Photo Challenge…..Cheeky

I think Cheeky pretty accurately describes this guy, and his little friend.

Mudgy the Moose, and Millie

His little mouse friend makes him look cross-eyed.  Here is who they are.

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A nice, sunny afternoon on the shore of Lake Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

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A Short ECON101 Lesson about Taxes

A Short ECON101 Lesson about Taxes

Right now, the US Congress is hashing out a “tax reform” set of bills intended to change the ways taxes are confiscated from American workers and savers.  Those on the Left often refer to “tax cuts for the rich”, showing their basic envy of people who actually EARN their livings in the real world.  Republicans, in the majority in both the House and Senate, and in possession of the White House, consider it their responsibility to reduce the tax burden on working and saving Americans.

The concept of “revenue neutrality” was originated by Democrats who are horrified at the thought of Government receiving one fewer cent of its lifeblood from those Americans who pay income taxes (currently just slightly over 50% of Americans).  A young member over at Ricochet opines that the current tax scheme MUST be “revenue neutral”, as the Federal Government is already overdrawn on its accounts and can’t tolerate any reduction in its “income”.

That is not true, and here’s why.

Reductions in Tax Rates, especially for high-earners, always result in more revenue for the government (small and large business owners keep more of their earnings, add employees to their payrolls, and create more taxpayers). Why is this so hard for people to understand? This is Econ 101. And why, oh why, should the all-mighty Government not shrink? Why can’t waste be eliminated from all levels of Government? The less Government confiscates from your paycheck, the more you have to spend, and save!

The problem is that those in Government do not trust their fellow Americans, who pay their salaries from their own legitimate earnings, to know how to allocate their own money. “Revenue Neutral” is a crock!

I wasn’t going to do a Thanksgiving post this year…

I wasn’t going to do a Thanksgiving post this year…

But it’s just too important for me to miss.  We (hubby and I) have so much to be thankful for, this year and every year.  We both have been incredibly fortunate to have kept our jobs all through the financial crisis period after 2007, and even advanced.  Hubby will celebrate 38 years at Big Aerospace Company in January, and I will celebrate 10 years at Supplier to Big Aerospace Company on January 2.  I was absolutely convinced that I would be toast when our big layoff came in November of 2008, since I had been there less than a year, but nope, I was spared.  We sure had something to be thankful for that year!

We are so lucky to have been born in this Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth (hat tip to Michael Medved), whose exceptionalism nurtures native-born and immigrant alike.  We have been allowed to make our own way, choosing our own careers and living arrangements, with minimal interference from the Big Brother State (even though it was touch-and-go during the Obama years).  And we never take for granted all the benefits of living in a country governed by a Constitution which protects our right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  No country, ever, in the entire history of humanity on Earth has ever been as prosperous and free as the United States of America, and I give thanks for that every single day.

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This year, I give special thanks to God for the tenuous health of my brother-in-law, who suffers from end-stage liver disease.  He is on the waiting list for a liver transplant, which could give him many more years of life.  Just think, this benefit has only been available for tens of years, and was developed right here in the USA (along with many other places).  It has been difficult for brother-in-law, but he is still around and livening up the holiday meal.

We give thanks for our beautiful cat, Kikyo, who keeps us smiling with her antics.  I love sitting, reading, with her on my lap purring.  Even when she has to go to the vet for a checkup, she explores the exam room and captivates the tech and the doctor.

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Kikyo, keeping me warm while I read

I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and I never forget how magnificent our mountains, lakes, and prairies are.  We travel all over the state in our private automobile, taking advantage of our Liberty.

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Diablo Lake from Overlook on Highway 20

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Winding Road-Eastern Washington State

We give thanks for our fellow men, who help us every day, who build, maintain, and inspire all the infrastructure around us.  Whenever we drive over Stevens Pass to Leavenworth on US Highway 2, I always marvel at the ingenuity of the road-builders whose work enables us to drive in comfort many miles without even thinking about it.

We thank God and our families, friends, and fellow Americans, past and present, for allowing us to prosper, and live comfortably in the greatest, most unusual nation ever conceived by men on Earth.  Oh, yeah, and thanks to God for putting us on this beautiful planet in the first place!

[Featured Image by Michael Ramirez]

Giving “Transformation” a bad name: why I’m not doing a photo challenge this week

Giving “Transformation” a bad name: why I’m not doing a photo challenge this week

In the past 8 years, two major events have totally soured me on anything that bills itself as a “transformation”.  The first one happened back in 2008, when Barack Hussein Obama was elected president.  His mission, stated boldly before the American people during his campaign, was to “totally transform America”.  He basically was dissatisfied with the way the United States was founded and had developed, and he did his level best, in his eight years in power, to bring that about.  From his first “apology tour”, to the fight to socialize the medical care industry with Obamacare, to the tight leash on the banking industry with Dodd-Frank, he succeeded fairly well.  And we, the American People, are still feeling the adverse effects of that success.

Excuse me, but America did not need to be transformed, and we are now a demonstrably weaker, less-satisfied, and less-capable country.  More and more ordinary citizens have felt the yoke of Big Government ruling their everyday lives.  The US economy has been hobbled by more intrusive regulations, and no, you were NOT allowed to “keep your health plan” or “keep your doctor”.  Millions of self-employed and small business owners lost their medical plans all at once, and were forced to purchase unwieldy, very expensive, “approved” plans that did not meet their needs.

Barack Obama learned very well from his Communist father that America was a nasty place, where black people were mistreated at home, and abroad; and other countries were beaten down by that terrible US foreign policy.  He did his best to make the majority of Americans (those of us who are white and US-born) feel guilty for oppressing all those downtrodden (illegal) immigrants.

So that ‘s the first Transformation that has made me cringe whenever I hear the word, and prevented me from ever again supporting anything that bills itself as transformation.

The second major event took place at my place of work, a medium-sized company that makes items for the aerospace industry.  In late 2014, the company hired a new chief executive, who came from a huge conglomerate.  With him, he brought other executives, and a big plan to totally transform our factory to make things more efficient and profitable.  In October of 2015, our plant underwent a “total transformation” of the factory floor and production processes.  The plant was basically shut down for what was supposed to be a week and two weekends, but ended up as two full weeks, and minor shutdowns over the next year.  We employees were issued safety gear (hard hats, vests, steel-toed galoshes, safety glasses), and were directed to help move things around where needed.  I spent a day helping pull up carpet tiles, but mostly stood around and watched. Oh, and the Customer Service department, while we were destroying and rebuilding the factory (while not engaging in any production), was in a conference room taking new orders from our customers at normal lead time.  No mention of the factory shutdown-they were basically lying to our customers about when their parts would be ready.  More on that later.

Those high mucky-mucks from the head office were convinced that they knew exactly how to run our factory, and they changed everything with NO input from us peons.  Big noisy machines, which had been behind a wall, were brought out into the main factory, so production employees who assemble small parts now had huge machines right next to them.  The ambient noise level in the factory rose by 100%, and many of us were forced to wear earplugs so we could hear ourselves think.  Production procedures were altered so operations were done in different order, and components that used to be stored close to the production areas were moved back to the main stock room.

Well, funny thing, that total transformation was a fiasco.  Production levels suffered, on-time delivery plummeted, and we had a bunch of unhappy customers.  Many of the new production procedures had to be reversed when they were found to make the process worse instead of better.  And now, two years later, some of those big noisy machines are being moved back behind the wall!  Over the past two years, dozens of employees quit the company, and those of us who are left are forced to take on more and more of their work.

So you can see why anything that is billed as a total transformation makes me frown these days.  Sorry, but no photo challenge this week.  I have had enough of transformation.

Peek at some architecture-Photo Challenge

Castle Rising, detail
Castle Rising wall. Note the overlapping barrel arches-they make a pointed arch.

This piece of building, obviously in ruins now, was the beginning of a breakthrough that formed the beginnings of Gothic architecture.  Want to see the rest of this very old building?

Castle Rising
Castle Rising

Here it is.  You can see the tracery wall in the middle front of the medieval castle.  A peek into history.

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Cleverly concealed beauty – on the Golf Course

Hiding in plain sight.  Golf courses are often in cities or suburbs, and may be behind a gate, for Members Only.  I don’t play golf, but in the past few years I have been fortunate enough to be able to tag along with the golfers, and take pictures.  A couple of years ago, my husband and I went to Reno for a Ricochet meet up.  One of the planned activities was a golf outing in North Lake Tahoe, at the Old Brockway course

.  The Reno/Tahoe area is pretty dry, and the course there was bounded by Ponderosa Pine trees.  All those green lawns take lots of water to keep up, so you really appreciate them.  Don’t you think these are beautiful?

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Old Brockway Golf course
Hole #8, Old Brockway

Earlier this month, I tagged along with the golfers at the Mill Creek Golf Course, as an activity of my 50th high school class reunion (see my earlier post here at Calling-all-RushBabes).  Mill Creek is just south of where I live, and I had never been to the Country Club before.  It was a crisp October morning, and the course was still a bit frosty when we got started.  Here’s what I saw first.

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Golf carts as far as the eye could see!  All charged-up and ready to go.

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The garden right at the beginning of the course was especially pretty that day.  Early in the day, the shadows were very long, across the grassy fairways.

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The course is very hilly, and many times I had to hang on tightly to avoid being pitched out of my seat when the grade steepened.  Fortunately, there was good signage.

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The course was just so beautiful that day, I was a picture-taking fool!

 

There are many private residences around the edge of the course, and the homeowners have pretty gardens and other plantings.

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That’s somebody’s back yard, with the Japanese Maple trees.

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When I started to get “green-saturated”, I’d look up.  The sky was pretty spectacular all day.

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And then, when we were all done, we stood and listened to this gentleman.  I could hear him from the last two holes, way in the distance.

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So much restful beauty, cleverly concealed.