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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Above the Fray....but Not Really

I don't know how familiar you are with the work of Jon Avlon, but his big thing these days is pretending he's one of the only centrists out there, calling out both sides while sitting pretty in the middle with a big smug smile on his face.

Only problem with that is that his whole "above the fray" stance belies a bit of a right-wing bias. Indeed, Jon Avlon's work can be distilled to this sentence from his latest piece at the Daily Beast:
Neither side is innocent, but on matters of both style and substance, the left is coming out of this debate looking worse.
I knew you'd say that, Jon...

Duck Feathers

Alright, so it's Juan Williams and Shepard Smith, not exactly right-wing blowhards, but this was on Fox News.

Face Palm

Republicans just don't get it.

A new report from the University of Denver`s Center for Colorado`s Economic Future says:
"Colorado cannot expect to grow its way out of its budget problems," the summary of findings released Friday said. "From FY 2011-12 to FY 2024-25, our projections show state K-12 education costs growing at a compound annual rate of about 6 percent and Medicaid expenditures growing more than 8 percent annually. But general fund revenues will grow at a compound annual rate of only 5 percent over that period. From this, we conclude that the state budget faces a persistent structural imbalance."
Which prompts this dingbat to say:
"I think ultimately we have a spending problem," said Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray. "We have a structural problem in Colorado where spending expectations exceed revenue expectations."
That's pure Republican bullshit.

A spending problem? A spending problem is when you spend your money on stupid stuff instead of "paying the bills."

If you're not bringing in enough money to pay the bills, you do not have a spending problem. You have an income problem.

The adults in the room seem to get this:
Questions to be explored by the study team in the future include looking generally at "reforms of the revenue system," including "measures that broaden revenue bases to capture a larger share of economic activity." This could actually mean lower tax rates but spread over a larger base.
Tax reform that results in lower tax rates but increased tax revenue? Let's do it.

And whatever those Republicans say, let's not.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Epic Ride

SeanH, you need to see this.

Darren Berrecloth rips some big mountain lines -2000 Vertical Feet in the Gobi Desert
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It's All Part of The Plan

Here's a great post about what Governor Scott Walker has planned for his state.

This image does this heavy lifting:
Stage 1: Break the unions, delegitimize public workers.

I'm already seeing this happen with the rank and file. If public workers aren't moochers, they're greedy. (Although thankfully, for our sake, not as greedy as Wall Street bankers...)

Stage 2: Cutting Government Services

I know a couple of people for whom this would be catastrophic. Not just single mothers and aging grandparents, but little kids who have no clue how screwed they will be when this happens. I don't believe in relying on the system to butter your bread, but I do believe in relying on the system to make sure there is bread to butter. Cutting government services will undermine that...directly.

Stage 3: Privatizing Assets

And here we go...

This I believe is what motivates a lot of the anti-government sentiment within the power brokers of the Republican Party. They love them some privatization. And you know what? They're only half-right.

Contracting and subcontracting is an efficient way to do many things, but you have to be careful. There are certain things that should be not be contracted out, things like government functions. I don't care who does the landscaping, but don't put me in a jail run by GeoGroup, alright?

All in all, it's a pretty grim plan. I hope it fails.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Squirrel #2

I'm going to name him George.

What an Idiot

If you're a school teacher who just got a lay-off notice in the mail, you wouldn't be able to get Wisconsin's governor-slash-union-buster Scott Walker on the phone.

But if you're some punk journalist posing as a billionaire (in this case, one of the dread brothers Koch), you can have a 20 minute conversation with the dude.

The transcript shows just what a tool Walker is.

There's this:

The Senate organization committee is going to meet and pass a rule that says if you don’t show up for two consecutive days on a session day, in the state Senate, the Senate chief clerk-it’s a little procedural thing here, but-can actually have your payroll stopped from being automatically deducted-

Murphy: Beautiful.

Walker: -into your checking account and instead-you still get a check, but the check has to be personally picked up and he’s instructing them-which we just loved-to lock them in their desk on the floor of the state Senate.
Changing the rules to fuck with people's pay? Nothing wrong with that.

Then there's this:
So we’re trying about four or five different angles, so each day we crank up a little bit more pressure. The other thing is I’ve got layoff notices ready. We put out the at-risk notices. We’ll announce Thursday, and they’ll go out early next week. And we’ll probably get 5 to 6,000 state workers will get at-risk notices for layoffs. We might ratchet that up a little bit, you know.
It seems pretty clear that Walker's not intending on laying off five to six thousand state employees. He just wants them to know they're at risk.

Which is just mean, if you think about it. You should actually hold those cards close to your chest and say nothing until the decision has already been made. What, you want to sap the spirit of your workforce?

But what's even dumber about it is that Walker thinks this is going to put pressure on the Democrats. He's threatening the livelihoods of thousands of people in the hopes that they'll take his side. What planet does this guy live on?

Lead Poisoning

Rights of the accused? Due process? The law? Fuck it.

Use live ammunition.

(And polish that resume...)

Points to Ponder

If an illegal immigrant gets an abortion, are they killing an American citizen?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Melo-Drama

When you see headlines like "Melo scores 50, Nuggets still lose," and then a few weeks later see headlines like, "Melo, Chauncey Billups traded to the Knicks," you know you're in for one of those "re-building" periods.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Working for a Living

Watching the reaction to what's going on in Wisconsin, I am more convinced than ever that the right wing in America has lost their collective minds. I've been busy the last few days doing other things, but Republican leaders have been remarkably successful convincing Republican voters that public workers are a problem that must be dealt with.

They're sitting pretty in their mansions, driving their Bentleys, taking out their yachts on weekends.

Here's Doug Matconis, a libertarian blogger at Outside the Beltway, putting it succinctly:
The party is over guys, and your days of feeding off the government trough are coming to an end.
This fits nicely in the "government bad, non-government good" hole that Libertarian thinking firmly plants you in.

See, you could be working for a living --ie providing services in exchange for compensation-- but if you're doing it for the government, you are automatically a moocher or a looter or whatever buzzword extracted from Ayn Rand's fragrant ass.

I wish I could be so dumb. Incentives matter, not just for the big shot CEO but for the teacher, the cop, the dogcatcher, and the street sweeper. If I had a philosophy that blinded me to this reality, I would chuck it immediately.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saturday Night Special

Man, I had a good time last night. I went to the Best Band in Denver show at the Summit Music Hall with my brother and company, saw a couple local bands, got a little buzzed, had a few laughs.

My brother knows the drummer for Ndaaz, a metal band with a Native American slant. Their songs have provocative titles like "Original American" and "Columbus Day" and I have to say I love them all the more for it. They put on a killer show, too.

Looking for something worthy of posting on Youtube, I found this one, and after watching a bit of it, I realized I was actually at this show. I even make an appearance at the 3:40 mark. I'm right up front, the dude on the far right making the conspicuous move of hand to face. My brother's standing next to me doing the devil horns.