Yes, Snoop Dogg is a felon

meme60“Rapper Snoop Dogg pleaded no contest today to felony charges of gun possession by a felon and sale and transportation of marijuana…. Two prior felony convictions — drugs in 1990 and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in 1997 — were admitted to by Broadus (his real name) as part of the plea agreement.”

Martha Stewart was convicted of lying about a stock deal during a federal investigation.

If you want to play moral equivalency with these unrelated celebrities and their unrelated crimes, that’s your business.  I wouldn’t recommend it.

Any paid maternity leave is better than zero, so there’s no need to lie about it

So, tell me: How hard do you find it to use Google?  Because you could have meme60found the correct information in less than 10 minutes.  Just type “paid maternity leave Japan” in the Google search box and — voilla!--there’s an authoritative source with correct information.

But, here, let me save you the time.

Let’s start with the ONE country you got right: Mexico. You can take 6 weeks prior to delivery and 6 weeks after, for a total of 12 weeks.

Now, let’s look at what you got wrong:  the United Kingdom. This error is actually comical, since you lied too low.  You said the UK gives 39 weeks of paid maternity leave, but it’s actually 52 weeks.

At lest when you lied about Japan, you lied in a way that would support your point.  Japan allows 12 weeks — much less than the 68 weeks you claimed.

Finally, the real whopper:  Slovakia.  You said they allow for 164 weeks (almost three years!), when they really allow for 34 weeks.  You inflated it by 285%!

You know what’s coming next.  Leave the lying to the Right:they are trained professionals with decades of experience.

A full-time minimum wage job can’t buy a 2-bedroom apartment in any state? Bull.

meme34Take the federal minimum wage and multiply it by 40 hours: $7.25 x 40 hours = $290 per week.

Take out the standard taxes.  Federal income taxes will take $43.50, Medicare will take $4.20, and Social Security will take $12.18 per week. In Wisconsin (where I live), income taxes will take $17.83 per week. That leaves $212.29 per week.

At 52 weeks a year, that’s $11,039.08 per year.

Divide that annual income by the number of months in a year, and you get a monthly average after-tax income of $919.92.

I went to apartments.com and searched for 2-bedroom apartments in Wisconsin with rent no highe10302215_10204421209754545_2073253991267443026_nr than $900.  The search returned hits on more than 310 apartments across a couple of dozen communities, including Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay.

C’mon people:  Life in poverty is hard enough that we don’t need to make up bullsh*t about it.  Leave the lying to the Right — they have much more experience at it.

Texas is miserable enough all on its own. There’s no need to fib about it.

meme339While we can all agree that Texas is the armpit of the world, this political meme attempting to make the terrible seem even worse is, shall we say, less than forthright in its use of data. This meme makes six claims about Texas, and only one of those claims is verifiably true and actually supporting the meme’s message.

Texas is #1 in worker deaths?   No. Texas actually ranks 22nd in worker deaths. Texas has a rate of four fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

That tied the state for 22nd with Alabama. North Dakota ranked first with a fatality rate of 12.4, according to the document, with Wyoming second (11.6) followed by Montana (11.2), Alaska (11.1), Arkansas (8.0), South Dakota (6.7) and New Mexico (6.6). Among the 10 most populous states, Texas ranked second to Ohio, which had a 5.5 fatality rate, according to the document.

Texas ranks #1 in poverty-level jobs?  No. While the meme does not define what it means by “poverty level jobs” (sic) or say where it got its data, Texas does not rank #1 (meaning the worst) in any readily available measure of poverty. Texas has the “third-highest proportion of hourly jobs paying at or below minimum wage.” Texas ranks 24th for median household income.  Texas is tied for 12th for percentage of population living in poverty. Texas’ poverty numbers clearly show it to be a miserable place to earn a living, but it’s not the worst.

Texas ranks #1 in carbon emissions?  No. Texas actually ranks 13th in per capita carbon emissions.  The meme writer may be trying to spin the data on total metric tons of CO2 emissions, for which Texas ranks #1, which is a meaningless number when comparing states — we’re talking  about human activity producing these emissions, so any comparative data must account for the number of humans involved (i.e. per capita). Yes, Texas is a nasty, dirty place; no, Texas is not the worst. Which, by the way, is rather remarkable given its dominance in the oil industry.

Texas ranks 49th in school funding?  No. In total outlay, Texas is second, behind only California; in state funding, Texas is third, behind only California and New York. In per pupil spending, Texas ranks 43rd.

Texas ranks 50th in the percentage of its population that has graduated high school. This is a bit of cherry picking meant to make the Texas schools look weak, when, in fact, the rate of students graduating high school in Texas is 86%, which ranks Texas third in the nation (tied with five other states) behind only Wisconsin and Vermont (tied at second with 87%) and Iowa (first at 88%).

While it is true that Texas ranks 50th in per capita high school graduates, the cause is immigration, not poor schooling:

The leading factor driving down the state’s rankings has little to do with the quality of public schools and everything to do with the rapid rate of immigration, said Alan Berube, senior fellow and research director at Brookings, a left-leaning policy think-tank.

Many Mexican and Latin American immigrants “came to Texas as adults. They didn’t come there to finish high school. They came there to work. So that depresses the indicator,” Berube says.

Texas ranks #1 in corporate tax breaks averaging $19 billion per year?  Finally, the meme gets one right.

As we’ve said before, the Right excels at lying, having more need for and more practice in it, so the Left really should leave the lying to the other side.  Those guys are professionals, and we just can’t compete.

Love is universal? No.

Actually, no.  Love is primarily a function of the limbic system, a complex part of structures withinmeme28 our brains.  Insects, worms, clams, crustaceans, octopus, snails and starfish are “living things,” but they have no limbic system, so they have do not have the capacity for love.  In fact, 98% of the more than 1 million animal species on Earth are invertebrates, and invertebrates have no limbic system (and no desire for love).  Similarly, plants are living things with no limbic system and, thus, feel no love.  (Pigs, by the way, are vertebrates with rather highly developed brains and doubtlessly do feel something akin to what we call love.)

Meme lists 10 ways Denmark is better than the US, all 10 are at least partly false.

meme28I’m sure that Denmark is a lovely place to live. The residents there always rank high on “who is the happiest” lists.  But these rambling and repetitive Facebook meme stretches the good news about Denmark too far — all the way to falsehood. The writer could not make one completely true statement, and that’s pretty sad.

  1. You make $61,000 as a teacher in Denmark? Bull.   The average salary for a 15-year veteran teacher in Denmark is $52,300 (the link shows it as about £31,000 and at this writing, £1 equals about $1.69.  The average American teacher actually makes $3-5,000 more than you do.
  2. You get a free education? So does everyone in the US through high school, and your implication that they don’t is false.  Your advantage is that the government welfare system also pays college tuition.  That’s a big advantage, so be honest about it.
  3. You get free health care? Yes, except for dentistry, for which you mostly pay yourself. Again, the advantage is big enough that you can be honest about it and it will still be impressive.
  4. You get paid to go to school? Bull. Tuition is free for anyone citizen of a country in the European Union, but your living expenses are not paid for and the cost of living is 47.30% higher than in US.  Restaurant Prices in Denmark are 98.42% higher and groceries prices are 20.57% higher than in US, while your local Purchasing power in Denmark is 25.93% lower than in US.
  5. You can afford to own your own house?  Bull.  Denmark ranks 36th in home ownership (64.3%), which is two notches below the 34th-place ranking of the US (65.2%).
  6. You can afford to own your own car? Major bull.  Denmark’s rate of auto ownership is 481 per 1000 inhabitants, which is low compared to other European nations and way below the rate of the US (786/1000). Denmark’s environmental ethic, close neighborhoods, low average income, and 180% tax on car purchases makes car ownership comparatively rare.  There are 500,000 fewer cars on Danish roads compared to similarly wealthy European countries and relative to its population, according to economist Lars Olsen from Danske Bank.
  7. You get 6 weeks (30 working days) of vacation each year?  Bull.  Your government mandates 25 days.  That’s still higher than the average American (16 days—none of it mandated by law), so you don’t have to lie about it.
  8. Mothers get a full year of maternity leave and fathers get a little less?  Bull.  The two parents together can take up to 52 weeks of leave.  The mother is entitled to four weeks of maternity leave before the expected date of birth and 14 weeks of maternity leave after the birth. The father is entitled to two weeks of parental leave after the birth. On top of that, the parents are entitled to 32 weeks of shared parental leave.  Again, it’s good enough that you don’t have to lie about it.
  9. You get a pension at age 65?  Partly bull, and so do we.  For those born after 1958, the pension age goes up to 67.  The amount of your pension depends on how long you’ve worked and how long you’ve live in Denmark – kinda like the US’ Social Security.  The average single-person pension in 2011 in Denmark was the equivalent of $12,403; the current average SS benefit to a retired American is $15,528. (And, don’t forget, your cost of living is a lot higher.)
  10. We pay an average of $8,500 in health care deductibles each year?  Bull. The average American household out-of-pocket expenses (deductible and co-pay) is $3,301.  By the way, the out-of-pocket expenditure as a share of final household consumption, is the same in both Denmark and the US.

Every Dane has the opportunity to live the American dream, you say?  I guess that depends on what you think the American dream is, but your attempt to paint economic life in Denmark as vastly superior to that in the US, falls flat.  Allowing for your redundancy and poor writing, you listed 10 advantages you, in Denmark, have over us in the US – and all 10 were either partly or completely false.  On four of them, the truth is that Denmark does have an advantage over the US, but you lied about them anyway, inflating them beyond their true advantage.

Your meme is a failure.

College paid by a 1978 minimum wage summer job? This meme flunks basic math.

meme27Is lying OK when it’s done in the service of a good cause?  I think not.  So, while I am whole-heartedly in favor of raising the minimum wage, I have to point out that this meme is bullsh*t.  This one’s personal, too, because I was a student at Michigan State University in 1978 and struggled to stay afloat.  

Here are the facts.  In 1978-79, the national average for just tuition and fees at a 4-year public university was $2,303.  Minimum wage in 1978 was $2.65 per hour.  I don’t recall how long of a summer break we had back then, but my son’s summer break at the University of Wisconsin this year is 14 weeks long.  To earn $2,303 in just 14 weeks at the rate of $2.65 per hour, a student would have to work 62 hours per week (62 x $2.65 = $164.30 and $164.30 x 14 = $2,300).  

The meme was easily busted, but hang, there’s more!

The reality is far worse, because every penny earned working those 62 hours per week for 14 straight weeks would have to be saved for the school year’s tuition and fees.  But our hard-working student will have state and federal taxes withheld, as well as contributions to Medicare and Social Security.

Presumably, this student will, during those 14 weeks, pay rent (average rent was $260, or about 25 hours of summer work for our student), pay for utilities, buy groceries, incur transportation costs (oil prices skyrocketed in 1978), and spend at least some small amount on entertainment (maybe just $2.30 to see Grease?).  Let’s just round it up to 80 hours a week and call it even.

Of course, we’re making a huge assumption our student could find the equivalent of two full-time jobs, because the US was experiencing one of its worst economic crises since the Great Depression: In 1975, 120,000 Americans declared bankruptcy; in 1978, unemployment was at 6.1 percent.  (Things got so bad and stayed so bad during the Reagan Recession in Michigan, that I had to flee to California to finish my undergraduate degree.)

Once school starts and our exhausted student hands over every cent saved, there are costs still to be met.  Students do not live by tuition and fees alone.  There’s room and board to start with, and then books, pens, paper, transportation, clothing, medical costs, insurance costs, club or frat fees, gym or pool fees, sporting events or other entertainment, beer and pizza on the weekend (or a little bit of weed and some rolling papers), and more.

So, no — a college student in 1978 could not cover school costs (either just tuition or a whole real-life student budget) with a minimum wage summer job, and you make our very serious cause look foolishly uninformed with your dishonest Facebook meme.  Look, the Right is much better at lying than the Left, because the Right gets so much more practice, so it’s probably best to stick to the truth and leave the lying to the other guys.

Cutting government leaders’ wages to address national debt? Wrong!

meme23

 

Never mind that a national debt of  $17 billion cannot be addressed with cuts in the hundreds of thousands.

Never mind that comparing what national leaders get paid with what either soldiers or seniors get paid is completely irrelevant to the question of the national debt.

Never mind that there are only four living former presidents getting a pension, but in 2014, more than 59 million retired workers will receive Social Security benefits (and that Social Security benefits represent only 38% of the income of the elderly), and there are remain roughly 38,000 US soldiers still in Afghanistan.

Yes, never mind all the meaningless comparisons, and focus your attention, instead, on the (ahem) facts presented.

False: A retired president’s salary is $450,000 fr life.  True:  A retired president’s salary is $191,400.

False: House and Senate members get a salary of $174,000 for life. True: Currently (2014), there are 413 retired members of Congress receiving federal pensions — 290 get pensions of $60,972, and 123 get $35,952. There’s a complicated formula for thee numbers, but by law they cannot exceed 80% of the member’s final salary. Also, they’re not eligible for a pension until they’re at least 50, but only if they’ve completed 20 years of service. They’re eligible at any age once they’re over 62 or after serving 25 years.  If they serve fewer than five years in office, they get no pension at all.

False: The speaker of the House gets $223,500 for life.  True:  The speaker receives a pension based on the same formula used for all retired members.  See preceding paragraph.

False:  The majority and minority leaders get $194,400 for life.  True:  These leaders receives pensions based on the same formula used for all retired members. See above.

As an aside, lawmakers haven’t given themselves a raise since January 2009.

False:  The average salary for a soldier in Afghanistan is $38,000.  True:  A soldier’s salary depends on his or her rank and years of service.  In 2014, a private (E1) with fewer than two years of service gets a salary of $18,378 (the lowest) and a staff sergeant (E6) with six or more years of service gets $35,578 in salary.  It is mathematically impossible for the average to be higher than the maximum.

C’mon man!  How inept must you be to lie in the wrong direction — making the soldier’s average salary higher than even the maximum salary when the point is about how low the soldier’s salary is?

So the meme’s creator can’t get any of the facts right, can’t create meaningful comparisons, and can’t suggest anything meaningful to do about the national debt. That’s kinda sad, but consider this meme busted.

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Kids don’t say the pledge — wrong

Kids don't say the pledge -- wrong

We see this sort of self-righteous stuff a lot when it comes to generational differences — typically, the writer lists things that are different between two generations (a list of “facts”) and declares the older generation superior (a value judgment) — but this one is especially wearisome since it doesn’t even have a fact on which to stand as it puffs out its chest.

My wife works in the front office of a public high school of 1,600 kids in an area so liberal that Bill O’Reilly says people here commune with Satan (if you don’t know BillO: he thinks people who disagree with his politics are evil), and my wife leads the entire school in the pledge of allegiance, over the public address system, every morning. Every. Single. Morning.

Our six kids have attended at least six of the area public schools, and they said the pledge of allegiance every morning.  Every. Single. Morning.

In fact, as I understand it, there are only five or six states that don’t set aside time in each school day for saying the pledge.

Really, folks, if you’re going to post self-congratulatory memes, it is prudent to at least poke around on the Internet to see if you have even a hint of a fact to stand on.