Some morning reads to end your week:

• The Speech:
…..-Obama Proposes $447 Billion Jobs Stimulus Plan (Bloomberg)
…..-Obama’s Bid to Spur Growth  (WSJ)
…..-Obama Challenges Congress on Job Plan (NYT)
• Ray Dalio Returns 25% as Markets Convulse (Bloomberg)
• If 4.12% Mortgages Don’t Spur Home Buying, What Will? (MarketBeat) see also Record Low Mortgage Rates, Rising Pessimism on Housing (CNBC)
• Is making less becoming the norm? (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• Google Buys Zagat to Bolster Local Services (Bloomberg) see also Zagat Gives Google Street Cred (WSJ)
• For Medicare Savings, Send a Negotiator to the Pharmacy (Bloomberg)
• Fed Chief Describes Consumers as Too Bleak (NYT) see also Economics fails to resolve exceptions to the rule (
• What if Newton was a Trendfollower? (World Beta)
• How AT&T conquered the 20th century (Ars Technica)
• Ten Years after 9/11: United in Remembrance, Divided over Policies  (Pew Research Center)

What are you reading?


The newest flavor from Ben & Jerry’s, via NPR:

• Yes, It’s True: Ben & Jerry’s Introduces ‘Schweddy Balls’ Ice Cream Fl (NPR)

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

27 Responses to “10 Friday AM Reads”

  1. mathman says:

    From The American Conservative magazine:

    To survey the past 20 years from our present, much reduced vantage point is to be struck above all by the once cherished, now discarded illusions littering the landscape. Prominent among those shattered illusions are the following:

    1.The insistence that history has a discernible purpose, made manifest by the evolving American experiment that is destined to prevail universally
    2.The conviction that the United States is called upon to exercise “global leadership” and that our governing elites possess the capacity to do so effectively
    3.The assurance that U.S.-promoted globalization will produce unprecedented wealth while simultaneously contributing to global peace and harmony, with the American people thereby assured of both greater prosperity and greater security
    4.The notion that a self-regulated or minimally regulated market produces the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens
    5.The belief that America’s privileged place in the international order relieves the United States of any obligation to live within its means
    6.The expectation that in times of crisis, the American people and their leaders will selflessly unite, setting aside partisan differences to act in the common good
    7.The claim, for too long indulged by conservatives, that the Republican Party takes seriously the preservation of traditional values
    8.Perhaps above all, the belief that the United States, having mastered the art of war, can quickly and economically overcome any foe, high-tech precision weapons and superior professionalism offering a surefire recipe for victory.
    Not one of these is true. No amount of recalibration or reformulation or trying harder next time will make any of them true. To pretend otherwise serves no purpose. To escape from our era of ideological fantasy requires acknowledging this reality—facing the dismal consequences that 20 years of American arrogance and misjudgment have yielded. Seldom has a nation relinquished a position of advantage as quickly and recklessly as has the United States in just the past two decades.

    What this means for the so-called conservative movement today is this: it’s time to face the music, assess the damage—much of it to be laid at the feet of the faux-conservative Republican Party—and begin the hard work of recovery and restoration.

    full article here:

  2. machinehead says:

    From Bloomberg’s editorial: ‘Why can’t Medicare mandate rebates as Medicaid does? Because in creating Medicare’s Part D prescription-drug program in 2003, Congress expressly forbade it.’

    What did you expect, in a law drafted by and for Big Pharma? In Washington DC’s standard inversion of cause and effect, it was presented by the president who signed it (dude who resembled a chimp … can’t recall the name) as ‘compassionate to seniors’ or some such obscurantist nonsense.

    America’s health care system is structurally broken. But all that Bloomberg’s pointy-headed technocrats can recommend is to tinker with its settings. The braindead helping the lobotomized, as it were!

  3. Petey Wheatstraw says:


    Damn. Looks like a complete capitulation and disavowal of conservative dogma by a conservative rag. No. 4 is especially heretical. Maybe things are changing.



    Nothing starts the day like a good cup of coffee and a new word for my vocabulary.


  4. ob·scur·ant·ism (b-skyrn-tzm, b-, bsky-rn-)
    1. The principles or practice of obscurants.
    2. A policy of withholding information from the public.
    a. A style in art and literature characterized by deliberate vagueness or obliqueness.
    b. An example or instance of this style.


    ob·scurant·ist n.
    “…America’s health care system is structurally broken. But all that Bloomberg’s pointy-headed technocrats can recommend is to tinker with its settings. The braindead helping the lobotomized, as it were!…”
    “Zagat’s reviews suck anyway; if a restaurant actually has the sticker on the door, I
    don’t bother. A good restaurant doesn’t need to advertise it was reviewed there. …”

  5. ilsm says:

    Gaining a vocbulary from the blogs.

    Today’s new word from economistsview poster: dasypygal

    EtymologyFrom Ancient Greek δασύς (dasus, “hairy, dense”) + πυγή (pugē, “buttocks”).

    [edit] Adjective dasypygal (comparative more dasypygal, superlative most dasypygal)

    (nonce word) Having hairy buttocks.

    Retrieved from “”

    Nonce: – Wiktionary, The one or single occasion;

  6. theexpertisin says:

    I just completed reading a transcript of Obamas speech. I also watched him deliver it.

    My impression is that he delivered the speech in a first-class manner. Upon reading the contents of what he said, his address is nothing more than another spending binge that will do the country more harm than good. He still, STILL, thinks that government can spend it’s way to our prosperity.

    To quote Limbaugh (to the chagrin of your many readers, and, truth be told, myself),”‘I hope he fails” with this momumental domestic policy blunder.

  7. machinehead says:

    ilsm: being steatopygous makes a daspygal condition even worse … whereas ‘callipygous’ excludes them both.

    As a former boss used to cry: ‘Show me the callipygians!’ :-]

  8. rip says:

    The payroll tax cut is a cynical trojan horse. Cut the tax, and then argue that social security is underfunded and must be cut.

    Job creation due to it will be minimal. Just another corporate sop.

    There could have been better ways.

    But Social Security and Medicare will take major whacks. Thus reversing the benefit of tax cuts for all but the elites.

    Too bad.

  9. Arequipa01 says:

    Re: Obscurantim:

    Friedrich Nietzsche said: “The essential element in the black art of obscurantism is not that it wants to darken individual understanding, but that it wants to blacken our picture of the world, and darken our idea of existence.” [3] (from:

    Sound familiar?

  10. JerseyCynic says:

    I’ve been obsessed with Wizard of Oz Vocabulary Words this week ever since I came across —- pusillanimous —- reading this article — The perils of Obama’s lazy narrative
    Why is this brilliant orator unable to tell the simple story of how we landed in this economic mess?

    then someone quoted Oz in the Merriam comments…

    Wizard of Oz: “Why, anybody can have a brain. That’s a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain. Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven’t got: a diploma. Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitartus Committiartum E Pluribus Unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of ThD.

    Scarecrow: ThD?

    Wizard of Oz: That’s… Doctor of Thinkology.

    “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

  11. number2son says:

    Seldom has a nation relinquished a position of advantage as quickly and recklessly as has the United States in just the past two decades.

    Agree entirely with your magazine’s conclusions, but this isn’t just 20 years in the making. It’s taken longer than that, and while there is no single primary cause, if I had to offer one it would be the slow and steady rise in the role of money in politics. Government policy has increasingly favored the interests of the few to the detriment of the entire nation.

    My local PBS station has been running Ken Burns’ WWII documentary. Ironically, our country was no less arrogant or given to exceptionalism back then, but our parents/grand-parents were able to pull together as one in the interest of all the world. What is also incredible is the fact that we won the war due to our industrial might – converting virtually our entire country’s manufacturing toward the war effort quickly and when it mattered. Everyone shared in the sacrifice and had a role in the victory. Now, here we sit, the grandchildren of WWII, ten years into wars without end, allowing a tiny faction of our countrymen to sacrifice in its dubious cause while the wealthiest among us are given greater wealth and the middle class slowly melts away. It’s a dismal indictment of what we have become as a nation.

  12. View from Canader:

    Jim Flaherty: The master of stealth austerity

    One of the few countries now practising austerity, however marginally, is – trumpets, please! – Canada. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has completed one year of real-dollar, per-capita austerity. He envisages four more. If he meets this target, Mr. Flaherty will achieve a remarkable accomplishment: five consecutive years of austerity.

    More remarkable still, however, is this astonishing fact: Hardly anyone will have noticed. Call it austerity on the quiet. By making small, incremental spending cuts, here and there, hither and yon, Mr. Flaherty has provided the world with a good example of responsible restraint – without inciting mobs.

    Most workers living ‘close to the line’: survey

    A majority of Canadian employees are living paycheque to paycheque and report they would be in financial difficulty if their pay were delayed by even a week, according to a new survey on the financial health of the country’s workers.

    The survey by the Canadian Payroll Association also found 40 per cent of Canadians now report they expect to retire later than they had previously planned, acknowledging they are not saving enough for retirement.

    New app rents your washroom to near-strangers

    Kinda makes me nostalgic for the internet bubble

    Tim Hawkins Things you don’t say to your wife

    If you haven’t learned this by trial and error guys, this will save you some grief

  13. Peter Pan says:

    ‘Schweddy Balls’ ? That’s sure to be a favorite flavor of the teabaggers in the Tea Party!

  14. NolansDad says:

    A better name would have been Barry’s Schweddy Balls. On a hot day down on wall street this would be an instant hit. Give me two..

  15. JerseyCynic says:

    Exclusive: Stark to leave ECB over bond-buying

    With Jurgen Stark, aka the last real hawk at the ECB, gone, here comes “the printing.” SocGen’s Dylan Grice explains. From SocGen:

  16. deanscamaro says:

    • Fed Chief Describes Consumers as Too Bleak
    I love that statement. When you run out of ammo, blame the gun.

    The consumer sees years of elections that have resulted in nothing but incompetent, brain-dead, money-grabbing politicians who only focus on reelection and not the needs of the people. In addition, this Congress is hopelessly lost in extremism. Literally, the world around them is financially collapsing as theirs and the world’s debts have become monumental. As long as the financial world is shaky, their jobs can appear shaky and they have no confidence they will have a job tomorrow. If they did lose their job, all they read/hear is joblessness and very little hope of finding another job.

    Something is wrong with the picture of a GDP that almost totally depends on the consumer spending money they don’t have. The consumer is busy reducing his own debt and not focused on saving the U.S. economy. This whole picture needs to change.

  17. Joe Friday says:

    Fed Chief Describes Consumers as Too Bleak (NYT)

    And the beatings will continue until moral improves !

  18. Greg0658 says:

    “The Wiz” had a scene filmed at WTC .. the Wizards office (Richard Prior) ..
    I never saw that film before a month ago (interest peaked with a production taping)
    copyright issue has the footage hard to get but my fav number is:
    The WIZ “A Brand New Day”
    Michael Jackson (rip) was a great scarecrow – the cast&crew in the film was great – the 33 years ago film my loss

  19. boogabooga1114 says:

    Regarding the interest rates, I refi’d this summer and can attest that the underwriting is extraordinarily tough. I’ve also read that the spread between headline rates and actual, offered rates is wider than it’s been in years.

    The low rates, on their face, signify easy credit. The reality in the mortgage market is very different.

    (And of course, if only they’d had that tough underwriting in 2003, we might not be in this mess today … )

  20. Bill Wilson says:

    This is an article from Minyanville that Big Picture readers might enjoy. It has nice graphics. My apologies if it was already posted.

  21. formerlawyer says:

    to How the Common Man Sees It:

    Approximately 77% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and the loss of employment usually leads to the loss of generally inadequate employer health coverage.

  22. swmnguy says:

    The American Conservative could have saved a lot of wordiness in their lamentation of the Decline of America by just posting a picture of the Schweddy Balls ice cream. That image kind of makes their argument, in a neat little (ahem)…package.

  23. mote says:

    Two recent columns on Social Security by Gail Buckner, a Retirement and Financial Planning Specialist at Franklin Templeton Investments.

    Social Security: Setting the Record Straight

    Social Security to Americans: I am Not Dying

  24. jrob says:

    Mmmmm, I can’t wait to put those balls in my mouth. :)