August 17, 2012

Tiger mom, revisited

Once upon a time, there was an orphan baby chick. It tried to seek solace from other hens, but only got pecked. As for the father, roosters aren't big on parental responsibility.

This baby obviously needed a mother. We found one, a badly mauled stuffed tiger toy, in our dog's abundant toy box.

The baby thrived. Here's a look at the happy family today.

FOR MASOCHISTS ONLY. Here's a whole slew of recent articles on the BS of Ayn Rand.

IF YOU WANT TO READ ABOUT MORE BAD IDEAS, here's a slew of info on Paul Ryan's budget.

PRIVATIZATION. Here's a look at its dark side.

TROGLORAPTERS, ANYONE? If you need  a cave spider fix, click here.


August 16, 2012

Stand back, y'all. I feel the need to rant about an urgent social justice issue, one that came up in a conversation with the Spousal Unit. To wit, tee shirts for endurance events. I'm not talking about 5Ks or 10ks. I'm talking about going a bit farther, say from 15ks to marathons.

Take a look at the shirt pictured above from a trail run this summer and you will understand this gross injustice. First, let me say that the race was great, well organized and all that. I'd do it again. But did you notice the middle of the shirt? The whole 10/4 thing?!

What the hell?!

Sorry, but there is a huge qualitative difference between capering through 4 miles of trails versus slogging through 10, including some evil hills the other guys never saw. The 4 milers should get their own shirt so that those of us dedicated or dumb enough to run 2.5 times farther will not be confused with them.

Just saying.

The only thing worse than that is a a marathon shirt with small print. I mean, jeez, the whole point of a marathon is to be able to brag about it once you've done it. The whole point of a marathon shirt is to brag to every literate person you run across whether you know them or speak to them or not. If the print is so small that you can't even make out the word "marathon," you might as well have stayed on the couch eating potato chips and drinking beer instead of doing the same thing after running really far.

I have spoken.

MORE BAD STUFF about the Ryan budget from Paul Krugman here.

EVEN MORE BAD STUFF about the same from Dean Baker here.


August 15, 2012

Droning on

Back in the heyday of the Industrial Workers of the World, footloose organizers rode the rails into skid rows, lumber camps and hobo jungles to sign up workers for the One Big Union. Often, they used song as an organizing tool, taking familiar tunes and changing the words around "so they made more sense," as the late great Utah Phillips used to say.

The spirit of the Wobblies lives on these days in a friend and co-worker of mine known here as New Hampshire Slim. At least one of his songs has even made its way into the latest version of the IWW Little Red Songbook.

I can picture Slim right now hopping freight trains and spreading the rebel gospel to the downpressed wage slaves of that New England state, whilst regaling one and all with song. Here's his latest effort, which is sung to the tune of a popular Bob Dylan song. It is reproduced with permission. From Slim, not from Bob, that is. Nothing personal, Bob...but these days

Everybody must get droned

They’ll drone you when you’re leaving from the bar,They’ll drone you when you’re driving in your car,They’ll drone you when you’re trying to be discrete,They’ll drone you when you’re marching in the street.
Well I would not feel so all alone,Everybody must get droned.
They’ll drone you when you’re maintaining law and order,They’ll drone you when you’re getting near the border,They’ll drone you when you’re sitting in the park,They’ll drone you when it’s light and when it’s dark.  
Well I would not feel so all alone,Everybody must get droned.
They’ll drone you when your minding your own business,They’ll drone you when you’re improving your physical fitness,They’ll drone you when you’re at a private luncheon,They’ll drone you while performing a bodily function,
Well I would not feel so all alone,Everybody must get droned.
They’ll drone you when you’re at a wedding party,They’ll drone you if you’re early or you’re tardy,They’ll drone you when you’re riding in the bus,They’ll drone you if you’re them or if you’re us,
Well I would not feel so all alone,Everybody must get droned.
Slim has a blog worthy of a look that he updates whenever he is not riding the rods or working the wheat harvest. You can find it here.

BAD MEDICINE. Here's a look at what Paul Ryan's budget would do to El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia.

MORE OF THE SAME. Here's a look at the Long March of Ayn Rand's BS into the mainstream of American political thought.

IT EVEN RHYMES. Here's a fun and quick look at what's wrong with trickle (tinkle?) down economics.


August 14, 2012

Happy anniversary, Social Security

“We can never insure one-hundred percent of the population against one-hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life. But we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age. This law, too, represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete. It is a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions. It will act as a protection to future Administrations against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy. The law will flatten out the peaks and valleys of deflation and of inflation. It is, in short, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the united States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt, August 14, 1935

Today I hosted an event celebrating the 77th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act at a crowded Carpenter's local union hall in Huntington. Medicare and Medicaid hit their 47th anniversary a couple weeks back on July 30.

Congressman Nick Joe Rahall attended the event. A strong supporter of all three programs, Rahall said

 "... Social Security is a fortress of reliability. It has never missed a payment. Every dollar and benefit has been paid out on time and in full - how many 401-ks can tout that same record? Social security and Medicare are not the cause of our current budgetary woes and they should not be used as a piggy bank for unrelated spending, especially paying for more tax cuts for millionaires."
WV's senior senator Jay Rockefeller was not able to attend but sent a specially made video for the event, saying,

"I am so glad West Virginians from across the state are joining together to celebrate this important day in history. Seventy-seven years ago, on August 14, 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed a landmark piece of legislation creating our nation’s Social Security program. It is a program that protects so many West Virginians and has lifted millions of people out of povertySocial Security was created during the Great Depression, a crucial time in our nation’s history. And, since then, it has provided life-saving benefits to widows, the children of deceased workers, people who are disabled, and the elderly. Social Security has proven to be one of our nation’s most successful programs, serving 451,000 West Virginians – including 41,000 children where one or both parents are deceased, disabled, or retired – and more than 50 million Americans each year. It is something we should all celebrate.”

Today's celebration took on a special significance in light of presidential candidate Mitt Romney's selection of congressman Paul Ryan as running mate. Ryan was an architect of President Bush's failed effort to privatize Social Security and has crafted similar or worse plans for Medicare and Medicaid.

Things are going to  get interesting, alas.