Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, September 30, 2010 8:34 pm

Somewhere, the ghost of Mark Pittman is smiling

Filed under: I want my money back. — Lex @ 8:34 pm
Tags: , , ,

Pittman, the late reporter for Bloomberg News, died before his efforts to force the Federal Reserve to disclose details of its 2007-09 bailouts succeeded. But the Fed, rather than appealing to the Supremes, says it will disclose that info by Dec. 1.

I imagine that current and former bank CEOs across the country are rapidly arranging flights to non-extraditious climes.

UPDATE: My critics say I never admit when I am wrong. Well, in March I predicted that the Fed would fight this all the way to the Supreme Court. I’m delighted to announce that I was wrong.

A question

Filed under: I want my country back. — Lex @ 8:01 pm
Tags:

Why do most Republicans hate the heroes of 9/11?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 9:18 pm

Want to know how a country becomes a police state?

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns!,I want my country back. — Lex @ 9:18 pm
Tags:

Just like this.

I just bet

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 8:45 pm
Tags:

Gee. Why might House Minority Leader John Boehner not want to talk with Fox News’s Chris Wallace about Republican solutions to the country’s problems?

WALLACE: Congressman Boehner, as Willie Sutton said about banks, entitlements are where the money is. More than 40% of the budget. Yet, I’ve looked through this pledge [the GOP "Pledge to America"] and there is not one single proposal to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid.

BOEHNER: Chris, we make it clear in there that we’re going to lay out a plan to work toward a balanced budget and deal with the entitlement crisis. Chris, it’s time for us as americans to have an adult conversation with each other about the serious challenges our country faces. And we can’t have that serious conversation until we lay out the size of the problem. Once Americans understand how big the problem is, then we can begin to talk about potential solutions. [...]

WALLACE: Forgive me, sir, isn’t the right time to have the adult conversation now before the election when you have this document? Why not make a single proposal to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

BOEHNER: Chris, this is what happens here in Washington. When you start down that path, you just invite all kind of problems. I know. I’ve been there.

Shorter Boehner: If we tell voters what we really intend to do, they won’t vote for us.

I don’t know which is worse …

Filed under: I want my money back.,We're so screwed — Lex @ 8:40 pm
Tags: ,

… that every single Republican senator voted against ending financial rewards for companies that send jobs overseas, or that four Democrats and Joe Lieberman (Idiot-Conn.) joined them.

FactCheck.org on Rep. Alan Grayson: One hit, one miss

To: editor@factcheck.org

Re: Rep. Grayson Lowers the Bar

Take it from a longtime Republican and a former religion journalist: Y’all whiffed on this one.

Here is Webster’s remark in context, as presented on your page:

Webster: So, write a journal. Second, find a verse. I have a verse for my wife, I have verses for my wife. Don’t pick the ones that say, ‘She should submit to me.’ That’s in the Bible, but pick the ones that you’re supposed to do. So instead, ‘love your wife, even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it’ as opposed to ‘wives submit to your own husbands.’ She can pray that, if she wants to, but don’t you pray it.

Y’all claim Webster is telling his audience “just the opposite.” No, he’s not.

What he’s doing is drawing a distinction between what husbands should pray for and what wives should pray for. That’s all. In general, he’s saying that each person should pray for him/herself to do the things he/she is supposed to do and not pray for the things that the OTHER person is supposed to do. He’s not saying wives shouldn’t submit. He’s saying husbands shouldn’t pray for it. The fact that he acknowledges, “That’s in the Bible,” indicates that he believes the sentiment is valid, just not something it’s the husband’s place to pray for. Indeed, although I am inferring here, he seems to feel that if the wife is following the same instructions as he’s giving the husband, then in fact she WILL pray for the will, or ability, or whatever, to submit to her husband.

It’s a subtle distinction to pick out of the language, I admit. But when you’ve sat through dozens, if not hundreds, of these things in your life, these subtleties get less and less subtle. I don’t want to call it a dog-whistle, because of the association of that term with covert appeals to racism. But rhetorically speaking, it’s LIKE that.

And there’s a larger picture, too: Webster envisions a very intrusive role for government in the personal decisions of women. “American Taliban” may be a metaphor, but it’s quite apt. It’s certainly not inaccurate or wrong. So, I’d say that overall, Grayson has nothing to apologize for with this spot. In fact, I’d say you owe him an apology.

(Calling a guy a draft dodger when he in fact was 4F, on the other hand — while using an announcer’s voice to create the false impression that Grayson served — I think you’ve got him dead to rights on. That’s pretty sleazy.)

Cheers,

Lex

UPDATE: If you honestly think Webster has been mislabeled, look at whom he considers a mentor. More.

UPDATE: Digby adds: “The Village [her term for mainstream DC media] is having a full blown hissy fit about the ad, although I notice that it seems to be quite a bit less offensive to women than men. I wonder why?”

Now they’re not even trying to be subtle about it

Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 8:15 pm
Tags: ,

Banks are just stealing homes now. And the Florida Supreme Court, led by Charles Canady, the Republican former congressman who led the Clinton impeachment prosecution, is letting them do it.

When you’re in three dimensions, Left and Right don’t tell the whole story; or, Not quite as overlooked as he thinks

More than six years ago, on the occasion of my 20th anniversary in the newspaper bidness, I wrote, among other things, the following:

  • One of the two biggest battles of the 21st century will be defining the role of the corporation in our society.
  • The other will be liberal democratic values vs. medievalist religion.
  • This week, Barry Ritholtz, a tad late to the party but with a far larger audience, concurs:

    The new dynamic, however, has moved past the old Left Right paradigm. We now live in an era defined by increasing Corporate influence and authority over the individual. These two “interest groups” – I can barely suppress snorting derisively over that phrase – have been on a headlong collision course for decades, which came to a head with the financial collapse and bailouts. Where there is massive concentrations of wealth and influence, there will be abuse of power.  The Individual has been supplanted in the political process nearly entirely by corporate money, legislative influence, campaign contributions, even free speech rights.

    This may not be a brilliant insight, but it is surely an overlooked one. It is now an Individual vs. Corporate debate – and the Humans are losing.

    Consider:

    • Many of the regulations that govern energy and banking sector were written by Corporations;

    • The biggest influence on legislative votes is often Corporate Lobbying;

    • Corporate ability to extend copyright far beyond what original protections amounts to a taking of public works for private corporate usage;

    • PAC and campaign finance by Corporations has supplanted individual donations to elections;

    • The individuals’ right to seek redress in court has been under attack for decades, limiting their options.

    • DRM and content protection undercuts the individual’s ability to use purchased content as they see fit;

    • Patent protections are continually weakened. Deep pocketed corporations can usurp inventions almost at will;

    • The Supreme Court has ruled that Corporations have Free Speech rights equivalent to people; (So much for original intent!)

    None of these are Democrat/Republican conflicts, but rather, are corporate vs. individual issues.

    If slavery was this country’s original sin, then what sold us into bondage far from the lands of our fathers was the 1886 Supreme Court case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. The substance of the case is a mundane tax matter. But because of a clerk’s note (follow the link for details), corporations ever since have been treated in American law as having pretty much the same 14th Amendment rights as human persons … and even fewer responsibilities and obligations. True, corporations cannot vote. But neither can they be forced to kill or die for their country, not can they really be held accountable for the crimes they commit. And when, as a result of the Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, it’s now legal for corporations to effectively buy congresscritters, voting seems gratuitous.

    Next year will be 125 years since Santa Clara, and we remain in bondage with no Moses on the horizon. It is theoretically possible that we could remove our yoke by amending the Constitution to restrain the rights and privileges of corporations, but in the universe we actually inhabit, the likelihood seems exceedingly small.

    Ritholtz concludes:

    But the battle lines between the two groups have barely been drawn. I expect this fight will define American politics over the next decade. Keynes vs Hayek? Friedman vs Krugman? Those are the wrong intellectual debates. Its you vs. Tony Hayward, BP CEO, You vs. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO. And you are losing . . .

    Actually, I think there are at least two more likely scenarios than the decade-long battle Ritholtz predicts.

    In one, the battle goes on much longer, as I predicted six years ago.

    In the other, with Citizens United decided, the battle is already over and the corporations have won.

    And these days, I fear the latter is closer to truth.

    Money can be a great aphrodisiac …

    … but given the levels of Teh_Dumz and Teh_Misogynist in James O’Keefe’s bloodstream, I think it’s fair to say he won’t be seducing CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau, or any other woman with half a pulse, anytime soon.

    Weird. Just … weird. TBogg’s take on this is even cruder, but he makes up for the crude (as if it needed to be made up for) with a genius tag for the post.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010 8:06 pm

    Why Obama shouldn’t be your back-door man (and neither should anyone else in government)

    Filed under: I want my country back. — Lex @ 8:06 pm
    Tags: , ,

    The government’s proposal to create a “back door” to give law enforcement easier access to encrypted messaging systems like BlackBerry and Skype is both bad security and bad business, mistermix at Balloon Juice writes:

    It’s bad business because it opens the doors to companies that aren’t governed by US law to create competing solutions and sell them in places where US law doesn’t apply. BlackBerry may buckle under and allow a back door to remain a player in the US market, but some other player could well create a smartphone messaging system that doesn’t have a back door and sell it in the parts of the world that don’t give a shit about US law. And other companies may create smartphone software (apps) that run on top of your iPhone or BlackBerry’s phone or messaging apps to encrypt voice and text traffic, but those companies will be headquartered (and employ engineers) somewhere beyond Eric Holder’s reach.

    It’s bad security because a back door is an opening that can be breached by hackers as well as law enforcement, and the existence of a back door makes the system that has one an immediate target of hackers.RIM, the maker of BlackBerry, may not care about your civil rights, but they sure as hell don’t want to be the target of a hack that leverages a back door that they put in to satisfy the US, UAE and India.

    Then there’s that whole pesky Fourth Amendment thingie.

    Monday, September 27, 2010 7:59 pm

    I wonder if they played “Freebird” at his funeral …

    Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 7:59 pm
    Tags: ,

    Leonard Skinner, dead at 77.

    I think it is safe to say that no high-school gym teacher had more influence on American popular culture.

    Sunday, September 26, 2010 1:00 pm

    What my Sundays will be like if the Panthers don’t start winning

    Filed under: Fun,Panthers — Lex @ 1:00 pm
    Tags: ,

    Saturday, September 25, 2010 10:17 pm

    When Congress criticizes the media …

    Filed under: Journalism — Lex @ 10:17 pm
    Tags: , ,

    … they usually show their rear ends to the world. But in assessing comedian Stephen Colbert’s congressional testimony on the problems faced by migrant farm laborers, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., got this exactly right:

    [Chu] maintained that the pundits “ignored the actual issues at hand during the hearing, like the Agriculture bill and the migrant workers who need our help,” and instead “misdirected their outrage toward Mr. Colbert’s delivery and tone instead of the real travesties here.”

    “I think that’s due in large part to the fact that it’s easier to write a story or newscript about how out of the ordinary it is to have a comedian testifying to Congress, than it is to really delve into problems facing migrant workers,” she continued. “Tragically, I think it’s safe to say that the lone day Mr. Colbert spent working in the fields earlier this year gave him a better understanding of this issue than many people covering this story possess.”

    Ayep.

    The larger Media Fail issue is that DC media spend way too much time and effort focusing on the political ramifications of whatever they’re covering than they do on the policy aspects. And why does that matter? Because the policy aspects are the ones that affect you and me and people like us.

    Playing catch-up

    As blogging goes, I have been slackeriffic of late, so let’s see what I can do to get caught up here.

    Damn. Maybe I should just stop now.

    Ah, well, like the man said, I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

    • But we’re not giving it up without a fight: Barack Obama believes he has the power to order American citizens executed without charge or trial. The ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights are fighting that.
    • Some of America’s greatest leaders? Would be considered terrorists today.
    • They’re everywhere: Government at multiple levels in this country is blurring the distinction between dissent and terrorism. In Pennsylvania, where activists are opposing new oil drilling (entirely understandable, if not ultimately a good idea, in the wake of Deepwater Horizon), opponents are being monitored by the state Department of Homeland Security, and when the governor was asked about it, he at first defended the program.
    • And it ain’t just government: Monsanto hired Blackwater to monitor activists who oppose genetically modified seeds, despite the risks they pose.
    • Double standard: When the Democrats nominate someone who’s insane for the U.S. Senate, they disown him. When the Republicans do it, they embrace her and give her lots of money.
    • But, no, we’re not racists: The National Federation of Republican Women has Sen. Glenn McConnell attend dressed in a Confederate Army uniform and pose with African Americans dressed as slaves. In 2010. For reals.
    • Enthusiasm gap: If Democrats and the White House wonder why their base is so much less motivated to turn out in November than the GOP base, they might consider issues such as this and conclude that warning against “the return of George W. Bush” is pretty pointless when you’re going Bush one better.
    • In deep: How could the Deepwater Horizon disaster happen? When Interior Department regulators are being bullied by the industry they oversee and undercut by their managers, I’d say anything is possible.
    • Risk assessment: Emptywheel poses a very good question: Is the greatest danger to our financial system really terrorism?
    • Well, at least he’s honest: U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R- Okla., tells the American people to, quite literally, eat shit.
    • Scheduling an election is not rocket science. So would it be too much to ask that states get ballots to troops overseas in time for those ballots to be cast? Sheesh. (h/t: Fred)
    • Questions of ownership: GMAC, one of the nation’s largest home-financing firms, tries to foreclose on a home whose mortgage has been resold only for a judge to conclude, quite reasonably, that, hell, no, it can’t foreclose on something it doesn’t own; further investigation suggests GMAC may be executing 10,000 fake documents a month related to mortgages. As a result, GMAC foreclosures are on hold in 23 states. But the real fun, not obvious at first glance, is that dealing with this issue is going to make it harder for a lot of insolvent banks to hide the fact that they’re insolvent.
    • Maybe somebody should have shot the deputy: Charlie Munger, populist billionaire Warren Buffett’s right-hand man at Berkshire Hathaway, recently suggested that America’s unemployed and underemployed should “just suck it in” and added, “Thank God for bank bailouts.” Why would he say such a thing when BH took no bailout money? Uh, because companies in which BH is invested took $95 billion, maybe?
    • You will know him by his trail of dead: Howard Fineman, one of the most relentlessly conventional journalists in American history — and, therefore, a guy who has whiffed on most of the significant political stories of the past 15 or so years — is deserting the sinking ship at Newsweek to go work for the Huffington Post. Conservatives everywhere should be of good cheer; if he does there what he did at Newsweek, HuffPo will be dead inside of three years.
    • Who broke the Senate?: Something called “Gingrich senators.” That’s a very short way of describing what is actually a pretty well-documented phenomenon.
    • Apparently we need another war on poverty. Sigh.
    • Fight the police state: Reason magazine offers tips on how.
    • The Washington Post’s problems in just three words: It. Can’t. Think.
    • Funniest line ever posted at PowerLine, by Paul Mirengoff on Christine O’Donnell: “It’s great to hear that O’Donnell learned from her experiences dabbling in witchcraft. You wouldn’t want a U.S. Senator who dabbled in witchcraft and learned nothing from it.” Heh. Indeed.
    • Genetically, we’re not only close to apes, we’re pretty close to jackals: Nancy Nall on scrapping, physical and financial.
    • Corruption in Afghanistan: Not that big a deal after all, the administration decides.
    • When was the last economic recovery that WASN’T jobless?: Oh, about 20 years ago.
    • Question for everyone who still believes in “the liberal media”: What do you think would happen if DEMOCRATS had filibustered a defense appropriations bill? And, naturally, John McCain lied about the reasons for it.
    • He is the egg man: Austin “Jack” DeCoster, whose company was implicated in the recent problem with salmonella-tainted eggs, may have been the guy responsible for introducing salmonella into the U.S. egg supply in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
    • Larry Summers gone: The problem is, unless his replacement is named Warren, Krugman, Bakker Baker, Shiller or DeLong, we’re going to have the same problems we have now.
    • Fannie and Freddie weren’t the ones who broke the economy: So said Barry Ritholtz a while back; so says the FHFA now.
    • Alternatives to bank bailouts: Let me show u them. We did, in fact, have some, which is worth remembering two years on.
    • Chain of command: I’ve got little but contempt for Bob Woodward’s “reporting” these days, but if he has accurately reported that Gen. David Petraeus told colleagues that President Obama “is f—ing with the wrong guy,” then Obama should fire Petraeus and thank Woodward for bringing that insubordination to his attention.
    • The Tea Party isn’t just about deficits and taxes and spending: Whether it started out this way or not, it is rapidly being taken over, if it has not already been, by the Christian Taliban. (More here.) Despite already having called for Obama’s impeachment, I’m not under any illusions about what else is going to happen next year if the GOP regains control of Congress in November. Nobody else should be, either.
    • Kidding themselves: Even such normally sensible outlets as Zero Hedge are buying into this silly-assed notion that businesses aren’t hiring because of an “atmosphere of uncertainty.” No. There’s always uncertainty in the business world, not least every election year. The problem this time isn’t uncertainty, it’s that no one is buying anything because no one has any money because they’re in debt up to their eyeballs, unemployment/underemployment is at its highest level in three-quarters of a century and even the people who have jobs are afraid they’re going to lose them. Moreover, consumers are afraid, probably with good reason, that things will get worse before they get better.
    • Stop the presses!: The new version of the GOP Contract on America was written by a former lobbyist for Exxon and AIG.
    • Pre-emptive strike: Is a newly discovered super computer virus the means by which Iran’s nuclear threat will be nullified? And did the virus originate in Israel?
    • Apparently neither a joke nor an urban legend: Good news, ladies! Having unprotected sex, although it can put you at increased risk of sexually transmitted disease if you’re not really careful and picky and can, of course, get you pregnant, also can render you significantly less likely than your latex-dependent friends AND your chaste friends to suffer from depression. And there’s actually a chemical reason for this!
    • Even Napoleon thought the third time was enemy action: Glenn Fine, inspector general of the U.S. Justice Department, expects us to believe that three separate FBI investigative efforts of the Thomas Merton Center’s anti-war activities during the Bush administration were isolated, coincidental and in no way politically motivated. He also expects us to believe in unicorns, too, I guess.
    • On the road to recovery: Uh, not so much, says well-known liberal Paul Volcker.
    • Here’s the thing about Republican congresscritters and stimulus spending: The most offensive thing isn’t that they’re hypocrites for criticizing the program while still trying to land some of its money for their districts. It’s that they’re lying when they say it doesn’t work.
    • Good news, bad news, Internet edition: Radio spectrum being abandoned by TV as it moves to hi-def could be made available for next-generation WiFi at little cost to the public or, in the alternative, be auctioned off for that purpose at huge benefit to the Treasury. But that’s not going to happen.
    • I want to play Roy Blount in poker: The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri challenged Democratic opponent Robin Carnahan to six debates … and then backed out of four of them after she took him up on it.

    Banned Books Week; or, Ray Bradbury was right

    Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 6:34 am
    Tags: , ,

    Long, depressing, and absolutely essential reading: Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform, “Those Who Don’t Build Must Burn.”

    Friday, September 24, 2010 8:13 pm

    Christine O’Donnell wants to stop the whole country from having sex

    Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 8:13 pm
    Tags:

    … but don’t take my word for it. Take hers:

    If the Democrats keep control of the Senate, they need to send this woman a thank-you bouquet.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 8:56 pm

    Political messaging analysis, no extra charge

    Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:56 pm
    Tags: ,

    In an era in which a major-party nominee for a U.S. Senate seat is taking heat for her public opposition to masturbation (as opposed to her opposition to public masturbation, which, frankly, even I am not wild about), naming a website BeatBoehner.com is either major dhummitude or true genius.

    Sunday, September 19, 2010 5:44 pm

    By the jet exhausts’ red glare

    Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 5:44 pm
    Tags:

    Jet fighter flyover before Bucs-Panthers at Bank of America Stadium, 19 Sept 2010. I still get goosebumps during these things. Also, I forget her name, but the 11-year-old girl from Raleigh who did the national anthem was excellent.

    Unfortunately for the Panthers and their fans, this was pretty much the high point of the afternoon.

    Friday, September 17, 2010 10:27 pm

    Friday Random 10, Pre-practice-GRE Edition

    Filed under: Friday Random 10 — Lex @ 10:27 pm
    Tags:

    What’s In It For – Avi Buffalo
    Latest Disgrace – Fugazi
    Long Shot – Aimee Mann
    Heart of Steel – Galactic ft. Irma Thomas
    Fire – Hornit
    St. Peter’s Bones – Girlyman
    If I Should Fall From Grace With God – Pogues
    Dominos – Big Pink
    Valentine – Old 97s
    You Say Yes, I Say Yes – Veto

    lagniappe: Zombie Dance – Cramps

    Simple answers to simple questions, Tea Party GOP Primary Hegemony edition

    Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 6:52 pm
    Tags:

    Jonathan Martin at Politico extends the microphone to an unnamed, establishment Republican:

    That GOP primary voters would go ahead and nominate such a risky candidate [as Christine O'Donnell in Delaware's U.S. Senate race] has establishment Republicans worrying about who, if anybody, is now in charge of a traditionally top-down party.

    If nothing else, the eight primary election defeats suffered by [National Republican Senatorial Committee]-favored candidates this year indicates the lack of a unified command structure within the GOP now. It has, in effect, become an uncontrolled and ungoverned party in which the powers that be in Washington are mere bystanders.

    “Where are the adults?” one strategist wondered.

    Steve Benen has the answer:

    I know this one: they’re gone because you drove them out of the party. The adults were labeled RINO sellouts who compromised instead of fighting. … that’s largely the result of the Republican Party telling its most loyal voters not to care about substance, and to prioritize ideology above all.

    Pretty much.

    Now, understand, some of these wack jobs are still likely to win in November, so they’ll be inflicting their insanity on all of us. But a GOP takeover of the Senate is looking significantly less likely than before, and the NRSC is going to have to spend serious money in such races as Alaska where it hadn’t figured to need to spend a dime, basically.

    And here’s an interesting conundrum for those who win: The Tea Party’s primary campaign plank, such as it is, is the national debt. But giving right-wing Republicans the tax cuts they want would be far more expensive than the total cost of everything Obama has done to date. Will they push for the tax cuts anyway? And if so, will they cut other spending first?

    It’ll be interesting to see.


    Hostage situation

    Filed under: I want my money back. — Lex @ 5:52 pm
    Tags: , ,

    Shorter banksters: If you make us tell the world how broke we really are, we’ll just stop lending.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 8:53 pm

    “What do you feel when you kill someone?”

    Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 8:53 pm

    Recoil:

    It would be just one shot.

    Watching the Iraqi insurgent walking along the canal, Sgt. Brandon McGuire and his four-man sniper team knew that.

    They had lain hidden for two days and two nights. On the third morning, when they observed the man uncovering a mortar, they knew, yes, he was the one, the insurgent who was very good with his weapon, having killed and wounded Americans and Iraqi civilians with it.

    The shuddering kites flown by kids nearby showed the wind was stiffening. Sometimes nearly obscured by dust, the Iraqi kept walking — just a little under a mile away.

    McGuire was very good, too. The barrel of his Barrett .50 caliber Weapon Sniper System shifted imperceptibly, the Iraqi’s robes swirled in his scope, his finger squeezed …

    If you’ve got to fight a war, if you’ve got to kill for your country, this is the way to do it: quick, as clean as killing can be, no unintended innocent victims.

    Sgt. McGuire, by killing a man responsible for setting off many IEDs, undoubtedly saved not only the lives of U.S. service members but also Iraqi civilians. I thank him for his service.

    Next time you hear someone say government is the problem and not the solution …

    Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 6:33 am
    Tags: , ,

    … remember Frances Oldham Kelsey.

    10 Randomly Selected Bands That Won’t Be Performing at Calvin College Because They Have Scary Names

    Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 6:13 am
    Tags: ,

    10 randomly selected* bands that won’t be performing at Calvin College because they have scary names:

    Queen
    Sex Pistols
    Steely Dan
    Bastard Fairies
    The Vaselines
    KY Cowboys
    Barenaked Ladies
    Throbbing Gristle
    Butthole Surfers
    College Administrators Who Dopeslap Hysterical American Talibani and Tell Them to STFU

    *And, by “selected,” I might, in some cases, mean “created.”

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:34 pm

    Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1859

    DennisG at Balloon Juice surveys tonight’s GOP primary carnage results and writes:

    In the 1860 Election the Confederates were against:

    • Education. Ditto 2010
    • Federal Spending for infrastructure. Ditto 2010
    • Help for Free Labor and the working man. Ditto 2010
    • Federal efforts to reign in the oligarchs of the day. Ditto 2010
    • The idea that the Constitution guaranteed “personal Liberty.” Ditto 2010

    And then as now the Confederate Party uses the memes, rhetoric, scare tactics and talking points of white supremacy and fear of the ‘others’ to bring the low hanging rubes into their movement.And then as now the only compromise the Confederate Party was/is willing to accept was/is complete and total capitulation to whatever crazy idea was/is freshest in their lizard brains.

    The Republican Party is dead.

    It is the Confederate Party now, bitches. Get used to it.

    It’s an entertaining comparison — a reach, but not as much of one as a lot of Republicans think.

    Will tonight’s Tea Party triumphs bring the GOP victory? Well, I don’t do predictions. But the polling suggests that in at least one race, that for Joe Biden’s old Senate seat, a seat that was Republicans’ for the picking is now going to go Democratic in November.

    But wait, you say. That’s because Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell is batsh*t insane. And that’s true. She is. Reason magazine’s Mike Moynihan strolls through the bill of particulars:

    O’Donnell lied about attending a Master’s degree program at Princeton University; claimed that her political enemies are creeping in the bushes outside her house; is opposed to the sinister habit of masturbation; is a supporter of the “ex-gay” movement, despite the inconvenient revelation that her former staffer Wade Richards “returned” to homosexuality and denounced those peddling “cures” for his sexuality; filed a $6 million lawsuit against the conservative group ISI for “gender discrimination”; was denounced by her former campaign manager as a “fraud” who uses campaign donations to pay rent and utility bills; and has implied that her Republican opponent is gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    As the former head of the clumsily named Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT), O’Donnell was the Tipper Gore of the 1990s, attending lewd and lascivious rock concerts just to tell stoned, Satanist teenagers that they were going to hell. “Walking through the crowd I also noticed more pentagrams than crosses around the teenage necks,” she gasped. At a 1997 music festival in Washington, D.C., the Catholic killjoy “distributed thousands of brochures with information on the failure rate of condoms, on AIDS, on sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, pornography and the movement of former homosexuals.”

    But here’s the thing, and despite the best efforts of the MSM, more and more Americans are starting to pick up on this: O’Donnell isn’t an outlier. She’s actually more or less representative of the national GOP today.

    And here’s the other thing: In a time of crisis in the arenas of the economy, energy, climate, national security, civil liberties and so many other topics, we may well elect a nontrivial number of the batsh*t insane this fall to do the country’s business for the next two years.

    Free enterprise for thee, government bailout for me

    Filed under: I want my money back.,We're so screwed — Lex @ 8:42 pm
    Tags:

    AIG screws the taxpayers yet again:

    AIG originally agreed took a deal from the Fed that was on the same terms as a private sector funding that failed to raise enough dough: effectively 11.5%, secured by all the subsidiaries of the company. The plan, which management agreed to, was that the divisions would be sold and the proceeds would repay the borrowings, and management was confident it could do so.

    Now this was a dandy solution to a bad situation. And no, I’m not being ironic. The remedy was suitably punitive. No executive would want to get in a AIG type mess and be required to dismantle his company. The interest rate was high, thus keeping pressure on AIG to move expeditiously as well as providing taxpayers with a decent return. And from a systemic risk standpoint, breaking up AIG was a plus, since it would cut a TBTF entity down to size.

    But AIG was able to slip the leash. Its cheery assurances that it could divest divisions proved hollow. It came back to Uncle Sam and managed to get both more money and a reduction in interest rate. In deal land, this is called a free concession and is a sign of chumpdom (the Treasury press releases tried to imply that the government got more, but when you already have a senior lien on all the assets, there’s nothing more to get, save maybe throwing out the board, which would have been a good gesture). The argument was that the interest payments would damage AIG, but all that suggested was that the interest payments be deferred, not reduced. Oh, and in case you weren’t paying attention, the financial deal was retraded not once, but three times.

    Your diligent Administration also installed three trustees to oversee AIG, and since they were all professional board members, they were the last people you’d expect to rock the boat by asking Elizabeth Warren style tough questions. They were thus easily rolled when new CEO Robert Benmoshe took the reins and retraded the deal yet again, with the imperial announcement that AIG would not seek to repay the loans via divestiture. This was an act of unbelievable intransigence; no private sector majority owner would tolerate such backtalk from a hired hand.

    Yet not an official word was said in opposition, since the Administration bought or hid behind the canard that Benmoshe would be hard to replace. And given that AIG has a lot of cross-company exposures (divisions lending to each other) one wonders whether dismembering the company might yield more accounting improprieties, which would mean the divisions were worth even less than thought, which would reveal that the taxpayer loans were unlikely to be repaid in full.

    This is all going on with the acquiescence of the “anti-business” Obama administration.

    Funny, isn’t it, how creative and accommodating the Treasury can be when dealing with large distressed firms, and its skill seems to evaporate when contending with underwater homeowners.

    Now, the fact that AIG is attempting this and the government is letting it get away with it is bad enough. Worse still is why AIG is doing this: It apparently is not financially healthy enough to meet the terms to which it originally, and pretty enthusiastically, agreed. That being the case, any reasonable person would be justified in asking whether AIG is, in fact, solvent and concluding that the odds are excellent that it is not. And you know what that means: more bailouts on the horizon.

    If I were a politician and I couldn’t get elected running against crap like this, I’d take up needlepoint or something.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010 6:20 pm

    Remember that when Dinesh D’souza says American conservatives have more in common with the Taliban than with American liberals …

    … 1) he’s serious and means it in a good way; 2) he gets praised for saying it while Markos Moulitsas gets criticized for saying exactly the same thing while NOT being entirely serious about it; 3) Newt Gingrich thinks that D’souza is making an excellent point; 4) and yet somehow the so-called liberal media have decided that Moulitsas is the bad guy in all of this.

    [facepalm]

    UPDATE: Man, when David Frum finally opened his eyes and looked at the other guys on the bus, he really didn’t like what he saw:

    As for the underlying D’Souza article that inspired Gingrich, what is there to be said? When last was there such a brazen outburst of race-baiting in the service of partisan politics at the national level? George Wallace took more care to sound race-neutral.

    Jon Chait at The New Republic adds:

    “Gingrich was once the most powerful Republican in America and remains an influential figure within the party. D’Souza has done stints at the most prestigious conservative think-tanks. The line between man and kook is getting harder and harder to discern.”

    When they say they want their country back …

    Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 6:12 pm
    Tags:

    … they’re talking about that country where 22% of the population lives below the poverty line.

    The Great Society worked, y’all. And they can’t freakin’ stand it.

    Medical report, Chez Alexander

    Filed under: Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex @ 12:07 pm
    Tags: ,

    Victoria: Hooper. I am begging you. Will you please take cold medicine? Because every time you breathe, it sounds like there’s vomit up your nose!

    Hooper: Well, you would know, Miss Vomitrocious!

    Conflicted

    Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:20 am
    Tags: ,

    Depending on the day, or even the time of day, I can feel like either one of these people …

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