* Government Pensions
Back to Words Menu

August 9, 2009

Public workers' pensions swelling
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

Public employee pensions have become increasingly generous since 2000, promising a more comfortable retirement for civil servants but a serious financial challenge for future taxpayers.

The beefed-up pension benefits come at a time when the pension funds' financial health has deteriorated and private pensions have been scaled back. (Related story: Pension funds fall short of guarantees)

Many corporations have replaced traditional pension plans, which pay monthly benefits for life, with plans that cost employers less and pay workers a lump sum when they retire. Alcoa, the world's largest aluminum producer, announced Monday that it would do so for most new employees effective March 1.

Governments have been moving in the opposite direction: increasing monthly benefits, making it easier to retire at 55 and spending more on retiree health benefits. State and local governments, which cover 21 million workers and retirees, have been adding benefits the fastest:

ē A December study of 85 big public pensions in all 50 states ó covering three-fourths of public employees nationwide ó found that governments continued to enhance benefit formulas, ease early retirement and improve other benefits from 2000 through 2004 despite states' financial problems. The increases were enacted on top of even larger benefit changes approved from 1996 to 2000. The study, conducted by the Wisconsin Legislature, is one of the most comprehensive on the issue.

ē The New Jersey Legislature has approved 17 benefit enhancements since 2000 that increased the unfunded obligations of public pensions in the state by $6.8 billion, according to a task force studying the issue.

ē Average annual benefits for retired state and local workers grew 37% to $19,875 from 2000 to 2004, the most recent data available, according to the Census Bureau. The rising payments reflect the early retirement of baby boomers, who started to qualify for full benefits in 2001, at age 55, under most government pensions.

"These pensions are unaffordable," says Alaska state Rep. Bert Stedman, a Republican. "If we don't act now, we're going to have social conflict in the future between the haves and the have-nots ó those with government pensions and those without."

Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, which represents teachers, says legislators shouldn't respond to pension problems in the private sector by attacking government pensions. "Pensions are a national problem, but it's not in the interest of workers to diminish either type," he says.

The portion of the private workforce enrolled in plans that pay monthly benefits for life has fallen from 39% in 1980 to 18% in 2004, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. By comparison, more than 90% of government workers are covered by such plans, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. Unlike private companies, most state and local governments cannot reduce pension benefits for existing workers or retirees.

Federal, state and local governments have promised pension and retiree medical benefits that would require more than $5 trillion to be invested today to cover costs over the next 75 years, according to the financial statements of the retirement plans.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

U.S. Congress salaries and benefits

U.S. Congress salaries and benefits have been the source of taxpayer unhappiness and myths over the years. Here are some facts for your consideration.

Rank-and-File Members: The current salary (2009) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year.

* Members are free to turn down pay increase and some choose to do so.

* In a complex system of calculations, administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, congressional pay rates also affect the salaries for federal judges and other senior government executives.

* During the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin considered proposing that elected government officials not be paid for their service. Other Founding Fathers, however, decided otherwise.

* From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 while in session, except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. Members began receiving an annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year.

Congress: Leadership Members' Salary (2009)

Leaders of the House and Senate are paid a higher salary than rank-and-file members.

Senate Leadership
Majority Party Leader - $193,400
Minority Party Leader - $193,400

House Leadership
Speaker of the House - $223,500
Majority Leader - $193,400
Minority Leader - $193,400

A cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes to not accept it.

Benefits Paid to Members of Congress

You may have read that Members of Congress do not pay into Social Security. Well, that's a myth. Prior to 1984, neither Members of Congress nor any other federal civil service employee paid Social Security taxes. Of course, they were also not eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Members of Congress and other federal employees were instead covered by a separate pension plan called the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). The 1983 amendments to the Social Security Act required federal employees first hired after 1983 to participate in Social Security. These amendments also required all Members of Congress to participate in Social Security as of January 1, 1984, regardless of when they first entered Congress. Because the CSRS was not designed to coordinate with Social Security, Congress directed the development of a new retirement plan for federal workers. The result was the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986.

Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans available to other federal employees. They become vested after five years of full participation.

Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS). Those elected prior to 1984 were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). In 1984 all members were given the option of remaining with CSRS or switching to FERS.

As it is for all other federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants' contributions. Members of Congress under FERS contribute 1.3 percent of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2 percent of their salary in Social Security taxes.

Members of Congress are not eligible for a pension until they reach the age of 50, but only if they've completed 20 years of service. Members are eligible at any age after completing 25 years of service or after they reach the age of 62. Please also note that Members of Congress have to serve at least 5 years to even receive a pension.

The amount of a congressperson's pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member's retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.

According to the Congressional Research Service, 413 retired Members of Congress were receiving federal pensions based fully or in part on their congressional service as of Oct. 1, 2006. Of this number, 290 had retired under CSRS and were receiving an average annual pension of $60,972. A total of 123 Members had retired with service under both CSRS and FERS or with service under FERS only. Their average annual pension was $35,952 in 2006.

Presidentís Salary

Effective January 1, 2001, the annual salary of the president of the United States was increased to $400,000 per year, including a $50,000 expense allowance.

The increase was approved as part of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act (Public Law 106-58), passed in the closing days of the 106th Congress.

"Sec. 644. (a) Increase in Annual Compensation.--Section 102 of title 3, United States Code, is amended by striking '$200,000' and inserting '$400,000'. (b) Effective Date.--The <<NOTE: 3 USC 102 note.>> amendment made by this section shall take effect at noon on January 20, 2001."

Vice Presidentís Salary
The salary of the vice president is currently (for 2009) $227,300

Presidential Retirement and Maintenance

Under the Former Presidents Act, each former president is paid a lifetime, taxable pension that is equal to the annual rate of basic pay for the head of an executive federal department -- $193,400 in 2009 Ė the same annual salary paid to secretaries of the Cabinet agencies.

Each former president and vice president may also take advantage of funds allocated by Congress to help facilitate their transition to private life. These funds are used to provide suitable office space, staff compensation, communications services, and printing and postage associated with the transition. As an example, Congress authorized a total of $1.5 million for the transition expenses of outgoing president George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle.

The Secret Service provides lifetime protection for former presidents who entered office before January 1, 1997, and for their spouses. Surviving spouses of former presidents receive protection until remarriage. Legislation enacted in 1984 allows former Presidents or their dependents to decline Secret Service protection.

Former Presidents and their spouses, widows, and minor children are entitled to treatment in military hospitals. Health care costs are billed to the individual at a rate established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Former Presidents and their dependents may also enroll in private health plans at their own expense.

 

Congress Votes Itself a Pay Raise
Salary will jump by $3,400 a year in 2004

By Robert Longley, About.com

Want a raise? Don't beg to your boss. Just vote yourself one. That's what the United States Congress just did. For the fifth year in a row, lawmakers voted not to reject their automatic "cost of living" raise that will increase the annual salary of members by $3,400 to a total of $158,103 per year.

In 1989, Congress passed an amendment allowing for the automatic raises, unless lawmakers specifically voted to reject it. Which Congress did, until 2000.

The fiscal year 2004 Transportation and Treasury Department Appropriations bill included Congress' 2.2 percent pay raise, along with a 4.1 percent raise for federal workers and military personnel.

"Members of Congress have the only job in the country whose occupants can set their own salary without regard to performance, profit, or economic climate," said Tom Schatz, president of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste in a press release. "Clearly, members must think that money grows on trees. With a $480 billion deficit, the escalating cost of the war in Iraq, and a stagnant economy, Congress should be curbing spending, not lining their pockets at our expense."

In the House of Representatives, Rep. Jim Matheson's (D-Utah, 2nd) motion to bring the pay raise to a separate vote was rejected 240-173. The Senate must still pass the bill and it must then be signed by President Bush before the pay raises can take effect. Individual members are free to refuse their pay increases, and some choose to do so.

Congress has now voted itself a total of $16,700 in raises over the last six years. Since 1990, congressional pay has increased from $98,400 to $154,700 in 2003.

Individual members are free to refuse their pay increases, and some choose to do so.

From 1789 to 1815, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 while in session. Members began receiving an annual salary in 1815, when they were paid $1,500 per year.

"This underserved pay raise is no surprise, as the 108th Congress has shown a voracious appetite for spending," Schatz concluded. "It goes to show how out of touch with reality politicians can be. They forget that their salaries are paid by taxpayers. Americans are being forced to tighten their beltsóif they even have a jobóyet members of Congress will have an extra $3,400 to do with as they please."

Presidentís Salary

Effective January 1, 2001, the annual salary of the president of the United States was increased to $400,000 per year, including a $50,000 expense allowance.

Senate Leadership
Majority Party Leader - $193,400
Minority Party Leader - $193,400

House Leadership
Speaker of the House - $223,500
Majority Leader - $193,400
Minority Leader - $193,400
Rank-and-File Members: The current salary (2009) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year.

"Sec. 644. (a) Increase in Annual Compensation.--Section 102 of title 3, United States Code, is amended by striking '$200,000' and inserting '$400,000'. (b) Effective Date.--The <<NOTE: 3 USC 102 note.>> amendment made by this section shall take effect at noon on January 20, 2001."

Vice Presidentís Salary
The salary of the vice president is currently (for 2009) $227,300

Presidential Retirement and Maintenance
Under the Former Presidents Act, each former president is paid a lifetime, taxable pension that is equal to the annual rate of basic pay for the head of an executive federal department -- $193,400 in 2009 Ė the same annual salary paid to secretaries of the Cabinet agencies.

Each former president and vice president may also take advantage of funds allocated by Congress to help facilitate their transition to private life. These funds are used to provide suitable office space, staff compensation, communications services, and printing and postage associated with the transition. As an example, Congress authorized a total of $1.5 million for the transition expenses of outgoing president George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sam says:
And to think that people actually get mad at people who lost their jobs and receive section eight, but don't even look at what we are paying those who rule us with nothing on their minds but power and money, even though they swore to look after the common people.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Peace can never be achieved on any lasting basis without greater understanding between people. When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
 ------Eleanor Roosevelt

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Menu

  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS

"God bless our troops," "Support our troops" are the two phrases always tied in with the defense of Bush and our government, who send our young off to foreign shores to defend the - - Iím not going to go there.

They are trying to make it appear that if a person does not support Bush, the government or the war, that they donít support the troops. I donít think that there are many people in this country who do not support our troops, those poor misguided souls that have been placed in harms way. This is a ploy to make those individuals, who buy into the rhetoric, regarding our reasons for being there, feel self righteous. They are trying to make it appear that those who disagree with the government are un-patriotic. What a cruel ploy. That is splitting this country in two.

These are the tactics Hitler and Stalin used to gain power. Remember what they did with that power? If you donít, then you have some reading to do. Briefly; through lies and extortion, they used the greed and ignorance of the people to imprison and enslave the entire populace. At that time, if you disagreed, you were either imprisoned or killed. Do we want that here? Remember, they not only imprisoned those who disagreed but those, who they thought disagreed. No one was safe, even those in official positions, who helped them gain power, were imprisoned or killed, along with their families. Power!

While we still have some freedom, let us seek out the truth. Not an easy thing to do, when itís the fashion in big corporations to cover up anything disagreeable with lies. Hitler said, "The bigger the lie, the more chance it will be accepted." Itís been proven time and again. I ask God to bless us with the truth and unite us before itís too late. God bless the troops. God bless the misguided, and show all of us the truth.
----Sam Younghans

Here is an open letter from the poet Sharon Olds to Laura Bush declining the invitation to read and speak at the National Book Critics Circle Award in Washington, DC. Forward it along if you feel more
people should read it.
Sharon Olds is one of most widely read and critically acclaimed poets living in America today. Read to the end of the letter to experience her restrained, chilling eloquence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Laura Bush
First Lady
The White House

Dear Mrs. Bush,
I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the White House.

In one way, it's a very appealing invitation. The idea of speaking at a festival attended by 85,000 people is inspiring! The possibility of finding new readers is exciting for a poet in personal terms, and in terms of the desire that poetry serve its constituents--all of us who need the pleasure, and the inner and outer news, it delivers.

And the concept of a community of readers and writers has long been dear to my heart. As a professor of creative writing in the graduate school of a major university, I have had the chance to be a part of some magnificent outreach writing workshops in which our students have become teachers. Over the years, they have taught in a variety of settings: a women's prison, several New York City public high schools, an oncology ward for children.

Our initial program, at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely physically challenged, has been running now for twenty years, creating along the way lasting friendships between young MFA candidates and their students--long-term residents at the hospital who, in their humor, courage and wisdom, become our teachers.

When you have witnessed someone nonspeaking and almost nonmoving spell out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion and
essentialness of writing.

When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a writer who is completely nonspeaking and nonmoving (except for the eyes), and pointed first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until you get to
the first letter of the first word of the first line of the poem she has been composing in her head all week, and she lifts her eyes when that letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh immediacy
the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy, honesty and wit--and the importance of writing, which celebrates the value of each person's unique story and song.

So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I thought of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach program. I thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books and meet some of the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could try to find a way, even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my deep feeling that we should not have invaded Iraq, and to declare my belief that the wish to invade another culture and another country--with the resultant loss of life and limb for our brave soldiers, and for the noncombatants in their home terrain--did not come out of our democracy but was instead a decision made "at the top" and forced on the people by distorted language, and by untruths. I hoped to express the fear that we have begun to live in the shadows of tyranny and religious chauvinism--the opposites of the liberty, tolerance and diversity our nation aspires to.

I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and its writing-against this undeclared and devastating war.

But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.

What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.

So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.
Sincerely,
SHARON OLDS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ABORTION

South Dakota is setting the example for the American people to follow. Wow!

Theyíve practically shut off the right to human choice. A right that so many young men and women have died for over the many years of war and strife. No matter what motives the government had for causing these wars, the troops were told it was for freedom; freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of choice, etc.. They went of to war and were killed or maimed for those reasons. Now some people with their minds still in the dark ages are taking control of those liberties.

If a person has a wart, it is permissible to remove it. Isnít that wart a living part of a human? If a person is convicted of a crime, it is permissible to execute (kill) that person. It is permissible to bomb cities and kill those in the path of the bombs. A pro-life organization answered the question of their feelings about war and executions, "Well, if the person was guilty and if the war was for our protection." So for the pro-life people it is okay to kill as long as it is not a fetus. How stupid! When I hear of those laws imposed on the people, I cry for all of those boys and girls who fought and died for our freedom.

It is the right of all people to decide what is good for their bodies. Look at all of the obese people in this country. If a woman becomes pregnant because of rape, fun or love; if she decides that it is wrong to have the child, no matter what the reason, she should be allowed to abort. No hitches or requirements to notify anyone about her choice. It should be between her and her doctor, period. If a teen has overbearing parents or abusive parents what good would it do to tell them before getting an abortion. We are truly in the dark ages.

People will do what they want, even if it is a law. So, where do those people go? We send them out to the mercy of this filthy world. Do you want your daughter to sneak off to some unknown place, to an unknown abortionist? She will, if you donít take off your blinders. Think beyond your selfishness.

 

Treason - trea-son: Disloyalty or treachery to oneís country; the illegal act of giving aide and comfort to enemies of oneís country. 
*Have you seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet? Every true American must see this. Our government gave aide to suspects of the 9/11 act of terrorism without questions. They were flown out of the country when all air flight was banned. They owned oil wells in Iraq.

News Break: about the war!!
More News Break: about the war!
A.N.S.W.E.R. International
A.N.S.W.E.R.in Los Angeles.
A.N.S.W.E.R. in Boston
A.N.S.W.E.R. Search:  9,720,000 sites that talk about the war.
Save Social Security

Messages to the President: Both pro and con are printed.

 Menu

Quotation by Victor Hugo

        The onward march of the human race requires that the heights around it constantly blaze with noble lessons of courage. Deeds of daring dazzle history and form one of man's guiding lights. The dawn dares when it rises. To strive , to brave all risks, to persist, to persevere, to be faithful to oneself, to grapple hand to hand with destiny, to surprise defeat by the slight terror it inspires, at one time to confront unjust power, at another to defy drunken triumph, to hold fast, to hold hard - such is the example nations need, and the light that electrifies them. -Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Dr. Toro Tsuji, expert on the writings of Victor Hugo

          The fundamental freedom that Rousseau and others called for was the freedom to stand up against tyranny and oppressive authority. Today freedom has become simply the right to indulge one's personal whims. Freedom is being abused. This is a terrible shame. True freedom is the freedom to bring down tyranny, the freedom to cut the chains of the oppression with one's own hands. - Dr. Toro Tsuji, expert on the writings of Victor Hugo

Daisaku Ikeda, President SGI

           Those who stand up to fight for people's freedom can savor a sense of genuine freedom in the depths of their lives. They are truly free. -------- To remain focused and committed to the path you have chosen in life, to pursue it with all of your energy, and to be able to say at the end of your life: "I'm satisfied. I have no regrets," is to be a victor in life. ---------To simply stand by in the face of injustice is cowardly and self-serving. Cowardice is the greatest enemy of justice. When something needs to be said, we must speak out loud and clear. - Daisaku Ikeda, President SGI

Sun Yat- Sen

         If you believe in yourself, you can even move mountains and fill in the ocean: no matter how difficult the task, you will see the day when you succeed. If you do not believe in yourself, you will not be able to even lift your own hand or snap a slim twig; no matter how easy the task, you will never see success. This is how important the mind is. It is the origin of all things. - Sun Yat- sen

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Embers of War
by Sam Younghans

The fires are out,
The war is over,
But, the embers glow on.

How long, how long,
before the fans of greed,
re-ignite the horror?

I See
by Russell Copley

I see the Rand is cold and on the rocks
Like Gerrie Coetzee on the ropes in
days gone by.
Shaken but not stirred.

Afrika.
Fallen to its knees again,
A posture we had hoped was forgotten
on British Colonials.

But still fresh manure is cast on fresh shit,
Like unwelcome Coke in a Nigerian's Nostril,
Covering the World's beautiful and most youthful continent in an excess of
Teenage Wildlife.

But the Beer flows
and the Fear grows
Lost on silent Ears.

Sadly, the World will not be watching
Contrary to indignant woes,
And posturing Shows,
of all those already
personally invested in the Dollar and sexless Freemasons.

You are on your own Africa,
Like your new found Aids cure,
your biggest opportunity for Global Integration
Has gone South.
Are you being betrayed by your own?

Yes, some say,
It's a leveling Field
Pol Pot's forgotten Buddhism
when Leaders plan the decimation of
their own kind,
in the interests of unemployment
and political hegemony.

No, Some say,
The Fields are being embraced,
Soon the men and women will 
be able to pick up from where they left off.
Ask any self-respecting Irish or Polish,
They will serve testament to how much
Repossession can heal a century,
And it will
Because it is on the Cards
with a helping hand from China.

Maybe, Others say,
The easiest choice:
Pack for Perth and San Diego
Me, myself I, Of that mind.
But how hollow some become after that choice,
How absent in the line of Soul.

But the Beer flows
and the Fear grows
Lost on silent Ears.
So Hello Afrika, Tell me how you're Doing!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Labels and Hate
We need a human revolution!

What happened to the UNITED in the "United States of America?" United we stand, divided we fall. Donít we all know that axiom? Yet we have split ourselves asunder. How did this happen. At one time people in the government cared. They worked for peace and equality. Now, The eyes of those people reflect dollar signs and they have labeled us according to voting choices.

The labels we have given ourselves is splitting this country into pieces. Hate is taking over. To hate is to be ignorant. Ignorance is the lack of knowledge. The right hate the left, the left hate the right, conservatist, liberals, democrats, republicans all hate each other. Listen to Rush Limbaugh sometime, if you can stand it. He has done more to split this country than any 100 men.

Frankly, I don't know what I am. I like money as much as the next man. Does that make me a conservatist? I believe in saving the environment. Does that make me a bleeding liberal? I'm registered and an independent. Does that make me a traitor? I believe women should be allowed to make their own decisions about their bodies. I don't know what that makes me. I believe war is stupid and can be avoided. I can't stand to see young boys and girls slaughtered. And I believe when it says "Thou shalt not kill" that it means everybody. I really don't want to be labeled. I want to work with everyone. I don't feel like hating anyone. I never did and don't want to start now. I am lost. 

Maybe I could start by hating the weather. Too damn hot, too friggin' cold. Or maybe I could hate cats, or hate dogs. That could be a starter. Then maybe in time I could learn to hate human beings. Then maybe I could get a label. Is the label that important? I like people, I don't want to hate them. I don't need a label.

Placing labels on people makes it easier to kill them. One of the headlines In The San Diego Union Tribune the other day read "Mexican Soldiers Kill 11 Rebels". What if the headline read "Humans in soldier uniforms killed 11 humans in rebel uniforms" Either way you put it, 11 human beings were killed by other human beings.

Life is our most precious gift, to take life away from any one individual is a crime against all mankind. At one time these "rebels" were born, had parents, were children and then became adults who wanted something better for their people, and they were willing to put their lives on the line for their belief. There was something wrong with the way they were being treated and they wanted to change it. I am not making judgments, but isn't that they way our forefathers felt when they rebelled against their English government.

Rebels cause revolutions, revolutions cause change (good and bad). If the governments listened to the people and served the people instead of being so self-serving, would there be rebels? There may be criminals (another label) but no rebels.

Labels make it easy to hate, mistreat, rip off, and kill.. When we see each other as human beings instead of labels we will be starting the biggest revolution in the world; human revolution. If we conquer hate, we will be the most victorious rebels in the world. Stop hate and there will be peace. Human beings will be victorious.

Hate is taught, we don't come into this world with hate. To teach hate is the most criminal of all acts against mankind. Teach compassion and soon there will be no reason to hate. So simple, yet so hard. It starts with you. Can you wear it?

Sam Younghans - August 21, 2004


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back to "messages to the president"

The Prisoner by Emily BrontŽ

He comes with Western win winds,
 with evening’s wondering airs,
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars.
Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire,
And visions rise, and change, that kill me with desire.

But, first, a hush of peace – a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distress, and fierce impatience ends;
Mute music soothes my breast – unuttered harmony,
That I could never dream, till earth was lost to me.

Then dawns the invisible; the Unseen its truths reveals;
My outward sense is gone, my inward essence feels;
Its wings are almost free – it’s home, its harbor found,
Measuring the Gulf, it swoops and dares the final bound.

Oh! dreadful is the check – intense the agony –
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again;
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To kill is to murder 
A person who orders someone killed is as guilty as the killer.
When does a soul enter the body?
Questions for politicians
Yes or no questions based on morals.
Are these definitions true or false?
Is there right and wrong?
Define right.
Define wrong.
Are there gray areas for right and wrong?
Is one act right for one person and wrong for another?
Define morally right.
Define morally wrong.
Is a morally wrong act, right in any other context?
Is a morally wrong act, done in the name of business, right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From Show Biz by Abel Green and Joe Laurie, Jr.- Page 524.- "Co-producer Joshua Logan, himself an ex-GI, waxed plenty sore at General Thomas T. Handy who banned Mister Roberts - which had "soothed" President Truman - from his European command. General Handy's wife thought Roberts "too rough" for our German Occupation Army GIs!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~