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Any ideology that can carry out,
endorse, excuse, or ignore the deliberate murder of civilians, including
women and children, in order to further their cause is sick and twisted,
and the complete annihilation of that ideology is fully justified.
(If you linked us and we haven't linked you, let me know and we'll rectify. Heh heh... I said "rectify." It's funny because it sounds like "rectum.")0
Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a class of people who exist solely to slow you down?
You're going through your life, doing your thing, and they interfere with either no regard of what they are doing, or no awareness.
It seems like every time I am on a 2-way street I get stuck behind someone doing 50 in the 55, and oncoming traffic keeps me from passing them. But when we come to a passing zone or oncoming lightens up, they find their gas pedal and then they're doing 60 or 65, making it harder for one to pass... but then when there is more oncoming, and one can't pass, they slow down again.
Never get behind anyone older than 50 at a grocery store... the checkbook is coming out. The date, store name, etc will not be filled out ahead of time. There may also be coupons. If the person is over 65 there will be a long discussion and price check because "It said it was 10 cents off at the shelf, you better not be trying to rip me off."
The car in front of you at the drive through at noon will be making 6 separate orders for the peeps at the office.
And now I was going to make some point about how taxes and big government get in the way of economic progress and how the government doesn't have anything to give that it hasn't already taken away, but it really is just screaming at a hurricane by now, isn't it. Church membership is down, but faith in government and political religion still exist in a big way.
I've been reading 'round the internet today, and one thing
is happening again and again: democrats now love it when the President
orders a hit. I find it interesting that there is finally something
for Dems and Obama to crow about in his reelection campaign... he ordered
a hit and it was successful. Now don't get me wrong... not only is
there a ton of evidence against Osama bin Laden, but we have the guy on
record admitting that the events of 9/11 were all him, baby. Now,
(Believe it or not) I'm not generally a fan of summary executions, but I
think this guy had it coming more than most. I feel like the world
is a little safer today because that asshole is no longer breathing.
Our government is supposed to protect our right to proclaim "I am," but lately the trend seems to swing toward the government proclaiming "You are."
A lot of people are fine the the government taking charge with defining what we are. They feel comforted that they are being cared for. They feel comforted that people they perceive aren't as intelligent are being cared for, because they are incapable of caring for themselves. This is called "caring," not "condescension."
One thing you hear repeated in this country are that we need to tax those big, evil corporations. "All they do is take money out of the communities and oppress poor people." But there are a few things I wonder about...
Corporations don't pay tax, the people who desire their goods and services do. The answer to all government programs seems to be, at least in part, "Raise taxes on businesses and corporations." This is great because most voting people think they aren't affected, and businesses can't vote. Taxation is just another expense built in to the cost of selling a good or service. The business can't exist without profitability, there is a margin they have to meet in order to be profitable, and if expenses go up, the cost of goods and services go up. The consumers pay the taxes for the business.
You are probably employed by a business. Do you want to lose your job? Do you want them getting taxed out of their ability to keep the doors open? More taxes on the business means trade-offs elsewhere. Slightly higher product costs, and slightly lower pay raises next fiscal year. Maybe the kid fresh out of school doesn't get hired now, because there isn't enough money left after paying the higher taxes to expand the work force. Sorry. Government gets theirs first.
"Business executives are overpaid. Nobody needs that much money."Executive salaries are still part of a company's operating expenses, so they are carefully set with every thought toward ensuring the set salary will be competitive enough to attract a person with the ability to do the job, and low enough for the company to remain profitable. Talented managers do not come cheaply. They typically have many employment options, and will typically go where they will be happiest... and that often includes where the pay is the best. Payroll is built in to the costs of the good or service. If payroll is too high, the cost of the good or service will be higher, and the consumers will no longer pay for it. This is a bad move. The only company in which "executives are overpaid" is the one that is going out of business due to the cost of their executives. This is a double failure: the stock holders/company owners failed by making a bad decision, and the manager failed by not doing the job he was hired for. The company corrects and either succeeds or goes out of business sending their customers to competitors. It works itself out. Government intervention can only be bad for this natural process.
"Corporations make too much money, so taxing them more is the right thing to do." Businesses are formed by regular people with the capital (money) needed to invest in a plan to make money off of their investment, thus, these people are called "Capitalists." If you want to argue that if these individuals have too much money and should use it to fund "social programs," then move on. That isn't how a viable economy works, and this website isn't for you. Sometimes the business owner is a single person, sometimes it is thousands of people who own shares in the company. What they all have in common is a lot of ways to spend their money, but for the sake of this discussion they chose this one. They expect a certain percentage of return on their investments. There is an average rate of return across the board for all companies, for now we will call it 10%. If this investment is making them less than 10% on their investment, they will pull their capital and take their money elsewhere.... this is the prime motivator for a company to be profitable. If it isn't, the capitalists pull out, and no more company. And again, the costs of the goods and services tries to be at a balance point between profitability, and the highest price their consumers are willing to pay for it. If consumers are willing to pay it, the product is not overpriced. That is just a simple law of economics; it can't be argued, because I know some of you reading this want to. The profits a company makes either go back into development of the company... which includes R&D on new products, new buildings, new office chairs for employees, or it goes into a fund designed to cover expected "dry spells," or it gets paid back to the owners of the company as a return on their investment. That's it. There aren't secret bank accounts paid by people to make the lives of poor folk hard. The more money the general public has, the more money they have to buy your goods and services. Keeping a populace poor and angry is a poor business decision for a company trying to make money from that very populace.
Keeping a populace poor and angry is a great strategy when trying to get your political party elected to positions in the government.... government which only spends money, and does not create any. All a politician need do is run on a platform of "Change." No one making money and living a good life wants "change" unless they have had a wool parachute pulled over their eyes.
There is a thing called "Elitism."
Pronunciation: \ā-ˈlē-ˌti-zəm, i-, ē-\
1 : leadership or rule by
ó elit∑ist \-ˈlē-tist\ noun or adjective
Obviously, the prime indicator that one is Elitist (Capital-E "Elitist." One who puts effort into it instead of just thinking they may be smarter than the average person) is that they think the general population needs the Elitist to make their decisions for them. The Elitists are those who think regular people are not good enough or smart enough or enlightened enough to make their own, correct decisions. Elitists think there needs to be more government, with the "Right People in Charge," to make more, correct decisions for the masses. Elitists hate the idea of individuality... all too often individuals make decisions that are in their own best interests, and not the decisions that are best for "society." These are the people who invest their money into a company instead of giving it to a homeless shelter (or, not giving enough to the homeless shelter). Individuals will take a plot of land, work hard and grow something, and then sell it to poor people who "need" the food instead of just giving it to poor people because... hey... food is a right, isn't it? Just like medical care? And we need medical care, people have a "right" to medical care... so hey... let's just tax big businesses to pay for it. They have too much money, anyway.
In America we are entering a new age of socialism. The so-called rich, small business owners, and evil corporations are under fire more so than usual. Everyone wants to take from those producing wealth and give to those who do not. At this time this desire is expressed best with Obama trying to get his government health plan passed, which a lot of people wouldn't be so vehemently against if it wasn't so all-encompassing and putting the majority of the entire system into the government's hands. But it does. Medicare and Medicaid already exist to cover the old, infirm, and poor.
Preface completed. My point: since the money of people who actually contribute to the economy, nay, SOCIETY is going to be asked to pay for those who produce nothing except more CO2 in the atmosphere by breathing, playing XBOX, and smoking weed, I feel I am now allowed to attempt to quantify their existence.
What, exactly, good are these people?
People with jobs, no matter how mean or menial, are filling a niche in the economy and are, more or less, essential. These are the people moving the country into the future. What about everyone else? If more and more capital is taken from the producers and given to the dead weight, how long until we can no longer advance as a nation, society, or economy? Are we to only march as fast as the slowest person, no matter what, no matter how many high achievers we stifle? How long can that continue before we end up in a quagmire?
Starting every January first, most people work strictly for the government up until April (I forget the exact date of the average). This means every minute they work for every dollar they earn that calendar year, up until that day, goes straight to the bloated government. Every time a day is added to that average, a certain number of people find they can no longer afford to survive as they have been, and steps are taken, up to and including bankruptcy which puts their fate in government hands.
There are no longer any excuses for being a failure. Government grants and loans allow anyone to afford college who do the minimal work required to get in, and a black man is President.
I am rambling and I am finding it difficult to make my point eloquently... you probably noticed. In summary, how much do we let those who don't produce anything except ass prints in their couch cushions drag the rest of us down? Is there a limit? Why or why not? How much is a poor person worth?
I'll even open registration for a small while to get more opinions. I will keep registration open until I get tired of fighting the spammers.
And the quote is from?
Anyway, saw X-Men: Wolverine a few weeks ago, and recently was exposed to some sort of behind-the-scenes thing. What struck me about the BTS was Hugh Jackman saying he couldn't actually smoke the cigar he had clenched in his teeth for most of the movie, otherwise they would have gotten an R rating, which for some reason they were trying to avoid.
So just to be clear: it is just fine to show a mass murderer committing mass murder (and make no mistake... whether his actions are 'right' or 'wrong,' the character of Wolverine is a mass murderer) and the movie remains teen-friendly.... but NO SMOKING! That could but bad ideas in a child's head.
Wolverine burning up a bad guy in a helicopter and making him smoke = good. Wolverine burning some tobacco leaves and making them smoke = bad.
It's a madhouse.
Hey wow, new year. Hi.
The Republican Party: The way I see it, there are two options. Either find some other party to replace them that can get candidates on the national ticket AND in the televised network debates, or change their insane stance on certain issues.
What brings this to mind is the damned religious right that seems to have so much control over agenda of this party. It seems that every day I read more stories about creationism, and how the religious right is getting on school boards and filling school children's' heads with Sunday school dogma. I do not like it. I don't care how many times you've read the bible and how much you feel the spirit of god infusing you.... creationism aint science, and it never will be.
Back in the late 19th many Midwesterners felt their views were not being represented by either the Democrats or the Republicans, and they formed what became known as the Populist Party. Many were farmers and among other issues they wanted America off the gold standard (they saw eastern bankers as having too much power to instigate a credit crunch, and thus foreclosure on their farms), and they didn't like monopolistic railroad rates. They were so successful as to actually nominate a man for President in 1896... and it was then that the D's and R's decided to start listening, as this new guy was a lock for every vote between Illinois and California. The Democrats took on much of the Populist agenda as its own which caused the Populist Party to begin to fade.
I hate to say it since his name has become synonymous with whack jobs, for some reason... but the Republican party needs the same sort of compromise with Ron Paul and his Libertarians. Get God's hand out of the legislature. Embrace an actual conservative philosophy.
I am at the point where I am no longer a lock to vote Republican simply because the Democrats are too repugnant to even consider. I am to the point where both sides seem equally repugnant. If you've lost me, GOP, you are surely in dire straights. Compromise or die.
Discussion in the Forum Thread. If you want to participate in the discussion and aren't registered, email me and I'll sign you up, post haste. We had to close registration due to spammers flooding us.
We were actually at Disney World this year on his birthday, and this kid is spoiled.
A cool thing about Disney is that, almost to the last employee, they are all in the "We are Disney experts and love doing our jobs" school... or at least they act like it well enough to pull it off. Will wore a little "It's my birthday!" button, and almost every employee we passed stopped to wish him well. It was nice, if a slight bit tedious, at the end of the day. But still, repetitive enthusiasm trumps surliness with a big old right bower (does anyone get that reference?).
I've already told most of my Disney stories in the Disney Thread, but two things to take away from looking at all of these pictures: someone help me convince my wife that those big yellow dates in the corner completely ruin well-composed pictures, and that my kid got a lot of sugar from the princesses. And they didn't even seem to care that I had a birthday that last summer... no sugar for daddy. But they were all, to a woman, all over my kid.
Snow White started it all. Her kiss caught us by surprise, but we recorded the aftermath.
And then there was the time we caught three Princesses all together. Belle, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.
And then during the Halloween Party we found Alice... and by now he knew what was up and was ready to give a little sugar of his own.
I don't remember my parents getting me kisses from princesses when I was a kid. This kid has it too good.
But he also met Mike Wazowski, from Monsters, Inc. That's "Mike" spelled with one "i." Their joke, not mine.
And his faves, the Toy Story gang.
And we went to the speeder bike, again... this is becoming a tradition.
Me in 2003:
Will in 2007:
And Will in 2008:
He met about five times as many characters, and we got the pics, but there are just too many to put, here. Those in the know can see them on my wife's Myspace. We were there for 10 days and that was probably two or three days too long, but all in all it was a great trip.
Lots more anecdotes in the Forum Thread. If you want to participate in the discussion and aren't registered, email me and I'll sign you up. We had to close registration due to spammers flooding us.
Congratulations to President Obama. You ran and won on little more than a "hope and change" platform, and I while I hope you end up being a great President, I hope the "change" part doesn't end up with me being homeless, or something, since that would be some serious change. I've not been as active on dtman.com as I've been in past elections, due to a number of reasons, lack of motivation being the main one. New parenthood does that to a person. Obama isn't the guy I voted for, but I did vote, the majority has spoken, and I am proud to have participated in one of the most amazing occasions in human history: a bloodless turnover of the most powerful office on the planet. Citizens of this country, for reasons public and private, voted and the law will be served. And it happens every four years. We take it for granted, but it really is amazing, given human nature.
So consider this a toast to President Obama, and with all honesty I say that I hope he ends up being one of history's great Presidents. I personally am concerned about the effects of a lot of his election "promises" and philosophies, but there is a vast gulf between being a candidate and actually being in office where there are consequences to the things you say and do. We don't know which way the winds are going to blow. I'll reserve judgment after I see what kind of executive he actually is, since no one really knows. But here's best wishes. My country, my president.
And this is a big one. For the last eight years I have heard whining and complaining of the most unseemly sort. Media always finding the bad in the good. Liberals of all stripes crying to everyone who can hear, whether they want to hear or not, "He's not my President!"
This is not respectful, it is not mature, it lacks class, and it shows complete disdain of a country I served with pride. It really has been tiresome listening to the "republicans are evil/Bush is hitler" bullshit for so long. There is a difference between disagreeing with a president's domestic policy, and saying he is bad because you think he looks like a chimp. This is 3rd grade stuff, here. So I am going to show all of you how a grownup handles an election where his personal favorite candidate did not win:
Even though I didn't vote for him, and think he is far from being the best man for the job, democracy has been served and I will respect the man as my President, and if called would still defend my country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, just like I did last time. I'm looking forward to a stillness of all the weeping and flapping gums and sleights I've had to endure. I honestly hope he can live up to even half of the greatness to which you've all built him up in your minds.
It is one thing to offer better packages at different tiers of services, but it is quite another to remove features and functionality one is used to receiving for free and making it available at a higher pricing tier for more money.
First and foremost on my mind is their "Channel Guide." It used to look finished and professional, and all of a sudden... on my non-digital cable box (my main box is digital), it looks like they're using Commodore 64 graphics. Also, you can no longer hold down the "down" arrow and quickly scan through what is currently showing... now if one holds the button for more than 3 seconds, the channels flash by too quickly to read. Boo. You just added less functionality and visual appeal. Nice job.
Secondly, one day the "Universal HD Channel" appeared in the block of channels dedicated to HD broadcasts. I was impressed that more HD channels were being added to what was available to me. I scanned it weekly for more shows to add to the DVR... I discovered the excellent series "Jericho," this way. Then, after a couple months, that channel was only available as part of a new subscription service... it would cost me to continue watching it. What do you think you are selling, Time Warner, crack?
And thirdly, I don't know if this is a result of poor infrastructure in this part of Ohio, or what (the northwest corner of Ohio is famous for not receiving much attention/infrastructure money from the state capital), but some channels, at peak viewing times, are staticy to the point of becoming unwatchable. Some mornings when my kid is trying to watch Playhouse Disney on the Disney Channel, the reception will go in and out completely every 3 seconds, or so. When a new Battlestar Galactica is showing on the SciFi Channel, it is so full of static I feel like I am 9 again trying to tune in the UHF channel to that station in Detroit on a Saturday afternoon so I can watch 4 hours of Creature Feature... usually, Godzilla movies. But anyway... come on... I'm paying $150 per month for digital cable, and I am getting channels with static? Seriously? (And everyone under the age of 25 is saying, 'What's UHF?')
And speaking of the SciFi Channel, where my SciFi HD? I know it exists. The only reason I would have to get it is until Battlestar ends... so it is now or never, Time Warner. That window is closing.
Interestingly enough, I have access to a cable TV competitor in this area, Buckeye Cable, and I may be looking in to their offerings. I also have access to the Dish Network, which I hear has a lot of HD channel offerings. I have been a fan of Time Warner TV for a while, but not since 2003 in Memphis have I had such a poor experience with them... and then they just had customer service issues... the product itself was better than this. Hell, one day in North Carolina they sent me a letter saying they improved infrastructure and they were increasing my available cable modem bandwidth by 50%, and Merry Christmas. I was impressed. But unless you get your shit together you're going to lose me, Time Warner Cable in Ohio.
Thanks for the text message Vince, and I'll see you in hell.
But yes, the forum has been down all week, and I've been too busy to take the time to fix it. I suspect my host moved the SQL server without telling me, and now settings are all wrong... but every time I try to call them I am on hold with tech support for 30 minutes.... and that is getting old.
I'm currently considering changing hosts right now, and will unless the current host amazes me by getting my shit fixed TODAY.
Catt or any other forum regulars who want to give a shot fixing the forum contact me at my gordon2 dtman email address with your phone numbers, and I will get you as much login info as I can to the hosts SQL admin pages, and the "security question" for tech support and pretend you are me. If I change hosts, the last forum backup I made was about 3 weeks ago... not so bad considering right now it's been down about a week since the forum worked. Additionally there will be about 3 days downtime while the new domain IP propagates across the net.
In the face of recent economic weakness, President Bush has proposed a $150 Billion stimulus package to keep the economy going. Democratic contenders Clinton and Obama have proposed $70 Billion and $120 Billion plans, respectively. The details differ, but the impact will be the same. More deficits.
Pre-9/11, America enjoyed a record $250 billion budget surplus. Let's set aside arguments of whether it was truly a surplus based on accrual accounting methods instead of cash accounting. Since that time, the government has not come close. Bush, emboldended by the surplus and eager to be aggressive in the face of terrorism, approved $1.5 trillion in tax cuts and boosted military spending. By 2004, any memory of a surplus had been erased as the government ran a $450 Billion deficit. For 2007, the deficit has been trimmed to roughly $200 billion, propped up by the recent economic expansion.
Today, the CBO announced that 2008 would be worse. The deficit is projected to grow to $250 billion, and without accounting for any costs of any potential economic stimulus plan. The 2008 fiscal year ends October 1st, and no doubt some portion of any stimulus plan would further worsen the 2008 deficit.
Yesterday, in a move to calm nervous markets and spur economic activity, the Fed cut rates .75 basis points. The markets still fell, but the impact was seen. Housing related stocks sky-rocketed. Bond re-insurers, mortgage companies, and home supply companies had large gains ranging from 10-40%. Why? Because the fed's action will do more to help the current situation than any economic stimulus package could.
One of the current issues in the economy is the resetting of many adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs). Mortgages are generally tied to either LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) or 10 year government treasuries. The 1-year LIBOR has dropped 200 basis points over the past year, and the 10-year treasury has dropped to 3.30%. 30-year mortgages, which hit a peak of 6.5% last summer are now at 5.375%, a level not seen in nearly 5 years.
As these rates fall, the impact of mortgages adjustments drops dramatically. As can be seen here, nearly $1.5 trillion of ARMs are set to reset over the coming 4 years. As teaser rates expire, market rates will be charged. With falling rates, fewer homeowners will default, and the housing market could rebound, even cascading into a wealth effect as people feel more wealthy given the rising values of their homes, and have equity to tap for future spending.
The fed's action was dramatic, and proper. Instead of waiting until a recession has clearly begun, the fed acted swiftly to bring a large amount of help to the markets. Looser credit can help companies that need to borrow to grow, as well as homeowners facing mortgage difficulties. Both will have far more positive impact on the economy, while minimizing the impact on the budget deficit. The politicians need to focus on a small, targeted, short-term stimulus package, or possibly none at all. The fed has already done more for the long term than any politician could hope to do.
Look at that; almost two months since my last post, and a new year to boot. Truly this webpage keeps peeps checking in several times a day looking for new updates. I ought to install advertising to get my share of that crazy internet money.
That being said, I've been trying hard to find something new I care about enough to write about. I don't really care a lot about the following subject, but I've always felt it was important to inform the general public when a meme has gone out of style, or, as the teens say, "is played out."
A number of years ago it became fashionable to proclaim one's distaste for children, for those who had them, and the concept of them in general. Various witticisms came about from this, labeling people who procreated "breeders" (this one was popular in homosexual circles as a derogatory term for heterosexuals), referring to children themselves as "crotch droppings" or "crotchfruit," and generally being outraged when confronted by a human less than 18 years old in public, followed by a flurry of angry typing on their favorite internet forum whine board.
Allow me to be the one to inform everyone that this kind of outrage is played out. Irony has kicked in, and ranting about "omg I heard a baby in a restaurant last night i hate people" is no longer "edgy" and "dark," but just whiny.
No, this decision is not based on my own, updated parental status. I still feel there should be "child free" days at zoos, restaurants, etc for people who wish to have a break from herds of children... grown-ups like the zoo, too. I think kids under 3 should be physically barred from any movie, at any time, that isn't rated G... unless it is a designated "child showing" and kids are expected to be there. And you know why I feel that way in spite of being a parent? Because I'd take advantage of these things, too. There is a thing called a "babysitter" for when Daddy needs some grown-up time, and Daddy does occasionally like a break from kids. Daddy gets upset when he gets a babysitter and goes to a movie and there is another person there with a crying infant who chose to not get a babysitter.
But raging about people who have kids with various excuses, such as the "the world is already overpopulated and I am so enlightened that I am not going to add to the problem," is just stupid. If nothing else, just contemplate who is going to wipe your ass for you when you are 70 years old and cold and alone if other people aren't busy raising the next generation that will be taking care of you. And while you are giving your "here's why I won't ever have kids" excuses, just remembered that other people are just assuming that you're full of shit and are just unable to find another human willing to breed with you, possibly because you're ugly or are unschooled in the mysteries of personal hygiene.
Things that got linked.
Cleaning the Stalls
Bringing Down a Nation
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