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Troppe informazioni Martedì numero uno e cento cinquanta quattro (TMI #154) September 30, 2008

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Yes I’ve been very remiss about TMI Tuesdays. I’ve just been very busy, what with the new job plus I’m doing some paid writing now so time is limited for this kind of thing.

1. What do you feel is the difference between sexy and erotic?

That’s an interesting question. I feel sexy is just the look whereas erotic ties more closely to the act.

2. Do you believe there is one right person (i.e. soul mate) for you out there in the world, or that there can be many different potential mates that you could live blissfully with?

Mmmm, I tend to think in terms of it being more temporal. Nothing lasts forever as I’ve learned over my lifetime.

3. Do you need to hear “I love you” or similar words on a regular basis from your partner?

Once in a while it’s nice but I don’t need it on a constant basis. Knowing someone loves me is better anyhow.

4. What feeling do you have the most difficulty expressing?

None really. I’m pretty expressive but there are certain things I cannot talk about. My mother dying when I was 13 is one of them. I just choke up. I wish she were still here today I really do.

5. What is worse – physical, mental or cyber cheating?

Obviously it’d be the physical but I’m more practical about that than a lot of people. I realize that sex can suffer the “Corn Flake Syndrome” so a little variety every now and then is necessary.

Bonus (as in optional): The Kinsey scale attempts to describe a person’s sexual history or episodes of their sexual activity at a given time. It uses a scale from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual, to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. Where are you – TODAY – on the scale?

Definitely a 6, exclusively homosexual. However in the past it hasn’t been so nice and tidy, back in my early 20′s I was more about a 3, right in the middle. But I realized I definitely liked guys more than girls and well, it morphed to a 6.

My latest experience with Christian hypocrisy September 29, 2008

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The other night Keyron and I were over at our friends David and Jon’s place. Somehow the topic of conversation had to do with another friends man declaring that there was no god.

David was highly irritated by that. I think part of the irritation is that David and Diana once were together, and then when that died off, John eventually became part of the circle. John identifies as straight but Diana is a pre-op trans and we’ve caught John in some interesting situations regarding all that. I term it gay training wheels.

Anyhow now that you know a little background on it, I’ll explain what happened the other night. Anyhow when David came out with the fact about John I was thinking “Oh cool, someone else gets it!”. Well, David was getting very strident about it until I managed to use my biblical knowledge to help him at least admit the Bible was bullshit.

Then the subject changed to something else. It was that something had to start everything which is a nice way of saying we don’t know shit. But believing in a fairytale god

A nice analysis of the Bush Economic Prowess September 29, 2008

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This is a very interesting analysis of how things have gone very badly under George W. Bush & Company.

When they started talking about bailing out what I refer to as the shadow banks, and now increasingly the regular consumer banks I was in WTF land. I mean, really, these banks made bad decisions and now we’re going to bail them out to the tune of $700 Billion?

Their CEO’s and board members should be locked up for the rest of their natural lives instead. Along with those CEO’s, I’d say Bush, Cheney & Company should be in that bunch too. Let them serve out the rest of their lives and think about how badly they’ve screwed we the people.

I insert the “& Company” to illustrate who really runs the show. It’s Halliburton, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon-Mobil, et al. It’s General Dynamics, and AM General, and Boeing, MD, et al that are making absolutely obscene profits because they manipulate the government so well.

Knowing this, I think the Obama camp should do the following when they get into office. I cannot even fathom a McCain presidency, knowing that a ‘soccer mom’ is a literal heartbeat from the big chair. So this advice is to the Obama campaign.

So far Obama is saying the right things but he needs to do more. Tax the ever loving hell out of the big corporations, I mean New Deal type taxation here because it’s what we need. Those corporations, through their lobbyists got us into this, they can get us out of it.

Increase the taxes on that 1% who holds most of the wealth too, while at the same time decreasing the taxes for anyone who makes less than a quarter million a year. I like those numbers. And even if I made over that quarter million I’d still be willing to pay more if only to know that:

1) Our children and young adults and even our adults are well educated. That includes nearly free or totally free college educations. Maybe put a stipulation that after college everyone does a year of national service in some form or another.
2) That every single one of us has affordable health care. This includes the drugs too.
3) We invest in research and development of technologies to limit and eventually eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels.
4) Repair the crumbling infrastructure in this country from highways to power distribution grids.
5) Get us to Mars in a decade, not three decades.
6) And within three decades get us outside out solar system, preferably to Canis Major, only 42,000 light years away.

Parts 5 and 6 would obviously be last but mankind needs to keep on building on knowledge.

The thing is we could have most of what is in that last had George W. Bush not been given the presidency by the USSC the first time around and some major tampering with the election systems in the U.S. the second time around.

The Republican party commit suicide en mass. This sign pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole thing.

No Bank Bailouts!

No Bank Bailouts!

What I’m really hoping is that they get pushed back into the fringe for another 30 years, or at least until the day I die because after that I’m not going to care too much about it.

But here’s what I want everyone to think about.

Do you remember the concept of flash mobs? Imagine if we flash mobbed congress. Seriously, imagine how scared they’d be. That’s how I want out government to operate. I want them afraid of us and they should be.

Why do I say that? Because if there is one thing that is particular to the U.S it is the fact that we are the most well armed nation on the planet and it isn’t just our military.

But we needn’t bring out the guns too soon. I think just sending a clear message should be enough. The only exception I have to this is lobbyists. They should be shot on sight.

My Obama Fundraising Page September 27, 2008

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You can visit it here. I really want to see Obama trounce McCain. After watching just 20 minutes of the debate I can honestly say that I’d much prefer Obama as president than John McCain.

Help me reach a $2,000 goal. I’m not giving anything away here but if Obama captures the presidency we’ll all have something to be proud of.

Google Comes out against Proposition 8 September 27, 2008

Posted by truthspew in politics, religion.
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Some good news out of Google HQ, they’re coming out against California’s Proposition 8.

This is utterly amazing to me that a company as large as Google is would come down on our side. As many times as I’ve faulted Google for their blog policies, etc. sometimes they do something that pretty much washes away their sins.

This is one of those occasions. I feel a bit badly about leaving Blogger but I do enjoy some of the features of WordPress so I won’t be going back soon. But to my friends on Blogger, now you have a reason to forgive some of Google’s transgressions.

It’s common sense here. One thing about the Google blog posting by Mr. Brin that occurred to me is interesting. Google is a company comprised of highly educated and motivated people. I’ve noted that the more educated one is, the more socially liberal they are later in life. This also seems to be very prevalent in the sciences and engineering fields, and not so obvious in the business and soft sciences fields with the exception of psychology.

So those that are for Proposition 8 are the uneducated and ignorant masses. Consider that only 27% of U.S. adults hold B.A. or B.Sc. degrees and you have your answer. The rest of them depend on their church or pastor to educate them, and we all know that those pastors have an agenda.

I see this regularly with my father. I’ve caught him in some outright ridiculous shit that I can trace back to his pastor and his pastors affiliation with white supremacists groups.

That’s the other thing, white supremacists. If you’ve studied anthropology in any way, shape or form you have to know that we white people aren’t in any way superior to any other race. In fact race is a human creation.

And if you really want to make a white supremacists head pop, just mention that our distant ancestors more than likely started out on the African continent and had skin that was quite a number of shades darker than ours. It’s actually been genetically proven at this point.

Oggi idiota della Lettera ai Editore: It’s Barney Frank’s Fault September 27, 2008

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In case you were wondering, the title is Today’s Idiotic Letter to the Editor.

If you read on a regular basis you know that occasionally I get my source material from reading letters to the editor in the Providence Journal.I still like that Philipe and Jorge of NewPaper (Now the Phoeniz) fame used to call it the Providence Urinal, then the Blo-Jo. I usually call it a newspaper not fit for the paper on which it is printed.

That said occasionally the folks at ProJo let slip a letter to the editor that comes from someone outside Rhode Island. Most of it is anti-Democrat, anti-Liberal, anti-Homosexual, and other screeds. For some reason the editors at ProJo like the use people from out of state because we Rhode Islanders, probably because they need to in order to get the opposing view because it sure as shit doesn’t exist in RI.

The letter is from a Mr. Rick Cannon. I usually google search the names when I see an out of state letter bashing something. And I found Mr. Cannon’s LinkedIn account. Seems our writer is a pharma guy, which would explain how that makes him an expert in economic matters. Otherwise he has a fairly light web presence.

Rick Cannon: Bad loans, Barney Frank caused meltdown

01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, September 27, 2008

While I was visiting Providence, I had the absolute misfortune of reading Froma Harrop’s Sept. 21 column (“McCain and the meltdown”). It read like a piece of creative fiction, leaving me to wonder if Ms. Harrop really was concerned with understanding the issue, or merely seeking to aid her favored candidate.

Froma Harrop is a regular neo-con target for stating the way things ought to be, but in this paragraph Cannon lays his cards on the table. He’s anti-Obama. This is going to be good.

She seems to have a fundamental lack of understanding about how Wall Street reached this point. The meltdown has been driven by an inordinate number of sub-prime mortgages as well as the risky practices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. President Bush’s economic policies had nothing to do with this, nor did Phil Gramm.

Congress meddled in the mortgage market, pushing banks to issue a larger number of risky mortgages, using tools such as the Community Redevelopment Act, virtually requiring banks to take on questionable borrowers. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led the way in irresponsible lending, using their status as a Government Sponsored Entity (GSE) to give the impression of government backing for their loans — in essence, that the government wouldn’t let them fail.

Congress does not act at all except at the behest of the corporate interests. The banks knew precisely what they were going into here and don’t ever try to kid yourself that they didn’t. They rolled high before the bubble burst. Why it’s amazing that my bank offers 1/2% interest on checking!

But Cannon who works for pharma as a territory manager, and is more than likely familiar with the lobbying process knows that if banking, pharma, energy et al don’t like a bill, they employ armies of lobbyists. That’s probably part of Cannon’s job with Nutricia as a territory manager, or maybe he’s just a sales/marketing guy. Previously he worked for Bristol-Meyers Squib. He’s up to his neck in pharma.

So come out, come out Mr. Cannon. Do tell us what your real agenda happens to be.

And who protected this behavior? Congressional Democrats, most notably Barney Frank, who still defends his support for Fan and Fred despite the market turmoil they’ve helped create.

Congress — again, mainly congressional Democrats — browbeat banks and lenders, calling them to Washington in 2001 and 2002 to have them explain the lack of mortgages held by lower-income earners. In other words, Congress wanted to know why lenders weren’t loaning money to people who may not be qualified. Faced with this, lenders loosened standards.

Here’s where I call bullshit. Ever notice where the heaviest marketing of credit cards occurs? In low income areas. Wonder why our bankruptcy law now tilts toward corporations and not the debtor? Yep, they called in congressional favors.

Like I said earlier, the big banks would scream bloody murder if they were forced to take losses. But they accepted it because they knew two things.

The banks as I mentioned earlier are all about making money. And think about it, the real estate market imploded but who was left holding the assets? The banks. Of course I think that ultimately greed results in economic ruin. It always does and we’re seeing it come home to roost right now.

They also knew, or at least thought they new that when the excrement started hitting the fan, the Fed would bail them out.

So here we have it, a net transference of wealth and property. Tell me where the money went and you get a cookie.

But it most certainly was NOT because of Barney Frank.

One of the groups leading the charge against the lenders was ACORN, a favored interest group of Democrats.

Ms. Harrop’s policy prescriptions are no better. The Great Depression earned its name because it lasted so long. It did so because of the heavy-handed policies of the government, much like the ones Barack Obama is proposing now and Ms. Harrop seems to support.

And here we get to the meat of it. Mr. Cannon conveniently forgets that the party that lead us into the Great Depression was none other than his revered Republicans. Remember Herbert Hoover? Like Hoover, the policies of the Republicans that have controlled the house for the better part of twenty years gave us this mess.

It was Hoover by the way who ‘promoted government intervention under the rubric “economic modernization” ‘ aka the first public looting of the federal treasury.

But history, what’s that? I know Cannon is a younger man, probably in his early 30′s judging by his LinkedIn page so he can somewhat be forgiven for not knowing about the role of the Republicans in the first economic crisis. But he is capable of learning and so I would hope he realizes the error of hiw ways sooner than later.

Of course he neglects to mention his Republican credentials here. Honestly, if you’re going to write a good screed, at least have the common decency to tell us up front that you’re a neo-con Repug.

Perhaps if Ms. Harrop better understood the problem, she wouldn’t be so inclined to suggest such ridiculous “remedies.” For someone who accuses John McCain of not knowing much about economics, Ms. Harrop seems to suffer a paucity of economic knowledge herself.

RICK CANNON

Buffalo

I honestly don’t think McCain knows much of anything. I also have a pretty sharp hunch that McCain is in the early stages of dementia. Do we really want a demented old fool as President, one who is statistically likely to kick the bucket before his first term is out, leaving us with a soccer mom as President when the United States is teetering on the edge of the abyss?

For the past 20+ years we’ve seen horror show after horror show of the things brought to us by Republicans. Iran-Contra anyone? Illegal invasions, limited military actions, a military-industrial complex gone wild.

You’re an idiot Mr. Cannon. You are instructed to get some string and some card stock. You are to write on the card stock “Hello, my name is Rick Cannon and I’m an Idiot”. There’s your sign, wear your ignorance proudly.

Finally got one September 24, 2008

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No, not an iPhone, but the iPod Touch instead. Why? Because I don’t like the fact that the iPhone is locked into at&t, not to mention it’s a bit too pricey.

I got the 16GB Touch and I love it already. No more click wheel. Yippeee, I passed my 2nd generation Nano to Keyron so now he’s got a portable MP3 player.

The Touch syncs up flawlessly with my wireless network, and I love the feature where if you turn it landscape the image adjusts to that. It’s a cool device.

And I paid $299 for it, which is only about $50 more than I paid for the 2nd gen Nano. So features and memory rocket up while price only goes up a little bit. Could have gotten the 32GB unit but the price seemed a little steep at $399.

My next Apple purchase will more likely than not be a MacBook Pro. I’m tired of the Microsoft games. It was funny, the Apple Store near me uses Symbol bar code scanners with a Windows CE type OS on them. They’re slow as shit and I was having a good time talking to the guys there. They loved the Obama button on my backpack too.

Someone gets it! The ludicrous nature of National Grid requests September 20, 2008

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There seems to be a general sense of outrage against corporate interference in our lives and our government. it’s not something you’ll ever see in the mainstream media, you have to be able to think for yourself and realize that all this time we’ve never had control of our government during the last century and a half. Instead, we’ve seen the ascendancy of the corporation as ruler.

Read up on the history of what General Motors did to striking workers in the 1920′s. They essentially paid thugs to beat the crap out of those seeking better working conditions and pay. Nice huh? People say you can’t battle a nameless, faceless corporation. Not true, those corporations have two things that we can use to control them.

The first is that the officers of the company have liability. We’ve seen this over and again when the heads of corporations have been put on trial, sentenced, and served their time. But I don’t think this is quite good enough as the corporation goes on and on, barely buffeted by the event.

Instead, I’d like to see revocation of corporate charter. Without that you can’t hide behind the false legal identity of a corporation. Without that charter it would be necessary to liquidate corporate assets. Maybe take the money that was gained from liquidation and roll it into government coffers and use it to pay for universal health care, or maybe fix our crumbling infrastructure.

Maybe it’s because I’ve seen far too many instances of utility and energy companies shitting upon their customers, and the customers paying for the ‘privilege’.

National Grid’s request for a rate increase to cover losses incurred through conservation efforts, when also coupled with their request that the ratepayers finance their advertising campaign to get more customers to switch to natural gas is just the icing on the cake.

It goes back to when it was Narragansett Electric. They were just beginning the I-195 relocation project and it involved moving high tension electric wires that ran over India Point Park. A long and lengthy battle ensued with the end result being that we the customer paid to bury those ugly cables.

How about the wasted effort and energy expenditure by the chief counsel for environmental affairs at the Department of Attorney General. I wouldn’t want to see Mike Rubin out of a job, but the crap he goes through just to get what was then PG&E to install scrubbers and water coolers is ridiculous.

It’s been proven time and again that installing scrubbers and other technologies would be a small cost for utility and energy companies. But through their insipid resistance, we see a change in our ecosystem. Cold water fish are migrating further out from Narragansett bay, all because a power plant operator doesn’t want to spend a little cash.

Put it this way, go down by National Grid’s power plant in downtown Providence and look at the water near it in the dead of January. Notice it’s still liquid and flowing? That’s the waste heat from the power plant. Even they won’t cool the water down before discharge.

Of course corporations in general don’t realize that if you keep stretching people, they’re going to break at some point and when they do, there go the profits.

I was talking to my father about this. He wants to go off grid with solar and wind but I explained to him that he should keep a close eye on the actions of the incumbent energy provider. Why? Read what I’ve written above about revenue protection measures for National Grid. Lets say my father goes off-grid and sells power BACK to the power company.

No way in hell he’d get from the company what he pays them for electricity. He’d be lucky if he got half. And I told him that he shouldn’t put it past the company to enact a tax the penalizes those going off grid. At least not when they have the stones that National Grid has where they asked for more money because of a revenue drop off due to conservation.

It’s similar to friends of ours. They have a cute house in the southern half of RI that uses a cesspool. Yet they still pay a sewer assessment because the pipe for the sewer runs past their house. I find it hard to believe the employees of the Warwick water board can keep a straight face when they tell people that even though they aren’t hooked up to the system, they still have to pay for it.

Anyhow I’m not the only one who gets it. Apparently Mr. Charles Pinning gets it too. This is why you have to read the editorial sections of the newspapers. Sometimes a gem like this pops up. But Pinning does have a reputation for being a crank, as evidenced in this google search.

Charles Pinning: What to tell National Squid

01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, September 20, 2008

CHARLES PINNING

THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT time of the year for me,” she said. “Don’t mind it if I buy you a box of crayons.”

It was Labor Day weekend, and she looked across to him. Her eyes were red and wet. Her daughters were grown-up and off on their own, but she talked about how much she had enjoyed getting them ready for school each year.

Fresh tears rolled forth. “Shall we visit them?” he asked.

She shook her head. “It’s not that. . . . I was at the Shaw’s in East Providence today . . . and the people — oh my God!”

“Just horrible-looking?”

She nodded.

“I don’t see these people. . . . I go to Whole Foods . . . East Side Market. God! They just looked — Aaaah! . . . ”

“Misshapen.”

She nodded again. “They were so skinny. . . .This one little man, his jeans were all bunched up behind,” and she pressed the heels of her palms together to show how small his bottom was. “Or they’re so fat!” she said, spreading her hands apart. “And their faces. . . . I have never seen faces like that. And they were filling their baskets with crappy food, and paying out their dollars one at a time. But they had their re-usable bags. That has been drummed into them. They are trying . . . but they don’t know where to begin. Go to Shaw’s — that’s where the rubber really meets the road.”

“I know, darlin’, ” he sympathized. “I’ve spent the last 25 years of my life living on the west side of Providence, seeing it every day.” “And the children crying and the mother’s slapping them and screaming at them and cursing and saying, ‘C’mon!’ ”

“I know, sweetheart. . . . It’s about education . . . and parents raising their children responsibly. Being home with them. Spending time with them. Reading to them. Guiding them responsibly. And being given a chance. They just. . . .” and she held her hands out, palms up, shifting them back and forth.

“Right — they’re always kept off-balance. It is the goal of corporations to do this. Deny traction, and you keep people herky-jerky, running in place and churning profits for you. Listen to this:” (He picked up the newspaper.)

“August 27, Business section, front page, headline: ‘National Grid asks rate hike of about 5 percent.’ It goes on to say . . . ‘National Grid also wants the Public Utilities Commission to restructure distribution rates in a way that would protect the company from revenue losses that result from the conservation efforts of its customers.’

“Got that? The raping has been so blatant for so long that National Squid feels it can come straight out and essentially say, ‘You can conserve all you want. We’re still going to squeeze the same amount of money out of you! We’re just shifting the charges to another area.’

“It’s the same thing that the Narragansett Bay Commission is trying to pull by asking the PUC to raise rates because of revenue loss due to customers’ conserving water over the past three years. People logically think they’re going to save a few bucks by using less water or less natural gas — but no! The utilities . . . Narragansett Bay . . . they’re petitioning the PUC to get the same level of bucks they want no matter how much water or gas you use. Where’s the incentive to conserve? We might as well keep nice and cozy and warm, or use as much water as we want because they’re gonna get the same amount of money, whether you use five therms of gas or five hundred; a thimbleful of water or a hundred gallons a day!

“How do I make it clear to people that these corporations have people on a gerbil wheel? That instead of being rewarded for doing the right thing, you will be punished.”

“Say it just the way you said it.”

“But will people hear it? Will they see that we are taking a screwing, so that Grid can show profits to its shareholders and pay its CEO Steve Holliday $3.6 million a year . . . so that Narragansett Bay can continue to funnel hundreds of millions to construction companies to dig a billion-dollar hole in the ground?”

“Just keep on telling it. Also, try to mention that natural gas belongs to everybody — National Grid only delivers it.”

“Oh, sweetheart — the Cherokee in you is coming out.” That brought the tears afresh.

Charles Pinning is a Providence-based writer.

A Nation of Village Idiots September 19, 2008

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What we’re seeing now is the complete and utter corporate greed and malfeasance manifesting itself.

We need to disabuse corporations of the notion that they have the same rights as we flesh and blood citizens. They don’t. The 14th amendment was never written to confer those rights on corporations. Instead, a comment in the 1886 Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad judgment assumes that corporations are to be treated as people.

What these corporations fail to realize is that promoting their own agenda through government is very detrimental to all of us. Right now we’re on the precipice of another depression. Yes I know, the Federal Reserve was formed to prevent that from happening, but the Federal Reserve is a cartel of all the big banks. Did we really think they wouldn’t act in anything but their own interests?

Back to my point, if they do push hard enough that a depression occurs again, they’ll have committed the worst form of suicide. For avarice is one of the bigger sins out there.
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RI Unemployment up to 8.5% September 19, 2008

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So the ProJo had another interesting blurb. Our reported unemployment rate is 8.5%. Now this is just people who are collecting on unemployment insurance claims, and don’t forget that RI just got an additional 13 week extension for the program. But it still doesn’t tell the real story.

I’ve got friends in many different disciplines, and one of them is in economics. I’m told by this friend that the reported rate is usually only 1/3 to 1/5 the real percentage of population unemployed. So we’re looking at true unemployment figures of 17% to 25.5%. Consider RI has a population of a million people, of that million I believe about half are the working population. So it’s anywhere from 85,000 to 127,500 people are out of work in RI.

Hell, I have to haul myself out to Massachusetts every day. There are no jobs here in RI and they don’t pay worth a god damned.

And in the article they mentioned the state should do a financial stimulus but since the state is in crisis it’s doubtful that will happen. Hell, I already explained why the state is in the mess it’s in.

Stop giving tax breaks to entities that don’t need them. Let CVS, Fidelity, BofA etc. pull up and move. It isnt’ cheap to do so. They have to weather the bad economy just like us.

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