Thursday, November 15, 2012

Its all over and thanks for the fish

Of course people probably don't read The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy any more, nor is it the 80s any more.  Like we now know that tax cuts never trickle down.

Anyway, the election is over so.  You know it is really over when Romney drops all the fake "Moderate Mitt" routine and says PRESIDENT Obama was re-elected by promising free things to African Americans, Hispanics, and the youth.  No wonder it took him two weeks to walk back from the 47% video - it really was him speaking what he thought was the truth.

To think ... Romney kinda sorta of could have been President ... only he wasn't going to despite the titanically terrible debate performance by PRESIDENT Obama in the first debate.  It was momentarily disquieting but the Mittmentum had peaked just prior to the 3rd debate and it was in the bag before Sandy showed her horrific face.

Anyway - it was I predicted last year - Obama over Romney in a close election.

So I'm just saying I told you so - last year. 

I'll admit that I have been taking a somewhat guilty pleasure from watching the GOP's reaction to the Romney's fail:

Karl Rove's insane Denial on Ohio was epic.  Let alone the epic failure of Rove's $300M+ money trap for millionaires.  What was Rove's consolation for them:  if you hadn't wasted $300M+ the results would have been more one-sided.  Ha ha ha ha.  You got nothing - it doesn't matter if the vote % would have been worse because you still got nothing for $300M+. 

Donald Trump's Twitter rant calling for a revolution.  Only to be deleted.  Few proved themselves to be a bigger jack-ass than The Donald.  OMG. 

Romney's shock that he didn't win.   OK, I guess if I had spent 6 years and $100Ms running and could only pick up one swing state, I might be a bit shocked too.  But really, after the 47%, the "severe conservative," the flip-flopping, the binders of women, and the implausible $5T in tax cuts + $2T in new ships at the same time as balancing the budget, I was severely shocked that Romney was as close as he was. 

The loopy attempts to "unskew" the polls only to find out ones not based on 2004 turnout patterns (unlike Gallup and Rassmussen) were pretty darn accurate.  One of the best, PPP, had early on identified the most motivated voters were African Americans ... and, surprise, they showed up. 

"Patriotic" conservatives looking to secede from the Union.  (Man, you really are poor losers.)

Paul Ryan's idiotic contention that because the GOP still has the gerrymandered House, that the GOP didn't really lose the election and still has some kind of mandate.  (Frankly we saw enough Man Dates and Bromancing between Ryan and Romney).

I could go on . . . but you get the point. 

Anyway, I am still worried by how the close the election was.  If the GOP can manage to suppress 0.5% or 1% of the voters they might be able to budge the election results in some key states, and frankly they'll think nothing of disenfranchising any number of voters to win an election. 

So let's get on with it.  Drop the tax cuts for the wealthiest so we don't have to let all of the Bush tax cuts expire and start cutting.  Make it easy on yourselves - just aim to almost balance the budget in 8 or 10 years.  Then go ahead with immigration reform.   There are plenty of things to be done.

But please, but the hate out the gate (for Democrats, progressives, liberals, blacks, hispanics, and gays), it ain't working for you.  

Post note ... my daughter is signing her DI commitment letter this week to play women's lacrosse.  So the world keeps on turning and it is time to move on. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mittagedon (Thank you Mr. Romney Redux)

(I am posting a bit on

A while ago I posted a thank you for Mitt in picking Paul Ryan for the VP candidate.  At that time I was hoping that the Ryan's pick would lead Romney to lay out some of the actual policies that had been stewing in the Tea Party, the public would vote them down, and the GOP might starting turning back towards the center as a result.  At least start putting Grover Norquist at a bit greater distant . . .

Things seemed to be going exactly as I had planned, but now that Mitt is proving to be the ultimate clusterf--- of a candidate things are going awry.  I now fear that when the GOP gets smoked in the election, they are just going to blame it all on Romney being a genuinely crappy candidate, drawing exactly the wrong conclusion again.  This may only lead them to spend four more years screwing the country over by obstructing anything the Obama advocates.

At least Mitt being Mitt is rallying the Democratic base. 

Romney is so generally unlikeable and Obama so vilified by the right-wing media it feels like 50+% of Romney supporters are probably just voting against Obama.   It isn't a very compelling campaign if you have to get voters to vote against the other guy rather than you.  This was why the GOP convention was just a bitch fest without real life.

Perhaps Obama has peaked too early and the eventual pendulum swing will head back to Romney.

The real downside is that I do not believe either candidate has a real plan to address the deficit and the entitlement programs.  Cutting taxes by 20% across the board is purely lunacy, but so is saying the status quo can go on forever.  A trillion dollars in deficit spending a year is an inefficient and untargetted stimulus and it can't go over forever.   The debt is the biggest incertainty faces businesses and the economy. 

I guess time will tell.  When Romney went after the 47% and Ryan's voucher plan got publicity, America by and large recoiled from them.  Hopefully this will suggest at some level to the Right, that we should start with baby steps, like reforming, rather than throwing out programs that worked well for a very long time.  But, the Romney's doubling down on Bushesque tax cuts aimed at benefiting only the richest and international posturing was so destructive that we have lost the chance for meaningful debate.

Oh well.  I thought you were serious for a moment there Mitt.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Scary and Sad (Plus a few comments on the GOP Convention)

Scary and Sad

A huge numbr of voter suppression efforts were launched by the GOP in this cycle and they have sadly succeeded in a number.  This has dramatically affected voter registration in places like Florida and will effectly block numerous people from voting in this cycle.  In each case, the efforts will disenfranchise people in both parties, but the always predominantly Democrats.  Is a shallow, heinous, and particularly anti-American activity.  Anyone who continues to be a member of the party that actively seeks to block the vote should be ashamed of themselves.

It is fine to have a legimate difference of opinion and impose that if you win an election.  But if you've "won" by suppressing the vote even if it manages to pass legally, you have only stolen the election through the most anti-American path, an immoral path.

If for no other reason, the GOP doesn't deserve to be taken seriously as a guardian of freedom and democracy.  It is currently an enemy of democracy.

GOP Convention

Got thankfully got delayed for a day. 

I got to watch less of it than I wanted to, in particular missing the Romney speech.  It sounds as if he did a pretty good job and his bio-pic was supposed to be most excellent.  The few big names I did see were Ryan and Christie, both of whom were probably well received by the GOP base but suffered problems.  Ryan came off as the heir apparent to Tea Party crown, hammering away effectively with a BOAT LOAD OF LIES (Rynocchio should be his new nickname).  Christie spent a lot of time talking about himself and was taking himself too seriously.  I wish he could have been more loving.  (Or wait, were supposed to be respected not loved, as if you can't do both).  By the way, by loving he means using the government to provide aid to the poor.  By respectable he means cutting aid the the poor and cutting taxes for the rich.   Hmmm.  

I'll probably try to catch the Clint Eastwood debacle on You-Tube or something.  Between my 86 year-old Dad and the snips I saw of the 82 year-old Eastwood, I can tell you that there are a lot of ups and downs in the elderly.  Some days they are on and some days they aren't.   I'm pretty sure I'd prefer Eastwood to turn in his driver's license pretty soon, because the bad days aren't looking too good.

I spent some time reading the GOP platform, which is more coherent and useful than anything I got from the convention.  It is kind of long though.  It also sounds more positive.

This Daily Show segment sums up a bit of why this country is screwed up (which is what can happen when one party decides to screw the President at all costs to the country) in his commentary on the Romney speech.

DNC Convention Suggestions

Shorten it to two days.   You'll do better.  

Don't bad mouth Republicans by saying they are destroying the country, but bring up some of Ryan's lies and bring out what experts actually say about Romney's budget.   One of these lies is who brought us to the brink of defaulting on the debt:  Tea Party House Republicans.  The Republicans spent so much time running down the President that by tempering your language you will reinforce the image of the GOP as angry white guys.

(Probably not possible) Start propoosing some cuts you think are necessary in the future to balance he budget.

Don't fear raising taxes on the rich.  They have had huge tax cuts already.  If you are too chicken, at least point out that the GOP plans further burden the poor in order to give further wealth (and hence power) to the richest people.

Portray some depth on abortion before pointing out if the GOP platform is adopted even the woman who the subject of the most violent and heinous rape you can construct, would no longer be able to ask for an abortion.   (Hint hint - hormonal birth control won't be far behind abortion if the GOP gets control of government).

You got Bin Laden, courageously saved us from a global depression by stepping into the financial markets, enabled millions more to get health insurance, etc.   The GOP has done little in the last four years (which is what happens when you dedicate yourself to obstructing everything and compromising on nothing).

You must get serious about the deficit and if you do, the GOP will be in huge trouble for years to come.

Lastly, let us know how the hell we are going to get out of Afghanistan.  It is time and Romney couldn't even talk about it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Snidely Whiplash

oh forgive me . . .  I was thinking about Mittens.

This is an incomplete post, but I am tired of thinking about it.

Minor Ayn Rand-ness

I drove my son to school at GW on Friday.  On the way we discussed how the villians of the Atlas Shrugged rig the rules to take intellectual property and bounty of others work to profit themselves.  The heroes are not interested in great wealth, but they are interest in reward equal to their efforts.  All of them are innovators (Galt) or have vision that lead them outside the norm.  Most of them start at the bottom and work.  If firms like Bain and individuals like Romney profit by hollowing out failing companies rather than innovating on their own, protect themselves by special tax loop holes, and otherwise utilize rules specifically designed to profit them, they are not Rand's heros, they are exactly her villians. 

Anyway, Atlas Shrugged is a great read.  It is an interesting personal response to communism. 

I am an entrepeneur and a tax cut on my upper rate won't help my business or you

At least, I sometimes count myself as one, though obviously not the best one.  I started a company that has survived for more than 15 years.  Started with zero employees and bootstrapped to over 20 employees, I have paid millions of dollars in salaries over the years, provided excellent health insurance, and matched my employee retirement contributions.  My company survived the recession, but we're finding it very hard to get back to our peak.  It is very slow and remains very scary at times.

Along the way I've provided some innovative programming code and ideas that we implemented in our company.  This code has turned up used verbatim in India (with copyright info removed) and carried away by ex-employees to my competitors.   If I was big enough I might be able to sue some people, but that is a lot easier said than done.   As a small business, I have pretty little leverage to go after companies abroad and it would be laughable for me to go after some of the big names in my business, they are nearly billion dollar companies.

It has been a lot of hard work for a long time.  In that time I've helped numerous companies with products that have become market leaders in their area.  Sometimes the companies have sold for 100s of millions of dollars.  Not that I gave them their inventions, but I provided them expertise in my area, sometimes rescuing them from their own mistakes, all at a reasonable price.

Anyway, in this particular area, I have walked the walk. 

So, I can confirm for you that if my upper tax rate goes from 35% to 29%, it won't make an iota of difference to me and I won't employ a single extra employee as a result.  I will simply keep the difference.  So, Republicans, do it if you want, but realize that the Romney tax plan will do nothing for the middle class.  Even worse, even David Stockman called it, the Romney plan will only make the deficit worse. 

Faith-based Objectivism is an Oxymoron

There was a reason Ayn Rand was an athiest, for this she was not a hypocrit.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Thank you Mr. Romney

[made a few spelling and grammar fixes 8/12]

Finally, with the vultures starting to circle, Romney does something beyond riding his virtually German engineered campaign machine.  It was a wonderful machine, like a high-end Mercedes, that we were all jealous of, but it was in the process of getting beat by a dirty American muscle car.  So Romney needed to juice it up and Romney did to the benefit of all by picking Paul Ryan.

Romney's nonsense tax plan gets a synposis in the highly-biased non-Fox-factual NY Times.  Ryan's original plan includes a frontal assault on government social programs and specifically Medicare, which it proposes to voucherize and throw back to the states.  I suspect this won't be too popular or an easy sell with the majority of Americans.  However, Ryan, unlike Romney, isn't afraid to answer questions directly, won't have to bury his landmark achievements, and will probably be willing to share his personal taxes.  The GOP will benefit if the Ryan choice helps Romney move out of his give-no-details and blame-everything-under-the-sun-on-Obama campaign and start creating a presence for himself. 

Clearly, I think the Tea Party slash-and-burn vision of government will be a disasterous path to follow.  The last 30 years of deregulation of the banking industry, supply-side economics, unfunded wars, and tax cuts favoring the rich have created massive deficits, degraded the US ability to generate college graduates, ravaged the middle-class, and concentrated wealth and power into the hands a small and disconnected group.  When a hand-picked set of reactionary supreme court judges then gives them unlimited ability to influence elections, democracy in our country is on the way out.

Yet, Mr. Romney's all-in choice for VP gives us an opportunity to debate the big argument that has been bubbling up for the last 50 years in some gory detail.  Are we going to:

Dismantle the social safety net, public education, public infrastructure, legal protections, environmental protections, and anything short of military spending, in order to chase after lower taxes.


Attempt to fix the system with cuts, cost control measures, and increasing revenues.

We need a long-term approach that implements changes in a gradual way to move towards a balanced budget five to ten years from now.  We need it to be based on compromises on both sides.   It will need both more revenue and cuts.  (Perhaps we could loan Grover Norquist to some other country for a decade or so until it was safe to bring him back).

Perhaps it is a wistful hope that if the enough people clearly reject Paul Ryan and the Tea Party's vision of governing, we'll spend the next 4 years trying to find some compromises rather having the GOP spend 4 more years holding the US hostage to its mythical Rand-ian dream world. 

Rumor has it we will see action after the election to move towards a Simpson-Bowles type discussion.  It might happen if Obama wins.   It would be a welcome turn of events.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mid-Summer Update

Whoa - been busy. . . and lazy when it comes to blogging. My sister's must t'sking at me somewhere. But this won't push the envelope either.

Congratulations to:
  • The US Women's soccer team for winning the gold medal. They got lucky in the final against Japan, but soccer is often a game of controversy. All of the final 4 were playing at a very high level.  Yes, Canada lost a heartbreaker, but the head stomp, the coach's pre-game comments, and post-game whining dissipated most of my sympathies. Unlike Japan who was clearly robbed of a PK, Canada got penalized for their behavior (and not for some highly-illegal head stomping behavior). You lost a tough game to a tough competitor.
  • To the many other athletes from all countries who have made it an entertaining Olympics (but not the Argentinian who popped Carmelo Anthony in the nuts with a low blow).
  • My daughter for getting an offer to play lacrosse at Elon University and verbally committing.
  • NASA for successfully landing Curiosity within a small region within a crater on another planet using heat shields, parachutes, and rockets. I hope I live long enough to see a real person walk on Mars.
  • Global warming denialists for ushering in another record breaking summer of heat and drought, the rest of us look forward to more high minded discussions and brilliant scientific discoveries from you.  Meanwhile we'll do what humans do so well, adapt to a changing environment.
I am still stunned by the gaffe-apaloosa that is The Romney's campaign. I am pretty sure that most of those that will be voting for Romney will do it because the hate Obama.

My recent favorites are:
  • The Romney praising the Israelis because their medical system only uses 8% of their GDP, ignoring the fact that Isreal has a centralized healthcare system.
  • The Romney expressing doubt about the Olympics being a success, thus forcing British politicians to attack him.
  • The Romney pretending he doesn't even know when his wife's horse is showing in the Olympics, thus demonstrating that he will choose his image over even his family.
  • The Romney choosing as his farmer the multi-millionaire real estate guy, rather than like a simple farmer who is struggling to save his farm from taxes, etc.
  • The Romney's commercial showing a small businessman who was incensed by Obama's misstep on who builds small businesses, but turns out his business has gotten multiple government loans.
 Message to Romney: having a butt load of money only matters if you actually use the money (smartly).

I am guessing Romney is a reasonable nice guy so long as you don't have something he wants.

If things continue to go bad (and they are), we can expect real weirdness to start coming out of the Romney campaign.

The Obama campaign is an ugly campaign for an ugly time and you might be prone to criticize him until you remember Romney can't even come out and say Obama is a Christian American - born in the US.  That's right, even though Obama has shown his official birth certificate, a sizeable number of Republicans still think the birther stuff is legit and that Obama is a Muslim.  Really?  Romney wants the Democrats to ignore his business career and his hallmark legislative achievement as Governor, yet Romney can't stand up to the birthers?   Did someone forget that Senator McConnell made it priority one to obstruct anything Obama champions?   Compromise doesn't mean that you just do what the Tea Party wants. 
After years of the nasty hardball from Republicans and the right-wing media machine, it turns out they can't take it from the Democrats. 
If the MSM were trying to make a reasonable commentary about the roughness and vapidity of the campaign, they would have to start with what constitutes much of the base of the GOP. Civility ended there a long time ago. It has just surprised me that the Dems took off the gloves and decided to fight dirty too.  Funny how fewer and fewer people are buying the hogwash that tax cuts to the rich is the solution to our problems.

In case you are wondering, nothing has changed from my Right Down a Hole post.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Too Big a Problem?

It is kind of stormy right now and a bolt of lightning followed almost immediately by a loud thunder scared the Killer B (my large dog previously pictured) causing him jump back from the door.   Then he looked at me and laid back down as if nothing had happned.  I saw it B.  I saw it, so don't try to pretend it didn't happen.  

I had an ultrasound Friday to determine which benign condition I have, somewhat begging the question as to whether it was necessary at all.  I asked for the breakdown on the payment.  It was listed at $1,300, I paid $30, and my insurance paid $635.  In short, since I had insurance, the total cost of the procedure was just over 50% of the cost someone without insurance would pay. 

After coming down on the GOP in my last post, I thought I'd give it a break.  May be even poke at some Obama's obvious weaknesses.  It would be easier if the GOP hadn't continued on its morally vacuous and intellectually dishonest path.  It is tough to pick a favorite that occurred even in the last few days:
  • Darrell Issa is running a 1990s era witch hunt aimed at Eric Holder predicated on the Fast and Furious program.  At most you can say Holder was incompetent for not knowing about it sooner and stopping if faster, but it was clearly a Bush team hold over.  Massive amounts of information are known about the program, Holder has testified at least 6 times on it, and some of things that Issa demanded were illegal for Holder to provide.  Bottom line:  Issa is a political hack.   It brings to mind impeaching Bill Clinton on the definition of the word "is," but it is even more embarrasing (though perhaps not a bigger abuse of power).
  • Romney has yet to find many positions that he can articulate any details on:  this week it was immigration.  When asked three times in a row about whether he would reverse Obama's decision to not pursue deporting children who had been brought to this country as young children by their parents, Romney could not give a simple yes or no.  Romney is the ultimate wuss.
  • Hannity, twice in one show, presented partial clips of Obama and Lawrence O'Donnell so that it appeared as if they were saying exactly the opposite of what they said - had you not cut the very sentence they were in the middle of.  Not so long ago they used Fox Friends to air they produced an obvious political ad attacking Obama and tried to pass it off as news.
  • (Mostly the last couple of weeks) GOP voter suppression has been out in full force in Florida.  This is a pet peeve, because it so goes against the very concept of a democracy.  Once you win by removing the right to vote, you are not living in a democracy any more.
  • (NC favorite from a couple of weeks ago) The NC GOP in control of the state government made it impossible to consider science when making decisions about shoreline development . . . why you may ask?   Because estimates of rising water levels are linked to global warming, and science must be ignored when it involves global warming.
The GOP continues to drag the country towards an abyss.

On the other hand, I am not convinced that Obama is up to addressing the problems facing us in terms of the debt and unemployment.  A Romney return to Bush era policies will be bad, but that doesn't mean Obama seems to be able to come to term with just how much has changed relating to jobs and the economy.  Bottom line, though, is that given the damage that ocurred from the banking crisis, world economic slowdown, burst of the US housing bubble, etc.  No one has any magic to make a quick turnaround for the US economy and, very importantly, the jobless rate.  There probably just are not short term solutions that support low employment rates.  Unfortunately, we never really get a seroius an comprehensive discussion about the deep nature of the problems facing the US and world economy?  Not really near enough.  It is, however, obvious that the 30 year GOP approach to supply-side economics isn't going to do anything but further sever the lifeline's constructed to help the poorest Americans (yes the poor are still Americans).  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Right Down a Hole

[A few typos were corrected 5/20/12]

The Right continues to prove it skill in playing politics - to the continued detriment of the country.  Having been alarmed by the policies of the Right for many years, it has been somewhat saddening to see the Right "winning" out.  The Democrats have always had a harder message to sell, but their inability to come to grips with the budget plays right into the Rights hands and has also been terribly detrimental to the country as well.  However, the path outlined by the Right will box us more and more into economic and social instability.

The Right's Violent Rhetoric Leads to Violence (Taking Stock of the Right's Foot Soldiers)

Ted Nugent got into trouble by alluding to his not being around if Obama got re-elected.  He was giving a wink-wink nod-nod to violence against the President and everyone knows it.  Nugent walked it back enough so the Secret Service would leave him alone, but lets not pretend it was anything else than a call for violence against Obama and more broadly liberals.  (Goldfinger rather nicely puts Nugent in perspective in their FTN song).

The anti-government anti-liberal call for violence has existed for decades on the Right and led to the Oklahoma bombing, other bombings, and murders.  The militia movement ebbs and flows, but never fully disappears.  The NRA constantly runs a campaign directly aimed at fueling paranoia among gun owners about their safety and access to ammunition and fire arms.  Their policies help keep guns in the hands of criminals and ensures any crackpot can buy the most lethal weapons out of the back of someone's car in the middle of the night.

Violence is typically endorsed softly by even mainstream GOP candidates with statements implying people are being driven to extremes by liberal policies.  For example, all the BS about Texas leaving the Union.  The 1993 movie Falling Down nicely captures this little bit of white violence fantasy but it has a rich history with the likes of Dirty Harry and a host of others.

What used to be at least frowned upon by serious Republicans is not even challenged by a presidential candidates.  Recently Mitt Romney couldn't even challenge a woman who claimed Obama was guilty of treason, instead he says he'd like to investigate it further.  The transparently absurd Birther movement was embraced by the likes of Donald Trump gives credence to extremist positions that lay the path to violence against the President - and the system in general - which has already included many deaths.  Compare this to 2008 when John McCain had the guts to make it clear that Obama was a Christian and a good man, and you can see just how far the Right continues to slide down a very dangerous slope.

The role of Rush, Fox, and the GOP echo box cannot be underplayed.  However, the MSM (main stream media) is so afraid of the Right that it feels obliged to embrace "evenness" in reporting these issues when the Right's positions are nothing but spin and denial of fact.  There is no truth in the Birther movement, the treason, and much of the BS the Right uses to foment and encourage violence and outrage.

This should make all of us afraid.  I can't count on my hands the number of gun owners who have found it necessary to spout off about how they'll use their guns if they need to.  Really?  You have to kill others because their civil rights threaten you?  Too often the answer is obviously yes.  Any sane person would find shooting targets in the image of Trayvon Martin deeply offense - if you don't you're a jack-ass - and if that makes you crazy reading that, you have the problem.

Trickle Down is a Broken Experiment (and Romney Plans to Push it Farther)

Under Reagan we were first formally introduced to the idea that if you give the rich more money and power, they would sprinkle the rest of the country with jobs and prosperity would blossom everywhere.  Their bounty would "trickle down" to the rest of the country.  Ways to give the rich more money is to give them money directly (by financing their industries directly), loosen regulations on their industries allowing them to make money in ways previously considered too risky (such as changing banking rules), and lower their taxes (directly to their personal taxes such as investment income or to their industries like tax exemptions to the oil industry).  The country has tried all of these with the net effect of ballooning deficits and taking us to a collapse of the financial system.

The Laffer Curve encapsulated the idea that by cutting taxes, the government would enjoy a greater benefit from the resulting increase in individual spending.  This concept has been soundly dismissed by history, at least of where the US exists.  But further cutting taxes, the government is not getting the same revenue it might otherwise at the higher tax rate.  Funding government is meaningful only to the extent that we to pay for it.  So, to the extent that we were suddenly had less government money to spend, we should have cut spending and laid out a path to consistent with that path.  The GOP policies of trickle down and tax cuts never came close to doing it (though for a brief time the elder Bush, Clinton, the GOP, and the internet/housing bubbles managed to briefly get us to a balanced budget).

G. W. Bush doubled down on the trickle down premise with the famous Bush Tax Cuts.  Bush's cuts, along with two unfunded wars, and massive increases in government spending blew budgets apart.
The undeniable evidence that trickle down does not benefit the middle and lower classes is measured by the enormous additional concentration of wealth in smaller and smaller percentage of people that has accelerated in parallel with the policy.  That we are weakening the US in other ways, is measured by the number of bridges needing repairs.

The economic challenges facing the US are a result of globalization, changes manufacturing, energy, and environmental.  Even without the loss of jobs to lower wages elsewhere, manufacturing jobs would have been disappearing in the US.  As the productivity levels of employees continues to get higher, you need fewer and fewer employees.  Alternatively, they will return as low wage jobs around the outside of the business.  Our ability to produce new jobs has been hampered by our continued pull back from education - and a policy geared towards concentrating wealth and power into fewer hands.  With globalization, corporate leaders have been able to piggy back on the education of other countries by employing people abroad.  The off-shoring of technical jobs can only be offset by making sure we develop the best technical people here - in part pushed by the government investing in education.

Romney and the GOP are preparing to further aggravate this problem with even more tax cuts to the richest.  In essence doubling down on a failed policy in a way which will only further push the US into debt at the same time weakening the US further.

Make no mistakes about it, the US is still a powerhouse and can be a bigger, stronger, more inclusive economy - but not with Romey, Trickle Down, and policies that actively work against building a infrastructure for the future and protecting the potential for a middle class.

The Republican Tax Cuts and the Debt, Deregulation and the Banking Crisis 

Republican's have a 30 year history of pursuing policies that have dramatically added to the inability of the Federal government to pay for its mandated programs and regulate unsafe business practices.  At the same time Bush dramatically expanded the size of government and started two unfunded wars.  Predictably and predictable enough for a 18 year-old college student accurately forsee during the beginning of Reagan's Presidency, the government has, largely been running deficits and adding to the public debt. 

When we look at the past and the near future, the primary reason for the deficits are Republican tax cuts.  (I agree calling them the Bush Tax cuts actually lets the GOP off the hook).   The future will require cuts in social spending and should include cuts in military spending, but cuts required to pay for additional tax cuts and cuts relating to the Republican Tax cuts from the Bush budget are all poor investments.  Tax cuts funded by deficits offer a poor return on the dollar as opposed to spending on infrastructure and wider support of things like unemployment.  At least as important, the cuts will actually make the deficits worse and debt larger faster.  (The Ryan budget plans to make up for it with unspecified (magical) cuts). 

On a macro scale, the GOP is largely responsible for the current US debt.  The next are unfunded wars.  The next is the bailout of the banking system generated as a result of deregulation.

On a micro scale, the GOP can be right about selectively higher taxes.  For instance, if we want to reduce smoking, we put taxes on cigarrettes.  Part of the funding of Obamacare comes from a huge additional tax of the medical device industry.  This is going to negatively affect and industry that continues to innovate and will undoubtedly cost many jobs in the US.  Selectively targetting industries that are key to the US for big additional taxes doesn't make sense.  However, it doesn't make sense to give huge tax breaks to oil companies that they are not going to pass on as lower costs at the pump.

Until the GOP argues that we would be better off with NO government, we will need taxes.  Even they are not willing to go there.  So, lets not pretend that we can eliminate taxes all together. 

The GOP would have credibility, if they cut the budget at the same time they cut taxes but made the tax cuts contingent upon the cuts in spending.  Then the US could engage on a debate on what services they really to have.  We could then figure out what spending cuts people would have want to pay for the tax cuts. 

Reagan and every candidate since they has been a panderer to a group that doesn't want to pay taxes at all for anything (in particularly to help people they don't like).  They were more than happy to hear that tax cuts magically wouldn't cause deficits and increase the debt.  They want to believe that the magic solution is to eliminate education and cut support for poor Americans (who are poor completely as a result of their own actions).  They want to believe that the rich will magically give them great jobs, even though business will happily take the jobs to where they are cheapest. 

Reagan did not have any magic and the Tea Party folk do not have any either.  Their policies have made America worse and less capable to deal with real solutions.

The GOP has put the country at risk and is preparing to make it even worse.

The economy is extremely slow to recover from what was a virtual collapse of the financial markets brought on largely by deregulation and greed.  JP Morgan just lost $2 billion on a single series of trades, pursuing big profits at high risk.  This behaviour is fueled by greed.  However, Republicans continue to howl about government intrusion and rules.  Unbridled greed nearly destroyed our financial system, without regulation it will repeat it over and over again.  Regulation is the lesson learned from history.

Nothing the GOP proposes would dramatically (magically) make a ton more jobs.  Not much Obama can do would make that happen - though stimulus helps.  The bottom line is the economy of the 1950s and 1960s will never return - because of computers, products we buy, and production methods.  We now live in a international economy - our government needs to be run to that end - the government the GOP envisions can't do it.

The Right Has Deliberately Undermined the Presidency Weakening the United States

A two party system can be broken when one of the parties ceases to engage in compromise.  The GOP is in the hands of extremists.  Extremists willing to bring the country to the brink of defaulting on its debt.  The GOP tried to impeach the President of the United States on charges tangential to government derived from a politically motivated witch hunt.  The GOP made not solving the problems of the country and blocking as many moves to help the economy as possible with the sole goal of making it hard for Obama to win a second term.  Rewarding them with any more power is called enabling.

The country is weaker today as a result.

The Right Undermines the Vote

For the last twelve years, the GOP has made a concerted effort undermine the validity of the vote in the US.  All of the actions are caged in protecting the integrity of the vote against a tiny and unproven worry about voter fraud.  This involves people falsely representing themselves in order to vote.  It is absurd to think that enough people could make it to the polls and vote enough times to swing any election larger than the school board election in a village.  All of the actions are intended to make it harder for the poor and those with fewer resources to vote.  Since this is disporportionately minority, the GOP thinks they will benefit from the activity.

The vote with the greatest integrity includes the higher proportion of legitimate votes that it can.  The GOP flies completely in the face of integrity.  Not that we should be remotely surprised.

Taking us Right Down the Hole (and a vote for the GOP makes you part of it) 

The GOP has encouraged violence, suppressed the vote, created deficits, attacked the weakest, and divided the country.  The GOP and Right are literally dragging the US down a dark pit of Right Wing extremism.  We are at peril.

The United States has been harmed on multiple fronts by Republican Party that has evolved of the last 30 years.  It will get worse before it gets better, because like a drunk that never thinks his drinking is the problem, the Right are just going to keep hitting their koolaid heavier and harder until they crash.  Hopefully we'll be able to come out the otherside intact.  We might not.  If we do it will be a long time recovering.

One thing is clear after the last 4 years ... the GOP is less deserving than ever of a seat at the table.

I thought after the Bush era was over, the GOP would come to its senses.  It just accelerated and escalated.

Please do not, whatever you do, vote Republican in anything higher than a local election.  My kids need a better world.

Post Mortem

I had planned to touch on some other items for this post, but I am kind of tired of it.  But simply, the US was formed on the concept of equal rights of the people to have access to the law in order to pursue their lives.  Excluding a class of individuals from sharing those rights goes against the very basis and soul of the country.   Companies like Bain Capital make their money by either buying below price and liquidating companies or stripping out middle management, borrowing, and pumping the company up so they can take their money out.  These guys are not the John Galt or Hal Reardon of Ayn Rand, they are simply guys making as much money for themselves as they can.  They do not create products or jobs - except by chance in the process.  Why does giving these guys extra tax benefits serve society?  (That is a rhetorical question - it doesn't).  I had planned on touching the Right's war on education:  be it science, education funding, or public education.  Why bother, you know and they don't care.

I had planned to detail some of Obama's real failings.  He has not been a perfect President and his inability to work with even Democrats is emblematic of some of his problems.  I was going to discuss the Democrats inability to talk about the cuts necessary to get the budget under control, even if the Republican (Bush) Tax cuts are removed.  The Democrats are in trouble in this election very much as a result of their failing to offer serious ideas on the deficit and spending.  But I would not want to create anything that implies Obama or Democrats are the real danger to my children that the GOP is.

The danger from the Right is real.  Starting registering voters and start working to a government of (all of) the people that is for the people (if you hadn't already started a long time ago).

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Worthy Link

Go take a look a the Reality Carnival, it is worthy of a being saved as a favorite for occasional look.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blogging Gap

Blogging Gap

I sort of let things slide here because I've been in the midst of a end-of-year school/work/sports blitz.  My daughter's HS lacrosse team (ECHHS Wildcats) advanced to the state semi-finals this week, so they'll have at least one more game.  The Wildcats are ranked 5th in the state coming into the playoffs - so far they have been the #3 and #4 teams to advance - but to win it will require beating the #1 and likely #2 teams.  If they manage to do that - they will deserve the title.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A useful link, family sports

Taxmageddon nicely highlights how solving the deficit spending issue is going to require sacrifices neither party can own up to.  Of course, the fiscal crisis resulting the from 2008 bank crisis called for deficit spending.  However, everything before that going back to the beginning of Reagan's budget busting tax rollsbacks, short of some 9/11 spending, were deficits of choice that came from irresponsible taxation/spending policies.
Generally silliness has been a recent theme: 
  • Allen West, R FL, claimed there were about 78 to 81 communists in the Democratic party in Congress.  Suggesting that either the long departed McCarthy still has work to do or we're witnessing another Batshit-Crazy-Republican (BCR) moment inspired by too much Rush, Hannity, and Savage.  (Michael Savage is a secret favorite because for every 10 minutes of air time, he spends 9 minutes telling you he told you so.  He seems to hold the GOP mainstream in great contempt as well.  Actually he might hold everyone in great contempt.).  Clearly it was BCR moment barely met by commenta by Fox to CNN, because everyone knows that the GOP isn't expected to live in reality any more.
  • Two weeks past it's peak, BCR Joe Arpaio's 12-months too late investigation into Obama's birth certificate was met only by silence in the GOP media for the most par.  Apparently Joe was so disconnected that he failed to realize "pressure" from Donald Trump has solved this mystery quite some time ago.  Donald triumphantly returned to Celebrity Apprentice which is a bit more than halfway through the current season. 
  • Meanwhile, the Romney thought they had a seminal moment in their campaign with a part-time TV pundit and Democratic operative said Ann Romney had never worked a day in her life.  Ann was quickly rolled onto Fox to express her outrage.  The story generated as much sizzle as glass of recently poured soda.  The backlash may get worse, but when Mary Matilin finds the worst angle on the story that the Obama administration condemned the comments rather than stick up for Hilary Rosen, you know this isn't a hardly a seminal moment.  Mary, what should Obama has said? 
Bottom line:  Gender gap exists because the GOP position is that imposing restraints on access to birth control is a requirement of religious freedom.   OK, I now know that the attack on birth control is really a move on the part of the GOP to soften the defenses against attacks on access to abortions by moving the bar.  The idea being that women will give more on abortion in order to preserve more access to birth control.  It seems a bit of genius if hadn't backfired so thoroughly, however this kind of tactic has worked beautifully for the GOP over and over again.

In tune with happier times to come, Michigan, Alabama, and host of other schools held their spring football scrimmages.  Michigan's took place in the Big House to be followed by the U of M's first varsity lacrosse game against OSU.  Hoke's comments on the game can be found here.  OSU beat Michigan 12-9 with Michigan probably exceeding expectations.

The girls sporting events aren't quite over.  Thursday the youngest scored 2 goals and had several assists in a Middle School shellacking (11-0) of a county team, however her club team lost 2-1 in an important game (on a relative level) on Friday.  If they win today against the top team, they will win a share of the title for their division.  My HS student's team lost twice at the Legacy Tournament in Georgia, but she scored 2 goals and had 2 assists in the first of the games. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Travels and Travails, a Deficit of Solutions

It has been quite a while since I have posted ... no doubt my two readers missed me deeply.

Travels and Travails

First, the dental travails:  I have an abscess that will end up costing me $2,000 in imaging and surgery to remove the abscess and fill the root.  I am experiencing mild discomfort most of the time, unless I bit down on something hard - then it is a bit more electrifying.  Since I've already had a root canal and crown on the tooth, I hate to have it pulled.  Also I already have a missing tooth on the opposing side which I am trying so I have a total no sides of my mouth that I can chew on.  I have another cracked molar and I am waiting on an implant.   All told this stuff will run me close $10,000.  

Second, I've been busy both working and playing.  Work has slowed down, but at least we managed to catch up some in the first quarter.  I played some of Mass Effect 3 - but I have not made it to the end - which is supposed to be stunningly bad.  We went to the Bahamas and stayed at the Atlantis resort.  The lazy river ride is highly recommended and it is the most expensive family resort I hope to ever go to.  Reduce the price by 33.3% and I think I'd be great with it, but ridiculous prices for food mean I'll probably never return.  There were huge yachts in the bay when we there:  Mi Sueno and Blue Moon were a couple, but there were quite a few.  Have no fear, I didn't get dloser than looking at them. 

Third, my girls are playing in lots of sporting events, so I am trying to attend as many as I can.


The political world has matured in a rather depressing way.  I think I am ready to start hoarding some cash in gold or different currencies.  There is a paucity of realism about the budget deficit which requires both raising revenue and cutting spending in numerous areas. 

On taxes, Obama is at least attempting to raise more revenue, if only in a relatively ineffective way.  Let's at least quickly dismss GOP argument that raising more revenue won't help the deficit because the Buffet Rule or rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the highest wage earners won't balance the budget.  Of course, it won't balance it, but raising revenue will reduce the deficit (unless you just spend that much more) because you have more revenue.  This concept is as idiotic as saying that producing more oil and gas in the US can't drive down energy prices because the world demand will use it up.  Sure - it won't create cheap gas - but having a greater supply will decrease it a bit.  (Proving liberals and conservatives will sometimes say just the stupidest stuff to suit their crazy biases).  But, Obama, where are the cuts?  One of the biggest areas Obama was looking to cut was health costs through the mandate and a centralized committee to dictate treatments and objective performance evaluations of therapies.  Let's call those imaginary cuts and likely inadeqauate though conceivable.

The GOP/Romney/Ryan budget certainly goes after some social programs while adding to military spending.  Sadly, it calls for significant revenue reduction.  Ryan calls for magical spending cuts in discetionary spending other than the military.  It is magical because none of it is specified, but it requires huge reductions in that spending.  Close you eyes and think of any time starting with Reagan when such spending was reduced (keep dreaming).  Take away the magical spending cuts and the Ryan budget continues to blow stuff away.

We have no path to the compromises that need to happen to make serious progress:  a willingness to raise revenue (its going to require raising taxes) combined with a willingness to make real cuts in (social and military) spending (not just centralizing health care). Some of the medicare stuff seems like a no brainer:  why did the government buy my Dad a mutliple thousand dollar wheel chair and powered wheel chair.  There were less expensive but functional models that could have been paid for AND then he could have paid for nicer ones if he wanted to.  Does this mean that all seniors have the same choices:  no.  But it does mean that all seniors have an option.  The Democrats need to take us there before we get more extreme plans. 

Final Thought

Sanctorum probably did his damage to Romney, but in the end, it was largely self inflicted.  When Romney used $100M of mostly negative advertising to torch is conservative opponents, he was alienating the hardcore base.   Combine that with an election year attempt to set women's rights back to the 1950s and ban birth control and the GOP has dug itself a pretty big hole. 

Hope that the Tea Party goes away and lets us have an older Bush Republican and Democrats get serious on cutting spending remains very slim.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Guns, Trayvon Martin, and Testosterone

The death of Trayvon Martin sounds very much like a murder.  If Zimmeran followed Martin and confronted him in any way, then Zimmerman provoked a confrontation and he can't hide behind a "stand your ground" law.  A hoodie and being african american isn't probable cause for anything.  It will be murder and quite possibly a hate crime.

The case now has the proper attention it deserves.  It will get the investigation it deserves.  If it turns out that the details we have heard turn out to be true, then some real house cleaning needs to take place, not just in Sandford but needs a discussion about the neglect of justice on a broader scale.  The belief in equality and fairness has been in retreat for some time, and the Martin case may well be a brick in that wall.

We all probably know people that have concealed gun permits (well at least I do, and I live in NC).  Other people I know have a gun ready at their house. Most of these people live in the country where, if you were to call the authorities, they would not arrive for a long time.  I fully understand that and, if I lived there, I would do the same thing.  Those people don't advertise it.  

If you live in the area I do, the dangerous areas are pretty clear and most people are very secure. Extreme crimes do occurr (Google Eve Carson), but not in public areas we circulate in.  Still, I know a guy that carries a gun.  This guy makes a point of telling people about it and makes a point of regularly broadcasting how no one better mess with him.  I avoid this guy for a couple of reasons:  blow-hards are really boring and annoying, and he represents an unnecessary danger.  A constant sabre rattling of what he is going to do if anyone gives him trouble is the kind of thing males typically do in High School.  It is testosterone fueled teenage bravado - which can be dangerous in High School - but give that same arrested personality a handgun and they immediately become a potentially source of an immediate and painful death.   Yes, the risk is remote, but so are many other risks that I don't engage because I have no reason to engage in.  Yes, some of the guys attracted to guns and probably the last people you'd like to have carrry a gun.

Guns have their place for personal defense, but guns are extremely potent weapons that can kill by-standers (I've never gotten a stray punch from a fist-fight except when I stepped in to break on up).  For that reason, crimes involving guns need to be tried aggressively and "stand your ground" defenses need to be treated with a critical light. 

The biggest issue is going to be the role of race in the Trayvon Martin case, but a gun likely moved the crime from an assaul to murder.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

American Idol

[Wrote this on 3/21/12 - just forgot to post it]

The Home Front

I took my 86 year old Dad to Outback this evening.  The steaks were overdone, but given the volume for the cost, it is hard to complain too much about it (though my Father did fairly extensively and the manager offered to bring him a new one).
Now I am watching American Idol.  Last year's crop of singers was better on average by far and there are may be 2 contenders.  It is particularly light.

My middle child tried out for and made one of the NC teams that will be playing in the US Lacrosse National Tournament.  It may be too little too late for a DI school outside of being a walk-on, but I am proud of her effort none the less.  Of course, that means more travel.


Mitt "Etch-a-Sketch" Romney needs only to spend another $100 million on commercials demolishing Sanctorum and he's in like flint.  His soul-less campaign for the Presidency will move on to Obama and we'll soon see $500 million of negative advertising.  Sanctorum is the last of the living dead, while Ron Paul and Newt are simply dead and forgotten.  Sanctorum is still running around like a rooster, but doesn't realize Mitt had chopped his head off some time ago. 

We're all Seamus to Mitt, as if you hadn't already figured this out yourself.  We're going to be strapped to the top of Cadillac as he races off to where ever it is he feels like going. 

Mitt is going to do whatever he wants once he gets elected and it is mostly going to be about taking care of this himself.

Obama's Pipeline is the Way

Watch the Obama administration move the Keystone pipeline through pretty soon.

MSNBC has Become too Foxy

On Hardball yesterday Chris Matthews simply couldn't admit that more domestic energy production would like to even marginally cheaper energy/gas prices in the US.  While I don't think something like the Keystone pipeline is going to make a meaningful difference in the prices we pay at the pump, but it is likely to have some psychological effect on speculators and reduce the cost of transporting fuels. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mundane (warm) week

The warm winter continues.  NASA continues to document the "hockey stick" of temperature increases for the world.  They are actually pretty nicely linear over the 70s (link from  A strong trend over the last 40 years documenting a dramatic departure in the world temperatures.  Here is one of many links of the increased acidity of the world's oceans from the liberal watch dog (a joke).  I won't spend more time on this right now, except to say I am sure the Fab Four (apologies to the Beatles) will eventually get around to blaming the data on (your pick) A. What data, there is no warming, B. Obama, C. Educational Brainwashing, D. Taxes, or E. Obamacare.

Work slowed down dramatically, meaning no more relentless evening work.

That gave me time to see two Middle School soccer games.  My youngest daughter scored two goals in two games, but they team lost 2-1 and then 3-2.  She could perhaps have scored a couple more, but she was very happy with the efforts.

My oldest daughter turned 17, so I reminded her that meant she could see R rated movies without being questioned.  She's been the object of some bullying in a classic "mean girls" fashion by a gang of girls.  The circle is closing on them with the help of her true friends, us, and now a teacher.  There are multiple ways to deal with bullies, but it always involves calling them on it and making it clear that they'll pay for it if they continue.  One thing that never works is expecting bullies to care about the damage to do and expect them to change.

This immediately reminds me of the most important political news of the week:

While the GOP dramatically demonstrated that Rush Limbaugh is bigger than the GOP itself by failing to stand up for Sandra Fluke and women in general, some 40+ advertisers and many many Americans stood up to him and the mean girls ditto heads.  If you don't think we're dealing with a bunch of bullies, read this post by Sally Quinn on the Limbaugh fiasco.  Ignoring and pretending these guys are not both wrong and dangerous just encourages them to continue.

Of course, there was some good news on the economy. 

Obama needs to get on with approving the Keystone pipeline.  He should have done it right at the beginning of the year rather than just hand it to GOP as an election year issue.  The Obama adminstration already agreed to fund some related pipeline work, so the Keystone pipeline is going to happen.   The delay is clearly political, but I am not sure what their angle is.  (Of course, I am not a professional politician, so what do I know).  No, I don't think it will really help gas and energy prices in the US, but better our easy access than someone elses.  Plus, it is governmen spending that will generate jobs in the US - something the GOP also believes and which no one has yet to point of as a bit GOP hypocrisy (they usually say ANY government spending is a drag on the economy - even infrastructure).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Marriage limits and more driving

(Edited for various weird errors on 3/5)

Driven to tears (of boredom)

I drove up to Silver Springs today, but not until after stopping to see my son at GW.  He's off to see the Ann Coulter and Laurence O'Donnell fundraiser debate tonight.  I am envious.

Of course, my bad planning meant I didn't keep track of my schedule well enough, so I had to drive back into the city to eat at the America Eats Tavern.  I wasn't paying which would have negatively affected my take on the meal.  My salad and dessert were OK, but the main dish I had was Clam Chowder with Poached Cod and it was excellent.  

After which I drove 30 minutes back to the hotel.  In short, I drove over an hour extra because of lack of vision.

Shallow Meanderings

In my many hours of driving, I pondered for a while the fact that I found polygamy highly objectionable.  The Sister Wives show I endured a few times re-inforced my existing feelings on the topic heavily.  On the last episode I watched, the excessive self-important rooster, Cody, counseled a couple that couldn't bring themselves to bring another woman in their marriage.  It was all one could do to not scream at the TV for them to run as far away from Cody and his hens.  It was like sitting in a horror movie and yelling at the screen for the actors to watch out because Jason was about to make an appearance.  There was a fair amount of whining from them all about not being judged.  Not judged enough in my book - hopefully their kids will make better choices.

My main thought was that I fully understand that other people see gay marriages just as I view the polygamy.

It is no more likely they will be convinced that gay marriage is OK than it is I'll be convinced that polygamy is OK.  Having watched a few episodes of the show made me sad for the wives.

Super Tuesday Loons (oops Looms)

I wish we had another week before Super Tuesday so that Rick Sanctorum could blow another gasket about something.  As it is if he's been sufficiently quiet to not do himself any more damage.  He probably could have won Michigan before going on the contraception attack.

At least the week brought a massive dose of trouble for the GOP when Rush went off like an exploding asteroid further delivering a blow to GOP Presidency aspirations.  I still think Romney has a chance - but I have to stick by my earlier prediction.


Everyone have a fine week.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Its not a Fluke, BCPs used for a lot more than BC

Apparently nuance is lost on the a lot of paid professionals who write opinion columns (ignoring alone Rush).

What Ms Fluke was going to testify about was that a woman that had a medical condition that without treatment with birth control pills resulted in a cyst on her ovaries.  This required a surgical procedure to remove.  Ms Fluke was not advocating that we pay directly for her birth control so she could have sex. 

I have known of multiple woman that have used BCPs to help regulate the cycles in order avoid excessive bleeding and pain, help with acne, etc.  The use of hormone therapy had NOTHING to do with having sex. 

In other words, BCPs have medical uses far beyond birth control.  The Catholic Church should be sophisticated enough to recognize this. 

The focus on sex is purely an election year ploy or, worse, some odd GOP obsession with sex.

The opposition to Obama and Obamacare remains incoherent, because, like GOP tax cut fantasy's it is devoid of realistic options.  The status quo position ignores the 10s of millions without insurance.  Something simple things like making it possible for parents to keeping paying for insurance for their kids a few more years put millions of people back on insurance.  This is good for all of us.

If it were not abundantly clear before, it should be abundantly clear after the last couple of weeks that the GOP has regressed in the last four years. If you have any questions about this - just check how much worse their proposed budget plans are for the deficit compared to Obama's.  Let alone obsessing about women's sexuality.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Punch a Democrat in the Face Day (or Keep a Woman Down)

Rush Limbaugh wagged the GOP today.  If you are a Repubican and you have a wife or daughter and a shred of dignity, you will turn off Rush and walk away from the misogyny of Rush, the Blunt Amendment, and forced vaginal ultrasounds. 

None of this surprises me, because I saw way too often that GOPers would have liked nothing better than to have a Punch a Democrat in the Face Day. 

It goes way back.  During the Bush/Gore Florida ballot count, I was sickened to watch a GOPer used a megaphone to shout at a women from about a foot away.  That is an act of aggression the same way it is to hit someone.  They police should have arrested the titanic asshole on the spot.  These guys were GOP "heros" for using thuggery to defend Bush.

Too bad no one did then, too bad everyone GOP let Rush and his followers take over their party, too bad all the GOP has left is obstructionism, an irrational hatred and endless disrepect for the Presidency of the United States.

The lunacy will continue until someone has balls big enough to put Rush in his place, someone with balls big enough to tell the Tea Party that tax cuts will only make the debt worse, someone with balls big enough to show respect for ALL AMERICANS, even your President (that's right - the one that got Osama Bin Laden).

Rush Limbaugh said that a women that uses birth control is a sluts and not one GOP candidate for the Presidency of the United States has the guts to call him out on it.  If you've got a wife or daughter that has or may use birth control at some point in their life - Rush thinks they are sluts who should be performing porno on the web for his entertainment.

If you don't walk away from that, you are a sorry excuse for a man, because you would put Rush's giant ego ahead of respect for your own.  I bet you had a laugh at the title of this post:  Punch a Democrat in the Face Day.  Get a life.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Michigan, My Michigan

I am still not sure if that is that state anthem or not, and I know I don't know the words either.  I grew up there, but have not lived over half my life in another state. 

It has been a tumultuous couple of weeks in Michigan and it seems like a bomb going off in the GOP party.  I can only sight a few random things, in part because I am having to work day and nights, so my mind is getting a littly mushy about now.

First, I understand I may be a rube about this - but I have tried to keep my work in the US employing US citizens.  But get this:
  • We're planning to hire another person and placed ads locally, netting a total of ZERO US citizens applying.  None. Zippo. This deserves a complete post of its own, but we'll probably end up having to sponsor someone from abroad.  This is not to say that there are not a lot of very bright and talented people that want to have jobs here and I won't feel bad about it, but there is something very wrong with our system if I can't even get a resume short of going to head hunters.
  • Recently for probably the 5th or 6th time, I had the opportunity to serve as a US representative for a company that wants to off-shore most of the labor.  They want to maximize what they can make here by selling their services with a local representative to serve as a face for the company and maximize their profit by employing the cheapest possible labor.  Understandable, but don't be surprised if there is a hidden cost in not being able to walk into the office down the hall and work out a difficult problem in 20 minutes versus via e-mail with a 8 to 12 hour lag.   
Anyway, given our funding approach to education, I doubt things are going to get better.

Sanctorum would, I guess, call me a snob for thinking we need to do crazy stuff like fund higher education and try to get more Americans into college.  Lets not kid ourselves, though, because these jobs and likely even mine will be off shored too and perhaps more easily because of the internet, but we have to stay in the game.  Once we are totally out of the game, there will not be a way back in.

Anyway, back to the original intent of the post:  Romney will win Michigan (or has) and is getting closer to wrapping it up.  The Southern states may keep Sanctorum or Gingrich alive for a while, but Romney is still grind it out in the end.  

Sanctorum jumped the shark in the last couple of weeks, so Mitt Romney, the bumbling boob from Michi-Massa-chewsets, super smart, business king, and disturbingly disconnected, will steadily wrap it up from here.  Romney will win because he is the only legitimate GOP candidate running.  While all of that social conservative red meat, which Sanctorum obviously believes in more than anything else, cost Sanctorum Michigan.   The separation of church and state makes Rick want to throw up?  Education after High School is indoctrination against religion?  Aren't these some thing very things we find disturbing about the Taliban?  

So I am watching a bit of Romney's speech in Michigan.  Romney is going full bore on tax cuts and the imaginary way on how he will preserve all of our programs and balance the budget.   He sounds pretty good right now.  If only I could drink the koolaid and it would really work out.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Work, Travel, Work

Boring background

It has been tough to get a good block of time to post.  I am resting at home this afternoon following an aborted dental implant procedure.  Apparently the last bone graft didn't take hold, so the implant couldn't be put in and we'll try again.  I did get the sinus lift done.  After having been on the way to bleeding to death a few weeks ago, I am hoping for a safer recovery now. 

Last weekend I took my daughter to a lacrosse clinic at American University and a campus tour. She  would be good fit there and I am thankful she's got schools she is really interested in.  We stopped and met with the Mary Washington coach, which I like as a school.  We have visited a number of other schools and it has been hard identifying just what she wants.  Two weekends ago, I was down in Myrtle Beach, SC for a soccer tournament.  My daughter's team won their group and scored a couple of goals.

Before that I worked both weekend days and I expect to work Saturday and Sunday this week.  I have been working most evenings in the last two weeks.

Anyway, you get the idea, I am getting pretty worn out.

Thoughts on Stuff, Mostly the Abortion

I can't imagine outlawing pre-natal testing even though it is functionally used in many cases to decide to abort children.  My wife was pregnant 5 times and we had 4 kids.  We never had amnio done because we would not have had an abortion for any of the things you detect with amnio and amnio has its own risks.

My view on abortion itself lies is pretty extreme and I hope that none of my daughters would ever go down that path.  However, I don't think making abortion illegal in all cases will stop all abortions, though it would stop some.  It will force other women desparate enough to put their lives at risk and make them criminals.  Just in the same way prohibition did not work.

Further, if you are going to outlaw abortion on moral grounds, then I think you should also accept the next step on the same moral grounds:   accepting at least responsibility for the life you are now bringing into existence.  If we are going to outlaw all abortion, then we should be prepared to take over the care of those children when the mother or parents are not capable.  By forcing someone to try to care of child, special needs or not, that they are incapable of caring for will, of course, often lead to pretty bad outcomes for the parent, the child, and add costs to society.  If you choose to force parents to bring kids forward against their wishes, then you have to cough up the tax money to actually make the world better including providing for some support of that child.  While I may little sympathy for the parents, it is not fault of a child that they are born into a bad or difficult setting.

If some guy that could afford insurance, did not buy it, but then develops some disease he now can't afford to treat, I don't mind saying tough luck.  However, if a child is born into poverty and their family can't afford treatment, it is not fault of the child.  If your morality requires that child be born, surely your morals require that you value their life outside the womb to at least the degree to cared for it in the womb.

As Jesus said, the rich man has the same chance entering heaven as a camel has passing through the eye of a needle.  Rather, he needs to get rid of his riches and lead a life based on serving God and serving others.  So at least Christians, opposing abortion on religious grounds, should be more than willing to give their resources to caring for society, especially kids from single-parent households.

For myself, I already know that I not that great and I want the opportunity to make my older years be more secure and easy.  Further, I believe that capitalism ultimately produces and helps more people than other systems - but it needs rules and we are better for with a safety net for the oldest and poorest.  However, black and white we may feel abortion is, it does involve imposing on a woman's body if you are going to restrict it complete, let alone dip into birth control.

Settting aside the forced vaginal ultrasound (e.g. forced rape) rule, which is completely obscence, perhaps then the status quo is rather sensible.  We have plenty of room to push for fewer abortions without making women criminals that make that decision.  Allowing women to have choice, knowing that is a very difficult decision, acknowledges that we don't walk in their shoes.  It also acknowledges that we are no better as a society in so many other areas.  This allows us to remain righteous without having to face that fact that very few of us really live up what Jesus' ask of us.  It allows us the room to avoid full embracing the less comfortable aspects of a complete Christian life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Holy Moly Start Stockpiling Condoms

Holy Smokes!  Obama makes an over reach on birth control and then backpedals to the obvious position of not requiring religious organizations to fund it if it at odds with their beliefs.   Republicans, faced with a chance to let Obama twist in the wind a bit and save it up to bring up for the next 9 months, BLOW IT.

How in the world do you go from there to apparently wanting to stop all women from using birth control?  Are the Catholic Bishops running the GOP?  Are condoms next?  Doesn't the GOP know that porn is more popular in Red states? 

Last I saw, there were more women than men in the US.  Last I knew, the vast majority of women use some form of birth control at some time in their lives.  Many of them using BCPs. 

Do Republicans just want to lose?  

Clearly this is what Romney means by severely conservative:  so conservative that you have a burning desire to violate the separation of church and state to impose the most antiquated and misogynistic religious beliefs with regard to women's health to appease some imaginary voting block.

May be someone will explain to me why the Republican candidates would turn Obama's mistake into a massive victory for him? 

Do you hear that flushing noise GOP?  That is your presidential aspirations going down the toilet. 

Everyone else - if the GOP wins - start stockpiling beer and condoms.  Because shackling women to the house, pregnant and barefoot, is just phase I of some fantasy about reviving the Victorian age.

PS  We're trying to hire a couple of employees and we're able to give raises this year- after 2 years of downsizing and tightening.  I hope this means that the economy really has started to turn loose some cash.  It feels good, so I hope it sticks.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Who's hypocritical?

 On the Separation of Church and State

Obama is on the wrong side of the insurance issue with the Catholic Church.  Sure, the red state of GA has a similar law.  Sure, the law may have been that way during the Bush years at some point.  Sure, the Catholic Church may have looked aside allowing years of child sexual abuse go on.  All that doesn't matter.  The Catholic Church should not be forced to provide insurance that pays for birth control it does not approve of nor should it be forced to cover abortion costs it doesn't approve of.  The Church is not a secular organization.  Opposition to birth control and abortion are legitimate and long establishes policies consistent with the long standing beliefs of the Church.  Imposing that the Church violate deep and long-standing tenets of its beliefs clearly crosses the line between the separation of Church and state.

In a similar vein, the state is obliged the protect the rights of all individuals.  Bans on gay marriage are based solely on the religious beliefs of individuals or inherent prejudice against gays, and ought to be struck down everywhere they appear.  Marriage as it is performed by the state is strictly a legal agreement.  Yes, many religions are against homosexuality.  Yes, successful marriages are glued together by love rather than the law.  But within the context of the state, barring gays from marriage, treats them as different before the law.  A state that claims the mantel of freedom won't be free to all until the law provides the same rights to all individuals.

This is not an attempt to draw an equivalency between the two.  It is true, however, an observation that it is hypocritical to claim on side of the argument without embracing the other.

Komen and Goin'

The left was quick to jump down the throat of the Komen foundation for pulling funding for breast cancer screening by Planned Parenthood.  However, it is absolutely true that if you fund any operation some part of that many goes into the infrastructure of the organization.  The infrastructure of Planned Parenthood includes some abortion services.  Hence, even though Planned Parenthood claims the funds are ear-marked for only one thing, it is almost impoossible for it to be completely true.

This reasoning is exactly why state funds should never be given to religious charities even though they are providing needed services.  It is almost impossible for some part of that funding to support the infrastructure of the religion, violating the separation of Church and state.

Komen, got exactly what it deserved:  a massive black eye and likely a drop in donations for a year or two.  The move was transparently political and driven by the newly departed VP.  They were, however, perfectly entitled to cut-off the funding - even it was to deprive screening for women that might otherwise not get it.  But if you want to do it because you are against abortion, say you are doing it because you are against abortion.  Then let the market place decide if it wants to support your cause or not.

Passing comments

What fun it was to see Romney get his ass handed handed to him by Sanctorum.

Duke beat UNC - :( - but a great victory for Duke.

We're still living in la la land on the deficit.  Yes, Virginia we will need to cut social programs and raise taxes.  That problem makes the separation of Church and State seem a bit more trivial.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Educational Experience

A brief bit of excitement.  I had an uneventful colonscopy on Friday ... until yesterday when I developed some bleeding.  Short story:  I bled ~2 units before the GI docs clamped off the bleed.  So I am back home today, not too much worse to wear, but a bit tired.  It provided a few moments of reflection:  1) they don't warn you about the risks of a procedure for nothing and 2) don't take those warnings too lightly.  Needless to say I am happy I contacted my MD and went to the ER.  While I wasn't on the edge of death, the bleeding could have gone on indefinitely.  The doctor's collegues met me at the ER and treated me within a couple of hours, I am thankful for their responsiveness and professionalism.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mitt Potter

Last week - having turned 50 - I had my first colonoscopy.  Rather than get into details of that - the more pertinent thing:  I watched It's a Wonderful Life with my daughter while she was sick and I was forced to take half a day off.  To the point then, it was easy to see Mitt Romney serving the role of a modern day Mr. Potter:  he profits from the failing businesses of others without concern for the very poor.  Of course, Potter would be glorified as a king by today's GOP, particularly his disregard for the struggling.  George Bailey fights Mr. Potter at every turn by using his own money to stave off the run at the savings and loan.  George organizes the people with money in savings and loan to sit tight - saving their community - in the face of financial disaster.  The movie is, of course, about the great things the George achieves in his life and his inability to appreciate his accomplishments or the love of the people he has helped because his heart is somewhere else.  George, the community organizer, would be a rube in today's GOP.  (The movie was initially a flop but has since become of the greatest holiday movies of all time).

Mitt seems a lot nicer than Mr. Potter, but he is so totally disconnected from the way poor people live, that it may be worse.  George, you're doing a great job Brownie, was similarly disconnected but not as nice.  Probably having grown up with money, being educated, and being financially disconnected from economic fears of most of the rest of us, Mitt probably cannot connect.  But may be he should take a little reality check from George Bailey.

If the GOP wants to co-op It's a Wonderful Life, they could point out that George Bailey didn't look for the government to solve the communities problems.  But they'd have to admit that Mr. Potter wasn't the solution.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Singing the Florida Blues

Oh, how we mourn this evening, under the shadow of the congealing mass of the Romney campaign solidified in a cocoon of PAC money, the corpse of the GOP and, tearfully, the pulverized body of Newt Gingrich.

$15 Million in negative ads buys 50% of the vote in Florida.

Get ready because it is only going to get worse.

I am no particular fan of Newt Gingrich.  Newt's GOP tried to impeach Clinton for lying after he was dragged in on trumped up charges in a witch hunt conducted by Ken Starr (animated pre-cursor of Big Dick Cheney).  Thus making impeachment a farce, just when our next President would drag us into a costly war under false pretenses.  But watching the GOP establishment jump and stomp on Newt Gingrich in order to bring forth the more "electable" Romney makes me deeply sad in the way it reflects on the soul of the GOP.  The Contract with America was political genius.  That wave in 1994 made the Republicans what they are, good and bad, as much as Reagan ever has.  It was energy and crazy up and down.  Newt's 1994, Libertarian anti-tax / anti-government insanity, talk radio, and some made up saint Reagan (who's record is selectively edited to support whatever the current conservative agenda might be) are the seeds of the Tea Party.

Yes - I know Newt's not fully in the room - be it Moon bases (which would be great if we could afford it) or shutting down the federal government in a hissy fit or using more hyperbole than a used car salesman, but he is was in the pantheon of GOP history in starting in the 80s.

That is, until Romney got real afraid that he might not get his shiny new Presidency, and used $15 Million to obliterate Gingrich.

It was so unnecessary, Romney is going to win in the end, so why?

The Tea Party, the religious vote, and the Ron Paul pseudo-Libertarians will all vote for Romney next fall.  Unlike the extreme left, which helped elect Bush in 2000 by giving electoral blow jobs to Ralph Nader, the extreme right will fall into line.

Again, so why?

So Mitt can buy the shiny new Presidency toy, because his Daddy was rich, and he has made lots of money, so he deserves it.

If Romney wins he'll be a better President that George W. Bush, but not as good as Bush I.  But he'll be 10x as insufferable as W.

At least Newt speaks his mind instead of spewing forth some carefully prepared pablum he thinks the "base" wants.  Romney "grew" more conservative with time because the wind blew that way.

So Good Bye Newt.  I hope it isn't permanent.  You deserve better - even though you would be a disaster.

Even if I have to agree with Sarah Palin to say it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gifts that Keep Giving and Reflections on Paterno

It has been an interesting week and obviously quite a few things have happened since I last posted here.

A few words on Joe Paterno

Assuming the Sandusky allegations are true at least in some part, Paterno's failure to deal with it makes him supremely human at a minimum and perhaps worse.  The questions do not personally interest me too much.  Sandusky's alleged crimes (I believe they are almost all going to be true) are heinous.  So it seems hard to forgive Paterno for not doing more.  However, does anyone stand-up every time they see an injustice and intervene?  I doubt it.  Whether it was watching a bully hassle someone else, listening to damaging gossip, or even doing some of these activities.  I am sure that the answer is that there is nobody who does not at some point turn away and not stand up for justice.

The gulf may seem pretty big, between letting a pedophile go on in the face of credible accusations and say letting kids pick on someone that they think is a nerd or a loser, but they are part of a long spectrum of the human willingness to let evil go on rather than do what it takes to deal with it.

Paterno's accomplishments were great and had Sandusky not been part of his story, his would be a complete story of a man committed to his players and his school, with enormous success.

But, Sandusky will be part of his story too.  So, no matter how great his other accomplishments, we know that he had a chance to stop a monster.  Let's not pretend there weren't others that could have stopped him as well.

I am sure Paterno wished he never met Sandusky.  I am sure Paterno wished he had acted on Sandusky's allegations.  I am sure most of us, the honest and decent ones, wish there were things we could go back and do differently too.  I am thankful I haven't faced the same evil that Paterno did in Sandusky.  While I hope that I would have taken it more seriously than Paterno and stopped it, I also hope I don't have to cross that particular bridge.

The GOP Just Keeps Giving and Giving

OK.  I am still sticking by my Romney prediction. But Newt is the most wonderful comet I seen in recent memories.  The human Halley's comet.  Newt has been a human atom bomb exploding all over Romney.  Well, perhaps more accurately, allowing Mitt to blow himself up.

Romney grew up with a silver spoon, regardless of his rough family history, and he simply doesn't connect with the people living a regular life. He might even be a capable President, but I think he wants to be President because it is the only toy left he has been allowed to have.  He is mind boggling.

Newt's tax plan, laughably, is just red meat for his voters.  It would dramatically reduce tax dramatically for the rich and make the deficit worse.  Who is conservative now dude?  (PS Romney's tax plan will also make the deficit worse, just not as bad as Newts).

I am falling asleep, so I have to come back to this.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

South Newtarolina and Bigger News

Newt's on a roll.   Again.  Who would have thought it was possible.  The pugnacious one is back to his bad boy ways.  I don't think Wife #2 is going to do much to change that.  You'd think she'd be happy to be free of the Newtster, not a bigger ex.  (I know, I know, stereotypes are bad, but that is the way it will play).

The bigger news for me was the growing story about Romney parking millions in the Caymans and touting a tax plan that would benefit mainly people like - who else - Romney himself.  I thought the hoopla over "I like the be able to fire people" was overblown.  As any employer knows, you will have to let people go from time to time, and it can end up being a significant headache.  Even when the individual is doing great harm to the company.  However, a much better answer would have been, "I don't like to fire people because it can be hard to replace people and it can be disruptive, but it know how important it is to be able to fire someone if they are hurting everyone else."

I have NO sympathy for parking your money in the Caymans so you can avoid paying taxes in the US.  Particularly from a guy that wants to be the President of the United States.  Because what smacks of leadership like sneaking off your millions to the Caymans when the country has huge deficits.  "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."  Mr. Romney, that means keeping your money here so that it can invested and loaned to Americans and, yes, you can help with the deficit by paying a few more taxes.  All Presidential candidates have to have pretty big egos, but that isn's the same as being selfish.  Mr. Romney is selfish and self absorbed.  (OK may be not as bad as Trump). 

Final note, Romney's tax plan will do two things:  add a lot to the national debt AND pad the pockets of the richest Americans.  A significant portion of our debt is a the fault of the Bush Tax Cuts which also padded the pockets of the richest Americans.  Now Romney plans to double down.   How can that be good for the USA.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

If it ain't broken . . .

. . . don't fix it.

PIPA and SOPA appeared to be stalling today.  Not a minute too soon. 

The bottom line is that the music industry and MPAA have been held hostage by the belief that piracy of music and movies is more than a fringe activity.  It wasn't that long ago that they were after internet radio stations because someone streaming 8 or 16 lines was going to break their hold on business.  Of course, the selection of CDs in BestBuy is pretty small these days, because the RIAA was fighting to erect a chainlink fence against a rising tide.  They even managed to get some individuals fined a lot of money for putting music on illegal peer-to-peer networks.  I don't particularly feel bad for people that wholesale copied and distributed vast numbers of music tracks, because it was never moral to do that.  However, getting a handful of people, doesn't necessarily preserve your monopoly on distribution and doesn't replace getting a distribution method that works with the technologies of today.

Piracy of entertainment materials usually involves some false equation about how X billion dollars is lost to piracy each year.  It is actually only lost if, if you closed the loop on piracy by making it technologically impossible, if you assume the pirates would actually pay that money to the film or music company.  In large part, I don't believe that will happen, that money will simply never existed.

Because we're not going to irradicate the technological ability to stop piracy, what the MPAA and RIAA and everyone else needs is to figure out how to deliver the product safety and effectively.

I am sympathetic to their complaint, but make it easy enough for more people to get what they want at a resonable cost.  Piracy won't go away, but most people aren't law breakers to start with.  They just want to access music or films and they don't mind paying a fair price for it.

Get with it.