Chad VanGaalen: Diaper Island

Comments Off

I got Chad VanGaalen’s new album Diaper Island when it was released a couple months ago and I’m still listening to it as often as when I first bought it. It’s his best album yet, which is refreshing for me after being disappointed by several new releases this year by bands I really like.

Here’s the Pitchfork Review from back in May, and here’s a link to my favourite song on the album, Sara.  I love the sound of his guitar on this track.

The damage from coal costs at least twice what it’s worth

Comments Off

It’s great to have some real estimates on this, and wow: Economists: Every $1 of Electricity from Coal Does $2 in Damage to U.S.

Plus, the original source article even indicates this is a very conservative estimate because it doesn’t include costs related to climate change.  I imagine it’d be a lot harder to tie the climate impact of emissions in the US directly back to problems the US, since climate change is a more global effect.  Detecting health problems due to local pollution is easier.

What are the goals of Occupy Wall St? Income inequality is a good one

Comments Off

I know there isn’t a specific goal, given the movement doesn’t have a leadership and hasn’t made a clear attempt to define the goals, but I’m still confused.  I imagine there should be some broadly accepted goals and even better would be at least a few that are clearly attainable, so the movement knows if it is making progress.

I’ve heard complaints in the media like “They took all our jobs and moved them overseas”, which is definitely a valid issue, but I’m confused what that has to do with Wall St.  There are things to be concerned about in the financial system, but that’s not one of them.

Anyways, as a start, I’d love to see the movement start pushing to get big money out of politics.  Honestly, nothing’s going to change until that happens.

Another common thread I’ve seen in talk of the protests is income inequality, which reminded me of a very illustrative comparison I’ve seen before and happened to stumble on again this morning:

That, right there, says it all.  It shows what are the core priorities of a society in very clear terms.

But, what to do about it?  As ridiculous as I think it is for the CEO of any company to make 10′s or 100′s of millions a year in salary (and don’t forget, they tend to make lots more from their stock holdings), I’d also be wary of trying to legislate a fix for it.  I don’t see any good reason that a non-governmental organization can’t set their salaries however they want, except to the extremes.  If a company is trying to reduce wages below what other companies are paying, they’ll lose employees.

So, if the extremes matter here, and we have a minimum wage, maybe it isn’t so unrealistic to cap the maximum salary of any employee at 100x the average of the company.  Heck, maybe even 200x is a good first step given the 475x seen above.  Management then has a choice, if they want to make more money and they’re at the cap, they need to increase everyone’s wages.  Unfortunately, I doubt it would really work out that way, as they’d find other ways of getting more money, like in stock, or paying living expenses, etc.  But, at least this move would send a powerful message that society sees this as unacceptable.

Union busting

1 Comment

I am in favor of the idea of labour unions and their goals, while I do admit to being skeptical of what many large unions have become in modern times. However, the Harper governments willingness to force unions back to work seems like it has gone too far.

Any person or group of people should have the right to refuse to work. I don’t think anyone has a great answer for how to deal with strikes on essential services, but taking away the right to strike isn’t it.