Thursday, September 20, 2012

Last Call

Funny thing about policy specifics.  It turns out that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan do give them out from time to time if you listen and do a little digging.  They're pretty well hidden, as this week indicates.  And Mitt Romney isn't the only one with policy proposals that look pretty awful under the sunlight.

Paul Ryan gave away the current GOP game back in 2005, for instance, at arguably the most important and telling speech of his political career:  the Atlas Society’s “Celebration of Ayn Rand.”  The audio of the speech is still up at the Atlas Society's website.

But when you look at the fight that we’re in here in Capital Hill, it’s a tough fight. It’s a very important fight. But we need more people on our side to fight this fight. That is why there is no more fight that is more obvious between the differences of these two conflicts than Social Security.  Social Security right now is a collectivist system, it’s a welfare transfer system…..

And what’s important is if we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing social security … [Ryan laughs. Ed Hudgins overheard “personalizing”] personalizing social security … [laughter, applause] think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist. They will be an owner of society, they will be an owner and a participant of our free enterprise system, of our capitalist system. I would like to have more people on our team who are owners and believers in the individualist capitalist system than on the other side, and if every worker in this country becomes an owner of real wealth, of seeing the fruits of their labor come and materialize for their benefit, then that’s that many more people in America who are not going to listen to likes of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the collectivist, class warfare-breathing demagogues.  

Now let's pause for a second here.  Ryan is saying that by privatizing...I mean, "personalizing" Social putting it in the hands of corporate America, American workers will then work harder because they are an "owner of society" at that point.  Social Security is a collectivist, welfare transfer system.

And here's the thing:  If what Ryan was actually proposing was that the American worker received the benefits of corporate ownership commensurate to the risk they are taking by handing over the equivalent of 15 or 20% of their current gross for 50 years to a company to invest, that would be great.  There's no way this happens, of course.  The opposite is true:  corporations see the benefits and profits, while individuals assume most of the risk.  See the current paycheck of any CEO compared to their lowest paid worker.  He continues:

So you have to understand that all they have to do is stop us from succeeding.  Autopilot will get them where they want to go. Autopilot will bring more government, more collectivism, more centralized government.  If we do not succeed in switching these programs, in reforming these programs from what some people call a defined benefit system, to a defined contribution system– from switching these programs—and this is where I’m talking about health care, as well—from a third party or socialist based system to an individually owned, individually prefunded, individually directed system.

We can do this. We are on offence on a lot of these ideas.  I was the principle author of the Health Savings Account law, which was an amendment I brought to the floor and passed in the Medicare bill in the last session of congress. Health Savings Accounts, personal accounts for Social Securities, these are the things that put us on offence, that get the– the individual back in the game and break the back of this collectivist philosophy that really pervades, you know, ninety percent of the thinking around here in this town.

In other words, health care, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare?  They have to be run like a business, in order to make a profit, not to provide care.  That's what "defined benefit system to a defined contribution system"  means.  You are not guaranteed benefits.  You will however, be guaranteed to have to pay into the system.

This is why running these programs like a business is a horrible idea.

Businesses fail.  It happens all the time.  Oh well.  So much for your retirement.  You get nothing.

This is Paul Ryan's America.  And in it, somebody has to lose.

Tiny Bubbles, In My Space-Time

Yeah.  So this is pretty awesome.  Make it so.

Researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) are carrying out lab-scale experiments to create tiny space-time warps with an aim to eventually achieving “Star-Trek”-style interstellar space travel.

According to the Alcubierre warp drive theory, proposed by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre in 1994, a spaceship could travel faster than light inside a bubble of negative energy that deforms the space-time continuum, compressing it in front of the craft and expanding it behind.

Harold “Sonny” White, from JSC’s advanced propulsion physics laboratory Eagleworks, attended the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Houston on Sept. 14 to present his lab’s findings.

White’s team is testing out mathematical equations relating to the physics of cosmic inflation using an instrument called the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer, which uses a laser to create little warp bubbles.

“We’ve initiated an interferometer test bed in this lab, where we’re going to go through and try and generate a microscopic instance of a little warp bubble,” White said, according to a July article in Roundup, JSC’s biweekly publication.

“And although this is just a microscopic instance of the phenomena, we’re perturbing space-time, one part in 10 million, a very tiny amount.”

Cannot.  Stop.  Headbanging.  Over how awesome this is.  Sure, it'll be generations or so before we end up doing anything practical with this, if it even works at macro scales without obscene amounts of energy, or at all, or without tearing a dimensional rift into the Chaos Realms and making the walls bleed.

But still!  Science!

The Mask Slips Again

...and Republicans accidentally tell the truth about their legislation.  Today's contestant:  Pennsylvania state GOP Rep. Daryl Metcalfe on the state's voter ID law, the law recently sent back down to the minors for review and a possible injunction.  Metcalfe gets caught talking on a radio show about the real aim of the law, to prevent Democrats from voting.

HOST: Are you absolutely convinced…that the methods to implement this law are effective and will in fact make sure no legitimate voter will be disenfranchised?
METCALFE: I don’t believe any legitimate voter that actually wants to exercise that right and takes on the according responsiblity that goes with that right to secure their photo ID will be disenfranchised. As Mitt Romney said, 47% of the people that are living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the ID they need. If individuals are too lazy, the state can’t fix that.

Yeah, sure.  And poll taxes in the Jim Crow south proved how lazy and stupid black people were when they didn't have the money to pay for the privilege of voting.  The ID is free.  The documents you need in order to get the free state ID, well gosh, those cost money and time to obtain.  Too bad for them, right?

Why should the 47% be allowed to vote, anyway?  They vote Democratic, after all.  We can't have that.  If you say "Hey, I don't know if I'm going to vote" the Republicans in power will make that decision for you.

Jackass Jail Sentence

TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington state man who beat a neighbor's dog with a hatchet after luring it with treats has been sentenced to six months in jail.

The Pierce County prosecutor's office says 55-year-old Ricky Knowles was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty in July to first-degree animal cruelty.

Prosecutors say Orting police were called after neighbors saw the Pierce County man beat the dog in March. They say police found the dog — Kona — in Knowles' garage tied to a pole, bleeding from severe wounds to his head and neck. They say animal control officers had to cut a piece of wire from around the dog's neck.
Six months is not nearly enough, but it's a damn good start.  This man deserves no mercy, no kindness and no accommodation.  His actions are beneath that.

Springfield Mayor Calls Us Ignorant Hillbillies... And Then It Gets Stupid

When a company is looking for a new site to locate jobs, it looks at several key factors: the quality of schools, the quality of parks and recreation, the availability and quality of the workforce and the attitude of the community. And yes, it looks at whether a community can be described as “welcoming” to various populations that might be considered “different” from the mainstream.
It also checks out the mayor.  And the crooked-ass City Council. It looks at things like the Medicacom Ice Park, that fun little eyesore where they gave Mediacom exclusive rights to the city, so they hiked the rates to pay for their "gift" of an ice park.  Or the fact that they have no voice in government because City Council elections are too expensive, so they'll just tell us how our town will run.  Don't forget Bob's contempt when he said it was hard to find qualified people, meaning most of us are just too stupid to know right from wrong.

I think they'd be proud to see adults giving a damn about how their government is run.  A little salty language in front of teenagers?  Are we really going to pretend that doesn't happen or that the teenagers don't use the same language?

Really, that's his line?  That is what finally brings our mayor to shame?  Because I could put you to sleep with a thousand stories that should have.

What a jackass.

Big Not Rock Candy Mountain

Jon Stewart wins all the things.

This may be the most biting takedown of Romney's 47% video yet. (OK, video's odd, just click here for it.)

Senate GOP Blocks Veterans Jobs Bill

The Republicans in the Senate continue to make sure that we can send men and women to fight for our freedom in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, but when they come home, they're just worthless looters and moochers who get abandoned by the country they fought for.

The Senate blocked legislation Wednesday that would have established a $1 billion jobs program putting veterans back to work tending to the country’s federal lands and bolstering local police and fire departments.

Republicans said the spending authorized in the bill violated limits that Congress agreed to last year. Democrats fell two votes shy of the 60-vote majority needed to waive the objection, forcing the legislation back to committee.

Supporters loosely modeled their proposal after the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps used during the Great Depression to put people to work planting trees, building parks and constructing dams. They said the latest monthly jobs report, showing a nearly 11 percent unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, merited action from Congress.

Democratic lawmakers turned to the legislation shortly before they’ll adjourn for the finals weeks of this year’s election campaigns. The bill had little chance of passing the House this Congress, but it still allowed senators to appeal to a key voting bloc.

“(With) a need so great as unemployed veterans, this is not the time to draw a technical line on the budget,” said Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the bill’s lead sponsor, who faces a competitive re-election battle.

Republicans said the effort to help veterans was noble, but the bill was flawed nevertheless.

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said the federal government already has six job-training programs for veterans and there is no way to know how well they are working. He argued that making progress on the country’s debt was the best way to help veterans in the long-term.

We ought to do nothing now that makes the problem worse for our kids and grandkids,” Coburn said.

Yeah, we wouldn't want to make things worse for kids and grandkids living in America's military families by keeping veterans unemployed or anything.

After all, soldiers, vets, and the unemployed are part of that 47% that would never vote for Mitt Romney and the Republicans. So screw em, let them rot in the streets while we cut taxes on the rich again.  I'm sure the hand of the free market will make it very profitable to care for veterans suffering from mental trauma, physical injury, or both someday, we just need to cut taxes on millionaires and billionaires until that happens.



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