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rba's blog

Bloomberg on DeFazio's Tax

DeFazio’s proposal would put a tax of 0.25 percent on stock transactions and 0.02 percent on derivatives including futures, options, swaps and credit-default swaps. A transaction of 200 shares at $40 each would result in a $20 tax, compared with a commission of $1 for active traders at Interactive Brokers, Peterffy said. [Nina Mehta and Whitney Kisling/Bloomberg: Stock Tax May Cut Trading Volume 90%, Peterffy Says (29 Jan '10)

So the entire trading apparatus of the United States will collapse? Let's do the numbers: "0.25" percent = .0025 of each trade ($40 here) = ten cents a share traded. Oh yeah, the market will absolutely crash from the weight of the tax. And all those traders out on the street? Kinda like 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea: a good start.

I don't really see a downside here. Tax away.


Image © Lawrence Livermore @ sfgate.com
David Perlman/Chron Science Writer: Focusing 192 lasers on one little target:

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reported Thursday they have taken a major step toward harnessing the forces that power the sun in an effort to create unlimited energy on Earth.

Having read about scientists promise of "fusion power" for the past 50 years I'm just a little skeptical. Kinda like the promise of "solar power" using technology that achieves a measly 15% conversion efficiency. But hey, no harm in trying. And in the current political atmosphere an advance like this, no matter how small, earns the white-coats their paychecks.


Secret Swiss Misses

Image © UBS.com

CBS.News: Swiss May Renegotiate UBS Deal with U.S. (1/27/2010):

The court said the deal defined fraud too broadly and failed to address existing Swiss law on disclosing bank clients' information.

Of course we all know that cash transactions are amoral by definition and design. After all, money isn't the root of all evil, *people* are. So why should the banks give a franc damn where the money they protect - at "reasonable" fees - comes from? Just because the depositors are tax evading criminals doesn't mean they're rude to their slaves.

Red Flags Unheeded

Marjie Lundstrom/SacBee: Red flags unheeded before foster child died:

Four hours before sunrise on a foggy Sacramento night, a woman's wail pierced the silence of a suburban street. Flames crackled to life. Neighbors awakened, and some rushed outside. Others watched from their windows.

"My baby, my baby," the woman howled in the darkness.

The three part series in the Sacramento Bee ran part two today, three tomorrow, one yesterday. Read it if you have the time. This is investigative reporting at it's best.

Comparing to What

Peter Sager: . . .experts agreed [Martha Coakley] was the least charismatic candidate since Mel Carnahan in 2001, and he was dead. And he won.

In spite of the heavily publicized new poll, I'll take Peter Sager's take on the 'contest'. As long as the left maintains a laser-like focus on it's own collective navel, it will continue to miss the tree falling directly on it's head.

Tea Baggin': Pouring Fire on the Water

Well, well, well. After 40 years the Republicans have *finally* figured out a way to contain costs for mental health. Give all the hard-Right loonies a slogan and a few bumper stickers, and make them believe they are participants in a 'new beginning'.

They'll all willingly come out of the woodwork, making the job of keeping track of them simplicity itself. And the lithium-mist UAVs? Genius. Sheer genius.

With thanks for the inspiration to damn near every single news outlet in the United States, whose courage and foresight enabled a bunch of rich white ol' boys peddling last century's failed ideas to get these people the help they truly need.

Today's contributor: Kathleen Hennessey/LAT: Still a disorganized 'tea party'

Today's image: Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) &copy: Fantasy Films/The Nation

The Hissy-Fix

Image © Noah Berger/AP/San Francisco Chronicle

A parable: the Bay Bridge had been in need of maintenance and repair for decades, and after design-by-committee, millions of sniping letters, and thousands of hours of 'discussion' on talk radio, the various parties agreed to a final design. Great.

Now the trick has been keeping the existing structure maintained until the new span was complete. Not great. This past summer a piece of that deferred maintenance fell onto the deck of the bridge, which was a surprise to just about everyone, leaving no choice but to shut it down. Gasp!

Electing Brown (CA)

Image: Jerry Brown running for Governor 1974, © Jeff Robbins/AP/NYT

Yeah, the guy with more experience in more offices in government, and more insight than most, is (allegedly) back in the run for California Governor.

He's got my (alleged) vote.

Simple: do you want someone intimately familiar with all aspects of State Government, or some rich-as-Croesus political hack with far more cash than ability? You know, like the guy in the office right now.

Question just answers itself.


Image © NPR

Mitch McConnell sound bite on NPR (from memory):

The people of Massachusetts have spoken, and they don't want a government takeover of health care.

How in hell can *anyone* let that blatant lie slide? A simple factual refresher: nothing in either bill creates a 'government takeover' of health care. Nor are there provisions in the bill for any other sound-bitten-horror put forth by these pompous asses. And every single reporter worth their paycheck f*cking knows it.

Slippage every now and again is normal, but allowing the entire Republican party free rein to (literally) say anything is just plain bad reporting. If you can't spend the time to get it right, don't put it on air.

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