30 December 2008 · Comments Off on I Knew There Was a Blog Post in There Somewhere · Categories: Political Economy

This came through in my Quotes of the Day email a few days ago (emphasis added):

On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!], ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
– Charles Babbage, 1792 – 1871

I figured I could do something with it, but what it was was not readily apparent.

So I decided to let it sit on the back burner of my brainpan for a while.

Then my friend Nancy nailed it. Put in the wrong numbers, and you get the bailout:

Re the quote: “. . .if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?”

That sounds like the Sec’y of the Treasury & Congress wrestling with the housing crisis!! {How in hell did it happen & whom shall we give the bailout $s to??}

30 December 2008 · Comments Off on Charity Begins at Home Finance · Categories: Political Theatre

30 December 2008 · Comments Off on I Hadn’t Read This Column Yet · Categories: First Looks

Fortunately, Steve saved me the trouble.

30 December 2008 · Comments Off on Nowhere To Go, Nothing To Do · Categories: Political Economy

The Bushie Legacy:

But a review of some of the publicly held builders’ annual reports reveals another human cost – job loss in the industry.

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., of Red Bank, N.J., filed its Form 10-K on Christmas Eve, disclosing employment of 2,816 people as of Oct. 31. That was down from 4,318 a year earlier, or a loss of more than 1,500 jobs.

Beazer Homes USA Inc., of Atlanta, had 1,444 employees as of Sept. 30, 2008. It cut 1,175 jobs since Sept. 30, 2007, or 45 percent of its workforce.

Regionally, Orleans Homebuilders Inc. reduced its headcount by more than 20 percent during its fiscal year ended June 30, to 544 people. The Bensalem company said between June 30, 2006, and Aug. 31, 2008, it slashed its workforce by more than 50 percent.

Toll Bros. Inc. , the nationwide luxury home builder, eliminated 1,169 jobs over its fiscal year ended Oct. 31. Its workforce of 3,160 is now smaller than it was during its fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2003. Employment peaked at 6,147 as of July 31, 2006.

Free hand of the market my anatomy.

Free hand of greed, fraud, and duplicity.

We’ve all been enronned.

30 December 2008 · Comments Off on “The Kinetic Fallacy” · Categories: First Looks

Tim F. explains it here.

30 December 2008 · Comments Off on Going Where No Car Should Go · Categories: It Is To Laugh

29 December 2008 · Comments Off on Swift Responses · Categories: First Looks

Jon Swift has posted his Best Blog Posts of 2008 (Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves).

Read it.



He may well be the best writer on the innertubes. His thumbnails of the entries are a hoot.

(Plus I’m right near the top because I happened to be sitting here when his email requesting a submission came in.)

29 December 2008 · Comments Off on Folk Songs · Categories: Political Theatre

Listen here.

29 December 2008 · Comments Off on Drinking Liberally · Categories: First Looks

Tuesday, Triumph Brewing Company, Chestnut between Letitia and Second, Philadelphia, 6 p.

If all goes well, I’ll be somewhere else.

Hoist one for me.

29 December 2008 · Comments Off on When He Says “We” . . . · Categories: Political Economy

Robert Samuelson:

It’s the end of an era. We know that 2008, much like 1932 or 1980, marks a dividing line for the American economy and society. But what lies on the other side is hazy at best. The great lesson of the past year is how little we understand and can control the economy. This ignorance has bred today’s insecurity, which in turn is now a governing reality of the crisis.

. . . he means only those persons who think like him. Ya know, the ones who persist in error, despite reality and human nature.

He doesn’t include all those other folks, such as–just to pick a name out a hat–Paul Krugman (you may have heard of him–Nobel Prize and all that)–who have been predicting the failure of Reago-Bushonomics for years.

29 December 2008 · Comments Off on Who’s on the Brink? · Categories: Political Economy

Robert Reich shares his analysis. Follow the link for his rationale:

1. The poor and near poor, with family incomes typically under $20,000 a year. . . .

2. Middle and lower-middle class households whose breadwinners are within five years of being eligible for Social Security. . . .

3. Middle and lower-middle class retirees. . . .

29 December 2008 · Comments Off on Bushonomics: Life in the Fast Lane · Categories: Political Economy

No, not that fast lane. This fast lane:

Back in October 2000, just before he was elected president, George Bush described his base as “the haves and the have mores.” The remark was made in jest at the annual Al Smith Black Tie dinner, but the joke turned out to be on all those people who used to have just about enough, and who now, eight years later, have next to nothing.

According to government data, as of September, 31.5 million Americans were using the food stamp programme, up 17% from the previous year. That’s 10% of the US population. These are staggering figures.

They bring to mind another staggering figure I recently came across that I have been unable to remove from my subconscious. It is $163,987,000 – the salary that Henry Paulson, now secretary of the US Treasury, took home in 2006 for his services as CEO of Goldman Sachs.

More here.

29 December 2008 · Comments Off on Birthday Rodent · Categories: Geek Stuff

The computer mouse turns 40.

I sure hope 40 cheese straws constitutes a balanced supper.

(Aside: The recipe is wussified. If you want to try it, remember to quadruple the cayenne and add some Frank’s Red Hot, then sprinkle the straws with cayenne before they go in the oven. Oh, yeah, and use a metal cookie press with the squiggly mold. A plastic cookie press won’t take the strain.)

28 December 2008 · Comments Off on Linux dot com Reviews the New Slackware · Categories: Geek Stuff

Slackware runs this site.

The review is here.

They’re not dummies. They like it.