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Preview: Solonor's Ink Well

Solonor's Ink Well

Random musings from your favorite half-elfLife's too short. Don't be afraid to wear the bunny ears...

Published: 2008-10-30T07:56:10-05:00


Change You Can Believe In


If you only read this blog via a news reader, you probably should know that the RSS feed is now:

Go ahead and slap me. It might wake me from this bad dream.


I'm officially over this whole bailout thing.

The fear-mongering proponents of it (which now includes the President and his administration, the leadership of both parties in both houses of Congress, major financial advisors and just about anyone else with a microphone) have held a gun to our heads for the last few weeks and said, "Hand over the money, or your country gets it."

Well, I for one am telling them to stick that $700 billion back up the ass from whence they pulled it. Let it all come crashing down. Then, they can use the $700 billion to give people jobs building roads, developing alternatives to foreign oil, or just making the prize on "Deal or No Deal" really sweet.

What seems to have gotten my goat? What, you ask, was the last straw?

I read the Senate's version of the bill. The one that passed. The one that both Mr. "No more earmarks" and Mr. "Change" voted for.

Among its provisions are the following gems:

*Increase in limit on cover over of rum excise tax to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
*Seven-year cost recovery period for motorsports racing track facility.
*Extension and modification of duty suspension on wool products; wool research fund; wool duty refunds.
*Provisions related to film and television productions.
*Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.
*Income averaging for amounts received in connection with the Exxon Valdez litigation.

Here's how bizarre the world has become. I'm listening to right-wing radio and reading conservative blogs, and their thoughts are pretty much summed up by that paragon of conservatism...Michael Moore!

As crazy as things are right now, tens of thousands of people got a car loan this week. Thousands went to the bank and got a mortgage to buy a home. Students just back to college found banks more than happy to put them into hock for the next 15 years with a student loan. Life has gone on. Not a single person has lost any of their money if it’s in a bank or a treasury note or a CD. And the most amazing thing is that the American public hasn’t bought the scare campaign. The citizens didn’t blink, and instead told Congress to take that bailout and shove it. THAT was impressive.

If you need me, I'll be over here celebrating the Red Sox win.

It's playoff time!


After 14 years of living next door to the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays and not giving a damned about them, I'm not about to start now. I think it's really neat that someone other than Boston, New York, Chicago and LA made it to the playoffs, but I'll take of my imaginary (I don't wear hats) Red Sox cap when they pry it off my cold, dead head.

Go Sox!

Tom Bodett has my vote!


OK, this is the last post I'm doing on politics or economics. Ever.

If at any time in the future you catch me saying the word "meltdown" without referring to mutant zombies, you have every right to slap me. (Not that you don't already, but I digress.)

The "bailout" bill failed, yesterday, ostensibly due to an awful partisan speech given by the Speaker of the House...the contents of which I happen to agree with wholeheartedly.

Why the hell is it that we can get $700 billion to rescue Wall Street at the drop of a hat, but nothing but contempt and accusations of "socialism" for a program 1/10th that size to cover medical benefits or education? For that matter, if there's a spare $700 billion lying around, I'll take my $2000 share in small, unmarked bills. Hell, make it big, marked ones!

In the end, though, how lame is it to accuse the failure of this bill on either A) Barack Obama....the guy who didn't come charging in like a mad rhino and whose party did deliver enough votes for passage or B) a speech. I don't care if she stood up and called all their grandmothers blood-sucking, baby killing, Nazi vampires. If this bill was sooooo important that its passage was required to save the universe, whining about your hurt feewings is not a reason to vote against it. Man up and say "the bill sucked and we believe in free markets." Sheesh.

One thing that I noticed about the bill is that a lot of folks are complaining about it that probably didn't read it. I did (I had trouble sleeping the other night.) Also, a detailed summary of its provisions was in the Chicago Sun-Times.

I thought it came out pretty good, considering the original Paulson "hey, can you spare an extra $700 billion?" plan written on a napkin. Do I think it would have helped? Meh. Maybe. Could it have hurt? No worse than any other solution. At this point, things are so messed up that there are no good answers.

On this week's Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, the best answer to the crisis was given by panelist Tom Bodett. It went something (but not exactly) like this:

If they do this, and we pay $700 billion, we'll all still be going to work like we do now, and the taxes will gradually have to be raised so high that we're not really making any money.

If they don't do this, the whole thing will come crashing down, there'll be no jobs, we'll all stay home not making any money.

So, if we don't do this, at least we don't have to go to work!

My ABC's


A. We're screwed.

B. I still have Heroes.

C. Pushing Daisies is back on Wednesday.

So, all-in-all, the good far outweighs the bad.

Oh, those pesky facts...

2008-09-27T07:54:38-05:00 FactChecking Debate No. 1

Frankly, I was disappointed that Obama didn't call McCain on his bull enough. The format of the debate allowed for them to mix it up directly, but they both had that deer in the headlights look when Lehrer told them to talk to each other directly. "You want us to what???"

A funny thing happened on the way to the bank...


It failed.

Thanks to stupid government intervention in the free market, I didn't lose my pitiful savings.

How dare they be a safety net and transition my money to another bank! What the hell? I log onto my account this morning and (other than the new bank's logo), it's like nothing happened?

Goddamn Commies.

On a serious note, I actually do think this new bailout thing is a bunch of hooey, and I'm kinda glad it got derailed for a little bit. As much as it seems like everyone feels the need to hurry up and do something, I think it would be better if they hurried up and did the right something.

For example, maybe include a little more money for the FDIC?

It's the stupid economy!


CNN Breaking News: "John McCain suspends campaigning to work on economy, requests postponing Friday debate; asks Obama do the same."

This is either going to be a brilliant move to back Obama into a corner and show that he follows where McCain leads, or it's going to backfire big time.

If I were Obama, I'd say, "I've been working on the economy by trying to get the idiots that messed it up (like you and your cronies) out of here. And guess what? A President needs to be able to multi-task! So, bite me, Johnny boy!"

OK, so maybe he'll say it nicer. Hopefully, he won't just slough off to Washington and kow-tow to the demands of McCain HQ.

UPDATE: Apparently, either Obama reads my blog, or great minds think alike...

"Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time," the Democratic candidate said. "It's not necessary for us to think that we can only do one thing and suspend everything else."

Many Eyes


I was reading an article on CNN about this whole earmarks rigmarole. One of the more pointless debates that's going 'round this year is about who hates earmarks the most. As usual, it's not about the details of specific programs and policies, but about which side can claim to be holier than thou the loudest. What I care about is not how much money each congress critter asked for. It's about what they asked for.

But anyway, I looked at the source of the story--the Sunlight Foundation--and it led me to this nifty 2005 Earmarks by State per Capita visualization.

The real point of this post, of course, is not politics but the cool geekery of Many Eyes. This is a site created by IBM that lets folks create their own shared visualizations of data, whether it's bubble charts, tag clouds, maps, or many others. I found visualizations for comparing the AIG bailout to Federal spending, tag clouds of the convention speeches of Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, Joe Biden, John McCain and Barack Obama, Olympic medals by event, Olympic medals by country (1896-2006), and a map of someone's Facebook friends.

Hours of geeky fun!

The Next Doctor


The BBC buried the title to this year's Doctor Who Christmas special in an announcement about a contest for Children in Need. It will be called "The Next Doctor" and will star our current hero and...the next Doctor! David Morrissey!

Now, this being Doctor Who, it's not certain whether Morrissey is the actual next Doctor to take over when David Tennant is done or just a parallel universe Doctor, but still he looks the part.