Thursday, January 26, 2012

We Only Got The One

Let's take better care of it, OK?


Doin' The Snoopy Dance


Note To Mitt Romney

When retired Republicans think you're too rich, it's time to fold up the tents.
You do realize if you win the nomination that the playbook is going to be taken from Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, right?
You're toast.

Ground Control To Major Newt

Some have said it will never happen: it's too expensive and too far away.
I say it can and WILL happen.
First, we declare the Moon is part of the Axis of Evil. I mean, come ON! Every Islamic nation features a crescent moon on their flag! Then....

Occupy Oz

Original Australians are protesting today, Australia Day, which marks the anniversary of the first British colonists on that continent.
Curiously, some people have a problem with this. Including the Prime Minister.
The protests, resembling the OWS theme of pitching impromptu settlements on public lands, is focused on land rights the Aborigines lost when Britains invaded/arrived, depending on your point of view. Much like our own Native Americans, Aborigines see that land and real estate have value and the time has arrived to, to quote the song Beds Are Burning, "give it back."

The Asshole Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

Local news anchor Greg Kelly has been accused of rape. Normally, I don't get into this kind of local story on a blog with an international audience-- admittedly, mostly located in the US-- but there are some interesting details to be parsed.
Greg Kelly works for the local FOX affiliate's morning show, Good Day, New York. He is probably the sleasiest, smarmiest local news anchor in NYC. His rapport with his co-anchor, Roseanne Scotto, can be best illuminated in this way: When Scotto wants to highlight her other talent, cooking, she brings her family to another network's morning show.
Ironic, right? FOX, sleaze, rape. Sounds like a Bill O'Reilly in training. Even the promos for the show feature his not-so-subtle comments about Scotto's breasts and innuendo that would make a hooker blanch.
Mind you, this is the same station where the infamous Ernie Anastos "Keep fucking that chicken" moment took place.
It gets better. Apparently, insensitivity runs in the family. You see, Greg is son of current NYPD commissioner, and (well, formerly) potential mayoral candidate, Ray Kelly.
He won't be receiving a whole lot of assistance from his dad, tho. You see, Ray Kelly has his own hot water to try to extricate himself from. He appears in a really offensive video featuring some really inflammatory portrayals of and information about Muslims in the city.
He appears voluntarily. Kelly explains it away by saying that he believed the video was being made as a good faith effort to inform officers involved in counter-terrorism training. The jist of the film is that Muslims are engaged in a full-on jihad to dominate the world.
Keep fucking that chicken, Ray.

Jo, Mang!

Marco, it's so quaint you think a little gentle nudge is going to stop Newt, Mitt, and Rickie from using Latinos as a punching bag.

Dissing The Prez

OK, by now, you've either seen or heard about this picture, where Arizona Governor Jan Brewer sticks her claw-like index finger into President Obama's face, practically picking boogers out of his nose. All that's missing is the broom and the pointy hat.
Both sides have downplayed the photo, and said it was a cordial if spirited exchange. Given that the White House has played Jackie Robinson these past four years to the bigots as they've come across them, that's no surprise. Brewer's interviews since the incident tell two different tales, but the ones told to FOX could just be bragging.
So let's take that at face value and say it was not an angry lecture.
That doesn't excuse her actions, much. As a governor herself, she has to know that there is always a camera around, and that gets manifold multiplication when the President is involved.
Even allowing that it might have been a moment of exuberance, it's still telling that she pointed a finger at him like he was the boy raking her garden.
It's also rather telling that she whines about him lecturing her IN THE OVAL OFFICE, where, you know, it's his home turf, and not a place of equals. I wonder, do they teach manners in Arizona schools? It sounds like maybe they should.


"We have a president who is detached from reality. He's detached from the people. He's detached from his own words. He's so detached people are surprised and shocked."
(photo courtesy, and yes, I'm aware he was not getting a shoe shine but was being wanded by security, but notice he's not standing in a line at the TSA counter like even first class passengers, but being searched by a private security guard for a private jet company. What the FUCK does he know about "the people"?)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SOTU, Biatches!

Now, let me preface this piece by saying I did not watch the State Of The Union address last night. I prefer reading the transcript. I can't abide the canned applause, and watching half of Congress look at their watches while the other half whoops and hollers.
And it doesn't matter: Republican or Democrat, no one is truly unifying the Congress behind a vision or goal. Even talk about Osama bin Laden's liquidation was only going to draw tepid polite applause from the Republicans, which is a goddamned shame.
A couple of immediate reactions:
1) When you juxtapose this passage:
We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
...with revelations of the tax "burden" of erstwhile Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, and the tepid Republican rebuttal by Mitch Daniels of:
That means a dramatically simpler tax system of fewer loopholes and lower rates...No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others. begin to understand the deep hole Republicans have dug for themselves.
2) Others have said it, but I believe President Obama laid out a strong case for his re-election last night. The parts about rewarding offshoring while penalizing those who keep jobs in listening, Mitt? Because that was a shot across your bow.
3) It's twenty years too late, but it was good to hear Obama talk about retooling and retraining blue collar factory workers. Bill Clinton proposed this and was nearly laughed out of Congress for it. And now we have what we have. Not everyone can go to college, and not everyone wants to wait tables or run foreigners on tourist jaunts. We need to find work for people who are good with their hands, too.
4) Too, it was nice to hear Obama talk about community colleges. Too often, we view them as way stations for the derelict, those who need any college degree because of job requirements and who sit in boring lectures from derelict subprime professors and assistant professors who would be better employed on the front lines in Afghanistan than molding even mature minds.
So it was really important that Obama raised community colleges as a conduit for these retraining programs.
5) The idea that a student should stay in high school until they turn 18 or graduate is almost, almost, a noble one. I have two caveats, however. First, there ought to be an emphasis on true vocational training possibilities. Sure, nearly every large city has an automotive high school, some have avionics even, and many rural communities have agricultural programs. So how about a better blending of these and include what are rapidly becoming blue collar technological jobs, like using robotics in manufacturing and farming? A line worker ought to know and understand a little about the machines they are using. They are tools no different than a spanner or milking stool. Second, this requirement ought not to be an excuse to let bad students linger in a classroom with a bored teacher looking at his watch all day. Here's where, believe it or not, Newt Gingrich's concept of students working in a school could come into play. But only at the high school level.
6) His tough-yet-rational stance on immigration reform was a clever ploy. Yes, he's been indubitably tough on attempts to illegally cross our borders, but his offer of a carrot in the form of fast-tracking those already here who are contributing to society is a beautiful way of capturing the Hispanic vote.
7) Obama's twin commitments to the energy industry (I'm not crazy about the commitment to fracking and offshore oil and gas, but the rest was juicy) and to infrastructure jobs to stimulate the economy was a pretty interesting juxtaposition of what seemed to be two unrelated topics, yet he managed to mesh them together as an economic relief package for the near-term future.
8) The joke about spilled milk? Awkward and stupid, yet it showed a common touch so it was probably one of those "Uncle Fred makes a dumb joke" moments: you rolled your eyes and laughed, but got the point.
9) And of course, the centerpiece of the speech was the announcement of the Federal Financial Crimes Unit and the directive to the attorney general to go after the banks. It might be a little too little, but its not too little, to be sure.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So Much For My New Patent


Wow, Man! The Colors!

Hey, thanks for pointing that out, Dr. Obvious...

Maybe Mitt Ought To Drop Out After All


Cheap At Four Times The Price

Lemme get this straight: the banks can buy their way out of indemnity from this mortgage crisis for $25 billion dollars??? This is after an $800 billion bailout?
ADDENDUM: Good on you, Beau Biden!

State Of The Union

Listen, when even Mitt Romney has to admit that the economy under Obama is improving, things are looking up!
Tonight's State Of The Union address will focus attention on American job creation. Specifically, it's manufacturing sector.
It's hard to believe that, in my lifetime, America was a blue-collar manufacturing nation. But it was. The rich paid taxes. The middle class worked at jobs those taxes helped create. It was really pretty simple.
Now, not so much. Look, the lion's share of jobs are created by small businesses, something like 95%.
And something like 95% of small businesses are owned by people who make less than $50,000 a year off those small businesses.
It doesn't take a Ph D in math to see that the lion's share of jobs are created in the middle class by the middle class for the middle class.
If Obama focuses on this, he will nearly deflate the current Republican sabre-rattling over moar tax cutz.

You Wanna Know What Really Pisses Me Off?

Except its not his. Sure, he built a fortune on the sweat and backbones of other people, whom he discarded and belittled.
That's not what I'm talking about. His dad, George Romney, set the poor little rich man up in the first place. That's what I'm talking about.

You Keep Fucking That Chicken, Travel&Leisure

New York City has been ranked, for the third year in a row, the rudest city in the world.
Fuck off and die. It keeps the tourists out of our city, I'm all for that.


You probably were aware that the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins were invited to the White House and that visit took place yesterday.
What you may not have known is that All-Star goal-tender Tim Thomas refused to attend, citing governmental intrusion into people's lives.
Kinda funny for a guy making $5 million and travelling first class.

I Got An Uncle Lives In Taxes. Dollars, Taxes!

His defense of this rate is rather illuminating:

"I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more," Romney said at the debate. "I'm proud of the fact that I pay a lot of taxes."

Interesting factoid in the article, however. The average American pays an eleven percent tax rate.

I found the table which underlies this statement on the website, quoted in the article. While it does indicate that all Americans pay an average of 11.06% of income in Federal income taxes (note the distinction), the breakdown is rather...eye-popping. I'm not sure Mitt wants to be associated with it.

For instance, the bottom 50% of taxpayers earned about a billion dollars, and paid about 2% in income tax. OK, so far, not bad, right? After all, there's earned income credits and other refundable tax credits that offset withholdings.

The breakpoint for this income split is about $32,000 a year, by the way.

The next 25 percent, from the top 25% to the bottom 50%, pays three times as much in taxes, but only earned an additional $600 million.

Think about that: altho the income for the group was higher (nominally 60%, but let's double it, since it represents only one half the population of the first group, so let's say 120% higher), the taxes went up geometrically.

It gets worse. The next 15%, from the top ten percent to the top twenty-five percent, earned only $100 million more than that middle 25%, but paid nearly 50% more in gross taxes as a percentage of that income!

In other words, of that $100 million in incremental income, nearly half went to just federal income taxes alone!

And it continues onward and upward. But here's the thing: the incremental increase in the average tax rate slows down the higher up the income scale you go. That is the opposite of progressive. That's almost regressive.

The bottom 50% pay about 2%.

The next 25% pay about 6%, a difference of 4% nominally, but a tripling of the rate paid.

The next fifteen percent pay 8.25%, slightly more than 2% nominally, but only a rate of increase of less than 50%.

The next 5%, the five to ten percent range, pay 11.5%, slightly more than the national average and an increase of 3% nominally, but a rate of increase of only 40%.

The next four percent, from 1% to 5%, pay 16.4% nominally, but a rate of increase of only 30%.

The top one percent pay 24%, or a rate of increase of 50%. Finally, some normalcy restored.

But wait! The rate of increase in income?

Bottom 50% earn 13.5% of the entire adjusted gross income of the United States (AGI). Next 25% earn 20.7%. Next fifteen, 22.6%. Next five, 11.5%. Next four, 14.8%. Top one percent: 16.9%

So while we can see that the rich do pay more in taxes, it is the middle classes who bears the greatest tax burden, in terms of the increment to their taxes paid versus the increment to their incomes, in the nation.

Mitt is not paying his fair share. No one in the top 1% is.


Monday, January 23, 2012

What The....?

The building where I worked just announced they are scheduling a mandatory energy curtailment event...that's their precise wording....for tomorrow afternoon, presumably in response to the solar flare that's headed this way

The Big One

Duck and cover, people. This is the biggest flare of this most recent, errrr, flare-up!

OK, Then....

Frustrations Abound

Showrooming is when a consumer goes into a retailer, shops for a particular item, says thank you and goes shopping online for the best price. This has been facilitated lately with the advent of smart-phone apps that allow you to scan an item's barcode and then have the app search for better prices, selection, and so on.
This is a toughie, but there's a certain Schadenfreude that a big box retailer like Target is complaining about comparison shopping.
Specialty stores like bike, golf and dive shops have for years complained about consumers walking in, picking the brains of the knowledgable and experienced staff, then walking out to shop online for their purchase. It drains sales and revenues from the community and puts it in the hands of corporate megaliths.
Of course, this takes that to a fractal plane...

Gong Hei Fat Choy


All Over But The Shouting, Which Should Go On Indefinitely


So What To Make Of South Carolina?

By the way, before I dive in deep, Herman Cain drew 1100 votes. So much for Colbertmentum.
I wouldn't make too much of this victory. Altho it is pretty impressive in terms of how far he came back and how fast, according to exit polling, something like 60% of voters made up their minds just before heading into the booth. And this in a state where seven out of ten Republicans self-identify as conservative. He may have support, but it's the support of a man whose biggest rivals have left him standing alone against Goliath. It's grudging and it's probably fleeting.
To be sure, Romney has some serious retooling ahead of him, because he's pissing away delegates he should be capturing. While this shouldn't hurt him in the long haul much (he's already a head by a fair bit in committed superdelegates) if one or two of the runners up decide to throw their support behind Gingrich or even Paul, it could be a long nasty fight at the Tampa Bay convention.
Too, something like 70% of South Carolina Republicans are evangelical Christians, which pretty much discounted Mitt from the get-go. That it took Newt this long to grab their attention speaks volumes of how they held their noses to vote for him. And while they will undoubtedly vote for Anyone But Barack, the lack of enthusiasm speaks well for the President in South Carolina. Not that he'll win the state, but he can make it competitive and force the GOP to spend money there.
And Nikki Haley probably backed the wrong horse in her state, altho nationally she may still be able to salvage something out of her endorsement of Romney. It's interesting that, as her mentor, Sarah Palin, danced with endorsing Gingrich, Haley jumped into Romney's camp with both feet. Her re-election bid in two years ought to be interesting.

Good Luck, Gabby!

Gabby Giffords will announce her resignation from Congress this week, about a year after she was brutally attacked by a gun nut in an Arizona parking lot.
Her courageous struggle back from her wounds should be an inspiration to anyone who says they can't. She could have given up at any point, but her goal was to take her seat in Congress once more despite the debilitating nature of her injuries and for this, she deserves universal applause and praise.
She's tasted her goal and realized that there was much more work involved in staying there. There is no shame in this. We can't begin to imagine what she went through to get this far, so her sacrifices may seem to be in vain, but they were not.
Her district is highly competitive and the races, both primaries and general election, ought to be barnburners. Giffords' endorsement will weigh heavily in this district, as she was a popular figure among her constituents, and they will barely have time to vet the competition.
It speaks volumes about how the most appropriate and dignified response to violence, particularly gun violence, is to brush oneself off and go on, but it also speaks volumes that a nut could grab a gun and shoot up a crowd so tragically.


As you may or may not know, legendary college football coach Joe Paterno died yesterday in shame and disgrace.
One of the winningest coaches in history, Joe Pa could have gone out a hero to a nation. Instead, because he placed football above people, he will go down in history as aiding and abetting one of sports greatest monsters.
Which raises a problem for Penn State, the university Paterno was coach for: how to honor him for his work without raising the whole pedophilia issue?
I have a suggestion: don't bother honoring him.
There's a parallel, albeit more minor case in professional wrestling: Chris Benoit. Benoit was a star of the then-WWF, a performer who sold many tickets with his presence on a card, and one of the most popular performers with that brand of entertainment.
He was also a steroided loon who ended up slaughtering his family, then committing suicide.
The (now) WWE has it right: they have essentially erased Benoit's name from their history for the tragic circumstances of his creation.
This is not to equate a double homicide with child molestation, certainly not to an equal degree. Society has deemed murder to be a more heinous crime than pedophilia.
But not by much.
I'd hate to think a sham sports organization like a wrestling company would get something so simple and a college which has deluded itself into thinking it does the right thing cannot. Penn State can make up a whole lot to the community if it just chooses to ignore Paterno's legacy for now. Perhaps sometime in the future, when things have calmed down and the world has forgotten the abhorrent and disgusting nature of Paterno's enabling, they can put up a plaque for the bastard.