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      Stumbled across this lovely chart the other day. The core fact most people, including the folks in the “best every world” Panglossian movement (like Pinker) don’t seem to understand, is that even if they were right (questionable), the prosperity we have is based on burning down our house. “Sure is hot! Hottest it’s every been!” […]
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PDS: How Bad Can It Get? Really Bad.

Really bad, tasteless, disgusting. A stunningly repulsive headline was posted a short time ago at Huffington Post by Erik Sean Nelson, a self-described “fiction author and comedy writer.” The post was pulled quickly by someone at Huffpo, but here’s the screenshot (h/t Sweetness and Light)

Huffpo screenshot

Note that “Trig” is included in the tags. I guess Nelson thinks his readers at Huffpo are too slow to get his meaning without being hit over the head with a hammer.

The post is also still linked at the news site Memeorandum.

From Sweetness and Light:

We really don’t accept The Hill’s suggestion that Mrs. Palin is resigning her office so as to run for the Presidency. If anything, her comments imply just the opposite.

It is painfully clear that she is sick of being the target of the politics of personal destruction from the Democrat and their lickspittle slaveys in our watchdog media.

And who can blame her?

Anyone who seeks to run for or hold office as a conservative should have their head examined. They and their family and friends will be endlessly savaged in every way possible.

Mrs. Palin in every way embodies the kind of citizen-statesman that the Founding Fathers envisioned when they created our republic.

That she could be hounded out of office, and possibly politics altogether, by a ravening mob marks another nail in the coffin for representative government in our country.

This is a terrible day for our once great nation.

It truly is a sad day when anyone thinks it’s OK to publish something like that at a supposedly “progressive blog.” Arianna needs to dump Erik Sean Nelson immediately.

The hatred being directed at one woman and her family in this country is truly frightening.

UPDATE 1: Here is the full text of the original Huffpo article by Erik Sean Nelson. (h/t Hot Air)

“Palin Will Run in ’12 on More Retardation Platform”
Friday, July 3, 2009

It was posted at the Huffington Post at 6 p.m. EDT.

The text of the article:

In Sarah Palin’s resignation announcement she complained about the treatment of her son Trig who always teaches her life lessons. She said that the “world needs more Trigs, not fewer.” That’s a presidential campaign promise we can all get behind. She will be the first politician to actually try to increase the population of retarded people. To me, it’s kinda like saying the world needs more cancer patients because they teach us such personal lessons.

Her first act as President: To introduce a Pre-K lunch buffet that includes lead paint chips. Sort of a Large HEAD-START Program.

She will then encourage women to hold off on pregnancies until their 40’s just to mix up some chromosomes.

She now is in favor of abortion only in case of diploid birth.

Her policies will increase jobs because Wal-Mart is building new stores each day and someone has to be the greeter.

This will lead to smaller government because fewer Americans will have the cognitive ability to hold a government job.

Look, she says she’s resigning as governor because people are making attacks on her and Trig. If she ever did become president, all Osama bin Laden would have to do to defeat the United States is Photoshop a picture of Trig and she’d surrender the country that night. As she said, “That’s not politics as usual.” It isn’t. Politicians don’t usually quit for so stupid of reasons.

UPDATE 2: Nelson’s scary-obsessive anti-Palin website.


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Sarah Palin’s Resignation: What Does it Mean?

Chris Cillizza claims she is running for President:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will resign her office later this month, according to several sources familiar with her decision, freeing her to build a national political team and travel the country in support of an expected 2012 presidential bid.

The first term governor is stepping down “so that she can take the fight for her issues elsewhere,” according to a Palin aide.

Palin’s decision comes amid polling that showed her losing altitude from the stratospheric heights to which she ascended following her election in 2006 but remained a strong favorite to win reelection

The latest from AP:

Palin hastily called a news conference Friday morning at her home in suburban Wasilla, giving such short notice that only a few reporters actually made it to the announcement. Security blocked late-arriving media outside her home, and her spokesman, Dave Murrow, finally emerged to confirm that Palin will step down July 26. He refused to give details about the governor’s future plans.

[….]

Palin spokesman David Murrow said the governor didn’t say anything to him about this being her “political finale.” Murrow said he interpreted Palin’s comment about working outside government as reflecting her current job only.

“She’s looking forward to serving the public outside the governor’s chair,” he said.

Political analyst Larry Sabato, in Charlottesville, Va., said Palin’s announcement left many wondering what her plans were.

“It’s absolutely bizarre, and I think it eliminates her from serious consideration for the presidency in 2012,” he said.

Palin hinted that she had a bigger role in mind, saying she wanted to make a “positive change outside government.” But she kept supporters in suspense, promising later Friday on Twitter: “We’ll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election … this is in Alaska’s best interest, my family’s happy … it is good. Stay tuned.”

I’m clueless but curious.

Full Text of Palin’s Resignationat TPM.

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Sarah Palin Resigns as Governor of Alaska

SarahPalin_01

From CNN, it appears that Sarah Palin has announced her resignation as Governor of Alaska.  So, what about the speculation that her move was a strategic one? But, since there is nothing conclusive on the reasons, it appears all we can do is speculate.  What are your thoughts?

Bairly downgrading the FDIC. Recipe for disaster or 11 dimensional chess?

Sheila Bair is featured in a new article in the New Yorker by Ryan Lizza. Bair keeps coming off as an Elliott Ness type, even though she’s a Republican.  We’ve gotten so used to Republicans being the discredited bad guys that it’s hard to imagine one that might have the integrity of a Patrick Fitzgerald in the area of bank regulation.  Unfortunately, Obama’s claims of bipartisanship only go so far.  Bair, described as “not a team player” by Tim Geithner’s guys, is having her department subordinated to Treasury so that the bankers can escape the possibility that the FDIC can take them over.   For the first time since the FDIC was created, its power in the area of bank regulation and resolution has been become secondary to the power of the Treasury and the Fed. The backstory has a bit of that old familiar ring to it:

These debates entered into the Administration’s discussions about building a new regulatory architecture. In late March, Geithner previewed for Congress some of the key concepts that Treasury wanted. The outline seemed to match the Bair camp’s ideas.  [Ladies, has this ever happened to you?]  A new authority with the power to take over large financial institutions that posed a systemic risk to the economy was modelled on the F.D.I.C., which, Geithner suggested in his testimony, would be an equal partner with Treasury in resolving such firms if they failed. He seemed to be saying that although he and Bair may have disagreed about how to handle the current crisis, there was much more consensus about how to deal with a future one.

But in the white paper detailing the new legislation, which the Administration released on June 17th, all the new authority to regulate firms that posed systemic risk was vested in the Federal Reserve. During Geithner’s testimony before the Senate, Jim Bunning, of Kentucky, echoing Bair, was incredulous. “It took fourteen years for the Fed to write one regulation on mortgages after we gave it the power to do that,” he said. “What makes you think that the Fed will do better this time around?” In addition, while the March plan said that the “Secretary and the FDIC would decide” how to resolve a failing firm, the new plan said such power should “be vested in Treasury.” Geithner could appoint the F.D.I.C. to do the technical work of cleaning up the firm, but between late March and mid-June—when Bair’s aggressive ideas about how to handle Citigroup leaked to the press—Bair’s agency had been downgraded from Treasury’s equal partner to a sidekick. The senior Treasury official said that stripping authority from the F.D.I.C. had nothing to do with pressure from the banks. “Making a group decision on something that must be done really quickly is not easy,” he said. “At the end of the day, someone has to have the ability to make a call, and it’s better to have that authority vested in one person.”

When I asked Bair about the plan, she said, “I think it reflected a lot of input from a lot of different agencies, and the private sector, and insurance and consumer groups. It’s a very difficult task to try to balance all the different perspectives and come up with a package, and every compromise is going to have people who are unhappy about various parts of it. So I think it’s a starting point.” I said that she sounded disappointed. “I don’t know if ‘disappointed’ is the right word,” she replied.

Ok, to recap: Bair came up with a pretty good idea to regulate bank holding companies by the FDIC.  Geithner took that idea and made it his own with the additional spin that the department that does a superb job of actually regulating the banks, the FDIC, would be bypassed as regulator in favor of the Treasury, which has a record of one regulation in the past 14 years.  Problem solved!  There is something deeply unsettling going on here if the Obama administration is willing to trash one of the best departments it has in order to give the finance guys what they want.  We’re all going to suffer for this.

I would like to attribute part of this to stupidity but in the past couple of decades, the way women who know better have been dismissed as subordinates to be ignored or outliers who are unserious has been pretty astonishing.  Sexism costs.

Tid bits

On the economic front, Paul Krugman is downright dour this morning and his patience with the Obama administration appears to have been short-lived.  He probably resolved to give positive reinforcement to the Obamatons in the WH whenever they did something right but it looks like the adminstration is full of slow learners with cocky attitudes.  Um, that kind of s#!^ isn’t tolerated at Princeton.  Paul has always thought that the stimulus package was too small and now he thinks we are headed off a cliff if we don’t get another one.  Methinks Paul has been looking at some graphs and they’re bad, bad, bad.

Bad for us too.  As some of you may know, my industry has been going through a lot of changes recently and laying off obscene numbers of scientists.  It’s especially bad in the US where the workforce has no protections and labor here is even more of a variable cost than in Europe.  Some of my colleagues were talking about this just yesterday, hoping that they could ride it out and escape the Grim Job Reaper’s scythe until the economy picks up.  I said I had been reading Paul Krugman and this recession isn’t like the other ones in recent history and the economy probably isn’t going to pick up for the forseeable future, ie a decade or more.  Yep, Paul’s crepe hanging ways have gotten to me too.  Thanks a lot, Paul, for shattering our illusions of economic security.  Why can’t you just smoke hopium like your sell-out colleagues?

There’s more where that came from.  Simon Johnson is busting on the banks this morning at Baseline Scenario.  I’m getting a sick feeling that the Obama admin has completely lost the plot and is no longer in control.  They may have thought they could handle it but it’s clear that they don’t have the cojones to go up against the bankers.  It reminds me of Jon Corzine promising to rein in NJ’s property taxes and then just throwing up his hands in frustration a couple months after taking the job.  Neither Obama or Corzine has any fricking clue what their doing.

Alegre’s Corner has been going gangbusters lately.  I mean, Day-um!  There are some really good reads there.  Here are just a few you should check out:

A conversation with NOW’s new president, Terry O’Neill

America’s effective unemployment rate- 18.7%(?)

Senator Franken picks a good role model- Hillary

Regarding Franken, I respect his decision to put Minnesota first and to compromise when it’s in Minnesota’s best interest.  Let’s face it, even if he is the 60th vote, it is unlikely that his firewall against the filibuster is going to get much action except in the most unusual circumstance.  But his vote will clarify the fault line that exists in the Democratic caucus in a way that will be obvious to all voters.  And when we can clearly identify the culprits, some of whom may not be completely obvious right now, we can go after them in the primaries.  So, it’s all good.  Just do your best, Al.  Make the rest of us human and visible.  That’s all we ask.

For those who are waiting for it, here’s your Michael Jackson news du jour:

Debbie Rowe, who is the biological parent of two of the Jackson kids, is preparing to go mano a mano with Kathryn Jackson over custody. Ok, let me see if I have this straight: The biological mother who relinquished custody, hasn’t seen the kids in years and as recently as last week said she doesn’t want them in her life, is going to go up against the custodial grandmother who is a Jehovah’s Witness and is probably partially responsible for Michael’s lifelong pathological quest for his missing childhood.  Why can’t these ultra rich people ever get these things straight in their wills???  It’s obvious that Diana Ross, who has no biological connection, would be the better choice here.

Developing: My colleague alerted me to a new bill being pushed through the NJ legislature that would guarantee local energy producers a profit regardless of market conditions.  Not sure of the details but there was an organization canvassing her neighborhood the other day that was agin it.  After what Matt Taibbi reported the other day about Goldman-Sachs possible involvement in the profit making potential of cap and trade credits, it’s important to track all of this stuff down and figure out if there are any connections.

Hey!  Summer has arrived in NJ.  No, really!  We’ve managed to get a few days of mostly sunny skies with occasional WTF?! sunshowers and temperatures that justify ditching the sweater.  I might even put on a pair of shorts today.  OooooOOOOoooo!  Last Sunday was probably the nicest day for all of the month of June.  I have a picture for posterity of the Red Mill Museum in Clinton, the site of last Sunday’s Renaissance Faire (Still have the big bruise on my arm from taking up archery again for the afternoon).  You can almost feel the cool water of the Raritan River’s south branch…

IMG_0163

New Jersey:  More than an exit.

Friday Morning at The Confluence: News and Views

Another rainy day in Boston

Another rainy day in Boston

Good morning Conflucians! It’s another cold, rainy day in the Boston area. I’ve gone through the stages of grief, from denial to anger, and so on, and I think I’ve almost reached acceptance. Summer is just not coming to New England this year. It’s 57 degrees on July 3. So what? I should be grateful it’s raining and not snowing, right? The local papers have started publishing snarky little articles like this one about the “bright side” to all this rain and cold.

OK, it’s wet. OK, everyone’s miserable. OK, the sun shines on every other city in the country and Mother Nature is spitting on Boston.

But instead of thinking of this weather front as a personal affront, why not grab onto that silver lining and recognize the rainfall for what it is: a respite from the rat race known as summer.
Yes, summer, the ultimate setup for personal and recreational failure, when every day is supposed to be a mini-vacation….

But now, thanks to unremitting clouds and drizzle, it’s off.

No need to squeeze into the bathing suit. Or do your hair (it’ll frizz up faster than a flash flood). Or sport a tan. Or go for that walk or run or bike ride or show up for bootie boot camp at 6 a.m. It’s pouring!

As for the beach, no wonder everyone’s lying down, exposing themselves to deadly UVB rays. Getting there is exhausting. Lewis and Clark had an easier time looking for the Northwest Passage.

Oh hardy har har. Don’t get me wrong. I’m really happy for all of you Conflucians who don’t live up here in the Northeastern corner of the country. Who knows? Maybe God is punishing us for our sins or something.

The Boston Globe reports that there is one genuine positive to all this ghastly weather.

While the onslaught of miserable June weather played havoc with people’s plans and psyches, it has also provided a quiet benefit to many city neighborhoods. Fatal and nondeadly shootings in Boston have plunged, and police acknowledge the weather has been a key factor.

Well I’m glad there really is one positive effect of the horrible weather…. So let’s see… what’s happening in the rest of the country this morning?

You’ve probably heard the Washington Post did a quick reversal yesterday on its plan to sell access to politicans and Post writers and editors. It was all just a big misunderstanding, according to Howard Kurtz.

Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth yesterday canceled plans for a series of policy dinners at her home after learning that marketing fliers offered corporate underwriters access to Post journalists, Obama administration officials and members of Congress in exchange for payments as high as $250,000.

“Absolutely, I’m disappointed,” Weymouth said in an interview. “This should never have happened. The fliers got out and weren’t vetted. They didn’t represent at all what we were attempting to do. We’re not going to do any dinners that would impugn the integrity of the newsroom.”

Sure Katharine, we believe you. Some guy in marketing is taking the fall for the public relations nightmare:

The fliers were approved by a top Post marketing executive, Charles Pelton, who said it was “a big mistake” on his part and that he had done so “without vetting it with the newsroom.”

I’d just love to know if the Post actually had an agreement with the White House to participate in these “salons.” It really does sound like something this administration would do, but we’ll probably never know for sure, since investigative journalism is dead.

It looks like the Washington Post still has at least one real reporter on staff though. R. Jeffrey Smith read some recent court filings and found some interesting background on the Valerie Plame case showing that Dick Cheney was in control of the Bush administration’s revelations about Plame’s status with the CIA in order to minimize the damage caused by her husband Joseph Wilson’s critique of the case for war in Iraq. Surprise, surprise, the Obama administration is trying to keep Cheney’s activities secret.

A list of at least seven related conversations involving Cheney appears in a new court filing approved by Obama appointees at the Justice Department. In the filing, the officials argue that the substance of what Cheney told special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald in 2004 must remain secret.

No such agreement was reached between Fitzgerald and Cheney at the time of their chat, according to a 2008 Fitzgerald letter to lawmakers. But the Bush administration rejected requests by Congress and a nonprofit group for access to two FBI accounts of the conversation, saying the material was exempt from disclosure under subpoena or the Freedom of Information Act.

The Obama administration has since agreed that the material should not be disclosed. A Justice Department lawyer at one point last month argued that vice presidents and other White House officials will decline to be interviewed in the future if they know their remarks might “get on ‘The Daily Show’ ” or be used as fodder for political enemies.

Gasp! Heaven forbid! You mean politicians could be laughed at? Or their actions might be used to defeat them in an election? I can certainly see why our Department of Justice would be fighting hard to prevent that. Seriously, do we live in anything event resembling a free country anymore? Continue reading