October 7, 2007 archive

CATO libertarians say energy deregulation does not work

In an Op-Ed that was published in the Wall Street Journal last month (and is available in full to non-subscribers on CATO’s website) two CATO economists specialised in deregulation and energy markets provide a breath of fresh air in the debates on energy.

Their point is to criticize the poorly thought out deregulation in various US States over the past 15 years, and they explain clearly how energy markets work (something which is rare enough in the mainstream media), and what the consequences of various bits of deregulation are on market behavior and thus on electricity prices.

Their conclusions are so unexpected that other libertarians felt compelled to criticize them violently (and the authors felt the need to defend their libertarian credentials… Follow me below the fold for the gory details.

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

Get your Motor Running!

Steppenwolf:  Born to be Wild

Blandness Girl

I remember a time about 25 years ago when it was possible to find unisex toys quite easily and more people were motivated to do so.  The assumption I made was that things would gradually get less oppressive for women, minorities and children and that society would progress.  After all, the Cold War was coming to a close, and the Berlin wall was taken down in this era.  We had not had a recent major war and the worst shadow was Reagan, but that didn’t seem insurmountable.  I had highest hopes for feminism and environmentalism and wasn’t ashamed to be linked with either movement, despite the demonism of “Liberals” by the right.  I guess I was aware of the nascent danger posed by the “Silent Majority” bullshit and the “Christian Coalition” concept.

However, I did not anticipate that things would get worse, much worse, in the arena of children’s toys.  I work with children, which is an excuse to play with children’s toys, and I have helped develop them when I was in research. 

The toy aisles are segregated once again, from the dollar stores to that big toystore downtown with life-sized elephants.  Boy colors are black, blue and maybe red and girls live in a pink, purple and turquoise universe.  If a boy wants a “doll” it had damn well be an action figure, particularly a military one, with “accessories” such as tanks and guns. 

& now we keep hearing about poison toys – lead, mercury, magnets to swallow.  & the contagion has spread all over the world as unscrupulous manufacturers have the toys made where labor is cheaper.  It’s kind of revealing when the manufacturer has English-as-a-Second language, as this doll found in Paris at Oberkampf Market reveals.  (see also Silenced Majority Portal

Dsc05196(Oberkampf Mkt, Paris)

Sunday Morning News

This is an Anarchy Thread

This happened while you slept. Or maybe not as you could have been out partying all night.


For Schools, Lottery Payoffs Fall Short of Promises
Published: October 7, 2007
Last year, North Carolina’s governor, Mike Easley, finally delivered on his promise to start a lottery, making his state the most recent of the 42 states and the District of Columbia to cash in on legalized gambling.

Bush, Texas at odds over death case
WASHINGTON – To put it bluntly, Texas wants President Bush to get out of the way of the state’s plan to execute a Mexican for the brutal killing of two teenage girls.
Bush, who presided over 152 executions as governor of Texas, wants to halt the execution of Jose Ernesto Medellin in what has become a confusing test of presidential power that the Supreme Court, which hears the case this week, ultimately will sort out.

George “Hang Em High” Bush suddenly believes in the International Court of Justice. 

Mr. Jindal, Meet Mr. Crow

Ah, it’s deja vu all over again. Clear case of racism in Jena. After a lot of hard work, individual blogs run by people of color, sometimes under nasty threats, cover this story enough for it to be taken up by the traditional media (usually badly, but that’s the way it goes). Add to that, these blogs, along with grassroots organizations, through the intertubes and radio, organize an astonishing march in Jena, a march for civil rights, for equal protection under the law.

And the unjust charges which would have put Mychal Bell away for way too many years are reduced by the racist DA.

Does anyone think this would have happened without protest, without media coverage of this injustice? Because I don’t. But seems Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal has a different view, a — shall we say — “old-fashioned” view.

Thanks to NOLA blogger oyster over at Your Righthand Thief — well, actually, thanks to one of his commenters, N. La. Lady, Mr. Jindal seems to be living in an older America, say, the Jim Crow era.

While the peaceful protest was going on in Jena, Mr. Jindal was stumping in Shreveport, speaking to students at LSUS. His reaction to the peaceful protest?

When asked about the impact of racial conflict in Louisiana, his response was déjà vu – unpleasantly reminiscent of the words and attitudes of southern politicians of not so long ago. When asked to comment on the demonstration in Jena, he said, “We don’t need anybody to divide us. We certainly don’t need outside agitators to cause problems.”

This comment attributed to Jindal was posted a while back over at Your Righthand Thief, but several commenters wanted more proof that this had been said — thinking that of course this kind of language would have made the news … wouldn’t it?

Demonization of Liberals & Normalizing Fascism

Ann Coulter, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

I am motivated to edit and repost this diary for several reasons.

The first reason is something that I’ve thought about Ann Coulter ever since I became aware of her rhetoric, some of which is outlined in Coulter on Today: Nuking Iran warms Conservatives hearts.

With today’s Congress, Nixon would not have resigned

Carl Bernstein was part of a 35-year retrospective on Watergate today as part of the 2007 Society of Professional Journalists National Convention. The Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, reports Carl Bernstein thinks Watergate would have played very differently if it happened today.


Because, Congressional oversight is more lax now than during Watergate.

“The difference with today is that the system did its job. The press did its job. The court did its job. The Senate committee did its job,” Bernstein said Saturday. “There’s been great reporting on this president. But there’s been no oversight. We have a Democratic Congress now and there’s still no oversight.

Bernstein also said that “35 years of ideological warfare” could also change how the public would react to such a scandal.

“We live in a very different atmosphere today,” Bernstein said. “With Watergate, eventually the people of this country looked around and decided Nixon was a criminal president. I’m not sure the same chain of events would have taken place today.”

If we had today’s Congress during the Nixon presidency, then I doubt Richard Nixon would have even resigned. Shoot. It is doubtful even Vice President Spiro Agnew would have been forced to resign. Image, if you will, this scene on February 2, 1973. Nixon is before a joint session of Congress for the State of the Union address, and then…

Welcome to 2007 with the same gang of Nixon minions running the U.S. government. Somewhere, Richard M. Nixon is smiling.

Act Surprised: Private Insurers Abuse Bush Medicare Drug Plan

Once again, privatization of what should be government’s responsibility proves that privatization is really about avoiding any responsibility.

The New York Times reports:

Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.

Shocking, yes. Private insurers play parlor games with people’s lives, because their only concern is profit. This is about so much more than the mere outrage of these specific vultures preying on the vulnerable. This is, once again, the Conservative ideology revealed for what it is: greed, cruelty, and social blight.

The problems, described in 91 audit reports reviewed by The New York Times, include the improper termination of coverage for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, huge backlogs of claims and complaints, and a failure to answer telephone calls from consumers, doctors and drugstores.

Nothing to add, there. Except maybe a question: is improperly denying coverage to people with H.I.V and AIDS a crime against humanity? Are war crimes, alone, deserving of that appelation?

Since March, 11 companies have been fined by Medicare. Among them are three of the largest Medicare insurers- UnitedHealth, Humana and WellPoint.

Speeding like a space brain one more fucking time toniiight!


hey mates



“Much of the Amazon basin is burning”

I don’t know about you but where I am, the weather is positively balmy. So warm in fact that this year’s crop of McIntosh apples is two weeks ahead of schedule (and growers are worried it may turn to mush if the nights don’t start turning cold soon) and local grape growers (for making wine, an unheard of occupation in these parts, when I was growing up) are reporting a bumper harvest. People bask in the warm sunshine, but you can hear it in conversations: the “new” weather (it’s been trending this way, the last few years) is kind of unsettling, like some strange, still-faint background noise that disturbs at some subliminal level. You step outside your door in the morning and the thought crosses your mind: July in October, what the fuck? Oh the trees are turning, sure (lots of maples around here) but the colours seem… faded. Just like last year. And the year before that. Geez, the last time I really saw the mountains blazing was in the nineties. Early nineties even. Not enough cold nights, they say… Some mornings it’s positively eerie.
  But it isn’t happening only here. That’s the really creepy part. And when you bother to look, what’s going on elsewhere is downright hair-raising.

A Symbol for the Saffron Revolution

A symbol for the Saffron Revolution

heart burma 2500 wc t

The Big Picture Vol. 2

There has always been a struggle….most likely there always will be.

It is human nature to struggle, in some that is expressed as full out rebellion. In others it is reduced to complaining under their breath. Or worse….being afraid to even do that.

On the other side of the struggle, there is the range of full time crackdown on the rebels….actively supporting supporting the crushing of rebellion by The People, to indifference and willful ignorance. Ignorance has two forms those who cannot get information….and those who ignore inconvenient or uncomfortable information. Cracking down on ‘rebels….even those who merely mutter is a full time struggle for the status qou-sters

The two biggest chunks of information that are being ignored right now, imo, are Climate Crisis which is literally off the charts in its acceleration….and the fact that not just America, but pretty much the entire planet, is now a Corporatocrasy.

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