Have a merry Christmas, everyone.
One of my favourite bloggers, JJ of Unrepentant Old Hippie, has announced that she is no longer in bat country as she is leaving blogging.
This saddens me. I always enjoyed her snark. I even suggested her blog to others. JJ was always covering the issue of reproductive rights with full feminist credentials. She was clearly full of the strongest stuff out there, as anyone else who read the works of Lieshite, Nurse Stanek, SUZIE ALLCAPS, and other deplorable wingnut rubbish would have gone batshit nuts years ago. But not JJ. The blogosphere is now a lot smaller now that she has left it. Of course, if she wants to guest blog for yours truly, she knows who to ask….
You will be missed JJ. Good luck after blogging and let’s hope you’ll return someday.
To close out what I hope will be the last post on this atrocious policy, I have two questions:
First, if we grant for the sake of argument that the wingnuts are and that an LGBT soldier would hinder unit cohesion, wouldn’t revealing this publicly actually harm the troops? If a gay or lesbian soldier will make others drop their weapons in order to run away from the gay soldier faster, wouldn’t this provide a means for hostile nations to hinder the US military? They could do it by either by sending gay soldiers against the Americans, or, (more subtly) infiltrating units with gay “agents”. I hesitate to call this treason, but you get my drift.
Second, wouldn’t DADT be demeaning for soldiers already fighting? I mean, accepting DADT requires believing that soldiers kill many bad guys, risk their lives for their country, crawl through muck and mud to fight the enemy, and at the same time collapse like a house of cards in an earthquake when they have a gay soldier in their unit. Are supporters of DADT fucking serious?
The United States has taken a step to truly joining the 21st century, as its Senate has voted 65–31 to repeal its outdated, ineffective and harmful policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. As the House has passed an identical bill, the only thing that has to be done to repeal DADT is President Obama’s signature, which is expected.
As thousands of troops, including badly–needed translators and specialists have been dismissed under this policy, this is the correct decision. Lots of other militaries handle LGBT soldiers just fine, and the US military will be no different.
Lastly, yet again, the sky has refused to fall. Has any wingnut freakout ever actually come true? Any?
A committee in the Senate has recommended that the penny be discontinued. They also recommend that it eventually be demonetized and withdrawn from circulation, although the Bank of Canada would continue to accept them for redemption on an indefinite basis. If that happens, the nickel would become the lowest denomination of coin. Prices would likely be rounded to the nearest five cents, likely through the following system:
Prices ending in 0 or 5 cents would stay the same; prices ending in 1 or 2 cents would be rounded down to 0; prices ending in 3 or 4 cents would be rounded up to 5; prices ending in 6 or 7 cents would be rounded down to 5; and prices ending in 8 or 9 cents would be rounded up 0. This is symmetrical.
I think eliminating the penny is a good idea. It has numerous benefits, and issues raised by its elimination are insignificant and overblown.
I often find myself either rolling up pennies and depositing them in the bank, or hoarding them so they can be used to add a few cents to a payment so that I won’t get pennies for change. In addition, vending machines, parking meters, and the like, usually do not accept pennies. The purpose of money is to facilitate trade and exchange, and the penny is not fulfilling this purpose.
In terms of value, the penny is nearly worthless. Due to inflation, the real purchasing power of any denomination of currency is declining. As it is our smallest denomination, no unit of the Canadian dollar has ever bought less than a penny.
Seigniorage is the “profit” made when the face value of currency exceeds the value of materials and costs invoked to make it. Pennies are expensive and have negative seigniorage. It costs 1.5 cents to make a penny (cite). It has been argued that once distribution costs are included, it costs 5 cents to make a penny (cite). Clearly, the mint is losing money by making it.
Even though many prices end in 99 cents, and without thinking about it much, poor would seem to lose due to widespread rounding up. This is not the case. A study found that consumers would actually have a small gain 1/20 of a cent per transaction (cite). In addition, the reason prices end in 99 cents is to exploit the psychological perception that a price of (say) $19.99 is in the $19 range, rather than the $20 range. The best way to maintain that psychological perception would be to end prices in 95 cents (making our example $19.95). Hence, in this sense the gains for consumers would be larger.
Although many charities do raise funds by collecting pennies, eliminating the penny likely won’t have any appreciable impact on their fundraising. I see no reason why the nickel can’t replace the penny in this area.
Provincial sales taxes/HST/GST often lead to amounts ending in any digit. Although this is true, it won’t result in issues with eliminating the penny. First, rounding is only necessary in a cash transaction. When you use a debit or credit card, no one goes from one bank to another carrying a bag of money filled with cash from one box and dumped into another. Rather, the transaction is recorded merely through entries in the books. This exact method is used in Sweden, for example (cite). For cash transactions, the rounding can be done to the final total. A better method, however, would be for provinces to mandate that displayed prices already include taxes (as is already done for gasoline). This will create an incentive for merchants to tinker with their prices so that the final amounts end in 5 or 0 cents. Doing this will also make managing ones money easier, as it is easier to add totals that already have taxes included.
All in all, eliminating the penny has numerous advantages without significant disadvantages. It will save money for both the government and individuals, and will ease business and commerce.
Click over here, if you dare. It’s at CBC, and it has a video of Prime Minister Stephen Harper singing (slightly out–of–key) rock songs at a Christmas party for the Conservative Party.
With the hope that your ears are safe, we can ponder CBC’s question: “Stephen Harper: Does seeing his musical side improve your impression of him?”
Seeing his musical side will not impact my view of him because whatever musical side he has, has no impact on how good his policies are. If his policies were close to my own political preferences, his musical side would not impact my view of him. Ditto for reality. In effect, would you take the same view of the person if they promoted and enacted the exact same policies, but had no musical ability? That’s what you should do. Musical ability will not make bad policies good, and good policies bad. I’ll concede that Harper’s musical side may give him a folksy appeal, but that is irrelevant to whether his policies are good or not. Certainly, doing this is an effective electoral tactic, but it’s a bad idea to vote for someone solely because they are charming, in your in–group, from your area, and so on. Doing so could result in the election of a legislator who is inimical to your interests. I will never use those criteria when deciding who to vote for, and neither should anyone else.
So, in short, hell no.
I found out from SUZIE ALLCAPS’s place that Lieshite, I mean LifeSiteNews, has run out of money and is raising funds.
The appropriate reaction to this is as follows:
For those who don’t know, the website in question is a news site that covers various events from a Christian, anti–abortion perspective.
My advice to them is as follows. If you look at their front page, you’ll see stories such as a new anti–gay law in Malawi, the progress of a Canadian bill that will include gender identity in anti–discrimination measures, whining about increased secularism in Europe, an initiative by the Brazilian government to combat homophobia, and additional rubbish along similar lines.
The key thread here is that those things have absolutely nothing to do with abortion. Rather than trying to be inyourunderwearnews.com— I get first dibs on that website ;)— Lieshite should stop covering things that are irrelevant to the abortion debate. If it instead focused solely on abortion, and covered things such as how contraception and sex education reduce the abortion rate, it would be more responsible with its money and therefore not have to try raising funds, as well as advance its cause better.