Thursday, October 21, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
- The Feds have announced no increase in Social Security benefits this year, just like last year! Social Security benefits are by law tied to the Consumer Price Index, and so when inflation goes up (say 4%, which is healthy) recipients get their COLA fix (cost of living adjustment.) This year and last year there was no inflation (may have been deflation) and so they get no increase. This is something that occurs independently of Congress, but I suspect many elderly voters won't get that. I suspect that because I interned at a Senator's office last year and we had old people calling us constantly demanding their COLA increase, and not being satisfied with the explanation I just provided. With typical irony, they will probably exercise that anger by voting in a party (Republicans) who have been against Social Security its entire life and will likely seek to begin dismantling it under the guise of deficit reduction (which as Dean Baker or Paul Krugman routinely point out, is bullshit. Medicare might swallow the federal budget, Social Security is completely fine and with minor adjustments will be fine for a long time.)
- McDonald's hamburgers can last at least 12 years without decay, a woman's experiment shows. Not even the bread gets moldy, which is pretty fucking disturbing. If I said it once I'll say it again, never eat fast food, ever.
-The Afghan "Peace Council" is opening talks with the Taliban. Seems like the me like a smart idea; the war is not going to be won militarily and these types of conflicts are never hurt by negotiation.
-The trade deficit widens, and yet Obama seems set against penalizing China (ala tariffs) for their illegal currency manipulation, which is tantamount to subsidies on their exports, which leads to things like our big trade deficit. I wonder if post-health care he is going to fight for anything? I wonder if he really cares (though he did say he wanted to double US exports in five years. How is that going?)
- Hillary wont be VP in 2012 because Biden says Obama asked him first. Is Obama running in 2012?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
After the disclosures in mass amounts of fraudulent foreclosures by banks across the country; after Attorneys General from both parties from nearly every state in the country called for a foreclosure moratorium in their states; after 2.5 million homes foreclosed upon and 6.5 million currently in foreclosure; President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner have come out again a foreclosure moratorium. While they may make some good technical arguments, the timing and dare I say audacity of the President is still quite shocking.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
Cuts in Government Led U.S. Economy to Lose 95,000 Jobs
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Two good articles that I've read recently. One was Matt Taibbi's excellent (per usual) writing in Rolling Stone, this time on the Tea Party. Taibbi does a good job in not simply denigrating tea partiers to racist hicks, but trying to understand the underlying forces behind them (aside from the Koch Brothers.)
You look into the eyes of these people when you talk to them and they genuinely don't see what the problem is. It's no use explaining that while nobody likes the idea of having to get the government to tell restaurant owners how to act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the tool Americans were forced to use to end a monstrous system of apartheid that for 100 years was the shame of the entire Western world. But all that history is not real to Tea Partiers; what's real to them is the implication in your question that they're racists, and to them that is the outrage, and it's an outrage that binds them together. They want desperately to believe in the one-size-fits-all, no-government theology of Rand Paul because it's so easy to understand. At times, their desire to withdraw from the brutally complex global economic system that is an irrevocable fact of our modern life and get back to a simpler world that no longer exists is so intense, it breaks your heart.
I will post a full review tomorrow, along with a review on Ryan Lizza's article in the New Yorker on the Senate Climate Change bill (and how it all went wrong.)
Monday, September 06, 2010
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Ten years ago we were looking at 6.58% on the 10yr, 6.94% on the twenty yr, 6.61 % on the 30 yr
Twenty years ago, 7.98 % 10yr, 20 yr N/A, 8% on the 30 yr
Here are what those yields were as of yesterday: 2.97% on the 10 yr, 3.75% on the 20yr, 3.91% on the 30yr
Short term is even better, in 1990 the 3 yr bond was 7.9%, ten years ago it was 6.43%, today...1.00%. Investors are willing to take on US debt for 1% return.
Meanwhile the consumer price index shows us down 0.2% month over month.
Long term unemployment at record highs, investors jumping over each other to buy US debt that offers barely any returns, and the specter of deflation begins to take hold. im no econometrist, but are those pressing calls for fiscal contraction? a need to cut back spending and reduce short term deficits?
the icing on the cake will be when obama's deficit commission releases its report after the elections and announces an immediate need to slash social security, with its trust fund overflowing with surplus at the moment, or we will see the end of america as we know it.
on a last note I was going over polling on the issue of debt. its a huge concern with voters, except when offered to rank it against "jobs" or "job creation" at which point it pales in comparison. bring on the republican majority
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The so-called liberal (to the point of treason) New York Times, in 54 articles that spoke of waterboarding between 1930s and 2004 characterized it as torture 81.5% of the time, 96.3% of the time for the LA Times.
From 2002-2008, "the studied newspapers almost never referred to waterboarding as torture. The New York Ties called water boarding torture or implied it was torture in just 2 out of 143 articles (1.4%). The Los Angeles Times did so in 4.8% of articles (3 of 63)"
For the WSJ it was 1.6%, for USA Today zero.
2002 is of course when the Bush Administration began using waterboarding on its prisoners in Guantanamo, later to become public and unabashedly defended by the Bush people. The Bush Admin declared that waterboarding was not torture. Suddenly the newspapers, the free (liberal) press, stopped referring to it as torture. As far as I can see, they did this because Bush said so.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I assume this is the administration leaking it before announcing it in order to control the news cycle. Either way I am in agreement with Glen Greenwald and his very good summaries on why she should not be the nominee. Yet another great missed opportunity.
I suspect the Republicans will bloody her up as best they can, paint her as a radical, and highlight her having done some work for Goldman Sachs
Then probably confirm her. But still, I would've preferred Diane Wood.
In other news, the EU has quite a big bailout package. Should help those French and German banks holding all that Greek debt.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
As this seems to be a big thing among Republicans, that its unconstitutional for the federal government to mandate individual citizens to purchase anything (Orrin Hatch and some others had an op-ed in the WSJ about this) its struck me that there is an easy way around the Constitutionality of it.
The government could simply announce a "health care tax" or "health care fee" on all Americans then give a tax credit of the same amount to all Americans who have health insurance. The effect of this is that every American who doesn't have health insurance (but can easily afford it) will pay a small fee; exactly the same thing that would happen with this mandate. Its completely Constitutional, there are tax credits for everything under the sun and tax credits as a concept are used in large part to create incentives to certain types of behavior; ie a tax credit to "retrofit" your home for energy efficiency.
So its basically the same thing; and depending on the language in the bill may be the same thing. Either way it can be interpreted as the same thing on a legal basis and therefore could hold up as Constitutional depending on the judge/justices. I say that because justices on all sides of the spectrum allow their biases to affect how they rule and might find legality (or illegality) in vague language depending on what they personally prefer the outcome to be; even if it goes against legal logic/precedents you've argued for for many years (see Scalia, Atonin in Bush v. Gore.)
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I dont care what anyone says, I like Nancy Pelosi. I think she pulled this off well. There was a dearth of leadership and she stepped up. I also give serious credit to Harry Reid who had to deal with a nightmare of people in the Senate. The biggest disappointment was President Obama, who was such a failure on so many levels its worth considering whether he deserves to get my vote in 2012 (if I am in a blue state.)
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 01, 2010
And the New York Times needs to stop giving him print space.
Harold considered running for the New York senate because he moved here from TN a couple of years ago in order to work for Wall Street. He fancied running to the right of Kristen Gilibrand, President Obama and the New York Democratic Party, in the New York Democratic Party Primary.
He was so incompetent in his exploratory stage that he shot himself in the foot in interviews talking about being driven around in a town car, helicoptering over Staten Island and sudden revelations on being gung ho about gays.
He never stood a chance and everyone knew this, apparently even he because he never entered the race. But after a NYT Op-Ed a few months back talking about why he think he might run, now he has one saying he thinks he might not run now. Who cares? Why are you getting op-eds in the NYT about non-existent hopeless campaigns?