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Germany Eliminates College Tuition

My reaction to the parts of Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko”, where he shows how other countries provide universal healthcare to their citizens as a right, was disgust and the realization that Americans are suckers. We’re being screwed by our government and the assumptions that we live with that we’re all on our own and our government is not really there to help the individual succeed, no less thrive. Germany, and other Western countries, have a different view of government. Which is odd because many of them got their constitutions from ours, but their interpretation of it is 180 degrees different from our Supreme Court and the traditional pre-New Deal 19th century understanding that stubbornly persists today.

Besides healthcare, education should be a right. We pay lip service to it as being essential to our future as a society, besides being an individual’s best bet for success. Europe actually does it.

“We got rid of tuition fees because we do not want higher education which depends on the wealth of the parents,” Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic, the minister for science and culture in Lower Saxony, said in a statement. Her words were echoed by many in the German government. “Tuition fees are unjust,” said Hamburg’s senator for science Dorothee Stapelfeldt. “They discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”

We are being screwed by our assumptions and our inability to live up to our democratic promise as a nation. If anybody ever says to me, “but we’re not a democracy, we’re a republic” I’ll punch them in the throat.

Hudson & East River Tunnels Will Have to Close For Maintenance, Thanks Christie

This is going to be very, very, very bad. There are two 100 year old tunnels under the Hudson River that carry up to 24 Amtrak and NJ Transit trains an hour. There are four tunnels under the East River that carry Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit (NJ Transit has a rail yard in Queens) trains.

All of these tunnels suffered damage from flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy.

And now they have to be closed and overhauled.

One at a time. For up to a year each. And it’s going to be very bad for the most heavily travelled commuter corridor in the country.

Worth noting, that two brand spanking new tunnels were supposed to have been in construction right now, bless Jesus and Robert Moses! But they’re NOT being constructed goddammit! Because of Chris Christie f/k/a The Luckiest Man in America. Christie, in the great Nixonian tradition, grabbed whatever Port Authority money earmarked for this project that he could grab with his grubby hands and used it for projects that he could grease local politicians with – mostly the renovation of bridges that have nothing to do with the Hudson crossings. Apparently, like Robert Moses who hated tunnels because you couldn’t see them and couldn’t maximize the visual PR value of them like a massive new bridge spanning a body of water, Christie saw no benefit to him in the tunnels that had been 15 years in the planning and so cancelled them.

[True and alarming historical note: Robert Moses wanted to build a bridge from the Battery to Brooklyn instead of the eventually built Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. A bridge in that space would have been built right where Battery Park is today and would have disrupted almost all of the historic downtown Wall Street area. Thankfully, activists and city officials fought his plan and won with the ultimate help of FDR's War Dept. that claimed the bridge would compromise national defense by interfering with ship traffic in the NY bays.]

My question that has never been answered is how can one person make such a short term decision to derail (pun intended) a very long term project that will effect commuting in the region for decades.

Secondly, with so many high end NJ tax payers effected by his decisions how he didn’t pay more of a price for this horrifically bad decision I’ll never understand. This decision alone should make you a pariah.

Republicans Use Stock Photos for “Republicans are Real People” Campaign

Well of course they did. Of course they could locate a black Republican and a Latino republican and a young working person Republican who owns a Prius, there’s one of each somewhere. But that would be hard. So it’s just easier to use stock photos and then take the ridicule that comes with that hilarious decision rather than have to take the eventual heat for one of their “real” Republicans saying something crazy in public. Kind of like their candidates often do.

The Hypocrisy/Stupidity of Red State America

The 10 biggest socialist moochers are some of the reddest states. This is no surprise. Of course Mississippi, Alaska, Alabama, Louisiana, etc. take way, way WAY more in federal funds than they contribute. They’re poor ass states (although Alaska also takes the hypocrisy cake by having complete state control of their natural resources for which every Alaskan comrade receives an annual stipend) that are “proudly” conservative (read: proudly insane) on fiscal issues, taxation, wages and unionism. The majority of people in these states hate socialism, hate taxes, hate hand outs, hate “moochers” and believe themselves to be exemplars of responsibility and good old fashioned constitutional conservative heartland “makers.” That they’re just plain wrong and flat out delusional about their fiscal reality is, once again, not shocking.

Mississippi receives $3.07 for every dollar in federal taxes they pay. If you asked them they’d say that they pay too much in taxes already. To be fair many would also say that they don’t want the federal handouts either. The fact that those handouts are the only reason that Mississippi can balance its budget, keep its deficient schools open, continue to provide the woefully sad state of healthcare they’re so delusionally proud of is more of an exemplar of our red state disconnect between ideology and math.

They’re not who they think they are. But they are right that their ideology makes them what they are.

Every state that is under Republican economic control is showing signs of fiscal dysfunction.  Kansas Governor Sam Brownback slashed Kansas taxes, living the GOP dream, and the results have been a disaster that the Governor has dishonestly tried to blame on Obama. New Jersey also has seen its budget deficits grow and bond ratings downgraded because of a misguided governor supremely confident in his failing economic ideology and incapable of changing course despite empirical reality.

Even Saint Dutch Reagan was capable of listening to his economic advisors and reversing some of his draconian tax cuts when tax shortfalls became alarming. His 21st century acolytes are incapable of such prudent course changes. It’s no small coincidence that the reality of their idol falls so far short of their myth.

The mythology, the ideology has completely overtaken critical thinking and it’s crippling their ability to govern reasonably.

In Gaza – Take The Rubble Bucket Challenge

This take on the ridiculous ice bucket nonsense wins it all and (hopefully) ends the whole silly mishegas. I mean really, just donate! And if you dump ice water on your head and then think that gets you out of donating you are a horrible person

In his video of the challenge, Ayman al Aloul, who is based in Gaza, said that water is too valuable to waste and too difficult to freeze, so he used what was readily available: shrapnel, rocks, sand, and other debris.

Brilliant Satire – 10 Beautiful Mixed-Race Arrests

Nice work clickhole! Which is a phrase I enjoy saying and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

The Straight Poop on Mr. Met (don’t touch his head)

Great piece in Rolling Stone on the regimented schedule and mystique of America’s most popular mascot.

Mr. Met typifies classic Mets fans, he is always optimistic and looking forward to the good times. He may shake his head or smack his head in his hands when the Mets make an error, but he’s infallibly hopeful. I come from a family of more small headed Mr. Mets. I just wish I had one of those T-shirt cannons.


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