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    • Exchange Rates 101
      In light of the collapse of the Ruble I think it’s worth revisiting what controls exchange rates. Supply and Demand. Yeah, if you know something about the subject you’re probably shaking your head. Supply and Demand doesn’t set prices in many cases in the way that an Economics 101 course tells you. Such texts will [...]
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Conflucians Say Tonight on Blogtalkradio

Think Virtually Speaking is the only game in town?  Not so fast.  We started Conflucians Say a couple of years ago.  It’s kind of like The View except we’re unpaid, political junkies who no one has ever heard of.  One thing is for sure: we are the other side of the lefty blogosphere.  You know, the ones who got it right?  Not that we’re keeping score or anything.

Join us tonight to find out whether RD can remember how to work the damn switchboard.  We’ll go over current events from the bitter knitters’ POV.

It’s tonight at 9:00pm EST on blogtalkradio.

Conflucians Say: The Dark Side of the economic meltdown

Like there’s a good side, right?

From Market-Ticker: What’s Dead (Short Answer: All Of It)

Just so you have a short list of what’s at stake if Washington DC doesn’t change policy here and now (which means before the collapse in equities comes, which could start as soon as today, if the indicators I watch have any validity at all. For what its worth, those indicators are painting a picture of the Apocalypse that I simply can’t believe, and they’re showing it as an imminent event – like perhaps today imminent.)

  • All pension funds, private and public, are done. If you are receiving one, you won’t be. If you think you will in the future, you won’t be. PBGC will fail as well. Pension funds will be forced to start eating their “seed corn” within the next 12 months and once that begins there is no way to recover.
  • All annuities will be defaulted to the state insurance protection (if any) on them. The state insurance funds will be bankrupted and unable to be replenished. Essentially, all annuities are toast. Expect zero, be ecstatic if you do better. All insurance companies with material exposure to these obligations will go bankrupt, without exception. Some of these firms are dangerously close to this happening right here and now; the rest will die within the next 6-12 months. If you have other insured interests with these firms, be prepared to pay a LOT more with a new company that can’t earn anything off investments, and if you have a claim in process at the time it happens, it won’t get paid. The probability of you getting “boned” on any transaction with an insurance company is extremely high – I rate this risk in excess of 90%.
  • The FDIC will be unable to cover bank failure obligations. They will attempt to do more of what they’re doing now (raising insurance rates and doing special assessments) but will fail; the current path has no chance of success. Congress will backstop them (because they must lest shotguns come out) with disastrous results. In short, FDIC backstops will take precedence even over Social Security and Medicare.

And that’s just the first half of the list.

The President is thinking about ways to save money:

Why Would the Obama Administration Want to Make Vets Buy Private Insurance for Their Health Care?

I am not a health care wonk but some of my good friends are, so I’ll refrain from pretending I can construct a health care argument whereby this makes sense (or doesn’t, for that matter). Instead, as a moral matter, veterans deserve free, government-provided health care. As a political matter, why the Obama administration would want to squander its good will in the military community is completely beyond me. Murray calls the plan DOA, as she should. But why should it be considered seriously in the first place?

Has lying become the underlying theme?  More from Market Ticker:

“The Bezzle” Defined

Here are some examples of “The Bezzle”:

  • Liar loans: The borrower can’t possibly pay off the loan on the original agreed terms and the institution that makes the loan “passes it” to an investor fully aware that the borrower almost certainly lied about credit capacity.
  • Overly-rosy projections about growth in property values: The speaker is either incompetent (doesn’t understand exponents – a fundamental mathematical concept) or is intentionally deceiving people.
  • Overly-rosy projections about the stock market: “The market always comes back” and “over long periods of time it outperforms other investments.”  Both true, but both misleading; if you’re 18 you might be able to wait for it to come back, but the market has remained flat to down from a given level for more than 20 years before.  How long did you say it was before you intended to retire?
  • “The Internet is doubling every three months!”:  It was – for about six months.  But that got embedded into the business plans of thousands of businesses, long after the growth rate had started to slow down to something more sustainable.  Oh by the way, the fundamental lie of that claim is that in 7 years  the Internet would have gone from its original two people to covering more than the entire population of the planet, including the rice farmer in China and the starving child in Bangladesh.

In short The Bezzle is “the lie” that is always present in business.

The truth is always some degree of lying in business transactions – always has been, always will be.  And so long as The Bezzle doesn’t become the underlying theme in business, it simply bankrupts the people who try to run it when they get discovered.

But when The Bezzle becomes the underlying premise and basis for business transactions that entire segment of the market is doomed.

All this and more will be discussed tonight on Conflucians Say: The Dark Side of the economic meltdown

Conflucians Say tonight at 10PM EST

Conflucians Say tonight at 10PM EDT

Please join me (Katiebird), BostonBoomer, and Dakinikat at Conflucians Say:
Time: 10pm Eastern
Call-in Number: (347) 539-5420

Comments closed until after the show

Thursday: Radio killed the bloggio star?

If there’s one thing I’ve found really exciting about the new progressive blogosphere it is the degree to which we are not afraid to use new internet features to be heard- literally.  I love to blog but, dangit!, do I always have to be tied to this damn keyboard???  Wouldn’t it be great if I could listen to other bloggers while I am theoretically cleaning my actual house?

In the past month, we have seen a mini explosion of blogtalkradio shows from Sheri Tag’s chatty NO WE WON’T to Larry Johnson’s No Quarter Radio and BettyJean and Pagan’s Morning Q. Darragh Murphy launches one of her own, Meet Me in Denver with Murphy and Friends premiers Saturday at 9:00pm You can see some of the lineup at Piper’s calendar at JustSayNoDeal

But that’s not the only place where we have gone.  Will Bower is a Facebook addict.  Flineo does video.  And there’s something called Lively.com that looks veddy interesting, indeed.  It looks like a version of Second Life with more user creativity involved.  I can only speculate because they don’t have a Mac version yet and apps that touch Windows shall never touch mine.

I have a theory about all of these different media popping up in  recent years.  Well, actually, it’s not a new phenomenon.  People have been trying to find each other for millenia but only in the last 200 years or so has it been able to hook up regardless of geopgraphy.  The internet has accelerated that pace and scope.  With Morse code and telephone, there were fixed endpoints.  The person you wanted to reach was a known.  With the internet, the endpoints have disappeared.  You can virtually roam the world and get to know new people and for some of us, that has freed us from lifetimes of quirkiness.

If you’re the parent of a gifted kid, you see how hard it is to be assimilated in real life.  There just aren’t too many people like my Brook.  She’s not strange, she’s just not normal.  It’s hard for her to identify with some kids.  Some of them just don’t share her interests.  She feels like she’s talking to carrots with others.  There’s nothing wrong with either Brook or her peers.  It’s just that the peers are more likely to find and hang out with kids who live across the street while Brook has to wait for special summer camps to meet people like her.  That’s the way some of us are as well.  We love politics, analysis, idle speculation, snark and satire, freeing our minds from the confines of the rigid suburban thought patterns.  It’s hard to have coffee with the neighbors sometimes.  They just don’t get our passions.  And maybe we don’t get theirs either.  But online, we can find each other.  We’re connecting and our online experiences are becoming richer with each new killer app. Someday, we may have our own Lively place or Second Life at The Confluence where we can kick back after work and have a cocktail party.

It’s all good.

So, what next big thing have you Stumbled Upon?

As for these guys, well, plus ça change…

Meanwhile:

  • Whoo-Hoo!  Conflucian commenter Janis has jazzed up the ads for The Denver Group.  See the new ad here.  Great job, Janis.
  • Over at Alegre’s Corner, she has a post on the nasty machinations of the Bush admin that is now trying to recategorize certain types of birth control as abortifacients for the purpose of getting them excluded from federal healthcare coverage.  Take your BP meds before reading Action: Tell Bush and the HHS Enough!. (the bastids)  Hillary is on it but who doesn’t need allies?  Oh, and where is the NARAL endorsed candidate on this issue?  Anyone seen him?  Well, THAT’S odd.  Alegre says his website doesn’t mention the rule at all. 
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