Is It Mandatory for Democrats with Money to be Selfish Pricks?

Another post about politics! Two things triggered Ol’ Bulldog on this one. The first was the passing of the Repug tax scam, oh I mean tax reform, of course, and the second was a comment on social media about how rich lawmakers who are Democrats don’t care at all about poor people. So here I go:

 

It often amuses me at how conservatives talk out of both sides of their mouths on the issue of wealthy people, lawmakers particularly, who aren’t on-board with the usual drastic Republican economic policies of slashing taxes to the bone, demonizing working and poor people, and generally acting as though accumulating money is the real purpose of life.

If an elected official is progressive, quite possibly a democrat, and he/she is not wealthy, many conservative folk will say that they have no place in the discussion as they haven’t demonstrated that they know how to succeed, don’t know how America works, how free enterprise works, blah, blah, blah

Donald tRump has spouted this crap repeatedly.

If a progressive elected official does have wealth, conservatives will still attack him or her, it’s just a different strategy. Many Democratic or progressive public servants are well-off. So the line of attack in that case is that he/she is a hypocrite, as though people with money somehow have to be selfish assholes and hate working people or anyone who doesn’t have enough dinero to get into the club!

So it’s the usual Rethuglican approach of attack everyone with whom you disagree, but the strategy and the talking points are different depending on who or what they’re attacking.

Meanwhile, there is no inconsistency when people with wealth say our economic policies need to take into account all Americans, not just large corporations and the 1% who have the means to hire lobbyists and buy off elected officials with campaign contributions.

There are plenty of people who have gobs and gobs of wealth but know American economic policy needs to take into account all Americans and the common good: Warren Buffett, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, and many, many others.

It’s insane to believe that having wealth automatically makes you selfish and fills your head with hatred and contempt for working people, the chronically poor, disabled people, etc. There’s nothing hypocritical in the least about having shitloads of money and believing that that everyone’s situation and everyone’s needs matter.

There’s nothing hypocritical about being wealthy and thinking that really wealthy people, including yourself, need to pay substantial taxes, that revenue can get too low and that something’s very wrong when the secretary pays a higher effective tax rate than the CEO for whom she works. (Something which, by the way, actually happened with Mitt Romney and his secretary when the subject of effective tax rates for different income brackets came up for discussion in the 2012 Presidential debates.)

Conservatives are not going to get progressive people and Democrats to give in to their extreme, Ayn Rand-type of economic selfishness by suggesting that Democratic lawmakers who very often are wealthy are somehow disqualified from caring about ordinary (meaning not wealthy) people or advocating for policies that are designed to benefit the 98% of Americans who work for a living.

 

Working guy “Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Going to Winn Dixie for Milk, Beer, Pepsi and a Baby Sitter!

Going to Winn Dixie for Milk, Beer, Pepsi and a Baby Sitter!

 

I’ve just got to post today about a memory that came up recently for me; it’s about going through the super market with your kids–looking for babysitters.

Our youngest had very curly, very red hair and people noticed him when we were out in public. In those days, there obviously was no craigslist, so if you needed sitters–which we did for our brood of three–church was option one but the grocery store was option two! (And, yes, sons one and two were terribly cute, as well!)

Here’s how that worked: once we were in the check out line, the cashier would, without fail, notice little Benji sitting in the cart and say “oh, that little guy is sooooo cute!” And I would say “he sure is! How would you like to baby sit him?” And we got three different sitters for Benji and his two big bros that way, including Traci, who was with us for almost a year. She didn’t stop sitting for us until she got a job interning for then Florida Senator Paula Hawkins.

Back in the ’80s, grocery stores pretty much filled cashier jobs with young women who were of baby sitting age. This technique would probably not work so well these days. I go back to when many young men made money by mowing lawns and their sisters often baby sat. There are many, many more ways to make part-time money now, but back in the ’80s when our kids were small, the local supermarket was a great place to find new–and good–sitters for those darling kids at home.

 

 

With this little walk down memory lane, I am,

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Bulldog’s Journey Towards Rustic, Sustainable Living

Bulldog’s Journey Towards Rustic, Sustainable Living

Bulldog’s deep, dark secret: I have a huge interest in greener, simpler living and have wanted to live in a rustic setting for many years. Would go off grid tomorrow if I had all my preps made.

For some reason I haven’t had too much to say about that here on my blog. I’ve done something in the last 24 hours that will help me escape my typical suburban life and get closer to bringing to reality this long-held dream. I’ve launched a new twitter account focused like a laser on the stuff I think about a hundred times a day but rarely ever talk about: sustainability, rustic or off grid living, homesteading, micro farming and the like! Throw in home brewing, raising chickens, and on and on!

I could go on about why I’ve mostly kept all of this locked up in my over-worked brain but that truly would be fodder for another post. The important thing is that the foot-dragging is over and I’m on my way to making this thing real.

Now as far as how a new twitter account is an important first step, it’s true I’ve been on Twitter for a very long time. But my main focus there is political stuff. And I’m thinking that the folks I’ve linked up with on twitter about politics and so on may or may not be into my love for going green and living in a 340 sq ft shack in the woods! So it seemed like a new and separate account in the Twitterverse was the way to go. (Not kosher with Twitter’s TOS, but we’ll ignore that for the moment!)

If you’re on twitter and you’d like to “hook up” over green stuff and rustic/small living, would love to see you on that platform. Click on this next link and you’ll land on my teensie-tiny little home in the vast wilderness of twitter! Or anytime you’re on twitter, just search @sustainable4me and you’ll also find me. Would love to see you over there!

I will have a lot more to say about these very cool–and very trendy–subjects here on my blog in the near future. Because of my limited financial means I’ve been acting as though I’d never actually be able to make any of those hopes and dreams real. And I’m going to stop letting such baleful thoughts “drive the bus!” Whether I get my life arranged the way I’d like or not remains to be seen. But I damn sure would never get it done if I waited until I could concoct some perfect effin plan in my head! I know it doesn’t work like that so I’m off on that journey!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Photo description: that’s the Florida Cracker Cabin found at the Barberville Pioneer Settlement in Barberville, Florida. B’ville is about 25 mins north of Deland.

 

 

Steak ‘n Shake in the Hunter’s Creek Area

Steak ‘n Shake in the Hunter’s Creek Area

Had breakfast this morning at the Steak ‘n Shake location way down So. OBT in the Hunter’s Creek part of South Orlando. Enjoyed every bite. And the fine service. Janet is more than just a good server; her skill, experience and customer manner put her way above most who put on the apron and pour the coffee.

If you’re in the Hunter’s Creek part of the world some morning, stop in. Of course, you can stop in at any time, they’re open 24 hours! Steak ‘n Shake has some new and very tasty menu offerings. Their prices are lower than just about any eatery of that type and if it’s breakfast time, you’ll most likely have Janet as your server. Lucky you.

 

Steak ‘n Shake ~ 13133 So. Orange Blossom Trail ~ Orlando, Florida ~ Dial 407 240-8740

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Yes, the Astronauts Do Get to Vote

On the list of really important stuff that you may not have been wondering about: do astronauts get to vote?

They most certainly do.

Of course, this intrepid crew member did have to take the time to request a ballot, but request it she did. And she made sure her vote got counted.

To view this very cool video about celestial balloting, just follow this link.

 

With both feet firmly on Terra Firma, I am,

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

Bill and Eli Perras, Florida Folk Musicians Extraordinaire

Bill and Eli Perras, Florida Folk Musicians Extraordinaire

I’ve had two great musical partnerships in my life. One of them is on the acoustic or folk side of the musical universe; it’s the work I was privileged to have done with husband and wife duo Bill and Eli Perras.

They invited me into their musical world many years ago when they were still billing themselves as “Bluesgotus!” Those were the days! Yeah, lots of folks thought it was “Blues Goddess” and tried to find the site on the world-wide web! If the latter name for the delightful, amazing, blues-soaked couple had been for real, one wonders what a proper role for Bill might have been! Well, playin’ the guitar, of course!

At any rate, they’ve paid their dues, many times over and they’re known–very well known–simply as Bill and Eli Perras these days. And they’re still out there after many years, writing, singing, playing and traveling. Bill is one of the best finger-picking guitarists around and Eli’s original songs are a treasure. Together they’re as good and as real as it gets in the Sunshine State.

If you’d like to know more about this “dynamic duo” of authentic folk and blues music, visiting their home page would be a good start. Note well what the critics and other artists have said about them. Although they’re not traveling as much as they did for the last two decades, you can still book them and see why they’re thought of so highly by others in the folk community here in Central Florida and beyond. And tell ’em Bulldog sent ya!

Ready Or Not!

Ready Or Not!

You may or may not have read the previous post. It was about my experience in the taxi industry, both as a driver, and, in recent years, a crew member on the admin side where I recruit and train new drivers. Going into a lot of detail about the company I work for and the big changes in our industry led me to put together a separate post on how I personally respond to life’s changes. Here goes…

When it comes to the subject of change, I often don’t do it very well. Generally, the bigger the changes are, the more I resist. I’m quite sure that in the years I have left, there will be many, many more changes coming, whether they’re about career stuff or anything else.

Knowing this tends to stir up a wide range of emotions for me. My first thoughts tend to be anger and frustration; anger that the universe is throwing way too much change at me (my perception) and frustration that I don’t seem to have the tools and skills I need to successfully adapt. That’s how I’m wired. I don’t think it’s going to change. What I’ve learned in the last few years is that when I make myself move past those initial, not-very-helpful reactions, I’m capable of dealing with almost anything.

Let me enlarge on that a bit: I’ve found that after moving through several very big changes in the last ten years, if I focus in a conscious and purposeful way,  I can get in front of the changes and move with them. Getting dragged, kicking and screaming, into one’s future is not a successful strategy, to say the least. So I drag my feet considerably less than I have throughout most of my life. And, being the dinosaur that I am, I’m content that I’ve learned a lesson or two and made some progress with this sort of thing. I certainly haven’t perfected this skill but I’m ever-conscious of the importance of doing so.

Embracing change is such a big deal for us in the 21st Century. The change I’ve got to deal with at this precise moment is to change from blogging mode to make lunch mode. In this case, I’m more than willing to embrace change. <Flashes a grin while reaching for the smoked turkey and rye bread!>

 

A footnote here: One catalyst for embracing change for me was that cute and concise story-book Who Moved My Cheese? If you’d like to check that out or get re-acquainted with it, click here.