Three-eyed Fish and other short notes

It’s a Simpson’s world: Somebody really did catch a three-eyed fish near a nuclear power plant.

My Halloween column A Candy Bar for Death is up on the UU World web site.

The Occupy Mordor movement is getting more serious. The Orcs of Mordor have released a statement charging:

The legitimate government of Mordor has allowed itself to be covertly replaced by a “shadow government” comprised of ‘An Eye’ and ‘Nine Mortal Men’, none of whom were elected.

Wonkblog at the Washington Post examines Rick Perry’s “flat” tax plan, concluding that it will collect less revenue and move towards privatizing Social Security.

How it will collect less revenue becomes clear when ThinkProgress computes the Perry tax for Warren Buffett, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, and Perry himself. All are wealthy enough to benefit, but the biggest winner is the richest: Buffett, who might pay as little as two-tenths of a percent of his $62 million income.

Finally Kevin Drum observes that the vaunted simplicity of the system is also only for the rich:

the rich not only pay lower taxes [under Perry’s plan], they also benefit from having simpler taxes. They do so much better under Perry’s plan that they’ll almost all just fill in his postcard without even bothering to calculate how much they might owe under the current regime.

Low and middle-income taxpayers, however, have no such luck. There’s a pretty good chance they’ll do better under the current system, which means they need to fill out Perry’s postcard and fill out a current 1040 to see which one comes out better. No simple taxes for them.

This photo was supposed to be India as seen from space during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Apparently it isn’t. (Actually it’s an overlay that illustrates India’s increasing brightness from space as its population and prosperity increase.) But it’s still pretty.

Something else that’s pretty: Last Monday’s northern lights, seen across much of the country. This shot was taken near Madison, Wisconsin:

Or you can watch the aurora on video, like this one from Michigan:

Or this one from orbit:

Alabama learned nothing from Georgia’s experience, and so has to repeat the lesson: When you depend on migrant Hispanic workers to harvest your crops, an anti-illegal-immigrant law that motivates even legal Hispanic immigrants to leave your state might not work out for you.

As in Georgia, Alabama’s crops are rotting in the fields. This was entirely predictable, and the logic is simple: First, hand-picking crops really is a skill; you can’t expect a random person off the unemployment rolls to be good at it. So paying by the hour doesn’t work out for the farmers and paying by the box doesn’t work out for the pickers. (An Alabama tomato farmer claimed that inexperienced American replacement pickers who were paid by the box were making $24 a day for back-breaking work. No wonder they quit.)

Second, a skilled American-citizen picker wants more than the no-benefits $8/hour the farmers want to pay. But Alabama produce competes against produce from neighboring states that aren’t hostile to immigrants. So the Alabama farmers can’t just raise prices to pay their workers more.

The week’s stupidest point: Congressman Denny Rehberg argues that a statue of Jesus on public land is not a church-and-state issue because it’s not religious. “Just because it’s maintained and was put up by the Knights of Columbus does not make it a religious statement.”

A Florida high-school teacher breaks the law by helping her students register to vote.

We claim it’s a service economy, so why are we checking out our own groceries? The concept of shadow work.

Jon Stewart: If ClimateGate deserved so much coverage, why doesn’t the final debunking of ClimateGate deserve coverage?

Paul Ryan takes a bold stand for “equality of opportunity” rather than “equality of outcome”. So why does he oppose anything that would actually equalize opportunity? And that point about Americans being more upwardly mobile than Europeans — it ain’t true.

Now Bad Lip Reading has a Herman Cain video:

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  • By The System’s Game « The Weekly Sift on October 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    […] Three-eyed Fish and other short notes. Somebody really did catch a three-eyed fish near a nuclear power plant. My Halloween column. Occupy Mordor’s statement. Perry’s flat tax. Some very pretty pictures of the northern lights. Bad Lip Reading does Herman Cain. And more. […]

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