Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Obama Ratings Boost

Well... he went from a very clear F on health care to getting a bill passed with some things in it that dont totally suck. It's a D- of a bill... right in the 65-66 range... and a lot of the good bits will be gutted and challenged and avoided through corporate legal maneuver... but it's still passing (which is a massive improvement). Is it worth celebrating? Hell no. But it's better than shit on a stick.

The education grant move is much better... call it a B. Anytime you can stick it to the banks on one like that you get points - and it helps shore up a huge problem in this country (at a time when the last thing we need is a bunch more people trying to enter the workforce).

Banking Reform? F. Hell... that's almost a 0.

The recent education grants for Race to the Top? Good stuff actually... Probably another B. Sure, the teachers unions hate it, and it has a lot of pro-charter school focus that will hurt us in the long run, but it's still a lot of money to try some innovative education stuff - and it's worth making efforts to improve there even if they might not all be in the best directions.

So on average - Obama's moved way up... From something approaching W as worst sack of shit president we've ever had to something leaping Hoover and approaching Calvin Coolidge. At this rate he might make it out of the bottom 10.
D'oh... maybe not.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Question for John Yoo

So I'm reading this one and i wonder 'when do their children get raped in the other room'?

Me? I'd send em all to Bagram... declare them all unlawful enemy combatants... and seize the assets of their churches (well, what's left of their churches after the predator strikes were done).

Then i'd use the outrage to 'be forced' to get rid of all these absurd unconstitutional powers...

but for some reason i doubt our republican president will do much of anything

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jackbooted Thugs

One of my favorite sci-fi authors is Peter Watts... not for Blindsight (which was good) but for the starfish books - which were imaginative and thought provoking.

Well, Peter's a bit of a nice guy... when you read behemoth you might think he's a bit twisted... but he has a paypal link on his page that you can donate to to help him feed cats he rescues from the shelter... i mean - he's really a harmless nice geeky kinda guy.

And he came over into the states to help a friend move out of their apartment.

And on the way back - at the border crossing - some cocksucking asshole holier than thou authoritarian bully pricks who get off on pushing people around because they're worthless sacks of shit the rest of their lives nice young men decided to give him a rough time extend his invitation to visit the United States.

He was charged with something akin to assault - which isnt really assault... it's more 'not doing what you're told by a border patrol person fast enough'... he was out of his car for 20 seconds... 10 of those seconds were being kicked and maced examining the ground around his car... they accused him of choking someone - but it turns out they lied - big shock they might have misremembered... but still - he did get out of his car... apparently that's enough in this day and age and in this country to get you a 2 year prison term.

It's bad enough that we hire these dickheads... it's worse that we give them uniforms that say 'they speak for me'... and it's even worse that a federal prosecutor somewhere decided that THIS WAS WHERE AMERICA WOULD DRAW THE LINE AGAINST TERRISTS. Maybe this was a wrong.

This whole story - front to back - sucked. It never should have happened... it never should have been prosecuted... and the jury never should have convicted. I am embarrassed for my country.

Monday, March 15, 2010

taking it out on everyone else

One of my mother's closest friends is a very very very successful real estate agent in north dallas. In the last 2 months, she's sold 3 homes that had been repossessed by the bank. In each of these cases she warned the buyer 'understand - you're buying this home 'as is'... it might have foundation problems... it might have other issues that you have no idea are wrong with it'... but in each case the buyers, convinced they were getting a great deal, purchased the homes.

In each case, the former owners had done awful things to the homes. Golfballs down the toilet... cement down the sinks... wiring cut with scissors... dead animals in the attic... no joke.

There is some serious anger out there - people are upset that they've spent so long working and trying and felt they were 'owed' their nice little north dallas zero-lot-line mansions... and now that their subprime and ARM ponzi scheming has come to naught - they've decided to take it out on the next guy. The banks dont care - remember - they're offloading 10 billion dollars of these toxic assets to the feds every week. They dont have to balance their books - and they really dont care about the poor sap that gets stuck with the house someone has turned into a death trap.

More of this is coming... no one's factoring the 2nd mortgages and home equity loans into the equation so long as the banks are allowed to avoid mark to market...

anectdotal? yes... but imagine for a moment how a tea-party friendly north dallas will react when the impending commercial realestate bubble collapse breaks the backs of the rest of the underwater homeowners.

If I were smart - i'd be in north dallas starting a company that repairs these houses... but i dont think i could handle all the sobbing new homeowners i'd be taking tens of thousands of dollars from.

Friday, March 12, 2010

at some point

justice is served.

But as i read this... specifically when i got to this passage:

Camp Greyhound held a total of 1,200 detainees in the aftermath of the hurricane, most of whom were African-Americans and all of whom suffered the indignity of having their right to habeas corpus removed.

I want to know 'when does the person responsible for that go to prison' - and is prison really the right answer?
I think a whole lot of americans should be stripped of citizenship, everything they own, and airdropped into the hills of afghanistan... but hey - that's me.

Friday, March 05, 2010

broken systems

There should be little doubt that Goldman is busy abusing the system as much as it ever did - afterall they're pretty upfront about it.

First came the news that Greece had entered into derivatives transactions with Goldman Sachs and other banks to hide its public debt. Then came reports that some of those same banks and various hedge funds were using credit default swaps — the type of derivative that kneecapped the American International Group — to bet on the likelihood of a Greek default and using derivatives to wager on a drop in the euro.

What they've done here isn't much different from your doctor buying life insurance on you before he informs you of your malignant leukemia... it sucks for you, but he's gettin a Lexus. You'd think someone would say 'wow - that's really not right' and put a stop to it - but they've bought off all the people who might do so. When people rig the markets capitalism fails - and in this case catastrophically.

Of course - big financial institutions like this are made up of individuals who dont always take the big picture to heart. Take - AIG for example...
"To be honest with you, I really hope it blows up. I think the U.S. taxpayer deserves to lose a trillion dollars over this thing for the way they have behaved."
And then he turned on politicians who had joined the anti-AIG posse. "They only care about the next election, just like we only care about the next bonus. Well, none of them cares about the country, none of us cares about the institution," he said, adding: "They really don't care, and I really don't care. And frankly, if a trillion dollars gets lost, fine."

They're acting in their own concept of short term benefit... fully aware that they're destroying the system - but they deserve their 7 figure bonuses.

It's like there's a reality disconnect here - and these are supposed to be the best and brightest. You'd think they'd attended Detroit ISD (not an article about mutilate rogues - i promise).