Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When The Twist Was Fun ...From Paris

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, a certain someone you know (Paris) won a twist contest. 

Late 60's.  I was very young.  I really did win.

Okay. So my competition was limited (think 10 year olds at a birthday party)  I won it, just the same. 

I'm certain that you can appreciate my excited tickle thrill  when I read the new Ben Bernake 'Operation Twist' plan, as I too have "extensive" experience with this particular dance format. 


American Civil War was much worse than you have been taught

Recounting the Dead

Even as Civil War history has gone through several cycles of revision, one thing has remained fixed: the number of dead. Since about 1900, historians and the general public have assumed that 618,222 men died on both sides. That number is probably a significant undercount, however. New estimates, based on Census data, indicate that the death toll was approximately 750,000, and may have been as high as 850,000.

The notion that we’ve drastically undercounted the Civil War dead is not a new idea: in fact, Francis Amasa Walker, superintendent of the 1870 Census, estimated that the number of male deaths was “not less than 850,000.” So how did the lower number come to be the accepted count — and why does it matter that it was wrong?

An American being killed by its gov’t is “collateral damage”. Who thinks that way?

New Fast & Furious audio: Border Patrol agent killed by F&F weapons was “collateral damage”

“It happened. It’s terrible. That’s life, okay? We move on.”

The Sea is powerful

Lifeboat in a storm off Ouessant Island, Finistère, with Le Créac'h lighthouse in the distance. Brittany, France

A new book - 'The Sea: a photographic celebration of the first wonder of the world' - explores the seas and oceans of the world. As the book's introduction says: "It is no coincidence that so many of the world's creation myths involve water. Out of this apparent void, all else is born. Not surprising, then, that the sea holds such a primeval fascination. We are, in so many ways, made of water."

Lifeboat in a storm off Ouessant Island, Finistère, with Le Créac'h lighthouse in the distance. Brittany, France

Storm battering seafront, Lyme Regis, Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Dorset, England

Storm battering seafront, Lyme Regis, Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Dorset, England

Waves crashing around Tevennec lighthouse in the Sein channel, Finistère, Brittany, France

Waves crashing around Tevennec lighthouse in the Sein channel, Finistère, Brittany, France

Bill Gates 'richest in US'

Microsoft founder Bill Gates plays bridge with

Microsoft chairman retains title as America's richest person, with $59bn.

The moment it was too late to turn back: Daredevil kayaker paddles over 100ft high waterfall

This is the jaw-dropping moment a daredevil kayaker paddled down a waterfall almost 100ft high.

Jesse Coombs, 40, took kayaking to the extreme when he became the first person to successfully kayak down Abiqua Falls in Oregon, US.

And capturing the exact moment Jesse plummeted down the 96-foot-high waterfall was extreme sports photographer and videographer, Lucas Gilman.

Together the pair hiked to the remote waterfall where they prepared for one of their toughest challenges.

Hold your breath: Daredevil kayaker goes over the top of the 100ft waterfall

Jesse Coombs enters the water in Abiqua Falls in Oregan, U.S.

Hold your breath: Daredevil kayaker Jesse Coombs goes over the top of the 100ft waterfall and right, the yellow kayak can just be made out as the nose enters the water at the bottom of Abiqua Falls in Oregan, U.S.

Read more:

It gets worse and worse

Is 'Fast and Furious' Tape
The Smoking Gun?

Lawyer for gun store owner that sold weapons involved in scandal says client recorded agent to implicate ATF

And now for something completely different ...

Mealscapes: landscape photos made from food

Carl Warner is a photographer who creates elaborate, fanciful landscapes out of food ("mealscapes") which often make their way into commercial advertisements. They're really outstanding work, and manage to look idyllic as well as entertaining.

Buffett’s largest holding are in insurance. They become more valuable the higher the tax rates.

Buffett Headlining $35K Per Plate Obama Fundraiser


(Reuters) - Billionaire investor Warren Buffett will help raise money for President Barack Obama's re-election effort at a $35,800-a-ticket fundraiser next month in Chicago, an Obama campaign official said on Wednesday.

Read more:

Not the leader of the United States but Class Warrior.

Obama the Class Warrior: 'I Wear that Charge as a Badge of Honor'

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

American hikers released

Two American hikers detained in Iran for more than two years have been released on bail of $1 million and handed over to Omani authorities.

Obama’s latest plan get a cold welcome from Wall Street

Imagine that! Why talk to economists?

Cable news avoided economists during debt debate

September 21, 2011 03:52 PM EST | AP

NEW YORK — Economists aren't necessarily the first in line at cable news networks when someone is needed to talk about economic issues.

The watchdog group Media Matters for America said in a report Wednesday that only 4 percent of the people brought on to talk about the debt ceiling issue on CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC this summer were actual economists.

More Buffett news

Warren Buffett's estimated fortune dropped by $6 billion over the past year to $39 billion in the just-released Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. He's the only person in the top 20 to see his wealth drop.

He's still number two on the Forbes list, but the gap between him and his friend Bill Gates has widened. The Microsoft Chairman's wealth is estimated at $59 billion, up $5 billion from last year.

That puts Gates $20 billion dollars ahead of Buffett.


Maybe it's the company he keeps.

Buffett to host Obama fundraiser

Billionaire U.S. investor Warren Buffett will help raise money for President Barack Obama's re-election effort at a $35,800-a-ticket fundraiser next month in Chicago, an Obama campaign official said on Wednesday.

Buffett will attend the Oct. 27 event at a private home on Chicago's North Shore that is expected to include major donors to Obama's 2008 presidential run. The Democratic president, who is not expected to attend, is running for re-election in 2012.

From George re EPA makes Hay a pollutant.

NOT TRUE - This story is based on one guy standing up at a meeting and making this claim.  That's how urban legends and internet myths get started and then go viral.

The EPA did cite Callicrate Feeding Company  for water quality violations under the CAFO regulations, which problems have evidently been corrected.  While EPA is certainly known for overstretching it's bounds, the credibility of the accuser and of everyone who forwards the misinformation is harmed when the claim is unsubstantiated.  When it's true, we should react.  When it's rumor or legend, it requires fact checking before spreading it further.  It's really easy to blame EPA and the Obama administration as there is plenty to criticize, but criticism must be based on fact.  A person can have their own opinion, but they can't have their own facts.   Here's the link:

Thanks for at least letting us know about the rumor, George - it gave me a chance to fact check it.

Why Obama failed – from Suskind book. (Suskind did a hard book on Bush that was well received by NYT.)


The president is incapable of making a decision; on the rare occasion when he does, he is ignored, as in the Citi case. During a meeting in March 2009, an annoyed Obama left the room to get dinner and said he wanted a decision when he returned. Emanuel promptly took over, saying, “Everyone shut the f— up. Let me be clear—taking down the banking system in a program that could cost $700 billion is a fantasy.” Romer told Suskind that was the point where Emanuel violated his famous rule to never let a crisis go to waste—with Obama abdicating decision making, his chief of staff had decided on the status quo. “The bottom line is Tim and others at Treasury felt the president didn’t fully understand the complexities of the issue, or simply that they were right and he was wrong,” Alan Krueger (a former deputy Treasury secretary recently appointed to replace Romer as head of the CEA) tells Suskind.

It’s a recurring pattern throughout the book: Obama voices a preference, his advisers overrule him, and he never says boo about it. Elsewhere, he allowed himself to be dictated to. Peter Orszag recalls Summers telling Obama, “I’ll make my argument first; you can go after me.” Orszag was incredulous that the president allowed a subordinate to talk to him that way, and shocked that he didn’t say, “I made that decision a week ago. Just do what I say.” As Volcker put it, “Obama is smart, but smart is not enough. Leadership is another thing entirely, about knowing your mind enough to make real decisions, ones that last.”

Has learned nothing.

OBAMA AT UN: 'We must not put off action that climate change demands'...

Rumor: Oct. 4 Is iPhone 5 Day

Rumor: Oct. 4 Is iPhone 5 Day


October 4. That's when Apple's announcing the iPhone 5, according to All Things D. A little later than most of us expected, or hoped. And it's probably more than just the iPhone 5. iOS 5. iPods. iCloud's big launch.

Daredevils who tackled the Italian Dolomites on a ONE-INCH nylon strip

Gently does it...: Rock climbing Highliners Reinhard Kleindl and Armin Holzer tackle the soaring Italian Dolomites

These intrepid - and clearly fearless - slackliners brushed off any waves of vertigo as they precariously balanced on a one-inch nylon webbing and crossed a 101ft distance over the Italian Dolomites.

It's enough to keep you awake at night: Photographer captures beauty of the Milky Way on midnight trek to beat insomnia

Spectacular: These photos of the Milky Way above the Himalayas were taken by Anton Jankovoy on a midnight walk he took while unable to sleep

Dedicated snapper Anton Jankovoy trekked up a staggering 4600 metres in the Himalayas to reach a good vantage point to try and capture the perfect pictures. Amazingly, the photographer chanced upon the phenomenal view after taking a late-night walk when he was unable to sleep.

The real numbers. What Obama will not talk about

Pro Publica: Our Sputtering Economy by the Numbers: Poverty Edition.

Poverty rate for white Americans in 2010: 13 percent

Poverty rate for African-Americans in 2010: 27.4 percent

Real median household income in 2010: $49,445

Decline in median household income since 2009: 2.3 percent

Decline in median household income since before the recession: 6.4 percent

The last time median household incomes have been this low: 1996

Real median household income in 1999, in 2010 dollars: $53,252

Median income for full-time male workers in 2010: $47,715

Median income for full-time male workers in 1973, in 2010 dollars: $49,065

Official unemployment rate in August 2011: 9.1 percent

Total unemployed people in August: 14 million

People who were employed part-time for economic reasons in August 2011: 8.8 million

People not counted in the labor force who wanted work: 2.6 million

Net jobs created in August 2011: 0

The Ruling Elite needs to eat.

Audit: Justice Department Paid $16 Per Muffin

Read more:

Hong Kong: 3.2% unemployment. How? Flat tax, low regulations, free market.

Hong Kong said Tuesday its unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest in more than 13 years thanks largely to a strong local economy, but analysts warned the figure could rise again.

The unemployment rate for the June-August period fell to 3.2 percent, from 3.4 percent in the May-July, which marked Hong Kong's lowest jobless rate since February 1998, the Census and Statistics Department said.

The Obama Cover ups. Add Fast and Furious to these as well

REPORT: SOLYNDRA execs to plead Fifth...
Second witness says White House tried to steer testimony...

For those that think Obama is serious with the Buffet Rule, look below.

So how much would the so-called Buffett Rule bring in? It's hard to say, because Obama didn't define precisely how it would work. But he did say it would create a tax rate floor for those who make more than $1 million per year. So let's use 2009 tax return data from the IRS to imagine some possible scenarios for how much additional tax revenue the new tax could bring in. Here's a chart:

buffett rule.png