Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jingle Bells B Funky

Thanks to some dude in the Netherlands, some Booker T. for Christmas. Stick around for the Steve Cropper guitar solo starting at about 1:12, when the cat starts rockin'. Honestly, I am still overwhelmed by the video I posted below this one,

"Booker-Loo" from 1968.

I think it may be the greatest thing I have ever seen/heard.

My Booker T. & the MG's infatuation is reaching a fever pitch, and luckily, they have a Christmas album, only $5 for MP3 from Amazon!

Booker T. & the MG's Slay Me

This, my friends, is a band. Check out this time capsule. Boom!

Watts the... 2010 Lunar Eclipse

1st try on the lunar time lapse. just in time for the Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse.
A couple more at my YouTube page

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sarah Palin: Destroyer of Animals

Don't get me wrong, I love meat, even fish, and I know what it takes to kill them for consumption. But do we want to see Sarah Palin hacking a halibut to death? Or see how fascinated she is with the halibut's still beating heart in her hand?
Then, in the next episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska", she's taking 6 shots and 2 guns to kill a Caribou. I'm hoping baby seals are next, but would settle for seeing her club Glenn Beck.

Wouldn't she rather be singing "Blueberry Hill" or something..... nice?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

We Need a Plan

Even Thomas Friedman knows we need a plan. I'm sure the Republicans feel all tingly with their win over Obama, and they have solidified the Cheneyism that "deficits don't matter." Glad to know some things don't change.
Now I know those folks in Washington just saw what it will take to balance the budget with the Simpson/Bowles deal. So how do we begin to reign things in? Tax breaks for all!

"...we need a plan, not just more sugar treats. Surely the cynical quote of the week — courtesy of The Daily Beast — goes to Dan Bartlett, the former George W. Bush administration spokesman who was speaking about the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that Bush “temporarily” put in place a decade ago: “We knew that, politically, once you get it into law, it becomes almost impossible to remove it. That’s not a bad legacy. The fact that we were able to lay the trap does feel pretty good, to tell you the truth.”

Bartlett offered no thoughts as to how these budget-busting tax cuts will address our country’s deficiencies today — just a high-five that in the politics of sports, the G.O.P. just scored a goal on Obama.

We don’t seem to realize: We’re in a hole and still digging. Our educational attainment levels are stagnating; our infrastructure is fraying. We don’t have enough smart incentives to foster both innovation and manufacturing; we’re not importing enough talent in an age when we have to compete for jobs with low-wage but high-skilled Indians and Chinese — and we’re still piling up debt. Responding to all this will require a whole new hybrid politics for where to cut, where to save, where to invest, where to tax and where to untax. Shaping that new politics is a revolutionary role I still hope President Obama will play....

...Economics is not war. It can be win-win, so it’s good for the world if China is doing better. But it can’t be good for America if every time we come to a hard choice we borrow more money from a country that is not just out-saving and out-hustling us, but is also starting to out-educate us. We need a plan. "

We need manufacturing jobs, and we need the government to spur investment in battery technology and production. A moonshot for energy on many levels....

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Fringe Entrada 1.618

New Fringe episode tonight!!

Catch up on Fringe by watching these 10 2 minute clips. You'll be a Fringe-worthy and ready to ride the wave with Walter to-night.

Watch the clips

Monday, November 29, 2010

Increase Taxes to Boost Wages

Counter to what one would expect, raising taxes will boost wages and help repair the Great Divergence.
From Thom Hartmann's new book, "Rebooting the American Dream":
"High top marginal tax rates—generally well above 60 percent—on rich people actually stabilize the economy, prevent economic bubbles from forming, prevent the subsequent economic crashes, and lead to steady and sustained economic growth as well as steady and sustained wage growth for working people.3
On the other hand, when top marginal rates drop below 50 percent, the opposite happens.
As Beinhart noted, the massive Republican tax cuts of the 1920s (from 73 to 25 percent) led directly to the Roaring Twenties’ real estate and stock market bubbles, a temporary boom, and then the crash and Republican Great Depression that started in 1929.
Then, from the 1930s to the 1980s, rates on the very rich went back up into the 70 to 90 percent range. As a result, the economy grew steadily, and for the first time in the history of our nation we went 50 years without a crash or major bank failure. It was also during this period that the American worker’s wages increased enough to produce the strongest middle class this nation has ever seen.
Then came Reaganomics."...
More counter intuitive thought, from a guy at Cato, no less:

Shrink the Government by Raising Taxes
"Running the numbers through a fine-toothed comb, Cato’s Niskanen was even able to determine the exact tipping point for taxes and demand for government services: 19 percent of GDP. Whenever taxes were above that point (FDR to Carter and during the Clinton years), government grew more slowly than the rest of the economy or even shrank. Whenever taxes were below 19 percent of GDP, government grew in size and spending (usually military but others as well) like a fat man at a pie-eating contest.
“I would like to be proven wrong,” Niskanen told Atlantic Monthly writer Jonathan Rauch. And Rauch noted, “The way to limit the growth of government is to force politicians, and therefore voters, to pay for all the government they use—not to give them a discount.” And that means raising taxes to a point above 19 percent of GDP. “Voters will not shrink Big Government until they feel the pinch of its true cost,” Rauch wrote."
The whole article is worth a read for those of us brought to reality by the Simpson/Bowles numbers. Speaking of, have you tried to balance the budget? This NY Times interactive thingamadoochie was fun to play with.... I was successful, and you can be too!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Republicans to Cut Spending. Or not.

It's a big fake-out. They're not going to touch spending on Defense, and they probably won't even try to fix Medicare and Social Security. Unless the Republicans are ready to "man up" and get behind 95% of the Simpson/Bowles plan, they can just save it with the "we'll cut spending" thing. It reminds me of the ol' Dick Cheney adage, "Deficits Don't Matter". Just show us where you want to cut... we're all ready to deal with the big problem. Here's the "leadership" on the issue:

"Speaking to a crowd at the annual convention of the Federalist Society, an influential organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers, McConnell is among friends. They are happy to hear him declare, "Americans want less government, less spending and less debt."

Then the senator tells them what his party is going to do to bring the runaway federal budget under control. "We will vote to freeze and cut discretionary spending," he vows.

What is important is not so much what is said but what is omitted. The four biggest items in the federal budget are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and defense. And those programs escape any mention from McConnell.

They make up about 60 percent of the federal budget. Domestic discretionary outlays, by contrast, account for only about 16 percent. If Republicans focus entirely on those, they will be sending a clear and quite believable message: We're not serious."

Bristol Palin Outdanced by Dog

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Edge's Fringe Number: e

atu2 blog pointed me toward this interesting article about The Edge's "sound" and a transcendental number: e

Derek White ends his article "U2's Natural Logarhythm: Exponential Decay in the Delay of The Edge's Guitar":
"And the question still remains as to "why e?" In the case of the plants, the golden ratio allows them to optimally space leaves on an axis for maximum sun exposure. There is a physical reason. But why the delay ratio of e sounds most appealing, still remains to be determined. I am not sure I want to know."
About "e", from Wikipedia:

The number e is irrational; it is not a ratio of integers. Furthermore, it is transcendental; it is not a root of any non-zero polynomial with rational coefficients. The numerical value of e truncated to 40 decimal places is:


What does all this mean, Walter? Do you know that Peter and Fauxlivia have U2 concert tickets? Hmmmmm....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simpson/Bowles a Strike!

Hearing both sides bellow and crow about the Fiscal Responsibility Commission recommendations has me laughing so hard my sides almost split. Hey folks, this commission's report is basic, "just the facts, ma'am" math. Like the recommendations or not, that thar is a path to a balanced budget.

So now we can begin to have intelligent conversations about where to cut and how much. And where to raise taxes and by how much. If one thing can be gleaned from the report, it is that we will need a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to reach a balanced budget. "Simply" growing the economy won't be enough this time.

I would think that Tea Baggers would be lovin' all over this thang. (I picture a Tea Poodle humping Erskine's leg, but that's just me). Major cuts across the board of all government agencies, it's like, just the thing they were asking for! But I'm not hearing a lot of support. Change can be difficult.

I like a lot of what John A. Farrell says about the recommendations:
"Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp are shouting down from heaven, “Take the deal! Take the deal!”...

Take it from me, Republicans. You won’t win this one by listening to my old pal Grover. We are in too deep not to do this without raising taxes.

Take the deal. Or, if you like, move to Singapore. And Australia, I hear, has great beer and fine-looking gals and lads and lots of empty real estate."

Update: He thinks Democrats should get on board, too.

I say, hey, at least now we have a "base line". Now it's time make some compromises. Let's get to work!

Hard to believe that Tea Baggers are fighting the debt reduction right now, by refusing to tax the Top 2% at Clintonian rates. That's $700 Billion over 10 years right there. About the same dollar amount as one of the wars we're fighting (so far). Why do the Tea Baggers love the very rich so much that they want to give them each like $100,000, instead of balancing the budget? Where are their priorities?

Kabul, We Adore You!

And so we will build one of our fanciest palaces, uh, I mean embassy/compound/secret government complex thingies for us, uh, I mean for you. Us/you....hey, we're all in this together. Please take over Half a Billion Dollars form our indebted taxpayers (via our loan shark China), and we will build the palace to ensure all future safety in Iraq. Oops, I mean Afghanistan. I smell jobs:

"The project started earlier this year and currently employs about 500 Afghans. Once construction gets under way, more than 1,500 Afghan workers will be employed, Eikenberry said.

Over the last two years, the U.S. has signed contracts to expand American diplomatic facilities in Kabul and consulates in Mazar-e Sharif and Herat provinces thLinkat total $790 million, he said. The figure includes the embassy expansion, which should be completed by June 2014."

2014? Hey.... aren't we supposed to be out of there by then? Boy, that Billion could have come in handy for debt reduction.... right Tea Baggers?

Update: Tom Engelhardt finds this palace disturbing as well:
“$790 million is more than ten times the money the federal government allotted for the State Energy Program in FY2011. It's nearly five times the total amount allocated for the National Endowment for the Arts (threatened to be completely eliminated by the incoming Congress). If that sum were applied instead to job creation in the United States, in new hires it would yield more than 22,000 teachers, 15,000 healthcare workers, and employ more than 13,000 in the burgeoning clean energy industry."

Mo' Tea, Sir? Yes, with Phallus, please.

"Irrational Phallus Worship: The Missing Link That Helps the Tea Party Make Sense"
The title alone is priceless. Missing link? Get it?
"...the problem that arises when you obsess over appearing like an invulnerable tough guy is there’s always a fear that your phallic power is going to be rendered as vulnerable as the actual, real life penis is. The result is paranoia. Though there’s no real world reason to believe Obama and Eric Holder are out to symbolically castrate gun nut America by taking away their phalluses/guns...supporters...nonetheless believe it with all their heart and soul. It’s hard not to suggest they feel like losing an election has made them feel like they’re not omnipotent, and they can’t help but believe that a more literal taking away of their phallic totems is next....

...The beauty of provoking anxieties about sex and gender is that it’s a shortcut to shutting down all rational thought and allowing a bunch of impulses and fears to fill the void. A steady drumbeat of fears about emasculation can quickly be aimed towards creating fears about Muslims (to justify imperialist wars), to creating fears about racial minorities (to create the ground work for voter suppression and a rollback of the social safety net), and general anti-intellectualism to keep the fear party going."
Oh, I think you get it, alright!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

PPD's Fred Eshelman Paid For This

Back in August 2008, PPD's Fred Eshelman started giving to defeat Obama, and today's Wilmington StarNews article by Patrick Gannon goes into some detail about his generous giving. Here's one of the videos from his website:

Obama Failed Leadership - Foreign Policy from RightChange on Vimeo.

I wonder if he was involved with such great donations to Republicans before it was evident.....well, you fill in the blank. Maybe he hated Clinton just as badly?

Check out the videos at his website, and see if you don't think this stuff is laughable paranoia, and blatant propaganda, with no effort to dig deeper than sloganeering. Another piece of the right-wing blabber machine, brought to you by a pharmaceutical company. Of course, the website doesn't mention him by name, but we do know he spent $5.5 Million in 2008 and $3.4 Million in, almost $10 Million in 2 years. At least we know.

I don't have to, but I will mention to Fred's credit that he has also been a generous donor to UNC-Chapel Hill, and the new Pharmacy School there is named for him. Often times, I find that people I disagree with politically are fine people that I get along with and respect.

Here's a link to the article they talk about (but don't link to) in the StarNews article.

Friday, November 12, 2010

U2 on FRINGE, again...

U2 makes it's way onto FRINGE again, with Peter giving his freshly deflowered Bolivia (aka Fauxlivia) tickets to go see U2 in concert.
How romantic!
But keep watching the clip... Peter's been working on the "end of the world" machine. And it looks suspiciously like "The Claw". Or something you could hook up to "The Claw".
We already know there is no U2 on the other side.
I said it before and it worked, so I'll say it again:
"I'm hoping it comes back into the plot later on..."

U2's "The Claw"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Homemade Time-Lapse 3D Anaglyph Video

A friend pointed me to this USA Today article about folks making their own 3D, and to my delight, they're using red/cyan glasses. It spurred me on to make this quickie:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We're Still #1, in Arms Sales

I guess "we're #1 in arms sales" could go without saying, I mean we do have the world's biggest military by a wide margin (The Pentagon's budget is larger than the next 18 defense budgets in the world), so of course we have lots of arms to sell. Well, thanks goodness, we have buyers for our military weapons. And luckily for us, they are Muslims from the same country as the hijackers who attacked us on 9/11, our friends, Saudi Arabia. It's OK, these are the Muslims who are our friends. Hey, congrats on your big profit, America!
"In its biggest arms deal ever, the United States announced it will sell up to 60 billion dollars worth of warplanes, helicopters and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, partly to help it counter Iran."

Obama HAS ALREADY Lowered Taxes for 98%

That's right, 98% of Americans have lower taxes thanks to President Obama. Hey, the Top 2% should feel good, too, because overall, all taxes are down under Obama, near the lowest levels ever. Huh. Guess you don't learn that on FOX News, but David Corn has a great article for those leaning into the Tea Bag:
"Speaking of taxpayers, should tea partiers be ticked off about taxes? Not at all. Taxes are down for most Americans and at a historic 60-year low, partly due to Obama's tax cuts. USA Today, that bastion of left-wing economic thought, reports:
Federal, state and local income taxes consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010 . . .On average, though, the tax rate paid by all Americans -- rich and poor, combined -- has fallen 26% since the recession began in 2007. That means a $3,400 annual tax savings for a household paying the average national rate and earning the average national household income of $102,000.
If Obama could get his way, he would indeed raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans -- those making over $250,000 a year -- but not on anyone beneath that high level. In fact, one-third of Obama's stimulus package -- which tea partiers decry -- was tax cuts that reached about 98 percent of Americans. Earlier this year, Bruce Bartlett, who was domestic policy adviser for President Ronald Reagan, observed, "Federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president." Are tea party folks peeved Obama lowered taxes?"
Read the whole article to find out how the Prescription Drug Benefit, passed by Bush and the Republican Congress, will cost us more than the bailout, the stimulus and Obamacare....combined. Where is the outrage from the Tea Party there?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Uncharted Foreclosure Mess

We've never been here before. A land where foreclosures are rampant and there's a good chance many rules have been broken by the banks along the way. How do you think they'd deal with us if we broke the rules? I've collected a batch of articles from the past few days that will shed some light on the problems, but I'm afraid I don't have a simple easy solution for this one.

Foreclosuregate: Time to Break Up the Too-Big-to-Fail Banks?: "
by Ellen Brown

Looming losses from the mortgage scandal dubbed "foreclosuregate"
may qualify as the sort of systemic risk that, under the new financial
reform bill, warrants the breakup of the too-big-to-fail banks. The
Kanjorski amendment allows federal regulators to pre-emptively break up
large financial institutions that-for any reason-pose a threat to U.S.
financial or economic stability.

read more

Foreclosure Fraud: Wall Street Cheats the Middle Class Again

Foreclosure Moratorium Is Only Sane Response to Shocking Wall Street Mortgage Scams

Don’t Believe The Bank Lobby: Foreclosure Fraud Is Bad For Homeowners And The Economy

Banker-Run Third Way Opposes Foreclosure Moratorium On Banks

Foreclosuregate Fallout: How Bad Can It Get For Wall Street?

The Elephant In The Foreclosure Fraud Room: Second Liens

The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Bankers Fleeced America, and Launched a Global Crisis

Update: Wall Street wrecker/savior, electric-kool-aid-in-a-can-man and my current favorite author Matt Taibbi confirms my fears:
"The truth, and I'll get into this in detail when the magazine piece comes out, is that this foreclosure fiasco is a story about wide-scale bureaucratic fraud, with a kind of mortgage counterfeiting and a gangbang mentality with regard to the securitization process has infected the entire system. Since mortgages and mortgage-backed securities are in everything — in your pensions, in insurance portfolios, on the balance sheet of the Fed and its bailout facilities (making all Americans stakeholders in subprime notes) — a wave of phantom and/or mismarked mortgages has the potential to wreck the entire economy, which is why everyone from Ben Bernanke on down is shitting bricks as this story (and disclosures like this BOFA thing) unfolds. This business is, believe me, a LOT worse than even Bank of America is admitting, and it's not confined to just a few reckless banks. Anyway, more to come later."
I really like how he lays it all out there. Thank you Mr. Taibbi, I will plug your new book later.

Update: James Howard Kunstler chimes in.

Is the universe a big hologram?

Is the universe a big hologram?

OK, we know there might be multiple universes, and now you're expecting us to believe everything in our universe is a hologram, projected from our outer universe horizon? You better explain yourself, mister!

"While looking out for a gravitational wave signal, scientists at GEO600 noticed something bizarre. There was inexplicable static in the results they were gathering. After canceling out all artificial sources of the noise, they called in the help of Fermilab’s Craig Hogan to see if his expertise of the quantum world help shed light on this anomalous noise. His response was as baffling as it was mind-blowing. “It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time,” Hogan said.

Come again?

The signal being detected by GEO600 isn’t a noise source that’s been overlooked, Hogan believes GEO600 is seeing quantum fluctuations in the fabric of space-time itself. This is where things start to get a little freaky."

Oooooh, my.

Donald Duck Gets Smart

Great editing in this cartoon, the real Glenn Beck comes through, especially in the end.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tread on This, Tea Baggers

Tea Party folks, you need to wake up. You're being sold a false bill of goods. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce does not share your interests. From John Aloysius Farrell at US News:
"I see snakes in the Tea Party’s Eden. Its members are being played, like foolish rubes and codgers, by the slick beltway Republicans, and seem doomed to crushing disappointment in the coming years.

For proof, look no further than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that big marble temple across the street from the White House, which Glenn Beck and other TPR champions have been hailing as a wonderful defender of the good old America that existed before the evil elites hollowed out the industrial base, stole our money to bail out Wall Street insiders, and allowed those awful immigrants to wreak havoc on our culture.

Because the Chamber is in a squirting match with President Obama over whether its secret donors represent foreign interests, the TPR types have rallied to its defense. After all, as any good Islamic terrorist will tell you: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

But have Beck and the others looked at what the chamber stands for? Have any of you read the policy priorities on its Web site?"

Some examples:

"The chamber promises to use the Republican Congress to “push for comprehensive immigration reform” with an “earned pathway to legalization for undocumented workers already contributing to our economy” and a “guest or essential worker program to fill the growing gaps in America's workforce.”"
Keep Jobs in US? Naaaah:
"the chamber supports new trade talks toward “a commercially meaningful Doha Round agreement” and some more of those NAFTA-like trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia, and Panama and “investment treaties with China, India, and Vietnam” and the welcoming of Russia to the World Trade Organization."
Wall Street reform:
"it’s for all sorts of Wall Street plums--like “customized OTC derivatives at a reasonable price and without the burden of margin requirements” and a continuation of the big bonus system for Wall Street executives, “which promotes long-term shareholder value and profitability” and “does not constrain reasonable risk taking.”

Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is not your friend.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

McIntyre Deserves Our Support

I was upset with Mike McIntyre when he didn't vote for the Health Care Reform Bill... how could he call himself a Democrat after that? But he judged his district well... District 7 does lean conservative. I'll save my ire for his opponent for another blog post. Republicans ought to support McIntyre.... that's what this (conservative-leaning) US News article by Mary M. Shaffrey says:
"McIntyre is a pro-defense, pro-life, fiscally conservative Democrat. Not to mention one of the most sincere members of Congress to currently serve.... While John McCain carried the conservative southeastern district with 52 percent of the vote, McIntyre easily won with 69 percent. He ranks third on the House Agriculture Committee and also serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

But he votes for Pelosi and she sets the agenda, so Republicans have targeted him. What happens if he loses, but Republicans fail to capture the House? And if they win, wouldn’t it be nice to have a moderate Democrat who would likely support a fair amount of the Republican agenda around, so Republicans could be bipartisan in a way Democrats never were, or even tried to be?

Pantano has many strong qualities but perhaps should wait until McIntyre is ready to step aside. He still has work to do and has done an admirable job representing a district that is not as sexy as Charlotte or Raleigh.
He is the type of member who literally can talk your ear off about the district he represents but never seeks the microphone or camera. He actually apologizes when he is late. Imagine that, a congressman who apologizes and means it.

“Throw the bums out!” is a laudable cry and, sometimes, a worthwhile aim, but McIntyre is not one of the bums. There are Republicans from North Carolina I wouldn’t vote for if they were running for dog catcher, but I would trust McIntyre to watch my son. And right now, as the country tries to right itself from the worst economic collapse in generations and fight a war half a world away, we need people we can trust in Washington."

Friday, October 08, 2010

Fringe & U2: Worlds Collide

So... no U2 in the alternate universe, huh? Who's Bono? I'm hoping it comes back into the plot later on...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

FOX in the hen house

FOX News and Billionaires, like peanut butter & chocolate. Krugman lays on some well-deserved criticism that FOX's most fervent viewers would do well to read for themselves.

"...every major contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination who isn’t currently holding office and isn’t named Mitt Romney is now a paid contributor to Fox News. Now, media moguls have often promoted the careers and campaigns of politicians they believe will serve their interests. But directly cutting checks to political favorites takes it to a whole new level of blatancy.

Arguably, this shouldn’t be surprising. Modern American conservatism is, in large part, a movement shaped by billionaires and their bank accounts, and assured paychecks for the ideologically loyal are an important part of the system. Scientists willing to deny the existence of man-made climate change, economists willing to declare that tax cuts for the rich are essential to growth, strategic thinkers willing to provide rationales for wars of choice, lawyers willing to provide defenses of torture, all can count on support from a network of organizations that may seem independent on the surface but are largely financed by a handful of ultrawealthy families."

The whole article is worth a read, especially for those who only watch FOX.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Social Security Works, Stops Poverty

Since the 1960's, Social Security has worked to help end poverty for our senior citizens. The graph speaks for itself:

Or maybe you prefer this one:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Contractors Killed Than Soldiers

This year, more private contractors have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan than soldiers. Congratulations, we have privatized our military.

"More private contractors than soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, the first time in history that corporate casualties have outweighed military losses on America’s battlefields.

More than 250 civilians working under U.S. contracts died in the war zones between January and June 2010... In the same period, 235 soldiers died, according to Pentagon figures.

This milestone in the privatization of modern U.S. warfare reflects both the drawdown in military forces in Iraq and the central role of contractors in providing logistics support to local armies and police forces, contracting and military experts said."

We're outsourcing our military. Jobs that used to be for military folks are now for "contractors". I wonder what a strict reading of the Constitution would say about that? Maybe a Tea Partier can help me out here?

Update: A Republican friend asks:
"And the problem here?"

Well, I don't think we should be hiring private companies to act as our military. If we're going to do that, maybe we should hire a bunch of cheap labor to act as our soldiers? Why should we have to fight at all? Let's pay "them" to do it. That may be all well and good until "they" decide they want the power. I guess that's when we're supposed to defend ourselves using "2nd Amendment Guarantees".
I've written about this before...

Poll This

Hmmm... maybe most people just don't realize how much wealth the super-rich are hoarding. Check out this poll:

"All demographic groups -- even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy -- desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo."

The report (pdf)... shows that across ideological, economic and gender groups, Americans thought the richest 20 percent of our society controlled about 59 percent of the wealth, while the real number is closer to 84 percent.

More interesting than that, the report says, is that the respondents... believed the top 20 percent should own only 32 percent of the wealth. Respondents with incomes over $100,000 per year had similar answers to those making less than $50,000. (The report has helpful, multi-colored charts.)

The respondents were presented with unlabeled pie charts representing the wealth distributions of the U.S., where the richest 20 percent controlled about 84 percent of wealth, and Sweden, where the top 20 percent only controlled 36 percent of wealth. Without knowing which country they were picking, 92 percent of respondents said they'd rather live in a country with Sweden's wealth distribution.

I think the tea party folks might be interested in this poll, but something tells me we won't be hearing about this on FOX News or even MSNBC. Here's a good pie chart for you, since what you think is probably wrong:

Update: A Republican friend asks:
"And the problem?"

Well, not everyone thinks they're going to be a billionaire when they grow up, my friend ;-)

If we are to remain a capitalist country (I think we agree on that), we need a strong middle class to buy things. This post may help explain.

And this article has some good graphs.

More graphs from Slate, they ran a 10 part series on "The Great Divergence" recently.

Income inequality, and especially the loss of a vibrant and large middle class, could spell our economic doom! From Robert Reich:

"Here’s the point. Policies that generate more widely shared prosperity lead to stronger and more sustainable economic growth -- and that’s good for everyone.

The rich are better off with a smaller percentage of a fast-growing economy than a larger share of an economy that’s barely moving. That’s the Labor Day lesson we learned decades ago; until we remember it again, we’ll be stuck in the Great Recession."

The Rat is (Coming) Back

That's right Tar Heel fans, the legendary eatery in the alley is going to pull a phoenix and once again serve those famous burned, tough steaks and cheese bowls. All hail the great Ram's Head Rathskeller in Amber Alley! Daily Tar Heel article

I got polled last night

Well, sorta. It was more of a "misinformation" campaign call from....somebody.

Guy says he's going to ask me five questions. On question 2 he has enough information to determine my political leanings (I said I thought our state was going in the right direction, and that I planned on voting for a democrat for NC legislature). So, question 3, he tells me to state whether I agree with the following statement on a scale from 1 to 10. He then goes on to read a very misleading paragraph of a statement (about Medicare and taxation) that no reasonable person would agree with. In fact, it was complete misinformation and hogwash designed to confuse the average voter. So I told him to stop right there. I asked him who he was polling for, and he told me it was for a Republican website. I then asked for and got a supervisor.

The supervisor explained that it was a "non-partisan" poll, despite what the original caller had said. I got the company name and told him that I was reporting the call to the elections commission. And I told him that he knew what he was doing. And that he had to live with himself.

The company does not exist according to Google, and the 877 number that called me has been used before for collections, random hang-ups, and other nasty stuff (according to the internet).

Basically, I can't find them and they're getting away with this crap.
So if you're in North Carolina and get a call from a "poller", be aware that it may actually be a misinformation campaign.

Nancy & Barry's Latest Success

Once again, the Democrats have managed to pass a reasonable bill without the help of Republicans. A shame they should sit this one out, as most all of the benefits are for small businesses. "They" (tea partiers or republicans? hard to tell the difference...) would have you believe that the expiration of tax breaks for the richest 2% will hurt small businesses, but in reality, only 3% of small businesses would be effected, the ones with the biggest profits.

Here's a sampling of what the Democrats (the only working party) passed:
Starting today, millions of small business owners will be eligible for up to eight new tax cuts, and within weeks, thousands of businesses will finally have access to the credit they desperately need.

The bill also includes key provisions the President has fought for since the beginning of this year:

-- Small businesses receive a tax write-off on the first $500,000 of new equipment investments;
-- More than a million eligible small businesses will be able to make key long-term investments that are subject to zero capital gains taxes;
-- Entrepreneurs who take a chance on a new idea can deduct the first $10,000 of start-up costs; and
-- The self-employed can deduct 100 percent of the cost of health insurance for themselves and their families from self-employment taxes.
I really like that last one, and added the emphasis.

What's the Republican/Tea Party alternative? Stop taxing the rich so much and deregulate everything. Oh, and starve all social programs (Social Security/Medicare), so that eventually they won't be sustainable, because they don't like the government "giving" benefits in the first place. But I digress.
What I really want to do is congratulate the Democrats on passing this bill, and the health care bill, and the finance reform bill. Nancy Pelosi may be vilified by the "right", but you gotta hand it to her... she has passed legislation that Democrats have wanted for ages, with almost zero participation from "the other side". That's why they hate her, because she has been successful. She's no crazy liberal, she won't even support legalized marijuana in her home state. She's reasonable, and willing to compromise to get most of what she wants, a real politician in the best sense of the word.
It makes me long for a Republican Party that would compromise on Social Security, and make a plan that keeps it strong for the long know, like Reagan did with Tip O'Neil back in the 80's. Why is Reagan always the hero, unless he did something "today's conservative" doesn't agree with, in which case it's whitewashed over. Reagan helped save Social Security.... Reagan gave amnesty to illegal aliens.... Reagan ran up the biggest deficit ever.... Reagan ran from a fight in the Middle East. He was a great president, in large part because he was willing to compromise when the time was right, and make pragmatic decisions. Today's Republicans would rather "stop everything up" than get anything done, and I think that's a disservice. I hope they will once again consider the possibility of compromise, after all, compromise is the heart of politics, and the only way to get things done in a democracy.

More info on small business jobs bill.

Update: Despite the election returns, Obama's first 2 years were an outstanding legislative success, and it was worth it to lose!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Multiverse" means "whoa......"

Gizmodo has a cool article about the "multiverse". Yeah, you got that right, it's not just the universe anymore. Scientists are theorizing that there may be multiple universes. And there's more, right here in our universe.... physical laws may change from place to place. Whoa!
"Mutliverse" subscribers believe there are other, crazier universes beyond ours that could potentially boast their own unique physics. That's one theory. Another, floated this week, is that the laws of physics in this universe aren't so constant either.
"The implications for our current understanding of science are profound. If the laws of physics turn out to be merely 'local by-laws', it might be that whilst our observable part of the universe favours the existence of life and human beings, other far more distant regions may exist where different laws preclude the formation of life, at least as we know it."

This reminds me.... don't forget to watch Fringe tomorrow night! Best show on TV, and they're battling it out with the alternate universe.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Reich is Right on Economy

Robert Reich clearly shows how income inequality, especially decreasing wealth in the middle class, will have profound effects for our economy which depends on consumer spending.

"Face it: The national economy isn’t escaping the gravitational pull of the Great Recession. None of the standard booster rockets are working. Near-zero short-term interest rates from the Fed, almost record-low borrowing costs in the bond market, a giant stimulus package, along with tax credits for small businesses that hire the long-term unemployed have all failed to do enough.

That’s because the real problem has to do with the structure of the economy, not the business cycle. No booster rocket can work unless consumers are able, at some point, to keep the economy moving on their own. But consumers no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services they produce as workers; for some time now, their means haven’t kept up with what the growing economy could and should have been able to provide them."

He goes on to explain in detail how the crisis began, what is making it worse, and what we can do to make things better. And finally, he gets to a succinct point at the crux of the "debate":

"Here’s the point. Policies that generate more widely shared prosperity lead to stronger and more sustainable economic growth -- and that’s good for everyone.

The rich are better off with a smaller percentage of a fast-growing economy than a larger share of an economy that’s barely moving. That’s the Labor Day lesson we learned decades ago; until we remember it again, we’ll be stuck in the Great Recession."

Friday, September 03, 2010

What Obama Couldn't Say

Joe Conason over at Salon has an interesting take on Obama's "end of war in Iraq" speech, where he says the things the president couldn't say:

"What the president could not utter, under any circumstances, is an accurate description of the war, the occupation and the ruinous reasoning that led to them.

He could not say, for instance...

-that the Iraqis are broadly resentful of the U.S. presence in their country and have wished to see us go for years.
-that the predictions of the war’s proponents, both within and outside government, proved to be entirely wrong
-that U.S. prestige and influence in the Mideast have declined sharply, or that our capacity to criticize human rights violations in other countries -- ruled by thugs like Saddam -- has suffered lasting damage due to our own illegal and brutal mistreatment of detainees in Iraq
-that the war and occupation resulted in historic levels of corruption, wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on ghost projects, phony public relations scams, and crooked Iraqi politicians and American contractors
- that the misconduct and irresponsibility of the previous administration’s officials..., and many others who botched the occupation so lethally, were a disgrace to the United States.
-that imperial overstretch in Iraq inflicted lasting damage on our soldiers and our military infrastructure -- what he called the steel in our ship of state -- and that our standing has been diminished in the eyes of the world
-that the most lasting consequence of the invasion of Iraq, to date, has been to strengthen Iran

Instead he fulfilled his duty as commander in chief by copiously praising the troops and noting, correctly, that patriots on both sides of the war debate honor those who served and suffered in Iraq."
The president was right not to say those things at this point in time, but we need to remember that those things are true. The revisionist history being played by Bush-backers like Ari Fleischer needs to be tempered with these truths.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

National Review is Delusional

National Review does a hatchet job on our current president with their comparison to Reagan. In an article titled "Obama: More a Carter than a Reagan", the unidentified columnist (I wouldn't want my name on it either) goes off on supposed ways that Obama is not up to Reagan's snuff. But I will not let you get away with it this time, my nameless nemesis. Let's break you down:
"Both men faced seemingly intractable economic problems with no easy solution, but Reagan understood that curing the nation’s debilitating inflation was going to involve a good deal of short-term economic pain and political unpopularity, and he was prepared to endure that. By contrast, Obama has done everything in his power to avoid painful corrections — at great cost to future taxpayers."
This is patently false. Reagan and Obama both took actions that caused/will cause our national debt to grow significantly. It was OK then and it's OK now. Not the best place to be, but it beats stagflation (in Reagan's case) and the collapse of our whole economic system (in Obama's case). How do Reagan's debts come at a greater cost than Obama's debts?
"Reagan was candid about what needed to be done, according to the late Bob Novak’s reporting on the subject: “I’m afraid this country is just going to have to suffer two, three years of hard times to pay for the [inflationary] binge we’ve been on,” Reagan said. It is impossible to imagine Obama speaking such unpopular truths in public or in private after having so often expressed the opinion that a massive debt-fueled government-spending program would create millions of jobs and reconstruct an economy torn asunder by years of binging on debt."
Obama has been candid about the difficulties we face, not just to Bob Novak, but to anyone who would listen, obviously not the editors at National Review. And a report just came out that Obama's spending program did create over 3 million jobs, not enough to get us out of the slump, but maybe enough to begin to bring us back toward "normal". Yes, between Bush/Obama's TARP plan and the stimulus, we laid out a lot of money, but this deficit spending is exactly what Reagan did as well.
"We can look back now and say that the solution to stagflation was obvious, but that’s only because the Reagan/Volcker approach worked. At the time, the idea that simply raising interest rates would be sufficient to alter inflationary expectations was a contested proposition."
Is National Review suggesting we raise interest rates? Well, not exactly. Rates have been at the bare-border bottom since we started stimulating the economy after 9/11. The low rates, in large part, helped cause the housing/mortgage crisis. They're still so low that we have no power left to raise/lower it to stimulate the economy. That tool is useless now. Unless you think we need higher interest rates. Is that what National Review is advocating?
"Instead of forcing the bondholders of TARPed banks to share in the sacrifice, Obama opted for a slow-motion bailout that allowed banks to rebuild their balance sheets gradually by borrowing from the Fed at zero and lending to the government at 4 percent."
I am not sure that TARP called for the bondholders to "share in the sacrifice" when the deal was the Bush administration. Had Obama tried to retroactively tax the bondholders, I'm sure "the right" would have been fine with that (rolls eyes). Let's face it, our economic train nearly came off the tracks... what if Goldman/Chase/CITI/BOA etc all were really allowed to face the pain instead of getting a hand from Uncle Sam? What if we had allowed every financial institution to cascade into the abyss we faced? It seems that is what National Review and the Tea Party folks are advocating, now that the bridge has been crossed, and difficult decisions need to be made.
"Instead of letting housing prices find their floor, the administration tried to prop them up with a variety of ill-advised programs."
Those programs have not worked well, but that's more the fault of the banks. Obama has tried to institute help for homeowners in need, but it requires cooperation from the banks. Maybe National Review is advocating more regulations to force banks to do what is needed? I hope so.
"Obama decided to shake things up even more by borrowing at record levels to effectuate a bailout of insolvent state governments, passing a raft of new financial regulations, and attempting to pass a total overhaul of the way the nation uses energy."
Say we don't borrow the money. State governments go unfunded, teachers lose jobs, national parks close, Medicaid payments stop, emergency responders get cut, roads and bridges go without repair, the economy slows more. Good plan, National Review! So, after the greatest near collapse of our economy, you're suggesting we don't "pass a raft of new financial regulations"? Yeah, 'cause things were going so well the way they were, right National Review? Total overhaul of the way the nation uses energy? Why, that sounds like something that could be beneficial in the long run....creating jobs and securing our own energy needs.... who does this Obama think he is??
"So far, we have seen no evidence that Obama’s unpopular policies will pay those kinds of dividends."
Yeah, well so far, Obama is only a year and a half Reagan was in 1982.

You know, this article never even compares Obama to Carter.... what a misleading headline. It should have been "Obama: We will never think he's that great, even if he turns out to be better than Reagan".

The article misses out on a couple of other points. When Reagan took office, our biggest competitor the USSR was bogged down in a difficult war with Afghanistan. Fast forward to Obama's, and guess what....we're the ones fighting a difficult war in Afghanistan. Plus one in Iraq. Kinda makes Reagan's first years look like a cakewalk.

Except Reagan got shot early in his first term. And he deserved and got lots of sympathy. But he was still at the same place in the polls then as Obama is now.

Once Reagan's plans went into effect, yes, the economy grew and that was terrific, but we didn't conquer the deficit spending until Clinton in his last year. Reagan's "heir" George W. Bush blew it all. And it's not like Reagan's policies didn't create problems of their own.... the plight of the many homeless in the 80's comes to mind. And ultimately, Reagan's core belief that regulations were the problem has been proven false, even by the likes of its proponents, Alan Greenspan and David Walker. Obama will make mistakes too, and some bad things will happen no matter what choices he makes, just like happened with Reagan. (Can you spell mujaheddin? Me, either. Thanks spell check!)

I liked Reagan in the 80's and I like Obama now. We don't have to destroy one to appreciate the other.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CeeLo Say FU

It can't be a hit, or can it?
Catchiest song of 2010 and pure pop genius.
WARNING: Extensive profanity.
Not for the kids, unfortunately, or the radio for that matter, but I can't get this song out of my head and I figure some folks might appreciate a f*fun song ;-).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jim Cramer is and Idiot

I'm sure I'm not the first blogger to use that headline, and for good reason. I like the guy, seems like he'd be fun to hang out with at a party, but is he really one of the brightest beams of light we should look to when it comes to investments? And his grasp on politics and the power of the presidency seems outta whack, too. Today's column, "Cramer: No Rally Until Obama Steps Up":
“With the right push from the president of the United States, virtually all the negatives we're fretting about today could partially be fixed,” said Cramer. “The president has enough firepower to blast aside the obstacles standing in the way of higher stock prices ... and a stronger economy. We just don't know if he has the will or the inclination.”
How does Cramer suggest the president fix this whole mess?

1. Convince American people it's a good time to buy a house now (by giving a speech or something)
2. Keep taxes low (i.e. extend Bush tax cuts for the top 2%)
3. "compromise" on fossil fuel/ "endorse" natural gas
4. Clean out economic team (except Geithner)
5. "Announce" that private industry is not the enemy
6. Ask business what they need to start hiring, and give it to them. He says "Would it hurt to ask?"

Wow. So, by fooling the American people into buying a house, extending tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%, going whole hog on unsustainable resources, emptying the economic team of people in the know, giving lip-service to businessmen, and eventually just ask business what they want and give it to them. Simple as that really!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Every Breaking Wave (on the shore)

It's a bit rough and the sound could be better, but here's a peak at a new U2 song they debuted live in Helsinki over the weekend. This chune has good bones.

Every breaking wave
On the shore
Til the next one there’ll be one more

Every gambler knows
That to lose
Is what you’re really there for

Somewhere else, fearlessness
Now I’m speaking to an answer phone
Every falling leaf
On the breeze
Winter wouldn’t leave her alone

Ay hey now
Ay hey now

I don’t know if I’m that strong
I don’t know if I’m that strong
Don’t know if I’m that strong
To be somebody
To need someone

Every sailor knows that the sea
Is a friend made enemy
Every shipwrecked soul
Knows what it is
To live without intimacy
I thought I heard the master’s voice
It’s hard to listen while you preach

Like every broken wave
On the shore
This is as far as I can reach

Ay hey now
Ay hey now

I don’t know if I’m that strong
I don’t know if I’m that strong
Don’t know if I’m that strong
Got to be somebody
To need someone

The waves know
We’re on the rocks
Drowning is no sin

You know
That my heart
Is the same place yours has been

We know
Here with
The end before it begins

The waves know
We’re on the rocks
Drowning is no sin

You know
That my heart
Is the same place yours has been

We know
Here with
The end before it begins

(lyrics via nolineonthehorizonlyricsu2)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

10% of Billionaires Are Worthy...

...and the other 90% are.... greeeeedy bastards ;-)

Thank you Gates/Buffet and the rest of you respectable 10%, your charity will do more good than you will ever know. 40 out of 400+ US Billionaires agreed to the challenge and I salute them!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Politics on ActiveRain

Maybe I've gone too far this time, but I have made several comments on Lane Bailey's post about a potential 3.8% tax on real estate transactions. He was more fair than most on ActiveRain in his posting about the issue, though I disagree with his conclusion that this will have a major implication for the sale of luxury homes. It's a complicated tax (only applied if you pass certain earnings & profit-from-sale hurdles), that will probably effect less than 1% of transactions, and will only be paid by the very rich who make a profit from the sale of their residence or investment property.

Well, the discussion in the comments section became quite political and interesting, and I had to put my 2 cents in there. Well, maybe 6 cents, but I'm generous!

Here's a link to the whole thing. And here are my parts:

1. Perhaps it's only fair for the very richest among us to pay more taxes. I know that sounds crazy to some folks, but take into account these figures:

"the richest 1% of earners collected 8% of national income in 1973. "By 2006, the top 1% got nearly 23% of the pie, the highest proportion since 1929, " he writes. Moreover, the richest 1% now earns more than the bottom 50% of Americans. During almost exactly the same period, the pay gap between the top 100 CEOs and workers rose from 45 to 1 in 1970 to Himalayan proportions in 2006, reaching 1,723 to 1"

article here

It's obvious that the very rich pay most of the taxes....they have most of the money!

To claim that the rich are being fleeced by the government is a bit of a stretch though, given the massive movement of money from the middle class to the upper class over the past 30-40 years.

Also, when I first heard this "news" elsewhere, it came in an e-mail prefaced with this distinguishing message:

Under the new health care bill - did you know that all real estate transactions are now subject to a 3.8% Sales Tax? The bulk of these new taxes don't kick in until 2013 (presumably after Obamas re-election). You can thank Nancy, Harry and Barack and your local Democrat Congressman for this one. If you sell your $400,000 home, there will be a $15,200 tax. This bill is set to screw the retiring generation who often downsize their homes. Is this Hope & Change great or what? We can vote the bums out in November and demand that they eliminate the bill or at the very least defund it. Then in 2012 repeal it.
Oh, you weren't aware this was in the Obamacare bill? Guess what, you aren't alone. There are more than a few congressman that aren't aware of it either. AND, there are a few other surprises lurking.

Maybe it's just me, but I found that delivery to be off-putting, and a good example of how the "tea party" types will take something with a grain of truth and blow it up to giant proportions, to incite fear and worse.

Our Realtor Association manager replied to the e-mail with the following:

It is a hoax! Here is the NAR information.

Business Report
No 4.0% "Sales Tax" on Home Sales In Recently Enacted Health Reform Bill

Contrary to reports and newspaper articles circulating widely on the Internet, there is not a 4.0% "sales tax" or "transfer tax" on the sale of a home included in the recently signed health care reform bill. The analysis underlying these reports is incorrect and fails to take into account the interplay of the bill's provisions with already existing real estate tax laws that remain unchanged.

What was included in the health bill is a provision that imposes a new 3.8% Medicare tax for some high income households that have "net investment income." Any revenue collected by the tax is dedicated to the Medicare hospital insurance program. This new tax will only apply to households with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of more than $200,000 for individuals or more than $250,000 for married couples. Since capital gains are included in the definition of net investment income, an additional tax obligation might result from the sale of real property.

In the case of the sale of a principal residence, the existing $250,000/$500,000 exclusion from capital gains on the sale of a principal residence remains unchanged. Consequently, even when the AGI limits are met, the new tax would not be applied to all capital gains that result from the sale of a home. Rather, it would only apply to any home sale gain realized in excess of the $250K/$500K existing primary home exclusion that pushes the filer's AGI over the $200K/$250K adjusted gross income limit.

The new Medicare tax will not take effect until January 1, 2013.

For more information on the new Medicare tax, please consult NAR's Health Reform Q&A on this and other provisions of the new health reform law located at:

2. I came across an article that more clearly shows the disparity between the top 1% and the rest of us.

"Two-thirds of the nation’s total income gains from 2002 to 2007 flowed to the top 1 percent of U.S. households, and that top 1 percent held a larger share of income in 2007 than at any time since 1928, according to an analysis of newly released IRS data by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez.[1]

During those years, the Piketty-Saez data also show, the inflation-adjusted income of the top 1 percent of households grew more than ten times faster than the income of the bottom 90 percent of households."

3. I appreciate that our tax system is crazy with loopholes and special exemptions, etc. (mostly for the rich....and corporations), and I'd gladly trade that for a "fair tax" on consumption, but we are where we are.

I am pointing out the earnings disparity between the top 1% and the rest of us to show that when too much of our (collective) money is tied up in the hands of the very few, that is bad for the whole economy, it's unsustainable.

So do we just allow the poor to become poorer and the rich richer until.... how does that play out?

We have had as much of a free market as any country in the history of the world for the past 30 years, and we have proven that those policies don't work. Even Alan Greenspan has admitted this:

"he acknowledged that his libertarian view of markets and the financial world had not worked out so well. "You know," he told the legislators, "that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well." While Greenspan did defend his various decisions, he admitted that his faith in the ability of free and loosely-regulated markets to produce the best outcomes had been shaken: "I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.""

Like it or not, Capitalism requires regulations..... mortgage-backed securities anyone? Maybe some 40 to 1 derivatives with that?

You say: "the rich also pay a higher share of taxes than at any time since the Great Depression"

If you look at historical rates, you'll see that not only is this not true, we are near the lowest ever.

You say: "Teaching people to be dependent on the government for all of the important decisions is NOT teaching them to be independent or successful. "

That's patronizing, and I don't need the government to teach me how to live, I need a government that creates and maintains a stable economy so I can flourish on my own. Without regulations, Laissez-faire economics = Dickensian nightmare

Working class wages have been stagnant since the early 70's, while the very rich have amassed huge fortunes. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are challenging the Forbes 400 Richest to donate half their net worth to charity. I wonder how that's going.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tea Party and Taxes

USA Today had an article on tax rates recently:

Tax bills in 2009 at lowest level since 1950

And as long as we're looking back at the good ol' 1950's:

John Boehner's America

The rich paid 90% tax rate in the 1950's

Hey, our taxes aren't that bad!

Monday, July 19, 2010

See No Evil, for Glenn Beck

I just love Television, and they have a tune for you, the blinding Glenn Beck.

OK, so Rush is deaf, Glenn is going blind... if Sean starts getting hoarse, maybe folks will begin to question their "leaders"?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Who's More Radioactive?

Nuclear Waste vs. Coal Waste.... which is worse? Most folks probably think coal waste is worse since we use so much of it compared to nuclear, it blows into the air we breathe, coal ash gets in the water we drink, and coal is generally seen as "dirty". And they're right, coal is a dirty business no matter how you look at it. But did you realize that coal waste has more radiation than nuclear waste does? Well, this article from Scientific American claims it to be so, and they seem to have the science to back it up.
"Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy."
Is it odd that the radiation around us is more likely to be from coal plants, than from all of the nuclear bomb tests and nuclear accidents over the years? This makes nuclear look even better, no?

Ounce-for-ounce, nuclear waste does have more radiation, but it is contained, while we just let the coal fires burn and spread radiation about the air and into "fly ash". I'm not saying nuclear is completely safe, but is it safer for us and the planet than coal? I'd have to say yes, and I'd have to say that we need to start building more nuclear plants now, because that's the cleanest & best way we have to make lots of energy for now.