Saturday, August 30, 2008

musings

Here's an idea: Why not lower taxes on income derived from "work", be that ditch-digging or CEO-ing, and tax more heavily any monies made in non-"work" ways, such as investments, transactions, speculation, stock options, mineral rights, etc. Right now, the tax system is pretty much set up in the opposite way, which pretty much puts it in line with the whole system in place here these days, i.e., those as do the hard work are the last ones to see the profit (and, no, getting a paycheck doesnt count). After all, politicians use the arguement about "working hard for your money" as a reason to lower taxes, but how much work is involved in owning a company? Running one, yes. Owning it? Not so much.
Biblical arguement: "By the sweat of thy brow shalt thou earn thine bread" (dont look into this one too closely, though).
Incidently, nobody ever gets obscenely rich through hard work, it's a myth. Enormous wealth can only be achieved through exploitation, whether it be of resources, ideas, or, usually, people.

This is a cool story about the rebuilding of a mosque in Banja Luka - now the capital of the Serb-run part of Bosnia.

Speaking of Muslims, there's been a lot of criticism directed at those of Muslim faith for their "lack of protest" at the violence carried out in the name of Islam around the world. Yet here in America, many Christian groups not only support, but encourage the War in Iraq, yet we hear no complaints (here, anyway) about their lack of protest, even though Christianity is no more or less anti-peace than Islam is.

One last thought: could it be that Sharia law is making such a strong showing in some places because for the people there it is the only rule of law that they can get? Islamic fundamentalism is an increasing problem in Pakistan, supposedly bringing chaos to their society. Maybe, though, it's the other way around: The chaos and corruption of Pakistani politics is causing people to turn to religion to provide the rule of law because their government cannot, and people prefer to live in a society run by consistent rules.
Could it be a coincidence that here in the U.S., Christian fundamentalism has been rising at the same time that Republican leadership has promoted the case that our government is useless and corrupt (first through accusation, then through their own practice of it)?

Friday, August 29, 2008

friday night at the movies


Here is the future of motion pictures. Seriously. How much longer before we see old favorites in new films? How much longer until my desire to see Pretty Woman with the Richard Gere and Jason Alexander parts reversed becomes real, and my curiosity is settled? How much longer before our favorite stars cant walk any red carpets?

Props to Beam Me Up

quote for the day

"People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power."
Does anyone else miss Bill? At least within the context of the Bush years? Right there, in a nutshell, is the failure of mind within Dubya's administration.

Unfortunately, we've allowed the GOP and their minions in the press to force Bill to keep his head down, as if a boom-era president was something to be ashamed of. Considering the trespasses of the Bush Administration, Bill's impeachment for lying about a blowjob (and what married man wouldnt?) seems almost quaint now. Of course, should Obama manage to get himself an extramarital hummer during his possible presidency, you can be sure that the press will make a very big deal of it.

Actually, I would predict that 50 years from now, the real villain of the last 8 years (hell, make it 16) will be the media, because none of this would have played out the way it did had the fourth estate been doing its job properly. They have failed at their job as the People's Watchdog, choosing instead to play rent-boy to the money and power of the Republican Party, and their constituency of the über-rich.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

cunnundrum

Someone explain to me please just how exactly this is supposed to work, assuming that your ISP is provided by your phone company, rather than your cable company?

listen up

The Interview on BBC is almost always worth listening to, but listening to Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street trader who used his entrepreneurial flair to defraud millions of dollars, just might give a bit of insight as to why the wealthy of America, and their minions in government, are so out of control. Not because of the rampant drug use which Belfort describes (though may that does go on also), but because of their attitude that they are somehow different from the rest of us, and so are allowed to act in ways different from the masses, ways that "might otherwise" be considered immoral (at best).

Fair warning: it's a half hour long, so I dont suppose many will have the patience to sit through it, especially since he's still a bit self-righteous about his behavior. Even so, The Interview really ought to be a weekly experience for you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

yep, another video



But it's a good one. If you've ever wondered how a nebbishy little guy like Dennis Kucinich can marry a beautiful woman like Elizabeth Kucinich, well, watch this speech and perhaps understand. This guy should have been seriously considered for president, but that he was considered a bit of a nut instead of a real possibility shows just how far this nation has fallen.

stolen straight from Pryme.

disaster report



stolen from the Osterly Times.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

who you callin' elitist, Willis?

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.


props to Rational Rant.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

quote for the day

"We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear -- fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts, or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer."

Hunter S. Thompson

We have nothing to fear but politicians making us fear ourselvesThere was a guy on the radio the other day (I've been trying to track down who it was), and he was saying that after September 11th, a lot of people stopped flying and started driving instead. Lo and behold, the year after 9-11 saw a spike in automobile-related deaths; over 1200, or, more than the number of people who were actually on the airplanes that day.
It's the same with something like Mad-cow disease, where people stopped eating beef, even though almost as many people die every day driving somewhere like the farmer's market to buy fresh vegetables than died from BSE altogether.

quote is courtesy of the lovely Lydia

Friday, August 22, 2008

Latest Poll Reveals 430 New Demographics That Will Decide Election



You do realize that polling is conducted over land-lines, right? Do you still have a land line? (and if you do, do you actually answer that phone? I know I dont.)

wonderful

Kel, over at the Osterly Times, makes a great point about McCain, and Republican hypocrisy, vis-a-vis, the heiress wife issue.

Q: What's the difference between a Democratic kept man, and a Republican one?

A: The Democrat doesnt have any media empires to back him up.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

workin' man's blues, pt II

Okay, how's this for crazy? I was moved from my old position because of "low volume"; apparently there just wasnt enough work to "justify" me staying in that position. Funny thing, though, they have another guy working over there, but going home earlier than I did. There were only two people in my department when I was there, and there are still two people, but presumably they feel like they arent wasting resources if he doesnt stay till 2 a.m. The second guy, however, doesnt go home earlier because he works less hours, he goes home earlier in the evening because he has more overlap with the daytime person. Now here's the good part. He generally gets an hour of overtime every day. As slow as it's been, had I still been in my old position, I would have been trying to go home an hour earlier, i.e., working only a 7-hour day, every day. So the result is that they pay up to 10 hours a week extra in labor, half of that in overtime. Clever, huh?
Is it any wonder that the economy is going down the tubes?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

neighborhood in decline

If you've ever wondered if America is doomed to decline, here's your answer. In an age where technology will be key to success, and medical science is poised on the edge of great advancement, over half of Americans still believe in divine intervention.
Faith is a wonderful thing, but when faith flies in the face of consistent emperical evidence, is one's faith helping or hindering? And what happens when that evidence is ignored, not in the context of personal decisions, but of national policy?


Interesting thought from Pryme: how much overlap is there between those who "believe" and those who cannot afford health care? Is it faith, or desperation?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

quote for the day

According to one classmate, "being on liberty with John McCain was like being in a train wreck." It is unclear what being with McCain during his presidency would be like for the nation. Unfortunately, America has no direct experience from which to draw with a president who was a temperamental son of a distinguished military man and who in college was a temperamental fuckup who liked to party. What could possibly be so dangerous about that?

from Dickipedia

Hmmmmmm.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

mock paper scissors

political arguements are all circular anyway, arent they?Just the other day, I had a bit of a revelation (dont ask me where it came from): Democrats are fighting the Republicans in the wrong way, trying to use intellect to overcome the fear that the Republicans peddle. But that simply doesnt work, fear is too primal to be overcome with reason in all but the most "advanced" thinkers (a phrase that will surely get you called an elitist if you try to use it while talking to frightened conservatives).
But there's a sure-fire way to unscare many of the voters out there - it's called "humor". What is it that makes something funny? Some scientists will tell you that it is the release of tension, that laughter is a response as primal as fear, that laughter signals the end of danger, and so allows everyone to relax.
Notice, laughter comes after danger, to let you know that everything is okay now. Sure, Republicans can cry "danger" again. Let them. Make fun again, then relax. How many times will the cycle go before the "cries wolf" effect kicks in. The Bush Administration and the Republican Party has been maintaining a high level of fear for almost seven years. We know that the danger is not that great, and that we, the public, ought to be able to relax, but nobody has given the signal yet, nobody has laughed.

Republicans play upon our fears to maintain their power, and, as much as Democrats would like it to, careful explanations and reasoned arguments have simply not worked at all with much of the average electorate (it's only worked those elitist intellectuals, victims, no doubt, of too much knowledge).
Instead, Democrats need to simply make fun of the Republicans and their fears. Mock their fear-mongering. Maybe call them pussies. Done properly, the mockery can become self-sustaining, turning doom-saying Cassandras into hysterical fools. As an added bonus, Republicans tend to have absolutely no sense of humor about themselves, and so their bluster and defensiveness upon being made the butt of a joke adds to their ridiculousness.
One of the beauties of using comedy to fight fear is that the only real way to combat it is to use logic. Unfortunately for the Republican Party, many of their current policies do not hold up very well when put to intellectual tests or (especially) to conservative ideals.

Maybe the Democrats ought to think about recruiting some comedians to run for office. They're already qualified to fight the kind of battle that's needed, and it's no sillier to elect a comedian than it is to elect an actor.

Besides, after 8 years of the Bush Administration (and all the bruisingly bad behavior of the Republican Party during the Clinton years), I think the nation could use a good laugh. And at whose expense would it be better to have that laugh at than those whose policies have brought the nation so much unhappiness. We need to laugh at the Republican party. We deserve to laugh at the Republican Party, and they deserve to be laughed at*.
yes, the comedy guy is black - coincidence, I swear
* Well, actually, they deserve to be jailed, or tarred-and-feathered, or run out of town on a rail, or just to spend the rest of their days unable to find a job any better than the night shift in a third-rate convenience store.
But I'll settle for marginalization through mockery.

Friday, August 08, 2008

wacky, dude

Hey, I got a crazy idea: Allow the oil companies to drill offshore, provided they sign a contract saying that they will pay for any spills they make, with some group(s?) like the Sierra Club as the arbiter of the cost of the clean-up. The contract will specify that if they do not pay, their assets, or the assets of their stockholders (the largest holders at the time of the spill first) will be seized until the cost of the clean-up is covered. Then, let'em get to work. It provides the nation with the fix it thinks it so desperately needs, but protects our coasts and wildernesses from corporate greed. The only problem will be in keeping the environmental groups from being infiltrated and co-opted.

Think we'll get any takers?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

workin' man blues

A couple weeks ago, the VP where I work made a decision: I was to be moved to a different area of the company. My hours would remain the same, as would my pay. But now I am doing a completely different job, one that has absolutely no connection to anything which I spent all that time and money studying on college. Not that my previous position couldnt have been done by a high school dropout (and, lets be honest, how many of our jobs is that actually true of?), but at least it was connected (allowing me the illusion that college was not a complete waste, job-wise).
I am, to say the least, totally pissed off and completely demoralized. The area where I work was not closed down, I was simply moved, despite being better at doing the work than anyone else in the building. No "thank you"s, no "sorry, but"s, just "you're moving. permanantly". Then, to add insult to injury (or injury to insult, I'm not sure which), the boss dismissed the previous ten years of me busting my ass as "pushing a button and waiting three hours" (which certainly explains a lot, actually).
There is the rather gratifying reaction of pretty much everyone when they heard that I'd been moved, which was a combination of puzzlement and disgust. I dont think that the decision will do much for morale around the company (which has been on a downhill track for years - the morale, that is); if the reward for a decade of hard work is to be unceremoniously moved to another area for no apparent reason, then what exactly is the point of going the extra mile? The problem with treating your employees like disposable and interchangeable cogs is that they will see no reason not to act like disposable and interchangeable cogs. If your boss sees what you do as just a job which anyone can do, why should you feel any different?

Anyway, that's my tale of woe.