Sunday, November 7, 2010
Hey guess what. Small business owners don't make a fucking quarter of a million dollars a year. And if they do, they then can afford to pay taxes just like real estate agents who make 250,000 dollars a year.
Matt Taibbi: Griftopia
David Harvey: The Enigma of Capital
Danny Schecter: Plunder: the crime of our time
Yves Smith: ECONned
Joseph Stiglitz: Freefall
Robert Reich: Aftershock
Robert Scheer: The Great American Stick up
It's been pretty intense. But for anyone interested in better understanding the crisis. I recommend the above for the following reasons.
Taibbi and Scheer- well written, caustic, appropriately profane, and the best job of explaining to a lay audience, without condescending, how the crisis came to pass.
Harvey - still reading, excellent, from a distinctly Marxist perspective.
Schecter - conceives of the crisis as a pre-meditated crime. Not the first book to read on the subject, but a fine addtion.
Smith - Ive written about this before. Yves Smith brilliantly blames the crisis less on greed and corruption, and more on the actual study of economics, whose widely accepted (but clearly faulty) neo-classical models led inexorably to the sort of "innovation" in the financial markets that caused the collapse. Surprisingly dense at times.
Stiglitz - a "mainstream" economist's take. Like Krugman and Reich, Stiglitz is about as far to the left as you can be and still have a job in government.
Reich - provides "next steps" to not only fix the current calamity, but create a new sort of capitalism that does not allow for the level of abuse and economic redistribution to the rich that we have seen over the past 35 years.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
"The message of the rally was that if the media stopped giving voice to the crazies on both sides, then we could restore sanity...there are no moderates on the other side. When Jon announced his rally, he said the national conversation was dominated by people on the Right who believe Obama's a Socialist and people on the Left who believe 9/11's an inside job, I can't name any Democratic leaders who think 9/11's an inside job. But Republican leaders who think Obama's a Socialist? All of them."
I really do think Jon Stewart did the country, and himself a disservice by speaking as though the fucking psychopaths on the American right are equivalent to the people on the MNSBC left. While Rachel Maddow and Keith are certainly "liberal" they are hardly radicals, and the rest of the channel, while mostly to the left of center, is far more moderate. Fox news, as Rachel Maddow said on her show Friday night, is literally a political organization masquerading as a news source. MSNBC is a news source of people who are liberals because the facts dictate a that progressive policies make more sense, in LITERALLY ALL CASES. Not because they have a biblical certitude in the inerrant moral superiority of the Democratic Party.
Having said all of the above I think Jon Stewart painted himself into a corner somewhat. Assuming he knows better than what he said on the mall, he was not in a position to be totally honest, he would come off (to much of the country), as distinctly partisan, during an event marketed as anything but. However, I still think what he did was irresponsible. Painting MSNBC and fox with the same brush does tremendous damage to legitimate media.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Nov 4, 2010, 8:28 PM EDT
Earlier this week Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos had a summit meeting. As recounted in this BBC report, the meeting was interrupted so Santos could call national hero Edgar Renteria and congratulate him on winning the World Series. Chavez, a huge baseball fan, spoke with Renteria too. And yes, that’s actually a picture of Chavez on the phone talking to Renteria.
What didn’t make the BBC report, however — but which did make it into Daniel Lozano’s report in the Spanish language paper Publico was this:
“The two leaders joked over the phone with baseball player Edgar Renteria, the star who just won the baseball title for the San Francisco Giants after 56 years. Chavez challenged him to a Caimanera (a casual game) and confessed his joy at the victory: ‘We beat Bush’s team!’”
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
As his squad distracted the third machine gunner, Inouye crawled toward the final bunker, eventually drawing within 10 yards. As he raised himself up and cocked his arm to throw his last grenade into the fighting position, a German inside fired a rifle grenade that struck him on the right elbow, severing most of his arm and leaving his own primed grenade reflexively "clenched in a fist that suddenly didn't belong to me anymore". Inouye's horrified soldiers moved to his aid, but he shouted for them to keep back out of fear his severed fist would involuntarily relax and drop the grenade. As the German inside the bunker reloaded his rifle, Inouye managed to pry the live grenade from his useless right hand and transfer it to his left. As the German aimed his rifle to finish him off, Inouye managed at last to toss the grenade off-hand into the bunker and destroy it. He stumbled to his feet and continued forward, silencing the last German resistance with a one-handed burst from his Thompson before being wounded in the leg and tumbling unconscious to the bottom of the ridge. When he awoke to see the concerned men of his platoon hovering over him, his only comment before being carried away was to gruffly order them return to their positions, since, as he pointed out, "nobody had called off the war".[8
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
An excellent book, from the cover I had feared it might be a little too poppy, but was surprisingly dense - as a warning to anyone looking for a more casual, pop-economics kind of read.
Places the blame for the financial crisis and the wide disparity between classes in American society less on specific policies maintained by Reagan republicans and Clinton democrats then on the STUDY of economics itself.
She condemns the neo-classical models that give what is essentially a soft science the airs of a hard science. These models assume perfect information and perfect competition, things which absolutely do not exist in American economic life. Despite their immediate and obvious lack of applicability, these models are used to inform policy decisions at the highest level.Their veneer of mathematical inscrutability intimidates non "experts" from engaging in discussion, and cows the public into excepting too willingly the policy initiatives of the biased decision makers at the top.
Friday, October 29, 2010
I just listened to his podcast on the oracle at delphi, the new one is about unicorns, also available for free - imaginary numbers, the spanish armada, german thinkers of the 1800s, it's so great.
Please listen to it.
Also: archives available for online listening here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/archive/a/all
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
“I’d like to be a crossword clue one day,” he said. “I want to be in The New York Times’s Sunday edition. Right now, the clue ‘Giants great’ is always Mel Ott. I want my clue to be down, not across. The down ones are usually harder. And when I’m the clue, I’ll fill it in — just that one — and frame it.
“How sweet would that be?”
Prop A - Yes - 46 million dollars to retrofit affordable housing units
Prop B - NO!!!!! - makes public employees pay way more for retirement and health care
Prop C - Yes - mayor appearances at board, the mayor has to show up once a month to answer questions in public
Prop D - YES - allows noncitizen parents whose kids are in public schools to vote in School Board elections, even if they can't vote otherwise, right now, 1/3 of all public school children have parents who are not legally allowed to help make school decisions!
Prop E YES - you can register ON election day to vote for local measures, easier to vote, harder to forget to register
Prop F - NO
Prop G - NO - seems to unfairly punish MUNI drivers
Prop H - NO - would bar some elected officials from political party committees, the word on the street is that Gavin Newsom wants to do this to punish people who have been attacking him from the left. Maybe not constitutional
Prop I - YES - Saturday voting - polls open the saturday before election day, makes no fucking sense to vote on Tuesday, weekend voting will help people work who feel like they cannot take the time off from work
Prop J - YES - raises the hotel tax b y 2% - raises 35 million dollars annually for SF
Prop K - NO - if it passes, prop J fails (weird)
Prop L - NO - illegal to sit on sidewalks
Prop M - YES - cops have to walk a beat, be more part of community, etc
Prop N YES - bring in 36 million dollars by increasing taxes on large property/ real estate purchases
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
When Glenn Beck says that evolution is silly because "[he has] yet to see a half man half monkey", we can all laugh/ shudder/ cringe. But what is essential to remember is that this sort of backwards, and either desperately confused or incredibly dishonest, thought process skews our entire conversation to a point where it cannot be. We spend time giving solace to the faithful by being forced to 'debate' this sort of claim, rather than treat him like the raving lunatic he is.
His is a dangerous opinion. The way we have put religion on a pedestal is A WAY BIGGER DEAL THAN ANYONE TALKS ABOUT. The fact that we need to "debate" stem cell research has retarded scientific progress for ten years in this country. At the rate at which scientific knowledge increases we are literally unable to conceive of the advances lost to this asinine - would be funny if it weren't tragic- debate. A debate that we WOULD NOT HAVE if it weren't for the fact that religion somehow demands our respect.
Alzheimer's. Cancer. Aids. Who the fuck knows. Religion is KILLING PEOPLE.
This is not about gay marriage or abortion. Of course I care about those things, but they aren't the biggest problem. Not by a mile. It is not about extremism, or terrorist bombers. Although of course I hate those things to. It is about the fact that religion in this country skews the dialogue and the debate to a point where we are not able to educate our citizens, save their lives through medicine, or ask honest and necessary questions to our potential elected officials.
Sarah Palin believes that the world is going to end in her lifetime. She believes that that is a GOOD thing, she was almost in a position to make crucial decisions on nuclear weapon deployment, war, the environment. How can someone who believes that the end of the world is good make responsible decisions about any of the above.
Christine O'Donnel is a joke. But not for the right reasons. She's a joke because she believes masturbation is adultery, so what, at least she is logically consistent. Harry Reid believes that "heavenly father" lives on the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON!
I don't respect religion, I won't pretend to.
prop 20 - CA redistricting - no on 20 (see comments on Adam's blog for why)
prop 21 - State Park Fee (18 dollars to get an annual license to get into state parks, would save 200 million dollars that the gov't would reinvest in schools, etc) Yes
prop 22- state borrowing local funds - someone help me understand this better
prop 23- NO (would remove regulations to address global warming until unemployment returns to 5.5% or lower)
prop 24- YES tax fairness act - stops businesses from finding tax loopholes
Prop 25- YES (majority vote on budget) - makes it possible to make decisions on budget with a 50% majority of state legislature, rather than a 2/3rd majority
Prop 26 - NO (would make it harder, by requiring a 2/3 vote at the local level, to make polluters clean up, increase state deficit, funded by Exxon and Phillip Morris)
Prop 27 - YES (see 20)
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
only 4'10'', the former secretary of labor requires only 40%
of the resources of a taller or "normaller" sized man
His platform for economic recovery. Thoughts?
1) reverse income tax: Workers earning 20,000 or less annually receive a wage supplement of 15,000. This amount to decline incrementally up the income scale, i.e., if you make 30,000, you get 10,000, if you make 40,000 you get 5,000, if you earn 50,000+ you get nothing.
tax rate for those who make between 50,000-90,000 is 10%
tax rate for people who make between 90,000-160,000 20%
(this would cost 620 billion- much of which would be moved back into the economy through increased spending)
2) Carbon Tax: to detailed to repeat here, would raise 120 billion a year at 35 dollars per metric ton
3) Higher Marginal Tax Rates on the wealthy: top 1% (410,000+) pay 55%, top 2% (260,000+) pay 50%, top 5%, (160,000+) 40%, this would raise 600 billion.
4) wage insurance anyone who loses their job and takes a new job that pays less will receive 90% of the difference from the government for 2 years - extra years to be added if those workers are engaged in re-training
5) School Vouchers based on income
6) College Loans linked to subsequent earnings: graduates pay a fixed 10% interest rate on loans for first ten years of full time work into fund that finances public colleges and provides loans to students attending private colleges, after ten years, loans would be considered paid.
7) Medicare for all
8) overturning that fucked up supreme court case that lets corporations give all that money!
Monday, October 4, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
I know I am preaching to the choir (hah!) here, but why is it that no moves are being made to hold the Catholic Church responsible for the large sale organized rape and subsequent cover-up of children?
The Pope is going to be in the UK this week, and a number of humanists/ atheists, etc are lobbying hard for his arrest. Of course there is a 0% chance of this happening, and for any number of reasons, those in favor of the legal persecution of the pontiff have been marginalized as fringe radicals.
a new book is coming out in the US in October (already out in UK). The case of the Pope: Vatican accountability for Human Rights Abuse. It was put together by Geoffrey Robertson, a human rights lawyer in Britain.
the blurb reads
""The Case of the Pope" delivers a devastating indictment of the way the Vatican has run a secret legal system that shields paedophile priests from criminal trial around the world. Is the Pope morally or legally responsible for the negligence that has allowed so many terrible crimes to go unpunished? And, should he and his seat of power, the Holy See, continue to enjoy an immunity that places them above the law? Geoffrey Robertson QC, a distinguished human rights lawyer and judge, evinces a deep respect for the good works of Catholics and their church. But, he argues, unless Pope Benedict XVI can divest himself of the beguilements of statehood and devotion to obsolescent canon law, the Vatican will remain a serious enemy to the advance of human rights."
Thursday, September 16, 2010
No one seems to question the idea that the constitution, and its subsequent ratification are good things. They may be abused, they may have flaws, but it is essentially...well, essential to our history that they were eventually agreed upon by the states .
If it hadn't been so brilliantly written (and it was brilliant, if only from a political and political-philosophy standpoint), it would not have been adopted by all the states, and today, we would most likely simply be a large conglomeration of countries.
My question is, so what? why is it necessarily so great that I have to live in the same country as people from jerk states!
If we were all different countries...would it be so bad? Would Alabama be in the third world? Would we have better rail systems and more backpackers? Would we all hate immigrants from the Dakotas?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
This is always discussed as a mark of the racism of the period, "black people were treated so poorly, that they were only worth 60 percent...." In fact, its more complicated, and maybe more racist than all that. Black slaves were not "valued"at 3/5ths, they were valued at 0. They certainly did not recieve 60% of property rights or basic liberty, they received 0% of those things.
3/5ths is only the degree to which slaves would be counted in southern states in order to determine the correct number of representatives each could send to the house.
The slave owning planter class of the south, who were certainly (by and large) more racist than the northerners at the constitutionally congress, wanted slaves counted just like everyone else - why? It would give them more votes.
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was one of the leading spokesman of the slave-owning southerners (S. Carolina), ironically, he was 3/5ths forehead
It was the men of the north, none of whom were slave owners who did not want African slaves counted at all. The more that slaves were valued at, the more power and influence the south would have to expand the slave trade. - As I mentioned in my previous post, Thomas Jefferson would not have won the election of 1800 were it not for the extra votes apportioned to the Southern States due to the black population. -
The 3/5ths compromise is not a compromise on the true worth of a black slave, that was not on the table, it was a compromise over how to measure the property of the states in order to properly apportion the representatives sent to the House.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
This is really not any issue often discussed, but it is a tremendous problem, and has been throughout American history.
A long lived Supreme Court justice, is almost ALWAYS out of step with the rest of American Society. There have been some exceptions (Earl Warren - ironically appointed by a Conservative Republican administration being the most notably example), but take a gander at some of these I-just-wasn't-made-for-these-times judges.
appointed 1801 by John Adams.
The Federalist party was the first "party" in American History, Washington, Hamilton, Adams were Federalists. 1800 was the first truly brutal presidential election in the US, Adams vs Jefferson, Jefferson won (he would have lost if it were not for the extra votes apportioned to the south by the infamous 3/5ths clause - more on this later). The Federalists were basically done as a real party by the end of TJ's second term. Madison and Monroe ran basically unopposed.
But there was always John Marshall, he was on the bench until 1835...THIRTY FIVE years after the last member of his party was elected to national office outside of New England.
The specifics of his cases are not the exciting, but he made a career out of ruining the days of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson - none of whom were members of his party.
By the time of his death, there was not a single congressman identifying as a Federalist.
Roger Taney (avenue)
my street is named after this scumbag.
nominated by Jackson in 1835 (the year of Marshall's death), He was on the court until his death, during the Civil War (1864). He was the deciding vote on the Fugitive Slave Law - wherein (to paraphrase Jon Stewart), Dred Scott fought in court for years to gain his freedom, finally, his hard work was rewarded when it was decided that he was A - still a slave, and B - not a person, but a piece of property to be bought and sold.
appointed by Grover Cleveland. 30 years later, he declared INCOME TAXES UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
appointed by Reagan. opposed gay marriage, wanted to overturn Roe V Wade, and so on.
These are not random examples. They are the four longest tenured Chief Justices, in descending order of length (and convenient chronological order).
They were all older than Chief Justice John Roberts was when he was appointed.
He fucking crazy are that guy's anti-gay wingnut positions going to seem in 2030?
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
I think it's a fine idea for everyone to have a reserve of snappy action film witticisms prepared in advance.
For example. If you ever have to shoot a pop star, you could say, "your next single's gonna be number one...with a bullet".
Thursday, July 29, 2010
He refused to publish in his own language as long as Germany occupied Norway.
Ultimately, it is one of the greatest adventure stories of all time, a classic three part Viking Epic, a modernist work that manages to tell the stories of Orm Ortesson with such a slight contemporary tough that a quick reading would leave the reader feeling that they had simply read a non-stop page turning, brilliantly written epics.
Further examination shows a subtle modern touch, commentaries on the essential lunacies of all dogma (particularly religious), biting humor, and a defiant statement on the essential freedom that the author refused to give up, in the face of Extraordinary pressure on the part of the Nazi controlled Norwegiens.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
All I can drink.
I'm reading a book called the long ships. It's a viking epic written in 1941. It's one of the most entertaining things I've read in a long time, and I really can't recommend it highly enough, particularly to Chris, and then...maybe Sterling.
I have a row to myself. But I still cants sleeps.
The new Real World is just the best. Knight? C'mon for a second with how much I like that guy already!
J.S. season 2 premiers on Thursday - Wi and Anno - too much to ask for you to wait a few days to watch the first eppy with me? c u sune!!!!
Thanks the for the ride Julie!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
it really was one of the best things I've ever seen live.
They spoke for over 3 hours.
Conan talked about the monorail episode of the Simpsons for 25 minutes.
Andy was hilarious.
Conan did a very funny Jay Leno impression.
They got really, really (charmingly) drunk. Really.
retweet (Patton Oswalt) pattonoswalt Leaving Andalu Restaurant -- heading for the Herbst. @conanobrien and @andy_richter are seriously hammered. about 4 hours ago
Monday, July 12, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
It was Michael Jackson tribute night, which is rad, the DJs main ``move`` was playing 1.5 minutes of michael jackson songs, muting the volume during the chorus and making 300 brazilians shout ``rock with you``.
There are 18 million people here. We are staying on the 25th floor of a giant building in our cousins apartment. She has views of the city, and it basically looks like of Manhattan was 25 times larger than it is. Its sort of hallucinatory and futuristic in that in seems to never end, and a polluted haze rests over everything.
In spite of that, I like the city, it feels very distinctly south american, in that their are giant ferns everywhere and things that look like asparagus but inside have wierd banana goop.
Last night we had dinner with 15 cousins.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
By this I mean, when someone...I dunno, let's say Homer (whether or not that's true), wrote them Odyssey, he did not intend (obviously)for the text to sound antiquated and "classic", he meant for it to be exciting and new.
Some translators think that the truest way to translate something is to (without verging on parody), making it sound contemporary.
I don't know how I feel about that at all, but I think it's reasonably interesting.