Enjoy them yo'sef at the link above and have a Happy 2012!
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Friday, December 02, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
What does this say about capitalism and global free markets? What does this say about our military? Fake, cheap, knockoff Chinese electronics in our Trillion Dollar Per Year defenses? We can do better than this.It also found fake components in Boeing's CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter and the Theatre High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile defence system."A million parts is surely a huge number. But I want to repeat this: we have only looked at a portion of the defence supply chain. So those 1,800 cases are just the tip of the iceberg," said Senator Carl Levin."
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Those familiar with my U2 fascination, and my Steve Cropper fascination, and my FRINGE fascination will be amazed. On FRINGE, William Bell, an overzealous scientist/businessman/space and time contortionist, is played by Leonard Nemoy.
In real life, William Bell was a singer for Stax Records, and Steve Cropper was the guitar player for Stax. The real Bell is in the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame.
Sometime during the "Achtung, Baby" recording sessions, U2 played William Bell's "Everybody Loves a Winner", and it was just released on a new 6 CD, 4 DVD box set, along with some other goodies from the vault.
One of the new CDs is a rawer, rougher version of each song from "Achtung, Baby", in order... like U2 pre-covering themselves. It's like it's from an alternate universe.
Here's one from the b-sides disc, a reworked "Even Better Than the Real Thing". Fascinating.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
In 1843, Emma reluctantly allowed Smith to marry four women who had been living in the Smith household—two of whom Smith had already married without her knowledge. Emma also participated with Smith in the first "sealing" ceremony, intended to bind their marriage for eternity. However, Emma soon regretted her decision to accept plural marriage and forced the other wives from the household, nagging Smith to abandon the practice. Smith dictated a revelation pressuring Emma to accept, but the revelation only made her furious.
"Wait honey, I'm having a revelation from God. He's saying you need to accept it, you know, the 'me having sex with all the other women' thing. Yeah, so, um, that settles it!"
How'd it work out?
Joseph's death threw both the church and Emma's family into disorder. Emma was left a pregnant widow—it would be on November 17, 1844, that she gave birth to her and Joseph's last child together....You can't make this stuff up! Oh wait..... read for yourself, the story of the Golden Plates.
Nearly two years later, a close friend and non-Mormon, Major Lewis C. Bidamon, proposed marriage and became Emma's second husband on December 23, 1847.
Here's an engraving of Joseph Smith receiving the Golden Plates and the "seer stone spectacles":
It reminds me of this picture, Bono handing the Pope his sunglasses:
Saturday, October 08, 2011
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
sending him a letter encouraging him to take advantage of our Social Security system.
Oh, the hypocrisy. You see, when libertarians are young and healthy, they don't think they will ever need government assistance. But when they grow old or sick, you know what? They'll take it!
Check it out yourself. Smarmy Bastards.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Maureen Dowd on Obama, after spending the entire article fawning over Bill Clinton:
"The Aloof One has to convince voters that he can connect emotionally. In a way, his relationship with Americans now is analogous to a marriage that’s not working. He’s the detached husband; we’re the neglected wife.
Is he paying attention? Does he understand our needs? Or is he just pretending to listen while he watches SportsCenter?"
If you're gonna make that analogy, Maureen, then at least admit that we voters are less like a neglected wife and more like a crazy, fat, demanding, bipolar wife. We want less taxes and more benefits, more energy at a lower cost & impact, but we're not willing to give Obama a bj or even a hand job. For cryin' out loud, Maureen, the man needs a fluffer, and if he can't even cop a feel from a liberal stalwart like yourself, why the heck would you expect him to stop watching SportsCenter?
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Got that from HuffPo, where they have an interesting article on how corporations are tailoring their products to rich and poor, leaving out the middle:
"The economy is in evident peril, with unemployment high, wages falling, the housing market treading water and growth so slow as to be nearly imperceptible. Yet the rich are doing just fine. Some statistics make clear the size of America's affluence disparity: As of 2010, the richest 20 percent of the U.S. population control 84 percent of the wealth. And the 400 richest Americans have a higher net worth than the full bottom 50 percent of households.Is it wrong to suggest that without a strong, large and vibrant middle class, that our economy will fail?
As the wealthy continue to accrue capital -- helped by policies like a low tax on profits from stock and real estate sales -- and the less well-off classes try to make do in a pitiless economic climate, corporations appear to be finally recognizing the reality of the prosperity gap, and tailoring their product lines accordingly. Manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, the household-goods giant responsible for everything from Charmin and Old Spice to Tide, are concentrating their efforts on luxury and bargain items, putting less emphasis on products aimed at the middle class, the Wall Street Journal reports."
Thursday, September 08, 2011
In anticipation of Obama unveiling his Big Package tonight, a classic clip from Blazing Saddles. I'd give anything to hear Obama kick off the speech with the subject line, anything!
Other thoughts... I really hope that other Joe Walsh, the congressman who owes over $100k in child support, gets on TV and talks about Obama ramming his big package down our throats. It's just too good not to note online, and this blog is where I note this kind of stuff. I'd like to put it on facebook, but I have a wide range of friends, and I am sure some would be offended. But c'mon, it's just too perfect.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
"... by any objective standard, Obama has plenty of achievements. He approved a daring raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He's on his way to ending the Iraq war. He brought about a health insurance overhaul aimed at fulfilling the Democratic dream of universal coverage.All this in an article with the headline "Why Obama Looks So Bad".
He saved General Motors and Chrysler and the jobs they provide. He scrapped the military's policy against gays. He put new regulations on financial institutions and the credit card industry.
He signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. He launched a major initiative to promote innovation in schools, winning praise even from conservatives. He stopped the use of torture against suspected terrorists.
Love it or hate it, this is not the record of a dithering dunce or a confused wimp. It's all in keeping with the vision Obama offered during the 2008 campaign. It's all historically significant. None of it was preordained."
Monday, August 15, 2011
"When considering the actual tax savings of the mortgage interest deduction, the benefits to the middle class become even more meager. The average tax savings for households with income between $40,000 and $75,000 is just $152 a year. That's $12.66 a month. Compare that to the highest earners, those making $200,000 or more, who see an average of $1,862 a year off their tax bills because of the MID benefit."
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Friday, June 03, 2011
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
"But it turns out that Mohammed also lied about the courier, saying he was a retired nobody. From this, CIA officials now claim, they knew the guy had to be a big deal. It was a crucial clue.
That's right: When tortured detainees provide truthful information, they prove torture works, and when they lie, they prove it works. If Mohammed had broken into a chorus of "Y.M.C.A.," that would have proved the same.
This bizarre reasoning is one of the many oddities about the defense of torture. Another is that the advocates never, ever refer to it as torture."
And this is a good place for one of my favorite torture videos, enjoy:
"Our wars and their impact are kept in remarkable isolation from what passes for public affairs in this country, leaving most Americans with little knowledge and even less say about whether they should be, and how they are, waged. In this sense, our wars are eerily like those pursued by European monarchs in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: conflicts carried out by professional militaries and bands of mercenaries, largely at the whim of what we might now call a unitary executive, funded by deficit spending, for the purposes of protecting or extending the interests of a ruling elite."And who's right on top of the new mercenary money binge? Erik Prince, formerly known as founder of Blackwater, (a company that changed its name to a symbol that only the artist formerly-and-now-once-again-known as Prince can pronounce), has pounced on the opportunities in the Middle East "uprisings" and stands prepared to act in whatever manner the top dollar brings:
Two UAE government officials contacted by Reuters declined immediate comment on the New York Times report, and the U.S. embassy in the UAE also had no immediate comment. It was not possible to locate Prince for comment.Reading these two articles together makes me think that the first article didn't go back far enough. This is much more like the Crusades in the Middle Ages. Plus, as a Doobie Brothers fan, I'm super mad at Mr. Prince for giving the term "Blackwater" a nefarious connotation.
The Times quoted a U.S. official who was aware of the program as saying: "The Gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don't have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help."
State Department spokesman Mark Toner told The Times the department was investigating to see if the project broke any U.S. laws. U.S. law requires a license for American citizens to train foreign troops.
Toner also pointed out that Blackwater, now known as Xe Services, had paid $42 million in fines in 2010 for training foreign forces in Jordan without a license, the Times said.
According to former employees of the project and U.S. officials cited by the Times, the troops were brought to a training camp in the UAE from Colombia, South Africa and other countries, starting in the summer of 2010.
They were being trained by retired U.S. military, and former members of German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, the Times said.
Prince had insisted the force hire no Muslims, because they "could not be counted on to kill fellow Muslims," the paper said.
It looks like the ultra rich and most profitable corporations have found a way to pay only the percentage they think is fair. I mean, if you asked them what they thought would be fair, wouldn't they jump at 17-18%? What a deal! But we all have to pay more taxes than we want to, at least, those of us in the bottom 99% that are people do.
"Exxon Mobil registered an average 17.6 percent federal effective corporate tax rate on its annual earnings in the three years spanning 2008 to 2010. Its average domestic profits exceeded $6.8 billion. And as a 2011 Citizens for Tax Justice report points out:
Over the past two years, ExxonMobil reported $9,910 million in pretax U.S. profits. But it enjoyed so many tax subsidies that its federal income tax bill was only $39 million -- a tax rate of only 0.4 percent.Even when Exxon Mobil had a record profit of $40 billion in 2008 due to record oil prices it had only a 31 percent effective tax rate. That’s 13 percent lower than the maximum 35 percent despite being Exxon Mobil's fifth year as the top corporate earner in Fortune 500’s annual listing. The company paid no taxes at all to the U.S. federal government in 2009 on its domestic profits of nearly $2.6 billion. It appears that they avoided the tax man that year by legally funneling their profits through wholly owned subsidiaries in countries like the Cayman Islands, and reinvesting their earnings overseas."
"In 2008, the IRS revealed last week, 400 Americans reported at least $110 million in income on their federal tax returns. These 400, in a year that ended with millions of Americans out of work and home, averaged $270.5 million each, the second-highest U.S. top 400 average income on record."
Saturday, April 30, 2011
for rich folks.
"72% of the public—including a stunning 55% of Republicans—favor President Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on incomes over $250,000"
Will wonders never cease.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
The Galaxy Tab is getting rave reviews:
"This thing is just a mess. It's like a tablet drunkenly hooked up with a phone, and then took the fetus swimming in a Superfund cleanup site." Thanks, Gizmodo.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Here's a poor time-lapse of the "biggest moon ever" or whatever.
The best part is right at the beginning, you can see a few stars and the sky color change is dramatic. Too bad that part is over in like 1.5 seconds. (TWSS)
Shot with 10-17mm Pentax lens. I went with f5.6, ISO 100, auto-shutter.... most pics took 20+ seconds, so I didn't get enough pictures, but was able to expose to see some foreground detail. Next time I may be braver and use a zoom + quick exposure to get moon detail.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Monday, March 07, 2011
A 5 pack of the "5" Royales for you.
|The 5 Royales - Just As I Am.mp3|
|The 5 Royales - Put Something in It (With All Your Heart).mp3|
|The 5 Royales - Say It.mp3|
|The 5 Royales - When I Get Like This.mp3|
|The Royal Sons Quintet - So God Can Use Me.mp3|
Friday, February 04, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.
The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft. That’s what lies behind the modern right’s fondness for violent rhetoric: many activists on the right really do see taxes and regulation as tyrannical impositions on their liberty.
There’s no middle ground between these views. One side saw health reform, with its subsidized extension of coverage to the uninsured, as fulfilling a moral imperative: wealthy nations, it believed, have an obligation to provide all their citizens with essential care. The other side saw the same reform as a moral outrage, an assault on the right of Americans to spend their money as they choose.
This deep divide in American political morality — for that’s what it amounts to — is a relatively recent development. Commentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it. As many analysts have noted, the Obama health reform — whose passage was met with vandalism and death threats against members of Congress — was modeled on Republican plans from the 1990s.
A Tea Party takeover of the Republican Party has made these decades-old agreements (SS, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, etc.) into arguments again. They want to roll it back to pre-1930. Just listen to the books Glenn Beck recommends. Heck, his whole show last night was about Freud's nephew and advertising to control people's minds. But I digress.
The question remains... do Republicans still support Social Security/Medicare, etc? Do they just not want to fully fund it? Do they want it, but don't want to pay taxes for it? WHAT is the deal?
Friday, January 07, 2011
Interestingly enough, in the porn case, he argued that the Commerce Clause allowed the Fed to control all pornography. But now, conveniently, he doesn't see the Commerce Clause the same way he did back then. Basically he likes it when it works for him and not so much when it works against him.
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
"In news from Capitol Hill, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has asked the oil industry, drug manufacturers, healthcare providers and telecom firms to tell him which government regulations he should target this year as the new chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee."There it is, that wonderful Jim Cramer advice...."just ask the big corporations what they want, and give it to them".
Issa better watch his ass-a. We're on to you.
"Despite record unemployment, and no hope for reductions clearly in sight, corporations have experienced all-time record profits, the highest since the Commerce Department started tracking the figure 60 years ago. They’ve learned to produce as many or more goods without workers.Congrats corporations, you win!
This is something of a dream for corporate America – bigger profits without those meddling workers to pay. This is the seventh straight quarter of corporate profit growth, with none of those benefits being shared with the working class. “Uncertainty” is blamed for the lack of job growth, but corporations are sitting on giant mounds of cash while they bask in the glow of their strategy to increase their profit margins by cost-cutting.
The other part of this is that multinational corporations are reaping profits from increased consumer spending in China and India. Their markets there have expanded greatly in the past few years.In the other side of the funhouse mirror, American workers continue to have little hope for returning to the job."
1. Cutting Taxes Leads to More Money for the Government
2. Conservatives' Favorite Economist Proves the Point
3. Taxes on the Rich Keep 'Wealth Producers' from 'Creating Jobs'
4. The Opposite: Tax Cuts for Upper Earners Spur Job Growth
5. Only Half of American Families Pay Taxes
6. Americans Are Taxed to Death
7. We're Being Killed by Runaway Government Spending
8. Conservatives Favor Low Taxes and Limited Government
9. Taxes on Top Earners Are Actually Taxes on 'Small Businesses'
Monday, January 03, 2011
"It’s a measure of how rapidly our economic order has shifted that nearly a quarter of the 400 wealthiest people in America on this year’s Forbes list make their fortunes from financial services, more than three times as many as in the first Forbes 400 in 1982. Many of America’s best young minds now invent derivatives, not Disneylands, because that’s where the action has been, and still is, two years after the crash. In 2010, our system incentivizes high-stakes gambling — “this business of securitizing things that didn’t even exist in the first place,” as Calvin Trillin memorably wrote last year — rather than the rebooting and rebuilding of America.That's as close an answer as I've found for my question "How many in the top 2% of wage earners work in the finance industry?" The Forbes list counts accumulated wealth, not how much one makes in a year, so I imagine that top 2% is even more chock full of finance industry folks. You know, the industry that shat in its pants and spread it all over...us. Screw them. I see folks who bought moderate houses at the peak and are now tens of thousands of dollars in debt, underwater in their homes. I'd like to take some finance executives' clearly unearned bonuses and fix this situation...
" companies that actually make things (and at times innovative things) have been devalued, looted or destroyed by a financial industry whose biggest innovation in 20 years, in the verdict of the former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, has been the cash machine."And the cash machine.... they're making a mint on this, too! They got to fire half the tellers in America, and they charge $3-$10 per transaction if you can't find "your" bank machine. Sometimes I think the best solution is a money mattress, like this one the new head of BOA uses:
Update: I just have to add in here the article by Sarah Anderson ("Bankers' Pay Still Skyrocketing, as Wall Street's Casino Rolls On"), where she talks about a TV appearance she made back in '07:
"...my head bitten off for criticizing Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo on the CNBC show Squawk Box.Now BOA owns Countrywide.
My offense? I questioned whether Mozilo really deserved to be the sixth-highest paid CEO in the country, given that the company's sub-prime mortgages were already showing clear signs of toxicity, with skyrocketing foreclosure rates.
Suddenly I had show host Carl Quintanilla and the other guests, including David John of the Heritage Foundation, shouting me down, saying that Mozilo had built the company from nothing and shareholders should be happy to give him every penny of his $42.9 million in compensation.Looking back, it's hard to find a clearer example of the business press blindly glorifying highly paid CEOs. As we all know today, Mozilo's reckless subprime adventures were a disaster for the company and the country. Four months after that CNBC show, Countrywide no longer existed."