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      So, Facebook has been fined forty million dollars for inflating video statistics. Sounds like a yawn, eh. Not a very big fine, for not a very big crime. But it was a big crime. Newspapers, web-sites, etc… a pivoted to video. Facebook said that views were as much as 900% higher than they actually were […]
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Happy Birthday Gary!

Once you're over the hill, you start to pick up speed!

Once you're over the hill, you start to pick up speed!

The Confluence wishes Gary (garychapelhill) a very happy birthday!
This is his birthday card, so please everyone sign it. 
(this is not a discussion thread – take discussion elsewhere)
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No More Taxation Without Representation

The Time is Now

The Time is Now

Well, my sistren and brethren, after a month of “Hope and “Change,” are you feeling sufficiently represented by your new “progressive” government?

In my case, the answer to that question is a resounding, “Hell, no!”

Legislatively, the Obama Administration has failed to impress. The Lilly Ledbetter Act finally passed, but without the Paycheck Fairness Act, it’s only good for punishing employers after they have already been paying women less based on their sex. To make a real change in the daily lives of women and their families, we needed the tougher regulations the Paycheck Fairness Act would have imposed. As for the fabled stimulus package, when the President wanted to garner Republican votes, how did he reach across the aisle? By cutting Planned Parenthood funding, which helps poor women gain access to birth control. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was furious at this betrayal, stating in an interview that cutting the funding actually increased the size of the stimulus bill by $700 million.

Pelosi on Planned Parenthood provisions of stimulus

And of course, not one Republican vote was gained by this tactic.

In the category of gender equity in his Cabinet, President Obama gets an “F.” He could not even bring himself to do any better than George W. Bush.

That’s just sad.

Continue reading

Media Malpractice

Filmmaker John Zeigler produced a documentary about the media coverage of last year’s election titled “Media Malpractice – How Obama Got Elected And Palin Was Targeted.” 

I’ve only seen the previews and they left me wanting to see more, like any good preview should.

I’m not endorsing or bashing the film, I’m just presenting these clips for your consideration.

Make the jump for “Sarah Palin Unplugged On The Media” and “How Obama Got Elected… Interviews With Obama Voters”

Continue reading

Friday: Budget under control? Great. What about mass transit?

The CRRNJ terminal and ferry docks in Jersey City, sitting idle.

The CRRNJ terminal and ferry docks in Jersey City, sitting idle.

Paul Krugman reviews Obama’s budget plans and gives a thumbs up.  Obama’s got his priorities straight, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some problems coming up:

So we have good priorities and plausible projections. What’s not to like about this budget? Basically, the long run outlook remains worrying.

According to the Obama administration’s budget projections, the ratio of federal debt to G.D.P., a widely used measure of the government’s financial position, will soar over the next few years, then more or less stabilize. But this stability will be achieved at a debt-to-G.D.P. ratio of around 60 percent. That wouldn’t be an extremely high debt level by international standards, but it would be the deepest in debt America has been since the years immediately following World War II. And it would leave us with considerably reduced room for maneuver if another crisis comes along.

Furthermore, the Obama budget only tells us about the next 10 years. That’s an improvement on Bush-era budgets, which looked only 5 years ahead. But America’s really big fiscal problems lurk over that budget horizon: sooner or later we’re going to have to come to grips with the forces driving up long-run spending — above all, the ever-rising cost of health care.

And even if fundamental health care reform brings costs under control, I at least find it hard to see how the federal government can meet its long-term obligations without some tax increases on the middle class. Whatever politicians may say now, there’s probably a value-added tax in our future.

The health care funding is the key.  It stops well short of universal however.  Let’s not forget that there’s a hidden tax applied to every working taxpayer to pay for the uninsured. In NJ, that hidden tax is estimated to total  $700,000,000 per year and with more people out of work these days, it’s bound to go up.  That’s why universal healthcare is so important.  Ideally, we want to keep people healthy before they become so sick they end up in the emergency room and the hospital.  It saves us all money in the end.

Krugman expects tax increases on the middle class.  I suppose that is inevitable but I hope that someone is thinking about the millions of us single parents out here who pay taxes at a single rate and even with Head of Household and dependent deductions end up paying more every year in taxes than married people.  I’m sorry, married people, but I think this is unfair.  No one is reducing the cost of living for single people and single parents aren’t spending like there’s no tomorrow, except on the locusts who reside with us and regularly clean out our refrigerators.  Reports of our disposable incomes are greatly exaggerated.

One thing I haven’t heard mentioned is mass transit.

The abandoned CRRNJ station at Belle Mead, NJ

The abandoned CRRNJ station at Belle Mead, NJ

My impression is that it was underfunded but if anyone has a handle on the exact numbers, raise your hand.  Here on the east coast, especially dense NJ, there were a number of commuter rail lines that were abandoned in the 60’s as workers took to their cars.  Now, 40 years later, suburban sprawl has made getting from point A to point B a nightmare.  But the old rail lines are still there.  You can see them on google satlellite maps.In at least one case, the CRRNJ, the terminal station in Jersey city is still there.  It looks like it’s waiting for someone to just flip a switch.  I’m sure there’s a lot more to it than that but with most of the infrastructure already in place, what are the barriers to getting it up and running again?  We could really use it.

What’s your budget priorty?  Let us know in the comments.