Friday, August 26, 2011

Points of Interest 08/26/2011


They got some big vultures down in Texas.
...the Perry administration wanted to help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired Texas teachers would live.Perry was promising the state big money in exchange for helping Swiss banking giant UBS set up a business of teacher death speculation.

"What is Debt? – An Interview with Economic Anthropologist David Graeber"

"The laws of physics don’t take any notice of what is going in Congress. They're not subject to repeal or amendment."
While Granger’s committee was slicing funding for international climate projects, Mack was trying to make even deeper cuts. The Florida representative tried to zero out the entire $1.3 billion the president requested for international climate efforts in the 2012 budget. But because his committee didn’t have jurisdiction over the entire amount, he settled for chopping $650 million in funding that his committee does control.

"What it means is that about one out of five civil conflicts since 1950 were in some way influenced by El Nino."

"It's a good thing that the government helps, but if employers paid enough and gave enough hours, then we wouldn't need to be on food stamps."

"When we think about the trade-offs between inflation and unemployment it is important to remember..."
...that the tens of millions of people who are unemployed or underemployed today did not do anything wrong. It was people like Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke who messed up. And of course other actors in national policy debates, who were too obsessed with budget deficits to notice an $8 trillion housing bubble did not help either.

There is an appropriate federal role in incidents like this,” Cantor said."
That role? The bare minimum. According to Cantor, Congress’s traditional practice of providing disaster relief without strings attached — a policy its followed for years — is going way beyond the call of duty. If Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) asks for federal aid, Cantor insists that the relief be offset elsewhere in the federal budget.

"...members of Congress have got to start realizing that complaining about a $174,000 annual salary..."
...sounds ridiculous to the vast majority of Americans. Southerland went on to complain about all “the hours” that he works, but this tone-deaf whining hardly makes the complaints any better — he’s a member of Congress who is well compensated for his long hours. He knew that when he sought that job, and instead of whining, Southerland should thank his constituents for the privilege.

"How Chase Ruined Lives of People Who Paid Off Their Mortgages"

"It's no surprise that liberal Democrats increasingly want Obama to fight back against Republicans..."
...but that's not the real story here. The biggest shifts in attitude have come from the center. Take a look at the circled parts of the table: the entire middle of the political spectrum — liberal Republicans, independents, and conservative Democrats — is speaking pretty loudly here. They want Obama to fight back harder against the shouters in the tea party wing of the GOP.


Just a wee bit uncomfortable answering the questions.

Politics aside, Bill O'Reilly is about the worst interviewer/host on the teevee.

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