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|Thursday, July 8th, 2010|
|One For Jim
OBAMACARE THREATENS WHITE CASTLE
The White Castle hamburger chain fears that President Obama's health insurance reform bill adopted earlier this year will put its profits on a downward slide.
The Columbus-based family-owned restaurant chain -- known for serving small square hamburgers called "sliders" -- says a single provision in the bill will eat up roughly 55 percent of its yearly net income after 2014:
* Starting that year, the bill levies a $3,000-per-employee penalty on companies whose workers pay more than 9.5 percent of household income in premiums for company-provided insurance.
* White Castle, which currently provides insurance to all of its full-time workers and picks up 70 percent to 89 percent of their premium costs, believes it will likely end up paying those penalties.
The financial hit will make it hard for the company to maintain its 421 restaurants, let alone create new jobs, says company spokesman Jamie Richardson. White Castle employs more than 10,000 people nationwide, and more than 1,200 in Ohio.
White Castle has been offering health care to its employees since 1924. It pays 70 percent to 90 percent of health care costs for those employees. The company cannot be considered one of the health care system's bad actors, says the Weekly Standard. But when good behavior is punished, you will not get more of it. Now, the company says it will consider dropping employee-based coverage and putting employees in federal exchanges.
The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) will not be spared, either:
* George Ebinger of New Jersey, who owns several IHOP restaurants, says the penalties for not insuring his 140 workers will cost roughly half as much as insuring them.
* He figures he will have to raise prices and possibly lay off workers to come up with the $220,000 he anticipates the penalties will cost.
Source: Mary Katharine Ham, "It's Come to This: ObamaCare Threatens White Castle," Weekly Standard, July 6, 2010.
|Friday, February 26th, 2010|
|Is Childhood Still Happy?
I was a bit dismayed recently to see the children of some friends. Their parents are nice enough but a wee bit too politically correct. In one family Mom is a vegetarian and is raising the kid that way too (not vegan, thankfully - kids need high-quality protein), And of course other baggage inevitably comes with that. Her boy is expected to behave like a little lady and go without the "wrong" tastes and toys, as well as the "wrong" entertainments and ideas.
And this isn't isolated. My neighbors kids are also under similar pressures and there is no escape anymore. It used to be that if you had controlling parents you could at least get away from it a few hours here and there. Maybe at school? Yeah, you had to sit quietly but you got recess and they weren't always on you about what dreams, fantasies, and the like you harbored. You could even talk to kids they may not have approved of, and get treats either from the school's vending machines or a shop on the way home. Afew minutes of freedom here and there.
Today the teachers and whole school system is watching you worse than most parents. They insist on Meatless Monday, vending machines dispense celery, teachers lecture about how evil certain thoughts and ideas are, heaven help you if you get caught with a 3/4" plastic gun from a G.I.Joe figure or couple of Aspirin tablets. That is cause for suspension. Guest lecturers visit to indoctrinate about animal rights and the evil of keeping pets, riding horses, eating meat, etc. while others tell you how the corporations are out to get you. Oh joy, you're 8 and the world is either dying or out to enslave or kill you.
Trips to the store with Mom and Dad may not be any better. Don't get caught looking too long or longingly at the "wrong" toy or food. You are expected to not only have adult tastes but those of a particularly angry and prudish adult. Kids are expected to eschew, candy, cakes, ice cream, soda, toy cars, planes, military things, guns (if stores are even permitted to stock them where you live), and anything "sexist" (whatever that means at the moment). Have some yummy rice cakes or tofu for a snack. If you are good you might get some yogurt for a treat. Toys? Here, play with this whale plushie. Things like building toys for boys and play appliances and dolls for girls are often off-limits as they "reinforce outdated gender roles on susceptible children."
So kids have to find solace in hidden things that adults don't have easy access to or understanding of. Pokemon, Sonic, and the like sublimate and hide the competitive urge. Fantasy creatures printed on cardboard and cute little figurines hide battles between trained animals. WOW and similar games provide an outlet that is denied elsewhere. Rebel kids play warriors and the fully indoctrinated become elves and other "nice" things.
Then parents and educators complain that kids don't run around and play enough. But how CAN a kid play when adults want that turned into torture too? Constant hand-wringing over "getting hurt" means kids have traded in ball caps for helmets formerly reserved for the "special" kids on the short bus and knee and elbow pads. Then kids are filled with fears of anyone walking past or driving by too slow. If that's not enough there are prohibitions on WHO you can play with, where, and what you can play. Get caught pointing your fingers and going "pew-pew!" and you can wind up in a psychologist's office. Fun.
And all this presumes you managed to not get identified as "hyperactive" when you started school. God forbid you act like a kid, especially a boy and be energetic or outgoing. A trip to the doctor is quickly required and drugs will soon follow. Even parents may not be able to prevent it in some jurisdictions. Ritalin and similar things won't leave a kid with much energy to go out and run around.
So parents try to compensate by enrolling kids in soccer and baseball after school. MAKE them move around. That is one less choice or chance to be away from regimented time. And you may not even get the satisfaction of winning a game in some leagues. Some don't allow such competition. EVERYONE gets a trophy and is declared a winner. Great preparation for the real world to come.
Is it any wonder that so many kids are morose or cynical today? That they grow into PC and judgmental young adults intent on enforcing the same dreary lifestyle they have led on others or becoming antisocial and frustrated adults ready to explode because they never had fun as kids and find adult life too hard to cope with? It certainly seems to explain why so many go hog wild when they get into college and away from constantly being on a leash. Drugs, booze, and riots have come to symbolize the transition years as repressed kids let off pent-up steam. At least those who still can. Some join in repressing others at college.
Maybe this explains the behavior of so many we run into in daily life and on the net who are always attacking others for having the "wrong" ideas and likes, who want to control the choices others make, who can't have a long-term relationship, and think being nasty is cool and grown up. That's the guy keying your car for having the "wrong" bumper sticker or being the "wrong" make or type. That's the one who invades your LJ community to pick a fight.
Childhood is a time of trying things, learning your limits, establishing your tastes and likes, building your hopes, spawning dreams, learning to interact, building confidence in a bright future and getting some things out of your system, being goofy and silly. Venting. Take that away or bottle it up and what is left? Others making decisions for you and imposing a strict and sad worldview on you. No wonder we have so many depressed and emo kids becoming social pariahs and rejects. Many are dysfunctional and unemployable.
All because kids can't be kids anymore. Current Mood: morose
|Wednesday, February 24th, 2010|
|No, the interweb is NOT forever.
Recently I have run into several people frantic to find something that used to be on some site. Sadly for them, the stuff is gone. And unless someone bothered to save it many years ago it is gone forever.
An old saying goes to the effect that "once something is posted to the web it's there forever."
Not true. It was assumed that things would forever stay in circulation on some server somewhere or be reposted constantly but that seldom happens. Even attempts to fill the gap, like the Wayback Machine, aren't coping with it well.
One can go into many shops across the land and find old books, magazines, even papers, from decades and centuries past but the outpourings to the electronic world are only slightly less perishable than the electrons it takes to transmit them. Links in news stories can become invalid in a few hours, even minutes.
Servers get replaced, fail, sold out, auto-expired, stop paying their registrations, etc. Many valuable sites and archives have died in the last few years. Once the person who put them up stops propping them up they disappear. They may reside on some drive or DVD somewhere (probably in a landfill) but they no longer serve the web.
Of course, the saying was never meant to be either all-inclusive or literally true. It mainly was a caution about putting embarrassing stuff on the web. You can bet someone will save that humiliating picture (burnthechair.jpg anyone?) or that poorly-considered revelation and repost it wherever it will hurt the most. And as often as needed.
But this has always been true. People were more cautious in days gone by and never used to put their lives on billboards or TV but the coziness of the keyboard and screen removed that inhibition. It was suddenly like writing to a close friend or relative. Or a drunken game of "I can top that." Only it wasn't confined to the den or the bar, it was in a crowded stadium, up on the Jumbotron.
So we have the worst of both worlds. Valuable info dies quickly but frivolous and harmful things live darn near forever because people take pains to preserve them.
Not really new. We have lost the great works of ancient Greece and Rome but the graffiti still remains. Current Mood: contemplative
|Sunday, November 8th, 2009|
If it's this bad in England imagine how bad it is here.
British youth: Hitler was a soccer coach
Study carried out ahead of British Remembrance Day reveals alarming ignorance among UK schoolchildren's knowledge of world wars, with one in 20 believing Holocaust was celebration marking end of WWII
One in six children in Britain believe Auschwitz is a World War Two theme park, and one in four think the atom bomb was dropped on Pearl Harbor – a study conducted in the UK among 2,000 schoolchildren showed.
The study, published in the Daily Mail on Friday, tested children between the ages of nine and 15 on their knowledge of facts of both world wars, and reveals disturbing ignorance of the kids' knowledge of the circumstances, the dates, and the people at their center.
One of the study's more disturbing findings is that one in 20 British children believe Adolf Hitler was a German soccer coach, not the leader of the brutal Nazi regime.
One in 20 think the Holocaust was a celebration held to mark the end of the war and one in 10 believe the SS refers to author Enid Blyton's Secret Seven series, not Hitler's personal bodyguards.
One in 12 said The Blitz was a massive clean-up operation in Europe after World War Two.
Britain marks its annual Remembrance Day next week, on November 11, but 40% of its schoolchildren are unaware of this, according to the study.
When asked to point to the nation's symbol of Remembrance day – a red poppy – 12% of the children pointed to the McDonald's gold arches instead.
Only half of the children know that the term D-Day refers to the invasion of Normandy – with a quarter of them thinking it means 'Dooms Day'. A quarter of the children believe a nuclear bomb was dropped on Pearl Harbor which spurred America's involvement in the war.
The study was conducted by war veterans' charity Erskine in the run-up to Remembrance Day.
Major Jim Panton, chief executive of Erskine, said: "Some of the answers to this poll have shocked us", adding that he believes more emphasis should be placed on educating society on the matter.
"Schoolchildren are the future of the country and it is important that we help them to learn about our history," he added.
One encouraging finding was that 70% of the students said they would like to be taught more about the world wars at school. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3801423,00.html Current Mood: shocked
|Friday, November 6th, 2009|
|People are asking...
I keep hearing people ask why the soldiers at Ft Hood were disarmed and why contractors handle security instead of soldiers.
I can only give my own experiences as answers.
When I started working with the DoD in the 80s we had military police handling security. In this case, Marines. Yes, they were armed and they were alert.
But the rest of the military personnel were not packing as they went about their duties. There was no need to be armed, especially in peacetime and on a secured base.
But things changed in the mid 90s. The first changes were noted in attitudes from Washington. Bill & Hillary did not trust armed soldiers and even those in combat in Eastern Europe were disarmed while on base and especially when Hill and/or Bill were around. Hillary was especially anti-military and distrustful. The policy spread everywhere and ammo was treated like plutonium. Even rifle training became virtual. Personnel deployed to Serbia were limited to 3 rounds. They were "peacekeeper", after all, not killers. Many were carrying empty arms.
These were also the days of the "Peace Dividend" when we were cutting the hell out of the military. As part of those cuts someone got the idea of not only disarming the military guards but replacing them with rent-a-cops. It allowed the freeing-up of limited military people for use elsewhere. They also did away with military people doing the cooking and other things on base. Outfits like ARA were brought in when other civilians could not be shifted into the job.
Some of us civilians were armed too. Base security oversight went from being handled by military people to people drawn from procurement and personnel offices. The former head of the financial office's secretary
ended up being the "chief" and packing a revolver. Security deteriorated and even theft on the base became common as demoralized workers saw openings. If it hadn't been for the NCIS people there wouldn't have been ANY security worth talking about and they only handled investigations, not daily police duties.
So it is not much of a surprise to hear about someone walking around shooting up a base filled with unarmed people and having been shot by a contractor. It's been that way for a long time and a lot of people know all about it. People may remember the planned attack on Fort Dix a few years ago. These things would never have been considered decades ago. Bases were too filled with people who would have made it a much shorter event. Not so today. The people packing heat there now have to worry about liability, keeping their jobs, and even just being interested enough in doing their jobs to notice something odd. Most live in fear of being accused of profiling or charged with harassment. Many carry empty guns or none at all.
Political Correctness doesn't come cheap and cheap security is worth what you pay for it. Current Mood: bitchy
|Friday, October 2nd, 2009|
|US relinquishes control of the internet
Sounds innocent but gives me a bad feeling.
US relinquishes control of the internet
• Icann ends agreement with the US government
Bobbie Johnson in San Francisco
After complaints about American dominance of the internet and growing disquiet in some parts of the world, Washington has said it will relinquish some control over the way the network is run and allow foreign governments more of a say in the future of the system.
Icann – the official body that ultimately controls the development of the internet thanks to its oversight of web addresses such as .com, .net and .org – said today that it was ending its agreement with the US government.
The deal, part of a contract negotiated with the US department of commerce, effectively pushes California-based Icann towards a new status as an international body with greater representation from companies and governments around the globe.
Icann had previously been operating under the auspices of the American government, which had control of the net thanks to its initial role in developing the underlying technologies used for connecting computers together.
But the fresh focus will give other countries a more prominent role in determining what takes place online, and even the way in which it happens – opening the door for a virtual United Nations, where many officials gather to discuss potential changes to the internet.
Icann chief Rod Beckstrom, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Washington insider who took over running the organisation in July, said there had been legitimate concerns that some countries were developing alternative internets as a way of routing around American control.
"It's rumoured that there are multiple experiments going on with countries forking the internet, various countries have discussed this," he said. "This is a very significant shift because it takes the wind out of our opponents."
He added that the changes would prove powerful when combined with upcoming plans to allow web users to use addresses with names in Chinese, Arabic or other alphabets other than Latin. Many countries have lobbied for the shift in recent years, as the expansion of the web reaches out deeper into society and business.
While the issue reached critical mass in emerging economies such as China, it is not the only country that has lobbied for a change. Earlier this year European officials said that they did not think it was proper for America to retain so much control over the global computer network.
Viviane Reding, the EU's commissioner for information society and media, said she was pleased that Washington chose to make the shift.
"I welcome the US administration's decision to adapt Icann's key role in internet governance to the reality of the 21st century," she said. "If effectively and transparently implemented, this reform can find broad acceptance among civil society, businesses and governments alike."
Meanwhile Nominet - the British organisation that handles the day-to-day running of .uk domain names - said that Icann had started a trend for companies with internet influence to appear more open and accountable.
"Putting public interest first will also be a focus for the UK internet community over the coming months as there is growing support for Nominet to develop more of a public interest role," said Nominet's chief executive, Lesley Cowley.
The new agreement comes into force immediately. It replaces the old version which had been in place since 1998 and was scheduled to expire today.
Beckstrom suggested that bringing more countries to the table was the best way of ensuring the long term future of the internet.
"We're more global, period. The chances of the internet holding together just went up, the cohesion just went up," he said. "We expect more active involvement from governments, a higher level of participation from many governments and we're already hearing about more governments joining the team… This was, ironically, a power move from the US."http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/sep/30/icann-agreement-us Current Mood: blank
|Thursday, October 1st, 2009|
|Furry = Fetish Plus Fetishes
People thought furry peaked with things like vore and diapers. Nope, it still finds corners to fill
Not much left. Zits? Snot? Surely we haven't scraped the bottom of the well yet.
Remember when it was just racy stuff that was used to embarrass us? Long time ago, eh?
And now we embarrass ourselves. Current Mood: amused
|Sunday, August 30th, 2009|
|Furry is slipping
Damn! An article about the weirdest conventions
and furry doesn't make the list?
Wow. Furry is no longer freaking the mundanes? Tsk-tsk, now the bunny boyz will have to misbehave more to generate outrage. Current Mood: amused
|Tuesday, July 21st, 2009|
|Monday, July 20th, 2009|
|Dogs Can Read?
Well, can be taught to anyway.
Woman teaches dog to read
New York animal trainer Lyssa Rosenberg has taught her terrier to obey simple written commands.
Willow plays dead when she sees the word 'bang', stretches a paw in the air when she sees 'wave' and gets up on her back feet to beg when she sees the words 'sit up'.
"She's an unbelievably quick learner," said Ms Rosenberg, who has trained other dogs to appear in TV adverts and pose on photo shoots.
"She can do 250 different things and I used to joke that I would teach her how to pour me a martini. Then for a bet I told a friend I would teach her to read. He promised me a free trip to Mexico if I could do it.
"It took her just six weeks to recognise words and respond to them. And it isn't just my handwriting she understands. My friend printed the words Willow learned off the computer and she reacted to them.
"Well I won the bet and Willow came with me to Mexico."
Willow has her own pet passport and regularly flies transatlantic to visit Ms Rosenberg's husband Gareth Howells, in Guildford, Surrey.
Willow was also the second witness at the couple's wedding at New York City Hall in March - signing the marriage certificate with an inky paw print.
Ms Rosenberg even takes the 10lb English terrier mix on business trips because Willow is more than happy to share her carrying case with other animals.
"I once had to fly from California back to New York with a rabbit and two guinea pigs. Going through airport security was hilarious because first I pulled out the rabbit from the bag, followed by the guinea pigs and then the dog."http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_3405263.html Current Mood: surprised
|Monday, July 6th, 2009|
I'm a bit zoned out at the moment. Got the news that my brother dropped dead. Heart attack or so it appears right now. His wife is staying with her daughter for now. I don't think it has really sunk in yet for me. I know it intellectually but it seems unreal somehow.
He was feeding his collection of animals at the time. All kinds of birds and bunnies, mostly rescues. The first warning was the cat raising hell about something. Then she found him on the floor. 911 arrived and tried to revive him on the deck and then rushed to the hospital. Nothing to do, he was already gone and did not respond to attempts to start the heart again.
Always figured I would go first. Just shows you never know when you start a day if you will finish it. Granted, he smoked and did not take good care of himself medically.
All of you should be taking care of yourselves too. No guarantees but it couldn't hurt. Current Mood: distressed
|Tuesday, June 30th, 2009|
|Saturday, April 18th, 2009|
|Very UNusual Furry Stuff
Probably inaccessible to most of the people in furry who were educated post-baby boom years (no history having been learned) but interesting to the educated:http://loyaltyliberty.com/?p=4
(Some may remember another furry historical tale, Here Comes A Candle, set in Revolutionary France. The is set in the American colonies.) Current Mood: amused
|Friday, March 6th, 2009|
|How Did They Miss This?
The furries seem to have missed one. Spice and Wolf just got a go-ahead (couple of weeks ago) for a new season yet I haven't seen any gushing over Horo. And it's not as if the show doesn't push buttons:
Yep, it rips off the furry FireFox imagery.
Plus (of course) she can transform into a (gigantic) regular wolf.
And yet, no Rule 34. Comeon furries, you're slacking off. You have a reputation to live down to. Current Mood: amused
|Saturday, January 17th, 2009|
News of Andrew Wyeth's death brought back memories.
I seemed to have a talent for brushes with him and his family over the last 20 years. Nothing major, just strange.
One was the time I loaned him a lens for his film shows. It was a damn fine lens, my favorite, and I had a devil of a time getting it back. He offered to buy it but in those pre-eBay times and with the company that sold it gone I had no likely prospect for replacing it. The same reason he wanted to buy it.
Later on I spent a couple of nights on the family estate with friends. It wasn't always quiet. They had a barn outfitted like a disco cum theater. Things got really active on summer nights. The neighbors didn't care because there functionally were none. It was very isolated. In fact, you had to leave PA, take a small loop road in Delaware, and re-enter PA via their drive to get into it. It was kind of nice to wake up to horses greeting the day though.
I knew another artist, often dubbed the next Wyeth, who was a favorite painter for the Devon Horse Show and its crowd and had breakfasts at the diner Wyeth used to frequent.
Since I moved and my health has been less than stellar I have gotten away from those circles and various deaths have further distanced things. I had hoped to get back to it this past summer but fate had other ideas.
Well, it was just something that popped into my mind. Current Mood: nostalgic
|Thursday, January 15th, 2009|
|Sunday, January 11th, 2009|
|Is This What The Prophets Were Talking About?
That inconsequential Ball In The Sky & 2012
(Keep your tube radio)
NASA: 2012 'space Katrina' may cripple U.S. for months
By Drew Zahn
A recently released NASA report warns that the U.S. has forgotten the power of the sun, creating a technological society susceptible like never before to massive infrastructure damage from solar storms.
The study, carried out for NASA by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, doesn't predict some new solar or environmental disaster. Instead, it studies the effects of the sun's normal, cyclical behavior upon modern technology.
Professor Daniel Baker is director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado and chaired the panel that prepared the report.
"Whether it is terrestrial catastrophes or extreme space weather incidents," writes Baker in a statement released with the report, "the results can be devastating to modern societies that depend in a myriad of ways on advanced technological systems."
According the report, the U.S. has grown so dependent on modern technologies without respect of what the sun can and has done, that it's risking major communications, finance, transportation, government and even emergency services meltdowns.( Read more...Collapse ) Current Mood: amused
|Thursday, January 8th, 2009|
|Guess Who Wants A Bailout Now?
A Hand Up For A Hand Job (If THEY are in trouble we are toast.)
Not Kidding: Porn Industry Wants Bailout
As the 2009 AVN Adult Expo opens in Las Vegas this week, Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt are petitioning the newly convened 111th Congress to provide a financial bailout for the adult entertainment industry along the lines of what is being sought by the Big Three automakers, a spokesperson for Francis announced today.
Adult industry leaders Flynt and Francis sent a joint request to Congress asking for $5 billion in federal assistance, "Just to see us through hard times," Francis said.
"Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation's most important businesses, we feel we deserve the same consideration. In difficult economic times, Americans turn to entertainment for relief. More and more, the kind of entertainment they turn to is adult entertainment."
But according to Flynt the recession has acted like a national cold shower.
"People are too depressed to be sexually active," Flynt says, "This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex."
While not to the degree felt by banks and automakers, the Adult Entertainment industry has been hit by the effects of the economic downturn. DVD sales and rentals have decreased by 22 percent in the past year as viewers turn to the internet for adult entertainment.
It is estimated that roughly half of all internet users visit adult sites, with the number of unique visitors to adult websites (including GirlsGoneWild.com and Hustler.com) has grown to more than 75 million per month.
But the "saltpeter" effect remains.
"With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind," Flynt says, "It's time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly."
"The popularity of adult entertainment in America has grown steadily for the past half century," Francis says.
"Its emergence into the mainstream of popular culture suggests that the US government should actively support the adult industry's survival and growth, just as it feels the need to support any other industry cherished by the American people." http://moneynews.newsmax.com/streettalk/porn_industry_bailout/2009/01/07/168745.html Current Mood: amused
|Tuesday, December 16th, 2008|
|Sunday, December 14th, 2008|
|A New Low
Every Christmas brings a new attack against what was once the happiest time of the year (as kids feel and a song also described it).
Each year the attacks get more strident and petty. This year's horror for the grinchie people? Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Next year they will go after the Grinch because it has Christmas in the title. Current Mood: aggravated