Days of Change

Basically Dumb

May 26, 2015

The month, something called “basic income” has been making the rounds of liberal blogs. The concept is that the government provides everyone with a minimum annual stipend ($10,000 per year seems to be a common number) which they can supplement with actual work. In some cases, that basic income is withdrawn with the more work income someone makes. Before I comment on the idea, let’s look at how one site tries to Voxsplain it. Actually, Vox wrote about this too, but I don’t want to drive traffic there.

  • First, get the reader to imagine getting $1,000 a month without a job. For more than half the population, (maybe 75%) that would be more than they get in net pay after taxes, especially if they are deadbeats now.
  • Beat the crap out of a straw man. This article claims this is not Communism, an economic system that failed in Russia and only sort of exists in Cuba and North Korea. Ignore socialism entirely.
  • Hit them with contrarianism. Write about how this concept is capitalist even though it is the definition of citizen-level socialism.
  • Start throwing data and studies into the mix in equal proportions. The fact that people don’t seem to quit their jobs immediately and a positive pilot study in Namibia bolster this essentially unproven concept.
  • Hit them with more contradictory information. The basic income claims revolve around the theory that people will get more education, spend more time with family and develop less stress with a basic income. Plus, it would eliminate welfare!

This is where I get to paraphrase Voltaire and point out that the perfect is the enemy of the good. As proof, some libertarians have actually endorsed the concept of a basic income in the hopes that it could eliminate all the social engineering present in government handouts. There would theoretically be one handout, a smaller amount going to children, for everyone.

My problem is that the implementation of this would not be theoretical. Some people would be considered more disadvantaged than others. Increased taxes needed would drive up prices. Those prices would drive up the basic income amount. Democrats would lose all their power to direct money to foundations or community groups, which means they’d never go for it. Plus, this was the plan created by Cloward and Piven, and you know what assholes they were.

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Barbecue Day

May 25, 2015

There are some obvious reasons why people don’t visit memorials on Memorial Day. There hasn’t been a draft for generations, most of our war veterans are long-removed and there are so many people who don’t know anyone who fought and died for this country. Personally, the closest person I knew was an uncle from WW2. He died in 1991 and I had only met him twice.

When politicians and political parties talk about sales and backyard parties, they are inconsiderate morons. However, I give more slack to the average American. The average working stiff doesn’t have a holiday during the year before Memorial Day. Being at the end of May, it’s frequently a beautiful day appropriate for outdoor activities, often ones that can’t be enjoyed after work. July 4th is only about 5 weeks away. That holiday is both celebratory and patriotic.

It is the responsibility of our political leaders and the media to value Memorial Day. Sadly, some are using it as a day to bitch about war. The best thing Americans can do with this day is enjoy it. I just hope they also remember.

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The Adventures of Mattress Girl

May 24, 2015

This week Columbia graduated Mattress Girl, a student who carried around a mattress for some time, even to said graduation. She was doing this as some sort of statement piece about the lack of vengeance against a man she said raped her. I use the term vengeance because the American justice system (or even the biased Columbia reporting process) did not find sufficient evidence to punished the accused man, who also graduated this week.

It is taken as a matter of faith among the feminist blogosphere that he did it. On one site, another woman who wants to stay anonymous, claims that she has a stronger claim that this same man tried to sexually assault her, creating a pattern of anonymous accusations. The reality is that we have a justice system geared toward giving the citizen rights to prevent claims from becoming evidence. It is entirely possible for someone to have done a bad thing and not be convicted of a crime. It is the flip side of this country’s belief in preventing the innocent from being persecuted.

Unfortunately, the court of public opinion is loose with facts and quick with judgement. The man accused of rape is suing the college over its tacit approval of the mattress protest. I suppose he’s hoping that the discovery process will reveal the stalking activities of Mattress Girl toward him and her apparent desire to seek vengeance on him for ignoring her. This also is a poor use of public outrage instead of jurist prudence. However, this may be the only option to nullify one scandal with another.

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Where Are the Flying Cars?

May 23, 2015

The cable channel Spike has picked up the rights to the “Back to the Future” movie series. I’m sure we will read in about 5 months that “the future” is set in October 2015. In this future, cars fly and boards hover. Unfortunately, the laws of physics have again conspired to keep us from defying gravity for another generation.

Some of the things they got right in the movie were big, flat televisions. However, there are no 80’s themed diners. Ronald Reagan and Michael Jackson are both dead. At the same time, the Chinese are more influential in American business than the Japanese and they underestimated the advancement of technology. There are hardly any fax machines these days. Even though Back to the Future 2 was made in 1988, there seems to be no conception of e-mail. While our home appliances are not voice-activated, the apps that run them are.

Back to the Future is devoid of the laptops, tablets, smart phones and now smart watches many of us have. There are floating TV sets in the diner instead of tablets at the tables. Then again, one has to wonder if our attachment to mobile devices is just a step to having technology you don’t have to carry around.

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Attack of the Zombie Candidates

May 22, 2015
1 Comment

The current expectation is that we will see a match up between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. The irony is that almost no one is excited about either one. There’s is still hope, however. The expected nominee is frequently not the actual nominee. In 2008, Hillary Clinton was supposed to battle Rudy Giuliani for the White House. McCain was going up against Al Gore in the early days of the 2000 race. Sometimes, this is a good thing, like when Reagan beat Ford for the nomination. Other times, we get a Barack Obama beating Hillary and probably costing Republicans the presidency.

People complain about money in politics, but I am more concerned with the stupid in the electorate. Money is lining up behind Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Money can only buy advertising. It can’t change hearts and minds. The problem is that so many people have no opinions and no information. They don’t even seek information out. I know who I think is most qualified overall and has the lowest chance of doing a lot of things I don’t want. He hasn’t announced yet. Still, I will reluctantly vote for Bush (as I did for Romney) if he wins the nomination. 100% of the Democrats voted for Obama’s agenda when it counted. That’s enough to kill any chance I would give one.

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Why Do Anything?

May 21, 2015
1 Comment

Last week, I considered titling a post “The Clinton Foundation doesn’t feed starving people, why should we?” My point was that trucking in bags or rice to starving Africans is a long-term temporary solution. More and more, it seems the solutions lie in economic opportunity. Give people a chance to use their talents to make money and start businesses and see how life improves. This is one of the things I’m willing to accept libertarians having a valid point on.

On the other hand, Barack Obama is using his office to restrict the economic and social freedom of Americans and giving freedom to murderous Muslims to take over the Arab (and Persian) world. It doesn’t really matter if it’s called ISIS or Al-Qaeda. When these groups have created a region-wide caliphate, they’ll go after the West next. We should have stopped Hitler before he invaded Poland.

This is ultimately why I have a hard time listening to Rand Paul and his non-intervention stuff. War is messy. There is no solution that is perfect from the outset. Doing nothing is not an answer. It is a way to limit your choices in the future. Imagine if The Bush Administration called 9/11 a setback for America.

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The Late Shaft

May 20, 2015

There’s  a saying that a liberal is a conservative who hasn’t been mugged. In some ways, a conservative may be a liberal who has never been fired. I know I’ve never hated business as much as when I’ve been laid off or replaced. I kind of wonder if the same thing happened to David Letterman the second time NBC took a show away from him.

Ace of Spades has a pretty good analysis of why Letterman isn’t funny. I take issue with others who say Letterman was never funny. Ace is pretty on point by saying that Letterman hasn’t been innovative for over 20 years and he certainly hasn’t been cool or interesting in over a decade. My teenage self, however, still smirks at Letterman throwing a tray of lasagna from the window of a building and watching it hit the ground.

David Letterman was a Midwestern boy who was a comedian, actor and a weather guy and had various other on-air gigs until he got the chance to host. NBC gave him a run on a daytime talk show which bombed after a couple of months. Since the late 70’s, Letterman was the permanent guest host for Johnny Carson at the Tonight Show after Johnny decided on more vacation time and less of a grind on his show.

NBC eventually gave Letterman the time slot vacated by Tom Snyder, both to increase revenue and keep Letterman from being poached by another network attempting late night talk. Letterman couldn’t keep his guest hosting duties, but Carson kept his seat warm by hiring Joan Rivers as his new permanent guest host. She was older than Dave and was unlikely to become the new host.

I can go on and on about Letterman v. Leno, but the essence is that when Leno was made permanent guest host in the late 80’s, NBC saw Carson as a falling star and wanted a replacement who wasn’t Dave. I think it’s not out of line to say that Baby Boomers warmed to the hard-working, show focused Leno and Gen-Xers liked the iconoclastic Letterman. Carson wasn’t direct about it, but he always preferred Letterman, especially in the face of Leno’s disloyalty to Carson, mirroring that of Joan Rivers.

When Letterman lost the Tonight Show, he seemed to lose the will to host a talk show at all. He made a point to bring over as many gags from his old show as possible and continue to reuse them. The scandal of the war made him number one for a while, then the scandal of Hugh Grant started shifting the audience to Leno. Finally, Dave couldn’t beat Leno, so he chose to outlast him.

Jay Leno may not be a conservative, but he is the model of the enterprising capitalist. He worked hard, he refined his skills and he negotiated his way to the Tonight Show. When NBC wanted to switch things up to keep Conan O’Brien, (who replaced Letterman at NBC) Leno was able to work his way back to the Tonight Show. He was finally told he was no longer wanted after 20 years. After his retirement was announced, Letterman finally announced his. David Letterman was on at 11:30 longer than Jay Leno.

If the Late Night talk show era didn’t end with Johnny Carson, is certainly has with the end of David Letterman. Leno worked on his show constantly. Dave was able to phone it in and he basically did. The networks still made plenty of money on each property. Jimmy Fallon and Seth Myers (NBC talk shows are basically owned by Lorne Michaels) are more popular on YouTube and DVR than live.

Letterman is a liberal tool. I’m not sure how much was always there or how much came from his own bitterness. Ironically, many of his fan boys eventually found true rebellion in conservative values. Dave’s fans left him as much as he left his fans.

As I write this, I’m watching the last Letterman show. It started with 4 presidents (two Republicans, two Democrats) saying “Our long national nightmare is over.” If the Bushes can get over it for a night, so can I.

Goodbye, Dave. It’s time for you to go.

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Bed Time

May 19, 2015
1 Comment

I have some blog ideas for more Clinton stuff and Obama’s incompetent War on Man Caused Disasters. However, I will be enjoying tonight’s “sleeping weather” instead after a humid week so far.

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How About Fighting in Iraq Now?

May 18, 2015
1 Comment

Despite the hype, Megyn Kelly isn’t the greatest anchor in history. I don’t think I’ve ever watched her show all the way through. I can honestly say that I don’t consider her question to Jeb Bush about looking at Iraq from 12 years later to be all that valuable. It was designed to put him on the spot. Putting someone on the spot is fine and not a gotcha question or anything. Still, we don’t learn much about Jeb except that he has to thread the needle both because Republicans have mixed feelings on the war and George W. Bush is his brother.

Even if the cost of the Iraq War is too high in hindsight, one has to ask what would happen had Al-Qaeda or ISIS (the same brand) were allowed to come into Iraq, even with Saddam’s forces at full strength. Hussein wasn’t a very religious leader, only showing token adherence to Islam. Would religious fervor have turned his own people to the side of terror? Either way, the result is becoming the same. Iraqi towns are falling to ISIS. We already know that Obama and libertarians (almost the same thing) don’t give a crap about lessening human suffering. I just wonder if Obama cares about American safety either.

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The Rocks Cried Out No Hiding Place

May 17, 2015

Karl Rove referred to people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” Unfortunately, he was saying it to disparage journalists. That journalist, Ron Suskind, chose to focus on the term Rove used to define him and other reporters, “the reality-based community,” to paint the Bush administration as believers in fantasy and, gasp, religion.

If you try to invent solutions based on known factors, you are disregarding the unknown. The unknown is so important that human beings invented science to experiment with solutions to extrapolate the unknown. There are also people who have certainty that everything they know is everything they need to know to change the word for the better. Those are progressives and they often try to create their own reality.

Those watching ABC Sunday saw George Stephanopoulos back in the moderator chair after 1.) Using that position to attack an author who found a lot of money flowing through an organization that 2.) Stephanopoulos donated a considerable amount to, even though 3.) he didn’t reveal that fact until it was discovered by two other news organizations. ABC created its own reality where a moderator in their news division can donate to a former political employer after being a partisan operative, claim to have forgotten about it, and expect that the public will accept that story.

While the revelations of bias and sloppy journalism have accelerated over the years, the actual level of bias hasn’t gone up much. The good news is that alternative and social media have made it impossible to hoard reality anymore. They may still have their perches in big media, but they are in glass towers with no hiding place. It kind of reminds me of an old song.

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