Month: May 2014

It’s Bank Failure Friday!!!!

And here they are, ordered, and numbered for the year so far.

  1. Slavie Federal Savings Bank, Bel Air, MD

Full FDIC list

And here are the credit union closings.  I’ve redone the whole list, because I screwed up at some point this year, and missed some credit union closings, counted assisted mergers, which I shouldn’t have, and accidntaly counted a bank twice:

  1. Bagumbayan Credit Union, Chicago, ​IL, ​1/21/2014
  2. St. Francis Campus Credit Union, ​Little Falls, ​MN, ​2/14/2014
  3. Parsons Pittsburg Credit Union, ​Parsons, ​KS, ​3/21/2014
  4. Mayfair Federal Credit Union, ​Warminster, ​PA, ​3/31/2014
  5. Health One Credit Union, ​Detroit, ​MI, ​5/16/2014
  6. Life Line Credit Union, ​Richmond, ​VA, ​5/23/2014

Full NCUA list

So, here is the graph pr0n with last few years numbers for comparison (FDIC only):

What P.Z. Meyers Said

He wrote a post complaining about business as usual at the Democratic Party titled, “Democrats: You suck.

His experience is that, following making a small donation to a Democratic candidate for office, he has been bludgeoned into something approaching PTSD from their repeated fund raising requests:


……… At least I think that’s what they’re doing; I now look at the incoming source, and if it’s the Democrats, I don’t bother to pick up. And here I am, entirely sympathetic to that party (if dissatisfied with their conservatism), and I have a conditioned aversion now.

I’ve had enough. I can learn. And the moral I have learned is to never donate to the Democratic party.

Who’s the idiot behind this campaign? Is it actually working for them?

Do Republicans do the same thing to their donors, or do they just scam them with things like gold coins and quack cures?

The Koch Suckers Win in Ohio

They just got a bill passed in Ohio ending their renewable power initiative:

As renewable energy production has surged in recent years, opponents of government policies that have helped spur its growth have pushed to roll back those incentives and mandates in state after state.

On Wednesday, they claimed their first victory, when Ohio lawmakers voted to freeze the phasing-in of power that utilities must buy from renewable energy sources.

The bill, which passed the Ohio House of Representatives, 54 to 38, was expected to be signed into law by Gov. John R. Kasich, who helped negotiate its final draft.

It stands in marked contrast to the broad consensus behind the original law in 2008, when it was approved with virtually no opposition, and comes after considerable disagreement among lawmakers, energy executives and public interest groups.


Eli Miller, Americans for Prosperity’s Ohio state director, backed by the billionaire industrialists David H. and Charles G. Koch, called the proposed law “a prudent step” to re-examine standards that could be a “potential impediment to job creation and job growth here in the Buckeye State.”

Seriously, the Kochs are a cancer on American society in general, and American politics in particular.


Have a medley of Lewis Black:

Maybe the Taxi Business Needs to be Changed, but Until Uber is Out of the Picture, It Won’t Happen

There are a whole host of issues of regulation, liability, etc., but the Objectivist Randroids at Uber are the sort of people who should be kept out of the business, because they are corrupt to the core:

It’s been pretty widely publicized here in San Francisco that Uber has just moved into fancy new office space at 1455 Market.


In any case, what has attracted slightly less publicity is the fact — mentioned only in passing by Re/Code — that on the same day, Uber opened a second office, on Vermont Street in Potrero. According to Uber’s blog

We’ve heard a lot from our Uber SF partners about wanting easier ways to reach our team including parking and streamlined access to the office. With a new dedicated driver center in Potrero Hill, we are aiming to better connect with our partners and help make getting started with Uber, attending office hours and safety education processes more seamless.

Euphemistically called a “driver center,” one Uber driver told us the second office is actually more of a decoy: allowing the company to fulfill its promise to be more accessible to drivers without, you know, actually having them make Uber’s real office look untidy.

So the way of dealing with issues with drivers, things like insurance, liability, and complaints, is to hide from them.

The way to deal with customers is price gouging, and explicitly violating the law.

The founder of Uber is big into Ayn Rand, a woman who wrote that the philosophy of a serial killer who strangled and dismembered a little girl, was an inspiration to her.

If a company founder demonstrates compete contempt for the very concept of business ethics, and the company is in a consumer centered business, regulatory easements are simply not justified.

This is Prize

I don’t hear a single here

An indy band needed to raise money for their tour, and the payments received from Spotify weren’t cutting it.

They came up with a remarkably innovative way to monetize the streaming service:

Last month, indie band Vulfpeck wanted to go on tour. Like most indie bands, though, they didn’t have the money. With streaming dominating the industry and music streaming giant Spotify paying a grand $0.007 per stream (Vulfpeck sights it at $0.005), it didn’t look like they’d be making money anytime soon. Spotify had been promising they’ll start paying more — just as soon as they grow their Premium user base from 6 million to 40 million. In short: never.

So scrappy soul band Vulfpeck came up with a plan of their own.

They uploaded 10 tracks of silence to Spotify under the name Sleepify. Then, they put out this video, urging fans to stream the album on repeat while they slept. The band pledged to use the royalty revenue they racked up to fund a tour, where all shows would have free admission. And it worked.

Short version, the netted over $20K before Spotify sent a C&D for violating their TOS,* but they have the folding green to tour.

I will note that while musicians compare about the rates for streaming, they typically compare it to selling an album, which a user can listen to many times, to a single streamed song listened to once.

Of course, bands have been f%$#ed by the middlemen since ……… forever ……… And the real question is how a model that disintermediates between them and the fans.


This is an Interesting Theory of Why the Obama Administration F%$#ed Homeowners

I was thinking that Obama (About Geithner, I know) was captured by the banksters.

Well, Bob Kuttner thinks that is an artifact of Obama trying to distance himself from his skin color:

I’ve been very critical of Obama and I think his administration’s handling of mortgage relief was a disgrace, but I will offer a more charitable interpretation of why the administration turned its back on the victims of the mortgage bust. Race is still such a divisive issue that America’s first black president did not dare to look as if he was extending special help to blacks.

I disagree with the thesis.

I think that Obama is not so much Black as he is Crimson (Harvard) as are the banksters, and nothing binds like those old school ties.

I Had an Epic Day at Work Today

I generally embargo anything that happens at work, on the theory that it’s my employer’s business, and with a few exceptions, blogging about is just not a good idea.

However, what happened today breaks this embargo:

John at work came in limping today.

He had a Brown Recluse bite on his leg, and he said that the doctor had prescribed steroid and Sulfa drugs (probably Dapsone).

I told him that he should drink lots of water, because Sulfa drugs tend to accumulate in the kidneys.

Then as I was walking away, I turned and said:

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

You know where this is going, don’t you…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

I’m an Engineer, not a Doctor, Dammit!!!!!!

I haz a happy!

I’m Not Sure What I Can Say About the Santa Barbara Shootings

But I do agree with the response of Richard Martinez, the the father of one of the victims, Chris­topher Michaels-Martinez, makes a powerful and heartfelt statement

He’s asking members of Congress to stop calling him to offer condolences but nothing more for the death of his only child, Chris­topher Michaels-Martinez, who was killed in the rampage Friday in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“I don’t care about your sympathy. I don’t give a s— that you feel sorry for me,” Richard Martinez said during an extensive interview, his face flushed as tears rolled down. “Get to work and do something. I’ll tell the president the same thing if he calls me. Getting a call from a politician doesn’t impress me.”

Saying that “we are all to blame” for the death of his 20-year-old son, Martinez urged the public to join him in demanding “immediate action” from members of Congress and President Obama to curb gun violence by passing stricter gun-
control laws.

“Today, I’m going to ask every person I can find to send a postcard to every politician they can think of with three words on it: ‘Not one more,’ ” he said Tuesday. “People are looking for something to do. I’m asking people to stand up for something. Enough is enough.”

Of course the small number of people who possess a lethal juxtaposition of small penisises and revenge fantasies have immediately jumped on the grieving father, because they are deeply evil ratf%$#s.

Rahter unsurprisingly, Joe the Plumber led the hit parade:

I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But:

As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.

I am not particularly surprised that this is not the worst thing said so far, but the worst thing said so far actually stunned me:

F%$# him. He is a piece of shit. His tragedy sucks, but he blamed me for it and wants to take away my rights. The guy is trying to take away my rights to protect my family. F%$# him every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

(%$# mine)

This is Todd Kincannon, who is perhaps the perfect demonstration about how the people who have been drawn to the NRA’s increasing insanity are a priori (in a Kantian sense) unsuited to possess anything more dangerous than a plastic spoon,

I know that there are responsible firearm owners out there, but the folks that the NRA speaks to are not in that group.

I would add that it appears that the shooter was closely tied into the pick-up artist/mens rights community, which is a group of people who make furries seem sane.

Lean In, My Ass!

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, is due to speak at Harvard.

Harvard is also landlord at Hilton DoubleTree Suites, where management is engaged in an aggressive anti-union drive.

The union asked Sandberg to host a “Lean In”, she turned them down:

With Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg coming to town next week, a group of housekeepers, nightclub servers, and other employees of a Boston hotel are trying to turn her now-famous campaign for empowering women in their favor as they move toward forming a union.

Unite Here Local 26, which is organizing workers at the Hilton DoubleTree Suites hotel near the Charles River, said it wanted to enlist Sandberg’s help after facing resistance from Hilton and receiving no encouragement from Harvard University, which owns the property where the hotel is located.

So, the union decided, why not appeal to the author of the bestseller “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”?

Organizers asked Sandberg to meet with the hotel’s female workers. They started an online petition calling for her to become involved in their cause. And they created leaflets depicting the book’s cover, with faces of housekeepers replacing Sandberg’s, and a message that reads, “Sheryl Sandberg, will you lean in with the women of Harvard’s hotel?”

The Facebook chief operating officer, who is scheduled to deliver a Class Day address at Harvard Wednesday, has sent word she does not have time to host a “Lean In circle” with the hotel employees. Undeterred, the workers are planning to hand out the leaflets during Sandberg’s speech in Harvard Yard.

(Emphasis Mine)

Note that a “Lean In Circle” would probably take less time than the inevitable parties and meetups that are a part of her speaking gig.

I guess that “leaning in” means being born to well to do parents, going to Harvard, becoming an acolyte of Lawrence Summers, etc.

When a commitment to “equality” is juxtaposed with an indifference to labor organizing rights, there is no commitment to equality, which is why, “Sandberg has been criticized for creating a movement aimed at financially well-off women.”

Memorial Day Cookout Blogging

We came back from the SCA event yesterday, an we were concerned about whether the chicken we brought there, but did not cook, was good.

We (actually Sharon) looked at it and adjudged it not lethal, but as a precaution, I marinated it, because the high acidity will kill anything lurking there.

So, last night, I made a marinade of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, mustard, cayenne pepper, some unsweetened cocoa, brown sugar, molasses, garlic, ginger, and some other herbs and spices I can not recall as I write this.

I let it all marinade over night, and then I put the chicken in the bullet smoker (the one pictured is much higher end than what I use) and used the marinade in the water pan to add some flavor.

Once the chicken was done, I took the contents of the water pan, now marinade and drippings, and reduced it to sauce consistency.

I then put the sauce on the chicken, and caramelized it under the broiler.

It got fairly good reviews from the family.

Our Dysfunctional Pentagon

Winslow Wheeler at War is Boring makes an interesting point about the sequestration games that the Department of Defense is engaging in: Iit is systematically cutting cheaper and more effective programs in favor of expensive systems:

There has been a short-sighted eagerness in some news articles and commentaries to disparage two actions by the House Armed Services Committee in the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.

The HASC seeks to retain in the military force structure the Air Force’s A-10 Warthog close support aircraft and the Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington. The Air Force and the Navy want to retire these systems prematurely, thereby seeming to save money.

But the longer-term game being played is to smooth the way for far more expensive, truly unaffordable, replacements the Air Force and Navy have cued up. And in the case of the A-10, the older, cheaper alternative is the inestimably more effective one.

Like, I said, it’s not about defending our nation, it’s about our Generals getting lucrative post retirement consulting gigs.

That old Iron Triangle.

Michael Kinsley Comes Out in Favor of Stalinism

In a New York Times review of Glenn Greenwald’s latest book, Kinsley declares that it must be the government, and not the journalist, who determines when a sensitive information can be published:

The trouble is this: Greenwald says that Snowden told him to “use your journalistic judgment to only publish those documents that the public should see and that can be revealed without harm to any innocent people.” Once again, this testimony proves the opposite of what Greenwald and Snowden seem to think. Snowden may be willing to trust Greenwald to make this judgment correctly — but are you? And even if you do trust Greenwald’s judgment, which on the evidence might be unwise, how can we be sure the next leaker will be so scrupulous?

The question is who decides. It seems clear, at least to me, that the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences. In a democracy (which, pace Greenwald, we still are), that decision must ultimately be made by the government. No doubt the government will usually be overprotective of its secrets, and so the process of decision-making — whatever it turns out to be — should openly tilt in favor of publication with minimal delay. But ultimately you can’t square this circle. Someone gets to decide, and that someone cannot be Glenn Greenwald.

This is not a problem, this is a free press, and one of the consequences of this is that stuff that the government does not want to be pubic knowledge will be public knowledge.

Shorter Michael Kinsley, “Journalism, Schmournalism, we need better stenographers.”

H/t Gawker.

We’ve Always Been at War with Eastasia

If there is anything more Orwellian than the Pentagon refusing to reveal who we are at war with.

Note that this was in a hearing about extending the Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) where the Pentagon refused to say with whom we are fighting.

So they are asking for an authorization to make war while refusing say who they are making war with, and why we are making war with them.

This is a miasma of the most profoundly disturbing visions of both Orwell, and Kafka.


What if The Matrix ran on Windows XP: