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13 years ago @ Library Grape - Dueling sequiturs · 1 reply · +1 points

Enron - this was a failing not of regulations but of regulators. Curiously there's no real counterpoint on this one. Original comic says there was insufficient oversight, parody says because they bought their way out of it. There is no contention here. Admittedly I am fuzzy on the whole Enron thing, but my understanding is that in part they shuffled things in such a way that regulations that were in place did not catch it, much as happened with the credit crisis. This is seriously one of the worst possible arguments Libertarians could have fabricated against regulation - certainly, without any regulation it would have been just as bad.

The housing crisis was symptom of and factor in the credit crisis. It was a domino or several in a chain - the housing market was not the only thing to fall, it may not have been the first (or it may have been), and it certainly does not account for even a majority of the problem. A major factor in the meltdown overall was the practice of rebundling credit - specifically, bundling cheap high-risk securities into new bundles to be parted out (I don't know the right words) into things which would be rated as low-risk securities. Selling offal as prime rib. This was apparently pretty clever as it bypassed regulation of securities and the market either didn't notice or more accurately didn't care because they were paying off despite balancing on a house of cards. Another lousy argument against regulation - though maybe an argument for an overhaul of regulation, some more adaptive method of refining rules than Congress perhaps.

BP: ah yes, blame the regulation limiting the liability of certain corporations causing catastrophes - a limit espoused, ironically, by the right, also known for having a ranking Energy and Commerce Committee member apologize to BP. Don't blame the lack of oversight for safety procedures. Don't blame BP and/or its contractors ignoring some of what regulations where in place. Certainly don't blame the fact that if we had stricter regulations requiring better redundancy in failsafes (particularly on deep water wells, which we clearly do not understand how to fix reliably) as most other nations do this particular accident profile would have been impossible.

I mean, sure, you could point to these examples and say, in each case, the market eventually works itself out. Enron got screwed by the market (except the ones at the top, who only got their just desserts because of regulation), abusive security dealers... wait, didn't get screwed by the market, they're sitting pretty, and BP... well, BP learns nothing and carries on, though once we get estimates worked out of just how much was spilled in the Gulf they'll have a fair chunk of change to pay in fines - due to regulation. So, yeah, the free market does eventually work itself out, but not until everyone's been screwed over except the ones who most deserve it because they were manipulating the market to make it happen.

The Libertarian argument to this, I suppose, is that if they were just a little more free to manipulate the market more it would come back and bite them in the ass. Shame it doesn't work that way.

13 years ago @ Library Grape - Yes, Harry Reid Is A D... · 0 replies · +1 points

Spend enough time and money telling people they all hate a person and they'll start to believe you.

13 years ago @ Library Grape - Culture War Update · 2 replies · +1 points

My opinion: run out the clock on appeal - there are 60 days to file. This is what Representative Barney Frank advocates, and he's got a good reason - don't mess with the state of things until we see if the Senate can get their act together and pass the Defense Authorization Bill in the lame duck session, which is before then. If it passes, it's a non-issue. If it doesn't, well, go from there.

Meanwhile do not apply for another damn stay. Since the Obama administration claims to agree this policy is unconstitutional, issue an order immediately terminating all existing DADT investigations and halting enforcement while legal action is happening.

I'm curious - if the Justice Department does apply for an emergency stay and that is turned down, how long does the DoD have to comply with the order? An order was issued several days ago demanding an immediate end to DADT enforcement, how is it still in effect?

13 years ago @ Library Grape - An Evangelical Aversio... · 6 replies · +1 points

Physical forces are in fact pretty cool. But in a Bill Nye way.

13 years ago @ KOMO - Seattle, WA - Assistant attorney gen... · 1 reply · +16 points

Of course it's free speech. The question is whether it's also illegal harassment.

13 years ago @ Library Grape - The Most Ridiculous Th... · 0 replies · +1 points

This is fairly par for the course for the Republican party of late. Schedule press conferences to conflict with major Obama speeches. I don't know about this one specifically but historically Fox (and only Fox) has run every one of them; I guess it also gives Fox an excuse to prevent their viewers seeing any of Obama's speeches except for the Breitbarted versions.

13 years ago @ KOMO - Seattle, WA - BC police: Bears surro... · 1 reply · +10 points

Wait, is that a katana in his left hand? Mounties are awesome.

14 years ago @ Library Grape - The Next Step In Socia... · 1 reply · +1 points

Sorry, too busy bemoaning our status as the only developed nation without mandatory vacation, or mandatory paid maternity/bereavement leave.

14 years ago @ Library Grape - Political Spectrum Qui... · 1 reply · +1 points

This looks to be pretty similar to the Political Compass: <a href="" target="_blank"> who also makes graphs of various candidates.

What's remarkable to me is that successful candidates tend to trend along a line from Liberterian/Left (Liberterian on these graphs meaning social policy, not economic - that's important) to Authoritarian/Right - a reasonably accurate representation of the national political field in the US and a trend that gives lie to the "smaller government and less meddling" claim from the right. Even more interesting is that the trend is displayed in other countries too. There are notable outliers, but by and large it's a good fit.

14 years ago @ Library Grape - Bleg: Help Compile an ... · 0 replies · +1 points

It seems Reid has called out Obama on DADT in the wake of an (Secretary of Defense-issued) award-winning essay by a top Pentagon official calling for its repeal. So who knows? There just might be another year-end goal on the table.

What's the betting DADT goes down along party lines too? Or close, at any rate.