Let’s thank Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and Apple. Let’s thank John McCain, the US Congress and the American tax code. Let’s thank consumers world-wide.
We have just experienced the iMirror, an Apple phenomenon many years in the making. Like many Apple products, upon close inspection, it will be found that it is not original, innovative or unique but has been produced and executed magnificently.
As Congress often does and does well, it is has once again found some busywork to make itself seem important and upstanding.
This is all possible and brought to us by consumers- like you and me.
To understand this situation, a necessary primer is a short, insightful article
NY Times: Apple’s Web of Tax Shelters Saved It Billions, Panel Finds
Synopsis: A Congressional panel’s findings were remarkable both for the tens of billions of dollars involved and for Apple’s audacity in saying some of its subsidiaries are stateless and beyond any tax authority’s reach.
It is a mirror because it has just shown all of us what we as a country have been for a very long time (if not always): not a Democracy but a Capitalist Republic.
The reality is that for-profit business and wealthy individuals will have the laws and tax codes designed to protect their interests. Apple is not the first, will not be the last but like many endeavors has become one of the best at exploiting the system from within and with help from the system itself.
While the final determinations have not been made, it appears that Apple did nothing illegal. My understanding is that Congress has not alleged that they actually did anything illegal.
What has happened is that at least 18 months were spent and countless American tax dollars spent to come to this conclusion.
Yes, tax dollars were spent to find out that a company was legally avoiding paying billions of dollars in taxes. (We must acknowledge that Apple did also pay billions of dollars in taxes it was required to.)
Now, for the kicker: Congress looking for us- the individual, hard working average Joe- to now pay taxes for buying the very goods and services such as Apple produces when purchasing them on the Internet which their products enable us to do.
The iMirror has been held up high for all of us as a nation to see. Smile. How do we look?
We’ve got some corrections over here at Fox & Friends:
Kentucky Derby losers are not turned into Ikea meatballs.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev did not accidentally blow up vowels in his own name.
The chupacabra does not deliver presents on Cinco de Mayo.
President Obama does not want to take away T-shirt guns.
Most women have only two breasts.
The Memphis Grizzlies are not a gay blues band.
Scientology was not founded by I Ron Man.
Bangladesh is not an 80s metal band.
Peeking at ladies’ butts is not a background check.
Actual crows do have feet.
Pot pie is legal in every state.
The California wildfires are not a soccer team.
Jason Collins was not turned gay by a Washington Wizard.
The NRA is not a branch of government.
Foreign visas do not let Russian students go on shopping sprees.
Rick Moranis was never put on death row for shrinking his children.
New York exists outside the mind of Billy Joel.
A French press is not lifting weights with your tongue out.
Lena Dunham is not a girl ventriloquist.
Number 2 pencils are not sad that they lost.
Plan B birth control is not masturbating.
Justin Bieber and Anne Frank were not an item.
President Obama did not just wake up in Mexico.
F.A.A. does not stand for “Fart A**, A**”
Croquettes are not female crocodiles.
Kanye West is not an African American vacation destination.
Syria is not Arabic for “serious.”
Rice and beans are edible. Ricin beans are not.
Casual Friday is not in the Bill of Rights.
Sam Adams was not too drunk to sign the Constitution.
The Gitmo prisoners are not working on their bodies.
Force feeding is not how Jedi’s eat.
Kevin Costner does not live in Watertown.
Smurfs are not elected.
Smurfs are not appointed.
Smurfs are cartoons.
Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle have been in the same room together.
Anytime minutes don’t let you call the future.
4 and 3 are not basically the same thing.
Rock beats scissors.
Zach Braff is not the sound a trumpet makes.
In honor of Pope Francis being from Argentina I’m going to continue to eat steak and ice cream in an abusive manner. #newpope
View more on WhoSay »
Let me be the 1st to say that the new Pope looks like George Bluth Sr. in his Caged Wisdom videos from Arrested Development
Oh, most definitely.
We are hearing the term nonstop but what really is the sequester? Believe it or not it has almost nothing to do with economics or budget. It has everything to do with the failure of America as a country.
What it really boils down to is the ineffectiveness of our leadership that we, the people, voted into office.
It is party-neutral and universal all at once. It has very little to do with the failure of our government to compose a balanced budget over the last few years and very little to do with the contingency plan that was developed during that time.
It has everything to do with the stubbornness and greed that led to 9/11 and what has happened since.
This may be simplistic but that’s just why they want you to think it’s complicated.
Ever since September 11, 2001 the US economy has been in shambles.
In my view, this is basically an indisputable fact. The government’s biggest expenditure since that date has been under the umbrella of the “war on terror.” That covers military spending, defense spending and all manner of law enforcement. This has led to a depletion of funds needed for all other kinds of services that the government provides and funds.
So now the sequester kicks in which means that there are severe and immediate cuts to many services which will also include the military and law-enforcement. Of course that means our vulnerability grows as well. All of that money that has been spent to supposedly protect us has now opened a gaping hole with a giant bull’s-eye.
Many would argue that it’s due to the squabble over things such as big versus little government, private investment versus public spending. When it comes down to it, though, that’s really bullshit.
It is the utter failure and lack of vision of our leadership- the representatives that we, the people, voted into office.
I have many friends and acquaintances that support gun ownership. I have many that support tight gun control. Others have had varying views.
My personal opinion is that there are gun control laws in place. What took place on Friday, December 14th, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut would not have been prevented either way. If someone is hell-bent on this kind of action, they will go through with it by any means necessary. It hurts so bad because it exposes our fragility as human beings. It exposes our reliance on natural forces to form good mental health. It exposes our failings and vulnerabilities as a civilized society.
The reality is this was going to happen. The reality is that it may not been preventable. Sure, steps can and might have been taken to mitigate the possibility but they are fare from definitive. We need to believe these kinds of steps will work in order to have a mental state of feeling safe. We need to feel safe because it one of the most basic instincts of a living creature, especially a sentient one.
What shakes many of us to our core is that, when it comes down to it, we cannot prevent these kinds of acts. What’s unfortunately worse, is that reality dictates this will happen again.
Being allowed to have guns will not stop it. Not allowing us to have guns will not stop it. Praying to God will not stop it. Not believing in God will not stop it. It is an inevitability that cannot be wished away.
There is no “good” that comes out a situation like this. It does force a time of reflection and introspection. It raises more questions than answers. It makes us yearn to reach a next, higher level of evolution.
It makes us realize we are human.
On Friday, we’ll be airing a very special episode of Sesame Street.
A hurricane has swept through Sesame Street and everyone is working together to clean up the neighborhood. When Big Bird checks on his home, he is heartbroken to find that the storm has destroyed his nest. Big Bird’s friends and neighbors gather to show their support and let him know they can fix his home, but it will take time. While everyone on Sesame Street spends the next few days cleaning up and making repairs, Big Bird still has moments where he is sad, angry, and confused. His friends help him cope with his emotions by talking about what happened, drawing pictures together, and giving him lots of hugs. They also comfort Big Bird by offering him temporary places he can eat, sleep, and play. Big Bird remembers all the good times he had at his nest and realizes that once it is rebuilt, there are more good times and memories to come. Finally the day has come where most of the repairs to Big Bird’s home are done and his nest is complete. As he is about to try it out, though, the city nest inspector says it not safe, yet, because the mud isn’t dry. Big Bird is sad that he has to wait another day, but Snuffy comes to the rescue and blows the nest dry and he passes the test! Big Bird thanks everyone for being his friend and helping to rebuild his nest and his home.
Please check your local listings to see what time the episode will air on PBS.
Set your DVRs!
So, this is kind of awesome:
Sam Biddle of Gizmodo poses a question: Is it immoral to own an iPhone five?
However, in his attempt to answer that question, he arrives at an incorrect conclusion.
The implication of the article is that anybody who purchases and owns Apple products and to an extent, any other product that is produced under harsh labor conditions, is at fault for propagating those conditions.
I have a feeling his incorrect conclusion comes from confusion between consumerism and capitalism.
Consumerism is only the engine that powers the car of capitalism. That car is driven by senior corporate executives. The car is owned by the stockholders of those corporations. Companies are not valued by the products or services they produce and the money that brings in. Their worth is decided by how much someone values a stake of ownership in that company. Of course that stake of ownership is represented in the form of stock whether private or public. When it is public, it is not usually held in large quantities by individuals.
Who does own the largest quantities you may ask? By and large it is government-on the federal state and local levels. The larger the corporation, the more this is true. Whether it is individual stocks or in a form such as mutual funds, large amounts of retirement fund money are sunk into these ownership stakes.
I would therefore counter Mr. Biddle’s question with a different one: Is it immoral to own Apple stock?
U.S. Postal Service Plans To Launch Experimental Same-Day Delivery Service -
The United States Postal Service (USPS) just informed the Postal Regulatory Commission that it plans to launch an experimental same-day delivery service called Metro Post. The USPS says this test is specifically designed for e-commerce companies and will initially focus on a single (currently undisclosed) metropolitan area. The market test for Metro Post is scheduled to begin around November 12 and run for at least one year.
The USPS as it currently exists is nothing but a bureaucratic nightmare and a black hole for money. It ranks second only to the DMV as the worst thing ever. It’s not entirely clear why it still exists in the 21st century. To ensure junk mail gets delivered?
But this could actually be a decent idea. The infrastructure is in place. Of course it will come down to execution — not exactly the USPS’ strong suit.
So let me get this straight: a focus on only one metropolitan area and take at least a year? Sorry, that’s not an “experiment.” That’s a pet project that, when it fails, can be excused by saying it was an “experiment.” It just focuses on how the USPS is grossly mismanaged. It sounds almost as bad as Google having Gmail being called a public “beta” for over three years. All we need now is Tobias Fünke to exclaim: “Let the Great Experiment begin!”
The Pavilion at Prospect Park: So What's Going to Change? -
With the recent announcement of our exciting renovation at The Pavilion Theater, a lot of our customers are curious to know what is really changing. No, really changing. We hear you loud and clear. We know The Pavilion has been through a few changing hands and never quite settled on an adequate…
Car and driver stuck in flash flood on Prospect Expressway
GREEN BEANS NOT WALGREENS
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Contact: Steve LeVine, 917.548.6949 Ryan Lynch, 631.742.7528
Community Opposition to Walgreens Launches New Name, Website, in Fight for Grocery Store
WINDSOR TERRACE—Thus far, community leaders in Windsor Terrace have collected over 2,000 signatures—more than 16% of the total neighborhood population—in an ongoing boycott pledge drive opposing the pending arrival of a Walgreens location at the former site of the neighborhood’s only full service grocery market.
Building upon this outcry of community opposition, a group of Windsor Terrace citizen advocates have launched a new website for residents and supporters to use as a place of information and action to oppose the replacement of Key Foods with a Walgreens pharmacy.
The website, www.greenbeansnotwalgreens.org, will serve as a rallying point for residents eager for information and action in opposition to the Walgreens locating to the small neighborhood in Brooklyn. Windsor Terrace, a community of just over 12,000 residents on the southwest side of Prospect Park, is already home to two existing pharmacies, but with the departure of Key Food, will now lack a full service grocery store in a mile in either direction, and could potentially be considered a food desert.
Coupled with the website launch, the group unveiled its new name, Green Beans Not Walgreens, a name that was adapted from a chant and rallying cry heard at a previous rally opposed to Walgreens arrival. GBNW is made up of local advocates who hope the website and name serve as another way to accommodate the growing opposition to Walgreens in the community.
“The Green Beans Not Walgreens website will serve as a focal point of action in support of fresh food in our community,” said, Steve LeVine a Windsor Terrace resident of seven years. “Walgreens, to date, has failed to respond to our requests for real food options, and this website is necessary to organize our neighbors and advocate for what our residents desperately need: a grocery store.”
At a meeting in late June, Walgreens representatives dismissed requests from community leaders and local elected officials to either operate a full service grocery, renegotiate the lease to subcontract the store space to another grocery operator, or work with the City to identify a partnership where Walgreens and a grocery store could co-exist on the same site.
“Since Walgreens said no to us, we’ve decided we’ll say no to them,” said Laura Jacobs, a lifelong Brooklyn resident. “This website is just another step of the many that we will take to let Walgreens’ leadership know that if they don’t consider our community needs, our community won’t consider shopping at their store.”
So, I just had an interesting “conversation” on Twitter with The Pavilion. They have acknowledged their problems, explained what has been done and what is still being worked on. They do seem eager to gain back our trust and, more importantly, our business. Of course, actions speak much louder than words but they do seem genuine.
When asked about the status of renovations, have they done more than just replace some seats and put up some paint, fixed the a/c, etc.
“Glad you asked! We know we’ve left a very bitter taste in our customers mouths, but we are doing A LOT to finally fix it!”
They provided me with the following info:
They have already replaced “all those awful purple seats in the theaters.”
Renovated concession stands:
Replaced the carpet throughout the theater
Have spent almost $80,000 on the still-in-progress upstairs cafe
The ceiling tiles
Sprinkler system safety
A final choice on the interior colors to highlight the classic design
Staff’s ability to provide the highes level of customer service which includes cleaning frequently
As for the A/C, the original ‘28 structure has consistently needed to be updated to accommodate modern appliances. This is one of them.
“& for the record- there is no record, actual case or judgement of BEDBUGS @ The Pavilion! Rumors; the city would require exterminators”
Also, “We will not be raising prices & truly hope to see you & other BK/Park Slope residents back, watching all the best movies with us!”
On Twitter they are @ThePavilionBK
On Facebook they are http://www.facebook.com/PAVILIONTHEATER
On Tumblr they are http://thepavilionbk.tumblr.com/