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    • The Technology of Violence and its effect on prosperity and freedom
        Prosperity is two things: 1) How much you can produce with your technology and social organization; 2) Who gets how much.   The second is determined by a number of factors, but the simplest is the structure of violence.  Those who aren’t good at fighting, don’t get as much of the surplus created by [...]
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Back to the Pipe and the Pole

Here is a letter I received a few days ago from the President of my University.

Last summer, I formed an advisory task force to assist the University in developing a plan to prepare for probable reductions in state funding for higher education and to assist the University in developing a new instructional resource model. The task force consists of faculty, academic deans, administrators, and staff.

On December 18, 2010, the task force held an open forum. At that forum, Provost Mearns, who is co-chair of the task force, discussed the status of the task force’s efforts to assist in developing a contingency plan for next year’s budget. I attended the forum.

Since then, the task force has continued to provide me with additional recommendations. Those recommendations are detailed in a written report that is now available on the task force’s webpage.

This report recommends overall budget target ranges for each of the University’s major sectors: academic colleges, academic support units, and university administrative units. I have accepted these sector recommendations. In December, I provided differentiated budget targets to each of the vice presidents who manage university administrative units, and I directed them to prepare a contingency plan to meet their unit’s respective target. They have submitted their plans to me, which I am currently reviewing.

The task force’s report also provided specific recommendations about differentiated targets for each of the academic colleges. After developing a list of strategic factors and applying those factors to readily available data, the task force assigned each academic college to one of three groups, or bands. As discussed in the report, a college or an administrative unit can meet its proposed budget target through both permanent expense reductions and reliable revenue enhancements.

After reviewing an initial draft of the report, I met at length with Provost Mearns, Vice President George Walker and Tim Long, the University’s Budget Director, to review the strategic factors and the data relied upon by the task force to develop its differentiated recommendations for each of the academic colleges. In making my decisions, I relied upon the same strategic factors developed by the task force, including: how a college’s programs aligned with the University’s primary strategic goals; a college’s financial performance relative to the other colleges at the University; the extent to which a college has programs, including doctoral programs, with relatively few students; an assessment of the productivity and impact of the college’s research faculty; the success of a college’s students as measured by undergraduate retention and graduation rates and post-graduate licensing exams; and the ability of a college to develop differential tuition plans or increase enrollment above existing limits.

After this review, I accepted all of the task force’s recommendations with respect to the colleges’ budget targets, with one exception. I have delegated to Provost Mearns the responsibility of establishing differentiated targets for the various academic support units that report to him.

Provost Mearns has communicated the college targets to the deans, and he has asked them to provide him with their college’s plan by February 22, 2011. He has also directed the deans to consult with their respective faculties and staff in developing their college’s plan.

By early March, I anticipate that our collective strategy for meeting this financial challenge will begin to become more clear. Governor Kasich will present his proposed budget to the legislature on or before March 15. I anticipate that, when his budget is released, we will know much more about two of the most important factors that are driving this process: the approximate amount of any reduction in the state subsidy for higher education, and the limit on any possible increase in undergraduate tuition. By that time, we will also have had an opportunity to evaluate the various college and administrative plans that have been submitted.

When we have more information from the Governor, I will hold an open forum in March to discuss our University plan.

I know that this process is difficult and that it is causing some anxiety and uncertainty. I believe, however, that we have established a collaborative and transparent process that will enable the University to overcome this challenge. Indeed, I am encouraged by the constructive contributions that so many of you have already made to our contingency planning process. Therefore, I am confident that we will emerge from this process as a stronger institution — which is our goal.

Thank you for your service to our students, our University, and our community.

Indeed. To those of you who still believe in the American Dream, let me explain how it really works for you. Say Jane wants to grow up and become a Doctor. But Jane and her family live piss poor, so she works hard in High School, gets good grades in accelerated courses and takes part in track and cheerleading or some such other extracurricular nonsense that will look good on college applications. She gets accepted into a good school and manages to keep from getting pregnant. What a stand up gal Jane is, don’t you think? She gets some scholarships. Good for her! She gets Pell Grants and subsidized and unsubsidized loans through FAFSA. That’s our girl.

Before you know it she is accepted into Harvard Medical School and graduates with honors. Bravo! The problem is, now Jane has upwards of $200,000 worth of student loans to pay back. She gets married and begins practice as a pediatrician, her lifelong dream. But it will be a while before she begins to really rake in the dough and there are medical malpractice lawsuits on the horizon. Nonetheless, she and her husband, a college professor, are living well, having babies and attending church on Sundays. Everything seems fine until disaster strikes. Her mother is still piss poor and has just suffered from a stroke. A neighbor finds her laying face down in her apartment surrounded by urine and her own feces. Jane’s mother is admitted to the hospital and is soon discharged. Incontinent, paralyzed from the waist down and unable to take care of herself, Jane’s mother is just above the income threshold for medicaid and there are limited funds. She has no Health Insurance and therefore cannot afford to live in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility, so Jane has to quit her job to take care of her mother, as her husband is unwilling to quit his. The financial problems caused by the fact that Jane can no longer supplement the family income as well as the demands of taking care of a sick elderly woman takes a toll on their marriage, and Jane’s husband starts banging his secretary. They get a divorce and the children are heartbroken. Jane is now a single mother with no job. She still has student loans and legal fees to pay back, no home because she can’t afford a mortgage, and three kids to put through college. Her oldest daughter Sarah is devastated by the break up of her family and commits suicide. Three months later, Jane’s mother dies due to inadequate medical care. Jane’s American Dream has turned into an American Nightmare.

Sounds extreme, right? Wrong. Things like this are happening everywhere. I can tell you that it is extremely difficult to pay for college, and I will explain why. Most people have an idea of the average college student’s financial situation. A freshman will have mom and dad foot most of the bill and private loans will take care of the rest, right?

Wrong.

Take me for example. I graduated from that Shithole High School a semester early with decent grades and community service. Go me, right? I figured I might as well try to go to college, so I briefly (and by briefly, I mean for about two seconds) thought about going into the military and even told the Hell Hole High School that those were my plans so they would let me graduate early. I took the ASVAB tests and got excellent scores, fielding calls from every military branch recruiter known to man telling me to join so I could become an officer. Of course, I am not going to go into the Military. I am a pacifist. So I changed my phone number to get rid of the recruiters and enrolled at the local junior college, with plans to save money on Gen Eds in mind. Problem was, my Dad makes too much money for me to get FAFSA and we are somewhat estranged. I had to work my tail off and go to School part time so I could get taken off of his tax returns, as a student has to be enrolled in school full time to be on their parents tax returns after they’re eighteen and to still be on their parents health insurance plan.

In any case, I no longer have Health Insurance but now that I’m off his taxes I go to School overtime, supplemented by a hefty financial aid award. But get this!

President Obama and his aides have spent a good bit of time over the last several weeks talking about the importance of education. Now they announce that they plan to cut spending on Pell grants, the big student-aid program that helps students in (roughly) the bottom half of the income distribution. As Jackie Calmes explains:

Pell grants for needy college students would be eliminated for summer classes, and graduate students would start accruing interest immediately on federal loans, though they would not have to pay until after they graduate; both changes are intended to help save $100 billion over 10 years to offset the costs of maintaining Pell grants for nine million students, according to administration officials.

Oh, fantastic! Keep in mind that my situation is not unique. Many students are like me, with families either too poor or too unwilling to help pay for school. I have a friend, for example, who had to run away from home when she was in Hell High School because her Step Father was beating her mother. She supported herself with two jobs and help from family and friends until she graduated, and now she has classes with me. I don’t know how she does it, because she is forced by FAFSA to file as a dependent even though she receives no help from her family and supports herself completely. She is awarded funds based on the assumption that her parents help her when in reality she has to pay for full time school as well as everything else.

And why is it that school is so expensive? Gods only know. The cost of living has increased exponentially since my parents were in college. It is easy for some stuck-in-the past 1950’s holdover to lecture one of us stupid delinquent teenagers about how THEY did it when they were our age so why can’t we? Well, I feel like saying to these idiots, you’re the ignorant fools who elected conservative Presidents and congresses for the past several decades and caused the inflation and budget cuts that led to all of these problems. Get over yourself.

Not only that, but tuition is obscenely expensive since now colleges are run more like businesses instead of academic institutions that shape young minds and prepare the leaders of tomorrow. I have to pay thousands of dollars for Professors to teach me the same bull shit I’ve been learning since the sixth grade (which is not to say I don’t learn a lot in College these days from certain professors, but I digress) and then once I and many students have paid several more thousands to complete an undergraduate degree two thirds of us STILL won’t be able to get a job. And people wonder why our education system is so behind.

Well, one might say, you may not be achieving all of your fancy starry eyed dreams but at least you are bettering yourself for the real world. Maybe you’ll be a hospital administrator instead of a chemical engineer but at least you have the right to a comfortable lifestyle and a reasonable retirement, right? Wrong.

So far, Obama has had the following “bright ideas” and has proposed them to Congress:

(1) Obama proposed (and Congress passed) a $112 Billion REDUCTION in revenues coming into the Social Security trust fund for this year; that is a cut of 30% in workers’ contributions to the Fund. I think we can be pretty sure this $112 Billion annual cut in Social Security taxes will be made permanent with the full agreement of Obama. It won’t take long, at that rate, for Social Security to drain its fund (and current surplus) and go out of business.

(2) Obama has proposed a 50% REDUCTION in federal aid to the program that helps poor people pay heating bills for their homes

(3) Obama is proposing that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac go out of business, which will make it harder — if not impossible — for lower-income and middle-income people to buy their homes instead of paying endless rents

(4) Obama is proposing that the interest homeowners pay for their mortgages NO longer be fully deductible on their income taxes. In the early years of any mortgage, the bulk of the monthly mortgage payment goes to pay the interest on the mortgage; having that great sum be deductible has made it possible for people to buy homes and not default on their mortgages when finances are tight (as they often are when new homeowners are just starting out).

The result of Obama’s “bright” ideas, numbers (3) and (4), will be to make it harder for current homeowners to SELL their homes, will DEFLATE the value of their homes, will cause more people to default on their mortgages, and will create a situation where communities will take in LESS in the way of property taxes because of the number of vacant, abandoned homes that will become liabilities.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -
And Obama is doing all of this cutting less than two months after signing into law tax CUTS for the wealthiest Americans.

The Republicans have the EXACT right Democrat in the White House for their evil purposes. Obama is: (1) helping the Republicans realize their decades-long goal of destroying the Social Security program, (2) proposing policies that will create an even wider division between the “haves” and “have-nots” in America, and (3)proposing policies that will create a sub-class of Americans that the top one percent of Americans will be able to reduce to economic slavery.

That’s right. So long house in the ‘burbs. Bye bye white picket fence, 2.4 children and Labrador Retriever. S’later retirement fund, pensions, IRA. Hi poverty, what it do destitution? We’re the leaders of tomorrow. Nice to meetcha!

It just won’t do. Obama is a Republican Dream, not an American Dream. Why, just look at the cover of one of his famous “books.”

The Audacity of Nope

To Obama, this is the American Dream. Jane’s life would be everyone’s life with the policies he is currently championing. Can you believe this is happening? Well, I can. I’ve been saying who Obama is from the get-go. All it took was reading his idea of the American Dream in the pages of this book, where he talked about cutting Social Security and used Reagan as an example of a President to emulate. He’s stuck to his word, too. And has managed to unite this divided nation of ours- against him. On the 100the anniversary of Reagan’s whatever it was I was subjected to fawning book covers and pages about Obama’s hero for days. And now he is cutting Social Security with his bipartisan Republican pals, just like he promised.

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t jive with the Obama the fauxgressives were selling us. This whole thing just isn’t going to work for me. I’m sure it won’t work for a lot of you, either, so run for office instead of electing more morons who will continue to pull this crap on us and expect to get reelected. My plan is to go to Law School and try to change these problems from within instead of sitting here and bitching about it.

But Isis, I can hear some people saying. Law School is expensive. You depend on those Pell Grants Obama and the Tea Party losers are cutting left and right and spending on unnecessary wars, a shitty Health Care Law and Michelle’s vacations in Spain to pay for your tuition, books and other fees. Won’t you be just like Jane, busting your hump for a dismal future? What are you going to do?

Well, shit. Whatever FAFSA doesn’t cover anymore I’ll supplement with scholarships. I just got a job that will pay for my Master’s Degree in Social Work so long as I get a good GPA. And certain agencies and non profits in my field of study will pay back all of my tuition if I end up working for them. As for the rest, it’s back to the pole and the pipe. And don’t think I’ll be the only one.

The best government that money can buy

Your democracy


This makes me ill:

TEAM OBAMA BEGINS PLANNING $1 BILLION REELECTION CAMPAIGN

“Bracing for a half-billion-dollar onslaught of outside GOP cash in 2012, President Obama’s advisers are quietly working to bring back together the major donor base that produced a record-breaking fundraising haul in his first run for president. In the past few months, Democratic National Committee aides have contacted several of Obama’s earliest financial backers to brainstorm about when and where to host the first money-raising events. Several big donors said they expect the Obama 2012 operation to open its doors this spring, with a string of fundraisers to generate the early cash needed to rebuild the president’s high-tech campaign operation. … ‘They are getting organized in Chicago to start a massive two-year campaign, which I believe will be successful, but has extraordinarily large challenges in some of the major states,’ said Philadelphia philanthropist Peter Buttenweiser, who hosted one of the first Obama presidential fundraisers in 2007 and is in talks to organize an early one for the re-election. …

“Obama was scheduled to go to New York this week to meet with about 25 large bundlers and supporters … but that event was canceled after the Tucson shootings … The one piece of Obama’s fundraising apparatus that has been managed closely since his inauguration is his online, small donor base. … But a billion dollar presidential re-election bid is unlikely to be launched or sustained for long exclusively with small donors. Even in 2008, Obama’s eye-popping online giving was matched with larger donations generated by roughly 700 big and small bundlers. Rebuilding that half of his financial operation is critical to his prospects and talk of it dates back to before the midterms when the president hosted a string of late summer DNC fundraisers. Attached to each of those large events was a smaller gathering where Obama had private time with his biggest bundlers and talk inevitably turned to 2012.”

One billion dollars. That’s almost $4 from every man, woman and child in the country.

But he’s not gonna get that money from a bunch of college kids sending him their beer money like he supposedly did last time. In fact, last time he got most of his money from Wall Street, BP, health insurance company execs, energy company execs, and all the other Joe Moneybags special interests.

ONE BILLION DOLLARS

How much time will Barack Obama be spending at fundraisers during the next two years? What will his donors expect for their investment? What promises will he be making?

How will he spend that money anyway? It’s not like he needs to pay for advertising because nobody knows who he is. Will we see more paid bloggers and summer camps for the Obama Youth?

Below is a screencap from Memorandum. Why aren’t all the lefty bloggers covering this story? I thought campaign finance reform was a big priority in Left Blogistan? I guess that died in 2008 when Obama broke his promise on campaign financing.



BTW – Didja notice the smooth opening? “It’s the Republicans fault!


Remember When We Believed In a Place Called Hope?

Remember when Donna Brazile told us all that the Democratic Party was forming a New Coalition that was “…more urban, as well as suburban…” and that the party didn’t need gays, Hispanics, blue collar voters (more commonly known as Jacksonians) and us bitter, clingy feminists anymore? Donna was either flying high that night, or she was serious. We can safely assume she was serious, particularly after she wrote this gem in response to an innocent young voter’s (ie: me) inquiries about seating the delegates in Florida and Michigan.

As of today, I am not going to respond to any more anti American, Anti Democratic emails. Have a nice day.
I am sorry because you are sincere, but the Hillary forces are uncivil, repugnant and vile. When you come up for air and would like to email a person who cares about America and not just a personality, I will respond.
Thanks for your time and your interest.
Donna

This afternoon, in between being uncivil, repungant and vile and also hating America (and also toting a gun and being raycist), I came across this article on FB, which explains why the conventional wisdom about Obama’s current joke of a Presidency is, as usual, wrong:

The conventional wisdom is that Barack Obama’s decline in the polls represents a new, unexpected turn against him. But an examination of the results of the recent elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts suggests that what we might really be seeing is a return to the skepticism that significant portions of the electorate have showed about Obama from the beginning of his national career.

For six months during the 2008 primaries, Obama and Hillary Clinton crisscrossed the country wooing voters. Obama consistently failed to win over important parts of the Democratic base, even after it became clear that he was going to be his party’s nominee.

On February 5—Super Tuesday— Obama did poorly in both New Jersey and Massachusetts, losing to Clinton by 10 and 15 points, respectively. The exit polls were in line with Obama’s performance throughout the primary race: He did very well with blacks, wealthy voters, highly educated voters, and very young voters. He did poorly with working-class whites and older voters. In New Jersey, Obama was +20 among voters under the age of 29, but about -26 among voters over 50. In Massachusetts, he ran even with young voters, and -31 among those over 65. As for education, Obama was -41 among voters with only a high school degree, but ran even, or just ahead, among voters possessing postgraduate degrees. And then there was gender and race. In New Jersey, Obama was -19 among white men; in Massachusetts he was +1.

[...]

The question, then, is how these various coalition groups—the white ethnic enclaves, the Jacksonians, the suburban and industrial town voters—have reacted to Democrats since Obama took office. And the answer is: Without enthusiasm.

(Note: only cool young people like me and Regency voted for Hillary, but you all ready know that.) There’s usually no point in Nostalgia. But remember when the Democratic party was the party of the “Big Tent?” Remember when it was supposed to represent the interests of those who were “invisible,” as our Shero used to say? Remember the party that could overcome the labels and name calling defined by the Village and the Right Wing Noise Machine in service of things like Health Care for children, job creation, the environment and tax cuts for the Middle Class? I’m having a hard time, because it’s been a long time since the Big Dawg was President, and I was only an (adorable) little tot back then, but I digress.

The point is, the Democratic Party we once loved and belonged to bit the dust on May 31st at the RBC meeting, but we all know that. Its just that its only now, too late, that the rest of the world is realizing we were right all along about our beloved leader and the “New Coalition.” It is extremely enjoyable to relish in Donna and the rest of the DNC’s Karma, and it is at times satisfying to watch President Obama crash and burn, not because we wanted that to happen–Obama’s failure isn’t just dragging down his poll numbers, its also dragging down this country and all of the unemployed people who are struggling to make ends meet while Wall Street Bankers point and laugh at them from on high atop of their giant mounds of bailout money–but because it is only small consolation after having our vaginas compared to grilled cheese sandwiches (well, my vagina wasn’t compared to a grilled cheese sandwich, but I was still mad about the reference in general) and being basically kicked out of the party a lot of us remained loyal to our entire lives, despite it being such a hot mess.

However, vindictiveness gets us nowhere. The PUMA brand appears to have been usurped by disturbed lunatics such as the Hillbuzz boys, who now spend their days photoshopping pictures of Senator Claire McCaskill in pajamas and campaigning for conservatives like Sarah Palin, Scott Brown and Michelle Bachmann, and the Teabaggers Tea party is a front for the Right Wing.

Many have suggested forming a third party, but as Joseph Cannon explained third parties have been shown to be unsuccessful and their candidates are spoilers. Like it or not, we have a two party system and its going to stay that way. So what do we do?

The right wing nutsos — the Friedmanites, the libertarians — did not say: “We’re not getting what we want from the Republicans, so let’s form a new party.”

Actually, I tell a lie. Before the great takeover occurred, and during the days of Nixon, some right-wing ultras did go down the third party route. A Libertarian party was formed, and the American Independent Party did well in the ’68 and ’72 elections, under George Wallace and John Schmitz.

George is the one who made that remark about there not being a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties. John is the one who said “If you’re out of Schmitz, you’re out of gear. And if someone doesn’t get that kid get to shut up, I’ll do it myself.”

Apologies for that digression. (If you weren’t alive at that time, you may be confused by the references.)

The reactionary element within this country achieved much greater success when it decided to take over the Republican party. They have now commandeered it to such a degree that John Schmitz’ son Joseph has a comfy place in it. (Joseph used to help run Blackwater and he was the DOD IG under W.) The fanatics not only took over the party, they also commandeered the national debate. They set the limits of permissible thought.

It’s time to take the party back from the “New Coalition.” Its time we gave Donna a fork and made her eat her words. Its time real liberals–and by real I don’t mean fauxgressives of the former Neocon variety such as Arianna and Morkos– I mean real liberals, took the party back from so called “Blue Dogs” and Howard Dean and his crappy “Fifty State Strategy.” Its time we got our party back. Because deep down, we know it still always belonged to us. One needs only to take one look at the flailing Obots on the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos to see that. I miss our “Big Tent.” Lets call it up and tell it to please come home.

I remember being a little kid and knowing I was a Democrat, because I thought that no matter what, I would never feel invisible if there was a “D” after my name. That was what I loved about the Democratic Party. Now so many Americans feel more invisible than ever. Even Wanda Sykes.

I miss my Clinton panties too.

Clinton isn’t out there preaching that only certain types of love are acceptable. He isn’t bemoaning what is wrong with our nation, but constantly emphasizing what is right with it. Clinton is not a gloom and doom kind of guy waiting for an imaginary apocalypse to free us from this evil world. Clinton prefers to see the good in people rather than the worst. The President is an almost idealized concept of an optimist who believes that as long as we are here, we might as well try to make it the best world that we can.

Most of us appreciate that. Because in the end, we, too, would like to believe that we are people who-though we are often flawed and all too human- struggle each day to make the world a little better than how we found it.

Clinton just seems more like one of us. He actually has facial expressions. He plays the sax. He eats at fast food restaurants and struggles with weight gain as a result. He gets all red in the face as he jogs around the block. He even makes bad choices when it comes to picking out which tie to wear for the cameras.

I don’t think anyone would call him a saint. And that is the number one reason that the Republicans hate him so very much. He isn’t a saint at all. Neither are we.

As Andy points out in the song, “He made too many enemies… Of the people who would keep us on our knees..”

And all the while that the Christian Coalition driven lemmings in our government have been harping on the fact that only a saint can run this country effectively, Bill Clinton has been proving them wrong.

And the Righteous Republicans really, really hate that.

Do you still believe in a place called hope? I think I do.

The Culture of Cannibalism in US Politics: The Triumph of The Cyclop’s Values Over Democratic Citizenship

{The first essay in this series introduced a model I created to explain the cycle of corruption that plagues US politics. This essay looks into the roots of this corruption. It takes a long time to get to the payoff. Further, the conclusion is somewhat ex nihilo if you have not read the first essay. This said, for those who dare, I hope you find it worth the read.}
polyphemus2-3717

Polyphemos the cyclops would have eaten Odysseus, if his survival was dependent on the moral virtues of Silenus’s satyrs. Fortunately for Odysseus, and Silenus and his lot, Odysseus could depend on his fellow citizens. If Polyphemos had the majority of America’s elected representatives depending on him for their survival in his cave, the way that they are presently beholden to lobbyists’ money for their electoral survival, he could have had a ready supply of citizens for his daily meals.

Cyclopean virtues regularly triumph over the virtues of democratic citizenship in the political landscape of the United States. Given that the Declaration of Independence embodies the spirit and principles that ground the virtues of democratic citizenship, why is it that cyclopes, who eat humans, win the day in America? Answering this question requires that we journey back to Attic Greece and her proto-democratic foundations. Continue reading

America isn’t easy: balancing competing moral claims in advanced citizenship societies

down-the-drain-300x231

America isn’t easy

Building and sustaining a diverse community is not easy.

What should we celebrate?

Celebrate: to perform (a sacrament or ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites; to honor by solemn ceremonies and refraining from ordinary business; to hold up or play for public notice.

What should we tolerate?

Tolerate: to endure or resist the action of without grave or lasting injury; to suffer to be or to be done without prohibition, hindrance, or contradiction.

What should we not tolerate?

Freedom of Speech: speech as a celebratory, tolerable, or non-tolerable moral action

The right to free speech celebrates the toleration of alternative views and the expression of those views.

“Monsieur l’abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write” – Voltaire (potential misattribution)

Continue reading

Common Sense and the sensus communis: anatomy of an American pressure cooker

romesenate1

Gay-Lussac

The pressure of a fixed mass and fixed volume of a gas is directly proportional to the gas’s temperature.

This relationship is known as the Gay-Lussac’s Law and a pressure cooker is an example of the law in practice. Cooking under pressure creates the possibility of cooking with high temperature liquids because the boiling point of a liquid increases as its pressure increases. High pressure and high heat can result in delectable dishes.

41CvXI3gHEL__SL160_

Cooking under pressure can be also dangerous because as liquids change phase into gases their volume expands greatly. For example, at atmospheric pressure the volume of steam is about 1700 times greater than the volume of water. To prevent pressure cookers from becoming bombs, relief devices (pop safety valves) are employed that are capable of relieving all of the steam the vessel is capable of producing.

America the Beautiful Pressure Cooker

The political pressure cooker is beginning to heat up. The power brokers and institutions that drive the nation have arrived unannounced on the doorsteps of America like a gaggle of unwanted, high maintenance relatives that demand hospitality for an unforeseeable time and that won’t take no for answer. Furthermore, they’ve announced that more relatives are on the way. Whatever plans America’s householders had, they’ve just gone out the window, with their household budgie and the relatives’ cat in hot pursuit.

People are justifiably angry with this incursion. Their budgie might not have been much, but it was “their budgie”, nurtured from birth into what it had become. Justifiably angry householders are trying to work out why the relatives arrived on their doorsteps and why they brought their fucking cat. Continue reading

Uncle Sam Contracts Frater Magnus to Safeguard his Healthcare Liberty

Lincoln_A

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. – Abraham Lincoln

There’s a sucker born every minute. – P.T. Barnum

BenjaminFranklinWe, the People, are born every minute. The last ten years provides ample evidence about the regularity to which Lincoln alludes.

Geese are but Geese tho’ we may think ‘em Swans; and Truth will be Truth tho’ it sometimes prove mortifying and distasteful. – Benjamin Franklin

The Constitution of the United States is like a manual for building a nation of equals before the law. It embodies the wisdom that some people gain power and freedom by stealing the power and freedom of others. It enacts principles to thwart those who conduct such thefts. “Liberty” is a common code word for describing the nation’s promise of power and freedom to its citizens.

Interestingly, the founders were all too aware that the apparatus they made to uphold the liberty of the nation’s citizens, i.e. the government, could also fall under the influence of those who would thieve the liberty of others. Accordingly, citizens must be mindful of what they, and others, ask of their government, while using the government as a tool to promote liberty, and other Constitutional and DOI objectives, and thwart liberty thieves. Unfortunately, some citizens are so focused on defending their liberty from the government that they lose sight of the reason that the government was created, i.e. they lose sight of the enemies of liberty. They are so focussed on the tree, that they lose sight of the forest that is being clearcut all around them. Continue reading

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