Friday, June 21, 2013

Governor Rick Perry of Texas talks a good free enterprise system. But when he can’t get socialist-style relief for his state’s corporation-made disasters, guess what he turns into?

So in the past few weeks, it’s been hard in New York City to tune into the morning TV news without having Rick Perry in your face.

He’s there been all over the screen, in advertising paid for by Texans, to ask New York businesses to pull up stakes and move to Texas.

Governor Perry is dangling lures in front of New York business the way Anthony Weiner dangles his…but I’m getting off track here. Perry is talking about no taxes. He’s talking about no meaningful regulations on business. He’s telling “bidness” people they’ll grow fatter and richer than a wet dream in the mind of Croesus if only they fire everybody in New York and come down his way.

Don’t believe me?  Go here.

Now all this would be fine. New York would suffer a tragic loss of masochistic business owners and senior executives who don’t mind the humid heat in Houston that could give a shovel full of desert silicon an incurable case of wet rot.

He’s also no doubt trying to lure business people who don’t mind the crappy schools in Texas, where school boards seek to outlaw critical thinking as part of the Texas program to grow adult ignoramuses.

He’ll probably also lure folks who are amorous of “Palmetto bugs” – those are cockroaches the size of Wladimir Klitschko’s fist – that fall out of trees on peoples’ cars and heads, as well as infesting kitchens and attics. Hey, if you or your wife or your kids find a few Palmetto bugs in sexual congress in the china cabinet, you can always say it’s a sign of good luck.

As I said, masochistic New Yorkers-turned-Texan could enjoy the “good life” there. Umm, except for a the little matter of what happens when the setup there gets you into deep trouble.

See, not long ago a fertilizer plant blew higher than a cowboy on loco weed in a Texas town called West. Turns out, there was enough explosive stuff stored there to kill 12 citizens, injure hundreds more, and flatten homes, businesses (perhaps some lured there by Governor Perry), a school, and probably a whole lot of outhouses. Now Governor Perry wants the rest of us non-Texans to pay for it.

This might not have happened had “business-friendly” Texas chosen to regulate plants where explosive chemicals are used and stored.

Didn’t happen.

It might have been avoided if Texas demanded enough liability insurance so that the insurance companies themselves would inspect the plant and threaten to cancel the insurance if the plant didn’t get safe fast.

Didn’t happen.

Or even, if Texas had a reasonable tax structure, like most states, the Texas treasury might have been able to handle the under-$35 million Texas needs to fix the mess – at least until next time. Hell, in New York City alone we spend more on that on subways in a month. Or is it a week? Whatever. In any case a reasonable tax structure didn’t happen in Texas, either.

So why should the citizens of the other 49 states reach into their pockets to help out Texas, when Texans won’t reach into its own pockets? I mean, it just might sound to some people like a bunch of lazy or greedy Texans are demanding welfare to fix up their own mess.

And that's why Governor Perry is crying like a baby with something disagreeable in his diaper.

So the citizens of West are screwed. And I do hope, when the survivors of West figure out that it’s their own governor that screwed them, they – may I borrow one of your own phrases, Governor? – I hope they treat Rick Perry real ugly.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's always nice to learn a new word. Today's is skeuomorphism.


I'll let The Guardian define it for you:
Loosely speaking, skeuomorphism means "making stuff look as if it is made of something else." In this context, it is the logic that dictates that Apple's iBooks app resembles a cheap pine bookshelf, for example, and its Notes app resembles a yellow legal pad with lines and a margin – of the type last seen in about 1978.
Hurry over there  and read the whole entertaining shebang, making sure to enjoy all the snarky references attacking one of America's most sacred cows – the design genius of Apple.

While you're in The Guardian's neighborhood, hustle over to Josh Halliday's article about the notice given to British news media suggesting that they cool it and "limit" publishing news about American surveillance of the telephone and Internet system that could, British spelling and all, "jeopardise national security."

What I found most interesting was the paragraph at the very end of the article. It suggested that while Prince of Darkness Dick Cheney, Queen of Ignorance Michele Bachman and other loudmouthed gas bags may consider Edward Snowden (leaker of the fantastic extent to which our own government spies on all of us)....while Cheney and Bachman may call him a traitor, the Brits aren't exactly buying into that. They stated:

"Although none of these recent articles has contravened any of the guidelines contained within the defence advisory notice system, the intelligence services are concerned that further developments of this same theme may begin to jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel."

In other words, no cat got out of the bag that wasn't already out. They're just concerned that if this stuff continues, then – maybe – something might possibly get out.

See what you can find out, just by trying to learn a  new word?

Monday, June 17, 2013

“Let them eat compost!” While 21,000 children starve and sleep on New York City streets, Mayor Bloomberg frets about composting potato peels.

More than 50,000 New Yorkers slept in city homeless shelters and on the streets last night. About 21,000 were children. These numbers are huge and appalling, higher than they were in 2002, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office, higher than in the dismal days of the fiscal crisis, the Reagan ’80s and the surly administration of Rudolph Giuliani…. 
… The shelter population has risen 61 percent while Mr. Bloomberg has been mayor, propelled by a 73 percent increase in homeless families, according to the Coalition for the Homeless, whose relentless advocacy has been provoking mayoral fury since the 1980s. These surging numbers — of families with children, especially — undercut claims that New York is steadily becoming a better place to live, and that its government has gotten better at helping its most vulnerable citizens meet their most basic needs.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has tried to curb soda consumption, ban smoking in parks and encourage bike riding, is taking on a new cause: requiring New Yorkers to separate their food scraps for composting…. 
… Anticipating sharp growth in food recycling, the administration will also seek proposals within the next 12 months for a company to build a plant in the New York region to process residents’ food waste into biogas, which would be used to generate electricity.

In other words, screw the starving homeless children. They don’t have any potato peelings to contribute anyway. And by the way, who said businessmen-turned-politicians aren't great at setting priorities?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Here's something for gun owners to hate about NSA evesdropping. But hey, hey! Listen up! Don’t feel too smug if you’re a liberal.

They may just be looking for terrorists with bombs, but they can’t help but sweep up nuts with guns. Or just plain gun owners everywhere.

I’m talking about the National Security Agency's electronic vacuum cleaner, the one that reaches deep into the crevices of the Internet and the telephone companies and sweeps up anything lying there, sleeping there, crawling through, or flying around like a crazed bat.

Are they making a list
and checking it twice?

If you paid your dues to a gun club over the Internet, or by check, or by credit or debit card, they’ve got you, Dude.

If you receive notifications via e-mail of when the gun club meets, or when it holds it competitive matches, they’ve got you, Dude. Ditto if you just go to the club’s website and check things out there.

If you’ve been corresponding with other gun owners, they know about it, Dude.

If you went window shopping on the Internet for a really mean mother of an automatic rifle, woo hoo! They see you!

If you phoned your buddy to come out at night with you and go shoot homeless people from the car for sport because deer aren’t in season, they know about it, Dude. And they're coming for you real soon.

Left six, right 12,
left past 12 to 23

Yeah, I’m talking to you, with the gun safe and the six shotguns locked in the closet. They know when you are sleeping. They know when you’re awake. They probably also know exactly where your gun safe is. And what the combination is.

If you correspond with a dude who corresponds with other dudes about guns, they know you correspond with him. And that he corresponds with them.

If you sent someone an e-mail saying, “They may have tanks and missiles, but I’m going to take a few of them out with my AR15 and my 100 round clip if they come for my guns,” they know about it.

And when they come for your guns they’ll have you by the short hairs of your cell phone, your computer, your I-Phone, and for that matter, your pet poodle. (Remember when you bought a GPS tracking device for your dog, so that if he ever got lost or ran away, you could find him? Now they can find him, too.)

If you like to save money by reloading ammo, they know about you, and where you bought the gunpowder, and how much you bought, and what you paid for it. Not to mention that truckload of nitrate-based fertilizer you’re thinking of buying. Yup, they can probably hear you thinking, too.

Your second amendment’s useless
Without my fourth ammendment

See, you gun fanatics were so crazed about defending the Second Amendment against all interpretations except the most absolutist one possible, you forgot to do the same for the Fourth Amendment, which states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized…”

Now, the Fourth was written before people wrote and stored records on computers and tablets instead writing things on “papers.” By the definition of the founders, your computer and tablet and cell phone are “papers” and They have no right to access this stuff not even from cyberspace.

Besides, electronic devices are “effects,” which are also presumably protected. Meanwhile, the government is crawling through your computer, tablet and cell phone like maggots on rotten meat without any “oath of affirmation” that describes the place to be searched and the persons and things to be seized.

When you lose the Fourth, you also lose the Second, dude. Big Brother is watching you. And he doesn’t need to see any gun registrations to find you and your piece and your ammo. He doesn’t even need to send in a drone to shoot pictures through your window. Big Brother analyzes the patterns of your purchases and associations, and he knows.

Wipe that smug smile off
your supercilious puss

P.S. Everybody else needn’t feel particularly smug, either. If you’re playing with yourself while watching porn on the Internet, they know about it. And they know whether you prefer girls, boys, groups, little kids, or nasty ladies wearing vinyl bustiers and snapping rawhide whips.

If you gamble, they’ve got your winnings and losses. If you’re planning to demonstrate with One-Legged Grandmas for Peace, they know preciselty where to meet you with tear gas and high pressure fire hoses. If you’re having an affair, both of you should know that Big Brother really is watching, listening and analyzing for “patterns.”

But the clearest pattern that emerges is the pattern of an eroding Bill of Rights.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

I've got nothing to say today, got that? Nothing. I ain't talking. Take it or lump it.

I don't know what it is.

Maybe I've overdosed on politics.

Maybe I've overdosed on obstreperous Republicans.

Maybe I've overdosed on Tea Party know-nothings.

Not to mention that I'm sick and tired of President Obama leading not even from the back seat, but more from the car's trunk.

Meanwhile, a bunch of poor IRS schlemiels are being bleated about by the Tea Party people, and  hounded by Congress, for doing their jobs and trying to enforce the law. You'd think Congress didn't even know it had passed the law. Or that President Obama, who condemned their law enforcement efforts, wants people to cheat and will throw any federal employee who doesn't aid and abet the cheaters straight under the bus.

Listen, the IRS went after Tea Party and like-minded organizations because those are the ones that are clearly breaking the tax laws if they got tax exemptions for political agitating. And they did file for tax exemptions. And they do politically agitate. A second grader could do the math.

Besides, you catch the bad guys by going after the bad guys. That's how it works – just like cops post themselves and cameras at stop lights because that's where stop lights get run. Or like the bank robber Willie Sutton, who robbed banks because "That's where the money is."

When you enforce the tax law, you go after fat cat lawbreakers spending money that belongs to the taxpayers on advertising for themselves. You don't go after little old ladies living on cat food.

I even feel sorry for the IRS agents who are being humiliated for a dance video. Hey, private industry throws employee shindigs all the time to help build morale. It's called good management. What's the problem? Are you afraid that if government employees have some fun and build some mutual trust and cameraderie, they're more likely to be enthusiastic about their jobs?

As for the news media, which largely goes along with the so-called "scandals" because that's simpler than explaining the complexities of enforcing the law or running a government agency, I hope the editors and reporters who are taking the cheap and sleazy way out get to spend eternity, naked and rotting, body-to-body in the same 5 X6 cell in hell with Mitch McConnell and Daryl Issa.

But I'm not talking here, because I've got nothing to say. I'm not preaching. I'm not praising, I'm not damning. I'm not condemning, I'm not muttering. I'm not doing diddley. I'm just saying, if I may repeat myself, that I've got nothing to say.

So why am I posting today?

I'm posting merely to let you know I'm not dead.