Tag Archives: politics

The time is now!

Did you know?

From one of my daily news feeds.

“Though Californians will still rely on the U.S. Postal Service to receive a blank ballot, the vast majority can bypass the unpredictability of the USPS and the risk of in-person voting by using a ballot drop-off box at any vote center in their county. For those who must mail a ballot, this year the three-day grace period has been extended to 17 days after the election.

Is this system perfect? Of course not — no system is. In the March primary, more than 100,000, or 1.5%, of the 7 million mail ballots cast were disqualified for various reasons, though by far the most common problem was that the ballots either were postmarked after election day or didn’t arrive at election headquarters within the grace period.”

I have been voting for 44 years and in seven states. After standing in line for eight hours to vote in November 1980, I switched to absentee ballots and, since May 1993 here in San Diego, permanent mail voter. All of the states allowed for mail and absentee ballots to be dropped off at polling locations, and all of them had a one- or two-day grace period for receiving absentee, mail, and overseas ballots.

Secretaries of State have 30 days to certify the results of their elections, and then another 30 days to transmit those results to Congress. Congress then certifies the results and transmits them to the Electors. Considering that Congress is on Thanksgiving and Christmas break, the earliest they can get the election results is January 3 of the year following the election.

Call your Registrar of Voters TODAY to find out the options to ensure that your vote gets counted this year. The time is now!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

Why I don’t donate money anymore—Part 1


I was born and raised in Kingsville, Texas….

Deep South Texas.

A bastion of Republican citizens.

Still is.

Great Nation of TexasI was arch-conservative until 1993 when I escaped the Great Nation of Texas and, after 22 days on the road looking for a place to live in one of those 49 foreign states, wound up in San Diego.

I had been politically active since 1972, my junior year in high school. I even donated a few dollars of my allowance savings to the campaign fund for Richard Nixon. I kept volunteering time and donating money through 2002, Republican candidates through April 1993 and Democrats from 1993 to 2002.

So what happened in April 1993 and in 2002?

In April 1993, after arriving in San Diego and deciding to stay, I starting working for Democrat candidates donating money and volunteering my time to make calls and work on campaigns. I still was a registered Republican, thinking that I would try to work within the Republican system to change it. That never worked. It wasn’t until 2013 that I finally switched my registration from Republican to Democrat.

Texas A&M UniversityWhat happened in 2002 started in Spring 1976 when I was a junior at Texas A&M University.

One of my required courses was Economics 301. My professor was Dr. Phil Gramm. (Google or Wikipedia him for more detailed information than what I will provide in my measly little blog post here.) He was a tenured professor making around $75,000 per year.

Gramm resigned his tenured professorship at Texas A&M University and went into politics. He lost his first election in 1976 when he ran as a Democrat against popular U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, also a Democrat. He decided to start smaller, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, as a Democrat, being re-elected in 1980 and 1982. He was what now is called a DINO, a Democrat In Name Only. The American Conservative Union (ACU) gave Gramm a score of 89 for his first four years in office. That’s extraordinary for a Democrat. Usually the ACU score for Democrats is well below 50%, and during any year averages about 10%, with most of them getting a well-deserved score of 0%. For comparison, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, often gets a 100% rating.

Due to differences with the Democratic leadership in the House, Gramm resigned from Congress on January 5, 1983. He then ran as a Republican in the Texas special election to fill his vacated seat. He won. Gramm became the first Republican to represent the Texas 6th District since its creation in 1846.

In 1984, Gramm was elected U.S. Senator from Texas, as a Republican, and served in that position from January 3, 1985 to November 30, 2002, being re-elected twice.

When Gramm retired, newspapers throughout the world announced that he had $64 million in his campaign war chest. He got to keep that money. Did not have to turn it over to the State of Texas or the U.S. government. Did not have to return—indeed, DID NOT return—any of it to those who had donated to his campaigns throughout the years, or to his constituents as a “Thank you for your support all these years!”

One person who donated consistently to his campaigns was yours truly. I got not a single cent back. It was that $64 million that resulted in me having never ever ever contributed another cent to a political campaign. I have volunteered my time, but not a single politician at any level is getting a penny of my hard-earned cash.

You can easily see the benefits of running for election, raising lots of money, and losing. You have to lose or retire, though. Another caveat is that the money has to be for a specific campaign. If you were a Senator but ran for President (Bernie Sanders, 2016), you had a presidential campaign war chest. If you lost the presidential campaign, the money in the presidential campaign war chest is yours to keep. The money in the senatorial campaign war chest had to remain there because you still were a Senator. All you have to do to verify this is look at Sanders’ tax returns since he released them in his latest campaign for president.

If Gramm had continued as a tenured professor at Texas A&M University through age 65, his salary with no raises would have been $2,126,300. As it was, he retired from politics at age 60 with $64,000,000, an annual salary of about $150,000, and great health benefits. Now you know why even rich people (Darrell Issa, net worth over $250 million) go into politics. They don’t give a crap about you and me. They are in it for the easy money and the power that comes with money.

Yet people continue to ask how Congresspersons and Senators become millionaires on their measly six-figure salaries….

Part 2 tomorrow.

Fight organized crime

SNIPPETS (2-7-17)



I’m reading an article on LED vs. CFL vs. incandescent light bulbs. The average life span is 22.8 years for LED, 9 years for CFL, and 1 year for incandescent. So if I replace all my bulbs with LED’s, how are the big corporations supposed to make money? Wouldn’t they be making 22 times less money? If President Bannon finds out, he’ll issue an executive order making LED’s illegal, I’m sure.


Please let me know when and where the next paid protests are. I’m available 24/7 and I don’t charge more for overnight protests.

Inclement weather protest surcharge: rain, 10%; snow, 25%; hurricane, 50%; tornado, 100%.

25% discount if the protests involve women, blacks, queers, animals, children, health, veterans, homeless, or immigrants.

50% discount if the protest involves black lesbian immigrant women with minimum one pet, minimum one child (preferably sick but not required), and dating a homeless veteran.

Thank you for your consideration.


In this new world of alternative facts, here is a picture of Zoey the Cool Cat in her new home, a box I brought home from Costco. She loves these Costco boxes.

Zoey the Cool Cat's new box


Favorite Facebook comment yesterday:
“I learned about the Bowling Green Massacre in my alternative history class taught by Betsy DeVos. Angry grizzlies were involved.”


I would like to do more videos for my YouTube channel but I’m not encouraged because I uploading a 22-minute video last night. Two hours and 9 minutes just to upload it and then another 27 minutes for processing. How do people upload 2-hour concert videos?


Did you know that the longest YouTube video is 596½ hours long? If it took me 156 minutes for a 22-minute video, it would take 253,784 minutes to upload and process 596½ hours. That’s 176 days and 6 hours. I guess if I were going to do something like that I would hire someone to do the work for me, which would make me a job creator, yes?


My wise old grandmother taught me to add laughter to each day. This new administration is adding to much laughter to my day that I’m afraid I’m going to have a hernia from laughing so much. Then, since the Republicans will have taken away my health insurance by that time, I’ll be finished.


Sean Spicer, President Bannon’s Press Secretary, argued that Bannon’s policies to protect this country, to create jobs, to grow the economy do not receive the same amount of coverage as protests. Spicer believes that members of the media don’t cover some of those events to the extent that other events might get covered. Protests, for example, get blown out of the water with all-out coverage yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn’t get the same coverage.

One could argue that the press coverage of a certain person was all blown out of the water during the last two years, that another person’s coverage did not receive the same amount as his, and all that free coverage of alternative facts resulted in said person now being president…………….smh


So for every $1 that California sends the federal government, it gets 78¢ back in terms of federal funding. I’m thinking that if President Bannon defunds California, as he threatened to do Sunday in an interview, California should just defund the federal government. As my wise old grandmother said 50 years ago, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”


I need a margarita. You will join me, yes?

Margaritas at On The Border in El Cajon, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Maybe I’ll just wonder and have another margarita.

Did you know?

An article at gobankingrates.com really caught my attention on August 29. It was titled “The Most and Least Successful States.” Wow. That’s open to interpretation. Who gets to decide which state is the most successful, the least successful? What criteria? What’s the timeline? Oh, my head was exploding with anticipation of having a few moments to sit down and read the article. Last night I had that opportunity.

Not much in the article surprised me as to the most and least successful states. What did surprise me was the extraordinary amount of data gobankingrates used to come to their conclusions:

  • the average income of the top 1 percent
  • the average income of the bottom 99 percent
  • the states’ poverty rates
  • the percentage of the states’ population in the upper, middle, and lower classes
  • the number of millionaire households
  • the ratio of millionaires to total households
  • and the number of billionaires

The Most Successful States, according to their analysis, are:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Maryland
  3. New Jersey
  4. Massachusetts
  5. New Hampshire
  6. District of Columbia (technically not a State, but whatever)
  7. California
  8. Alaska
  9. North Dakota
  10. Virginia

In the last three presidential elections—2012, 2008, 2004—the top seven of those states voted for the Democratic candidate. Of the last three in that Top 10, Alaska and North Dakota voted Republican three times, and Virginia voted Democrat twice and Republican once. The article didn’t tell me any of that; my research did.

The Least Successful States:

  1. Mississippi
  2. New Mexico
  3. West Virginia
  4. Arkansas
  5. Kentucky
  6. Alabama
  7. South Carolina
  8. Louisiana
  9. Tennessee
  10. Arizona

In the last three presidential elections—2012, 2008, 2004—all except New Mexico voted Republican all three elections! New Mexico voted Democrat twice and Republican once.

The most successful states are predominantly Democratic states and the least successful states are predominantly Republican. Interesting.

Here is a map I created based on the 2012 presidential election; blue states voted for Obama and red states voted for Romney. The number in each state is its place on the most successful state list; low numbers are successful states and high numbers are unsuccessful states.

Most successful states

Look at the South. How depressing, IMHO. Using the Mason-Dixon line as the dividing point, the southern states rank 22, 31, 35, 40 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, and 51.

Interestingly, along with the least successful states being Republican states, they also are the most religious states. Here’s the Top 10 most religious states, all red Republican states:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Utah
  3. Alabama
  4. South Carolina
  5. Louisiana
  6. Arkansas
  7. Tennessee
  8. North Carolina
  9. Georgia
  10. Oklahoma

So what gives? Are the religious Republicans not praying for success, for financial well-being? Is that not a goal of theirs? Wouldn’t their greater success and their tithing mean greater success for their churches and religions? I’m just so confused.

As I was pouring over maps and data, I found that the southern states were pretty much blue Democratic states from 1952 to 1976. But there was a change taking place, and it took only one generation for that change to fully occur, starting in 1960 when Alabama and Mississippi voted for a third party candidate.

In 1964, the whole nation except for Arizona and five southern states voted Democratic. Was it a sympathy vote after Kennedy was assassinated?

In 1968, George Wallace, he of Alabama segregation fame (or dishonor, if you will), won the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. It should be noted that Wallace considered himself a Conservative Democrat.

In 1972, the whole nation except for Massachusetts voted Republican, and 1976 was the last time that the South voted Democratic. In 1980 the South turned reliably Republican. Only a few states have broken from the Republican fold since 1980, most notably Florida in the 2012 and 2008 elections.

So the generation that came immediately after World War II effectively changed the outlook of the two parties. Look at the following meme of the 1956 Republican Party platform, exactly the opposite of the GOP’s goals the past 20 years or so.

1956 GOP platform

Of course, politics is not a top down event; there is no trickle down politics. Politics start locally.

What I would love to do is see who was in charge of the cities, counties, and states since World War II. That would probably be much more telling than the presidential election. Unfortunately, I have to work and pay my creditors, and doing wonderful research on who has been in charge of America locally since World War II probably is not going to pay my bills.

Hmmmm. Maybe YOU would sponsor me? Or perhaps I could create a GoFundMe account. Or maybe I’ll just wonder and have another margarita.

If you’re interested in the ranking and how the states voted from 2012 all the way back to 1952, I created that list, too:

Most successful states by presidential vote, 1952-2012

Got margarita?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Fight organized crime


Several decades ago I had a Professor Phil Gramm as my Economics 301 professor at Texas A&M University. Many might recognize the name. He quit a tenured (guaranteed for life) position at Texas A&M in order to enter politics. He served as a United States Congressman from 1979 to 1985 (Democrat from 1979 to 1983 and Republican from 1983 to 1985), and a United States Senator (Republican) from 1985 to 2002.

When Gramm retired from the Senate in 2002, papers throughout the nation noted that he was retiring with $64 million in his campaign war chest, some of it from me. Did he send me my money back? Nope. He just got to keep $64 million, all for himself.

That explained to me why wealthy people (think DuPont, Kennedy, Issa, etc.) enter politics. They don’t do it to serve the public. Far from it. Rather, they enter it for the power and money. Face it. One hundred Senators and 435 Congresspersons out of 319 million people are special, i.e., powerful.

A tenured position at Texas A&M back then was paying about $125,000, so if we presumed that Gramm never got a raise and worked 30 years at Texas A&M, he would have made a mere $3,750,000. That doesn’t begin to compare to $64 million (which DOES NOT include his annual salary as a Congressman and Senator!). Then you add in all the perks, like the greatest health insurance in the world, an annual lifetime salary of $100,000 or so after retiring, meals, overseas trips paid for by donors, etc.

Ever since 2002, I have been pretty pessimistic about politicians. I firmly believe that every politician lies. It’s in their job descriptions. In order to be successful (i.e., elected and re-elected), you must lie. What voters have to determine is who is telling the best (i.e., most truthful) lies, or at the least, the lies we like the best. At the moment, I’m pretty much a fan of the lies that the Democrats tell. They make more sense to me, seem to be more compassionate and fair.

I also am a fan of term limits, believing that if term limits are good enough for the President of the United States (two terms; that’s it!), they ought to be good enough for everyone else. So here’s what I would suggest everyone do when voting in next month’s elections:

Fight organized crime

Of course, few will listen to me. I predict that at least 85% of the incumbents will be re-elected……….. 😦

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Monkey at the San Diego Zoo

It’s all in the eyes!

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I joined the seventh grade debate team, my wise old grandmother told me to look. “Look at your opponent, look at the moderator, look at the audience. It’s all in the eyes!” she said. She was right.

Obama lost the first presidential debate because he did not look at Romney, did not look at the moderator, did not look at the audience, did not look at the camera. He looked down, almost as if he were sleeping, disinterested, maybe even hanging his head in shame.

In the vice-presidential debate, Ryan (some of my friends call him “Lyin’ Ryan”) did much of the same thing. He drank so much that I thought he was drinking margaritas because I’m pretty sure mere water wouldn’t be worth a drink every five seconds. He spent a lot of time taking notes. For what? It’s not like there would be a test afterwards, and surely his memory could remember something said 30 seconds earlier. When he did look at Biden, he had this weird smirk on his face. And that Eddie Munster hairline doesn’t help matters any……….

Republicans say Biden was rude by interrupting. Better to interrupt those lies rather than let them be spouted out as fact! (Go Joe!) Joe even looked directly at the camera several times, saying, “Folks, listen to me….” or “Folks, here are the facts…..” or “Folks, who do you trust here?” That’s another area where Obama failed. He let Romney spout all those lies as if they were fact, and unfortunately the public believed them. That’s why it’s important to interrupt those lies.

Now on to serious things.

When I was at a photographic art exhibit a couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of talking with the photographer. His work was of flowers and birds. I learned from him how to get my pictures of red and yellow flowers to be more realistic than what my camera was giving me (remember that my wise old grandmother also said “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”). I also learned from him why I liked his bird pictures so much. It’s all in the eyes!

To wit, here is a picture of a monkey at the San Diego Zoo:

Monkey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s a good picture but I wanted something a little more from it. After realizing that a lot of that monkey’s emotions is in the eyes, I knew what had to be done. I needed to photoshop those eyes so you could see what’s in them:

Oh, no! I see a Twit!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Subtle, yet seeing those eyes adds a lot to the picture, to the emotions of the monkey and to the emotions of the viewer. All I did was highlight the two eyes and then increase the brightness some. Took all of 30 seconds in Photoshop.

It’s all in the eyes!

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fight organized crime

My rant for the political season

Ever wonder why rich people get into politics? I used to, but no more.

When I was a junior at Texas A&M University, Phil Gramm was my Economics 301 professor. He was tenured at the time but left in 1978 for public office, eventually becoming one of the two United States Senators from Texas. When he decided not to run for re-election, I read that he had a campaign war chest of $64 million, which he got to keep, and after only 17 years as a Senator and 23 years in public office. He would never have made $64 million in 23 years as a tenured economics professor. Even Nobel laureates don’t make that kind of money.

Therein lies the secret to politics. It’s not about serving the public. It’s about making money, either through that campaign war chest, various benefits (sometimes illegal) as a so-called public servant (see San Diego’s own Duke Cunningham), or the money that comes afterwards through all the connections made while in politics (see Newt Gingrich).

Here in California we have term limits on many public offices, something that I’m highly in favor of. Unfortunately, when someone is “termed out of office,” all they do is go run for a different office. And because they have name recognition and money, they often win. When they are termed out of that office, it’s on to another office. And round and round we go….

I think there should be no such thing as a career politician. That’s where the problem is. If you want to take a break from your regular job and serve the public, great. Go do it. But don’t expect politics to be your road to riches. Two, four, or six years, and that’s it! Go back to your real job. Make it so that people have to take four or six years off before they are able to run for another public office. If they want to continue serving the public during those years, well, anyone can volunteer for just about anything. Let’s have some new people with new ideas.

If two terms is good enough for the President of the United States, it should be good enough for anyone.

Career politicians are nothing but organized crime, but we can….

Fight organized crime

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