Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Last Call

One final piece of actual news tonight...and it features Dinosaur Steve, the Governor of my fair commonwealth of Kentucky, doing something irritatingly awful again.

Gov. Steve Beshear proposed an austere state budget Tuesday that he conceded is “inadequate for the needs of our people” — cutting funding for most state agencies by 8.4 percent while protecting some priority areas.

The cuts, coming on top of others made during Beshear’s first term, will likely mean delays in services, the loss of federal matching funds, the possible closing of some state offices and perhaps even limited layoffs of state workers.

“We should be making substantial investments in our physical and intellectual infrastructure to bring transformational change to our state. This budget does not allow us to do enough of that,” the governor said in his 39-minute budget address Tuesday night before a joint legislative session in the House chamber.

“Instead, it requires painful cuts that may well force us to retreat on some core services and that risk jeopardizing progress we’ve made over decades in education,” he said.

Base support for public schools is essentially frozen through the next two fiscal years at its current year appropriation — a move Beshear acknowledged will reduce the state’s per-pupil spending for schools because the student population is growing.

State universities would be cut by 6.4 percent next year, and Kentucky State Police and most public safety agencies by 2.2 percent.

So yes America, more austerity on the way for Kentucky.  And I voted for Dinosaur Steve because his opponent would have eliminated the state's income tax, and then imposed a flat sales tax on everything in its place, far more damaging in the long run.

Sometimes you have to make the lousy choices, folks.  But it's a choice I'd make every time.

House Of Cards

Want to know what the House GOP's first order of business is in 2012?  If you guessed anything other than "attack President Obama" it's long past time for you to start paying attention to these idiots, because they are the reason there's no jobs bill and no help coming for the housing market.  They'd rather do nothing but attack the President and hope you'll blame him for it.

For their first legislative act of 2012, House Republicans plan on delivering a symbolic rebuke to President Obama on Wednesday for raising the federal debt limit, which the August 2 law permits them to do. The GOP resolution is expected to pass the chamber, but no matter the outcome, it won’t threaten the ability of the U.S. government to meet its obligations either at home or abroad.

After a grueling battle last summer, Congress passed with strong bipartisan support a three-stage increase in the federal credit limit totaling $2.4 trillion. The first $400 billion took effect right away; the second $500 billion came a month later, and the final $1.2 trillion was requested by President Obama last week.

A provision in the law, placed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), allows Congress to vote to disapprove of the phased increases — a transparent effort to embarrass the president and deride him for the $15.2 trillion national debt. It won’t amount to anything because even if the Senate passes it, which it likely won’t, Obama can veto it and go on about the business of governing.

“Unfortunately, the only thing we have on this week’s agenda is a charade,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters Tuesday. “An abdication of responsibility.”

They abdicated that responsibility on the first day of last year's legislative session, and they've not done a single thing since for the American people...except repeatedly take them hostage.

Betty And Barack

You have to admit, the President has a hell of a sense of humor.

StupidiNews! Texting Edition.

Gary Dourdan is in hot water for texting his ex and wishing her a merry Christmas. The judge let him know he was not going to cut him any slack. Until the entire case has been heard, Dourdan would be wise to follow orders.

In Crestview, Florida a man pulled the same trick with even more stupidity. Also forbidden from contacting his ex, he sent the following message: "Even though u r mad at me will u still marrier me? ... I love you!"

I never thought I'd have to say this, but guys... if someone has a restraining order against you then it's a little late to send cheerful or loving messages. That ship has sailed. That dog won't hunt. That fart is blowin' in the wind. Pick your cliche, but learn your lesson.

The Paula Deen Conundrum

People are shocked, just shocked that a heavyset older woman has diabetes, and that she hawked food under such deplorable conditions.  Again, I have to call BS.  Not on Deen, but on the people who pretend to be horrified that she was so "dishonest" in running her business.  So here we go, Bon The Geek style, down a list of bullet points of why this is ridiculous.

She's famous for cooking.  That doesn't change no matter what her blood sugar is.  She's not a vegetarian cook, she's not a trendy lean grilled kind of broad.  She is famous for deep fried and chocolate coated yum yums, and always will be despite her diagnosis.

Type II diabetes is not always the result of poor eating or health habits.  While it's true that our lifestyle has caused a boom in the number of cases, it doesn't mean that genetics or other factors don't come into play.  I take this personally, because I also have had to deal with people assuming things about my lifestyle.  In reality, both parents and three out of four grandparents were diabetic.  I could be a rail thin marathon tennis weight cruncher and still have this condition.  We hear so much about how to prevent it that we forget there are people who are diabetic, and would have been no matter how many pies they baked.

Paula Deen is a cook and a businesswoman.  She is going to do her job, which is to sell cookbooks and make people drool.  There is no hypocrisy in her following the money doing what she does best.  It's what public figures do, and we should know that.  Again, celebrity is not a gauge of wholesomeness.  While Deen likes to drawl and flutter her eyes to work the grandma angle, she never promised to lead us to healthy food.  In fact, she was quite open about celebrating the opposite.

Are people going to say that she tricked them into eating chocolate cake?  Does someone feel deceived that an older woman with a common disease somehow misled them into the world of fried chicken?  Because she is diabetic, should she hide in the house and find a new career?  I've heard people say all of those things, somehow feeling entitled to an apology from her.  Bullshit, and shame on them.  We are accountable for what we eat, and expecting Paula Deen, the queen of southern fried bliss, to be a role model is like expecting the Marlboro Man to attend the funerals of smokers.

I am really not a Deen fan. I think she's creepy, and I fully expect to find that she sacrifices kittens or kicks little kids when nobody is looking.  But stupid is stupid, and the minute this story hit I knew where it was going.

Future Imperfect

Two British futurists, Ian Pearson and Patrick Tucker, tackle what the next hundred years will bring:  aquatic kelp farming, fusion power, telepathy, clinical immortality through downloading your brain, weather control, but there was also the geopolitical predictions like the break up of the United States.

6. One single worldwide currency (from Kennys_Heroes)

IP: Likelihood 8/10. This is very plausible. We are already seeing electronic currency that can be used anywhere, and this trend will continue. It is quite likely that there will be only a few regional currencies by the middle of the century and worldwide acceptance of a global electronic currency. This will gradually mean the others fall out of use and only one will left by the end of the century.

PT: Great try! The trend on this is actually more in the opposite direction. The internet is enabling new forms of bartering and value exchange. Local currencies are also now used by several hundred communities across the US and Europe. In other words, look for many more types of currency and exchange not fewer, in the coming decades.

I'm going to have to go with Ian on this one.  What makes currency valuable is its ubiquity.  The more widely accepted it is, the more useful.  That favors fewer currencies as electronic transactions become far more commonplace.

10. There will only be three languages in the world - English, Spanish and Mandarin (Bill Walker)

IP: Likelihood 8/10. This does look like a powerful trend, other languages don't stand a lot of chance. Minor languages are dying at a huge rate already and the other major ones are mostly in areas where everyone educated speaks at least one of the other three. Time frame could be this century.

And by the time we get to the era of Firefly, it'll be just Mandarin and English.

11. Eighty per cent of the world will have gay marriage (Paul) 

IP: Likelihood 8/10. This seems inevitable to those of us in the West and is likely to mean different kinds of marriages being available to everyone. Gay people might pick different options from heterosexual people, but everyone will be allowed any option. Some regions will be highly resistant though because of strong religious influences, so it isn't certain. 

I think this will be a lot sooner in places like the US, but 80% by 2112 seems pretty likely, yes.

12. California will lead the break-up of the US (Dev 2)

IP: Likelihood 8/10. There are some indications already that California wants to split off and such pressures tend to build over time. It is hard to see this waiting until the end of the century. Maybe an East Coast cluster will want to break off too. Pressures come from the enormous differences in wealth generation capability, and people not wanting to fund others if they can avoid it.

As they say, California by itself would be the 7th largest economy on Earth.  What California doesn't have is water that the Rocky Mountain states do.  It still comes down to basics.

17. Marriage will be replaced by an annual contract (holierthanthou)

IP: Likelihood 6/10. I think we will certainly see some weaker forms of marriage that are designed to last a decade or two rather than a whole lifetime, but traditional marriage will still be an option. Increasing longevity is the key - if you marry at 20 and live to well over 100, that is far too long a commitment. People will want marriages that aren't necessarily forever, but don't bankrupt them when they end. 

Interesting.  What will marriage mean when longevity is extended into the triple digits?

19. War by the West will be fought totally by remote control (LowMaintenanceLifestyles)

IP: Likelihood 5/10.

Psst, don't tell Greenwald.

I'll put this in the future stupidity files, where it can be dug out by scientists after the collapse.

A Day Without Lolcats

Many of my favorite sites, like Raw Story and Boing Boing have gone dark today to protest the House GOP's Stop Online Piracy Act.  The effort has really grown in the last week:

So try not to panic. But do call your House Representative and tell them you're against SOPA...and that they should be too.

Find your Congresscritter here.

Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Guide for first-timers here.

As far as ZVTS goes, it's going to be a rather light day.

StupidiNews, SOPA Protest Edition!

A number of major web sites today are protesting SOPA, the Stop Internet Piracy Act, by blacking out their sites for the day.   We'll still be here for the day, but not without asking you to consider what it would be like without your daily StupidiNews if a law like this was used to take down blogs like this one.  Let Congress know how you'd feel about that.

Find your Congresscritter here.

Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Guide for first-timers here.
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