Monday, 04/20/09 Public Square

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fnord

39 Comments

Filed under The Public Square

39 responses to “Monday, 04/20/09 Public Square

  1. Morning blog fans. I have been spending afternoons out driving around in the boonies canvassing addresses. Some Kansans apparently do not want to be located.

  2. jammer5

    sek, if you find me, keep me there will ya?

  3. I am not here at this time, please wait here for me.
    If I appear before I return, please ask me to wait until I return, as you are waiting to see me.
    Or sumpin’ like dat.

  4. frigginloon

    Mornin Prairie P&P’s Hmm, I am reluctant to write about my latest blog entry after my last effort. Fnord was lost for words ahahah…. I guess breast milk cheese isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So in an attempt to redeem myself…scientists believe there is no such thing as beer goggles. Seems woman don’t look any better after 5 beers 😦 . Come on I’m not called the Friggin Loon for nothing!!!!

    http://frigginloon.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/no-such-thing-as-beer-goggles/

  5. Here’s an op-ed piece I think does a good job of summing up the Palin situation.

    ——-

    “Is Palin the Rev. Jackson of the GOP?

    Republicans have a big problem coming up: Sarah Palin.
    Photo: AP

    Republicans have a big problem coming up: Sarah Palin.

    How can a telegenic woman with a fervent following in the party, fundraising skills and a greater ability to fire up a Republican audience than any other GOP politician be such a liability? It’s not just because she’s unelectable as a presidential candidate.

    Many leading Republicans and Democrats are, for one reason or another. The problem is, Palin doesn’t know she’s unelectable, and neither do her followers.

    If she and her Palinistas have to find out this hard truth on the 2012 primary campaign trail, it will be bad news for the GOP.

    It’s precisely what Democrats went through from 1983 to 1992, when the specter of Jesse Jackson hung over the presidential hopes of the party.”

    continued at:
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/21425.html

  6. Well, there is pressure growing by banks who received government funds to be allowed to pay the same back; now, in some cases.

    The government isn’t ready quite yet to accept this. I stumbled across http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE53J03720090420 during my scanning of the cyberworld to find information on the matter.

    It seems that there will be some banks allowed to repay if the tests set out in the link are met. That’s a good thing.

    However, in the reading I’ve done, there is a nasty little fact that keeps cropping up; the banks who have received the aid have actually cut lending since October, 2008; Goldman, Sachs by 40%; JPMorgan Chase by 35%; etc. This cut in lending likely has put these banks in a position to repay, IMO; but, as I recall, the purpose of the funding was to provide capital so the banks would open up credit for small businesses and others (credit worthy customers, one assumes) so the borrowers could stay in business or expand their businesses to help ameliorate the effects of the recession on the economy.

    This is, again IMO, all about control; the banks don’t want to give the government any reason to increase oversight on their activities; and the government doesn’t want to give up their ability to do that very thing. The control perspective is buttressed by reports out this morning that there are discussions in DC concerning the conversion of the loaned funds into common stock in the institutions, which, in most cases, would make the government the largest stockholder.

  7. annie_moose

    6 you might find this interesting

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/

    “Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has been called many things over the years. Plenty of people have raged against its power and wealth. If you spend decades as the most successful investment bank, it goes with the territory. Calling it the devil may be going a bit far, though, even for the flinty-hearted employees of the New York-based bank.

    Last month, a blog called Goldmansachs666.com was set up. Goldman Sachs has taken legal action against the site, alleging it infringes a trademark in the phrase “Goldman Sachs.” The owner of the site, investment adviser Mike Morgan of Jensen Beach, Florida, has promised to contest the litigation and pursue similar campaigns against other banks.

    “They might think it is just a Mickey Mouse Web site, but we’re coming after them,” Morgan said in a telephone interview. “It would be really stupid for the banks to try and stop us. But banks do stupid things all the time.”

    Let’s review your tax dollars at work: Godlman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson lobbied the SEC to allow the 5 largest iBanks to be exempt from net capital rules, and then leverage up 40 to 1. Which they did, especially with Mortgage-backed paper and derivatives. Then he becomes Treasury Secretary, and transfers from the taxpayers to these same iBanks — some directly, and some thru AIG — trillions of dollars.

    Now, the taxpayer subsidized disaster creator is thin skinned about criticism. Note that the trademark claim is bullshit — its well settled law, via WalmartSucks.com. This 2000 case was originally found in favor of Wal-Mart by World Intellectual Property Organization but later reversed. Walmartsucks.com is no longer operating, but a new site, Walmartsucks.org appears to be run by author Kenneth J. Harvey. As another example of the legality of the “–sucks.com” sites, see also, disney-sucks.com.

  8. The banks who are profiting and who want to pay back the government aid ASAP may well be planning to use the increased capital produced by the profitability for things such as additional M&A activity, rather than increasing lending. This would, of course, reduce employment in the banking sector, at least in the short term; create some additional profits for bonuses and increased dividends to stockholders; and, under the arcane rules existing in the the IRC, provide a way to buy some tax losses to offset income taxes on these very profits. Not what is needed for the economy’s recovery, IMHO.

  9. I have a question. There is an article in the morning Eagle about a court decision affecting how charges are brought that could effect those on death row in Kansas.

    I don’t understand how a new ruling could have an effect on old crimes occurring before the new ruling was made.

    As an example, Rader wasn’t eligible for the death penalty due to the laws in existence at the time he committed his crimes.

    So why wouldn’t the same be true of this change?

  10. annie_moose

    yes I’m a big fan of ritholtz

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/

    Ten principles for a Black Swan-proof world

    1. What is fragile should break early while it is still small. Nothing should ever become too big to fail.

    2. No socialisation of losses and privatisation of gains. Whatever may need to be bailed out should be nationalised; whatever does not need a bail-out should be free, small and risk-bearing. We have managed to combine the worst of capitalism and socialism.

    3. People who were driving a school bus blindfolded (and crashed it) should never be given a new bus. The economics establishment (universities, regulators, central bankers, government officials, various organisations staffed with economists) lost its legitimacy with the failure of the system.

    4. Do not let someone making an “incentive” bonus manage a nuclear plant – or your financial risks. Odds are he would cut every corner on safety to show “profits” while claiming to be “conservative”.

    5. Counter-balance complexity with simplicity. The complex economy is already a form of leverage: the leverage of efficiency.

    6. Do not give children sticks of dynamite, even if they come with a warning.

    7. Only Ponzi schemes should depend on confidence. Governments should never need to “restore confidence”. Be robust in the face of them.

    8. Do not give an addict more drugs if he has withdrawal pains. Using leverage to cure the problems of too much leverage is denial.

    9. Economic life should be definancialised. Citizens should not depend on financial assets or fallible “expert” advice for their retirement.

    10. Make an omelette with the broken eggs. We need to rebuild the hull with new (stronger) materials; we will have to remake the system before it does so itself.

  11. fnord, I’ll give this a whirl; I guarantee it will be overly simplistic and too general.

    Taking your Rader question first, to expose Mr. Rader to the death penalty for crimes committed during a time when Kansas had no Constitutional death penalty is a violation of a couple of things; ex post facto prohibition contained in the U.S. Constitution, is one example.

    As to the latest Kansas Supreme Court opinion; that deals with a statutory interpretation. From reading in the media reports, the Kansas Supreme Court has determined that under the statute, it is permissible to only charge a defendant with one count of capital murder regardless of how many killings occurred; and, if capital murder is charged, it is impermissible to also charge first degree murder separately for the same offenses. The statute was on the books at the time of the trial(s), unlike the Rader situation, but was misapplied, as a matter of law to the cases tried under it, making it necessary to return the cases for new trials with the statute to be applied as interpreted by the Kansas Supreme Court. Another explanation is that the Supreme Court opinion affected procedural issues, rather than substantive rights, an explanation that makes sense to lawyers but not to the public as a whole.

    Thus, on retrial, these defendants are subject to the death penalty, should the jury so return a verdict after hearing the evidence and applying the law as given the jury by the Court in its instructions; there is no impermissible “enhancement” of the possible maximum penalty as there would have been in Mr. Rader’s case by the change in the statutes that occurred subsequent to his crimes.

    Another argument is that by allowing charging to be done as occurred in the cases in question, this enhances the chances of prejudice on the part of the jury against the defendant. Multiple murders, in other words, should be a factor to be considered in the determination of whether the defendant committed capital murder as defined under the statute, not in determining whether each murder was capital murder. I’ve not read the decision, and am hazarding a guess, but I’ve a feeling that these factors are likely at least mentioned in the opinion at some point (along with others).

    Beating the deceased equine a bit more, one of the elements of the crime to be found to exist by a jury in order for conviction to be returned in a capital murder case is that the defendant committed more than one murder. Obviously, that being a requirement, the first murder (chronologically) cannot itself be charged as “capital murder”, as, at that point, only one murder has been committed. It (the first murder) can be charged as a “first degree murder”, for example; but not as both first degree murder and capital murder. Similarly, the subsequent murder(s) may only be charged as one count of capital murder, the crime committed; not as both capital murder and first degree murder.

    Don’t know how much sense that makes, but that’s how I see it.

    BTW, there is (as noted in the article in the Eagle) no apparent application of this opinion in the Carr case. That said, Val Wachtel’s appeal on the basis of not severing the trials has, IMO, a better than even chance of success.

  12. May I translate?

    Laws keep lawyers, courts and their employees, all manner of law enforcement personnel in business and bringing home paychecks. They don’t necessarily do anything for Joe and Jane Doe, up to and including, keeping them safe from criminals.

  13. lilacluvr

    But in the Carr case, what does it really mean in practical terms – won’t they still be in prison for the rest of their lives?

  14. The New Republic
    Nudge-ocracy
    by Franklin Foer and Noam Scheiber
    Barack Obama’s new theory of the state.

    — snips —

    “In Obama’s state, government never supplants the market or stifles its inner workings–the old forms of statism that didn’t wash economically, and certainly not politically. But government does aggressively prod markets–by planting incentives, by stirring new competition–to achieve the results he prefers. With health care, for instance, he would make it easier for employees to tote their insurance from job to job, eliminating the disincentive for insurers to invest in preventive care. Or take his bank plan, which helps banks dispose of their toxic assets, reducing uncertainty and making the banks more attractive to private investors–a far less drastic step than nationalization. Rather than force markets to conform to his wishes, he shapes their calculus so they conclude (on their own) that their interests coincide with his wishes.

    “Given the alternatives–even greater federal involvement, even more federal dollars–such “harnessing” and “nudging” makes enormous political sense. But Obama’s version also represents a huge gamble. Many countries have nationalized banks and run health care systems–and we have, at least, a good sense of how those programs would turn out.

    “His plans can be dismayingly complex; they often involve heroic assumptions about how people respond to new incentives. There’s more than a hint of Ira Magaziner–the much-derided architect of Bill Clinton’s 1993 health care plan. But, if it works, Obama will have truly found the Third Way Clinton grasped for a decade ago.”

    http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=4edb8efe-e851-4133-b2b1-419bd957e926&p=1

  15. In the case of the Carrs — appeals and such may not ever allow them to see life outside prison, but sure will keep a bunch of people busy and a bunch of our money spent.

    Before I became a bum one task I completed several times was the writing of employee handbooks, kinda the ‘laws’ of being employed at this company — what your’s and the company’s rights, responsibilities and privileges are — what one can expect and count on.

    I learned some lessons quickly — if you write it down be prepared to enforce it, defend it, and always be fair with it across the board, no exceptions. So if you wanted to look at the circumstances and make judgments based on the current facts and nuances, then don’t write it down!

    Also, if written down, it becomes the target of someone who wants to figure a way around it. And, these someones are ingenious!

  16. lilacluvr

    fnord – sometimes things are just filed under that catch-all category : money talks, bull shit walks?

    I guess I am still scratching my head and asking ‘why are we still paying a lawyer for the Carr brothers?

  17. Hey, guys! Aren’t you glad you don’t hail from India?

    “Condoms ‘too big’ for Indian men

    A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men.”

    continued at:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6161691.stm

  18. I imagine all the gentlemen are still trying to figure out what an ‘international size’ is, but here is an interesting article on a medical breakthrough.

    “Cancer brake ‘could halt disease’

    Genetic “brakes” which could slow down or stop diseases like MS and cancer have been found by scientists.

    University of Edinburgh researchers said their findings could lead to new treatments for such illnesses.

    It was previously thought that a select group of “master” genes was responsible for controlling the growth of cells which can cause the conditions.

    But the team found hundreds of genes interacting and they will now try to find weak spots to halt tumour growth.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8007023.stm

  19. lilacluvr

    I am curious as to what these scientists are using for their research. I went into your link but could not find any information in that regard.

    Are they using adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells, or just watching what already diseased cells are doing?

    As a cancer survivor, currently in remission, I am always fascinated in any research that is being done.

  20. lilacluvr

    BTW – contemplating those international sizes may be just the laugh I needed today.

    That’s the way I feel sometimes when shopping for clothing nowadays. I swear the sizes have been downsized to fit smaller women. Sometimes when I pull a knit top off the rack and see how skinny it looks, it just makes me wonder who in the world are buying these.

    Or maybe it’s because I am now in those dreaded ‘middle age years’? ha,ha

  21. I’ve been trying to find more info on that medical discovery, but so far no success. I’ll keep trying and if I find something I’ll share it, you do the same, please.

    Notice how quiet the gentlemen are? Are they searching their ancestry hoping to claim none from the ‘dot’ Indians? (giggle!)

  22. lilacluvr

    Like I said, you provided me with a laugh today. And for that – thank you.

  23. David B

    What can we do, as Kansans???

    Palin supporter network targets Sebelius nomination:

    An online community of female supporters of Gov. Sarah Palin is launching a last minute campaign to derail the candidacy of Kathleen Sebelius for the secretary post at the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Team Sarah, which was founded to support and mobilize for the McCain-Palin ticket and claims tens-of-thousands of members, blasted out a petition on Monday morning urging members to “flood the phone lines” in opposition to Sebelius’ candidacy.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/20/palin-v-sebelius-team-sar_n_189016.html

  24. David B

    Republicans continue to eat their own… VIDEO

    Rep. Gresham Barrett, (R) South Carolina was booed relentlessly at a Tea Party…

    Protesters screamed “go home” and blew air horns during the duration of Barrett’s five minute speech. Some even turned their backs to him.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/18/gresham-barrett-gop-congr_n_188578.html

  25. David B

    The Scottish research was advanced investigations of white blood cells and how and why they get sick…

    http://news.scotsman.com/health/Genetic–hope-for-MS.5184449.jp

  26. David B

    BTW, my shoes size is 44.

  27. lilacluvr

    Can’t you just feel the love of the GOP? Sounds like that big tent is getting smaller and smaller with each coming day.

    I read where a former Republican Congressman, Tom Davis (I think) was speaking and warned the GOP leaders that their party should not become a private club with an admissions test.

    Even John McCain’s own daughter is speaking out against the ‘old school’ Republicans that they need to change their ways. But I guess the proof is in the pudding and we shall see exactly what flavor of pudding the current group of GOP leaders intend on cooking.

  28. David, Thanks for that link to the Scottish research. White blood cells was their research material. Sounds like they are using the “clock theory,” where the disease is taken apart and put back together again. And, they’re doing it while the patient is still alive! Really interesting!

    And what does your European shoe size have to do with anything? 😉

  29. David B

    WOOHOO!!
    Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed into law legislation allowing Kansans of drinking age to order up to 12 cases of wine a year to be shipped directly to their homes.

    http://www.wine.com here I come.. (once they update their site… grr)

  30. Yea! That law was one of the more stupid ones, along the lines of when airlines needed to stop serving alcoholic beverages while flying over Kansas.

  31. David B

    Lyndon Johnson – bless him – to try and demoralize the Vietnamese, had large sized condoms packaged as US (or Texas) small and distributed throughout Vietnam.

    I do not have a reference .. it may be apocryphal, but I hope not, and it does sound so TEXAN….

  32. wicked

    University of Edinburgh researchers said their findings could lead to new treatments for such illnesses.

    Why is it that I seem to remember reading someone posting “overthere” that the U.S. leads the world in research? This in response to the cost of healthcare here in the States vs. that in Europe and more “socialized” countries.

    While I believe the U.S. led the world for many, many years, wasn’t some of that because scientists from other countries came here to do their research, finding that the U.S. technology was a step ahead? Is that still true? Somehow, I don’t think so.

    I also feel that Europeans depend less on pharmaceuticals than we do here. That seems to be the one thing Big Pharma is interested in, and that can only be because it makes them money. But I swear that if I have to sit through another “ask your doctor” commercial about so new, great drug, followed by a list of the side effects (including death) that’s longer than the benefits, I’m going to puke. Of course, I’ll need some sort of medication for that.

  33. wicked

    Sorry for the bad formatting. 3 hours of sleep has made my brain kind of mushy. 😦

  34. Pingback: Isn’t That False Advertising? « The Friggin Loon

    • frigginloon

      oooh, lookie, lookie, I have finally managed to link a Prairie P&P post to a Friggin loon post. LOL 🙂 .