Friday, February 18, 2011

Collective Idiocy

In yet another ham fisted move, Obama is sending his goons to Wisconsin to harass their elected representatives over a bill to curb the power of government unions in the state. I'm rather surprised by this since this means that he is blowing political capital on a fight that cannot be won. Just to clear: there is no money. None. If the unions lose, they still get pay and benefits far above what private employees get, and if they 'win' then thousands of them will be fired, and in the end they will still endure cuts of some kind because THERE IS NO MONEY, and protesting cannot change that fact anymore than it can the direction that the planet rotates.

Mish notes a very convincing quote about the evils of government unions from none other than FDR. Mish also makes some other very good points, but the key one that he over verbalizes is thus: with a private company the unions are (typically) reigned in by the fact that if they're too greedy their place of employment will go out of business, but with government unions such constraints are nonexistent (unless you live in Argentina, or someplace that's turning into it...). Compensation for government work should be a reflection of what taxpayers want to pay for it.

This can be further illustrated by government union defenders pointing to outrageous CEO pay. This is a viable rock to hide under in a private company, but with government unions the paymaster is the taxpayer; are they then saying that the taxpayers make too much money?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oligarch Summary

The French Revolution's reign of terror begins to make sense when you soak in a story like this, from Matt Taibbi:
Criminal justice, as it pertains to the Goldmans and Morgan Stanleys of the world, is not adversarial combat, with cops and crooks duking it out in interrogation rooms and courthouses. Instead, it's a cocktail party between friends and colleagues who from month to month and year to year are constantly switching sides and trading hats.
The whole article is yet another depressing indictment of how sorry a state our Federal government is in.

(BTW, I should also point out that it took the state of Ohio thirty years to be a death row inmate to death, proving that incompetence is rife in the whole system)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Back to the Future in Design

I always thought that the look below was ugly, but I had to live through the tail end of it in my childhood. With enough time having now passed, I have to say that I find the look fascinating (though still ugly):

He has others in this series that are nice, but don't carry the same weight. It seems like, in hindsight, many designers of that era were looking to modernize the Frank Loyd Wright look, when the reality turned out that look had already been taken as far as it could go without turning into farce (with otherwordly colors and/or plastic chairs).

No Defference

So what if the family of a slain man want the killer spared the death penalty? Criminal punishment is there to protect everyone in society, not just it's victims.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Crisis Exploitation

That Denninger kook notes that the Republicans have Obama over a barrel and they would be fools not to exploit the situation. Every indication though is that the Republicans will sell their opposition (if it can be called that) to increasing the debt ceiling for some very, very modest cuts, which will no doubt be budgetary slight of hand, and not cuts at all.

In my mind, at least, the Republicans should have set out front and center that a bill to increase the debt ceiling wasn't ever going to be brought up for a vote, but if they are going to bring it up I'm hoping that hotter heads prevail and give Obama a true taste of not letting a 'crisis go to waste'.