Nov 17, 2012

Art thief, is the coffee shop liable too?

I was in a Coffee shop on Friday and noticed this artist was selling pictures of artists; Adele, The Clash, Prince, Rhianna, Eminem, and others. They were all clearly images made by others that he had manipulated slightly in a photo editing program, had printed on canvas or some other material, and was offering for sale from the coffee shop's walls. As an artist who creates all my own work and struggles to find a market I was taken aback at this obvious theft. First, of the original image maker's work and secondly of the artist depicted. If the AP-v-Shepard Fairey case taught us anything it is that stealing like this for profit is illegal. I don't think this guy will sell very many of his "paintings" but, even one sale is a theft.

What do you think?

Oct 5, 2011

George Carlin's Greatest Moment

Check out this video on YouTube:

May 27, 2011

Learning about Right-Wing ideas

I've really been trying to understand the Right-Wing desire to protect the richest Americans from paying their fair share of taxes. Rep. Paul Ryan said the other day that it wasn't political when he proposed to strip Medicare from folks and replace it with a voucher. He said his budget proposal was a manifesto but an economic one, ". . NOT political" he said. So I'm learning about the economic underpinnings of the right & some Tea Party Patriots - I say some because I'm sort of a TEA Party guy. (Tax Even Aristocrats - but my voice is drowned out by the Bachmann/Ron Paul types)

So Republicans since Reagan have been trying to "starve the beast." By this they mean the Government here & most often the Federal Government. Rep. Ryan explained "When you take a look at the problems our country is facing, debt is No. 1," Ryan says. This is a debt largely wrought by Republicans; cutting taxes on the rich and paying for Wars off-budget during the Bush years. "The math is downright scary and the credit markets aren't going to keep on giving us cheap rates. "Lawmakers," he says, have "a moral obligation ... to put up solutions to fix this problem."

So why not increase revenue to lower the debt? Is there any room for Republicans to agree with Democrats on some increases in taxes for those earning the highest incomes? Ryan says no. "Here's the problem if you keep raising tax rates," he says. "You slow down economic growth." To those who argue that taxes used to be higher and the economy did OK, he says, "this is the 21st Century where tax competition matters so much more. ... Our competitors are lowering their tax rates."

In trying to understand w/ these arguments I noted a few premises that we have to consider:
1) Republicans seem to believe that "each man is an island," that on this island that man is king of his domain, toiling in solitude to support his family, maintain his castle and serve his maker. This idea seems to form the basis of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC and many GOP calls for freedom from Government.
2) Economics are all & only about competition. Cooperation between and amongst individuals, companys, countries, or any groups can only lead to socialism or worse, communism. In America the right believes that the COMMONS -those assets held in common for the good of all people- are an insidious cancer on the rights of private capital and the owners of that capital. As J.P. Morgan said, "If Congress insists on making stupid mistakes and passing foolish laws, millionaires should not be condemned if they take advantage of them." Only now Congress is more and more in the pocket of the rich before they even take their oath.

3) Economic decisions, negotiations, and leverage flow only to the rich. In effect the capitalist concept of one dollar/one vote. Political questions must be decided by he who is richest, loudest, and most belligerent. The notion from our earliest days that a meritocracy would be a smart way to govern has been entirely discredited by these economic anarchists. "Ruling elite" has become an epithet to be hurled at anyone who might use superior intellect to argue in favor of balance or compromise in our deliberations.

At the risk of setting up straw-men to argue against, these seem to underpin the Neo-Con arguments against raising taxes on rich people. The rich must be protected from paying a fair share. They create jobs -the argument goes- that poor and middle class people need to pay the rent, buy groceries, and care for their children. The rich job creators must be free to decide the amount of pay & work rules while the worker CANNOT use collective bargaining or regulatory leverage such as a Minimum Wage laws, equal pay rules, or any Government intervention in economic matters.

I want to understand. I want to feel that thoughtful folk are struggling to come to agreement about these issues but, it seems that liberals like me are only talking amongst themselves. I do not sense that anyone in the Republican Party, the Tea Party hierarchy, or Right-Wing think tanks has any desire to come to agreement about what is best for our country. They only seem to want to win. As if winning would be best even if they are wrong. So we continue with policies that have slowly bankrupted our treasury, lowered our standard of living -ironically only if you are poor, middle class, or upper middle class but, not the rich, whose incomes have increased substantially due to much lower taxes, caused declines in our sciences, research, arts, healthcare, housing, business climate, environment, and our precious natural resources. 30 years we've been walking down this wrong path. But, so long as the GOP keeps winning, what is good for America can just, "GO to hell!"

I for one hate this mentality. I believe we should create a more perfect union. I believe our Government should be the agent for this & for the establishment of Justice, ensuring the domestic tranquillity, providing for the Common defense & the General welfare. That by doing these, all building up of the Commons, we will secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves & our offspring.

Apr 15, 2011

Is too much TOO much. Not for the GOP, tax FREE in the USA!

I know anecdotes are not statistics. &, 2, 3, four or more things happening at about the same time does not mean they are related but, these types of news stories keep getting juxtaposed on the front pages of my papers. To wit:

WI Governor Scott Walker admits his budget cutting bill that dissolved many rights of workers to freely associate had nothing to do budget cutting but was solely about taking away the rights of poor & working class people of Wisconsin. (posted to YouTube by Congressman Denis Kucinich D, OH)

A Financial Crisis With Little Guilt - After Widespread Reckless Banking, a Dearth of Prosecutions (NYT 4/14/11)

United's Hemsley took home $48.8M (Strib business 4/14/11) Total compensation in 2010 was less than half his $102 million in 2009.

Ameriprise, broker unit to pay $150M (Strib business 4/14/11) Clients, many seniors who were misled, get 40 cents on the dollar.

GOP votes to Cut taxes on rich & pay for it with cuts to health care for poor, elderly, & infirm & food stamps for young needy families. (NPR 4/15/11)

Percent working lowest since '83 (USA Today 4/14/11)

[President] Obama Unveils Debt Relief Plan - Calls for Spending Cuts & Tax Increases (NYT 4/14/11)

Congressman Paul Ryan R WI says Medicare & Medcaid must be privatized even if it men more expensive less effective care than a government run plan can provide. (NPR All Things Considered 4/14/11)

What are the GOPers thinking? What part of "Huh?" don't they understand? If you get a chance to ask, please ask the GOP: Why should rich people get a free ride on the taxes that all the rest of pay US in full?

Mar 22, 2011

On the chemical properties of dihydrogen monoxide

Since I've been able to experience both in the recent months: I would much rather deliver the paper at 4:00 am with .75 inches of precip. at 28 degrees F as the flakes pile up forming a six inch layer of quiet, white across the landscape.
Today at 4:00 am delivering the paper with .75 inches of precip. at 36 degrees F as large drops of almost frozen water/slush hit my face and drench my clothing. Although I love the sound of rain and thunder, the eight degree variance really creates a different feeling and experience.

Let's hear it for water.

Mar 17, 2011

Gas Main Explosion Via @rstephens

Check out this video on YouTube:

Mar 15, 2011

Street walking in Minneapolis.

I estimate that #MPLS has spent or committed several billion dollars to creating an infrastructure that separates pedestrians from motor vehicles. Right-of-way, real estate, and other capital costs alone in the city must be 4-5 billion for sidewalks. When you include the time and energy spent to keep the sidewalks clear in the winter we easily spend millions each year to protect pedestrians. Why then do citizens still walk in the street, at night, wearing dark clothing, & walking the wrong way in the street?!??! So dangerous. So scary, so silly, so needless. I see it twice a week or more all winter.

Folks who care enough to follow my posts: