Archive for September 2012

Let’s Raise Expectations For Republicans

I am starting to see a trend of articles (which usually reference OTHER articles) saying that Rethuglicans are trying to lower the expectations for Romney in the upcoming debates (see here and here for a couple of recent examples). This is the fourth presidential election that we have seen this happen. Rethuglicans tell us that the Democrat has to be articulate, logical and coherent, but as long as their candidate does not drool or soil themselves like an infant, then they are clearly the winner.

The did it with George W Bust, they did it with Sarah Failin’, and now they are doing it with Romney. We need to start pushing back against the low expectations and double standards. The expectations should be equal. If Republicans keep choosing stupid candidates, too bad.

But now they do have someone who is not a lazy idiot. So I don’t think the “Our people aren’t as smart so let’s grade on a steep curve” will hold any water. (Not that it ever should.)

I think that if there is going to be a double standard, then the expectations for Romney should be far higher than they are for Obama. First off, Romney is more educated than Obama. Secondly, Romney has had plenty of time to prepare. He has been preparing for a campaign or running a campaign since the last election. He has spent the past four years running for president, and he has known since November 4, 2008 who his ultimate opponent would be. He has had a lot more control over his schedule than Obama; no 3 AM calls for Mr Romney, unless the third-shift cleaning crew got stuck in the car elevator in La Jolla or something.

I hope someone at the debates asks him why health care reform is good for Massachusetts, but bad for the other 49 states. If he can answer THAT without drooling and soiling himself, then maybe I will be impressed.

2012-09 Dividend Income

The income for September 2012 was $315.21, bringing my yearly dividend income to $2425.78. If I had 100 shares of each of these stocks, my income would have been $780.50.

In June, the income was $305.84, and the theoretical income of 100 shares would have been $762.30. In September, 2011, the income was $243.26, and the income of 100 shares of each would have been $646.90. The yearly income at the end of September, 2011 was $2121.78. My 2011 dividend income reached $2430.23 on November 14, 2011. So I guess I am pulling ahead.

Here are the stocks:

  • American States Water Co: $18.30
  • Black Hills Corp: $12.05
  • Intel: $10.62
  • AFLAC Inc: $16.87
  • Bemis Co Inc: $15.35
  • ConocoPhillips: $33.00
  • Vectren Corp: $18.19
  • Archer-Daniels-Midland Co: $10.74
  • Chevron: $19.09
  • Emerson Electric Co: $20.27
  • Sonoco Products Co: $18.62
  • Questar Corp: $8.72
  • Exxon Mobil Corp: $31.95
  • Johnson & Johnson: $19.48
  • 3M Co: $7.41
  • Walgreen Co: $14.85
  • Dover Corp: $7.62
  • Consolidated Edison Inc: $16.41
  • RLI Corp: $15.67

Image from Wikimedia


September 2012 Latino Atheists Meeting

There was a meeting of the Chicago Latino Atheists a couple of weeks ago.

As usual, there were a few new people. Martha was not able to make it. Jose was there. Jaime was there. Unfortunately, Jaime’s wife was not there. We needed La Acha there, because Francisco was there. We started with introductions, and it felt like half of the meeting was Francisco giving his introduction.

He kept talking and talking.

The minutes ticked away.

And he kept talking.

People raised childen and grew old.

And he kept talking.

Empires rose and fell.

And he kept talking.

The earth pushed mountains out of the sea.

And he kept talking.

And the sea wore down the mountains.

And he kept talking.

Finally he finished and we got down to business.

Jose was in Washington DC for a month for his job. He went to a lot of atheist/skeptic/secular groups in the DC area when he was there. And he was pumped. There was a new woman there named Yamileth who had lived in the DC area. She knows a few of the people that Jose met while he was in DC. Jose wants to affiliate with Hispanic American Freethinkers, which is based out in the DC area.

Toward the end, Rachel, the Chicago Atheist Supermodel, showed up. She has been trying to build up the atheist/skeptic community here in Chicago. She and Jose talked about collaborating.

This will be my last monthly summary for Chicago Latino Atheists. I accepted a job offer in Austin, Texas. I will be moving soon. I may or may not start a Latino Atheist group down there. There are already a few atheist groups down there. And, being close to Mexico, there are a lot of Latinos. But keeping my job will be Job Number One. Austin has a reputation as being one of the more atheist-friendly cities in the country. So perhaps yet another group would be overkill.

Image from Wikipedia


2012-09-29 Blog Title

New blog title: Mechanistic Universe Sing-a-long

2012-09-28 Blog Title

New blog title: Little People In Spacesuits

Posts On Improving Work Ethic

A few days ago I decided to google “How to improve your work ethic.” Here are some of the results:

The one from the consulting firm is okay.

I am also starting to meditate on a regular basis. I seem to need less sleep when I meditate, and in general have more focus.

Later I will summarize these posts.


World Order Gungan Style

One of my roommates spent about three hours playing Gangnam Style over and over.

I had a Korean roommate in college, so I learned a bit of Korean. I forgot a lot of it. Somehow I remember the word for girlfriend: yeo-ja. Once I heard that word, I realized he says it about 50 times.

Sometimes I think he is saying “Gungan Style“. Google it. I dare you.

What is better than Gangnam Style? World Order.

Their songs are Mind Shift, Boy Meets Girl, Space Walker (also done in Tokyo), Machine Civilization (also done live ), 2012 (ending in front of Trotsky’s grave), Aquarius and Change Your Life .

To get the full effect, you should watch Change Your Life last.  It seems like most clubby track. Yet the lyics seem to talk about meditation.

Change your life forever The world will change when you change yourself
Change yourself in silence Your way to dance is the way you are
Listen for and to the voice Find it in the silence
When you stop the inner dialogue It’s time to face your own mind
Change your life forever The world will change when you change yourself
Change yourself in silence Your way to dance is the way you are

The leader, Genki Sudo, used to be in MMA. He is also a Buddhist. Meditation and dancing like robots. Good stuff.


Image from World Order YouTube Page

2012-09-12 Blog Title

New blog title: The Future Will Never Come

Perhaps it’s time to admit that there are some things that I cannot change and/or will never happen.


Thoughts On the Election

If you are one of the few people besides me who visits this site, you may have gathered I am not too enamored with the Rethuglican Party. And this year has been quite a spectacle.

The party filled with people who think that this is a Christian nation, that the President should be Christian, and that Mormons are not Christian, nominates **drumroll** the Mormon.

They think the private sector never corrupts the public sector, and they nominate a man who is perhaps the wealthiest candidate ever. And they also had a candidate (Gingrich) whose candidate was kept alive for a long time solely by the money of one wealthy backer (Sheldon Adelson).

They say they hate the Affordable Care Act, so they nominate a man who signature achievement as governor of one of the most liberal states was a policy that is very similar to the ACA.

I think that Obama is going to win. Perhaps in a landslide. Ever since about 1980, it looks like the party that wins is the party that votes for their guy because they like their guy, and the party that loses is the party that votes for their guy because they don’t like the other guy. (The exception was 1988, in which I think neither party was crazy about their guy.)

On top of that, this race has an interesting commonality with the last race: The Rescumlicans love their more conservative vice presidential candidate a LOT more than they love their presidential candidate. That did not work out too well the last time. I don’t think the “elect the main guy and wait for 4 years/8 years/sooner-if-he-dies so the guy we REALLY like can be president” plan will ever be a winner.

Through the Year with Jimmy Carter

A book I finished recently is Through the Year with Jimmy Carter. He teaches Sunday school lessons at his church in Plains, Georgia. I have been there a few times, and got my picture taken with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. I also have a few of his lessons on tape. The lessons span from his time as president to the year the book was published.

Each page has a Bible verse, and a short essay on the passage. I think the essays were either updated or written for the book. For one of the lessons dated in the 1970s references the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On lesson 116 he shares his favorite verse of the Bible: Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” He has joked that when he was a child, his favorite Bible verse to memorize was John 11:35: “Jesus wept.” You can’t get much shorter than that.

One of the times I went down there was July 4th weekend in 2006. The lesson was on July 2, 2006, and this was covered in lessons 325, 332 and 333. 325 was “Marriage Advice from a Former President”, which also had some advice from a former First Lady. They do a lot of stuff together, but they also give each other some space as well. 332 was “Divorce Court”. He pointed out that when he was growing up there were no divorced people in Plains. But there were a lot of people who were living with someone other than their spouse. He said he thinks divorce is wrong, but he doesn’t think adultery is any better. He and Rosalynn have been married since 1946, but a few of their children have gotten divorced. Their children are happier in their more stable, second marriages. 333 was “Advice to Widows”. I don’t remember him covering that when I was there.

I have heard/read somewhere that he prefers the Revised Standard Version. This book is published by Zondervan, and uses verses from the New International Version, which Zondervan owns the rights to. He also has another book from Zondervan, which I assume uses the NIV. I wonder if he has changed translations.

I have a few of his books. The jacket bios always start out like this: “Jimmy Carter was the 39th president of the United States.” My sister always thought that was pretty funny. As if there are people who don’t know who Jimmy Carter is. But I think there probably are people in this country who have no idea who Jimmy Carter is.

Image from webpage for Through The Year With Jimmy Carter at Zondervan website