Thoughts And Decisions And Clearing Your Mind

Take a breather.
Enjoy the moment.
Congratulate friends on their hard work.
Thank your allies.

Great.  There is a lot more work to get done.

No, not a “bring down” moment.  Just reality.

Share the moment, the glow of the decision, and breathe in the hope.  Think of the things in society that are wrong and need to be fixed.  Think of the work that will be needed to bring those who disagree with you, sometimes kicking and screaming.

I am fond of saying “It is a marathon, not a sprint” or “You’re in it for the long haul”.  There will always be naysayers, people who will refuse.  Their loss.  They are on the wrong side of history and they will be left behind.  The parking brake left on after the car is pulled into traffic.

Smug?  Perhaps.  I can think of other Civil Rights issues that were argued about in the past and decided and people adapted.

When is the last time you heard about someone complaining about a woman’s right to vote with any sort of seriousness?

But there are many issues that need just the same attention as did same sex marriage.  Pick one.  Be involved.

If you are progressive in your society and you decide to sit at home next time voting day comes around, you are the problem, not the solution, and I will silently judge you as will many others.

If you are not progressive in your society, and that is your right, I have to ask you why.  If there is something incorrect, wrong, or broken, it certainly needs to be fixed.

Just ask anyone who crossed that bridge in Selma, Alabama if things are perfect.  They will tell you no.

Oh and that flag?  It’s not a Pride flag, not that anything is wrong with flying a Pride flag no matter what your political bend.  It’s an Italian Peace flag.  The word says Peace in Italian.  It’s a wish for Peace towards all.  Even those you disagree with.  High goal to work towards.  I know I’ve got a way to go with that one too.  I have been told that I can be a bit … “irascible” at times.

Auto Train Platform, Sanford, Florida

I have always appreciated trains.

When I was growing up, I watched them build the PATCO High-Speed Line from Philadelphia through to Lindenwold, NJ.  The tracks ran along a disused track that went to Atlantic City, NJ in a more Mass Transit oriented day.  I remember seeing the last freight train on that line, then the work cars coming through and laying the Third Rail for electric power.  After that, the whirr of the High Speed Line was a companion through my youth.

I took that train, and the SEPTA Regional Rails most of my work years in Philadelphia.  Made a lot of sense to do so, you could use them, leave the car at home, and not have to pay for parking.  Since Philly has a compact central business district, I took on the stereotype of a Philadelphian – I walk everywhere.

I even got to take the Auto Train as a child, and enjoyed the experience.  When I returned to it as an adult, I found that my 6′ 4″ frame simply could not sleep in the so-called recliner seating that they had in Coach.  It was either upgrade or drive.  I’ve been told that the seats have been upgraded to make it more comfortable, but I haven’t had a need to leave the state let alone South Florida since arriving here in 2006.

Looking at this picture of the platform, I had two thoughts.  One was the excitement of the vacation.  The anticipation of going somewhere far away, to meet friends and family, see new things, get caught up on old times, and generally have a blast.

The other was my time waiting for the R7 or the R8 to arrive to get me either home or to work.  They ran well when they ran.  At least they did.  Being away from the trains for all these years, I have heard that Septa got very expensive lately and also very crowded.

It’s all a matter of finance.  It is difficult to get a transport system to generate a profit.  Too many other ways to go from point A to point B, and most of them are financed and subsidized better.  Cutting corners is always noticed, whether it be lower quality seating or more infrequent service, all of which are a symptom of shortsightedness in those decide where tax dollars go to support infrastructure.  If the train doesn’t go to your area, then you will not be interested in supporting it and the Corridor services of the Northeast and California are both poster children of that sort of funding neglect.

But rails do have their target audience.  Bulk.  Any time you can send bulk cargo somewhere, it normally is cheaper by rail.  Whether that bulk is Oranges, Coal, or just our collective back-sides along with our cars going on vacation. The virtue of a dedicated road bed makes for more efficient traffic.

When railroads were originally built, the Federal government gave large tracts of land to the railroad companies in order to subsidize their construction.  While it opened up the country, it also made for profitable railroads since the land was basically free to the rails.  You could sell that land off at a premium and fund the construction of tracks.

That business model worked well through the 1940s.  When the suburbs were being built in the 1950s, the local street-car routes weren’t able to keep up with the building pace, and it showed the need for more roads to be laid.  Since roads were local, and railroads were regional, the politicians shifted funding to the competing street network and the railroads began their decline.

It became dis-economic to run a rail network against a free interstate road system, and by the 1970s, the big railroads of the past were dying on the vine.  There are a few left, as evidenced by the FEC tracks that run near my house serenading my neighborhood with their whistles, and where appropriately funded, they thrive in concert with the road networks.  With the idiocy of adding toll lanes to the interstates that your tax dollars have already paid for, I suspect that mass transit may start to get better funding.  That is if the greed of the politicians can be stopped so that the right thing can be done with that funding source.  After all, those toll lanes on the free interstate system will slow down everyone else who isn’t using them.  May as well take the regional train system since you have to pay to go anywhere.

After all, if you need to go somewhere that the trains go, it’s much easier to let them drive you there instead of having to find parking, get gas, and so forth.  Eventually it will all swing back to a new balance.  For now, if you want to bypass 900 miles of driving, you have to get to a platform like this.

11:16PM November 6, 2012

Just like many of us, I couldn’t get to sleep.

I spent most of the evening skipping between the BBC, NPR, MSNBC, Miami Herald, and some of the other news sites looking for some information about this little election thing that happened.

BBC tends to give information about the US that is a little more “raw” at times since US media are either not allowed to disclose or decide not to for the sake of people in other areas.  I had voted a week before so that didn’t really matter to me.

By the time the returns started filtering in it was a see saw battle of who was in front at any given time.

Finally after waiting for a computer backup to complete, I realized it was after 11 in the evening and having been up since 5 in the morning it was time to go to bed. 

I gave the news sites one more pass and concluded that I couldn’t change the results and it was going to be close. 

Sleeping the computers, I got the dog up to go out front for one last sniff.   Staring up at the skies, I heard my neighbor Theresa.   She’s a couple houses down and in the clear crisp quiet of a November night, she said to her husband that “ABC Just called Florida for Obama”.  Less than a minute later “AP Called the election, Obama’s Won!”.

Theresa and her husband danced in the moonlight in front of their apartment and that made me smile.

If you have ever been in a stadium you may have experienced this effect.

I am near Wilton Drive.  I was standing a couple blocks away from it, roughly in the middle of its curvy mile.

As it turns out it was the perfect place to experience this outpouring of joy.

From the Drive, the bars erupted one after another with cheers.  My distance from them a perfect spot.  Where I was the sounds passed from one side to the other as if some great Celestial DJ was playing with the balance control.  From one ear to the other as each bar’s sound hit me, it was a great sound of relief and joy.

After the bars calmed down, the cars on the streets begun to sound their horns and a few people in the distance started firing off firecrackers.

Then the fireworks started to report from Fort Lauderdale across the Middle River.   Cracks, pops and flashes all interspersed with sounds of joy.

I gathered up my dog, too old to hear the sounds in the distance, and went inside.

They Called The Election, Obama Has Won.  Montgomery Burns will go back to his little life and not get his extra Ivory Backscratcher. 

After all, every election needs a Simpsons Reference.

This morning, it all seemed a dream.  Just to “pinch myself to see if I was awake”, I checked the Big Board on NPR.  Big Bird would have a job for another four years, NPR had confirmed what I heard from Theresa last night.  Obama Has Won.

One last state had not certified their results as of that time, 7AM.   Florida, my adopted home.   They really should change the state motto to:

Welcome to Florida.  The Fix Is In!

VOTE!!! For iPhone? Huh?

Sometimes these things just write themselves.

This morning, I was offered the following advice.

1) Vote a straight Democrat Party Ticket.
2) Vote NO on all Florida Amendments.  Seriously, they were written as “Poison Pills” to further erode the strength of the very wobbly middle class.  If you read them very carefully you will see what I mean.
3) Bring a small folding chair, water and maybe even food if you vote today.  You will be in line and you may be there for hours.
4) If you plan on voting Republican, remember that the lines will be much shorter tomorrow.

Oh and that title?  Vote for iPhone?   It is actually a game you can download and play to bash either Presidential candidate.   It is free at least today, and you can just swipe through the adverts so you can bash the Presidential candidate of your choice.!!!/id534309109?mt=8

I’m thinking on Wednesday this particular game won’t be quite as fun to play no matter how things go.

Political Donations – So You Know Where YOUR Money Went

Personally, I’m of the opinion that excluding Eisenhower, there hasn’t been a Republican President elected since before the Great Depression that was worthwhile.  That would be Calvin Coolidge.

If you would like to read deeper, you can start with this Wikipedia article.  What surprised me is that they actually found some Presidents ranked lower than Bush 2.

So when I see a list of where corporations are donating their money that they got by reaching into all of our pockets in the forms of higher prices, I pay attention.   Your corporation has a right to donate money and I have a right not to shop there.

At least Southern Wine & Spirits has the right idea splitting money between the parties, and they’re local here in South Florida.

You can thank Velma for this post and the information.

FYI…When you HAVE a choice!

OK just a little FYI . Notice what companies give to political parties of their choice, makes you want to scratch your head I didn’t highlight the companies and you can be surprise or not, but the majority of these companies regardless of who they contributed too affect the poor one way or another.  Kind of ironic Calvin Klein donates to the Democrats and McDonald’s donates to the Republicans. Just sayin’

A dear friend took the time to forward this information to me. Regardless of your political affiliation, as a community of consumers this should be a part of our purchasing decisions. Please share with others. THANKS

Political Donations and where to spend your money?
Political DONATIONS – This gives us something to think about…

Shopping Price Club/Costco donated $225K, 99% went to Democrats

Rite Aid donated $517K, 60% went to Democrats
Magla Products (Stanley tools, Mr. Clean) donated $22K, 100% went to Democrats
Warnaco (undergarments) donated $55K, 73% went to Democrats
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia donated $153K, 99% went to Democrats
Estee Lauder donated $448K, 95% went to Democrats
Guess, Inc. donated $145K, 98% went to Democrats
Calvin Klein donated $78K, 100% went to Democrats
Liz Claiborne, Inc. donated $34K, 97% went to Democrats
Levi Straus donated $26K, 97% went to Democrats
Olan Mills donated $175K, 99% went to Democrats
WalMart donated $467K, 97% went to Republicans
K-Mart donated $524K, 86% went to Republicans
Home Depot donated $298K, 89% went to Republicans
Target donated $226K, 70% went to Republicans
Circuit City Stores donated $261K, 95% went to Republicans
3M Co. donated $281K, 87% went to Republicans
Hallmark Cards donated $319K, 92% went to Republicans
Amway donated $391K, 100% Republicans
Kohler Co. (plumbing fixtures) donated $283K, 100% Republicans
B.F. Goodrich (tires) donated $215K, 97% went to Republicans
Proctor & Gamble donated $243K, 79% went to Republicans

Southern Wine & Spirits donated $213K, 73% went to Democrats
Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons (incl. beverage business + considerable media interests) donated $2M+, 67% went to Democrats
Gallo Winery donated $337K, 95% went to Democrats
Coors & Budweiser donated $174K, 92% went to Republicans
Brown-Forman Corp. (Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, Bushmills, Korbel wines – as well as Lenox China, Dansk, Gorham Silver)donated $644 K — 80% went to Republicans


Sonic Corporation donated $83K, 98% went to Democrats
Triarc Companies (Arby’s, T.J. Cinnamon’s, Pasta Connections)donated $112K, 96% went to Democrats
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (chicken) donated $366K, 100% went to Republicans
Outback Steakhouse donated $641K, 95% went to Republicans
Tricon Global Restaurants (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) donated $133K, 87% went to Republicans
Brinker International (Maggiano’s, Brinker Cafe, Chili’s, On the Border, Macaroni Grill, Crazymel’s, Corner Baker, EatZis) donated $242K, 83% went to Republicans
Waffle House donated $279K, 100% went to Republicans
McDonald’s Corp. donated $197K, 86% went to Republicans
Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Smokey Bones, Bahama Breeze) donated $121K, 89% went to Republicans
Heinz Republicans $64,000 Democrats $21,300 !!!!! John Kerry’s wife’s company.
Traveling and/or dining

Hyatt Corporation donated $187K of which 80% went to Democrats
Marriott International $323K, 81% went to Republicans
Holiday Inns donated $38K, 71% went to Republicans

Early Voting Starts in Florida Today

I was walking the dog past Wilton Manors City Hall just before 7AM today and there was a line of around 40 people out there.  Early Voting has started, I think I will wait a day or two though for the crowds to slow a wee bit.

On the other hand, This is one of a few different postings that had gotten sent to me by a number of people over the last year or so.  I am not going to verify every single fact, I’ll leave that to the fact checkers.  I will say that I completely agree with the sentiment. 

You can quote me on this one:  If you wait for perfection in a candidate, you will wait for a very long time.  It is like standing in a house that is burning down and worrying about painting the walls.  Get out, put out the fire, and move forward.

So when I do go and vote, I will be voting a straight Democrat ticket and No on all the Florida Amendment Questions. 

I suggest you do the same.   The arsons have had their day, it’s time to move forward.

Velma had sent me this particular piece.  We’ve seen them all, so read along.

I am a firm believer in the intelligence of the people. 
If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national  crises.
The important point is to bring them the real  facts.

Think of life as a  great road trip. If you spend too much time looking back at where you’ve been,  you’ll miss what’s ahead.

Mad At The  President………………….for What?

Now, since Barack Obama became President, all  of a sudden, folks have gotten mad, and want to take America  Back…

BACK TO WHAT or WHERE is my question?

I am voting for  PRESIDENT OBAMA no matter what. He should get 8 years in office, because he IS  CHANGING America and we all know why THEY don’t like it! If Obama wasn’t Black,  they would be praising and thanking him.

After The 8 Years Of The  Bush/Cheney Disaster, Now You Get Mad?

You didn’t get mad when the  Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a  President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company  officials to dictate Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq.

You  didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to  us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and still  counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when Bush borrowed more  money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents  combined.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash  just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when Bush embraced trade and  outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the  country.

You didn’t get mad when they didn’t find or catch Bin  Laden.

You didn’t get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion  dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.

You  didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical  Center.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans,  drown.

You didn’t get mad when we gave people who had more money than  they could ever spend, the 1%, over a trillion dollars in tax  breaks.

You didn’t get mad with the worst 8 years of job creations  in several decades.

You didn’t get mad when over 200,000 US Citizens lost  their lives because they had no health insurance.

You didn’t get mad when  lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US Citizens to lose 12  trillion dollars in investments, retirement savings, and home  values.

You finally got mad when a black man was elected  President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a  doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job  losses by the millions, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and  the worst economic disaster since 1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow  Americans who are sick… Oh, Hell to the No!

PLEEEASE—-circulate this  everywhere—people need to be reminded!!!!
2012 is a good year for them to  remember! Let’s get as passionate about re-electing our wonderful hard working  President as we were when we got him elected! Don’t get complacent and don’t  take for granted he will easily be back in office.

Let’s all get busy  starting the work today!!!!

Give this MAN  credit where credit is due. Black folks stop thinking just because we have a  Black President that you were entitled to something without working for it! (Did  you think because we got a Black President 4 years ago, you were going to get a  check in the mail for $100k or something, maybe the 40 acres and a mule…come  on….get real!)

Make a difference Get educated, stop  complaining and get back on track to preserving our race and represent like The  Obamas. Do your part! VOTE Obama 2012. Spread the word. We have to get out and  VOTE like we did 4 years ago…if we want to keep president Obama in office.  Don’t think for one minute that your Vote doesn’t  count!

One man  can make a difference but he must be in the right place.