Dec 072011
 

Exposure to Net Gingrich may cause child endangerment and loss of progressive ideals.

December 7, 2011

Newt Gingrich has the kind of idealism and drive we really need to take us into the 19th century, doesn’t he?

In the last few days, he’s pretty much gone and said that the problem with America, the thing holding down the economy, is the lack of children working. Seriously. He’d like to fire all union janitors (you know, people with jobs) and replace them with children. Not only that, but those pesky child-labor laws prevent low-income children from working and helping their parents in a dire situation. For the cherry on the Sunday, his latest claim is that poor teens don’t have a work ethic. Poor people, in general, have no work ethic either, which is why they’re poor.

If you found yourself agreeing with anything Da Newt said, please leave right now. I may make you explode with my liberal rage.

Let me speak as someone who is at the bottom of the economic ladder.


Hundred percent,99Percent by ~M3ran on deviantART

I have a part-time job. It’s the only work I can find. We are expected to do full-time work on a part-time schedule and everyone I work with is over-worked and underpaid. But we do our job and we do it WELL. On occasion, when the work is available, I teach college courses and run workshops for students. I do freelance work when I can find it, but it’s nowhere near a steady income. I get up at six, sometimes five in the morning, to work on said freelance work. I get maybe $25 per article, and I write three to five articles a week. I also maintain this blog, another three to five articles a week there, work on my own writing in the hopes of getting published, and try to read as much as I can to better my skills.

I work a full day. I have a work ethic. Others in my economic bracket have a work ethic. Speaking on behalf of the Hispanic population at least, we have a damned good work ethic. The problem, and this is key, is that there ARE NO JOBS. Even though the private sector’s been getting better the last two years, the economy still has a long way to go.

This is kind of like blaming famine victims for dying because they just don’t have proper table manners. If only they knew how to properly sear a tuna steak and garnish a salad!


Famine by ~cloudminedesign on deviantART

If you are conservative, you should be appalled that this man is leading the running for the Republican Party. The GOP thinks that people who make a million dollars don’t have enough money, but people who make $20,000 a year and get by on government assistance have it TOO easy.

I’ll admit that we’ve gotten lazy as a country in many ways. Television, for the most part, sucks. We don’t read nearly as much as other people around the world. Fast food is preferred to actually cooking. If we can’t Google it, we probably won’t even bothering looking for a book to get it.

But we like money. We like having enough to survive and a little extra to go shopping, catch a movie, or save up for a big trip. When I worked in DC, I had to get up at 5:30 AM so I could be in the office by 7:30 AM. We clocked out at 6 PM most days, but if there was important legislation going through or other urgent matters came up, we stayed an extra hour or two, sometimes three. This was NORMAL even when Congress was NOT in session. And we weren’t paid much. In fact, we were paid peanuts compared to private sector jobs. I actually make more per hour working as a part-time tutor than I did working as a Congressional assistant.


Work ethic by ~ScottFalco on deviantART

Don’t tell me poor people don’t have a work ethic.

I have a damn good work ethic. Nearly everyone I know in my situation has a good work ethic. Five back-to-back tutoring sessions, a presentation, and on-the-job training? All in five hours? Sure thing.

It’s just that pricks like Gingrich and the rest of the GOP seem to think having money must mean you worked for every dollar. Did Gingrich somehow work a thousand times harder than I did last year? No?

Will all respect to Burt Gummer, is his head up his own ass for the warmth?

Let’s watch something less scary than the thought of Gingrich as President, shall we?

Sep 222011
 

I've heard this story before.

September 22, 2011

Yesterday, I introduced you to John Fleming, a Congressman who laments that he only has $400,000 left over after expenses for his business and other payments. It’s also after, according to his interview, he spends $200,000 to feed his children.

And just what, exactly does someone buy with a $200,000 annual grocery bill?

Groceries for 61 families for a year. On average, a family will spend around $3,240 annually.

571 Playstation 3’s. Of course, if he went to eBay…

Between 130 and 250 purebred puppies. Kids need puppies!

200 servings of Serendipity ice cream: gold leaf, infused with Madagascar vanilla, Amedei Porceleana chocolate (the world’s most espensive), chunks of rare Chuao chocolate, exotic candied fruits from Paris, gold dragets, truffles, Marzipan Cherries, a tiny glass bowl of Grand Passion Caviar, fresh passion fruit, orange and Armagnac. You’ll shit gold and class!


ice cream by ~vewolff on deviantART
5 mini-Porche cars for toddlers. No, really. These are functioning cars that go 5 mph.

7 pounds of solid gold. Because who doesn’t want to start his or her own pirate treasure pile?

He could pay for nine students to attend Columbia University at roughly $43,000 per student. Hey, college is expensive.

Fleming could buy 20,000 pounds of toothpaste or fill up with 57,000 gallons of gasoline.

He could pay the salaries of 25 part-time writing consultants at Texas A&M International University, or pay to have 12 full-time consultants hired.

Personally, I’d go with the 3-foot tall 1759 Bible. Why? It’s a book. It’s rare. I want it. If I didn’t have the space, I’d go with Washington’s letter.


Aged calligraphy 2 by ~yko-54 on deviantART

The point of this little venture into the world of things no one person could ever hope to own? This whole “class warfare” thing is a pile of crap. You can’t claim we’re hurting someone who has hundreds of thousands of dollars left after running a business, then claim that people who are visibly impoverished are somehow better off if we tax them more and take away the few resources they have to make their lives function.

The entire economic debate right now boils down to one question.

Do we tax those who can afford to give more and still be okay, or do we tax the people who have already been pushed to the brink of poverty and beyond?

My dad once told me, “I’d love to pay half a million dollars in taxes. I’d love to have that kind of money to just throw away.”

There are two levels of wealth. There is the amount of income you need to survive, and then you have the amount of income you need to be comfortable. If you get the two confused, you’re in trouble.

I’d love to have a tenth of what this guy gets as my FULL income. Don’t eat cake in front of hungry people, Fleming. It didn’t end well for Marie Antoinette, either.


Greed by =Liol on deviantART

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 202011
 

To shamelessly steal a line from the Daily Show, this is what happens when you won't let gays touch your hair.

September 20, 2011

How much do you live on? After you pay rent or mortgage, get gas for all the cars, and basically pay for your lifestyle, do you have more than a hundred dollars?

Three hundred?

Five hundred?

I think most people would be happy if, after paying all their bills, getting all payments for the month out of the way, and buying good, nutritious food, they were left with a thousand dollars, maybe two thousand.  Save up for six months’ worth of payments just to be sure, and you can have some fun with that kind of money if you watch yourself.

Now what if you had $400,000 at the end of the year?

American, not pesos.


pesos blue demon by ~elChaMucO on deviantART

Most of us would agree that, after making all relevant payments, $400,000 dollars is a pretty sweet take.

John “I Shit Gold Bricks” Fleming, a Republican member of Congress, disagrees. He’s a multi-millionaire who laments that he only takes in a little under half a million a year (and somehow spends $200,000 feeding his kids). If you ever wanted proof of what is wrong with the GOP, this is it. I don’t want to use him as an example of every Republican, but since Republicans are so adamant about businesses that make LESS profit than this somehow needing their protection through tax loop holes, I have a question…

If AT LEAST $400,000 is not enough for a family to survive, how do they feel about families bringing in a thousand each month after expenses?

What about families that bring in $500 a month after expenses?

$400?

$250?


Money on the Table by ~dnldsv on deviantART

If these dicks think they have it so bad with half a million, why do they do nothing for the people barely scrapping by? Let me tell you something. When people need to sell blood plasma, sell their cars, take a second or third job, sell family heirlooms, forgo buying any fresh food, or otherwise make weekly sacrifices just to make ends meet…

When a good chunk of the country is like that and it STILL votes Republican, I can’t help but think we’ve actually moved past evolving into new lifeforms and have regressed into chimps.

No, scratch that. Chimps would fling poo at something threatening. We can’t even agree on basic facts.


Money. by ~Frqzoid on deviantART

Aug 232011
 

August 23, 2011

Well, it looks like we’re back on schedule… more or less. Expect regular postings of Divine by Zero and weekly updates to The Weekly Muse. Don’t forget: this is YOUR chance to stump the writer. Give me the three strangest plot elements you can think of on the list and I’ll try to put them together into a story. If you’re writer, photographer, or an artist of any sort, I challenge you to take the trip with me. It’s a great way to get the creative juices going.

And now, for the links!

  • Chris Farley was always one of those SNL comedians I both loved and hated. When he was good, he could do physical comedy like no one else. When he just wouldn’t stop, he became like that obnoxious guy at every party that tries to get attention by just being obnoxious. Still, his passing was a loss to comedy, and his personal problems leading to his death are a tragic story. Looking back, this amazing photograph of Chris Farley is even more sad.
  • Real punk is a lifestyle and genre that seeks to be everything the mainstream is not. It’s a statement about being true to yourself and not following anyone. This guy? I don’t think he gets it.
  • The next time someone says the rich are not that rich so they should not be taxed more, here’s a little list of what the top 2% could buy for the rest of us.
  • Glenn Beck has been in Israel less than ten days…. and he already caused an international incident. To my international readers, THIS MAN DOES NOT REPRESENT THE US IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM!
  • And finally, let’s take a look at perhaps the WORST orchestra in the world. It really doesn’t help that they’re playing such a recognizable song. See you tomorrow, folks!

Aug 182011
 

There are rocky shores ahead for some very rich libertarians...

August 18, 2011

Ever get the feeling that life is just too stiming with all its rules, regulations, and silly things like social norms and boundaries? Hey, if you’re filthy rich and want to start over, why not pitch in and start your own country out at sea?

That’s just what an intrepid group of libertarians are doing. They’re going to set up artificial islands and start new societies outside of the reach of other nations. Basically, these places will have all but the most basic laws, regulations, and even then, it sounds like they’ll be free to build, do, and conduct themselves however they want.

For my part, I’m going to just wait for the first pig head on a stick to appear.


Lord of the Flies by *skottieyoung on deviantART

It’s not that I don’t think humans can function without rules and regulations. It’s that those rules and regulations are there to keep the people who would abuse the system in check. Minimum wage? That kept me fed for several years. Gun laws? They keep the nut down the street from saving up and buying an M60 to put on his roof. Building and health codes? They make it so that people have to make sure offices and homes won’t catch on fire and our food isn’t filled with yummy lead.

But, I can hear the libertarians say, people are smart enough to not sell products that kill, build buildings that won’t collapse, and buy guns responsibly.

Really? Is that why so many Right-wingers and libertarians want these rules taken away? Because they think they’re redundant? I got news for you. Libertarians want these rules taken away because THEY DON’T WANT TO FOLLOW THEM.

Things like minimum wage and health codes are things that lower the bottom line. Business cares about profit. I wouldn’t be surprised if these islands collapse under the weight of human greed and self-centeredness within six months.


libertarian demotivator by ~Party9999999 on deviantART

The idea, though, did make me ask myself what I would do if I was given a small island to make civilization. I think I’ve narrowed down my list of rules to a few choice rules.

  1. All people are free to worship or not worship as they see fit. They do not, however, have the right to use their religious views as facts and must still base all arguments on things other people can verify.
  2. Any performer that lip-synchs or auto-tunes during a concert will have to refund every ticket. And no, you can’t just put a disclaimer on the ticket.
  3. There will be NO political parties.
  4. Librarians, teachers, and educators will be heavily sought-after and will be compensated accordingly.
  5. School policy will be decided by teachers and educators. Parents and politicians can stay out of the final decision.
  6. Students will be held responsible for their work.
  7. Parents will be held responsible for students once said students leave the school.
  8. Happy Hour will be like Siesta. Everyone gets to go out for a few hours and just relax.
  9. If you own a truck with aftermarket shock-absorbers so that the whole thing is fifteen feet tall, you MUST own a ranch or otherwise justify having your headlights at eye-level with everyone else.
  10. High-speed internet is a right.

And what about you? What rules would you institute in your little island nation? See you tomorrow!


Anarchy by ~wildhearted on deviantART

Jul 142011
 

July 14, 2011

Wow. Thursday already? The week is going by at rocket-speed… except when I want it. Oh well. Let’s get some links up in!

  • Sarah Palin got a documentary called The Undefeated? Didn’t she lose the vice-presidency and quit her gubernatorial job mid-way through?
  • I had an interesting conversation regarding meat on Twitter. I’ll probably write more about it later, but suffice to say I’m a proud meat-eater and have no qualms about killing an animal for my food. With that in mind, there’s a reason a lot of vegetarians and vegans get a bad rep. It’s self-involved jerks like this that make the rest of you look bad.
  • And finally, here’s the trailer for the sequel to Sherlock Holmes. I hope they don’t overdo the bullet-time, but other than that, it looks fun. See you tomorrow!