Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, April 30, 2010 12:23 am

Makes me want to run right out and enroll in grad school

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 12:23 am

FRIEND 1: Hey, I hear you finished your doctorate!

FRIEND 2: That’s right.

FRIEND 1: Congratulations!

FRIEND 2: Thanks!

FRIEND 1: That’s really special. You know, fewer than 1% of people worldwide have a Ph.D. It’s like leukemia.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 11:57 pm

Fox News: “They just don’t get it.”

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 11:57 pm
Tags: ,

But don’ t take my word for it.

Take Sarah Palin’s. For reals.

Must-see TV: Clarence Thomas sitting there not saying anything

Filed under: Cool! — Lex @ 11:30 pm
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The Senate has approved a bill requiring Supreme Court sessions to be televised.

On the one hand, this is a no-brainer: The public’s business, whenever possible, should be done in public.

But there are some tricky constitutional issues here. (And before I go any further, say it with me, kids: I Am Not A Lawyer.)

For example, let’s say the law passes. The Supreme Court could decide that it violates the Constitution’s separation of the powers of the three branches of government.

Except who would have standing to sue? The only people who would be “harmed” by the law are … members of the Supreme Court. (Whereas the other 299,999,991 of us are harmed by the status quo.)

So who would decide whether the Supreme Court would have standing to sue? Well, ultimately, the Supreme Court, I guess. I’m pretty sure I know how they’d rule on that one.

So let’s assume the Supreme Court sues and that the case, however it’s decided at trial, is appealed to the Supreme Court. Let’s further assume (because otherwise this blog post would have to end) that 1) the Supreme Court decides that the Supreme Court has standing to sue and 2) that the Supreme Court wins on the merits — that is, it rules the law an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. What then?

Well, Congress still has the power of the purse. So Congress could say, OK, fine, not one thin dime for you nine or [UPDATE: Sorry; Article III, Section 1, says Congress can't cut federal judges' pay while they're in office -- just the pay of everyone who works for them, along with any and all appropriations for the Court itself] any of the people who work for you until you bring in the cameras. At that point, as I see it, the justices have three options:

  • Quit, in which case the president will appoint new ones who will promise to let in the cameras, and the Senate will get sworn promises to bring in the cameras out of the nominees before voting to confirm.
  • Keep working without pay, and require their staff to do the same even though they’re not getting paid, which will go on until all the staff quits (at which point Clarence Thomas may as well quit because it’s not like he actually researches and writes his own opinions) and/or they run out of office supplies.
  • Neither work nor quit, which means, since they’re appointed for life, that they stay justices until they die, except that Congress could impeach them — remember, an impeachable offense is whatever the House of Representatives votes that it is — and remove them from office.

So, the Supreme Court can fight the law, but they’ll get about as far as Bobby Fuller did. Sucks to be them, I guess, but it’s better for the rest of us.

Old age ain’t for sissies

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:08 pm

Dad said that a lot. Wrestling with middle age myself, I can’t say I’m looking forward to old age in general, except in contrast to the only available alternative.

But being a lifelong fan of irony and dry, deadpan humor, there is one aspect, and only one, of old age that I confess I’m sort of looking forward to: making young people unsure whether I’m just having them on or am really and truly senile.

Hey, it worked in the American South

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 10:28 pm
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Arizona native Cord Jefferson, on the notion that Arizona should be boycotted because of its new immigration law:

I’ve tried hard, to no avail, to think of any time in which calling a destitute population stupid and making it even poorer has effectively engendered in its people new ways of thinking.

So I hope you feel better.

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 10:20 pm
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Balk at The Awl, on people upset that Idris Elba, the actor who will play the Norse god Heimdall in Kenneth Branagh’s movie adaptation of Thor is, well, not Norse:

Now, I can understand how aficionados might want to see a certain degree of faithfulness to the source material (a cartoon) here, and I suppose arguing that one of the more interesting actors of the day should not be allowed to play a certain role because your associations with it (which come from a comic book) make it difficult for you to see past the character’s skin color does put you at risk of seeming intolerant, but I’ll be charitable. It doesn’t make you a bigot.

It makes you a cretin.

I’ll sleep when I’m dead

Filed under: Geek-related issues — Lex @ 9:50 pm

When the Nazis did this, we hanged some of them for it, but New Scientist is now doing all sorts of whacked experiments on people to find the limits of human endurance. We’ll get lots of fascinating new data on physiology, all at the low, low cost of our souls. For example, did you know that you can die of lack of sleep? After about three months, apparently.

Wait … what?

They’re not actually experimenting on people?

Oh. Well … that’s good, I guess.

But I still kind of want to know, if you get put into a vacuum — say, your spaceship springs a leak — will your head explode?

And news from that Gulf oil spill/leak just keeps getting worse

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 8:50 pm

This is shaping up to be a major disaster.

They just lie

After the Republican-controlled Congress passed a Medicare prescription-drug benefit several years ago, the news broke that a report saying the benefit would cost a lot more than Congress had been told had been suppressed.

I figured it was entirely possible that we’d learn the same thing about cost estimates for the Democrats’ health-care plan, so I was not surprised to read this:

The economic report released last week by Health and Human Services, which indicated that President Barack Obama’s health care “reform” law would actually increase the cost of health care and impose higher costs on consumers, had been submitted to the office of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius more than a week before the Congressional votes on the bill, according to career HHS sources, who added that Sebelius’s staff refused to review the document before the vote was taken.

“The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote,” says an HHS source. “Which is actually the point of having a review like this, you would think.”

There’s only one problem: They lied.

1. The Office of the Actuary didn’t receive the language of the reconciliation bill until March 18 (when the legislation was posted), so the Spectator’s assertion that HHS had a copy of the Actuary’s score a week before congressional passage — on March 22 — doesn’t make sense.

2. Past scores from the Office of the Actuary came out AFTER passage of the legislation. For the House bill that passed on Nov. 7, 2009, the Actuary’s score came out on Nov. 13. And for the Senate bill that passed on Dec. 24, 2009, the Actuary’s score came out on Jan. 8, 2010. This most recent Actuary report is dated April 22.

3. Given points #1 and #2, it’s hard to see how the Actuary’s score was available before the CBO’s, which came out on March 18.

Shorter Pat Buchanan

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns!,Journalism — Lex @ 8:42 pm
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Black people are racist, and it’s Obama’s fault.

At least he’s consistent.

A Blog on the Run reader survey

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lex @ 8:36 pm
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Our constitutional republic has been [destroyed] by the powers that be … . The federal government is on a massive power grab that is putting us and the nation in further peril. Our freedoms and liberties are being lost in the name of “national security,” the fruits of our labor continue to be taken in the name of taxes, and our economy is in shambles. We have had enough, but what is our best course of action? With each protest, and each movement, we continue to see the federal government turn a blind eye and ignore our every word. Our elected officials talk the talk during election, but when in Washington [they] are persuaded by the power and the lobbyists.*

*Source, + minor grammar/punctuation editing.

Just where do you deport U.S. citizens TO?

This is not a rhetorical exercise or a hypothetical question, because Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., actually wants to deport natural-born U.S. citizens … if they’re the children of illegal immigrants.

John Cole for the win: ” … ten years ago this month, Republicans were pitching an absolute fit about allowing Elian Gonzalez to go back to Cuba, demanding he be made an American citizen because … his mother almost walked across the border. Ten years later, they want to kick out Hispanic citizens because … their mothers walked across the border.”

Shorter U.S. MSM: It’s only torture when other countries do it

John Cole calls out The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR for their relativism, including not only being willing to call torture torture but also with respect to whether or not Human Rights Watch is a legitimate source.

What was it Jesus said about motes and logs?

Ladies and gentlemen, irony has left the building has been carried out of the building on a stretcher with a blanket over its face

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns!,Journalism — Lex @ 8:25 pm
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ABC’s Mark Halperin:

Unlike Bill Clinton, especially early in his presidency, Obama has largely maintained control of his public image, preserved the majesty of the office (a job that has become harder than ever because of the toxic freak-show nature of our politico-media culture) and maintained good relations, in public and private, with the armed services brass, the intelligence community and law enforcement.

That would be this Mark Halperin.

KFC is a bunch of weenies

Filed under: Ew. — Lex @ 8:01 pm
Tags: , , , ,

There has been a phenomenal amount of media coverage — so much that I, a determined non-foodie, have been unable to avoid it — of KFC’s “Double Down,” a bacon-and-cheese sandwich that uses two fried pieces of chicken for bread slices. It’s good for 540 calories, 32 grams of fat and 1,380 mg of sodium.

Paula Deen has gone this one better with the “Lady’s Brunch Burger,” which is — I am not making this up — a half-pound hamburger topped with bacon and a fried egg, using Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts for bread. Oh, baby.

Now that’s good eatin’, particularly if you’re in the market for a last meal. The only way you could improve on it is to roll the whole thing in homemade batter made with lard and then deep-fry that sucker in beef tallow.

(Nutritional info for this not available at the site, but two KK glazed alone are worth 400 calories, 24 grams of fat and 190 mg of sodium.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 11:49 pm

Sucks to be right

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 11:49 pm
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“‘Oops‘?!? What do you mean, ‘Oops‘?!?”

Memo to Politico

Filed under: Journalism — Lex @ 11:29 pm
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I spent a quarter-century fighting government for information at all levels — local, state, federal. And I do, in fact, sympathize with reporters’ concerns about the lack of info coming out of the Obama White House, particularly when that administration is run by a guy who campaigned on transparency and yet is surpassing his predecessor in some forms of secretiveness.

But I also have to say I’d sympathize more if you guys didn’t suck so hard.

The only MSM outlet in Washington I halfway trust is McClatchy. The rest of you are gossipy, whiny, poll-obsessed, policy-ignoring, obsolete-narrative-adhering, self-regarding, mutually-fellating, Establishment-reinforcing, middle-class-ignoring, crime-overlooking  ignorami.

UPDATE: DougJ at Balloon Juice: “I sympathize with reporters on this, but it’s simple: the George W. Bush administration made you their bitch. Now you’re every administration’s bitch.”

Why do Republicans lie?

Filed under: Deport these treason monkeys! — Lex @ 11:21 pm

Easy: It pays better.

(Not saying Democrats don’t lie. I just find it interesting that Republicans aren’t throwing this crap out there because they misguidedly but sincerely believe it, they’re throwing it out there because it will help them raise money. Memo to the Republican National Committee: This is not the kind of behavior that Thos. Jefferson et al. risked lives, fortunes and sacred honour to defend. Just sayin’.)

Quick, let’s go to Arizona and start selling the Brooklyn Bridge …

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 11:18 pm
Tags: ,

… because Arizonans apparently will believe anything, including John McCain’s claim that he has never claimed to be a maverick.

Speaking, as I was earlier, of “Oh, please, oh, please” …

… is SIGTARP — the Special Inspector General at the Treasury Department who is responsible for rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in the federal bank bailout, going to throw the book at Tim Geithner??

[Neil Barofsky] has also criticized Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner in reports and in congressional testimony for his handling of the process by which insurance giant American International Group Inc. was saved from insolvency in 2008, when Geithner was head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The secrecy that enveloped the deal was unwarranted, Barofsky says, adding that his probe of an alleged New York Fed coverup in the AIG case could result in criminal or civil charges.

In Senate Finance Committee testimony on April 20, Barofsky said SIGTARP would investigate seven AIG-linked mortgage-related securities similar to Abacus 2007-AC1, the instrument underwritten by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. that is at the center of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit filed against the investment bank on April 16.

Leading the Charge

“I’ve been in contact with the SEC,” he told the committee. “We’re going to coordinate with them, but we’re going to lead the charge. We’re going to review these transactions.”

Barofsky and Geithner’s offices have gone toe-to-toe over AIG, alleged lax oversight of TARP funds and even over the question of whom Barofsky reports to.

Barofsky, a former federal prosecutor who was once the target of a kidnapping plot by Colombian drug traffickers, says he’s also looking into possible insider trading connected to TARP.

But that’s absurd, because no American banker would be such a cad and bounder as to run out and buy stock in his own bank before word of an impending federal bailout of that bank became public, would he?

Naaah.

But the economy is getting better! Really!

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 11:02 pm
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Tyler Durden:

“… there is nothing more to this rally that free money and banks’ last ditch attempt to lock in another year of record bonuses before it all goes to shit.”

Jeremy Grantham:

“There is nothing more dangerous and damaging to the economy than a great asset bubble that breaks, and this is something that the Fed never seems to get. Under Greenspan’s incredible leadership he managed to give us the tech bubble, and by keeping interest rates at negative levels for three years drove up the housing bubble, and finally the risk bubble. And Bernanke has happily picked up the mantle, and seems totally unconcerned about creating yet another bubble. He has interest rates so low banks can’t possibly not make a fortune. Savers are being penalized, anyone who wants to buy cash faces a painful experience, and so we are all tempted into speculating, which is apparently what he wants and we’ve just had one of the great speculative rallies in history, second only to 1932-33.”

Well, you two gentlemen can just rock me to sleep tonight.

Darrell Issa is an idiot

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 10:53 pm
Tags: ,

I mean, you knew that. But we have fresh evidence in the form of his demand for information as to the timing of the Securities & Exchange Commission’s announcement of its lawsuit against Goldman Sachs, a company the SEC told it was going to sue in … August 2008.

Yo, Darrell: You may not have known, and I may not have known, but a lot of people, in government and at Goldman, have known about this for a real long time.

Besides which, let’s just suppose the timing of the announcement was intended to influence passage of financial reform in Congress. So freakin’ what? The SEC was out watching pr0n while the banksters were robbing the country blind; I would hope to hell its leaders would feel bad enough about that to use any means necessary to influence Congress to do something to prevent similar thefts in the future. And if Obama did lie about the timing, that’s wrong, but in the greater scheme of things it’s a snail sneeze in a hurricane.

There’s a word for this: fraud

Filed under: Hold! Them! Accountable!,I want my money back. — Lex @ 10:45 pm
Tags: ,

That auto company you own is claiming it has repaid all its taxpayer-financed bailout money. Not true.

You know, back when the reality-based community ran this country, people went to prison for crap like that.

Chris Dodd wants to retire. I say we impeach his butt before he gets the chance.

That whore for the banksters stripped out of his so-called financial reform act a measure requiring a public audit of the Fed that had already passed. Hello?

UPDATE: An interesting, and by “interesting,” I mean “bizarre,” coalition of senators is forming to try to require an audit of the Fed by the Government Accountability Office. Oh, please, oh, please ….

Fraud

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:57 pm
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Mother Jones likes to say it does smart, fearless journalism. Here, it talks about how climate change can cause kidney stones (and other health ailments). Which is fine. But do these smart, fearless journalists think to mention the SNAKES? Why, NO! No, they do NOT! Is it because they’re stupid or because they’re afraid?

Smart, fearless journalism? I think not.

Quote of the day …

Filed under: Deport these treason monkeys!,Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 6:15 am

… from Attaturk at Firedoglake: “So much idiocy, so few good orifice-related adjectives.”

Well, at least he admits it

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 6:01 am
Tags:

Shorter Bill Clinton on derivatives: Uh, sorry, my bad. But Dubya’s fault, too! Also!

Eated

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 5:54 am
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So nice they said it twice

Both Barry Ritholtz and Bill Fleckenstein think the SEC ought to sue not only Goldman Sachs but also the Financial Accounting Standards Board, whose accounting rule changes have so degraded accounting standards that companies, even publicly traded ones, essentially are bound by no rules. Want to know why Citi, Bank of America and probably Wells Fargo haven’t been taken over by the government even though they’re basically insolvent? Because the FASB is allowing them to carry loans on their books at roughly three times their probable market value.

Ritholtz:

As far as investors are concerned, (FASB has) have eliminated (standards). There is essentially no oversight of companies by accountants any longer. Accounting statements are all but worthless.  Frauds like Enron, Lehman Brothers and Overstock.com are everywhere. Companies can hide risk from investors, misstate earnings without fear of reprisal, engage in any manner of deceptive gamesmanship.

There are many reasons to buy various publicly traded companies — but what they report in their balance sheets ain’t one of them.

Fleckenstein:

The SEC also ought to consider pursuing the Financial Accounting Standards Board for helping denigrate accounting standards to the point that so much smoke and mirrors could pass for legitimacy.

Had real accounting standards been at work, they likely would have prevented the banksters from walking away with fortunes while they built financial instruments of mass destruction.

Symmetry; or, why the banksters are still with us

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 5:43 am
Tags: ,

Liberal democrats think that because Republicans are going to attack Congressional Democrats no matter what they do, they might as well do the right thing on finance reform.

North Carolina’s senior senator, Republican Richard Burr, apparently thinks that because the Democrats are going to attack him no matter what he does — heck, he is up for re-election — he may as well do the wrong thing.

Sigh.

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