Sunday, August 29, 2010

Little Bits of Unrelated Stuff

Or as the editor said the Wire, "li'l bit".

Unrelated stuff that's been fighting to get out of head through my fingertips.

You should read this article about two billionaire brothers funding attacks on Obama  by Jane Mayer on the
New Yorker. Mayer is also the author of brilliant book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals (read my review of the book here). The Kochs made their billions in oil and are also funding climate change denials. You can listen to the Fresh Air podcast here.

At the close of the Constitutional Convention a woman asked Dr. Franklin, "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"

"A republic," replied the Doctor, "if you can keep it." 


Ride the Drive is back today. oops, it just started....and the Orton Park Festival continues (hey, it just started again, too!). It's one of my favorite local festivals, except it's always signaled the end of Summer. That might be hard to buy today with temps around 90.


For the first time since 1990, none of my children are attending a Monona Grove School District school. Parents of adult children will understand when I say that's a melancholy feeling. I moved by youngest child (?)(offspring?) into his (brand new) dorm at UW-Milwaukee yesterday.

Why is it that in some place in my mind he'll always be the chubby 6th-grader instead of the (often) mature and bearded young man that he is today?


I have touted the Left Business Observer before and I'm doing so again. The tastefully named Doug Henshaw offers brilliant fact-based insights into the state of the economy and the related behavior of our political leaders.  the LBO gives us some of its stuff for free, but usually delays posting the newer lead articles. He posted this one right away and it's worth a read: Jonesing for a slump: austerity in the face of weakness. He posits that the stimulus package let us  avoid a worldwide depression, but now Austerity has somehow gotten hold of political-economic reins like a Horseman of the Apocalypse.

Having successfully avoided depression through a massive, largely coordinated, stimulus program, the world bourgeoisie now looks ready to reverse it—some because they think it a success, and others because they think it was a failure. This is a very dangerous business.

Abroad, the austerity party is led by Germany, with some neighboring allies, whose approach to the Eurocrisis is to put the depressed periphery through the wringer and cut budgets modestly at home. So far, the German economy has been holding up well, and German capital seems not to fear a hit to exports coming from a deep recession at the fringes of Europe.

At home, orthodox types across the political spectrum are now obsessing about the horrors of mounting U.S. indebtedness. Although the Obama administration isn’t embracing the austerity agenda passionately, they are taking it far too seriously.

His 1994 and 1998 article on purely ideological efforts to gut Social Security by ginning up a phony crisis is still relevant. The bottom line is that Social Security is not going broke. Period. Full stop. The end.

"GDP growth will, since the size of the economy decades hence will determine how much money is available to pay retirees. The bankruptcy scenario is based on an assumption that GDP will grow at a rate seen only in depression decades."

But none of my 20-something children or their friends expect to collect Social Security because they have been successfully sold the myth. The only way politicians will ever vote to take away Social Security (or shrink to an unimportant levels) is if they think it is politically safe to do so. They have laid the ground work.

He also has a blog with newsier posts (cleverly titled LBO News).


Finally, in another example of the weird of the disconnection between the state's largest city and it's state capital, unless you read the Milwaukee JS, you are very possibly unaware of the scandal exposed by the paper at the County's Mental health Complex. The series: Part I of and Part II.

Why is Scott Walker seemingly getting a free pass in the scandalous conditions exposed at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex? Scandalous but no scandal? It seems pretty clear to me that Walker's mode of governance - taking away the resources to govern - is directly responsible for the horrific conditions allowed to go on there for years.

Yesterday, Walker and a dozen board members announced plans for a new building to replace the 91-year-old facility. That's a start, but unless you fund the place to have a sufficient number of properly trained staff, the same horrors will go on just in a nicer looking place.

To his credit Walker took the blame in Friday's paper:
Walker said Friday he is ultimately responsible for operations at the complex.
"The buck stops with me," he said in a meeting with Journal Sentinel reporters and editors.
That may be the first thing he's said that I agree with. Let's hold him to it, shall we?

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