Flowers #5A

I must admit that I have absolutely no idea what type of flower this is.  I shot this photo a couple of years ago having spotted it during one of my walks to my local library.  The great thing about walking, besides the obvious health benefits, is that I get the opportunity to check out all the flower gardens along the way, always on the lookout for some unique flowers to shoot, something that I most likely would not do if I made the journey via automobile.  Then, there are all the interesting folks I’ve met along the journey.

Note: I sometimes will double-check the quality level of photographs I have posted on WordPress.com on a computer at my local library to verify that the quality of the photographs posted are the same on a computer different from my own.  On more than one occasion, I have been embarrassed by what I saw.  I have tried contacting support to see what could be causing this problem, but have yet to determine what the exact cause is or how often it occurs.

I have also yet to figure out what is causing some of the uploaded photographs to look slightly askew when viewing the finished posting.  This is not the case of the actual photograph scanned onto my computer (yes, I still proudly shoot film) nor when I first upload them to my WordPress.com blog page.  Again, I am sometimes embarrassed by the final product, as it appears that I care very little by their actual appearance.  As a neat freak and a perfectionist (both a blessing and a curse), this is far from the truth.

If I am fortunate enough to have you view my work, and you find the quality of my photographs lacking, please let me know via a viewer comment.

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #5E

I must admit that I have absolutely no idea what type of flower this is.  I shot this photo a couple of years ago having spotted it during one of my walks to my local library.  The great thing about walking, besides the obvious health benefits, is that I get the opportunity to check out all the flower gardens along the way, always on the lookout for some unique flowers to shoot, something that I most likely would not do if I made the journey via automobile.  Then, there are all the interesting folks I’ve met along the journey.

Note: I sometimes will double-check the quality level of photographs I have posted on WordPress.com on a computer at my local library to verify that the quality of the photographs posted are the same on a computer different from my own.  On more than one occasion, I have been embarrassed by what I saw.  I have tried contacting support to see what could be causing this problem, but have yet to determine what the exact cause is or how often it occurs.

I have also yet to figure out what is causing some of the uploaded photographs to look slightly askew when viewing the finished posting.  This is not the case of the actual photograph scanned onto my computer (yes, I still proudly shoot film) nor when I first upload them to my WordPress.com blog page.  Again, I am sometimes embarrassed by the final product, as it appears that I care very little by their actual appearance.  As a neat freak and a perfectionist (both a blessing and a curse), this is far from the truth.

If I am fortunate enough to have you view my work, and you find the quality of my photographs lacking, please let me know via a viewer comment.

Steven H. Spring

Is This The Best The Buckeyes Will Play This Season?

Reading the Columbus Dispatch sports section this past Saturday morning, waiting to watch the number sixteen ranked, 3-0 Ohio State Buckeyes totally demolish 37 point underdog, 0-2 University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers, I was dumbfounded when I read the comment by Coach Urban Meyer stating that there won’t be much improvement by the team throughout the season.  Are you kidding me?

During the course of a normal season, a really good college team plays a twelve game regular season, then plays in its conference title game and a bowl game.  I understand that team practices are regulated and limited by the N.C.A.A., but if you are a good team, how do you not get better after playing so many games and participating in four months worth of practices?  Maybe it has something to do with playing far inferior teams.  With the hiring of one of the premier college football coaches in America and his certified genius, offensive coordinator Tom Herman, I expected great things finally for the Buckeye offense that over the years has always seemed to play not to lose rather than playing to win.  However, for the most part, this year’s team has played more like last year’s train wreck.

After moving converted tight end Jake Stoneburner back to wide receiver due to lack of quality playmakers this past spring, I expected him to have a breakout year.  Yet, the only time I saw him Saturday was after the Buckeyes scored its third touchdown, when he was sitting next to quarterback Braxton Miller on the bench.  The only thing this year’s offense has over the last dozen years of very conservative play is that in its hurry-up mode, this year’s team runs about twenty more lackadaisical plays per game than in the past.  Then there was the blocked punt on the Buckeye’s first possession, which Alabama-Birmingham scored its only touchdown, a punt that was blocked before the kicker even kicked the ball.  One game announcer stated that Ohio State had changed it punt-blocking scheme earlier in the week.  After the game, UAB Coach Garrick McGee was quoted as saying, it will be the easiest punt they block all season.  That comment is what is called an understatement.

If Coach Meyer is honest in his teaching abilities, and this is the best his team will play this season, I would like to adjust my pre-season prediction of this year’s team finishing the year with a 10-2 record.  The manner in which they played Saturday, this team will probably be lucky to finish 6-6.  Oh, by the way, this game was much closer than the 29-15 final score.

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

 

 

 

 

Is Mitt Romney One Of The Forty-Seven Percent He So Despises?

Isn’t it rather ironic that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who seems nearly every day to decry President Barack Obama for engaging in class warfare because he has the audacity to state that he believes rich folk such as Romney should pay their fair share of income tax, yet in a rare moment of truth told a group of $50,000 a plate campaign contributors that “There are forty-seven percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.  All right, there are forty-seven percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.  That that’s an entitlement.  And the government should give it to them.  And they will vote for this president no matter what… These are people who pay no income tax.  My job is not to worry about those people.  I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

As someone who survives on $698.00 a month in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, I am one of the forty-seven percent whom Mr. Romney speaks, one of “those people,” as he likes to refer to us as.  I receive SSI benefits because I was a state government employee ever since my Navy days during the late 1970s and as such, never paid a great deal into Social Security.  However, this is my only means of income; I have no other income to supplement.  Moreover, since being kicked off Medicaid four years ago because future state retirement benefits that I do not currently receive still count as income against me for some asinine reason, I rely on the VA for my medical benefits.  In Romney’s eyes, I am nothing more than a freeloading, deadbeat moocher.  I am insulted by Mr. Romney’s characterization of me as such, since he has no knowledge of and obviously does not care how I came to be in such a dire predicament.  Along with myself, the forty-seven percent of Americans he so despises include among others, the elderly, veterans and the working poor.  If Mr. Romney wants to characterize Americans, let me characterize him because this attitude reeks of nothing more than an out of touch elitist, one who detests the common man.

Owning several multi-million dollar homes throughout the country, one of which has an elevator for his too numerous cars, I believe it safe to say that Mr. Romney has taken full advantage of the income tax deduction for home mortgage interest.  Over the course of a thirty-year mortgage, this deduction for a multi-million dollar mansion has most likely amounted to millions of dollars, saving several hundred thousand dollars if not many times that in taxes for poor Mr. Romney.  Yet, he has the audaciousness to criticize someone like me because I will receive a total of $8,376 in SSI benefits this year.

Yes, there is class warfare being waged in this country and has been for some time.  When America first started shipping its manufacturing jobs overseas in the 1970s, along with it decent paying jobs for the working class, this nation began its downward spiral of rapidly becoming a nation of have’s and have not’s.  Yes, there is a redistribution going on in America, but it is not as Mr. Romney now likes to mock President Obama by referring to a fourteen-year-old video clip.  The redistribution that has been going on for nearly five decades is the redistribution of wealth going to the upper one percent of the nation at the expense of the working class and poor.  The United States has the highest income inequality among all developed countries.  Under President Clinton, forty-five percent of total income gains went to the top one percent, under President Bush the figure was sixty-five percent, while under President Obama the figure is a staggering ninety-three percent.  Since 1979, the top one percent of wage earners income rose two hundred and seventy-five percent while the bottom twenty percent of earners income rose a paltry eighteen percent.  With the Supreme Court ruling two years ago that removed almost all monetary limits on campaign contributions, this nation has reached the tipping point in governance.  Are we a great democracy or are we nothing more than a plutocracy, ruled by the wealthy elite?

Maybe the number one rule in politics is that if you have bad news to report, release it on Friday afternoon, as most Americans will not notice.  That being said, Mr. Romney released his 2011 tax return at 3:00 yesterday afternoon.  What bad news could possibly warranted this Friday release?  It seems that Romney paid $1.9 million in taxes on $13.7 million in earnings, an effective rate of slightly more than fourteen percent.  However, there is more to this return than what appears.  It seems that Romney claimed a charitable deduction of only $2.25 million despite actually donating more than $4 million.  For what reason could Romney possibly have for not taking the entire charitable deduction?  If he had deducted the entire $4 million in contributions, his effective tax rate would have been an astounding nine percent.  It is for this very reason why George W. Romney, Mitt’s father, stated during his unsuccessful 1968 presidential campaign that he was releasing twelve years worth of tax returns because one or two years could be an abnormality.  In a sadly ironic twist to his 2011 tax return, Mr. Romney could still deduct the entire charitable contribution by amending his taxes during the next three years.  It would not surprise me one bit if Romney has already filed an amended return for 2011.  Not long ago, Mr. Romney opined that “I don’t pay more than legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president.  I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.”  By his own standards, Mitt Romney is unqualified to be the president of the United States.

The Christian bible, in Luke 12:48, states in part …For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required, and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”  Either the Mormon faith does not reflect this belief, or Romney as a church deacon does not.  For he seems to believe that to whom much is given, much more is deserved.  In another section of his recently uncovered infamous speech, Romney said that the economy would get a boast just by his election alone, without him doing a thing.  This man must be more than just a church deacon, he must be a savior!

As a politician, Mr. Romney should be embarrassed by his comments.  As one who professes to be a Christian, he should be ashamed of himself.  And as a taxpayer who paid an income tax rate less than fourteen percent on nearly twenty-two million dollars of earnings for 2010, and in reality will pay a rate of nine percent on earnings of nearly $14 million once he amends his 2011 return, rates far lower than ninety-nine percent of almost every hard-working American, Mitt Romney should keep his mouth shut when it comes to government entitlements, for he is the biggest moocher of them all!

Steven H. Spring

 

 

 

 

It’s Only Just A Matter Of Time!

While pickin’ a little this past Saturday night, plugged in, headphones on, as to be able to play as loud as tolerable and not offend my neighbors, I was watching the Tennessee-Florida football game, all the while having programmed the TV to switch over to the Southern Cal-Stanford game at 7:30 before catching the start of Michigan State-Notre Dame game at 8:00.  I would eventually end up watching whichever game developed into the best contest for the evening.  A big hearty thanks goes out to the Zenith Radio Corporation, who in 1950 designed the first remote control for a television, which had the rather ironic name of Lazy Bones.

It was while watching the Fox network opening for the Southern Cal-Notre Dame game that made me wonder which was worse; was it those idiots who produced a twenty-minute movie that ridiculed one billion Muslims, who not long along thanked America for finally removing some tyrannical dictator long kept in power by U.S. might, be it dollars, hi-grade weapons, or both. Or was it the Fox network for doing a comical satire of a military assault on the two game announcers who for some unknown reason needed saving.  I never did figure out the joke as a commando or two’s head exploded, covering the announcers in some sort of pink slime, I believe as I am colored blind.

Four days after this nation mourned the eleventh anniversary of September 11th, we have begun mocking the admirable tasks as performed by this nation’s military, all the while this nation is still at war.  Four days after riots broke out in many Middle East cities, that resulted in the death of the US ambassador to Libya and three others because someone thought it funny to once again poke fun at one of the world‘s oldest and preeminent religions, we make light of a very serious and deadly matter.  How long will it be before we celebrate 9/11 (I never did think it patriotic calling it that) as all other national holidays?  It will most likely be turned into a three-day holiday weekend, with government workers having the day off and newspapers and the airwaves saturated for several weeks with crass mass advertising.  It’s only just a matter of time!

Steven H. Spring

 

 

 

 

Comparison Of Mitt Romney’s Taxes Versus Mine

It is rather ironic that we have a Republican candidate for president of the United States of America who hides millions of dollars in notorious overseas tax havens such as Bermuda, The Cayman Islands and Switzerland, yet the village of South Charleston, Ohio, has subpoenaed me to appear before them to explain why I did not file a tax return for the year ended 2010, having done so for three years.  Is it really any business of the village why I did not file a tax return?

If any one really wants to know, the reason why I did not file a tax return is that I had to quit my part-time job working nine and a half hours a week earning $5.00 an hour (well below federally mandated minimum wage) mowing the grass for my apartment complex because of health problems.  As for Mitt Romney, the reason why any one hides their millions of dollars in foreign tax shelters is to secrete their money from Uncle Sam in order to avoid paying their fair share of taxes!

Steven H. Spring

 

 

 

 

The Twin Towers #101, 101A & 101C

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The Twin Towers was the name most people referred to 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower) and 2 World Trade Center (the South Tower).  These two buildings, along with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 World Trade Center, comprised the World Trade Center complex, which stood in lower Manhattan, in New York City until September 11, 2001.  The total cost of the complex was $400 million.  When the Twin Towers, designed by Minoru Yamasaki and Emery Roth, were opened on April 4, 1973, they were the tallest buildings in the world, standing 110 stories.

On September 11, 2001, in arguably the most horrific act of terrorism ever committed in a single day, members of al-Qaeda, an Islamist militant group that was founded by Osama bin Laden, flew a Boeing 767 jetliner into each tower.  One hour later, the South Tower had collapsed followed a half hour later by the North Tower.  By the end of this ghastly day, 7 World Trade Center had also collapsed, leaving 2,753 people dead and many more injured.  All other World Trade Center buildings were later demolished due to being damaged beyond repair.

In the coordinated terrorist attack on that fateful Tuesday morning eleven years ago, nineteen members al-Qaeda hijacked a total of four planes.  One of the four crashed into the Pentagon, located in Washington, D.C., the fourth plane crashed in a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers, who learned of the other hijackings via cellphones, attempted to retake control of the plane.  All told, nearly three thousand innocent people lost their lives that horrendous day.

I know a great many Americans will disagree with me, however, I find it troubling that there has yet to be any serious national debate concerning why we were attacked on that apocalyptic day.  Though most Americans will strongly dispute it, Osama bin Laden did give a reason for the attack, that being the presence of American troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, the most holy of land in the Islamist religion.  American troops, infidels to many if not all Muslims, were still stationed in Saudi Arabia ten years after the first Gulf War ended.  We must not forget that this nation armed bin Laden when he was in Afghanistan fighting the former Soviet Union during the 1980s.  This nation has a very long history of leaving behind its military troops long after a war has ended.

The United States is still engaged in the two longest wars in its history, that being Iraq and Afghanistan, which are both a direct result of the September 11th terrorist attack.  Yet, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney threatened to attack both Iran and Russia during his recent acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.  It is America’s foreign policy that a great many citizens throughout the world greatly despised.

Steven H. Spring