Open Thread 2/25

- That, unfortunately, is what a lapdog press corps looks like.

– In an effort to continue their slide to irrelevance, The Seattle Times will go to a pay wall light model in mid March. I’ll have a longer piece about it this evening, but people are talking about it already, so I thought I’d link to it in the open thread.

– I don’t know what’s worse, McCain trying to put a woman who lost her son in a shooting in her place, or the crowd cheering.

– One take on this map is that Washington rides the bus a lot. The other take is, I guess, that our buses are full of desperate people.

– Bees sense flower’s electric fields. (h/t)

– I realize that most people don’t care, but I really like this Kim Baxter song.

Comments

  1. 1

    rhp6033 spews:

    Looks like the Seattle Times is going to start charging for internet access to it’s stories. Blethen is apparently still convinced that the interent is evil and must be killed.

    If the Times had something worth paying for, I would pay a small sum for online access. But since almost all of it’s stories are simply wire service copy, I can get that elsewhere.

  2. 3

    Lauramae spews:

    I’ve not cracked open a link to the Seattle Times since they made the decision to use their paper to support a political candidate. At that time everything that anyone wrote for that paper became irrelevant.

  3. 4

    Lauramae spews:

    And also, John McCain is a jerk. What kind of tough guy is that anyway to use the mother of a murder victim for cheap political points with insane nuts?

  4. 6

    Czechsaaz spews:

    They’re not really racists. Why on Earth would anyone think that. It’s not just a Tea Party thing, she’s only the chair of the Billings Republicans.

    I get it, black people are irresistibly drawn to a watermelon. Nah, that’s not racist at all.

  5. 7

    spews:

    Hi everyone! I’d like to invite you to the Fredom Foundation’s Freedom Shootout. It’s not until August by why not get it on your calendar.

    Here’s the great details on this gun supporting event: http://myfreedomfoundation.com.....m-shootout

    You can sign up and pay the small $25 fee but you get 25 free(?) raffle tickets.Eat BBQ (probably the meat kind), shoot guns and smoke cigars. It doesn’t get any more masculine that this folks. Well, unless there’s a pissing contest.

  6. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 Even toilet paper costs money to make, so we have to expect him to charge something for it. In third world countries, where TP is unavailable or unaffordable, people use rocks or leaves to wipe their butts. If we don’t want to pay for The Republican Times content, we have the same option.

  7. 9

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    Did you notice how a quarter of the states cite walmart as the place where they missed connecting with the love of their live. Walmart is not the commons? The meeting place of the community?

  8. 11

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    I thought these two comments summed up my thoughts about the paper charging for digital.

    The Times has every right to charge, I am not entitled to it for free. Having said that, the questions is will I subscribe? I do not think so.
    Presumably, I would buy it for what I cannot get elsewhere.
    I can get most news elsewhere and the Times exclusive hard news is too infrequent to warrant the money. Maybe it is my age, but I find the quality of the columnists sadly lacking. Beyond the predictability and lack of depth, it is the could-be-in-any-city context I do not care for.
    And considering the number of papers that have gone under you would think the Times could have taken some of the cream to replace their weaknesses.

    Offer more content, not less. Give more local news, not less. Depend less on AP, not more.
    We can all get national and international news from a variety of sources. The Times cannot compete with the plethora of sources out there. But they can also not compete with the Times local proximity.
    Be our local paper again and I will subscribe again. I gave up my subscription when the content went to shit.

    It comes down to give us a REASON to read the local paper. Currently, it doesn’t, in any form.

  9. 12

    spews:

    I’ve never taken the Blethen Times and never will as long as the Blethen family has anything to do with it.

  10. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    With sequester only days away, it looks like (a) Obama has grown a spine, and (b) Democrats have the upper hand. Nothing is going right for our Repulsive Party friends, and it’s not gonna get better for them in days ahead.

    First of all, they’re facing a populist backlash against the greed, selfishness, and dishonesty of the wealthy class. This is where you see protest movements like Occupy Wall Street turn into political action. After decades of attacking workers — busting unions, opposing minimum wages, ramming through so-called “right to work [for low wages]” laws, demanding more work for less pay, and exploiting GOP-passed, business-friendly bankruptcy laws to repudiate union contracts and pension obligations — the rich are facing a political backlash. You wonder why it took so long.

    Second, Republicans are divided and fighting among themselves. With no political spoils left to fight over, they’re fighting over them anyway. Democrats, meanwhile, are exceptionally united (for them) behind their leadership. Anyone who knows the least thing about game theory, military strategy, etc., can see this doesn’t augur well for GOPers.

    Third, Republicans are led by the weakest and most inept speaker in decades. Boehner has remarkably poor negotiating skills as demonstrated by the fact he let his party get boxed in by the August 2011 “automatic sequester” deal. The GOP lost the budget battle at that point and what happened in December and what’s going to happen now are just the inevitable anti-climax: The rich and corporations are going to pay higher taxes, lose some of their tax perks, Pentagon spending will be cut, and Social Security and Medicare will not be cut, privatized, voucherized, or dismantled.

    Fourth, in addition to being divided, dysfunctional, and weak, the one thing Republicans have going for them — a putative House majority — is illegitimate and everyone knows it’s illegitimate. The GOP lost the 2012 House elections by over a million votes. True, they hold a majority of the House seats, but it’s a stolen majority that was purloined through abusive redistricting and gerrymandering by Republican bullies in state legislatures. The general attitude of the broad electorate toward House Republicans is they’re a bunch of assholes who can go to hell. This doesn’t improve their bargaining position, especially when they’re peddling an unpopular agenda like bullying workers, looting the ex-middle class, coddling filthy rich financial industry gangsters, and making wage earners subsidize tax breaks for corporate jets and plushy mansions. That agenda would be a tough sell even if they didn’t have pitchfork-carrying mobs bearing down on them.

    It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to figure out how this will play out. The Kleptocratic Party will have to return some ill-gotten loot to America’s victimized working classes. If they know what’s good for them, instead of squawking and playing obstructionist political games, they’ll settle for not getting hanged.

  11. 14

    Ten Years After spews:

    We could save a lot of money by quietly ending the overseas empire and concentrating on the US rather than trying to police the rest of the world.

  12. 15

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    I remember not too long ago that Kap’n Kornflake – Serial RENEGER, was talking about how terrible it was that Robert Bork was pilloried by Sen Kennedy at Bork’s SCOTUS nomination hearings.

    Now a lifetime since it happens Bork posthumously tells us Bork: Nixon Offered Me SCOTUS Seat for Firing Archibald Cox


    WASHINGTON (AP) — Robert Bork says President Richard Nixon promised him the next Supreme Court vacancy after Bork complied with Nixon’s order to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973.

    Bork’s recollection of his role in the Saturday Night Massacre that culminated in Cox’s firing is at the center of his slim memoir, “Saving Justice,” that is being published posthumously by Encounter Books. Bork died in December at age 85.

    Of course, there was never any need to report this alleged obstruction of justice while he served in the Justice Department or at the the times of his appointment and nomination to the Federal bench.

    Asshole. Slouching towards Gomorrah indeed.

  13. 17

    Ten Years After spews:

    From 15,

    Yes, Nixon was a horrible president. The problem with conservatives is they want to direct every aspect of a person’s private life. Nixon was totally in favor of such a desire for government control over private activities.

  14. 20

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Krugman makes the point, yet again

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02.....&_r=0

    Outside observers are terrified about Italy’s election, and rightly so: even if the nightmare of a Berlusconi return to power fails to materialize, a strong showing by Mr. Berlusconi, Mr. Grillo, or both would destabilize not just Italy but Europe as a whole. But remember, Italy isn’t unique: disreputable politicians are on the rise all across Southern Europe. And the reason this is happening is that respectable Europeans won’t admit that the policies they have imposed on debtors are a disastrous failure. If that doesn’t change, the Italian election will be just a foretaste of the dangerous radicalization to come.

  15. 21

    Ten Years After spews:

    From 20,

    Sooner or later, Southern Europe is going to run out of money and won’t be able to borrow. That’s when the poo-poo will really hit the fan. The Germans aren’t too keen on lending money to economies like Greece, either, and the Germans are about the only economy that seems to be doing relatively OK.

    Time will tell!

  16. 22

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @21 Ten Years After,

    Not sure what your point is.
    Of course, it is simply impossible in this point in history to run out of money. Not only is money no longer required to be some chunk of metal, you no longer need paper and ink.

    The debtor nations in the EU, as Krugman describes, are the victims of the failed policies of crazy irrational policy makers. Despite being proven as wrong in their belief in the Confidence Fairy as Linus was with the Great Pumpkin, the persist and double down at the expense of people and political systems.

  17. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    A new survey shows 1-percenters rate the deficit as the nation’s top problem versus 7% of the general population. The wealthy also want to cut entitlement spending so — you guessed it — they don’t have to pay higher taxes.

    “Page said that since the wealthy exert more influence on government, their fixation on deficits is shaping public policy toward cost cutting rather than government spending. ‘We suggest that these distinctive policy preferences may help account for why certain public policies in the United States appear to deviate from what the majority of U.S. citizens want the government to do,’ the authors state in the report. ‘If this is so, it raises serious issues for democratic theory.'”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100492475

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Well yeah, when 1% of the population dictate public policy for their own selfish financial benefit at the expense of the other 99%, that does raise serious issues about whether we live in a democracy or a plutocracy.

  18. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22 Given that money now exists only on computer drives, the people who make electricity now have us by the balls.

  19. 25

    Puddybud spews:

    Libtards in action. Calling a little black girl a CUNT!

    McCain tape doctored and purposely edited wrongly. Carl gets his horseshit from left-wrong web sites. Carl still clueless as ever!

  20. 26

    spews:

    Calling a little black girl a CUNT!

    Heh. That and worse was hurled by the right against female Dem politicians by low-life right wingers..

    Limbaugh had to apologize for calling Chelsea Clinton a dog.

    Your kind ate that shit up. Ugly right wingers in action.

  21. 27

    Ten Years After spews:

    From 24,

    Maybe we should look at returning to money being backed by precious metals???

  22. 28

    Puddybud spews:

    Pluto’s useless leftist moron compares the name calling of a 9 year old black girl to words against Hillary Clinton…

    P R I C E L E S S and stupid as ever.

  23. 29

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Uncle Puddles! Your lazy right wing proven wrong again and again and again and again and again and again trolling ass is back to amuse us with more stupid comments.

    Welcome back!

  24. 30

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @27 Ten Years After,

    Why??
    How many boat loads of precious metals would Boeing need to process to deliver 400+ 737s in a year?

    The answer to EU stupid monetary policy is not to revert to the more stupid monetary policies of the 19th century, but to progress forward.
    Keynesian policy works my friend. Don’t waste your time in the Austerity pumpkin patch waiting for the Confidence Fairy.

  25. 31

    Ten Years After spews:

    From 30,

    But what’s to stop government from just printing money (either actually or digitally) and causing bad inflation?

    Also, I think Keynesian economics is like just-in-time inventory control: it works until it doesn’t work. I think we’ve reached that point where the Keynesian stuff isn’t working.

  26. 32

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 30

    Keynesian policy works my friend. Don’t waste your time in the Austerity pumpkin patch waiting for the Confidence Fairy.

    It’d be good if people stopped using the word “Keynesian” to refer to fiscal policy. It makes sense to talk about “Keynesian views” regarding the efficacy of fiscal policy, and, yes, the word “views” should be plural. But, a lot of talk regarding “Keynesian” policies generally comes out of places like the Cato Institute, and it’s not like folks at places like the Cato Institute have any interest in starting from an accurate representation of Keynesian views.

    And, for the record, just about every advocate of the New Keynesian school of thought would agree that, under normal circumstances, when the government borrows money to buy stuff, that spending crowds out private investment. Under normal circumstances, monetary policy is effective, and should be the primary policy tool.

    The key phrase is “under normal circumstances”. A period of high unemployment and near zero interest rates falls outside the realm of “normal circumstances”. High unemployment implies that we are producing output at below full capacity, and near-zero interest rates renders most monetary policy tools ineffective (can’t make interest rates go below zero). That leaves fiscal policy as the only effective game in town.

  27. 33

    Czechsaaz spews:

    @25

    Piddles is confusing ‘The Onion’ for a liberal website. Piddles thinks The Onion is to be taken at face value. Too Damn Funny.

    (BTW, the joke was over the line, but there’s a local comedian who used to do a really funny bit about how much he likes Malia but, “That Sasha is such a little bitch.” The joke, of course, is the idea that an eight-year-old is a bitch.)

    Maybe Piddles should get to know Miller v. California (AKA the Larry Flynt case.) The same logic applies. That a statement about a public figure is so outrageous, Falwell schtupping his own mother, that only a complete moron would think it was literal. Wait, Piddles is a complete moron.

    Carry on.

  28. 34

    Chris Stefan spews:

    @31
    The problem is we haven’t really tried Keynesian economics yet. Especially in Europe where the Austerian fad has plunged most countries into a deep double-dip recession.

    Also what is so bad about inflation? Sure the %1 hate it but it is anything from a boon to a wash for the 99% depending on how much debt they have.

    As a final note check out “Modern Monetary Theory” for why printing money in the middle of a recession isn’t a bad thing.

  29. 35

    Don Joe spews:

    @31

    But what’s to stop government from just printing money (either actually or digitally) and causing bad inflation?

    The premise of your question is flawed. If you think that it’s not flawed, then do kindly explain what we see in this graph.

    From about the middle of the recession until now, the M1 money supply has gone from about $1.4 trillion to around $2.5 trillion. That’s a massive increase in the money supply. Why didn’t it cause an equally massive increase in inflation? And why, given this massive increase in the money supply, is the US Federal Government still able to borrow money at near zero, if not negative, real interest rates?

    While you’re contemplating these questions, you might also want to ponder precisely what’s “bad” about inflation? What actual harm does it cause, and to whom? Consider, also, the flip side of that question: what’s bad about deflation? What actual harm does it cause, and to whom?

    Lastly, what role do people’s expectations play in all of this? If, say, an expected annual inflation rate of 3% is already factored into most people’s economic decisions, what happens if inflation ends up being less than 3%? How is that any different from deflation, when the expected rate of inflation in 0%?

    I think we’ve reached that point where the Keynesian stuff isn’t working.

    What has the actual fiscal policy of the Federal Government been since the beginning of 2011? I can post another graph if you’d like. Factor in the effects of state governments balancing their budgets, and I think one can make the case that we really haven’t had any kind of fiscal policy for the past two years.

  30. 36

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 34

    As a final note check out “Modern Monetary Theory” for why printing money in the middle of a recession isn’t a bad thing.

    Scott Sumner (The Money Illusion), David Glasner (Uneasy Money) and Nick Rowe (Worthwhile Canadian Initiative) are three blogs that I read regularly. All of them have made several good points, though I think I favor David Glasner’s stuff over the other two.

    The problem with the MMT idea is that the primary policy tool at the zero interest bound requires the FED to promise to act irresponsibly with respect to inflation until such time as inflation actually looks like it’s going to get out of hand. It’s a rational expectations conundrum.

    And, the thing is, the vast majority of economic models tell us that fiscal policy is an effective policy tool when unemployment is high, and it’s even more effective when the Fed merely implements an accommodative monetary policy rather than trying to drive growth entirely through monetary policy.

    When you put all of that together with the fact that the Federal government can, at present, borrow money at ridiculously low interest rates, fiscal policy becomes a short-term no-brainer. That still leaves a long-term fiscal problem to be solved, but the deficit is not our most immediately pressing economic problem.

  31. 37

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 33

    Piddles is confusing ‘The Onion’ for a liberal website. Piddles thinks The Onion is to be taken at face value.

    Right-wingers lack the capacity to even understand satire, let alone have the capacity to write it. Now, in the right-wing taxonomy of the universe, where “apolitical” doesn’t exist as a viable category, anything that’s not “conservative” must be “liberal”. So, if right-wingers don’t understand it, indeed can’t even write it, then it must come from “liberals”.

    So, no, that Piddles thinks that The Onion is liberal isn’t at all surprising. The real surprising thing is that, following the outcome of the last national election, Piddles has actually found a sufficient number of pieces from his exploded head to drag his sorry ass back here. The odds that he’s found all of the pieces are pretty slim, so we can expect to see a significant drop in what had already been a ridiculously low average level of intelligence in his comments.

  32. 38

    Ten Years After spews:

    Inflation is the silent thief that destroys wealth. It benefits government the most and hurts the poor the most.

    We have inflation now – just look at what’s happening with food and energy prices. The government likes took ignore those areas because it makes government look bad. Well, it’s here folks, and it’s going to get a lot worse, because the problem with Keynesian economics is that the government never wants to stop the borrowing and spending. They don’t want the party to stop because spending money means getting re-elected, and that’s the most important thins to any politician.

    We can’t borrow ourselves into economic bliss.

  33. 39

    Puddybud spews:

    Puddy noticed Don Schmoe jumped in with this worthless sentence

    Right-wingers lack the capacity to even understand satire, let alone have the capacity to write it.

    It was libtards who love The Onion satire who jumped in and said it was over the line. Kablammo to checkmate. Suck on stupid as ever.

    The libtard outcry forced The Onion’s idiot editor to apologize “UNDER PRESSURE” to the 9 year old Oscar nominee. Puddy noticed the moronic responders above didn’t read the linked story otherwise their comments would have been different… But wait… maybe not… the libtard mind always gets in the way of the facts.

    Exploded head schmoe? Tell Puddy more. Puddy enjoying the the world’s foods these last few months; some with all my family as travel we see the various cities. Puddy promised his wife less time on this blog, since she recognized the futility of arguing with factless people. Y’all proved it above. Witness Carl’s feeble attempt at attacking John McCain with left wrong puke material. A person not high on Puddy’s list.

    See ya, glad not to be ya!

  34. 40

    Ekim spews:

    38. Ten Years After spews:

    Inflation is the silent thief that destroys wealth. It benefits government the most and hurts the poor the most.

    See Ed’s Vulture Chart.


    http://ed.msnbc.com/_news/2012.....chart?lite

    Average employee productivity has gone up but it has been the Vultures at the top that have been sucking off the wealth.

  35. 41

    Ten Years After spews:

    Did productivity go up due to people being more dedicated to working hard or was it the entrepreneurs who invented better methods and techniques? God forbid these inventors should be credited with the fruits of their work!

  36. 42

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 30: Useing a Boeing 787 for comparison: the list price is about $300,000,000 U.S. dollars. At $27.80 per ounce, that translates into 674,460 lbs of gold.

    Now the 787-8 has a maximum takeoff weight of 502,500 lbs, and it’s minimum empty weight (without passengers, crew, luggage, or cargo) is just about 250,000 lbs. That leaves approx. 252,500 lbs available for crew, passengers, luggage, and cargo.

    So it would take at least three trips on board a 787-8, without passengers, to transfer the gold necessary to purchase an additional 787-8 aircraft.

  37. 43

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 38

    Inflation is the silent thief that destroys wealth. It benefits government the most and hurts the poor the most.

    Tell me, where do you get this pablum that you regurgitate without ever giving it any thought? Inflation destroys wealth, but hurts the poor, people who by definition have little or no wealth, the most. Please, try to be just a tad more coherent.

    We have inflation now – just look at what’s happening with food and energy prices.

    In other words, you’re not even going to try to explain the data shown in the graph I linked.

    Sorry, sport, but the data I linked proves that you’re wrong. You can’t make your conclusion correct by simply ignoring the actual data. But, thank you for playing.

  38. 44

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 39

    It was libtards who love The Onion satire who jumped in and said it was over the line.

    This barely requires much of a comment, except to point out that I did predict a remarkable drop-off in the level of intelligence in Piddle’s comments.

    But, this is Piddle’s logic: liberals are the ones who called out The Onion for the tastelessness of the joke, but, well, because The Onion is “liberal” (see point above re right-wing political taxonomy) all of this means that liberals are bad people.

  39. 45

    czechsaaz spews:

    @39 & 44

    its deeper than that. In order for Piddles internal logic to work (I didn’t fall for the Onion as a reliable source, I’m just pointing out that the liberals are outraged) the original post would have been pointing out the reaction. not to mention that the staffer who wrote it is still unknown but I’ll concede that since its a comedy site, Assuming he’s not a Republican is pretty safe. A stereotype but not a bad one.

    Libtards in action. Calling a little black girl a CUNT!

    So Piddle me this? Either Piddles was taken in assuming the onion is a credible political news and commentary source or he’s outraged that the liberals are outraged and thinks that it’s totally true that she’s a cunt and liberals should wuit complaining.

    “stammer, stammer, I never said said said that. Read the link. Get ylb to look it up. Kablammo.”