Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Quote of the day: 

 I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different

--- Kurt Vonnegut

Rick Santorum, professional blowhard

“President Obama said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob! There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them. Oh I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.”  

--- R. Santorum, Feb 2012


And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship.  But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma.  And dropping out of high school is no longer an option.  It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country — and this country needs and values the talents of every American.”  

--- B. Obama, Jan 2009, first speech to joint session of Congress

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Will someone please fire Bud Selig already?

First he ignored steroids in baseball while statistics are demolished by anabolic behemoths, then he endured Congress nosing around the issue inflicting us with their faux outrage, finally he gets a "policy" about performance-enhancing drugs... which is most recently summarily screwed up in it's management and enforcement.

Please put Bud Selig out of his misery.

Why was Ryan Braun's positive pee test result leaked (bad pun, I know) to the public last fall? Why were we told that he had herpes? Who mis-handled Braun's urine sample? What possessed Selig to agree to an outside arbitration panel if the case was so clear? Why is nobody asking these questions of Major League Baseball?

Baseball is not under any compulsion to protect Constitutional rights, the players belong at the discretion of the League and agree to abide by the rules of the League, but on the other hand the players don't need to be harassed either. Braun either used steroids or he didn't: if he did, he should be suspended, if didn't then he should never have been impugned.

Major League Baseball, the solely American sport, has needed a commissioner for quite a while.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bush appointee rules against DOMA

From Politico:
Another federal judge has found unconstitutional a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that forbids providing federal government benefits to same-sex spouses.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White, who sits in San Francisco and was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, issued the ruling Wednesday afternoon in a case involving federal judicial law clerk Karen Golinski's request for benefits for her female spouse. White said the stated goals of DOMA, passed in 1996 and signed by President Bill Clinton, could not pass muster under a so-called heightened scrutiny test or even a lower "rational basis" threshhold.
"The imposition of subjective moral beliefs of a majority upon a minority cannot provide a justification for the legislation. The obligation of the Court is 'to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code,'" White wrote. "Tradition alone, however, cannot form an adequate justification for a law....The 'ancient lineage” of a classification does not render it legitimate....Instead, the government must have an interest separate and apart from the fact of tradition itself."
In White's ruling, he also gave an unusual back of the hand to the Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit, Alex Kozinski, who ruled at an earlier administrative stage of the dispute that federal personnel managers had authority to cover Golinski's spouse as a nonspousal member of her family. White called that reasoning "unpersuasive."

“I think that freedom means freedom for everyone…Any kind of arrangement they wish.”  –Dick Cheney, in defending Maryland’s gay marriage movement.

California’s Proposition 8 gay marriage ban is “utterly without justification” and stigmatizes gay men and lesbians as “second-class and unworthy…This case could involve the rights and happiness and equal treatment of millions of people.” — Ted Olson, GWB’s former Solicitor General.

Bush-era officials seem to be to the left of both Clinton and Obama with regard to same-sex marriage rights.

Stewart on GOP AZ debate

I could not keep my eyelids up for the whole "debate"-- no problem, Stewart summarized it and I defy you not to laugh out loud:

 Clown show.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Quote of the Day:

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

~ William James

Friday, February 17, 2012


Quote of the Day:

A two-fer....

 “Excuse me, I’m just trying to catch my breath from that."

---Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC, in response to:

“This contraception thing, my gosh, it’s so inexpensive.  You know, back in my days, they’d use Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

--- Foster Friess, billionaire backer of the Rick Santorum presidential campaign,  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and various Koch Brother political action funds, as well as humanitarian philanthropic projects.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pitchers and Catchers Report in SIX Days

...and I have my tickets. I have no delusion, this will be a tough year for the White Sox as divsional contenders like the Tigers re-load with Justin Verlander and new blood Prince Fielder, and the Twins, Indians and even Royals will challenge the Sox pitching, but there is nothing better than a cold beer in the sunshine.

From the South Side

To Glendale AZ

Go Sox.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Links to Drink By

Let's face it, if you haven't had some bond exposure over the last 10 years your nest egg has been damaged. Doug Kass takes down Jeremy Siegel for his flawed rationale of picking only stocks, his ignorance of survivorship bias when looking at historical returns and questions the media's infatuation with the professor.

Whitney Houston's death to earn Dolly Parton a fortune. (Hint: she wrote "I Will Always Love You").

'I want it, I need it, I must have it"...adaptive hedonism in chart form. Which reminds me of one of my favorite books: A Guide to the Good Life, by William Irvine. Maybe it's time to re-read it.

I have a modest proposal: What if physicians refused to give birth control to nominal Catholics? If bishops can withhold sacraments from politicians for their opinions and actions, why can't the AMA and ACOG likewise implore physicians to hold Catholics accountable to their beliefs about contraception and abortion? It would be a boon to the baby industry. Just a thought.

Fox News is still touting Saddam as a primary cause of 9/11. If you repeat a myth enough times will it ever become the truth? And notice how Bolling invokes the old "I knew people who died on 9/11" bullshit as cover for his lack of intellectual rigor..."Can't we conclude that President Obama is treasonous?"  Yeah, right. I realize that other networks can be strident too, but I challenge anyone to find a 2:46 minute clip on any other "news show" with this much untainted stupidity.

One word to Kirsten Powers: I realize you think that you serve as the opposing voice of reason on this channel, but you are only enabling the delusion of cogency, and it is only a delusion.

Don't do it, Mr. Obama. As the media beats the drum for an Iranian war, the president keeps a cool head. Greenwald describes the unrelenting propaganda machine. You are being lied to, folks.



Quote of the Day:

"There's been a lot of bragging in the 2012 primary about candidates that have 'real world' business experience, and how that translates into an effective ability to govern. That logic is horses**t. Being president is a fundamentally different job than being a CEO -- because countries are not corporations." 

---Dan Drezner, Professor of International Politics, Tufts University

Monday, February 13, 2012

Obama jettisons Keynes

The 2013 budget came out today and the President Obama seems to be agreeing with the Republican dogma that balancing the budget is more important than growing the economy. Either the president is drinking their Kool-Aide or he thinks the economy is stronger than all the evidence shows.  From Marketwatch:
Although the economy remains weak and unemployment is still elevated, Obama proposes the sharpest contraction in fiscal policy in more than 40 years. And, in the midst of those tax increases and spending reductions, he’s predicting a booming economy growing well above the economy’s long-run potential for the next six years — averaging an incredible 3.6%. 
In short, Obama is agreeing with his Republican critics who say that what the economy really needs right now is a rapid move toward balanced budgets. By contrast, Keynesian economists would say that reducing budget deficits now, when we still have so much slack in the economy, would slow growth. They recommend running high deficits until the economy is stronger, and then moving to balance.

The last time the government tightened fiscal policy that much was in 1969, when a 10% income tax surcharge was implemented to pay for the Vietnam War. The immediate results were terrific in one sense: the federal budget was balanced in 1969, the only time it was balanced between 1960 and 1998.
Unfortunately, the balanced budget was a major cause of the recession that began in December 1969. All too often over the past 90 years, attempts to reduce deficits or increases surplus have contributed to ensuing recessions.

 For 2013, the CBO projects growth of just 1% (as opposed to 3% in the White House budget), largely because of austerity measures. According to the CBO, growth could be as high as 4.1% next year if the government delayed its plans to reduce the deficits.

In short, someone's wrong: either Obama or the CBO.  Welcome to 1937.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bruce Bartlett tells it

Reagan official points out how far we've gone down the road to insanity.
Bruce Bartlett on Where the Right Went Wrong from on Vimeo.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Obama vs The Bishops

Obama's latest gambit, putting the contraception imperative onto health insurance companies instead of Catholic employers, is interesting.  My take is that it necessarily starts the removal of responsibility for health insurance from employers altogether.  What if I choose not to cover Lipitor, cancer surgery or blood transfusions for my employees because I feel it's unethical?  Too many side effects, not efficacious, goes against God's laws, etc... and strong arguments can be made for or against almost any therapy.

The "slippery slope" (and I usually hate that term), if there is any such thing, is that we may all be heading for a govt supplied single-payer like Medicare, or at least we are slouching toward a single "payment" system with the employer out of the picture and insurance regulators in control like all other types of insurance. And is that a bad thing?

We already have mandated provision of care by physicians and hospitals thru EMTALA statutes and I hear nothing from the conservatives to repeal those laws (except from Ron Paul).  If we all want to compel doctors to provide care, and we obviously do, then we should also compel patients to pay for it. After that it's just discussing the details about what is covered-- and I guarantee that birth control is more medically efficacious and cost effective than 98% of all other drugs and therapies on the market...and besides, 98% of Catholics are using artificial birth control anyway.

TBogg gives some advice to the Catholic clerics:

It would be in the Catholic Bishops best interests to claim victory and go home since this takes them out out of the equation, allowing them to do what they do best: pretending that they don’t know that their flock is already telling the Vatican to pound sand by using birth control. 

Alternatively, the churchmen could go to bat for the insurance companies, which seems far afield from their calling and it would be pretty unseemly after all.  Obama may be playing eleventy-dimensional chess with the Bishops... and it's their move.

(h/t @gooddoc01)

Bill O tries to side with liberals, but is wrong again!

O’Reilly is incorrect to compare this issue to McCarthyism. Joe McCarthy was a US Senator who was using the apparatus of the federal govt to spy on and libel private citizens. That is unConstitutional, and since O'Reilly has a degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Govt, I think he knows that.
If a bunch of wingnut women want to boycott JCPenney and carry on their bigoted rant, it’s their 1st Amendment right to do so. It’s game on, and I bet JCPenney gets even more customers now because of this idiotic boycott.
I get the feeling the Billo is trying to save the “million moms” from their own stupidity. When you need Bill O’Reilly to be the voice of reason, you’re way out there.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Quote of the Day:

What happened to Komen is what happens when you hire wingnuts in the hopes that they'll protect you from other wingnuts. -- @KagroX , via Twitter.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Obama's Re-election

This is the most seminal piece of news in 2 years regarding the presidential race. From Bloomberg this morning about the monthly non-farm payroll numbers:
U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average toward its highest level since May 2008, after a report showed that employment growth topped estimates and the jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 8.3 percent.
"Spectacular," Ron Florance, managing director of investment strategy for Wells Fargo Private Bank, said in a telephone interview from Phoenix. His firm manages $169 billion. "It's a very, very strong jobs number. It shows that companies have confidence that they see global demand growth through their products and services. The numbers indicate continued economic strength. That will support risk assets."

It's about the unemployment number, stupid. Not Gingrich's three wives, not Romney's 16 summer homes, not FOX News' high ratings number. Only one number matters.
Is everything fixed?  Hardly, but presidential elections wrest on economic pain or lack thereof and we are much better off than Jan 2009 when we were in free fall.  Can we really forget the President of the United States saying something like "This Sucker Could Go Down" so easily? What do you think Bush meant by that?
Structural difficulties exist in the job market, but they are structural, ie, they've been percolating for a generation and will take a generation to fix. We haven't trained enough technicians and engineers; we haven't addressed our escalating health care and defense costs, but on the whole the last 39 months have seen an unwinding of the certain disaster the world faced when President Obama took office.
Has Obama done everything exactly the way I would have? Hardly. There is no way I would have been as civil under the circumstances we faced. The constant inane drumbeat of questions about his citizenship, his faith, his patriotism, his alleged socialism, his appeasement of terrorists, etc.  It has been like he's the Dad of a huge dysfunctional family gone bankrupt, screaming for toy guns and Happy Meals while he struggles to make sure everyone is healthy and educated. 
There is a long way to go, no question, and we may not make it. The problems in this country--and the world-- are serious. We need serious people to address them.  As long as al Qaeda isn't patrolling our city streets , nothing matters in the US Presidential election more than the US economy, and the main indicator we look at--right or wrong-- is the unemployment rate. It's lower, the market is improved. 
Obama will be re-elected. 
Now turn off the TV and help your kids with their math homework.


h/t to Jim Ku for the cartoon:

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Sheriff Joe

Sad news for Sheriff Joe Arpaio here in AZ.  Instead of easing into retirement his tenure looks to be ending in a blaze of scandal and incompetence, such is the end of his cult of personality.

The Phoenix Human Relations Commission voted 13-0 to ask for his resignation on federal racial profiling charges. 

In an unrelated issue, Arpaio admits to botching over 400 sex-crimes case...probably because his attention was trained too heavily on harassing restaurant and lawn care workers.