Obamacare is fiscal high speed rail connecting the US to Greece.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Whatever you think of the ObamaCare decision, John Roberts has managed to get off what must be one of the greatest lines in the history of Supreme Court decisions.
It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.I found that in this article in the WSJ which argues that ObamaCare is doomed from the start because there just isn't the money to implement it.
This was always the fatal problem of ObamaCare. Reality could not have instructed President Obama more plainly: The last thing we needed, in a country staggering under deficits and debt, a sluggish economy and an unaffordable entitlement structure, was a new Rube Goldberg entitlement. The last thing we needed was ObamaCare. The nation and the times were asking Mr. Obama to reform health care, not to double-down on everything wrong with the current system.Hmm. It seems like I've heard that song before.
Even with this week's Court success, he failed—and it's not as if there wasn't a deep well of policy understanding in Washington that he could have drawn on to take the country in a better direction. Regardless of any Supreme Court ruling, reality will pass its own judgment on the Affordable Care Act and it won't be favorable.
Update: You're fast, WC, but not fast enough.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:55 AM
Friday, June 29, 2012
I'll see you, Mut, and raise you one level of disgust and determination.
Downfall, the Hitler movie everyone uses in parodies, shows Hitler planning to defend Berlin with Wehrmacht divisions that did not exist. Well, that's what we're doing now. We're spending money that doesn't exist now and won't exist in the future.
The solution to this problem hasn't changed one bit and there still isn't anyone who's going to solve it except us.
Posted by K T Cat at 1:01 PM
Thursday, June 28, 2012
If you're hoping that 9 guys in robes are going to save you from your own feckless greed and laziness, you've got some serious problems. With the Supreme Court decision upholding ObamaCare, the culture of demanding what you have not earned rolls on.
Update: Left Coast Rebel hits it out of the park.
I know I've always said economics underpins everything in a country, but what underpins economics? Core values. One such core value that has ensured the United States has stayed on the path to prosperity is liberty. Liberty today has been dealt a potentially fatal blow, though the fatal moment may still lie much further in the future. This sets a scary precedent in terms of the Commerce Clause and what is allowable.It's all about the values, my friends. A nation of looters will wash over your court decisions like a tsunami no matter which way the judges rule.
Posted by K T Cat at 11:35 AM
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Can someone please explain to me how it's a good thing if you can't communicate with the person next to you and if you have no control over your borders at all?
At the most basic level of human interaction, one would think you'd want to do more than grunt and point and pantomime. Right?
|Robert Reich is a very smart economist. He clearly knows something we don't because he thinks we'd all be better off imitating Marcel Marceau when we wanted to talk to each other.|
Posted by K T Cat at 11:45 AM
Don't you think that after we have a certain number of these in close succession, the culture of debt will change?
STOCKTON, Calif.—The city of Stockton, Calif., late Tuesday voted to adopt a new budget under which it can operate if it is under bankruptcy, a move widely considered the last step before it formally files for Chapter 9 protection.
City officials are expected to officially file for Chapter 9 protection sometime this week, possibly as early as Wednesday...
Under the new budget, Stockton will cut $10 million in debt payments to creditors, scale back retiree health care, and cut employee salaries and benefits. Under California law, Stockton must adopt a balanced budget by July 1...
Stockton, with 300,000 residents and $700 million in debt, would be one of the largest cities ever to file for Chapter 9 protection, according to municipal finance experts and bankruptcy officials.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:37 AM
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Last night, I went to another of the Fortnight for Religious Freedom events put on by the Diocese of San Diego. It was beautiful in an innocent, naive, childlike and tragic sense. The Diocese will hold a Eucharistic procession in downtown San Diego on July 1, accompanied by a choir. A men's choir. Singing hymns. In Italian.
I laughed in amazement as I sat there practicing the songs with them. While the Diocese provides excellent and organized schools for our children, is an absolute political infant. Disorganized, unsophisticated and floundering would best describe what I saw. It made the paranoid loonies who fear a coming theocracy seem all the more crazy. These people can barely organize a small procession. Taking over the country is the equivalent of the Diocese launching a manned mission to the moons of Saturn.
In that innocence, however, was great beauty. My son went with me and sang along lustily even though he, too, thought the whole idea was madness. It was a lovely slice of Americana, a bit of our not-so-distant and much gentler past.
|Oh yeah, these folks are plotting a coup. No doubt about it.|
Another thought was that I wanted to take all the HHS mandate supporters and rub their noses in this event and scream at them, "What is your problem? Why do you have to run around telling everyone what to do all the time?" How divorced from America do you have to be to decide you need to ram things down our throats? Why can't we live the way we've always lived? If you really feel the need to manage everything a group does, then form your own and erect barbed wire fences and guard towers, just like in the old country.
The third thought wasn't so much a thought as it was a moment of grace from the Holy Spirit. Last night, I let go of my bigotry about Mormons. I've been so fixated on logic and proofs that I had become obsessed with the silliness of the Book of Mormon. Archaeology and biology and this and that, it was all wrong, Wrong, WRONG! No, the wrong part was me. Somewhere in Utah was a little Mormon church meeting room where a bunch of naive, innocent, childlike, loving, gracious people gathered to sing and worship. Forget about the Democratic Party's cornucopia of hate-filled bigots, I was the one who needed to be asked, "What is your problem?"
And maybe, for me at least, that was God's purpose for this whole #fortnight4freedom thing. It was an opportunity to find a little more grace in my life.
Viva Cristo Rey.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:54 AM
Monday, June 25, 2012
Over on Twitter, one of the trolls on the #fortnight4freedom thread has been shouting about the Catholic Church's "war on women" because the Church doesn't want to cover contraceptives in their employee health plans. Well, my current plan doesn't cover it, either. So I asked the logical question and got a surprising* response.
@tmore_esq: Yes! RT @ktcat:If my health insurance doesn't cover contraceptives, has my employer been waging a war on women all along? #fortnight4freedomWell, I don't pay for dental coverage, either. I guess that means I'm waging genocide against teeth. And if my employer doesn't even offer one, then they might as well wear brown and goosestep around my molars singing the Horst Wessel Song.
|It sounds so much better in German: Ich habe vor, euch alle vernichten!|
Update: If I don't carry collision on one of my cars or I have a high deductible, I must be waging a War on Bumpers!
Posted by K T Cat at 11:42 AM
One of our boys is attending the University of San Diego. The university requires him to take some philosophy and theology classes. Talking with him on that topic this weekend, I recommended he listen to 10 Books That Screwed Up The World And 5 More That Didn't Help, a thorough plumbing of some of the most wretched philosophies ever.
Last night, I walked past his room. As he is an avid gamer, it was dark as usual. Out of it came the sonorous tones of that audiobook. He and one of his brothers were sitting in the dark, listening to it while he played one of his first-person shooters on his computer. At dinner we had a long discussion about Nietzsche, Mills, Hitler and Darwin. He said he's going to listen to it at least twice because there is so much to absorb.
Insert touchdown dance here.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:39 AM
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Don't let the little pink bow and flowery scarf fool you. Those came from the groomer who didn't realize her position as one of the fearsome Catican Guards.
|Looks can be deceiving. No, really. Seriously! (You're not believing a word of this, are you?)|
Posted by K T Cat at 1:44 PM
... because it's good for so many purposes around the house! If you click on the image below, you'll see one more reason why you ought to keep lots and lots of Lysol in your cupboards.
|I hear the Koch brothers are big on it, too.|
Update: On Amazon, I found condoms 200 for $35.98. That's 18 cents per orgasm, or 36 cents per orgasm if you're a semi-literate, angst-ridden, ignorant, paranoid religious bigot from NARAL and you fake half of them when your limp partner can't find his Swedish pump because you're both totally baked on Humboldt weed. If $35.98 is too expensive for your wallet and you need someone else to pay for your family planning, try standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign. Chances are excellent that you're going to end up there and the practice will do you good.
Posted by K T Cat at 8:17 AM
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Posted by K T Cat at 5:16 PM
... or, more musings on joining the American Cristados movement.
Jonah Goldberg, in Liberal Fascism, defines fascism as a religion of the state. I didn't get it until last Wednesday's Fortnight For Religious Freedom event here in San Diego.
Condoms, bought on Amazon in bulk, cost about $0.25 apiece. Assuming you and your partner split the cost and you have lots and lots of sex, you can cover your annual usage of contraceptives for less than $80. For $80 a year, the government is going after the Catholic Church. This is not about the money, this is about conformity of moral thought. If you worked for a Catholic school, for example, your pay would certainly cover $80 a year in condoms. No one is being "denied" anything.
The Obama Administration offered the following compromise. Catholic institutions would be exempted, where a Catholic institution was defined as one that hired mostly Catholics and served mostly Catholics. This places us in de facto ghettos. As the bishop said in his speech on Wednesday, we don't serve others because they're Catholic, we serve them because we're Catholic. The exemption was all about isolating our institutions from the rest of society.
In Illinois, Catholic adoption agencies have been told they need to serve gay couples or they could no longer work with the state. The Catholic Church doesn't have anything like a monopoly on adoption services. Gay couples have plenty of choices of where to go for adoption. This was not about giving gays more resources, this was about enforcing conformity of moral thought.
This is all about the State attempting to crush rival religions.
Viva Cristo Rey.
|No, you panicky, ignorant, bedwetting, anti-religious bigots, we're not planning on shooting anybody. This is just an image showing solidarity with our predecessors.|
Other bloggers joining the American Cristados include:
Posted by K T Cat at 8:25 AM
Friday, June 22, 2012
Dig this. Here's the gist of the latest developments.
Many EU banks are facing bank runs as panicked depositors withdraw their money, fearing for its safety. The banks need to borrow money to cover these withdrawals as all banks lend out most of the money they take in deposits. The European Central Bank (ECB) can provide that cash through loans.
Up to now, the ECB would loan money to a bank if the bank put up some solid collateral. The struggling banks have run out of solid collateral and are on the verge of failing. As soon as one big bank fails, the EU bank run will become widespread as no one will trust any bank. To prevent this, the ECB is now accepting things like mortgages as collateral. That is, the banks can use loans to guarantee loans.
This is problematic in places like Spain, where real estate prices have cratered and mortgages are no longer backed by anything real. Those mortgages can be wiped out if the homeowner bails out and declares bankruptcy. In short, the ECB is accepting unenforceable IOUs as collateral.
Going further, the ECB may soon stop considering credit ratings from external sources like Moody's when it makes it's loans. So those nasty credit agencies don't like you? Well fie on them! We'll give you money anyway!
This is all nonsense. No one expects Spanish mortgages to have any real value for a long time to come and Moody's is just playing by the rules. Freaked out by the prospect of mobs of raging customers banging at the doors of big, European banks, the ECB is throwing away standard measures of creditworthiness and is simply handing out money in exchange for dryer lint.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:32 AM
Thursday, June 21, 2012
My wife and I attended the Fortnight for Religious Freedom event last night at the Mission San Diego de Alcala. The place was packed and the event moved me to tears. I felt like I was at one of the original organizing meetings of the Cristados. I've got lots more to blog about this later, but let me just add one more thing. The presence of non-Catholics there in the Mission, standing with us in support of our freedoms, was awesome. Fellow SLOB W C Varones was wonderful. I can't put into words how beautiful it was for him to come down and join us.
A special thanks to Secular Apostate who turned me on to this whole thing in the first place.
|Viva Cristo Rey!|
Posted by K T Cat at 9:07 AM
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
For Fathers Day, the kids got me a pair of Klipsch One headphones. They are awesome. I attached them to my Droid 2 and listened to a couple of tracks from Monkees Live 1967. It was like I'd never heard the CD before. The sound was incredibly rich to the point where I could pick out individual notes and chords over the screaming of the fans.
Live 67 isn't anyone's idea of great recording quality. Played on a good stereo system, it sounds like a garage band washed away by a lousy sound system and gallons of white noise from screaming fans. Heard with the Klipsch One, it sounds like a pretty decent live act for that era.
If these headphones can make Live 67 sound good, imagine what they can do for properly recorded music.
A friend posted the image below on her Facebook account with a little mocking note at the hysteria of some who oppose gay marriage. You'll need to click on it to read it, but suffice it to say it's a breathless science fiction story outlining the dreadful future that will be ours if we legalize gay marriage.
I've also heard the justifications based on "equality." At the most basic level, if hetero- and homo- are equal, then everything is equal. The scoreboard reads 6,840,507,003* to 0. Everyone on the planet came from hetero relationships. If that isn't enough to differentiate something, then there is no such thing as differentiation. The two things simply are not equal.
So what's the real substance behind the push for gay marriage?
* - Actually it's much more lopsided than that as the scoreboard should record every human ever in the whole of history.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:30 AM
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
We cruised Lake Nacimiento in a variety of watercraft over the last week. Yesterday we had a pontoon boat and were doing some fishing. On the way to a certain spot, we found a colony of swallows who had built a bunch of mud nests in the overhang of a cliff. It was way cool. The video is in 720p, so you might want to increase the resolution and watch it in HD. Enjoy.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:41 AM
Monday, June 18, 2012
We're at Lake Nacimiento and the Interweb Tubes have gone out at our vacation rental. Before our family devolves into primitive barbarism and constructs a pyramid of human skulls, I thought I'd share this with you via my phone's intermittent 3G connection:
Posted by K T Cat at 6:40 AM
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
You can't tell the players without a scorecard.
The media tells us that socialists are far-left and fascists are far-right. Nowhere is this more evident than in the upcoming Greek elections where the socialist Syriza Party and the fascist Golden Dawn Party both expect strong showings. Differentiating between the Syriza lefties and far-right Golden Dawners is easy.
- Syriza wants to renege on Greek debt agreements. So does Golden Dawn.
- Syriza blames bankers for Greek problems. So does Golden Dawn.
- Syriza wants to continue government spending to support the economy. So does Golden Dawn.
- Syriza fanatics use violence to make their points. So do fanatics for Golden Dawn.
- Syriza doesn't have a problem with immigrants. Golden Dawn hates them.
Bonus Bit: Showing how over-applying the principles of Milton Friedman takes you from being a moderate to being a Nazi is left as an exercise for the reader.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:50 AM
Friday, June 15, 2012
The move followed yet another sovereign credit downgrade and coincided with fresh evidence Thursday of economic and financial stress as the decline of Spanish housing prices accelerated to a 12.6% annual rate in the first quarter and Spanish banks increased their reliance on European Central Bank funding.
Coming just a few days after Spain was forced to seek a European-Union bailout for its banks of up to €100 billion ($125.57 billion), the new raft of bad news sent Spanish borrowing costs soaring. The yield on Spain's 10-year government bond rose to as high as 6.96%, a new euro-era record and a sign that demand for Spanish debt is rapidly drying up. If Spain cannot find enough investors to buy its bonds, it will need to seek a bailout.
Late Wednesday, Moody's Investors Service became the latest ratings agency to downgrade the beleaguered Iberian nation's debt, increasing speculation that a bailout for the Spanish government might follow that of its banks. The three-notch downgrade left Spain's rating one level above junk, as Moody's highlighted the increase to the country's overall debt burden arising from the proposed bailout of Spanish banks.Progressive compassion and cheap money has killed the Spanish economy. There's nothing to cheer about there. Real people are going through real hardship.
|John Woodward Philip said it during the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, but he could be saying it right now about Spain and the rest of the Eurozone.|
Hypothesis: The farther south a nation is in Europe, the more flopping their players will do in the Euro 2012 matches.
Proof: Yesterday, we watched Denmark-Portugal and Germany-Netherlands. Players from the northern teams soldiered on bravely while the Portuguese put on a cheap dinner theater melodrama, contorting their faces in pain and falling to the ground clutching a limb every time someone so much as breathed on them.
As you watch the games, see if you agree.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:10 AM
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Anyone who can is moving their money out of the country, either to banks in other euro-zone countries, such as Germany, or out of the euro to banks in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and U.S. (the franc, pound and dollar, respectively).
Absent a truly dramatic event, Greece will exit the euro not by choice but by necessity. It will do so not because the drachma (its old currency) is superior to the euro, but because the drachma is superior to barter.
Posted by K T Cat at 9:09 AM
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
... of the Euro debt crisis would seem to be upon us.
When the jolt from 100B Euros has a lifespan of a couple of hours, you know the end is nigh. I can't see how this doesn't end with the ECB no longer loaning money, but simply giving it away for free. 0% loans with no due date could be the fig leaf for them, but in the end that's the way it's going to have to be unless the whole thing flies apart.
The other thought that occurred to me yesterday as the sugar rush from the Spanish not-quite-so-bailout turned into a massive hangover was the events were now moving faster than the European bureaucracies could react. Think about a hypothetical Angela Merkel schedule for yesterday. She wakes up and goes to the office. Spanish bonds are reacting nicely to the bailout. She goes to a cabinet meeting, but by the time she gets out, the Spanish rates are on their way back up. She makes a couple of phone calls and has a brief chat with her chief of staff and the Spanish bond rates are heading higher. By the time her photo op with some business leaders from Munich is over, the rout is on and Spanish rates are shooting well above 6%.
Remember, Angela doesn't actually do anything. In order for things to occur, members of the German bureaucracy have to write policies and regulations, alter budgets, issue white papers with alternative proposals, prepare briefings and negotiate with their counterparts across Europe. The forces of stability are slow.
The forces of entropy are fast. All an investor has to do is log on to his trading account and sell his stocks and bonds. I read somewhere that when it comes to financial crises, they always come upon you slower than you expected, but when they hit, they move much faster than you expected. After yesterday, it looks like we're entering the fast phase.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:36 AM
Monday, June 11, 2012
So Spain picked up a tidy 100,000,000,000 Euros over the weekend to save its ailing banks. A couple of questions arise.
- Where did the money come from? If everyone is borrowing, who had the money to lend? The only thing I can think of is that the ECB printed more Euros.
- Why won't this money simply go to assist in the financial evacuation of Spain? That is, if you hold bonds or stock or assets in one of these Spanish banks and haven't been able to cash it in until now because the banks are such toads that no one else wants to have anything to do with them, what's to prevent this 100B from simply buying you out as you flee the scene?
- Spanish interest rates are rising again, less that 72 hours after the deal was done. After this sugar rush is done, what comes next?
- The German economy is big, but it's only as big as Italy and Spain combined and both of them are in trouble. How long before even Germany can't stop the slide?
- Speaking of Italy, where are they in all of this? How long before they start getting a share of the headlines?
- Why isn't this this a good summary of what just happened: 100B Euros were printed out of thin air and handed to banks who handed them to depositors, creditors and bondholders who are fleeing the scene?
- Lather, rinse, repeat?
Posted by K T Cat at 5:39 AM
Sunday, June 10, 2012
France's newly elected Socialist government has just decided to lower the retirement age to 60. From now on, no Frenchman will be forced to work any longer just because it might help kick-start the country's flagging economy. And there's no way the French are going to work as long as their poor fellow Europeans in Germany, whose government is obliging them to labor and toil until age 67...
Hollande's policies depend on foreign creditors being willing to lend him the necessary funding, but their read on things differs from that of the domestic electorate. Since they're worried about whether they'll ever see their money again, they're demanding higher risk premiums. One path to fresh capital with cheap conditions leads to the savings of Germans -- which also explains why the French government has been so badger-like in its championing of euro bonds and, more recently, a banking union.If you borrow a million Euros from the Germans and you can't pay them back, you've got problems. If you borrow three hundred billion Euros from the Germans and you can't pay them back, they've got problems.
It looks like the slothful, childish Eurosocialists outside of Germany have figured this out.
Posted by K T Cat at 7:28 AM
Saturday, June 09, 2012
To get us in the mood, we're cooking Irish food, drinking Irish beer and listening to Irish radio stations. Thanks to the Tune In app on Android, your phone can pick up any station broadcast on the Internet. It's great.
I don't speak Spanish, Greek or Italian, so listening to their radio stations would be less enlightening, but listening to the Irish ones gives a little taste of what the Europeans are going through. It's all well and good to note their debt levels and payment problems and political wrangling, but it's another thing entirely to listen to an Irish talk radio station discuss which schools are going to close down.
We're not talking teacher layoffs, we're talking about entire schools being shuttered because the government blew through all its money. In the case of the Irish, they blew through their money when they decided to nationalize their failing banks, taking on debt loads they could never hope to pay off. It was an emotional decision, one made to preserve their citizens' savings. There was great kindness in the act, but the end result was to drag the whole country down.
So now they're living through the consequences and the results aren't pretty. Average, decent people who don't seem to have much fiscal or political knowledge are calling radio stations angry, frightened and bewildered that their kids' schools are shutting down. I've only listened for a day or two so I'm sure there are all kinds of other services that have been terminated.
It puts a human face on the budget graphs.
Posted by K T Cat at 7:36 AM
Friday, June 08, 2012
Years ago, two researchers claimed they had perfected cold fusion. They could create limitless energy without danger, pollution or expensive raw materials. It sounded too good to be true. In the end, their claims were proven false and they became a footnote of failure in the history of science. Whoever supported them was likewise tarred with the stain of their mistakes.
Around 1600, the Catholic Church was the primary patron of learning and art by a wide margin. The Pope funded all manner of research. The Church embraced the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas who, in the 1200s, had shown that God did not create contradictions which meant that science must have supremacy over theology. Science could be proven, but theology must rely on divinely inspired reason.
At the time of Galileo's work on heliocentrism, there were all kinds of wacky theories being bandied about. Human anatomy and medical research was crude and the germ theory of disease was a long way off. Learned men searched for the Philosopher's Stone, a device that would transmute lead into gold. One can imagine the list of crazy theories and inventions the Church was asked to endorse. It's reasonable to assume that the Church was conservative in its support for any particular theory for the same reason that the supporters of the cold fusion study should have been. The price for failure could be a significant loss of prestige.
Galileo's crime against the Church was not one of scientific discovery, but one of impatience. The heliocentric model of the planets was gaining in popularity and the Church, in addition to funding and supporting Galileo, had an independent group of Jesuit astronomers looking into the same thing. The Church asked Galileo not to teach heliocentrism prior to external confirmation and he promised not to do so. In time, his impatience got the better of him and he went back on his word. That was the cause of his trial, not the content of his teaching.
If you look at the problem from the astronomy layman's perspective and you think of all the examples of scientific quackery at the time, it's no wonder the Church, in its role as arbiter of what was true, was slow in recognizing heliocentrism.
|It should have been obvious when the planets were all lined up like this.|
Posted by K T Cat at 8:26 AM
Thursday, June 07, 2012
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
... or, Why We Should Be Optimistic About America.
In Europe and the US, we face crushing debt, brought on by a childish worldview that valued handing out goodies more than producing things of value. In Europe, when faced with the collapse of their socialist idiocy, they march and chant and protest. In America, we march and chant and protest. In Europe, they vote for socialists. In America, we vote to put an end to the destructive, omnivorous greed of the public employee union parasites.
That's a good reason to be optimistic about the US.
|President Hollande of France says, "Mon dieu! C'est incroyable!"|
Posted by K T Cat at 7:57 AM
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
If you're Germany, the time to have bailed out of this Euro catastrophe was long, long ago. And it's not like you couldn't have seen it, had you focused on earning rather than having, on paying off loans rather than racking them up.
Spain is in trouble. Big trouble. Again.
MADRID—Spain's Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro on Tuesday urged euro-zone partners to act faster to help support its enfeebled banks, saying that the government has effectively lost access to capital markets because of steep risk premiums demanded by sovereign bond investors."Lost access to capital markets" is econospeak for "No one will lend us any more money." That's bad because Spain has monstrous debts that it can't service without more borrowing. Sovereign bond investors have lost faith in Spain's ability to produce, to earn, to create*. Anyone who lends money to the Spaniards now is a rube.
In making this dramatic admission, Mr. Montoro joined recent calls by the Spanish government for direct aid from European Union institutions for Spanish banks as the government hopes to avoid a full-blown bailout package. The matter has gained urgency after Madrid was forced into a €19 billion ($23.75 billion) rescue of lender Bankia SA, while the government's borrowing costs have surged to record highs with yields on Spanish 10-year bonds hovering above the 6% mark.
Speaking of rubes, if I was a betting man, I'd guess that the European Central Bank is going to step in and print, print, print more Euros and bail out Spain. Now that they've gone this far, what else is there to do? Admit that socialism is a failure? Hardly.
Over in Germany, Angela Merkel is buckling. She's gone from flatly refusing to participate in Eurobonds, where all debt will be shared, to putting conditions on them. Bad move, Angela.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:53 AM
Monday, June 04, 2012
A friend of mine volunteers for our local Animal Rescue. Lately she's been specializing in raptors. Last night, she released four barn owls into the wild and invited us to come along and watch.
Two owls flew away as soon as their boxes were open. A third sat in the box, not wanting to go anywhere for a while until it realized it was free. The fourth, shown below, was angry about the whole ordeal and decided to let us know.
The video quality isn't quite what I wanted. The original was quite good but very dark due to the late hour of the release. I played around with the lighting and some zooms on the face with the result that there's some blockiness in the movie. I haven't had the time to refine the thing, so you'll have to watch it as is. The video resolution goes up to 720p HD. Enjoy!
Posted by K T Cat at 5:35 AM
Sunday, June 03, 2012
Robert Reich, dogmatic ideologue:
Some self-styled "pro-growth centrists" in the Democratic Party are worried that the president is going too far in emphasizing widening inequality. They "wish the administration's focus was on growth over fairness," says the respected National Journal.Reality:
They're wrong. Fairness isn't inconsistent with growth. It's essential to it. The only way the economy can grow and create more jobs is if prosperity is more widely shared.
From an early age, children living in the inner cities are exposed frequently to the use of drugs, guns, arson, and random violence. They witness injury, suffering, and death, and they respond to these events with fear and grief, often experiencing dramatic ruptures in their development. The list of psychological reactions is long and grim: hatred for self, profound loss of trust in the community and the world, tattered internalized moral values and ethics of caring, and a breaking down of the inner and outer sense of security and of reality. They are particularly vulnerable to traumatic stress illnesses and to related behavioral and academic abnormalities (Gardner, 1971; Parson, 1994; van der Kolk, 1987).Bobby thinks we're going to get more equality if we hand out cash* to young adults who have grown up in violent chaos. It hasn't worked in the past, it isn't working now and Bob's got no model, no model at all for it to work in the future. Moral relativism has obliterated the foundations of civilization and no amount of government intervention is going to make up for that. "Fairness" is nowhere in sight, much less an achievable goal. Old Roberto isn't even vaguely aware of this.
Bob-o-reno lives in a bubble of his own creation.
|At least it's pretty.|
Posted by K T Cat at 8:47 AM
Saturday, June 02, 2012
Fred says he's still waiting for the first black President, but in reality, he and his buddies are waiting for just about everything. Here's a key paragraph.
It was June 2007, and the speaker linked the incident to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. “All the hurricane did was make bare what we ignore each and every day,” he said. “Which is that there are whole sets of communities that are impoverished, whole sets of communities that don’t have meaningful opportunity and don’t have hope and are forgotten.” The solution was clear: “If we have more black men in prison than are in our colleges and universities, then it’s time to take the bullet out! . . . If we keep sending our kids to crumbling school buildings, if we keep fighting this war in Iraq, a war that never should have been authorized and should have never been waged . . . it is time to take that bullet out!”Let's see here, what is Fred waiting for? He's waiting for someone to bring him a job, he's waiting for someone to fix his school, he's waiting for someone to keep his friends from robbing and shooting each other, he's waiting for all kinds of things.
Implicit in his article is the butt-numbing inertia of his "community". You get this mental image of everyone waking up in the morning and going out to sit on their porches with a cup of coffee, waiting for hope and opportunity to show up. At the end of the day, they shuffle back inside, despairing that their lives will ever change.
Secondarily, there is no comprehension of how any of the things he uses today actually came to be. I've never read a biographical sketch of Henry Ford that said he waited in his "community" for an opportunity to come. The car Mr. Harris drives is a result of Mr. Ford going out and creating that opportunity. Everything Fred uses is the result of other people actively creating, not passively waiting.
As for fixing his school, why can't he and his friends do that? Graffiti, not exactly the work of outside forces, can be covered with paint using skills most preschoolers have. Replacing broken windows isn't exactly rocket science, either. Driving around the poorer neighborhoods here, I've not seen schools with roofs rotting and sagging, but I've seen a lot of property damage from vandalism. If their kids are going to wreck the place, then maybe they ought to fix it themselves.
Given the massive debt burdens at the state and national levels of government and the coming budget cuts, they're going to have to anyway.
Posted by K T Cat at 12:06 PM
The crack research staff here at The Scratching Post, having recovered from the deep depression that comes with the end of the English Premier League season, has been working night and day trying to uncover the truth about Elizabeth "Dances With Quotas" Warren's claims of American Indian ancestry. Finally, we have proof. Family home movies made back in the late 1860s.
Posted by Jacob the Syrian Hamster at 6:00 AM
Friday, June 01, 2012
In Greece, the leading party in the upcoming elections is Syriza, the progressives. They're big on social justice and fairness, but not so big on paying their bills.
A Radical Left Coalition (Syriza) would annul the memorandum, keep strategic companies under state control, freeze wage and pension cuts demanded by the troika if it wins the June 17 election, its leader announced on Friday.
Alexis Tsipras was speaking at the launch of Syriza's new programme, which he described as a "programme of dignity and hope".
Meanwhile, the state-run Greek power company is going full-Syriza on their creditors with predictable results.
The Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) told Reuters on Friday it was calling an emergency meeting next week to avert a collapse of the country's electricity and natural gas system...You can just see it coming. Syriza or someone similar wins in Greece, refuses to pay their bills and WHAMMO! it's a series of Greek progressive collisions with reality in the form of blackouts, food shortages, no medicine in the hospitals* ...
RAE took the decision after receiving a letter from the Public Gas Corporation (Depa), which threatened to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company...
A yawning gap of more than 300m euros in the accounts of state-run Electricity Market Operator (LAGIE), which acts as a clearing house for power transactions, is causing the system to clog up. If unchecked, that may halt operations at independent power producers, DEI CEO Arthouros Zervos told Reuters in an interview.
Weighed down by debt, LAGIE is unable to reimburse independent power producers for the electricity they generate.
* - The lack of medicines will not be due to the failure to pay bills, it will be due to the greed of Big Pharma!
Posted by K T Cat at 11:43 AM
... or, "The Austerity Was Coming Anyway."
Yesterday, we noted Robert Reich's childish worldview as the little fussbudget sputtered about austerity leading to lower growth as if austerity was it's own cause. Reich and so many others in the intelligentsia can't wrap their heads around the concept that if you borrow money now, you won't have it to spend later. In the adult world, borrowing inexorably leads to austerity.
So do low birth rates.
|European birth rates. Replacement rate is about 2.05. Image from Der Spiegel.|
Infants don't do 8th grade algebra. If mommy usually takes you to the park and gets you an ice cream, but today she needs to spend 4 hours taking care of a sick dog, you still pitch a fit. You don't sit there working out the labor hour calculations, computing just why Rover's vet visit eliminates your yummy treats. You just want what you always got and you're not afraid to let everyone know.
That's Robert Reich and all his buddies. There's no concept of earning things, only of having them.
Posted by K T Cat at 7:49 AM