Saturday, February 28, 2009



What country currently has the best banking system on the planet? Hands down, it's Canada.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrring! Brrrrrrrrrrrrring!


Contrary to appearances, President Failure is still alive.
Before announcing his plan for withdrawing troops from Iraq, President Obama made an intriguing courtesy call on Friday morning: to former president George W. Bush, who began the war that Obama has so vehemently opposed.

White House officials did not elaborate on the call, which Obama placed from a holding room at Camp Lejeune just moments before he gave his long-awaited speech. Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Obama made the call "as a courtesy" to the former president.
With Texas Republicans pleading with XLIII to leave his bunker, it's nice to know that at least one person remembers his existence.

Vengeance is mine, saith Wiesel


To demonstrate just what a scumbag he is, Bernard Madoff stole from concentration camp survivors.
Accused swindler Bernard Madoff should be locked up and forced to look at pictures of his victims, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel was quoted as saying Friday.

"Psychopath is too nice a word for him," Wiesel said in New York, the New York Post reported ...

Wiesel, whose Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity lost 15 million dollars with Madoff, said ordinary punishment was insufficient, the Post reported.

"Whatever (there) is to hurt him should be invented ... He should go before a group of judges who would imagine a punishment for him."
I.e., it's one thing for subhuman Nazis to take advantage of the Chosen People, but having one of their own do so is simply beyond the pale. It's certainly an interesting position for a Nobel Peace Prize laureate to take.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Quote of the Day


"Who wants to hang out with guys like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich when you can be with Rush Limbaugh?"
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in his CPAC speech, insisting
that conservatives are more "interesting" and "fun" than liberals.
Are we to understand by this that the priggish McConnell is, in fact, a pedophile???

The Free Market at work


Via Atrios, Obsidian Wings points out,
It's actually hard to understand how the banks managed to do this badly: you'd think they could have done better hiring people off the street and paying them to put all those nice little loan documents into piles at random, or tossing mortgages down the stairs and bundling them based on how they landed. They certainly didn't need to hire people with advanced math degrees and pay them seven- or eight-figure salaries to get these kinds of results.

And how about those ratings agencies? They would have done a better job using a Magic 8-Ball to rate the [collateralized debt obligations].
It'd be nice to think that this was some kind of aberration, but we all (And by "all," I include the Senior Senator from Arizona.) know better.

This is just another Republican-sanctioned debacle (although clearly much worse than the 80s' S&L meltdown) where the free market idiotlogues felt that fiduciary bodies could be trusted to make reasonable and unselfish decisions. Once again, they were wrong. (And it goes without saying that the usual suspects continue to give their approval to the hideous situation as it's playing out.)

Needless to say, it's difficult to condone rescuing institutions that don't deserve a life jacket, but the alternative is surely worse: The collapse of many American banks would instantly create another Depression, and that is to be avoided at all costs. Thus, in the many financial bills now being considered, Obama is trying to make the distinction between the banks and the bankers. We'll see if the GOP fat cats allow him to run with that ball.

The raw and the cooked


I have to admit that I'm of two minds on the issue of raw milk in Connecticut, but it's an issue that's gotten a lot of play recently. At the very least, it's piqued my interest because of its local slant.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Embarrassing Connecticut News


I can't say that the Constitution State has exactly glorified itself in the last few days.
The Hartford Courant laid down the ax on Wednesday. One hundred jobs will be cut this week. The New Haven Independent is reporting that some reporters were let go today, including half of the state capitol reporting team -- Mark Pazniokas, who has been at the newspaper for 24 years.

Environmental reporter Dave Funkhouser and D.C. Bureau reporter Jesse Hamilton were let go as well, the Independent reports. Hamilton’s departure means the end of the Courant’s D.C. Bureau. He was the last reporter left working the nation’s capital.
And this, of course, is discomfiting beyond words.

Ah yes. Just another college coach who thinks he's the most important citizen of his state.

UPDATE — But at least I don't live in Minnesota or Illinois.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The only thing we have to fear ...


I have to say that Obama's SOTU speech (in everything but name) last night was quite impressive and made me think of another oration that occurred 76 years ago next week. At any rate, the speech certainly was vastly superior to its rejoinder, which the Republicans used as yet another opportunity to trot out a next-generation politician with neither poise nor new ideas. (UPDATE — Krugman has more on Republicans' desire to return to the days of the bucket brigade here.)

And while I'm on the subject of neanderthal politicians, Sen. Jim Bunning sure looks more and more stupid every time he opens his mouth. He's not a doctor; he doesn't even play one on tv, but his ridiculous assertions have caused the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to wonder if it's not time for the 77-year old Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher to be sent to the showers. Bunning's response to this possibility has been typically hysterical.

Sunday, February 22, 2009



The only news we heard while being south of the border was that the NY Post is manned by racists, the Pope is an idiot, another Red State incest case occurred, this video from Hong Kong

was viewed nearly five million times on YouTube, and, oh yes, it's not safe being south of the border.

At any rate, we had a terrific time in Cancún, but, as always, are glad to be back in the good old US of A.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Roger Ebert

Universal Remote

Everyone knows Roger Ebert. But not everyone knows that Roger Ebert now writes an on-line journal. I hesitate to call it a blog because the posts are so detailed and personal. They are also so often compelling and thought-provoking (and, as expected, well-written) that I thought I would recommend the journal.


Saturday, February 14, 2009



In the midst of yet another Obama cabinet fiasco, it might be interesting to readers of this blog to see tax cheat Timothy Geithner's curriculum vitae again.

Off to Cancún for the week. Posting will be sporadic at best.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Connecticut News


On what's otherwise another day for handwringing, three Connecticut stories have caught my good eye. Viz.,
After 67 seasons, the fat lady has sung for Connecticut Opera. The opera has ceased business, has let staff go, has closed its office, and told its 2,000 subscribers they will get no money back on the two springtime productions that were recently canceled.
The lede is a no-brainer, but how many times does one get such a chance?

Anyway, John E. Kreitler, chairman of the opera board, ascribes it to "just another casualty of the economic conditions," but let's face it: Even in the best of times the appeal of opera in a fairly small market such as Hartford has got to be minimal.

Republican legislators presented a sweeping budget-cutting plan Wednesday that would allow ... the sale of alcohol on Sundays, which has been banned in a long-held tradition in Connecticut. Carroll Hughes, chief lobbyist for the state's package store owners, is telling legislators that liquor sales would be spread over seven days — rather than six — and would lead to no increased revenue for the state.
I'm with the retailers on this one. Those poor laborers (a great number of them in Mom and Pop operations) work 72-hour weeks as it is. To legislate more would create a counterproductive Wal-Mart effect so that the Connecticut Beverage Marts and their ilk would be the only survivors.

Finally, under the umbrella of "what were they thinking?"
The chief executive of a Stamford-based professional wrestling company was approved [overwhelmingly] Wednesday by the state Senate for a seat on the 11-member State Board Of Education.

The Senate approved the nomination [of Linda E. McMahon, who oversees the World Wrestling Entertainment empire with her husband, Vince], made by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, 34-1. McMahon is a Rell campaign contributor. Sen. Joan Hartley, a Waterbury Democrat, was the only one to vote against McMahon, saying she believes McMahon would be better suited for boards other than the one that helps set state education policy.
I think Sen. Hartley may be right on this one. I'm not sure I'd consult anyone having anything to do with WWE if I needed guidance on an educational issue. But that's just me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More of the same


It's official.
John McCain is telling supporters he is definitely running for another term in the US Senate after the bitter disappointment of losing his presidential bid—and he's saying that the economic crisis was the clincher.

"The magnitude of the financial crisis that many American families are facing makes it clear to me that I want to continue to serve our country in the Senate," he says in the email, sent Tuesday night and which also serves as a pitch for campaign cash.
This is absolutely ridiculous, and I'm not even thinking about the fact that should he win in 2010, the aged senator would be in his eighties once his sixth term expired. Surely, the people of Arizona can do better than this decrepitudinous fool. (Of course, the same can be said about the followers of a certain eastern college football team.)

No, the idiocy is that Senator Septuagenarian believes that by serving for six more years he'll be helping to solve "the financial crisis that many American families are facing" even though he voted against a plan that would help out those very families he's ostensibly so concerned about.

That's not legislative acumen we can believe in.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The latest polls


All of a sudden, only Republicans are popular in the Constitution State.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell got a 75-percent job-approval rating after releasing her budget, a new poll shows.

A Quinnipiac University poll released today showed Rell getting high marks for addressing the economy, but [Senator Chris] Dodd's explanation of getting what Countrywide Financial deemed to be a VIP mortgage dissatisfied voters by a wide margin.

Dodd got his worst approval rating ever in the Quinnipiac poll: 41 percent approve and 48 percent disapprove of his performance and 51 percent say they are likely to vote against him next year ...

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, who does not face re-election until 2012, continues to struggle in the poll. His negatives still outweigh his positives, and he trails Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in a hypothetical matchup, 58 percent to 30 percent.
I don't think Blumenthal will ever run, and I don't think he'd be much different from Holy Joe in a number of respects, anyway. Nevertheless, it's clear that Senator Sanctimony is quite vulnerable.

Chris Dodd may also have outworn his welcome. I've said before that it's time for the five-term senator to retire, and Connecticut's voters may make that decision for him. Nevertheless, the state's Republicans have absolutely no one of any merit to run against him, and Blumenthal is sure to continue playing his waiting game until at least 2012.

Republicans and the stimulus bill


At the risk of derogating one of the smartest people I've ever encountered personally, I have to say that Bob Reich's latest post is a bit of a no-brainer.



For what it's worth, the A-Rod situation has convinced me that no solution exists for athletes' use of performance-enhancing drugs. I'm beginning to see their use as just another part of a training regimen. If that makes me an enabler, or an idiot, so be it.

At any rate, I was talking just a few minutes ago with a rabid Yankee fan, and I opined that the whole thing probably means nothing except when it comes to A-Rod's eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame. I see that Ross Douthat is thinking along those lines, too. Viz.,
Now perhaps steroid users should be banned for life, but the fact remains that A-Rod and others stand accused of violating a rule that carried no penalty save treatment at the time that they (and dozens if not hundreds of other players whose names haven't been leaked) broke it, and that today only gets you banned outright if you're a three-time offender. And I think it's a good rule of thumb that if you're allowed to continue playing major league baseball after committing a given infraction, you shouldn't be disqualified - informally or formally - from its Hall of Fame.

This isn't to say that the steroid effect shouldn't be considered in evaluating a player's fitness for the Hall. I wouldn't give A-Rod or Bonds the honor of a first-ballot induction, and I think that evidence of steroid use is a good reason for keeping borderline HoF candidates out. If you think a player wouldn't have reached Hall-worthy numbers without cheating - as I suspect McGwire wouldn't, for all his gifts - then don't vote him in. But there's no question that Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens would have made the Hall without the edge that steroids provided. And if you grant that premise, I think that they belong there, unless the sport is willing to take the plunge of banning them from the diamond permanently.
And it's that last notion that will make the difference. There's simply no way that MLB is willing to kill the golden goose, especially with new stadia being constructed and entertainment dollars being so scarce.

I'm not particularly impressed that A-Rod came clean (as some seem to be); after all, he faces no penalty for doing so, but I'm still not convinced that he should be banned from baseball or its Hall of Fame for trying to give the fans (and owner: What a sanctimonious moron Tom Hicks looks like in all of this.) what they wanted: an MVP-like performance.

UPDATE — And another reason I'm not willing to get too excited about all of this is the fact that our legislative grandstanders made such a big deal out of this while the economy was going down the toilet, Americans were losing basic civil rights, and an unnecessary war was being financed to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. Zach Roth elucidates.

Monday, February 09, 2009

It's not my fault. I was drunk.


A case that has enthralled the Constitution State for the past few months was resolved today.
E. Curtissa R. Cofield, the judge captured on video using racial epithets after her drunken-driving arrest, was suspended today for 240 days.

The Judicial Review Council unanimously found Cofield guilty on all five counts that she violated the Code of Judicial Conduct. The council's charges included invoking her position as a judge to influence and intimidate police, as well as violating the code by driving drunk and using disparaging, demeaning and racially inappropriate language ...

Cofield told the council that she had trouble recognizing herself in a two-hour video recording of her booking at Glastonbury police headquarters.

"My use of racially insensitive language is reprehensible, incomprehensible and regrettable," said Cofield, who attributed her insults "to my intoxicated condition, as I am not a racist."

Under questioning by council members, Cofield retreated from a previous claim made under oath that she only had two drinks on the night of her arrest.

"I don't have an accurate recollection," she said today. "Perhaps I shouldn't have taken a guess."

... But the panel focused more on her conduct after the arrest, such as using racial slurs and referring to State Police Sgt. Dwight Washington as "Mr. Negro Washington."

Last month, the council found sufficient cause to hold a disciplinary hearing and released the video of her booking, which became widely viewed on the Internet.

"When I watched the video, I did not recognize myself," Cofield said. "It was as if I was having an out-of-body experience."
Great. Just what the state needs: a judge who's a self-admitted psychotic.

Personally, I'm getting a little tired of public servants who break the law but then are nevertheless allowed to become Secretary of the Treasury, or who are allowed to regain their judgeship after eight months.

Still waiting


So when are the Dems going to jump over the bipartisanship hurdle and pass some anti-depression legislation that means something?

UPDATE — It looks like Tom Tomorrow is also still waiting.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Seen enough


Apparently, our president is getting as impatient with Republican legislators as I've been for a while.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Porn attorney"


Needless to say, I just love it when Christians become apoplectic.
"[Obama's pick for deputy attorney general, David Ogden,] has been an activist in the support of a right to pornography, a right of abortion and the rights of homosexuals," said Patrick Trueman, a former Justice Department official during the first Bush presidency who is now in private practice.

"It isn't so much that he's represented pornographers or that he's been a porn attorney, but it's his world view, and his world view reflects President Obama's world view," said Trueman, echoing criticism from conservative activist groups like the American Family Association and Focus on the Family.

While a private attorney, Ogden argued on behalf of Playboy and librarians fighting congressionally mandated Internet filtering software.
That last reference certainly makes Ogden just all right with me.

For Drift


I have no idea what he's talking about, but some Chicago economists sure have gotten the latest Nobel Prize in Economics winner in a lather.

I still think Krugman should be Secretary of the Treasury or FOMC Chairman.

Boomer blues


The idea of a lovely retirement in Florida where one played golf every day and sipped an adult beverage with a little umbrella in it as the sun set was nice while it lasted.
A new study by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants shows clients of financial planners have made adjustments in their lives to match the changing economic environment.

CPA financial planners surveyed reported that nearly 35 percent of their clients who are approaching retirement age are postponing leaving the workforce because of recent economic conditions. This is a 3 percent increase from the 32 percent who last year said they were planning to delay their retirement.
Of course, those clients are moderately lucky to have a job; here's hoping that they're stuck in something that isn't excruciating.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Taking personal responsibility


No matter what morons like Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite say, it's absolutely refreshing to hear a President of the United States admit that he "screwed up" regarding the Daschle appointment—or anything else, for that matter.

It sure is different from the not too distant past.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Quote of the Day


I never thought candidate Obama entirely understood the economic and political anger and populism his campaign tapped into, but he's smart enough to see it now, and it's time he got out in front of it.
Joan Walsh at in discussing Tom Daschle's fall from grace
Here's hoping she's right—in any of a number of areas.

Deadbeat Democrats


Continuing with the the recent epidemic of financial hanky panky by leading Democrats,
U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd said Monday he will refinance two mortgages that are the subject of a Senate ethics investigation.

At the same time, Dodd and his wife, Jackie Clegg Dodd, offered their most detailed defense of the loans since Portfolio magazine alleged in June that the Dodds were accorded improper VIP treatment by Countrywide Financial Corp.
Needless to say, the defense was, at best, superficial and left many questions about the deal unanswered.

It's bad enough that Geithner, Daschle, William Jefferson, Dodd, and others I'm no doubt forgetting have all jobbed the system, but to have the majority of these men be defended by the powers that be is irksome beyond words.

True bibliophiles


Never let it be said that librarians aren't flexible.
Hero pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger ... splash landed his jetliner in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, and everyone on board escaped safely. But left in the cargo hold was a book Sullenberger had checked out from California State University, Fresno, through his local library near Danville.

Library officials say Sullenberger asked for an extension and waiver of overdue fees ...

The librarians say they were struck by Sullenberger's sense of responsibility and did him one better: they're waiving all fees and dedicating the replacement book to him.
I'm sure Capt. Sullenberger was touched by the terrific ovation he got in Tampa on Sunday, but surely this magnanimous gesture means much more to him.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Quote of the day


"This is the first I've heard of Prime Minister Putin coming out for free enterprise. I hope it works for him."

— Bill Clinton at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a day after the Russian leader warned that too much government involvement in the economy could be "dangerous" and cautioned against "blind faith in the state's omnipotence."

The statement actually was made on Thursday, but it's making the rounds today. The crowd who heard it gave it the laugh it deserved.

... or the terrorists will win


The Libertarian part of me just hates nonsense like this.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Boss's Regret


Apparently, fellow Jersey Shore native, Bruce Springsteen, will perform during the Super Bowl's meretricious halftime this evening. I assume my old thespian buddy from high school, Steve Van Zandt, will join him for such a prestigious gig.

Coincidentally, Mr. Springsteen is now ruing his decision to lie down with dogs.

Mr. Springsteen would be well advised to revisit lyrics of his own making:
Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more ...
Or is integrity too much to ask of rock icons?

The Week in Review


Jason Linkins tells us all we need to know regarding the national politics front:
First, why stick with flawed nominees like William Lynn for deputy defense secretary, Tim Geitner for Treasury Secretary, or Tom Daschle for Secretary of Health and Human Services? Obama campaigned against "Washington D. C. politics as usual" and now he appears to be standing firmly behind two nominees who either do not know how to file a tax return or are tax cheats. While Lynn's nomination does not approach the conflict of interest we saw with former VP Cheney serving as CEO of Halliburton, implementing an Executive Order restricting lobbying's influence on government and then following it with a waiver somehow seems even more disingenuous. Speaking of lobbying, I assure you we have just begun to see Daschle's problems because both he and his wife have cashed in big time at the lobby bar. Lucky for us that Bill Richardson had the decency to withdraw from consideration for his post. Too bad Dakota Tom won't do the same.

I don't know what makes Lynn or Daschle or Geithner so damned necessary to my future well being, either.

Second, since the collapse of the financial world has come on the heels of eight years of Republican rule (and if you want to lay some blame at Clinton's feet, you would have to acknowledge that blame would be directed at his actions that were GOP-like such as regulatory relaxation), why does the Obama administration believe it needs to dilute the stimulus bill by including more of the same failed policies? While I don't think the Dems need to throw their victory in the GOP's face, the truth is they don't need GOP votes. Yes, they will need a few votes in the Senate, but the Dems don't need to sell the farm to grab a couple of those. I just don't remember the GOP being that concerned about the Dem's feelings at the beginning of the Bush presidency, but maybe I have a faulty memory.
This passage pretty much echoes my frustrations concerning President Post-Partisan's role in all of this. I.e., Lynn, Daschle and Geithner can't be indispensable, and it's hard to believe that Republicans (who literally would pass bills in the dark of night when they were in the majority) need to be appeased in order to get an economic stimulus package passed.