From Pine View Farm

November, 2009 archive

A Happy and Thankful Holiday to All 0

And remember the story of the first American Thanksgiving.

No, not in Plymouth Colony. It didn’t exist yet. It just has a better PR department.

The first Thanksgiving occurred when Captain John Woodlief led the newly-arrived English colonists to a grassy slope along the James River and instructed them to drop to their knees and pray in thanks for a safe arrival to the New World. It was December 4, 1619, and 38 men from Berkeley Parish in England vowed:

    “Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”


Wingnut Morality: War Crimes Is Good 0

Lord, deliver us from those who suborn evil.

Better yet, let them enlist. The military, at least since Cheney is gone, takes this stuff seriously.

Via Atrios.


I Hate Plumbing 2

It started out with replacing the sprayer and hose assembly for the kitchen sink. The sprayer didn’t, and I had already ruled out the sprayer head.

I shut off the water, broad jumped on my back underneath the sink, and decided that I didn’t have the right tools to deal with the cramped quarters right now.

I turned the water back on, turned on the faucet, and nada. I disassembled the handle, adjusting collar, and cap of the faucet–water was getting to it, but not to the spout.

My guess is that whatever was causing the sprayer problem to begin with had, when I turned off the valves, decided to go west permanently (probably to somewhere near Denver).

I replaced the entire faucet. Getting the new one in took 15 minutes, not counting the 10 minute trip to the hardware store after I verified that it did, indeed, have eight inch centers.

Getting the old one off took two hours: one of the retaining nuts holding the faucet in place just would not budge. I ended up drilling the sonuvabitch off.

Also, the lead from the hot water line to the faucet would not come off the faucet; I had to replace it also (if I had finally gotten it off, it probably would have been too deformed to reuse anyhow). Whoever put it on in the first place apparently didn’t know that, with compression fittings, tight enough is tight enough.

Tomorrow, I will give thanks for plumbers, who are willing to make a career out of this sort of frustration. A competent plumber is worth the cost (for those who can afford one).


Have Cake, Eat It Too 0

Eric Cantor (R-Cloud Cuckoo Land) holds a job fair and attacks the stimulus program.

Half the companies at the job fair have benefited from the stimulus program and probably wouldn’t be there without it.

Cantor does not eat hat.

Steve Benen reports:

“The continuing hypocrisy from Republican leaders, like Eric Cantor, who try to block solutions in Washington and then take credit for them back home, is reaching epidemic proportions,” the DCCC’s Jesse Ferguson said. “If Representative Cantor’s ‘Party of No’ policies were in effect, this event would have been an unemployment fair not a jobs fair.”



A caller to the Diane Rehm show (about 38 mnutes in):

My question is . . . why it is that our legislators can find a way to turn over $900 billion dollars a year to our Department of Defense to discover new and better ways to destroy people, yet there is a hue and cry from many of them over spending $900 billion over a 10-year period to help the people of this country.

Read more »


Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Go 0

Perhaps a bit of sunshine: Under half a mil for the first in a month of Sundays.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slid to a seasonally adjusted 466,000 in the week ended November 21, from a revised 501,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said.


It was the fourth consecutive week of declines in seasonally adjusted claims, and marked a steady march lower from a recent peak of 674,000 in late March. Analysts say claims must fall below 400,000 to signal payrolls growth, which would be a critical indicator of recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s.

Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting a more modest slip to 500,000 claims from the previously reported 505,000.

Aside: Reuters analysts continue their sterling record. Next time I go to the track, I won’t be asking them to help me pick the exacta.


The Canonization of Ronaldus Magnus 0

A triumph of marketing over reality, like all of Republicanism, a combination of ideology and wishful thinking, devoid of facts:

Reagan devoted billions in spending to new military hardware and to researching weapons systems, including his Star Wars missile shield, a program that he endorsed in March of 1983. In his 2008 book, The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974–2008, Princeton historian Sean Wilentz explained how Reagan’s first budget marked a sharp turn in the nation’s economic direction: “wealth would be redistributed toward the wealthy, while the government would be starved of funds to meet non-military needs.” The exploding budget deficits that resulted were among Reagan’s most significant legacies. In 1980, the national debt stood at $994 billion; by 1989, it had nearly tripled to $2.8 trillion. Wilentz puts the blame squarely on Reagan’s program to reduce taxes while increasing the defense budget and failing to curb government’s growth beyond the social programs, which in any case weren’t a large part of the budget. While “the administration and its supporters were quick to blame a spendthrift Congress” for the deficits, Wilentz writes, “the administration itself (which never submitted a balanced budget) was chiefly responsible,” because incoming federal tax revenues in the 1980s “came nowhere near the levels required to cover the immense new outlays on the military.”</blockquote>

Ground yourself in reality. Read the whole thing.


Let ’em Play Dirty 0

From the Guardian:

For parents too stretched to make sure their offspring are perfectly turned out at all times, it may just be the scientific cover they’ve been waiting for.

They will now be able to answer the disapproving tuts of their more fastidious friends by pointing to research which gives biological backing to the old adage that the more germs a child is exposed to during early childhood, the better their immune system in later life

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California found that being too clean could impair the skin’s ability to heal. The San Diego-based team discovered that normal bacteria that live on the skin trigger a pathway that helps prevent inflammation when we get hurt.

The writer of the story could not avoid the oh-so-cutsy-poo lead that still implies that parents who let their kids get dirty are somehow bad parents.

I know someone whose daughter, when she was young, was sickly. It was 30 years ago that her doctor told her, “Let [the kid] play in the back yard.”

Mother followed his advice, the sickliness went away, and now, oh so many years later, daughter is a quite healthy adult.

There is evidence that the recent increase in asthma is related to parents’ keeping kids too clean.

Read more »


Concession, Schmoncession 0

Candidates’ unconcession speeches have no legal meaning, so it really doesn’t matter whether wingnut Doug Hoffman stays conceded.

That’s fortunate for Hoffman, who doesn’t seem to know whether he’s on his side or not.

He’s sort of like the young lady, Carmen Cohen.

Her father called her Carmen, but, for some strange reason no one knew, her mother called her Cohen.

At the end of the day (God, I’ve come to hate that phrase) By bedtime, she didn’t know whether she was Carmen or Cohen.


We Need Single Payer: Have Cake Eat It Too Dept. 0

The Guardian highlights the internal contradiction in the arguments against reforming health care in the United States (emphasis added):

But perhaps the boldest deceit is perpetrated by opponents of big government. For generations they have argued that when governments take on tasks better performed by markets, they are bound to fail, because bureaucrats are by nature inefficient. Whenever they step in between consumer and provider, it ends in grief, the argument goes.

(snip side trip)

But when it comes to the creation of a government-run alternative to private insurance schemes, the fear is not that big government would be too inefficient but that it would be only too effective at undercutting the market. Which is it?

Which it is is simple: The antis are willing to whatever they think sounds good. Facts are irrelevant.

Those who think sound bites, rather than facts, cannot help but contradict themselves, not to mention contradict reality.

They disregard the words of the late Senator Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” and create not-facts that sound like facts on the fly.

But no one is really to the facts, just to the bites. And that bites.


Bushonomics: The Hangover 0

The results of Republican economic stewardship malfeasance, left for others to clean up:

The number of troubled banks rose to 552 at the end of September from 416 at the end of June and 305 at the end of March, the FDIC said in its third-quarter report. This is the largest number of banks on its “problem list” since the end of 1993.

The FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund, which is used to protect depositors, swung to an $8.2 billion loss in the third quarter, the largest drop since the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1990s. As a result of the loss, the agency was forced to dip into its contigency fund, which has dropped to $30.7 billion from $38.9 billion.


Pay for Performance 0

Because there’s a lot of jobs out there for persons who have experience driving companies into the ground:

Advanta Corp., the bankrupt Montgomery County credit-card company with virtually no operating business, owes retail investors $138 million.

Yet the 41 employees left at the Spring House firm who are still being paid (chairman and chief executive Dennis Alter is forgoing his $1 million annual salary during bankruptcy) make an average annual salary of $268,000, according to bankruptcy filings.


In a Bankruptcy Court document this month, Advanta said that it needed to keep paying the employees because it “cannot maximize value without their continued support and the historical knowledge, experience and industry relationships.”

Meanwhile, investors are left holding the (empty) bag.


Hate! in the Name of Love 0

The theology of pretzel-minds, who wish death to others to demonstrate their allegiance to the God of love.

Andrew Sullivan is right to call the “Christianists.” There is no moral difference between them and jihadis who profess other faiths.



Walled Garden 0

The New York Times seems to have put its “registered user” wall back up.

Once I did register several years ago, then they kept telling me that they didn’t know who I was whenever I tried to log in.

Not worth the trouble.

I have done without them before. I can do without them again.


Down Under 0

“Tie me wallaby down, sport, tie me wallaby down.”


Twits on Twitter 1

From Reuters. (Warning: Short commercial at beginning.)


We Need Single Payer . . . 0

. . . not private armies of clerks:

American doctors and hospitals have to employ far more billing clerks than counterparts in, say, Germany or Canada, Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt said.

“We have without any question the most complex, bureaucratic health system in the world. There is just no other nation that spends as much on paper and computers . . . just claims-processing. . . . To my mind, we get very little for that in terms of social value added.”

There is no way that a government system could be as bad as what we have.

Just think: social security recipients get their government checks on time; doctors don’t get the private insurance reimbursement on time.

But I forgot. Government officials don’t get country club memberships from the stockholders.

It is all about the insurance execs’ country club memberships.


Light Bloggery 0

Furniture shopping.


History Repeats Itself Over Again Once More 0

One note samba:

The fact is that the Republican Party told teabaggers’ grandmas (of “death panel” fame) that Social Security was going to be the end of America. And today you can’t swing a euthanized cat without hitting a Republican at a microphone insisting he’s Social Security’s greatest champion.

Republicans likewise told teabaggers’ dads that Medicare would be the end of America. And today you can’t swing a… oh yeah, you’ve heard that one.

Today, of course, Republicans will spend the entire day telling teabaggers themselves that the health insurance reform bill will be the end of America.


We Need Single Payer 0

Act here.