Year: 2009


Happy new year.

I actually posted it some hours before, and set this to post just before midnight, as I am by this point 3 sheets to the wind courtesy of the products of Rudolph Jelníek, specifically Slivovitz.

It’s highly unlikely that I will be hungover tomorrow, as I have a trick that prevents this: my genetics.

Something about my Eastern European Jewish heritage prevents this.

I’ve never been hung over.

Completely F%$#ing Delusional

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Part of a trend, not a result of selling out American workers

Rahm Emanuel believes that by voting against the Democratic base, you improve the electoral prospects of the Democrats:

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been telling Democrats a win on the health issue will reverse the slide in public opinion, just as passage of another controversial proposal, the North American Free Trade Agreement, lifted President Bill Clinton in the polls.

Let’s be clear: Clinton’s popularity did rise after the passage of NAFTA.

It was a part of a trend (see pic). When people finally noticed the passage, a few months later, his ratings fell through the floor, and the Dems lost both houses of Congress.

To be fair, a part of this might have been the collapse of healthcare reform, but NAFTA demoralized labor, and pretty much the entire Democratic base.

A bad bill is worse than no bill, and immeasurably worse than one that passes through reconciliation.

The real problem with Rahm is not that he’s determined to offer succor to right wingers because he believes that it will somehow benefit Democrats, but that he’s wrong, and incompetent.

H/t A Tiny Revolution

Limbaugh Hospitalized With Chest Pains

In Hawaii, though the interesting bit are the reports of what he said to hospital workers:

Limbaugh, 58, suffered from chest pains, sources said. Limbaugh was sitting in a chair in his ninth-floor hotel room at the Kahala when emergency crews arrived, sources said. He told medical crews that he was taking medication for a back problem, sources said.

(emphasis mine)

Sounds like everyone’s favorite junkie is taking opiates again…………Whether or not this is a legitimate need or a relapse, I have no clue.

Economic Quote of the Day

On the subject of raising marginal rates for rich people:

Here’s why: in 2007, there were 495,000 tax returns filed for millionaires. That means a significant fraction were corporate CEOs, CFOs, finance people, and professional athletes/best-selling textbook authors/TV celebs.

Peyton Manning makes about $30 million a year — let’s explore his potential behavioral responses to changes in taxes. Let’s raise Peyton’s taxes by 10%. Under the logic of Alan Liard, Greg Mankiw’s student, and under the logic that all economists know to be the truth, people respond to incentives. Peyton Manning is a person, so he responds to this tax hike by working 6% less, and decides now he’s going to sit for the Colts playoff games since he makes less money per game, and he enjoys watching Tom Brady play in the playoffs more than being there himself. Doesn’t really sound likely, does it?

Of course, Peyton Manning is going to play 16 NFL games and the playoffs even if you raise his taxes considerably. The same is true of a wide variety of other professions — corporate execs usually have two choices, they can choose to work or not work — there are no part-time CFO jobs, and it’s probably tough to be a “part-time” hedge-fund manager as well… So, let’s say Greg the textbook publisher or Chuck the hedge-fund manager decides, due to higher taxes, that they are just going to retire. In that case, the government loses 100% of the taxes Chuck or Greg would have paid! The multiplier is -10!!!

Except, according to logic which is totally obvious to a pre-schooler, if Greg the textbook author doesn’t sell textbooks, then Thorstein the textbook publisher will. If Peyton the quarterback doesn’t play in the playoffs or appear in Gatorade commercials, then Tom the quarterback will. If the CEO of Anthem, who routinely makes $40 million, quits due to high taxes, Anthem will pay the next CEO extravagantly. If Chuck the hedgefund manager doesn’t manage Peyton’s money, then Emilio the hedgefund manager will manage Tom’s money

Thorstein Veblen

(emphasis mine, and I think that the hedge fund manager managing Tom’s money would be named Ashok, not Emilio, and he work out of Bangalore, not Wall Street, or at least he would in a system that was truly efficient.)

What he does not note is that the massive amounts of money received is not because they will do the “productive” “work” for only that amount of money, but because Peyton, and Tom, feel that they deserve more than the next best guy at their position.

If you engage in policies that discourage extremely high income, for example, expanding the AMT to include all forms of income, and increasing the marginal tax rate for the AMT (Currently 26%, and which has little/no deductions), at $¼ million by 1%, and by an additional 1% at $250K increments, so that a income beyond $1 million is taxed at 29%, and at $5 million it is taxed at 45%, at $10 million it is taxed at 65%, and it maxes out at 85% at $15 million,* then you will find that business will be less inclined to ginormous packages, and you would see a moderation in this trend.

*Note that these are marginal tax rates, so the 85% is the tax payed on the dollars earned beyond $15 million, the 50 thousandth dollar would still be taxed at around 20%.
Yes, I know, “ginormous package” sounds dirty, but the executive pay levels are obscene.

Ahead Dork Factor 9*

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Only $2,999.99, but shipping is free!!

I present to you the Star Trek: The Original Series: Classic Captain’s Chair Replica:

Throw away that Lay-Z-Boy. Here’s a life-size throne fit for a captain! With the sci-fi status and geek grandeur of Captain Kirk’s command chair in your collection, you can boldly go where no fan has gone before! This full-size prop replica of the U.S.S. Enterprise’s captain’s chair is designed from detailed drawings supplied by Paramount Studios and is approved by Paramount. It delivers all the accents and details from the historic prop, along with modern lighting, sound effects, and phrases designed to thrill any Star Trek enthusiast. It’s the ultimate prize from the Enterprise! The unbelievable captain’s chair measures 41-inches tall x 42-inches wide x 39-inches deep. It weighs about 215 pounds! The working swivel seat with wooden handles, leather seat cover, and armrest controls make this the perfect addition to any collection, display, home theater, or museum! The chair, seat of the chair, and arms of the chair are made of wood, with the seat covered in leather. For rigidity, it’s mounted on an iron base. Limited edition of 1,701 pieces worldwide. Left-hand arm controls include: Shuttle operation controls Activation of viewscreen Hailing frequencies Right-hand controls include: Red alert Yellow alert Jettison pod Micro tape player Intercom controls With a push of a button, voice clips from the show can be heard: ‘This is Captain James Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise.’ ‘Lt. Uhura, open a channel to all decks.’ ‘Security Alert to all decks. Kirk out.’ ‘Kirk to Engineering, Mr. Scott.”

At 215 pounds, it’s going to be murder getting it down the stairs to your parent’s basement, where the purchaser clearly lives.

I like Star Trek. I saw a few episodes when I was 6. But if you want a captain’s chair, and you can’t search the net for plans, so you spend 3 grand on a chair in which most of the buttons do not work, or even press down, you are really very lame.

*Alas, I cannot take credit for this bon mot. It was from Bladesmith at the by invitation only Stellar Parthenon BBS.

Much Better…..

I’ve been visiting my Mother-in-Law in New York, we saw the Museum of Natural History yesterday, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art today, and I finally managed to give her my Hanukkah Gift to her.

I offered to upgrade the memory on her machine, a Dell Dimension L800r, from it’s current 128 meg to 512 meg of ram.

When she got it, it had Windoze ME, but she had to upgrade to Win XP, and with 128 meg, less a couple for video memory, it was slow, particularly after a nasty bit of spyware, and the multiple passes of various software to fix it, created a spaghetti registry.

I ordered the memory online, but they were out of stock, so today, before going to the museum, I hit B&H Photo Video in Manhattan, and picked up 2x 256M DIMMs.

Still slow, but not glacially so, and the CPU actually maxes out without the hard drive light indicating massive thrashing.

It’s still slow, but no longer glacial.

Why We Need to Cut the Military Budget by at least 85%

Because, whether the President is a Democrat or a Republican, having an “invade anywhere anytime” military is like giving a loaded revolver and amphetamines to a toddler:

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (I-Conn) a renowned hawk and one of the foremost champions of the invasion of Iraq, warned on Sunday that the United States faced “danger” unless it pre-emptively acts to curb the rise of terrorism in Yemen.

Somebody in our government said to me in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, Iraq was yesterday’s war. Afghanistan is today’s war. If we don’t act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow’s war,” Lieberman said, during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday”. “That’s the danger we face.”

(emphasis mine)

The problem with having a military that is able to invade anywhere, anytime, for any reason, is that there are people, including Joe Lieberman and whoever, “Somebody in our government,” is with small brains, and even smaller penises, who will use military power with all the forethought of the aforementioned child on speed.

If you build the military, they will use it recklessly, to the detriment of both the nation and to the military itself.

The current “seabasing” concept being developed in the Pentagon is just the sort of “invasion in a box” that will make this even easier to do, and hence more likely.

The capabilities that we implement actually increase the military death toll, because they encourage insane strategies by the civilian and senior military leadership.

What’s more, they starve our economy, it will be costing in excess of $1 million a year per soldier in Afghanistan, and they starve the social safety net, killing our own citizens through lack of healthcare, and over the longer term, through a lack of investment in infrastructure and education.

H/t Attackerman.

Poo of Mass Destruction

So, on another Northwest Flight, a passenger experiencing “gastric distress”, spent an extended amount of time in the aircraft lavatory, and when quizzed about his experience, he was less than forthcoming, so we had yet another security freakout.

Needless to say, al Qaeda is planning to start opening restaurants at airports that serve really strong curry, and they will follow it up with sabotage to disable toilet heating, so we will be threatened with icy BM’s.*

*Icy BM (Bowel Movement)-ICBM, get it?

I Take One Day Off, and Look What Happens……

So, some yahoo attempts to sew explosives into his underwear on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, and, is tackled by passengers when his attempt at setting it off fails.

I call wannabee. Means of securely detonating a bomb without flames or noise have been the purview of one-eyed, one-handed, three-fingered men since 1944.

This was just sloppy.

Then again, my track record on this is almost 100% wrong.

Remember the Judges Who Took Kick-Backs to Lock Up Kids?

Well, they are also mobbed up:

Reputed mobster William “Big Billy” D’Elia and former Luzerne County President Judge Michael T. Conahan were longtime friends who partied together, used courthouse employees as personal couriers and met frequently to talk court cases over ham and cheese omelets at a Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, witnesses testified Wednesday at a hearing over allegations the men conspired to fix a $3.5 million defamation verdict against The Citizens’ Voice newspaper.

Background here.

Visby Corvettes Delivered to the Swedish Navy

The first two of the series, specifically the HMS Helsingborg and HMS Härnösand have been delivered to the Swedish Navy.

It’s not big news, but I think that the Visby’s are the coolest looking surface combatants out there.

I would note I am still dubious of the effectiveness of full up stealth on surface ships.

Between the ocean environment, and the fact that even the stealthiest ship leaves a visible wake, I’m not sure that it does much, except perhaps reducing jamming power required by a few watts.

A Christmas Gift for the Goyim*

Rudolph “I made a Mobbed Up Corrupt Cop My Police Chief” Giuliani has decided against running for Senate.

I think that he realizes that under the stress of a campaign, the real Rudy, as opposed to the one who existed for about 18 hours on 9/11/01, comes out, and that the voters hate the real Rudy.

*From the Hebrew. Literally it means “foreigner” of “alien”, but it is generally used to mean non-Jew.