Thursday, February 25, 2010


by voice vote
without debate
if you vote for democrats - this is what you get

edit: Not to be outdone... the house passed the senate extension. How? Well - it's referred to as "Roll Call 67, “On Motion to Concur in Senate Amendments” for H.R. 3961"... buried in the fine print of the medicare physician payment reform act. Of course!!! Afterall - when you're going to have a driveby shooting of the constitution, you need to make sure the doctors get paid. The democrats in the house, of course, didnt want to be seen passing thing thing - afterall it's pretty much cherry on top of 8 years of a Bush Bullshit Sundae...

Oh I know... Lloyd voted the right way. He usually does. Which pisses me off beyond measure because the party is at fault here and i want to be able to hold them accountable... So thank you Lloyd. You're doing the right thing - even if it's in the service of a national failwhale.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


there really was a time when editorials like this couldn't have run...
Maybe the loons were always bad - maybe they just kept the crazy to themselves or into weird little cults that fled into the nether reaches of the desert... but with the advent of the intarwebs and the giant echochambers they've somehow managed to make it all larger than life. IOne crazy homeless guy parked in front of your house screaming about Alien abductions is one thing - but a dozen? a hundred? So many that you find you have to walk on eggshells around anyone around you at work or out with friends at a party lest you accidentally set off a crazy homeless guy alien abduction rant? It just didn't used to be that way.

I just wish there were some way to break them of this behavior - it would be better for them as well as us if they used their brains for something other than their disturbed fantasies - but it isnt going to happen. It's amazing to watch though.

Monday, February 15, 2010

i find it amusing

that we see what Greece has done and bitch
esp when it was wall st that helped em do it
and we complain that their deficit to gdp is too high... when the US isnt really much better.
Of course - you are SUPPOSED to push a deficit during a down market (as per our rapping buddy maynard) - and cutting spending now would tend to be somewhat problematic for a very anemic recovery...

yes - their cash economy is problematic - the same way paying cash at the salt lick is problematic... but it's not like other european entities arent guilty of electronic subterfuge to mask revenue - and though there is some - i'm not seeing nearly as much moral outrage when it comes to focusing on their own wealthy tax dodgers...

then again - who needs moral outrage when you can just pay to elect people who alter the tax laws you dont like

at least i've got chicken

Thursday, February 11, 2010


i cant be the only one that finds this amusing

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Wednesday

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


they may not be able to agree on dealing with healthcare...
or curbing executive compensation at financial institutions where the government is the largest shareholder...
or with cap and trade...

but it's a good thing we have obama in there to give us an extension to the patriot act buried 500 pages into the back of the jobs bill...


(Public Law 109–177; 50 U.S.C. 1805 note, 50 U.S.C. 1861 note, and 50 U.S.C. 1862 note) is amended by striking ‘‘February 28, 2010’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2010’’.

(b) INTELLIGENCE REFORM AND TERRORISM PREVENTION ACT OF 2004.—Section 6001(b)(1) of the Intel ligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–458; 118 Stat. 3742; 50 U.S.C. 1801 note) is amended by striking ‘‘February 28, 2010’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2010’’.

i will be voting for republicans next election


so first they stopped serving food...
then they started charging for food...
then they started charging a fee to use your airmiles...
then they started charging for bags...
now they're charging for a blanket

will i have to pay extra to use the seat as a floatation device?

American Airlines - you suck

Friday, February 05, 2010

Restraint of Trade Rant

So State Farm goes to Florida and they sell homeowners insurance... and hurricanes show up and destroy the homes... and they go to the insurance board (that restricts the price State Farm is able to charge) and the board says 'you cant raise rates 50%' - so they say 'then we're not going to sell insurance to some people'... This seems reasonable. State Farm can't really make a profit selling insurance to people who insist on building villas on the beach... This is the market in action.

The rambling questions that derive from it are

1) is there a right to insurance for homes - no matter where they're built or what they're built of? Of course not. We have rules like 'fireproof shingles' and 'dont build in a floodplane' - and you would think these would be common sense but they are routinely ignored by developers (half the foundations in the town where i grew up cracked because they built the neighborhoods on soft non-compacted prairie land or fill poured into creeks people were unaware of - with developers taking the money, declaring bankruptcy to avoid liability, and starting new companies doing the same thing overnight). So the buyer has some responsibility to make sure they're not buying something crappy... the seller has some responsibility to insure that the product isn't crappy... and we generally have rules in place for things like 'appraisers' to examine things like properties to tell both sides exactly what's going on (and then we commonly find a way to abuse those safeguards - witness, the appraiser system was a huge accelerant for the housing bubble). The idea is that government regulation can act as an umpire in the process - make sure the developer isn't some chav taking a dive in the box in stoppage time.

2) if you have a law that says 'you must have insurance to build a home' - which we do... and people can no longer build villas on the beach... then is there a 'taking' when the insurance board rejects the interest rate rise? Some on our current cournt would say yes. Bob had a villa on the beach... Bob had insurance... the cost to insure Bob's villa had previously been borne by both Bob's premiums and the premiums paid by other people living in cement-block housing behind mountains far from the hurricanes. Because of the insurance board regulating rates - we dont have a pure market system - we've moved some of the fraud gaming up into an earlier stage of the process (instead of someone taking advantage of the system at the back at the expense of the insurers, they'd moved the fraud up into the front at the expense of other homeowners) - but that was part of the equation when Bob bought the land and built the villa...

this gets us to healthcare (which isnt the final stop)...

if a healthcare company can look at your well fed facebook friends and blog posts about food and tweets about how much you love cooking bacon, and through some simple heuristic analysis determine that you're likely to be overweight and suffer from cardiac disease... should they be allowed to say 'Bob is higher risk than Wendy - who's a member of a triathlon facebook group' and charge you a different rate? I know that many insurance plans offer either discounts if you are in a health club, or discounted memberships to health clubs on this basis - but that's the carrot, and this is a bit more invasive stick. In some ways - this means saying 'if someone insists on smoking cigarettes - should they bear the financial burden of that behavior, or should society attack the problem in a backdoor manner - ie we tax the cigarette makers and transfer the money to the entities that are going to have to cover the costs of treating the disease'. We use gas tax this way - the more gas you use, the more tax you pay because the more wear you put on the roads. Big Trucks are weighed at the border crossings to assess penalties if they are doing too much damage to the asphalt. If the answer to all this is no - then should they be allowed to say 'We dont want to insure Bob... people who like duck liver are a huge problem for us financially'... Bob has a right to eat whatever he wants - does he have a right to cheap insurance? or should Bob bear the brunt of the cost for Bob's lifestyle choices.

which we can take to banks...

if the govt, as umpire, make rules that say 'society isnt going to bear the brunt of your excess' that seems fair - but it's not a completely 'unfettered market'... does saying 'it's not our problem to sort out the fact that you've been trying to circumvent those rules' seem a reasonable response? There are some who would argue the only time we should have rules is when there's a demonstrable and dire impact to the system for everyone, not just the many who will be victims. This isn't a matter of a sports analogy like 'if the penalty for intentionally breaking Brett Favre's neck is 15 yards - but it wins you the game... wont you do it every time?' - because in that scenario there are two actors who can each break the necks of the opposing team's quarterback. This is more 'if greece refuses to sort out it's economic mess... then, well, does germany let it and the euro fail?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Bankers

Even the bankers are willing to admit the system is broken (when they dont have a horse in the race anymore). Will it amount to anything? lol - you must be joking...

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

plus ce change

a couple years ago, right before AIG was bailed out, 400m in 'retention bonuses' were negotiated with employees... then no only was the firm found to be insolvent - but was essentially used as a shunt to pour 180 billion dollars into other insolvent financial entities in a manner that would return nothing to the US taxpayer but the goodwill of the banking industry...
Last year - the first of the bonuses went out - and people were pissed... threatened to tax it etc... many AIG employees said 'ok, we'll give some back', the media moved on, and low and behold less than half of even the pledged amount was returned.

So in an effort to fend off controversy, today AIG split the bonus they're paying into 2 payments, one to employees still at the firm, one to those that have left due in march. So today, 100m went goes out to the same jackasses that took slightly more last year - only without any pledge to return a dime of it. Another giant sum is due in march, as retention payments, to people who left the firm. I want you to think about that one for a moment.

If you put a 'federal bailouts will void any bonus contracts' rule into effect, ceos will happily drive their companies into the ground so they get paid. Hell - we saw some of that anyway... these guys put my ex-wife's 'its all about me' mantra to shame.

Really - the problem goes back to Reagan. For 30 years we tried it the republican way - we gutted the tax rate on incomes above the top 1% line with the expectation it would 'trickle down'. Looking at what it's done, to the economy, to investment, to wages, to median incomes, to the standard of living... i'd say 'big bag o fail' is an apt description. How about we try it my way for 30 years... All compensation totalling $1m per year is taxed at 50%. Over $10m per year at 90%. Money to be delivered directly to poor and middle class schools in wheelbarrows.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Icarus IV Revisited

what happens when you take

and combine it with

well... ask the folks at nasa