Year: 2011

What Dan Savage Says…

I don’t know how I missed this.

It is positively brilliant:

Bachmann and her ilk believe that woman who have sex—along with men who fail to purchase health insurance—deserve to die horrible deaths. That’s why they hate the HPV vaccine, that’s why they fought its introduction, that’s why they tell lies about it now. Because they want women to die.

Read the rest. It’s short.

It’s also true.

The majority of the people who who seek to criminalize abortion want to punish women for having sex, and anything that resembles freedom in their personal, in any way they can.

It’s an unalloyed evil that these folks see The Handmaiden’s Tale as a blueprint Rather than a warning.

Well, I Promised Pictures

Click for full size

Brains, Brains…

Brains, Brains

Or tuna. Tuna would be nice

Well, I did promise pictures of the new cats, so here are Mousetrap and Hummus (middle pic).

They seem to be settling in fairly well, though there does appear to be a bit of tense between the two of them.

Right now, there Mousetrap seems to be in the pole position for alpha cat, but we’ll see how it sorts out.

If it’s physical strength, it’s definitely Mousetrap, who is built like a tank, though I think that Hummus might be a bit quicker on her feet.

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

Senator Ben Nelson (DINO-Nebraska) is retiring.

This man has been a cancer on the Democratic caucus in the Senate for two terms, all while being adored by the morally bankrupt Washington punditocracy.

That being said, all is not well, as there is even more intense wankeritude in the wings, “Bob Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska, had also been mentioned on political blogs as a possible candidate if Nelson retired.”


If You Want to Go Dumpster Diving at the Fed

Bloomberg has released the bailout secured from Federal reserve as a result of their successful FOIA litigation:

Bloomberg News today released spreadsheets showing daily borrowing totals for 407 banks and companies that tapped Federal Reserve emergency programs during the 2007 to 2009 financial crisis. It’s the first time such data have been publicly available in this form.

To download a zip file of the spreadsheets, go to For an explanation of the files, see the one labeled “1a Fed Data Roadmap.”

The day-by-day, bank-by-bank numbers, culled from about 50,000 transactions the U.S. central bank made through seven facilities, formed the basis of a series of Bloomberg News articles this year about the largest financial bailout in history.

What is revealed here, in the short form, is that the lending window was at below market rates, as opposed to the, “penalty over normal market rates,” claimed by the Fed.

Additionally, on a quick look at the article, the lending, and the backstopping, where what amounted to loan guarantees were provided as a sort of a back door subsidy to allow banks to borrow at lower rates, it appears that this totaled more than ten trillion ($10,000,000,000,000.00) dollars, or something in excess of ½ the GDP of the United States of America.

It should also be noted that this is only the stuff that Bloomberg managed to pry from the Fed’s fingers, and I’m certain that we will see this number grow as more rocks are turned over.

Movie Reviews

Over the past few days, we’ve seen a fair number of DVDs and one in theater movies, so here are my reviews:

Captain America:  

It’s still basically a lead-in for the upcoming Avengers movie, but it is a lot better than Thor.

That’s because whole Thor was about the character’s back-story, Captain America is about his story.

Captain America has what the oldest story of any of the Avengers, beginning in 1941, and it ran for nearly 10 years before being folded in the early 1950s.

The Nazis, the Red Skull, etc.  are all a part of the original story arc.

What this means is that we have a real story here, as opposed to Thor‘s, “How did this Asgardean get to earth?” tale.

It also helps that Chris Evans gives a very down to earth performance as Steve Rogers.  He sells it when he says, “I’m just a kid from Brooklyn.”

Iron Man and Iron Man 2:

The best part of both Iron Mans is the performance of Robert Downey, Jr.

He’s fun to watch, and he is believable as a dissolute character who eventually finds redemption.  (Unsurprising)

One little detail that I loved is from the 2nd movie, when he is going through his father’s notes on a power supply, and we see a sketch of a representation of a 3D shadow of a tesseract.

The 4-dimensional hypercube figures prominently in the technology used by the Red Skull in the Captain America movie, and the (not entirely clear) fate of the Red Skull in that movie points back to the interdimensional “bridge” used in Thor.

It’s something you pick up on DVD or PPV, but might miss in the theater.

One thing that I have noted in all of the super-hero movies is that the villains tend to seize whatever scene they are in, and they have many of the best lines, the Red Skull’s, “Not a scratch” is prize.

That being said, Micky Rourkes Ivan Vanko/Whiplash is kind of flat, and I found Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 to be far more engaging and funny, as is Gary Shandling’s appearance as a self serving and fatuous Senator.

As to Scarlett Johansson’s introduction as Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow, it’s Scarlett Johansson in a cat suit. What more do you need?

The Adventures of Tintin:

This movie is fairly true to the original comic book/graphic novel serials, and it was a rollicking good time, with a clear sequel in the works, which is also very much in the spirit of the original.

It’s light and fluffy fare, and relishes that fact, which makes it a pleasant diversion.  It’s a well acted adventure fantasy.

I’m not entirely sure why they went with CGI based on motion capture, rather than live action, except for the fact that it allowed them to create the rather caricature like faces of some of the main characters to better match those of the original Hergé comics.

We all saw the film in 3-D, and the technology is much improved over the last 3-D film that I saw in theaters, 1983’s Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn.  Once the glasses were on, it just worked, even though I wear glasses myself.

It worked better, and was less obtrusive, at least when the director wasn’t intent on showing it off.

One interesting note here about our theater experience, was that there was something near half an hour of coming attractions, largely also in 3-D, which I rather enjoyed.

10½ Years?

Duncan Black teases out this rather alarming factoid:

Bernanke Money Policy Seen Achieving Goal as Savers Become Consumers Again


The average age of cars and light trucks on the road today has risen to 10.6 years, Jenny Lin, senior U.S. economist at Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Co., said on a Dec. 1 conference call. That’s above the seven-to-7.5 years Ballew says is the long-term average.

The number has been trending up for years, notwithstanding what Ms. Lin said, but a 1.2 year increase since 2008 is a big jump for just 3 years.

Here’s something to think about: That number is never going back, because people are used to keeping their cars longer now, and the technological advances over the past couple of decades allow them to.

Cars are a lot better than they were 20 years ago, and they last a lot longer.

I Just Tried a First in the Kitchen

I’ve never cooked fried chicken before, but I did so last night.

Natalie wanted some fried chicken, and, seeing as how it’s Chanukah, when fried food is traditional, I figured, “what the heck”

I used a gluten free recipe, to accommodate Sharon’s* sensitivity to wheat.  (Corn flake breading was out as well, because she and the kids have problems with that)

It turned out OK. The breading did not stick as well as I would have hoped, but it turned out moist.

One note, I used the beaten egg for the dredge, as opposed to the buttermilk presented as an alternative, kashrus, don’t you know.

It did involve a gawd awful amount of oil, I had to fill up the skillet about an inch deep to fry the chicken.

(on edit)

I didn’t brine,  and I used the egg wash, not the buttermilk.

*Love of my life, light of the cosmos, she who must be obeyed, my wife.

Japan Orders F-35

This is very good news for Lockheed-Martin.

I think that the devil will be in the details though.

The details that most likely cause problems is that, “But Japanese companies are likely to be excluded from work on the confidential and more lucrative stealth and radar capabilities of the fighters.”

Seeing as how Japanese defense contractors are constitutionally prohibited from exporting their wares, I think that this might end up a major area of contention with their defense contractors.

It Sucks to be John Boehner

Yes, I know, orange, likely drinking problem, looks like a poster child for sex without partners, so it always sucks to be him.

It’s just that today, it sucks even more, because he had to back down on his attempt to short circuit the 2 month extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits.

The problem here is that he backed out on a deal that he cut with, among other folks, the Senate Republicans, because he has no control of his caucus, and once the members of his caucus realized that they looked like complete prats, though not as complete as John Boy, they got in his face too.

When one looks at the basic mechanics of the office of Speaker of the House, and excludes the prism of ideology, Boehner is still the worst speaker in recent memory:  He can’t count votes, and he can’t hold onto them, and he cannot protect his caucus from their own worst impulses.

The word is that it’s Eric Cantor who is setting himself up for this sh%$, because he wants the gavel, but Boehner, having attempted an unsuccessful coup against Gingrich in the 1990s, should know what is going on, and how to deal with it.