< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: July 2005

Friday, July 29, 2005

Back to My Favorite Topic

The '08 Presidential race. So far, I think the Dem nomination is Hill's to lose. That doesn't mean she won't. She isn't Bill afterall, she's Hill... and she isn't running against Bruce Babbit... she'll be running against Edwards, Easley, Warner, and other clones of her husband.

But for sure the Republican nomination is more interesting. You got McCain, the favorite of all good and right Republicans. Except, in a head to head with him and a certain Senator from S. Carolina who NOBODY is talking about, except of course me, McCain is toast. Especially if the certain Senator decides to break in just after Iowa, ride the press to a good third place in NH, and whip up in SC (his home state), giving him some serious mo for the rest of the ride. I don't see who can beat this guy. Seriously, he's a darkhorse and all, but the way I see it, it is his race to lose. And if he wins the nomination, hell I might just vote for him cause he'd be about the best politician I've ever seen.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Thoughts on Healthcare

Sharpie had an interesting thought here. Worth thinking about again. Another thing worth thinking about is the idea of a national health care system. I just heard some dude on the radio who has 3 kids, a wife, and he makes $8 an hour. He's in Greensboro, NC, but still $8 is $8. Kids are on medicaid, he's on employer health care, but they can't afford to put the wife on. Not a sob story or anything. But you gotta feel for the guy. One answer to this of course is a nationalized health care system. You wanna know the single biggest obstacle to that? Public education.

Non sequitir I know, but think about it from this angle, do you want you're doctor performing at the same level at which you're third grade teacher performed? No? How about if you're neurologist exhibited the same level of professionalism as your high school principal? And more importantly, can you trust the same people who oversee our schools to oversee our health care? If you can't offer good education which challenges our youth and makes them competitive in the global marketplace... how you gonna convince people you ought to cut on em also?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Apparently

The last post on this blog is a week old. We've been a little shorthanded here of late. My apologies to everyone. Sharpshanks, it seems, is doing well in his new Asian surroundings. Mitya K is away on vacay. God knows where Wilderwood, FedFarmer and Schenker currently find themselves. I've been busy myself, but I'M BACK. And I've decided to stop being nice to liberal namby pambies. Look, I'm a liberal, at least, in the "old" way that word used to be intended ... you know, Liberal as in "free"? But, I draw the line at protesting troops coming home on leave from Iraq. That's just poor form folks.

Also, this overheard in the hills of Westport, CT this summer. Said the baby-boomer female politician with a liberal pedigree and a history of pro-civil rights stances (from the Southland, don't you know): "What's up with all these big American flags hanging out in front of these Connecticut farmhouses?" To which the native Connectican replied: "what do you mean, this is New England, you know, patriotism" To which the gray-haired activist replied: "Oh, I thought this was a blue state though." To which all others in the car: "hurl".

Seriously folks. That actually happened. The old southern lady was eventually informed of the concept of "yankee doodle dandy", the "minutemen" and other New England symbols and history of patriotism. But the anecdote is important. Before the good people of this country (including me goddamn it) start trusting Democrats and their liberal friends with the safety of this country, liberals THEMSELVES have a long way to go. And when they get there, it's gotta be ok to hang a damn flag outside your house. It can't be considered "red" or "republican" or "grotesque" or "over the top" or "nationalist" or "neo-fascist" or whatever. It can ONLY be considered "damn fine" by the party charged with our safety. And the reason is simple... and if you have to ask why, you'll never fucking know. Glad to be back amigos!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Greenspan and Education

Just now, Barney Frank missed the point. He grilled Greenspan on the wage gap problem (or what Greenspan calls a "bi-variate" wage system). The problem is an oversupply of skilled jobs and an undersupply of skilled workers. Result is skilled workers currently making a disproportionately high income as unskilled workers make almost nothing. Frank wanted to go the other way and say this means doom and gloom for American economy (we can't afford anymore tax cuts then right?). What he missed though is the silver bullet. The way to get out of a split level economy is to make education free. The longer skills acquisition remains a privilege, the smaller the middle class. When skills acquisition becomes free (take a look at Ireland if want a recent example), the middle class flourishes and the economy expands. There's a downside politically to this. Current highly skilled employees will experience significant wage pressure from increased competition (my doctor complains of this constantly). Greenspan even went so far as to say we aren't moving kids through high school and through college quickly enough. If Democrats want to start winning elections, they can start here. The way to expand economic success is to expand skills acquisition by making it free. I would also argue, and may do so at a later time, that the only way for the American economy to continue to prosper as globalization continues is to make college education virtually free.

UPDATE: House Democrats on the Financial Services Committee are incredibly clueless. Can't they afford some halfway decent staffers to brief them correctly? Maloney is an embarrassment and her questions make me want to watch CNBC! Maybe Alan should draw them pictures?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Perverse Incentive Situation

P.I.S. You'll hear vulture traders swear this way a lot. The rules pre-bankruptcy get turned upside down post-bankruptcy and there is plenty of room for finding perverse incentive situations... "I'm stuck in a pisser!" being a favorite of mine.

One that a lot of people haven't commented on is the PIS facing the insurgency in Iraq. We all know about the PIS facing us, the more we "take it to the enemy", the higher the price of oil, the more likely that more money finds its way back to the enemy. The same sort of PIS faces the insurgency though... they are trying to get rid of S. Arabia's ruling family (and its ilk), so they strike the pipelines to disrupt supply (yielding what they hope is a shadow OPEC). But the more they disrupt supply, the higher the price of oil, and the more capital is available to stabilize and reinforce the regimes they intend to topple.

How do you solve a PIS? The easiest way is to remove the offending rule, but for the insurgency, J. Robb has a different idea, change the target. This will take some time for traders to catch on to though, dampening the effect. Though, in the near term, this could be an interesting short opportunity.

All this leads me to a different point, however, which from the Al Qaeda point of view is certainly an alarming development. Both the US and Al Qaeda have significant interest in low average oil prices for the long term. PISser for Bin Laden eh?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bush's Broken Brain

The McClellan Meltdown over Rove-Plame-CIA-etc., in today's press briefing, takes us to the tipping point: it is now clear that Bush's brain isn't up to the task. No, not Karl Rove, as in Moore, Slater, Moore, and Slater's useful book; we're talking the real stuff between Bush's ears. Rove, the manager of Bush's political welfare, is at least for the time being relatively crippled by the Plame affair, whatever its outcome. But the one who is chronically disabled is Bush.

It's so simple that only the intellectual media (OK, then, the intellectually dishonest media) will avoid it-- "it" being that only a serious mental disorder can explain Bush's behavior in assuring us that Rove in particular and others in general in the administration didn't do it; and he'd fire anybody who did; and then authorizing today's shift to no comment. The administration's series of statements are now not even superficially reconcilable with each other, or with sanity, or sense.

It isn't about being caught in a lie; it's about crafting a lie so vulnerable to forces outside his or the White House's control, so detached from how the world works, that anyone without a substantial impairment of intellect would know it could not be sustained. It's not a miscalculated risk (as in Clinton) but a break with reality (as in Nixon). Perhaps Nixon was more truly psychotic, and Bush more deprived of basic intelligence, but either way there is a fundamental inability to recognize, much less act on, real events and real facts.

Thought for the not too future day: Reagan's impending incapacity was signaled not only by some memory lapses but also some observable clumsiness; Bush's current incapacity is corroborated by his repeated falling off bicycles and chairs, occasional pathologically awkward gait, etc.