Dave Stancliff AS IT STANDS blogarama.com

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

It's Juicy! Read 'Strawberries in Wintertime' For A Good Time

Good Day World!

Every once in awhile, I'll write a book review. Just my humble opinion.

I have one for you today. A very special one as a matter of fact. The name of the book is Strawberries in Wintertime - Essays on Life, Love, and laughter. (I just finished reading my autographied copy!)

The author, I'm proud to say, is a good friend (that's why I can say he looks like a wild man in the photo above!) and former co-worker - Woody Woodburn.

Don't misunderstand me when I say Strawberries in Wintertime is an easy read. What I mean is it's like going for a walk with a good friend who is sharing sincere life observations with you.

You can almost feel a pat on the back as you slip into the narration that skillfully skips from one subject to another in a playful arrangement of stories.

It's hard to put down and when you're done, you want to hear more. It's that good.

The good news is he writes a weekly column at the Ventura Star and you can go to his blog HERE to follow it, and there's also links with more of Woody's work.

I highly recommend Strawberries in Wintertime for a refreshingly insightful look at life.

In addition, Woody is a national award-winning columnist and author of "WOODEN and ME: Life Lessons from My Two-Decade Friendship with the Legendary Coach and Humanitarian to help "Make Each Day Your Masterpiece.

Funny thing. The last time I did a book review it was Woody's masterpiece WOODEN AND I (Posted May 29, 2013)

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Monday, February 8, 2016

What Would A Fair Tax System Look Like?

Good Day World!

I've been paying taxes for over 50 years, and have often wondered why they were so complex and often unfair!

I've got a hunch there are a lot of other American tax-payers who feel the same way.

The question of the day is, what would a fair tax system look like?

The way I understand it we currently have a progressive income tax system. That means whenever our incomes increase, our taxes go up.

Some people don't like a progressive tax because it treats people differently: those at the top are charged with paying more, as a percentage of income, than those at the bottom.

Upon closer examination, what really happens is that the wealthy have tax laywers who see to it that they get write-offs in abundance. More than enough to off-set the original tax.

Warren Buffet is a good example.

Then there's the Flat Tax system. Russia is considered to be the world's largest economy with a flat tax. A lot of people feel it's more fair because it's across the board.

What really makes the flat tax approach so attractive to some is that there are no taxes on capital gains or investments.

Finally we have the FAIR TAX. It's a formal proposal rather than a generic term. It differs from both the progressive income tax system and the flat tax in a very dramatic way: it is not a tax on income. 

The FAIR TAX would replace all existing income taxes - as well as payroll taxes - with a single consumption tax.

So there you have it. I guess I'm not a very good bean-counter because I really don't know which system would be the best way to go.

All I know for sure is the current system is corrupt and the rich are getting richer and the poor...poorer.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

FEAR THIS! The Role of Fear in Our Lives

Good Day World!

We all know fear is a powerful motivator.

Demagogues use it, and religions use it. 
To some extent, fear is a natural response that makes us cautious. But fear also takes us down dark and windy roads, robbing us of our common sense.

The dictionary defines fear as "an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat."

Fear stalks our society like a predator, rearing it's ugly head in politics and crazy conspiracy theories. 

We fear the gangs that populate every city in America, and can't seem to do anything about them. People fear segments of our society like Muslims. 

There are no sane limits on fear. Check out this video.

Go to this Video to see how fear is being played like a fine fiddle with crazy accusations of Walmarts being turned into concentration camps.

In closing,FDR said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!" He was right then, and he's right now.

Time for me to walk on down the road...


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Skeptical Scorpio Says Astrology is Entertaining ...'but only this and nothing more!'

Good Day World!

When my day isn't going well and I'm not sure why, I often blame it on my horoscope.

After all, there has to be something, or someone, to blame for a bad day right? Everything can't be blamed on Murphy's Law.

In all honesty, and disclosure, I don't believe in astrology. 

That doesn't mean that I'm not entertained by it. Every now and then my daily horoscope will say something that actually happens and I hear strains of The Twilight Zone in my head.

I'm a Scorpio. If you believe in astrological signs then you know all about Scorpios. 
According to this website Scorpio-born are passionate and assertive people. They're said to be determined,decisive, and always searching for the truth.

All of that sounds great on the surface. I'd even like to think it describes me perfectly. 
But I'm more logical than that. Those same attributes can also be applied to others with different astrological signs.

My perfect partner is supposed to be Taurus, but guess what?

I've been married to a Sagittarius for 41 years now and life only gets better every day.

When I start my day off bad, which doesn't happen too often, and things seem to get worse as the day progresses, I have to come up with a reason why (a Scorpio thing?).

I'm usually too stubborn to take the blame for my rotten day.That's when I become a believer in astrology long enough to shift the blame onto some planet in the wrong house.

It helps.

Just when I think I do have some Scorpio traits, I read about others - like saving money and making careful decisions before investing in something - and I KNOW that's not me!

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Why 'Black Boxes' Are Orange & Why You Should Eat Orange Peels

Good Day World!

Do you ever wonder why some things are called what they are?

Take Black Boxes (Cockpit Voice Recorders) for example. They're actually orange, but the media always refers to them as Black Boxes. Why?

A little backround will help. Black Boxes were developed in Australia in the 1950s. The original version was painted black.

That may be the reason the media calls them that today. 

The name could also have it's origin in early engineering design philosophies, where boxes that contained electronic components were termed "Black Boxes.

The simple reason they're orange today is it makes them easier to find.

Speaking of oranges: quit throwing away those orange peels! 

Doctors recommend eating them because they're rich in flavonoids, like hesperidin and polymethoxyflavones (PMFs) and other phytochmicals, which are healthy.

But wait! That's not the whole story. 

Inaddition, orange peel contains higher amounts of certain nutrients than its flesh. For instance, 3.5 orange peel provides 136 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, while the flesh contains about 71 mg.

Orange peel also contains considerable amounts of calcium, copper, magnesium, vitamin A, folate and other B vitamins and dietary fiber.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

#2016ElectionIn3Words - Describing This Year's Presidential Elections in 3 Words or Less

Good Day World!

I'm reaching out to every country in the world today to poll it's citizens on what they think about our presidential elections this year.

The only thing I ask is that when you give your opinion narrow your response down to three words, or less. 
I'm really looking forward to some interesting snapshots that sum up this year's elections in the eyes of the world. That includes Americans too of course!

Stop by my Twitter feed at @AsItStands63  with your reply, or leave your comments here at the end of this post
You can also reach me at richarddavestancliff@gmail.com 

The Hashtag is #2016ElectionIn3Words

I'm putting a one week timeline on this experiment. At the end of that time I'll share the results. It ought to be fun. I hope you take a moment to reply.

Time for me to walk on down the road... 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Great Idea! Eagles That Hunt Drones!

Good Day World!

I'm thinking about getting an Eagle to hunt drones. 

The Dutch have come up with a program that trains the raptors to attack drones!

I don't like drones, and that includes the one's that are now available to the general public. 
They represent another invasion of my privacy - a rapidly disappearing right thanks to Big Brother's Drones in America program.

Drones are also creating a new danger in the skies by interferring with planes taking off, or landing at airports, and fighting fires.
There were over 150 incidents last year involving drones flown by idiots who like to push the boundries of their new toys.

The Japanese have come up with an interesting program to chase down rogue drones - they have police drones equipped with nets to disable the perps.

The Federal Aviation Administration has come up with a drone registration program for operator accountability, but don't kid yourself; that won't solve the problem of nearly a million new drones sold last year with predictions of more being sold this year!

It's a damn invasion.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Two Subjects No Presidential Candidates Are Talking About And Why

Good Day World!

In this election cycle issues are being addressed, but upon close examination they're not the ones that really matter to most Americans.

Sadly, most of the issues are between the contenders themselves, with Donald Trump leading the way in the war of words. 
The contenders are too busy attacking each other to talk about what voters really want to hear.

There's two BIG issues unfolding that are apparently off the presidential contenders radar. 

The first one is Flint, Michigan, where residents have been poisoned in the name of saving money. Why? 

Because every one of the candidates is taking on sexier issues that please their contributors and PACS. They are all afraid of taking on America's crumbling infrastructure.

It will require a long term program across the country, and the commitment of millions of dollars to shore up the deteriorated pipes, weakened bridges, and endless miles of poor roads and potholes. 

The second issue none of the contenders want to talk about is the nation's gang problem. It gets worse every year. Take a look at Chicago which has become Murder City once again.

The nation's third largest city recorded 51 homicides in January, the highest toll for the month since 2000. Gang conflicts and retaliatory violence drove the increase according to the Chicago Police Department.

Every city in America has a gang problem. How scary is that? With all the talk about international terrorists and domestic terrorists, the gangs seem to slip past any meaningful conversations or solutions.

Check this out: The Countdown for the Top 30 Murder Capitals of America

And what do the presidential candidates talk about?

Emails, birther accusations, and a laundry list of political gossip with plenty of rude language, and hateful suggestions against certain segments of Americans.

The bottom line: lot's of rhetoric about making America Great Again, even as we sink into a polarized political quagmire with puppet politicians running for president. 

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Monday, February 1, 2016

Why I'm Not Voting in This Year's Presidential Election

                                   Good Day World!

The first time I exercised my right to vote was in 1976. I picked Gerald Ford (Republican). He lost to Jimmy Carter.

During an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan (2013), former president Jimmy Carter made a striking claim about how presidential campaigns have changed since he ran against Gerald Ford.

"When I ran against incumbent Gerald Ford, you know how much money we raised? None." (via POLITIFACT).

Contrast that with what presidential candidates are raising today through a variety of legal, covert, and barely legal PACs.

When Citizen's United opened up the flood gates of campaign donations from corporations it changed the way campaigns were run forever.

We're watching the outright buying of the presidency and there's not a thing we can do about it.
As if that's not bad enough, there isn't one good strong candidate running for the position.

As a Vietnam veteran who fought for the right to vote, I've always cast my ballot for who I hoped would be the best leader for the country.

I've voted for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, over the years. First, and foremost, I never voted for any partisan brand, but for the person who I really believed would make the next best commander-in-chief.

This presidential election doesn't offer anyone I would even begin to think about voting for: Democrat, Republican, or Independent.

I'm left without a choice. I'm not voting for the first time since I've been old enough to step into a voting booth.

I wonder how many people feel like I do? 

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday, January 31, 2016

How Can We Make the Anger Go Away?

Good Day World!

There's a lot of anger going around our country these days.
(free image via Pixaby)

America the Pissed-Off should be our new motto (forget that United We Stand stuff - nothing could be further from the truth!).

The middle class is terrified because traditional jobs are disappearing. The natural resource exploration industries - oil, gas, timber, and ranching are all experiencing tough times.

Automation has taken away most of the manufacturing jobs that have boosted the middle class since the 1950s. Computers are changing everything that we use to do - like going to a store to shop: people shop online now.

Demographics are changing and whites are no longer a majority. All of these things, and more, are contributing to the anger that is so prevalent in our society.

Fear is the real enemy. It turns good people into extremists who dominate our politics and other issues in our lives.

We have to stop acting like children and learn to play nice. Polarization on nearly every major issue cannot be sustained much longer.

Our infrastructure is crumbling. Our education system is deplorable. Morals and ethics are seen as weaknesses.

You get the point. As simplistic as this may sound, we just have to learn how to compromise in all things. 

Throw in a few little things like encouraging our children to show respect to others and not be bullies, and I think it would go a long way.

As far as making the public anger go away, that can only be achieved by positive solutions for the workforce and ending our political gridlock through honest compromise.

Time for me to walk on down the road....