Log in

No account? Create an account
phædrus [userpic]

(no subject)

April 6th, 2010 (12:12 pm)

I can vaguely see how they thought the camera man had an RPG although that clustering of people really did not look combatant. I mean, _really_ did not look combatant.

However, even if you justify the initial engagement, I have a hard time crediting any explanation of the the shooting of the van which was picking up the wounded guy.

If one of those guys was your brother or uncle or cousin, wouldn't you want to take up arms against those who did it?

phædrus [userpic]

Garage Day

April 2nd, 2010 (12:19 pm)

Working on bikes (mainly the pedal variety) in the garage tomorrow. I've got plans to be out there more or less from 11 am to 5:30 pm. Feel free to drop by, either with a project or just to hang.

phædrus [userpic]

Passing along a job opportunity....

February 16th, 2010 (04:22 pm)

Anyone out there do PHP, Flash and maybe iPhone dev and need a job?

(I'd prefer someone I actually know and can recommend)

phædrus [userpic]

Foreign Entanglements

February 11th, 2010 (01:22 pm)

I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States . . . [W]e have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly the verse from Genesis [Genesis 12:3], we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle. - Michelle Bachman

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests. - George Washington, Farewell Address

phædrus [userpic]

Hey, Tea Baggers...

January 29th, 2010 (12:24 pm)

I did the pay statement thing the letter below suggests and the results are nearly what they suggest:

My gross pay has stayed the same. My net pay has gone up a little. My taxes have gone down. My health insurance has gone up.

Specifically, for me:

Gross Pay: +0% (we had a pay rate freeze this year)
Federal Taxes: -13.8%
State Taxes: -0.8%
Medicare: -0.1%
Social Security: -0.2%
Medical Insurance: +4.3%
Dental Insurance: +0%

It should be noted that a slight aspect of the tax drop would be because my before-tax deductions went up by about $10 per pay period.

It should be noted that the place I work for self insures but uses a major insurance company to handle billing and payments. Many of our copays went up this year.
The letter (which is attributed to Fred Clark and was posted to the minnesota national forum by Mike Green) addresses the Tea Bagger's concerns regarding taxes and health insurance reform:
I think maybe part of the reason you're so angry is you keep demanding that you get screwed and then, not surprisingly, you keep getting screwed Hey you. You there in the Glenn Beck T-shirt headed off to the Tea Party Patriot rally.

Stop shouting for a moment, please, I want to explain to you why you're so very angry.

You should be angry. You're getting screwed.

I think you know that. But you don't seem to know that it doesn't have to be that way. You can stop it. You can stop it easily because the system that's screwing you over can only keep screwing you over if you keep demanding that it do so.

So stop demanding that. Stop helping the system screw you over.

Look, you can go back to yelling at me in a minute, but just read this first.

1. Get out your pay stub.

Or, if you have direct deposit -- you really should get direct deposit, it saves a lot of time and money (I point this out because, honestly, I'm trying to help you here, even though you don't make that easy Mr. Angry Screamy Guy) -- then take out that little paper receipt they give you when your pay gets directly deposited.

2. Notice that your net pay is lower than your gross pay. This is because some of your wages are withheld every pay period.

3. Notice that only some of this money that was withheld went to pay taxes. (I know, I know -- yeearrrgh! me hates taxes! -- but just try to stick with me for just a second here.)

4. Notice that some of the money that was withheld didn't go to taxes, but to your health insurance company.

5. Now go get a pay stub from last year around this time, from January of 2009.

6. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld for taxes in your current paycheck is less than the amount that was withheld a year ago.

That's because of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, which included more than $200 billion in tax cuts, including the one you're holding right there in your hand, the tax cut that's now staring you in the face. Republicans all voted against that tax cut. And then they told you to get angry about the stimulus plan. They didn't explain, however, why you were supposed to get angry about getting a tax cut. Why would you be? Wouldn't it make more sense to get angry at the people who voted against that Obama tax cut?

But taxes aren't the really important thing here. The really important thing starts with the next point.

7. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld to pay for your health insurance is more than it was last year.

8. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld to pay for your health insurance is a lot more than it was last year.

I won't ask you to dig up old paychecks from 2008 and 2007, but this has been going on for a long time. Every year, the amount of your paycheck withheld to pay for your health insurance goes up. A lot.

9. Notice the one figure there on your two pay stubs that hasn't changed: Your wage. The raise you didn't get this year went to pay for that big increase in the cost of your health insurance.

10. Here's where I need you to start doing a better job of putting two and two together. If you didn't get a raise last year because the cost of your health insurance went up by a lot, and the cost of your health insurance is going to go up by a lot again this year, what do you think that means for any chance you might have of getting a raise this year?

11. Did you figure it out? That's right. The increasing cost of health insurance means you won't get a raise this year. Or next year. Or the year after that. The increasing cost of health insurance means you will never get a raise again.

That's what I meant when I said you really should be angry. That's what I meant when I said you're getting screwed.

OK, we're almost done. Just a few more points, I promise.

12. The only hope you have of ever seeing another pay raise is if Congress passes health care reform. Without health care reform, the increasing cost of your health insurance will swallow this year's raise. And next year's raise. And pretty soon it won't stop with just your raise. Without health care reform, the increasing cost of your health insurance will start making your pay go down.

13. I wish I could tell you that this was just a worst-case scenario, that this was only something that might, maybe happen, but that wouldn't be true. Without health care reform, this is what will happen. We know this because this is what is happening now. It has been happening for the past 10 years. In 2008, employers spent on average 25 percent more per employee than they did in 2001, but wages on average did not increase during those years. The price of milk went up. The price of gas went up. But wages did not. All of the money that would have gone to higher wages went to pay the higher and higher and higher cost of health insurance. And unless Congress passes health care reform, that will not change.

Well, it will change in the sense that it will keep getting worse, but it won't get better. Unless the problem gets fixed, the problem won't be fixed. That's kind of what "problem" and "fixed" mean.

14. Sadly for any chance you have of ever seeing a raise again, it looks like Congress may not pass health care reform. It looks like they won't do that because they're scared of angry voters who are demanding that they oppose health care reform, angry voters who demand that Congress not do anything that would keep the cost of health insurance from going up and up and up. Angry voters like you.

15. Do you see the point here? You are angrily, loudly demanding that Congress make sure that you never, ever get another pay raise as long as you live. Because of you and because of your angry demands, you and your family and your kids are going to have to get by with less this year than last year. And next year you're going to have to get by with even less. And if you keep angrily demanding that no one must ever fix this problem, then you're going to have to figure out how to get by on less and less every year for the rest of your life.

16. So please, for your own sake, for your family's sake and the sake of your children, stop. Stop demanding that problems not get fixed. Stop demanding that you keep getting screwed. Stay angry -- you should be angry -- but start directing that anger toward the system that's screwing you over and taking money out of your pocket. Start directing that anger toward fixing problems instead of toward making sure they never get fixed. Instead of demanding that Congress oppose health care reform so that you never, ever, get another pay raise, start demanding that they pass health care reform, as soon as possible. Because until they do, you're just going to keep on getting screwed.

And it's going to be that much worse knowing that you brought this on yourself -- that you demanded it.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. -- I didn't mention this because I'm trying here to be as patient with you as I can, but you might also want to keep in mind that in addition to screwing over yourself and screwing over your family and screwing over your own children by demanding that Congress oppose health care reform so that you will never, ever see another pay raise, by doing that you're also demanding that I never, ever see another pay raise, which means that you're also screwing over me, and my family, and my children. Not to mention the millions of poor and uninsured and uninsureable people I didn't even mention above because they don't seem to matter at all to you. And for that, let me just say the only appropriate thing that can be said to someone so determined to do direct, tangible harm to the welfare of my family.
Check your own pay stubs. What are you paying compared to last year?

phædrus [userpic]

Programming Opportunity

January 26th, 2010 (12:06 pm)

Anyone looking for the following sort of work?

(My paraphrase)

1 year+ consulting gig. Java skill sets wi good OO understanding and some OO design. Agile/Scrum work on a 6 - 9 person team doing pair programming. Flex/ActionScript knowledge is desirable but not required.

If so, let me know and I'll shoot you the full writeup and the contact info for the recruiter.

phædrus [userpic]


January 21st, 2010 (12:43 pm)

A forward from my mom :)

A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule and a calculator. At a morning press conference, the Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement.. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. 'Al-Gebra is a problem for us', the Attorney General said. 'They derive solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values.' They use secret code names like 'X' and 'Y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle'. When asked to comment on the arrest, President Obama said, 'If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes.' White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President. It is believed that the Nobel Prize for Physics will follow--

phædrus [userpic]


January 15th, 2010 (11:51 am)

A letter to the Star Tribune today

Dear Pat Robertson,

I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"? If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll. You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.

Best, Satan

Nicely put.

(for this to make sense, you probably need to know about Pat Robertson saying that the Earthquake in Haiti was because they are cursed for making a pact with the devil)

phædrus [userpic]


January 8th, 2010 (03:38 pm)


A 5th grade choir doing popular songs. Pretty awesome.

phædrus [userpic]

Die, 2009, Die.

December 23rd, 2009 (11:26 am)

I am so ready for 2009 to be done. This year has been one messed up thing after the next.

The two latest:

On Saturday, I had to put my cat to sleep. It was a horrible decision to have to make. To a lot of people, pets are just pets, but they tend to be family to me and even by that metric, this guy was special. He was old, he was sick, he was suffering, but he was still the sweetest fellow, even if most people didn't see it.

And then, this morning, as I called my family to let them know that I couldn't make it down to visit them on Friday because the weather makes the drive unwise, I find out that some ---redacted--- was driving too fast for conditions this morning, wiped out and crossed into my mom's lane as she was on her way to work.

Thankfully, my mom was driving pretty carefully and was able to turn what was going to be a head-on into the driver's side of this idiot into a sideswipe, and she's not injured*, it still sucks.

* Having been through two impacts in the last three years, even when you're "not injured", its amazing how much it messes your system up. I believe Al would call it "stagnant blood". Both times, it took me several months to a half a year or more to get back to "normal".

Anyway, the year started out with a car hitting me on my bicycle just over a week into January and ended with a car hitting my mom just over a week before New Year's.

So, from the bottom of my heart: FUCK you, 2009. Good bye and good riddance.

Here's hoping that the seeds we planted (some pun intended) for 2010 grow to fruition and its a better year all the way around.