Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Big surprise! The Obama tax plan saves you more tax money. Well, unless you're a plutocrat or oligarch.
Its not like I wasn't going to vote for Obama anyway. Its just that tax policy, despite being an adult (sort of) and tax payer for the last fifteen years, I've never really felt is really as important as things like foreign policy, national defense and domestic issues like conservation, farm policy, etc... Anyhow, it only caught my interest a bit more because I had a Facebook dialogue with an old friend who is a small business owner in which he claimed he was voting for McCain because he did not want to pay higher taxes under Obama. Aforementioned page does not talk about taxes on business, nor am I in the slightest bit aware of any kind of business tax policy in this country. It just reinforced my agitation with the American peoples' inability to see a bigger picture, long run world view.
This old friend is a good person. His opinion is valid. I just don't think its that well informed or imbued with any sense of community or broad world view. I know other people who wretch about the Federal Government specifically because of the tax issue. Every time I hear it, it sounds incredibly selfish no matter who says it. It would make more sense and sound a great deal better to complain about how the money is used or where it goes or the priority of those who are managing it. And yes, it does suck to send your hard earned dollars to the Government every year, but so what? No one likes it. Quit your whining and look to the bigger issues that, when dealt with to a solution, will do more to cut your taxes and improve your quality of life than just voting for a man or party that says you get to keep your money. Think about it like taking your medicine.
Sure I am talking in broad strokes and generalizations are easy. So? Its my blog and I'll do what I want. And I have been for over three years now. May I make it three more. Good day.
P.S. d.a. has some more depth on why the fiscal conservatism thing blows.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
We're all so proud of GG Deviant.
Perhaps they both know its nearly over.
One can only hope, really. No kidding.
And yet nothing bad happened. Amazing.
(Photo credit: Reflections Photography)
Sunday, April 27, 2008
How I roll...
A while back, I posted on the quandary of getting a second car. The choice was between the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid. After a long process of research and test-driving, we bought the Prius. We've driven 3,000 miles in it so far and have been pleased with every mile we've driven in it.
In the time that we've owned it, we've gotten a few questions about it and I've found our answers surprise people. As does the car, itself, when they see it first hand. So, right now we're averaging over 48 mpg. The official statistic is 47 mpg in the city, 45 mpg on the highway. At the end of the day, it all depends on how you drive. Our area is sort of hilly and as there are a fair number of aggressive drivers in northern Jersey, so stomping on the gas pedal is a frequent requirement.
Last point on mpg; you have to factor the load and the season. I've noticed that when its really cold out and you are running the heat, the real time mpg average takes a while to get to where it ought to be. I would guess that the same is applicable in the summer with air conditioning running. And naturally, if you are carrying more than just yourself, your averages drop slightly. That being said, the car has great pick up, regardless of these factors. Its no sports car, but it gets the job done.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle. As of fall 2007, this conflict has cost the United States over 3,800 dead and over 28,000 wounded. Allied casualties accounted for another 300 dead. Iraqi civilian deaths--mostly at the hands of other Iraqis--may number as high as 82,000. Over 7,500 Iraqi soldiers and police officers have also been killed. Fifteen percent of the Iraqi population has become refugees or displaced persons. The Congressional Research Service estimates that the United States now spends over $10 billion per month on the war, and that the total, direct U.S. costs from March 2003 to July 2007 have exceeded $450 billion, all of which has been covered by deficit spending. No one as yet has calculated the costs of long-term veterans' benefits or the total impact on Service personnel and materiel.The war's political impact also has been great. Globally, U.S. standing among friends and allies has fallen.2 Our status as a moral leader has been damaged by the war, the subsequent occupation of a Muslim nation, and various issues concerning the treatment of detainees. At the same time, operations in Iraq have had a negative impact on all other efforts in the war on terror, which must bow to the priority of Iraq when it comes to manpower, materiel, and the attention of decisionmakers. Our Armed Forces-- especially the Army and Marine Corps--have been severely strained by the war in Iraq. Compounding all of these problems, our efforts there were designed to enhance U.S. national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East.As this case study is being written, despite impressive progress in security during the surge, the outcome of the war is in doubt. Strong majorities of both Iraqis and Americans favor some sort of U.S. withdrawal. Intelligence analysts, however, remind us that the only thing worse than an Iraq with an American army may be an Iraq after the rapid withdrawal of that army.... No one has calculated the psychopolitical impact of a perceived defeat on the U.S. reputation for power or the future of the overall war on terror. For many analysts (including this one), Iraq remains a "must win," but for many others, despite the obvious progress under General David Petraeus and the surge, it now looks like a "can't win."Via TPM. Full document: (PDF).
Update: And Bumpa Deviant responds: "and all of that was predicted by people in the know before we started the war...and it was ignored by those who wanted to start the war regardless of the facts."
Ta to teh DCeiver.
Now, note that his Holy See-ness is talking up a storm re: pedophilia abuses and the Church. Talk is one thing. Action is another. When he acts in some palpable papal way to sort out the sick individuals who abused kids hiding under the cassock of the church, then I'll listen. Gladly. Until then, Joey Ratz will remain purely symbolic and, for the most part, empty.
Is he even going to Boston?
Update: Nod to Checkypantz - Papapalpable –adjective [pay-puh-pal-puh-bull]: Definitive, appreciable action on the Pontiff's part as a follow-through to statements made in efforts to address abhorrent problems. (alternative spelling - popapalpable)
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The world is weary of the narrative of American exceptionalism. Something’s the matter with something. Guns and God, Hillary’s latest mantra, won’t set America right. Nor will 100 years in Iraq.Nod to Mr. Biglin for tipping me to it.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
I wonder if she recalls this:
The Constitution of the United StatesAmendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Clinton is the new Humphrey
For those whose history is a bit fuzzy, the Democratic Party was to nominate its candidate for the Presidency that would run against the Republican’s nominee, Richard Nixon, and determine how the United States would conduct itself in the Vietnam War. The Democrats’ options were Lyndon Johnson's Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, and Eugene McCarthy. Mr. Humphrey did not participate in any primaries but controlled enough delegates to secure the nomination. The popular vote, however, belonged to McCarthy. From what I glean in speaking with the boomer generation, he was the anti-war candidate and the young person's favorite for those inclined to vote for a Democrat.
Vice President Humphrey sought to continue President Johnson's policies regarding the war. Mr. McCarthy campaigned for immediate withdrawal from Vietnam. History tells us that relations between the two sides of the argument were not rosy. Humphrey, through despotic maneuvering, got the nomination. Rioting followed that got very ugly. Moreover, it fractured and more or less ruined the Democratic Party for years to follow. If the nomination had gone the other way, no one can say for sure what would have happened or where we would be today. What is certain is that Communism in Asia was a red herring that cost too much American blood and treasure.
The cyclical nature of history is awesome. Once again, our nation is involved in an unpopular war abroad and a majority of Americans want to withdraw our forces from the Iraqi theatre. Once again, we have two Democratic candidates who are on either side of this issue. While Hillary Clinton, unlike Humphrey, is running a competitive primary campaign to win the Party's nomination, it is very much like 1968 in that as of this writing, she has, arguably, enough super delegates to take the nomination despite not controlling a majority of elected delegates. She falls well short of an appreciable majority in the popular vote as well. May history write that when you’ve said “Wisconsin, you’ve said it all.”
Barack Obama probably has more momentum than Eugene McCarthy did in '68. We can certainly hope so. Polls and general observation suggest that he is the young people's candidate for change and ending the war. The Clintons embody the Boomer generation’s last, definitive grasp on power. While the contest is far from over, the political weather vein is suggesting that Hillary’s campaign is gradually spiraling into failure. Still, there is a lingering fear that she may attempt to clinch the party’s nomination through the use of super delegates. It would be her first step on an imperiously laden road to hell paved with “good” intentions.
It is surely a common human quality to, once invested in something, be reluctant to let it go. This is certainly the case when a presidential candidate such as Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Call it the fog of war or not seeing the forest through the trees. The bigger picture here is that the Clinton campaign sits on the cusp of both history and hubris. From here to the Convention will show which she will follow more truly.
What is clear is that if Hillary attempts to grab the nomination without the support of the popular vote, there will almost certainly be riots again. Obama is clearly the youth candidate and that is the future of the Democratic Party. Be Obama the right or wrong choice, Hillary Clinton must abide by that choice or whatever ill comes down the road for the Democrats rests completely and solely on her shoulders. Until the Convention, progressives can only hope for a well situated, nearly altruistic moment of clarity for Senator Clinton or a total avalanche victory for Obama in the upcoming primary contests. Fingers crossed.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Theory of Gambling & Statistical Logic
Epstein, Richard A. 1977
“Gambling being one of the few constants of the human condition…”
Here, the author subtly equates gambling and all of its related areas (i.e. money, profit, commodities, loss, etc…) to prostitution.
- Step 1. Get money or like valued commodity.
- Step2. Crack nut on colloquial system of probability based games of chance.
- Step 3. With cracked nut, enter aforementioned arena and crush all competitors with mathematical precision.
- Step 4. Evaluate lessons derived from success and seek out comparable arenas/markets.
- Step 5. Compile debt as currency and use said capital to found small island empire where prostitution of any sort is legal because Richard Epstein said so.
- Other themes:
- Stuff[i]: As relates to things Epstein alludes to which, as sub-textual Freudian analysis will reveal, all center around his mother and feelings of inadequacy. Inadequacy leads to mastery of numbers and delusional notions of grandeur fostering aspirations of empire and despotic rule.
[i] Inferences made while hallucinating on overdose of Novocain. Given assurances of Novocain’s lack of psychotropic qualities, figured it was “for real” and warranted mention given potential merit to understanding of author’s work.
All apologies for this sophomoric attempt at humor at Mr. Epstein’s expense which, I am sure is a subject of significant value to you who are, indirectly but chiefly responsible for my continued employment.