I just happened to tune into CNN, and of course, one of their bigger advertisers is HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead! HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead! HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead! Urge to kill increasing.
What many people don't know is that on top of having extremely obnoxious commercials, HeadOn's products are snake oil. HeadOn's claimed to be a homeopathic remedy, and I'm sorry if I offend people, but I find homeopathy to be absolute baloney. To quote from Wikipedia:
Chemical analysis has shown that the product consists almost entirely of wax. The two listed active ingredients, white bryony (a type of vine) and potassium dichromate, are diluted to .000001 PPM and 1 PPM respectively.<2> This amount of dilution is so great that the product is arguably a placebo.<3> However, the package does list menthol as an inactive ingredient; menthol is one of the active ingredients of Vicks VapoRub. Correspondence has been published with a statement from HeadOn Customer Service that "It works through the nerves."<4> The Better Business Bureau has asked Miralus Healthcare not to make claims that HeadOn cures headaches.
Miralus Healthcare claims that HeadOn is safe, so that "(i)t can be used by anyone and as often as needed. There are no dosage restrictions or health risks associated with its use."<5>
So why isn't anyone if the FDA or elsewhere calling CNN on advertising snake oil? Not only do they broadcast right-wing-biased garbage news, but they also advertise garbage products.
Posted by meldroc in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Fri May 11th 2007, 09:09 PM
The correct way, as AFLCIO has mentioned, is by raising the cap on the amount of income that's taxed by the FICA tax. Currently, everyone pays 6.2 percent of their income, up to a maximum income of $97,500, for a maximum tax of $6,045 to pay for Social Security.
My question is WHY THE HELL IS THERE A FUCKING CAP ON THE FICA TAX? If you're making enough money for the cap to come into play, you can afford to pay your bills if the cap didn't exist, and you paid 6.2 percent on all your income. That's how you fix Social Security - the very wealthy have more than enough just by raising or eliminating the cap to keep Social Security solvent, with full, decent benefits (no cutbacks) for centuries! Of course, the GOP will pooh-pooh this idea as "soaking the rich." While some taxes like federal income tax is progressive, FICA is actually regressive in that it is a bigger drain on the poor and middle classes, and diminishes to pocket change for the rich.
Privatization? That's another word for "Let's take your Social Security money, give it to our criminal friends on Wall Street, who'll make themselves rich and waste and steal all your money so you get nothing when you retire!" It's yet another full broadside from the criminal rich straight at the poor and middle class in the Class Wars.
Cutting benefits and raising the retirement age? If we raise the cap on the FICA tax, we won't have to do that.
Posted by meldroc in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed May 09th 2007, 10:09 AM
I can respect him - unlike every single other GOP candidate in that debate, he does believe in individual liberty. Unfortunately, he still has those libertarian beliefs I used to have that I've rejected - he's a total laissez-faire free-market guy - a free market fundamentalist, who believes that if only what was left of government regulation would go away, the free market would make it easy to get affordable health care, housing, clean water, uncontaminated food, etc.
I rejected laissez-faire after three years of being unemployed and uninsured, and with no safety net except for my weary parents. That's when I realized that government is not the only source of tyranny - corporations and other powerful economic entities can be at least as bad. So yes, I do believe that there is a big place in our society for free enterprise and capitalism, but there has to be rules to keep things fair, otherwise you end up with not a free market, but an anarchic market, where the biggest sharks dominate and eat everyone else - a recipe for tyranny. You also need a social safety net - universal health care would be part of this net, along with Social Security and welfare, as well as having rules in place that guarantee a minimum wage that makes it possible to eat, keep a roof over your head and get decent school, health care, etc. Ironically, when you don't have to worry about being completely cut off at the knees if you don't comply with the demands of your current corporate warlord, you're more free than you would be in an anarchic market.
So while I respect Ron Paul, I won't vote for him.
Dear Senator Salazar, Allard or Representative Musgrave:
Last week, gasoline prices in the Colorado Front Range jumped back above $3.00 per gallon. This would be a significant financial hardship for me, because I have to commute from Fort Collins to my job in Westminster, but I'm able to alleviate the financial hit by using the VanGo van pool. Still, the fact remains that gas prices are much higher than they have to be, and many of your constituents are experiencing serious financial troubles because of this.
When I read the news, I hear various excuses from people in the energy industry, explaining that prices are high because of switching to the summer blend of gasoline, because of production and capacity difficulties in the refineries, because of troubles in the Middle East, etc.
Quite frankly, I don't buy it. I find the gas price drop below $2.00 per gallon just in time for the election, and the sudden rise back to $3.00 per gallon afterwards far too convenient. You may think I wear a tin-foil hat, but I smell price gouging.
So I ask you to initiate or support investigations into high gas prices, and legislation designed to get gas prices back into sane territory. Representative Dennis Kucinich has called a hearing on June 7th to investigate the causes of these high gas prices. Please work with him to try to find a solution to this problem. And please initiate or support similar investigations in the Senate into high gas prices.
I don't know how much good this will do, but at the least, it'll pressure Salazar, and make Musgrave and Allard reach for their Maalox and bourbon.
After all, blogs can be read by everyone, and it would cause no end of damage to the MPAA's lockdown plans.
Of course, I would never broadcast 09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0 across the Internet.
Internet Radio Equality Act would overturn decision on webcasting fees
Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) has waded right into the debate over Internet broadcasting, introducing a bill that would overturn the recent ruling requiring webcasters to pay a flat rate per song streamed, rather than the traditional percentage of their profits.
The Copyright Royalty Board recently raised rates on Internet webcasters, who will soon face greatly-increased fees for streaming music on their stations. The issue affected not just Internet broadcasters but noncommercial groups like NPR, and the broadcasters filed an appeal of the decision earlier this month, but were denied.
Inslee's bill, the Internet Radio Equality Act, would toss out the Board's decision and return the webcasting industry to a percentage of profits model. In this case, the percentage would be set at the same rate paid by satellite radio, which is 7.5 percent of revenue.
The bill is a huge victory for groups like the SaveNetRadio coalition. Jake Ward of SaveNetRadio called the new bill a "critical step to preserve this vibrant and growing medium, and to develop a truly level playing field where webcasters can compete with satellite radio."
Time to call your Congresscritters and demand they pass this bill. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of being kicked around by the RIAA and their bloodsuckers. The Copyright Royalty Board's decision is complete bullshit, obviously bought and paid for by the RIAA specifically to bury Internet radio, so they can turn our culture into a wasteland through their payola arrangements with Clear Channel.
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
I do understand that there are pragmatic reasons that make impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney impractical. I understand that you wish to lead Congress in legislating in a bipartisan manner, in order to represent all Americans, not just the ones that voted for you. That is certainly understandable and admirable. In ordinary times, I would say, as you did, that impeachment is not worth the trouble.
However, these are not ordinary times. The Bush Administration has not just broken the law, they've broken the law thousands of times. The cases we know about are just the tip of the iceberg. They've lied, flat-out lied to Congress, the American people and the world to justify a war in Iraq that has decimated our military, killed at least 650,000 Iraqis, destroyed our credibility and honor with the world community and cost trillions of dollars, mostly in the form of crushing debt. They have ordered and endorsed human rights violations including torture, indefinite detention without trial, and extraordinary rendition at places including Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air Force Base and Abu Ghraib. They have illegally used the NSA to perform warrantless wiretaps of American citizens, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and of the FISA Act. They've conducted illegal and unethical voter suppression against Democrats and minorities, and conducted election fraud on a vast scale in 2000 and 2004. Al Gore should have been president in 2000 and John Kerry should have been elected in 2004. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has abused his delegated power to fire U.S. Attorneys specifically to obstruct investigations into Republicans such as Duke Cunningham, and to encourage frivolous and vindictive prosecutions against innocent people for serious charges like voter fraud, which in one case, landed an innocent woman in prison, where she stayed until an appeal exonerated her, and took away her house and life savings. They've used the FBI and DHS to conduct illegal surveillance and harassment of non-violent anti-war protesters, lumping them together with terrorists. At this moment, they are showing their utter contempt towards Congress and its oversight powers by refusing to turn over emails, and "losing" emails related to the investigation of Alberto Gonzales, in an echo of Nixon's tape with the 18 minute gap.
Quite frankly, Bush and his administration have gone beyond being mere criminals. They make the actions of Richard Nixon during Watergate look mild in comparison. Bush and Cheney have made it clear that they want unlimited power, and that they're willing to do absolutely anything to get it. They are a clear and present danger to American democracy, and need to be removed from power immediately. The only way for Congress to effectively stop the wanton criminal actions of the Bush Administration is through impeachment and removal from office.
Thank you for your concern.
You'd be wrong if you guessed the Berlin Wall. Granted, the Berlin Wall was a despicable thing, but I'm thinking of something even worse.
No, I'm thinking of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Do you really think that wall was going up to protect those Sunnis? No. That wall was going up to imprison those Sunnis. Lock them all in there, "for their protection" and let them rot. The plan was so outrageous that even Maliki pulled Cheney's hand out of his ass and demanded a stop to it.
Thankfully, construction of that wall has stopped, but the idea that my own government would even think of doing something like that absolutely sickens me.
From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all
Tuesday April 24, 2007
Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.
They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.
Let me summarize the ten steps, which are described in detail in the article...
And people wonder why I'm not willing to give up my guns. I'll be damned if I'm going to a Gitmo or a FEMA camp - they'll have to kill me first.
I just discovered this link after reading Smirking Chimp's story on the Vermont Senate's vote for their impeachment resolution.
George Bush and Dick Cheney have lied the nation into a war of aggression, are spying in open violation of the law, and have sanctioned the use of torture. These are high crimes and misdemeanors that demand accountability. Since Congress doesn't seem to get it, on April 28 Americans from Miami, Florida to North Pole, Alaska are going to spell it out for them: IMPEACH!
The site has a nice Google Map right on the front page with markers for each local action in this.
Who's with me? Bring impeachment BACK ON THE TABLE!
All these stories about bullies makes me realize something - why I'm so angry at the Bush Administration.
Certainly there are plenty of reasons for us to be angry at Bush, Cheney, Rove, Gonzales and the rest of them. They lied to us literally thousands of times now over six years, they cheated their way into power by fixing elections in Ohio and Florida, they started two wars that have killed hundreds of thousands of people, they destroyed our country's credibility and prestige across the world, they destroyed our civil liberties, they ordered torture, indefinite detention and extraordinary rendition, and have nothing but contempt for democratic governance.
But the reason why I hate them the most? They're bullies. Fundamentally, shaking a younger, smaller kid down for his lunch money and sending hundreds of thousands of troops in to slaughter and kill for oil are the same acts. They commit these acts with the same smirks, the same sneers and the same looks of contempt that I saw in the faces of those bullies that tormented me when I was little.
So for me, yes, it is personal. My anger and hatred for those sons of bitches burns with white-hot intensity at the core of my being.
I see it coming. People are going to go off on violent video games, movies, anime, role-playing games; and claim they're all to blame. They're going to go after kids wearing trenchcoats, nerdy kids, quiet kids, quiet adults, Goths, Wiccans, Buddhists, minorities, anyone who is different.
That's what bugs me. Realistically, we need to do some low-level tweaks to our society - fix the Brady instant background checks so they actually work, and improve mental health access and treatment across the board. We're not going to do that. We're going to flail around, look for scapegoats, and make their lives a living hell. Don'tcha love witchhunts?
So for those of us who had to deal with harassment because we were a little different, BOHICA!!! (for non-geeks, that's Bend Over, Here It Comes Again!)
Just another thought, here's a classic Slashdot thread:
Voices From The Hellmouth
I'm stealing the phrase "shall issue" from concealed-carry licensing laws that have passed in the past decades. Concealed-carry licensing laws in many places have variations of the clause "The sheriff/state/authority may issue a concealed carry permit to an individual that fulfills such-and-such qualifications." What this means is that the authority, can, but doesn't have to issue the permit to a qualified individual who asks for one. The result in places with "may-issue" concealed carry laws is that the authority usually chooses not to issue permits.
The recent "shall-issue" concealed-carry changed that clause above to "The issuing authority shall issue a concealed-carry permit to individuals that fulfill such-and-such qualifications." What this means is that if a person wants a concealed carry permit, fulfills all the qualifications such as training, clean background checks, payment of fees, etc. that the authority is required to issue the permit. As a result, many states now have several thousand individuals licensed to carry concealed firearms. In general, they have a very clean record - very few of these individuals have committed crimes with their firearms despite the fact they carry them all the time. (though Florida is starting to get sloppy with their checks - some people are getting permits that shouldn't but overall, the record of shall-issue concealed-carry laws is quite good.)
You're probably wondering what my point is. Why am I suggesting this as a solution to Second Amendment concerns over gun registration and licensing? Let me explain.
This means that if laws are written correctly and sanely, that means that government CAN license firearms. They CAN require firearms registration. They can impose restrictions on firearms. There is a catch, but that catch is something I, as a pro-Second-Amendment person, can live with.
They have to have "Shall-issue" clauses.
So how does this sound? Some laws on the books to license the ownership of firearms. But they have to have a "shall-issue" clause. Something like "The issuing authority shall issue a firearms permit to an individual upon request, provided that the individual fulfills such-and-such requirements." In short, that means it is constitutional, and does not violate the Second Amendment, even the "the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." part to require that individuals who want to own or possess firearms get a permit first, and that they do things like take gun-safety classes, pass a background check. The one catch is that the issuing authority can't deny permits for no reason. They HAVE to make it reasonably possible to get a firearms permit, they must not put too much of a burden upon individuals who want permits, and they can't just decide they don't want to give out permits. They have to issue permits to qualified individuals. That's the point of the "shall issue" clause. Abusing the system to prevent qualified, law-abiding citizens from being able to get guns is not allowed, but the system can be put in place to regulate guns so we don't see so many shootings.
Thoughts? I think we have the way to a reasonable compromise here. Something that brings us closer to "Good guys get guns, but bad guys don't."
Just for clarification, PTO is short for Personal Time Off, which is what they call days off in places where they combine sick days and vacation days into one pool.
Of course, I never get enough of them. I get fifteen PTO days per year. Some of you are saying "Why are you bitching, meldroc? You've got it lucky!" No, I don't have it lucky, and neither do you. I've got news. Nobody has it lucky here in the U.S. We're all getting horribly screwed, unless you're the CEO and can write off a month in Tahiti as a business trip. Go to Europe, and even the lowliest peons get 4-6 weeks (and that's just vacation, not sick time,) and frequently take the entire month of August off. Why can't I do that?
But the worst part is that when you're sick, sniffling, sneezing and coughing like I was all day today, by all standards, I should have called in, at least to keep from spreading the love with my coworkers. But no. I don't have enough PTO days for that. I only have two saved up, and I'm going to need at least three more so I can take that nice week off this summer, and every sick day I burn is a wasted vacation day.
Let me drop a hint for those of you who come up with these policies. This is the correct sick/vacation day plan for any company that even pretends to treat its employees humanely.
Vacation: At least 20 days per year.
Sick: As many sick days as you need, but if you're sick for more than a day or two, justify with a doctor's note.
If you're running a business, and you don't provide at least that to your employees, die in a fire!
I've never felt so chained to my desk as I did today.
What I was ranting about was all the other liberties we had that got taken away after Columbine, after 9/11.
Just look at 9/11. As a result of that, we got the PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions of Act of 2006. We got the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan. We got warrantless wiretaps, national security letters, no-bid Halliburton contracts, Blackwater, loss of habeas corpus, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, electric shocks, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, sexual humiliation. The list goes on and on!
Do you think Bush and co. aren't going to exploit what happened at Va. Tech to give us more of this?
And people think it's just about gun control...
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