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, May 31, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

Wild flowers and weeds
In a high summer meadow
Not far from my house

Photo taken on 7/7/09


115 people ahead of me were able to link in, but I couldn't find the button?!?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday - 5/30

Saratoga Springs
At Disney World - Truly fine

Sunday Music Blogging - End of May - McKinley Morganfield

Here is some old time down home style blues by McKinley Morganfield He started singin' 'n' moanin' in Mississippi, then moved north and earned a reputation as the father of Chicago Blues.

I guess the main difference is amplification; but this still sounds pretty Delta to me - Then, again,  I'm from Ahia.

And I play the freaquin'  trombone.

H/T to Guitar Tim

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Six Word Saturday 5/29

Springtime Lawn Mowing: Never Ending Task.

Friday, May 28, 2010

What the Hell? Friday -- Where in the Hell is Hell, Anyway?

I'm going to make a bit of wild speculation, based on a) the common idea of hell as a place of eternal fire, b) the knowledge that the ancient Israelites made human sacrifices to Baal or Moloch, and c) with what follows, that hell was a place right here on earth.  The humans they sacrificed were small children, and they burned them in furnaces.   

Sorry - they were a clan of Canaanites, in the midst of other Canaanites, and that is what they did.

They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters [a] to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.

The place where they did this was "ga ben Hinnom" or "the valley of the son of Hinnom," which the Greeks called Gehenna.  It is "Gehenna" that is usually translated as hell.  You can easlly see why.

But, that was then, and this is now.

The Scriptures also foretell that this abominable valley would one day become a garden. Below are some pictures of this very valley in Israel which many Christians believe is Hell. It's rather ironic that the other valleys around it are barren and filled with graves, while the valley orthodox Christianity calls "Hell" has become a garden.

For photographic evidence, and the source of the quote, see here.

One things we humans have always been good at is making life - and death - hell for other humans.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

No Progress in Weekly Unemployment Claims for Five Months

I often disagree with Mish - sometimes to the point where I throw up my hands in dismay and wonder what planet he grew up on.

But I keep my link to him because he's a bright guy, he stays on top of things, some of his insights are valuable, and he occasionally shows information that I'm not likely to run across elsewhere.

This column on the non-improving unemployment situation is a case in point.

Also, he's about as pessimistic as I am about the direction the economy is taking - though I'll bet our reasons why wouldn't mesh very well.

Now, put that together with this, from Calculated Risk:

Also "Personal income excluding current transfer receipts (billions of chained 2005 dollars)" was revised down for the last two quarters, and now shows essentially no growth in real personal income since the bottom of the recession.

Check out this graph, and the text at CR.  This is the deepest, longest lasting recession in 35 years.  It is the sad spot where the Reagan revolution has landed us.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Real GDP per Capita Since 1950

I haven't graphed real GDP/Capita before (2005 dollars).  It tells the same story as plain GDP - always better with a Democrat.

The red and blue line is year over year change in real GDP/Cap, color coded by presidential party.  Bold horizontal lines are term averages.   Wavy purple line is 5 year moving average.

More pointed commentary later.  Gotta run.

Haiku Wednesday - Reflection

Reflection I

My mirror seemed so
Preoccupied.  Then it said:
"I'm just reflecting."

Reflection II

"A Distant Mirror":
Tuchman's reflections on the
Fourteenth Century.

Reflection III

Virtual image:
Compelling as a rainbow,
Just an illusion

Join the fun!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

L. A. Times Crossword puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, May 26, 2010  Dan Naddor

Theme:  WORLD LEADERS or TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER, since the world leader is always who the little green man wants to meet.   The first part of each  theme entry can also precede "WORLD" to give a different slice of a real or imagined universe.

17A. *Happy-go-lucky:  FREE AND EASY - not a care in the world - any of the worlds.  FREE WORLD - a cold war era term for every place outside the iron and bamboo curtains, i.e. non-communist countries.   

26A. *Scandal involving plumbers:  WATERGATE - I had forgotten that the Watergate crew was called the plumbers.  Their original asssignment was to stop leaks to the media during the Nixon administration, but they branched into illegal activities. WATER WORLD - a Kevin Costner movie I never bothered to see.  I think it had bad revues.

45A. *Something to touch before getting home?:  THIRD BASE - this home is home plate, in baseball.  Or is this totally DF?  THIRD WORLD - Here's a learning moment.  I always thought this was a label generally applied to developing (read poor) nations.  Actually, it is a cold war term for those nations who did not align with either the First World of NATO, etc. (aka the FREE WORLD) or the Second World of the SOVIET BLOCK. 
5D. *Genuine article:  REAL McCOY - does anybody know where this comes from?  Could it be the Hatfields and the McCoys?  REAL WORLD - what can you say about the real world?  It is what it is.  Nice pairing with -

11D. *Baseball fan's dream come true:  FANTASY CAMP - an opportunity to go through training and play a game with the big leaguers.  It's not limited to baseball.  One of my friends went to the Red Wings fantasy camp a few years ago.   FANTASY WORLD - a place where delights are only limited by your imagination.

25D. *Letter writer, formally:  UNDERSIGNED - Formal, indeed:  I, the undersigned, do solemnly attest that this is one fine puzzle.  UNDERWORLD - this can mean several things: the mythological land of the dead; the criminal sphere of activity from gangster film noir; an actual place, like the London Underground; or a FANTASY WORLD, like the imagined London Underground of Neil Gaiman's novel NEVERWHERE.

35D. *Veterans:  OLD TIMERS - they've been there and done that.  Maybe even a long time ago.  OLD WORLD - regions of the globe known to European and Asian civilizations of the 15 Century, as distinct from the New World revealed by the next century's (give or take a decade) voyages of discovery.  

And the unifier:

54A. Summit attendee, and what the first word can be in each answer to a starred clue:  WORLD LEADERS.  And each theme "leader" can also a world "leader."  Pretty tidy.

 Hi, gang.  It's Jazzbumpa, and I'm delight to participate in a stellar week of puzzling: wonderful entries by Johnathon and Jerome, and now one from our gone, but not forgotten friend Dan.  With

Monday, May 24, 2010

Republicans, All Wrong, All the Time, Pt 18 - The Over-Reaching Liberal Activist Judiciary

A cherished right wing myth is that the the Federal Judiciary is liberally biased, and that liberal judges are activists who undercut the U.S. Constitution with judge-made law.

I did a Google search to try to determine the political make up of the Federal Judiciary.  All I could come up with was this, as a click through from somebody else who couldn't come up with much back in 2007.

It's pretty dated, with a 4/25/04 stamp.  But since then we've had the second term of Bush the lesser, and little could have happened to skew things leftward.

Here is a salient quote from the link.  Remember, it's from '04.

Of the nine current members of the Supreme Court, seven were appointed by Republicans. In the last thirty-five years (since 1969) there have been thirteen appointments to the Supreme Court. Republican Presidents have made eleven of those appointments while Democratic Presidents have made two.

At the Circuit Court of Appeals level, the pattern remains the same. Since 1969, Republican Presidents have appointed 211 Judges to the Circuit Courts. Democrats have appointed 122. Since 1969, Republican Presidents have appointed 813 trial Judges to the District Court bench while Democrats have made 508 such appointments.
If the Federal Judiciary is comprised of a bunch of liberal activists, it is the GOP who put them there.

But, of course, the GOP would not put them there.  Repug presidents since Reagan (actually, since Nixon)  have nominated only those judicial candidates who can pass a right-wing ideology litmus test, irrespective of qualifications, or a blatent lack thereof.  There is no other way to account for the presence of a 2nd rate light-weight like Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, or the nominations of Robert Bork, a man whose right-wingery bordered on Rand Paul style insanity, and Nixon's back-to-back race-baiting southern failures,  Clement Haynsworth of South Carolina and G. Harrold Carswell of Florida.   Of the latter, conservatard Nebraska senatorial nitwit Roman Hruska uttered this infamous bit of flattery: "Even if he is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers, and they are entitled to a little representation, aren't they? "  More recently, the Bush II nominations, of course, speak for themselves - and for Thomas, who seldom utters even a grunt.

In contrast, Clinton's appointments were not only centrists, but serious contenders with impressive resumes.  Not a single Harriet Meyers in the bunch.  This is true also, of current President B. Hoover Obama.

But this is always what you get from the right: a world view dominated by fantasies and assumptions, seasoned with large doses of unjustified anger, bitterness, and - on a good day - mediocrity.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Music Blogging, Pt 2 - "Feeling like a foolish child"

H/T to Calculated Risk.

Singer-songwriter Tim Miller captures the anger and despair of a victim of predatory lending in "Love, Your Broken Home" (some rough language). Click here for YouTube.

Policy Matters - or - How Reagan Stifled the U.S. Economy

Krugman posts this graph here and again here with some lucid explanation.   They are must-reads.

Go.  Read them. Both of them. Now.

Sunday Music Blogging - 5/23, Heavy Metal and Irony Edition

Last Sunday, heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio lost his battle with stomach cancer and, at age 67,  passed to whatever reward awaited him.  I was never a fan of any of his musical endeavors, but thought some of his stuff was, at least interesting.

This is the only one of his songs that I even remember.

Is there irony in the lead vocalist of Black Sabbath and Heaven and Hell dying on a Sunday? I'll leave that for you to decide.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Six Word Saturday 5-22

We're going to see CATS today.

Update:  Our oldest granddaughter wants the part of the white cat.  She is a good enough dancer, at 12, to do it now.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Weekend Funnies

Here are three musical jokes my grandchildren told me recently.

#1.  A Vienna musician walked through W√§hring cemetery shortly after  Beethoven's death.  He was surprised to hear a strange musical sound, which he quickly recognized as Beethoven's 9th Symphony, but backwards.  Even stranger, the music seemed to be flowing, not from the grave, but back into it.

The next day, he had a similar experience with the 8th Symphony.  This continued for several days.  On the day of the 1st Symphony he approached the cemetery custodian to ask about these strange events.

"Not really so strange," was the reply.  "You see, he's decomposing."

#2.  What music did the Pink panther hear when he stepped on an ant hill?

Dead ant -- dead ant -- dead ant, dead ant, dead ant . . .  

#3.  Where does the Lone Ranger take his trash?

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump dump . . .

For more Weekend Funnies, Click here.

What the Hell? Friday -- Baseball and Irony Edition

Yesterday, Mets outfielder Angel Pagan (An-HELL Pah-GONE) accomplished a dual feet not seen in the last 55 years, hitting an inside-the-park home run, and starting a triple play in the same game - alas, a losing effort, as it turned out.

Each of these is pretty rare.  The two of them in the same game, at the hands of the same individual - well, that looks to be happening at about a twice-per-century pace.

See it all here.

Update: I guess you can't see it. Phooey!

Where's the irony, you might wonder?

The name Angel Pagan might not sound ironic in it's native Spanish, but it sure looks it to an English speaker.

The only thing better would be if Angel had been adopted by the parents of Boston Bruins right winger Miroslav Satan. Then, his nick-name would have to be Lucifer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Welcome Libertarians

I'm tempted to say, "No Libertarians need comment here."  After all, this is my private blog, and that is my basic right.  Just ask the moron Rand Paul.  But, you see, I welcome disagreement.  I want a spirited discussion.

So that would be a bit of a problem.

The other thing I want is for people to open their eyes to the ignorance and hatred of teabaggers and their glibertarian enablers. 

I'm delighted that Rand Paul won the Repugnicant primary in Kentucky, and then went on to display his absurd notions of freedom on national TV, in front of god and all those people.  Now, it's up to the good citizens of that great State to make a decision about his particular brand of idiocy.  I hope that their decision will be informed by the realization that glibertarianism - and, in fact, virtually all of modern American right-wingery, from William F. Buckley on - is based on an ideal that places the freedoms and rights of corporations over those of actual living, breathing human beings.

The distressing thing is that's it's actually necessary to point this out to anybody.

At least the Jr. Dr. Paul, who believes that "A free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination – even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin."*, promises not to support any attempt to overturn the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Not that any such attempt could ever exist outside of his delusion.

We are so screwed.

* Honest to god, I am not making this up.
H/T to P6

For a more measured and deeply thought through, but no less negative, response, see A.L.

Update:  It just keeps getting better.  Rand, now like a foul orc from Mordor, apparently afraid of Sunlight, but still hiding behind the "media is out to get me" canard, has cancelled his upcoming appearance on Press the Meet.  Follow the link and read the comments.  They made my day.  Yet another H/T to P6.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Haiku Wednesday - Ego


When I go travel,
I'm always with me. Never
A non-ego trip.


Why do you damage
My self-esteem so badly?
Leggo my Ego!

Join the fun!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just How Bad was the Bush Administration?

This is the title of a post at A Plain Blog About Politics.

A short quote from the article and my comment follow. The original post is worth a read, as is a click-through to George Packer's article.

Even more than they (Republicans and conservatives) should be angry with Bush, they should be angry with the Republican governors and others who handed him the nomination in 1999-2000.

This is a salient point. Bush had been a failure at everything he had ever done. His lone achievement as Texas Governor was in executions. I saw this in 1999, and I was scarcely paying attention. The worst thing about the Republican party is their cynicism towards politics and America's political institutions and processes. I don't think this was true, even under Reagan, and trace it to Gingrich's contract on America.

W's administration was the intellectual equivalent of Grover Norquist's idea to shrink Govt. until it could be drowned in a bathtub. But in every other respect, he failed at that too.

The key to understanding the Bush II administration is realizing they were lousy at governance because of their basic contempt for government.

They simply had no use for the Constitution, no concern for the country - they were corporate internationalists - and deep contempt for the American people.

The results of the disasters caused by this administration will haunt my great-grandchildren.



My visitor count since Oct 2, 2009 has now passed 10,000.

I fully suspect about 70% stumbled here looking for something they didn't find, following a Google link that picked up a stray word -  like sex or fairy - in one of my rambling rants.  There have been hundreds of hits because of a weird photo I linked to while blogging the Crossword puzzle.

Then there are my 10 11 followers - thanks kids - and the two or three loyal readers who stop by rather regularly.  Most of these are co-participants in memes that I indulge myself with.

The main purpose of this blog is actually to rant about politics and its evil twin, economics.  (Actually - both twins are evil - hence the rants, I guess.)  I get very little of the disagreement I seek, and most of that is easily dismissed.

Everything else is just for fun.

Thanks for playing along.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday/ Mellow Yellow Monday, May 16-17


This swing is always
Imagination's rocket
To far off places


I don't usually co-mingle my memes, but this one works for both, and I'm feeling pretty much used up today.

Sunday Music Blogging - 5/16

We lost Lena Horne this week, at age 92.  She was a national treasure.

Here is her song.  They made each other famous.

And here, at no extra charge, is a bonus. 'Cuz, you can't ever have enough Muppets.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekend Funnies

OK.  Here's a joke I made up.

Before a symphony concert, the conductor had a beer to loosen up.  He was crossing the street to the concert hall when he got hit by a beer truck.  He survived, but was in no condition to perform the three scheduled concerts.

There was no time to find a substitute, so the orchestra grabbed a stone statue of a saint from a church down the street and set it on the podium, thinking, "All the conductor does is stand there.  Who cares if he waves his arms."

The next morning, the newspaper review said, "Last night's performance was sub-par.  The music was lifeless and much too heavy."

So they returned the statue, and borrowed the Cigar Store Indian from the tobacconist's shop around the corner, and set it on the pudium. The next morning, the newspaper review said, "Last night's performance was a bit better, but still seemed wooden."

So they snuck into the museum, and lifted a modern abstract copper sculpture, and set it on the podium."  They eagerly read the review the next day.  It said, "Third time must be a charm.  Everything flowed smoothly, and they finally got it all right."

Update:  In fact, the performance was electric!

The moral of the story . . . .

(rim shot)

Copper makes the best conductor.

For more, and hopefully better humor, check Weekend Funnies.

Six Word Saturday - 5/15

Last Night played best concert EVER!

Der Freischutz, by Weber, The Emperor Waltz by Johann Strauss, and for the grand finale, Pictures at an Exhibition - Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsy's masterpiece.

Very exciting and a great thrill.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What the Hell? Friday -- Part 2: Glenn Beck Has Nazi Tourette's

Glenn Beck, as we all know, is bat-shit crazy.

If you don't know, here is Lewis Black to explain it to you.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black - Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

What the Hell Friday - Trained Dolphins, Monkey Submarines, and the Hot Chick from MythBusters

The Big Polluter formerly known as British Petroleum, then BP-Amoco, now just BP, will always be BRITISH PETROLEUM in our minds and hearts.  This Colbert clip is a few days old, but since the crude spew will probably go on for weeks and months, its not likely to get stale any time soon.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Oil Containment Solution Randomizer
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

And if you didn't actually know there was a hot chick on MythBusters:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Republicans - All Wrong, all the Time, Pt 17: Regressive Denialism and the Great Stagnation

Over at AB, RDan posted on the economic effects of Dem and Pug presidents, with predictable results.

In an open thread there, I just posted this rant.

Since this is an open thread, I'm going to editorialize about the comments to RDan's recent post and Cactus's 2007 series on economic consequences of presidencies.

The negative comments are rather amusing, in a dismal sort of way.  Back in '07, a commenter would carp about some detail of Cactus' methodology, Cactus would repost addressing that objection, then another objection would be raised.  Lesson there is that a denialist will always find some way to deny, and there is always another direction from which disruptive nonsense can be hurled. 

Back then, and now again you have the ongoing objection that there is no underlying theory to support the observations.  I think Cactus pointed out that empirical observation precedes the development of a theory.  However, this is only true for scientists and progressives.  Regressives (I can't even use the word "conservative" anymore - it sounds too positive to have any current validity) search for data that supports their theories, and if they can't find any, they make shit up.  Here is an example.

But the commenter's objection is specious, since the underlying theory - fully supported by the available data - has been stated over and over again.  Here is my version.  Policy matters.  Traditional Repug policy has been to decrease taxes, most significantly on the wealthy.  Cactus points out that Dems are more diligent at collecting taxes.  I'll add that Repugs are more strongly in favor of deregulation, though Dems have contributed (?) there as well.  The net result is a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.  There can be no dispute that this has happened. Further, this discrepancy has expanded at every level of wealth.  The top .1% have more than ever.  The bottom 10% have suffered the worse. The middle class is being driven down.

Meanwhile, GDP growth (Yr over Yr) has been on a bumpy, but relentless, downward slide since the beginning of the Reagan administration.  In my narrative, this is not a coincidence. Tax rates, especially on the rich, have gone down steadily, except for a slight up-blip during the Clinton Administration.  During Bush II, the richest 400 tax payers were further enriched by over $1.5 Billion each.  That's right - BILLION.  Each.

The poor and middle class have a much higher propensity to spend.  And the foundation of capitalism that almost never gets talked about is that it is totally dependent on these people spending.  A lower class that is ground into abject povery and a middle class ground into the lower class lead to economic stagnation, irrespective of the prevailing political style or economic philosophy.

This is a big part of why GDP growth is stagnating.  Meanwhile, the M1 Money multiplier has collapsed from over 3 in the late 80's to about 0.7, with no bottom in sight.  Think about that - a decrease by a factor of about 4.5!  M1 expansion and massive deficits at the same time have been ineffective at stimulating the economy, because money doesn't move.  It doesn't move because the rich have it squirreled away.

This is a rational narrative that is in total agreement with observable data.  There is no such valid narrative in support of the Repug regressive position that lowering taxes is stimulative.

Another objection is that GDP growth is not a good measure.  This prompts two thoughts. First: OK - go find one that's better.  Come back and we'll talk.  Second: many other measures have been addressed: National  Debt, deficit vs surplus, real tax collections, value of the dollar, health care costs, employment, unemployment, people below the poverty level - either as absolute number or % of the population.  Cactus has dealt with many of these, and it's an indisputable fact that by every one of these measures the country is better off with a Dem in the White House and worse off with a Repug.  Ditto, social measures as well, BTW: abortions and unwed motherhood, marriages and divorces, sexually transmitted diseases, youth crime.  This is all from Cactus' posts back in '07.

If you think the president's Party doesn't matter, than you have to believe that policy doesn't matter. And you also have to believe in a hell of a lot of coincidence. 

Still another objection is that there are secular trends that render the policy effects meaningless.  First, secular trends are just that: trends.  There can be isolated times above or below the trend lines.  It just so happens that Dems mostly reside above the lines, while Repugs pretty much own the negative territory.  More coincidence, I guess.

I'll add that another contributor to the great stagnation has been the shift in Democratic policies to more Republican-like positions. In my assesment, Obama is to the right of Clinton, and Clinton was to the right of Eisenhower.  In contrast, Bush II was to the right of Ramses II.  Clinton raised taxes, but never came close to the top rate under Reagan.  Obama has lowered taxes so that they are now less than under Bush II.  The Wing nut Obama-hating reaction to this has been to cry about excessive taxation(!) 

The reality is we have something close to a flat tax here.  The income tax is progressive, but nowhere near progressive enough. It has become consistently less progressive since Reagan.  Besides, the wealthy have all sorts of tax dodges and shelters that are not accessible to mere common people.  The payroll tax starts on the first dollar earned, with no exemptions nor deductions and has a ceiling.  It's regressive as hell.  The net effect of all this is poor people pay too much, rich people don't pay enough, and the deficit is growing.

IMHO, the great stagnation will continue because Democrats no longer pursue progressive policies.  I fear it will lead us all to a very bad end.

To the best of my knowledge and ability, everything stated here as fact is fact; everything stated as opinion is consistent with those facts.  Regressives will deny every bit of it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Haiku Wednesday - Karma


You get what you get.
- Or is it what you deserve? -
On the wheel of life.

Join the fun!

© 2010 JazzBumpa

Lupine Karma in the Desert

Is Lupine Karma
The way of the flower, or
The way of the wolf?

© 2010 JazzBumpa

Chameleon Karma

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

At Disney's Vero Beach Resort

This water slide is
Three stories up from the pool.
Come - make a big splash

Another picture taken by my granddaughter.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday - 5/09

At Vero Beach

Morning sun above
The sand casts shadow pickets
Along the Beach path.

The oldest granddaughter took this picture.

But she used my camera so it's MINE, MINE I tell you.  Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha . . . .

Sunday Music Blogging

Some traditional jazz for the jazz lover in you.

Looks like Dave Caparone is playing my King.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Six Word Saturday - 5/08

Rainy, WINDY - Feels like a monsoon.

Not so beautiful in my neighborhood.

(Tree fell on my neighbor's house.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quote of the Day

First, God made idiots. That was for practice. When He was convinced that He achieved perfection, He made Fox News contributors.

That's Ed, over at G&T.  Full story, disaster and context here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Haiku Wednesday - Steam


Moist on my lenses - 
Heat and anticipation
When I look at you.

Join the fun!

Almost forgot to play today, but remembered before the midnight hour.

Republicans - All Wrong, All The Time, Pt 16: Post WW II Recessions and the Great Stagnation

Over at Angry Bear, Cactus Mike Kimel has a series of posts running on recessions since 1929.  Part 1Part 2.  More to come, stay tuned.  By the way, if you want a real hoot, read Jimi in the comment section.  His divorce from reality, negation of hard data, and objection to analysis that points specifically and directly away from his preconceived world-view is stunning.  But, alas, it's also typical of glibertarianism and other versions of right-wingery.

Cactus Kimel has been extraordinarily accommodating of Jimi and other useful idiots who invade AB.  In other posts, he has repeatedly shown data in ways that refute all of their objections to the conclusions that the data inexorably demonstrate.  The idiots response is to always raise a new objection.

I've made some graphs of quarterly GDP change since 1947.  Before then, only annual data is available.  Data source is http://bea.gov/national/index.htm#gdp.   I retrieved this data set a couple of years ago.  It is based on chained Yr 2000 dollars.  I suspect the data set has been revised to Yr 2005 dollars (or some such) by now, but the picture won't change.

The first graph shows the familiar collapse in GDP that I've demonstrated before with the Yr over Yr change in annual values.

The blue line traces the quarterly GDP change numbers.  The heavy blue line is the average over the data set, 3.4%.   The purple line is a three-period exponential moving average of the GDP change values.  The slanted red and green lines define the collapsing envelope that contains these values.

This is what is sometimes called "The Great Moderation."   The idea of moderation is based on significantly reduced volatility in measured GDP change.  My contention is that this is a data artifact caused by the slow collapse of GDP growth over the last 60 years.   The simultaneous collapse of the M1 Money Multiplier can hardly be a coincidence.  I call this THE GREAT STAGNATION.  In a response to one of my comments, Cactus Kimel called it the exhaustion of  "this variety of Reaganny pseudo-capitalism."

 A striking feature of the graph is the magnitude of the peaks.  Note that from 1947-80, the average of peaks is 10.1%.  After 1980, the average of peaks is 6.2.  Further, not even one peak post 1980 reaches the level of the average peak from the earlier period.

Here is the same data with some different emphasis.

Here the GDP change line is in green.  Times with two or more consecutive quarters of negative GDP change are traced in red.  Officially recognized recessions are indicated by a bold red horizontal line segment.  The black traces indicate the quarter before and the quarter of negative change, whether leading into a recession or not.  The purple traces indicate consecutive quarters of poor growth, arbitrarily selected as 3% or less.  The horizontal red and blue lines indicate the average GDP change during an administration.  Kennedy-Johnson and Nixon-Ford are both considered single continuous administrations.

Here is how they stack up

President              Avg. Qtly GDP Change, %

Truman                             4.5
Eisenhower                        3.2
Kennedy -Johnson               4.9
Nixon-Ford                         2.8
Carter                               3.1
Reagan                              3.6
Bush I                               2.2
Clinton                              3.7
Bush II                              2.3

Striking features: 
1) Recessions are a characteristic of Republican administrations - not exclusively, but to an overwhelming extent,
2) The longest periods without recessions were the '60's and the '90's, the only times that Democratic administrations had two full terms, 
3)  The moribund Carter administration is within decimal dust of  America's nostalgic golden age - Eisenhower's 50's,
4) GDP rose steadily during Clinton's term, and his average edges out that of St. Ronnie,
5) Bush I was the worst - Bush II was the worst II.  Actually, W's numbers appear better than they actually are, since the data set ends in mid '08, and his worst quarters aren't reflected here.

Bottom line - Republicans are bad for the economy, bad for business, bad for America.  This has been true for almost 100 years.  But, of course, if you're a right-winger, facts, data and analysis mean nothing, and ideology trumps reality - again.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Music Blogging - 5/02

Rubenstein plays Chopin.

Ballade No. 1 Opus 23 in G minor.

Shadow Shot Sunday - 5/02: Avast, me hearties!

Update:  I guess I should point out that this is at Disney's Vero Beach Resort.

What could be more fun!
Kids, water guns, slide, sunshine,

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Granddaughter Em turned four -- party today!

Update:  Her brother NATE lost his first tooth last night.  He said, "It would be cool it the tooth fairy gave out gift cards!

Tooth Fairy Photo credit:  http://www.halloweenpartystore.com/Adult-Tooth-Fairy-Costume.php