Saturday, February 28, 2009

I can't just say whatever...??

Another excellent post from Reality Based Community to which I'll add my measly $.02. Movement conservatism is entirely incompatible with the internal editor most of us have that would stop us before we made up some silly story and put it in our nationally televised speech or said we did not negotiate with terrorists while the Swiss envoy in Tehran was waiting to be told what to say on our behalf. But most of us do not take the hardline dogmatic view that movement conservatism does which conveniently frees its adherents from the troublesome world of facts. This is because they don't choose their actions based on present circumstances but rather ideologies that prefer particular outcomes regardless of present facts. When you have an axe to grind then you gotta keep grinding it no matter what until grinding becomes the point, and we've had these last 8 years a lovely time being governed by axe grinders.  Have we not?

When you begin with Goldwater preaching that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" this is necessarily where you land.  Its all about the destination.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Porn and religion. Chicken or egg?

It can't come as a surprise to anyone that has ever read Moliere but this study finds strong relationships between moral conservatism and on line porn consumption.  Who knew?

By analyzing subscriptions to adult sites by zip code the author finds several correlations between outward expression of moral conservatism and subscriptions to on line sites.  States having enacted sexually conservative legislation such as so-called Defense of Marriage Acts or those states that outlawed sodomy prior to Lawrence v. Summers have a slightly  higher tendency towards porn subscription among their citizenry.  However when the observed pool becomes specifically more Christian the connection grows.  In those states where a majority of residents agree with statements such as "Even today miracles are performed by  the power of God" or "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral behavior" we've got a lot more eyes on digital naughtiness.

But even the Prius crowd has it's kinks as well.  Based on Presidential voting patterns in 2004 
"Blue" state residents were more likely to patronize on line escort services while "Red" states skew more towards wife swapping and voyeur sites.

Terrible asshole resigns position to freelance.

James Dobson is one of the last stalwarts of Christian bigotry in America but apparently not even Bible based hate is immune from hard times.   While donations are down the more ominous demographic point is that Focus On The Family is struggling to attract a younger, more educated donor base which reflects the demographic woes of conservatism in general.  Obama represents more than an ideological shift in American politics he also represents a generational one.    

To be fair Michael Steele is doing all he can to occasion  the Rebirth of GOP Slick but so far it smacks of effort.

Punk ass Jeremy Piven.

Sure, everybody is still pissed off and hurt over my being thrown out of the makeup trailer shooting an episode of Cupid so Piven could get his bald spot tended to in private.  Those are the wounds that never heal, not really.

But this "I-cant-do-Speed-The-Plow-on-Broadway-cause-I-got-mercury-poisoning bullshit must not be allowed to stand.    Look, actors are among the worst people on earth.  Im one, I know.  Im a terrible terrible person in almost every respect as is most every other actor I've ever met.   But one thing all chump ass actors have in common is that we WORK.  If you can talk and you can walk then you can find a way to get your candy ass on stage and DO YOUR  FUCKING JOB!   I hope Equity burns his ass in arbitration.

CPAC Shenanigans. Conservatives boo facts.

But it could just be Tucker Carlson

Thursday, February 26, 2009

If my Holocaust denial has upset you I apologize.

Excuse me while I break my arm patting myself on the back, not my most attractive trait I know but it feels so damn good.

Holocaust denyin', de-excommuicatin', 9/11 truthin', and all around assholin' Bishop Williamson has let it be known that if his view that Jewish genocide  is Zionist fiction employed to guilt the world into granting Israel legitimacy is upsetting to you, he's sorry you feel that way.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More right wingers with a suffering fetish.

Make no mistake.  The extreme Christian right wing of the GOP is devoted to suffering.  Not theirs, yours and mine.  Its God's plan according to Dave Shultheis  state senator from Colorado.  Now its easy  to dismiss these kinds of comments as just flat crazy but its really not that simple.  From Terri Schaivo,  medical Marijuana,  and apparently AIDS testing Christianity is rooted in the notion of human suffering.  We are fallen, the flesh is corrupt, and the attendant misery we experience cannot be undone and  leads us to Jesus.  It completes His blood sacrifice.

Money quote starts here and gets crazier:
What I'm hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Here's some money, please don't be our customer anymore.

When some blowhard asshole is in your ear carrying on about "moral hazard" and bailouts ask him where he was when banks were leveraging at 30-1 and offering credit to people who had no business getting it.      These deregulated free market fetishists have an awful lot to answer for but they're too busy whining about being rescued to take any responsibility.

If I could curse at the animals.

Hi-larious take off of the BBC documentary Planet Earth.  Language NSFW

Round and round she goes, which banks are solvent? Nobody knows.

This is the next shoe to drop and potentially the biggest of all.  Of course the Fed is going to say that 10%-12% unemployment or another 20% or so shaved off home values is "unlikely" but  if that's what they really thought then there'd be no need to measure potential bank solvency against that kind of crazy talk.  

As for what the market expects you need only look at stock prices for Citi and BoA that are $30 to $40 off their 12 month highs.  Everybody thinks these guys are toast.

GOP: "Been thinkin' about it, wanna do what's right"

"Reagan proved deficits don't matter"    Dick Cheney to Paul O'Neill before O'Neill was shown the door.

Now Im sure you'll be shocked, shocked I sez, to learn that apparently that's no longer the case. The lesson here is that the right only claims the moral high ground on deficits they don't create. So that's not really the moral high ground they stand on... its more like a temporary stage that can be easily dismantled when necessary.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The hop skip and jump from right wing politics to fascism.

Usually they have enough tact not to say it out loud.

Money  quote:
For one thing, the right wing taxpayer is being asked to fund a massive leftist Trojan horse. They contribute no wealth, nor the facilitation of creating wealth, and nor do they perform any essential public service. That they should have a vote on their own perpetuation dwells in the realm of lunacy.

Wait a damn minute....

This is one of the more sober disagreements with the stimulus package, but again these things are best measured by relative degrees.  And as this debate rages it continually raises the question in my mind as to how useful the study of economics really is. On one hand Mr. Phelps sees too much while Mr. Krugman sees too little, both highly accomplished and both possibly wrong.  So why bother listening at all in the short term?  The signal to noise ration here doesn't run in our general favor.

Nobel economist Edmund Phelps opposes the package for the usual gamut of anti-Keynsian reasons which is a fair intellectual point.   Unlike most of his ilk he will at least acknowledge the obvious when he says that "We're completely flying blind...there's a chance some of the infrastructure  spending will do the job of creating more work for earth moving equipment and construction workers".   I think use of the word "chance" here clearly  betrays an ideological preference rather than sober reflection but nobody's perfect.

This however is where the whole thing comes undone for me.  Phelps worries that the future bill due on current deficit spending might have an impact on present demand and "have a chilling effect on the desire of entrepreneurs to innovate".


Just to be clear here we're talking about people from the same population that only recently ran the world economy into the ground by both buying and selling ARM's with negative equity balances, securitized debt into bonds that were  only slightly more valuable than a Beanie Baby,bet that housing values could rise 10% annually for eternity,and fueled the no profit boom to say nothing of thinking that Saddam was involved in 9/11.  

So these same folks that fell for the above snake oil and more have suddenly embraced pure reason and can compute the fair value of future tax increases relative to present demand?? Come the hell on.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"half empty shipping containers"

This piece from the Economist is a frightening retort to the voices saying Obama is fear mongering on the economy.   In the recession of the 80's some markets were booming.   Readers old enough will recall the resentment directed at the protectionist and then booming Japanese economy.

A rising tide floats all boats.  Where will the water come from this time?

Wing Nut Alert

Just when you think Alan Keyes can't get any crazier.....

The barely coherent ramblings of a marginally sane mind really dont merit much concern but it does raise this question.   Conservatives have always been quick to demand that whole communities take responsibility for their crazier members and reject their more extreme comments as outliers, otherwise the rest of that community bears some responsibility for their views.   Okay.  Here's a crazy  guy.  Reject him Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck.   Put some distance between this guy and your more.... reasoned points of view.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


So Im a simpleton

Health care reform on the horizon? Probably not.

Competitive marathoners like to say  that to win a marathon you  just need to run  20 miles and then race a 10K.   As if passing the most expensive legislation in history and wrestling with nationalizing banks weren't enough Obama is still just jogging that first 20 with a 6.2 mile sprint over health care reform looming.  Can it happen?  I doubt it but it should.

The nexus between employment and health care needs to be broken, the sooner the better. Ironically this would be a Republican issue if they were ready to lead in  the 21st century and not stuck trying to reinvent Reagan. Relieving health care costs for employers would unleash massive amounts of capital for reinvestment that would create waves of new jobs and growth, the kind of thing the GOP says it supports. Subsequent gains in tax revenue could offset much of the cost of socializing medicine. Would GM be teetering on the brink of oblivion if they were not spending over $5 billion annually  to cover current and past employees?  Of course not, but unfortunately  Republican boot-strap dogma clearly favors bankruptcy for GM over expansion of non-military governmental programs.  Obviously this isn't a winning issue long term for conservatives as rising health costs for US businesses will demand solutions and not ideology. 

In the short term GOP interests are going to be very well served by name calling.  Pinning the socialist label on a politician today carries about the same weight that labeling someone a witch did in Salem circa 1690.  With the very real possibility that BoA and Citi (at least) will be nationalized soon the socialist-hysteria buzz will grow even louder making it all the more difficult for reasoned voices of leadership to be heard over Joe The Plumber ranting.

That's  important because as this excellent article from the New Yorker points out the history of successful nationalized healthcare  worldwide has been largely dependent on the circumstance that triggered implementation.   Its a matter of nuts and bolts, not wonk.  Mismanagement killed Clinton's proposal and made it all too easy for the pot shots to blow holes in it.  If Obama doesn't control the political environment around the roll out of his plan then it'll suffer the same fate.

Who's your daddy?

The oft quoted canard that roughly 10% of all children are illegitimate without the cuckolded father's knowledge is put  to rest here, and frankly even 1 in 25 strikes me as high.    Cheating on your husband is one thing but cheating on you husband, getting pregnant, delivering, and not getting caught is something else all together and if married women were stepping out that frequently I think there'd be a much higher rate of related violence.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bacon-boom over?

So bacon isn't ironic anymore?   Fine by me.  Some people "love" bacon so much they have  a funny t-shirt.  And then some people crave it's sweet fatty succulence in the middle of the dark nights of our soul.  We wont miss the hipsters.

Bobby Jindal casts out demons...

Seriously.   I'd heard about this  before but ran across the article only recently.   There are only four paragraphs available without subscription on line but the comments underneath confirm that Jindal did indeed perform an exorcism on a female companion.   Its an odd read all the way around, demonic possession notwithstanding.  But hey, if you can drive out Satan entitlement reform should be no problem.

CNBC's Rick Santelli is a loud-mouth asshole

Finally someone is speaking up for the poor downtrodden financial sophisticate.

The problem with table bangers like Santelli and the oddly dressed Larry Kudlow is that they cheer on the virus and then cry and bitch about the cure.   I don't remember either of those two or any of their ilk hollering at the camera about banks leveraging at 30-1 or subsequent consumer spending spiraling up to God (who invented free markets for our pleasure after all).  'Course they didn't, because excessive capital growth, or its appearance, is never a sign of bad things a-comin' for this crowd. Nope, that's sissy liberal stuff.   Excess is the proof in their pudding. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This thing with Facebook is so totally overblown.

Couple days late to this party yes but its been a lot of blow with very little show.    Here's why:

The likelihood that Facebook is going to start harvesting user content and turning a buck on it is almost exactly zero.    First and most obviously is the fact that Facebook can handle very little on site content so unless you pen the most awesome haiku of all time there just isn't going to be much opportunity for theft there.   Well you say, what about all the genius posted on my blog which I link to Facebook?  Okay, somewhat more plausible but only somewhat.   Is it really anyone's belief that Facebook or any entity walking the corporate planet is going to build a profitable business model around sorting through all the crap it has access to and somehow separate the wheat from the chaff package it and rob the creator of some fat residuals?   In a billion lifetimes that will never be profitable but lets assume Im off by about a billion and Facebook is even now sitting on some alchemical technology that will identify the cutest baby pictures or worm its way through 5 million shit blogs and find the little piles of money just waiting to be picked up.  Say that happens.  Well then Facebook ceases to exist because no matter how much user content they sell it wont make up for allllllll the lost ad revenue they'll be looking at when people flee their network upon finding out that its a scam.  "Facebook.  The Social Network That Screws You!! Register Now!!"   Never happen.  They can misuse content or they can have a site with over 150 million regular users but they can't have both.  Which is more likely to put food on the table?

So why'd they do it??  Dunno.  But my guess is that this is a case study in how lawyers create billable hours out of nothing.   Facebook does have some legit concerns going forward in not being named as a third party in some squabble over who owns that picture of us at the lake that weekend before we got divorced.  They don't want to deal with that shit on a case by case basis and I don't blame them.   So an identified concern gets totally overblown into an excessively legalesed policy and is grossly mishandled.  Consequently Facebook ends up releasing a statement essentially saying , "we're not evil, we just look like we are."   Not good.  Not good at all.   But no one is ever going to be able to actually produce a chunk of fallen sky on this one.

Like we've been saying Monsato

This study in the Journal of Hort Science seems to confirm or at very least  reinforce what organic  growers have been suggesting for a long time.  Better soil produces better veggies and synthetic salts do not, can not, and will not ever improve soil.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Poseur Alert

From Chicago Boyz.... Jesus how priceless is that first sentence?

Shannon Love Says: 

Leftist is driven by the all consuming narcism of the articulate intellectual. For them, the only true conflict within the entirety of humanity is the one that exist between them and their immediate social and political competitors within Western/developed society itself. They evaluate every facet of foreign policy based on how it influences their own internal standing. As such, all external enemies are really just external manifestations of the evil of the Western right........

If at first you don't revoke a right try, try try again.

You may recall South Dakota's recent attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.  In language designed to provoke a Supreme Court challenge the good legislators of South Dakota essentially sought to outlaw abortions in virtually all cases without exception.  In something of a surprise move the matter went to the voters in 2006 and was rather roundly rejected precisely because the measure was so extreme.

Not wanting to be outdone by their fellow Daktons to the south North Dakota's House of Representatives has today rejoined the fight in a vote that declares a fertilized egg under any circumstance is a person and entitled to full rights, presumably even if its one of their daughters. While the majority in the House is hoping to stove pipe this to Scalia I'd be just as happy to put it to the people  again.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Jim Crow?? It was them big-gummit libruls whut done it

Jesus-minny.  In an attempt to find an intellectual footing for their celebratory obstructionism the GOP has tried a little of everything.  Resurrect that post grad Keynes v. Hayek smackdown, argue that New Deal spending actually made the Depression worse, and pooh-pooh the whole idea that we've even got  a problem.  All with little success.

Now in an article only Jonah Goldberg could love we come to find that big-gummit backlash knows no end.  Turns out Jim Crow wasn't institutionalized racism at all you silly liberal you.  It was just another example of the ruling class keepin' the man (The White Man) down. Sure people might have been a tad racist back then Jeff Jacoby allows but by cherry picking a few examples he struggles to make the point that rational economic actors saw right through the inefficiency of Jim Crow and opposed it.   If those same people participated in lynchings or sat on juries that wouldn't convict white men of murdering blacks or went out of their way to beat civil rights activists who sat at white only lunch counters or closed their all white school system rather than admit black children well that  was.... uh...ummmm.... Well, that's just damn awkward is what that is because it kinda leads one to believe the premise is a big pile of selective bullshit.  Propaganda all dressed up like thinkin'

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This is the guy who is trying to bust Phelps for hittin' the pipe

Obviously the man struggles with erectile dysfunction and other attendant issues.  Phelps will be lucky if the guy doesn't blow his fucking head off

This is your brain on God

Im totally buying into this article from NewScientist.    One can imagine a long list of evolutionary advantages the organizing power  of religion confers to believers, to say nothing of providing a vocabulary  for the expression of concepts seemingly near and dear to human existence that otherwise lack suitable outlets.  Interesting because this pegs religion somewhere below the expression of objective eternal realities but somewhere above complete and total bullshit.

It does not however explain a lot of other annoying shit.

Is Ron Paul the next William Jennings Bryant?

Well no,  not exactly but close enough for bloggin'.   I for one am fascinated by the prospect of a Gingrich, Paul, Palin primary in '12.   It would absolutely explode the GOP with ramifications no one could predict but it'd make for great theatre.   Ending the Fed is Paul's baby of course but there is real reason to doubt if he can continue to own it against more politically sophisticated opponents.

For that matter its interesting to ponder how the election in general might have been different if matters had come to a head economically somewhere around Iowa or New Hampshire.  YouTube is full of clips of Peter Schiff, a Paul advisor, accurately predicting the collapse of the housing market as well as most of the collateral damage, usually with some expert telling him  he's an idiot.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why can't the vegetarians and the Christians just leave the rest of us alone?

There's an odd nexus between the two in that neither group can be happy doing their own thing unless you're doing it with them, and if  you're not doing it with them its a problem for everyone.

Its a curious expression of value.  I can't think of too many other examples where people engaging in behavior they feel is inherently superior  also insist you do it too for their validation.

I like my car quite a bit but it doesn't diminish my enjoyment if you drive a different one or take the bus.   Likewise I do not encourage you to have sex with my wife.     One would think spending eternity  in paradise as  opposed to hell or having  a colon like a shiny new nickel would be enough.  Clearly both options are far better than any alternatives but that doesn't seem to give their beneficiaries any solace.

To that end here's the PETA Super Bowl ad that didn't run.  Setting aside for a moment that we shouldn't  have to say that correlation does not make for causation so the premise is bullshit, but even if it weren't, I don't think I'd be hypothetically willing to give up a big fucking cheeseburger every so often for the prospect of somewhat better sex.  I do need some sleep and I love cheese melted on meat, and really you should too....

Conservatives say: Obama, words too talk many, too explain-ey

Seriously.   How far down beyond the bottom of the barrel do you have to reach to pull out the complaint that your President is too informed, too engaged, and knows too much?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We overlooked your tax sins for THIS????

Jeessh.  Geithner looks like a douche.  He should work for Pepsi.

We can believe in things or we can think about them

The goods on tax cuts  v. spending.  Its more nuanced than you'll hear on cable or AM radio.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Reason #157,678 I could never work in an office

You're sitting around a table in a wood paneled room, someone passes around copies of this drivel, and you can't say "we all know this is complete bullshit right?".   It is in this instant that you forfeit any real sense of person-hood or linkage to a time when you  might have been cool.
You are a douche bag now.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Catch up on your wonky "good for you" reading.

Once you get past  the poser title Our Epistemological Depression aint a bad read but I'd argue that pseudo-objectivity  attends essentially all economic activity.  Perceived value, buying and selling, its all essentially a form of risk management at the end of the day is it not?  The extent to which I'm willing or unwilling to buy something is a reflection of how I regard my future prospects just as it is with a seller setting prices.   The problem however is all the fancy and rigorous long term projections notwithstanding the last time I checked we still see through a glass darkly. Which we continually fool ourselves into forgetting.

Simple math conservatives aren't doing.

It really aint difficult.   Spending creates deficits.  But tax cuts without accompanying spending cuts, along with increased government spending, say it with me now, also creates deficits.  With unemployment soaring towards the heavens for the next year  at least we'll see more spending on entitlements so any  tax cut is going to have to be financed by uncle China  just like it has been for the last 8 years.  So the great GOP alternative leads to the same place but clearly favors high end earners.  And if that seems like class warfare its because it is.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Racial Awkwardness

I don't know if its coincidence or proof of a benevolent God that I should stumble across this video after watching part of Bamboozled on IFC last night.   If you haven't seen it, and I haven't seen all of it yet, Bamboozled is Spike Lee at his provocative best.   At turns the movie is brilliant, shitty, angry, insightful, too loud, really fucking funny, overdone, and/or dead on.   I would not have guessed  that actors in black face playing Step-n-Fetchit characters would resonate with me.   Lee is very hit and miss for me anyway and when he misses  its painful but the hits are works of genius.  Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X are two of the greatest American films of all time in my book and if they aren't in yours then you might want to reconsider your book.  I gotta chew on Bamboozled for awhile though.

As for the video, and this is where it gets awkward, Read A Book Nigga clearly is meant to grab you by the short hairs and command your attention.  Mission accomplished.   Honestly I find it funny and enormously challenging but in the same way  that Chris  Rock's riff on "low expectation havin' mutherfuckers" isn't really intended for me my  response seems  beside the larger and more important point. Im observing a conversation I have no entry point in to so my reaction strikes me as superfluous and maybe even unintentionally offensive.  Sins of the fathers.

Can you imagine if this guy had lived in Bagdad?

Just to review.....

Bush invaded Iraq over the fear, in part at least, that Hussein might do something like A. Q. Kahn did in fact do.   One of them is dead and the other has just been released from what was no doubt a very rough de facto house arrest. 

The silver lining in 7.6% unemployment

This is going to get so much worse.   But as bad as it is the upside is that it further marginalizes the conservatives who are standing on what they'd like to call principal in opposing stimulus spending.   While the House GOP celebrates doing nothing we've got over  a trillion dollars of demand coming out of the economy annually as we bleed half a million jobs a month. There will be no quick turnaround.  In response the economic flat earthers are peddling the same trickle down snake oil we've had for most of the last 30 years.  Lowering capital gains tax or abolishing inheritance taxes  is an ideological bias held by people who stand to benefit financially from it and should not be confused with an actual effort to respond to our situation.

The real danger here is that this package is too small.  Way too small.   China wont likely be loaning us this kind of money again and considering the Fed is essentially  giving cash away for nothing we're desperately close to having no other options.  I'm looking for a good recipe for squirrel stew.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The whole world is mocking

Some unfortunate(?)  portraits

Und now ve dahnce

The ultimate 80's video.   I will fight you over this.  As is my  custom.

Ahhh the 80's, when a sexually ambiguous pony tail could be kind of hot and fun without any Ted Haggard tragedy or Larry  Craig creepiness.  A simpler time.

Dolla' Store throw down

Its been a long freaky winter and this is exactly the cure.

A dick with ears

And this presumably is Cheney the elder statesman??  One wonders why he waited as long as two weeks to start undermining our new President, the old man wasted time in not heckling Obama's inaugural address.  It used to be said that in matters of foreign policy politics ended at our shores but for Cheney there is apparently no sense of decorum  to be observed at all and of course any history worth writing is worth re-writing.   Cruel though it may  be to say we are all of us better served by the man being closer to his last heart attack than he is his first.

Once you've digested the absolute gall of it the necessity of this post election fear-mongering becomes clearer. Every day, minute, and second that passes without a terrorist attack on an America that observes rational and lawful governance is a direct repudiation of Cheney's legacy.  It isn't simply that he fears there will be more attacks, he needs for there to be another attack, hopefully a big one. To be redeemed.   Because if trashing the Constitution and the clumsy pursuit of a  pointless war were not absolutely necessary, if there were choices, then Cheney is just a criminal without a cause.  The justifications have only begun.

Papist Apologia.

Its been one helluva couple of weeks for Catholicism.  Holocaust denial, continued pedophile problems,  and the machinations of a vengeful God.  At this rate I don't look for Galileo's apology to make it to the end of the month.

But sanity prevails somewhat now with the demand that the Holocaust denying, 9-11 truthing, and all around nut jobbing Richard Williamson recant, for the denying bit anyway, sort of.  One wonders though how exactly that would work.

Well it doesn't work of course because even if it should transpire we can count on it being a non apology  apology.  One of those "Im sorry if anything I've said has offended...." jobs. How do we know? Holocaust denial isn't a stand alone-er.  One denies the Holocaust as part of a larger anti-semitic world view, so the phony scholarship Williamson cites in arguing that no Jews died in the gas chambers is necessarily  linked to his belief that "Judo-Masonry" brought down the Twin Towers just as it lead us into two world wars.  So far.

The man wont simply be able to stand and apologize for ridiculous statements.  He'll have to say  that in the last week he has come to understand that Jews aren't a force for evil and that every position he has associated himself with has been factually incorrect and spiritually bankrupt.  Which of course raises the question as to why this kind of person ought to be a Bishop or fussed over to the extent that he has been de-excommunicated.

While it is marginally possible the Pope was unaware of Williamson's views (and only marginally) it is completely  impossible that others in Church government were unaware as well.  He has been de-excommunicated either because the Pope is untroubled by his positions or many in the Vatican are.  Its that simple and that ugly.

And we haven't even gotten to the part about women wearing pants or the Sound of Music.....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bubble proofing.

This kind of regulation would clearly bracket the potential of the derivative market in CDS's but housing is such a broad sector that the number of people with direct exposure could certainly  make for a viable market, regulation notwithstanding.   Market collapse is unlikely.

Spreading risk is generally  a good thing but its folly to argue that excessive speculation doesn't also create a moral hazard, its why you can't take out life insurance policies on strangers.

The industry has forfeited the right to make its own decisions.

When Popes go bat shit crazy

Well, at least they're  shedding the artifice.  It gets stranger by the week in the Vatican bubble.

Tragic really

The way drug use has kept Michael Phelps from being successful. 

Do we have to refer to this guy as Mr. Speaker from now on?

Sheesh.   Haven't Illinois pols been besmirched enough lately??   This display of acumen from Mr. Hastert wont help.   

Monday, February 2, 2009

Protectionism for me but not for thee.

The Buy American provision of the stimulus package is a slippery slope.  One the one hand there is in fact an excellent argument to be made for requiring the raw materials needed for projects funded by stimulus money to be American made.   More cash will flow directly into the hands of American consumers who will in turn put it back into the economy much more quickly than overseas investors.   In any case there is hardly any reason to grow the trade deficit in the short term with public money.

The caveat here of course is that the provision be limited only to stimulus spending and should transpire by a date certain, otherwise we do run the risks of job loss and provoking retaliation from our trading partners as Minority Leader McConnell  warns.  All of which raises the question as to why  he trots out the Chicken Little posture on trade so selectively.

McConnell has a long history of supporting anti-free trade protectionist legislation when it is otherwise called The Farm Bill.    Apparently no risk of job loss, retaliation, or shame strikes McConnell as he votes "Yea" for legislation that, among other things, protects domestic sugar producers from the very kind of overseas competition he thinks  the stimulus package should embrace.   All the while you and I pay roughly twice what the rest of the world pays  for an abundant commodity to prop up  a cartel.  Indeed McConnell seemed gleeful in over turning Bush's veto of subsidies that pay out 74 percent of total expenditures to only  10 percent of all recipients and excludes 67 percent of all producers.   He even fought for a provision to put Kentucky horse farms on the dole.  

One wonders of course why McConnell sees such risk in policy that puts money directly in the hands of American working people but  no risk in spending  billions that benefit the few and raise massive barriers to trade.   While I wouldn't hazard a guess I think anyone taking a stand "on principal" against American workers ought to answer for the contradiction.

Some dissenting views on Us Too-ism

A slew of hopeful and different takes on Steele's nomination.   Interesting to consider but I aint' buying it.    There is no reason to believe that the GOP has taken a turn towards moderation.  For the record I expect the opposite.   They haven't had their McGovern yet and I'm betting it'll be the next round of national elections.

The fertilizer jokes write themselves

While this is generally a good idea and certainly the kind of thing I'd support I wonder if it wouldn't be better to give this to the Smithsonian and till up a portion of the Mall with heirloom varieties of regional vegetables.   

Will we call the guy the Farmer General?  Should he get crop subsidies?