Friday, December 28, 2012

Where'd I put that parachute?

It is the evening of December 28th and still there is no agreement on averting the fiscal cliff. Obama is asking for a temporary fix.

In other words delay things and kick the can down the road.

The problem is wht's to prevent that from being the solution the next time as well?

Looks like we're going over the cliff and I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown Connecticut

I waited a couple of days to let my anger subside. It didn't work.

When I woke up Friday morning it was a much better world than it is now. It was a much better world before a mentally ill 20 year old killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook elementary.

He also killed his mother, before going to the school, and himself as first responders arrived. He used the guns owned by his mother a so-called gun enthusisast.

The principal, running to the sound of the guns, died attempting to restrain the gunman. The school nurse and four teachers, trying to protect 6 and 7 year old children, died as well. Tell me again how teachers are overpaid and I'll kick in your teeth.

All I could think of Friday were the unwrapped Christmas gifts hidden and waiting in the houses of the 20 dead children.

Mike Huckabee says these things happen because "we've systematically removed God from our schools."

Mike Huckabee is an asshole. What god would you have us install Mike? Zeus? Thor? Vishnu? Marduk? The Lord? The Lady? Mithras? How about her ladyship the Invisible Pink Unicorn? At least then we can all agree that she doesn't exist.

Bryan Fischer says "god" didn't prevent Sandy Hook because he's a gentleman and doesn't go where he's not wanted. Fischer is a bigger asshole than Huckabee.

Being told I wasn't wanted wouldn't stop me from protecting children if it was in my power to do so. But then again, I'm far more honorable than Fischer's notion of god.

Enough is enough. The time has come for us to pretend that the 2nd Amendment applies to state militias and clamp down on gun ownership.

Enough is enough. This isn't the 18th Century. We don't need guns to supplement the family food supply and the idea that they protect us against tyranny is a total bullshit right wing fantasy.

Enough is enough. Time for the gun nuts to find another way to compensate for having small dicks (or for their husbands having small dicks as the case may be).

Enough is enough. Your so-called rights end where the safety of my family, and everyone else's family, begins.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Climate Change Survey

Apparently there is an organization called the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). They claim to be a “nonprofit, nonpartisan research and education organization dedicated to work at the intersection of religion, values, and public life” who’s ”mission is to help journalists, opinion leaders, scholars, clergy, and the general public better understand debates on public policy issues and the role of religion in American public life by conducting high quality public opinion surveys and qualitative research.”

Ok, they seem to have some interesting stuff on their web site. The thing that sent me there in the first place was a story about a climate change survey.

Based upon the PRRI survey 63% of Americans agree that the weather has gotten more extreme. A minority, 29%, say it hasn’t and 6% say it’s gotten less extreme. This distribution reminds me of the old joke about being in the loop, being out of the loop and not even knowing there is a loop.

Most objective evidence implies the weather has gotten more extreme or at least has been more extreme over the past few years.

Democrats (76%) and Independents (59%) agree that the weather is getting more extreme. Republicans are, as usual, having some difficulty recognizing reality; only 46% say the weather is getting more extreme compared to 45% that say it isn’t.

A healthy majority of 63% say that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of climate change. About a third, 36%, say it’s evidence of biblical end times. Democrats (70%) and Independents (65%) agree that climate change is to blame but only 43% of Republicans agree.

Among Evangelical Christians, also sometimes known as the society of village idiots, 65% say recent severe weather is a sign of biblical end times.

More than 8 in 10 Democrats (86%) and three-quarters of Independents (75%) accept that temperatures have risen over the past few years. Only 54% of Republicans seem to have figured that out.

Here’s a scary one. Nearly 6-in-10 Americans (58%) say that God is in control of everything that happens in the world, while 38% disagree. Here’s an even scarier one, 57% of Americans, including 89% of Evangelical Christians, say that recent political choices made by Americans are moving the country away from God.

Now let’s talk about the end of the world. Among Evangelical Christians, 29% say the world will end in their lifetime. Among those with only a High School diploma 22% agree. Among those with a College degree only 5% agree.

So again we have evidence that education is the cure for Evangelical Christianity.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Supreme Court and Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8.

Any time this court takes up any question I get nervous and this is no exception.

I’m especially nervous over the Proposition 8 case because I find it hard to believe that the SCOTUS will overturn the California Supreme Court decision.

Any speculation is probably a waste of time but I can’t resist making a fool of myself.

I suspect that the court will lean toward making Gay Marriage a state by state issue based upon the 10th Amendment. That would mean striking down DOMA but leaving the individual state laws and prohibitions in place.

The SCOTUS is not anywhere near ready to declare bans on Gay Marriage unconstitutional and, like I said, I don’t think it’s going to dictate to the Supreme Court of California how to interpret the Constitution of the State of California.

That means DOMA goes away but Proposition 8 stands and Gay Marriage again becomes illegal in California. But that would only be temporary. California could pull a Maine, put it back on the ballot, and get Gay Marriage approved.

Why you ask? Because it’s four years later and the Zeitgeist has moved. Black and Latino voters are more open to Gay Marriage. Put it on the ballot at the right time and it will pass.

I might point out that such a decision in the Proposition 8 case would be wrong. The court would be abdicating its obligation to protect the minority from the “tyranny of the majority.” James Madison would be terribly disappointed but, unfortunately, even the best political solutions don’t work in all cases.

The Fiscal Cliff Edges Closer

Well, we’re sort of getting down to the wire here. The Republicans seem to be signaling that they’re ready to accept some tax increases if they can get some entitlement cuts as well.

The question is, what would those cuts be?

What Republicans want is a raise in the age of eligibility for Medicare and a change to the way the cost of living adjustment (COLA) is calculated for Social Security.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with raising the age for Medicare and I suspect that will be a part of the final agreement. There has to be some sort of grandfathering clause though that keeps it at 65 for people close to that age (say 55 and older) in order to provide enough planning time.

It would be a little tough to tell someone very close to Medicare age that he’s out of luck.

I am opposed to the change in the COLA calculations.

There are a lot of senior citizens for whom Social Security is the primary source of income. These people worked their entire lives and EARNED that pension. I really dislike the term “entitlement.” Inflation can eat away at that pension and that’s simply not right.

Find another way to save the money. I know, stop giving Boeing, which hasn’t stayed within budget on a DOD contract in forever, less contracts! Less them build airplanes. THAT they know how to do. For everything else, forget it.

Why do the Republicans always want to take from the most vulnerable segments of the population while protecting people who really don’t need any protection?

Are we going to go over the cliff? It seems more likely now than it did a while back but I still doubt it.

My concern is there isn’t time left to iron out a comprehensive agreement and what we’re going to get is a band aid which kicks most of the can down the road. That means another six months or a year of uncertainty that will keep the economic recovery sluggish.

As for the industry I work in it means stagnation. That’s why I’m getting out. It’s time to hang up my guns and find a more reputable way to spend my time.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Nurses Top Most Trusted List

Gallup just published its list of honesty ratings by profession.

The list includes 22 groups ranging from Senators to Car Salesman. Nurses topped the list with 85% saying they had Very High/High honesty or ethical standards, 12% saying they had average standards and only 3% saying they had Very Low/Low standards.

Next were Pharmacists at 75%/21%/3%, then Medical Doctors at 70%/26%/4%, then Engineers (WHAHOO!) at 70%/25%/3% and Dentists rounding out the top five at 62%/33%/4%.

At the bottom of the list were Car Salespeople (are you really surprised?) at 8%/43%/49%, followed by Members of Congress (again, are you really surprised?) at 10%/34%/54%, then Advertising Practitioners at 11%/56%/36%, then Stockbrokers at 11%/48%/39% and HMO Managers finishing off the bottom five at 12%/52%/27%.

Senators came in just above HMO Managers at 14%/39%/45%. College Teachers (they don’t include other teachers) were 7th at 53%/34%/10% just above Clergy at 52%/33%/9%.

I find it interesting that my profession is considered more ethical than Clergy, not surprising, but interesting.

William and Kate Expecting?

Well, we now know what they've been doing don't we (*wink, wink*)? My wife's reaction was "they're entitled."

The word from across the pond is that Duchess Kate is pregnant and experiencing a severe and dangerous form of morning sickness. So severe that she had to be hospitalized. I read somewhere that this may indicate twins. Wouldn't that be wild.

Hopefully the morning sickness ends soon and we can start the baby pool. Surprisingly I find myself interested in the prospect of a royal birth. In this day and age it's a purely benign thing that it's best to simply sit back and enjoy.

I hope it's a boy or even two. I think twins would be really fun. Edward and Edmund anyone?

Well It’s Christmas Time Again

It seems to start earlier and earlier doesn’t it?

I’m trying desperately to cut down on the shopping this year. I don’t mind spending the money, I just don’t like the shopping. I expect to be marginally successful.

The decorations are up around town. To be honest Westwood looks nice and River Vale looks a tad seedy. I think it might be time for a little upgrade or at least an attempt at making things a little more consistent.

I see the Religious Right is again jumping up and down about their imaginary War on Christmas. The fact is nobody really cares except those idiots. Even Chick-Fil-A says Happy Holidays.

They offered a “voluntary separation package” where I work and I think I’m going to take it. Feel free to warn the world that I’m about to have a lot more time on my hands.