Sunday, July 31, 2011

sunday morning with HL Mencken

"The truth is that Christian theology, like every other theology, is not only opposed to the scientific spirit; it is also opposed to all other attempts at rational thinking. Not by accident does Genesis 3 make the father of knowledge a serpent -- slimy, sneaking and abominable. Since the earliest days the church, as an organization, has thrown itself violently against every effort to liberate the body and mind of man. It has been, at all times and everywhere, the habitual and incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad laws, bad social theories, bad institutions. It was, for centuries, an apologist for slavery, as it was the apologist for the divine right of kings."

-- H L Mencken

Saturday, July 30, 2011

sabado Gigante


. . .


Grata la voz del agua

a quien abrumaron negras arenas,

grato a la mano cóncava

el mármol circular de la columna,

gratos los finos laberintos del agua

entre los limoneros,

grata la música del zéjel,

grato el amor y grata la plegaria

dirigida a un Dios que está solo,

grato el jazmín.

Vano el alfanje

ante las largas lanzas de los muchos,

vano ser el mejor.

Grato sentir o presentir, rey doliente,

que tus dulzuras son adioses,

que te será negada la llave,

que la cruz del infiel borrará la luna,

que la tarde que miras es la última.

--J.L. Borges--

Friday, July 29, 2011

On the Road with..... Banksy

Jack was here

"""""If he were around today, it's pretty certain that Neal Cassady, immortalized as Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's On the Road, would appreciate what the street artist Theo has been up to lately. Cassady was a born rabble-rouser, after all, and in more ways than one Theo and a small crew of fellow miscreants have been shaking it up: Dismayed by Francis Ford Coppola's decision to film the Denver parts of On the Road in Canada for his upcoming film adaptation of the novel, the artist took to the streets late this winter with a few cans of paint, a copy of the book and a stencil of Kerouac's likeness and started tagging it on Kerouac either mentioned in On the Road or was known to frequent. "It's just a simple reminder that Kerouac was here in Denver," he told us earlier this week."""""
Destruction may be a creative  process. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011


LA Times--

""Question: The federal government has run through its ability to borrow money and soon will run out of cash to pay its bills. How did the government get into this problem?

Answer: As recently as the final years of the Clinton administration, the federal government was running a sizable budget surplus, and the national debt was declining relative to the size of the U.S. economy. Then several things happened: Under President George W. Bush, Congress enacted two big tax cuts, in 2001 and 2003, which cut federal revenues. Under Bush, the country also adopted an expensive new prescription drug plan for senior citizens and pursued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, all of which raised the government’s expenses. The combination led to increasing deficits and, as the government borrowed money to cover those deficits, a rapid increase in the national debt. Then came the recession, which cut tax revenues further and pushed up expenses even more for things like unemployment insurance and President Obama’s economic stimulus plan. Now, the debt has hit the statutory limit of $14.3 trillion.""

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ending churchly tax exemptions, continued

El Paso Times:
Religion and churches will play a big role in the coming city election. But church leaders must take care to avoid saying things to their congregations that could endanger their tax-exempt status, an expert said Friday.

"Ministers are not allowed to endorse candidates from the pulpit," said Bee Moorhead, executive director of Texas Impact.

Her Austin-based group is governed by church officials and its mission is to encourage people of faith to be politically active within legal guidelines.

"One of the jobs of people of faith is to vote," Moorhead said. "That is the core civic responsibility."

Church leaders should encourage congregants to vote -- but not whom to vote for, Moorhead said.

As the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life put it, "Religious organizations, as well as all other organizations exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, are prohibited from participating or intervening, directly or indirectly, in a political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective public office."

Many churches also conduct businesses of various sorts--pancake breakfasts, bingo, tax-prep, cheeseburr-ger bar-be-ques, Confederacy celebration days, shofar and/or Donny Osmond-impression nite, etc-- on church property. That would seem to violate the exemption status as well. CHEESE UH BURRGER?One-uh CHEESE UH BURRGER and uh PEPSI.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rev. Sherman's sermon

“I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast.”  

William Tecumseh Sherman

Saturday, July 23, 2011

sabado Gigante


"Employees of Goldman Sachs Group gave Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney $238,250 in the last three months, more than workers at any other company, according to a computer-assisted analysis of Federal Election Commission data. Obama took in $10,113."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cuts and Guts

Mascaro/LA Times

""President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are continuing to work on a deal that would allow a debt-ceiling increase, even as both sides denied reports Thursday that an agreement was imminent.

According to a Democratic congressional aide, discussions have centered on a version of the so-called grand bargain the two leaders have sought -- minus a key element, new tax revenues, that has been rejected by Republicans. The White House told congressional Democrats about this proposal during the last 24 hours.

The deal would amount to as much as $3 trillion in spending cuts, and would likely be deeply opposed by rank-and-file Democrats who have insisted that any package that includes cutbacks in Medicare and Social Security must also include new tax revenue.

For both sides, a deal of that sort would also amount to a bet on the next election, because the tax cuts enacted under George W. Bush expire at the end of 2012.

Republicans want to renew those tax cuts, while Obama has promised to allow taxes to go up on higher-income Americans when the current rates expire.""
Many of the dipshit nanny-staters with emotional disorders Dinkocrats still don't understand the COLA mechanism. The Labor-stats boys (and politicians favoring the chained CPI) want to alter the stats used to calculate inflation, slightly, over the next few years . It's not a large amount of money-- the elderly poor might lose 40-50 bucks per quarter (not monthly IIRC). This will increase projected tax revenues, supposedly (then accurate are prognostications of future inflation rates?) . The regular SS payouts per FDR's original program are still in place, but there could be possible lower COLA checks WHEN THEY GO OUT, WHICH IS RARELY (under Barrytown, none have gone out AFAIK). Got it? Read the Labor stats page for starters.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011



""Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux.

Once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses - primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - to treat such symptoms as delusions, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder. Today, it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics. Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.

It is anything but a coincidence that the explosion in antipsychotic use coincides with the pharmaceutical industry's development of a new class of medications known as "atypical antipsychotics." Beginning with Zyprexa, Risperdal, and Seroquel in the 1990s, followed by Abilify in the early 2000s, these drugs were touted as being more effective than older antipsychotics like Haldol and Thorazine. More importantly, they lacked the most noxious side effects of the older drugs - in particular, the tremors and other motor control problems.

The atypical anti-psychotics were the bright new stars in the pharmaceutical industry's roster of psychotropic drugs - costly, patented medications that made people feel and behave better without any shaking or drooling. Sales grew steadily, until by 2009 Seroquel and Abilify numbered fifth and sixth in annual drug sales, and prescriptions written for the top three atypical antipsychotics totaled more than 20 million. Suddenly, antipsychotics weren't just for psychotics any more.""

That very well may be, Ahki--the psycho-bureaucrats may be overprescribing many--but they are under-prescribing as well. Consider a large warehouse of baptist-masons: how they/it would be improved with large helpings of  Haldol or 'Zine.

Tangentially related

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rev. Jay's Sermon

“As to the position that "the people always mean well," that they always mean to say and do what they believe to be right and just - it may be popular, but it can not be true. The word people applies to all the individual inhabitants of a country. . . . That portion of them who individually mean well never was, nor until the millennium will be, considerable. Pure democracy, like pure rum, easily produces intoxication and with it a thousand pranks and fooleries. I do not expect mankind will, before the millennium, be what they ought to be and therefore, in my opinion, every political theory which does not regard them as being what they are, will prove abortive. Yet I wish to see all unjust and unnecessary discriminations everywhere abolished, and that the time may come when all our inhabitants of every color and discrimination shall be free and equal partakers of our political liberties.”

John Jay

Saturday, July 16, 2011

sabado Gigante

el funeral de Ezra Pound.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Voo dooo


"""Supply-side voodoo — which claims that tax cuts pay for themselves and/or that any rise in taxes would lead to economic collapse — has been a powerful force within the G.O.P. ever since Ronald Reagan embraced the concept of the Laffer curve. But the voodoo used to be contained. Reagan himself enacted significant tax increases, offsetting to a considerable extent his initial cuts.

And even the administration of former President George W. Bush refrained from making extravagant claims about tax-cut magic, at least in part for fear that making such claims would raise questions about the administration’s seriousness.

Recently, however, all restraint has vanished — indeed, it has been driven out of the party. Last year Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, asserted that the Bush tax cuts actually increased revenue — a claim completely at odds with the evidence — and also declared that this was “the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.” And it’s true: even Mr. Romney, widely regarded as the most sensible of the contenders for the 2012 presidential nomination, has endorsed the view that tax cuts can actually reduce the deficit.

Which brings me to the culpability of those who are only now facing up to the G.O.P.’s craziness.

Here’s the point: those within the G.O.P. who had misgivings about the embrace of tax-cut fanaticism might have made a stronger stand if there had been any indication that such fanaticism came with a price, if outsiders had been willing to condemn those who took irresponsible positions." """

Krugonomics is not really Contingencies' cup of tea but PK does point out one fairly obvious fact: the Republicans will make shit up when necessary, and the Herd will generally buy it (as with the Laffer curve BS, one of the greatest prevarications of the last few decades)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

how to get around the War Powers Act

Appleby/LA Times

""""Madison would have smiled had he heard about President Obama's maneuver, seemingly in defiance of the War Powers Act, to avoid asking Congress to authorize military action in Libya.

The act, passed in 1973, came at a time when the Vietnam War had been underway for years without any president asking for congressional approval. Members of Congress wanted future presidents to be obliged to come to them early on in a military action.

The Constitution, after all, had invested in Congress the sole power to declare war. And it rankled legislators that no president had sought congressional approval of a war since 1941, when Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress the day after Pearl Harbor. The War Powers Act was expected to put a stop to presidential impunity in entering armed conflicts by requiring presidents to notify Congress within 48 hours of sending troops into action, and to begin withdrawing them after 60 days unless Congress voted to authorize the action.

Since the act's passage, the country has gone to war many times under various guises, but presidents have blithely continued to act without congressional approval. The Libyan engagement has presented an ideal occasion for Congress to press the issue.

The 60-day deadline on Libya passed May 20. And then began the war of experts.

After Caroline Krass, acting head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, advised Obama that he should comply with the law, the president sought legal advice elsewhere, in an attempt to find some that was more to his liking. White House counsel Robert Bauer came through, issuing an opinion that the missiles we had been raining on Libya did not constitute "hostilities" as envisioned under the act. The president chose Bauer's opinion over Krass'.

And why would Madison have smiled? Because this type of presidential reaction was exactly what he predicted would happen as chief executives confronted the limitations contained in the separation of powers established in the Constitution.""""

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

speaking of the Bear


- """Crude futures were lower Tuesday as the debt crisis in Europe fed into ongoing concerns over the state of the global economic recovery and left investors wary of risky assets.

"Today is mostly about concerns over further contagion of the debt troubles in Europe," said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank. This is dragging on the overall equity market and the euro and weighing on oil prices, he added.

At 1000 GMT, the front-month August Brent contract on London's ICE futures exchange was $1.67, or 1.4%, lower at $115.57 a barrel.

The front-month August contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was trading down 95 cents or 1%, at $94.20 per barrel.

Earlier in the day, Brent fell more than $2.00 as the euro slumped to a five- month low amid worries that the problems in Greece could spread to Italy and uncertainty over the status of the Greek bailout.

A weaker euro is negative for oil as the dollar-denominated commodity then becomes more expensive for holders of other currencies.

At 1000 GMT, the euro was at $1.39311, down from $1.4032 in late New York Monday trade.

The problems in the euro-zone contributed to concerns that the global economy is not experiencing the recovery many had hoped for, suggesting oil demand might not grow as much as many expected.

Signs emerged over the weekend that China has not yet tamed its inflation, fuelling worries that additional monetary tightening is on the horizon, and this could dampen oil demand in the world's second-largest consumer.

Meanwhile, dismal unemployment data from the U.S. Friday fuelled concerns in markets and among households alike that the country may be in for a much longer slump than originally expected.

Investors may now turn their attention to the weekly U.S. inventory data from industry group, the American Petroleum Institute, later Tuesday and the U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday, for fresh indicators on the health of demand. However, analysts said the data could have less of an impact than usual as traders remained concerned with macro-economic drivers.

"It will depend whether [the data] feeds into the market sentiment that day," said Commerzbank's Weinberg. If it does, it could accelerate moves in one direction or the other, but if it's no surprise the market might ignore it, he added.

At 1000 GMT, the ICE's gasoil contract for August delivery was down $2.75, or 0.3%, at $956.00 per metric ton, while Nymex gasoline for August delivery was 291 points, or 1%, lower at $3.0414 per gallon."""
Ho -hum, you say--yet a five dollar decrease in crude futures to some Deep Pockets (in for at least two hundred grand or so), means....he just lost his S series benz (or mo')

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mittens watch

Romney's jobs record lacking/LATimes

During the years he was governor, [Massachusetts] ranked among the last in the nation in job creation. The percentage increase in jobs — about 1% — was lower than in all but three states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In worse straits were Ohio, suffering the ongoing deterioration of its manufacturing infrastructure; Michigan, beset then by the decline of the auto industry; and Louisiana, devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Many factors contribute to the economics of any given state, and a governor can sometimes have only limited influence. But Romney's performance in the job represents his argument for election. He and his backers say he is responsible for demonstrable progress for the state, which faced a series of economic challenges, including a fiscal crisis that mushroomed shortly after Romney's election.

"I'm very pleased that Massachusetts had a lower unemployment rate than the nation for three of the four years I was governor," he told reporters last week, citing another way to measure a state's employment record. "The governor before me lost jobs; the governor after me has lost jobs; we actually created jobs."

Leading economists and business advocates in Massachusetts say Romney is correct — but only to a point.

"Romney's record of economic stewardship fell short of expectations," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed group that provides research on fiscal and economic matters. In remarks echoed by others, Widmer said Romney fell particularly short in his promise to recruit employers to the state....."

One big beehive with barley and oats, and fountains of de-caf Pepsi, my brothers and sisters

Saturday, July 09, 2011

sabado Gigante

Social security cuts

""Although specifics have yet to officially emerge, there is little doubt that among the Social Security benefit cuts the President is proposing will be a reduction in Social Security's annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) through an obscure change in the COLA formula known as the chained CPI (Consumer Price Index).

Update for those who haven't seen it: The Washington Post reported last night that President Obama is "proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security," in a meeting with top House and Senate leaders this morning. Apparently those cuts to Social Security and Medicare would be part of a $4 trillion debt reduction package--a larger deal than the $2 trillion one that had been talked about until this point.""

Note that COLAs are not part of the normal SS payments, a point the demopublicans continue to overlook. And the proposed modification will raise tax revenues, supposedly (tho' perhaps some will get smaller cola checks--none of which have gone out in... Barrytown).

only time will tell, if you got the Bear--or the Bear got you/S-Dan

Friday, July 08, 2011

WL Craig vs Sam Harris

WL Craig/Harris/Notre Dame

WL Craig: ""First, natural science tells us only what is, not what ought to be, the case. As the philosopher Jerry Fodor has written, “Science is about facts, not norms; it might tell us how we are, but it wouldn’t tell us what is wrong with how we are.”[12] In particular it cannot tell us that we have a moral obligation to take actions which are conducive to human flourishing.

So, if there is no God, what foundation remains for objective moral duties? On the naturalistic view, human beings are just animals, and animals have no moral obligation to one another. When a lion kills a zebra, it kills the zebra, but it doesn’t murder the zebra. When a great white shark forcibly copulates with a female, it forcibly copulates with her but it doesn’t rape her–for none of these actions is forbidden or obligatory. There is no moral dimension to these actions.

So if God does not exist, why think that we have any moral obligations to do anything? Who or what imposes these obligations upon us? Where do they come from? It’s very hard to see why they would be anything more than a subjective impression ingrained into us by societal and parental conditioning.

On the atheistic view, certain actions such as rape and incest may not be biologically and socially advantageous, and so in the course of human development have become taboo, that is, socially unacceptable behavior. But, that does absolutely nothing to prove that such acts are really wrong. Such behavior goes on all the time in the animal kingdom. On the atheistic view the rapist who chooses to flout the “herd morality” is doing nothing more serious than acting unfashionably, the moral equivalent, if you will, of Lady Gaga. If there is no moral lawgiver, then there is no objective moral law, and if there is no objective moral law, then we have no objective moral duties.

Thus, Dr. Harris’s view lacks any source for objective moral duty.

Second problem: “ought” implies “can.” A person is not morally responsible for an action which he is unable to avoid. For example, if somebody shoves you into another person, you’re not responsible for bumping into him. You had no choice. But Sam Harris believes that all of our actions are causally determined and that there is no free will.[13] Dr. Harris rejects not only libertarian accounts of free will but also compatibilistic accounts of freedom. But, if there is no free will, then no one is morally responsible for anything! In the end, Dr. Harris admits this, though it’s tucked away in the endnotes of his volume. Moral responsibility, he says, and I quote, “is a social construct,” not an objective reality: I quote: “in neuroscientific terms no person is more or less responsible than any other” for the actions they perform.[14] His thoroughgoing determinism spells the end of any hope or possibility of objective moral duties because on his worldview we have no control over what we do."

Thursday, July 07, 2011

"Princes, the dregs of their dull race...."


Why for a mere $4,000 a campesino one might approach the royal couple, watch Prince William lead his fellow polo players, and then see Kate present her most bodacious tits the trophy to the winning team.

Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, US Con.:

“ No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state."

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Los ricos son cada vez más ricos en EEUU

La Opinión

""La propuesta de la Casa Blanca de subir los impuestos a los millonarios como parte de las negociaciones para reducir el déficit que siguen hoy ha puesto la lupa en ese segmento de la población, que acapara un porcentaje creciente de la riqueza estadounidense.

“Cualquier acuerdo para reducir el déficit exigirá decisiones difíciles (...) y creo justo el pedir a las petroleras o a los ejecutivos que viajan en aviones privados, a quienes les ha ido tan bien, que renuncien a sus ventajas fiscales”, dijo el presidente de Barack Obama la semana pasada en una rueda de prensa.

Todo hace prever que Obama vuelva a la carga contra las que ha bautizado como “vacas sagradas” del Partido Republicano mañana miércoles durante su primera tertulia en Twitter con los votantes, con quienes hablará sobre la economía y el empleo.

Las cifras demuestran que a los millonarios y multimillonarios de Estados Unidos les va cada vez mejor.

Un artículo publicado el 18 de junio en el diario The Washington Post mencionaba, en ese sentido, que el 10% más rico de la población tenía en 2008, el último año para el que hay datos disponibles, casi los mismos ingresos que todo el resto del país junto.""

No me gustan las vacas sagradas  del Partido Republicano.      Contingencies, ahora en Español!

Monday, July 04, 2011


“What experience and history teaches us is that people and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it” Hegel

Yankee Doodle Dandy,y'all

Sunday, July 03, 2011

King Brigham on...blacks, jews and native Americans

So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
James 2:17
"Here are the Lamanites [native Americans].... Their wickedness was not so great as those [Jews] who slew the Son of God. ...Is their curse as great as that of those in Palestine? No, it is light, in comparison. They began to thirst for each other's blood, and massacred each other, from generation to generation, until they SUNK INTO WICKEDNESS, and EVIL principles the most DEGRADING, and have become LOATHSOME and VILE. Still THE CURSE WILL BE REMOVED from them before it will be removed from the children of Judah; and THEY WILL BECOME A "WHITE AND DELIGHTSOME PEOPLE." LDS "Prophet" Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses,1854."

So assuming Romney or Huntsman uphold the tradition of the LDS established by Dung Young, they should not expect the support of jews, blacks or natives, or somethin' like that. 

Saturday, July 02, 2011

sabado Gigante

"IMPARTIAL, adj. Unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side of a controversy or adopting either of two conflicting opinions." (Bierce)

Friday, July 01, 2011

Feliz cumpleaños, Ambrose Bierce

“Insurance: An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.”


"On the outbreak of the Civil War Lucius Bierce organized and equipped two companies of marines. [Ambrose Bierce] joined one of these on 19th April, 1861, and two months later became part of the invasion force led by George McClellan in West Virginia.

On 6th April, 1862, Albert S. Johnson and Pierre T. Beauregard and 55,000 members of the Confederate Army attacked Grant's army near Shiloh Church, in Hardin, Tennessee. Taken by surprise, Grant's army suffered heavy losses. Bierce was a member of the force led by General Don Carlos Buell that forced the Confederate to retreat. Bierce was deeply shocked by what he saw at Shiloh and after the war wrote several short stories based on this experience."
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