Friday, March 25, 2011

GE Paid No Taxes - UPDATED 3-26-11

While General Electric is one of the most skilled at reducing its tax burden, many other companies have become better at this as well. Although the top corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, companies have been increasingly using a maze of shelters, tax credits and subsidies to pay far less.

They've managed to use the government's own stupid laws to protect themselves. I don't curse them for doing that. I wish everyone could.

And it should make you question the wisdom of laws that make it more profitable for companies to hire people to do this sort of pointless paper-shuffling than to simply focus on creating and selling products and services.

If this ain't a big, red flag that corporate taxes are too high, I don't know what is.

UPDATE 3-26-11 - Joan of Argghh! comments (quite correctly):

Businesses have NEVER paid taxes. Period.

Their customer does that for them.

So Close

In the past, I've been really mean to Michelle, mocking her boob belts and clashing colors, so to be fair, I'll say that this dress is sensible and actually rather flattering:

She should make all of her clothing out of curtains.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Guess It's Not Just Me

Ok, I knew the MSM was ignoring the death threats against Scott Walker. I just shrugged & figured, "eh... liberal media".

Then someone with liberal street cred noticed there was a problem with the lack of coverage and said, "there's a problem with this lack of coverage".

As I was reading the main body of the article, I wondered... how ARE the uberliberals going to react?

Yeah... I read the comments and there were two angles for denial.

1) It was a fake death threat from a Republican

2) Walker deserved it

Neither of which makes me any more sympathetic to the public union position or makes me believe that these beasts still retain any shred of humanity.

In A Better World, This Wouldn't Be News

From the Puppy Blender:
State Police troopers arrested 14 people during a rowdy protest of Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget bills. One of them was a man who allegedly broke into the Capitol through a window and assaulted officers, state police said. The man was armed with a sharp-edged weapon, state police said.[emphasis mine]

He's an adult male American. Why shouldn't he carry a weapon? That's what free men do.

You'll notice the article didn't say he brandished it or used it to injure or kill anyone.

He was also wearing pants, but the article didn't feel the need to mention that, because it's normal.

It's REALLY past time we get over this bizarre liberal notion that being disarmed is "normal". Normal adults retain at all times the means of protecting themselves, their property, and their loved ones.

What Google Are YOU Using?

Why bring an iPhone on your next hiking trip?

"looking up that interesting bug or plant on the web."

Yeah... that will never happen.

The internet is useless for plant and animal identification, even with a full keyboard and a high-speed connection.

The internet does not tag images with descriptions, it tags them with names. Typing a description into Google doesn't do much good.

Trust me. I still don't know what the that little tree in my back yard is. Or that weed growing all over my fence.

And I never will without sending a picture to a botanist.

Leave your iPhone at home and enjoy nature as it was intended to be enjoyed - without benefit of electronic devices. Otherwise what you're doing isn't really "enjoying nature", now is it?

House Yanks Funding From NPR

And this, my friends, is why government-funded speech is not free speech.

They get you hooked on that taxpayer money crack, then tell you not to say stuff they don't like or they'll take that money away.

Kudos to NPR for remaining the loudmouth liberal toad-suckers they are instead of caving to political pressure to keep the filthy lucre flowing.

And let this be a lesson to anyone else who's considering accepting government money without a good, solid plan for how they'd live without it if the government starts adding strings.

Odd Comparison

So some liberal jerk on MSNBC compares Obama to Winston Churchill. Not off-handedly, either. The full-monty extended metaphor kind of comparison. More specifically, he compares Obama making his bracket picks during a time of domestic and international crisis to Winston Churchill smoking cigars, drinking heavily, and creating paintings.

[Fox direct link] Three points: 1) "The President is said to be abstemious when it comes to drink". Do these guys NOT have an internet connection? Beer. Wine. The beer summit. 2) Churchill didn't do his cigars, booze or paintings in public as a PR stunt to ingratiate himself to sports fans - who tend, as a group, to lean right - as his re-election draws ever nearer. 3) Obama returns the bust of Churchill.

Seriously, MSNBC, crawl under a moving steamroller and end my misery.

I Get It. We're Broke.

Stolen & paraphrased from Rebellion University, this is my all-purpose answer for any budget cut in any program at any level of government. Just fill in the blank:
I am all for cuts in _______________. I will hope that such cuts don't hurt me personally, but I will certainly understand if they do.

Now get cutting.

Dedicated to Everyone Who's Ever Been Stuck in the Friend Zone

Caution: catchy tune.

[YouTube direct link]

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This Post is Just Amazing

The most overused word on every single reality TV show?


Listen for it. You'll see what I mean.

But for heaven's sake don't make a drinking game out of it. You'll be dead of alcohol poisoning before the first commercial.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Tragedy Of Unrealistic Toys

It's all Barbie's fault:
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a Hamilton College sophomore who created a life-size Barbie to illustrate how unrealistic body images feed (no pun intended) eating disorders in young women.

Ya know, my cap gun never fired projectiles, but that didn't make me handle firearms recklessly as an adult.

Although I *did* almost get kicked out of the Navy because I kept trying to bring my dog with me. Hey, the guy on the Cracker Jack box always had a dog.

Just Shut Up and Write

Stephen King said:
"And you know what, as a rich person I pay 28% tax. What I want to ask you is why am I not paying fifty? Why isn’t anybody in my bracket paying fifty?"

Full disclosure, I've read almost everything Stephen King's ever written, so I say this with the deepest love.

Stephen, you are free to send another 22% of your income to the government in the form of a check as a non-deductible donation, if you want. Your income tax is a minimum, not a maximum. Go ahead and pay more of your own free will, then brag about what a loyal citizen you are.

Honestly, mandatory taxation is NOT your only viable course of action. Please don't suggest it be forced on people unless you're willing to cover their tabs, too.

The Tasteless! It Burns!

It just doesn't make any sense:

1) This 1000 dollar tote bag. Why would you pay that much for something that performs the "holds stuff" function no better than a plastic bag from Wal-Mart?

2) Color of bag: blue-green. Color of shoes: blue. Honey, either match it completely or contrast it. Half a match is what normal people call a "clash".

3) Stevie Wonder called - wants his sunglasses back. Although Michelle's blindness might explain #2. Also, I notice the man holding the door for her isn't wearing shades. So that means they're not necessary and Michelle is just making a fashion statement.

4) Her blouse is half-unbuttoned, so she must be warm. But she's wearing a jacket, so she must be cold. Great. We're gonna lose some Alice androids on this one.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bad Idea

From OTB:
Seventy-seven percent of senior officers in the active-duty military are white, while only 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 16 percent are women, the report by an independent panel said, quoting data from September 2008.

One barrier that keeps women from the highest ranks is their inability to serve in combat units.
I don't care if it's 98% cross-dressing cocker spaniels. National defense is the one area above all else where you can NOT afford to play childish affirmative-action games. War is not an activity for children.

And why do they want more women to die in combat zones? They omit the word, but that's what it means in practice.

Also maimed, wounded, crippled, and psychologically damaged.

The whole purpose of going to war is to PROTECT the womenfolk, not put them in harm's way.

Yeah, That'll Happen

Headline: Anger Brews Over Government Workers' Benefits

They had this coming.

Unions were always all about the politics of envy - OO! That evil rich management has more that us. Gimme!

Now the taxpayers are looking at state workers and going OO! - evil government unions have better benefits than me and they pay less for them! Gimme!

The go around has come around.

Shouldn't have played the envy game.

Full disclosure: the Mrs. is a state worker in WI, and Walker's bill is gonna take a chunk out of her paycheck. We're gonna take a hit.

But the state is broke, and there's a lot of union guys at the local closed-down GM plant that aren't working at all because their union got greedy & bankrupted the company. I'm counting my blessings on this one.

Besides, even paying more, the pensions & benefits still beat the private sector.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Typical Libertarian

Know what I hate about libertarians? They don't know when to shut up.

More precisely, the speak in paragraphs without summarizing in soundbites. Which is a shame, because the points they make could save this country from ruin. Trouble is, without a catchphrase it ain't gonna happen.

Heck, even the Founding Fathers - masters of the run-on sentence (heaven help you if you ever try to read Jefferson's brilliant-yet-long-winded writings) - managed to pump out some shorties we could hang our hats on like "freedom of speech" and "right to bear arms". You'll notice that, unfortunately, the most important Amendments - 9 & 10 - are too long to be committed to memory.

But I'll give partial credit to this piece by David Steinberg on why Big Government sucks. Because in this case, going on and on and on is sort of the point.

Except that that whole dreary, boring, history-of-the-universe-part-one intro isn't really necessary.

So allow me to edit. It should read like this:

"This is what Big Government means in practice:"

[interminable list of government programs and agencies which no one will ever read, but which makes the point through sheer sensory overload, and kudos for linking every single one of these overbearing nanny-state organizations]

"[Liberals,] we deserve to know if you are proud of this structure — not the principles behind the structure, not the ideals, but the actual structure. This is the government, now, crushing and wasting us, and rational men cannot be proud of what you have done here. Are you, and do you understand us?"

Family Pride

My blogless brother Tom has a hobby, wherein he takes 2 hour movies, and edits them down to 30 minutes.

Not just junky Toxic-Avenger-type movies, but even classics like Star Wars.

It was kind of inspired by Red Letter Media's cruel criticisms of the Star Wars Prequels, which, while weird and sick, make excellent points about the art of cinematic storytelling.

And it's a great learning experience, because it's teaching him (and by association, me) to look for what is - and is not - absolutely ESSENTIAL to tell a story.

Turns out a lot of movies are 75% padding, although some are only 65% or 70% padding, which means that sometimes he has to... uh... take "artistic liberties" with some movies. Like that new ending on Star Wars.

I wish I could share these, but unfortunately YouTube shrieks "copyright" if he tries to post them. Although it IS arguably fair use-ish, since he's making a point of criticism about how poorly constructed some of these films are - full of pointless padding and useless reaction shots.

Anyway, if anyone knows of a less rigid video-hosting site, let me know.

Meanwhile, he just finished his condensation of "Pandorum". I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Small Disturbance in the Force

Checking my refers again, and someone translated my blog into Russian.

Makes me feel very Kirk-in-Star-Trek-6, because up until about 1991, it was my sworn duty to make sure that every Russian on the planet died a fiery nuclear death. Which seemed reasonable at the time, since I know good and well that they had at least one nuclear warhead trained on the USS Enterprise the whole time I served aboard her.

But the Cold War's long over, we won, and now they're hitting me with search engines instead of radioactive explosive devices.

Funny old world, ain't it?

And I mean that in a good way.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

This Is Why I Blog

Because I hate to see innocent people have to go through the same misery that I went through. If I can spare human suffering by posting a little advice, I feel like my entire existence as a human being has been validated.

Checking my refers, I noticed that someone arrived at my site via a Google search for "uninstall js-kit" (without quotes) and found this post.

I sincerely hope I helped you, sir or ma'am.

Or, more accurately, señor o señora, since they did the search through Google Argentina [screenshot].

Google Makes It Harder To Game Their System

And I don't care.

From WSJ:
The debate about Google's results was sparked by a recent blog post by Vivek Wadhwa, a former technology executive and a visiting scholar at the University of California-Berkeley. He wrote that his students had trouble finding basic information about the founders of start-up companies on Google.

"The problem is that content on the internet is growing exponentially and the vast majority of this content is spam," or of little use, he wrote. "Google has become a jungle."


Boo-freakin'-hoo, girly-man.

Search was a LOT worse before Google. I remember needing to go 3 or 4 pages deep into Yahoo to find links that were even REMOTELY connected with what I was looking for. With Google, if it ain't in the Top 10, at least you know you need to refine your search. Saves a lot of pointless eyeball-skimming time.

My point being, if your students can't find what they're looking for, it's because their teacher hasn't taught them effective internet search strategies.

Which, ironically, is a very Googlable topic.

Because Boyhood Is Now A Disease

Somewhere in Washington state.
Nine sixth-grade boys were expelled from Stewart Middle School Monday after officials at the Tacoma School learned about their suspected participation in a so-called "fight club."

Tacoma Public Schools spokesman Dan Voelpel said it came to light when a relative of one participant spoke to television station KCPQ.
Voelpel said they were apparently friends who would set up after-school fights - staged in a boys' restroom at the South End school or at the youths' own homes - to see who was the toughest.

The events were timed and had their own rules, such as "no hitting your opponent in the face," Voelpel said.

Oh, look... they're boys.

Clever boys, who set up a club. With rules. On their own.

These kids have a future in the personal combat entertainment field. Nurture it and teach them the most important part: how to make money off it and become productive citizens.

Don't be a wet blanket like Dan Voelpel.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Yes I Know. No, I Don't Care. It's Still Awesome

M.C. Escher's Waterfall:

One of my favorite artworks of all time.

Some guy made a real-life working model of it:

[YouTube direct link]

"But," I hear you object, "it's just a tricky, camera-angle-based optical illusion.

[See the title of this post]

And there's a tiny, boy-child part of me that doesn't want to know how he did it, because sometimes - even for a hard-core, science-bound, compulsive analytic like me - sometimes it's just more fun to believe in magic. That same feeling of wonder, the feeling of "I know it's wrong, but I can't explain why" that looking at Escher's drawings has given me all my life. A shadow-feeling between knowledge and vertigo that's just fun to have, once in a while, in tiny doses, as a contrast to the sharp and pointy real-world that I have to beat my head against every day as a responsible adult.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Things That Make Me Happy - UPDATED 3-4-11

If this passes:
Wisconsin's 20-year-old mandatory recycling law would be tossed in the garbage under Governor Scott Walker's next state budget. The Republican Walker says communities would no longer be required to have recycling programs – and those that do would stop getting state money to help run them.
1) I don't like being required to gift-wrap garbage.

2) Recycling used to be a profitable industry, metal & paper-wise. Then the government decided to force people to recycle plastic. Which is useless, unreusable, and frankly belongs in a landfill.

3) The dirtbag companies that signed up to take the government blood money to recycle this unprofitable offal despite the fact that there never was and never will be a sound business reason to do it... well, I hope they all go bankrupt.

UPDATE 3-4-11 - via my Blogless Brother Tom, it turns out that curbside recycling is such an incredibly idiotic idea that even filthy socialist hippies from Berkeley have come out against it, because it doesn't even make sense using THEIR tree-hugging, unicorn-riding, fairy-dust-snorting version of logic.

Proof That Obama Was A Mistake

Tangential quote pulled from Obama spokes-tool Valerie Jarrett:
[Obama] inherited such a crisis on all fronts—two wars, an economic meltdown, a fiscal meltdown, the largest deficit in our nation's history, and a health crisis, energy crisis, education crisis, confidence crisis around the world

So let's see how he's done:

* Two wars - still going

* Economic meltdown - unemployment rose on his watch

* Fiscal meltdown - half the states are broke & CA's near bankruptcy

* Largest deficit in history - he set new records on that

* Health crisis - doctors & insurance companies are now up and QUITTING

* Energy crisis - we're pushing $3.50 a gallon in WI. And you?

* Education crisis - public education has always been garbage. It's probably not really any worse

* Worldwide confidence crisis - Our allies don't trust us, our enemies don't fear us, and China owns us. I don't feel confident.

Maybe this administration shouldn't point out Obama's inheritance if all he's done is squander it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

25 Levels of Fun

Moops - Great little time-waster. Until level 26, when it becomes a miserable, grinding, pixel-hunting, perfect-timing, do-it-again-stupid annoyance.

But up until level 26, lots of fun.