Silence afloat…Just the wind in the sails

I love to look up while sailing, and capture the sail against the sky.  The only sounds are the wind in the rigging, and the swishing of the hull through the water.

Sail, Flathead Lake, Montana

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/silence-2/

 

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Weathered, Creations of Man, and of Nature

This building was originally built in the twelfth century, in England.  The Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds.  Much of it has weathered away, with the help of the local people, who often used the fallen stones for new buildings.  But even the ruins are beautiful.

Bury St. Edmunds
Abbey ruins, Bury St. Edmunds

This spectacular example of Nature’s Creation, weathered, is Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

Natural Bridge, Bryce
“Natural Bridge”, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

 

Funny, that natural arch almost looks like it could have been carved by men.  But no, we mimic nature, or try to.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/weathered/

 

…On the Other Hand… 2017 Wrap-up

…On the Other Hand… 2017 Wrap-up

2017 was an “on the other hand” year for RushBabe49.  For every great thing that happened, there was something disgusting in return.  No good thing goes un-punished, and 2017 was a great example.  Starting in January with the inauguration of duly-elected President Donald Trump.  Election night in 2016 was the most fun I had had in years, spending hours on the live chat on Ricochet.  Many members’ comments were priceless, and when we went to bed that night (some stayed up until the wee hours of the next morning) we were elated.  But the Left’s tantrums at having been defeated were not terribly unexpected, but they were more violent than we thought.  The “Resistance” was immediate and loud, and we have been putting up with it for the entire year.

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This response shows the level of culture of the majority of leftists.  They immediately start with the worst curse words they can come up with.  Too bad, President Trump remained in office.  The resistance was also widespread within the bureaucracy in DC, and every one of the new president’s appointments was drawn-out and fought tooth and nail by the “deep state”.  I remember being on a trip in February, and being regaled by all the crap thrown at Michael Flynn, who was forced out of his position for communicating with the Russian ambassador, which was part of his job!

The Deep State and the Democrat Senate Losers tried their best, but they could not stop the nomination and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, one of President Trump’s most important achievements in his first year in office.  President Trump has also had confirmed twelve new federal Circuit Court judges, a victory for Constitutionalism.

On the other hand, 2017 was marked by numerous murders of police officers, many in ambush situations, all over the United States.  By July, the total of police officers killed in the line of duty had risen nearly 20% from 2016.  The Ferguson Effect, where community members not only do not help the police solve local crimes, but positively hinder them, was much in evidence.  The murder rate in cities like Chicago and Baltimore skyrocketed, as gang members felt more comfortable carrying on their wars in many neighborhoods.

The employment situation in the US improved in 2017, as companies brought jobs back from overseas and opened new factories.  About 1.7 million new jobs were created in Donald Trump’s economy, and the stock markets reached new record-highs multiple times throughout the year.  Locally, tech companies have been on hiring sprees, with software engineers and systems analysts able to field multiple job offers and basically write their own tickets.

On the other hand, the cost of living in many big cities has also gone up so high as to price non-techies out of the housing market.  Landlords raise rents, and ordinary working stiffs have to leave town to find places they can afford to live.  Those of us who own our homes already just face increasing property taxes and utility fees, but we can remain in our homes.

On the other hand, we saw huge data-breaches that exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of Americans, who had NO choice of where their data were stored.  The big breach at the credit-reporting giant Equifax brought it home to Americans how fragile their hold is on their privacy.  The subject of cyber-security was a big one in 2017, and promises to remain so in the new year, and for the foreseeable future.

President Donald Trump’s 2017 economy also brought the opening up of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines and the opening up of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in places to oil exploration to increase America’s energy independence.  And the best news of all, the most consequential tax reform of recent history was passed in December, ensuring that the majority of Americans will see the government confiscating less of their hard-earned money.  The tax bill repealed the individual mandate of ObamaCare, so many young people will not be required to purchase unaffordable health “insurance” or pay a huge fine/tax.  Since their employers will also be paying less to Uncle Sam, employees may get another benefit from the new tax laws.  Many big companies have already announced special bonuses for their employees (including those sleazy liberal TV commentators who swore the bill was horrible for the country).

President Trump’s foreign policies have also borne fruit, with ISIS being deprived of most of the territory they held, the UN de-funded of $285 million, and Jerusalem being declared the Capital of the State of Israel.  We have now brought the Israelis back as our friends, when the Obama administration had denigrated them and sided with the anti-Semites in Europe.

On the other hand, 2017 has brought increasing conflict (mostly words so far on our part) with the madman at the head of North Korea, and the mullahs who still rule in Iran.  But President Trump is doing his best to unravel the one-sided Iran nuclear “deal” which was a terrible bargain for the US.  2018 is bound to bring more tensions on those fronts, but America will now be dealing from a position of Greatness, not leading from behind.

Illegal immigration to the United States has gone down dramatically since Donald Trump was elected, and that is in the absence of the border wall!  This shows that even the expectation of action can affect the behavior of those who might be affected by the action.  On the other hand, the “deep state” judiciary has continued to throw obstacles in the way of the President’s legitimate power to allow or not allow anyone to enter the US.  This makes me very angry, and so far every one of the “bans of bans” that makes it to the Supreme Court gets overturned.  I hope that in the New Year the Supreme Court will be able to finally rule that the Executive Branch is solely in charge of immigration policy.

Personally, my own situation has remained very good in 2017 and going into the new year.  Hubby and I are still gainfully-employed, mostly healthy, and comfortable in our home, with our owner, Kikyo the black cat.  I again played the full-length Messiah the day after Christmas, and was just transported by the wonderful singing of the choir; an excellent end to the season.

I extend my best wishes to all my readers and followers at Calling-All-RushBabes for a very Happy New Year of 2018.

Oh, yes, here are my two last photos of 2017, taken on a shopping trip this afternoon.

Winter tree 1

Winter tree 2

 

Increasing scandals, rarely talked about

Women Perps

Do you know what all the women above have in common?  They are all teachers, at K-12 level, who have been arrested for having sexual relationships with their students.  All of those students were under 18 years of age.  A teacher has power over her students, so can order them to do things that they might not want to do.   We have all seen that the culture these days seems to be saturated with sex; in advertisements, in news stories, in video games, on television, and on outdoor billboards.  This article, from 2014, lists many cases of teachers engaging in sex with their students.

The case of a US Representative from New York, Anthony Weiner, who sent sexually-explicit pictures to young girls, focused society’s attention on adults who have relationships with underaged children.  But the wave of stories, new ones seemingly popping up every day, of teachers having sex with their students, is very troubling to me, and I wonder why, just in the last few years, this seems to have just exploded.   Here are some recent headlines:

Married Teacher and JV Cheerleading Coach, 23 Arrested

Conn. Special Ed Teacher Accused of Having Sex with Student

Catholic School Teacher Accused of having Sex With Student

Special-Ed Teacher Accused of Having Sex With Student (Texas)

***And this one, just today!  Married teacher, 32, pleads not-guilty

 

{Just an aside, perhaps the first notorious case of a teacher having sex with a student happened in 1996 in Seattle, when Mary Kay Letourneau had a continuing sexual relationship with her 12-year-old student Vili Fualaau.  She served prison time for this, but they had two children, and actually married!  This is still an ongoing story.}

And what is perhaps the most disturbing thing, all these accused teachers are women.  Well, I suppose that in K-12 education today, where Sex-Ed classes are pretty explicit about how sexual relations occur, and pupils are taught how to put a condom on a banana, it isn’t much of a stretch for teachers to demonstrate this to their students, in real life.  In today’s public schools, it is assumed that the kids are already sexually-active, so they just have to be taught how to have safe sex, and what to do when that condom breaks and the girl gets pregnant. (Planned Parenthood contributes generously to public school sex-ed programs, so you can probably guess what the instructions might be to a pregnant high-schooler).

This is from a very good article over at Fox News, about the prevalence of female sex offenders.

According to the Center for Sex Offender Management, a project operated by the U.S. Department of Justice, females account for around 10 percent of all sex crimes reported to authorities. However, a much higher percentage – over 30 percent – of all teacher-student sexual offenses are estimated to have been perpetrated by females. In the latest available statistics, in 2014, just under 800 school employees were prosecuted for student sex crimes – around one-third female.

The article mentions a researcher into women teachers having sex with their boy students, who opines that it is a reflection of the power teachers have over their students.  See, I was right!  The article also cites the proliferation of “Hot Teacher” contests in various cities around the country, publicizing young women teachers and grading them on their degree of “hotness”.  The article also mentions that research into this growing problem is just getting started, so it will be some time before we have any more data on why this seems to be happening much more frequently lately.

Suggestion for parents among my followers: Keep your eyes open for possible irregularities with young, female teachers in their activities with your young boy students.  Urge them to be very honest with you about what is going on in their schools, and extra-curricular activities.  Talk with other parents at your kids’ schools, so you can all be aware and alert for problems.  [Gee, am I really saying this?  Just having to issue warnings is an indication of how far our public schools, and even private and religious schools, have been affected by the wider cultural decline].

Final Photo Challenge of 2017-Favorites-Travels with/to Friends

2017 was highlighted by travels, to various destinations to meet with friends, and to get re-acqainted with old (in both senses of the word) friends.  Here are my favorite highlights.

In February, Hubby and I traveled to Phoenix for a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar.  This was our third trip to Arizona with the Hillsdale folks, and was just a reinforcement of why we continue to support Hillsdale, one of the last, best, hopes for the future of higher education in America.  No “snowflakes” here.

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The view from our balcony was so peaceful in the early morning.

After the Hillsdale Seminar ended, we took a trip up to Prescott, in the mountains north of Phoenix.  An entirely different Arizona.  The reason was a meet up with our Ricochet friends.  We took sustenance from our Ricochet family, as we all watched the Left and the Deep State do their best to destroy a duly-elected President.

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No palm trees here!

In June, we took our annual trip to Washington’s “Bavarian Village” of Leavenworth, for Hubby to play accordion with his band.  They were just awesome this year, and everyone was impressed with their performance.

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And we always love the Accordion Parade, ending up in the Gazebo downtown.  Our hearts are warmed by watching and listening to all the players, from ages 7 to over 70.

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In September, we drove all the way to Montana and back, for the Ricochet meet up that had been planned since September of 2016!  Due to wildfires in Washington and Montana, we drove through thick smoke all the way-the skies didn’t clear for an entire week!  But the people we met were typical Ricochet, salt-of-the earth types.  We couldn’t imagine being with a better group of friends, our Ricochet Family.

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Yes, that is Lake Coeur D’Alene on the way over.

Sailing on Flathead Lake

On the second to last day, sailing on Flathead Lake.

And to top off the year, I had my Fiftieth High School Class Reunion.  My favorite part of that was tagging along with the golfers on the outing to the local golf course, and meeting a classmate who I had never met in high school!

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What beauty, hiding in plain sight.

We have been so fortunate this year, and had so many delightful experiences, surrounded by our friends, and our Ricochet Family.  Onward to 2018!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/2017-favorites/

 

Seattle Liberals-stuck on stupid with their Sweetened Beverage Tax

On January 1, Seattle initiates a new “sweetened beverage tax”, of $0.0175 per OUNCE of sweetened beverage (Coke, Pepsi, Simply Lemonade, VitaminWater…).  Below is information I copied off the City of Seattle Web site.  Now, the reason for this tax in the first place is to make the citizens of Seattle healthier by making it more expensive to drink those evil sweetened beverages.  Except that…wait for it…they say below that the tax is NOT INTENDED TO BE PASSED ON TO THE CONSUMER!
Now, what are the chances that the beverage distributors will simply eat the huge cost of this tax?  Yes, about zero.  They will certainly pass the cost on to the retailers who stock the beverages, who will increase the cost to consumers.  The tax will about double the cost of a 21-ounce bottle of soda. **The tax on one 12-pack of 12-ounce cans will be $2.52, which is about the wholesale price of that 12-pack!!!
Cook County (Chicago) tried this a while ago.  And you know what happened?  Well, citizens of Cook County simply traveled a few miles, across the county line, and bought their sweetened beverages in the suburbs and towns next door.  Distributors laid off employees, due to the reduced business within the city.  And the county made very little money from the tax.  So it was repealed.
Liberals always assume that when they levy a tax on an activity or a commodity, those subject to the tax will simply pay up.  Well, they don’t!  If you tax something, you get less of it, which liberals never seem to learn.  The city of Seattle states that the tax is not intended to be passed on to consumers, but they seem never to have heard of the law of unintended consequences.  When people get taxed, they tend to change their behavior.  When the price of cigarettes skyrockets in a municipality or state, cigarette smuggling skyrockets.  When the cost of a sweetened beverage doubles in the City of Seattle, I predict that citizens will simply make a run to the new Lynnwood Costco to stock up on Coke or Pepsi.  Costco even carries VitaminWater now, so they can save even more.  I wonder if Seattle will pass a new law outlawing the carrying of sweetened beverages across the city limits?  Another question: how much additional business will Seattle retailers lose due to this tax?   Probably few people go shopping just for beverages, so how much additional revenue will Seattle stores lose when residents simply do all their grocery shopping outside the city?
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SWEETENED BEVERAGE TAX (SEATTLE)

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the City of Seattle will impose a sweetened beverage tax. View Ordinance 125324.

The sweetened beverage tax is a tax on the distribution of sweetened beverages in the city of Seattle. The tax is collected on the final distribution of sweetened beverages by a distributor. The tax is not collected by the retailer nor is the tax burden intended to fall onto the consumer. The intent of the sweetened beverage tax is to tax the distributions of sweetened beverages into Seattle for retail sale in Seattle.

For more information, please review:

If you have questions or concerns, contact SweetenedBevTax@seattle.gov.

Tax rate

The standard tax rate for the sweetened beverage tax is $.0175 per ounce. There is a reduced tax rate for certified manufacturers. That rate is $.01 per ounce.   ***Editorial comment by RushBabe49:  Which manufacturers in Seattle will voluntarily pay that exorbitant tax on their legitimately-produced soda?  Might those businesses simply write off Seattle and move their factories outside the city?  If they do, how much B & O tax revenue will Seattle be losing?

Guidelines to follow

Distributors are liable for the sweetened beverage tax on distributions of sweetened beverages into Seattle for retail sale in Seattle. Distributors need to file the sweetened beverage tax online at https://www.filelocal-wa.gov/. Distributors will either file annually or quarterly; following the same schedule as its B&O tax filing due dates. The imposition of the tax does not begin until Jan. 1, 2018. For quarterly tax filers, the first due date to remit the tax will be April 30, 2018.

Exemption from the sweetened beverage tax

If a distributor sells products from a certified small manufacturer (annual worldwide gross revenue of $2 million or less), those sales are exempt from taxation. The manufacturer must apply for the exemption with the City.

Reduced tax rate

If a distributor sells products from a certified manufacturer that has worldwide gross revenue of over $2 million but less than $5 million, those sales are eligible for a reduced tax rate ($.01/ounce). The manufacturer must apply for the reduced rate certification with the City.

Additional exemptions

For a listing of sweetened beverages that are exempt from the sweetened beverage tax, please see Seattle Rule 5-953.

Redistribution Certificate

The intent of the Redistribution Certificate is to ensure that the tax only applies to distribution of sweetened beverages for retail sale in Seattle. Retail businesses that receive distributions of sweetened beverages in the city of Seattle but then redistribute some or all of the sweetened beverages for retail sale outside the city may issue redistribution certificates to distributors. The retailer then becomes responsible for remitting the tax to the City only on those sweetened beverages receipted and sold at retail in Seattle.  ***Editorial Comment from RushBabe49:  Just read this paragraph-can you imagine the labor involved in determining when this rule applies?  What distributor will do this?***

In accordance with Seattle Rule 5-953 Sweetened Beverage Tax, this certificate may be completed by a person who requests to the distributor that they be liable for the sweetened beverage tax on sweetened beverages ultimately distributed for retail sale in Seattle.

Any distributor that accepts a Redistribution Certificate must provide a copy of the completed certificate to the City of Seattle within 15 days of receipt and the distributor will receive a confirmation of receipt from the City. The Redistribution Certificate is only valid with a confirmation receipt from the City of Seattle.

Distributors that accept a Redistribution Certificate must remit a copy by fax to (206) 684-5170 or by email to sweetenedbevtax@seattle.gov.

Read the code

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) for legal details about the sweetened beverage tax.

SMC Chapter 5.53 covers the sweetened beverage tax.

Seattle business tax rule 5-953 provides further information.