will brady's ruminations
life's difficult questions
Things I continue to wonder as I watch the boob tube
How does Tai get around all ther zoning regulation when Extreme Makeover
begins tearing down a house and triple-sizing it?
How do all these financially challenged families helped out with the new house, have to give it up because they can't afford property taxes?
How much does Rey Mysterio [as well as the other pro wrestlers] have to contribute as co-pay to their health insurance plans?
...or does Vince McMahon's corporation WWE self insure their employees?
Do Fox News staff really have special riders in their contracts that personally protect them from libel suits?
death + taxes
Here's a fast peek at what your federal tax dollars really get spent on. Graphic Artist Mibi posted his impressive work at Deviant Art
He provides the following info on the page:
THE SUPERDEVIATION IS COMPLETE
Please click fullview, it is 1.8 megs [NOTE: click on the above pix to directly link to the full view]
After a year in the making... researching, number crunching, layouts, stock gathering, and lots of procrastinating, i am proud to say it is finally done.
the SUPERDEVIATION, or "spot" as it was known to some, comes now with the final title.
Death and Taxes: A visual look at where your tax dollars go.
Most people are unaware of how much of their taxes fund our military, and those aware are often misinformed. Well here it is. Laid out, easy to read and compare.
With data straight from the White House.
I hope this makes people think and ask questions.
Why do we spend more on jets than we do on public housing?
Why is the Endowment for the Arts so small?
What's with all this foreign military financing?
I'm sure you can come up with numerous questions of your own. Unfortunately i dont have any answers. Our leaders do. Your president, his cabinet and your congress person have these answers. Ask them for the answers or better yet, demand them.
The version submitted to DA is 3500x2333 and is 1.8 megs.
I have provided a larger version so you can see all of the details.
It is 9000x6000 and 5.8 megs. (so make sure your PC can handle it)
Sorry for all the watermarks, you know DA these days.
The source for the print is 12000x8000 at 400 DPI, with wonderful clarity and resolution.
My guess is that the only changes is that the dollars for the military and Homeland Secruity have increased and the human services have gotten smaller. Wonder if Halliburton has their own dot.
Two years ago, when Mibi posted this he was selling copies. Worth the effort to purchase one. Worth it to find out as well if they are still available. I've sent him an e-mail just beofre posting this. If there's a positive response, I'll provide more detail here in an update.
Labels: artists, politicians, social comment
Who is the latest hooker cruising the corporate johns up and down K Street? Why, none other than John Ashcroft
. Always good to know that a hard core whore rarely gets up from working.
According to a recent New York Times article [subsequently published on AOL News]:
Mr. Ashcroft has become a Washington lobbyist, setting himself up ...and marketing his insider's knowledge of how Washington works.
For corporations seeking contracts from the growing homeland security budget, Mr. Ashcroft promises to draw on his central role in the war on terror and in helping set up the Department of Homeland Security. For companies in trouble with regulators, he says his experience in cracking down on corporate corruption can provide valuable insights.
One of Mr. Ashcroft's newest clients is ChoicePoint, a broker of consumer data that is increasingly being used by the government to keep tabs on people within the United States. The company received millions of dollars in contracts from the Justice Department under Mr. Ashcroft as part of the war on terror and has now hired him to find more.
"The Ashcroft Group contacted us and we initiated a relationship," said Chuck Jones, a ChoicePoint spokesman. "He's got a lot of knowledge that could benefit ChoicePoint."
Before the 9/11 attacks, there were few commercial opportunities at the Justice Department. Since then, the department has become a major clearinghouse for large contracts related to homeland security.
Mr. Ashcroft promises to guide companies through the maze, saying, "I have been at the heart of the war on terror."
After helping prosecute executives at Enron and WorldCom, Mr. Ashcroft also says he can counsel troubled companies on how to deal with government regulators and avoid the fate of Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm that collapsed after it was indicted in the Enron scandal.
"They need someone who can take threatening circumstances and neutralize them," Mr. Ashcroft said. "I'll be a lightning rod for people facing serious challenges."
Mr. Ashcroft is the only former Bush cabinet member and, by anyone's reckoning, the only former attorney general to have registered as a lobbyist. Many former attorneys general have had lucrative careers as political fixers without calling themselves lobbyists; in that sense, Mr. Ashcroft is being more transparent than his predecessors.
In a mission statement to prospective clients, he boasts of his connections. Mr. Ashcroft and "his talented team," the statement says, "have developed and cultivated close relationships with leaders in the corporate world as well as with officials in the top levels of the U.S. Government."
His staff includes David T. Ayres, his former chief of staff; Juleanna Glover Weiss, a Republican lobbyist and a former press secretary to Vice President Dick Cheney; and a Republican fund-raiser, William C. T. Gaynor II, who helped raise more than $300 million in the 2004 election. He opened his office 10 months after leaving the Justice Department.
Fellow Republicans praise his venture. "To have someone around to guide you to protect the assets of the corporation, it would be John Ashcroft who you would want at the table," said Donald L. Evans, the former commerce secretary. "Any C.E.O. in the 21st century would want him."
To maintain his conservative ties, Mr. Ashcroft signed up as a visiting law professor at Regent University, a school founded by Pat Robertson, the political evangelical broadcaster.
Read the whole article.
Integrity! Nothing like a breath of fresh air in the cesspool known as Washington, DC.
Labels: distractions, politicians, war profiteers
Michalia Reid writes The Boiling Point
a carton weblog that discusses everything from the the Sperm Sufferage rights mobement
to Queer Cowboys
and the importance of teaching intolerance
I think I love her stuff and plan on adding her to my blogroll.
Labels: emerging artists, humor, social comment
bushco rap sheet | update
I responded to an AlterNet piece about Claude Allen'a arrest for shoplifting
. The item focused on Allen's ethnicity; difficult to overlook, since he's been touted as a "Black Republican Conservative" since the days he worked for Jesse Helms.
Claude Allen's arrest for petty theft stands out amongst the Bushco rap sheet probably mainly because of his African American genetic history. In truth, th crime for which he has been nabbed is minor compared to the white men [and women] who populate the ranks of Bushco denizens.
What intrigues me is the sense from members of the Bushco regime that they are free to commit any level of crime they please; that they'll likely be forgiven for it and later embraced once public attention has been distratced by some fresh insult from a different perpertrator from the group.
Allen's case is further complicated by his long vaunted public stance on many issues as a moral arbiter for society. Black or White, it makes no difference when a charlatan is caught. Arrogance of power has no color.
Perhaps most damaging in Allen's case, however, is the fact that the Rethuglicans have obviously touted Mr. Allen as an example [however false in its representation] that African Americans somehow endorse the crypto [and not so crypto] racist policies and practices of the Bushco regime as valid.
They are not.
Labels: corporate criminals, politicians
While wandering, I read someone's lament about apparent building restrictions in a neighborhood.
Since I serve on my local historic district commission
the subject got my attention. The writer's comments seemed to lack an understanding about the charge and responibility of a review process and team. Here was my response.
I sit on an historic district commission, the function of which is to assess whether or not changes in a district are "appropriate". People who move into the designated districts in town are informed of this before ever
purchasing a property. All deeds are tagged and this is quickly ascertained during the title search.
"Appropriate" does NOT mean that the districts should be frozen in time, but whether or not some new structure is going to fit in. This takes into account a new project's scale, architectural diversity, how the neighborhood is used [i.e. is it primarily residential, mixed commercial/residential etc etc], what existing traffic patterns might be ~ can changes be incorporated without adversely impacting on others? Sometimes the review process will result in determining types of materials, but this cannot be arbitrary.
For example a 300 year old church sought to build an addition and initially wanted to use a cheap aggregate dyed concrete product as part of the foundation. This would have put the material right up against sturdy red sandstone and the difference would have been significant. The church would have been better off asking to build a modern construction; but they wanted the new structure to "match" with the rest of the project.
Such commissions are, admittedly, often comprised of people without formal training in architecture, landscape planning or the like. But I've seen architects and engineers on such commissions who come with their own aesthetic agendas and can gum up progress more effectively than any amateur on a commission.
Contrast our historic districts, however, with the off the shelf mediocre crap that quick-buck developers slap up in a couple of months and
then pawn off ~often with two or three garage bays as the most prominent "architectural detail" on the property, and it makes me proud to live in and make decisions about, what gets built in an area. Personally, I often find myself taking issue with real-estate spectuators harping on and on about a developers' property "rights" when their are interested only in quick bang for the buck, and screw what the twon and neighbors thing as long as I can buy low and sell high. Their interst in people's "property rights" is non-existant. It's their "wallet rights" they care about. The rights of people with property who plan to and intend on living in the area for awhile is entirely different matter, of course, and warrants respect.
Mind you, people serving on such commissions OUGHT TO park their egos outside the door before deliberating. And living in districts that have design review commissions calls for a recognition that as long as people are involved in a settlement, then the area is alive and ought to grow in ways that exhibit change and aesthetic fertilization of ideas and welcoming of the new.
Historic districts in much older cities in the world creatively incorporate the old and the new together. Yes, each of us own our own plots, but how we tend to them affects those around us. Put up a corrugated steel and concrete block next to a 17th century wood frame structure can work, but it has to be thoughtfully done. Sinking a building's foundation three levels down affects the neighborhood's groundwater supply and septic discharge areas. In such instances, ones' "property" expands beyond the readily discernible borders and can have direct adverse impact on the neighborhood.
Finally, review is not merely design police in action. Or it ought not be. If there is a designated area whose commission is behaving otherwise [in the USA at least] their members need to more closely review the guidelines of construction and design found at the Dept of Interior's National Park Services website Guidelines for Historic Properties
. The section on "new additions
" is worth checking out as well.
Sorry this is so long. Touched a nerve.
WHAT ARE AN HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION'S RESPONSIBILITIES?: The Historic District Commission reviews all plans for the construction, alteration, repair, moving or demolition to structures in the Historic District with consideration given to: 1. The historical or architectural value and significance of the structure and its relationship to the historic value of the surrounding area; 2. The general compatibility of exterior design, arrangement, texture and materials proposed to be used; and 3. Any other factor, including aesthetic, which it deems pertinent.
PIX CREDITS: 1- The Art of Northam Robinson Gould; 2- National Park Service Guidelines for Historic Properties |
Labels: artists, community planning, historic preservation
NOTICE! There is a dangerous virus being passed electronically, orally and by hand.
This virus is called Worm-Overload-Recreational-Killer (WORK). If you receive WORK from any of your colleagues, your boss or anyone else via any means - DO NOT TOUCH IT. This virus will wipe out your private life completely.
If you should come into contact with WORK, put on your jacket and take two good friends to the nearest pub. Purchase the antidote known as Work-Isolator-Neutralizer-Extractor (WINE).
The quickest acting WINE type is called Swift-Hitting-Infiltrator-Remover-All-Zones(SHIRAZ) but this is only available for those who can afford it. The next best equivalent is Cheapest-Available-System-Killer (CASK). Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.
After extensive testing it has been concluded that Best-Equivalent-Extractor-Remedy (BEER) may be substituted for WINE but may require a more generous application.
Listened to Michael J. Fox as he was interviewed on Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio tonight
and I couldn't help but contrast this with the fraud trials against ENRON founders Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay going on right now.
How's that? you ask? Well, maybe the link is indicative of my own thinking process, but it's also comparing how differently people with immense wealth respond to things in life.
In Michael Fox's situation, he has, since the end of the 20th century, directed time, energy and money into seeking solutions for an ostensibly incurable disease. Contrasting this with the Lay/Skilling/Fastow bunch and how they have alloted their wealth. Even if they are determined innocent of fraud [I doubt this] that they personally walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars while never even blinking about putting some of that gained toward humanitarian causes speaks volumes about their values. In short, the utter lack of sense of responsibility to the larger community wherein they reside [the USA at the very least] exhibited suggests strongly they are guilty of callousness and greed if not actual fraud.
Now, I realize that ~ with Mr. Lay, at least, there may be some nominal connection to a "Christian" denomination [he has been observed by the media coming in and out of church] ~ there is no obligation for these characters to divulge their habits regarding charitable giving, but even Bill and Melinda Gates have recognized this kind of obligation.
My bets are on Mr. Fox. His selflessness provides a role model for others. Lay and Skilling would be wise to heed it.