Sunday, May 22, 2016

Overtime upgrade

This week President Obama endorsed the new Department of Labor rule regarding overtime pay for workers who acquire more than 40 hours a week. Basically, it raises the threshold for those salaried workers who currently work for unpaid overtime.

Previous to this rule, which goes into effect in December 2016, if you made more than $23,660 per year, you were exempt from overtime pay. The DOL has doubled that amount, so if you're salaried and make less than $47,476, you get overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours. And this amount will be revisited every 3 years to make adjustments based on cost of living and average salary wages.

Another big plus is that exemptions for salaried workers who have managerial duties are also stopped. Which means (and this is close to home since my wife is a manager at her job) that employers will either have to compensate managerial workers for overtime, or limit them to a strict 40 hour work week.

Either of which is fine for us. I'd be happy with my wife either being paid for her 50-hour work weeks, or being home at dinner time and on weekends.

This is a good thing, and a fair thing, and I only hope we continue to see workers protected by their government.

Hey, it ain't so bad to see a lame duck president still doing good things for us working Americans!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Shenanigans in Nevada

she·nan·i·gans

SHəˈnanəɡənz/noun informal

plural noun: shenanigans

secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering.
"widespread financial shenanigans had ruined the fortunes of many"




And then, of course, there's the wild unfounded accusations made by Hillary supporters (and please note that I call them "supporters", not "bots", "bros", or any other sort of insult) that spread like wildfire after the convention fiasco. Via Bob Morris, a political blogger in Nevada:

"Berniebot chair-throwing truthers!" Gosh, I'm finding all of this comically absurd in a deranged way.

There is furious argument about whether or not Sanders supporters threw chairs in anger at the train-wreck Nevada State Convention. Really!

"The video shows a chair being thrown."
"Does not. He picked up the chair, that's all."
"He picked in up in anger."
"Did not."
(Repeat conversation for all videos concerning chairs. Then insult each other for being corrupt corporate sellouts / commie socialist troublemakers.)

RalstonReports has been cheerfully poking the BernieBro Beast about this and the results in his Twitter thread on this are fast and furious.

I still don't know what happened there. People who were there sometimes have differing accounts...

https://twitter.com/RalstonReports/status/732699220465975296

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sanders takes another state

(About 30 years ago I parachuted from the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia, and lived!)


In yesterdays West Virginia primary, Bernie Sanders won convincingly over Hillary Clinton.

In a state that she won eight years ago.

I thought Hillary was supposed to be unbeatable in the South.

Obviously, there has been a significant change in the voters' perception of Clinton.

Sanders won big, with 51.4% of the Democratic vote to Clinton's 36%. Possibly this number was helped because of the "semi-open" primary system they use, where voters registered under a party MUST vote in their party's primary, but unaffiliated (independent) voters may vote in either primary.

So Bernie's huge margin may have to do with the fact that, just as in the general election, unaffiliated voters may vote for either candidate. This reflects the polling that has Sanders consistently doing better against Trump than Clinton.

But the Democratic machine overwhelmingly wants Hillary to be their candidate, and Bernie will never be treated fairly by the party apparatus. The game is rigged, and going in everyone can see the writing on the wall.

However, there's still about 10 weeks to go before the convention, and even if Hillary wins the required number of delegates outright before California, Bernie will still have a huge amount of popular support going into Philadelphia in late July. He'll have a dramatic affect on the party's platform, and he's already influencing Clinton's rhetoric. Moving her more toward the liberal end of the spectrum, although she's still as firmly a conservative Democrat as Barack Obama.

And I can't believe anyone actually WANTS a third term of Obama at this point.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Sanders wins Indiana

Sen. Bernie Sanders won Indiana tonight by a decent margin. With 75% of the vote counted, Sanders has nearly a 6% lead over Hillary Clinton, and will win the popular vote tonight.

However, the delegate split will only ensure that Clinton gets that much closer to the nomination. With Ted Cruz dropping out tonight after his drubbing by Donald Trump, all eyes are looking past the conventions and towards the November election.

Except...

Why is it that if Hillary has the nomination locked down, Bernie had a great showing in Indiana and won so easily? If Hillary is our nominee, why are people still voting for Bernie?

Because Bernie's message is resonating with voters. Hillary often inspires contempt with her pandering, while Sanders manages to give people hope and confidence that things will get better with him as president.

Feel the Bern!

Cruz gone


After tonight's serious thumping in the Indiana primary, Canadian-born Ted Cruz finally admitted what most of us already thought, which is a Canadian is never going to be president in the United States.

I feel sorry for the little Canuck. He's been getting hammered in the primaries by a billionaire, small-handed vulgarian, and I'm not surprised that he decided that enough of this torture is enough.

So, as long as Trump doesn't get caught with a dead girl or a live boy in his bed, he's the overwhelming presumptive nominee of the Republican party.

Yes. Trump. I can hardly believe it myself.

To all the esteemed members of the Grand Old Party, I can only say, this is exactly what you deserve for being such assholes for the last decade or so.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Boaty McBoatface

You've probably heard the story about the contest to name a research vessel in England.

If you haven't, here it is:

Last March, the U.K.’s National Environment Research Council opened a poll up to the public, asking that they come up with an “inspirational” title for its new ship. And the title they came up with was Boaty McBoatface—by a wide margin. It received over 124,000 votes, more than four times as much as the runner up, Poppy-Mai.

I don't think there's a single person in the whole world who doesn't think this is totally awesome!

Except, of course, this guy:

Unfortunately for voters, however, their chosen name probably won’t make it onto the ship.

“You won’t be surprised to know that we want something that fits the mission and captures the spirit of scientific endeavor,” U.K. science minister Jo Johnson told the Telegraph, suggesting that ministers won’t endorse the winning name.

Ohhhhh, I get it!

A small group of people are given a special status, above and beyond the wishes of the voting public. They have the power to overturn the will of the people and select whatever THEY deem appropriate!

And this is the reason I absolutely HATE that the Democratic Party has that stupid super-delegate system!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sometimes it feels really great

Today, for the first time in a very long time, I was given the opportunity to cast my vote for someone with whom I agree with philosophically pretty much across the board.

In 2008, I was disappointed when I never had the chance to vote for Dennis Kucinich, whom I always referred to as "the conscience of the Democratic Party". He dropped out of the primary race early on, after a poor showing in New Hampshire.

I ended up voting for a somewhat conservative Democrat in Connecticut's primary and again in November, who had an amazing amount of support and momentum. And while I've disagreed with a lot of things he's done in the last eight years, I feel that we still ended up with a better leader than his opponent.

This time around, the candidate who most clearly represents what I want for our nation is still in the race. And there's an admittedly slight chance that he might even somehow win the nomination.

And I got to vote for him.

The thing to keep in mind is that even if Bernie Sanders doesn't win the nomination, it's important for Democrats to vote for him right up through the California primary two months from now. Because, with as many delegates as he'll have at the convention, Sanders will have a positive effect on Hillary Clinton's policies and stances on important issues.

That's what I'm talking about when I mention the conscience of the Democratic Party. We've strayed quite a bit from what we may one day become, but a candidate like Bernie Sanders is helping, in no minor way, to steer us back on the path of the righteous and the good.



The Big East Primary!

That's what I'm calling it. Today (April 26th) is the day of the Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island primaries. Altogether there are 384 Democratic delegates up for grabs (along with 78 super delegates who are 90% in the bag for Clinton), and 172 Republican delegates to be won.

The Connecticut race is interesting, with recent polls showing Bernie Sanders catching up with Hillary Clinton, although it's likely that Clinton will squeak by in the vote count. No matter, because Sanders needs a landslide to make a significant gain in delegates. All of today's Democratic races award delegates proportionally to the popular vote, so even a 10-point win by Sanders won't gain nearly enough delegates to make a dent in Clinton's lead.

But there's always the chance of a miracle, which is why I'm going to vote in an hour, and I'll be glad that for the first time in a long time I'm able to vote for a candidate I truly believe in...







Donald Trump!








Just kidding!!!!! I know if I did that, a bolt of lightning would zap me the minute I left the polling place!

Speaking of Trump, I take real pleasure in watching the Republican party in it's final death throes, as they thrash around mindlessly seeking a way to block Trump's almost guaranteed nomination.

Trumpenfreude!

Trump is the end result of the conservative media endlessly hammering their viewers with enough ultra-right wing propaganda for the last 20 years to the point where they'll support anyone who agrees with what they've been conditioned to believe! Congratulations Koch brothers, you've managed to destroy the party you were trying to support!

No matter who you like in the primary, get out there and VOTE! It's important, and it doesn't cost you anything other than a few minutes of your time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New York Yoo Nork

That's a lyric from a "Little Feat" song.

I just felt like using it here.

Still missing Lowell George. His voice was unmistakable.

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are celebrating a big win in the Empire State tonight.

Trump, probably more so, because the Republicans have a "winner-take-all"
proportional system in NY, so Trump by winning so massively will receive almost all of the state's 95 delegates. As of 11:15 pm election night, Trump has a total of 840 of the needed 1,237 for the nomination. I doubt he'll fail to reach that number when the primaries end on June 7th with the huge state of California and the important state of New Jersey and three insignificant states somewhere out west.

I'm just kidding! There's nothing insignificant about New Mexico, South Dakota and Montana. Unless you're talking about the average I.Q. rates. Oh, there I go again!

Hillary Clinton won a roughly 60-40 split in the voting, expanding her delegate lead in the road to the inevitable nomination. I'm fairly resigned to that fact, but that wouldn't have stopped me from attending the big Bernie Sanders rally in New Haven this Sunday if I didn't have to pull a double-shift! We just lost a guy on the Connecticut crew, so we're expected to pick up his work until they hire a new guy.

(BTW, if you know any experienced ATM technicians who want a job that pays fairly unimpressively and has middling to decent benefits, shoot me an email.)

Anyway, next week's Big East primary (that's what I'm calling it!) features Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, and our own Nutmeg State. I'm looking forward to voting for Bernie even though he's likely to lose here in Hillary's backyard.

But at least I will get to vote my conscience. I was denied that opportunity in 2008 when Dennis Kucinich had dropped out by the time of our primary, leaving me to vote for Obama over Clinton. At the time Obama was marketed as an engine of change, but I pretty much knew how conservative his leanings were, and I wasn't surprised when so many of his election pledges turned out to be either watered-down, or not even enacted. Guantanamo is still is business, right? And Obama pulled Single-Payer off the table before the conversation even started.

With Bernie Sanders, I have no doubts about his convictions.

So even though it'll probably be a waste of time, my vote next week will signify in some small way that not everyone is on board with Clinton's agenda. If enough of us vote this way, we may have a voice at the convention and the ability to shape the Democratic party's platform.

Even that would be something positive out of all this.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Wisconsin

Results from yesterday's Wisconsin primaries have tightened up both races for the nomination.

Ted Cruz, the daywalker who survives by stalking and devouring toddlers (possibly not true) easily won the state and nearly ALL its delegates in the winner-take-all contest; a few delegates were awarded to Trump based on Congressional district results. Yeah, I know it's confusing.

But Trump still has a big lead, and there's little doubt he'll expand upon it in the upcoming New York primary.

And on the Democratic side, while losing the primary Hillary Clinton was once again gifted a significant number of delegates due to our party's insistence on using proportional allocation of delegates rather than the winner-take-all method which our nation has used in presidential elections for more than 200 years.

Maybe some day we'll start doing it right, but I'm not holding my breath. Plus, super delegates! You all know how I feel about them. No need to go off on yet another rant.

(As I typed that I felt a rant rising up in me anyway, so I went and made myself an English muffin. I feel better now. You should never dismiss the calming effects of a Thomas's English Muffin!)

Regardless, Bernie Sanders did sweep to an impressive victory in the weirdly simultaneously liberal and conservative state. Bernie won by roughly 13%, which is a significant margin and may have been helped by Wisconsin's "open primary" rules, which allows registered voters of any affiliation to vote in either contest. So Bernie may have had help from independent voters, and possibly the odd Republican or two, although I see those guys as too invested in the Trump-Cruz battle to waste their vote on a liberal senator from Vermont.

The independent vote is going to be decisive in the November election, and Bernie's performance was significant in that respect.

There's a meme going around Facebook right now that basically says "For every bad decision Congress has made for the last thirty years, you will find a video of Bernie Sanders trying to stop it".

THIS is why I support him and want to see him as our leader. There is absolutely NO question that Clinton has often landed on the wrong side of some very significant issues, and I just don't see her changing if she gets to the Oval Office.

My apologies to all my friends and acquaintances who support Hillary. I'm all for a woman president; it's just I'm not sure that she's the best candidate to represent our interests.