Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fat People and Hate Speech

The link, unfortunately, doesn't make my point. Because it's an email I received from the New York Civil Liberties Union about school bullying laws. Now, I'm sure there's a way to feel about school bullying laws, but I don't feel it. So, let's not talk about that.

However! The subject line of the email to me, which you can't see, is "Homo, Towelhead, Fatso. Enough is enough!" This got me really worked up, and it's a flaw that the body of the web page doesn't have.

Fat people are not a protected group.

It's important that they never be. Shame, ridicule, goading, these are things we use to oppress minorities and people different from us. Well, OK. We shouldn't abuse folks for their religious dress, their gender orientations, their accents. But! The reason the good Lord gave us the capacity to abuse one another was so that we could change maladaptive behavior. Like being fat!

I know. There's like 8 guys in America that are fat because of some medical thing. It's these guys who suffer because of all the optionally fat people bringing shame upon them!

OK. There's that.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Address books and maiden names

there's no link
This is really just a gripe. I send out announcements, invitations and whatnot to married people using online applications. I don't think I'm unique in this. And yet, they always assume married people have the same last name. Right? Say I have two friends, James Johnson and Mary Smith*. I can enter them as 'Mary & James Johnson.' But, that'll sometimes anger Mary. And frankly, they could be living in sin. I don't think the protocol is really worked out in same sex marriages. But, the little announcement machine takes a first name and a last name. I could enter 'Mary Smith a' as the first name and 'nd James Johnson' as the last name, but I don't feel like I should be having to try to trick the machine.

This seems like a pretty common design flaw, so I'm griping about it.

* -- I just took the most common male, female and sur- names from this site.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

German Tourist Shot on Circle Line

He laughs it off.
Mr. Bolowski suffered a nonlethal wound, a shot clear through his right shoulder blade, apparently from behind. With Mrs. Klein and Mrs. Bolowski still at his side, he was taken to Lincoln Hospital, aware and uncomplaining....
"He feels good," said Robert Bolowski, the victim's cousin. "He's not in a lot of pain...."

I wonder if the Times will follow up after he gets his medical bill. The US is the last place you want to get injured.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Integrity Meme

This keeps coming up. As I've mentioned before, backing out of a no recourse mortgage is perfectly OK if your house's value has dropped below the outstanding mortgage, i.e. if you're 'underwater.' Even if you can make the payments, it's not your problem. The bank was also gambling, and they should have been way more aware of the economic environment than you.

I just wanted to make that point. Even though former Secretary Paulsen is largely discredited, his assertion that "people who can afford their mortgage payments but decide to walk away from their homes because of falling home prices were nothing more than 'speculators'" is maintaining some cultural currency.

I'll make the point again -- walking away from an underwater mortgage is the right thing to do. You're already propping up the banks through your tax dollars, you don't need to do it with your housing payments.

Not all home loans are non-recourse. It sounds sleazy, but some banks look past their culpability in approving frankly insane loans and go after the borrower. This was predictable, but it's a fad -- once this drives, say, 1.5 million people into bankruptcy I think the Federal Government will stop it. Say, 2013. Oo! Next president! I don't want to go out on a limb here, but I think it'll be Obama.

Fair and Balanced

Nephos brought up Fox News old slogan, "Fair and Balanced," in the comments recently. Hold on, I'll check if they're still using it... they are.

Isn't it kind of nutty? 'Fair' is just there to distinguish 'balanced' as meaning something different from 'fair.' What can it mean? Here are the facts, on one side, and then we'll balance them with non-facts.

How could that possibly be attractive to a news consumer?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Why Goldman Sachs Executives Go Into Government

So, we know there's a revolving door between Goldman Sachs and government. We also know that government jobs only pay a couple of hundred thousand dollars at most, and we believe GS people became GS people because money motivates them.

So, what gives?

[O]ne reader writes... “There is a special IRS law/code passed in 1991 that says when someone appointed to a government position needs to sell stock to avoid such a conflict of interest, then the sale will not be taxed. I wonder how many former Goldman employees working in government have used this tax loophole.”

The 5: As you know, we put Ian on the case. In the meantime, here’s a little back-of-the-envelope math turned out by CNNMoney. Paulson owned $480 million in GS stock with a cost basis anywhere between $50-240 million. At the time of his nomination in 2006, the capital gains tax break would have amounted to somewhere between $3-8 million over three years, depending on the cumulative rate of return on his investments.

There's a what? No wonder the American voter handed over control of Congress to the GOP. That's a pretty corrupt move. Can we get a role call vote on that? And did it go into effect under Bush 41?

Huh. This is the Ethics Reform Act of 1989. And it 'passed by voice vote.' It was first used under Clinton. And the New York Times discusses how Paulson could make $48M off it in 2006.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Letter to Nydia Velázquez

Do you suspect that your representative may be one of the House progressives refusing to pass the Senate bill as is? Write her a letter!

Representative Velázquez,

I am not sure where you stand on passing the Senate version of the health care reform bill, but I plead with you to vote to do so.

Senate Republicans have not been shy about filibustering bills. It may be the case that the Senate will be able to pass no substation legislation at all for a year, until the 112th Congress is seated.

I am not very familiar with the particulars of the health care reform bill that the Senate did pass. I was disappointed that it did not include single-payer health care, or even a "public option." However, I trust that the bill is better than nothing, and I strongly believe that nothing is the other option.

The tasks before Congress involve ending two wars, reforming Wall Street, reversing Climate Change, republicizing and reforming incarceration, ending mercenaries, navigating the downturn and investigating the crimes of the Bush 43 administration. You have been hung up for nine months on health care reform. It is time to accept victory and move on.



Could you tell I rang the bell at NASDAQ today?

It was down 1 1/2 per cent by 11:10 AM. If you think that's bad, it was 2 1/5 % off yesterday's close. As of this writing, it's doing worse than both the DOW and the S&P 500.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Truth Lies Somewhere In Between

I don't know if you've tried this, but try pointing out some obvious falsehood that we're supposed to believe to someone who is willing to engage you in conversation. They almost always say, "Well, the truth lies somewhere in between," which you can read as "I am going to sum up all of the expressed opinions I hear, and believe their rough consensus." This is why FOX News has more than one correspondent. If 8 of them say universal health care is a fascist doctrine, a viewer has to hear that's not true from 8 separate people before she or he even has a shot.

But, really, I'm just posting an XKCD strip, because it illustrated this problem so well.