IL Supreme Court: Rahm Emanuel Eligible To Run For Mayor

My favorite part of their opinion is this nugget right here:

“the novel standard adopted by the appellate court majority is without any foundation in Illinois law.”

That’s legalese for “go fuck yourself”

Rahm’s eligibility isn’t a real hot button issue for me one way or another. From a purely pragmatic partisan point of view, I like it because it keeps Emanuel in the national spotlight allowing him to move up to a higher office eventually. But as I mentioned in my previous post, eligibility requirements for office holders like this are mostly stupid anyways. If anything we should encourage a market for competent bureaucrats.


Rand Paul To Unemployed Americans: Suck It Up, Get off Your Ass, and Get a Job

For people who are allegedly some of the smartest people in the country, politicians sure do say some dumb things:

In an interview with WVLK-AM in Lexington, Kentucky on Friday, Paul told host Sue Wylie he supported the Republican filibuster last week of more than $100 billion in emergency spending that includes extended jobless benefits. Paul said the bill must be paid before the extension is voted into law — and if that can’t happen, it’s time for America’s unemployed to face facts and stop holding out for jobs similar to the ones they’ve lost.

“As bad as it sounds, ultimately we do have to sometimes accept a wage that’s less than we had at our previous job in order to get back to work and allow the economy to get started again,” he said. “Nobody likes that, but it may be one of the tough love things that has to happen.”


REALLLLY, Rand Paul?

Of course the fucked up thing is that conservatives like Rand Paul actually believe this sort of crap. In their eyes there are no poor, just people who make bad financial decisions, the unemployed are just too lazy to get a job, and businesses are infallible. After all they would never cut corners or break the law to make a profit, right?

There’s a certain level dogmatism in conservatism thought that involves a combination of ignorance and hubris. To simplify the current unemployment situation in this country as people who are unemployed are too lazy and/or unwilling to go back to work exemplifies this. People who haven’t been able to support their families for a year aren’t turning up their noses at  jobs so they can continue to live the ghetto fabulously life style on the dole.  Living off of unemployment and welfare carries with it an undeniable level of shame because you’re unable to provide for your family, struggling paycheck to paycheck on a minuscule pittance that the government gives you every month. Always living in fear of what you’ll do when the checks stop coming.

But aside from his complete ignorance on poverty, having been raised in the affluent lifestlye afforded only to the son of a multi millionaire’s politician, Paul misses an even clearer and undeniably obvious point. Unemployment IS  the ultimate pay cut. Because no matter how much less hypotetical job A that only exist in Paul’s mind pays you, its still a lot more than zero.

A point obvious to everyone but Rand Paul himself.

Spread Debate Makes Debut on Capital Hill

For all of you debaters out there who were always told that reading fast was a useless skill, I’ve got some good news for you.

The top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce committee, Texas Rep. Joe Barton, has been threatening to force the committee clerk to read the 900-plus page bill as a way to drag out the markup of the Democrats’ climate change legislation. Worried that this could jeopardize his goal of voting the bill out of committee before the Memorial Day break, Democratic Chairman Henry Waxman of California hired a speed reader, in case one was needed to publicly race through the massive bill.

Barton decided not to follow through on his threat — but he wanted to find out what a speed reader sounded like. He requested that one of the Republican amendments be read in full, and asked that the new hire take over for the full time committee clerk. Waxman obliged, and Douglas Wilder sat before the committee and began reading rapidly. He spoke so quickly it was impossible to decipher his words, as listeners began to laugh and applaud.

Here’s the video via TPM:

Joe Barton, you just got spread. Though as any debater can tell you, Mr Wilder, wasn’t really going fast. Just ask these guys.

Conservative Radio Host Gets Waterboarded- Admit’s It’s Torture

Waterboarding is “teh suck”:

You can add Eric “Mancow” Muller to the list of conservatives who have admitted Waterboarding is torture after experiencing it first hand:

“I wanted to prove it wasn’t torture,” he said. “They cut off our heads, we put water on their face.” But that’s not how it came out. ” I don’t want to say this,” said Mancow. “Absolutely torture.”

And as several liberal bloggers have pointed out, this is coming from someone briefly experiencing  waterboarding in a strictly controlled situation, where he knew he wouldn’t be harmed. What’s even more amazing is that this seemed like waterboarding-lite compared to the experience Christopher Hitchens went through. (Video)

But what really fascinates me the most is the simplicity of waterboarding. Its quick, non evasive, effective and disturbingly simple. Its the kind of torture anyone could do at home using only a black shirt and a gallon of water.

Remember When AIG DIDN’T Pay It’s Bonuses?

The always useful TPM remembers that AIG wasn’t always so eager to pay its employee’s bonuses:

AIG was being sued for breach of contract by a former employee, Rob Feilbogen. Feilbogen claimed that when the unit he worked for, AIG Trading, was put under the control of Cassano’s AIG Financial Products, he was informed in writing by an AIGFP executive that the company’s previous guarantee to pay him a bonus of $1.3 million would no longer be operative. Feilbogen said he was told he would still be eligible for a bonus, but the $1.3 million figure would not be guaranteed.

In a letter to Cassano, Feilbogen insisted on receiving his $1.3 million bonus. In response, Cassano played hardball, telling Feilbogen he could agree to the new deal, or resign. Feilbogen continued to resist, and was soon informed by an AIGFP lawyer that his employment had been terminated “as a result of his decision to resign.”

The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court. But the case suggests that whatever bonus agreement Feilbogen had, or claimed he had, with AIG, Cassano and his colleagues weren’t inclined to treat it with much respect.

Does anyone have a legitimate argument for why AIG executive’s should be given their bonuses? I’m honestly curious to hear someone make the case with a straight face.

The AIG Bailout 101: An Explainer

Both TPM and Atrios recommended reading JOE NOCERA’s NYT piece on the AIG bailout. So I did, and now I’m tell you to read it. Nocera’s piece has by far the best explanation of how AIG gamed the system and caused the housing bubble.


There’s lots of important parts of the article, seriously read it, but this one jumped out:

When a company insures against, say, floods or earthquakes, it has to put money in reserve in case a flood happens. That’s why, as a rule, insurance companies are usually overcapitalized, with low debt ratios. But because credit-default swaps were not regulated, and were not even categorized as a traditional insurance product, A.I.G. didn’t have to put anything aside for losses. And it didn’t. Its leverage was more akin to an investment bank than an insurance company. So when housing prices started falling, and losses started piling up, it had no way to pay them off.

Keyword: Regulation. Or more importantly, a lack of regulation incentivizes bad behavior. Contrary to popular conservative belief, rules are important to maintaining a stable environment. Or should I say, oversight is critical to preventing systemic abuses.

I’m not sure why this is a controversial concept. We don’t rely on the honor system to prevent murder, so why would we rely on it to prevent fraudulent economic scams?