Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011


The real-life incident that inspired Hitchcock's "The Birds" has been identified.  That's one of the spookiest movies I ever saw as a kid.

BP Oil Spill Prosecutions

Criminal charges are being prepared for the BP Oil Spill.  About time, I say.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Time for a new calendar

How would it be to use a permanently stable calendar in which holidays always fall on the same day of the week year after year?  Months would be uniform in length making financial periods truly equal in length.  (In order for our computer programs to run the same each month, my company closes it's periods on the 27th.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I participate in the AREVA political action committee to encourage better energy resources in the US.  As a part of their policy the PAC offers to make a charitable contribution on a member’s behalf to a charity of his or her choice.  That is, unless the charity is to Planned Parenthood.  Women’s reproductive health is just too controversial for AREVA to write a check to them.  Sad.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hungary Slides Towards the Dark Side

Democracy and a constitutional government is no guarantee that things can't turn very, very bad.  Hungary is being taken over from the inside.

ACA is working

In case you haven't heard about it lately, it should be noted that the the Affordable Care Act is working.  Jobs are being created.  More people are insured.  Small businesses are benefiting from tax breaks.  And much of the law is not even in effect yet. 

One should also note that if Republicans repeal the law, all that good progress will simply disappear.

Occupy the Next Step

If OWS is going to be anything other than a footnote in the news cycle, it needs to mature into well-organized movement.  It requires translating all that fire into the energy to do the grunt-work of building an organization that works the media, puts affiliated officials into office, and builds a reputation for putting words into actions.

Don't Tax the Rich

Here's an interesting idea.  Don't just increase taxes on the rich, tax inequality itself.  If the goal is to bring the bottom up, index the tax rate on how big the spread is.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The downside of unemployment benefits

While it is technically true that unemployment benefits increase unemployment, the effect is so small that it is essentially negligible.  Watch out for those disingenuous folks that use this as an argument for ending unemployment payouts.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cool Heads Save Lives

You are in a rowboat hundreds of miles from land when it is capsized by a freak wave.  Read how determination and calm thinking brought about the rescue.  [By a cruise ship which happened to have Dr. Ruth on board, no less.]

Archbishop issues "marriage prayer" for Catholics

With the marriage prayer, a Minnesota archbishop pronounces the church's stance on institutionalized inequality of homosexuals.  So when does the Catholic church lose its tax-exempt status?

OWS Has Wonks

Not everyone who support Occupy Wall Street are outsiders to the world of finance.  Here's a story about OWS financial insiders.

G.O.P. Monetary Madness

Krugman destroys Ron Paul's economic fantasy.

SC Gov. Haley's Corrupt Tactics

In order to keep the people of her state from enjoying the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, Haley spends $1 million to pretend to study setting up a state exchange.  But all along she made sure what the results of the study were going to be.  We don't need no stinkin' data.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bringing the Banks to Heel

The economic situation is really, really bad.  But students of the Great Depression say we can get out of it if we have the courage to do so.

...the economy will not bounce back on its own, at least not in a time frame that matters to ordinary people. Yes, all those foreclosed homes will eventually find someone to live in them, or be torn down. Prices will at some point stabilize and even start to rise. Americans will also adjust to a lower standard of living—not just living within their means but living beneath their means as they struggle to pay off a mountain of debt. But the damage will be enormous. America’s conception of itself as a land of opportunity is already badly eroded. Unemployed young people are alienated. It will be harder and harder to get some large proportion of them onto a productive track. They will be scarred for life by what is happening today. Drive through the industrial river valleys of the Midwest or the small towns of the Plains or the factory hubs of the South, and you will see a picture of irreversible decay.
What we need to do instead is embark on a massive investment program—as we did, virtually by accident, 80 years ago—that will increase our productivity for years to come, and will also increase employment now. This public investment, and the resultant restoration in G.D.P., increases the returns to private investment. Public investments could be directed at improving the quality of life and real productivity—unlike the private-sector investments in financial innovations, which turned out to be more akin to financial weapons of mass destruction.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stalinist Era?

When Lindsey Graham invokes Stalin, you can be sure that the thing he is criticizing is genuinely worthwhile.  You see, he really, really wants the financial folks to be able to rip off the American consumers with impunity.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Politics Has Doomed Us

This is why we will be in recession for a long time.
"Basically we're still stuck in the situation we were three years ago and we haven't made any progress at all except that our problems are much worse because of political reasons, because we now have a crazy party in charge of one of the Houses of our Congress and they won't allow anything to happen because it's in their vested interest to make things worse," Bruce Bartlett
By the same token, this may be what it takes to get a better Congress elected.

Welfare States and Deficits

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the fact is that the welfare states run smaller deficits than the more lassiez-faire U.S. 

Job Destroyers

The rich get richer by destroying jobs, not making them.  The more wealth that has to spread to employees, the less there is for the people at the top.  On the other hand, the more a company can automate and have high productivity per employee, the more wealth there is available for the few who are still working.  This is product of free-market capitalism.  Without an opposing force, it leads to the destruction of community and society so that the few at the top have all the goods.

Government Jobs Could Fix Unemployment

The critics of FDR say that the New Deal jobs program didn't do much to get us out of the Great Depression.  They say that it took World War II to get the economy back on its feet.  This is the actually a huge vindication of Keynesian economics.  WWII was a massive governmental job creation program that could not have been conceived unless it were forced upon us. The lesson we can take from that is that huge government stimulus can and does work.  Is it time for the economic equivalent of WWIII?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

EPA Implicates Fracking

In a recent finding, the EPA points the finger at fracking as the cause of groundwater contamination in Wyoming.  Not only is increased use of natural gas problemmatic from a CO2 and climate change standpoint, the recent "improvements" in the methods of extraction need appropriate regulation to protect public health.

Hedy Lamarr and Wi-Fi

Here are more details on how WiFi depends on an idea by Hedy Lamarr.

Solar power in the models

When the energy models run the numbers for solar power, they misstate the current level of the technology.  Today, solar power is much more efficient and productive than it was when the mathematical models were first established.  It may be reaching a "tipping point".

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

Trickle-down myth is busted

A report from the OECD makes it clear that the trickle-down theory of economic growth is just a theory and a bad one at that. It just doesn't happen in reality. Even in places like Sweden and Denmark, the rich are tending to get richer while the middle class doesn't.

Mortgage Fraud 'Systemic'

A Countrywide Mortgage whistleblower talks about all the fraud that enabled the mortgage meltdown to occur. There are reasons a bank should take proper deliberation when supplying a loan.  Robo-signing without proper documentation is just another way of swindling.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Polite Bribe

Robert Orlando talks about a new view on the life of Paul, the Apostle. His vision of the Christian movement differed greatly from the leaders in Jerusalem. It's surprising the Church survived the winds of history. The central authority disappeared with the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattered congregations were fractious at best.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Jack Abramoff's Road To Redemption

Jack Abramoff's message is one the country needs to hear.  He knows from the inside how moneyed interests have corrupted the public trust.

We Can't Wait

In these depressed times it's a good thing when the government spends money to reduce future costs.  The economy needs the stimulus and the energy upgrades to the buildings will be money well spent.

Smaller government isn’t always cheaper

When you cut the staff that monitors the contracts, government spending goes up. I wouldn't be surprised that this is what the right wing really wants. Carp about big government while their buddies steal the taxpayers blind

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Gary Locke, a Star in China

Washington state's own Gary Locke is already one of the most popular U.S. ambassadors yet.  The Chinese love him.


Amnesty International calls for Bush's arrest in Africa for his sponsoring of torture.  If it's good enough for Ratko and Slobodan, it's good enough for George W.

A Banker Confesses

A banker actually says it out loud.  We were happy to take unreasonable risks because we knew the government would bail us out.

Raise Taxes and Reward True Job Creators

The tax-dodging rich are not job creators.
That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.

Republicans and OWS

Frank Luntz advises the GOP on how to torture the language when talking about the Occupy movement.