Saturday, November 16, 2013

The common theme that runs through all the right wing arguments for tax cuts, is that high taxes discourage the " producers " from working and doing whatever it is they do that is so important. Ronald Reagan famously told us that he cut back on making movies because his taxes were so  high that he didn't think it was worth his time to make more.
It occurs to me that we didn't lose very much by this. His movies stunk. Same thing with all the bankers and Wall Street jerks who claim that they need massive bonuses and low taxes to do what ever the hell it is they do. Maybe we would all be better off if they did something else with their time. The people who do the really important work, the medical health professionals, the teachers, the scientists, the janitors, the farm workers,  are all out there performing for wages that the one percent considers pocket change.

Raise those taxes again for heaven's sake, and let those John Galts retreat to their social darwinist enclaves. It will be fun watching them try to get by without all the little people who do the real work in this world.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Big fleas have little fleas

Interesting fact. There are more parasites than any other life form. Think about it. Every organism on the planet has at the very LEAST one, and usually many many more lifeforms that parasitize it. There's a little ditty based on some verse by Jonathan Swift -" Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite' em. And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum."
We humans are parasitized by fleas, ticks, face mites, pin worms, and many other relatively harmless creatures. We are also host to some more serious parasites, such as tapeworms, roundworms, filaria worms, and liver flukes, among many many more. For all of these nasty biting blood suckers and thieves, it is their ability to  infest us in great numbers that causes problems. We have evolved to tolerate moderate predation by most parasites and a tapeworm  or a couple of roundworms, disgusting though they be, won't hurt us too badly. There is even a school of thought that our immune systems need to be challenged to some degree by some sort of worm. According to this hypothesis -sometimes called the hygiene hypothesis- autoimmune diseases such as asthma, allergies, Crohn's disease, and others are caused when the immune system lacks exposure to parasites and bacteria in the environment.
But when the parasite load becomes too great, we are weakened and likely to succumb to predators, or illness.

There are some parasites that are much much more deadly. There is, believe it or not, a parasitic barnacle, called Sacculina. This barnacle creature injects itself into a crab's body and begins to grow roots, or tentacles that invade the crab, feeding from its blood, but keeping the crab alive. It takes over the crabs body systems, and rides the animal, but invisibly from the outside.

Other parasites are smaller, like the toxoplasma gondii that gets picked up by rodents, and then subtly alter the rodent brain in such a way that it becomes likely to be eaten by a cat. The parasite then infects the cat where it finishes out the reproductive cycle.

I hear conservatives complaining all the time about how they don't want to be taxed in order to support single moms, or students, or lazy crack addicts, you name it. Right-wingers call them parasites on society. Maybe so. But they are the face mites on society. The real parasites we need to fear are more subtle and dangerous than that. They are ones who worm their way into the brains, the government, and take over. They use their influence to write laws (or have laws written by their slaves, bought and paid for) that change the mission of the US government. The real parasites don't want our resources to go to promoting the general welfare, but rather to enriching themselves even more. They are the Wall Street execs, the bankers, the oil barons.

We can stand to support a few crack addicts, to provide food stamps to lazy bums, or mentally ill people, or students, or old sick people. They won't bleed us dry. But the bankers and corporate CEOs will kill us if we let them.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Science education or alchemy?

The Louisiana Science Education Act is one of the latest fundamentalist attacks on science in the modern world. It allows teachers to use supplemental materials that directly oppose the best scientific knowledge and methods available. This act is child abuse. It's not OK to teach kids lies. It's almost treasonous to use public funds and public schools to do so. If parents want their kids to be superstitious and ignorant, they can take them to a fundamentalist church. The rest of us need our kids to be educated.
Let's hope that Senator Peterson succeeds in her third attempt to trash this piece of crap. Louisiana already has David Vitter to be ashamed of.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Who's your daddy?

The Pope - feted, worshiped, idolized, carried around in a golden throne and the center of attention wherever he goes?

I'd like to know just one thing any of those arrogant fancy-dressed, beringed, bishops has ever done to deserve praise.
The Catholic church has been from its very inception, a vile institution, responsible for millions of murders. Starting with the evil tradition of "cleansing" heresy with fire and torture, to the crusades,  pograms, witch-burnings, and forced conversions of the conquered peoples of the Americas, the history of Catholic priests is a tragic story of violence and cruelty. The Catholic church was complicit in the Holocaust. They bleed millions of dollars from the poorest of the poor, and use the money to gild their churches, and dress themselves in silks and velvet.
In the USA, we have a long tradition, enshrined in our very Constitution, of freedom from forced religion.

Why do the pedophile bishops think they deserve any right to influence our laws? And why do we let them get away with it?

Catholic individuals are some of the finest people in the world. But the church as an institution needs to go away for ever.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

There is no freedom

When a person is not recognized as the owner of his or her body, slavery exists. When a woman has no rights to control her reproduction, she is a slave.
It's that simple.

Republican whiners

The current meme on the talking head shows this morning is that President Obama needs to do a better job of reaching out to Republicans in Congress.
I don't understand. Why is it his job to beg them to do their jobs? Aren't they supposed to run the country, make laws, regulate commerce, etc? His job is to enforce the laws. They need to step up to the plate and earn their pay for a change.

Stop whining y'all and get some damn work done already!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Right-wing politicians are like hourly workers pretending to be bosses

There was an organizational psychologist ( Elliot Jacques)  born in the early years of the twentieth century who came up with an idea he called the time span of discretion. He observed that more complex jobs within an organization require thinking and planning in longer time frames. Hourly workers need to plan  only for the next task on the list, the next order on the chart, or the next part on the assembly line. Managers need to plan and organize by days and weeks. CEO's and owners need to plan for the long term, for growth and development over the course of years.
An organization is healthy with good prospects when there is a match between each person's responsibility and his/her ability to think along the appropriate time span.

The problem with right-wing conservatives, the so-called Tea Party politicians, is that they are like hourly workers in manager positions. They think in terms of short-term answers to long-term problems.
Do we need more and more energy every year to fuel our economy? Their answer is to exploit the same fossil fuels that are becoming scarcer and harder to extract every year.
Is the excess carbon emitted by these fuels causing climate change? Their answer is to cover their eyes and ears so they don't have to deal with it.
Reducing taxes makes people feel good in the short-term but creates problems in the long term when essential services are cut. Eliminating government regulations may seem like a fast way to create a business-friendly economy, but in the long run consumers learn to distrust businesses that gain an advantage by cutting corners.

The problems we are dealing with in the Middle East are a direct result of short-term thinking by President Reagan. When he came to the White House. practically the first thing he did was eliminate funding for alternative energy research. He pulled the solar panels off the White House roof.

We could have been energy independent by now. We could have been almost entirely weaned from our fossil fuel addiction.

We could be well on our way to reducing CO2 emissions and stabilizing climate change.

What kind of problems are the TeaPartiers creating now for our children? Fracking is guaranteed to pollute our groundwater for many generations to come. Cutting regulations is guaranteed to encourage unethical practices, dangerous short-cuts, and lack of trust. Cutting taxes for the wealthy is creating a vast inequality that threatens the very fabric of our social structure.

We don't need these small minded petty hacks in government. We  need visionaries who can look to the future and take some heat defending the basic principles our forefathers died for. We need people who can anticipate future problems and provide solutions  that are sustainable. We need people who understand that no man is an island, that  ultimately we all thrive or suffer together.
Too bad the political game is rigged against those kind of people.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Is voting a racial entitlement?

Anton Scalia, one of the worst Supreme Court Justices, just after Clarence Thomas, has given his opinion that the Voting Rights Act reflects racial entitlement, what ever that means. The Voting Rights Act simply requires that changes to voting procedures in certain regions with a history of discrimination be approved by the Federal Government.
Is the right to vote in a fair election a racial entitlement?

When a man has so many houses...

I was sickened and disgusted watching John McCain on the news talk show this morning. He was all about blaming the so-called sequester on President Obama and spouting on about NO TAXES!!! No mention of the seniors who depend on Social Security, food stamps, government programs for heating, or other vital services being cut. No mention of health care needs being cut. No mention of all those people out of work with no money coming in.
A man who has more houses than he can count, should be a little more tactful about other people's needs. He used to have some credibility. It appears his bitterness about his resounding loss in 2008 has made  him more obtuse and stubborn.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Guns don't kill people?

Of course guns kill people. That's what they are made for. Who in the world is stupid enough to believe that guns don't kill people? The rest of the meme is that people kill people, which is supposed to lead us to assume that guns are harmless little toys and it's no use trying to restrict or regulate them.

Isn't it obvious that guns in the hands of people are really efficient killing machines? Isn't it obvious that crazy people can do a whole lot more damage, death, and destruction with guns than without them? What could Adam Lanza have done without his weapons in hand? I wonder how many war hawks in 2003 would have said that "nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people" before we invaded Iraq.

According to the NRA the way to solve the problem of crazy people with too many guns is make more guns available.
The NRA spokesmen are not crazy, appearances to the contrary. The NRA are lobbyists for the gun manufacturers. They want to sell more guns. That's how they get money and power.

The crazy people are the suckers who buy their bullshit. Studies show that simply repeating bullshit often enough to make it sound familiar will persuade many people that it is true. Even if it's patently crazy.

"THE WORLD ENDS THIS WEEK! GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEY!"  Say it often enough and some poor fool will fork over his life savings.

Guns don't kill people! We need more guns to not kill people and protect us from people who are killing us with guns! Crazy talk. I can't believe how many of my friends believe that shit.