health. We could turn that right around. What about the life of the fetus, which would DEFINITELY be in danger? The fetus may be too young to practice self-defense, but others would gladly pitch in to defend the life of the fetus.

        This comes down to the same question: Whose life is more valuable?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Can we imagine a scenario where Stern would be in a position where he is facing imminent physical injury and the risk of death against his will where he would not be allowed to utilize self defense?

        Heck even if I’m trespassing in Stern’s house (fetus inside a woman’s body) in the middle of the night, Stern is not obligated to retreat, and he has the right to shoot me to protect himself and his stuff. Even if I’m not there to intentionally cause physical injury to Stern, he has the right to shoot me.

        It seems awfully odd that we are willing to force women to give up their right to self defense while we are expanding the right to self defense to defense of property (and other people’s property).

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…while I appreciate your concern about my time with my wife and boys, I can assume you that I am handling all of my familial relationships with the appropriate amount of attention and love.

        I think we could point out to everyone here that they might have better ways to spend their time, but I think most of us have tried to shy away from giving relationship advice to others.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, I cannot legally invite you into my home and then just shoot you for convenience.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…your position with Zimmerman takes care of the elements of becoming pregnant. Zimmerman did not spontaneously find himself in a difficult situation.

        Zimmerman did not have to be “patrolling” his neighborhood.
        The woman did not have to be hitting happy hour at the bar.

        Zimmerman did not have to follow Martin.
        The woman did not have to chat up the handsome fella.

        Zimmerman did not have to follow Martin on foot.
        The woman did not have to go home with the handsome fella.

        Zimmerman could have stopped the interaction any number of ways.
        The woman could have stopped the interaction any number of ways.

        Zimmerman did not have to get out of the protection of his car.
        The woman did not have to decide to sleep with the guy without a condom.

        Zimmerman doing those things did not stop his ability to utilize self defense when faced with physical injury and fear of death.

        A woman doing those things does not stop her ability to utilize self defense when face with physical injury and fear of death.

        Stern…you are careening all over the place with this from slave owners and convenience to any number of things. First, you get all defensive about your argument and then you get defensive about being defensive.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, now you are suggesting that a woman can go out and kill a third party, an innocent person, because she met somebody else at a bar? A third party that is not beating her face in and bashing her head on a concrete sidewalk in a deliberate attempt to murder her? This makes sense to you?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        HT, I receive relationship advice here all the time. It just goes in one ear and out the other. 🙂

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…you really need to slow down, calm down, and think through this.

        There is no random third person in play here. The fetus is going to directly cause physical trauma and injury (and the chance of death) to the woman.

        Evidently, you only support self defense when people are bashing heads on concrete or stealing stereo equipment because those things could happen to you.

        You don’t have a uterus, so you evidently don’t care about the physical trauma caused by the fetus.

        If someone was ripping your muscle and skin from scrotum to anus, I doubt you would call that an “inconvenience” but somehow you completely disregard women’s physical injury.

        Slow down, breath a bit, and process this rationally buddy. This careening from topic to topic, tap dancing, and hyperbole does not become you.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Geez…stern…you are going so fast that you aren’t even reading things clearly.

        Calm down buddy.

        I never said you invited me into your house and then shot me. In fact, I specifically said I was trespassing. Go ahead, scroll up and re-read.

        Although you rarely have parties, let’s assume you invite my wife and I over for dinner. Two weeks later, you wake up to me rummaging through your house, uninvited. You, good sir, can shoot me.

        Heck, you can shoot me even if I am not a threat to cause you physical harm but rather you believe I am attempting to steal your comic book collection.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, slow down and catch your breath a bit here. Women do not spontaniously become pregnant. Pregnancy can be prevented in many different ways, and both the male and female have means of birth control. That is where the choice is made, not after the fact. You don’t get to go around killing innocent people you find inconvenient, or at least that shouldn’t be legal.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Homer, bravo! This illogical line is the stupidist I have seen you post so far. Please, please tell me you don’t believe a word of it? Calm down first. Get a grip on your feelings. You are over reacting.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…this seems to be something of a common situation with you.

        When you cannot walk through the logic of your argument, you careen to a different topic and don’t even try to address it.

        You support the right of the Commonwealth of Virginia to refuse to grant marriage licenses to inter-racial couples, but you will not (or cannot) explain that position, so you hop to a different topic.

        You support the right of Joe Horn to shoot folks in back for stealing a neighbor’s stereo. You support the right of Zimmerman to use self defense when faced with serious physical injury and the potential for death.

        However, you disregard this sixth leading cause of death for women 20 to 34, severe perineal tearing, and/or forced surgery against her will as an “inconvenience”.

        Seriously man, that is the weakest most irrational thing I’ve heard you say.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        It is funny buzz (well, not funny haha, but more funny sad), but when you cannot support your position, you accuse the other side of some flim-flamery or “trick” or “prodding”, but in reality, you just simply cannot support your position.

        There is nothing wrong with admitting you have inconsistencies in your feelings or positions on issues, but what you guys are doing is just a really sad attempt to pretend you don’t have inconsistencies.

        Direct physical threat of serious bodily injury and fear of death for you and Stern? Evidently it is OK for you boys to use self defense to avoid that harm.

        Direct physical threat of serious bodily injury and fear of death for a pregnant woman? Nope, they have to go through it against their will with no opportunity for self defense.

        Women are much more likely to suffer serious physical injury and die as a result of pregnancy and childbirth than Buzz and Stern are going to be injured in die in a fist fight.

        Oddly, you only support self defense in situations where it could protect you.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Kabuzz is right, HT, you really have lost it here. One last time, and maybe it will sink in finally … women do not spontaniously become pregnant. Now, I know that is causing your head to implode, so I will leave you to it.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…you understand this and you are just trying to obfuscate the issue.

        Spontaneity of the situation has nothing to do with it. You know this, and you are tap dancing around it. Heck, you have progressed to a tango.

        I can put myself in difficult situations and not forfeit my right to self defense.

        Zimmerman did not wake up one morning to find Martin standing over him bashing his head into the sidewalk. Zimmerman put himself in a situation where an altercation could occur, and found a legitimate way out of that situation when faced with a threat.

        A woman generally does not wake up to find herself pregnant. She normally put herself in a situation where pregnancy could occur, and finds a legitimate way out of the situation when faced with a threat.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Abortion was always legal to save the life of the mother, even before Roe vs Wade. Roe vs Wade was over whether or not it should be legal to kill innocent human beings for convenience, and that is the reason for 95% or more abortions today.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I’m not talking about Roe v. Wade here. Focus man, focus.

        I’m talking about self defense.

        You and I are about the same age. Buzz is probably a bit older. We all seem to have a penis rather than a vagina.

        Assault is not even in the top ten causes of death for men our age, yet you support the right to utilize self defense to stop what you feel is a threat of serious physical injury.

        Pregnancy and childbirth is the sixth leading cause of death for women 20-34 (normal childbearing years), and yet you deny women the right of self defense to stop the threat of serious physical injury.

        You don’t need to bring up slavery or any other demon floating through your head. Let’s focus on the issue at hand.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Women do not spontaniously become pregnant. Abortion was always legal to save the life of the mother.

      • GG says:

        “And hey, men and women have access to birth control, so the whole thing can be avoided in the first place.”

        Not always. Birth control is not 100% effective. If I got pregnant now, at the age of 50, by my BF who is 63, and a grandfather, I would definitely get an abortion. I had a difficult pregnancy my first time round and with age comes the risk of birth defects and Down’s syndrome. As I’ve mentioned, my BF is conservative, but even he agrees with this decision. The liklihood of me getting pregnant is slim to none but it still exists.

        Maybe one day we will have 100% effective birth control.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Texan and Owl, I enjoy discussions about freedom of religious expression and religious practice, and the ramifications of the Hobby Lobby decision, except when it becomes repetitive. Also, I’m not impressed by gimmicks and contrived scenarios such as this one thrown out by the so-called “Satanic Temple.” It’s a waste of people’s time.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        There is no-one here more consistently repetitive and nonsensical than your cretinous boyfriend. So are you blithely ignorant or flagrantly hypocritical?

        The Satanic Temple’s scenario is indeed contrived. But that is to elegantly demonstrate the utter folly of the Supreme Court’s bone-headed Hobby Lobby decision.

  10. johnofgaunt75 says:

    Off topic but I wanted to point out that today is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. A terrible conflict that changed the world and marked an important shift from one age to another. We are still living today with the implications of this conflict. Horrific conflict that is often ignored in the United States (which is a serious mistake).

    • kabuzz61 says:

      I don’t think historians and war colleges forget. The end of WWI set the stage for a 20 year old loser drop out to mobilize the German’s and moved them forward to invading countries and killing Jews and other non Aryans. Sort of like how Hamas and other terror groups are dehumanizing Jews so they can kill them.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        World War I lead to the overthrow of the Czars and the rise of the USSR. This ultimately lead to a 50 year Cold War that essentially divided the world in two.

        The Great War was probably the most historically significant event in the past 200 years.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Of course, the Israelis also dehumanize Palestinians, after confining them in what look an awful lot like ghettos.

        Like abused children, Israelis have come to resemble their original abusers.

  11. objv says:

    It’s an excellent idea to tie the EITC to real time wages – no matter if it is a Democrat or Republican proposal. The earned income credit often comes too late to do any good since it is distributed the year after. For example, my daughter qualified for the EITC credit during grad school. By the time she got the credit the next spring, she didn’t need the money anymore.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      Great point.

      I have a friend who is Irish and he was shocked when he first came to the US and found out that most social welfare programs in the US are run through the tax system. In Ireland, there are simply stipend payments to individuals directly. I don’t know, but I would suspect that such a system is easier to manage and cheaper from a bureaucratic standpoint. And you can also guaranty that the money comes when it is really needed.

  12. johnofgaunt75 says:

    Great article as always. You make some very interesting points about wealthy kids and their ability to take jobs that will help them gain eventual full-time, middle to upper middle class jobs.

    I also had the ability to take such jobs that eventually helped me into the professional world. Of course, I also started out as a lifeguard during the summer in high school working at the neighborhood pool. Of course, this didn’t lead to anything like m current profession but it did give me some extra spending money and allowed me to check out the local girls in their suits!

    Of course, I didn’t have to support myself on such pay and, even in college when I worked in retail for a bit, I also always knew I had my parents to fall back on if times got realy tight. I was lucky though and paid for my school through a combination of scholarships and student loans. I was also able to take several interships that eventually took my to graduate school and where I am today.

    I suspect that outside of the lucky few who land a spot at an exclusive school, most poor kids will never have the oppoortunity I had. Most of it is probably because of the peers that one grows up with. If you parents are dead beats or you hang out with a lot of people who are dead beats, you are likely to grow up as a dead beat.

  13. objv says:

    “Affluent kids are not competing with each other for positions driving a forklift at Home Depot.”
    They should be. My cousin would be considered affluent. His daughter worked at Home Depot, and according to him, received a nice scholarship.

    I don’t know what things are like in Chicago, but the parents I knew in Houston (of all income levels) encouraged their kids to find jobs. (The only exception was a friend of my daughter’s whose father made three million a year.) The main problem was in finding a job.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      OV, we were low income (but I didn’t know it), and my mom was opposed to my taking any sort of job when I was a teenager, because she feared it would take me away from my studies, which she felt were first and foremost.

      I had no objections, because I was socially awkward and I found the idea of having to work with others overwhelming.

      I got over that hurdle as an adult (sort of), and I’ve had the same job for 25 years. Thankfully, my boss understands that I prefer to work independently, and he gives me my space.

      • objv says:

        Tutt, I had to work since I was one of five children. My husband found several jobs and paid his whole way through college even though his parents weren’t poor. Your mother must have been a gem to have set such a high priority on education.

        I have to confess to being a bit disingenuous about my own kids.They had a choice during their summers – either they got a job or they took classes. My daughter did both. My son has always chosen to take classes instead of working during the summer. Except for a stint as a research assistant for a couple semesters, he has no work experience. This came to haunt him as he filled out his resume for internships. It helps to have previous employers as a reference.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        It helped that I was an only child. I spent a couple of summers taking classes for enrichment, and a couple of summers with my aunt in Mexico. Those visits to Mexico help me to expand my social horizons.

    • goplifer says:

      Almost all of the kids in high school here have some kind of work. Virtually none of them are doing it to support themselves or their families. I hear frequent conversations about kids being forced by their parents to quit jobs or scale back hours to make sure they have time for “more important priorities” – meaning school, internships, band camp, etc.

      My oldest is too young for a formal job, but he begged to go spend the summer working at my uncle’s ranch in Texas as he did last year. He’s only going to get a week for that b/c of a junior college class he’s taking, drivers’ ed, and a church service trip.

      His time at the ranch will challenging and exciting and lead him nowhere career-wise. If he had to work there to support himself he’d be in trouble. Priorities.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I would think he would get an appreciation of hard work thus fostering a good work ethic.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I agree. I doubt it would have killed me to have gotten a summer job. Working during the school year was another story, because it would have affected my homework.

  14. texan5142 says:

    Just opened up my new National Geographic , there is a section on the New Face of Hunger. One section of the story is about Houston . Check it out if you can.

  15. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Ryan proposes block grants to states with general guidelines from the feds, right?

    I don’t think we should trust the states to use the money as intended.

    It’s interesting to read what others have said about Ryan’s plan. Paul Krugman seems to think Ryan gets attention as a default policy guy because the right has nobody else.

    538 says:

    Let’s imagine that Ryan’s Opportunity Grant pilot program was up and running during the most recent recession, which began in 2007. How much less SNAP assistance would have been available?

    At the end of 2007, the number of SNAP recipients totaled more than 26 million, with cumulative expenditures at more than $33 billion. By 2013, expenditures had more than doubled to nearly $80 billion, with recipients surging to about 47 million. If funding had remained constant, the average monthly benefit would have fallen from $133 (its actual number in 2013) to about $53.

    VOX says:

    Paul Ryan is proposing to put up to 11 programs for needy families, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), into one funding stream. States could opt into the plan if they like, and, after submitting a plan for how they’d use the money, spend it as they see fit on those areas. The goal, he says, is to “encourage innovation among the states” in fighting poverty.

    That sum of money would not represent a cut from current funding levels, but it would allow states to spend more or less on any given program as they see fit.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Regarding an appropriate basic income, without debt, I could live on $12K a year. But if my car broke or roof leaked or the dog needed to see the vet, I’d be in big trouble.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Could you afford to set aside a bit of that $1000/month for a rainy day? Or find a way to make payment arrangements with the vet or roofer, or establish credit, even on a small scale, so that you get a small line of credit with a card company, that you can use for emergencies such as these?

        My mom was low income most of her life, but she made a point to save money and fiercely protected her credit, so she had several cards with limits of up to $20k each, and when hard times hit, she had some savings and her sterling credit record to fall back on. Good credit can make all the difference in the world.

        Just throwing out some thoughts from personal experience. I know every situation is different.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        That’s just a personal example, but the concept is the same — the importance of savings, good credit, and frugality.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Things that I couldn’t do on $12K a year would likely include paying tuition, specialized medical treatment for me (which I can currently afford), art supplies.

        Of course, if I had children, none of this would apply.

        I do think that credit unions should be encouraged to offer financial training about credit cards and loans for low income folks, even if they’re not members.

        My credit union offers classes, but I wish they’d go into neighborhoods where they don’t have branches and complete with payday loan folks and others like them.

        [It disgusts me that a credit union bought naming right to the UH stadium.]

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Bobo, how about a scholarship to cover classes and supplies?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        For medical care: The San Jose Clinic, run by the Catholic Church, which charges based on income; or a low cost doctor in a low income neighborhood; $75/month for catastophic coverage. Or the low cost Ben Taub or Hermann in an emergency, with a payment plan of $50/month.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Yes, I think programs beyond monthly income would have to be instigated, including those for tuition, child care, health care. HT noted those areas, too.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Bobo, how about this? I came up with $20,800 as a reasonable annual minimum income, based on a $10/hour work wage. That gives you $733 a month extra over what YOU think you need, so you can put this $733 a month into savings, for that rainy day.

        You might no longer qualify for some benefits that are based on being low income and having little money in the bank, but it’s YOUR money, and you are free to do with it as you wish, without having to answer to anyone.

        Just some thoughts on a hypothetical situation.

    • desperado says:

      And there are the big problems with block grants. What happens during economic downturns and how do you make sure the individual governors spend the money for the purposes which it was allocated?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Yes, somewhere I read that Ryan has confusing language about if/if not his proposal should/should not be counter-cyclical.

        Me, I don’t trust block grants to states for just that reason — the money doesn’t always get where it is supposed to go.

    • texan5142 says:

      Ryan is a typical repub, he wants to take away all the things than benifited him from you and everyone else. He got his, to hell with everyone else.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Neither has Obama and it shows very much.

      • texan5142 says:

        But you trust Ryan, don’t you.

      • texan5142 says:

        Agreed, but how come the GOP holds that against Obama and not Ryan?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Ryan doesn’t represent me. He is in the GOP, that is all.

      • texan5142 says:

        Then why is it you only criticize the Dems on this blog and go out of your way to back up the policies of the GOP?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Actually the Captain and I have been consistant in criticizing the GOP establishment. Which Ryan is part of. The single goal of both parties encumbants is to stay in office. Everything else second.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No kidding, Kabuzz. Got to laught at the times Turtles and others put GOPLifer in with the tea party movement.

    • John Galt says:

      I do give Ryan credit for thinking outside the box. At least he is putting ideas out there. Whether they are the best direction or not is another question but a real plan is so much better than most of the demagoguery that comes from DC.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      For medical care: The San Jose Clinic, run by the Catholic Church, which charges based on income; or a low cost doctor in a low income neighborhood; $75/month for catastophic coverage. Or the low cost Ben Taub or Hermann in an emergency, with a payment plan of $50/month.

      • John Galt says:

        Those “low cost doctors” are general doing pro bono work, as good deeds. When you take out $150k in loans to get through med school, you need an income a bit higher than the Catholic free clinic. It’s great that these places exist but they are not a model for national health care.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        My comment was out of place. It was meant for Bobo. I don’t mean to present the Catholic free clinic as a model for national health care, only as what it is — an option among several for low income people, including recently arrived immigrants. The doctors who participate devote perhaps one day a week to the clinic, but they also have their private practice.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Actually JG, the government wants doctor’s to work off their loans by using their time in clinic’s and the sort. I have a doctor friend who worked off a substantial part of her loan by working in an indian reservation on the weekends.

      • Tuttabella says:

        There are also doctors in private practice who are low cost because of the neighborhoods they serve. It never hurts to shop around.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Low cost, but excellent treatment and service. Low cost does not necessarily mean inferior quality.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Harris County Hospital District.

  16. Tuttabella says:

    Oh, no, I just read that James Garner passed away last week. I loved him! 😦

  17. texan5142 says:

    I will be changing my handle, I will no longer call myself Texan. I can not in good faith call myself that . If Ted Cruz is a a Texan , then I am not. The man is a disgrace to all Texans.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Ted Cruz is a great Texan. We need more like him in all levels of government.

    • Tuttabella says:

      I like Dan’s name for you: “Minnesota Man.”

      It is more accurate.

      • objv says:

        Tutt: Wouldn’t changing texan’s profile name to Minnesota mean denying his heritage?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        He is a Texas expat in Minnesota. And HE is the one ashamed of his heritage. He may not like Ted Cruz but that is no reason to write off the entire state and deny his heritage.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        How about Minnesota Migrant?

      • objv says:

        Tutt: Minnesota Migrant has a nice ring to it, but you need to stick to your guns and insist on Texas EXPAT. Otherwise the movement to bring the word expat into common usage will lose momentum and you might as well wave the white flag of surrender.

  18. texan5142 says:

    Has anyone addressed the fact that some people do not posses the mental capacity to earn a living wage ? Should not those people be the focus of a minimal wage? Not trying to call people stupid, but some people do not have the cognitive ability to maneuver modern society in order to move them selfs up.

  19. kabuzz61 says:

    Fifty asked the question that gets to the root of this debate. What is poor/poverty? How can we address what is so very difficult to define?

    Also, Bubba, I think you are obsessed with Bart.

    • texan5142 says:

      You are correct.

      Also kabuzz, I think you are obsessed with Bubba’s perceived obsession with Bart 🙂

      • Bart-1 says:

        Texan and Kabuzz, some people (not trying to call people mentally ill), can’t help them selfs but be obsessed.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Obsessed? WHO felt the need to create multiple simultaneous anonymous ID’s to attack me on the same blog repeatedly because you couldn’t take me on mano a mano, one on one bart?

        And then lamely try to explain it as some “virtuous” act as if outing someone’s real identity is appropriate online behavioir? And yet you incessantly whine about online decorum?

        Hypocrisy, thy name is bart-1/seriouscynic/usincrisis.

        And you still don’t get it do you?

        The more you deny, downplay, obfuscate, and outright lie about the facts and ethics (or lack thereof) of your cowardly acts, the more people will be hearing of it bart. Man you are really that dense?

      • Bart-1 says:

        “Johnny One Note” as noted by Tutt last thread. I have heard that the simple never get bored with the same things so that’s why they do them repeatedly. Could you at least try to come up with something you haven’t posted a ka-gillion times before?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Bart could you at least try to come up with some honesty for once in your life?

  20. tuttabellamia says:

    Off topic, but last night it hit me, i think i have figured out the difference between FARTHER and FURTHER. More details later, on my way with cap to a family gathering.

  21. Owl of Bellaire says:

    On an unrelated note, Tea Party representatives continue to demonstrate their deep familiarity and empathy with brown people.

  22. Tuttabella says:

    I think a minimum WAGE provided by the employer makes more sense than a minimum INCOME provided by the government.

    The business community is being presented almost like another version of the government, or an entity to whom the government looks to share its responsibilities — for example, to provide health care — or to make sure households have enough to pay their bills, the “living wage,” I guess. The government is presented as treating the Walmarts like deadbeat dads: Man up, pay up, to lighten the load on the taxpayers, because your employees are YOUR responsibility.”

    • bubbabobcat says:

      I agree Tutt but I think the Ryan plan heads in the opposite direction with the minimum income slight increase used as an excuse to replace increasing the minimum wage to a livable wage. I would like to see both but that is very unlikely.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Correct. I meant to say LIFER is calling for employers to share in the responsibility, not Ryan.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I see the minimum income as charity, and the minimum wage as something earned. However, the minimum wage at some point, if raised enough to where it seems undeserved, just to get to “living wage” level, risks looking like charity as well. It all comes down to the value we place, or don’t place, on certain types of work

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Tutt, which types of work do you think shouldn’t be valued enough to receive a living wage?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Owl, I didn’t say some jobs SHOULDN’T be valued enough to receive a minimum wage. I said they ARE NOT valued enough. I think $10/hour is a reasonable minimum wage, which is $20,800 per year, about the same amount many of us are coming up with as a reasonable minimum income.

      • CaptSternn says:

        What is a “living wage” in the first place? Raising the minimum wage only creates inflation and destroys wealth, it does nothing for the people earning it, it doesn’t allow them to earn enough to buy more things or to live any more confortably since the price of goods and services increase with the minium wage. If that were not true, the minimum wage would never need to be raised from what it was originally, much less every few years.

      • John Galt says:

        We have a lot of experience with raising the minimum wage in a lot of places in a lot of different economies. There is no connection between changing the minimum wage and inflation. Those states that have higher minimums do not have higher inflation rates or higher unemployment rates.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Tutt — But we crafted a system, after WWII, in which the employer *is* “responsible” for health insurance in most instances. Are you arguing for a single-payer system?

      And Walmart and its ilk *are* “deadbeat dads”: they function under a business model which clearly and callously relies on government welfare to support their deliberately underpaid workers. Some localities are even considering a “bad business” tax to recoup some of those costs. And why shouldn’t they?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        It’s something to think about: Who is ultimately responsible for providing things like health care? Government? Employers? It still makes no sense for employers to take on that specific responsibility. It makes more sense for them to pay us enough so that we can afford to purchase it on our own. Theoretically, it makes more sense for government to provide it, or at least to make it available as a backup plan as it does now, for those who cannot obtain it otherwise. I just don’t like the idea of being beholden to either entity for anything.

      • objv says:

        Wal-Mart’s response (from lifer’s link about employees needing six billion in government aid):

        “More than 99 percent of our associates earn above minimum wage,” he said. “In fact, the average hourly wage for our associates, both full and part-time, is an average of $11.83 per hour.”

        He said the company had no internal figures to share on the number of workers receiving public assistance.

        “The bottom line is Walmart provides associates with more opportunities for career growth and greater economic security for their families than other companies in America,” he said. “Our full and part-time workers get bonuses for store performance, access to a 401K-retirement plan, education and health benefits.”


        Wal-Mart always is portrayed as the villain. However, it pays its associates more than they would have been making at a “mom and pop” smaller retail store.

      • goplifer says:

        Put that Walmart comment in a wider perspective. I’ve been working in software for more than a decade. I’ve never heard a software company congratulate themselves by announcing that 99% of their employees earn more than the minimum wage.

        Walmart gets attention because it’s big, but Walmart is just a symbol of the wider problem. Middle income jobs are increasingly rare. Virtually the entire retail service sector exists in its present form because of the shape of our welfare policies, not only in terms of their ready access to a vast pool of people with few employment options, but the money they make from that same pool of people as customers.

        Taxpayers provide the money that helps Walmart’s employees survive. Taxpayers provide the money that many Walmart customers use to buy stuff in the stores. Little by little, Walmart, and the rest of the retail sector, eke out their margins in antiquated business models through public policies that force people to work for them in menial conditions and leave them with few other options to support themselves.

        Walmart specifically, but much of modern retail in general, is a taxpayer supported business model that would look very difficult if people had choices.

      • texan5142 says:

        My neighbor works at Walmart just for the health insurance. They had their own business that made good money. They sold the business to their sons. She ( the wife) works there for the insurance only, the money she makes is spending money.

      • objv says:

        Lifer, is it fair to make a comparison between wages of people who work at a software company and Wal-Mart employees? My husband is an engineer who has 30 years of experience with a major oil company. He is well compensated and I’m certainly not complaining that he doesn’t make enough. That said, younger engineers with much less experience are being hired at nearly his salary.There is such demand for engineers that companies are willing to pay a huge premium to get employees with a certain skill set.

        Unfortunately, with lower paid retail and service jobs, there is an overabundance of people willing to do that kind of work. When the majority of the estimated 11-20 million illegal immigrants gain legal status, matters will only become worse.

        I do agree that we, as a country, need to do more to make education affordable and channel young people in the right direction to equip them for the well paying jobs that are available. I remember reading about the Obama administration wanting to do something about the way colleges are evaluated. If they are serious about that they should be applauded. (Yes, you read that right.) Affordability should become a top priority at colleges and universities.

        Expanding community college programs would be money well spent. I sent my son to HCC for his first 1 1/2 years of college since his high school grades weren’t all that great and he wasn’t sure of what he wanted to do. He ended up getting a substantial scholarship at a private college and currently has a 3.95 GPA after 2 1/2 years. (Darn, he got a B last semester.)

        Spending one’s first two years at a community college should become the logical choice for cash-strapped parents and students instead of taking out loans for the full four years. Trade schools and apprenticeships (like in Europe) should also be promoted.

      • Bart-1 says:

        Chris, that is indeed SHOCKING! Who would have thought that the largest retailer who has low level/entry skill jobs en masse would be different than a software company that doesn’t? That is really impressive!

      • objv says:

        Bart, you managed to say more in one paragraph than I did in five. 🙂

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bart and OV, those are very good points about the different levels of skills a person has or doesn’t have. And it points out the issue that so many refuse to see when they want the same pay skilled workers get for low level unskilled work. They want the rewards, but they don’t want to put in the effort to earn them.

        OV, you make a really good point about community colleges and trade schools. They are much more affordable, usually close to home. They offer night courses for people that are working in the low skilled jobs. There are a lot of trades that pay well and don’t require a college degree, things like plumbers, carpenters, electricians, air conditioner and heating installation and repair.

        Get a CDL and there is high demand for truck drivers these days in places like the Eagle Ford shale fields in Texas and even more in places like North Dakota. Even a high school dropout can make six figures a year doing that.

        The opportunities are there for anybody that has the drive and desire to take advantage of them.

      • John Galt says:

        Texan wrote: “My neighbor works at Walmart just for the health insurance. They had their own business that made good money. They sold the business to their sons.”

        That story illustrates the idiocy of our previous health care regime. Someone who could be an entrepreneur schlepping at WalMart for the sole purpose of getting health insurance.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Solid points about the employers, but the employees also play a role. Why are they taking such low paying jobs? Are they single income homes? Are they single parents? Are they working part time and only at one job? What kind of expenses have they created for themselves?

      An employer is naturally going to try to keep costs low to make a profit and stay in business. That is only being made worse by the PPACA. But it seems that is the goal, to bring down more of the private sector and make more people dependent on the federal government, which means less freedom and more control over the lives of the people.

      Easier to see how we got to the problems and how government is making them worse than it is to see how to get out of it. Government creates a problem, then creates more problems to fix the problem, then more problems to fix those problems.

  23. Bobo Amerigo says:

    I like when this groups discusses solving problems.

  24. bubbabobcat says:

    It’s a start but I still question if it is mere window dressing on the same old conservative canard/pig. Howzzat for mixed metaphors?

    As usual Ryan would dole out the funds in block grants to the states. And somehow 50 disparate administrations are going to be more effective than one? Uh, economies of scale?

    And then what about states like Texas where Perry or Perry impersonator (if he gets elected) Abbott will just toss it into their slush fund, um okaaaay “Rainy Day Fund” to disperse however they see fit?

    • CaptSternn says:

      Yes, you would rather have one dictator, one size fits all. Model it after North Korea maybe?

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Nah I prefer, Hitler or Mussolini.Captain Hyperbole.

      Or how about Mitt Romney or Bill Gates, or Walton’s Wal Mart or any CEO of any major corporation?

      So you are all for the big corporation is people capitalistic model…except when it doesn’t suit your meme so you backflip your “logic” with the ease of Olga Korbut, Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Gabby Douglas,….

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, I would choose to be free to make my own choices and reap the rewards or suffer the consequences. That doesn’t seem to be an idea you can grasp or accept. You need somebody to do it for you.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Um Cappy, free to make the choice of your particular state government instead of the Federal government. The corrupt crony government of Ricky Perry.

        Absolutely scintillating logic.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Empty chest thumping from the Utah State Senate leader. What the hell do you think he would say?

        And only one of 50. But not surprising bart bought it hook lie and sinker.

        And posts the wrong link further down. Still can’t read for comprehension, can you bart? But not surprising from one who couldn’t tell two verbatim word for word identical wingnut articles apart because they had different sockpuppet “authors”.

        You really can fool some of the people all of the time.

      • Bart-1 says:

        so the poll results that are quoted that only a small percentage of people believe the Federal government is better and more efficient than the states means everybody who agrees with Bubba are the only one “not fooled”. Did I get that “Liberal logic” right?

  25. fiftyohm says:

    A question for the group: What should we consider the “poverty level” to be? Please keep in mind that published figures are virtually worthless, as the numbers do not include welfare, food stamps, or any other safety net benefits. This discussion should rationally precede any on “minimum income”

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I’ve been blessed not to poor since I was a grad student living on a $10k a year fellowship (and that certainly was not “livable” in the long run), so the numbers in my head are based from a long time ago.

      I would guess $20k a year as a single person, and I bet that would double for a couple with two kids.

      A quick google search gets you here, and those numbers are not far off from what our friends at MIT might suggest.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Sorry 50…you asked for poverty level and I went with livable wages, which for you, may or may not be the same thing.

        However, if we take away gov’t assistance, I would think $20k probably would be in the ballpark. I would hate to try to live on $20k today, but it likely would be doable.

        So, that would be a job paying $10/per hour if you were single with no kids.

        As soon as another human comes into the equation, that figure is going to need to almost double.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Contrary to what I’m experiencing in my life, after the first kid, subsequent kids are cheaper, so the minimum income has something of a sliding scale.

        Plus, we aren’t proposing that our minimum income be the livable wage. $20k a year for 300 million folks is a bit high.

        I assume the purpose of the minimum income would allow a person to work part time, get day care for kids, go to school, learn a new skill, etc. without starving. Or the person could cut everything way back, get a few roommates, and give up the part time job to go to school full time (although college on $10k a year would be a bear nowadays).

        So, our minimum income becomes $10k a year per adult, $10k a year for the first child, and $4k a year for subsequent children.

        Math is hard, but I’m looking at a few trillion dollars, and I’m not sure we have that in our couch cushions.

        Most of welfare goes away so we save billions there. If we can then get rid of social security because even old folks get $10k a year, we save a trillion dollars there. If our minimum income makes medicare go away (not sure how), we start getting closer to our goal. If Obama’s death panels kill all old people with hangnails, then we might have a shot at it.

        I’m just not sure how the math works to make this feasible.

        Contrary to Stern, I don’t think it would turn the country into pot smokin’ layabouts eating Cheetos on the couch all day, but I don’ know how the numbers get us where we need to be.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I’m just going to have this discussion with myself as I work through my thoughts.

        We wouldn’t just give $10k to every adult. My wife and I don’t get our $38k for two adults and three kids. Bill and Melinda Gates don’t get there $20k for two adults.

        I think TThor and I worked through this a few months ago and solved most of this with some tax rate changes and possible minimum income (we also generally resolved most of the abortion issue as well – we expect our Nobel prizes any day)

        Now, I’m just making numbers up at this point:

        So, earning up to $25k on your own, you still get your $10k minimum income. Earn $30k, you get $9k. Earn $35k, you get $8k, and so on. If you earn more than $70k you don’t get a minimum income.

        Median household income is something around $50k, so at the individual level, still a boatload of folks are getting the minimum income, so my numbers are likely going to need tweaking.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Thanks for ringing in, HT. The discussion has to start somewhere.

      • Tuttabella says:

        HT, I like how you put yourself up there with Bill Gates.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Good question, Fifty. I think a lot of the answer would deal with a person’s cost of living. Does the person have a low cost of living, or do they demand a lot?

      I have a very low cost of living and I intend to keep it that way. When I have good income I can do things, like take road trips with Tutt and rent the suites at hotels and other things. When strapped for cash during times of unemployment, I can still buy the things I need and keep some luxuries, like cable TV and internet, by taking odd jobs here and there. My income was well below the poverty line, but I was not living in poverty by my standards.

      During my time in the RV park in Rosenberg I knew many people that were well below the poverty line, but they had no lack of shelter, food, clothing or other comforts. They chose a lifestyle that didn’t require a whole lot of income, and many wanted to be that way and took no government welfare. (Some others did, but that was either how they were raised or what they discovered on their own.)

      What is poverty? The definition is, “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions” for the purpose of this discussion. That is interesting in itself. My “rich” relatives would be considered living in poverty by our really rich relatives, and we would be considered near homeless.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Right – I get the relative thing, Cap, but the discussion has to start with some actual numbers, or there’s no place to go. Again, what should we, as a society, define as “poverty”, or ” poor”, as JG alluded below?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Fifty, there can be no fixed number. It is different for every family, county and state. There is no ‘one size fits all’ application. That is the problem with both defining poor/poverty or rich. We throw the words around but they mean different things to different people.

        If someone wants to live in the woods and off nature, has a tent and sleeping bag and kit, that person would consider him or her self rich and living in high cotton. Someone might just want a nice apartment with a bathroom and kitchen and be satisfied with that.

        I don’t know how to put a number on it.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Buzz – That is the essential problem. If we cannot even define what poverty is, we cannot begin to address it with any rational social program, tax structure, or other construct. I suppose there are those who would would say it needn’t even be addressed,, but you’re not one of them, right?

    • John Galt says:

      I don’t agree with this, 50. If we are going to have a social safety net, I think a very reasonable first questions is how that net will transfer money/goods/services to the poor. What is the structure of the program(s) that will support this? In fact, I think this precedes the discussion of how much it will be. I know you’re an engineer, but how can you argue numbers before knowing what the dollars are to be spent on?

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG – You used the term “poor”. Don’t you think we should define exactly what that means? That was the essence of my question.

      • John Galt says:

        Sure. I think there is a qualitative definition of this that precedes the quantitative definition. Food/housing insecurity. Health problems. What are the issues that prevent children from taking full advantage of educational opportunities and which of those can be mitigated by cash/in-kind assistance. What is chronic poverty versus bad luck? There are different answers to these, and we need these before a serious discussion of numbers per capita can occur.

        Do you want a cap? I’d start with what we’re spending on anti-poverty programs now as the maximum. We do this so poorly, I think there is scope to reduce overall spending and spend the rest much more wisely, but that calls for a broad reimagination of how we do this.

      • fiftyohm says:

        OK JG – I think I agree with all of that. What should be the baseline from which we should work, understanding if course we’re not going to write such a complex proposal here. But also with the fact in mind that the complexities are the devils that doomed the current system, the tax system, and about every other social program we can enumerate…

      • John Galt says:

        I think complexity is the nature of this beast. I see several kinds of poverty…
        Chronic vs. bad luck. Chronic poverty is seen in many places – people, entire places, have no history of employment, achievement. They have no idea what this means because they’ve never seen it. Bad luck is the family whose mother quits working to take care of a sick kid and then dad gets laid off, medical bills mount, they lose their residence, etc.

        Kids vs. no kids. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for relatively young single people who aren’t working, but could a little assistance and a kick in the ass put them on the right track? Are there substance abuse problems? With kids, especially in single parent families, the kid has to be cared for and combining affordable day care (for little kids) with daytime employment is a challenge. I know our conservatives will say you shouldn’t have kids you can’t afford, but in the real world that happens all the time. A goal for me would be to make sure the kid has sufficient opportunities to be employable and self-sufficient as an adult.

        Rural vs. urban. These seem like different problems to me.

        How many permutations? Rural chronic with kids. Urban chronic without. Urban bad luck with. I’m sure I’m missing other variables.

      • Bart-1 says:

        yes, $6,250 a month. I realized it while on the way. I somehow knew that it would be pounced upon immediately before I got back I guess I should have specified that it would be per family as well. Nice to see KC, who claims he only responds with attacks in “self defense’ when attacked, was not insulting at all.

      • Bart-1 says:

        yes, $6,250 a month. I realized it while on the way. I somehow knew that it would be pounced upon immediately before I got back I guess I should have specified that it would be per family as well. Nice to see KC, who claims he only responds with attacks in “self defense’ when attacked, was not insulting at all. I’m wondering why we should make distinctions at all JG. Why shouldn’t EVERYBODY be treated equally with the same amount per household, young, old, rich, por, black, white, no discrimination at all and “equality” for all.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Oh waaaaaa bart.

        Don’t want to be called a fact (and mathematically) challenged hypocritical ignoramus?

        DONT. BE. ONE.

        How hard is that for you? Apparently quite so.

        And quite hard for you to admit unequivocally to being a sockpuppet troll bully without a pathetically lame excuse that you were “heroically” trying to out somebody’s real identity (who made you the internet emperor?) by (and I know this is hard for rational people to believe) creating multiple simultaneous ANONYMOUS online ID’s pretending to be different people and talking to each other as if they were different people to bully said target.

        Honesty through bullying subversion and duplicity eh bart?

        Only in YOUR twisted world of hate bart. And you own it no matter if you ever admit to it or not.

      • Bart-1 says:

        it REALLY must suck to be so angry and miserable all the time. I’m guessing that is why in my private counseling I focus on people feeling like victims. The two are very hard to separate.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bubba, we can read comments on this blog, so there really is no reason to repeat yourself over and over while trolling others. Just wastes bandwidth and time.

        Maybe you notice that most of us are trying to have an actual discussion? Owl doesn’t help with snide remarks, and you are not helping with your trolling. Subtracting the two of you from thise entry shows some actual mature and thoughtful debate and discussion. But even Owl is doing better than you, it’s just that Owl gets twisted at seeing my handle and the bird loses it a bit, but nothing compared to the level you bring.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Cappy, you have the wherewithal to skip a post you don’ want to read I presume?

        Or is this more of the wingnut world according to Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!??

        There is quite a bit of YOUR crap a lotof us are sick of hearing ad nausem too you unnerstan?

        Jeez what a bunch of self centered whiners wingnuts are.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bubba, trolling me just isn’t going to work. Have a nice day.

    • Bart-1 says:

      well, the OHD’s srydy comes out to 75K as the median amount needed to be “happy” in the US? So anything below 75K?

      • Bart-1 says:

        “PHD’s” and “Study” let’s just send everybody a check each month for $12,500 each month.

      • Bart-1 says:

        eh, bad math, in a hurry to get to the golf course. make that $6,750 month.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And no one else has to even say a word or do a thing to watch bart immolate himself yet again. And always a simpering excuse, “noble” or otherwise for his failings.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And you still couldn’t get the 2nd grade math correct even with a redo bart.

        $75,000/12 = $6, 250/month and NOT $12,500 or even $6,750.

        I wonder what golf score he is going to come back with? I’m guessing his lack of ethics and lack of basic math skills will cancel each other out he might be somewhat accurate. Either that or he cluelessly comes back with a whopper of a score of 75 under par or something.

        And bart even has the temerity to correct his fellow brethren buzzy’s grammar and math. Just wow.

      • Bart-1 says:

        so doesn’t anyone have an Intelligent response to just giving EVERY household $75K a year?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Not when the question is soooo garbled, and factual and mathematical gibberish. You know, bart’s usual posts.

  26. kabuzz61 says:

    All people are not motivated the same. Some people are in a life that we may view as them being ‘stuck’ in it, but they find it just fine. Others expect others to take care of them. Then the people who do not except their standing improve themselves by increasing their education and by increasing their work experience.

    Those that earn what they have take care of what they have, and those that don’t, don’t.

    We can’t keep on providing people excuses to NOT try and improve.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      What a facile load of crap, kabuzz.

      Of course, if you actually relied on facts rather than breathy, half-baked opinions, you probably wouldn’t be conservative.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        But Owl, you’ve written several posts on the importance of motivation, and how different approaches work for different people. For example, I excel when expectations of me are low.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        True enough. But kabuzz’s handwaving seems firmly directed toward the stance of either not doing anything at all, or else of actually reducing support because it will, somehow, magically fix the problem of poverty to stop enabling people to feed their children.

    • Bart-1 says:

      Kabuzz, should be “accept” their standard of living. And you KNOW that people don’t make excuses for not trying to improve.

      • Bart-1 says:

        oops, wrong link. Nice to know Hillary is taking “credit” for her Secretary of State success with Russia though. Here is Star Parker’s link.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Can’t keep track of your source links (again) like you couldn’t keep track of which sockpuppet you were posting from bart? And explain again to us how bullying and ganging up on someone with multiple ID attacks is “virtuous” and somehow a “constructive” attempt to get someone to “man up”?

        Or how you found the “courage” to attack me by name when you mistakenly believed I was banned and couldn’t defend myself?

        How about YOU “man up” bart and just admit without any mealy mouthed equivocation (that not even a 6 year old would believe) that you are just a consummate pathetic troll at heart?

      • Bart-1 says:

        hah, must suck to be so angry and miserable all the time, KC. BTW I shot the same as the temperature outside (even got sunburned and am a real “redneck” now!). I can just feel the love every post.

      • Bart-1 says:

        Yeah, obviously you were attacked right? more “just defending myself with the “Powell Doctrine” right KC?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes bart I keep a running tally. How many times do I have to say this?

        Don’t want to be called a fact (and mathematically) challenged hypocritical ignoramus?

        DONT. BE. ONE.

        How hard is that for you? Apparently quite so.

        And quite hard for you to admit unequivocally to being a sockpuppet troll bully without a pathetically lame excuse that you were “heroically” trying to out somebody’s real identity (who made you the internet emperor?) by (and I know this is hard for rational people to believe) creating multiple simultaneous ANONYMOUS online ID’s pretending to be different people and talking to each other as if they were different people to bully said target.

        Honesty through bullying subversion and duplicity eh bart?

        Only in YOUR twisted world of hate bart. And you own it no matter if you ever admit to it or not.

      • Bart-1 says:

        KC, does keeping a tally make your “victimhood” easier to cope with? I don’t think so.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        No bart, it’s easier to keep a tally of your nastiness and ignorance. Thee is so much to choose from.

      • Bart-1 says:

        my “ignorance and nastiness’ is easier to keep track of than your “victimhood” because mine is so much less, simple logic. Nice statement there KC.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes bart I agree with you. Despite the mountain of evidence, your nastiness DOES boil down to “so much less, simple logic”.

        You have NEVER admitted to being a multiple simultaneous ID sockpuppet troll bully except when cowardly caveating the trolling by excusing it as some type of “heroic” or “honorable” act of outing someone else’s real identity.

        Trolling to out someone’s real identity (while never revealing your own) as some type of “constructive” act of “moral virtue”. Really?

        Is THAT what you learned from your church this past Sunday bart? And Jesus approves of your trolling, right bart?

        Great “logic” (as usual) bart.

  27. CaptSternn says:

    Yay, a new entry.

    So his plan isn’t a basic or minimum income, but an increase in the EITC and to spread out the “refund” through the year instead getting it all at once. To pay for it he would cut or eliminate other programs and cut some subsidies.

    I can support cutting some subsidies. I don’t really see how getting just a few extra dollars per month instead a couple hundred at the end of the year is really going to help anybody, nor will I support increasing those amounts.

    The idea that people can’t work their way up the corporate ladder doesn’t ring true to me, nor does the idea that if people take low wage jobs early in their lives means that is all they will ever have. Anybody can acheive what they set their minds to acheiving. Some work harder to provide advantages to their kids, which is great. All parents should do their best to provide all the advantages for their kids they can, and have that cycle continue to their kids and their kids. Handouts only take away the incentive to work, much less to work to a better and higher paying position.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      “and have that cycle continue to their kids and their kids.”
      That’s the crux of the problem — getting out of a negative cycle one is already enmeshed in and creating a new, positive one. Once the positive cycle is created, the momentum and circumstances are favorable for kids and their kids to just continue within that cycle. It’s like a force of physics. So, how does one go from negative to positive? First come to a screeching halt, a complete stop? Or create an immediate reversal in the opposite direction from negative to positive? How does it work in the physical world?

      • CaptSternn says:

        That’s a good question. It’s easier to figure out how we got here than it is to figure out how to get out of it.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I continue to wish we could replicate programs like this San Francisco effort on a larger, national scale. Unfortunately, change is expensive.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Is change expensive, or just difficult to implement?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Thank you Tutt for acknowledging that we all don’t have the same opportunities and we need to do more with those considered at risk. One of my previous employers had a volunteer mentorship program with at risk students which I enjoyed immensely and agreed with the principle of the program. I was paired with just one high school kid who was the same minority persuasion I was. I understood the rationale in that he could see people like him can succeed if they tried and applied themselves, but I felt guilty entering his computer classroom and helping only him and seeing all the other eager minority students of different persuasions asking for help and showing genuine interest in their work. I did try to help anyone who asked and I hope “my” kid didn’t feel neglected. He did graduate HS and invited me to his graduation party at home. Unfortunately I changed jobs and lost touch with all my “charges” and wonder how each of them are doing from time to time. And if I helped. If nothing else I think they enjoyed the interaction with me as I did with all of them and hope that positive experience did sow a seed of success for them academically, socially, and financially, of course. And they continue to pay it forward.

        But we need more of that effort and not just in the private sector alone. We need to apply all the cogs of the wheel at our disposal. We just need the will.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And Cappy and buzzy, that naysaying blaming the victim (by buzzy) defeatist attitude is not the type of will we need.

        And yes Tutt, it’s both.

      • CaptSternn says:

        That was an interesting link, Owl. A non-profit organization running on charity that gets people together that help each other and are accountable to each other. Their incomes have improved and their kids’ grades are better, with little or no help from local government. Seems to be having success. Maybe other non-profits could be formed in other cities and counties based on that model.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Never blamed the victim once. I did say some people stay in their situation for generations no matter what we do. Only liberals make excuses for why people do not take advantage of opportunities. The war on poverty started more than 60 years ago and face it, like the war on drugs we lost. Decades and billions of dollars later.

      • Bart-1 says:

        correction Kabuzz, not Billions of dollars, Trillions.

      • John Galt says:

        Owl’s FII gets a fair amount of private foundation philanthropy today, but it was founded entirely on government funds at the behest of Oakland’s mayor (Jerry Brown). While this sounds like a great program, it is not going to translate to nationwide on small grants from foundations.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Sternn sneers, “The idea that people can’t work their way up the corporate ladder doesn’t ring true to me.”

      Well, between that and your inane constitutional beliefs, you manage to continue to be at odds with the real world.

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