Monday, June 29, 2009

End of the world, comin' round the mountain...

Today we were at 341 meetings. For those that do know, 341 refers to the section of the bankruptcy code that gives creditors an opportunity to question debtors that have filed bankruptcy. Generally, no creditor bothers in Chapter 7. The hearings are administrative (generally) and a formality. The average hearing lasts less than 5 minutes including the swearing in part.

I listened to about a dozen. Only one or two did not own real estate, the rest were all way underwater on their homes. Only a couple were losing their homes, most were going to be able to keep them - but you have to wonder....

10 to 20% underwater appeared to be average. I would be willing to bet a bunch of them were in adjustable rate mortgages which have NOT been failing as much as predicted over the last several months BECAUSE interest rates have been so low. But rates are going to go up long before prices recover and all those people are going get squeezed big time. Filing bankruptcy now will probably keep some of them in their homes, others will be able to hang on longer, but the majority of them will still end up losing their home and largest investment before this is over.

The housing problem is not over. It is not even stabilizing. It is a pause, the eye of the hurricane. People buying homes right now in many places figure that at worse they might lose a couple of percentage points but "no one can pick the bottom right?" Right.

Friday, June 26, 2009

From one polluter to another....

Dear Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin:

Congratulations on your vote for the largest tax increase on the American Economy EVER! It will be great to see all the new jobs that Wisconsin will get building windmills and solar panels! I heard there is a big factory in Janesville available! And the BUREAUCRACY this bill will create should be good for at least 10,000 new jobs in Wisconsin to oversee the CO2 polluters adherence to government mandates - I did want to know if people that run will be taxed higher than people that walk...??

Oh, I just wanted to know your reading speed...1000 pages plus another 300! Amazing.
Can you tell me what part you found most interesting? The hampering of economic growth or the part where this law will reduce the TEMPERATURE of the know, more than the SUN has done in the last 8-9 years?

I am sure many of my fellow Wisconsin 2nd district citizens are going to be amazed at your explanation for higher electric bills, higher taxes and higher costs in general! After all, if Washington can't fix the economy, well, IT CAN'T.

I am extremely disappointed in your vote today - it was ill-informed and NOT beneficial to your constituents. But you probably got a thank you from Speaker Pelosi...right? I mean, she at least NODDED in your direction.

I am off to lower my carbon footprint....for 30 seconds or so as I hold my breath to stop from screaming at this message.

Your fellow Wisconsin 2nd district resident (oopppss - yea, I LIVE here....)
Tracy Coyle

too much snark?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Comparative Culture Analysis

For many years we have been told that our culture is no better or worse than another country's culture - that all are equally valid. I have routinely said 'bullshit' to anyone stupid enough to offer that crap in my presence or earshot.

The culture of the United States, our society, stands heads and shoulders above virtually every other culture or society on the planet - I will concede that Australia, parts of Canada, England, and Israel and maybe a part of, not them... have many of the same benefits, characteristics and values we share. Maybe France and Germany have a chance if their current leaders can effect permanent change...

Compare the United States to Iran and the differences are so apparent you'd need to have the IQ of a hot dog not to see them. It is pathetic to call a country sovereign and then ignore its brutality and EVIL system. Iran is an evil country - that there are non-evil citizens there doesn't change it. Lot and his family lived in Sodom.

Our Country IS BETTER than other countries. Our Culture IS BETTER than others. I am tired of people holding out a plate of shit and asking me to pretend it is pâté.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A comment on 'The Correct Response'

I attempted to answer wdporter's comment on the post and got stymied by the comment, here is my comment:

Eventually, I return.

Your First paragraph: I have the right to marry whomever I want - neither you, nor the government can stop me. However, the government bestows upon couples it recognizes as married certain benefits and how and when and why it bestows those benefits by it's recognition is the issue.

As you suggest, I can not demand recognition, however, I can and do demand that government treat married couples equally AND if it established criteria for that definition, I can and do demand it do so in a non-discriminatory way. Let me define 'non-discriminatory' so that we are clear: the state MAY discriminate among groups and classes when it has a compelling interest in doing so - such that it can establish age cohorts for legal contracts, government benefits and the exercising of certain rights and privileges. When it has no compelling interest, it can not discriminate.

In this case, the government must show a compelling interest to discriminate against gay couples that marry and seek those government benefits. As the Iowa Supreme Court found, there is no compelling interest found in such a discrimination in the area of gay vs straight marriage.

Your opening paragraph: if I am asking for recognition, but I don't have the right to ask for recognition, then when recognition is denied, I am not being discriminated is a nice piece of circular logic. If recognition is being denied, I ask what is the reason - your response is I don't have the right to ask for it. If I ask why I do not have the right to ask for recognition, you seem to suggest I that I am not being discriminated against.

Comparing gay to interracial marriage is less foolishness than you allow. I am sure you, from this safe distance in time, believe that 'of course' interracial marriage should be allowed on the basis of...what? Man and woman? Are you suggesting that for centuries here in the United States, the people of those days could not distinguish between men and women of different races? Of course not. Everyone knew a black man and a black woman were EXACTLY the same as a white man and a white woman...except, you know, their 'color' and their 'sensibilities' and their 'intelligence'...right? So it was not a man/woman issue, or even a shssshhh sexual issue, but rather...the children would be well, not white. It was absolutely a procreation issue, not that they couldn't, but that they COULD! And that couldn't be allowed. Until it was - by judicial activism. And for many years (in some places still) bi-racial couples were treated terribly by both races as race traitors. The issue was: can someone marry whom they choose or not and would the state recognize that marriage.

Our issue is much smaller than 'civil rights', it is government discrimination. Now, some people will either dismiss my claim of the right to marry whomever I want BECAUSE, to them, such a right without government recognition is meaningless. I want you to think about that for a moment - a right is meaningless unless and until government recognizes it. Is that what is meant by 'they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights'? No, not at all. It means before there is government recognition, before there is government, our rights exist.

Let me address the "has to do with evolution and the propagation of the damn species". One, gay marriage - hell, any marriage is not required to propagate the damn species: Palin/Johnson proves that, and so do the other 40% of births out of wedlock. Human beings create human beings, now, and for millions of years, without the benefit of a government recognized marriage. Whether gays marry or not will not change that. So, as Iowa Supreme Court found, straights will continue to get married, continue to have children, the species will continue to live and EVEN if that were absolutely false in the United States, there are WHOLE continents where marriages barely exist and species propagation is flourishing.

But, you seem hell bent on keeping the issue marriage and children, "disconnecting MARRIAGE and CHILDREN, in my opinion is not a good sign in a society" absolutely IGNORES the fact that gays are raising children and seek 'government recognition' in many cases FOR THE BENEFIT of those children!

But the children/marriage issue is really just another non-issue, otherwise, why allow seniors to get married? Or those not capable of having children? or WORSE, people that want to get married BUT DON'T WANT CHILDREN!

Not a single straight marriage is prevented by gay marriage. Not a single straight couple seeking to have children, will be prevented from having children by gay marriage. Not a single child, born of straight, married parents, will be left homeless and destitute because of gay marriage.

And because millions of straight couples will continue to marry, have children and gay couples will marry, and have children, the family unit will be strengthened. The alternative is a whole generation will grow up and say:
my parents got divorced and it was a mess - who wants that,
my parents never got married and I turned out ok, why bother...
Oh wait...we already HAVE that...long before gay marriage was on the radar. Marriage sucks, let's oppose more people WANTING it! Brilliant idea. How about letting MORE people that want marriage HAVE marriage - maybe we will have less people going it alone.... or without...

My rights are not being abridged, but I am being discriminated against. The government confers benefits to one couple and denies them to another couple on the basis of a biological characteristic. There is no compelling reason made why such discrimination is necessary.

As for the suggestion that I move to find more respect - why isn't that just peachy! If we could just put all 'those types' over there somewhere out of sight, out of mind and let us be....

How about just end the discrimination instead of pretending it doesn't exist by banishing those that seek to end it...

(Apparently, California believes that the popular will is more important than individual rights - but we knew that was a fundamental problem with, majority rule...didn't we...)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Iran, Democracy and Moslems

On the radio show on Tuesday I talked about my indifference to Iran as a blow up over the election between a really bad man and a really crazy man. It is clear that while that might have been day one or two, the IRANIANS realized that the fraud was the one the Mullahs perpetuated with the concept of free elections. The Iranian people have realized that 1) they WANT real democracy, not a false choice between two chosen candidates; 2) that their government ISN'T their government - it is a theocracy that imposes on the people what it will not abide upon itself, adherence to principles (not principles I would ever ascribe to, but the point of having principles is to live by them).

"Hey you cheated my candidate" has become "the whole thing is a farce - you have been cheating US."

I welcome such a change and with a nod to President Bush, acknowledge the principle that democracy is an inherent right and when people can see the benefits, they will want it. Establishing democracy in the heart of the Middle East is going to have positive results for a long time (before ANYONE suggests that democracy has been in the Middle East for a long time - namely Israel - Moslems don't recognize Jews as people and therefore would not want anything that Israel has except the land it sits on) But Moslems having democracy? Well, that is a different thing. Which brings me to my last point.

The most common thing Moslems - especially the fanatical types - do to other Moslems is kill them. Moslems kill and impoverish Moslems in much greater numbers than Jews or Christians do. At some point people, mostly Moslems, are going to realize that Jews and Christians have democracy and prosperity and if Islam is the right religion, something is very wrong.

Iranians have reached a point in their nation's life where they want what others have. Freedom and democracy and IF the President of the United States can't, or will not stand up for them, then something is very wrong here.