Monthly Archives: September 2009

Evils of Socialism

Seems I’ve started a fire I can’t put out.

fightTo begin with, I posted the contents of an email about the ludicrous assertion that under Obama the US is drifting towards socialism. This was sent to me by an alarmed friend. You’ll find that below.

Then, below that, I’ve posted a comment that came from someone who is equally alarmed, but this time by the views of my alarmed friend.

Next, you’ll see a short, sharp smack to the head from my alarmed friend mothraaimed at the guy who disputed her views in the first place. And last of all, you’ll witness, in what is rapidly becoming the fight of the century on Swami, the contender’s comeback, which is fierce and damning.

It’s brutal, like Godzilla versus Mothra, yet fascinating. Is it wrong of me to find this a bit of a turn-on?

Anyway, here goes…

Message #1:

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by socialist electricity
generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of
Energy. I then took a shower in the socialist clean water provided by the
municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the socialist radio to one
of the FCC regulated channels to hear what the socialist National Weather
Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
determined the weather was going to be like using socialist satellites
designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of socialist US
Department of Agriculture inspected food and taking the socialist drugs
which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time as kept accurate by the socialist National Institute
of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory, I
get into my socialist National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
approved automobile and set out to work on the socialist roads built by
the socialist local, state, and federal departments of transportation,
possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level
determined by the socialist Environmental Protection Agency, using socialist legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. On the way
out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the socialist US
Postal Service and drop the kids off at the socialist public school.
If I get lost, I can use my socialist GPS navigation technology developed by
the United States Department of Defense and made available
to the public in 1996 by President Bill Clinton who issued a policy
directive declaring socialist GPS to be a dual-use military/civilian system
to be managed as a national socialist asset.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the
socialist workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor
and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the socialist USDA, I
drive my socialist NHTSA car back home on the socialist DOT roads, to my
house which has not burned down in my absence because of the socialist state and local building codes and socialist fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it’s valuables thanks to the
socialist local police department.

I then get on my computer and use the socialist internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and
browse the socialist World Wide Web using my graphical web browser, both
made possible by Al Gore’s socialist High Performance Computing and
Communication Act of 1991. I then post on and fox news
forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t
do anything right.

Message #2, from “Kazvorpal” :

All of the things you mention are parts of our lives we find lacking…if we’re paying attention…and that is because of the socialism you mention.

People pay silly prices for bottled water, because the water monopoly tends to produce a supply of dubious quality, and forces us all to suffer the same intentional adulteration, despite questions as to whether things like fluoride and chlorine may actually be harmful to our systems.

fightingWe insanely overpay for electricity, and in most places the wires are still above-ground, prone to failure in bad weather and even deadly to innocent bystanders at times, all because the monopoly power company has no incentive to be responsible to customers.

The science says that the forced daylight savings time actually costs human life, aside from the discomfort and suffering that studies say actually lasts until the return to non-government-arrogance-time.

We suffer traffic jams and crappy road conditions purely because government has even less incentive to respond to consumer needs than government-mandated, private monopolies.

Many of our greatest economic crises are caused by the socialized currency you mentioned…for example, the current economic depression, produced by a shortage of currency, because of the mismanagement of the Federal Reserve, or the normal recessions, caused by a surplus of said currency.

The postal service, of course, has been increasing its prices at double inflation, for the past few decades, while it’s actually become decreasingly useful in the same period. It even tried to demand that email be taxed to subsidize its inefficient blundering.

Most health and safety standards actually stagnate health and safety technology, so that we’re often using criteria and techniques developed decades, even generations, ago, when we’d have been far safer if businesses building/selling products had to actually compete for consumer confidence directly.

Pretty much everything you laud, is crap we’re stuck with because of government coercion.

Message #3:

punchCan you imagine what we’d have to pay for water if it was owned by private companies, like those that bottle it for us?

 Can you imagine what would happen if private companies controlled electricity, as Enron did in California, shutting off power intermittently to raise prices on false premises of power shortages to increase their profits?

 Daylight savings time has actually saved lives by allowing farmers to stay in the fields longer to supply cheap produce for this country and much of the planet.

 Private monopolies, like health insurers, running our road system so everyone has to pay to use those roads?  That should work out for the majority, huh?

 The economic depression produced by a shortage of currency would be funny if it wasn’t so deliberately misleading.  This economic depression was fighting 2caused by the same principles that caused the last Great Depression.  No regulation of Wall Street, allowing people like Bernard Madoff to run a Ponzi scheme for 20 years and corporations like AIG and banks to create unsupported loans which created the housing speculation that just blew up in their (and our) faces when those unsupported loans went into foreclosure.

 The postal service hasn’t been increasing its prices enough, let alone with the false charge of double inflation.  It’s losing money now because people are using the internet rather than paper, dropping the bottom out of the system because of lack of support.  No blundering on their part, just changes in technology and the times.

 And being protected against injuries in the workplace hasn’t stagnated anything, especially technology, which has boomed in and around these protections, creating all sorts of time savings apparatus and efficiency standards in the process, as opposed to the good old days, when workers were regularly injured on the job and simply replaced by healthy workers until they wore out.

 Pretty much everything in this comment on your blog is crap, promoted by the “libertarians” and Ron Paulites who make stuff up to support their false claims of “the free market regulates itself!”  Yeah.  Like any store left unattended for days or weeks would have any inventory left or any income to show what was taken.  It regulates itself.  And pigs can fly.

Message #4:

fighting 3> Can you imagine what we’d have to pay for
> water if it was owned by private companies,
> like those that bottle it for us?

Yes, I can, and it would be less, for higher quality.

Why? Because monopolies always have higher prices and lower quality. There’s really no choice in the matter, no pun intended.

When a company has a monopoly, not only is it certain to charge more and try less, but if it wanted to do otherwise, it has no means of measuring what works better or worse, where the efficiency lies, et cetera.

Competition is the only way to drive cost down and quality up, as the businesses test ideas against each other.

The evils of monopoly don’t magically stop being true just because the thing they supply is really important…if anything, it makes them apply more.

> Can you imagine what would happen if
> private companies controlled electricity, as
> Enron did in California, shutting off power
> intermittently to raise prices on false
> premises of power shortages to increase
> their profits?

owlYou just made another argument in my favor. Almost all power companies are private, that doesn’t make them any less socialist. They are state-mandated monopolies, and their abuses are the fault of socialism…were there competition, they would never dare treat customers so poorly.

What’s more, it is massive state regulation that forced Enron to shut off power; California has effectively banned the building of local power plants, and set price controls that effectively banned the importation of power from states with less socialism, ergo more power plants. If socialism bans you making the product, and bans you buying it, then you can’t supply it.

> Daylight savings time has actually saved
> lives by allowing farmers to stay in the fields
> longer to supply cheap produce for this
> country and much of the planet.

That doesn’t even make sense on its face.

How, precisely, does having farmers in fields longer (which is a silly premise, anyway) save lives? Especially while the socialist government pays farmers to grow less specifically to make prices higher.

But, as two seconds of actually thinking things through will tell you, farmers work EXACTLY the same number of hours, regardless of daylight savings time. During harvest, they work each available hour, and the clock changes nothing for them. It’s the rest of America, who isn’t dependent upon the climate for their living, who suffer.

> Private monopolies, like health insurers,
> running our road system so everyone has to
> pay to use those roads? That should work
> out for the majority, huh?

More brilliant logic…you think each of the dozens of health insurance companies is a monopoly? Do you know what mono-poly means?

People would no more have to pay to use private roads, than they have to pay to watch network television. In order to get you to their stores, Wal-Mart would build its own roads, if it couldn’t bribe local politicians to build them on taxpayer backs. And it would make them better, because it wants as many customers eager to use them as possible. And they’re not going to bring in nearly as many customers if they charge a toll, any more than if they made you pay a fee to have the lights on while you shop.

The same, obviously, with anyone developing a sub-division.

On a highway scale, there would be far more money to be made in advertising, and charging rent to businesses on the road-side, than charging a toll that would massively limit the number of drivers and how quickly they could get on and off the highway.

fighting 4> No regulation of Wall Street, allowing people
> like Bernard Madoff to run a Ponzi scheme
> for 20 years and corporations like AIG and
> banks to create unsupported loans which
> created the housing speculation that just
> blew up in their (and our) faces when those
> unsupported loans went into foreclosure.

This speaks to a sheer ignorance of even the basics of recent economic history. The amount, and enforcement, of regulation increased rapidly under George Bush, which is why there was so much more /prosecution/ of things like Enron and Madoff. Remember, Enron’s crimes, and many of Bernie’s, were committed while they were bribing the Clinton administration to look the other way.

Curiously, the economy did better when we did have lower regulation and minimal enforcement, because of the Lincoln Bedroom bribery system of Clinton.

Meanwhile, as anyone paying attention knows, the loans causing the housing speculation bubble were FORCED on the industry, by Congress. Laws requiring that loans be made to undeserving people in order to have “record home ownership” for Clinton and Bush, plus the power to force this behavior with the socialist Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, guaranteed the bubble…and the response of the socialist Obama administration, pushing new home loans with lower standards, are setting up an even bigger fall, in the future.

You’re not going to have a store “left unattended” in a free market, that simile is bordering on literal insanity. A business owner, in a free market, protects his property more than he does under socialism, not less, because he has more of a sense of responsibility.

More appropriate is the image of a store-front left abandoned under socialism, because you can get tax breaks for losing money on the store, versus the massive cost of complying with money-making regulations in order to rent to a new client, while in a free market every day the store was un-rented is lost money, so you’d cut prices until you found a renter, no matter what.


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Cakes that make you wanna barf.

There’s a great feature on the Daily Beast today.

A woman called Jen Yates collected photos of the worst professional cakes ever made and put them in a book called Cake Wrecks. Here are a couple…

1) The heart transplant. ugly cake


2) The dead groom.

ugly cake 2

A slideshow of some others can be found HERE.

Jen also has a blog called Cake Wrecks, which is worth looking at.

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How I almost appeared on The Tonight Show.

Casual Friday. It’s already hot and sticky in L.A., and I’m writing this naked. Those are the facts, people. Just accept them.

On Casual Fridays I like to bunk off work and hand the Swami over to someone who writes better than I do, or at the very least has something better to say. Today that honor falls to a guy whose name I will have to cut and paste, because I can neither pronounce it nor spell it: James Poniewozik.

LenoHe’s written a fantastically informative article for Time magazine about the future of television. And right now, he posits, the future seems to rest on what happens next week when Jay Leno launches his new show five nights a week on NBC, replacing their old, costly, lumbering, expensive dramas that nobody was watching.

Most people are expecting this experiment to be a flop. The bulk of variety shows do, after all, go into a rapid tailspin and disappear. In the 1950s, we used to enjoy watching a mixed bag of crap. Nowadays, less so. Unless there’s a talent show element to it at least, such as American Idol, in which case we’ll watch crap forever.

Witness the Osbournes variety special – The Osbournes Reloaded – which Fox was extremely cockahoop about at the time, and which was meant to be the first of a series of six. Unfortunately, the premier was so mind-numbingly dreadful that the rest of them were never shown. Here’s a taste.

leno picSo now we’re getting Jay Leno, trying to salvage his post-Tonight Show glory.

I once received a phone-call from The Tonight Show, inviting me to be on as a guest. Somebody had dropped out, it was late in the day, and I lived close to their Burbank Studios. This was when I used to do handwriting analysis. One of Leno’s producers had seen me on The View, apparently, and thought I’d be fun. But first they needed me to do a quick audition please. “Sure,” I said. “Easy.”

I didn’t drive in those days, so I traveled to Burbank by bus. And I bet not many of Jay Leno’s guests ever did that!

When I arrived, I was taken into a small room by the producer who had me analyze her handwriting. The girl in question was a mess. She had huge emotional problems, I recall, and somehow it didn’t seem right or responsible, even for an audition, to make light of them. So I gave her a straight reading, which was pretty damn accurate, just not especially entertaining.

Midway through, the room darkens. This taller, older woman walks to the door, stands there with her arms folded, listens for five seconds, then blurts out “No” in a stern voices and strides away.

That was it. I was promptly shunted out, given a handshake – “Sorry.” – and told to leave. Clearly, I wasn’t Tonight Show material.

To make matters far worse, when I got home I took off my trousers and found a massive brown skid-mark down the back. Seems I’d sat in something on the bus! One of the many hazards of using the L.A. public transit system. Most times you spot it before you sit down; but sometimes you’re preoccupied with an audition and possibly appearing on The Tonight Show and you forget to look. Oh god. Nothing could have been more embarrassing. I’d walked around their offices, meeting people, saying hi, doing quick handwriting analyses for anyone who asked…and all the while I looked like I’d shat my pants. I still cringe even now.

Anyway, who knows if I’ll be invited onto Leno’s new show. Maybe that old bag who said no to my gifts before has retired now.

Of course, I don’t do handwriting stuff any more, but that’s okay. I have other talents. Yesterday, for instance, a producer emailed me, asking if I’d like to do the voice of the lead character in a cartoon for the web. A fun character. He’s a talkshow host. “The guy has a gun for a nose,” the producer explained, “and explosives for a chin….it’s called Gun Nose.”

Of course it is. What else?

I said maybe. But I’m not hopeful for it. Gun Nose? Really? Why on earth would a producer dream up a character called Gun Nose, then automatically think, “You know who’d be good for this? That guy who does reports on NPR. I forget his name…the idiotic one.” Weird. And a hoax, I’m sure.

In the meantime, take a look at the Time article. All very interesting. And don’t forget to watch when Jay invites me on his new show later this year as a guest. “Next we have a very funny and original man. Author, handwriting analyst, NPR contributor, and the voice of Gun Nose….Cash Peters.”

I thank you.

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It’s new, it’s free, and….well, what else matters? Where do I sign up?

logoOoh, look what I just found.

It’s called Spotify! Yes, I know you can read. And I know it’s a horrible name. But what is it exactly? 

Hang on, I’m getting to that.

Basically, it’s a music download service that’s totally legal and which, come 2010, is going to be a massive rival to iTunes here in the States, thrashing the former market leader the way it’s been doing all over Europe.

Most of all, it’s free. Which, for me, is its chief appeal. Music be damned.

Subscribe, and you can download all the tunes you want for absolutely nothing. Nothing, I tells ya. The only catch is that they play a short ad every thirty minutes. And quite honestly, that’s how often I take a pee these days, so I won’t have to hear it. The whole thing should work out rather well. 

appleStrikes me, Apple’s had things all their own way for far too long. I use their laptop, I rent movies from them, and, as from next week, I’m very probably going to be buying a new, whizz-bang iPod Touch from them too, if the rumors are correct. (The rumors that I’m a sucker for virtually anything bright and shiny with a touch-screen, that is.)

So there you go. Spotify. You heard it here first.

Well, unless you went to the Daily Beast yesterday and read it there first instead. If you didn’t, here’s the article. It’s fascinating.

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Boring gets a makeover.

leviI know this is beginning to seem like an unhealthy obsession on my part, but hunky man-boob Levi Johnston has been posing for the latest issue of Vanity Fair, and the magazine very kindly made a video about the photoshoot.

It’s remarkable really. Here’s a guy who, by conventional big city standards, seems to have limited intelligence, verbal skills, sense of humor, personality, and talent, yet women, gay guys, and the media have this crazy-mad rising infatuation with him. I mean, he’s dastardly cute ‘n’ all, and cuteness plays well anywhere. But that’s it – beautiful but dull: the total package.

Probably the first male equivalent we’ve had in a long while to those dumb blondes with massive breasts that heterosexual men seem to find endlessly engaging, while the rest of us look on mystified.

Anyway, I’m sure you understand that watching this video could take up most of my morning, if not the whole day, as I have to scrutinize it frame by stupid man-boy frame. For that reason there will be no coherent words written by me today. At least not until I’ve sobered up from my beauty stupor and the hangover that generally follows it. 

For anyone who’s equally obsessed, here’s the link. Enjoy.

Before I go, though, two quick extras. I mentioned yesterday that my BBC thing would be broadcast twenty minutes earlier than usual last night due to an ongoing tennis match that they couldn’t interrupt. (Tennis on radio – what could be more riveting?). In fact, what happened was that my Slot was cancelled altogether. Yup, ‘fraid so. I waited at the studio for two hours until the sound of men slamming balls over a net became so monotonous and so annoying than I had to leave. Therefore the broadcast never happened. Sorry.

Second thing: I have a video on Fast and Very Loose, it’s called.

For the past couple of months, a steady dribble of people have drifted over there to take a look at it. Somewhere between four and twelve a day. Not many, but just enough. Then yesterday, for reasons that baffle me, a whopping 544 people viewed it. And at the time of writing today, the number’s already up to 132. What happened all of a sudden? Why the interest in my sitting on the toilet and throwing up? I’m totally intrigued yet, as I say, baffled.

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Sickening. I can’t watch.

First, an official announcement: tonight’s BBC broadcast will be on twenty minutes earlier than normal to make way for the tennis. Like we don’t have enough problems in this world, without complicating everything with tennis.

Ben & JerryAnd while we’re at it: a second announcement. More of a press release really. I don’t eat dairy, so I never buy Ben & Jerry’s, but today, for once, I’m tempted. They’ve introduced a new flavor (or rather, renamed an old one), Hubby Hubby, in support of gay marriage in Vermont. Yay. That’s so wonderful. In fact, even though they’re owned by corporate leviathan Unilever, I feel so warm towards them right now, I could melt their entire product line. Check it out HERE.

Having said that, d’you want to see something truly ghastly? Something I myself cannot watch?

It’s tricky. I’m in the unusual position of posting a video on my blog that I am completely unable to sit through and never will. It shows thousands of chickchicks being fed into a grinder. Apparently, the footage was shot undercover and is being spread around the internet by Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group campaigning for, if not an end to this brutality, at least a warning message on egg-boxes informing customers that “Male chicks are ground-up alive by the egg industry.”

Oh sure, that’s going to happen.

In the video, if you can bear to watch it – and I repeat, I’ve not seen this – I’m told there are examples of what’s called “spontaneous euthanasia.” Which is billed as the most instantaneous way to kill chicks. And that’s all matters, of course: killing things instantaneously. I’m appalled.    

Today is Day 57 of my raw food diet. Back in early July I converted from risottoeating dead, unnutritious food to a diet of only living food packed with enzymes. Bar one or two necessary lapses and a couple of adjustments to make sure the entire world didn’t drop out of my bottom – which seemed like it might happen at one point – it’s turned out to be a magnificent way of going about things. Not only healthy, but thoroughly humane. And that’s why I’m posting this video.

Last week I had lunch with a producer who worked on my TV show. She ordered a burger and fries and I chose a salad. We got talking about the raw food diet and she, in defense of her lifestyle, launched into a rhapsody about how succulent white meat chicken is, cooing, “I know it’s cruel, but it’s so tasty!”

I could see by her expression that she didn’t get what she’d just said.

Caring for animals, being kind to them, and respecting other lifeforms on the planet rather than killing them en masse simply for our pleasure simply didn’t compute. Not when compared to the scrumptious yumminess of white meat chicken cooked in a marinade.

On the way back to the parking lot, she also, by the way, merrily launched into a neat justification of why it’s okay for TV executives to steal a writer’s program idea and not pay him for it. “Otherwise the network doesn’t make as much money. If they take an original idea and adapt it as their own, changing it just enough so that it becomes different and the writer can’t sue, then that saves them a lot of money down the line.”

“Er….sure,” I argued, speaking as one who’s had several great ideas pilfered by networks over the years, “but they wouldn’t be making any money in the first place without the writer, would they? So why can’t they just be fair about it? Then everyone gets rich.”

Well, I swear, she didn’t see this at all. Why should “everyone get rich”, was her response, delivered in an incredulous voice, when there was a chance that, by stealing material, the rich could become even richer? Wasn’t that what business was all about? And she promptly took an idea for a panel game I tossed at her over lunch and told me, “I’ll develop this.”

I’ve never heard from her since.

With a similar baffling lack of logic, critics of my diet have said to me, “But surely veganism is cruel too. If your food is alive, the way you say it is, then you’re killing cucumbers and carrots. It’s vegetable cruelty.”

I’m serious. I’ve been told this more than once. Which only goes to show that, as surveys suggest, there really are some very stupid people in the world. 

Anyhow, here’s the video. BE WARNED: It shows chicks in pain and being ground up alive in a factory. Only watch it if you need a lesson on why you should at the very least be vegetarian.

Background material to this appears HERE on the Huffington Post.

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