Archive for the economics Category

Quick Shots

Posted in brilliance, economics, legal system, politics, randoma, reproductive health, the complete opposite of brilliance, war with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by vagabondsaint

Some insight into my blog-writing process:  every day, I read the Huffington Post, New York Times, and various other internet news sources looking for interesting things to write about.  Once I find something, I bookmark it in a folder called “blog ideas,” to look into later or do more research about – or totally ignore.  Of the things that I find, maybe 20% of them actually do get written about here; for others, I lose interest, the moment’s urgency passes, I just don’t have enough to say on the topic to justify a full entry, or I just never get around to the actual writing part. (I do have a life, and it sometimes gets in the way.)  Sometimes I just don’t know what to say.

Now that my list has grown way too bloody long, I’ve decided to share some of the things I didn’t write about before.  However, since there are so many, I’ll have to limit my comments on each item to just one or two lines and let you read the links.

Basically, this is my bookmark clearing-house.  Ready, set. . .go!

1. Missouri coffee drinkers share the hot, steaming cup of love!

2. Smarter than the average bear?  Maybe.  Smarter than a top-of-the-line bear-proof canister? Definitely!

3. When this guy says he’s “gotta see a man about a horse,” call the police.

4. You know the real estate market is rough when people get violent over Monopoly properties. . .

5. It’s not just Alaska’s problem:  rape victims in many places often have to foot the bill for examinations and rape kits.

6. Something to keep in mind next time you call someone a slut. . .or are called one yourself.

7. When you’re tripping balls, every bush is on fire and can talk – so was Moses just high?

8. Conservative think-tank (they can think?) Heritage Foundation calls a bill pushing for harsher child-rape penalties “overcriminalization.” People, I beg you, do not trust Republicans around your children.

9.  Yes, Dear Canada, America is, in fact, on crack.

10. The Chinese have better political sensibilities than we do; they trust sex workers more than politicians.

11. Proof that God has a sense of humour: A British actor in a swine flu prevention commercial came down with – wait for it – swine flu.

12. What you’ve always suspected is true:  your brain really is working against you. As is the CIA.

13. If you only click one of these links, for the love of all that’s good and holy, make it this one about how and why conservative are always wrong. . .with historical evidence to back it up.  Brilliant!

14. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and the Photoshop of the photo editor.

15. I don’t know how to fix the obesity problem in this country, but I’m pretty sure that this is the wrong tactic.

16. Looks like freedom of speech only goes so far. . .

17. Why is John McCain the only Republican willing to stand up to conservative nutjobs? There’s gotta be more somewhere. . .

18. When a machete- and gun-wielding convicted killer gets better health care than his surviving victim, something is well and truly fucked up in this country.

19. Who’s really out to kill Grandma? It ain’t who you’d think.

20. “In recognition of your service to this country, we’re going to take away your child custody rights. Thank you!”

21. Welcome to Tennessee, where you can carry guns in bars, parks, and – wait a second, maybe not so much the parks.

22. “‘Round these here parts, you start wavin’ a picture of  Obama with a Hitler ‘stache, you can ‘spect a asswhuppin from an old Armenian man, and that’s how it should be.”

23. If you’re in a POW camp, Monopoly is a great, fun way to pass the time – or, you know, help you break out.

24. So, that high-tech phone you’ve got?  Chances are, if it gets stolen, its makers would rather force you to buy a new one than help you get it back.  The bastards.

25. Last but certainly not least, some sexual assault prevention tips that are guaranteed to work!

Whew!

VS – 09.22.09

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Victimization Is A Pre-Existing Condition?

Posted in economics, politics, reproductive health with tags , , , , , , , on September 14, 2009 by vagabondsaint

I had originally planned to post today about the large numbers of articles, essays, and such that I have bookmarked and had intended to write about, but just never got around to it.  That idea went out the window when I saw this headline at the Huffington Post:

When Getting Beaten By Your Husband Is A Pre-Existing Condition

And I thought, are they f***ing serious? Go ahead, read the article.  I’ll wait.

Done?  Good.

So, yeah, they’re f***ing serious.

You can be denied medical insurance coverage (if you live in one of the eight states that go unnamed in the article or DC) if you’ve ever been the victim of a domestic assault.  Seriously.

You know, we have more than enough of a problem in this country with domestic violence going unreported.  As if the social stigmas and legal quagmires of actually seeing your attackers punished weren’t bad enough, now the women who have the courage to stand up and fight also run the risk of losing or not being able to attain medical coverage if they do stand up and say “no more.”  It’s like being punished for being a victim, yet again.

This is so incredibly outrageous that I can’t even wrap my head around it.

There are people out there who read this article and think, “Well, it’s their own fault for being in and/or staying in an abusive relationship.” (Really, there are; read the comments.)  As someone who has spoken with several women who had been or were in abusive relationships, I can honestly say this: you don’t know someone’s abusive until they start up the abuse.  Yes, there can be red flags that, from an outside perspective, would indicate such, but an outside perspective lacks emotional investment and can have a bias that makes interpretation of the signals invariably subjective, and easily dismissed from either side.  Besides, flags are only indicators of possibility; they are not ironclad guarantees of an abusive personality.  The really smart abusers would make sure they didn’t give off such flags, anyway.  Also, no abuser beats a woman on the first date. . .or the second, or third, or, in most of the cases I have known, not until marriage.  When meeting someone new or entering a new relationship with possibilities, everybody (and I do mean everybody) puts their best foot forward, puts up their best sides and doesn’t show the true whole of themselves.  Men and women both do it, abusers and non-abusers, and not everyone does it with any sort of malign intent.  Some fear rejection needlessly, some rightfully fear rejection, others are just nervous or shy; there’s a million why people do it, and I’m not arguing for or against any of them, only acknowledging that they exist.  My point is that it can take a long time to really know someone, to really know all sides of their personality, no matter how much one already loves what one has seen of another person. . .and even then, it’s possible to hide certain sides until it’s too late.  (I’m speaking from personal experiences on that one.)

All that just to say that it’s complete B.S. to blame the victim of domestic violence for being a victim of someone else’s sickness, and morally and ethically wrong to punish them again by denying or canceling medical insurance for them.

And if that’s not enough to give you some outrage about how the insurance industry treats women, go ahead and click here to read about how difficult and costly it is for women to get pregnancy care, how women in some markets pay up to 140% more in premiums than men of the same age for the same amount of coverage, and how women can be denied coverage simply for having had a caesarian section.

What utter crap.

VS – 09.14.09

Hardball Time

Posted in economics, politics with tags , , , , , , , on February 9, 2009 by vagabondsaint

So, this Senate stimulus package.

Leading economists say that the cuts made to appease 4 moderate Republicans could very well be disastrous to our economy.  You know, economists?  People who have chosen to spend their lives studying the economy, as opposed to being politicians?

I’m going to say this one more time, to Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration:

Fuck the Republicans.  You have majorities in the House and the Senate.  You do not need their support.  If they want to filibuster the stimulus package, let them.  That delay will most likely harm our economy further if they choose to do so, but that’s their decision and you can be sure they will suffer the consequences of it.  They can read the reports of the same economists that I have, and if they do so (it’s called research, and I would think it’s what any smart politician would do when confronted with an issue they know little about) and still oppose an expanded stimulus based on party principle, then they’ve proven that they care more about sticking to outmoded, obsolete, foolish economic theories that run contrary to empirical evidence than they do the American people, and they do not deserve consideration, appeasement, or votes.

Basically, run the package Obama wants to run.  Remove these idiotic cuts and use your majorities to steamroll the opposition.  The GOP is a bunch of small, selfish, petty people, clinging to a unrealistic worldview, and they need to suffer the consequences of their ridiculous obstinancy to face reality.  Plow them under now so something better can grow in their place, and stop enabling this childish, foolish behaviour from them.  Please.  Remember, these people celebrated not voting for the stimulus bill in the House.  What kind of bullshit is that?

Oh, and a personal note to former Minnesota Norm Coleman, whose legal challenges of Al Franken’s victory are keeping Franken from being seated in the US Senate:  Listen, dick.  If God wanted you to serve, you’d be serving.  You’re not.  Take the fucking hint, jerkhole.

VS – 2.9.09

Disappointment, Thy Name Is Democrats

Posted in economics, politics with tags , , , , on February 6, 2009 by vagabondsaint

So, the Senate has announced that they’ve reached a compromise stimulus bill, one with major cuts to spending.  The old bill was roughly 2/3 spending, 1/3 tax cuts; the new Senate total fucking sellout compromise bill is now 58% spending, 42% tax cuts. . .and the education spending, as one person put it, took a “walloping.”

You know, I can understand the desire to make sure the bill will pass, and I definitely understand the urgent need to pass it.  Basically, as that story puts it, the changes were made to secure the votes necessary to make the bill filibuster-proof, and I can even understand the desire for that.  With Minnesota’s newly-elected Democratic Senator Al Franken still not seated due to Norm Coleman’s being a whiny little shit dragging out a legal battle over the election results, the Democrats courted four moderate Republicans and made the changes to appease them.  Understandable.

But still fucked up.

We need more spending for education.  Other developing countries are kicking our asses in educational terms.  Even Seattle is closing several schools this year to help make up a budget shortfall.  But cutting education isn’t, and never is, the answer.  Our children need a good education to be competitive in the global job market.  They need education to get good jobs.  Educated people tend to commit fewer crimes, go on the welfare rolls less often, have fewer unplanned pregnancies, and better private health care; ergo, increased funding for education kills many birds with one stone.  Educated people are, in general, a fincanical boon to their country, not a burden, and spending more on education now would not only save us more than we spent down the roads, it would guarantee more productive, tax-paying members of society down the road.  How could anyone oppose spending money for better, more modern schools?  How could anyone look in the eyes of a child with a thirst for knowledge and say, “Sorry, you don’t get new textbooks this year because we had to compromise to prevent a filibuster”?  Oh wait, I forgot. . .lower education spending is always on the Republican agenda (maybe because more educated people tend to vote Democrat?).

And the Democrats sold them out to appease four Republicans.

I’m pissed, and heartbroken.  Somehow, that message of change that an overwhelming majority of Americans voted for got lost between the White House and the halls of Congress.  We all voted for a change from the old ways, not more of the same old bullshit that got us so fucked up in the first place, and we should not stand for petty politics diluting that change.

Every Republican congressperson and every senator that either necessitated the compromise or sold our children out to pass this bill should be hanging their heads in shame right now.

Thanks for selling out my daughter’s future, you fucking pricks.

VS – 2.6.09

Glengarry Glen ‘Bama

Posted in brilliance, economics, politics with tags , , , , on February 6, 2009 by vagabondsaint

(with apologies to David Mamet)

WASHINGTON, DC – (AP)

Speaking today before a group of GOP Senators and Representatives, President Barack Obama gave his most stinging rebuke of their opposition to his stimulus bill.

The remarks left many Republicans feeling ashamed and remorseful.

“I quit,” said newly-elected RNC Chairman Michael Steele.  “Obama made me realize today that, after my struggles to succeed as a young black man in this country, all I did was join the party that fought hardest to oppress me.”

“What have I done?  May MLK forgive me,” Steele added, collapsing in tears and singing “We Shall Overcome In Spite Of All I’ve Done To Set My Race Back 50 Years”.

Several other prominent Republicans were unable to comment, having curled into the fetal position on the floor and able only to sob quietly to themselves.  Others quite fairly labeled themselves as “enemies of America” and demanded they be shipped immediately to Guantanamo Bay.

“Khalid al-Sheik O’Whatever we’ve got down there. . .I’ve done way more to harm this country than he ever could,” said a visibly shaken John Boehner, as Secret Service agents led him away in leg-irons, at his own request.  “Lock me away, please, I’m a monster.”

Other Republicans, like John McCain (R-AZ) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) simply died of shame on the spot.  They will not be missed.

A full transcript of the President’s remarks is below.

[begin transcript]

Thank you, thank you.  I’ll keep my remarks brief; we all have a lot of work to do.

As you all know, you have all been very fiercely opposed to my stimulus package, unless numerous concessions are made to get the package more in line with traditional Republican values, such as tax cuts, more defense spending, and no money allocated for education, infrastructure repair, or family planning for the poor.

I am her today to tell you this:  piss off.  I’m not changing the stimulus package.  If the American people wanted to keep doing things the same way that got us into this mess in the first place, Ted Stevens and Norm Coleman would still be here, I’d still be in the Senate, and you’d be talking to President McCain today.

You’re not.  You’re talking to me, and I say sod your fucking tax cuts.  They don’t work, they never have worked, and they never will.  You’re a one-trick pony party, and we’re all bored of it.  So go ahead and filibuster the stimulus package in the Senate.  You think we can’t wait you out?  Most of you are old and will run out of breath fairly quickly, so no worries there.  For the rest of you, well, we’ll bring in some hookers, and that’s at least David Vitter out of the way right there.  We got ways to handle y’all, is what I’m saying.  You lost the election.  The American people don’t want to do things your way anymore.  If you filibuster this, or you vote against it, you can go back to your constituents and tell them to your faces why you tried to kill a bill that would have fixed their schools, would have helped drug addicts go to rehab, would have prevented unwanted pregnancies, would have brought improved infrastructure, better environmental protections, and new jobs to their areas.  You can tell them how you fought against a change that would have benefited all Americans, conservatives, liberals, and moderates alike, and you’ll have to do it alone. . .Rush Limbaugh ain’t coming to help you.  Try giving a poor, starving family with no home and too many mouths to feed a Bible and Rush Limbaugh’s latest book, then ask ’em what they think of you.  I suggest running before they answer.

Now, you might be saying under your quivering lips – or maybe that’s just old age – “who is this guy?  Who is this Washington outsider to come here and talk to us like this?  Who does he think he is?  What has he done?  What’s his name?”

Fuck you.

That’s my name.

You know why?

Because I ran a campaign on a message of hope, a promise of change, and with a running mate who sticks his foot in his mouth so often he’s come to love the taste of his own toejam.  You ran a Spanish-American War veteran, partnered with a ditz whose IQ is lower than her bra size. . .and I WON.

THAT’S my name.

[end transcript]

****************************************

Please, Obama, let me be your speechwriter? PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?

VS -2.6.09

My Letter To My Congresspeople

Posted in economics, politics with tags , , , , on December 14, 2008 by vagabondsaint

This is the actual letter that I sent to my Congresspeople, regarding the auto industry bailout.  Since it failed, I guess the fault is mine, though my reasons for opposing it are different than what the GOP gave as theirs.  The first paragraph is what Fuse had in their form; the rest of it is all mine.  Anyway, presented for your approval:

I have serious concerns about Congress passing a bailout of Detroit even while Detroit continues to push lawsuits against the States that are trying to strike down state greenhouse gas laws. My position is simple: NO BAILOUT MONEY UNLESS THE LEGISLATION ENDS DETROIT’S LAWSUITS AGAINST THE CLEAN CARS PROGRAM!
It’s utterly stupefying that the same companies that are taking actions against the concerns of states have the gall to come ask the Federal Government for money.  At the very least, they should drop these lawsuits before they receive a dime of federal money.  Washington is only one of the 13 states that, in acting to clean up the environment, found it self the target of legal actions by these car companies that want taxpayers’ money so badly.  I do not want a dime of my money going towards these companies that are busy fighting these lawsuits in court, and they definitely should not receive any money without first dropping these suits.  If that is not made part of any bailout agreement, then the federal government has just given money to the car companies that will be used to finance their lawsuits against state governments!
It’s time for the Big 3 to learn that Americans are so serious about protecting the environment, we’d rather watch at least one of them fall than give them money to keep fight change, poisoning our environment, and hold tight to our dependence on foreign oil.  It’s way past time that change came to Detroit.

*******************************

So was I right?  Only Representative Adam Smith responded, with a form letter stating he was out of the office.  Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have not replied, as of yet.  Senate votes on the bailout were not available as of press time.

VS – 12.14.08

Idiocy On Parade

Posted in economics, politics, racism, the complete opposite of brilliance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2008 by vagabondsaint

How funny is it that, in the wake of the smartest decision Americans have made collectively since spurning New Coke, there’s been an endless parade of idiots through the media?

Cases in point:

  • Mike Huckabee

Former Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee gets to lead off the parade of idiots, with his comments against the struggle for gay rights.  Last month on The View, Mike made the argument that gays and lesbians aren’t really having a civil rights struggle, because there hasn’t been enough violence against them to merit the “civil rights” appellation.  (Hear that, gay bashers?  Huckabee says you guys aren’t working hard enough!  Get your bats and two-by-fours and suppression of your own homoerotic tendencies ready and get to work!)  I guess the murders of Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepherd, and Lawrence King don’t count to Huckabee; after all, that’s only three guys over four different decades. . .and people live through beatings, so those don’t really count either.

Yesterday, Huckabee expounded upon this idiotic point of view at a book signing by explaining that he sees hate crime legislation as “punishing people for their thoughts.”  As the idiot man himself puts it:

You know, if you penalize people for their thoughts, the question is — I mean, I’m not for violence against anybody; it doesn’t matter what the purpose is. If you had an 80-year-old woman who’s trying to get in her house with a bag full of groceries, that’s just as wrong as it is to hit somebody for a thought.

And the point is that you should punish and consequence the violence against another person. Why they did it is of less consequence than the fact they did it. So I don’t care if a person is homosexual, or they’re elderly, or they’re a child — if someone is violent toward them, they should be fully consequenced to the fullest extent of the law. But for their violence, not for their thought. When we start having the government determine what we can think, I think we’re moving in kind of a frightening area.

First of all, what does Mike Huckabee have against 80-year-old women trying to get into their houses?  Is Mike Huckabee showing support for making all 80-year-old women homeless?  Or just the ones carrying groceries?  “Sorry, Grandma, Mike Huckabee says you have to live on the streets now.  Try prostitution to support yourself – with the economy the way it is, it’s a booming season for low-priced sex services.  And Grandpa said to leave the groceries at the door.”  Second, “consequence” is not a fucking verb.  Third, and perhaps most important, the government can’t and doesn’t punish people for their thoughts, even thoughts of killing other people (thank God).  But when those thoughts turn into action, those thoughts stop being mere thought and become something else, something called, oh, what’s the legal term. . .oh yeah; it’s MOTIVE!  And motive is very important when proescuting a crime; it’s what determines whether a not a person is truly a threat to society at large or if that threat has passed now.  It’s the difference between killing out of self-defense and killing because one is a psychopath with no disregard for the lives of others.  Killing because you hate gays or blacks or midgets should matter because, if you do it, you obviously cannot be trusted around large elements of our society and you need to be locked away for a long, long time, and that’s the point of hate-crime legislation.

Mike Huckabee:  why isn’t he in the Dickipedia yet?

Oh wait. . .he is.

  • Obama Birth Certificate Lawsuits

You know, for most people, the fact that Barack Obama won the election would be proof enough that he is Constitutionally eligible to be President.  Not so for the idiots tripping all over themselves to force the state of Hawaii to make Barack Obama’s birth certificate public, in attempts to challenge his American citizenship and, I would assume, get him out of office.  They’ve even gone so far as to appeal one case all the way to the Supreme Court (who I sincerely hope has better things to do) and take out ads in the Chicago Tribune.  Even more incredibly idiotic, it’s not just one idiot doing this, according to the Tribune:

“Cases challenging Obama’s citizenship have been tossed out of courts in several states, and Hawaiian officials have vouched for the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate, which is locked in a state vault. The Obama campaign likewise has always dismissed the accusations.”

Election’s over.  You lost.  Let it go, idiotas.

  • White Surpemacists Resurgence

Not just idiots, but idiots that are so afraid of change (it’s coming and you ain’t stoppin’ it) and losing relevance in today’s society (they have) that they’d rather sit around meeting halls and whine about how “white people have lost power in this country” and plan to kill people than go out and, oh, I don’t know, do something positive in their communities and try to understand and accept how race is coming to mean less and less in America than it did before. . .or, I don’t know, take responsibility for their lives instead of blaming other races for their own abysmal failures.  You didn’t lose your job because of Affirmative Action; you lost it because you’re a racist idiot.  You don’t have trouble finding a new job because of Mexicans; you can’t find a new job because you’re a racist idiot who mangles the English language worse than most immigrants and you dropped out of school in fifth grade because long division was kicking your ass.  Oh, and because (mostly) white people fucked up the economy.  Not hating; that’s just what happened.

  • RNC Chairman Mike Duncan

Chief Idiot Mike Duncan had this to say about Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss (who should really be making smooth jazz albums with a name like that) winning a US Senate runoff election in Georgia and ostensibly denying the Democrats a Congressional supermajority: “any rhetoric about a liberal mandate is nothing but hot air.”

Really.

So let me get this straight:  a long-term entrenched Senator nearly loses an election in a state that fought the change of segregation so hard it accidentally kick-started the Civil Rights Movement and continues to fight against change, and the national mandate for change that even some of the Southern states embraced is a bunch of hot air?

Look, not that I’m personally against Georgia, but let’s face it:  it, like many other Southern states (talking to you, Mississippi and Arkansas, and I came from you, so I speak from personal knowledge here) is a little slow on the uptake, to put it kindly.  I’m not at all surprised that change is coming slowly in those places, places in which the white supremacist movement has more than a toehold, which tells us what kind of people occupy such areas (see above).  These are the states that will have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the new millenium, and it looks like it’s time to start.  Somebody get me a chain and a pickup truck. . .should be plenty of those running around the South.

Ugh.  All this idiocy has given me a headache. . .

VS – 12.4.08