Monday, February 16, 2009

Just out of morbid curiosity...

I occasionally tune in and listen to either O'Reilly or Hannity on the radio, I've tried Rush, he's an idiot. Call it knowing thine enemy, call it arming myself for the asshole apocalypse, call it masochism, I do not care what you call it. I gain a sense of self-satisfaction out of it, much like when I read Fark.com articles tagged with Florida or secretly make fun of people who find Larry the Cable Guy funny. It is a sense derived from the satisfaction you take from the misery or ignorance of others, a schadenfreude-like feeling that I just can not peel myself away from.

Why? I don't know, I think it may be a sign of mental illness, but the stories they weave like tapestry and callers they field are but a sampling of the ignoramuses that I have tended to run into for the last ten years.

In my pursuits of better pastures of bartending in the last three years, I have run into a lot of morons, on both sides of the political spectrum. From the over-privileged trust fund prince or princess, to the immature patchouli smelling wanna-be hippies just back from a week-long smoke out at Bonnaroo (let us not say that I do not enjoy Bonnaroo, or the music played there, I actually love the so-called neo-hippy music, I just hate posers) who tells me how evil the Bush administration is and yet does nothing but spend his/her parent's money on new Birkenstocks (real hippies would have made their own damn shoes!) and a dime bag.

I hate equally, trust me, ninety percent of the people you meet, anywhere, are asshats. I just happen to live here, so its what I write about. When I lived in Louisiana, I thought the people there were dumb too (Sorry for the brief caveat, but it needed to be said, I would not want to be accused of romanticising the land of my youth).

So, back to my occasional dirty pleasure, right-wing talk radio. I don't really have anything to report. They are so busy talking about undermining the President, for no reason other than to do it that I can discern, they are attacking someone that doesn't really matter, or, better yet, shilling either one of their books or the books of one of their own ideology. I will spare everyone the diatribe of my hatred for , but this one is a doozy. They threw around half-truths and outright lies, then lambasted anyone who dared to cite a credible source to back up an argument. In other words, they pundit-ed. They functioned as the mouthpiece of cultural "frustration" which makes them millions of dollars while we are worried about unemployment. I really felt like their listeners (please include my usual sarcasm here), like they were speaking for me and were on my side in a way that the rest of the "liberal" media wasn't.

Yet, I found nothing so blatantly telling of the sheer moronitude of my fellow listeners as this:










I instantly felt dumber when I heard it...I feel dirtier still even re-posting it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Its frustrating...

I really wish I had more time to spend on writing here, every time I seem to get a spark of inspiration...someone has beat me to it. Bob Cesca is one funny guy:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/president-obama-is-litera_b_166152.html

Well played Mr. Cesca, well played.

Follow up to my very tired ramblings of last evening...

My main problem (which I diverted from as I read more and got more agitated) was that the logic that some people seem to be using to discredit the bill. To claim that stimulating the economy is a less noble cause to borrow money for than one of the two wars that we are fighting at the moment is vacuous to me.

At best, we are fighting a war on two fronts (which never turns out well), and one, the much more expensive one, we created the problem on. Whereas, I do feel that military spending is fully warranted, when I see state funding and education funding cut out of one draft and military spending expanded in the same draft, that doesn't sound like stimulus to me. I have read the stimulus package and understood as much as I can without training in economics and agree with many on the front that it is not the plan that I would like to see. I think tax cuts for smaller businesses to stay afloat,
but, unfortunately that is not the businesses that have been receiving tax breaks in the last 20 years. We've returned to a mindset very reminiscent of the early 20th century, where big business is our prime motivator and the worker is just a cog in the machine.

On a side note, do not mistake my post for wholehearted support for the Democrats in Congress. They have screwed the pooch on a necessary evil much worse than I thought possible. The aim of this was to lessen the load on middle class citizens and small business, while creating an energy independent economy for the future. The bureaucracy has stepped in and either compromised or flat out held up any semblance of that getting done so far.

For the record,I don't want the government to save us, I just want them held to the same standard at their job as all of the rest of us are. If I sucked at bartending this bad, I would have been forced to change professions by now! Instead, I'm working my way out...hopefully!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't We Have to Pay ALL of the Money Back?

I'm getting a little sick and tired of every time I turn on the television I see some Republican mouthpiece claiming that we are dooming a future generation...financially.

If its not John Sununu on the Daily Show tonight (link to follow later), its John McCain calling it "generational theft". Apparently, this strategy of calling it "theft" is the creation of House minority leader John Boehner, who wrote it on a new-ish site called AmericaSpeaksOn. The basic argument is that Democrats are trying to spending and borrow their way to prosperity, which is true in a technical sense but debatable and provocative politically. I believe the phrase was also used by Michelle Malkin, coined to describe the stimulus package (I've seen it on her Twitter if I remember right). Whomever it may be saying the phrase, it does contain truth value. Possibly unbeknownst to the millionaires of Congress, this is how credit works. You borrow money you don't have, on the promise to pay it, plus interest, back in the future.

Yet, if my memory serves me correctly (as it almost always does in trivial matters), they should know about credit all too well. After all, we are fighting not one, but two wars on credit as we speak. I guess Republicans are fiscal conservatives--unless they're in power. On last Thursday's Daily Show, Jon Stewart showed clips (skip to 5:16 in) from Boehner and other opponents of the stimulus justifying spending billions in Iraq.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) discussed his objections to President Obama’s stimulus package currently before the Senate. McConnell expressed his concerns over the long term cost of the plan, because “we are already looking at, before we even do this, at over a trillion dollar deficit for this year”:

Most of my members believe that we could pass a very robust stimulus for less than the amount currently before us. We have been throwing figures around like it was paper money. We are already looking at, before we even do this, at over a trillion dollar deficit for this year. We all agree that we need to do something, but I don’t think we should not just completely act like the amount is irrelevant.

McConnell is not alone in trotting out this argument. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has also railed against increasing the deficit to pay for measures that won’t act as effective economic stimulus, saying that the current stimulus plan is “arrogantly indifferent to economic reality.”

In order to criticize, you should present a solution. The only comprehensive alternative being offered by Senate conservatives is DeMint’s “American Option: A Jobs Plan That Works,” a series of permanent tax breaks for corporations and wealthy Americans. A new analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that the DeMint plan would cost over $3.1 trillion over ten years (more than three times the amount of President Obama’s plan) and be largely ineffective at creating jobs. The DeMint plan includes permanently cutting the corporate tax rate, totally eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, lowering income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, and eliminating scores of tax deductions that help students pay for college, sick families pay medical bills, and teachers purchase supplies for their classrooms. Permanent tax cuts are one of the least effective ways of stimulating the economy according to both Moody’s Economy.com and the Congressional Budget Office. Furthermore, slashing government revenues this permanently would leave deep structural deficits for generations to come. McConnell is fond of saying that a stimulus bill should be “timely, temporary, and targeted.” The plan Senate Republicans were backing, though, fulfills none of these criteria.

To revisit the title, what is the difference on the money we borrow? Is it worth more to rebuild another country or our own? Correct me if I'm wrong, but are these not members of the same party who continually deny climate change exists, fuel economy standards are necessary, and believe that our best energy solution is "Drill, Baby, Drill"? Since when is this party concerned about my generation, much less my children's?

So Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congress, I respectfully request that you stop blowing smoke up our asses and do your jobs. The economy is partly your fault, therefore, the lion's share of the repair is your responsibility. I will do my part by continuing to go to work for as long as I am employed and able, also by continuing to shop for groceries in America. All I ask is that you don't insult my intelligence. Everyone in the Midwest is not on meth, everyone in the South is not a bible-thumping racist, not everyone in the city is a sodomizing liberal, not every African American can play basketball nor are they criminals, not every Latino is here to steal a job, not every Middle Easterner is a terrorist, not every Indian is a telemarketer nor do they all own convienece stores nor are they all doctors, not every Native American owns a casino, not every Asian American is good at math, and not every religious person is a Christian nor are all people believers. Stop lumping everyone together, unless you finally figure out how to do so by lumping us together as Americans, all for one and one for all, all in it together, succeed or fail.

My fellow citizens, feel free to forward this sentiment if you agree or debate me if you disagree, but keep in mind, we need to take our destiny back from these ridiculous people.



Studying...

Waking up at the seeming butt crack of dawn to study for a philosophy test is the bomb, dog! Deep thinking with eye boogers, what a combo!

The Coonass is Jealous of a Baby From Sierra Leone

I mean really? This kid is not even a year old and his life will never get better than this moment, sucks that he won't remember it. Don't worry kid, you'll always have video to watch later:



By the way, Salma...big fan. Um, may I cut in? Seriously, I'm not big on celebrity worship in any way at all, but that woman is hot sex on a platter!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Looking for work

Gotta love getting canned. I'm somewhat amazed at how much the restaurant business has changed over the years. Although it has never been a secure industry to work in, I am somewhat amazed at the lack of concern for an employee's well-being. To not have any concern over the bottom line seems like a cold way to run a business. To offer insurance and then make it neither cost effective, nor make the hours necessary to maintain it attainable in a way to have any quality of life is an insult.

Unfortunately, it is one of the few jobs available to a college student where hours and money converge (at least to my knowledge, any opposing viewpoints would be more than welcome). Therefore, unless someone points me in a new direction for opportunity while I finish school, I am stuck in an untenable situation. To get another restaurant job seems like a Pyhrric victory, at best. Yet, it seems to be my only option once again.

Friday, February 6, 2009

So I Really Thought We'd Turned a Corner...

I honestly did. I thought, after all these years, this nation may live up to the promise that people have claimed that it has had for years. Then this Stimulus Package starts to poke its head up. I'm neither a fan of government bailouts (despite the accusations that I am a Socialist), nor am I a fan of hyper-partisan behavior (despite the accusations that I am a cowardly Democrat). I feel that a major corporation, i.e. a bank, which had a somewhat major hand in creating the financial quagmire that we currently reside in WORLDWIDE, does not deserve a hand up from our tax coffers. Yet, that ship had sailed long before this, in the crisis of the autumn of 2008, so let us not re-visit an argument that has a precedent in place against our stance.

Instead, I would like to discuss the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The original plan entailed a $825 billion dollar package, some of the highlights:

Spending

Energy
$32 billionFunding for "smart electricity grid" to reduce waste
$20 billion +Renewable energy tax cuts and a tax credit for research and development on energy-related work, and a multiyear extension of renewable energy production tax credit
$6 billionFunding to weatherize modest-income homes

Science and Technology
$10 billionScience facilities
$6 billionHigh-speed Internet access for rural and underserved areas

Infrastructure
$32 billionTransportation projects
$31 billionConstruction and repair of federal buildings and other public infrastructure
$19 billionWater projects
$10 billionRail and mass transit projects

Education
$41 billionGrants to local school districts
$79 billionState fiscal relief to prevent cuts in state aid
$21 billionSchool modernization

Health Care
$39 billionSubsidies to health insurance for unemployed; providing coverage through Medicaid
$90 billionHelp to states with Medicaid
$20 billionModernization of health-information technology systems
$4 billionPreventative care

Taxes

Individuals:

  • $500 per worker, $1,000 per couple tax cut for two years, costing about $140 billion
  • Greater access to the $1,000-per-child tax credit for the working poor
  • Expansion of the earned-income tax credit to include families with three children
  • A $2,500 college tuition tax credit
  • Repeal of a requirement that a $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit be paid back over time

Businesses:

  • An infusion of cash into money-losing companies by allowing them to claim tax credits on past profits dating back five years instead of two
  • Bonus depreciation for businesses investing in new plants and equipment
  • Doubling of the amount small businesses can write off for capital investments and new equipment purchases
  • Allowing businesses to claim a tax credit for hiring disconnected youth and veterans
Source: Associated Press

Virtually immediately after this package was introduced, the American Public was bombarded with reports of pork-barrel spending and spending earmarks (remember those hot-button topics Democrats won with?). These accusations made the rounds on right-wing radio and television faster than a gravy boat at Rush Limbaugh's house. So, I curiously sought out these obvious miscarriages of the public trust labeled as the "pork", the results? All of the same, tired excuses that Limbaugh and Hannity love to toss around, food stamps, global warming, socialism, etc. etc.

So naturally, since right-wing talk radio and Fox News are such rational and fact-obsessed paragons of public service, some members of the House and Senate decided that their always well-researched and unbiased opinions must be correct and either voted against the bill or pushed to cut out the "pork". The pervasive idea in the Republican brain-trust seems to be that the key to bringing the U.S.'s economy back from the brink of deflation and depression is....

wait for it, it should sound familiar....

TAX CUTS!!!! Because who can spend money smarter and better than rich people? Therefore, make them richer! Isn't this the theory of the last ten years? Free up money for the wealthy and it will make the entire system better? Ridiculous tripe, while cutting corporate taxes the same cabal made it easier to store profits in tax-free offshore shelters. Why are we listening to this drivel when it was this group of geniuses who got the situation to the point it is at now? They were too busy playing the fear card for anyone but the diligent to notice that no one was driving the ship. Now that the ship has run aground, the same group is telling us it is our fault and the fault of the people who were just elected. Ladies and Gentlemen, I call Bullshit.

This brings us to today's compromise in the Senate. The only thing compromised during this process was my faith that these people have our country's best interests at heart.

Details of today's comprimise as they stand now from The Huffington Post at 9:44pm February 6th :

The actual price tag on the Senate stimulus package will be north of $800 billion. The deal reached today will be passed as an amendment to the original bill and is roughly $780 billion. But the three amendments that have already passed this week will still be part of the law. One, a housing credit of $15,000 per buyer, is estimated to cost $19 billion. Another, a tax credit for folks who buy energy efficient cars, comes in at around $11 billion. A third, giving $6.5 billion more to the National Institutes of Health, would also be included in the total cost, which takes it to roughly $817 billion, close to the amount of the package passed by the House.

Republicans have been arguing tonight that the higher price tag means that there is, in fact, no deal -- since the deal is for the $780 billion. Democratic senators and Sens. Arlen Specter and Susan Collins said, however, that there is a deal and that the amendments will be worked out in the negotiations between the Senate and House. The NIH piece may have the best chance of survival because it was sponsored by Specter, whose vote will be needed again to pass whatever emerges from House-Senate negotiations. The assumption among Democrats, said aides, is that those amendments will be stripped out during the conference negotiations, because the crux of the compromise deal is the $780 billion package.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) named a third Republican who backs the package, thanking Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine for her "very, very strong support for this measure." Snowe's support means that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) is not needed to reach the crucial mark of 60, though he may still appear.

Well, I'm tired and frustrated, thanks Congress!


A Very Poigniant Video

Good stuff, this video isn't really aimed towards my generation, but I would love to see people in my generation really start to put some of this kind of thought into action. People my age will bitch and moan about teenagers, but they're just as apathetic and self-absorbed as the people they're complaining about. Time to be Americans again people, if not, we unfortunately all reap what we sow.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The real winners of the Super Bowl

Congrats to the Steelers for winning the game (under questionable officiating, in my opinion), but the real competition is the commercials. Here are my winners:

Conan O'Brien is the big winner:



Classic Shatner:


This spot with Alec Baldwin killed me:


Then the E-Trade babies still crack me up:


NBC had one of the funniest of the night:


But the best of the night were all movie trailers: