Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Remember, kids

Wikileaks has been grossly negligent with the information they have released to the point that they have put lives at risk. Also, they have released nothing that we didn't already know.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The New Tax Man

Among the lessons we should have learned from the Romans: allowing powerful private entities to collect taxes is a bad idea. In the case of American banks, it means a shift from a business model based on fraud to one based on extortion.

In this particular tale as told by the Huffington Post, local governments are making Faustian bargains with big banks, allowing them to collect taxes and even add their own fees on top of them in return for fronting government the revenue. Minor shortages in people's tax returns are blossoming into huge, multi-thousand-dollar shakedowns, and in many cases people are losing their homes because of what was originally a delinquent tax/utility bill of less than $1000.

This, of course, is an entirely separate issue from the other scandal of banks trying to foreclose on people who aren't behind on their mortgages, or worse, don't even have a mortgage by not bothering to review their own paperwork.

It's also different from the other, OTHER scandal of banks hiring what are basically thugs to break into the occupied homes of people they are illegally foreclosing on to change the locks on them, and in many cases burgle their home in the process.

And that's different from the other, other, OTHER scandal of the foreclosure mills [i.e., the thugs] hired by the banks giving their employees jewelry, cars, and houses in exchange for forging documents to submit to courts so they can steal people's homes.

"nonsense math"

An analysis of the "computer polls" used as cover by the BCS.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Joel Burns: It gets better

A gay city council member in Fort Worth, Texas discloses his own tribulations as a gay kid in West Texas for the first time in order to join the "It Gets Better" movement. Very moving.

And yes, he is an openly gay man elected to public office in Fort Worth. There are politically sane places other than Austin in the Lone Star State.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

on the take

A bombshell cover story in Sports Illustrated about the ubiquity of sports agents paying college football players. It drops several names, including Ryan Leaf and Santonio Holmes.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Public Option was never an option

Always true to form, the dreaded October Surprise is sprung on the Democrats, and it comes from their own incompetent leadership. From ThinkProgress:
In his book, Daschle reveals that after the Senate Finance Committee and the White House convinced hospitals to to accept $155 billion in payment reductions over ten years on July 8, the hospitals and Democrats operated under two “working assumptions.” “One was that the Senate would aim for health coverage of at least 94 percent of Americans,” Daschle writes. “The other was that it would contain no public health plan,” which would have reimbursed hospitals at a lower rate than private insurers.

The Senate didn't drop the public option until December 9, and the White House claimed to be fighting for it up until that point. Daschle, a former Senate Minority Leader and lobbyist for for a firm that did work for insurance and pharmaceutical companies, fought against the public option from the moment he was brought on. Why is it not surprising that Daschle would release a book a month before the midterms trying to help bolster support, and inadvertently include damning information about an inside deal that completely deflates the base?

Speaking as a Democratic voter and part of the liberal base that gets daily calls to come help man the phones and knock on doors and give money, the feelings of betrayal and helplessness upon hearing news like this is pretty serious, certainly much worse than anything the Republicans could say. This is the kind of revelation that makes people like me throw up our hands and ask why we even bother.

Ole Miss mascots: the three finalists

Hard to look at these and not mourn the now-defunct campaign to nominate Admiral Ackbar as the new Rebel mascot, the most inspired mascot choice since an intramural basketball team at the University of Northern Colorado renamed themselves The Fighting Whites.

It honestly surprises me that Lucas would pass up on such a golden opportunity (in every sense of the term). I suspect that killjoys among the alumni and administration had a lot more to do with the deep-sixing of Ackbar's chances.

Of the choices left, at least Hotty Toddy is somewhat indicative of the Ole Miss experience, with his annoying preppy jock-like appearance and reference to a late night alcoholic beverage typically used as a genteel pretext for inviting someone in for sex.


Monday, October 04, 2010


An interesting time to watch college football, as the old order of the last 10 years is in full collapse.

  1. Another grim milestone for the Trojans, as USC loses to a team in consecutive years for the first time since Pete Carroll came to town. And that team is Washington of all teams. USC is now unranked.

  2. Texas drops two in a row for the first time in something like five years, and after conceding another easy Red River shootout to a very vulnerable Sooner squad, is unranked for the first time in 10 years.

  3. For the first in five years, right after Urban Meyer accepted the head coaching gig, Florida gets destroyed by another team, losing by more than three touchdowns while failing to score a single TD of their own. You knew this Florida squad was but a shadow of the old when they tried the famous Tim Tebow jump pass at the 1 yard line. It was picked off in the end zone.

In other news, Notre Dame delivered its first beatdown of the Brian Kelly era against a panicked and overmatched Boston College squad. Here's to many more against better teams.

Friday, October 01, 2010

UN: Israel "summarily executed" American citizen on flotilla

Our relationship with that country is so toxic. After the report, the UN's Human Rights Commission voted to endorse this report, with only the United States abstaining. Now apparently both the United States and Israel can execute American citizens without trial or arrest.