Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘stupid’ Category

Look out below

Posted by Charles II on April 9, 2012

Outsourced to Ritholtz.

Basic story: futures predict -1.5%. We are close to “Sell in May and go away.” seasonal selling (though April is usually a good month). The weak payroll data make people jittery. Mayan calendars says… well, you get the idea. No real reason to expect a market correction, so everyone is expecting one.

Me, I don’t see any news that would cause a correction. The market is overvalued, but it’s not like that’s anything new. The real news that makes me jittery is that JP Morgan has apparently found a new loophole by which to lever up, even as it develops that corporate debt actually is quite high. Yes, corporations have lots of cash. They also have lots of liabilities. Those are things to worry about: arsonists have just bought gasoline. There is plenty of tinder.

Lord, we live in stupid times.

Posted in economy, eedjits, stock market, stupid | Comments Off on Look out below

The return of slavery

Posted by Charles II on August 5, 2011

One of the reasons I used to refuse to invest in China, and now do so only selectively, is that they use some prison labor. Prison labor, unless it’s done at a competitive wage, is a form of slavery. So, to be consistent, I should divest from the US. Mike Elk and Bob Sloan, The Nation (via t/o):

The breaded chicken patty your child bites into at school may have been made by a worker earning twenty cents an hour, not in a faraway country, but by a member of an invisible American workforce: prisoners. At the Union Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Florida, inmates from a nearby lower-security prison manufacture tons of processed beef, chicken and pork for Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE), a privately held non-profit corporation that operates the state’s forty-one work programs. In addition to processed food, PRIDE’s website reveals an array of products for sale through contracts with private companies, from eyeglasses to office furniture…

Although a wide variety of goods have long been produced by state and federal prisoners for the US government—license plates are the classic example, with more recent contracts including everything from guided missile parts to the solar panels powering government buildings—prison labor for the private sector was legally barred for years, to avoid unfair competition with private companies. But this has changed thanks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)…

So: incarcerate people at a cost of $50,000 per year to the taxpayers, make them work at jobs that would pay $7.25 an hour for $0.25/hr. Labor costs being about half of all costs, and figuring a markup to generate a margin of 50% without nearly free labor, that means that one prisoner working 2000 hours per year generates profit of $42,000 for PRIDE, while costing the taxpayers $50,000 minus whatever taxes they are able to get PRIDE to pay (maybe $5,000 if they’re lucky). We pay $45,000. PRIDE makes $42,000. And they are able to drive down the cost of labor to the minimum, or even drive legitimate companies out of business.

It would, of course, be cheaper not to lock up the guy in the first place. But if we just had prisoners do the same services at market rates for a state-administered program, the state would receive a profit of ca. $28,000 and would collect some taxes from the prisoner, making the cost of incarceration roughly $20,000. And that’s assuming that overhead is roughly the same for a state-administered enterprise than for private enterprise. Usually the reverse is true.

What PRIDE is doing is state socialism, folks. The state pays a state-approved company to do something that could be done much more cheaply in other ways. The alternative, a state-administered program, is democracy. Democracy pays a real wage, not a slave wage.

Posted in corporatists, corruption, crimes, stupid | 5 Comments »

Default now appears inevitable

Posted by Charles II on July 30, 2011

43 Republican Senators Sign Letter Opposing Reid Debt Plan

Of course, three Republicans could decline to join a filibuster. Looking at who signed the letter, even the so-called “responsible Republicans” (Lugar, McCain) are on board with blowing things up. I guess that the Democrats could cave and do what the Republicans want. But that would probably be worse than default.

Or a meteor could land on Washington. That would certainly would gratify a large swathe of the American public and lead to better economic policies than are presently under consideration.
Update: So, we get worse than default. Ten years of a contracting economy and joblessness levels to rival the Great Depression. This agreement will definitely put the US back into recession. And by caving, Barack Obama has left the only healthy part of the American polity leaderless, adrift, and tearing at one another.

Posted in budget, deficit, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, stupid | 2 Comments »

Fill in the blank. _____ = Narcotraffickers

Posted by Charles II on December 9, 2010

They’re more dangerous than terrorists!

They’ll bankrupt us faster than the banks!

They’re… teachers!

They’re… THE CARTEL!

Yes, this bit of idiocy has probably come to a theater near you and you haven’t noticed. It was advertised on Rachel Maddow, which seemed like a very odd placement.

I have my own complaints about the public school system and, as with every part of American society, there are cases of corruption and incompetence. But I would never dream of equating teacher unions with narcotraffickers.

The New Jersey Education Association presents their findings on the funding of this movie here. Only in nation so close to the breakdown of democratic governance is this sort of thing possible.

Posted in eedjits, stupid, unions | 2 Comments »

The Most Open Administration in History

Posted by Charles II on November 14, 2010

Read the following with the understanding that the Bush Administration suppressed this as well. But things like this make one wonder whether the DoJ under Eric Holder has improved since the days of Alberto Gonzales. Denial of legitimate FOIAs is illegal, not a good thing for the nation’s top law enforcement agency to be engaged in.

From the National Security Archive, an invaluable independent organization which seeks to pry things loose from the archives of the national security state:

Washington, DC, November 13, 2010 – The Department of Justice censored dozens of pages of a candid history of Nazi-hunting (and Nazi-protecting) by the U.S. government to such a self-defeating extent that former officials leaked the entire document to the New York Times this week, instead of fulfilling the Freedom of Information request and lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive and its counsel David Sobel.

“Now that we can compare the redacted document with the complete text of the original report, it is clear that the Justice Department is withholding information without legal justification,” said David Sobel. “For an administration – and an Attorney General – supposedly committed to an ‘unprecedented’ level of transparency, this case provides a troubling example of how far the reality is from the rhetoric.”

The National Security Archive submitted its FOIA request for the history of the Office of Special Investigations in November 2009, only to be denied by the Justice Department on grounds that the document – although completed in 2006 and never revised since then – was only a draft and was “predecisional” and therefore withholdable under the 5th exemption to the FOIA.

Posted in doing the right thing, Eric Holder, fascism, government malfeasance, history, our tax dollars at work, stupid, WTF? | 3 Comments »

Sowing The Callous Bigot Wind, Reaping The Crazy Threat-Happy Bigot Whirlwind

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 23, 2010

Spotty over at The Cucking Stool talks about his neighbor Ben, a local right-wing blogger who apparently has a strange idea of bravery and morality:

Ben is my neighbor, a twenty-something who lives at home; Ben has always been beside himself over my blogging, but it has come to a head in the last year. I’ve never written about Ben. Well, until now, that is.

At a neighborhood party for a high school gradate last spring (well, last last spring, 2009), he came up to me and my wife and started swearing in a spittle-flecked rage, and nearly worked himself up into some kind of a seizure. His mom and dad weren’t there, and some of our neighbors took him in hand and led him away.

Shortly before the Fourth of July parade in 2009, Ben sent me an email and told me not to come around to the parade, because I would get more of the same, and that he intended to clear the neighborhood of the likes of me so it would be a place for “decent folks.” (Ben had, perhaps, been watching too many old Westerns with their “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us” rhetoric.) Here’s the Tea Party impulse to eject the undesirables at work again. Well, for whatever reason, we didn’t run into Ben at the parade.

A few days after the parade, however, Ben sent me an email threatening to put my wife “in my crosshairs.” Ben has commented favorably about guns on Mitch’s site; I viewed — and view, especially considering his earlier behavior and remarks  — that comment as a terroristic threat, made against a family member. I did make a complaint to the Edina Police, and they investigated.

So, that’s it. Well, actually, there is more, but we’ll leave it at that.

No comment needed, because those who actually would most need to read it would rather gargle Drano than read it.

Posted in blogger ethics, blogs and blogging, conservativism, Minnesota, narcissism, stupid, Tea Party, terrorism, wrong way to go about it | 2 Comments »

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