enjoy yourself
20.7K views | +0 today
Follow
enjoy yourself
Thoughts and comments about making life even better
Curated by Kenneth Weene
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

What President Obama Achieved in Eight Years

What President Obama Achieved in Eight Years | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
President Obama's record is bigger and more substantial than even he allowed himself to admit.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This is a pretty good  overview of the Obama presidency. I would add that his inexperience is seen in the administrative failures, for example in the VA and in laughing Obamacare, and in foreign affairs by what I saw as the often destructive manipulations of Hilary Clinton as SOS. Sadly, had he either been elected in a better economy or if he had been able to wait a few years in the wings and the Senate to grow his connections and governing skills, Mr. Obama may have made an even greater and better mark on our country. Since the author of this piece doesn't seem to mention it, I also want to give credit in two areas. Obama has been a decent steward of the environment and of our natural lands and a good friend to the Native Americans, who have long deserved better treatment. 

Anyway, thanks Barak for the memories, now America turns to a new leader and we hope he will have the same qualities of decency and trustworthiness that you have shown.
more...
malek's comment, January 11, 2:27 PM
major achievement: the first African-American president
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

The History Behind Trump's Refusing a Presidential Salary

The History Behind Trump's Refusing a Presidential Salary | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The President-elect has said that he will not take a salary while in the White House—but there's an important reason the president gets paid
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Since historical precendee and constitutional law says he has to accept the salary, Mr. Trump has the option of giving the money to charity. Which charities might he choose? Could he give the money back to the government as a contribution? Does this mean he'll have to show that on his income taxes? Some interesting questions. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Pirate Party ready to sail Iceland's government into uncharted waters

Pirate Party ready to sail Iceland's government into uncharted waters | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The 'Pirates' look set to gain one of the largest shares of seats in Iceland's parliament. But why is a nation of conservative fishermen turning to a party of techno-utopian democrats?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I've always loved Iceland and I loved it even more after we actually went there. That love has been intensified by the political change that has swept the small island nation. With people who are at once very modern and still believe in elves and ancient religions, Iceland is in many ways like a giant New England town meeting. What better place to test the idea of a new participatory democracy, one that relies on modern technology to maximize participation? 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Health Care Costs Grow Dramatically Slower Than Expected After Obamacare

Health Care Costs Grow Dramatically Slower Than Expected After Obamacare | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A new report by the Urban Institute analyzing government projections in U.S. health care spending shows that it is growing at even slower rates than what was originally projected with the passage of Affordable Care Act. The study predicts that the U.S. will spend $2.6 trillion less on health care between 2014-2019 than what was initially anticipated when Obamacare was passed in 2010.

“Health care costs have had several years of really historic low spending during the period, so overall, public programs, private spending is all less than we thought it would be,” said Gary Claxton, vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Each year we see spending going up 3 percent, 2 percent, whatever, and not 5 percent, and because that stuff compounds, when it continues to go up more slowly ... it starts to really add up.”
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I'm not a big fan of the ACA; I would prefer a single payer plan for America. Still, you have to recognize that Obamacare has made some serious positive steps for healthcare in America. This is just one more piece of evidence that Mr. Obama's signature legislation was a good move. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Crop Insurance Subsidies Prove Cutting Budget Is Easier Said Than Done

Crop Insurance Subsidies Prove Cutting Budget Is Easier Said Than Done | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Determined to rein in spending, Congress celebrated agreement on a plan to save trillions. Yet one of the few cuts actually passed now faces repeal.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I am not a budget hawk, quite the opposite. I believe in government's role in ordering and organizing the country's life and economy. However, I think it is time that the American people recognize that much of what the government does is to subsidize insurance companies by guaranteeing their levels of profitability. If the companies can't accept risk, then they are not insurance companies and this becomes a form of corporate socialism as opposed to what should be the intent, what Bernie Sanders has called democratic socialism, the encouragement and protection of the individual to allow taking risk and life itself reasonably safe for us all. So maybe it's time to recognize the right wing Republican calls for the shrinking of government for what they are, a prioritization of companies over people, and not make believe that there is anything about the individual—farmer or entrepreneur or just citizen—in their intentions.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Armed Militia Converges On Montana Gold Mine, And The Feds Are Stepping In

Armed Militia Converges On Montana Gold Mine, And The Feds Are Stepping In | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The owners of a Montana gold mine sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service earlier this month warning its employees to stay off the owners' property.

"Anyone entering onto the White Hope Mine, without previous coordination, will be charged" and arrested under Montana code, the letter read, according to court documents.

"At no time will weapons be allowed onto the White Hope Mining Claim," the letter concluded.

Except there are weapons on the White Hope Mining Claim, in the hands of armed mili
Kenneth Weene's insight:

What do you think? Should the federal government take fast and direct action to remove this challenge, wait on a court decision to tale fast and direct action, create a siege line and let these people simply surrender when they get hungry, allow this activity to go forward? My view, freeze all assets, set up a siege line, and then wait on the courts. After the courts have spoken, and assuming that they will support the government claims, a one time offer of amnesty for those turning in their guns, agreeing to be on a gun watch list, and paying a fine. For the rest, this is one time when the militarized police or national guard might be appropriately used. The implication of using "second amendment rights" is that you are expecting a gunfight and should therefore not expect to be protected from the inherent danger in that fight.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Supreme Court sides with Fresno farmer in raisin dispute

Supreme Court sides with Fresno farmer in raisin dispute | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The Supreme Court has ruled for a California raisin grower and declared it was unconstitutional for a government-backed agricultural board to claim control of about one-third of his crop.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

What was a valid reason at the time of the Great Depression is certainly no longer valid. I'm glad the court struck down something so outmoded, and as a raisin lover I hope this will lower the cost of my treat. The real lesson here is that laws made for the best of reasons may need revision and even removal. We must remember that the government bureaucracy will always tend to keep itself from giving up one iota of its roles and powers. The real question is why this issue wasn't addressed years ago by congress. Perhaps there should be a House committee for reconsideration of existing legislation to constantly reconsider such anachronistic laws.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Shriveled grapes, shriveled liberty

Shriveled grapes, shriveled liberty | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
In a raisin case before the Supreme Court, the government will try to defend its kleptocratic behavior.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Kleptocratic, what a great word. It does describe the way in which the government feels entitled to take possession of the property of the people, much like the throne of England against which the colonists rebelled. There is a subtle interplay between the property rights of the individual and the powers of the state. Is it a legitimate role of government, a positivist function if you will, to maintain the price of raisins? While in times of an agricultural price crisis such interference in the free market might be appropriate, why is it appropriate now? For my part, I think it time for the Supremes to put some limits on the kleptocracy.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Chris Christie Will Propose Social Security Means-Testing in New Hampshire Speech

Chris Christie Will Propose Social Security Means-Testing in New Hampshire Speech | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Leaning in to his potential 2016 presidential campaign identity as the candidate for the Republican Party’s budget-conscious moderates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will give a speech in New Hampshire on Tuesday that proposes raising the Social Security retirement age, limiting benefits for those who make more than $80,000 a...
Kenneth Weene's insight:

What people won't get is that limiting social security benefits for the wealthy makes social security an entitlement rather than something that everybody has a right to. That will make it easier to attack the program over the long run. It would make more sense to raise taxes on those making large incomes.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

The double-standard of making the poor prove they’re worthy of government benefits

The double-standard of making the poor prove they’re worthy of government benefits | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Why it's so politically easy to bash government programs for the poor.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

In addition to the three excellent arguments made in this article about why this is so wrong-headed, we must also remember two other issues. One is how to police this kind of law. Do we create yet another bureaucratic wasteland to try to catch that elusive woman who buys a steak or perhaps new shoes for her son's birthday? And is she morally wrong to do without for herself to make him feel worthwhile? Then, too, what do we say to the owner of that strip club, that his business is less worthy than the grocery down the street? Do these politicians, all of who would undoubtedly say they were capitalist in philosophy, want to claim that government should be making such decisions? Once again, what we really have is the right trying to gin up outrage because it is only outrage at the other that gets people to vote for the GOP as it now functions. Well, we have to remember that in the end we are all part of us or all part of them. For my part, I prefer to be one of the "US" than being one of those who would say, "Let "THEM" eat cake."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

United Arab party a surprise new force in Israeli election

United Arab party a surprise new force in Israeli election | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
UMM EL-FAHM, Israel (Reuters) - A political sideshow for much of the past six decades, Israel's Arab minority is hoping to gain much-needed muscle after next week's parliamentary election, with four Arab
Kenneth Weene's insight:

It is about time for minority populations to recognize the need to work together as voting blocks instead of fighting for the crumbs they might receive. I only hope that Black and Hispanic Americans can also come together to become their own political force so that the United States can move towards greater justice and equality.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Measuring Illegal and Legal Corruption in American States: Some Results from the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Corruption in America Survey

Measuring Illegal and Legal Corruption in American States: Some Results from the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Corruption in America Survey | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

Legal and illegal corruption at the legislative, executive, and judicial levels a state by state overview.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

They seem to have left #Louisiana out of the mix, I guess it stands alone. Meanwhile, check out your state and maybe it will get you more active and angry or more content and complacent.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

America’s Most Important (and Wackiest) Referendums This November

America’s Most Important (and Wackiest) Referendums This November | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Should Mainers be allowed to hunt bears with doughnuts? Will Washington gun laws get both tougher and laxer? These and other key questions will be on ballots across the U.S. next month.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I find that few voters bother to actually read and discuss referendums. They are important. Remember that Prohibition, that disaster of American prudishness, started through state referendums and swelled into a national constitutional amendment. I am always fearful of those who would make absolute rights and wrongs into constitutional mandates, be it at the state or the federal level. Oh, and I say give the bears the donuts laced with contraceptives. This bear always preferred jelly.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Obama's 'We the People' petitions were unprecedented. These 10 were our favorites.

Obama's 'We the People' petitions were unprecedented. These 10 were our favorites. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The petition site is one of the cooler things to come out of the Obama administration.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I may not always agree with Mr. Obama and I may not always agree with the petitions that have been circulated over the past five years since the President instituted this channel by which ordinary citizens can reach the ears of the oval office, but I assuredly love the idea behind it, especially when it resulted in Yogi Berra being honored. I wonder if Mr. Trump will continue this conduit for average people to reach his office's attention.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Some of our worst presidents had the best political résumés

Some of our worst presidents had the best political résumés | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Clinton’s experience wouldn’t predict success.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As a lover of history, I enjoyed this piece. It also reminded me of a simple truth, that experience doesn't always mean competence, especially when it comes to politics. I may not necessarily agree with the entire ranking of presidents; for one thing I don't see Ford as that bad especially since he didn't seek the job and had to deal with the issues of Nixon and the young men who had fled the foolish war in Vietnam and I certainly don't see Andrew Jackson, who was a cruel racist and destructive of many of the engines of economic growth or Ronald Reagan whom I consider the father of modern voodoo economics to say nothing of some terribly wrong war making as deserving their high ranks. Anyway, the point is worth pondering this year when we have two candidates, one of whom having extensive government experience and the other having none. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Hess Triangle: The Smallest Piece of Private Property in New York City

Hess Triangle: The Smallest Piece of Private Property in New York City | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
At the southwest corner of Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue, in front of the entrance to the Village Cigars store, there's a smal
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Because you deserve al laugh today, especially one at the expense of government bureaucracy. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Petition to Pardon 'Making a Murderer' Subject Gets 100,000 Signatures

Petition to Pardon 'Making a Murderer' Subject Gets 100,000 Signatures | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Steven Avery was arrested for murder in 2005
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I really enjoyed this TV series, but I am amazed how many people have been galvanized into action by it. Is he innocent? I lean that way, but the DA claims much of the evidence was not shown in the series. But the reason for positing this is: Since when can a sate prisoner by pardoned by the president? As far as I now this petition makes no sense, which makes it another example of how uninformed Americans are, and that is a real concern. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Defiant Kentucky clerk ordered to jail for blocking same-sex marriage licenses

Defiant Kentucky clerk ordered to jail for blocking same-sex marriage licenses | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A federal judge has ordered a Kentucky county clerk to jail on Thursday after she refused to issue marriage licenses because her religion opposes same-sex unions, her attorneys said.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I may offend some with my reaction, but when my wife, who was on her computer, announced this to me, I shouted, "Praise the Lord."There should be no room for bigotry— however clothed in religion— in the performance of public office.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Supreme Court upholds power of independent commissions to draw districts

Supreme Court upholds power of independent commissions to draw districts | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the kind of independent redistricting commissions used in Arizona and California to prevent partisan gerrymandering.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This is a major step in the move from a "republic" to a democracy and is predicated on the belief, one which I share, that it is only from the consent of the governed that a government can receive its mandate.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Modi’s Radical Plan to Remake Welfare in India

Modi’s Radical Plan to Remake Welfare in India | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The government says it’s taking “incremental” steps toward reform, but the plan to reshape payouts for the poor is nothing short of a revolution.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

As in the United States, the best way to help many, perhaps most poor is to give them money for the short term and training so they can earn on their own for the long term. However, there will always be those who need more supervision and protection because of their limitations and there will always be those who will take advantage and deceive. While it is certainly time for the government of India to end the feudalistic largesse programs of the past, it is folly to believe that the dependency of many can be ended so simply. The great contribution of Congress was to stabilize the country after independence and to develop great higher education. However, giving grain and sugar to the people only could go so far. India is becoming a major power and the poor must be allowed a chance to rise with the tide. Good luck to the people of this great country.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Our government is a dysfunctional mess. Here are 4 ways to fix it

Our government is a dysfunctional mess. Here are 4 ways to fix it | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
D.C. is a disaster, but former journalist and campaign pro Michael Golden tells Salon there's reason for hope
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Four reasonable suggestions that might improve the functioning of the federal government. For my part, I think them good ideas if perhaps beyond our national will. The only one I am not too wild about is getting rid of the filibusterer; it has served some good causes in its time. However perhaps lowering the vote necessary to end one might be a good idea. If you are interested in government and political theory, this is a piece you will find very interesting.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Wealthy donors on left launch new plan to wrest back control in the states

Wealthy donors on left launch new plan to wrest back control in the states | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The Democracy Alliance is urging its members to pump tens of millions into efforts to reverse a decades-long GOP effort that has reshaped statehouses.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The issue at the state level is taxes and the local economy. While the trickle-down theory has been pretty well discredited by experience in states like Kansas, there are still those who push it. However, much more real is the sense of many taxpayers that they are being ripped off by government. That sense is heightened by the history of lack of restraint in many states. Progressive government at the state level has to communicate the ways in which change will actually make people better off, especially in their wallets but also in the quality of their lives. One place to begin is the quality of roads and transportation, which have often deteriorated under conservative government. Another is the use of public schools for multiple community functions which might make people feel that they are getting more back for their tax dollars. I also suggest providing state direct assistance opportunities for people such as clinic days and employment conferences, times when the average person can see their tax dollars doing something in their lives. Finally, states need to cut back on their use of prisons, which are a great drain on revenues with little return to the community. More creative approaches to offenders might actually cut costs, raise revenues, and cut crime. One thing that progressive state government can't do is hire and hire more.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

A Friendly Reminder That Your Tax Dollars Are Paying $14 Million for Eggs

A Friendly Reminder That Your Tax Dollars Are Paying $14 Million for Eggs | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
It’s tax season, a time of year when we’re all reminded that our hard-earned dollars pay for everything from the weapons used by U.S. troops…
Kenneth Weene's insight:

So many relatively little contracts, all of which requiring bidding and auditing, and bookkeeping. What a massive thing the government is. Operating a bowling alley, providing sports programs (complete with cheerleader outfits), and the list goes on. No wonder there's waste and mismanagement.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Social Programs That Work

Social Programs That Work | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Rigorous evidence should inform spending. Until lately, it hasn’t.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Government is not the solution to every problem, and government without good planning can be come the cause of many problems. However, as this conservative, who worked for George Bush, points out, government programs that include proper ongoing evaluation can make a meaningful difference and help solve problems. The goal of government should always be to find that which works for the people and separate such programs from the chafe that only wastes  tax dollars.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

House Passes Bill to Help Disabled Save for Living Expenses

House Passes Bill to Help Disabled Save for Living Expenses | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The House passed a bill to allow the disabled to save money tax-free that was paid for by cutting Medicare payments for penis pumps.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

First, how many people are actually receiving penis pumps at this point? Should that be something that Medicare pays for? At what age should you no longer be entitled to having a government subsidized hard-on? Next, why have we ever stopped families from helping their disabled members by creating trusts and savings accounts? To stop somebody with severe developmental disorders from getting family assistance by taking away their benefits is as mean-spirited as we can get. Third, and this is a reality issue; the amount involved is so small compared to the overall cost of almost everything in government as to make this all absurd, except of course the loss of taxes when those savings accounts are fully used. My guess is they will hold billions of money that will be administered by the families of rich disabled people. Tell me that Mitt Romney or the Koch Brothers won't figure out a way to hid some more taxable money. Oh well, at least we can still laugh at the absurdity of a government that tries to micro-manage.

more...
No comment yet.