Month: July 2009

So now we know who attacked the Tradition, Family and Property Pukes

It was lesbians. More to the point, Italian-American lesbians.

How do I explain this. On the one hand I deplore what they did. But the distant memory of me at their age (even though I’m male) brings me pause. I was pretty fiery back then too.
Hell, even now I’d like to re-educate the TFP assholes with a segment of 2×6 and an aluminum baseball bat. The same goes for the Bishop, Chris Young, and all the anti marriage equality people in RI.

I think it’s fairly certain that the TFP cretins will press charges. How very Christian of them.

Charged are the following:

Amanda L. Zangrilli, 23, of West Warwick, RI
Kristen A. Scungio, 19, of West Warwick, RI (Zangrilli’s girlfriend)
Melissa Migliaccio, 22, of Cranston, RI (A freind of the above two)
And an unnamed 17 year old.

More info here at the Providence Journal.

Uh oh – my tolerance is going up and other news

The wine bottle collection in the kitchen is growing. It’s up to a dozen bottles. These are wines we like.

But I’ve already drunk three glasses of Bordeaux and am on glass number four which is the Samuar. And I’m not feeling drunk at all.

I did have a good job interview today. It’s one that for which I’m very qualified. I’ll see what happens but it would be nice. It takes 15 minutes to walk to the office, 5 minutes to bike there.

I walk in and the woman I’m to interview with looks at me and says “You look familiar. Have we met before?” I explained that yes in fact we had, I had helped their IT staffer with a vexing Windows issue and that’s when I met her.

It’s a job in the legal profession (State) , I.T. support. I’m good at handling the databases (Mostly MS Access tied back to an MS-SQL server but I told her if I had to rank enterprise database systems I’d rank MySQL first, MS-SQL second and Oracle dead last.) and I’m even good with Microsoft Windows environments and this shop is all Windows centric.

The thing that gets me in though is that I still have MANY contacts in the state AG’s office and in the Judiciary. So I’m very valuable in that respect. Hopefully this will be a full time gig. The consulting gig is ok, but it’s hit or miss money wise.

Puzzling out Obama’s stand on gay equality

You know, I’ve been watching candidate Obama and even President Obama and both seem to make the correct noises about equality yet neither of them actually DOES anything about it.

I think I’ve figured out what is going on. This video from the Rachel Maddow show was what lead me to this theory.

It features Florida congressman Alcee Hastings. He had submitted an amendment to a bill that would deny funding for Don’t ask/Don’t Tell prosecutions. He says that both the Democratic leadership and the Obama appointed liaison quashed the amendment.

Here’s my theory. President Obama will continue to make noises, and to give the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to Harvey Milk, and to Billie Jean King, as well as Senator Ted Kennedy, all were/are gay rights proponents.

But at the same time he wants congress to end both DADT and DOMA.

But Congress is loathe to act with the 2010 election cycle so close. They want to seal their majority in the House too. So we’ll not see any end to DADT or DOMA until after 2010. But then it’s the 2012 Presidential Election cycle as well as yet another congressional election cycle. Are we going to be pushed off to 2012? 2014? 2020?

With that in mind I announce my candidacy for President of the Unites States in 2012. I am ultra left liberal. I’ll do more in a single term through executive order than any of our past ten presidents. DADT, gone, DOMA gone. Marriage equality a reality throughout the U.S. Don’t care if I only serve one term and more to the point I’ll call out the blue dog Democrats and the Repugs, even call them assholes on national television.

So would you vote for me?

Boston Museum of Fine Arts today

Our friends Nick and Beth treated us to the MFA in Boston today.

Ok, let me get this out I’m not a major art lover because much of the European art is religious in nature. I could care less about St. Jerome in the Wilderness. But the MFA has an exhibit on Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice.

Comparing the interpretation of St. Jerome in the Wilderness was interesting. The first thing that grabbed me was that of all three works none portrayed St. Jerome the same way. In one he had a shock of dark hair, in another he’s a balding old coot, and in yet another he’s even further aged. The settings change too, one is a more primitive background while yet another seems to be of him outside a city.

I do note that Titian’s works of the Madonna and Child are totally awesome. The color just jumps at you, very rich reds and deep blues.

But one of my favorite paintings is Regnault’s Automedon and the Horses of Achilles. In this picture we see the horses Balios and Xanthos with hunky Automedon trying to restrain them.

Automedon and the Horses of Achilles

Another one that interested me is the Seventh Plague of Egypt. Just the general turmoil of that one appeals to me.

Lots of interesting furnishings, fixtures, statuary, etc. We only had about 3 hours there because they close at 4:30PM on Tuesdays. But it’s definitely someplace I’d like enjoy returning to in the near and distant future. But I have to satiate the geek in me and hit the Museum of Science next. Then maybe a dash down to D.C. for the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, then the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

That’s the one thing that irks me. RI doesn’t have any major museums. We certainly have the RISD Art Musuem, and smaller historical venues but that’s the extent.

I’d love to see a Science and Technology museum here. I think we have the nascent requirements for one to be placed here.

RI Tax Stupidity

Yes I’m calling on you Representative Costantino, I emailed you about the Amazon tax issue and got no reply at all. So I’ll do this publicly.

The Providence Journal recently had a piece that says a D.C. based group called Budget and Policy Priorities supports the so called “Amazon Tax” implemented by New York and Rhode Island.

This is just another example of the utter ignorance of our state legislators. Maybe if you didn’t give away the candy store in the form of tax breaks to corporations that hardly need them, you wouldn’t be in the bind you’re in now. Seriously, did Bank of America really need a tax break, or Fidelity? No they didn’t.

But the “Amazon Tax” astounds me. In this case RI basically told the big online (and small) retailers that they’d have to collect RI Sales tax on all sales.

And predictably what did Amazon et al do? They discontinued their relationship with all RI based sellers, e.g. people who lived in RI and sold their goods via Amazon et al.

The net effect of this is as I predicted to reduce net taxes in RI. There have been a few comments on the articles on the Providence Journal that make that exact point. If you’re a seller and can no longer sell on Amazon, you don’t generate any revenue for the state to collect taxes on.

Did our brilliant legislators even stop to consider that fact?

Here is my proposal:

It’s simple. Go into MA and copy their sales tax statutes and then paste them into RI general law over our sales tax statutes. Because the state loses more sales tax revenue to people taking a 10 or 15 minute drive into Massachusetts and buying big ticket items then coming back to RI. Lets say you buy a $1,,200 computer in RI, the total would come to $1,284 (7% sales tax) whereas in MA the total would come to $1,260, (5% sales tax), or a $24 difference.

The MA tax applies to categories that the RI tax doesn’t but it broadens the tax base. MA taxes OTC drugs, books, and clothing. RI doesn’t tax those.

But by tying RI’s sales tax rate to that in MA, you make it disincentive to travel to MA to make purchases.

Lets try an experiment:

Let the total retail sales dollars in ri (R) = $1,000,000,000
Let’s say that of those sales dollars, approximately 40% is non taxable leaving us with $600,000,000. Let us also assume that approximately 30% of sales flees to MA. That leaves $420,000,000 in sales with taxes at 7% being $29,400,000.

Now lets do the same thing and apply a 5% tax to the entire billion. Now you have parity with MA and you’ve broadened the tax base so that everything (Books, clothing, otc etc.) is taxed.

The state of RI would get $50,000,000, or $20,600,000 more in tax revenue.

It just makes sense.

More religious humor

So I re-read the first two Tales of the City books. One amusing quote comes out of it.

It’s said that if Christ were alive today and then executed, his followers would be wearing little electric chairs.

I’ll project a little. What if he was hanged. We’d all be wearing little nooses. How about shot? The bullet or the gun? Lethal Injection, little syringes.

Now playing: Trammps – Disco Inferno
via FoxyTunes

Test Your Beliefs

Now this is interesting. In just 20 questions they can pretty much tell you what ‘religion’ you should follow, or subscribe to as is the case with me.

Not surprisingly Secular Humanism comes out to 100% for me. Secular Humanist btw is interpreted by me as a nice way to say atheist.

Here’s my entire list. Note that Unitarian Universalism gets a pretty high rating too. I think that is because UU skates on the edge of atheism, and about the power of the human.

If I look at it with say 50% being the tipping point that encapsulates my first ten.

The bottom end is interesting too. Catholicism (Which I was nominally brought up in, including 12 years of Roman Catholic schools) ranks number 25. I note that Seventh Day Adventism and Jehovah’s Witness rank at the very bottom while Islam comes in at 19, and Mormonism at 22. But with such a strong showing on the Secular Humanist and Unitarian Universalist fronts I’m not so worried.

Take the test and see where you rank. Meanwhile I’m off to refresh my mind on CSS so I can colorize the list.

1. Secular Humanism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (94%)
3. Liberal Quakers (78%)
4. Nontheist (73%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (71%)
6. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (68%)
7. Neo-Pagan (68%)
8. New Age (57%)
9. Reform Judaism (56%)
10. Taoism (54%)
11. Mahayana Buddhism (46%)
12. Scientology (44%)
13. Baha’i Faith (43%)
14. New Thought (42%)
15. Orthodox Quaker (41%)
16. Sikhism (38%)
17. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (36%)
18. Jainism (33%)
19. Islam (26%)
20. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (26%)
21. Orthodox Judaism (26%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (24%)
23. Hinduism (17%)
24. Eastern Orthodox (16%)
25. Roman Catholic (16%)
26. Seventh Day Adventist (16%)
27. Jehovah’s Witness (5%)

New Rule: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit

In essence, we’re paying for all the hangers on and sycophants.

Look at the health care debacle. You now have full integration between banks and insurance companies. That was a bad idea from the start because the prime motivation of a bank is to make money.

Then look at the plethora of insurers out there now. It got so bad that practitioners couldn’t manage to do their own billing so they had to hire billing companies.

A few years back I worked for the state AG’s office. Seems there was one doctor who was up-coding all his Medicare patient visits. We had a horrible time trying to get the data from the billing company. They came to a meeting with their IT Director and put on a dog and pony show that they only held 3 months of data.

We managed to get the data and prove that the doctor was doing the up-coding to cover an IRS debt. Packaged it up and gave it to the federal prosecutors.

Years later their I.T. Director puts his resume in for a position at the state agency I was working for at the time. We brought him in for an interview during which he sweat bullets. I lobbied hard to bring him in because he had the skill set we were seeking.

He later admitted to me that the company management had told him to lie at the meeting.
More on Bill Maher
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Political Corruption: Never a good thing

Apparently three mayors in New Jersey, from Hoboken, Secaucus, and Jersey City were arrested as well as two state legislators, and a bunch of rabbis.

The rabbis are the big surprise there but I guess when you follow the money there is no telling where the investigation will end.

Here in RI former North Providence state Senator John Celona got out of prison yesterday.

The thing is, he’s the only one who did time. Former Senate President Bill Irons managed to get his charges dropped. But I recall a news article a couple years back where the federal prosecutor said that there were seven companies and seven legislators who would be under the microscope. I theorized that our House Speaker might be one of the gentleman and that our former Senate President may also be a subject of investigation and possible indictment.

But there has been absolutely no more mention of it. It just quietly dropped off the RADAR. I think if you really dug into the politicians in RI you’d find just as much corruption.

Take Providence Mayor David Cicilline. Yes, the states first openly gay mayor. But there has already been some interesting news. For example, his brother is an attorney who was supposed to pay a clients taxes. But the check bounced. Yet nothing ever came of that, no fraud charges, et al. The Mayor quashed that one from on high, I’m sure of that.

Then of course there’s the obstinacy of the mayor regarding the contract for the city firefighters. And the rank and file of the police department held a no confidence vote in Chief Dean Esserman, who former mayor Buddy Cianci calls “Chief Shiny Badge”.

Shall we talk about the Providence Fire Marshal? Nah, we don’t need to do that. How about the building inspector? That was always a hotbed of corruption.

How do we solved this? We let the sunshine in, let it expose every little act they’re doing. To that end at least government entities in RI now have to post meeting notices 48 hours in advance. I do wish they were required to post the meeting minutes but alas that was too much for the politicians. The one agency exempted from these requirements? The legislature. Their idea of open meeting notices is to post them on a roving bulletin board in the State House. Seriously, when I worked in the building I was always agog at that fact.

So if it’s not sunshine, I say get active in politics. Attend hearings, attend sessions, let them know we’re watching them.