THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Putting The “Boo” In Boomer: In a New York Times op-ed former Sen. Larry Pressler R-SD), who served in (that is to say, within the borders of) Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 makes the case that CT Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s dissembling on his military service is “indicative of a broader disease in our society”:
The issues of integrity in business and politics that plague us today - the way elites are no longer trusted - are rooted in the dishonesty that surrounded the Vietnam-era draft. …
Many of those who didn’t serve were helped by an inherently unfair draft. I don’t fault anyone for taking advantage of the law. Where I do find fault is among those who say they were avoiding the draft because they were idealistically opposed to the war - when, in fact, they mostly didn’t want to make the sacrifice. …
Thus, many in my generation knew they were using a broken (but legal) system to shirk their duty. They cloaked themselves in idealism but deep down had to know they were engaging in a charade. …
Too many in my generation did a deeply insidious thing. And they got away with it. Big time. Poorer people went to war. The men who didn’t were able to get their head start to power.
Now that flawed thinking has been carried forward. Many of these men who evaded service but claimed idealism lead our elite institutions. The concept of using legal technicalities to evade responsibility has been carried over to playing with derivatives, or to short-changing shareholders. Once my generation got in the habit of saying one thing and believing another, it couldn’t stop.
† Is Obama Already A Lame Duck?: Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen argues that it’s not entirely President Barack Hussein Obama’s fault that he is perceived as weak and ineffectual. Rather, “presidential importance, in terms of being able to influence events, is slipping”:
Obama presiding over the unpresidable, the president overseeing the incomprehensible, the full panoply of meaningless power - Air Force One, Marine One, the limo, the motorcade, the briefcase with the nuclear launch codes - all amounting in this case to man railing against the sea, a somber lesson for us all. The spill goes on. The war goes on. The debt grows - and so, for too many of us, does denial.
Once-upon-a-time pundits wrote NYC off as “ungovernable,” but Rudy Giuliani, poor fool, didn’t know it so he went ahead and governed it.
† Eat My Shorts: Goldman Sachs E-Mails: The New York Times reports that “Goldman’s many hats - trader, adviser, underwriter, matchmaker of buyers and sellers, and salesperson - has left some clients feeling bruised or so wary that they have sometimes avoided doing business with the bank”:
Under Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman’s chief executive, and a cadre of top lieutenants who have ramped up the firm’s trading operation, conflict avoidance had shifted to conflict management, this person said. Along the way, he said, the firm’s executives have come to see customers more as competitors they trade against than as clients. …
Even Goldman’s mortgage department compliance training manual from 2007 acknowledges the challenges posed by the firm’s clients-come-first rule. Loyalty to customers “is not always straightforward” given the multiple financial hats Goldman wears in the market, the manual notes.
In addition, the manual explains how Goldman uses information harvested from clients who discuss the market, indicate interest in securities or leave orders consisting of “pretrade information.” The manual notes that Goldman also can deploy information it receives from a wide range of other sources, including data providers, other brokerage firms and securities exchanges.
“We continuously make markets and take risk based on a unique window on the market which is a mosaic constructed of all of the pieces of data received,” the manual said. …
Goldman’s powerful and nimble trading desk has become a reliable fountain of profits for the firm. But it has also instilled fear among some clients … that Goldman trades against the interests of some of its clients.
Trading desks make big bets using the firm’s and clients’ money. Goldman’s trading operation has grown so pivotal and influential that many analysts say the firm as a whole now operates more like a hedge fund than an investment bank - another benchmark of the firm’s internal evolution that can create new friction with clients.
† Never Mind Marxism. Will An Obama Administration Be Totalitarian?: Part II: Well before Barack Hussein Obama became president and decided that alternative media was “distracting” voters, Mitchell Frost, then a University of Akron freshman, apparently had the same thought and tried to take down several conservative Web sites with hack attacks. Frost has been charged by federal prosecutors with damaging a protected computer system and possessing unauthorized access devices, reports PC World:
According to court filings … Frost launched the distributed denial of service attacks from a 'botnet' network of hacked computers he controlled between March 7 and March 12, 2007. Frost is also accused of using his botnet to steal information including usernames, passwords and credit card numbers from compromised computers. …
The attacks occurred as interest was starting to build for the 2008 presidential election, and one of Frost's alleged targets was the Joinrudy2008.com Web site used to promote Giuliani's presidential campaign. …
Prosecutors say that Frost launched five separate attacks against Billoreilly.com, an onslaught that ultimately forced administrators there to take the site offline in order to deal with the issue.
† Boobs And Brains Not Mutually Exclusive: The cover of next month's Vogue provides more evidence that "boobism" is the last acceptable form of anti-woman bias. Wielding an airbrush, the magazine gave Blake Lively a breast reduction.
[Hat Tip: New York magazine]
† Updates To Previous Posts (fourth item, Now Is Not The Time To Talk About Race): The Independent (London) discusses a controversial new book by black historian Nell Irvin Painter, “The History of White People,” which puts forth the thesis that Barack Hussein Obama is white – socioeconomically, that is, because race “is a fluid social construct”:
Technically, she has a point. The $3bn Human Genome Project revealed in 2003 that every human being has a unique DNA sequence which differs from that of any fellow human being by just 0.1 per cent, regardless of ethnic origin. Thus, all humans beings are 99.9 per cent the same and, from a scientific viewpoint, there is no such thing as racial difference. …
[O]ur perceptions of race are expanding, [Painter] claims, and she herself is, she says, effectively white – by virtue of her lifestyle (she's a Harvard-educated former Princeton history professor currently pursuing a master's degree in painting).
Being "white" in America is perhaps like being upper-class in Britain, except in America a wealthy, well-connected black person can become "white" and a disadvantaged white person could lead a life that's "black".
Historically, the entire classification of 'whiteness', Painter argues, was in no small part a philosophical justification of slavery. The white-black thing was about economics. Whiteness came to represent freedom and nobility, while black-skinned peoples were now cast in the role of the underdog.
Back when former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) made the exact same point in an Esquire interview (“I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. … My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up.") he was “stupid, stupid, stupid." But then, isn’t everything a Harvard professor says smart, if only by dint of having been uttered by a Harvard professor?
Editorial Note: Painter was beaten to the punch by the pious pedagogues who dreamed up forced busing. Really, what was the point of busing white students to schools outside their own neighborhoods if not to be role models of studiousness and middle class mores for inner city minority students who came from broken, chaotic homes?
† Updates To Previous Posts (ninth item, How Poor Is Poor?): The federal government’s Head Start program apparently can’t wait until 2011 for the Census Bureau to expand its clientele with a new definition of poverty. An undercover investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that Head Start employees are using their own ad hoc formulas to enroll kids who otherwise wouldn’t qualify for the means-tested preschool program - two Head Start families had making six-figure incomes - reports The Washington Times:
In testimony presented to the House panel … GAO special investigations official Gregory D. Kutz said that in at least eight cases, Head Start employees "manipulated" information to admit ineligible children.
Enrollment rules were so lax, he warned, that Head Start workers could easily "doctor" enrollment applications, and families could enter the program with "bogus" documents created at home. …
Other abuses included admitting a family who lived outside the Head Start service area, ignoring proof of employment, and admitting extraordinarily high numbers of "homeless" children. Under new rules, homeless children are automatically eligible for Head Start. …
Head Start, created 45 years ago as a "war on poverty" program, receives $7 billion a year. Last year, it received an extra $2 billion under the stimulus bill, and the Obama administration has requested another $1 billion for it for 2011.
Head Start's main purpose is to narrow the school-readiness gap by giving poor preschoolers free educational, medical, nutritional and social services.
Early studies have showed that Head Start services pay off when the children start school.
But in January, a massive, 10-year study found that by the time Head Start children finish first grade, they score no better than non-Head Start children on most of 112 measures.
Citing President Barack Hussein Obama’s purported eagerness to eliminate demonstrably ineffective and wasteful government programs Heritage Foundation analysts David Muhlhausen and Dan Lips call Head Start “an ideal candidate for the budget chopping block.”
† Updates To Previous Posts (sixth item, Obama’s Family Values: Part V): The Boston Globe reports that President Barack Hussein Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, “managed a rare feat by winning asylum from a judge with a high rejection record”:
Asylum cases are kept confidential in federal immigration court, so it is unclear why Judge Leonard I. Shapiro granted her asylum Friday, six years after she lost an asylum case and was ordered deported. But immigration lawyers said Onyango could have cited more recent factors such as ethnic violence in her native Kenya or her own unexpected celebrity. …
Shapiro rejected 67 percent of the asylum cases he heard from 2004 to 2009, higher than the state and national averages, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
Nationwide last fiscal year, only 94 Kenyans won asylum through the immigration courts of 332 people who applied for it, according to the courts.
Many of the 238 Kenyans not related to Obama (though with his father’s profligacy, one cannot be entirely sure) who were refused asylum presumably cited ethnic violence. But then, those judges didn’t have to worry about Attorney General Eric Holder looking over their shoulders.