Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

Copyright Notice

Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cerberus Goes to Hades





Excuse my schadenfruede. Can 29% of Cerberus investors be wrong? Sure, this could have been posted as "Republicans - All Wrong, All the Time" but that category will probably be overloaded.

Besides, freaquing J. Danforth Quayle, III* is on the board of directors.

Here is the story.

____________________________________
* O.K. It's actually just James Danforth "Dan" Quayle, but still . . .
.

Got Talent?

I had no idea the "Somewhere's Got Talent" idea was so wide spread.

Here are a couple of very different examples from the former Soviet Block.






Republicans - All Wrong, All the Time, Pt 3

This just in:

U. S. Wealth disparity has Never Been Greater*

Yeah, like THIS is a big surprise.

Notable Quote:

The most recent data available (for 2007) showed that the top 14,988 households (0.01% of the population) received 6.04% of income, the highest figure for any year since the data became available. The top 1% of households received 23.5% of income (the second highest on record, after 1928), while the top 10% received 49.7% of income (the highest on record).

Here is my source. Read the rest. It's depressingly impressive.**

Then put it in context.

_____________________________________
* If you are wondering what this has to do with Republicans, I'll channel Barney Frank, and ask what planet you've been living on. Now excuse me, I must go confer with my dining room table.
** Or, I might have that backwards.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Music Blogging

An extraordinary performance of something by the master of musical tapestry.



The melodies are passed around without a fumble. Texture moves among two, three and four voices. The trombone choir makes this magnificent music even more dramatic and powerful,

WOW . . . just Wow!

And now, for something completely different. Sacrilege, or just thinking outside the Bach's? You decide.



JzB the awestruck trombonist

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Republicans - All Wrong, All the Time, Pt 2

I really never thought I would have to make a post like this one, entitiled

The Desecration of the Recently Deceased

But - really - the hatred of Republicans knows no bounds.

Other than that, I'm speechless.

SEK, OTOH, puts forth a righteous rant.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jesus and Health Care

I can't claim to be either religious or knowledgeable on Bible lore. But I do remember from my Catholic upbringing that in the Human part of Jesus' dual nature, he was a roll model for the rest of us.

So, with what I do remember, let me suggest that Jesus healed the sick, and didn't ask for a co-pay. "Pre-existing conditions were his specialty. It seems to me that Jesus would provide for the health and well-being of all persons."

Not only that, he drove the money changers from the temple. So, if we were to ask him which was more important, heeling the sick, or protecting the profit margin of Humana, it's not too hard to guess what his answer would be.

While we're at it, let's just think for a moment about taxes, in the context of "Render to Caesar that which is Caesar's." Quite an explicit approval of the concept of taxation, as well as an implicit approval of the separation of church and state.

Republicans - All Wrong, All the Time, Pt 1

This begins a multi-part series with the premise that Republican administrations are worse than Democratic administrations by any rational measure. Today, in an installment called

The Myth of Republican Fiscal Responsibility

we look at the Federal Budget. I put this graph together some time ago, so data are only though 2006.

More Recent Deficits:

2007 163 billion, in the range of mid '80's Reagan numbers.
2008 455 billion, which would be just off the bottom of the chart.


Wednesday Poetry Blogging

After last week's frivolity, we are now back to the serious business of life. There is no life without pain. Here is a sample

Thinking About One I Don't Think About

My wife went to a funeral today,
Was introduced as another man's first wife --

Such an awkward thing to say, though true.
In grief he refused to speak to her.
So sorry, but that made me think of you.

There was a time we thought we were in love,

Or at least went through the push and pull,
Doing the things that married people do --
Although, not always, as I was to learn,
With the one that you are married to.

But it worked in a way -- there's evidence.
And for a while our lives were interleaved,
Until the job we had to do was through.
And we moved on. Excuse my wondering, but . . .
When someone dies do you think of me, too?

Copyright Jazzbumpa. All rights reserved,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunday Music Blogging

Yeah - I know - It's Tuesday.

I was busy on Sunday.

Here is familiar music that YouTube trombonists have a special affinity for.

Partisanship and Wealth




A few days ago, over at FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver posted the graphic shown above. (See here for a larger view.)

He concludes that liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are both at the higher end of income distribution - thus they are NOT at opposite ends of the spectrum economically. Though it appears that rich Republicans are, on average, bringing in more income than Rich Democrats. (Liberal, moderate, and conservative in this study are self-identified labels.)

For conservatives, X-party, it's a strange dichotomy. The most conservative Republicans are the richest. The most conservative Democrats are the poorest.

(Liberal Republicans are close to extinct, and have been for a while.)

Silver bipassed the opportunity to take conclusion-drawing to the next level.

I won't.

Conservative Republicans have political views in keeping with their own self-interest. They are rich, they are greedy, and they like it. End of story.

Conservative Democrats have political views that are strongly against their own self-interest. They are poor, and I will posit that they are, for the most part, ignorant and uneducated. They probably watch Fox news and believe what they hear from Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Picture

Granddaughter Abby, who will be 7 in October, drew this picture of a dancer for me.

Copyright Abbie.  All rights reserved. 

Thursday, August 20, 2009

From Our Department of Redundency Department

I just realized that I used the same graph in two different posts.

First Here.

And exactly six months later, Here.

At least my comments are non-identical.

Must be something strange about the 18th . . .

S&P P/E


This graph is from Nate Martin's blog that I linked to yesterday.

The run up in stock prices since the March low has launched the P/E to something over 120! This is over the historical average by almost times 10. Can you imagine earnings recovering significantly any time soon?

Look for a HUGE decline in stock prices.

Update:
From Naked Capitalism

"Until the median wage improves relative to the cost of living, there will be no recovery."

In other words, look for a big decline in everything.

Update 2:
From Mish

"Currently, commercial real estate bankruptcies are growing at a massive rate. So too are bank failures, foreclosures, and credit card defaults. And bankruptcies, foreclosures, and credit card defaults result in the destruction of credit, the very essence of deflation."

So, in case you were wondering, the bottom is a long way off.

Bush Bashing

I don't know anything about Doug Casey; but, based on this link, I take him to be a free-market libertarian (fml), in the mold of Robert Prechter.

Though not of the fml mindset, I have to agree with Casey on a few things.

1) George W. Bush appears to be a serious contender for worst president ever, tempered only by the nagging suspicion that he was fundamentally irrelevant to his own presidency. Oh, Wait - that, in itself, might make him the worst ever . . .

2) This beautiful and elegant assertion: "It’s unclear to me what, if any, philosophical foundation conservatism, by whatever definition, rests on."

3) Conservatives* like GWB "
because Bush liked to talk a lot about freedom and traditional American values, and did so in such an ungrammatical way that it made him seem sincere."

There is much in Casey's note that a thinking non-libertarian can disagree with. But it's kind of a fun read.

Comments?

Evening Update: DeLong grasps Bush reality with both hands, something faux-conservatives still are not, and in fact will never be willing to do. Click through to Ambinder's woefully lame non-apology. Or just click here. Be sure to read the comments. Seeing how his readers brutally dismember him is, literally, priceless.
_____________________________
* Here, Casey and I are referring to the modern brand of faux-conservatives. No real conservative** would have anything but contempt for the vacuous, ignorant liar who was our 43rd president.
** Nor True Scotsman either, for that matter.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Badder Times Getting Worser

As a followup to this, and a break in the history musings and bad poetry, here is more and worse news than you could want, but exactly as much as you need. Courtesy of Nate Martin who evidently does a lot of homework.

Wednesday Poetry Blogging Redux

Here is a bonus, if you should happen to view it so charitably.


Poet's Troubles

Word's and rhythm all the while
In clever clusters to make you smile;
Working hard - I have to pick
The ones that rhyme with the most kick.

ANNA PESTers me with her beat
IAMB rhyming; why should I care?*
Husbanding TROCHEES, I crossly speak
Anna steps aside, and there to weep.

I tease her then - perchance to see
If she will be my re-SPONDEE,
I coax her with one last TROCHEE,
Like pigs in clover - we're OK!

Still another pastiche! This one based on the genuinely awful** Mother's Troubles***, by Dr. William Fuller. I did my best to make it as bad as I could, but Fuller's bar is so low, I'm afraid I couldn't get under it.

Lo siento.

Copyright JazzBumpa.  All rights reserved.  Wrongs, too.
___________________________________
* So, "beat" doesn't rhyme with "care." Your point?
** Really. You have no idea.****
*** At the link, scroll down a bit, it you have the stomach for it.
**** OK. in 1888, life was a bitch. I get it.

Wednesday Poetry Blogging

To Mary Shelley

O Monster mine, that life were here
In your dead eyes bringing fear.
To give you voice, so like a lizard
Croaking to its scaly mate.

In the slimy bog disconsolate!

Voice as a howling winter blizzard!

And your brow broad . . .

As the . . . sky.

Taken from a poor dead guy.


Monster mine, come to life soon,

This quest has taken me so far;

Tonight under the clouded moon,

With lightning from the western star

Thou, monster art
art to me.

Oh, monster mine, when life is thine

The Castle echoes, "Frankenstein."



Alas, another pastiche*, modeled after a love poem** by Percy Bysshe Shelley, written to his wife Mary in 1818, the year her famous novel was published.

Copyright JazzBumpa.  All rights reserved.  Wrongs, too.
_________________________
* Composed rather spontaneously*** on 8/17/09.
** (Sigh) Is nothing sacred? Actually -- no.
*** Yeah, I've still got it.**** Whatever "it" is.
**** Maybe I missed a vaccination.



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GDP Growth 1900 to 1960


The GDP growth history of the first half of the 20th century was less than stellar. The yellow line, representing a 21 year moving average, falls below the long average before 1910, and stays there until the mid 40's. (For other line explanations, see the previous post.)

Republican Teddy Roosevelt (1901-1909) and Democrat Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) did, on average, about equally well (or equally poorly.) Republicans Taft and Harding hit close to the long term average. Republican Herbert Hoover had the misfortune of presiding over the crash of '29 and the tumble into the great depression.

GDP Growth Since 1950


Here is annual GDP growth, year over year, on a percentage basis. The red line segments represent years with Republican Presidents. The blue line segments represent years with Democratic Presidents. The red and blue horizontal lines are the averages of presidential terms. (Kennedy/Johnson and Nixon/Ford are treated as continuous terms.)

Except for Carter, who represented a brief 4 yr. Democratic hiatus in a 20 year Republican Red Sea, and couldn't quite nose above Reagan's deficit-inflated performance, GDP growth is always better with a Democratic president.

The horizontal line, which Clinton hugged up against, is the long term average of 3.77%. It is also above what any Republican can accomplish. Let's repeat that for emphasis. Every Republican administration since WW II achieved below average GDP growth. Impressive!

The yellow line is a 21-year moving average, humping and bumping on a obviously downward course. Note it's position relative to the long term average, since 1980.

All the above is fact. The two green lines are my interpretation - a collapsing envelope that almost (but not quite) perfectly contains the data points. These lines converge below 2%, in another decade or so.

Data is through 2007 from: http://bea.gov/national/index.htm#gdp

Update: I forgot to mention the salient fact that across the graphed period, tax rates - both nominal and effective - have gone down, repeatedly and dramatically. Of course, deficits have gone up as a result. But none of this artificial stimulation has been able to sustain GDP growth at historic levels.

Update 2: 8/20, 11:15 p.m. Slight elaborations and corrections.

Real GDP Growth


To put the last post in perspective, here is real GDP change, by quarter, year over year, since 2000. Since GDP is the denominator in the last graph, decreases run the ratio up, as you can see in the tail of the red line.

The source for the above is http://www.bea.gov/briefrm/gdp.htm

National Debt


I found this graph while searching for something else on Google. Looks accurate, but no guarantees. Don't know the source.

Update Note: This is national debt as a percentage of GDP, not raw national debt data. Check the following posts for a view at GDP growth.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ain't That a Kick in the Titanium* Knee

Well, hip, actually. My 88-year-old mother had her hip replaced last year. She was in constant discomfort, and frequently in pain. Her mobility was significantly impaired.

Evidently, though, we should have just put her out on an ice floe, like the Eskimos used to do.

Shame. I'm rather fond of mom.

The NYT has become such a sheet of toilet paper.
________________________________
* We could probably save a few bucks by using 403 Stainless.

As it turns out, I rather like both cheese and chocolate

Krugman explains.

Come to think of it, a reliable banking system wouldn't hurt, either.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Music Blogging

This week Les Paul passed on at age 94. Though he is considered one of the originators of Rock and Roll, and was certainly an enabler of all who followed, he always played with a jazz sensibility. He was a great musician, and an extraordinary innovator, who had a long and fruitful gig.

RIP Lester William Polsfuss, known to the world as Les Paul (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009.)


Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Crazy Tree

As Rick Perlstein demonstrates in his Washington Post article, In America, Crazy Is a Preexisting Condition.

Notable Quote:
So the birthers, the anti-tax tea-partiers, the town hall hecklers -- these are "either" the genuine grass roots or evil conspirators staging scenes for YouTube? The quiver on the lips of the man pushing the wheelchair, the crazed risk of carrying a pistol around a president -- too heartfelt to be an act. The lockstep strangeness of the mad lies on the protesters' signs -- too uniform to be spontaneous. They are both. If you don't understand that any moment of genuine political change always produces both, you can't understand America, where the crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy, and where elites exploit the crazy for their own narrow interests.

Same as it ever was, as he goes on to explain.

Woe is us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Poetry Blogging

ON I-77

My wife sits tense behind the wheel of our Jeep.
White knuckled hands hold the wheel,
Her wrist is rigid as she grips the gear shift.

She's as fine a driver as you'll find,
But a pedigreed flat-lander,
Pure-bred in Northwest Ohio's planar landscape --
A place without precipice or peak.

Now we view West Virginia
And western Virginia
Riding ridges of high hills,
Mountains majestically true blue
Their beauty soaring over gloriously gorgeous gorges.

But she is
Uncomfortable on overpasses
Cringing at cliff-side curves
Teeth-clenched climbing crests
Timorous in tunnels.

My wife sits tense behind the wheel of our Jeep.
In the valley where the column of her spine
Braces her upright
Between twin ridges of her shoulder blades
Muscles tighten
Tense against this tour's tortured topography:
Just one more thing we share.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bad Times Getting Worse

I have a link to Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis in the right frame Blog List. I'll admit I don't often read it. The Title of this post caught my eye, though.

Anyone who thinks recovery is around the corner will have to help me understand how and why, in the face of what is presented in the link.

Not for the faint-hearted, I'm afraid.

8/08 Update.

More pessimism from Mish

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Poetry Blogging

I originally posted this on my old blog, where it was seen by nobody. I'll repost here today, on the odd chance that it might be seen by somebody.

On Conservatism, Redux

The intellectual foundation of American conservatism rests largely on the words of Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley. It is an edifice built on sand.

I once had a thought of writing a review of Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind. I gave up, in disgust, around Pg 35. Kirk boldly announces that bastions of conservative thought are ignorance and prejudice. I am not making this up. These are his words, as you can easily see for yourself in the book. I also concluded from the writing that the other two pillars are magical thinking and its close companion false choice.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Music Blogging

Bondie and Greenie connect to bring us a rainbow song. (Sigh!)

No pigs is sight.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

In Which I Feel Touched by Pride and Patriotism

I am feeling conflicted at the end of the Summer concert season. Happy to have more free time - for a while, but -- NO MUSIC in August. (gasp)

Thursday night we closed with Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever. In the last strain, when the flutes are twittering (in an archaic sense) the t-bones lay out until the repeat. I looked out across the park and EVERYBODY was standing. Hundreds of people. Standing. Very touching. It was a genuine WOW! moment