Feb 112013
 

I need to take another day off.  My COPD was severe yesterday, and I overslept today.  I have to go out today to run errands, and I have prep work to do for tomorrow, a prison volunteer day.  I don’t want to overdo it.  I’m current with replies.  Tomorrow, I shall put up at least an Open Thread before leaving for volunteer work.  Wednesday, please expect only an Open thread, as I shall need to recover from volunteer work.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:12).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes: (I’m trying something unprecedented today.)

From NY Times: If you’d like to know why Republicans are trying to shut down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, take a look at three things the agency has already accomplished in its first 18 months:

¶ [sic] It called a halt to predatory practices by mortgage lenders, ensuring that borrowers are not saddled with loans they can’t afford and preventing brokers from earning higher commissions for higher interest rates.

¶ [sic] It won an $85 million settlement from American Express, which it accused of deceptive and discriminatory marketing and billing practices.

¶ [sic] It opened an investigation into questionable marketing practices by banks and credit card companies on college campuses, which often take place after undisclosed financial arrangements are made with universities.

The explanation for this is obvious. The Banksters and Vulture Capitalists who depend on financial fraud for obscene profits are a major part of the 1%, who are the only ones Republicans truly represent.

From NY Times: NOW that Congress has discarded the idea that taxes can never be raised, we must change how we pay for the wars we ask our military to fight. We should institute a war tax.

With leading officials calling for action in Syria, and the American military providing support for France’s intervention in Mali, the need for such a tax is urgent. And President Obama’s call for tax reform as the next round of budget negotiations begins offers a perfect opportunity to enact it.

Military spending has been declining since 2009, easing the conflict between pursuing our national security interests and solving our fiscal crisis. But if we undertake new military interventions, that tension will come roaring back.

As weird as this idea may sound, it could warrant further thought, if and only if the new tax targeted war profiteers, such as Halliburton, exclusively.

From NY Times: Last week Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, gave what his office told us would be a major policy speech. And we should be grateful for the heads-up about the speech’s majorness. Otherwise, a read of the speech might have suggested that he was offering nothing more than a meager, warmed-over selection of stale ideas

To be sure, Mr. Cantor tried to sound interested in serious policy discussion. But he didn’t succeed — and that was no accident. For these days his party dislikes the whole idea of applying critical thinking and evidence to policy questions. And no, that’s not a caricature: Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

And such is the influence of what we might call the ignorance caucus that even when giving a speech intended to demonstrate his openness to new ideas, Mr. Cantor felt obliged to give that caucus a shout-out, calling for a complete end to federal funding of social science research [AEI delinked]. Because it’s surely a waste of money seeking to understand the society we’re trying to change.

Click through for the rest of this fine Paul Krugman editorial. The Republican party does not want to govern people. They want poor stupid sheeple, so dumbed down that they will grab their own ankles, bend over, say ‘BA-A-A-A-A’, and not even ask for Vaseline, just like most of their base.

Cartoon:

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  23 Responses to “Open Thread–2/11/2013”

  1. 2:59  NIce kitty kitty kitty!

  2. The Banksters and Vulture Capitalists would prefer a Robber Baron Financial Protection Bureau.  Oh wait!  They already have one.  It is called the Republican Party.

  3. Targeting war profiteering is great but I would go a step further.  All military work in connection with any war actions should be done at cost.  No profit allowed at all.

  4. Since the resignation of the Pope is a major news story today, I hope you enjoy two related photos.

    The first is an interesting picture of a lightning bolt stiking the dome of St. Peter's.  What makes it memorable is it happened this morning.

    [The captioin "Un fulmine colpisce la cupola di San Pietro durante un temporale, l’11 febbraio 2013." translates: Lightning strikes the dome of St. Peter's during a storm, February 11, 2013.]

    http://www.internazionale.it/immagini/citta-del-vaticano/2013/02/11/foto-145769/

     

    The second is one that still makes me chuckle.  It's when Dubya attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

    http://i332.photobucket.com/albums/m335/dmhlt48/Miscellaneous/Humor_Bush_Pope_SantaClaus02-CROP_zps6f2a22ff.jpg

    • The lightning picture is so cool.  On Care2, the same fellow that commented on a Care2 article I noted in a post here (in moderation), referred to his retirement as "a pink slip from above" which so fits with this.  Too funny!

      And don't you know, the second seems like something Baby Bush would do, the classless clown.

      In my moderated post, I have the New Yorker post of the announcement along with a response from Andy Borowitz!  Very funny.

    • The first will become a classic, Nameless.  The second already is.

  5. Recived this in my inbox fromAndy Borowitz: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2013/02/popes-decision-to-come-out-of-retirement-stirs-controversy.html

    I didn't know that the Pope had resigned until this morning:  http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2013/02/benedict-in-resigning-is-no-john-paul.html

    and from the Huffington Post
    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/02/11/pope-resigns-benedict-xvi_n_2660896.html?utm_hp_ref=canada

    I just had to share these comments from Care2 on the resignation of the Pope:

    Breaking News:

    Church recalls all absolutions, confessions, forgiveness and such during Benedict

    The Pope is being searched for a 666 somewhere on his body and results will follow

    All Catholics except the gay ones and women who want to be priests or support the right to choose are instructed to gather the gold and jewels.

    Wait…..more news…

    Pope Benedict has run off with Pussy Riot…..

    and another Care2 comment that had me snickering:

    I heard the Pope described on MSNBC today as "God's Rottweiller"……seemed kind of fitting…….(nothing against Rottweillers)

  6. Get some rest and feel better, Tom.

  7. I wonder if the Pope's resignation had more to do with the insurrection within the church about his dislike for the teachings of Vatican II (advising nuns and priests to minister to the less fortunate, the sick, the injured, etc).  This pope wanted the church to do away with that thinking and spend full time teaching the evils of homosexuality and abortion. He ordered priests and nuns to stop ministering and start preaching about hell for these "sinners." Nuns refused to do it. So did many priests. 

    • Angie, I doubt that was the reason, but I do hope that the next pontiff takes steps to move the Church out of the 19th century and into the 21st.

  8. Pope Benedict XVI is most likely the worst Pope the Catholic Church has had for the last 100 years or more.  Glad he is leaving. Good riddance.

  9. Puzzle — 3:01 I think I was declawed so I couldn't get any traction! Jerry, will you be declawed too by the Patty monster?  I wonder if she lost traction in the winter storms?

    NY Times — It seems that almost anything goes in the US profit driven economy!  I'm not against profit because it is profit that allows businesses to expand etc.  I am opposed to unbridled greed for excessive profit!

    "a halt to predatory practices by mortgage lenders" — I was impressed with the TDSR (Total Debt Service Ratio) of 43% until I got to the correction at the end of the piece.  It applies to only the housing loan.  In Canada, servicing of the housing loan cannot exceed 32% and all debts, including the mortgage loan, cannot exceed 40% or 42% in some cases.  Servicing levels in the US while better than before, scare the crap out of me as a very experienced senior mortgage lender.

    "an $85 million settlement from American Express" — This is good.  "Under the deal with regulators, American Express must halt the deceptive practices and set up independent auditors to ensure that its practices comply with consumer protection laws. "  Still a skeptic, I wonder what the price is for independent auditors?  Who engages the auditors, or do they have to be approved by the CFPB?

     "opened an investigation" — "Those financial benefits create at least the appearance of a conflict of interest as schools may be tempted to choose the arrangement that gives the school the most money rather than the arrangement that gives their students the best deal,"  — conflict of interest indeed!

    NY Times — If I recall my Canadian history lessons correctly, Canada's income tax started as a means to support the war effort during WWI.  That was a general tax.  But I hear what you're saying TC about the war profiteers like Haliburton.  What about a war tax that also hits the very wealthy since they have more to lose in a war?  Of course in addition to war profiteers?  I also like Critter's suggestion "All military work in connection with any war actions should be done at cost. No profit allowed at all."

    NY Times — This pretty much sums it up

    Hillary Clinton said of her Republican critics, “They just will not live in an evidence-based world.”

    The Republican/Teabaggers are ideologues and nothing else.  I agree with Krugman that if real evidence does not support their desired goals, they bash and mash it, a real FUBAR.

    Cartoon — From Wikipedia:

    U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union William Christian Bullitt, Jr.'s thesis prophesied the "flow of the Red amoeba into Europe". Roosevelt responded to Bullitt, Jr., with a statement summarizing his rationale for wartime relations with Stalin:

    I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man. … and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.  —Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1943

    Bullitt was very prophetic.  Red amoeba indeed!

  10. Sorry you're still so ill TC – I have been a bit poorly myself (though nothing at all to compare) – but it is why I missed looking for these – my IQ shrank with my fever!

    I was horrified to read this "To be sure, Mr. Cantor tried to sound interested in serious policy discussion. But he didn’t succeed — and that was no accident. For these days his party dislikes the whole idea of applying critical thinking and evidence to policy questions. And no, that’s not a caricature: Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”   – Good grief they do want utter unquestioning morons to fill the population – just like any fundamentalist sect or fascist/communist government!