Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Real Misery Index

The economy realistically:

Bookforum: Stories about the financial crisis.

A new study just released on the current income gap: obscene beyond Reagan's wildest dreams.

But, at least Obama's out there explaining patiently how he doesn't plan to kill yer grandma.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vermont Pride

Bernie Sanders:

Howard Dean:

...and Patrick Leahy

The facts are that over 72% of Americans want a government-run public choice for health care. You know, like something approaching what the rest of the developed world takes for granted (and we could easily have without higher taxes–just by revoking some of the latest welfare handouts for this country's blight of obscenely rich assholes).

self-healing chop blocks

Now's the time to buy! Everything's ON SALE until this Friday morning, when I take it with me to Vermont. Otherwise accepting orders for late August/early September...

Monday, July 13, 2009

"new atheism"

For those following the debate: here's a popular argument more practical than either Terry Eagleton or Karen Armstrong.

Update: And here is Chris Knight. Finally, an actual philosopher. Thank God. Via.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"The President's Surveillance Plan"

Revealed to include a whole lot more than illegal wiretapping...

Or how to dump a story on a Friday. And in other potentially exciting news... Update, a whole week later: Digby on the embarrassment of the CIA finding "inspiration" in the TV show, "24."

US Health Insurance Cartel: Follow the Money

Adding to the list of people who don't want you to see how Michael Moore's film, "Sicko" "hits the nail on the head" according to US insurance insiders.

The Washington Post: Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments:
Almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments in a sector that could be dramatically reshaped by this summer's debate.
...and freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who holds at least $180,000 in investments in more than 20 health-care companies...

The Washington Post: Familiar Players in Health Bill Lobbying:
The nation's largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress....The hirings are part of a record-breaking influence campaign by the health-care industry, which is spending more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying in the current fight, according to disclosure records.

Huffington Post launches "Lobby Blog."

Update: Hell yah.

UpdateII: Huffpo has more.

We want..we want...HEALTH CARE!

Wendell Potter, former Head of Corporate Communications at CIGNA (which provides health insurance to nearly 70 percent of the Fortune 100 companies) admits that, in fact, "Sicko" "hit the nail on the head" and told the real truth about how much better people in other countries have it when it comes to their health care...

...disinformation and attacks on Michael and the film were extensive and well-planned. Their job was to stop the movie from reaching a wide audience (and, more importantly, from having the widespread political impact the industry feared "Sicko" would have).

Watch the full Bill Moyers story here and especially here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Kay Hagan and other cowardly, incoherent Blue Dogs attempt vaguely to conceal wildly unpopular selling-out to the health insurance cartel, update

Courtesy of Digby, here.

I can't afford health care. Apparently an industry/cartel with record prices and profits can still afford to buy politicians. I campaigned hard for Kay Hagan but I will campaign even harder to replace her with any-goddamn-one if she doesn't do the right thing here and support a public option. Here is her contact info.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

speaking of Facebook...

For those infantile Narcissistic Personality Disorder types for whom actually speaking is an awkward affair:
"But in a statement posted on Palin's Facebook account, she suggested that she had bigger plans and a national agenda she planned to push after she resigns at the end of the month.

"I am now looking ahead and how we can advance this country together with our values of less government intervention, greater energy independence, stronger national security, and much-needed fiscal restraint," she said.

Palin also cast herself as a victim and blasted the media, calling the response to her announcement "predictable" and out of touch.

"How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it's about country," the statement said. "And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make."

Palin's personal spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, confirmed to The Associated Press that the Facebook posting was written by the governor."

...Pretending to run for President (on Facebook!) being at this point Palin's only way to defend her dignity ("the world is literally her oyster!"), the only friendly medium through which to vaguely spin her quitting in terms of anything but pure selfish avoidance, were that even possible...or as Maureen Dowd says this morning: "Sarah wanted everyone to know that she’s not having fun and people are being mean to her and she doesn’t feel like finishing her first term as governor."
Practical minds can only hope she stays out of prison long enough to pursue those "bigger plans."

Friday, July 03, 2009

sad songs

Worth the listening...(via)

Less sad: A Supposedly Fun Blog, which points to this old interview with David Foster Wallace:

He was on the show a year earlier as well:

Matt Taibbi strikes again: "The Great American Bubble Machine"

Oh, I'm a huge fan of this guy's investigative journalism, this time "on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression." (Cue emphatically vague, prosaic protests from the PR wing of Goldman Sachs.) Especially as at times he seems like the only one who is effectively doing this: translating our reality of in all but name only criminally-organized economic-apartheid/financier dictatorship to a popular audience, and with proper pathos of indignation. Taibbi may not have been possible without the likes of Chomsky, but he sure does a better job keeping us awake. (Needless to say, part of this work is holding otherwise sympathetic but obviously worn-down, increasingly platitudinous critics-become-automatons to a higher standard, which Taibbi also does pretty well.)

His conclusions are especially disturbing:
The collective message of all of this — the AIG bailout, the swift approval for its bank-holding conversion, the TARP funds — is that when it comes to Goldman Sachs, there isn't a free market at all. The government might let other players on the market die, but it simply will not allow Goldman to fail under any circumstances. Its edge in the market has suddenly become an open declaration of supreme privilege.


Fast-forward to today. It's early June in Washington, D.C. Barack Obama, a popular young politician whose leading private campaign donor was an investment bank called Goldman Sachs — its employees paid some $981,000 to his campaign — sits in the White House. Having seamlessly navigated the political minefield of the bailout era, Goldman is once again back to its old business, scouting out loopholes in a new government-created market with the aid of a new set of alumni occupying key government jobs.

Gone are Hank Paulson and Neel Kashkari; in their place are Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson and CFTC chief Gary Gensler, both former Goldmanites. (Gensler was the firm's co-head of finance.) And instead of credit derivatives or oil futures or mortgage-backed CDOs, the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits — a booming trillion- dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that it gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an "environmental plan," called cap-and-trade. The new carbon-credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that's been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won't even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.

Update: Strangely, TPM would rather talk about Mark Sanford.
Update II: Even more strangely, Rolling Stone, for whatever reason, apparently neglected to post the article online for over a month, until just a day before the "environmental"/carbon tax/let's make Golman Sachs even richer even more easily/Cap-and-Trade bill passed....

Thursday, July 02, 2009

walnut, cherry end grain chopping block

Priced significantly better than these folks. (Plus I give artist, teacher and farmer discounts. Talk to me about my sliding scale for non-hedge-funders.)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

custom cherry bed tray

Grain-matched and with walnut through spline:

Why my father (an English professor of 40 years) owned a tape measure with his initials on it is unclear to me.