Tag Archive for 'US'

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Gas price crosses a line

Well, it isn’t quite as expensive as in Europe, but the price has moved up about 15% in a month or so.


In Soviet Troy, the Government sanctions art

Upstate New York has been all up in arms about all kinds of things lately.

An Iraqi artist named Wafaa Bilal wanted to exhibit his project at Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York. He was using a modified video game to have viewers view the Iraq war from the Iraqi point of view. And not just any Iraqi’s point of view, but a suicide bomber’s at that.

That didn’t go so well with the local neo-cons, who first got RPI to cancel the exhibit by pressuring them with withdrawn donations and “safety” issues. Apparently the FBI was also alerted about a possible “terrorist” threat.

A local art gallery called Sanctuary for Independent Media then decided to let Mr. Bilal exhibit there.

That wasn’t ok with the local neo-cons either, who continued to protest against the art exhibit. One of the leading voices protesting was one Robert Mirch, Republican Majority leader in the city of Troy.

The day before the exhibit was to go on, the Sanctuary for Independent Media premises were shut down by the Department of Public Works for building code violations. It appears that the doors of the 108-year-old building the gallery resides in were 3 inches too narrow. And that’s a violation. The gallery had been cited for the violation some time ago, and at that time given until mid April to correct the issues. It is not mid April yet. It just happens Mr. Mirch is the commissioner of the Department of Public Works in the city of Troy. What a coincidence!

Well done Robert! Keep up the good work up there in Troy! We are all so very proud of you.


Eliot Spitzer – you slutty slut

I posted an article on this blog some time ago titled “Eliot Spitzer – you ignorant slut“. I didn’t know at the time how right I would be. Maybe I’m clairvoyant or something.

I’m bit of a video game enthusiast. I’ve been one for almost 30 years now and I don’t have any intentions on giving it up any time soon. I get a bit pissed off when ignorant sluts, like Eliot Spitzer, go and talk about my favorite hobby as if people who do that sort of thing are some sort of deviants and violent psychopaths, or just steps away of becoming such. I get even more pissed off when said ignorant sluts are doing so in such a hypocritical manner it’s obvious to anyone who knows anything about what’s being said.

With that, let’s examine some choice quotes from our fine Governor Eliot Spitzer when he was giving speeches about the “dangers” of video games, shall we?

I find it unacceptable that every day, children are buying “Grand Theft Auto,” which rewards a player for stealing cars and assaulting people. In that game, children can even simulate having sex with a prostitute…

That one is from an April 20th 2007 speech titled “Our Children’s Agenda“. Yes, there’s nothing quite like simulating having sex with a prostitute. Except maybe actually having sex with a prostitute, which in New York State is a felony. The Governor scores!

From the same speech:

Our Safe Games Act will create a mechanism to ensure that stores cannot sell video games that contain excessive sex and violence to children. In addition, we are directing our agencies to undertake public outreach efforts to teach parents and children about the harmful effects of these games.

Yes, there’s nothing like teaching our children harmful things through video games. Except maybe teaching them harmful things by example. Do as I say, not as I do, Governor?

“The Entertainment Software Rating Board does have a rating system that warns consumers of content unsuitable for children, but it’s often ignored,” claimed Spitzer. “Laws protecting underage kids from harmful products are nothing new – laws preventing kids from buying cigarettes serve as just one example. But currently, nothing under New York State law prohibits a fourteen-year old from walking into a video store and buying a game labeled “Adult Only”…

That one is from his introduction of the Safe Games Act, a piece of legislation designed to keep disgusting sexual and violent video games out of the hands of underage children. Yes, there are no laws preventing underage children from buying “adults only” video games (just like there are no laws to prevent underage children from seeing “adults only” movies, btw). But there are laws preventing horny married men from buying sex across state lines. A former Attorney General of New York State and current #1 Man of the State should be expected to know that, I think. Maybe he just forgot. I know blood flow in the brain is sometimes obstructed when the blood is more needed down you-know-where. It can sometimes affect memory functions, I believe.

Let’s see if the fine Governor still has the (blue) balls to pursue his anti-video game legislation, which not only is almost surely to be unconstitutional but now also quite hilarious.

Schauenfreude. Gotta love it!


Oh Bushy, you make mocking you so easy sometimes

Quoting our Supreme Leader, Uniter of 49%, Chief Political Commissar of The Party:

Now the question is, should these lawsuits be allowed to proceed, or should any company that may have helped save American lives be thanked for performing a patriotic service; should those who stepped forward to say we’re going to help defend America have to go to the courthouse to defend themselves, or should the Congress and the President say thank you for doing your patriotic duty? I believe we ought to say thank you.

Yes. We should thank companies breaking the law. Are you fucking kidding me!?

As another blog said about this. Get out of office already, will you? Please. I’ll pay you…in illegal counterfeit money.

How did this dumbass ever get into Yale AND Harvard never mind graduating from both places?


Everyone crossing the border to the US is guilty until proven innocent

The Washington Post is writing about an alarming development in the “war on terror”.

It seems that instead of being content on just searching people’s electronic devices, without a warrant or other grounds, the US Customs officers are now copying information out of travelers’ laptops, cell phones, mp3 players and other electronic devices that store information on them.

Nobody’s been able to find out what they’re actually doing with the data after it’s been copied. Where is it stored, who sees it, what is done with the information. Nobody knows.

Everything seems to be free game. Call logs from cellphones, browsing histories from browsers, Word documents, etc.

Naturally companies whose employees travel out or into the US often are quite concerned. The Washington Post article lists several real concerns about this “policy”. How are they to protect trade secrets, sensitive information about clients or journalistic sources when the information can be copied at will by minimum wage flunkies on the US border.


Shame on US and us, too

I just found out about a charity that donates car safety seats, among other things, to families in need. What a wonderful idea, I thought.

But then my wife pointed out that the organization has had to shut down the application process, because they are getting overwhelmed by the demand from families, who can’t afford to buy safety seats for their children.

I thought about that and wondered, how is this possible. We are supposed to be the richest country in the world. How is it possible that so many families are so poor that they can’t even afford buying protection for their children? In fact, there are so many that the organization that helps them has a waiting list so long they have to shut it down for new applications.

Using car safety seats is federally mandated (all states have their own laws in addition to the federal laws) and not using one puts your child in serious danger. Why is there no provisions in the laws that regulate car safety helping families in need? We really can’t afford that?

I think we have our priorities all wrong. Would it REALLY be so bad if you paid $10 more in taxes to fund some more Government programs that would help the millions and millions of poor people in the country and maybe reduce poverty instead of increase it like what’s happened in the past few years?

Listening to the presidential candidates, it does seem so. Taxes is like a four-letter word. Me, me, me, me is not.


Rudy Giuliani – a vindictive schoolyard bully

It’s no wonder why New Yorkers so dislike the mayor with 9/11 tourette’s syndrome. It’s stories like the one New York Times is writing about today that make him look like a more evil version of Dick Cheney.

The New York Times writes about the ruthlessness, pettiness and sometimes even downright illegality in the ways lil Rudy dealt with outspoken critics of him and his mayorality. New York City paid out a record amount of civil penalties during Giuliani’s term as a mayor of the city.

It’s a good thing this mini-Goebbels hasn’t been able to fool the outsiders in the Republican primaries. Maybe there’s hope he will fade away from politics after his failed attempt to become Bush III.


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees, the American Dream is dead

Just the other day I wrote about how the majority of people in the United States are doing worse than their parents and how the American Dream is effectively not attainable any more.

That conclusion received some more proof in the form of a Congressional Budget Office data series on income equality in the United States between 2003 – 2005. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.

The after-tax income of the bottom 20% grew by 6%, hardly to cover increased costs of living, healthcare and transportation, while the income of the top 1% grew by 228%. Even worse the after-tax income inequality is growing faster than the pre-tax income inequality meaning the rich are paying less taxes than the poor.

The trickle-up economy is treating Bushies well. Too bad about the folks hit by hurricanes. The income inequality is worse than at any other time in US history for at least a century. We’re at a point where we’re approaching the robber baron era type of economy in the United States, if we didn’t already make it there.

The Economic Public Institute (EPI) concludes:

Such concentration of income is unsustainable in a democratic society. The distribution mechanisms that have historically worked to ensure much more equitable outcomes appear to be wholly inoperative. Fixing them must be at the heart of any serious economic policy discussion.

EPI’s analysis of the situation is on their website. EPI also posted a shorter blog article about the numbers.

It’d be interesting to hear what the presidential candidates think about this. I think I know what the Republicans would say, and I also know what John Edwards thinks about it.


The American Dream is dead

Alter.net has an article basically saying the American Dream these days is a complete myth to the majority of people living in the United States and especially to those born in poverty.

As a whole the US residents are doing better, but the accumulation of wealth is concentrating more and more to the few that are already wealthy, so the stats are getting skewed by the well-to-dos doing even better while the average Joe is doing worse.

Upward mobility (moving up in the socio-economic ladder) is just as likely as downward mobility (getting poorer), and the number of people who are earning more than their parents but still moving down is increasing. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look ok to me.

Living costs (education, healthcare, housing) are skyrocketing while earnings are staying flat or declining depending on how you factor in things like inflation. Things are not looking good for the middle class in America, and it’s downright scary for poor people.

Meanwhile European countries, especially in Scandinavia are doing extremely well. The mobility (one’s ability to climb up on the socio-economic ladder) is up to three times as likely in countries like Denmark and Finland than in the United States. Scandinavian countries are high tax, free education/healthcare type of countries, pretty much complete opposites of the United States.

While it’s easy to dismiss the article by merely claiming it’s done by those liberal rabblerousers, you can’t argue with the facts. The research is solid and it’s showing undeniably that the “trickle-down” economy bullshit is bad for America. It’s making rich people even richer, and poor people even poorer. That’s why I personally call it the trickle-up economy.

The data is showing the Big Government approach is actually better for your citizens than the Small Government approach. Imagine that. Let’s see if they learn that in the US before it’s too late. I’m not too optimistic myself.


NYC doesn’t love you Rudy

The New York Magazine writer Chris Smith has written a rather harsh article on Rudy Giuliani, his overbearing ego and inflated claims of his accomplishments in New York City.

The article goes on to document how most of Giualini’s most important accomplishments were all either results of him being at the right place at the right time to benefit from positive results of programs started by the previous administration, other people in the NYC Government (like City Hall) or just background noise from the upturn of the economy as a whole. Never mind what the reason though, Rudy is here now to take the credit even for “accomplishments” he actually opposed. For example a tax cut proposed by New York City Council Giuliani fought against for two years before it was passed. He also claims credit for lowering taxes in NYC 23 times. The article documents eight of those tax cuts were because the New York State in Albany decided on them. Giuliani had nothing to do with getting them done.

The article also says Giuliani was accustomed to appointing relatives and other acquaintances to positions of influence in the NYC Government over other qualified candidates. Sounds kinda like what another Republican Power Family is doing in Washington, don’t you think? It’s working real well for that family, too.

But the biggest problem the writer sees with Giuliani’s campaign claims is that he’s somehow the savior of New York City who brought the city up from the gutter to be the playground for tourists from all over. The writer quotes Ed Koch, an ex-Mayor of New York City:

“It’s insulting to every New Yorker that he goes around the country talking as if he thinks he was the animal tamer and we were the animals”

Yet even that pales in comparison to Giuliani’s character. His questionable professional relationships (e.g. Commissioner Kerik), his petty ways of dealing with the women in his life and the schoolyard bully tactics he goes into when faced with resistance from other people. Fitting for a President? Not according to New Yorkers.