We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, January 18. 2013
Bird Dog is off somewhere or other, so you are stuck with what is on my spindle for today and tomorrow. Today there is a lot piled on my spindle. (Please notify Guinness) Tomorrow should be a shorter stack.
Is the MOOCs Panic Under Way? (MOOC = massive online open courses)
The Veil Descends (Mark Steyn)
Ironic Lede: "The Chicago Bears hired a Jewish head coach, Marc Trestman, to improve their pigskin prowess."
George Will: Some questions for Hagel
Gold Digger!: An amateur prospector hunting for gold in Australia has astonished experts after stumbling across a mammoth nugget worth some £200,000.
OK, the long chain of links may not have been sexy, but to keep your interest, count the links in these chains:
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"UK Textbook Wipes Israel Off the Map" is a recommended click. UK is in a terrible state.
Derrick Morgan: The debt ceiling—if not raised—would force the federal government to operate on a balanced budget overnight.
Yes, but defaulting on its legal obligations.
Derrick Morgan: This approach could lead to unorganized cuts as the executive branch decided which bills to pay and not to pay, which of course is not ideal.
The executive has no authority to stop paying bills. That's a legislative responsibility.
Derrick Morgan: (Congress could help by passing a prioritization bill in case we need it). Under a new law, or even without one, the Treasury would undoubtedly have enough money to pay our interest expense, avoiding a default on our debt.
Not meeting its legal obligations is a default, even if the U.S. pays the interest on its debts and redeem securities as they come due. More important, the law demands that the U.S. continue to issue checks. You can pay the bank, but when you try to renew your note, they're going to wonder why you stiffed the plumber.
Only by legislative action can Congress avoid this, either by raising the debt ceiling, or by passing a budget with cash balances. The latter is highly improbable as no one in Congress has proposed anything close to an immediately balanced budget; hence the debt ceiling must be raised in order for the U.S. to avoid default.
Since it's Congress, they can change the law, thus their "legal obligations" go away.
And I'm not talking about "stiffing the plumber" which is an obvious straw man from you.
I'm talking about "cancelling the cable TV". This is how you rein in a budget: stop spending on non-necessities. There is lots of that in the Federal Budget. It's there b/c of "law" but that's a point of rhetoric, one easily remedied.
Oh, and I'm farther along in Diamond's book. I can see why it was popular w/ academics, especially those in the "historical sciences." It's terribly written, but I hope there will be a few facts that are of interest and that won't be shown to be complete fiction.
DrTorch: Since it's Congress, they can change the law, thus their "legal obligations" go away.
That's right. However, that does require an act of Congress. They could, for instance, stop paying Social Security and Medicare, but continue to collect the taxes. But if they do nothing, then it will result in default.
DrTorch: stop spending on non-necessities. There is lots of that in the Federal Budget.
Could you be a bit more specific, with cuts sufficient not to have to raise the debt ceiling?
The other Kesler explains
I always wondered about that - now I know. :>)
Manti is at least a liar or fully delusional, there's no doubt. Whether or not there was some sort of hoax behind it is yet to be determined. Even if a hoax, Manti took the hoax way beyond comprehension with stories of actual visits. This is a very bizarre story that is unfolding.
This story along with the evidence from the championship game that he can't tackle SEC caliber running backs puts his NFL future in question.
If he's not clinically delusional or psychotic, why the elaborate lies?
Re: Why is Germany repatriating its gold?
The more interesting question is why, assuming the gold is sitting their in the Fed's and French vaults collecting dust as it is supposed to be, are they shipping it home gradually over 8 years rather than say, arranging delivery the Tuesday after next of whatever volume they think is better off under their direct control.
I can understand (especially in the no longer relevant cold war context) why the Germans wanted their gold in NY. I can understand them leaving it there. I can understand them wanting it back. I cannot understand them wanting it back gradually over the next 8 years.
I don't want to go all conspiracy, but given that three months ago the Germans were insisting there was no reason to question the US Fed keeping German gold, and now they want their gold back, but gradually, the only case that does make sense is that the Fed leased out the German gold, and the Germans don't have gold, they have a claim on gold from the Fed, and the Fed has a claim on gold from who ever they leased it to, and that entity most likely leased the gold and sold it. Given that the primary reason gold is valuable is that it is the only central bank asset without counterparty risk, there is a huge difference between owning gold you control, owning gold that someone else controls, and owning a claim on gold. The difference being layers of counterparty risk.
Effectively, the Germans trusted the US Fed. Now it doesn't. The only scenario that fits everything is the Germans want their gold back, but the Fed doesn't actually have it to ship back. So they effectively came to an agreement roughly along the lines of, "I can't give you gold back now, but I will get it back to you over time."
This also adds light to the very odd practive of almost all central banks including the US Fed listing 'gold and gold receivables' together. For any accountants, this is the equivalent of a company trying to list 'cash and accounts receivable' together. That would never fly with any accounting standard, or honest accountant.
I don't know this scenario is true, but it is the only case I am aware of which makes sense with all the facts we do know. Which is terrifying.
They aren't getting all the gold over 8 years - they are taking back about 1/3 of their gold reserves from New York and London - the majority of their gold reserves are/will still be held outside their country.
They are leaving some gold in NY (none in France, some in London). Which I can understand. The gold they are taking back, they are receiving gradually over 8 years...which is what makes no sense to me.
I can see leaving it in NY, I can see taking it back, I cannot understand (other than this theory) I taking it back in 2019. Why would they say, "I want my gold, sitting in your valuts, back...but 8 years from now"?
Mas manana! My spindle fills quickly. But, hopefully less tomorrow than today.
Re: Failing History: Colleges Neglect Core U.S. Principles
No wonder Oliver Stone doesn't know anything, and I mean anything, about the Eisenhower era and so few journalists know the difference between propaganda and facts. Most universities don't teach history that's focused on broad-based political policy, theory, institutions, etc., but instead focus on gender, class and racial analysis. Isn't that more in line with social studies?
Actually, I find that history has to be a "life long learning" course as the governments release more documents adding to the facts that allow for better definition of an era. Where would we be without the Verona papers?
BTW, BK, that's some heavy-duty spindle you keep.