Last night, I was watching documentaries on Netflix with my boyfriend Corey. One of them was called "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream," which features clips of Ayn Rand speaking about her vision of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This brought me into research mode, wanting to find out a little more about the Ayn Rand Institute. I have loved Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" for years, but I never knew that ARI was a political powerhouse. On my quest, I came across an article George Saunders had written for the New Yorker called "I Was Ayn Rand's Lover."
I had known about Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden from reading her many biographies, in particular "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It creeped me out quite a bit back then, but now to see that she prowled on more than one innocent young man left me with a sour taste. If you know Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you wouldn't be too surprised that Nathaniel Branden was a target on her radar. To hear Saunders recount his having essentially been "raped" by her was a little off-putting to say the least, but his developing jealousy over Ayn having set her eyes on a young Paul Ryan disturbed me. It wasn't his feelings of jealousy that disturbed me, rather her voracious appetite for bedding young men in late puberty is what was particularly disturbing.
So, we now know of three men in their late teens who were successfully pursued by Ayn Rand. There are probably plenty more, but my interest stops there. Seeing Paul Ryan run wild with Ayn's version of Laissez Faire Capitalism as it pertains to our present day economy was like being punched in the gut by Ayn Rand herself. All of her theories sound good as just that -- a theory, but when put into practice as Paul Ryan has done as a congressman, they are truly frightening. I don't know what plagues me more: the affairs with young boys, or being disillusioned by Paul Ryan's crazy plans for American prosperity.
To understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to do a little research. Most of it can be done by watching the "Park Avenue" documentary, reading "Atlas Shrugged," "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (also a film), and then reading George Saunder's New Yorker piece (which is very well-written, I might add). It amounts to a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, I'll bet, because that's what I'm feeling right now. It can all be summed up in one word: UGH!
Watch the entire "Park Avenue" documentary:
Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's wife) on The Passion of Ayn Rand:
Xerox system failures essentially gave a green light to unlimited spending on food stamp cards at Walmart on Saturday. Store managers at Walmarts in Louisiana called Walmart corporate headquarters on Saturday to report huge throngs of shoppers clearing the shelves as the result of a system outage at Xerox, the company who is contracted to process EBT (electronic benefit transfer of food stamps) transactions for the store, which granted unlimited credit to EBT recipients. It is unclear, even after the chaos died down, who will be responsible for the outrageous overspending. Xerox is arguing that they have documented policies and procedures for benefits processing during the event of a system outage. Walmart executives chose to override those policies to accept the EBT cards for the full value of all purchases. That, to me, leaves Walmart holding the bag. Walmart says the responsibility lies with Xerox, whose fault it was that the system went down in the first place. The outage was a result of a routine test gone wrong. Another bearer of responsibility should be the consumers, whose greedy motives led them to overindulge and live beyond their means for a moment. These customers represent the dictionary definition of dishonesty. Who do you think should be responsible for the overspending? Here's the full article from MSN:
Wal-Mart, Xerox blame each other for food stamps spree
Louisiana food stamp recipients stripped bare the shelves of some Walmart stores when a computer glitch left their debit cards with no limits.
By Kathy Finn of Reuters
Throngs of shoppers flooded Wal-Mart stores in Louisiana on Saturday, buying groceries using electronic benefit cards that contained no credit limits.
NEW ORLEANS — Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Xerox Corp blamed each other on Monday after Louisiana food stamp recipients stripped bare the shelves of some Walmart stores when a computer glitch left their debit cards with no limits.
Managers of Wal-Mart stores in the small, north Louisiana towns of Springhill and Mansfield alerted police on Saturday night that throngs of shoppers had flooded into the stores and were buying groceries using electronic benefit cards that contained no credit limits.
Food stamps glitch causes run at Wal-Mart 1 day ago 1:34 Views: 61k EBT cards are debit-type cards issued under the state's food stamp program and coded to show the amount of money available for individuals to spend. Food stamps are a federal government subsidy program for low-income people that is administered by the states.
When word got out Saturday that the EBT cards were showing no limits, card holders rushed to area Wal-Marts to take advantage.
"Some people had eight or 10 shopping carts full of groceries," Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said on Monday.
Xerox said on Saturday that its systems that process EBT transactions suffered an outage stemming from routine testing of backup generators that malfunctioned. Louisiana was one of 17 states affected by the outage.
Kayla Whiting, a spokeswoman at Wal-Mart's Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters, pointed to Xerox as the source of the problem and referred further questions to Xerox.
Xerox corporate spokesman Bill McKee provided a written company statement saying that Xerox has a "documented process for retailers like Wal-Mart to follow in response to EBT outages."
But the statement left unclear who would cover the unauthorized spending, and it referred further questions to Wal-Mart.
Louisiana officials said they had no intention of being left holding the bag. "The outage was the result of failures by our contractor, Xerox," said Trey Williams, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.
He said emergency procedures in place with Xerox allow retailers to call a phone number and receive authorization for purchases any time the EBT system is down. "Some retailers chose not to follow the process," he said. "Those businesses are only being reimbursed for the (maximum) amounts on individual cards," he said.
Williams said that amounts transacted above the cards' available balances were returned to Wal-Mart marked "as insufficient funds."
He could not provide an estimate of the total amount of overspending or say who will cover it in the end. "That's a conversation between Xerox and the retailer," he said.
CARTS FULL OF GROCERIES
Springhill's Lynd arrived at his town's Wal-Mart store at about 7 p.m. local time and found a few hundred shoppers jamming checkout lines with carts filled to overflowing.
Lynd said he told the manager that the store had a right to refuse service, but the manager said she had contacted Wal-Mart headquarters and was told to accept the cards.
The shoppers "decimated the grocery section of Wal-Mart," Lynd said.
The shoppers broke no laws, Lynd said, adding that police intervention was not required to disperse the crowd. At about 9 p.m., Wal-Mart said that the glitch had been fixed and the EBT cards were again showing appropriate spending limits.
"When they heard the announcement, people just left their carts in place and walked out of the store," Lynd said.
Mansfield Assistant Police Chief Gary Hobbs reported a similar scene in his community. He said that several other grocery stores in the area temporarily stopped accepting EBT cards when they became aware of the glitch, but Wal-Mart continued.
Related: Wal-Mart turns to 'made in USA'
This list of the 12 Worst Supermarkets in America is fairly accurate, based on the ones I know. Acme used to be very popular with the parents of the baby boomers, but since that's a dying generation, Acme is in a steady decline as a result. Its customer base is basically dying or can't afford expensive Acme prices on their limited budget. Pathmark has also seen its day.
I don't agree that WalMart is the second worst, though. They're just super busy and cheap, so they have to sell lots of products and be really busy to be profitable, and that might result in some inconvenience. I expect a crowded store that might be out of one or two things to come along with that, and I set out knowing that's going to happen. That's the business, and everyone will have to get used to it.
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.