Friday, July 31, 2009

The right direction?

Today President Obama remarked about the latest GDP figures,'s GDP is an important sign that the economy is headed in the right direction...
(You can read a transcript here.)

For the second quarter of 2009, the GDP went down by 1.5 percent. I thought the right direction was "up."

Well, I guess losing by 1.5 percent is an improvement over losing by 6.3 percent, as it had in the last quarter of 2008; and better than losing by 6.4 percent as it had for the first quarter of 2009. So maybe the brakes are working and we can stop and turn around before driving off the cliff. That would be nice.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Maintaining profitability

I had to pass along this quote from Ezra Klein's column in the Washington Post:
Private insurance is a bit like a fire department that turns a profit by letting buildings burn down.
Klein discussed how, after the failure of Clinton's attempt at health-care reform, a form of unfettered managed care arose to become the predominant mode of health-care insurance. The problem with this mode, as it has played out, is that competition is reduced as insurance companies merge, concentrating power and control in the few megacompanies. People who need treatment are seen by the corporation as liabilities cutting into profits. The reality is that now most Americans have rather less choice than they once had. I'm sure somebody, somewhere, has noted that the Invisible Hand of the Free Market is giving us The Finger.

(Tipped off to this article by a post at Balloon Juice by DougJ.)


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Duel of the Titans--who is dumber?

We've heard how Sarah Palin couldn't name any of the papers and magazines she reads because, well she reads all of them, and how she opined about carbon cap-and-trade without noticing that the point of that is to address global warming. Well, Glenn Beck's show on Monday was a rant about how President Obama's nominee for Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor, will help lead America directly to Hell:
Beck: America, I want you to watch this. As our country burns to the ground, because we all have this kind of stuff going on, this is the questioning -- now get ready, because it's a hard line of questioning -- here's what happened, this is what our senators were doing today. Watch this.
Yeah, watch it Glenn--probably for the first time. This is not the questioning; this is the introduction and opening remarks. David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars was one of those who noticed.

I just wanted to remind people that when you see Palin appear as Beck's new co-host, you read about it here first.

Dean Baker at The American Prospect read Ben Stein's 11 July column in the New York Times and figures Stein goes beyond global warming denial--he's never even heard of it! (Added 15 July 2009).

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Az. state senator Sylvia Allen thinks facts unimportant

Arizona state senator Sylvia Allen doesn't care for facts--"...people are welcome to believe whatever they want...," as reported in the Arizona Republic.

Allen was responding to the ridicule she recently received for twice stating that the Earth is 6,000 years old during a committee meeting on 25 June, which was discussing asking Congress not to limit access for certain uses, including uranium mining. The Earth has been here 6,000 years, long before anybody had environmental laws, and somehow it hasn't been done away with. Well, that's the kind of attitude that results in destruction of the environment. If Allen truly believes that it doesn't matter if people "believe whatever they want about how old the Earth is," what else can people believe whatever they want to without it making a difference? Should people who believe being sprinkled with Holycheney water can dodge bullets and are immune to H1N1 be given any credibility?

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Yet another Palin speculation

After Alaska governor Sarah Palin's announcement today that she would relinquish her seat as governor and watcher of Russia, media pundits were furiously punditing their little hearts out. My first thought was that she was preparing her 2012 presidential campaign as the Alaskan Independence Party candidate (emails on that subject between Palin and McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt last October having just been revealed--thank you, David Neiwert). That's right--get elected president and then secede from the United States.

After reading what Jed Lewison of Daily Kos had to say (...
I can't do it and make a difference where I am right now behind the governor's desk, so I'm going to go around the governor's desk, and I'm going to make that difference, outside -- outside government). Upon careful reflection, however, I am now able to speculate with as much reliability as any mainstream media pundit, Palin's true plans--she will become co-host with Fox News' Glenn Beck.

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