Wednesday Reads: Beg, Borrow, Steal…Maybe Blackmail Will Do?Posted: April 10, 2013 | |
My fingers are tingling like they are being poked with hundreds of little pins, and since we have some rain coming towards Banjoville…my arthritis is acting up as well. So, this morning’s post will be more along the lines of a link dump.
In this morning’s Orlando Sentinel, there is an op/ed that is outright propaganda, check it out: Editorial calls on Congress to approve chained CPI
But the president’s proposal deserves bipartisan support, no matter what the polls say. It’s an incremental yet meaningful step that acknowledges the need to include Social Security — the biggest federal program at more than $800 billion a year, and growing — in any balanced deficit-reduction plan.
Obama and Congress have cut deficits, but not enough to keep the national debt from growing as a share of the U.S. economy. They’ve largely left entitlement programs, including Social Security, off the table.
More debt means higher interest payments, less money for investments that would grow the economy, and more vulnerability to foreign creditors.
The president’s proposal would tie increases in Social Security and other benefit programs to an inflation index known as the “chained CPI” — a name only a bureaucrat could love. Many economists say the chained CPI is more accurate than the government’s current index, which overstates inflation.
Tying Social Security to the slower-growing inflation rate would reduce total annual benefits for the average 65-year-old retiree by only $50, though the reduction would compound over time to $1,147 a year by the time the retiree hit 85.
But the president’s proposal would prop up benefits for the poorest and oldest retirees. Targeting help to seniors in most need beats sticking with a system for everyone that overstates inflation and adds billions to the government’s bottom line.
Switching to the chained CPI would save at least $130 billion in Social Security payments over 10 years. It also would improve the fiscal fitness of the program, which is now paying out more in benefits than it is collecting in payroll taxes. The money to close the gap gets borrowed, which means that — contrary to claims from some advocates — Social Security adds to the deficit.
The chained CPI could save another $200 billion or more over the next decade outside of Social Security. How? By slowing spending growth in other benefit programs. And by adding to revenues by gradually moving more Americans with increasing incomes into higher tax brackets.
Obama is taking flak within his party for his proposal. For liberal Democrats, Social Security cuts are as bad as tax hikes for conservative Republicans.
But the president says he won’t go through with the switch unless Republicans go along with more tax increases. The GOP should be willing to close loopholes for corporations and the wealthy — especially if it’s in return for the kind of entitlement reform that Republicans have demanded from Obama.
There are a few comments already pointing out how stupid the author of the editorial is, you know…since Social Security is not a “debt” and all that shit.
sorgfelt at 5:47 AM April 10, 2013Social Security is an independent fund supplied solely by our contributions, and does not add to our national debt in any way, shape or form. The author of this piece is either grossly uninformed and/or a pawn of the corporate entities who want to cut the business owners’ part of the contributions to Social Security. It is utterly despicable that this article could be written and anyone could be led to take it seriously.There is one connection to the national debt: Congress has seen fit to borrow money without interest from Social Security to pay for our stupid, illegal wars. That in itself is a travesty. And to use that as an excuse to raid Social Security is despicable.Florence Perry at 5:42 AM April 10, 2013It infuriates me when people call Social Security “an entitlement”. It is not. We put our hard earned monies into it, and it is our monies. The government decided to borrow that money and now has to pay it back and called it “an entitlement” so they can cheat us out of our money. You should get your facts straight Sentitnal (sic).
Madamab has a post up this morning that ties into this so be sure to stop over at Widdershins: Activist/Feminist Wednesday: Obama Goes After Social Security (And Women) | The Widdershins
Perhaps you don’t need math to be a politician these days? But there is some discussion as to whether you need it to be a scientist: Do you need to know math for doing great science? | The Curious Wavefunction, Scientific American Blog Network
There was a bit of a scare this morning, when an official tweet was sent accidentally by a town in Japan: Yokohama mistakenly tweets North Korean missile launch
Officials in the Japanese city of Yokohama were left red-faced on Wednesday after mistakenly announcing the launch of a North Korean missile to 40,000 followers on Twitter.
The city, south of Tokyo, prematurely fired its Tweet just before noon (0300 GMT), announcing “North Korea has launched a missile” with blank spaces to indicate the exact time.
“We received a call from one of our followers who had noticed the mistake. We had the Tweet ready and waiting, but for an unknown reason it was dispatched erroneously,” said a city official.
The city retracted the Tweet about 20 minutes later and apologised to followers of @yokohama_saigai, the official said.
Japan is on full alert ahead of an expected mid-range missile launch by North Korea, with Patriot missiles stationed in its capital to protect the 30 million people who live there.
Twitter is a big deal over in Japan, so this tweet was taken very seriously.
Meanwhile, over in Great Britain, History is getting an overhaul in their school systems, and it is not a good one, per the BBC: Draft history curriculum ‘list-like and too narrow’
A draft history curriculum for England is “list-like”, “prescriptive” and omits “the histories of Britons who are not white Anglo-Saxons”, says a report.
The group, Curriculum for Cohesion, of teachers, academics and employers calls the draft “unteachable, unlearnable and un-British”.
They warn that if adopted the curriculum may alienate pupils from ethnic and religious minority groups.
I guess these people realize that History…will teach us nothing…/snark.
Makes me think of our very own GOP:
Remember that event during the Occupy Wall Street protest, when the NYPD destroyed the Occupy Library? Well, they now have to pay damages. City To Pay $365,000 For Occupy Library – Business Insider
A New York City court has ruled that the city shall pay $366,700 for a destructive raid on Occupy Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park encampment.
Around 1 a.m. on Nov. 15, 2011, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ordered the NYPD to evict protestors — some of whom had camped there for almost two months — from Zuccotti Park in New York City’s Financial District.
The police threw away 5,554 books from the Occupy library and destroyed media equipment in addition to removing tents, tarps, and belongings.
The city will pay:
- $47,000 in damages and $186,350 in legal fees for The People’s Library.
- $75,000 and $49,850 in legal fees to Global Revolutions TV for damaging their “computers, wifi hotspots and similarly related live-streaming equipment.”
- $8,500 for trashing the bicycle-powered generators that protestors built to light up the park after police held their other generators.
Wonderful to see that justice prevailed in this case.
I have some movie links for you now. This coming week the movie Camille will air on TCM: Wednesday, April 17 @ 09:00 AM (ET)
I love this film, it is beautiful.
Mike Luckovich had a very sweet tribute to Roger Ebert:
This next link is just about some interesting movie trivia:
However, one pseudonym that is missing is a favorite of mine, from the movie The Bank Dick:
The Bank Dick (released as The Bank Detective in the United Kingdom) is a 1940 comedy film. W. C. Fields plays a character named Egbert Sousé who trips a bank robber and ends up a security guard as a result. The character is a drunk who must repeatedly remind people in exasperation that his name is pronounced “Sousé – accent grave [sic] over the ‘e’!”, because people keep calling him “Souse” (slang for drunkard). In addition to bank and family scenes, it features Fields pretending to be a film director and ends in a chaotic car chase. The Bank Dick is considered a classic of his work, incorporating his usual persona as a drunken henpecked husband with a shrewish wife, disapproving mother-in-law, and savage children.
The film was written by Fields, using the alias Mahatma Kane Jeeves (derived from the Broadway drawing-room comedy cliche, “My hat, my cane, Jeeves!”), and directed by Edward F. Cline. Shemp Howard, one of the Three Stooges, plays a bartender.
Mahatma Kane Jeeves….what a riot!
Boston Boomer sent me this link last week:
It’s big, it’s hairy, and it’s venomous.
The newest spider to give arachnophobes the willies, a tarantula named Poecilotheria rajaei has been discovered on the island nation of Sri Lanka.
With a leg span of 8 inches (20 centimeters) and enough venom to kill mice, lizards, small birds and snakes, according to Sky News, the crawler is covered in subtle markings of gray, pink and daffodil yellow.
Here is a picture of this monster:
In another link BB sent me, related to spiders….this one is so damn cool: A Golden Spider-Silk Textile | The Art Institute of Chicago
Strands of silk from over one million of Madagascar’s golden orb spiders (Nephila madagascariensis) were woven together to make this dazzling textile, the only one of its kind in the world. Completed in 2008, the panel’s story underscores the globalism that is characteristic of many textile genres in Africa. Created by Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley, the loan of this rare textile celebrates the opening of the Art Institute’s redesigned galleries of African art and Indian art of the Americas.
The idea of harnessing spider silk for weaving is an age-old dream that was first attempted in a methodical way in France in the early 18th century. In the 1880s, Father Paul Camboué, a French Jesuit priest, brought the dream to Madagascar. Intrigued by the strength and beauty of the silk produced by the island’s golden orb spider, he began to collect and experiment with it. In 1900 a set of bed hangings was woven from spider silk at Madagascar’s Ecole Professionelle and exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris (today the whereabouts of those hangings are unknown). But the idea of creating an industry that could compete with Chinese silk (produced from silkworms) proved unrealistic.
Please go read the rest of this fascinating story at the link…and look at some of the photographs below:
A model wearing the golden spider silk cape. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
It has taken eight years and more than a million Madagascar Golden Orb spiders to create a work of art “with the quality of a fairy story”. And it goes on display at London’s V&A museum this week.
Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley, a textile artist and a designer-entrepreneur respectively, have created a shimmering golden cape from spider silk, a fabric not woven in more than a century.
Isn’t that spectacular?
I will end this post with a funny nature story…Scheming chicks blackmail doting parents for more food
Fledglings of a southern African bird species threaten suicide to blackmail their parents into bringing them more food, scientists said Wednesday. When hungry, pied babbler fledglings flutter from the nest to the ground, where predators roam, and start screeching to highlight their plight, said a study published in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. “This stimulates adults to increase their provisioning rates,” the science team wrote. “Once satiated, fledglings return to the safety of cover.” The strategy is dangerous, as the birds are not good flyers at this tender age and at particular risk of predators on the ground. But the short-term risk of being caught is probably lower than the long-term costs of being small and weak, said the paper. Pied babblers have high reproductive rates and competition for mates is high. Weaker birds are often kicked out of the nest by siblings, putting them at a huge disadvantage in the race for survival and procreation.
More information: The influence of fledgling location on adult provisioning: a test of the blackmail hypothesis, rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/lookup/doi/10.1098/rspb.2013.0558
Now that is one ballsy move if you ask me!
So what are you reading about this morning?