Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Friday, April 23, 2004

The Polls

By the way, to all the many dems rejoicing over current polls showing Kerry either tied with or holding a slim lead over Bush.

Just remember that these are the same pollsters who made Howard Dean the front runner 5 months before the first primary.

And we know how that turned out...

Posted by Rich
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Wow!  This is harder than it looks!

Hey folks! Sorry for the long silence, and I promise I haven't abandoned you. I thought that being unemployed would give me more time to blog, but there's a lot more to this "out of work bum" thing than I thought. As a matter of fact, I'm working so hard, I might have to go get a job just to take a break!

In truth, I'm working harder than ever, geting ready to launch a new business. I'm pretty excited about it, as it involves my favorite hobby, writing. If I can make this work, I'll finally be in the position of making a living doing something I love.

Once I weather this initial storm of startup paperwork and research, I'll return to more regular posting.

Please be patient, and check back every now and then. You never can tell when I'll get a spare minute or 12.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Air America Hits Turbulence.

They've lost their broadcast feeds in Chicago and LA because they didn't pay their bills.

The nerve of some people! It's like they actually expect you to pay them for services rendered or something. Don't they know this is a political struggle, and we all must make sacrifices? What's a lousy million dollars or so? Garafolo is good for it.

I had my phone cut off once because I forgot to pay the bill. It was embarrassing, but easily resolved. I paid the bill. But that's to simplisme for the lefties at Air America. They prefer a more nuanced approach

They're planning to sue.

Now why didn't I think of that? I should have sued the phone company for failing to live up to their end of the contract even though I had defaulted on mine.

To be fair, I really should link to Air America's side of this story.
Here’s what really happened:

This Liu-ser was ripping off our boss Evan Cohen big time (he can’t do that, that’s our job). Evan found out about it and he stopped payment on a check to keep Liu-cifer from ripping him off even more. You can touch Evan for the occasional meal or drinks but a million bucks is crossing the line. And if we ever get low on cash, we can always call Barbra Streisand. Or any of the
Baldwins. Except Stephen.

So we can all relax. They didn't bounce a check; they stopped payment because they were getting ripped off. Details about the nature of this rip-off were curiously absent. I guess we'll just have to wait until the Smoking Gun gets the paperwork posted.

UPDATE: Thanks to buck for linking to the smoking gun report. It looks like Air America may be the victim here if their claim that MCR double booked airtime pans out.

It seems a tad hypocritical though for Air America to go after MCR for taking action (kicking them off the air) prior to arbitration, since as far as I'm concerned, stopping payment on a check is at least as provocative. Shouldn't Air America have gone through arbitration before taking such a drastic, unilateral action?

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Here’s what’s really odd

I was expected to be polite about the whole thing. Here they were ripping me off for $20,000, and I was supposed to be calm and professional about it.

Isn't that like a rapist asking his victim to stop screaming because it breaks his concentration?

The damned weirdest thing about it is I did stay professional. Hell, I even continued working Thursday morning, waiting for my outprossessing to begin.

Simply amazing.

By the way, listening to System of a Down when you're really pissed off is a good way to let off some steam. Now if I had some GWAR, I'd be set.

Posted by Rich
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A Personal Epiphany

It took a painfully swift kick in the ass, but I've finally seen the light.

I'm a Democrat now.

Yes, it's true. I support John Kerry for President, and hope he picks someone like Edwards as his veep. In fact, I'm going further and becoming an anti-capitalist socialist.

DOWN with the Corporate DOGS! POWER to the PEOPLE and all that STUFF! Screw the MAN. Speak the TRUTH to the POWER! BUSH LIED-PEOLPE DIED!!!! SPELL CHECKING is for the Bourgeois LACKEYS of the MAN!!! TYPE in all CAPS! And USE lots of EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!

And what led to this sudden transformation?

I got laid off yesterday.

It wasn't unexpected. The company announced quite a while ago that they would be laying off employees, but offered a very nice retention incentive (about $20,000 plus 1 year continued insurance coverage for the employee and family) to be paid to anyone who was laid off. They asked for volunteers first, and since the job I was hired to do was done, and because I had some plans for a new business, plans that the incentive pay would capitalize nicely, I volunteered.

Back when I was in the Navy, we had a saying. Never Again Volunteer Yourself. I didn't learn that lesson, and it came back to bite me in the ass.

I volunteered for the layoff back in February, and was told last Friday that I would be laid off this Thursday. I was asked if I'd be interested in coming back as a contractor the next week, but I'd made my plans and was ready to go, so I turned them down.

Big mistake.

Wednesday afternoon, at about 3:30, the HR department called and informed me that, due to their interpretation of the requirements of the retention incentive program, I was not eligible for the bonus or the insurance, but thanks so much for volunteering.

I was understandably distressed by this news. I've lost money before but I've never had $20,000 stolen from me.

It sucks.

I went to see the head of the HR department, and after telling me all about his cold, and how he wasn't sure whether it was a winter cold or a spring cold, he informed me that I was out on my ass. In the space of a few minutes I went from budding entrepreneur to out of work bum on welfare and food stamps, screwed by a callous corporate system that grinds down the little guy, wresting the very life's blood from his body, repaying him with nothing but contempt.

I refuse to play helpless victim. Since I was planning on starting a business, I had backup financing plans in mind just in case something like this happened so we're all OK and my business plans may have been drastically altered, but they're still intact.

All I need now is a hungry labor lawyer who is looking to stick it to some corporate types who really, really chose the wrong guy to pick a fight with. If my lawyer tells me I have no case, I'll let it go, and consider it a painful lesson learned. On the other hand, if my lawyer says I do have a case, then $20,000 will seem like peanuts when I get done with these assholes. They want to play hardball, well then, welcome to the big leagues boys.

(2 paragraphs deleted as unprofessional. Funny, but unprofessional)

Oh, by the way, that whole switching to democrat thing was a joke, playing off the stereotypical liberal demographic. I am fully aware that not all democrats are out of work welfare bums looking to get rich quick by suing corporate assholes. That was a generalization, used only to provide an extra dollop of sarcasm. In fact, I am now a conservative welfare bum looking to get rich quick by suing corporate assholes.

Don't that just beat all?

Posted by Rich
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Monday, April 05, 2004

Speaking of delinking…

John Kerry has now de-linked the Daily Kos, after Kos opined that the 4 men murdered and mutilated in Fallujah deserved what they got.

I give props to Kerry for acting, although his continued support of Democratic Underground makes it seem like window dressing rather than an honest reappraisal of his support for fringe elements in lefty politics.

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, April 03, 2004

I’ve been de-linked!

And by none other than SKBubba, founder of the RTB!

What could he possibly have objected to?

All I did was the same thing he says he does, point out the distortions, misdirections and lies the other side uses to try and sell their side to the most people possible. Isn't that part of what blogging is all about?

Apparently, it's OK for him to call all conservatives either manipulative liars or ignorant fools, but it's not OK for me to point out the liberties he's taken with the truth, or inconsistencies in his own behavior.

The part that saddens me is I really enjoyed Bubba's company the few times we got together; he's intelligent, articulate, passionate, and funny. But he's changed over the past couple of years, and the guy I knew seems to have disappeared behind a wall of anger and hate.

The de-linking part is nothing; what bugs me is the pattern behind it. If we all listen only to the voices we agree with, if none of us seek out new perspectives, then none of us learn anything new. Even worse, we deepen an already too deep chasm in our national character, a chasm once bridged by force, and at the cost of too many American lives in the deadliest war ever fought by Americans.

I know, I know; It's quite a stretch from de-linking a guy who pisses you off to another Civil War, but the similarities are there.

For my part, I'll keep criticizing John Kerry, based on his own words and actions, and I'll continue to question the philosophical and logical underpinnings of liberalism, as I am convinced there are serious flaws there. Any of you who disagree are encouraged to do so. I'll answer your comments in the same manner they are left. Attack me and I'll either return fire, or ignore you, depending on how my day went. Challenge me with a sound argument, and I'll counter with another, or delve deeper to find the root difference in our world pictures. In either case, I'm not interested in running an echo chamber, but in establishing a dialogue.

Reasonable people cannot allow unreasonable people to frame the debate; that way lies irrational hatred.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, April 02, 2004

Attack the Policies, not the Man

Well, that's easy enough to do.

For example, John Kerry has said he wants to stop building up our emergency reserves in order to drop the price of a gallon of gas.

Given that we are currently at war with an opponent that has shown the willingness to blow themselves and their own countrymen up in order to prevent a little freedom from creeping in to the Middle East, is there anybody (other than John Kerry) who thinks it would be a good strategy to keep our strategic reserve at anything other than maxed out?

OK, maybe one or two of you out there thinks the strategic reserve isn't that important, that lower prices at the pump outweigh our nation security. Just how much does the strategic reserve affect gasoline prices?

Well, let's just check it out. From the same story, we see that the strategic reserve is drawing of about 150,000 barrels a day. Oil is traded at a rate of 86, 000,000 barrels a day. Whipping out the trusty pocket calculator, the strategic reserve is tapping a whopping 0.17% of the global trade. So what does that mean at the pump? The average price for a gallon of gas is $1.80. 0.17% of that is 0.3 cents per gallon. I drive a lot, about 50,000 miles per year. At 28 mpg, I average about 1785 gallons of gas per year. At 0.3 cents per gallon, over the course of a year, I would save $5.36.

And they laughed at the Bush tax cuts as paltry.

Sen. Kerry, if it's all the same to you, I'll sleep better at night knowing the nation's tanks are topped off, and consider it a bargain at $5.00 per year.

I tried to put together a detailed critique of Kerry's energy policy, but in the end had to stop because there are almost no details to critique. As is typical of an election campaign, the Kerry plan is long on sizzle and short on steak. Very rarely do you find any numbers, and never do you see associated costs, although they are quick to point out potential savings. Here's a couple of examples of what I'm talking about. The following headers are directly from Kerry's website.

  1. A New ‘Energy Security and Conservation Trust’
    He plans to use funds from existing fees and royalties to fund research into more efficient cars, and to pave the way for a hydrogen economy. Sounds great, right? He's going to use existing funds in a new way, so we'll get hybrid cars and fuel cells for free.

    Except that these fees are already funding other projects, which will either have to be cut, or need additional funding (ie a tax/fee increase). Kerry's plan is silent on this. Also, as I've writen about extensively, hydrogen as an energy source suffers a myriad of problems, chiefly that the cheapest way to get hydrogen is through steam reformation of methane, a process that take more energy than it produces, not to mention releases all those nasty greenhouse gasses we're trying to avoid. Using more energy in an attempt to save energy is a strategy only a Democrat could love.

  2. Reducing Oil Dependence by Two Million Barrels of Oil a Day
    Hmmm. According to the most recent 4 week average, we produced 5.6 million barrels per day, and imported 9.4 million barrels per day, which gives us a total consumption of 15 million barrels per day. Kerry claims that only about 2 million of that comes from the Middle East, which while true is misleading, since the amount of oil we import from OPEC is about 4 million barrels per day, with the balance coming from non-Middle Eastern nations, which means that even if we did cut our usage by 2 million barrels a day, we'd still be dependent on OPEC, which means by default, the Middle East. The problem is that the OPEC cartel controls roughly 40% of global crude supply, which means they will set global price regardless of which country we actually buy our oil from.

    To be fair, I support reducing our dependence on oil, whether foreign or domestic. However, we need to have a realistic plan for doing so. According to his website, Sen. Kerry plans to achieve this reduction by requiring an increase in the CAFE standard to 37mpg by 2015. What's not mentioned on the website is that he plans to require that this standard be applied to light duty trucks as well as passenger vehicles, so while he claims to support the people's right to drive an SUV if they want, he supports standards that are impossible to meet. Just a little political sleight of hand between friends, right?

  3. A Plan to Use Hydrogen Throughout the Nation By 2020
    I simply have to quote this entire block. See if you can detect one hint of a credible plan to achieve this goal:
    While John Kerry believes our nation needs a strategy to reduce dependence on oil today, he knows we can harness technological innovation and ingenuity to develop a hydrogen-based economy for the future. Hydrogen has great promise as a clean, domestic, and reliable energy source for the future. It has the potential to power our cars at 100 miles per gallon without pollution and, with the right technology, can be produced efficiently from natural gas and coal. Eventually, John Kerry believes that we can build a truly clean and secure economy based on hydrogen -- a clean fuel that we can eventually get entirely from renewable sources from our farms, the wind, solar energy, hydropower and geothermal sources.

    Lies, lies, and damned lies. No technology can produce hydrogen from natural gas or coal efficiently because it's always going to be a losing proposition. It will always take more energy to produce the hydrogen than will be contained in the hydrogen. Why introduce a useless transformation that costs you energy? The rest is sizzle, but no steak. No mention of the limitations of using renewable energy sources to develope the hydrogen, or the scale on which they would have to be used in order to bring us to a hydrogen based economy. The bottom line is that, if we had the alternative energy source capacity to generate the hydrogen, we wouldn't need the hydrogen! Nope, not the faintest whiff of reality, just pie in the sky for you and me.

OK, that's enough. The rest of the plan is even worse, exhuming tired solutions that have already been dismissed as overly expensive and inadequate. Expanding the brning of coal and natural gas? If we're using them to make hydrogen, we won't have any left to burn for other processes. 20% of power coming from renewable sources? Hell, you can't even put up a windmill anymore without somebody filing a lawsuit because you're blocking the migratory route of the Lesser Michigan Loon or some such idiocy.

Oil is going to run out, and it's going to be fairly soon, within my kid's lifetimes, if not my own. We need a serious energy policy, not one crafted to offend as few people as possible. Alternative sources cannot meet the demands of modern society. Either we accept a drastically reduced standard of living, including a re-education in the Malthusian doctrine (it takes a significant amount of energy to feed 6 billion people), or we look to maximize our use of the technologies that have the potential to replace oil. That isn't hydrogen, not today, and probably not for several decades.

Posted by Rich
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