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  1. Good morning Reason!

    (jumps up and down, having now fulfilled his life’s wish to be first at something)

    1. With Johnny Longtorso and Suki either dead, purged or on vacation, you could hold this spot for quite some time. It’s all about commitment.

      1. Maybe Johnny got his bail revoked.

  2. When has foreign aid ever improved the US’s image? We give billions to people all over the world. It just makes them dependent and hate us more. We rebuilt Europe and defended it from the Soviets for 50 years and look at the thanks we get. There may be good reasons to do foreign aid. But improving the US image abroad is not one of them.

    1. It’s not foreign aid, that’s just an accounting trick. Most of the money returns to the United States in the bank accounts of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc.

      1. That is called international trade and they benefit from it just as much as we do. Again, maybe building up other countries so they are richer and trade better with us is a good reason for foreign aid. Just don’t pretend they are going to like us for it.

        1. I don’t know that they “benefit from it just as much as we do.”

          1. Only if you believe in that whole comparative advantage voodoo. Yeah, the benefit from it every bit as much as we do. Places like Haiti and North Korea that don’t trade stand as proof of that proposition.

        2. It’s international trade when the US gives credits to other governments that can only be used to purchase stuff from big US government contractors? Because that’s what most US foreign aid is.

          1. In effect, the US is giving those countries free goods. No, it’s not the same thing as free money, but it’s not like we’re coming out ahead on the bargain.

    2. I agree. I’m not sure that there’s enough money on earth to allow us to buy Pakistan’s friendship.

      Furthermore, I’m not sure why I should even care that they don’t like us. What the hell has Pakistan ever given us, or anyone else for that matter, besides heartache? There’s a reason why India had to kick these SOBs out of their country.

      I think I speak for a lot of Americans when I say I don’t think much of Pakistan either, so I guess we’re even.

      1. “Furthermore, I’m not sure why I should even care that they don’t like us.”

        Most Indian restaurants are actually owned and operated by Pakistanis. So there’s that.

        1. Yes, well.

          The thing we really want from Pakistan is for their best and brightest to come over here, do some dirty jobs, pump up the economy, turn out some of the next generation of Americans, and generally compete the hell out of their stay-at-home fellows.

          And any hot women they have, of course.

    3. You’d think that when it comes to balancing the budget, foreign aid would be the easiest thing to get rid of. Yet it persists. Why? Must be K Street.

      1. Naw. Politicians like to spend money on do gooder projects abroad. It makes them feel good about themselves.

        1. It’s also an investment in our future, since in a few years we’ll be counting on receiving aid from the foreigners we’ve helped all these years.

      2. Well, it’s less offensive when you consider it part of defense spending.

        You can either spend $X on your own direct military spending, or $X/Y on giving aid to one group of barbarians to beat up on another group of barbarians.

        I’m less outraged by most direct foreign aid than I am by TARP.

        Of course, when you play that kind of imperial grand game, as we have for decades, occasionally the group of barbarians getting beaten on gets wise, or the first group of barbarians gets lazy or incompetent or gets cancer and flies to the US for treatment, and then you have some problems. As we have occasionally found.

        1. Actually most of our foreign aid goes through USAID and goes for projects to help the poor. Contrast this with say aid from China or India that goes mostly to help the rich. Needless to say, China and India’s aid buys them a lot more influence than our aid does.

          Our foreign aid budget is minuscule compared to something like TARP. It is pretty low on the list of government outrages.

        2. That’s a pretty amazing position you’ve staked out there, Fluffy. You would rather see taxpayer dollars go to fight wars, kill soldiers, and maime innocents instead of TARP? Really?

  3. Billions in foreign aid to Pakistan doing little to improve U.S. image there.

    I knew it. We’re being too cheap.

  4. That’s nothing. I heard that they’re building some kind of al Qaeda church across the street from 9/11. Pass it on.

    1. Did the YMMA* center thing blow over as quickly as it arose? I see next-to-nothing about it in the news.

      I am, however, in somewhat of a bubble at the moment.

      * – Young Men’s Muslim Association

    2. I’ve heard it’s not a church, but a slaughter house for kittens and puppies.

  5. Cato purged anyone else lately? Anybody cleaning out their desk at Reason yet?

  6. Geithner … said “the challenge is to make sure that any government guarantee is priced to cover the risk of losses, and structured to minimize taxpayer exposure.”

    “Cover the risk of losses, and minimize taxpayer exposure.” Wow, how could this *possibly* be done?

    “To suggest the private market can come back in and take the place [of the government] is simply impractical. It won’t work,” said Pacific Investment Management’s Bill Gross

    Citation needed.

    Would someone (Chris? Barney?) *kindly* explain why the government is in this “business” at all?

    1. Nothing can protect mortgage finance or depository institutions dependent on mortgage finance for income from a general system-wide collapse in prices.

      Nothing.

      What we need protection from is the illusion that it’s possible to avoid periodic resets.

      Just accept that some institutions will fail and some people will go broke. Poof. “Problem” solved.

      But this whole “We need a system so nobody goes out of business, nobody loses any money, no home prices go down, etc., ever!” is delusion on a grand scale.

      This dream of total economic security is the mirror image of the dream of total “homeland” security – it’s not possible to attain, and the shit you’re likely to do while trying to attain it is likely to be devastatingly bad.

  7. Billions in foreign aid to Pakistan doing little to improve U.S. image there.

    Clearly more stimulus is needed.

    1. That’s what she said!

    2. It’s a lack of signage. Send more signs … and Joe Biden.

      1. US admit giving AIDs to Pakistanis!

  8. “There is no iron law that real estate must appreciate,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist for the real estate site Zillow. “All those theories advanced during the boom about why housing is special ? that more people are choosing to spend more on housing, that more people are moving to the coasts, that we were running out of usable land ? didn’t hold up.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08…..f=homepage

    No kidding. Anyone with any common sense was saying this all along. Only our genius betters ever believed it.

    1. Jesus Fucking Christ on a pogo stick, that article is filled with so much stupid that it may take years to drain the massive lake of stupid it created.

  9. Surface Detail, the new Culture novel by Iain M. Banks, is set for an Oct. 28th release.

    1. There’s a new Peter F. Hamilton book coming next month. I writing will be shoddy, and there will plenty of fantasy crap (fantasy is shit for kids), but hopefully there will be enough Commenwealth universe stuff in it to make it worth reading.

      1. I’ve read him up to Fallen Dragon. I have the Commonwealth books, but I haven’t read them (I hate waiting for sequels.)

        I usually base my respect for author on my desire to re-read their work. I never want to read the Night’s Dawn stuff again. Talk about a wasted premise.

        With the exception of Richard Morgan, Neal Asher and Alistair Reynolds is there anyone in the current Britsh market I’m missing out on?

        1. I didn’t like the Night’s Dawn stuff at all, apart from the nifty biotech ideas.

          I thought that the Commonwealth series was much better (even if the writing was still shoddy) – the universe was more better developed, with interesting ideas about how the technological conceits would effect social and economic structure, and the villain was novel and compelling (one of the best I’ve come across).

          It also has that enjoyable “near perfect but arrogant/foolish human society blunders into galactic dangers” theme.

        2. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman?

          Pratchett writes the Discworld novels, which are satirical fantasy, and Neil Gaiman does a lot of world as myth type stuff. I’m a huge fan of both…

          1. SugarFree hates Gaiman. He said something once about only sad, fat chicks and gay guys liking him.

            1. Gaiman is the new Morrissey?

          2. NO FANTASY

          3. Is Pratchett still writing? I heard he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but I don’t know if it’s advanced to the point it would affect his abilities.

        3. Ditto Gaiman and Pratchett.

          Also (he’s Canadian, but close enough), I’m deep into the Malazan books by Steven Erikson.

          For darker than a mine shaft at midnight (with the blackest of black humor), you might try Joe Abercrombie and K. J. Parker.

        4. British? Accelerando by Charles Stross is good, with the exception of the first 40-ish pages. Went to the author’s site and his blog is full of stupid.

          1. Yes, Stross too. I’ve read all his stuff. And yes, do stay away from his blog. It’s a literary boner-killer.

            1. Has Ken MacLeod done anything lately?

              1. He hit a War on Terror cul de sac with The Execution Channel.

                It was that 80th novel about Bushitler that finally convinced everyone W was up to no good.

                1. Bushitler? You must have read an alternate-history version of The Execution Channel, not the one I actually wrote.

                  Since that book I’ve written two more, The Night Sessions and The Restoration Game, neither of which have much to do with the WoT and neither of which have yet been published in the US – but watch this space!

        5. Stephen Baxter?

  10. “48% Say Obama’s Views Are Extreme; 51% Say Hillary Is Mainstream”

    http://www.rasmussenreports.co…..mainstream

    Hillary in 12?

    1. Clinton/Obama 2012

      1. Obama was the perfect VP candidate in 08. He was a blank slate. He was historic. And the base loved him. If you think about it, I wonder if most people didn’t sub consciously think of him that way. Why else did they spend their time comparing him to Palin rather than McCain?

      2. You would have seen Clinton/Obama 2008 if John Edwards had a smaller ego.

    2. Too old. Too puffy. Too haggy. Americans don’t want a mummy. After the Obama debacle, we’ll be ready for something new, something fresh: a rich white Republican.

      1. Dems might want her though. If Obama continues to crash and burn, voting for her in the primary would be a way for Democrats to purge the sin of nominating him in 08. Then everyone can claim they supported Hillary all along and Obama only won the nomination because of aliens and felons who voted in the caucuses.

        1. Her negative in ’08 was that she had no foriegn policy experience. Now she can say that she does.

          Of course in ’08 Obama didn’t have any foriegn policy experience either, but he was magic, so it didn’t matter.

        2. If she even tried this, Hillary is going to get even fewer black votes in the primary this time around. If she wins, it would be because white Democrats overwhelmingly voted for her.

          And she’d have a hell of a time in the general election, considering that blacks would probably retaliate by staying home in November.

          1. That is a problem isn’t it.

    3. Hillary in 12?

      Great, four years of being accused of sexism.

      News anchor Brian Williams was on Letterman last night saying that people were saying Obama was a “different type of President” who doesn’t want a second term and compared him to Jimmy Carter who did a lot after his presidency.

      1. So Obama is planning to leave office and be a paid shill for the Saudis?

      2. I await the day I can be a sexist racist homophobe.

        Then we will truly have come full circle.

      3. people were saying Obama was a “different type of President”

        Obama? That’s different.

      4. How can he be like Jimmy Carter *and* be a different type of President?

  11. http://worcesteria.wordpress.c…..onal-race/

    Get your Congressional Barf Bags Now!!

  12. Obama’s failed stimulus program cost more than the Iraq war

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer……z0xX2oUueO

    1. Bullshit.

      1. Why? Because it gores your sacred cow? It ruins the myths you hold so dear? Seriously. If that is not true, so some links and some facts explaining why. If not, shut the fuck up.

        1. Of course, if you in any way place a monetary value on human life, John, you lose.

          1. John, criticizing someone about having a sacred cow, while talking about the Iraq war. Hilarious.

          2. But of course those lives don’t show up on the balance sheet now. It is not like we have to take out bonds to pay for them.

            The point of the article is limited. Does the fact that the stimulus cost more mean by itself that the Iraq war was justified? No. But it does mean that the claims that the US is going bankrupt due to it are false.

            The fact that J Sub D has such a Pavlovian response to a fairly obvious and mundane point, shows that he like most anti-war people can’t have a rational conversation about the subject. It is funny, the people who are most angry and bitter about the War in Iraq are almost always the ones who didn’t fight it or support it. Hating the war in Iraq and blaming all problems on it is really some people’s entire political identity.

    2. The Iraq war isn’t over.

      1. Sure it is. I just read about how the last combat brigade is coming home.

        That means no more bang-bang-shoot-shoot, right?

        1. Funny, because my old unit is a (actually, the) heavy cav regiment and they’re deploying right now. But I guess they won’t be a combat unit. All those tanks and CFVs and helicopters are just for show.

          1. They’re military advisors. Like the ones we sent to Vietnam. Good to know the war is basically over now, and not going to be a decades long quagmire or anything.

  13. The National Association of Realtors, for example, is asking the Treasury to reduce interest payments Fannie and Freddie must currently make to the government, arguing that easing the firms’ expenses could produce more flexible lending standards. In a letter to Mr. Geithner this month, the organization said the Treasury should retroactively lower the 10% dividend the firms must pay on the $148 billion in taxpayer aid they have used.

    Swell.

  14. Hitler ‘had Jewish and African roots’, DNA tests show

    Saliva samples taken from 39 relatives of the Nazi leader show he may have had biological links to the “subhuman” races that he tried to exterminate during the Holocaust.

    Jean-Paul Mulders, a Belgian journalist, and Marc Vermeeren, a historian, tracked down the Fuhrer’s relatives, including an Austrian farmer who was his cousin, earlier this year.

    A chromosome called Haplogroup E1b1b1 which showed up in their samples is rare in Western Europe and is most commonly found in the Berbers of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, as well as among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.

    “One can from this postulate that Hitler was related to people whom he despised”

    Who isn’t?

    1. Who isn’t?

      Only by marriage.

    2. Haven’t people known for a long time that Hitler had Jewish ancestors?

      1. Yes. Yes we have.

  15. In other news, The Other Kevin still can’t get the tune “Fuck Me Ray Bradbury” out of his head. Thanks to whoever posted that last week.

    1. I’m stuck with “Brown Sugar” right now.

  16. KPC (Kids Prefer Cheese) Blog contributor Mungowitz (Michael Munger) noted something slightly disturbing in a NYT editorial yesterday.

    But many of Mr. DeLay’s actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them.

    1. *Context qualifier w/in KPC post.

  17. Just accept that some institutions will fail and some people will go broke. Poof. “Problem” solved.

    What are you, some sort of Communist?

  18. About nine in 10 new loans are currently backed by Fannie, Freddie or government agencies.

    While awaiting the housing bubble to finish deflating (with lenedrs guaranteed a profit by the Feds) the idiots in DC still don’t see this a problem.

    *sigh*

    1. It’s quite the cycle, isn’t it? Subsidize housing to make it easier to buy, which increases prices and promotes a bubble. Now that the bubble has popped, they’ll fix things by taxing lending… which increases prices.

      Sort of like “fixing” the high cost of medical care (caused by third-party payments and subsidies) by taxing drugs and expensive insurance policies, and making cheap insurance more expensive if not illegal. You have to have lots of brains and education to think that’s going to help.

  19. I say fuck New Orleans. Why should the whole country pay billions of dollars to try to prolong the existence of a sinking, below-sea-level city that is certain to end up underwater eventually no matter what anyone does?

    1. It’s not the whole city, just parts are below sea level. Ideally they’d just turn those areas into parks or whatever, but that would be racial discrimination….

      1. Or stop making it worse (MRGO, shipping channels, and coastal erosion).

    1. Timmeh Homepocolypse article in 3…2…1…

  20. The National Association of Realtors, for example, is asking the Treasury to reduce interest payments Fannie and Freddie must currently make to the government, arguing that easing the firms’ expenses could produce more flexible lending standards.

    Stupid government! Be more obedient!

  21. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, estimates that it will take 20 years to recoup the $6 trillion of housing wealth that has been lost since 2005. After adjusting for inflation, values will never catch up.

    Am I to understand that he’s complaining that it will take decades to recoup phoney-baloney asset values that should have never existed in the first place?

  22. the US is giving those countries free goods.

    That’s not what “free” means.

  23. Caught Jacob Sullum on RT last night debating “bad” food taxes with some progressive from Yale. There was also some lunatic in the fray who kept interrupting. Then The Alyona Show had Adam Kokesh to discuss veterans’ affairs.

    Has RT become full-on libertarian? I dig it.

    1. Roland Ticonderoga?

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