News:

So essentially, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend, he's just another moronic, entitled turd in the bucket.

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Topics - Disco Pickle

#1
First, I hope you are all well. 

It's been a whirlwind of nearly a decade and a half and I've been contemplating absurdism again to get me through it, which naturally led me back here.  Lurking.  Reading.

Re-reading some RAW last year helped get me through some tough times.  He always did.

I've abandoned nearly everything I used to think I knew and have gone back to the drawing board, quite literally. 

Change is a constant.  Hail Eris.
#2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRkZcTg1JWU

On the birth of computer sound and graphics, and the Demo.

Math heads will very much enjoy this.

It's long.  Hour and a half, so set aside some time.
#3
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/opinion/why-i-am-leaving-goldman-sachs.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Not going to re post body of OpEd, don't want to get the board in hot water or anything.  Definitely worth a visit and a read.

Basically, the same things Jim Rogers, Nasim Taleb, etc. have been saying is wrong with the "youth" culture coming up in the major investment banks.  It'll be their eventual downfall.

<ETA> For some reason it reminds me of Glegarry Glen Ross, the scene with Alec Baldwin -

"we're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired. Get the picture?"

Only the salesmen are driving Lamborghini's already
#4
Techmology and Scientism / The Board of Awesomeness
January 11, 2012, 02:54:12 PM
http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/01/board-of-awesomeness/

The hover board it isn't, but it's still pretty damn awesome.
#6
Not sure if this has made the rounds yet but here.

http://www.takethislollipop.com/

Go on, PD.  Take it.

And have a Happy Halloween weekend.
#7
http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/19/us/exotic-animal-owner/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

QuoteThompson freed dozens of exotic animals -- from Bengal tigers to grizzly bears to baboons -- setting off a frightening scenario outside Zanesville, a town of 25,000 in central Ohio. Authorities killed at least 49 animals, including 18 rare tigers.

:sad:
#8
Or Kill Me / Slogans for 2011/2012
October 14, 2011, 02:10:07 AM
I tried to stay away..  I really did.  I seem to get a lot of flax from you fuckers but damn if you're not at least intelligent and, more importantly, hilarious about it, even if I think you're misguided. 

So I came up with some new slogans that should really piss you off, though that was not my intention.  That last bit may be a little disingenuous.

I think you need this PD..  you need a winger here, to counterbalance your own wingery.  You wingers.

Slogans:

END THE MERITOCRACY!  SLACKERS DESERVE A PIECE OF THE LUXUERY PIE TOO!

DOWN WITH THE AMBITIOUS!  A LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR MEANS WE'RE ALL EQUAL!

UPWARD MOBILITY IS DOWNWARD MOBILITY FOR EVERYONE ELSE!

ACHIEVING MORE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY MEANS LESS FOR EVERYONE ELSE!

MEDIOCRATY IS THE REAL AMERICAN DREAM!

GREED IS A WORSE SIN THAN ENVY!   WRATH, LUST AND PRIDE ARE OK..  GLUTTONY AND SLOTH ARE TEH BEST!

CAPITALISM HAS NEVER ACHIEVED ANYTHING OF VALUE!

IF YOU'RE WINNING IN LIFE, THAT MEANS OTHER PEOPLE ARE LOSING! 

PAPER MONEY IS THE ONLY WAY TO INCREASE THE VALUE FOR EVERYONE!

THE BELL CURVE ONLY BENEFITS THE 1%!

I really like that last one.

Alright for now.

Or fucking kill me.
#9
http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2011-09-23/story/panther-sightings-reported-san-marco-area

QuoteThe Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has issued an alert of two possible panther sightings in the San Marco area.

Police have received two separate reports, one on Tuesday, the other on Friday, of what is believed to be a panther. One was at the dead end of Lasalle Street, while the other was behind 1501 Hendricks Avenue, less than half a mile apart.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been notified as the Sheriff's Office offers some safety tips: be alert, supervise children, don't approach the panther, and keep pets safe and secure.


I lived a few blocks from here for a large portion of my teenage years.  It's got some lightly wooded areas and lots of parks, but it's not what I would call forest area.  It's right on the river and just on the other side of the downtown area.

It's apparently eating stray cats, which there are a lot of in this neighborhood.

If I'd have walked out and looked up in a tree and seen a panther, there would have been no salvaging my pants.  I like cats, but I don't like cats THAT much.

Considering how endangered they are though, this could have been a large bobcat.  Still wouldn't catch me calling "here kitty kitty kitty."
#10
We saw our new factory/plant space today.  It was intimidatingly huge.  With the exception of some final paperwork, I now work for a new company.  

We are expecting to at LEAST double our current number of employees within the first year.  And the office space they're adding will allow an additional 50-60 employees at least, not counting shop floor workers.

We should be moving in by the first of the year and things should move very fast at that point.

A lucky bastard EE of ours was given the lead position to handle all business we are going to be doing with Google, and he's flying to Portland on monday to begin setting up his satalite office.  He'll also be wanting to find talented people to work with him.

I'm pretty stoked about it, as they use Pro-E primarily and I have wanted to get my hands in it for years.  I'm also still the only person in the company who uses Solid Edge and they want to expand that a lot, so I'll be going out to Fremont next year to sit down with their guys out there for a few weeks.

We also have offices in Austin (which I didn't know until today) and Vancouver..  and we are opening an international sales office in England.

If any of you spags know any electrical or mechanical engineers, mechanics, electricians, wiremen and the like who might be interested in picking up and moving to north east Florida, PM me and I'll give you my email, they can forward their resume and I'll make sure it gets into the right hands.

I'm going celebrating.  Have a good weekend PD.

#11
Aneristic Illusions / Cain, your thoughts
September 23, 2011, 02:46:41 AM
I considered putting this in Apple Talk, but since it's primarily political and sociological, I put it here.

I want to say up front that upon reflection you are, of course, free to "loose your shit" whenever and however you like, at whomever you like.  I apologize only for asking you to calm down, nothing more.

In the interest of reasoned discourse between people who disagree on certain aspects of the world and human society, have you happened to read any of the body of work of William Graham Sumner, (I assume you have, given your depth of knowledge, but ask because I do not know) and if so, did you reject it outright as flawed and if so, would you mind giving me your reasons why?

#12
http://mises.org/daily/5666/The-Attack-on-Accidental-Americans

Didn't quote the entire article.

QuoteWhen Julie Veilleux discovered she was American, she went to the nearest US embassy to renounce her citizenship. Having lived in Canada since she was a young child, the 48-year-old had no idea she carried the burden of dual citizenship. But the renunciation will not clear away the past ten years of penalties with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).[1]

Born to American parents living in Canada, Kerry Knoll's two teenaged daughters had no clue they became dual citizens at birth. (An American parent confers such status on Canadian-born children.[2] ) Now the IRS wants to grab at money they earned in Canada from summer jobs; the girls had hoped to use their RESPs (registered education savings plans) for college.[3]

The IRS is making a worldwide push to squeeze money from Americans living abroad and from anyone who holds dual citizenship, whether they know it or not. It doesn't matter if the "duals" want US status, have never set foot on US soil, or never conducted business with an American. It doesn't matter if those targeted owe a single cent to the IRS. Unlike almost every other nation in the world, the United States requires citizens living abroad to file tax forms on the money they do not owe as well as to report foreign bank accounts or holdings such as stocks or RSSPs. The possible penalty for not reporting is $10,000 per "disclosed asset" per year.

Thus, Americans and dual citizens living in Canada (or elsewhere) who do not disclose their local checking account — now labeled by the IRS as "an illegal offshore account" — are liable for fines that stretch back ten years and might amount to $100,000. A family, like the Knolls, in which there are two American parents and two dual-citizen children, might be collectively liable for $400,000.

Approximately 7 million Americans live abroad. According to the IRS, they received upwards of 400,000 tax returns from expatriates last year — a compliance rate of approximately 6 percent. Presumably the compliance of dual-citizen children is far lower. Customs and Immigration is now sharing information with the IRS and, should any of 94 percent expats or their accidentally American offspring set foot on US soil, they are vulnerable to arrest.

Going after the college money earned by children born and raised in Canada (or elsewhere) is just one part of the international enforcement effort. The entire package is called the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA; it was a revenue-raising provision that was slipped into one of Obama's disastrous stimulus bills. Starting in 2013 — or 2014 if an exemption is granted — every bank in the world will be required to report to the IRS all accounts held by current and former US citizens. If account holders refuse to provide verification of their non-US citizenship, the banks will be required to impose a 30 percent tax of all payments or transfers to the account on behalf of the IRS. Banks that do not comply will "face withholding on U.S.-source interest and dividends, gross proceeds from the disposition of U.S. securities, and pass-through payments."[5]

Australia and Japan have already declared their refusal to comply. Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has publicly stated that the proposed American legislation "has far-reaching extraterritorial implications. It would turn Canadian banks into extensions of the IRS and would raise significant privacy concerns for Canadians."[6]

According to the Financial Post,

    Toronto-Dominion Bank is putting up a fight against a new U.S. regulation that would compel foreign banks to sort through billions of dollars of deposits to find U.S. citizens who might be hiding money.... TD has complained that the proposed IRS rule is unreasonable because it would require the bank to make US$100-million investment in new software and staff. Other lenders resisting the effort include Allianz SE of Germany, Aegon NV of the Netherlands and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.... Now the Canadian Bankers association has joined the fray. In an emailed statement the CBA called the requirement "highly complex" and "very difficult and costly for Canadian banks to comply with."[7]

The Financial Times reports,

   
  • ne of Asia's largest financial groups is quietly mulling a potentially explosive question: could it organise some of its subsidiaries so that they could stop handling all US Treasury bonds? Their motive has nothing to do with the outlook for the dollar.... Instead, what is worrying this particular Asian financial group is tax. In January 2013, the US will implement a new law called the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.... [T]he new rules leave some financial officials fuming in places such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore.... mplementing these measures is likely to be costly; in jurisdictions such as Singapore or Hong Kong, the IRS rules appear to contravene local privacy laws.... Hence the fact that some non-US asset managers and banking groups are debating whether they could simply ignore Fatca by creating subsidiaries that never touch US assets at all. "This is complete madness for the US — America needs global investors to buy its bonds," fumes one bank manager. "But not holding US assets might turn out to be the easiest thing for us to do."[8][/b]

Yeah, we didn't need that foot anyway, go ahead and shoot the fucker.

Going to all of the effort to get tax evaders using foreign banks, they're fucking people like myself who frequently moves money out of the US and into Mexico.  Money the IRS has already taxed, but will now require proof that they money isn't being sheltered from taxation in a foreign bank, making it more expensive and troublesome for me to move money across the border.

#13
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20099228-10391695.html

(last paragraph redacted)

QuoteATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson is being moved out of the top job at the Bureau, ATF Special Agents in Charge announced during a conference call with reporters today. It's not yet publicly known where he would go, but sources inside the Justice Department believe one option is a transfer to a position at Department of Justice headquarters. The Justice Department had no immediate comment, and did not confirm the move.

Melson's move would be another in a number of high-level personnel shifts, as the Inspector General continues investigating the so-called gunwalker scandal at the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The gunwalking scandal centered on an ATF program that allowed thousands of high-caliber weapons to knowingly be sold to so-called "straw buyers" who are suspected as middlemen for criminals. Those weapons, according to the Department of Justice, have been tied to at least 12 violent crimes in the United States, and an unknown number of violent crimes in Mexico.

"Fast and Furious" was designed to gather intelligence on gun sales, but ATF agents have told CBS News and members of Congress that they were routinely ordered to back off and allow weapons to "walk" when sold.

Sources tell CBS News that the Assistant US Attorney in Phoenix Emory Hurley, who helped oversee the controversial case called Fast and Furious, is expected to be transferred out of the Criminal Division into the Civil Division. Justice Department officials provided no immediate comment or confirmation. Hurley's boss, US Attorney in Arizona Dennis Burke, was interviewed by Congressional investigators behind closed doors on August 18.

Surprised no one has posted anything about this.  It's pretty fucking huge and the DOJ is trying to play damage control and hinder the investigation to protect political appointees to the Obama administration.  The DOJ is using it as a reason to try and pass new restrictions on gun sales in the border states designed to catch EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING.  That's fucking political genius.

I predict not a single fucking person will do any jail time for this.
#14
 :lulz:  Also: The National Hurricane Center has discovered that Hurricanes blow.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-08-people-biased-creative-ideas.html

partial article (partial meaning I left out the last paragraph.  One of you mods will have to tell me how this is supposed to work best to keep from being sued)

QuoteThe next time your great idea at work elicits silence or eye rolls, you might just pity those co-workers. Fresh research indicates they don't even know what a creative idea looks like and that creativity, hailed as a positive change agent, actually makes people squirm.
Ads by Google
Got Innovation at Work? - Create Culture Where Ideas Flourish 1-day conference in Chicago, Oct 13 - www.greatplacetowork.com
"How is it that people say they want creativity but in reality often reject it?" said Jack Goncalo, ILR School assistant professor of organizational behavior and co-author of research to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. The paper reports on two 2010 experiments at the University of Pennsylvania involving more than 200 people.
The studies' findings include:
Creative ideas are by definition novel, and novelty can trigger feelings of uncertainty that make most people uncomfortable.

People dismiss creative ideas in favor of ideas that are purely practical -- tried and true.

Objective evidence shoring up the validity of a creative proposal does not motivate people to accept it.

Anti-creativity bias is so subtle that people are unaware of it, which can interfere with their ability to recognize a creative idea.
For example, subjects had a negative reaction to a running shoe equipped with nanotechnology that adjusted fabric thickness to cool the foot and reduce blisters.
To uncover bias against creativity, the researchers used a subtle technique to measure unconscious bias -- the kind to which people may not want to admit, such as racism. Results revealed that while people explicitly claimed to desire creative ideas, they actually associated creative ideas with negative words such as "vomit," "poison" and "agony."
Goncalo said this bias caused subjects to reject ideas for new products that were novel and high quality.
"Our findings imply a deep irony," wrote the authors, who also included Jennifer Mueller of the University of Pennsylvania and Shimul Melwani of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Uncertainty drives the search for and generation of creative ideas, but "uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it most," the researchers wrote. "Revealing the existence and nature of a bias against creativity can help explain why people might reject creative ideas and stifle scientific advancements, even in the face of strong intentions to the contrary. ... The field of creativity may need to shift its current focus from identifying how to generate more creative ideas to identify how to help innovative institutions recognize and accept creativity."

I can see this being more true in a business meeting/product development sort of environment for an established product that generates revenue.  Conversely, this is exactly what R&D groups are supposed to embrace.  And DARPA.

I can't even count how many times I've heard "That's the way we've always done it" just in my own field of work.  Fortunately, I do get to present creative new ways of doing things that can get approved if I bring them to the right people and can present it in a quick and understandable way.  
#15
Bring and Brag / Golden Apple Door Knocker
August 17, 2011, 08:41:54 PM
Hey you spag fuckers

Almost put this in my metal shop thread but since It's not (yet) made out of any metal..

I've had far too much free time at work this week and figured I'd use it to do something other than argue with you spags.  I've been kicking this idea around in my head for a golden apple door knocker.  Made in 3 pieces, the base secures to your front door using (5) 1" countersunk wood screws.  The Knocker device is then placed in notches in the side of the apple and the apple is snapped into place in the base.

Here's what I have so far:





I'm having a bit of trouble with the knocker itself.  I had envisioned it looking at rest like a naked guy with his arms out, hugging the apple.  Where his hands ended the bar for the knocker would continue on around the apple to fit into the grooves in the apple and base.

When you knock the knocker, his penis comes out of the apple, where it was fitted into a little hole.  

So the knocking of the knocker makes him fuck the golden apple.

Yeah, a little vulgar for people with children, but fuck it.

I'm stuck on the apple fucker idea at the moment but this program is a bitch to use to model odd shapes like a human body so I haven't committed the time yet.

The files I've created have the ability to be fed into any CAM machine and with a little direction be milled out of whatever material available.  They could also be fed into a 3D printer and built through additive manufacturing.

Any of you spags have other ideas for a decent knocker design?  Maybe one that doesn't include a penis?  I'm partial to the penis idea but willing to consider alternatives.

[ETA] And I haven't quite worked out the method for the apple to attach itself to the base.  I'm leaning heavily towards it being made so that once you snap that it in place, it's there forever.

You move and want to take it with you?  Fuck you, you're going to have to take the fucking door off the hinges and pack it up.

This is Discordia.  It's not a religion of convenience.
#16
Yeah, this is going to be popular here.   :lulz:

Fuck it, I was bored and have been thinking that there's a lot of back and forth on the tubes about this still and little of it seems to be talking about the victims of the riots.  The people who were murdered.  The people who lost everything they've invested their life, time and sweat and money to build.




#17
http://www.foxnews.com/slideshow/leisure/2011/08/13/foods-cant-buy-in-united-states/?test=faces#slide=3

The one about Casu Marzu cheese was particularly disgusting.

Wikipedia does a good job explaining: 

QuoteDerived from Pecorino, casu marzu goes beyond typical fermentation to a stage most would consider decomposition, brought about by the digestive action of the larvae of the cheese fly Piophila casei. These larvae are deliberately introduced to the cheese, promoting an advanced level of fermentation and breaking down of the cheese's fats. The texture of the cheese becomes very soft, with some liquid (called lagrima, from the Sardinian for "tears") seeping out. The larvae themselves appear as translucent white worms, about 8 millimetres (0.3 in) long.[1] When disturbed, the larvae can launch themselves for distances up to 15 centimetres (6 in). Some people clear the larvae from the cheese before consuming while others do not.

Doing some link digging about the Ortolan and French habits when eating it was..  enlightening?  I'm not sure that's the correct word.

Once again, help from wikipedia:

QuoteYou catch the ortolan with a net spread up in the forest canopy. Take it alive. Take it home. Poke out its eyes and put it in a small cage. Force-feed it oats and millet and figs until it has swollen to four times its normal size. Drown it in brandy. Roast it whole, in an oven at high heat, for six to eight minutes. Bring it to the table. Place a cloth—a napkin will do—over your head to hide your cruelty from the sight of God. Put the whole bird into your mouth, with only the beak protruding from your lips. Bite. Put the beak on your plate and begin chewing, gently. You will taste three things: First, the sweetness of the flesh and fat. This is God. Then, the bitterness of the guts will begin to overwhelm you. This is the suffering of Jesus. Finally, as your teeth break the small, delicate bones and they begin to lacerate your gums, you will taste the salt of your own blood, mingling with the richness of the fat and the bitterness of the organs. This is the Holy Spirit, the mystery of the Trinity—three united as one. It is cruel. And beautiful.

— Brendan Kiley

I just..  hmmm    ok.     

the one about Pommac is interesting for anyone who's heard that old "saccharin kills rats" meme that I first heard when I was but a wee lad.  The sweetening additive used in it was part of the study that banned it in the US.  It was at a 10:1 ratio of sodium cyclamate:saccharin that caused all the problems with the Rats of Nimh.  A good read, if you're into reading about stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_cyclamate

The last one is Sea Turtle Soup.  I'd probably try it myself if given the opportunity and that's because I'll eat pretty much anything that lives in the ocean.  I'd never kill one to eat myself.  Did a lot of diving in Mexico and seeing those fuckers swim around was a life changing experience.  Almost as life changing as looking deeply into the eyes of a wolf.

Sorry if this was too American-centric for you Europeans and Australians.  I apologise.   :D
#18
http://www.marblesthebrainstore.com/careers

Is hiring at these locations (in the US) and apparently is positioned to open new stores in these locations:

http://www.marblesthebrainstore.com/new-store-locations

This seems right up PD's alley for any of you looking for some part time/full time work while you're in school, if you happen to live near any of these locations and are currently unemployed.

Yeah, retail sucks and I hated every minute of the year I did it but this sort of retail sounds cool as hell, and you'll probably get to meet some really cool people.  Networking with the sorts of people who buy puzzles could help land a much better job when you graduate.
#19
Or Kill Me / Bring on the financial armageddon
July 27, 2011, 03:23:33 AM
In a world organized in accordance with Keynes' specifications, there would be a constant race between the printing press and the business agents of the trade unions, with the problem of unemployment largely solved if the printing press could maintain a constant lead...

Jacob Viner (1936)

I know there's the myth of the autonomous Fed... [short laugh] and when you go up for confirmation some Senator may ask you about your friendship with the President. Appearances are going to be important, so you can call Ehrlichman to get messages to me, and he'll call you.

Richard Nixon to Arthur Burns
(see Ehrlichman (1982))

(I had written this for the Financial Fuckery thread in response to Cain's reply but it got long winded (and a bit preachy and well..  well, that's what O:KM is for and so..))

I'm convinced that a necessary step is to get a Paul Volker in the Fed to do the unpopular thing and raise the prime up to fix what Bernanke (and Greenspan before him) have done with it all outside of the Fed's commitment to not operate as a political arm of which ever party is in power.

I really do believe that the disconnect that is supposed to exist has been eroded (maybe it never existed?  Oh, Nixon, you dog) and we now have too many foxes in the chicken coop.

Then, I'm not a subscriber to the Keynesian idea that prices of goods have to rise as prosperity does, (otherwise stated that with low unemployment, higher prices are expected) nor do they have to be maintained in the face of an impending reset to real values that were overinflated.  

I'd sooner cash out at a penalty and stuff it in a mattress and let the dollar deflate as it should have done when everything hit the fan in 08.  

There's a strong lesson that should have been learned in the 70's that has been almost completely ignored in this recession.  Inflation ran rampant for half a decade and unemployment stayed high contrary to the wisdom of the times that the trade off for high unemployment should be a fall in inflation.  Unfortunately, monetary policy was being semi-dictated by Nixon against all standards by which the Central Bank is supposed to abide.  

To site an excellent article:
QuoteAccording to the then accepted view, the central bank influences the real rate of economic expansion by means of monetary policies. This influence however, carries a price, which manifests in terms of inflation. For instance, if the goal is to reach a faster rate of economic growth and a lower unemployment rate, citizens should be ready to pay a price for this in terms of a higher rate of inflation. Thus was it believed that there is a trade-off between inflation and unemployment (the Phillips curve). The lower the unemployment rate the higher is the rate of inflation. Conversely, the higher the unemployment rate the lower the rate of inflation is going to be.

http://mises.org/daily/2351

And then Volker came in and did what no one who had to face an election could have done, he raised rates.  Of course, he was working with real numbers.  Public numbers everyone had access to, specifically the M3, the REAL money aggregate.  The Fed doesn't publish that number anymore for a number of stated reasons (false ones IMO) but it SHOULD be published because it effects everyone on the planet and you don't have to be an economist to understand the number it's going to show you.  

So Volker came in and he raised the funds rate (already at 11% in 1979, moved to 20% in June of 81 (the prime rate hit 21.5% in 81 as well)) in the face of debilitating unemployment of and inflation hovering around 13%, completely unexpected by the top Keynesian economic thinkers of the time and his tenure at the Fed took inflation from around 13% in 1981 down to around 3% in 1983.  

What followed was painful, if history tells it right.  Unemployment hit almost 10%, if we're to trust the people who publish those sorts of numbers.  But employment did change course.  The following decades after Volker's tenure jobs grew, people thrived.  They borrowed against the jobs that were created and bought property.  Some of them paid it off and own their houses to this day.

So what are we to do now that we face the same sorts of numbers?  (and if you really believe that the inflation numbers along with the unemployment numbers are being accurately reported well then I've got some beautiful, slightly "irrigated" land to sell you in south Florida)

China's central bank has raised rates again and again to curb and try and keep prices at levels normal people can afford.  They're fighting the tide we're helping to create by pumping the world's reserve currency into the markets.  

to quote the same (IMO excellent article):

QuoteThe beneficiaries of this increase are the first recipients of money. With more money in their possession (assuming that demand for money stays unchanged) and for a given amount of goods available, they can now divert to themselves a bigger portion of the pool of available goods than before the increase in money supply took place. This means that fewer goods are now available to those individuals who have not received the new money as yet (i.e., the late recipients of money).

We need a Volker at the head of the Fed.  Someone to step in and say no to both parties.  To popular opinion about what the cost of borrowing is "supposed" to be in a recession.

Yeap, it will be painful in the short run.  It's still not the decades long floundering that Japan has done since the 80's and we're likely to completely emulate with the current monetization of debt.

The longer a real liquidation of "investments" that have no hope of being paid off in the short run is put off and people and corps over-leveraged are propped up, the longer the NEXT inevitable recession is going to be.  This cycle is extremely predictable and one of the problems that's risen from that predictability is that insurance companies like AIG, in bed with top players at major banks, were under writing bets that the investments would decline in value.  

We owe it to ourselves.    :lulz:

Personally, I am against the economic ideas of John Maynard Keynes and I believe they've done this damage.  

I believe that the general public's indifference and ignorance to the systems in place have done even more.

My disclaimer is that I lean more toward Austrian thought and if there's a color that school has colored this rant then it's probably gold, but that doesn't mean I think we should move back to gold as a medium of economic exchange.

To any of you fucks who actually got to the end, thanks for reading and I hope for feedback.  I promise to read it with an eye that I may be very wrong.  I can't be certain, but I'm more than willing to entertain the idea.

Sorry for venting it here.  Should dump it on financial boards.  

[Edited for redundancy and spelling]
#20
Literate Chaotic / All My Friends Are Dead
July 23, 2011, 02:52:16 AM
A friend of mine brought a copy of this up to the bar tonight and I thought it was right up PD's alley of humor.

Thus do I share.

http://www.nomorefriends.net/
#21
http://screenrant.com/neil-gaiman-american-gods-hbo-6-seasons-mcrid-119432/

Reserving judgement.  Personally, I think it deserves it's own movie, but can see how it wouldn't test well with people unfamiliar with the story or Gaimen in general.

Because it's HBO, they almost get a default pass for so many other successes over the last few years.
#22
Or Kill Me / God damn document control fail
June 17, 2011, 06:47:03 PM
(This is not a content rant, just wanted to vent a little, feel free to ignore it completely)

How fucking long has this company been in business?  1981?  There's a fucking drawing repository for a very good reason and my boss refuses to use it.  The end result is they're wiring and programming equipment outside with what SHOULD be the most current revision of the drafts, but on closer inspection there's all sorts of shit that's wrong with them.  The drafts get dumped on me and I'm told to update them and when I, out of curiosity, pull down the previous revision for a quick comparison, I find shit that was corrected on it but is now wrong again on the current revision.

Now I'll be stuck here all god damn weekend comparing the two drawing sets, hoofing it out to the shop every 30 to trace wires and verify where they're terminated in 5 god damn sections of switchgear.

:madbanana:

I don't care what the damn emote tag says, that's a very mad pickle, in need of a bottle of Scotch.
#23
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2077139,00.html

QuoteBEIJING — Is China facing a "Wealth Drain"? Do too many of the best and brightest — and above all, richest — Chinese dream of packing up their accumulated capital, and going to live abroad?

According to a new study, a majority of Chinese who have more than 10 million Yuan ($1.53 million) worth of individual assets find the idea of real—estate investment a lot less tempting than so—called "investment emigration." Nearly 60% of people interviewed claim they are either considering emigration through investment overseas, or have already completed the process, according to the 2011 Private Wealth Report on China published by China Merchants Bank and a business consulting firm Bain & Company. The richer you are, the study suggests, the likelier it is that you resort to emigration. And among those who possess more than 100 million yuan, 27 % have already emigrated while 47% are considering leaving.

The fact that more and more rich Chinese are seeking to emigrate is turning into a hot topic in China, and statistics prove that the trend is a real one. According to Caixin online, a Chinese website specialized in finance, the compound annual growth rate of overseas investment by Chinese individuals approached 100% between 2008 and 2010. The compound growth rate of the Chinese who used investments to emigrate to the United States in the past five years is 73%.

So why are wealthy Chinese so eager to leave their country? The simplest answer is that there are a lot of things in China that even the richest cannot buy (emigration is obviously not one of them). China's rich are fond of saying that nothing "is a problem if money can solve it." Among the irresolvable problems that spark emigration, there are material ones, and emotional ones.

The former includes issues like laws and regulations, the education system, social welfare, inheritance tax, quality of air, investing atmosphere, food safety, ability to travel, and so on. In short, these are the material factors that any State must provide to its people in order to ensure their happiness. In emerging countries such as China, these factors are still often found wanting.

Emotional reasons behind rich people's immigration are generally linked to the lack of a sense of personal safety, including safety of personal wealth, as well as fear about an uncertain future.

It thus appears that it is a certain "lack of well—being" that is pushing wealthy Chinese to emigrate. The results of the Private Wealth Report are very much in line with other studies. A recent Gallop Wellbeing Survey showed that most Chinese people feel depressed, even as China has sky—high economic growth rates that Europe and America can only dream of. According to the survey, which asked respondents to choose between "thriving," "struggling," and "suffering" to describe their situation, only 12% think themselves as "thriving," while 17% describe themselves as "suffering," and 71% "struggling." The number of Chinese who feel that their life is improving is comparable to the number of Afghans and Yemeni who feel the same way, while the number of persons feeling they are "struggling" is approximately the same as in Haiti, Azerbaijan and Nepal.

It is a paradox that, in a country where more and more people are getting richer by the day — albeit to the detriment of the poor, who have benefitted very little from the country's new wealth — the general feeling of well—being should remain at rock—bottom. The poor grumble while the rich flee.

The truth is that, unless they emigrate, the wealthy have to suffer from the same causes of unhappiness as the poor. Take food safety. Last year, when a Chinese woman living in Canada was asked by the International Herald Tribune why she had left her country, she said it was because of the Sanlu (toxic baby milk) case, and also because of the "hatred against the rich." Her answer highlights the fact that, as the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider, and the poor are complaining more and more, the rich are also getting more nervous. Some rich people even worry that the "redistribution of wealth might start all over again."

Although the danger seems overblown for now, people are starting to wonder where the public hatred of the rich might lead. The wealthy also know that they bear some of the responsibility for the unequal distribution of wealth. The so—called "original sin of wealth" is not totally without foundation, and it is often difficult for the rich to stop enriching themselves. Fluctuating market conditions bring out a survival instinct that sometimes makes them commit illegal or immoral acts. Once they realize this, they often chose to avoid the trap by emigrating and starting afresh.

The situation would not be as serious, of course, if the number of people deciding to leave were low. But once a few personal choices take the shape of a massive drain, the consequences of their departure on the economy and on society, through the example they set, can be dire.

An even bigger cause of concern is that, when rich people pack their money and leave, not only are they no longer identifying with their country, but they are also avoiding their social obligations. While the reason behind these people's decision matters little, the undeniable fact is that they make money from this society, but they refuse to give anything back.

Rich people who decide to move to a foreign country should know that, by doing so, they are stoking the dissatisfaction among those who stay behind. The poor get angrier because they cannot leave, and their hatred towards the remaining rich grows even bigger. This is the most corrosive thing that can happen to a society.



That's a hell of a wrench in the works that says Beijing will be the new New York for the next century.  I suppose the real factor will be whether they completely divest their capital from the Chinese market and put it into other currencies on other exchanges, or simply become expats. 

The fear of a new redistribution would probably weigh the most on that decision.
#24
Aneristic Illusions / War Powers Act? psssshh
June 16, 2011, 05:14:31 PM
"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation"


  Barack Obama - 2007

http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/06/15/war.powers.libya/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

QuoteWashington (CNN) -- The White House defended to Congress on Wednesday the legality, the costs and accomplishments of the U.S. military mission in Libya.

In a 32-page report titled "United States Activities in Libya," the administration says the cost of military and humanitarian operations through June 3 was about $800 million. It estimates the total cost through September 30 will be $1.1 billion.

The report was drawn up in response to a House resolution that accused President Barack Obama of failing to consult with Congress over the military effort in the North African country.

It denies the accusation by some members of Congress that Obama has violated the War Powers Resolution by intervening militarily for more than 60 days without seeking approval from Congress.

"Given the important U.S. interests served by U.S. military operations in Libya and the limited nature, scope and duration of the anticipated actions, the president had constitutional authority, as commander-in-chief and chief executive and pursuant to his foreign affairs powers, to address such limited military operations abroad," it says.

"The president is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of 'hostilities' contemplated by the resolution's 60-day termination provision."

The report was accompanied by a two-page letter jointly signed by legislative affairs officials with the departments of Defense and State and directed to House Speaker John Boehner.

"Taken in response to direct appeals from the Libyan people, and acting with a mandate from the United Nations, the United States mobilized a broad coalition, stopped an advancing army, prevented a massacre, established a no-fly zone, and limited the spread of violence and instability in a region pivotal to U.S. security interests," it says.

In response, Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said, "The creative arguments made by the White House raise a number of questions that must be further explored. Regardless, the commander-in-chief has a responsibility to articulate how U.S. military action is vital to our national security and consistent with American policy goals. With Libya, the president has fallen short on this obligation. We will review the information that was provided today but hope and expect that this will serve as the beginning, not the end, of the president's explanation for continued American operations in Libya."

The exchange of documents came after a bipartisan group of House members filed a lawsuit Wednesday that challenges U.S. participation in the Libya military mission.

Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a letter to Obama on Tuesday that the administration could be in violation of the War Powers Resolution, if it fails to get congressional authorization by Sunday, the 90th day since the mission began and a deadline that some legal experts cite as the deadline set by the resolution.

The lawsuit addresses a long-standing dispute between the executive and legislative branches -- meaning the White House and Congress -- over the powers of the president to send forces to war.

"We are intending through our presence and through this lawsuit to correct an imbalance which exists today, to correct a deficiency in the separation of powers, to correct ... and to firmly establish that Congress is a co-equal branch of government and that the founders made it unmistakably clear they did not intend for the war power to be placed in the hands of an executive," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, an anti-war liberal and one of the 10 legislators filing the lawsuit.

Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Illinois, said the legal issue was whether Obama exceeded his authority in committing U.S. forces to the Libya mission.

"Did he act illegally? The answer is yes," Johnson said.

But Wednesday's report from the White House say that U.S. operations are limited to a supporting role in a coalition whose operations are authorized by the U.N. Security Council resolution. They "do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors." it says.

In a letter to Boehner and to the president pro tempore of the Senate, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Obama called U.S. support for the NATO-based coalition "crucial to assuring the success of international efforts to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas from the actions of the Gadhafi regime, and to address the threat to international peace and security posed by the crisis in Libya."

He noted that no U.S. ground forces have been deployed, except for operations to rescue the crew of a U.S. aircraft on March 21.

But Kucinich said earlier in the day that the Obama administration must make its case in court. "They can tell it to the judge now," Kucinich said. "They can't claim this isn't a war."

The lawsuit asks the court to "declare that the war in Libya is illegal and order the White House to stop."

The goal of the administration and legislators who support the Libya mission is approval of a new resolution that backs U.S. participation, which would serve as an equivalent to congressional authorization.

The White House has said it was complying with the War Powers Resolution through frequent briefings on the Libya mission, and Wednesday's report cited dozens of them.

Boehner's letter contested that assertion.

"Since the mission began, the administration has provided tactical operational briefings to the House of Representatives, but the White House has systematically avoided requesting a formal authorization for its action," Boehner's letter said. "It has simultaneously sought, however, to portray that its actions are consistent with the War Powers Resolution. The combination of these actions has left many members of Congress, as well as the American people, frustrated by the lack of clarity over the administration's strategic policies, by a refusal to acknowledge and respect the role of the Congress, and by a refusal to comply with the basic tenets of the War Powers Resolution."

Such political wrangling over war powers is common in Washington, with presidents frequently seeking to expand their freedom to commit U.S. forces and Congress battling to exert influence on the process.

Congressional opponents of the mission say that its objective of civilian protection fails to match the stated U.S. goal of Moammar Gadhafi's resignation or ouster and that the Libya situation could become a stalemate.

The White House says incremental progress is occurring through increasing diplomatic, political and military pressure on Gadhafi to step down.

In a coincidence of scheduling, Obama and Boehner are set to play golf together for the first time Saturday, a day after Boehner's deadline for information from the administration and the day before he says it could be in violation of the War Powers Resolution.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  I've been wondering for some time now how much things like this are really decided among the Pentagon brass and simply approved by the President. 

I'd also be curious to see how much stock in Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon and the other top 10 defense contractors, is held by top Military brass, making them direct beneficiaries of military action.  After all, if a bomb is used, it has to be replaced, and that's a guaranteed cash flow.

#25
http://www.deskeng.com/virtual_desktop/?p=3741

QuoteHave a cool idea but don't have the funds to bring it to market? You might be able to get your idea prototyped with little or no money out of your own pocket. Last month, Proto Labs, which specializes in CNC machining and injection molding for prototype and short-run production, launched its first-ever Cool Idea! contest.

"The Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award is all about nurturing promising products while they're still ideas," the company states. "In 2011 we will award up to $100,000 in Firstcut CNC machining services and/or Protomold injection molding services to people who have a cool idea for a product and submit 3D CAD models of their parts. One or more awards may be granted each quarter with the aggregate of all awards not to exceed $100,000. Winners can use their fully functional Firstcut and Protomold parts for prototyping, design iterations, testing, or even an initial production run — in short, helping move a project from pie-in-the-sky to product-on-the-shelf."

"We're extremely excited to launch the Cool Idea! award because we know there's a single Cool Idea at the foundation of every innovation that changes our lives for the better," said Brad Cleveland, CEO of Proto Labs. "In fact, the success of our company is due to a cool idea that made quick-turn injection molded prototypes a reality."

#26
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/2011/0608/Titanic-II-embarks-on-maiden-voyage-lives-up-to-its-name

QuoteMark Wilkinson's second-hand boat, which he rechristened as the Titanic II, behaved on its maiden voyage exactly as one might expect from a vessel with that name.

Mr. Wilkinson towed the 16-foot cabin cruiser, which he had just purchased for about $1,600, from his home in Birmingham, England, and set out on a fishing trip from West Bay harbor in Dorset on Saturday morning. On his way back, as the Titanic II made its way into the harbor and ... well, you can pretty much see this one coming.

According to the Dorset Echo, the coast guard officers and the harbormaster spotted Wilkinson un-ironically clinging to the bow of his rapidly sinking metaphor for hubris. They helped moor the ship, and Wilkinson climbed out of the water unhurt.

The harbormaster speculated that the breach in the Titanic II's fiberglass hull was caused when an old repair job came apart.

"It's all a bit embarrassing," Wilkinson told the Sun newspaper, "I'm fed up with people asking me if I hit an iceberg."

:lulz: :lulz:
#27
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/06/110601-deepest-worm-earth-devil-science-animals-life/

QuoteA "devil worm" has been discovered miles under the Earth—the deepest-living animal ever found, a new study says.

The new nematode species—called Halicephalobus mephisto partly for Mephistopheles, the demon of Faustian legend—suggests there's a rich new biosphere beneath our feet.

Before the discovery of the signs of the newfound worm at depths of 2.2. miles (3.6 kilometers), nematodes were not known to live beyond dozens of feet (tens of meters) deep. Only microbes were known to occupy those depths—organisms that, it turns out, are the food of the 0.5-millimeter-long worm.

"That sounds small, but to me it's like finding a whale in Lake Ontario. These creatures are millions of times bigger than the bacteria they feed on," said study co-author Tullis Onstott, a geomicrobiologist at Princeton University in New Jersey.

(See "Deepest-Ever Fish Caught Alive on Camera.")

"Shocking" Worm Evolved For Harsh Depths

Onstott and nematologist Gaetan Borgonie of Belgium's University of Ghent first discovered H. mephisto in the depths of a South African gold mine. But the team wasn't sure if the worms had been tracked in by miners or had come out of the rock.

To find out, Borgonie spent a year boring deep into mines for veins of water, retrieving samples and filtering them for water-dwelling nematodes. He scoured a total of 8,343 gallons (31,582 liters) until he finally found the worm in several deep-rock samples.

(See "World's Deepest Mines Highlight Risks of New Gold Rush.")

What's more, the team found evidence the worms have been there for thousands of years. Isotope dating of the water housing the worm placed it to between 3,000 and 12,000 years ago—indicating the animals had evolved to survive the crushing pressure and high heat of the depths.

"This discovery may not surprise passionate nematologists like Gaetan, but it's certainly shocking to me," Onstott said.

"The boundary of multicellular life has been extended significantly into our planet."

Worm Inspires Search for Extreme Life

Onstott hopes the new devil worm will inspire others to search for complex life in the most extreme places—both on Earth and elsewhere.

(Read "Searching for New Earths" in National Geographic magazine.)

"People usually think only bacteria could exist below the surface of a planet like Mars. This discovery says, Hold up there!" Onstott said.

"We can't negate the thought of looking for little green worms as opposed to little green microbes."

#28
relevant to this thread: http://reason.com/archives/2009/12/10/artificial-housing-respiration

QuoteNo major newspaper seriously questions the truism that foreclosures destroy neighborhoods. No news network doubts that "troubled borrowers" are overwhelmingly good Americans who have been set back by a job loss or medical emergency. And what kind of anti-American Shylock would claim that you shouldn't give bad borrowers government-backed loan modifications, cutting their mortgage payments by 20 percent?

The interesting new wrinkle on those old, false arguments is that real estate interventionists no longer pretend they have any real goal other than keeping house prices inflated. Even a year ago, the arguments for rescuing real estate prices were phrased in broad, spillover-style metaphors—"meltdown," "implosion"—that suggested a concern for the common bystander. Today, the argument is a lot plainer: We need to keep existing homeowners (or home borrowers) from experiencing any further decline in closing prices. When I ask Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) to explain his support for extending exorbitant Federal Housing Administration loan guarantees even while the real estate market continues to cool, he replies, "The economy of Los Angeles would tank if prices fell another 50 percent." Here's how Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), in an October interview with The New York Times, justified his support for the agency's shoddy lending standards: "I don't think it's a bad thing that the bad loans occurred. It was an effort to keep prices from falling too fast." Economy.com front man Mark Zandi puts it even more bluntly. The housing market, he says, "is showing improvement only because it is on government life support."

Life support is expensive. When that troubled borrower gets a 20 percent haircut, his bank has to take a loss, and the bank is compensated for the loss by you, through the $50 billion Home Affordable Modification Program. The Treasury Department has paid more than $100 billion to allow the failed government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to keep on guaranteeing questionable loans. Fannie and Freddie, in turn, have been expanding rather than reducing their loan portfolios—the opposite of what you're supposed to do when you've got an unmanageable debt load.

Sherman is sponsoring legislation that will let the government keep increasing its debt exposure, and on more expensive houses. As an economic emergency measure, Congress raised the limit for the Federal Housing Administration's guarantees in high-cost areas to $729,750 in 2007, up from $625,500. With 20 percent down, that's essentially a $1 million home being funded by a government subsidy for the wealthy. When I raise this point with Sherman, he replies (inaccurately), "Well, you don't live in Southern California."

Interestingly, Sherman opposed the Troubled Asset Relief Program and has taken a fairly courageous stand against the Obama Treasury Department's proposed resolution authority for banks, in both cases out of principled opposition to the too-big-to-fail trend in finance. Yet he sees no contradiction between those stances and his goal of encouraging banks to take on more and bigger taxpayer-guaranteed mortgage loads. Unfortunately, the evidence is clear: Since 2008 the big four banks—Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase—have not only grown bigger (they now control 60 percent of American bank business) but have done so by expanding their mortgage portfolios (with $800 billion in first mortgages, 8 percent of the national total).

It's easy to see why interested parties such as the National Association of Realtors would support interventions such as those above and the $8,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit. (It's notable, however, that sales data in the three years since the beginning of the real estate collapse strongly suggest that a low asking price is by far the most important factor in whether a house sells.) What's not as clear is why so many other interventionists are convinced that re-inflating the real estate bubble serves the common good. Frank, Sherman, and others maintain that their efforts are a matter of constituent service. "If you're talking about international economic theory, that's a separate matter," says Sherman. "But there is no practical argument that [underwriting $1 million homes] is not in the interest of the district I represent."

I guess that depends on what the meaning of interest is. If foreclosures really destroyed neighborhoods, we'd expect to see some evidence in, for example, crime rates, which continue to decline around the country. The Washington Post, in a 2008 story on foreclosure-heavy Fairfax County, Virginia, pronounced, "As Foreclosed Homes Empty, Crime Arrives." Yet a year later, year-to-year quarterly statistics from the county's police department show crime down 1.8 percent, with double-digit drops in murder, rape, and robbery.

Meanwhile, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, "unemployment" and "illness" account for just 9 percent and 6 percent, respectively, of overall defaults. "Excessive obligations"—which in English means you bought more house than you could afford—causes twice as many defaults as unemployment. And the shockingly high rate of re- defaults on modified loans—more than 60 percent in some classes— argues strongly against loan modification as a public interest.

More to the point, keeping real estate inflated is not an abstract public choice experiment, in which the benefits are concentrated and the costs distributed. The policy has a very discernable victim class: would-be home buyers, whose interests are served not by tax credits or massive debt commitments but by lower asking prices. Perversely, foreclosures are the highest they've ever been in American history, yet it's harder than ever to buy a house. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median down payment by first-time buyers, even after a three-year, debt-driven economic shock, is just 4 percent. One-third of homes are still being purchased with no money down. As we learned (or thought we learned) in 2006, numbers like these are a recipe for cascading misfortunes. Renters should be angrier than ever.

Imagine a yard sale outside the biggest, fanciest house in town. You get there early, eager to buy cool stuff cheap. But every time you see something you like, a police officer comes along with a Sharpie, crosses out the price, and writes in another number that's two or three times higher. Scale that up a bit, and you have the Obama housing plan.

The prevailing idea that any market led deflation of value or any deflation of value at all really, will always be worse than artificial inflation and should be prevented at all costs is, IMO, the biggest part of the problem.

It will continue to create bubbles and lead to more recessions and their spacing will get closer and closer together.
#29
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/05/25/Reid-duels-Rand-on-lapsing-Patriot-Act/UPI-33021306326539/

QuoteWASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- The federal Patriot Act could briefly expire by the end of the week if U.S. Sen. Rand Paul insists on votes for controversial amendments, officials say.

The Hill newspaper said if the lapse occurs it could severely impact the law enforcement community, which uses it to track suspected terrorists.

Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tabled a motion to extend the Patriot Act in what the newspaper said was a complicated maneuver to circumvent Paul, R-Ky. The maneuver was designed to save time while Paul resists the extension of the law, which expires at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Senate aides told the newspaper.

After Reid was able to table a previous motion to proceed to the Patriot Act by a vote of 74-13, he picked up a privileged message from the House to which he added the Patriot Act extension as a substitute, The Hill said.

Reid then filed cloture on the bill, giving the Senate a chance to vote Thursday on cutting off Paul's filibuster.

But the newspaper warned if Paul insists on using all 30 hours of post-cloture debate Senate rules give him, he could force the Patriot Act to lapse for a day. And even if Paul waives post-cloture debate, lawmakers will have to rush to get the extension signed into law by Thursday because President Obama is in Europe.

The Hill said aides will have to fly a copy of the four-year Patriot Act extension to Europe if they are to prevent law-enforcement powers from expiring.

One of Paul's proposed amendments says authority to obtain information under the Patriot Act does not include certain firearms records


dislike him for his other positions, but he seems to be the only one on either side riding the correct motorcycle on this one.
#31
Alright, so maybe this is redundant to the Tech Forum thread that's stickied, but it seems to be sparse on posts.

I've renamed this thread as a resource for useful software for those of us that do our own break/fix work or anyone who wants to learn how to maintain their own boxes.

I know I have a decent library of software I should probably update.  Anyone who wants to share their own preferences/tricks/tips on keeping your other house in order, have at it.
#32
http://www.khanacademy.org/

did a search for this here and didn't find anything.  If it's been posted before, sorry about that.

The number of videos is pretty impressive.  Not sure how it compares to MIT's Open Courseware, but it never hurts to have more free sources of information.
#33
To Veracruz, Mexico tomorrow, gone for a week. 

ASK ME ANYTHING!
#34
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/04/17/2011-04-17_teenager_stabs_himself_to_death_onstage_at_open_mic_night_in_front_of_shocked_cr.html?obref=obinsite

kid gets up and sings a song called "sorry for the mess" then stabs himself to death.   :lulz:

ENCORE!

disclaimer: I realize I'm probably a horrible person for thinking this is funny.  Doesn't change the fact that I do.
#35
http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/19/markets/gold_1500_record/?section=money_latest

QuoteNEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gold prices topped a record $1,500 for the first time ever on Tuesday, shattering an important psychological barrier.

Gold futures for June delivery hit an intraday record of $1,500.50 an ounce near midday, moving above Monday's record settle price of $1,492.90.

The price spike comes amid a wave of market uncertainty that has sent investors looking for an alternative to the weak U.S. dollar. And gold has been the marquee beneficiary.

On Monday, it was a dour outlook on U.S. debt that sent gold prices higher.

Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook for America's long-term debt to "negative" from "stable," based on uncertainty surrounding the nation's fiscal problems.

That's exactly the type of news that creates a flight to safe haven assets like gold.

The price of gold has tracked steadily higher in recent months, as a cavalcade of unsettling world events created uncertainty in global markets.

Since the start of the year, investors have been forced to consider the implications of a Japanese tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster. That's in addition to a spike in crude prices and a slew of revolts in the Middle East and North Africa.

Inflation -- which gold is often used to hedge against -- has been rising sharply in emerging economies and is becoming more of an issue in Europe.
Gold and silver keep shining. Thanks, S&P!

Carlos Sanchez, director of commodities management at New York-based CPM Group, said prices could go as high as $1,550 in the next couple weeks as investors focus on political gridlock in Washington.

The next major event for the gold market is the May deadline for the government to raise the debt ceiling, Sanchez said.

On Tuesday, silver prices were also on the rise. The understudy commodity was trading above $43 an ounce -- its highest level in three decades.

Of course, the records this week are not adjusted for inflation. Gold rose to $825.50 per ounce on Jan. 21, 1980, which is $2,211.65 in today's dollars, according to the Minneapolis Fed Calculator.

that's a 31.5% gain from this time last year.  

and Roger's not here to go " :lulz: gold bugs"

so I'll do it for him, so he can be here in spirit.

:lulz: gold bugs

that's a hell of a jump though.

[EDIT] that's all inflation too, BTW..  the same reason we're paying what we're paying for gas right now.

CNN usually gets it wrong on purpose, saying that gas prices drove rising inflation, when the reality is that inflation drives the gas prices.  Financial reporting banks on no one of any consequence being worried about the distinction, but it's actually a pretty significant difference in meaning, because then the public will blame oil companies, instead of the people responsible.
#36
searchable wallpaper db from the chan boards.  some of these pics are very NSFW, so check it out from home.  

http://4walled.org/

another good wallpaper site, much more SFW:

http://www.silverboarder.nl/

Reverse lookup image tracker..  thing.  Basically, can find originals of shooped images.  Pretty damn cool actually.

http://www.tineye.com/

give me moar cool links.
#37
Thread.

anyone doing a party?  I've come to terms with just how much of a fucking dork I am for planning one, but I have good company, so it'll be a house full of dorks.  and my GF, who hasn't read the damn thing yet.  The rest of us have.  She'll just have to suffer.

One of my friends suggested we do it Rocky Horror style and dress up, but only if he gets to be Daenerys.   :lulz:  

Thought I'd pass on that if any of you spags is in to it and wants to watch it but don't have HBO, my cable company was offering 3 months free when I called to ask about it a week ago.  I don't usually watch enough tv to justify the price, but free is nice.  

So here's how you do it, from an old cable company call center rep:  call em up, ask if they can give you a 3 month sampler of HBO.  If they say no, tell em fine, you're just going to cancel and go with (insert major dish network co), be adamant.  They SHOULD send you to the retention dept, where they have more tools available to keep you as a customer.  tell them you want HBO free for the next three months and you'll keep your regular service.  Be nice to the person and they'll likely give you whatever you want, because that's how they bonus.

9 o'clock eastern you fucks.  and it repeats every hour until midnight.
#38
so my cubicle cohort is out for a week @ swanee fest, drinking and dancing in the mud with hairy hippy women.  I've got his password and was kicking around some ideas on what to do to his computer that is both funny and SFW.

I've got some pictures I'm digging through to leave as his desktop, but more are always welcome.

I know some of you spags are much better pranksters than I am.  Give me your ideas that wont get me fired.
#39
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/04/border-search/

QuoteThe authorities may seize laptops, cameras and other digital devices at the U.S. border without a warrant, and scour through them for days hundreds of miles away, a federal appeals court ruled.

The 2-1 decision (.pdf) Wednesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes as the government is increasingly invoking its broad, warrantless search-and-seizure powers at the U.S. border to probe the digital lives of travelers.

Under the "border search exception" of United States law, international travelers, including U.S. citizens, can be searched without a warrant as they enter the country. Under the Obama administration, law enforcement agents have aggressively used this power to search travelers' laptops, sometimes copying the hard drive before returning the computer to its owner.

Courts have ruled that such laptop searches can take place even in the absence of any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, and more than 6,500 persons have had their electronic devices searched in this manner since October 2008.

The issue has gained renewed attention in recent months as American computer geeks connected to WikiLeaks, or who know people connected with WikiLeaks, have found themselves repeatedly singled out for the searches.

At issue in the case decided Wednesday was the prosecution of a California man on child pornography charges. In 2007, ICE agents seized three laptops and a camera from convicted child molester Howard Cotterman, and transported them 170 miles away for a two-day search that uncovered hundreds of child porn images.

A lower court judge threw out the evidence, finding that the border exception did not apply when the search went beyond the border area.

The government appealed. Cotterman's lawyers argued that law enforcement should only be allowed to search digital devices at points of entry where they have the necessary equipment and personnel on hand.

"We find this position simply untenable," 9th Circuit Judge Richard Tallman wrote for the majority, reinstating the evidence. Limiting searches "would only reward those individuals who, either because of the nature of their contraband or the sophistication of their criminal enterprise, hide their contraband more cleverly or would be inclined to seek entry at more vulnerable points less equipped to discover them."

The court also affirmed that "particularized suspicion" was not required for a border search.

In dissent, Judge Betty Fletcher wrote that the government should have had a better reason to search Cotterman other than him being a convicted in 1992 of child molestation.

"I add my voice to the chorus lamenting the apparent demise of the Fourth Amendment," Fletcher wrote.

I'm not even going to bother traveling out of the country with a computer anymore.  This shit's just fucking ridiculous.
#40
http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/06/v-fullstory/2154351/from-the-florida-house-to-national.html

QuoteTALLAHASSEE --  A little thing happened in the Florida House two weeks ago. A Democrat from Orlando said "uterus" during a floor debate.

No one much noticed, or cared, until word leaked that Republicans told Democrats they couldn't say the word.

Now people can't stop saying it.

Angry with cuts to education? Democrats say uterus.

Don't like giving Gov. Rick Scott more power? Uterus.

Upset with the way the Legislature is treating unions? Uterus!

The story caught the attention of national media and the legislator, Scott Randolph, made it on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC cable show.

"Uterus?" It has a Facebook page, Twitter hashtags, and— because it's politics — pink buttons.

But most importantly, Democrats looking for a unifying theme amid dour legislative prospects have found it in a single, unlikely word.

Randolph, 37, got the idea from his wife.

If she would incorporate her uterus, she said one night over dinner, maybe Republicans would drop 18 anti-abortion measures they are considering during the legislative session.

Republicans, after all, are against regulations for businesses.

So March 25, during a debate about union dues collections, Randolph used his time on the floor to make her point.

"It's easy to practice an ideology of convenience," he said. "If my wife incorporated her uterus, you all would say hands off. If my friends incorporated their bedroom, you'd say hands off. But now we're standing here and we're saying we're going to increase regulation on a specific type of membership organization. And that's unions."

Watching, Susannah Randolph said: "Oh my God, I can't believe he used that."

Republicans, apparently, couldn't believe it either.

Soon after, Randolph was told by the Republican House leadership — through Minority Leader Ron Saunders — that he was not to discuss body parts on the floor.

The reason? Because of the 12-to-14-year-old pages watching.

"The speaker believes it is important for all members to be mindful of and respectful to visitors and guests, particularly the young pages and messengers," said Katie Betta, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Dean Cannon.

In the past, Betta said, if debate was going to contain language that would be considered inappropriate for children, House members would advise people in attendance ahead of time.

Some wondered if Cannon knew uterus to be the word for a woman's womb. He does.

Who declared uterus off-limits in this case, and how strong the scolding was, is up for debate. Saunders said the message came from Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Lopez-Cantera says it wasn't him.

Cannon, for the record, said Wednesday that the word isn't banned, and Randolph and Democrats are playing up the issue.

"This is silly," Cannon said. "No. 1, I haven't spoken to Scott Randolph in many weeks. And I think one of the reasons he is probably one of the least effective members of the Democratic caucus is he substitutes things that have provocative value or shock value rather than making policy arguments."

Randolph responded by declaring Cannon the most effective legislator — "when it comes to waging war on middle-class Floridians."

In between the he-said, he-said, uterus talk continues.

The Uterus Facebook page has more than 2,500 members, and people have tried to flood the official House of Representatives page with comments — many of which are simply "Uterus!"

"Time to chastise Mr. Speaker Cannon. Apparently he voted for a bill back in 2009 with the word 'utero' in it," someone posted on the Facebook page.

Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, commented: "That is crazy! In front of pages? little children...? OMG!"

Susannah Randolph joked that she's forming a U-PAC to support like-minded candidates, calling the group The Uterati. She's behind an anti-Rick Scott website www.pinksliprick.com, and previously ran the campaign of former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson.

And the Florida chapter of the ACLU has launched www.incorporatemyuterus.com, where people can — for fun — do just that.

"If Republicans would have let it go, that would have been the end of it," said Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth. "For some reason, they didn't."

House Democrats have started wearing pink buttons that say uterus in capital letters.

Saunders, the minority leader, warned members at the end of a Wednesday caucus meeting not to wear the buttons on the House floor.

"You have to leave your uteruses in your offices," joked Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg.

Rep. Steve Perman, D-Boca Raton, hid his button inside his jacket, Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, slyly pinned hers on the reverse of her lapel, and then the Democrats walked to their seats in the last two rows of the House chamber.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/06/v-fullstory/2154351/from-the-florida-house-to-national.html#ixzz1IwCouNnm

that's IT, I'm done.  I'm OUT!   I'm tearing up my voter registration card.

the stupidity finally got to me. 

  :lulz:
#41
High Weirdness / Thought police disguised as Judges
April 06, 2011, 09:36:36 PM
Apparently, being openly racist in order to avoid jury duty just doesn't fly anymore.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/04/06/judge-reportedly-sentences-new-york-woman-indefinite-jury-duty-racist-remarks/?test=latestnews

Quote
An incensed federal judge sentenced a racist Brooklyn woman to indefinite jury duty on Tuesday after she trashed the NYPD and minorities.

"This is an outrage, and so are you!" Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis told the woman, holding up her bile-filled juror questionnaire.

Juror No. 799, an Asian woman in her 20s who said she works in the garment industry, was up for jury duty in the death penalty trial of Bonanno crime boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano.

It didn't take long for her to start looking worse than the defendant.

Asked to name three people she least admired, she wrote on her questionnaire: "African-Americans, Hispanics and Haitians."

When the judge asked why she answered the question that way, she replied, "You always hear about them in the news doing something."

She also declared that cops are all lazy, claiming that they sound their sirens to bypass traffic jams.

Garaufis flipped forward several pages in her questionnaire.

He landed on the page where she had said she had a relative who was a member of the Chinese Ghost Shadows gang in the 1980s, convicted of murder and still in prison.

"Why didn't you put 'Asians' down also?" the judge asked sarcastically, referring to her list of least-liked people.

"Maybe I should have," she said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Taryn Merkl requested that the woman be disqualified from the Vinny Gorgeous case because of her "inappropriate" comments. The motion was granted.

It is not unheard of for people to try to get out of jury service by making ridiculous statements concerning their views.

It was unclear Tuesday whether that was this woman's motive.

And if it was, it didn't work.

Indeed, the woman was going to be seeing a lot of Brooklyn Federal Court.

"She's coming back [today], Thursday and Friday - and until the future, when I am ready to dismiss her," Garaufis said.

One thousand prospective jurors have filled out questionnaires for the Basciano case, approaching the Eastern District of New York record of 1,089 summoned for the late Gambino boss John Gotti's trial 20 years ago.

Nearly half of the jurors are struck before they even get to court for questioning due to language barriers, fear of the Mafia or their extreme views for and against the death penalty.

The panel members that do get selected for the trial will be anonymous and transported to the courthouse by U.S. marshals to thwart any possibility of jury tampering.

#42
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/06/beck-leaves-daily-show/?hpt=T2

Quote(CNN) - Fox News Channel anchor Glenn Beck will end his daily show later this year to develop and produce a variety of television projects to air on the channel, according to a release Wednesday.

The new agreement between FNC and Mercury Radio Arts will ensure Beck appears on the television network and through other "digital properties."

"Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody's standards. I look forward to continuing to work with him," Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes said in a statement.

"Glenn Beck" launched in 2009. The host previously hosted a show on CNN's sister network HLN.

Howard Kurtz, Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast and host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" said the split was a "divorce many months in the making."

"By the end, both sides wanted out," Kurtz said in an email. "Beck's show proved too radioactive for Fox, and the network became an uncomfortable home for Glenn Beck."

and there was much rejoicing
#43
I really wasn't sure where else to post this.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/BUSINESS/04/03/gulf.spill.bonuses/index.html?hp

Quote(CNN) -- Declaring 2010 "the best year in safety performance in our company's history," Transocean Ltd., owner of the Gulf of Mexico oil rig that exploded, killing 11 workers, has awarded its top executives hefty bonuses and raises, according to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

That includes a $200,000 salary increase for Transocean president and chief executive officer Steven L. Newman, whose base salary will increase from $900,000 to $1.1 million, according to the SEC report. Newman's bonus was $374,062, the report states.

Newman also has a $5.4 million long-term compensation package the company awarded him upon his appointment as CEO in March 2010, according to the SEC filing.

The latest cash awards are based in part on the company's "performance under safety," the Transocean filing states.

"Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate and total potential severity rate," the SEC statement reads. "As measured by these standards, we recorded the best year in safety performance in our Company's history."

The company called that record "a reflection on our commitment to achieving an incident-free environment, all the time, everywhere," the SEC filing states.

The company did not respond to an e-mail from CNN seeking comment.

The April 20, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig injured 17 workers and killed 11 others, including nine Transocean employees, according to the SEC filing. It has been called the worst spill in U.S. history.

The well was capped three months later, but not before millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf.

In January, President Barack Obama's National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling released a report that spread blame for the accident among Transocean, BP -- which leased the rig -- and Halliburton, which installed the rig's cement casing.

The commission said problems with deepwater drilling are "systemic" and that only "significant reform" will prevent another disaster.

Another report released March 23 determined that the oil spill was caused by a piece of drill pipe trapped in the rig platform's blowout preventer, a device intended to stop oil from flowing into the Gulf. The report was commissioned by various U.S. agencies, including the Interior Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

The Interior Department has said a much broader report that relies on additional sources of data -- including eyewitness accounts and photographs -- will be released this summer.

The oil spill has prompted a flood of lawsuits against BP, Transocean and Halliburton from a variety of plaintiffs, including owners of Gulf shore businesses who claim they suffered heavy financial losses because of the spill.

The plaintiffs also include Transocean shareholders who contend the company falsely claimed it had remedied past safety problems with its blowout preventers, prior to the Gulf spill.
#44
Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Hey Cain
April 01, 2011, 03:41:52 AM
I sent you a PM, sincerely apologising for responding like a complete ass to what was, in hind sight, a pretty spot on and funny reply to my shortsighted and un-researched post.

haven't heard anything from you and really, can't say I expected to as I don't really know you at all aside from your insightful and informative posts here, which are often on subjects in which I also find an interest.

So this is my board public request that you bring your limey ass back here.   If I was in some way the last straw on the ol' camel, I am contrite as I have ever been to someone I've never met in person.

I am sorry, sir.   

The rest of you, feel free to ignore this.  I just felt it was something I had to do.
#45
http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/03/17/darren-aronofsky-wolverine-leaving/?hpt=T2

QuoteBlack Swan director Darren Aronofsky will no longer be helming the Wolverine sequel for Twentieth Century Fox. In a statement issued by the studio, Aronofsky said, "It became clear that the production of The Wolverine would keep me out of the country for almost a year. I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time." (The film was reportedly going to be set in Japan.) "I am sad that I won't be able to see the project through," continued Aronofsky, "as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again." Twentieth Century Fox echoed Aronofsky's regret: "While we are of course disappointed that Darren can't do The Wolverine, we also understand and respect his reasons ... Hugh Jackman and Fox both remain fully committed to making The Wolverine. We will regroup and move forward aggressively."

damn, after the last god awful train wreck of a movie, I was really looking forward to some really great directing and cinematography.  que sera, sera.
#46
http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/17/virginia-middle-school-students-suspended-for-oregano-possession/?test=latestnews

choice quote:
QuoteThe elder Grass also explains that his son was merely holding onto the oregano for a friend, meaning he's really just an innocent spice trafficker.

This will likely get picked up by Chuck Shepard's site. 
#47
Bring and Brag / Pickles Custom Metal Shop
March 16, 2011, 07:07:05 PM
rather proud of this one.  the engineer on the project needed a way to mount a 42" industrial monitor within an existing enclosure that would have a recessed (flush) profile into the enclosure and provide U.L. required fire protection to the equipment mounted inside, yet allow venting of heat to the outside of the enclosure.  This was my solution.









The cool thing is, while it was designed to be made out of 12GA steel, making it pretty damn heavy, with slight modifications to the material thickness, it could easily be made from aluminum, knocking off several pounds.  I have all of the flat patterns as well, which could easily be modified for a wooden application should a builder want to integrate it into a home installation.

We received them in Monday and they're installed and look pretty damn good.  Haven't had the chance to take any pictures yet though.


#48
http://www.dearcoketalk.com/

question and answer format blog of sorts.

some of this is borderline NSFW, but it's all text.  There's one in particular, second down on page two that I wont repost here, but is full of  :lulz:  If anything jumps out as NWS in this post, let me know and I'll cut it.

notable posts so far:

Quote

I think questions about God in a freshman philosophy course are completely irrelevant. I know that my professor warps the subject and her lectures are shit, so maybe if someone put a better spin on it, they would at least be more interesting.


Wrong, shithead. Philosophy classes are exactly where questions about god are relevant. That's the whole fucking point of philosophy.

Debate and discussion about the existence, definition, and value of god are vital to your development as a free-thinking individual, and there's no better place to work that shit out than within an academic discipline devoted to systematic reason and rational argument.

Sharpen your critical thinking. Develop your logic. Send your rational mind into battle against the unanswerable questions of the human condition.

This isn't about what you believe. It's about advancing the level of sophistication of your beliefs.

Good luck.

QuoteWhy would a guy that likes a girl ignore her over the phone, yet, clearly show that he's head over heels in person?

Proximity to your pussy.

QuoteThe man I'm fucking is in love with my best friend. He treats her with respect, and he treats me like nothing. Guess this is what I get for fucking him, right?

No, this is what you get for thinking your vagina is a hole through which respect passes.

QuoteWhat do YOU think happens when we die?

We rot in the ground for a hot minute. That's it, dude. Our consciousness simply ceases to exist. Don't worry. It's no big deal. You didn't exist for the first fourteen billion years, and you won't exist for the next fourteen billion either.

QuoteWhat gets your furthest in life: Good looks, social skills, or intelligence?
Showing up.

QuoteI'm a fairly normal teenage girl with shitty self image issues. How would you advise I go about fixing that?
Quit being a fairly normal teenage girl.

QuoteWhy doesn't my boyfriend want to go down on me?
Your pussy smells.
#49
http://www.cnbc.com/id/41969508

QuoteGovernment payouts—including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance—make up more than a third of total wages and salaries of the U.S. population, a record figure that will only increase if action isn't taken before the majority of Baby Boomers enter retirement.

Even as the economy has recovered, social welfare benefits make up 35 percent of wages and salaries this year, up from 21 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1960, according to TrimTabs Investment Research using Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

"The U.S. economy has become alarmingly dependent on government stimulus," said Madeline Schnapp, director of Macroeconomic Research at TrimTabs, in a note to clients. "Consumption supported by wages and salaries is a much stronger foundation for economic growth than consumption based on social welfare benefits."

The economist gives the country two stark choices. In order to get welfare back to its pre-recession ratio of 26 percent of pay, "either wages and salaries would have to increase $2.3 trillion, or 35 percent, to $8.8 trillion, or social welfare benefits would have to decline $500 billion, or 23 percent, to $1.7 trillion," she said.

Last month, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a $61 billion federal spending cut, but Senate Democratic leaders and the White House made it clear that had no chance of becoming law. Short-term resolutions passed have averted a government shutdown that could have occurred this month, as Vice President Biden leads negotiations with Republican leaders on some sort of long-term compromise.

"You've got to cut back government spending and the Republicans will run on this platform leading up to next year's election," said Joe Terranova, Chief Market Strategist for Virtus Investment Partners and a "Fast Money" trader.

Terranova noted some sort of opt out for social security or even raising the retirement age.

But the country may not be ready for these tough choices, even though economists like Schnapp say something will have to be done to avoid a significant economic crisis.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released last week showed that  less than a quarter of Americans supported making cuts to Social Security or Medicare in order to reign in the mounting budget deficit.

Those poll numbers may be skewed by a demographic shift the likes of which the nation has never seen. Only this year has the first round of baby boomers begun collecting Medicare benefits—and here comes 78 million more.

Social welfare benefits have increased by $514 billion over the last two years, according to TrimTabs figures, in part because of measures implemented to fight the financial crisis. Government spending normally takes on a larger part of the spending pie during economic calamities but how can the country change this make-up with the root of the crisis (housing) still on shaky ground, benchmark interest rates already cut to zero, and a demographic shift that calls for an increase in subsidies?

At the very least, we can take solace in the fact that we're not quite at the state welfare levels of Europe. In the U.K., social welfare benefits make up 44 percent of wages and salaries, according to TrimTabs' Schnapp.

"No matter how bad the situation is in the US, we stand far better on these issues (debt, demographics, entrepreneurship) than other countries," said Steve Cortes of Veracruz Research. "On a relative basis, America remains the world leader and, as such, will also remain the world's reserve currency."

(emphasis is mine)

dumping this here before I leave for home, so probably wont be able to discuss until tomorrow.  I can't imagine anyone thinking this is a good thing, but I'd love to hear thoughts on why if anyone DOES. 

#50
Thought about sticking this in High Weirdness, but figured it was more Apple Talky

I know how much you spags love witches, so you'll really love this:

(and the picture at the link is  :lulz:)

http://www.wickedlocal.com/salem/features/x1512114776/Troubled-by-Charlie-Sheen-s-warlock-comments-Salem-witches-plan-ritual#axzz1FakQJL26

Quote
Salem, Mass. —

Charlie Sheen has garnered hundreds of headlines recently, but his comments to the media have particularly vexed witches and warlocks in Salem.

Sheen, the star of the hit CBS show "Two and a Half Men," referred to himself as a warlock at least twice during interviews over the past week.

"Warlock is not a battle cry, that's not what the word means," said Salem warlock Christian Day, emphasizing that most witches and warlocks consider witchcraft to be a religion — and a peaceful one at that.

Since local witches began speaking out against Sheen's comments, Day said he's gotten numerous requests to comment from national media.

In fact, a story about the Salem witches' reaction, along with a photo of Day, were featured Wednesday on the homepage of TMZ.com, a prominent celebrity news site.

Sheen described himself as a "warlock" during a "Today Show" interview and also during one with radio host Alex Jones.

Some Salem witches are planning a ritual on Sunday, March 6, that they expect will dissuade Sheen from misusing the word warlock in the future. They also intend for the ritual to help Sheen cleanse himself of the negativity they believe is poisoning him.

"We want to try save him, as well as not have ourselves slandered," said Laurie Stathopoulos, a witch who goes by the name Lorelei.

Sheen, who has been troubled by drug and alcohol abuse in the past, told the "Today Show" he cured himself of addiction. His estranged wife filed a restraining order against him on behalf of herself and their twin 2-year-old sons. She claimed Sheen had abused her and made violent comments that made her fear for the family's safety.

Using the 'w-word'

The problems started last Thursday, Feb. 24 during Sheen's now-notorious radio interview with Alex Jones. Sheen described himself and Jones as "high priests, Vatican assassin warlocks."

"What they're not ready for is guys like you and I and Nails and all the other gnarly gnarlingtons in my life, that we are high priests, Vatican assassin warlocks," the 45-year-old actor said. "Boom. Print that, people. See where that goes."

Jones attempted to clarify Sheen's comment at that point, stating that it was a reference to something that happened in the past. He said that one day, he and Sheen were looking into some rumors someone had made up about them. The misinformation claimed Jones and Sheen and others worked for the Pope and were assassins for the Vatican.

"That's kind of the roots of that..." Jones explained.

Sheen may have intended the "Vatican assassin warlocks" comment to be sarcastic, but the context may not be clear to many listeners.

The comment came during a part of the conversation that was peppered with violent imagery, something Day disliked.

"I was shocked," he said.

Day added that the word "warlock" originally referred to men who interacted with the spirit world. He said it was later used for men who defied the rise of Christianity by adhering to pagan traditions and deities.

Sheen's media blitz continued through this week as he addressed his much-publicized dispute with CBS, which has suspended production of the next season of "Two and a Half Men."

During a "Today Show" interview on Monday, Sheen said CBS has forced him to "go to war" with the network.

"They picked a fight with a warlock," Sheen said.

The actor's second use of the word warlock further upset local witches and warlocks.

A healing ritual for Charlie Sheen

Christian Day's initial reaction to Sheen's comments was anger. He said his fellow witches helped him see that the best path was a response that stays true to witchcraft — by which they mean healing and peace.

For that reason, a group of witches will gather at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Crow Haven Corner, 125 Essex St. Owned by Laurie Cabot, who is famous in witchcraft circles around the world, Crow Haven Corner is promoted as the first witch shop in Salem.

The ceremony is primarily for witches, but if there is extra space, members of the public will be allowed to attend.

Christian Day said the local witches wouldn't do anything like a hex or a curse, but rather, they will cast a spell that "puts the bee in the bonnet, psychically."

The goal is "to bind him so he doesn't use the word warlock in a negative way anymore," Day said.

Lorelei Stathopoulos, who used to be a fan of "Two and a Half Men," said she's worried that Sheen is close to death; that "his soul is starting to wander to the other side."

Stathopoulos said each witch at the ritual this weekend will play a role in helping restore balance and peace to Sheen, so that he can use his talents and his fame for good in the world.

Bringing forth good things and suppressing dark forces is "what we do as witches every day,"she said.

On the "Today Show," Sheen said his passion in recent interviews is being misinterpreted as anger, but local witches aren't convinced.

Sheen's is "a hurting spirit," according to Lori Bruno, a witch who says the tradition was passed to her from her ancestors, who were "stregas," or witches, in Italy.

"The main thing is to help Charlie, to make things positive for him, to take away anything that is negative," she said of the ritual.

Read more: Troubled by Charlie Sheen's 'warlock' comments, Salem witches plan ritual - Salem, Massachusetts - Salem Gazette http://www.wickedlocal.com/salem/archive/x1512114776/Troubled-by-Charlie-Sheen-s-warlock-comments-Salem-witches-plan-ritual#ixzz1Fes1IJU4