Thursday, January 25, 2007


I was listening to NPR yesterday morning and the piece was about how the "independent" movement, I guess in California particularly, is gaining steam. They quoted one guy from CA, who I guess checked "decline to state" on his voter registration info and he literally said the following, ("literally", except for the fact that I'm paraphrasing). He says, "A typical republican is a christian conservative and a typical democrat is an ethnic minority and I'm neither, so I consider myself an independent."


I guess the part of "I'm neither" is probably not a lie, and of course it is always fun to think of Republicans as fat white guys or old super-religious ladies or rednecks or homophobes, but what about his characterization of Democrats? It blows my mind that that is the reason this guy is not a Democrat and feels a need to make an exception of himself. That alone seems very self-serving and self-important to me.

This goes back to my central mindset of the past 6 years, best expressed by Janeane Garofalo (again paraphrasing), "It is getting to the point where being a Bush supporter is a character flaw."

Because at this time, in these conditions, if you disagree with the Bush Adminsitration as an entity AT ALL, then you must put yourself in diametric opposition to them. Not 120 degrees away in some "independent" category because you aren't black, but 180 degrees, in a far away, directly opposite position and you must push.

The point is that you don't give in to someone who is behaving badly when they make some small overture. You punish them when their backs are against the wall. That may not be the way politics works or the way the Democrats in the Senate should behave, but for me and the rest of the electorate who disagree in large part with the Bush administration, this is exactly how we should unite.
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Monday, January 22, 2007

More Money For Poor People

Fact: There are many people in the United States who work full time and still live below the poverty line.

Democrats want to increase the federally mandated minimum wage to help these people compete, if not with middle class America, at least with basic standards of decency. Rich white men argue that small businesses will be negatively impacted and that this is a reason to not increase the minimum wage at all. Now, I will concede that certainly there will be a number greater than zero of businesses that will fail instead of succeed because of increased payroll obligations. What does that say about those businesses? Nevermind - I'm not an economist. But does that make it a reason not to raise the minimum wage? I don't think so.
The bills would raise the wage floor in three steps. It would go to $5.85 an hour 60 days after signed into law by the president, to $6.55 an hour a year later, and to $7.25 an hour a year after that.
These are increases of roughly 13.5%, 12% and 10.5% at each step. I computed these percentages myself because I've never heard them reported and I've never heard quantitative discussions about what increase in overhead costs would be too high and which would be manageable. What I did hear this weekend were rich, white men saying thinks like, "I worked hard to get where I am and why should these people get things handed to them."

Now I admit, when I think about my high school experience, I am happy that I have a good job and that the kids that didn't work as hard as I now ask the proverbial, "would you like fries with that?" But deny them a living wage? No. I am not worried about minimum wage employees getting richer than me, like some people apparently are.

We should remember that there are two options here. If we can agree, at least on some philosophical level, that people who work full time shouldn't be poor, then if we aren't going to give them more money, we could also try taking less money from them. This is the option that most rich, white men are supporting - tax cuts for the lowest tax brackets.

Oh wait, no they aren't. In fact, they are supporting just the opposite: tax cuts for the highest tax brackets.
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Happy fucking New Year, people.

When thinking about a New Year's Resolution for 2007, the first idea I had was that this was the year we were going to find Tony a girlfriend, fiancee and get him married off. Then I came across this, so I guess I can slack off for the rest of the year.

Yesterday I went on amazon.com and ordered Yusef Islam's (ne Cat Stevens) newest album for my wife and Slipknot's The Subliminal Verses for myself. I can't wait to see what that does to amazon's recommendation engine.
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