Collect Disability and Live Like a Bum

Have some money, it dosen't cost anything.
Have some money, it dosen’t cost anything.

“We who work through colds, bad backs and low moods — however liberal we might be — have permission to resent those who could hold a job but don’t, preferring to collect disability checks unto the decades. You see them at the coffee shop, refilling their cups in leisure, or even pumping iron at the gym.

And there are more of them all the time. More than 5 percent of eligible American adults are now receiving disability payments from Social Security. Twenty years ago, it was 3 percent.”

 

I got the above quote from a Froma Harrop, a Seattle Times opinion writer and complete waste of oxygen. This nut job is just stoking the fire of conservatives who believe that our nation’s Social Security Disability benefits program is a backdoor welfare system with no proof, and zero statistical justification. (Zero Point Zero)

First she points out that the percent of Americans claiming their disability benefits, which they have earned through payroll allotments, has risen from 3% to 5% in the last 20 years. The only logical conclusion that she can muster to account for this whopping 2 percent increase in the last two decades is that people are faking it. Stealing tax payer money, drinking coffee at leisure and pumping iron at the gym. At no time does she take into account the fact that the baby boom population has been ageing for the last 20 years thereby increasing the average age of Americans. This would make too much sense because the older  a person is the more likely they are to be disabled or become disabled due to injury. No, according to her we are all just pigs fighting to suckle at the government fat titty.

Second, living on Social Security benefits pays less than a part time minimum wage job, so no one is going to be sitting at Starbucks and shelling out their scarce greenbacks to an overpriced gym membership. For those few who do scam their way into the system and the fewer that are able to obtain benefits, due to the adminstrations backlogs andrigorous inquiries , it is not a lavish life style they lead. Often it is a decision made out of financial desperation and not one of laziness.

Third, the author exhibits several cases where disability claimants alleged phantom disabilities to obtain benefits. Every cases she cites is from a private insurer and not Social Security. She goes on to proclaim that other countries have tried to wean people off their disability benefits with vocational rehabilitation programs. These programs do exist in the US as well; they are administrated by the State and local governments.

Here is the link to the full Seattle Times article but instead of wasteing your time reading this waste of valueble internet space, go to the gym, get some coffee and take a survey of who many disability recipients sorround you.

Fuck Google

Not evil?
Not evil?

Fucking Google. No, this post not a response to their latest breach of public privacy (public privacy?), which by the way is total bullshit on so many levels. I don’t consider logging onto non-encrypted networks to be a crime of any kind; if anything it teaches the uninformed public to lock down your  WiFi routers. If your router name is “linksys”, you deserve to have your allotted bandwidth sucked dry by the surrounding public. The only bigger joke in this “offense” is the 7 million dollar fine Google has to pay – that will surely teach them!

No, fuck Google because it’s latest behavior in end-of-life’ing some pretty cool products. First it was iGoogle, my beloved homepage for the last 8 years is being killed off in November. This was a big bummer, as I use iGoogle as a launching point for just about all Internet activities. It’s got news, my calender, my stocks, etc. in a simple, single page, widget’esque format. There’s really nothing else like it on the Internets, and it will be missed. Actually the kicker here is that Google says to use “Chrome apps” as a substitute. For those of you who don’t know, “Chrome apps” are just large bookmarks on an empty Chrome tab. That’s not a substitute, that’s a kick in the balls.

But they didn’t stop there. Yesterday the assholes of Mountain View announced the end-of-life to 7 more products, including Google Reader and Snapseed for desktops. Google Reader is a very cool service where you can read RSS feeds in an email like fashion, without ever having to visit an actual website. I’m sure some blogs are thrilled with this news as it will bring more ad-viewing traffic to their sites – but it really was a cool service. But Snapseed is the real news here, for me anyway. Snapseed is a really lightweight photo editor that can do some quick editing of photos, really well. It’s even more annoying because Google didn’t even develop this product – they bought it just a couple months ago! Buy products just to end-of-life them? Not evil my ass.

Of Racism and Assholes

I hit a diagonal-lined man with my car once and just kept driving..
I once hit a diagonal-lined man with my car and just kept driving.

Good news folks, I’ve renewed my Wall Street Journal subscription for the next three months, and you know what that means..

So this asshole Daniel Henninger writes a post titled “Is the South Still Racist?“, themed from the comments of Supreme Court Justice John Roberts earlier this week while the Supreme Court debated the necessity of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Poor little Henninger is “insulted” that he lives in a state that is deemed racist (or more technically, requires preclearance of any changes to voting laws), because he thinks times have changed enough since 1965 which warrant the bill unnecessary. Specifically, he speaks of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.

First off, the fact that Mississippi just ratified the 13th Amendment might actually be enough to deem it racist. I know, “they tried before, but it wasn’t official because of a technicality”. To that I say, “yeah, they actually tried to ratify for the first time in 1995 – still 130 years too late you racist fuck”.

Second, I don’t doubt the fact that you, yourself, are not racist. I don’t know you and I won’t blindly judge you. But you don’t speak for your whole state. Even more so, you can’t possibly speak for the minorities in your state, and you cannot possibly pretend to understand what it’s like for minorities to live in those states. Considering the blatant racism that exists in some northern states, I would go as far as to say this whole country should fall under the jurisdiction of the Voting Rights Act.

And Finally, the reason you are an asshole, is for this nonsensical gem from your article:

At its center lies Justice Roberts’s blunt question: Is the American South irredeemably racist?

The answer should matter for a country that chose to call itself the United States of America and sacrificed much to preserve the idea. The common goal, one may assume, is to be united.

Please remember, this country chose to call itself the United States of America *before* there was a 13th Amendment. Yes, we *chose* “unity” while enslaving an entire race of people.  What the fuck kind of statement is this? I bet you thought this was brilliant, probably gave you goosebumps when you wrote it. Asshole.

2012 First Election Results: Unanimously Undecided

 

2012’s first election results are in and who really cares? The residents of Dixville Notch in Coos County, insert adolescent giggle, close their local polls ridiculously early every presidential election to get some face time in the national media. The results for this election are split 5 for the Brown Obomber, 5 Mittens, and nil for the Step Aside Show endorsed candidate and Super Bowl Hopeful Peyton Manning. Apparently the 10 register voters Dixheadville are not fans of the Step Aside show.

Interestingly, according to the census, there are 12 residents in Dixhole’s Cortch, so apparently two residents had something better to do at midnight than vote in the national election. In 2008 Obama stole this election with 15 votes to challenger John McCain’s 6. Some pundits are noting that Obama has lost half his supporters in this small town, but that really does not matter because apparently the town lost half its registered voters in the last 4 years as well. Prior to 2008 the results, this backwoods town leaned heavily to the right. I can speculate that the Ayn Ryan loving gun crazy Dickvillians hunted down the evil liberal invaders of their sleepy town; or it is possible that the economic pressures and socialist death squads lead to the demise of the Democratic base. Either way, I really don’t care what a bunch of rednecks did last night, this election is over, so is the Super Bowl: Go Broncos!

Paul Ryan Rages Againts the Machine

Paul Ryan Rages Againts the Machine

Paul Ryan is full of alot of things, missunderstandings is one of them. Paul Ryan the new repulican vice-presidential hopeful profess to like the music of Rage Against the Machine, he claims to not understand the lyrics. Apparently he does not understand the name of the band either.  When Paul Ryan Rages Againts the Machine just what does the machine  look like in his head? Is it big government, poor people on medicare, those states that make noodleing illegal?

No one was more thirlled by this than Rage Front man Tom Morello, who just yesturday penned a response to this news. “Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.” Tom puts Ryan in good company, by comparing his missunderstanding to Charles Mansons love of the Beatles and Chris Christies love of Bruce Springsteen.  Tom furthur zings Ryan in this quote “Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics.” If you enjoyed those quotes you should  read the full article (linked below), to see more of Tom’s zingers, proses, and analogies.

 

Read more: at Rollingstone.com

Financial News Sensationalism at its Best

mr bean hates sesnationalism
Mr. Bean knows what I’m talking about

Dear New York Times,

Yeah, we know some crazy shit went down today on major exchanges in New York. Some rogue computer application made A LOT of trades, creating mass confusion among *day traders* for about an hour. The culprit, Knight Capital, said they had some technology issues that will be thoroughly investigated. You, NYT, have turned this into an opportunity to say “…spreading turmoil across Wall Street and drawing renewed attention to the fragility and instability of the nation’s stock markets.” Only half of this statement is really true – day traders did suspect turmoil in the early hours. However, fragility and instability of the nation’s stock markets? Please. This is exactly why we have the SEC and federal regulations, which in time will do its job to clear this mess. The only real loser in the ordeal will be the idiots who tried to move on the excess volume, and of course Knight Capital who will surely face heavy lawsuits from its greedy clients. Cut the sensationalist shit, report the story AS IS, and be done with it.

Dear Wall Street Journal,

It’s unlucky that I read the New York Times article first, because afterwards I didn’t think it could get worse. I was wrong. The title alone, “When Will Retail Investors Call it Quits?”, is deserved of a five-across-the-face. Are you kidding me? You say that small investors, like “Grandpa”, don’t stand a chance when things like this happen. Why is that exactly? Is Grandpa buying and selling the same stocks everyday? Well, he might be, but if he is he deserves to lose his money. For proper, long-term investors, this makes no difference whatsoever, so stop acting like it does. Stocks, particularly equities, in the long run will be evaluated exactly where they should be by the overall market. I can’t even believe you found people stupid enough to say stuff like:

With events like the flash crash and this week’s stumble, Mr. Glasser adds, “you could buy and hold a company for 15 years and then have everything you’ve built up disappear in five minutes. No one can take that kind of risk anymore. There’s no such thing as a widows-and-orphans stock anymore.”

If your portfolio is designed in a matter where you can lose 15 years worth of investments on a day like today, you really deserve to be broke, because I’m guessing your portfolio only consists of Knight Capital. Other than Knight, all other stocks affected today will still be the same companies tomorrow, and their value will find their way back to where they should be.

This mess affects only day traders, plain and simple. And anyone who thinks they can make money day trading may as well play the slots, because there is no short-term rationality to the stock market. Never has been, never will be. And stop comparing this to the Flash Crash of 2010, a day where the Dow dropped more than 900 points. This incident lasted an hour, and the market closed almost exactly where it would have regardless of the morning’s snafu.

Drawing Parallels on a Perpendicular Plane

darkside of dorothy politicizing movies
I’d like to see the darkside of Dorothy, if you know what I mean

The image above doesn’t really make a lot of sense given the title because in this case it is art drawing parallels with more art. However the Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz parallels are so popular I figure I’d go with it. The underlying point of it anyway is that you can draw parallel meanings from anything if you try hard enough. Sometimes, you don’t have to try very hard and that’s when things can become stupid and annoying. For instance, Rush Limbaugh made the shallow remark that perhaps the villain in the Dark Knight Rises film Bane is liberal propaganda against Mitt Romeny and his former company Bain Capital. After much Internet hubbub, Limbaugh backed down and said he made no such mention of a conspiracy theory.

It gets better though. A Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by Andrew Klavan says the movie is about far more than just good vs evil (my words, not his really) but depicts a striking resemblance to the real-life Occupy Wall Street movement and other “leftist” movements that brought about radical change and “inevitable” dictatorships (his words this time, for real). Because let it be known, all “leftist” movements *will* result in some kind of dictatorship. In fact, I can’t think of any movement where a large group of people rebelled for freedoms and rights that didn’t end in a dictatorship – give this man a Nobel Prize!

Can’t The Dark Knight Rises just be what it is – a summer blockbuster where two VERY fictional characters in a VERY fictional world fight each other unrealistically? Why draw the Tea Party/OWS lines? Why even bring up Michael Moore?

The best part of the post is where he brings up the tragedy in Aurora just to say, out of respect for the victims, he won’t be talking about it in his article.

Veterans get Free Shit from the Private Sector, but Wait in Line for Public Health Care

 

Yesterday, I spent a day at the VA Hospital in Seattle trying to sort out my health care benefits. If you have never been to a VA Hospital it is an depressing experience  to say the least, it is filled with old men who move as slow as the lines, inpatient-frustrated and borderline rude young men, as well an abundance of homeless. The hospital’s administration is a bureaucratic nightmare that has previously proved to be exercise in futility I usually choose to avoid. However, due to a recent change in my medications and the exuberant cost of this medication I returned to the VA attempting once again to get Uncle Sam to pick up the tab for medications that treat impairments received while in the service.

After taking an hour to find a parking spot I wandered the Hospital looking for the right line to wait in, ant there were a lot of them. I waited on two  before finding the right one. After explaining my predicament to the receptionist, who had a wonderful talent for customer service despite the array of rude veterans I witnessed her charm into submission before me, she gave me a form to fill out and directions to the next line to wait in. I quickly realized that this form was the same application I had filled out at least twice before once online and once in person. After turning in the form and copies of my paperwork I was told to wait for an hour (that was more like two). I was called back to an office where my benefits were explained to me. I asked when I could see a doctor to get a prescription, something I already had from my private doctor. I was given directions to another line to wait in and given more forms. Another hour passed I was told that the clinic is booked up for the next few months but I was put on a waiting list and will receive a letter in the mail telling me when my appointment will be. So I gladly left the hospital, one step closer to free medication one step further disillusioned with public institutions.

Ok, I told you that story to tell you this one. Today is Veteran’s day and everywhere there are private institutions that are giving away free swag or offering discount prices  to those who proudly served their nation. Open up any newspaper and see advertisements for veteran’s day sales specials and other promotions. One of the more generous companies is Applebee’s, which offers a free meal to veterans. Today I took my family there to eat, not because I am cheap, although I am, but for a lesson in private versus public enterprises and their ability to allocate scarce resources that have alternative uses.

When my family arrived at Applebees  we talked to the hostess who explained they were busy but would get us a seat quickly, which turned to be true. It was clear judging by the large crowd that the Veterans day promotion was paying off for the restaurant in spades. Despite this surplus of customers, my family was seated, orders were taken, drinks provided and food arrived hot and on time. Now Applebee’s generosity to Veterans aside, the purpose of the promotion is to draw in the paying customers that accompany the veterans and make a profit of the mass influx of customers. Therefore any delay in the seating of customers, the ordering of food or service is detrimental to the restaurants bottom line as well as the wait staffs gratuity.

Sometimes the term profit motivation gets a bad rap and is too often found to be synonymous with the pejorative term “greed”. But what I am attempting to draw attention to is that profit motivation in the private sector provides naturally for the most efficient use of scarce resources that have alternative uses. Such as, managers of Applebee’s knowing the Veteran’s Day promotion would draw a bigger crowd might increase the waitstaff and order more supplies. Where as in the VA Hospital( a public institution) even on a normal day runs less efficiently simply because there is a miss allocation of scarce resources that have alternative uses. I have never had to wait more than a day or two to see my private doctor, let alone wait months to schedule an appointment. This is the reason that Canadians, who have social health care, often cross our borders to obtain private medical treatment. Well it may seem that the price is right for social programs the cost comes in the bureaucracy, long waiting lists, and miss-allocation of resources.

Five Hottest First Ladies in American History

5)Dolly Madison:

 Ok, I know it is sometimes hard to tell from those old cracked paintings but there’s more to hotness then looks. First, she has a stripper name. Second, she saved priceless artifacts from the White House when the British burned it down in 1812. Third, while she doesn’t seem like the kind of wife that puts out every night I am willing to bet, with an age gap of 17 years between her and the President, the times she did its hot, good, and dirty.

4)Hillary Clinton:

Hillary is a strong independent woman who while not lacking in the looks department tends to come off as a petulant bitch. However, when it truly counted she stood by her man through multiple scandals, hard times, and unfaithful affairs and that is fucking hot.

3)Harriet Lane:

 I know what you’re thinking. There was no President Lane, and you’re right because Harriet Lane was the niece of President James Buchanan, the only lifelong bachelor (possibly homosexual) President of the United States. Harriet was only 27 when she filed the role of First Lady and was described as outgoing with a full-bosom figure, a notably good dancer and entertainer, as well as a adamant supporter of her Uncle (possible the worst president the American People ever endured).

2)Michelle Obama:

Michelle is young for a first lady much like her young husband president, which makes here disproportionately hotter than other first ladies like Barbara and Laura Bush. The Obama’s are notoriously in a happily marriage, which leads me to believe that Michelle is as much of a rock star in bed as I presume Dolly was, combine this with her hot looks and Ms. Obama slams the number 2 slot in my top five.

1)Jackie Kennedy:

Jackie was, like Michelle, one of the younger first ladies of photographic era so she was a natural to make the list. However, her looks combine with her intelligence, poise, and loyalty to her man (the most notably adulterous of all American Presidents) ranks her at the top. Jackie made number one because she embodied all the hotness traits of the other four, she has Michelle’s looks, Dolly’s strength, Harriet’s sexual appetite, and Hillary’s loyalty.

(Honorable Mention)

Abigail Adams:

I know what you’re thinking another old bag in a cracked dusty painting, but after reading John Adam’s biography I have to say there is something about her. John Adam has himself described her as his most “dearest friend” throughout his life, to me as a husband that means one thing.