Archive for December, 2008
Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
“The machine is busted. It can’t be fixed.”
An artful synopsis – Link
Monday, December 29th, 2008
Been there, seen that, done that.
Wednesday, December 24th, 2008
Talks over the stimulus plan, which could cost $675 billion to $850 billion, heated up over the past week as an unofficial outline emerged of what the bill would fund. About $200 billion would probably go toward middle-class tax cuts and tax credits for tuition and small businesses, while another $200 billion is under consideration to help mitigate the soaring costs of Medicaid and education. Up to $350 billion, or more, could go toward investments covering infrastructure, tax credits for renewable energy, increased funding for food stamps and the creation of an extensive technological health database.
850 billion spent on roads we don’t need, invested in “funds” instead of actual projects, injected into college loans, healthcare for the poor, and tax credits for renewable energy. The only part of this so far that might have some sort of an effect, 100 billion or so in tax cuts to the middle class barely scratches the surface of the consumer debt problem.
Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
“Scientists in 33 countries studying the disease have uncovered similar patterns in the DNA of every victim. To date, every person afflicted with FIV has been found to have one of two distinct Marker Chromosomes now identified as the K-Marker (Keynesian-Marker), or the M-Marker (Monetarist-Marker). No one with the recently discovered A-Marker (Austrian-Marker) has yet to contract FIV.”
Monday, December 22nd, 2008
So, let’s see. He has had a career focused on energy, is clearly passionate about the subject, isn’t enthusiastic about making ethanol from corn, thinks we need higher gas taxes, favors nuclear power, favors alternative energy funding, favors higher energy efficiency, and is pro-science. That’s exactly how I would describe myself, so from my perspective I love the choice.
Quotes from Chu’s papers and some additional commentary can be found on The Oil Drum. I have to say, I’m a fan as well. He’s smart, he’s a physics guy, he likes nuclear and hates coal, and he’s a member of the Pigou club. This guy should do some good.
Friday, December 19th, 2008
Duncan, hailed by Obama as a reformer, said he would like to take the lessons he learned in Chicago with him when he moves to Washington. “I’m also eager to apply some of the lessons we have learned here in Chicago to help school districts all across our country,” Duncan said after Obama formally named him to the job in Chicago.
In 2007, only 17 percent of eighth graders tested at or above grade level in reading in Chicago Public Schools – the school system administered by Arne Duncan since 2001.
Thursday, December 18th, 2008
The bottom line is this: we are being asked to believe that a big, trillion or even multi-trillion fiscal stimulus can boost the current macroeconomy. If you look at history, there isn’t good reason to believe that. Any single example, such as the Nazis, can be knocked down for lack of relevance or lack of correspondence to current conditions. Fair enough. But the burden of proof isn’t on the skeptics. It’s up to the advocates of the trillion dollar expenditure to come up with the convincing examples of a fiscal-led recovery. Right now we’re mostly at “It wasn’t really tried.” And then a mental retreat back into the notion that surely good public sector project opportunities are out there.
So what you have is the possibility of faith — or lack thereof — that our government will spend this money well.
And that is under “emergency” conditions, with great haste (“use it or lose it”), with a Congress eager to flex its muscle, and with more or less one-party rule.
For me, that’s not enough.
Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Artists’ models in Paris stripped naked Monday, braving freezing temperatures to protest against a ban on tips and to demand better pay and recognition.
More than 20 male and female models, some posing nude while others were draped in a colorful array of shawls, sheets and fur coats, took part in the protest that had the backing of two of France’s biggest labor unions.
The action was triggered by a recent decision by the Paris authorities to enforce a ban on artists’ tips, known as “cornet” after the rolled-up cone of drawing paper in which painters traditionally dropped some money for their models.
Another choice quote –
She said an average wage of 10 euros ($13) an hour for posing sessions that often lasted around three hours was inadequate. She added that models, classified officially as “special diverse personnel,” wanted clearer professional recognition.
“It is a profession, it’s tiring. Because it’s physical, you need a lot of endurance and it’s also expressive,” she said.
Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Monday, December 15th, 2008
A husband picks up a case of Budweiser and puts it in their cart.
“What do you think you’re doing?” asks the wife. “They’re on sale, only $10 for 24 cans,” he replies.
“Put them back, we can’t afford them,” demands the wife, and so they carry on shopping.
A few aisles further on along the woman picks up a $20 jar of face cream and puts it in the basket.
“What do you think you’re doing?” asks the husband.
“It’s my face cream. It makes me look beautiful,” replies the wife.
Her husband retorts: “So does 24 cans of Budweiser and its half the price.”
On the PA system: – ‘Cleanup needed on aisle 25, we have a husband down’