February 2009 Archives

You are not Him

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Republicans, Democrats criticize Jindal's speech:

"'To come up in this moment in history with a stale, 'Government is the problem, you can't trust the federal government' is just a disaster for the Republican Party,' Brooks said on PBS' 'The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.' 'It's not where the country is, it's not where the future of the country is.'"

(Via Yahoo! News.)

Exactly.

The Bottom of the Cage

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Chimp-Stimulus Cartoon Raises Racism Concerns - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com:

Racist Cartoon

(Via NY Times - City Room Blog.)

I'd say the Post belongs at the bottom of a bird cage, but that would mean you'd have to buy it first.

Built It and They Came

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Netbooks killing off sickly Windows PC sales — RoughlyDrafted Magazine:

"That has hit Microsoft particularly hard, resulting in an 11% drop in profits over its year ago quarter and plans to cut 5,000 jobs over the next year and a half. On the other hand, Apple posted its best quarterly results ever, with 9% growth in its Mac sales over the previous year."

(Via RoughlyDrafted Magazine.)

This what happens when you have to focus on making great products in order to survive.

Then Don't Take the Money

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Commentary: If you oppose stimulus, don't take the money - CNN.com:

"If Republican politicians are so deeply opposed to President Obama's economic recovery plan, they should refuse to take the money. After all, if you think all that federal spending is damaging, there are easy ways to reduce it: Don't take federal money."

(Via CNN.)

Throwing in Their 2¢

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Obama Campaigns Outside Washington to Win Insiders on Stimulus - Yahoo! News:

"While the president’s approval ratings are close to 70 percent, much of the public has been persuaded by arguments from congressional Republicans that the stimulus package is loaded with projects that won’t spur economic growth, according to Charles Jones, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Wisconsin in Madison."

(Via Yahoo! News.)

Why I have not no respect for the GOP. Party comes before country. Fully 2% of this package is what they've been harping about. That's 2¢ out of every dollar. The rest everyone agrees will stimulate the economy. Typical.

U.S. commanders favor slower Iraq pullout - Yahoo! News:

"The timelines under discussion are 16 months, proposed by Obama as a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, 19 months and 23 months, the officials said. 'The focus of the effort is on those three options,' said a U.S. official familiar with the process. A U.S. defense official said U.S. Army generals Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, favored the 23-month option."

(Via Yahoo! News.)

Not to be glib, but after 6 years 8 more months seems trivial either way.

You Don't Know Dick

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The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Official Website | Current Events & Pop Culture News, Comedy & Fake News | Comedy Central:

(Via The Daily Show.)

Seriously, this guy is truly bad news. So glad he's out of government. He's like a bad TV villain impersonator.

The Destruction of Truth

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The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Official Website | Current Events & Pop Culture News, Comedy & Fake News | Comedy Central:

(Via The Daily Show.)

This is why I think politicians destroy honest and open public discourse. The stupidty, hypocrisy and disingenuousness is palpable.

Shredding the Past

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Shredding PapersI shred papers going back 14 years. Wow.
Mobile Blogging from here.

Krugman Goes Medieval

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A Dark Age of macroeconomics (wonkish) - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com:

"There’s no ambiguity in either case: both Fama and Cochrane are asserting that desired savings are automatically converted into investment spending, and that any government borrowing must come at the expense of investment — period. What’s so mind-boggling about this is that it commits one of the most basic fallacies in economics — interpreting an accounting identity as a behavioral relationship... S + T = I + G After a change in desired savings or investment something happens to make the accounting identity hold. And if interest rates are fixed, what happens is that GDP changes to make S and I equal. That’s actually the point of one of the ways multiplier analysis is often presented to freshmen."

(Via NY Times Blogs.)

Ouch. Fama and Cochrane made a freshman mistake. That's why political ideology is soft-think.

Getting Value for Our Money (or Not)

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Bush overpaid banks in bailout, watchdog says - Yahoo! News:

"Overall, the panel and the analysts it retained to conduct the valuation study found that the Treasury used taxpayers' money to pay $62.5 billion more than the value of assets in the 10 transactions it examined. By extrapolating to the more than 300 institutions that received money, the panel concluded that the government in effect paid $78 billion more than the actual value of the assets at the time. 'Treasury chose to offer 'one size fits all' pricing in order to encourage all institutions to participate, and in so doing disregarded apparent differences in their financial condition,' the report states. 'A consequence is that Treasury effectively offered weaker participants greater subsidies than it offered to stronger participants.'"

(Via Yahoo! News.)

This was inevitable. Try to ram a plan that radically changed from day to day to fix a complex problem years in the making is going to make for "large" results. Depending on what Geitner puts out, we'll see how good or bad in comparison. Personally and I don't say this often, I'm with Newt Gingrich on this whole thing.

Obama Takes 'em to the "Chuch"

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Part 1 Top Quote:

No, seriously...that's the point!

Part 2 Top Quote:

Let's put Americans to work doing the work that America needs done.

PREACH!

Blogging from the iPhone

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This my first entry using iBlogger. Not too bad.

Salary Caps hit Wall Street

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Obama’s cap on CEO pay strives to end era of excess | csmonitor.com:

"‘This is America. We don’t disparage wealth. And we believe that success should be rewarded,’ Obama said. ‘But what gets people upset – and rightfully so – are executives being rewarded for failure. Especially when those rewards are subsidized by US taxpayers.’ The cap on compensation marks a sharp pay cut for executives of some of the largest banks, such as Citigroup and Bank of America. ‘If these executives receive any additional compensation, it will come in the form of stock that can’t be paid up until taxpayers are paid back for their assistance,’ Obama said."

(Via Christian Science Monitor.)

Contrary to conservative noises about communism, this is quintessentially American capitalist. Now if only corporate boards were actually independent of the executives they are supposed to oversee, we'd have this kind of check and balance all the time.

Stop Snitchin' SEC Style

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Lawmakers Criticize Role of SEC in Madoff Scheme - WSJ.com:

"'You are both a captive regulator and a failed regulator,' Harry Markopolos said of the SEC in highly anticipated testimony to a U.S. House subcommittee. Mr. Markopolos detailed his nine-year effort to alert federal regulators about Madoff, who is accused of engineering one of the largest swindles in U.S. history. The SEC was 'unable to understand' the complex financial instruments involved in the alleged fraud, Mr. Markopolos said, and regulators weren't interested in pursuing investigations against influential firms and investors."

(Via Wall Street Journal Online.)

Whistleblower ignored. Surprise, surpirse. This is what you get when you have people who hate government, running government. The SEC had no defense either on this.

The group of SEC officials declined to speak specifically about the Madoff case, but said they were doing their best to protect investors. "I think I speak for everyone when I say we hate fraud," said Linda Thomsen, director of the SEC's division of enforcement, said. Lawmakers, however, weren't impressed. "Your job is to prevent fraud, not to hate it," Mr. Kanjorski said, alternately describing the SEC's testimony as "oatmeal" and a "traveler's guide" that didn't address the issues exposed by the Madoff case.

Bam!

Obama on Anderson Cooper 360

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A Rose by Any Other Name

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I took part in a discussion about divorce, abusive relationships, and how female submission plays a misogynous role in evangelical, and more widely Christian, circles. The book Paul's Letter to the Ephesians in the Bible naturally surfaces, specifically the passage in Chapter 5 dealing with wives and husbands. It occurred to me how different the discussion might be if we stepped back and really took a look at Ephesians itself and the context it provides for its contents.

Virtually all scholars judge that it was not written by Paul himself but rather a disciple of his writing under Paul's name. Such forgery was a common and accepted practice in the ancient world with the rationale that the student was merely building on the master's ideas. It's why the book is considered one of the Deutero-Pauline books.

I wonder if it were common knowledge that Paul didn't write that epistle, would the drumbeat be so fierce on female submission? What would the justifications be?

Responsiblity

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Obama: 'I screwed up' in Daschle withdrawal - White House- msnbc.com:

"'I’ve got to own up to my mistake. Ultimately, it's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes,' Obama said on NBC’s 'Nightly News with Brian Williams.'"

(Via MSNBC News.)

It's sadly refreshing to see some honesty and forthrightness about himself in a President.

Joe the Plumber advises GOP-ers - Yahoo! News:

"Wurzelbacher, who became a household name during the presidential election, will be focusing his talk on the proposed stimulus package. "

(Via Yahoo!News.)

Absolute comedy.

Will the Stimulus Work?

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Will the Stimulus Work? | The FactCheck Wire:

"In the meantime, if you want to keep up with the experts and their (sometimes quite technical) arguments for and against the stimulus plan, we suggest Krugman and former Clinton Treasury official Brad DeLong on the pro side and Becker and George Mason’s Tyler Cowen on the con side. The Atlantic’s new Atlantic Business page helpfully breaks down the experts’ arguments for the layperson."

(Via FactCheck Wire.)

Check out both sides before arriving at an opinion.

Stimulate the Economy

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Obama stimulus plan faces changes in Senate - Yahoo! News:

"WASHINGTON – A top Republican called for more mortgage relief and additional tax cuts in President Barack Obama's massive economic stimulus package as Democrats conceded privately they will drop items that have drawn bipartisan criticism."

(Via Yahoo! News.)

Finally, some sense from the Congress. I've been suspicious of them since the TARP fiasco. Whatever happened to good governance? Apparently, once you are in power, it fades into the background. I've seen tortured logic trying to justify "pork" projects that don't stimulate the economy. These projects are to vary degrees laudable and worthy of legislation all on their own, but let's get real here. Tax cuts and government spending that creates jobs is what is needed. Condoms are not stimulative in the proper sense!

And Forgive Us Our Debts

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Saw a documentary today on Ted Haggard, the disgraced pastor. I thought I'd see Christian hypocrisy at its height, and I did. I just didn't expect from whom. There's a great quote from Haggard:

If they were playing chess instead of checkers they'd know the church's business was me, the sinner.

Word. As self-serving as that statement might be, it's spot on. These evangelical types really demonstrate the reality that our faith is almost defined by hypocrisy in our modern culture from their position on homosexuality to its treatment of the sinner. As a Christian, I was very angered by what I saw. It demonstrated, yet again, how we Christians fail God on the basics:

Jesus taught us to pray this way

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9-13

He goes on to say, "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." That's just basic to our faith: forgive the sinner. And yet so quickly forgotten.

Word to the Wise

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Under Obama, `war on terror' catchphrase fading - Yahoo! News:

"The 'War on Terror' is losing the war of words. The catchphrase burned into the American lexicon hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is fading away, slowly if not deliberately being replaced by a new administration bent on repairing the U.S. image among Muslim nations."

(Via Yahoo! News.)

Nuance continues to reign.

The Audacity of Nope

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Colbertnation | The Colbert Report Official Site | Comedy Central:

(Via The Colbert Nation.)

Genius critique on the House vote.