Friday, December 31, 2010
2) Flooding. Blizzards. Earthquakes in Indiana. The surest sign of the apocalypse? UConn lost in women's basketball!
3) He won't be boch.
Get a fucking clue, already, will ya?
5) Neo-Cons will soon get a taste of their own medicine. Foaming up anti-Islam hate will always backfire.
6) It's hard to believe Haley Barbour is actually getting praise for this.
7) It's funny how she hasn't been able to conjure up proof of her non-denial denials.
8) Cenk Uygur: troublemaker. God bless him.
9) What a fucking idiot.
10) This may be taking the green debate to a whole new level. It's really shaving off nits.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
If America was a Muslim state, Muslims would still suck.
A President who supports dogkillers like Michael Vick ought to get the dogkiller killed. Right? But it's OK when I fuck up because I'm a Christian. Like Michael Vick.
With no snowplows in sight, stranded passengers vented their rage at Mayor Bloomberg.
"He should have gotten those plows out here," said Cynthia Jones, 43, a nurse unable to get to work. "The mayor may not need his paycheck, but we need ours. I lost two days' pay."
Sharon Tahir, 40, shivered at Archer Ave. and Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica, Queens, because her Q60 bus route was shortened before her normal stop. The home health aide was waiting for her son to pick her up.
"It's too cold to walk the rest of the way," she said. "Many sidewalks aren't shoveled. My feet are cold."
Transit executives also expressed frustration with the city's street-clearing efforts.
"I've never seen it this bad," one executive said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "They left us in the lurch."
MTA Chairman Jay Walder said the agency would do a full review of how it handled the blizzard. Officials want to probe why heavier hybrid buses struggled in the snow, whether buses had appropriate tires and whether more tires should have been covered in chains.
Now, before I get to the meat of my point, let me dispense with a few conditional factors involved. The storm hit the Sunday after what was pretty much a universal three day holiday weekend with many drivers on the road to visit family or celebrate Christmas. Many people who were coming home were racing to beat the storm, assuming that there would be a work day, albeit a difficult one, the next morning. In addition, many of those people were the very people who would be manning the snow removal efforts, the emergency services, and other vital functions required to get a city the size of New York up on its feet.
Too, I noted an unusual number of cars abandoned in the middle of the street. It's hard to get a plow down a street with a ton of metal between the plow and the other end. We citizens only have our fellow citizens to blame for those.
As I pointed out the other day, the timing of this storm could not have been much worse. Had it happened on Christmas day, a Saturday and a day typical for heavy snowfalls in the city for some odd reason (I blame HAARP, myself), there would have been another 24 hours prep time for the opening curtain to the work week.
Well, to sum up my point in a nutshell, we asked for lower taxes, we got lower taxes, and here's the price we pay. Mayor Bloomberg has been at the forefront of cutting property taxes, business income taxes, lowering city revenues as far as he possibly can, and cutting services to compensate. 300 Department of Sanitation drivers were "retired" during this recent budget slashing to help cover the shortfall. That's 150 snowplows that could have been on the street.
Ironically, the people who benefited the least from the tax cuts are the ones who suffered the most from the budget cuts: the poor and working classes. Just as with the inevitable health complications of this storm...imagine triaging in a major city? It happened!...the people who will suffer the most are the most disenfranchised.
In fairness to Mayor Mike, NYC is under a constitutional requirement for a balanced budget, a leftover from the dark days of the 1970s, when NYC teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Instead of restoring some of the tax cuts, since NYC was not as hard hit by the real estate meltdown as other areas of the country, Bloomberg opted for the coward's way out, trying to right-wing the budget into balance.
There's plenty of blame to go around, of course. The MTA, the folks running the trains and buses, probably could have been more proactive in clearing the tracks, although the blizzard conditions during and after the snowfall made any effort troublesome. People who live here could have take that tax cut and bought a snowblower or invested in a private plowing service for their sidewalks and curbs, and maybe thrown a little extra in the kitty for the street to be cleared.
After all, the function of a government is, according to the Teabaggers, as minimalist as possible, meaning protection of its citizenry and that's it. You may recall the uproar over the fire department that refused to put out a blaze for a house where the residents hadn't paid a stinking $50 annual bill. This is that story, writ large, except we're talking streets plowed, not buildings burned.
The next, obvious step up the ladder will be a statewide crisis. Maybe the levees in California, after all the storming and stuff there, will fill with salt water, depriving 25 million people of drinking water. And after that, we face a national crisis that could have been prevented if taxes weren't so goddamn low...
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Compare these circumstances to those of 1911, a century ago. Even in the wealthier countries, the average person had little formal education, worked six days a week or more, often at hard physical labor, never took vacations, and could not access most of the world’s culture. The living standards of Carnegie and Rockefeller towered above those of typical Americans, not just in terms of money but also in terms of comfort. Most people today may not articulate this truth to themselves in so many words, but they sense it keenly enough. So when average people read about or see income inequality, they don’t feel the moral outrage that radiates from the more passionate egalitarian quarters of society. Instead, they think their lives are pretty good and that they either earned through hard work or lucked into a healthy share of the American dream. (The persistently unemployed, of course, are a different matter, and I will return to them later.) It is pretty easy to convince a lot of Americans that unemployment and poverty are social problems because discrete examples of both are visible on the evening news, or maybe even in or at the periphery of one’s own life. It’s much harder to get those same people worked up about generalized measures of inequality.
This is why, for example, large numbers of Americans oppose the idea of an estate tax even though the current form of the tax, slated to return in 2011, is very unlikely to affect them or their estates. In narrowly self-interested terms, that view may be irrational, but most Americans are unwilling to frame national issues in terms of rich versus poor. There’s a great deal of hostility toward various government bailouts, but the idea of “undeserving” recipients is the key factor in those feelings. Resentment against Wall Street gamesters hasn’t spilled over much into resentment against the wealthy more generally. The bailout for General Motors’ labor unions wasn’t so popular either—again, obviously not because of any bias against the wealthy but because a basic sense of fairness was violated. As of November 2010, congressional Democrats are of a mixed mind as to whether the Bush tax cuts should expire for those whose annual income exceeds $250,000; that is in large part because their constituents bear no animus toward rich people, only toward undeservedly rich people.
The question is, what is "undeservedly rich"?
Warren Buffet and United For a Fair Economy posit that all wealth is derived from society, and indeed, there is much truth there. A business cannot sell unless there is a collection of consumers ready to buy. That business relies on the population for its workers. It relies on the resources of that society, the infrastructure, and the raw materials that it or its suppliers need to produce goods which ultimately are provided for free by Mother Earth...indeed, it is estimated that a fair price for those raw materials, like air and water and minerals, would equal the cumulative gross domestic product of every economy on the planet, thus making world net profit precisely zero.
Clearly, one can make the case that between the raw materials and labor pool, society should devolve the majority of revenues from any business (the value-added tax is an attempt to put this into practice, however marginally). In practice, the individual entrepreneur is the one who stands to most benefit from commerce. In truth, he risks an awful lot too, but that's a different article. We're talking here about the ones who succeed.
I think we'd all agree that a guy who opens up a shoe repair shop and works long hard hours for little money building his business is entitled to some kind of payoff for his hard work. In practice, the truth is very different: success usually occurs more from sheer blind luck than from hard work. You can work really hard and make nothing of a company, but add a little luck, and you have success.
Monday, December 27, 2010