Open Thread, with comedy!

The best comedy albums and specials of 2013, according to the AV club:


1. Louis C.K., Oh My God

2. Kumail Nanjiani, Beta Male

3. Maria Bamford, Ask Me About My New God!

4. Amy Schumer, Mostly Sex Stuff

5. Aziz Ansari, Buried Alive

5. (tie) Kurt Braunohler, How Do I Land?

6. Pete Holmes, Nice Try, The Devil

7. Eugene Mirman, An Evening Of Comedy In A Fake Underground Laboratory

8. Anthony Jeselnik, Caligula

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The Return Of William Jennings Stassen

M Scott Eiland's picture

Huck off, Governor.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The Bryan/Stassen


reference is funny,  but I can't remember what Huck did to earn your special displeasure.    He seemed like an average low quality politician to me,  not markedly worse than other Republicans.

Easy Enough To Answer

M Scott Eiland's picture

This diary summarizes the general complaint well, as well as making clear that the William Jennings Bryan comparison wasn't originated by me. I'll follow that by quoting myself:

The William Jennings Bryan comparison is an apt one--and has the benefit of sounding less insulting and/or panicky than invoking, say, Huey Long. It also better fits my attitude about Huckabee. I have always felt a bit sad about the decline and downfall of Bryan in spite of my disdain for the causes he championed in his youth and in his last years, whereas Huey Long is the only major political figure in US history whose assassination I decline to condemn. Huckabee is, IMO, deeply misguided and someone I want to see lose, but he isn't a monster.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

A very different


bunch of commenters back then.

Updating Last Year's Creepiest Paean To The Welfare State

M Scott Eiland's picture

"The Life Of Julia's Policy."

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Julia was paying $78 a month for health coverage.


Julia was paying for garbage health insurance that wasn't worth the paper it was written on, or the paper she was spending on it.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

For A Mid-Twenties Woman With No Health Problems?

M Scott Eiland's picture

And no dependents? You have no basis for making that statement.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Well, Julia's 26. The average premium in her age group


is $143, or twice what she's currently paying. That was in 2009. She's pretty much paying rock bottom prices for insurance that for unknown reasons has been rejected as inadequate under Obamacare. It's not much of a stretch to guess that her "coverage" doesn't do much more than diddly if she gets catastrophically ill or injured. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Or She Chose A Plan That Only Covers That. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and isn't loaded down with stuff (low copays, certain coverages, etc.) she doesn't think she needs after looking her situation over. Funny how liberals think that intelligent adults are incapable of making decisions like that and that they need to be forced to follow the lead of the Nanny State.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

That's Not What Liberals Think


Liberals think, correctly, that there is a huge asymmetry of information between insurers, who handle millions of people, and individuals, who handle themselves. Much of this information is highly technical and proprietary. It would take a huge amount of research to understand the risk tradeoffs involved. It's not that we think individuals are morons who cannot do this, it's that we think that they shouldn't have to. It's hugely unproductive for everybody to attempt to become an actuarial specialist and a lawyer.


And that's without even getting to the problem of fraudulent behavior by insurers, which is common. You've indicated a belief that the government needs to protect individuals against fraud. Medical insurance companies are up there with used car salesmen. Are you also against lemon laws?

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

How is that any different


from MSE's characterization:


Funny how liberals think that intelligent adults are incapable of making decisions like that and that they need to be forced to follow the lead of the Nanny State.


You don't think think we are morons - you believe we are ignorant, misinformed yokels: 


Liberals think, correctly, that there is a huge asymmetry of information between insurers, who handle millions of people, and individuals, who handle themselves. Much of this information is highly technical and proprietary. It would take a huge amount of research to understand the risk tradeoffs involved. It's not that we think individuals are morons who cannot do this, it's that we think that they shouldn't have to.


That sounds like "incapable" to me. Thanks for taking the burdens of freedom off my incapable shoulders. 

When I go to the grocery store to buy delicious, delicious


sausage, I go on the assumption that the federal government's required that the meat be inspected so that it doesn't sicken or kill me. This isn't because I'm stupid or misinformed, it's because I only have finite resources. Sure, I could have Google News flag every story of tainted meat, make a note of the brand, and also figure out how to test meat to see if it's tainted.


Or, conversely, I could vote for a government that requires my meat be inspected.


(Any double entendres in the above post came from the depraved mind of the reader...)

So now the argument for


taking away a woman's freedom to choose her own health plan, is that we don't have the resources to read insurance policies,  and instead want the government to make them all so similar there's no need to study them? 


Any other major parts of life that are too complicated?  


PS if my meat is going to be inspected I want it to be by someone gentler and more forgiving than the feds.

It's because we're on the hook for the bill


By "we", I'm including you and I.


How come we never hear people bitch about the nanny state making people buy car insurance?  It's the same exact principle.  If you're potentially sticking other people with an expensive bill, you need to pay for it.


The only way the "nanny state" argument holds together is if you simultaneously argue for emergency-room reform where those who can't pay are not treated and escorted from the premises wtih a minimum of cost.

It's not even close to same thing


Auto liability insurance only covers cases where my actions inflict a large bill on other people.   And absolutely only that.   If I wreck my own car,  insurance is  not involved. Not even a tiny bit. 


The equivalent would be a health insurance policy that only covered cases where I go to the emergency room,  and I fail to pay the bill.  It would not cover anything unless "other people" have to pay.  It would never cover a case where I seek treatment and the other party is not obligated to immediately serve me. 


Also, where I come from the word isn't auto insurance, there is no such law.  The official title is "proof of financial responsibility", and people can self-insure.  You demonstrate that you have enough money to pay for any damage you are likely to cause (e.g. up to the state mandate) and keep the money in a separate account,  and you don't need any insurance company.


The equivalent would be a health care law that exempted people who have a record of paying their medical bills and have plenty of money.


Plus everything MSE said.

I'd be ok with the "post a bond" idea


And I don't think we disagree.  Obamacare calling various insurances "not good enough" has generally involved insurance that wouldn't pay out if you actually got hurt.  Fine print and all that.


3/4 of medical bankruptcies (which are 60% of all bankruptcies), the person HAD insurance.  That's the kind of BS that's not acceptable.  I don't know if I should blame the insurance buyer, or the insurance company, or whoever, but I resent the fact that my insurance payments and taxes are subsidizing whoever's at fault for those cases.

Posting A Bond. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .for the state minimum per accident liability coverage generally works, too. It's not necessarily a very clever move (and it won't satisfy a lender if you have a loan on the car), but it's there as an option.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Also. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .state regulation of car insurance somehow manages to get along without mandating every single indivdual coverage that theoretically could be purchased (generally, the state will mandate liability coverage at a certain minimum level, together with bodily injury uninsured coverage and possibly some sort of no fault immediate medical care coverage [such as PIP in Oregon]--if the car has a loan on it the lender will almost always require comprehensive and collision coverages with a maximum deductible of $500 to $1000), even though it is certainly possible that a car insurance client may regret eschewing an optional coverage once a claim is denied due to that decision as much or more than someone finding they have to buy their own contraceptives.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

On the other hand, the states require vehicle inspections


Imagine how expensive car insurance would be without mandatory registration, inspections & licensing. Can you imagine applying that standard to health care? Mandatory annual checkups, followed by mandatory treatments to bring you up to the minimum statutory level of healthiness. Anyway, analogies are fun.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Mine drinks quite a bit.


Also spends all day sitting around when I'm working,  and has a horrible BMI.

Only 18 states


according to Wikipedia.  Some others require emissions inspections,  which makes more sense from an "inflicting harm on others" point of view. 



So failing brakes, broken tail lights, or worn tires don't qualify as a danger to others?

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Sure, but


the danger of each of those is at least as great,  and generally much higher,  to the driver of the car.   So it's not a case of getting an advantage for one's self at the expense of the everyone else.   It's also not a case where the natural incentives are screwed up.


I'm thinking about the dozen or so accidents that I, my family, or close friends have been involved in,  and none were caused by mechanical failure or poor maintenance. It's always been someone's poor judgment,  or just the rare but inevitable consequence of having vehicles on a road and drivers with human limitations on their senses.


Anyway, the fact that the majority of states don't require inspections, and that the feds haven't jumped in like they do on glaring emergencies like oversize toilets or lawn darts,  says something. 

"every single individual coverage that theorectically"


Just for three things among many others, there is no "right door damage" car insurance coverage, there is no "pre-existing condition" of slight scratch to left rear bumper that nullifies the rest of the coverage.  People don't generally need to have a car to live, people do generally need to be alive to live.



Actually. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .since you can't collect on damage to the vehicle that existed before the coverage was taken (and you can't even get around that by waiting out a probationary period as you often can through a group policy), you're wrong about that pre-existing condition thing.* And your last sentence is best addressed to the argument that failing to complain about auto insurance being required should somehow make complaining about mandatory health insurance hypocritical or otherwise invalid.


*--and "right door coverage" would fall under comprehensive or collision coverage (or certain other coverages if the circumstances are correct), which is an optional coverage unless you have a loan on the car (though if the car is less than ten years old and in good shape it would be deeply foolish not to take those coverages [yet still not mandatory under those circumstances. . .how odd]).

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I think we can agree that people are not cars

brutusettu's picture

and that 92.43% of people think of health coverage when using the term health insurance.





People do generally need health coverage to stay alive when they need it, people generally do want to stay alive instead of dead or in great pain etc, so when they need health coverage, they'll use it. There are no parables afaik of a good car mechanic that treated a beat up car on the side of the road, there is a parable for a human in need of health care (yada yada yada) people treat peopls's bodies in need different than commercial goods in need, free rider gap is closed if everyone gets coverage.  


i.e. Drivers pay car insurance to reduce the risk an accident leaves others to flip the bill.  People are like drivers, but unlike drivers, people don't have a good option not to be people, but drivers have a good option not to be drivers. 


i.e. part 2, people are like drivers with no other options but to be a driver.  Drivers should have coverage, people should have coverage because if not, others will end up paying or having another human tossed in the junk yard or sitting in the grass on cinder blocks (those last 2 aren't options a vast plurality of people would directly advocate so to speak).

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

People Have The Option Of Not Driving

M Scott Eiland's picture

And the "we're paying for it" argument is a big reason why libertarians seem rather insistent sometimes about not wanting government to take over in a particular area, because they know that argument is coming next (along with the "if A, then B" argument for the next power grab).

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



Just actually stop and think about the reality of the situation, not an ideologically pure theory.


It's really quite simple. My uncle lives in France, is now retired and a moderately frequent user of the health system. He can choose his doctor and pretty much all other material aspects of his care. He is not forced under gunpoint to use a physician imposed by the National Ministry of Doctor Assignments or whatever guys like you think a public health system would have. He is not forced to go to a hospital imposed by the Homeland Hospital Requisition Ministry. He does not have to wait for six months to see a doctor. He is not forced to undergo any treatment or take any drug he does not want. He has access to the one of the best systems in the world, where people live three years longer than in the US, with half the infant mortality.


He is free, as in free from worry, that his insurance will screw him out of an obscure technicality that, yes Virginia, 98% of people would not be aware of, by design, not because they are stupid. His doctors are free from Byzantine authorization schemes designed by bean counters to delay and avoid expenses.


The free market sucks at healthcare. It's not just asymmetry of information it's asymmetry of everything. You only have one life, one body, one set of vital organs. To the patient, mistakes or refusal of treatment are not only fatal, but time constrained. When you need it the most, you are denied options and you have no time. The incentives are simply backwards. Drug companies make more money by finding chronic treatments (recurring revenue), not cures. Health providers make more money by providing the least amount of product possible, as late as possible.


It just doesn't work. Insisting that it works is cognitively dissonant. It's like expecting that GM will protect the environment as a response to market forces. It's expecting things that just don't happen. The market is a tool that works supremely well when interests are aligned. When they aren't, it's just the wrong tool.


And if that's not enough, there is also the fact that healthcare works better for everybody when everybody has access to it. Epidemics and infectious diseases don't care what plan you have. You want these things nipped in the bud as fast as possible. You don't want to wait till people with good coverage become sick. Again, the market just sucks at this. That's reality.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

The free market sucks for


The free market sucks for health care.  Yup.

The reality of the situation


is we are not France.  In France people smoke in places and circumstances that would get all kinds of scolding and fines here.  They eat stuff that would be considered unhealthy and/or immoral here,  albeit in more moderate quantities.   Alcohol does not have the borderline legal/illegal status it has here.  And as you noted, no one is forcing your French uncle to go to a doctor he doesn't like, or for that matter any doctor at all.


That's because in France people are mature enough to understand and accept that personal freedoms have some collective costs,  and they are willing to pay those costs.  They've got plenty of other areas in which their nannyism is worse than ours,  and they have ideas about cultural enforcement that are disgusting to anyone believing in freedom of speech or religion.  However, they seem to have given up on (or maybe never had)  the idea that if they pay taxes they've "bought" something,  such as control of other people's bodies.  


On the other hand, here in the US we have Jordan arguing that people should be forced to visit the doctor for routine checkups because he wants them to, and he's put money into the pool.   We elect people like Mayor Bloomberg.


So, I'm not willing to accept evidence that this-or-that didn't happen in France as evidence it won't happen here, until I see some other changes in attitude.

Wait, What?


So your argument boils down to "we should trust people I like because we can't trust people I don't like, such as Mayor Bloomberg", or better yet, "we should trust Americans to be mature enough to handle personal freedom in their healthcare because Americans are not as mature as the French in understanding the costs of personal freedom in managing their health."


This position is understandable, I suppose, yet somehow one might venture to think that there is something about it that's not quite entirely persuasive.


I'm not sure what it is...

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Let me make it simpler


There are too many freedom hating ---------s in positions of authority in this country,  and for that reason,  among many others,  I do not want to further increase their authority. 

So, Facts Be Damned


Let's just go with, "because they hate our freedom"?


I guess that's never been tried before.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.



I'm not proposing to start a war over it.  


But you win this round.  Not because you're right,  but because I've got 3 ft 6 in of grading to do and the deadline is tomorrow at 3pm.

Yeah, that's about it.


And speaking of freedom hating, you're free to use as little as two asterisks because as near as I can tell you are have a problem with tunafishes in positions of authority.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Or You Can Emulate . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and use coy hints to make us guess at what thirteen letter obscene gerund is being invoked, without even the clue of "snakes on a plane" to guide us along.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I already own your freedom!


I looked back at that discussion and thought I had answered your followup question with a correction, but it looks like I didn't. Pretty sure I didn't mean people should be forced to visit the doctor, just that the checkups should be paid for as part of cost control for insurance. And quite sure I don't believe that now... how the hell would you go about forcing people not in the military to report for routine physicals? I don't even want to know.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Hope you didn't pay too much


My freedom was already a paltry,  atrophied thing with all kinds of liens on it.


Fair enough on the medical checkups.   However, you still haven't explained away Mayor Bloomberg.

I can't explain Mayor Bloomberg.


I was tentatively in favor of the soft drink size limit idea (in fact I'd be open to looking at sugars and hydrogenated fats as potential health hazards), but I'm persuadable that there are better ways to encourage better nutrition (say, start by ending the corn subsidy). 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

There's also the fact that Julia is a liability


to her insurer, who is now required to provide adequate coverage to all its policyholders, with guaranteed issue, community rating, no recissions, etc. Whether Julia's coverage is adequate for her needs or not (I'm willing to bet her Mickey Mouse coverage would desert her on first sign of any serious health issue, since that's what most ultra-low premium plans around the country are known to do), her insurer has now been obligated to improve her coverage to a degree that her dinky $78 a month doesn't begin to cover her risk to the company.  


Which is another way of saying: Julia isn't carrying her weight in terms of keeping the health system solvent. She's freeloading. She's enjoying minimal, adequate health coverage for the first time in her life and she's pissed off because she has to pay for it.  


Funny how conservatives can't seem to wrap their heads around the idea that money is a social contract. If Julia wants to bring her $37342.50 a year with her to Galt's Gulch, she's welcome to... but it'll be worthless there. If she wants to use it to buy health services from the health system everyone else in the country is part of, she's going to have to pay what it takes to keep that system solvent. When you pay insurance premiums, you aren't just buying coverage for yourself, you're also directly paying the bills of fellow policyholders who happen to need health care at the moment.  


Insurance is socialism.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


M Scott Eiland's picture

Pointing out that under the changed system Julia's premium wouldn't cover the cost of WeKnowBestCare says precisely nothing about whether her old policy served her needs, or whether the new system has helped her or harmed her as a whole.

Your last full paragraph is ultimately a blank check for whatever the boondoggle of the moment is, and as such belongs in the rubbish bin with "you didn't build that."

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



Your objection could be raised to any legal or regulatory change to any industry whatsoever. The answer to your objection is simple: Congress evaluated the insurance industry, found that people like Julia were both getting screwed by inadequate coverage and freeloading on others by representing a liability to the system greater than what they paid in premiums, so they adjusted the regulations.  


That's how laws work.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

How do you feel


about those small towns that passed laws requiring everyone to purchase a gun?

If there's some justifiable reason, no problem.


If not, what would be the point?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



Of course it's justifiable.  They can go full Bootstrap:


1.  We are making everyone buy a gun,  because guns are a social, collective expense. Guns are a social, collective expense,  because there is a law requiring everyone to buy one.

2.  If everyone buys a gun,  the gun system will be more efficient, and the price per gun will come way down.  By failing to buy a gun, they are inflicting cost on other people by making the prices higher than they could have been.   These victims of their negligence cannot avoid the increased expense, because after all, buying guns is mandatory.

3.  Also, in emergencies, people who think they don't need a gun will borrow a gun from someone else,  because we also passed a law that if someone asks to borrow a gun,  they have to be given one.  It is unfair to let them free ride on this law we passed.



I feel like something is missing.


Probably the part where owning a gun is a necessary and inevitable part of everyone's life at some point. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I thought I made that clear


Buying a gun is mandatory.  Therefore it is necessary to buy one,  and inevitable if we apply enough force.  That's precisely the logic of the EMTALA/collective cost argument. You've made something collective by fiat,  and then say that its collective nature justifies regulating it.


I suppose what you mean is that health care is "naturally" necessary and inevitable.  Fine, but I don't see how you get from there to "collective".  


Why, for example, does this "naturally" necessary and inevitable business stop at the national border?   If there can be a border between Canada and the US for the purposes of health care,  such that they are not part of one collective,  why can't there be a border between Julia and you?






Borders can be closed in the event of an epidemic, or at least steps taken, quarantines, etc., to limit flow.


You can't close a border between next door neighbors. For that matter, in the US you can't even close borders between states. You are also not likely to find yourself in a hospital next to a Canadian tourist, but very likely to find yourself next to other American residents. Diseases are transmitted within hospitals at quite higher rates than elsewhere, for obvious reasons. You are also likely to be infected from a neighbor from insect-borne diseases such as Dengue or the chikungunya virus, both of which are transmitted from human to human by mosquitoes.


Canada, since you mentioned it, implemented screening at airports during the SARS outbreak, which in terms of what's possible was really quite a mild and limited epidemic.


All this said, international borders are certainly porous, which is all the more reason to fund organizations such as the World Health Organization. An international health collective is not practical or realistic. Is it desirable?


In some ways it is. Superbugs appearing in places like India where antibiotic use is indiscriminate while hygiene is low could be prevented if an international organization could set and enforce protocols for antibiotic use everywhere. These bugs are now working their way out of India and have been found in South Africa and the UK. In other ways it would be problematic. The economics would be insanely difficult since costs and compensation vary so widely around the world. Also, big chunks of national economies are involved, and nobody will be keen to give up sovereignty over so much economic activity. But the biggest problem is probably cultural. Health is closely intertwined with cultural taboos and religion. Life and death inevitably are.


Even if an international (I'd rather think of it as "species wide") collective is desirable from a scientific point of view, it's a total non-starter politically, and not just in the US. So you are really raising a straw man. It is just a version of the specter of One World Government that rallies the Tea Party troops, but has no basis in reality, at least where health systems are concerned.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

I think trading in the same currency is a pretty good


start at defining a collective market. Falling under the same set of laws would be another one. I thought you were a big believer in legal fictions like "constitutions" and the notion that we're all bound in a national polity.  


I think health care is naturally collective. If you live in a small town of 50 souls, and you have exactly one doctor, one nurse and one shabby clinic that also functions as a trauma center, then you naturally have to share that doctor's and nurse's time and abilities with your neighbors. If you get the flu and your neighbor gets an axe stuck in their head, you're going to get triaged out until the doctor can see you. If both you and your neighbor are grievously injured in a chainsaw throwing contest, the doctor might have to make a life-and-death decision about which one of you to save. Your medical needs are balanced against those of your neighbors.  


All of which is to say: the doctor's time and training represent a finite resource. Regardless of how you actually pay the doctor for her services (fee-for-service, private insurance, public health program, livestock), you and your neighbors are in fact sharing access to that resource. If you can pay more, if you and your neighbors strike it rich, or the population doubles, etc., you might be able to afford a second doctor, or better medical training for the one you have, fancier equipment, better medicines, etc. But regardless of all that, you are all sharing the resource on the basis of "it's there if you need it."  


Owning a firearm isn't the same, but firearms in general might be. If you think about it, we aren't all forced to purchase a gun, but we are all forced to purchase guns for the local police, not to mention training and salaries for the cops. Because security is a collective good, it is one we should (and generally do) pay for collectively. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Poor decision on the triage.


Flu is a contagious and potentially serious illness.   On the other hand,  a man with an axe in his head can easily wait around for a day or two.   And a pro-tip:  if you're going to get in a chainsaw fight,  you don't want to throw it: you want one of these.


I find your finite resource argument unconvincing,  or rather, it's another "Everything" argument that proves too much.  Sure,  I "share" the doctor's time,  just as I share the plumber's,  mechanic's,  and chainsaw-fu trainer's time.    One might argue that doctors are scarcer,  but then one would need to discuss which institutions are responsible for that scarcity and explain why they should be given further authority over the situation.


But even if we buy into the finite resource argument,  then there's this:  "Regardless of how you actually pay the doctor for her services (fee-for-service, private insurance, public health program, livestock)..."   Exactly!  Couldn't have put it better myself.   The way I pay for it is a separate problem from the allocation of the time.  You haven't explained how the finiteness makes it necessary that we all pay through some coordinated, centralized mechanism. 


Perhaps the argument is that the rich are outbidding the poor for the forever-fixed amount of doctor's time,  in some kind of lethal zero-sum game?  Good luck selling Obamacare that way: "We need to decrease medical services received by the middle and upper class, they are getting more than their fair share."  

Now's probably not a good time to mention my malpractice


insurer declined to issue a policy and even to answer my phone calls.  

I find your finite resource argument unconvincing

Not at all, since you basically repeated the notion back to me: we share access to doctors just as we share access to plumbers, mechanics, telephone sanitizers, telemarketers, etc. Any resource we may want or need that other people have equal access to is "shared" in this way.  


We've been through my argument for why fee-for-service is a bad payment model for health care a half dozen times, and I doubt you'll find it any more convincing this time around. Basically, if you'll recall, it's that insurance is the ideal way to pay for health care because medical needs are a) inevitable, b) unpredictable and c) potentially ruinously expensive. There's also the fact that when we are sick or injured we "need" a doctor in a way that we never "need" a pool cleaner or a Knights of Columbus parade. So I guess I would add one item: a) inevitable, b) unpredictable, c) life-and-death important, and d) potential for financial ruin.  


Item c) is what makes it more acceptable to think about forcing people to pay in advance for medical care than it would be to force people to pay in advance for, say, lawn care. One's important, one is just suburban vanity. You, along with Ken Cucinelli and a number of smartass conservative justices have pointed out that items a) and c) would apply to food and water as well, so why not force people to buy broccoli insurance, yuck, yuck, yuck. The answer of course is that items b) and d) are not true for our need for food and water.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



but: "freedom."

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw



what a scary cartoon.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw

Death panels turned on their makers


Boehner lies about Republicans and about the budget deal in order to slam the Tea Partiers:


"I came here to cut the size of government -- that's exactly what this bill does. And why conservatives wouldn't vote for this -- or criticize the bill -- is beyond any recognition I could come up with."


Asked if he believes the groups should "stand down," Boehner responded, "I don't care what they do."


Well, except the bill increases government spending and government fees on things like airport travel. But it might be a little late for Republicans to demand that Republicans get their facts checked.

While on the Boehner topic

brutusettu's picture

Boehner reaction to one of the Heritage think tanks pretending they weren't a big part of the plan to stop payroll  from being sent out/government shutdown, just priceless.



As was Wisc Ryan's jaw dropping upon hearing Rubio's fear mongering about the Senate ruining Christmas or something by not trying to ruin the economy nonstop. 

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Felo De Se, Huntsman Style

M Scott Eiland's picture

I'd say that Mr. Boehner has tired of his position, and yearns for greener pastures.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I find this response fascinating


From an anthropological point of view. Because of who you are... you're a party-loyalty kind of guy, and I wouldn't put you in the extreme right, either.


Boehner criticizes -- not the base, as you claim -- but the Heritage/Club for Growth/Rush axis, and you choose to take sides with them over the guy that is trying to keep the focus on Obamacare, rather than make another Quixotic leap over the budget cliff. Wow.


If like you the Republican base now has more sympathy for the ideological exoskeleton of the GOP than it has for the GOP itself, that is very good news for the Democratic party. Because if the exoskeleton eats the body inside, then you'll be left with just a shell -- no guts, no heart, and no brains.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

It's Not That Hard To Understand

M Scott Eiland's picture

Being unable to defend his own actions to a political ally without attacking them is a sign of incompetence. That's true whether it's Smedley Wimpington XV doing it in his campaign or Speaker Boehner preferring to call fellow Republicans in favor of budget discipline crazy rather than justify his own actions.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



I wonder if McConnell feels the people that are funding his primary opponent are his allies. This is war, but you're only being offended by the salvos from one side.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Allies who don't pick their battles


and who attempt to wrest control of every decision regardless of their track record.


Boehner has been led around by the nose by the Tea Party and been a remarkably weak Speaker. I'm not surprised he's pushing back given the opportunity.

Ted Cruz has been conspicuous by his absence


Perhaps there was a meeting where Republican leadership were given two polls, one showing their approval rating when the Tea Party took its turn on the budget, another showing their approval rating when a government shut-down led by Ted Cruz was not the face of the GOP.

What are you talking about


Until Miley Cyrus overtakes him


She's surpassed Angela Merkel and is hot on his heels.

Something special about his heels? -nt



I don't think so


We've already discussed Cruz's appalling appearance. He suffers from a real lack of gay.

Really? I'm picking Boehner in this fight


What do I know, but from the left it sure looks like the Tea Partiers and the right-wing think-tanks have finally worn out their welcome, after the disastrous shutdown. It's useful to remember that the ultimate power in the GOP comes from the businesses and wealthy individuals, not from the sham-populists or puppet social cons, and brinksmanship without gains was never a winning strategy from Wall Street's perspective. 

Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world -- Tennyson

makes sense


boehner seems like the kind of guy that knows who is watering the astroturf.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw

To me too


I mean, I could be wrong, maybe they really have lost control. 

Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world -- Tennyson

169 house republicans voted in favor of the budget, 62 against


I don't think that counts as losing control.



Chalk this one up for Boehner and the money behind the scenes, at least for now. 

Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world -- Tennyson

Don't Forget Ryan Is Signing Off On This Too

M Scott Eiland's picture

The difference between him and Boehner is that he didn't feel the need to sneer at the base as he did so. Again, the parallel to the horrific egg laid by the Huntsman campaign last year is worth noting.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I read the dynamic more as Ryan


capitulating to the obvious (that is to say, the waning of Tea Party influence) and Boehner twisting the knife to establish that he still calls the shots -- which is in stark contrast to how things stood immediately before the shutdown. The voluntary damage that Cruz, the radical House TPers, and Heritage and the CFG did to both the GOP and to their own credibility and influence is really remarkable. But again, that's just my view from the left.

Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world -- Tennyson

Boehner Might Well Be Playing A Game Here

M Scott Eiland's picture

He may be helping Ryan by intentionally becoming a lightning rod for the base's anger, allowing Ryan to maintain and even increase his prestige at a time when the party is going to start preparing for big gains in 2014 if they can take advantage of the precipituous drop in Obama's approval ratings and the damage to the Democratic brand done by Obamacare's struggles. He's not literally an idiot, so he has to know that taunting the base is not going to be good for his personal political future.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



I don't think anybody is picking up anything substantial in 2014. Certainly not over Obamacare or the shutdown, both ancient history by then. Internal party dynamics heading towards 2016 will be at play.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

The Polls Already Prove You Right On The Shutdown

M Scott Eiland's picture

The fact that the Obama Administration is engaging in blatant stalling to get the more painful parts of the changes associated with Obamacare (bite me, Melissa Harris-Perry and the other race baiting morons at MSNBC) will keep this issue alive and well, since they won't be able to declare it "resolved" with this many shoes waiting to drop.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Good Luck With That


But I'm skeptical, to say the least. The people who hate Obamacare are solid republican. You are preaching to the converted.


If Obamacare is the plan, I'd kindly suggest the GOP have a plan B.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

It's a game, all right...

Jay C's picture

... but more, IMHO, a sort of preemptive move (kind of a series of political "intentional walks" - you may force in a run or two, but put yourself in a better position to set up an vital strikeout): get the budget - and its attendant Congressional argle-bargle - off the table for the current session to avoid yet another PR embarrassment if/when the Teabaggers kick up a fuss. It sounds as if Orange Julius has (finally - for once) got the House GOP lined up in advance to outflank the extremists: which is only what you would expect for a vaguely-competent Speaker: for Boehner, it comes as a surprise. NOT...


Oh, and: expecting to base the 2014 midterms on tak[ing] advantage of the precipituous drop in Obama's approval ratings and the damage to the Democratic brand done by Obamacare's struggles ?? - Fool's game: November '14 is a ways away yet: yes, the GOP might certainly WANT to run against "Obamacare" (again!) - but there's at least an even chance that that will be very much "yesterday's news" come November. We shall see...



So boehner seems like a "lemme take one for the team" kinda guy to you, huh?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw

He's Already Damaged Goods

M Scott Eiland's picture

And no one stays as Speaker forever, and few linger long after losing the position. He might be thinking ahead at this point.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Ha, "fees"

brutusettu's picture



I have a column about the absurdity of Paul Ryan agreeing to raise "fees" but not "taxes," but let's say for the sake of argument that I'm wrong. Taxes and fees are totally different, and it makes total sense to think fees are OK but taxes are evil.

Well we could solve an awful lot of problems that way. For example, I'd love to see us impose a greenhouse gas emissions fee to internalize the social cost of carbon dioxide. On top of that, I think a small additional fee on the use of gasoline would be justified. And of course road congestion fees on crowded highways. 

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Nearly half the country and many powerful people hate professors


Mitch McConnell:


In short, Professor Pillard does not seem like a person with the mindset or temperament of a judge," he said. "She seems like a person with the attitude and disposition of a left-wing academic.


Over and over "professor" is a term of derision among conservatives. 


I'm apprehensive about the portending Asian dominance this century, but there might be some benefits. I don't hear that kind of crap on the Pacific Rim.

Over And Over

M Scott Eiland's picture

Yet not in the quoted sentence (rather, "left-wing academic" was the term used). How very. . .interesting.*

* "'Fascinating' is a word I reserve for the unexpected." --Spock of Vulcan.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



"professor" above was intentionally used to make Pillard sound aloof. Do you believe it was a term of respect? It was part of the attack along with "left wing academic". "academic" itself was also assumed to have negative connotations. 


This is not some isolated incident, the right wing does this all the time. Republicans routinely call Elizabeth Warren "Professor Warren" when attacking her. I know you can hear a mocking "professor" in your head without much effort. 


That doesn't exist for other vocations. Nobody on the left calls Rand Paul "Doctor Paul" when attacking him. Mocking doctors is not widespread. There's some mocking of lawyers of course. But the term "attorney" can't be used as a put-down. Conservatives have led an anti-intellectual movement for decades sucn that many people hear "professor" and think "ivory tower idiot who couldn't make it in business."


Every teacher in America knows the culture is hostile to them. I had lunch with two otherwise conservative military teachers (at least they complained about Obamacare) who teach here at the US military base in Seoul. Both of them are career military folk who have taken many assignments abroad talked about how awful it is in the US to be a teacher compared to being in almost any other country. Conservatives have been very successful in vilifying educators and reducing their pay. We could argue over whose fault it is given that teachers (now) lean heavily Democratic, but let's not play dumb here, "professor" is not typically a title of respect when uttered by a Republican.

And The Attack On A Right Of Center Academic. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .kicked off the modern era of Supreme Court (and now lower courts, since Estrada) nominations, where candidates succeed based on their ability to *not* leave a paper trail (so much for the glories of intellectual freedom). You'd be hard-pressed to find a more vile attack directed by a conservative member of Congress at a domestic liberal political figure than this one, which was directed at a conservative professor.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Unsuprisingly you're interested in who started it


I'll only note that even going back nearly 30 years, Democrats didn't attack Bork *for being a professor*.


M Scott Eiland's picture

They just called him evil for holding judicial ideas they disagreed with, and didn't let the truth or common decency constrain them remotely in doing so. Obviously, a bit of pointed emphasis on "professor" is *far* more hurtful than that.*

*--Yes, that's my sarcastic voice

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Stating the truth is an attack?



Bork was a member of the Nixon administration. When Nixon ordered AG Elliot Richardson to fire Archibald Cox he resigned since he knew it was an illegal order. Then DAG William Ruckelshaus resigned rather than carry it out. Bork succeeded to the office though and went ahead and fired Cox even though he almost certainly knew it was illegal as well. Those actions by themselves were enough to disqualify him from consideration for the Supreme Court.

If Kennedy Had Limited His Attack. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .to the Saturday Night Massacre, I would not have considered his remarks out of line--though there is evidence that Bork was acting in accordance with Richardson's instructions, and therefore with less personal blameworthiness than would have otherwise been the case:


Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to dismiss Cox. The special prosecutor had sought a subpoena for Nixon’s Oval Office tapes, and at the moment the matter was pending at the appellate level. More than anyone else, Nixon realized the precariousness of his position, and he desperately sought to moot the matter by abolishing the special prosecutor’s office. Richardson and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus, informed Solicitor General Bork, then third in command at the Justice Department, that they would resign rather than execute the president’s order. Bork likewise announced his intention to resign, but Richardson urged him to remain at his post and carry out Nixon’s order; Richardson feared that the chain of command would be broken and that the White House would send one of its lawyers to head the department and fire Cox. Thus, the event that became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.”


Still, that was a legitimate thing for Kennedy to point to in order to justify his opposition. The rest of it--the part which gave the speech its title--is the despicable part, and the part that has me hoping that Bork took an unannounced detour to spit on Captain Teddy's grave before he left this existence.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The sourcing in your quoted article


isn't really clear. I know that Bork claimed that Richardson urged him to remain in his memoirs. But is there any other source for that besides Bork himself? If not then I don't put much stock in it.

I Saw Multiple References. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .to that scenario when I did a Google search. It's ultimately your call to decide on how credible it is--and it doesn't change my ultimate conclusion that if Kennedy had attacked him solely on the grounds of the Saturday Night Massacre I might have disagreed, but I wouldn't have found it *morally* blameworthy.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Sure, there's always money to be made


toadying up to the very wealthy.


In America we sometimes call it economics.

Don't particularly like them myself -nt



A lot of women have low self esteem too


and it's often a culturally imbibed kind of thing.

America's Most Wanted: Boeing


Good article here:


Boeing is emblematic of everything the 1% is doing to destroy the middle class: despite being highly profitable, it pays virtually no taxes; it accepts billions of dollars in government subsidies; it is trying to eliminate pensions and cut salaries for its highly skilled workforce; and it is trying to move production away from its unionized workforce.


It's those very wealthy and very grabby folks again.

Submerged ancient city discovered


Very cool story of the discovery and great photos here:

Speaking of lost cities


A mediaeval city in Cambodia was recently uncovered using airborn laser technology.

12 Days of Youtube - Day 1, Baracksdubs


"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

More Cattle Flatulence, Please

M Scott Eiland's picture

 photo 400587_10202802350443817_444509495_n_zpsea645baa.jpg

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

-8 here (that's 17 in old money)


and a freezing fog for the last few days. 


I made the mistake on day 1 of drawing some pictures on the car back windows in the frost to amuse the kids before going on the scrape the frond windows. Now  every morning  I have to produce a new oeuvre on each window or face the tears and reproachful looks.

Not sure if flatulence

aireachail's picture

or tumescence.


Also...what the heck is going on out in Big Bend, TX?

A Sure Sign You're Getting Old. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and that you're not yet fully awake for the day: having to count to thirteen on one's fingers to confirm the identity of the word this article's author is coyly referring to, though context makes it fairly clear that Mr. Kidd was using Samuel L. Jackson's favorite obscene gerund for the occasion.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The wealthy are getting grabby again


In America, rich people are very into grabbing money from poorer people, whether it's by legal or illegal means. They figure they can get away with it either way.


The economy overall the last 10 years has been based on very wealthy people reducing 90% of all employee's incomes and then pocketing the difference. They've been exceedingly grabby even though these same employees produce more and more wealth every year:

The above is known as wage theft. It need not be intentional, but the wealthy are grabbing what they didn't work for or earn all the same.

Nonsense Catchy,


those are the wealth creators. They are just being rewarded for creating so much wealth for working families in China.

How Many Legs. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .does a horse have if you call its tail a leg?

Answer: Four--calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one.

This has been your Old But Useful Joke Moment Of The Day, brought to you by Prince Albert In A Can.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Wage theft


The dispute in this case focused on employees’ complaints, which they shared with management, that they were being paid a “tipped” wage for spending excessive time performing untipped kitchen work. Under New York law, employees who regularly receive tips may be paid a lower hourly wage and the employer may claim a "tip credit," providing certain circumstances are met.  

Another major national company caught ripping off its own employees in blatant disregard for the law or the well-being of the people squeezed in order to generate profits for the company. I'm sure it's just bad apple #6,231.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Guilty Companies. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .don't make other not-guilty companies guilty by osmosis. I'm sure you aren't in favor of applying such a standard in other areas.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Whereas you yourself are perfectly willing


to extend guilt by osmosis to innocent third parties without batting an eye. At least I can prove motive and opportunity in the present case.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Wage theft


A detailed review of workers’ time cards exposed that supervisors consistently changed employee time cards and workers regularly did not take legally required breaks. According to an expert’s analysis of 216,281 shifts, supervisors shaved employees’ time for 12,873 such shifts, or 5.95% of shifts. With respect to meal breaks, the analysis showed that 4,194 meal start times moved; 11,030 meal end times moved; 4,299 meals were edited to qualify as 30-minute breaks; and 4,316 meals were entirely added. 


The same analysis also showed that out of 56,450 shifts in which employees worked between 10-12 hours, in 56,431 of them, or 99.96%, employees did not take a second 30-minute meal period.  

$4.7 million settlement against a major contractor of the country's largest retailer. I'm sure it's just one bad apple.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Weak labor market, weak labor law enforcement, and weak unions


makes for some ripe pickings among all the grabby folks in the 1%.


One of the worst offenders has to be the banks, where 1/3rd of its tellers are on federal assistance b/c of low pay.


These are the guys who *caused* the weak labor market that they're now taking advantage of, after receiving a federal bailout.


It just never ends with America's rapacious and grabby 1%.

I didn't think people could be both looters *and* moochers


at the same time, but somehow America's rent-seeking, entitlement-sucking, totally unproductive financier class has pulled it off.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

When I saw your comment title I thought you were referring


to Boeing.


It's still shocking to me with these gigantic welfare queens bilking the entire population that averge voters can be distracted by folks who pick up a few hundred a month in disability.


A "mooching and looting" theme could make for a good article series in the right venue.


Someone could write a regular column just using conservative "mooching, welfare queen, looting, grabby" language to cover daily business and financial news.

That''s Unfair


Even your graph shows quite clearly that the grabby (they would say "highly competitive"), are the top 0.1%. The top 1% are barely keeping up with inflation.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

The top 1% are doing a bit better than that


the graph doesn't show capital gains, and it's adjusted for inflation.


But yes, it's more the Kochs and the Waltons who deserve to have their taxes quintupled.

But They Should Do A Bit Better


The point is that everybody should do a bit better than inflation over a 10 year period. Standard of living should be rising as technology improves productivity. I think 10% or 11% is just about right. It's a whopping 1% a year, which is actually less than the average productivity gain over the period, which is around 2%.


It's really the top 0.1% and the top 0.01% where all the money is going. Kochs and Waltons are the ones with that kind of power over the system, not some moderately successful small business owner or professional.


Politically, this is not a trivial point. There are a lot of people in the top 1% who don't feel at all like they are making huge gains, because they aren't, and yet are wealthy enough to be significant political contributors in the aggregate. It makes no sense to threaten this group. It's both unfair and politically a bad idea.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Interesting point about the politics


I'd thought of people differentiating the .01 from the 1% as making mostly a technical as opposed to political point. So that's interesting.


As for the fairness issue, it's also true that a lot of the merely 1% are doctors, dentists, executives etc. who are simply overpaid. Or so it seems to me.


Doctors and dentists of course have a cartel and artificially restrict their supply so as to earn at least twice what they'd earn in any other country.


Many executives are working positions of privilege in companies where their relatives work. I have two sets of cousins who all work for the businesses my uncles own, some of their spouses included. Really nice people who I like very much, but since they're already overpaid compared to median incomes I don't see why they should be increasing more from their base rate, especially when their taxes are so low. 


With current levels of inequality, my rough sense is that you can't have everyone increase their incomes at close to the rate of productivity because those at the top are making so much more than everyone else. That goes for the top 1 - .5% too. They're making more than 10x the average worker, some of them 20x. These aren't all CEOs with tons of responsibility or creative entrepreneurs, many are vice presidents of marketing or doctors or lawyers.


I don't know if it's politically smart, but let's not pretend the 1 - .5% are all risk-taking small business owners who are engines of growth and employment in the country. My sense of what's overall valuable to the economy and fair is telling me to go ahead and significantly raise taxes in on the 1%.


I think it's trickier once you get down into the 2.5% range which unfortunately marginal rates encompass.




I Don't Really Agree


Some of the terms you use are entirely subjective. What is "overpaid", exactly?


But the broader problem is that you misunderestimate the cost of those jobs to those who hold them. Being a corporate VP these days is brutal. You need to get some corporate experience to understand not only the stress of those jobs but also their fragility. Not to mention, geography plays a part you are not looking at. In many areas of the country, "top 1%" income is really not that high.


And I would add that our context here is income tax. One way to make things fair is to crank up capital gains. Raising income tax is not a very good idea for all but the very top earners. Perhaps on the upper 0.5%. Certainly not the upper 2.5% and I have my doubts on the top 1% as well (of labor income earners).

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

I'm using essentially the language you apply to poorer people


or folks who support slightly higher tax rates. "Grabby" is your term, so I don't see where you get off complaining about the language in general.


Since your facts are backwards (as shown above) and it's in fact the very rich who are grabby, why not turn your language over to those who apply it more accurately?

Even under the *legal* wage reduction methods

brutusettu's picture

wage theft seems far more prevalent than the reported incidents.



For the stuff that is actual wage theft, lunches worked through, less breaks than minimum in the contracts, minimum wage workers or those very near have too big of paycheck deductions to pay for gear they need to wear/use on the job etc.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

"Gang-nim Style" was popular according to ABC

brutusettu's picture



As a turn of good fortune, one of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown series was posted there.  



Keyboard: Check

Heavy use of the Kick drum: Check

Dual Vocals: Check


Just take out the most guttural of growling from some of her vocals.   

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Safe Journeys, Mr. Halladay

M Scott Eiland's picture

2010 NL Cy Young Award winner and 2011 Cy Young runner-up Roy Halladay calls it a career. Another object lesson in why giving even the greatest of pitchers more than five years guaranteed is folly--one that one hopes Dodger management and fans have fully absorbed before the Clayton Kershaw contract negotiations get serious.

Halladay will be an interesting Hall of Fame argument about ten years from now, but I suspect he'll wait for a while even if he gets in--he doesn't quite meet the Koufax/Pedro standards of short-term domination that would get him in easily, but he was a fantastic pitcher at his best and deserves at least a glance from the writers before he gets passed off to whatever form the Veterans' Committee is in twenty years from now.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Protecting The Brand Name

M Scott Eiland's picture

Anyone worrying about MSNBC losing its left wing lunatic mojo with Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir going down in flames can relax: world-class dingbat Melissa Harris Perry is more than up to making up for the slack until the next pseudo-Olbermann can be hired.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Year's most popular and important video


It's better on mute.

brutusettu's picture

Something so beautiful,  inspired by something so disturbing.





btw Psy will still beat that video cover in total views and very likely in views per day for this year.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Maybe I'm not such a left-center weenie


This still has the power to delight me.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

good man


Imagine the good that could be done with an ascedant warren wing in the D party and the D party in power.

Ds havent figured out how to make it happen yet, but it doesnt strike me as impossible either.

Me Too

M Scott Eiland's picture

I have a feeling that a lot of Democrats will be cursing Scott Brown's name on Election Night 2016 for his failure to do a better job of holding his seat in 2012. I was too young to remember the election of 1972, but the homage to it in 2016 promises to be loads of fun.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

McGovern was an antiwar candidate when war


was the biggest contention in national politics, not a populist candidate when economic issues were the big dividing line of the day. Very different times. Still, I don't Sen. Warren is ready to be a national leader, and seems to be enjoying her role as gadfly quite a bit more (she says she's serving out her term, for the record). 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


M Scott Eiland's picture

So, McGovern was an antiwar candidate when the country was tired of the Vietnam War, and Warren is a (collectivist) populist in a time when the left of the party is (allegedly) ready to start seizing stuff? Whatever difference in kind that exists there seems unlikely to be *helpful* to Warren as a candidate (particularly for those who remember how it worked out when they nominated McGovern.

As for that statement about serving out her term. . .

" I will serve out my full six-year term." --Senator Barack H. Obama, January 22, 2006, in an interview with Tim Russert. The equivalent date relative to the 2016 election is exactly 47 days away.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

So Warren has different platforms, runs against different


opponents, her party and the opposition party are both wildly different in demographics, and the entire country is in a very different place than it was in in 1972. Oh and we're not at war. And you don't see a difference.  


I think you're a talented, interesting, funny guy with a unique viewpoint and some formidable debate skills... but your ability to mangle a syllogism is second to none. Once again you haven't so much strained the analogy as ripped it clean out of the rotator cuff and left the gristle hanging out.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

great news!


Populist, collectivist, etc.

Her economic ideas are just popular MScott. No need to complicate the picture even though the wealthy and powerful prefer it that way.

Scott Brown will be our next president?


Did I just read that right?

Honorable Nixon won in '72

brutusettu's picture


"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa


M Scott Eiland's picture

And we were rid of him by mid-August 1974. McGovern we would have been stuck with. Good thing that Agnew had his own problems and was gone long before then. But the changes put in motion in 1972 gave the Democrats Jimmy Carter as a nominee in 1976, leading directly to the Reagan Revolution in 1980.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I think no


as in no, he won't be our next president, and no, you didn't read it right.


Scott Brown allowed Elizabeth Warren to come to prominence.   Elizabeth Warren wins the nomination in 2016.  Dems lose in the same way they lost when they nominated McGovern in 1972.


So, Scott Brown's incompetence leads to Ted Cruz as President. 

warren's already said she isnt running


I cant follow this constant superimposition of past politics onto present circumstances.

See #311559

M Scott Eiland's picture

Doesn't seem to be a terribly difficult narrative to follow.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

It's good to have someone around who speaks Eilandese. -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Reminder about how much the labor market still sucks


A 200k+ employment report and the unemployment rate falling to 7.0% has lots of people talking about the Fed tapering and a more robust recovery.


My reminder is that we're still more than a million jobs short of making up all the jobs we lost more than 5 years ago.


Worse, the % of the population employed is right where it was at the very bottom of this recession and hasn't really budged. All the job growth the US has had during the recovery has been just enough to keep pace with a growing pop. But the employment to pop ratio is still at levels not seen regularly since the mid 1970s: 

Wrong metric


It's distorted by the fading of the baby boom. The straight-up unemployment rate is a better measure. We're not in a good state, but we've been worse.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs



If it was a baby boom effect you would not see the drastic step change in 2008-2009, but a gradual curve, ongoing at that, starting in 2010.


So, no. Nice try though.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

One day


I hope you open your mind to the possibility of a world driven by multiple variables.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Nicest Way For You To Admit


That was the nicest, most elegant way for you to admit that you are partly wrong.


I do recognize multiple variables. It's just that there is usually a high order bit, as Steve Jobs would say. It is rare for two independent variables to have equal weight on a given outcome. Not impossible, but rare.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

I don't think it was a "try" to white wash


It's an oft repeated idea that increased rates of retirement is a significant factor in the low working population % in America. I read it even in the WPost's wonkblog, for example.


Brad DeLong has regularly posted on why that factor explains at most 10% of the drop in the employment-to-population ratio.

Very wrong. It's a much more accurate measure


of the health of the labor market than the unemployment rate.


The unemployment rate is very inaccurate because it doesn't measure all the folks who would like a job but have given up because there are none to be had. See the participation rate above.


On straight demogaphics, the baby boom retirees at best count for a 1% decline in the employment-to-population ratio, yet it has fallen by more than 4%.  


As Brad DeLong and others have argued, however, it's highly likely in worse economic times that retirees will keep working, especially when their homes are worth much less than they thought, etc. So the change in the % of elderly over the past five years likely hasn't affected the % of people who wish to be employed in the economy. In fact, it may have overwhelmed the 1% change mentioned above.


So the fact that the employment-to-population ratio is stubbornly stuck at just over 58%, wiping out 40 years of increase, means the US economy is still very sick.

Oh, something is happening


But you're hyping it way too much, is all I'm saying. In the 40 years you're talking about, the over 65 group has nearly doubled in percentage points. You got your graph from Calculated Risk... here he has graphs that break it down by age group. As you can see, the 25-54 participation rate has decreased only very slightly, probably because of a higher rate of going back to school. If you look at the long-term trend for men that age, it seems that stay-at-home dads might be registering in the statistics. Of course there has been some quitting the workforce, and no doubt some of it has been because of this dismal recession we just had, but lot of it has been a longer term trend that pre-dated the financial crisis... it seems to have started in the late 90s. As Bill McBride himself says, it's mainly demographics that's driving the dramatic change.


And on its face... do you really want to say that labor participation is a much more accurate picture of the labor market than the unemployment rate? That would mean that at the depths of the recent recession, we were still better off than during the 60s boom, when unemployment was in the 2-3% range. I think not.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

OK there's a discrepancy between reputable economists


DeLong and McBride both predicted the housing bubble and the former says changing demographics is at most 10% of the picture while McBride says it's more than 50%.


So I'm agnostic on the issue until I have a chance to evaluate the arguments, which is what the gods of reasoning demand.


Thanks wags for the info on calculatedrisk's view -- I didn't remember him weighing in with so many specifics.

30 sex abusing priests in one small state?


That seems like a lot.

Joe the Biden gave a speech


I went to the one mentioned in this article:


At an elite university in South Korea, Biden pushed back against those who doubt America's resolve to expands its footprint in Asia


That's where I work. 


Biden's speech was OK. A nice tribute to Nelson Mandela, and some interesting remarks about how it's important to allow young people to question authority, think for themselves, and break with the mold. He made some similar remarks in China, and that seemed like a message he was personally communicating to the region:


"Children in America are rewarded — not punished — for challenging the status quo," Biden said. "The only way you make something totally new is to break the mold of what was old."


Biden mentioned in his speech that he had just been in Beijing and people were actually happy about the sun shining since it's often blotted out by pollution. "And I'm not being facetious," he said. Yes, Joe, China's pollution is terrible, it sometimes makes Seoul's terrible, and it only takes 4 days to get to the US's west coast via the jet stream. Which is why it would've been better if you'd emphasized environmental standards instead of copyrights and patents when talking about Asian pacific trade agreements.


The vast majority of people want to breath clean air, eat healthy food, and drink clean water, and don't care as much about a few companies being able to charge more for their CDs, movies, pills, etc.


EDIT: I wasn't sure if there was any new policy or anything in the speech, I figured it was basically a rehash, but the following comments are being reported as news re: China's Air Defense Zone:


We do not recognize the zone.  It will have no effect on American operations.  Just ask my General.  None.  Zero.



The only way you make something totally new is to break the mold of what was old."


He said that to the "young people of China"? Is he an idiot or a #$%^#$er?


What's next? Off to Cambodia to urge a fresh new start. A Year Zero? Maybe the Germans need some encouragement to implement a Final Solution to the fiscal problems caused by the inferior races of Europe. 

Nyoos, you've exceeded the standard for the two asterisk


rule to such an extent that I have no idea what the censored word is.  Usually, I wouldn't care but you ask a question and I can't possibly answer it because your censored word might be a better choice than 'idiot', and given that it's a word that you feel requires censoring, it probably is a better choice.


I know folks like to heap blame on Obama, but in this case I think it's justified.  We've had too many "Joe, your mouth is open and making noise.  Fix that." kind of moments for Obama to be off the hook here.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 



it's not a swear word but rather my entry to this years Obfuscatee C Code competition.


Those 6 characters if compiled and run will download themselves to your MBR and, on reboot replace all your family photos with Official Joe Biden White House Publicity Photos.





its such a platitude to say such things in US culture that its easy to miss the resonances elsewhere.... 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw

Air pollution in China, Shanghai edition


Here's Shanghai earlier today, the least polluted major city in China (reuters reports):

Yesterday in Seoul, the winds were blowing directly from China and authorities recommended staying in doors for the first time in 4 months since I moved to the city.

We used to have days like that in Dublin


A cold night with some moisture in the air and ever house in the city heated with a coal fire. 



but one thing that bugs me about such photos is that you can't really tell from what distance (i.e. thru how much smog) the photographer is shooting. i mean, its horrible however you slice it.... but that could be a very long cropped shot.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw

Important Report


Everyone Starting New Exciting Stage Of Life Except You


NEW YORK—A new 400-page report released Monday by the Pew Research Center confirmed that everyone—absolutely everyone—other than you is starting new, exciting phases of their lives and careers.

Might As Well Close The Voting

M Scott Eiland's picture

This year's most deserving Darwin Award winners are of the glow in the dark variety.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I think it's worth pointing out that while it's wrong to steal,


it's also wrong to leave cobalt-60 medical equipment in a public place where people can get at it. There've been a number of incidents where unregistered ionizing radiation sources from medical equipment have been scrapped or sold off to unsuspecting people, including the Juarez Incident which spread contaminated metal from Mexico to Canada, and the frankly appalling Goiânia accident.  

The Instituto Goiano de Radioterapia (IGR), a private radiotherapy institute in Goiânia, was just 1 km (0.62 mi) northwest of Praça Cívica, the administrative center of the city. It moved to its new premises in 1985, leaving behind a caesium-137-based teletherapy unit that had been purchased in 1977. The fate of the abandoned site was disputed in court between IGR and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, then owner of the premises. 


The owners of IGR wrote several letters to the National Nuclear Energy Commission, warning them about the danger of keeping a teletherapy unit at an abandoned site, but they could not remove the equipment by themselves once a court order prevented them from doing so. 

So the facility -- along with the freaking radiation emitter -- are tied up in litigation. Then...

On September 13, 1987, the guard in charge of daytime security, Voudireinão da Silva, did not show up to work, using a sick day to attend a cinema screening of Herbie Goes Bananas with his family. That same day, "scavengers" Roberto dos Santos Alves and Wagner Mota Pereira illegally entered the partially demolished facility, found the teletherapy unit – which they thought might have some scrap value – and placed it in a wheelbarrow, taking it to Alves's home, about 0.6 kilometres (0.4 mi) north of the clinic. There, they began dismantling the equipment. That same evening, they both began to vomit. Nevertheless, they continued in their efforts. The following day, Pereira began to experience diarrhea and dizziness and his left hand began to swell. He soon developed a burn on this hand in the same size and shape as the aperture - he eventually had partial amputation of several fingers. On September 15, Pereira visited a local clinic where his symptoms were diagnosed as the result of something he had eaten, and he was told to return home and rest. Alves, however, continued with his efforts to dismantle the equipment, which was now sitting under a mango tree in his back yard. In the course of this effort, he eventually freed the caesium capsule from its protective rotating head. However, his prolonged exposure to the radioactive material led to his right forearm becoming ulcerated, requiring amputation.

Clearly Alves is neither a bright nor a lucky man, at best a scraphunter, at worst a thief. But when you leave unsecured materials where thieves can get them, the thieves don't only hurt themselves...

On September 16, Alves succeeded in puncturing the capsule's aperture window with a screwdriver, allowing him to see a deep blue light coming from the tiny opening he had created. 

Possibly Cherenkov radiation. Word to the wise: if you are in the vicinity of a radiation source strong enough to give off an eerie blue glow, you've got problems. If only that were the end of the story. 

On September 18, Alves sold the items to a nearby scrapyard. A scrapyard employee came to the house, loaded the contents into a wheelbarrow, transported them to the yard, and unloaded them. That night, the owner, Devair Alves Ferreira, who lived next door to the scrapyard, went into the garage and noticed the blue glow from the punctured capsule. Thinking the capsule's contents were either valuable or even supernatural, he immediately brought it into his house. Over the next three days, he invited friends and family to view the strange glowing substance and offered a reward to anyone who could free it from the capsule. He mentioned that he intended to make a ring out of it for his wife, Gabriela Maria Ferreira. On September 21 at the scrapyard, a friend of Ferreira's (given as EF1 in the IAEA report) succeeded in freeing several rice-sized grains of the glowing material from the capsule using a screwdriver. He shared some of these with his brother, claimed some for himself, and the rest remained in the hands of Ferreira, who readily began to share it with various friends and family members. That same day, his wife, 37-year-old Gabriela Maria Ferreira, began to fall ill. 

Now here's a guy who probably knowingly bought stolen material, but also completely unaware of the danger as he begins giving out little glowing pellets of Cesium-137 to friends and neighbors. And then... 

On September 25, 1987, Devair Alves Ferreira sold the scrap metal to another scrapyard. On September 24, Ivo, Devair's brother, scraped dust out of the source, taking it to his house a short distance away. There he spread some of it on the cement floor. His six-year-old daughter, Leide das Neves Ferreira, later ate a sandwich while sitting on the floor. She was also fascinated by the blue glow of the powder, and applying it to her body, showed it off to her mother. Dust from the powder fell on the sandwich she was consuming; she eventually absorbed 1.0 GBq, total dose 6.0 Gy, which is roughly equal to 13 Sv. 

A full-body dose of 8 Sv is considered invariably fatal, regardless of the speed or effectiveness of treatment. In Leide's case, the local hospital she was brought to confined her to an isolated room, and the staff was afraid to approach her. She died on Oct. 23, just under a month after spreading Cesium-137 powder on herself like glitter. She was buried in a special fiberglass coffin, but even so about 2000 residents rioted at the cemetery, protesting what they saw as a danger.


Two of her uncle's employees also died of acute radiation sickness in October, as did her aunt Gabriela, who probably saved lives by deducing that all the sickness around the 4-5 households seemed to derive from the blue glowing metal. She brought samples to the local hospital. In a plastic bag. On the bus. Luckily, plastic is a fairly good radiation shield. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Not to be pedantic (ok to be


Not to be pedantic (ok to be pedantic) but plastic is a good shield for some radiation, namely beta particles, which may otherwise harm people.  And it must be thicker than a baggie and it is used because it doesn't cause damaging bremsstrahlung gamma radiation, while lead shielding would.  Lead would cause secondary bremsstrahlung photons to be emitted, which are ionizing and therefore damaging.


Cs137 is a beta emitter which decays to barium 137 which is primarily a gamma emitter but with high energy photons.  The plastic baggie wouldn't stop those.


Point is, the beta emitters are dangerous, folks!

Thanks, wasn't sure about that remark in the reporting.


The woman probably did save lives by coming forward, though I doubt the plastic bag was much of a shield. And of course she was too late to save her own life, or her niece's or the others.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

No doubt about her saving


No doubt about her saving lives.  Smearing that stuff on your body is a terrifying thought.  Those scenarios are straight out of some mad radiation safety manual.  


"Do not worship strange blue glowing pellets"

"Do not let your children eat powdered death or use it to decorate their skin"


Funny in the abstract but terrifying in reality.  What we don't know can kill us.  Your original comment was very informative and entertaining, though.  I'd never heard that story.

I liked "They will, without a doubt, die!"


A statement with absolutely zero possibility of being wrong regardless of radiological exposure.  Other newsworthy and truly informative quotes "The sun will rise at dawn." and "You can find the ocean down by the beach."

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 


M Scott Eiland's picture

A lot of young voters apparently became racist for no apparent reason. Whatever moonbat replaces Martin Bashir has some serious scolding to catch up on to keep the suckers in line.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



yeah, young people seem to be flocking to the republicans in droves because they offer such a great alternative health care policy.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw

Wrong, nilsey. Young people are flocking Republican


because the Republicans offer freedom. Freedom from 39.5% tax brackets. Freedom from estate taxes. Freedom to pull their money out of public schools and sink it into elite private academies (if they have kids) or invest it in online college scams (if they don't). Freedom to run businesses that pollute the environment. Freedom from onerous leverage limits, capital requirements, disclosure requirements. Freedom from anti-trust laws, which constrain young people's ability to rent the road and sell the car you drive on it and the gas that makes it go. Freedom to game insurance funds to extract the maximum possible profits while offloading catastrophic expenses onto other people. Freedom from any civic responsibility except of course defense spending. 


Why would young people buy into the moocher society when they could have Woodstock 2.0: Preferred Stock? Freedom is just another word for nothing for the losers.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


M Scott Eiland's picture

Wanted: professional moonbat to replace one who said s*** when he had a mouthful.. Please apply at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, underneath the Keith Olbermann Memorial Drool Bib Dispenser.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

In related news

brutusettu's picture

How many times is does Palin go around saying "this isn't racist"???  Amp up the "Dems are teh realz racist" crowd, good grift she has there.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Funny How. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .hysterical overaccusations of racism lead to that. It's almost as if some people engage in it as a means of shutting their political enemies up and need to be called on it (either by pointing out their own similar behavior or outright mocking their idiocy).

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Still curious to how often she invokes that during her grifting

brutusettu's picture

It's possibly a very nice nutpucking and inaccurately paraphrasing gig she has there.   She sure as hell laid it on nice and thick that time, made sure she let her customer base know about how teh overused race card that helps the blahs and such.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Not Curious At All

M Scott Eiland's picture

Random Person: How many people does it take to screw in a--?

Countless Online Moonbats: RACIST!!! SEXIST!!! HOMOPHOBE!!!

Might as well get ahead of the crowd.

As for the specific case--anyone who has ever used the phrase "wage slave" and supports Martin Bashir in this is a hypocrite.*

*--as of now, I have no knowledge that this description applies to anyone here: jump on that grenade at your own peril.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

COM? Maybe I'm skimming through the wrong sites

brutusettu's picture

Anyway, nice shtick she has there, shame if a non-comedian made a poop joke about her.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

UK's Osborne says vindicated by growth rebound


The UK's economy looks like it's going to grow between 1 - 2% this year but is still -2.5% smaller than it was 5 years ago, anemic growth not seen in well over a century. 


In the next worst recession, the UK's economy was nearly 6% larger 5 years from its start. At this point in the Great Depression, the UK's economy had grown by over 7% compared to the beginning of the downturn.


Lowered expectations, it's a way of life in the West. 

Joe Biden in East Asia


Making remarks to a group of students in China that are censored by Chinese media:


"Innovation can only occur when you can breathe free, challenge the government, challenge your teachers, challenge religious leaders," Biden said.

Get ready for more Benghazi


I'm seeing breaking reports of a US citizen shot and killed in Libya. 

Princess Vader


Proof that Dems are terrible people


"We're not afraid of the burglars," Miller said, "because we've been burgled twice and they took nothing." [...] He [Schumer] sleeps on a mattress next to the kitchen. He half-made his bed for our visit, which Durbin said was a lot more effort than Schumer usually makes. [...] The freezer doesn't work. The refrigerator is a sight to behold, but exactly what you would imagine based on the rest of the house: beer cans and old food [...] Since the only visible cookware is a kettle so rusty and old that Miller joked it was a gift from Ben Franklin, the three men resort to the easiest meal possible: cold cereal. [...] "When my wife comes, she will not stay here," Schumer confessed. [CNN]

Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world -- Tennyson

Yes, actually he is


a terrible person.   Right now he's actively working to undermine Obama's Middle East negotiations.   He's advocated "strangling" Palestinians economically because "they don't believe in the Torah, in David".  He wants to "defeat" not any particular enemy, but the entire Arab world in general.   He's a supporter of the Patriot Act and the NDAA and has fought against bills that limit their effect.   He's been for and against torture depending on political expendiency.


A mattress on the floor is way too good for him.  I'd support letting him sleep on a grate on the sidewalk.

Schumer's terrible


He hates progressives and they hate him.


He encapsulates a lot of what's wrong with the D party, especially b/c he comes from such a blue state.


Imagine TX putting up a senator as liberal as Schumer is conservative.


Durbin's another piece of work and still trying hard to cut social security, despite coming from another true blue state. I'd say the D party can't be reformed but the more recent D senators are typically much better than these guys (forget Cory Booker).


Anyway ... it's almost as if our set of issues fall under the same umbrella of not wanting a narrow faction of powerful interests to supercede the majority's. 


... hey!! since when are you supposed to spell it "supersedes"?? that just earned me a fricken red underline in my browser! I hate that sh&t! Get off my lawn! I do older variant spellings sometimes you IT whipper snappers!

Heh. Well, Good Luck, Chuck!

Jay C's picture

To be honest, Chuck Schumer isn't near as bad as he might be: with just a couple of notable exceptions, most of his his positions are stock liberal/centrist stuff: his main problem is that the exceptions are on major issues of some emotion for progressives: One: he's widely seen as "The Senator From Wall Street" - unfortunately, when you represent New York, it kinda comes with the territory - I don't know if Sen. Schumer has had any input into, or responsibility for, the paucity of any real reforms in this country's financial system (even if so, I'm sure he hasn't been alone) - one can only hope, should any serious reform movement take hold, that he wouldn't be TOO much of a roadblock: but I'm not holding my breath waiting for either outcome...


The other issue, of course, as we see, is the Middle East. Unfortunately, anything to do with Israel seem to bring Chuck's Inner Likudnik out in force: whether he really IS that hysterical/belligerent, or just thinks that that is what's going to play with one hometown "base" or another (my guess is "donor base", YMMV) - it's still very much not helpful. Which opinion, as a constituent, I will be only too happy to convey ...



Schumer tries to smooth things over at dailykos


Claiming he spoke "unartfully" when he said:


Isaac Chotiner: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case?

Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.


Link Here:


Perhaps a deBlasio or two in his home state might push him a bit leftward on national security and banking? prolly not.

Basically agree


although I'm not sure the "because" is completely fair.


Even just recently his comments on the Iran deal were extremely unhelpful. 

Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world -- Tennyson

Apparently There Are Limits After All

M Scott Eiland's picture

Martin Bashir "resigns" from MSNBC.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I was going to say something....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

....along the lines of "the Forvm lives!"  But yeesh, this place is not exactly jumping.

BG, we only ever jumped when we thought you were looking.


Personally, I've been busy. I read comments all the time but to form a good response takes time that I'm sorely lacking.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

You Could Always Start A Thread. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .about socialist city council members making passive aggressive threats to confiscate the means of production if you want to stir things up, Bernard. :-P

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.


Bernard Guerrero's picture

Jumping, no


but that doesn't mean we're dead.   Now since you dropped by,  would you mind turning up that knob on the ventilator and hanging another bag on the IV?

I'm a copywriter by trade,


a beautician by calling.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Jordan, I have to say I'm with Mannish here.


I'll touch up the stubble around my ears every so often but I was shocked to hear you do your own highlights and pedicure.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome.