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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Capitalism At Work (Whether You Like It Or Not)

Not bad for a communist...

Some billionaires complain about how much they're paying in taxes. Others just make more money. Which one, you think, embodies the capitalist spirit better?

A Dick Move

It wasn't too long ago that my step-mom, who is a recipient of welfare, was cheering on Facebook about Florida's policy of drug-testing welfare recipients. Now I'm against drug testing period because I think it's an onerous violation of privacy and basic human decency. Your body fluids are not my business, and vice versa.

But turns out, like many dick moves that authoritarians love, drug-testing welfare recipients is kind of pointless.

Consider:
Since the state began testing welfare applicants for drugs in July, about 2 percent have tested positive, preliminary data shows.
That's less than the Florida average for the population at large!

What's the point? Oh yeah, to be a dick.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Gaylord Entertainment is begging for $300 million in tax breaks and special favors so they can build a big hotel/entertainment complex in Aurora. Anyone going to drug test them? Don't count on it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Planet

If everyone wants to live off the grid, we're going to run out of room fast.



Making Bricks

The unrelenting heat of the past few days has been stressing out my garden. The peppers don't mind so much, nor do the tomatoes, but the cucumbers are not having a good time of it. Last week I was picking beautiful 8 inchers, the kind you'd buy from the store, but this week they're all misshapen and twisted, half-grown then stunted.

Of course, part of this is my fault. I'm using poor soil in raised beds, basically the same way the ancients used to make adobe bricks, and I'm surprised when the dirt cracks and the mini-arroyos form?

Next year I'm going to do a complete overhaul of the soil in all my beds and I'm going to err on the side of richness. I'm thinking a truck load of potter's mix from Nick's Garden, plus some mulch, maybe some perlite, maybe some vermiculite, of course some manure. Water retention is going to be key.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tweet of the Day

If I was on Twitter, I'd retweet this Tweet from Eli Lake.
Worth noting. President Birth Certificate has done what Reagan and W could not: end Gadhafi's reign and kill bin Laden. #realkeeping
It might be giving "President Birth Certificate" too much credit, but I loved that he called him President Birth Certificate.

I still think it's funny that now that the birth certificate issue is settled, right-wingers think they can start talking about the issues that really matter now, like the economy.

Dude, the economy's been shit for years. Where were you? Oh yeah, talking about birth certificates...

Department of Unfortunate Quotes

From this article:
"It's not healthy for rich people to feel maligned," {an anonymous Wall Street] executive said.
Healthy for who?

I mean, I'm sorry you feel maligned, but can't you afford a therapist?

The Constitution

Every year, you see Republican candidates fall to their knees and start praying to the Constitution. And every year, you hear about all the things Republicans would like to change about the Constitution. They want to add amendments, repeal amendments, ignore others.

This irony is lost on most Republican voters, but it's not lost on me.

4001

Yesterday, I posted my 4000th post.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Broncos Timelapse

Yep, went to the game on Saturday. The seat next to me was empty so I set-up a time lapse.

You'll notice a couple popping up subliminally in the middle, blocking the shot. It wasn't chance that they were walking by and the camera snapped the pic. No, they stood there for a while. It was annoying.

Devil Woman

So yesterday, last night, I'm not sure when it was (I'm a bit confused about these matters these days), I was reading about Bruce Willis and I remembered he recorded an album back in the 80s, and I remember hearing it but it's been a long time and I wanted to see if the guy could actually sing.

Boy, can he ever. Check this shit out:

Man likes his blues, and he can play the harp, too.

Denver Skyline

This looked way better in camera...
Taken from the second level of Invesco Field Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Wal-Mart's Not Dead Yet, Bud

Yeah, color me less than impressed with this analysis of "hard times at Wal-Mart."

It started here:
...Wal-Mart Realty currently has 145 empty buildings on its hands -- what they call "excess property," totaling a staggering 12.6 million square feet of dead stores. That's the equivalent of 217 empty football fields. Based on new store openings in 2011, if Wal-Mart retrofitted the 145 stores it has for sale or lease, it would have enough room to grow in the United States for the next three years -- without having to do any new building or engage in ugly site fights with angry neighbors.
It's almost as if this guy thinks Wal-Mart closed these stores because of an insatiable lust for new building and pissing off NIMBY-types.

I'm sure some of them were closed in favor of a new building (saw it happen in my hometown of Thornton about ten years ago) but I'm also sure that some of them (who knows how many) closed because of other factors. Maybe the store wasn't profitable. Maybe the building was falling apart. Maybe a city council full of NIMBY-types drove them out of town.

Besides, Wal-Mart only has 145 empty buildings? Sounds like a lot, until you consider the sheer number of buildings they have. Plucking a number from Wikipedia, which says Wal-Marts has 8500 stores worldwide, which is too round to be anything other than an estimate, that's less that 2% of their total buildings. It's such a small number that it's nearly irrelevant.

Conclusion: Wal-Mart's "excess property" isn't even a problem.

But then I get to the end of the article and I realize I've been had. The writer, Al Norman, has an agenda. Here it is: "Al Norman is the author of 'The Case Against Wal-Mart.' He has been helping communities fight big box stores since 1993."

So he's an activist who has been railing against the existence of big box stores for twenty years. Guess who's been winning that particular fight?

I mean, I have complaints about Wal-Mart too. For instance, why do they have 40 check out lines but never open more than a half dozen of them? Tell me, Wal-Mart, why?????

More Hope and Change

I feel bad for smart people who say dumb shit. Example:
So I was checking Drudge to see what's going on in the world and the big news, of course, is that the 11th Circuit has struck down the individual mandate part of Obamacare, which i guess means the government can't make you eat your veggies, which is a good thing.
Man, you don't check Drudge to see "what's going on in the world." You check Drudge to see what's going on in the world of the right wing media.

It's a subtle distinction, I know, but if you're just listening to only one side of the partisan divide, you will gradually become more stupid. You will lose the ability to think critically, which will lead you to repeat non-truths and psuedo-facts. It's not a political thing; it's just human nature.

As for the 11th Circuit striking down the individual mandate, yes, they did do that, but it's not "big news" unless you were hoping for that to happen. If you're still holding out for the "big news" of the Supreme Court's ruling, then this is little more than "little news" about one small step in a larger process. Sure, it may have been the lead story of the day, but a few months ago the big news story of the day was Charlie Sheen getting fired from his TV show. Wonder what Drudge was saying about that....

As for the "I guess the government can't make you eat your veggies," bah. At first glance, yes, it looks like the mandate is forcing you to do something you should be doing on your own, but you drill down a little deeper and it's not so much "nanny state" as it is "general welfare."

I mean, the government isn't saying "eat your veggies." They're saying, "you can't make other people pay for the veggies you're eating." What's wrong with that?

I'd prefer a more robust healthcare reform that makes it more of a public service, but we're too dumb as a country to figure that out without some ignoramus shouting "socialism!" So we're left with the mandate. If it's struck down, it will not be some great victory for the free market. It will be "back to the drawing board."

Because, after all, getting something (healthcare) without paying for it (the uninsured) does not a market make.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ouch

The liberal blogosphere was freaking out over Rick Perry's entrance into the presidential race, but that was last week. Since then, I think cooler heads have prevailed and all it took was for Rick Perry to open his mouth. (And thereby remove any doubt...)

This was a pretty good response to Perry's conspiracy theories about climate science:
Perry apparently assumes the general population is not aware of the exoneration of the scientists involved in the “Climategate” pseudo-scandal. Maybe he assumes that Republican primary voters do not care.
I'd be a little more direct. Perry thinks you're either ignorant or apathetic.

What's the other option?

Hope and Change

It's been a bit of an open secret that Obama has been pretty tough on illegal immigrants. He's deported more people than Bush, and all the right-wingers crying about the stimulus may be unaware that a nice little chunk of it (billions of dollars, of course) went to border enforcement.

That shit is so over. Adam Serwer asks what changed, and then provides an answer:
While the debate over the administration’s aggressive enforcement policy largely occurred under the radar in the mainstream media, Obama was getting pilloried in the Spanish-language press for breaking his promises.

All the while, the administration was getting no credit from the right for its aggressive enforcement policies, even as deportations rose, the number of illegal immigrants dropped, and more resources were deployed at the border.
To me, this has been Obama's biggest failure: this notion that if he gives the right wing what they want, then they will give him credit.

It hasn't happened yet, despite a record that any leftist will tell you has been marked by capitulation and appeasement. He's been as hawkish as the neocons, if not more. (You know, Bill Kristol jizzed in his pants when Osama was killed and he's been saving a bottle of Scotch for when Kadafi is finally kicked out of Libya.) The stimulus? A third of it was tax cuts, and while I don't think there's any question that it didn't work, it seemed very friendly to the dumbasses holding "Taxed Enough Already" signs at rallies. As for the big debt deal cutting spending by over a trillion bucks? It will always have Barack Obama's signature on it.

As for the constituency who demanded more immigration enforcement? They got it, at least for a little while. But the question is did they ever really want it in the first place?

I'm starting to wonder...