Monday, December 26, 2011

Are We High Yet?

Sometimes I just don't know what to say...


Painkiller 10 times stronger than Vicodin worries addiction experts

(It Should) 

(CBS/AP) As pharmaceutical companies are approaching the final stages of development for a new type of painkiller said to be 10 times stronger than Vicodin, addiction experts worry a new wave of abuse may soon follow...
Four companies have begun patient testing on the pills which contain a pure version of the highly addictive painkiller hydrocodone...
"It's like the wild west," said Peter Jackson, co-founder of Advocates for the Reform of Prescription Opioids. "The whole supply-side system is set up to perpetuate this massive unloading of opioid narcotics on the American public."
                                                          ***

Opiates block pain but also unleash intense feelings of well-being and can create physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms can be intense, causing cramps, diarrhea, muddled thinking, nausea and vomiting. After a while, opiates stop working, forcing users to take stronger doses.

"You've got a person on your product for life, and a doctor's got a patient who's never going to miss an appointment, because if they did and they didn't get their prescription, they would feel very sick," said Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. "It's a terrific business model, and that's what these companies want to get in on."

The U.S. consumes 99 percent of the world's hydrocodone and 83 percent of its oxycodone, according to a 2008 study by the International Narcotics Control Board.   [Emphasis mine].

What Is Happening To Our Children?

I fear I have encountered an iceberg. My research is just beginning and I don't like what I am finding out about child abuse in the U.S.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2010). Child Maltreatment 2009. Available from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm#can
(HT) ChildHelp.org


Iraq Coalition Military Fatalities By Year

YearUSUKOtherTotal
20034865341580
20048492235906
20058462328897
20068222921872
20079044710961
200831444322
200914910150
2010600060
2011540054
Total44841791394802

Afghanistan Coalition Military Fatalities By Year

YearUSUKOtherTotal
2001120012
20024931870
20034801058
2004521760
200599131131
2006983954191
20071174273232
20081555189295
200931710896521
2010499103109711
201141245101558
Total18583935882839

More than 13,000 children have died from abuse since 2003. Double the number of military coalition casualties of two wars.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Donald tells the GOP; "You're Fired!"

From Political Wire:

 Trump Dumps Republican Party

Donald Trump continued to tease a potential presidential run by changing his voter registration from Republican to "unaffiliated" and publicly denouncing the behavior of members of his former party, CNN reports.

Michael Cohen, an aide to Trump, said the real estate mogul and reality television star made the switch "in order to preserve his right to run for president as an independent if he's not satisfied with who the Republicans nominate."

Cohen added that Trump was "disgusted with the way Republicans are handling" the payroll tax cut extension, saying the actions of Republicans were partly to blame for his party change.
 A person just can't make this shit up. Mitt, Newt, The Donald, Jon, Ron Paul, Rick Perry (what the fuck is up with the two first names?), Herman the Ho...Is anyone else embarrassed? It's Not going to be The Thrilla In Manilla folks.


Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

From Taegan Goddard at Political Wire:


December 24, 2011

Gingrich Fails to Qualify for Virginia Ballot

Newt Gingrich has failed to qualify for Virginia's presidential primary, the Richmond Times Dispatch reports.

Rick Perry also failed to amass the required 10,000 signatures of registered voters to qualify for the March 6 contest.

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul will be the only candidates on the ballot.

Several polls this month showed Gingrich with a substantial lead over Romney in the state.
Merry Christmas from Virginia.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Oh yeah, Christmas.

So it's that time again. Well we saved the cattle but we lost the farm. A person can't have everything. For the one or two lost souls who have happened onto this electronic cave, a suggestion for Christmas day entertainment:

The Dismal Political Economist


They promise to bring us the up side of our holiday cheer.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupation

Can they accomplish something? The OWS movement is toddling along, looking for its feet, legs and voice. The goals are virtuous, even tho they vary widely. The protesters appear to be a cross section of the American populace, not wild eyed extremists. How will the extremists in the 1% respond? Physical and economic violence do not seem too absurd a response from the engineers of a spectacularly failed economic and political oligarchy.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Very Standard and Very Poor

The definition of structural (un)employment can be successfully elucidated as taking S&P seriously. They seem to lack the requisite skill set necessary to successfully execute themselves their job. WTF? You dissed America because we have a few loonies running the "hoochie coochie goochie" show in D.C.? So maybe we should invest in Greece, or Iceland, or Ireland or Estonia? Say, how about we just invest in ourselves?



Just a powder-puff followup from the good Dr. Krugman:
 
August 12, 2011, 3:45 pm

Downgrade Downgraded

A week ago, before the S&P downgrade, the interest rate on US 10-year bonds was 2.56 percent. As I write this, it’s 2.24 percent, with the yield on inflation-protected bonds actually negative.
You would think this would amount to strong evidence that the downgrade totally failed to shake confidence in US debt.

The S&P comedy seems to be the denouement of the Laurel & Hardy debt limit charade. This dissembling has become seriously un-amusing for many Americans.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Hubris Of the Charlatans

A moment of silence, please...

So, S&P has downgraded the USA...sort of like when my son told me his allowance was too small...it got smaller. Let's see what the reaction of the pros is...

Paul Krugman:

Credibility, Chutzpah and Debt


To understand the furor over the decision by Standard & Poor’s, the rating agency, to downgrade U.S. government debt, you have to hold in your mind two seemingly (but not actually) contradictory ideas. The first is that America is indeed no longer the stable, reliable country it once was. The second is that S.& P. itself has even lower credibility; it’s the last place anyone should turn for judgments about our nation’s prospects. 

Robert Reich:

Why S&P Has No Business Downgrading the U.S.


Friday, August 5, 2011
Standard & Poor’s downgrade of America’s debt couldn’t come at a worse time. The result is likely to be higher borrowing costs for the government at all levels, and higher interest on your variable-rate mortgage, your auto loan, your credit card loans, and every other penny you borrow.

Why did S&P do it?

Not because America failed to pay its creditors on time. As you may have noticed, we avoided a default.

                                                          ***
Pardon me for asking, but who gave Standard & Poor’s the authority to tell America how much debt it has to shed, and how?
                                                         ***

S&P’s intrusion into American politics is also ironic because, as I pointed out recently, much of our current debt is directly or indirectly due to S&P’s failures (along with the failures of the two other major credit-rating agencies — Fitch and Moody’s) to do their jobs before the financial meltdown. Until the eve of the collapse S&P gave triple-A ratings to some of the Street’s riskiest packages of mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations.
                                                         ***
In other words, had Standard & Poor’s done its job over the last decade, today’s budget deficit would be far smaller and the nation’s future debt wouldn’t look so menacing.

We’d all be better off had S&P done the job it was supposed to do, then. We’ve paid a hefty price for its nonfeasance.
A pity S&P is not even doing its job now. We’ll be paying    another hefty    price for its malfeasance today.

Ezra Klein:

Does the downgrade mean more U.S. towns will go bankrupt?

Standard & Poor’s announced another wave of downgrades on Monday, lowering the credit ratings that affect thousands of cities, school districts, public housing and transportation projects directly linked to federal funds.
                                                           ***
But the worst may not be over yet. S&P is expected to announce another wave of downgrades later this week. “Where we’re headed is more like spreading a flu.
                                                           ***
Another wave of downgrades could come at a particularly bad time for some financially troubled corners of the country. Though overall default numbers remain low, there’s already been a recent uptick in the number towns, cities and other municipal bond holders on the brink of solvency.
Andy Borowitz:

Predator Drone Seen Hovering over Standard & Poor’s Headquarters

Company Could Be in for Downgrade of its Own, Experts Say

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – Just days after downgrading the credit rating of the United States, Standard & Poor’s was on high alert this morning after an unmanned Predator drone was seen hovering over its headquarters in lower Manhattan.
While the mission of the Predator was unclear, some insiders speculated that S & P might be in for a downgrade of its own.

The Predator appeared in the skies above the company’s headquarters minutes after it was rumored that S & P was about to downgrade the United States to the same status as Pluto.
As a so-called “dwarf nation,” the U.S. would no longer be accorded the same respect as a recognized country like France or Brazil, one S & P source said: “Basically, the United States would be considered a social network with parking.”
At the White House, President Obama offered no comment on the Predator’s mission, saying only, “The Predator is an effective weapon against the enemies of the United States of America.”
He did offer apologies for what he called “an accidental Predator missile strike” over the weekend at a golf course in Virginia which narrowly missed Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA).

In other financial news:
– In an effort to find a safe haven, rattled investors fled the dollar today and moved their money into Groupons.
– In one rare bright spot on Wall Street, manufacturers of red ink posted record profits.
– And finally, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner explained his decision to remain at the U.S. Treasury: “I didn’t want to look for a job – it’s fucking scary out there.”

 


Helo, hello, hello?

Robert Reich:

Slouching Toward a Double Dip, For No Good Reason


Monday, August 8, 2011

Imagine your house is burning. You call the fire department but your call isn’t answered because every fire fighter in town is debating whether there will be enough water to fight fires over the next ten years, even though water is plentiful right now. (Yes, there’s a long-term problem.) One faction won’t even allow the fire trucks out of the garage unless everyone agrees to cut water use. An agency that rates fire departments has just issued a downgrade, causing everyone to hoard water.

While all this squabbling continues, your house burns to the ground and the fire has now spread to your neighbors’ homes. But because everyone is preoccupied with the wrong question (the long-term water supply) and the wrong solution (saving water now), there’s no response. In the end, the town comes up with a plan for the water supply over the next decade, but it’s irrelevant because the whole town has been turned to ashes...

The most important aspect of policy making is getting the problem right. We are slouching toward a double dip because we’re getting the problem wrong. Despite what Standard & Poor’s says, notwithstanding what’s occurring in Europe, and regardless of U.S. budget projections years from now — our current crisis is jobs, wages, and growth. We do not now have a debt crisis...

We are slouching toward a double dip, with all the human costs that implies. We don’t have to be. That is the tragedy of our time. 



Thursday, August 4, 2011

Slip Sliding Away




Paul Krugman

Hope Is Not A Plan

Nor is it good politics. So what the heck are they thinking?
President Barack Obama’s spokesman is discounting talk that the economy may be headed back into recession, despite recent concerns of economists.
Spokesman Jay Carney says there is no question that economic growth and job creation have slowed over the past half year.
But, Carney told a White House briefing, “We do not believe that there is a threat of a double-dip recession.”
Of course there’s a threat. Larry Summers puts the odds at one in three; I might be slightly more optimistic, but the risk is very real. Who, exactly, is at the White House who knows better?









Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

ABL Is the Shit

Thanks to ABL for posting (re-posting?) this Spike Jonze video.


"More than a Lost Decade"

by CalculatedRisk on 4/20/2011 09:13:00 PM:

I've been more upbeat lately, but even as the economy recovers - and I think the recovery will continue - we need to remember a few facts.

There are currently 130.738 million payroll jobs in the U.S. (as of March 2011). There were 130.781 million payroll jobs in January 2000. So that is over eleven years with no increase in total payroll jobs.

And the median household income in constant dollars was $49,777 in 2009. That is barely above the $49,309 in 1997, and below the $51,100 in 1998. (Census data here in Excel).

Just a reminder that many Americans have been struggling for a decade or more. The aughts were a lost decade for most Americans.

And I'd like to think every U.S. policymaker wakes up every morning and reminds themselves of the following:

There are currently 7.25 million fewer payroll jobs than before the recession started in 2007, with 13.5 million Americans currently unemployed. Another 8.4 million are working part time for economic reasons, and about 4 million more workers have left the labor force. Of those unemployed, 6.1 million have been unemployed for six months or more.

So even as we start to discuss how to fix the structural budget deficit, and also to address the long term fiscal challenges from healthcare costs, we can't forget about all of these Americans.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

So Mo Didn't Know

Maureen Dowd finally gets Bob Dylan. This is an excerpt from her "you totally fooled me" OpEd in todays NYT:

Bob Dylan may have done the impossible: broken creative new ground in selling out...Before Dylan was allowed to have his first concert in China on Wednesday at the Worker’s Gymnasium in Beijing, he ignored his own warning in “Subterranean Homesick Blues” — “Better stay away from those that carry around a fire hose” — and let the government pre-approve his set... But he’s the first to admit he cashes in.
David Hajdu, the New Republic music critic, says the singer has always shown a tension between “not wanting to be a leader and wanting to be a celebrity.”
In Hajdu’s book, “Positively 4th Street,” Dylan is quoted saying that critics who charged that he’d sold out to rock ’n’ roll had it backward.
“I never saw myself as a folksinger,” he said. “They called me that if they wanted to. I didn’t care. I latched on, when I got to New York City, because I saw (what) a huge audience there was. I knew I wasn’t going to stay there. I knew it wasn’t my thing. ... I became interested in folk music because I had to make it somehow.”
“Folk music,” he concluded, “is a bunch of fat people.”
He can’t really betray the spirit of the ’60s because he never had it.

Dylan has always been an arrogant, self-absorbed hypocrite. This is an article from the LA Times:

Bob Dylan's neighbors sing outhouse blues

March 17, 2009|Bob Pool

How sweet is life when you live next to a celebrity in Malibu?
Outside Bob Dylan's house, the answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.
That's what some of the singer-songwriter's neighbors are charging in an increasingly odoriferous dispute over a portable toilet at his sprawling ocean view estate on Point Dume.

Residents contend that the nighttime sea breeze sends a noxious odor from a portable toilet on Dylan's property wafting into their homes. The stench has made members of one family ill and forced them to abandon their bedrooms on warm nights, they say.
For more than six months, Dylan, 67, has ignored their complaints and their pleas to remove the outhouse, the downwind neighbors say.
"It's a scandal -- 'Mr. Civil Rights' is killing our civil rights," said David Emminger, whose home is directly behind the toilet -- which is apparently intended for use by employees of the entertainer best known for his 1960s-era protest songs.

Emminger and his wife have installed five industrial-sized fans in their frontyard in an attempt to blow the odor back at Dylan. They say the fans are no match for the ocean breeze that sweeps across the singer's land, however.
Dylan, who has lived in a compound next to Bluewater Road for more than two decades, did not respond to inquiries about the toilet. Neither did his New York-based attorney.
Malibu officials said they are investigating the complaint. As a result, they are unable to discuss the issue, they said.
But Dylan's neighbors who contend their patience has run out have plenty to say about the odor.
"It started in September. I'd go into the frontyard and get nauseous," said Cindy Emminger, 42. "I couldn't figure out at first where the smell was coming from."
Her 8-year-old son, David Jr., was sickened by the stench. Then she became ill too.
"We both have allergies and are sensitive to chemicals," she said. "I finally noticed that they had moved the porta-potty directly in front of my front door."
By some accounts, the city's response has been sluggish.
In January, one inspector reported that a city code enforcement officer was turned away by Dylan's security staff and told that he was trespassing. "He said they were going to sue the city," the inspector said.
Guards who staff a security shack near the edge of Dylan's compound around the clock are among those who utilize the toilet, neighbors say.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Politics, Pundits and The Peter Priciple

Never has The Peter Principle been so convincingly proven as in the recent US budget discompromiseagreement.
Now I suppose they will have a party. A little spine would help. When will the pain end?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jumping The Shark, Our Egomaniacal Masters

So, with less than an hour to spare, the Congress has covered itself with glory. This kind of debauched publicity politickin' really looks bad. Just a bunch of Fonzies.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Vocationing Quietly

So it's been a while. Libya, Ivory Coast, Fukushima Daiichi, Portugalgovernment shutdownGlenn Beck falls;  some great stuff, but I had nothing to say about it since my idiot quotient had come up against the Zero Lower Bound.

A good read by Emily L. Hauser at ABL Chronicles on The BASE, Boss! The BASE! Boss!

Lest I forget, Joseph E. Stiglitz on risk management and why humans suck at it. (Lack of experience and arrogance.)

Spring is here, the farm is greenin', so this will be an after dark blog. It may go bump in the night.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Have You Ever...?


Ordered medication an aspirin online? Think you have a fucking headache now, wait until your email explodes with offers from every drug dealer pharmaceutical retailer with internet access. How do they do that? The government can't find the assholes that blew up the world economy, but every two bit purveyor of dope can network my email and purchasing history?  You Know what's next:



Friday, March 11, 2011

Lesson From Day 20152 of My Life

Experience is often mistaken for expertise.

Just A Thought (borrowed)

Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Let's Party Like It's 2011

Dr. Reich has more on the emerging Peoples Party. Everyone is invited. The time has come to throw the bastards out.

The Principles of the People’s Party

Robert Reich
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The following was sent to me by someone in Madison, Wisconsin, who found it in the Capitol building last week. It was obviously written in a hurry, and it carries the label “first draft.”
It’s emerging from the heartland – from Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Iowa — and it is spreading across the nation. It doesn’t have a formal organization or Washington lobbyists beyond it, but it’s gaining strength nonetheless.
***
 1. Increasing the pay and bargaining power of average working people. We’ll stop efforts to destroy unions and collective bargaining rights. Protect workers who try to form unions from being fired. Make it easier for workers to form unions through simple up-or-down votes at the workplace.
 2. Requiring America’s super-rich to pay their fair share. Increase top marginal tax rates and the number of tax brackets at the top. Treat income from capital gains the same as ordinary income. Restore the estate tax. Revoke the citizenship of anyone found to be sheltering income abroad.
3. Protecting and expanding government programs vital to the working middle class and the poor. These include Social Security, K-12 education, Pell Grants for disadvantaged students, public transportation, Medicare and Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
4. Ending corporate welfare and cutting military outlays. Trim defense spending. End special tax subsidies for specific corporations or industries – at both state and federal levels. Cut agricultural subsidies.
5. Saving Social Security while making it more progressive. Exempt the first $20,000 of income from Social Security taxes. Make up the difference – and any need for additional Social Security revenues – by raising the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax.
6. Ending Wall Street’s dominance of the economy and preventing any future taxpayer-funded bailout. Break up Wall Street’s largest banks and put a cap their size. Link pay on the Street to long-term profits rather than short-term speculation. Subject all financial transactions to a one-tenth of one percent transactions tax.
7. Fully enforcing regulations that protect workers, consumers, small investors, and the environment. Raise penalties on corporations that violate them. Expand enforcement staffs. Provide more private rights of action.
8. Providing affordable health care to all Americans. The new health law isn’t enough. We’ll fight for a single payer – making Medicare available to all. End fee-for-service and create “accountable-care” organizations that focus on healthy outcomes.
9. Slowing and eventually reversing climate change. We’ll fight to limit carbon emissions. Impose a ceiling on emissions or a carbon tax on polluters. Return the revenues from these to the American people, in the form of tax cuts for the working middle class.
10. Getting big money out of politics. We’ll fight to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overrule Citizens United v. FEC. Require full disclosure of all contributions for or against any candidate. Provide full public financing for all presidential, gubernatorial, and legislative candidates in all general elections.
A few of the places it’s happening:
  • Madison (ongoing).
  • Des Moines (ongoing).
  • March 10: Indianapolis. Gather at 10am and rally at 11:30am at Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis. Rallies will continue at the capitol until the impasse is over.
  • March 11: St. Louis. Downtown at 3:30 pm at Kiener Plaza. SB 1 is expected to be voted on in the Senate the week of 3/7 or 3/14.
  • April 4:  In cities across America. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Demonstrations to show that “We Are One.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Peoples Party

Is Robert Reich todays John Lennon? I think the argument can be legitimately made. Here is Dr. Reich's early read:

The Birth of the People’s Party

        Robert Reich
Monday, March 7, 2011
Look at the outrage in Madison, Wisconsin. Look at the crowds in DesMoines, Iowa. Look at the demonstrations in Indiana and Ohio and elswhere around America.
Hear what they’re saying: Stop attacking unions. Stop making scapegoats out of public employees. Stop protecting the super-rich from paying their fair share of the taxes needed to keep our schools running.
Stop gutting the working middle class.
Are we finally seeing average Americans stand up and demand a fair shake in an economy now grotesquely tilted toward the wealthy and the privileged? Are Americans beginning to awake to the fact that our economy now delivers a larger share of total income to the very top than at any time in living memory? That big corporations are making more money and creating more jobs abroad than in the United States?
That this concentration of income and wealth has so corrupted politics that corporations can extort whatever they want from the government — tax breaks, loan guarantees, subsidies — while the super-rich can take most of their income as capital gains (taxed at 15 percent), and the rest at the lowest top rate in 25 years? And that because of this our kids are crowded into classrooms, our streets and highways and bridges are falling apart, and our healthcare bills are out of control?
The Tea Party grew out of indignation over the Wall Street bailout — an indignation shared by the vast majority of Americans. But the Tea Party ended up directing its ire at government rather than at big business and Wall Street. Was this because billionaires Charles and David Koch and their like funneled money to the Tea Party through front organizations like Dick Armey’s Freedom Works, and thereby co-opted it?
Now we may be seeing the birth of a genuine populist movement. Call it the People’s Party. Like the Tea Party, the People’s Party doesn’t have a clear organization or hierarchy or single address. It doesn’t have lobbyists in Washington. It’s not even yet recognized by the mainstream media.
But the People’s Party seems to be growing in numbers and in intensity. And it’s starting to push elected officials — first at the state level — to listen and respond.