Month: September 2012

Mitt Discovers His Inner Oompa Loompa

This is Mitt Rmoney

This is Mitt Rmoney in Channeling his Inner Oompa Loompa

Any Questions?

It appears that Mitt used spray tan for his interview on Univision.

Seriously, when you attempt to do outreach to voter groups, wearing black* face does not work.

Mitt and his team decided that it could be handled with a spray tan.

That is not outreach, that is stupidity.

H/t Cthulhu at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.

*OK, Orange.

The Canary in the Coal Mine is Getting Woozy

 It looks like an increasing numbers of expats are bailing out of China:

Anecdotal evidence suggests that increasing numbers of western expats are beginning to leave China. A recent article that has gone viral in the expat community in China called “Why I’m leaving the country I loved” describes some of the reasons.

I am not sure whether this is a leading or a lagging indicator, but this does not bode well for the world economy.

H/t Naked Capitalism.

Nice Try Scotty

Looks like little Scotty Brown was trying to avoid his first debate with Elizabeth Warren, using an upcoming Senate vote as an excuse.

Well, Harry Reid felt your pain:

Majority Leader Harry Reid abruptly scrapped votes in the Senate on Thursday so Sen. Scott Brown could participate in a high-profile debate with Elizabeth Warren in Boston.

“No more votes today,” Reid (D-Nev.) said on the floor. “It’s obvious to me what’s going on. I’ve been to a few of these rodeos. It is obvious there is a big stall taking place. One of the senators who doesn’t want to debate tonight won’t be in a debate. While he can’t use the Senate as an excuse, there will be no more votes today.”

Well played, Senator Reid.

It’s streaming on WBZ and on CSPAN-3.

In the first few minutes, Scotty is harping on her family history (the whole “part Cherokee and Delaware” thing).

He is coming across a really, really pissy.

He’s sputtering.

What the F%$#

OK, I was just watching The Daily Show, and Jon Stewart said sh%$.

This wouldn’t be unusual, except for the fact that they didn’t bleep him.

They didn’t bleep him a lot, and they didn’t bleep Pink in her song.

When did the word sh%$ stop being bleeped on Comedy Central?

My Hero of the Day

I got nothing to add but, “hurray!”

Iranian Woman Beats the Crap Out of Cleric for Telling Her to Cover Up

A cleric in Iran went crying to the country’s state-run Mehr News Agency after a run-in with a woman who responded to his repeated requests to cover up by kicking the crap out of him.

While walking to a mosque in the northern city of Shahmirzad, Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti says he encountered a “badly covered” woman, and proceeded to “politely” order her to correct her outfit.

“You, cover your eyes,” the woman reportedly responded. He then told her again to cover up, at which point she decided she’d had enough.

“Not only didn’t she cover herself up, but she also insulted me,” the cleric told Mehr. “I asked her not to insult me anymore, but she started shouting and threatening me. She pushed me and I fell to the ground on my back. From that point on, I don’t know what happened. I was just feeling the kicks of the woman who was beating me up and insulting me.

Chicago Teachers’ Strike Over

Technically, the strike is just suspended, but I can’t see the teachers hitting the line again:

The Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates decided this afternoon to end the city’s first teacher strike in 25 years and return more than 350,000 students to the classroom Wednesday.

The voice vote was taken after some 800 delegates convened at a union meeting hall near Chinatown to discuss and debate a tentative contract. Union leaders had already signed off on the agreement with Chicago Public Schools.

“We said we couldn’t solve all the problems. . .and it was time to suspend the strike,” CTU President Karen Lewis said at a news conference after the vote.

One hopes that Rahm gets taken down at the next election.

To the degree than anyone lost, it was Emanuel, and here’s hoping that he gets taken down at the next election.

He’s a f%$#ing bully who never seems to muster the guts to use it on the other side, and he’s yet another case of an incompetence failing up.

He’s Dick Cheney minus one finger tip.

This is Cool

An Ancient Roman mosaic was found beneath a farmer’s field in Turkey:

A giant poolside mosaic featuring intricate geometric patterns has been unearthed in southern Turkey, revealing the far-reaching influence of the Roman Empire at its peak.

The mosaic, which once decorated the floor of a bath complex, abuts a 25-foot (7-meter)-long pool, which would have been open to the air, said Michael Hoff, a University of Nebraska, Lincoln art historian and director of the mosaic excavation. The find likely dates to the third or fourth century, Hoff said. The mosaic itself is an astonishing 1,600 square feet (149 square meters) — the size of a modest family home.

Cameras are Everywhere, Mitt

Mother Jones has found a video of Mitt Romney in a private meeting with his millionaire supporters:

During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don’t assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them. Fielding a question from a donor about how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Mother Jones has obtained video of Romney at this intimate fundraiser—where he candidly discussed his campaign strategy and foreign policy ideas in stark terms he does not use in public—and has confirmed its authenticity.

I don’t think that calling 48% of the country, and probably more than 60% of its senior citizens, moochers, is a death blow, if just because there has been so much bad ink over the past few weeks, whether it was his stumble on foreign policy, or the reports that his campaign staff is at each others’ throats. that it’s hard to tell which disaster will actually gain traction.

H/t Cthulhu at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.


Former Miss America, That Explains It

Well, it looks like the Gretchen Carlson got punked by an aspiring COMEDIAN:

Fox News host Gretchen Carlson cut an interview short on Monday morning after her guest, a so-called “former Obama supporter” and recent college graduate, didn’t seem to comprehend her questions or his reason for being on the show.

While it’s not clear what was going on with the man, identified as Max Rice, he didn’t seem to understand how television interviews work, offered insincere answers to Carlson’s questions, and even awkwardly hit on her.

“Hello Miss USA,” he said after being introduced. “It’s an honor. I wish I could see you.”

“Miss America, but close enough,” she corrected him.

“Miss America,” Rice said. “Miss Universe in my book, in my book.”

“Now, tell me your story,” Carlson prompted. “You believed in the hope and change of President Obama until you voted for him. Now, tell me the next…”

“Oh, I was a huge Obama supporter in 2008,” he replied. “I met him in third grade. I met him when I was little. What’s your question?”

“And why now are you supporting Mitt Romney?” she asked.

“Why am I supporting Mitt Romney? Well, it’s actually a funny story,” he began. “I lost a basketball game to a friend of mine… he’s a huge supporter of this show.”

Several seconds of silence followed. “Okay, so it sounds like you’re not being very serious about…” Carlson began.

“Oh, I’m also disappointed in the direction Obama has taken this nation,” Rice injected. “I will be casting my ballot for Mitt Romney.”


“They were just casting a part in a show,” Rice told the progressive website “The first thing that shocked me is that they were that desperate to find someone that fit that category. What they were seeking is someone who voted for Obama in 2008, then somewhere in the last four years got disenfranchised and now is a huge Romney supporter. But I feel like anyone who fits that mold would also dis Romney at the same time. So, they just couldn’t find anyone. They’re in New York City, so they had to go find a kid in Chicago.”

Earlier this year, “Fox & Friends” aired a nearly-four-minute video about President Obama’s first term, drawing the ire of critics who say it looked, felt and sounded like a political attack ad.

I am very amused.

Additionally, I actually learned something here.

It always seemed to me that there was a “fish out of water” aspect to Ms. Carlson that seemed familiar, and now I get it.

It’s the Phyllis George all over again.

One final note, see Max Rice’s speech as president of his senior high school class.  It’s prize

For those of you who don’t remember Ms. George, she was a sportscaster for a number of years with CBS sports after winning the 1971 Miss America pageant.

She had the broadcasting thing down, but she was always a bit off.

In particular I remember her wondering on air why they kept talking about a big NFL trade rumor.

She knew broadcasting, but she just didn’t get sports, or at least Football.

Carlson is the same way. She is thoroughly competent at presenting herself on camera, but she simply does not get news.

h/t cz

Least Surprising Data Point: Of The Day

Using OCC data, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Columbia Business School, Ohio State University, and the University of Chicago crunched the numbers to find the number of unnecessary foreclosures, and 800,000 homes were foreclosed on that should not have been:

But while evidence of these problems was pervasive, it was always hard to quantify the damage. Just how many more people could have qualified under the administration’s mortgage modification program if the banks had done a better job? In other words, how many people have been pushed toward foreclosure unnecessarily?

A thorough study released last week provides one number, and it’s a big one: about 800,000 homeowners.

The study’s authors — from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the government’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Ohio State University, Columbia Business School, and the University of Chicago — arrived at this conclusion by analyzing a vast data set available to the OCC. They wanted to measure the impact of HAMP, the government’s main foreclosure prevention program.

What they found was that certain banks were far better at modifying loans than others. The reasons for the difference, they established, were pretty predictable: The banks that were better at helping homeowners avoid foreclosure had staff who were both more numerous and better trained.

Unfortunately for homeowners, most mortgages are handled by banks that haven’t been properly staffed and thus have modified far fewer loans. If these worse-performing banks had simply modified loans at the same pace as their better performing peers, then HAMP would have produced about 800,000 more modifications. Instead of about 1.2 million modifications by the end of this year, HAMP would have resulted in about 2 million.

That’s still well short of the 3-4 million modifications President Obama promised when he announced the program back in early 2009. But it’s a big difference, and a reasonable, basic benchmark against which to compare the program’s failings.


The report does not identify these poor performing banks, but it’s not hard to ID them. A “few large servicers [have offered] modifications at half the rate of others,” the authors say. The largest mortgage servicers are Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citi.

Bank of America in particular (the largest of all the servicers when HAMP launched) has been far slower to modify loans than even the other large servicers, as other analyses we’ve cited have shown.

These are the banks that we bailed out, either directly, or by bailing out their counter parties, and they responded by f%$#ing home owners, and by extension, the the real estate market and the entire country.

This is why not prosecuting the banksters was such a bad thing.  People who know that they have impunity, and know it, it does not produce ethical, or competent, behavior.

This Ain’t About the Free Market

The news that BAE and EADS are in merger discussions has very little to do with the market or market efficiencies.

It’s about EADS purchasing an entry in the the US market, one which BAE purchased when it bought United Defense,  Tracor,  LMCS, LMAES, etc.

Ironically, BAE sold its 20% share in EADS about 6 years ago.

The reality is that the defense market is essentially a monopsony, with governments in general, and the US government in particular serving as a single buyer, though with this merger the other end of the dynamic is heading more towards monopoly as well.

Thus, I find the protestations by BAE management that the French and German governments must not have the ability to exert realistic shareholder rights, together they own about 45% of EADS, to ring a bit hollow:

BAE Systems has insisted it will walk away from talks with EADS unless the combined European champion in aerospace and defence was allowed to operate as a normal company without political interference.

BAE is also insisting that the combined entity’s defence business would have to be based in the UK if the plan, news of which was leaked on Wednesday before the structure was finalised, is to go ahead.

Gee, a defense contractor must be kept free of political influence?

This deal is all about creating an entity that can manipulate the politics to its own advantage.

The insistence that the French and German governments sell out, if they didn’t they would have about a 27% stake in the merged firm, is all about the company being able to whipsaw governments with  promises, or threats, about defense jobs.

They are Still Flying Camberras?

And it appears that they are crucial to the efforts in Afghanistan:

They’re 49 years old, ugly and owned by NASA, not the Pentagon. But two modified WB-57F Canberras are now among America’s most important warplanes. With anonymous-looking white paint jobs, the Canberras have been taking turns deploying to Afghanistan carrying a high-tech new radio translator designed to connect pretty much any fighter, bomber, spy plane and ground radio to, well, pretty much any other fighter, bomber, spy plane and ground radio. That makes the former Air Force reconnaissance planes, originally transferred to the space agency for science missions, essential hubs of the American-led war effort.

With the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node system, or BACN, the WB-57s act as Star Trek-style universal translators, passing data between planes and troops and finally bringing to life the Pentagon’s decades-old dream of speedy, information-propelled, networked warfare. “It orbits high up and basically receives various platforms’ datalink data, then translates all that data and redistributes it in a fused manner back to different platforms in the operating area,” Aviationintel’s Tyler Rogoway told ace aerospace blogger David Cenciotti.

“BACN bridges the gaps,” manufacturer Northrop Grumman boasted.

This is an artifact of how the Pentagon buys stuff.

You see, instead of trying to deal with a serious problem, lack of proper interoperability between systems, they come up with a ridiculously over ambitious system, the now canceled JTRS, that never had a realistic possibility of meeting its overambitious requirements.

So now we are resorting to cobbled together electronics on an airframe that first flew almost 70 years ago.

Doctors: Someone Else Who Did it All By Themselves

Except for the inconvenient fact that the federal government covers about 90% of the cost of medical residencies:

So let me get this straight. Currently, the Federal government fund about 90% of the cost of training new doctors at a cost of $12 billion per year? The health care industry itself only picks up 10% of the cost?

I would love to know how this state of affairs got to where it is. I can’t think of another major profession – other than those that are exclusively government professions (military, police, firemen, etc.) where the government pays such a huge amount of training costs for its key personnel. It’s actually kind of mind-boggling.

Yet another case of Randian Übermenschen who simply picked themselves up by their own bootstraps, I guess.

H/t Atrios.