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Thursday, April 03, 2014

OTP April 2014: BurstNET Sued for Not Making Equipment Lease Payments

Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 03, 2014 at 01:59 PM | 4718 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: 7 million aca signees and counting, i-95 south, nc, politics

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   301. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4681071)
Wow, another whole page of Bitter Mouse playing the dumb "in aggregate" game?

In aggregate, capitalism has made America the wealthiest country on Earth, so I guess our system doesn't need any tweaks.

In aggregate, Americans have the biggest homes in the western hemisphere, so why worry about a few homeless people?

In aggregate, the overwhelming majority of Americans in 2009 had health insurance that they liked, so who in their right mind would have wanted to upset that apple cart just to get the remaining small percentage insured?

Millions of Americans are burdened with massive college debt for degrees that are all but worthless, but in Bitter Mouse's mind, that's not a problem, because those people probably learned a little Shakespeare along the way.
   302. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4681072)
In theory, but how? Centralized management of resource allocation does not work very well. I am on board with things like a trading tax, a small cost added to each and every financial transaction to siphon some of the money out of the financial sector and reduce the "trade thrashing" that is too common and adds no value.

The financial sector is valuable in what it does, but it could use some additional regulation.


Differential tax rates.

I'd have a 10% corporate tax rate on manufacturing. I'd have a 50% corporate tax rate on pure investment/speculative businesses.
   303. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4681074)
If we fail, disease and famine will restore equilibrium, as they have many times before.


Wherein "equilibrium" equals all of those workers you claim to care about dying while the masters of the universe live in gated enclaves. The least you could do there is support the folks building the next guillotines.
   304. The Good Face Posted: April 07, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4681080)
Well, the fact of the matter is all of you; paleocons, neocons, libertarians, liberals, progressives, rodents; all of you fail to address the real problem at hand, because it's too damned ugly for civilized conversation. I'd guess that the only person here willing to really take it on would be Good Face, who for all of his silliness and absurdity, isn't one to shy away from the ugly brute facts of the world.


Awww, that's probably the nicest thing you've ever said about me.

The real problem is that 7+ billion primates all trying to live at the standards of the post-War west are just too goddamned many primates.


Most likely, although I'm not 100% on it. Thing is, we already have a massive surplus of people in the West who serve no societal purpose other than to be consumers (and contribute to income and wealth inequality, heh). They're not necessary to grow the food we eat or to make the stuff we need to live, or even the toys we play with. All of those things can be (and are) produced by an increasingly small number of people.
   305. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 07, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4681086)
A big pile of nonsense.

Wrong. Protectionism only really harms the economy to the extent that your market is too small. A free trade zone of the US, EU, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, would be amply large to ensure the benefits of competition.


And why are you including South Korea? Because they are doing great, having benefited from globalization. And yet you want to shut the door on the next South Korea. And there is no way in hell the other nations want to play along in your little "current winners only" club, because they know better. they know there is huge value in trading with everyone and pulling up the next winner, even if you don't.


As for world peace, enriching China is about the absolutely stupidest thing one could do. We're following Marx' prediction of selling them the rope to hang us, by subsidizing their military industrial complex and military expansion.


You are assuming they are evil, and thus anything that helps them is bad. I am assuming they are selfish (as are we) and by keeping our rivals close we can build bonds and as we grow ever more interdependent the costs of disrupting that peaceful trade grow ever higher. as those costs grow countries as less willing to be stupid (though there is always stupid - Hi Putin!) and the chances of increased conflict - hot war - drop.

A minimum income is wildly expensive ($10K per person p.a. would exhaust the entire Federal Budget and more), and would require tax rates that would cripple the economy. Any phase out imposes horrendous marginal tax rates on anyone trying to work at a low wage, and would cripple the incentive to get a job.

It also has the same problem of encouraging sloth and bad behavior as current welfare programs. Able bodied adults who are dependents of the state behave badly. It happens in every country.


This is just silly and we have discussed it before. If you create a dedicated tax which in aggregate (on average) takes $10,000 from each adult and distributes $10,000 to each adult there is no net impact on the deficit or budget. A large portion of people see little of no change in their income. The top end loses money and the bottom end gains it. Reduced income inequality.

There is almost no negative impact, certainly much less than existing programs, because it hits everyone equally. There is no incentive to change behavior to act in X, Y or Z specific ways, because no matter what you get $10,000.

It could be that the additional income changes behavior, but I suspect most of that will be positive: early retirement, ability to afford to better care for children by spending less time at work, ability to afford more schooling or to start one's own business. All positives.


   306. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 07, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4681093)
Wow, another whole page of Bitter Mouse playing the dumb "in aggregate" game?


Color me shocked Joe K did not understand what I wrote.

Care to debate the merits of what I said, or are you happy with you little line up of straw men?
   307. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 07, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4681098)
No you don't. You can't. Your brain couldn't handle actually caring about that many. You probably care deeply about maybe 10-15, care generally about another 50-100 at most, and "care" in that faux hippie "love everybody" sense of "caring" about the rest.


Rickey! I actually know more about myself that you do. I do care about all 7 billion. Because I am selfish and I believe that we are all interconnected. I like the fact that a rising tide lifts all boats.

People in South korea doing well the last 50 years has helped me personally. I want everyone to do well, and I am confident that their doing well will help me. Life is not a zero sum game. When China does well I am helped as they are helped when the US does well.
   308. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4681104)
Most likely, although I'm not 100% on it. Thing is, we already have a massive surplus of people in the West who serve no societal purpose other than to be consumers (and contribute to income and wealth inequality, heh). They're not necessary to grow the food we eat or to make the stuff we need to live, or even the toys we play with. All of those things can be (and are) produced by an increasingly small number of people.


It seems likely to me that this very thing is the next great challenge for the human race (at least in the western world) to solve. People have a strong tendency to feel miserable when they know they are doing nothing useful with their lives, yet it seems all but inevitable that as technology marches on, more and more people won't have anything useful to do. What do we do about that? What do we give people to do that amounts to something more meaningful than digging holes and filling them back in just to keep busy?
   309. bunyon Posted: April 07, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4681109)
ROI is a stupid concept to apply to college, because college isn't merely an economic investment (*) and the returns the attendee and society get aren't economic.

In principle, I agree with this. But the economic burden (debt) is a very real cost that warm, fuzzy feelings* can't overcome.


* You know what I mean. Yes, college did wonders for me and I've seen it do wonders for others. That had some positive financial impact on me aside from the technical training. But I'm not sure that I, paying 1980s tuition, came out ahead on just the intangibles. Multiply my debt by an order of magnitude and I'm quite sure I'd have been better off hiking the AT for a few years.
   310. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4681123)
You can blame the government for a good portion of that. Civil rights laws outlaw most screening mechanisms that employers would otherwise use, levying them to rely upon college degrees as a proxy for other measures.

So companies were better run before 1964, when those "screening mechanisms" were in full force?

Since I know (or I hope) that you're not seriously saying that the outlawing of racial or gender discrimination forced employers to hire on the exclusive basis of paper credentials, maybe you should get a bit more specific in your accusation, and include evidence that goes beyond the merely anecdotal or assertive.
I am talking about the expansion of those laws beyond the outlawing of discrimination to the outlawing of disparate impact. Initially Griggs, but then codified in its most extreme form in 1991.
   311. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4681125)
This is just silly and we have discussed it before. If you create a dedicated tax which in aggregate (on average) takes $10,000 from each adult and distributes $10,000 to each adult there is no net impact on the deficit or budget. A large portion of people see little of no change in their income. The top end loses money and the bottom end gains it. Reduced income inequality.

There is almost no negative impact, certainly much less than existing programs, because it hits everyone equally. There is no incentive to change behavior to act in X, Y or Z specific ways, because no matter what you get $10,000.

It could be that the additional income changes behavior, but I suspect most of that will be positive: early retirement, ability to afford to better care for children by spending less time at work, ability to afford more schooling or to start one's own business. All positives.

Putting aside the pie-in-the-sky financing scheme, how would all the things in the last paragraph be possible if a "large portion of people see little or no change in their income"? Are you seriously saying that today's McDonald's workers would be able to spend less time at work, retire early, and/or "afford more schooling or start a business" if their income suddenly increased by $5,000 per year? That's nuts for all sorts of reasons relating to human nature and basic economics/finances.
   312. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4681131)
Rickey! I actually know more about myself that you do. I do care about all 7 billion. Because I am selfish and I believe that we are all interconnected. I like the fact that a rising tide lifts all boats.

Speaking of which, last fall you claimed you were supporting the fine people of Burundi in their struggle to gain a long list of "human rights" including more food, better clothing, good homes, and universal health care. How are you guys coming on that? Made any progress since last November?
   313. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4681132)
It seems likely to me that this very thing is the next great challenge for the human race (at least in the western world) to solve. People have a strong tendency to feel miserable when they know they are doing nothing useful with their lives, yet it seems all but inevitable that as technology marches on, more and more people won't have anything useful to do. What do we do about that? What do we give people to do that amounts to something more meaningful than digging holes and filling them back in just to keep busy?


Mars needs moms.
   314. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4681142)
It seems likely to me that this very thing is the next great challenge for the human race (at least in the western world) to solve. People have a strong tendency to feel miserable when they know they are doing nothing useful with their lives, yet it seems all but inevitable that as technology marches on, more and more people won't have anything useful to do. What do we do about that? What do we give people to do that amounts to something more meaningful than digging holes and filling them back in just to keep busy?

I see the "digging holes and filling them back in" thing all the time, but it's a gross exaggeration of the current or near-future state of affairs. Everywhere I look, I see things that only human hands (or human-operated machinery) can do — crumbling infrastructure, overgrown and litter-filled parks and roadways, etc., etc. There's no shortage whatsoever of work that can and should be done in the U.S.; all that's lacking is the political will to make it happen.

More and more able-bodied people are being paid to sit at home on the couch while our cities are dirtier and more neglected than ever. It's a waste of both capital and human capital.
   315. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4681145)
Putting aside the pie-in-the-sky financing scheme, how would all the things in the last paragraph be possible if a "large portion of people see little or no change in their income"? Are you seriously saying that today's McDonald's workers would be able to spend less time at work, retire early, and/or "afford more schooling or start a business" if their income suddenly increased by $5,000 per year? That's nuts for all sorts of reasons relating to human nature and basic economics/finances.


Pie in the sky? Joe if I put in a tax that takes on average (oh no, more confusing aggregate talk!) $1 from everyone and gives everyone $1 then that is not pie in the sky at all. It is easy as ... well pie.

The last paragraph - for the comprehension impaired - was a list of possible externalities (sorry for the long word) of the policy. In a large enough (warning!) aggregate there will be some people for whom the change will alter their situation enough to change their behavior.

Someone might easily have enough spousal income and savings that a guarantee of $10,000 per adult floor in income would motivate them to do something like retire or start their own business or go back to school. However nowhere did I suggest it would happen all over the place. I simply was suggesting that their are positive externalities (I assume you have looked it up by this point) as well as the DOOM! negative externalities to the "Dole" that snapper is so very fond of.

Speaking of which, last fall you claimed you were supporting the fine people of Burundi in their struggle to gain a long list of "human rights" including more food, better clothing, good homes, and universal health care. How are you guys coming on that? Made any progress since last November?


Well since I believe we are all connected to one degree or another, yes I believe we have made progress. For example millions of americans now have health insurance where before they did not. As Rickey! pointed out, however, my positive feelings for most of those 7 billion are a bit abstract and I confess I do not spend 7 billion moments every day working towards their individual well being.
   316. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4681148)
Pie in the sky? Joe if I put in a tax that takes on average (oh no, more confusing aggregate talk!) $1 from everyone and gives everyone $1 then that is not pie in the sky at all. It is easy as ... well pie.

The "minimum income" thing is not much different than the "cash for clunkers" fiasco or first-time homebuyer credits or any number of other tax schemes.

Also, if it was "easy as pie," it would have happened 40-plus years ago when some people — including that noted socialist, Richard Nixon — were proposing it.

The last paragraph - for the comprehension impaired - was a list of possible externalities (sorry for the long word) of the policy. In a large enough (warning!) aggregate there will be some people for whom the change will alter their situation enough to change their behavior.

Sure, if you give $5,000 to a hundred poor people, three of them might go to school while the other 97 will probably buy a new TV and a better car. I guess that would be a "success" for people like you who don't care about the ROI of massive government programs.

Well since I believe we are all connected to one degree or another, yes I believe we have made progress. For example millions of americans now have health insurance where before they did not. As Rickey! pointed out, however, more positive feelings for most of those 7 billion are a bit abstract and I confess I do not spend 7 billion moments every day working towards their individual well being.

Oh, OK. Well, I just had a good thought for the homeless, starving people of Burundi. I guess I've done my part.
   317. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4681153)
Looks like Putin's moving in Eastern Ukraine...
   318. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4681158)

Why wouldn't he? Obama all but invited him to do so.
   319. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4681163)
Why wouldn't he? Obama all but invited him to do so.


Probably on Kenyan Muslim Socialist invitation paper.
   320. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4681166)
   321. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4681168)
The real problem is that 7+ billion primates all trying to live at the standards of the post-War west are just too goddamned many primates.


FUSION POWER


sea water
   322. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4681174)
The "minimum income" thing is not much different than the "cash for clunkers" fiasco or first-time homebuyer credits or any number of other tax schemes.

Also, if it was "easy as pie," it would have happened 40-plus years ago when some people — including that noted socialist, Richard Nixon — were proposing it.


Yes, on some level all government intervention is the same. So what? That doesn't mean they are all equally useful or all as easily done, or that the political will to do all of them is the same.

And it is hardly fantastical, it just has not been done yet. Unless you are claiming that everything that has ever been proposed but not yet done is somehow fantastical or something equally dumb (which come to think of it...).
   323. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4681175)
Why wouldn't he? Obama all but invited him to do so.


So what exactly should have been done, that Obama did not do? How far are you willing to go for a bunch of Ukrainians? Why so much more than for people in Burundi (for whom you seemingly have only sarcasm).
   324. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4681177)
The "minimum income" thing is not much different than the "cash for clunkers" fiasco or first-time homebuyer credits or any number of other tax schemes.


Why was the "cash for clunkers" program a "fiasco?"
   325. The Good Face Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4681178)
This Putin/Obama stuff is getting old. Yes, Putin smells weakness and is taking advantage of it, but not because Obama is a mincing nancyboy or something silly like that. It's because, geopolitically speaking, USG IS weaker than its been in quite some time. Our military has yet to recover from a decade of squandering itself in ridiculous Middle Eastern adventures, and is shrinking to boot. Our population is war weary and exhausted from dealing with foreign crises that most people have decided really shouldn't be our problem in the first place. There is very little public support for a war in some damn place most people have never heard of and couldn't find on a map. USG's finances are in parlous shape and can ill afford another expensive foreign war. And those things would all be true even if Obama was the wussiest wimp that ever wimped out.
   326. BDC Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4681179)
In the United States, college is seen as a means to build a broad-based, educated citizenry that are prepared to participate in democracy. That is very different than the way that the university system formed in Europe

Sure, but it's hardly like Europe is doing badly at the educated-citizenry thing – which means that differences in the higher-education system don't necessarily have much impact on the level of citizen education, regardless of their intentions.
   327. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4681182)
Counting Solyndra, about 2% of business ventures partly financed by the feds have gone bankrupt.

That's probably a bogus stat, but certainly a misleading one. Solyndra received $535M in federal government loan guarantees - trying to offset it, and other mega-millions crony capitalism payments, with a bunch of $10K Small Business Administration loans or USDA farm loans, doesn't make Solyndra any more justifiable. Surprised that anyone wants to try.
   328. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4681188)
Yes, on some level all government intervention is the same. So what? That doesn't mean they are all equally useful or all as easily done, or that the political will to do all of them is the same.

And it is hardly fantastical, it just has not been done yet. Unless you are claiming that everything that has ever been proposed but not yet done is somehow fantastical or something equally dumb (which come to think of it...).

Yikes. The "[not] equally useful" part was my point in the college discussion, which you spent a page and a half trying to refute.

The rest is just your usual hand-waving and filibustering.

***
So what exactly should have been done, that Obama did not do? How far are you willing to go for a bunch of Ukrainians? Why so much more than for people in Burundi (for whom you seemingly have only sarcasm).

As far as I'm aware, Obama never promised the people of Burundi that if they liked their borders, they could keep their borders, as Obama did with Ukraine.
   329. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4681190)
That's probably a bogus stat, but certainly a misleading one. Solyndra received $535M in federal government loan guarantees - trying to offset it, and other mega-millions crony capitalism payments, with a bunch of $10K Small Business Administration loans or USDA farm loans, doesn't make Solyndra any more justifiable. Surprised that anyone wants to try.


Maybe we should compare apples to apples, then. On the left, we have Solyndra. On the right, Haliburton. I'll take the cocked up attempt to jumpstart "clean energy" and leave the outright war profiteering to you.
   330. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4681191)
This Putin/Obama stuff is getting old. Yes, Putin smells weakness and is taking advantage of it, but not because Obama is a mincing nancyboy or something silly like that. It's because, geopolitically speaking, USG IS weaker than its been in quite some time. Our military has yet to recover from a decade of squandering itself in ridiculous Middle Eastern adventures, and is shrinking to boot. Our population is war weary and exhausted from dealing with foreign crises that most people have decided really shouldn't be our problem in the first place. There is very little public support for a war in some damn place most people have never heard of and couldn't find on a map. USG's finances are in parlous shape and can ill afford another expensive foreign war. And those things would all be true even if Obama was the wussiest wimp that ever wimped out.

I agree with your assessment, but all of the above was all true in 2009, and it didn't stop Obama from making promises he apparently had no intention of keeping.

Of course, back then, Obama and his acolytes clearly expected the world to acquiesce to his every desire, so none of this is all that surprising.
   331. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4681192)
The rest is just your usual hand-waving and filibustering.


No it is making fun of you. Entirely different.

As far as I'm aware, Obama never promised the people of Burundi that if they liked their borders, they could keep their borders, as Obama did with Ukraine.


You set great store in Obama's promises and such vigor in holding him to them, and so little in GOP politicians promises it is almost like you are playing a boring "Gotcha" game not not being serious.
   332. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4681197)
This was all true in 2009, but it didn't stop Obama from making promises he apparently had no intention of keeping.


JoeK is ######## about Obama. This is shocking behavior.
   333. Curse of the Andino Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4681198)
Paul has advocated major across the board cuts to the CDC, the NIH, and the NSF.


I'd cut NSF spending by a third quite easily, with no impact whatsoever on medical research. Slash their grant budget by a third, and remove all language stipulating "Mandatory Overhead" from grants. Essentially right now, you get $5 mil. for your lab at Yale to work on pancreatic research, NSF/NIH gives your University another $2.5 mil. to pay for, well, folks who'll watch and make sure you're doing science in a properly sciency matter while maintaining diversity and fighting off the pernicious effects of rape culture. Administrators, etc. Completely useless individuals who add nothing to the process and ought to be flipping burgers.

Don't know about CDC (it was not an agency we covered particularly by the series of health care newsletters I worked on for Reed-Elsevier a while back).

Joke 871 about Obamacare, it's created a vast new bureaucracy, nationwide, to look into the health needs of their fellow Americans. Entitled bunch without any accountability, but their ranks are legion if you look at the boards of the exchanges or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, or that new healthy advisory commission. We can easily gauge the success of these clowns by the exchange rollout, the billions spent on it by states like California, Maryland, Oregon, etc. Heck, after the exchange failed, three guys took about a week to build a resource that listed every plan in the country, and sent you directly to the insurer to select and pay for it. Billions saved when you eliminate the new bureaucrat class (and every reason to even have a national exchange was eliminated by the various "tweakings" of mandate).

Then, after we've cut grants out of NSF/NIH by a third, let's demolish much of FDA, and eliminate any requirements for Phase III/IV (soon V) testing of New Drug Applications, nothing beyond Phase II for efficacy, so that poorer Americans can get the same kind of benefit from new medical technology the rich are already starting to get overseas. And indeed spur investment and innovation in medical technology to new heights. (Back in the '90s, when I moved to Montgomery County, we had a half-dozen prominent biotech companies, especially focusing on genomics after the success of Celera in mapping J. Craig Ventner's DNA off Gude Drive in Rockville. Now we got a bunch of places that do contract testing. Not because genomics aren't promising, rather the cost of compliance with the constant need to ass-cover by a bureaucrat is so high.) FDA in a heroic moment saved a few thousand babies from defects wrought by thalidomide; killed millions by keeping beta-blockers off the market for a decade.

Take some of the savings from the FDA gutting to boost Medicaid, prominently, given how many doctors have or will drop out of the program.

/And, btw, give me back my HSA and my high-deductible HCP, which I used to have as a self-employed person, and which federal government employees still get 'cuz it's such a great cost-saver for them, and we'll keep health care costs from skyrocketing like they did in q4 since I can take charge of my own life and make my own decisions, thanks.

//Also, I've no need for gynecological exams or well-baby care or birth control. If your system requires me to pay for services it is a physical impossibility to ever receive, #### off.
   334. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4681199)
No it is making fun of you. Entirely different.

You were making fun of me by ignoring the points raised and posting a bunch of gibberish in response? I'm sure it seemed funny in your head, but ...

You set great store in Obama's promises and such vigor in holding him to them, and so little in GOP politicians promises it is almost like you are playing a boring "Gotcha" game not not being serious.

Unless you're being dishonest or pretending to be illiterate as part of another of your funny jokes, it's unclear where you're going with this. I bash the GOP with regularity here, as anyone with 2nd-grade reading skills can attest.

***

#333 is a great comment.
   335. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4681205)
A big pile of nonsense.


I'm thinking very seriously about modifying my handle for the first time ever ...
   336. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4681209)
Done!
   337. The Good Face Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4681212)
This was all true in 2009, but it didn't stop Obama from making promises he apparently had no intention of keeping.


He bluffed and it appears his bluff is being called. I'm certainly open to the argument that it was a stupid bluff to make, lord knows Obama ain't exactly the second coming of Talleyrand, but the mere fact that a geopolitical bluff was made and later called isn't a huge shock or concern to me.
   338. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4681216)
There are nuggets of useful thought @333, but the impulse to hand wave away the problems of sexism in STEM and rape culture in universities is... unhelpful. Certainly the administrative offices at universities are far too large. Like all management profiles, they build their own minor kingdoms and protect and grow them at all costs. This is true in corporate America as well; it's hardly unique to academia. But one of the few places where oversight is actually useful is in providing a safe, non-rapey environment for women to study and work. To swat that away as if its a bauble is, again, unhelpful to say the least.
   339. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4681218)
He bluffed and it appears his bluff is being called. I'm certainly open to the argument that it was a stupid bluff to make, lord knows Obama ain't exactly the second coming of Talleyrand, but the mere fact that a geopolitical bluff was made and later called isn't a huge shock or concern to me.


Had he not bluffed in 2009 we would have spent the last 6 years with the JoeKs of the world telling us how much of a weak appeaser he was... Oh. Nevermind.
   340. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4681223)
That's probably a bogus stat, but certainly a misleading one. Solyndra received $535M in federal government loan guarantees - trying to offset it, and other mega-millions crony capitalism payments, with a bunch of $10K Small Business Administration loans or USDA farm loans, doesn't make Solyndra any more justifiable. Surprised that anyone wants to try.

Maybe we should compare apples to apples, then. On the left, we have Solyndra. On the right, Haliburton. I'll take the cocked up attempt to jumpstart "clean energy" and leave the outright war profiteering to you.

That's not an apples to apples comparison. Solyndra was given huge federal loan guarantees - on which it defaulted. Halliburton was paid for services rendered according to various federal government contracts it was awarded. Is there room to improve (and simplify!) federal procurement law and administration? Yes, but that doesn't excuse the Solyndra deal.
   341. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4681226)
That's not an apples to apples comparison.


Well, of course not. The one was done by an admin you loathe while the other was done by an admin you love. Thus, totes diff brah.
   342. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4681227)
Had he not bluffed in 2009 we would have spent the last 6 years with the JoeKs of the world telling us how much of a weak appeaser he was... Oh. Nevermind.

There was no reason to bluff in 2009. Obama let his ego make a promise he had no intention of keeping, even as commander-in-chief of what remains — by far — the world's strongest military.
   343. bunyon Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4681229)
FWIW, the NSF budget is dwarfed by the NIH budget. You could go a long way in simply mandating that no more than 10% of faculty salary can come from grants. I've been a co-PI on NIH grants where most of the money pays the med school PI's salary. I get a month's pay (my month being much less than my colleague's month). There is a little left over for research. The med school system is entirely set up to have fleets of faculty who simply bring in money, being responsible for ridiculous amounts of their own salary. Tell med schools to figure out how many faculty they need and then have the med school pay them. Cut all that crap out of the NIH budgets and you could restore some order.

Overhead rates on both NIH and NSF grants are probably too high but not by the amount you claim.
   344. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4681232)
Former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey weighs in on Morell's Benghazi testimony:
The acting CIA director's changes to the talking points did indeed enable the blame-it-on-the-video fiction, which served the interest of a president seeking re-election based in part on having put al Qaeda on the run, although in fairness it is not clear that was Mr. Morell's motive. Thus he edited out a description of the warnings that the CIA had provided to the State Department of earlier terrorist attacks on the British embassy and on the Red Cross that caused them to withdraw their personnel, and a description of an attack that blew a hole in the U.S.'s own installation—events that might have suggested that Sept. 11, 2012, was not an isolated event.

Mr. Morell said he did the revising because it would have looked unseemly for the CIA to appear to be pounding its chest and blaming the State Department.

He substituted "demonstration" for "attack" despite the direct statement by the CIA's Libya station chief in Tripoli that there was no demonstration; Mr. Morell changed "terrorist" to "extremist." His explanation is that he relied on the CIA's analysts, who he said had comprehensive information available to them, rather than on the CIA's station chief, who relied on the testimony of eyewitnesses who arrived soon after the attack started. He used the term "extremist" because that's what CIA analysts call terrorists. ...

That consensus about what happened in Cairo, which Mr. Morell repeated in his House testimony, is just as flawed as the conclusions initially drawn about Benghazi. The Cairo violence was organized by Zawahiri's brother and ended with the hoisting of the al Qaeda black flag over our embassy.

To be sure, after the attack Mr. Morell pointed out to White House officials during a secure video teleconference on Sept. 15 that the station chief disputed the analysts' conclusion that there had been a demonstration in Benghazi. That objection might have been sobering if the disclosure of the analysts' conclusion had taken place in a setting where the agency was performing its usual task of briefing policy makers who would then take a decision. And Mr. Morell seemed surprised, in this testimony, that the analysts' views were taken public. Yet the CIA was asked soon after the attack by the White House to help draft "talking points," which should have tipped him off that some extramural talking was planned.

Of course, neither Mr. Morell nor the directorate of intelligence is responsible for where the administration took the narrative, which included both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama invoking the YouTube video over the caskets of the four slain Americans when they arrived in this country. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton told the grieving families that the producer of the video would feel the weight of the law. It was one promise they kept: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was arrested in the middle of the night in the glare of TV lights for a probation violation—the only arrest thus far growing out of the Benghazi attack, even though the identity and whereabouts of the principal suspects, one of whom is an alumnus of Guantanamo Bay, have long been known.

The Kabuki of a House intelligence hearing—with the witness delivering prepared remarks and committee members keeping one eye on the television cameras and relying on small staffs with many other responsibilities, questioning in five-minute bursts—is not suited to the sustained and focused effort necessary to test a witness's story and to pursue leads, even for members who wish to conduct a serious inquiry. The rules of Congress permit the appointment of a select committee to investigate a particular topic when circumstances warrant—a committee staffed for the job and with no other mandate. Notwithstanding Secretary Clinton's immortal "what difference at this point does it make?," the creation of such a committee is overdue.
   345. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4681239)
I'm sure if you gave Mike Mukasey a black site, a waterboard, and a reasonable supply of crack rock he could get the truth out of those witnessed, Jason.
   346. spike Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4681241)
Well, of course not. The one was done by an admin you loathe while the other was done by an admin you love. Thus, totes diff brah.



Even Rand Paul has gotten on the Halliburton-as-boondogle/war-profiteer tip.
   347. Lassus Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4681243)
Mukasey went on to advocate torture for Obama and Hillary? Maybe their children?

edit: DAMMIT
   348. spike Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4681245)
Oh please keep on keepin' on with Benghazi. I grow more cautiously optimistic daily about 2014.
   349. bunyon Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4681247)
I have an issue with a lot (perhaps most) of Mr. Obama's foreign policy. With that said, Putin took Crimea because he wanted Crimea and knew there was no one who could (edit: probably should read "would" - but not even Cheney would try to) stop him. If he wants Ukraine, he'll take that, too. It will take European strength to stop it. The US isn't engaging in a land war in Eastern Europe and the whole world knows it. And Europe isn't going to hit Russia with the kind of sanctions that would really hurt (because it would destroy their economy as well) and the whole world knows it.

In other words, it's a bad time to be an anti-Russian eastern european.
   350. zenbitz Posted: April 07, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4681254)
@343 Are you saying that university research professors are overpaid? Or just the MD(PhD)s? Of course their grants pay their salary... who else is going to pay their salary? Patients? Medical Student Loans? Not sure that is helping overall. You could pay them less, but then they would just become plastic surgeons, trade arbitragers, or corporate lawyers.

I think Stanford takes 50% overhead of all grants. The NIH budget is $50B - and probably 10x that of the NSF. So you could cut the whole thing, put a bunch of eggheads like me out of a job and cut the Federal Budget 1.25%


   351. spike Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4681256)
If he wants Ukraine, he'll take that, too.

Perhaps - but it will be a bitter pill to swallow. As I've mentioned earlier, at some point the Ukrainian military is going to get involved if this keeps up, and then we'll see. They will lose of course, but it will not be pretty, nor particularly advantageous for the Russians to have an asymmetrical conflict of their own, and on their doorstep to boot.
   352. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4681258)
The fallacy here is that governmental investors and business investors are or should be investing using the same criteria. Business investors invest to make money (in theory). Governments invest for the betterment of society (to put it loftily).
Again, I think you're conflating government investment in research (which has its own problems, but not what I'm discussing here) and government investment in private businesses (like Solyndra). When government is giving money to Solyndra, it may not be trying to make a profit for the sake of making a profit (as a private investor would be), but it is trying to provide an operating business with needed capital for a successful business venture; a failed business is a failed investment for the government just as it would be for a private investor.

Governments ARE NOT Business. Even when they are both spending money on the same thing (There was private money in Solyndra too), they are doing it with different objectives. And sometimes government will make bad decisions and bad investments. Breaking news, but sometimes businesses make bad decisions and bad investments also. Both are run by people, so expecting perfection is silly.
Again, that misses the point. It's not that this particular decision was bad, but that it was set up for failure. You're taking a business that couldn't attract sufficient capital from private investors; that is, people with their own skin in the game thought the business model was a bad one. Why would a bureaucrat from the Department of Energy be even a little bit qualified -- let alone more qualified than professional investors -- to pick a business that would succeed?
   353. zenbitz Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4681259)
More and more able-bodied people are being paid to sit at home on the couch while our cities are dirtier and more neglected than ever. It's a waste of both capital and human capital.


How about... mandatory 30 hour work week?
   354. bunyon Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4681261)
I'm not saying anyone is overpaid. I'm saying that med schools don't pay (most of) their profs salaries - those come straight from grants. My friends who teach in med schools are expected to generate up to 80% of their own salary. NIH budget is 10x that of NSF (taking your number) and a significant chunk of that is paying salary to people who, in my opinion, should be paid by the school.

I'd also favor cutting salary entirely from NSF's budget. Pay for instruments and supplies. Let the institutions pay the salaries (for profs and grad students). I wouldn't favor large scale cuts in NSF. I think it entirely possible that NIH is way overbloated.


I wouldn't say either organization is the problem with the deficit.


One problem with both research and education is that it is inherently inefficient. A former NSF director once told me he told a senator he could cut 90% of the NSF budget. He just didn't know which 10% to keep. If the last couple of pages have shown anything it is that there are no easy, one size fits all, efficient solutions to education. There are a few obvious things we could do but perfection is almost certainly not possible. Any system that is efficient will miss a lot of good students (or, in research, good ideas). Any system that catches all the good students (or ideas) will spend a lot of money on bad.
   355. bunyon Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4681263)
If he wants Ukraine, he'll take that, too.

Perhaps - but it will be a bitter pill to swallow. As I've mentioned earlier, at some point the Ukrainian military is going to get involved if this keeps up, and then we'll see. They will lose of course, but it will not be pretty, nor particularly advantageous for the Russians to have an asymmetrical conflict of their own, and on their doorstep to boot.


Oh, sure. I don't know that he'll actually move to "take" Ukraine. He'd be wise not to but just get enough pro-Russia folks in that he keeps them from going to Europe. My only point is that Obama, Bush, Clinton (either), Cheney, Genghis Khan, MacArther, whoever could be POTUS and not much is changing in this situation unless you make serious changes to Europe. The facts on the ground in Ukraine is that that ground is Russian if the Russians desire it.
   356. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4681272)
Oh please keep on keepin' on with Benghazi.

Recently, it seems the organized left has been reduced to making the following points in defense of their positions:

(1) "The debate is over!"
(2) "You're a truther!"
(3) "You're a denier!"
(4) "You're a racist!"

And Sam's favorite:

(5) "Of course, the Republicans are going to pick up Senate seats this fall. Only really angry white men over 90 [forgive the redundancy] turn out to vote in midterm elections."
   357. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4681273)
Why would a bureaucrat from the Department of Energy be even a little bit qualified -- let alone more qualified than professional investors -- to pick a business that would succeed?


They aren't. But they are qualified to identify a business model that *needs* to succeed, despite the risk in the investment, for the common good. And the state, much as it is the only entity capable of investing in counter cyclical spending during recessions/depressions, is also the rare beast that can afford to invest in risk-heavy businesses like Solyndra. It can weather the potential failure, and the potential upside of green domestic energy is far greater than a market of short term interest investors would evaluate.
   358. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4681279)
(1) "The debate is over!"

Funny how the debate is only over on the things lefties like. They've lost roughly a zillion gun-control debates in a row, but that debate is, in their eyes, still far from over.
   359. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4681281)
Recently, it seems the organized left has been reduced to making the following points in defense of their positions:


You posted an op-ed from a Cheney/Rudy Guiliani apparatchik where, for the four hundred thousandth time, the WSJ editorial pages ran a "BUT BENGHAZI" red meat piece for the true believers. What, exactly, did you expect?
   360. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4681283)
They've lost about a zillion gun-control debates in a row, but that debate is, in their eyes, still far from over.


You still have the ability to surprise in your level of sheer stupidity, Joey.
   361. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4681293)
You posted an op-ed from a Cheney/Rudy Guiliani apparatchik

"Apparatchik?" Please elaborate and be sure to cc Chuck Schumer.
   362. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4681294)
"Apparatchik?" Please elaborate and be sure to cc Chuck Schumer.


Is this you descending into GOP talking point trope #1, "but Democrats do it too?"
   363. spike Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4681298)
Recently, it seems the organized left has been reduced to making the following points in defense of their positions:

(1) "The debate is over!"
(2) "You're a truther!"
(3) "You're a denier!"
(4) "You're a racist!"

And Sam's favorite:

(5) "Of course, the Republicans are going to pick up Senate seats this fall. Only really angry white men over 90 [forgive the redundancy] turn out to vote in midterm elections."


Good thing I didn't suggest any of those things - merely that staying on Benghazi/Obamacare works to the Democratic advantage, IMO. You are free to think otherwise if you will.
   364. spike Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4681300)
And today's schadenfreude - married "family values" member of Congress who brought Duck Dynasty dude to SOTU caught on camera canoodling with his aide - she's married too, natch.

footage
   365. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4681307)
Funny how the debate is only over on the things lefties like. They've lost roughly a zillion gun-control debates in a row, but that debate is, in their eyes, still far from over.

When the Dems control both houses by big enough majorities, and when the Supreme Court changes its membership, gun control will be back on the table. Until then, that debate is effectively over.

When the Republicans control both houses with either a president or a veto-proof majority, they can finally repeal Obamacare. Until then, they're just jacking off into their own mouths.

As for Benghazi, that "issue" will probably spawn another half million blog rants and a few more "this time we'll really produce a smoking gun" hearings before it finally peters out with little fanfare.
   366. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4681309)
Is this you descending into GOP talking point trope #1, "but Democrats do it too?"

Nope. Even though Mukasey's views on enhanced interrogation were anathema to Schumer, he nonetheless backed Mukasey for Attorney General, citing his "integrity" and "independence."

But yeah, Sam, it's pretty funny how you immediately resorted to name-calling.

EDIT: Wow, I totally forgot that Schumer went so far as to pen a NYT op-ed in support of Mukasey.
   367. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4681313)
Recently, it seems the organized left has been reduced to making the following points


"organized left"?

I'm intrigued by this, perhaps you are using a definition of "organized" that I am unfamiliar with
   368. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4681314)
And today's schadenfreude - married "family values" member of Congress who brought Duck Dynasty dude to SOTU caught on camera canoodling with his aide - she's married too, natch.

Hey, it worked for David Vitter.
   369. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4681317)
I'm intrigued by this, perhaps you are using a definition of "organized" that I am unfamiliar with

When news broke of the supposed "7.1 million" O-Care registrants, Josh Marshall of TPM and Eric Boehlert and MM immediately labeled anyone who might question the numbers as "truthers" and the term has been used repeatedly by other organs since then.
   370. spike Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4681319)
Vitter was kind enough to pay for services rendered instead of being a dual homewrecker

//and it looks like this hit came from the right - the Ouachita Citizen broke the story, which denounced McAllister as a "liberal" in an editorial last fall -- Peacock and her husband, Heath Peacock, donated a combined $10,400 to McAllister's campaign. The paper endorsed state Sen. Neil Riser (R), who also had the backing of the Republican establishment. (McAllister came out in favor of Medicaid expansion during the race.)

link

   371. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4681323)
Good thing I didn't suggest any of those things - merely that staying on Benghazi/Obamacare works to the Democratic advantage, IMO. You are free to think otherwise if you will.

Your comment wasn't an ideal jumping-off point, Spike, but it was hovering pretty close to the "debate's over" line.
   372. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4681329)
Josh Marshall of TPM and Eric Boehlert and MM immediately labeled anyone who might question the numbers as "truthers"


I have no idea who those people are and I have never heard of them before, so I guess I can say that I actually learned something new today...

   373. Shredder Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4681330)
There is very little public support for a war in some damn place most people have never heard of and couldn't find on a map.
Boy, I hope this isn't true, because if "find it on the map" is the standard, then really no region in the continental United States is safe.
   374. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4681334)
You still have the ability to surprise in your level of sheer stupidity, Joey.

Nothing more predictable — and boring — than Sammy launching into Alinsky mode when the facts aren't on his side.

(It's fun imagining him stomping his little feet, though.)
   375. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4681339)
Wait, what?
TSG’s account of Sharpton’s secret life as “CI-7” is based on hundreds of pages of confidential FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records, and extensive interviews with six members of the Genovese squad, as well as other law enforcement officials to whom the activist provided assistance.

Like almost every other FBI informant, Sharpton was solely an information source. The parameters of his cooperation did not include Sharpton ever surfacing publicly or testifying on a witness stand.

Genovese squad investigators--representing both the FBI and NYPD--recalled how Sharpton, now 59, deftly extracted information from wiseguys. In fact, one Gambino crime family figure became so comfortable with the protest leader that he spoke openly--during ten wired face-to-face meetings--about a wide range of mob business, from shylocking and extortions to death threats and the sanity of Vincent “Chin” Gigante, the Genovese boss who long feigned mental illness in a bid to deflect law enforcement scrutiny. As the mafioso expounded on these topics, Sharpton’s briefcase--a specially customized Hartman model--recorded his every word.

Task force members, who were interviewed separately, spoke on the condition of anonymity when describing Sharpton’s work as an informant and the Genovese squad’s activities. Some of these investigators provided internal FBI documents to a reporter.

Records obtained by TSG show that information gathered by Sharpton was used by federal investigators to help secure court authorization to bug two Genovese family social clubs, including Gigante’s Greenwich Village headquarters, three autos used by crime family leaders, and more than a dozen phone lines. These listening devices and wiretaps were approved during the course of a major racketeering investigation targeting the Genovese family’s hierarchy.

A total of eight separate U.S. District Court judges--presiding in four federal jurisdictions--signed interception orders that were based on sworn FBI affidavits including information gathered by Sharpton. The phones bugged as a result of these court orders included two lines in Gigante’s Manhattan townhouse, the home phone of Genovese captain Dominick “Baldy Dom” Canterino, and the office lines of music industry power Morris Levy, a longtime Genovese family associate. The resulting surreptitious recordings were eventually used to help convict an assortment of Mafia members and associates.

Investigators also used Sharpton’s information in an application for a wiretap on the telephone in the Queens residence of Federico “Fritzy” Giovanelli, a Genovese soldier. Giovanelli was sentenced to 20 years in prison for racketeering following a trial during which those recordings were played for jurors. In a recent interview, the 82-year-old Giovanelli--now three years removed from his latest stint in federal custody--said that he was unaware that Sharpton contributed in any fashion to his phone’s bugging. He then jokingly chided a reporter for inquiring about the civil rights leader’s past. “Poor Sharpton, he cleaned up his life and you want to ruin him,” Giovanelli laughed.

While Sharpton’s acrimonious history with law enforcement--especially the NYPD--rankled some Genovese squad investigators, they nonetheless grudgingly acknowledged in interviews that the activist produced for those he would go on to frequently pillory.

Genovese squad members, however, did not share with Sharpton specific details about how they were using the information he was gathering for them. This is standard practice since FBI affidavits in support of wiretap applications are filed under seal by Department of Justice prosecutors. Still, Sharpton was briefed in advance of his undercover sorties, so he was well aware of the squad’s investigative interest in Gigante and his Mafia cronies.

Sharpton vehemently denies having worked as an FBI informant. He has alleged that claims of government cooperation were attempts by dark forces to stunt his aggressive brand of civil rights advocacy or, perhaps, get him killed. In his most recent book, “The Rejected Stone,” which hit best seller lists following its October 2013 publication, Sharpton claimed to have once been “set up by the government,” whose agents later leaked “false information” that “could have gotten me killed.” He added, “So I have been seriously tested in what I believe over the years.” ...

In the absence of any real examination/exhumation of Sharpton’s past involvement with the FBI and the Mafia, his denials have served the civil rights leader well. Scores of articles and broadcast reports about the Obama-era “rehabilitation” of Sharpton have mentioned his inflammatory past--Tawana Brawley, Crown Heights, Freddy’s Fashion Mart, and various anti-Semitic and homophobic statements. But his organized crime connections and related informant work have received no such scrutiny.

In a “60 Minutes” profile aired three months before the August 2011 launch of Sharpton’s MSNBC show, correspondent Lesley Stahl reported on the “tame” Sharpton’s metamorphosis from “loud mouth activist” to “trusted White House advisor who’s become the president’s go-to black leader.” As for prior underworld entanglements, those were quickly dispatched: “There were allegations of mob ties, never proved,” Stahl flatly declared.
   376. Shredder Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4681348)
Former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey weighs in on Morell's Benghazi testimony:
Relax everyone, it's from the WSJ editorial page, which by Jason's standards, means we can ignore it because the source is biased. Nothing to see here (by Jason's standards).
   377. spike Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4681349)
Wait, what?

Doubtless this raises your opinion of the man - operating as an undercover informant carries extreme risk that never fully goes away. Given that his information (assuming this is all accurate) was instrumental in multiple cases, I'm sure you are ready to thank Al for the dangerous, thankless job he's done for his country, one that few Americans have the courage to perform.
   378. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4681353)
I have no idea who those people are and I have never heard of them before, so I guess I can say that I actually learned something new today...


Marshall is the founder/owner of Talking Points Memo. The other guy runs Media Matters. Both are leans-left media outlets.
   379. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4681365)
I'm sure you are ready to thank Al for the dangerous, thankless job he's done for his country, one that few Americans have the courage to perform.

I'm all for seeing Mafia hoods in handcuffs but why do you think members of the Genovese family felt so comfy telling the Rev. Al about their activities?

And no, he still hasn't apologized for what happened at Freddy's Fashion Mart, let alone the Tawana Brawley hoax.
   380. spike Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4681367)
So acting as a mafia informant isn't good enough to get the benefit of the doubt any more. Tough crowd.
   381. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4681371)

This is just silly and we have discussed it before. If you create a dedicated tax which in aggregate (on average) takes $10,000 from each adult and distributes $10,000 to each adult there is no net impact on the deficit or budget. A large portion of people see little of no change in their income. The top end loses money and the bottom end gains it. Reduced income inequality.

There is almost no negative impact, certainly much less than existing programs, because it hits everyone equally. There is no incentive to change behavior to act in X, Y or Z specific ways, because no matter what you get $10,000.


You literally do not understand how taxes and incentives work.

To fund your scheme, you will need to more than double the tax revenues of the US. That means you will need to double the tax rate the average person pays.

So now instead of middle class people paying 25-30% of their income in taxes (incl. the 7% SS tax paid by employers) you'll need them to pay 60%, instead of upper middle class people paying 35-40% they'll have to pay 75-80%. But of course that won't work because people will cut back on their work effort and evade taxes like crazy. Not to mention the massive recession you will cause.
   382. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4681372)
I'm all for seeing Mafia hoods in handcuffs but why do you think members of the Genovese family felt so comfy telling the Rev. Al about their activities?


Cause he was the Rust Cohle of undercover pols?
   383. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4681382)
So acting as a mafia informant isn't good enough to get the benefit of the doubt any more. Tough crowd.

Spike, suggesting that he deserves neither his own cable show nor invites to the White House is not quite the same as saying he's Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.
   384. The Good Face Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4681383)
To fund your scheme, you will need to more than double the tax revenues of the US. That means you will need to double the tax rate the average person pays.

So now instead of middle class people paying 25-30% of their income in taxes (incl. the 7% SS tax paid by employers) you'll need them to pay 60%, instead of upper middle class people paying 35-40% they'll have to pay 75-80%. But of course that won't work because people will cut back on their work effort and evade taxes like crazy. Not to mention the massive recession you will cause.


It wouldn't just require doubling the current tax revenue; it would also involve doubling USG's borrowing. I actually like the idea, but I can't see any realistic way to pay for it.
   385. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4681388)
Both are leans-left media outlets.

Where "leans" looks something like this.
   386. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4681389)
It wouldn't just require doubling the current tax revenue; it would also involve doubling USG's borrowing. I actually like the idea, but I can't see any realistic way to pay for it.

True.

If you were staring from a place with zero welfare state, it would be a great idea.

But the reality is, you're not going to be able to repeal SS, Medicare, Medicaid and all the other programs to fund it, so you're left with a massive fiscal hole that it is impossible to fill.
   387. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4681390)
Wherein "equilibrium" equals all of those workers you claim to care about dying while the masters of the universe live in gated enclaves. The least you could do there is support the folks building the next guillotines.

I don't believe it will actually ever happen.

But if it did, the upper classes would die like flies. City bound, unarmed and bereft of any productive skill is going to leave you dead in a hurry.

No one will trade you food for your stuff, they'll just shoot you and take it. Faced with any kind of widespread famine, the world will be inherited by those with arable land and guns.
   388. JE (Jason) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4681393)
Where "leans" looks something like this.

You kid, Joe, but don't be shocked if a few posters spend a day and a half arguing that the ship is perfectly upright. To them, only the SS Poseidon qualifies as leaning left.
   389. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4681397)
I'm all for seeing Mafia hoods in handcuffs but why do you think members of the Genovese family felt so comfy telling the Rev. Al about their activities?

Maybe because they're not too keen on cops and Jews themselves. (/ducks)

And no, he still hasn't apologized for what happened at Freddy's Fashion Mart, let alone the Tawana Brawley hoax.

Yeah, and that's something that's just stupid or worse on Sharpton's part, since AFAICT he hasn't made those sorts of inflammatory and libelous group accusations for a long time. He now seems to have settled into the role of a self-appointed elder statesman without ever really owning up to the horrific record he established when he was just breaking into the news. He's sort of like the Chuck Colson of the black Left.

   390. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4681429)
You kid, Joe, but don't be shocked if a few posters spend a day and a half arguing that the ship is perfectly upright. To them, only the SS Poseidon qualifies as leaning left.


I believe the old Navy term for a ship "leaning" like that was that it was "turning turtle"
   391. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:17 PM (#4681442)
He now seems to have settled into the role of a self-appointed elder statesman


glad you put "self-appointed" in there...

he is, was and probably always will be a self-promoting slimebag

He can't apologize for some of his prior misdeeds because a significant segment of his base passionately believes in things like Tawana Brawley wasn't a hoax, and Sharpton coming clean on that would enrage them and they'd turn on him, whereas coming clean would merely mute his critics a bit- none would actually become his supporters to replace the supporters he'd lose.

If he ever comes clean it'll be after he's given up on being or trying to be a public figure of any influence/note. (IOW when it wouldn't matter any more)



   392. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4681460)
Nothing quite like the underwater quarters of the "leans right" crowd whinging about the leans left of TPM and MM. Tell me again about the lean of National Review, Jason?
   393. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:37 PM (#4681462)
[Sharpton] now seems to have settled into the role of a self-appointed elder statesman

glad you put "self-appointed" in there...


Well, I know that I sure as hell wouldn't have appointed him. (smile)

He can't apologize for some of his prior misdeeds because a significant segment of his base passionately believes in things like Tawana Brawley wasn't a hoax, and Sharpton coming clean on that would enrage them and they'd turn on him, whereas coming clean would merely mute his critics a bit- none would actually become his supporters to replace the supporters he'd lose.

The Ezra Klein article on Vox.com that both Sam and I linked to earlier deals extensively with a study by Dan Kahan that speaks to this general point very eloquently. He uses Sean Hannity instead of Sharpton as an example, but the point is independent of any particular political faction:

Imagine what would happen to, say, Sean Hannity if he decided tomorrow that climate change was the central threat facing the planet. Initially, his viewers would think he was joking. But soon, they’d begin calling in furiously. Some would organize boycotts of his program. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of professional climate skeptics would begin angrily refuting Hannity’s new crusade. Many of Hannity’s friends in the conservative media world would back away from him, and some would seek advantage by denouncing him. Some of the politicians he respects would be furious at his betrayal of the cause. He would lose friendships, viewers, and money. He could ultimately lose his job. And along the way he would cause himself immense personal pain as he systematically alienated his closest political and professional allies. The world would have to update its understanding of who Sean Hannity is and what he believes, and so too would Sean Hannity. And changing your identity is a psychologically brutal process.

Kahan doesn’t find it strange that we react to threatening information by mobilizing our intellectual artillery to destroy it. He thinks it’s strange that we would expect rational people to do anything else. "Nothing any ordinary member of the public personally believes about the existence, causes, or likely consequences of global warming will affect the risk that climate changes poses to her, or to anyone or anything she cares about," Kahan writes. "However, if she forms the wrong position on climate change relative to the one that people with whom she has a close affinity — and on whose high regard and support she depends on in myriad ways in her daily life — she could suffer extremely unpleasant consequences, from shunning to the loss of employment."

"Kahan’s research tells us we can’t trust our own reason. How do we reason our way out of that?"

Kahan calls this theory Identity-Protective Cognition: "As a way of avoiding dissonance and estrangement from valued groups, individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values." Elsewhere, he puts it even more pithily: "What we believe about the facts," he writes, "tells us who we are." And the most important psychological imperative most of us have in a given day is protecting our idea of who we are, and our relationships with the people we trust and love.

Anyone who has ever found themselves in an angry argument with their political or social circle will know how threatening it feels. For a lot of people, being "right" just isn’t worth picking a bitter fight with the people they care about. That’s particularly true in a place like Washington, where social circles and professional lives are often organized around people’s politics, and the boundaries of what those tribes believe are getting sharper....



   394. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 07, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4681476)
In Pakistan, giant poster of a child looks up at drone operators

Linking it mainly because of this paragraph:

As many as 900 civilians may have been killed and 600 seriously injured, including children, in more than 330 strikes since 2004, according to an Amnesty International report on the U.S. drone program in Pakistan released last fall. On the ground, that's created a culture of fear.


I had never actually heard estimated numbers for collateral damage before so that was shocking to me. Even if the estimates were nearly triple the actual count that would still be an average of one civilian killed for every drone strike. That's appalling.
   395. tshipman Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4681485)
I had never actually heard estimated numbers for collateral damage before so that was shocking to me. Even if the estimates were nearly triple the actual count that would still be an average of one civilian killed for every drone strike. That's appalling.


I have a lot of sympathy for injured civilians. But ... do you know what might have prevented that? Maybe if you hadn't harbored an international terrorist and mass murderer, Pakistan. Maybe Pakistanis should look to their own government first.
   396. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4681488)
Kahan calls this theory Identity-Protective Cognition: "As a way of avoiding dissonance and estrangement from valued groups, individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values."

Andy posted/quoted the above and then, just 7 minutes later, posted this. Hilarious.

(Andy apparently believes that gaining weight is unrelated to caloric intake and/or amount of exercise. When "Don't judge!" conflicts with science, "Don't judge!" wins.)
   397. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4681491)
Maybe if you hadn't harbored an international terrorist and mass murderer, Pakistan. Maybe Pakistanis should look to their own government first.


I'm not sure Pakistan has a government in the sense you're using it here.
   398. spike Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:30 PM (#4681495)
Given that we used to handle cross border incursions by carpet bombing or even invasion of non-combatant countries, I'd bet the collateral damage is a good deal lower this time around.
   399. Shredder Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4681503)
You kid, Joe, but don't be shocked if a few posters spend a day and a half arguing that the ship is perfectly upright. To them, only the SS Poseidon qualifies as leaning left.
While in Jason's world, a hack who writes for a right wing rag and posts about studies he clearly hasn't read is a perfectly unbiased and quotable source!
   400. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:41 PM (#4681506)
Given that we used to handle cross border incursions by carpet bombing or even invasion of non-combatant countries, I'd bet the collateral damage is a good deal lower this time around.


Any argument that boils down to "Kissinger was worse" needs work.
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