Friday, June 29, 2012


I do some gardening and home maintenance, as most who own a home with any land do.  I've reduced the amount of lawn on my acre in favor of landscaping.  It looks nicer and cuts down time on mowing.  When I first started with it I worked on the popular conception of planting things I bought at local nurseries and weeding out anything else from the landscaping.  As time has progressed, I've gone in a different direction.

See, life (living things) is an opportunist.  There's no cognizant thought necessary.  Life is just carpe diem.  Look at the various plants growing in cracks in sidewalks and roads.  They're going to get run over.  They're going to get weeded or sprayed.  If there was intelligence there, it wouldn't pick that spot.  And yet, that's what works.  Life seizing opportunities is why there is so much life.  Plenty of those seized moments result in failure (death), but those that make it through spread life even further.

Sometimes that life seizing life is at the expense of other life, too.  Quite often, actually.  Kudzu strangles out other plants all across the South.  Animals eat plants or other animals.  Mammals become dominant over lizards.  It's been going on as long as there's been life on Earth, if not longer on some other planet or moon in the universe.

Interestingly, the most succesful of living things on Earth is the only one to try to put the brakes on its seizing of opportunity.  Humanity is the only living thing ever to have considered the matter, at least on this planet.  Any other life on this planet that was as successful would simply continue to seize its opportunities until there were no more opportunities to be seized and it was so successful as to cause its own end.

But life is merciless.  Life doesn't consider other life or inanimate objects.  Life grabs what it can take for as long as it can take it.  It may look beautiful to our eyes, as does my landscaping that's now a mix of bought plants and wild plants that have joined the fray, but it's not compassionate or in any way loving.  Life's a bitch, then it dies.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


What's going on with tipping?  When I was young, my mother the accountant taught me that a standard tip was 15% for good service, with bad service being something less and excellent service being something more.  Now, advice columnists espouse 20% and a floor, and tell people that even the business owner should be tipped, at least in the context of a hair stylist.

How's that?  The hair stylist is getting all of the money from the cost of the service if the hair stylist owns the business.  The point of a tip is to provide more to a low paid employee for being particularly good at the job.  It's a sort of incentive program for good service.  The employer already has the incentive, to go along with all the money from the basic charge.  If the owner doesn't provide good service, the business goes under.

Then there's the issue of mandatory tips.  Those are reserved for large groups.  It's just that what constitutes a large group seems to be shrinking.  When I waited tables about 23 years ago a large group was 10, at least 8.  Just a few weeks ago at The Green Turtle it was 6.  That mean an 18% tip, without me having any say about it.  And the service was maybe 15% on that occasion.

Which brings about my bigger beef.  I'm not a fan of tipping in the first place.  It allows employers to pay below minimum wage to people who are working hard and takes the management of those employees' performance out of the hand of the employer and puts it into the hands of the customer.  I want the employer to be responsible for the employee's behavior.  I don't want to have to be the one to regulate it, and indirectly at best.  It's not like I can sit down and have a lengthy conversation with the server about performance and goals.  I'd much rather the tips were abandoned and a full, living wage be paid to the employee, with commensurate firings for those not performing adequately.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flags and Know Nothings (aka Tea Party)

I like flags.  National flags, mostly, with the Maryland flag being an exception to otherwise largely dull field of state flags.  I also like historical flags.  I always have a US flag flying at my house, whether it's the current flag or a historical one, such as the circular star field of the original 13.

Recently I was shopping for replacement flags.  My US flag was sun faded and my orignal 13 flag had gotten torn.  I found a current flag easily enough but wasn't so lucky in finding the original 13.  However, in the course of my search I did find a historical flag from the Revolutionary period.  Actually, I found two that had some similarities, but important differences.

One was the Don't Tread on Me flag depicting the coiled snake.  The other is the Join, or Die flag depicting a snake in several pieces, with each piece representing a colony or region.  The Know Nothings have seized on the Don't Tread on Me flag as a symbol of their terrible oppresion under the tax code of the United States.

The Join, or Die flag shows clearly that the Revolution would not have succeeded if the 13 colonies hadn't united.  In fact, the Articles of Confederation that first governed the 13 colonies also showed that being united had to be more than a European Union sort of unification.  There had to be a strong central government to make decisions that affected all 13 colonies, or different numbers of them, because not all government decisions could be made at the state level.  The squabbling between the original 13 brought actual governance to a halt, much like the European debt crisis drags on and on without a central decision making authority.

The Know Nothings, as befitting their lack of intellectual heft, use the Don't Tread on Me flag to mean something it didn't mean during the Revolution.  The snake on the flag represents the united colonies resisting the crown.  They were being stepped on because the crown was imposing taxes in which the colonies had no say, as well as quartering troops in private homes, among other indignities.  None of this is what's going on in the US today.  The taxes at the federal level are taxes resulting from votes by duly elected representatives of the very people claiming they're being oppressed.  They're not being oppressed.  They just don't like that they were in the minority in the most recent election.

The Know Nothings totally miss the point of what the Founding Fathers learned.  To be free the colonies, later states, needed to be united.  They needed to work together to address the problems that crossed state lines.  That's precisely why the Constitution was drafted.  It was a work of compromise that papered over significant conflicts between the states, but it created the framework for a central government that could evolved over time to address the needs of the people. 

We the People.  It's right in the first words of the document as to who it's for.

Of course, I bought the Join, or Die flag.  There's no time for subtlety when there's this much stupidity running around.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pandora and Personality

I recently bought an iPhone.  To be accurate, I bought iPhones for myself, my wife, and the two kids.  Anyway, the three of them give me grief about how few apps I have on the phone that's really a small computer.  One of the few I have is Pandora.

Pandora is an internet radio of sorts.  You create stations by entering an artist or song, which it plays for you and then cascades from there to other songs and artists who are in the same field of sound and style.  It means you don't pick your own songs but go with whatever the algorithm provides.

My wife doesn't like Pandora much because she doesn't have control over what's being played.  She wants to pick the song she wants to hear.  I like it.  I like the new discoveries that result.  Besides, I'm seldom in the mood for only one song or artist.

It's a difference in personality.  She wants control.  I like going with the flow.  It works pretty well for us in the marriage, too, as long as we're communicating well about these things.  I've seen the same dynamic in vacations, which she likes to schedule.  By working a give and take between us, we end up with a vacation that has some structure to it but isn't limned with requirements of being at x place at y time.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Skew the Game

My wife has some Republican tendencies.  As a result, she's made a big deal of the fact that Obama recently had the single largest, in terms of money, campaign fundraising event ever, and that Obama spent far more than McCain in '08.  The angle of attack is that Obama isn't any representative of the common man but a tool of wealthy interests.  I can always tell when she's been watching Faux News.

There are major flaws with this line of thinking.  First, Obama's spending in '08 was from large numbers of small donations, not big spenders.  Kind of had to be, then, as Citizens United hadn't been decided yet.  The campaign money spiggot that's now open was closed then.  So nowhere near as much money could even come into the campaigns unless it was from a wider base of sources, which dilutes the influence of the large money donors.

This is the flaw in the thinking behind Citizens United.  Well, one of the flaws.  By equating money with speech, the Supreme Court decided that the speech of the wealthy is more important than the speech of the non-wealthy.  Everyone has an equal right to spend as much money as he or she wishes on campaign electioneering that's not directly controlled by a candidate, but the wealthy easily shout down all those who don't have the disposable cash to spend on TV, radio, and newspaper ad buys, as well as internet ads, come to think of it.

Anyway, back to the point.  The fact that Obama raised the most money at one event isn't nearly as significant as how much money is raised over the course of a camaign.  Romney is quickly overcoming Obama there with all the unregulated money of wealthy donors, which is another vast difference between the two campaigns.  While only something around 16% of Obama's donations come from those making the maximum contributions, Romeny's percentage is around 80%.  The huge number of dollars coming in to Obama are from small donators,  giving what they can.  Obama manages to get a few larger contributors together at one event, but that's nothing compared to the many large donations coming in to Romney.

Who does Faux News think it's kidding (other than the obvious answer of my wife)?  They helped lobby for this fucked up system that Citizens United has wrought because it provides diproportionate benefits to the few that their party represents.  Now they try to portray this free money system as benefitting the very man they targeted by this effort.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Making Decisions

Yesterday I touched on the problem of parents making decisions, and teaching their kids the same.  Seems like more than a few kids are led down the path of "I can do it all", which is far from the truth. 

It reminded me of how hard it is for decisions to be made in work places.  Small businesses are less likely to have this problem, especially if they're so small as to be run by one person, but in a big business like the one I work in, making a decision is a lost skill.

Nothing can be decided of any significance, and what's significant keeps getting smaller and smaller, without three levels of discussion, if not more.  And that's just on a simple claim.  Don't let there need to be a decision on something broader, like the generality of how to structure the claim handling.  That takes years of committees and pilot programs.  And the end result is what you'd expect from that many cooks in the soup.  All very frustrating.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Physics and Childhood

I've read about the over schedulers of the world, and sometimes I feel like I've become one with the dance activities for my daughter, but I've really run into one now.

A friend of my daughter goes to the same dance studio and is on the competition team.  She also has been doing cheerleading, lacrosse, field hockey, GT class work, and on and on.  Every thing that comes across her path that she finds interesting she wants to do.  And her parents go right along with that. 

The thing is, there's only so much time in a day and only so many places you can be at one time.  In fact, it's 24 hours in a day and only one place that you can be at a given time.  This is causing conflicts with the various activities, and the mom wants to try to get the activities to tailor a schedule to the daughter can do everything.  But you can't.  The space time continuum will win on this everytime.

What needs to be done is the making of decisions.  Choices have to be made.  "If I'm going to do X, I can't do Y."

We started on that a long time ago.  Katya was limited in the number of dance classes she could take, especially if she wanted to do something else, like soccer or Girl Scouts.  Over the years she's decided dance is her favorite, and she now takes a lot of dance classes.  But, she's not doing anything else, either.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I've heard more than a few people complain about the lack of restaurants in Reisterstown and Owings Mills on Reisterstown Rd.  Too many auto parts stores and nothing to do.  This amuses me because it sounds like they want to live in a city where there's a vibrant night life.  Of course, they're afraid to live in Baltimore, so that's out.

When you press on it, what they want are more chain restaurants, though.  Not McDonalds or BK, which are already present.  They want Panera and the like.  As it is, Owings Mills has Outback, Bone Fish, Red Robin, Don Pablo, Green Turtle, Five Guys, and is almost certainly going to have several more in the Owings Mills Mall redevelopment and the development of the Owings Mills Metro stop, where there are seven liquor licenses. 

I fail to see what is so appealing about more chains.  It's like a parochialism.  Eldersburg has a Panera, so Owings Mills must have one, too.  Why?  It's just an over priced sandwich shop.

What Reisterstown does have are The Grille at Harryman House, Tonino's, The Cow, Java Mama, and other locally owned restaurants.  Owings Mills has some of its own local places, too.  That's what I like to see.  Not a homoginzation but an individualization.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Happy Juneteenth!


Things are a bit busy at the moment and no one's reading this other than me, so I'll be posting whenever I feel like it.  That may be weekdays or it may be something less.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Poor Driving Assumptions

A few days ago I was heading home after work.  I was on Church Rd in Owings Mills.  In fact, it was Tuesday when we had the monsoon weather.

Anyway, I'm behind a large red pickup truck that belongs to Kinsley Construction.  It's poking along on Church, which is to be expected to some extent because of speed humps that make you slow down to 25 mph on a road that's posted for 30 mph.  Crappy construction of the humps, that.

But the driver of this truck has to know I'm behind him.  I have my headlights on and have been behind him for a good quarter mile or so.  In fact, he passed me as I waited to turn right behind him.  Nonetheless, as we near Delight Rd he puts on a left turn signal and crosses the center line toward the driveway to a residence, right at one of the speed humps.  Naturally, I figure he's turning into the driveway.  And he is.  Sort of.  But instead of pulling head in to the driveway, he wants to back in.  So, he crosses the center line and then starts to swing back into my lane as I'm continuing past him.  The son of a bitch nearly hits me right on my driver's door, but apparently notices me just in time and stops.

What kind of moron assumes that traffic behind him is going to a) know that he's making this kind of maneuver when he just has a left turn signal on, and b) doesn't stop once he's crossed the center line to make sure the traffic behind him has stopped to allow him to complete the maneuver.  No doubt he would have been incredulous and thought I was at fault if he had hit me.  Probably would have claimed I tried to pass him illegally on the right, even though that's an impossibility with the woods right up on the road.

Par for the course in that area, though.  I'm constantly having people pull out from the stop sign on Delight into my path on Church, even though I'm clearly coming right toward them and don't have a turn signal on to turn onto Delight.  It's a breeding ground for stupid driving right there.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Making my Head Hurt

I investigate complex auto insurance claims, as you may know.  What I think is complex and what someone else thinks is complex are often two different things, though.  I ran smack into that talking to a cab driver earlier this week.

So, my insured loses control of his vehicle, hits a parked car on the left side of the road, then swerves right and hits a cab stopped in front of a residence after having just dropped off a fare.  My insured says the cab made a U turn into the side of his vehicle as he was passing, pushing him into the parked car.  The cab driver says he had no reason to make the U turn because he was going straight down the road once he was done with the fare, as he does regularly in dropping off this fare.  Giving my insured less credibility, he fled the scene, but claims he walked back after parking his damage car a few blocks away.  He didn't talk to the police because he's not on the police report.

But here's the part that left me going in circles with the cab driver.  My insured had no driver's license.  The cab driver concludes that because my insured was driving illegally without a license, my insured must be at fault for the accident.  If he had been obeying the law and not driving, the accident would not have happened.

The thing is, that's not logical.  The possession of a license is irrelevant to whether a person is driving a car negligently.  Not having a license is a criminal or traffic violation that is separate from a tort determination of who was negligent.  They're different, albeit overlapping, areas of law.

I tried to explain to the cab driver and brought up the example of drunk driving.  I've had a few claims over the years where a person was driving drunk but was not at fault in the loss.  The person was going straight and someone turned in front of them or something along those lines.  He just would not get it.  He was hung up on the illegal operation of the vehicle, either drunk or without a license.  I tried to paint it for him by saying if a licensed or sober driver was substituted for the illegal driver, the same result would have occurred, and that person wouldn't be at fault.

It all ended up moot because I found the cab driver far more credible than my insured who fled the scene, so he was perfectly fine with my finding the insured at fault.

To some degree it reminded me of the illegal immigration discussions.  Far too many people think that illegal immigrants get whatever they deserve when they're here illegally, as long as what happens to them is negative.  If the illegal is successful, or even just getting by, the illegal should be sent "home" because the person is here illegally.  Nevermind the contributions that person is making to the society.  Immigration status is all that matters.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy Flag Day Birthday

Late getting this one up because of work, but it's a special one.  Today, my boy, in all his goofy might, is 11.  Upholding the tradition of his namesake grandfather, he was born on a minor holiday. 

Hard to believe our jaundiced baby is now off to middle school in the fall, but he's still as silly as ever.

A big Happy Birthday, my boy.  Enjoy the Pokemon fiesta.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Segregation in Housing

I don't know what to make of this one.  The Baltimore Sun has an article about housing patterins from 1977 to 2005.  Read about it here.

For starters, the study only tracks black and white families.  Um, there's a lot more to the ethnic make-up of the US than that, so I don't know that the initial premise of the study is entirely valid.

And that's reflected in the numbers.  Much is decried that 44% of black families who moved in the time period moved to predominantly black neighborhoods, while 5% moved to predominantly white neighborhoods, 18% moved to multi-ethinic neighborhoods, and 34% to other types of neighborhoods.  Similarly, 57% of whites moved to predominantly white neighborhoods, 2% to predominantly black neighborhoods, 6% to multi-ethnic neighborhoods, and 36% to other types of neighborhoods.

For starters, I don't know what the hell an other type of neighborhood would be.  It seems to me the first three categories cover all the bases.  I suppose it could mean predominantly Hispanic, Asian, or Native American neighborhoods.  But what's the size of a neighborhood?  Parts of Ellicott City have large Korean populations.  Does that make those areas predominantly other types of neighborhoods, or is the whole of Ellicott City what's counted and it's considered predominantly white or multi-ethnic?

A large hit to the questionable usefulness if this study is in the terminology.  "Predominantly" is a key word.  That's because there aren't many neighborhoods, particurly in urban and suburban areas, that are entirely one ethnicity.  Even in rural areas it's getting harder to find, as many Hispanic immigrants are willing to move far and wide for employment.  And why not?  They already left home for a strange land.  While there are some clusters of fellow immigrants to give support in more urban areas, there are more labor job opportunities in rural areas.

So, what does this study provide?  Aside from a somewhat hysterical, and possibly misleading, headline that segregation remains a problem in the US, not much.  Some white people continue to flee further and further away from cities?  No news there.  They mostly cloak it in affordable housing or lower taxes, as our white flighters from Maryland are wont to do, but some are doing it to live with "their own kind" as much as possible, too. 

These numbers really mean next to nothing because of the qualifiers used in the black and white neighborhoods and the lack of definition for the other.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wealthy Wage Class Warfare

One of the great victories of the GOP is that it has mastered the manipulation of language to bamboozle people into voting GOP when there's no rational economic reason to do so.  I've mentioned previously how the GOP has sold the public on the idea that benefits that only benefit the wealthy are really good for everyone else because we might all be weatlhy someday, despite the statistical improbablility, if not impossibility, of that.

A corollary to that sale is the mantra of "class warfare," and its sister econimic pejorative, "socialist state."  Despite a three year track record of supporting business development and expansion Obama is still pasted with the socialist label by the GOP and its many minions of moronic mouthing.

But class warfare is my favorite of the moment.  Everytime the wealthiest of the nation are asked to contribute more to the weal of the broader population, a population entirely necessary for their success, large numbers of these wealthy cry "class warfare" (with the exception of your occasional Warren Buffett or George Soros). 

Which is fine, I suppose, in so far as greed is fine.  Because, really, what's being asked of the wealthy wouldn't even be one luxury car for them and none are being asked to subject themselves to penury.  But the amazing thing is how many people who are not weathly and aren't likely to be wealthy will carry their standard and fight their peers in these things.

Look at Wisconsin.  The recall vote for governor was based on anger over public employees losing collective bargaining rights, which is the same thing as not having unions, seeing as that's what unions do.  Governor Walker's solution to a declining Wisconsin economy, industrially based as it once was, was to convince people who lost their own union benefits when the industrial jobs went away to vote to deprive their fellow workers in the public sector of the same benefits they once had.  The GOP has turned worker against worker and used them to push worker benefits further downward.

Of course, the irony in this is that most of the benefits that are so costly, the ones related to health care, would be entirely unnecessary if the United States had universal health care.  Businesses would have much more flexibility, and workers, too, if there was no worry about paying for health care.  That's a big write-off the business books if health insurance isn't necessary.  It particularly benefits the small business that can then hire more talented workers who might otherwise go to work for the bigger companies who can afford health coverage with the greater spread of the cost in more employees.

The GOP supposedly is the stalwart of small business but has worked consistently at keeping small business down by driving costs on to small business that ought to be born by the larger society.  Once again, it's war waged on the lower earners, and using lower earners to fight the battle for them.

The GOP has for some time been the representative of irrational thinking, whether it's evolution or economics, but it's getting worse all the time.  Now the presidential candidate of the party is a guy who has blatantly changed positions solely to run for the office, cannot even lie with a straight face about his bullying behavior as a youth, and is quite obviously running primarily as today's Steve Forbes, a man who wants to hoard as much money for himself as possible, silver spoon providing the leg up for each.  It's no wonder Donald Trump is a Romney supporter.  He's as big an ego maniac as we're likely to find in the celebri-business world and Romney is just the same, only with better hair.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Automated Machine Sentience

My office has gone to touchless equipment in the bathroom for the urinals, sinks and paper towel dispensers.  The soap dispenser for the sink is set wrong so that it's constantly shooting soap out at you as you rinse your hands under the water, which has resulted in a battle between employees who twist the dispenser to avoid that and whoever thinks it should be set on its base as aligned.

More interestingly, the paper towel dispenser has achieved intelligence.  Its sensor is set at a short range so that you have to nearly touch it to get a towel out of it; however, as of Friday it is now anticipating my arrival and need for a towel.  I walked into the bathroom to the sound of a towel dispensing, but no one was in the bathroom until I entered.  I'm hoping the ambitions of a paper towel dispenser are limited and that it won't start to conspire with the sink, soap dispenser and urinals to take over the office, though in truth it might operate better if it did.

Friday, June 8, 2012


I get mighty tired of the anti-immigration crowd, who cloak themselves in opposition to illegal immigrants but who don't make much in the way of fine distinction between those who are legal or illegal.  On the whole it's a matter of whether they speak English or Spanish.  Seems like Russian speakers don't engender much antipathy. 

Anyway, amongst their crusades of righteousness is English Only.  The idea here is that English is the lingua franca, always has been and always should be.  The fact that English Only flies in the face of equal access seems to be of little concern.

So, I'm reading Franklin and Marshall College's alumni magazine for Spring '12.  There's an article about the goings on in the soon to be US (ok, it already was, but pre-Constitution) in 1787, the year of the founding of Franklin College.  Here's some interesting information from that time.

"The mission of Franklin College was to educate the German youth of central Pennsylvania and help in the diffusion of 'knowledge through every part of the State, in order to preserve our present republican system of government, as well as to promote these improvements in the arts and sciences which alone render nations respectable, great and happy,' according to the petition put before the General Assembly of Pennsylvania."

At the dedication ceremony for the school the program was printed in English and German.  The college's first "principal" delivered his address in German, while a professor of English delivered his address in English.

It's nothing new that immigrants have come to this country not speaking English.  But Franklin and Marshall set the right example from its inception in trying to make those immigrants into full, functional citizents of a society governed by elected representatives.  Today's English Only and Know Nothing crowds are only interested in marginalizing immigrants to keep them from taking American jobs, as if American were limited to only those born here.  Shit, most of these Know Nothings know so little they ought not be allowed to vote, but for the illegality of poll tests.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Citizenship Test

Why is the citizenship test for non native borns to the US being used as a political tool of indoctrination to Know Nothing thinking?  You think I kid?

Here's a link to a sample of the citizenship test.  Citizenship sample questions.

The answer the adminstrators give to the question of what was the cause of the American Revolution: high taxes.  Bullshit.

The cause of the American Revolution, so far as taxes are concerned, was not high taxes.  The issue was that the taxes were imposed by Parliament and King George on the colonies without any say by the colonies.  The colonies had no representatives in Parliament; therefore, they were without voice in the matter.  The taxes were imposed to help defray the cost of the French and Indian War, which had been fought to the benefit of the colonists, so the mother land had a legitimate argument that the colonies should help pay for the war.  Some colonists were willing to pay the taxes even without a voice, too.

The answer given by the government is entirely without historical merit and reflects a Know Nothing thinking that says all taxes are bad.  That's one of the main idiocies of the Tea Party movement.  They object to taxes under the banner of the Boston Tea Party.  The Boston Tea Party was about taxes imposed without representation.  Taxes by the federal government are the results of votes by a Congress and President who are all elected.  They may be idiots, but we elected them to be our representatives.

The Know Nothings are really a petulant, childish movement.  They want to keep everything and not share and have temper tantrum when they don't get their way.  That and they're afraid of that which they do not know, particularly people from other countries or cultures.  Wah, wah, wah.

It's not Constitutional but I wouldn't mind a citizenship test for everyone before they could vote.  The problem would be making it a test of substance that was non-partisan.  Ah, meritocracy.  Would that you were feasible.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


If you're living in Maryland, this is a headline you're seeing in almost all of the local media sources:

This one is from the Baltimore Sun, but the TV and radio folks all have the same story. 

And that's the problem.  It's not much of a story and certainly doesn't paint any picture of where things are going.  To put the statute granting same sex marriage rights in Maryland up for referendum only 55,736 signatures were necessary.  Over 122,000 were submitted.  This is presented as some sort of great victory for opponents of same sex marriage.  Not so much.

Baltimore County alone has a population over 1 million.  Baltimore City is over 600,000.  Montgomery and Prince George's Counties are larger than Baltimore County.  These signatures are drop in the bucket in the population of Maryland. 

And polling in Maryland is trending for more than 57% in favor of the statute.  We'll see when it comes to the actual voting, but it's far from over.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Delicious Irony

I recently read an article on extreme mothering by celebreties.  For instance, Alicia Silverstone chews her son's food before giving it to him to eat.  Mayim Bialik is still nursing a 3 1/2 year old son.  And Gisel Bundchen is among celebrities who are raising their kids without diapers.

The first seems to me to be made unnecessary by the invention of the blender, though, truth be told, finding a nice stone to pound the food to mush would work just as well in a pre-blender society.  The long term breast feeding seems like a relatively recent idea, and certainly is not common in the US.  The diaper bit can be traced back throughout much of human history, naturally.

The one thing these all have in common is that the require the presence of a mother with a child 24/7, especially the latter two.  Mom better be around for that breast milk snack, and she sure as hell better be around to watch the child like a hawk for signs that bowel or bladder activity is imminent.  Evidently that's how it's supposed to be done, so the kid can be held over a toilet.

The irony in all this sort of child rearing by women from what's generally considered left leaning celebrity land is that it's a very conservative view of women.  Women are primarily present to provide sustance and training for children, and by these labor intensive methods, do not have the time for any other role.  Certainly they don't have the time to work a job that requires an 8 hour day, 5 days a week.

Of course, it has a double irony because it's so elitist.  Women who live in lower economic circumstances, who have to work to support their families with either a second income or a primary income for the family, don't have these options.  They can't stand there watching for signs of impending poop.  A diaper will have to do.  They can't be around to be a ready faucet whenever junior wants a snack, either.  Work is calling.

Not that I'm saying that any of these child rearing things is a bad thing.  I reserve that for raising a kid vegan.  We're omnivores, people.  Our bodies are the product of millenia of evolution in which our ancestors ate whatever they could get their hands on.  Eat meat in moderation.  It's good for you.  And vegan kids, especially boys, have stunted growth from the vegan diet.

Ah, well.  Far too late for my kids to have this sort of high end rearing.  They're long past the diaper and mommy masticating stage.  Instead of focusing on these sorts of peculiar things, I'd rather someone focus on finding a way to get my kids to hand in the work they've completed instead of getting docked for being late, even though they were done on time.  Sheesh.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Economic Insanity Corollary

Yesterday's post delved into the fallacy of GOP economic theory.  Here's a corollary to the con job they've perpetuated on the American people.

The laws that they want to benefit the 1% of the wealthiest portion of the population are to the benefit of the remaining 99% because at some point the members of the 99% will earn so much income that they too will be in the 1%.  You wouldn't want laws that take money from the wealthiest because you, the Horatio Alger that you are, will someday have made a pile of cash that will be taxed away from you.  Not that the tax would take anything remotely like all of the wealthy's cash, but that's the gist.

That, of course, is a statisical impossibility.  At no point can everyone in the 99% take a turn being part of the 1%.  There's nothing like a constant current of new members of the 1% with old members of the 1% joining the 99%.  The 1% only occasionally changes in constituency. 

As a result, the GOP has a significant number of voters believing that laws that harm them are ultimately to their benefit because they might, some day, become wealthy.  A Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, far exceeding Madoff.