Friday, August 12, 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) I concur with John Dickerson: Romney won the debate last night by being the adult in the room, and staying focused. As much as I'm convinced Obama will remain in office when the dust settles, assuming Romney is the candidate debates between the two ought to be dandies.
2) Why am I convinced that Obama will win? S&P tells me so. That the Teabaggers have created the current mess we're in, from Norquist's "tax pledge" to Bachmann's ridiculous "vindication," tells me the American people will touch unicorn shit long before they vote Republican in 2012. Also, you have to know this is going to bite Romney on the ass.
3) After all the ups and downs of the market this week, it's remarkable that we're essentially where we were last Friday.
4) I am continually stunned by the ingenious Stephen Colbert. His latest campaign to throw a monkey wrench in the Iowa beauty pageant this week is a master stroke. Think about it: Rick Perry is not officially on the ballot. He'd have to be chosen as a write-in candidate. By asking the Nation to write in Perry's name, but to spell it "Parry" ensures that those votes become null and void, basically a protest vote that none of the above are worthy of the nomination. I'll be following this development.
5) Run, Liz! Run!
6) The politically correct Mitt Romney goons are banning books!
7) Thank you, Madam Minority Leader, for restoring some faith in the Soopersekrit Budjit Comedy.
8) Hey, everyone! Here's an idea for saving money! Have fewer disasters! No. Really. Blount said that, kinda.
9) Revelation 13:17;And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
10) OK, technically, he was bitten in Mexico, but Dracula isREAL!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

London To Sydney In An Hour?

Looks like the military will be deploying to the next theatre in record time...

The Truth Is Out There


The Question Must Be Asked

How DID Meghan McCain get into Columbia?

He Might Want To Consider Shopping At Target

This guy gets wood going to Wal-Mart

Sad Statistic

Things have gotten so bad that, if they had to go to an ER, and the bill came to $1,000, nearly two-thirds of Americans would not be able to afford it.

The NY Times Gets It Right On Wisconsin

Like it or not, the Democrats won Tuesday night. A partial victory? Yes, but a win nonetheless:

Five months after Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin pushed through a law stripping public unions of their bargaining rights, the Republican Party has paid a price. Two of the state senators who backed the law were thrown out of office by voters on Tuesday and replaced with Democrats. Mr. Walker’s opponents did not succeed in turning over the Senate, but it was still an impressive response to the governor’s arrogant overreach.

[...] Mr. Walker and his colleagues tried to paint the unions as unwilling to sacrifice a bit of their pensions and health benefits in rough fiscal times. It was heartening to see more than 160,000 Wisconsin voters reject that false notion. The unions had already agreed to significant concessions on both; what the Republicans really wanted was to break their organizing ability by ending bargaining on anything except wages and limiting raises to inflation.

Here's the thing: civil servants surrender the opportunity to make a market wage when they accept a civil service job. They are, de facto, austerity measures that governments avail themselves of.

In consideration of this surrender of this opportunity, the government provides two things: 1) job security, and 2) awesome benefits. The job security is a reward for the past consideration of having worked at lesser wages in the same position that the private sector would pay a premium for. The benefits, like healthcare, is a prophylactic measure to entice civil servants to not look elsewhere for employment. Necessarily, these have to be juicier than the benefits available to a private sector worker, else what's the point in paying a lower wage? People will simply leave for better jobs.

It's kind of a win-win: the government gets a budget savings. The employee gets a job for life, free dental and eyecare, and a nice pension at the end of it all.

Until conservative asshats liek Governor Walker decide to get greedy. This is where unions step in. A municipal union serves many functions, but primary among these is a bulwark against the political tides that threaten to disrupt good governance. The idea behind lifetime employment, the lower wage/bigger benefit scenario, is to foster stability on the part of the staff.

Implicit in that is the need to protect that staff from the political vagaries of different political views overseeing their work. Note, this is not a policy decision, which can and should be appropriately changed with new administrations. No, it's about keeping the people in place who will provide continuity to those changes.

Also implicit in this "contract" is the need for the staff to know that they are being treated fairly. Clearly, Walker missed this lesson in B-school (if he ever bothered to attend one.) If you want good work, don't screw your workers.

Walker screwed his workers. He's going to now pay a price. Moreover, so will Winsonsinites, which is why so many of them, maybe even most of them, are so pissed off at him.


Solar Flare Headed To Earth

This is not a repeat from last week. And we were hit Tuesday in the upper atmosphere.
It looks like this one will hit with a glancing blow on August 11 (tonight). We were lucky. This one fired away from us, or it would have been a killer.
If we make it that far. 

Y'Know, This Sounds Real Impressive

Until you realize the dive site is only under about seven feet of water. He really didn't even need equipment


Remember that woman whose face was pretty much torn off in a chimp attack?
She's healed from the transplant surgery. Quite remarkable.

Boener Ponies Up

Well, so much for the SooperSekritDetKommittee!

Finally, Some Level-headed Thinking

The riots in England don't appear to be racially-motivated or just young punks without jobs in a long hot summer...well, maybe a little of the latter:

The riots and fires consuming London are a story about senseless violence and crime. They are also a story about urban politics, race relations, education inequality, and British culture and society. But underneath all of that, they are part of an economic story that is universal.

For the last year, Great Britain has embraced austerity to a degree that would make some American conservatives blush. The purpose of shrinking government was to reduce debt. But the effect has been to kill the economy. With the UK tottering on the razor's edge of recession, consumer confidence is at a record low, unemployment is rising, and even the most optimistic economists predict one-percent expansion for the rest of the year.

The scourge of young restlessness growing in this noxious petri dish is potent enough to have a nickname. The British call them the NEETs, as in "Not in Education, Employment, or Training." Last year, British Employment Minister Chris Grayling called chronic youth unemployment a "ticking time bomb." That bomb is way past ticking.

Imagine you're twenty (and if you are, I envy you, and don't envy you, all at once). You're sat at home, watching the tube, and seeing news reports about corporation after corporation making money hand over fist. Banks and auto companies getting bailouts. Nations completely unrelated to your situation getting emergency loans from your country, among others, to tide them over.

And you wonder, "Why am I not getting some of that?" (or words to that effect)

You get a little angry. You go out to get some air and run into your mates. You walk downtown to the high street, and see the shops lined with fine jewelry, and computers, and phones, and you wonder when you'll ever be able to afford any of that. Sure, you'd love a job, you've looked hard but there just aren't any to be had. Companies aren't hiring. But they're pocketing gobs of money. Why? Why are corporations trying to tear the very fabric of life apart out of greed?

You head down to pub because you have a few quid in your pocket left over from the dole you got and carefully parceled out last week, and get a pint. The lads join you, one or two sipping your beer when you're not looking because they can't afford one themselves. The barkeep takes pity and buys a round for his loyal customers who are having a go at long term unemployment.

And the conversation turns to work. Or not work, rather. Someone, Ginger maybe, makes a joke about how Greece would be out of work if it lived in Brixton. You laugh, but you feel angry.

The anger swells as you boys take the piss on each other, have some fun, horse around, blow off some steam. It's late now, shops are closing. You slip out of pub and start heading home, crossing the high street again. The windows look so inviting. So very inviting.

A stranger, someone you've not seen around, staggers past, and stumbles into you. He mutters "'Scuse me," but your trigger just's been fired...

It's not hard to write the script of the riot. Sure, there was a killing involved, the macroeconomic version of the stranger bumping you, but in truth, it could have been anything. Another wave of layoffs. Another hacking scandal. Anything to remind people that we've become small cogs in a machine that grinds us up until it's time to replace us with a younger, faster model.

And those younger faster models have tempers.

There's a racial aspect of this, to be sure:

"Educated youth have been in the vanguard of rebellions against authority certainly since the French Revolution and in some cases even earlier," Jack A. Goldstone, a sociologist at George Mason University School of Public Policy, told journalist Peter Coy in February. If that's true, we are only in the first chapter of a worldwide rebellion against lost opportunities for the young. In North Africa and the Middle East, people aged 15-29 make up the largest share of the population ever. In Iran, they account for a third of the country. In Jordan, Egypt and Morocco, they make up 30 percent.

What about us? One in five Americans are between 15 and 29-years old. And one in five of those Americans are unemployed. For minorities and the under-educated, the picture is much worse. Black teenagers have an unemployment rate of 44 percent, twice the rate for white teens.

Minority populations tend to be undereducated, is the takeaway, which means underemployed, and underserviced by governments. That's just a fact. Civil unrest can start anywhere, but it usually starts with the educated (who know what's going on and start talking about it earlier) and moves onto the populace.

Ironically, crime has dropped since 2008 in the United States, but it would be premature to say we will be immune to the troubles in England (and soon, Spain, France and Italy). One big reason crime hasn't been an issue yet is Barack Obama and the youth vote he garnered. His presence in the White House has been a bulwark. People believe (perhaps wrongly, perhaps not) that he is sensitive to the needs of the young and unemployed.

It's not a matter of if, but when, we start seeing this kind of violence. And what triggers it? We're rounding the corner on summer, which has traditionally been when we've had violent outbursts, but give the markets a few more weeks of this nonsense and we may see it sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Did George Soros Screw Barack Obama?


Remember: You're Not Just Sleeping With Him

You're sleeping with all his buds.

An Exercise In Causality

Sleep apnea leads to dementia.
Obesity leads to sleep apnea.
Lack of exercise and improper diet leads to obesity.
Teabaggers eat junk food and blog from their mom's basement all day (exhibit A: Jonah Goldberg)
Teabaggers are demented QED

Oh, Fercrissake! You're 83!

They're going to sag, but now the ladies are going to look like someone tied two rocks to your shoulders!
Granted, it's only $8,000, and you have four kids, twelve grandkids and thirteen great-grandkids so it wouldn't go far, but that money might have been better spent buying them all a nice Thanksgiving dinner, if you absolutely need to feel younger.

Stay Classy, CBS

Actual headline:

Blood tests to predict baby's gender shown to work: Will abortion rate soar?

*rolling eyes*

Given Their Prior Successes...

...I'd call this a credible "terrorist" threat.
(I realize I may draw some attention from them for using "terorrist" but a) it's not inaccurate and b) I suspect on some level they're flattered.
However, should my blog suddenly disappear....)

Fools And Their Money

(Understanding that this is being typed at 10:30AM, so who knows how accurate it will be, but it's my best guess at the moment)
Anybody who bought in the market this week is a fool. Or worse.
Here's the thing: events of the past six days tell me that there's panic even in the smart money houses. Let's follow the S&P downgrade story for a moment.
Last Thursday, S&P submits to the Treasury Department a draft memo of its downgrade announcement (ignore the $2 trillion error. It really is irrelevant.)
Treasury, headed by a bunch of former Wall Street execs, leaks word to their contacts on the Street. Those people, the "smart" money, sell off as best as they can and stash cash and gold. Market drops 500 points. Nobody, least of all yours truly, understood why that happened. We couldn't know. The markets are supposed to operate with perfect knowledge of all events. No one is supposed to get inside information.
Here's the set-up: if you don't understand why a market moves the way it does, don't base any decisions on what happens next.
But Friday was like any other day on Wall Street, where people looked forward to the weekend and l imagine figured Thursday was a one-off drop, possibly triggered by some "flash crash," some computer program that triggered another program that triggered another's happened before...and there were bargains to be had. Buy! Buy! Buy! Like little guppies following the hand trailing flakes into the bowl...
The market rose a little. People went home happy. Then S&P spoke up.
Way to ruin a weekend, guys. The curious thing about this is, Moody's (the other major player in credit ratings) has been circumspect about lowering or even commenting on the mess.
So Monday happened. If you ever want to understand panic and how people behave, study Monday's stock indices. Again, if you didn't understand why the market moved up Friday (and you really couldn't unless you knew why the market collapsed Thursday), don't buy into it. The smart money was shorting their asses off, I bet.
Monday's collapse was understandable and apparent. It should have continued yesterday, but didn't a) because the big boys shored up the market (especially the bonds on Monday and Tuesday) and b) panic makes smart people do stupid things. We got a breather from the Fed, as I said this morning.
I didn't think it would last until Friday. I overestimated how calm the markets might be at this news.

It's Official!

Teabaggers are space cadets!
Even hear of the "X Prize," idiots?

What A Load Of Horseshit

Brendan O'Neill ought to be ashamed of himself.
I can sum up the trigger for the riots in a simple sentence: "The banks got theirs! Where's our help????"
You want to talk about "coddled," talk to me about "too big to fail," chum.
Now go hitch up your training panties and play outside. Adults need to talk.

Remember The Clinton Impeachment?

I'm thinking the Republicans do now.

Mad Max? Really?

Harry Reid's three warriors for the Fellowship Of The Bling have been chosen:

In the first of what will be a closely watched selection process for a powerful new deficit panel, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he will appoint Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (Wash.), Max Baucus (Mont.) and John Kerry (Mass.) as his three choices for a super committee charged with finding more than $1 trillion in spending cuts by the end of this year.

Baucus? Really?

Baucus is disturbingly pro-business for a Democrat. He was in favor of the citizen rape that was the bankruptcy reform bill, opposed single-payer healthcare, voted against the repeal of tax credits for companies that outsource American jobs, and has among the most former staffers working as lobbyists in DC of any member of the Senate.

This is the guy we want to help secure our financial future?


Ducking Bullets

Incumbency usually proffers benefits to the officeholder, like almost guaranteed re-election. This is how Wisconsin's recall elections should be viewed. Democrats took the GOP down a peg, tho, and so the next general election ought to be a doozy.
Nate Silver predicted this before the results were in:

On the other hand, Mr. Walker carried the six districts on Tuesday’s recall ballot by an average of 13 percentage points in 2010 — better than his statewide margin of 6 percentage points. If Democrats were to split the vote across these districts about evenly, that would be a reasonably troubling sign for Mr. Walker, however many of the seats Democrats actually win.

The Results? (incumbents listed first)

Alberta Darling 54%    Sandra Pasch 46%

Sheila Harsdorf 58%    Shelly Moore 42%

Luther Olsen 52%        Fred Clarke 48% 

Randy Hopper 49%      Jessica King 51%

Dan Kapanke 45%       Jennifer Shilling 55%

Robert Cowles 60%    Nancy Nusbaum 40%

Mixed bag, I'd say, but if I was Walker, I'd be a little alarmed. Lost two, almost lost a third, in districts he won pretty handily (except Kapanke's, in which he barely had a plurality.)

The "Good" News?

OK, Good news/bad news time:
The good news: the Fed has promised to maintain a near-zero discount rate for funds banks borrow overnight until middle 2013 if the economy remains sluggish.
The bad news: the Fed has promised to maintain a near-zero discount rate for funds banks borrow overnight until middle 2013 if the economy remains sluggish?!
As futile, symbolic gestures go, this is a good one. The Fed had to do something to show it still had skin in the game, and by lifting uncertainty over whether every month we would see a rate hike, it accomplished that goal.
The markets responded appropriately. Or did they?
The initial instinct was to tank stocks. Then, as the punditry put it, the markets re-read the memo and somehow realized the import.
The initial instinct was the correct one. The second wave of buying which saw the market reverse losses yesterday and nearly make up the collapse from Monday, was merely some big money folks deciding the market needed some bolstering, some confidence building.
Why? Because there's money to be taken from the suckers yet.
I think the Fed blew it, big time yesterday, but I'm taking a macro-perspective. The Fed has a hammer and market collapses all look like nails to the Fed. Nail them down with low interest.
That low interest rate has been in place since Dec. 17, 2008. It hasn't exactly thrilled the markets, or coaxed banks into loosening up their lines of credit. Nor has it done much to keep the debt down, except to keep debt service from piling on faster.
Operative word there is "faster".
Similarly, the bond markets have manipulated by some heavy hitters, some intentionally, some just seeking a life vest in a stormy sea and watching the bond markets firm up, throwing their money there. This is how smart money becomes dumb money.
What the Fed did was the equivalent of handing us an umbrella in a hail storm. It will provide a moment's relief, buy us a little time to look around and think. The thing it will NOT do is provide anything close to long term shelter. Even a tin shed would have done that.
Here's what I'd like to see the Fed do in order to really give comfort and reassurance to the markets, and maybe even create a few jobs in the process.
Print. Money.
That's all they have to do. No quantitative easings, buying up short-term debts with long term debts. No releasing drips and drabs from the monetary reserves hoping an increase in the money supply will coax banks to lend (altho the time for that looks like it may be long past).
We need to trigger inflation. We need to force employers into the embarrassing position of hiring people simply because their profits have a predictable rise. Right now, companies are sitting on stacks of cash, waiting for the economy to collapse again. We simply prevent that by throwing money into the system. It's called "monetizing the debt," where the Fed simply snaps up public debt. No trades, no exchanges, no "easings." You retire the debt which is now cash money in the money supply.
Without getting too technical here, this will also be a boon for the average American who owes more money than he has: debts because less valuable to the lender, and can be paid back with "cheaper" money (if need be, I'll expand on this in comments, but for a really good explanation of the process, continue the link I just posted.)
In effect, it become a transfer of wealth from the banksters and the rich to the middle classes. It's essentially a tax increase.
There are problems, of course: anyone living on a fixed income from bonds will have to make adjustments, but if they are receiving Social Security, much of the shortfall would be made up with the cost of living adjustments inflation would trigger. And there is always a significant risk of long-term inflation because deficits are extensive and extensive. However, I think at this point, something is better than nothing, and it certainly doesn;t have to be the whole $14 trillion.
Just a trillion, maybe two or even three. That's our tin shed. Then we can get serious about reducing the deficit.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

London Calling

I've been hesitant to comment on the London riots. This is not a time for knee jerk reactions or speculations.
I will say this: the riots eerily resemble the ones the United States went through in the wake of the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, when people, young people particularly, lost a lot of hope and idealism about the future. Much innocence was torn away, replaced by much fear. Those riots morphed into the campus anti-war protests.
Government was scared of people back then. It will not surprise me when these riots come to our own doorsteps because right now, our government does not fear us and they should.
People are angry, and anger has a direct emotional conduit from fear. Fear is the base emotion for all negative thinking in the world. No one gets angry out of love. No one kills anyone else for love. We do all these things and more out of fear, fear of loss in particular.
And its understandable. What's also understandable is a loss of innocence in America. When Barack Obama was elected President, we wanted to believe in hope and change.
He's tried. I believe he's tried his level best, others will disagree with that assessment, but it really doesn't matter. At the end of the day, we're all scared. Even the Teabaggers.
The only way this nation, this world, is going to avoid the know what I'm talking about, and we're much closer to the precipice than eevn I think we to calm down a little, take a breath, hitch up our pants and get to work on solving the problem. The best antidote to fear is accomplishment. We must start working together to create something.
That something? Is a civilized society. One where ideas are not laughed out of hand, no matter how evidently stupid they are. They can be mocked, but at the end of the day the person proposing them deserves to be dissuaded from his or her idiocies responsibly.
Anything else just inflames fear.
Fear builds walls. Peter Gabriel once said in a concert I attended that something along the lines of "You can build walls to keep people away, but inevitably you will build them so high, you cannot get out."
The markets are tumbling. The economy is flat-lining. The government is frozen by the efforts of a tyrannical minority of yahoos who are louder (and angrier and therefore more fear-filled) than we are.
This. Must. Stop.
You can pitch in. It's not hard. It starts at home, with your family and friends. Show the strength of your convictions. Express the love in your heart, the belief that at the end of it all, we'll all get through this together.
It's infectious. It works.
Go do it. JUST do it.
We have work cut out for us.

Your Daily Dose Of Family Values

Sarah Palin's son Track has a baby. Barely legitimate. Barely.

Today's Lesson For Life

How to commit suicide while you're under a suicide watch.

Ever Helpful There, ABC News

Rather than rally public opinion to raising taxes on the wealthy and perhaps save the nation from starvation, ABC News seeks out compromise.

Michelle Bachmann Needs An Enema

That's the conclusion I draw from the photograph on the cover of Newsweek this week, which unsurprisingly looks like nearly every other photograph of her smiling you'll ever see.

Actually, This May Do More To Calm The Rioting Than All The Tear-Gas In The World

Women's volleyball. Right outside Number 10 Downing Street.

What Do You Do When Your Robot Car Crashes?

Blame the other guy, of course!

American Nihilism

Looks like Nancy Pelosi is gearing up for a fight.

Her points were these: She is deeply dissatisfied with the debt deal and the deficit-reducing supercommittee it creates. She believes Republicans are essentially political nihilists, and she has plans to prevent them from winning again. And she is intensely focused on jobs and growth.

Today's Right Wing Panty Twisting Is Brought To You By....

Alexandra Burns.
I mean, Alexander.
It's not like Romney's making it hard to assassinate his character, chump.

Recall For Governor Walkerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Well, not for Walker, not yet, but many of his henchmen are facing recall elections today amidst overwhelming anger at their capitulation to Governor Walker's hare-brained attempt to de-unionize Wisconsin.
I mean, that's like asking the Steelworkers union to leave Pittsburgh. Wisconsin is a state that relies heavily, as most Northern states do, on its working class population.
Naturally, the backpedaling and "Who? Me?" cards have been in play:

On Thursday, Republican Senator Dale Schultz leveled a shocking allegation that Governor Walker had dry-gulched him into missing the vote on the budget bill that eliminated collective bargaining, where, Schultz claims, he had planned to offer a compromise amendment. Schultz, a moderate, avoided recall earlier this year, even though he faced an outraged constituency.

That came just a week or so after a Green Bay business leader came forward with a tale of other Walker shenanigans. The businessman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that recalled Republican Senator Robert Cowles had confided that the only reason he voted for the bill was because "the governor's office told us if we didn't give them our support, they would run a tea party candidate against us." Cowles immediately shot back against the claims, but the two senators' allegations together suggest the GOP hardline may be cracking. Indeed, none of the Republican senators facing recall have featured Walker in their campaign ads. A comedic demonstration of this distancing come froms GOP Senator Randy Hopper, whose recall campaign website features the legislator standing beside former Republican governor Tommy Thompson instead of Walker.

And naturally, the races have evolved past the original recall anger to include national issues. Part of the GOP strategy, no doubt, since the goddamned state legislature has no say in things like health insurance, the deficit, or Afghanistan. And yes, the challenger Democrats have all been led down that path like sheeple.

One can only hope they're a bright, articulate bunch who can mirror the gambit and reflect it back to local issues. Like why in the hell the idiots voted with Walker in the first place!

Now, here's where it gets interesting: six of nine races are being finalized today, with Democrats likely to capture six Republican seats. It's conceivable that, after the dust settles on these six, that control of the state Senate will be a toss-up, leaving two elections that might decide which party controls the Senate (and repeals Walker's egregious fuck up). The one real contest left is one where the Democrat is being recalled by Teabaggers.

This would be state Senator Jim Holperin's second recall election. Last time, he spent a grand total of $40,000. He has already spent ten times that, and should the race be the key to Democratic control of the state Senate, Katie, bar the door, because PAC money will flow into Wisconsin like milk for cheese.


What's Coming Down The Track?

Sometimes, the light at the end of the tunnel is a train.
It looks like 2012 is stacking up to be a watershed election where officeholders will be tossed like fruit salad.
Problem is...well, Dems were just ousted in 2010. But Republicans were just ousted in 2008 and are the targets of much anger in the nation right now.
It's no slam dunk to say Dems will take back the House (altho I've been maintaining that since early this year.) And it's unlikely the GOP will retain control of the House AND capture the Senate this year.
That doesn't leave a whole lot of options. The time may be right for an insurgent leftist movement to begin to form (listening, Working Families Party?) to reinforce progressive and liberal values in the minds of the electorate and offer a calming alternative to the insane-stream nonsense of Teabaggers.

Now This Is Exciting!

Scientists have conclusively proved that nucleobases, part of the building blocks of DNA do exist extraterrestrially.
Life is out there. Maybe a planet teeming with intelligent humanoids, with universal healthcare and clean air and water, and NO TEABAGGERS!


Diana Nyad was forced to stop her attempt to swim fronm Cuba.
I guess she'll now be a boat person.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Y'know Those Facebook Spam Postings From Your "Friends"?

Well, one of them, at any rate.

Fucking Douchebag Moron

Rick Santelli, the acknowledged henchman of the Koch brothers who triggered the Teabaggers, has suddenly decided our government isn't governing enough.

In Passing

It's more than a little ironic that former New York governor Hugh Carey died this weekend
It was his leadership that led New York City from the brink of bankruptcy after the Federal government turned its back on us.


Take the Teabaggers out and shoot them, now.

Warren Buffett Steps Up


Where The Deer And The Antelope Spray


Please Do Not Confuse The Two Rules

The NYSE invoked Rule 48 this morning
This should not be confused with Rule 34
Even if they are basically interchangeable.

It's Not Often You Get To Read In The New York Times The Words


Why You Are Fat


How Bad Is The Global Economy?

Oil-rich Dubai, playground to the ultrarich, is about to default on bonds barring a government intervention. 
Well, it has to. The government owns the corporations that are about to default.  

The View From Across The Pond


If America does manage to avoid recession and slowly begins to pull out of this mire, it will be testimony to its underlying strengths. It still has huge advantages over other rich countries: a younger, less-taxed population, a more innovative economy and, for now at least, the dollar as the global reserve currency. If only it had the political leaders to match, its chance of avoiding recession would be far better than one in two.

Yoni Applebaum Comes So Close To The Answer

[Early 20th century] Progressives offered a clear diagnosis of what ailed the body politic: corrupt politicians. They had been captured by party machines and powerful businesses, and labored on behalf of their patrons and themselves instead of the people. Advancing the public interest, it followed, would first require radical, structural reforms of government. [...]
The current progressive movement has, by contrast, tended to promise better policies and improved implementation, while rallying to the defense of government from its critics. It insists that government should do better, but not that we need a better government. Whatever its intellectual merits, this approach has a fatal political flaw: most Americans number themselves among government's critics. They don't think government works terribly well, and they are disinclined to support politicians who do. Voters are increasingly eager to hear accounts of our present crises that offer comprehensive explanations and systematic solutions. Conservatives contend that government itself is the problem, and that the solution is to slash its size and role. That appeals to voters who want narratives that seem scaled to the enormity of the challenges that we face. Progressives offer no equivalently broad diagnosis of government dysfunction, much less an equally compelling remedy. [...]

In strictly political terms, the particular reforms may matter less than the narrative they support. Most Americans are convinced that their government is fundamentally broken. And if progressives want to sell the public on the idea that government can solve our problems, they first need to identify, and explain how they will fix, the problems with our government.
Admittedly, it's cherry picking, but you'll note how his conclusion supports the first excerpted paragraph? That's really where Progressives ought to be heading. The Teabaggers have no problem with shooting the GOP in the foot to advance their goals of ousting politicians who aren't corrupt enough for their liking. We can turn that around, especially as the American people have fallen out of lust with teabagging. They're ready.
Let's roll.



FROM: Actor212
Maybe you should stay there. It's a little crazy here at the moment and at least you'll have healthcare.


Maybe now we can finally warp the fuck out of here, Scotty.

Payback's a Bitch, Oil-Rich State Who Thinks They're All That

Texas ecology shattered in drought.

I Wish This Guy Was President

“I know you’re scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn’t work out. And it didn’t work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. But we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we will draw on their wisdom. We will restore business confidence the old-fashioned way: by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can’t promise that we won’t make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they will be honest mistakes, and that your government has your back again.”
-- Barack Obama, January 20, 2009 (via)

Shorter John Avlon, CNN

Comparing Teabaggers to terrorists is terrorists!

Debt And Taxes

It never ceases to amaze me, the ability of the uberrighteous to shoot themselves in the foot:

Greenspan said he expected more turmoil on Wall Street.

“Considering the momentum in which the market went down over the last week, it's very unlikely — if history is any guide — that this isn't going to take a while to bottom out. So the initial reaction, in my judgment, is going to be negative,” Greenspan said of S&P’s downgrade.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tried to reassure investors in a Sunday night interview but conceded he could not predict the reaction.

“It’s hard to know what’ll happen in this context,” Geithner said on CNBC. “But, again, I think that everyone can be confident, both here and around the world, that treasuries are the most — these days — the most liquid — the strongest place to put your money at a time like this.”

He said S&P “has shown really terrible judgment” and “a stunning lack of knowledge about basic U.S. fiscal budget math.”

Actually, Mr. Secretary, I think the S&P has this just right. After all, it's a temporary arrangement that will have to be revisited sooner than you expect, since the Federal tax on gasoline expires next month and budget projections included that in the debt ceiling agreement. It is very likely that tax will be at least scaled back if not eliminated, thanks to the Teabaggers. You can't say this. S&P can.

We get the government we deserve. We are officially a banana republic.

A lot of fingerpointing went on this weekend, but ultimately, the blame rests in two places: The Bush administration and the Teabaggers.

After all, the only significant spending the Obama administration passed was the $787 billion stimulus package, a thickly-wrongheaded attempt to shore up the banking system when that banking system was responsible for the mess we found ourselves in AND will suffer now from the debt ceiling debacle, as interest rates will ratchet up.

Better he should have spent the money here, at home, on works projects designed to get people permanent jobs. There's so much we can use idle labor for, from replacing the national grid to upgrading bridges and tunnels, to just cleaning the damned streets. Jobs = income = spending = more jobs. It's not a hard calculation to make, and given how the banks rebounded better than expected...

How the Bush administration fits into all this? Well, the national debt in 2001 was somewhere around $6 trillion. It's now $14 trillion. Obama can rightly be blamed for $1 trillion or so (let's credit-- debit?-- him with the unnecessary extension of the Bush tax cuts, too,) leaving...carry the one...$7 trillion dollars that Bush spent without the income to show for it.

Republicans: they do spend big.

The Teabagger mantra with respect to the debt ceiling was basically nihilist from the get-go: burn it down, let God sort it out.

All we have ever had to do was to roll back the Bush tax cuts, restore the Clinton tax rates (proven job creator, that) and history would have been happy and marked this as a remarkable time when the US yet again ducked a bullet. The idea of minimalist government is so ludicrous, so stupid, so moronic, that I seriously believe the "libertarians" who propose this ought to be locked away in a cage and put on display in the Coney Island freak show.