Friday, November 03, 2006

Pastor Ted Haggard: He's not just anybodies butt-buddy!

Harper’s says, “No pastor in America holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism than does Pastor Ted.”

"He graduated from Oral Roberts University in 1978 and has received two honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees. He served as the American Vice-President for World Missions for Jesus, a German missions organization, and served as an Associate Pastor at Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which helped him plant New Life Church in 1985. Haggard and his wife, Gayle, have five children. "

Sunday, October 29, 2006

zero-sum games and oil

Here's the bottom line: Any finite resource is a ZSG. Even an infinite resource has only 100% of marketshare, to be divided amongst competitors. That percentage is also a ZSG.

Let's see how some of these zero sum issues apply to different areas:
>
Markets: are probably the best example of a ZSG. In 2000, the Wishire 5000 was worth $1.2 trillion more than it is today. Some people bought, some people sold. Mark-to-market, there is a loss to the collective buyers from the collective sellers. Its even more specific with individual companies.
I short the SPX to you -- each tick is zero sum -- there's a winner and a loser.
Stocks that always go up and never go down are exempt from this; Please let me know as soon as you find any.
>

service economy that is “post industrial”.

Productivity is a simple measure based on total output, divided by the number of workers. Since we have a negative return on capital, the more factories we close to raise capacity utilization, and the more factories we move to China, the fewer workers we will need. Therefore, by definition, productivity goes up. So when our Fed Chairman says “everything is all right because productivity is rising and this is good for the economy and good for the “market”, you should stop and think about who Chairman Greenspan is really talking about. As in every downturn in the past 25 years, when manufacturing jobs go, they don’t come back. We are continuing to move to a modern service economy that is “post industrial”.
The real bubble that remains is the Debt Bubble. What ails corporate America is the need to pay down debt. Moreover, there is no need to invest in new equipment until such time as there has been enough corporate restructuring to get capacity utilization back up to 85%. If new investment is going to be undertaken it is then likely to be undertaken where the labor is hard working and cheap, like China. Even service industries are letting workers go. Productivity is rising, but lay-offs are at recession levels. There are no new jobs. Wages in some industries are dropping, benefits are being slashed, and pensions are not going to be there. We have rising productivity, falling incomes, a negative return on cash, and the destruction of financial capital that will continue until enough factories are taken off line and permanently closed. Both physical and financial capital are in surplus and need to be “destroyed” to bring back a positive return to new investment.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Here comes the sun!! link

Prodigal Sun :
“Solar energy was a rising star in the '70s -- until it was banished by the powers that be. Are we ready for its return?
It was the winter of 1981 and the country was just beginning to feel the sharp edges of the Reagan revolution. Denis Hayes, head of the fledgling Solar Energy Research Institute, was walking through the halls of the Department of Energy when an acquaintance came up to him and said, "Has Frank lowered the boom on you yet?" The Frank in question was an acting assistant secretary, but the boom, it turned out, was falling from the top. President Reagan had once been General Electric's most camera-ready tout, and his administration viewed alternative energy with open scorn. "They're going to kill your study," the gray-suited informant warned Hayes, before slipping down the corridor. “

Here comes the sun!! link

Prodigal Sun :
“Solar energy was a rising star in the '70s -- until it was banished by the powers that be. Are we ready for its return?
It was the winter of 1981 and the country was just beginning to feel the sharp edges of the Reagan revolution. Denis Hayes, head of the fledgling Solar Energy Research Institute, was walking through the halls of the Department of Energy when an acquaintance came up to him and said, "Has Frank lowered the boom on you yet?" The Frank in question was an acting assistant secretary, but the boom, it turned out, was falling from the top. President Reagan had once been General Electric's most camera-ready tout, and his administration viewed alternative energy with open scorn. "They're going to kill your study," the gray-suited informant warned Hayes, before slipping down the corridor. “

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Happens When You Tax the Rich? They Flinch...

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TAX THE RICH?
EVIDENCE FROM EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
Austan Goolsbee
University of Chicago, G.S.B.
and American Bar Foundation
Original Submission: October, 1997
Revision: February, 1999
Abstract
This paper examines the responsiveness of taxable income to changes in marginal tax rates using
detailed compensation data on several thousand corporate executives from 1991 to 1995. The
data confirm that the higher marginal rates of 1993 led to a significant decline in taxable income.
Indeed, this small group of executives can account for as much as 20% of the aggregate change in
wage and salary income for approximately the one million richest taxpayers; one person alone can
account for more than 2%. The decline, however, is almost entirely a short-run shift in the timing
of compensation rather than a permanent reduction in taxable income. The short-run elasticity of
taxable income with respect to the net of tax share exceeds one but the elasticity after one year is
at most 0.4 and probably closer to zero. Breaking out the tax responsiveness of different types of
compensation shows that the large short-run responses come almost entirely from a large increase
in the exercise of stock options by the highest income executives in anticipation of the rate
increases. Executives without stock options, executives with relatively lower incomes, and more
conventional forms of taxable compensation such as salary and bonus show little responsiveness
to tax changes.
___________

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The future of democracy interview W/ Noam Chomsky

The future of democracy
Noam Chomsky interviewed by John Titlow
dragonfire, July 5, 2005
This week, Americans celebrate 229 years of independence. In your view, are we as free and independent as we pride ourselves on being?
A few years ago, after the Reagan years, polls showed that about 80 percent of the public thought that the government works for the few and the special interests, not for the people. Well, if that’s true, then we’re not very free. We don’t have anything to do with our government. If you take a look at the last election, 2004, I don’t think that particular question was asked, but if you compare public attitudes, which are very heavily studied, and the positions of the two candidates, they are poles apart. Both of the political parties are far to the right of the public on a host of general issues. In fact, people had to make guesses about the positions of the parties, because they weren’t really articulated in any comprehensible form. Most people, it turns out, seriously misunderstood the positions of the candidates.
For example, take a current issue: support for the Kyoto Protocols. The United States rejected [it], [but popular support for the Protocols] was so strong that a majority of Bush voters thought he was in favor of them. The same runs true on a host of similar issues. When people were asked to evaluate the federal budget, the opinions of the public are almost the opposite of the budget. A large majority wanted cutbacks in military spending, increases in social spending, health, education, veterans’ benefits, renewable energy, more funding for the United Nations, which the public strongly supports – though neither of the parties do – and more foreign aid. You can just run through the list and see what the public wants and see what the policy is. They’re almost diametrically opposed. That shows up in feelings of helplessness and that the government doesn’t have much to do with us.

Sanctioning Lawlessness by David Cole (link)

Sanctioning Lawlessness
by David Cole
The Nation magazine, October 23, 2006

In a decisive 1-0 decision Monday, President Bush voted to grant the president the constitutional power to grant himself additional powers.... Republicans fearful that the president's new power undermines their ability to grant him power have proposed a new law that would allow senators to permit him to grant himself power. --The Onion, August 1
It's so hard to be a satirist these days. When reality outstrips even The Onion, what's left for Jon Stewart? This summer, the Supreme Court issued a shot across the bow, decisively repudiating expansive executive authority to try "enemy combatants" in kangaroo courts as a violation of Congressional dictates and the Geneva Conventions. On September 28 Congress rewarded the President's lawlessness by giving him a blank check to do it some more. At the same time, it watered down criminal sanctions against abusive treatment of war prisoners and did everything it could to keep that pesky Supreme Court out of the picture, stripping the courts of jurisdiction. In essence, Congress responded to an executive branch that had thumbed its nose at Congress and the world by joining in. After all, what's more important: America's standing in the world and the rule of law, or partisan advantage in the midterm elections?
Under the rules struck down by the Supreme Court, "enemy combatants" could be tried and executed on the basis of coerced testimony, hearsay and classified evidence that the defendants had no meaningful way to confront. Under the Military Commissions Act, some marginally positive changes were made, but enemy combatants can still be tried and executed on the basis of coerced testimony, hearsay and classified evidence that the defendants have no meaningful way to confront. This time, however, Congress declared that its tribunal rules fully satisfy the Geneva Conventions, as if saying it makes it so. Just to make sure, Congress barred anyone from invoking the Geneva Conventions in court against the government or its officials. Instead of remedying the President's violations of international law, in other words, Congress chose to immunize the lawbreakers.

American Fascism Is on the Rise by Stan Goff (link)

The precursors of fascism -- militarization of culture, vigilantism, masculine fear of female power, xenophobia and economic destabilization -- are ascendant in America today.

When I was 18, before student tracking in the public schools had been formalized, an informal tracking system was nevertheless in place: the university track, the craft track, the poultry worker track, and the prison track. I was somewhere between the last two. Both my parents were working in a defense contractor factory, and I was left adrift in the factory-worker 'burbs to be trained by television and alcohol. Raised on a curriculum of McCarthyism, I did the most logical thing I could think of to avoid both the factory and eventual incarceration with the ne'er-do-wells with whom I was keeping company. I joined the Army, and volunteered to fight communists in Vietnam.

I tried to get out of the Army once, and it lasted for four years, whereupon I ended up doing piecework in a sweatshop outside Wilmar, Ark. Back on that public school track, I suppose, but given that the U.S. was no longer invading anyone's country, and that I was responsible for an infant now, I went back into the Army. One thing led to another, and as it turned out I was good at something called special operations, and I ended up making a career of it. By the time I signed out on terminal leave in December 1995, I had worked in eight places designated "armed conflict areas," where people who were brown and poor seemed to be the principle targets of these "special" operations. At some point toward the end, I had decided that plenty of people could look back and say they wished they'd lived differently; and I was just one of them; and that I might salvage something worthwhile from the whole experience by telling the people who had paid me -- people who pay taxes -- what their money was really being spent to do.

Among other activities, I started writing books.

The bad apple

There was nothing more inflammatory in my first book, about the 1994 invasion and occupation of Haiti, than my assertion that Special Operations was a hotbed of racism and reaction. "Hideous Dream - A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti" was my personal account of that operation, and I was explicit not only about the significant number of white supremacists in Special Operations but how the attitudes of these extremists connected with the less explicit white male supremacy of white patriarchal American society and defined, in some respects, the attitude taken by U.S. occupation forces in Haiti toward the Haitian population.

The resistance to this allegation was particularly fierce, and not merely from those inside the Special Operations "community," whose outrage was more public-relations stagecraft than anything else. There was outrage from people who hadn't a moment of actual experience in the military at all. This is an affront to something sacred in the public imaginary of a thoroughly militarized United States: that we are an international beacon of civilized virtue, and that our military is the masculine epitome of that virtue standing between our suburban security and the dark chaos of the Outside. Questioning the mystique of the armed forces is tantamount to lunacy at best and treason at worst.

This is the reason bad-apple-ism has been the predominant meme of the media and the Pentagon when they are compelled to discuss the stories of torture, rape and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan. "A few bad apples" committed torture. "A few bad apples" raped prisoners, fellow female soldiers, and civilians in their homes. The massacre was not descriptive of the Marine Corps, but the work of "a few bad apples." Anyone who wants to be the skunk at this prevarication party need only ask, "How do these bad apples all seem to aggregate into the same units?"

Third World Traveler (link)

THIRD WORLD TRAVELER puts up articles and book excerpts
that offer an alternative view to the mainstream media about the state of democracy in America,
and about the impact of the policies of the United States' government,
transnational corporations, international financial institutions, and the corporate media,
on democracy, free speech, social and economic justice, human rights, and war and peace,
in the Third World, and in the United States.
THIRD WORLD TRAVELER also provides information and links
to aid international travelers.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Darcy Burner on Net Neutrality: Link

Hope I'm not clogging the TUBES!!! Sen. Stevens of Alaska has no business making decisions about technology and media that he has no understanding of.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Socialization of Powerlessness: LINK

You really should check out this link I've provided for some heavyand informative information on the subject of: THE SOCIALIZATION OF POWERLESSNESS.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Magic Yamaha G-55 I Guitar with the Kid's Dad's Soul in it

I do not claim to be a "good" guitar player or even an adequate one. The one thing I claim for myself is that I can get people to dance when I play -- which is ironic as I am not a good dancer by far.

I sold all my guitar equipment a few years ago and have never regretted it. I worried occasionally that I was losing a part of myself but about a year ago a young man came up to me and my wife at a Starbuck's and handed me an old Yamaha classical style guitar and asked me if I would take it off his hands for free!

I said, immediately, "Yes!"

Several strings were missing and it was scratched and nicked here and there , but was generally in good shape.The wood behind the frets in the first five frets was visibly worn from someone's playing. To me, this gives an instrument, soul.

The kid explained that it was his father's guitar and that his father had given it to him -- but he had his own guitars now and never played this one -- so he was searching for a good "home" for the guitar and felt that I would give ir a good one.

And , so I have.

Today I put new Savarez strings on it , polished it up, and played some blues on it and Alice Cooper's song, "Eighteen". And, I still have my harmonicas.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More Biker News from Headless Lucy

Sometimes a biker has to get back to basics. I know I've been slacking on the biker news and I have so many tales to tell, it's a shame I haven't taken the time to do it. Especially since my more-or-less biker-newsless blog is mostly about politics --- so far...

Let me first start out with a simple list of the bikes I've owned in my lifetime:

1- Schwinn "junior size" paperboy bike.

2- Schwinn "Paper-Boy Special" with high rise bars and "knee action" front wheel.

3- Conversion of "paper boy special" to small lawnmower-motorized bike

4- Honda-90 Trail Bike.

5- Various "found" tenspeeds.

6- Murray "Trail Bike".

7- 1983 Red Suzuki 1100 GSX crotch rocket.



I would have loved to have had a Harley for its chick-attracting capabilities, but never had an opportunity to acquire one at a reasonable price and "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" has never been my bag , if you get my drift.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

LIVING WITH WAR, by Neil Young: link

Here's a direct link to the album. Please give it a listen. It's already number three on billboard. Love and Peace to all:

Headless Lucy

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Conservatives propose Liberal/Conservative Rebel Alliance against Neo-Cons: link

The only thing I object to with this writer is that he feels that Liberal philosophy is much like Joseph Stalin's. I strongly disagree. I think Conservative philosophy is akin to that of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin, with a dash of John ( Mr. Alien and Sedition Acts/Patriot Act ) Adams.

Th latest on the Boeing/Airbus corporate welfare dispute is --link: here

They say it's over, but I don't think so.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

War Between the U.S. and Mexico!!!!!! THE TOMATO WARS --- link:

How NAFTA and U.S. publicly subsidized corporate agriculture destroys indigineous economies. If the stuff that we are dumping in Mexico were truly produced on the "free market" and not on U.S. taxpayer assisted corporate farms ( corporate welfare ), Iwouldn't oppose it.

But this is not free enterprise. It's corporate socialism, and I'm against it!

The Tomato Wars, cont'd.: link

Background information on the Tomato Wars.....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Ballad of James Tobin: Innocent Beleagured Republican --NOT!!

sung to the tune of, Ghost Riders in the Sky:


In New Hampshire Justice was a probin'

And they found out about James Tobin.

Seems that James had jammed the phones

Tryin'to keep the Democrats home.

Their bogus scheme it was uncovered.

"I didn't do nothin' ", Tobin blubbered.

James's calls went to Mehlmans phone

But Mehlman dropped James like a doo-doo scone.

Now Tobin lies convicted in jail.

For jammin' phones he was nailed.



Yippee- yi- AAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!

Yippee- yi- OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

James Tobins iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnn

the POKEY>>>>>>>>>>> Rideout>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, April 10, 2006

Republicans are to blame for illegal workers: CEO's should do jail time!

The following is from a letter in the Seattle Times from 4/10/2006. The letter was written by Don Sly of Seattle:

OUR NATION'S METHODS of DEALING WITH ILLEGAL WORKERS SHOW HYPOCRISY


Editor, The Times:

" Because our fractured society doesn't confront the, "hordes of illegal immigrants ... running amok in our streets", letter writer Warren Wilson [ April 2nd ] of Kirkland is moved to ask: "Have we become a nation of sniveling cowards?"

Actually, illegal immigrants have made us a nation of sniveling hypocrites. On two fronts.

First, we bleat how the "illegal hordes" are needed to do work Americans don't want to do. This is total garbage. Listen. In my checkered career as an industrial chemist I have at times been up to my ankles inraw sewage. But, I was happy for the work because I was paid a living wage. There is no work Americans won't do: THERE ARE ,HOWEVER, SALARIES THAT DEGRADE THE HUMAN SPIRIT and Americans rightly refuse to prostitute themselves to make some employer rich for a minimum wage.

Second, instead of crouching in the hedges and bushes of a deserted border, the Minutemen types would be better to deploy themselves within the boardrooms of the corporations that use immigrant labor to avoid paying Americans a living wage. The problem for the Minutemen is that they would target not illegal immigrants,but illegal employers : that is: their fellow Republicans.

And when is that going to happen? Not any time soon.

Pattannica Pancakes, cont'd.:

So as I said, mother had made a dinner of potato pancakes, porkchops,and green beans --- with a little apple-sauce on the side. Everyone loved potato pancakes and my mother was kept busy making more pancakes and sipping wine.

Dad asked, "Oh, Dot! Could I have a few more pancakes?"

" 'Fraid not dear. I just gave the last one to your son!"

My father must have been stressed that day. He usually was. Most of the time about work and occassionally about Democrats and Communists --- whom he felt were about equally to blame for Socialistic Programs, the sexual revolution, and the Rolling Stones --- and generally anything he disliked or that went wrong with his life.

He blew his cork this time.

" Goddamn-it-all anyway! Why, in the name of Sweet Bleeding Jesus, can't I, the guy who busts his ass forty hours a week so you all can have a roof over your heads and all the food you can eat -- for free -- get a few extra potato pancakes?!?!"

My mother was standing next to Dad's large, long, red apoplectic head and casually poured a half a glass of wine over it. "You're a blithering idiot!", said she.

His head, already red from anger turned an almost alarming shade of purple as the wine dripped over the wispy hair on his balding head and dribbled over his face and eyes as he screamed:

" ALL I WANTED WAS A LOUSY P-P-P-PATTANNICA PANCAKE!!!"

Generally, Dad's outbursts were greeted with fear and trepidation. Bad things could happen when he lost his cool. But this time it was different. We all looked at him with suppressed grins and someone asked, "What was that you said? Pattannica Pancakes?"

To this very day me, my three sisters, my children, their children and their spouses will, when someone gets red-faced angry over some small thing, look at each other with amusement and say:

"Pattannica Pancakes!"

Friday, April 07, 2006

Pattannica Pancakes, cont'd: My Son: The Internet King

I've got this one almost finished in longhand. I'll post the rest of it later. It has , partially, something to do with a cardboard Burger King crown that I converted to an Internet King crown...

He may not want to wear it while working on the computer, but I think that wearing a crown while working on the computer will convince him in his subconscious that he is, indeed: the Internetking!!!!

The Pattannica Pancakes Incident, as I remember it,happened like this: We were having a family dinner of an evening in the summer. It was in the early 1960's, so my older sister and I were in our early teens, my younger sister was about eleven or twelve and my youngest sister was still a toddler. Mother had been drinking a little wine that day.

Families ate dinner together in those days

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Pattannica Pancakes: how they got that way

My youngest sister is forty five. I'm fifty seven and my oldest sister is two years older than me and the sister directly behind me is two years younger. I was born on January 1st. The first official information that the Federal government received about me was on April 15th of that year. My father reported on his income tax form that I had been born on December 31st of the previous year.

Dad got the full year's deduction for me anyway. After all, why let one day stand in the way of a full year's Federal tax deduction? My father, Carl, was a Boy Scout about morality and was never particularly proud about it, but my pride in his action was enough for the both of us.

But, more about that later.

The really important thing about my family, the Rosetta Stone of all incidents, is still -- to this day -- the Pattanica Pancake incident. Oh, I could tell you only my version of the events, but to get the full picture you would need the independent viewpoints of my sisters , as well. I need to e-mail them and get their recollections.

Point of view is so telling in a story such as this. I am certainly not the first person to have this insight, but I think the telling of the story will reveal the unique position that families like mine occupy in the social landscape of America.

The story is all about a serving of Patannica pancakes...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

U.S. Media Controlled by Billionaires

Grover Norquist, whose corrupt ties to "Casino Jack" Abramoff and Tom DeLay become more apparent daily, has a Wednesday Morning Group of 80 billionaires that meet once a week to set the media's agenda for that week and, since the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, to actually write ( for their own benefit of course ) the laws of the nation.

Norquist, a chubby "inherited-wealth boy" from Boston, learned his attitude toward taxes at his rich daddy's knee. According to Norquist himself, when he was but a tyke, his father would give him an ice-cream cone and with each bite instruct little Grover to imagine it as a GOVERNMENT TAX. Little Grover learned his lesson well and learned to hate taxes, for, if there were no "taxes" he could forever possess a useless, melted ice-cream cone!

Really, I don't think Grover or his Dad were capable of that amount of forethought.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Democrat Contract With America

Here is an interesting article in , The Nation, that addresses the issue of Democrats using the Katrina debacle to illustrate how Republicans have failed to live up to the promises they made in 1994 and cynically never really tried to.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Getting the Best of WingNut "Debaters"

If you are new to blogging and decide to debate wingnuts you have a fun and somewhat challenging task ahead of you. Your goal is to so "fshimmle" your opponent that they are practically screaming through the computer at you.

You've bugged your target wingnut a little if you are called a moonbat, kooky liberal, or a Socialist. You know that their face is red with rage and their jowls are flecked with spittle if you are called a Communist, Stalinist, or Leninist -- or any combination of these words -- and you can imagine a beer can being thrown at the monitor. This is the desired emotional state you seek to put the wingnut in.

Most wingnuts are quite stupid and extremely inflexible. They do, however, refresh their grab bag of arguments by going to a website ( like Free Republic) that is there specifically designed to fill their heads anew each day with logically twisted arguments that are so breathtaking in the lie they are attempting to propound that you will be taken aback. These lies are provided each day by professional wingnut liars who have been twisting the truth for so long that they no longer know themselves what it is.

The main thing you must understand in debating wingnuts is that they have about ten basic ( and easily refuted ) assumptions about the world and everything they say revolves around these simple assumptions.

A few of these core wingnut concepts is that a reference to Ted Kennedy's car wreck over 30 years ago in which his girlfriend was tragically killed automatically trumps any argument that you ( the Stalinist) is trying to use. Similarly, The oral sex that Bill Clinton received from Monica Lewinsky also trumps any crime, no matter how coarse, crooked and venal, that any Republican has committed. This especially applies to the President and the vice-President.

I have included a link to a site that will inform you about any subject you wish to debate a wingnut on. I think you will find the site very interesting, informative and educational.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Zero Sum Games and Economics

I, Headless Lucy, have been reading a bit about zero sum games and also conservative commentary about how tax cuts for the rich and the oil business as currently structured are NOT zero sum games but, rather, "win / win" situations.

They look an awfully lot like zero sum games to me.

Any comments?

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