Friday, October 25, 2013

Debt Itself Isn't an Evil

I think a lot of the austerity push is done by people who see debt and deficits as evils in and of themselves, so wile it's nice to see papers that point out how bad austerity is, I doubt they will be considered compelling to the people who push for austerity.

My confusion is really with the bizarre notion of debt as bad being held so broadly by people in finance who pretty much require debt to survive (where do you think bank profits [traditionally] come from?).  So many of these people actually believe in debt as a beneficial force in economies...just not from governments.  But that is the worst part of it.  If you had $1M and you wanted to loan that to someone to be paid back with interest you have a lot of options: banks, businesses, individuals, and governments.  Only one of those has a near zero probability of collapse: any of the first 3 could declare bankruptcy and you'd be out some or all of your investment.  The government...not so much, and frankly, if it does (particularly if it is your own/the US) then you probably have more to worry about than loss of your money, like reavers.  (Yes, a Firefly reference.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Great Movie With One Flaw

Spoiler alert (not immediate, but ahead)...

Being a science nerd, I had to go see Gravity (IMAX 3D), and did.  Overall it was beautiful, tense, and really just excellent (Sandra Bullock's odd behavior/acting notwithstanding--I'm not sure how much was her fault and how much was the writer/director struggling to add human tension).

Being a space/science movie, there were, of course several issues that really wouldn't have made it work--I like the Bad Astronomy Review which points the big ones out without bashing--but most of those are not really problems for me.  One was: the "Let It Go, Man" part of the review.  Things had been pretty good overall, but when they were both on a tether and Clooney had to let go because he was pulling away!  That doesn't happen they were both stopped and the tension on those ropes would have been zero.  It was a glaring flaw compared to the rest which you really have to know more about what's going on up there to notice.  (Yes, I know, you have to have some idea about how gravity/orbiting works to even know that but considering that other aspects were pretty good, that was just really not.)

All other errors are very much forgiven.  Go see.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fix The Debt Learns It Isn't Loved

(Well, aside from the idiot talking heads on my TV.)  I do like twitter on occasion.

Zombies are Political

Felix Salmon understands the situation.  I really wonder why our supposedly brilliant POTUS doesn't seem to.
The point here is that the zombie army, a/k/a the Tea Party, is a movement, not a person — and it’s an aggressively anti-logical movement, at that. You can’t negotiate with a zombie — and neither can you wheel out some kind of clever syllogism which will convince a group of revolutionary nihilists that it’s a bad idea to get into a fight if you’re reasonably convinced that you’re going to lose it. Spoiler alert: it turns out that Ed Norton was beating up himself, all along. When you’re Really Angry, sometimes losing a big fight against The Man is exactly what you feel like doing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Congresswoman Schwartz

She used to be a pretty decent Democrat but now she's got her eyes on the PA governor's mansion and has moved into decidedly more "centrist" (i.e. pro-wall street and pro-military industrial complex) positioning.  I wrote saying that SS cuts should not be considered with respect to the current fiasco and her [form] response included:
...I believe that Congress has an obligation to ensure the long-term viability of the Social Security and Medicare programs so that future generations can enjoy the same stability that they have provided older Americans for generations. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Social Security and as a member of the Seniors Task Force, I have always been a champion for preserving Social Security and have fought tirelessly to strengthen and protect it. Social Security is the bedrock of retirement security for millions of Americans.  Congress has an obligation to ensure the long-term viability of Social Security so that future generations...[emphasis mine]
Making Social Security "long-term viable" and "strengthening and protecting" it are standard code phrases for cutting benefits.  No Democrat should ever use those lines, unless she immediately clarifies by stating: more revenues and no benefit cuts.  A good Democrat would state that benefits should be increased.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Not a Bad Idea

The Economist argues that Democrats should tell Republicans (and the public) what they really want.  Not sure that would really put things in perspective for most Republicans, but it may for lots of voters.  Obama's continued, repeated pre-compromising with himself is maybe the worst aspect of his presidency.  Evey bill has ended up the worse because of it.

Some Things Are Just Cool

You can see a video at the link.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

I Don't Think They Get It

Emily's list has a good goal, but they do stupid shit like this often enough that I just don't think they get it.  If you look at the overall picture, Carl Sciortino is probably the best candidate running in MA's 5th for women's issues (and, frankly, America), but he has a penis, so Emily's List is endorsing a conservative, anti-civil liberties woman instead.  Really, I understand that they are only going to put their money to support pro-choice women, but in a race where the nominally pro-choice woman is not the best candidate for women, they should just stay out.

Or maybe they think Michelle Bachman being in office is good for women just because she has a vagina?  I would love to see more women in office, but it is self-defeating to just look at gender and ignore the actual positions of the candidates.

Kinda Obvious, Really

I'll bet most rich people reading the article in the NY Times nod and think it doesn't apply to them, but rich people do care less.  I wonder, however, which way the cause and effect goes.  Is it that becoming rich induces people to care less or is it that people who care less are more likely to become rich?  I can see either, but the latter makes pretty good sense.  It is easier to become rich if you don't care about others.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


There really is no other word for congressional [Tea Party] Republicans right now:
At the National Institutes of Health, nearly three-quarters of the staff was furloughed. One result: director Francis Collins said about 200 patients who otherwise would be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center into clinical trials each week will be turned away. This includes about 30 children, most of them cancer patients, he said.
Digby responded as politely as is humanly possible.