Friday, April 20, 2012

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Happy 420, everbody! Which leads me to rant number one of the day.
President Obama has pretty much flatly denied any move on the part of the Federal government to either legalize or even decriminalize marijuana, saying he welcomes a debate on the matter, but not legalization.
We all know the arguments, so I won't recap them here except to make two observations: prohibitions never work, and the only reason alcohol is legal and pot is not-- despite pot having a millenia head start in terms of use among humans-- is that pot is a tool to control the minority population in this country and to extend paramilitary operations overseas.
It's so useful in that regards that the US has gone hard after nations that have even thought about legalization, like Portugal and the Netherlands, and persuaded them to keep their drug laws in line with the rest of the world.
It's possible that Obama's recent comments are a smoke-screen in an election year when, while he holds a lead, it's early enough that major policy announcements could shift the ground. If you recall, in 2008 he mentioned he thought drug laws were antiquated.
It's also possible that four years of having the ear of the FBI, CIA, and DoD that Obama has bene persuaded of the value of keeping drugs illegal.
It is interesting to note that while marijuana and heroin are completely illegal under Federal law-- Class 1 drugs, which means research only and only then under very strict controls-- cocaine remains perfectly legal for its legitimate medical uses, like anesthesia, particularly in dentistry (Class 2 drug.)
Fairness and even logic dictates that the cost of the war on drugs, particularly marijuana, is too high when compared to the skimpy benefit obtained.
2) Since I'm talking about Obama's second term, let me rant again for a moment: President Obama could make a major statement about the economics of this country and usher in a whole new business model AND shut the Republicans up about tax cuts.
Here's what I'm thinking: in his Second Inaugural Address, he can announce that he will propose a tax rate of ten percent on corporations with under $5 million in revenue.
Wait for it.
This tax rate would be targeted at small companies (that's why the $5 million cap) with this condition: at least half of the board of directors or ownership group must be comprised of people who work in the company.
He doesn't have to say this, but this would be a stealthy way of introducing socialism, REAL socialism, into the American corporate system. You know, workers own the means of production, that sort of thing. By introducing this proposal, it would establish an incubator where people would see that worker-owned companies can not only be competitive with traditional companies, but in many cases outstrip them.
For instance, would a company owned by you and your fellow employees ever let the CEO make hundreds of times your salary? Or move jobs to China? Or use your pension plan to turn a profit? Or pollute your neighborhood? No, because they'd have to deal with the fallout of all those decisions from their friends and relatives.
Too, you'd have a real say in what happens in your firm: what you make, where you sell it, for how much, and what to do with the money you earn.
Think about it: democracy in the work place! Today, you wake up and your first thoughts are to get to work, you work until you leave and come home to your evening meal. That's close to half a day, five days a week, and 75% of your waking hours.
And in there, you are someone else's wage slave, earning a fat little profit for some rich guy while you get the crumbs. In the enterprise I imagine, you'll still make about as much as you do now, but you'll benefit in other ways: paid healthcare, more time off to attend to the things you need to, whatever the firm decides is in everyone's benefit and not tailored to the 800 pound gorilla at the conference table.
An example: the company I work for has healthcare coverage that's partially paid for. Employees have to kick in hundreds of dollars a month for coverage. Why? Because the patriarch of the company a) is 75 and b) refuses to use only in-network doctors.
Mind you, this plan is the cheapest coverage we could get, and to do so, our deductible is $3,000 per family and our benefits are capped at what I believe are dangerously low levels (people have bumped up against them in the past.) It's such a poor plan that I opted out and decided to buy a plan through one of my unions. I pay slightly more but have no deductible and the cap is a generous one.
You think that decision would be made if the workers had a say in it?
We need this, President Obama. We need to move beyond what we can euphemistically call "American capitalism."
3) I'm ashamed to admit that I started to read this book. The good news is, I put it down after four pages, when I realized the author is a fucking idiot who couldn't even see a glaring plot hole that I could drive a truck through. A "reporter" has to sub in for a regular reporter and interview a titan of industry. She ponders how old he could be. She meets him, realizes he's rather young, pulls out the list of questions and right there is a question that asks what it feels like to be so young and so rich.
Really? Umm, you're interviewing one of the most powerful men in the world and YOU DON'T EVEN READ THE FUCKING QUESTIONS?????
That told me the rest of the book was going to be horribly written, which means I'd spend the sex scenes imagining how I would have written them better.
4) Perhaps the single most ridiculous question ever asked on a state-wide reading comprehension test...for the second time!
5) Keep it real, Green Monster!
6) Errrrrrrrrrr, that's, um, interesting?
7) Greenpeace makes an interesting point: why can't the servers that create the "cloud" operate on renewable energy sources?
8) Ron Paul will have his own video game this summer. RON PAUL
9) Apple's next iPhone: The T-1000.
10) Remember: Earth Day is Sunday. Go hug a tree.