Friday, March 04, 2011

I Thought Republicans Were All About...

After all, if a college is attempting to turn a profit, it shouldn't do it with the help of the taxpayers!

Coitus Interruptus

The inability to insert Glory made this pocket rocket droop back to earth

Whatever Happened To...?

I'm thinking there are better ways to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the worst beating of your life.

Well, At Least SOMEbody Likes Him

Of course, it's a Libyan


I've heard of male actors, like me, who could turn on women they were co-starring with.

I Thought Republicans Were All About....

Acording To Polls

This could be your next President of the United States

Totally, I'm Going Back To Therapy

For The Ladies Only

If you're feeling particularly bitchy this cycle, here's why

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) This is GREAT news! Not only is the unemployment rate down, but this number includes a factor for discouraged workers who had left the job pool (which also drops the unemployment rate) but have now returned and are finding jobs! This means a real increase in jobs created, and that's taking into account all the governmental layoffs in January!
Kudos, Mr. Obama. Kudos.
2) Scott Walker: Terrorist. Start using that mantra.
3) Ummmmmmmmmmm, Okay....but by what? Trichonosis? This is one of those Zen koans that's going to backfire, yet someone was paid six figures to come up with it and make some bullshit excuse about why it will work. That's American business for ya!
4) There is a way to force this asshat to comply: Raise landing fees in Florida exponentially by dropping the FAA subsidies. If I was President, I'd do that.
5) Presumably someone piped in "Bowchickawowow" music while this afterschool special was on.
6) Mike Tyson races pigeons. No. Really.
7) If the Times is finally going to join the fray against FOX News, I may have to start subscribing in support. It would be nice ot have an actual object news source start to investigate the network. This could be the "Joseph Welch" moment of our age.
8) Bradley Manning: I seriously doubt the US will convict and execute him. Why create a martyr? Nothing that damaging was revealed and the blowback from the incident seems to be fairly contained. If anything, it may have helped spur the unrest in the Middle East.
10) Now hang on a cotton-picking minute! Nearly every civilized state, New York included, passed laws regulating the sale of OTC sinus and allergy medications years ago to control the production of meth in West Virginia. You mean to tell me you could buy the shit by the case in West Virginia this whole time????????

Thursday, March 03, 2011

I Don't Always Drink Beer, But When I Do, It's Tsing Tao

Today's Recall Notice

Mazda recalled 65,000 cars today after they discovered....*spins the Wheel Of Excuses*...spiders.

Space: The Final Front-beer

Sex Sells

This Week In Cool Science

Errrrrrrrr, Ummmmmmmm, Weren't They Already?

If This Doesn't Convince Climate Change Denying Conservatives, Nothing Will


Well, It's Been Fun! See You On The Flipside...

The Chill In The Air

Yesterday, the SCOTUS made one of the single biggest boneheaded decisions, from a court full of them (Citizens United, anyone?):

The Westboro Baptist church were sued for emotional distress by the family of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, after members of the church picketed his funeral with signs that read: "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "You're Going to Hell".

But the US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against the family and said that the church was entitled to protest under the Constitution's First Amendment, the right to free speech.

In those two paragraphs are all you need to know to understand the dire predicament the right to privacy is facing in the United States with the Roberts court. There can be no more private moment in a person's life than the moment at which the friends and family gather together to say goodbye, to mourn the loss of a human life.

Yes, free speech is important and should be encouraged at all times, but the right of an American to be free to be where he wants, to do what he wants (within the boundaries of the law) and to be left alone trumps the sole right to shout obscenities, 3 to 1.

This ruling has implications beyond that of some rude speech by evil people. Privacy and the right to it is on shaky legal ground in a strict constuctionist court. See, it's not in the original Constitution per se. Yes, freedom from undue search and seizure, and stuff like that, all point to a Constitutional basis for a right to privacy, but the right is not delineated in the document, and according to the children on the right who act like demented fifth grade crossing guards, it cannot possibly exist.

This means sodomy laws can and will be enforced. Abortion can and will be under dire assault nationwide. It means fifty separate lawsuits defining what consenting adults may or may not do behind closed doors (the case that brought about the implied right to privacy, Griswold v. Connecticut, was about the use of contraception...contraception! a married couple).

The Roberts court has opened the barn door on all the horses now, guaranteeing itself a long run as arbiter of America's moral code.


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Heh Heh...He's From Licking County...Heh Heh.

I Think I read This In A Dilbert Strip

You Know, I'm Not Sure About This Balloon Make-up Case...

Teens and young adults who start using cannabis may have an increased risk of having psychotic experiences in the years following, a German study found.

Among young people who had never smoked pot and did not have any psychotic symptoms, those who started using the drug were nearly twice as likely to develop subclinical symptoms of psychosis, Dr. Jim van Os of Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands and colleagues reported online in BMJ.

In a separate analysis, those who used cannabis consistently were more likely to report persistent psychotic experiences at more than one follow-up visit.

While there's some truth to this...after all, numbers don't lie...there are other studies that indicate that any psychoactive drug can cause psychotic breaks, including alcohol and even caffeine and tobacco.

Indeed, given the recent explosion in marijuana use as it has become more tolerated in nations across the globe, there has not been a parallel explosion in diagnoses of psychosis, suggesting a casual relationship between the two, not a causality.
I'm not a regular pot smoker by any stretch, but I would like to see it legalized and regulated as tightly as alcohol and tobacco are (and even perhaps a little more stringently). After all, we live in a nation where the alternative for many people is to go to the local pharmacy and load up on legal sinus medications, and distill crystal meth. Is pot really as bad as meth? That's the lesson the government wants us to believe.

This Show Will Blow

The big finale with the dancing hurricanes and chorus of floodwaters might make for a good audition piece on Glee.

Conservatism In The News

Once again, the Federal government impinges on the right of a private company to make as much profit as they can.

Not Wheel Smart

A New York Assemblymoron has proposed that all bicycles in the state be licensed, registered, insured and face an annual inspection.
As an avid cyclist, I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's tough enough getting around the city with stop lights every block (roughly 100 yards) and dealing with massive vehicles ten to twenty times my weight trying to intimidate me, just so I can get a little exercise, but not only are the New york City police toughening enforcement of traffic laws as pertains to cyclists (thank god these aren't points on the license!), now comes this.
On the other hand, I'm a careful cyclist. Others are not (particularly bike messengers but they have their own rules to follow). And people do get hit and injured, and many times the cyclist is to blame, so part of me thinks there ought to be an accountability factor in biking in an urban or suburban area. 
I should note that in the four or five months between May and October, I'll put about twenty five hundred miles on my bike, sometimes as many as three thousand. So it's not a casual issue for me to add four minutes to every mile I ride for lights. See, I run red lights at 5 AM with no traffic around because to stop and then start up again on the green requires a massive effort on my part and slows me down and takes me out of my rhythm.
The annual inspection is probably the most ridiculous bit of this bill. Sure, we inspect cars for safety and emissions (and unless you're hooking a monitor up to my butt, we can exclude that last), but most people fix safety issues on their bikes long before any inspection would find them, mostly because the only real safety issues on a bike are the brakes and who the hell wants to ride around with no brakes in heavy traffic? For example, I take my bike in at least twice a season (at the beginning and the end) for a full tune up. Costs me nothing. Costs most people nothing because the shop will usually toss it in for free if you've bought the bike there and if you continue to buy stuff from them (like gloves or a light or what have you). In fact, I'm due to take mine in this month and I plan on buying new pedals and shoes. That ought to get me another five years of free service, so long as the owner's memory remains good.
And at the end of the season, I bring it in for a general tune up. That's usually when the brake pads need aligning or replacing, the chain gets a good cleaning, and the tires get gravel and such picked out of them.
And none of this includes those few times during the season when I just stop in because of some odd noise or other.
Now, I know, not everyone takes as good care as I do, but we're talking about a bike here, not a major mechanical contraption that requires computerized diagnostics and a Ph. D. in mechanical engineering to fix. In fact, many bikers do their own repairs and are quite good at them (Me, I can't change a flat unless I've got a lift, a six pack and the shop owner there).
This is just a silly make-work bill designed to scratch a little more out of the taxpayer, as opposed to going after the corporate felons who evade taxes like they're pedestrians.

Zombie Dog

"We Don't Want No Messicans!"

OK, Then....

Two fetuses will be presented as witnesses before an Ohio legislative committee that is hearing a bill to outlaw abortions after the first heartbeat can be detected inside a woman's womb.

The fetuses will appear live and in color before the committee on a video screen projecting ultrasound images taken from their pregnant mothers' bodies. Janet Folger Porter, head of Faith2Action, an anti-abortion group, said the fetuses will be the youngest witnesses to ever testify when they come in front of the House Health and Aging Committee Wednesday morning.

Really, is there no level these asshats will NOT stoop to? Is exploiting an unborn fetus any worse than aborting him or her, if you believe that's wrong? Is there not some moral equivalent that in effect makes this slavery?



Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Republicans "SHOCKED" They've Overspent our Budget!

You might think otherwise, the way this story is getting spun, but that headline is the truth.

The 345-page General Accountability Office report pinpointed 34 areas – from defense and job training to social services – where federal agencies, offices or programs have redundant objectives or are fragmented across several departments.

For example, there are 15 agencies that deal with the nation’s food-safety system, which the GAO said has led to inconsistent oversight and an inefficient use of resources. There are 80 programs across multiple agencies that focus on economic development.

“Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of tax dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services,” wrote Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro, who heads the GAO, known as the watchdog arm of Congress.


Across the Capitol, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) suggested to reporters that little had changed in the past decade: He held up a 2001 report that found there was $200 billion in waste in the federal government.

By the way, that $200 billion mirrors precisely the amount the current GAO report estimates is overspent.

But here's the thing: of the past ten years, six saw Republicans control the House AND Senate, and eight saw Republicans control the White House!

Asking the Republicans to be budget conscious is like asking Charlie Sheen to give up one of his goddesses.


They're Taking Our Jobs!

The Scariest Story You Will Read Today

There's been an undercurrent in the news these past few weeks that should terrify the pants off you.
As global climate changes, creating scarcity in formerly fertile areas and creating new fertility in areas not used to feast, all the while increasing food pressure in regions that were already drought stricken, we're seeing a nexus of factors start to accumulate.
Of course, there are the natural disasters: flooding AND drought in Australia would be first and foremost on the list of examples, but also long-term famine in Africa, and severe flooding in Bangladesh that washes away the few inches of fertile soil available for planting.
More, however, are the gutless capitalist humans who decide they need to take economic advantage of other people's suffering. The events in Cote D'Ivoire seem pretty trivial, when apparent President Alassane Ouattara declared an embargo on cocoa and coffee exports until his opponent left office, until you realize that food was being used to blackmail and bludgeon a political opponent.
And that's probably not the worst of it.
If you consider that the price of corn has doubled since 2009, the price of wheat has more than doubled, soy has risen over 50%, and sugar is the highest its been in 30 years, these can't all be explained by natural processes. Sure, water's been a problem in Russia, but not in the midwest, and while ethanol has had some impact on corn prices, you can't account for a doubling in price based on ethanol production.
There is much food speculation going on and that's the real secret of this crisis-to-be. Remember, the Arab and Muslim world accounts for 33% of the global food's really hard growing food in a desert...and so the wild swings we've seen over the past week or so are due in large part to people reacting to the various uprisings in the Middle east and North Africa.
After all, there's profit to be made here! If it was just based on natural factors, food prices wouldn't oscillate with such fervor and intensity. There has to be a human element. This is Enron writ large.

Um, Uh Oh....Don't Look Now, But...

Without firing a shot. Without fomenting trumped up charges. Without even doing much of anything except letting thngs play out and taking a very fine line thru Egypt and Yemen and Libya, America has influenced events in the great nemesis of the Middle East, Iran.

Boener Blinks

Well, well, well....suddenly the Teabag has lost its flavor....
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told a convention of religious broadcasters in Nashville on Sunday evening that a federal government shutdown was not appropriate and not what the electorate wanted.

His remarks were the latest sign that congressional leaders were backing away from the brink of a shutdown.

"Americans want the government to stay open, and they want it to spend less money," Boehner said. "We don't need to shut down the government to accomplish that. We just need to do what the American people are asking of us."

In other words, it's business as usual. That's going to piss off the Teabaggers mightily, many of whom believe the only way to restore sanity to the budget process is to shut the thing down.

The Republicans are in a tough spot, to be sure. This is a giant game of Steal The Bacon, and Obama and the Democrats know all they have to do is prevent the Republicans from bringing the pork back to their side and the game is won. In other words, the Republicans will have to make a proposal that truly makes the necessary cuts to the budget to bring some form of fiscal stability back. Obama's budget proposal was nothing but a gauntlet thrown down.

In order to truly reduce the size of government, three things have to happen. Unfortunately, all three of those things are guaranteed...well, two are. One is stifle any economic recovery:

  1. Defense spending has to be cut. Unfortunately, defense spending is the one guaranteed job creating program for the district in which the contract is awarded, including the contract for the F-35 engine, the biggest boondoggle in the current developing Pentagon arsenal, and oh by the way, built in Boener's home state of Ohio!
  2. Social Security and Medicare have to be reined in somehow. Now, you can't cut current spending. Remember all those elderly Teabaggers with their "keep your government hands off my Medicare" signs? You can cap the cost of living adjustments (COLAs) by faking a zero inflation number, which is accomplished by using core inflation, which excludes food and energy costs, which are "too volatile" to be useful. Are you kidding me? In a day and age when stock traders have software that can suss out microscopic inefficiencies and exploit them for millions in profits, we can't find someone to write a fractal-based program that can include the two biggests costs to an American family?
  3. Taxes must be raised. Now, no one is going to propose this without a healthy dose of political cover, because the Teabaggers will flip out, and you know what that means: no more GOP.
Of those three items, only taxes has been unproven to have much direct impact on economic growth. Indeed, one can make the case, as I often have, that the Clinton tax hike on the rich, while lowering taxes on the working and middle classes, actually created robust and exuberant economic growth that was struggling to even begin to break thru when he took office.
Defense spending and social programs that funnel money directly to taxpayers are vital cogs in the economic activity of this nation. Some defense spending clearly can be cut. The F-35 is an example of a program that no one, not even the Pentagon, really wants and is make-work to bolster the bottom lines of the Carlyle Group and Pratt & Whitney. Still, even these are minimal compared to what would happen to deficits should the economy make a startling comeback in the next few years.
It's hard to believe that, just ten years ago, we were running budget surpluses that would pay down the national debt eventually, only to have Republicans decide that deficits don't matter and that matter belongs in the pockets of Americans.
Well, it never made it there, did it?

Is It Just Me...

....or does Charlie Sheen look like he's drunk from the false Grail?

Monday, February 28, 2011

GOP To Destroy America

Jobs to be lost under GOP spending plan: 700,000
...or slightly fewer than the number of jobs George W Bush created in his eight years in office.

From The Subprime To The Ridiculous

JPMorgan Chase’s new fund aimed at investing in social media companies is seeking to buy a minority stake in Twitter that could value the service at close to $4.5 billion, people briefed on the matter said Sunday.

Y'know, at least junk mortgages had an asset with underlying value. Twitter, the social network for retards with slow hands and ADHD, makes zero revenue. None. Nada. Not an ad, not a subscription. Zip.

Yes, we will be bailing yet another fucking "too big to fail"...which will likely be duly Twatted.

I mean, tweeted.


Meet The Real Life Buckaroo Bonzai

I will pay a hundred bucks to anyone who gets Dr. Brian Cox's autograph that says "Wherever you go, there you are".

Keep Me Living Forever

The line forms to the right. Please take a number, ladies!

And Now, Good News For Women...

One more item to add to your wardrobe: The Butt Bra.

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Mayor Mike Blows It

This op-Ed, to no great surprise, is a bundle of elitist hackery that speaks volumes about how Mayor Michael Bloomberg has handled New York City's finances through two budget crises.
It's not that he doesn't make some points (I'll get to those), but it's the overall tone of "privilege," which sort of is funny coming from a billionaire, self-made or no.

Across the country, taxpayers are providing pensions, benefits and job security protections for public workers that almost no one in the private sector enjoys. Taxpayers simply cannot afford to continue paying these costs, which are growing at rates far outpacing inflation. Yes, public sector workers need a secure retirement. And yes, taxpayers need top-quality police officers, teachers and firefighters. It’s the job of government to balance those competing needs. But for a variety of reasons, the scale has been increasingly tipping away from taxpayers. 

Now, like I said, Mayor Mike has a point: there is an enormous burden on taxpayers to fund budget deficits. In New York City in particular, the budget by law has to be balanced (barring catastrophes) in order for the city to receive state funding. And the costs of pensions and healthcare are outstripping the rate of inflation, particularly at a time of near-zero inflation.

But...this article smacks of so much hypocrisy that I had no choice but to address it.

The argument you never hear, the argument that Mayor Mike ought to hear and then shut his piehole over, is this: public sector workers make MUCH LESS SALARY than their private sector counterparts. A clerk in a bank gets a 10-15% higher salary, plus vacation, plus paid sick time, and may even be eligible for a bonus each year.

Yes, that's right: a clerk at Goldman Sachs can make a bonus that brings his income significantly higher than the private sector premium already paid! The equivalent clerk at the city Department of Finance? Not so lucky.

So what makes people want to serve the public? It can't be the appreciation, a glance at the New York Post or FOX News will show any public servant just how appreciated they are. These outlets lie in wait for some poor soul who hasn't slept in three nights because his wife is due to deliver a baby to fall asleep on a park bench, even momentarily, so they can smear his face across front pages for millions.

Just ask an EMT who has to drive an ambulance down a crowded street to try to pick up a heart attack victim just how much appreciation he gets from motorists stuck behind his rig, lights flashing and EMTs hustling about. Why, the shouted "Hosannas" would make a stevedor blush!

It's not the salary or the awesome potential to make millions, because you know what? No one makes that kind of money in city government.

No, they do it because they get two guarantees: job security in tough economic times and the promise of a pension at the end of the road.

And even in New York City, thousands of civil servants have been laid off by the bushel and now there's talk of 6% of the teachers being axed, most from the poorest schools furthest behind grades...who will then be closed because they underachieve academically. Mayor Mike, with this article, demonstrates that even pensions are not above his vulgar rapacity.

It's a win-win for the billionaires that Bloomberg is kowtowing to! It's a lose-lose for the other nine million citizens who work their fingers to the bone, trying to make ends meet and give their kids some kind of leg up in life.

See, the dirtiest secret of them all is, we wouldn't be in this crisis if Bloomberg and his predecessors, particularly Rudy9-11 Giuliani, hadn't given away the candy store to companies who even glanced at New Jersey and winked at the mayor. You want to understand why the city's finances are in the toilet? Companies like NASDAQ and Citicorp pay no taxes to New York City, of any consequence, based on sweetheart deals to retain their presences in our fair town.

The irony is, where the hell would they have gone? If you want to be taken seriously as a player, you have to have your offices in the biggest financial capital in the world (well, except that's now London, but I digress)!

Even Lehman Brothers... LEHMAN BROTHERS, who couldn't make money in a market that practically printed it! tax incentives to stay here and build a garish headquarters in Times Square. And then went bankrupt.

But hey, Mr. Mayor, you go right on balancing the budget on the backs of the clerks and the firefighters and the teachers and the santitation workers and all the people who voted for you last time out, then hop your little jet to Bermuda to get away from the stench of burnt charcoal and chalk dust and uncollected trash...who needs you?