Gas Prices, Cafe vs Tax
damage to credibility
Saving Traditional Marriage
naked social security
Forgiving Baghdad Debt
one nation under Allah
medicare and I will pay for obesity
cheap gas
SUV-SOV-CO2
oil-for-food money
tax cuts and tax cuts
tax cuts and tax cuts
The Draft and Liberals.
Casualties of war
who fears the draft
cooling off
term limits and recounts

Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 14:36:47 -0800 (PST)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: Gas Prices, Cafe vs Tax
To: letters@nytimes.com

The current gas price situation is alarming to people who love to drive their cars for almost any reason. The likely outcome is that the price increase is having the same environmental effect as increasing the CAFE standards because there will be less driving.

The Congressional Budget Office has an interesting study about the effect of a tax increase versus the implementation of CAFE standards.

"ftp://ftp.cbo.gov/51xx/doc5159/03-09-CAFEbrief.pdf"

Maybe moving the price of gas to $4.00 a gallon would be a good thing. We would start walking more and we would have money for sidewalks and bikeways.

I remember when fity-mile hikes were all the rage for a few months in the sixties. Someone from the Interior Department even suggested that there were public parks within easy driving distance of most homes. He missed the point of the exercise, but since people drive their cars to the gym, and their mountain-bikes to the woods, no one would notice.

May is "National Bike Month" and the week of May 17th is "Bike-to-Work-Week".

Richard Gravois

1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas

512-804-4538 (W) 512-441-3430 (H)


Date: Sat, 8 May 2004 07:05:47 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: damage to credibility
To: letters@nytimes.com

to the editor,

The current exposure of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners will damage the pictures of the discovery of the mountain of WMD's. The plan is to discover the mountain just about six weeks before the election.

If one were to show pictures of Halliburton subcontractors planting boxes of WMD's inside holy city mosques, those pictures would be accepted as plausible.

That's too bad because we are going through lots of trouble to make sure those boxes have timestamps before September 11 and have Afghan fingerprints. Now we have to make sure that the boxes have Cuban fingerprints and maybe some from Venazuela?

Richard Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas 78704

512-804-4538 (W) 512-441-3430 (H)

================================


Date: Fri, 9 Jul 2004 09:19:03 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: Saving Traditional Marriage
To: letters@nytimes.com

To the editor:

Saving traditional marriage is a good idea, but a constitutional ammendment won't do it as effectively as reverting to the mortgage rule of only one income.

Back in the fifties and sixties, young couples went to the bank to get a mortgage based on both incomes and the banker had to tell them that FHA/VA rules that only one income could qualify because experience taught the FHA/VA that the Missus will soon get in a family way and want to stay home and raise the little one(s).

We changed those rules because we felt that we could buy that $40,000 house rather than the $15,000 one. History taught us that the prices went up to meet the available money and then that $15,000 house was now going for $65,000. Then the other part of the FHA rule kicked in and the kids came along and we both had to keep working.

The simple rule change of allowing two incomes to qualify put lots of pressure on marriages and now we are stuck with not being able to live on one income.

Reverting back to the one income rule will certainly depress home prices, but we certainly kicked in when the savings and loan people went belly up in the eighties.

So what's the big deal about bailing out couples whose incomes are stretched too far by buying a house at an inflated price? Is it a boondoggle? So? S&L was a boondoggle.

The GWB Marriage Salvation package will allow families with children under 15 (18?) (25?) qualify for a mortgage under one income only and Fannie Mae or some sort of banking institute would pick up the difference.

The GWB Marriage Salvation package would be expensive, but we have learned that the two-income mortgage has been even more expensive.

Richard Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas 78704

(W) 512-804-4538 (H) 512-441-3430

==================


Date: Sat, 4 Sep 2004 08:08:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: naked social security
To: letters@nytimes.com

On Labor Day, look inside your shoes and see if they were made with wages that contributed to the Social Security Fund. Check the same thing about your socks and pants and shirts. If you don't know how to determine that with absolute certainty, then make an assumption that things manufactured not in USA were exempt from the Social Security tax.

Bush and company want to invest the SS fund in "ownership" because that sounds good, and the Ponzi scheme of the old SS fund was "sooo old". The Ponzi scheme made an assumption that most workers would die about five or ten years after 65, but it did not imagine that most of the contributing jobs would also disappear into non-contributing jobs.

It would be far better for everyone involved if Bush were to insist that jobs owned by USA companies would pay into the SS fund. Would that extend coverage to workers in India and China and Mexico? Of course it would. So?

=====


Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 09:46:43 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: Forgiving Baghdad Debt
To: "letters"

To the Editor, At the 1972 Republican convention in Miami, James Farmer of CORE said that in America, there is socialism for the rich and free-enterprise for the poor. I remember thinking that maybe that was a reach, but I see that President Bush is trying to export that form of socialism to Iraq:

L. Paul Bremmer (three sticks) forced a rule on Iraq that foreigners could buy 100% of Iraqi resources and they could take 100% of the profits out of the country.

Now, Bush wants the Congress to forgive(eat) the Iraqi debt. Do the investors want only the assets and none of the liabilities? Where's the free enterprise in this picture? This isn't to help the Iraqi's get out of debt, but to help the foreign investors take as much as they can. Do the Iraqis know this? I don't think that Chalabi is still whispering sweet nothings into the ear of the Pentagon, but I think that the model is Harken Oil. The people who saw an early version of the audit report sold their interests and took an early profit (bailed out).

The "investors" don't want the free enterprise system, because there is too much risk in that and furthermore, under James Farmer's model, that would mean that they were poor.

BOHICA, Baghdad. "Bend Over Here it comes Again" was a phrase used during physical exams for the military, but you knew that, didn't you?

Richard Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas

512-441-3430

==================


Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2004 09:48:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: one nation under Allah
To: "letters"

The current motions in the Congress about "under God" can be improved if they modify the pledge to use "under Allah" during the month of Ramadan. But that would be asking too much of the Christians. :)

======================


Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004 08:32:51 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: medicare and I will pay for obesity
To: "letters"

To the editor:

When gas was cheap, we chose not to build sidewalks because "nobody walks any more". When we feel the urge to exercise, we choose to buy a treadmill at the outlet mall out on the highway where we wouldn't have to pay city taxes and we gave it up after three months. Now we want medicare to pay for our obesity surgery because it is a health problem.

Nancy Smeltzer suggested that medicare should pay for gym fees and other good health practices and this is good, but our love affair with the automobile is a major part of the problem.

If we were to walk to the gym, why would we get on a treadmill at the gym? We have to make the case for all of this extra carbon dioxide and pollution hurting the carburator of our dear, precious cars. We know it hurts us and our carburators (lungs), and somehow if we bring sidewalks back and promote walking as an everyday way of getting around, we can focus on the benefits to our dear cars and treat benefits that come our way as by-products.

===== =========================== =========================== Richard Gravois Austin, Texas

=========================


Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 13:31:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: cheap gas
To: "letters"

When the price of gas gets to four dollars a gallon, we will start to carpool more and drive less. The air will get cleaner and maybe other things might clear up a bit. We might even be in compliance with the Kyoto treaty.

If a politician were to suggest that we add a dollar per gallon tax, that person would be condemned as giving comfort to the enemy.

The WMD that we did not find in Iraq were sold to Iraq by us during the holy war against Iran. It seems that Iraq used them up on the Iranians and on the Kurds. Now the debt for buying these WMD's is part of the Iraqi debt and investors are hesitant to buy Iraqi assets if there are any liabilities attached. Cheeep!!! cheeeep!!! cheeep. Tell that to the National Guard! These investors waiting in the wings want only the income, none of the expenses. Talk about cheap!

The National Guard is out there killing and dying and these cheap schmuck "investors" don't want to buy any of these Iraqi gifts! No tax on it! You can take all the profits (100%) out of the country. How much does Paul Bremmer have to do? The Iraq Governing Council promises not to think about nationalizing assets for five years. It's a win-win! You don't have to be Iraqi to buy any national assets! Come on down! If you don't buy this stuff, you're giving comfort to the enemy! Come on down!

Since the price of gas is going up and the profits are going to the Saudis who have established madrasses to raise more taliban (students), it seems that the old saying of "capitalist will sell their own rope to hang themselves" really has some strength.

===== =========================== =========================== Richard Gravois Austin, Texas

======================== This message is not flagged. [ Flag Message - Mark as Unread ]


Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2004 13:01:09 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: SUV-SOV-CO2
To: "letters"

to the editor: Gas is going to go to four dollars a gallon and we will still huff and puff and complain about filling our large 10mpg SUVs. Any talk about not having SUVs is considered unpatriotic and caving in to the crazies in the Middle East.

The SUVs were too big in the eighties but had some justification if they were used to transport several extra people, but when the SUV is an SOV (Single Occupant Vehicle), we have a problem. Every gallon of gas emits about 25 to 28 pounds of CO2. The SUV will emit that much, whether the driver has passengers or not, so any extra passenger will make the excess CO2 a little more justifiable: we're talking person-miles here.

Bombing the cities of Iraq have nothing to do with solving the excess CO2. As a matter of fact, the Iraq situation only contributes to the problem. If we "win" in Iraq, we will drive more and drill in Alaska, and if we "lose" in Iraq, we will drill in Alaska and drive more in anger.

Get out and walk. Wear a sweater. Walk. It's good for you. It's the patriotic thing to do. You might not need a flu shot. Try to shop as close to home as possible. Car-pool to work. If the CO2 levels get too high, then the breathing mechanism on your SUV might get clogged and impaired.

Richard Gravois

1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas

512-804-4538 (W) 512-441-3430 (H)

=====


Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2004 14:38:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: oil-for-food money
To: "letters"

to the editor:

William Safire's column on October 13th about the report accusing some bigwigs in France and Russia getting "oil-for-food" money misses the point by not starting off with how selective the report was.

The "oil-for-food" money was paid to Chevron, Mobil, Texaco, Bay Oil, and one Oscar Wyatt of Houston in addition to many others. We call it politics, diplomacy, moving off center, and any number of other phrases. Did Tariq Aziz bring a suitcase to visit the Pope? Did he come back with holy pictures and a new rosary?

This kind of selective reporting is akin the ones about Sadam's sons having viagra tablets and that Army chaplain who visited Guantanomo having some porn on his laptop. I guess the place is cleaned up now because that was the only DoD laptop with porn. Why not talk about **** ****'s investments? Did he get any of the oil-for-food money? We know that Bill Clinton's brother was approached by Lybia about something or other. This stuff goes on all the time.

The non-partisan report said that they had "privacy rules". Their selective reporting of names cheapens the report and Safire goes right down the path with them.

Richard Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas

(W) 512-804-4538

======================


Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 09:50:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: tax cuts and tax cuts
To: "letters"

The Pharoh dreamed of seven fat cows and seven skinney cows and Joseph helped him understand and plan for the future.

George Bush saw five fat cows and gave a tax break to the "haves and have mores" and now we have a three skinney cows. Seven versus seven has a poetic balance in it and maybe thinking of a trillion dollars as a fat cow is taking poetic license, but when George Bush smirks "Well, where you gonna get the money to pay for your health care plan?", I think that he is being extremely cynical.

He broke the bank and redistributed the treasury income. He claimed that this would create jobs, but we hear his fundraisers reminding potential donors about where their tax break came from, "eh, eh, pony up". We don't hear them saying, "So, where's the jobs, big guy?", because we know that they have invested their tax breaks into foreign employment because that's where the money is.

The recent tax bill in the Senate was an embarrassment of wealthy industries taking advantage of weak senators and congressmen to empty the treasury even more. Are there any grownups around with a sense of responsibilty?

Richard Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas 78704

512-441-3430(H) 512-804-4538(W) 512-947-5359(C)

=====


Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 09:50:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: tax cuts and tax cuts
To: "letters"

The Pharoh dreamed of seven fat cows and seven skinney cows and Joseph helped him understand and plan for the future.

George Bush saw five fat cows and gave a tax break to the "haves and have mores" and now we have a three skinney cows. Seven versus seven has a poetic balance in it and maybe thinking of a trillion dollars as a fat cow is taking poetic license, but when George Bush smirks "Well, where you gonna get the money to pay for your health care plan?", I think that he is being extremely cynical.

He broke the bank and redistributed the treasury income. He claimed that this would create jobs, but we hear his fundraisers reminding potential donors about where their tax break came from, "eh, eh, pony up". We don't hear them saying, "So, where's the jobs, big guy?", because we know that they have invested their tax breaks into foreign employment because that's where the money is.

The recent tax bill in the Senate was an embarrassment of wealthy industries taking advantage of weak senators and congressmen to empty the treasury even more. Are there any grownups around with a sense of responsibilty?

Richard Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas 78704

512-441-3430(H) 512-804-4538(W) 512-947-5359(C)

=====


Date: Thu, 28 Oct 2004 12:00:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: The Draft and Liberals.
To: "letters"

One of the main problems with an all volunteer Army is that it is an all volunteer Army. These guys like to study war histories and try out techniques and replay wars and battles and generally get a big kick out of getting paid to do what they really want to do anyway. If peace were to break out, they get a little nervous because they have a predisposition to thinking that war is normal. History has not disappointed this opinion.

One of the main benefits of the draft is that the career Army people have to justify their actions to a more skeptical audience. This is neither a "liberal" nor a "conservative" position, but simple salesmanship. Draftees would serve for patriotic reasons, but they would not choose to serve for lesser reasons.

The current "all volunteer" event in Iraq is turning sour because some volunteer reserves are feeling squeezed by being re-volunteered and it will turn more sour when the Iraqis find out that Paul Bremmer sold all their oil to the Saudis or to the Chinese or to another high bidder. It will turn very bitter when the volunteers learn that they will only be paid standard GI combat pay and not be able to own any of the oil. The only consolation for the volunteers is that the Kellogg, Brown & Root "troops" will be paid with money after asbestos settlements.

Richard Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas

512-804-4538(W) 512-441-3430(H)


Date: Mon, 8 Nov 2004 07:11:38 -0800 (PST)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: Casualties of war
To: "letters"

Casualties are not just bullet wounds but any condition that removes a soldier from combat. Poison Ivy can cause a casualty. On Friday an Iraqi batallion had 500 soldiers. On Monday they were down to 130. Not one shot was fired.

Was it poison ivy? Was it lack of training? Was it loss of confidence in the mission? Were they defecting?

The Marines are going in to liberate Fallujah and they want to show a good combined effort with "crack Iraqi" troops fighting side by side. Yeah, right. The press releases will brag about culling the ranks of the Iraqi for true patriots. Yeah, right.

Maybe fighting to sell all of your nation's mineral rights to foriegners just doesn't cut it any more. It doesn't have the same appeal of removing a dictator. Maybe Bremer should go back and explain it again.

Richard Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas 78704

(W)512-804-4538 (H)512-441-3430


Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 11:57:54 -0800 (PST)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: who fears the draft
To: "letters"

The current spate of people refusing to return to active duty after serving one or two tours in Iraq suggests that there is at least one thing the Military Industrial Complex fears and that is the draft.

Having a draft means that maybe your troops will not all be gung-ho and you will have to justify your actions to a somewhat skeptical audience. Having an all-volunteer army is like have an all-surgeon medical population. Before you choose to cut, you should examine all other possibilities.

I think that a mandatory tour of service with the Peace Corps or Vista or the military would be a very good thing and force people to recognize their patriotic duty is more than a song before a game.

Richard C. Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas 78704

512-441-3430(H) 512-804-4538(W)

===================


Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 11:41:10 -0800 (PST)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: cooling off
To: "letters"

There is a connection between the riots ending the NBA game in Detroit and Ely Manning starting for the Giants.

After the Giants game, the TV announcer interviewed the quarterback from Atlanta who said praiseworthy things about Manning and then went over to kneel down with other players from both teams and give some thanks for a good game.

The typical game ends with a quick shot of the two coaches shaking hands and then running to the locker room. It seems that sportsmanship would be well served if the TV networks had to stay on the field for two or three minutes and show the players mingling and shaking hands. Maybe this is where they could play the national anthem. After all, "It's only a game."

Richard Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas 78704

512-804-4538(W) 512-441-3430(H)

=====


Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 14:33:20 -0800 (PST)
From: "Richard Gravois" View Contact Details
Subject: term limits and recounts
To: "letters Statesman"

The current count and recount for Representative Heflin's seat suggests a new way to enforce term limits:

Each time an incumbent wins, the amount needed to win the next time should go up by one quarter of one percent.

The reason for the increased majority is to force the incumbent to reach out to more of the district.

Heflin has been in office for twenty two years and would need 55% to win under this rule. Maybe we should change to amount to one tenth percent, which would mean Heflin needs 51%.

In any case, an incumbent who squeaks by with a simple majority has not been paying enough attention to the district, and it is disingenuous to cry foul.

Thanks

Richard Gravois 1402 Kinney Avenue Austin, Texas 78704

rgravois@yahoo.com (W) 512-804-4538 (H) 512-441-3430