9.24.2011

How enormously annoying must it be to live in Europe these days...

...and have some pissant like Timothy Geitner tell you how you should run your economy – bluntly, no less?

European gov'ts, ECB must team up on crisis: Geithner | Reuters

(Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner bluntly told European governments on Saturday to eliminate the threat of a catastrophic financial crisis by teaming up with the European Central bank to boost the continent's bailout capacity.

A book for geezers of all ages...

...and women of the better sort (apologies to H. G. Wells) is Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson. New to our reading list (and also recommended by Charlie from Wisconsin), Major Pettigrew tells the story of a retired British army officer and his budding friendship (and perhaps more?) with Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani owner of the local convenience store in one of those quirky, out-of-the-way little villages the Brits seem to have in such abundance, and is the very book for which the descriptive "delightful" was invented.

NRA sees conspiracy to "fool gun owners"

NRA claims ‘massive Obama conspiracy’ not to ban guns | Raw Replay

In the eyes of National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, President Barack Obama’s decision not to pursue gun control legislation is a “massive conspiracy,” and just another reason not to give him a second term.

Wait. What?

9.22.2011

Unexpected: Yeah, who possibly could have seen this coming?

House unexpectedly defeats spending bill | Reuters

(Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives unexpectedly defeated a bill that would fund the federal government past September 30 on Wednesday as dozens of Republicans broke with their party to push for deeper spending cuts.

(And you thought it was only about the "Buffett Rule" and the Death Commision? Really?)

Maybe it wasn't all for the children after all

News from The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Call it the recession's lost generation.

In record-setting numbers, young adults struggling to find work are shunning long-distance moves to live with Mom and Dad, delaying marriage and buying fewer homes, often raising kids out of wedlock. They suffer from the highest unemployment since World War II and risk living in poverty more than others - nearly 1 in 5.

 

I understand

When I was self-employed I always most appreciated clients who paid their bills promptly.

Obama Raises Money in New York - Washington Wire - WSJ

Hours after delivering a White House speech that called on wealthy Americans to pay higher taxes, President Barack Obama dined with some of these very Americans in New York. He was expected to raise more than $2 million for his reelection campaign.

9.21.2011

Cadillac Door


iPhone abstract: Phil Compton

So it's the sizzle, they're saying?

TV's Still the Best Way for Marketers to Burn Ads into Your Brain - Business - The Atlantic Wire

A study published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economic offers insight into how our brains respond to advertisements. Regardless of the message, the study says, the most effective ads are the ones that appeal to our non-rational impulses, like emotions and sex drive.

Quelle surprise.

Yup

All of Obama's Math Adds Up to 2012 - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

 

No wonder they're so scared of her in Washington

Hullabaloo

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there—good for you! But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that maurauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea—God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

–Elizabeth Warren

Click the link (above) for more, with video.

Woohoo! Celebrate!

Thisis what Fox Business calls upbeat news about housing?

Upbeat Housing Data Lift Stocks Ahead of Fed | Fox Business

"While the number of home sales remains depressed, "the lack of further weakness does play into our general thesis that the worst of the housing market decline is certainly behind us..."

 

9.19.2011

Oh the money they'll save

U.S. to build new massive prison in Bagram - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

As the Obama administration announced plans for hundreds of billions of dollars more in domestic budget cuts, it late last week solicited bids for the construction of a massive new prison in Bagram, Afghanistan.  Posted on the aptly named FedBizOps.Gov website which it uses to announce new privatized spending projects, the administration unveiled plans for "the construction of Detention Facility in Parwan (DFIP), Bagram, Afghanistan" which includes "detainee housing capability for approximately 2000 detainees." 

Hightower on "Prince" Rick Perry

A Perry Tale about the Prince of Privilege | NationofChange

Strangely, this pranc­ing prince of priv­i­lege would not be where he is with­out the steady “in­tru­sion” of big gov­ern­ment into his life. From el­e­men­tary school through col­lege, his ed­u­ca­tion was paid for by local, state, and fed­eral tax­pay­ers. Also, as cot­ton farm­ers, he and his fam­ily were sup­ported with thou­sands of dol­lars in crop sub­si­dies from the pock­ets of na­tional tax­pay­ers.

Then, after a brief stint as a gov­ern­ment-paid Air Force trans­port pilot, the per­fid­i­ous prince hit the mother lode of gov­ern­ment largesse: po­lit­i­cal of­fice, where he’s been for 27 years and count­ing. In ad­di­tion to draw­ing more than a quar­ter-cen­tury’s worth of monthly pay­checks from Texas tax­pay­ers, Prince Rick also re­ceives full health cov­er­age and a gen­er­ous pen­sion from the state, plus $10,000 a month to rent a lux­ury home, a flock of per­sonal aides, and even a state-paid sub­scrip­tion to Food & Wine mag­a­zine.

 

Giant orange cat eats, well, somebody

MOBA : UNSEEN FORCES : 8

IN THE CAT'S MOUTH

From the Museum of Bad Art.

Books, etc.

New to the book list: The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, free from Project Gutenberg. The Thirty-Nine Steps, a novel of only 92 pages, published in 1915 (and movies in 1935 and 1978, plus a recent production of Masterpiece Theater) is the template for every ordinary-guy-gets-caught-up-in-desperate-plot book you've ever read and the ones you haven't, as well. Plus, it's a terrific yarn. And did we mention free?

Everything is Obvious Once You Know the Answer is, well, pretty obvious once you know where it's going, which is straight into fond memories of bull sessions in Sophomore dorm rooms. I didn't finish reading it, but you might. Who knows.

I didn't finish Reckless Endangerment either, but for another reason. The story of the flim-flam that led up to the recent mortgage debacle is enormously depressing, all the more so because the people responsible are still very much at large. Fortunately, this is straight reportage – easy to follow and easy to put down and pick up again later, which I still may do.

And some short stuff: The GOP War on Voting, by Ari Berman at Rolling Stone; "He Never Had Nothing and He Always Wanted Something," by Ben Montgomery at the St. Petersburg Times; and if you follow Matt Taibbi you may have already read "Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes."

Read on.

One thing the all-powerful free markets don't seem to be doing to well at

How Fast Can China Go? | Business | Vanity Fair

Half a dozen of these beasts were lined up beside one another, raring to go, like greyhounds at the starting gate waiting for the rabbit. One snubbier-nosed CRH3C engine was huddled between the others—German-engineered, slower, but (as one English-speaking man on the platform remarked to me, boastfully) still faster than anything known in America today.

(Click the link for more.)

9.18.2011

This movie might be worth seeing

The Man from Nowhere

A former secret agent takes the law into his own hands to save a young girl with subtitles. 

Or then again...