Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Son of S&P

S&P reactions include a very good Nate Silver piece, taking them to task for generally being very bad at what they do.

Turns out they made a $2 trillion error, which they admitted but brushed aside as unimportant.

My own belief is that this is a bit of a makeup call, after really blowing things on housing and derivative ratings.

[BTW, any winger looking for "blame" for the Great Recession need look no farther than the ratings agencies for the biggest culprits. Their fake, optimistic ratings made risky financials look quite rosy, staving off a free market correction which would have been far less painful if done earlier.]

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Wake me when silly season is over.

New Republican meme: White House is "hiding data" which proves the stimulus didn't work.

If at first the facts don't fit the meme, put out a new one accusing the other side of hiding ones that help your point. Or something like that.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The "tell"

Jon Kyl (among other Republicans) now against a payroll tax holiday.

The stated reason: "It won't do much."

The "tell" as it were, regarding the GOP plans to keep the economy spluttering for political reasons is that they are now against straightforward tax cuts it they can help Obama. In other words, if a tax cut has the possible benefit of actually working to improve the economy, they are not for it because Obama might get credit.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New York State -- the next in line?

New York State might be on the cusp of allowing same-sex marriages.

Apparently the tact of preserving (and even expanding) religious freedoms in the bill is helping to move it along.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The big tell

The GOP declines to take up the President's offer to try another stimulus plan made up entirely of tax cuts.

As noted elsewhere, this is "the big tell." Clearly the GOP plan is to try to keep the economy sputtering until after the election.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Boston Diocese: Where some are welcome!

Boston parish cancels Mass planned for Gay Pride Week, with the theme "All Are Welcome."

This went from a poorly worded flyer announcement to looking like the Boston Dioceses does not, in fact, believe that all are welcome.

When it doubt, go with Christ. It is far better to do the right thing and look foolish than to pull back in the hopes the embarrassment will pass.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Just called my cell phone number from my office phone to help me find the cell. Got a message: "The person you are calling is not reachable."

Like a movie IRL

Spectacular photos from Chilean volcano eruption

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

On Rick Santorum (formerly R, PA/VA)

Greg Sargent makes some solid points about Rick Santorum's bizarre candidacy.

Money quote: It’s not that Santorum thinks that Republican primary voters really want to get rid of Social Security; it’s that he believes what they want is a candidate willing to be as radical as they think of themselves as being.

Partly this is the primary season, where candidates run hard to the right (or left, for the Dems) and some candidates go off into the ditch. But one of the reasons why Obama looks like a fairly solid re-election candidate is that none of the Republican candidates seem the least bit interested in staying on the road at all.

Full disclosure: For Santorum's last election I was a contributor to a group blog Dumpsantorum.com (which, like many sites, has gone down the rabbit hole). But having an opinion that Santorum is a wacko far Right politico who wraps himself in his religion only when it matches his political agenda is hardly one that I'm alone with, and looks like it will be shared by many more people until he drops out of the race.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Personal propaganda

Besides having a cool name (or, 2/3 or a cool name), this piece is interesting how it takes a propaganda shot and makes it a little personal. And not just because it was the author's family in the shot.

So maybe the propagandists were right all along.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Laffer Curve Madness

In the current debate over tax policy (which should be more about tax loopholes and avoidance than tax rates, but there you go), sometimes, zombie-like, certain economic philosophies continue to be bandied about as though they haven't been thoroughly debunked.

Greg Mankiw
takes another dagger at Laffer in the course of a good debate about economics and policy presentation, from 2007.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

GOP Race 2012

Herman Cain, lecturing people to read the Constitution, quotes from the Declaration of Independence by mistake.

This guy is going to be a lot of fun until he flames out. Every race needs an Alan Keyes--looks like Cain is stepping up to be the latest.

Monday, April 04, 2011

I know the feeling...

Woman goes crazy at Gauguin exhibit--"This is evil!" and starts pounding on painting.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro 1935-2011

Story, and statement from the family

A trailblazer. I shook her hand once at the Ditmars N train station where she was stumping for the Congressional candidate. Don't remember the candidate's name, but I was pleased to say hello to Ferraro.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guns and more guns. Or, bringing a tank to a cockfight.

Sheriff Arpaio in the news again. Who brings a tank to a cockfight? Sheriff Joe, that's who.

This isn't an immigration problem of his--more of a "might is right" problem. Also, a demonstration that conservatives, at one time, had it right to be skeptical of giving too much unchecked power into law enforcement. By pouring (literally) billions of borrowed tax dollars into tanks and other military grade weapons for local and county police departments, we set up a system where the way they fight crime becomes self-fulfilling.

And it is a habit that is hard to break.

What passes for news on the Right

John Stossel, wondering why there is a BIA: "no group in America has been more helped by the government than the American Indians"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

On Libya, Obama, and timing.

A great letter to Andrew Sullivan about the ODS sufferers Kirstol and Wiseltier, on Libya.

Last paragraph of that letter is spot on:

In retrospect, the Obama/Clinton game is mature, carefully thought through and focused on the long-term consequences of the use of power. The Wieseltier/Kristol game is ill-considered, emotional and places a thoroughly unwarranted emphasis on the deployment of US military power without appreciating the negatives that go with such moves. Put otherwise, the Obama Team has learned some lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan, and Wieseltier/Kristol are prepared to commit the same mistakes, all over again.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NZ earthquake

Some amazing photos from New Zealand, where a large earthquake struck, essentially, downtown Christchurch in the middle of the workday.

This might get overlooked with all the serial protesting in the Middle East and the standoffs in Wisconsin, but your prayers would be appreciated, I think.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gaza and Israeli policy

More wikileaks information about Israel's policy toward Gaza.

Despite acknowledging that Hamas was actively working to maintain the ceasefire (and that none of the rocket launches were from Hamas), Israel decided to take them out anyway.

Nice. I think they call this "bargaining in bad faith."

Monday, February 07, 2011

Fun with word swapping

While [Indonesia/America] has more [Muslims/Christians] than any other country, the [Southeast Asian/North American] nation of [240/308] million has long been seen as moderate and largely secular. A small but vocal—and sometimes violent—minority has at times sought to impose its will, serving as a sort of moral police for the country.

original article

Monday, January 31, 2011

A ost-DADT military?

What social conservatives fear: A military respectful of a gay marriage.

Ketterson sent a copy of the marriage license. That changed everything.

“I was respected,” he said. “From that moment on, I was next of kin. They were amazing.”

Friday, January 21, 2011

The cost of DADT

In financial terms: About $200 million over 5 years.

So lemme get this right: The GOP was elected to reduce the deficit and cut spending. Among their first acts is to take steps to ensure DADT remains military policy, and to vote to repeal a health care plan which cuts federal spending.


Monday, January 17, 2011


Wingnuts confuse closed captions with audience instructions.

If they can't find Obama criticism to use, they'll make some up.

What Its About

Even for a blog like mine, which will be discovered, after my death, with great surprise by people, Michael Chabon's signoff at TNC's guest blogger strikes me as being pitch perfect.

Maybe blogger helps Chabon's writing, too....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thursday, January 06, 2011

In response to the horrible attacks on Christians in Egypt...

In Egypt, calls by Muslims to act as human shields in Christian services.

Any chance the Christianists in the United States would likewise shield their Muslim brothers from attacks? I thought not.

Funny how often Muslims act more Christ-like than US conservative "Christians."

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Dems in the US Senate start the process to change filibuster rules

Udall begins the process of changing the rules today.

Three important elements:

-an end to secret "holds"
-a filibuster can only occur after debate begins (in other words, a filibuster cannot be used to prevent debate from beginning)
-the party holding the filibuster needs to actually hold the floor to do so.

Simple but important steps, IMO.

New GOP House: First order of business is to suspend their own budget rule

New GOP House decides to suspend its own spending rules to try to overturn health care.

This is the point at which their talking points clash. Will they work on cutting the deficit? Or will they work on overturning the health care law? they can't have both.

This was a favorite trick of the GOP during the Bush Administration. They put large parts of the "War on Terror" off-budget in order to message the numbers of the federal budget.

Cantor, as usual, looks pretty stupid trying to explain this all away.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Joy of Stats

Few things on the internet are worth an hour of time at a sitting. This one is. An engaging discussion of the role of statistics.

Yes, sounds exciting! Er, no. But I dare you to give it 5 minutes and then not start putting off whatever you were planning on doing the other 55.