Month: January 2011

Interesting data regarding Republicans disdain among other things, public transit.

First let me relate something I thought of some time ago. I think the reason you see so much racism in the suburbs is because there just isn’t enough population density to draw different peoples.

And this song popped up on my iPod today. It’s by Machine called “There But For the Grace of God”

One of the lines from the song goes “Lets find a place they say, somewhere far away, with no blacks, no Jews and no gays!”

When this song was recorded, NYC had plenty of each. I really dislike the line btw, as I have friends that are Jewish, a partner who is black, and I’m gay!

Anyhow, check out the graphs here.

Yeah, the higher population density the more they tend to vote Democrat. It’s because we’re exposed to those blacks, Jews and gays more often and we realize they’re normal people, just like us and that there’s no reason for irrational hatred.

The prevailing attitude in the sparsely settled suburbs is one that I term “Fuck you, I got mine!”

And it’s evident in the way they treat others, and how they don’t support infrastructure projects like rail.

So interesting.

Whales and Dolphins return to NYC and the East Coast

This is great news. The great mammals are appearing just off the Verrazano Bridge. Whales most of the year, and dolphins June through September.

The experts say it’s due to cleaner water and anti-hunting laws. But I’ll expand on that, I say the food supply supports those creatures.

The reason behind that is because over the past decade we’ve been cutting back on fishing the eastern seaboard. It’s been terrible for the fishermen but we needed to do so, otherwise we’d have fished several species to extinction. People don’t realize that the vast majority of fish that they buy today is farmed, not fished.

You also have to remember, while the fish stocks are coming back, so too the smaller critters that the whales feed on.

So this is all around good news as far as I’m concerned. We’ll now avoid the future of Star Trek with any luck!

NYT’s Krugman “Their Own Private Europe”

You can read the entire column here.

Krugman nicely lays out the economic issues in Greece, Ireland and Britain. And he traces it to the deregulation of banking which resulted in the real estate booms both in those places listed above, and here in the United States.

I may have mentioned before a co-worker who is all for completely deregulating banks. The rest of us looked at him with horror and I exclaimed “How exactly do you think we got into the mess in the first place?” If the Bush Administration hadn’t gone full tilt to cowtow to the banks and peel back more regulatory layers then we wouldn’t have seen the tech bubble, the housing bubble, any of the bubbles at all!

Over the past 40 or so years banks and their lobbyists have fought to be deregulated, to buy up smaller banking concerns, merge with insurance companies and it goes on, all to enhance the bottom line for their shareholders. The banks promised us that they’d self-regulate. Yeah, you’re reading me, it’s right up in the category of “I’m not gonna hurt you, I’m just gonna bash your brains the fuck in!”

And it’s only going to get worse if we do nothing. That horrid US Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case pretty much sealed the ability of corporations to BUY elections.
I can understand why the Supreme Court did what they did. I’ve discussed it here numerous times that over a century ago, Corporations were endowed with the same rights as a flesh and blood human. The prior notion is nothing but absolute bovine effluent, but the notion has carried forward into case law. And law in general is nothing without it’s archival or case law.

So the reality is, it’s we the people who allowed this to happen. If you have a retirement 401(k) take a look at the prospectus. I’d be willing to bet there’s a bank or insurance company in there hiding in plain sight.

I remember in the 1970’s we had a number of banks to choose from. There was Industrial National, Hospital Trust, Citizens, Peoples, Eastland. Now you’ve got a few credit unionish banks and Bank of America, Citizens, and Sovereign.

Not much choice at all and the banks know this so they’ll try so screw you any way they can. Come on, 1.25% on six month CD? How stingy can you get?

The fix to this is for more citizens to become politically involved. And I don’t mean you necessarily have to join the Democratic or Republican (aka Tea Party) parties. Start a new party, we’ve done it here Rhode Island and for the first time in my memory we had not just two or three candidates for Governor but seven. Seven! A good chunk were independents and for the first time in it’s history, Rhode Island now has Governor Lincoln D. Chafee an Independent!

We need to have so many candidates running for office that it becomes economically infeasible for corporations to buy their way through. We need to recruit people who will tell lobbyists to take a hike. And we need to make it so ALL candidates accept public financing of their campaign. That’s the only way we’ll ever fix this mess.

The week in review

Picked up a 40″ LCD 1080p set for $359. It’s an Element Electronics ELCHW402. Price was right and it’s hooked up to my Wii at the moment. I installed the Netflix player on the Wii and I love it. But I wish hulu, pandora, etc. worked but the resources on the Wii fall just short due to the fact that it uses Flash 7 and the services I’d like to use are now Flash 9.

Probably end up picking up a Roku box. And I’ve been experimenting with the antenna location. If I elevate the indoor antenna to just above the television I pull all the Providence and Boston based stations. But I can sneak a mast and a stepper based rotator controlled by an Arduino out back and snake 75 Ohm cable to it and probably pull stations from Connecticut too though there is that BIG valley that might prevent that.

But Keyron loves it, he’s watched Netflix on it pretty consistently and he gets his daily dose of The View too.

Me, I mostly play games or watch PBS on it. It’ll be a shame if they kill the funding for CPB which is the funding arm of PBS. Right now I’m working my way through Wii Super Mario Brothers. I love this game. Seriously, love it. And I bought $50 worth of Wii Points and installed Xevious on it too. Yeah, the old 8 bit games rocked.

Had three snow days this week. Three! Of course with a net and VPN connection I can still work so it really doesn’t count as a snow day.

But it’s as thought we no sooner dig out and we get more snow dumped on us. It’s ridiculous this year. Last tally brings us to 45 inches total for the season so far.

It’s to the point where there is no place left to put the snow after you’ve shoveled it out.

And I suspect all this snow will probably contribute to some flooding come spring.

Sick of snow already

So Providence is now at 45 inches so far this season. This will be a second record. I’d predict we get close to 80 inches of total snowfall this season.

Now once again, snow removal has been an abject failure. The sidewalks throughout the city, with the exception of downtown Providence are horrid.

Despite all the new mayor had promised, I don’t see anyone getting fined, or any real effort to clear sidewalks. And I’ve been getting strident with my city councilor about this.

I have heard that snow removal budgets are getting strained. But what did they do with the money on the lean snow years? They should have socked it away to use when the eventuality of lots of snow came again. But no, it gets robbed to pay Paul or Peter or whatever.

So the only option is to publicly shame them. From Mayor Taveras to Councilman Principe – you both have a lot to learn. And I’ll be there to school you all the way.

Something that popped into my head, a 4 day work week

Why the hell not mandate it at the federal level? Think of the energy savings not just for the business but the employees as well since they wouldn’t have to waste fuel to get to work and then back home.

Think about the medical if you will, the mental health of people. Think about how calm most holiday weekends can be and imagine 52 of them each year.

It could work I tell you. It could work and we’d be as productive if not more so. And while I’m at it, same gross pay for 4 days as if you worked 5.

Yeah, we could do it.

A couple of others I’d like to see turned into full holidays. How about Election days? Both primary and general, and nationals too. What would that do for voter turnout?

How about it isn’t just the Fed and State government who recognize the holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.? That would be progress.

Repugs vote to Repeal Health Care Reform (And a rant on Banks)

This is purely symbolic, it won’t fly in the U.S. Senate, and the President will certainly veto if it did.

I think the Repugs need to be tarred and feathered with the Tea Bagger phenomenon and the shooting of Rep. Gabriele Giffords.

The health care bill had some good points in it, like the denial of rejection for pre-existing conditions, covering adult children to age 26 under parents insurance, you know, things like that. I do find the obligation to buy insurance a bit on the unconstitutional side but nothing we can’t address with future legislation.

And I side with the California Nurses Association. The U.S needs to be on a single payer system. In the U.S. that would be Medicare. Here’s the dirty little secret, the overhead required to administer the Medicare system is 3%. I’ll give you one guess what the overhead is for private insurers and why it’s that high. Yes, 20% to 25%, and it’s to satisfy stockholder profit, nothing more. Of course the insurance industry would go apeshit if such a thing were to come to pass. Just reading Wendell Potter’s “Deadly Spin” gave a glimpse into the panic that a movie could cause the industry. Imagine a real legislative push.

And while I’m on a rant, let me talk about the banks. An associate at work made the asinine statement that he wants to see ALL regulations taken off banks. I explained to him that if the banks had been better regulated they wouldn’t have gotten into trouble with all the toxic assets which resulted in a run on the credit default swap systems.

I also mentioned that letting banks and insurance companies merge together was an extremely bad move, since insurance companies if they aren’t managed properly end up being money pits.

I made it clear I want to see strong government regulation of banks again. I want them so regulated that if they even fart wrong the government can take over the bank and liquidate the assets. I say this because I know for fact that a certain big bank is teetering on needing yet ANOTHER bailout.

It would be far less expensive to pay out deposits to depositors and liquidate the assets than it is to shore up ludicrous business practices employed by the banking industry. This is looking at it from a long term, not short.