Saturday, November 7, 2009

A good question

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Unspoofable
I have been wondering why very very robust public options for flood and crop insurance are OK, but not for health insurance?
Lifted from the comments

John Cole on stuff

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Whatever
Nothing short of breaking up all the large banks, executing the credit ratings agencies, and then a strict and ruthless enforcement regime will help, and there simply is no willpower for that. Not only is there no willpower for this, as both parties are bought and paid for in full, but if there was any movement on this front, wingnut teabaggers would scream about socialism and tyranny, Reason magazine would scream about government involvement in the private sector and the free flow of capital and the glory of the invisible hand, moderate Democrats everywhere would worry about such public involvement, Joe Lieberman would spend months posturing in front of cameras with a furrowed brow, and whoever was tasked with enforcement would be found in bed with a hooker or whatever else is required to destroy them.

In short, we’re just screwed. Learn your place, deal with it, and learn how to grow food. Watching the way the big money boys have shaped the debate, whipping people who would be helped into a froth about socialism, it just seems so clear to me now after spending the last two decades in a haze. “Sorry unemployment is at 10 percent and you are losing your health insurance while I give myself a couple million dollar bonus, but socialism and Hitler and abortion on demand and death tax oh my God two gay men want the same rights as you! SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE! SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE!”

Such a joke.

John Cole is a recovering Republican

Yglesias on US internet infrastructure

Matthew Yglesias » Open Access Needed
* A certain strain of conservative persists in a perverse effort to try to deny this reality, pointing out irrelevant things like that Sweden is smaller than the U.S. or more urbanized. This is true, but the U.S. contains urban areas that are the exact same size as Stockholm and Göteberg and they have slower internet than those Swedish cities. Meanwhile one of our fastest states—about the same on average as Sweden—is the very rural New Hampshire. Our internet is slower because it’s slower, and it’s clearly slower.

On Patina

Caitlin Kelly - Broadside – Patina — The Beauty Of The Weathered And Worn - True/Slant
Some things are best enjoyed shiny and new: electronics, cookware, lingerie. When it comes to decorative and functional objects, patina rules. Patina is the change in appearance that occurs after years, decades, centuries — even millenia — of use. It comes with delicious names: craquelure, foxing, crazing, all of which denote what is, in effect, decay and ruin of the orginal, but a ruin that shows its age. Some can be repaired or restored and some must be left alone — like the paint on good, old furniture — to retain its commercial value.

Bank oversight

Wow. The banks are trying to create a new oversight board that can change accounting standards whenever they need to hide risk and insolvency from investors and the public. Seriously. And they are doing it in the name of making the economy more stable, if you can believe that. See the real problem comes when people know that banks are failing. So they need to keep that information hidden lest the whole system becomes unstable.


The Freak Show We Live In | Talking Points Memo
It's a pretty unhappy commentary that it has to be reported as news that people are taking issue with the use of pictures of the Dachau death camp as an illustration of the horrors of health care reform. But, alas, such is the world we're living in.
Funny how it seems to be more important to maintain it when it is the DFH's that are making a racket.

Yglesias vs Frum

Matthew Yglesias » Frum on Nuclear Socialism
We seem to me to be in agreement here. Even though carbon pricing ought to make nuclear power profitable on an operating cost basis, it would be prohibitively expensive to raise the capital necessary to construct nuclear plants. I think you could resolve this by having the state step in and do the financing. He thinks, I guess, that some counterfactual private utility could do it if it were far larger than any existing utility. But how would you make these mergers happen? That sounds to me like you need an active state.

I am not upset by this

Daily Kos: State of the Nation
When it's a choice between strengthening the Patriot Act, or showing up for the Tea Party Patriots, what's a GOP lawmaker to do? We'll give you one guess...

Several Republican members of Congress yesterday blew off votes on the signature anti-terror legislation of the post 9/11 era to attend Michele Bachmann's Tea Party rally against health-care reform.
It makes me laugh.


I haz not a sad after visiting this site

The Greening of IT

Greening Your IT Through Your Software Choices
Do your software choices affect the environment? They might. Computers and servers can consume a tremendous amount of natural resources, both through their manufacturing and the power they require to run day in and day out. Improperly disposing of old computers can have a significant negative environmental impact, as well. The carbon footprint of IT equipment in the United States is roughly equal to that of the U.S. airline industry, and growing rapidly, so there’s an environmental imperative for those who recommend and make IT decisions to look for ways to implement IT in a way that is less detrimental to the environment.

The opportunity to reduce environmental impact is not all that’s driving the growing interest in “green IT,” though. There’s a confluence of other opportunities, including cost savings and good technology, that make it compelling. Additional external factors like the Federal government's increasing focus on incentives and regulations may also be relevant for some organizations. Many green changes can be implemented in ways that don’t require the majority of staff members to change their habits, removing what is often a significant obstacle to other greening efforts.

How can you use software to enable more efficient, environmentally friendly IT? In this article, we round up some common examples.

Stupak amendment

Booman Tribune ~ A Progressive Community
So, it turns out that the price of passing health care reform in the House is selling women down the river. There will be a vote on the Stupak Amendment after all. And, no doubt, that amendment will pass. Private insurers will have to drop abortion coverage from plans that have it (which is most of them) in order to participate in the exchanges. The Public Option will not provide abortion coverage. People will get access to affordable health care, but they'll have to pay out of pocket for an abortion. If people want to move to a plan on the exchange, they'll lose the coverage that they currently have.

Problem Bank List

Calculated Risk: Unofficial Problem Bank List Grows to 505
The steady climb in members on the Unofficial Problem Bank list continued this week despite the failure of the multi-bank holding company FBOP Corporation, which took down 9 banks including 5 banks with aggregate assets of $17.5 billion that were on the Unofficial Problem Bank List.

There were 10 additions this week, which pushes the total number of institutions on the list to 505, up from 500 last week. Aggregate assets did drop to $330 billion from $341 billion a week ago.
There were 5 new bank failures yesterday as well.

Krugman FTW

Reagan! Reagan! Reagan! - Paul Krugman Blog -
Growth in per capita real GDP from 1950 to 1980: 2.2 percent per year
Growth in per capita real GDP from 1980 to 2007: 2.0 percent per year

Oh, and if we look at real median family income instead, we get:

Growth from 1950 to 1980: 2.3 percent per year
Growth from 1980 to 2007: 0.7 percent per year

Sorry: there’s no measure I can think of by which the U.S. economy has done better since 1980 than it did over an equivalent time span before 1980. It may be something you’ve heard, it may be something you’d like to believe, but it just didn’t happen.

Blog Comment of the Day So Far

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » So Why Didn’t You?
What we need to do in order to get the Republicans to vote for Healthcare Reform is to simply declare it to be The War On Health. They will fall over each other to vote yes.

I have come to the conclusion that the Repubs that are left simply do not give a shit about anyone other than themselves. Period.

House Health Care Debate part 9878

Infants Against Health Reform (IAHR) - Swampland -
GOP Congressman John Shadeeg just used the ultimate prop in his floor statement, hoisting six-month-old Maddie and telling his colleagues that the infant opposes the current health reform bill because, among other things, "she wants choices in her health care."
I know that members of the Republican Party do not have a monopoly on silliness. It does sometimes seem that try harder at it though.

Dating and Logic

From an online dating site that will remain nameless, this is the opening line of a lady's profile.

I am 5'6" and usually wear heels, so im looking for a man 5'10" or taller.

How does the 2nd part of that sentence follow from the first? A leap like that was enough to make me stop reading the profile for fear of having my computer disappear in a puff of logic. I don't mind if a woman says that she prefers that her male companion be several inches taller. I do mind that she assumes that it is the only logical choice to make.

Before anyone asks, I do meet her height requirements. This is not a matter of short man's syndrome in action.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tancredo and Kos and Mental Health

My regular readers know that I have a significant mental illness. Tom Tancredo got a deferment from serving in Viet Nam due to depression. That illness is basically all that he and I have in common.

I initially thought that it was a cheap shot for Kos to mention the reason for Tancredo's deferment until I saw (via a comment to the original story) that Tancredo had voted against a law that would require insurance companies to treat mental illness the same way as they treat physical illness.

I guess that it was ok for him to stay out of the war due to mental illness but not ok to have people with mental illness treated in the same manner by their insurance company as people with any other chronic (or acute) condition.

Dumbfuckery of the highest order.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Think Progress » Rep. Foxx: Health care reform is a bigger threat than ‘any terrorist right now in any country.’
Everywhere I go in my district, people tell me they are frightened. … I share that fear, and I believe they should be fearful. And I believe the greatest fear that we all should have to our freedom comes from this room — this very room — and what may happen later this week in terms of a tax increase bill masquerading as a health care bill. I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.
This is the dumbest fucking thing that I have heard all day. And to make sure that there isn't anything dumber out there that will make my head explode ... I am off to bed!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Now that is a lot of pork

Jeff Koyen - The Places You\’ll Go – Loan default leaves Russian bank with 40,000 quarantined pigs as collateral - True/Slant
When billionaire Alexander Lebedev’s National Reserve Bank seized collateral offered against a loan from a cash-strapped borrower, a health quarantine was slapped on the security: 40,450 pigs.

“We had a court decision to take away the collateral, which is the pigs,” Lebedev, 49, said in an interview. The borrower, a farm near Samara, agreed “with the local authorities to establish a quarantine” against African swine fever. Lebedev is still waiting to collect the pigs offered against a loan of 100 million rubles ($3.5 million). Live pig costs an average of 78.4 rubles ($2.70) per kilogram, the National Meat Association says.

Maine Same-Sex Marriage Vote Too Close to call

Daily Kos: ME-Init: Still tied
Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 10/26-28. Likely voters. (9/14-16 results)

As you may know, there will be one question on the ballot this November in Maine addressing the issue of same-sex unions. In part, it will read "Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry?" A "YES" vote takes away the right of same-sex couples to marry. A "NO" vote keeps the right of same-sex couples to marry. If the election were held today, would you vote YES or NO on this question?

Yes 47 (48)
No 48 (46)

That's a 3-point swing in the right direction, but it's within the poll's margin of error, so it could all be float. What we've got is a tied race, which was the case six weeks ago, and is the case this week. This will come down to field.
Would be nice for Maine to actually do the right thing here.

Maddow and Greenwald on Lieberman and Bayh

Glenn Greenwald: Lieberman and Bayh Enriching Themselves and Their Spouses with Opposition to Health Reform | Video Cafe
They went on to discuss the promises made by Joe Lieberman when he was allowed to keep his chairmanship and the way these corporate Democrats have been allowed to do anything they want while liberal Democrats have been threatened with loss of support unless they voted for the war supplemental bill.

It's just pathetic that this type of reporting is the rarity instead of the norm on cable television. If Lieberman and Bayh want to filibuster their own caucus in the Senate, I say break out the cots and the diapers.
Just another reason to love Rachel and Glennzilla

Charges pending?

Bush Nuclear Regulator Contacted Potential Employers With Business Before Agency | TPMMuckraker
A Bush administration official on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which oversees the safety of nuclear sites, is facing a criminal probe after an internal NRC report concluded that he broke ethics rules by approaching companies with business before the agency, and inquiring about employment.

Before his term expired in mid 2007, Jeffrey Merrifield contacted the Shaw Group, Westinghouse, and G.E. about jobs. Twice, he voted on issues that could have affected the financial fortunes of those companies, according to the report by the NRC's inspector general. The case has been referred to the Justice Department.
Usually these morons have enough sense to wait until after they have actually cleaned out the desks at their government office before they whore themselves out.

More hopeful news for the public option

Daily Kos: State of the Nation
Procedurally, having a public option reach the floor means that removing it will effectively take 60 votes. (As David Waldman explained to me, the hurdle would be set at 60 either by unanimous consent agreement or by the willingness of at least 41 senators to filibuster an amendment to strip the public option from the bill.)

As long as senators don't remove the public option from the bill (and there aren't 60 votes against the public option), the only way to stop the public option once it's on the floor will be to wage a successful filibuster against the entire bill -- and despite some loud bluffs, that isn't likely to happen.
They still need to get my douchebag of a esteemed senator onside.

These people make my brain hurt

Health Care Reform = Hellfire | Talking Points Memo
Randall Terry and fellow anti-abortion protestors staked out congressional staffers this morning with costumes and street theater dramatizing how said staffers will soon be burning in hellfire along with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for supporting health care reform.
Go watch the video for yourself. I couldn't make this shit up.

Dick Cheney, Wrong again

Michael Hastings - The Hastings Report – ‘The Taliban is out of business, permanently.’ (Or why Cheney has no credibility on Afghanistan, Part II) - True/Slant
Seven years ago, Dick Cheney proclaimed: “The Taliban is out of business, permanently.” Last week, the former vice-president came close to accusing Barack Obama of lacking the guts to “do what it takes” to win the war against the very same Taliban.

CIT Finally Files For Bankruptcy

CIT Files for Bankruptcy - DealBook Blog -
Update | 3:46 p.m. Three months ago, the CIT Group barely averted what it considered to be a ruinous bankruptcy filing that would likely have put the 101-year-old lender out of business.

On Sunday afternoon, the company filed for Chapter 11 — but under a so-called prepackaged bankruptcy plan that will enable it to emerge from court protection by the end of the year, under the control of its debtholders. (Read the filing after the jump.)

The filing, made in a Manhattan federal court, will still mean much pain for many parties, beginning with taxpayers. CIT received $2.3 billion in government aid last year, a bailout that came in the form of preferred stock. That will almost certainly be wiped out in the bankruptcy process, the first realized loss in the government’s rescue of the financial system.

Sports Betting and News - Strange Bedfellows

Matt Steinglass - Accumulating Peripherals – Funding the news through sports betting? Seriously? - True/Slant
Basically, the logic of the internet disaggregates this kind of stuff. The idea of funding newsrooms through online sports betting is the kind of arbitrary coupling that the internet tends to uncouple. If you had a company whose revenue came entirely from sports betting and it had to make some decisions about how much of that revenue to spend on news reporting, the chances are it would constantly cut the amount it spent on reporting and increase the amount it spent on advertising its betting services, or take it as profit, or whatever. Under the old newspaper model, people bought the paper to read the stories, and got the ads on the side. But people who want to do online betting don’t come to a site to read about Iran or the mayoral race and then do some sports betting on the side. They come to the site to bet on sports. Trying to couple that to newsgathering doesn’t make any sense and isn’t going to work.


Thursday Night Menu: Garlic, Garlic Edition « What’s 4 Dinner Solutions
I know this sounds like a crazy recipe, but the Garlic, Garlic Chicken is a keeper. The garlic roasts to a nice, nutty, sweet flavor, perfect with a slice of bread. Friends made this for me and after the first bite, I was sold, I couldn’t believe how good it was. The Sliced Pepper Salad came about because I was at the store last week and they had a huge sale on peppers of every color. Each one has a different flavor, so I didn’t want to do much too overwhelm that, but you can add sliced onion if it appeals to you. Get a really good Artisan bread and you’ve got a dinner that takes less than 20 minutes to prep.
There is no such thing as too much garlic in a meal!

via Balloon Juice

Diversity on Twitter

Jessica Faye Carter - Hyphenated – 6 great resources for diversity on Twitter - True/Slant
6 great resources for diversity on Twitter

Twitter has so many users that it can be hard to find and keep up with people whose interests dovetail with your own. If you’re interested in diversity-related topics, the following six people/accounts on Twitter are great resources for the latest news and information:
This is something every company thinks about nowadays and it is a very interesting topic because it doesn't necessarily mean what many executives think it does.


Whitney Little - A Little Dose Of Reality – And so ends the greatest love story of our time - True/Slant
Well, color me shocked: Father of the year Jon Gosselin and his attention-seeking girlfriend, Hailey Glassman, have called it quits. Strange, since they seemed perfectly stable after Hailey appeared on The Insider to cry about how Jon emotionally abuses her and throws “mantrums.”

There is a happy ending to this story

Michigan Gets a First Amendment Case : Dispatches from the Culture Wars
The Corunna board of education in Michigan has just stepped into a major First Amendment problem with a rash decision to remove a poster put up by the Diversity Club. The poster in question was nothing more than pictures of nine prominent gay people from sports, politics and entertainment.
The Corunna Board of Education voted Monday to remove a club project in a display case at Corunna High School that highlighted the acceptance of homosexuality and alternative lifestyles.

The Diversity Club's display featured about nine photos of athletes, politicians and educators who live a homosexual lifestyle, Corunna Superintendent Dr. Mark Miller said.

Ack, no. Not nine people who "live in a homosexual lifestyle" -- there is no such thing -- but just nine homosexual people. Homosexuals have no more common a lifestyle than straight people.

Probably after they consulted their lawyers, the school board has changed their decision.

On Vampire Squid and Financial Reform

Pruning back the power of the executive branch - Pruning Shears - It Isn't Reform Unless It Gives Goldman an Aneurysm
Still, it would be nice to have a rule of thumb, compass point or guiding principle to go by. Having been a reasonably close observer of the meltdown and its aftermath, here is one I have come up with: It is necessary (but not sufficient) that any proposal be strenuously opposed by Goldman Sachs (GS). In a largely protected industry Goldman appears to be the closest thing to untouchable as we have. It is in Matt Taibbi’s already-legendary description “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” It has installed a revolving door between the highest levels of the government and its board room, enjoys privileged lines of communication with the Treasury secretary exceeding even that of our closest allies, was happily positioned as a key competitor died, then days later benefited as a key debtor was drenched in cash (Yves Smith called it a “massive backdoor subsidy to the likes of Goldman”), and as it happens was the second largest contributor to the president in the 2008 election cycle. More so than any other player in financial services, GS always seems to be nearby when bad things happen.

Via Crooks and Liars

More Sarah Palin Love

Beck's prediction: Sarah Palin positioning herself for third-party run -- and a third party will win in 2012 | Crooks and Liars
Bill O'Reilly is "fascinated" with Sarah Palin, and has been featuring segments on her a lot of late. He had Glenn Beck on The O'Reilly Factor on Thursday night to talk about her prospects.

They agreed that her upcoming book tour is a "make or break" situation regarding her political future -- but that if she fares well with the media, she'll be well positioned for 2012. They also agree that resigning as governor before had even completed her first term was a "smart move."

Which gave Beck a launching pad for his prophesying mode:

Beck: Smart move. And I think she's also positioning herself for a third party. By the time this election runs around for the president, I'm sorry, but unless the Republicans and the Democrats wake up, a third party will win.

Presumably, by "wake up" Beck means "embrace the tea party philosophy of small government and big wingnuttery". The Democrats won't, but most likely the Republicans will. But I don't think it's going to be the recipe for victory Glenn Beck thinks it will be.
I very rarely lift an entire post from someone else but I couldn't figure out how to excerpt it that made sense. I don't feel too badly though because now I can point you to their site and get you to watch the actual O'Reilly/Beck droolfest.

The End of Federal Funding for Abstinence Only "Sex Ed"

Best News I've Heard All Week : Dispatches from the Culture Wars
This is very good news. Every dollar the religious right's money people have to spend on this is one less dollar they spend on other things. The ridiculous idea of abstinence-only sex ed is finally starting to be turned back. And on this one, let us praise Obama for doing exactly what he promised to do and getting rid of federal funding for this very, very bad policy.
I have never believed that "just say no" was a very effective way to teach kids about sex.

More Puppy Kicking

Bush Makes Bank : Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Am I the only one who sees "George Bush: Motivational Speaker" and thinks "Paul Blartz: Mall Cop"?
I really did laugh out loud at this one.

Another SuperFreakonomics Smackdown

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » How They Do It In Chicago
As much as I love the professional climatologists who write RealClimate, they rarely let the anti-science crowd bait them into the kind of high dudgeon that makes PZ Myers or Tom Levenson so much fun to read.

Part of the reason for their patient tone is that most denialists are either too limited (e.g., Inhofe) or too mercenary (TechCentralStation, George Will) to absorb any correction. Since the debate opponent won’t even acknowledge that you exist most of the time, real climate scientists usually write for interested third parties. That is what makes the response from RC to the pseudo-denialist authors of Superfreakonomics (in truth, contrarians of the vanity kind that DougJ writes about), professionals with credibility to defend, so worthwhile to read.
I know that at this point it is kind of like kicking a puppy but I had to share this. Wander over to Balloon Juice to read the comments and then to RealClimate to read the full post.

Dede Scozzafava pulls out

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Not Much Question What Will Happen Now
An earned day of rest and celebration for teabaggers, who claimed their first political scalp today.
Congratulations to them for helping to ensure that the GOP will not gain as many seats as usual during the off-year elections in 2010. If they seriously think that the US has lurched to the right they are in for a reality check next fall.

The Family Research Council good Christianists that they are, hate LGBT folk

Family Research Council: Gay Elderly? What Gay Elderly? : Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Well yes, of course. Giving medical treatment to gay people is rewarding their "lifestyle" (whatever the hell that means). I wish they'd just stop all this bullshit pretense in trying to construct arguments for their position. Everything they say really just comes down to them yelling "EWWWWWWW, WE DON'T LIKE THEM GAY PEOPLE!"
File this under dumbfuckery.