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2008 October — Why Now?
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Posts from — October 2008

“Emanuel Conception”

They say they are Democrats, but don’t believe it.

When Mark Foley had his meltdown over House pages, he already had a Democratic opponent in the general election, David Lutrin, a local teacher who started from the ground up to build a credible campaign. He was a real Democrat seeking to change what was happening in Congress. He was getting some help and guidance from members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and was working on getting name recognition in the 16th district of Florida.

Then everything changed. Just before Foley’s problems became public, Rahm Emanuel persuaded Tim Mahoney, a wealthy Republican, to switch his voter registration and run for Foley’s seat. Lutrin was cast aside. You may have read about Tim Mahoney’s problems that are probably going to cost the Florida Democrats a seat in Congress in an election that should have been a “slam dunk”.

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October 27, 2008   4 Comments

Taxes and Jobs

Playing with the tax code generates jobs for programmers changing the payroll programs, and it’s the same amount of work whether the taxes go up or down.

The Florida legislature loves to have “sales tax holidays” during which sales taxes are not collected on specific items. Usually there’s one before the start of hurricane season for flashlights, batteries, and other “emergency supplies” and another before the start of school on school supplies and children’s clothing. This requires reprogramming the cash registers and computer systems for businesses, so, again, the people who do the programming get some extra work, and the business sector has an extra expense.

No one hires people because of the tax rate. The whole concept is a form of dementia. You hire people because your customers want more of your goods or services. A middle class tax cut is going to help people pay off their debts, but will have a minimal impact on demand. If you want to boost demand, you put more money in the hands of poor people. Poor people spend whatever they get to survive. This isn’t a matter of economic policy or theory – it is economic reality.

October 27, 2008   2 Comments

RIP Tony Hillerman 1925-2008

One of my favorite authors, Tony Hillerman, has passed away. If you don’t read mystery novels you wouldn’t be familiar with his work, but his novels set in the Four Corners of the American Southwest are an introduction to Native American culture and excellent police procedurals.

His Wikipedia entry covers his many jobs and the highlights of his life, but if you have worked in law enforcement you can appreciate his painstaking detail in how real police work takes place, and it isn’t “CSI”. His description of the interaction between Federal agencies and local police is absolutely accurate to anyone who has ever struggled to get information from the FBI that is needed for a case.

Thanks for sharing Mr. Hillerman.

October 27, 2008   2 Comments

Life Intrudes

In addition to trying to work on a project, Firefox keeps crashing, so I’m not around much.

So far I have updated the software on this site, as the crashing have been occurring on returning to this site, with no effect.  I have run multiple scans with different software and no one can find anything worse than tracking cookies.

Both MS and Firefox have issued updates just before this started happening, so I can’t be sure who owns the problem.

I’ll attempt to keep up with comments here, but I’m not doing much commenting anywhere else.

October 26, 2008   8 Comments

Wild Ride Ahead

There are multiple reasons for the strength of the dollar and yen increasing while all of the markets worldwide are tanking. The dawning reality that there is going to be a global recession is one of the big ones, but another major problem is weakness among the insurance companies.

When people issue bonds they normally have insurance backing the value of the bonds. When the insurance companies that back the bonds get in trouble the bondholders normally have the right to redeem the bonds immediately. When AIG fell a lot people who had their bonds guaranteed by AIG had to sell assets to redeem their bonds, and they had to do it quickly. When large blocks of stock are sold, the market drops.

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October 25, 2008   Comments Off on Wild Ride Ahead


MSNBC has a video report on people complaining that their neighborhood is overrun with rats. My suggestion would be for them to buy a Spanish-English dictionary and look up the name of their town: Boca Raton. Do you think there might be a reason the Spanish explorers chose the name “Rat Mouth”?

You clear the land and kill all of the large snakes and you are going to have rats in Florida.

October 25, 2008   7 Comments

Please, No Whine Before Its Time

John McKay noted that It’s that time of year, with the Christianists firing the first shot in the annual War Against The War On Christmas™.

Newsday reports on the next assault out in Suffolk County, Long Island: Patchogue parade loses fireworks in ‘Christmas’ dispute

Grucci, which donated $5,000 in fireworks to last year’s parade, will not assist with the event if “Christmas” is not in the title, said Grucci vice president Philip Butler.

“They are using all the themes of Christmas and plagiarizing all those themes and not using the name,” said Butler, who has campaigned in the past against what he describes as the secularization of Christmas.

Of Patchogue’s lack of fireworks, Mayor Paul Pontieri said: “When I think about fireworks, I don’t think about Christmas anyway – I think about the Fourth of July.”

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October 24, 2008   4 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

KT – the Next Generation

Friday Cat Blogging

Who is that, Mama?

[Editor: KT was shown two years ago, and earlier this month I featured KT-2. It looks like there’s a KT-3 joining the crew with Mama’s markings.

Friday Ark

October 24, 2008   7 Comments

What Hath Ayn Rand Wrought

Assuming the role of economic neophyte, we have Greenspan’s CYA testimony

(CBS/ AP) Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says the current financial crisis has uncovered a flaw in how the free market system works and that has shocked him.

Greenspan told the House Oversight Committee on Thursday that his belief that banks would be more prudent in their lending practices because of the need to protect their stockholders had proven in the latest crisis to be wrong.

Greenspan said he had made a “mistake” in believing that banks in operating in their self-interest would be sufficient to protect their shareholders and the equity in their institutions. Greenspan said that he had found “a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.”

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October 23, 2008   18 Comments

Another Cold War Memory

Catnapping of Odd Neighbor Illustrations is another child of the Cold War and has a wonderful memory and some doggerel of an event from 46 years ago today.

October 22, 2008   2 Comments

The Cliffs Notes Version

The BBC’s Robert Peston has a nice simple explanation of what went wrong:

In a nutshell our banks and other financial institutions lent too much against the security of over-valued assets, largely residential housing and commercial property.

And to obtain the funds they lent to households and business, those same banks were too dependent on credit from wholesale and overseas sources (net wholesale funding of our banks went from zero in 2001 to £625bn by the end of 2007).

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October 22, 2008   Comments Off on The Cliffs Notes Version

Not Exactly A Surprise

As expected after the dismal showing in the election, the leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, Stéphane Dion, has announced he is stepping down and the leadership race is on

On Monday, Dion said he would step down after a leadership convention “in order to ensure a smooth and successful transition.”

He blamed his party’s 19-seat loss in the federal election mainly on its inability to counter Conservative “propaganda” against Dion and the proposed Green Shift carbon tax.

“If people are asking why, it’s because I failed,” Dion said. “In my consultations, it became very clear that in the door-to-door canvassing, my colleagues, my friends were told, ‘We don’t like your leader’.”

The same article had comments from a possible leadership contender that should be rather familiar to people interested in US politics:

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October 21, 2008   2 Comments

New Domain?

EBW at Wampum is looking at the possibility of a new Top Level Domain: .blog — Is it something enough of us would find useful?

I would grab whynow.blog if the TLD became available, and it would certainly be more convenient than whynow.on-line_opinion_magazine 😈

October 21, 2008   11 Comments

More Items On The Florida Ballot

On the ballot there are retention votes for 7 judges.

For outsiders, judges on the Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal are nominated by a separate entity, the Judicial Nominating Commission. The governor then appoints them, but they are subject to a retention vote every six years.

The retention of justice Charles T. Wells of the Florida Supreme Court is on the ballot, and I will vote for him, even though I don’t always agree with him because he is consistent in his decisions. You know where he stands, and that is with the law and Florida constitution. Unlike the US Supreme Court in 2000, Charles Wells doesn’t make things up to suit his personal or political preferences.

On the other hand, I am voting NO! on all six judges up for retention in the First District Court of Appeal.

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October 20, 2008   2 Comments