Those Infuriating Self-flushing Public Toilets

August 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Posted in Practical tips | 1 Comment
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You have probably have encountered one of those public toilets that – for better sanitation – flushes itself when a person stands up after having used the toilet.

In principle, this is a good thing.

But the toilet uses an overly simple criterion to decide when to flush.  It flushes when anything moves.

That can lead to scenarios like this:

– You want to place paper around the toilet seat before you sit on it.

– In doing so, you trigger a flush.

– The flush splatters water on the paper you have just placed on
the seat, and probably elsewhere on the seat.  Now you are back
to square one (no pun intended).

– Repeat, with ever mounting frustration.

After several such encounters, I found the solution:

– Find the Evil Eye, the optical sensor that tells the mechanism
that something has moved.  It is usually covered by dark red
glass, and is mounted on the wall or pipe behind the toilet.

– Tear off a single square of toilet paper, and tear from it
a piece that is just slightly larger than the Evil Eye.

– Moisten it with spit.

– Place it over the Evil Eye.  Surface tension will hold it in
place.  The Evil Eye is temporarily blind.

– Happily, gloatingly, do what you intended to do.

– After you stand up, remove the moist piece of paper.
The toilet will now flush.

A Petition on Political Diversity in Russia

August 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Judicial Injustice | Leave a comment
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The re-blog Pussy Riot rocks the world! (reblogged from the blog of internet brain child) provided links to three remarkable videos about the incredibly courageous “happening” that was staged by three female members of the Russian punk-rock band Pussy Riot in a Russian Orthodox Cathedral.  They prayed for the Virgin Mary “to drive away Vladimir Putin”.   Of course, now they are in jail, awaiting trial.   You have probably noticed that the judicial system in Russia today is not noted for its impartiality, nor for its freedom from political influence.

Now there is a petition that you can sign to support the three courageous performers.  The petition was created by Peaches, Simonne Jones, and John Renaud, who are artists and activists in Berlin, Germany, and it is hosted by  Please sign it.

Would Lower Taxes for the Wealthy Create More Jobs?

August 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Posted in Fairness, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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If you were one of the Koch brothers, or one of the Mars brothers, would lowering your taxes induce you to create more jobs?

I don’t think so.

You would be more likely to use your additional wealth to have an even more disproportionate influence on politics and policy.

But every additional dollar in the pocket of someone in the lower middle class would be spent to buy something.  That would boost demand, leading to more jobs, which leads to more dollars in the pockets of those who need to buy things ASAP, creating a positive feedback that would increase the general prosperity.

John Hively’s blog shows how the increasing concentration of wealth has undermined our previous trajectory of increasing general prosperity, producing a negative feedback that has contributed mightily to the present scarcity of jobs.  Fewer paychecks mean smaller tax revenues locally, statewide, and nationally, which contributes to the deficits that now also weigh us down.  If the Tea Partiers really wanted to reduce the deficit, they would push for a wider and fairer distribution of income.  See Hively’s August 8, 2012 post, and all three of the related blog posts whose links appear within that post.

The disingenuous tactics that the super wealthy use to try to eliminate the estate tax are described in .

Willard Mitt Romney Has His Cake, And Eats It, Too

August 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Posted in Presidential election | Leave a comment

Willard Mitt Romney says that he is not responsible for the jobs lost due to Bain Capital’s activities after he left Bain.

But some of the 100,000 he takes credit for creating turn out to have been created after he left Bain.

This – along with many other revealing facts about Romney and Bain – are contained in a remarkable blog posting The Bain Bomb: A User’s Guide, posted (at the New Yorker) by John Cassidy on January 13, 2012.

Cassidy’s blog entry was written before the South Carolina primary, but the facts in it are still very relevant.

In particular, the section entitled “How much tax has Romney paid on all the money he made at Bain Capital?” lays out facts that probably explain Romney’s extreme reluctance to release his pre-2010 tax returns.

Another example: Remember Romney’s claim to have retroactively retired from Bain Capital in 1999, coupled with his claim of no responsibility for jobs lost after he left Bain?  Cassidy’s article cites the December 18, 2011 New York Times article by  Nicholas Confessore, Christopher Drew and Julie Creswell  that reveals that Romney’s retirement agreement gave him a share in all of Bain’s profits through 2009, and that he still receives a share of Bain’s profits.  That sounds like
– a potential conflict of interest during his term as Governor of Massachusetts
– a potential conflict of interest for a President
– proof that Romney had a financial link to Bain’s activities well after his formal separation from Bain Capital

August 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

This is a fascinating post about Pussy Riot’s public prayer to free Russia from Putin. It has links to a video showing their prayer/performance, and thence to a video on the police reacting to a street protest of the arrest and charging of three of the group’s members.

What if a Mexican Drug Cartel Ran a Country?

August 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Enemies of Freedom, Judicial Injustice | 2 Comments
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What would a country be like if it were run by a Mexican drug cartel – ruthless, lawless, dominated by insatiable greed and lust for power?

What if that country also contained outstanding scientists, mathematicians, engineers, writers, artists, musicians, dancers, athletes, and political philosophers?

You would have Russia, under Putin’s thumb.

You would have a centaur, but one in which the human half was not in control.  Control would reside just beneath the tail of the horse half.  The horse half would tolerate parts of the human half, but would feel threatened by the other parts of the human half.  The horse half would hurl the disliked parts of the human half against tree trunks, rocks and brambles.

A stark example is what happened to Sergei Magnitsky, who was a towering example of insight, courage and principle.  His torture and murder is recounted in .

Another valuable site is .

A bill that is now before the Senate would impose sanctions on those known to have participated in this horrific crime.  Passing the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2011 (S.1039) is a moral imperative.

Fortunately the bill has a long and bi-partisan list of sponsors.  To see the bill and its list of sponsors, and to track its progress, see
and .

The Romney

August 2, 2012 at 11:38 am | Posted in Presidential election | Leave a comment
The Romney (From Dover Pictura, Fantasy Vector Designs, copyright 2010 by Dover Publications, Inc., used with permission.)

The Romney (From Dover Pictura, Fantasy Vector Designs, copyright 2010 by Dover Publications, Inc., used with permission.)

By virtue of his privileged upbringing and and his wealth, Willard Mitt Romney feels that he is entitled to be President.

He still acts like the spoiled child of wealth.

He wants another expensive toy.  This one is called the Presidency.

He is trying to sweet talk the American public into buying it for him, with their votes.

The Un-Americanism of the Tea Party

August 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Posted in Conceited, Dysfunctional Politics | 1 Comment
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As a matter of principle, the Tea Party is against compromise.

It therefore seeks to establish an Authoritarian politics.  It seeks to establish the opposite of an open society.  The Tea Party believes that it knows the final truth, and can learn nothing from those holding other views.

But the American experiment is based on the goal of an open society.  That goal is its most fundamental principle, from which flow all of its other goals and principles.

Hence the Tea Party is un-American at its very core.

The line of reasoning above is a syllogism.  The conclusion followed by strict logic.  It is inescapable.

From the Tea Party’s Authoritarianism follows, in particular, that the Tea Party is the antithesis of Libertarianism, which is one of the proposed routes (not necessarily the best) to an open society.

Readers may recall that the same points were made, in a different way, in a post about Grover Norquist, who was a precursor of the Tea Party.

Given the Tea Party’s un-American authoritarianism, allow me to call it the Pee Party.

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