30 April 2010

This is Your Spider

This is your spider on drugs:

Any questions?

Who Supports the Teabaggers?

These colors don't run!
Why, the Crayola® company, of course.

It's Bank Failure Friday!!!!

And here they are, ordered, and numbered for the year so far.
  1. Eurobank, San Juan, PR
  2. R-G Premier Bank of Puerto Rico, Hato Rey, PR
  3. Westernbank Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, PR
  4. CF Bancorp, Port Huron, MI
  5. Champion Bank, Creve Coeur, MO
  6. BC National Banks, Butler, MO
  7. Frontier Bank, Everett, WA
An interesting note here is that there has been almost a year of of reports foreshadowing the Puerto Rican bank closures, and this is 22 bank failures over 3 Friday evenings, 8 on the 16th, and 7 last week and this week.

This ain't pretty.

Full FDIC list

And here are the credit union closings, and I missed them:
  1. Kern Central Credit Union, Bakersfield, Ca
  2. Tracy Federal Credit Union , Tracy, CA
Kern was closed April 8, and Tracy was closed on April 27. I guess that the NCUA does not wait until Fridays, sorry.

Full NCUA list

So, here is the graph pr0n with trendline (FDIC only):

Economics Update

Slow day, but the first bit of news is a big one, in that the GDP grew at a 3.2% annual rate in the 1st quarter, though this is somewhat tempered by the fact that half of this was an increase in inventory, not increased consumption.

Also, Greece is still figuring in commodities and currencies, with the expectation of that the details of the bailout will be showing up shortly, driving oil up and the dollar down.

Good News, Everyone!

Good news everyone!

I invented a device that makes you read this in your head using my voice!
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that a lower court erred when it said that the Texas money laundering statute only applied to cash, which led it to dismiss the case against Tom Delay:
Co-defendants of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay suffered a significant setback Wednesday in their quest to avoid a trial on charges that the trio conspired to launder corporate money during the 2002 elections.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously ruled that the lower state 3rd Court of Appeals erred when it accepted the co-defendants' arguments that the money laundering law did not apply to them because the funds involved were checks, not cash. The all-Republican court, in effect, said the lower court acted prematurely.
I always thought that the ruling that check cannot be used to money launder was a pretty good indication of just how f%$#ed up justice and the judiciary are in Texas, and it's nice to see the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which is the state supreme court on criminal matter (the Texas Supreme Court is the supreme court on civil matter), to recognize this.

The interesting thing here is that after his performance in Dancing With the Stars, I think that a Texas jury might be much more willing to convict.

Pass the popcorn.

Some Investment Advice

If you are investing in gold, and I don't recommend it as an investment, then you probably that the yellow metal hit $1,180/oz (Troy) today, an all time high for the year.

This is about the time that the professional traders engage in "profit-taking," meaning that they will be selling.

Might be a good time for you too.

I'm Doing a Bit Better Now

It's no longer an effort to get into my shoes, and my toe was well enough to do some lawn mowing.

When said toe started to complain, I stopped mowing, but it seems to be back at about 90%.

Wanker of the Day:

Reliably spouting right wing talking points since 2004
Barack Obama.

For claiming that there were no oil spills from platforms and as a result of Hurricane Katrina:
I don’t agree with the notion that we shouldn’t do anything. It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced. Even during Katrina, the spills didn’t come from the oil rigs, they came from the refineries onshore.
The problem here, as the folks at Media Matters so ably note, this is false. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and distillates were spilled offshore as a consequence of hurricane Katrina.

It's not true, it's never been true, and he's a smart guy, and he knows this.

Rachael Maddow Eviscerates Anti-Immigration Group

I saw this last night, and now the video is out.

I am a hardliner on immigration. I think that the immigration laws should be aggressively enforced, that border controls should be strengthened, and that oft-abused visa programs (H1b, L1) should be fixed.

I also believe that the focus should be on the employers, because if the cost of employing illegals exceeds that of legal hiring, then it will stop. (My proposals are here.)

Unfortunately, most of the political groups out there, aside from labor unions, that want a hard line taken, are populated by racist nativists.

Case in point is Ms. Maddow's masterful take-down of the crypto-racists at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). She runs down its history, and then interviews its president, Dan Stein.

He is left an oily smudge on the floor.

Just watch it, it is 19 minutes and 33 seconds well spent.

Charlie Crist Announces Independent Run for Senate

He's left the Republican Party to run for the Senate as an independent.

The reason that he gives is that the, "political system [is] broken."

I think that he would have gotten a few more votes out of telling the truth, which is that, "The nutjobs in the Florida Republican party are running the asylum now."

In related news, John Cornyn, head of the RSCC, wants his money back.

If Crist has any brains, he will tell him, and anyone else, to go pound sand, that they contributed to a conservative candidate for Senate, and he is still that.

He could play it as Reagan did with his, "I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Breen.," moment.

Obama Finally Makes 3 Fed Nominations

As is expected, Janet Yellen was nominated as vice chairman of the Fed No. 2, along with Sarah Raskin and Peter Diamond.

Yellen is known as an inflation Dove, which is a good thing, though I don't think that she will be the next Fed chair, she is 63, and neither would Mr. Diamond, he is 70.

Assuming that they are confirmed, it will mean that Obama has now appointed a majority of the permanent members of the FOMC.

Well, Here's a Shocker

It looks like the explosion and subsequent oil spill that is threatening Louisiana and other Gulf coast coastal regions may have been caused by a failure to properly seal the pipes with cement, a procedure that was performed by Halliburton:
The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig, which burned and sank last week. The disaster, which killed 11, has left a gusher of oil streaming into the Gulf from a mile under the surface.
Halliburton is the Vampire Squid of the oil services industry.

Jon Stewart:12 - Steve Jobs:0

The interesting thing here is that it's actually pretty clear that Jon Stewart is a big fan huge fanboi of Apple® Computer and its products, and his take-down of Apple's actions in the Gismodo iPhone prototype case is even more brutal because of it:
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one. But now you guys are busting down doors in Palo Alto, while commandant Gates is ridding the world of mosquitoes. What the f**k is going on? It is all mixed up. I don't know which end is up anymore. Black is white. Cats are dogs.
His point is that a large part of the appeal of products from Apple® is that it is, in some manner, sticking it to the man, and that now they are the man.

He also notes that in its corporate paranoia, Apple® ignores the real threats to its products:
I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone! I mean, seriously! How do you drop four calls in a one-mile stretch of the West Side Highway! There're no buildings around! What, does the open space confuse AT&T's signal?!
Brutal, particularly when he invokes Apple®'s iconic 1984 ad.

Vampire Squid Investigations Go Criminal

Not a whole bunch of detail yet, but it appears that the SEC referred the issues in its civil fraud complaint against Goldman Sachs to the US Attorney in Manhattan, and they are now investigating. (See also here)

Obviously, an investigation does not prove guilt, nor does it guarantee a successful prosecution, though I think that the Prosecutors will have a lot to go on, because Goldman Sach's personnel policy has employees regularly filling out self evaluation forms, and very likely these have some admissions of wrongdoing.

I think that a judge would be far more willing to grant a warrant for these records in a criminal investigation than he would for a civil investigation.

Economics Update (a Day Late)

It was jobless Thursday, and the news is generally good, with applications for initial unemployment claims falling again, falling by 11k to a seasonally adjusted 448K, though the 4 week moving average rose slightly, and the continuing claims fell slightly to 4.65 million.

Additionally, the The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's national activity index rose in March, foreclosures fell in the 1st quarter, though things like foreclosure moratoriums and mandatory arbitration may have contributed to this, and Japanese consumer spending and wages rose in March, though prices continue to fall.

Also, 30 year mortgage rates fell slightly this week, which moderates concerns about increasing interest rates.

Additionally, US treasurys rose, and yields fell slightly in the latest 7-year auction, implying that rates remain stable.

Energy and currency are largely being driven by Greece.

People are less concerned about a Greek default, which has reduced demand for the dollar as safe haven, driving the dollar lower, and the lower dollar has drive oil prices higher.

29 April 2010

No More Posts Today

Gout sucks, and so do its treatments
Minor interaction with my meds, nothing life threatening, but I feel like crap, so I've been largely off the computer.

I'll try to catch up tomorrow, and leave you with this thought:

Texas School Books in 1000 Words

H/t Boiling Point Blog

28 April 2010

Economics Update

Well, the Federal Reserves Open Market Committee (FOMC) has spoken, and it has kept its benchmark rate at effectively 0, and repeated its statement that the rates will remain low for an extended period.

Not an unexpected development. After all, the economy still sucks.

In real estate, mortgage applications fell overall, but home purchase applications rose. This is probably the interplay of rising rates versus the expiration of the home purchase tax credit.

In the real world, the American Trucking Aassociation's Trucking Tonnage Index rose in March, indicating that there is something positive going on.

In the world of sovereign debt, the US Treasury 5-year bonds' yeild rose to 2.54%, though compared to the yield on 2-year Greek bonds, which are now over 20% (!), it's pretty cheap money.

Also note that in the continuing euro zone meltdown, Spain’s debt rating was cut S&P.

In energy and currency, oil rose on the news that the FOMC's posture is unchanged, and the dollar rose on continued Euro zone problems.

The Republicans Cave on Finance

The Senate has agreed to start a debate on the financial reform package.

What the Republicans were angling for was a pre-approved package, with back room Ben Nelson(DINO-NE)-type deals cut in secret, so that they would get what they wanted without their finger prints on the deals.

Please sir, can I have some more?
Well, now it looks as if the bill will be in flux on the floor, which means that the sellouts will have to be public, as will voting in opposition to some of the amendments to strengthen the bill.

Harry Reid has hung tough, and the Democrats have been effective in painting Republican obstructionism for what it is.

This needs to be the rule, not the exception.

You Idiot, You Were the One Slowing It Down!

So now Angela Merkel is complaining that the rescue package for Greece is moving too slowly:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday Greece's international bailout must be accelerated for the sake of the entire euro zone, as the far bigger Spanish economy suffered a credit rating downgrade.
Yo! You Moron!!!!! The person who has being doing all that She can to slow walk this rescue is one, "German Chancellor Angela Merkel."

I understand that the German public does not like the idea of bailing out Greece, but you pandered to, and encouraged, that sentiment relentlessly, unlike some of the members of your cabinet with whom you clashed, who have accepted the truth.

I hate this, "Why are you slowing down because I'm laying across the tracks," act.

A Personal Anecdotal Economic Data Point

On Monday, I sent out an update of my resume including my brief stint as a tech writer (also here).

Basically, it needs to be included, because I want to plug the hole in my employment history, so something with "2010" in it is useful, but I don't want to get a bunch calls from recruiters who do not look past the key word search calling me with technical writer positions,* so I listed my title is listed as, "Developer/Writer."

It is true and accurate. "Developer" was my official title, and writer was what I did, but by avoiding the dreaded term "technical writer", I won't trigger a keyword search.

In any case, on to the data point:

I got a very strong response to my resume mailing, perhaps 50% more responses by phone or email that happened with my last resume drop in October 2009.

So, I do have a sense of things picking up.

BTW, if you want to look at my resume, you can see it, as well as an 8 page complete CV that covers everything back to college, here.

*At least not ones from out of town. I'm not willing to travel to be a tech writer, but I'm willing to commute daily to be one.
I use a shell account at Panix.com, who I highly recommend, and I have a whole series of Unix scripts that allow me to send a few hundred emails, or do a mail merge into an email, with attached files, with each recipient getting an individualized "To:" header. (I.e. no BCC:) If you are interested, drop me a line, and I will send them to you.
And there is no need to tell me that it's ugly C shell script. I already know this.

27 April 2010

I'm Henry VIII I Am

Well, not exactly, but it appears that my 2 weeks on Doxycycline has given me gout in my left big toe.

One of the triggers for gout is a sterile digestive tract, which the drug has delivered in spades.

I went to the urgent care clinic, and after a bit of a wait, got a quick diagnosis from the doctor.

I'm on Indocin, which is basically industrial strength Ibuprofen, and Colchicine, which is some weird stuff derived from the Autumn crocus.

The instructions for Colchicine say, "Take 1-2 tablets every 2 hours until pain stops, or nausea-vomiting-diarrhea."

I just the Wiki on Colchicine. Great googly moogly. This is nasty stuff, as in a fairly potent cellular toxin when used to excess..

I'm taking my meds, and another acidophilus to deal with the "sterile digestive tract," and heading to bed, thank you very much.

Economics Update

More good news, with the Conference Board's consumer confidence index rising in April, and home prices falling in February.

I bet you are wondering how home prices falling in February is a good thing. Well, it's simple, it fell month to month, but rose on a year over year basis, for the first time since December, 2006.

It may mean that things are bottoming out.

Certainly, it's better than the alternative.

Still, the financial crisis looks to remain with us for some time, with Greece and Portugal's sovereign debt downgraded by Standard & Poors, with some of Greece's debt now rated as junk bonds.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to a flight to safety and concerns about the recovery, which has driven the dollar higher and oil lower.

The Meth Lab of Democracy

You know, maybe legislators should engage in a mental exorcise known as a Jon Stewart test
Arizona, of course, Stewart makes the comment about 1 minute in.

As Wyatt Cenac notes, the authorities are just looking for suspicious behavior, like, "Gardening or burping white people's babies."

I so want one of his writers as a speech writer if I ever run for office.

Good Politics, Good Policy

Click for full size

Even the right-wing Belo Corporation journalism cancer known as the Dallas Morning News

And the Mooney Times
Media Matters has a large selection of newspaper front pages, and it looks like Mitch McConnell's ploy to kill financial reform is not playing in Peoria.

The lede is all about the filibuster, and how the 'Phants are doing their best to kill and slow-walk the process, even in reliably right wing newspapers.

Here's hoping that the Dems notice, and double down on making the Republicans do this again, and again, and again, and again.

Keep up the good work.

Do not compromise on financial reform, you already have, make them crawl to you, and scatter some broken glass in their path.

A Neat Piece of History

An article from Time magazine from June 5, 1933 about the creation of deposit insurance:
Through the great banking houses of Manhattan last week ran wild-eyed alarm. Big bankers stared at one another in anger and astonishment. A bill just passed by both houses of Congress would rivet upon their institutions what they considered a monstrous system of guaranteeing bank deposits. Such a system, they felt, would not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U. S. banking to its lowest level. They saw their deposits which they had spent a lifetime to build up and protect with their good names confiscated by the Government to pay for the mistakes and dishonesty of every smalltown bankster.
Don't think that our masters of the universe believe anything different than that these masters of the universe believed.

They always believe that they are good, and noble, and brilliant, and that it's always someone else's fault.

Failing by Design

So, after releasing an ambitious plan to reign in the exotic insurance-like financial instruments known as swaps, Blanche Lincoln is saying that she thinks that the proposal will not survive the Senate:
Senator Blanche Lincoln said she isn’t sure her plan to make banks wall off their swaps-trading desks has enough support to become part of financial-regulatory overhaul, while calling the provision effective change.


“I don’t know if I have the votes” for the provision, Lincoln said today. When the measure comes to the floor for debate, senators could vote to remove her plan, Lincoln said.
Let's be clear, Senators don't say things like this about proposals of theirs that they want to pass, they say it about proposals of theirs that they want someone else to kill.

Lincoln is trying to present herself as the liberals' great white hope in the primary, but it's just a pose, which is why the US Chamber of Commerce is doing a TV ad blitz for her.

Do not be deceived: She is owned by Walmart, the big banks, the health insurers, and the rest of those pig felching rat bastards.

Stephen Colbert Answers the Question

The W0rd is: Straight to Video
You see, the teabaggers are accusing of Lindsey Graham of making nice with the Democrats because he is being blackmailed because he's gay.

Colbert's solution, Lindsey Graham needs to release a heterosexual sex tape.

It's a reasonable suggestion, but I'm not sure that making such a tape is even remotely possible.

26 April 2010

What Digby Said

When one looks at the effects of campaign finance reform, one state has moved further and faster than all the others in embracing public financing of candidates for the state house.

That state is Arizona, which just implemented their Stalinesque "Show Us Your Papers," Hispanic bashing immigration law.

When the Bigots Lose Tom Tancredo………

You know that they have gone too far:
Former Congressman Tom Tancredo -- the same guy who said we should send the president back to Kenya and said a Supreme Court nominee is part of the "Latino KKK" -- said this weekend that the new Arizona immigration law goes a little too far.

"If I had anything to say about it, we'd be doing it in Colorado," Tancredo told Denver news station KDVR. But, he said, "I do not want people here, there in Arizona, pulled over because you look like should be pulled over."
We live in very strange times.

Buck Fen …… (Nelson, that is)

So, the Senate attempted to begin debate on the financial reform package, and the vote failed by 57-41, with Ben Nelson (DINO-NE) voting with the 'Phants.

Reid voted "no" as well, but included a motion to reconsider, which is a parliamentary trick to get a do-over.

Still, the most effective thing that the Dems could do right now is to take action against Ben Nelson.

If they start taking real actions against recalcitrant members of their own caucus, it makes it that much easier for them to deal with the Republicans, because they won't get knifed by the Liebercrats.

OK, This IS a Sign of the Apocalypse

The yield on 2 year Greek government bonds jumped 300 basis points (3%) to 13.522% over the past day.

To place this in perspective:
Greece’s two-year borrowing costs are now higher than those of Argentina, at 8.8 per cent, and Venezuela, at 11 per cent, two countries that have been shunned by many international investors because of the mismanagement of their economies.
This is not a collapse of Europe. What this appears to be is a classic bank run.

This doesn't make it a potentially life threatening disaster for the George Bailey's of this world.*

*I'm using It's a Wonderful Life for illustrative purposes only. I never liked the film, and pretty much no one until it fell out of copyright, and TV stations around the US started using it as cheap filler.

Oh Dear Lord, This is Real!!!!

So says Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, as well as a number of news sources.

We are so due for some sort of divine smiting right now.

I Hate Doxycycline

Even after getting corrected instructions from the Pharmacists, this medication sucks.

I'm not sure why, but I've felt generally achy lately, been sleeping awfully, I've felt fuzzy and unfocused, I've been throwing up a lot,* and the first joint of my left big toe is painful, hot, and swollen, so I'm hobbling around.

After some Googling, I determined that these are not that uncommon side effects, and I thank my stars that I am not taking this sh%$ for some chronic condition like acne.

Thankfully, I have only one pill left to take tonight, and then I am done.

Thank God.

*Yes, that incident in the Barns & Noble was so much fun, luckily I basically made it to the bathroom before losing my strawberry smoothie.
None escaped my mouth.

25 April 2010

Unbelievably F%$#ing Stupid

Let's look at the targets and paths, shall we?


North Korea

Well, we now have SecDef Robert Gates saying that the U.S. has conventionally ballistic missiles in deployment:
Responding to a question from NBC’s David Gregory on the ability to deter nuclear armed rogue states, Gates said: “We have, in addition to the nuclear deterrent today, a couple of things we didn’t have in the Soviet days… And we have prompt global strike affording us some conventional alternatives on long-range missiles that we didn’t have before."
This is f%$#ing insane.

Incoming ballistic missiles, whether with nuclear, conventional explosive, or kinetic warheads, all look the same from launch until the moment of impact, and so are very likely to trigger a nuclear counterstrike.

I'm with Noah Shachtman on this one:
The Obama administration is poised to take up one of the more dangerous and hare-brained schemes of the Rumsfeld-era Pentagon. The New York Times is reporting that the Defense Department is once again looking to equip intercontinental ballistic missiles with conventional warheads. The missiles could then, in theory, destroy fleeing targets a half a world away — a no-notice “bolt from the blue,” striking in a matter of hours. There’s just one teeny-tiny problem: the launches could very well start World War III.


The Pentagon mumbled all kinds of assurances that Beijing or Moscow would never, ever, never misinterpret one kind of ICBM for the other. But the core of their argument essentially came down to this: Trust us, Vlad Putin! That ballistic missile we just launched in your direction isn’t nuclear. We swear!

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld couldn’t even muster that coherent of a defense. [Though the juxtaposition of, "Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld" and, "Coherent," is generally a losing battle anyway.]

“Everyone in the world would know that [the missile] was conventional,” he said in a press conference, “after it hit within 30 minutes.”
(emphasis mine)

So, you will know after a missile hits the target whether or not it is a decapitating nuclear strike aimed at you.

Somehow, this is not reassuring, particularly since if we have a tool like this, we would likely use it on an at least annual basis.

Just Read This

Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black

H/t Americablog.

24 April 2010

Someone Sent Harry Reid a Clue

Unlike with healthcare, where he sat by idly while he allowed Ben Nelson (DINO-NE) to confab with 3 Republicans in the hopes of making the bill bipartisan, this time Harry Reid has said that, "The games of stalling are over.

Basically, he is saying that if Republicans want a deal, they had better talk now, and if not, they will filibuster financial reform, and the ads will go up, the ugly ones in black and white with the sinister music and the gravely voided announcer, in the states of the 'Phants who are up for reelection in 2010.

I only wish that he had slapped down Nelson about this on healthcare. It would have made for a much better bill.

What Paul Krugman Said

His conclusion is all too true:
But the fact is that we’ve been devoting far too large a share of our wealth, far too much of the nation’s talent, to the business of devising and peddling complex financial schemes — schemes that have a tendency to blow up the economy. Ending this state of affairs will hurt the financial industry. So?
Until people in power realize that the basic problem with our financial system is that it is too big relative to the rest of the economy, and that it needs to be cut down to size, we will continue to have failures like these.

USAF Decides to Shoot Self in Foot

Because of delays in the F-35 program, there will be a shortfall in fighter strength for the USAF over the next few decades, so they are looking at service-life extensions for existing F-15s and F-16s, and they have flatly ruled out any purchase of new build legacy fighters.

The idea here is that if they buy them, Congress might be tempted to cancel their white elephant.

BTW, speaking of white elephants, it not looks like the USAF will have to have its other white elephant, the F-22 will have to be escorted by F-15Cs upgraded with AESA radar, since the F-15's larger antenna size allows for greater jamming capability. Basically, bigger antenna means more AESA modules which means more power and more range, and the AESA functions as a jammer.

Additionally, the F-15, "have the persistence [because of larger fuel loads] to stay there while the [stealthy fighters] are conducting their LO attack". Note here that the F-15C is about ⅓ smaller than the F-22A, but apparently out-ranges, or at least out-lasts, it.

Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker Assembly Video

Some things are universal, like cheesy music on defense videos
Here is some pretty nice video pr0n.

Your JSF Update

Carrier Drop test h/t Graham Warwick
First and Foremost, I think that we need to start with the cost escalation of the F-35, with the unit cost estimates having escalated from $113.6 million to 136.2 million over just the past few weeks, which has triggered an official notification of a Nunn-McCurdy breach to Congress, which means that the price has escalated by more than 50%.

In the interest of fairness, Lockheed-Martin is rejecting the Pentagon numbers, and claiming that they will hit, or at least come closer to the original numbers, based on ……… I'm not entirely sure what, possibly reading chicken entrails.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, both Italy and the Netherlands are making noises about scaling back their purchases/commitment to the program, (paid subscription required)with the Italians demanding a larger workshare, and the Dutch wondering if the entire thing is simply too dam expensive.

Note that the Dutch are supposed to participate in the Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E), purchasing 2 aircraft, but they have only contracted for one, and they can sell the aircraft instead of participating in IOT&E.

It all hinges on the upcoming elections.

On the brighter side for the program the first F-35 with a full sensor suite has flown, sort of:
The mission system installed for the initial flight includes the APG-81 active electronically scanned array radar, EW system, integrated CNI, integrated core processor and the pilot's helmet-mounted display. The electro-optical targeting sensor and 360-deg EO distributed aperture system will be added later.
(emphasis mine)

So the most low observable sensor, and the sensor that is supposed to allow the aircraft to compete against more maneuverable aircraft by giving the pilot a 360° field of view around his aircraft are not yet flying.

Finally, we have an analysis showing that the F-16 in 1998 out-ranges the F-35. Basically a 1998 PowerPoint slide for the F-16 gives a 630 NM radius with conformal fuel tanks on a strike mission on a hi-lo-lo-hi profile with the final 50 NM in and out on the deck, as versus a 728 NM radius for the F-35, which only pops below 5000 feet once.

Additionally, the F-16 carries 2 GBU-10 2000 lb bombs + 2 Sidewanders + 2 AMRAAM, while the F-35 carries 2 AMRAAM + 2 GBU-12 500 lb bombs.

If the F-16 is just carrying 2 AMRAAM + 2 GBU-12, and conducts its operations above at 5000 feet or above, it out-ranges the F-35, and that's without considering that the F-16 numbers include the drag of an external jamming pod, and modern F-16s have internal jammers.

Finally, for your viewing pleasure, some the Jim Lerher's News Hour has a segment on the F-35 that appears to cover all the bases.

It's Bank Failure Friday!!!! (a day late)

And here they are, ordered, and numbered for the year so far.
  1. Amcore Bank, National Association, Rockford, IL
  2. Broadway Bank, Chicago, IL
  3. Citizens Bank and Trust Company of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  4. New Century Bank, Chicago, IL
  5. Lincoln Park Savings Bank, Chicago, IL
  6. Peotone Bank and Trust Company, Peotone, IL
  7. Wheatland Bank, Naperville, IL
Seven Banks, all of them in Illinois, that's a bit odd.

Full FDIC list

So, here is the graph pr0n with trendline:

23 April 2010

The Ultimate Hitler/Downfall Parody

I was thinking about putting up the Youtube (link), but by the time most of my readers saw this, it would be taken down.

There should be penalties for misusing takedown notices, something statutory, on an escalating scale, since this is only 3:50 of a movie, and a parody, and as such it should be fair use.

I am not suggesting that Youtube be sued, but I am suggesting that Constantin Film AG is breaking the law, and should be subject to sanctions, by issuing clearly illegal take-down notices.

In an interesting irony, this may be the best Hitler Parody ever.

Economics Update

Well, we have absolutely boffo numbers on the new home sales front, with sales climbing 27% from February to March, though as Barry Ritholtz notes, "In February 2010, new Home Sales reached a record low. Bouncing off of those depressed levels is not a big deal."

I call a dead cat bounce, with a 3 cushion shot because of the February snowpocalypse, though it is still good news, as is the durable goods order number, which were down overall, but up when aircraft sales are factored out.

As to currency and energy, the reduced fears over Greece following their request for external aid pushed the dollar down, and the housing numbers drove oil higher.

Deep Thought

Click for full size

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
No matter who you are, or what you do, you will never be as cool as a tailless iguana tegu* in diapers driving a car.

Don't even bother to try.

Thanks to Tiempo at the ShortSkoolBus BBS for the picture.

*A lizard of the genus Tupinambis, it can be mistaken for an iguana, but this is really not fair to either reptile.

The Republicans Will Pick Up Obama's Senate Seat

The Democratic candidate for his seat is State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, and as I've noted, before he entered politics, he worked at the troubled Broadway Bank as their chief loan officer, as well as being the son of the owner

The FDIC has just seized the bank, so his opponent, Republican Mark Kirk, who has already made much of his involvement with the bank, will doubtless be using this as a club with with to beat Mr. Giannoulias.

Dangers of Outsourcing Part 11: Bad Translations

Most Unfortunate
Dotcommie at the by invitation only Stellar Parthenon BBS, is on a listserve for people who have been involved in internet advertising for at over 10 years, and got the following ad.

What he had heard was that the ad copy was outsourced to a copywriter who spoke English as a 2nd language (ESL).

In any case, it does appear to be just a bit, how to put this, inartful.

Arizona Immigration Law Signed

So, it is now a crime in Arizona to drive while brown, the governor signed the bill.

I would note that while Barack Obama condemned the law, he also made it possible by appointing Janet Napolitano as head of the DHS, because in Arizona, there is no Lt. Governor so Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer became governor.

So much for outreach to Hispanics by the GOP.

Nobody Goes There Anymore, It's Too Crowded

It appears that after a few years of being the government in Gaza, Hamas is getting complaints that they have sold out:
Hamas, the Palestinian faction viewed by many in the West as a nest of terrorists and Islamic hard-liners, is battling a curious new epithet: moderate.

Fifteen months after a punishing Israeli offensive failed to dislodge Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip, rival resistance groups and some former supporters say the organization has become too political, too secular and too soft.

"People in the street say Hamas has changed," said Abu Ahmed, spokesman for the military wing of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed group in Gaza that complained recently that Hamas had arrested four of its militants as they tried to attack Israeli soldiers near the border. "They're paying a price for that. People need to know that Hamas is still committed to the resistance."
You know, when I was in college, I had a number of friends who loved obscure rock bands.

If the band released a record, and it achieved any success, these folks would immediately condemn the band as having "sold out".

I guess that they were upset because it meant that the band was no longer their secret.

I find this amusing, because this seems to be a very similar phenomenon: success, in this case defined as running the Gaza strip, is "selling out".

It's nice to see that some stupidities are universal.

So, Now the Republicans are Blaming Pr0n for the Meltdown

While it is true that senior enforcement personnel at the SEC spent a lot of time downloading pr0n on their PC's, this story has been around for years, as ProPublica notes, and the reason that it's hitting the media spin cycle now is because the Republicans, Darrell Issa specifically, are pushing the story because they want to stop reform.

Basically, they want to say that the failures were because of a few bad apples at the SEC, and pr0n is a good way for them to illustrate this, because pr0n attracts the media, and it is a simple narrative, which attracts the incompetent.

So it's a win-win for the Republicans who want to side-track reform: It's a pretty bauble to distract the press with, and they can claim that it shows that government shouldn't regulate.

Elections Have Consequences, Hostages on the Tarmac Edition

The US Transportation Department has denied a request for a waiver the "3 hours on the tarmac" rule by Jet Blue, Delta, American, Continental, and USAir.

They had claimed that the crowded skys in New York (Philly for USAir) made delays of 3 hours or greater likely, and they wanted relief, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (who is, BTW a Republican, credit where credit is due), denied the request, leaving them unsatisfied:*
Five U.S. airlines lost a bid to exempt New York-area flights from a rule requiring carriers to release passengers from planes stuck on tarmacs for three hours.

Concerns that runway construction at New York’s Kennedy airport will lead to excessive cancellations “can be resolved through more careful flight scheduling,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote today in denying the request. Passengers “have a right to know that they will not be held hostage.”

LaHood’s three-hour rule, effective April 29, fines carriers up to $27,500 per passenger for failing to give them an option to exit planes sitting on the tarmac. JetBlue Airways Corp. March 4 requested the Kennedy exemption until Dec. 1 when runway work is complete.
The evidence is fairly clear, that this is a way to avoid having to pay to house and feed passengers on flights that should have been canceled, and it is an egregious excess.

Good for Sec. LaHood

*Yes, I know, a cheap rhetorical twist, but it's all I got.

Greece Grabs IMF/EU Lifeline

Not surprising considering that the yields on their latest 2-year bond spiked to 11.61%, so they have asked for the activation of the financial rescue package:
Describing his country’s economy as “a sinking ship,” the Greek prime minister formally requested on Friday an international bailout, testing the solidarity of the European Union as never before.

“We drew up a plan, we took difficult and painful measures,” Prime Minister George A. Papandreou said in a nationally televised address. “But the markets did not respond.”

Concerns about the Greek budget deficit — an estimated 13.6 percent of gross domestic product last year — have pushed interest rates on Greek bonds above those of emerging countries like India and the Philippines, leading to talk of a potential default and years of stagnant growth.
(emphasis mine)

Note that as screwed up as Greece is, and it is arguably the closest to 3rd world nation status among the Euro zone members, it ain't the Philippines.

Part of the reason for the spike is clearly heard panic mentality, but my guess is also that some of the wonderful new instruments that have come into existence over the past 20 years, credit default swaps (CDS) and the like, which make it profitable to bet on a neighbor's house burning down, and then torching it.

These instruments magnify both risk and volatility, and this is why they need to be severely restricted or banned.

22 April 2010

Gaffe: When a Politician Tells the Truth

Michael Steel's latest comment, which appears to be driving Republicans crazy, and making Democrats chuckle, yet again:
For the last 40-plus years we had a 'Southern Strategy' that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South.
This quote is factually correct. We literally have the memos, reproduced in the writings of folks like former Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips.

But nonetheless, the Republicans are freaking, so, Dave Weigel talks to Republicans, and gets a quote from Bruce Bartlett:
I think it's too bad that Steele gave Democrats reason to believe that their distorted vision of how Republicans came to dominate the South is correct. It may be his biggest gaffe so far.
(emphasis mine)

Bartlett is upset because this is true.

I Told You So…

Remember when I said that Blanche Lincoln's strong proposals on derivatives reform were, just for show?

I said the following:
I'm with David Dayen, this all happened within days of her primary challenger, Bill Halter (Reminder, he's on My Act Blue Page) releasing ads saying that she was too close to the banking industry.

Everyone on Capitol hill know that her proposals will never go beyond a press release, and that behind the scenes, she will continue to do the big banks' bidding.

This is just electoral politics, and a full court press from her Congressional Colleagues and the White House.
And sure as the sun rises in the east, and sets in the west, it's happening.

Before the Republicans even got into the room, Democrats are weakening her proposals, with Gillibrand, Casey, and Stabenow taking point.

It's what Glen Greenwald calls, "Villain Rotation".

Basically, when an incumbent needs an electoral boost, they come out with a populist proposal, and then it gets killed by someone else, and when that person needs an electoral boost, they change places.

Charie Crist Gets Lucky

No, I am not talking about some sort of sordid liaison, I am referring to the fact that his primary opponent in the Florida Senate campaign, Mark Rubio, is is being investigated by the, "U.S. attorney, IRS and FBI," for misusing Republican Party of Florida credit cards for personal use:
Meanwhile, in a separate inquiry, the IRS is also looking at the tax records of at least three former party credit card holders — former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, ex-state party chairman Jim Greer and ex-party executive director Delmar Johnson — to determine whether they misused their party credit cards for personal expenses, according to a source familiar with the preliminary inquiry.


Rubio billed the party for more than $100,000 during the two years he served as House speaker, according to credit card statements obtained by the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald. The charges included repairs to the family minivan, grocery bills, plane tickets for his wife and purchases from retailers ranging from a wine store near his home to Apple's online store. Rubio also charged the party for dozens of meals during the annual lawmaking session in Tallahassee, even though he received taxpayer subsidies for his meals.
I'm kind of hoping for Rubio to win the Republican primary, and Crist to run as a 3rd party candidate, because I don't see Democrat Kendrick Meek winning any other way.

He's a good guy, but there are a lot of people in Florida who just won't vote for a black man.

Goldman: France Piles On


Economic Minister Christine Lagarde is calling for a full investigation.

So, that makes the SEC, the Limeys, the Krauts, and now the Frogs.

Is this a 2 week thing that will blow over, or the beginning of the death of a thousand cuts?

I'm rooting for the latter.

Earlier post.

New $100 Bill

Defense Against the Counterfeiters from Langley
So, the 100 dollar bill has been revealed.

Nominally, it is intended to defeat the "Super Bill," which primarily occupies the world outside of the US, which is printed by ………… Well, we don't know, but my money is that it's someone inside the US government, because of the following bits of information:
Simply put, if you want to pay someone off, and you don't want a budget item that says, "Bribe made to Adnan Khashoggi," it's just a lot cheaper to have a budget for, "Miscellaneous printing."

I could be wearing a tinfoil hat on this one, but I think that someone in the US collection of TLA's (Three Letter Acronyms) in the intelligence community knows more about the super bills than they are telling.

On Arizona's Immigration Law

I tend to be a hard-ass on immigration. I tend to refer to them as "illegal," not "undocumented," and I favor strict penalties against those who negligently (the current standard is knowingly) employ illegal aliens/

I also understand the reality of the situation, that about ⅓ of illegals in the US entered illegally and overstayed their visas, which means that they are not the stereotypical Hispanic, and that much of the immigration fraud in the US occurs in things like the H1B and L1A visas, who are overwhelmingly not Hispanic, where a significant proportion of the visas are granted in violation of the regulations.

That being said, Arizona's new immigration law sucks. (Google news link)

Basically, it's an excuse for police officers to stop, detain, and arrest people for "driving while Hispanic."

It's standard Republican populist bigotry and racism.

Obama's Speech

I saw it, actually read it in the closed caption, I was at the gym on a stationary bicycle, and my reaction was that it was a missed opportunity.

He asked the banks to get on board, basically scolding them, but did not name names, or otherwise get medieval on them.

The American public hates the big banks, which, BTW, should be referred to exclusively as Wall Street Banks, even if the effect on poll numbers on financial reform are minor, as I have argued.

The bankers are not stake holders, they are malefactors, and should be treated as such.

Saying, "Can't we all just get along," is both bad politics, and bad policy.

Economics Update

It's jobless Thursday, and initial unemployment claims fell by 24,000 to 456,000, not as good as forecast, and the 4-week moving average rose slightly, while continuing claims fell by 40,000 to 4.65 million, though, as always, the last number does not count those (like me) collecting extended unemployment benefits.

In inflation land, we had the producer price index rise by 0.7% in March, giving an annual rate of inflation of over 8½%, though the year over year increase is 6%, and for the core rate, which strips out food and energy, the increase was only 0.1% for the month and 0.9% year over year.

Of concern is the fact that food prices rose by 2.4% in March, a 26 year high.

In real estate, the Architecture Billings Index fell, indicating future contraction in the construction of commercial real estate, while mortgage applications rose, largely on lower rates.

In home sales, we saw a 6.8% spike last month. This was almost certainly driven by the home buyer tax credit that is due to expire on April 20, so we'll see what the April, and May numbers look like.

In energy and currency, oil rose slightly on good earnings reports, and the Euro took a hit on new Greek deficit numbers.

Have I Mentioned that I Love Jon Stewart?

Well Bernard Goldberg, former CBS news man, and the slightly smarter side of the comedy team Goldberg and Goldberg (Bernie and Jonah, no relation and in particular order), had decided to challenge Jon Stewart once again.

Bad move, dude.

Jon Stewart responds, and this time he has backup of gospel singers:

It is a righteous take-down, but damn, Jews can't dance to gospel for sh%$.*

*So says this yid.

21 April 2010

OK, I Don't Want to Clean That Podium

Click for full size
It reminds me of a scene from the Police Academy movies
I'm just saying.

And, no, it is not photoshopped.

Never Stop Your Enemy from Stepping On His Own Dick

When you're in Leno's monologue, YOU ARE COMPLETELY SCREWED
As I have mentioned a number of times, Harry Reid is polling horribly in his bid for reelection.

In fact, his poll numbers are so bad that it appeared that his only hope was that there was a possible teabagger 3rd party candidate.

Well, it looks like the the Republican front runner just threw a life line to the Senate Majority Leader, or more accurately, she threw herself an anvil.

You see, she made a statement about how barter should be an important part of healthcare.

When I first heard this, I assumed that this was someone misspeaking and confusing "barter" and "bargain".

I was wrong. She really meant barter, as in chickens for MRI's:
The feathers are flying in the political attacks over Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden's declarations that people could control health care costs through the use of barter.

On Monday, Lowden doubled down on the barter idea. "Let's change the system and talk about what the possibilities are. I'm telling you that this works," Lowden said. "You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say I'll paint your house."
(emphasis mine)

So, not only is she eschewing healthcare reform, she is apparently opposed to the very concept of money, the center of our financial system.*

So, she's not just a Republican, she is an Anarcho syndicalist, opposed to the very concept of money, or she's a complete moron, or maybe both.

In any case, Senator Reid, it's better to be lucky than good, and you just got lucky.

*OK, money and greed……
……OK, money, greed, and fractional-reserve banking……
…………OK, money, greed, fractional-reserve banking, and a well defined system of contract law ……………… Oh, never mind.

20 April 2010

Signs of the Apocalypse

Starts at 2:05
On Morning Joe, Mark Halperin, a long time hack best known for the phrase, "Matt Drudge rules our world," feels compelled to call it for what it is when he says, "They are willfully misreading the bill or they are engaged in a cynical attempt to keep the president from achieving something." (emphasis mine)

Except for the fact that he should have said and not or, he is telling the truth, and when Mark Halperin feels compelled to call bullsh%$, you know that Republican spin has crossed some sort of "Shoe Event Horizon" where the normal punditocracy simply ceases to function.

The first part of the video is Austan Goolsbee ably defending the program (full disclosure, I made a post that he objected to in the comments, see here, and I posted his response here),* but Joe turns to Halperin for a "fair and balanced appraisal, and Halperin calls them full of it too.

H/t Steve Benen.
*I don't have a problem with his objecting, my family calls me full of it all the time, it sticks in my head because I was stunned that he read my little old blog in his capacity as an economic advisor to the Obama campaign.

Jim Cramer Must Hate Jon Stewart

These F@#king Guys!
Admittedly, the full 7:47 isn't about Jim Cramer, just the first 2:28, but anything that finishes with:
You get the sense that if Jim Cramer was around in 1912 he would have said ‘you’re not going to hear this from anyone else, but my sources tell me the Titanic has the best buffet on the high seas. And by the way if you want to get there faster, try the Hindenburg.
Stewart then goes on to the talking heads on the financial networks are describing the case in terms indicative of a, "Traumatic brain injury," and then he proceeds to describe everything in terms that we can all understand.

And then he gets to Goldman Sachs, and the fact that the fraud division will be getting billions in bonuses, because, I guess, their job is to create fraud, not stop it.

At the end, as a bonus, he describes the Republican mindset on governance.

Economics Update

Not a bunch of news, but is news is good news, with the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rising sharply.

Additionally, defaults and foreclosures fell in California, though one wonders whether this is a real improvement, or if it's just that we've basically run out of non-delinquent/foreclosed houses.

L'affaire Goldman seems to the primary mover in oil, with strong Goldman earnings driving oil prices higher, while the juxtaposition of the Goldman numbers and the uncertainty about Greece left the dollar mixed.

[on edit]
The Canadian Ddollar has broken the 1:1 ratio with the US dollar, hitting $1.0012 U.S today.

George Washington's Body to be Exhumed by Irate Librarians

Yes, it's in my anxiety closet too.
Archivists have discovered that George Washington borrowed books from the New York Library when he was President, and now owes the equivalent of $300,000.00 in overdue fines:
Founder of a nation, trouncer of the English, God-fearing family man: all in all, George Washington has enjoyed a pretty decent reputation. Until now, that is.

The hero who crossed the Delaware river may not have been quite so squeaky clean when it came to borrowing library books.

The New York Society Library, the city's only lender of books at the time of Washington's presidency, has revealed that the first American president took out two volumes and pointedly failed to return them.

At today's prices, adjusted for inflation, he would face a late fine of $300,000.
So, Mrs. McGreevey is coming after him.

Apologies to Berkeley Breathed for rearranging the frames friom his horizontal format to a vertical one.

It's Marijuana Day

And Marijuana hour.

I've set this up to post at 4:20 pm on 4/20.

As to how 420 came to mean pot, see here.

I Think That This Is Misleading

So, Gallup has a poll, which reveals a much higher level of support for regulating "Wall Street" than it does for regulating "Big Banks".

The net goes from +3% to +14% thus "showing" that regulating Wall Street is much more popular.

The thing is, the delta for "In Favor" is only +4%, and the delta for "No Opinion" is only +3%, and, "Qne can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points."

So, we can say that while the drop in opposition -7% is significant, but the other ones are within the margin of error, though the sample size is ½ that of the full survey, and I am not sure that it effects the MOE.

If you want to argue that this points to a good frame to use on the argument for reform, feel free.

There is a measurable improvement in the polling by using "Wall Street", but the change in terminology is not a silver bullet to Mitch McConnell's filibuster werewolf.

Damn, When Goldman Gets an Update Post……

Click for full size
True Dat!
You know that the Vampire Squid* is "living in interesting times."

It now appears that governments in both the UK and Germany are calling for investigations of the firm's dealings.

Additionally, in a splendid piece of electioneering, the Tory opposition is calling for a ban on government contracts for the firm until the investigations are concluded.

Finally, in what might be the ultimate indignity, AIG is looking at suing Goldman Sachs on the insurance policies that it provided, on the theory that they were under no obligation to pay the arsonist who burnt down his own house.

It will be interesting to see where things goes from here.

Even with all the the opprobrium directed at the firm (see the Taibbi quote below), the consensus was that they would skate, because they were "too powerful" for any meaningful action to be taken against them.

If this case cracks that shell, I think that we will see many more rocks overturned to see what lurks beneath.

My guess is that this will all end with a token fine and no admission of wrong-doing, but I would be happy to be wrong.

*Alas, I cannot claim credit for the bon mot describing Goldman Sachs as a, "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." This was coined by the great Matt Taibbi, in his article on the massive criminal conspiracy investment firm, The Great American Bubble Machine.

We See the Beginnings of Competence

About bloody time!
So, after the disastrous negotiations on healthcare with the Republicans, Barack Obama and His Stupid Minions begin to get a clue.

On financial reform, Organizing for America, the Obama campaign political arm, is running ads using Republican opposition to financial reform to Wall Street as a club to beat them with.

Certainly, this is better than their strategy on healthcare reform, which was to let Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) sandbag them by engaging in extensive negotiations when she had not the slightest intention of voting for cloture.

H/t FT Alphaville.

19 April 2010

No, This is Not a Joke

The lead SEC attorney in the civil fraud case against Goldman Sachs, aka, "The great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,"* is one Andrew Matthew Calamari.

I actually went and confirmed it with a Google, and Mr. Calamari is actually the associate regional director for the SEC's New York office.

No really, click the link, it's from the SEC.

As Dave Barry would say, "I'm not making this up."

*Alas, I cannot claim credit for the bon mot describing Goldman Sachs as a vampire squid. This was coined by the great Matt Taibbi, in his article on the massive criminal conspiracy investment firm, The Great American Bubble Machine.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?!?!? The Lib-Dems?

So, following the first televised debate between candidates for Prime Minister in UK history, a confrontation where Liberal-Democrat candidate is generally conceded to have come off best, the party is leading in a number of polls.

Part of the allure of the Lib-Dems is that their policies are objectively, and quite justifiably, punitive towards the banks that created this mess, and they are explicit about the need to downsize the banking sector.

I don't think that the Lib-Dems will win, there is 100 years of their predecessor of losing elections, and I think that the nature of the constituencies, which are elected in "first past the post" as in the US, make their capturing even 2nd place in the number of seats unlikely.

Still, with 3 weeks to go before the election, it is a surprising development.

I am Not an Apple Computer Kind of Guy

But if you are, it appears that someone at Apple® screwed up big time, and a copy of the prototype iPhone 4 found its way into the hands of the techies at Gismodo.

So, if it interests you, check it out.

I looked at to see if it might be a hoax, and it does not appear to be.

I'm not interested in the iPhone, per se, but I am interested in knowing how someone screwed up this badly.

18 April 2010

Deep Thought

H/t onegoodmove.

Righteous Rant!!!

It's worth the 9 minutes and 53 seconds
Peter Schiff on Alan Greenspan:
He's not just the worst Fed chairman we've ever had, he's the worst American we've ever had.
And it only goes up from there.

I would note that Schiff comes an extreme political philosophy, he is a wing-nut Randroid Libertarian,* but this does not mean that this does not bear watching.

It's amusing, easily understood, and generally in accordance with the facts as we know them.

*He was an economic adviser to Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign.