Sunday, April 29, 2012

You Can't Cut Your Way To Prosperity

And here's the proof.

We Literally Can't Afford To Give Up On Space

Because we're running out of resources here.  And there's more out there.  And even business people are beginning to see that.

Will The Teabags Keep The Senate Democratic?

It's possible.  Let's hope so.

So Pass The DREAM Act Already!

So that we don't have to house children on military bases.

America The Glutton

We are literally eating the world out of house and home.  And we are killing ourselves in the process

And Yet Another Reason Why I Still Have Faith In The Future

Because we still have young people willing to question all of the economic nonsense that has been fed to this country for the past three decades.  I think the rest of us should get the hell out of their way.

Five Reasons Why The Very Rich Have NOT Earned Their Money

As described here.   A good article, although it misses the most important one, as highlighted by Elizabeth Warren:


Let's Hope The Supreme Court Still Listens To Conservatives

Even ones that argue for the constitutionality of Obamacare.

Abortion Is Unbiblical! Or Is It?

Well, um, not if it's in the Bible, I guess.

Is This Talking Point Really Dead?

I don't think so.  Because, even as some writers are trying to bury it, the women of America won't let them.  Because, for them, the reality of it is alive and well.

And the Republicans and their supporters are doing their part to keep it alive.

In fact, their presumed standard-bearer is leading the way.

With not a little help from the supposedly offended party.

All I Can Say Is, I Hope You're Not Surprised

Because I'm not.  Really?  A Republican Governor, lying about the cost of a Federal project so that he can turn down the money for self-serving reasons, at the expense of not only his state, but the entire Eastern seaboard?  I mean, that could NEVER happen, right?  Oh, wait ... .

Maybe he was just afraid that he wouldn't be able to fit through the tunnel.  If so, he might have a point.

Still Yet ANOTHER Crack Among The Deniers!

And this one comes from Ohio, from a former acolyte of Newt's.  Now if we could only get him to change his mind about the high-speed rail money he refused!

Must-Have, Easy-To-Recycle Materials For DIY Wedding Favors

Weddings are ideally one of those rare events that you say the ‘sky’s the limit’ when it comes to budgeting. But in these difficult economic times, the sky isn't always the limit. Often, the limit is an all-too-tight budget.

Recycling is the ‘in’ thing now with budget weddings. The ‘something borrowed’ requirement is no longer limited to the bride. Same thing goes with wedding favors.
Going the DIY route is a cost-efficient way of coming up with personalized and unique wedding souvenirs. Here’s a quick list of some materials you’d want to have handy to easily put together your eco-friendly wedding favors.

1. Mason jars or any small jars with a lid.

What used to hold preserved food can become an integral part of easily putting together some extraordinary ‘take-home’ remembrances of your big day. Mason jars are made of glass, small in size, and fitted with a tight metal lid.
To transform them into wedding favors, you can choose to still fill them with preserved food, like jams or spreads. If you’re handy with wax, make it into a beautiful candle votive! Thinking of something more practical for your mason jars? Drill a hole on the lid, buy some fancy straws, and voila, you just got yourself a recycled (and easily customizable) juice bottle.

2. Cupcake holders/baking cups.

Remember that party you planned last year when you overstocked on these really elegant cupcake holders? Well, they just might play another role at your wedding party!

Fill them to almost-overflowing with small, succulent sweet treats, wrap them up with clear cellophane, and then tie a dainty ribbon. Not only do your cupcake wrappers get a second lease on life, your guests also get to take home some sugary bites to remember your wedding by!

3. Old, colorful fabric.

When working with wedding favors on a budget, special packaging is key. How do you not spend too much on prettified packaging? Well, bring out those old clothes with interesting prints or patterns!

Make sure to they’re clean and disinfected before you use them, most especially if you plan to use it as an alternative packaging for food souvenirs. The great thing about fabrics as packaging is 1. They’re sturdy 2. They’re flexible, 3. They can be further recycled!

4. Sturdy boxes.

Of course, boxes make for great storage…and they’re awesome to recycle as wedding favors too! Thick, well-made boxes, whatever the size or material it’s made of, can hold a variety of treats or trinkets that your wedding guests will surely appreciate.

You can tuck in some refreshing mints if you have small boxes, or perhaps a couple of personalized notepads and pens if you have bigger ones. The content possibilities are endless! If you want to give them a more uniform look, you can either paint, wrap, or decoupage them.

These are but four of the many materials in and around your home that you can use as wedding favors. Think outside of the box (or think of the box, as cited in this post), and be innovative. Add a dash of creativity, a bit of ribbon here and there, and you’re bound to dish out some really rockin’ wedding favors out of recycled materials.

Chrissy Michaels is a wedding planner and recycling advocate. She had already made countless DIY eco-friendly wedding favors for friends and family.

4 Ways Your Business Can Go Green

For years, many people have been finding ways to go green while at home, but going green isn't solely for the home anymore. There are plenty of ways that businesses can also do their part to go green, and they're jumping on the bandwagon.

Going green can actually save your business money, and many businesses are trying to reduce their expenditure in order to increase profits or keep themselves afloat during tough economic times. If your business is interested in going green, you need to implement the following tactics.


1. Shut down or unplug.

Many employees will not turn their computers off when they leave the office at night. But if computers are being left on when not in use, they use a great deal of energy. Try to enforce your employees to turn off their computers when they leave at night. When the computer is off, it doesn't use as much energy.
But even when a computer is shut down, it is still using energy if it's plugged in. The same goes for phone and tablet chargers. Before your employees leave for the night, make sure they unplug everything. This will really help cut down on the energy being used overnight.

2. Print less.

If your company does a lot of printing, you are wasting a lot of paper. Try to get your employees to cut down on the amount of items that are printed. This will save energy and save paper.
You should also try to reuse paper throughout the office. Set up recycle bins, and reuse the back-side of the paper to print things that will remain internal. Save your fancy paper for those items that will be seen by clients. 

3. Send documents electronically.

Instead of mailing letters or invoices to clients, which forces you to use a ton of paper, opt for an electronic version. Send your invoices, contracts and any other documents via email instead. Certain software platforms, such as Adobe Acrobat, will allow you to accept email signatures if necessary. This will save your client from having to print, sign, scan and resend.
Instead of printing all documents and saving hard copies in filing cabinets, create electronic files and save them to an external hard drive. This will help your company go green, and it will help clear up space in your storage room.

4. Recycle.

Don't limit your recycling to paper only. Set up recycle cans throughout your office and encourage your employees to recycle anything possible, such as cans or glass. 

You can also try to get creative and recycle other items. Rather than throw out the old shelf, try and find somewhere else in the office to use it. If something is broken, see if you can find a cheap way to fix it instead of throwing it into a landfill. Or you can post it on the Internet to see if anybody else out there has a use for it. 

Don't just assume that going green only benefits your family and your home. If you employ green tactics at your office, you will be doing your part to save the environment, and you'll also see a significant savings on your office supplies and your energy bills.

Luis Figueroa is an Environmental Philosophy major at the University of North Texas who loves to share his passions with others. To ensure all his writing and homework is clear, professional, and free of grammatical errors he proofs it with a grammar checker. He can't always remember all the grammar rules so he edits his work with software that does.

And Now For Something Slightly Different!

I now have a subscription to, a site that provides articles to be syndicated through blogs.  My next two posts will be from authors who have graciously accepted an invitation from me to have their articles published here.  I look forward to sharing more of these articles in the future, as well as any comments and feedback.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Environmental Policy IS Foreign Policy

Apparently, even Tom Friedman gets this.

And, Along The Same Lines ...

... don't let anyone tell you that land reform is immoral or impractical.

It's neither.  Here's proof.

Don't Let ANYBODY Tell You That This Is A Conservative Country

Conservatives supposedly love history, but the history of this country shows very clearly why the Left has always been essential to our development.  And always will be.

Is It Efficient To Be Non-Industrial?

That may be the case in agriculture.  It's not politically correct to use Cuba as an example of something good and true, but I'm not politically correct.  Not by conservative standards, anyway.

Michigan Is Currently Proving Something

And it's the fact that modern conservatism depends on marital law to succeed.  Which is why we don't need "bipartisanship."  We need Mother Jones who will pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.

Does Environmentalism Neglect The Human Race?

Here's one environmentalist who thinks that it does, and thinks that environmentalism needs to change if it is going to have any future viability.  For whatever it's worth, I think he's right.  I think that true environmentalism does not mean turning one's back on progress--if anything, it means stimulating it, through the search for new materials and methods for building the society we want to have.

But They Can't Afford To Create Jobs!

Of course not.  They're too busy making vanity purchases.  These prices have nothing to do with value and everything to do with being in first place on Boardwalk or Park Place.  This is how the rich suck the value out of your work, and put it someplace where it can never benefit you.  And this is what our current tax policy promotes.

Real wealth never trickles down.  It percolates up, when the wealthy are forced to make their money by hiring the rest of us to earn it for ourselves and them.  We, the people, are the real wealth-creators.  Someday, I hope we wake up and act on that fact to make the world better for everyone.  Including making the price of antiques affordable.

Which Is The Greater Threat To Democracy?

A President who criticizes the Supreme Court?  Or a Circuit Court judge who orders the President to explain why he is exercising his First Amendment rights?  Oh, and did I mention that the exercise of those rights is not the issue before the Court?

There are judicial activists in our system, but they're not on the left.  They're on the side that thinks it needs to tell the rest of us to shut up, as Chief Judge Jones of the Fifth Circuit did to one of her colleagues.  That type of behavior is offensive to the Constitution, the legal profession, and anyone in or out of uniform who has ever sacrificed anything for this country.

Those judicial activists can go to hell.  And not a moment too soon.

Where's The Outrage?

Apparently, people who get into hissy-fits over going through a scanner to ensure that they don't get blown up in a plane aren't bothered at all by the prospect of someone being strip-searched for jaywalking, thanks to the "Supreme" Court.  Oh well, it's OK to do it if the person's going into jail.  After all, everybody who goes to jail is certainly guilty, because the police never make mistakes, right?

Good luck with that one.  You may need it.  But, if you're not so lucky, just tell yourself in the middle of your strip-search that you must be on your way to Miami or Hawaii.  That should help.  I guess.

Is Labor Organizing A Civil Right?

Of course it is.  Otherwise, why would Republicans spend so much time attacking it.  Here's someone who thinks Martin Luther King showed us the way to ensure that it is treated as a civil right.  What a wonderful legacy Obama could have if he got behind this.

A Government Penalty Is A Government Penalty

If you're the type of person who thinks that the two political parties are more interested in jockeying for power than they are in advancing substantially different policies, you may want to take a look at this, with regard to health care reform.  Is the ability to forego a financial benefit morally superior than a mandate?  Is it more effective in promoting universal coverage than a mandate.  Is the effectiveness argument outweighed by the moral argument?  Or vice versa?  Ultimately, which side has the high ground?

You're welcome to decide for yourself; you know where I stand.  But the article in this case indirectly raises serious questions about whether we can work together at all.  Which means, ultimately, that it raises serious questions about whether our democracy still functions as one.

I hope that we can come up with the right answers to those questions.

A Natural Fit?

There are those who think investment banking is immoral.  As someone whose relatives includes investment bankers, I respectfully disagree.  On the other hand ... .

On The Other Hand, It's Not A Pretty Process

The right may sometimes be willing to admit that it's wrong but, along the way, that admission gets sabotaged by its own members.  Oh well.  If they can make progress on indefinite detention, maybe they can make progress one day on breaking up the banks.  Or save the electric car, while they're at it.

One Of Many Reasons Why I Believe In Democracy

Sometimes, even the right will admit that it's wrong, thereby vindicating Churchill's view that "You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they've tried everything else."

Well, Better Late Than Never In April ...

... and what better way to belatedly start the month here than by flashing back to last month's oral arguments at the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Obamacare (Hey, if the name is now good enough for him, it's more than good enough for me.  Besides, to quote a favorite bumper-sticker, "Obamacare beats the hell out of I-don't-care"!).

Obviously, there's been a lot of coverage of the various angles of this story.  The possibility that a Court decision in favor of Obamacare would galvanize the right and guarantee a Republican blowout in November.  The possibility that a Court decision in the other direction would inevitably lead to single-payer health coverage.  The missteps by the Solicitor General in defending health care reform--and what he should have said (with which I agree).  The risks to the Court's own reputation if it nullifies reform.

What do I think will happen?  Hard to say.  This is obviously a highly political Court; its tortured decisions in the areas of corporate personhood and the regulation of gun rights couldn't make that any clearer if it tried.  And its subsequent ruling in the area of strip-searches seems to make it clear that it is trying.  I tend to think, however, that the political impact of completely upholding Obamacare or completely striking it down is so uncertain that it is likely to reach a muddled result--upholding much of the Affordable Care Act but somehow limiting its reach or scope.  An all-or-nothing ruling would not be politically palatable to the Court's conservative majority.  Doing so would either ratify "socialized medicine" or create a campaign issue that would make the blowout a Democratic one.

One think, as a lawyer, that I know for certain:  never try to predict what a judge will do by the tenor of oral arguments.  I have all too often seen a judge appear to come down particularly hard on an attorney, yet nevertheless hand that attorney's client a victory on the merits.  (If you want to infer that sometimes, that attorney is me, you can.)  Anyone who tries to predict the fate of Obamacare based on the toughness of the Court's questions for the Solicitor General simply doesn't know what he or she is talking about.

And, if that person is an attorney, shame on him or her.