one million dollars sounds like a lot of money. in reality, it's not. it is however, a convenient line in the sand between "rich" and "not rich". only 1% of americans have a net worth of $1 million dollars or more. yet this 1% of people control some 40% of the nation's wealth. in absolute terms that's some $25 trillion dollars. if you assume the top 1% of the wealth holders are also the top 1% of the income earners, which is probably pretty safe, probably, they paid some 27% of the total federal taxes. which sounds like a lot if you look at from the perspective of 1 person carrying the load of 27. ouch. now let's look at those facts from a different angle. 40% of the assets of america are doing 27% of the work of running america. hrm. that doesn't seem quite so right any more. let's look at it a third way. 73% of all federal taxes are paid by people who really can't afford it because they're not rich.
i know i'm not the most articulate person in the world. i encounter no end of difficulties transferring ideas in my head to someone else's head. here
's a well written article that summarizes many of the things i've been saying for years. some of the more notable points are: most americans are completely clueless as to the distribution of wealth in america; most believe that taxes are progressive, and they are up to about the 94% percentile where they become regressive; many confuse wealth and income; the debate about the estate tax is irrelevant because wealth can be transferred to descendants tax free. yeah. enjoy. if you can get yourself past the denial.
i ordered a 3d monitor last week. just for fun. it arrived this week. broken. sigh. so now i gotta deal with sending it back. wee. it suffered what's best described as internal decapitation. everything outside looks just fine. except for the small schnibbles of broken plastic. plugging in the cables was difficult because the housing that holds the electronics and connectors was completely unconnected from the casing. it was free to move around inside the monitor. i got them connected eventually. just to see if it worked. it didn't. sigh. well, it worked for about a second after power cycling it. the image looked fine. it just winked out pretty much immediately. it would come back after power cycling again. but i don't think that watching a movie in 3d one second in five would be very compelling. sigh.
it's ddo's fifth anniversary. there's a week long party starting today; fancy hats, +2 loot bonus, +25% xp bonus. alisa and b are out of town skiing. g's going to bed right after dinner. longer post later. like next week. maybe.
everyone welcome the new addition
to the blog list there on the right. yeah i know. it's another stick figure art thing. you'd think i had a fetish for line art or something. though you gotta admit, order of the stick and xkcd are pretty cool. anywho, i got hooked by wolves
. pretty sure i've been to that birthday party.
high school was a different world 30 years ago. girls who wandered onto the wrestling mat got pounded. it wasn't nice. but like i said, it was a different world before title ix. to be fair, boys who didn't belong on the wrestling mat got pounded too. a boy wrestling a girl was in a no win situation. if you win, so what? you beat a girl. if you lose, it's worse. ha ha ha ha ha ha! you got beat by a girl. anywho. about a dozen years ago i saw the first girl on the wrestling mat who looked like she belonged there. which is actually pretty cool. mostly because i had to re-evaluate my self. california high schools have girl wrestling teams. but not in middle school. b's team started out 10% girls. by the end of the season half the boys and all but one of the girls disappeared. it's a pretty tough sport. anywho. there really is no gender issue during a match. when you're wrestling you don't have the brain power to even notice your opponents sex organs. much less appreciate how good her breasts feel. the problem comes before and after. it's all mental. fuck, i have to wrestle a girl. shit, i just did that to a girl?! exactly how much this messes with a boy depends on the his world view. some boys will be completely ambivalent. some will avoid the situation entirely by refusing to wrestle girls. both positions are completely natural and a-okay. but then there are the boys who feel really good about having put that bitch in her place. even if he didn't. hrm. i'm totally in favor of girls having a league of their own.
if my love was a _______... heh. the beautiful and talented alisa rather likes poety. i was not born under a rhyming planet. she likes dancing. i tend to ignore the music and practice martial arts on the spastic looking people flailing about around me. which really is not a good idea. what on earth are we doing together? heh. puzzles for one. word games, too. and two. heh. the latest creation is as close to poetry as i get. fill in the blank in the first line of the post with a random word. then finish the sentence. or for more fun fill in the blank and have your soul mate finish the sentence. for example... her: if my love was chocolate... him: you'd live in the shade cause i'd be so fat i'd blot the sun. so far my favorite is this. her: if my love was a star... him: we'd wear sunglasses at night. hey, you do what works for you. and i'll do what works for me. plus it's really good practice for the inevitable, "do you love me?" and "how much do you love me?" questions. enjoy.
one of the cables released by wiki leaks related comments made by one of saudi arabia's oil engineers. apparently he was pretty frank about how much their oil reserves are over-estimated. to the tune of some 40%. saudi arabia officially claims they can supply the world with oil for 50 years. if this guy isn't some sort of alarmist crank then saudi arabia will hit their peak oil within the decade. the rule of thumb is that when saudi arabian oil peaks, so does world oil production. course, some folks argue saudi oil has already peaked. whatever. life is going to be interesting.
so the math problem of the day comes to us from war hammer quest. what? it's a game. with miniatures. and a random dungeon to be bashed. it's fun for timmers. anywho. i play the dwarf. normally, damage is 1d6 plus strength. dwarf strength is 3. i said normally. the dwarf has a special axe. roll two dice instead of one for damage. pick the larger. unless they're doubles. then add them together. unless they're double ones. then trip over your beard. the swing misses completely. and you spend the rest of the round getting up. now. monsters have toughness. which stops that amount of damage. damage in excess of toughness is recorded as wounds. so the warm up question is... figure out average wounds per hit as a function of toughness. okay that was easy. now it gets complicated. the dwarf is level two. so he gets two attacks per round. and he has the mighty blow skill which allows him to give up one attack for an extra 1d6 of damage. clearly at toughness 0, it's better to make two attacks. and at toughness 15, it's better to make a single mighty blow attack and hope for big doubles. cause they're the only thing that gets through. so .. at what toughness is it better to make one mighty blow attack than to make two normal attacks?
at the tucson shootings where six people were killed and others grievously wounded, paramedics were called. at least one refused to go citing political reasons. wtf? i mean seriously. what the fuck? you took an oath to aid people in need. you didn't take an oath to aid people in need unless their skin is the wrong color, they have the wrong type of genitalia, they are in the wrong political party, they were born on the wrong side of an imaginary line between countries, they worship the wrong god, they worship the right god the wrong way, or they have sex the wrong way. sheehs. i sure hope this guy loses his job. and all benefits. we put our faith in this person's commitment to help people when they need it most. and he betrayed us. this is most definitely not okay. this is most definitely not the american way. actions like this shame us. here politicians use heated rhetoric and violent metaphores. which a reasonable person might suggest leads to this bad behavior. sigh. meanwhile in egypt, a country we really kinda look down on as backwards and uncivilized, christians formed human chains around muslims while they prayed to protect them from the "police" who are really thugs. shame on us.
suppose we had an election. and there was evidence of cheating. obvious evidence. like say all the security seals on the voting machines were broken. what would we do? would we have a do-over vote? does the law even provide for that? throw out the results? look the other way? hrm. that suggests an interesting tactic. someone could go to all of the districts that are predominantly the party of evil. and sabotage all of the voting devices. sheehs. what a mess that'd be. thinking about it now. i'm actually surprised it hasn't already happened. heh. the paranoid of us would say it already has.
okay so a minor gets knocked up. then goes on tour preaching that minors shouldn't have sex so they don't get knocked up. at least that's the over message. the under message is if you get knocked up like me you can get paid $30,000 a pop to tell other minors not to get knocked up. course it makes sense. competition would cut into the number of speaking fees she can collect. sigh. i guess we really are that stupid. i fear for the human race.
i've heard something really good from different police forces around the country. policies are slowly going into effect that people filming officers performing their duties are not to be interfered with. i believe the trend started before egypt made it very clear why it's a bad idea for people to not trust the police. anywho, cameras have a calming effect. often times an officer gets caught up in the excitement of the moment. and while trying to do good, his excitement ends up actually making things worse. it riles up the other guy too. the calming effect of cameras protects both cops and civilians. things are much much less likely to escalate out of control if both sides know they're being filmed. heh. it's kinda hard to claim that *he* started it when the camera clearly shows you sucker punched him first. the ubiquitousness of cameras means that many punches are never thrown in the first place. i really don't understand why any law enforcement organization would be opposed to third party civilian surveillance. unless of course, the organization is corrupt. then we'll have an la moment. or a chicago moment.
something like a quarter of the us grain harvest is converted to ethanol. damn. this really doesn't seem like a good idea. or maybe it's brilliant. i'm not sure. ethanol from crops has been surging in recent years. grain prices worldwide have reflected the increase in demand. folks in some places are getting hungry. places where an authoritarian regime is doing things less efficiently than a free market would. hungry people are much more likely to do something radical. like overthrow their corrupt government. so maybe putting their food in my gas tank is a good idea cause it leads to democracy. hrm. course in a few years, they better have food in their bellies. or the world will be no better off than it was. which means less for our tanks.
happy valentine's day. kiss your sweetie. before someone else does.
the primary complaints in tunisia and egypt are not enough jobs and food. heh. seems to me like there are too many people. the world is changing. the supplies of critical resources (oil, water, farmland) are not literally running out, but they're not keeping up with the demands of our ever growing population. some folks will try to connect the dots between man made global warming and political uprisings. others will scoff. but it's really not hard to see the writing on the wall. if only one looked. our grandchildren will number 10 billion human lemmings hurled into a brick wall of ever more severe shortages. or we can be smart. heh. not even smart. just smarter. a whole lot of the world's problems just go away if we manage our population growth. will we? i seriously doubt it. not unless the world's religions suddenly start preaching have all the sex you want. just don't make babies. heh. the world needs a global revolution. but not against governments.
tunisia and egypt. one wonders how many dominoes will fall. one wonders how many dominoes will "fall". only to be replaced by a different repressive authoritarian. neither of these look like they're going to become scary theocracies like iran. egypt has too much to lose in terms of that huge bribe we pay them every year to be nice to israel. iran could afford to flip us the bird. cause they're sitting on a lake of oil. egypt isn't.
the special effects were kinda pretty but boringly over the top predictable. woody harrelson does a great job as the crazy conspiracy hermit radio guy who happens to be right. the "science" is complete garbage. the only thing worse is the plot. titanic is a much better disaster movie. plus it's got boobies.
i kept score for bush. so it seems only fair i keep score for obama too. the government of tunisia toppled recently. this is the first one under obama. he's way behind. who managed to topple 10. course of those we had 4 wins (us iraq afghanistan liberia), 1 draws (haiti), and 5 losses (iran spain palestine brazil venezuela). with that record there's no way his team would go to a bowl game. unless of course it's notre dame. anywho, egypt is likely to follow tunisia. hopefully orderly. lots of opportunity for fail. most of which is out our our control. makes me glad there's a light touch in the white house. instead of mr hamfist. or the fatty before him. would trust bush sr. reagan would have fired the protesters.
i have the greatest kid in the whole world. he made chocolate covered creme filled eclairs for breakfast yesterday. my favorite! yummy! it wasn't even father's day. or my birthday.
cause and effect is an interesting thing. often times you can't definitively conclude that this caused that. there's always the possibility it's a coincidence. reagan cut taxes and we had a recession. reagan quietly raised taxes and the economy boomed. with a capital bee oh oh oh my. bush cut taxes and we had a recession. neither bush nor obama raised taxes. and the recession is still ongoing. though it seems positively wrong that cutting taxes could possibly cause a recession, let's put on our tin foil hats and wander on over to crazy town. the business called government announces its services are now on sale. with a sale you expect revenues to go down because the margin goes down. but you also expect revenues to go up because you move more inventory or provide more services. if things go well, you turn a tidy profit. otherwise, you can have a going out of business sale. for some people the outcome seems completely random. like a toss of the dice. in truth, a savvy businessman can predict accurately what will happen during your sale. suppose said savvy businesspersons applied their secret analysis to the government's tax cuts. and determined they're going to lose their shirts. in which case either the government will cut services. which would be bad for the economy because less money will be flowing around. or the government will borrow money to make up the difference. which will also be bad for business because there will be less money available to borrow for healthy business investments. and again, less money moves around within the economy. so can tax cuts actually cause a recession? i certainly haven't proved it. but maybe. timmer for president.
holy haleakula, batman. i didn't know there was a giant asteroid headed to earth. link to the onion
. we should let it hit. think of all the rare earth metals it'd deliver. there is a shortage you know. but there won't be any more.
i read an interesting piece about why congress hasn't declared war since the second world war. since it was on the internet and i couldn't corroborate it with any other sources, i have no idea if it's true or not. but it rings true so i'm going to propagate it. caveat emptor. the basic idea is that sometime during the cold war we were really paranoid about a nuclear war that would seriously disable everything in the united states. apparently the government thought that congress might be able to get together just long enough to pass a single resolution, specifically a declaration of war. so, fearing the worst, they passed in advance a bunch of emergency power laws that would kick in when they declared war. things like price controls and police powers that would basically turn the country into the united police states of america. scary stuff too considering that most people don't ever expect to see a tweet, nks inbnd pray. again, i don't know if this is true or not. but it sorta explains why some 60k americans have died in undeclared wars. arguably illegal wars. if true, the basic premise seems flawed. it seems like the right thing to do would be for congress to have a short form declaration of war that also invokes the emergency wartime powers. that way we can declare war on an enemy like al queda after the public deliberations one would expect from a civilized country. and still not give up the freedoms we've died for. timmer for president.
according to a a court in florida, obamacare is illegal because the constitution doesn't give the federal government the right to require the purchase of a product from a private company. works for me. but let's continue. the past eight commanders in chief have prosecuted wars without a formal declaration of war from congress. which according to the constitution is required. so let's immediately withdraw from iraq and afghanistan. that'd make me pretty happy to give up obamacare. but wait, there's more. executive privilege is not in the constitution. we the people would be way way way better off if we restored the system of checks and balances envisioned by the founding fathers. and took away the shield the executive branch uses to hide incompetence and malfeasance. but wait, there's even more. the feds have the power to regulate interstate commerce. what say we restrict that power to actual honest to goodness commerce (selling trading buying) of good across physical state borders. like say if i grow dope in california and sell it in nevada. sure. works for me. but the feds should have no jurisdiction when the product is grown on my private property and never leaves my property much less the state. and the product is never bought sold traded or engaged in commerce in any way. feds get out. the state on the other hand, may have the power to bust my ass. okay running out of indignant steam. here's a parting shot. you have only the rights you can defend. you couldn't defend any of the rights i've listed. what makes you think you can defend yourself from being unconstitutionally forced to buy health insurance?
the popularity of the anti-vaccination movement can be traced to one person, wakefield. he is currently openly being accused of criminal fraud. there are two allegations. the first is that his research is wrong. this has been shown with a preponderance of the evidence in the court of science. the second is that he faked it deliberately. this has not been proven in a court of law. hence all the following allegeds. wakefield was developing a vaccine that would compete with what was being given to millions of people all over the world. which business-wise was going to be a lot like competing with microsoft. hence the alleged motivation to allegedly cheat and allegedly imply that that vaccine will cripple your children. he certainly let the genie out of the box. no allegeds there. ironically, the movement he helped start is against all vaccines. even the one he was developing. so even if he had gotten away with his alleged crimes and somehow succeeded in displacing the status quo, he would then have had to face the very monster he himself had created. course the hundreds of millions of dollars he would have made in this hypothetical scenario would have made the monster pretty easy to ignore.