This Day in History. "A country without a memory is a country of madmen." - George Santayana

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You've Got To Be Kidding Me! #1

Alright, so I was scanning around Facebook for no real good reason at all and stumbled upon a group called "Foxnews: true defender of the fundamental values that America was built on." Poor grammar, neglected capitalization, and the fact that it's Fox News aside, I already knew this group was going to be filled with dumbasses. Then, I saw the following discussion topic "To fix the illegal alien problem."

The first entry is as follows: "It's simple to fix this problem. We should not spend millions upon millions of dollars to try and put up fences. Lets just line up a division of troops on the border and invade Mexico and go all the way to the Panama Canal (which we should not have given up to start with). That way we wouldn't have any more illegal aliens. We can make Mexico the 51st state and we'd have oil (Mexico pumps it out but using old tech we could help there). I think we'd be seen as liberators! All the new jobs and and tax payers would get us out of the economic problems we have now. I would say not a shot would be fired (except for the drug dealers). Also it's easy to defend the waterway at the Panama Canal small border to secure!." (Yes there was a period AFTER the exclamation point; you can't make this stuff up)

So many things to address here, where to start? First, I believe this is called imperialism. We would suddenly become that much closer to being Rome as we expanded an "empire" that we can hardly sustain right now. Second, this just goes to show how the Fox News people see the world: Clearly this guy does not understand that after Mexico, there is El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and then Panama (for which the PANAMA CANAL is named!). "Yup, he's brown, he must be Mexican, because we already killed all them In'juns." Sure many of the people in Central America are of either Aztec or Mayan plus Spanish decent, but there are separate and distinct countries after Mexico.

I thought this might be a joke, but then he got some woman from the choir to which he was preaching saying that this guy should get the job as Speaker of the House! And then he came back, just as serious as before basically appreciative of the cosign.

Wow.

You've got to be kidding me!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Plug-In Mini is "Charging" Ahead

A recent CNN Money article announced that the plug-in Mini Cooper is prepared for limited release to select markets in NYC and LA. Mini is owned by BMW.

It does not surprise me in the least that the American car companies have not come close yet to release of something as groundbreaking as this. American car companies had their chance to make good with the US public but decided to push huge trucks/SUVs as the rest of the world prepared for the upcoming need to move away or at least reduce reliance upon fossil-based fuels. This shows limited future-vision on part of the executives of the American car companies, particularly GM. Still, people will try to blame it all on the unions. I agree that the unions were part of the problem, but if GM had been able to sell more cars they would not be complaining about their union scapegoat. Again, groups of people displacing the blame/responsibility that they should own up to onto other people; after all, why are executives paid so well? It is because, when the company is doing well, they claim it's because they had a clear and direct effect upon the profitability of the company, but when the company is doing poorly, it's not their fault. It's a clear sign of the pussification of America.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Vegan Bomber makes it on FBI Most Wanted List

I never have understood the crazy animal rights activists that will bomb humans or at least bomb buildings in which humans are employed in order to save the poor little defenseless animals.

In this story, a guy has bombed two facilities because they were potentially linked to animal testing. Ok, animal testing is not really my cup of tea, and perhaps there ought to be regulations to minimize cruelty, but honestly, these people would be out there yelling at these corporations for releasing products that harm people if they did not test on animals. Is it sick? Yeah, but having my bachelors and masters degree in chemical engineering also reminds me that some chemicals can have some sick reactions in the right conditions. Clearly there are chemicals we KNOW are not going to harm people, but they are not always going to be the cheapest to purchase or synthesize, so unless you want to buy shampoo for $20/bottle, sometimes companies try to cut corners. Would you rather they test on a stray dog or your little kid?

It comes down to a bigger issue in my opinion. I really think something is psychologically wrong with some of these animals rights people. They value animals "feelings" and "rights" over those of humans in certain cases. What kind of trauma have these people gone through that makes them place more value in animals over humans? And for that matter, wouldn't it be better to try to sit down and talk about these things rather than bomb places?

This guy is an idiot. I don't think they serve tofu in jail.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Series: If I Were a Candidate

Foreward: In an attempt to equivocate for myself and my readers (if I have any), I am starting a new series of blogs called "If I Were a Candidate." In this series, I do not flirt with the idea of actually being a candidate for some political office, rather I am attempting to take my feelings and thoughts on issues and record them in an organized manner. In ways, I think it may be therapeutic, but I hope it can be enlightening in trying to describe my complex political and socioeconomic views; I am not easily characterized into one traditional political camp or the other despite neo-conservative attempts/desires to label me as a "librul." In short, many of my ideas take root in the liberal school of thought but I have a fiscally conservative streak about me. I am hardly one who believes strictly in throwing as much money as possible at a problem in the attempt to solve it. Though some may find it hard, I tend to hold to the philosophy of "what's good for me may not be good for everyone else." In that way, I have more traditional values and beliefs that I hold for myself, but I believe in the freedoms set out in our Constitution and that they were broad for a reason. Agree with me, disagree, I don't really mind either way.

Some Upcoming Topics (In no particular order)
Political Parties
+ Two Party System
+ Bipartisanship versus Partisan Bickering

Economic Issues
+ Taxes
+ Corporate Welfare/Bailouts
+ Capitalism, Socialism, Mixed Economies
+ Regulations

Social Issues
+ Religion's Role in Politics
+ Abortion / Sex Education / Birth Control
+ Education
+ Health Care
+ Social Security / Medicare
+ Welfare / Medicaid
+ Funding for the Sciences / Arts

Energy/Environmental Issues
+ Global Warming/Greenhouse Gases
+ Renewable Energy versus Readily Available Natural Resources
+ Regulations

Foreign Policy Issues
+ Global Terrorism
+ Talking to our "Enemies"
+ Militarism versus Diplomacy
+ Colonialism versus Protectionism

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taxes Will Double for Everyone in the Future?

According to this commentary at CNN, it's a very strong possibility. Now, I am a proponent of a fair degree of fiscal restraint, but I will not be bullied or scared into it due to some projected/speculated belief that my taxes will double in the near future.

Here's a novel idea. Look back to previous times of crisis in our history and review the tax rates for the highest income bracket. People, most notably the ones with a great deal of money, were asked to sacrifice some "hard-earned" dollars to help keep America's economy alive, sometimes upwards of 90% of their income above the tax bracket below the top. Keep in mind that during the 30's and 40's when tax rates were hiked considerably on the wealthy we had both a financial crisis and we were involved in a war abroad on two fronts. Sound familiar? I am not advocating that we increase to the high 80% rates that existed then, but something reasonably high (50%) like in the early 80's could help keep us afloat. When the top 10% hold over 70% of the wealth and the top 1% holds over 35% of the wealth in this country, I think it's only fair for them to utilize some of that squandered wealth to help keep the American dream alive. I probably do not need to remind many that it was largely people in the top 10% of income earners that laid the groundwork for our financial mess, so they ought to bear the burden of helping prop the economy back up.

It's not socialism, it's patriotism. Or would you rather see the country spiral downward as long as you've got yours? Without going into it greatly, I think there is mutual benefit to ensuring the bottom does not fall out from under the poor. Think of crime rate increases, drug-use increases, and other general societal degradation that frequently occurs in the poorest of neighborhoods of cities, towns, and rural communities. It has a tendency to spread.

*Sidenote: An interesting review of that tax rates leading up to the Great Depression (specifically 1925-1929) could lead one to note that when we place a great deal of trust in our top 10% to not act selfishly (i.e. let them keep their wealth rather than tax it), we have seen our trust thrown back in our faces when the economy collapses under greedy folks at the top. I'm not one for class warfare and I acknowledge a certain amount of envy of those at the top, but I find it silly that people argue between $5 and $10M as if they are OWED the $10M. Shit, I would not complain about $5M.

I am working on a blog about taxes that should come out soon.