Ramblings

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grinds my gears

Dec 19, 2008, 6:22 pm by Lew

I cannot affect these larger world happening but they are bothering me. Hperhaps this post will have a butterfly effect. December 25 is not "holiday" it is christmas. saying the name of the holiday is not offensive. it is more offensive to me to act like a p.c. wimp than it is to make a reference to the holiday. it is an insult and a lie to go so out of the way to say "holiday" instead of christmas.

Caroline Kennedy can be the new york senator if she wants and can convince the governor. she is not the liberal sarah palin. she has never held elected office but neither had hillary clinton and she was elected. if caroline kennedy ran she would certainly win so just give her the seat if she wants it and let her defend it in 2010. stop whinning that she is acting entitled, everyone who wants to be appointed thinks they are entitled.

yes pastor rick warren is opposed to gay marriage and a pro-lifer. that is because he is a pastor. you would be hard pressed to find many pastors who aren't. a pastor is going to deliver the inaugral convocation. he isn't being appointed to the supreme court, he is making a speech and obama in a brilliant politician for asking a very popular, moderate conservative pastor to speak. it is a nice symbol to those who felt left out following the election. just because obama won doesn't mean that the whole country is now the castro neighborhood in san francisco.

finally, kanye west and most other rappers. rhyming a word with itself is not a rhyme. buy a rhyming dictionary and spend a few more minutes writing your raps!

power to the proletariat

Dec 19, 2008, 3:14 pm by Lew

At my work like many other business places things have been tougher over the last few months. There seems to be new bad news trickling down from our corporate parents every couple of weeks that results in us getting it in the shorts. At first everyone is pissed when a new piece of bad news falls in our laps. We are outraged then the next next everyone shrugs, says “at least we have jobs” puts their nose down and gets back to work. That is b.s. in my view. I think the higher ups are fully aware of this average reaction to bad news and are using the situation to chip away at their commitments to the employees while we are vulnerable. There is not much confidence in the economy right now but truly not much has changed from a few months ago. People are still making stuff and selling it to other people. The attitude has changed, working folks feel vulnerable and can be bullied a little bit without putting up a fight. I am new to the work force, but I am sure this method of peeling back wages and benefits is nothing new. It disturbs me to see this corporate reality and makes me wonder what is being done to people elsewhere who are more vulnerable who don't deserve to be pushed around.

please note that I am equally incensed by dumbass employees who bitch about everything the benefits they think they deserve when they haven't done anything to earn it. Working at a business is very different than anything I have done before and is quite eye opening. It make academia seem removed. Everything is about profit of course, that is obvious. But in a company people are forced together and have to invent a culture that lets them get along. Maybe some companies pick people with a culture in mind, but large ones like mine just need qualified people. Give the surveillance tapes to a sociologist (or better yet a primate zoologist) and I bet we could learn a lot about human animal behavior.


community partay!

Redistribution of Wealth

Nov 5, 2008, 9:19 am by Paul Stiverson

I would like to start by noting the trouncing that McCain received last night. Seriously, that was a clean ass-whipping, Obama straight up earned double the amount of electoral votes and cleaned house on the popular vote as well.

Next, I would like to spend some time on a talking point that is commonly raised against liberal politians. People have long claimed that Democrats push for a redistribution of wealth, a claim which is false. The truth is that any taxation could be considered a redistribution of wealth: You are taking money from people, and giving it back to people by building roads, schools, developing infrastructure, and funding science. Sadly it is often the case that the people paying the bill aren’t always directly seeing the benefit, but typically the inequity of the payment reflects the inequity of benefit—it is rare to see rich homes surrounded by shoddy streets, or rich kids attending underfunded schools. Even our beloved Ronald Reagan redistributed wealth (so did “Read My Lips” George Bush Sr.).

The desired imagery of the redistribution of wealth rhetoric is the strict communist definition: Take all the wealth from the wealthy and redistribute it evenly, putting everybody on equal (financial) footing. The closest thing we (as Americans) have to this is our services to the poor (Welfare and Medicaid), and referring to those as redistribution of wealth is laughable. I dare you to name for me one case, just one, of a wealthy person1 losing their riches (or status… hell, use any metric you want), or of a poor person becoming wealthy due to of Welfare. The fact of the matter is that even our most socialistic policies do little to impact the wealth of the wealthy. They do, however, have an effect on the middle class which is why I think it fair to push some of the burden to the truly wealthy and leave a bigger portion of the middle class’ earnings to the middle class (yes, even the upper middle class). In a country where the richest 10% holds 71% of the wealth I think they can afford the hit.2

Notes:

  1. By “Wealthy” I’m referring to people with a liquid worth in the millions.
  2. That statistic comes from Wikipedia

lew's electoral prediction

Nov 4, 2008, 1:44 pm by Lew

real prediction: obama wins all the states plus frMy guess is Obama wins with 344 electoral votes. I think of the toss-up states Obama gets are Virginia and Missouri. Which I predict is the beginning of blue dripping down into southern states if obama is a decent president.

What is your guess/prediction?

Witchcraft!

Oct 25, 2008, 2:36 pm by Zach

Teenage Mutant Ninja PoodleWhile looking at this picture, I got to thinking about Sarah Palin. Look at this poor dog. Forced to look like a ninja turtle. Not just any ninja turtle, but Leonardo, the de facto leader of the group. This poor poodle doesn't look too happy about that. I doubt he feels equipped or ready to handle a leadership position, but, well, here he is, like it or not. There's a pit bull lipstick joke here somewhere.

This morning I saw this video of Mrs. Palin talking about how silly it is for scientists to get funding to study something as silly as "fruit fly research in Paris, France," all the while doing that folksy little headcocking business. Way to play to the uneducated hicks who make up the vast majority of your voting base, ma'am. I also saw a clip somewhere of John McCain saying he wanted to end funding silly projects like "black bear DEE ENN AY" (with strategic pauses between DEE, ENN and AY to highlight the notion that it's all just made up hoo-ha).

It really grinds my fucking gears when people think any research that isn't directly related to CANCER or something is stupid and a huge waste of money and effort. As if all scientists (especially biologists) are just a bunch of crazy kooks in lab coats, drunk on lab-grade ethanol, laughing in a menacing manner and studying bear DEE ENN AY. Give me a cotton pickin' break.

Vote Democrat, if only for the reason that the Republicans want to squash funding for research they don't understand.

Also, happy birthday, Paul.

Vote like an idiot

Oct 7, 2008, 1:48 pm by Paul Stiverson

Vote like a girlI’ve been seeing shirts around town, purporting that it is a good thing to vote for McCain-Palin because one of them shares your gender. What I want to know is where were the pro-Hillary “Vote like a girl” shirts? When there was a woman running who actually supported women’s rights, where were you Aggieland Outfitters?

Before I take such an anti-Palin stance let’s look at what she brings to the table. It is pretty clear that she is a woman, former Miss Alaska actually, she is a Washington outsider, and apparently a Maverick (There can’t be two Mavericks, one of them has to be Goose). She is the recent mother of a special needs child1, coincidentally an ardent pro-lifer, and a soon-to-be grandmother (another win for abstinence-only education). Part of her charm is that she is something of an every(wo)man, lauding that she is a “Hockey Mom” and sympathizing with the “Six-pack Joes” out there with their American Light Lagers. I guess John McCain realized that he was losing the George W. Bush crowd who don’t want to vote for somebody smarter than they are, so he brought on a buffoon to mis-pronounce words and be ignorant to current events and make GOP voters feel a little better about being ’Mericans—not to mention she has tits which have been distracting the key demographic since kindergarten.

Not to belabor her ignorance, but when asked by Katie Couric what periodicals she reads to keep her up to date with the world, she couldn’t name a single one; instead she offered “I read all of them”, I guess she couldn’t remember the name “Guns and Ammo”, or “Auto Trader”. I have absolutely no problem with people not staying current with national politics, but I do have a problem with somebody with no handle on the world around them being the vice-president. If you want to vote for Palin because she is female, then go ahead: Vote like a girl.

Notes:

  1. It should be noted that she drastically cut the special needs education budget in Alaska before her latest child was born.

Gee, thanks, Sarah!

Oct 2, 2008, 10:46 pm by Zach

Watching the VP debate tonight was fun and frustrating. The part that irked me the most, and I knew it would, was the mere mention of education reform. Wow, Sarah, you think education is good and things should be done to make it better? Great! Ok, what the hell are you going to do?

I tutor about a hundred 9th and 10th graders in math (algebra I, II and geometry) and science (biology and chemistry). My list of resources include three biology text books and 3 algebra I books. That's it. My students don't even have books to take home, so they rarely have homework. For a while I showed them cool videos on YouTube of how proteins actively transport molecules across cell membranes and what the inside of a cell looks like, but someone in the technology department found out I was using YouTube and blocked my computer from accessing it. God forbid there be any relevant, useful, and easy to find videos there. Advice I was given from other teachers and admins: just do your best.

No child left behind was the most retarded thing ever. This may sound shocking, but some students really should be left behind. I know that sounds terrible, but some of my sophomores are so defiant, nasty, snotty and mean that I've just decided to quit helping them. Sorry. In a class of 25 students, I'd rather help the 5 or 6 who genuinely want help than spend all of my time with those who just refuse help.

I did make one breakthrough today. I felt like Jaime Escalante. I have one student who is pretty defiant, but shows a lot of potential. He usually ignored me, so I started ignoring him. Until today when it came up that he's from Alexandria, LA, where my mom is from. When I told him that, he sat his ass down next to me and asked for help with chemistry. Booyah. Stand and Deliver.

Actors & Politics

Oct 2, 2008, 8:39 pm by John

So Take i on this subject ended with a not very well thought out ramble complaining about people giving their opinion when that is what they are paid to do. so i didn't really have a reason to complain in the first place and decided to remove my post. after more thought i decided to give this another shot.

take ii:

the other day i was watching the morning news and they talked about how the ladies on the view got into a big to do about political matters. i then decided that i didn't like that they were giving their opinions in the first place, but mr. stiverson pointed out that they are paid to do just that. so why are tv hosts asked to give their opinions in the first place? some how i see a disconnect between their daily lives and mine. for that matter, i'm sure that their lives are drastically different than 95% of the people who watch these shows and maybe are falsely leading people to a certain candidate.

so people are paid to give their opinion...i don't like it but i can't do anything to stop it. i think what really turns my stomach, and why i don't like this so much, is that these people might actually effect how someone else votes and who wins an election. does anybody think that an average american would watch one of these shows and actually vote because of who someone like a barbara walters is going to vote for? (comments please, i'd like to know what you think) i'm of the opinion that a person should base their vote on the debates or other speeches from the candidates. this is the only time you get to see how a candidate, from their own mouth, feels about a subject (without the media's "filter"). maybe i'm more of a free thinker than i thought...

E85

Sep 9, 2008, 12:48 pm by John

So I passed by HEB down here in Houston this weekend and noticed that they were selling E85 for about $2.80 and that got me to thinking about whether or not E85 was worth it or not. The only thing I could come up with is that it is renewable...atleast in a short term sense. However, it has LOTS of problems.

First of all i'd like to say that i am all for helping out the farmers and ranchers of america. That being said the only person who benefits from this product is the corn farmer, again, only in the short term. he grows oodles of corn and is now able to sell it because everyone wants it for E85 manufacturing. however, this means that the national price of corn increases because the demand increases.

so the price of corn goes up a few cents...so what? well i'll tell you what. every domestic animal in this country also enjoys corn as much as you and i, except they eat it almost every day. so mr. rancher's feed gets more expensive. so of course the price of beef, pork, and chicken increases, either because they have to charge more, or because ranchers are forced out of business by increasing prices and the supply drops. every cow, pig, chicken, horse, dog, cat, and turkey in the country eats this stuff. so not only does the price of corn go up, but so does the price of milk, eggs, butter, pork, beef, chicken, leather, cosmetics, glue...etc.

but this is okay because the environment is better off. wrong.

being the engineer that i am, i know that the amount of energy out of anything has to equal the amount of energy in. so this means, unless the process is 100% efficient, which, obviously, nothing is, we have to put more power into the system to get e85 out for our cars. this means that more coal and natural gas has to be burned to make energy to power the e85 plant. so we end up with even more polution then if we had just stuck with gasoline.

for those of you who buy kroger gasoline because it's cheaper, don't forget that little sign that says "may contain up to 15% e85". they are basically putting a thinner in their gas that makes your car less efficient, yet you pay around the same amount per gallon. i will say i haven't tested this yet, but i do know that e85 is less efficient, so if you are paying the same price for this slight blend, it can't be worth it.

finally, let's just say that growing e85 is unstoppable because we run out of oil. then, all of the big companies will take over all of the little corn farms and will put the farmer out of business. this means that the farmers and the ranchers are out of work, we have no beef, we pay $10 per ear of corn, a gallon of milk cost 5 times what a gallon of gas does, and our dog's food is more expensive then ours.....well maybe not quite that extreme but you get my point.

rant over. have a great day :)

Olympic Protests

Aug 8, 2008, 11:39 am by John

what are the olympics? well i thought it was a time when the best athletes from around the world to get together at one place and compete against each other to see which country is the best in different events. Boy was I wrong. Appearently it's the the time of year when everyone and their mother decides that they want to protest whatever their mind feels like. Having been an athlete for the majority of my life I know what it is like to train for hours a day, everyday of the year. Of course I was never close to Olympic calliber but it gives me a good idea and great respect for all of the work that these athletes put in. Now when these athletes get to show the world their talent and share it with their countrymen, in what should be an event that the entire world gets together and watches, people who don't have anything better to do take to the streets and try to stop one of the greatest world traditions, in the running of the olympic torch.

exactly how will stopping the torch fix all of the world's problems? i'm pretty sure it won't. people say things like, the olympics shouldn't be held in china because they are communist. well i'm sorry, i didn't know that being communist had anything to do with athletic ability. in that case, why aren't all athletes communist? maybe they are....hmmm.

why can't people put away their differences for 2 weeks and just stay at home and watch the Olympics? The Olympics are about sports. For those of you who didn't catch it the first time...the Olympics are about sports. if you and your ego feel that you are so important that you need to show the entire world how you feel, use other means. i'm all for getting together and voicing your opinion and marching up and down the streets with signs. I don't want to take anyone's rights away but I can gaurantee you that when an american goes into a gold medal match, for whatever sport, he doesn't care about the person on the other side's political views...he just wants to beat the snot out of them.

a quick note, the iraqi athletes were nearly disqualified from the olympics because their olympic body was disperessed...like it was their fault. i don't see why anyone shouldn't be allowed to compete despite what their government does.

let's talk politics in a few weeks. get out of the streets, go inside, watch the games on tv and for now, sit back and enjoy an amazing display of athletic talent.

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