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Tilting at Wingnuts

March 9, 2010

Last night I joined my fellow members of a Fraternal Order named after a species which is rapidly disappearing from the face of this planet for our weekly billiard league. About half the gentlemen on the team don’t seem to care one way or the other about politics and the other half are fairly vocal disciples of the Becks and Limbaughs and whatever other knuckle dragger flatters their distorted view of the world. I stepped outside with one of the latter for an attitude adjustment in his F-980 4X4 hemi steel-toed Valhalla or whatever you call those gargantuan pickups which are rarely used to haul anything but are big enough to flatten a moose just in case the need ever arises and he had the radio tuned in to the station that specializes in foaming at the mouth right wing screeds. Only caught a minute or so of the radio ranter’s diatribe but the object of his ire on this evening was none other than Rahm Emanuel and since I hate that rat bastard with supernovic intensity myself I thought this might be the opportunity to break the ice and engage my friend in conversation.

I knew that I’d be up against a man whose head had been filled for years with nonsense like this (notice how now that the Artic ice has melted so that the once mythical Northwest Passage is wider than Oprah on a Ho-Ho bender, the focus is now on the fact that the Himalayas still have snow – guess it would have been an inconvenient truth for Mr. Jacoby to have invoked Mt. Kilimanjaro as an example instead, but I digress) but nevertheless once we got back inside I, steedless but armed with my trusty lance, decided to enter the fray. I began with my icebreaker about Rahm and after confirming with me that Emanuel was in fact a Democrat he agreed that Rahm was a rat bastard and announced that he had a lot to get off his chest about the health care system since he’d recently had surgery approaching six figures to have a pin removed from his leg.

His job at a waste removal company did provide decent insurance so he wasn’t so much concerned with the cost to himself (I-got-mine-so-screw-you syndrome) but he was convinced that the reason the cost was so high because of all the illegal immigrants stealing health care from the rest of us and proceeded to list off a few Faux News talking points.

“But…..”, I said.

That was all I was able to get out before he continued on about how too much preventative care was also driving the costs up and then continued with more farcical memes gleaned from the Tea Party crowd.

“But….” I said.

And I was again cut off and listened to a torrent of convoluted and contradictory gibberish for about 15 minutes, managing to get in only a couple more “buts” the whole time until he twisted himself in circles so much that he finally voiced that the real problem was too much paperwork and the overall complexity of the system which no one could understand. I saw my opportunity and I pounced.

“You know, the way to fix that is to have just one system. Medicare is a very popular program which you and I and everybody else already pays into whether we use it or not, so why not just make Medicare available to everybody?”

Total silence. For about ten seconds at least. Not sure if it was due to the strength of my argument or the fact that the attitude adjuster was kicking in, but then he mumbled something about how some doctors don’t like Medicare and wandered off on his busted up leg to see how the rest of our team was faring.

And thus a seed was planted. Whether my friend remembers to water it a little or it just lies dormant and dessicated in a mental landscape poisoned by years of corporate right wing fatuousness remains to be seen.

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52 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    March 9, 2010 10:35 am

    Dennis Kucinich holds strong to his principles for the time being.

    An ardent proponent of a single-payer or Medicare-for-all system, Kucinich reiterated his view that the current template offers private insurers “a version of a bailout” and predicted they’ll continue “socking it to consumers.”

    “I told the president twice in two different meetings that I couldn’t support the bill if it didn’t have a robust public option and at least if it didn’t have something that was going to protect consumers from these rampant premium increases,” he added.

    • Stemella permalink*
      March 9, 2010 12:06 pm

      It will be interesting to see if he holds throughout. I hope he does, if only to completely aggravate the Rhamulettes and Reamers over at klub k. ;)

      • artemis54 permalink
        March 9, 2010 12:16 pm

        Just dropped in over there. They’re already barking bugfuck insane today. If the original DK showed up they’d tear him limb from limb.

        As Gore Vidal said, people will forgive you for being wrong, but they will never forgive you for being right.

        • Stemella permalink*
          March 9, 2010 2:10 pm

          Haha. Here is MAMZ’s assessment on an openthread post

          Dennis Kucinich has always been a little prick, and that hasn’t changed.

          Funny, since Dennis is 5’7″ and Kos is at 5’5″

          And yes, the kumquats are extremely agitated today, calling themselves clowns. Too fucking funny.

  2. cometman permalink*
    March 9, 2010 10:49 am

    This is somewhat encouraging. The Anti-Trust division of the DOJ (who knew they were even active any more!) is attempting to force ES&S to divest itself of the voting machine division of Diebold it acquired a while back, citing monopoly concerns.

    The Department of Justice’s Anti-trust division has determined that the purchase of Premier Election Solutions, Diebold Inc.’s recently renamed e-voting division, by Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), has resulted in a voting machine monopoly. The DoJ and nine states that have joined in a lawsuit are suing to require ES&S to divest of the assets gained in the bargain-basement priced purchase of Diebold’s e-voting outfit last September.

    ~snip~

    A settlement has been struck, pending approval by a federal judge, between the DOJ, nine states, and ES&S requiring that the private company find a DoJ-approved purchaser of the Diebold/Premier assets.

    This seems a little backwards to me – shouldn’t the monopoly concerns have been addressed prior to the merger? – but it’s better than nothing.

    Now if we can just get rid of these machines altogether and maybe get Congress and the DOJ to push for the removal of the anti-trust exemption for the insurance companies , we might actually be getting somewhere. Not holding my breath on either.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    March 9, 2010 11:17 am

    A real problem is that you can’t refute a lot of this crap with any logical argument, because the postitions aren’t adopted by any such process. It’s more just an emotional lashing out that’s at the root of it.

    I live in the Yakima valley (think hops – 80% of all American hop production – apples pears apricots cherries grapes WINE as far as the eye can see).

    Still now, today, you will hear anglos by the hundreds bitching day and night about how the mexicans ruined the place, blah blah. In fact everything from Yakima to Richland would not exist without immigrant labor. It would be a series of little inbred ghost towns. And then there are the Chinese, who built the canals tunneling and siphoning their way down from the mountains and then were told to get out.

    The line is they are taking something away from “white” people somehow. What I don’t know, since as I say there would be absolutely nothing here were it not for immigrants.

    They fight any protection for the workers tooth and nail with this bullshit paternalist line that they can take care of their employees better without gubbmint intervention. If that were true I’d hate to see how much worse conditions would get because you can’t get them now to provide acces to running water or anything else.

    Well anyway you get my drift, but it absolutely enrages me to see these pricks deny people water and then call them dirty.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 10, 2010 9:50 am

      Good article from George Monbiot which speaks to your comment above. He’s talking about climate change but bemoans the same sentiment.

      Perhaps we have to accept that there is no simple solution to public disbelief in science. The battle over climate change suggests that the more clearly you spell the problem out, the more you turn people away. If they don’t want to know, nothing and no one will reach them. There goes my life’s work.

      • artemis54 permalink
        March 10, 2010 11:46 am

        Even though he’s speaking of Brits as well – and there are plenty of idiot Brits – I’m reminded of an encounter with a european who had saved up his money for years to bicycle up the west coast of the US through the little towns and talk to Americans. By the time I met him he was literally in tears: “These are the people who went to the moon and eradicated polio?”

        • cometman permalink*
          March 10, 2010 1:14 pm

          I’ve got a German friend in Greece. Her sister is married to an American and lives in the south. She absolutely refuses to ever visit her sister in the US again because she couldn’t stomach the absolute stupidity she saw.

  4. cometman permalink*
    March 9, 2010 11:29 am

    Ok I need a little help with this one – Do Vaccines Cause Autism?

    The author argues that they do or at least they did, can’t quite figure out which, because of the mercury used in so many vaccines. There are anti-vaccination campaigns afoot and I have some friends who are anti-toxics activists who did refuse to have their kids vaccinated, at least at first. But then I read from scientists that these people are foolish because vaccines no longer contain mercury. From what I can tell they aren’t arguing that vaccines were never dangerous or that exposure to mercury and other toxins does not cause autism – I think there is ample scientific evidence that it does- they are just saying the problem has been addressed at least with vaccines. Obviously the environment is stall rampant with toxins that have accumulated over many decades and increased incidences of autism aren’t going to go away just by taking mercury out of vaccines. When it was time for the squidlette to get shots I checked with the pediatrician to confirm that the vaccines they used did not contain mercury and she assured me they didn’t and the vaccines were safe. Since then my anti-toxics friend has had her kids vaccinated as well I believe.

    So I am correct that vaccines were a problem when they used mercury but as long as you make sure there isn’t any mercury in them they are OK? The squidlette still has a bunch more shots she’s supposed to get at some point.

    • artemis54 permalink
      March 9, 2010 11:42 am

      I can’t. I only rely on a few friends in the medical field who tell me that the mercury thing is all overblown bullshit.

      Consider that for many many kids, autism manifests right about the time – the same age – that vaccinations begin. I think there is a big stream of post hoc ergo propter hoc thinking at work. A bit like the (significant) number of people who have already contracted the flu when they get their shot and get sick a couple days later.

      But I have not done any serious looking into it.

    • Stemella permalink*
      March 9, 2010 11:49 am

      It sounds like you’ve got a good handle on this controversial topic. I have friends with young kids on both sides of that one too. I remember that Bobby Kennedy Jr dove into it in an article on Rolling Stone, Deadly Immunity

      I googled, and apparently there is a case before the Supremes right now to determine if parents can sue for a wide variety of side effects from vaccine, not only autism. Court will hear case about vaccine side effects Perhaps this case will result in a more definite determination on mercury.

      I think it might be wise to check on each vaccine with your Doc, because different pharmaceutical companies might have different formulations for same vaccine types.

      Related to this, many paints, including artist’s water colors, had mercury in them as a fungicide. I believe that practice wasn’t banned until the 1990’s. A good reason to never stick a paintbrush in your mouth or let your kids do it either.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 9, 2010 1:23 pm

      Thanks for the responses. That Kennedy article had this:

      Vaccine manufacturers had already begun to phase thimerosal out of injections given to American infants — but they continued to sell off their mercury-based supplies of vaccines until last year.

      Based on the publication date the year would have been 2004. I do think there was a significant problem but due to public pressure things have been changed now at least among reputable doctors. My understanding is that non–mercury based preservatives are now used. Kennedy also said ” I doubted that autism could be blamed on a single source…”. That’s sort of how I still do feel (although feeling that way doesn’t necessarily make it so) if only because there is so much mercury from other sources in the environment that it would be hard to pin the rise in autism on vaccinations with mercury in them alone. That being said vaccines with mercury in them are not safe as mercury is pretty obviously very poisonous.

      On a related note, back in high school we still used mercury thermometers in chemistry class and the teacher warned us that if one broke we were not to touch it and make sure it got cleaned up immediately. Of course that didn’t stop my lab partner and I from breaking one and then keeping the little beads in our desk drawer to roll around when we got bored. Not very bright.

      • Stemella permalink*
        March 9, 2010 2:23 pm

        In one of Zappa’s autobiographies The Real Frank Zappa Book he describes how his Dad brought balls of mercury home from his job and young Frank proceeded to play with it. Explains a lot.

      • artemis54 permalink
        March 9, 2010 3:53 pm

        When I was 12 or so I decided I wanted a collection of specimens of all the elements. (Not as strange as it sounds if you were toodling around Montana looking at minerals.) When a store owner refused to sell me a bottle of mercury I flew into a rage, and then another when my parents refused to buy it for me.

        I wasn’t the brightest kid either.

  5. Stemella permalink*
    March 9, 2010 11:54 am

    I hope that seed you planted gets germinated. Maybe fertilize it with additional amendments over time, pull out a few weeds and squash some bugs in those potentially fertile minds. :) Nice post and wonderful image. It’s been a while since we’ve been graced with Dalisms.

    By the way, I still can’t seem to make my ratings stick. I changed the words for the ratings for fun, but mine don’t take. So again, know that I’ve tried to give them!

  6. cometman permalink*
    March 9, 2010 1:31 pm

    Couple of interesting vids.

    Here’s another scene from the upcoming “Life” series .

    And the Oedipus saga as told in 8 minutes by vegetables.

    • Stemella permalink*
      March 9, 2010 3:22 pm

      Wow! On both counts. I will never look at starfish the same way. I love the cauli sheep and must say that was quite an edible oedipal sex scene!

  7. artemis54 permalink
    March 9, 2010 4:00 pm

    Ha! Caught three or four minutes of Beck and Massa. They can’t seem to decide whether to fight or lick each other.

  8. artemis54 permalink
    March 9, 2010 9:49 pm

    Unbelievable. mamz was on Olberman tonight calling for a primary challenge to Kucinich – whose name he can’t even pronounce – and ranting on about Nader, etc.

    One very good thing about it: he came across as the laughably self-important, sanctimonious little twit that he is. Write msnbc and ask them to find some new acts.

    Last time I will ever click on that madhouse. Of course, I’m still counted as one of the 4 billion users even though I was thrown out long ago.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 10, 2010 8:46 am

      More and better Democrats. Right. MAMZ and the Klub Kumquat Kids obviously can’t tell a better Democrat when one is staring them right in the face. Just amazing to me how much ire is directed at the one guy who stands up for the policies and principles they ostensibly support. They should be cheering the guy on because “<0" is obviously hell bent on passing anything just so he can say he got something passed by the time re-election season rolls around. Rally behind Dennis and maybe they'd actually get the robust public option they claim to support.

      I remember the first time I noticed that the KKKids were talking about some largely unnoticed story and Olberman put it on his show. I was encouraged. And he did his first special comment. I liked it. But then the cries of "email Keith" started and I noticed more and more stories that were discussed at Klub Kumquat making Olberman’s show and more and more special comments started coming where it was obvious that he had to artificially work himself up into a frothing lather to play to the camera. Became pretty clear that a good part of the show was based on reading a blog and that he was playing to the crowd for ratings. I mean, how many times do you need to run a five minute segment to call Bill O’Reilly an idiot when they are a lot of other things in the world deserving of a little coverage? To me, a once good news show wandered off into the realm of self parody. Used to watch Olberman every day and now I can't stand to watch it at all because he's more interested in acting the clown and playing the crowd for ratings than doing the decent news reports he started with.

      Not everyone wants to get their news from a clown or take their direction from a sawed off midget with little political acumen looking to line his own pockets. Unfortunately though a lot of people do seem to want those things.

      And one other thing about the health care legislation itself. The one actual "benefit" for people that keeps being touted is that preexisting conditions will be covered and if you can't afford the government mandated private insurance the government will subsidize it. I'd like to know exactly what kind of private insurance the government will be subsidizing. Is it going to be the kind that actually covers anything? Last I heard the expensive plans that do that were going to be subject to a "Cadillac tax" or whatever they were calling it so I doubt that's what the government will be giving the poor. More than likely they will be subsidizing the same kind of bullshit "insurance" that I and millions of others have where the deductibles are so high that if something serious goes wrong you still wind up owing thousands and thousands of dollars. What good does it do to have insurance if it still drives you bankrupt and/or you lose your home? I have seen nothing so far that fixes that.

      Obama is the one who deserves a primary challenge and I'd love to see Kucinich be the one to do it.

      • cometman permalink*
        March 10, 2010 8:56 am

        And once again Kucinich takes a stand on principle.

        House leaders will allow three hours of formal debate, probably Wednesday, on an antiwar resolution written by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), one of the leading antiwar voices in Congress. The resolution, which has 16 co-sponsors, calls for the United States to remove all of its troops from Afghanistan in 30 days — or by the end of the year, if it is determined that trying to do so in a month would be too dangerous.

        Won’t pass, but at the very least it will tie up the corporate hacks in Congress for a few hours and leave them with a little less time to do something to fuck the rest of us over.

      • cometman permalink*
        March 10, 2010 9:37 am

        Did I just say I had bullshit insurance? Right on cue, I just got informed that the rates for my bullshit insurance got jacked up so high that the company can’t afford it so I have to enroll for even bullshittier insurance with an even higher deductible in the next two weeks.

        Ain’t America great?

        • Stemella permalink*
          March 10, 2010 11:14 am

          Very sorry to hear that Cman. Something has to give here pretty quickly.

          I have no insurance at all and have been rejected for the crap catastrophic insurance I can afford, not for an actual pre-existing condition, but for having a high potential for a pre-existing condition due to family medical history. It is like the Bush Doctrine in insurance practice, a pre-emptive strike against my health and survival!!

          Yeah, America sucks shit right about now.

          • cometman permalink*
            March 10, 2010 1:16 pm

            You want my insurance? You’re welcome to it, isn’t doing me much good :)

      • Stemella permalink*
        March 10, 2010 10:57 am

        You described the pattern perfectly regarding KKK and Countdown. I became especially suspicious when my ad and screen blockers on Firefox were screening out all kinds of MSNBC stuff on DK. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a formal contractual agreement with how often MAMZ is on that program these days.

        You also nail the hypocrisy of the kumquats, doing exactly what they accuse of Republicans when they work against their own self interest rejecting the politicians and analysts who actually support the more liberal policies. It is all about cult of personality there and they turn on a dime when the personality du jour sours on them. Fickle and shallow, most of them. Kumquats be their name.

        • artemis54 permalink
          March 10, 2010 12:20 pm

          lol, what do you really think?

          Cult of personality and process, process, process. Not goal driven except the empty goal of winning. A strange mirror image of Bush in a way, with his goal of winning. Winning what? Victory!

          Honestly my tv is off for the next few days. If I see one more clip of mamz I’m afraid I’ll pick up whatever is closest – probably the cat – and throw it through the screen.

          • Stemella permalink*
            March 10, 2010 1:08 pm

            Yes, “mission accomplished” is big over there. It will be revolting once Obama signs whatever piece of shit gets passed for so called health reform. Many will proclaim it a huge transformational success. Later, any losses in upcoming races will be instantly blamed on the liberals.

            You can get those old fashioned cheapo flip flops at drugstores that make excellent tv fling toys. I keep an old pair around just for that purpose. Satisfying to throw, but harmless to the idiot box. :)

            • triv33 permalink
              March 10, 2010 6:17 pm

              Yes, don’t try telling anybody how pissed off people are going to be when they’re forced to pay for coverage and they still can’t afford any actual…um…care. There’s a reason them there “reforms” don’t kick in until after 2013.

  9. cometman permalink*
    March 10, 2010 8:51 am

    RIP Granny D.

    Common Dreams reprinted this article from Granny D today which includes Robert Shetterly’s portrait of her.

    • Stemella permalink*
      March 10, 2010 11:00 am

      I feel very fortunate to have seen her speak several years ago during one of Jim Hightower’s traveling road shows. She was a real ball of energy and a delight to behold. I’m glad she got to spend so many years inspiring younger generations.

  10. cometman permalink*
    March 10, 2010 9:59 am

    John Nichols says Kucinich’s dissent merits consideration . He also answered my question about why Massa was against the current proposal – he’s on Dennis’ side too which makes the ethics allegations against him even more suspicious. From what I read he was drunk at a party and made the kind of comment to a male staffer many of us have made when drunk at parties and he admitted to it and apologized but still he’s being brought up on ethics charges. Unless there’s more to it than that and he was actually propositioning and groping people, it sure sounds to me like he’s being railroaded for standing on principle.

    Dave Lindorff takes it a step further and I tend to agree with his argument – Kill Bill.

    • Stemella permalink*
      March 10, 2010 11:09 am

      Now that Massa is out of office I don’t think there can be further investigation, so we’ll probably never know more than he said, they said. While watching the coverage of this scandal last night it dawned on me that the whole thing seemed to be a kabuki to obscure the very real concurrent scandal involving $ corruption charges on Congressman Rangell, chair of the very influential Ways and Means Committee. Just a hunch on my part. The Massa thing seems way too orchestrated to me in its oddness and the way all the networks focused on it all at once like they always do when a story is complete manufactured bullshit.

      • cometman permalink*
        March 10, 2010 11:17 am

        Yeah, Rangel sure looks like he was dipping into the wrong cookie jar and they aren’t going to do jack about that it appears. They’ll probably wind up losing Rangel’s seat to a republican running an anti-corruption campaign and then come back and tell us they don’t have the votes to pass anything that might actually help people.

        Sure hard to come to any other conclusion than that it’s all theatre to distract as the Congress deliberately and purposefully lurches even further to the right.

  11. artemis54 permalink
    March 10, 2010 12:08 pm

    Two bits of good news:

    The Maldives bans all shark fishing in its economic zone

    In the northwest of Tasmania a population of devils has been found that appears to have some resistance to facial tumor disease, which is rapidly wiping out the species. This raisies the possibilty of breeding resistance in to other populations.

    (MHC gene copy number variation in Tasmanian devils: implications for the spread of a contagious cancer)

    It is a genetic bottleneck that left them open to this in the first place. Another illustration of the dangers facing tiny and isolated populations.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 10, 2010 1:25 pm

      Those are both very encouraging. I heard about the Maldive ban on the radio last night. My main question was how they’d enforce it. Finding new jobs for the local fishermen should stop a lot but I wondered how a tiny country would be able to patrol 35,000 square miles to make sure there weren’t foreign fishing boats out there poaching. From the article you posted it says there was only about $230,000 worth of sharks sold last year as the population had dwindled. I’m assuming that number is what the locals caught. Hopefully there is some way to keep other boats out.

  12. cometman permalink*
    March 10, 2010 1:36 pm

    Here’s some more encouraging news – Discovery in Legumes Could Reduce Fertilizer Use.

    “We have discovered a new biological process, by which leguminous plants control behavior of symbiotic bacteria,” said molecular biologist Sharon Long. “These plants have a specialized protein processing system that generates specific protein signals. These were hitherto unknown, but it turns out they are critical to cause nitrogen fixation.”

    The ability of legumes to capture nitrogen from the air and turn it into plant food, or “fix” it, also leaves the soil enriched through the plant matter left after harvesting, creating a natural fertilizer for other crops, which is the basis for crop rotation. Alternating legumes with other crops has been a major component of agriculture around the world for thousands of years. Yet until recently, little was known about how nitrogen fixation worked, or why some legumes are efficient at fixing nitrogen and others poor.

    But of course my cynical self remembers the arguments that global warming was caused not by the over industrialization of the entire planet, but by cow farts. I can just see the big agribusiness companies howl that any benefit produced by neglecting their fertilizers for crop rotation would be outweighed by the excess effluvia caused by eating beans.

    • Stemella permalink*
      March 10, 2010 3:17 pm

      Great news! When I lived on a farm we used to grow clover and vetch over the winter to fix nitrogen in both the gardens and hay fields. I’m cynical too. I wonder whether, when and if the petroleum industry lobbyists pushing their flavor of Nitrogen fertilizers will go along with the pea and bean revolution.

  13. Stemella permalink*
    March 11, 2010 9:44 am

    Here’s some potential good news

    Richard Blumenthal, CT AG, Sues Moody’s, S&P, Says They Knowingly Falsified Debt Ratings

    n the civil lawsuit filed Wednesday, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal alleged Moody’s and S&P knowingly assigned false ratings to complex investments that pushed the country into recession.

    The suit, which Blumenthal called the first of its kind against ratings agencies, is being brought under Connecticut’s unfair trade practices law. The attorney general is seeking penalties and fines that could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars, he said.

    The question remains, why the fuck is this only a civil suit and not a Federal one? SEC? Bueller? Oh yeah, the SEC – Douchebags of Complicity.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 11, 2010 12:40 pm

      I’m thinking that maybe reason that this is a civil suit rather than a criminal one is because the burden of proof is generally lower. It’s pretty obvious to me that the ratings agencies did knowingly hand out bogus ratings. But in a criminal suit prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they did this intentionally. Moody’s of course will argue that they didn’t know, nobody could have foreseen , etc, etc and a reasonable person might very well conclude that they were nothing but a bunch of dumbasses and thus they’d be off the hook.

      I’m glad to see Moody’s finally getting more attention for their role in this mess. A few years ago when the financial meltdown was just a twinkle in Greenspan’s cloudy eye, I remember reports that Moody’s was basically blackmailing companies to get info from them. Nobody is required to submit data to Moody’s from what I understand, but Moody’s would tell reluctant companies to either hand over their data or have their bonds downgraded.

      • cometman permalink*
        March 11, 2010 2:14 pm

        Also Kaufmann’s point about the system being set up in such a way that banks stand to make more money by shorting certain types of debt than if the debt were actually paid off is also a very good one and that situation definitely needs to be remedied.

        Note to self. I’ve got a few links I’ve been meaning to post about potential crackdowns against naked credit default swaps. Of course that’s happening in Europe and not here. I’ll try to find them later.

  14. Stemella permalink*
    March 11, 2010 9:54 am

    Hey! My ratings work again. It must have been some firewall glitch. I was messing with them and must have messed it up right again.

    Meanwhile, here’s a good read from Senator Kaufmann titled (pdf file from ZH) 20 pages long.

    Wall Street Reform that will Prevent the next Financial Crisis

    and Dingleberry Dodd’s next adventure down the wrong path in preventing the next crisis

    Dodd quits dithering on bank reform

    Dodd desperately wants a financial reform bill as a capstone to his 36-year career in Washington. But his lengthy negotiations with his Republican counterparts Richard Shelby and Bob Corker had produced little agreement, just headlines.

    Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, announced Thursday that he would present his own bill to his committee on Monday. The banking committee — with 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans — will likely vote on the bill next week.

    Dodd’s decision to abandon an endless quest to reach a bipartisan deal may make it more likely that Congress will actually enact legislation this year to rein in the worst of the abuses that helped lead the global economy to the brink.

    So there’s the talking points. What do you bet the Dodd bill is still a watered down capitulating craptacular lobbyist written piece of drivel that won’t regulate a goddamned thing?

    • cometman permalink*
      March 11, 2010 1:03 pm

      I have zero trust in dithering Dodd. But that piece from Kaufmann was excellent. I agree that things like CDOs and derivatives are not inherently bad – they can serve a useful purpose. Package a billion worth of 30 year fixed rate mortgages which were lent using responsible standards together and I might want to invest in that. And that is what happened in the beginning and investors snapped them up since Greenspan had lowered interest rates so much that conservative investors looking to park their cash somewhere safe could make more off those CDOs than on Treasuries. But the demand for these things was huge because of Greenspan’s move and they ran out of 30 year fixed rate mortgages to package. That’s when things started turning ugly as disreputable lenders rushed to create new loans with lax standards, packaged that crap together and managed to get them rated AAA with the collusion of the ratings agencies.

      Kaufmann’s proposals are a very good start. Hopefully somebody will listen to him.

  15. Stemella permalink*
    March 11, 2010 12:37 pm

    Father Gabriele Amorth said people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron.

    This would explain the garbled tone of Dick Cheney’s speeches

    Here is today’s must read article, ht to Naked Capitalism

    The Devil is lurking in the very heart of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican’s chief exorcist claimed on Wednesday.

    • cometman permalink*
      March 11, 2010 2:21 pm

      Well whaddya know. The chief exorcist of the Holy See says Beelzebub is in the Vatican and the pope believes in it wholeheartedly. Well strap Benny down and fire up the electroshock machine I say! Just to be on the safe side :)

  16. cometman permalink*
    March 11, 2010 2:06 pm

    The Greek people are not going down quietly.

    Protesters clashed with riot police as more than 10,000 people marched through central Athens during a nationwide general strike against the government’s harsh new austerity measures.

    The strike grounded all flights and brought public transport to a halt. State hospitals were left with emergency staff only and all news broadcasts were suspended as workers walked off the job for 24 hours to protest spending cuts and tax hikes designed to tackle the country’s debt crisis.

    General strike. I like it. When’s the last time the US had one of those?

    • artemis54 permalink
      March 11, 2010 2:49 pm

      Good question. My favorite, and probably one of the largest: Seattle, in 1919.

    • Stemella permalink*
      March 11, 2010 5:34 pm

      Here’s a wiki with a a chronology of general strikes

      According to this list the last one in the US was in San Francisco in 1934. The biggest and bestest was in Paris 1968

      Greece, Italy and Spain should unite and have a General strike together, a Southern Mediterranean Strike, a Calimari Pulpo Tomato Olive Oregano Garlic and Vino Tinto strike.

  17. cometman permalink*
    March 11, 2010 2:09 pm

    A big fuck you to the pimp guy – ACORN exonerated. Judge rules Congress had no right to stop funding.

    A federal judge retained her position that it is unconstitutional for Congress to prevent funding for the activist group ACORN after a government request that she reconsider.

    U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon cemented her earlier decision in December and made the injunction against government intervention permanent, asking all federal agencies to spread the word that money to ACORN be allowed without delay.

    The judge wrote that it was “unmistakable that Congress determined ACORN’s guilt before defunding it.” Congress may investigate ACORN but cannot “rely on the negative results of a congressional or executive report as a rationale to impose a broad, punitive funding ban on a specific, named organization.”

  18. artemis54 permalink
    March 11, 2010 2:33 pm

    It’s nice to know one is not alone. You folks might enjoy the warm bath of mamz bashing threads over at FDL. Here’s one; there are several others.

    Besides the problem of the constant attacks on Kucinich’s appearance (particularly from mamz, who has a face for radio and a voice for silent movies), I was always amazed at the attacks on his former opposition to abortion from the kumquat kids. If you asked about Dear Midget Leader’s former opposition to gay rights you were shouted down because, well, just because.

  19. artemis54 permalink
    March 11, 2010 4:17 pm

    New cuttlefish found off the southern tip of India: say hi to Sepia vecchioni.

    • Stemella permalink*
      March 11, 2010 5:36 pm

      Wow. It looks like an open heart surgery with dreads. Cool!

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