Subject to Change, version 2.0
Mostly found objects; at least until I find something I want to write about.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Click the green dinosaur on your way out, Okrent.

 Read Paul Krugman's replies to departing Public Douche Bag, Daniel Okrent, formerly of the New York Times. Here's a fine snippet of Krugman's long suffering anti-invective: Moreover, I not only played fair with my readers, I urged them to check...

9:19:58 PM    

Oh God! My B.S.S. just spiked!
[Excuse me just a minute.]

[OK, now I feel... Different, anyhow.]

"Elder Bush would like son Jeb to run for president."

Nice of Dad to weigh in with that thought now , huh? Quack, quack....
- Lambert

9:16:35 PM    


Here's what can happen when you start imprisoning people without fair trials: "When we went to Pakistan the local people treated us like brothers and gave us good food and meat," said another detainee. But soon, he said, they were...

[Ezra Klein]
9:16:11 PM    

70,000 prisoners of war on terror.

 Talkleft charts the archipelago:

Here are Amnesty International's latest numbers. USA’s “war on terror” detainees, April 2005 (approximate totals/estimates)(11)

USA: Naval Brig, Charleston, South Carolina    2 “enemy combatants”
Cuba: Guantánamo Bay naval base    520 (234 releases/transfers)
Afghanistan: Bagram air base            300
Afghanistan: Kandahar...

9:14:48 PM    

College Dropouts.

Mark Thoma tells us to go read David Leonhardt: Economist's View: The Dropout Boom and the Growing Education Gap: This article describes the rising college drop-out rate, particularly among lower income students, and the widening education gap this is bringing about. The article also looks at potential causes of the rising dropout rate and policies attempting to reverse the trend: The College Dropout Boom, By DAVID LEONHARDT, NY Times: One of the biggest decisions Andy Blevins has ever made, and one of the few he now regrets, never seemed like much of a decision.... He had been getting C's and D's, and college never felt like home, anyway.... So he quit college... and... joined one of the largest and fastest-growing groups of young adults in America. He became a college dropout... Only 41 percent of low-income students entering a four-year college managed to graduate within five years, but 66 percent of high-income students did. That gap had grown over recent years.......

 [Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
9:12:07 PM    

Rumors that GM *Is* Going to Shovel Lots of Cash Out of the Enterprise.

The question of why the auto companies aren't shoveling cash out of their enterprises is partially answered.

 Lee Hawkins reports:

Heard on the Street: Wall Street is betting that General Motors Corp. -- facing the twin issues of having its bonds rated 'junk' and Las Vegas billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's tender offer under way -- soon will undertake a more ambitious restructuring... GM's highly profitable finance arm, General Motors Acceptance Corp., which last year earned $2.9 billion, or about 80% of GM's total net income. GMAC's potential for growth was crimped when Standard & Poor's downgraded GM's credit ratings to junk status earlier this month.... Now, some analysts say selling all or part of GMAC would help GM raise more cash to pay for an overhaul of its money-losing North American auto business -- or a payout to shareholders -- while allowing GMAC to obtain an investment-grade debt rating that will allow it to grow.... Action in GM's shares suggests that investors are betting that something big will happen, but watching the debt situation warily.... Getting concessions from the UAW to close more plants and reduce GM's work force still might not be enough to make a significant difference, says Ron...

 [Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
9:11:23 PM    

Raise Up!.

USA Today writes on states raising their minimum wages thanks to federal inaction on the issue.

Now, the normal arguments are raised - a crippling blow to certain minimum-wage dependent industries, such as the restaurant biz. Of course, you can also check out this map of America's minimum wage laws (not quite up to date yet), and note that a good number of very rich states have higher minimum wages, and a good number of very poor states have minimum wages equal to the federal government's. (This isn't even to note that Ohio's minimum wage, nearly 20% less than the federal average, pretty much tells you all you need to know about the reason workers are leaving Ohio like it's a sinking ship. It automatically rises to the national average, but the fact that the legislature is so far behind that meager progress is telling.)

The minimum wage doesn't happen in a vacuum. And wages to low-income workers don't just disappear down an economic sinkhole. I'm interested to see a study done on its impact, but most of the research I've seen to this point tends to pretend that if there's a recession and a minimum wage increase, any job loss occurs because of the minimum wage increase. Cause and effect doesn't really matter, as long as the right group is blamed, and it tends to boil down to those greedy cashiers and janitors who'd like to be able to go to a restaurant without a 99-cent menu every so often.

12:23:56 PM    

Find The Minority At The Core of Every Problem.

If you don't have a small minority to blame for the problem of the majority, what sort of solution are you coming up with? Illegal immigrants are taking our jobs. A welfare queen is living in a mansion. The liberal elite are corrupting our culture....

12:22:01 PM    

The GOP agenda. In November 2004, the GOP retained the White House and increased its majorities in the US House and Senate. This is what they've done with their mandate.

U.S. House

  • Change ethics rules so DeLay can be as corrupt as he wants.

  • Destroy Social Security

  • Pass MBNA's bankruptcy elimination bill.

  • Meddle in the Schiavo family's private business

  • Prevent life-saving stem-cell research
  • U.S. Senate
  • Destroy Social Security

  • Pass MBNA's bankruptcy elimination bill.

  • Meddle in the Schiavo family's private business

  • Violate Senate rules to destroy historical protections for minority rights

  • Prevent life-saving stem-cell research
  • President Bush
  • Destroy Social Security

  • Pass MBNA's bankruptcy elimination bill

  • Destroy Social Security

  • Terri Schiavo

  • Destroy Social Security

  • Destroy separation of powers doctrine -- get involved in Senate fight over filibuster

  • Prevent life-saving stem-cell research
  • Notice that the Iraq quagmire is nowhere on that agenda.

    Let's hope they keep it up. This agenda is a one-way ticket back to minority status for the Republican Party.

    [Daily Kos]

    12:18:50 PM    

    Bush: Human rights report 'absurd'

     [The Raw Story | A rational voice - Alternative news]
    12:17:43 PM    

    China's use of dollar reserves for oil?. J asks a question in the comment box in the post below this one:

    Energy Bulletin has this:

    Anyone care to speculate what China trading their dollar holdings for oil reserves or future production quota guarantees might do to the dollar?

    Go to the postings for today

    Technorati Tags: , By (profgoose). [The Oil Drum]
    12:15:10 PM    

    Embryo adoption is not enough.

    Lindsay has a modest proposal after reading about people who "sacrifice" by adopting the embryos left behind by the privileged people who can afford IVF treatments. The problem is there are not volunteers for embryo adoption to save all those itty-bitty cell clumps.

    A reproductive draft is the only fair way to settle this. I don't care how many kids a lady fundamentalist has, or whether it's healthy for her to be pregnant, or what she might rather be doing with her uterus. If her number's up, it's up. No excuses. Jesus hates whiners.

    This is a great idea, but it doesn't go far enough, since there are still nearly 1.4 million abortions performed in this country a year, and pro-lifers invariably describe the vast majority of these as "selfish". Well, who's being selfish here? Randall Terry was all about making that 13-year-old ward of the state in Florida have a baby but I didn't see any of his followers jump up and offer a womb transfer. That fetus needed a home! And so did its mother, but let's not overwhelm the followers of Christ with the miseries of real people quite yet.

    I know you're saying to yourself that there's no practical method of transferring fetuses like this, but I have an answer to that--all those scientists that were hoping to work with stem cells in order to help even more real people. Let's get them on board with the saving potential people instead of saving real people. Direct their energies to finding a way to do quick fetal transfers from one woman to another. Or, better yet, put those scientists to work on finding a way to transfer fetuses to men's bodies and double up the number of anti-choicers who can put their bodies to the hard work of saving babies. I'm positive that Randall Terry would be the first to offer to carry the babies of women who are looking to abort once these scientists figure this out. I bet he steps right up, no prompting necessary.

    8:31:49 AM    

    'Cause He's The Birdman.

    Bush's political capital is rapidly dwindling, or at least that's becoming the common take on his presidency.

    What causes lame duckness, however, isn't simply Bush picking his platform out of the Asshole Bag, but the fact that the Republican Party is stuck without an heir to his throne for 2008. If there were a strong frontrunner in Congress who were somewhat ideologically in line with Bush (hard enough because of the policies he's pursing, even harder because Bill Frist thinks he's actually got a chance to win and doesn't), Bush would at least have some victories and someone invested in making him look good. It's exactly Bush's problem - he's leaping into a Congressional election year with dangerous issues, not realizing that even if he doesn't have to worry about paying for his ideas, there's an entire legislative body whose worry is continued employment, not remaking the government to preserve a legacy that ends in early 2009.

    Of course, Cheney's out here predicting that Bush will shed a major albatross before then, and Cheney's word on Iraq is as good as gold.

    8:31:09 AM    

    Cheers and Jeers: Tuesday. From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...

    Late Night Snark...

    "President Bush met with Palestinian president Abbas. There was one embarrassing moment when he said to Abbas, `I love your hit, Dancing Queen.'"
    --Jay Leno

    "How many folks saw the pictures of Saddam Hussein in his underpants? I don't know...I'm from the school of thought that if I want to see a hairy guy in his underpants I'll just hail a cab."
    --David Letterman

    "The paperback version of President Clinton's book came out and in it Clinton admits that the hard cover version may have been too long. Clinton admits his mistake in a new 200 page introduction."
    --Conan O'Brien

    "The U.S. Army has a new program that will allow soldiers to leave the service a couple years before their full four year contract is up. They can leave early. This is based on a plan developed by President Bush when he was in the National Guard."

    "Star Wars took in $158 million in just four days. Yeah, that's more than some gas stations."

    Cheers and Jeers burns diesel in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

    [Daily Kos]

    8:29:54 AM    

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