April 23, 2011

A must read for Easter Weekend: "Atlas Shrugged, Jesus didn't"

Here's a great post by Isaiah Poole that is especially timely as Ayn Rand disciples and extremists in Congress prepare to pull the plug on the middle class, the poor, and the elderly.

April 22, 2011

Who the cap fit

Russian Orthodox icon of Isaiah, by way of wikipedia.

Since this is Holy Week for many Christian communities, I thought I'd trot out a passage from Isaiah (10:1-3) and send it out to Congressman Paul Ryan.

Ryan, if you recall, is the Ayn Rand devotee who came up with the proposal to gut Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and other domestic programs to pay for more tax cuts for the rich in the name of deficit reduction.

Here goes:

Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?

I don' think you'll find that in Atlas Shrugged. Oh yeah, and one more thing: the real Atlas is the working class.

GIRD UP THY LOINS is biblical for "get ready to rumble." Literally, I think it meant something like "put on your protective groin cup--things are going to get nasty." In any case, it's time to do that. Even though Ryan's plan may not fly, there's a good chance his allies are going to try to push it through the back door during the upcoming vote on raising the debt ceiling.

They will probably try to push through a global spending cap, which would do all the same nasty things and leave out all the real things that need to be done. Here are some good talking points against this idea. Please take a look and start talking.

GETTING READY FOR GREEN. Here's an item from Forbes about a West Virginia based company that is getting ready for the solar boom.

EASTER BUNNIES AND MORE can be found in the latest edition of the Rev. Jim Lewis' Notes from Under the Fig Tree.


April 21, 2011

Things are tough all over

Random animal picture.

This news item caught my eye today:

Retired Massey Energy Co. chief Don Blankenship's total compensation fell 48 percent in 2010 as he tried to right the struggling company following the nation's deadliest coal mine explosion in decades, an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing shows.

Blankenship earned just over $9 million in total compensation last year, compared with $17.3 million in 2009.

Maybe we should take up a collection. I'll get right on that. As soon as I finish organizing my nonexistent tie collection.

A NO GO. Eighty four percent of Americans oppose Republican House Budget Chair Paul Ryan's proposal to kill Medicare and gut Medicaid and other programs to pay for more tax breaks for the rich in the name of deficit reduction. More on that here.

A NEW TWIST ON THE WARRIOR POSE. Wounded soldiers from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are turning to yoga as part of their rehabilitation.

WORKING FOR A LIVING. Here's a look at the state of West Virginia's workforce from the WV Center on Budget and Policy.

WANT TO LIVE LONGER? these things might help.


April 20, 2011

It's hard not to cuss these days

From the AFLCIO:

While 25 million unemployed and underemployed U.S. workers are drowning, CEO pay skyrocketed by 23 percent, for an average salary of $11.4 million in 2010, according to the AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch. Released today, data compiled at PayWatch also show CEOs have done little to create badly-needed jobs, instead sitting on a record $1.93 trillion in cash on their balance sheets.

The 2011 Executive PayWatch features the compensation of 299 S&P 500 company CEOs and provides direct comparisons between those CEOs and the median pay of nurses, teachers, firefighters and others. For instance, while a secretary makes a median annual salary of $29,980, someone like Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf rakes in $18,973,722 million—632 times the secretary’s salary. The pay gap between Wall Street and Main Street has widened egregiously—as recently as 1980, CEOs made 42 times that of blue-collar workers.

There's more here and the full report is here.

And let's not forget the fact that the very wealthy are paying less in taxes. And there's a bit more here and especially here on the same subject.While we're at it, this article provides a good account of how things got to be this way.

El Cabrero grew up in a cussing family and I know a thing or two about obscenity. Trust me, it's obscene to talk about gutting Medicare and Medicaid and other programs that help low income and working people in the name of deficit reduction while continuing to cut taxes on the wealthy in a time of growing inequality.

OFF TOPIC BUT INTERESTING. I missed this Washington Post item when it first came out. It's an interesting take on how Glenn Beck kind of lost it.

TALKING SENSE. WV Senator Jay Rockefeller suggest that the US needs to get out of the current wars.

INTERESTING QUESTION. Ken Ward asks in Coal Tattoo whether WV's political leaders believe in science.


April 19, 2011

Since when was a marathon a sprint?

Even though the world is going to hell in a handbasket, I can't help but pause to note that Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai (birth certificate status unknown) ran the fastest marathon ever in Boston, with a time of 2 hours, two minutes and three seconds, almost a minute faster than the previous record.

It looks like it's only a matter of time before somebody breaks the two hour threshold.

I've done three marathons myself and usually it takes me about a week. Well, it seems like it anyway. I'm not sure I could go 26.2 that fast on a bicycle.

Maybe if it was all downhill...

THE FACTS ON TAXES can be found here.

DENY THIS. Here's something from the Washington Post on politically motivated climate change denial.


GOING FISHING, orangutan style. OK, so they use tools. But do they lie about the once that got away?



April 18, 2011

Drop everything...

...and read this column by E.J. Dionne Jr. from the Washington Post.

He makes the point that I tried, much less eloquently, to make here last week, namely that the American republic is being deserted and betrayed by elements of its ruling class.

The sad thing (one of many sad things) is that if they succeed, in the long run they will lose, along with the rest of us.

MAKE IT PLAIN. Krugman suggests it's time to draw the line.

WHO PAYS? Not these corporations.