January 30, 2009

And Another Obama Appointee Who Didn't Pay His "Fair Share"
— DrewM

Whoops. notropis points out Ace already did this story. So I've put the original post below the fold and offer you this instead.


Posted by: DrewM at 05:19 PM | Comments (67)
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Britain Awakens?
— LauraW

The laws have gone so topsy-turvy in Merry Olde that the very act of defending yourself from a mugging, rapist, or other attack, using whatever you happen to be holding, could land your ass in jail if it was determined you were originally carrying the item to be used as a weapon. Even defensively.

In other words, if you happen to be carrying an umbrella you better hope it's raining when you get mugged. Or else beating off your attackers with it is a crime.
The criminals who attacked you will get out of the stir long before you do.

The dramatic spike in violent crimes in Britain since enaction of their gun ban has gotten very little press coverage here in the US. Very strange, for such a gun loving nation as ours. You'd almost think the major press was at odds with public sentiment.

It takes a lot of built up trouble before conservatives stage protests. We just don't do it unless we're pushed to the wall.
We're not so good with papier-mache and public tantrums.

Video below.
Thanks to Mrs. Michael for the tip. more...

Posted by: LauraW at 03:59 PM | Comments (138)
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Battlestar Galactica: The Oath Discussion Thread
— Gabriel Malor

No fancy-schmancy picture or recap or anything this week. I've got a cold.

Think tonight's episode will have a plot? Maybe Roslin can do the fleet a favor and resign the presidency before she lays down and dies?

Zarek for Prezdint!

Spoiler Policy: Anything from the miniseries and the show up to and including tonight’s episode is fair game; no need to warn or in some way obscure text for anything that comes from that material. However, anything you may have heard about future episodes should be kept to yourself. Thanks.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 03:29 PM | Comments (65)
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Hope and Change: Obama Demands Pentagon Cut Ten Percent from Budget
— Ace

And yet there's all this money for condoms and bee insurance, apparently.

Stimulus? Oh yes, very much stimulus.

Looking for a link now; just saw it on FoxNews.

This is the best I can offer at the moment.

Did I Say 10%? Make that 11%.

Posted by: Ace at 02:40 PM | Comments (267)
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Another Obama Nominee Has a Tax Problem: Tom Daschle
— Ace

So, Woodward was right when he hinted about further problems along these lines for Obama.

Daschle was "given" a car and driver to use by a wealthy Democratic friend. (I need to get me one of those.)

He, um, assumed he did not have to pay taxes on it.

Why on earth would he assume such a thing? It's ridiculous.

Posted by: Ace at 02:34 PM | Comments (36)
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Sorry for Another Outage...
— Ace

I have emailed Pixy. I don't know if it's the same problem or a new one.

I really need to get that other site up and running.

Hopefully comments will be back on soon.

Posted by: Ace at 02:25 PM | Comments (23)
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Polling Data and Other Lies
— Russ from Winterset

Once again, blatantly ripped off from Hot Air. Here's the source material from The Politico.

Essentially, a poll taken by Democracy Corps shows that Rush Limbaugh has unfavorable ratings among the infamous "likely voters" of 51% (favorable is 23%), second only to the 59% unfavorable rating held by President George W. Bush (who has a favorable rating of 31%). Others in the same survey include Newt Gingrich (25% favorable: 48% unfavorable), and Sarah Palin ( 41% favorable: 47% unfavorable).

To paraphrase the guys from "The 40-Year Old Virgin": You know how I know this polling data is bullshit?

Senator John McCain.
48% favorable.
37% unfavorable.

Let's make it clear: I have no idea who "Democracy Corps" is and what their agenda consists of; but any poll that shows John "Maverick McClusterfuck" McCain with a favorable rating higher than Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Fox News AND the generic label of "Conservative" just HAS to be completely FUBAR. I might believe that McCain beats "generic Republican" by 11 points, but the others? You're shitting me here.

This goes way beyond the "I don't believe the numbers" shadow of a doubt. This is well into "Goddamnit, I'm pissed that you think I'm that fucking stupid" territory. There's no way in hell that this polling data wasn't HEAVILY weighted towards Democrats. I'm thinking something like a 60/20/20 split of Dem/Rep/Ind "likely voters". Plus, the data's referenced as being from "last fall". That's a big span of time. Are we talking September? October? November?

And before anyone starts in on Allahpundit for "Eeyorism", please remember that these aren't his polling numbers. Plus, he's looking at this with a New York State of Mind, which makes the distaste for social cons shown in this poll believable. I do think that he's chuckling at being able to throw out more red meat to the blogosphere, but he ain't the guy responsible for this crap. He's just the messenger, so please don't turn the comments into a "two-minute hate" on the man.

One thing I'd like to know: Where the fuck was this poll taken? David Frum's office? Christopher Buckley's vacation cottage? Peggy Noonan's favorite male strip club?

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at 12:51 PM | Comments (59)
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A Payroll Tax Holiday
— Ace

I pitched this idea earlier, and then asked Flip to run the actual numbers.

For the cost of Obama's $1.2 trillion "stimulus," we could give employers a 2 1/2 year payroll tax holiday. Encouraging them to hire new workers by reducing their actual costs.

Over 2 1/2 years, that's 2.8 million new jobs, based on standard economic assumptions. Nevermind the additional jobs "preserved" (in Obama's weak promise) due to the fact it would now be cheaper to keep staff in place.

If this is all about jobs, jobs, jobs, and we want a sharp sudden impact for our dollars, why not consider this route?

Alternately... To mollify the public (Hey, why are my employers getting a tax cut and I'm not?!!), one could give employers and employees both a half reduction for 2 1/2 years. Or both a full, complete holiday for 1.25 years.

Posted by: Ace at 12:45 PM | Comments (48)
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GAO: We'll Never Know if TARP Is Working, Or Has Worked
— Ace

From the sidebar, posted by an Open Blogger, tipped by Krakatoa:

We may never know whether the government's $700 billion bailout of the financial industry worked, according to a new report from congressional auditors. That's because it will be impossible to sort out which of the government's spending and other tinkering has made a difference, according to the report released Friday by the Government Accountability Office.

The report covers Treasury's administration of the bailout, called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, through Jan. 23. Nearly $294 billion had been released by that date — almost $200 billion of it through a program to inject capital directly into financial institutions.

The roughly $200 billion in capital injections doesn't include any of the separate money authorized to guarantee losses for Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., or about $20 billion to stabilize automakers Chrysler and General Motors Corp.

This being AP, they completely forgot about the huge amount of additional money Bernacke poured into the system. They also fail to consider that no government intervention at all will help; that the market might just need to sef-correct. I discount that possibility myself, I should admit; but it just never even occurs to the AP as a possibility at al.

"Even with more time and better data, it will remain difficult to separate the impact of TARP activities from the effect of other economic forces," the report said.

Posted by: Ace at 12:28 PM | Comments (15)
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Ugh: No More Pajamas Media Ads
— Ace

Not sure if the business model isn't working, or if the downturn has spooked advertisers, or if they really just want to focus on their own side of things.

Ads will stay up until April 1st. And then it's back to BlogAds, I guess.

Damn. I was finally starting to make an amount of money I wasn't utterly embarrassed by, too.

Any entrepreneurs out there who want to try something similar?

In any event, I was happy to be a part of this while it lasted. They did pay good rates, especially lately. And the model for payment was pretty transparent and intuitive -- paid per impression. One could figure out one's quarterly payment just by eyeballing one's Sitemeter. BlogAds paid okay, but there are always those patches where no one really wants to buy ads, making income kind of unpredictable.

Posted by: Ace at 11:38 AM | Comments (206)
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Er, Please Stand By. The Real Ace of Spades HQ Is Experiencing Technical Difficulties
— DrewM

I'm sure Pixy is passed out drunk working on the problem and we'll return shortly.

In the meantime, please feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

I'm pretty sure the site outage has nothing to do with the economy's 3.8% contraction in 4th quarter contraction of 2008.

Posted by: DrewM at 11:23 AM | Comments (52)
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GDP Contracts 3.8% Fourth Quarter; Largest Drop Since Deep Receession of 1982
— Ace

There are two bright spots. 1982's contraction wasn't merely sharper, it was greatly sharper. And analysts had predicted a 5.4% contraction.

The economy shrank at its fastest pace in nearly 27 years in the fourth quarter, government data showed, sinking deeper into recession as consumers and business cut spending.

The Commerce Department on Friday said gross domestic product, which measures total goods and services output within U.S. borders, plummeted at a 3.8 percent annual rate, the lowest pace since the first quarter of 1982, when output contracted 6.4 percent. GDP fell 0.5 percent in the third quarter. These were the first consecutive declines in GDP since the fourth quarter of 1990 and the first three months of 1991.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast GDP contracting 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter. The U.S. economy slipped into recession in December 2007, driven by the collapse of the housing market and resulting global credit crisis.

There are other optimistic signs. As already noted, the credit crisis is either passed or at least substantially abated:

But back to the market problem overall: Investors continue to ignore one of the very brightest spots in the firmament: Namely, the credit freeze is thawing, according to all manner of key interest rates and spreads. In fact, LIBOR is around 1 percent now, back to where it was in the early summer of 2007 before the crunch started. This means that much of the uncertainty about lending, borrowing, investing, and hiring is receding from the market. This is a very positive sign. While retail sales and jobs are lagging indicators, the credit-market improvement is a leading indicator — pointing to recovery in the economy sometime this spring or summer.

The Fed, too, thinks a recovery is possible later this year:

The Fed was very gloomy in its Open Market Committee statement today. It suggested a gradual recovery could begin later this year, although there are plenty of downside risks. The Fed will keep its target rate near zero, and will keep expanding its balance sheet by purchasing plenty of government-sponsored debt and mortgage-backed securities. Its so-called TALF plan to finance consumer-related bonds will begin soon. It might even buy Treasuries, even though it can’t quite make its mind up on that. Taken together, these actions will keep injecting more cash into the financial system.


There’s a lot of talk that a government bad bank could be modeled after something like the old Resolution Trust Corp. But this would require regulatory accounting forbearance of the punitive mark-to-market approach. It could be done if the SEC would work in connection with a new bad bank. And it might help get private investors engaged in buying toxic assets from the bad bank if the capital-gains tax was suspended for a couple of years.

Meanwhile, important forward-looking economic indicators suggest we have seen the bottom — believe it or not.

First and foremost, stocks bottomed in late November and are about 15 percent higher today. Raw commodity indexes have bottomed. 10-year Treasury rates have bottomed and yields today are about 50 basis points higher. Oil prices have bottomed. And the dollar bottomed many months ago. Plus, the Fed’s monetary-base expansion has produced about a $550 billion increase in the M2 money supply, which could start raising the economy as early as this spring.

If the turnover rate of money — that is, velocity — moves back to its 10-year average, then we could all be surprised by a substantial economic rebound starting this spring or summer.

That's Larry Kudlow, who is an indefatigable optimist, but that doesn't mean he's wrong. More often than not he's right. And the Fed itself agrees that a late-2009 recovery is quite possible.

So why are we possibly slitting our economic necks with this "stimulus"? Do the Gods of Money Multipliers demand a blood sacrifice?

Posted by: Ace at 11:11 AM | Comments (23)
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The "Stimulus," Illustrated
— Ace

How big is the "stimulus"? Well, how about bigger than any government program or war in history?

Posted by: Ace at 10:50 AM | Comments (35)
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Romney's Speech at the GOP House Retreat
— Ace

Good stuff. Keeping his hat in the ring.

It's all good, but here are some highlights, focusing on the stimulus and economy (though he does touch on Guantanamo, the pro-life cause, health care, etc., as well): more...

Posted by: Ace at 10:47 AM | Comments (17)
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McCain: I Don't See Any Republican Senate Votes for the "Stimulus"
— Ace

But he is willing to work to make the bill better, which is hardly a bad thing in and of itself, but the worry is that if the Shit Sandwich becomes marginally better, McCain and the other members of he bipartisan caucus will come down with a bad case of Pride of Authorship and vote for it.

McCain's saying the right thing, and he's even doing the right thing. So why do I have the shivering douchechills about him? Ah yes: the past ten years of his history.

Posted by: Ace at 10:36 AM | Comments (43)
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Race for the RNC Chair
— Slublog

Full coverage at Hot Air and Campaign Spot.

On the third fourth ballot, the vote count is:

Steele 60:
Dawson: 62
Anuzis: 31
Blackwell: 15

A Dawson victory could prove somewhat troublesome for the GOP.

If you want to watch live coverage of the potential party suicide proceedings, C-SPAN has the goods.

Update - Blackwell just conceded, endorsed Steele. Fifth round of ballots being distributed now.

Fifth Ballot Results
Steele - 79
Dawson - 69
Anuzis - 20

Anzuis Out - Endorses no one.

Ballot Six - It's Steele.

Final Vote:
Steele - 91
Dawson - 77

Posted by: Slublog at 11:13 AM | Comments (278)
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I Think I'm Going To Take Up Potato Farming Instead
— Pixy Misa

Sorry about that, everyone.

The web server dropped dead. No error messages, and restarting it just gave me more of the same. Or rather, no more of the same.

Brought out the big guns - rebooted (which failed, for reasons as yet unexplained), rebooted off a rescue kernel, ran a full filesystem check (all A-OK), even fired up the KVM-over-IP tool (which SUCKS) to watch the boot process.

Nada. Everything was fine, except for that fact that it didn't work.

Read the documentation until I found a way to run the web server in debug mode. Then, at last, it gave me an error message: File size limit exceeded. What file? What size limit? Didn't say.

But I took a guess, and there it was: the error log had reached exactly 2GB, after 483 days of operation, and down it all went. Zapped the error log and we're back on the air.

Potatoes don't have error logs.

P.S. Comments are back online now too.

P.P.S. The server was fricking down and we still seemed to get comment spam. Dust off and nuke them from orbit. Even then you can't be sure, but mushroom clouds of evaporating spammers give me the warm fuzzies.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:29 AM | Comments (79)
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It Wasn't Me
— Dave in Texas

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 09:25 AM | Comments (27)
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January 29, 2009

Overnight Open Thread. Now with more Stimulus Package (genghis)
— Open Blog

Today the Cato Institute ran full page ads in the NYT, WaPo, Cracked, Busty Lesbian Quarterly Journal and other publications refuting Unicorn One’s stimulus package. Linky to Cato and the ad (in PDF form) is here. The ad leads off with a quote from Him on January 9th, 2009, The Year of the Rainbow:

"There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy."

Cato responds:
"Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan’s “lost decade” in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policymakers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth."

They then back this assertion up with the names of 200 signatories crackpots, primarily economists heretics and charlatans.

Here at the AoSHQ Foundation, we have a different plan for a stimulus package. Please to be reading the Foundation’s white paper if you please.

Back when I lived in Oklahoma, we used to call that “Saturday Afternoon.” Now they have to get all fancy with the title.

Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to xgenghisx@gmail.com. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

Posted by: Open Blog at 07:03 PM | Comments (80)
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Bye Bye Blao: Blagoevich Haiku Thread
— Ace

White blossoms on black limbs

above floats a gray sky

fuckin' landscape 'n shit


Old crone stands beside the lonely road

in one palm a golden apple; she's not

just giving this valuable fuckin' thing away


look at all these people I helped

I'm going to keep on fighting

I've got Kajagoogoo hair

Posted by: Ace at 03:14 PM | Comments (253)
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