February, 2011 archive
Daffodils Can’t Read 0
Stray Thought 0
On! Wisconsin 0
Republican Economic Theory 0
From John Cole:
A unionized public employee, a teabagger, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, then looks at the teabagger and says “Watch out for that union guy—he wants a piece of your cookie!”
Make TWUUG Your LUG 0
Learn about the wonderful world of free and open source.
What: Monthly TWUUG Meeting.
Who: Everyone in TideWater/Hampton Roads with interest in any/all flavors of Unix/Linux. There are no dues or signup requirements. All are welcome.
Where: Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk-Employee Cafeteria. See directions below. (Wireless and wired internet connection available.)
When: 7:30 PM till whenever (usually 9:30ish) on Thursday, March 3.
Lake Taylor Hospital
1309 Kempsville Road
Norfolk, Va. 23502 (Map)
Pre-Meeting Dinner at 6:00 PM (separate checks)
Uno Chicago Grill
Virginia Beach Blvd. & Military Highway (Janaf Shopping Center). (Map)
Diving while Black 0
In a post last week, I suggested that one of the insidious aspects of bigotry is that most bigots do not see their prejudices and bigotry as what they are, but see them as normal and reasonable.
In today’s local rag, local columnist Roger Chesley tells a little story. Here’s the short version; follow the link below for the full story:
- A young black lady and her friend went to the “residences-only” pool of the predominantly-white development in which her family owns a house. She made sure to have her credentials establishing herself as a resident of the development, having forgotten them once before.
After some unspecified period of time, an old white guy from the homeowners’ association demanded her credentials (“May I see your papers, please?”), telling her that she didn’t “look like” she belonged.
She felt singled out, as no one else was being challenged, (Jeez, ya think?) and refused. He called the police. The police inspected her credentials and told the old white guy to leave her alone.
When Mr. Chesley contacted the old white guy, who happened to be a member of the homeowners’ association, he told Mr. Chesley (emphasis added)
I rest my case.
Tie Breaker, WorSecDef 0
Shaun Mullen wonders who was the worst Secretary of Defense (or Secretary of War, to use the original name of the office) in U. S. history.
He narrows it down to two persons,
- Donald Rumsfeld, who’s currently making the round the talk shows flogging his new book, a tua culpa, or
- Robert McNamara.
You can follow his reasoning at the link. Here’s the tie breaker:
Like Rumsfeld, McNamara was a control freak who thought he had all the answers, lacked the crucial element of common sense and surrounded himself with sycophantic acolytes. Like Rumsfeld, he presided over an unpopular war built on a foundation of false assumptions and outright lies. Like Rumseld, there was an amorality to his actions. And like Rumsfeld, he squandered the respect of his generals and admirals.
But without McNamara, there still would have been a Vietnam War, while there would not have been an Iraq war without Rumsfeld.
Ralph Nader (who, for all he has made himself into a joke, used to get some things right), from the Quotemaster (subscribe here):
Competition, free enterprise, and an open market were never meant to be symbolic fig leaves for corporate socialism and monopolistic capitalism.
Obligatory Oscar Post 0
A. Chris Christie 0
Q. What would you get if Snooki entered politics?
Spill Here, Spill Now 0
Facing South publishes some numbers about Buccaneer Petroleum’s wild well.
Depth of oil on the Gulf floor as measured by (University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha–ed.) Joye: 3.9 inches.
Follow the link for the rest, if you think you can stomach them.
RICO in Robes 0
The child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is in the news again. This time, the statute of limitations has not expired and there have been arrests, including the arrest of a church official in charge of overseeing priests for endangering children.
I tend to avoid discussing this; I’ve known enough good, dedicated priests, priests who work hard to do right and to do the right things that I do not wish to see them wounded more than they already have been by the actions of their management.
For it has ultimately a management problem. Weakness amongst clergy of all religions and persuasions is not uncommon. The crime was the cover-up.
In this situation, the cover-up was truly worse than the crimes, for the cover-up protected abusers so that they could continue to abuse.
Nevertheless, in the face of this, in which an honest man is punished for honesty, . . .
In a move that infuriated some students, Chestnut Hill College abruptly terminated the teaching contract of an adjunct professor, saying his 15-year relationship with another man defied Roman Catholic Church teachings.
On Friday, though, the college issued a statement accusing him not only of being gay, which it called contrary to traditional Catholic doctrine, but also of misrepresenting before he was hired that he was a member of an independent branch of Catholicism.
He denied both accusations Saturday, saying he never hid his sexuality or his affiliation with the Old Catholic Apostolic Church of the Americas from school officials.
The college recruited him, not the other way around, he said. In a meeting with officials, he recalled asking: “You know I’m not a Roman Catholic priest, right?“
. . . it is difficult to think that the American Catholic Church–the management, not the persons on the ground trying to do right–has become little more than RICO in robes.
Ronnie Polaneczky addressed the firing of the professor, Father Jim St. George, in her column yesterday.
Quality Construction at a Price That’s Fright 0
This is the type of entitlemennt spending that needs re-examined.
Two years after the San Antonio’s first deployment, which included a weeks-long stop in Bahrain for emergency engine repairs, the ship has yet to return to sea. And in recent months new details that paint an even grimmer picture of the ship’s early years have emerged, including the near- collision in the Suez Canal, which The Virginian-Pilot has not previously reported.
In October, after spending more than $40 million on repairs, the Navy announced that the San Antonio wouldn’t be ready to deploy in the spring with the rest of its amphibious group, and another ship was named to take its place.
While the service has insisted with each setback that the San Antonio eventually will live up to its promises, there has been little to report in the way of progress, because each time crews have come close to fixing one major defect, more have cropped up. Many defects have extended to later ships in the class, though to lesser degrees.
The price tag for taxpayers has been enormous. Delivered several hundred million dollars over budget, the San Antonio has cost nearly $2 billion.
Lots of details at the link,
Driving while Brown 0
When I was growing up, history books and commentators would refer to the United States as “a nation of immigrants.”
They left out the word “white.” Appears that not-white means not-welcome, at least to some folks.
What the census shows is that America’s racial minorities, aggregated together, are on track to become its majority. The Republican Party’s response to this epochal demographic change has been to do everything in its power to keep America (particularly its electorate) as white as can be. Republicans have obstructed minorities from voting; required Latinos to present papers if the police ask for them; opposed the Dream Act, which would have conferred citizenship on young immigrants who served in our armed forces or went to college; and called for denying the constitutional right to citizenship to American-born children of undocumented immigrants.
If the Republicans have a long-term strategic plan, it seems to derive from King Canute, who commanded the tide to stop.
In related news, “whites-only” scholarships.
On! Wisconsin 0
Writing at the Denver Post, David Sirota tries to figure out why multi-million dollar bankster bonus babies are okay, while $50k teachers are too much. A nugget:
In this view, $500,000 isn’t nearly enough taxpayer cash to retain government-funded bankers, but $48,000 (the average teacher salary in Wisconsin) is too much to pay educators. In this view, the government is “there to serve the banks,” as the new chairman of Congress” Financial Services Committee said, but police and firefighters are expected to serve the population, even as those police officers and firefighters are berated for receiving middle-class wages.
Facebook Frolics 0
From El Reg:
A man who stole a laptop, then used it to post a gloating self-portrait of himself on the victim’s Facebook page is challenging for the title of the world’s thickest criminal.
If you tried to make this up, no one would believe you.
Update from the Foreclosure-Based Economy (Updated) 0
Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect floats a proposal in the Boston Globe.
Here’s his summary of how the banks created this mess. Follow the link for his proposals:
Today, about one home in three carries a mortgage worth more than the underlying property, and some 7 million homeowners are at risk of foreclosure. The banking system is reeling under the weight of non-performing loans and depressed mortgage-backed securities.
To complicate the mess, during the bubble phase when lenders were on steroids, many banks neglected to do the paperwork properly. When a note (the promise to pay) or lien (the right to take the house if the loan defaults) is sold to a third party, the transfer must be fully documented.
But adrenalized banks got careless with paperwork as they sold off the loans. Today it’s not clear who, if anyone, has the right to foreclose. More and more foreclosures are tied up in court, and the average duration of a foreclosure case is now close to two years.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s main remedy, the 2009 Home Affordable Mortgage Program, is far too feeble. It has nudged the banks to give modest loan modifications to fewer than 700,000 homeowners — one-tenth of those at risk — and half of these are expected to go back into default. The program is voluntary for the banks, which often prefer to disguise their balance-sheet losses rather than offer homeowners enough relief to keep their homes.
Addendum, Later That Same Afternoon:
Interesting little report at Bloomberg:
Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., the largest U.S. mortgage firms, said they may face fines or enforcement actions from regulators amid investigations into foreclosure procedures.
Details at the link.
Responsible fiscals, indeed.