Thursday, December 24, 2009

SAR #9359


Only the White House and Congress change hands, not the government.

Happy Anniversary:   I t was 30 years ago this week that the Soviet Union sent the Red Army into Afghanistan, an adventure that lasted ten years and undoubtedly hastened the end of both the Soviet empire and the Soviet Union. A silent moment of remembrance seems in order.

Christmas Cheer:   Things have dramatically improved, for now only 53% say the economy is in trouble, and only a minority (45%) expect things to get worse during 2010.

Bacon:   For some time Europe has been becoming crispy along the edges - Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, the Baltics and even Britain and Italy – but now France is heading for a credit rating downgrade too. Somebody needs to lower the flame.

Unmasked:   The health care lack of reform bill has shown Obama to be a deeply cynical politician who believes in nothing and will say anything in order to manipulate the public for the political goals of his contributors.

Mexican State:   Mexican Marines managed to kill drug kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva last week, in a long gun battle that ended up with one marine, Melquisedet Angulo, dead. The drug gang retaliated by killing Angulo's mother, aunt, and siblings. This is what a failed state looks like.

Sure Thing:   Pennsylvania is betting its budget on “table-gambling' and the employment revenue from casinos. The governor says that if the legislature does not pass the gambling bill, he will have to close the State Museum, shut various state parks and lay off 1,000 more government employees – sort of a scratch off. This, too, is what a failed state looks like.

War's Price:   The additional 30,000 troops (not to mention the extra 50,000 mercenaries) will add $30 billion to the Afghan war's annual toll. If they manage to kill or capture all of the estimated 100 al-Qaeda fighters in the country, it'll cost us only $300 million a head. And the rest of the billions and billions budgeted for the place can be spent in bribing the Taliban to behave long enough for us to call it victory and come home.

Revisionism:   November saw a 10.7% drop in new home sales – and that was after October's sales were adjusted downward 7%.

Sausage:   Climate change is not about science, its about politics. At least it was in Copenhagen, where the Chinese played spoiler of the common will for the common good as well or better than the GOP. [The last two paragraphs are key. Starting with China is “becoming an uncontested superpower...”]

Observed:   Ford has offered to pay all of its 41,000 hourly workers in the US to go away, either through a buyout or an early retirement.

Engulf, Devoured:   Citadel Broadcasting – number 3 with a bullet! - is choking to death on its 2.7 billion grab of ABC Radio from Disney in 2007. Now, with $2.4 billion in debts and only $1.4 in assets, they are going Chapter 11 and their stockholders are going to zero. They'll be right back, after this message...

Field of Dreams:   First they built a mall, and no one came. Then they made half of it into condos and town houses and still no one came. Now they've run out of lenders, and – like many commercial real estate ventures - are dying of too much hope.

The Worst of Times:   The decade now closing, the Bush era that started with the overthrow of the Constitution and ended having overturned human decency, was the decade of the American oligarchs. The US has always had robber barons, but now they have become the entrenched, controlling social class. The current impoverishment of the American public can be directly traced to their rapacious enrichment. It wasn't about “wealth creation”, it was a dramatic upward transfer of society's wealth from the many to the few. You were there, why don't you remember? Why aren't you angry?

Should You Feel Guilty About Walking Away?   No, if it is an economic decision, emotions like guilt should not figure into it. Unfortunately people are not rational about the house they live in, were they, McMansions never would have caught on, nor would paying more than about 25% of after tax income for shelter.

Porn O'Graph:   Them's fighting words...


Demetrius said...

The Worst Of Times. Today I saw an item in Naked Capitalism on Kleptocracy by Edward Harrison of Credit Writedowns. Just about sums it all up. My best wishes for Christmas and The New Year.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

Speaking of the health care lack of reform bill, Jane Hamsher focuses on the machinations having to do with dropping the public option, saying

>>Obama is triangulating against you today. They want all those diaries of outrage by "liberals," so that right wingers will look on and think "good for him - like Joe Lieberman, he really knows how to stick it to liberals." It's the move of a deeply cynical politician who believes in nothing but shameless manipulation for political convenience. Meanwhile, the media will completely overlook the fact that this bill is nothing but a corporate giveaway written by sleazy greedy whores willing to hold the nation's sick hostage in order to pull off the biggest Shock Doctrine scam in world history. <<

Hamsher's language may seem overwrought - please make some allowance for the fact that she is a cancer patient, and so the situation of someone living with a life-threatening illness and needing extremely expensive medical care is not purely theoretical for her.

May the Creative Forces of the Universe be with her, and with us all, in this solstice season, and have mercy on our souls, if any.

Anonymous said...

Porn O'Graph: Them's fighting words...

PP (simplify!) Makes You Dumb (or probably dumber than you were before the PPP (PowerPointPresentation, stupid!):

"NASA, the board argued, had become too reliant on presenting complex information via PowerPoint, instead of by means of traditional ink-and-paper technical reports. When NASA engineers assessed possible wing damage during the mission, they presented the findings in a confusing PowerPoint slide -- so crammed with nested bullet points and irregular short forms that it was nearly impossible to untangle. ''It is easy to understand how a senior manager might read this PowerPoint slide and not realize that it addresses a life-threatening situation,'' the board sternly noted."

*****Of course, trying to eliminate a few Towelheads running around in GoatLand is probably not as complex as NASA stuff, though to date more expensive.

*****And might it be that the Cratering of the Economy might in part be attributable to American Business being riddled with cheap and omnipresent PP and other simplistic and dumbifying software?

*****One wonders what the Collapse Of America looks like in PP. Obummah give us a show!

(All the above begging the question: how you gonna run increasingly complex systems with Simplicity? Start by explaining the taming of Derivatives.)

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to you from Holland, CKM.

Hopefully 2010 will continue to bring more SAR goodness.

getyourselfconnected said...

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays CKM! Have a great New Year.

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Anonymous said...

Your site is where I get quite a bit of news. I check it 6 days a week. Thanks so much,
Jeff from Oregon

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