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Archive for October, 2010

millionaire senatorIt’s millionaires galore in the US Senate.

A new Roll Call analysis found that more than half of the chamber’s membership, 54 Senators, reported a minimum net worth of more than $1 million. Another four Senators fell short of that mark by less than $100,000.grocery

Hmm…one wonders if they can really understand the daily journey and concerns of the average folks who sometimes have to cut coupons and look for bargains to stretch the dollar.


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Fiorina...future vision and past record don't add up? (pic: MercuryNews.com)

One can’t be blamed for having this thought after reading about some of the candidates in the coming midterm elections.

Joe Miller, the Republican US Senate candidate from Alaska is a conservative who runs on a platform of slashing federal government handouts. He also wants to phase out Medicare and Social Security.

But it has been uncovered that Miller and his family took government aid. The Huffington Post reports: “Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller says his family benefited from Medicaid and a state-run health care program for low-income children and pregnant women.

“Miller previously acknowledged receiving federal farm subsidies for land he owned in Kansas in the 1990s, as well as low-income hunting and fishing licenses for him and his wife in Alaska.”

Miller...took government aid, but now thinks government aid is a bad thing. (Pic: KTUU.com)

On unemployment benefits, appearing on ABC News/Washington Post’s Top Line, Miller said: “The unemployment compensation benefits have gotten — first of all, it’s not constitutionally authorized..” And yet, earlier this month, Miller admitted that his wife had received unemployment benefits in 2002 after she left a job serving as his aide!

In California, Republican Carly Fiorina is running for the Senate seat with a platform which includes creating jobs, a major concern in the state as the unemployment rate is 12.4%.

As the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, she talks about having the business skills to attract jobs to California. But as her critics point out, her tenure at HP speaks a different story. She laid off 30,000 employees, and outsourced work to countries like India and China.

With her “slash and outsource” big-business attitude, one cannot help but be skeptical of her commitment to create and keep jobs in California.

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Japantown San Jose

Enjoying a festival celebrating their heritage.

Japanese community in AmericaI’ve always been quite fascinated by the Japanese culture, but so far, have not had the opportunity to visit Japan. So I enjoy visiting Japantown in California.

Japantown is the name for official Japanese communities in the United States, which developed with the widespread immigration of the Japanese population beginning in the late 19th century. As such, it has a great deal of history. Today, there are three recognized Japantowns left in the United States, all in California: in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose.

I’m quite familiar with the one in LA which is also known as Little Tokyo, but I must admit that I didn’t know about the Japantown in San Jose. (There is a interesting discussion on this topic at this blog site)

Recently I had a chance to visit Japantown San Jose during its Spirit of Japantown festival. My first impression is that it is less touristy that Japantown Los Angeles. It has a more cozy feel, and has some unique shops including a ukulele shop.

The  vendor stalls, many selling Japanese and Japanese inspired crafts and goods, beckoned with their colors. Some young people got into the spirit of the festival, dressed in eye-catching styles, like they do in Sunday gatherings in Tokyo.

Away from the hot day, I walked into a bonsai exhibition and a studio/gallery, Art Object Gallery owned by artist Ken Matsumoto who creates abstract stone sculptures. He explained that one of the focus of his gallery is to promote the works of artists in the San Francisco Bay area, and he hopes that his gallery will be an asset to Japantown.

I like the atmosphere here, and I think I’ll be back for a visit and a stroll.

bonsai/San Jose Japantown

The majestic cypress as a bonsai – still majestic in its miniaturized beauty.

art gallery japantown san jose

Ceramics exhibited at Art Object Gallery.

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ladybug garden decoration

I always like to have something whimsical in my spaces.

At a recent arts fair, I came across these bright sculptural decorations for the garden made by Juana Pena. The artist is from South America, and she uses influences from her native land such as bright tropical hues to create her garden elements.

Pena has been making these colorful creatures for about 30 years. She uses mainly copper, brass and steel for her artistic ornaments. Glass marbles used for smaller parts like the eyes add an iridescent accent.

Over the years, the ladybug has remained the most popular item. And bugs in general are the favorite sculptures that folks want to adorn their garden.

A splash of bold color, a little whimsy, often does a lot to brighten a garden.

cow garden ornament

A sunny cow...among the roses.

garden decorations

Sunlight reflecting the colors.

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