Monday, September 28, 2009

As long as we're on Michael Moore...

... his little pie analogy is just stupid. But, for the sake of argument, assume it's not stupid.

Speaking on inequality and lack of access to good loan conditions and livelihood for the vast majority, Moore stated “There's the larger crime, though, of course, of how the pie is divided in this country. And the fact that one guy can come to the table and take nine slices of that pie and leave one slice for everyone else at the table to fight over, that is criminal.

He does not consider the possibility that that one person bought the ingredients for the pie, supplied the stove, and hired a baker to make the pie. If it's your pie, you get to decide how it's divvied up, right?

Nor does he consider the fact that over the years, that person has "grown the pie" and improved the ingredients, so that the "crumbs" are now larger, better-tasting and more healthy than entire pies were as recently as a half-century ago.

This is "The Most Trusted Name In News"?

From CNN Newsroom (keep that "News" part in mind; it's important later) ometime last week,emphasis mine:

Michael Moore: And when you and I went to college, we didn't have to go to a private bank to take out a loan that would have us in hock for the next 20
years, a loan that would eventually have us paying $500,000 to the bank just so
we could go to college. When we went to college, there was a sign on a door that
said "Financial Aid Office," and you went in there and you got a grant or a
scholarship, work study, you might have to work in the library 10 hours a week,
you know, maybe a low-interest loan, like a one or two percent, pay it back when
you can to the college. I mean, that's the way it worked. People got to go to
school and you weren't in debt. Our 22-year-olds now, when they leave college,
they are socked with so much credit card debt because, of course, the credit
cards are all over the campus encouraging kids to sign up for these things. And
they're in student loan debt. The noose is already around their neck, and they
don't really maybe get to go and explore their dreams, or work the jobs that
they would like to work, because they have to get to work right away at any job
they can get because they have to start paying off these loans and these credit
cards. It wasn't that way 30 years ago.But this beast, this beast call
capitalism, just got so out of control and it just said, you know, I'm going to
gobble up whatever I can gobble up. And it's an insatiable beast. You can never
stop it. And even when it's exposed for being a corrupt system, like it was in
this last year, it just moves on to the next thing to suck money out of.

Rick Sanchez: Well, then why is it -- you know, it's funny, because I don't
think anybody who just listened to you say that, whether they are on the right
or on the left, Republican, Libertarian, whatever the heck they call themselves,
are going to disagree with what you said
, but yet when we watch protests, all we hear people say is give more power to the corporations and take it away from the government. How have they been able to pull what appears to be a snow job off?

What's wrong with that, you ask? Well, first, on it's website, CNN lists Sanchez under the "Anchors & Reporters" heading, not "Commentators." An anchor/reporter ought to be sticking to the facts, not presenting personal opinions as if they WERE facts.

Second, it's flat-out wrong. I disagree with what Moore said. Capitalism has built this country into the strongest, freest, most prosperous country in the world. And under capitalism, while the rich got richer, the poor and middle class got richer too. Today's middle class have it better than the rich did even fifty years ago. And this country's poor have it better than a lot of countries' rich.

I used to think MSNBC was the most insidious, with their far-left agenda. But while MSNBC claims to get you the real story, it's with a little wink; you KNOW what you're getting when you tune into MSNBC. But what CNN does is try to pass off agenda-driven opinion/commentary as objective, fact-based news. And that's just dishonest.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Once upon a time in the heartland of America, an ant and a grasshopper were discussing the future on a bright spring day.

"I'm going to gather a little extra food each day and store it away for the winter," the ant said. "That way I'll have enough to last until next March, when the grass and seeds will start growing again."

"Oh, that's too hard!" exclaimed the grasshopper. "Besides, there's time to do that later. I'm going to take some time off to enjoy the summer and have some fun!"

So every day, the ant would work hard gathering food, carrying it past the grasshopper, who played his fiddle and paused only long enough to smirk or laugh at the ant.

"You work too hard!" he observed. "Who do you think you are?"

The ant answered "I'm someone who intends to survive another year!" and kept on going.

This continued all summer and into the fall.

Little by little, the food became scarcer and harder to find.

The ant didn't worry; if he didn't find enough food in a day, he would take a small amount out of storage to fill his plate. With careful rationing, he'd still have plenty to last until spring.

But the grasshopper grew hungrier and hungrier and became resentful of the ant.

"Who does that greedy little ant think he is, hoarding all the food?" he muttered to himself. "He thinks he's too good to share with those less fortunate than him!"

When the grasshopper's appetite grew too voracious to control, he petitioned the Deer Leader, a tall, lanky creature with protruding ears, whose job it was to make all the decisions the woodland creatures had to live by.

"Look at all the food that greedy ant has, Deer Leader, and I don't have ANY! If I don't get something to eat, I'll be dead by November! It's not fair!" he implored.

So Deer Leader paid a visit to the ant.

"It's not fair that you have so much, ant," he said, "while the grasshopper has so little."

The ant cried, "But I worked hard for every piece of food that I have! If you take it, all that work will have been for nothing!"

Deer Leader snorted derisively, "Then maybe you shouldn't have worked so hard!"

Angered, the ant asked "And why is it that the grasshopper had NO responsibility to work HARDER, instead of playing his fiddle all summer?"

Deer Leader snorted again, "What an insensitive question!"

Deer Leader seized half the ant's food and took it to the grasshopper.

"Here, grasshopper," he said as he dropped the food on the grasshopper's doorstep. "When the rich, greedy ants won't share, remember that Deer Leader will take care of you, because I CARE."

The leaves fell, and soon the snow did too.

As December faded into January, the ant, who had gathered enough food to last until March, and the grasshopper, who hadn't even gathered enough to last through November, starved to death, dying in fact on the same day.

And Deer Leader laughed and laughed and laughed, because their Outcomes were Equal, and in the end that was the only thing that mattered.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Spider's Eulogy.

(Written 9/11/09)

At the far end of my front porch is a metal garbage can. I put my aluminum cans in it until I get enough to take to the recycling center. It's next to the wall, half-blocking the view from my bedroom window.

Some time this past spring, a large, slender spider built a web attached at one end to a point a couple of feet above the trashcan on the window and at the other end to the trashcan's handle facing the wall.

I say "large." Not Tarantula Large, but large enough to take down a good-sized grasshopper or Junebug. It was mostly black, with a few small spots of yellow on the thorax, with long, spindly legs that were black from the "elbows" to the ends, and a pale, pinkish brown from the "shoulders" to the "elbows."

Now, bugs are a problem on my porch. In the evenings, mosquitos will about carry you away if you try to sit out there, and on humid days especially, you have to swat flies at any hour.

So I decided to let the young spider keep on keeping on there in the hopes it would gorge itself on some of the bugs and eventually, they'd forward a chain email to all their friends warning them to stay off my porch.

(Here's where you think I'm going to put in a pun about the World Wide Web, but nope. Not gonna do it.)

Every few days, I'd take an armload of crushed soda cans out. I'd be careful not to jostle the web too much when I lifted the lid or to drop the cans in too loudly.

In time, the spider grew, not too much in length, but a good deal in girth, so I could then recognize it was one of those ... I think they're called "garden spiders" ... with the pretty yellow- and black-splotched thorax.

It seemed rather peaceful and content there in it's home, except when it would swiftly and gleefully pounce on the latest hapless bug that became ensnared it the web. That part wasn't too peaceful.

Then came the day that I came to view as The Attack. A smaller, evil-looking spider, this one brown, took up residence in one corner of the web.

My spider stayed in the middle and on the opposide side for a few days. Then, on one of my can runs, I noticed the brown one in the center and my spider on the edges. Mine would try to regain the center and the brown one would pounce on it and drive it back to the edges.

That night, my spider disappeared. To be honest, I thought the invader had killed it, or at least driven it away.

A week or so passed, and one dewy morning, I found my spider had moved to the other end of the porch, with a new, bigger, stronger web on the outside of the living room window. This web would prove far more productive, as the living room lights were on several hours a night, as opposed to a couple of minutes for my bedroom window. It drew in all sorts of big, juicy nightbugs.

Over the past couple of monthes, I enjoyed from my chair many occasions of watching my spider catching bugs.

I never named my spider. I should have, but I didn't really know if it was a male or female (my knowledge of Spider Anatomy is very limited), and I find those gender-neutral names like "Pat" and "Kim" obnoxious.

About a week ago, I discovered "it" was a "she," and she had deposited a bulky eggsac (about an inch in diameter) on the underside of the upper windowframe.

Maybe the invader hadn't been an attacker after all, but a mate. (Again, my knowledge of Spider Anatomy, specifically Gender Differentiation in Spider Anatomy, is limited, so I don't know what the males of the species look like.)

Then, as the first hints of fall set in, my spider grew listless and lethargic. The first couple of days, she'd still eat bugs, but without much gusto. I hoped maybe she was resting. But when she stopped repairing holes in her web, I knew what was coming.

Two days ago, she moved up close to the eggsac and stopped moving. I thought she had died yesterday, but a couple of taps on the window glass elicited a feeble wave from one of her front legs.

This morning, six of her legs were curled up. The other two were still grasping the web. I knew she was probably already gone, but decided to wait a couple of hours in case some small remnant of her consciousness was still in there and wanted to die in peace.

After noon, I went out on the porch and plucked at one of the anchor lines of her web. No response. I moved a little closer and tried again. Still nothing. Just in case, I grabbed a stick (I didn't use my finger because I'm allergic to spider and insect venom, one of the reasons I so LOATHE the mosquitos) and gently prodded her body. Nothing. She hung there lifeless.

My spider was gone.

At first, I started looking for a large matchbox to bury her in, but then I thought maybe the babies are supposed to feed on her body. I know less about Spider Life Cycles than I do about their anatomy. So I left her hanging there.

She hangs there still.

In lieu of a burial, I decided to give her what she SHOULD have had all along, a name.

Rest In Peace,
A Very Good Spider,
Mother & Friend
Spring 2009 - September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Barack Obama, on his decision to abolish my freedom to choose. (My comments in brackets.)

"Now, even if we provide these affordable options, there may be those -- especially the young and the healthy -- who still want to take the risk and go without coverage ... The problem is, such irresponsible behavior costs all the rest of us money. If there are affordable options and people still don't sign up for health insurance, it means we pay for these people's expensive emergency room visits.

[Except that it is not a foregone conclusion that those without insurance will go to the emergency room. Some, such as I, will go to their family doctor and pay out of pocket. Others have a deep mistrust of all doctors and will choose to treat themselves. Some might even take care of their health and not HAVE to go to a doctor.]

... And unless everybody does their part, many of the insurance reforms we seek -- especially requiring insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions -- just can't be achieved.

[It's not my responsibility to offer up my liberty as a sacrifice just so you can achieve your agenda, Mr. President.]

And that's why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance -- just as most states require you to carry auto insurance.

[Apples and oranges, Mr. President. I can CHOOSE not to buy auto insurance, by choosing not to drive a car. Do we really want to live in a society where the only option I have to exercise my freedom is to choose not to live?]

... There will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still can't afford coverage ...

[So, I'm supposed to go crawling to some career bureaucrat on a power trip, throw myself on his mercy, and beg for an exception?]

... [W]e can't have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees.

[Where did this responsibility come from? Is it in the Constitution? Or is it a responsibility because you SAY it's a responsibility?]

Improving our health care system only works if everybody does their part."

[I am a human being, endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights, such as life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness, not some cog in your death machine, Mr. President.]

Now, just a reminder of what CANDIDATE Obama said about the Individual Mandate: