Link to KansasPrairie.net

8/31/2012

CHAPTER 9…MY HOUSE IS LISTED FOR SALE WITH JESSICA DECKER AT REMAX IN SALINA…

Filed under: prairie musings, 1404 N.Douglas — Peg Britton @ 6:37 pm

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REMAX signs are in my yard…well, actually, some are in Ally’s yard by my yard. I have turned the job over to Jessica Decker to find new owners for my home. Now, I’ll have more time to devote to sorting, packing, donating, selling and moving “stuff”. I’ve set my sights on having an empty house by the end of the year except for those items I’m taking to Presbyterian Manor. I hope to move in late December or early January regardless of whether or not my house is sold. I’m only slightly relocating “down the road east of here” while I still have a choice in such matters.  I’m not in any hurry.  The right people who will love this house as much as I have will move in after I leave to enjoy a very special place on earth.

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Tucked back behind all the trees is a “tree” house, unlike any other and unique in every way.  This is in the city limits, removed from the hustle and bustle and nested in a large grove of mature trees.  With 4,256 square feet of living area, it is an amazing easy-flow modular design that flows from area to area.  It’s the kind of home that transports you to vacation land the minute you enter it.  If you are interested in details, please call Jessica at 785.825.5200.  For lots of other photos, inside and out, scroll down to Chapter 1.

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Thanks for tuning in…

8/29/2012

REMEMBERING MY GRANDPARENTS…J. FRANK AND LOTTIE JURY BAKER

Filed under: prairie musings, family, Artists, Ellsworth Art Gallery — Peg Britton @ 8:08 am

Ellsworth Reporter, June 12, 1902:  “J. Frank Baker has had the old porch in front of the American House pulled down and a fine new one built in its place. Delos Eldridge did the work, which is a guarantee that it was well done. We understand Mr. Baker contemplates making other important improvements to his hotel in the near future.”  J. Frank was my grandfather.  He owned and operated the American House, among other endeavors, then, along with my grandmother, the Baker House Hotel. The Baker House was located on the corner of Douglas and South Main just east of the Ellsworth County Historical Museum and once was home to the Charles Rogers Art Gallery.

8/21/2012

THE TRUTH IS…OBAMACARE SAVES US MONEY…

Filed under: political musings, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney — Peg Britton @ 9:15 am

Republicans Continue to Lie About Obama and Medicare—

The Republicans have been telling the American people that ObamaCare is expensive and will bankrupt the country. But when they asked the Congressional Budget Offive what would happen if they repealed ObamaCare, they discovered that it would result in an additional $716 billion in Medicare costs. Overall, the CBO estimated that the cost of repeal would be $109 billion over the next ten years. So, the truth is that ObamaCare saves us money.

In repealing the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, the CBO wrote this:    Spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013–2022 period. Federal spending for Medicaid and CHIP would increase by about $25 billion from repealing the noncoverage provisions of the ACA, and direct spending for other programs would decrease by about $30 billion, CBO estimates.

Don’t be hoodwinked.  Obamacare SAVES us money.

8/20/2012

“CONSERVATIVE” KANSAS CONGRESSMAN KEVIN YODER SWIMS NAKED IN SEA OF GALILEE AMID MUCH CRITICISM….

Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 12:39 pm

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Kevin Yoder, the “conservative” Republican congressman from Kansas who is unopposed for re-election in Kansas’ 3rd District, has apologized for his naked swim in the Sea of Galilee last summer.

Of course, alcohol was involved.  Other congressmen and their families were involved…but not nude.  He happened to be the only one who chose to parade around in his birthday suit.
TOPEKA, Kan.  — A Republican congressman representing Kansas has apologized for embarrassing his supporters by swimming naked at the holy site of the Sea of Galilee while on a fact-finding mission to Israel.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, 36, has not been charged in the Aug. 18, 2011, incident when he and about 20 other lawmakers and staff members jumped into the water. Politico reported Sunday that he was the only one among them who wore no clothes.

Fpr the rest of the story…

GRANDSON DREW AT THE SUMMIT OF ANOTHER COLORADO 14,000 FOOT PEAK…

Filed under: prairie musings, Drew Britton — Peg Britton @ 11:10 am

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Grandson, Drew Britton, is in the process of climbing all of the 14,000 foot peaks in the Colorado Rockies.   The Rockies, a long twisting spine of mountains that stretches across North America from Alaska and northern Canada to central New Mexico, reaches its climax in Colorado, which boasts more land above 10,000 feet than any other state. The most significant geographic feature of the Rockies is the Continental Divide, a long ridge that divides the Atlantic and the Pacific watersheds. Colorado also offers over 50 distinct mountain ranges, 830 summits over 11,000 feet, and 55 lofty peaks that scrape the sky above 14,000 feet or two and a half vertical miles above sea level.  Drew, like many other avid climber/hikers, is in the process of conquering each peak over 14,000.

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Drew, his faithful dog Sarge, and a fellow hiker.  On top of the Continental Divide.

Thanks for tuning in…

“LITTLE BROTHER”, ZYIARE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 9:03 am

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Grandson Tyler has always had a “little brother” during his time in the Air Force.  While he was stationed in San Antonio, Nathan was his “little brother”.  Tyler stays in contact with him and sees him on his return trips to San Antonio.

Now that he’s stationed in Cincinnati, his “little brother” is Zyiare who is attending his first Reds game with a pal and Tyler.

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You can see that Tyler knows how to brighten the day of his little brother with a roller coaster ride.  “Little Brothers, Little Sisters” is  a wonderful program and helps bridge societal gaps in small ways, one person at a time, day by day.
Thanks for tuning in …

CHRIS ARMSTRONG WINS $4.5 MILLION SUIT AGAINST ANDREW SHIRVELL…

Filed under: political musings, print news, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 8:04 am

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key) Chris Armstrong was awarded $4.5 million in his suit against former assistant state attorney general Andrew Shirvell.

Former student body president of the University of Michigan, Chris Armstrong will be paid $4.5 million in a settlement with a former state assistant attorney general for harassment linked to a 2010 dedicated website he created, bullying the openly gay student leader.

University of Michigan alumnus and then state assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell created the website “Chris Armstrong Watch” accusing the newly elected student body President of a “radical homosexual agenda,” according to the Detroit Free Press. The site quickly drew national attention, and earned Shirvell bookings on talk shows to discuss his views on Armstrong, where he used terms including “Satan’s representative on the student assembly” and a “privileged pervert.”

After a year of trading barbs, the case finally hit court last week, with Armstrong suing over defamation, stalking and invasion of privacy. After one day of deliberation, the jury found for plaintiff Armstrong on all accounts, awarding him the large sum.
From the Washington Blade…

TODD AKIN’S STUPIDITY AND ATTACK ON WOMEN IS AN ABOMINATION…

Filed under: political musings, Women's Rights — Peg Britton @ 7:44 am

Missouri Claire McCaskill’s Republican Senate opponent, Todd Akin, justified his anti-choice views by explaining that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant. He commented, “If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin’s stupidity is an abomination.   His  kind of dangerous ignorance and attack on women has no place in politics, let alone the Senate of the U.S.

8/19/2012

HOW IS THE PLANET GOING TO SUSTAIN A POPULATION OF 9 BILLION IN LESS THAN 40 YEARS?….

Filed under: political musings, Women's Rights — Peg Britton @ 11:25 am

Why aren’t women rebelling against the conservative, right-wing white males who are forcing women into maternity roles? They want to outlaw abortions and contraceptives so there are more and more white children.  White conservative men want to keep women at home reproducing more white children so they maintain their majority status and their political powers in a white male dominated society.  This is a disaster in the making. Our world population is predicted by the United Nations to top 9 billion by 2050. That’s less than 40 years from now. We might have the room for all those additional people, but we do not have the resources to support them.  Women’s rights…what few of them there are…are slowing disappearing.

8/18/2012

GOV. SAM BROWNBACK CITED FOR POLITICAL PROSECUTION THAT INTRUDED ON THE PRIVACY OF WOMEN’S MEDICAL DECISIONS… “THIS SHOULD SERVE AS A WARNING TO ALL KANSANS AND ALL AMERICANS ABOUT THE DANGERS TO OUR FREE SOCIETY OF ELECTING EXTREMISTS AND IDEOLOGUES TO POSITIONS OF POWER.”

Filed under: political musings, print news, Sam Brownback — Peg Britton @ 7:31 am

Abortion Cases Against Clinic in Kansas Are Dropped by Prosecutors

The New York Times
By JOHN ELIGON
Published: August 17, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The first criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood came to an abrupt end Friday when Kansas prosecutors dropped all charges against a local affiliate accused of failing to determine the viability of fetuses before abortions were performed.
Related

Abortion Case Loses Ground, but Issue Stays Hot in Kansas (November 23, 2011)

Many of the 107 charges, some of them felonies, initially filed against the affiliate, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, had already been dismissed since they were filed in 2007.

The dismissal of the remaining charges, all misdemeanors, was announced Friday in a news release by Steve Howe, the district attorney for Johnson County, and Derek Schmidt, the state attorney general.

They said that state law did not prohibit Planned Parenthood from using the gestational age of fetuses to determine whether they were viable or could survive outside of the womb. Planned Parenthood had contended that fetuses from 22 weeks to 24 weeks old are not viable, and given the mortality rates of premature babies, prosecutors said they could not adequately dispute that finding.

“It is an unfortunate conclusion that I don’t think is going to satisfy anybody, but that is the reality of what we have to deal with today,” Mr. Howe said at a news conference in his office in Olathe, Kan., according to The Associated Press. “But ultimately, the decision should be about the law and the evidence.”

In Kansas, a hotbed for the abortion debate, the decision ends a messy legal fight that saw both sides lobbing accusations of political misconduct.

The case started under Phill Kline, a staunch abortion opponent who, when he was the Johnson County district attorney, led a sweeping investigation of the state’s abortion providers.

Initially, investigators looked into allegations that providers were not reporting all child rape cases.

In 2007, Mr. Kline filed charges against Planned Parenthood accusing it of failing to maintain copies of abortion paperwork and then, fearing detection, of completing it after an investigation had begun.

But many of those charges were dropped because, prosecutors said, records had been destroyed and some of the allegations fell outside of the statute of limitations.

On Friday, Mr. Howe and Mr. Schmidt went into great depth in explaining their decision to drop the charges, saying they had consulted numerous doctors and had weighed Planned Parenthood’s practices against accepted medical norms.

Planned Parenthood celebrated its legal victory with a strongly worded statement that blasted Mr. Kline and Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican and an abortion opponent, for what they called a political prosecution that intruded on the privacy of women’s medical decisions.

“This case has been an abuse of political power, pure and simple,” Pedro Irigonegaray, a lawyer for Planned Parenthood, said in the statement.

The case, Planned Parenthood said, “should serve as a warning to all Kansans and all Americans about the dangers to our free society of electing extremists and ideologues to positions of power.”

8/17/2012

LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT…

Filed under: political musings, Women's Rights — Peg Britton @ 9:54 am

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8/16/2012

WHERE HAS ALL THE MONEY GONE? $21 TRILLION OF WEALTH IS OFFSHORE (THAT’S AS MUCH AS THE AMERICAN AND JAPANESE GDPS PUT TOGETHER)

Filed under: political musings, Koch Brothers, Mitt Romney — Peg Britton @ 12:53 pm

£13tn hoard hidden from taxman by global elite.

• Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy

• Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens

   Heather Stewart, business editor

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 21 July 2012 16.00 EDT  

The Cayman Islands: a favourite haven from the taxman for the global elite.

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.

He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, “protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy”. According to Henry’s research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.

The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world.

Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests. Once the returns on investing the hidden assets is included, almost £500bn has left Russia since the early 1990s when its economy was opened up. Saudi Arabia has seen £197bn flood out since the mid-1970s, and Nigeria £196bn.

“The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments,” the report says.

The sheer size of the cash pile sitting out of reach of tax authorities is so great that it suggests standard measures of inequality radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor. According to Henry’s calculations, £6.3tn of assets is owned by only 92,000 people, or 0.001% of the world’s population – a tiny class of the mega-rich who have more in common with each other than those at the bottom of the income scale in their own societies.

“These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people,” said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. “People on the street have no illusions about how unfair the situation has become.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Countries around the world are under intense pressure to reduce their deficits and governments cannot afford to let so much wealth slip past into tax havens.

“Closing down the tax loopholes exploited by multinationals and the super-rich to avoid paying their fair share will reduce the deficit. This way the government can focus on stimulating the economy, rather than squeezing the life out of it with cuts and tax rises for the 99% of people who aren’t rich enough to avoid paying their taxes.”

Assuming the £13tn mountain of assets earned an average 3% a year for its owners, and governments were able to tax that income at 30%, it would generate a bumper £121bn in revenues – more than rich countries spend on aid to the developing world each year.

Groups such as UK Uncut have focused attention on the paltry tax bills of some highly wealthy individuals, such as Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, with campaigners at one recent protest shouting: “Where did all the money go? He took it off to Monaco!” Much of Green’s retail empire is owned by his wife, Tina, who lives in the low-tax principality.

A spokeswoman for UK Uncut said: “People like Philip Green use public services – they need the streets to be cleaned, people need public transport to get to their shops – but they don’t want to pay for it.”

Leaders of G20 countries have repeatedly pledged to close down tax havens since the financial crisis of 2008, when the secrecy shrouding parts of the banking system was widely seen as exacerbating instability. But many countries still refuse to make details of individuals’ financial worth available to the tax authorities in their home countries as a matter of course. Tax Justice Network would like to see this kind of exchange of information become standard practice, to prevent rich individuals playing off one jurisdiction against another.

“The very existence of the global offshore industry, and the tax-free status of the enormous sums invested by their wealthy clients, is predicated on secrecy,” said Henry.

C.C. WEBSTER IS BRINGING A FILM FESTIVAL TO THE KANOPOLIS DRIVE-IN THEATER AUGUST 25TH…

Filed under: prairie musings, Kanopolis Musings — Peg Britton @ 10:18 am

The Kanopolis Drive-In is featuring a film festival Saturday August 25th with the first film showing about 9:00 p.m.  In all four films will be shown starting with the the silent comedy classic “Safety Last”, starring the great comedian Harold Lloyd.  The second film will be “Not Waving but Drowning”, and independent film about two high school friends who go their separate ways during the span of a summer.

Josh Webb, the Kanopolis Drive-In owner, has booked two additional first run films to follow.  One is  “The Expendables 2″.

Regular admission price will admit you at 8:00 p.m. for one or all four movies with the proceeds to go to the Kanopolis Drive-In.

In 2007, C.C. Webster, who works as a writer and commercial filmmaker in New York City found a way to draw attention to the few remaining small town drive-in theaters in the U.S. by bringing them independent films and film classics. Webb discovered Webster’s drive-in festival information through internet browsing and contacted her to bring her festival to Kanopolis, a small community of about 500.  The drive-in can accommodate about 160 cars.

In addition to the four movies, there will be old-fashioned carnival games, raffles and merchandise for sale reminiscent of earlier days when drive-in theaters were plentiful and popular.

Josh Webb is a fine entrepeneur and is making every effort to keep the Kanopolis Drive-in open for local viewers.  Take your family and support this effort by enjoying carnival games and watching one, two or all four movies.

Admission:  $7 for ages 13 to adult; $5 for ages 5-12, ages 4 and under are free.

8/15/2012

STAFF SERGEANT TYLER JAMES BRITTON RECEIVES THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM IN ACTION AGAINST AN ARMED ENEMY…

Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 8:48 pm

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The Presidential Unit Citation, originally called the Distinguished Unit Citation, is awarded to units in the Armed Forces of the United States and allies for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy on or after December 7, 1941.

My grandson, Air Force Staff Sergeant Tyler James Britton, was recently awarded this citation.

In order to receive the citation a unit must display gallantry, determination and espirit de corps while accomplishing its mission. The mission has to be achieved under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions that set the unit apart from other units participating in the same campaign.

Tyler served under the Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan from May 29, 2009, to April 12, 2010.  Those coalition forces fought a thriving insurgency in Afghanistan. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus approved the PUC for personnel who served.

The citation is the equivalent to an individual getting the Navy Cross. MEB-Afghanistan is credited with initiating a sweeping offensive against Taliban forces in the Helmand, Farah and Nimroz provinces.

It’s reported by the Marine Corps Times that, “the unit was commanded by Brigadier General Larry Nicholson and overseen by 2nd MEB, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.”  This is the first PUC awarded since early in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The units that will be recognized are the Regimental Combat Team 3, RCT-7, Marine Aircraft Group 40, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, and the brigade’s headquarters group. Marines were the bulk of the MEB’s forces, but there are also U.S. soldiers, airmen and sailors, coalition forces, and Navy Department civilians.

The Marine Corps Examiner salutes these Marines and their coalition partners for a job well-done. Semper Fidelis.

Well done, Tyler.

BARACK OBAMA LAID DOWN THE GAUNTLET TODAY…

Filed under: prairie musings, Barack Obama — Peg Britton @ 2:10 pm

Barack Obama just laid down the gauntlet. Romney knows he’s losing this election and by picking Ryan as his running mate, he just sealed his fate.

“My plan has already extended Medicare by a decade. Their plan ends Medicare as we know it. My plan reduces the cost of Medicare by cracking down fraud, and waste, and subsidies to insurance companies. Their plan makes seniors pay more so they can give another tax cut to millionaires and billionaires. That’s the difference between our plans on Medicare, that’s an example of the choice in this election, and that is why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America.”

PAUL RYAN LOVES AYN RAND AND “ATLAS SHRUGGED” IS REQUIRED READING FOR HIS OFFICE STAFF….

Filed under: political musings, print news, Mitt Romney — Peg Britton @ 11:31 am

If you have never read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and I gather most people haven’t, you really need to do that to know exactly what kind of man Mitt Romney picked for his running mate.  Paul Ryan has visions for America that don’t include you and me. Ayn Rand’s philosophy is frightening.

Paul Ryan has two ideas:  Let’s stop having rich people pay taxes at all and, poor people should look for food in the woods. They say that Ryan is the intellectual in the Republican Party whom we presume to be a step up from Sarah Palin.  He and Sarah Palin agree on everything.  If he’s the smartest guy in the party and she’s the stupidest woman on earth, it’s pretty scarey that they agree on everything.

Ayn Rand is Paul Ryan’s lifelong idol. He’s her devotee and has built his life on her philosophy and said so time after time.  Now he’s denying it.  The article below is by Ian Reifowiz and tells you lot about Ryan’s character and inability to tell the truth.  Here are some quotes:

“Paul Ryan Loves Ayn Rand — And Lied About It.”
Paul Ryan loves Ayn Rand. Loves her. He has stated that Ayn Rand is required reading for everyone who works in his office.

Here are some choice quotes highlighted by Elspeth Reeve of The Atlantic Wire from Mitt Romney’s new vice-presidential running mate on Ayn Rand:

• “I just want to speak to you a little bit about Ayn Rand and what she meant to me in my life and [in] the fight we’re engaged here in Congress. I grew up on Ayn Rand, that’s what I tell people.”

• “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are.”

• “It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. We start with Atlas Shrugged. People tell me I need to start with The Fountainhead then go to Atlas Shrugged [laughter]. There’s a big debate about that. We go to Fountainhead, but then we move on, and we require Mises and Hayek as well.”

• “But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”

• “And when you look at the twentieth-century experiment with collectivism — that Ayn Rand, more than anybody else, did such a good job of articulating the pitfalls of statism and collectivism — you can’t find another thinker or writer who did a better job of describing and laying out the moral case for capitalism than Ayn Rand.”

• “It’s so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand’s vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding [sic] principles are.”

• “Because there is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works.”

And here are some more:

• He told Insight on the News on May 24, 1999, that the books he most often rereads are “The Bible, Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.”

• He told the Weekly Standard on March 17, 2003, “I give out Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well… I try to make my interns read it.”

• At a February 28, 2009 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Ryan said Obama was trying “to use this [financial] crisis to move America toward the sort of Europeanized economy… Sounds like something right out of an Ayn Rand novel.”

Of course, once Ryan began angling for the veep-slot he had to say that he “rejects her philosophy,” and even threw in, as he must given the sway of religious conservatives in his party, his condemnation of Rand’s “atheist philosophy.” He went so far as to call the idea that he’s a Rand fanboy an “urban legend.”

So, not only is Paul Ryan a devotee of Ayn Rand, he’s also a bald-faced liar.

8/14/2012

POLL SHOWS FIVEFOLD INCREASE IN RANKS OF U.S. ATHEISTS…

Filed under: prairie musings, religion — Peg Britton @ 3:14 pm

Poll Shows Fivefold Increase in Ranks of U.S. Atheists
The survey also shows a downward trend in the number of people who say they are religious.
By Jeffrey Bloomer | Posted Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012

A new poll suggests that 1 in 20 Americans now call themselves atheists, a fivefold increase from the last time the survey was taken in 2005.

The Religion News Service reports that, to go along with the jump, just 60 percent of Americans now identify as religious, down from 73 percent the last time the Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism poll was taken seven years ago. The decline has also been felt in many other countries around the world, including double-digit drops in several European and North American countries.

Here’s the question pollsters asked 50,000 or so people from 57 countries and five continents: “Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?”

Overall, the WIN-Gallup International-conducted poll found about 13 percent of respondents worldwide consider themselves atheists, and also showed notable disparities in atheism among faiths.

The stark findings set off some expected resistance, including a theory that the poll shows less a rise in atheists than in people who are willing to identify as one, especially with the rise of popular, outspoken skeptics like Richard Dawkins. Others questioned the poll’s international standards. (The complete poll and methodology are here.)*

Sharp as the rise in self-identified American atheists may seem, the poll also notes that the new findings merely bring the United States in line with Saudi Arabia, which also reports 5 percent convinced atheists. China remains the global leader, with 47 percent.

8/13/2012

SANDSTONE CREEK CLUB GOLD CROWN RENTAL AVAILABLE SEPT. 8-15TH…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 1:53 pm

I have a Gold Crown timeshare at Sandstone Creek Club in Vail that I won’t be able to use this year. It will be available to you Sept. 8th-15th.

The unit is very spacious and sleeps 6-8 comfortably. It’s a loft unit with a king-size private bedroom, 3 baths, fully-equipped kitchen, fireplace, spa, indoor/outdoor pools and hot tubs and saunas.  There is a washer and dryer in the unit. It’s has a beautiful view of the aspen grove and is located next to scenic walking/hiking trails, rafting, golf and gorgeous scenery.

I’m offering it for a bargain rate of $875 for the week of Sept. 8-15th during high season. Normal rate is $1200.

To see pictures, click here. Don’t miss a great opportunity to spend a week in the Rocky Mountains.

Thanks,
Ally (785.472.7065

8/12/2012

DOWNSIZING…

Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 1:46 pm

I don’t know who wrote this, but versions of this have been circulating the net for a long time.  It’s something to think about.

When a company falls on difficult times, one of the things that seems to happen is they reduce their staff and workers. The remaining workers must find ways to continue to do a good job or risk that their job would be eliminated as well.

Wall street and the media normally congratulate the CEO for making this type of “tough decision”, and the board of directors gives upper corporate management big bonuses..

Our government should not be immune from similar risks.

Therefore:

Reduce the House of Representatives from the current 435 members to 218 members.
Reduce Senate members from 100 to 50 (one per State). Then, reduce their remaining staff by 25%.

Accomplish this over the next 8 years (two steps/two elections) and of course this would require some redistricting.

Some Yearly Monetary Gains Include:

$44,108,400 for elimination of base pay for congress. (267 members X $165,200 pay/member/ yr.)

$437,100,000 for elimination of their staff. (Estimate $1.3 Million in staff per each member of the House, and $3 Million in staff per each member of the Senate every year)

$108,350,000 for the reduction in remaining staff by 25%.

$7,500,000,000reduction in pork barrel earmarks each year. (Those members whose jobs are gone. Current estimates for total government pork earmarks are at $15 Billion/yr).

The remaining representatives would need to work smarter and improve efficiencies.. It might even be in their best interests to work together for the good of our country!

We may also expect that smaller committees might lead to a more efficient resolution of issues as well.It might even be easier to keep track of what your representative is doing.

Congress has more tools available to do their jobs than it had back in 1911 when the current number of representatives was established. (Telephone, computers, cell phones to name a few)

Note:
Congress does not hesitate to head home for extended weekends, holidays and recesses, when what the nation needs is a real fix for economic problems. Also, we had 3 senators who were not doing their jobs for the 18+ months (on the campaign trail) and still they all accepted full pay. Minnesota survived very well with only one senator for the first half of this year. These facts alone support a reduction in senators and congress.

Summary of opportunity:

$44,108,400 reduction of congress members.

$282,100,000 for elimination of the reduced house member staff.

$150,000,000 for elimination of reduced senate member staff.

$70,850,000 for 25% reduction of staff for remaining house members.

$37,500,000 for 25% reduction of staff for remaining senate members.

$7,500,000,000 reduction in pork added to bills by the reduction of congress members.

$8,084,558,400 per year, estimated total savings. (That’s 8-BILLION just to start!)

Corporate America does these types of cuts all the time.
There’s even a name for it.

“Downsizing.”
——————————
Also, if Congresspersons were required to serve 20, 25 or 30 years (like everyone else) in order to collect retirement benefits, taxpayers could save a bundle.

Now they get full retirement after serving only ONE term.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc..

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

Congressional Reform Act of 2012

1. Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below..

A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past , present and future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer get automatic pay raises. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/13.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time..

LET’S FIX CONGRESS!

8/7/2012

THE HONORING AMERICA’S VETERANS AND CARING FOR CAMP LEJEUNE FAMILIES ACT OF 2012

Filed under: prairie musings, print news, Barack Obama — Peg Britton @ 7:37 pm

President Barack Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 into law on Monday, providing a wide-ranging package of benefits to military personnel and enacting new restrictions on protests of service member funerals.

“We have a moral sacred duty to our men and women in uniform,” Obama said before signing the bill, according to a pool report. “The graves of our veterans are hallowed grounds.”

The new law will have strong implications for the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based organization which the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have labeled a hate group. Westboro Baptist Church has drawn media attention for its brand of protest, which frequently links the deaths of soldiers to America’s growing acceptance of gays.

Under the new legislation, protests must be held at least 300 feet from military funerals and are prohibited two hours before or after a service. The law counters a 2011 Supreme Court ruling, which found that displays such as Westboro’s were protected under the First Amendment.

Members of the church responded defiantly to a Huffington Post report following Congress’ passage of the bill, claiming that the law’s restrictions could also have an effect on counter-demonstrations organized in response to Westboro’s attempts to disrupt military services.

Two of these counter-efforts drew national attention last month, when large groups of people turned out in both Missouri and in Texas in an attempt to create “human walls” to shield attendees of military funerals from Westboro’s demonstrations.

(Photos of the Texas event below)

In an interview over the weekend, Westboro spokesman Steven Drain told CNN that the new law was “not going to change our plans at all.”

According to the Army Times, future violations of The Honoring America’s Veterans Act would include the possibility of $50,000 in statutory damages.

For more on The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, click here.

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