Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baby Quilt

Husband and I are expecting our first baby this summer and I have decided to try and make a little quilt for my offspring. Yesterday my boss's wife, who is a fantastic quilter, took me to a fabric store and we spent three hours picking out fabrics. This is the quilt that I'm aiming for:

It was done by a Carol, from Indiana based on this pattern.

I have gone with a similar color scheme, though all of my fabrics are batiks. Can anyone really resist a good batik? Here are my fabric choices:

The blues

The reds

All together now!

Next weekend I'm going to my boss's house to learn how to measure, cut and sew a block and then I'm on my own to make it happen. Right now I'm washing and drying the fabric to pre-shrink it. So exciting! I think I'll try to use this week to finish some of my other projects, like that poor little disembodied alien.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hinky Business in Wisconsin

This happens to me all the time. I listen to some argument made by the conservatives and I think, hmm, this makes sense. And then I research the subject and find out that the facts have been twisted or are all together lies and there are weird ulterior motives in place. Case in point, Wisconsin. Governor Walker and his republican state legislature are trying to pass that much protested bill to cut the benefits of state workers. And initially I thought, well, it sucks but the state is in debt after all, so what can you do? Having read more about it though an entirely different picture emerges. For example, why, if the state is in debt, did Walker and the newly elected republican legislature cut taxes that will add $117 million to the state deficit in the next two years? (For comparison, this year's shortfall is $137 million). Why is he also promising a total repeal of the state’s corporate income tax? Source - Ezra Klein article. In fact the shortfall this year in Wisconsin isn't even all that great, something like 1% of the total budget. Source and source. The other interesting point is that Walker's bill only targets unions that did not support him in his election, meaning those that lean liberal I suppose. It is heartening to see though that some of these unions still came out to protest in solidarity. Finally, it would seem that the unions have already agreed to the benefits contribution increases etc and the only issue being protested is the right to collectively bargain. So ultimately, it's not about the money, it's about taking away union powers. And conservatives would have me believe that unions are there to protect lazy workers who feel entitled to their jobs. I am, however, suspicious, considering the source.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wisconsin Protests of Budget Repair Bill

Coming so close on the heels of Egypt's heartening protests, Wisconsin union and school workers are out protesting Governor Walkers (R) bill to freeze their wages, increase their contributions to retirement (from 0.2% to 5.8%) and health insurance (from 6% to 12.6%), and to allow unions collective bargaining only when it comes to wages. Democratic state senators did not show up for the vote today so there was no quorum, Walker threatened to send the police to find them, etc etc. It's all a big hubbub. Many states are experiencing substantial budget deficits this year due to high unemployment rates. Fewer people work and pay taxes, there is less revenue for the state, yet the social programs remain in place and so you get deficit. My first thought is that it is rather obvious that programs must be cut for the moment being to balance the budgets. Sure that means laying off fire fighters, policemen, teachers, but ultimately the math has to add up.

There are other considerations though that are for some reason overlooked. In this situation I think it is equally reasonable to have let the Bush tax cuts expire, at least on those making over $250,000 a year. The increase of just 3% would hardly make or break these families, but would add substantially to the revenues, both federal and state. Additionally, 2/3 of corporations in Wisconsin do not pay any corporate income tax. I suppose one can argue that corporations provide much needed employment, but why are small business taxed? Do they not provide employment? Additionally, many such corporations, like SC Johnson, Harley Davidson and a bunch of cheese corporations are getting subsidies, money that's taken from the tax payers and given to the corporations, which aren't even taxed. I have no love for subsidies anyway, especially in agriculture. It is not what a real corporate marketplace should look like. In my little hippy town a Walmart has gone up, paid for by us and our tax dollars, and forcing a bunch of local stores out of business. I'm sorry, but that is just not right.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Joe Republican by Jeff Parker

Joe Republican

by Jeff Parker on Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 12:11am

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression. Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe is home from work.

He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Best commercials of superbowl 2011

I'm sure the superbowl has a number, which I don't know and don't care about. I am pleased to say that I may never have to watch another football game again in my life, which is a lovely thing. I did watch the commercials last night on the intertubes though and here is my opinion of the best ones from this year. (None beat last year's Google commercial though). I broke them down into categories this time.

Best Funny Commercials

Chevy "Tommy"

Volkswagen "The Force"

Best Epic Commercials

Volkswagen "Beetle"

Chrysler "Imported from Detroit"

Best Sexy Commercial

Stella Artois - not even a very good commercial, but it has the endlessly sexy Adrien Brody

"Christianity" by 4chan

I have no love for 4chan but this is awesome and so very true. Made me smile today :)

"Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. Makes perfect sense. "

And one of my favorites quotes of all time:

"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart." HL Mencken, I believe.