Thursday, February 24, 2011

Problem With Eastern Protests? Geometry!

This is Tahrir Square

This is Pearl Square

Neither appears to have straight lines or corners. I say: first geometry, then freedom!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

GOP Still All Up in the Lady Parts

Seriously, check this shit out:
Georgia state Rep. Bobby Franklin (R) has made a name for himself by introducing far-right extremist bills. He has introduced legislation barring the state from requiring vaccinations, eliminating income taxes and replacing them with nothing, and requiring state taxpayers to only pay in gold or silver.

Now, he has introduced what may be his most offensive and extreme bill yet. Last week he unveiled HB 1, which would, as the parenting blog Babble explains, "require proof that a miscarriage occured naturally." If proof could not be provided, the mother could face "felony charges."

Jesus Christ in a neon rubber thong, what are these Republicans playing at? The tide turns their way - which it naturally does cyclically - and they think they are channeling God's personal mission to jail and harm women. Only someone without a uterus would have the ignorant balls to bring this up as a conversation piece, let alone introduce legislation to the fact.

Who do you think? The Libyans!

The true speed of Libyan democracy?


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yous Likes 'em Short or Long?

Here's a question to which I would really like some feedback:

Do you enjoy the "Read More >>" function for its ease of perusing several titles in one quick stream or is it kind of a pain in the ass when you get to something good to click that and go to a separate page only to click the back button when you're done?

Looks like Google (Blogger) implemented that a while back and it escaped my notice.

Whatcha think?

Help Nathan Buy Firefly

Reposted from Cal's Canadian Cave of Cool.

[Note: For those who don't know, Firefly is one of the best shows ever created with a huge fan base, mostly of scifi nerds and geeks like me. It's the old west in the far future where you might find yourself with a bullet in your back and won't get very far without speaking Chinese. The writing is phenomenal. It only ran for one season because anything cool Fox stabs and moves to Friday to let it bleed out. It will be re-aired in its entirety in HD on The Science Channel in March. (Thanks Blue for reminding me not everyone in the world has seen it!)]

Help Nathan Buy Firefly

On Feb 17, 2011, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Nathan Fillion said: “If I got $300 million from the California Lottery, the first thing I would do is buy the rights to Firefly, make it on my own, and distribute it on the Internet.”

The Plan:

Phase 1) Generate momentum. We’re going to setup a way people can pledge funding towards the mission of putting the rights to Firefly back into the hands of people who care about it. Since Nathan said he’d be game to be those hands, we’re going to watch for …

Phase 2) Nathan chimes in towards us and approves the effort. At that point, it’s a real mission and we’ll switch into…

Phase 3) We’ll setup a way for the funding to be collected into a Non-Profit Organization. We’ll then want everyone to make good on their pledge and contribute.

Throughout all of this, we’ll have up the running tally of pledges and actuals.

How Can You Help?

Like and Share our Facebook page (there's also the original Bring Back Firefly FB page AND the Firefly Fan Page). We’ll get a Twitter setup today as well (still waiting on that one, but you can follow @NathanFillion). Tweet about this page via #HNBF #Firefly! Here’s a short URL for that purpose:

This Post Was Supposed to Be About Your Mom

But when I typed that into Google Image Search, I forgot the content filter was turned off and I threw up a little bit in my mouth.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lies About Wisconsin, Ohio...

[Edit, based on Calvin's comment: Unions were created because of abused workers, and tied into the end of child labor laws. These are good things, unless you're Republican and want to fund (read: tax cut) the corporations at the risk of crushing the hopes of real working Americans. Even today, while some abuses rear their ugly heads, the base mission is still valid: If the state (or other large group) controls your wages, you're going to get screwed. And yet teachers are still getting screwed. In Ohio, school funding based on property tax has been banned by the Ohio Supreme Court for over 20 years, yet no one changes it. But I digress - Unions are needed. And I hope I capture that in my post.]

The Riots

I was driving from Cleveland to Cincinnati yesterday afternoon, half-hungover and half awake, trolling the local AM stations from there to here and came upon quite the pompous asshole (unidentified conservative) who was taking calls about what's happening in Madison. When confronted with how hard teachers work, he reverted to "yeah, I work hard too." Then he switched to "Their job sucks!"

But all during his (and I will readily group Hannity and the other rightwing tools and myrmidons here), he nonchalantly referred to what was happening in Madison and Columbus as "riots" and "bullying" while out of the other side of his mouth saying all the Governor wanted to do was balance the budget and referring to the Tea Partier protesters as "just representing the taxpayer."

Yes, this should probably sit in the Hypocrisy section, but if we categorized it by that, the whole post would be under one heading.

The Teachers

Just to be clear: I was a teacher for one year. It was 50% wonderful with the kids. It was 50% horrible in the politics and administration. Also: the Madison issue is about ALL public service professionals.

Experienced teachers who have it down and still do a great job run an average of about 60-70 hours per week between teaching, planning, and grading. They spend 10-15% of their income on supplies and tools that the schools will not, either for them or the students.

The Hypocrisy

All the verbal abuse of the protests (RIOTS!) in Madison are from the right wing. And they're clearly targeting the unions as the abusers and devils. Why? Because while unions collect dues while helping negotiations for benefits and salaries, they also use some of those dues to promote political parties and candidates that support the unions.

And - YES - unions have, in some cases, totally abused their power and outgrown their use as their detriment has taken the ruling share when it comes to workers' benefit.

But the only reason it's an issue for the right wing right now is that 99% of those union donations go to Democrats because 99% of union supporters are Democrats. If that union money was going into the GOP fund, Hannity's only comment on the subject would be "They're doing the right thing, for themselves, and for America."

Life Without Unions

As a first-year teacher in North Carolina, where teachers' unions appear to be completely missing, allow me to tell you what happens (numbers were from about 5 years ago):
  • First year teachers will start at $23,400.
  • Mandatory 10% into retirement (that will eventually be your pension, none from state).
  • Tax the rest at about 24%.
  • You have the option of taking your yearly salary in 9 months or 12 months. Okay, can we do 12? Yes, but the way that works is you have to open a separate account, do the math yourself, and put away what you think you'll need over the 3 months and have that direct deposited from each check. But after realizing you won't even be able to pay the mortgage if you split it into 12, you opt for 9 and cross your fingers you'll be able to find something else during your "time off."
  • You'll be working about 80 hours per week. Sometimes more for a teacher (English) where you have to grade 5-paragraph essays from 120+ students multiple times each semester.
  • During the time you don't have, you're required to spend the money you don't have to pay to attend Continuing Education classes.

Why isn't anyone talking about what happens when you don't have unions?

The Reality

While the right wing refuses to acknowledge it, this is about power. The bill on the floor, the contention on the main issue is based on killing the union's ability to negotiate as a group. It allows the state to say "We don't have the money to meet what you want" and lets the salary to default to the "previous contract" meaning you basically don't get a raise if they say they don't have the money.

The power grab is simple. Pass the bill and own your public employees. Teachers aren't paid enough as it is as the people teaching/training/loving/supporting our kids when we're not there (and many parents aren't there out of school). Hey, let's pay them less because they're asking for more. Brilliant!

The Senators

The Democratic Party senators have left the state. The right wing is calling them cheats and liars. They might want to take a look at what Lincoln did. These Democratic Senators are apparently following The Party of Lincoln's playbook.

The Conclusion

These teachers and firefighters and police and every other public servant needs the unions to get them a fair wage. Yes, the unions sometimes abuse their power and certainly use money where they shouldn't, but the alternative is an abomination to anyone involved in a state job.

Keep your fight, Wisconsin! Bring the fight harder, Ohio!

And every other state that sees this horror coming, the Republican terrorism of breaking the unions in a veiled mission to balance the budget, be forewarned by our lessons and take heed. A struggle is about to begin. Embrace it!