Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Republikans Try to Pick a Fight.

This is political post.

The Republicans have drawn their line in the sand, in the process putting us ALL at risk. And they still might not get what they want.

Over the past few weeks, the Republicans have made what is usually a non-issue, the raising of the federal debt ceiling (FDC), into a potential world threatening conundrum. The FDC has been raised more than 100 times since it was first enacted in 1917, at least five times under the previous administration alone. But now, suddenly, it's a issue that can't be rubber stamped and can't be looked at as anything less than THE most important piece of legislation in America...possibly the world - right now. And since one of the two parties talking has pretty much said they WILL not negotiate, I begin to wonder how long it will before anyone else recognizes the tactics of terrorists in our own leaders.

One man's revolutionary is another man's terrorist. Only history will grade us.

And then the Republican lead negotiator Rep. Cantor walked out of the talks and insisted the President get involved. And this kids, is where it stops being about the economy, or America, or principles, or honor or anything ...other than politics. If this were the hood, the appropriate phrase would "staying in your lane". Because to the Republican elite, this isn't about anything other than hurting Obama. One has to wonder, now that Schmaucher has finally said it out loud, how far will the Republicans go to make a point?

I'm not sure if Cantor wants nothing more than to be able to say he faced down the President or is just too chickenshit to take the lead role. We know Sen.McConnell would love to say he did it. But I do know the Republicans are positioning themselves to be able to say the President lead us into this hole. Especially the Senator, who wants nothing more make Obama a one term President, damn the rest of us. And they can't really do that if the President is "doing what he's constitutionally mandated to do" which is wait for the bill to come to him. Even as I listened today, the conservative machine talking points 4pm email finally got read and suddenly the President needs to "do his job and lead." became the shrill cry. Which means show up at Capitol Hill and let us berate you in public. They're calling him out with everything they have.

A man with a lot on his mind...

But Obama is a former constitutional law professor. And a bright guy. And he's got a bright team. And as he indicated in his speech, he ain't going for it. The only way to get the mud not to stick is to not get in the mud. Which is possibly why Cantor was ducking away. Because if it in late July comes down to principle or people, anyone who chooses principle over financial Armageddon is going to get vilified by the world. And Cantor likes Congress, they have a great gym. And unfortunately, the Republicans have hitched their wagon to group who will vilify them if they they don't chose principle over people. So it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Their only hope is the President backing down.

Then there is the "nuclear option". The ones the Republican's don't want to envision. Under the worst of circumstances, and probably using the same lawyers that said "water-boarding" didn't qualify as torture, the President could potentially order the Treasury to just ignore the debt ceiling. This is based on the theory that since Congress passed the bills, and the President is bound to enforce those bills, that any subsequent limitation by that Congress overruled by the original spending legislation. The Democrats may not have much of a backbone, but they have pulled the trigger in just this same way on the Patient Protection Act (Obamacare). To say they wouldn't again is ludicrous, if it would save the country and the world. The Republicans will be up arms of course, essentially screaming we should have destroyed the world...

But if Obama does has to go that route, talk about energizing his base! Wait. Would that be bad?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Did I just do that?

Ramblings Post #151
I don't really have anything to put here, but I was informed once that without these little lead-ins, these trailers up to the main event, it just doesn't read the same. Thanks Schmoopy. So now I gotta type something here that loosely ties in with what follows. Although sometimes it doesn't, kinda like this. Or maybe I'm weak from hunger since I restarted my diet to today, which accounts for the decision I made that is chronicled in this installment. There, now it links up. Can stop now?

I've just had an ohnosecond.

My book reading has been reduced from novels, five part trilogies and epic historical or fantasy sagas to magazines as of late. This is because anything I can't read and be done with in 10 minutes not related to school is not really allowed. I'm getting by on furtive reads of the articles in Men's Health, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, GQ and Esquire, with the occasional Atlantic or Mother Jones thrown in. But to indulge, I also pickup copies of Renovation Style and various travel magazines - Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, and Budget Travel. Yes, I know, its very sad to call that an indulgence.

But I really want to travel someday. When I was kid I used raid the brochures of the travel agency down the street from Dad's shop, and would study the layouts of cruise ships and resorts, area attractions and the foods I would at when I eventually made it there. Part of it was a my imagination and a fascination with exotic places, part of it a desire to be anywhere else other than the really small town in South Carolina I grew up in. Even now online I look at bike trips, scooter tours, catamarans, hiking, cooking tours, wine tours...that need to just get out and go calls at me.

And yet, I don't travel. This is sad. Very sad. I mean like no where. I live in Atlanta and I can barely get to the south side of Atlanta. I traveled more as itinerant college student.

But someone I know also loves travel. And actually does. And so I was going to get her a monthly subscription to Budget Travel, because they have some great deals in the back. Great deals. And I'd hoped to go with her to one of the many places I've storied about, once I had break. But today, I was looking around and low and behold I found Budget Travel's web site. And their expanded Great Deal section. And because I'm a great guy, knowing she'd be interested, I sent a link to my favorite little....


The term "kid in a candy store" comes to mind. Cat out of the bag. Pandora's box. E-ticket. An unlimited gas card and an open highway.

A sudden thousand "What ifs?" popped into my head even as my finger clicked the mouse. A sudden thousand possibilities that caused a sudden feeling in my gut that made me wonder when I'd gotten on the roller coaster. It's not like I haven't contemplated the possibility before of things not working out as I would hope, it's just I hadn't actually thought about that in a long time. And I got a good imagination. Let's just say I had gotten real comfortable with hope, and maybe I just needed a reminder that hope isn't as solid as the dream its built upon. When you know you're going to get hit, you involuntarily flinch. Self preservation. I flinched.

Conflicted. I want her to go, to see the world, to chase her dreams. But then I want... to go with her? To have her wait for me? To not go until I'm ready? I do, I so do. But then why would I not want her to be all she can be, do all she can do and still say I love....

Here's hoping she sends some great postcards and takes some pretty pictures....

Barkeep...I need the cheap vodka. Cheaper than that.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Quick Restaurant Review - BLT Steak

I haven't really gone out to dinner with anyone since...well, you know, but Shade was up in arms about me doing something to celebrate my birthday. For her day she's flown places, hosted dinner parties, etc, and the idea of somebody not actively celebrating was mystifying to her. After a few false starts, and a suggestion from a most surprising source, we ended up at BLT Steak at the W hotel downtown.

It's small, relatively speaking, and it's got one of those paper menus that they print everyday because they're always changing something. And it's pricy, I mean the hamburger was the price of dinner for two at your average mid-market sit down dinner spot. It's what you'd expect from a W hotel, in other words - very nice. All cool muted browns and glossy wood finish tables. The service was especially good, with forks flying and napkins being re-folded when you got up and had to leave the table. If you've never been someplace like that once, you need to go, it's a different kind of service.

BLT Steak - Our table was just to the right...

And, they have an absolutely excellent selection of whiskeys, including something for $65 dollars a shot which I wisely decided really wasn't in my price range. The other broad selection of whiskeys, something I haven't seen since Ray's on the River, was encouraging, and I settled on something with a Buffalo on the bottle, just to be different. Points off because the barkeep didn't know there was a real difference between scotch whiskey and real whiskey, but you can't have everything.

For dinner we both got the Wagyu skirt steak (medium), mine with onion rings and BBQ corn, her's with a Swiss Chard. And because I haven't had any in ages, and although it felt like a betrayal, I ordered the crab cake appetizer. I know it sounds silly, but it does. Of course I still haven't had any Indian since, and I miss it. The steak was charred on the outside just enough, but pink and juicy in the middle. And the pop-over bread, their "upmarket" version of a yeast roll was tasty, until it got cold.

I like this spot, I'll admit now, because even before we got our food the place was interesting. The server turned out to be a man of contrasts. Although he possessed an accent that has to have grown up on dirt road in the backwoods of Alabama or South Carolina, when Shade asked for a wine paring for a Wagyu Skirt steaks, he not only produced a nice vintage, but broke into a very technical explanation of why chose it, and why he liked it's lack of tannin when combining with how the steaks were to be cooked. It turned out he's a sommelier in training, Second level, and we launched into a good five minutes of wine discussion. I mean, you expect your waiter to know the wines, but he really knew the wines. I mean, he also wore his braids in pigtails but then you never really know do you?

Over dinner, Shade explained to me the surprising source of this dinner inspiration after our first mis-step at Cloud iX middle, lounge and bar. I'd gotten their first, expressed my displeasure via phone and wandered around the corner to No Mas Cantina, to wait for her. There I get a text from Scoop with dinner options. I'm a little shocked, because these two aren't even supposed to be speaking. But it turns out at some point in the last five days, they've made amends. In fact while we're eating, Scoop texts us and lets us know we could have had dinner at her house. I stop asking questions, because the whole thing is too surreal for me at that point.

For dessert, for which they thoughtfully inscribed Birthday wishes in chocolate on the rim, I was granted a chocolate peanut butter confection (think high end Reese Pieces) topped with a banana ice cream. Not too shabby. Nothing I would have chosen myself, but it was nice gesture.

Then when the check came, Shade grabbed it and paid it before I could even see how much it was. Well, because I'm curious, I peeked and saw how much it was, and that steak and other what not now qualifies as the second most expensive meal I've eaten. I include that sentiment because I don't want a gentle reader to wander in and look for the value meal. But, I want to go back, and will ...under the right circumstances. Nice place. Very nice place.

Now I wish I invented some kinda rating system.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Things I want for my birthday...

It's not really a bucket list, because they're things I want, and don't really see as being something I'm going to have to go out of my way to get. They're "wish" in the sense they're coming, but I just wish they'd hurry up! Some are fanciful, some are serious, and some are just...well, read on and see.

10. A Benz.

I'm not a big car guy. Never caught the bug. And I like little cars. If I could fit in a Mini it might have been my next car, but then my new profession has certain "expectations". Nothing says success like an E-class or higher. So I guess I'll make the sacrifice. Oh, woe is me.

9. A lego set.

I love legos. I don't know why. I have a big blue tub of them now, but I want more. MORE! Not the playsets, just the blocks. Okay, a playset or two wouldn't be the end of the world. They are legos.

8. Golf clubs

I started playing that Tiger Woo! 12, with Augusta, and now I'm hooked. I was in the hunt at the Masters on Sunday, two holes later suddenly I'm six back just trying to hold it together. In real life I want to be looking for the generous bounce, making sand saves, steering clear of the second cut and dropping it on them rolling greens. All that. Yeah, I'm going to hate it all at first, but then I'll get better.

7. A man spa day.

I really want a good massage. No, no "happy ending" allusions here, from a "friend" preferably, but barring that a professional. In a real spa where they also do pedicures, possibly even give you an old fashioned shave. All while you sip on a whiskey and watch ESPN on the 40 inch flat screen. Wouldn't a place like that be sweet?

6. This. Okay, not really, but I seriously couldn't think of anywhere else to put this.

5. Sweet Potato Pie

I make a pretty good sweet potato pie. That said, I use a *sigh* store bought crust. The homemade crust I probably could make would be pretty good, but I'd need to by a rolling pin and ....hmmm. I just might do that.

4. A photo shoot

I own three digital cameras. Almost no pictures of me. I don't even take pictures. But what I want are the kind of pictures of me that look like the ones in magazines, ones with gravity, with substance. You know, posed, with light bouncing off my rugged features. I'm not gonna look this good forever (well, I will, but not this specific type of good looking), and people need to remember this. Plus, when I do finish one of them books, I'm gonna need a decent publicity shot. And and the rate I'm going by then I'll be old.

3. Censored.

I eventually intend to be somebody, and things on the internet have a tendency of hanging around. So just imagine something a guy would want that he might now want to mention in mixed company. Think real real hard. Now add gravy. And now you know why I'm not even gonna put that on here.

2. A bottle of good Whiskey.

I actually have half a bottle of good whiskey at my house now. But I need another. Just in case. Boy scout, be prepared. You never know. I am not a lush.

1. A Good Dinner. With Sporty.

What can I say? Those evenings I spent sharing a table with her resonate even now. It's magical when you can sit down with someone and it just feels right. We clicked. On so many levels. If you've ever been there you know why I still wax nostalgic about it. And hope to get there again.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Going Back to My Grind

Ramblings Post #150
One day you get up, hit the alarm, snooze for a while, hit the alarm again, snooze, look over at the clock and try to figure how it got so late because you set the alarm for like 20 minutes before now, go to the bathroom look in the mirror and try to figure out who that person is staring back at you. He's heavier than you remember, and he's never looked that old or that tired. And that's the day you change. Well, not really that day, but like sometime that week...or later that month. And that for me was like last Tuesday...or Wednesday. Look it happened so, whatever.

On this coming Monday, I'm going back to where I was last year. I'm going back to my diet. Strong.

Since last late last fall, I've been in semi-regular mode for my diet. I still do parts of it because I like it - I eat a lot more fruit than I used to before this dietary change, cut back on the red meat to maybe twice a week, a lot less sugar, salads every day, etc. But I've indulged. Cake and pie from time to time. Fried chicken dinners. Sausage and Pepperoni pizza. A big bowl of cereal. Fries. And it's getting more frequent.

And remarkably, my size has not just ballooned back up. I'm a little bigger than I was at the bottom when I was in the 250 range, but I'm still on the downsize belt, the one I bought when pants started falling off. And I like them Oak Hill shirts I bought, so I gotta do something. I fully expected to wake up one morning having wiped away all the weight loss. I'd emerge from a fitful slumber and look down to find my frame grossly bloated from late night binges of Waffle House, Mayfield Ice Cream and Chinese food.

So it's not the end. I haven't regressed too far.

But, I now feel fat.

They tricked me. I looked in the mirror the other day and although I didn't look much different than I did the week before I noticed my cheeks were a little fuller, my stomach a touch softer. Not that I had gotten to a six pack the first time (way too much work in maintenance), but I was close. A stone's throw away. In the neighborhood. Not that damn far. looked, well, puffy. And i don't know why. Okay, I know why. Humor me. Them brownies from Boston Market? They the bizness.

But in any case, I'm going back in. The days were simpler, no figuring out what was for lunch, I knew I was headed to Subway. I knew pretty much what breakfast was. Dinner wasn't where I was going, but what I was making. I've been using the rationale that no AC means not turning on the stove, but that's just a cop out.

So, as the young boys say...back to the grind.

Hey, at least this time I'm starting a lot farther along. Six pack? Um...let's not get crazy.

Yes, Barkeep, I'm starting AFTER my birthday. Damn. Like what?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Day

Ramblings Post #149
Sometimes, I don't think I'm normal. I have the correct number of fingers and toes, nothing like that. But from time to tome I look at myself and how I do things, and at others and how they do things, and there is a disconnect. Am I only noticing my own disconnect for my personal issues? Does everyone have these same incongruities of life for other areas? If only life came with instructions. With diagrams. And a do over option.

Since I've been an adult, I've never really celebrated my birthday. Now don't get me wrong, I've been some epic parties around the time of my birthday, but those parties were never really for me. You see, as it turns out my RP were born two days apart, and when I first moved to Atlanta he'd already had a regular birthday festival going with another running partner of ours born five days before me. So my birthday just got added to the mix. A number of years passed with a great number of regular party goers never really realizing it was my birthday as well. No big, I had a good time too.

But nothing that was ever uniquely for me. No cake. No songs. Not a lot of presents. Etc.

This started really from being a summer child, living in a subdivision with no other kids. In effect my birthdays as a youth really drilled down to a gift and maybe a dinner with the family. College birthdays were usually a call from the folks (I went to summer school pretty much every year) and a drink or two with a buddy. Atlanta birthdays have been a whirlwind of other folks parties, although by tending bar I usually ended up with an unintentional present, I guess, a fairly large wad of cash. The last few birthdays have been marred by heartbreak and break-ins at the house.

Looking back at that, you can understand why I generally don't make that big a fuss.

This year's excuse is Summer School again, with finals for the shortened semester right around the corner. I call it an excuse, because Shade is going to be in town and is asking what the plan is when I have no plan. My plan was head home from work, eat dinner, have a drink, go to sleep. Maybe a little Playstation in there. The idea of riding around the city with the top down, hitting the clubs just doesn't appeal right now (we're expecting this feeling is a temporary condition).

What do I really want?

Well, first this assumes my AC is working by the end of the week, and that I have furniture, which I don't. But what I really want is a quiet dinner at home with some friends. The kind that ends with folks lazing about, talking about nothing and everything. Where secrets pop out, and truths are told. It's a vibe I used to get after a party was over, when all the stragglers were gone and all that was left was your people and the stories of the good time they just had. We don't live like that anymore. We just don't.

As a second choice, some consensual nudity with a "friend". Er, I know don't really celebrate my birthday, but I am still a GUY. Testosterone is testosterone. I'm touch with my feelings, and can look into my soul, but let's get realistic. Note: This wish also assumes the AC is working. I'm a guy, but practical.

So, what happens on my birthday? We shall see.

Probably not much.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Beginning of the Next Part

Ramblings Post #148
Things are in flux. If this were a dramatic film written by your average hack screenwriter, it would be the part right before the montage, where the hero has that moment of doubt or learns a lesson, or reaches deep inside themselves and finds...something. Only my life isn't a dramatic film, it's more a dark comedy. So there won't be a montage, but if I'm lucky maybe I can get Morgan Freeman for the voice over on the DVD. Or at least Keith David.

If you read this ...thing I'm doing, you know that at the end of every semester three things happen. First, as finals loom all law students start to wonder why they're putting themselves through the madness that is cases and rule application (and why nobody can use plain english). Second comes the finals, which are either not as bad as you imagined or leave you in a stupor as you stagger out of the room. And finally, comes the waiting for grades. That long period swings between brash confidence because you know you nailed it and self doubt because you just realized something else you could have added or should have changed. It's a vicious little cycle that repeats again and again until get to take the bar.

This semester in summer school one professor is threatening to bring Thursday night drinking back into vogue, and the other class is once a week so it feels like I've barely even been there. The semester feels so short I almost wonder if this will really count. I feel strange.

Then grades for last Spring came out. And suddenly I'm wondering why I'm doing all this.

Don't get me wrong, grades were very good. I didn't get the fanciful A out of that litigation class, but I did pass, so now I could be less than twelve months from graduation. And as its all starting to crystallize, to become reality, I'm looking at the whole thing with a skeptical eye.

If you read back far enough, you know I started school for the wrong reasons. It wasn't a love of the law, to help people, a desire to right the wrongs of man or even something as selfish as just making more money that got me in the door. I went to school to occupy my time, and to keep my mind from going off track after Sporty left. I'm good at that - crafting a character to play and then finding way to inhabit it on the way to self renovation. The me right now is a work in progress, with the new education, the weight loss and the inversion of my social persona. And it worked, for a minute. But then, the unexpected happened. And I'm a hopeless romantic. (Read that any way you want)

Now I'm in the fourth quarter, and LeBron I'm not.

The question is what comes next? I got way too comfortable plucking them chickens. Now I'm about wander into the wilderness with a gleam in my eye towards conquer... just because.

I had no illusions that getting a law degree would magically change my life overnight. Maybe had I attended full time, been immersed in the whole process I might have a different viewpoint. Not that I haven't grown to find it's nuances a worthy challenge, and can now better appreciate the craft. But as it stands, I've gotten a degree in exile by going part-time. Exile meaning I cut out a great deal to focus on what needed to be done. And it's looking now I'm going to stay in exile for a while trying to get something started in this new profession. Which is anathema to one my pillars of existence - I don't really enjoy being alone.

So what comes next? Not just school wise, or career wise, but in relation to life. There has to more than...just this. Than just me. Isn't there?

Barkeep, strongest thing you got. And light it on fire.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Things I meant to comment on... (Politically)

This is a Political Post
A lot happened in the last week. But since I'm still a law student, I can't always get it all in. I'm both elated that we're finally taking an interest in our leaders, but saddened that we've turned them into reality show characters. Well, it's a start anyway...


Anthony Weiner, with the big...situation.

Really? We got unemployment, climate change, debt ceiling, and everything else...and this is what's dominating the headlines? Really. A picture of a guy's who-whatzis?

How it should have gone:

"That picture? The one of the large endowment? Yep, that's mine. Big ain't it. Ha ha. Since you're asking, I didn't cheat on my wife, it was all internet. But now me and her we're going to work our issues out in private. Private. And the people in my district, the one's that elected me, aren't upset, so what's your problem? Why do you keep bringing it up?"

5 minutes. In and out. (Pun intended)

The dignity of the office isn't even an issue, considering the number of Congressmen who've lied, cheated, floated checks, taken bribes and kickbacks... and in the case of David Vitter, actually used prostitutes... but remain sitting members in good standing. Its not like this could lower our opinion of Congress. And I think the Conservatives are just elated its not one of theirs this time, and they can play the shocked role.

But here's where you'll note the Democrats are showing an inexperience with modern scandal, actually upset instead of employing the usual political tactic of their opponents of sweeping stuff under the rug - i.e., mess up, coverup, get caught, lie, admit, rehab, restart, etc. Even easier, since the crux of the average scandal is that the party out philandering touts family values as a key selling points, the lack of hypocrisy should be the first defense.

The good folks at LDT&UD are ready to help put this thing to bed if anyone calls by the way. And we're thinking about putting the rib tips on special

Seriously, we've spent how many days talking about married guy trying to hook up on the sly using the internet? I'm not sure this qualifies for news even on the Duh Channel.

Newt Gingrich

It's easier to list the problems than the solutions. He stumbled out of the gate by being reasonable and it just got worse. The jewerly tab, and then the Greek vacation less than two weeks into the "campaign". Now, the crack political posse he'd assembled to track down that villian of a President decides to head back to town rather follow him further into the wilderness.

Because, as I understand it, his wife really doesn't understand what it actually takes - the glad handing, the running around chasing early support in the caucuses - to be President.

I want to say stop, it over Newt, but really, it can only get better for him. Right? Right?

Sarah Palin

Apparently she really isn't smarter than a fifth grader.

Thinking about Palin has me wondering what the definition of a "gotcha" question would be. Technically, a gotcha question only exists for those who profess to speak about something they don't know about or are just plain lying. For thoughtful people, intelligent people, reasonable people, there really aren't any gotcha questions. But I'm thinking that questions about American history - especially the American patriots revered so much by the Tea party - most certainly wouldn't fall into that classification. When you take great pains to wrap your image in the flag, it would be a bonus if you knew what it stood for.

And the aftermath, I'm not sure which would have been the better course. She could have admitted she got it wrong, but then she would have looked rather silly for not knowing basic history. She may not know it, but we don't think she's that smart anyway, so this wouldn't have been as bad as she thinks. Or her second option, which she chose to execute, was to loudly double down, and defend her ignorance as a different interpretation. It's closer to revisionist history or Axe Cop than reality, but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.

However, much like the famously thin skinned Donald Trump, she might want to just keep grifting off her followers. She got to the last election after all the infighting and name calling, when it was pretty much smooth sailing. I don't think she has the mettle for a full bore campaign and all the foolishness that goes with it. If she thought it was bad before...

Herman Cain

Larry Wilmore (NOT Herman Cain)

Larry Wilmore, Senior Black Correspondent for the Daily Show, put it best this week in that Obama was in danger of losing the incredible 96% penetration he received among black voters last election. If he isn't careful, Wilmore said, it might go as low as 94%. The only way to get it any lower would be, to quote a colorful Louisana politician would be if Obama got caught "in bed with a dead woman or a live boy." Then it might go as low as 92%. Black people tend to vote for black people.

It is this certainty that fuels the Cain for president campaign. He has some reason to believe he can split that black vote. Um... right. Although an accomplished business man and popular in some sections of the tea party, he right now strikes me as an political opportunist. Further, he subscribes to the odd notion to good businessmen make good politicians, because of the underlying belief that the large amounts of money the government handles mean a good business acumen would be handy. Unfortunately, because business and government have completely different underlying principles, that isn't the case. Which will quickly become evident once people start asking REAL questions.

So, If Cain somehow wins the nomination, Obama might get that number back up to 94%.

And that's when Larry Wilmore will get his own show on CNN.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means

This is a political post.

Inigo Montoya by Brian Stelfreeze...

Ingio : You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
- in the Princess Bride

On every political talk show, rounded up in the talking points of some of our leaders, is the continuing push from one side of the apparently rock solid contention that cutting taxes on businesses creates jobs. The way it is presented, time and time again, a listener might take away that the supposition that there is somehow a one to one ratio. That's it automatic.

The logic is that companies can't be profitable under these harsh taxes, and until they can turn a profit the economy won't recover.

This is hammered again and again, despite that looming, almost imposing evidence that the previous tax cuts, remember ...the Bush tax cuts that were extended last year, have failed to magically create those jobs the collapse of the housing bubble sucked away. Wait, didn't the collapse of the economy happen during the period of lowering taxes? And now, with taxes the lowest in a generation, even comparatively lower than those under conservative Saint Regan, using the logic that these talking points foist upon us, jobs should be plentiful. Technically, considering the number of firms that have paid little or no taxes, and that are indicating literally RECORD profits for their shareholders, job recruiters should be tackling people in the street. Instead, Phd's are lining up for work as cashiers at Target.

Lowering taxes to create jobs lacks any credible foundation. The company's have profits now, but they're not hiring. This mounting evidence shows that the given viewpoint is, and should be characterized as, almost child-like in its hopefulness. Politically this idea should be regarded for the most part as a confirmation bias with no basis.

And yet the idea is stills shouted from the rooftops, with zest and vigor.

Let me be clear : Lowering taxes to increase company profits do not make companies hire people.

Consider what you, the reader, already knows. Perhaps your own place of employ has "right sized" in the past year. And after the layoff, the remaining workers are expected to pick up the slack. And if those employees can handle it...why would a company bring in someone else just to add to their expenditures? The oil companies are making multi-billion dollar profits per quarter. Per quarter. By the conservative logic those firms alone should have sucked up the pool of unemployed. But this hasn't occurred.

Because the simplistic model being espoused seems to forget that extra people don't guarantee extra income, meaning why hire extra people to make more profit, when you can just work the hell out of the ones you have. Right now, if a company has a million dollars in profit, it keeps it in cash reserves (holding money out of the market) or in some cases distributes that to the shareholders (but paid dividends are a rarity).

On the other hand, properly structured taxes tend to encourage companies to make capital expenditures, which in turn drive the economy.

In other words, that company with a million dollar profit would have choice: buy something you can benefit from or the government wants a cut. A big cut. The company then usually gets new assets, the shareholders maintain value, the money goes back into the economy, everybody wins. Sure their cash cushion is gone and they might have to do some actual whatchamacallit,, management. In a worst case scenario, if something goes wrong, like bad management, the company goes out of business instead of getting bailed out. And then, forty little replacement companies pop up to fill the void, lower prices and increase innovation as they fight for market share. Which is the American way.

Taxes, to wit, create jobs.

Profits just tend to drive wealth accumulation.

The reality is that the vast majority of jobs aren't created by the big companies lobbying for lower taxes. Jobs are created by the small companies too busy trying to stay one step ahead of the competition to worry about 3% here or 5% there. That's where the change in thinking will have to happen. That level of company can do without higher taxes. It's the guy in suits on Wall Street that need to be "shook down".

We've been told lowering taxes cures everything from corruption to the heartbreak of psoriasis, that they pay for themselves (they don't), that they stimulate growth (they don't) and I think they might even cure athlete's foot. And all it's done is ...lower taxes.

I think it's time we move on.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Her Schmoopy-ness

Ramblings Post #146
I know a lot of folks, simply because I know a lot of folks. Well, know is an odd way to put it. Because I'm horrible with names, and I don't call people, and have lately become a wee bit anti-social. But the number of times I've been greeted warmly by a semi-familiar face astounds me. So, the people whose names I actually know...and call or text, are on an extremely short list. And I hope they appreciate it.

Schmoopy is now the subject of adoration and adulation. Well, internet adoration and adulation. Since she got the fitness thing working, she's been giggling about how some fitness photos she took have found there way around the web. The photos and grand compliments about her, er...workout ethic...have found their way onto at least two web shows that we know of. The various hosts drooled over her. She joked she might get her own fitness video to capitalize on the whole exposure.

But when I first saw the photos? My first reaction? She's wearing too much makeup.

Note: I refuse the put the picture up here, as will NOT exploit a friend for a few measly blog hits. Well, not a picture of a friend, I'll talk about them to death..but no pics. I have some ethics. Kinda.

I've known this little power ranger for almost a decade. I've done volunteer work with her, hung out with her, did a 5k with her, and that - why is she wearing so much makeup? - was my first reaction. When other guys are drooling at the body, I'm like, she looks funny.

One of my defining features is that in the end, I actually like people. As who they are, their personality, what they represent, what they stand for. And as a consequence of that, I will occasionally notice things that I probably shouldn't. I'm mean I'm friend but I'm still a guy, and I should have been checking her out! Instead of being concerned with how she looked, I was concerned with her apperance. [it's a fine line]

I think I need therapy.

In any case, I took a few minutes the other day after we chatted and photoshopped up a preliminary cover for her joked about exercise vid. I hope I didn't start nothing.

Barkeep, a tall water. My AC still doesn't work.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Hotness

Ramblings Post #192
This post does not involve the Miami Heat, or the movie Heat, or hot chicks, or Will Smith, or chili peppers, or any of the things the internet associates with the phrase Heat. Sometimes I'll just put in a word, click on the Image link and see what the algorithms pop up. This also isn't about a country band, a Latin band, really any band, a perfume or an old film from the 1940's. It's about, on and see...

Sometime in the last month, or maybe it was before that, they got me while I wasn't looking. Apparently, one of my "neighbors" to use the term loosely, decided that a piece on the exterior part of my AC unit would probably work better on theirs, or perhaps could be sold for a extra nickel or two. Who knows, but in any case, the unit currently is not functional, and pieces that were there last fall aren't there now. Which kinda made a difference during the recent mini-heat wave that struck the state.

How much of a difference? Without the AC unit, but with the fan running, the temperature inside my house topped ninety degrees. I re-invented the concept of hydration drinking between eight to ten quarts of Crystal Light. Friday night I lay down on my bed and either drifted off to sleep or passed out from the heat (not sure which), when I awoke couple of hours later, the spot where my body had been was marked with a clear body outline made of sweat. I took cold showers twice a day, and kept the front door open for the breeze, damn the bugs. It was Amistad hot.

On the upside, my pores have to be clear considering how open they've been.

I joked with Schmoopy that I was going to get some ice and some ice cream, and sit in the tub in the ice eating the ice cream. As her AC had been out last week, she didn't think it was as crazy an idea as I might have imagined. I've always liked it warm, but this is ridiculous. I thought about heading over to Slim's or Spanky's and camping out, but everybody is doing something now, so no go. By the time I remembered the law library, the heat had sapped my will. I finally ended up fake grocery shopping so I could stand in front of the meat section for a while, and wander back and forth in frozen foods.

My uncle does heating and air and I having him check it out, but his voice mail is perpetually full, so I'll have to contact him at home. If I can catch him. I'll still have to pay him, at least I know I won't get robbed. (or at least get robbed by family)

I'm thinking of this as getting back to my roots. My South Carolina roots. My childhood mama said don't play in the house roots. My "so this is a farm" roots.

Man I hope it gets down to sixty one of these nights.

Barkeep. A glass of ice, with a splash of bourbon and a splash of coke.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Five Minutes Watching: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

I don't watch a lot of movies, because I don't have time. But at the end of day of work, then class, then reading for the next class, and writing down what I wrote so I can remember it all, I'll turn on one of them pay channels I have for just such an emergency and catch five minutes of something.

This was the poster...for Scott Pilgrim.

Completely lost me. Now, I get the story, which was different - one guy fighting this chick's seven evil ex's to win her affection, all kung fu flick style. It was different. The hero didn't take off his shirt and suddenly have muscles and be cool. The dialogue was cheesy, the cartoon effects were cool - especially since it was comic based and the whole thing wouldn't have made sense without them. Then I saw his still devoted ex. And the chick he'd chosen over her, the colored hair chick.

And the whole premise fell apart.

You don't leave the hot "excited into you"chick for the average "whatever" chick.