Archive for November, 2008

Peter Schiff on the Coming Economic Meltdown — Two Years Ago

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

So, is this a stopped clock being right twice a day? Or a little boy pointing out the emperor’s naked backside while being laughed at by his fellow pundits?

My favorite part: Ben Stein at 6:31 encouraging everyone to load up on all those “astonishing bargains” in financial sector stocks. So, I wonder how much of his own money Stein put on that bet?

I don’t know anything about investing. But if you don’t ever bother to go back and compare what your experts said would happen to what actually did happen, well, you’re terminally clueless.

In which case, you’re probably perfectly willing to accept Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that “the Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen.”

Well, I guess it’s true enough, at least in the sense that Obama is going to be the one to have to deal with cleaning up the mess. But somehow, I don’t think that’s what Rush meant when he said it.

Weisberg on Loyalty

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

A decent article from Slate’s Jacob Weisberg: Loyalty is the most overrated virtue in politics.

Torture Commission?

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

From Michael Isikoff, writing in Newsweek: Obama to take on torture?

Despite the hopes of many human-rights advocates, the new Obama Justice Department is not likely to launch major new criminal probes of harsh interrogations and other alleged abuses by the Bush administration. But one idea that has currency among some top Obama advisers is setting up a 9/11-style commission that would investigate counterterrorism policies and make public as many details as possible. “At a minimum, the American people have to be able to see and judge what happened,” said one senior adviser, who asked not to be identified talking about policy matters. The commission would be empowered to order the U.S. intelligence agencies to open their files for review and question senior officials who approved “waterboarding” and other controversial practices.

I don’t have any illusions that a commission is a guarantee that the truth will come out. But depending on who is on it, it might achieve something in that area. And in terms of issues that transcend the current “can’t we all just get along?” spirit, this one pretty much tops my list.

So yeah, bring on the torture commission.

I, For One, Welcome Our New Lizard People Overlords

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Sigh. Life without a political campaign to obsess over is so empty, somehow.

At least there’s still the Coleman/Franken recount (holding the possibility of Senate Democrat #59). Minnesota Public Radio has a website with some fun examples of challenged ballots from the ongoing recount, including this one:

More on that from Nate Silver: Minnesota: Is Franken Being Too Nice?

Marathon Woman

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

It takes a lot of balls to be a firefighter, and it takes a log of balls to file a fraudulent workers comp complaint, and it takes a lot of balls to compete in marathons.

But it really really takes a Ginormous set of Cajones to do all three.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the “ Liar of the Week” (TM) Christina Hijjawi who surrendered to police today after a warrant was issued claiming she had bilked San Francisco for $140,000 in workers’ compensation and disability benefits while training for and competing in ultra-marathons, triathlons, and other extreme endurance events.

Congratulations Christina, you are an inspiration to aspiring Liars everywhere.

Disclaimer: “ Liar of the Week” is not a real competition nor is it endorsed by or jbc. Or for that matter, hossman.

The Morning After by Zina Saunders

Monday, November 10th, 2008


Campbell Brown on the Anti-Palin Smears

Friday, November 7th, 2008

I’m not sure what I think about Campbell Brown. I’m generally unhappy with the direction CNN has gone in the last several years; the market has its own inexorable logic, I know, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it that a network I basically trusted back in the day is giving itself a gradual Fox News makeover. Even when I agree with the positions being presented, I still mourn the loss of actual journalism that goes along with the pursuit of loud, colorful, snarky ratings.

But that aside, I’ll say this for Brown: Several times now I’ve heard her make exactly the same “you liars need to be called on it” argument that I’ve made myself about some specific piece of high-profile B.S. As she did here:

Free at Last! (Except You Homos.)

Friday, November 7th, 2008


Thank you, Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. Thank you, God-fearing, gay-shunning Afro-Californians. You helped ensure that any joy I felt at participating in Obama’s history-making election was instantly tempered by the knowledge that bigotry shall not perish from the earth. By passing Proposition 8 you made sure that California’s schoolchildren would not be taught that it’s okay to be gay; instead, they’re being taught that it’s okay to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

It was a great victory, and I’m glad I got to see it. But it came with a slave whispering in my ear:

For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph – a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.

Yes We Did — Now What?

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

To Mr. President-elect Obama: No matter how big you judge the responsibility America has given you to be, do not underestimate it. We know you won’t work miracles and we expect we won’t always agree with you, but we need to know that the risk we took by choosing you was not foolish, and that the faith that many voters who are used to being cynics have put in your character was not misplaced. We voted for you to serve for 4 years, but we expect a precedent of leadership to last a generation.

To those who voted for John McCain, or Ralph Nader, or who supported Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney or who didn’t vote at all: Give Barack Obama a chance. There are certainly reasonable disagreements to have with his experience, his policies, maybe even his friends. But he represents something to a lot of Americans that is not partisan and is in many ways not even about the man himself. Criticize his policies that you believe will lead us in the wrong direction, point out his inconsistencies and failings — I’ll be there with you. Just give him a chance on his own merits, and with some respect for what many of us voted for: not a return to Democratic leadership, but a profoundly different kind of leadership than either party has offered in our lifetimes. We promise to respect the fact that much of this country disagrees. in a nutshell

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

I was holding off posting this, but after catching up on the weeks posts and the resulting discussions I decided to go ahead.

Now it may seem that committing your loyalty to Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo is a world apart from committing to a political or religious stance – after all, the stakes of politics are the leadership and government of society and the world, and the stakes of metaphysical belief can seem even more serious to both atheists and theists. Why should videogame fanboys be so invested in their loyalty to one platform over another?

Remember that the parts of the brain activated in partisan response are those involved in assessing risk and reward, and cognitive dissonance is involved in protecting one’s prior decisions against disconfirming evidence. The reward in the context of videogame players is the enjoyment they will earn from playing the games on the various console systems, often in the form of fiero (triumph over adversity) – that hot and addictive emotional reward from overcoming immense challenge – but this is far from the only form of reward to be found in play. The decision each fanboy has made at some point in the past is which console will give them the greatest emotional reward from play – and for loyalists who stick with one console manufacturer from generation to generation, this decision was made a long time ago.

Take one tiny leap to replace the game manufacturers with political parties, and I feel the resolutely partisan arguments are explained.

from the site iHobo