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February 10, 2010



It's driven HuffPo over the wall, how bad can that be?


And if there's one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, and everybody in between, it's that we all hated the bank bailout that we voted for. I hated it but still voted for it -- (applause.) I hated it but still voted for it. You hated it but still voted for it.

Or is this something Obama and Congress inherited from the last Congress?

David Frum (and numerous JOM commenters)

Ouch, baby. Very ouch. We're parenthetical behind Frum (the Party of One)?


shucks, Clarice beat me.

and, bgates - ouch is right. heh.


From the Joe-The-Plumber Incident now to this stance about $17M is OK for these guys.

Going from Teleprompter Left to Teleprompter Right must have Obama a little dizzy and confused. Can we keep him just on Teleprompter Right and Program the Message ourselves?


Why doesn't someone pay us to put together videos of left Obama and right Obama?

Gabriel Sutherland
And I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth.
Dude? You have to be shitting me.

Doug Wilder was quoted in Politico today expressing his strong disappointment in Obama and urging him to clean house.

Has anyone suggested clinical collective schizophrenia as a diagnosis for the current Administration? They really are the gang that couldn't shoot straight.

And now Sully is getting ripped for being batsh*t crazy.

Clarice, you seem pretty okay. Could it be the water in DC making all these people crazy? Mercury poisoning? Legionnaire's disease? Premature hair loss?

Rick Ballard

"And I, unlike most of the American people, don’t begrudge paying off my puppet masters."

There. All better.


matt, if I knew what made them crazy, I'd work with Rick to make money off that discovery.

ou have to understand this town attracts narcissists..It's Hollywood for not so gorgeous people.

Rick Ballard


I enjoyed your Old Guys piece even more than your excellent current piece. Thank you.

Wrt DC - just remember that it's the only place in the world where men take Viagra to improve their posture.


I see Obama is well on his way to making the same mistake Clinton did on executive pay. Clinton had measures added into the tax code which tied income over a certain threshhold to performance established by an independent compensation committee and ratified by shareholders. The result was that many executives began to manage to achieve the short-term metrics included in their pay plans. Others began to consider accounting stunts that gave birth to the scandals at Enron and Worldcomm.

This shareholder democracy stuff sounds great, but the law of unintended consequences has already had one crack at similar proposals, and should not be given another.


Teleprompter must have been on the fritz, no way that is his actual belief


Charlie Wilson is dead. R.I.P.

Thanks Rick. It's too damned true, unfortunately.


I enjoyed your Old Guys piece even more than your excellent current piece.

Me, too. Well done.


I don't consider it a coincidence that one day after news stories about Wall Street moving its political donations much more to the Republican column that the panhandler in chief is playing kissy face with Wall Street bankers he was demonizing last week.


Well, he fooled them once, ignatz, let's see if he can fool them twice.


Y'all should click on the link TM provided, even if it is to Glenn Sergent. Obama's statement was more a "Gee, bouses should be based more on performances" then the distraught progressive media would have you believe. Now, the last time this was tried (back in 1993), the ultimate tax code provision was watered down, but still utterly pernicious in its effects.


If I don't like compensation or any other thing going on at a corporation, I have options. I can stop buying that company's products. If I own stock I could exercise my rights as a shareholder or I could sell my stock.

Beyond that, I think executives at any company would be out of their minds to give a sh?t what I think!

Melinda Romanoff


When you get enough of the "I Think..." on the opposite side of the trade, in management's case, you better start paying attention.


What you miss is that Goldman has been frontrunning Treasury decisions for two years and making a pile of money. In addition to the AIG payoff of 100% of its counterparty insurance. Insiders made money on the way down and they will clock the regular citizens on the way up.

That said, executive compensation in privately owned companies is none of the government's business.

However, egregiously high pay of the new robber baron public workers is the public's business.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Adding a $1 per pack tax to cigarettes could raise more than $9 billion a year for states, health advocates said on Wednesday, and a poll released with the study shows Americans would support such a tax.
Why don't we hike it by $10 a pack and raise $90 billion a year ... or better yet ... hike it by $100 a pack and raise $900 billion a year ... or much better yet ... hike it by $1000 a pack and raise $9 trillion a year

Yeah ... take's the ticket


Then, start a big go smoke campaign with doctors in white jackets telling people smoking is good for them?


One upside would be that the various Indian Nations would make a *ton* of money to keep the citizenry well smoked.


I'd like a reporter to ask Obama the follow-up question:

How much of the $17 million bonus should he be allowed to keep? What part should be rendered unto Caeser?



I couldn't find it, but awhile ago there was a great parody ad about smoking for the good of school funding.


And I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth.

Yeah, when the President of the United States feels compelled to actually say that, there's a problem.


Especially when most people think it's b.s.


The interesting part of all of this is that the lawyers charged with the responsibility of assuring that the existing or future rules are kept or that crimes are punished are not really up to the task.


Lindak is correct about GS. Also check who has been one of Obama'a biggest $ backers. Bingo GS. This connection should be seriously investigated by the Republicans and brought to the public's attention. I also heard that GS already had sold the CDOs before collecting 100 % on the CDS's!

I Won

Listen, no one works more faithlessly than my wife for no numeration at all.


I know most of you smart JOMers know that Obama and Larry Tribe are full of shit, and you also probably have seen this article, but I am linking to it at the LUN for the benefit of those who haven't.

Cecil Turner

Wow. To clarify the record, A-Rod took steroids, not TARP money.

Okay, but if I'm reading this right, most of the bank bailouts didn't cost the taxpayer a cent. In fact, by far the biggest cost is 47 billion for the auto industry bailout. 20 billion more for home mortgages, 25 billion they assume will be wasted, and you've got practically the whole $99 bil accounted for. (AIG's 9 billion is the outlier.) At this point I'm seeing very little moral high ground for dictating banker bonuses, and quite a bit for perusing the UAW payscales.


Especially when most people think it's b.s.

And when just last week he said "like it or not, we have to have a financial system that is healthy and functioning, so we can’t be demonizing every bank out there."

No, not *every* bank.

Like it or not.

Old Lurker

Matt: "Clarice, you seem pretty okay. Could it be the water in DC making all these people crazy? Mercury poisoning? Legionnaire's disease? Premature hair loss?"

Funny you should ask, Matt. The fact is that vast swaths of the buildings in DC were built connecting the house to city water using lead pipe for the runs from the basements out to the mains. The city water is treated and tests OK, but all of a sudden a couple of years ago, samples of water in the houses spiked with lead content. The engineers (and lawyers) are still arguing, but one suspicion is a change in the treatment chemicals caused higher amounts of lead to contaminate the water than in years past. Obviuosly anyone with a brain and enough money replaced those lines with copper, but tens of thousands of the houses still have the old lead mains in use.

So. That means the Clarice house uses bottled water.


Funny headline at Doug Ross...

"President Currently Trails Ivan the Terrible and Idi Amin for First-Year Performance"

Mike G in Corvallis

Haven't you people ever run into any sociopaths?

They don't give a damn what lies they tell, and they easily change their stories from day to day ... as long as they think they can fool you and control you.

And if you call them on their lies, they act offended to the core that you don't believe them, and they double down on whatever claims they made.


"For the benefit of those who haven't"
Seen the infamous missing 'end of term'/thesis Obama supposedly wrote on Russia/disarmament.

This info from the link Peter put up at 7:07PM may help you decide how accurate the disarmament paper might have been.

"It’s complete nonsense. It shows no understanding of Einstein’s theory of relativity, or of the relationship between relativity theory and Newton’s theory."

My guess is that the same could be said of every paper it can be proven Obama had anything to do with.

Fresh Air

If paying taxes are a "patriotic act," as Joe Biden said, then surely smoking a pack a day for the Motherland must be worthy of a Bronze Star.

Fresh Air


It's unclear what TARP and TALF have costed the taxpayers so far; even less clear what they will cost in the end. Goldman repaid TARP but not TALF, I believe. Zombiebank hasn't repaid either, to my knowledge. The problem with these things is always that the entities that really need the money you don't want to lend to. I don't know if Fraudie and Phoney are named in the original TARP at all. But the subsequent losses on their two portfolios will make everything else look like chicken salad.


Then I deserve a Bronze Star. We smokers are already supporting the schools, so now you'll have to thank us for your health care.

Next time you pass that motley crew out in front of your office building give them the thumbs up!


I think this had more to do with Obama's new found admiration of Wall Street ...

“The expectation in Washington is that ‘We can kick you around, and you are still going to give us money,’ ” said a top official at a major Wall Street firm, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the White House. “We are not going to play that game anymore.”


Speaking of Goldman Sachs..........

Here's one interesting article called:

It Sure Sounds Like Goldman Just Rang The Bell At The Top Of The Shanghai Housing Bubble

It only takes a few seconds to read:)


Now they are trying to smear Palin for wearing a black memorial bracelet for Track (same photos as the writing on her hand). Turns out it's a deployment bracelet, not a memorial bracelet, and it's bronze, not black.

Anti-Palin Faux-troversy of the Day: The Black Bracelet

Really really don't like these people.



Thanks for the explanation. I had always wondered at the cause of that dull vacant looks in the eyes one sees from Congress critters, especially in person.

I had actually been speculating there was lead in the pipes near the Senate buildings.


This is related, trust me.

Am at the Library and just came across Historical Author Walter Isaacson's New book of Bio's, ">http://www.amazon.com/American-Sketches-Creative-Hurricane-ebook/dp/B002WVGED2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1265849220&sr=8-1"> American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane

Isaacson's Einstein is quite good but his Ben Franklin Biography from a few years back is wonderful. All that said, that is why I was so startled to read the preface to the very first sketch in the book, titled "Franklin and the Art of Leadership."

Here's that preface:

"Benjamin Franklin would, I think, have been pleased, even tickled, by the election of Barrack Obama as President. He believed that America's foundational virtue, the key to creating a pluralist democracy, was tolerance---the humility to allow people of different faiths, backgrounds, and ethnic origins to be equal participants in the nation's civic life.

Franklin was a very practical man, and I wrote my biography of him partly to celebrate the idea that a healthy democracy requires pragmatic people who can find common ground during times of great partisan division. I hoped that more politicians would emerge who were sage and sensible, and I came to believe that Obama was the most like Franklin of all our national politicians. I suspect that Franklin would appreciate the way that Obama held true to certain core values while displaying a willingness to be practical and bridge partisan divides. He would also approve of Obama's leadership style, which involves doing a lot of listening and being able to work collaboratively with strong characters. (When it comes to a Team Of Rivals, with all due respect to the cabinets of Lincoln and Obama, nothing can top the founders.) So when Newsweek asked me to write about Franklin for its January 2009 issue commemorating Obama's inauguration, I wrote the following essay."

Now this is a November 2009 book. Should I cut Isaacson some slack because Obama was not quite as obviously profound a doofus as he definitely appears today, or was Wally simply doing LSD along with David Brooks and the rest of the sycophantic Intelligentsia?

I'm hoping it's simply heavy doses of acid, because from my reading of Isaacson's Franklin bio, I cannot think of an American President who in practice is further from the virtues Isaacson lauds in Ben Franklin than a fart is from a Hurricane.

And just to put a cherry on top of it, in Isaacson's own Franklin Bio he quotes Franklin as having very little use whatever for Harvard men, considering them lazy and rude, pompous blockheads, full of self-importance and completely impractical, and that it would be far better for their education if they were farmed out for a couple years to live with the Indians and learn about reality, than the practice at the time which Franklin was not in favor of, which was taking Indian youths, running them through Harvard, and thus turning them into pampered, slothful and pompous Ivy Leaguers.

What is it that these intellectuals see in Obama's pant crease that somehow escapes everybody in Middle America who actually knows how to do something and does it?


Ace is speculating that the problem (dull vacant looks) is botox. LUN

Jack is Back!


Great post about the "old guys". I guess I am one but don't do the trade shows anymore - have left that to the smart guys. Don't confuse 'old' with 'smart'. Its like the generational comparisons of say Federer to Laver or A-Rod to Yaz or Ty Cobb. My introduction to engineering was via a slip stick to keypunched Fortran programs to the first Wang and now I can barely keep up with HTML and Java script. But you have all the young bucks out there who can figure out the problem and the solution in micro-time versus dinosaur time. I went from Power to Pipelines and Refineries to Federal to High Speed Rail - nothing really groovy like Solar, which was a Birkenstock technology in my day. Now my kid is building PV modules and powering his Transformers. Old Guys are good for a lot of things like reminding young guys how we had to walk six miles through 8 feet of snow just to buy a french curve or run a Boolean but all that gets you these days is a round of draft beer and a comforting "thanks for all you did, Pops".


There is saying that goes something like:

Old age and cunning will beat out youth and vigor every time...


We old guys are only good for reminding young guys how we had to walk six miles through 8 feet of snow...

Well, that's not quite so. What the kids these days have lost, at least in my area, is the ability to do back-of-the-envelope calculations or understand physical asymptotic limits. The computer generates truth, don't you know, and it must not be questioned. That the solution goes to infinity instead of to zero at one of the limits is never checked.

Part of the reason is that they have not been exposed to, or do not remember, some of the classic problems that have been solved by some really smart people over the years. These often can be used in very clever, and powerful, ways that are overlooked entirely.

Jack is Back!


From the preceding thread: stop posting!

Every time you commented our taxes went up to pay for the snow removal.

On a serious note, I watched them shoveling the snow off the roof of the Home Depot in Germantown, MD. They were using snow shovels. This tells me that either Home Depot thought it impractical to stock snow blowers in Maryland because RFK, jr. said so or they sold out all snow blowers in 4 hours leaving them none to use on the roof.

I opt for the former.

Rick Ballard

"Old age and cunning will beat out youth and vigor every time..."

That's rather harsh. I prefer to think of it as furnishing an extraordinarily valuable educational experience at what will, given enough time, come to be considered a reasonable cost.

Jack is Back!


Agree completely. Had my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.

And was being facetious at the same time. Now if I can only find my copy of Hogan's "Five Lessons" I'll put Tiger and Phil to shame:)


You know I didn't mind the little Gibbs stunt so much, but this makes me angry, trying to suggest that she improperly exploiting militar support or something, and I particularly didn't like James Joyner, going
off without checking the facts


I think they discovered that a change in the water treatment process was leeching too much lead into the water. I have a wter filter..last year I decided it was dumb to shlep all those bottles home.



I never had any children of my own but I do get to practice "cunning" on the step granddaughters:-)


Narciso, the really weird thing about that attack on her is that there is no chance anyone would believe the complainers gave a damn about anyone in the military, or anyone who cared about anyone in the military. The fact that VP Biden had one too really must upset the leftists.

Danube of Thought

From the Washington Examiner:

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's senior health care advisor has told Congress Daily that congressional Democratic leaders have settled on a strategy they believe will allow them to make changes in both Senate and House Obamacare bills, then send a single, revised version to President Obama for signature.

"Congress Daily is a subscription-only publication, but LifeNews.com has these details:

"'In comments reported by Congress Daily, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top health care aide Wendell Primus admitted top Democrats have already decided on the strategy to pass the Senate's pro-abortion, government-run health care bill.

"'Primus explained that the Senate will use the controversial reconciliation strategy that will have the House approve the Senate bill and both the House and Senate okaying changes to the bill that the Senate will sign off on by preventing Republicans from filibustering.'"


I think that's a bluff,DoT.

Jack is Back!

Primus is a stove you use when you are climbing Everest. Just like what Pelosi is doing. Without oxygen, by the way.

Old Lurker

"Old age and cunning will beat out youth and vigor every time..."

Glasater, I have a funny dirty joke involving a rooster and a barnyard that makes that point unforgetable, but alas this is a family blog.


As Steve Verdon pointed out in Joyner's blog, she was wearing that same bracelet in that now iconic Newsweek cover, something they didn't bother to check


"'Primus explained that the Senate will use the controversial reconciliation strategy....'"

They have been threatening this for at least a month now. What are they waiting for?

Plus the GOP can keep it in reconciliation forever. LUN.

I was for the GOP attending the "summit" later this month, but if the Dems are putting out this crap, I'd say thanks but no thanks to the invite. Scrap the old bill first.

Old Lurker

DrJ, I completely agree with your observation about the lost ability to handle numbers. You might recall from previous threads that while I have always been an "early adopter" of technology in business analysis, before there was much of that, we did tedious calculations by hand and with sliderules. Computer assistance was batch processed overnight. Back in the day, my MBA program was case based and intensely classroom debate oriented. As numbers were at the core of most of the cases, one learned to manage numbers very quickly and all in one's head, or one lost the debate. It was brutal.

Decades later I marvel at young people who can produce the most intricate spreadsheet analysis of a problem you can imaqine, but they have no clue when the result is clearly, blatantly, wrong.

I will always be grateful for the crucible of debating on my feet using numbers, even though I can't imagine not having Excel at my fingertips.


we also call that thinking. We were taught to do so critically, and I also see that lacking these days. The received wisdom is sacrosanct. Partly an unthinking elevation of science above philosophy and religion is my guess.

A while back I blogged on the Age of Specialization, in which we are cramming so much specific knowledge into people's heads they don't have room for anything else. They still have opinions though, many of which can be misinformed.

An awful lot of work also got done on the backs of cocktail napkins, but you can't even find a good bar any more. That may be the root cause.

There was a place in Palo Alto that was a who's who of the electronics hardware industry up until the early 90's. The decline probably coincided with the retirement of Hewlett and Packard. More engineers than the Pennsylvania Railroad most nights.

The hell of it is that I'm a young 'un compared to the old guys and am basically a dinosaur myself now.

Old Lurker

Great link, thanks, Pierre.

Frankly I hope they try it because it will remove all doubt about the character of these folks...assuming it fails of course.

Old Lurker

Agreed with everything you said, Matt, until "but you can't even find a good bar any more". Whatever happened to Hit & Run.... Not to mention Daddy.


Find a good bar? Even in the PC age I can find quite a few good ones in the Bay Area. The emergence of microbreweries has helped a lot. Heck, we even have one in our town of 12,000.

Cocktail napkins are a different matter.

Rick Ballard

You guys are describing "How to create a CO2 Monster" or "Better Living Through Algorithms - the CDS Version". The very saddest thing is that there are numerous boardrooms missing the "Old Guys" who might note that "the acceleration looks great - where's the brake pedal?". OTOH - the "new" boardrooms do have a lot of nice folks from the faculties of our great institutions of higher indoctrination.

And it shows.


Such are the problems with populism

Melinda Romanoff


A garbage disposal gives finite answers as well, some just don't pick up on the lesson that they're both just tools, like a wrench.

And sometimes all you have is a stick and the dirt.


Old Lurker, I always heard that the saying is, "old age and treachery will beat youth and skill almost every time." And I know the story you mention, having told it more than a few times.

And I learned matrix algebra using mostly a 10-key computator.


Willie Nelson wrote a song phrasing it in a way which rolls nicely off the tongue: "old age and treachery always overcome youth and skill."

Danube of Thought

"..but you can't even find a good bar any more."

Hussong's Cantina, Ensenada, Baja California.

K'ukio resort, Big Island.

(Regrettably, the Long Bar in Tijuana shut down about twenty years ago.)


"An awful lot of work also got done on the backs of cocktail napkins..."

The">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eagle_(pub)">The Eagle Pub in Cambridge England is supposedly the place where Watson and Crick first sketched out the Double Helix structure of DNA on a bar napkin in 1953. It's a fun Pub, only about 50 feet away from a small lane where they were working at The Cavendish Physics Lab. (Rutherford had discovered the Electron there in I think 1903). The joint was also in existence during Newton's time as a Professor (only 2 blocks from Trinity College) and also in existence in beer-drinker Darwin's day, (3 blocks from Christ's College) tho' no records definitively place any of those last 3 near the joint and its Bar napkins.

I myself have scrawled many good ideas on their bar napkins as well, tho' unlike Crick and Watson they never seem to be Nobel Prize quality come the morning.

Ralph L

The Edwards sex tape saga was on the local news tonight. I could get to Hillsborough in 20 minutes and steal them, but who would want to buy them? Andrew Young's lawyer is named Edwards.


I remember my little brother being arrested as he walked out of Hussong's 30 years ago during Jimmy Carters gas crisis and I had to go down to the fuel dock and buy ten gallons of premix in order to bail him out.

Here in Southern California we just don't have the booze joints they have up North, perhaps we are eating too much arugula and jogging excessively.

Manuel Transmission

I love the geezer techie stuff. I really do think there was a fundamental loss once calculators replaced slipsticks. We used to do entire solutions on paper (that good ol' green pad with the quad grid on the back -- which I still use) down to unit conversions and at least one significant digit of resolution. Then when you fired up the sliderule, you carried the answer out to 2+ significant digits. That was good enough for the space program.

By letting the process leave your brain and end up in the computer, some critical part of the awareness was handed off. Kinda like giving a bit more of the task of living over to the gummint.


Obama and Biden were put in office to give money away. Obama forced Congress to give away even more. The money comes from treasury and electronically sent overeseas.

Obama is all foreign and and loan forgiveness. Ask him to stop this and everything makes sense. Obama was a root canal on america becasue he forced all that money overseas. Maybe Congress didn't liek the idea of strokes and heart attacks and seeing and hearing,; so with Obama and pals using like that they just gave the money away overseas.

Obama's root canal is what he's always hated and paid by using for foreign aid, now he screws them and won't answer for all the foreign aid using.

The economy will never recover.


"The Edwards sex tape... I could get to Hillsborough in 20 minutes and steal them..."

Ralph L

Do it. I'll pay you to burn them.
Name your price:)


Rick B-

You may have already seen this info but here is:

Australia urges China to hold quick Rio Tinto case

"The four were arrested just weeks after Rio walked away from a massive cash injection from state-run Chinalco, which would have given China an important presence in Australia's vast resources sector"


Ralph L,

I take it back.
Don't risk stealing the tapes.

According to ">http://www.nationalenquirer.com/john_edwards_asks_mistress_rielle_hunter_to_marry_him/celebrity/68137"> The National Enquirer, pretty soon they'll probably be making more. Ughhh.

Jack is Back!

I love waking up in the morning and going to the JOM threads to see that we progressed from the efficacy of bank bailouts and executive bonuses to "old guys rule" to the retro-fashion of slip-sticks and manual calculation that naturally leads to sex tapes. We are united by the singular motive of who can change the subject fastest and in the most diverse direction.

Captain Hate

Should I cut Isaacson some slack because Obama was not quite as obviously profound a doofus as he definitely appears today, or was Wally simply doing LSD along with David Brooks and the rest of the sycophantic Intelligentsia?

To hell with him and the rest of the lefty frauds who are able to turn a reasonably articulate phrase. So could Ezra Pound as he was making common cause with the fascists. I'm tired of cutting those fuckheads slack because they can be somewhat entertaining.


The guys who shoveled our walkways a few days ago showed up this morning to do it again.
The district has a computer program showing which streets have been shoveled and plowed and Brandywine one block away has been all the way to Connecticut Ave, a main thoroughfare 2 blocks away which is clear and running.
Dulles airport says it is operating and the Va Dept of Transportation cams show the road to Dulles has been cleared,and I'm feeling more optimistic by the hour that we will get out tomorrow.

Old Lurker

"We are united by the singular motive of who can change the subject fastest and in the most diverse direction."

Well said, JiB. You know TM must chuckle as he labors over his posts just to see pictures of shoes twenty posts in.

Thomas Collins

Because this appears to be the change the subject thread, I thought I would LUN what I believe is the latest on the Rachel Alexandra/Zenyatta negotiations.

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