Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Them Wall Street Protests

Been super busy lately, so blogging has gone back down to the bottom of my priorities list. And I really feel like I should have posted something by now about the occupy movement, but such is life sometimes.

Though trust me, that will happen eventually, for now I don't have the time to say anything too insightful about it that hasn't already been said (though I will soon! I promise!), so instead I'm going to take the cheap cop-out and link to someone else writing about it instead.

Several versions of this kind of argument have been making the rounds of the facetubes and twitbooks and whatever else the kids are using these days, but I think this one stands out for being well-written and from a reputable source. That being said, I direct your attention to Four Charts That Explain What The Protestors Are Angry About.

Obviously you can go read the article yourself, but the gist of it is that while minimum wage and real incomes (inflation adjusted) for the bottom 40% have declined and barely risen, respectively, corporate profits have skyrocketed, and executive compensation and incomes for the top earners have experienced similar sharp growths.

While the income disparity angle is interesting enough, I think the corporate profits chart explains the problem even more succinctly. The wave of outsourcing and off-shoring in the 80s was justified by businesses as an attempt to stay afloat and keep pace in a hectic global market. And if that actually were the case, then asking for some concessions from workers would be a reasonable option. But since they were all actually seeing record profits...well, I don't mean to sound too cynical, but this may indicate that not only were these businesses maybe not being super truthful, they also were literally lining their pockets with money stolen from the pockets of workers.

And this is why people are angry.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

This Proves Pretty Much Everything I've Been Saying...

Headline from today's newspaper: With immunity ruled out, U.S. troops unlikely to stay in Iraq past 2011.

This is so blatantly ludicrous, I don't even know where to start. It's one of those crazy moments where the powers that be accidentally tell the truth, and for people like me, those moments are always simultaneously exhilarating (they're telling the truth! and I was right!) but yet completely depressing (shit! I was right about all the horrible things they're doing!).

For those who don't wan to read the article, the gist is that the Iraqi government, because of the many, many straight-up homicides, rapes, and other incredibly illegal and immoral actions of US soldiers and contractors, will no longer grant a blanket immunity to all US military personnel and instead will now prosecute them for illegal acts (crazy, I know). And now because the US military does not get to do whatever it wants whenever it wants wherever it wants, it's taking its ball and going home like the spoiled child it is.

This is also pretty concrete proof that the many problems and legal violations of the invasion were systemic, and not the fault of those classic "few bad apples." Because if only a "few bad apples" were breaking the law, you wouldn't really need blanket immunity from all prosecutions. Hell, if it truly were just a "few bad apples," wouldn't you want legal prosecution of them, to show how upstanding and law-abiding the rest of you are?

But maybe I'm being too cynical. Maybe no laws were ever broken by any military personnel or contractors. But if I'm wrong about this, I'd sure like to hear an explanation of why the refusal to extend immunity is the reason why they're finally packing up and going home, because I'm just not smart enough to figure out any other way those two things are connected...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

To Whip It or Not To Whip It

As any long time reader of this blog will know, I am sucker for every possible type of graph, flow chart, venn diagram, or other such smart-ass way of graphically depicting things from pop culture.

So, for instance, if you're worried about whether Mothersbaugh and company would advise you to whip it or not, well, worry no more:

Monday, October 03, 2011

Announcing Healthy October

Part 5  in the Bottoming Out and Moving Onwards Series. Find Part 1 here, Part 2 here,  Part 3 here, and Part 4 here.

Pictured: Me?
It turns out that being depressed isn't particularly good for your health. I'm sure there's all sorts of scientific studies or some such thing that say this, but I'm sure it's more than obvious to anyone who's gone through a shitty point in their life, which would be pretty much everyone, I assume.

Anyway, as part of bottoming out in life this summer, I more-or-less abandoned every even semi-healthy activity there is. So little things like exercise and eating food that contains nutrients were replaced by drinking heavily, eating shitty fast food, sitting on my ass all day, and then some more heavy drinking. As such, I've gotten a little soft around the edges. And by "soft around the edges" I mean fat and lazy.

And while getting into shape and living healthily really aren't that hard, it is often hard to start doing them, mostly because living unhealthily and being fat are super duper easy.

After a few false starts, I've decided to arbitrarily pick the beginning of October as the time I would get serious about this, and take it super seriously for a month -- the month of healthy October. The idea being that if I take getting back into somewhat healthy habits really seriously for a month it will pretty much maintain itself after that.

So for the rest of this month, it's going to be making all my food at home, and mostly fruits and vegetables and all those sorts of things at that; knocking out the unhealthy snack foods completely; maintaining a regular exercise routine; and cutting back on the drinking. I figure, do all that for a month with strict discipline, and that's got to be good enough to get back into fighting shape.

The end of healthy October will be marked by Halloween, during which I will drink heavily and eat a lot of shitty food.