Sunday, December 21, 2008

Headlines - Sunday

Happy Solstice, everyone.
And happy, happy birthday, Mom!
The Cost of Conservatism, in Trillions
Let's engage in a back of the envelope exercise for a moment: the cost of conservatism to America. Right wingers want to de-emphasize the costs, and pump up the virtues. They want to account for every penny of liberal projects but declare that conservative projects have no price. Take Lawrence Lindsey for example. The Iraq War is a treasure beyond price. But he offers a standard: what's the value over 15 years, with 300 trillion of total output? Well let's break down the cost in a kind of rough and ready way.

The costs of conservatism, in a bi-partisan form, are those things that can't be fixed by a Democratic President because they have become part of the political landscape: over-financialization of the American economy, the waste of privatized health care, over militarization of the American economy, and the externalization of global warming. Each one of these things has a cost in GDP, and we can take that total over Lindsey's preferred time frame of 15 years. Then we can ask what that costs in the present.

The cost of not having comprehensive national health care is roughly 5% of GDP because America spends 15% of GDP on health care, and a comprehensive system generally saves 1/3 over privatized systems. The cost of over financialization is estimated by Krugman to be 3% of GDP. The difference between the Bush defense department, including the neo-colonial wars, is 2% of GDP, that's defense plus .

The cost of global warming? Harder to say, in 2005, the mean of estimates surveyed by Tol was 93 dollars a ton. The news has gotten worse since then, with many of the low estimates that dragged down the median already being disproved. But let's be cautious and take that number for the moment. That's 4% of GDP, but we have to take the present value of that first, since it is over a long time horizon - from that we get roughly 2% of GDP. I could easily double this number by tossing out the large numbers of estimates which rely on scenarios which have already been trashed by the facts.

Keep reading:

Sock it to the holidays:

The people suffering the most from the Madoff fraud scheme are charities, old people, and jews:


Straight from the looney bin

"Fifty million people are free from tyranny because of the United States, because of my husband's policies," Laura Bush said in an interview with USA TODAY on Thursday. The first lady also said she would defend her husband's job during the eight-year presidency as 'they are worth defending'. "These are very, very important, world-changing happenings, and they're for the best," she said.

Uh huh...

Letting Freedom Rain

Because such good things like almost getting hit by a shoe are things that happen in a free society. And the American/God given gift of liberty produces change that surrenderdefeatist b. HUSSEIN Obama could never deliver like THIS:

Iraqi police say attackers have decapitated the leader of the women's league of the Kurdish Communist Party.

A police officer says gunmen on Thursday stormed the Kirkuk home of Nahla Hussein al-Shaly and shot and beheaded her.

And then of course, there's the old inconvenient truth of just how grand freedom is:
The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during a news conference was beaten afterward and had bruises on his face and around his eyes, a judge said Friday.
The war is over, we have won, tyranny has been defeated and Iraq is now an American colony better of without Sadaam.

Ain't spreadin freedom grand?
God bless Murka, y'all.







We need a return to the fairness doctrine so we aren't subjected to this propaganda any longer:


Steven D - Rich people invest in hedge funds, so I can understand why the Fed would feel the need to bail them out by making available to them, without any pre-conditions, $200 BILLION DOLLARS.
Hedge funds will be allowed to borrow from the Federal Reserve for the first time under a landmark $200bn programme intended to support consumer credit.

The Fed said on Friday it would offer low-cost three-year funding to any US company investing in securitised consumer loans under the Term Asset-backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). This includes hedge funds, which have never been able to borrow from the US central bank before, although the Fed may not permit hedge funds to use offshore vehicles to conduct the transactions.

Ok, so there may be one condition: no use of off shore "vehicles to conduct the transactions." You know, I'll bet they can live with that to get access to HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of DOLLARS practically free from the Federal Reserve. That's a deal I sure wouldn't refuse. Boy, it sure does pay to be an industry that isn't unionized.

Hell, why don't all of us here at Booman Tribune pony up our life savings and form a hedge fund? Then we could go be a hog at the Fed's trough, too. What do you say? Hell, ONE BILLION DOLLARS could go a long way, even if we do have to share it with a few hundred people.


Due to economic recession, Israel is examining their budget to see if they have enough money to attack Iran.


Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries and other benefits last year like cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management.

The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines.


It was bad enough for President Bush to have shoes tossed at his head during his farewell journey to Baghdad. Now comes a new poll in which Americans call Bush all sorts of names - some of them a lot worse than "dog."

In a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, respondents were asked to volunteer their assessments of how Bush would be remembered after he leaves office. The most frequent response, from 56 people, was "incompetent," followed by "idiot," "arrogant," "ignorant," "stupid," and so on. Nine people volunteered a three-letter synonym for donkey.

No matter how much we learn, we still don't get it. Bush is a C-R-I-M-I-N-A-L. He might be an incompetent criminal, an idiot criminal, an arrogant criminal, an ignorant criminal, a stupid criminal, and so on. My might even be an ass. But it's the noun, not the modifying adjective, that really matters.

Keep reading:


Great American Insurance contends that some deaths resulting from a 2007 fire were caused by pollution, or what you would call smoke. That's right, house fire smoke is really "pollution". If your family expects to collect, you better make sure you don't die from smoke inhalation before you crawl toward the fire and immolate yourself.

Their policy had specific exemptions for "smoke, fumes, and soot", but many experts agree that Great American's interpretation is overly broad. For example, they cite examples where carbon monoxide poisoning claims were paid even though carbon monoxide can be likened to "pollution". If you followed the insurer's logic, they could disallow a smoke claim as pollution and, if need be, redefine the pollution as "soot" if they didn't want to pay. What's next, victims having to prove the exact chemical composition of the smoke, fume, or soot before getting paid?


American Express has started lowering customers' credit if they don't like where that customer does his/her shopping. And no, this isn't an Onion joke.


By now I'm sure you've all seen George of the Bungle's portrait:

Isn't it kind of curious that a president who was obsessed with presenting himself as a figure of unquestionable authority (a "war president," the "decider," endless self-references to being "commander-in-chief," etc.) would suddenly decide to go casual for his official portrait? I'd have thought he'd have gone for the flightsuit/codpiece look. 

Seems to me that the only times I've seen the Shrubster in shirtsleeves was when he pretended to be working hard while touring the site of a natural disaster.  I guess maybe envisioning his legacy counts.


If you watch Obama's weekly address, you get the impression that he recognizes the importance of respecting the scientific method and actually seems likely to let the evidence guide his conclusions.

What a welcome change from the guy squatting in Al Gore's White House, huh?


Did Rush Limbaugh post her bond?

Turns out that Levi's mom was making/dealing oxycontin:

WASILLA -- Wasilla resident Sherry L. Johnston, mother of Bristol Palin's boyfriend, faces a Jan. 6 court date for an oxycontin-related arrest at her home by Alaska State Troopers.

Little additional information was available Friday on the case as authorities remained unusually tight-lipped about details. But Palmer court records listed her scheduled court date and a troopers spokeswoman said in a release late Friday afternoon that the charges "are in relation to the drug oxycontin."

Recall that according to the National Enquirer, Sarah and Todd Palin's oldest son, 19-year-old Track, has a history of drug use and abuse. "I've seen him snort cocaine, snort and smoke OxyContin, drink booze and smoke weed," their source reports. "He finally did what a lot of troubled kids here do. You join the military."

And Track's 17-year-old pregnant sis is no angel either. "Bristol was a huge stoner and drinker," a friend says. "I've seen her smoke pot and get drunk and make out with so many guys. All the guys would brag that they just made out with Bristol."

At least they aren't elitists.


The bailout explained:


Larisa has some details about Connell's involvement with the GOP IT operations.  In short, he was in deep on the GOP technology front , knew everything about the "man in the middle" set up for the election, and his company ran the mail servers Karl Rove and other White House officials used as a way to skirt record keeping laws.  It was his server farm in Chattanooga, Tennessee to where Ohio SoS, J. Kenneth Blackwell, shunted Ohio's election results, which were then sent back to populate the Ohio Secretary of State databases and website that were the source of "official results."  His partisan operation, GovTech Solutions, L.L.C., even ran the Capitol Hill IT network, which put Connell "behind the firewall for the US House of Representatives." Connell proudly claimed that he was "loyal to the Bush family."

Connell was a known evangelical Christian who probably believed he was doing god's work.  At least, he may have thought that until he started getting threats.

It's too bad guys who wind up as "key witnesses" in cases against political dynasties like the Bushes don't have better knowledge of the history of their own government.  They might be a little less inclined to fly in small single engine airplanes.


Peggy Noonan is bemoaning the fact that all of her rich friends are suffering from the financial collapse because there have been no grown-ups in charge.

No word on how this could have happened:  


Canada is giving Detroit's automakers $3.3 billion to keep them operating while they restructure their businesses:

And in a related story...

Chrysler shut down all of its plants in North America for a month.

But "shut down" only goes so far. If you're a blue collar worker for Chrysler, get your ass down to the unemployment office. If you're a white collar worker for Chrysler, you still get paid.

So, it would seem that even the management of Chrysler is, at its core, cut from the cloth of the party of Hoover: "Hooray for me and screw you."


Darlene Love - Christms (Baby Please Come Home):



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