Month: September 2012

The Euro Crisis in 2 Minutes and 37 Seconds

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Clarke and Dawe, like Stewart and Colbert, show that the only truth tellers out there are the comedians.

If You F%$# Your Base Long and Hard Enough, They Won’t Be Your Base Anymore

Attempts by mainstream Democrats to turn education into another private sector profit center from which they can extract campaign donations is starting to piss off teachers:

The strike by public school teachers in Chicago this month drew national attention to a fierce debate over the future of education and exposed the ruptured relationship between teachers’ unions and Democrats like Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Over the past few years, even as Republicans have led efforts to thwart unions, lawmakers previously considered solid supporters of teachers’ unions have tangled with them over a national education agenda that includes new performance evaluations based partly on test scores, the overhaul of tenure and the expansion of charter schools.

As these traditional political alliances have shifted, teachers’ unions have pursued some strange bedfellows among lawmakers who would not appear to be natural allies.

In Illinois, the top two recipients of political contributions from the Illinois Education Association through June 30 were Republicans, including a State House candidate who has Tea Party support and advocates lower taxes and smaller government.


“The notion that just because you’re a Democrat” you can take the teachers’ unions for granted has changed, said Jim Reed, director of government relations for the Illinois Education Association.

As teachers grapple with a reform agenda backed by hedge funds and large philanthropic donors and championed by the Obama administration as well as some conservative Republicans, the unions are navigating a delicate political landscape where they increasingly pursue friends in unlikely places.

There are way too many Democrats, including Barack Obama and his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who think that handing our schools off to hedge funds is a good thing.

It’s not.

The creation of the educational-industrial complex, much like the creation of the prison-industrial complex, and their granddaddy, the military-industrial complex, are a disaster for our society.

This is F%$#ing Nuts!

The Department of Justice has charged Aaron Schwartz with 13 felonies for violating the terms of service TOS of a web site:

Federal prosectors added nine new felony counts against well-known coder and activist Aaron Swartz, who was charged last year for allegedly breaching hacking laws by downloading millions of academic articles from a subscription database via an open connection at MIT.

Swartz, the 25-year-old executive director of Demand Progress, has a history of downloading massive data sets, both to use in research and to release public domain documents from behind paywalls. He surrendered in July 2011, remains free on bond and faces dozens of years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

Like last year’s original grand jury indictment on four felony counts, (.pdf) the superseding indictment (.pdf) unveiled Thursday accuses Swartz of evading MIT’s attempts to kick his laptop off the network while downloading millions of documents from JSTOR, a not-for-profit company that provides searchable, digitized copies of academic journals that are normally inaccessible to the public.


In essence, many of the charges stem from Swartz allegedly breaching the terms of service agreement for those using the research service.

“JSTOR authorizes users to download a limited number of journal articles at a time,” according to the latest indictment. “Before being given access to JSTOR’s digital archive, each user must agree and acknowledge that they cannot download or export content from JSTOR’s computer servers with automated programs such as web robots, spiders, and scrapers. JSTOR also uses computerized measures to prevent users from downloading an unauthorized number of articles using automated techniques.”

It gets better.

The DoJ lost big in the 9th circuit court, which said that a violation of the TOS was a matter for civil court, but Obama’s DiJ decided not to appeal, so that they could continue to use their bogus vendettas in other jurisdictions.

Prosecutors have an obligation to represent the people.

This obligation goes beyond fishing for a suitably technically illiterate jury and using multiple indictments and the threat of decades in jail to extract a plea bargain.

This is a despicable case of prosecutorial overreach.

They are saying that, for example, lying about my appearance on a dating site would be a felony.

Prosecutors want to make their job easier, but their method, creating a world where everyone can be thrown in jail for a felony, because there is some law that they are in violation of, is repellant.

It is the hallmark of a police state.

Great, I Just Got Caught Up in the Patriot Act

I was getting some medicine containing some Pseudoephedrine HCL, and because of a glitch with a card swipe, their computer had me getting it, so I could not get another dose for 24 hours.

You wee, when the Patriot Act was reauthorized in 2006, it included legislation that made it tougher to buy Sudafed than it is to buy Plutonium.

After an hour of trying to fix the computer glitch, I left without the decongestant (Zyrtec® D).

F%$# the Patriot Act, and F%$# every F%$#ing member of Congress who F%$#ing voted for this F%$#ing piece of Sh%$ legislation, either the original, or the renewal.

Megan “Math is Hard” McArdle Is Worse Than I Thought

Due diligence, what due diligence?

I’ve always thought of her as a partisan hack, but it turns out that it’s worse than that. She is yet another bit of Koch brothers bought and paid for AstroTurf:

Megan McArdle is a Koch-trained conservative activist working as a business journalist and pundit. She earned her MBA from the University of Chicago, received journalism training at the Kochs’ flagship libertarian think-tank, the Institute for Humane Studies, and has used her position at The Atlantic and, most recently, Newsweek/ The Daily Beast, to run cover for and promote Koch interests and the Republican Party agenda. In early 2009, a GOP outfit backed by the Kochs hailed McArdle for her “leadership role in … re-branding the Republican party.” McArdle continues to conceal the extent of her deeply conflicted relationships with the Koch influence-peddling machine.

There is a line between being a hack, and being a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch brothers.

If you hire someone while they are paid agents of an entity that they cover, you are making the integrity of your news organization a joke.

I have made the same argument about NPR’s religion reporter, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, who interestingly enough is the sister of the multi-millionaire owner of MCardle’s employer The Atlantic, David Bradley. (The world is weird that way)

There are some good people at The Atlantic, but even before these revelations, it was clear that giving McArdle a megaphone was a blight on the magazine.

So, Jon Stewart’s S-Word Unbleeped Was a One-Off

Roll George Carlin (NSFW)

It appears that “Sh%$ unbleeped will not be a regular part of the lexicon for The Daily Show:

“The Daily Show” is not changing its standards concerning which words it will bleep and which it won’t, though it might have seemed that way Wednesday night.


Comedy Central executives emphasized that the decision to leave the words in affected only the initial late-night showing of “The Daily Show” and the ones run later at night. All the words were cut from repeats run during daytime hours Thursday.

A spokesman for the network, Steve Albani, said in an e-mail comment:

“Occasionally we allow certain language to go unbleeped on the show during its late-night premiere and encore. When we do, we have an alternate, bleeped version which runs during the daytime in its encore time slots, which receive a broader audience.”

The decision to allow the language this time had mostly to do with the substance of the comedy piece, another Comedy Central executive said, and did not signal a change in the network’s overall approach to what it will permit to be said uncensored on the show.

 I am unclear as to why people are so frightened by a simple 1 syllable word, particularly on cable.

But you cannot say “Chaos ullsh%$ Mounting” without that word.

I Knew that Rmoney Was Using His Taxes to Deceive

Romney’s lawyer has admitted that they massaged his tax returns to hit a politically expedient:

Mitt Romney’s lawyer admitted to the Democratic accusation that the Romneys could have paid a lot less in taxes in 2011, but they manipulated the returns so as to conform to an August Romney claim that he always paid at least 13%.

The AP reported:

But, Brad Malt acknowledged, the couple “limited their deductions of charitable contributions to conform to the governor’s statement in August, based on the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13 percent in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.”


Romney told us that paying more than he owed would disqualify him from the presidency, but he has now paid more than he owed in order to make his earlier statement about never paying below 13% appear to be true. Not to worry, though, Mitt Romney can merely amend his return after the election in order to get that money back from the government, like any 47%-er would want to do.

Additionally, there are no details on the offshore accounts in his Bain Retirement account, and note here, Romney is not personally evading taxes here, he couldn’t because it’s his retirement fund that is pays taxes right now, not the Romneys.

Furthermore, his use of the average rate may be a bit of statistical slight of hand:

5:32 pm by Liam Denning

We checked with the Romney campaign and the 20-year tax-rate average is a simple one (i.e., the average of the percentage in each year) rather than a weighted one (i.e., where you add up all the tax paid across the 20 years and divide it by all the income).

It’s a potentially important difference because the simple average treats each year equally — whether Romney earned, say, $5 million in that year or $30 million. It is especially important if Romney paid a low tax rate in a year in which he earned a lot but paid a high tax rate in years when he earned less. The weighted average would give a more accurate picture.

Of course, releasing the actual underlying year-by-year data would clear up any confusion — but that is a step Mr. Romney has said he won’t take.

Well, we don’t know what is hiding in has tax returns, but we know some of what he is intended to obscure in this release.

China Unveils 2nd Stealth Fighter Type

It’s called the J-31, among other designations.

This one is much more similar to the F-35 and the F-22, so my guess is that this one is later to the game, and it’s probably intended more for the air-to-air role.

It’s appears to be about the size of the F/A-18.

I can’t speak to its level of stealth, but considering the fact that it won’t carry the overhead that the F-35 caries by having an STOVL variant my guess is that the performance would be roughly equal.

No Prosecutions of Banksters, People are Finally Noticing

At least the reporters at McClatchy are noticing:

Running for re-election, President Barack Obama frequently blames Wall Street and the deep financial crisis it caused for the underperforming economy. He doesn’t advertise that no major honcho of finance has been jailed under his watch for the mess, however.

The lack of a high-profile arrest and trial is all the more surprising given that Obama has tried to stain his Republican rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, as a creature of Wall Street.

Past financial crises have always had antagonist. The savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s had banker Charles Keating. The CEO of collapsed energy trader Enron, Kenneth Lay, became the face behind a drive to revamp accounting laws in 2002. Both men were prosecuted for and convicted of financial crimes.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007-08 and the subsequent Great Recession, there’ve been plenty of scapegoats but no important actor fitted for pinstripes.

Why not? There’s no single compelling answer to that question.

“Some people (in regulatory agencies) believe that the folks at the Treasury and the Fed felt that pursuing chief executive officers would delay the economic recovery and continue to destabilize the financial system,” said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who frequently testifies before Congress on securities law. “They had that point of view. Whether they had any influence over the Department of Justice is very uncertain.”

Yeah, very uncertain.

The issue is not the influence of the Treasury Department over the Department of Justice.

Not prosecuting is the official policy of the President.  His response to wrongdoing whenever someone connected (CIA torturers and Dick Cheney) or powerful (banksters) is to say that he will “look forward, not back.”  (But he’s going balls to the wall prosecuting medical marijuana).

Whether Treasury has influence does not matter.  This is the a directive from Potus.

As an aside, McClatchy was just about the only major US news org to treat the run up to Iraq with any skepticism.

What I want, and what a solid majority of Americans want, is some bankster heads on a pike.

Mitt Has Released His Taxes

Well, he sort of released his taxes. He released his 2011 taxes, and “summary” for the past decade:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney fought back on Friday against Democratic charges he paid no taxes in some years, releasing a letter from his accountants saying he paid an effective federal tax rate of at least 13.6 percent annually over 20 years.

Despite heavy political pressure, Romney stood firm in refusing to make those returns public, but followed through on an earlier promise to release his 2011 return. It showed he paid $1.9 million in taxes on more than $13 million in income – an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent.


Romney has refused to release returns from his years as head of Bain Capital, a private equity fund that Democratic critics have charged plundered companies and cut jobs in a quest for profits. Romney has an estimated net worth between $190 million and $250 million.


The Romney campaign published a statement on Friday from former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Fred Goldberg, who declared the returns “reflect the complexity of our laws and the types of investment activity that I would anticipate for persons in their circumstances.”

Goldberg said, “In my judgment, they have fully satisfied their responsibilities as taxpayers.”

The letter from accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers said the average of Romney’s annual effective federal personal income tax rate during the 20-year period up to 2009 was 20.2 percent, and he and his wife, Ann, had a charitable deduction rate of 13.45 percent.

Seriously, there is something really hinky about his tax returns that Mitt is desperately trying to hide.

BTW, if you want to run the numbers, I guarantee that he paid only about $10K in social security and medicare taxes, which would be less than 1%.

Ordinary mortals who earn less than about $100K pay about 7½% on every penny for social security and medicare, and that’s before the stuff that he squirreled away in his (now closed) Swiss bank account.

It’s Beginning toBlook Like the Last Days of the USSR Here

Much like the USSR life expectancies are falling at the end of empire:

For generations of Americans, it was a given that children would live longer than their parents. But there is now mounting evidence that this enduring trend has reversed itself for the country’s least-educated whites, an increasingly troubled group whose life expectancy has fallen by four years since 1990.

Researchers have long documented that the most educated Americans were making the biggest gains in life expectancy, but now they say mortality data show that life spans for some of the least educated Americans are actually contracting. Four studies in recent years identified modest declines, but a new one that looks separately at Americans lacking a high school diploma found disturbingly sharp drops in life expectancy for whites in this group. Experts not involved in the new research said its findings were persuasive.

The reasons for the decline remain unclear, but researchers offered possible explanations, including a spike in prescription drug overdoses among young whites, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, rising obesity, and a steady increase in the number of the least educated Americans who lack health insurance.

The steepest declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008, said S. Jay Olshansky, a public health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead investigator on the study, published last month in Health Affairs. By 2008, life expectancy for black women without a high school diploma had surpassed that of white women of the same education level, the study found.

White men lacking a high school diploma lost three years of life. Life expectancy for both blacks and Hispanics of the same education level rose, the data showed. But blacks over all do not live as long as whites, while Hispanics live longer than both whites and blacks.

“We’re used to looking at groups and complaining that their mortality rates haven’t improved fast enough, but to actually go backward is deeply troubling,” said John G. Haaga, head of the Population and Social Processes Branch of the National Institute on Aging, who was not involved in the new study.

In the last two decades of its existence, life expectancies fell in the USSR, because it was carving the heart out of its economy with a bloated and over-sized military.

Luckily, we’re nothing like that.

Just how many primary care physicians would one carrier battle group buy?

Gold Egg Laying Goose, Meet Axe

All Microflaccid has left is its office suite, and it appears that they are determined to drive a steak through its heart:

Office 2013 is going to be, for most users, a fairly minor evolution of Microsoft’s flagship productivity suite, except for one little thing: with Office 2013, Microsoft is pitching Office subscriptions to consumers.

The company has already been courting enterprise users with its Office 365 platform for a little over a year now. There are multiple price tiers, with enterprise users getting some combination of Exchange, SharePoint, Office Web Apps, and the desktop Office suite.

In addition to these enterprise-oriented offerings, the company today unveiled two non-enterprise plans. For $99.99/year, there’s Office 365 Home Premium, giving Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access, plus an extra 20 GB of SkyDrive storage (in addition to the 7 GB that you get for free), plus 60 minutes of Skype calls per month. This is licensed on a per-household basis, and one account can be shared by up to 5 users across any mixture of five PCs and Macs.

The other new subscription is the $149.99/year Office 365 Small Business Premium. This adds Lync and InfoPath into the software mix, but changes the cloud services. Instead of SkyDrive and Skype, Small Business Premium users will get a 25 GB mailbox, shared calendaring, 10 GB of shared (company-wide) storage, and another 500 MB of storage per user. This is licensed per user, but that user can install on any combination of PCs and Macs, again up to a total of five systems.

Seriously, they lost me with Office 2007.  I use 2003 at home (unfortunately, I use 2010 at work which I really don’t like

I understand that the “cloud” is in right now, but I like the fact that I don’t have to upgrade to whatever clusterf%$# Microsoft feels fit to call an upgrade (see anything with the f%$#ing ribbon).

I’ve been through this sh%$ with Blogger, where they are determined to f%$# with sh%$ that already f%$3ing works.

Seriously, short these morons.

Whenever You Talk About Charles Murray

The author of any number of works, most notably The Bell Curve, which espouse the same thing, it’s the fault of those n*****s.

Well, Bill Black discusses how Mitt Romney destroying his campaign is fully embracing the ideology of Murray, and in the process gets in some zingers against Charles Murray:

Charles Murray’s newest book: Coming Apart: The State of White America proves two classic truths. First, it is impossible to compete with self-parody. Second, be careful what you ask for; for you may receive it. Charles Murray asked right-wing plutocrats (he dismissed left-wing plutocrats as disloyal to their class and to capitalism) to drop what he derided as “political correctness” and denounce Americans who received governmental support as immoral failures. Murray is a vigorous supporter and flatterer of Mitt Romney, claiming that the fact that he became wealthy at Bain should make him a “slam dunk” for the presidency. Murray’s reasoning is so crude that he announces a new doctrine – the divine right of CEOs to govern America. “Who better to be president of the greatest of all capitalist nations than a man who got rich by being a brilliant capitalist?”

No need to hold elections; simply make whoever tops the Forbes list of wealthiest people the president. Think of the competitive incentives that rule would create.

This is a nice take-down, but it omits a crucial fact about Charles Murray, one that should be the lead item on any mention of him.

You see, as a teen, he burnt a cross next to a police station.

He has claimed that he did not know what it meant, as a high school senior in 1960.

The entire output of his professional career naturally follows from this.

This Almost Makes Me Believe the Obama Wannabee Dictator Teabagger Crap

Seriously, whenever the administration gets in front of a judge and argues for unlimited executive power. they sound like they are acting out one of Dick Cheney’s fascist wet dreams:

The Obama administration warned Monday that a judge’s ruling last week blocking a statute authorizing the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects has jeopardized its ability to continue detaining certain prisoners captured during the war in Afghanistan.

In an emergency appeal of the ruling, the government asserted that United States District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest went beyond enjoining the statute — enacted last year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act — and potentially curtailed detention powers it has been exercising for years under its interpretation of the authorization to use military force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Judge Forrest’s order “threatens irreparable harm to national security and the public interest by injecting added burdens and dangerous confusion into the conduct of military operations abroad during an active armed conflict,” the government wrote in a 38-page filing with the federal appeals court in New York.

The motion focused on language used by Judge Forrest that rejected interpreting the original use-of-force authorization as including the ability to detain “substantial supporters” of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as opposed to people who are actually part of those groups. The judge also called into question the idea that the United States could detain members or supporters of “associated forces” that had no involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Thankfully, the judge was having none of this:

“If, following issuance of this permanent injunctive relief, the government detains individuals under theories of ‘substantially or directly supporting’ associated forces, as set forth in” the National Defense Authorization Act, “and a contempt action is brought before this court, the government will bear a heavy burden indeed,” she wrote.

The interesting thing here is that there are at least two alternatives that come to mind:

  • They could use the ordinary criminal justice system.
  • They could declare them prisoners of war.
    • In fact, if they don’t charge them, we are bound by treaty to declare them POWS and accord them all rights inherent in that status.

The thesis advanced by the Obama DoJ is that any inconvenience trumps the Constitution or treaty obligations.

 This is why I call Barack Obama the worst constitutional law professor ever.

John Cusak??? Seriously, John Cusak?!?!?

In 2008, John Cusak was seriously in the tank for Obama, and now he’s said that he’s crossed red lines, and he will not be voting for him:

I wrote this a while back after Romney got the nom… in light of the blizzard of bullshit coming at us in the next few months I thought I would put it out now

Now that the Republican primary circus is over, I started to think about what it would mean to vote for Obama…

Since mostly we hear from the daily hypocrisies of Mitt and friends, I thought we should examine “our guy” on a few issues with a bit more scrutiny than we hear from the “progressive left”, which seems to be little or none at all.

Instead of scrutiny, the usual arguments in favor of another Obama presidency are made: We must stop fanatics; it would be better than the fanatics—he’s the last line of defense from the corporate barbarians—and of course the Supreme Court. It all makes a terrible kind of sense and I agree completely with Garry Wills who described the Republican primaries as “ a revolting combination of con men & fanatics— “the current primary race has become a demonstration that the Republican party does not deserve serious consideration for public office.”

True enough.

But yet…

… there are certain Rubicon lines, as constitutional law professor Jon Turley calls them, that Obama has crossed.


Do we prosecute felonies like torture or spying on Americans? No, time to “move on”…
Now chaos is the norm and though the chaos is complicated, the answer is still simple. We cant afford this morally, financially, or physically. Or in a language the financial community can digest: the wars are ideologically and spiritually bankrupt. No need to get a score from the CBO.


One is forced to asked the question: Is the President just another Ivy League Asshole shredding civil liberties and due process and sending people to die in some sh%$hole for purely political reasons?

It pretty much mirrors my take on this, though I would add a dose of letting the banksters continue doing their evil unimpeded.

You should read the whole thing, I particularly liked the interview/discussion with Jonathan Turley at the end.

Unhelpful Stupid Self-Hating Democrats

Tim Kaine:

Virginia Senate nominee Tim Kaine (D) unexpectedly suggested in a debate with George Allen on Thursday that he’d be open to requiring everyone to pay a minimum amount — including the 47 percent of American taxpayers who do not currently pay any income tax.

Kaine was responding to a question from moderator David Gregory about whether “everyone in Virginia should pay something in federal income tax” in light of Mitt Romney’s leaked complaints about the 47 percent who he considered “dependent” on government.

“I would be open to a proposal that would have some minimum tax level for everyone,” Kaine said. “But I do insist, many of the 47 percent that Gov. Romney was going after pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than he does.”

Republicans quickly pounced. The Kaine campaign said the Democrat was simply discussing his openness to discuss anything as part of his plan to overhaul the tax code.

Yes, raising taxes on poor people is such good policy.

This is why the fetish that the political class of the Democratic Party has for candidates who are willing to sell core party values down the road is bad because it gets you lame wankers like this on the ticket.

To quote Harry S Truman, “Given a choice between a fake Republican and a real one, the public will choose the real Republican every time,” and Tim Kaine is doing his level best to be a fake Republican.