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Bad Commercial Contest

Bring out your worst.









Winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to Captain Spaulding’s basement.

I think I got the threadwinner here:

Continue reading


Sorry I haven’t been around much this week. Yesterday was my nineteenth birthday, but other than that, my wifi was down, so I couldn’t get all week online anyway.

I posting right now because I thought it would only be decent of me to let you know that I am going on something of a posting hiatus for a couple of months. I will occasionally be posting on my own blog, but other than that I am probably going to be gone for a little bit, because I have to sell my laptop and a lot of other things to make ends meet for my mother and I… stupid recession. And stupid responsibility! I’ll still hang out, of course, just not as much as normal. Leaving for too long would be cruel and unusual, I know.

In any case, yesterday was Beltane and I promised RD we would have a Conflucean Beltane Party. This is an open thread.

TONIGHT – Bad Commercial Contest

8 pm Eastern

Saturday: This song is for you, Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the IMF, professor at MIT and blogger at baseline scenario and WaPo’s The Hearing, has written another excellent post on the financial industry’s walking dead.  In Zombie Oligarchs, Simon lays out why these guys, interested in self-preservation only,  just continue to feed but don’t improve entrepreuneurship in the world:

Some new entry and productive reallocation of talent is possible in this situation.  For example, John Mack is saying that pay caps mean his bankers are leaving – among other things – for “other industries”.  But the G20 policy of stabilization-through-rollover, at the national and corporate level, means that incumbents’ implicit subsidies actually go up.  The environment for starting businesses in the US has not completely collapsed, but it has also definitely not improved.

So we get to keep many of our oligarchs, but relative to the recent past they will hunker down.  You might be fine with that – although remember that it does not prevent reckless risk-taking and an increase in your taxes down the road.  Larry Summers says this happens only twice per century, but his own argument is that we have moved away from the kind of financial system that was built in the mid-20th century.  If we’ve gone back to the wilder days of the 19th century, the cycles could be quite different (look at the NBER’s data).  If the US has really become more like an emerging-market-with-a-reserve-currency, that is also not encouraging.

We’re looking at a near term dominated by the existing economic power structure.  The remaining big banks (in the US) and big banks/corporates (elsewhere) are made invincible by campaign contributions, political connections, and everyone’s reasonable fear of a great depression.  It will be hard for outsiders to challenge that structure effectively – either as new companies or with new ideas.  But you won’t see a great deal of innovation, investment, and growth coming from these survivors.

In light of current events, I think this song is very timely.  This one’s for you Tom, er, Simon.

Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

So Much Reading

  • The fight over Souter’s replacement on the SCOTUS
    From The Politico

    The top candidate, on paper, is Sotomayor, 54, a Clinton appointee to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. She meets the empathy criteria, having grown up poor in the South Bronx, as well as Obama’s preference for sterling credentials, having graduated from Yale Law School.

    Even before Souter’s retirement was formally announced, some in the GOP already say they’re gearing up for a fight with Obama over his nominee, particularly if he picks Sotomayor. “The GOP obviously does not have much power in D.C. these days, but just like we helped ourselves by opposing the deficit-busting stimulus, opposing left-wing nominees like her is our path back to the majority,” one Republican source said.

    Souter’s Retirement Sets Stage for Nomination Fight

    Obama may break with tradition for high court pick

    Obama to Seek a Justice Attuned to ‘Daily Realities’

    James Walcott reads Ed Whelan from NRO who “lays out the staggering toll facing the nation once Souter’s seat is filled by an Ivy League amalgam of William Kunstler, Susan Sarandon, and Richard Dawkins’ selfish gene dressed in a Che Guevara t-shirt.” He goes through the “horror list” and does his darndest best to assuage Whelan’s angst
    Radical Left-Wing Agenda to Raise Army of Clones

  • GOP Quo vadis?
    Here is SC Senator Jim DeMint’s reaction after Senator Specter switched parties:
    “I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.” (Sweet Jesus may that wish be granted!)

    The good Senator from SC took his case to the op-ed page of the WSJ in a column oxymoronically titled
    How Republicans Can Build a Big-Tent Party

    Here’s Kimberly Strassel from on the same pages
    The GOP After Specter

    Once she was done drooling all over Obama’s performance during his last press conference (I didn’t know she had much drool left after slobbering for years all over George Bush), Peggy Noonan also offered her 2c
    ‘Shrink to Win’ Isn’t Much of a Strategy

    Tobin Harshaw at the NYTimes Opinionator has a very good compendium of the debate
    Weekend Opinionator: Souter, Specter and the Future of the G.O.P.

  • I know it’s already the 102nd(?) day of the Obama administration but we can still catch up and we will. Preety Aroon from the FP Blog has a
    Roundup of Hillary Clinton’s first 100 days

  • What should we do about the “swine” flu?
    Why Swine Flu Isn’t So Scary

    Flu fighters warn against complacency, seek clues

    Nestlé bans staff travel to US

    A Spotty Response to the Flu Threat

    Gail Collins chimes in
    Joe Biden, the Flu and You

  • Oh no! Obama to his Liberal base: “So long suckers”. Again. Is it status quo we’re smelling?
    U.S. May Revive Guantánamo Military Courts (h/t myiq2xu)

    The Obama administration is moving toward reviving the military commission system for prosecuting Guantánamo detainees, which was a target of critics during the Bush administration, including Mr. Obama himself.

  • We’re not quite done with Iraq (will we ever) but the next nightmare is already here
    US faces Iraq-like spending problems in Afghanistan

    The US record on reconstruction spending in Iraq continues to be less than stellar, lawmakers complain, raising fears that US spending in Afghanistan could be plagued by the same kinds of excess and lack of accountability.

    Gates reluctant to bolster U.S. Afghan force further

    As it leaves Iraq, Britain looks warily to Afghanistan

    Pakistan is fighting the Taliban
    Pakistan gains some ground against Taliban

  • The latest from “Torturegate”
    The lowly prison guards jailed for “prisoners abuse” are sick of being scapegoated and are asking themselves while they are sitting there. Somebody tell Condoleezza Rice.
    ‘Abu Ghraib US prison guards were scapegoats for Bush’ lawyers claim

    Prison guards jailed for abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq are planning to appeal against their convictions on the ground that recently released CIA torture memos prove that they were scapegoats for the Bush Administration.

  • Thoughts on the Chrysler Bankruptcy
    Union Takes Rare Front Seat in Chrysler Deal

    The Business Week: Chrysler’s Holdouts

    Why we should thank the Chrysler hold-outs (Felix Salmon)

  • What did the Monte Carlo simulation performed on the banks tell us?
    Stress test results to be released on Thursday
  • Citi Said to Need Up to $10 Billion

  • Life in The Big Apple is about to become even more expensive
    Bloomberg Proposes Sales Tax Increase

  • This wasn’t Jane Harman’s doing, was it?
    U.S. Drops Case Against Ex-Lobbyists
    Former AIPAC Employees Faced Espionage Charges

  • Women are on the march.
    Girl power: Is there a new revolution in China?

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