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Generic Confusion

When you leave, my blog just fades to grey
Nu ma nu ma iei, nu ma nu ma nu ma iei

News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Useful Idiots

The February 23 issue of Billboard magazine (a magazine that sadly isn't available online) featured an editorial by Leila Cabo on Hugo Chavez and artists' rights. You may remember that the anti-American Chavez has been feted by many of the left-wing extremists in Hollywood, and they've visited Venezuela at the dictator's invitation.

Cabo wrote her editorial following recent events in Venezuela. Spanish superstar Alejandro Sanz was scheduled to play there. But it seems he made a couple of comments around the time of the recall petition (which Chavez survived only through a fraudulent election):

"I wouldn't sing if 3 million people asked me not to."

When asked specifically if he liked Chavez, he continued.

"No. But I don't like many other presidents either, including my own."

Chavez remembered these comments, and Sanz was prohibited from performing in Venezuela recently.

Think back to the reaction when individuals reacted negatively to the Dixie Chicks' comments about President Bush. It was wrong for them to express their disapproval by not buying the album, and asking radio stations not to play their music. But here is an example of the government prohibiting an artist from playing.

All those Hollywood supporters of Chavez? The term useful idiots still applies.


Here's where equality stands

Last month, a commentary in the Wall Street Journal online on retirement strategies and Social Security cautioned against a husband taking early Social Security benefits. While the actuarial present value of a person's benefits is roughly the same whether you retire at 62, 65, or 70, that person's spouse receives survivor benefits at roughly half, if greater than the Social Security benefits the spouse would otherwise receive. In other words, retiring early could leave a surviving spouse with far less benefits for the rest of her life.

Reading that made me think that this is the state of equal rights today. The typical husband is older than his wife. The typical man dies earlier than the typical woman. We're asking men to work almost until death for the benefit of women. Some men's rights advocates added their opinions to the discussion.

However, I think it's to the credit of husbands that they will delay their retirement to better provide for their wives. It also underscores the need for independent retirement savings. If the husband and primary wage earner dies earlier, then more of the couple's nest egg is left to provide for the wife's remaining years, meaning a smaller Social Security benefit is less of a problem.


Another song overheard

I've now heard Paula Abdul's The Promise of a New Day several times while out and about. While a #1 song, her sixth and last, it's hardly the first song of hers to come to mind.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Heard on the sound system

In three different places in the last few days, I've heard a store sound system play Toad the Wet Sprocket's All I Want.

Sure, the song was a reasonable hit when it was released, but after that album, the band pretty much disappeared from the pop music radar. So it's surprising to hear it in such quick frequency.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another one from Starbucks

The Way I See It #255

We will end poverty and stop HIV/AIDS within our generation when guided by African principles such as ubuntu that underscore our interconnectedness. With greater compassion for others, we would no longer accept hunger and disease as facts of life.

--Cedza Dlamini
Youth emissary for the UN Millennium Development Goals, founder of the Ubuntu Institute for Young Social Enterpreneur.

First, let's address the second point. Has ubuntu cured the common cold or influenza, or any other fast-mutating virus?

Second, where is the principle of ubuntu when Africans slaughter Africans of different skin colors, religions, and tribes?

This quote is about as far from reality as any I've ever seen.

This is funny

Seen on the paper insulation sleeve from Starbucks:

Starbucks is committed to reducing our environmental impact through increased use of post-consumer recycled materials. Help us help the planet.

First ever 10% post-consumer fiber cup. 60% post-consumer fiber sleeve.

Intended for single use only.

You know, I bet you can save a lot more by creating a reusable paper sleeve! And without the energy expenditures needed to recycle!