Friday, March 16, 2012

Near Earth Asteroid to take another shot

This little gem could blow all our cares away. There's so many of them we can't expect them to always miss.

Damage estimates based on asteroid sizes.  

Property taxes

Schools here are funded mostly by property taxes.  Here, is East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.  Main problem is that for a few years this was a boom area. People came because cheaper houses allowed New Jersey and New York residents to upgrade.  Property taxes here were lower than in New York and New Jersey. It was a gold rush. At first the long commute to higher jobs seemed worth it because of woods, big yards, deer, and bears that could be fed doughnuts. Then gas prices went up. Expanding schools required higher property taxes.  Many moved back to where they lived before because it was now cheaper and the long commute proved more taxing than first believed. There are now many empty houses here. There are three on my short road.  Empty houses do not deliver taxes but big school buildings with swimming pools, have long, large mortgages and extra teachers are protected by tenure and unions.  Property taxes go up, catastrophically for many, leading to more empty houses and yet higher taxes.  No one wants to buy a house in a heavily taxed area so there is almost no construction, for many years the main industry here, and unemployed builders and their unemployed workers are losing homes to foreclosure.  No one wants to close schools in their neighborhood and no one wants to fire their children's teachers but many believe it is ok to fire administrators. 

A good solution might be to change the tax support structure. The fairest, of course, would be to increase graduated income taxes but no one wants higher income taxes.  Lots want a sales tax because they think visitors and other outsiders could be made to pay for a good part of our schools. Those that believe this do not realize that this would be a tax less fair to lower and middle income people than an income tax.  They think it would be less painful.  Maybe so. 

It is easy to blame the administrators who stupidly believed that the boom would continue forever.  But, most people are delusional in the same way.  Many of us believe we will live forever, or at least act as if we believe that.  The hindsight approach would be to build flexible schools, schools that expanded and contracted painlessly in sync with  population fluctuations.  But we're not that smart. Yet.  Flexibility in architecture, and likely in all ways of being, would be a good way to go.

For now, there is no way to avoid the pain of past stupidity and greed and a desire to construct monumental schools named after local luminaries.  When there is not enough to go around people get very nasty and concentrate more on fixing blame than on fixing situations. So, school board meetings are packed and people are very vulnerable to solutions that readily translate into slogans. The extreme Right thrives.  This is the kind of environment that breeds racism and other more inclusive forms of fascism. That's where we are today. Here, nationally and perhaps worldwide.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Abdulelah Haider Shaye

Obama keeps Yemeni journalist locked up according to The Nation.

Here's Gawker's take on the same story: "...beaten, tortured and imprisoned for two years..."

And the Huffington Post with videos

Different president, same shit.

Senior confusion

I'm  beginning to wonder if it is not everyone else that is turning into Professor Irwin Corey, but it is me who is losing the ability to make sense of things.  The world seems garbled. Santorum, Rush, Fox, Haley's pardons, David Gergen's endless drone, earnest Anderson--a world of wackadoodles.

Road Kill

Yesterday's count from here to post office (5 miles) : one opossum, two racoons (one blonde), several squirrels and a deer.
Another wonderful day brought to us by global warming.  Thanks Detroit and makers of oil burning engines, coal and oil power plants, clear cutting lumber companies, and thanks also to me and my wood burning stove.

Bring it on.  June in January and toasted in July.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

There is no honor...

CNN's John King confuses me

While on the topic of frightening funny things, I come to John King who everyday now reminds me more and more of Professor Irwin Corey. King's mouthful of marbles garbled nonsense is quickly moving from the incoherent to the hilarious.

More Professor Corey:

Men wearing wigs

I have a problem with men who wear wigs; not so much with entertainers who do so, but very much so with politicians and businessmen and others who want to be taken seriously.  I sometimes think half the men in congress wear wigs.  It bothers me because choosing to wear a wig indicates a fundamental dishonesty. It also suggests that the wig wearer is uncomfortable with the truth of who he is.  A person who would lie about his hair would lie about anything.  And, most men's wigs are so bad and so obviously fake hair that they make the wearer look like a clown.  Don't wig wearing politicians have mirrors? Or, are the completely dependent on others' willingness to suspend disbelief? Or, do they actually believe that perception is reality?

Anyway, I think the current clown prince of politics, Rick Santorum, is a wig wearing fool who, if elected will satisfy the most cynical, darkest, most perverse side of my sense of humor.  In that sense, electing George Bush II was hilarious but Santorum will be an absolute wig wearing gut buster.  (I would give anything for a reporter who went around asking politicians if their hair was real or a wig.  Makes me yearn for the genius of Stuttering  John .)

The few remaining honest bald guys among us will have little option but to hold our sides and roar ourselves into oblivion as America becomes a clown festival featuring delusional, wrinkled old guys wearing young hair while spitting out a slush of hate tinged racism, sexism, homophobia, anti sex, fear mongering fundamental christian inspired slogans.