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Nov. 2nd, 2011

Every time you do something stupid

(no subject)

Been a while, been even longer since I've written anything political.

My goal for 2012 (even though it's not new years yet) is to have all my student loans paid off, and my unrealistic goal is to be completely out of debt (CC, Car note, student loans) by the end of the year. Hey it could happen right?

Oct. 18th, 2010

Every time you do something stupid

Barstool Economics

A buddy of mine sent me this on facebook, too good not to share everywhere.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100 and If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.The fifth would pay $1.The sixth would pay $3.The seventh would pay $7.The eighth would pay $12.The ninth would pay $18.The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.)

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20." so drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected...They would still drink for free...But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'...They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33...But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer..So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings). The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before...And the first four continued to drink for free...But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!" "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!" "That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!" "Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.Professor of Economics
University of Georgia

Aug. 25th, 2010

Every time you do something stupid


Want what I can't have as usual.

Aug. 13th, 2010

Every time you do something stupid

Land of milk, honey, and hate....

So almost through my second week at the job. Already pulling copious quantities of overtime (12 hours this week.) It's not exactly glorious or challenging, I've done the same machine/order 4 times this past week. One of my coworkers informed me that the last guy on third shift who managed to do this particular job was on it for almost 3 months straight before he just upped and quit. Not exactly something reassuring for wanting to progress.

Also, the method they use for doing their blow molding (what I actually have experience with) is pretty awful. The tools are pretty crude and rely almost entirely on brute force to get the job done. All in all I'm not liking working for this company much at all.

On the other hand, this place has quite a few benefits. Like 6 days of paid holiday time for Christmas. Seriously, the friday before, the entire week following. Pretty big deal really. But how good is it when they are only paying 9 an hour?

So other than that not much has changed down here. I only hang out with the amtgarders, since they are the only folk I know down here. Really would like to have a different scene. I shouldn't begrudge having people to talk to, but it's the same thing that was going on in NY. The only thing I have in common for the most part is amtgard. Pretty much everything else is different.

My room mates don't want to go clubbing, hate the music I listen to, and their choice in television is retarded. Doesn't make for the greatest life, probably why I don't mind spending all my time at work. The other reason is that it means I don't deal with the fucking cats. Now I know my good friend loves her cat, but if her cat behaved like these I'm convinced she would get rid of him. They scratch at the doors all night long, are loud and obnoxious, and they shit all over the floor. Every day I walk in the door from work, and smell cat shit everywhere. I really need to get out of this apartment for good.

Upside: Armin Van Buuren and ATB will both be performing here in Austin in September. Downside? I can only see Armin, ATB plays on a night I'll be at work. But hey that's at least one DJ on my list to scratch off.

I can get used to fighting three days a week.

Aug. 3rd, 2010

Every time you do something stupid


So the downside of moving to Texas? No hardcore scene.

Clubland 17 is out, and I need to get my hands on it.

Jul. 30th, 2010

Every time you do something stupid

Finally free....

So the last two weeks have been pretty good to me, I'm hoping that life will continue to be good to me. I scored a job nearby the apartment I'm living in for the time being. Decent place, it's injection molding, so I have some experience with it. The pay is ok, not great but not terrible either. I've gotten my foot in the door somewhere which is the important thing. The temp to hire process is pretty set in stone. After 480 hours of working as a Temp I will be converted to full time employee. (Which means I get to go through the drug test nonsense AGAIN for a third time this year)

So with the job situation settled I've also started taking time to go out and do stuff where possible. It's a little difficult as one of my room mates is pretty much a homebody. Which is unfortunate, since he is the more intellectual of the people I'm living with. Last night he, myself, our other room mate, and a bunch of their friends all went out to this little bar called the Hideout. It was a decent pub with some alright beer selection. Harry, Mike (the room mate) and I spent three hours discussing the full gambit of American politics from it's foreign policy to the qualifications of a superpower so and and so forth. It was a lot of fun, and reminiscent of all the old friends back in Rochester who I used to do that with.

Several of my friends back home after talking with me have said that I seem much happier now that I'm out of Rochester. I knew I would be. They associate it with no longer having the stress of living in a dying city, and finally being free of my last ex which of course didn't happen without some severe drama, but no matter that's done and gone no longer my concern. I'm getting established down here and I really love where I am in life for the first time that I can remember. Of course I'm impatient and would like things to move a little faster but what can you do? Starting a job exactly two weeks after moving down, when the job I came down here for fell through.

That said I do miss a few of my friends back home, but they should be coming to visit once I have my own place established which should be soon.

This is my life, good to the last drop.
And I'm loving every minute of it.

Jul. 18th, 2010

Every time you do something stupid

So.... Texas

Yeah, so right now I'm in Texas sitting at my friend's place watching Snatch and chilling after three days of solid driving. Not gonna lie it feels really god to finally be relaxing and not in New York. I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. Tomorrow I'm going to be finalizing some work details.

I'm totally distracted because Snatch is on, and the company is excellent. So I'll keep this short.

My family's knack for willpower won the day, and I got the fuck out of rochester.

Jun. 7th, 2010

Every time you do something stupid

So this is my life, good to the last drop...

I've been busy, and I haven't been.

I'm now working overnights at another factory, and the pay is alright but I've got twelve hour shifts, 4 days every other week, 3 days every other week. I need to start picking up some overtime so I can make some cash and still move. That's still the goal, move by the end of summer down to Texas.

I've come to this realization, and it's a horrible one. Rochester is kind of like "The Island" on Lost. It has it's own will, and it doesn't let you leave for just about anything. It's a black hole and even if you DO get out, it sucks you right back in and keeps you here until it eventually kills you. How horrible is that?

So this is my life good to the last drop, doesn't get any better than this, and it's ending one minute at a time.

May. 19th, 2010

Every time you do something stupid

War on the Southern Border: The Mexican Drug Cartels

On Sunday, March 14th two Americans were shot in a drive by shooting in the city of Ciudad Juarez which lies on the border between Mexico and United States. This violence is just one of many examples of the so called “Mexican Drug War” that is currently ongoing just south of the United States border. This represents one of the first national interests at play, the need for the United States to protect its citizens both at home and abroad. There have been a number of attacks that have crossed the border. In 2009 there were grenade attacks carried out in south Texas by the Zetas, a paramilitary organization within Mexico. This issue is complicated by the fact that the United States shares an almost 2,000 mile border with Mexico.
The second interest which ties into all of the others is the desire of the United States to have full control of their southern border. This touches on the root interest of all nations to have sovereign control over their territory.
The third interest at play is the United States restriction over mind altering substances which it has declared illegal. In the United States marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines are all classified as illegal, and it has made the control and eradication of these substances a clear objective. Columbia, a chief producer of cocaine is being provided $500 million USD to continue programs to eliminate production and capture producers. The United States wishes to promote a society in which these substances are not used by anyone, and as such considers it high enough of a priority to use militaristic and economic tools of power to achieve those ends. As such these are the three most prevalent interests of the United States relating to the Mexican Drug war.

The actors within Mexico:

The country of Mexico itself is a major source of marijuana and heroin, as well as a conduit for South American cocaine running. Mexico’s drug production capacity is quite large, with the ability to produce 18 metric tons of pure heroin annually, as well as an additional 50 metric tons of “black tar” heroin. Mexico’s marijuana production capacity falls just shy of 16,000 metric tons annually. Clearly it is not the Mexican government doing the running, so then who are the major actors within Mexico involved with the drug trade and violence.
Already mentioned are Los Zetas. They are a paramilitary organization originally hired to act as a private army for the Gulf Cartel in the late 1990’s. Members were initially recruited out of the Mexican Army’s airborne elite “Gafes” enticed by the offer of significantly better pay than they were receiving from the Mexican government. There were approximately 30 individuals who deserted. However the original members turned around and set up training camps to increase their numbers. It is estimated that Los Zetas number somewhere in the vicinity of 200 strong. These members constitute the core of the group. It is also estimated that there are approximately 2000 extended members. The core members constitute the original membership, and replacements that have been trained in the same special combat operations, where as the extended members constitute auxiliary forces, family members, contractors and support personnel. Their headquarters are in Nuevo Laredo and operate mostly within the northern and eastern portion of Mexico. There is a certain level of redundancy built into the organization, as the Gulf Cartel also has a headquarters in Matamoros, 120 miles away. The United States government considered both Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel if not the same entity, one that is closely aligned. However this has changed in recent months with the two beginning to war against each other for territory. Geographically this region borders the southeast most region of Texas and is one of their chief smuggling routes into the US.
The military capabilities of Los Zetas are significant. In the mid 1990’s the Gafes, which are the Mexican army airborne elites were trained by foreign specialists which included American, French, and Israeli instructors. This instruction gave the original members significant advantage over Mexican police and regular army when it comes to combat operations.
In weapons and armaments they are well armed with small arms and light weapons which include and are not limited to AR-15 and AK-47 assault rifles, 50mm machine guns, 40mm grenade launchers, surface to air missiles and the use of limited air support via helicopters, primarily for insertion. They also have access to other non-weapon hardware as well. Los Zetas frequently use night vision equipment, bullet proof vests, and armored vehicles. They maintain the ability to wiretap phone lines at will and use encrypted radios with rolling codes. They are the best armed and equipped drug cartel among the various groups residing in Mexico.
There also should be a consideration of operational capability, and the variance between operations by Los Zetas in Mexico and their operations within the United States. Within Mexico, they engage on various levels of conflict. In some areas they operate as low as organized crime, and in others clearly in low intensity conflict. They are willing to shift modes of operation and the level of violence along with it to suit their needs and based on how easily they can control territory. Within the US, Los Zetas contracts to local gangs, and this is only confirmed when sting operations net arrests. They do not operate out in the open, they engage in quiet kidnappings and assassinations.
Then the question becomes a matter of intent for Los Zetas. Despite starting as a paramilitary organization, it has evolved into its own drug cartel just like many others. As such they have attempted to expand their markets for drug shipments and trafficking within America and Mexico. There is a marked expansion of Los Zetas activities, from simply enforcing from the Gulf cartel to running their own drugs, to then trafficking weapons and humans, kidnapping for ransom, and assassinations for hire. It is believed that they not only want to expand operations, but the territory in which they operate and have under their control. It is difficult to assess the intents of a criminal organization, though safe to assume that it has interests like any other organization in self preservation, and expansion. It is clear however that out of all of the various cartels and enforcer groups operating within Mexico today, Los Zetas is both the largest threat to United States interests, and representative of the threat that all the drug cartels represent.
The second actor that should be examined is the Sinaloa Cartel. As recently as April 2010, the Sinaloa Cartel had taken control of the border city of Juarez away from the Juarez Cartel. Juarez is the chief drug shipping corridor across the border from El Paso, Texas. Traditionally the Sinaloa Cartel has controlled the western portion of Mexico, leaving the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas to control the eastern portion. The Sinaloa’s also established their own enforcer gang, very similar to the establishment of Los Zetas. This group known as Los Negros has less military capabilities than the Zetas. They are similarly armed, using small arms and light weapons procured from around the world.
In February of 2009, the United States government managed to arrest 750 members of the Sinaloa cartel in Operation Xcellerator. Despite this mass blow, the Sinaloa cartel still maintains strong operation capacity both within Mexico and the United States.
Both of these cartels represent the same threat to the United States interests, and share very similar capabilities in regards to drug and weapon trafficking. The capability to smuggle weapons, drugs, and money across the border must also be examined. The cartels prefer to use ports of entry to smuggle their goods, as these border crossings are heavily trafficked with massive amounts of shipping, and thus the chaos makes for an easy way to bypass border security. One of the preferred routes is the Juarez-El Paso port of entry, thus the cause for the cartel fighting for control on the Mexican side of the border. The cartels will simply load semi-haulers filled with cocaine, heroin and marijuana and take it right across the border at this crossing into El Paso where warehouses wait to act as distribution centers.

Key Objectives:

In regards to this threat there are three main objectives that should be addressed and achieved. The first is to begin to eradicate production of these illegal substances to reduce the supply available for the market. It works out to simply if you reduce the supply, you reduce the amount that can be consumed, and have effectively begun eliminating the ability of the drug cartels to move product. The second objective is to secure the southern American border to prevent the illegal smuggling of goods and people, while still allowing for legitimate business to cross in the various ports of entry. There are 42 border crossing points between the United States and Mexico, many of which are on state and interstate routes. These must be adequately secured to prevent the inflow of illegal drugs. The third and final objective is outright elimination of the cartels themselves. It is important to note that this will only be effective as long as the first two objectives are achieved. Once effective control over the ports of entry and destruction of the ability to grow the crops has occurred, then elimination of the cartels will have an effect. Otherwise elimination of one cartel will just give room for another to seize territory and continue where the previous left off.

America’s Response:

The United States has already begun to combat the cartels and the threat they pose via the Merida Initiative that was begun in 2008. The initiative is a primarily economic and informational program, where the United States is providing $450 million USD to Mexico in 2010 to combat the drug cartels. Use of this massive economic aid has not stemmed the flow of drugs into the United States. Reliance on Mexican counter-narcotics or Mexican military to handle the issue has not worked, thus the focus should be shifted from using the Mexican government to combat the cartels. Instead funds sent to the Mexican government should be specifically used to eradicate growing fields. Any further financial aid delivered to Mexico must be earmarked specifically for programs in identifying and eliminating growing fields, leave cartel eradication to the United States.
If the United States it is going to effectively combat the growing drug problem, it needs to begin applying more military pressure on the drug cartels. As explained these cartels are not simply drug organizations, but rather paramilitaries and as such, a shift must take place from traditional crime fighting and counter-narcotics to special operations and conventional military use.
The first aspect of military power that should be employed in Mexico is the use of Predator drones for reconnaissance purposes, both on the United States border, and within Mexico as well. Drone patrols will be used in border areas that have high levels of illegal entry and suspected drug trafficking. It will require cooperation between United States Air Force, the Air National Guard and Army National Guard units as well as local law enforcement officials. It is an estimated $4.5 million USD per drone to produce. Procurements will need to be made for Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California with an additional five drones per state. This will result in an estimated cost of $90 million. These drones can be used to patrol the border and spot illegal crossings, as well as scope out Mexican territory and easily hunt for marijuana and opium fields. Intelligence gathered from these missions can be then delivered to Mexican authorities. The drones allow us to achieve both the first and second key objectives, of eradicating the source of the drugs, as well as securing the border.
As well as the use of Predator Drones for patrol and reconnaissance there is a need for regular Army soldiers to be stationed along the US/Mexican border. A minimum of an additional army division is required to help stem the tide of smugglers. This division could be supplemented with an army National Guard division. The primary purpose of these soldiers would to work in conjunction with the Border Patrol and capture individuals crossing the border illegally. They would also provide additional personnel at the Ports of Entry for inspections and detection procedures to try and catch drug shipments as they are coming in from Mexico.
These first policies only deal with the securing of the border and the beginning of the eradication of the fields. As the Mexican government has been completely incapable of dealing with these cartels it is time the United States take a more active role in their outright elimination. In that pursuit the President will need to redirect the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to begin using agents of the Clandestine services to identify the cartels and their members, infiltrate them and where possible eliminate high ranking members.
To combat the paramilitary Los Zetas and its counterparts in other cartels, the United States will need to employ special operatives under the Special Command, specifically the employment of the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta. These units are specifically tasked with counter-terrorism purposes. Due to their training, they are uniquely suited for rapid response missions to strike at cartels.
There are some clear downsides to the heavy use of military power just south of the border. The first is that by militarizing the US-Mexican border, there will be criticism from the Mexican government. As demonstrated whenever the United States or one of the various border States pass legislation having to do with border control, there will be an outcry from the Mexican President. In the same vein public opinion is likely to decrease among the Hispanic population. We have seen this when states have passed immigration control legislation to try and reduce the problems of drug runners and illegal immigrants within their own borders. This political damage could be very damaging during the midterm elections as such it would be best to wait to implement this until after they are over.
With any sort of military action there are the inherent risks of casualties. However the use of classified special operatives and CIA special agents should keep it out of the public eye leaving the cost at strictly human, taking the political element out of it. The benefits from taking this route are clear. It allows for the dismantling of the cartels without the risk of public official corruption that has been so rampant within the Mexican government. It will put the cartels on the defensive and hinder their ability to transport drugs. With the cartels out of the way, the Mexican government can re-establish control over its own territory.

Are there any other options?

We have seen with the Merida Initiative the use of primarily economic aid to Mexico and information sharing. We have not seen a substantial drop in either the drug trafficking or the violence as a result. Each year the United States is spending over $400 million in support of Mexico to achieve no noticeable gains. If we cannot reasonably expect the Mexican government to take care of its own territory we should take care of it for them.
As such it has fallen to the use of military power then to end this issue. If the situation has not improved within five years of initial implementation, it may then fall to the United States to take on a full scale counter-insurgency within the Mexican borders to counter-act Los Zetas and the other cartels. After assessing Los Zetas and Sinaloa Cartel we can draw parallels to the militias that have at one point or another run around Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States should then consider the Mexican government to either be failed, or in severe danger of failing and intervene using large quantities of U.S. troops to establish and maintain effective counter insurgencies in regions currently held by the cartels.

May. 6th, 2010

Every time you do something stupid

So Texas is a no-go

So my hopes of moving to Texas after graduation are now annihilated, as I predicted would happen after the car accident.

The long story short:
A little under a month ago, my car was totally wrecked by a jackass who decided to cut me off illegally. Thus my car was ruined and I have no wheels. So I go to get another car, only problem is I can't afford the repairs required. So now I've got a piece of shit that's utterly worthless, and no cash.

So I'm stuck in rochester, and really not happy about it. Worse yet my best option for work right now has me leaving rochester, for fucking naples. Because I want to move down to literally the middle of no where to work for my grandfather til I get enough money for a car.

I hate my life.

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