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1  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: RIP: Terry Pratchett on: March 19, 2015, 05:50:36 PM
Death: HELLO

2  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Does ice cream that is partially melted on: March 15, 2015, 02:01:52 AM
I tried it like 20 minutes ago. It's fine.   icon_biggrin
3  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Does ice cream that is partially melted on: March 15, 2015, 01:25:46 AM
but still frozen in the middle but soupy around the edges still taste good if it is refrozen?
4  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: RIP: Terry Pratchett on: March 14, 2015, 04:37:16 AM
Man. I feel bad about this. At least this horrific disease didn't turn him into a plant first.
5  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My favorite cat in the world is dead on: January 01, 2015, 08:36:08 AM
Still have four, but none could compare to Princess.

Edit for: Go to the shelter and adopt an older cat.

Cats, like cars seem to depreciate quite quickly once they are no longer brand new, you would be doing an adult cat a favor, or you could see if you could make provisions for the cat if something should happen to you guys.
6  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / My favorite cat in the world is dead on: December 28, 2014, 02:08:57 AM
Princess was my favorite cat in the world. I had her for 11 years but I suspect that she was actually much older. She died this afternoon about 3:30. She was very ill with kidney problems and was skin and bones, although lately I thought she was getting better and gaining weight. I had scheduled a needle biopsy of her kidneys to figure out what was wrong with her but that would have run me $600 so I was hoping she would gain weight and get better on her own (as she appeared to be doing)

This afternoon I got up and I found her in the closet, stretched out and rigid. I thought she was dead but she showed signs of life. I knew she was choking to death on vomit but didn't think to try to clear her airways because it sounded like her breathing was erratic and she had already gotten most of it in her lungs. I drove her to the vet but it was closed. I was in the process of driving her to the second vet but she died en route.

I would post a picture but I think right now it would be too painful.

RIP Princess. My little girl.

Edit for: I feel guilty as shit now for not having the $600 procedure done, and also for not thinking to clear her airways.
7  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [SyFy] Z Nation on: October 16, 2014, 01:40:32 PM
DJ Qualls on "The Core".

I don't think he did a particularly bad job as the nerd but he is not a great actor by any stretch of the imagination.
8  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [SyFy] Z Nation on: September 27, 2014, 10:58:47 PM
This show sucks, but I still watch it.
9  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / In which I am grateful on: September 27, 2014, 05:47:03 AM
I just have to stop today and be grateful for the fact that I have a job that pays okay. I have a zero deductible health plan that covers just about everything for $170 dollars a month. I am also grateful for this job because I was browsing Facebook and so many of my Cal Poly classmates are unemployed, bussing tables or throwing good money after bad getting masters degrees at Devry. Because if a bachelors degree from a top local University won't get you a job, a 50k degree from a notorious diploma mill will.   Roll Eyes

I ran into a former high school classmate working reception at Coco's tonight. Ten years plus in a dead end job. I feel for him... I gave him a 20% tip on a take out order.

I am also grateful to see my asshole former neighbor who put a big gouge in my trunk over my driving home some girl that he was violent towards, homeless, tore down, and being chased out of a McDonald's parking lot with his collection of plastic and trash... Cause seriously. Fuck that guy.  biggrin

I am grateful for spending money and disposable income. I guess I am in a good spot to sit out a depression. Who knows what tomorrow brings, but today? I'm grateful.

It seems like something out there in the universe wants me grateful, so this is me. Grateful. Mark the day.
10  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm a former Jehovah's Witness, AMA! on: September 10, 2014, 12:54:43 PM
I am going to argue that  while the JW rank and file do try to practice what they believe to be the teachings of Christ, and are for the most part good people, the doctrines that they believe in and have to follow differ from being Christ like in more then one instance. JW dogma makes them very closed minded and narrow people in a lot of ways, even more then a lot of regular Christians. But this is coming from someone who is neither Christian nor JW (any longer) so YMMV.
11  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm a former Jehovah's Witness, AMA! on: September 09, 2014, 02:49:24 PM
And take some college classes, if you can. It will open up your perspective on the world
12  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm a former Jehovah's Witness, AMA! on: September 09, 2014, 02:47:45 PM
Whatever you decide, just keep being the same cool awesome person you have always been. If anything try and get closer to your family. This will serve as the first measure of defense against people who may or may not pressure your family to shun you. Don't force your kids to not attend, let them make their own decisions Give them the option of attending or not. Give your family the option of participating in holidays or not. Just be there. Be a sounding board, but don't try and influence.

Meh. My mom celebrates her birthdays and mothers day and valentines now. Basically any holiday with a gift involved. Oh and thanksgiving cause there's food. Her secret is safe with me.
13  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm a former Jehovah's Witness, AMA! on: September 09, 2014, 02:33:44 PM
The elders in your church may already be looking into your online profiles. They might look up your e mails, and usernames and stuff to look for things to blackmail you.
14  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: One of my dogs died suddenly today. on: September 09, 2014, 02:25:50 PM
Sorry about your dog. You're having a timultious month aren't you?
15  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm a former Jehovah's Witness, AMA! on: September 09, 2014, 02:21:15 PM
Yeah my mom sort of forced me to participate till I was 18. I finally decided I had had enough one day after I was dis-invited to a gathering by a group of people. I had sort of known the whole JW religion thing was bullshit from the time I was fifteen or so, but as my whole support group was JW I sort of was on the fence about striking out on my own. I had no friends or support for years after that but even now as my friend and support group is limited to one, it was totally worth it.

The JW's are sort of the fascists of the Christian faith, you either buy and are 100% behind their ever shifting tangle of group-speak or you are out. I don't know if you ever got officially "baptized" or not but be prepared for the church elders to pressure your family to freeze you out entirely, or shun you, if you are baptize.. Once the "elders" realize that you are serious about the leaving thing, they will dis-fellowship you, especially if you voice issues with their belief system. If you don't want to be disfellowshipped the best thing for you to do is stop attending the meetings and just drop off the radar. This may spare your family the trouble of being pressured to shun you.

Seriously bro, you made the right decision, but be prepared to be tested.
16  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm a former Jehovah's Witness, AMA! on: September 06, 2014, 04:52:17 PM

Quote from: Eel Snave on August 03, 2014, 04:55:38 PM

(Apologies for the Reddit-esque title.)

So here's the story: I've been one of Jehovah's Witnesses since I was 2. I finally just recently realized what a pile of lies it is, so I've left and am forging my own path now. It's terrifying.

Anyway, ask away. Anything you want to know about the people who knock on your door?

Yeah this is literally what I went through 12 almost 13 years ago now.
17  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Falling Skies onwards to Season 4! on: June 19, 2014, 07:22:12 AM
It didn't air yet but it is on the pirate sites. A review copy leaked is my guess. And every review I have read leads me to believe the show was rebooted unnecessarily.
18  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I'm a big scardey cat on: June 10, 2014, 08:28:27 PM
I booked out last night. If I had been a day more decisive I could have saved 100.
19  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / I'm a big scardey cat (I booked to Portland) on: June 10, 2014, 01:03:52 AM
So I have been doing research into the vacation I want to take. Flights are $400 round trip to Portland leaving Wednesday. Rooms at AirBnB are around $150-170 for six days stay. I have the money. But for some reason I'm anxious. I REALLY want to take a true vacation but for some reason I cant find the will to book.
20  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / So add exterminator to the list of things I am good at on: June 08, 2014, 08:11:14 PM
My favorite next door neighbor and friend has had a roach problem for as long as I have known him. Western comes by to exterminate every month but they just spray and he needed more. Sometimes the exterminators just spray because they want to keep coming back. He has been my neighbor for around ten years. This guy has not had a good go of things for the last four years or so. His wife died of a heart attack, he had a heart attack, and most of his family left him.

So I have decided to do my best to try to make his life easier. I go into his house and check his shelves and other roach hiding spots and it horrific. Roaches boiling out every time I open a drawer or a cupboard. Earlier this week I finally stopped procrastinating and got him some roach baits. I also got some boric acid and some roach gel. I put down the roach houses, gel up the corners of cupboards and shelves and the bottoms of the drawers. I do every room. I run through two tubes of bait, 12 roach motels and quarter of a container of boric acid.

Fast forward four days. It looks like roach-owitz in the house. Dead roaches everywhere and the few roaches left, well they are not happy. My neighbor seems to be happy at the prospect of getting rid of the roach problem.

This wouldn't be the first time I have done my amateur exterminator bit. I was at a doctors office around two weeks ago and around fifteen feet to my left this rat runs towards this woman and she starts like shouting. She is on her way in and I am on my way out. I come up behind the massive rat, bring my foot down down on its head and... well, no more rat. The woman is shocked as hell and without breaking stride wink at her and continue walking out.
21  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Trying to plan a last minute vacation on: June 07, 2014, 03:12:24 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on June 07, 2014, 01:35:47 AM

What kind of things do you like to do? When I travel I'm looking for museums, performances, and historical attractions. Other people like sports, or night life, or beaches, or even (shudder) shopping.

Never been to Portland myself (except the one in Maine) so I got nuthin.

museums performances and historical attractions sounds like my thing too.
22  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Trying to plan a last minute vacation on: June 06, 2014, 11:26:24 PM
Considering going to Portland for a week, next week. Is there a weeks worth of things to do in Portland? I'm trying to do this relatively cheap. I am open to suggestions of different locales.
23  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Man, applying for work is hard on: June 02, 2014, 02:11:11 AM
Thanks ATB.
24  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Man applying for work is hard on: June 01, 2014, 09:14:23 PM
Yes I thought about editing the title after the fact like I did on OO but meh.
25  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Man, applying for work is hard on: May 31, 2014, 09:56:41 PM
No. I'm serious. You go to these career websites and so much of it is scams, MLM, pyramid schemes, military and school recruiters and other assorted bullshit. You have to sort through hundreds of jobs that are unrelated to your search, and when you find one, you still aren't done yet. Often times jobs require ridiculous amounts of experience so you have a reasonable expectation of not getting that job anyway, however you decide to throw your hat in the ring anyway, sometimes you get lucky right?

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!! Most employers want you to go to their special website, register with them, give an insane amount of effort, work history, sometimes requiring you to fill out insane amounts of information, reference and other related Et cetera,Et cetera,Et cetera.. All of this on a website that oftentimes has fatal, application eating errors. Sometimes 45 minutes is lost on one application.

And THAT'S NOT ALL!! If you have the tenacity to jump through every shit encrusted hoop they throw out for you you look forward to having your detailed, painstakingly filed application eaten by some peckerwood firewall program that automatically pitches you out before you even have human eyes looking at your application... I'm looking your way USA Jobs!!! You fucking time wasting piece of offal website. I hope your creators spend an eternity giving Rusty Ventures to Satan's prison purse!!

Why in the name of all that's holy isin't there a website that lets you put in a one click application. A website that allows YOU to enter in YOUR degree and GPA and then takes you to a list of jobs that you QUALIFY for RIGHT NOW? A job site that requires, NAY DEMANDS that employers use their application templates and uses a one click application process. Want that job? Just click. Didn't get a response? Who cares. It only took you .5 seconds to apply for anyway.
26  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Hi guys! on: May 31, 2014, 09:14:20 PM
Mom is good. I'm working a job I hate because the pay and benefits are good. Looking for something else though.
27  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Hi guys! on: May 31, 2014, 06:33:52 PM
Hey guys. Sorry I haven't posted lately. I sort of gravitated over to OO and I figured that everyone who posts there, also posts here. I may have been mistaken about that. So whats up guys?
28  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / I for one welcome our corporate overlords... on: July 10, 2010, 06:45:57 AM
         My political Theories (fucked…Fucked, We’re all FUCKED!)

The story of what happened to America or, more precisely what went wrong with America starts forty years ago and is still being written today. Let me first lay all the cards on the table and tell the reader, that would be you that I will not be backing up what I say with quotation of sources. Anyone who wants to can seek these sources on the internet, they are readily available. This work is at best an opinion piece, and at worst a badly conceived work of fiction that will be disproven readily (Which let me tell you folks, I hope that happens, because if not we are in for one hell of a wild ride) So, without further adieu, let me go ahead and tell you what I think happened.

First let me identify the source of the last sixty years of American prosperity. World War Two. We bombed the rest of the world flat. Europe lay in ruins, Japan lay in ruins. Pretty much every industrialized economy in the world lay in ruins. America was the victor, and commercially speaking, America was the only industrialized country left intact. The United States came off of a war footing, ready to rebuild the world and as an added boon to rebuilding the world; we also got to sell them a whole lot of consumer goods.
Unions, of which I will talk about in detail later, were quick to form (if they weren’t already) after World War Two, formed largely by the same people who fought and bled for the right to unionize during the great depression. Workers saw the large amount of profits being made by their bosses and rightfully wanted a piece. The middle class flourished. A person could graduate from high school and get a good factory job immediately, manufacturing flourished. The average wage in the United States during the 1950’s was fifty dollars an hour, plus benefits and vacation. Homes were cheap, jobs were plentiful and life was good.
Education during this period was cheap, if not free. Both sides of the isle politically speaking wanted a highly educated populace. Companies had a vested interest in a highly educated population to staff mills and factories and manufacturing. Highly technical jobs needed a well trained population to fill open positions. If there was not an educated population, companies would pull up stakes and leave for greener pastures. The Cold War and the budding Military Industrial Complex were also major factors.

During the 1960’s however the inevitable happened. The rest of the world started to catch up to the United States in if not manufacturing capacity and technical skill, in ability to make less complex electronics, consumer goods and raw materials. Starting with Nixon’s visit to China the world got to learn several new terms. “Globalization” and “Free Trade”.

The story of Globalization is an incredibly complex one, it starts with Nixon and continues today with the World Trade Organization, or the WTO. Starting with Nixon companies realized that they could “outsource” and “offshore” manufacturing and other jobs starting with the most simple and ending with highly technical engineering development. President Reagan during the changed the legal environment regulating a lot of the manufacturing jobs and created a legislative environment where companies could legally offshore good paying American jobs overseas to where the same goods could be manufactured for pennies on the dollar in countries with absolutely no regard for human rights. This was the beginning of the end for the Middle Class in America. Middle class wages plummeted as American manufacturing either packed up and offshored or was simply outcompeted by those companies who had.

Those service jobs that replaced the good paying manufacturing jobs were often low paying ones with no benefits. Retail, food service and customer service being a large portion of the jobs. We have gone from a nation of scientists and engineers to a nation that asks “Would you like fries with that?”

As a nation we however had several factors that lessened the blows of globalization. These being:  A highly educated populace and the silicon revolution and easy access to credit. The cold war played a major part in softening the blow of the loss of manufacturing. Government and the military industrial complex (on the upswing after Reagan) played a large role in employing a large section of the educated populace, as military spending skyrocketed, emphasis shifted from manufacturing consumer electronics to other military projects and defense contracts.

The silicon revolution centered in California, with its highly educated population became a supporting factor in the economic boom during and after the Reagan years, and continued even after the microchip manufacturing industry itself offshored to Taiwan, India and later China. I am speaking of course of the internet boom. The e commerce revolution was the last nail in the coffin of individual national economies and even though the internet boom was largely unfelt by the middle class (due to most of the wealth being created going through the stock market… more on that later) It did keep middle class wages from stagnating on average.

Cheap credit was the largest factor in keeping the middle class where they were, economically speaking. Starting in the 1980’s, computerization of banking has allowed credit cards to play an increasingly large role in American budgets. In the 1980’s the middle class found itself with an interesting dilemma “How do I keep my standard of living intact while I take a lesser paying job?” More and more middle class Americans found their solution in Credit Cards. Credit cards were used to float discrepancy in income and spending. The banking sector knew this and made it very easy to run up balances in the tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. These debts were then paid off with home mortgages, and the cycle began anew. This leads me into the next topic.

Home values. Home values have increased by a “healthy” five to ten percent every single year since the eighties. Middle class runs up credit card debt, pays off credit card debt with home mortgages. First, second and even third mortgages were being written without so much as a blink of an eye, because of the assumption that home prices could only ever go up (or so it was thought).

George W Bush. Fought two foreign wars, handed out multibillion dollar contracts to the people who put him in office. The sheer evil genius of his ultimate economic policy was staggering.  Cut taxes, hand out no bid contracts (thereby boosting the economy) and do it all while running up the deficit. The results could not be seen until (he thought) years after he left office. The ultimate end of all of this is the following: The biggest economic disaster since the great depression. Let me explain why:

On September 11, 2001 our nation was brutally attacked by a disconnected fearful and ultimately successful group of people located in Afghanistan.  I will not go into the specifics of whether or not the President saw 9/11 coming, but it is very coincidental that “A project for a New America” (A right wing think tank) published a manifesto of how to involve America in a second Iraq conflict and ultimately profit in the terms of oil contracts and military logistics contracts (fielding large Armies costs lots of money) and is ultimately very profitable to those in the business. A large amount of George W. Bush’s political base came from Oil interests and military contractors. Coincidence?

In any government, the lasting effect of any policy is not immediately seen for years after it is enacted. I believe that Bush knew that he could fight two wars cut taxes and pump large amounts of money into the economy thereby providing a short term gain and giving the illusion of a healthy vibrant economy in the short term, and even cut taxes to the richest one percent of Americans (also his base)

In 2003 I believe that Bush saw the writing on the wall. The economy was slowing and at that point, a severe recession was in the cards. You cannot have both guns and butter while cutting taxes. It (up until this time) just was not done. Que the housing market. Up until this point the housing market was hyper inflated due to bad banking policy of allowing loans for people who could not ever hope to afford a house,  Fannie May and Freddie Mac were only the poster children bandied about the news like the whole thing was entirely their fault. It was not. Fannie and Freddie was only the tip of the iceburg.
President Bush turned a blind eye to a crisis in the making and even encouraged it by declawing the FTC and Banking commissions, introducing legislation to tear down Bretton Woods( The laws forcing separation between lending, investment and insurance and opening the door for all sorts of interest only loans, negative amortization loans and stated income loans. The most vile of these were credit default swaps and triple A rated mortgage bonds posting unreal returns based on the line of ever increasing home values. These bonds were teeny tiny pieces of home mortgages that never should have been extended in the first place.
Credit default swaps were created essentially as an insurance against the failure of certain instruments (AAA Bonds) that basically said: Okay, if these bonds don’t pay out we will insure them to a tune of your calling. These swaps often times exceeded the amounts of the bonds. Then these credit default swaps were then insured against to even higher amounts. The sprinkles on this whole cupcake were that banks were allowed to report potential gains as income. (Bank of America anyone?)
The banks of course knew that there was a crash coming. They knew it from the word go. They KNEW that the homeowners could never repay these mortgages. The banks expected to take people’s homes, they wanted to eat. What they did NOT expect was to choke on the sheer amount of homes coming back. The whole rotten house of cards came down on their heads. Collectively it was a bloodbath.
Instantly the same banks who mouthed “Oh I’m so sorry but I have to take your house, Personal responsibility and all that good stuff” realized that they were choking on what they expected to eat. Instead of a mouthful they got a whole garbage truck full of homes that weren’t actually worth a tenth of what they were mortgaged for. “Personal responsibility” and “Market forces” instantly became “Were too BIG to fail!! SAVE US GOVT!!” much like a teenager who sneers at his capitalist parents until he needs money to pay for his girlfriend’s abortion.
   Line after line of banking and insurance executives joined by legions of lawyers and lobbyists flew in their personal jets into Washington. Panicked lawmakers in record time passed the “Toxic asset relief fund” to the tune of 800 billion, that’s BILLION dollars. 8000 million dollars with absolutely no accountability meant that the very same idiots who created this whole mess get to snort Bogotá blow off the tits of Brazilian hookers. To this day, 400 billion dollars is absolutely unaccounted for. AIG spent millions on a stockholder party in the Caribbean the very week after this monumental mess. And the worst is yet to come.
First, before we do anything else, let me explain a helpful way of considering the next issue: The middle class.  Every healthy capitalist economy requires a middle class to function. Citizens shopping and buying things and putting money into the economy makes economies work.  This is why we have the “Consumer spending index” and economics shows talk about “fearful savers” or “ happy spenders” and do polls on how people view the economy. Economics classes talk about “dollars spent” Dollars spent in local economies tend to carry “force multipliers” with them. Force multipliers are really just a funny way of saying “for every dollar spent, two or three are felt”
Here’s how it works: Say I go to a local grocers to buy a carton of eggs. I spend a dollar. That local grocers then goes on to spend sixty cents of that on improvements to a contractor. That contractor then spends fifty cents of that dollar to pay for material for a pool he plans to install a week from now. That materials company spends forty cents on rent and so on and so on and so on. For every dollar spent locally, three or four are felt.
The stock market and more recently banks however tend to function not as engines of investment in worthy projects (as they were intended) but as engines of rewarding shareholders. The world wide stock market as we see it today, functions more as a ponzi scheme than anything else. The stock market functions as a function of competition between publically listed companies as to who can more efficiently reward the stockholder best (see price over earnings index) as rather to can more efficiently (efficiency being rated as a function of cost) produce a product. Business and accounting teach you that assets and owners equity must be maximized and liabilities (including employee pay and benefits) must be minimized. The stock market then serves as a competition among companies to see who can pay their employees the least, reward the stockholders the most and produce the product the cheapest (sometimes even omitting the product entirely, see Bernie Madoff)
Money directed at the stock market tends to be redirected at the stock market in one form or another (moving from thereby creating a split or bifurcated economy between what is owned on paper, and what is really truthfully owned, creating a major problems down the road when and if anyone tries to collect on what is owed.  The government bailout of the banks made this situation much much worse.
People look at the stock market and the economy and see the beginnings of “green shoots of a recovery” as the stock market is up almost two thousand points from a low of around 7500 two years and six months ago, but as I have demonstrated earlier what we see really is the effects of the “bailout” cash working its way through the system artificially propping up banks and lending institutions. The bailout money allows for banks to hold onto homes and property that they would otherwise be forced to sell at close to its true value. So instead of taking the TARP funds and using it to lend to business to create jobs, the banks are using the money to hold onto huge gluts of distressed properties in the hope that the economy will come back to its former glory. Another issue the banks have is that they have not even come close to declaring the losses inflicted by all of the “toxic assets” being held. They are being allowed not to declare the multi trillion dollar losses sitting on their books until the economy is more “stable”. The entire banking sector is playing a very expensive game of “kick the can”. These two factors mean that the banks look much healthier than they did in 2008 but in reality they are no more healthy then they had been before the banking crisis.
The next factor I will talk about is small business, or rather, the lack of it. Small business is what made this country great. If you owned a small business, it used to mean that you were firmly middle class. If you employed people, it would generally mean that they were middle class (or had the chance to become so). Part of what made this country so resilient is that people were allowed to own small business that employed people and gave them a means of income and livelihood. The computer revolution of the 80’s and 90’s made it possible to operate with “just in time” shipping and eliminated the need to warehouse goods longer than a few days. This in turn created a system where a company (Most notably Wal Mart) could sell goods from anywhere in the world for cents over margin.
This in turn had dire consequences for small businesses all over the United States. As Wal Mart spread all over the nation, devastating local economies wherever a Wal Mart went up, millions of small businesses, employing tens of millions of Americans went under within ten years. Gone were the living wages paid by these small businesses as they were replaced by the barely employable minimum wage employees of Wal Mart. Wal Mart more than any other corporation in the United States has done more to destroy the middle class than any other factor.

Wal Mart is an almost perfect ideal of a post globalization American corporation. Low prices are vastly overshadowed by the destruction it has wrought to the American way of life. Wal Mart maintains these low prices by not only squeezing its suppliers but it hurts employees as well (See no health insurance forcing wal mart employees into emergency rooms)

I have not discussed the role of Corporations in this piece, I will now briefly touch on the basic structure of a corporation and its alleged “personhood” granted to it by the Supreme Court around a hundred years ago. Corporations were originally formed as a tool for the public good, to build a bridge or to charter a town. They later through legal wrangling were allowed to form for the sole basis of making a profit by producing a product. Today the basic function of a corporation is to increase shareholder value. Corporations and those that work for them are not allowed to consider anything beyond maximizing shareholder value.
Court cases have been fought and won on behalf of corporations against CEO’s trying to consider other factors (such as employee pay and benefits, or environmental destruction). The shareholders won. It is simply beyond reasoning that corporations could be considered “people” when their sole goal, often sociopathic in nature is to increase value of the shareholder, regardless of the cost to people or the environment.

The WTO or the World Trade Organization has the legal power to sanction, or even stop governments from enacting legislation “contrary to the promotion of world trade” In other words, a country cannot make laws even when it has to do with the safety of its own citizens if doing so would be ruled “counterproductive” to the goal of “furthering world trade” The WTO has countless numbers of times stopped tariffs and laws and rules of its member nations from being enacted under threat of economic sanction. No matter where the products come from, or may or may not be paying their employees a “living wage” the WTO has a great deal of power over member and even nonmember nations.

The last factor I will be talking about is the effect of lobbying on governments worldwide. Where a lobbyist gains power (usually by donating to campaigns in the United States, but in other places outright bribery) countries (especially the United States) become more and more corrupt as its politicians stop seeking the public good, and start looking out for the good of the interests that elect them. This has run rampant with the most extreme example being the recent bank bailouts under both Bush and Obama, but also healthcare reform under Obama.

You cannot find a business interest these days without a lobby. Big Pharma makes the cost of prescription drugs hundreds of times more expensive than they would be under a pure capitalist environment. Healthcare lobbyists have driven the cost of basic medical attention out of the reach of a sizable portion of American consumers. The RIAA and MPAA make it to where playing a song “too loudly” can constitute a “public performance” costing the defendant millions of dollars. Big agriculture costs American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year to pay farmers not to plant crops. Recent supreme court rulings make campaign donations “free speech” meaning, the United States government can no longer regulate how much lobbyists donate to politicians. Corporations are now free to buy elections. Basic marketing psychology states that the he (or she) who is the loudest often has their message heard the most. More exposure equals more votes EVERY  TIME.

Governments are losing ground to corporations at an alarming rate. The middle class is in danger of extinction worldwide.  The basic social safety net is in danger of being completely eliminated. Things once considered basic human rights (Water being the most notable) are being monetized at an alarming rate. The middle class, the thing that keeps capitalist economies moving is being extinguished. As you are reading this now, the dow has dipped below ten thousand for the first time in a year.

Instead of taking the purely capitalist road (which would have been preferable) we have bought into being the most ill conceived disgustingly pandering bills into law. The healthcare bill is nothing more than a government mandate that says everyone in the US must have healthcare. It does NOTHING to address the rising costs of such and is nothing more then a big sloppy blow job to the people who created this mess in the first place. Healthcare lobbyists. The same can be said of the bank bailouts. This money is not being used to extend credit to small business or to extend loans to the people who create jobs. It does nothing for Main Street and everything for Wall Street. It has sewn the seeds of utter destruction of our economy as the money worms its way through the system, ending up in the pockets of the few with nothing but the screw for the many.

We are in a dire situation. There is no recovery coming. I have no real solutions to the problems I have presented. I have totally and completely lost faith in both parties. The Republicans are tools of the elite who create slick marketing campaigns to convince people that any social spending at all, whether it be education, or healthcare reform or banking regulation is nothing more then socialism. “Socialism!!” “Socialism!” they scream from corner offices of Wall Street firms, they are against any tax increases to the upper  15% of income earners, who despite their claims of “Class Warfare” have done nothing less in the last thirty years and they are winning. We think healthcare for all is “untenable” or “too expensive” despite the fact that the cost of the wars we have waged in the middle east could pay for the healthcare costs of every American for the next hundred years. (pure cost, not factoring in lobbying)

The democrats are no less culpable. They are in bed with the banks, and other less savory interests. I used to think the democrats were spineless weak and borderline retarded. I now know that they are bought and paid for by the same people the republicans are. I can think of no other excuse. After 9/11 the democrats rolled over and died and allowed two wars to be waged with little oversight. They turned a blind eye as then president George W Bush (and the oil and military contractors) buried themselves balls deep in the nation of Iraq, for little to no reason other than some flimsy evidence supplied by a Libyan asset who turned out to have been coached by the CIA.  The democrats even took the biggest mandate for change they had since FDR and let the republicans dictate the tone of the conversation on Healthcare reform and financial reform. Now the Republicans are due a comeback in November.

We have been led to believe that both the mother and the father working full time sometimes two jobs is regular and American. We have been groomed to believe that vacation time and sick days are a privilege due only a select few. We have watched our incomes shrinks our retirements disappear with even the idea of a retirement the boon of the moneyed.  We have been bombarded by our media to think this is normal. “The new economy: Say goodbye to retirement!” was the headline of a recent time magazine. All outlets of media are owned by and large by three highly rich people in the US. Where do their interests lie?

I will tell you this. We are due a depression. There is no way around it. It takes a middle class to drive an economy anywhere. Wall Street cannot survive without Main Street. Wall Street needs spending. We have nothing left. No amount of bailouts TARPS or money thrown at those who have too much already will get this economy going again. Nothing short of a new Public Works project will do that now. It is a basic function of economic activity that a dollar given to a poor person or a middle class person (who will spend it immediately in his or her local economy) will go a lot farther than a dollar given a rich person (who will invest it in the Ponzi scheme known as wall street) or give it to a bank (who will buy a house and hold onto it forever)  The market needs a severe correction. Wall Street needs to reflect Main Street.

We no longer have the intelligence as a citizenry to realize what we have done to ourselves. I have no faith in the average American citizen to realize the extent to which they have been screwed, by both sides of the isle. Maybe Americans are too tired from working so many jobs, maybe they are just apathetic, and maybe they are stupid. Maybe they will finally wake up and realize just who is responsible for this mess and decide to vote people who aren’t tools for the elite into office, maybe just maybe, every civilization including ours has a shelf life.  Perhaps we are due a hundred years of corporate feudalism and mass extermination killed on one hand by an angry environment and oppressed on another by our corporate overlords…

Ahh fuck it. I’m going to go watch a movie.
29  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / Re: Bioshock 2 (360) For Sale on: March 19, 2010, 04:31:47 AM
30  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Computer woes... I am teh stumped! on: March 18, 2010, 03:42:52 AM
I have a system that is around three years old, and I have had various problems with it from the start. All of these problems except for one minor one seem to come in clusters.

Here are my hardware specs

Motherboard: Asus P5B
CPU Intel Core 2 duo 6600 @2.4 gig stock cooling
Ram 4 MB GSkill PC2 6400
Video Card evga Nvidia GForce 8800GTS 640MB
Hard drive 400GB western Digital SATA 3GB/sec
PSU 700 Watt OCZ Game extreme (recently died replaced with a corsair TX650 Watt)
OS: Windows Vista 64 Bit pro

When I got the computer it was DOA. It would turn on but it wouldn't feed any video signal. Sent it back, and when I got it back it inexclipably worked. The PC builder was as stumped as I was. Fast forward six months to late 2007. I started getting periods where the system would freeze/crash along with a few scattered disk read/corrupt windows errors. I took it into the local shop where they said it was a motherboard problem, and replaced the motherboard. No more problems. Pretty much rock solid except for one small problem.

Fast forward two and a half years. Today the computer slows down and just about hard freezes, it wont restart. I click the power supply off and restart it. I get a brief blue screen error and a reboot. Then I get another error about a corrupt windows, and it needing the windows disk. I again restart it and it blue screen with a "disk read" error.

I figure "Hey the hard drives dead" so I pull the hard drive and start the RMA process. I then replace the hard drive and it boots into windows with absolutely no issue. I do a scan disk. And the hard drive seems to scan perfectly. No issue. I am teh stumped! I am posting from the computer now and I have no issue.

One extra caveat that may or may not be relevant. For the three years I have owned the computer, through both motherboards it seems like maybe once every few days, I get no video when the rest of the computer boots. I have to turn the computer off/on at the power supply to get video working again. Its odd. But it doesen't really bother me.

So. Is this the motherboard, the hard drive or something completely else?

If I do have to replace the MB what do you guys recommend that would be compatable with my current hardware yet upgradable in the future as I plan to do?

31  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: Layoffs Hit EA Studios Including Tiburon, Black Box, Redwood Shores, Mythic on: November 15, 2009, 02:26:25 AM
I for one, am going to be glad to see EA go. Maybe, just maybe people are getting tired of the formulaic bullshit that's come out.

EA's modus operendi:
1. Publish a game for a small dev.
2. rake in the cash
3. swallow the company that just released that game
4. fire anyone who had anything to do with it
5. release sequels and run the franchise into the ground
6. sit on the IP forever
7. wonder why you're going broke
32  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Political Quiz on: February 20, 2009, 09:11:01 PM
Economic Left/Right: -8.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51
33  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / A goldfish named W on: February 18, 2009, 07:57:22 PM
So anyway, there is this room where I go for tutoring related to the subject of the finance classes I take. In this room, there is a twenty gallon fishtank. In this fishtank, there are three goldfish and a few tropical fish. The goldfish in this tank are fat stupid, slow and ungainly. These three goldfish like to make sport of pecking at one another constantly. When one of them gets sick, the other two goldfish will turn him into a still moving buffet. This is their sport.

The most guilty of this cannibalistic sport, is the largest gold colored goldfish. The other two fish have since gotten very sick, they are floating at the top of the tank listlessly. This bully of a fish will take turns relentlessly trying to feed on the two fish until they weakly resume swimming in the middle of the tank, he will then concentrate on the other sick fish.

This large opportunistic fish does not have a name. After watching him for a while, I have decided that I will name him Dubya.
34  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: So. Why Couldn't the Mumbai Attacks Happen in AnyCity USA/EU? on: December 23, 2008, 11:38:44 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 23, 2008, 09:50:40 PM

Quote from: Drazzil on December 23, 2008, 09:26:34 PM

Pirates aren't terrorists, but they would probabally deal with the highest bidder. I also may be misinformed here but most large cargo ships/supertankers have transponders that identify them as a certain ship, carrying a certain cargo. I dont think it would be the most difficult thing in the world to either set up a shell company to buy a supertanker, if not outright steal one, buy nitrates or liquid nitrates a truckload at a time over a period of time, especially in countries that may not have extensive records.

I said this earlier in the thread but I speak from personal experience when I tell you that there is a LOT of manpower and resources being exerted to look at this problem.  Supercarriers do not just show up unnanounced and enter US ports and those that do come here come with thorough document and crew review and if any discrepancies or concerns come up then those vessels are made to stand offshore (well outside of the two mile radius you mentioned) until they are boarded and inspected. 

These vessels are scrutinized carefully from the moment they file paperwork to come into out ports.

I hope so.
35  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: So. Why Couldn't the Mumbai Attacks Happen in AnyCity USA/EU? on: December 23, 2008, 09:26:34 PM
Pirates aren't terrorists, but they would probabally deal with the highest bidder. I also may be misinformed here but most large cargo ships/supertankers have transponders that identify them as a certain ship, carrying a certain cargo. I dont think it would be the most difficult thing in the world to either set up a shell company to buy a supertanker, if not outright steal one, buy nitrates or liquid nitrates a truckload at a time over a period of time, especially in countries that may not have extensive records.

How hard would it be to pay some corrupt government official in some third world country agriculture department to buy the tonnage of fertilizer necessary to fill a large cargo ship or a supertanker, sail it to within the range that cargo ships start to be scrutinized carefully and blow themselves to hell.

It would certainally take a lot less effort to pull off then 9/11, and a lot less technical know how and luck.
36  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: So. Why Couldn't the Mumbai Attacks Happen in AnyCity USA/EU? on: December 23, 2008, 07:02:56 PM
Okay, you know what? You folks attacking the idea need to do some research. A tanker full of sodium nitrate (read liquid fertilizer) would go off with the strength of two or three Heroshima(sp?)/Nagasaki explosions, at least. You only need to come within a two miles or so of any major commercial port, and detonate the whole tanker. No more docks.

Remember Oklahoma City? That was only done with a truck full of this stuff. Imagine a supertanker/Cargo barge full of cheaply made, easily obtainable liquid fertilizer.

Oh, and terrorists hijack cargo ships and oil tankers all the time. For every supertanker you read about being hijacked, there are another five you never hear about because the companies figure it would be better to quietly settle with the Pirates and go about their business.

PS: If you folks think I'm full of it, go ahead, but the PM of India specifically mentoned this scenerio in an NPR briefing about a week ago, as in, shit developed countries need to avoid.
37  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: So. Why Couldn't the Mumbai Attacks Happen in AnyCity USA/EU? on: December 23, 2008, 03:44:33 PM
First, how hard would it be to set up a completely legitimate looking ID and cargo manifest for a cargo ship? Not hard I think, second, all you have to do is sail the ship to within a mile or two of target.
38  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: So. Why Couldn't the Mumbai Attacks Happen in AnyCity USA/EU? on: December 22, 2008, 08:04:57 PM
The next terrorist attack is going to involve a hijacked supertanker, perhaps multiple supertankers filled with liquid chemical fertilizer and sailed into major commerical ports, Long Beach, New York or Philidelphia, perhaps all at once. The blast would be large enough to basically wipe out portions of whole cities.

This would be a crippling blow to our economy as well, and may cripple shipping to and from the United States, the world economy would grind to a halt.
39  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Need some life and pet advice folks. on: September 24, 2008, 03:29:37 PM
I'm sorry I was in such an angry state when I posted this. I applied to the university and I'm going to take the housing when it ((hopefully)) comes in three months or the next quarter. I cant help my mom anymore when she refuses it.  I gave her her meds last night when she FINALLY came home ((2 am)) and this morning she took her meds (I think)) but I cant do this forever. I need to live my own life and its taken me this long to realize it.

40  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Need some life and pet advice folks. on: September 24, 2008, 04:05:48 AM
For the last two years I've been in a literal and mental hell trying to get my mom help for her issues with paranoid schitzophrenia. She refuses to take medication and has made my life an absolute living wreck for almost the entire duration of the time I've been with her. Her treating doctor is hostile to me and I am unable to get her conserved ((it would cost me six thousand dollars)).

I cant handle this phychologically anymore. Before she was hospitalized she barracaded herself in her room 90% of the time, spent the other five % screaming at me or physically attacking me. The marks wouldn't stay so when I would call the cops they would refuse to do the paperwork to have her taken to the hospital and hospitalized.

Before she got taken to the hospital this last time, she got most of the way through the eviction process to have me evicted, she no longer saw the necessity of paying the bills and I was having to cover all the housing/utility expenses. This last time she was hospitalized they kept her three weeks. Long enough to get her half stabilized. She still refuses to medicate.

I have however found a way out. I have applied for University Housing ((At my local university where I go to school)) so that I may escape this situation. Only five problems. Namely our cats. If I leave, she will lose her place to live, and the cats will be taken to the pound and put to sleep.

I have tried local "no kill" shelters... They are all full. These cats were all my family for the entire time my mom has been sick. They are between six months and seven years old. My mom keeps adopting cats.

I am to the point to where I know if I have these cats put down, I will be free of my mother. I couldn't give a flying fuck what happens to her. She is WILLINGLY not medicating, WILLINGLY being led astray by the voices in her head. I hope that she is damned in a hell for the willingly decieved for eternity plus ten thousand years. I hope that she dies freezing with a goddamn newspaper up her ass with only her goddamned voices to keep her company. I'm done with my mother. She's fucking had her last chance with me. I am twenty six goddamn years old, but I cant bear to walk away from the goddamn cats. A large part of me wants to go have them all put down tomorrow so I can finally FINALLY be free of her.

So what do I owe the cats? I have done my best. Im broken, I'm defeated, Im done, Im finished, I'm spent with breaking my hands and my head and my back and my heart trying to hold things together for her but I love the cats and I believe I have some kind of duty to them right?

I know for a fact if I leave my mom, she will lose her home, and no one in the mental health system cares, I've tried for two years to get her help to no avail. I got no love left for my mom but I feel for the cats...
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