Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why You Don't Want to Discuss Anything With the Tea Party

The mid-western states are sinking into a swirling, bubbling cauldron of Tea, brought to a boil by the fingers of hell-fire that snake their way up from the center of the Earth toward America's former industrial heartland. Wisconsin is a new suburb of hell. Indiana is a new suburb of hell. Now, apparently, Michigan has become a new suburb of hell.

They're all listening to the Tea Party, but the TP is like that freaky uncle who never makes any sense. Cut taxes, cut waste, cut regulations, cut government.

Some malignant douche bag in the Michigan legislature suggested foster children should only be allowed to shop for clothing at second-hand stores. Lovely, a clearly revolutionary idea. Read the comments-- all the mutant TP trolls think it's a splendid idea, and should be implemented and enforced ASAP!

Now, I wonder how we'll enforce this lovely jewel of a law? Write some new guidelines? Hire some government functionaries to make sure no poor kid gets any 'spensive sneakers or jeans? Give out electronic ATM cards that only work at the Salvation Army? Build the Salvation Army an electronic ATM card processing system? These sound like the government is building new regulations and infrastructure, and I'm willing to bet they cost more than the imaginary problem they're designed to address. But the TP isn't all that tuned into the subtleties of all this. They got the message to blame unions. They got the message to blame poor people. They got the message to blame the president, and taxes, and regulations, and immigrants, and now to blame foster children.

I have an idea for the Tea Party-- an idea that would save money and reduce pollution. In a nutshell, they should walk to Ann Arbor (or Madison or Indianapolis or Columbus), find their Congressman (or woman), drag them out of the halls of government, and slap their lying, big-business, big-government co-opted, sanctimonious swelled heads all the way back to wherever they came from. The Tea Party is the victim of the largest fraud ever perpetrated on a populist movement in America. And unfortunately they're mostly too stupid to grasp that. Cutting taxes on business and the rich doesn't reduce the size and power of the government. De-funding regulatory agencies, courts, and law enforcement doesn't make things better-- those things are there to protect us! De-funding the police and courts will turn us into Mexico. I fear we're already there.

But that's OK, because if our legislator in Michigan is successful, I'll be able to sleep better at night, knowing there are no foster kids out there with a better hoodie than my own kids' hoodie. What a vile and despicable shithead that legislator is!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Re-Thinking Last Post

I have to admit, I made a mistake in my last post. I don't believe everyone who has guns in their house is stupid. The upsetting situation is made more so because so many people feel threatened enough to feel they need to be armed. I don't know whether this is an expression of their perceived vulnerability or the result of confrontation with actual violence.

So what is it? Do we live in a society that is horribly violent and unsafe, or are we just paranoid and led to believe in, and feel vulnerable to, a violent "outside" that doesn't really exist? Perhaps the difference is class. I have noticed the rich have become more security conscious, with gated communities and round-the-clock hired security personnel. Private security is a growing industry. Is our society as violent as TV depicts? Is it more violent in the slums, or in other parts of the country? It's obvious there are disturbed and damaged people running around in the world, and they have little problem obtaining firearms. One hundred years ago, whack jobs could only do so much damage-- a knife or axe or a crude heavy firearm. Now our psychos can obtain lethal semi-automatic pistols with extended clips to hold dozens of rounds.

But how rare are they in the grand continuum of violence? I believe people are just as bad as they've ever been, that senseless and brutal interactions among people happen just as much, and the recent escalation in violence levels is fully explained by how well armed the malfeasants are.

I grieve that my fellow citizens feel so threatened, no matter what the reason. I grieve the parts of my country that experience armed violence. On reflection, I realize it happens everywhere. And I don't think my fellow citizens' sense of insecurity makes them stupid. But they really, really shouldn't store their guns any place children can access them. Because they will, and there will be sadness.

And I didn't mean to be as disrespectful or callous as my previous post implied. I'm sorry.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guns in school? WTF?

I know there are people (a lot of 'em) who think guns make you safer. The people who believe this are dumb as dirt, have a chip on their shoulder, are paranoid that Obama and NPR are going to disarm them, and they unfortunately won't get any smarter. Many apparently keep their guns around the house. And some have children-- who bring the guns to school. Of course, this has to be a statistical anomaly, right? There just can't be that many morons who keep their guns where their children can get at them, right? Think again...
In 2006-2007, the latest year in which statistics are available, nearly 2,700 students nationwide were expelled or disciplined for bringing a gun to school, said William Modzeleski, associate assistant deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
These people (the parents) are so extravagantly stupid that not only will they endanger the rest of us with their concealed firepower, they will let their children have guns as well. Here's a little math-- that's more than ten every school day! It's hard not to just give up.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

America Embraces the Lie as her Last Hope

Two generations of Americans have spent more than 4 hours a day in front of the TV, watching and listening to people lie to us. Commercial speech is lying--  the most skilled and devious form of lying. It yells at us, whispers to us, and purrs at us. It tells us we're no good if we don't have some product, and it says we're so good we must have their product. Bright colored pictures constantly blink, music swells, sound effects clatter and roar, and while the man in the automobile advertisements growls his blandishments, the fine print rolls and explains how the voice isn't telling the truth. TV ads routinely threaten our children, our safety, and our sex lives. It has begun the process of creating a new species-- convincing men (and women, believe it or not) to prefer anorexic, pneumatically enhanced humans with evil  gleaming white teeth over the real, naturally occurring variety. And if this induced state of constant Stockholm Syndrome leaves us with gnawing, crippling anxiety, why there's a whole variety of anti-anxiety medications to help with that.

Commercial speech has also done one horrible, evil, and utterly unredeemable thing. It's made Americans incapable of knowing when someone is lying to them, and to embrace utter lies as unassailable facts. Here are some examples of the bald-faced lies that are embraced by most or at least a near majority of Americans:

1. America is broke.
2. The way to create jobs is to cut taxes.
3. There's a death tax.
4. You're safer with guns in your home.
5. Immigrants are the cause of most social ills in our communities.
6. Poverty is a lifestyle choice.
7. Globalism is good.
8. Universal health care will bring about death panels and other unspeakable evils.
9. War is a way to avoid civilian deaths.
10. Billionaires are good for society.
11. Liberals are causing the crisis.
12. Conservatives are causing the crisis.
13. There's a crisis.

Keep these lies in mind during the upcoming hurricane of debate over the government shutdown. I predict millions will watch it on TV. Between episodes of American Idol.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Orders of Magnitude and True Threat Assessment

Allow me this quick, less than researched post before work. An order of magnitude is the difference between a bottle of wine and a super tanker full of wine. The difference between a billion and a trillion is like that.

Now, please note the following:
Uncontrolled diabetes kills more Americans every week than the Taliban, al Qaeda, Muslim extremists, and insane Americans with guns, combined, EVER. OOM (order of magnitude)

Sugar kills many, many more Americans than cocaine ever will. OOM.

Alcohol kills more than marijuana, even if you factor in the losses from Mexican drug wars. OOM.

Our wars in Asia cost us more than our welfare state. (Though we're paying a lot to treat people for the medical problems caused by bad eating and drinking habits promoted by monopoly food processors). More of our military are returning with grievous disabilities. After the first Gulf War, at least 20% of returning veterans have received medical and other benefits. The casualty ratio is much higher from Iraq and Afghanistan. Some, like Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, estimate the total cost of our two wars to be $3 trillion. OOM.

America's not broke, American middle-class consumers are broke. OOM!

That's all for now...