“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Friday, July 24, 2009

enola gay, should have stayed at home yesterday

Some of our commenters have asked why we are not posting more frequently. I can only speak for myself, but I hope to address the question for myself.

One of our commenters (I hesitate to call him a "troll" at this point, though I won't promise to never call him such again) has brought Ayn Rand into the comments.

I'll have to admit that, at this point, I'm far more interested in discussing Atlas Shrugged than I am in discussing politics.

And I'm okay with that.

I am-- at bottom-- a lit and history geek. I'd much rather discuss and teach the history of ideas than fight for a momentary political win. The Bush era laid our differences on the table, and made half of Americans enemies with the other half. And that is the context in which our bloggery-- Ivory Dome's as well as PTS's-- began.

Let me not be over-charitable: I am vastly annoyed by the fact that large segments of the USA bitch constantly about their health insurance, but refuse to consider another option. I am frightened by the unwillingness of the citizenry to take even baby steps toward fixing our environmental problems.

But I have begun to accept that these things are facts of life-- facts which may well lead us to our collective grave-- but facts nonetheless.

Make no mistake: I do not, at this point, blame Bush. He squandered what was perhaps our last opportunity to fix things, but hypothetical future historians could argue that the Clinton administration (of which Al Gore was an influential member) understood some of the dangers we face to a greater degree, and did no more. And the problems from which we now reap the whirlwind began long before W.

President Obama, I believe, is a good man who might be a great President in another age, but who has been cursed with ours. Unless he is able to vastly exceed my expectations (in fairness and in hope, he has done so before), he cannot succeed. It is all too little, and far too late.

Ultimately, the only thing that civilizations leave behind is their art. And that's really all I'm interested in discussing at this point. Curious Texan was right to bring up Ayn Rand. She perhaps brings some context, some understanding of how we arrived at the end of our world. At the beginning of this post, and here at the end, I'm posting the establishment view (from the Ayn Rand Institute) of her writings.

Discuss among yourselves, if you want to. I, as the sibling of a disabled person, might focus on Rand's demonization of altruism. You might focus elsewhere. Discuss if you care to. Better yet, go spend some time with your families.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

My Job, Your Bonus

Wow, apologies for the light summer posting. . .

Thank the Gods of Kobol we have the best media on the planet here in the good 'ol USA, so that our greatest King of all time can receive the worship and adoration He deserved!!!!

Seriously, Michael Jackson was a great entertainer and artist. Like the best ones, his tortured life somehow birthed incredible art.

A funny story . . . when I was a morning DJ at a radio station in Kearney, NE in 1987, we were giving away MJ concert tickets. My show was the highest rated during that time because of those tix, not my talent, LOL

Did you watch the service? I don't know what grossed me out the most . . . a funeral at the staples center, people screaming like after getting tix like the beatles were back from the dead and together, or the red carpet for pictures before the service. (h/t/ americablog. )

It's not like our economy is on the brink or anything. Or North Korea firing off missles, or that our national security structure was under cyber attack . . . .


I wanted to talk for a second about what might be an interesting bit of data . . . an ex-employee of my old firm released the names and dollar amounts for top exec bonus' for 2008. He/She was plenty pissed.

Know something interesting? The amount paid out to the the top dogs in bonus' is just about the same amount as the payroll of all employees terminated.

You see . . . gotta keep the gravy train rolling at the top when overall firm revenues are down.

How many other companies are the same? How many cuts were made in exec bonuses rather than staffing? Not many.

Hard to know with private companies. Public corps maybe . . .

-Prodigal Son

Finally a quick list . . . spending you cut out when out of work and busted . . .

Entropy is still ALL POWERFUL!

-Doctor visits (except kids)
-Dentist visits (sorry kids, brush, brush!)
-Zoo and other family memberships
-Utilities awareness, NUFF SAID!
-Family vacation
-Church tithes
-Baby sitting
-Charitable giving
-Yearly high pressure house wash
-New kids crocs (other shoes in posession are fine for now)
-Cable TV
-Annual flowers for yard beds
-Healthier, but more expensive food
-Name brand frakkin' anything!
-Latest cool toy
-Eating out
-Wife's laptop repair (screen went out)
-Mower maintenance
-Dry cleaning
-Car oil changes
-Watering the lawn
-Watch band broken
-Extravagant date nights for me and wifey

Ya know, you really can live without a lot of stuff. This new reality is something I will continue, as well as a lot of Americans. I have some debt like the car, and credit cards I will pay off ASAP. Then, the service economy can fend for itself. I have even reconsidered our retirement strategy and kiddos' college, etc.

To hell with the Joneses. Turns out they worked for Goldman Sachs