February 12, 2010 archive

Larry Summers on Unemployment

If there was a Koufax award for Catch of the Month, my nominee would be long time blogger and all around good guy Dave Johnson, who has dug up an article on unemployment by Larry Summers that, well, reads like a chapter out of Social Darwinism for Dummies.

The article, titled Unemployment, is Summers’ contribution to the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, which is published by the Library of Economics and Liberty (I love the smell of selfish rich guys in the morning.).  

Dr. Summers distinguishes between short and long term unemployment

Jobless respondents who have chosen not to continue looking for work are considered out of the labor force and therefore are not counted as unemployed. Almost half of all unemployment spells end because people leave the labor force. Ironically, those who drop out of the labor force-because they are discouraged, have household responsibilities, or are sick-actually make unemployment rates look better; the unemployment rate includes only people within the labor force who are out of work.

First comes Dr. Larry’s prescription for lowering the unemployment rate,

To fully understand unemployment, we must consider the causes of recorded long-term unemployment. Empirical evidence shows that two causes are welfare payments and unemployment insurance. These government assistance programs contribute to long-term unemployment in two ways.

series of articles by various economists written for the  

The second and latest edition of the CEE was published in 2007, so this isn’t some ancient grad student dissertation gone awry. Instead it is a very recent pronouncement of an important Presidential economic adviser’s current understanding, or lack thereof, of the causes of long term unemployment.  

1000+ architects want new WTC investigation

Over 1,000 architects and engineers have signed the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth‘s petition demanding a real investigation into the destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers on 9/11.

That’s right, over 1,000 architects and engineers have gone on record saying the official story about the collapse of the Twin Towers and the WTC7 is not believable and think a new investigation is warranted. They think that the official theory is an extraordinarily unrealistic hypothesis and that the evidence does not support it. They have focused a significant amount of attention on WTC7 because it is the ONLY skyscraper in the history of the world to ever collapse just from fire.

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Tears as Haiti marks month since earthquake

by Andrew Beatty and M.J. Smith, AFP

1 hr 34 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Clad in white, hundreds of thousands of Haitians congregated throughout Port-au-Prince Friday for tearful ceremonies to mark one month since a cataclysmic earthquake shattered their country.

In the central Champ de Mars square, where the impact of the 7.0 magnitude temblor is still seen in the sprawling tented camps that now dominate the plaza, people began to gather from before dawn.

Part memorial service, part rally, mourners gave resilient cries of “hallelujah” as others wept for loved ones lost in an event many simply call “the catastrophe.”

America’s Cup Sailrace: USA-17 Takes 1st Round !

Off the Spanish coast, today was a very good day to be sailing the BMW Oracle USA 17 trimaran, which overcame a funky start with penalties and an early jump to the lead by the Swiss boat Alinghi, to win the 1st round of the America’s Cup.  

The Oracle USA-17 won by 15 minutes and 28 seconds on the 40 nautical mile racecourse, reaching an incredible 22 knots of speed, about 3 times the air windspeed over the Mediterranean, which was very light.  At the end of the first 20 mile turnaround point, the Oracle USA-17 had not only caught up to and passed the ploddering Swiss Alinghi, but had a whopping 1,200 meter lead of nearly a mile.


Oracle, bankrolled by Silicon Valley billionaire Larry Ellison, zoomed into the starting box with its windward and centre hulls out of the water and Spithill (note: Jimmy Spithill, the Aussie captain of the Oracle USA-17) steered straight at Alinghi. The Swiss wanted to sail in front of Oracle, but didn’t have enough speed and both boats had to tack. Oracle raised a protest flag, and the umpire in a trailing boat concurred.

That meant Alinghi, funded and steered by Swiss biotech billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, had to perform a 270-degree penalty turn at some point in the 64-kilometre race.

Spithill somehow stalled Oracle over the line early with less than 15 seconds before the starting gun, and Alinghi sprinted off the line. Oracle had to go back and restart, putting it well behind.

Given that these 2 triple carbon hulled sailboats, with sails a big as a jetliner’s wing, might be roughly equal to each other in speed, (because wind conditions vary, the boat that goes “faster” on a relatively calm day may not actually be the faster boat if that other boat goes faster on a day with a good stiff breeze with better manueverability, and the other boat can’t be steadied nor steered as well, or worse, it falls apart )  which one ultimately succeeds is going to come down to how the sailing crew can make the thing respond to the unexpected, and do things like tacking (turning.)

So far, in calm conditions, this looks very good for Oracle USA-17, especially since pre race hype seemed to imply Alinghi, being Swiss, had that European engineering cachet of superior speed.  But will she hold together if they go out in a real wind and not a hamster fart ?

Photos of the race may be seen here:


The next round of the America’s Cup is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb 16, depending on wind and wave conditions.

Open Coastline


Vancouver Poverty Olympics 2010

What Mean Tea Party

They surely want to tell us what it means.

I think it’ something permanent, I hope so even if I do subscribe to the it’s just too late for salvation theme.

Wild Wild Left Radio #52: Around the World in 60 Minutes!

Tonight at 6PM Eastern Time, WWL Radio!!!!!

Gottlieb and Diane G. will be live and in color (or is that off color?) on WWL radio tonight to guide you through Current Events taken from a Wildly Left Prospective.

Hear the Unreported & Under Reported Headlines stories you should be paying attention to, from US Politics, to the all of the Americas to our South, to the farthest reaches of the Earth.

Tonight we honor the passing of Murtha, Wilson and NASA; the near passing of Clinton, and American Citizens deemed Tewwowists by profiteers and war criminals.

On the home front we’ll rip the GOP Shadow Budget and the connivance of the supposedly non-partisan CBO. We’ll flay Globalism and the religion of Neo-Liberalism.

And as the anger mounts against the enslavement of the free and the castration of the brave, we’ll examine our government’s crackdown on gun-toting, bible-bleating, justifiably paranoid patwiot tewwowists.

Speaking of paranoia, Internationally we’ve got the usually laid back Canadians taking all the fun out of the Winter Games because Osama has reportedly joined the Jamaican bobsled team and is planning to crash his sled into the grandstand of freezing cold people and Countdown to Armageddon as the usual suspects bang the World War Drum for the annihilation of Persia. (Not to say the Government of Iran doesn’t deserve a kick in the ass for crackpot religion and draconian oppression – which we’ll also discuss.)

Which all leads to the inanity and insanity and tragedy of America’s despicable policy of trillions for the military industrial complex and a big fat zero for food on the table, jobs at home, and a future we the people can believe in and support.

Join Gottlieb and Diane every Friday at 6pm EDT on Wild Wild Left Radio, via BlogtalkRadio, for News from the Real Left. No hand-wringing, no PC, just straight talk from reality based politics.

WWL Radio: Free Speech in Practice.

The call in number is 646-929-1264

Listen to The Wild Wild Left on internet talk radio

The live chat link will go live around 5:20.




Docudharma Times Friday February 12

Friday’s Headlines:

Toyota faces massive legal liability

Wi-Fi Turns Rowdy Bus Into Rolling Study Hall

Single Mother Is Spared Court-Martial

75% back letting gays serve openly

Spain’s economic blind spots

Cracks appear in Europe’s response to Greek crisis

Iran touts nuclear gains and quashes protests

Simon Weisenthal Centre to build ‘tolerance museum’ on Arab graveyard

Chinese activist flies home after three months at Tokyo airport

Japanese whalers splashed with acid during clash with protesters

Rainbow Nation puts troubles aside to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela

Helping Africa Grow

TARP Watchdog: 2011 $300 Billion Commercial Real Estate Time Bomb

Wednesday’s report from the Congressional Oversight Panel makes it very clear that while things may feel relatively stable right now on the commercial real estate front, the real bomb hits in 2011. Banks could lose $200 – $300 billion, and ‘every American’ could be affected:

The full force of the commercial real estate problem will be felt over the next three years and beyond, according to the panel’s February assessment, which means it starts to get worse starting today.

Download .pdf here (189 pages)

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Arcing 2

(Click on image for larger view)

Maybe America’s Cup

Perhaps we’ll get racing today.

I’m pleased as punch that AmericanRiverCanyon seems to be as into the Cup as I and TheMomCat are.  There are cases that cannot be over done by language, this is from CupInfo.com

Sides have been chosen around the America’s Cup world, and this may be the least friendly competition among nations for yachting’s great prize to ever slide down the ways.

Not the least of these issues is the Battle for the Soul of the America’s Cup that has raged increasingly hot since July, 2007.  The near future of the event, if not its entire future, may ride on the outcome.

Win or Lose, this match could well be the last time we ever see the America’s Cup unleashed to this degree.  This is a match race in the original sense, the boats at mythic proportions, the competitors have real anger, the stakes beyond mere pride.  The America’s Cup sails into history today, and Cup fans everywhere should hope it comes out a winner.

Your sources for streaming video are-

ESPN 360 is covering it also, but without a permanent link.

ARC seems to think Alinghi has an edge in boat speed, that was not my impression and I hope it’s not so as Alinghi has shown no interest in returning to a traditional Challenger/Defender Regatta format.  It’s a best two of three race this time with races 1 and 3 being 20 miles upwind and 20 miles back and race 2 a 39 mile triangular course.

Both yachts are reputed to sail at 3 x wind speed.  Monday’s proposed start was canceled because of lack of wind and Wednesday’s because there was too much.

Today also marks the “start” of the Olympics but I consider Opening and Closing Ceremonies nothing but vapid spectacles.  Your tolerance of volunteer amateur rhythmic gymnastics, costumed Mummers’ parades, televised fireworks, and breathless pseudo punditry and hype may vary.

In any event, while I still reserve the right to change my mind, my current coverage solution is after noon (and I’m talking 12:30 pm) and evening consolidated threads.  Volunteers interested in specific sports are more than welcome and if you feel like you’re in danger of exceeding your three essay a day limit, please drop me a comment and let me fix that for you.

I have to pick up my brother at Bradley at 6 pm so I’m not likely to be around for the 7:30 pm start anyway.

Have a great day, I’ll see you in comments or at 4 for Afternoon Edition.

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