Friday, January 28, 2011

Spudnuts, So long.

I may have eaten my last Spudnut. That's OK, they weren't all that good anyway. Besides if it wasn't for all the taxpayer money that has kept this town afloat for the last 50 years, the shop would have been shuttered long ago.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Alternative Energy is Doable

Some experts are predicting we may hit Peak Oil as soon as next year. If we get on course, we can be off oil in 20 to 40 years. Perhaps sooner if some of the new water-splitting technologies can be ramped up.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fact Checking Bachmann

And in the same line, Bachmann proves to be fact-challenged as well.

Shiny Lazy People

In his response to the SOTU speech, Ryan shows his intellectual laziness. And the laziness of his colleagues as well. When you have beliefs you really don't need to bother with facts.

Dealing With Income Inequality

A little inequality is needed to spur economic growth. But too much inequality kills growth.
There is an equivalent of a Laffer curve for inequality, but the variable of interest is economic growth rather than tax revenue. We know that a society with perfect equality does not grow at the fastest possible rate. When everyone gets an equal share of income, people lose the incentive to try and get ahead of others. We also know that a society where one person has almost everything while everyone else struggles to survive — the most unequal distribution of income imaginable — will not grow at the fastest possible rate either. Thus, the growth-maximizing level of inequality must lie somewhere between these two extremes.
Our problem is that business is really resistant to efforts to reduce inequality like progressive income taxes and investments in developing people.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bigger House

Is it time to increase the number of representatives in Congress? It hasn't been done in a really long time.

Health Care Reform Success

What really makes progress in the health care arena isn't tinkering with insurance so much as tinkering with health care itself.

The Small Business Lobby Hurts Small Business

Small business is learning that neither the Republicans nor their own lobbying group have really done much to improve the fortunes of small business proprietors.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A little budget quiz

How much do you think you know about federal spending, the budget, and the deficit? The facts could surprise you.

Krauthammer Canard

He says that PPACA gives six years of benefits from 10 years of revenue. But that pesky CBO shows that is a bit more complicated than that. In fact over the next 10 years there is only one (2013) in which outlays exceed revenues. And rather than game the 10-year window the way Republicans did with the Bush tax cuts for the rich, PPACA smoothly goes beyond the window with a positive revenue position because the spending cuts have been fully phased in.

The Republican war on the CBO

During the development of PPACA (health care reform) the Republicans were happy that the CBO kept sending the Democrats back to the drawing board to get a fiscally sound bill. But now that a CBO-approved bill is law, they stoop to attacking the CBO. There's something to be said for unwavering consistency but a stopped clock won't help you get to work on time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fact Checking 'Obamacare'

Part of the reason it's so hard to have serious conversations about the countries problems is that one side of the discussion tells it's people that is fighting against problems which, in reality, simply don't exist.

Debunktion Junction

Here's the bunk. Here's the debunk. Republicans twist the CBO's words. That has to hurt.
"CBO isn't saying that there is job loss as much as they are saying that fewer people will be working," explained Fronstin. "There is a difference. People voluntarily working less isn't the same as employers cutting jobs."

Silly House Republicans

Republicans continue their tradition of using "newspeak" names for bills. Put Job-killing Health Care Reform in the same dusty bin as Clear Skies and No Child Left Behind. Are they really ready to increase deficit by $230 billion for reasons that may not be real?

21st Century Regulation

Obama heads off criticism by preempting regulatory review.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Deep Pockets and the Tea party

This is an old story to MSNBC watchers. Combine free speech and enormous inherited wealth and this is to be expected.

Goldman Sachs Gimmicks Its Facebook Stocks

The propensity of the big bankers to dodge around the law instead of abiding by it is shown by how they are laundering their Facebook stock. The SEC has this pesky regulation they want to avoid so they figure out a way to do so. This is an example of how a large multi-national corporation has the ability to circumvent any law that restricts its power.

The War on Logic

There was the war on terror, now there's a war on logic. Congressional Republicans show that they have become unhinged from basic arithmetic. They include the costs that we will have to pay anyway in their argument about the true cost of health care reform. They ignore the fact that the Medicare doc fix contained in current law ($208 billion over 10 years) would still have to be paid if the law were repealed. There's another $115 billion of other similar on-going costs. So remember to subtract $323B from whatever the Republicans claim is the cost of the reform.

Paul's comment:
And it's not about the money. As I tried to explain in my last column, the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn't a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Public Option for Banking

Rather than swallow a bit of crap from the bankers who are holding are economy hostage, here's an a idea for a public option for banking. For the poor who just need basic, no-frills banking services this might make sense.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Both Sides Aren't Equally Guilty

And I quote:
I don't really blame conservatives for being upset at liberals trying pin the blame for the Giffords shooting on them, but the furious defensiveness of their counterattack says all that needs to be said about how uncomfortable they are with their own recent history.
Either they have guilty conscienses or they are hyper-sensitive and paranoid. Take your pick.

Big Banks May Have Made Money with Mortgages They Didn't Own

Buying a mortgage without making sure it is recorded properly is like buying a car without getting a title. Without the title, it isn't your car. Many of the assets of the banks who survived the meltdown may simply not be there.

Jon Stewart On Arizona Shooting Tragedy

Takeaway quote:
I do think that it's important for us to watch our rhetoric, I do think that it's a worthwhile goal not to conflate our political opponents with our enemies if for no other reason than to draw a better distinction between the manifestos of paranoid mad men and what passes for acceptable political and pundit speak. It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn’t in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV. Let’s at least make troubled individuals easier to spot.

Did SCOTUS Telegraph It's Intentions?

By declining to hear a case about limits to the commerce clause, did the Supreme Court hint that the commerce clause challenges to the health care reform law is going nowhere?

One Real Lesson on Gun Control

Here's one lesson on gun control we can take from this event.
That's what happens when you run with a firearm to a scene of bloody havoc. In the chaos and pressure of the moment, you can shoot the wrong person. Or, by drawing your weapon, you can become the wrong person, a hero mistaken for a second gunman by another would-be hero with a gun. Bang, you're dead. Or worse, bang bang bang bang bang: a firefight among several armed, confused, and innocent people in a crowd.
It happens even among trained soldiers. Among civilians, the risk is that much greater. Sometimes, only the outlaws should be the one with guns.

Paying the Price

We can argue whether there is a causation between gun-toting rhetoric and acts of violence using guns. But there's no doubt that by spouting gun-toting rhetoric people make themselves a target for public disgust when one of these political assassinations actually occurs. They should ask themselves, is this a price I'm willing to pay for my choice of free speech style?

Busting an Unemployment Myth

Some argue that the unemployment rate doesn't include those who have given up. It isn't true.

The touchdown that shook the Earth

Can a sporting event be measured by seismometers? This one was.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


I figured out why I like to watch this show. It's like Donkey Kong but with real people.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Oh, John. Start the Cuts Here

A good place to start trimming the budget is with the subsidies received by the quite profitable oil companies.

Ya know

If I had ever advocated for violence against our government or its officials, I'd be feeling pretty bad right now. And I'd also be scrubbing those web pages as fast as possible.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Lab on a Card

Soon we will be able to get lab results in real life as fast as they can get DNA results on television crime shows.

Orwellian Republicans

When Republicans use catchy terms like "job-killing", you can pretty much bet that the facts of the matter are exactly opposite. The things described as "job-killing" actually produce jobs. Remember "death panels", "clear skies", and "no child left behind"?

The Japan Myth

Daniel Gros challenges conventional wisdom about Japan's "lost generation" economy by including a reasonable weighting factor to the standard GDP growth statistic. When growth is weighted by the size of the working-age population instead of the full population, Japan has actually been doing fairly well.

A Future Like Texas?

Texas is the poster child for Republican governance.
The truth is that the Texas state government has relied for years on smoke and mirrors to create the illusion of sound finances in the face of a serious structural budget deficit; that is, a deficit that persists even when the economy is doing well. When the recession struck, hitting revenue in Texas just as it did everywhere else, that illusion was bound to collapse.
When you refuse to raise taxes at all costs, you have to do some fancy accounting to make the books look good. There's always a price to pay in the end and it isn't pretty. If Republicans ever come to power again in DC we can expect the nation to go the way of Texas.

Eat Your Tomatoes

Tomatoes have been shown to contain compound that work to prevent a number of vascular diseases.

Missing Methane

It turns out that the methane from Deep Horizon was consumed much faster by bacteria than anyone expected. Deep water methane is gone but so is much of the oxygen. Climate models may have to be updated to factor in the effect of methane
consuming bacteria in those scenarios where the hydrates warm and

Thursday, January 06, 2011

House Republicans to Weaken Anti-Deficit Rules

Brace yourselves. The House Republicans are sure to pass one thing after another and the Senate and the White House will be the ones who really hold the line. On the bright side, they will be establishing unpopular records that should make it easier to run against them in 2012.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A cure for "Where's the remote?"

How many times have you wandered the house wondering where you set the remote control (or as my partner likes to call it, the channel-turner)? Here's an app for that.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

More of the Best

And then there's this portable ultrasound scanner that evokes memories of the Star Trek tri-corder.

One of the Best

This little device can enable new seedlings in the Sahara to become successful trees with a single initial watering. It approaches the epitome of appropriate technology.