Friday Night Karaoke

This is an open thread, so join in at home.

My favorite karaoke song:



What songs will you karaoke in public?



Introducing the new house wine

Kreusch Zeller Schwarze Katz Reisling


I was searching for a wine that goes good with schadenfreude and someone suggested a German wine. That’s when I recalled a wine that we used to drink when I was stationed in Deutschland that we called “Black Cat.” I couldn’t remember the name but I recalled it was a white wine from the Mosel Valley.

So I googled for it, starting with “Mosel black cat” and found this:

The Moselle Valley extends over 160 km or 100 miles from Germany’s oldest town, Trier, to the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine in Koblenz, named from a Roman settlement Confluentes.

A couple links later I found that wine I remembered:

Leonard Kreusch Riesling Zeller Schwarze Katz

I knew immediately I had found the new official house wine of the Confluence.

Here is a review from Winechateau.com:

The famous German Black Cat! Light and fruity, but not too sweet.. great as an aperitif and goes well with Chinese chicken salad, fruit, and cheese. A classic!!

I am not normally a wine drinker but I am advised that Reisling wines go well with with white fish or pork, and they are one of the few wines that can stand up to the stronger flavors and spices of Thai and Chinese cuisine. Reisling is also good with chocolate and schadenfreude.

The first glass is on the house so join us at the bar and tell Rico “Black Cat, bitte!


This is an open thread



Alan Simpson and the Republicans are Domestic Terrorists

And if Obama and the Democrats go along with this, they’re finished as a party:

The Republican co-chair of the White House’s fiscal commission predicted this morning that his controversial recommendations for reducing long-term deficits will have a real opportunity to become enacted next year, when the nation brushes up against its debt ceiling, and newly elected Republicans threaten to send the country into default.

“I can’t wait for the blood bath in April,” said Alan Simpson at a Christian Science Monitorbreakfast roundtable with reporters this morning. “It won’t matter whether two of us have signed this or 14 or 18. When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What in the hell do we do now? We’ve got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give ‘em a piece of meat, real meat, off of this package.’ And boy the bloodbath will be extraordinary.”

[...]

Yesterday, Republican leaders, including soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner and NRCC chairman Pete Sessions made it clear that the the GOP will attempt to tie increasing the debt limit to spending cuts.

“We’re going to have to deal with it as adults,” Boehner said at a leadership press conference. “Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.”

Your obligations are to US first before anyone else.  You borrowed from our retirements to pay for your wars and your decades of tax cuts for the rich and your banker friends who can’t stop gambling.  Now, pay us back.

Democrats, don’t run for cover behind Alan Simpson and the Republicans who are salivating over gutting Social Security.  And don’t think you can force hardship on millions of Americans in order to pin the blame on Republicans just in time for an election.  That’s immoral.  You have enough votes to be held personally responsible if they get their way.

Accountability before Austerity


Ask not what Obama can do for you, ask what you can do for Obama

"O-bama O-bama O-bama"


Inside the mind of a rabid Obot (no link, biohazard):

And it’s why I smile when I read people shrieking and rending their garments for him to do this or say that as if he were their servant.

Obama IS our servant you moron. Haven’t you ever heard the term “public servant?”

We don’t work for him, he works for us.

This fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between Obama and the rest of the country explains a lot about Obots. It explains a few things about Obama too.

Anglachel:

Both of these actions are part and parcel of the movement style campaign politics Obama favors and which is so beloved of the righteous Stevensonians. It is narcissistic and a-historical (We are the one’s we have been waiting for), refuses to acknowledge politics as they are, and antithetical to mundane, interest-based transactional governance. It doesn’t want responsibility, only obedience and adulation, and so refuses to take it when things go belly up.

Barack Obama ran for office because he wanted to BE President of the United States. He wanted the perks and privileges of power, he was on the ultimate ego trip.

Hillary Clinton wanted to be president because she wanted to USE the power of the office to do things for our country, to make our nation a better place. She could care less about the trappings of power.

Both Hillary and Bill Clinton have made public service their life’s work. And not just our nation, they have served the world. There is no higher calling than that.

Barack Obama came into office presumptuously comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln. Today is the anniversary of Lincoln’s most famous speech:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

I’m gonna make a prediction – 100 years from now schools and banks will be open on Barack Obama’s birthday.




“He seemed like Cream of Jesus on Toast”?

(“Cream of Jesus on Toast” is Violet Socks’ invention.  Read it all here.)

Why don’t we take a stroll down memory lane and revisit February 2008. That was when we found out that Barack Obama was not even original, let alone likely to be audacious:

In FEBRUARY 2008, we knew that he was “just words”.  The last time a US presidential candidate used someone else’s speeches and passed them off as his own without attribution, he was disgraced and had to quit running.  But you guys were cool with Obama doing it because he was such a big CHANGE! agent.  He was going to save the world.  He was The One.

And look what I found yesterday in Will Bunch’s Twitter stream:

@Will_BunchWill Bunch
Then do something!! RT @BarackObamaDeeply disappointed GOP senators prevented Paycheck Fairness Act from being brought up for debate, vote

All of you guys who are now screaming for him to “Do Something!” were, and still are, screaming “Racist!” at us back then for not buying the hype harshing your mellow.  Gee, we’re sorry.  What were we thinking?

Only that the country was on the brink of disaster and that Obama did not understand the mechanisms of government well enough to fix whatever Bush left in his wake.  We needed an engineer, not a dreamer.  But now that he’s wasted the tremendous opportunity he had, something we warned you he was going to do, he is shrugging off his responsibility and telling fibs about the true audacity of FDR.  Anglachel has the rundown in A Hundred Days:

The combination of Hoover, FDR and Obama as a focus of analysis appears to be catching on. I just read Thomas Ferguson’s post The Story Behind Obama’s Remarks on FDR on New Deal 2.0. He starts with a quote from a transcript of remarks Obama gave to “liberal bloggers”:

“We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly.” – President Obama

There are two things that jump out at me from this quote, regardless of the context.The first is the self-exculpation – we didn’t get all we wanted because we took a bolder path than FDR, so don’t criticize us! – and the breathtaking erasure of history.

Um, helloThe First Hundred Days of FDR? The stuff of Democratic legend and the bane of Republicans to this day? FDR moved on the FIRST day of his presidency and did not stop for 100 days, passing legislation that would become the most stunning reimagining of American society since Lincoln and possibly since the founding of the nation.
Both of these actions are part and parcel of the movement style campaign politics Obama favors and which is so beloved of the righteous Stevensonians. It is narcissistic and a-historical  (We are the one’s we have been waiting for), refuses to acknowledge politics as they are, and antithetical to mundane, interest-based transactional  governance. It doesn’t want responsibility, only obedience and adulation, and so refuses to take it when things go belly up.

Deep down, you knew.  You had to know.  You screwed us and the rest of the country over anyway.  You ruined the party and its primary election season.  You helped dismantle the left and left yourselves and us weak in the face of Republican winner-take-all political scheming.

We told you that nothing good ever comes of a bad seed.

If you don’t like the fruit, don’t forget that you were the ones who planted the tree.

Thank Ghu It’s Freitag


‘Quantitative Easing': The Hidden Government Subsidy for Banks

This video went up on Zero Hedge yesterday, I believe. In the first minute you will want to throw both of these little bears in a sack and drown them, but by the end they win you over. There are so many things about QE that are crazy, but there’s one thing that I’d like to point out in particular. Yes, this is a huge money-printing program with potentially disastrous inflationary consequences. And yes, the influx of all this money could easily distort markets and prices far beyond the extreme distortions we’ve already been dealing with (commodities prices shot through the roof after this latest QE round was announced). But the thing I want to focus on is the subsidy aspect of QE, pointed out in the video. QE is designed to buy Treasuries and other assets, but the Fed does not simply go out and buy Treasuries itself; it does it through its primary dealers, who include of course banks like Goldman, Sachs. The Fed all but announces when it’s going to be doing this buying and in what quantity, which allows the banks to buy up this stuff at lower prices ahead of time and then sell it to the Fed at inflated cost.

Even forgetting about the obvious insider trading aspect to all of this, the official middleman status of the banks is a direct government subsidy and it is little remarked upon, even by the Tea Party crowd, which is otherwise so opposed to “welfare.” But these sorts of subsidies exist all throughout the financial services industry.

You want to take out a mortgage or a credit card; you obviously can’t get your credit from the government at 0% interest. What you do instead is you get a mortgage from a private bank at 4.7% or 5%, and that bank in turn has borrowed from the Fed at 0%. This would almost make sense if indeed these banks were legitimately providing a service for that 5% cut, i.e. if they were carefully and judiciously weighing the credit risk of applicants. But if anything these banks have been even more irresponsible (more irresponsible by far, actually) with their money than the masses of people who are now in trouble with their credit cards, mortgages, student loans, etc. They not only don’t deserve this subsidy any more than ordinary people do, they’re actually the worst possible destination for an appropriation of emergency funding, which is what this Fed money is supposed to be.

Take seven minutes and watch the video. Plan on being irate afterward. Seriously.

After you watch it, read this:

In Defense of Ben Bernanke

All in all, it looks like the nation and the world need an Economics 101 refresher. So let’s start with the basics.

The Fed’s plan is to purchase about $600 billion of additional U.S. government securities over about eight months, creating more bank reserves (“printing money”) to do so. This policy is one version of quantitative easing, or “QE” for short. And since the Fed has done QE before, this episode has been branded “QE2.”

Here’s the first Economics 101 question: When central banks seek to stimulate their economies, how do they normally do it? If you answered, “by lowering short-term interest rates,” you get half credit. For full credit, you must explain how: They create new bank reserves to purchase short-term government securities (in the U.S., that’s mostly Treasury bills). Yes, they print money.

But short-term rates are practically zero in the U.S. now, so the Fed wants to push down medium- and long-term interest rates instead. How? You guessed it: by creating new bank reserves to purchase medium- and long-term government securities.

That sounds pretty similar to garden-variety monetary policy. Yet critics are branding QE2 a radical departure from past practices and a dangerous experiment.

Continue reading

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