Saturday, October 17, 2009

SAR #9290/Weekender

What is the next phase of this train wreck?

Oil War: The Pentagon pays about $400 a gallon to put fuel into a Humvee, helicopter or aircraft in Afghanistan. Hope it's worth it.

Take Notes: Citigroup reported 3rd quarter net income of $101 million and a $0.27 loss per share. See, they had an $851 million after-tax gain, which turned into a $3.1 billion reduction in income... Or something.

Noted: The headline read “Highway expansion goes green.” This is wrong in so many ways.

Multiple Guess: Arrange the following countries in the order in which they will collapse: China, Dubai, Iran, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, North Korea, Spain, USA, Venezuela. Usual prizes & conditions.

Keeping Score: The current US budget deficit is $1.4 trillion – 10% of the country's GDP and 66% more than it took in. How long before something's got to give? How long before that something is the taxpayer, starting April 15th?

Massive killer whale pod sighted: No, it wasn't in lower Manhattan, it was off the coast of Scotland. Fifty of 'em.

Fine Print: It's a good idea to start with the footnotes when reading a bank's financial statement, because that's where the bodies are buried. Sometimes the notes are less than wholly forthcoming too. Especially about the effects of mark-to-make-believe.

Truth Will Out: “The stock market is not just a marketplace in which buyers and sellers meet to exchange interests in businesses. It is a den of speculation and the goal is profit – the shorter term the better.”

Super Goo: A scientific 'howdunit' as our intrepid heroes figure out the secret to barnacles' super glue. Hint – it's a bit like blood clots.

Not Newsworthy: “FDIC Forecasts More Bad Loans and Bank Failures”

Please Explain: In Iraq, a Halliburton employee was gang raped and kept in a shipping container for a week. When she got out she found that Halliburton's contract with the government prevented her from suing them. An amendment by Senator Franken, designed to prevent a repeat of this, drew 30 votes against it. Each by a Republican senator. God Bless Halliburton and the United States of America.

Headline Only: “Field experiment on a robust hierarchical metropolitan quantum cryptography network.” Raise your hand and quietly leave the room if you understood that.

Level Playing Field: I'd be less repulsed by Goldman Sachs paying billions in bonuses if they first paid back the $13 billion in TARP funds they got under the table via AIG. Wouldn't it be nice if every loan we took out from the banksters came with a guarantee that if we didn't get around to paying it back, the government would?

Farm Fun: Crops in the fields are running behind schedule while the weather seems to be running ahead of schedule. Rain, snow, stuck in the mud. Ah, farming.

In Summary: Dollars, those greenish pieces of paper we call money, are just a state of mind, a belief. They are not backed with anything but “the full faith and credit” of the US – which has more faith than credit these days. They are not even as pretty as wampum was. They have no intrinsic value, being backed by broken promises. And remember, throughout history all currencies have been debased, and paper currencies – sooner or later- lose all value.

Porn O'Graph: 15 weeks and counting.... 15 weeks is 4 months without a paycheck.


Demetrius said...

Ireland and North Korea have already collapsed, Dubai is sinking and in an earthquake zone, Latvia is a nice place in winter, so long as the heating is on, and the USA, as ever is trying to be the biggest and best. The UK, as ever, will finish at the back and in a heap.

TulsaTime said...

My favorite quote I saw today-

"The problem of being a declining empire doesn't have a solution"


If only somebody in DC actually believed that. But nooooo, we have to jump up and down and wave our little flags. We have the best xxxx in the world (favorite rethuglican phrase). Then submit bill to congress to divert more federal funds to district of boytoy.

quote is from niall 'the beastmaster' ferguson

ventu said...

You seem to need a lot of things explained around here, so I will oblige...

The young lady who alleges she was raped had an employment contract with Haliburton that requires her to submit to binding arbitration insted of suing in court. Many companies in the USA have such terms in their contracts.

Franken's amendment only changes the law to prohibit future contracts that require arbitration instead of a lawsuit. It does nothing for the young lady who may have been raped. (She has not had her day in court because she agreed to arbitration but now wants to sue--- her matter is pending)

So it is just a simple matter of whether the government should be dictating the terms of employment contracts, and 30 Republicans think the government should not. They are not in favor of rape, as you certainly know.

I hope that helps you to understand.

Anonymous said...

It won't help.

CKMichaelson said...

ventu - I'd be interested in the rationale for removing a crime from the criminal justice system and placing it in a civil arbitration arena. The crime, my understanding, is against the people, not against a person, and 'we the people' did not sign away our interest in the state preventing and punishing a crime (rape in this case).

Certainly the locus of the crime - Iraq - raises interesting questions of jurisdiction over criminal acts, but the general assumption is that as part of the war apparatus, civilians under contract to companies working in Iraq under contract to some part of the US government should have some of the basic protections under US law in a country where the US pretty well did away with effective local legal exercise over US citizens.

The idea that US government contracted civilians can engage in crimes with impunity because the host (?) government cannot touch them and the US government pretends not to have legal reach, is preposterous. If the US had the legal reach to invade and disassemble the country, it certainly can assume the right to administer justice to its civilian camp followers.

Anonymous said...

The argument against Franken's amendment is an almost verbatim resurrection of the 19th-century "right to contract" argument which was a refuge of scoundrels then and is now, too. Taken to its logical conclusion, which was done often by the Supreme Court in the 19th century and some Republicans would perhaps like to see done again, it eviscerates all labor law on the grounds that any government regulation of hours, wages, working conditions, etc., violates the employee's right to freely contract for their labor. It regularly was used to support sharecropping, child labor, laws denying workers the right to bargain collectively, etc. I do not think those who are returning to its logic want to bring those things back, but I do think their understanding of history is so pinched by free market magical thinking that they either don't see the connection or have never heard the history.

fajensen said...

How the hell can a mere employment contract cancel State & Federal Law??

Maybe she should sue in Iraq. I am sure that the Iraqi court will deal swiftly and summarily with the perps ;-)

Anonymous said...

The bill only pertains to companies with Federal contracts. So it's apparently still okay for all other companies to have these employment contracts. If so, this smacks of grandstanding.

The Obama Justice Department could pursue criminal charges. The crime occurred four years ago. Isn't anybody angry with Eric Holder?

Anonymous said...

Hope + Change = Suckers!

EricWHacker said...


You seem to be pompous. The Repubs think that a government "by, for and of the people" should not dictate terms of contracts between its contractors and its people? Sounds like the intent is to rape us all.

If you wanted to show some intelligence and explain something, try the quantum crypto article.

Raises hand and silently leaves the room

Eric Hacker said...

Returns to the room, unknowingly trailing TP attached to the bottom of the left shoe

Robust - multiple links to provide redundancy in case of a circuit loss. Suppose you had two phone lines at home.

Hierarchical - The links are not all equal. One is always primary. If that fails, the secondary takes over, etc. Though you have two phone lines, only one will work at a time. If your spouse is on the phone, you can't use the secondary one.

Metropolitan - You can't make long distance calls.

Quantum Cryptography - The NSA spooks will have no way within the laws of physics of intercepting the call on the wire. The laws of physics being a bit more robust than the laws of government this would be an actual restriction on their powers. That's why they have gone ahead and bugged your house.