A quick morning round-up — and an Open Thread *UPDATED*

If you’re on the ball, this week you have the opportunity to bid on a great sounding book, get an iPad, and help Soldier’s Angels.

Everyone’s wondering why multiple New Yorkers just walked by as a good Samaritan bled to death on the sidewalk in front of them.  The intelligentsia has jumped on the usual suspects:  violent video games.  I think, though, that we’re simply looking at life in the big city, in which people cultivate the mindset of “it’s not my problem; someone else, preferably a City employee,” will fix it.  And in the last shot of that deeply depressing video, one sees New York’s own come driving up to carry away the corpse.  It’s no coincidence, perhaps, that urban dwellers vote overwhelmingly for big government.  Living in the City means never having to take care of things yourself.

Speaking of cities and government, it’s clear that one city’s government knows how to take care of itself.  It turns out that 1 out of 3 San Francisco employees is earning in excess $100,000 annually on the taxpayer’s dime.  (Here’s an example of a teacher feeding at some government’s public trough who can’t possibly be worth whatever money they are paying her.)  I suspect that, if you had a picture of sheep being led to the slaughter, and San Franciscans walking down the City streets, the images would be indistinguishable– except that the sheep earn our sympathy because they, at least, are not complicit in their own demise.

And speaking of sheep, Michael Barone thinks that some sheep may be lining up for rebellion and will start demanding spending cuts, not tax increases.  They will be met, naturally, with cries that, should such cuts go into effect, there will be people starving in the streets.  Funnily enough, those statements will echo precisely the arguments made back in 1990s, when the debate was on about “ending welfare as we know it.”  We did end welfare as we knew it, and Armageddon failed to occur.  What a disappointment to the doomsayers.

I’ve spent a fair amount of blog time this week talking about the danger of identity politics.  The trigger for me was the gay softball team stripped of its championship because some of its players weren’t gay enough.  The world of sports, though, is too small a stage for sexual identity politics, and the same argument is now playing out on the Pennsylvania political scene:  “Just how bisexual is Gregg Kravitz? His political career may pivot on the answer. Kravitz is a 29-year-old former stockbroker from Philadelphia, who is running for the Pennsylvania statehouse. He claims to be a bisexual. [para.] His opponent in the Democratic primary, incumbent Babette Josephs, says Kravitz is lying about who he sleeps with in order to curry favor with gay voters. Josephs claims she met a woman at a fundraiser who identified herself as Kravitz’s girlfriend. “I outed him as a straight person,” Josephs announced.”

Lastly, although I can’t find a graceful way to tie the following in with my snippets, above, I wanted to bring your attention to the hatred directed at the Tea Partiers.  While the media may be very busy trying to paint peaceful constitutionally-oriented protests as potential bloodbaths, that’s not where the ugliness lies.  (Warning:  bad language and potential scary nightmares lie at this link.)

UPDATE:  Since this was a post that leaned heavily on government worker issues, this Saturday Night Live sketch seems apropos:

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  • Charles Martel

    I am pleased to report that the San Francisco Chronicle lost 22.68 percent of its circulation over the past year, plummeting from its 1990 high of 566,000 daily to 241,000 daily in 2010—a decline of 325,000 readers (57 percent). That amounts to a subscriber base of 1 out of every 28 residents in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Forgive me my schadenfreude, but this could not happen to a finer piece of leftist crap, not even the New York Times.

    When the Chronicle breathes its well-deserved last, I will miss Luanne and Zits, and Miss Manners, as well as the excellent food and wine section.

  • suek

    Not really on topic, but then you _did_ say “Open Thread”…
    I put this one in the “must read category”…

  • BrianE

    I’m marking this day on my calender.
    I actually agree with Paul Krugman!
    “Let’s hear it for the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Its work on the financial crisis is increasingly looking like the 21st-century version of the Pecora hearings, which helped usher in New Deal-era financial regulation. In the past few days scandalous Wall Street e-mail messages released by the subcommittee have made headlines.
    That’s the good news. The bad news is that most of the headlines were about the wrong e-mails. When Goldman Sachs employees bragged about the money they had made by shorting the housing market, it was ugly, but that didn’t amount to wrongdoing.
    No, the e-mail messages you should be focusing on are the ones from employees at the credit rating agencies, which bestowed AAA ratings on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of dubious assets, nearly all of which have since turned out to be toxic waste. And no, that’s not hyperbole: of AAA-rated subprime-mortgage-backed securities issued in 2006, 93 percent — 93 percent! — have now been downgraded to junk status.”
    The ratings agencies bear significant responsibility for the mess, and should be held accountable. As someone pointed out Arthur Anderson suffered its demise for signing off on Enron’s books. Why are Moody’s and S&P still in business?
    At this point I think the ratings agencies should work for the buyer, not the seller, which would make it easier for an affected party to sue if a bond goes south.
    A couple of other obvious changes. Require “skin in the game” for CDS. The fact you could essentially sell of swap as many times as you had customers reminds me of “The Producers”. Of course if companies like AIG never imagined the level of defaults, selling the swaps over and over just increased profits. The fact that they geometrically increased risk seemed to have escaped them.
    Reduce the leverage of the Wall St. investment banks. This may have already been done.
    While I’m glad to see Goldman being held to account, it may be the wrong charge. In fact the issue with AKA over the synthetic CDO’s looks like non-offense to my simple mind.
    Which, of course, may be part of the plan.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Hey, Book, Grim also blogged about that Queens New York Video. How’s them security cameras working out for the sheep in stopping violence, eh?
    An interesting point on this subject is that people tend to like to fit themselves into categories and boxes and classes. So a slave owning class doesn’t do the work of the slaves or vice a versa. In a city, you do your job and it is somebody else’s job to take care of violence, bums, fire, or whatever dirty work you think should be taken care of for you because you are “entitled” to it cause you live in a city.
    They’re too good for those things. They don’t want to deal with them. This is an easy affliction to correct, Book. All it takes is hammering these individuals into something resembling strong metal and not weak butter wiped on sheep.
    “While the media may be very busy trying to paint peaceful constitutionally-oriented protests as potential bloodbaths, that’s not where the ugliness lies.  (Warning:  bad language and potential scary nightmares lie at this link.)”
    Also, another thing, Book, I have to thank you for giving me an entertaining video and audio there. It was a nice piece of amusement after seeing real violence. It was a good contrast and reminder. These people are a joke. I understand them better than they understand themselves. Which is why I know what can set them and what will shut them up. It is ridiculous easy once you comprehend the full spectrum of criminality, including mass murder.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    P.S. It is not to say that these people emailing and talking the big talk about destroying their political opponents aren’t dangerous to certain people. It is just that they aren’t dangerous to me directly. They are dangerous to me indirectly because they will harm my allies and friends, who aren’t me.
    But hey, we’ve already dealt with terrorists that like to harm people you can’t protect, because they’re too weak kneed to take you on directly. A little counter-insurgency, a little insurgency, will calm these people down a lot once they realize their own blood will be the ones shed if they start something.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    This video is not available at Hulu
    Well, I guess some government union guy found out that he wasn’t getting paid any wages for the video, so did a copyright pull.

  • suek

    >>The ratings agencies bear significant responsibility for the mess, and should be held accountable.>>
    You’re right, Brian.  I’d sure like to see some names attached…”ratings agencies” is _so_ anonymous.  I’d also like to know if some of those who were doing the rating are now working for GS, and if they made buckets of money, or if they were just junior managers doing what they needed to do to stay on the payroll.  _Somebody_ knew what they were doing, though.

  • Gringo

    What happened is just life in the big city. Do not pay attention to others, keep moving, or you will be overwhelmed. Once as a country mouse visiting NYC, I fell for a someone scamming me about being a soldier who got robbed and needed $ to get back to Fort Dix. He would repay me, of course. On the one hand, I was  a fool for giving him the $.  OTOH, that was the last time I gave money to panhandlers, so you could see the money I lost as a good investment.  Just keep walking. It’s  an unwritten rule for surviving in the big city streets.
    After my junior year in high school, my best friend and I spent a week visiting NYC while staying at our relatives’ places  in Westchester County. After 3-4 days in the city, my country senses got overwhelmed. Sensory overload.  I felt like a zombie until I took the train back to Westchester that night. To survive in the big city, you really do have to block out things. Even people lying on the sidewalk.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Sounds like what servants are told.
    “Keep your head down and do as you are told”


    I think I’ve discovered why we needed Obama-careless health reform.  Is your head spinning? Do you have an urge to pull out Nancy and Harry ‘s lungs out from their throat? Are you feeling anxious? Stress? Manipulated? Deceived?
    A new government report says global warming could lead to an increase in both cancer and mental illness worldwide, and it calls for more federally funded research to determine how that might happen.
    Note: I am waiting for Iran’s Farsi edition, which will blame the jooos.

  • suek

    Open thread – Open question
    Iran’s top nut has asked the USA to grant him a visa to speak at the UN. As far as I am aware this has always been granted.
    Iran has held 3 Americans since last year and I say yes to the visa but he has to return the 3 bikers home on the same flight.
    Any thoughts?

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    My thought, Sadie, is “what a good idea.”

  • suek
  • Gringo

    Sadie, that is a very good idea.  Also have him sit next to JOOS on the flight.


    one more for suek and Brian and the rest of the salon, too!
    When he wasn’t busy helping create a $127 billion mess for taxpayers to clean up, former Fannie Mae Chief Executive Officer Franklin Raines, two of his top underlings and select individuals in the “green” movement were inventing a patented system to trade residential carbon credits.



    Bookworm & Gringo … I thought it was, too, which means it never crossed anyone’s desk or mind at the State Dept.
    Nice touch, Gringo, on seating arrangements ; )

  • suek

    suek …
    Reads like a 21st century version called:  Zoi-lent Green.  I am going to do a Muckety search and see what other names comes up.

  • suek

    Too bad Muckety doesn’t include financial positions…
    Seems to me that hers indicate _huge_ conflict of interest problems.


    Imagine that, a conflict of interest. Nah..couldn’t be. This is the most transparent admin. evah!
    They’re all doing some version of the Dance with the Seven Veils. (post #16)

  • suek

    I propose that if you take a job with the Feds, and have responsibility for making _any_ decisions about programs and vendors….heck let’s make it mandatory for anybody over a certain level…G12 or whatever…has to put all their stock holdings in a blind trust.     _ALL_ of them.  You know…like Cheney did when he became VP (I don’t know if that was mandatory or voluntary, but it _should_ be mandatory).  That way, they might favor certain companies, but they couldn’t be certain they’d profit from their activities…

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Thanks Sadie.