Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yglesias » Social Security Trust Fund

Yglesias » Social Security Trust Fund: "The only issue with the Social Security Trust Fund is that if you assume ROTG will repay its debts, that means ROTG will need to obtain that many through tax hikes or spending cuts. Conversely, if ROTG avoids tax hikes or spending cuts, that will require additional hikes or cuts from Social Security. But it’s hardly as if the overall federal budget deficit is some kind of secret number that people don’t know about because trust fund accounting is confusing them. The point is that ROTG is facing a very large budget deficit over the next 30 years, and that insofar as you try to reduce ROTG’s deficit by rejecting obligations to Social Security then that merely increases Social Security’s actuarial deficit. By the same token, if we reduce federal spending by cutting aid to K-12 schools, then states and municipalities will have a bigger budget gap. The mere fact that the US public sector can be examined at different levels of comprehensiveness doesn’t mean that the distinctions are irrelevant somehow."

U.S. Pursues Sweeping Insider-Trading Probe -

U.S. Pursues Sweeping Insider-Trading Probe - "The criminal and civil probes, which authorities say could eclipse the impact on the financial industry of any previous such investigation, are examining whether multiple insider-trading rings reaped illegal profits totaling tens of millions of dollars, the people say. Some charges could be brought before year-end, they say."

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » And the Asshats Shall Inherit the Earth

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » And the Asshats Shall Inherit the Earth: "Our government is rapidly becoming a joke; it’s turned into a punchline. You’ve got George Bush making jokes about the TSA’s new policy of sexually assaulting nearly every person who comes within an eight mile radius of the airport. (And yes, in my view, it is sexual assault. I don’t want some random stranger groping my twins and caressing my lady areas. I mean, hell. If you’re going to feel me up, at least take off the gloves… and then call me the next day.)"

Emotiv EPOC EEG Headset Hacked | h+ Magazine

Emotiv EPOC EEG Headset Hacked | h+ Magazine: " Cody Brocious has created Cody's Emokit project, an open source library for reading data directly from the Emotiv EPOC EEG headset.  The Emotiv headset is a consumer EEG headset.  In common slang, it's a brain-computer interface.  When you buy an Emotiv headset, you are told only to use Emotiv software with the device.  Now, Emokit shakes up the status quo."

Rachel Maddow Tells Glenn Beck to Leave the IAVA and the Veterans Alone | Video Cafe

Rachel Maddow Tells Glenn Beck to Leave the IAVA and the Veterans Alone | Video Cafe: "Rachel Maddow asks fear monger Glenn Beck to leave the IAVA the hell alone. Glenn Beck painted the non-partisan veterans group as an evil union supporting, George Soros, radical, communist organization that is 'duping' people into supporting our veterans returning home from war. It's just shameless what Beck did and Rachel who normally doesn't want to weigh into the fray of Beck's madness finally had enough of it and spoke out on her show this week."

CBC News - Consumer Life - Rogers faces $10M fine over dropped-call ads

CBC News - Consumer Life - Rogers faces $10M fine over dropped-call ads: "The Competition Bureau is seeking a penalty of $10 million against Rogers Communications Inc. for ads claiming that its discount cellphone and text service, Chatr, has fewer dropped calls than its new competitors."

Pawlenty weighs 2012 vs. margaritas – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs

Pawlenty weighs 2012 vs. margaritas – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs
'One thing I am planning is that if I don't run for president, I'm going to open a margarita bar in Florida,' Pawlenty told CNN national political correspondent Jessica Yellin. 'I'm going to get some Kenny Chesney music; I'm going to get a flower shirt.'
I will pledge to visit said bar.

Zandar Versus The Stupid: Absolutely Positively On Purpose

Zandar Versus The Stupid: Absolutely Positively On Purpose: "Block all efforts to improve the economy, and you get rewarded for it.  I've been saying this, literally, for years now.  This year's midterms are proof this plan can work.  But people besides me are finally arriving at this conclusion.  The Republican scorched earth campaign has a cost, and we're the ones paying.  If America falls apart, the Republicans will gain power."

Will Turkey Day Fliers Cry Foul? -

Will Turkey Day Fliers Cry Foul? - "The fear is that Thanksgiving travelers—many of them students, families and older people who fly once or twice a year—will be unfamiliar with TSA procedures and slow to get through checkpoints. Full-body scanners require removal of wallets, belts, jewelry and everything inside pockets.

'With people getting partially molested at checkpoints, all that is going to be a real shock for them,' said Greg Wells, senior vice president of operations at Southwest Airlines. 'TSA will create an issue for us. It's going to slow things down.'

Southwest will have employees with walkie-talkies at checkpoints to hold airplane departures if passengers are stuck in long lines."

Social networking extends battery life

Social networking extends battery life: "The team has demonstrated an innovative service based on serendipitous cooperation among a set of users physically located in an urban environment and all sharing a common goal. They suggest, based on a simulation of such peer-shared activity, that users can save up to 70% of the energy of their mobile device batteries than current practice on data downloads allows."

CBC News - Consumer Life - Obama seeks less intrusive air security measures

CBC News - Consumer Life - Obama seeks less intrusive air security measures: "U.S. President Barack Obama has asked security officials whether there's a less intrusive way to screen airline passengers than the pat-downs and body scans causing a Thanksgiving-season uproar.

For now, they've told him there isn't one, the president said Saturday in response to a question at the NATO summit in Lisbon.

'I understand people's frustrations,' Obama said, while acknowledging that he's never had to undergo the stepped-up screening methods."

Why Sarah Palin Shouldn't Run - Mona Charen - Townhall Conservative

Why Sarah Palin Shouldn't Run - Mona Charen - Townhall Conservative: "By telling Barbara Walters that she thinks she can defeat President Obama, Sarah Palin has dimmed hopes cherished by sensible Republicans that she might decide against a run for the White House in 2012. Here are just some of the reasons she should not run."

Falling for one manufactroversy : Respectful Insolence

Falling for one manufactroversy : Respectful Insolence: "Denialist campaigns depend upon manufactroversies; i.e., 'controversies' that are not really scientific controversies but rather are manufactured. The anti-vaccine movement is no different. Too bad Critical Dune fell for the manufactroversy."

Tony Stewart – Who Needs a Sprint Cup Title When You Have a Sprint Car Title? | Catchfence

Tony Stewart – Who Needs a Sprint Cup Title When You Have a Sprint Car Title? | Catchfence: "Yet one more title might be in the cards for Stewart the car owner. His two USAC drivers – Jones and Bryan Clauson – are currently 1-2 in the inaugural USAC National Driver’s Championship, separated by just five points with only two races remaining. Whoever tops the other Nov. 20 in the USAC National Midget Car Series race at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway and Nov. 25 in the 70th annual Turkey Night Grand Prix at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) will win the National Driver’s Championship, as no other driver remains in contention to win."

Zandar Versus The Stupid: What A Boob

Zandar Versus The Stupid: What A Boob: "'She put her full hand on my breast and said, 'What is this?' Bossi recalled. 'And I said, 'It's my prosthesis because I've had breast cancer.' And she said, 'Well, you'll need to show me that.''"

Top Five Cautions for Futurists | h+ Magazine

Top Five Cautions for Futurists | h+ Magazine: "When I think about the future, often it's not about specific technologies or their obvious benefits and dangers. Instead I ponder how past technological breakthroughs have interacted in unexpected ways with human institutions, politics, and human nature itself, and how similar things might happen again. Here are five things to keep in mind."

Open data is the electricity of the 21st century « Web of Data

Open data is the electricity of the 21st century « Web of Data: "Note that I’m not trying to advocate that all data on earth should be open to everyone. This is maybe the biggest difference to electricity. There are cases (and let’s be honest, quite a few) where the privacy, concerning a person or an organisation, must take precedence over the ‘openness’ of the data. But let this be no excuse to not publish your data on the Web, if there are no privacy concerns."

"Like going to Las Vegas and throwing down a million dollars to win a nickel." - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

"Like going to Las Vegas and throwing down a million dollars to win a nickel." - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan: "In Madrid, [I chaired] a working group on intelligence at the time of the revelations of the abuses in Iraq. I was being pummeled by men who are not squeamish, not hand-wringing compassionate folks, [who said] it was worse than immoral -- it was stupid. The information really had very little value, and yet the loss that we took strategically to our reputation is tremendous. This is like going to Las Vegas and throwing down a million dollars to win a nickel."

Madame Ovary of the Minority - Janet M. LaRue - Townhall Conservative

Madame Ovary of the Minority - Janet M. LaRue - Townhall Conservative: "Blue Dog Democrats lost their House seats after falling for a sucker play by Pelosi and President Obama. Despite their objections to the abortion spending in ObamaCare, several Blue Dogs voted for it after Obama issued a sham executive order 'prohibiting' spending on abortion services."

Yglesias » The Land Market

Yglesias » The Land Market: "The takeaway I think you should have from this is simply to recall how little of actual politics is driven by contrasting views about the merits of “free markets” and/or “small government.” To a first approximation, I would say zero percent of tea party conservatism is driven by attachment to these concepts. You have people here who enjoy their existing low density lifestyles, they like the fact that said lifestyles are explicitly and implicitly subsidized through a variety of public policy measures, and they don’t like the idea of losing those subsidies. What’s more, they regard their antagonists as somewhat culturally alien. So they’re pissed off. The fact that a small government approach to land use would in fact lead to denser lifestyles, more bus commuting, and smaller homes is of absolutely zero interest to them."

A Mystery Box Full of Red Matter | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine

A Mystery Box Full of Red Matter | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine: "I’m posting it here because, as wonderful as the talk is, I disagree with it at a deep level. Yes, indeed, the concept of “mystery” is absolutely crucial to what makes a story compelling. But I think Abrams takes the idea too far, valorizing mystery for its own sake, rather than as motivation for the characters and the audience to try to solve the mystery. The reason why mysteries are interesting is because we want to figure them out! If they are simply irreducibly mysterious — if there is no sensible explanation that ultimately makes sense of all the clues — then it’s simply frustrating, not magical."

Home on the Range: Why I Don't Write Advice Columns

Home on the Range: Why I Don't Write Advice Columns You can go read but it has been done about 50 times. I just link to mock the lack of originality. And conservatives wonder why people think they are not funny.

Woman trying to get deal on laptop actually buys piece of wood for $200 | Steele Creek News

Woman trying to get deal on laptop actually buys piece of wood for $200 | Steele Creek News: "STEELE CREEK - A woman who thought she was getting a good deal on a cheap laptop from Best Buy employees actually bought a piece of wood from scam artists, police say."

Long Live the Web: Scientific American

Long Live the Web: Scientific American: "The world wide web went live, on my physical desktop in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 1990. It consisted of one Web site and one browser, which happened to be on the same computer. The simple setup demonstrated a profound concept: that any person could share information with anyone else, anywhere. In this spirit, the Web spread quickly from the grassroots up. Today, at its 20th anniversary, the Web is thoroughly integrated into our daily lives. We take it for granted, expecting it to “be there” at any instant, like electricity."

Hyper-Rich GE Holds Workers Hostage for Tax Cuts | Firedoglake

Hyper-Rich GE Holds Workers Hostage for Tax Cuts | Firedoglake: "This fabulously wealthy company paid exactly $0 in US taxes last year, despite reporting $11.2 billion in net earnings on revenues of $156.8 billion. 2010 10-K p. 84. GE claimed to lose $498 million in the US. It claimed to make $10.8 billion overseas. Those foreign earnings required GE to pay taxes of $2.4 billion to foreign governments. (Note 14, p. 133), but the US losses meant that it owed no US taxes, and gets what it calls a “tax benefit” of $1.9 billion. Here is GE’s explanation:"

UN worries its troops caused cholera in Haiti - Yahoo! News

UN worries its troops caused cholera in Haiti - Yahoo! News: "But this week, after anti-U.N. riots and inquiries from health experts, the top U.N. representative in Haiti said he is taking the allegations very seriously."

Zandar Versus The Stupid: The Fall Of The House Of Gates Part II

Zandar Versus The Stupid: The Fall Of The House Of Gates Part II: "With products like OpenOffice, and the universal Internet browser, casual computer users can accomplish just about everything they want using a free product. Google Docs has made collaborating easy, and Ubuntu offers a user friendly operating system, all for free. The current economy is going to hasten the inevitable, and people are going to start asking why they would spend $299 on a CD. The stink of Windows ME still haunts my generation, but Vista will be the stinker of the newcomers. Microsoft's technology has not become extinct, but our need for it has. People are wanting to take control over their computers, and Microsoft's 'dummy proof at the right of being able to own your system' approach is stale. And not so dummy proof, after all."

Yglesias » Skilled Immigrants

Yglesias » Skilled Immigrants: "I was at a dinner Thursday night where an ideologically diverse group of people were talking about entrepreneurship, and basically everyone agreed that America could boost its growth rate by being more welcoming to skilled immigrants. And frankly, I just don’t see any way of disputing this."

Print Story: Marriage & Money: My, How Things Have Changed! - Yahoo! News

Print Story: Marriage & Money: My, How Things Have Changed! - Yahoo! News: "The trend, which occurs over a background of declining marriage rates, suggest that while Americans of low socioeconomic status are just as likely as well-off Americans to want to get married, they place a high premium on financial stability before marriage, a bar they may never meet."

Amway Global Business Analysis - a look at the Amway Quixtar business opportunity

Amway Global Business Analysis - a look at the Amway Quixtar business opportunity: "The general public does not take time to understand the poor overall economics of Quixtar's 'buy from your self' product merchandising plan.  Federal Trade Commission pyramiding regulations require companies like Amway/Quixtar and their Lines of Affiliation to sell a majority of their volume to non-distributors to avoid being an illegal pyramid scheme.  In reality most distributors have no customers besides themselves.  An active Quixtar distributor could spend a couple of thousand dollars and hundreds of hours per year to promote a business model that has just a few thousand dollars of sales, with most sales to the distributor himself.  When you add up the actual cost of time used to promote this scheme and compare it to the volume of product sold, it is has to be the world's least efficient product marketing method.  Distributors are taught 'If the dream is big enough, the facts don't count'.  The facts make little difference to most distributors since they are taught to believe their dream is possible for anyone willing to just work hard enough and recruit enough people to the pyramid."

Skeptics in the Show Me State This Weekend

Skepticon 3: "Welcome to the home page of Skepticon, one of the nation's largest annual skeptic events. The event this year will take place on Friday, November 19, Saturday, November 20 and Sunday, November 21 at the Springfield Expo Center in Springfield, Missouri."

The Mathematics of Terrorism | Math | DISCOVER Magazine

The Mathematics of Terrorism | Math | DISCOVER Magazine: "Soon the new team had a database that included more than 20,000 separate incidents from two and a half decades of FARC attacks. Johnson and Spagat expected that the success of the attacks, measured in the number of people killed, would cluster around a certain figure: There would be a few small attacks and a few large ones as outliers on either end, but most attacks would pile up in the middle. Visually, that distribution forms a bell curve, a shape that represents everything from height (some very short people, some very tall, most American men about 5'10') to rolls of the dice (the occasional 2 or 12, but a lot of 6s, 7s, and 8s). Bell curves are called normal distribution curves because this is how we expect the world to work much of the time. But the Colombia graph looked completely different. When the researchers plotted the number of attacks along the y (vertical) axis and people killed along the x (horizontal) axis, the result was a line that plunged down and then levelled off. At the top were lots of tiny attacks; at the bottom were a handful of huge ones."

University of Michigan Wins MAGIC | Robot Living

University of Michigan Wins MAGIC | Robot Living: "Shown here is the University of Michigan team in Australia at the MAGIC competition.  This team bested out 4 other teams in the final rounds to bring home a whopping $750,000 prize!  Congratulation guys, nice job.  Photo by Ed Olson"

Wrestler Mick Foley Hits The Hill For Rape Kit Legislation | TPMDC

Wrestler Mick Foley Hits The Hill For Rape Kit Legislation | TPMDC: "Wrestler Mick Foley -- whose meeting with Tori Amos and subsequent work for the Rape, Abuse & Incest Action Network that she co-founded was chronicled on Slate in September -- joined RAINN, assault survivor-turned-advocate Julie Weil and 'Private Practice' actress KaDee Strickland on Capitol Hill this week to push for passage of the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (SAFER) Act."

TSA Enabling Legislation

United States Code: Title 49,CHAPTER 449—SECURITY | LII / Legal Information Institute: "CHAPTER 449—SECURITY"


EPBOT: Geek Girls, ACTIVATE!!: "And Katie, my little Star Wars sister? I think I speak for every Epbot reader here when I say: Don't let the scruffy nerf herders get you down. You rock that water bottle with pride, and know that there are thousands of other fans out there (myself included) who would be proud to share a lunch table with you."

Bridge Fall Fail

Oops: Air Force sends tanker bid details to rivals - Yahoo! News

Oops: Air Force sends tanker bid details to rivals - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON – The Air Force mistakenly gave rival companies sensitive information that contained each other's confidential bids in a long-standing, multibillion dollar competition to build a new refueling tanker."

Antimatter Breakthrough Could Lead to Starships, Says Scientist | News & Opinion |

Antimatter Breakthrough Could Lead to Starships, Says Scientist | News & Opinion | "Krauss isn't as bullish as Kaku on the long-term applications of antimatter. Even though he is the author of The Physics of Star Trek, Krauss had just one thing to say when asked about antimatter-powered starships.
'Don't hold your breath.'"

The New Faux-Pro Camera -

The New Faux-Pro Camera - "The NEX-3 from Sony claims to be the smallest ILC in the world, which explains why it's missing a pop-up flash as well as a physical dial to change settings. The high-shine aluminum lens barrel and perfect (for righties, at least) one-handed balance makes up for the relatively basic design. This camera's best feature is its kid-oriented Anti Motion Blur mode. It fires a burst of six shots using natural light, and then processes the data to produce one hopefully blur-free image. There's a learning curve to shooting, waiting to process and burst-shooting again, but the results can verge on miraculous."

Merry Xmas From the GOP

House Rejects Unemployment-Extension Bill - "Lawmakers in both parties expect a compromise eventually to be reached—but not until December, after the current program expires. Without an extension, 800,000 unemployed workers will lose their benefits by Nov. 30 and two million by the end of December. A similar lapse in benefits occurred last summer as Congress struggled to break another impasse."

Noonan: To Run or Not to Run, That Is the Question -

Noonan: To Run or Not to Run, That Is the Question - "Right now, at this moment, it looks like the next Republican nominee for president will probably be elected president. Everyone knows a rising tide when they see one. But everything changes, and nothing is sure. President Obama's poll numbers seem to be inching up, and there's reason to guess or argue that he hit bottom the week after the election and has nowhere to go but up."

Dangerous Prototypes · USB IR Toy manual

Dangerous Prototypes · USB IR Toy manual: "Use a remote control with your computer, view infrared signals on a logic analyzer, capture and replay infrared signals, and play TV POWER codes."

Exec Predicts Leaf Sales Will Hit 500,000 Per Year - Captain Hybrid | Blog on Design News

Exec Predicts Leaf Sales Will Hit 500,000 Per Year - Captain Hybrid | Blog on Design News: "            Ghosn also predicted that the Leaf would hit sales of 500,000 a year in three years."

Rubes - Marv Smells Good


Is Complexity Theory On The Brink? « Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP

Is Complexity Theory On The Brink? « Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP: "Let me give a short history of the search for “good” pivoting rules for Simplex. The Simplex method is really a family of algorithms: at each step the algorithm essentially moves around the vertices of the polytope defined by the linear constraints. The key is the decision of where to move next: the pivot rule. In practice there are many simple rules that work extremely well; however, the complexity question is to find a rule that always works efficiently."

Note to Alan Simpson - STFU

Alan Simpson: Deficit Plan Can Pass After Debt Limit 'Blood Bath' | TPMDC: "'I can't wait for the blood bath in April,' said Alan Simpson at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast roundtable with reporters this morning. 'It won't matter whether two of us have signed this or 14 or 18. When debt limit time comes, they're going to look around and say, 'What in the hell do we do now? We've got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give 'em a piece of meat, real meat, off of this package.' And boy the bloodbath will be extraordinary.'"

CBC News - Ottawa - Ottawa police stand by HIV disclosure

CBC News - Ottawa - Ottawa police stand by HIV disclosure: "Ottawa police are standing by their decision earlier this year to release the photograph of a man who didn't disclose his HIV-positive status to partners."

CBC News - Nova Scotia - VIDEO: Charges from Smurfberries

CBC News - Nova Scotia - VIDEO: Charges from Smurfberries: "A Hubley, N.S., father is upset that a free iPad game he got for his son resulted in credit card charges."

Pat Burns - RIP

Former NHL coach Pat Burns dies: "Pat Burns, one of the most successful NHL coaches of the past 20 years, died Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Burns, 58, died while surrounded by his family at La Maison Aube-Lumière in Sherbrooke, Que.

During his 14-year NHL coaching career, Burns posted a 501-353-151-14 record in 1,019 games behind the bench of the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils.

Burns won the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2003, and is the only person in league history to win three Jack Adams Trophies, awarded to the NHL's coach of the year."

youtube - Amanda Mabro - Alcohol

Terrific stuff

Chamber's Anti Health Care Advocacy Financed By Insurers, Big-Dollar Contributions | TPMDC

Chamber's Anti Health Care Advocacy Financed By Insurers, Big-Dollar Contributions | TPMDC: "In 2009, a single $86.2 million contribution from the health insurance industry's largest trade association, AHIP, accounted for almost half of the Chamber of Commerce's total contributions. Much of that money was dedicated to the Chamber's then-escalating campaign against the health care reform bill -- a campaign the Chamber characterized as an advocacy effort on behalf of the broader business community."

Neon Lamps in a microwave

Questioning a Payroll Tax Holiday | Capital Gains and Games

Questioning a Payroll Tax Holiday | Capital Gains and Games: "Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin have proposed a one-year payroll tax holiday to stimulate the economy. I have previously explained why I think monkeying around with the payroll tax is a dreadful idea and won't repeat my argument here. Today, I just want to ask one question: What are the odds that Republicans will ever allow this one-year tax holiday to expire? They wrote the Bush tax cuts with explicit expiration dates and then when it came time for the law they wrote to take effect exactly as they wrote it, they said any failure to extend them permanently would constitute the biggest tax increase in history. Sadly, Obama allowed himself to fall into the Republican trap, but that's another story. My point is that if allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire is the biggest tax increase in history, one that Republicans claim would decimate a still-fragile economy, then surely expiration of a payroll tax holiday would also constitute a massive tax increase on the working people of America. And what are the odds that the economy won't still be fragile a year from now? Zero, I would say."

Latest Fraud: Foreclosure Document Fees | The Big Picture

Latest Fraud: Foreclosure Document Fees | The Big Picture: "The parade of illegality, corruption and fraud seems to be never ending. Here is the latest nonsense coming to light: Phoney process fees 10-20X what they should be."

Wedbush: Cheap as a Fox | The Big Picture

Wedbush: Cheap as a Fox | The Big Picture: "I find this worldview perplexing. I grew up hardscrabble, put myself thru college and grad school, and once I came into a little coin, never hesitated to enjoy it. I cannot imagine looking back from one’s death bed, and gratefully remembering the nickels and dimes that were saved by eating brown bag tuna brought from home:"

The Topic of Depression Economics in a Nutshell - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

The Topic of Depression Economics in a Nutshell - Grasping Reality with Both Hands: "There are two ways to look at it: half-full and half-empty.

The half-full way is that of Alan Blinder, adviser to the Obama campaign, and Mark Zandi, adviser to the McCain campaign. They have a paper claiming that if the government had simply stepped back in the fall of 2008 and let the economy “liquidate” itself, that right now our unemployment rate would be 16%.

The fact that the unemployment rate now is only 9.6% rather than 16%—Henry Paulson who was Bush’s secretary of the treasury and Tim Geithner who is Obama’s secretary of the treasury take pride in that as a substantial accomplishment: their policies have kept 6.5% of the American labor force from becoming unemployed.

The half-empty way is to say: “Wait a minute. The unemployment rate ought to be 5%. Even an generous estimate of how much extra structural unemployment there is in America today the unemployment rate should still not be much above 6%. But it is 9.6%. It is way above where it ought to be if the market were working smoothly and well. Policy simply has not done enough.”

That is the spine of the topic of depression economics."

Last Word Segment on Servicer Abuses « naked capitalism

Last Word Segment on Servicer Abuses « naked capitalism: "The MSNBC show Last Word had a segment on servicer abuses in foreclosures. It’s good to see this issue start to get traction in the MSM."

The Politics of the Mortgage Interest Deduction, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

The Politics of the Mortgage Interest Deduction, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty: "What looks like a small, sensible reform to someone not involved in lobbying takes on enormous significance to the lobbying group. Thus, seemingly sensible reforms that both parties might support can be as difficult to enact as more comprehensive measures. Again, this is also true for trying to trim public sector employee compensation or for trying to reform entitlements. The lobbyists fight small reforms just as vigorously as they fight larger changes."

Michael Steele Attacks Establishment, Stakes Claim As A Tea Party Voice In The RNC | TPMDC

Michael Steele Attacks Establishment, Stakes Claim As A Tea Party Voice In The RNC | TPMDC: "Now, it seems, Steele is attempting to turn that winning bet on the tea party into political capital heading into the RNC's highly contested leadership elections this January. Steele hasn't publicly stated that he's running for a second term as chair of the RNC, but plenty of Repubicans have come out of the woodwork to warn RNC members against reelecting him anyway."

Tyler Durden Makes A Funny

Will Larry Kudlow Follow Olbermann And Scarborough In (Temporary) "Biased Reporting" Exile? | zero hedge: "We wonder whether this means we actually may a day or two without supply-side general extraordinaire Larry Kudlow at the CNBC helm since obviously NBC will strive to enforce objectivity at all of its broadcast partners?"

Pension Pulse - Nortel Pension Fallout

Pension Pulse: "These claims arise when employers promise to pay long term disability benefits and then self-insure them without setting aside any or enough money in a trust account to fund these benefits in the event the employer were to become bankrupt."

A portion of a scene from a life

He sat in a near empty bar beside a very friendly brunette that was doing her best to get him to take her home. Little did they know that they wouldn't even make it out of the parking lot.

Let’s Put Our Son’s Birth Up for a Vote — The Good Men Project Magazine

Let’s Put Our Son’s Birth Up for a Vote — The Good Men Project Magazine: "
Meet Pete and Alisha Arnold, two 30-year-olds living in a Minneapolis suburb. They’ve been married for 10 years, and since September, they’ve been posting health updates of their expected baby son on As the site’s address suggests, they’re also letting the Internet vote on whether or not Alisha should go through with the birth—or terminate her pregnancy at 20 weeks.

If these psychotic assholes keep their child then Children's Services should immediately seize the child upon birth because they are evidently insane and cannot be trusted to make a decision on their own.

One day, I hope to stop being surprised. : Lawyers, Guns & Money

One day, I hope to stop being surprised. : Lawyers, Guns & Money: "Minus a bit about some lady finding a coat Beck’s father owned in a Seattle pawn shop, this is the argument Beck proffered on November 19, 2010 and it is premium-grade insane. I’m not talking “your stated reasons for supporting tax cuts for the wealthy are disingenuous” insane. I’m talking “you couldn’t tell a premise from a conclusion if one were labeled ‘premise’ and the other ‘conclusion’” insane. His disconnect from the world is either so cynical as to be sociopathic or so fundamental as to be dissociative."

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » How ‘Bout You All Just Suspend Phil Griffin Indefinitely

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » How ‘Bout You All Just Suspend Phil Griffin Indefinitely: "I know there is a lot of competition out there, but Phil Griffin is really working for the title of “Worst Executive 2010.” Just clueless."

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » I can not begin to describe the crazy

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » I can not begin to describe the crazy: "The newsy bit is that she confirms that she is all but an announcement away from running for President—but that is hardly news to anybody paying attention. What struck me was the deep levels of paranoia of Palin and her team paired with a her demand for cult-like loyalty as a precondition to work for her. And her cult of Sarah is wedded to a world view that is seriously at odds with history, science, the Constitution and reality. Her run for the White House will be a solid bet on the stupidity of Americas and her ability to get them to trust her and her cult with the future of the Nation."

Friday, November 19, 2010

On debating

"Andrew complains, hyperbolically to be sure, that this is 'like Stalin being grilled by the Politburo'. But actually, I would be interested in watching a Presidential debate moderated by the likes of Limbaugh and Levin and co. Lord knows, there will be plenty of opportunities for Wolf Blitzer and Brian Williams and the rest to ask dumb questions. Why shouldn't the conservative movement's own favourites have the chance to do so in a nationally-televised format too?"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Daily Kos: Get Wall Street out of the White House

Daily Kos: Get Wall Street out of the White House: "Yeah, you better repair that relationship, frayed by record success amidst global economic meltdown! Obama should tell those whiners to go fuck themselves, rather than bend over backwards to coddle them. Those assholes should be grateful the taxpayers bailed them out, rather than bitch about imagined slights."

Nova Scotia News -

Nova Scotia News - "Stable — but not necessarily cheaper — electricity costs could be ahead for Nova Scotians with a $6.2-billion tentative deal to bring hydro-electric power from Labrador to Cape Breton."

'Huge ball of fire' actually meteor shower, N.S. officials say - Front -

'Huge ball of fire' actually meteor shower, N.S. officials say - Front - "Early Thursday evening, emergency crews rushed to Nova Scotia’s South Shore after getting reports that a “huge ball of fire” had fallen from the sky near Exit 16 on Highway 103."

Too Good to Check -

Too Good to Check - "On Nov. 4, Anderson Cooper did the country a favor. He expertly deconstructed on his CNN show the bogus rumor that President Obama’s trip to Asia would cost $200 million a day. This was an important “story.” It underscored just how far ahead of his time Mark Twain was when he said a century before the Internet, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” But it also showed that there is an antidote to malicious journalism — and that’s good journalism."

'Birthright citizenship' will be target of House GOP majority | McClatchy

'Birthright citizenship' will be target of House GOP majority | McClatchy: "WASHINGTON — As one of its first acts, the new Congress will consider denying citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States."

Zandar Versus The Stupid: StupidiNews Focus: The Ghailani Trial Was A Success

Zandar Versus The Stupid: StupidiNews Focus: The Ghailani Trial Was A Success: "I don't get conservatives. They were going to attack this verdict no matter what happened, and now that Holder and Obama have proven a civilian trial works and can get far nastier penalties than military tribunals, they have to tell us 'how the families of the victims must feel' and use them as props in order to justify their own lack of merit."

Matt Miller - Ohhh, America, you're so strong

Matt Miller - Ohhh, America, you're so strong: "The conservative use of American exceptionalism as a political sword today is perversely revealing. There's something off when the first generation of Americans that is less educated than its parents feels a deep need to be told how unique it is. Or that a generation that's handing off epic debts and a chronically dysfunctional political process (among other woes) demands that its leaders keep toasting its fabulousness. Especially when other nations now offer more upward mobility, and a better blend of growth with equity, than we do - arguably the best measures of America's once-exceptional national performance."

Wis. man shoots TV over Bristol Palin routine on 'Dancing' | | Daily Record

Wis. man shoots TV over Bristol Palin routine on 'Dancing' | | Daily Record: "MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Authorities say a 67-year-old rural Wisconsin man enraged over Bristol Palin's 'Dancing with the Stars' routine blasted his television with a shotgun, leading to an overnight standoff with a SWAT team."

youtube - Moscow Cat Theatre

Week 9 - Results - Dancing With The Stars

Anyone that doubts the power of Sarah Palin needs only watch the results of DWTS. We underestimate her at our peril

Palin On 2012 Presidential Bid: I Could Beat Obama (VIDEO) | TPM LiveWire

Palin On 2012 Presidential Bid: I Could Beat Obama (VIDEO) | TPM LiveWire: "Not only is she considering it, but Palin told Barbara Walters in an interview that will air in full on December 9 that she thinks she can win."

Fuckwittage: Bryan Fischer Edition

Bryan Fischer: We've 'Feminized' Medal Of Honor By Not Giving It To Soldiers Who Kill More People | TPMMuckraker: "Bryan Fischer, the 'Director of Issues Analysis' for the conservative Christian group the American Family Association, was unhappy yesterday that President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to a soldier for saving lives. This, Fischer wrote on his blog, shows that the Medal of Honor has been 'feminized' because 'we now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them.'"

John Ensign Is Running Again -- And One Poll Shows That's Not A Bad Idea | TPMDC

John Ensign Is Running Again -- And One Poll Shows That's Not A Bad Idea | TPMDC: "'I would not take it for granted that Ensign is dead in the water for reelection,' Jensen wrote. 'Either in the primary or general.'"

Mellissa McEwan's POMO take on The Tally to Restore Sanity/Fear

Shakesville: So, Jon Stewart Was on the Rachel Maddow Show:
Still whinging that his Big Important Rally was misunderstood, Jon Stewart took a seat beside Rachel Maddow and, in the first segment of their interview (the remaining pieces of which, as well as the raw, unedited interview in its entirety, can be found here), explained what the rally was REALLY all about to us stupidfuck critics who are too daft to get hip to his jive

I generally like Melissa McEwan's take on things but this LONG rant is fucking stupid. To say that someone's intent does not matter (and that IS what she is saying) is to live in a world that is different than the one that everyone else inhabits.

If Melissa wants to get pissed maybe she should ask herself why no one except Jon Stewart (and that Beck asshole) was successful in getting people to gather on the Mall in any numbers. The system is broken, I agree with her there, but to blame it in some fashion on Jon Stewart is simply asinine.

A Message From Transport Canada

Wherein I agree with James Fallows

Security Theater Cont: Choose Your Line - James Fallows - National - The Atlantic: "Someone tell me how this makes sense. It's so important to check every single passenger for every single thing he or she might be concealing under the clothes -- unless the passenger decides to take the left fork. I looked at the brand name of the enhanced scanner as I went by. I think it said 'Maginot.'"

Wherein I agree with Megan McArdle

National Opt-Out Day - Megan McArdle - Business - The Atlantic: "Maybe there's some compelling security advantage I don't know about, but most of the security experts I read have been pretty silent about what these benefits might be. Meanwhile, we're putting more effort into screening airplane passengers (and pilots!!!) than cargo. Is that because it makes us safer? Or because it's easier, and more visible? I would be more sanguine about all this nonsense if it didn't seem like we're the proverbial drunk searching for the keys under the streetlight not because that's where they were dropped, but because the light's better."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Manhood in Four Moments — The Good Men Project Magazine

Manhood in Four Moments — The Good Men Project Magazine: "Four snapshots from Tom Matlack’s life in transition show a man at his most successful, most destructive, most vulnerable—and, finally, most at peace."

Physicists Convert Information into Energy | Maxwell's Demon | LiveScience

Physicists Convert Information into Energy | Maxwell's Demon | LiveScience: "'The true energetic cost of this information-to-energy conversion experiment lies somewhat hidden in its huge peripheral apparatus (including the doctoral student who is operating the experiment),' Van den Broeck wrote. 'As such, the experiment is reminiscent of producing a tiny shot of energy from nuclear fusion in a reactor that is consuming considerably more energy.'"

Awesome - the band

OUPblog » Blog Archive » OUP USA 2010 Word of the Year: Refudiate

OUPblog » Blog Archive » OUP USA 2010 Word of the Year: Refudiate:


More Media Fuckwittage

On Faith Panelists Blog: A problem of his own making - Ronald Rychlak: "Let's be clear: One cannot see into the heart of another, and we must respect and accept the president's claim to be a fully believing Christian. It is unfortunate that he has had to face so many crazy theories, beliefs, and downright falsehoods. On the other hand, his demeanor and his approach to religion is the cause of most of the problems." » How Life Ends For Cancer Patients Depends On The Hospital » How Life Ends For Cancer Patients Depends On The Hospital: "The report released today by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care argues that many patients are getting aggressive care that might not be best for them. It also adds to the drain on Medicare’s pocketbook -- a point the report doesn't address."

Politico comment of the day

POLITICO Forums:Politics: Behind postponed summit: GOP distrust of Obama - "I love all the hate-filled invectives against Obama from the right-wing trolls here.  One thing i notice, however, none of them ever seem to claim that we would be so much better off with McCain. Apparently, even the trolls realize that is just plain crazy talk."

Church in Arizona protested because it looks like a mosque | Video Cafe

Church in Arizona protested because it looks like a mosque | Video Cafe
In Phoenix, Arizona, a new Christian church has residents fearing that it is an Islamic mosque.
Hilarity ensues

Matt Taibbi: Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners | Rolling Stone Politics

Matt Taibbi: Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners | Rolling Stone Politics: "This is the dirty secret of the rocket docket: The whole system is set up to enable lenders to commit fraud over and over again, until they figure out a way to reduce the stink enough so some judge like Soud can sign off on the scam. 'If the court finds for the defendant, the plaintiffs just refile,' says Parker, the local attorney. 'The only way for the caseload to get reduced is to give it to the plaintiff. The entire process is designed with that result in mind.'"

Michael Bloomberg & Joe Scarborough: The Independent Odd Couple

Michael Bloomberg & Joe Scarborough: The Independent Odd Couple
WASHINGTON -- There's no campaign yet, and there may never be, but New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and MSNBC's morning talk-show host Joe Scarborough have begun trying to figure out whether they could be an independent presidential ticket in 2012 -- and who would be better to be on top if it happens.

Give me a fucking break

Huffington post as troll

The huffington post has published a piece on Willow Palin's activity on her Facebook page.

Shame on them. She is a 16 year old kid that has done nothing worse than being Sarah Palin's daughter.

Pathetic and unworthy.

And yes you will have to google it if you want to find the piece, it revolted me and I won't link to it.

a metaphor

Pearls Before Swine

CBC News - Nova Scotia - Christmas tree on annual N.S.-Boston trek

CBC News - Nova Scotia - Christmas tree on annual N.S.-Boston trek: "A 15-metre tree from Nova Scotia is on its way to Boston as part of an international Christmas tradition that has been going on for almost 40 years."

CBC News - Nova Scotia - N.S. bicyclists to get wider berth on roads

CBC News - Nova Scotia - N.S. bicyclists to get wider berth on roads: "The push to get car drivers to share the roads began earlier this month with a private member's bill from Dartmouth East Liberal MLA Andrew Younger.

On Monday,Transportation Minister Bill Estabrooks announced he's' making changes to provincial legislation.

The new rules would require motorists to make room when they pass a cyclist in a bike lane, and also make it illegal to park in a bike lane.

Under the changes, bicyclists will have to ride single file and in the same direction as traffic."


I have known many people with eating disorders over the years. I never saw it as some sort of lifestyle choice.

This is something that I just cannot fathom.

Hopefully someone will explain it to me.

My #1 Service Provider is Google?

Hi to all that are tuning in from Google. According to my analytics you are now nearly half my audience. Granted that is because not that many people read this blog but it does make me wonder how the heck this happened.

Congratulations to Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer

Full story at Amanda's blog

Politico uncritically regurgitates GOP line? unpossible

That's the Story? (#GalacticFail Edition) | Talking Points Memo: "Only it didn't work out according to plan. The president came, talked, took questions. And with the president there making his own arguments it was much more difficult for folks like Pence and others to claim, unrebutted, that Health Care Reform was going to cost $50 trillion, enforce mandatory castration and have one out of five grannies ritually slaughtered on a stone slab the bend the cost curve for longterm care. Put simply, the Republicans came off looking kind of stupid, unable to make their arguments when the president was there to point out the holes in their arguments. In this case, I was sympathetic to the president and to reform. So I'm sure people who didn't share those sympathies saw the whole encounter differently. But House Republicans' reaction then and now suggests they saw it pretty much as I did -- that the president embarrassed them. Not by crashing the event, or ambushing them. But just because he did better at it than they thought he would and they didn't do well at all. They invited him to make him look diminished. But he ended up making them look unserious and unprepared because they weren't able to respond when he pointed out the holes in their arguments."

On Mathematics in Schools

Go read the whole rant here (pdf)
The Standard School Mathematics Curriculum

The indoctrination begins. Students learn that mathematics is not something you do, but something that is done to you. Emphasis is placed on sitting still, filling out worksheets, and following directions. Children are expected to master a complex set of algorithms for manipulating Hindi symbols, unrelated to any real desire or curiosity on their part, and regarded only a few centuries ago as too difficult for the average adult. Multiplication tables are stressed, as are parents, teachers, and the kids themselves.

Students are taught to view mathematics as a set of procedures, akin to religious rites, which are eternal and set in stone. The holy tablets, or “Math Books,” are handed out, and the students learn to address the church elders as “they” (as in “What do they want here? Do they want me to divide?”) Contrived and artificial “word problems” will be introduced in order to make the mindless drudgery of arithmetic seem enjoyable by comparison. Students will be tested on a wide array of unnecessary technical terms, such as ‘whole number’ and ‘proper fraction,’ without the slightest rationale for making such distinctions. Excellent preparation for Algebra I.

So as not to waste valuable time thinking about numbers and their patterns, this course instead focuses on symbols and rules for their manipulation. The smooth narrative thread that leads from ancient Mesopotamian tablet problems to the high art of the Renaissance algebraists is discarded in favor of a disturbingly fractured, post-modern retelling with no characters, plot, or theme. The insistence that all numbers and expressions be put into various standard forms will provide additional confusion as to the meaning of identity and equality. Students must also memorize the quadratic formula for some reason.

Isolated from the rest of the curriculum, this course will raise the hopes of students who wish to engage in meaningful mathematical activity, and then dash them. Clumsy and distracting notation will be introduced, and no pains will be spared to make the simple seem complicated. This goal of this course is to eradicate any last remaining vestiges of natural mathematical intuition, in preparation for Algebra II.

The subject of this course is the unmotivated and inappropriate use of coordinate geometry. Conic sections are introduced in a coordinate framework so as to avoid the aesthetic simplicity of cones and their sections. Students will learn to rewrite quadratic forms in a variety of standard formats for no reason whatsoever. Exponential and logarithmic functions are also introduced in Algebra II, despite not being algebraic objects, simply because they have to be stuck in somewhere, apparently. The name of the course is chosen to reinforce the ladder mythology. Why Geometry occurs in between Algebra I and its sequel remains a mystery.

Two weeks of content are stretched to semester length by masturbatory definitional runarounds. Truly interesting and beautiful phenomena, such as the way the sides of a triangle depend on its angles, will be given the same emphasis as irrelevant abbreviations and obsolete notational conventions, in order to prevent students from forming any clear idea as to what the subject is about. Students will learn such mnemonic devices as “SohCahToa” and “All Students Take Calculus” in lieu of developing a natural intuitive feeling for orientation and symmetry. The measurement of triangles will be discussed without mention of the transcendental nature of the trigonometric functions, or the consequent linguistic and philosophical problems inherent in making such measurements. Calculator required, so as to further blur these issues.

A senseless bouillabaisse of disconnected topics. Mostly a half-baked attempt to introduce late nineteenth-century analytic methods into settings where they are neither necessary nor helpful. Technical definitions of ‘limits’ and ‘continuity’ are presented in order to obscure the intuitively clear notion of smooth change. As the name suggests, this course prepares the student for Calculus, where the final phase in the systematic obfuscation of any natural ideas related to shape and motion will be completed.

This course will explore the mathematics of motion, and the best ways to bury it under a mountain of unnecessary formalism. Despite being an introduction to both the differential and integral calculus, the simple and profound ideas of Newton and Leibniz will be discarded in favor of the more sophisticated function-based approach developed as a response to various analytic crises which do not really apply in this setting, and which will of course not be mentioned. To be taken again in college, verbatim.

Youtube - Cat & Gator

Do not piss this kitty off

Doctrinal Statement - Christian Identity, White Race, Christian Right, Christian Patriot, Nationalism, Conservative, Seedline

Doctrinal Statement - Christian Identity, White Race, Christian Right, Christian Patriot, Nationalism, Conservative, Seedline: "WE BELIEVE the White, Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and kindred people to be God's true, literal Children of Israel. Only this race fulfills every detail of Biblical Prophecy and World History concerning Israel and continues in these latter days to be heirs and possessors of the Covenants, Prophecies, Promises and Blessings YHVH God made to Israel. This chosen seedline making up the 'Christian Nations' (Gen. 35:11; Isa. 62:2; Acts 11:26) of the earth stands far superior to all other peoples in their call as God's servant race (Isa. 41:8, 44:21; Luke 1:54). Only these descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel scattered abroad (James 1:1; Deut. 4:27; Jer. 31:10; John 11:52) have carried God's Word, the Bible, throughout the world (Gen. 28:14; Isa. 43:10-12, 59:21), have used His Laws in the establishment of their civil governments and are the 'Christians' opposed by the Satanic Anti-Christ forces of this world who do not recognize the true and living God (John 5:23, 8:19, 16:2-3)."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The South shall rise again | Arkansas Reporter | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

The South shall rise again | Arkansas Reporter | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art: "But there are Republicans and there is Republican Loy Mauch, elected to represent House District 26 near Hot Springs. A former head of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans post in Hot Springs, Mauch calls the Confederate flag 'a symbol of Jesus Christ,' and is a current member of The League of the South, a group which works toward the formation of an independent Southern nation."

Monday, November 15, 2010

All the lonely people - Roger Ebert's Journal

All the lonely people - Roger Ebert's Journal: "On a blog people confess and reveal. Some don't sign their names, but what does a name mean on the internet anyway? They write to me, they write to each other, they link to blogs, and I read. They feel stranded within themselves. Some can't find romantic partners to interest them. Some have lost a great love and feel they will never love again. Others say they have a lot of sex but still feel empty. Some fear no one will ever be interested in them."

Amusement for monday

Enlargenze from 5-Second Films on Vimeo.

The Startup Visa And Why The Xenophobes Need To Go Back Into Their Caves

The Startup Visa And Why The Xenophobes Need To Go Back Into Their Caves: "Every time I publish a research paper on immigration or write an article for BusinessWeek or TechCrunch, the xenophobes rush out of their caves to launch mindless attacks. They fill the comment sections with bile, send me nasty emails and sometimes threaten to do me harm. I was convinced that my last BusinessWeek column on the Startup visa presented such a compelling argument that even these poor souls would support it."

Ultra-small is beautiful for Japanese homeowner -

Ultra-small is beautiful for Japanese homeowner - "He spent approximately $500,000 to build his home, a bargain for a brand new home in Tokyo, one of the world's most expensive cities. Moriya could have rented a bigger apartment, but he desperately wanted to be a homeowner. With a limited budget but a desire to be a landowner, Moriya found his compromise."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Microsoft surrenders on Linux Kinect hack | ZDNet

Microsoft surrenders on Linux Kinect hack | ZDNet: "There are two reasons for the possible back-down:

Microsoft lawyers recognized it has no legal case against Martin, who made no changes to the hardware.
Microsoft marketers realized that the drivers might, in the end, be a gold mine for Microsoft.
As Adafruit noted, the OpenKinect code takes the interface far from its roots in gaming. It is now available for education and robotics applications."

The day Google became evil...

"Don't be evil." - Google's Corporate Motto

I suspect there's a way, a secret way, to link my brand spanking new account to my facebook, but if there is, they sure aren't making it easy for users like me to find it. Yes, I'm new, but isn't the purpose of a good user interface to be simple and intuitive? There's nothing of that sort to help me here.

It makes me wonder what user-hoarding forces and corporate interests are at play in this non-integration debacle. Still I believe there's a way, and I shall figure it out!

Let's see if Bing can help... Hurm... Hurmmmm... Huh? Hurmm...


Lesson of the day: evil and useful is better than evil and helpless.

Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator

Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator: "The U.S. health care system is possibly the most inefficient in the world: We spend twice as much per person on health care as other advanced countries, but we have worse health outcomes, including a lower life expectancy. The government, through programs like Medicare and Medicaid, pays for approximately half of the country's health care, almost all of which is actually provided by the private sector. Thus, the bulk of our projected rising budget deficits are due to skyrocketing health care costs."

Another Libertarian gets run over by reality

Last week I was hospitalized - Healthcare | Ron Paul 2012 | Campaign for Liberty at the Daily Paul: "This all got me thinking. I hold the paleoconservative/libertarian position on healthcare and still have, however, this got me thinking that no wonder the other side fights so fervently about this. There are people such as myself that simply cannot live. You are attacking their existence."

No Sex please

Hullabaloo: "I would bet if they changed the campaign to feature gorgeous young women getting hot for middle aged men, they'd have no problem getting on the air. I suspect that part of the problem is that it features middle aged women instead of young sexy babes, which just makes everybody uncomfortable. It's one thing to see a bunch of paunchy, middle aged men dancing in the streets celebrating the fact that they got it on. It's normal to think of them having sex. Middle aged and older women? I suspect that programmers and ad buyers think that's just icky."

Wonk Room » Home Page

Wonk Room » Home Page: "Despite what McCain might think, the military has confidence in the quality of its study. Even the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James Amos, to whom McCain refers during the Meet the Press interview, disagrees with McCain on the study. In September, during Amos’ confirmation hearings, McCain tried to get Amos to cast doubt on the study. But Amos rebuffed McCain, saying he was confident in it. And despite the fact that he personally opposes repealing DADT, Amos expressed no reservations about enforcing a new policy, saying, “If this policy is changed. The last thing you’re going to see your Marine Corps do is try to step in and push it aside. That will simply not be the case.”"

Yglesias » Backwards Causation

Yglesias » Backwards Causation: "Economics aside, I’ll just make the sociological observation that it’s strange to bolster an argument in favor of free markets and against government intervention via a theory which holds that the operation of the market is in fact so delicate that downbeat utterances from George W Bush can lead to a worldwide loss of trillions of dollars in output."

Yglesias » Uncertainty and Aggregate Demand

Yglesias » Uncertainty and Aggregate Demand: "So if for whatever reason businessmen or politicians or media figures or anyone else feels more comfortable expressing the situation as one caused by “uncertainty” that’s fine. But the name of the game is still fiscal and monetary expansion. But instead the proposed cure typically seems to be “shift public policy in a more rightwing direction.” That wouldn’t do anything about uncertainty or a shortfall in aggregate demand. It’s just a faux-sophisticated way of saying “I’m a rich businessman who wants politicians to cater to my interests more.”"

Eunomia » The Return of “The Return of National Greatness”

Eunomia » The Return of “The Return of National Greatness”: "Seriously, I think what gets people to “sacrifice” for some larger national project is the sense that there actually IS a nation, i.e. that we really are all co-participants in this thing. Now, I know that most Americans don’t resent the rich and don’t just vote their straight economic interests, but even so, I’ve gotta believe that when they hear elites like Brooks who make umpteen hundred thou a year calling on them to “sacrifice,” at some level it just rings hollow, because they know those elites themelves are not really planning to co-participate. A guy who will never need his own Social Security COLA really just cannot speak with any force about the greatness of sacrificing it."

Fun With Deficit Numbers

Cut The Deficit

Most Americans See Tea Party Movement as Separate From GOP

Most Americans See Tea Party Movement as Separate From GOP
Forty-seven percent of the overall public sees the movement as separate from the GOP while 38 percent say it is part of it, with 16 percent undecided. Republicans see the movement as separate by a 54 percent to 36 percent margin, while Democrats lump the two together by 48 percent to 33 percent, (the remainder in both cases are undecided). Independents regard the tea party movement as separate by 55 percent to 32 percent, with 14 percent undecided.

Evidence that most Americans just do not pay attention to politics. Those of us that are political junkies forget that at our peril.

Media Fuckwittage

Opinion | One and done: To be a great president, Obama should not seek reelection in 2012: "To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012."

More TSA Security Theater

This experience is from a blogger who has put it into the public domain and so I am presenting it in its entirety.

[These events took place roughly between 5:30 and 6:30 AM, November 13th in Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport. I'm writing this approximately 2 1/2 hours after the events transpired, and they are correct to the best of my recollection. I will admit to being particularly fuzzy on the exact order of events when dealing with the agents after getting my ticket refunded; however, all of the events described did occur.

I had my phone recording audio and video of much of these events. It can be viewed below.

Please spread this story as far and wide as possible. I will make no claims to copyright or otherwise.]

This morning, I tried to fly out of San Diego International Airport but was refused by the TSA. I had been somewhat prepared for this eventuality. I have been reading about the millimeter wave and backscatter x-ray machines and the possible harm to health as well as the vivid pictures they create of people's naked bodies. Not wanting to go through them, I had done my  research on the TSA's website prior to traveling to see if SAN had them. From all indications, they did not. When I arrived at the security line, I found that the TSA's website was out of date. SAN does in fact utilize backscatter x-ray machines.

I made my way through the line toward the first line of "defense": the TSA ID checker. This agent looked over my boarding pass, looked over my ID, looked at me and then back at my ID. After that, he waved me through. SAN is still operating metal detectors, so I walked over to one of the lines for them. After removing my shoes and making my way toward the metal detector, the person in front of me in line was pulled out to go through the backscatter machine. After asking what it was and being told, he opted out. This left the machine free, and before I could go through the metal detector, I was pulled out of line to go through the backscatter machine. When asked, I half-chuckled and said, "I don't think so." At this point, I was informed that I would be subject to a pat down, and I waited for another agent.

A male agent (it was a female who had directed me to the backscatter machine in the first place), came and waited for me to get my bags and then directed me over to the far corner of the area for screening. After setting my things on a table, he turned to me and began to explain that he was going to do a "standard" pat down. (I thought to myself, "great, not one of those gropings like I've been reading about".) After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "if you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested." He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.

We both stood there for no more than probably two minutes before a female TSA agent (apparently, the supervisor) arrived. She described to me that because I had opted out of the backscatter screening, I would now be patted down, and that involved running hands up the inside of my legs until they felt my groin. I stated that I would not allow myself to be subject to a molestation as a condition of getting on my flight. The supervisor informed me that it was a standard administrative security check and that they were authorized to do it. I repeated that I felt what they were doing was a sexual assault, and that if they were anyone but the government, the act would be illegal. I believe that I was then informed that if I did not submit to the inspection, I would not be getting on my flight. I again stated that I thought the search was illegal. I told her that I would be willing to submit to a walk through the metal detector as over 80% of the rest of the people were doing, but I would not be groped. The supervisor, then offered to go get her supervisor.

I took a seat in a tiny metal chair next to the table with my belongings and waited. While waiting, I asked the original agent (who was supposed to do the pat down) if he had many people opt out to which he replied, none (or almost none, I don't remember exactly). He said that I gave up a lot of rights when I bought my ticket. I replied that the government took them away after September 11th. There was silence until the next supervisor arrived. A few minutes later, the female agent/supervisor arrived with a man in a suit (not a uniform). He gave me a business card identifying him as David Silva, Transportation Security Manager, San Diego International Airport. At this point, more TSA agents as well as what I assume was a local police officer arrived on the scene and surrounded the area where I was being detained. The female supervisor explained the situation to Mr. Silva. After some quick back and forth (that I didn't understand/hear), I could overhear Mr. Silva say something to the effect of, "then escort him from the airport." I again offered to submit to the metal detector, and my father-in-law, who was near by also tried to plead for some reasonableness on the TSA's part.

The female supervisor took my ID at this point and began taking some kind of report with which I cooperated. Once she had finished, I asked if I could put my shoes back on. I was allowed to put my shoes back on and gather my belongs. I asked, "are we done here" (it was clear at this point that I was going to be escorted out), and the local police officer said, "follow me". I followed him around the side of the screening area and back out to the ticketing area. I said apologized to him for the hassle, to which he replied that it was not a problem.

I made my way over to the American Airlines counter, explained the situation, and asked if my ticket could be refunded. The woman behind the counter furiously typed away for about 30 seconds before letting me know that she would need a supervisor. She went to the other end of the counter. When she returned, she informed me that the ticket was non-refundable, but that she was still trying to find a supervisor. After a few more minutes, she was able to refund my ticket. I told her that I had previously had a bad experience with American Airlines and had sworn never to fly with them again (I rationalized this trip since my father-in-law had paid for the ticket), but that after her helpfulness, I would once again be willing to use their carrier again.

At this point, I thought it was all over. I began to make my way to the stairs to exit the airport, when I was approached by another man in slacks and a sport coat. He was accompanied by the officer that had escorted me to the ticketing area and Mr. Silva. He informed me that I could not leave the airport. He said that once I start the screening in the secure area, I could not leave until it was completed. Having left the area, he stated, I would be subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine. I asked him if he was also going to fine the 6 TSA agents and the local police officer who escorted me from the secure area. After all, I did exactly what I was told. He said that they didn't know the rules, and that he would deal with them later. They would not be subject to civil penalties. I then pointed to Mr. Silva and asked if he would be subject to any penalties. He is the agents' supervisor, and he directed them to escort me out. The man informed me that Mr. Silva was new and he would not be subject to penalties, either. He again asserted the necessity that I return to the screening area. When I asked why, he explained that I may have an incendiary device and whether or not that was true needed to be determined. I told him that I would submit to a walk through the metal detector, but that was it; I would not be groped. He told me that their procedures are on their website, and therefore, I was fully informed before I entered the airport; I had implicitly agreed to whatever screening they deemed appropriate. I told him that San Diego was not listed on the TSA's website as an airport using Advanced Imaging Technology, and I believed that I would only be subject to the metal detector. He replied that he was not a webmaster, and I asked then why he was referring me to the TSA's website if he didn't know anything about it. I again refused to re-enter the screening area.

The man asked me to stay put while he walked off to confer with the officer and Mr. Silva. They went about 20 feet away and began talking amongst themselves while I waited. I couldn't over hear anything, but I got the impression that the police officer was recounting his version of the events that had transpired in the screening area (my initial refusal to be patted down). After a few minutes, I asked loudly across the distance if I was free to leave. The man dismissively held up a finger and said, "hold on". I waited. After another minute or so, he returned and asked for my name. I asked why he needed it, and reminded him that the female supervisor/agent had already taken a report. He said that he was trying to be friendly and help me out. I asked to what end. He reminded me that I could be sued civilly and face a $10,000 fine and that my cooperation could help mitigate the penalties I was facing. I replied that he already had my information in the report that was taken and I asked if I was free to leave. I reminded him that he was now illegally detaining me and that I would not be subject to screening as a condition of leaving the airport. He told me that he was only trying to help (I should note that his demeanor never suggested that he was trying to help. I was clearly being interrogated.), and that no one was forcing me to stay. I asked if tried to leave if he would have the officer arrest me. He again said that no one was forcing me to stay. I looked him in the eye, and said, "then I'm leaving". He replied, "then we'll bring a civil suit against you", to which I said, "you bring that suit" and walked out of the airport.

This video starts with my bag and belongings going through the x-ray machine.They're kind of long, and they don't show much, but the audio is really good.

I was in the middle of telling someone that if I was going to be felt up, I wanted it done in public so that everyone could see what it is that the TSA does. Here is the rest of that video.

After I was escorted out to the ticketing area, I went to have my ticket refunded. I didn't have the opportunity or the presence of mind to turn the camera back on until everyone walked away from me.

Oil Sands Could ‘Delay’ Peak Oil - Candice Beaumont -- Seeking Alpha

Oil Sands Could ‘Delay’ Peak Oil - Candice Beaumont -- Seeking Alpha: "In Canada, it's in very remote places, it's 40 below zero, nobody is going to that neighborhood. In the U.S., in West Texas, people live where the oil reserves are and so you couldn't have the type of environmental impact that they are doing in Canada, where they are basically destroying the environment. If a bird flies over a river near the oil sands, the bird dies just from flying over the river. It's that toxic. They are just dumping all the waste into the waterways. If you did that in the U.S. you would be in jail."

Respectful insolence Comment of the day

Spot the flaw in the argument in this pitch... : Respectful Insolence: "It reminds me of a doctor's reply to the question 'should I take 'Royal Jelly'?' (That is the food that makes queen bees.) He replies 'Sure, if you want to grow three times your normal size and ovulate millions of times ...'"

Allah does not exist, and Mohammed was a fraud : Pharyngula

Allah does not exist, and Mohammed was a fraud : Pharyngula: "You know, the gods are only harmless phantasms. It's their believers who are parasites and killers and dangerous lunatics."

Tricks with Graphs: Deliberate Misinformation on Fox : The Corpus Callosum

Tricks with Graphs: Deliberate Misinformation on Fox : The Corpus Callosum: "But no.  The most likely explanation is that they wanted a simple, visually punchy graph that would convey a message at a glance, and would not invite closer inspection.  The Fed graph is a bit more complicated.  Someone might be tempted to inspect it and think about it.  Maybe they would even go the the site mentioned at the bottom, and start poking around, start thinking about how they would be better off getting their news somewhere other than Fox.  After all, the Fed graph shows that job losses stabilized shortly after we got a new president."


Pharyngula: "Oh, well. It's important news, I guess. 'Catholics are crazier than we imagined!' should have been the front page headline."

Canadian reality series Lake Shore engineered to offend - Things That Go Pop!

Canadian reality series Lake Shore engineered to offend - Things That Go Pop!: "A press release issued earlier this week says that the premise is meant to 'test Toronto's theory of inclusiveness,' but to call Lake Shore a social experiment would be giving it too much credit. This is pure provocation, and the trailer is determinedly offensive. Not only that, the idea is determinedly un-Canadian. As a nation that has tried so hard to make multiculturalism work, Lake Shore is large step backward."

CBC News - British Columbia - Driver who forgot gun in truck acquitted

CBC News - British Columbia - Driver who forgot gun in truck acquitted: "'The U.S. Supreme Court has declared fairly recently … that there is a constitutional right in the United States for citizens to bear arms for protection, for self-protection … Perhaps in Canada, we assume that a person carrying around a loaded gun or dangerous weapons are criminals, and we are usually right. In the United States, that is not the case.'"

Winners Don’t Punish - Or do they?

Winners Don’t Punish « The Leisure of the Theory Class: "Why do I tell you about this paper? Because I do not like experiments. I do not see what we gain from them. The title of this paper, for example, is “Winners Don’t Punish”. Is this the right conclusion? I do not think so. Because the game is short, there is not much time for learning, for using a punishment. If you were punished, you lose 4, and there is hardly any time to regain your losses. And even if the game were longer, and players could teach each other that defection leads to punishment and is therefore not profitable, will an experiment on $10 teach us anything about decisions in the real world? The Roman Empire used to punish heavily. And it worked, as long as it was the strongest. Most dictators punish, and some last decades. So in real life, if you are strong, you can punish as much as you wish. I still wait to see the experiment that will convince me that it reveals some insight on real life."

The Man in the Frey Flannel Suit « Whatever

The Man in the Frey Flannel Suit « Whatever: "Seriously, people. $500 and unauditable net points for a novel? That contract probably also specifies that the writer has to spring for the lube."

WE HAVE A WINNER – Open Kinect driver(s) released – Winner will use $3k for more hacking – PLUS an additional $2k goes to the EFF! « adafruit industries blog

WE HAVE A WINNER – Open Kinect driver(s) released – Winner will use $3k for more hacking – PLUS an additional $2k goes to the EFF! « adafruit industries blog: "Hector has decided to invest this bounty into hacking tools and devices for a group of people he works with closely (e.g. iPhone Dev Team members, Wii hacker team Team Twiizers, and a few others). They don’t have much expendable income to buy tools and devices to hack, and sometimes this hobby can be a bit expensive, this will be a good investment that will allow them to hack more and newer devices."

Trees with glowing nanoparticles could replace streetlights | DVICE

Trees with glowing nanoparticles could replace streetlights | DVICE: "Dr Yen-Hsun Su from Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University discovered that when you add gold nanoparticles to the leaves of Bacopa caroliniana, it induces a red emission in the chlorophyll. Bacopa caroliniana is a plant widely found in the Southern US, but the same reaction might be possible in other plants and trees. Dr Ye-Hsun points out that this is potentially a win-win-win situation, with the glowing plants reducing power usage, and lowering light pollution, while absorbing CO2."

This Red Key Turns Your Boss Mustang Into A Race Car

This Red Key Turns Your Boss Mustang Into A Race Car: "Each 2012 Mustang Boss 302 will come with an all-black key that'll work just fine to turn on your car, giving you access to 444 HP of streetable power. But, thanks to a joint project between Mustang engineers and the Ford Racing dealer network, you'll be able to buy the TracKey that'll give you a second set of PCM software instructions. This TracMode software alters more than 200 engine management parameters, increasing low-end torque and turning the Boss into a competition-ready track car — complete with a two-stage launch control feature similar to that used on the Mustang Cobra Jet."