From the monthly archives:

August 2011

I was as naive as could be. And possibly stupid. I now realized.

When I first read the op-ed by Warren Buffett in New York Times, “Stop Coddling the Super Rich”, on 14 August, in which Buffett expounded on the concept of “shared sacrifices” and argued for tax increase for the super wealthy, himself included, I thought, BRAVO! Now this should be a plan that at least 98% of the population can get behind of.

I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.


He ended his well-reasoned proposal with this plea:

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.


Why was I surprised that Fox News immediately rose up in arms and accused Buffett of inciting CLASS WARFARE (ironically when they are themselves the ones that continue to use such figures of speech)? The rhetorics employed by these pundits left me gagging and in shock.


(For those who cannot watch the video, here is the partial list of Fox News clips included in this Daily Show segment. You can find the entire transcript on Daily Kos)

NEIL CAVUTO (8/15/2011): Warren Buffett, writing how the rich should pay more taxes, but saying not a word about the half of American households that pay no income taxes at all.

STUART VARNEY (8/18/2011): Is that fair, when half the population pays absolutely nothing?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TX (7/7/2011): 51%, that’s a majority of American households, paid no income tax in 2009. Zero. Zip. Nada.

NEAL BOORTZ (6/1/2011): Many of them get so much money in tax credits … that it wipes out any Social Security taxes or Medicare taxes they’re paying. They are absolutely on a free ride.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (7/11/2011): … broaden the tax base …

MICHELE BACHMANN (7/11/2011): Everyone needs to pay something.

NEIL CAVUTO (8/6/2011): Before you start demanding one group pay more, maybe get everyone to put skin in the game.

ROBERT RECTOR, HERITAGE FOUNDATION (7/19/2011): When you look at the actual living conditions of the 43 million people that the Census says are poor, you see that in fact they have all these modern conveniences.

STUART VARNEY (7/19/2011): Poor families in the United States are not what they used to be. 99% of them have a refrigerator. 81% have a microwave; 78% have air conditioning; 63% have cable TV; 54% have cell phones; 48% have a coffee maker; 25% have a dishwasher.


[The technical definition of being poor is a family of four with an income of $22,350 a year.]


NEAL BOORTZ (7/6/2011): It is all-out war on the productive class in our society for the benefit of the moocher class.

JOHN STOSSEL (10/12/2010): The makers, and the takers.

BILL O’REILLY (10/12/2010): They want to take it from somebody else.

LAURA INGRAHAM (6/29/2011): Everyone’s jumping in the wagon, no one wants to pull.

NEAL BOORTZ (6/22/2011): … parasites we have out there depending on government …

NEBRASKA ATTY. GEN. JON BRUNING (8/18/2011): The raccoons, they’re not stupid, they’re going to do the easy way if we make it easy for them, just like welfare recipients all across America.

ANN COULTER (8/15/2011): Welfare will create generations of utterly irresponsible animals.


[The bottom 50% of the people, the moochers, the takers? They control 2.5% of the wealth. ]


What happened to Compassionate Conservatism? Remember that? They don’t even bother to pretend to care any more?

As I laughed at Jon Stewart’s sardonic commentaries, at the same time, I felt my eyes burning. Out of frustration. Out of shame. Yes, I feel ashamed for these people. The Haves. The “class” that I belong to. All I could do to calm myself the fuck down was to recite these lines that Joseph Welch said to Joseph McCarthy during one of the infamous hearings:

 Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?


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I am from sunshine, sweat, and bricks of humid air.

I am from have you eaten yet.

I am from rice, salted fish, stir-fried greens, from soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, from ginger, star anise, and cayenne peppers.

I am from concrete jungle, clothes lines stretched-across the rooftops, the smell of sun in the fabrics, of gardenias, jasmines and sweet osmanthus.

I am from morning glories winding along random barbed wires, coconut trees lining the streets crowded with motorcyles, from white azaleas strewn on the ground after thunderstorms like discarded Kleenexes.

I am from greetings, and salutations, from strangers in the streets who are also uncles and aunts and brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and grandmas and grandpas.

I am from blood is thicker than water, from you don’t turn your back to your family, from families stick together.

I am from proper, ladylike, and demure. From handkerchiefs and silk scarves and pocketbooks. From you should always make sure your hand is not empty and idle. From knees together, ankles crossed.

I am from politeness, decorum, and unwritten rules that everybody abides by.

I am from hospitality, from it takes a village, from gossips and busybodies.

I am from if you swallow the watermelon seeds it will sprout from the top of your head, from don’t point your finger at the new moon otherwise she will come and cut off your ear when you are sleeping at night. From if you cry or misbehave, Auntie Tiger will come and eat you up.

I am from humility, gratitude and contentment.

I am from nobody owes you anything, from be grateful even if someone gives you a mere roll of toilet paper, from nothing you get is because you deserve it.

I am from temples, incenses, and gods and deities.

I am from reincarnation, from Karma, from eighteen layers of hell.

I am from lurid ghost stories of vengeance, from spirits within magnificent rocks and towering trees.

I am from convention, contradiction, and confusion. I am from Post-Colonialism, Late Capitalism, and Rampant Materialism.

I am from the proletariat.

I am from the hushed wrath of my father, the quiet disappointment of my mother.

I am from a bottle of Aspirins.

I am from the deafening silence of a mid-summer afternoon when the only thing you could hear was the cicadas.


Many thanks to Elly over at BugginWord for writing her beautiful piece “Where I’m From” and for alerting us to this wonderful writing exercise. Of course, I did not follow the rules in the template, not because I am some rebel chick but because I am not good at writing descriptive scenes. 

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Repost: My Problems with “The Help”

August 14, 2011 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Apparently many of my friends from my “real life” LOVE The Help. Love it. They are telling people on Facebook to “GO SEE THE HELP. RUN. NOT WALK!” including a dear dear friend who studied and wrote about Apartheid in South Africa. As I ponder how much I should share my perspectives with her at the risk of […]


The Ice Cream Index

August 8, 2011 Making sure you know I read the Economist so you know I'm not dumb, just obnoxious

Earlier today I learned of these numbers today from Mature Landscaping: Salary of retired US Presidents ……………$180,000 FOR LIFE Salary of House/Senate ……………………..$174,00​0 FOR LIFE Salary of Speaker of the House …………….$223,500 FOR LIFE Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders …… $193,400 FOR LIFE Average Salary of a teacher ……………….. $40,065 Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN […]



August 8, 2011 through the looking glass

A couple of weeks ago, I was in downtown Chicago with my family. We do that from time to time: using the hotel points we racked up from business trips for a weekend in downtown Chicago. A Staycation. (Sorry for using the stupid buzz word) After a most satisfying lunch at Berghoff where I was […]


The Lesser of Two Evils

August 6, 2011 no manual for parenting

Yet another interesting conversation with my 8-year-old that makes me worry… [In the car] Mr. Monk: Mom? Me [Distracted by This American Life on NPR]: Huh? Mr. Monk: What’s the drug that starts with an M? Me [Paying attention now]: Eh… You mean Methamphetamine? [Crap! How did he know about Meth?!] Mr. Monk: You know what […]


If I could tell you one thing about parenting

August 2, 2011 no manual for parenting

My 8-year-old, known as Mr. Monk here, is singing a song that he improvises right now. In the middle of the Kaleidoscopic of lyrics, I heard,   Thank you for being our mother.   I chuckled. “I honestly do not know how to take that.” “Well, don’t take it as an insult. I am not being sarcastic.” […]


A Reason as Good as Any

August 1, 2011 no manual for parenting

Conversations that happened yesterday… (Proving that thank goodness I work fulltime so I don’t spend too much time talking to my kids…)   [On the way to lunch] 13-year-old: My friend is jealous. He thinks we have the coolest license plate ever! [Be rest assured: It is dorky.] 8-year-old: Oh, mom, we should keep this […]