A semitonic for the troops

Not that I’m going to turn it down or anything — what, are you nuts? — but I’m just not the kind of guy who jumps up and down yelling “Tax cut! Tax cut!”

Not for this pittance, anyway:

Senate Bill 1246 will gradually lower Oklahoma’s top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.85 percent over several years. The cuts are dependent on revenue triggers, meaning general revenue in Oklahoma must see an increase before the cuts take effect.

“This is a responsible, measured tax cut that will make Oklahoma more economically competitive while providing much needed tax relief to working families,” said Fallin. “If Oklahoma wants to attract and retain good jobs — rather than losing them to neighboring states — we must improve our tax climate. I am proud that the Legislature has taken action to do so and I am happy to sign this bill into law.

“This tax cut will put more than $200 million annually into the economy and make Oklahoma a better place to do business, meaning more opportunities and jobs for Oklahoma families and more revenue for core government services.”

You know who’s going to be most impressed by this? Characters who can’t afford to move from where they are but still fantasize about packing their bags, and who spend several hours a day looking at infographics and other crap in an effort to find the Absolute Best Place that they’re never actually going to live.

Oh, and Grover Norquist.

My usual complaint about the state income tax follows:

SB 1246 affects Oklahoma’s top income tax bracket, which applies to individuals earning more than $8,700 a year or couples earning more than $15,000 a year.

No way on God’s semi-green earth should someone making a quarter over minimum wage be in the top bracket.

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Oh, those saintly poor people

Much is made of the presumed perfidy of the One Percent who ostensibly control all our lives and own a putatively disproportionate share of the national wealth.

But as of right now, no member of the One Percent has ever done anything to me other than fark up my tax return, while several 99-percenters last night took it upon themselves to improve their financial condition by swiping the outside air-conditioning units on this block.

Rogue financiers, at least, have just enough of a moral sense to submit themselves for appropriate punishment. Common street thugs, lacking even this sliver of conscience, will go on as they had before, knowing the government, who needs their electoral support, has their back.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Gun-Free Zone signs to pull down.

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Save the world on your own time

I’m sure none of the journalists who read this site — you know who you are — need this little reminder. Just the same, it bears repeating:

I just read a story online that started more or less like this (I’m paraphrasing): “The rules of journalism state that I should do X, but I’m not going to do X, because it’s hard and I don’t wanna.”

If you can’t adhere to the ethics of journalism — or, worse, you never learned them — then you can’t rightfully call yourself a journalist. If you can’t report fairly and leave your reader to make up his or her own mind, what you’re doing isn’t reporting — it’s punditry and should be identified as such.

KWTV used to promote its news department as “Making a Difference.” I semi-humbly propose that without the truth, nothing makes any difference.

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So usual; very spam

Spam from dating services fell below the dime-a-dozen threshold years ago. The only reason I looked at this one — “Want to meet singles over 50? See photos!” — was because of the URL buried in the links, a subdomain of DogeUsedWow.com, which actually exists. (I suppose there’s bonus levity in the fact that Whois points to a contact person with an aol.com address.)

Maybe they’ll offer to set me up with the Queen of Shiba.

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Three to get ready

And it shouldn’t take you three with these spiffy sandals:

Loeffler Randall Lillit Kitten Heel Sandal

Officially, this is Loeffler Randall’s “Lillit” kitten-heel sandal, though 2.75 inches strikes me as an awfully tall kitten. The upper is blue nubuck suede. (Yes, folks, it’s another blue suede shoe. Don’t step on it.) List price is $295.

The whimsical display is courtesy of Heirloom Shoe on Oklahoma City’s Western Avenue, which will, I assume, happily sell you this shoe.

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Truth is such a drag

I don’t believe this guy has thought things through:

I want to get a loan but they only give out auto loans to cars 2010 or newer. They car I want is year 2000. What if I lied to the bank and said it was a year 2010?

Because of course the bank is going to take your word over what the actual title says. Sheesh.

On the upside, Franklin Wickstrom, if that is your real name, you may have found your calling as a political operative.

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And now your mom can read your Facebook wall

Something called “firstSTREET” — their slogan is “For Boomers and Beyond” — occupied the back cover of Parade yesterday with a pitch for something called the WOW! Computer, and being almost beyond booming myself, I figure I’d check its papers, though of course I hate the name.

Most of the higher-tech stuff in the WOW! is built into the 21.5-inch touchscreen with 1920 x 1080 resolution. The CPU is a modest Intel Celeron 1037U dual-core on the decidedly meh Ivy Bridge microarchitecture with graphics processor, running at 1.8 GHz. You get 2 GB of DDR3 RAM and a 500 GB SATA II drive. Operating system is a modified Linux to which, they say, you can’t add anything:

The WOW! Computer is designed as a family or personal computer. We pre-install a broad set of popular and necessary applications including Email, Web Browsing, Photos, Video Phone, Games, Music & Video Playing and a Digital Picture Frame Screensaver. Better still, we include free software updates for life at no extra cost. Our goal is to provide a truly easy, hassle-free computer that is simple to use and maintain. That goal simply isn’t possible if we allow thousands of different applications to be installed as with standard computers.

This can legitimately be viewed as an advantage, depending on your parents’ nerd skills and/or tendency to click on strange links. (After all, malware has to install itself, and it’s not getting anywhere on a Linux box that forbids running installs.)

Downside: $1079, plus $10 a month for “VIP Support,” plus whatever high-speed Internet service happens to be available. (No dial-ups.)

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Not a high-beam in sight

We are told, over and over and over again, that women are being objectified to sell us stuff. The proper response to this, I submit, is “You’re just now noticing?”

From 1919, an ad, illustrated by the redoubtable Coles Phillips, intended to move automotive electrical equipment:

1919 advertisement by Coles Phllips for Autolite

Careful, mister, you wouldn’t want to hurt that sweet young thing in the short(ish) dress.

Coles Phillips (1880-1927) is probably best known for his negative-space illustrations. This isn’t one of them. Autolite (now a single word with a single capital) today makes spark plugs and wires under the auspices of Fram.

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Strange search-engine queries (430)

Once again, we take a peek into who’s been visiting, and why, and should the why have amusement potential, we blow it out of proportion. Because Monday.

for emily wherever i may find her emily dickinson:  Paul Simon says it wasn’t her. Then again, he was supposedly a Robert Frost fan, if you believe conversations that dangle.

naturally stoned 1968:  Some have yet to emerge from that state.

summary of if you ask me: spellbound by libby gelman-waxner in new york:  Obviously you need to read this; Libby can be spellbound anywhere from Beverly Hills-adjacent to Burkino Faso, without so much as wrinkling that chenille skirt she got from a Junior League fundraiser.

1 june 2004 watchtower:  Ask the nearest Witness, coming up your street right this instant.

csaba csere testifies dealership service fraud:  Which is not at all applicable to your situation: you bought that hunk of crap for twice its value without checking it out.

christy brinkley getting out of limo:  Keep in mind, first you have to get her into the limo.

what does the solenoid in the transmission for the mazda 626 do:  You wouldn’t ask this if it were still doing it.

angie dickinson million dollar legs:  $735,600 after depreciation.

what high mileage ATF anyone use for cd4e:  Nobody knows: if you believe the message boards, no one’s ever gotten a CD4E to “high mileage.”

I am a nymphomaniac of the heart:  Not a transferable skill, I am told.

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It was nice while it lasted

But evolution, at least to the extent that it affects our species, has been effectively thwarted:

For most of human history, making it to adulthood was a big deal. Even into relatively docile times like the middle ages, women lost a third of their off-spring by adulthood. Into the industrial age, losing a kid or two was not unusual, therefore, the least physically fit rarely made it long enough to breed. Even then, not having some value to society was a good way to remain a bachelor. In other words, for men at least, you had to have some status in order to pass on your DNA to the next generation.

Not any more:

It’s not that the stupid are breeding. It’s that a basket full of traits antithetical to human progress are celebrated in a way that turns natural selection on its head. If you are a woman adept at turning generosity into a vice by scamming the welfare system, you can have ten kids and live well. If you are a male with high violence capital and a complete lack of social intelligence, you rise in status and therefore breed like a rabbit.

If you want a glimpse of the future, head on down to Diversity Street and imagine the folks you see wandering around your town, wearing Google Glass or whatever wearable device emerges in the next decade. That’s the future. Millions of jabbering nitwits doing nothing more than planning their next crime or their next opportunity to breed new nitwits.

The powers that be, of course, don’t worry about such things: they have several layers of insulation, including an entire generation of small-j journalists, to protect them from the wandering Morlocks. But then, the powers that be aren’t making any evolutionary progress either: they’re still spouting 19th-century fantasies and passing them off as political thought.

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Wondrous piece of snark from The Bullseye in Entertainment Weekly #1309, 5/2/14:

Miley delays tour after an allergic reaction to antibiotics. Doctors say her body was unprepared for a sudden dose of legal substances.

Bullseye, lately, has been outsnarking even Dan Snierson’s Hit List, and Snierson’s been on my radar for over a decade.

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Hand me another Corona

If this is true, California loses another one:

Unconfirmed industry rumors shared with TTAC today seem to indicate that Toyota Motor Sales will be closing its offices in Torrance [CA] and heading to a more business-friendly location. Plano, TX is the rumored destination.

I have my doubts. However, I question this for one reason and one reason only: from Plano, TMS could not support any nearby dealers, as Texas and four adjacent states are served by the independent distributor Gulf States Toyota in Houston, franchised by the mothership in Japan way back in 1969.

Update, 28 April: It’s official. From Toyota’s press release:

Toyota today announced that it is establishing a new headquarters in North Dallas (Plano), Texas for its North American operations in a move designed to better serve customers and position Toyota for sustainable, long-term growth.

Within the next three years, Toyota’s three separate North American headquarters for manufacturing, sales and marketing, and corporate operations will relocate to a single, state-of-the-art campus in Plano. Toyota’s North American finance arm also plans to move its headquarters to this new shared campus. Altogether, these moves will affect approximately 4,000 employees.

At the same time, Toyota will expand the Toyota Technical Center (TTC) in Michigan to accommodate the relocation of direct procurement from Erlanger, Ky., to its campus in York Township near Ann Arbor. This expansion is part of an increased investment in engineering capabilities and will accommodate future growth in product development.

The transition to Plano from three current headquarters locations — affecting approximately 2,000 employees at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) in Torrance, Calif.; about 1,000 employees at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA) in Erlanger, Ky.; and certain employees at Toyota Motor North America (TMA) in New York, N.Y. — will begin with initial small groups this summer. However, the majority of these employees will not move until construction of Toyota’s new headquarters is completed in late 2016 or early 2017. Toyota Financial Services (TFS) is not expected to transition to Plano from its current headquarters in Torrance, Calif., until 2017, which will affect around 1,000 employees.

So there.

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105 percent grey

Jack Baruth considers the Cliven Bundy dust-up:

[I]f you read most of what’s been written about Bundy, the primary problem seems to be that he used the word “Negro.” You know, like United Negro College Fund. Like MLK, who said “But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. All I get from Bundy’s use of the word “Negro” is that he doesn’t consume enough mainstream media to know that we don’t say that anymore. That, in and of itself, shouldn’t be a sin. I sure as hell don’t say “Negro,” but I grew up on the East Coast where “Black” was the preferred phrase. The day will come, mind you, when I’m seventy-something years old and I say “Black” or “African-American” and my kid’s going to visibly blanch. “Dad, we say Chromosome-18-flipped now.” Hell, you can’t even say “Afro-American” in polite conversation and the use of that phrase was once a gold-plated demonstration of progressive credentials.

Based on this display, I suggest that Baruth picked a chromosome at random.

But the slope is slippery enough that this outcome seems unavoidable:

In the future, the accusation of racism will be used, wholesale, to level opposition to any position or figure that doesn’t have the favor of our corpo-govern-media machine. Future generations might see it as the equivalent to the “Red Scare” or the Puritan witch hunts. But note this: it does you no good to be exonerated by posterity if you’re dead, or homeless, or beaten, in the present life. This is what’s going to happen. Mr. Bundy is going to be told to give up his claim to the land, and eventually he’s going to do it. Mr. [Donald] Sterling will have it suggested to him that he sell his team at favorable rates to someone whom the media and the NBA like better, the same way Anheuser-Busch moved a Hispanic manager aside to make room for Jesse Jackson’s sweetheart deal. Business will go on as usual. Bundy and Sterling will be swept aside. And it will, as the French said, encourage the others. To comply, to play nice, to do what they’re told.

The race card is about the only one the machine has left. And the machine has a long history of using whatever was at hand to enforce its will; you’ll recall that they finally got Al Capone, who treated the 18th Amendment with the respect it deserved, on tax-evasion charges.

Addendum: Francis W. Porretto defends Bundy’s statement, though not on the basis of word choice.

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Quote of the week

Two members of Congress who, you might think, ought to know better — until you remember that they’re members of Congress and therefore don’t know anything, better or otherwise — have proposed Federal regulation of photo manipulation. James Lileks says they’re aiming at the wrong target:

This still doesn’t address the real problem, does it? Advertising is the problem. Advertising holds up images of some ideal we cannot achieve, and thus causes aspiration, which ends in misery. Who among us hasn’t watched TV for half an hour, studied the ads like the revelatory playlets they are, then left the house to eat fried chicken, enlist in the Marines, buy a $47,999 car, and ask our doctor whether Vilevria is right for us? It’s all I can do after seeing an Oil of Olay ad to keep from running up to my wife’s drawer of potions, slathering the stuff on my face, and shouting HURRY UP AND DEFY THE RAVAGES OF TIME at my reflection. Ads are not suggestions. These are marching orders beamed directly into our quivering id, and we’ve no defense against them.

So we need to change the entire advertising paradigm: Companies will be permitted to show a picture of the product, and a monotone voice will describe its attributes as determined by an impartial board empowered to strike out any language that suggests that the consumption of this taco has any nominal advantage over the consumption of any other taco. The company will be allowed to assert that the “Mucho Fiero Grande” sauce has a more substantial “kick” than the competitor, based on lab analysis of the capsaicin content measured in Scoville units.

If you have a poor self-image because you don’t compare favorably to what you see in print or on television, you’re wrong; yes, you should have a poor self-image, not because you don’t own this or you don’t look like that, but because you’re credulous enough to think those things matter.

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Yet another 53-minute special

Today Michael Heisley died. Heisley bought the Grizzlies in 2001, and owned them until 2012, when he retired from corporate life. Did this year’s Griz want to win one for their longtime owner? Sure they did. Maybe it was enough to push them, down 12 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, to a 22-9 run over eight minutes and change that erased the Thunder lead and put Memphis up for the first time since early in the second quarter. It was 80-75 Memphis when, once again, the Thunder, and this time I mean Reggie Jackson, put together enough of a run to tie it up with half a minute left: for fans of déjà vu, it was, yet again, overtime. With the Thunder up 88-87, Russell Westbrook missed a shot, retrieved it himself, and then had the ball taken away by Mike Conley; Conley burned up half the 30 seconds remaining, could not get the shot to fall, and Jackson snagged the rebound. Courtney Lee duly fouled Jackson, Jackson sank both free throws to make it 90-87, Conley went for the easy two and got it, Mike Miller duly fouled Jackson, Jackson sank both free throws to make it 92-89, and a Conley trey attempt at the horn fell short. It’s now two games each, with two, maybe three, to go.

Oh: “Jackson.” Say that several times. The sixth man clearly was primus inter pares tonight, scoring a career-high 32 points on 11-16 shooting and 8-8 from the line. Which was a good thing, since neither Westbrook nor Kevin Durant was having a good night, each with 15 points after ghastly marksmanship (KD 5-21, Westbrook 6-24). Durant did collect 13 rebounds, one fewer than Serge Ibaka, whose 14 boards and five blocks might seem to overshadow his 12 points. And while Derek Fisher’s shooting was off, he did hit a personal milestone: 244 career playoff games, tied with Robert Horry on the all-time list.

Three double-doubles among the Griz: Marc Gasol had a team-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, Conley finished with 14 points and 10 assists, and perennial pest Tony Allen came off the bench for 14 points and 13 boards. If Memphis did a good job of keeping Durant out of the lane, and they did, the Thunder shut down Zach Randolph pretty well, holding him to 11 points on 5-14. And if the Griz need something to lament, it’s this: 13-23 from the foul line. (Z-Bo accounted for four of those ten bricks.) For fans of plus/minus, no one was plus-er than Beno Udrih, +9 for the 19 minutes he played.

Game 5 will be in Oklahoma City Tuesday; there will now be a Game 6 in Memphis. And oh, just incidentally: when Michael Heisley bought the Grizzlies, they were in Vancouver; at his initial press conference, he vowed to keep them there, which he did — for the rest of that season, anyway. I’ve seen that routine before, too.

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Not really turning away

Rihanna on the cover of Vogue Brasil May 2014Barbadian singer Rihanna — I mention her origins mostly out of delight at having discovered that there’s a proper demonym for folks from Barbados — is on the cover of Vogue’s Brazilian edition for May. This was perhaps inevitable, given her international sex-symbol status and her tendency to mix up her wardrobe: slightly squarish country singer Miranda Lambert has said that she’s a great admirer of Rihanna’s style, though she adds that “I don’t necessarily get inspired by the whole no-bra thing.”

I don’t really blame Miranda for that. And besides, this is about as whole a no-bra thing as you can get:

Rihanna in Vogue Brasil May 2014 wearing damn near nothing

Rihanna’s 2012 album was titled Unapologetic. She apparently wasn’t kidding.

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