Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My message to Jean Schmidt regarding the debt ceiling

Congresswoman Schmidt,

I am writing you to express my concern regarding the impending default of the United States if you and the rest of your caucus do not stop playing these petty political games with our country's future.

I agree that there are cuts that need to be made on the federal, state, and local level to the budget to help reign in some of the issues we currently face, however I do not believe that cuts alone are the magic bean that will cure all of our issues.

Let's take a look at just the small part of your district that I reside in, the Mount Carmel/Union Township/Batavia area.

Since you have taken over as our representative, our area has seen unprecedented job loss. The closing of the Ford plant, Biggs in Eastgate, numerous small businesses in the area just to name a few.  Now I'm not naive enough to hold you accountable for the recession in general nor the local impact of that recession. I do however question your commitment to us in how to best recover from these hits to our local economy, friends, and family.

We've had 30 years since the hero of your party, Ronald Reagan, first sold us on the pipe dream of "trickle down economics." 30 years to see it's utter lack of legitimacy on a grand scale and detrimental impact to the economy as a whole.

The rich have indeed gotten richer. They have seen their taxes lowered and their salaries increased exponentially. So how long do I need to wait for that to trickle down to me? I was fortunate (I thought) last year to receive a raise from my employer, only to turn around and see my hours cut. I am projected to make 10% less this year than less, but my cost of living has not declined it has increased.

Meanwhile my company (and many others) are posting record profits. When does it trickle down?

I beg of you, Congresswoman Schmidt, to look past the rubber stamp you have been accused of being for your party and look instead at actually representing the VAST majority of us in your district who are hurting, need these public programs short term and require the wealthiest among us to step up to the plate for the good of the nation.  End these absurd tax loopholes and corporate welfare that sends our hard earned tax dollars to companies that do not need them.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Why did Senator Rob Portman vote to keep giving Oil Companies free money?

I wrote one of the Ohio Senators, Rob Portman (r), asking why he voted "nay" on Senate Bill 940 which would have ended at 24 billion dollar free money grab for Oil Companies.

This is his response:

Dear Robert,

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the rising cost of gasoline. It is good to hear from you, and I share your concerns.
Like many Ohioans, I am greatly troubled by rising gasoline prices because they will hurt the economy at a time when it is showing signs of improving, and because high prices impact modest income families and the elderly the hardest.  Because oil fuels every major sector of our economy, rising prices impact all of us.  As the cost of shipping and producing goods increases, we will find ourselves paying more for everything from groceries to electronics. 
Oil prices are on the rise for a host of reasons.  As the global economy slowly recovers, demand for oil is rising to meet new manufacturing and other needs.  Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has injected uncertainty into the energy markets.  
We need to move aggressively to get away from our dependence on foreign oil and this must include using more of our own resources. For decades, Washington, D.C. has been unwilling to tap the energy resources in our own backyard.  This policy simply makes no sense in the world's largest oil-consuming nation.  The United States today consumes about 22 percent of the world's oil supply — much of it from countries hostile to American interests and ideals.  Last year alone, we spent $337 billion on oil imports, more than half of what we spent on our nation's defense, and we have not been self-sufficient in energy production since 1970.
We need common-sense solutions to strengthen U.S. energy production.  That begins with harnessing the potential of our own natural resources in an environmentally responsible way.  We should increase access for oil exploration and production in energy-rich areas of the country like the Outer Continental Shelf, and in parts of Alaska.  This will create jobs, drive investment, and move us down the path of reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. 
As you may know, I voted against S.940 because it would not have helped reduce gas prices or reduce the deficit.  S.940 would repeal or limit five tax provisions for the five largest U.S.-based integrated oil and gas companies.  I support reforming the corporate tax system to provide lower rates with fewer deductions and credits and would be happy to reconsider these provisions in that context. 
 I voted for S.953, the Offshore Production and Safety Act of 2011, because S.953 would expand offshore domestic oil and gas production, improve the safety and reliability of offshore energy production, and ensure that offshore drilling permits are issued in a timely manner.  S.953 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct previously scheduled offshore lease sales in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico, Virginia Outer Continental Shelf, and Alaska Outer Continental Shelf.  S.953 would also extend lease terms by one year for Gulf oil and gas leases which were suspended under the 2010 offshore moratorium.
Ohio has a long history of producing its own energy sources, with an oil, gas, and coal business that pre-dates the Civil War.  Today, Ohio is preparing for a natural gas "shale revolution" – a new means of tapping energy-rich underground rock formations.  Considering the potential of the Marcellus and Utica Shale Formations, we have the possibility of creating good Ohio jobs while providing Ohioans with access to large quantities of cleaner-burning natural gas that can be used today for buses, taxis and could be used for cars in the future. 
America has the know-how and the natural abundance to move toward a future of energy independence.  But we must make the right choices today.  It is time to unleash the ingenuity of our workforce and the potential of our energy resources to power the American economy and create new jobs — with Ohio leading the way.
Thank you for taking the time to contact my office. For more information, I encourage you to visit my website at www.portman.senate.gov. Please keep in touch.

Sincerely, Rob Portman
U.S. Senator 
So the answer is, well it wouldn't have saved you any money, so why bother? Oh and because we can't learn from past mistakes, let's go ahead and drill and mine for more non sustainable power sources as a short term stop gap that will generate a couple of jobs now at the expense of our environment and long term growth.

This kind of thinking makes me sick. More of the same ol' same ol' answers. It's the kind of thinking that has us turning down federal subsidies to install high speed rail, because 400 million is wasteful spending, but giving oil companies 24 billion will that's just chump change that wouldn't have made a difference.

Wake up people.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Top 10 Movies of all time (as of right now)

In no particular order:
  1. Empire Strikes Back
  2. Star Wars (A New Hope)
  3. Blazing Saddles
  4. American Beauty
  5. Clerks
  6. Chasing Amy
  7. Pulp Fiction
  8. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  9. Godfather II
  10. Phantoms (Affleck was da bomb, yo)
Honorable Mentions:
  1. Blade
  2. Spaceballs
  3. Bowling for Columbine
  4. Howard Stern's Private Parts
  5. American History X
  6. Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2
  7. Lord of the Rings series
  8. Breakin 2 "Electric Boogaloo"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rules for Being Human

  1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it is yours for the entire period this time around
  2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in an informal school called "Life." In this school each day you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like these lessons or think they are irrelevant and stupid.
  3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."
  4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.
  5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
  6. "There" is no better place than "here." When your "there" becomes a "here," you will simply obtain a new "there" which will, again, only LOOK better than "here."
  7. Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
  8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
  9. The answer is inside of you. The answers to life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
  10. You will forget all of this.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Truths for Mature Humans

  1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately DOD wipe your computer hard drive when you die
  2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong
  3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
  4. There is a great need for a sarcasm font.
  5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
  6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
  7. Online mapping sites need to start their directions on #5; I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood
  8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
  9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't kind of tired.
  10. Bad decisions make good stories.
  11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know you aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
  12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever technology is invented after Blu-Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection... again
  13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I did not make any changes to.
  14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
  15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
  16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers, On any given Friday or Saturday night, more kisses begin with Budweiser than Kay.
  17. I wish Google Maps has an "Avoid this Neighborhood" routing option
  18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
  19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
  20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, drivers!
  21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty and you can wear them forever.
  22. Sometimes I'll look at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
  23. Even under ideal conditions, people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and pinning the tail on the donkey - but everyone can find and push the snooze button on any alarm clock from 3 feet away in 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The 5 Minute Mug Brownie

1 large coffee mug
4 Tablespoons of flour
4 Tablespoons of sugar
2 Tablespoons of cocoa
1 egg
3 Tablespoons of milk
3 Tablespoons of oil
A Splash of Vanilla Extract
3 Tablespoons of chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Mix dry ingredients in the mug
  2. Add the egg, stir together
  3. Add the milk and oil, mix
  4. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla extract, mix
  5. Microwave for 3 minutes
  6. Allow to cool and slide out onto plate
  7. Eat and enjoy

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Why your vote matters

Ahhh, election season.

The time of year when the leaves turn, the smell of wood burning fires fills the air, and our "respectable" politicians make schoolyard bullying seem like playful teasing.

It's enough to make any sane American despondent, disgusted, and disenfranchised - and you see that's kind of the point.

"They" don't want you to vote.
"They" want you to feel like none of it makes any difference.
"They" know that you're too busy living your own life to pay any more attention than 30 seconds during Survivor to the politics of our country.

But "They" have to be wrong.

I know, just like the leaves, the fires, and the prep for the holiday season, most of the attention is fleeting. Eventually the leaves are raked up or covered with the first snowfall, the fires move inside, and the holidays pass by. But the decisions you make, or choose NOT to make, on election day follow us forever.

It's easy to spout the platitudes like "If you don't vote, you can't complain" but it's not those who would actually listen to that statement that need to be reached. The disenfranchised, disgusted voter is not going to be moved by your personal feeling of civic pride in 7 words. You need to pass along why you are so passionate about your vote.

So here's mine:
I choose to vote because it's the loudest my voice can get. I don't buy into the whole "if you don't vote, you can't complain" because you CAN complain. You can write letters to the editor, post your opinions on blogs, call your Senators or Congressman and complain. But your voice is never louder than on the first Tuesday in November. That's the day you can stand up and say to your fellow citizens "This is the person who I feel will best represent me and my district, state, or country to my fellow man."

That's a pretty powerful statement to make. To stand up, point to one person and tell the rest of the world that THIS is who I am most like, who believes in (most) of the same things I do, and speaks on my behalf while I'm running the kids to soccer practice, working on that presentation, or grocery shopping, or just trying to get through just one more day.

I choose to vote because I'm willing to sacrifice my personal interests for the greater good. That's right, I'll vote AGAINST myself if I feel that it's better for my community as a whole. It can be as small as a tax levy that will strain my wallet, or for a candidate that while I may personally despise has a plan that will help move my community forward.

And as much as I'm willing to sacrifice my personal interest for the greater good, I do so because I truly believe in my heart that Today, Election Day, is the one day that truly makes me... makes US... American Citizens. To not vote would be to waste everything that was done for me before I was even here. The sacrifices of our soldiers, the hardships of growing pains and depressions of the past, all led to this moment.

This one perfect moment where I get to take control of our country's future and make my voice heard.
To not vote would shine a light on everything that I complain about, only this time I allowed it to happen because I was too despondent, disgusted, and disenfranchised to care any more.

And I can't let them do that to the country I love.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

You didn't 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.
You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed
You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us
You didn't get mad we spent over 600 billion (and counting) on said illegal war
You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq
You didn't get mad wen you saw the Abu Grahib photos
You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people
You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans
You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden
You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed
You didn't get mad when we let a major US city drown
You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark

You finally got mad when.. when.. wait for it... when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.   Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all ok with you but helping other Americans... well fuck that.  That about right?  You know it is.

You people have all lost your fucking minds.  You are selfish, greedy, obnoxious, narcissistic, and frankly... stupid.  Your pathetic little misspelled protest signs are embarrassing.  Maybe you ought to find the smart person in your midst and let them make up all the signs, cause man, you look like a bunch of idiots.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pirate Burgers

Inspired by some show (don't remember) I watched today on the Food Network:

1 1/2 lbs Ground Chuck
1 Dry Onion Soup Mix
Approximately 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 to 1/3 cup of dry bread crumbs
2 tbsp (approx) of beef stock
6-8 slices of THICK bacon (I prefer applewood)
Fresh sliced mozzarella cheese

Bake the bacon in the oven on 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until nice and crispy

Mix the chuck, soup, worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs, and beef stock in a large mixing bowl.
After the bacon is done, crumble it up and mix in with the rest of the mix.

Pull approximately 2 ounces of the mix out and flatten out in patty form.  Put a slice of the mozzarella in the center, then top with another 2 ounces of mix.

Firmly pat them out in patty shape.

Toss on a preheated grill for approximately 5-7 minutes per side, toast the buns, plate and enjoy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My message to Jean Schmidt

As your constituent, I'm writing to tell you why I'm such a strong supporter of health reform.

My wife, an otherwise healthy 33 year old woman, suffered a stroke suddenly 18 months ago while we were at a Thomas the Train event in Lebanon, Ohio.  While we were fortunate enough to have health care coverage at the time to help us in our time of crisis, I can't help but be concerned about future coverage and protection.

You see she now has a "pre-existing condition."  The doctors were never able to identify what caused the stroke, and while she's made an amazing recovery we don't know what to work on to be sure we've eliminated the possibility of another stroke.

If I, just a normal voter from your district, have figured out that we can't guarantee she won't have another stroke, it shouldn't be that hard for an insurance company looking only to maximize it's profitability to identify her as a high risk to their bottom line and decline us future coverage.  Then what?

I've seen, read, and heard all of the rhetoric from the Republicans.  I'm sure somewhere in the viciousness there is probably a few valid statements of concern, but none of them have told me what your plan is for my wife to have coverage in the future.

I'm formally requesting as a registered, active voter in your district that you reconsider your stance on the pending health care vote.  Provide my family, my friends, my children, and my country with a health safety net so they don't have to face the same concerns in the future.

Please see my message to you, along with the stories and photos of other Americans from your district and across the nation, at http://my.barackobama.com/HereFor

Robert Bennett