imaginary mice and rails, evan rachel wood’s tattoo, mythologizing economics

Between the net magazines and blogs, Lousiana Governor Jindal’s bizarre prejudice against monitoring for seismic activity that might destroy life and property, has been well covered. Sean Hannity and co-conspirators obsession with a marsh mice and a railroad that doesn’t exist continues. Matthew Yglesias debunked the railroad portion of this new urban myth two weeks ago. Neither that or being confronted with the facts will deter Hannity from his Pravda inspired mission to show the world – or a few high school drop outs sitting around in dirty shorts anyway – that he is bereft of both humility and knowledge. Lacking the later should be a disqualfier for being a pundit, but we are talking about Fox. Hannity, his mouse and his railroad – figments of his delusional imagination

After Sestak challenged Hannity to “try to name” an earmark in the bill, Hannity responded: “The salt harvest marsh mouse that gets $30 million. The railway from Los Angeles to Las Vegas: that is a pork project.” In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, the bill does not contain any language directing funds to the salt marsh harvest mouse or its San Francisco wetlands habitat, a fact that the House Republican leadership aide who reportedly originated the claim has reportedly acknowledged.

[   ]…Furthermore, contrary to Hannity’s false claim — which has been pushed by House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) — that the economic recovery bill directs that funds be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas, the bill does not direct high-speed rail funds to any specific high-speed rail project. Furthermore, any funding would be allocated by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman.

This is  buzz in the railroad industry, the steel industry, the governor of California and organized labor – among others, that some of the funds may be spent on high speed rail. At this point, a dream for most Americans and apparently a nightmare for poor Sean.

The marsh mouse. Once again we run up against the attempt by a few very vocal Conservatives to marginal science. There are numerous reasons to preserve species and their habitat, but since it is usually the case that some Republicans tend toward a what’s in it for me attitude, think of the lowly Gecko, Scientists Make a Super-Strong Nanotech Glue Modeled on Gecko Feet. A potential multi-million dollar industry.

evan rachel wood’s tattoo – “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”. A quote from an Edgar Allan Poe poem,

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

evan rachel wood – if you’re not familiar with her work you might try the indie film Down in the Valley (2005) and King of California (2007).

I read a couple of other blogs that have done a post on Neal Boortz, but as they haven’t done anything lately I had assumed he retired or died. No. He’s reprinting chain mail. Just some excerpts, and reprinted chain mail is not worthy of a link – shouldn’t be difficult to find for those that are interested,

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

[   ]…So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don’t. There is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden — the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations… You never realize the back story and the sacrifices I’ve made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

[  ]…If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future. Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

If you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about….

If this business paid $288,00 in taxes, assuming he is Incorporated in the U.S. that means that he had to make over $18.33 million in profits and have zero deductions for things like equipment depreciation (not gross earnings). Does the guy deserve a round of applause for having an idea and the initiative to act on it along with years of sacrifice. Despite the obnoxiousness, yes. Is it possible for him to do the work – perform the labor and all the tasks required by himself to earn over $18 million in profits. There is no way. This business owner, who likely doesn’t even exist is not an island. There are lots of elements involved in providing him the opportunity to run such a business – educated consumers that earn enough to buy his products or services. Roads, bridges, fire departments – the universities  and high schools that educated his work force and taught consumers enough literacy to read and understand his advertising – none of which he paid for directly. The trucks he used road on tires that were made of materials researched by materials scientists and chemists that got part of their research money from other tax payers. he has to use software – programing engineers come from public universities for the most part and even the ones from private colleges get student loans and grants – day in and day out his business is fueled by the taxes and labors of people he doesn’t know, has never seen and obviously refuses to acknowledge. Eco 101 – capital is not possible – in fact does not exists, except as a product of labor that is being performed and will be performed. He wants to retire if some people or businesses get something out of the stimulus package. He could do that, but he couldn’t do something like the reverse – he cannot create any appreciable wealth without labor and all the various ingredients that go into making the economy where he could start the business that made enormous profits which gave him that measly tax bill. This chain mail is no more then then a plagiarism of Ayn Rand’s John Galt. A mythical hero in a story of fiction. As a work of fiction its enjoyable enough, but even Rand was a plagiarist in the sense that she got the general philosophy in Atlas Shrugged from the royalty of  Europe that believed society was best off if ruled by the elite – the Royal Galts if you will. That it was the natural order of things that the majority of humanity be ruled by their betters – in Shrugged it is the super hero inventor-capitalist, while in the chain mail it is the unappreciated, over worked, over taxed, multi-millionaire businessman. Rand and the businessman are not anti-democracy per se, but share some of philosopher Thomas Hobbe’s thoughts on strong authority with constant cautions against  becoming too egalitarian  – order and stability being  prized over freedom.

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. – Abraham Lincoln

If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves. – Lane Kirkland

some dreams


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