Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Reality can't be ignored forever. First, some in Greece are still ignoring it.
June 29 (Bloomberg) -- More than 9,000 protesters marched through Athens today as Greek unions staged their fifth general strike of the year to challenge government plans to cut pension benefits and loosen labor laws.9,000 people protesting in Athens, a city of 745,000, isn't that much. It's a far cry from the monster protests earlier this year where three people were killed. For the most part, it seems limited to the government workers.
The walkout halted state services including public transport and tax offices and disrupted some hospitals. The 24- hour stoppage hit ferry lines at Piraeus, Greece’s largest port
“It’s the usual routine,” said Elina Zaroulia, 25, who does fashion public relations for Hugo Boss in Athens and didn’t join strikers today. “Protesters, banners, slogans, but if you work in the private sector you go to work, it’s the way it is and definitely now that it is a time of crisis.”In the end, the protestors lost out and the real work of accepting the consequences of borrowing too much money has begun.
“Striking is an irremovable right of the Greek people and of every worker, but we are steadily doing our job,” government spokesman George Petalotis said in an e-mailed transcript of comments made in Athens yesterday. Reforms must be pushed through “as the situation had really reached its limits.”Doomsayers (of which I was one) neglect the ability of people to do what needs to be done when crises occur.
Pension reforms include increasing the retirement age to 65 from 60 for women, curtailing early retirement, increasing the number of contribution years and calculating payments over a longer period of employment. The bill will be the first enacted since the May 6 package that pledged 30 billion euros of wage and pension cuts and tax increases over the next three years.
We doomsayers are an arrogant lot. We think that we are the only ones who can see the approaching destruction and we sneer at the average person's ignorance. For a time, it may be that a doomsayer is alone and correct in their vision of the future, but in the end, if the problem really existed, we doomsters are joined by the majority and the problems get solved.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:20 AM
Monday, June 28, 2010
... or something to improve their manhood.
First, the fun and games at the G20 summit in Toronto.
Watching this leads to a few initial thoughts.
- Jeeze, do the Toronto police have any testosterone in their bodies at all? The protestors get to do whatever they want right in front of them including smashing and burning police cars and nothing happens.
- What city in its right mind would want to host the G20 summit? You're guaranteed to have imported rioters trashing the place.
- Dig the rioters. Hardly the impoverished and the impressed. More like guys who still live at home wondering why their PoliSci degrees haven't landed them jobs.
- Behold, the modern Vanguard of the Proletariat. It's a good bet that Lenin's boys looked about the same. (Lenin never worked a day in his life - he was from a wealthy family like these boobs.)
- If they're not going to arrest them, at least interview them at length. After that, find out where they went to school and interview their Sociology and PoliSci professors at length.
- With that video evidence in hand, arrest entire college liberal arts faculties on RICO charges and for being accessories to the destruction.
- If I'm an insurance company and I insure a business in a city that has announced that its hosting a G20 summit, I'm raising rates. Now.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I recently finished 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help. One of the chapters deals with John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism boils morality down to this: pleasure is good, pain is evil. The morality of any action is judged by whether or not it increases aggregate pleasure for humanity. So here's the question.
If I come over to your house, knock you out, steal your car and then use it to drive inner-city orphans to dental appointments for the next month, is that good or evil? What if you were a PR flack for BP and spent your days lying to the public about the oil spill? What if the orphans all had rotting teeth?
Posted by K T Cat at 12:09 PM
Friday, June 25, 2010
Bloomberg notes that 46 states are short of cash. The solution? Well, all the experts say we need a combination of budget cuts and tax increases. I'm always amazed at this pat response. I suppose the pundits all say this so that they seem balanced and reasonable, but it doesn't make any sense at all to me because it doesn't take into account current tax levels.
At what point do the sage experts finally say, "The solution to this problem is budget cuts and nothing else?" Is it when the aggregate tax rate is 30%? 40%? 50%? 80%? I'd suggest the answer is never. The suggestion that we need a combination of tax increases and budget cuts is not rational or considered, it's social. None of them want to go on the record as being an extremist, so they just wheel out their standard trope, stroke their chins and look thoughtful. After all, they want to be called back to the show or interview next week so they can't seem like they're completely nuts.
When is a person too anemic to donate blood?
Posted by K T Cat at 4:08 PM
President Obama could have come out and said, "I don't have to fire McChrystal to show that I'm in charge of this situation. The general stays and that's that." It would have signalled to the parties involved that backstabbing and snarking was OK, but a strong leader could have had that corralled in short order with private meetings. The only flaw is that we don't have a strong leader, we've got an insecure novice who's never managed so much as a Dairy Queen. There is no subtlety to his management style, no calculation. Instead, it's always ham-fisted from his partisan, bullying speeches to his spastic response to crises.
Posted by K T Cat at 12:51 PM
At first, I thought firing McChrystal was the right thing to do, if for no other reason that the general was a bonehead. I've heard folks defend him saying that generals are there to fight wars, not play politics, but no one gets to McChrystal's position without being at least partly a politician. He knew better, but got carried away with his own bloated self-importance. That's not why he was fired.
McChrystal was fired for two reasons. First, Obama is a weak president and he needs constant displays of power and prestige to make it look like he's strong. Whether it's finding asses to kick in the Gulf or ramming legislation through with just his party voting for it or, going back to the campaign, giving speeches in Berlin or Invesco, Obama is a little fellow. He brings no sense of gravitas with him, so it has to be procured and wrapped around him. McChrystal's outbursts were hardly new in the annals of military leaders, but the little Obama could not let them stand.
The second and most troubling reason McChrystal was fired was that Obama had no relationship with him. The general prosecuting the biggest of our wars and the commander in chief were, for all intents and purposes, strangers to each other. It took months for Obama to have his first meeting with the general and then it took months more for Obama to approve a fraction of the forces McChrystal had asked for. They weren't buddies, they weren't friends, they were distant coworkers. Had they been close, Obama could have brushed off the general's comments by saying in public, "Well, everyone knows Stan can be a real SOB sometimes, but he's our SOB. I'd rather have Stan shooting his mouth off and kicking Taliban ass than have anyone else leading the fight." After that, he could have read McChrystal the riot act in private. A strong president with a good relationship with his general could have done that. Instead, McChrystal was fired amidst pundits nodding their heads and sagely saying that he had to go.
Which leads me to wonder, just what is it that Obama does all day? If he's disconnected from the Afghan campaign and he's ignorant and detached from what's going on in the Gulf, just what does he do between breakfast and bed?
Posted by K T Cat at 9:18 AM
Excuse #4 - Excuse me, but I just remembered I left the iron on. At your house.
Posted by Jacob the Syrian Hamster at 5:48 AM
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Germany has cut their Federal budget. Germany has lowered their deficit. Germany is coming out of their recession.
Austerity is the name of the game in Germany these days. Earlier this month, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government put together an €80 billion austerity program designed to trim the country's budget deficit substantially in coming years...Angie Merkel has totally pwned Johnny Keynes. Geithner and Krugman must be recoiling in horror.
Now, though, it appears that German finances aren't quite as red as first thought. Whereas initial government projections foresaw the need to take on a whopping €80.2 billion in additional debt this year, new data indicates the real number could be up to €20 billion lower.
According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Tuesday, higher-than-expected tax revenues and lower-than-expected unemployment have resulted in a new forecast which foresees the 2010 budget deficit coming in at between €60 billion and €65 billion.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:54 AM
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Excuse #3 - Excuse me, but I have to take this psychic call. After last night's seance, I can't seem to get Thomas Jefferson to leave me alone.
Posted by Jacob the Syrian Hamster at 5:56 AM
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Well, I've had to go back to the drawing board with my seed racing effort. My seeds sprouted, but eventually withered in the dry Tierrasanta heat. I've bought a new seed racing track, this one with a clear, plastic lid to keep the humidity high. I'm hoping for better results this time. Last time I did this, I lived in Bay Park, about a mile from the ocean. The climate was milder and the seeds were able to sprout in the open air without any problems.
I'm still going with Zinnias and Snapdragons, for no other reason than that's what I was using last time. The seed packets say that they bloom in early Summer, but I'm betting that their little biological clocks will have them bloom whenever the plant structure is sufficiently mature to support procreation. Life is pretty determined in that way.
Posted by K T Cat at 1:02 PM
At the recommendation of a successful blogger, I've started reading Copyblogger. It's a great site with lots of suggestions for improving your blogging. One of the biggies is how important your headline is and how it has to grab people's attention, so I figured I'd put what I had learned into action.
I got distracted by some sunflower seeds and haven't read the rest.
Posted by Jacob the Syrian Hamster at 9:03 AM
Monday, June 21, 2010
If that title doesn't drive everyone away, nothing will.
Here's a site with Peron's Twenty Fundamental Truths of Justicialism. The key one for the conversations we've been having here is this one:
16. As economic doctrine Justicialism realizes the social economy, placing capital at the service of the economy and the latter at the service of social well-being.If you have money, it is to be used to feed the economy. The economy, in turn, exists to provide for the needs of all people. For me, that's a pretty darn good synopsis of Obamanomics. It describes his redistributionist concepts quite clearly and succinctly while explaining all of the legal shortcuts he's taken (e.g., screwing Chrysler bondholders) to get what he wants. It's also doomed to fail.
Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal. Obamanomics / Justicialism presumes that everyone wants to contribute to society and work for the betterment of the nation. If it turns out that what you really want to do is get baked on weed, drink cheap booze and have lots of sex without commitment, Obamanomics / Justicialism becomes a financial lifeline for social degeneracy.
Posted by K T Cat at 1:16 PM
... this time from the Economist.
Mr Obama is not the socialist the right claims he is (see article). He went out of his way, meeting BP executives on June 16th, to insist that he has no interest in undermining the company’s financial stability. But his reaction is cementing business leaders’ impression that he is indifferent to their concerns. If he sees any impropriety in politicians ordering executives about, upstaging the courts and threatening confiscation, he has not said so. The collapse in BP’s share price suggests that he has convinced the markets that he is an American version of Vladimir Putin, willing to harry firms into doing his bidding.Emphasis mine. That's not socialism, that's not communism and that's not Nazism.
Posted by K T Cat at 9:04 AM
Sunday, June 20, 2010
... are not the same. Our Monks of Miscellaneous Musings and KOOK at Left Coast Rebel miss a crucial distinction when they ask, "Hasn't Socialism been discredited to death?" All manner of examples are brought up - Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Cuba, North Korea and more. Most of them are not comparable to the concepts espoused by American progressives. The key difference is atheism.
Hitler was a big fan of Nietzsche. Nietzsche was an atheist who took Darwin to the next level and said that for Mankind, evolution led to the strong controlling the weak. Since there was no God, there were no rules and therefore, it would be in Mankind's best interests if the strong just got on with the job of controlling as much of the world as possible. Invading other nations and enslaving their populations was a natural application of atheism to the concept of survival of the fittest.
Lenin and his Marxist buddies saw the world heading inevitably in one direction - a classless society. This classless society would be a wondrous thing for all Mankind, so it was best to get there as fast as possible. They were all atheists, so there was no such thing as right and wrong as it applied to rushing to get to that glorious workers' paradise. If shooting the Bourgeoise got you there faster, then by all means, grab the machine guns and dig the mass graves! If a few million peasants died of starvation in the process, that was OK, too.
Whatever their faults, American progressives are not dominated by atheism. Certainly they're the home for the loudest of the atheists, but even with that cohort of God-deniers in their midst, comparisons with the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany are simply wrong. Atheism wasn't just a minor feature of those regimes, it was a prerequisite for their behavior.
When KOOK compares American progressives to the Argentinian practitioners of Justicialism - "a fascistic theory of government in Argentina under the Peron administration involving government intervention and economic control to ensure social justice and public welfare; Peronism," he's right on the mark. In the coming months, it's expected that GM will begin to issue shares of stock once more and become partially privatized. That's a terrific Peronist example - the government won't completely own GM as a socialist government would, but it will completely control it through regulation and/or partial ownership for the purposes of helping the "less fortunate." Dittos for the mortgage industry, health care and many others.
Justicialism has indeed failed. Argentina has defaulted and had bank runs and financial panics. That's an analogy you can draw with American progressives and find some excellent evidence and support. When you toss in the Nazis, Communists and to a large extent, the socialists, you open yourself up to all kinds of valid criticsm and your point is wasted.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:51 AM
... is what was applied when the Coast Guard would not allow oil-sucking barges to leave the dock because they hadn't been checked for life preservers and fire extinguishers. Had performance been the key, the Coast Guard would have simply thrown a bunch of life vests and fire extinguishers onto the barges as they pulled out.
At my work, process has become the graven image that we worship and process improvement our sacred text. We have the same results as the Coast Guard. Work grinds to a halt as we have to stop and describe the processes by which we do our jobs. Then we have to describe the processes by which we would train others to do our jobs. We're no longer concerned with what we do, but only with how we do it.
In the meantime, work goes undone or barges sit tied to the dock all so we can follow proper process.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:39 AM
Saturday, June 19, 2010
A few nights ago, we watched the first hour of the movie Happy Feet. It's the story of a penguin who, unlike the traditional penguin, dances rather than sings. Singing, you see, is a big deal with penguins. Penguins who don't sing are ostracized. The message of the movie is that we should all accept people who are different.
What's the thought behind movies like this? Everywhere you go, you see people with tattoos all over their bodies, pants hanging off of their hips and faces pierced to the point where, as our Precentor of Measurements says, "it looks like they fell face-first into a tackle box." Is there some kind of worry that we're not sufficiently accepting of people who are different? How much more uniqueness do we need to encourage? Just where is all of this intolerance that we're fighting?
Posted by K T Cat at 12:55 PM
Normally I'm not a big fan of picking nits, but in this case, I'm surprised at how awful this public letter from President Obama to the G20 is. By the time you click on the link, they may have finally corrected the errors, so let me give you some excerpts from it.
To support the recovery and strengthen the ability of our financial systems to deliver needed credit, we must maintain the momentum of financial repair. Resolving ongoing uncertainty about the transparency of bank balance sheets and the adequacy of bank capital, patticularly in Europe, will help reduce financial market volatility and the cost of borrowing. We should SUppOlt efforts to enhance transparency and increase disclosure by our large financial institutions and to act, where necessary, to strengthen the capital position of our banks. Our ability to growIt's clear that they had a print copy of the letter, scanned it and use optical character recognition (OCR) software to convert it to electronic text. No one ever bothered to go back and read it to correct the inevitable OCR mistakes. They just posted it on the White House website and then ran off. Pathetic.
without the excesses that that put our economies at risk two years ago requires that we accelerate our efforts to bring needed financial refolIDs to completion. In the U.S., both houses of Congress have passed comprehensive financial regulatory refOlID bills. We must reiterate our commitment in Toronto to a common framework for reforms that provide:
•more effective ji'Qlllework for winding down large global firms, along with principles for thefillallcial sector to make afair and substantial contribution towards payingfor allY burdens it creates in a way that protects taxpayers, creates a level playing field, and reduces risks to our economies.
In Toronto, I also look forward to working on our action agendas on issues ranging from energy and development, to governance reform of intemational financial institutions.
Together, we designated the G-20 as the premier forum for intemational economic cooperation. It is important that the G-20 demonstrates its continued determination to work collectively to address the renewed challenges facing the global economy. I look fOlward to seeing you in Toronto and reaffhming our unity of purpose and resolve.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:40 AM
Friday, June 18, 2010
... they must have. It couldn't have been done by Americans.
Against (Louisiana) Governor Jindal’s wishes the federal government blocked oil-sucking barges today because they needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board and were having trouble contacting the owners.Aliens also defeated the Nazis and Imperial Japan, tamed the American West, developed mass-production factories for Ford, invented the telephone, irrigated central California ...
Posted by K T Cat at 5:23 AM
Thursday, June 17, 2010
It's like squeezing a balloon.
Bank of America Corp. and other banks are preparing new fees on basic banking services as they try to replace revenue lost to regulatory rules, in a push that is expected to spell an end to free checking accounts for many Americans.Curse those banks! They keep trying to earn a return on their investments! We've got to stop them! But how? Every time we put our boots on their throats, they wriggle free. It's enough to drive you mad with hate!
Posted by K T Cat at 12:28 PM
... comes from a David Broder column. Buried beneath hand-wringing about the Obama Administration's inability to market an inferior product is this tidbit of information.
It was no White House official but Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat, who called my attention to a short story in the Wall Street Journal last week reporting that U.S. companies are hoarding more cash -- $1.84 trillion -- than at any point in financial history.Lost upon the current White House is the thought that if you're running around talking about having your boots on the throats of private companies, if you're preserving ghastly toads like GM and Chrysler, if you're still clinging to idiotic green energy investment programs that even socialist Spain has given up on, the wiser and more experienced people who run the nation's large corporations are going to gather their resources and await a more rational, less invasive government. Once the investment picture clears, they'll expand again.
The newspaper noted that the cash reserves had jumped 26 percent in one year, the largest increase since at least 1952. Cooper's point is that by stockpiling that vast amount against the possibility of a double-dip recession or another wave of bankruptcies, nervous executives are starving business of investments for expansion and freezing unemployment at a painfully high level.
The problem with predicting things as a straight line extrapolation from where you are right now is that it doesn't take into account changes in external realities. We won't always have economic illiterates running the government.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
There's never an SEIU thug around when you need one. Why does the congressman have to do his own beatdowns? Don't those votes buy anything any more? Talk about a decay of traditional society ...
Posted by K T Cat at 10:23 AM
... and that plane is heading straight into the ground. Here are the three points.
- Point 1:
June 14 (Bloomberg) -- The cost of fixing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage companies that last year bought or guaranteed three-quarters of all U.S. home loans, will be at least $160 billion and could grow to as much as $1 trillion after the biggest bailout in American history.Who is in charge of fixing this mess? The same crew from faculty lounge working on the oil spill.
Fannie and Freddie, now 80 percent owned by U.S. taxpayers, already have drawn $145 billion from an unlimited line of government credit ...
Figuring out how to stanch the losses and turn them into sustainable businesses is the biggest piece of unfinished business as Congress negotiates a Wall Street overhaul that could reach President Barack Obama’s desk by July.Outstanding.
- Point 2:
President Obama urged reluctant lawmakers Saturday to quickly approve nearly $50 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments, saying the money is needed to avoid "massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters" and to support the still-fragile economic recovery.No need to make hard decisions, the feds are here to bail you out.
- Point 3:
June 15 (Bloomberg) -- Greece’s credit rating was cut to non-investment grade by Moody’s Investors Service, threatening to further undermine demand for the nation’s assets as it struggles to rein in the euro region’s second-biggest deficit.Greek bonds are now officially junk. Cataracts of cash flowed out of the Greek government to care for the poor and pay for social services. The end result is that they still have poor people, but now they struggle to pay for basic services.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:53 AM
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
The NYT is reporting that Afghan president Karzai is starting to bail out on Obama.
Mr. Karzai has been pressing to strike his own deal with the Taliban and the country’s archrival, Pakistan, the Taliban’s longtime supporter. According to a former senior Afghan official, Mr. Karzai’s maneuverings involve secret negotiations with the Taliban outside the purview of American and NATO officials.Let's see here - Afghanistan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan ... it's nothing but a string of Smart Power™ successes for Obowma.
“The president has lost his confidence in the capability of either the coalition or his own government to protect this country,” Mr. Saleh said in an interview at his home. “President Karzai has never announced that NATO will lose, but the way that he does not proudly own the campaign shows that he doesn’t trust it is working.”
Posted by K T Cat at 3:49 PM
Yesterday, I spent a few hours gardening with my Droid in my back pocket and headphones in my ears, listening to 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help which I had downloaded from audible.com over my home's wireless network.
Is it a great time to be alive or what?
Posted by K T Cat at 10:23 AM
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Der Spiegel has an article today about African soccer teams using witch doctors to improve their chances. All manner of hilarity ensues.
In the 1980s, sports development specialist Holger Obermann was working as trainer of FC Wallidan in the Gambian capital of Banjul. He had decided to ignore any witchcraft worries and just play the game. But shortly before the team was supposed to meet Sierra Leone in the West African Nations Cup, there was a sudden panic.Green powder? That's child's play. Let's go straight for the strong stuff - burying bones.
"I was ready for a lot -- but not this," Obermann wrote in his memoirs. "Biri was pointing fearfully at a green powder, which was strewn at irregular intervals along the narrow path to the stadium. It reminded me of laundry powder, maybe some sort of powdered paint. 'The path is bewitched,' Biri cried out agitated and the other players immediately agreed." The players refused to go further. They were not so foolish as to start a conflict with supernatural powers.
At the 2002 Africa Cup, Camaroon trainer Winnie Schäfer had to do without his co-trainer Thomas Nkono because, just prior to the semi-final, he had been seen burying bones under the turf and spraying a strange elixir, in order to cast a spell on the playing field.The response in Africa has been a major downer.
The Confederation of African Football likewise doesn't want to hear about magic anymore and have banned witchcraft. No substances may be sprinkled over the playing fields and there can be no witch doctors on the bench with the teams.Look, the African teams are going to get taken to the woodshed by the likes of Germany and Brazil. At least if they allowed the witch doctors to do their thing, there might be some amount of uncertainty in the game instead of everyone knowing ahead of time that it was going to be a decisive ass-kicking.
Posted by K T Cat at 10:13 AM
Friday, June 11, 2010
... maybe Obama is afraid of him. It's just a wild thought that popped into my head this morning. Here's the biography of Tony Hayward, the CEO.
Job title: Group Chief ExecutiveHe looks like a smart and experienced guy. More than a match for Obama. Any meeting with Tony would have to end with a joint statement to the press where the comparison would be side-by-side and unavoidable. After that, there would be interviews with Hayward where he'd be asked about Obama. That would probably not end well for the president who has shown no ability to speak extemporaneously.
Education: University of Edinburgh PH.D Geology 1982. He holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, Aston University and the University of Birmingham.
Career: Tony joined BP in 1982 and began his career as a rig geologist in the North Sea. Following a series of technical and commercial roles in Europe, Asia and South America, he returned to London in 1997 as member of the Upstream Executive Committee. He became Group Treasurer in 2000, Chief Executive for BP’s upstream activities and member of the Main Board of BP in 2003. In May 2007, Tony was appointed Group Chief Executive of BP p.l.c.
External roles: He is a Member of the Business Council of Britain, a Member of Tsinghua Advisory Board, a Member of MIT Energy Advisory Board, Chair of GLOBE CEO Forum for Climate Change and a Trustee of the Emirates Foundation. He is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:35 AM
Thursday, June 10, 2010
... or something like that.
Right now, I'm listening to the audible.com version of 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Helpwhile thinking about what it means to have the Turks decide it's time to take on the Jews. I just finished the part on Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality where Rousseau posits that in our natural state, humans just want to maximize pleasure. To Rousseau, civil society is an unnatural set of inhibitions that improperly prevent full-scale, thermonuclear self-gratification*.
The Euros seem to have embraced Rousseau completely. Lots of time off from work, no going to church, plenty of legal drugs, legal prostitution, lots of sex, no children and on and on and on. It's paradise recreated from Rousseau's imagination. Except for the part where they import Muslims.
Faced with an internal and external population dedicated to creating a religious state, devoted to a religion that defines itself in political as well as theological terms, the Rousseauean Euros are powerless to stop it. You can't face down a dedicated, intractable enemy with a pack of aging hippies.
What this means to Israel is simple. If the Creatures of Rousseau can't take on the Muslims in their own countries, they're certainly not going to stand up for other countries. Mark Steyn made this point in an interview recently when he said that asking the Euros to support Coalition efforts in the Middle East was doomed to fail, not because it had been led by George W. Bush, but because the growing Muslim power within the European countries made facing down radical, Islamic nations problematic.
As far as I can see, that leaves the world far less stable than it was before. A heavily armed and legitimately fearful Israel is sitting at the end of a long, darkening corridor, faced with growing external threats. As the Obama Administration shows greater and greater weakness in its support for Israel, the foes of that nation grow bolder. Given that Hamas and Hezbollah are explicitly dedicated to genocide of the nuclear-armed Jews, instability is the last thing you want.
I'm optimistic about the American economy and our ability to weather the current recession, but this problem doesn't look like it's going to end well at all.
* - It's worth noting that Rousseau was a total swine. He had several mistresses, treated them all shabbily, sired plenty of children, many of who died in lousy French orphanages after Rousseau himself had them sent there despite his ability to care for them. Like Kinsey, a debased pervert writing paeans to total sexual freedom, Rousseau developed an elaborate philosophy to excuse his own horrid behaviors.
Posted by K T Cat at 12:13 PM
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
... and he's got a pair of fours.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer continued to peddle hot air with gems like this one.
MR. MOSSBERG: There is this feeling that you've kind of missed a beat here in the last couple years on mobile.Any time a technology company's CEO starts talking about excellence in execution, you know they've got nothing. If you had something to rival the iPad or Android, you wouldn't be talking about personnel moves or corporate efficiency and you wouldn't be spouting cliched bromides like this.
MR. BALLMER: On the phone side of the business, we learned the value of excellent execution. We were ahead of this game in terms of software for phones. Now we find ourselves No. 5 in the market.
We missed a whole cycle. I've been quite public about the fact that I chose to make a set of leadership changes in the team of people building and executing on our Windows phone software.
MR. BALLMER: You could say, "Is it a time in which we need to work smarter, work harder, be more vigilant?" Absolutely.That's the ticket, Mr. Ballmer. That's what's going to make me want to buy a Windows Mobile device - the fact that you guys at Microsoft are working smarter and harder and being more vigilant.
What a load of tripe. It's like listening to CoachSpeak.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:51 AM
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Poor Timmy Geithner, he goes to the G20 meetings and hands in his homework and it's all wrong.
Finance ministers of the world’s leading economies have been so spooked by the sovereign debt crisis that they have decided they can no longer wait until economies are growing strongly before they remove fiscal stimulus ...The Obama Administration has learned nothing from watching Greece implode and the Euros wet themselves in terror over having to repay debts that are smaller than ours. Instead, they're clinging to the Keynesian point of view that we can borrow our way out of trouble.
The communiqué of the meeting made clear the G20 no longer thought expansionary fiscal policy was sustainable or effective in fostering recovery because investors were no longer confident about some countries’ public finances ...
Mr Geithner, himself, was open about his fears in his letter to the G20. “Concerns about growth as Europe makes needed policy adjustments threaten to undercut the momentum of the recovery,” he wrote, adding that fiscal tightening won’t “succeed unless we are able to strengthen confidence in the global recovery.”
Posted by K T Cat at 6:08 AM
Monday, June 07, 2010
June 4 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama is poised to increase the U.S. debt to a level that exceeds the value of the nation’s annual economic output, a step toward what Bill Gross called a “debt super cycle.”
The CHART OF THE DAY (click on the link above to view it) tracks U.S. gross domestic product and the government’s total debt, which rose past $13 trillion for the first time this month. The amount owed will surpass GDP in 2012, based on forecasts by the International Monetary Fund ...
Dan Fuss, who manages the Loomis Sayles Bond Fund, which beat 94 percent of competitors the past year, said last week that he sold all of his Treasury bonds because of prospects interest rates will rise as the U.S. borrows unprecedented amounts. Obama is borrowing record amounts to fund spending programs to help the economy recover from its longest recession since the 1930s.
“The incremental borrower of funds in the U.S. capital markets is rapidly becoming the U.S. Treasury,” Boston-based Fuss said. “Do you really want to buy the debt of the biggest issuer?”
Posted by K T Cat at 3:33 PM
Israel is a long ways in from Gibraltar. As European politics grow increasingly dominated by Muslims through demographic shifts and forays into Israel-baiting like the Turkish flotilla grow more and more violent, travelling the Med to aid the Israelis is going to be like running the gauntlet.
Assuming we even bother.
Posted by K T Cat at 10:01 AM
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Well, this is the kind of thing we've come to expect in the wild, greed-fueled world of Seed Racing. Sabotage. Just like the crisis of 1972 when the German Seed Racing Team from FabnGratzburg AG was found to have been smuggling cutworms into the Norwegian greenhouses, sabotage has come to our Top Fuel Dragster Seed Racing event.
Someone's been eating some of the Zinnias.
Despite the efforts of the saboteurs, the Zinnias remain well ahead of the Snapdragons.
We've relocated the racetrack to a spot where no saboteurs can attack it and after considerable debate, we've decided to re-open the betting windows. You may now place additional bets, secure in the knowledge that our new location is safe from further interference.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:38 AM
Saturday, June 05, 2010
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Would a clear increase of US pressure on the Israeli government lead to a rise in approval ratings (for Obama in the Islamic world) again?Hey, I've got a better idea. Why don't we just sign trade agreements where we buy high-tech goods from the Muslim countries? I mean, they've got a lot of it, right? After all, like they've been telling us in all those lovely beheading and Palestinian riot videos, theirs is the superior way, isn't it?
Mogahed: There are several things that people have told us would improve their opinion of the US. In the Arab world, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a very important issue. But in other parts of the world it may be things like technology transfer or humanitarian aid. It depends a lot on the region.
Posted by K T Cat at 4:16 PM
... it was the "rewind" button.
In the future, those organizing or participating in unauthorized demonstrations can simply be locked up, if the government approves a plan to assign police duties to the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia's domestic intelligence service and the successor to the dreaded KGB.And just what is "problematic?" Well, try this.
That's the proposed legislation in bill 364427-5, brought before the government by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is also the former head of the FSB. In the interest of suppressing opposition and taking even tougher action against the Islamic underground movement in the Caucasus, the bill would allow the FSB to imprison citizens they consider problematic for up to 15 days without even involving the courts.
A mining accident in the coal-rich Kuzbass region of Siberia, for example, killed more than 90 miners in early May. Ever since their colleagues have been demonstrating for better working conditions. The Ministry of Internal Affairs brought in special police units and cracked down hard, arresting 28 demonstrators. The local governor declared to Putin that the outraged demonstrators were simply work-shy elements, who had been incited "by British and Ukrainian websites."Nothing says "old school Russian police state" quite like paranoid propaganda justifying mass arrests. Outstanding!
Posted by K T Cat at 1:08 PM
... looks like this: The government controls huge corporations, either through outright ownership, full or partial, or through regulations that control the minutae of coporate operations. Government officials then receive high-paying jobs in those corporations when they leave relatively low-paying government service or have those positions available to them as rewards for fealty by others.
In fascist Italy under Mussolini, Admirals, Generals and ministry of defense officials would rotate through government service and executive positions in "private" companies to their very great profit. I don't have the reference for this, but I recall reading it recently, so you'll just have to trust me.
So what does this have to do with anything? Well, Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff were offered government jobs by the White House in exchange for not running against other candidates. All things considered, that was pretty clumsy on the part of the Obama Administration.
They should have been offered jobs at GM.
Posted by K T Cat at 8:38 AM
Friday, June 04, 2010
I've only been following the Israeli intercept of the Turkish flotilla bound for Gaza through odds and ends picked up on other blogs and bits hear on the radio. Yesterday, the enormity of what's going on struck me.
What on Earth is Turkey doing antagonizing Israel? Don't they have better things to do? It indicates that they now value making friends with the anti-semites in the region more than they worry about angering the US. Either that or it suggests that they no longer believe that taking on Israel would anger the US. Either way, Turkey getting involved so blatantly in the efforts to destroy Israel is a big shift.
It doesn't look like grovelling in front of the Muslims and dissing the Israelis was the best way to go about achieving peace in the Middle East. It looks like it's just invited more instability.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Our sagacious allies in our quest to save the planet, the dolphins, don't like the noise generated by offshore wind farms.
The offshore wind farm Alpha Ventus is a project of imposing dimensions. A total of 12 wind turbines rise from the North Sea in an area of about 4 square kilometers (1.5 square miles). Each one stands about 150 meters (490 feet) high and weighs 1,000 tons. The farm is designed to provide electricity for about 55,000 households.You just can't win sometimes.
Now the environmental impact of the massive project, which lies some 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of the German island of Borkum, is becoming clear. Germany's Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has completed its first study of the impact of the wind farm -- and found that the racket made by the construction of the site had scared off porpoises living in the area.
Posted by K T Cat at 7:17 AM
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
When a journalists writes something that reveals an injustice and causes a mass reaction, he wins a Pulitzer. When a private citizen does the same, she's being a Nazi.
I just thought you'd like to know.
Posted by K T Cat at 12:46 PM
A new survey out today says more American voters want an immigration law in their own state that's similar to the controversial one adopted by Arizona.Wow. It's almost like we want a wall built along the border or something.
The non-partisan Quinnipiac University Poll shows American voters say by 48%-35% that they want an immigration law like the one in Arizona, which requires law enforcement officials to ask someone's legal status if there is "reasonable suspicion" to believe the person is in the USA illegally.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:42 AM
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
I probably should know the name of these flowers before I post photos of them. Oh well. Mea culpa. At least it's worth a click.
Update: Helpful and always welcome commenter Meemsync has identified this. It's a Kangaroo's Paw. As soon as I read it in the comments, I remembered picking it out and buying it. Thanks, Meemsync!
Posted by K T Cat at 6:20 AM