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Member since: Sat Mar 27, 2004, 04:35 PM
Number of posts: 24,331

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It's come to my attention that some people here don't know Mike Bloomberg.

And are perhaps under the mistaken impression that he actually backs up the things he claims to support, or in general governs like anything other than the conservative Republican that he is. Please allow me to educate you.

While mouthing support for gay marriage in New York State, Bloomberg was secretly donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican State Senators and State Senate candidates who were universally opposed to gay marriage and pledged to block the bill.

While making noise about islamophobia and supporting Park 51, Bloomberg had the NYPD conducting some of the broadest and most dubiously legal racial profiling in the country, including illegal surveillance of mosques, community centers, and similar venues, surveillance justified solely on the fact that the targets were arabs, muslims, or both.

Bloomberg was a strong and early supporter of invading Iraq, saying that "Don't forget that the war started not very many blocks from here," referring to the World Trade Center, and also a strong supporter of reelecting Bush in 2004. Years later when the Democrats pressed for a timetable for withdrawal, Bloomberg called the Democrats "irresponsible" for doing so.

Bloomberg pursues a strict "two class" system for personal safety in NYC, where the wealthy and well connected are provided with handguns and armed personal security while anyone without wealth is prohibited from even buying pepper spray.

When Bloomberg decided he wanted a third term as mayor, despite the term limit law which had been approved not once but TWICE by New York City voters, he bribed members of the City Council by offering to personally bankroll their own reelection campaigns if they would vote to overturn that law, which they did.

During the subsequent campaign, just like his previous campaign, Bloomberg repeatedly and massively violated NYC campaign finance laws, because he knew he could get away with it, and the fines meant nothing to him. That included outspending his Democratic rival in 2009 by a margin of five to one, with Bloomberg dropping more than $100 million dollars--not counting positive coverage from his personal company, Bloomberg News--to buy the election, which he won by 4% of the vote.

When he wanted the Independence Party ballot line in that election--the Independence Party being synonymous in New York politics with gamesmanship, ballot manipulation, and usually corruption--Bloomberg "donated" $1.2 million dollars to the Independence Party, and in return they gave him an extra line on the ballot, in addition to the Republican and Conservative Party nominations he already had.

Bloomberg has repeatedly defended police shootings involving unarmed people as being the fault of the civilian who was killed, even including children; Meanwhile, a dozen NYPD officers have been convicted of purchasing machine guns through the NYPD--highly illegal for anyone other than the police to own--and selling them on the black market for years, a case Bloomberg has refused to acknowledge even exists.

Bloomberg has had a continually adversarial relationship with city worker unions, including having prompted one strike and almost prompted another, as well as suggesting that the city didn't need transit workers anyway.

Bloomberg supports heavily reducing the corporate tax rate, including having made a deal with Goldman Sachs to give them $1.65 billion in tax breaks to stay in New York City.

Bloomberg also supports a federal database to track the DNA and fingerprints of every citizen.

So please, don't tell me that Mike Bloomberg is a liberal because he's pro-choice and gave teachers a pay raise, or because he mouthed support for something while undermining it with his actions. He's not.

No big Fukushima health impact seen: U.N. body chairman

Per Reuters reporting on the investigation by UNSCEAR, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation:

The health impact of last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan appears relatively small thanks partly to prompt evacuations, the chairman of a U.N. scientific body investigating the effects of radiation said on Tuesday.


Asked whether he was optimistic that the overall health effects would be quite small, Weiss said: "If we find out that what we know now is representing the situation, then the answer would be yes ... the health impact would be low."


No real surprise here to those of us who knew the scientific facts about the situation. Fukushima was never one one-hundredth the danger it was made out to be, particularly by some panic-mongers on the internet spreading absurd claims as "news" about radiation killing babies in Idaho, and contaminated milk in Vermont, telling everyone that Japan was going to become uninhabitable or even that the entire northern hemisphere would be poisoned.

The real tragedy here is that in the cloud of scaremongering over Fukushima, which is going to end up being a non-event in terms of human mortality, the rest of the world seems to have forgotten about the 21,437 Japanese killed or missing in the quake and tsunami, and the estimated $130 billion dollars in damage to Japan. Actual deaths and actual destruction that people are going to be dealing with for decades to come.

So Santorum produced an ad depicting Mitt Romney as Rambo?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the point of political attack ads generally supposed to be making people like your opponent LESS? Of all the ways that you could depict a spineless, gormless tool like Mitt Romney, you're really going to transform him into a machine-gun-toting commando in wingtips, personally hunting down his enemies and dispatching them in a hail of gunfire without ever creasing the starched collar on his shirt? Because call me crazy, but that seems like exactly what any politician looking to capture Republican primary votes would want himself seen as. Hell, just about ANYBODY would love that image--look at the "coolness bump" Obama got after just giving the Marines the go-ahead on that whole pirate-sniping adventure a few years ago.

Here's a hint for the Santorum crowd... a successful ad does not depict you as a cardboard cutout and your main opponent as a one-man-army with sudden death streaking out from his fingertips. And while we're at it, here are other things that you should not depict your opponent as: God, Jesus, Elvis, an ice-cream man, the Dos Equis guy, or a killer cyborg sent from the future. Other things you should not depict yourself as: a puppy, a small child, a mural, a rock, a doormat, or a urinal. Please keep these instructions handy for the future, and refer to them often, since your advertising people apparently have all the common sense of a fencepost. Which is another thing you probably shouldn't depict yourself as.

The cure for cancer.

I've seen repeated around here several times lately the premise that either there will never be a cure for cancer, since it's more profitable to treat it and therefore companies won't try to cure it, or that there is ALREADY a cure for cancer that's being covered up by said same conspiracy.

Fact-free "creative speculation" aside, there are three things fundamentally wrong with this.

First off, a great many medical researchers in the US are funded by universities and the government, and have no substantive ties with medical corporations or for-profit medicine at all. These scientists not only have no motivation to suppress a cancer cure, but strong counter-motivations: the discovery of a cure for cancer would save millions of lives, catapult the discoverer to historical immortality akin to Jonas Salk, and also make said discoverer filthy rich forever. Not even off the drug, just off of their book sales and tours. To believe that there is a cure for cancer being suppressed, or that a cure isn't actively being sought, is to suggest that either all of these scientists are either completely incompetent, or that they're protecting the medical industry at the expense of themselves and their descendants for the next ten generations.

Secondly, people greatly overestimate the amount of profit that there is in treating cancer. Treatments like chemotherapy are long-established and have few to no patents on the most common drugs used for them; the average profit margin on chemotherapy drugs is 6%, which is probably less than on the aspirin in your medicine cabinet. Likewise, radiation therapy machines are difficult and expensive to build, but have fairly simple and non-patented functions. Cancer treatment is expensive because of the extensive testing involved, time, expertise, lab work, and complications, not because it's a major profit center.

Third and finally, a company actually possessing a cure for cancer would be sitting on one of the greatest gold mines in modern medical history. Cancer costs just in the US alone are estimated to hit $158 billion a year by 2020; worldwide, cancer costs $1 trillion dollars a year. A medical company which could step in and offer a cure for HALF the cost of current, unreliable treatment would be the most profitable corporation in the world, dwarfing the entire oil industry put together. And that number would rise rapidly. Making cancer survivable would lead to longer lifespans, which results in more cancers, and thus more cures. It's not an unreasonable estimate that a company which came up with a cure for cancer would make enough money off of it to singlehandedly pay off the entire US national debt.

So no, despite some people competing for the title of "most cynical," it does NOT make sense to suggest that cancer is deliberately not being cured, or that a cure is being suppressed for nefarious purposes. It's not. In fact, there's many and compelling reasons why people are researching cancer cures completely aside from the humanitarian value.

I am a Democrat because there are two viable political parties in America.

There are the Democrats, and there is Evil.

And that's why I'm a Democrat.

If a Republican said it, and you have to ask whether it's racist...

...the answer is probably yes. Just saying.

Don't like Apple? Use Samsung as an alternative.

Most electronics manufacturers, including Apple, don't just assemble in China but use it as their supply chain. They buy displays from one company in China, batteries from another, plastics from yet another, flash memory chips from someone else, and assemble it all there before shipping it. Buying parts cheaply, and then assembling them cheaply, is how they make their money. A lot of money, in Apple's case, since Apple products are fairly overpriced. For instance, Apple sells it's 16 GB iPad 2 with WiFi only for $500. Acer's 16 GB A500 tablet with WiFi only--but also HDMI out, USB host, and a better screen--is $300.

Samsung, however, does things differently. For starters, their manufacturing is in South Korea, not China. South Korea has not just a minimum wage which is by law reviewed and adjusted annually, but also the worker protections you would expect from a civilized country with a remarkably high standard of living.

Add to that that not only is the final product assembled in South Korea, but almost all the components are as well: Samsung makes their money by being their own supply chain. They manufacture their own displays, their own batteries, their own flash memory, their own processors, etcetera. Virtually every component in a Samsung-branded device was manufactured by Samsung, in South Korea, unless they literally could not get it anywhere else--for instance the hardened "Gorilla Glass" which is only manufactured by Corning Inc. in either Harrodsburg, Kentucky or Shizuoka, Japan.

If you're looking for an alternative to buying things made by Chinese factory workers, there IS an alternative that is manufactured almost entirely by well paid and protected workers in a country with a high standard of living, without having to sacrifice your wallet.
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