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Uncas
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25 posted 02-18-2011 08:05 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


quote:
5.6% toward their pensions and 12.8% for their health insurance, both figures less than half of the national average.


Interesting numbers, I like numbers, but they don't mean a great deal without the rest of the information.

When you say 'average' are you talking about mean, mode or median?

5.6% of salary for a pension. Is that a final salary pension or endowment and what are the agreed benefits?

12.8% of salary for health care - that sounds high, National Insurance in the UK is 11% and you get a pension thrown in to boot. Have you ever considered a single payer system?



Denise,

The clever folk may simply decide to re-locate to a state that offers better benefits and the really clever ones, if the education system survives,  will probably avoid the public sector altogether, instead of teachers, police officers and fire fighters they'll all become bankers . That's how free markets work - if you offer peanuts you tend to end up with monkeys.

.
Denise
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26 posted 02-18-2011 08:13 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I believe it is 12.8% of the cost of the healthcare premium that the State pays, not 12.8% of their salary, Uncas.

Most private sector jobs don't even offer pension plans any more. Asking the State workers to contribute 5.6% of their salary towards their pension isn't unreasonable. That's about what my pension plan contribution is, about the same as the local wage tax, a little bit higher than the state tax, an a lot lower than the federal tax.
Uncas
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27 posted 02-18-2011 08:50 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


quote:
I believe it is 12.8% of the cost of the healthcare premium that the State pays, not 12.8% of their salary, Uncas.



It's probably a moot point as the unions had apparently already accepted the health care and pension increases but do you know the total cost of the premium Denise?

.
Denise
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28 posted 02-18-2011 09:07 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I believe I read that their plan costs the State about an average of $22,000 per year per employee. That must be a damn good plan. That's about 3x the cost of what my employer pays for my annual premium.
Balladeer
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29 posted 02-18-2011 11:52 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Obama at his finest...

WASHINGTON (AP) — In rapid-fire action Friday, the Republican-controlled House voted to strip federal money from President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and from Planned Parenthood and to bar the EPA from issuing global warming regulations.

Upping the ante in the budget faceoff, the Obama administration warned that workers who distribute Social Security benefits might be furloughed if congressional Republicans force cuts in government spending.

In a letter the Social Security Administration sent to its employees' union, agency officials said that while no decision about furloughs had been made, they were possible "given the potential of reduced congressional appropriations."

The letter was circulated by congressional Democrats, who said such cuts could mean shuttered Social Security offices and delayed benefit payments. The letter's distribution by Democrats underscored how the threat of jeopardizing Social Security payments is a potent political weapon.

http://www.centurylink.net/news/read.php?ps=1018&rip_id=%3CD9LFF1E82%40news.ap.org%3E&_LT=HOME_LARSDCCLM_UNEWS&src=facebook

In Obama-ese, that means "touch my health care and I'll make sure social security checks get delayed". Hey, it's the Chicago way....
Bob K
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30 posted 02-19-2011 02:20 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     It's the Republican way.  You take the money away and expect there to be no consequences.  

     If you Republicans wanted to give us some budget room, you would have voted to suspend the tax cuts for the very very very wealthy.  Paying for that debt is very very expensive.  Very very very very expensive.

     Also paying for wars that weren't needed is very very expensive.  Paying for the various assaults on civil liberties, I wouldn't presume to estimate.  I wouldn't know how much of that particular budget actually gets published.  But I'd be thrilled to know how much of that money we have to borrow as well.

     The money to pay for all this, you'll notice, is coming out of the hides of the poor, the needy, the crazy, and the starving while the Republicans are protecting and even subsidizing the money of the extraordinary wealthy, or, as President Bush the Younger called them, "my constituency."  

     (Did I get that quote right?  Would somebody correct that quote for me?)

     Apparently the religious Right hasn't enough of a problem with this to apply significant pressure.  

     One clear exception to this deserves mention here.  The Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, a long term crusader for programs for the psychiatrically impaired, was reportedly heartsick at the cuts demanded in her state budget in that area, and apparently said so in clear terms.  While I have had significant problems with many of her other positions, I am happy to say that she seems to be acting here with real  compassion.  

     I applaud her courage.
Uncas
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31 posted 02-19-2011 07:24 AM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


quote:
I believe I read that their plan costs the State about an average of $22,000 per year per employee. That must be a damn good plan. That's about 3x the cost of what my employer pays for my annual premium.


I think you may have misread the figure Denise. If the state is paying 22k per year into a pension plan the recipient would be receiving a pension large enough to buy a small eastern European town.

Based on that rate even a relatively poor pension scheme in the UK would return a lump sum of three quarters of a million dollars and an annual annuity of 100k if the recipient joined age 20 and retired at 65.

If you were to say the average paid out of the pension fund was 22k per member it'd sound more reasonable.

But I digress.

Instead of arguing over the increases in pension and health care contributions, which, as I've already pointed out, have apparently already been accepted by the unions, it might be interesting to try to work out why Walker believes these changes are necessary. It also might be worthwhile trying to work out what possible fiscal benefit could be gained by removing the rights to collective bargaining, banning the collection of union dues via the payroll system and forcing the workforce to vote on a yearly basis as to whether the unions should exist.Those three contentious issues seem to have sparked the protestations so the obvious question is:

How exactly do those three specific things reduce the deficit?

.
Balladeer
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32 posted 02-19-2011 07:29 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ah, there you are, Bob. I was wondering where you were.

As a man who has voiced on many occasions how you feel the right is the group that uses hate rhetoric and threats, I've been curious to know how you viewed the video here of the actions of the protestors in Wisconsin.Any thoughts on that...or the DNC's actions in this situation? I had assumed you just decided to stay away from this thread but, since you have now made your entrance here, I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on it.
Denise
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33 posted 02-19-2011 09:30 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

No, I was talking about the healthcare premium costs to the State per employee, Uncas, not what they pay into the pension plan for the employees.

I don't know how the other issues relate directly to the budget other than to maybe lend some stability going forward in not having to worry about future budgets being held hostage by expensive union demands.

I think people would love having the option to vote annually on whether to have a union or not. That would tend to make the unions more representative of the membership if they had to earn their vote every year. It might take away some of that 'abuse of power' syndrome that they tend to get.

Balladeer
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34 posted 02-19-2011 03:47 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

GOP lawmakers accused Democrats of "irresponsible scare tactics," and said their proposed cuts would not affect benefits or force the Social Security Administration to close offices. Any furloughs "would result only if that decision were made by the administration," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said in a written statement.

So what we have is the president threatening to delay social security checks, causing hardships on the millions of elderly who need them to live, as a weapon against the republicans for going against him. That is simply the work of an educated thug. One can see just how much he cares for the welfare of those he is supposed to represent, not use s pawns in his power struggle game.

If Obama were a terrorist, he would be one using children and, in this case, the elderly, as human shields.
Bob K
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35 posted 02-19-2011 04:04 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     When you ask for my comment on "the video," Mike, are you speaking of the one you reference in posting number 14 of this thread?

     If your answer is "yes," then you may have made a mistake in asking me for a response.  I watched the video, and I looked at the ending where it said it was done for the Wisconsin GOP, and I took it for was it was intended to be, a propaganda piece, produced not under the rules of journalism but under the rules of propaganda.

     This would be the way that you'd take a piece produced by or for the DNC, isn't it?  If you'd expect a piece like that to be other than preaching to the choir, I'd say your expectation would be too high.  And that's pretty much what I think about the Wisconsin GOP piece.

     I don't say that all the violent rhetoric ever spoken in the history of the United States was from the Right Wing.  I'm and old lefty, and I know better.  I had my share of quarrels with idiots who thought that violence was the answer and the only answer during the sixties and the early seventies.  I thought people who thought that way were stupid then and I think they're stupid now, and also wrong.

     Stupid wrong people can kill you just as dead as smart savvy and witty folks, I've come to notice, just as a bit of a parenthetical statement.

     The folks who were doing a lot of the talking about violence way back in the sixties and early seventies were frequently lefties, some of them folks I'd met in the SDS; but there were a sprinkling of Right Wing idiots, too.  You could go to a demonstration, a peaceful demonstration, and get badly hurt.  I remember this well.

     I compare this experience with the experience of the counter-demonstrators there, who also came to demonstrate, but additionally to break heads.  They were from the Right Wing.  The soldiers were busy elsewhere, like overseas, and some of them were right wing and some of them were left wing, and they did the best they could no matter what.  Mostly they were too busy trying to stay alive, those that were in harm's way, to worry much about each other.  That's what they've told me, over the years.  I always thought that made sense.

     But recently, over the past twenty years, say, I'd have to say that the violent rhetoric has pretty much been a right wing thing.  I know you don't see it that way, Mike, and I won't try to change your mind about it.  You've got your point of view.  But if I saw any sort of level of violent language or actions on the part of the left, I'd call it, the same as I did when I was a kid.  There is no SDS.  There's nothing like the SDS.  The Unions are very domesticated, even in comparison to the sixties, let alone in comparison to the thirties, or the turn of the century, while the rhetoric of the Right approaches that of Father Coughlin, though, thank goodness, it isn't anti-semitic.  As for Congressman Boehner suggesting that the President "order" the DNC to do anything, I think you know as well as I do exactly what a ridiculous piece of political rhetoric that was.  It's as Will Rogers said, right?  I'm not a member of any organized political party.  I'm a Democrat.

     I find Rush Limbaugh and his Right Wing talk show cohorts violent and inciting.  Among other things, they shout a lot, loudly, invading my personal space, and they get people very angry.  They have large audiences full of angry, shouting people.  They have rallies for for large numbers of angry shouting people.

     As you've pointed out, these audiences are much larger than Left wing audiences.  You suggest that this is because the Left Wing is irrelevent.  I would suggest an obvious alternative.

     The Right Wing is filled with Huge Numbers of Furious Shouting people who are on the edge of explosion all the time; and its leaders are trying to channel this energy to trample everybody else with the threat of violence.  They are riding the whirlwind.  They are trying to control a mob.  

     So yeah, you'll find some off the wall rhetoric and signs and posters at left wing rallies from time to time, but the tone is generally more civil.  There is less talk about violence than the occasional right wing rally I've attended.  

     (Right now, I notice that the Left wing rallies tend to focus on what the Right has already done, and the Right wing rallies focus on what the Left is going to do.  I wonder if this is a quirk of my own personal perception, something I'm merely seeing at this moment, or is there some actual truth to it?  I'd welcome observations from others on this point.  It's so very easy to make false comparisons and not be aware of doing it; and it's important to check them out with people who may disagree strongly.  A dose of reality can be very helpful in keeping a guy's feet on the ground.)

     Anyway, Mike, I'm not sure if this is the sort of answer you were looking for, but it's the answer that says everything I know about my own thoughts and feelings on the matter, and the one that's the closest to my truth.

My best
Uncas
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36 posted 02-19-2011 04:20 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


Obama actually threatened to do that? That's unbelievable Mike, while it's entirely likely that the planned GOP cuts to the Social Security Administrations funding are likely to lead to furloughs for administration staff surely it's down to them and not Obama to break the bad news.

Why couldn't he wait for the Social Security Administration to do their own calculations and work out for themselves whether furloughs would be necessary? What the hell does Obama know about administrating social security! Leave it to the people on the ground for Jebus sake! If they think there are going to be furloughs they'll phone, or text, or they'll send a letter to the ways and means committee.

It's a crazy world Mike, do you have any idea why the Social Security Administration didn't just inform the ways and means committee by letter?

.
Balladeer
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37 posted 02-19-2011 04:28 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Thank you, Bob. The video was presented for Wisconsin, yes...but they are referring to the insertion of Pelosi and Bill Maher to show just how ridiculous and two-faced  their comments were. The footage of the protesters was real.

What answer was I looking for? Nothing that I should have expected, I suppose. Showing footage of people advocating murdering a supreme court judge and his wife, among others, I suppose I hoped I could get one liberal to say it was wrong. SHowing a march of liberals holding signs  with comparisons to Hitler, Mubarek and using bulleyes on the Governor's face, I hoped I could get maybe on non-conservative to say that was wrong. I was obviously wrong to expect such a thing.

I will lower my expectations in the future

I do appreciate your taking the time to respond at least, Bob. Have a good day...
Uncas
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38 posted 02-19-2011 04:58 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


quote:
I hoped I could get maybe on non-conservative to say that was wrong.


As a conservative do you think political rhetoric that includes violent metaphors is wrong Mike?

Or do you,like me, think it's ok?

.
Balladeer
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39 posted 02-19-2011 05:01 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

"If they think there are going to be furloughs they'll phone, or text, or they'll send a letter to the ways and means committee.
It's a crazy world Mike, do you have any idea why the Social Security Administration didn't just inform the ways and means committee by letter?"

In a letter the Social Security Administration sent to its employees' union, agency officials said that while no decision about furloughs had been made, they were possible "given the potential of reduced congressional appropriations."

The letter was circulated by congressional Democrats, who said such cuts could mean shuttered Social Security offices and delayed benefit payments. The letter's distribution by Democrats underscored how the threat of jeopardizing Social Security payments is a potent political weapon.


Why didn't they just inform the Ways and Means committee? I think the answer is fairly obvious. it wouldn't get the publicity or scare factor they want. Instead they sent it to the employees union and had it distributed by congressional democrats, who could use it as a political weapon.

Upping the ante in the budget faceoff, the Obama administration warned that workers who distribute Social Security benefits might be furloughed if congressional Republicans force cuts in government spending.

Why should they  warn before knowing? The same scare tactic. This is not really unique, although it is for a president. Cities and counties have used it to get unpopular things passed. Pass our tax hike or we'll have to lay off police and firefighters! Are there other ways the could cut the budget to avoid tax hikes? Of course, but they know police and firefighters have the scare tactic feature and they use it to snap people into line. Now  the Obama administration is using social security payments in the same way and for the same reason.
Balladeer
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40 posted 02-19-2011 05:18 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

As a conservative do you think political rhetoric that includes violent metaphors is wrong Mike?

With the exclusion of advocating murdering someone or committing illegal acts...no, not really. I personally don't care if they use Hitler comparisons or say much of anything they want. I don't really care about any of the signs and banners they use in Madison. That's not my point.

The burr under my saddle is when the left attacks the other side for such actions while they do the same things themselves. In the video, I'll use Pelosi and Maher as examples. Throw in Reid, the ladies of the VIEW and half of Hollywood. Here, in our forum, we have people knocking conservatives for such behavior and yet avoid completely any showing of liberals doing exactly the same thing.

If someone wants to call it wrong, fine. If they want to call it immaterial, fine. I would just like to see it be considered equal for both side, not one's answer depending on which political party he is referring to.


You, actually, did make it the same for both sides in your response. I respect you for that.
Uncas
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41 posted 02-19-2011 05:25 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas



Obama wasn't simply making an empty threat then Mike, he was reporting what the Social Security Administration were telling its employees.

I guess I owe him an apology.

Balladeer
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42 posted 02-19-2011 05:46 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

You will see it as you will.

I'm sure Obama will be happy to accept your apology
Bob K
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43 posted 02-19-2011 08:25 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     To say that what Walker was doing was different would depend on how you framed it.  I don't think Walker merits such a comparison, but then I actually have some idea what Hitler did.  I have some notion of what we supported Mubarak in doing, and I don't know that the folks in that demonstration have much of an idea about that.

     The woman who made the statement about Hitler abolishing unions in 1933 was correct, and if she was limiting her comparison to that, then there are elements that hold, though the comparison is greatly overblown.

     Anybody who subscribes to assasination as a tool for political progress in this democracy deserves condemnation.  They have mine.  There are a range of right wing political supreme court justices that I do not like.  The solution is to work hard to elect more democrats to the presidency and to the senate.

     The violent rhetoric is still, in my opinion, overwhelmingly on the side of the right, which even supports the use of violence against American citizens if you listen to the rhetoric about police powers and what police should be able to do in the process of questioning suspects.  The Right doesn't even have a clear idea of what violence is.  How many times, for example, have I heard you minimize the violence involved in waterboarding or stress positions or various modes of treatment that the world as a whole defines as torture.

     This is, in fact, one of the major quarrels between left and right.  And in this discussion, the Right pretends that we are even talking about the same things.

     I'm nauseated by half the things that the Right Wing suggests are perfectly reasonable behavior, and so are most of those on the left.  To pretend otherwise is silly.  You and many other folks on the Right act as though you haven't defended various forms of torture in these pages in the not so distant past as being the only reasonable mode of behavior in the modern world.  And you act as though you haven't suggested that the left wing wasn't foolish for thinking such behavior and such thinking was wrong.

     It is wrong.  There are loonies on the left, but you won't as a rule find most left wingers taking positions such as the ones you've advocated, and such as the ones that spokespersons for your party have taken over the past five to ten years.  
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44 posted 02-19-2011 09:11 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Your nausea is noted, Bob
Huan Yi
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45 posted 02-19-2011 10:11 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Wisconsin is required by their constitution to have a balanced budget.
They are looking at a 3.6 billion dollar deficit.  The state already taxes
its people at a high rate.  They don’t get to print money, (thereby devaluing
the money the prudent saved), so how are they going to fill the hole?

And I don’t want to hear about closing social security offices or taking
heaters out of school buses; not all, not even most of us, are that stupid.


.

Bob K
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46 posted 02-20-2011 12:38 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Thank you, Mike.  I am grateful.
Uncas
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47 posted 02-20-2011 06:06 AM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas

quote:
They are looking at a 3.6 billion dollar deficit.


They aren't looking at the possible 3.6 billion dollar deficit for 2011\13 Huan, that budget doesn't actually exist yet and neither does any possible deficit. They're looking at the 137 million shortfall from the 2009\11 budget.

quote:
so how are they going to fill the hole?


The 137 million dollar hole or the possible 3.6 billion hole?

The 137 million dollar hole is easy, remove the idiotic collective bargaining stuff from the current bill under discussion and implement the financial parts only - both sides have already agreed that it needs to be done. The only thing holding things up are the non-fiscal elements.

.
Bob K
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48 posted 02-20-2011 11:52 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     John, how do you account for the differences in the figures that you are using from the figures that Uncas is using?  Your figures appear to be thirty times larger!
Huan Yi
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49 posted 02-21-2011 12:20 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


“Walker, a Republican, has said concessions are needed now from public employees to help balance a projected $3.6 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget and a $137 million deficit in the current budget. He said 1,500 state workers could be laid off during the next four months unless the bill is passed.”


http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/B3/20110218/NJNEWS10/102180366/1207/NJNEWS14/40-000-DEMONSTRATE-UNION-BARGAINING-RIGHTS-Wisconsin-standoff-continues?odyssey=mod_sectionstori es




Just one of many sites talking about it,
or you can hear it on the radio...
.
 
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