Archive for the ‘Etc.’ Category

Shutdown 2: Obamacare Boogaloo

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This pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole thing.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Go vote.

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You’ll be glad you did.

Quote of the Day

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“I’m not one of those people who opposes something and then writes to the government to ask them to send us money.  I did not request any stimulus money.”

– Paul Ryan

Letter signed by Paul Ryan asking for stimulus money.

To see the full scope of this hypocrisy, here’s some video goodness.



Quotes of the Day

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From one of the few true Republicans that ever walked this Earth.

No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered – not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective – a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.
– Theodore Roosevelt, speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, “The New Nationalism” (August 31, 1910)

And one more…

“We are not attacking the corporations, but endeavoring to do away with any evil in them.  We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good.  We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


Quote of the Week

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Without a doubt, this twitter feed wins hands down as the Quote of Week.

Van Summers @VanSummers

#SCOTUS holds up free healthcare for everyone?! Screw this commie country, I’m moving to #Canada #whoswithme

I so want to see his head asplode at his first doctors appointment.

Star-spangled Awesome.

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From The Newsroom.  Truer words were never spoken.

The Newsroom – What makes America the greatest country in the world?

Karen the Bus Monitor and Internet Justice

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I’m a believer in due process, the rule of law, and letting the system take its course, even if the wheels grind slowly.  Unfortunately, if the suicides of smart but physically weak kids, kids that decide to come out as gay or who are outted by others, overweight kids, etc. are any indication, none of the aforementioned applies in the no-holds-barred arena of bullying.  Bullying is so relentless and its emotional toll so great it can make a victim of it pray for death when their pleas for justice are ignored.  With bullying, the wheels of justice tend to not grind at all.

Case in point was a headline story on this morning.  This past Monday, a school bus monitor in Greece, NY (a suburb of Rochester) was verbally abused by a group of middle-schoolers to the point of being brought to tears when one of them taunted that she did not have family because…

“… they all killed themselves because they didn’t want to be near you.”

As cruel as that comment is, the cruelty is increased tenfold by the fact that Klein’s son took his own life 10 years ago.  The only saving grace to this story was that one of the little cro-mags was stupid enough to film it with their cameraphone and then post it on their facebook page.  Then someone else took it from facebook to YouTube.  This is a saving grace because the next folks to take this ball and run with it was the community at Reddit.  Once the Reddit folks got wind of this, it went from words of support to getting other media outlets involved to getting a fundraiser started to send this beleaguered woman on vacation.  Last I heard, as of 3PM Thursday afternoon, the fund was up to $270,000.

There are a lot of messages I hope this sends to the little turds that made this woman’s life hell on (I’m sure) many other occasions that didn’t get recorded.  First, once your actions see the light of day, you will be exposed for what you are:  a sub-human (I hesitate to say ‘animal.’  Never saw animals behave this way) and something that this world can do without.  Second, you are clearly outnumbered by the amount of good people in this world, judging by the response to this.  It’s unfortunate that your dumb asses just get more press.  And the final message is that while you are wallowing in whatever punishment your shithead parents and your castrated school administration finally get pressured into giving you, Mrs. Klein will be flying first class to a tropical location where she will be driven via limo to a 5-star hotel where she will then (after an afternoon at the spa) sit pool-side where she will drink large drinks served in coconuts with little umbrellas in them while two tanned and muscular cabana boys named Raoul and Javier fan her with palm leaves, and she will rest easy in the notion that shitheads like you will never bother her again.



Quote… or should I say speech… of the day.

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Sadly, no one will ever see the tape of the guy that gave the speech because TED, a site I love and until today used to respect, won’t show it.  It was given by Nick Hanauer,  a Seattle-based venture capitalist.

It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies.  Consider this one.
If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down. 
This idea is an article of faith for republicans and seldom challenged by democrats and has shaped much of today’s economic landscape.
But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. For thousands of years people were sure that earth was at the center of the universe.  It’s not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some lousy astronomy. 
In the same way, a policy maker who believed that the rich and businesses are “job creators” and therefore should not be taxed, would make equally bad policy. 
I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.
That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a “circle of life” like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me.
So when businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it’s a little like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it’s the other way around.
Anyone who’s ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalists course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it.  In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn’t just inaccurate, it’s disingenuous.
That’s why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.
Since 1980 the share of income for the richest Americans has more than tripled while effective tax rates have declined by close to 50%. 
If it were true that lower tax rates and more wealth for the wealthy  would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs.  And yet unemployment and under-employment is at record highs.
Another reason this idea is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough superrich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the median American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, we go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.
I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can’t buy any new clothes or cars or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the vast majority of American families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages. 
Here’s an incredible fact.  If the typical American family still got today the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would earn about 25% more and have an astounding $13,000 more a year. Where would the economy be if that were the case?
Significant privileges have come to capitalists like me for being perceived as “job creators” at the center of the economic universe, and the language and metaphors we use to defend the fairness of the current social and economic arrangements is telling. For instance, it is a small step from “job creator” to “The Creator”. We did not accidentally choose this language. It is only honest to admit that calling oneself a “job creator” is both an assertion about how economics works and the a claim on status and privileges.
The extraordinary differential between a 15% tax rate on capital gains, dividends, and carried interest for capitalists, and the 35% top marginal rate on work for ordinary Americans is a privilege that is hard to justify without just a touch of deification
We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an eco-systemic  feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.
So here’s an idea worth spreading.
In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are consumers, the middle class.  And taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich. 
Thank You.
The irony of this talk not being released is that it’s now all over the news that it’s not being released by TED.  However, it is being released, and rightfully so, by everybody else.  As a result, it will get far more exposure than TED would ever give it, if its appearance on YouTube is any indication.

There are some articles you wish you could un-write.

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Apple iPhone Will Fail in a Late, Defensive Move by technology prognosticator Matthew Lynn.

Robert Reich explains private equity.

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Below is a link to a great video explaining how private equity works.  Yes, it explains why Mitt Romney is rich as hell, but that’s a point I’ll address later.  The more important thing to remember here is that it’s not just the credit default swap, but a multitude of sins that contributed to the bum-rushing, pimp-slapping, cheap-shotting, and ass-raping of the American economy.  Credit default swaps were just the most visible.  Add to that the ponzi schemes which were basically the kick to the nuts while the economy was doubled over and covering its head, and you have the current state of affairs were in today.

Before the detractors out there start screaming “Liberal media!  Liberal media!”, having worked for a company owned by a private equity firm, I can unequivocally say that many of the steps that Reich goes through I saw play out in front of my own eyes.

Reich explains private equity

When you finish watching the video, there are some uncontravertable facts you have to take into consideration this election year:

  1.  All of this is legal.  Each step in the PE process, in and of itself, is within the law.  In fact private equity firms depend on established law in order to do what they do.
  2. None of this is ethical.  The steps, when combined, illustrate a clear goal of profit via the slow bleeding of an entity, which is inherently unsustainable.  They either profit by liquidation, or they profit by artificially inflating a stock price just prior to selling it off, in order to mask debt and cost-cutting measures.