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!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In Which I Get Chastised by Anon

Over at Orange Crate Art, I got into an off-topic debate in comments with an Anon, after he said:

I enjoyed the "lost revenue" phrase. When a government cannot collect all it needs, wants and desires, it is probably not the revenue which is lost, but the serfs. In the USSR this was that which brought them to collapse. The dark joke was that "I was working against my government by not working." As dear, delightful I. F. Stone wrote, "governments lie." So where was/is/will be all that lost revenue anyway? It's an interesting question.

I replied:

Here in the U.S. the lost revenue is due to the lowest tax rates in almost a century on people with huge incomes and enormous wealth.

At the same time, national wealth has been squandered on long-lasting pointless and unjustifiable wars.

The Republican agenda is to undo the New Deal, the Progressive movement, the Constitution, and even the enlightenment on which it is based.

Funny you should mention serfs, since where we are headed is the new feudalism, where our masters are trans-national mega-corporations with no loyalty to anyone nor any thing.

Which prompted this:

Thanks for half the story, Jazzbumpa. In the first two years of this administration, said "lost revenue" could have been collected from those you identify. After all there was that renown "super majority" in Congress in that time. It is lovely to create a partisan story line, but it seems both parties have their hands deep in the cash box, which makes me all the more certain of my choice of verbiage, "serf." A progressive agenda would actually have stopped the deficit spending, closed Gitmo, exited Afghanistan, not put 13,500 troops in Bahrain as just announced this last month, shot drones into Pakistan only in the last weeks, engaged in war acts in North Africa and so much more. The elements of storytelling are about word choices to convey the next twist in the plot. As to "enormous wealth," I am good to go in confiscating a large portion of billionaires' wealth as long as all partisan sides get gouged. It is a sad tale indeed in which some get a free pass for being somehow on one side of the storyteller's divide, but not for those on the other. Let's confiscate half of Adelsohn's and Soros' wealth for starters. I wager they will become part of the same political strategy in an instant. "Lost revenue" has a storytelling function, implying that someone "lost" the "revenue." Well, when that doesn't include both political parties, then it wasn't "lost" from 2008 to 2010, was it? And the wars continue, serfs are not being asked for their political opinion about it. After all, as Jazzbumpa's story continues, "our masters are trans-national mega-corporations with no loyalty to anyone or anything." And the current administration must therefore be part of these "masters." Or at least doing their bidding? Storytelling is about following the sense of the language. Serfs. Lost revenue. Masters. Gosh, why give this current crop of politicians a pass? It does not advance the story. Happily ever after. PS I love jazz!

Anon [despite his disdain for white space] makes some good points here, but this is not one of them:  "In the first two years of this administration, said 'lost revenue' could have been collected from those you identify. After all there was that renown "super majority" in Congress in that time."   There were several Blue Dog Dems in the senate before the Rethug take over of 2010, so the (presumably progressive) Dem majority was illusory, and the super-majority totally non-existent.  To say otherwise is simply repeating a regressive talking point.

Further, there is nothing in my narrative that generates a partisan story line.  It's clear to anyone who has both eyes open that the problems with dysfunctional government lie squarely at the feet of the Rethugs.  Pointing out that Rethugs have degenerated into a condition where they are [to a reasonable first approximation] all wrong, all the time does not in any way suggest that the Dems are right about anything, ever.

Concentrating my critical efforts on a target where I feel they are the most needed is not giving anybody a free pass.  I have limited time and energy, plus the freedom to chose the topics that most engage or enrage me.  Others can take on the Dems - I have other, more important, fish to fry.

If this constitutes a sin of omission, then so be it.  Now I'm out of time now - gotta run.

QE Timeline

When I want to find these dates, I always have a hard time nailing them down.

Here is the timeline for QE and Twist operations from Bill McBride at CR, along with a nice graph of the SP500 in context.

ACA Withstands SCOTUS Review

[NoteThis brief post, as of now only 2 hours old, has already endured numerous updates, (probably with more to follow) only one of which is identified as such.  The others are [mostly] links added after the fact.  Like this one: It's not just me!]

Here's an initial report.

I'm somewhere between surprised and shocked.

This court has shown no reluctance about engaging in partisan hackery. 

As I commented here on Sunday:

The Republicans have 1) a clear agenda of making Obama fail in every way possible, and 2) a clear majority on this court. Constitutionality and legal nuance are utterly beside the point. Bush v Gore and C U proved that.

They will strike down the mandate. Little else matters, since without it, the program fails.

The tortured logic of the majority opinion will be agonizingly painful for anyone with the stomach to read it.


Fortunately, I was wrong.   Chief Justice Roberts sided with the Dem appointees, while Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy dissented, of course.   

[UPDATE:  Their dissenting opinion is not only incoherent on its own, it is legally inconsistent with prior opinions issued by Kennedy and Scalia.]

I can't get past my cynicism of this court, though.  Roberts wrote the majority opinion, but passed the mandate as a tax, explicitly rejecting any commerce clause justification.  Why he would go with it at all is mysterious.   My suspicion is that somehow the regressives couldn't muster whatever it takes to strike this down.  I imagine extensive back room wrangling to see who would be the fall guy.  Either Roberts drew the short straw or he decided it was his leadership responsibility to take one for the team.

[Alternatively, he might now be thinking about redeeming his legacy - I read that somewhere this morning.  (See - I said there might be more.)]

My impression from writing put out by people who think of the Constitution as something more than a goddamned piece of paper is that the commerce clause justification was pretty clear cut.

Still, I don't think this is the end of the story.  In fact, it might be only the beginning.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Keeping Track of Mitt Romney's Lies . . .

. . . is a bigger job than I could possibly handle.

Fortunately, we have professionals on the job.

Via MaddowBlog, Steve Benin gives us the current list.  For this week alone, 30 Romney Lies.  This man belongs in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Republicans simply make shit up.  It's astounding that they think they can get away with it - but evidently, they're right.

Because if you want to read any actual reporting on it, you have to leave the continent.

And we are SO screwed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What the Hell?!? Friday - Martini Purist Edition

In response to this atrocity, I posted this rebuttal, in limerick form.

Martinis are made using gin. 
No other spirit goes in,
Except for Vermouth. 

Now here’s the harsh truth:
To do otherwise is a sin!

Now vodka is fine in its place; 
in martinis, though, never a trace!
It’s swilled on the docks, 

Can be used to clean clocks,
Or in cranberry juice - on the rocks.

Oops.  That second one violates the form.  Oh, well - let it stand on the basis of sincerity and righteous indignation.

Oh, WTH - here's an alternate last line:

The gearwork, the hands and the face.

Here is my recipe for the JzB Martini.

3 oz Gordon's London Dry Gin
1 oz New Amsterdam Gin
1 oz Martini and Rossi Dry Vermouth
2 or 3 honkin' big pimiento stuffed olives skewered on a tooth pick
Ice cubes

Place ice in a steel drink shaker.  Pour liquid ingredients over ice.  Pause for a long moment (or a short minute).  Mix the contents of the shaker by swirling.  Continue until the shaker is too cold to handle, taking care to avoid frostbite.

Place skewered olives in a proper martini glass.

Pour the liquid over the olives.


(picture credit: Mr. Alan)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mark My Mitt

Mitt Romney reacts to being asked - AGAIN - about immigration policy.

H/T to Michael Leddy, from whom I have shamelessly stolen the Mitt = Mark Trail concept.

Though, to be fair, Mark has two dimensions, while Mitt has only 1 (or possibly fewer.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Epic Win

It's rare for me to have a post whose entire raison d'etre* is to simply point to another post, but, as is pointed out here, Keiran Healy has "strategically leveraged his dynamism successfully" and, as is further pointed out in comment #5 of the post that I will eventually link, "is now hors concours** in all future Internets-winning competitions."

Beyond that, it is simply all kinds of awesome.

* I believe this is French for "sun dried grapes," or some such, but I've seen it used in similar contexts by lucid and literate people, so it must be somehow relevant.
** More French, but you're on your own with this one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Montana Republicans - Redux

When I posted about this on Sunday, I was unable to locate a picture of the Obama Presidential Library.

Here is a video report.


 On Saturday, it was not something Sate Rethug Chairman Will Deschamps "was going to agonize over."  Now that it's received national attention, Rethugs are distancing themselves from it.  On Tuesday.  The convention ended on Saturday.

 "It no way represents the values of the Montana Republican party," said party spokesman, Chris Shipp, "and that's why we asked the hotel staff to have it removed from the property immediately."

I have no way of verifying the validity of "immediately."  The outhouse had previously been featured at the Memorial Day Parade in Corvallis.

Dave Hurtt, the brains behind the outhouse, claims he has received a lot of "thumbs up" for his construction.

Good clean fun - right?  Especially the reconstituted birtherism.  And, of course, there are no hints of either racism or sexism.  Don't the simulated bullet holes and the idea that prominent Dem women are prostitutes confirm the innocence of this good, clean fun?

Republicans - Michigan Style

By now, everyone should know about the actions of Michigan House Speaker James Bolger in silencing legislator Lisa Brown.

I received an e-mail from Brown today, inviting me to sign the petition that can be found here.

The petition emphasizes women's rights, which is reasonable under the circumstance.  However, it is the wrong focus.  I emphasized this in my comment on the petition form.

This is about much more than women's issues.  It's about the fundamental American value of real free speech - not money posing as speech - and the rights and duties of elected legislators to represent their constituents.

Speaker Bolger's actions are tyrannical and dictatorial.  Not only do they have no place in representative government, they are an assault on it.


Just wanted to join the chorus supporting Michigan State Representative Lisa Brown, who was banned from speaking on the floor last week by Rethug House Speaker James Bolger after she referred to her vagina in a floor debate over an anti-abortion bill.

As Brown pointed out on Lawrence O'Donnell's TV show last night, the word "vagina" appears at least three times in Michigan statutes.

The speakers actions are nothing less than a blatant violation of free speech - and imposed on a legislator in legislative session.

But don't be surprised.  When Rethugs are in power, this is how they operate.  They did the same thing in Wisconsin - without a vagina to hide behind.

It's become standard practice for Rethugs to double down when they are wrong.  It's pretty refreshing to see Dems double down for a change when they're right.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bad Baseball

Since I don't pay any attention to the NL, I had no idea how bad the Rockies are.

Pretty darn bad.

In case the vid won't play, it's from this website: Baseball Prospectus.

I've been to a lot of 9U games this year, and haven't seen anything quite like it.

Which makes the Tiger's Friday night 10th inning melt down that much more pitiful.

Republicans - Montana Style

Errrr . . .   This happened at the Montana Republican convention.

There was less laughter – although plenty of picture-taking – of an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library” parked outside Missoula’s Hilton Garden Inn, where the convention took place.

Nothing on the outhouse indicated who was responsible for it, although it made an appearance in the Memorial Day parade in Corvallis in Ravalli County.

The outhouse was painted to look as though it had been riddled by bullets.

Inside, a fake birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama made reference to the disproven controversy over the president’s origins. It was stamped “Bull––.” A graffito advised “For a Good Time call 800-Michelle (crossed out), Hillary (crossed out) and Pelosi (circled in red.)”

State GOP Chairman Will Deschamps of Missoula said he didn’t know who’d brought the outhouse, but dismissed it as “a sideshow.”

“It’s not something I’m going to agonize over,” he said. “Some of that stuff is not real good taste. We do have a president of the United States, and we have to honor that.”

Virtual gun violence, birtherism, racism, sexism - what more could a red-blooded, freedom-loving 'Murcan patriot ask for?  It's a shame no picture is provided.

 From comments at the link:

The same outhouse was in the Memorial Day parade in Corvallis, and it was as offensive there as it is now. David Hurtt, former Republican candidate for Ravalli County commissioner and close friend of the editor of the First Edition, Gene Williams, is responsible for the outhouse.


Sorry but it is not "a sideshow." It's a nurtured mental illness that has lost all respect for American and what it stands for.

Your raffle might as well included cop-killer bullets and kkk hoods for all the dignity you have.

So as you engage your damage control machine, just remember that every negative thing you say and do undermines the very foundation of this country and plants the seeds of civil unrest in today's youth.

Frankly, repubs, you are nothing more then drug dealers preying on the weak minds, and unraveling the fabric of civilized society through your actions. Period!

I've often said that when you think of the Rethugs, it's virtually impossible to be cynical enough.  It's also impossible to underestimate their integrity or the thought processes of those hwo have bee taken in by their propaganda.

Wow - we are really screwed.

H/T to DrDick in comments at LGM.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Castamere Revisited

Followed a link to this full version of The National performing this song.  The instrumental section gives a better take on the melody than Matt Berninger's near-talking vocal.

Friday, June 1, 2012

What the Hell?!? Friday - The Rains of Castamere

The conversation about the current season of Game of Thrones here, (where SEK has some great insights on the cinematography) led me to this excellent site, which led me to this review of Blackwater, the most recent episode.  As the forces defending King's Landing are preparing for battle - or more accurately, waiting for the enemy led by Stannis Baratheon to arrive by sea - they fill the long hours drinking and whoring.  And singing.  Since these forces are led by the Lannisters, they are singing a traditional Lannister song, The Rains of Castamere, along with the sellsword Bronn, who Tyrion Lannister has made head of the King's Guard.  It goes like this.

We hear this song again, over the closing credits, this time performed by Indy band The NationalThe Rains of Castamere, even the relatively upbeat version sung by drunk Lannisters is not a jolly song.  But the treatment given by The National's Matt Berninger darkens it to a smoky ebon hue.

I'm only vaguely aware of Leonard Cohen, but this clip immediately brought him to mind.

Here, at no extra charge, is the Leonard Cohen song the oldest granddaughter danced to in competition recently, as an ensemble routine.