Category: Issues
Posted on April 24, 2013 by Gary


A user shared the image show on Facebook, which in return suspended his account.

Had he been using a portable service to share his content (like the one that's hosting the site you're reading) he could've picked up and moved to another service. But Facebook is a monopoly, and hence free to dick over its customers at will.

We gave corporations control of most of our food, health care, mass media, and many other needs in exchange for a little convenience. That didn't work out too well. Maybe we should think twice before giving them control over our Internet services.
Category: Issues
Posted on February 6, 2013 by Gary
A large chunk (though certainly not all) of Illinois' financial problems are due to its tax structure. The state constitution mandates that the state income tax be flat, i.e. that those individuals in higher brackets may not be charged higher rates than those at the bottom. This makes it impossible to raise rates on those who could afford to pay more without also raising them on those who can't.

An amendment to change this has been filed as HJRCA0002 by Reps. Naomi Jakobsson and Linda Chapa LaVia. This would amend the state constitution to allow different tax rates for different income ranges, as the federal income tax and those of most other states' do. The Illinois League of Women Voters refers to this as a GRIT Fair Tax, GRIT meaning Graduated Rate Income Tax.

Passing this would be a multi-step process:
  1. Three-fifths majorities in each house of the legislature (36 Senators and 71 House members, assuming no abstentions) must vote to put it on the ballot.
  2. Once on the ballot, it must be approved by a three-fifths majority of everyone voting on the amendment, or by a simple majority of everyone who voted in the election even counting those who skipped this particular question.
  3. With the amendment passed into law, the legislature would need to create a graduated tax rate plan and pass it through the normal legislative process.


The push for GRIT/Fair Tax in Illinois is supported by organizations including the IL League of Women Voters, Jobs With Justice, and the Center For Tax and Budget Accountability. We need to persuade our representatives to let us vote on it. But even while that's going on, we need to talk to people in our communities about it and counter what the propaganda mills are saying. A lot of misinformation is already being spread and it will increase greatly by the time it actually comes up for a vote.

Below the fold, a number of arguments you're likely to hear against the graduated tax, and why they're disingenuous or just wrong.

» Read More

Category: Issues
Posted on December 14, 2012 by Gary
When a bunch of people get killed in a gun massacre, it's the wrong time to discuss gun laws. Have you no respect for the victims of such senseless tragedy?

When people have not been killed, it's the wrong time to discuss gun laws, because after all if no one's being killed then the laws we have must be at least all right.

When is the right time to talk about gun violence as a serious problem? That would be 12:12:12 on 2012/12/12. Sorry, you missed it.
Category: Issues
Posted on August 3, 2012 by Gary
By Percy Flage
Washington Pest staff

Washington, DC — The Affordable Care Act, passed into law in 2010, today came out in support of repealing the current Republican Congress. The Act, informally known as Obamacare, cited excessive partisanship, rampant hypocrisy, and general subservience to the wealthy few as reasons why the Republican Congress shouldn't stand. "They spent the last decade giving the executive branch the power to spy on people or imprison them without any accountability, and then they call me big government," the Act said. "They posture about deficits and then pass tax cuts and start wars without paying for any of it. Clearly we need to repeal and replace them," it said, adding that it would figure out the last part later.

Other legislation offered mixed views on whether repeal was a good idea. "I'm all in favor of diversity, but these guys are a major threat to the political and economic ecosystem," said the Endangered Species Act. "If protecting their species costs jobs then maybe it's better to let them go extinct." But the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 was less than enthusiastic. "It's true that these guys' main selling point, that they're fiscally responsible, is completely ridiculous," said the EGTRRA. "My very existence is proof of that. And yeah, some of them are just nuts. A lot of them, actually. But I remain convinced that we need them around. There's a very good reason. Give me a little while and I'm sure I'll think of it."

"Percy, Percy, Percy, who's been putting these ideas into your head?" commented the USA PATRIOT Act. "It's that little blonde who you've been talking to on the train on the way to work, isn't it. You might not be so eager to talk to her if you knew about some of the things she reads in her spare time."

In order to take effect, repeal would need to be passed by the voting public. In the event it does, the 2002 Help America Vote Act has pledged to veto it.
Category: Issues
Posted on November 7, 2011 by Gary
There's an email going around listing some ideas that will supposedly reform Congress. The email attributes its contents to gazillionaire investor Warren Buffet, but in actuality, Buffet only suggested the first idea in the email; the rest are by some anonymous author who evidently felt it necessary to appropriate Buffet's name.

The email, with my own arguments against what it proposes, is below. I should mention that I have no great regard for (the current) Congress, especially my current member who I regard as one of the biggest dirtbags on the planet.

» Read More

Category: Issues
Posted on October 19, 2011 by Gary
Ran a torture camp for dogs, using her own money. Sentenced to thirty months in jail.

Ran a torture camp for human beings, using public money. Left free and given fat pensions.

Moral: Never use your own money.
Category: Issues
Posted on September 30, 2011 by Gary
...it's a really, really good idea:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

(Emphasis added, of course.)

This applies to people regardless of whether we like them, whether they like us, whether they like our country, or whether people of similar skin color and religious background once carried out an attack against our country.

It applies to everyone, because if it doesn't then it applies to no one.
Category: Issues
Posted on July 18, 2011 by Gary
From Raw Story:
Greg Mitchell's new book, Atomic Cover-Up: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki and The Greatest Movie Never Made, is the first to be devoted to the historic full-color footage that was covered up by the U.S. government for decades.

Google's "ad word team" notified Mitchell Monday that an online ad for the book's video trailer was being suspended because it "promotes violence."

"At this time, Google policy does not permit the advertisement of websites that contain the promotion of violence," an email to Mitchell said. "As noted in our advertising terms and conditions, Google may refuse any ads or terminate any of your ad campaigns at any time, for any reason."


You can watch the video trailer at the Raw Story link above. At no point does it advocate violence against anyone. By exposing the harm that war can cause, it might in some small way help to deter violence.

A lot of people think of Google as a benign alternative to some of the more obviously scummy corporations like Microsoft. They aren't. When it comes to corporations of that size, there's no such thing as benign. Think about this before you decide to trust them with custody of your email or any other documents.
Category: Issues
Posted on April 8, 2011 by Gary
Really! I know it's odd that I hadn't said anything before now. But there were these 140,737,488,355,327 votes for me in a file that I was editing in TextPad, and I forgot to save it. Good thing I eventually noticed.
Category: Issues
Posted on April 7, 2011 by Gary
Yes, I'm still alive. Thanks for asking. Life has been a bit busy, and considering that the readership of this site seems to consist of Joe Cantore, there's not a lot of incentive for me to post here.

But anyway.... Here's a puzzle for you. It's set in the mythical country of Libertaria. Commerce there only follows one rule, that markets must be free and open. Sellers can set whatever price they want to for their goods and/or services, but must then sell to anyone who meets that price; they may not set different prices depending on the customer. It's possible to get credit in Libertaria, but limits are set based on what the individual could reasonably be expected to pay back.

One not-very-fine day, the ship S. S. Libertaria goes down. Naturally, the ship's lifeboats have long ago been bought by speculators who want to maximize their profits, and they'll set optimum prices accordingly.

For purposes of the puzzle, let's suppose that the following people are on the boat:
  • Jonas Grumby, ship's captain. Credit limit: $75,000; ships captains in Libertaria don't get paid much but he does have a Navy pension to borrow against.
  • William Gilligan, ship's first mate. Credit limit: $35,000; he has no savings to speak of but is young and in good health.
  • Thurston Howell III, investment banker, and Mrs. Howell, wife. Credit limit: $1,000,000 between the two of them.
  • Ginger Grant, actress. Credit limit: $300,000.
  • Roy Hinkley, scientist. Credit limit: $50,000.
  • Mary Ann Summers, farmer's daughter. Credit limit: zero. Dad's farm isn't doing at all well this year.


Assuming the lifeboats have enough space to be able to transport any or all of these people, what price is optimal for the lifeboat owners to set? For advanced solving, add a non-fixed cost of $10 per passenger for later cleaning of the lifeboat.
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