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December 24, 2010

happy whatevers

I'm in the chute for this holiday thing, so there's an excellent chance that I won't get to write any of the fun things I'd like too before the formal end of the Race To Yuletide.

So let me say again that you visitors to this site are the handsomest, cleverest visitors in all the world, ones and zeros and IRL both.  If I ever have children, I hope that they will look like all of you.

And whether or not you celebrate anything in particular, do what you will be doing heroically, and make sure to hug the snot out of everyone you love.

Thanks for playing,


Posted by mrbrent at 8:53 AM

December 23, 2010

why the british government would be bought

The Fourteenth Banker notes (via Creditwritedowns) a Wikileaks cable concerning backchannel concern that British banks were insolvent.  From the cable, concerning a 2008 meeting with the Bank of England Governor Mervyn King:
King said that liquidity is necessary but not sufficient in the current market crisis because the global banking system is undercapitalized due to being over leveraged.  He said it is hard to look at the big four UK banks (Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC, and Lloyds TSB) and not think they need more capital.  A coordinated effort among central banks and finance ministers may be needed to develop a plan to recapitalize the banking system.

"Insolvency" was a word that was much bandied about in 2008, though mostly by observers, columnists and other wags, and not by government officials.  Like the Treasury, or the Fed.  So this does put a timestamp on when liquidity became a concern by those involved.

Not very sexy stuff, no, but cross it with this strange episode in which a member of the House of Lords discussed a shadowy megalithic unknown party offering, basically, to infuse the British economy with kajillions of Pounds Sterling.  "Buy the British government" is the more fun way to put it.  And now we have a cable establishing that, yes, the British government was aware of its need to be bought.

I'm not saying there's a connection between the two.  I'm not saying there's not a connection, either.  But the confluence of the two stories makes for some pretty exciting economic cloak-and-daggery.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:05 AM

December 22, 2010

the third dumbest man in virginia

The following is a paragraph from a little reaction piece on how the administration of the Commonwealth of Virginia is not so happy with the repeal of DADT.  Why, one state lawmaker is just incensed!
"It's a distraction when I'm on the battlefield and have to concentrate on the enemy 600 yards away and I'm worried about this guy whose got eyes on me," the lawmaker, Delegate Bob Marshall (R), told WUSA9.  "If I needed a blood transfusion and the guy next to me had committed sodomy 14 times in the last month I'd be worried."

That this moron would think that anyone, gay or straight, would be thinking about gettin' some while under fire is a monument to the relative fitness to serve of bigots and homophobes, and the argument that gays will predate on straights if in mixed company qualifies Bob Marshall for sequestering from the gender to which he is attracted.  (And if he is bi, then sequester him from everyone.)

And if Bob Marshall is worried about STDs in the service, then he's never heard of this thing called "shore leave".

Bob Marshall may not be the dumbest man in Virginia, but I would keep myself close to the phone if I were him, in case the other two guys die.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:40 AM

oh come on now, brian lehrer

I'm listening to a rebroadcast of a NYC public radio talker, of which the topic is, "How will the military implement the repeal of DADT."  And the host, who is no dummy, actually an excellent radio dude, asks the guest, who is an officer in the service, "Well, what about the recruit who says that he has a religious objection to gayness and being gay etc. etc."

I guess they'd treat that like the religious objection to killing?  That's just my thought.

I still love the NPR, though, as much guff as I give.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:18 AM

December 21, 2010

a new start

Instead of the boilerplate "GOP is playing politics with our national defense!!" post that I intended to write when I clicked "New Entry", let's instead focus on the inherent small comedy contained therein.

So, the Senate Republicans, as the treaty needs a two-thirds vote to be ratified, have been dragging their feet because of Mitch McConnell's strategy of sand-bagging: any legislation passed is a putative victory for the president.  In order to not ratify this treaty, some caucus members (specifically the Arizonans) warn that this treaty, which is basically renewing a treaty that expired a year ago, leaving the US and Russia with a small interruption in weapons inspections and associated peace-through-cooperation, will somehow harm our long-range strategic capabilities, and have demanded amendments.

Which would of course require renegotiation of the treaty, which the Russians have called bullshit on:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in an interview with Interfax on Monday that an amendment could be a deal-breaker, saying the treaty "cannot be opened up and become the subject of new negotiations."

So, and this is a long way to go for a bit of small comedy, we now the Russians squaring off against the Grand Old Party.  Which is awesome.  Random, a bit head-scratching, but there it is.

The comparison between the Republican Party and the neo-mob-business-syndicate that is the Putin Administration is one that I find endlessly entertaining and useful!  The GOP can only refight the Cold War because the Cold War was so good to them — terrifying an entire nation into the point of suggestibility, enabling a bunch of old white Free Marketeers to clothe themselves as Cold Warriors and win lots of votes.  And Putin is in no hurry to fight another Cold War considering how the last one went and especially now that he's stumbled onto the shits and giggles that an oligarchy can provide.  If anything, Putin is miffed at the GOP for sabre-rattling because they have so much in common.

And of course, don't let the image of John Boehner and Dmitry Medvedev holding the big pair of scissors at the grand opening of a corruption factory in Belarus distract you from the fact that the GOP is playing venal small-time politics over matters of international relations.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:42 AM

December 20, 2010

preemptive "oh this day"

OMG yes it is a day full of ugh (via Jolie):
Brace yourself for off-the-charts banarama insanity today & tomorrow: There is a full moon rising, plus a total lunar eclipse, plus it’s the winter solstice and oh right, Mercury is still in retrograde.

I tried very hard to not get out of bed.  It did not work.  And now I am at work, and terrified to answer the phone or check the email.

If I ever meet this Mercury fellow, I am going to kick his ass all righteous-like.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:23 AM