Thursday, January 17, 2013

Telemarketing Can Be Funny

This morning my phone rang, unusual in itself, and a lady with a nice voice was on the other end.  She told me that this was my second warning that my vehicle warranty was running out.  I thought, hmmm, and looked out the window.  Sure enough, my 1974 K5 Blazer was still parked next to the house.

Yeah, I think the warranty has run out.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Suicide? Please Stop For A Moment

This story in the NYT about Aaron Swartz has brought into my thoughts a topic I'd really like to leave alone, suicide. I've had my own collision with this and for various reasons I've had to go back to it and I really, really don't want to.  I will do it because I don't want other people to have to know what I know about this.  I'll use words to try to tell you about something that you won't truly understand unless you're a member of the group impacted by a suicide, and honest to god, you really do not want to ever truly understand.

We're the ones you leave behind.  We're the ones who cannot sort it out, we cannot ever know your mind.  We're left with nothing but guesses, what ifs, and whys.  Maybe you think you can leave a note that'll lay it all out, it won't.  I know, for reasons I won't go into, the blackness and despair that put you here and I'll tell you that your best efforts will not explain and fix what it is you're contemplating.  You are going to break some one's heart, you are going to crush them with a weight they cannot fix.  Someone loves you, someone really does care and you are going to do to them what it is you're thinking to escape.  If you could explain yourself, if you could express what is happening you'd be working your way out of it - the results of this act will leave the survivors in the same position.  I'm going to go with the assumption that this isn't your desired end result.

I am very close to the 25th birthday of clean and sober so I have reason to know that comebacks are possible and I do mean comebacks from a bad hopeless appearing place.  There really isn't much good I can say about that person, back then, and not many others held any hope for him - but some, in the face of all evidence, did.  Those people are there and you are not in a good position to see it, any more that I was.  What you see is not what all others see and what you think and feel is not what all others do.  You are proposing to make that decision for them, whether your life counts, and you don't get to.  Your life will count to them whatever you decide and they will have to deal with that.  The people who care don't know that you believe they don't and so you don't know that they do care.  People cannot read your mind   All the science, philosophy, and empathy in the world do not grant anyone the ability to read a mind, and you can't read theirs - either.

I do not propose to judge the morality of suicide, I don't have the right to do that - for anyone other than myself.  I do have the right to talk about the consequence of it and beyond the right I have intimate knowledge.  You can tell me and yourself that my situation is different and that I just don't understand and yes, maybe I do only have bits and pieces but I have enough to tell you that in this state of mind you cannot make an informed judgement about others' depth of caring and love.  I'm just a guy typing on the internets?  Yes,  I am that and I'll tell you that a guy not given to emotional displays is sitting here typing with tears running down his cheeks and swallowing hard.  My boy wrote that he was doing a favor for angry disappointed parents and a world he couldn't function in and I'll tell you that in the face of all that anger and disappointment my heart is broken and what was broken will never, ever heal.  I won't get over it, I'll get by it - I'll keep on because that's what I have to do and what I do, but I'll carry this for my forever.

If you're not dying of some horrid terminal disease, it is not too late to do something about it.  You cannot undo a past, you cannot fix it - but the future is indeterminate, it is not fixed.  I won't say something trite like, "you can be anyone you please," but I will tell you that you are not stuck where you are.  You may not have it at the moment, but hope can be had.

Writing this hurts like hell.  I'm doing this because if I can help save one person from having the knowledge that I have it makes an awful lot of things worth something.  I have this because my son did this and if his doing it helps someone else not do it, then that is something, anyhow.  I don't have much of him now, some photographs and memories, so if this gives something back - I'll have that also, even if I don't know about it.

Please stop for a moment and give someone a chance to show you that it matters, it'll only cost you a few minutes and a little bit of risk; really not much in the face of what you're considering.  Hell, if nothing else - I'm pretty easy to find.  Just take a moment, please.

Chuck Butcher, Nick's Dad Forever

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Gun Debate, You Really Want To Persuade?

In the gun issue, as in almost any sensitive one, there are two essentially radicalized positions with most people not having anything to do with either.  On one side you've got the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, and assorted loons and then on the other you've got Michael Bloomberg, Jesse Jackson, and the Bradys and taken all together about as much stupidity and over-heated rhetoric as I've seen since... well the last time anything touchy came up.

Now look here, if you think that the idea of putting armed guards in every school, church, or other gathering area makes any sense - you've gotten yourself seriously derailed.  If you think you're going to persuade anybody that isn't already all the way over in your corner of the loony bin you've missed your calling as a seller of bridges.  If you think you're going to gain any ground with somebody that knows just even a little bit about firearms by telling them that AR15s are going to shoot down airplanes and stop trains or that Mayor of a place where you can own a firearm if you're rich and/or well-connected but otherwise suck it, well you can have the other corner from Wayne.  That is straight up political calculus.

Most people in the US do not get their knickers in a twist about firearms, one way or the other.  They may look at an incident and think, "wow, that just cannot keep happening," but they don't want Bloomberg's version of reality or LaPierre's.  People who own guns don't want to be shouted at that they're evil any more than non-owners want to be shouted at and called weak-kneed pussies and the ones trying to make up their minds don't want to be called stupid.  That is straight up political calculus.

Wayne LaPierre and his loons and Michael Bloomberg and his loons are not persuadable.  I don't give a damn how many facts and statistics you provide to either group - they are not going to go along with anything other than their pet hobby horse.  You can forget them and for the sake of your sanity you should turn the sound off when either bunch starts up.  You are not going to get reality based anything from them and your thinking is not going to be improved and your decision making will only be impaired.

This is an actually serious issue.  This is not a "you didn't build that" kind of dust-up.  It isn't about semantics and it isn't about what something looks like - it is about fucking carnage and it is about something important enough to be enshrined in the Bill of Rights and stupidity is not a guarantee of anything other than just that - stupid results.  The only reason to have this discussion at all is to do something constructive in regard to a problem and that involves addressing goddam realities.  There are realities regarding who can get guns and how they can get them, there are realities involved in what a particular type of gun is and what it does and why it does that, and I could go on and on and on about just how many things bear on this issue and none of this stupidity has any bearing at all.  I'm sick of it and I'm sick of feeling as though any time I spend on this would be as well spent sitting in the corner sucking on my thumb.

You have a legislative process that is currently being driven by people who are ignorant of the function of a particular firearm proposing to deal with that particular firearm and people whose view of the Second Amendment makes it a suicide pact.  This has got to stop, it has got to be stopped in its tracks.  I agree that this needs to be addressed expeditiously or the populous will move on the the next hare-brained thing our pols get up to and it'll just hang fire and that isn't good enough, but - and this counts - rushing to do any old thing won't do the job, anyhow.

Ammunition capacity is a real thing, access to firearms purchase is a real thing, our war-like culture is a real deal, our mental health disaster is a real thing, the complete unreality around firearms offered up by media is an issue, the ignorance we inculcate in our children is an issue.  We have very real things to deal with and we can do some things short-term and mostly long-term to address these real things.  We do not need to be wasting time playing at people's fantasies.

(Yeah, I know - I'll just go piss into the wind and accomplish just as much)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Firearms Stupidity Continues... A Primer On Knowing What You're Talking About

The problem with this kind of discussion it its length.  It won't fit a portion of a five minute TV presentation and it is, frankly, longer than most will tolerate in an internet posting.  It isn't full of shocking rheroric and immediate points made.  I don't give a damn about talking points and I don't give a damn about emotional appeals.

I'm getting increasingly aggravated by absolute stupidity put forward as a part of the discussion regarding gun regulation.  When you get someone like Jesse Jackson getting on the TV and talking about being able to shoot down airplanes or stop trains with an "assault rifle" and not be questioned you've reached the stratosphere of ludicrous.  Airplanes are in fact vulnerable to gun fire (and a well thrown rock) at take-off and landing and thereafter... forget about it and then... a train???  In regard to gunfire and trains, you could watch films of P51 Mustangs or P47 Thunderbolts shooting up trains and start to get an idea of what it takes.  On the other hand you have complete idiots like Wayne LaPierre whose stupidity I can't begin to address.

Let me be about as clear as I know how, we do actually need to do something in regard to gun violence in this country.  Needing to do something is not carte blanche for stupid behavior.  If you recognize the insanity of things like our drug policies, our terrorism policies, our disregard of the 4th and 5th Amendments, and pretty much on and on in regard to law enforcement you need to stop and look at during just exactly what environment those abortions were enshrined.

If you take a look at post-Prohibition propaganda and our War on Drugs you can start to get an idea of what kinds of stupidity can drive legislation.  The War on the Mafia morphed into things that bear almost no relationship to our Constitutional ideas of law enforcement which then morphed onto drugs, terror, general law enforcement.

Ugly guns have become the focus.  There are two things that separate those guns from others - their appearance and their magazine capacity.  Looks don't have a damn thing to do with anything - function is what is at issue.  This is the part that somehow gets missed and it is the crux of any issue regarding any particular type of firearm, or damn near any object.  If there is a problem surrounding these particular objects it is their ammunition capacity because their operational function is common with a huge number of other firearms that are not even mentioned.

The deadliness of a firearm has to do with three factors: its overall fire rate, bullet performance, and accuracy.  These things don't have a simple one or two word description, they are in fact complicated issues which is why there are so many types and varieties within type of firearms.  Whatever it is you've seen out of Hollywood regarding a gun it is almost surely stupidly wrong and done for no more than dramatic effect.

Starting at the back end of my list with accuracy you hit one of the most complicated of the bunch.  Putting a bullet where it is supposed to be is a subject for an entire book. The factors are so broad and so variable that I'm not even going to bother with listing a couple and this is outside the interest of this article and an aspect to be covered under another of the factors.

Bullet performance is generally typed under ballistics and this matters in regard to what happens with a hit and in respect to accuracy that is narrowly relevant here.  There is a very good reason people hand load, beyond getting cheaper bullets.  What a bullet is made of and its shape matters, steel is a part of a bullet for armor piercing, copper jackets decrease deformation on hit and hold the bullet together a bit more, then things like hollow point to increase mushrooming of a bullet on impact bear on damage.  Velocity and weight are large determinants of bullet behavior.  Bullet energy matters and that is made up of velocity and weight but it is not the be-all-end-all.  You can equal out energy by varying either weight or velocity because a high velocity light round can have the same energy as a slow heavy round but what happens on impact varies wildly within that equation.  A slow heavy round will go through things that will shatter or stop a fast light round.  A 30-06 hunting round at 150 grains and 2600 feet per second will do things an AR15 .223 at 55-80 grains and 2900 fps will not do.  In Jesse Jackson's ridiculous scenario that hunting round have much more serious consequences than the assault rifle round.  Recoil is also an issue that has to do with weight and velocity, covered later. 

Fire rate is a huge factor in something like the mass killings we've seen.  Semi-automatic firearms work by firing a round and loading the next into the camber with that firing without manually cocking the firearm.  This is taken as the crux of "assault weapons" and yet that feature is accomplished in many ways by many other completely different firearms.  A double action revolver mechanically advances the cylinder with each trigger pull, recoil is used to cock and chamber most pistols (semi-auto Glocks, Colts, on and on) and gas operation or recoil on rifles and shotguns.  What that boils down to is the ability to fire as fast as the trigger can be operated and that stops when the capacity is exhausted and then the next set of rounds must be mechanically inserted and chambered.  Being able to operate the trigger does not mean the ability to hit a target, the bullet will hit something and that can be bad.  A couple factors matter and it isn't simple.  The physical dimensions of the firearm affect how quickly it can be moved, weight and length matter in that respect.  Recoil is the big one in rapid firing and this one is somewhat complex.  Newton laid this one out a long time ago.

For each action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  If you use contained gas expansion to send a weighty object in a direction at high velocity that container is going to try to go in the opposite direction.  Thanks to the shape and rifling twist modern firearms tend to go back and up and to the right.  This effect's dimensions are driven by the gas expansion, projectile weight, and firearm weight in resistance.  Quite simply, when you fire the gun it is no longer pointed where it was and just how much it isn't pointed there is quite variable.  (regarding Hollywood - if you could knock somebody flying with a gun it would knock you flying just as much minus the weight of the gun)

In the realm of a mass shooting the only thing that sets an "assault rifle" out is its ammunition capacity at one moment.  It is the ability to fire consecutively a large number of rounds.  If a person wants to do something useful in regard to an item it is important to address what there is about the item that sets it aside from others.  It is important to note that addressing an item does not address any other factors that might bear on the problem.

There is a parade of stupidity on display from both sides and the issue deserves much better than that.  It is not a simple thing to address and the consequences of stupidity made policy are horrifying.  This is not going to have any sort of useful corrective actions taken if the persuasion is undertaken by assholes of whatever stripe.  If you were to take the media representatives of either side and drop them off the edge of the world they inhabit the collective sense of the remaining populous would be measurably improved (on the spherical one).  Lying to people who know better only makes them angry, which ever side you fall on.  

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Hagel Problems

McClatchy tells us some of what the GOP has against Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.
Critics have pointed to a comment Hagel made in 2008 to author and former State Department Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller about why he sometimes opposed pro-Israel groups in the Senate. "The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here," Hagel said, but "I'm a United States senator. I'm not an Israeli senator." They also have cited his calls for direct negotiations with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that the U.S. and Israel refuse to deal with directly, and his votes against some Iran sanctions.
Now the idea that somebody would consider themselves a United States Senator before a shill for Israel is an odd reason for an American Senator to get his knickers in a twist. I can't think of a single nation on earth, now or in the past, that makes no mistakes, even Exceptional USA. The idea that none of Israel's actions are above reproach or even being questioned strikes me as ludicrous. If I don't have a lot of company in that regard then we need Israel as a 51st State so we can kick them around a bit.

The Middle East can certainly bring people to the point of stupidity pretty quickly. If people have guns and bombs that they're using and you decide you can't talk to them, then the only thing that is going to happen is that the use is going to continue until they're extinct.

I'd be willing to bet that the real core to the GOPering of Hagel has to do with him changing his mind in regard to Iraq and by extension kicking the GOP and GWB. That is something that will get any partisan's back up - well at least someone blindly partisan.  Don't expect me to have much nice to say about people whose willing blindness allowed GWB to waltz us into Iraq. 

There are some Democrats with reservations thanks to some things Hagel has had to say. All I really have to say on that regard is that anybody whose spent much of their life talking about politics has probably got some things they'd rather not have said.  This is not a Judicial appointment for life, in a few years he's gone, short of another appointment.  In that regard it is important to remember that these folks are not out there on their own - they work for the President of the US.

Now I don't particularly like Hagel nor do I particularly dislike him. It seems to me that short of some legal problem the President should get who he wants without high drama. I'm pretty confident that the guy has been vetted. What the GOP needs to come to terms with is that Barack Obama has been twice elected President and that is just about all there is to that. Consistently playing obstructionist in the face of that fact in regard to such appointments is childish in the extreme. No, I haven't forgotten who I'm talking about...

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Giving A Damn

A blog friend,Crow's Eye, is having a tough time. The site has a restricted comments policy so about the only way I can suggest showing we, as a community, give a damn when one of our talented and generous members has real life difficulties is to just click through this link. I don't know that Jack Crow keeps track of his hits, but as little as it is, it is still something. And, yeah, I have good reason to know that it can help.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Zero Dark Dumbassery

Let's start at the beginning, it's a MOVIE and it is not a documentary.  Now that I've got that out of my system I'd like to move on to something that matters... and it isn't even if the CIA gave something classified to movie makers.

How about the question of whether the CIA handed disinformation to a movie maker to propagandize the American public?  Did Hollywood just take some information and then just make something up or did the CIA tell the movie makers something they didn't tell the Senate?  There are a lot of permutations that one could make up to ask about, but what does matter is just exactly what the CIA told them.  Considering the amount of absolute horse pucky the government sees fit to classify I won't get my shorts in a twist over that, but the CIA participated in the making of a movie that leaves an untrue and propagandistic impression regarding torture and that counts.

You have no idea how unfortunate I find it that this gives Sen John McPOW more excuses to run around on the TV machine. 

The GOP And Their VAWA Suicide Pact

If you've looked around your Party and noticed that certain blocks of the citizenry are voting for the other side you might want to do something like...
Well, tell women that certain women need to just put up with being beaten.  Those women in particular would be Native American and immigrant (of the illegal variety).  The Violence Against Women Act added in some provisions to cover areas where real problems were showing their ugly faces and the GOP House's response was, "Take that, bitch."

I just don't know what it says about this country that we've managed to make these people important.  It is easy enough to talk about gerrymandering and tribalism in regard to voting, but goddamit this kind of thing ought to cause some real revulsion even in the face of those issues.  If you're a woman or a man who cares at all about women...

Oh fer cryin' out loud, WHAT?

What in the hell does it take?

So, when you tell me you vote Republican do you really want the first question to cross my mind to be, "So just how often do you smack the old lady around?"  

Ummm, so do you do it daily or just once in awhile?

Hurricane Sandy

Do you suppose it might concentrate some minds in the GOPer House to point out to them that unlike the Confederate Hurricanes this one happened at the start of winter and winter in the goddam Northeast isn't The Season like it is down by the Gulf?  You know, sub-freezing and snow and shit like that?

That bunch would be good for comic relief except... well, suffering.

Disaster Relief - Really?

I'm going to use Business Insider for this quote so nobody can call me unfair:
"Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction," Romney told debate moderator John King. "And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?” When John King interrupted to clarify, "Including disaster relief?" Romney continued, "We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all."
Now what I'd like to ask Gov Christie and the rest of the complaining GOPers is just exactly who was it they backed in the last election?  I know they think we're idiots with the attention span of a Mayfly but dayyyammm. 

I'm done linking but maybe some of the screaming GOPers would like to wind the timeline back a bit more to where their fellow GOPers were in the House talking about how disaster aid for the suffering should get done just as soon as they figure out who else to make suffer and they never mentioned the outfit in the business of making people suffer and breaking things... Defense.

I just got done listening to whiz kid Mad Money Kramer state that discretionary spending was at 70yr low and about all we do is Defense, SS, Medicare and then say that though we've got the oldest limits in the advanced countries that, well - SS etc is where you go.  Defense got mentioned in where we spend money but that was it.

I hate to say this, but the olds and poor will get the shit kicked out of them way before Defense loses a cent and the People will swallow this as the cost of getting business done.  Yeah, there will be a handful like me jumping around screaming, "foul," and that will be it and we'll get pointed at and laughed at.

Cripes, and now we've got the nonsense that Gov Christie is a fricking reasonable GOPer.  In that Party today, such a thing does not exist.  PERIOD.

Shouldn't We Talk In Reality About Guns?

Just suppose now that Sandy Hook has been more than a couple days ago we talk about firearms with some kind of emphasis on facts about the guns at issue?  Make no mistake at this outset, I'm horrified by the terror inflicted on those children and I have no intention, whatever, of doing "talking points" in this discussion.  I want to address the absolute ignorance that's been on display about the actual articles in question.

Let's start out with this theme of "death dealing machines that are useless for hunting."  Big game rifles are just exactly "death dealing machines."  Their intent is the "one shot - one kill."  While that may not always happen, they are designed to be powerful and accurate and to kill things the size of or larger than humans quite efficiently.  Hunting rounds will defeat most body armor because that is what they are designed to do, get in and do damage even with a less than optimal shot.

There is a lot of misused terminology surrounding "assault rifles," the first being the term.  They look like the military assault weapon but they are not that thing.  They are not "automatic," which is a machine gun type operation, they are semi-automatic which means each trigger pull fires one round and chambers the next.  Semi-automatic is just that, fire and load a round and it is scarcely applicable to only "assault weapons."  Many hunting rifles are semi-automatic.  In point of actual fact in regards to function, all double-action revolvers are semi-automatic.  Yes, the round cylinder six shooters are semi-automatic.

None of this is to minimize the deadliness of rifles, or for that matter any firearm.  A B-B gun might kill someone, a rim fire .22 certainly can.  An "assault rifle" is deadly, just as any fire arm is.  The appearance of the firearm is not what makes it deadly.  What matters is the realities of how a gun functions, not what it looks like as far as how much damage it can do.  Semi-automatic or self-loading increases the firing rate.  Just how much of an increase has a lot to do with the shooter and making a lot of noise doesn't mean you hit anything.  Thanks to weapon recoil the chances go way down as fire rate goes up - no matter how skilled the operator.

Ammunition capacity may well be one of the things that is addressable in regards to firearms that has nothing to do with the bullshit of appearances.  In many states that have rifle or center-fire hunting there is a limit on ammunition capacity, typically 5 rounds for big game.  They don't care what the gun looks like or if it is semi-automatic, they care that the caliber will do the job and that it doesn't carry a boatload of ammo.  In regard to assault weapons the one thing that applies to most is the detachable magazine, which in stock form is 10 rounds.  It takes time to eject a magazine and load one and cock the weapon, during which the firearm is nothing more than a club.  Yes, in a semi-automatic the first round in an empty gun must be manually loaded with a cocking mechanism.  The detachable magazine is not exclusive to "assault weapons."

As far as the utility of "assault rifles" in hunting goes, they would not be my choice for big game because they are underpowered for that application.  A properly placed .22 rimfire will do the job, but that qualification means in practicality it isn't a good choice and the same applies to the assault rifles.  Small game and varmits are another thing completely, as is target shooting.  The AR-15 "assault rifle" is the gun of choice for National Match shooting.  I used an M-1 Garrand for it as many do, but for reasons beyon this discussion the AR-15 is superior.

I have owned all sorts of rifles and handguns and still do.  One reason I own a variety is because I like a tool that is good at the application I'm using it in.  I build my own rounds because there are a variety of rounds that are good for one thing and not another depending on how they are built.  I wrote this article bacause emotional bull shit responses to a situation do not accomplish useful ends, those ends are served by starting from facts and realities and addressing those.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Oh So Very Cool Gov Christie

I don't suppose many people have missed Gov Christie's comments regarding the House non-vote regarding Sandy relief.  Now maybe those folks who are finding him laudable have forgotten some of this dick's associates, people he enthusiastically helped.  Maybe he can't remember or chooses to forget that the Mitt he so loved had some things to say about disaster aid that sounds like the House loons who crapped on his head.  This  would be the guy who gave a keynote speech at the GOP Convention where they drafted their Platform of excrescence.  He is a GOPer and he'd like folks to forget that.

Short of developing Mittnesia like that other GOPer blue state governor, there is no way Christie will win GOP Primaries against anyone more formidable than Michele Bachmann (and that could be iffy).  There are certain fundamentals in GOP Primaries that you don't violate and Christie has done that.  (and I don't just mean hugging that black guy in the WHITE House)

The guy has been pretty competent at managing a disaster and made nice with somebody he needed badly to stay competent.  He has pretty much followed the standard GOPer playbook as Gov right up to when his friends kicked him (and the people who vote for him) right smack in the teeth and he yelled at them.  Since pneumonia is more popular than the House he was safe there. 

Look here, being basically competent at disaster and not being completely batshit crazy might make him a GOP standout to most people but that is not much of bar to jump.

Entitlements and Entitlements and

Now that the dysfunctional 113th has been sworn in (no, that's not being at all previous) the talk has all turned to the upcoming CLIFFS, OMFG!!!  Yep, the train is steaming down the tracks and the bridge is out (Casey Jones) [still out] giving folks something to talk about for the next couple months.  And what is everybody talking about, what budget busting, economy shriveling thing is it?  Entitlements. 

There, I said the bad word.  I'll say it again, just for emphasis - Entitlements.  You know, the nastiness that the grubbing Fed hands out to those others.  You know like that Medicare that hands out something to those 'olds' who'll be 'olds' enough in four years or whatever.  The primary drivers of nonsense like that have never paid SS/FICA on their entire wage for their entire working life, you might bother to note that SS/FICA sunsets at $110,000 wages/salary and no other income.  You might bother to note that the worst occupational health cost they face is a paper cut from the envelope with their dividend/capital gains check.  You can probably do that until age 67... or older.

I got to listen to ex-Gov Rendell talk about the increase in life expectancy make a mockery of (D) concerns over the last decades.  True, I (skilled labor) can expect, statistically, to make it to 72yrs up from 66 in the Sixties, but then the paper cut crowd can pretty much expect 84.  So... those who put the least in take the most out.  But - we have to give the GOP Vandals something if we expect them to give any ground, and what we'll give will affect Gov Rendell and his cohort essentially not spit.  Getting to age 65 as a capable construction worker is damned tough to expect, but it isn't a hell of a lot more likely to be exactly easy for a waitress.  Screw those folks if it keeps the GOPers from crashing the economic car.

The word you won't hear, you can't get to hear it, is Defense.  The Sacred Cow can't be mentioned.  If something happened to take some few percent out of that budget we'd all be dead or somehow unsafe.  Now if you consider that we're number one in spending on this and of the top 15 spenders we spend more than the following 14 put together; we must no be getting much bang for our bucks if we're suddenly going to be unsafe if we spent more than only the following 13.  Unsafe gets put a lot more into context if you consider who it is that gets most of that spending and just how goddam rich they are.  Some very Important people would have a little less Monopoly money to play with versus screw you old and poor.

I suppose you could point some of this stuff out to your Representatives, you could but I'll repeat, the losers in Defense spending cuts are Very Important People and YOU are not.  Messing about in the business of you betters is, well, unseemly.

Now We've Got A "New" Congress

So I just watched the House stand up and applaud the election of The Orange Man to be Speaker of the Ass-ylum.  Well there you go, he got there by about 3 votes from a bunch who is so impressed with him that the non-Representative loon Allen West got a couple votes.  So if you've been engaging in any welcome of a "new" Congress you should understand just what kind of gauntlet was thrown down today.

The Vandals just gave Speaker Boehner a shot across the bow.  If he bothers to act as though the business of the people means getting some things done; his neck is already in the noose and the trap trigger is set.  The tax bill was passed with twice as many of his Party voting against it, they've told him today that they're not kidding even if nobody else wants the job right now. 

There are some big important votes coming up and their lack of action could be a sledgehammer to the economy's head.  Sure, the Debt Limit vote ought to be nothing more than affirming a joke, but that joke has become a mean practical joke on the citizenry.  I'm not sure how many people would think it reasonable to not pay the house mortgage because the carpet is dirty - but there is a sizable portion of GOPers (demonstrated today) that do think it is reasonable.  Allen goddam West is about as up-front a "fuck you" as it gets.

I'm about real tired of hearing optimistic bullshit about what the '12 election means.  What that election means is that Congress is still in the hands of the Vandals.  In a Party with a modicum of sanity they'd just be the fringe that you have to put up with getting on the TV machine and saying stupid stuff.  This GOP is not that Party.  It does not mean squat to these people and, in the final run, their Party that the President and the Senate are Democratic and that most people think they're full of shit.  If you think things are going to be better over the next two years... 

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Fashionable New Year Predictions

Predictions... ahahaha ... that's a laugh.  Really this is more like "I Ask Questions."

In a little while the President will be Inaugurated again thanks to minority and youth votes (and yes, women) right onto the 113th Congress (that looks enough like 112 to be a meaningless distinction) so the question is whether after this year those folks will turn out in the next mid-terms after that exposure.  How do you think their enthusiasm will fare in the face of... I don't have a polite expression... that this Congress gets up to.

The economy is supposed to be poised to take off.  In the first place poised seems to be able to last for quite awhile and secondly - take off for whom?  If it takes off anymore for the very rich there won't be a damned thing left for anybody else and for people who actually work I'd bet what will take off is more work for less.  But hold the phone, I've already said I'm asking not predicting.  Well, talking about the rich screwing everybody else isn't predicting anything.

Speaking of the economy, can Congress 113 manage to tank it?

Maybe the most important and new theme of the last year was kicked off by OWS, want to bet it'll be business as usual?  IOW OWS was almost a bump in the road... $400K is middle class now.  BTW, $43K is median wage so $250K was middle? (media = half above/half below)

I'm real sure nobody is stupid enough to want Boehner's job other than Boehner.  I suppose that says something.

Chuck will remain single and maybe somebody will want to pay him to do something, maybe. This blog may well stumble along which depends on whether I continue to care more than anybody else that it does.

I might update this if something else occurs to me or somebody brings it to my attention (which would mean commenting.  Happy New Year anyhow...

My Last Year In Pictures

I generally do this so I went to my "Labels" and found that I've put up very few.  That might have something to do with very few posts this year.

This boat definitely ran aground... repeatedly and the final cruise was a complete shipwreck. This is N MI not NE OR, and my view from my window
What? A Harley isn't enough trouble in your life?
Turkeyday, Harley, Lake Michigan

So, WTF?

I suppose I could add something... but why?

112th Congress Is Now History

So now the 112th Congress passes into history and memory.  While that is a blessed event what now becomes a reality is the 113th which may very well remind us that 13 is supposed to be an unlucky number.  The 112th is a real standout in a couple respects easily summarized in the term "stupidity."  Americans had nearly two years to notice what happens when they vote like they did in 2010, their reaction is pretty interesting - 113 looks a lot like 112, enough to toss the same monkey wrenches into the works.

One could bring up things like gerrymandering... which in this case means distributing enough stupidity to keep the stupid coming.  But that gerrymandering idea ignores the essential that enough stupidity exist in order for it to work and this wasn't a low turnout mid-term election.

If you're one of those who has celebrated the '12 election of Obama as the death knell of GOPerism loon-acy; maybe you should take another look.  The 113th is the reality of the next two years, that is just how that is.  I'm not seer enough to be comfortable making predictions of the specific sort, but I will tell you that plutocrat enabling at the cost to the rest will continue.

Let me give you something to regard 113 with - debt ceiling, sequestration, budget resolution.  Do you suppose you can excuse my skepticism?