Music Monday: He would have turned 257 yesterday

Rock me, Amadeus.

 

In closing: as true as this is, the other half of the solution involves prison time for supervisors and managers that ignore the law; facts can be twisted; work out before breakfast; how to cancel almost anything; hahahahahaha what planet are they from that they think doctors set their own prices??; 150 things really smart people are worried about; what kind of moron texts his girlfriend to say the baby isn’t breathing instead of calling 911??; deadliest jobs in America; Fluffy’s Dream Home.

40 Years Later

The Roe v. Wade ruling turns 40 today. Most of us think that’s a good thing. If I may be blunt, this would have been the alternative to a safe abortion for many women:

wire_hanger

 

Hmm, not as warm and fuzzy as adoption or a happy little family, now is it?

You want to prevent abortions? Prevent unwanted pregnancies! Lobby for widely available contraception, prevention of sexual assault, research into the prevention of birth defects, a better economy so women feel they can feed and care for a[nother] child, and stop with the bullshit.

There is no In Closing today.

Music Monday: What’s Going On

 

In Closing: the cat came back; the wages of austerity; aww rats; adventurous surrogate mother wanted; rubber duckies; well yeah, it looks silly when he does it; too redacted; Clouds! Pork Exercise! Mexico! Pass the word; backtrack; never occurred to them that’s not an option for everybody; locking up the dumb b**** for not knowing what’s good for her baby; dealing with climate change; some bosses think Jesus wants them to break laws they don’t like (I seem to remember a line about rendering unto Ceasar…); on math; on history; and a prototype of facebook.

No Reason to Subscribe to Fortune

Let’s cut to the meat:

[I]f America fails to enact historic, structural reforms in spending, an entirely new source of revenue will be needed. And it’s likely to be enacted in haste and near-panic, as the only option to forestalling a crisis. “The gap between revenues and outlays will be simply too large,” says J.D. Foster, an economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation and a former budget official under President George W. Bush. “Three points of GDP need to be closed to make budgets sustainable. Either government spending gets back near where it used to be, or we’ll need an completely new type of tax.”

The new levy will need to be big, so big that the most probable choice is a European-style value-added tax or VAT. That looming revenue machine is the phantom in the room, the tax that’s still invisible to most Americans, but that threatens precisely the group that’s supposed to emerge from all the deal-making as the Great Unthreatened, our middle class.

Now then, let me explain why a VAT — particularly a hastily enacted VAT — is absolutely not going to happen. It’s called the 16th Amendment:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Congress has two ways of taxing us. The first is a tax based on the number of people in the state. It should be obvious that it’s not entirely fair to make your tax bill based on state population without regard for your ability to pay (it seemed like a good idea in the 18th century), so the 16th Amendment had to be passed to make income tax legal. I am not a lawyer or a constitutional scholar, but I don’t see a damn thing in the Constitution or Amendment 16 that makes a national sales tax legal.

Anybody who wants a VAT had better start working on an amendment to the Constitution. That cannot be done in haste.

This article is supposed to scare you and I into insisting on austerity rather than implement this improbable, middle class “crushing” tax. Heaven forbid we should raise additional revenue through higher taxes on the wealthy at the rates they were under Reagan, or Nixon, or heaven forbid Eisenhower (all “conservative” Republicans of their day). Nope, easier to frighten you into giving up the things your taxes have paid for: well maintained roads; safe water coming out of your tap and safe food available at your local grocer; police and fire services; public schools that make sure businesses can hire literate employees anywhere in the nation; a minimal retirement income you already paid for. Nope, gotta cut back somewhere.

In Closing: scientific method suggests that when your experiment doesn’t work, you change the hypothesis; what a sleeze; let’s not lock kids up in solitary; wealth gap grows; agreed; women will die because their parents are afraid they will think sex is ok; I find it hard to believe that’s cost effective; “Just how many female-headed single-parent families with two children under 10 are there in the United States making $260K/year, anyway?”; and wouldn’t that be a waste.

Music Monday: “$50 for a T-Shirt??”

I thought the song was great. Then I saw the video.

In Closing: Sprint sucks and other reasons not to trust the GPS; Mexico City; that could be bad; shaving is officially no longer a “feminist” issue; on margarine; Colin tells it how he sees it; and this is how cold it is in Vegas today.

5150 Shorties Way

Let’s clean up some tabs here…. It’s supposed to be cold in Vegas tonight. First person to say that disproves global warning gets smacked upside the head.

It’s called “math”:  Someone notices that rent can be more than a mortgage these days. Funny thing, your landlord is entitled to a profit over paying his own mortgage!

Go ahead, opt out. They dare you: The TSA. And be sure you have an ID with your age on it if you look young.

Drink Up: Red wine seemingly increases testosterone, and reduces the amount peed away.

Musique Concrete: How Dr. Who changed music.

That leaves 1-3 hours for eating, pooping, demanding attention, and running around like a fuzzy maniac: Cats spend the rest of the time sleeping and grooming.

Defused: The latest school shooting rampage was not stopped by “a good guy with a gun.” It was stopped by a teacher talking him into laying down the weapon. Hmm.

Free Gift!: You can now play CDs you bought from Amazon from the cloud in many cases. Even if you bought them 15 years ago. Surprise!

Dave Johnson: He tends to be a bit long winded, but he’s correct.

Too Big To Fail must be Too Big To Exist: Robert Reich.

Didn’t anybody else think the headline didn’t make sense?: It turns out there was a lot more to the story of the woman fired for being too attractive.

And now back to their usual silliness: The American Academy of Pediatrics thinks it would be wonderful to have a doctor in every school. Well sure it would, particularly since I’m sure they would want that doctor to be one of their members! I’m not sure where they think these doctors are going to come from, since there is a shortage which will only get worse as Baby Boomers retire. And I’m certainly not sure where they think school districts will come up with the money. After all, average (median?) pay for a pediatrician is $156,000, and that’s one of the low salary specialties. That kind of money could pay for at least 3 teachers. Which do you think will give the district the most bang for the buck in this age of budget cuts?

Last but not least: The best time to buy almost anything.

Now see, this is what I was talking about

IMG_20130106_114706

Just the other day, I was mentioning that a weight loss diet should include avoiding most food that comes out of a box. I did not yet know that this abomination of a product existed. Now, pay special attention to the fact that this “Beef Stroganoff” includes a “creamy cheese sauce” that is “made with real cheese.” Let’s just leave aside for the moment the potential nastiness of cheese that doesn’t require refrigeration.

Here’s the ingredient list to Paula Deen’s Stroganoff recipe:

  • 1 1/2 pounds cubed round steak, cut into thin strips
  • House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • All-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Cooked egg noodles

Notice something? No cheese. The can of soup is suboptimal but alas almost standard in American casserole cooking. Oh look, here’s a similar recipe from the Campbell’s Soup Company!

Here’s what Betty Crocker thinks goes into Stroganoff:

1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin steak, 1/2 inch thick
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (2 1/2 cups)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups Progresso® beef flavored broth (from 32-ounce carton)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 cups hot cooked egg noodles

Hmm, no cheese there either. Points to Betty for using broth as the base for the sauce.
Ok, what about Epicurious:
  • 1 2 1/2-pound piece beef tenderloin, well trimmed, meat cut into 2x1x1/2 inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 pound small button mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup canned beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac
  • 3/4 cup crème fraîche or whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon paprika

Ok, crème fraîche instead of sour cream. Still, no cheese.

And just to round out the entries, a less Americanized version:

  • 1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, sliced into thin 2-inch-long strips
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 4 ounces sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • Pinch dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 ounces white wine (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Hey, you know what’s missing from that recipe?? Paprika! Ok, just kidding the answer is cheese.

In fact, if you look at the Wikipedia article on Stroganoff, you’ll find sour cream mentioned 5 times and cheese mentioned zero times. Anybody who eats this boxed concoction and then orders the real thing in a restaurant is going to have a big surprise! Whatever this stuff in the box might be, the one thing I am sure it won’t be is Beef Stroganoff. Heck, I’m not really sure it’s food.

In Closing: assassination; special; chicken; payrolls; and FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH!

Diet Research? It must be January.

Yes indeed, it’s the first week of the year, and that means millions of Americans are trying to shed between 5 and 500 pounds. Some scientists were even willing to stick their necks out there and say fructose is a culprit in weight gain (a culprit not the culprit). Check the archives and you will find me many times saying that every weight loss diet that works requires drastically reducing if not altogether eliminating added sugars.

So Loyola University wants to help you out. They’ve got what they think are the top 4 reasons diets fail. Let me save you some reading:

  1. Underestimating calorie intake (e.g. eating too damn much)
  2. Overestimating activity and calories burned (e.g. imagining that an amble around the mall is just like a 5 mile run)
  3. Poor timing of meals (the dreaded “starvation mode“)
  4. Inadequate sleep (having a job and other responsibilities)

Really? I’m on board with reasons 1 and 2, although I see them as two sides of one coin. But do they really think that sleep is a bigger issue than unrealistic expectations in the first place, or diet plans that are for whatever reason unsustainable? Do they think that eating at the wrong time is truly a bigger issue than unsupportive friends and family who –subtly or openly — undermine the dieter’s efforts?

Want to lose weight without torturing yourself? Try eating reasonable portions of real food: plenty of veggies; adequate protein; no sweets, no crap that comes out of a box, no food-like chemistry sets. Hey, it’s no dumber than the other diets you’ve tried over the years.

In Closing: free classes; Downtown Vegas and F15; maybe now somebody will ask banks to follow the law pretty please?; Onnabugeisha; ha!; conform or be called a terrorist; Malala; why oh why did Texas give him a second term?; more employment data than you probably want; somebody inform Scalia that 24 is not a documentary; the estate tax is not a wealth tax, it’s a wealth moving into the hands of someone who didn’t actually earn it tax; it turns out you need facts before you can figure out what to think about them; well that’s gonna have conservative panties in a wad; the Romney Loophole; is anybody surprised by this?; and I think Brent may have been playing Black Ops 2.