peristaltor: (Default)
I'm not complaining, not at all. This, though, is fascinating:

Although the Oxford English Dictionary offers no etymology for the word “Honeymoon”....

The term most likely comes from an old English tradition that dates from the Middle Ages. Mead was drunk in great quantities at weddings, and after the ceremony nuptial couples were given a month’s supply of mead—sufficient for one full cycle of the moon. It was believed that by faithfully drinking mead for that first month, the woman would “bear fruit” and a child would be born within the year. Incidentally, raw honey has been shown in clinical studies to be a powerful fertility booster.

Mead! Mead! Mead!
peristaltor: (The Captain's Prop)
A pedestrian has been hit by a bus. And killed.

Five years ago, there was a similar accident in Portland, Oregon, though that one was far more deadly. That crash served as a wake-up call to transit operations everywhere. As a direct result of that crash, for example, we drivers in King County had a mandatory "pedestrian awareness" training class concerning the most likely causes of crashes and how to avoid them. I remember that class very well. The instructor told us that we should always be tired after work. Why? If we aren't tired, we weren't paying enough attention.

There is logic in that. There is also a problem. )
peristaltor: (The Captain's Prop)
From Kevin Kruse's One Nation Under God, we learn about the kick-off to Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidential campaign in Abilene, Kansas.

The town staged a massive parade in his honor, with a series of floats depicting events in h is life, ending with one carrying a replica of the White House with him inside. His parents had long since passed away, but the candidate made an appearance at their old clapboard home, using it as a shorthand for his humble upbringing, his family, and his faith.

You get that kind of political spectacle today, of course. What you do not get, especially in this silly era, is the timing.

All of the above happened in Abilene, Kansas, in June, 1952.

Eisenhower secured the nomination in July, 1952.

The next time you feel obliged to comment on the presidential candidacy of anyone, please wait until June of next year. Do not sit through news that contains any campaign information, at least not until June of next year.

Do not feed the beast of silliness.
peristaltor: (The Captain's Prop)
Ridden the bus lately in King County? Or, rather, tried to ride it? Things are a bit sticky of late. Why? Well, let's run down the laundry list. First, what you know. )

What you should know. )
peristaltor: (The Captain's Prop)
If I have learned nothing, it is to always follow the links, for that is where you find stuff.

Back in grade school, I was assigned a "paper" on Betsy Ross, supposedly the first person to design the flag we here in the United States fly today (in its form modified by national changes to the country itself). General George Washington supposedly visited Ross and asked if she could design and make flags for the new country. Among other details, she supposedly suggested the five-pointed star be present rather than the six-pointer; this was because they were easy to sew (if memory of that book read over 40 years ago is correct).

So a friend sent me an article from Kos over at the Daily Kos concerning the whiteness of one proposed Confederate Flag design. A link in that short article quoted the designer of the Confederate Flag:

As a people, we are fighting to maintain the heaven ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race ; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause.

I'll leave you to peruse the link and Kos' article; it's worth a gander. Once I got sucked into that link, I was hooked for hours. This book, Flag of the United States, with an Introductory Account, written in 1872 by Geo. Henry Preble, U.S.N., is an exhaustive examination not just of the US flag we know so well, but of just about every flag every flown. We don't get to the Stars and Bars until Part III and more than 180 pages. Here, we finally learn:

On Saturday, the 14th of June, 1777, the American congress "RESOLVED, That the flag of the thirteen United States by thirteen stripes alternate read and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." This is the first and only legislative action, of which there is any record for the establishment of a National Flag for the sovereign United States of America. . . . This dilatory resolve of congress, it will be observed, was not passed until eighteen months after the union flag raising at Cambridge, and the sailing of the first American fleet from Philadelphia under Continental colors. Nearly a year after the declaration of the entire separation of the colonies from Great Britain, and another two and a half months elapsed before it was promulgated officially. There was red tape in those early days as well as now.

(Linked scanned book, p. 187.)

The author goes on to cite some pretty interesting sources conjecturing on the origin of the five-pointed star and its relation to Washington (stuff about his noble ancestors that the General himself never related in either diaries or correspondence). I'm going to bury the lead a bit and relate the storybook origin. Here's how Mr. Preble relates it:

A committee of congress, of whom Col. George Ross was one, accompanied by General Washington, in June, 1776, called upon Mrs. Ross, who was an upholsterer, and engaged her to make the flag from a rough drawing which, according to her suggestions, was redrawn by General Washington in pencil "then and there in her back parlor."

(Ibid, p. 192.)

Yes, that was the account I remembered from my childhood report. It gets interesting, though, to relate what immediately preceded this account:

In 1870, Mr. Wm. J. Canby, of Philadelphia, read before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania a paper on the History of the American Flag, in which he states that his maternal grandmother, Mrs. John Ross, was the first maker and partial designer of the stars and stripes.


Got that? The historical account is from Mrs. Ross's grandson. It is primarily an oral history told second-hand by the family of the principal agent of the story. He backs this history by citing other relatives who have heard this story. The catch: They all heard the design story from the woman herself.

Three of Mrs. Ross's daughters were living when Mr. Canby wrote his paper, and confirm its statements, founding their belief not upon what they themselves saw—for the incident occurred many years before their birth—but upon what their mother had told them concerning it.

(Ibid, p. 193.)

The author received and included contents of a letter from Mr. Canby defending his account, including written statements from an aunt who had also been involved in early flag making after Mrs. Ross retired from the activity; that cannot, though, corroborate the fact that no written official design of the flag account exists. Mr. Preble is forced to conclude at the top of p. 192:

We people are social beasts who relate the world around with story telling. The more complete the story, the better. Evidence is often an impediment to a good story. And the more iconic an item, the more necessary the story to back its importance. After all, as the author quotes in the beginning of his (as far as I can tell with a few hours of skimming) excellent book:

There is the national flag! He must be cold, indeed, who can look upon its folds rippling in the breeze without pride of country.

—Charles Sumner
peristaltor: (The Captain's Prop)
I'll be the first to admit that most primary and even secondary educations are inadequate. No, scratch that: they are adequate for most things; for some things, they completely miss the point, because to come to the point they would have to address uncomfortable facts and what school wants to deal with uncomfortable stuff? That's just unnecessary.

So in school I learned almost nothing about Vietnam—how it started, reasons the country was even involved—even though many of my classmates had fathers and uncles still deployed there. We learned of old wars, and of course of the big one, WWII; but teachers shied away from even mentioning 'Nam, lest some student go home and mention the mention, leading to a shitstorm from one side of the kerfuffle or the other.

It turns out one of the biggest taboos of our history went back a bit farther to the Civil War. And these taboos, according to a fascinating article, regard the Dark Period after the Confederate Surrender, specifically how this period leads to, of all things, the Tea Party.To the Dark Age! )

X-Posted to [ profile] liberal.
peristaltor: (The Captain's Prop)
Ever since the "New Democrats" have installed themselves in the political scene, many of the standard rallying calls of the Progressive Movement have been sidelined into being mere tropes and tall tales. The problem, as I see it, is that these New Dems are, rather than the raging bull liberals of our past, merely steers who mewl rather than snort with rage and charge into the breeches. They have adopted meek standards, weak tea compared with the heady strong stuff of former years, and have in pursuing these standards continued to survive the increasingly competitive political environment forced upon all potential candidates.

What might these weak standards be? )

X-Posted to [ profile] liberal.
peristaltor: (The Captain's Prop)
Some years ago, I asked myself a question: What is an investment, and how does it differ from an act of speculation? I'm getting closer to an answer, especially after hearing Seth and Justin interview two authors on the topic of a man who has become largely myth, and about whom we know almost nothing: Henry George.

It turns out Mr. George. . . . )

X-Posted to [ profile] talk_politics.
peristaltor: (The Captain's Prop)
Do yourself a favor. Watch a short movie.

Real Estate 4 Ransom from Real Estate 4 Ransom on Vimeo.

I have never heard of this Land Tax concept, yet it has been around since the late 1800s. It was so revolutionary, in fact, the modern configuration of neo-classical economics was created to bury it. Rockafeller funded the foundation of the Chicago School of Economics to promote the idea that land shouldn't be taxed as Henry George proposed; this largely allowed him to keep the revenue he extracted from his many natural resource properties.

Later, if you want a bit more, head over to Seth & Justin's site and hear two pretty good interviews on the topic (though the second interview with one of the writer/directors for the above movie, I've got to say, is painfully sibilant; dude needs a new mike badly). Sadly, the few Henry George books I've found online are pretty crappy, so badly scanned text that it is all but unreadable. I may have to see what I can do about that.
peristaltor: (Default)
(I've been putting this one off for too long. I can't drop it, try as I may to convince myself. It's just not droppable.)

Ah, Mike Daisy. First you bend the facts of the case, then you defend the bending.

For those of you as late to this kerfuffle as I am, Mr. Daisy — a most entertaining chap, from what I've heard of his work on the radio — bagged the elephant, as it could be put in theater circles, convincing This American Life to run a short version of his stage play on their show. It led to the most downloaded episode in the show's already heady history, grabbing over 880,000 downloads.

Then, just a few weeks later, came the retraction. It turns out Mr. Daisy "embellished" his China visit account portrayed in his one-man show. Little details were "exaggerated" for the listening audiences to more fittingly adapt his trip to the "theatrical experience."

And after all that, instead of hanging his head in shame, he unleashes on TAL in a blog post.

In the last forty-eight hours I have been equated with Stephen Glass, James Frey, and Greg Mortenson.

You forgot Milli Vanilli. More to the point, you forgot Andrew Breitbart.

Given the tenor of the condemnation, you would think I had concocted an elaborate, fanciful universe filled with furnaces in which babies are burned to make iPhone components, or that I never went to China, never stood outside the gates of Foxconn, never pretended to be a businessman to get inside of factories, never spoke to any workers.

Yes, Mike, that's the case. You just don't get it, do you? You see, there is a very real difference between fiction and non-fiction. Non-fiction is verifiable fact; fiction is what people pull out of their ass. A key point here: it doesn't matter how much is fact and how much is ass-pulled. Like racist policies in the deep South, transforming a work of fact into something pulled from an ass requires only one drop of fiction.

Don't get me wrong: I'm a big fan of ass product. More than half the books I read are bowel fabrications of the highest quality, ones I enjoy greatly. Most of the movies, the same. Of the shit Orson Welles pulled out of his own copious ass, for example, I cannot get enough. (Well, except for a few. Not all his ass-pulls were great; some were shitty pieces. We all have them, and they should be flushed.)

Magician Jamie Ian Swiss has a phrase for pulling things out of your ass for entertainment: he considers them "honest lies", in that everyone watching or reading or listening (yes, most music lyrics are lies as well) accepts that the following is not necessarily true, but is instead meant to entertain.

Meaning when you get up on stage or in front of a microphone and portray some events that actually happened and intersperse events and observations that did not happen — in other words to forgo any adequate disclaimer about what the audience can expect — you are not lying honestly. You are inviting the audience to follow an account they will consider factual.

Meaning it better be factual. Because, if you don't, everything you say will be called into question, and not just in Agony.


Here's an example. A few years before this particular piece, Mr. Daisy produced something called Monopoly!, a "devastating monologue about monopoly and its discontents," where Mr. Daisey "explores the warped genius of inventor Nikola Tesla and his war with Thomas Edison over electricity." Portions of this aired on another public radio show, Studio 360's "Nikola Tesla: Strange Genius." With me so far?

Excerpted from Daisy's show was a passage about Edison's DC trolleys. According to the piece, these streetcars would occasionally start buzzing strangely; when this happened, all the locals knew from past experience some kind of violent electrical discharge would soon follow. If they didn't get away from the streetcar, a bolt might find a bystander and electrocute him or her. Daisy proclaims that this was the origin of the Brooklyn Dodgers' name, and invites skeptical listeners to "google it!"

Shortly after TAL's "Retraction" aired, I did. At the Wiki (as I write today), we learn that by "1890, New Yorkers (Brooklyn was a separate city until it became a borough in 1898) routinely called anyone from Brooklyn a 'trolley dodger', due to the vast network of street car lines criss-crossing the borough as people dodged trains to cross the streets."

I didn't think it necessary to do so at the time, but when I google'd the name origin a few weeks ago, there was a big red warning label on the entry questioning the veracity of some of the information provided, and (without letting the reader know what this was) noted that the questioned information had since been retracted. I'm willing to bet that information might have had some connection to Mr. Daisy's trolley bolts of death. After TAL, someone thought to retrace all of his utterances, and to remove a bit of information that he himself probably lifted from the net without properly verifying it. In other words, thanks to the fact that Mr. Daisy said it, someone else thought it necessary to either prove or disprove, and now it's gone from the web. Scrubbed.

Thinking back, I realize I had heard Daisy on the radio many years ago. He did an interview here in Seattle just after his stint as a phone support guy at in promotion of another theater piece, "21 Dog Years: Doing Time at" I laughed at his observations regarding that job, at the silliness of some of Amazon's policies, some of which I've heard first hand from friends. Now, I'm not so sure those stories, like the one he told about improving his caller response time (or whatever Amazon called it), were stunts he pulled himself, or stories he pulled out of his ass.

It's sad when people who used to be believed are suspected of uttering untruths. Think Dan Rather. Think most any oh-so-totally-not-gay Republican "family values" lawmaker. Take as wide a stance on your performance piece as you think likely, Mr. Daisy, but you have failed. Worse, it's obvious to me at least that you care deeply about the conditions Chinese workers face as they labor to build our stuff. Consider this: though nobody seriously questioned the silliness surrounding GWB's ROTC service, the fact that the document hinting at such silliness was a forgery (printed, I'm sure, by Karl Rove himself) derailed not just Dan Rather's career, but also any other reporter's pursuit to document W's shady past. CBS handed President George W. Bush authenticity and respectability he most assuredly did not deserve.

Back to Mike:

Especially galling is how many are gleefully eager to dance on my grave expressly so they can return to ignoring everything about the circumstances under which their devices are made. Given the tone, you would think I had fabulated an elaborate hoax, filled with astonishing horrors that no one had ever seen before.

One lie begets another, Mr. Daisy. One lie begets another. It may gall, but you did the galling. You galled your audience. According to them, you lied once, so. . . . So if you hear about another Chinese tech factory explosion or mangled hand or chemical spill in the very near future and would like someone to blame, Mr. Daisy, perhaps you should find a mirror.
peristaltor: (Default)
When last I posted, I ended our short history of money noting, among other things, that money is no longer backed by precious metals as once it "was" (I hope to make the scare quotes more salient later). Even before Pres. Nixon removed the US from the gold standard in 1971, wild swings in our money supply drove the country into a Great Depression that few theorists foresaw. Few theorists today foresaw the current crisis, and that should be easily explained. We have, essentially, unlearned the lessons of the Great Depression, removing the legal speed governors and safety interlocks that prevented our economy from revving too out of control from 1934 to about 1980, pulling the final bit of monetary prudence away from the system in 1999.

For that reason, it is illustrative to go back to the heady days of 1929 and see the policies that brought down the economy . . . you know, the policies we have today . . . and maybe answer [ profile] brucenstein's initial question about the weirdness of money. I'll try my best. )
peristaltor: (Default)
[ profile] darksumomo turned me on to a short essay (PDF) that deals nicely – and far more succinctly – with everything noted in my dismal mythos tag. Behold:

The supposed omniscience and perfect efficacy of a free market stems from economic work in the 50s and 60s, which with hindsight looks more like propaganda against communism than a plausible scientific description. In reality, markets are not efficient, humans tend to be over-focused in the short-term and blind in the long-term, and errors get amplified through social pressure and herding, ultimately leading to collective irrationality, panic and crashes. Free markets are wild markets.

Well put, sir. Well put.
peristaltor: (Default)
It's nice when a book not only confirms my niggling suspicions, but shows that I was not cynical enough by a wide, wide margin. The book is High and Mighty SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How they Got That Way by Keith Bradsher. He points out not the now-tired observations about how SUVs tend to kill their occupants and others far, far more often (well, not just those observations), but interesting points about the big "truck" drivers that I thought you folks would find illuminating. Let me give you a taste:

Who has been buying SUVs since automakers turned them into family vehicles? They tend to be people who are insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors or communities.

No, that's not a cynic talking -- that's the auto industry's own market researchers and executives.

(Keith Bradsher, High and Mighty SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How they Got That Way, PublicAffairs, 2002, p. 101, me with the boldening.)

Would you like specific citations backing up this broad generalization? Why, certainly! )
peristaltor: (Default)
About a year ago I wrote here an open letter to NPR reporter Adam Davidson challenging him to delve into the subtleties of our nation's banking system that have, from the available evidence, thus eluded him. After reading several books by authors that otherwise appear quite competent discussing economics, I realize I may have been too harsh on Davidson, since even these authors miss a single subtlety that allows banks to run roughshod over our economic system and to this day party like it's 1928. I'm referring to a fact that I've mentioned here several times, but the stunning implications of which I only realized the day I typed my last entry.

I hope you find this theory as stunning and earth-shattering as I have. )
peristaltor: (Default)
Back in August of last year, I ended the last episode of Swatting the Swarm with this paragraph:

Alan Greenspan may not have been in charge of the Fed during the most severe and obvious part of the collapse, but his actions -- or rather, his ideological inaction -- sowed the seeds for the impending disaster. To understand what happened, we need to note how systems work in general, how our economic system works in particular, and how we individuals within the systems can have more control over system outcomes than the leaders supposedly guiding the system with their authoritarian control.

I figured it only fitting to do some reading on the economy and how it works before laying out my damning indictment of Greenspan. I'm still reading, of course, but have still found enough hard informed commentary to all but dismiss that group of economic thinkers and theorists to which Greenspan belonged as a starry-eyed gaggle of dogmatic optimists sometimes led by (in some cases) out-right con artists. Sadly, this group wields an enormous amount of power and influence today, all but dictating policy in defiance of the democratic process and skewing toward their conclusions far too many aspects of our everyday lives.

Economics purports to be, you see, a science, and as such should rely on supporting its claims with empirical evidence. That's what other branches of science do, after all. Much of the following 150+ years of biology and paleontology have, for example, supported Charles Darwin's 1959 Origin of Species and his theory of natural selection found therein. That same year brought us one of the most important foundation observations supporting today's science of climatology.

As the two examples of science provided suggest, though, is that a lot of damage can be done to the reputation and understanding of good and well-supported theories if enough people with money find it in their best future interest to distort and obfuscate the official record. Believe it or not, even given the massive distortions climate change deniers and creationists have wrought on those other disciplines, economics has suffered an even greater attack and for a far more extended time. The Neoclassical and Neoliberal branches of economic theory prove far less supported in their tenets or their conclusions than either climate change denial or intelligent design, yet very few in the media even question the veracity of these assertions. As a result, we get a never-ending blast of neoclassical nonsense regurgitated by pundits, noise that effectively deafens the populace clamoring for real information they can use at the ballot box and with their checkbooks. Until that clamor is stanched, few will hold the qualifications to make informed decisions governing their very lives.

With this in mind, the following Too Long; Don't Read post addresses some of the tenets of neoclassical economic theory with explanations where I am able to provide them and dissenting opinions discussing why said tenets are theoretical at best and delusional at worst, backed by some of the books in which my nose has recently been buried. Click onward to view the Mythos. )

Addendum, May 3, 2011: In my haste, I forgot contributions from Pink and Hertz (which sounds like an S&M porn, I know). They were included today.

peristaltor: (Default)
Brother [ profile] mcfnord has a valid point worthy of consideration: It doesn't matter how padded and restrained we make the inside of any car; car accidents are the number one killer of children.

Meaning if you value your kids, you will eschew the fancy-pantsy latest and greatest child seats and simply reduce the miles you drive them by moving to a walkable community.

Statistically, those in the 'burbs with the "Mom's Taxi" bumper stickers are the single greatest threat to their child's future. Just sayin'.
peristaltor: (Default)
By now, you've probably heard about the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a group founded in 1973 that helps conservative legislators with pre-drafted legislation they can handily introduce into their houses and senates. It seems ALEC drafted the anti-collective bargaining bills in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, and had a hand in the 2010 anti-immigration law in Arizona. This is exactly the kind of organization I described in Confused on the Left, Blinded by the Right (Part II, Blinded) over a year and a half ago, and contains many of the same characters. ALEC was, after all, founded by Paul Weyrich, the same fellow that founded the Heritage Foundation (and in the same year).

I mention ALEC because ALEC's little droogies in office in Wisconsin are unhappy about Professor Cronon's guide to the organization and his New York Times history of conservative politics through the ages. In response -- and most likely in retaliation -- they have started legal proceedings to obtain all of his (pertinent) emails that happen to use his UW-Madison email address. The professor explains:

My little ALEC study guide succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Within two days, the blog had received over half a million hits, had been read by tens of thousands of people, had been linked by newspapers all over the United States, and had been visited by people from more than two dozen foreign countries. . . .

What I did not anticipate—though I guess I should have seen it coming, given everything else that has happened in Wisconsin over the past couple months—was the communication that the University of Wisconsin-Madison received on Thursday afternoon, March 17—less than two days after I posted my blog—formally requesting under the state’s Open Records Law copies of all emails sent from or received by my University of Wisconsin—Madison email address pertaining to matters raised in my blog.

The professor has good reasons not to release everything the Wisconsin Republican Party wants, reasons like student and professional confidentiality. The courts should definitely weigh in on which emails seem even pertinent to the file request . . . or even whether the file request is a legitimate use of the Open Records Law. He points out, though, that this is not really the main point:

It doesn’t take a great leap of logic to infer that Mr. Thompson and his colleagues aren’t particularly eager to have a state university professor asking awkward questions about the dealings of state Republicans with the American Legislative Exchange Council. This open records request apparently seemed to Mr. Thompson to be a good way to discourage me from sticking my nose in places he doesn’t think it belongs.

I confess that I’m surprised to find myself in this strange position, since (as I said in my earlier blog post) my professional interest as a historian has always been to research and understand the full spectrum of American political opinion. I often spend as much time defending Republican and conservative points of view to my liberal friends as vice versa. (For what it’s worth, I have never belonged to either party.) But Mr. Thompson obviously read my blog post as an all-out attack on the interests of his party, and his open records request seems designed to give him what he hopes will be ammunition he can use to embarrass, undermine, and ultimately silence me.

One obvious conclusion I draw is that my study guide about the role of ALEC in Wisconsin politics must come pretty close to hitting a bull’s-eye. Why else would the Republican Party of Wisconsin feel the need to single out a lone university professor for such uncomfortable attention?

The professor's posts are long, but well worth the read. I hope to read or hear of this in my local main-stream media news, but in the meantime I'll not be holding my breath.

Kerfuffle via Pharyngula.
peristaltor: (Default)
By now, everyone has heard about what is happening seemingly all at once in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Republican governors are trying to ram "emergency" legislation through their senates and houses that would strip the most robust union demographic, public employees, of their collective bargaining rights.

Here's a question: Why now?

I haven't seen this point raised by anyone, but I think it has everything -- and I mean everything -- to do with the baby boom generation.

Hear me out. )

X-posted to [ profile] the_recession.
peristaltor: (Default)
I mentioned the Koch Brothers only briefly in the past. To get caught up, you really need to do some background reading. These two are becoming more and more active with their fortune.

For example, consider that they, being not only Birchers but sons of one of the founders of the John Birch Society, hate unions. Now consider that the unrest in Wisconsin is getting downright interesting:

This afternoon, Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin Public Workers Union, sent a message to the Governor’s office agreeing to the cuts to pension & welfare benefits sought by Walker in his bill. The governor’s response was “nothing doing.” He wants the whole kit and kaboodle – the end of the collective bargaining rights of the public unions.

Oh, but it gets even better. Folks all over the country have been pouring over Gov. Walker's Budget Repair Bill, and guess what they found? A provision that would allow public assets to be sold . . . without any competitive bidding! I kept the emboldening from the link's author emboldened:

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

Let's remember that the Koch brothers have extensive holdings in Wisconsin, including timber, coal and pipelines. If this privatization strategy works, soon Governor Walker's second-largest campaign contributors will add millions to their portfolio and cut the fat do away with those pesky unions and their darned collective bargaining.

Make no mistake: This is Fascism at work.

UPDATE: Someone named Murphy at the Buffalo Beast successfully called Gov. Walker claiming to be David Koch. Listen to the Gov spill his guts outlining the strategy for getting this bill passed.

What is it about fucking Reagan? These righties invoke his goddamned name every 5 seconds lest his ghost abandon the country or something. (The Gov waxes eloquently about Der Gipper in Part II.)
peristaltor: (Default)
Just this morning I just heard the latest This American Life-Planet Money episode dealing with money, "The Invention of Money". And just this morning I heard the reporters getting tantalizingly close to actually explaining how our monetary system works, but blowing it at the primary mechanism, yet again. They have yet to personally understand the mechanism that allows banks to create cash; this missing piece of the puzzle causes them to mentally miss important clues on which they report every working day. Therefore, instead of a cogent, step-by-step explanation of how money is created in this country, these reporters devolve into mystical "insert magic here" woo-woo and expressions of shock and disbelief at the presumptuousness of the Federal Reserve for creating money out of whole cloth -- in other words, doing what commercial banks do every frickin' day.

This baffles and saddens me. Without a working understanding of how money is created through lending, no one will think twice about allowing commercial banks to operate as they do, speculatively and without a safety net. No one will be able to come up with sensible and practical alternatives to the current system. One cannot diagnose and repair a mechanism one does not understand.

Actually, let me amend that: One should not attempt such a thing, though plenty of people -- misinformed by stories such as "The Invention of Money" -- are going to give it a try. They're going to drive this darned car, darn it all, just as soon as they figure out what that third pedal is for and which of the darned numbers on the stick stand for "Drive."

I couldn't find a transcript of the show, though, so I'll save my point-by-point correction of NPR and PRI until one appears. I don't feel like transcribing an hour's worth of anything today.


peristaltor: (Default)

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