the mental ward

How to be lost with panacheA. And this is why I loved the mental ward, by the way. You learn so much about life from people who are unable to live it.

B. Not perfectly, but enough so that the pills and the wine and the self-destruction are not necessary. But they are there, just in case.

peak justice

We have been amazed that, as one financially sophisticated entity after another found widespread fraud by Countrywide in the entire gamut of its operations, the administration, the industry, and the financial media act as if this is acceptable.

Countrywide made hundreds of thousands of fraudulent loans.

It fraudulently sold hundreds of thousands of loans through false reps and warranties.

It fraudulently foreclosed on large numbers of loans.

It victimized hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of financial institutions, causing hundreds of billions of dollars of losses.

It has defrauded more people at a greater cost than any entity in history.

to rewrite history

“Conservatives accept that equality for blacks and women is a good thing and that real social and legal progress has been made on these fronts. Conservatives freely admit those on the losing side of these civil rights struggles were in the wrong.

“What they resist is the admission that theirs was the losing side.”

It’s critically important to comply to America’s history. Please be on the lookout for any case in which liberals or progressives have gone too far in the pursuit of justice and their relentless pandering to human rights.

“The past is the one thing we are not prisoners of. We can do with the past exactly what we wish. What we can’t do is to change its consequences.” – John Berger

It’s crooked sold true:

The Republican Party over the last couple of decades has been a coalition between powerful businessmen, who often didn’t care that much about social issues, but did care about reducing regulation, getting handouts etc, and conservatives, a not-insubstantial portion of whom are batshit crazy. The businessmen provided the money, while the conservatives (crazy and non-crazy) provided the shock troops.

from the burning fields.

There are no whole men
in the village.
She throws the last

of the rice beneath the tree, but the bird is waiting
for insects driven inland by the fire.

woulda, didn’t, and won’t

I would have loved to hear your side of this.
“I would have loved to” gets about four million hits.

But it’s not that easy; just not that easy. Why?

Because “I would have loved to hear” is incorrect.

“I would have loved” suggests “but I do not, in fact, love.”

“I would love to have heard” is correct.

Ahh, so you would have loved after all.

Did you know that 10 words is 25% of all the words we write?


not for state uses

Techdirt reports that The People’s Daily newspaper, which is the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, recently put up a review of Apple’s iPad:

“There are many disadvantages to the gadgets, it wrote. “For example you cannot install pirate software on them, you cannot download [free] music, and you need to pay for movies you watch on them.”

Or as Mike Masnick asks, What are they really saying?  “We know how much more powerful this device should be, and it’s a shame that it’s locked down, because that takes away much of its value.”

meltdown makes us nuts

“We need to decide as a society whether this increase in income inequality is efficient and acceptable and, if not, what mix of institutional reforms should be developed to counter it.”

This may be the wrong era to be rational. We’re raising bullying and bigotry and paranoia against both global and local ‘other’. We wrongly blame a global financial crash on house flipping and overstretched subprime borrowers. We wrongly blame Obama for debts before he was elected. The more the person earns, the lower the tax rate. For corporations, taxes is a sex act —the game is to not pay taxes anywhere. We’re distracted by crackpot politics and fundamentalist celebrity paraded by billionaires.  Secret money pours into shadowy groups —expect as much as $250 million between now and Election Day. Lobbyists and pundits are paid more to sway opinion than  leaders to build policy.

Where’s reasonableness and diligent analysis?

Two hundred thirty-four years ago, our country’s founders concluded this country’s founding document by declaring: “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” How odd that the document we call the Declaration of Independence concludes as a Declaration of Inter-Dependence. Furthermore, that interdependence was not just some feel-good, wishy-washy sentiment.

Rather, it demanded that we put all toward the general good – not just money, but everything we are and ever will be.

sharpest drop in demand

This is not a hypothetical.

Steven Rattner, who helped restructure the automobile industry, tells the story of getting a new General Motors plant online in Michigan by bringing management and unions together. “The unions agreed to allow 40% of the new plant to operate at $14-an-hour wages,” he says, “which is half of GM’s normal wages. The management agreed to invest in this new plant.

But here’s the problem:

Workers at GM’s Mexican operations make $7 an hour, and today they are as productive as American workers. And think of this: $14 an hour translates into about $35,000 a year. That’s below the median family income. The whole experience left me frightened about the fate of the American worker.”

Service jobs now also exposed:

Since the service sector is a much larger part of the economy, 28 million to 42 million jobs will be ‘susceptible’ to being shipped offshore — jobs such as customer-service representative and stock analyst, which we tend to think of as local.

But, but, but, forget offshoring and outsourcing, forget the recession, immigration and the mortgage industry collapse — when it comes to loss of American jobs, robots are to blame.

Our workforce is splitting in two:

The number of high-skill, high-income jobs (think lawyers or research scientists or managers) is growing. So is the number of low-skill, low-income jobs (think food preparation or security guards). Those jobs in the middle? They’re disappearing.

A leading explanation for the disappearance of the middle class is “ongoing automation and off-shoring of middle-skilled ‘routine’ tasks that were formerly performed primarily by workers with moderate education (a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree).”

Routine tasks “can be carried out successfully by either a computer executing a program or, alternatively, by a comparatively less-educated worker in a developing country.”

The culprit, in other words, is technology.

The hard truth—and you don’t see it addressed in news reports—is that the middle class is disappearing in large part because technology is rendering middle-class skills obsolete.

wired not to think

Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument [do] not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country is scared. —Barack Obama

via humorozo
fine finder of wisdom & wit

list discovered

Funding the right, tea parties, wingnuts and a’that:

Name(s) Industry Notes
Jack and Rose Marie Anderson Finance Culver Corp, Rose Marie and Jack R. Anderson Foundation- Financial Advisor
Neil Anderson and Amy Fisher-Smith Runs Rose Marie and Jack R. Anderson Foundation
Phil and Nancy Anschutz Investment Industrialist, Owner, Weekly Standard, Examiner newspapers
Cliff Asness Investment AQR Capital Management
Nate and Lynda Bachman Finance The Bachman Group-Financial Advisor
Whitney Ball Think Tank Owner of a firm that helps corporations give anonymous gifts to front groups
Michael Barone Media Fox News
Frank and Kathy Baxter Banking Ambassador Frank E. Baxter is Chairman Emeritus of Jefferies and Company, Inc., a global investment bank focusing on mid-cap companies.
Steve and Betty Bechtel Engineering Owns the Bechtel Group (Corporation), Largest engineering company in United States
Glenn Beck Media Fox News
Bernard and Margaret Blasingame Manufacturing President and owner of Aqua Dynamics Systems, Inc
Alan and Lisa Boeckmann Oil CEO Fluor Corporation
Boysie Bollinger Shipping/Commerce Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Bollinger Shipyards
Patrick and Paula Broe Real Estate Founder and CEO of Denver-based real estate asset management firm, The Broe Group
Arthur Brooks Think Tank President, American Enterprise Institute
David and Ann Brown Think Tank Heritage Foundation
John Bryan
Bob and Martha Buford Oil C. Robert Buford has been President and owner of Zenith Drilling Corporation
Tim Busch
Shelby and Nell Bush Energy Vice President, Legal and Administration – Hillwood Energy
Tim Carney Media Political Columnist, Washington Examiner
Charlies and Marla Chandler
David Chavern Lobbyist Executive Vice President and COO at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
John Childs Insurance Chairman and CEO of J.W. Childs and Associates
Paul and Lea Clifton Runs Robert and Marie Hansen Family Foundation
Susie Coelhoe Media founder and CEO of Susie Coelho Enterprises Inc.
Bill Cooper and Kristin Tollefson Finance/Banking CEO of TCF Financial
Dino and Joan Cortopassi
Joe Craft Coal Joseph W. Craft III is president, chief executive officer and director of Alliance Resource Partners LP
Alex Cranberg Energy Aspect Holdings, LLC – Chairman
Jeff Crank Americans For Prosperity / Radio Pundit AFP State Director
Karl Crow Policy Analyst Capital Research Center
Eric Crown and Isabella King Technology Sales Sell Technology Equipment
Kevin Crutchfield Coal Kevin S. Crutchfield serves as Chief Executive Officer of Alpha Coal Sales Co., LLC.
Ravenell and Beth Curry
Jim and Shirley Dannenbaum Engineering Mr. Dannenbaum, Chairman of Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation
Veronique de Rugy Think Tank Senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center
Rich and Helen DeVos Business Founder and CEO of Amway
Annie Dickerson Business CBRE analyst
Ned and Nancy Diefenthal
Jim and Dorothy Patterson Oil Gulf Stream Petroleum
Dan and Kellie Peters Non-for Profit Daniel S. Peters is president of the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio
Tom Petrie Banking Co-founder of BofA Merrill Lynch Petrie Divestiture Advisors
Dixon and Carol Doll Technology Co-Founder and General Partner of DCM
Karl and Stevie Eller Advertising
Ron and Kris Erickson Retail Ronald A. Erickson is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Holiday Companies
Melvyn and Suellen Estrin Natural Gas Director of WGL Holdings INC
Dick Farmer
Peter Farrell Biomed Founder of Resmed
Jim and Zibbie Ferrell Fuel Oil Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. engages in the distribution and sale of propane and related equipment primarily in the United States.
Dave Fettig Natural Gas Tank Craft, Duracraft Fuel energy
Bob Fettig Natural Gas Tank Craft, Duracraft Fuel energy
Steve Fettig Natural Gas Tank Craft, Duracraft Fuel energy
Jerry and Nanette Finger Banking Managing Partner, Finger Interests LTD
Richard Fink Koch Industries Director of Georgia-Pacific, EVP of Koch Industries
Budd and Lauri Florkiewicz Manufacturing Foam Fabricators
Charlie and Kaye Lynn Fote Finance Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Fotec Group LLC
Randy and Jean Foutch Oil Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Laredo Petroleum, Inc.
Foster Friess Investment Mr. Foster Stephen Friess is the Founder and Chairman of Friess Associates, LLC
Steve and Polly Friess
Jerry and Leah Fullinwider Energy/Petroleum Vice Chairman, Hillwood International Energy, L.P.
Richard and Leslie Gilliam Coal Richard Gilliam has been President of Cumberland Resources Corporation since 1993.
Susan Gore Think Tank Founder, Wyoming Liberty Group
Oliver and Carolyn Grace Jr. Med and Telecom President and chief executive officer of Anderson Group, Inc.,
Judson and Joyce Green Energy and Med Mr. Judson C. Green is the President and Chief Executive Officer of NAVTEQ Corp.
Ken and Anne Griffin Investment Banking Founder and CEO of Citadel Investment Group
Gretchen Hamel
Fred and Jane Hamilton Oil Mr. Frederic C. Hamilton served as the President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of BHP Petroleum, Hamilton Oil Company and various Hamilton Oil Corporation subsidiaries and affiliates
Bob and Mary Sue Hawk Communications President of Hawk Communications
Dick and Ethie Haworth Retail Head of Haworth Furniture, Multi-national corporation, 3rd largest corporate furniture company in US
Robin and Barbara Hayes Government Former NC Congressman
Dan and Carolyn Heard Manufacturing Executive Officer of John H. Carter Co.,
Diane Hendricks Manufacturing Husband of Ken Hendricks
Steve and Regina Hennessy Auto Sales Auto Sales
James and Heather Higgins Think Tank Independent Women’s Forum
Paul Hill Oil Paul J. Hill serves as the Chief Executive Officer and has been President of Harvard Developments Inc. since 1978. Mr. Hill serves as the Chief Executive Officer and President of The Hill Companies.
John and Joan Hotchkis Education Board of Directors for Teach for America UC Berkley
Allan and Kathy Hubbard Chemicals and Manufacturing Founder and Chief Executive Officer, E & A Industries, Inc.
Stan and Karen Hubbard Communications Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc.
Ethelmae Humphreys Think Tank Cato Institute
Manley and Mary Johnson Political Consultant
Merritt Johnson
Gerry and Priscilla O’Shaughnessy Oil Gerald Eugene O’Shaughnessy Co-founded Geopark Holding Limited in 2002.
Michael O’Shaunessy Technology Petters Consumer Brands, LLC develops consumer electronics and appliances.
Tim O’Shaughnessy Media Hungry Machine, Inc., doing business as, is a social discovery and cataloging network.
Marshall Johnson
Kyle and Kirsten Johnstone
Mike and Beth Kasser Real Estate President, Holualoa Inc
Ken and Randy Kendrick Education/Technology Chairman, Datatel
Phil and Joanna Kerpen Advocacy Group/Think Tank VP of Policy, Americans for Prosperity
Gerry and Kathryn Kingen Restauranteur Red Robin, Happy Guests Int’ll
Scott Kirkpatrick Investor Teton Capital
Charles and Liz Koch Koch Industries
Chase and Annie Koch Koch Industries
David and Julia Koch Koch Industries
Elizabeth Koch Koch Industries
Bob and Cindy Koch Koch Industries
Bob Kohlhepp Manufacturing/Services Vice Chairman, Cintas Corp.
Dennis Kuester Banking Retired CEO of M&I Bank
Andrew Kupersmith Consultant MD, Cardiology Consultants
Andre Lacy Investment Chairman, Lacy Diversified Industries
Ken and Elaine Langone Retail Invemed, Home Depot
Jay and Sally Lapeyre Services Laitram Corp
Ken and Frayda Levy Investment JLM Investment Mgmt
Tom Love Retail CEO, President, Love’s Country Stores
Bob Luddy Manufacturing President, Captive Aire Systems
Fred and Marlene Malek Investment Management Thayer Capital Partners
Elaine Marshall Homemaker
Pierce Marshall Administrative Management MAROPCO
Preston Marshall
Bill Mayer Health Care MD, Mayer & Cope Family Practice
Glen and Diane Meakem Business Solutions CEO, Freemarkets Inc.
Ed Meese Think Tank Heritage Foundation
Lew and Suzy Meibergen Goods/Services President, Johnston Enterprises/WG Johnston Grain Co
Don and Deede Meyers Attorney Self Employed
Jerry and Caroline Milbank Investment Management CEO/Principal, Milbank Winthrop & Co.
Jack and Goldie Miller Retail CEO/President, Quill Corp.
Mark Mix Advocacy Group President, National Right to Work Committee
Joe and Mary Moeller Koch Industries Vice Chairman
Steve Moore Media member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board
David Murfin Energy President, Murfin Drilling Co.
Walter and Suzette Negley
Mina Nguyen
Larry and Polly Nichols Energy Executive Chairman, Devon Energy Corp
Sean Noble Front Group Americans for Prosperity
Tim and Teresa Oelke Advocacy Group/Construction Teresa – State Director of Americans for Prosperity, Tim – Crossland Construction Corp
Eric O’Keefe Front Group Sam Adams Alliance
Kurt and Nancy Pfotenhauer Media President of MediaSpeak Strategies/former political commentator on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC and former Senior Policy Advisor and National Spokesperson with the 2008 John McCain presidential campaign
Tim Phillips Advocacy Group president, Americans for Prosperity
Ramesh Ponnuru Media National Review magazine
Art and Kathy Pope Goods/Services Senior Exec, Variety Wholesaler
Russ Roberts Attorney Roberts, Ashby & Parrish
Corbin and Barbara Robertson Energy President, Quintana Minerals Corp
Richard Roder and Karin Hsu Construction Management CEO, Cmt-Construction Management
Gary and Kathleen Rogers Goods Former CEO, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream
Durk Rorie Manufacturing United Air Specialists
Chris Rufer Goods/Manufacturing Morningstar Company
Peter Schiff and Martha O’Brien Investor Schiff: Euro Pacific Capital Inc.,
Steve and Christine Schwarzman Financial Services CEO/founder, Blackstone Group
Rick and Sherry Sharp Retail Former CEO, Circuit City
Mike and Lin Simmonds Services CEO, Simmonds Restaurant Mgmt
Peter Smith Services CEO, Service Group of America
Dick Strong Investment Services Strong/Corneliuson Capital Mgmt
Michael Sullivan Investment Services CR Intrinsic Investors
Ray and Ladeline Thompson Manufacturing President/CEO, Semitool
Lynn Tilton Investment Management CEO, Patriarch Partners LLC
Dave and Melanie True Oil Partner
Steve Twist Consultant Rose & Allyn PR Consultants
Jim and Gayla Von Ehr Research/Development CEO, Zyvex Corp
Rick and Debra Waller Manufacturing Owner, Rollmeister Inc
Peter Wallison Think Tank Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Bill and Sarah Walton Real Estate Allied Capital Corp
Lew and Myra Ward Oil Ward Petroleum Corporation owns and operates wells. It engages in oil and gas exploration and production. The company was founded in 1963 and is based in Enid, Oklahoma.
Dick Weekley Real Estate Weekley Properties
Fred and Susie Wehba Real Estate Bentley Forbes Real Estate
Nestor Weigand and Darcy Buehler Real Estate JP Weigand & Sons Real Estate
Dick and Mary Beth Weiss Life Insurance Wells Fargo, Hawthorne Rances
Howard and Rhonda Wilkins Insurance Diversified Insurance
Don and Sue Wills Oil
Larry and Lorraine Winnerman Real Estate Win Win Enterprises
Joe Woodford
Earl Wright Finance AMG Natinal Trust
Karen Wright and Tom Rastin Energy/Manufacturing Tom Rastin, vice president of marketing and engineering, Ariel Corp – Karen Wright, Ariel CEO
Cliff and Susan Yonce Investment Banking Goldman Sachs
Fred and Sandra Young Services Diversified Search, LLC provides senior-level executive and corporate board search services in the United States and internationally. It provides recruitment services for various organizations in consumer and industrial, education, not-for-profit, arts and culture, financial and professional services, business, healthcare and human services, life sciences, media and entertainment, sports and leisure, energy and utilities, private equity, retail, and technology and communications industries.

candidate background

Rand Paul at college:

“He and Randy came to my house, they knocked on my door, and then they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They’d been smoking pot.”

After the woman refused to smoke with them, Paul and his friend put her back in their car and drove to the countryside outside of Waco, where they stopped near a creek. “They told me their god was ‘Aqua Buddha’ and that I needed to bow down and worship him,” the woman recalls. “They blindfolded me and made me bow down to ‘Aqua Buddha’ in the creek.

climate science continues

Brian Angliss Says:

My understanding that climate disruption is anthropogenic isn’t a question of faith…  It’s a question of overwhelming scientific evidence and logic.  Here’s a list of facts:

Climate sensitivity is most likely between 1.7 and 4.5 deg C/CO2 doubling (actually the energy retained by said doubling, making this an energy unit) and is most likely 3 deg C because observations and empirical data based on multiple paleoclimate reconstructions, the observed effects of volcanism on climate, as well as the modern observed temperatures.  None of these independent data sets require modeling.

Atmospheric CO2 is increasing due to the combustion of formerly sequestered fossil fuels.  This is an empirical result based on the isotopic signatures of CO2 in the atmosphere and an accounting of where the observed increase in CO2 could be coming from.

Atmospheric CO2 absorbs IR wavelengths and scatters it, changing the optical properties of the atmosphere as the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere change.

The jet streams have shifted poleward as predicted.

The tropopause has increased in altitude as predicted.

The stratosphere has cooled while the troposphere has warmed.  This is consistent with only one known source of tropospheric heating – greenhouse gases.  Unless the physics of thermodynamic heat transfer through the atmosphere is entirely wrong, the sun cannot be the source of this heating because in that case, the stratosphere would also be heating.  This has been measured using both satellites and radiosondes.

All of these facts are so well understood that the burden of proof is no longer with the people proposing that these are facts, but rather with the people arguing that they are erroneous.  None of them can be simply rejected out of hand as being false, and none of them require any “belief” whatsoever.

The only explanation that fits ALL the facts to date is that human-emitted CO2 is the predominant cause.

Now, all that being said, research is ongoing into clouds, into so-called black carbon, into the effects of aerosols, and models are being refined with better spatial and temporal accuracy.

So the science continues to improve and should continue to be improved via research.  And there’s an outside possibility that something will turn up that turns all this on its head.

But given the strength of the evidence, it’s unreasonable to reject making changes to the way we power and move our civilization.  I’m all for arguing over the best way to make those changes, but we’re years if not decades past the point where we should have stopped arguing about the necessity of those changes.

natural wealth

India is today expected to become the first country in the world to commit to publishing a new set of accounts which track the nation’s plants, animals, water and other ‘natural wealth’ to include with financial measurements such as GDP.

Guardian: value of ecosystems and their ‘services’ for humans

“Natural capital is a massive asset class, and developing nations’ biggest asset. For it to be missing from the balance sheet of the nation, or for failures not to be counted, does not make sense.”

well, double entry just won’t do it

snippet politics

Jerry Brown’s latest TV ad.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said this is “One of the best ads I’ve ever seen.”

ordinary people

Zuckerburg, Facebook, that movie:

The tragedy—small in the scale of things, no doubt—of this film is that practically everyone watching it will miss this point.

Practically everyone walking out will think they understand genius on the Internet. But almost none will have seen the real genius here.

And that is tragedy because just at the moment when we celebrate the product of these two wonders—Zuckerberg and the Internet—working together, policymakers are conspiring ferociously with old world powers to remove the conditions for this success.

As ‘network neutrality’ gets bargained away—to add insult to injury, by an administration that was elected with the promise to defend it—the opportunities for the Zuckerbergs of tomorrow will shrink. And as they do, we will return more to the world where success depends upon permission. And privilege. And insiders. And where fewer turn their souls to inventing the next great idea.

justice and progress

Bill Moyers:

The conservative movement, once embodied in Goldwater, found its new hero in Ronald Reagan, and launched a campaign to bring back radical laissez-faire, when there was no social contract and all but the privileged and powerful were left to forage on their own.

Freedom in America would come to mean the freedom of the rich to buy the government they wanted and to write the rules to their advantage, even if it meant leaving millions of Americans behind.

There is a class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that is making war, and we are winning. —Warren Buffet

frenzy redux

The real situation

In truth, the U.S. banking system as a whole is probably insolvent.

By that I mean the likely future losses of loans and assets already on balance sheets at U.S. financial institutions, if incurred today, would reveal the system as a whole to lack the necessary regulatory capital to continue functioning under current guidelines.

In fact, some prognosticators believe these losses far exceed the entire capital of the U.S. financial system !

Yeh. But what’s the critical bit?

How about ‘cronyist financial sector’.

Even if the sector were more competitive it is inevitable that monetary policy focused on shoring up asset prices will benefit the primary asset-holders in the economy, which in itself is a regressive transfer of wealth to the rich.

The idea that supporting asset prices is the best way to support the wider economy is not far away from the notion of trickle-down economics (or as Will Rogers put it: “money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy.”).

We know some things about what happened between the start of the Iraq war and 2008 in the commodities market. We know the amount of speculative money in commodities exploded, that between 2003 and 2008 the amount of money in commodities overall went from $13 billion to $317 billion, and that because virtually all investment in commodities is long investment, that nearly twenty-five-fold increase necessarily drove oil prices up around the world

Nuts if Republicans take midterms.

One reason for our more modest outlook is that no sector of the private economy stands ready to drive a robust recovery.

As federal fiscal stimulus wanes and state and local government cutbacks accelerate, the private sector has failed to pick up the slack. With only modest gains in private economic activity, the overall pace of growth has slowed.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

Ideological theories leading voters by the nose while…

Here’s yet another diabolic cycle for ordinary Americans, engineered by the grifter class… business decline thanks to soaring oil prices that have been jacked up by a handful of banks that paid off a few politicians to hand them the right to manipulate the market,

Why stop there?

The problem from the get- go has been the lack of accountability.

The same entities responsible for inflating the bubble with shoddy underwriting are the same entities evicting citizens with the same shoddy underwriting.

Neglect and regulatory capture have become the gift to the Obama administration that keeps on giving … more and more headaches.

Wingnuts and Sarah Palin will fix it. Yeh sure.

candidate’s handi-handcuffs

When you want to go forward, you put it in ‘D’. When you want to go back, you put it in ‘R’.  —President Obama

Joe Miller, candidate for US Senate, held a town hall meeting at a middle school in Anchorage. When asked about illegal immigration, Miller offered up: Build a wall! “If the East Germans could do it, so can we!”

And gee whiz: Miller’s private security guards handcuffed and detained a local magazine editor ‘for asking Alaskan senator candidate questions’. Alarmed Brits have published this arrogance in the Daily Mail.

Why did Miller’s guards strong arm the reporter into handcuffs? Miller announced he would no longer be taking questions about his past:

‘We’ve drawn a line in the sand. You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues, I’m not going to answer them. I’m not.’

More on the story here, including the headquarters of Miller’s private militia. Gallery of the sheer volume of Wingnuttery and Demagoguery here. List of Obama’s first term achievements here.

the right is wrong

Lowering taxes hurts the economy. That’s a slogan.

If facts matter, let’s look at the measurements, the metrics, the data, ladies and gentlemen.

Higher top tax rates don’t reduce economic growth.

Depending on how you look at it (i.e., growth over several years, growth over one year, going back to 1929, focusing only on the period since Reagan took office, etc)… higher top marginal income tax rates have not caused slower real economic growth in this country.

Not the message you’ll get from most economists, but the data says what the data says, and where economists disagree with the data, its a sign that something is seriously wrong with the profession, not the data.

1. Top marginal tax rates are simply not high enough to induce people who pay it to reduce their efforts.

2. Dissuading people from putting in certain efforts doesn’t prevent others from putting in the same efforts.

3. Rising top marginal tax rates may dissuade some people from working, but generally won’t dissuade those doing productive work.

4. A substantial percentage of people who are motivated enough by money that they might reduce their output in the face of even small changes to the top marginal rates are engaged in activities that are not good for society. Loss of their services is to be encouraged, not decried.

5. At the margin… paying as little in taxes as possible… The result, in many cases, is paying vast sums to accountants and keeping the money parked or hidden rather than in productive use.

There is a bit of a self-selection bias at play; people who care enough about money to become homo universitus of chicagus are also the kind of people willing to generate massive negative externalities with nary a thought to the victims (except perhaps to call them ‘losers’).

our silly nation

Not to worry.

It’s an attempt to conduct a strategic intervention into the market economy so that it can rebalance itself.

Merely our traditional ethical traits, people with their interests at heart, the standard spiel, the dreck while the situation snowballs.

Why? Because we’re Sutured To Chaos !

This becomes more apparent on the simpler level of a pile of sand. As grains are added to a pile of sand the pile will grow bigger, until predictably, it collapses under its own weight and instability.

Not so predictable, however, is precisely when the pile will collapse. Predicting this turns out to be almost impossible. This self-organized criticality – in which there is a fluctuation between stable and instable states – is also found in wildfires, earthquakes and avalanches.

It turns out that ‘sand avalanches’ have an analogue in the brain’s ‘neural avalanches’ (that is, in the way that neurons communicate with each other). Even further, it is precisely at this critical border of disorder and chaos that the brain functions.

That is to say, the brain is always on the edge of chaos.

so easy we took it all

Should we be calm, learn a few more details… or melt down tankers of tar and pluck tons of feathers? Oh y’just gotta know this tidbit. At least read the apex of sloppy in the last paragraph.

Mortgage Electronic Registration System

As a practical matter, the incoherence of MERS’ legal position is exacerbated by a corporate structure that is so unorthodox as to arguably be considered fraudulent.

Because MERSCORP is a company of relatively modest size, it does not have the personnel to deal with legal problems created by its purported ownership of millions of home mortgages.

To accommodate the massive amount of paperwork and litigation involved with its business model, MERSCORP simply farms out the MERS, Inc. identity to employees of mortgage servicers, originators, debt collectors, and foreclosure law firms. MERS invites financial companies to enter names of their own employees into a MERS webpage which then automatically regurgitates boilerplate “corporate resolutions” that purport to name the employees of other companies as “certifying officers” of MERS.

These certifying officers also take job titles from MERS stylizing themselves as either assistant secretaries or vice presidents of MERS, rather than the company that actually employs them.

These employees of the servicers, debt collectors, and law firms sign documents pretending to be vice presidents or assistant secretaries of MERS, Inc. even though neither MERSCORP, Inc. nor MERS, Inc. pays any compensation or provides benefits to them. Astonishingly, MERS “vice presidents” are simply paralegals, customer service representatives, and foreclosure attorneys employed by other companies.

MERS even sells its corporate seal to non-employees on its internet web page for $25.00 each. Ironically, MERS, Inc.—a company that holds 60% of the nation’s residential mortgages—does not have any of its own employees but still purports to have ‘thousands’ of assistant secretaries and vice presidents.

And read John Mauldin’s Debacle: Act 2.
Sloppy Sloppy Sloppy isn’t over ’til it’s over.

Read this too. It’s mature. It’s about where modern individualism and the essential institutions of modern life meet. J. M. Bernstein on roulette with the future of the nation:

Clearly, political deal-making and the influence of Wall Street over our politicians is part of the explanation for this failure; but the failure also expressed continuing disagreement about the nature of the free market.

…the banker believes that only raw self-interest, the profit motive, ever leads to successful actions. [But finally], it is not motives but actions that matter, and how those actions hang together to make a practical world.