Month: April 2010

A Personal Anecdotal Economic Data Point

On Monday, I sent out an update of my resume including my brief stint as a tech writer (also here).

Basically, it needs to be included, because I want to plug the hole in my employment history, so something with “2010” in it is useful, but I don’t want to get a bunch calls from recruiters who do not look past the key word search calling me with technical writer positions,* so I listed my title is listed as, “Developer/Writer.”

It is true and accurate. “Developer” was my official title, and writer was what I did, but by avoiding the dreaded term “technical writer”, I won’t trigger a keyword search.

In any case, on to the data point:

I got a very strong response to my resume mailing, perhaps 50% more responses by phone or email that happened with my last resume drop in October 2009.

So, I do have a sense of things picking up.

BTW, if you want to look at my resume, you can see it, as well as an 8 page complete CV that covers everything back to college, here.

*At least not ones from out of town. I’m not willing to travel to be a tech writer, but I’m willing to commute daily to be one.
I use a shell account at, who I highly recommend, and I have a whole series of Unix scripts that allow me to send a few hundred emails, or do a mail merge into an email, with attached files, with each recipient getting an individualized “To:” header. (I.e. no BCC:) If you are interested, drop me a line, and I will send them to you.
And there is no need to tell me that it’s ugly C shell script. I already know this.

I’m Henry VIII I Am

Well, not exactly, but it appears that my 2 weeks on Doxycycline has given me gout in my left big toe.

One of the triggers for gout is a sterile digestive tract, which the drug has delivered in spades.

I went to the urgent care clinic, and after a bit of a wait, got a quick diagnosis from the doctor.

I’m on Indocin, which is basically industrial strength Ibuprofen, and Colchicine, which is some weird stuff derived from the Autumn crocus.

The instructions for Colchicine say, “Take 1-2 tablets every 2 hours until pain stops, or nausea-vomiting-diarrhea.”

I just the Wiki on Colchicine. Great googly moogly. This is nasty stuff, as in a fairly potent cellular toxin when used to excess..

I’m taking my meds, and another acidophilus to deal with the “sterile digestive tract,” and heading to bed, thank you very much.

Economics Update

More good news, with the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rising in April, and home prices falling in February.

I bet you are wondering how home prices falling in February is a good thing. Well, it’s simple, it fell month to month, but rose on a year over year basis, for the first time since December, 2006.

It may mean that things are bottoming out.

Certainly, it’s better than the alternative.

Still, the financial crisis looks to remain with us for some time, with Greece and Portugal’s sovereign debt downgraded by Standard & Poors, with some of Greece’s debt now rated as junk bonds.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to a flight to safety and concerns about the recovery, which has driven the dollar higher and oil lower.

The Meth Lab of Democracy

You know, maybe legislators should engage in a mental exorcise known as a Jon Stewart test

Arizona, of course, Stewart makes the comment about 1 minute in.

As Wyatt Cenac notes, the authorities are just looking for suspicious behavior, like, “Gardening or burping white people’s babies.”

I so want one of his writers as a speech writer if I ever run for office.

Good Politics, Good Policy

Click for full size

Even the right-wing Belo Corporation journalism cancer known as the Dallas Morning News

And the Mooney Times

Media Matters has a large selection of newspaper front pages, and it looks like Mitch McConnell’s ploy to kill financial reform is not playing in Peoria.

The lede is all about the filibuster, and how the ‘Phants are doing their best to kill and slow-walk the process, even in reliably right wing newspapers.

Here’s hoping that the Dems notice, and double down on making the Republicans do this again, and again, and again, and again.

Keep up the good work.

Do not compromise on financial reform, you already have, make them crawl to you, and scatter some broken glass in their path.

A Neat Piece of History

An article from Time magazine from June 5, 1933 about the creation of deposit insurance:

Through the great banking houses of Manhattan last week ran wild-eyed alarm. Big bankers stared at one another in anger and astonishment. A bill just passed by both houses of Congress would rivet upon their institutions what they considered a monstrous system of guaranteeing bank deposits. Such a system, they felt, would not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U. S. banking to its lowest level. They saw their deposits which they had spent a lifetime to build up and protect with their good names confiscated by the Government to pay for the mistakes and dishonesty of every smalltown bankster.

Don’t think that our masters of the universe believe anything different than that these masters of the universe believed.

They always believe that they are good, and noble, and brilliant, and that it’s always someone else’s fault.

Failing by Design

So, after releasing an ambitious plan to reign in the exotic insurance-like financial instruments known as swaps, Blanche Lincoln is saying that she thinks that the proposal will not survive the Senate:

Senator Blanche Lincoln said she isn’t sure her plan to make banks wall off their swaps-trading desks has enough support to become part of financial-regulatory overhaul, while calling the provision effective change.


“I don’t know if I have the votes” for the provision, Lincoln said today. When the measure comes to the floor for debate, senators could vote to remove her plan, Lincoln said.

Let’s be clear, Senators don’t say things like this about proposals of theirs that they want to pass, they say it about proposals of theirs that they want someone else to kill.

Lincoln is trying to present herself as the liberals’ great white hope in the primary, but it’s just a pose, which is why the US Chamber of Commerce is doing a TV ad blitz for her.

Do not be deceived: She is owned by Walmart, the big banks, the health insurers, and the rest of those pig felching rat bastards.

Stephen Colbert Answers the Question

The W0rd is: Straight to Video

You see, the teabaggers are accusing of Lindsey Graham of making nice with the Democrats because he is being blackmailed because he’s gay.

Colbert’s solution, Lindsey Graham needs to release a heterosexual sex tape.

It’s a reasonable suggestion, but I’m not sure that making such a tape is even remotely possible.

When the Bigots Lose Tom Tancredo………

You know that they have gone too far:

Former Congressman Tom Tancredo — the same guy who said we should send the president back to Kenya and said a Supreme Court nominee is part of the “Latino KKK” — said this weekend that the new Arizona immigration law goes a little too far.

“If I had anything to say about it, we’d be doing it in Colorado,” Tancredo told Denver news station KDVR. But, he said, “I do not want people here, there in Arizona, pulled over because you look like should be pulled over.”

We live in very strange times.

Buck Fen …… (Nelson, that is)

So, the Senate attempted to begin debate on the financial reform package, and the vote failed by 57-41, with Ben Nelson (DINO-NE) voting with the ‘Phants.

Reid voted “no” as well, but included a motion to reconsider, which is a parliamentary trick to get a do-over.

Still, the most effective thing that the Dems could do right now is to take action against Ben Nelson.

If they start taking real actions against recalcitrant members of their own caucus, it makes it that much easier for them to deal with the Republicans, because they won’t get knifed by the Liebercrats.

OK, This IS a Sign of the Apocalypse

The yield on 2 year Greek government bonds jumped 300 basis points (3%) to 13.522% over the past day.

To place this in perspective:

Greece’s two-year borrowing costs are now higher than those of Argentina, at 8.8 per cent, and Venezuela, at 11 per cent, two countries that have been shunned by many international investors because of the mismanagement of their economies.

This is not a collapse of Europe. What this appears to be is a classic bank run.

This doesn’t make it a potentially life threatening disaster for the George Bailey’s of this world.*

*I’m using It’s a Wonderful Life for illustrative purposes only. I never liked the film, and pretty much no one until it fell out of copyright, and TV stations around the US started using it as cheap filler.

I Hate Doxycycline

Even after getting corrected instructions from the Pharmacists, this medication sucks.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve felt generally achy lately, been sleeping awfully, I’ve felt fuzzy and unfocused, I’ve been throwing up a lot,* and the first joint of my left big toe is painful, hot, and swollen, so I’m hobbling around.

After some Googling, I determined that these are not that uncommon side effects, and I thank my stars that I am not taking this sh%$ for some chronic condition like acne.

Thankfully, I have only one pill left to take tonight, and then I am done.

Thank God.

*Yes, that incident in the Barns & Noble was so much fun, luckily I basically made it to the bathroom before losing my strawberry smoothie.
None escaped my mouth.

Unbelievably F%$#ing Stupid

Let’s look at the targets and paths, shall we?


North Korea


Well, we now have SecDef Robert Gates saying that the U.S. has conventionally ballistic missiles in deployment:

Responding to a question from NBC’s David Gregory on the ability to deter nuclear armed rogue states, Gates said: “We have, in addition to the nuclear deterrent today, a couple of things we didn’t have in the Soviet days… And we have prompt global strike affording us some conventional alternatives on long-range missiles that we didn’t have before.”

This is f%$#ing insane.

Incoming ballistic missiles, whether with nuclear, conventional explosive, or kinetic warheads, all look the same from launch until the moment of impact, and so are very likely to trigger a nuclear counterstrike.

I’m with Noah Shachtman on this one:

The Obama administration is poised to take up one of the more dangerous and hare-brained schemes of the Rumsfeld-era Pentagon. The New York Times is reporting that the Defense Department is once again looking to equip intercontinental ballistic missiles with conventional warheads. The missiles could then, in theory, destroy fleeing targets a half a world away — a no-notice “bolt from the blue,” striking in a matter of hours. There’s just one teeny-tiny problem: the launches could very well start World War III.


The Pentagon mumbled all kinds of assurances that Beijing or Moscow would never, ever, never misinterpret one kind of ICBM for the other. But the core of their argument essentially came down to this: Trust us, Vlad Putin! That ballistic missile we just launched in your direction isn’t nuclear. We swear!

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld couldn’t even muster that coherent of a defense. [Though the juxtaposition of, “Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld” and, “Coherent,” is generally a losing battle anyway.]

“Everyone in the world would know that [the missile] was conventional,” he said in a press conference, “after it hit within 30 minutes.”

(emphasis mine)

So, you will know after a missile hits the target whether or not it is a decapitating nuclear strike aimed at you.

Somehow, this is not reassuring, particularly since if we have a tool like this, we would likely use it on an at least annual basis.

Someone Sent Harry Reid a Clue

Unlike with healthcare, where he sat by idly while he allowed Ben Nelson (DINO-NE) to confab with 3 Republicans in the hopes of making the bill bipartisan, this time Harry Reid has said that, “The games of stalling are over.

Basically, he is saying that if Republicans want a deal, they had better talk now, and if not, they will filibuster financial reform, and the ads will go up, the ugly ones in black and white with the sinister music and the gravely voided announcer, in the states of the ‘Phants who are up for reelection in 2010.

I only wish that he had slapped down Nelson about this on healthcare. It would have made for a much better bill.

What Paul Krugman Said

His conclusion is all too true:

But the fact is that we’ve been devoting far too large a share of our wealth, far too much of the nation’s talent, to the business of devising and peddling complex financial schemes — schemes that have a tendency to blow up the economy. Ending this state of affairs will hurt the financial industry. So?

Until people in power realize that the basic problem with our financial system is that it is too big relative to the rest of the economy, and that it needs to be cut down to size, we will continue to have failures like these.

USAF Decides to Shoot Self in Foot

Because of delays in the F-35 program, there will be a shortfall in fighter strength for the USAF over the next few decades, so they are looking at service-life extensions for existing F-15s and F-16s, and they have flatly ruled out any purchase of new build legacy fighters.

The idea here is that if they buy them, Congress might be tempted to cancel their white elephant.

BTW, speaking of white elephants, it not looks like the USAF will have to have its other white elephant, the F-22 will have to be escorted by F-15Cs upgraded with AESA radar, since the F-15’s larger antenna size allows for greater jamming capability. Basically, bigger antenna means more AESA modules which means more power and more range, and the AESA functions as a jammer.

Additionally, the F-15, “have the persistence [because of larger fuel loads] to stay there while the [stealthy fighters] are conducting their LO attack”. Note here that the F-15C is about ⅓ smaller than the F-22A, but apparently out-ranges, or at least out-lasts, it.