Month: August 2010

Not Enough Bullets: CEO Pay Disclosure Edition

What Cee Lo Green Said (NSFW)

It looks like the overpaid CEOs have decided that telling shareholders just how overpaid they are is an unreasonable burden:

US companies face a “logistical nightmare” from a new rule forcing them to disclose the ratio between their chief executive’s pay package and that of the typical employee, lawyers have warned.

The mandatory disclosure will provide ammunition for activists seeking to target perceived examples of excessive pay and perks. The law taps into public anger at the increasing disparity between the faltering incomes of middle America and the largely recession-proof multimillion-dollar remuneration of the typical corporate chief.

S&P 500 chief executives last year received median pay packages of $7.5m, according to executive compensation research firm Equilar. By comparison, official statistics show the average private sector employee was paid just over $40,000.

If you cannot determine the number of employees, and your total payroll (total payroll $/number of employees=average pay) in under 10 minutes, then you aren’t doing your f^%$ing job.

Yes, I know that the actual number is the median salary, so that should only take 15 minutes.

The real problem is not the ratio, it’s that they don’t want the shareholders, who, you know, actually own the damn company, to know how much they are getting paid.

It’s f%$#s like this that make me say to people, “If you plan on going postal, take out upper management first.”

Mission Accomplished Lite

I listened to the speech on the road (long story), so I had to pay attention, as opposed to taking notes, and what I discovered was that I really don’t like listening to him, while he proclaims that maintenance of tens of thousands of troops, and permanent and extensive bases, somehow mean that the war is over.


Someone Has a Clue

Specifically, Laura Tyson, who is calling for another round of stimulus.

Of course, you can find a lot of people calling for another round of stimulus, but what makes Ms. Tyson different from people like Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman, and Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is the fact that people at the White House actually listen to her, she is a member of the White House’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Of course, that paragraph raises a question for me: Why is the White House studiously freezing out people like Nobel Prize winning economists Krugman and Stiglitz?

It would seem to me that these are the sort of people one should listen to.

The Term is Ethnic Cleansing

2 Words Left Unsaid

Rachel Maddow talks about the housing situation in New Orleans, and makes the point that the elimination of much of the subsidized housing for the poor was intended to reduce the availability of housing for the poor, and generally black, residents of the Crescent City.

John Aravosis references Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine,” but there is a far uglier term for this: Ethnic cleansing.

Economics Update

The lede has to be the ADP report showing that private employers cut 10,000 jobs in August.

Obviously, we will get the official numbers from the Feds on Friday.

On the other hand, manufacturing grew more than expected in August.

It’s kind of a mixed bag news day, with consumer spending increasing, but real incomes fell for the first time in over 6 months and the Conference Board’s consumer confidence beat estimates.

I’m not sure exactly what they are spending money on though, because car sales had the weakest August in 27 years, which would imply an aversion to big ticket purchases.

In real estate, the Case-Shiller home price index rose in June, though that’s probably more a result of the now-expired tax credit than anything else, mortgage applications rose slightly, though, unsurprisingly, more so for refinance than it did for home purchases, and construction spending was significantly lower than estimates.

In the “these are real lives that are being f%$#ed with” category, bankruptcy filings fell in August, though they still remain at a near 5 years high.

Finally, Canada’s economy slowed significantly in the 2nd quarter.

Domestic Terrorism

Some terrorist torched construction equipment at the sight of the future mosque in Murfreesboro, TN, and when parishioners came by to survey the damage, someone took shots at them.

What should happen right now is that the FBI and ATF should flooding the zone and go full patriot act on anyone they catch.

It’s what Clinton should have done on the abortion clinic bombers who later became assassins, because arresting white folks for terrorism is icky, and besides, Barack Obama is afraid that people will think that he is a Muslim if he goes after white terrorists.

Doubling Down on the Stupid

It’s one of Barack Obama’s Stupid Minions, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said on the Sunday talk shows that a renewal of the new home buyer tax credit might be coming back.

This is unbelievably stupid on a number of levels. First people who are considering buying homes will hold off, waiting for the tax credit, second, it’s really bad policy, that cost taxpayers something like $80K for each additional home sold.

Now there have been tepid denials from HUD, but this sort of crap should not be happening.

Great Googly Moogly.

H/t Atrios.

We Are F%$#ing Doomed

Thanks, Barry!

The latest Gallup poll is out with the generic Congressional ballot, and Republicans have a 10% lead, the highest since Gallup started running this poll in 1942!

You know, continuing with Bush’s Kangaroo courts and surveillance state, selling out homeowners to banks, and ranting against your party are working really well, aren’t they?

If we don’t end up with Boehner as speaker, I would be very surprised.

[on edit]

It’s worse than I thought. It’s not a daily tracking pool, it’s a weekly.

At this rate, we will lose the Senate too.

The Best Critique, and the Best Path Forward, I’ve Yet Seen on Obama

Ian Welsh has a must read essay.

What he suggests that Obama could have done without having to consult Congress at all:

  • Start negotiations with a maximalist position, as opposed the current mode of giving the store away before anyone sits down.
  • Ending the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell discharges
  • Not made the HAMP a fraud perpetrated against desperate home owners.
  • Halting the Kangaroo courts at Gitmo.
  • Not starting the cat food commission after Congress voted it down.

Going forward, he suggests that Obama use the authority granted him under the Federal Reserve act, which allows him to remove governors for cause and recess appoint their replacements, and take the the distressed debt that the FED holds, and sell it.

This would force the banks to mark their own assets to the now established market value, which makes them insolvent, and which would mean that FDIC and related agencies could nationalize them.

I like this last one, but it ain’t never gonna happen.

Go read the article though, it’s very good.

Matt Taibbi has a Point

I would have invoked Der Stürmer, and encouraged invocations of Godwin’s law, but Matt Taibbi is right, Fox News, and their fellow travellers are much closer to Radio Rwanda than they are to Julius Streicher’s oervre:

A lot of Tea Party anger is driven by real local issues — where I live in central Jersey, for instance, there are a lot of pissed-off white people crowing over a nutty state supreme court case in which a Central American drunk driver got off because cops didn’t explain the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer in his native Spanish. But without the constant reinforcement of national 24-hour media, which has taken these isolated cases and presented them as a coast-to-coast massive conspiracy, the rage over stories like this would never reach the levels we’re seeing.

In fact if you follow Fox News and the Limbaugh/Hannity afternoon radio crew, this summer’s blowout has almost seemed like an intentional echo of the notorious Radio Rwanda broadcasts “warning” Hutus that they were about to be attacked and killed by conspiring Tutsis, broadcasts that led to massacres of Tutsis by Hutus acting in “self-defense.” A sample of some of the stuff we’ve seen and heard on the air this year:

  • On July 12, Glenn Beck implied that the Obama government was going to aid the New Black Panther Party in starting a race war, with the ultimate aim of killing white babies. “They want a race war. We must be peaceful people. They are going to poke, and poke, and poke, and our government is going to stand by and let them do it.” He also said that “we must take the role of Martin Luther King, because I do not believe that Martin Luther King believed in, ‘Kill all white babies.'”
  • CNN contributor and writer Erick Erickson, on the Panther mess: “Republican candidates nationwide should seize on this issue. The Democrats are giving a pass to radicals who advocate killing white kids in the name of racial justice and who try to block voters from the polls.”
  • On July 6, the Washington Times columnist J. Christian Adams wrote an editorial insisting that “top [Obama] appointees have allowed and even encouraged race-based enforcement as either tacit or open policy,” marking one of what would become many assertions by commentators that the Obama administration was no longer interested in protecting the rights of white people. “The Bush Civil Rights Division was willing to protect all Americans from racial discrimination,” Adams wrote. “During the Obama years, the Holder years, only some Americans will be protected.”
  • July 12: Rush Limbaugh says Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder “protect and represent” the New Black Panther party.
  • July 28: Rush says Supreme Court decision on 1070 strips Arizonans of their rights to defend themselves against an “invasion”: “I guess the judge is saying it’s not in the public interest for Arizona to try to defend itself from an invasion. I don’t know how you look at this with any sort of common sense and come to the ruling this woman came to.” That same day, Rush says this: “Muslim terrorists are going to have a field day in Arizona. You cannot ask them where they’re from. You cannot even act like we know where they’re from. You cannot ask them for their papers. We can ask you for yours. Not them.”
  • July 29: The Washington Times asks “Should Arizona Secede?” and says the Supreme Court “is unilaterally disarming the people of Arizona in the face of a dangerous enemy” with the aim of creating a “socialist superstate.” The paper writes: “The choice is becoming starkly apparent: devolution or dissolution.”
  • July 29, Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy continues the Radio Rwanda theme, saying, “If the feds won’t protect the people and Governor Brewer can’t protect her citizens, what are the people of Arizona supposed to do?”
There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd. But this summer’s media hate-fest is different than anything we’ve seen before. What we’re watching is a calculated campaign to demonize blacks, Mexicans, and gays and convince a plurality of economically-depressed white voters that they are under imminent legal and perhaps even physical attack by a conspiracy of leftist nonwhites. They’re telling these people that their government is illegitimate and criminal and unironically urging secession and revolution.

(emphasis mine)

There are some deeply evil people out there who are looking to leverage bigotry, racism, and fear for their own profit and power.

Taibbi calls for a boycott, saying that he’d, “Like to see at least one firm get blown out of business as a consequence of financially supporting the network that is telling America that its black president wants to kill white babies,” but he misses a part of the dynamic with his call to action: It isn’t that Fox News, and probably the rest of the media outlets, are driven by cynical economic or political goals, it’s that many of them, are bed wetting cowards like Roger Ailes, and they truly live their lives in terror.

As to the politicians stoking this matter, it’s pretty clear that they (Newt) are looking at this through the prism of political advantage though.

I won’t muse on the mental processes of Sarah Palin, that way lies me huddled on the floor, covered in mayonnaise, and gibbering, “Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!”

A True American Hero

Colonel Lawrence Sellin, US Army Reserve, who published a blistering critique of the “PowerPoint Ranger” culture within the military in Afghanistan, and was then promptly fired and kicked out of Afghanistan.

This is not surprising. When one publishes an OP/Ed which contains gems such as this:

For headquarters staff, war consists largely of the endless tinkering with PowerPoint slides to conform with the idiosyncrasies of cognitively challenged generals in order to spoon-feed them information. Even one tiny flaw in a slide can halt a general’s thought processes as abruptly as a computer system’s blue screen of death.

It ain’t good for career prospects.

In fact, the phrase, “Cognitively Challenged Generals,” used in a publicly published opinion piece, is pretty much a letter of resignation for any member of the military.

Still, it mirrors my experience with FCS, were the generals seemed tremendously concerned about the consistency of colors between variants of the manned ground vehicle in the presentations.

If I were SedDef, I would be tempted to place an immediate and absolute ban on the software.

Anachronisms in Defense Promotional Videos

Lockheed has a video pushing its VTOL Advanced Reconnaissance Insertion Organic Unmanned System (VARIOUS) fan in wing UAV.

It’s OK defense video pr0n, but what caught my eye were the tanks at about 1:22 in the video.

They are T-34 tanks, and I actually think that they are the T-34/76 variant, which ceased production around 1944, and has been out of service for decades, though could could see T-34/85s in service in Bosnia in the 1990s.

H/t The DEW Line.

The Gang That Can ‘t Shoot Straight: Semi-Stealthy Fighter Edition

Because of supply chain issues, and because the assembly line is being constantly raided to keep the test fleet flying, Lockheed Martin is having to partially dissemble the wing on the F-35 to install components out of sequence:

Lockheed Martin has pushed back the resolution of a manufacturing problem plaguing F-35 Joint Strike Fighter final assembly schedules, but key suppliers are making progress building components as the programme prepares for the next leap in production orders.

In October 2009 government audit reports showed that Lockheed expected to eliminate the “wing-at-mate overlap” problem for the F-35’s four-piece wing with final assembly of BF-13, the thirteenth short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) in production.

The overlap means that key parts are delivered after the wing has entered final assembly, requiring workers to partially disassemble the structure.

The Defense Contracts Management Agency (DCMA) identified the resulting delays and inefficiency in the wing manufacturing process as one of the key drivers for production delays ranging from four to six months during the first two years of low-rate initial production (LRIP).

Your tax dollars at work.

A Clusterf%$# Deferred

The Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) competition has been canceled

The Army has canceled the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) solicitation because the service decided, after an internal and external review, that the current Requests for Proposal (RFP) do not accurately reflect Army requirements and a changing acquisition strategy, sources tell us.

A contract for the new vehicle was very close to being awarded, we’re told. A restart of the GCV competition is expected fairly soon, a new RFP may be out within 60 days, and the Army intends to stay within the original seven year timeline to field a new vehicle.


When you have a series of requirements that delivers you a proposal for an unwieldy and ruinously expensive 70 ton behemoth, about the same weight as an M-1 Tank, something is stunningly wrong.

Obama Throws the Environmental Movement Under the Bus

This is a distressingly familiar refrain

I’m sure that there are a lot of “eleventy dimensional chess” folks out there, but when you look at Obama’s record, both in terms of his support for coal and for his full throated endorsement of the fiction that is “clean coal,” the fact that the administration filed an brief urging the Supreme Court overrule the appellate court decision does not surprise me one bit:

The Obama administration has urged the Supreme Court to toss out an appeals court decision that would allow lawsuits against major emitters for their contributions to global warming, stunning environmentalists who see the case as a powerful prod on climate change.

In the case, AEP v. Connecticut, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a coalition of states, environmental groups and New York City. The decision, handed down last year, said they could proceed with a lawsuit that seeks to force several of the nation’s largest coal-fired utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.


In a brief (pdf) filed yesterday on behalf of the Tennessee Valley Authority, acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal agreed with the defendants, saying that U.S. EPA’s newly finalized regulations on greenhouse gases have displaced that type of common-law claim.


Matt Pawa, an attorney representing plaintiffs in the case, said he and his colleagues expected the White House to stay out of the matter. During a meeting with more than 30 administration lawyers at the solicitor general’s office on June 24, it seemed they had “a lot of friends in the room,” he said.

“We feel stabbed in the back,” Pawa said. “This was really a dastardly move by an administration that said it was a friend of the environment. With friends like this, who needs enemies?”

I would also note that the regulations that the Solicitor General is touting, which he says should preempt this suit, only applies to new power plants, and these new plants are not the subject of the nuisance suit.

I suppose that a lot of folks will blame Rahm, who has a history of sucking up to miscreant industries for campaign cash, but remember, Obama knows who and what Rahm is, and hired him. Remember, the Cossacks work for the Czar.

As gay activist Joe Sudbay noted at Americablog:

Welcome to our world.

Now, what these environmentalists don’t understand — yet — is that Team Obama isn’t really on their side. Not in the way they think, anyway. It’s a tough lesson and hard to swallow. The gays learned it early on, between Rick Warren and the DOMA brief.

(Mr. Pawa and Mr. Bookbinder should be prepared. They’ll see a lot of their colleagues in the environmental movement make excuses and apologize for what the Obama administration did.)

If the Obama were serious about carbon emission regulation, then it should see this suit would be a wonderful lever to get Congress to move on comprehensive legislation.

The only two justifications for this brief are that they aren’t serious, or, once again, they are trying to expand the reach of the executive branch.