Sunday, November 14, 2010

Binary Dangers

In astronomy, stellar binaries are as common as dirt; they are pretty much the standard organization of star systems. Unlike our own Solar System, most systems have multiple stars.

The contact binary, as illustrated above, is rather rare, and where they do occur, there are usually fireworks aplenty. As you can see from the illustration above, the stars in a contact binary system pass material between them, and the star which is accreting the most material will experience periodic explosive events called "novae."


The other day, the Catfood Commission co-chairs put out a Power Point exhibit (which, for some reason, is called a "report of recommendations") on how to tame the growing deficit. Their recommendations were to cut the Federal budget substantially and increase revenues slightly. Oh, and they recommended making relatively slight but nonetheless annoying reductions to Social Security, as well as mostly unspecified changes to cut costs of Medicare and Medicaid. The only thing they would specify was raising costs to users of any/all health-care programs.

They recommend that almost all the costs of reducing the deficit be borne by the working and middle classes through various entitlement and program cuts, while the upper classes receive a slight haircut by folding capital gains and dividends into their ordinary incomes -- while at the same time significantly reducing upper income tax rates (claiming to close loopholes, too, though, so that revenues from that sector at least aren't reduced.)

The blast faxes went out immediately. Marshall the troops! Oppose this piece of shit or die!!!!!!


What's really interesting about this roll out is that despite the fact that it was a "complete surprise" to the media and the commissioners, the propaganda was all ready, and it was put into immediate heavy rotation: this is a wise and prudent plan to attack the deficit problem and it is incumbent upon Congress to pass it without delay, and for Americans to back it wholeheartedly. Shared Sacrifice, people.

Come on People now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try and love one another right now...

It was universal in the media, everywhere, as if the CoChairs' PowerPoint was the Plan, and all Good Patriots had to back it.

Those who said No, no, no! a la Amy Winehouse, were spoilsports at best, treasonous leftists no doubt. Ew, Nancy Pelosi, for example, her and all her San Francisco airs. Harrumph.

The only real financial and economic pressure -- or as they say "Sacrifice" -- is on the middle and working classes and the poor who are being expected to carry most of the burden of the financial collapse, the endless wars, and the interminable recession on their groaning backs. This is to be accomplished primarily by broadening the income tax base, eliminating deductions and/or reducing programs and services for the less-advantaged, and applying cuts to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.

This will have the effect of significantly lowering the standard of living of the poor especially, but also of the working and middle classes. The rich may or may not experience a slight bump up in taxes and/or reduction in programs and services, as their tax rates will be lowered but their income subject to the lower rate will be expanded.

The worst thing about it is not the proposals themselves, but the complete failure of the so-called Progressives to have any alternative proposals ready to go. It's as if they only thing they know how to do is react; they have ceased being an activist movement.

The danger of binary thinking here is that the choice is only between the Catfood Commission's co-chair proposals or nothing.

Well, you get what you pay for.

On another plane, when you have a spare 10 minutes, here is an outstanding astronomical animation submitted for your approval:

The guy who did this has a whole bunch of them. Ché says check it out:

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