Friday, December 17, 2010

Faux News, indeed

This survey took the time to prove what I already knew: 
Those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe that most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely), most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points), the economy is getting worse (26 points), most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points), the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points), their own income taxes have gone up (14 points), the auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points), when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points) and that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points).
Faux News Channel seems a pretty appropriate moniker, after all. All of the above are false. And all of the above are talking points pushed by Fox on a nearly daily basis. The "so-called" stimulus, the "so-called" public option, the "failed stimulus" and the best of all, the Lie of the Year.

Now, how is it that the folks at Fox can just apparently just make things up and stay on the air? Maybe it's because the edict to do so from the top?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cliff Lee!

So who's your fourth starter? Hot stove season finally warmed up in always sunny Philadelphia. Cliff Lee is a Phillie (again).
Here's another Philadelphian named Lee to start off the day "shouting out loud":

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shouldn't Pretty Pictures make me feel better?

Take a look a the graph on the left and then in your best TalkingHead voice repeat after me: "Obama and the Democrats in Congress are bankrupting our nation with out of control spending."
Now giggle. There, feel better? No? How about if I tell you that the projections in the chart don't take into account the additional expenses of the new Medicare Prescription Drug Program (part D) enacted in 2003, because some of it's estimated 880 billion dollar cost is offset by savings elsewhere.
Still don't feel better?
It's stupid, and if you didn't laugh you'd cry. After 8 years of hearing how everything from 9-11 to the economy was Clinton's fault, then when Wall Street collapsed the Talking Heads on the Right had to go back to 1977 and blame Jimmy Carter for the housing crisis, suddenly the current budget crisis is the fault of the guy with less than 24 months in office. The guy that took office in the middle of the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression.
I'm not exempting Obama or the soon-to-be-defunct 111th Congress from blame. They punted on the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts all Summer, when they could have forced the Republican hand, in a vain attempt to save their majority in the House. It was a calculated bit of political cowardice that backfired, and led directly, IMHO, to the current budget-busting extension awaiting approval by Congress.
I know, I know it's a "stimulus" bill. Parts of it certainly are, but not the estate tax provision. Don't take my word for it, hear (or read) it straight from the horse's mouth.
Lower taxes on estates, capital gains, and dividends "mean they (the wealthy) won't have to invest so aggressively, or risk as much - or create so many jobs."
Higher taxes on the wealthy mean less money to leave their heirs unless they invest aggressively and grow the estate. Lower taxes means the super-rich can park their money in safe, low-yield vehicles like Municipal Bonds and still leave a never-work-a-day-in-your-life fortune to their children and grandchildren.
Guess which of these two scenarios creates jobs and encourages the kind of investment that drives the economy?
So all that rhetoric about cutting taxes so the "job creators" can "create jobs"? Hooey. Taxing the rich forces them to put their money to work, which puts Americans to work.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Find the Lady

Watch carefully folks, as Sean Hannity lambastes the left for their use of "harsh vitriol" directed at Republicans, while calling the President "The Anointed One", just one of his pet names for Barack Obama.

Careful attention as the cards move around, Follow the Lady folks. Just as his favorite pollster, Frank Luntz, tries to explain the problem is neither side takes the time to listen to the other, Hannity interrupts him.

The short con continues as Hannity, the man that just referred to the POTUS as the "Anointed One", who regularly refers to Barack Obama as a "radical Socialist", who along with Rush Limbaugh have accused him of "promoting domestic terrorism", and derisively addresses President Obama as the "Messiah" nearly daily on his radio show, innocently declares the problem is strictly attributable to "the Left" and Luntz states he "doesn't disagree". Huh?

Finally, Hannity declares ala Glenn Beck that if he were to use such harsh terms as the President and Members of Congress used this week about the President, he would be fired.

So calling the President a terrorist would get you fired, huh Sean? Then why do you still have a job?

Monday, December 06, 2010

What, me worry?

Polls confirm the obvious: Conservatives don't actually care about the debt. Nor do they care about the deficit.

They want their money, and they want it all.

Damn the consequences, and all the gnashing of teeth and hand-wringing about "the world we're leaving for our children and grandchildren" is smoke and mirrors while they pick your pocket.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Ohhh - scary food police are trying to starve us!

Glenn Beck thinks the FDA is out to starve America!

I am amazed, and stunned, and as usual Jon Stewart helps me make sense of it all.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Food, the Bad and the Ugly
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorThe Daily Show on Facebook

Friday, December 03, 2010

Nigeria Charges Dick Cheney in 419 scam!

Okay, not really. Instead they are charging him with an All-American crime, bribery.

Might I suggest some reading material for Mr. Cheney to while away his time behind bars, should his heart condition not exclude him from jail time?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Yet the rich get richer

"I mean, if we can't win that argument we might as well just fold up," he said. "These people are saying we are going to insist on tax cuts for the richest people in the country and we don't care if they are paid for, and we don't think it is a problem if it contributes to the deficit, but we are not going to vote to extend unemployment benefits to working people if they aren't paid for because they contribute to the deficit. I mean, what is wrong with that? How can it be more clear?" -- outgoing Ohio governor Ted Strickland
This interview with soon-to-be-former Ohio governor Ted Strickland is refreshingly honest, in a way that, unfortunately, is only displayed by Democrats exiting office, not those currently in office. Compromise isn't a one way street, and when the person you are attempting to compromise with is someone whose only goal is your political downfall I'd say it's a dead end street.

Or a back alley.

When up to 3.6 million Americans are gainfully employed due to legislation your opponent wanted to fail miserably because misery and controversy sell ads, and continues today to laugh about children losing health care coverage - when this is what passes for leadership from the right side of the aisle - the Left can't win that argument?

The Left, or at least the portion of the Left represented by the Democratic Party in Congress and the White House, passed major health care legislation that shaves over a trillion dollars off the deficit while covering 95% of all Americans, prevented another Great Depression and enacted legislation to reform Wall Street to help prevent a recurrence of the collapse that got us into the mess in the first place.

 Lets not even get in to the resurgent GM and the subsequent successful IPO.

All of that, a partial listing at best of recent accomplishments that directly benefit a vast majority of Americans, and the populist party is the Republican Party? The Party that insists on ending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans at Christmas? The Party that insists on a massive tax cut for the richest people in the land damn the consequences?

I wish Billy Mays was still with us. I bet he could sell the message for the Democrats.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

But because it is right . . .

Today Ted Sorenson died at age 82. He was best known as an advisor to President John F. Kennedy, and the speech writer who composed Kennedy's 1961 Inaugural Address.
Much of the language employed reflects the times, smack dab in the middle of the Cold War, but it also reflects a basic civility and respect for humanity that is easy to forget, and hard to practice. Thanks to Messrs. Stewart and Colbert for reminding us to practice basic civility, and thanks to Mr. Sorenson posthumously for his wonderful words so many years ago.

Now the trumpet summons us again -- not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need -- not as a call to battle, though embattled we are -- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation,"² a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Carlos and the Fam at the Christening

This day seems like it was yesterday. Carlos stopped by on the Mille for Evie's Baptism, I think he kinda freaked out the Monsignor when he arrived in leather jacket and helmet.
Today she started her first day at St. Martin of Tours school, the same church on the corner where she was baptized.
I have a little less hair and a couple more pounds, truth be told, but man do I feel older than I should.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Erik Buell Racing to release 1190RS street bike

It's been nearly a year since the fine folks at Harley-Davidson abruptly closed the doors on Buell Motorcycles, leaving nearly 200 people jobless in a tight economy, and stranding thousands of current Buell owners, myself included, with White Elephant motorcycles.

This is a video posted by Erik Buell the day of the announcement"

He looks like a beaten man, one whose lifelong dream to produce a great American Superbike, a bike he was on the cusp of producing, had ended.

That moment quickly passed, and Erik left HD, founding Erik Buell Racing to provide support for existing racers of Buell motorcycles, and campaign the already homologated 1125RR in American Superbike with a shoestring budget and a relatively unknown privateer named Geoff May, ostensibly pursuing what HD head Keith Wandell derisively referred to as "Erik's racing hobby".
If HD thought Erik Buell would go gently into retirement, they greatly underestimated him. Here's an interview with Geoff May, AMA Superbike rider for the Erik Buell Racing team discussing the current season, and more importantly next season, when the 1190 race bike, based on the 1190RS street bike, debuts. Yep - street bike. Less than a year after HD shut down his company, Erik Buell is announcing production of a street-legal motorcycle.

 No word on pricing or number of units planned, but if I were a betting man I'd predict the first number is steep due to economies of scale, and the second one minuscule, just enough to satisfy homologation requirements for AMA Superbike.
But I would also bet on this being just a baby step, walk before you run interlude between the HD owned Buell Motorcycles and the next generation of full production street bikes from Erik Buell. I don't know who is on board, although rumors swirl about BRP getting involved. I don't possess any insider knowledge, I just have a gut feeling that a guy who once died and came back after a crash isn't going to let a poor decision by HD stop him from pursuing his dream.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bloomberg Launches Another Impassioned Defense Of Cordoba House

Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg for pointing out the obvious. We, as Americans, must lead by example, and not let fear interfere with freedom.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New album from The National

I'm late to the party, but forgive me if I've been busy.  New album out by The National, and I caught the first single on WKDU tonight, Bloodbuzz Ohio.  Fantastic.  Stop what you're doing, watch this video, then go order the album.  Get it on vinyl.  Seriously.  Vinyl.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ask the Economist

Ask the Economist

Another great post from one of my new favorite blogs. Gosh darn it, why can't you kids be responsible with your money?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Friday, June 04, 2010

Latest Foxconn jumper violated his no-jump contract

Latest Foxconn jumper violated his no-jump contract

I would like to point out that I don't have a no-jump clause in my contract, but this is PA, so I'm at will anyway. My employer has asked that we all give adequate notice before jumping so folks can move their cars.

Monday, May 31, 2010

You need a telephone to get a job

You need a telephone to get a job. It seems a pretty fundamental idea these days. Heck, it's nearly mandatory you have Internet access to find a job with a large number companies as Craigslist continues to usurp the lowly newspaper classified ad and a large number of jobs are only advertised online. This is not to say you need to own a computer, but at the very least you must have access to a public terminal at a library and a free email address from Google/Yahoo/Hotmail etc.
Of course, with continued threats of closures and cutbacks at the Philadelphia Free Library and I am sure similar situations in other cities, that's not necessarily a viable option. If you already have a job, but are looking to better your situation, and the library cuts evening and weekend hours, or shutters the branch in your neighborhood, then what do you do? You can't go to the library to check for new job postings during the day, you're already at work.  Options?  Did you see the new cyber cafe over on Tioga? I didn't either.
I can understand folks getting upset when they hear about the Free Government Provided Cell Phone! and wonder why their tax dollars are going to fund a life of luxury for someone else. But that's not really the case. From Slacktivist: "You can't get a job at McDonald's without a phone number." Further, that incredible luxury of a Free Cell Phone (with a whopping 68 minutes a month!!) assumes a maximum monthly income for a single person of just over 1,200 dollars, or about 14,600 dollars a year. Have a kid or two? How about gross income of 24K? Priced rent in Philly recently? A recent survey found a family of four in the City of Brotherly Shove needs nearly 60K a year to survive without government assistance.
Sobering numbers, and an interesting touchstone. What are you closer to, 60K/year or millionaire status? I'm guessing a majority of folks I interact with on a regular basis are far closer to, or even below, that 60K mark. So in a sense, most folks I know, and myself and family, are a lot closer to being poor than rich and have a far higher probability of becoming the former than the latter.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Brandy, You're a Fine Girl

I took my family to Disney World a couple of weeks ago, and got to see a sizable swath of "Average Americans" all in one spot. I don't get much of a chance to observe Americanus Suburbanus very often; I avoid malls, and other places the species congregates, if at all possible.
I realized we are a nation obsessed with labels. Not just the political labels we like to hurl about. "Socialist" "Fascist" or sometimes both seem to be particularly popular these days. But clothing labels. I didn't see a plain tee-shirt all week. Each one was emblazoned with the "designer's" name in large letters across the front, often repeating it in smaller letters on the back in case we forgot while they passed.
Designer's weren't the only ones capable of duping the unsuspecting herds into purchasing a $0.50 swatch of 50/50 blend with someone else's name on it for exorbitant amounts. Hollister, store and clothing line that seems to attempt an invocation of rebellion, based on the small CA town falsely celebrated for its 1947 "riot" by the film "The Wild One" was a frequent offender. Unfortunately the clothing line mostly succeeds in producing cheap cotton-blend crap in shades not seen since the walls of my Junior High School.
Decorated, of course, with the word "Hollister" in large block print everywhere visible.
I wasn't immune to the pressure to dress "like everybody else" as a teenager, so I understand and can even empathize with "the kids". A majority of the "labelitis" was perpetrated by the parents. People my age and older, tooling a toddler in a designer stroller, wearing a Perry Ellis hat, Ralph Lauren tee-shirt, Tommy Hilfiger jeans, and Nike sneakers. A walking advertisement. Not in discreet, alligator in the pocket, style but a billboard. 48 point font across the man-boobs. An embarrassingly large "Tommy" label on the zipper, dwarfing what passes for bulge.
Surely these shirts and pants are more expensive than my no-name pocket T, Wrangler jeans, and New Balance (they come in widths) sneakers. Why would anyone pay More!!! to be a walking billboard when they can pay less to just wear clothes? I'm not fucking Amish, and I've even been known to don a Hawaiian shirt or two, but I'm not wearing someone else's advertisement unless they pay me, not vice versa.
Or at least give me the shirt for free. (hint) ;-)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm not Windows 7

I'm not a PC.  This parody of the Windows 7 ads actually points out the biggest failure with Vista, and what will probably be the ultimate downfall of the Windows franchise - trying to be all things to all people. 

From the maniacal insistence on backwards compatibility that makes security a nightmare to the kitchen-sink inclusion of new features just to say "we have search, too" Microsoft has made features, which are marketable to the masses the sales department are targeting, the goal over security, stability, and malleability. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Will Bunch pretty much nails it.
" The only insane people here are the ones who call Joe Stack a hero. He wasn't a hero. He was a coward. To see Joe Stack as something more than a two-bit killer is the greatest case of adding insult to injury that I have ever seen."

When, as an elected official of the U.S. Government, you can't take a stand against someone that murdered Government employees, Veterans of our military, or as a gubernatorial candidate instead claim that a nut-job flying a plane into a building is representative of the "hopelessness" people feel about the government these days?
I don't know about you, but murder-suicide is a cowardly act carried out by the mentally ill and deranged. Not by heroes.
Our priorities are a little bit screwed up, doncha think?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Generation Hex

According to Wikipedia my generation, Generation X, is the one that reverses the trend, the generation that does worse (by 12%) than the one preceding it.
I'd feel badly about this, except I never truly gave a fuck about the almighty dollar. Yeah, the fact that my 12 year old retirement account has nearly exactly the same amount of money in it as it had when I started it? Sucks. Thanks to George W. Bush and his 3 (THREE!!!!!) market crashes in 8 years.
But I figure I'll figure it out. After all, Gen X-ers statistically hold the highest level of education, right? Okay, maybe that's not everything. But we are the generation largely responsible for GNU/Linux so I'm pretty sure that money is both not our main interest, nor something that is actually necessary. After all, an entire operating system for free? Why worry.
We are, in fact, the generation that currently keeps the world from sucking.
Oh, and why is Paul McCartney bare-foot on the cover of Abbey Road? I don’t give a fuck.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Conan Gets Paid

Looks like Conan will get paid
Okay, I know what with the earthquake in Haiti, and any number of pressing humanitarian tragedies going on right now, a white guy getting paid 40 million dollars to quit his job is well, kinda insignificant. But I think Conan is funny. And I also think he's getting shafted by his employer, the only difference between him and me in this regard is he has a contract that ensures his employer will pay handsomely for the privilege of screwing him, whereas I, in the "right to work" (snort) state of PA, lacking representation by a proper union or Civil Servant designation, can be fired for either a) no good reason, or b) no reason at all.
Without any cause, whatsoever. In fact, a previous employer of mine went so far as to _make_stuff_up to cover their own incompetent identity-thieving screw-ups and attempted to fire me in the process. I kept my job, but lost some dignity. And some money. I kept working there, mostly because I liked the folks I worked with, and I enjoyed the job, but a small part of me stayed long enough to vest my pension, so the company some day would have to pay me back for what they tried to do.
Unions get vilified in the press a lot these days (who do a lot of pundits blame for the failure of GM and Chrysler) and no doubt they are not without blame, but stupid CEOs and upper management (hellooooo, NBC? Anyone Home?) are just as much if not more so to blame. No one vilified the cost of paying U.A.W. salaries when the U.S. Automakers were making large profits on SUVs, but when short-sighted management got caught with there pants on the groundand no small, high-quality fuel-efficient cars when gas went to $4.00 a gallon, suddenly the evil Unions were to blame.
As if the Union were responsible for the allocation of R&D dollars, Engineering resources, and "next-quarter" instead of "next 10 or 20 years" planning for the future allocations done by the boardroom.
Right, blame the folks tasked with assembling and selling a shitty product, not the folks in charge of it being a piece of shit to begin with.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Goodnight, Teddy

59 years old, left too soon. I drive by the spot where his Rolls Royce crashed on Lincoln Drive here in Philly from time to time. It always made me a little sad when I wasn't white-knuckled on the wheel (it's a truly horrible and dangerous road) but now it will feel even more melancholy.
RIP, Teddy. You were a musical hero to this Suburban Philly kid, blasting out of the center speaker on the AM radio.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Request a song

I love that my favorite band has a section on their web site to request a song at the concert you are attending. Maybe they are just acknowledging that some of us don't have the pipes to shout out "Freebird!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" from the back row anymore. Or maybe they actually want to hear what songs their fans are requesting. Either way, it's pretty cool.
Now if the show in Philly wasn't already sold out. . . Eff me for not checking email until I got home.

Monday, January 04, 2010

How much does that T-Shirt really cost?

This article gives a pretty damning list of the "costs" of a cheap cotton t-shirt. The scariest part of the entire article? Walmart and Kmart account for 25% of all clothing sold in the US. It's not scary because of the market power they wield, it's scary because of what it says about our fashion choices here in the US.

Boomtown Rats

The lead in this story is my daughter's school. She doesn't attend the high school in the former GlaxoSmithKline building, though. ...