Monday, December 29, 2008


Paul Gascoigne is not amused.

Why is it that these things always happen during the lame duck session of an 8 year term.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

True Hero

This is how I define hero. Here, on Christmas Eve, is a story of a man's act of selfless courage in the face of Mammon and Caesar... Just as the Guantanamo lawyer who should be put in charge of that travesty - this young man should be pardoned and given a prominent role in Obama's Interior dept.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Xmas

I hope you all get what you want... unless it's what it want... in which case i hope zwarte piet takes you to spain.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Monday

No Soup for You
... and this from a nation where obesity is grounds for anti-discrimination lawsuits

1.6 billion

That's a lot of bullets.

This is turning into a giant last second pillaging opportunity.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jeebus Plated my Hot Rod

So one of the big stories here in Austin yesterday was Gov. Perry going rather overboard in his support of a House Bill to allow 'choose life' vehicle plates. He's getting ready to drop trow on Kay Bailey in 2010 - meaning we're going to end up with a battle to see which of the two can be the biggest asshole. Nice first salvo there, godboy... "If there's been a more pro-life governor in Texas history, I'd be hard-pressed to name who that was."

I swear - watching the US economy go to shit is going to be a lot more fun when it means seeing all these 'global warming doesnt exist' and 'pa there's a revenue man on the porch - can i shoot him?' jackasses face the music of working debt-peon wages for their corporate multinational overlords. Choose life my left nut. If these dickheads gave a damn about life they'd make sure the mothers had prenatal care and a living wage.

Some days I swear we deserve this...

I turn the morning show news on in the morning just in case there's something going on i might want to be aware of before my coffee kicks in... stuff like 'with fed funds rate targeted at 0 the dollar has essentially been devalued' - but no. We dont talk about things like 'Why doesn't Bank of America just borrow a gadjillion dollars from the fed at 0, never have to go back to them to secure leverage capital ever again (eliminating the fed's ability to manage economic growth) and thus create it's own money supply' or 'the dollar took a 3 point hit yesterday in a record fall that could well signal the beginning of a massive currency devaluation'


Instead I get 4 minutes on 'is headbanging good for your health'

Really? Really?!
Madoff turns 50b into smoke and you want to go with "They then worked up a biomechanical analysis, culminating in a 'theoretical headbanging model.'"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting Weirder

In Iraq, when you insult a foreign leader, officials give you "a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury" and then offer to put you in prison for 7 years... in America they give you a job on Fox. Lately, more often than not, absurdity and reality just seem to cross streams.

Friday, December 12, 2008

This is NOT the second notice

I swear to Haruhi that if i had the person responsible for these robocalls in a room with a tire iron only one of us would leave... I'm going to start talking to the representative and cussing up a storm - maybe threaten to take a few of the CSR's children out to a movie - see if that makes them stop.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Filed under 'obvious'

From the NYTimes

A report released Thursday by leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee said top Bush administration officials, including Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary, bore major responsibility for the abuses committed by American troops in interrogations at Abu Ghraib in Iraq; Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; and other military detention centers.
Go ahead Snippy... pardon him... I dare ya

And in other news - the Auto bailout appears dead. Prepare yourselves for another round of bank failures, foreclosures, and joblessness (not that this isn't the right answer in this situation - it probably is - but that doesn't mean it isn't going to suck). Reid's crocodile "I dread looking at Wall Street in the morning" nonwithstanding, the likelyhood of getting something positive and working out of this was pretty grim.

At least we can eat Polar Bear.... mmmm.... bear burger....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hot Housewives in action!

Cory nails this one...

I gotta say - how hard is it to find someone who speaks Mandarin... I mean really... does no one QA their work anymore?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Waiting for the Gurgle

A Big Happy Monday shout out to 2.5 million American workers. Get planting Flint...

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's the Economy Stupid

Well one thing's for true - when the toilet begins to flush it goes slowly and moves faster as time goes on until we get that nice toilet gurgle there at the end that signals 'all clear - go wash your hands'

A month or so ago Paul Krugman was at Northwestern giving a talk about 'where we are and what got us here' - i was privileged enough to get an MP3 of it and for a guy running off the cuff before some of America's best and brightest he's remarkably good at piecing some very complex ideas together in a simple to follow explanation for 'why this is so screwed up'. Well - a couple days ago he lobbed a short version of that talk out there in 'opinion' format (the date's off by a month - don't freak). The net of it is 'we need to do a lot more than we're doing - whether we like it or not'.

Then the other day former treasury secretary O'Neill (you may remember him as the Bush secy that was asked to resign because he didnt agree with Bushco's crazy economic policies) chimed in with a much gloomier analysis. "We're headed for the wall at lightning speed. And every day that we don't deal with that set of problems is another day closer to absolutely vaporizing our economy."

Well, today's job report numbers tend to sing the same song - this thing is going down faster than R Kelly on an underage girl.

You've got guys like Michael Moore saying 'dont give the big 3 $34b' - but he's conflicted that somehow he wants the companies to survive for the workers - and without the workers no one is around to buy the cars (some crazy economics there Michael)... he rightly points out that GM has a market cap of $3b - so why would the govt give them 20?

The reality here is that a LOT of companies need to fail... fail hard... fail in a big catastrophic OMFG way... They made BAD decisions, built the WRONG cars, kept employees on when they shouldnt have, failed to find new products for their workforce and adapt, or took STUPID risks with money they didn't have - and that's going to take out a lot of the rest of us as all of us who have money in money market funds and stock in 401ks will see the value of it evaporate.

Now we, as a nation, have a choice.

We can nationalize a LOT of stuff... not a little... not 30% of citibank or 20% of BofA or 80% of AIG... i mean take it all. Krugman points at it without saying it out loud - but i think we're finally seeing Fed/Treasury acting to get in FRONT of this thing rather than do as little as possible to try to slow the direction. The reality is that even as this thing is spiraling down - lots of powerful people are gaming the system to try to make it out the back - because anyone that survives this is going to be a LOT bigger. Everything in the country that quacks like a bank - it has to be owned by the govt. We can re-privatize later - with some corporate size cap that's set as some minuscule percentage of GDP (no bank can be worth more than $5b lets say)...

Personally - i think we need to go farther. Seize the oil companies... Seize the telecommunications providers... force price limits on their services the way we treat public utilities. There's a reason 7 of the 10 largest oil companies in the world are owned by their respective govts - and dont tell me Shell and BP are horribly inefficient bureaucratic nightmares. This is the lesson we should be learning about unfettered markets for non-innovative product... but i seriously doubt America has the intestinal fortitude to step up and say 'yeah, that whole Reagan/Clinton thing, it was totally fucked up...'

The alternative?

We can leave it... and let it all be owned by foreign entities with capital - let the market sort it all out, let the companies fail, let the chinese buy GM for $3b and make M1-A1 Abrams for the US Army - because when this thing settles the Chinese and Saudis are going to own everything.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Amaaaaaazing Book

Ok - so it isnt as amazing as some...
but I finished Anathem by Neal Stephenson the other night. This is a book set in some odd alternate reality future planet - and as such has a remarkably complex amount of detail that has to be slogged through to get a feel for the place. Stephenson's style is such that he's ponderous with this material - never making it easy for the reader - and as the entirety of the work is oriented around 'reality' in a philosophical if not real sense - and those discussing the subject are monastics who tend to go off on long extemporaneous dialogues - we're most certainly not looking at Stephanie Meyer material here.

It's NOT an easy read. The main character is in no way a simple cardboard archetype - but instead is a construct by which the author is exploring a very long thought on one of the oldest science fiction concepts of all time - how does that whole 'alternate reality' thing work. Does it start slow? yes... Does it get weird? yes... Does it pay off better than, say, Diamond Age? No Question.

He's become a hell of a thinker - and it probably took my background in philosophy and having spent time analyzing the "how" of things like Zelazny's Amber and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse... but this one is certainly one of the best and most complete and well executed works in the space i've ever read.

Happy Monday delayed

You just cant escape from a good happy monday post.

Yesterday I did my civic duty.
Jury Duty.

They called 200 to sit on a case where a young man was having his parental rights terminated by the state as he, allegedly, beat his son to death. 48 potential jurors bothered to show. We sat and listened... there were lots of lawyers... lawyers for the state, for the mother, an appointed lawyer for the 2 yr old daughter... all this before the man in question has been put on trial for the capital murder offense.

What was amusing was the jury pool. We had one man who insisted on telling the court all the ways he could not be a 'fair and impartial juror' - at every opportunity. 'Would you feel knowing that Child Protective Services was involved in this case that you have some predisposition against CPS that would prevent you from being fair' - 'yes - because they dont know what they is doing and i dont like them'... on and on... he kept getting up and leaving - going out to the hall 'because his back hurt' - causing the entire process to stop and wait for him to return.
Then we were released for lunch... and the woman seated in front of me didnt return - so they called her to get her to return because, no, we weren't finished as she had somehow thought (where she got that i dont know). So we sat - for 20 minutes - waiting for her... She returned to her seat - at which point our friend with the bad back was found missing again (in the bathroom... complaining about something that required a conference with the judge). So we waited...

There was the woman who had to raise her hand and answer every question 'no that wouldnt bother me'... the man who insisted on telling us about his family... the woman who claimed she had an opinion about the criminal trial but didnt think it would influence her ability to judge whether the alleged assailant was a good parent (*cough*)... the man who had been investigated by CPS - and it bothered him enough to point out that that *might* make it difficult but couldn't bring himself to actually decided that that might impair his ability to render a fair verdict... the young man who didnt want to be involved in the case because he shopped at the 7-11 where the mother worked... another woman who told us about the soccer team her daughter played on with the daughter of the sister of one of the lawyers...

It took all day.