Bits & Pieces (Tuesday Night Open Mic)

Still watching Battlestar Galactica. Saw a preview of Caprica, and putting it in context, that show looks great. Sorry to find out it got cancelled prematurely, but I’m surprised Syfy had the money to put together a series like Battlestar in the first place. Anyway, it’s awesome.

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Stupid consumers won’t buy the right kind of light bulbs, so they must be forced to.

Supposedly because you save enough on energy and replacement costs to justify the investment. If so, why not let bulb manufacturers make that case to consumers, who can then decide for themselves?A noncoercive approach is unacceptable, the Times implies, because consumers are driven by irrational concerns.

Speaking of infrastructure jobs, isn’t the Keystone Pipeline “infrastructure”? Or is it bad when when it’s energy infrastructure? I mean, petroleum energy infrastructure?

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I’m sorry, but this is bullsh*t. It’s Google’s g*ddamned search engine. Why the hell can’t they feature search results that feature their own products? Google may not be that great at not being evil, but this is just stupid, and any success they have in this direction just sets a bad precedent. I love how competitive behavior is getting re-defined as “anti-competetive”. Google pimping their own products is now anti-competetive? No, that’s actually competing. In the marketplace.

“Given the scope of Google’s market share in general Internet search, a key question is whether Google is using its market power to steer users to its own web products or secondary services and discriminating against other websites with which it competes,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent Monday.

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As a call back to our earlier comment-thread discussions about Song of the South, here are the 6 Most Secretly Racist Classic Children’s Books. Sherlock Holmes is a children’s book?

A few years ago I purchased a collection of vintage cartoons intended for children, but also intended to be cheap (most, I imagine, are very inexpensive to license or in the public domain). There was one Tom and Jerry short on there, but not the cat and mouse (indeed, they were later renamed Dick and Larry, to avoid confusion). Two Laurel and Hardy types, only animated, and there’s a sequence where they are flying in a plane and decide to visit Africa, in blackface. Delightfully racist–you know, for kids!

— KW

Zuccotti Park Unoccupied

I found myself in lower Manhattan yesterday with some time to kill before my timed pass for the newly opened 9/11 Memorial, so I wandered through Zuccotti Park, former ground zero of the Occupy Wall Street encampment.

Zuccotti Park is typical of several New York City semi-public spaces in that it is not a park in the conventional sense as there are no green spaces. It is a tiered totally hardscaped sliver of a city block with a wide assortment of benches and tables presumably for the enjoyment of nearby office workers on breaks.

Since the police evicted the occupiers/protesters/squatters in the dead of the night, the park has been ringed with two sets of portable crowd control barricades. The inner ring which is double thick in places encircles the park itself except for two difficult to discern cattle gate style entrances inconveniently located so as to make using the park as a short cut between Church Street and Broadway useless despite the crowded holiday pedestrian traffic around the park. The outer ring was another set of barricades at the curb-street line allowing for street crossing at corners but otherwise restricting access for jaywalkers.

Indeed, the park was deserted except for the occasional determined pedestrian and two people huddled at the stone tables, one looking none too warm and definitely on the unhoused end of the homeless-hipster continuum and the other awaiting to hustle chess opponents who never seemed to arrive.

The only two protesters to be seen were at the far east end of the park. One had an incoherent cardboard sign about livestreaming the protest. The other was the ‘official’ OWS representative who was collecting donations while clutching a cup of coffee for warmth. I chatted with him for just a few minutes while he explained how the cops were doing their best to make the park look inaccessible while nominally maintaining it open.

At any given time there were more than a dozen policemen circulating in and around the park, frequently congregating in small groups to chat and joke. There was no serious crowd control going on except for maintaining a highly visible presence.

The OWS protesters are in search of another base of operation, most recently on property owned by nearby Trinity Church who has rebuffed them. I can see why they have to because nobody is going to be occupying Zuccotti Park any time soon.

More photos here.

Morning Report

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1216 17 1.42%
Eurostoxx Index 2230.7 27.740 1.26%
Oil (WTI) 96.7 2.820 3.00%
LIBOR 0.5698 0.003 0.49%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 79.716 -0.634 -0.79%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.86% 0.05%

Housing starts were better than expected at 685k, which more or less matches the post-recession high of 687k. Trouble is, a normal number is closer to 1500, and these “highs” are lower than the troughs in the last 8 recessions. So, yes it shows that housing is maybe, conceivably, hopefully picking itself up off the mat, but we are still in a deep freeze.

Joe Nocera is back on the revisionist history beat with an editorial claiming that Fannie and Fred didn’t have a role in the crisis. I propose that all liberal columnists who write columns defending Fannie address the American Dream Commitment, which was a $ 2 trillion piece of social engineering policy that has been thoroughly swept under the rug. Just because the media refuses to address it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

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