Denmark Kicking the Wind’s Ass

Yeah, I don’t know about the headline, but it’s another great milestone for renewable energy that will not be seen by most people. Denmark’s wind farms created enough energy to satisfy the country’s entire electrical needs with some excess picked up by neighboring countries yesterday. These kinds of milestones are happening all the time as the world moves forward from carbon.

Hallelujah!!

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“It shows that a world powered 100% by renewable energy is no fantasy,” said Oliver Joy, a spokesman for trade body the European Wind Energy Association. “Wind energy and renewables can be a solution to decarbonisation – and also security of supply at times of high demand.”

Could it be ‘Cause GOP is Increasingly Southern? Just Guessin’

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Democrats increasingly see the confederate flag as a not so benign symbol of hate and Republicans just don’t.

The tragedy of this is that Americans to this day don’t universally see clear enough to see the truth behind this flag of slavery, white supremacy and treason. I’ve written about the South’s propaganda campaign to minimize the meaning of the flag and the reasons and causes for the entire Civil War so as to excuse them like it was just a high spirits, boys-will-be-boys thing.

Clearly, they were very successful for a long time and the spell is still working on the Republican portion of the population, that is, by the way, trending more Southern and rural.

One could look at present ways of thought and think we’ve not been this divided since 1860 and I think one might just be right. It’s even starker now that one region and way of thinking has chosen one political party as their ideological home, while everyone thinking the opposite has chosen the other party wherever they live. (A large group of “pox on both their houses” types have chosen independence, although when you push them most do lean a particular way.)

In 1860 Republicans were almost exclusively a Northern party, but Democrats had powerful constituencies in the North and South that were also increasingly in conflict with each other. The conflict was so profound that it is kind of amazing that the party survived the war and outlived the Confederacy.

Evita Took My Phone!!

I love Patti LuPone. I always will love Patti LuPone. “Theater is not a social event.”

A fed up LuPone took an audience member’s phone away when the silly woman spent the entire play texting.

Besides the rudeness, which I fully expect will just get worse, Broadway tickets are fucking expensive. Even if somebody gave you the ticket and you didn’t spend the money, why would you sit there and text for an entire performance?

We’re fighting for civilization here people!

Taxpayers in UK Handing Over £3,500 a Year to Business

Love to see a study like this for America.

The Guardian’s analysis shows that the corporatists in Cameron’s UK government have a well designed scheme of wealth redistribution going in which every family in the UK is handing over £3,500 annually to big businesses like Amazon, Nissan, Ford, etc. through tax breaks for business, subsidies and grants, or as it is sometimes referred to “corporate welfare.”

My very conservative question is, wouldn’t it be purer capitalism to let those families spend that £3,500 annually how they see fit, and wouldn’t the best businesses receive their share of that money anyway? That is in a nutshell the laissez faire capitalist argument against taxes used against the laissez faire capitalist argument for business givebacks.

When the right talks about crony capitalism, how is this not the primest example of same? The cronies are the legislators on both sides of the ocean who take the campaign funds and then create business friendly legislation handing taxpayer money over to business. Never mind picking winners and losers, it’s picking taxpayer pockets without providing any increase in the value of the commons that the taxpayers own. It’s a vastly different thing to build a bridge that everyone can use versus handing money to (usually) an already profitable business to appease them to create the mythical “good business environment” in which business people get their bottom lines stroked with taxpayer money.

Corporate welfare is part of what David Cameron calls his government’s policy to make the UK “the most open, welcoming, business-friendly country in the world”.

But let’s take the campaign donation system of legal bribery out of it for a second and look at it from another angle. Politicians everywhere arguably act irresponsibly in order to create that “good business environment” by providing tax free zones, rebates and incentives to lure businesses to their jurisdictions. It’s the local government paying for the billionaire team owner’s sports stadium in order to get/keep the team. It’s the tax free zone created to lure businesses that will create jobs. It’s the tax rebates given to the oil industry despite record profits. It’s all defendable, it’s all respectable, it’s all so responsible and upstanding – except that it’s not.

The Guardian’s analysis shows that while the state is giving private companies an increasing amount in direct handouts, the money repaid in corporate taxation is falling almost year upon year.

In the financial year 2012-13, the government spent £58.2bn on subsidies, grants and corporate tax benefits. It took just £41.3bn in corporation tax receipts.

If the government and the taxpayers aren’t profiting by this strategy, and they’re not, then they’re just being taken for a ride. The politicians are willingly getting in the car. The taxpayers are dragged behind it.

Darwin Awards Take This One Too

So a couple of drunken idiots blew their heads off by trying to shoot fireworks using their heads as a launching pad. Here in Maine. This guy in Michigan.

Then this guy ignored warnings about a killer alligator to go swimming and got taken out of the gene pool. He did it the most American way too, stating “fuck that alligator” before diving into the alligator’s food bowl.

But our target today is even stupider, more arrogant and less worthy of consideration than these other thinking impaired morons. And yet, the only repercussion for him is profound embarrassment.

This guy jumped on a Broadway stage moments before curtain to charge his cell phone in a prop wall outlet. On stage. So now the pre-show announcements to take no flash pictures have to add this admonition as well? Even if you weren’t hip to the reality that a stage set is not going to have a working electrical outlet, how opportunistic and egocentric do you have to be to think, “oh I’m down to 3%, I’ll just hop up on the stage and plug in for a minute.” Seriously.

Greece Should Grexit (Greek+Exit)

Because even economics gets the Bennifer treatment these days they’ve invented a cute smashup word for Greece exiting the Euro zone. What the banks are doing to Greece is a travesty, but inventing “Grexit” and giving a serious economic crisis the People Magazine treatment is maybe worse.

While we’re at it, not one economist I respect thinks Greece should put up with the bloodletting their creditors are trying to impose on them. AUSTERITY DOESN’T WORK. See Krugman for how Greece has made radical changes but still can’t pull out of their tailspin because repeat after me, AUSTERITY DOESN’T WORK.

To understand why I say this, you need to realize that most — not all, but most — of what you’ve heard about Greek profligacy and irresponsibility is false. Yes, the Greek government was spending beyond its means in the late 2000s. But since then it has repeatedly slashed spending and raised taxes. Government employment has fallen more than 25 percent, and pensions (which were indeed much too generous) have been cut sharply. If you add up all the austerity measures, they have been more than enough to eliminate the original deficit and turn it into a large surplus.

So why didn’t this happen? Because the Greek economy collapsed, largely as a result of those very austerity measures, dragging revenues down with it.

A Trend, Maybe? (Probably not but what is a happy clappy liberal supposed to do?)

Gallup shows that Democrats have regained an edge in party affiliation after a rare historic equilibrium.

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30% of the public claims to be Dems, while 25% claims to be Republicans while equal 16% camps claim to be independent but leaning Dem (total 46%) or R (total 41%) (watch those numbers decrease for the Rs as people get to know the presidential clown car).

Concurrently, Bernie Sanders is getting amazingly large crowds at his rallies. 10,000 in Madison Wisconsin last night. And he announced raising $25 million in just 2 months. And you can bet not one penny of it was corporate.

It doesn’t hurt the trend that Hillary raised $45 million in the quarter with 91% of it in donations of $100 or less which is pretty impressive too.

God knows I wish we didn’t have to talk about 2016 until, say, 2016. But that’s where we are.

Hat tip to Joan Walsh on her article on how some of the mainstream media has embraced Bernie Sanders out of their irrational hate for Hillary. The article mentions the late socialist philosopher Michael Harrington. I took a political science class taught by Mr. Harrington way back when at Queens College and it was an honor to have done so.

He used to tell a story about how he would be asked to give speeches in front of crowds of what we called “Reagan Democrats” back in the 80s – blue collar working class white guys, union guys, who would never have called themselves “socialists.” He would speak and they would find themselves agreeing with everything he had to say, but questioning how that could be since he was a dreaded socialist. They would walk away with a completely different attitude towards the entire political structure and how the system labels people ideologically and marginalizes all but the two mainstream parties.

Happy 4th all!!