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Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 Christmas Blog Post

This will be our first Christmas since Scott's passing, and I will miss hearing him sing the carol bass parts he taught me. I remembered Scott at the memorial service and on this blog. He was also remembered in ceremonies held by the Ordway Education Division, and by Compas, his employing organization. His art lives on, as well as his Alphabet Adventure video, and the memories of all the students who learned from him.

One story about Scott I forgot to mention is when the family, Mom's kids and grandkids, went bowling, and Scott won! Scott was not much into sports, but he beat us all at bowling. I'm reminded of the one time we went bowling with Dad and he scored well over 200. Burton never bowled again because, as he put it, "I didn't want to hurt my average."

2011 was an eventful year, so I'll try to keep it concise.

In January, our Harper relatives from Iowa visited us, and on 1/11/11, I made the Bronze level in ballroom dance.

In March, I uploaded the family history "to the cloud."

In April, I soul-searched about the situation in Libya, and worked on rehabbing injured muscles.

In May, I attended the Powderhorn May Day Parade and carried a war protest sign handed to me by Coleen Rowley, 2002 TIME Magazine Person of the Year. This year, we shared the award with all Protesters around the world. Later in May, my sister Janet spoke at a rally to protest hate crimes against people who are gay. So she was also Person of the Year!

In June, I travelled to Madison with sisters Connie and Janet to attend our cousin's daughter's wedding. It was a great weekend celebrating Julie Soceka and Keven Bump. Later in June, as local union steward I attended the Minnesota Rural Letter Carriers Association convention in Grand Rapids, and stayed with my cousin John Munter and his family while there. In June I also uploaded high school newspapers and linked to them from this blog.

In July I had a soccer party for my 50th birthday, but it was the first day of the heat wave so that part didn't go so great. Two days after my birthday I was playing in an informal over-50 soccer league. I wasn't very good but got a couple assists in one of the games. Later I hurt my achilles but made it back for the last game of the season. Also in July I made a Rock and Roll Star Spangled Banner music video, and attended the Kellogg All-Class High School Reunion.

In August, Spencer and I travelled to Alaska to attend the wedding of another cousin's daughter. This cousin is the brother of the two I had visited in June. Jim's daughter, Katie Munter, married Bryan Thomas. Alaska evokes awe, and we experienced it while kayaking, river and mountain hiking, tram riding, and glacier cruising. We also had a chance to make a side trip to Wasilla and visit Brian Harper, a cousin on my mom's side, and Brian's wife Diana.

In September I went to the State Fair with Janet and her daughter Lydia. I also endured a two-week mail count, and attended a Rally to Save the U.S. Postal Service.

In October I did I tiny bit of campaigning for Farheen, and made my first visit to Occupy MN. I bought a Guy Fawkes/V for Vendetta mask, and wore it both to Occupy MN and to the Halloween Dance Party.

In November I had jury duty, and visited Madison a second time, this time to see Spencer, in college there. While there I saw my second cousin Holly Anderson, her boyfriend Leigh, and her Aunt Pam, as well as my cousin Shelly and her husband. The seven of us attended the Badger/Gopher hockey game on the 12th, the only game any Minnesota team won against Wisconsin that weekend. During an intermission I visited with Spencer's girlfriend Emma and Emma's sister. The next day we had brunch at Shelley's with some of Spencer's second cousins.

In December I danced a "Hustle vs. Cha Cha" solo routine with my instructor at the Holiday Jingle Bell Rock Showcase at Dancers Studio in St. Paul. We also did some West Coast Swing, Tango, and Salsa. It was really fun. With that behind me, I took time on Tuesday to see my brother Bruce do table magic at a local sports bar. I have always looked up to my brothers as entertaining performers, and this year tried to follow their lead a bit.

Ok everybody, Merry Christmas, and when I say Merry Christmas, I mean enjoy the celebration of the birth of Jesus which is part of a faith tradition which is encompassed by worship of the Holy Deity. ( :

2010 Christmas Blog Post

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Deism core beliefs

Praise be to God. And when I say God, I mean the gender-neutral Holy Deity, who may or may not be Jesus or the parent of Jesus.

Holy Deity, we give thanks for this food, and pray that it will be healthy for us and for our planet. So be it.

Holy Deity,
For guidance and forgiveness
We pray. So be it.

Oh Holy Deity, oh Deity we pray,
For guidance and forgiveness
And a cheerful day.
We go along with everything our atheist friends will say
Except for our Deity, oh Deity we pray.

Core beliefs:

Matthew 7:12

The 10-10-10 plan,
10 Commandments
10 Amendments
10 Key Values of the Green Party

The 1-1-1 plan,
Raise taxes of the 1 percent
1 dollar
For 1 year.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Occupation of Iraq

I have one good thing to say about the Occupation of Iraq. Our servicepeople introduced Iraqis to the "concept" of democracy. However, the decision to go to war was immoral. That's on Bush and Cheney, not our servicepeople.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Witness tampering in Sandusky case?

Today it was reported that the testimony of Mike McQueary is being questioned. Given the huge amounts of money surrounding the Penn State football program, we need to consider the possibility of witness tampering.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

$1 from the 1%

The Republican field of candidates for President has been called a "clown car" and it's easy to see why. They're crazy. Each and every candidate has fatal flaws. I wouldn't be surprised if the Republican National Convention becomes a media circus, dragging out beyond scheduled adjournment, with a brokered outcome and a surprise nominee coming out of nowhere.

Republicans have also painted themselves into a corner by opposing tax increases. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to raise taxes. Members of Congress pledge to uphold the Constitution. But Republicans have signed the Grover Norquist pledge against any tax increases.

Taxes can be an important tool, not just to raise revenue, but also to keep inflation under control. When the 99% gets money, it spends a lot of it on needs. When the 1% gets money, it puts a lot of it in the stock market. Does an undertaxed Wall Street fuel inflation? Food prices are going up. With the right incentives, perhaps we could shift our priorities from financial products to food products.

Democrats might be able to get the upper hand by proposing a tax revenue increase of $1 from the 1%. It would really show independents how inflexible the Republicans are. The idea becomes dangerous, however, if Democrats propose deeper and deeper cuts and if Republican suddenly take them up on it. Obama has already put Social Security and Medicare on the table. They're called entitlements for a reason. We really are entitled to them.

However, given that Republicans are locked into the Norquist pledge, it is almost certain they would not agree, even to a hike of $1. Democrats would be turning the other cheek, and Republicans would be striking it.