My Chat with the Ice Machine

No, not with the ice machine, but rather at the ice machine, although either would be of the same intellectual value. My wife and I stopped at McDonald’s Wednesday afternoon after our tutoring session at our local public school. We enjoy sharing stories about the students we were with during their lunch period. While at the pop/ice machine, the man next to me looked familiar, so I said, “I think we know each other.” Indeed we did but that was a few years ago- we were neighbors over our back fences, but he moved 3 or 4 years ago.

I recalled the circumstances of his move.  He lost his job as a used car salesman, his wife moved out, and he couldn’t make the mortgage payments- quite the sad, yet a common scenario these days. I remember that when he sold his house, he told me that he took a $41K loss. As we chatted, I also recalled that he and I were not only on opposite sides of the fence, but on opposite ends of the political spectrum as well.

I asked him how he was doing and suddenly we were in a political discussion.  Well, not we, but he was. He stated, “If Obama gets reelected, it’s going to get worse!” Well, my diet Coke was already spilling over the top and my cheeseburger was getting cold, so I said that I needed to join my wife and eat my burger.

Ah, yes. It is going to get worse. Worse for him? Jobless, lost his house as well as his wife? Worse? How does one define that adverb?

There’s the rub. It’s all Obama’s fault. Did I mention that he lost his house 3 years ago? During the ’08 economic meltdown? When who was still president? Or, doesn’t that fact count?

Facts.  Data. Evidence. Apparently all irrelevant to some people. That’s a real problem for this nation. My ex-neighbor, I’m guessing, would support the Tea Party agenda. Taxed Enough Already. Now that my ex-neighbor lives in an apartment, he at least doesn’t have to pay property taxes [although I’m sure that they are included in the rent.] Are unemployment benefits taxable?

The clutch of right-wing bloggers with whom I play hate Obama, too. I can’t figure out why, though. I often ask them why their hate is so intense, but I never get a serious answer; they often deride me for asking the question. Avoidance.

President Obama, you have to admit, is an easy target upon which to hang their fears and vent their anger. After all, he’s not one of them.  Might not even be a citizen. Was a community organizer. Is a Democrat. What other evidence does this group need?

This group seems to believe, yes believe not think, that one of the pack of GOP candidates will rise above the rest and, riding his white horse in crusade-like fashion, will slay the evil leader on election day.  And when the deed is done, that they will live happily ever after.

Believe. Not think. Life in a bubble universe, an alternate reality.


20 thoughts on “My Chat with the Ice Machine

  1. I’m not sure whether to comment here or on the previous post, but I think some of the radical right are just plain off insane. Either that, or very ignorant (not to name names in case one reappears). The one person (two, three, four…people) in question could quite possibly be both.

    I can say my interactions with these people is just plain off bizarre with trying to throw facts in their faces with them remaining blind. Then, they just spout nonsense in response. Point out they are spouting nonsense, and the keep repeating the nonsense.

    Very frustrating. But that helps explain certain behavious on this blog.

    UTF had me looking up who Marcy Kaptur was and I found this on her bio:

    Kaptur has fiercely fought the decline of the industrial sector, which she argues has impoverished America’s middle class and increased economic inequality. That analysis, which clashed with the Clinton administration’s rosy assessments of the U.S. economy throughout the 1990s, also explains her opposition to the financial bailout plan in the fall of 2008.


    1. UptheFlag wants every member of Congress thrown out no matter what their record. If we throw Kaptur out, then, gulp, Congressman Joe the Plumber will serve in her place.

      1. My opinion of Miss Kaptur goes up and down, but overall I think she’s not bad (I voted for her). This from a dyed-in-the-wool Republican.

        1. I’m not sure why UTF is so antagonistic to the Parliamentary system, othe than it’s also called the Westminster System.

          It’s much easier to get rid of governments and politicians.

          Not to mention a bit more “democratic” in that it allows for more parties than just two.

          Or is that one.

          I wish I could remember what Jomo Kenyatta said about the difference between a one party and two party system, but it went something like:

          So, we only have one party does that make us any less democratic, does having a two party system make them twice as democratic?

          There needs to be an ability for more opinions to be represented in a democracy than just tweedle dee and tweedle dum.

      2. M_R, now you know that is an incorrect spin on my comments. I have quoted the method provided by none other than former VT Governor Dean, and also former head of the Democratic Party and the Tea Party method.
        Sort of bi-partisanship, huh? Both say to take the incumbent on in the primary which offers a less risky loss of the incumbents seat in the
        General election.

        However, if it takes a loss of incumbent, I don’t have a problem with
        that, Laci. In this case, it is only 2 years and the area leans democratic,
        well, it did, don’t know what re-apportionment did. Go to Wikipedia, and
        it tells about Kaptur’s congressional-military-industrial connections.
        As you can see from above, Laci, M_R lives in fear of a loss of the seat.
        At the same time, in post after post, he has instructed on FDR’s warning
        about “fear”. Nice to quote, but difficult for him to accept. By accepting
        such a position, he is part of the problem of why we have a dysfunctional
        government. 24 years is enough for anyone to truly represent this
        country, its “dictatorship by election.”
        It seems Kaptur is a war profiteer! Instead of affecting change, which he
        espouses on here, M_R wants to continue the status quo. And, what has
        the status quo gotten us? A broke financial system, the collapse of the
        middleclass, 4 wars with resultant loss of treasury, collapse of the
        manufacturing base, and the enabling of disastrous income inequality.
        Kaptur is a professional politicans, ergo good at talking out of both sides
        of her mouth. Yes, she votes for legislation as you described above, Laci,
        but unfortunately, she supports the elitist system in the United States.

        Recently, M_R, gave us his morning homily on Sodom and Gomorrah.
        What M_R can’t seem to bring himself to is that there is a real Sodom and
        Gormorrah today – The United States House of Representatives and The
        United States Senate. The depravity of these two major houses of our
        goverment is obvious to any one with an open mind. Washington and both
        political Parties and our Presidents are awash in greed and corruption.
        They both are owned by Wall Street, Corporations and the one percenters.
        Congress is at 9% favorable rating. Obama goes to Wall Street and holds
        $35,000.00 a plate dinner. It seems to me it doesn’t take a rocket scientiest
        to know who gets his/her phone call at the White House, Wall Street or the 99% that give $50.00.

        The original muckraker creed was that the facts would make us free.
        Instead, facts today and yesterday are met with a sarcastic “johnny one note.” However, the facts speak for themselves.

  2. Mud- When a friend of mine first got on the CPD, he got a weekend “side-job” driving Chicago politicians to their gigs. Not the Mayor Daley’s or Senators, because they had their own details, but he did meet some Alderman, as well as a few community organizers. One day he was driving a community organizer (Obama), along with two alderman too a meeting. Obama gets a phone-call, all of the sudden plans change. He has too go to one of his communities, because a child was shot. Did he help with an investigation? Nope, Did he help raise money for a burial? Nope. But he did get his picture taken with the grief-stricken Mother. 9 months later, he ran for state office. Then there is that whole Senate Seat for sale issue.

    I hope that helps too clarify why I did not vote for him, or will not vote for him.
    And as much as I dislike him, I think he has done some good things while in office. We’re finally pulling out of Iraq (even though it’s funny how it happens during a campaign year). And he is deporting illegal immigrants at a record pace. Trust me, I have respected the Office of the Presidency, and I give him every chance, I just don’t like him. At least, now you know why.

  3. ” Are unemployment benefits taxable?” Yes, since about 1982. They are included in any earned income reported the year in which they are received. Taxes are taken out of the gross amount before the checks are sent.

    What a President does usually doesn’t show up for a few years. President Carter made some tough choices, but Reagan got all the credit for the improvements they caused. Bush pushed through some really expensive programs and tax cuts in the waning days of his presidency. But now President Obama takes the heat for the massive amounts those things have contributed to the national deficit. While discussing (and pointing out sources) the deficit on certain other blogs, they absolutely refuse to talk about about what exactly makes us the current national debt.

    I challenge Sgt. Price (aka Common Sense) to have a serious facts only discussion on the national debt, including the history, the increases, the current state of the debt and the possible future. First ground rule is no name calling or insults. Second ground rule is to admit when you are mistaken or a fact you’ve presented is called into question. He’s such a proud and honorable American, I don’t see why he’d have a problem with any to this. What ya think?

      1. LOL – I was wonder when you’d get around to asking. I have been very busy (remolding the house and trying to get decent contractors), but will definitely answer on your blog. I did not forget; in fact, your post inspired me to research the issue. Thanks for prodding me along with my education.

  4. Non is correct and wrong at the same time. In Illinois, you may elect to have 10% taken out of your weekly benefits. If you have proper deductions, and tax credits, you can get away with paying $0 taxes from unemployment. Isn’t that how Buffet does it? But yes, unemployment is taxable income.

    1. The amount of tax withheld is based on the W-4 you fill out and the taxes in the various taxing districts in which you live. You can opt to use the Federal Tax Withholding tables or use a flat percentage. If the amount withheld is off by 10% or more at the end of the year, you are liable for fines and interest. You will also be required to make weekly, monthly or quarterly tax deposits the following year (depending on yearly earned income).

      My advice to anyone is to claim “0” deductions and hope for a big return when you file. If you opt to have the refund deposited directly into a bank account, the deposit will usually be made within two weeks after filing your tax return. This lets the government use any excess money during that year, but most of (all?) the people posting here do make that much a year to lose any significant interest. Also, anyone making enough money to have it make a difference will not be paid through a regular interval payroll system: THEY WILL USE THE LESSER TAX AVAILABLE THROUGH THE CAPITAL GAINS TAX BASIS!

      DISCLAIMER: You should consult a tax consultant familiar with your own financial issues before making any changes. In other words, don’t screw up and then try to sue me.

  5. Hello Muddy,
    “If Obama gets reelected, it’s going to get worse!” What part of this man’s recent life’s lessons has your once neighbor missing?

    I don’t know how anyone can come to this conclusion because it is the globalization of industry that is having this effect. I give you the recent example of Whirlpool closing its U.S. plant to open their new Mexico facility where the pay is less that $2.00s per day verses the $13.00 to $15.00 per hour where they were. To discredit the Rightwing Teabagger’s conclusions of a union problem but it is not the UNION’s fault as they gave wages concessions and tried to work with the company over many years. The truth is a high school kid’s part time job at McDonalds could not compete with $2.00 per day production wages in Mexico.

    So now let’s take the ratio of $2 / $13 = .153846

    If the America Consumer were to purchase one of these Washers or Dryers made in Mexico, should we not see a selling price of these units taking an average price of $300 X .153846 = $46.15 for the new price? You can bet your sweet ass NOT!!!! Whirlpool will still try to sell to the American Market for the same $300 because this has been the established ambient pricing for this product line. You know damn well that Whirlpool was making a profit at the $300 pricing when made in the U.S. but $300 – $46 = $254 will be the clear extra profit from the original profit margin they were enjoying.

    This is why the 1% has seen a wage increase of 285% and the Middle Class has stayed stagnating or even loss “Earning Wage” and “Purchasing Power” stratification ground in the last 30 years, and complementing jobless rates we are seeing today. The American Worker is not lazy…..we are just being screwed and sacrificed at every chance and turn.

    1. And, this brings up Obama’s bail out of GM…After GM received the loan
      where did they decide to build the VOLT? Mexico, I believe!

      1. The Hamtramck (DHAM) plant is where the Chevrolet Volt is being built. Compact Power, the North American subsidiary of LG Chem, is building a battery plant in Holland, Michigan to manufacture the advanced battery cells for the Volt and other carmakers, with capacity to produce enough cells for 50,000 to 200,000 battery packs per year.

        1. I do believe a identical car is being built in Mexico for export overseas; an American version is being built in Michigan now. The U.A.W. made some concessions to allow this production in the United States.

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