Wednesday, December 31, 2008

U.S. health care has a fatal structural flaw - profit over people

The author of this article is obviously against a single-payer system in health care.

She obviously wishes to scare everyone with the title to the article.

However, she makes a good point at the end by begging us to ask the hard questions.

Here are some hard question for the author to answer.

Is it better to have rationed health care or no health care? Too many people are without health insurance and they can't afford it either.

Does it make sense for us to have the best health care system in the world if only a small percentage of our population can participate in it?

Our health care system has a fundamental flaw. The profit motive.

Profit is not a panacea and to place people's lives at risk for profit is immoral.

So as a last hard question: What's more important, people or profit?

Single-payer system places people above profit, while our current system values bottom-lines.

Health care reform should never be about profit because that's basically placing a dollar value on lives.

Saltsman is an idiot...apparently the appropriate choice to lead the RNC

Here's why I constanty wring my hands over the state of politics in Tennessee.

Apparently, this Republican from Nashville, Chip Saltsman, is running for the RNC Chair.

In a fit of parochial idiocy, Saltsman sent a CD containing a song entitled "Barack the Magic Negro".

Of course Rush Limbaugh is all over this accusing the liberal media of applying a double standard because they supposedly supported Gangster Rapper Ice-T when he released a song called "Cop Killer".

Saltsman gives Tennessee a bad name. His asinine decision reflects poorly on Tennessee painting an image of us to the world as backward hicks. Thanks Chip for destroying any progress the state has made in repairing our image to the rest of the world. Chip is apparently unaware or at least oblivious to the fact that the KKK was born not 80 miles from Nashville.

Let's straighten something out about the Ice-T issue: Americans are by history anti-establishment. "Cop Killer" was an honest response reflecting the irritation certain communities had with the establishment as represented by the police.

Saltsman's idiocy, even if the song was not technically a slur against the President-Elect, did carry the stain of racism by virtue of its title.

The song was sent in a wink-wink sort of way with an eye toward laughing as a result of racial issues associated with it. THAT'S THE PROBLEM!

Not the intent behind it. Few are accusing Saltsman of being a racist. He's just an insensitive boob without any sense of history or discretion.

The bozos on the Right deserved to lose and they'll end up longer in the wilderness for lining up behind Saltsman's foolishness.

I'll say it again: Thanks Saltsman. Thanks RNC. Thanks right-wing morons for making us all look bad to the world.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Real Housewives of the OC takes the cake.

I think I've witnessed either the most vacuous piece of television in my life or one of the most brazen. I'm speaking of: The Real Housewives of the OC.

The women on that show have to be some of the most shallow and lacking in insight that I've ever seen.

At first I thought the show was just as shallow as the cast, but on second thought, I realized that the producers probably pulled a fast one.

I imagine their pitch meeting going something like this: "Okay, imagine we get a bunch of rich bitch housewives from the most vapid and shallow place in the country--Orange County--and we put them on display. It'll be perfect. The housewives will do it because televising their lives and how good they have it will appeal to their vanity. They'll practically leap at the opportunity to show the world how good they have it. While the rest of the world will watch because of the stupendous display of vacuity and self-absorption."

Well Bravo gave the green light.

I've seen the show once and I was thoroughly appalled by these women. They do nothing but shop, tan, and figure out ways to entertain themselves. They display histrionics at the drop of the hat for no apparent reason other than to get attention.

They behave in ways most of us would find ridiculous and narcissistic. For example: One housewife's husband was in the hospital dying with leukemia, but instead of being by his side, she couldn't deny herself the opportunity to go the lake and party. Of course she got called out on her selfishness and cried that "others shouldn't judge her."


This is the very stuff people judge you for; it's the type of stuff you should be judged for.

Another cried that she was a bad mother because her tattooed son got the inside of his lip tattooed. No, she's a bad mother because she set the example that it was okay for her son to have a sense of entitlement and that he could live a life of dissipation at another's expense.

I don't know what it is about these shows, but I have difficulty watching shallow people doing shallow stuff and being paid for it.

No wonder the U.S. has hit a snag. Too many people cocooning in material excess.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I knew it! Religion has brain damage as a cause!

This study paints an interesting picture about religion.

Apparently, those who experience high levels of selflessness are experiencing decreased activity in part of their brains.

I suspected that religion was about brain damage all along.

TV networks are shooting up with Reality programming to avoid profit losses--too bad

I've noticed a troubling change in the programming on many television channels lately. Favorite channels, like SciFi and so on are moving toward more Reality shows.

This is troubling for a number of reasons.

Reality t.v. is a low cost option for networks. This type of programming appeals to the younger crowd.

Reality t.v. is a low-cost option used to buttress the bottom line through cost control. It comes at the expense of long-term viewership and long-term quality.

Once a network comes to rely on Reality programming, they lose a core audience (like me) making it difficult to regain viewership from hardcore fans.

Reality programming is nothing more than giving in to short-term financial demands at the expense of long-term profitability.

Yes, the younger demographic is a hot commodity, but to ignore the loyal older demographic--you know, the one with $ to spend is to sew the seeds of decline.

I know why networks resort to Reality programming: It's hard to resist the low cost of production. Plus, it doesn't require a network to actually make a commitment to Real programs of substance requiring an executive to stick their neck out.

I worry that the short-term greed will kill the long-term viability of certain networks. For those like the SciFi network, a good portion of the viewership wants shows with some aspect of real science and less of the fiction.

Why the hell do I want to watch Ghost Hunters--a show with nothing but camera tricks designed to build tension. Not one show has provided any evidence of ghosts. It's all bullshit and no science fiction.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Inhofe is a complete moron on climate change.

I'm not one for political correctness. Unfortunately, most of those who complain about political correctness are just wanting to wear their racism and bigotry openly, but feel constrained by polite society.

I'm neither a bigot nor a racist, so my irritation with the pc crowd boils down to the fact that I feel constrained from calling people idiots, when in fact they are...this includes bigots, racists and truth deniers.

I don't know about you, but I think America is over-endowed with idiots.

I just read an article about NASA scientists talking about global warming.

This article concerns me, because I recall that James Inhofe, the Republican Senator from Oklahoma thinks climate change is a hoax.

I'm gonna say it clearly: James Inhofe is a complete moron for publicly claiming actual facts are a hoax. If he claimed the sky was green we'd say he was mistaken, but no one will point out his error on global warming? Come on people!

When it comes down to NASA scientists or James Inhofe, I'm believing the scientists BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY STUDY GLOBAL CLIMATE! Inhofe is pandering to the idiot constituency.

How do I know Inhofe is pandering to idiots?

1) He's a Senator from Oklahoma

2) He's a Republican

3) He's not a scientist

This reasoning is definitely not PC. So be it.

Sometimes the truth isn't pretty nor will it win one many friends.

Someone needs to turn off the talk radio and actually learn something.

Deja vu for the French Revolution in our current economic state

It's easy to ignore the lessons of history--especially if you benefit from the present's largesse.

Corporate executives should be reminded of Marie Antoinette's famous display of obliviousness when she said: "Let them eat cake."

It seems that America's corporate executives are falling into the trap laid bare by the French Revolution.

While the rest of us suffer from unbridled greed, those who view themselves through the lens of narcissistic entitlement fail to countenance the reality of their situation.

America--despite her failings--will not allow the prideful and ignorant to live long at a feast while the masses scavenge.

Robespierre will be reborn from the egos of the well-situated should they ignore their history.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Caffeine consumption can affect the heart of unborn children throughout their lives

Here's a story that my significant other will not want to hear about.

Basically, consuming caffeine while pregnant risks creating life-long heart problems for the child.

Considering the degree to which some people consume soft drinks and Starbucks, we could be in for some serious heart issues in our future populations.

Good rule of thumb: Consume no unnecessary chemicals while pregnant. And no, caffeine isn't necessary.

Caroline Kennedy for Senator.

I'm in no position to have anything to say that could either hurt or help Caroline Kennedy in her bid to assume the interim appointment to New York's senate seat.

What I will say has more to do with personal attributes Ms. Kennedy possesses. I would also like to shine a light on the attitude of some in the press and in politics that is highlighted by this article questioning Ms. Kennedy's qualifications.

I'll do the latter first: Where do all these idiots get off thinking that they are somehow entitled to the Senate seat? Can someone please point out to me where it says in the Constitution that one must have paid dues in politics in order to receive the award of an interim appointment? I have serious concerns about such an attitude in a Democracy where an expectation is encouraged that one gets a political position based solely on time put in. It's contrary to American politics and this notion should be shed or at least pointed out as anathema to the American polity.

That being said: Ms. Kennedy has every qualification necessary for the office she seeks. With many of the idiots who get elected I think she'd bring a dose of idealism and integrity to the office. She would not owe anyone for her position, save the governor.

On to the former issue of her qualifications: Ms. Kennedy is smart, down to earth, and capable. After meeting her once, I can say from personal experience that she's without artifice and exactly the type of personality we need in elected office. She's honest and without hidden agenda. I don't think anyone can top her when it comes to being the ideal personality for the job. Unlike other senators, she carries herself with a modest self-assurance instead of an in-your-face narcissism.

I think Caroline Kennedy is the best choice because she is seeking the office for the good of our country.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Foreclosures tied to job losses.

About a year ago, many were blaming the rise in foreclosures on borrowers taking on more house and debt than they could afford. Typical of blame the victim mentality.

Now, it appears that job losses are responsible for 50% of all current foreclosures.

Who're you gonna blame now, when the victims of foreclosure are twice victimized, once by the job loss and then next by the loss of their homes and stability?

I've said it before: We must focus our attention on job creation and domestic infrastructure to stop the bleeding.

It's getting worse. Scrooge has come home to roost this Christmas.

Tesla may have sold us all an electric Edsel. Hope not

Those of you who know me obviously know that I'm a big fan of the Tesla Roadster.

Well, it seems that Tesla has fallen into the same trap many entrepreneurs find themselves in when building capital--Tesla has given in to making excessive claims for reliability and range on their Roadster.

Shame, shame, shame.

Here's video from youtube that shows what I mean.

I'm saddened by this. Tesla may have built false hope for an electric car all of us would want, but that we'd probably get pissed off at on the first trip.

The video is a little long, but I encourage you to watch it through.

False prophet is an idiot, but not as bad as those who believe him

In yet another stunning example of morons in the media...a self-proclaimed prophet in Utah says that Obama will never be president because riots will start before Christmas and that Russians will use it as an opportunity to nuke the U.S.

I don't know what's worse, the so-called prophet or those who listen and believe him.

I have a challenge for anyone who believes in prophets: If they are dead wrong, then you have an obligation to ignore them. Failing to do so makes you more of an idiot and you deserve all the ridicule that I'll heap upon you.

Here's why the "prophet" is wrong: Obama's approval rating is over 60% right now. Who the hell is going to protest? The other 40%? Not hardly.

I suspect the prophet is engaging in a little wishful thinking, informed in large part by his rural constituency and some latent racism prevalent in the rural and un-educated masses.

Fortunately, the rest of us don't need some nimrod who claims to have access directly to God telling us stuff that can't possibly be true.

If I'm wrong then it won't matter, but I'm willing to guarantee that I'm right. How can I guarantee that I'm right and the good prophet is wrong?

God rewards those who use their heads, not idiots who exploit fellow morons for some small measure of social power.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Keynes to the rescue...again. Out of the wilderness and into our hearts.

I've said it for a time now that we get out of our economic mess through government spending on infrastructure.

The New York Times offers a story about how the last time we faced such a big crisis and what economist got us out of it.

I love it that the laissez-faire types were all down on Keynes before the market meltdown, but now it's Keynsian policies we need to cure their profligacy.

Keynes had it right when he said government must step in and spend in order to overcome banks' and the public's fears about spending liquid assets (cash).

Now, it seems the old is once again new....the worm turns.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Iceland is a microcosm of the excesses of capitalism.

The story of Iceland's fall from Euro-Econo-Powerhouse to a country on the brink in such a short span of time should be instructive for those who advocate unfettered economic growth.

When the primary driver of an economy is unrestricted growth fueled by capitalism's only motivator, greed, then boom and bust cycles are the natural consequence.

Here's why I think unfettered growth is a problem for capitalism:

1) Growth is great when there is an unlimited potential.

2) When the potential reaches limits, then the contraction of the economy creates significant, broad-scale, economic disruptions.

Why do those issues create a problem for capitalism?

Issue number 1 is a fantasy. It is more wishful thinking than reality because unlimited potential is a myth. In essence, it sets people up for failure.

Issue number 2 sets the stage for socialism. Socialism is not always bad, it helps people weather a storm, but it can stifle future capitalistic development.

I've said all the above to say this: For capitalism to prosper and provide its fruits, then it must be tempered with some government oversight.

Government oversight is really the only way the public can put brakes on exploitation and the ever-present boom and bust cycles that unfettered capitalism brings.

We're now seeing a correction in the excesses of capitalism. It's not that capitalism is bad or wrong, just that too much of anything without some adult supervision results in imbalance.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bettie Page passes away. Great loss,

It's a sad day. Pin-up icon Bettie Page passed away in California after suffering a heart attack.

You'll remember Bettie Page as the black haired pin-up who often did bondage photos in the 1950s.

For those of you interested, Bettie grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. She attended a local high school, Hume Fogg graduating salutatorian of her senior class. She was reportedly upset that she wasn't top of the class because that assured her a full scholarship to Vanderbilt.

Bettie did receive a full scholarship to George Peabody College (now a part of Vanderbilt) and graduated with a teaching degree. She taught school for a short time (I would have loved to been her student...). Bettie wasn't just a pretty face, she was smart and academically inclined, albeit with a Southern drawl.

Betty was from East Tennessee, but left because of an abusive father.

She married a few times and finally wound up in New York as a secretary. She did some modeling and finally met the man, Irving Klaw, who turned her into the icon we know today.

Time has a few photos of Bettie here.

Bettie was queen before plastic surgery, before botox, and before photoshop. She was a rare bird.
So long Bettie.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Too much cleanliness is a bad thing.

I follow the George Carlin philosphy on cleanliness, namely, if I get poop on my hands I wash, but otherwise I don't.

Carlin pointed out to humorous effect that when growing up he swam in the East River where people dump sewage. He swears he never got sick and the experience made his immune system stronger.

Well, it seems George was correct. Studies suggest that too much cleanliness actually makes allergies worse.

I couldn't agree more. I have a friend that carries Purell and washes incessantly when in public. It doesn't seem to work because he gets sick more than anyone I know.

Me, on the other hand? I get a cold or the flu maybe once every 3 years, if that.

I'd much rather pass up the regular dose of disease and if that happens because I don't sanitize myself to death, then goody for me.

Glad to be in America with an expansive view of liberty

When I read articles like this one I thank the stars that be that I live in America.


In America, wing nuts have the burden of proving why something should be banned. Those of us who advocate for an expansive view of freedom as opposed to some moral watchdog's limited notion of free speech breathe a sigh of relief.

America, despite all her faults, requires that wingnuts expose themselves to the public square and potential ridicule in order to push their agenda.

Transparency can never be underestimated as a valuable tool for freedom.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Intellectualism returns to the Presidency.

All I can say is: THANK GOD!

Pre-election prophecy about Cindy McCain's disdain for the working family comes to pass

Here's confirmation of what I warned about in the lead up to the election.

I told the story of Cindy McCain, as a shareholder of Anheiser-Busch, supported the sale of the company to foreign company InBev.

I warned that Cindy wasn't interested in helping working families since she supported the buy-out. Buy-outs must be paid for so job cuts are necessary to help finance the borrowing necessary to complete the purchase.

Well, I have been proven correct.

So, the McCains are not for the working families of American, just their own bottom line.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shinseki choice highlights Rumsfeld's and Wolfowitz's ignominy

Here's a notable piece about General Shinsheki possibly getting a job in the Obama administration.

The General behaves with integrity and character and that serves to highlight the utter lack of integrity and character of his former boss Donald Rumsfeld and the latter's neo-con butt buddy Paul Wolfowitz.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were nothing but scumbags and they deserve the ignominy their loser asses will get.

Thank God I never voted for the man who so sacrificed his obligation to the country when he hired such incompetent boobs in the first place.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Whackos on parade: Fight to prove Obama is really foreign-born. Morons

Here's a story about pretext racism.

A group of whackos is attempting to derail Obama's presidency by having the Supreme Court declare him ineligible since he was born outside the U.S.

Every time someone points out the evidence showing Obama was born in the U.S., it is dismissed in favor of the conspiracy.

It's very difficult to respond to a conspiracy theory, not because the conspiracy is true, but because the conspiracy relies on faith, so any evidence to the contrary is dismissed, while evidence supporting the conspiracy takes on added importance.

Here's a problem for the conspiracy theorists: If they manage to win (which they won't) then John McCain has a similar citizenship problem, viz., he was born in Panama.

Between Obama and McCain, Obama has the stronger claim to U.S. citizenship since he was born in the U.S. to a native-born mother.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Family is what works for you, not some stupid ideal.

This story on Live Science reminds me of a discussion I had a few years ago with a friend of mine.

This friend is the same one who goes with the political winds. At the time, he was a Bush supporter and was advocating for the "traditional family" as promoted by the religious right.

His argument was that it's better for a child to have both a mother and father in the family unit. He noted that children are much better off that way.

Of course, I objected saying that was bullshit because a child just needed at least one loving parent and the particular shape of the family was immaterial.

He kept to his guns. I pointed out that I grew up in a single parent household and for the right to impugn my single parent upbringing was rather insulting. I, for one, don't see myself as deficient or a scourge to society because my father wasn't around.

He tried to demur, but it was too late to remove that foot from his mouth.

All this points to the utter stupidity of imposing ideals onto people. People rarely meet ideals, but that's what makes us so interesting---we don't fit into neat little conceptual boxes.

Idealized concepts are like cotton candy: Their cool to look at, but they are too much when you get into it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bush: Neo-Hooverian

This op-ed sums up pretty much what I think about Bush and the economy.

Bush has been true to his trickle-down philosophy in the bailout. He chose to provide financial help to the marge corporations, the well-connected, and the well-heeled (although not so well-heeled as well-connected currently).

The problem with trickle-down economics is that it doesn't work. The current economic fiasco should finally put the nail in the social darwinism of corporate welfare.

The best approach, in my opinion, for bailing out the economy should consist of pumping money toward the lower end of the socio-economic level.

Why would this work better than the current screw-up?

The poor are less likely to save and more likely to spend any resources directed their way. Considering that one-third of our economy depends on consumption, we should encourage that consumption by giving resources to the those most likely to consume.

Who would that be? The poor.

The trickle-down approach has failed and it cannot nor should it be resuscitated.

Of course the rich will have to suck it up and actually participate in this economy that has provided them with such largesse.

Bush isn't a neo-con, but a neo-Hooverian.

Let's give it rest.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


One of my biggest pet peeves is affectation.

What is that? Well, it's where someone presents themselves in a way so as to appear somehow superior, when in fact they're being full of crap.

(You'll note that I'm watching television)

While watching "Everyday Italian" I noticed the host mispronounced a couple of words. I wouldn't normally think it a big deal except that her mis-pronunciations were obvious and intentional.

I really like this show and I think the host has an engaging style, but she got on my nerves with her pronunciation of the words "bechamel" and "pancetta".

The host is Italian, so of course the argument will go that she probably knows how to pronounce "pancetta". I disagree. I speak English and I mispronounce words all the time, so for a native Italian who grew up in SoCal, I think she's being affected.

Anyway, she pronounced "bechamel" like this: bee-sha-meel.

That's obviously incorrect. It's pronounced: bay-sha-mel.

It's real simple.

She pronounced "pancetta" like this: pahn-chee-ta.

That's also incorrect, even in Italian. It's pronounced pahn-chay-ta. Look it up.

This little diatribe may qualify me as a prig or an idiot, but I don't care. It's the little annoyances that I hate.

Scientists develop a way to eliminate batteries by using sound waves. Awesome!

How's this for a cool idea? Powering small electronic devices by harvesting sound waves from the environment.

Using plain old basic research and good old fashioned scientific principles, scientists have managed to devise a plan that could virtually eliminate the need for batteries.

The benefits are enormous: No toxic waste, no buying of replacement batteries, lower overall cost of operation.

Cool stuff. I want it now...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Britney Spears documentary a vacuous piece of nothing.

My significant other has this morbid fascination with reality television. So, when she decides to watch some trainwreck on T.V., I'm forced to watch it also.

Last night, MTV aired the Britney Spears documentary. I use the word documentary loosely because it had few features of a documentary; it resembled a p.r. video.

Here's what I learned about Britney from Britney:

1) Britney is sad.

2) Britney hates the paparazzi.

3) Britney loves her kids.

4) Britney likes to drive around.

5) Britney wants to go out without being followed by cameras.

6) Britney likes to work.

That's about it.

MTV chose to up the stakes before the show by displaying a text prologue saying "Nothing was off limits, what we see is the real and raw truth."

That load of bullshit was designed to give people the impression that we'd be watching a real nitty-gritty, hard-hitting documentary where all warts and foibles would be on display.

The problem with nothing being off limits is that someone must actually ASK the appropriate questions. No one did.

Now, don't get me wrong. I feel sorry for Britney. I think she's been unfairly maligned as a result of her life circumstances.

This so-called documentary was nothing but a load of crap that provided no more information than what was already out there.

In essence, a total waste of time and footage designed to be an hour long commercial for Britney's record label.

MTV was punked.

They tried to convince their viewers to buy the bullshit to cover their butts for passing off some asinine puff piece as real television.

Can't we go back to the days when MTV was actually about music?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Opposition to gay adoption is opposition to child welfare--plain and simple.

Here's an article that highlights the real agenda behind the push by some groups to deny homosexuals the right to adopt children.

There is absolutely no evidence that children suffer any harm from growing up in a family consisting of a homosexual parent. ZERO!

To advocate keeping a child in foster care just because some people have issues with homosexuality is to put one's agenda ahead of what's best for children.

Any group that advocates denying homosexuals the right to adopt to protect the children is nothing more than bigotry and is not really in the best interest of the children.

Too many children need loving and stable homes. To ignore a whole population of willing and capable potential parents on the grounds of sexual orientation is morally outrageous.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

U.S. health care sucks when you look at costs per person compared to benefit

I've argued for years with a friend of mine about the need for change in the U.S. healthcare system.

My friend, being the kind of guy who plays it safe politically, always trotted out the old trope of how we have the best medical care in the world and other people with money come here for our state of the art medicine.

I always opted for the reality argument. Specifically, that our system should not be judged by how good we are at dealing with the unique and novel medical mystery, but how effectively we treat what ails the vast majority of Americans, viz., heart disease, diabetes, etc.

Now, doctors are jumping on the universal health care bandwagon. They wisely foresee their future will not be in business as usual, but as part of a system focused on prevention and efficiency.

Some doctors are starting to point out the significant inefficiencies in our current system.

Those inefficiencies create massive profits for some and their incentive to change that waste is very small.

I see health care as a moral issue: If we can save two people through prevention for the cost of what we pay to cure one person, then we have a duty to save the two people.

John Stuart Mill was correct when he said we must provide for the greatest number.

The moral thing won't keep doctors and insurers rich. Too bad the pocketbooks of a few are keeping a majority at greater risk for death.

Friday, November 21, 2008

U.S. government has a medical patent on chemicals that the DEA says have no medical use--Huh?

For those of you into irony, here's a funny one.

For years, the U.S. government has followed a "zero tolerance" policy toward marijuana.

Despite all credible evidence about the low risk marijuana poses, the DEA classifies pot as a Schedule 1 Drug. To meet this qualification a drug must have "no accepted medical value and pose a high risk for abuse."

Here's the irony part. The U.S. government sought and obtained a patent on some of the chemical constituents found in marijuana!!

Here's a link to the complete patent.

Here's my question: How can the government claim a drug has no acceptable value and throw people into jail for its use on one hand, while obtaining a patent on the chemicals in this plant for the treatment of medical issues on the other?

Regardless of your position on drugs, you must admit that this really takes the cake of government hypocrisy.

The ugly spectre of DEFLATION!

For those of you enjoying the drop in prices all over the place, especially right before Christmas, I should caution you about a tricky little thing called: Deflation.

Here's a good article explaining deflation and why we should all be concerned by it.

What is it exactly?

Well, it's where prices fall. Normally, we like falling prices, but not when it's caused by large scale deflationary forces like we're seeing now.

Prices are falling because demand has fallen. Lower demand equals lower prices; it's classical economics.

Deflation is good at the beginning, so if you got the cash, spend it now on those good deals.

As deflation drags on, you see downward pressure on wages. This hurts.

Be prepared for lower wages and more unemployment if we can't shore up the economy soon. It's a nasty cycle that we can ill-afford to get into.

Virtual economies serve as a lab for real world economies

This story is rather cool. At least the geek in me thinks it is.

Virtual economies are providing some insight into how real world economies work.

It seems that the libertarian utopia of zero regulation in Second Life has led to downright fraud and economic ruin for virtual banks.

That's the trouble with self-regulation. It's another word for libertarian economic policies.

We're seeing the results of such extreme de-regulation in our own economy.

Virtual worlds provide insight into the real world, but without the costs to real people.

Cool stuff.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Country music is a little slow on the uptake in the political game

Finally someone other than me has spoken the truth about Country Music.

Ironically, it is the New Republic that carried the story.

I've bemoaned the state of country music for years. It ceased being country and morphed into country-flavored pop music.

This occurred when the Nashville music scene was invaded by New York and L.A. music business transplants. They couldn't make it in pop, so they moved to Nashville, changed country music to fit their tastes, and show us bumpkins how it was really done.

What are we left with? Crap.

Country music made the mistake of cozying up with the Right. That was a big mistake, but typical of Nashville. Nashville doesn't have the balls to strike out on its own, so it waits to see how the wind blows, then jumps on the bandwagon.

Unfortunately, the bandwagon shifted and is going the other direction.

Natalie Maines is having the last laugh on Toby Keith.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Former middle class could spell trouble for stability

I normally find Brooks a bit of an intellectual simpleton. Like many of his brethren in the openly-conservative camp, he's fond of simplistic characterizations that really don't hold up under scrutiny.

For example: In the present article he equates collective action with a loss of individual rights.

This isn't alway the case. Sometimes, group action is necessary to expand individual rights. Kind of a no man's an island view of things.

Simple solutions and simple social constructs appeal to a specific audience: Simple people.

Brooks is an affable sort, so I avoid being too hard on him. Sometimes he does make a valid point.

His take on the financial turmoil results in a conclusion that I agree with (thus, I don't think he's too bad...).

I've said for a time now that financial trouble is dangerous when those most affected by it are educated, ambitious, and carry a certain degree of expectation from their society. They'll be the sort to create trouble and can carry it out because of their education, experience, and degree of motivation.

Brooks agrees, in a round about way.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Anxiety disorders more prevalent than we realize

About one fifth of all patients visiting a doctor suffer from an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders go untreated so often that we scarcely realize the trouble they cause.

Medically, they account for a significant portion of patients presenting with pain or other symptom.

My suspicion is that humans carry a predisposition to certain anxiety disorders from our evolutionary past. Those without the hyper-vigilance caused by anxiety were often the first ones eaten by a predator. Hyper-vigilance causes one to be more cautious too, so it can have a positive effect in small doses.

The downside: Hyper-vigilance associated with anxiety causes sufferers to sense greater physiological issues leading to more self-diagnosis of health problems. Ultimately, anxiety results in more doctor visits.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Public Jobs are the ticket out of the economic downturn. It's an oldy but a goody.

Despite what some laissez-faire types think, problems in the economy are tied to jobs.

The Washington Post offers up dismal information related to the economic downturn.

Consumption drives a significant portion of our economy. Available credit greases the wheels of consumption allowing us to acquire the things we need and want. As long as credit is available and we have income to pay the debt, things work fine.

Jobs are essential to consumption. When jobs are scarce, credit becomes scarce since creditors have a duty to ensure repayment of any credit they extend. Simply, No job, no credit?

Wages have remained stagnant in the face of every-increasing productivity gains for some time now. Plain English: People are working harder and more for less money; this includes benefits that have the power of money too, like health insurance and so on.

The productivity push has been driven in part by policies and an atmosphere encouraging off-shoring and workforce flexibility. Workers responded rationally to this environment of instability by increasing productivity (making them more valuable) and accepting less money (making them cost-effective to retain). Workers accept more work for less money because its economically rational to have some work rather than no work.

Wage stagnation occurs when inflation outpaces wage growth. When adjusted for inflation, wages are lower now than they've been in years. The net result: Workers are making themselves poor by working hard just to keep a job and to stay in place.

Inflation reduces the dollar's purchasing power. I remember when sodas cost $0.20. What do they cost now? $1.00 - $2.00. That's inflation.

To make up for inflationary wage losses and wage stagnation, many workers relied on credit to fill in the gap. Now, credit is drying up leaving those who were on the edge falling off the precipice.

As a nation we cannot borrow our way out of this. Consumption is out of the question because we have no means to consume when wages are falling and credit is non-existent.

What about growing our way out of this? Can't happen. Why? No credit and no money equals no tools to pump the economy and thus no growth.

Taking a page from history, our government must begin a jobs program much like the public works projects from the New Deal.

Only by infusing the country with cash via workers will the economy start working.

New technology may be missing its true calling.

I've wanted an e-reader for a time. However, the thought of getting always nagged me and I couldn't figure out why until now.

This article from hits the nail squarely on the head.

I love books. Most of what I read is non-fiction, so the pressure to get rid of them once used is less than for fiction.

The e-readers don't really allow me to keep a bookshelf of non-fiction. The e-readers are designed mostly for readers of topical fiction.

The author of the article makes the point that e-readers should focus on periodicals that have a limited shelf life.

I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Libertarian hypocrites. Libertarians should be for personal freedom.

Here's what I don't get.

Libertarians are worried that Obama's election spells the end of libertarian ideals.

Many libertarians have bought into the notion that only Republicans and by extension, conservative ideals represent the last best hope for freedom.

What I want to know is why do libertarians drink the kool aid from the Right?

Where were libertarians when a Republican and self-described conservative took complete advantage of a crisis to push through one of the most invasive restrictions on our privacy rights? (Patriot Act)

Where were libertarians when this same politician sought to restrict a woman's right to control the use of her own uterus?

When Republican supporting libertarians talk freedom, they should choke on their words.

Neither party has the market cornered on freedom.

I, myself, have rather libertarian views. I've even voted libertarian in the past.

What I won't abide is a hypocrite. And for libertarians to suck it up and vote for a party that seeks restriction of personal rights, then I call them for what they are: Liars.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Conservatives are lying to themselves and trying to get us to believe it too.

Here's what I don't get about the "conservative" movement.

Those who call themselves such were more than happy to support George Bush, not once, but twice for the presidency.

Now, when his malfeasance has come back to tarnish the Republican brand and along with it, conservativism's bona fides, those same conservatives claim that Bush "wasn't a true conservative."

This is nothing but post hoc definitional hedging. In other words, it's bullshit.

Conservatives may need to lie to themselves about the state of their ideology and the status of the party who carried their banner (Republicans), but they shouldn't expect the rest of us to buy into their lame excuses and justifications.

I get so tired of conservatives who, when times were great for their agenda, were content to ignore the obvious signs of idiocy in their chosen candidate. But now, when time and reality smack them in the faces, they are wont to cut loose the very same people and party they hooked their wagon to.

The pretzel-like machinations they go through in order to maintain some semblance of cohesiveness in their ideological world is astounding.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

AIG screws up again. It's this kind of decision-making that got them into this mess in the first place

Let's see if I get another comment from AIG after posting this one.

AIG, you know the big insurer who begged for taxpayer money because they were on their last leg, has managed to blow a bunch of money at another resort.

Of course AIG has the money to pay someone to cruise the internet looking for bad press and respond, so they have the money to send their executives to a resort.

AIG's response? Well, they said someone else paid the majority of the expense. Fair enough

BUT, here's the issue: AIG should be conscious of what we in the legal profession call the appearance of impropriety.

Even if what they say is true and they are not technically exploiting taxpayers for lavish events, they are still under the microscope and should be cognizant of the effect such extravaganzas would have on those lending them a whole bunch of cash. A technicality is not going to fly in the political world of taxpayer bailouts.

When you live in the rarefied world of corporate compensation, creature comforts like resorts, spas, and golf are just every day things to help a beleaguered executive out.

Back on planet earth with the rest of us, we see this as a con job.

Sowell's an idiot trying to paint liberals with an excessively broad brush--He must listen to Limbaugh

I find this diatribe from Thomas Sowell on RealClearPolitics to be absolutely hilarious.

The humor comes from his ending the article with an accusation that PhDs are ignorant. The larger theme is that intellectuals are really idiots.

Sowell goes on to talk about the mistakes intellectuals have made in the past. All good points.

Unfortunately, Sowell's attempt to lump all intellectuals together is bull. It's a logical fallacy called an Inductive Fallacy. Rush Limbaugh uses the same moronic crap to keep his sycophants hating reason and education.

Of course, individual intellectuals make mistakes, but that doesn't mean all intellectuals are guilty of those mistakes or share some complicity. Sowell implies as much by his indictment of intellectualism.

Using the same argument, I could just as easily indict the whole of conservativism and republicanism by the mistakes of the last eight years.

That would be bull also, but I have a whole truckload of evidence buttressing my argument, instead of just a few cherry-picked incidents like Sowell.

Give it up Sowell. Grow a cerebrum and learn how to use it. If can be fun riding with the big boys with big brains.

Automakers are short-sighted crybabies who deserve a spanking

I don't get it.

Automakers are staunch Republican allies. They advocate the free market so they can clean up and fight the unions.

When times get tough they turn into the biggest bunch of cry babies.

The free market is fine when money's rolling in, but when the losses start mounting over the bad management decisions, then what do they do? They turn into a big group of pussies.

Of course they'll hide behind that tired old chestnut: It'll hurt the economy and hurt working families.

I got news for you: Of course it will hurt the economy and hurt families, but the responsibility for that falls squarely on the shoulders of management.

Everyone would like the power to make decisions affecting the economy. With that comes the responsibility to man up and bear the burden of those decisions for good or ill.

I have no sympathy.

The hypocrisy is astounding. Free marketers when profit is involved, but panty wastes when their short-sightedness leads to economic ruin for the rest of us.

I repeat: No bailout.

We can't keep bailing out industries for their bad choices. That removes any incentive for them to behave in the future.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Atheists suffer at the hands of the religious

This article suggests that prejudice against atheism is why many American atheists are less happy than their religious brethren.

Prejudice of any sort makes the victims of it suffer, so this stands to reason.


Friday, November 7, 2008

GM asks taxpayers for some of what the banks got. HELL NO!

Holy crap! I'm getting a sense of deja vu from General Motors' cries for taxpayer help in the form of a government bailout.

U.S. car companies have had decades to change to leaner companies with better and more fuel efficient cars that consumers would buy, but did they do the smart thing?

Hell no.

Instead they hitched their wagon to bigger cars and refused to look around the corner at the coming oil shortage and the alternative energy push.

Should we bail them out? Hell No!

Of course the economy will take a hit. Of course workers will suffer.

Those are the consequences of poor management decisions over decades and consumers who've bought into the whole Hummer/SUV/Land Rover phenomenon.

Whose fault is it that U.S. auto manufacturing has shed jobs affecting the whole economy? It's management's fault. They could have made better, more forward-looking cars that people wanted, but they chose to maximize present profit at the expense of future viability. That's poor management and the cost of these bad practices should not be externalized to the rest of us. The free market should deal with this, not the U.S. taxpayer.

Let them fail. Maybe the actual threat of failure will provide the necessary impetus for them to do what they should've done all along...being a real American company. Americans are in front of the market instead of being behind the curve and getting hammered by excess and inertia.

GM's timing is highly suspicious. They stood back and watched what happened with the bank bailout. Now, their hands' are out. They're hoping a lame duck Bush will help before Obama takes office.

Republican message is to blame for their losses, not people

Republicans are quick to try to blame a person for their stunning loss on November 4.

Campbell Brown calls them to task for blaming Sarah Palin. Rightly so.

Blaming a person for the loss is bullshit, even if that person wasn't qualified for the job. Perhaps it was the Republican message that was at fault?

If the republican message is to blame shouldn't that be re-tooled?

That's a hard pill to swallow for the Republican faithful. Like religious fanatics, they'll scapegoat people without the power to damage a whole movement rather than look to their own beliefs as the source of their failings.

Until the Republicans look at their message, the real cause of their failure, they'll be stuck in limbo.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Conclusive proof that human activity the cause of global warming

Rush Limbaugh actually is a big fat idiot after all.

Rush is a strong opponent of human-induced climate change.

Well, there is now conclusive proof that climate variability has exceeded natural variations.

Of course, like holocaust deniers, Rush will point to the scientists as being some liberal cabal of pointy-headed intellectuals and are therefore not to be believed.

Here's what I say to that: If you're standing on a train track with lights approaching and horns blowing, you can deny the fact that a train is coming up until you get run down.

Or, you can take the evidence and take action.

GOP should move toward fiscal responsibility and away from conservative orthodoxy

The GOP has some tough times ahead.

Although I don't consider myself a Republican, due in large part to the overly religious nature of the party, I share some common values with the Republicans on the fiscal front.

The Republicans need to attract more moderates if they wish to regain some measure of power in the future. The conservative wing will fight this, but the party cannot afford the orthodoxy of the extreme right if it wishes to return from the wilderness.

I suspect that the Republicans will come out of this newly chastened. I also suspect that they will adopt many of the attitudes and practices of the New England Republicans. Specifically, Mitt Romney.

Those values are less wingnut and more economics driven.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rush Limbaugh gives Republicans some stunningly stupid advice for winning the next election.

Here's some advice to Republicans from everybody's favorite stink-wind, Rush Limbaugh.

Rush advises Republicans to run to the Right even more if they want to win.

All I can say is this: I hope the Republicans take the supreme bloviator's advice. If they do, that will ensure continued Democrat dominance.

Rush is known for ignoring reality in the service of his religion--Right-Wing Ideology.

Must be nice to get paid so much to live in a fantasy world and spew idiocy to like-minded sycophants.

Go Rush!

Lessons of this election for Republicans

It's over. Now comes the gnashing of teeth and the rending of clothes by the Republicans.

What has this election determined:

1. John McCain was better than his campaign. He allowed Lee Atwater -type operatives to hijack his genuine nature and run the campaign into the ditch of defeat.

2. Tough economic times moves the electorate toward a we're in this together philosophy and away from the individualist attitude of every man for himself.

3. Fear no longer drives votes enough to win. Hope is better in the end. This fits with American optimism anyway.

4. Exploiting factions for electoral gain has limited efficacy. Finding common ground and looking for compromise ultimately wins the day.

5. America is not a conservative nation. America is a moderate nation that flirts with conservativism and liberalism.

6. Race remains an issue. I spoke with a number of people who voted for McCain, but none could give a cogent reason for their vote, except that Obama was an other and their fear wouldn't allow them to vote otherwise. A nice-sounding pretext doesn't excuse a racist rationale. Maybe the wish to move beyond race is ahead of the reality on the ground.

7. The Republican party faces a choice. If they continue like they have for the past 20 odd years, their only pockets of support will be in the deep South amongst white rural voters. Most Americans live in urban areas or close to them, so that dog won't hunt for too much longer.

8. Latino voters opted for the Democrat ticket. This bodes ill for today's Republicans, since Latinos are set to become the largest minority group in the U.S. Combine Latinos with African-Americans and you have a very large Democrat voting bloc.

9. Due to number 8 above, the Republicans are paying the price for their reliance on pretext racism to drive uneducated whites to the polls. Uneducated rural whites are an endangered breed. The Bubba vote, although staunch, is diminishing in value as the population shifts toward cities.

Republicans have their work cut out for them. If they manage to re-invent themselves, they won't look like Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh--they will look like Bill Richardson and Colin Powell. Republicans will need to cut loose constituencies that depend on subtle, code-word driven bigotry if the party hopes to capture those targeted by such petty prejudice.

It's a hard choice.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

West Wing laid the groundwork for the Obama campaign

Here's a reason why I like the West Wing. In a dramatic display of art imitating life, I give you the following.


Old Wive's Tale is shot down by science

As a child, my mother always told me that boys were made of "Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails" whereas girls were made of "Sugar and spice and everything nice."

The clear implication of that early training was that boys are dirtier than girls.

Girls readily buy into this and regularly call boys dirty.

Science has shot that notion all to hell in this study.

Apparently, women are the nastier of the two sexes if bacteria are the criteria used to judge nasty-ness.

Well, at least now I can begin the healing process.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Old story from the Onion nailed the last 8 years -- before Bush took office!

I love The Onion. Probably the only good source for satire.

Here's a story produced by The Onion in January 2001.

I defy anyone to read this and not choke on the creepy similarities to the story and the results of the last 8 years.

The Onion is spot on with its prediction, even though it was intended as humor.

Read it and laugh, cry, or pound your fist on the desk.

Scary how life imitates art.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hedge Fund manager spills the beans on the wealthy, connected, and privileged...oh, and marijuana

I came across this letter from a Hedge Fund Manager. He's 37 and he decided to quit the business after amassing scads of cash for his clients.

Here's his letter .

It's nice to see someone with a chip on their shoulder against the rich take aim at them and point out what everyone knows, but is afraid to admit.

It should be noted that he advocated the legalization of marijuana in his letter.

Friday, October 31, 2008

NRA has managed to flex its Republican muscle against a gun company apostate

I refer you to the most previous post for background when looking at this stunning display of ideological stupidity.

Cooper Firearms has fired its eponymously named founder Dan Cooper for supporting Obama for President.

I see this as a tacit, if not blatant, acknowledgment by the firearm manufacturer that a significant portion of their customers are wingnuts.

Unfortunately, the gun lobby, and by this I mean the NRA, has bought into the notion that only Republicans support the 2nd Amendment. In defiance of reason and with the result of alienating a significant portion of the electorate. The Republican Party doesn't have the market cornered on support for 2nd Amendment rights. The NRA and the Republican party would like everyone to think that's the case, but that isn't true. You can favor the 2nd Amendment AND also favor a Woman's Right to Choose. It's all about freedom of choice.

Now, before all you gun nuts or NRA whackjobs get your panties in a wad and accuse me of wanting to take away your guns, let me disabuse you of that notion right here.

I hate the NRA, but I love the 2nd Amendment. Supporting one doesn't require that I support the other. Don't fall for the simple-minded absolutism marketed by the Right that only Conservatives and Republicans favor and will protect Gun Rights. That's complete bull.

I got flack for supporting the 2nd Amendment rights of if the DC security guard who successfully won the right to possess a gun in DC in the Heller case.

The NRA gives real gun owners a bad name. The NRA is nothing but a Republican lobby masquerading as a Rights Group.

I don't like the NRA and I don't agree with their political positions. Yet, I think the Constitution gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms. I own guns. Mere gun ownership doesn't turn anyone into a bad person.

In fact, I think the 2nd Amendment gives me the right to own pretty much any gun I want, including Assault Rifles. Extreme? Maybe, but the 2nd Amendment says what it says and the U.S. has historically viewed gun ownership rather liberally.

So, where do I fit?

I don't fit with the NRA because they are idiots with an ideological zeal that undermines all rationality; I cannot align myself with idiocy over a single issue.

If the NRA would open their minds (won't happen because that requires actual thinking...), those of us with a more expansive view of individual rights wouldn't feel so alienated by the moronic rank and file catered to by such small-mindedness.

Cooper Firearms sold their soul to a Right Wing idiocy group. Terminating their CEO for the reasons they cite is un-American. I won't buy any of their guns now that I know how un-American their board is.

Buy true American...Support ALL the Contitution.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Corporate executives possibly liable for breaching fiduciary duty by causing corporations to support political candidates

Here's a story showing that some corporate executives of large retailers are actually subordinating their fiduciary duty to their shareholder to their own personal political interests.

In the legal industry, we call this a breach of fiduciary duty Such a breach is grounds for immediate termination. On top of that, they can be held personally liable to the shareholders in a shareholder derivative lawsuit for such bad decisions. The boards of these companies have a duty to investigate and immediately terminate those executives found guilty of a breach. That's the law.

Why is this important?

A personal political decision is fully protected by the 1st Amendment. When personal political choices become the basis of an executive decision, IN SPITE OF EVIDENCE THAT CONTRADICTS THAT PARTICULAR DECISION, then said choice becomes a form of defalcation.

Defalcation occurs where a fiduciary takes advantage of their executive position for personal gain at the expense of shareholders, the corporation and ultimately the market.

I note this so corporate shareholders will exercise their power to hold executives and corporate boards accountable for their corporate decisions...especially when those corporate decisions are made for the personal gain of the corporate executive at the expense of the shareholders.

Get the facts, learn the truth, and remove your heads from your backsides.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Study finds hubris begins with insecurity.

Science is making headway at finding proof of what many of us already intuitively know.

This study shows that hubris, pride, and other such negative group expressions really result from group insecurity.

Many of us already know that people over-compensate for perceived failings by excessive boasting. This study just provides scientific evidence to support that notion.

The study points to real world implications. Good stuff.

Tribute to a child's life

Here's a father's tribute to his son.

If you can watch this without being moved to tears then something's wrong with you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Xenophobia based on wrong-headed thinking.

Apparently all the anti-immigrant animus is based on faulty assumptions.

Recent immigrants are more likely to produce whiz kids as opposed to the native born.

An unfortunate sign: Once people are here and in the club, so to speak, they want to lock the gates for fear of having to actually work to maintain their position.

What a load of crap.

Mortgage mess: Placing blame were it needs to go.

Here's an article from the usually right of center L.A. Times that places the blame for the mortgage crisis precisely where I said it should go in a previous post.

I worked closely with the mortgage industry over the past few years. I saw, first hand, how mortgage brokers and the banks underwriting their loans skirted the bounds of excess.

The incentives were to write as many loans as possible as quickly and as expediently as possible. The incentives weren't on the buyers. One mortgage company I worked with made cold calls every day to push loan products.

I was opposed to the bailout just for this reason.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Republican backing Diebold makes ther voting machines easy to hack...probably on purpose

When I hear the Republicans complain about voter fraud, I can't help but be reminded of Diebold.

Diebold makes electronic voting machines. They make the kind without a paper trail, so if the machines screw up, then well, voting is FRAUDULENT.

Now this normally wouldn't be a much cause for concern except when Diebold does something obviously stupid that screams out for some bozo to take advantage of the voting process. Here's a good example of Diebold stupidity.

The problem with Diebold is simple. The CEO of Diebold is a staunch Republican supporter.

So I ask you: Are the claims about voter fraud really a red herring to point the finger away from the side who will actually be engaging in voter fraud?

Based of the problems with electronic voting machines, lack of paper trail, companies like Diebold offering up online keys to anyone for their voting machines. I can hardly believe voting fraud is the sole province of Democrats.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Republicans are killing themselves with their Faustian deal with the religious right and the ideologues

E.J. Dionne writes a rather compelling article about the Republican party's self-immolation.

He describes a party that sold it's soul to the religious right in exchange for political power, but is now having to pay for their Faustian deal with their soon to be visit to hell.

I wrote an essay about the same issues back in 2004 called: Charting a New Democratic Course. Published by the now defunct Democratic Policy Alliance.

I was quite pleased with myself at the time, unaware that I was a few years ahead of my time with the present situation.

Perhaps, if one waits long enough, all predictions and prophecies come true--in a sense.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Republicans and McCain are bankrupt of ideas, money, and sense.

Here's an excellent article from Forbes magazine . I don't normally read Forbes, but came across this article on a Right-leaning website and found it compelling.

Gerstein spells out the trouble with Republicans and why they've squandered their position by relying on McCarthyism to ensure votes through dependence on hatred and prejudice.

Scary stuff. It helps when someone gives name to a tragic turn of events.

Watch my nice segue...

Unmentioned in the article is how out of touch the McCain campaign is for relying on the base-ness of Nixonian style politics.

Another story popped up today indicating that Palin's clothing budget after joining the campaign topped $150,000.00. This is along the lines of the previous AIG issue where the company spent $450,000.00 on a spa visit for salespeople AFTER getting a taxpayer funded bailout.

How can we trust a man in the presidency when he allows his own party--you know, the one he's in charge of--to spend $150,000.00 in less than two months on clothes and makeup for Palin and her brood? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

So much for fiscal discipline. Reports are that the money spent on Palin's couture exceeds her yearly salary as governor. Wonder if she gets to keep the clothes? I bet she does.

So long Ronald Reagan. Say hello to the wilderness...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Powell endorsement of Obama more complex than racist reductionists allow

General Colin Powell endorses Obama.

Right-wing talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, resorts to racial reductionism by claiming Powell's endorsement is based entirely on race.

I suppose we should expect nothing less from radio's demagogue-in-chief. He does nothing, but spread simple-minded reasons for his simple-minded audience.

I think Colin Powell has more complexity and gravitas than to resort to race as the single most salient factor for choosing his candidate.

General Powell is siding with history. He's also showing the world that more important things inform his attitudes and opinions than mere party loyalty.

Let the Republicans play the race card. It will blow up in their faces. History will bear this out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Attacks on ACORN have class warfare at their base

I have no dog in the supposed fight against the voter registration group ACORN.

Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to pin the voter fraud tail on the ACORN donkey.

This attack doesn't pass the smell test.

First off: It wasn't Democrats who claimed class warfare in this election. It was John McCain during the last presidential debate.

McCain spoke the words class warfare.

Secondly: ACORN, regardless of their problems and issues, focus primarily on registering the poor and minorities (who are over-represented amongst the poor).

The Republicans are using the political version of that old childhood chestnut: The one who smelt it is the one who dealt it.

Not only are the Republicans engaging in class warfare against the poor, like they've done for years with their advocacy of trickle-down economics, but they are attacking a group whose intention is to help the poor and under-represented participate in the system that treats them so poorly.

Of course the Republicans don't want the poor and minorities to participate. If they participate, chances are they will vote against policies that everyone knows helps the rich at the expense of the poor.

In another transparent attempt to diminish voter participation, the Republicans are engaging in a pretext attack using ACORN as a proxy for the poor and minorities.

What is a Pretext Attack?

It occurs when someone targets actions and groups associated with those they cannot tolerate rather than directly attacking those they cannot stand. In this case--The Poor and minorities.

I find this whole thing shameful and lacking in honor and courage. A pretext attack is the mark of douchebags and craven wusses.

If there is any reason for disliking a party, cowardice and dishonor tops my list. Why John McCain, who claims to be for honor and integrity, affiliates with such cowardice makes me feel sorry for him.

ACORN may be engaging in fraud, but there are better ways for Republicans to tackle that issue. They need to show the spine to acknowledge openly the truth--that truth being that they don't want the poor or minorities to vote.

That's the truth.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Foreclosure crisis is tied to job stagnation and job loss. Class warfare is at the root of blaming the poor for mortgage mess

I've followed the housing crisis closely. What I've noticed in my hometown is that the hardest hit part of town is also the poorest.

When I look at job loss numbers since 2003, the hardest hit have been the poorest.

From a factual standpoint, job loss is the number one reason for foreclosure.

So what does this tell me?

It tells me that those who blame the foreclosure mess on people who "bought more house than they could afford" may be engaging in class warfare.

This underscores the need for jobs in this country. If people are gainfully employed with good employment prospects and with wages that are not stagnant, then they'll pay their bills.

Most people who lose their house to foreclosure didn't choose foreclosure. Circumstances created the problem. Obviously, some create their own mess, but with the numbers we're seeing, I doubt that so many would willingly or foolishly screw up in such a fashion.

Job creation has stopped in the country because the incentives are to move blue collar jobs offshore. Blue collar jobs are the province of the poor.

Without jobs, people have no money to spend. Without money to spend, people lose things that cost money, like houses and cars. Without money, the economy grinds to a halt.

So explain to me again how the victims of the housing mess are somehow to blame for their plight, while those who created the instruments leading to this mess are off the hook?

You can't. Furthermore, attempts to tie the crisis to one specific group, especially a group with the least amount of control over the situation, strikes me as stupid.

The problem is incredibly complex, but if blame must be placed, let us place it first at the feet of those with the greatest degree of control first. Who would that be? Bankers, Wall Street, and the Government.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Religion is losing market share to Science in the mental health department

The results of this study are not surprising.

Historically, religion was the sole purveyor of treatment for those with mental illness.

The change to a medical view on what is essentially a medical phenomenon--mental illness--will not come easily to religion.

Religion is fast losing part of its market share to science, so to speak.

It was only a matter of time

I guess it was only a matter of time before legal work would be outsourced.

The legal profession in the U.S. is already hamstrung by the incentives to create more lawyers.

Law schools are profit centers and make little effort to weed people out. Why would they when they can get three years of tuition?

With competition so fierce, many lawyers find it hard to stay in the profession.

As an attorney myself, I can speak to the difficulty in generating enough revenue to live a decent lifestyle. The well-to-do attorney is a thing of the past.

Outsourcing of legal work is only another nail in the coffin of a lucrative legal career.

Probably the only area of expertise that cannot be outsourced is litigation. Why?
Courts will always need a warm body to be present to argue motions and conduct trials.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Infrastructure spending leads to job creation and an economic turnaround

The tough economic times we find ourselves in demand some needed change from Washington.

We need a return to the New Deal. We need a New New Deal.

I've said this before in months past, but it bears repeating:

We need infrastructure spending.

By beginning new public works, the government will create jobs.

We need new jobs to replace the ones lost since 2003.

These new jobs will prime the economic pump and get consumption flowing.

I've never understood how it helps the economy to give more money to people that have plenty. They don't go out and spend it like someone who lives paycheck to paycheck does. In fact, the wealthy just squirrel it away, keeping it out of the economy.

When people are put to work, they spend. When people spend, more jobs are created to service their demands.

It's a win-win.

History is trying ot repeat itself. We must remain forever vigilant againt the loss of our soul

History should never be far from our minds when we examine the rumblings of masses.

When I see the federal government under the control of a right-wing president make a power grab in the form of nationalizing the banking system.

When I see the members of that same president's party resort to bigotry, hatred, and outright xenophobia to win an election, I cannot turn a blind eye to the rise of the Third Reich in Germany.

Hitler flamed the hatred and prejudices of Germans during bad economic times to seize the reins of power. What was the result? Millions dead, and a country further destroyed and embarrassed for its misdeeds.

We can ill-afford to march down that same path. We, as a nation, must fight the easy certainty of hatred, prejudice, and eventual decline that will follow such a choice.

Scary sign in nationlization of banks. One world order not far behind

Here's a scary sign. When the government begins taking over buisnesses essential to our economy then we all should pay attention to history.

Hitler did this. So did the communists.

Where are we going people? Wake up America!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Media fallacy in pursuing "balance" spelled out.

Here's a link to the description of the fallacy I referred to in a previous post about the media's attempts at "balance."

This explains the fallacy in plain and simple terms.

The middle is not always correct.

Social Psychology has answers as to why people behave like assholes in political situations

Another instance of science showing why people do things we all know is wrong.

All done in the name of fitting in.

Critical thought and willingness to be (shall we say it...) a maverick is the only way to stand up and man up when the truth is involved.

Republicans do not have the market cornered on being mavericks. In fact they are followers like everyone else given the right circumstances

Study makes short work of a touchstone of Right-wing ideology

This story shoots holes in the notion prevalent among ideologues on the Right that college is a place where "fuzzy-headed, liberal, professors" indoctrinate the nation's youth.

As with all chimeras, the facts say more about the believers in such false notions than it does about those it inaccurately purports to describe.

The Right has a long and troubles association with education and anti-intellectualism.

If you look back to the Third Reich (A Right-Winger's wet dream of a time...), one of Hitler's first actions was to either kill or exile all the college professors. He did this because education and mental discipline were anathema to the Nazi ideology.

The good thing about college is that it teaches people to argue, debate, and exercise critical thinking (At least that's what it's supposed to do..).

Hitler knew critical thinking would undermine his plans, so he took steps to short circuit the potential for critical thought.

The Right similarly hates critical thought and this underscores why the image of the liberal college professor indoctrinating the nation's youth into the liberal church is used to scare like-minded ideologue.

This study is great.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Britney may have gotten her VMA awards in exchange for the exclusive rights to show her documentary...maybe.

I've gotten a lot of grief for not living up to the name of my blog, specifically in the celebrity department.

In an effort to appease the powers that be (namely, those who thrive on gossip), I'm gonna provide my little bit of celebrity insight. Keep in mind that I have no inside information, just my astute sense of the entertainment biz as source for this. So without further adieu...

Question: Who has been the top tabloid fodder for the past couple of years?

Britney Spears.

Question: Who won a number of Video Music Awards from MTV this year?

Britney Spears.

Question: What network has the exclusive rights to show the upcoming 90 minute documentary from Britney, about Britney?


Question: Who stands to benefit from all the advertising dollars generated from said tabloid darling Britney from the last few years?


Now, based on the surprise that Britney showed during her acceptance speeches on said Video Music Awards AND based on the fact that Britney won a number of awards that probably should have gone to other artists, AND based on the fact that MTV has the exclusive rights to the first run of Britney's documentary...I ask you this:

Is it possible that MTV gave Britney her VMA awards IN EXCHANGE for the exclusive rights to show the documentary that will bring in so much ad revenue?

Is it possible that the stench of PAYOLA is wafting through the air?

Thoughts anyone?

R.I.P. the former John McCain

By using a largely over-used metaphor prevalent in today's world, John McCain has gone over to the dark side.

He uses personal attacks rather than substantive policy positions to compete. This indicates he's already lost but is unwilling to admit defeat. Why? Because if he was truly a man of honor, he'd have better arguments and policies instead of relying on the tactics of weakness. Mudslinging is only for wimps and pussies.

At one time, I respected John McCain. I respected him when he ran against George Bush and between the two, I would have chosen McCain.

Now? He's lost all semblance of rationality and honor. He's completely destroyed any integrity his service could have garnered in my mind.

It's a tragic end for a once fine American.

Goodbye John McCain.

Troopergate comes back to haunt McCain as previously predicted.

I warned awhile back that Troopergate would come back to rot the McCain campaign from within.

The report of the Alaska investigator into the matter has been released. The results are rather damning of Palin and her handling of the matter.

Of course, the Republicans will call it politics, but doing so ignores the following facts:

1. The probe began in July, a couple of months before Palin became the VEEP choice.

2. Governor Palin agreed to participate in the investigation until she became the VEEP choice. This indicates that the politics were coming from the Republican side.

3. The investigator was a former Republican prosecutor, so the allegations of politics seem a little unfounded.

With the above, I think this mess will turn out to destroy Palin's positive influence on the campaign unless McCain's supporters are so willfully ignorant of the facts that they choose partisanship over integrity.

Considering past behavior, I suspect that McCain will maintain his loyal base and Governor Palin will be viewed as a victim by that base, despite the evidence to the contrary.

Such a sad state of affairs when partisanship trumps honesty and integrity.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

McCain has lost his credibility and his honor...if he ever realy had any to begin with

Here's a good story about McCain from the right-wing

I didn't realize that John McCain was a member of the fascist group World Anti-Communist League. Has a nice sounding name, but is really a haven for war criminals and drug smugglers who just so happen to sport an ultra-right wing ideology.

McCain is nothing more than a politician. He's lost all credibility as a man of honor and integrity with his smears.

Fortunately, American has awoken from its slumber of ideology.

False balance is giving in to the wrong side

This story gets at a complaint I've had for years against the press.

My problem has been the attempt to present a "balanced" view or an even-handed story when the facts are not so balanced and even-handed.

Attempting to provide balance when the facts scream otherwise is nothing but press bias in its own right.

For example: To be balanced when you report on the world being round, you should probably give equal time and the appearance of equal weight to those who say the Earth is flat.

Now, most of us would think the flat earthers don't deserve the same billing as the rest of us and we'd be right. But, by giving equal weight to the flat earth advocate, we'd be giving them MORE weight than they deserve.

Can you see my point?

When someone demands balance from the press they are in essence admitting they are in a weak position and are demanding that the world give them an advantage not warranted by their position.

False balance is just as wrong as being an ideologue.

AIG P. R. department is prowling the web for rapid response to negativity.

In an effort to give fair and equal treatment, I've decided to post a comment that I received on my previous posting about AIG.


AIG Blog Relations

Earlier today, AIG announced an important policy change - one that we wanted to be sure you knew about.

A short time ago, our Chairman and CEO Ed Liddy said that he has ordered the immediate cancellation of all outside meetings, conferences, and recognition events across AIG, except those that are required by law or that are deemed absolutely critical to sustain our ongoing business needs.

Given AIG's commitment to our customers, business partners, regulators, and American taxpayers, coupled with the new and very different challenges our company now faces, we take these responsibilities extremely seriously. Their trust is critical to our success. We recognize the need to be sensitive about all company expenditures.

As we move forward, we will continue our focus our efforts to pay back the $85 billion loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as quickly as possible.

Well, it seems that the AIG PR department is on the prowl to respond to any potentially negative press about them after the snafu with the "Spa" event.

My little old blog popped up on someone's radar.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

AIG shows why it's in bad shape--Poor judgment

People are rightly mad over AIG's "spa" event for it's executives.

Not only does AIG get into trouble for bad business, they put their lack of business acumen on display by sending executives to a spa AFTER they get a tax payer funded bailout.

I can tell you that I'd like a spa trip at someone else's expense. Maybe Congress will grant me such a boon because after the last eight years, I could surely use a little massage and hot mud...

Bigots trying to make African Americans to blame for mortgage crisis--Idiots

It seems that some people look for ways to target minorities for the ills that afflict the nation to a higher degree than most.

Some on the Right blame mortgage loans to black people for the mortgage crisis.

The tenacity with which bigotry holds on still bothers me.

Can't we all just get along?

There are just as many, if not more white people who stop paying their mortgages as black people. Most people with mortgages don't stop paying it because they mis-spend their money elsewhere; they do it because it becomes more important to put food in their mouths rather than pay a mortgage.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs wins out in the end. (Food before shelter, etc.).

To blame a group for the mortgage mess because it fits some stereotype shows the utter idiocy of those claiming it.

Shame, shame, shame.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Stories of our demise are greatly exaggerated.

When I read stories like this about banks worldwide faltering, seemingly in response to the financial crisis here in the U.S., I suspect that those predicting the loss of American significance are wrong.

The U.S. remains a large player in the world. Whenever a major shift occurs, it's like a rock hitting water. The ripples spread outward affecting every boat floating on the water.

This world is extremely inter-connected and for us to ignore that in an effort to save ourselves does nothing but doom us all. It's like the state motto of Kentucky: " United we stand, divided we fall."

The world is in for a tough time. A lot begins here in the U.S. We may be first, in this, but it will be us that leads the world out of the trouble not because of American exceptionalism, but because there's no one else who can do it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Notes on the VP Debate

Notes on the VP debate:

Biden knows his stuff. Palin can't speak English nor can she answer a direct question.

Palin doesn't seem to know what an "Achilles Heel" is. Rather than answer that question, she talked about her strengths. So now when they say she's well-read, I know they only mean Redbook and not history.

Bushisms from Palin: She said nucular three times instead of nuclear.

If I ever hear the word maverick again, I'm gonna puke. The way that word gets thrown around by McCain and his campaign makes me think the candidate longs for the days of high school so he could have a gang. I mean it sounds like McCain is the leader of a gang of bad boys with greasy hair, leather jackets, and girlfriends in poodle skirts. (Guess Palin kinda fits the image of a girl in poodle skirt...)

Is is a coincidence that Tom Cruise's character in TOP GUN was called maverick and was also a Naval Pilot? I think not. I bet John McCain hears Kenny Loggins singing in his head whenever he walks into a room...

Palin said that John McCain "knows how to win a war." How is that?

Let's go through a little John McCain history: He was shot down, captured, and spent five years as a POW and that qualifies him for "knowing how to win a war"?

I'll tell you what that qualifies him for: Getting shot down, getting captured by the enemy, and surviving a p.o.w. camp. These things have no relation to winning a war; they are the results of failing at war. John McCain screwed up and now he claims it as experience enough for winning a war? That's like claiming to be a master thief after you've been caught shoplifting a few time. Come on.

John McCain is trying to win Iraq to make up for the U.S. losing in Vietnam. Let it go John, let it go.

Also, what's with the shout out to an elementary school in Alaska? This is an important event. It isn't some award show where you thank your peeps and give shout outs. Let's just diminish the whole process please. Thanks Sarah.

Biden did well. He kept his mouth in check and spoke authoritatively about every issue. He knows his stuff when it comes to foreign affairs.

There's a reason Palin makes people nervous: She follows a script too closely because she lacks depth and knowledge. We can't have 8 more years of idiots in the White House.

Oh, and she's real pretty. And as we know, looks are all that matter when deciding on a presidential ticket.

What the Hell?! Bloggers making millions?

Some bloggers pulling in a million or more a year. Man sakes alive!

After reading that Perez Hilton makes $100 k a month for the fluff he posts, I'm beginning to wonder why the hell am I not so vacuous....I'd make more money.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

No one should be surprised by this load of ideological crap

Well the Republicans are so afraid of Sarah Palin actually having to debate issues, that they are pulling out all the stops to, and get this: DELAY THE VP DEBATE!

The McCain campaign are picking on the proposed moderator of the debate. They are alleging that her book about black politicians is in support of Obama and therefore she's biased.

What a load of shit. In their minds, everyone in the media that doesn't push the Republican agenda is biased and incapable of being fair. What a load of ideological crap.

If that were the case, we'd never come to any truth because everything would just be agenda without veracity.