From Pine View Farm

July, 2009 archive

Dustbiters 0

Like flies:

And that’s just the ones in the eastern half of the country. No doubt there will be more to come.

While we’re waiting, ponder on this.

More:

Mutual Bank, Harvey, Illinois, joins the ranks of the non-existent.

The Half Nelson Is Becoming a Strangle Hold 0

Act now.

Raise Gun. Shoot Foot. 0

It looks like Apple and AT&T might have shot themselves in the foot by blocking Google Voice. Michael Arrington abandons the iPhone:

What finally put me over the edge? It wasn’t the routinely dropped calls, something you can only truly understand once you have owned an iPhone (and which drove my friend Om Malik to bail). I’ve lived with that for two years. It’s not the lack of AT&T coverage at home. I’ve lived with that for two years, too. It certainly isn’t the lack of a physical keyboard, that has never bothered me. No, what finally put me over the edge is the Google Voice debacle.

Most of you won’t know what I’m talking about, so I’ll explain.

One reason I refuse to Apple is their walled garden.

H/T Karen for the link.

Snakes on a Plane Bugs on a Boat 0

No, there will not be a repeat of the 1918 flu epidemic, if only because in those days there really was no such thing as “public health.”

On the other hand, the H1N1 virus is not just media hype. It’s been reported in over 160 countries (when I was a young ‘un, there weren’t 160 countries).

A cruise ship carrying dozens of victims of swine flu among its 5,000 passengers and crew has docked in the south of France, officials have said.

Sixty crew members have so far been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, while 70 of their colleagues were also showing signs of being infected, they added.

GDP Down–but Not So Far 0

Bonddad considers reports that Gross Domestic Product last quarter was down at an “annualized” rate of one percent, rather than the 4.5% that was forecast. His conclusions (follow the link for the full analysis):

    1.) Government spending really saved the day last quarter — it was the one positive area of growth.

    2.) The rate of decline in several important areas occurred at a slower rate. Gross private domestic investment decreased at a far slower rate as did exports and imports.

    3.) The rate of decline is more along the lines that occurred in the 4th quarter of 2008 rather than the 1st quarter of 2009.

Reducto ad Absurdum ad Absurdum 0

Dick Polman:

Why this country is barely governable, chapter 30,000:

What follows is real. President Obama is having a beer tonight with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley. But a flap has developed over what kind of beer should be served. Gates wants to drink Red Stripe. Crowley wants to drink Blue Moon. Obama intends to drink Bud Light. But one domestic beer-maker is upset with Obama because Bud Light’s corporate parent is not based in America (nor are the makers of Red Stripe or Blue Moon), and therefore insists that Obama should be serving something that’s all-American, like Sam Adams. What a quandary!

Personally, I don’t think that any domestic beer should be served until each and every brewery worker produces an American birth certificate.

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words 0

If Mr. Obama were pink like me, this just wouldn’t be.

Birthers

Mithras has more.

Via Instaputz.

Sacks of Goldman 0

Michael Lewis dispels some myths about Goldman Sachs. A nugget:

Rumor No. 1: Goldman Sachs controls the government.

Every ninth-grader knows the U.S. government has three branches. Goldman owns just one of these outright; the second we simply rent; and the third we have no interest in.

What small interest we maintain in the government is, we feel, in the public interest. The financial crisis has its roots in a single easily identifiable source: others’ envy of Goldman Sachs.

The bozos at Merrill Lynch, the dimwits at Citigroup, the nimrods at Lehman Brothers, the louts at Bear Stearns, and even that momentarily useful lunatic at AIG took risks that no non-Goldman person should take, in a pathetic attempt to replicate our returns.

Now we are working with Tim Geithner and Congress to ensure that we alone are allowed to take the sort of risks that might destroy the financial system.

Read the whole thing.

We Need Single-Payer 0

Report from the field. Ashley Sayeau writes in the Guardian:

Wooed by healthcare lobbyists, Republicans love to berate countries like England and Canada for their bureaucratic healthcare systems – where, they claim, politicians not doctors make decisions! But the truth is that nowhere is healthcare more impersonal and de-medicalised than in America. And until the profit motive is removed (or at least challenged), it’s a lie to suggest that anything but money is determining the quality of care Americans receive.

It wasn’t until I arrived in England that I understood this completely. Thirteen weeks before my recent operation, I had given birth at the same London hospital. I was able to hold my daughter for maybe 20 minutes before the midwives and doctors discovered that I had a very serious and rare fourth-degree tear in my perineum. After the finding, I was immediately wheeled into surgery, where for the next three hours, I was stitched up by, I’m told, one of the best surgeons in the field.

(snip)

Indeed there was nothing bureaucratic about any of it. Far from impersonal, I had repeated conversations with the surgeon himself about the injuries and the operations. The clinic’s nurse, a wonderful woman named Ann, held my hand through some seriously uncomfortable pre-operative exams. This Monday, her babysitter called in sick. I know because I talk to her all the time. Not once in any of these encounters did anyone bring up money. Not once was a politician present.

Cleaning Up after Themselves (in a Manner of Speaking) 0

So, after selling dodgy mortgages using high-pressure sales techniques, they turn around and buy up the houses that are “distressed.”

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT.N), which buys distressed home loans and is run by several former Countrywide Financial Corp executives, on Wednesday raised $320 million from an initial public offering, $80 million less than planned.

Empty Nest 0

The last bird flew yesterday.

Me, I think I’ll fly south for the winter.

Return of Beyond the Palin Meets Ezra Ounce, Son of Ezra Pound 0

Via Andrew Sullivan.

Scary Black Man 0

To quote John Cole, “Nucking futs.”

Afterthought: Bigotry is a constant undercurrent, the bassline as it were, of wingnuttery.

Yellow Space Cab 1

A subcommittee of the Human Space Flight Review panel said turning over transport services to the International Space Station to private firms would allow the U.S. space agency NASA to focus on new challenges, such as extending human presence beyond low-Earth orbit.

Three letters. K B R.

Hope for the SS United States 2

Rusting away in Phialdelphiaville:

SS United States

Local philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest has pledged a $300,000 matching grant to help a nonprofit purchase the SS United States, the iconic Cold War-era ocean liner docked in South Philadelphia.

The record-setting 990-foot vessel, which has languished at Pier 82 for more than a decade, was offered for sale in January by Norwegian Cruise Lines for an estimated $20 million.

There’s more at the link.

When Zombie Banks Walked the Earth 0

Pay for performance my anatomy. This is nothing more than getting incentive pay for showing up.

“When the banks did well, their employees were paid well,” Cuomo said in the report. “When the banks did poorly, their employees were paid well. And when the banks did very poorly, they were bailed out by taxpayers and their employees were still paid well.”

Follow the link for the gory details.

H/T Karen for the link.

Beck and Gall 0

Ron Reagan calls out Glen Beck.

Ugly and stupid is ugly and stupid, no matter what side of the fence it’s on.

Listen (about six minutes):

The Grand Old Loony Bin 0

StevenD reports on the latest crazy conspiracy theory from the wingnut brigade: That the World Health Organization created the swine flu virus so as to commit genocide against honest, godfearing everyone all over the world.

His summation, well, sums it up:

And they call us Moonbats? I love how they manage to link Obama, Sibelius, the CDC, WHO, Pharmaceutical companies and George Soros to this master plan to commit mass murder across the globe, but particularly here in the United States. I’m just surprised they didn’t add Michael Moore and ACORN to the list of co-conspirators. At least most of the “conspiracy theories” from the left regarding Bush and his administration turned out to be true. They really did lie about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction in order to start a war. The NSA and other government organizations did carry out a massive and illegal warrantless surveillance program against Americans. We did torture prisoners in violation of the Geneva Conventions. White Phosphorus was used as a weapon against civilian populations. The White House really did out Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative. Bush planned for war with Iraq back in 2002 and we have the British government’s “Downing Street Memos” to prove it.

Third World 0

STAN BROCK BRINGS HEALTH CARE TO AMERICANS WITH REMOTE AREA MEDICAL PROGRAM from R2 Studios on Vimeo.

Via Balloon Juice.

Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Go 0

Betting it gets revised upwards:

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose slightly more than expected last week, but the number of workers staying on jobless roles fell to the lowest in three months, government data showed on Thursday.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits rose 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 584,000 in the week ended July 25, the Labor Department said, a touch above market expectations for a reading of 570,000.

However, the four-week moving average for new claims, considered to be a better gauge of underlying trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell by 8,250 to 559,000. This was the lowest level since late January.