Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jim Webb's prison reform push

Seems to me a gutsy move by Webb. The most obvious reason is that it is so easy for him to lose, politically, on this issue and few obvious ways to gain.

Some links:

Marc Ambinder note

Webb floor speech (pdf)

Long Glenn Greenwald post on Webb's gambit.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Putting blame where it belongs

A very good piece by Simon Johnson (formerly of the IMF) about the politics of economic crises.

His point is that while there is plenty of blame, the problem boils down to changes in policy, time and time again, which benefited the financial industry.

...[B]ut these various policies—lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits—such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

Out-of-network insurance fees to get a long look

About damn time.

It's a scam how insurance companies determine how much they will pay of a bill, for a customer who pays their premiums but suddenly wants to use the insurance they've been paying for. The gall!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Still getting it

It doesn't sound like Sarah Palin has the "talking out of both sides of her mouth" thingy down yet.

Israeli aggression

Just typing that title probably prevents me from holding a government job with any oversight or analysis on Middle Easter affairs, eh?

Andrew Sullivan today, picking up on Hitchens, hones in on the troubles that fundamentalism in Israel might cause.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eliot Spitzer comeback

I noticed this a few days ago, as the AIG bonuses stories took hold. But appearenly Eliot Spitzer is back out from underneath the blankets and hard at work.

Couldn't resist the snark.

Still, though, this is good news. Now, if only Obama would tap Jon Corzine for Treasury this would be a good week...

SCOTUS to examine strip search of high school student

Schools have been rights-free bubbles for some time now, mostly because conservatives can't stand the idea of students actually standing up for their rights.

But no probable cause for the strip search of this high school girl (over ibuprofen) might rock their world.

Apparently, even being good is irrelevant. Money quote, from the school district's brief:

“Her assertion should not be misread to infer that she never broke school rules,” the district said of Ms. Redding in a brief, “only that she was never caught.”

Son of Sylvia Plath kills himself

Even moving to Alaska couldn't help him escape his demons.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Serendipity?

Actor saves man who fell on subway tracks.

The 33-year-old actor appears in a show called "Kasper Hauser" in a role that requires him to repeatedly lift a character who cannot walk.

AIG-Gate

Turns out, 11 of the employees getting a "retention bonus" aren't even with the company anymore.

Manzi, quoted by Andrew Sullivan, tries to put it into perspective. Manzi misses the point, however, that small things do matter, particularly in the financial markets which run equally on money and emotion.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Same story, three headlines

In a fantasy sports thread about "liberal media bias," one poster linked to the following FOX news story:

Leftist Ex-CNN Reporter Wins El Salvador Presidency

Here's the story on the Associated Press site:

Salvadoran leftist president promises moderation

For "balance," here's the story as posted on the left-leaning Talking Points Memo:

Salvadoran leftist president promises moderation: El Salvador's new lefist president promises to unite country, maintain strong US relations

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Puncturing the balloon

James Poniewozik tells it like it is. Money quote:

CNBC's reaction is colored by its stressed-out day trader's focus on the short term. When ordinary people think about the economy, they think about jobs, college, retirement. Sure, the stock market affects them in the long run — but so do job security and the threat of getting wiped out by health-care bills. When CNBC considers the economy, it means Wall Street's numbers that day, that hour, that minute. CNBC may pay lip service to the long term, but it has the time horizon of a fruit fly.

The daily change in the various stock markets are hugely overemphasized as a thermometer of the economy. And CNBC rides that wave all day, every day. They know no other beach, in fact.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mr. Big?

Today I filed papers and petitions to be on the ballot for Mayor of Mount Pocono. A high prestige, low power position, I don't believe there is any other Democrat for the primary and only one Republican will be filing that I know of (who is also running for borough council again I believe).

More later.... I'm a little nervous about the whole thing, but excited as well.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Might as well exhale

There's no reason to hold our breaths anymore, hoping yahoos like Jim Cramer will own up to their part in the current financial collapse. He's too busy peddling an "Obama-proof" portfolio.

Obama administration struggling with whitehouse.gov

Maybe they are still using TRS 80 computers?

I suspect that the Obama campaign is now realizing the drawbacks of the results of competitive bidding.

Idiot reporter interviewing idiot conservative rich people on Obama's tax policy

Or, how internet rumors get started.