The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid is a trademark of Donald L. Luskin

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Republicans and the Populist Temptation
Wall Street Journal
February 9, 2010
Why Taxing Stock Trades Is a Really Bad Idea
Wall Street Journal
January 6, 2010

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Peter Sellers and Peter Bull in ''Dr. Strangelove'' Columbia Pictures, 1964 -- Click to order!

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The Happy Body
Aniela and Jerzy Gregorek

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Langley Schools Music Project

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Star Trek

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Speed Racer

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

PELOSI BAKES THE PIE OF MADNESS!   Reading this report from my DC-insider friend "Mick Danger," one thinks of the Angela Lansbury character from Sweeny Todd -- Mrs. Lovett, the deranged baker who puts human remains in her meat-pies!
There is a website called Pelosi Pie which has nothing to do with Nancy Pelosi or even with pie, unless you like that very bad pop song “Cherry Pie” from the hair band Warrant.

Here, though is something from today’s Politico Playbook, even more bizarre: Speaker Pelosi lost in a metaphorical kitchen, blabbing about pie, as in baking & selling pie.

(Speaker Pelosi talks to Candy Crowley in an interview taped yesterday in her suite at the Capitol, for airing on “State of the Union” tomorrow [Sunday February28]:)

CROWLEY: We looked at our polling numbers, just from yesterday, we had almost three-quarters of Americans who said they need to drop this bill, just stop talking about health care and move on to something else. Or, they need to start new. So, don’t the Republicans have a point?

PELOSI: The point is that we have a responsibility here. And the Republicans have had a field day going out there and misrepresenting what is in the bill. But that is what they do.

CROWLEY: So, it has been method –

PELOSI: But that is what they do.

CROWLEY: You think people don’t understand the bill?

PELOSI: No, I don’t think—there isn’t a bill. When we have a bill, which we will in a matter of days, then that is the bill that we can sell. Our bill, the House and the Senate bill, had major differences which we are hoping now to reconcile.

And then when we have a bill—you—as I say, you can bake the pie, you can sell the pie, but you have to have a pie to sell. And when we do we will take it out there.

I feel very confident about what is in there, because if you are—if you are concerned about having access to health care, as most Americans are around their kitchen tables, then they will have access to health care.

Her method to the madness must be that by the time she fully dives into the baking & selling pie babble, I bet everyone forgot that factoid that Candy Crowley mentioned, namely that CNN has a poll showing almost 75% of the public wan to scrap the healthcare bill.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 4:38 PM | link  

Friday, February 26, 2010

Evidently, President Obama understands that the Government spends and borrows too much. Why else would he assemble a bipartisan blue ribbon commission to analyze our national debt and recommend corrective action?

Well, it could be as simple as a genuine desire to fabricate a solution to our fast-rising fiscal imbalances to avert a Greece-y future here in America.

But then, why put the SIEU's Andy Stern on it?

Doing so is proof that President O intends to not do that which he complains “Washington has avoided the tough choices necessary to solve our fiscal problems.” Stern is a goalie. Doesn’t much matter which player on this Commission tries to score, Stern will block every single shot.

Serve this bunch nothingburgers for lunch.

White House rhetoric:

For far too long, Washington has avoided the tough choices necessary to solve our fiscal problems. I am proud that these distinguished individuals have agreed to work to build a bipartisan consensus to put America on the path toward fiscal reform and responsibility. I know they’ll take up their work with the sense of integrity and strength of commitment that the American people deserve and America’s future demands.
That’s in direct conflict with reality.
MORE COMMISSION MEMBERS: President Obama has appointed four members to the bipartisan deficit commission he established last week, an administration official said. The appointees are: Andy Stern, the president of SEIU; David Cote, the Honeywell International CEO; former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alice Rivlin; and Ann Fudge, a former Young & Rubicam Brands CEO.

MORE: Obama said in a statement: "For far too long, Washington has avoided the tough choices necessary to solve our fiscal problems. I am proud that these distinguished individuals have agreed to work to build a bipartisan consensus to put America on the path toward fiscal reform and responsibility. I know they’ll take up their work with the sense of integrity and strength of commitment that the American people deserve and America’s future demands."

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:16 PM | link  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

THE WAGES OF HATE   You get yourself in trouble with this kind of thing. Here's the latest in Barry Ritholtz's ongoing war against me -- hardly a month goes by that he doesn't take the opportunity to defame me. Guess he's still smarting from that time when I held him to account for all the money he lost his cultish followers with his relentless bearishness duing the 2003-2008 bull market.

On his blog today, he quotes the conclusion of my SmartMoney column on Monday.

“All I’m saying is that you’re making a huge mistake if you mindlessly send all your money overseas — just because all those other economies are the devil you don’t know. The devil you do know may be your best bet.”
OK. Seems like a mild enough statement. I'm simply noting that there is a widespread anti-US bias among US investors, and I cautioning against that. So here's Ritholz's rejoinder to that:
One of the greatest overseas investing trades — in the history of mankind — is very likely about to begin.
Really, Ritholtz? That's a pretty bold prediction of yours, and I'm going to hold you to it. "History of mankind"? I'm flattered if betting against me makes you say dumb s**t like that. But then again I guess I would say things like that too if nobody took my predictions seriously, and all I was doing was performing for a small audience of devoted cultists. Sorry, Barry, unlike you I take this stuff seriously.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:38 PM | link  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TOO MUCH INFORMATION   There's a big profile of Paul Krugman in the New Yorker, by Larissa McFarquar, in which we learn many intriguing things about the lifestyle of the great populist and opponent of great wealth -- for instance, he owns three homes (other than his base in Princeton, one in Manhattan and one in St. Croix). But there is more. So much more.

For example, as the New York Magazine blog points out, we learn all about Krugman's underwear and how he washes it.

It’s not so much the washing as the drying that presents a problem. Years of experiments have failed to yield a satisfactory solution. Krugman has discovered that it is slow and quite risky to use a hair dryer with any item that involves elastic. Long ago, in Tel Aviv, his roommates found him attempting to dry his underwear in a frying pan.

“The trick with underwear is to wring it out and then press down — ”

“I learned this from yoga workshops,” Wells says. “You get out as much excess water as you can, then you lay a dry towel flat on the floor, you lay the article of clothing on the towel, and roll it up like this — ”

“And then it’s only slightly damp in the morning when you have to put it on.”

“No, it’s usually dry. We also do that on bike trips.”

“Because you can’t take forty pairs of underwear.”

Why does he need forty pair? Unknown. But perhaps we can learn by following the helpful "Related links" provided on the New Yorker website.

Yep, that's right. This is what journalism has come to now. A live promo event in which the author and her subject appear together -- how's that for objectivity? And the song? I don't even want to know...

Update... Here's more from David Hogberg at IBD:

One should expect plenty of juvenile antics from universities these days, but this is a little creepy even by academic standards. From a New Yorker profile of New York Times pundit and Princeton economist Paul Krugman and his wife Robin Wells:
“I was nervous until they finally called it on Election Night,” Krugman says. “We had an Election Night party at our house, thirty or forty people.”

“The econ department, the finance department, the Woodrow Wilson school,” Wells says. “They were all very nervous, so they were grateful we were having the party, because they didn’t want to be alone. We had two or three TVs set up and we had a little portable outside fire pit and we let people throw in an effigy or whatever they wanted to get rid of for the past eight years.”

“One of our Italian colleagues threw in an effigy of Berlusconi.”

“I put out some coloring paper and markers so that people could write stuff on it and throw it into the fire. People really felt like there was stuff they wanted to shed! I had little hats and party whistles.

I'm trying to visualize the entire "econ department, the finance department, the Woodrow Wilson school...all very nervous."

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:52 AM | link  

Monday, February 22, 2010

THE LAST TRIANGULATORS   From my DC-insider friend "Mick Danger":
This February 25, the President of the United States will conduct a show trial indicting Republican Representatives for the “shame” of abiding by their principles and listening to their constituents on the issue of health care. I believe the Republicans will hold.

Would any Democrats ever dare to be so bold to think for themselves? Well, yes, but only in small numbers and without effect. Come with tour guide Mick and meet the “Third Way,” the organization of moderates among the House and Senate Democrats.

The title was inspired by a yearning affection for a return to Clintonian triangulation. “Third Way” as in neither Right nor Left. Nor Straight?


Lots of chattering advice in the media about how President Obama ought to triangulate. Well, to my eyes, he’s more likely to try to strangulate.

Remember just a few weeks ago, President Obama kissed goodbye Senator Blanche Lincoln during his love-in/slap-fest with Senate Democrats?

She is the Third Way Senate Chair. A week after that very event, Third-Way-er Senator Evan Bayh announced he was out the door by his own motion.

Here’s the New York Times on that meeting:

Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas added: “People out there watching us, they see us nothing more than Democrats and Republicans up here fighting.”

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana said: “Why should the Democratic Party be trusted? And are we willing to make some of the tough decisions, to actually head this country in a better direction?”

The president acknowledged the difficulties, but implored Democrats to remember why they first ran for office. He urged lawmakers to ignore the political chatter on cable television and in the blogosphere and “get out of the echo chamber” in Washington.

Now, here’s the Mick Danger translation:
“ignore the political chatter on cable television and in the blogosphere” means “pay no attention to your constituents.”

“get out of the echo chamber in Washington” means “I come to you from the hermitically-sealed bubble of the Oval Office and implore you to pay no attention to your constituents.”

“remember why they first ran for office” means “pretend you never learned a damn thing from years of actual experience about the importance of paying attention to your constituents.”

Yet, as a quick check of their publications proves, Third Way-ers speak in careful tomes about all kinds of topics.

Just that...ain’t nobody in the Democratic party wants to listen.

Wonder how these Third Way-ers will vote on the final chapter of Obama Care, Reconciliation Style? As Mick has said before, Washington loves to take a sweet and peaceful word like “reconciliation” and turn it into a weapon.

Now, over at the Marines, their most elite unit is called “Force Recon”. The big difference there is that Force Recon aims at bad guys.

Obama has turned on his own. Maybe “Third Way” means “run for it!”

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:35 AM | link