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!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Music Blooging Bonus - AKA SMB II on QE II

This is quite timely, given the way Krugman and people like David Beckworth are talking past each other on the prospect of QE II.  Either the zero interest rate bound means something for monetary policy, or it doesn't.  Either expectations wag reality, or they don't.  Maybe we'll find out as this unfolds.

It'a also the first time I've seen anyone, other than me, pay the scantest attention to the death of the M1 multiplier, so I think that's pretty cool.

It's clever, and it also sounds pretty good.  Enjoy!

H/T to Calculated Risk.

Halloween Me!

With my cousin Bela.

© 2010 Amanda, along with photo credit, scary Halloween edits, and eyeballs.

Sunday Music Blogging - 10/31 - Now's the Time!

For trick or treat!

Here's a treat.

Ooooh - I loves me some J.J.

Give this a listen.  It will be the best 11 minutes of your day.

These cats are AWESOME!

H/T to my comrade at arms Slideboner.

Want more?  Here is J. J. with Monk, in a somwhat more mysterious vein.


Shadow Shot Sunday - 10/31 - Halloween!

The lovely wife and 8-year-old granddaughter Samantha drove by this rather overdone Halloween display the other day.  Click to enlarge, and survey the cast of gruesome characters surrounding the doorway.  Sam's comment was, "If I was a kid, I wouldn't want to go trick or treating there.  Oh, wait . . . I AM a kid!"


But wait -- there's more!

Here is the other side of the driveway.



Saturday, October 30, 2010

Deep Stupid #19 - Marxism in America

A link to the following video was sent to me by one of my relatives.  The abysmal ignorance, dishonesty and - lets call it what it is - deep, deep stupidity in this presentation is very, very depressing.  Gen Boykin, a military man with a highly distinguished career, is apparently not just some for-hire shill, spouting the tenets of one of those think tanks supported by uber-rich oil men.  It appears that he believes what he says in this video to the very core of his being.

This is tragic, since to believe this stuff you have to be mired in ignorance, blinded by ideology, or simply insane. 

I sent my relative the text that follows the video.  I guess I should thank him.  My very first blog post, just 25 months ago yesterday, was an anti-Sarah Palin rant, prompted by another ridiculous bit of nonsense he sent me.  This is Lt. General Boykin (ret.)   Hear it and weep.

My comments:

I'd like to be able to say this is the stupidist thing I've ever seen, but in a world with Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, Joe Miller, and Sharon Angle, the competition is so keen, it's only about average.

I will say that Boykin is very close to being certifiably insane.

Let's go through this idiotic litany of boiler-plate right wing talking point lies, one at a time.

But first, let's just pause for a moment to remember that Marx was an economist, not an insurgent, and the most dangerous thing he ever did was predict the kind of muti-national capitalistic REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH into the hands of the already rich that we are seeing in full force today.

1) Nationalizing Major Industries.  What Boykin says is beyond stupid.  Look, frex, at the GM bail out.  The Govt. divested itself of GM shares as soon as it was reasonable to do so.  Look at TARP - a Bush program (everybody forgets that detail.)  The government stands to make many millions of dollars on it's TARP investments.  How can it do that?  On the OPEN MARKET.   The idea that the Government is nationalizing industries has no basis in reality.  A person who is both honest and grounded in some sort of reality could not possibly take this seriously.

2) Redistribute wealth.  Does Boykin realize - do you realize - that wealth disparity has never been greater in this country?  Not even in 1929!   I've blogged about this a lot.   The percentage of the population living at .5 of the poverty level - true grinding, bone crushing poverty - has never been measured at a higher level (data only goes back to the early 70's.  It was almost certainly worse in the 40's.)  Meanwhile, real median income is actually lower now than it was 35 years ago.  Every bit of wealth this nation has generated, every productivity gain - every damned penny - has gone to those who already had the most.  This is the kind of situation that ultimately leads to depression or revolution.  People will not willingly starve, and most especially while they see other people eating filet mignon and cake.  Contrary to what Boykin says, this is the path we are actually on.

This link will take you to my 20 blog posts on the subjects of income and wealth.  You'll find a lot of graphs and charts there, because, unlike cretins who just make shit up, I go out and get actual data from credible sources.

3)  Discredit opposition.  One of the many sad things about the regressive mindset is a total tone-deafness to irony.  What is Boykin's video, if not a pitifully lame attempt to discredit his opposition?  And make no mistake about it - he means that foreign-born darkie Muslim Nazi-Commie in the white house -the OTHER.
4)  Censorship - Oh for God's sake, get real.  Fundamentalist ministers can spout anti-gay hate-mongering from now until hell freezes over without one Government action against them.  This is more making shit up, and it's pathetic.

5) Gun ownership -  Do you have any idea what a powerful lobbying group the NRA is?  The idea that any Democrat will ever come and confiscate Boykin's collection of Uzis, AK-47s, and that Howitzer he keeps in the shed behind the barn is a delusional paranoid fantasy.   This man is nuts!

6)  Develop a constabulary force.  I almost hurt myself laughing at this one.   Prior to the election, Boykin tells us, the president said he would have a national civilian security force that would be as large and as well equipped as the U.S millitary.  It took me exactly 5 seconds with TEH Googly to discover this:

Obama was not talking about a "security force" with guns or police powers. He was talking specifically about expanding AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps and the USA Freedom Corps, which is the volunteer initiative launched by the Bush administration after the attacks of 9/11, and about increasing the number of trained Foreign Service officers who populate U.S. embassies overseas.

Oh, and -- Uhhh - if civilians can't have guns (remember point 5? It was just in front of point 6.)  How is this CIVILIAN constabulary of latte-sipping peace corps sissies going to be as well equipped as the army, anyway?  Boykin has an amazing immunity to cognitive dissonance.  Perhaps because it requires actual thought.

Did we talk about discrediting the opposition?   What about scaring people with a comparison to Hitler and the Brown Shirts?

This is what conservatism has degenerated into - lies, misrepresentations, an inability to understand or reason rationally on any issue, and no qualms at all about simply MAKING SHIT UP.

Feel free to send this note along to anyone you sent that video to.    In fact, I really want you to, so as to make some small, and ultimately futile attempt to restore at least a little bit of sanity into what has become the most insane political season in living memory.

Peace, but wow - we are really screwed!*

* Expletive deleted. Now, I must go hug a squid!

The Emotional Basis for Conservatism is . . .


From John Stewart's Sanity Rally.

Six Word Saturday 10/30

Victoria Bitters Beer Bottle Symphony - Yeah!

H/T to the LW

For more  bottle hitting, see here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Quote of the Day

Today's entry is from the almost unbelievably loathsome Mitch McConnell.

MCCONNELL: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

This is so horrible, even Joe Scarborough can't stomach it.

Obama must fail - this is so much more important than the economy, unemployment, war, deteriorating infrastructure, or any other god-damned thing you can think of.  This is what you should be thinking about when IF you go to vote.

Krugman adds:

We might add that should any Republicans in Congress find themselves considering the possibility of acting in a statesmanlike, bipartisan manner, they’ll surely reconsider after looking over their shoulder at the Tea Party-types, who will jump on them if they show any signs of being reasonable. The role of the Tea Party is one reason smart observers expect another government shutdown, probably as early as next spring.

Impeachment won't be far behind.

We are SO screwed.

What the Hell? Friday -- Part 3: Hitting the Bottle

This is brilliant.

H/T to (who else?) Sharon!

What the Hell? Friday -- Part 2: The Very Model . . .

I came down hard on B. Hoover Obama yesterday - call it tough love. Unlike other factions, I do want him to succeed at this difficult job.  Aren't we all depending on that?

Another H/T to Sharon, who is on a roll today.

What The Hell?!? Friday - Very Wet Edition

Storm Drain Overflow from crackchecker on Vimeo.

According to the brief write up on Vimeo, "This is in South Minneapolis on I35W and 38th street bridge.
3 or 4 storm drains converge at this point."

H/T to Sharon.

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

 Friday October 29, 2010 Jonathan Porat

Theme: EXTRA MAYO.  The letters M, A, Y, and O, respectively, are added at the beginnings of common phrases to yield new, uncommon phrases, of variable wackiness. 

19A. Designed for ancient sorcerers? : MAGE SPECIFIC.  M plus age specific - for discriminating mature audiences, perhaps.   Mages had exact size and weight specs for eye of newt.

27A. Pranks at the Bohr Institute? : ATOM FOOLERYA plus Tom foolery.  Why Tom and not, oh -- say, Ron, for instance?   The Bohr Institute is a center for research in astronomy, geophysics, and nanotechnology at the University of Copenhagen, named for physicist Neils Bohr, a developer of quantum theory.

46A. Genesis baking ingredient? : YEAST OF EDENY plus East of Eden, a 1955 movie I never saw, directed by Elia Kazan, and based on the second half of a John Steinbeck novel I never read.  Am I missing anything?  Also the only three-word theme answer, and my favorite, for it's general silliness.  In those days, unleavened bread had not yet been invented.

54A. Banning CFC production, e.g.? : OZONE DEFENSE.  O plus zone defense - defensive strategies in football and other sports, where the defenders are responsible for covering regions of the playing field, rather than specific offensive opponents, as in man-to-man defense.  CFC's are chlorofluorocarbon compounds, such as Freon 12, that deplete the earth's protective ozone layer.  This one is serious.

And, of course the unifier:   35A. Sandwich request, and a literal hint to how the answers at 19-, 27-, 46- and 54-Across are formed : EXTRA M-A-Y-O.  I don't recall ever seeing a unifier like this one, getting parsed out and allotted to the theme answers - highly clever and original.  I like Miracle Whip,BTW,  but can't stand MAYO. 

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here after a strange and rather busy day.  This is a terrific puzzle that defeated me pretty badly.  Let's survey the damages.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reality Truth Squadding - Yves Smith Kicks Obama's Skrawny Ass

Quote of the day:

Part 1 -

And if you want a better tally of the true costs of the financial crisis, the Bank of England’s Andrew Haldane comes up with much greater damage, precisely because he also considers the costs citizens know all too well, such as painfully high unemployment and drastic state and local government budget cuts. He estimates the cost of the global financial crisis, when you include the biggest item, output losses, at one to five times global GDP. And remember further, because a lot of bad US assets, like mortgage securities and CDOs, were sold overseas, the US did not bear the full costs of the toxic product we created, again undermining Obama’s phony accounting . . .

 Part 2 -

But unlike the UK, where regulators like Mervyn King, Haldane, and Adair Turner routinely say things that bear a pretty solid resemblance to the truth, in the US, trying to manipulate appearances in the hope outcomes will follow is the norm. In the 1960s, when the media realized that president Johnson was regularly telling whoppers, the expression “credibility gap” was born. While the press is giving Obama a free pass on his strained relationship with the reality, he is no more likely to succeed in the long run than LBJ did.

LBJ might have been a domineering son of a bitch, but he was also a highly effective leader who accomplished big things, made major changes for the betterment of this country - politics be damned, and a genuine progressive.

BHO is a luke-cool centrist conservative who somehow got people to believe he was progressive, and who continues in his vain quest to reach concord with a political opposition that is concerned with exactly one thing - making him fail.

Now, Dems will lose seats in both houses of Congress, and B. Hoover Obama could well be the first one-term president since Jimmy Carter.

Wow - we are really screwed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Haiku Wednesday - Freestyle

No particular theme today - open to imagination or flights of fancy.

Words in Haiku

Styled grouping of words
Arranged in set syllables:
Five, seven and five.

Verbal origami:
Meanings captured in folded
Groups of syllables.

Spoken in anger,
Strings of hostile words that hurt:
Bad comparisons.

Flights of fancy, words
Taking wing, soaring, floating
For such a short trip.

Join the fun!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why Meg Whitman Came to California

Wow . . . just WOW!

H/T to Delong.

UPDATE:  As long as you're here, check Montana's comment.  It just keeps getting better . . . worse -- curiouser and curiouserMalice in blunderland.

Mellow Yellow Monday

Falcon Freshmen (grades 3 and 4) Cheerleaders took first place in both cheer and pom at cheerfest.

Here they are at a game in September.

(And the team is undefeated.)



Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

James Hamililton, commenting on Columbia Professor Richard Clarida's assesment of the financial meltdown, delivered at the monetary policy conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston last week, says this, blowing a rather large hole in the hull of the efficent market hypothesis..

With the benefit of hindsight ... it seems clear-- at least to this author-- that the financial crisis and the credit and securitization bubble that preceded it resulted not only from spectacular failures in securities markets-- to allocate capital and price default risk-- but serious failures also as well by policymakers to adequately understand, regulate, and supervise these markets. Policymakers, academics, and market participants simply didn't know what they didn't know. They assumed that either it couldn't happen (after all, AAA securities 'never' default), or if it did, it would be systemically unimportant. Until the tide went out. But by then it was too late.

Market failure, inadequate regulation: sounds like something you might have heard from Krugman, or me.

Two graphs that Hamilton presents from Clarida's presentation are quite bubblicious.  Check them out.


Shadow Shot Sunday - 10/24

Cousins, and cousins 
Of cousins playing in a
Back yard soccer game. 

Sunday Music Blogging - 10/24

We opened our concert Friday night with this magnificent overture.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Six Word Saturday 10/23

It's a fact - grandchildren trump everything!

I turned down a chance to sub in a band playing live on local radio, because it conflicts with my grandsons' middle school band concert.  It was great opportunity, but the kids won - no contest.

Friday, October 22, 2010

What The Hell?!? Friday - Women of AARP Edition

The Nov - Dec issue of AARP magazine (yes, the actual hard copy edition is sittng on my kitchen table) has these three lovely ladies on the cover.

Betty White - Due to loss of short term memory, her most vivid recollections are of the Harding administration.  So, yeah - makes perfect sense.  (BTW - I have loved impish Betty White since I was a kid, watching her on the old-time LIFE WITH ELIZBETH TV show.  And, no - I am NOT ashamed of myself!)

Jamie Lee Curtis - At 52, Jamie achieved AARP eligibility two years ago, so I guess she can appear on the cover.  I mean, why not?  What's to not like?

Kristen Bell - Excuse me - KRISTEN BELL?  WTH?!?  Kristen Bell is 8 years YOUNGER than my DAUGHTER.  Kristen Bell is a CHILD!.  We're talking Veronica Mars here.

OK - she's 30 -and they're all in a movie together -- but still . . .

Anyway, that last clip DEMANDS an antidote.

Debbie Harry, by the way, is a year and a half OLDER then I am. Yeah!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Haiku Wednesday - Pathways

In comments over at The Corner, Hatool posted this quote from Langston Hughes.

I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.

Quite appropriate for today's Haiku theme.


How can you get to
Your destination if you
Don't know where it is?

 Where are you going?
Is that where you want to be?
Please show me the way.

Aimless I wander.
Unknown,  my destination.
But I am not lost.

IV (For Bill G.) 

Could it be that the
Hardest path is what takes you
Where you need to be?

Join the fun!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The U.S. Economy is Dying

At econbrowser, James Hamilton posted a graph like this - GDP per capita on a quarterly basis, since 1952.  Quarterly GDP data are available back to 1947.  Monthly population data only goes to 1952 (average of 3 months is used for the quarterly figure.)  In comments, he was kind enough to share the methodology, so I was able to make my own similar graph.  I wanted to do that because something struck me.  Do you see what it is?

First, lets dwell on the obvious.  The point of using a log scale for the Y-axis is to present constant growth as a straight line.  For comparison, I placed a best fit line over the data.  Of course, economic growth is not constant.  There are business cycle variations and long range trends.  So the deviations from linearity tell a story.  The thing that struck me, eyeballing peak to peak (in a fit of peaks), is the slopes of the connecting lines have been in decline for decades, with a major inflection point somewhere around 1980.

To be sure that this isn't an illusion, let's go through some exercises.   Here we have the best fit lines, from 1952 through 1980 in green and 1980 to 2006 (to not influence this line with the recent recession) in red.

Sure enough, the green line has a greater slope than the line for the entire data set, while the red line has a lesser slope.

Connecting peak to peak illustrates the changing slopes over time.  The alternating blue and orange lines are for contrast,and have no other meaning.  This is less visually dramatic than I had expected, so here is a table of peak to peak slopes, in Y-axis units per quarter.

Clearly, slopes have been declining since the tumultuous 60's.  And here is where it gets political. The only period to buck that trend was 1989 to 2000 - from Reagan's pre-recession peak through the Clinton years.

I marked both '53 to 60 and '53 to '66, since the '53 to '60 line makes Ike's performance look really bad - and quite unfairly so.  Do you know why?

Maybe this will help - plain old GDP growth, rather than per capita.

 We still have the inflection, and the differing green and red slopes, but now that awful Ike-era leveling doesn't show up at all.  What gives?

As Krugman and I have felt the necessity to point out, you need to be careful in dealing with ratios (aka fractions) since both the numerator and the denominator influence the calculated values.

Here is our denominator.

Population growth was much faster during the 50's - the post war baby boom.  Since then, it's wiggled a bit, but hasn't deviated much from linearity, so there are no further distortions.

What's happening, and why?  My assessment is that declining GDP growth is the result of huge wealth and income disparity, leading to mis-allocating resources from productive endeavor into functionally worthless and ultimately wealth-destroying financial manipulations, thus causing  an aggregate demand shortage: median wages have been stagnant for over 40 years, the artificial wealth of the housing bubble has evaporated, and people can't afford to buy things.  In short - this is caused by decades of Republican and quasi-Republican (aka Clinton and Obama) rule. It is the legacy of free market worship - exporting jobs, union busting, low taxation and the gutting of regulations.  Even Clinton stacks up poorly against the 60's.   Let me know if you have a more convincing narrative.

Here's the bottom line.  The current output gap (deviation of GDP from the trend line) is horrible, even compared to the relatively flat 2000 to 2006 peak-to-peak line.  To get back to the long term trend line will now take many years of super-robust recovery, and that is simply not going to happen in a political environment dominated by austerity and teabagger ignorance.   We're seriously screwed, our economy is dying, and nobody is willing to take the kind of bold action required to get it going again. 

RIP U.S. Economy

In comments, Jerry asks for my recommended bold actions.  Here are a few generalities, off the top of my head:

Real stimulus, as in the New Deal.

Real Financial Reform, as in Glass-Stegall.

Have the fed stop paying interest on excess reserves - perhaps even consider a penalty.

And since there is no evidence that increasing taxes ever hurts the economy:

Real wealth redistribution, via progressive taxation, as before Reagan, with many brackets and steep progression to a top marginal rate of at least 70%, and restoring the 0 bracket.

Progressive inheritance tax, with reasonable (say $5 million minimum, defined family farm and business exceptions) parameters.

Tax capital gains as income.

Any other ideas, anybody?

Update II:
Yesterday, Karl Smith composed an array of radical solutions.  I didn't see it until now.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday


Sammie cheers for the 
Falcons, in green and yellow.
So do we, of course!

Sunday Music Blogging - 10/17

Massenet: Esclarmonde suite - Evocation

This is a magnificent, dramatic and beautiful piece of music - and I get to perform it on Friday!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Life is Short

Michaels Berube, one of the 100 most dangerous academics in America is shutting down his blog - again, and closes out with a touching tribute to a dear friend.

It's a rather long post, but moving, beautiful, and well worth the few minutes that reading it will take.

Go.  Read it.  Now.

Libertarianism, Anarchy and the Rule of Thugs

Bad Tux speculates on the effects of eliminating either government, or the effective functioning of government -viz:  anarchy and thug rule.  My reaction was to a specific point.

a small minority of thugs would rule via terrorizing the non-thug

As I read this, I thought of medieval Europe. Isn't that how feudalism came to be - emerging out of an environment of general lawlessness and chaos following the collapse of Roman Empire?

Terrorized common folk put themselves (willingly or not) under the protection of the most powerful local thug, and became serfs in the process.

Thus, the rise of what came to be known as the (chortle!) NOBILITY. History since then has been the story of thugs who called themselves kings sending their woe-begotten subjects to die on battle fields in fearful agony.

The U.S. experiment in democracy was an attempt to get out of that cycle. It worked for a while, but the new feudalism of multi-national corporations is slowly dragging us under their collective thumbs.

Hayek had it exactly wrong. Government exists to protect us from the thugs. But a new breed of thug, with no loyalty to person, nation, nor any philosophy beyond money = power has bought government and now bends it to their fell purpose.

So - are we screwed, or what?

Dana Loesch on Bill Maher

Other than this - her most stellar moment - I'm not coming up with a video of her comments during the broadcast hour of the show.

This via Mediaite, where they are delighted that Maher said "teabagger" and was gracious enought to retract the complememt.

Maybe more video segments will appear in a few days.  Meanwhile, here she is in the web-only Overtime segment.

Via St. Louis Activist Hub
Conservatives think she did great, because they don't care at all whether anything she said was true. Liberals like myself think she looked ridiculous.

Nice Cup of Tea

One of Bill Maher's guests on this week's REAL TIME is Dana Loesch, conservative columnist, radio host, and co-founder of the St. Louis Tea Party.

If I can find a video clip, I'll post it later.

I found her to be intelligent, articulate, and not at all rabid or weird.  Still, there is something very, very wrong with her, and this is that she KNOWS (as if they were actual facts) things that are simply the opposite of the truth.  One thing I remember was her insistence that the Obama stimulus package cost more than the Iraq war.  Even more striking was her adamant insistence, despite being specifically refuted by the Wall Street Journal's Dan Neil, and every one else on the show.

This is what is so disturbing, and actually horrifying, about Tea Baggers: their world of ideology is impervious to facts, data, and other forms of living reality.  They know what they know, and proving them wrong is totally ineffective.

Kinda why we are so screwed.

Six Word Saturday 10/16

Bernanke - More MEH! Than Ever

Ben Bernanke gave a potentially important speech yesterday.

Karl Smith is encouraged.

This is the minority view.

David Beckworth feels a bit let down.

Krugman is either damning the speech with faint praise, or praising it with faint damnation.

Delong minces no words: “This is very bad

What we seem most likely to get is QE2. James Hamilton calculates that $800 Billion of it will get us 13 basis points on long bonds. Why bother?  (Same vid I linked to yesterday.)

I see no reason for optimism.

This post is a revised version of a comment I left at MB.  I guess Karl felt goaded, since he then posted this.  I'm actually a bit flattered that he felt the necessity to respond.  He's added several follow-ups, including this one.

I remain sceptical.  What do you think?


Friday, October 15, 2010

QE 2

No, not a big luxury liner - a potential second round of Quantitative Easing.

James Hamilton - who you can follow at econbrowser fills us in on it's specifics and potentials for good and ill.

And in case you didn't already know this, Larry Kudlow is an obnoxious asshat.

Well, I can't get the embed code to work, so here is a link.

What The Hell?!? Friday - Random Thought Edition

At rehearsal the other night, I had a strange awareness of the bone in my left upper arm, but not the right, that occurred on the 2nd and 4th counts of a measure, but not the 1st and 3rd.

This is my askew, off-beat sense of humerus.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Haiku Wednesday - Shoes



Are you tied to friends
Who have soul, wag their tongues, fit
You like an old shoe?


Have you ever been
Tripped by one who took you in?
Too bad - what a heel!


"Get to the pointe, Mule.
You sneaker, do not moc me!"
He said, with a brogue.

Join the fun!


October 13th is the anniversary date of the battle of Hastings, when William the Bastard defeated King Harold Godwinson and conquered England.

(Oops - it was on Oct. 14th.  I'm a day early.)

This unfortunate event was mentioned in a nice L A Times x-word by Mike Paluso, back in July.  Words in CAPS refer to that puzzle.

Both Harold and William had claims to the English throne - though, even if you accept medieval notions of inherited kingship - neither is very convincing.  

The battle of Hastings was really bad luck for King Harold. William's army sat on the shore of Normandy for the entire Summer waiting for the wind to change, (talk about a TIME KILLER) so they could cross the SEA - well, channel - and BARGE in.

Everyone was at the end of their patience and resources. If the weather hadn't finally shifted in Oct. the entire course of English history would be different. William would never have been able to raise that army again. See what we OWE TO weather!

Harold and his MATES had just fought a fierce battle two weeks earlier at Stamford Bridge, against his DRIP of a brother and a Danish Viking army, then had to march about 200 miles to take on William's forces.

During the battle of Hastings he took an arrow in the eye (or so the story goes) and the rest is, as they say, history.

There once was a King they called Harry
Whose luck wasn't bad, it was very
Awful we've found, then when Bill crossed the sound*
He wound up in the cemetery

* Well -channel.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mankiw goes Galt

Well, not really, but a guy can hope.   While we're hoping, lets hope the entire cadre of Chicago school econoninnies and austerian econostrangulators would go with him.  Megan McCardle, too, along with the tea-baggers.  Exit stage right, folks.  I still want a pony, though.  Oh heck, with Bad Tux in mind, let's make it a unicorn.

This is unbelievably rich.  Mankiw says that if the Bush tax cuts expire, then writing his column for the N Y Times just won't be worth it any  more.   Go and read the whole thing.  No excerpt can do it the justice it deserves.

I'll just point out that Mankiw makes the comparison of his tax situation vis-a-vis an imaginary tax-free world, NOT vis-a-vis the current real situation where the increased tax rate and phase out of loopholes will effect him to the tune of about 5%*, not the almost 50% number he uses but doesn't bother to either calculate or note for us.  Also, it includes his state taxes which are unaffected and irrelevant to the discussion.  {UPDATE**} Worst of all, he adds in the medicare portion of FICA, which is not going to be effective because he is far above the ceiling.**  All things considered, it is a thoroughly disgusting exercise in sophistry, mendacity, and narcissism.  Extraordinarily impressive - Wow, and more WOW!

Delong pretty thoroughly dismantles him, then his commenters carve the chunks into little bloody bits and jump up and down on them in heavy, steel-toed boots.  Check it out.

This is no less than such an ass-hat deserves.  (He was one of president George W. Bush's economic advisors, and therefore one of the architects of the current unpleasant situation.)

* And, lest there be any misoverestimating, that only applies to the portion of his income in excess of $250,000.
** UPDATE - I am wrong about the medicare portion of FICA. There is no ceiling on that tax.  So Mankiw is incrementally less of an asshat than I thought.  Big FICA Whoop!


Shadow Shot Sunday - 10/09

Taken this summer at the Knoxville Zoo.

Great grey simian,
Do you not like people? Why
Turn your back on me?

Krugman Derangement Syndrome

I've exposed Krugman's would-be critics before:

-   Sloppy methodology and lazy thinking by an economist who wants to be taken seriously, though I've concluded he's insane.
-  Cherry picked, out of context quotes by some college kid.
-  Making shit up, by a deranged politician.

Well, here is more making up of shit by Steven Horowitz, another college professor of economics.

The title, The Newspeak of Paul Krugman, sets just the right Orwellian tone, I'd say - and with the typical right wing blow-hard's tone deafness to irony.  Here is the beginning of the text.

In his September 28 New York Times blog post, Paul Krugman announced that “economics is not a morality play.” That turn of phrase is his way of defending the idea that in unusual times, such as the sort of deep recession we are in, we can get strange relationships between economic cause and effect. The result is that actions which we might find highly distasteful can have positive effects. Thus we cannot afford to be overly concerned with morality if the goal is to get out of the recession.
Specifically, Krugman defends the claim that World War II got us out of the Great Depression, because “this is a situation in which virtue becomes vice and prudence is folly; what we need above all is for someone to spend more, even if the spending isn’t particularly wise.” Even spending on something destructive like war, he argues, is what is needed to solve the problem, especially when the “political consensus for [domestic] spending on a sufficient scale” is not available. In Krugman’s version of Orwell’s Newspeak, destruction creates wealth, and war, though not ideal, is morally acceptable because it produces economic growth.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Spending Time with Grandchildren this weekend.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Illiterate Clown Politics

The only thing I can say about this is that at least Christine O'Donnell can read.

We aren't the only only ones who are screwed, I guess.

Update:  It turns out she's not even descended from a real Bozo.  He was only a fill-in Bozo.

So -- are we screwed, or what?

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Watch it quick, before it gets taken down for some sort of copyright infringement.

Just one quibble - it was Bush who bailed out Wall St. - but it's still brilliant.

H/T to CT.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I would have become a Hare Krishna, but I didn't want to become a vegetarian. And that is honestly the reason why, because I'm Italian and I love meatballs."

Brilliance at this level could only come form the daughter of Bozo the Clown.

You really can't make this stuff up.

So, are we screwed, or what?

H/T to the LW.

One Year and Counting

One year ago today I put the stat-counter on my blog.

Since then, I've had over 15,000 hits.   I think most of them did a Google search on some key word, landed here, said: "WTH?" and beat a hasty retreat.

Is anybody actually reading here?

What do you think?

Let me know.

Six Word Saturday

Would you read what I write?

(I mean all my unpublished fiction.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

What the Hell Friday?!? - Musical Medical Humor Edition

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Friday, October 1, 2010 Scott Atkinson

Theme: HEAVE HO. To get rid of something, a forcible dismissal, as throwing something overboard. Heave, by itself, means "throw." Here the thing thrown is the letter combination HO, from a common phrase, leaving a humorous new uncommon phrase.  As much as I love puns, these might have SPANNED a bit too far.

18. *Ancient Chinese cote occupant? : MING PIGEON.  Homing Pigeon - a bird that always finds it's way back to the coop - or "cote." Here, one from the MING dynasty.

25. *Observation after a Bush walk? : W'S ON FIRST.  Who's on first - from the famous Abbot and Costello routine.   Here, W is an affectionate term for our 43rd President, who was the managing general partner of the Texas Rangers from 1989 to 1994, best known for trading away Sammy Sosa.  Afterwards, he said, "Big Texas (Nolan Ryan) is here. The reason I like to keep Nolan around is he is a reminder that when we got done with the Sammy Sosa trade, there was still some talent on the Rangers."

36. *Nickname for a so-so Navy officer? : CAPTAIN OK.   Captain Hook, whose associate Mr. Smee is an occasional visitor to puzzles.  I thought this one was actually funny.

57. *Kenyan healthcare worker? : RN OF AFRICA.  Horn of Africa. A peninsula jutting from East Africa, into the Arabian Sea.  Lots of hardship there.   Not sure who the Registered Nurse would be, but they could probably use her.

50. *Habitually drunk panda? : BAMBOO SOT.  Bamboo shoot.  We all know about the panda who eats, shoots, an leaves.  I didn't know he was drunk.

And, of course, the unifier:  42 D. Dismissal, and a hint to how the answers to starred clues were derived : HEAVE HO.  This may conjure a variety of images. Discuss in comments, if you dare.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, feeling quite beat-up by this tough puzzle.  Lots of technical assistance required to get through it in reasonable time.  I found the theme to be deeply opaque, and never would have sussed it without the unifier.  Technically, very impressive: besides the theme, just 1 Q away from a pangram, a tight cluster of 4 Z's, and a dozen 7-letter non-theme answers.  Alas, a total of 39 three or four letter answers reduce the average length to 4.91.