Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve

Just had the notion that, in the spirit of the season, I'd share a little poem I wrote for my family a while ago. Enjoy, and may you have peace in the coming New Year.

Christmas Eve

by Winlar

Christmas Eve’s a moment which transcends both time and space
When everything you love in this whole world is in one place
A timelessness, which reaches the whole world with joy and truth
On Christmas Eve your whole entire world’s under one roof

The magic of the holiday is strongest on this night
The longest darkness of the year concealing reindeer flight
When everything in this life that you in your heart do keep
Is all so very near you, safe and warm and fast asleep

Peace on Earth is possible, we all know and believe
We see it happen every year, in the dark of Christmas Eve

There is a moment when the season always turns sublime
When shopping and the preparations have run out of time
And the world in darkness sighs a wonderful relief
And we switch the lights all off and try to sleep on Christmas Eve

The bikes are put together
All the toys have batteries
The lights are strung and functioning
Upon the Christmas trees
The children are conked out
And in the house there’s not a stir
The whirlwind of the last month
Now a gentle quiet blur
And a touch of relaxation can be finally achieved
Drinking milk and eating cookies, late at night on Christmas Eve

Finally Santa’s been and gone back home upon his sleigh
And the troubles of the season for one moment seem at bay
Everyone is sleeping, Mom and Dad, aunts, uncles, child
And you can catch a few hours sleep before it goes hog wild
And with all home and safe you wish no one would ever leave
Such is the magic of the night you get on Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas to all,

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Perhaps Seattle will land the Knicks!

With all the talk of the Sonics potentially leaving town, I found this interesting article about the Knicks being unexpectantly sold. Thought that I'd post it.

New York Knicks sold to Seattle-based ownership group
Group downplays possibility of relocating team, but likely will

The New York Knicks, a fixture in New York, and Madison Square Garden have been sold for an undisclosed sum to Seattle multi-billionaire Jay Stennett. Stennett, an arms dealer and direct email marketer is also CEO of the Basketball Club of Seattle Who Will Bring an NBA Team to Seattle. (BCSWWBNBATS)” Stennett immediately downplayed speculation that the Knicks would be moving.

“The Knicks have a great fan base and a rich tradition here in New York. Move the team from New York to Seattle? That would make about as much sense as moving a Seattle team to, I dunno, some smaller town in the Southwest or something.” Said Stennett.

Where it does make sense that the team would stay in the nation’s largest and most influential market, Seattle is an interesting proposition, since the Key Arena, renovated just 12 years ago, is newer and thus more appealing than the historic, but old Madison Square Garden. “We’re going to need a brand-new facility, funded entirely by tax-payers, but we’re all very optimistic that we can make this work. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m very bullish on New York,” Remarked Stennett. Stennett then went on to say that if a workable solution was not fully in place by 3pm next Tuesday he would have no other choice but to “look for other options.”

Stennett who consistently referred to the team as the “Seattle, er, sorry, New York Knicks” raised his fortune selling armor piercing bullets to the military, and had his net worth greatly upgraded by the current political situation in the Middle East. He has spent the last 20 years of his life trying to bring a basketball team to Seattle area, despite the fact that Seattle already has a basketball team, and has for 40 years. In high school he was voted “Most likely to relocate an NBA basketball franchise to Seattle. Next month he is to be inducted into the Seattle hall of fame. “We’re excited to enter the New York market!” Stennett went on. “Have you built me that stadium yet? No? Come on people, time’s a tickin’. I got a plane to catch and a big salmon dinner waiting.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern expressed “nearly genuine sadness” for New York’s loyal fan base, but claimed that the NBA was powerless to block the deal, or any proposed move. He also said he was “disheartened” by New York’s clear lack of support for the 8 and 17 Knicks, exemplified by booing in Madison Square Garden. “The booing, empty seats, and reluctance of politicians to spend half a billion dollars at a time when our nation is at war is a vivid example of how the Big Apple refuses to support professional basketball.” When hundreds of fans sent Stern harsh emails and phone calls in response to these remarks he cited them as “another show of how New Yorkers are hostile to the NBA.” He went on to say that “The relocation of the team is entirely the fault of New Yorkers, who left a nice man like Jay Stennett no choice.” He then rushed off to speak at Stennett’s Seattle Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Now-former Knicks owner James Dolan said he was “extremely optimistic” about the team’s future in New York. “In my opinion, selling to a Seattle businessman with no ties to the city, and who has utter contempt for its fan base and citizenry is the best chance to keep the team in New York,” claimed Dolan, world-class idiot. “We’re sorry to sell the team, but we lost 42 million dollars last year, and only some of that due to sexual harassment lawsuits! Another 10 or 11 years of those kind of losses, and we no longer would have been able to sell the team for a gigantic profit!” He added, “I do hope they keep Isaiah though. My love for him knows no bounds.”

The future of embattled General Manager Isaiah Thomas remains in doubt. Most likely he’ll be fired, forced to retire or “simply made to disappear,” according to one source close to the group. Thomas expressed his personal confidence that he would stay with the Knicks and likely be promoted.

Knicks fans, who eventually will have absolutely no say on the matter, had mixed emotions on the pending sale and subsequent demand for a new stadium. “I love the Knicks!” said one fan. “This is a sad day! If only we had done a better job of supporting a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in half a decade and hasn’t won a championship since the Nixon administration.”
Others were more critical. “NBA players come from a social class below mine and are now in a class far above mine. I won’t support this kind of rampant social mobility with my tax dollars. Tax money should only go to paying for police, prisons, and developing technologically superior smart bombs,” chimed in someone with no friends.
“The team’s leaving? Bummer. But it’s worth it to get rid of Dolan and Isaiah! Go Giants!” said most people.

Perhaps as a good-will gesture, Stennett hired former Knicks great and fan favorite Walt Frazier as president of basketball operations. He then fired him five minutes later.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Running Diary of the Republican Debate

OK. Tip of the hat to Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, who does signature “Running Diaries” of his reactions to sports events. I’m not as good as he is, nor will ever be, but I thought someone should do that for politics, so I’ve tried to. I’ve jotted down my reactions to various events of the evening of Dec. 12th when the Republicans debated somewhere in Iowa, sponsored by the Des Moines Register. (Is there any paper with a duller name than “Register?” That’s right there behind the Ames Glossary and the Iowa City List of Things.)

So anyway, here we go.

I’ve never really had the experience of setting my DVR to record something on CSPAN. Is there anything more geeky than that?

OK, turns out that this will be a re-air of the debate. Yes, the joke is, “Don’t tell me how it turned out!” But that’s really not funny because what does CSPAN start it’s coverage with? The guy calls a journalist on the phone asking, “So what’s the headline for this debate?” Hello? How about a spoiler alert warning? I fast forward through this part.
(On a side note, I’d just like to call this typical example of the media self-aggrandizing and making their coverage of the story more important than the story.)

All right! 6:30 PM and they’ve promised to solve all the nation’s problems in 90 minutes, so let’s ride!

6:30pm PST
Thanks Des Moines Register for splurging on the graphics!

6:31pm PST
Carolyn Washburn editor of the Des Moines Register… Let’s just say she has a good face for the newspaper business, and move on…

6:32pm PST
Carolyn informs us that 6 in 10 Iowa Republicans can still be swayed away from their candidate! You know, by another candidate, or shiny object.
Carolyn also informs that there will be no discussion of Iraq or Immigration in this debate. Or any other issues beginning with the letter I.

My daughter Moxie is climbing all over me during the introductions, and I’m so blinded by Giulianni’s cornball smile so I miss them. But let me just say that, not only are all these guys white males, but they’re REALLY white. It’s called the sun people! Get some! All except….
Alan Keyes in the House!! What up dog!! Well, this is gonna be a party after all!

6:33pm PST
Rules Rules rules. Carolyn, you had us at Alan Keyes….

Single biggest issue in Iowa is Finances and national debt.
Rudy agrees with the people in Iowa! Shockeroo! I’m betting McCain starts us off by saying “Oh, you Iowa boneheads. Wrong wrong wrong!”
Rudy says we have to cut corporate taxes to bring down the debt. Isn’t that like quitting your job to pay off your credit cards? Is there anyone who will have the courage to say, “It’s harder to pay off debts when you take in less money?”

Oh, Yes or no questions. Let’s keep track of the number of times yes or no answers are asked for versus how many are given. 1-0 right now.

6:34pm PST
Duncan Hunter blames China and foreigners for our debt. When he loses the election, will he blame illegal immigrants for that too?

Time warning #1`

Ron Paul blames too much govt. Shockeroo.

6:35pm PST
Tancredo is still in the race? Where’s he been? He only shows up when Alan Keyes does. Are they Siamese twins or something?

Fred Thompson reads you the notes on the subject he read earlier this week.

Mitt blarneys it up.

The Huckster says we have to feed and fuel and fight for ourselves. Nice alliteration Mikee!

6:38pm PST
McCain keeps up the scare campaign. We’ll be oil independent.

6:39pm PST
Alan Keyes just said that “National Security is Securing the Blessings of liberty.” Al, we know you’ve read the constitution. Now answer the question!
I had to replay what Keyes said twice. I hope this doesn’t happen every time he talks.
Al says abolish income taxes and we’ll have no debt. Yeah, and if I were homeless, I’d have no worries…

6:40pm PST
The question is, what sacrifices must American people make to pay off the national debt. Over/under line on actual sacrifices offered by these candidates is… zero.

Rudy says Government must sacrifice itself. But that won’t hurt anyone. In fact, the American people will get MORE!!

Paul Ron says it’s unnecessary to sacrifice. I set the over/under too high…

Huck says, no, we’ll just do things differently. Still at zero sacrifice

Next question “Is there a program you’d run a deficit to pay for?” I’m betting… no…
Got to say, much as I love YouTube, the questions are way better when a newspaper is doing the moderating. The moderator doesn’t jump in ad nauseum like the CNN or FOX talking heads to get her airtime, and there’s a bare bones attitude that really moves this thing along. Say it once, I’ll say it a million times, people who read are smart. People who watch TV are me.

Mitt says, well, a lot of stuff. Basically no. He’d cut everything. Says we need to run the country like a business. Oh. Start by laying off a lot of citizens…

My 2 year old son just came in past his bed time. Hard not to watch him since he’s both more entertaining, and would make a better president than anyone on my TV right now…

The Tank (Tancredo) says, no. Follow the Constitution and there’s no problem. You know, I couldn’t tell him apart from Duncan Hunter if I saw them both in a police line-up. Judging by the polls, the American people can’t seem to tell him apart from “Margin of Error.”

Fred says Military, infrastructure. And “Takes a big risk and tells the truth to the American people.” The risk? He’s probably lying…

Next question for everyone, and a good one that they won’t answer. “Who in this country is paying more than their fair share in taxes?” I’m guessing the smart answer you’ll hear is “Republicans.” The answers allowed are upper, middle or lower class.

Al- Essay answer to a multiple choice question. Time warning given.

McCain- Essay. Doesn’t know.

Huckster- 80% of people. Kudos that you didn’t give an essay answer. Too bad your answer wasn’t one of the choices.

Mitt- Middle Class! Actually one of the choices! Mitt here done been to college!

Fred Frankenberry- Takes a cheap shot at Mitt, saying he don’t pay no taxes, chuckle chuckle. Mitt jokes back something just to break Fred’s concentration, which works. Fred jokes that Mitt’s getting to be a better actor, Chuckle chuckle. Rare moment of honesty in there. I seriously doubt that anyone on this stage pays any taxes at all.

Fred also says that 40% of all Americans pay no taxes at all. That is such an outrageous lie that I don’t know where to begin…

Duncan or Tom, oh Tom… selects. I dunno.

Ron Paul says middle class suffers most and that’s EVIL!

Duncan says it’s that other class, the IRS

Rudy shows that they’ve all forgotten the question, but says E, all of the above. My “Republicans” answer was better. These guys should hire me! (Under the table of course… Got a little tax problem…)

And now, each candidate gets 30 free seconds! I hate this! The YouTube debates did the same thing. This isn’t ad time! Put your little canned statement on the Internet like anyone else! If any candidate yields this time, or uses it for “A quick shout out to my homies,” he’s immediately got my vote…

McCain reminds us he’s a vet, has experience, and isn’t very popular.

Duncan Hunter- “Dee-hunt” is also a veteran, and so is his son. Oh, by the way, he’s also a Mexican hating bigot.

Carolyn Washburn looks bored already.

The question is how to keep foreign markets open while blah blah, making sure we’re still richer than God.

Ron Paul gets angry

Mitt understands. Mentions education for the first time tonight.

Huckster blames taxes and regulations hurting industry. Yes… if only we were more like China…

Next question: Should we trade with… what again? Oh. Human rights. Should we give a rat about human rights while making money?

McCain. Sure we should, but no we won’t. Free Trade all the way.

Next question, and now I guess we’re at the annoying point where only one guy answers a question that everyone maybe should, so some guys completely don’t have to answer and some get trapped and there’s no rhyme or reason to the whole thing. Anyway we get to hear what Rudy thinks about NAFTA

6:57pm PST
Rudy doubted it, but now he loves it! Here’s what bugs me most about Rudy. Why does nobody ever mention that he SUCKED when he guest hosted SNL? SUCKED! He gets a free pass for that just for being mayor on 9-11. Sorry pal. Not with me. Worst… Host … EVER!!!

Fred gives a nearly unintelligible answer about NAFTA. “It’s a long complex document” says he in a long convoluted response. Jeezes, this guy is a lightweight.

Tancredo gives Duncan Hunter’s answer. Or is that… Man, this is confusing

Now DeeHunt jumps in and extends my confusion. It’s like giving one guy an extra thirty seconds. Freaky. But together, the two of them can hate twice as many foreigners.

7:00pm PST
Free statement time now for Paul and Frankenberry.

Paul- Liberty is good

Fred’ “What was the question again?”
By the way, did anyone see how he mailed in his performance in “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World?” He had like 5 lines and he still didn’t seem to bother to memorize them. Not Albert Brooks best movie btw, and I’m a fan. However, it’s worth it just for Al’s fake improv schtick. Such a funny bit…

Show of hands time!!
Who believes in Climate change? Wait…
Fred won’t do the hand show! Apparantly there aren’t stage directions in the script. This is a more confrontational moment than when someone says “build a fence along Mexico.” Some idiot in the audience applauds Fred for his courageous stance on this issue.

A few hands go up and everyone talks at once. Well it really isn’t fair. To understand the concept of raising your hand requires at least a kindergarten education…

Rudy and McCain (The Science Posse) say GW is a problem. (GW here refers to Global Warming. The other GW won’t be mentioned much tonight…)

Mitt looks really presidential by begging “Hey give us all a chance to talk… please? My turn! My turn!”
He gets his presidential stature and republican street-cred back in one fell swoop however by blaming foreigners for global warming in his answer.

Alan Keyes uses the global warming question to go on the greatest tangent I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t mention anything about climate, global warming, anything. He talks so crazily that even Fred Thompson is able to zing him by saying “Well there’s Alan Keyes position on global warming…”

By the way, if Bill Clinton is a bit oily, then Mitt Romney is eight gallons of salad dressing.

Huckster jokes “Global Warming? It’s cold outside here in Iowa! Crickets are heard in the auditorium. Oh, and by the way, our govt is responsible for global warming.

7:08pm PST
Duncan Tancredo says something.
Tom Hunter chimes in. Having these two clones chime in back to back on everything really does a disservice to your readers Des Moines Register…

btw Des Moines “Shout out to my homies!” Now there’s a name for a paper!

7:09pm PST
Free time for tacredohuckalopolis.

Tom- Immigrants suck. Shockeroo!
Huck- Founding fathers rool. I wanna be prez, because I like it when ordinary shmoes boss me around. Oh, and I used to be poor.

7:10pm PST
New Topic! Education! (Moderator notes that Iowans say it hasn’t been talked about enough. Iowans know about education? OK, that was a cheap shot…)
We suck at science. What gives?

McCain- More choice and more competition. Charter Schools may fail, but at least then we can blame the students for making bad CHOICES!

Rudy- “Parents should choose the school their child goes to. Colleges are good, because they’re expensive! Get it?”

Duncan Hunter- “Jaime Escalante is a guy I saw in a movie once. If we let people who are uncredentialed teach in our classrooms, some of them might be like him…”

New question: Does the fed gov need to set standards? (For education I’m guessing)

Mitt asks what the rules are. 30 seconds? 60? Real presidential Mitt.

Huckster: the federal govt. can personalize the curriculum for these kids. Um… Wha?
“Unleash weapons of mass Instruction!” He said that. After hearing him say that, many high-schoolers recognized that education is not that important.

The Keyes-ster interrupts to point out, perhaps rightly so, that he hasn’t been asked a question since his diatribe about anything but global warming. The moderator then gives him 30 seconds where everyone else was getting a minute.
This, my friends, is the Republican party in a nutshell. “Katrina? You want us to respond to Katrina? We can ignore a black man who is on stage next to us in a presidential debate! You think we’re gonna respond to some for a lousy hurricane?”
On the other hand, Keyes platform of “Vote for me because nobody wants to give me the time of day” has never been much of a proven winner…

Keyes then goes on for over a minute blaming our education crisis on judges taking God out of the classroom and the fact that kids don’t know “our national creed.” He is impassioned about this. Cricket chirping ensues. The moderator then goes right back to asking Ron Paul the question he’d interrupted, as if Keyes were Mr. Cellophane. Very surreal.

Ron Paul: The problem with education is probably the federal government.

Man, if it weren’t for foreigners, and our government, we’d be in the Garden of Eden right now.

Fred “What was the question again?”
He then blames the NEA. Lousy teachers. Which makes me realize that I left Unions off my list of Republican scape goats.

Tancrunter: “Get rid of the dept. of education.” Yeah that will improve… education.... He says that they cut 80% of the people in the dept, and nobody noticed. Really? The people who got fired didn’t notice? You did make sure they weren’t still showing up for work right? What an ass. Whichever one he is. He then takes a cheap shot at Huckster for wanting art and science taught in school. Dick.

(Yes, I realize that purposely mispronouncing the names of the candidates in this debate is immature much like the way FOX news commentators purposely mispronounce “Achmadinijad”
I apologize for this, and from here on in promise to only refer to Tom Tancredo as “Achmadinijad”)

7:23pm PST
New Question. “What can you accomplish in your first year?”

Rudy: Secure against Islamic terrorism! Are you here tonight Rud, or is that one of those cardboard cutouts with a little voice recorder in it?

Drunken Hunger. Make the military bigger, and get that border fence up!

Ron Paul: End the war. Amen Ron. Too bad you’re batshit insane. (Even a clock that’s broken is right how often?)

Achmininididijad: “Free somebody nobody’s ever heard of. Secure our borders. Kill Islamic people.”

Frankenberry: “Tell people the truth.” (Yeah, that’ll take a year.) Man, this guy knows absolutely nothing.

Mitt: Reign in entitlements and Muslims. Bunch of other stuff he won’t get done.

Huckster: Bring the Country back together. (I assume this involves annexing British Columbia and building a bridge to Hawaii.) But he does finally play his “Hey I’m the only one up here who isn’t a hate-filled bastard card.” Of course he doesn’t believe in evolution…

McCain: Make America safe. BTW, you aren’t safe. Did you know that?
Oh, and restore trust and confidence in your govt. again. Hey, isn’t that what the guy who beat you the last time you ran said HE was going to do?

Big Al. Hey guys! What debate have you been to tonight? I went to one! I think I won! Now I’m going to talk about killing things in the womb and a bunch of crazy nonsense! I’m Alan Keyes ladies and gentlemen! What the hell am I even doing here?

7:30pm PST
Lastly final words. (In other words, we’re Iowa, you need to kiss our asses just one… more… time…)

Mitt: Thanks Iowa! Gosh you people are so nice!

Keyes: Iowa, you suck. You aren’t gonna vote for me. Everything wrong with America is your fault. You’re all going straight to hell! Oh, and Vote for Me!
(A side note. Caucuses are awkward social gatherings, where nobody knows anyone and then has to argue politics with them. They really are difficult, so here’s an ice-breaker Iowans. Go in, and when they ask you who you’re backing, say “Alan Keyes” with as straight a face as possible. Then wait for the awkward moment of silence, then for everyone to bust out laughing. In this way he brings us all together.)

Rudy: (OK, I didn’t want to make the joke in this blog that Rudy only talks about 9-11 and does so ad nauseum, and for the most part I haven’t. I don’t like to go on such overdone comic territory, but with Rudy’s last words he just has to remind us…. I WAS MAYOR ON 9-11!!! Jack-ass. Did I mention that he sucked on SNL?

7:34pm PST
Wait, now we go to some video thing? This debate confuses me. Shouldn’t the last words be the last words? This is surreal and stupid.

Wait, now there’s more? Oh! I had to rewind and figure out what was going on. She didn’t say last words, she said “Last candidate statements.” I guess that refers to the free ad time the candidates get. (See I told you this was a bad idea.) I guess I just wanted it to be over. Wishful thinking on my part….

And last but least, stuff about character:

Rudy: I am not a crook. My awkward laugh should prove that I’m not on the take from mobsters in Dubai…

Keyes: “Be authentic about who you are.” Yes. If you’re crazy, let everyone know.
Oh, and he brings up abortion because even republicans in Iowa don’t seem to care much about it any more. Keyes is the first person to question another candidate about it. I find that interesting.

Mitt: Keyes just said something about me, and I don’t care.
Mitt finally invokes the name of both Reagan and GW Bush. Only took an hour and a half.

It’s here that my DVR quits. They went over. Shockeroo. Fortunetely, I had the wherewithal to record the post-debate wrap up.

Freddy Thompson: Should we nuke Iran? Do you believe the intel that you’ll get as president? Freddy blames bureaucrats. I’m tired.

More video now. I’m not gonna comment on them. They’re monumentally stupid.

At this point I’m officially fast forwarding through to see exactly how long this goes on. Ah Jeezes. 12 more minutes. I’m gonna go dream about this a little and come back to this tomorrow… Man, do I not want to dream about Mitt Romney. Let’s hope my sleep is Tancredo-lishus!

OK. I’m awake and have recovered enough energy to watch the rest of the debate. I looked for any coverage that might bother to point out that Fred Thompson was talking out of his butt when he said that 40% of Americans pay no taxes, and instead found USA Today reporting that he won the debate! Way to go McPaper! A big hand for our free and watchful media everybody!

OK. I’m back now for the final twelve minutes. Thank God for DVR’s. I never would have made it in one sitting…

Huckster gets asked about his faith and how it changes his policies. He sounds like a hybrid breeding project between Jesus and Thomas Jefferson as he avoids the question.

Mitt is asked whether it’s more important to be fiscally or socially conservative and answers with a question that only he laughs at. Life just seems like an inside joke to him.
He then goes on to defray issues about his religion by saying that his official religion is “Conservatism.” (No, nobody really said that, but somebody should…)

Thunkin’ Dunter is asked the same question and is caught either sleeping or thinking about someone else. He’s so dull except for variations of his name. Hunkin’ Thunder is what I’d go by if I were him…

7:40-something. I’ve stopped caring. All times are unofficial from this point

Last pointless video. Mittster repeats the litany that Judges shouldn’t be allowed to judge. Thompson rails against consumerism and sets off irony alarms everywhere.

Achmadinijihad goes into a clash of civilization diatribe about Iraq. He was asked why his website only says five sentences about Iraq. He is given thirty seconds to explain this. Honest.

Ron Paul is called a “revolutionary” by the moderator. Look lady, just because someone’s ideas won’t work, doesn’t make them new.

McCain talks about Compromise and how he just looked up what the word meant.

Biggest laugh of the night comes when Carolyn asks the candidates to give new year’s resolutions to other candidates. We start with Alan Keyes… this should be good.

Alan resolves to keep repeating the same sentence he’s spouted all night.
McCain: “Lets resolve not to accuse each other of a lack of patriotism.” Why are new year’s resolutions so hard to keep?
Huckster: Responds to the wrong question. Covers with a “Joke-toid” A word I just made up for something that really isn’t a joke, but political candidates will laugh at nonetheless.
Mitttster resolves to slander democrats.
Fred also answers the wrong question
Achminidinijihad tries a bit late to ask Huckster a question. “Whoops! I forgot I’m polling at zero percent, and that I should attack the new front-runner. Mulligan!”
He can’t even get the question into his 15-second time frame, let alone the answer. We just move on.

“Just move on” is an accurate theme for the evening. It’s almost like everyone has just agreed that nobody is watching this debate (except poor me!) and let’s just get it over with. It’s amazing how many times rebuttals were just skipped, time was called and uncomfortable silences were just ignored and the next question asked. Even the paper sponsoring the debate really didn’t give any coverage to it the day after. They’d just moved on to the Democrats. So sad.

Ron Paul resolves to read the Constitution.
Thunk Dunk resolves to buy American.
Rudy resolves to not be pessimistic and reminds us about 9-11.

And thank God we’re out! Why in hell did I ever agree to do this! Never again! This is… Oh crap, I promised to do the Democrats tomorrow. Nuts.

Oh, and as for post-show spin CSPAN-2 actually wasn’t bad. They showed some of the FOX post-show spin and pointed out the errors Fox made. Not that it will make a difference.
See you next week with a belated Democrat’s debate diary.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Weird Cartoon "History" of Mormonism

Well, this must be true, since it's a cartoon...
No, I didn't produce this, nor do I know who did, but it is so high on the unintentional comedy scale, I had to blog it for posterity. Warning, this will likely offend anyone who is Mormon... or... human...
And speaking of Mitt Romney and unintentional comedy, I'm going to be blogging a running diary of tonight's Republican debate! So look for that in the next day or so.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My Daddy Plays the Ukulele

So here's my entry for the Bushman World Ukulele Video Contest, and I thought I'd share it with you. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

If Jesus Were Here

Here's some more video for you. I hope to put up chords and lyrics later this week.
Oh, and if you want to see more and vote for Winlar's Internet stardom, go to

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Seventy Freakin' Beers

All right. So there’s an email circulating that makes a very bogus argument supporting Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, so I felt the need to refute a little bit. (Or a lot) It’s a lengthy read, but I tried to keep it entertaining. The pervasive email is first, with my comments in purple prose as usual, then I have a counter-metaphor right after, plus some comments.
Anyway, here’s the original email:

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. The fifth would pay $1. The sixth would pay $3. The seventh would pay $7. The eighth would pay $12. The ninth would pay $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59. So, that's what they decided to do.
(Quick Winlar note. I honestly have no idea if this scenario is accurate. I couldn't find any source to corroborate using such a simplistic breakdown. It’s certainly spin to some extent. The implication is that 40% of the US population pays no income tax, which my IRS auditor insists just isn’t true.)

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers,' he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.' Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so: The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings). The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings). The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings). The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings). The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings). The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
(Winlar note here. Yeah, I know. This comes out to $79) See below.)

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!' 'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!' 'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!' 'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
(OK. Another jump in. This “The rich may get up and leave” argument always strikes me as an odd bluff, because quite frankly, where the heck are they really gonna go? England? Canada? If they don’t like the tax rate here, are they ever in for a shock! They’re going to go down to Mexico? South America? Then why are they so afraid of Mexico coming up here? I’ve never had this sufficiently explained.)

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. Professor of Economics University of Georgia

(Very important! This article was NOT written by David R. Kamerschen! He’s denied it. So have all the other PhD’s to whom it’s been accredited.
So apologies to him. Nobody knows who wrote this. Probably not a PhD or anyone who can add to 80.)

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible

(OK, and I’ll comment on this tagline as well real quick. It’s the equivalent of saying “If you don’t agree with me, you must be stupid.” Sure seems to close the door to any debate and subsequent education. Where does one even begin to enlighten such a closed-minded individual? Well, right here.)

Here’s a better story. (by Winlar)

10 guys go into a bar where beers are a buck a pop. That’s a really good price for beer. God bless America.

The first four guys have to work in the morning, so they each only have a tiny sip of beer. (about 5 thousandths of a beer, if you’re being scientific. Get your eye-dropper out and try this at home!)

The fifth and sixth have to drive, so they have 2.3 beers each. Probably more than they should, but they are large men and have full stomachs, so I guess it’s OK.

The seventh and eighth guys knock off an even 6 pack each.

The ninth guy slays a half-rack, plus half another beer.

Leaving the tenth guy to polish off… 70.88 beers. Which he does. It’s freakin’ amazing! Nobody needs that much beer, nobody should drink that much beer, and… good god, the dude just polished of seventy freakin’ beers!

So then it’s time to pay up the tab.

For some reason the 10th guy throws in 59 bucks. 83 cents a beer. Does he think he’s getting a discount for buying in bulk? I dunno.
The 9th guy pays 18 bucks. $1.44 a beer
The 7th and 8th guys pay a total 19 bucks $1.58 a beer
The 5th and 6th guys pay a total 4 bucks. 87 cents a beer.
The 1st through 4th guys had so little beer that their cost was incalculable. They do chip in for the tip though, and EVENLY SPLIT THE SALES TAX. This is important. These guys DO CHIP IN THEIR SHARE.

Now here’s the weird part. At this point, the bartender inexplicably gives them 20 dollars back, even though the bar tab was actually $103 and the group ALREADY OWES 400 DOLLARS, that they’ll likely just ask their children to pay. But I digress.

So they did some fuzzy math and determined that now they’d split it this way.

10th guy 49 bucks (69 cents a beer. Keep in mind that it’s DOLLAR beer night.)
9th guy 14 bucks (89 cents a beer)
7th and 8th paid 14 bucks total. (89 cents a beer)
5th and 6th 2 bucks (47 cents a beer)
1st through 4th continued to look on with unbridled sobriety.

(Again, yeah, this comes out to 79 bucks, but I’m not the idiot who did the original math in the first parable. Blame them.)

Wow! This was cool! Nobody was paying full price for beer! Sure, the beer had to be watered down, and fear that the beer would run out caused federal agents to wiretap the bar, and they tortured a couple guys for no real good reason, but I’d say it was a pretty good deal.

Except the 10th through 5th guy decided that it was unfair that the first four guys paid nothing. (Even though they actually did, in fact, pay something. I can’t stress this enough.)

“There’s 2 hundredths of a beer missing! (Even though it wasn’t) Why should I be paying for their endless sipping?” Slurred the 10th man. Again, how he is even able to stand at this point is a wonder. 70 freakin’ beers!!!

“We’ve been pouring your beer all night.” Replied the first four men. “I mean, without our pouring, you wouldn’t have been able to drink the 99.98 beers you all had tonight. Especially you and your 70 beers. We’ve been propping you up!” (Ah! Mystery solved!) “Who has time to drink when we’re so busy pouring? The only drops we get are the ones that ‘trickle down’ out of your glass!” (See how the author got ‘trickle down’ in there? That, my friends, is creativity and wit…) “It’s mostly backwash. Besides, we actually did chip in, it’s just that our total came to less than a cent, so…”

“Deadbeats! Everyone should kick in 10 bucks each! We’re all sitting in the same bar aren’t we? Fair is fair!” said one of them, probably not the 10th guy because, come on, how can he even do math at this point? Let’s say it was the 8th guy. He hasn’t done much so far.

“Yes! A flat tax-- er, payment system for our beer. Yeah. That’s it. Who cares how much you consumed! It’s the privilege of sitting in the bar you should pay for!” said, I dunno, the 7th guy?

“The privilege of watching you slam 70 beers?” Said guy 2.

“Yeah, love it or leave it!” said, let’s say the 6th guy.

“But we already paid a cover charge at the state and local level,” said guys one through 4, the metaphor starting to break down all over the place.

“Illegal immigrants!! It’s all the fault of illegal immigrants!” said… we’ll go with number 9 this time.

“My great grand-parents were born in this bar! I’m not going anywhere.” Shouted the 1st through 4th with a concerted voice, that, were this not just a metaphor, would be completely impossible for the segment of the populace they represent. Would that they could. Oh would that they could...
“There are no illegal immigrants in this metaphor!”

“It’s a bar! Who is washing the dishes then?”

“Good point,” everyone agreed.

Suddenly in a drunken rage, the 10th man jumped on a table. “Cheese sticks!” He screamed! “Cheese sticks! I must have some cheese sticks!”

And so they invaded Iraq.


So what have we learned?

One, we learned that the metaphor plays both ways. Sure, it’s unfair that one guy pays more than everyone else, but it’s also unfair the one guy HAS more than everyone else. And, if you gain nothing else from this parable, it’s that the wealthiest guy is paying less than a buck a beer. Much less after the tax cut.

And that’s if we honestly believe that the system really breaks down like that, but it doesn’t. Warren Buffett expressed outrage that his 60k a year secretary pays the same tax rate he does. He, who is worth in excess of 50 billion dollars. (He pays taxes on his salary of $46 million) A rate of 17.7 percent. The high end tax rate is supposed to be 35%, but I guess only suckers pay that. Kudos to Mr. Buffett for showing his outrage to this:
(At a $4600 a plate political fundraiser no less. Gee, there’s a level of political involvement we can all take part in! Much cheaper than the $35,000 needed just to get on the Republican ballot in ONE STATE. Yes. The more money you have, the more democracy you get. So let’s not take income disparity too lightly.)

And, lest anyone gripe about the 35% high end tax, did you know that in 1939 it was as high as 75%? That it soon after went to 91%? That it stayed there until 1964? But then again, that was different than now. There was a war on then… on two fronts… and… Do you see why I mentioned Iraq at the end? Well, anyway the point being is that the nation didn’t collapse. In fact we won a world war, became a superpower, and created network television! All despite Eisenhower’s socialist leanings.

This metaphor gets even worse when it’s a hundred guys in the bar. Then 1 guy (this time one percent of the US population.) drinks 38 beers while 40 guys share one fifth of a beer. The thought of sharing one fifth of a beer with forty guys makes me downright suicidal. One half the country has but 2.8% of the wealth.

And before I hear those arguments about “The wealthy deserve their money because they work harder than everyone else, and who are you to dispute what is clearly God’s will,” Let me just say “shut it!” That might have been true in hunter-gatherer societies, but we’re like 4 economic systems beyond that already. Yes, some of the wealthy are innovative industrious people, but others are Congressmen, television executives and Paris Hilton. There is no correlation between societal worth and income. Let’s stop relegating cops, fire fighters and school teachers to second-class citizenship because they simply aren’t greedy enough.

Lastly, I'm sure that someone will make the specious argument that I think everyone should make the same amount of money in this country. Uh, no. I'm no Communist, I'm no Socialist, I'm a Capitalist and THE PRICE OF A BEER IS A DOLLAR!!! The tab won't get paid if the people drinking the most are getting the biggest discount and paying less than cost. That's bad business plain and simple.

Other various problems I have with the “Bar Stool Economics” case. In no particular order:

-First off, the USA is not a bar. Germany, now there's a bar! (Italy btw is a bistro, Turkey is a great little out of the way place that nobody knows about, and Mozambique, oddly enough, is a Chinese take-out place.) America is more like a... gay rodeo for reasons I won't go into right here.

-The article focuses on only federal income taxes, not state and local taxes, property taxes, sales tax, etc. In the state of Washington, the poorest 20% pay 17.1% of their incomes in state taxes. The wealthiest 1% pays 3.6% of their incomes.
Plus, every time federal taxes are cut, states pick up the slack, so in this way the bottom 4 are indeed paying for that 20% cut.
And all of this egregiously leaves out the skewed rate of taxes on investment as opposed to earnings.
But I'm not going to spend a lot of time delving into the simplistic math of the original metaphor, as the original author (whoever that may be) didn't either.

-Again, the a general implication that 40 percent of the US population just sits around in a bar all day drinking and not paying for it. That's kind of insulting to... everybody. There should be some mention that the first guy is working 14 hours a day at minimum wage and really isn't able to join his friends too often. Yes my friends, most of the poor work:

-When the 10th guy pukes, who cleans it up? (hint: It isn't the 10th guy. Second hint: It isn't the 9th guy.)

-In this scenario, one guy owns 78.7% of all stocks, mutual funds, and retirement accounts.

-Imagine that the owner, the bartender and the 10th guy are all the same guy. They get to set the bar hours, decide what drinks are served, set the prices, gut the environment and go to war with other bars. Now the metaphor rings closer to reality...

-In a real bar, the bartender doesn't collect the bar tab, then turn around and give most of the money back to one of the guys. Lord knows I have waited for this to happen. But government (the bartender) does exactly that and most of the money goes to that tenth guy. (And when government borrows, it borrows from that tenth guy too. It then pays interest to that tenth guy.)

-No tip? We're such a cheap country...

-When angry bikers attack the bar, it's always the first four guys who put their asses on the line to defend the bar, while the 9th and 10th guy cower under a bar stool.
(This wasn't always the case, even as far as just a generation ago. All four famous Kennedy sons served in the military, none of the 30 Kennedy cousins have.) Is the blood of soldiers not negotiable currency in this bar?

-Don't forget that half the tab goes to paying the bouncer. That's what we're putting into defense. He keeps the guys from other bars from coming in and taking all the 10 guys' money. Hmm. Who benefits most from this?

-So, they beat up the 10th guy, then they can't pay the tab when he doesn't show? The flaw doesn't seem to be that they beat the guy up, but that they forgot to take his wallet. Easily corrected. (I mean, if they're going to equate an equitable tax structure with socialism, get it right!)

-America is spending too much time and money in the stinkin' bar. Liberals are just saying that it's time we spend more of both at home with the kids.

So there you have it. The nation's problems once again solved.

Yours truly,
Henry Kissinger

PS: Some links and thanks:

Thanks to everyone from these websites.
Keep fighting the good fight.
See you next week.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hillary, yeah, well...

So Hillary claims that her official campaign song is "You and I" by Celine Dion? Nonsense. I've come up with a better one that speaks more to the enthusiasm she brings to us an a candidate. Enjoy.

Hillary, Yeah, I Guess She’s OK

By Winlar™

A little poem about our front-runner and the enthusiasm she generates.

Winning in O-eight will surely not be hard
It’s like we Dems have a “Get out of jail free card!
(Or to be more precise, if you’re asking me
The card says, “Get out of Guantanamo free”)

The Repubs they seem screwed. Man, they really are reeling
So how should we capitalize on that feeling?
We could choose any candidate! Short, stout or gaunt
You name it! We’ll have any prez that we want!

So whom are we choosing? Who’s in the lead?
Who is the savior we all want and need?
Who is the one with the style and appeal, he’s
Her? That one? No kidding? Oh really?

She’s the frontrunner? The one we’ll salute?
The nasally voiced gal in the pantsuit?
The right-leaning one? The one so maligned?
She is the one we shall all get behind?

Well, not who I’d choose, but ya’ know, what the hey…
Hillary, Yeah, well I guess she’s OK.

She’s not one for whom y’all might flip your lid
She does not ignite passion like Monica did
She’s not one to rally the troops with her style
Or make a crowd cheer, or chest-thump, or, well, smile

With Hillary it’s more about “why not” than “why”
And hey, she is married to that other guy
And she’s also a woman, so that’s something new
She’s no Barbara Boxer, but yeah, well, she’ll do

And folks know her name, so that holds some cache
Hillary. Yeah. Well. I guess she’s OK

She can act nearly human and can act sort of smart
She served in the Senate and board of Wal-Mart
(A store that says “unions? No need for them!"
What a natural fit for all of us Dems!)

She’s so nearly watch-able and so nearly funny
And her perfume’s the sweet smell of big corporate money
And that money doth more than make up for her flaws
Despite running afoul of a few finance laws…

And that pro-corporate finance gives her the heft
To represent all of us folks on the LEFT?
It’s not what you do folks, it’s what you can pay
Hillary, Yeah, well I guess she’s OK.

So what if her votes on Iraq need some fixin’?
And she’s slightly less liberal than Richard M. Nixon?
And she hasn’t accomplished too much on the hill?
And seeing her face makes us scream out for Bill?

And she’s such a big target for all right-wing spin?
And by far the least likely of all Dems to win?
And half the land's citizens already hate her?
We just have to elect her; we don’t have to date her!

So we’ll nominate her. We’ll do the dance
Who needs someone folks like or who’s got half a chance?
We’re democrats. Losing’s not just a cliché
Hillary. Yeah. Well, I guess she’s OK.

I think that she’ll be quite a… yeah… nominee
She’ll battle hard with President Huckabee
Or Romney or Thompson, whoever is sent
To beat her and serve as our next president

Yes, I’m sure we’ll be glad we gave her our support
When the last of the lefties has left the Supreme Court
And they gleefully go and replace old Ruth Bader
With a cross between Pat Robertson, and Darth Vader

Who cares if the country might go straight to hell?
Hillary! Hillary! Yeah. Um. Oh well.

So let’s take the chance. Come on, what’s the harm?
She’s got all of Bill’s baggage, and none of his charm
The most pol’rizing figure in U.S. History
How she'll heal our poor, fractured nation’s a mystery

There are those both more liberal and less divisive,
Those with names heard with words not so derisive
Those who aren’t everyone’s favorite pincushion
But those aren’t the products we’re soon to be pushin?

We’re pushin’ Hillary! Without a doubt
She’s good as… someone we’re excited about
We can’t wait to put her fine name on the roster
And spending 4 more years discussing Vince Foster…

She fits our party like one bad toupee
Hillary. Yeah. Well, I guess she’s OK…

OK, now everybody chant!

Hillary. Yeah. Well, I guess she’s OK…


Hillary. Yeah. Well, I guess she’s OK…

Beltway insiders in the house! Let me hear ya!

Hillary. Yeah. Well, I guess she’s OK…

One more time! With passionate apathy!

Hillary. Yeah. Well, I guess she’s OK…
Hillary. Yeah. Well, I guess she’s OK…


Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Rapture Song!

The Rapture Song
By Winlar

The world is going all to heck
Right before our eyes
But if you’ve read your bible
It’s not much of a surprise

The universe unraveling
Just like we prophesied
You might try to save it
But I’m not going to try

A horrific time is coming
For all humanity
And I pray to God it’s something
That I’ll be alive to see

Wars will start and crops will fail
And heads will soon be severed
The tribulation’s on its way
And it’s the best thing ever!

It’s the end of the world
And I can’t wait!
It’s coming very soon
So don’t forget to mark the date
Bloodshed, smiting, it will be
Something to celebrate
It’s the end of the world
And I can’t wait

There’ll be a nuclear conflagration
Between us and Iran
It’ll kill millions of people
And I say bring it on
A big religious ho-down
What ever could be smarter?
Everybody wins you know
When everyone’s a martyr!

It’s the end of the world
And I can’t wait
Think about that ‘fore y’all go out and fornicate
Best get behind our president before it gets too late
It’s the end of the world
And I can’t wait

Satan and his evil
Will finally be captured
You may have heard about it
It’s this thing we call the rapture

After which comes famine, plague
And all sorts of diseases
But who cares ‘bout human suffering
If I get to meet Jesus?

It’s the end of the world and I can’t wait
Time to tear down that old wall
Between the church and state
God will take out his revenge on all the folks I hate
It’s the end of the world
And I can’t wait

Bridge 2
Global Warming Mr. Gore
I think it’s really neat
It shows God isn’t happy
And he’s turning up the heat

So don’t look to your science
To explain the rising water
Get used to high temperatures
Cause hell’s a whole lot hotter!

It’s the end of the world and I can’t wait
Oh the joy when this all goes, I know you can relate
It gets me so excited I wish I could masturbate
It’s the end of the world and I can’t wait

For 7 years, Christ won’t be here
On earth, which might seem odd
At such a time of crisis
He’d get the heck out of Dodge

But he’s taking all good Christians
Up to heaven in a bucket
And without all our compassion
All you folks down here can suck it!

It’s the end of the world and I can’t wait
So glad I only ever had sex just to procreate
God will save the righteous
So you’d better hope you’re straight!
It’s the end of the world and I can’t wait
Oh yeah
It’s the end of the world and I can’t wait!


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Like Beer More

I Like Beer More 3.1
By Winlar + GT

1. Babe, you’ve often asked me if there’s someone else I’m seein’
Looks like I’m cold busted, so I’d best come clean
When it comes to lovin’, well I have this other thing
And perhaps that is one reason why you never got that ring
I have another lover, to whom I often run
Tall and brown and gorgeous, and lots and lots of fun
Sharp and effervescent, smooth and oh so bold
At times downright bubbly, at other times, quite cold

You asked me not keep my feelings secret anymore
But there are feelings in me I can no longer ignore
Baby, you’re my angel, whom I worship and adore.
You know I love you baby…
But I like beer more


(Same as above but faster)
2. As humans go, you’re wonderful
Thoughtful and sublime
But compared to a tall cold frosty one
Well beer wins every time
Yeah hon, You come in second
To lager, stout and ale
Does that make me a jerk? Hell no,
It only makes me MALE

You asked me not to keep my feelings secret anymore
You know I love you baby…
But I like beer more

You’re a better nurturer
You’re a better giver
You’re better for my heart
And much better for my liver
I know you really love me
And I know you really care
Yet I still put beer above you…
Well, who said that life was fair!

3. Babe, to show I love you
Baby just you watch
I’ll give up wine I'll give up rum
I’ll even give up scotch
But I’ll still fool around with beer
Hell, I’m a man
She’s been there when I needed her
And she’s got a gorgeous can

I'm at a point in my life where I still want to explore
You know I love you baby…
But I like beer more

Bridge 2
You’re both darned attractive,
especially with your tops off
But beer is easier to take
when it decides to pop off
Oh darlin’ don’t you know how much
I love your sexy ways
But beer goes down more easily
When comes the end of day

4. So babe you know there's room
In our relationship for two
Let's spend the weekend together
Just you and me and brew
You’ll find this “open” relationship
Gives us both a lotta leeway
So how 'bout it? You me, St. Pauli Girl
Let’s have ourselves a three-way!

Hon this ain’t a contest, Though, yes I am keeping score
You get the silver medal, so you really can't be sore
We'll talk about it later, but right now, why don't you pour?

You know I love you baby.
But I like beer more


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


In honor of Republican candidates Huckabee, Tancredo and Brownback, a little song about the Earth's origins. At least the way they believe them.


By Winlar

I once met a man
Got me so pissed
Cm7 Bflat F
He inspired this song
Pratting along
...................Cm7.......Bflat F
'Bout how Darwin was wrong
Fm.............................................Cm Fm......Cm Fm....Gm
He argued against Darwin’s treatise the Origin of Species
Fm.............................................Cm Fm......Cm Fm..................Bflat
With ad-homonyms tantamount to chimps throwing their feces
But I had nothing to do
So I listened to
His verbal poo

God’s word to my ears
He said the earth’s age
Was 6 thousand years

So said the apostles
And he trusted them
More than he trusted fossils

He said radioactive dating was not fit to mention
And dinosaur bones were God’s trick to see if we were paying attention
And Carbon 14
Just a smoke screen
From the secular spin machine

I took up the fight
I said that can’t be right
What about the speed of light?

There’d be too much delay
Light from stars far away
Couldn’t get here by today

He laughed at my argument and he had just the debunker
"Don't you know light traveled faster back when it was younger?"
I practically drooled
They want this shit
Taught in our schools?

I was unaware
That our little talk
Could go downhill from there

But he went on and on
Floods and the tower
Of Babylon

I asked who was he to be spewing this crap like a geyser?
He said “Nice to meet you, I’m Bush’s new science adviser.”
That’s when I resigned
There’s no intelligence
In this design

You just cannot win
With them and their kin
Original spin

Why must they exist?
Man I’m so pissed


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dance Babies Dance!

Some fun this week. I let my wife choose what video to blog, and she of course chose this clip of the Kazoo! babies, Wily, Izzy and a cameo by Moxie. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

January 20th, 2009

OK. I must be getting good, because I got text and video in the same blog! I decided to post this song as it (mercifully) has an expiration date. FYI, the lyric as of today should read 488 days.

January 20th 2009

By Winlar + GT
When things are grey
There is a day
That I so dream about
It is a date
Which looms so great
That I just want to shout
I know it’s strange
What can time change?
The future is uncertain
But I do know
Of a really bad show
On which, soon we’ll draw the curtain

January twentieth, two-thousand nine
Don’t know what I’ll be doing, but I’ll be doing fine
Can’t wait to wake up Jan twenty-first
Things may not get better, but they can’t get much worse
Oh for that day, how I yearn and I pine
January twentieth, two-thousand nine

For eight year’s we've been trapped in a circus
Wondering which way next these goons would jerk us
And now the whole big tent is counting down
‘Til we finally see the last of all these scary, scary clowns

January twentieth, two-thousand and nine
Oh boy howdy, I’ll be having a good time
We’ll all be partying in all sorts of ways
In just Five-hundred and ninety-one days
Hope the world is still around by that time
January 20th 2009

Bridge 2
It’s like a sports event that isn’t any fun
But win or lose, at least it will be done
Our team is now just running out the clock
Because it’s win win win once we’re rid of this c*ck!

January twentieth, two-thousand nine
We’ll climb back this side of the sanity line
Neither of them can ever come back
It’s like a pre-planned impeachment combo heart attack
An exit strategy set up by God divine
January twentieth, two-thousand nine

Bridge 3
We’ll finally have an end to all the scandal
The extent of which, we still don’t have a handle
After eight years of cover-ups and vises
I’ll gladly welcome a blow-job as the nation’s greatest crisis!

January twentieth, two-thousand and nine
Though if they’d like to leave a little sooner that’d be fine
I’m sure we’ll handle the transition with class
On the way out, don’t let the door hit your ass!
Hope they’ve finally learned how to pull out on time
January 20th, 2009

Won’t it be great not to deal with these swine?
It would be nice if they’d just up and resign
Dear God I hope we choose much better next time
January 20th 2009!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Turn up your hearing aid

In case you haven't noticed, I'm updating the blog every Thursday now, hopefully with some video as well as creative wordigy. So check in each Thursday for something new.
This week, here's a song from my last show. Try to guess who it's written about!

Jesus Needs to Talk Louder

By Winlar + GT

Intro chords Dm, Dm7, Dm, Dm7

You say you bounce all your decisions off God
Yet the results strike everybody as odd
You say the lord chose you
And you couldn’t be prouder
But all these things the big guy tells you to do
Don’t make much sense so I think that you need to
Either turn up your hearing aid
Or Jesus needs to talk louder
You need to turn up your hearing aid
Or Jesus needs to talk louder

Dm,Dm7,Dm, Dm7 etc..
I think it’s strange that the advice that God’s giving
Ends up with multitudes no longer living
Yet you stand by your plan
And you couldn’t be stouter
Invasions, shock and awe and troop increases
Jesus said “peace” dickhead, not “left in pieces”
Either turn up your hearing aid
Or Jesus needs to talk louder

He blessed the peacemakers and blessed the meek
Gave unto Caesar, turned the other cheek
Of loving all mankind he’d boldly speak
Did you miss Sunday school that fuckin’ week?

He said to heal the sick and help the poor
Not send them off to fight a senseless war
And now I think he’s tellin’ you
To take a powder
Listen more closely and you’ll hear God saying
"Try a little more thinking and a little less praying"
Turn up your hearing aid
Or Jesus needs to talk louder
You need to turn up your hearing aid
Or Jesus needs to talk louder

Dm, Dm7, Dm, Dm7 to end....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Why is none of the Spilt Blood Blue?

Why is None of the Spilt Blood Blue?
By Winlar

The question that I ask of you
Why is none of the spilt blood blue?

In this land, it’s been decided
How the cit’zenry’s divided
Red blood for most, but for the few
Their special blood is colored blue

And so we live from day to day
Those of valued DNA
Enjoy the wealth, and power and gifts
While others do the heavy lifts

And on most days we don’t complain
We just get through the days campaign
Too busy working like a mule
To question why the blue bloods rule

Except today in foreign lands
Blood is spilt upon the sands
Noble blood, a sacred cost
Precious blood that is now lost

And I must ask as this thing of you
Why is none of the spilt blood blue?

I see this most colossal stain
Of heartache, loss and tragic pain
Soldiers many colors dead
But the bloodstain only red

We know where spoils are going to
Why is none of the spilt blood blue?

Who gains from this ugly war?
Is it our freedom to be poor?
Or is the battle just to help
Those already with great wealth

If so then, why is it true?
Why is none of the spilt blood blue?

Is there not one shred of guilt
When looking at the blood we’ve spilt?
That those who get the smallest slice
Are making all the sacrifice

The class that makes the greatest toil
Bears the burden, gets no oil
While those whose sons stay home and near
Have all to gain, and naught to fear

Don’t the rich have children too?
Why is none of the spilt blood blue?

I guess I’ll always find it strange
Though powerless I to make it change
The rich get rich the poor go die
While no one seems to question why

Questions which seem overdue
Why is none of the spilt blood blue?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Crazy Email Exchange From the Right

OK. So here's the deal with this blog. It's really long. But here's what happened. I get this email from a friend of mine that had this interesting article from the Observer about wealth inequity in the USA. Very good article, so I reposted it below.
But then this guy replies all with a bunch of tired right-wing libertarian spin and mythology that I felt the need to reply to, so I did. But unlike the right wing guy (whose name I've withheld, unless I screwed up) I didn't just pop off a bunch of stereotypes from the top of my head, I actually researched and worked hard on my response, and since such things always seem wasted on the bullet-point bought and paid for patriots on the right, I thought I'd post it here too for posterity.
It's really a long read, so make sure you have nothing to do for a while, but I think some of the points are overdue to be made, so I hope somebody enjoys them.

Here's the original emailed article:

Welcome to Richistan, USA

Unbelievable as "Buffet" said he paid only 17.7% income tax while his secretary paid 30%.
Published on Sunday, July 22, 2007 by the Observer/UK

Welcome to Richistan, USA
The American Dream of riches for all is turning into a nightmare of inequality. But a backlash is brewing.

by Paul Harris

NEW YORK - On the surface, Mark Cain works for a time-share company. Members pay a one-off sum to join and an annual fee. They then get to book holiday time in various destinations around the globe.

But Solstice clients are not ordinary people. They are America's super-rich and a brief glance at its operations reveal the vast and still widening gulf between them and the rest of America.

Solstice has only about 80 members. Platinum membership costs them $875,000 to join and then a $42,000 annual fee. In return they get access to 10 homes from London to California and a private yacht in the Caribbean, all fully staffed with cooks, cleaners and 'lifestyle managers' ready to satisfy any whim from helicopter-skiing to audiences with local celebrities. As the firm's marketing manager, Cain knows what Solstice's clientèle want. 'We are trying to feed and manage this insatiable appetite for luxury,' Cain said with pride.

America's super-rich have returned to the days of the Roaring Twenties. As the rest of the country struggles to get by, a huge bubble of multi-millionaires lives almost in a parallel world. The rich now live in their own world of private education, private health care and gated mansions. They have their own schools and their own banks. They even travel apart - creating a booming industry of private jets and yachts. Their world now has a name, thanks to a new book by Wall Street Journal reporter Robert Frank which has dubbed it 'Richistan'. There every dream can come true. But for the American Dream itself - which promises everyone can join the elite - the emergence of Richistan is a mixed blessing. 'We in America are heading towards 'developing nation' levels of inequality. We would become like Brazil. What does that say about us? What does that say about America?' Frank said.

In 1985 there were just 13 US billionaires. Now there are more than 1,000. In 2005 the US saw 227,000 new millionaires being created. One survey showed that the wealth of all US millionaires was $30 trillion, more than the GDPs of China, Japan, Brazil, Russia and the EU combined.

The rich have now created their own economy for their needs, at a time when the average worker's wage rises will merely match inflation and where 36 million people live below the poverty line. In Richistan sums of money are rendered almost meaningless because of their size. It also has other names. There is the 'Platinum Triangle' used to describe the slice of Beverly Hills where many houses go for above $10m. Then there is the Jewel Coast, used to describe the strip of Madison Avenue in Manhattan where boutique jewellery stories have sprung up to cater for the new riches' needs. Or it exists in the MetCircle society, a Manhattan club open only to those whose net worth is at least $100m.

The reason behind the sudden wealth boom is, according to some experts, the convergence of a new technology - the internet and other computing advances - with fluid and speculative markets. It was the same in the late 19th century when the original Gilded Age of conspicuous wealth and deep poverty was spawned by railways and the industrial age. At the same time government has helped by doling out corporate tax breaks. In the Fifties the proportion of federal income from company taxes was 33 per cent, by 2003 it was just 7.4 percent. Some 82 of America's largest companies paid no tax at all in at least one of the first three years of the administration of President George W Bush.

But who are the new rich? Some of the names are familiar, Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates and savvy stock investor Warren Buffett. But most are unknown, often springing from the secretive world of financial hedge funds. Men like James Simons, who took home compensation of $1.7bn last year. Last year the 25 top earning hedge fund bankers in the US earned an average of $570m each. The average US household income is $50,000.

It is such men - and they are usually men - who feed the outlandish luxury goods economy of Richistan. It is they who are responsible for the rebirth of the butler industry, which was all but dead in the Seventies and is now facing a shortage of trained staff. So keen is the demand that many can expect to earn a six-figure salary when they graduate from booming butler schools.

Then there is the runaway feeder-industry of luxury consumer items. The new ultra rich turn up their noses at Rolexes; the sought-after brand is Franck Muller, which sells a high-end timepiece for $736,000. Or try a Mont Blanc pen, encrusted in jewels, for $700,000. Louis Vuitton's most exclusive handbag sells for $42,000. Only 24 were ever made and none ever touched a shelf as all were pre-sold to Richistani clients.

In places such as Manhattan and Los Angeles, restaurants and bars outdo themselves in excess. New York's Algonquin Hotel has a $10,000 'martini on a rock' (it comes with a diamond at the bottom of the glass). City eateries sell burgers for more than $50. One offers a $1,000 omelet. In Los Angeles there is a craze for Bling mineral water - at $90 a bottle.

Then there are the boats. The private yacht industry in America has been caught in an arms race of size and luxuriousness. So far, there has been a clear winner: Oracle-founder Larry Ellison's 450ft water palace, the Rising Sun. More than 80 rooms on five stories and a landing craft that carries a Jeep, a basketball court doubling as a helipad and a fully-equipped cinema.

Now an Oregon-based company is taking things further: private submarines. An estimated 100 or so private subs are now drifting around the world's oceans. Then there are the rockets - several notable billionaires are now leading the way in private exploration of space. One of them is Robert Bigelow who has ploughed $500m into trying to build an inflatable space hotel. A miniature prototype model was successfully launched and tested last month. In a scene that perhaps James Bond would find familiar, armed guards now patrol the fences of Bigelow Aerospace's headquarters wearing badges decorated with an alien as their corporate logo.

But this is not just a world of riches gone mad that the rest of America can ignore. The growth of such a large super-rich class, coupled with a deepening poverty in many communities, is starting to tear at the fabric of society. Even some of the most wealthy - like Gates and Buffett - have spoken openly of the needs to address the massive 'inequality gap' that they have come to exemplify. In effect, some of the very richest Americans are calling for themselves to be taxed. In a speech last month Buffett - the third richest man in the world - pointed out that his tax rate was 17.7 per cent of his income while his secretary was taxed at 30 per cent. 'Many of the new super-rich are looking long term at the world and they see a collapsing US education system and health-care system and the disappearance of the middle class and they realize: this is bad for everybody,' said Frank.

Defenders of low tax for the very rich point to the theory of trickledown economics - the spending power of the rich benefiting the poor. But while the super-rich have boomed, the earning power of the average and poor citizen has not nearly matched the performance of the elite. In 2005 the top one per cent of earners in the US gained 14 per cent in income in real terms, while the rest of the country gained less than one per cent. The situation is especially bad for the severely poor - those living at half the poverty level - whose numbers are at a 32-year high. The rich are getting richer but are not bringing everyone else with them. 'If you look at the impact of the last 20 years it seems pretty clear that trickledown just does not work,' said Paul Buchheit, economics professor at Chicago's Harold Washington College.

There are some signs of a change in attitude. Recent huge Wall Street flotations such as the listing of private equity giants like Blackstone have created a push in Congress for taxes on the instant billionaires they have created. Scandals of excess such as Enron and WorldCom and the trial of Conrad Black have been high-profile. But few politicians, needing campaign cash from new millionaires, will get far preaching higher tax. Calls for more equality tend to have come from men like Buffett and Gates whose fortunes are so enormous that a little extra tax would make no difference. Bush has pushed to phase out taxes like the estate tax, which benefit only the rich. 'I don't see it changing. No matter what administration is in power,' said Buchheit.

But many think it must change. To a large degree, the debate over the booming lives of the super-rich is an argument about the American soul. It is a country that has always worshiped wealth, where the creation of a fortune was seen as virtuous and a source of pride.

But now that huge wealth has started to squeeze the 'middle class' out of existence, leaving the haves and have-nots in very separate worlds. It is possible that political will may develop to address the problem or that the problem will correct itself. The notorious end of the Gilded Age came in the panic of 1893 that sank America into depression.

Frank believes the signs of a coming storm are there. 'The trick is to spot when prosperity turns to excess,' he said. 'When a large amount of people make a lot money very quickly it's a sign you are near the top of the market.'

In a world of mega-yachts, private submarines and space hotels, that peak might be close at hand. And it's a long way down.

Billionaire's row

  • There are 7.5 million households in America worth up to $10m. A further two million are worth $10m-$100m and thousands are worth more than $100m.
  • There is now a two-year waiting list for 200ft yachts. If put end to end, the boats on that list, which cost $50m each, would be 15 miles long.
  • Sebonack Golf Club in the Hamptons, Long Island, charges $650,000 for membership. That doesn't include the $12,000 annual dues, or tips for caddies.
  • Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have a private Boeing 767.
  • John D. Rockefeller was America's first billionaire. Adjusted for inflation, he had $14bn - less than the net worth of each of Sam Walton's five children today. There were 13 US billionaires in 1985. Now there are more than 1,000. There are as many millionaires in North Carolina as in India.
  • 'Affluent' is Richistani for 'not really rich'. According to Frank, you need about $10m to be considered entry-level rich.

© Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

OK, so then here is the text of the original response from this guy:

That is a pretty interesting story Jeff.

A lot of bitching, no suggestions on how to improve the lot of others,

So what is the point other then sour grapes?

Shall we assure no new wealthy people by taking them out of the country?

Is this the day before the fall of Rome?

I personally know one man who has two jet planes.

He owns Godwin Pumps of America, about a $200,000,000.00 a year company.

We are a distributor of his.

Started it with his dad 31 years ago.

Two man operation, now multinational, privately owned by John, and only John.

Taxing him or his company into the cheep seats won't help anyone.

He works about 70 hours a week 52 weeks a year.

So maybe its ok for guy's like him to be rich, just the investment bankers should be hosed by the taxes, right? So who makes the choice as to who gets hosed and who doesn't"?

Let the wealthy have their cash.

Sending them off shore won't help us.

Maybe a lesson on work ethics would help some of those bitching about the more wealthy people in the country.

As a member of a family business, I can tell you that the Government gets an a lot of cash from us. That is great and as it should be.

Kind of makes me sad, that there are those who would tell me that if I really bust my ass and make it really big, that I should give it all away.

The inheritance tax is a swell topic too.

Lets see? I work my ass off, I croke, I give it to the government, The family and employees can go suck ass. Let some one else develop a new business and tax stream. The Government will benefit from my death, and perhaps those who stayed home and watched the "Price is Right" while I worked my self to death, will also benefit. As for my kids, who have worked since before they were even legally allowed to, well, their related to me, so they can suck the same hind titty.

Remember the Beetles left England in the '60's , (Listen to the words to the TAX MAN.).

So what is the author saying?

Kill the rich?

Eat the Rich?

Stop the wealthy?

Stop the boat builders?

Stop the watch builders?

Everyone should make the same?

Everyone should pay the same?

I don't want to live in a socialist society, let alone a communist one.

What I do know is that some of their facts are shit, go to the NY times and check out JD Rockefeller, adjusted for inflation he is at $192 Billion net worth.

Except for those who were born into it, the rest of the new wealthy must have surely created their wealth through some sort of commerce.

If someone makes a bundle, they should pay their fair share and be allowed to live their life. If they chose to piss away their cash on hundred thousand dollar pens, then so be it, I am sure someone down the food chain will be happy to make the pens and sell them to the rich.
The only thing is.... Must successful people aren't stupid.

And here's my researched response. (Lots of work just to get to there. Thanks for sticking with this!)

Mr. Name Witheld,
Since by your own words you say that you missed the point of this article, I feel the need to point it out more specifically. Apologies for taking so long to post this response, but fact-checking is time consuming.
In short, the article points out that the gap in incomes is increasing in America, with much more wealth in fewer hands. The gap pointed out is not the gap between rich and poor, but the gap between the extremely rich and the middle class. In an already divided society, this is not a positive thing for reasons I will elucidate below.
Your reply contains numerous factual, logical and spelling errors which I feel the need to also point out, as they repeat several oft-quoted "facts" about our society that simply aren't true.
I've made comments point by point, in red. Please read on.

On 7/23/07, Name Withheld < > wrote:

That is a pretty interesting story Jeff.

Indeed. We're agreed on that.

A lot of bitching, no suggestions on how to improve the lot of others

It is not the job of newspaper reporters to solve the problems of the U.S. economy.

So what is the point other then sour grapes?

than To point out income disparity in the United States? Perhaps to start this conversation right here? Raising awareness of a problem is often the first step to solving it.

Shall we assure no new wealthy people by taking them out of the country?

I did not see a single reference in the article to that plan. Nor do I know of anyone who is taken remotely seriously who has suggested any such thing.

Is this the day before the fall of Rome?

Um, Rome fell in 476 CE. It was a corrupt, slave-owning non-democracy, so I dearly hope you're not comparing it to the United States of America.

I personally know one man who has two jet planes.

I know many families who live below the poverty line. 12 percent of all citizens in the US do, compared to 6.5 percent in France and 4 percent in Austria.

He owns Godwin Pumps of America, about a $200,000,000.00 a year company.

Good for him. The current poverty line is $20,650 for a family of four. 37 million people in this country live below it.

We are a distributor of his.

Started it with his dad 31 years ago.

Two man operation, now multinational, privately owned by John, and only John.

They sound like decent guys. The kind of guys who see the value of paying their fair share of taxes. The kind of guys who realize that with their wealth comes great privilege to be thankful for. The kind of guys who see that such wealth would be impossible to amass and maintain without the cops on the street, the teachers in the schools, the workers in their factories, the soldiers on our borders, the people who pick their food... In short, they realize, surely, that America is a team effort, and without all the role players in our society, such wealth could not exist.

Taxing him or his company into the cheep seats won't help anyone.

Cheap. Was that suggested? Or was the suggestion merely that he pay the same tax rate as his secretary? The same percentage as his custodian?

He works about 70 hours a week 52 weeks a year.

As do many people who make considerably less. The overwhelming majority of people on welfare work. The primary cause of poverty in America is not laziness or irresponsibility, but low wages.

So maybe its ok for guy's like him to be rich, just the investment bankers should be hosed by the taxes, right? So who makes the choice as to who gets hosed and who doesn't"?

Paying the same tax rate as others is not "getting hosed." It's called equality.

Wealth gives one more power, more rights, and more freedom than others in our society. I think it's good business to charge more for those who get more. If OJ were poor is he a free man today? If you want a better chance to skate on a murder conviction, I don't think paying a higher tax rate is too much to ask.

Who has more available tax breaks and options for avoiding taxes? The investment banker or the single mother who works at Burger King? Which one is more likely to be heard by their congressman when asking for a specific tax exemption which favors them?
If anyone is getting "hosed" it's those who can't put their money into overseas accounts, those who don't have access to creative accountants, and those who can't be paid in stock rather than wages to defer paying any of it to the government. Take a look at IRS guidelines. The wealthy have numerous more options to avoid paying their fair share than the middle class or working poor have. And it is naive to think that they don't use them and use them regularly.

Let the wealthy have their cash.

By all means. The acquisition of wealth is the fuel our society runs on, but let's be fair about it. If the tax structure of the country isn't fair, then our society won't function properly. If Buffet's secretary is paying 30 percent, so should he. Perhaps more so, since he gains more from society than she does, and he won't feel the hit nearly as badly as she does.

Sending them off shore won't help us.

Again, no one has suggested this. This is the land of the free, and anyone who plays by the rules and is tolerant of democracy is more than welcome to stay.
But, quite frankly, (and this is purely my opinion) if someone is willing to renounce their American citizenship to save a few bucks, well, I don't care if they take the next boat out of here. Just provides more America for those of us real patriots who pay our taxes and have the good sense to realize that there's a fee for the privilege of living in the greatest country on earth. If you want to play at the country club, you have to pay your dues.

And while we're at it, let's stop rewarding tax cheating corporations. Halliburton is now headquartered in Dubai, yet they still get billions in US government contracts. Is that fair? Would it not be in the nation's better interest to give contracts to American companies who pay taxes?

Maybe a lesson on work ethics would help some of those bitching about the more wealthy people in the country.

A private in the US Army makes $15,612 per year. Lazy bastards.
The ultra-wealthy aren't stretching away from the lazy. They're stretching away from the school teachers, custodians, cab drivers, policemen, and firemen. In short, they're stretching away from the hard-working folks who make this country go. The argument that work ethics are the reasons these people aren't mega-rich is an offensive one.
Perhaps the greatest misconception bandied about in this great country is that the poor are there because they are lazy. The truth, it seems, can not be repeated enough. THE MAJORITY OF POOR PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WORK. Many work two or three part-time jobs. Work 70 hours at minimum wage, and you'll find your enthusiasm for free markets waning.
A few more facts. A majority of welfare families, fifty-six percent, get off welfare within 12 months. 70 percent pull themselves off the roles in under 2 years. 85 percent get off it within 4 years. Sounds pretty industrious to me. Just like a car accelerating , it takes more work to get from zero to thirty than to get from 30 to 60.
And to shine light on one more welfare myth, the average welfare family is exactly the same size as the average non-welfare family. So no, they aren't getting above the poverty line by simply having more children. Yes, there are too many children who need welfare, but 70% of them are in families of 2 kids or less.

As a member of a family business, I can tell you that the Government gets an a lot of cash from us. That is great and as it should be.

Actually, it's not as it should be, and here's another point you might be missing. Your family business is likely paying a greater share of the tax burden because so many giant corporations and billionaires aren't.

Small business does take it on the chin right now, and that's wrong. But to blame it on welfare cheats is missing the point entirely. Welfare cheats may cost us millions, but corporate cheats cost the country billions. We need to point the blame UP the wealth ladder, not down.

Kind of makes me sad, that there are those who would tell me that if I really bust my ass and make it really big, that I should give it all away.

People like... Jesus. But I digress. Good point. You should give up. Don't try to make it big. I'm sure somebody else will make it big for you, and you can look to them for a job.

If you don't want to make it big, don't make it big.
But when and if you do make it big, clearly you won't have to "give it all away." If this were true, making it big would be a lot easier since no one would be trying, and judging by the long lines auditioning for American Idol, this isn't true. One reason that a graduated income tax works so well is that, when it comes down to it, people will gladly trade a higher tax bracket for the perks and power that go with being at the top of the pyramid. And if someone doesn't want to pay that higher percentage of taxes, somebody else will. That's pure capitalism. Supply and demand.

The inheritance tax is a swell topic too.

Personally, I'd rather talk about sports, but since you brought it up...

The Estate tax has been around since 1916 so has been in place through unprecedented economic growth. The theory behind it is to try to prevent certain families from perpetually dominating American wealth and power. It is an attempt to prevent a "ruling class" in America, as such a class is anathema to democracy. It is a very Jeffersonian idea that the "accident of one's birth" should not determine their standing in society, but rather their merit.
Has it succeeded? Certainly not, looking at the Kennedy's and Rockefellers and Bushes. But I have trouble completely condemning it. The fact that we have aristocratic families in America is due more to the fact that it's all too easy to get around the inheritance tax and always has been.
I was born the son of a school teacher, and I'm a school teacher. If through the accident of my birth I were a born a Kennedy, I'd be in congress. If I were born a Trump, I'd be a jerk. But that's not the way it should be. The inheritance tax is an attempt to change the fact that generations gain wealth through inheritance and not through effort. Is it perfect? By no means. But to blame it for all of our economic woes is simply misguided.

Lets see? I work my ass off, I croke, I give it to the government, The family and employees can go suck ass. Let some one else develop a new business and tax stream. The Government will benefit from my death, and perhaps those who stayed home and watched the "Price is Right" while I worked my self to death, will also benefit. As for my kids, who have worked since before they were even legally allowed to, well, their related to me, so they can suck the same hind titty.

Croak. Then you give a percentage to the government. You're exempt unless you're worth more than $2 million. And if you die after 2010, you'll pay nothing. It's already ending.

As for who benefits from your death, it's mainly the US Military, which accounts for about half of our current discretionary spending. (More on that anon) Welfare takes up about ONE PERCENT of the federal budget. One penny of every tax dollar. So it's very unfair to blame anyone watching the Price is Right. Less than $500 billion dollars was spent on the AFDC program (What most call "welfare") between 1964 and 1994. By comparison, 750 billion has already been spent in Iraq, and that figure will likely soon top $1 trillion.

Andrew Carnegie once said "I should rather leave my children a curse as the almighty dollar."

Well, there's really no danger of that. What we're actually leaving our children is a national debt now totaling more than 9 trillion dollars. Some perspective on that, if one were to pay a dollar every second, day and night, the debt (not counting interest) would be paid off in a mere 261,000 years. So whether our children pay the tax when we die, or through their lives, that money will have to come from somewhere.

Remember the Beetles left England in the '60's , (Listen to the words to the TAX MAN.).

Beatles. Unless the insect left England. It's a play on the word beat. Get it?

John Lennon is now the standard bearer for unrestricted capitalism? I can't begin to tell you how many things are wrong with that.
Paul McCartney currently resides in England btw, and was recently made a knight of the realm. So perhaps news of his leaving was premature. He is still the wealthiest man in rock and roll, despite British socialism, national health care, and all that.
As for Ringo, no one has ever cared about Ringo.

So what is the author saying?

Kill the rich?

Those words are not used in the article.

Eat the Rich?

Also not used.

Stop the wealthy?

Control F is a cool function on many web browsers. It allows you to find any occurrence of a word or phrase on an entire web page. A quick control F of this page shows that those three words were first, and only used in your reply.

Stop the boat builders?

See note above.

Stop the watch builders?

Again, only you seem to be saying that.

Everyone should make the same?

This smacks to me of a "straw man argument." You create a straw man, put words in their mouth, then shoot down those words.

Everyone should pay the same?

The word you're searching for is "fairness." I think what's being said here is that, if you get more from society, you should pay more into it. That's a capitalist notion if I've ever heard one.

I don't want to live in a socialist society, let alone a communist one.

A great fallacy of logic is the "slippery slope argument." Such arguments as, "If the wealthy are asked to pay equitable tax rates, a Soviet system becomes inevitable." A moment's thought shows the inanity of such thinking. There is no slippery slope. There are slopes, but plenty of standing points throughout.

I am not a socialist, nor a communist, and I would abhor America slipping into such a state, which is precisely why these income disparities must be kept in check.
Nothing causes revolution like massive income disparity. A certain amount of equality is necessary not only to make society properly function, but also to keep it from falling apart. Think of the Romanov's in Russia or Louis XVI in France. Such decadence while others suffered brought down their governments. Closer to home, riots in Watts, and Detroit stemmed from perceived unfairness, not because of too much equality.
Reform is needed to SAVE capitalism, not destroy it. Watching Paris Hilton throw million dollar parties while folks who actually serve a function in our society scrimp to send kids to college does nothing to strengthen the social fabric of our land. Dividing into two Americas, one for the rich and one for the rest, seems to be the direction we are heading and a form of capitalism that can not last.

What I do know is that some of their facts are shit, go to the NY times and check out JD Rockefeller, adjusted for inflation he is at $192 Billion net worth.

Having fact checked this response, this bears out. The author was careless with this particular side note.

Except for those who were born into it, the rest of the new wealthy must have surely created their wealth through some sort of commerce.

Why not have a strict inheritance tax, so that ALL create wealth through some sort of commerce?

If someone makes a bundle, they should pay their fair share and be allowed to live their life. If they chose to piss away their cash on hundred thousand dollar pens, then so be it, I am sure someone down the food chain will be happy to make the pens and sell them to the rich.

The point is not that wealth buys you a better pen.
Wealth buys political office. Wealth gives unfettered access to the corridors of power. Wealth gives greater power of speech. In short, wealth distorts the democratic ideal of "one man one vote." 5 corporations now control 90% of the media. There are now 68 lobbyists for every member of congress.
There are 435 members of the House and Senate. 123 of them made a million dollars or more last year. 43% of new congressmen are millionaires, compared to 1% of society. Is this an accurate slice of the American public? 60 million dollars to run for the Senate in New Jersey last go around by ONE SIDE.
That's not right. If we truly are to live in a democracy, the people in power should better reflect the demographics of the nation, seats in the halls of power should be much more attainable to those from working and middle class backgrounds, and our government needs to tax its people and spend its revenues more rationally and humanely. We need to live up to the American ideal of democracy. We can do better. That's what the article was about.

The only thing is.... Must successful people aren't stupid.

True. And most (not must) poor and middle class people aren't either. But not enough people of any class are aware of how inequitable our current situation is. That's what the point of the article is.
Greed cuts two ways. It drives our economy, but it can also be very destructive. I hope I've pointed out that greed, right now, is much more part of the problem, than it is the solution.

Kids go hungry in this land of ours every day. In the wealthiest country in the world, that shouldn't be. And $100,000 pens in the face of that point out the distorted priorities of our nation.

And lastly, since you want solutions, real quick, how about we start spending more on getting the 12 million kids in America growing up in poverty out of it by reapportioning some of the bloated defense department budget. (We'll still spend easily 5 times more on defense than any other country in the world.) Let's raise the federal minimum wage so that multi-state corporations can't get around paying it. Let's stop slashing tax rates for the top one percent of this country as if they are the ones suffering. Let's admit that trickle-down economics has never and does not now freakin' work. And most importantly, let's make ourselves AWARE of the real facts of wealth distribution in this nation, and put an end to the myths about rich and poor that serve no function in our discourse.

Thanks. I apologize for being so brief.

And that's it. So far no response. The right are so often silent when hit with facts. but I'll keep you posted if there are more replies.

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