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level_head July 31 2014, 21:34

Roaring Ambition

I’m sort of out of commission at the moment, and thus amendments must wait a day. But this writing is relevant, as one of the largest economic problems we face is the burden of a huge debt, now on its way to $18 trillion.

Can we pay down that debt?

The assumption is constant: No real federal spending reductions can be made. But this is simply not true — and we’ve succeeded before.

Much can be gained from the approach taken in 1921-1924, when Woodrow Wilson finally left office (almost two years after being disabled by a stroke), and Harding and Coolidge (who replaced Harding at his death) did an excellent job, cutting federal spending in half and tax rates by more than that.  From Wikipedia:

Economic policies

The 1920s was a decade of increased consumer spending and economic growth fed by supply side economic policy.[5] The post war saw three consecutive Republican administrations in the U.S. All three took the conservative position of forging a close relationship between those in government and big business. When President Warren Harding took office in 1921, the national economy was in the depths of a depression with an unemployment rate of 20% and runaway inflation. Harding signed the Emergency Tariff of 1921 and the Fordney–McCumber Tariff of 1922. Harding proposed to reduce the national debt, reduce taxes, protect farming interests, and cut back on immigration. Harding did not live to see it, but most of his agenda was passed by the Congress. These policies led to the “boom” of the Coolidge years.[6]

One of the main initiatives of both the Harding and Coolidge administrations was the rolling back of income taxes on the wealthy which had been raised during World War I. It was believed that a heavy tax burden on the rich would slow the economy, and actually reduce tax revenues. This tax cut was achieved under President Calvin Coolidge’s administration. Furthermore, Coolidge consistently blocked any attempts at government intrusion into private business. Harding and Coolidge’s managerial approach sustained economic growth throughout most of the decade. However, the overconfidence of these years contributed to the speculative bubble that sparked the stock market crash and the Great Depression.[7][8] The government’s role as an arbiter rather than an active entity continued under President Herbert Hoover. Hoover worked to get businessmen to respond to the crisis by calling them into conferences and urging them to cooperate. Hoover’s vigorous attempts to get business to end the depression failed.

When the income tax was established in 1913, the highest marginal tax rate was 7 percent; it was increased to 77 percent in 1916 to help finance World War I. The top rate was reduced to as low as 25 percent in 1925.

It CAN be done (and was fought against at the time, of course). We didn’t just reduce the deficit, we paid down the debt!

But now we live with an administration whose articulates that its grandest fiscal goal is to reduce the rate at which we are going further into debt. And this in the richest country and strongest economy in the world, though we’re about to lose both titles.

===|============== Keith DeHavelle

dsgood July 31 2014, 20:52

No subject

Wednesday July 30, 2014

"According to recordings of the teen's police interrogation, the boy mocked the attacks on the Boston Marathon and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut as 'pretty lame' and 'pathetic' and said he idolized one of the Columbine gunmen.
"However, his father told reporters that he does not believe his son would have carried out the plan and that there were no signs the teen was troubled."
Minnesota Daily (U of MN student paper; weekly during summer), July 30-August 5, page 2.

More on Minnesota police matters. From the Star Tribune Police Blotter, from Chanhassen: "Someone called to report a turtle in their yard in the 8400 block of Stone Creek Drive."

***The August issue of Glamour had a good article on friendship.

They also had a couple of fashion Do and Don't lists with pictures. I mostly preferred the Don'ts to the Dos.
haikujaguar July 31 2014, 20:47

Meanwhile, New Wingless Cover Painting

...is done. I just need to scan it. It photographs horribly because the texture of the oil paint catches EVERY PHOTON. The scanner does a much better job.


Once it's dry and I stitch all the scans together, I'll probably have the new cover up within a week or two... then I can launch the rebranded series (Wingless and Transcend) together. Whoot!
murakozi July 31 2014, 17:50

Being responsible sucks

It's been 7 years since my last cat, Katie, died.  It's only been in the past year or so that I've been able to consider adopting another cat.  Even then, I kind of figured that if I was meant to have another one, one would end up dropped in my lap in need of help.  That's how I got 2 of the 3 cats I've had in the past.  They were strays who needed help.

Back on Tuesday, I swung by the pet store for some fish food before going to the grocery.  When checking out, I noticed one of the staff over by the adoption kennel things they put in last year.  Those've been empty whenever I was a the store during the past few months.  Perhaps foolishly, I went over to see the new arrivals.  The upper level had two brothers who were less than a year old.  Cute lil guys.  The lower level had a single young adult female black cat.  She was quite affectionate and seemed content to cheekrub forever against any fingers one'd stick through the holes in the plexiglass.  I talked to the woman there who said they'd rescued the cat from a beach a couple days before hurricane Arthur came up the coast.  Her name is Sandy, which is kind of weird for a black cat, but fits in with being found on a beach.  She's somewhere around 2 years old, laid back, loves to play with toys both by herself and with humans, and likes to cuddle in with folks.  They say she doesn't seem to mind being alone but does like being around people.  The woman did say she can be a bit talky at times.

I was seriously considering arranging to spend some time with her in one of the rooms they have for that purpose and even was persuaded to leave with an application.  Of course, I had to figure out costs and think about other aspects of having a cat again, which is where the responsible side of me had to open its big mouth and point out reasons not to go any further.  There'd be the up-front cost of supplies and such since I no longer have anything of Katie's aside from some of her favorite toys and a ceramic water dish.  Then there'd be the $95 adoption fee, and a pet deposit for the apartment, and on top of that monthly pet rent.  That was $15 when Katie was still alive.  I think it's up to $25/month now.  Of course, there'd also be vet bills and recurring costs for food and litter and stuff.  Normally, I could probably budget for that and make the other lifestyle adjustments that a new kitty would entail, but...

There's a chance that the sale of the company I work for will happen around the end of September.  That could mean drastic changes and I could even get laid off.  Definitely not a good time to have the added expenses of a new pet. Thinking about it for a couple days, the responsible thing to do is to not pursue things any further.  She seems like the kind of cat who'll get adopted pretty quickly, and odds are by someone with whom she'd be better off than she would be with me.  I guess it's best to go back to the view that if I'm destined to have a cat, the world will drop one in my lap.

Being responsible and doing the right thing can really suck sometimes.
muckefuck July 31 2014, 16:13


It's been cool again, so yesterday evening I went for a stroll. This guy I met at Big Tim's block party (let's call him "Loris") met up with me first. We've been meeting to coordinate this for some time, but his work schedule is terrible. They have him working night shift, but not consistently, and he still hasn't really adjusted.

I actually find it unnerving how low-key he is about things. We rendezvoused at a pizza place on Granville so he could get some dinner and they screwed up his order: I kept reassuring him that the reason it was taking so long was that chicken breasts take time to cook, but the server had misheard him and he got served a tuna salad sandwich anyway. He completely took it in stride and didn't even accept the free dessert he was offered.

Despite the fact that he had a sister who attended Loyola, he'd never been on Loyola's campus, so we headed up there. It was nice going with someone else for a change; he noticed details of architecture and landscaping that I never had and prompted me to look up the pronunciation of "Cudahy", among other things. I don't think I've ever seen so many rabbits on campus before. One was standing with an alert posture that made him look like a cat at first, and he let us get within a couple feet of him before he scurried off.

I've been feeling pretty blasé about things myself lately. I hope that's nothing more than a symptom of sleeping badly. I haven't been able to drop off before 11:30 any night this week and last night I woke up around 3 a.m. and struggle to get back to sleep. At least I had some fun crazy dreams, but I'm worried I'll be something of a buzzkill this evening when the GWO and I meet up for dinner and a gallery opening.
the_gneech July 31 2014, 16:00

My tweets

haikujaguar July 31 2014, 15:32

Rune Painters

When the Jaguar is stressed, she draws dragons.

The dragons of the Lair by the Sea have taken to rune painting! The first was a whim, a scrawl they did on the long ropy body of an Imperial dragon. But the clan mage appeared behind them (scaring the tar out of them) and sealed the paint to the dragon with a spell, and with that act imparted some magical protections to the dragon wearing them.

At which point, the painters looked at one another and said, "Business opportunity!"

They have since set out blankets at the great Dragon Markets, as I have drawn. And now they make the clan good money by scrawling their prayers and good wishes onto dragons of different breeds and colors and allowing the clan mage to do his... well, magic.

Scrawling stuff on dragons is relaxing for me, especially since I can't really draw with a tablet, so I'm forced to keep things simple. But I feel like I have to justify using fifteen minutes between Child shower and Child bed-time to do something fun, which is... kind of messed up. Every time someone says 'your website needs product links to this new book' or 'you haven't responded to that email I sent' I feel like I need to put everything away that's not work or keeping Child fed and Husband aware that I'm still alive and do nothing but work. :P

I guess, if I'm to be honest, I must say that at this point I'm overwhelmed and burnt out.

Anyway! For those of you who play Flight Rising (or just want to see the pretty), I put them on this thread.
paulliver July 31 2014, 13:21

No subject

The Vampire’s Courtesan

By Paul Schilling

Taken from her home at an early age, Katharina spent years in training to be a suitable consort for a vampire lord, but she never forgot her first love, nor had Johann forgotten her. Just as Johann’s plans to rescue her cumulate, they backfire, making a future together even less likely. Katharina’s near death experience shocks the Archlord into realizing he does not wish to spend eternity without her, and he offers to raise her into the immortal ranks. As powers both natural and supernatural gather against each other, Katharina must choose between mortal love and immortal power.

jordan179 July 31 2014, 13:08

The Absurdity of UNRWA

UNRWA -- the United Nations Relief Workers Agency -- has around 30,000 employees and a budget of almost $1.25 billion.  America pays about $250 million of this.  Almost all of the workers are Palestinian, and the only purpose of UNRWA is to aid Palestinian "refugees."

Why do I put "refugees" in quotes?  Because there are only around 30,000 Palestinians alive today who were actually displaced by the Arab invasion of Israel in 1948.  UNRWA justifies its existence by claiming as a refugee anyone DESCENDED from them -- which means, in many cases, that these "refugees" include persons who are the great-grandchildren of at least one person displaced in 1948, who have lived their whole life in other countries and who may even be citizens of other countries.  This is a definition employed only for Palestinians -- nobody else would be considered a "refugee" by such a definition.

In fact, by UNRWA's definition there are several million Palestinian "refugees."  Most of whom live in other countries, many of whom have absolutely no intention of "returning" to a land they've never seen and a life which would be far inferior to the ones they are enjoying elsewhere.  That's okay, as most of the billion and a quarter dollars that flushes down the UNRWA toilet hole never gets to any actual refugees, but rather disappears neatly into the pockets of UNRWA, various terrorist groups, and the private bank accounts of their leaders.

In contrast, UN staffing for refugee assistance to the whole rest of the world is around 6,000.  Which is to say, the UN pays five times as many people to help the Palestinian "refugees" -- of which there are only around 30,000 actual ones -- as it does to pay people to help every other refugee in the world, of which there are many millions of actual ones.

In the recent war, it has been revealed that UNRWA is directly cooperating with Hamas to attack Israel.  "Directly" in a sense that would morally justify Israeli airstrikes on the UN headquarters in New York City, though of course that would be ruled out on power-political grounds.  UNRWA is helping Hamas conceal surface-to-surface missiles and rockets, when found they gave them back to the terrorists, and just a few days ago several Israeli soldiers died because UNRWA booby-trapped one of its buildings.

Why is America helping to pay for UNRWA?  Why is anyone paying for UNRWA, for any reason other than anti-Semitism, pure and simple?

Let's stop giving money to UNRWA.  Better yet, let's classify it a terrorist organization and kick it out of the country.

We've tolerated this farce for far too long.
the_gneech July 31 2014, 12:55

Weigh-In, Better News This Time

Today: 307.4, down 6.1 pounds from last week (!), for a total drop of 11.6 pounds in six weeks. This puts me right back on (or close to) the 2 lbs/week average that the program is aiming for.

This recurring pattern of "lose five, gain one" is kind of annoying, but as long as the general trend keeps going in the right direction, I can live with it. :)

The new weight also shaves a couple of points off my daily points value, but as I tended to be running under anyway, that's not a problem... yet. 3-5 more points knocked off, then I'm going to start having challenges. :P

-The Gneech
kyburg July 31 2014, 12:01

My tweets

  • Wed, 12:23: Good morning! "Con cough" - is that what they call it? 101 fever last night too. I've got work to do, dang it! #cantgetsick
  • Wed, 15:13: I think the residual WTF? from #SDCC2014 is finding out who was there - that I knew - that I didn't run into or know were there. #ohwell
  • Wed, 15:16: That just means I met a ton of new people and oh how sweet THAT is! #SDCC2014
  • Wed, 15:27: If you had anything like this experience, speak up please. http://t.co/T5YHroNaWA #SDCC2014 #assault #backup
  • Wed, 15:28: What I find most horrifying about this story is that it comes because the victim can't speak for themself. #ICU #assault #attack #SDCC2014
  • Wed, 15:30: Comic Con is a BOX OF ROCKS. Holy crap, I've been conventions since I was 15 years old and I've never let my guard down. Ever.
  • Wed, 15:31: And I have Marion Zimmer Bradley to thank for that, so stick that where it will do some good. #Starcon1977 #backup
  • Wed, 15:41: Do not blame the victim or flail around saying "but they said it was SAAAAAFE" - blame the guy who assaulted the victim. That guy, no other.
  • Wed, 15:44: Also, the overwhelming majority of these cases are between parties who know each other. Not all, but MOST will know their attacker.
  • Wed, 15:45: So if someone steps up and points the finger - INVESTIGATE. The rest of you, be aware and informed and don't let anyone harm you.
Read more...Collapse )
sbisson July 31 2014, 11:00

My tweets

  • Wed, 15:40: Microsoft/Nokia is missing a trick not selling the Lumia 930 in the US. My fluorescent orange device is getting a lot of attention.
  • Wed, 17:10: Tesla plate ENRGIZR. Sadly not driven by a drumming rabbit 🐰.
  • Wed, 20:00: Eeeeeee! Black raspberry Talking Rain.
  • Wed, 20:03: Recent Reads: Revenant Eve. Sherwood Smith's time-travel romance guides a pirate's daughter to ruritanian crown, via Napoleonic Paris.
  • Wed, 23:08: RT @DrPizza: The thing that amazes me most about tablets is the way they've leapt past smartphones in their race to the bottom.
  • Thu, 00:42: From inside Microsoft's infiltration of Silicon Valley. Toto, this isn't Redmond: http://t.co/6YWRaogxI4
  • Thu, 00:58: RT @stevesilberman: The hunt for the tasty black-market N. Caliifornia delicacy that kills about a dozen people a year. http://t.co/4nUfSwn
  • Thu, 08:13: Need to work out how to improve the look of Tweetdeck on Surface Pro 3. Doesn’t seem to be scaling well…
  • Thu, 11:18: ZDNet blog post: TYLT: the Goldilocks of external batteries http://t.co/tExBSRVxZN #zdnet
andrewducker July 31 2014, 11:00

Interesting Links for 31-07-2014

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