August 19, 2011 archive

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Bernie Madoff Was Amateur Hour

By now Bernard Madoff is old news and relegated to his prison cell. At the time he ran the largest ponzi scheme in financial history.

Not any longer.

World of Class Warfare

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

By WARREN E. BUFFETT, The New York Times

Published: August 14, 201

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion – a staggering $227.4 million on average – but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

(F)or those making more than $1 million – there were 236,883 such households in 2009 – I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more – there were 8,274 in 2009 – I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

The Poor’s Free Ride Is Over

They can spare it.  After all they control 2.5% of our nation’s wealth.

Actually this is a pretty easy calculation.  We can do this.  The bottom 50% it’s just simple math.  In dollar figures the bottom 50% of this country have $1.45 Trillion in everything they own on this earth.  So let’s see, they have $1.45 Trillion, so what do you say we take, I don’t know, half of that.  That’d be, oh look at this- $700 Billion.  Why does that figure sound so familiar?

This Week’s Blues In The Dream Antilles

Elmore James (1918-1963).  A Bluesman and poet whose work your Bloguero admires.  It’s work that holds up extraordinarily well after 50 years.

But, Sr. Bloguero, with all due respect, you might ask, what’s Elmore James got to do with this, which is supposed to be your weekly digest?   Your Bloguero could answer this with an elaborate, very contorted, ontological exploration of the theretical connections between the Blues and Haiku, between Elmore James and Basho.  But, no. It’s not an intellectual exercise.  No. It’s just something your Bloguero would like you to hear and enjoy.  It’s that simple.  Your Bloguero plays it over and over and over again. Then he enjoys thinking about how very good, how very powerful, how eloquent  it is.  And then he seeks other pieces that are in their own way as powerful.  Your Bloguero is quite confident that he knows a few.

What comes immediately to mind is Son House (1902?- 1988) .  Sometimes far less is definitely much more:

This Week In The Dream Antilles is usually a weekly digest. Sometimes, like now, it is not actually a digest of essays posted in the past week at The Dream Antilles. For that you have to visit The Dream Antilles. Please leave a comment so that your Bloguero will know that you stopped by. Or, even easier, just click the “Encouragement jar”. Your Bloguero likes to know you’ve visited.


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles


Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

I am told to just be myself, but as much as I have practiced the impression, I am still no good at it. 

–Robert Brault

Art Glass 33

Federal Reserve Loaned Banks at Least $16.1 TRILLION


Just in case you missed this one-day story which Raw Story dug out of the first and only audit of the Federal Reserve…

The U.S. Federal Reserve gave out $16.1 trillion in emergency loans to U.S. and foreign financial institutions between Dec. 1, 2007 and July 21, 2010, according to figures produced by the government’s first-ever audit of the central bank.

Last year, the gross domestic product of the entire U.S. economy was $14.5 trillion.

That’s more than $500 billion per month every month for 32 months between December 1 2007 and July 21 2010, and it’s also more than one quarter of the net wealth of the entire United States.

So how much more has the Fed loaned the banks in the year since July 21, 2010?

The same rate of $500 billion per month adds up to another $6 trillion, for a very grand total of $22 TRILLION in free money for the same “too big to fail” financial institutions which produced the Second Great Depression where almost no ordinary American citizen can get a loan for anything.

But of course it’s always possible that the Fed cut off the banks last July, and never ever loaned them another penny.


At least $16.1 TRILLION!

More than the GDP!

More than the national debt!

More than all the mortgages in the United States!

And all of it at less than one percent interest!


Late Night Karaoke

On This Day In History August 19

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 19 is the 231st day of the year (232nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 134 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1909, the first race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now the home of the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500.

The rectangular two-and-a-half-mile track linked four turns, each exactly 440 yards from start to finish, by two long and two short straight sections. In that first five-mile race on August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators watched Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. The track’s surface of crushed rock and tar proved a disaster, breaking up in a number of places and causing the deaths of two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators.

The surface was soon replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar. Dubbed “The Brickyard,” the speedway reopened in December 1909. In 1911, low attendance led the track’s owners to make a crucial decision: Instead of shorter races, they resolved to focus on a single, longer event each year, for a much larger prize. That May 30 marked the debut of the Indy 500–a grueling 500-mile race that was an immediate hit with audiences and drew press attention from all over the country. Driver Ray Haroun won the purse of $14,250, with an average speed of 74.59 mph and a total time of 6 hours and 42 minutes.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 8.17.11

Until I can find another embeddable feed for Countdown, I’ll post the YouTube segments for Worst Persons and others that would be interesting.

Worst Persons: Bachmann, Lamborn & entrepreneur Peter Thiel


Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

We were all having a good inter-blog chuckle reading the reactions to an e-mail that was sent to supporters by the the New Mexico Director of OFA telling them to read the poorly written, unsubstantiated, hair-on-fire rantings of an obscure blogger/alleged activist named Spandan Chakrabarti. The article, which was supposedly written to “explain” the debt ceiling, was couched in pejoratives calling Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. Paul Krugman a “political novice” and President Obama’s critics the “Firebagger Lefty blogosphere.” It got a thumbs down reaction from several well known web sites, including this one. Now we here at Stars Hollow make no claim to having any greater on-line impact in the blogosphere than any other site, after all we are still in our “growing” stage, but to our amusement late last night, we discovered that Mr. Chakrabarti’s web site doesn’t compare to the impact of our Chief Editor, ek hornbeck. We googled Mr. Chakrabarti’s name and this is the first page of that search:

Please note, The Stars Hollow Gazette article that mentioned the name, “Spandan Chakrabarti”, is 3rd while the blogger’s own web site is further down the page in 6th.

ek hornbeck’s reaction was “I told you his on-line impact doesn’t begin to compare with mine.”

This embarrassing kerfuffle hasn’t ended for OFA or this obscure blogger. This morning Dr. Krugman responded:

Well, at least they’re paying attention.

I would say this: on one side you have the GOP, which responds to completely crazed Tea Party demands by doing all it can to assure the hard right that it’s on its side. On the other, you have the Democratic establishment or at least part thereof, which responds to complaints from its own base that it’s going too easy on the crazies by lashing out at the base, with a bit of bearded-professor bashing on the side.

Way to strengthen your bargaining position, guys.

And the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent added his opinion:

That said, this story does provide a window into what I think is a real problem – the nature of the Obama team’s frustration with liberal critics. The problem is that some on the Obama team don’t reckon with what it is lefty critics are actually saying. Obama advisers get angry when they think liberal critics are refusing to accept the limits placed on him by current political realities, and when lefties presume at the outset that Obama will inevitably sell out. That’s reflected in Sandoval’s angry email and in other periodic explosions of anger at the “professional left.”

But the lefty critique goes considerably further than this. It’s an argument with Obama’s team about tactics and strategy, about what might be attainable if he handled these negotiations differently. The case from these critics is if Obama approached negotiations with a harder line, it would be better politics because it would juice up the base and show indys he’s a fighter. They also advocate for this course because the current dynamic is hopelessly broken – and they think a more aggressive approach has at least a chance of broadening the field of what’s substantively possible. (There’s a segment on the left that also thinks Obama wants what’s in the deals he keeps securing, but the points above are broadly what many lefties agree on.)

Whether you agree with this critique or not – people make persuasive cases in both directions – Sandoval’s email shows a broader failure to reckon with what it is that has lefty critics so ticked off. That’s the real problem here – and it’s one of the key causes of the tension between the left and the White House.

One good thing about all this is it got the attention of the traditional media and, for what it’s worth, the White House who denounced the e-mail by their own campaign director. And it got us more attention which is always a good thing. 😉

Countdown with Keith Olbermann

If you do not get Current TV you can watch Keith here:

Watch live video from CURRENT TV LIVE Countdown Olbermann on