Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yeah Cain I Think your Campaign is Over

Well it seems a mistress of 13 years has come out of the woodwork. One thing the GOP hates is mistresses. So that pretty much does it.

On Monday, Ginger White said in an interview with Fox 5 Atlanta that her affair with Cain ended not long before the former businessman from Georgia announced his candidacy for the White House.

"It was fun," said White, 46, as she described Cain buying her plane tickets for a rendezvous in Palm Springs, Calif. "It was something that took me away from my sort of humdrum life at the time. And it was exciting."

Cain went on television to flatly deny White's claims even before the report aired.

"I didn't do anything wrong," he said then. On Tuesday, he told his staff "I deny those charges, unequivocally," and went on to say he had only helped White financially "because she was out of work and destitute, desperate."

Um, all White needs to do is produce a plane ticket that Cain paid for and he is sunk. I mean no matter how "out of work, destitute, and desperate" someone is they probably don't need plane tickets to travel to Palm Springs to meet up with him. That last part sounds like it could have been written by Berlusconi about some 18 year old Bunga Bunga girl. 

In any case these so-called "bimbo eruptions" are as bad as Clinton's were and are now heavily overshadowing his campaign. I think he needs to bow out now and save his family and friends any more anguish.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

President of Yemen out Bashar stands Alone (well almost)

It seems you have your days numbered if you happen to be an authoritarian dictator.

Yemen's autocratic leader agreed Wednesday to step down after months of demonstrations against his 33-year rule, pleasing the U.S. and its Gulf allies who feared that collapsing security in the impoverished nation was allowing an active al-Qaida franchise to step up operations.

If I was Assad I would agree to elections and either use a puppet ruler or just try to win an 8 year term with a 2 term limit or something. By the time he can't run again he will be well past retirement age. Or just retire to a villa in the South of France and spend your billions. The chance of getting caught by your people and shot with your own golden gun, or the so-called Qaddafi treatment, is getting higher every day.

I Guess Herod Did not Build the Western Wall in Jerusalem

It seems he got credit for it but was actually dead for several years.

But archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority now say diggers have found coins underneath the massive foundation stones of the compound's Western Wall that were stamped by a Roman proconsul 20 years after Herod's death. That indicates that Herod did not build the wall — part of which is venerated as Judaism's holiest prayer site — and that construction was not close to being complete when he died.

That proconsul was the guy that was after Pontius Pilate named Valerius Gratus who was there at 17AD.

Bowl Champion Changes Might End Realignment At Last

Well the idea of Boise State, Air Force and San Diego State going to the Big East might be a big waste of time if these changes go into effect.

Sources with direct knowledge of meetings held in San Francisco earlier this week tell ESPN that the suggested change calls for the BCS to sever its direct ties with the BCS bowls -- the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Discover Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl Game -- and focus only on arranging a No. 1 vs. No. 2 national championship game.

So you can kiss automatic qualifiers goodbye. If you don't have these to worry about then there really isn't any reason for a Boise State to join the Big East. Boise might get more money from being in the Big East but they would have to travel to the east coast and to Florida constantly in order to play sometimes mediocre teams.  Currently the furthest they would travel is to Hawaii and that would be every other year. Without a western contingent they would have to play every road game on the other side of the country.

Also what network would pay extra money to get all of the teams that are supposed to be in the 12 team Big East? I don't see tons people on the west coast trying to see South Florida play just like you don't see people in Florida trying to see San Diego State play.

Also the western add-ons don't seem to be really big jump in competition. I mean SMU and Houston (which is good now but has been just middling in years past) really doesn't add any fuel to their chances to go to the BCS title game. The other Big East western targets are already in their league so that is a sideways move. Currently without an automatic qualifier there really seems to be little to be gained from western teams joining the Big East.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

South Korea Passes Trade Pact Despite a Tear Gas Attack

I wonder is someone needs to tear-gas the "Super-Committee of Worthlessness" for failing to do anything but drop the market 300 points. At least we can get some cool Samsung phones on the cheap now.

South Korea’s parliament approved a free trade agreement with the United States in a chaotic session Tuesday, minutes after an opposition legislator set off a tear gas canister in protest at the pact.

Legislators voted 151-7 in favor of the long-delayed deal after ruling party members had caught the opposition off guard by calling a snap parliamentary session.

Syrian Regime Next in Europes Crosshairs

If I was Assad I would be running scared because Europe backs its threats with bombs now.

A resolution drafted by Britain, France and Germany at the UN General Assembly's human rights committee was passed by 122 votes to 13 with 41 abstentions and received considerable support from Arab states. 

David Cameron urged world leaders to engage with Syrian opposition groups as he warned the country was on the brink of a full-scale civil war. 
Speaking alongside Abdullah Gul, the Turkish president, in Downing Street, Mr Cameron said that Turkey and the Arab League, which has drawn up a peace plan for Syria, had "shown welcome leadership and given us a way to stop the brutality of this morally bankrupt regime". 

That's what they were saying about Qaddiffi before they started to send in the Mirages. Also the Turkish President compared Assad to Hitler. Hmm, I wonder if there might be some Turkish troops sent into the fray to "protect border regions?" A stable neighbor and an Israel that isn't on edge all the time might be worth fighting for if you were Turkey playing the Big Game.

Monday, November 07, 2011

New "Chained CPI" to Cut Social Security Benefits

I think this is a pretty good proposal that actually takes into account how inflation actually works.

The inflation measure under consideration is called the Chained Consumer Price Index, or chained CPI. On average, the measure shows a lower level of inflation than the more widely used CPI for All Urban Consumers.

Many economists argue that the chained CPI is more accurate because it assumes that as prices increase, consumers switch to lower cost alternatives, reducing the amount of inflation they experience.

For example, if the price of beef increases while the price of pork does not, people will buy more pork. Or, as opponents mockingly argue, if the price of home heating oil goes up, people will turn down their heat and wear more sweaters.

Of course the chained CPI will result in lower social security increases per year and thus less money for seniors in the long run. 

Under the chained CPI, yearly benefits for a typical 65-year-old would be about $136 less, according to an analysis of Social Security data. At age 75, annual benefits under the new index would be $560 less. At 85, the cut would be $984 a year, and at 95, the annual income loss would amount to $1,392.

That amounts to a $116 a month reduction in a persons social security over that 30 years time. That doesn't sound like a whole lot and you could easily offset the amount with inflation protected bonds if a person will be missing $116 in 30 years. 

Any change that results in Social Security staying solvent beyond the 18-year bankruptcy date is good for me. Then if they want to complete the savings go ahead and cut the social security benefits of people making over a certain income level as seniors. If you are getting big money from your 401K then you really should be getting your social security money cut by a certain amount.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Most Damning Statistic of Obama's Failed Economic Policies

We spent $4 trillion and this is what all that money has bought us.

About 20.5 million Americans, or 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, make up the poorest poor, defined as those at 50 percent or less of the official poverty level. Those living in deep poverty represent nearly half of the 46.2 million people scraping by below the poverty line. In 2010, the poorest poor meant an income of $5,570 or less for an individual and $11,157 for a family of four.

That 6.7 percent share is the highest in the 35 years that the Census Bureau has maintained such records, surpassing previous highs in 2009 and 1993 of just over 6 percent.

The the poor have grown to a historic number under Obama's watch. I mean no amount of stimulus can obscure the fact that Obama was dealt a bad hand and proceeded to make things far worse.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Could one Marine Expeditionary Unit Defeat the Roman Empire?

This is a very interesting thought experiment that spawned a movie called Rome, Sweet Rome.

An MEU typically contains about 2200 troops, along with their artillery and vehicles. According to Erwin’s original reddit story (which will be altered for the movie), the Marines are transported back in time with what they have with them, including M1 Abrams battle tanks, bulletproof vests, M4 rifles, and grenades.

The year Erwin chose (23 B.C.) falls in the reign of Augustus, great-nephew of Julius Caesar and considered the first Roman emperor. His legions numbered nearly 330,000 men. They wore heavy leather and metal armor, carried swords and javelins, and operated catapults. They would have never heard the sound of an explosion before. "Obviously, there is a massive difference in firepower," says Roman military expert and author Adrian Goldsworthy. "Not only would Roman armor be useless against a rifle round—let alone a grenade launcher or a .50 caliber machine gun—it would probably distort the bullet’s shape and make the wound worse."

I would have to agree with Adrian Goldsworthy that eventually the Romans numbers would wear down the Marines who would not be able to resupply or refuel their tanks in 23 BC. However, if they moved quickly toward Rome with local guides they could take the city fairly easily by obliterating any legions in their way and pounding their walls with artillery.

I mean the shock of an M1A Abrams Tank moving down the Appian Way would scare anyone who opposes them. The Roman government would probably cut a deal with these strange outsiders since they are fairly pragmatic when it comes to people that could kill them with invisible lightning.  
Maybe the Romans would give them a large swath of land in Cappadocia or Thrace far from the seat of the Empire. I can see the Emperor providing ships, gold, and foodstuffs aplenty just to get them far away from the capital as possible. 
Also the Marines being soldiers and not politicians they probably would not have dreams of conquest of the entire Empire on their minds. They would want to find their bearings and either figure a way home (which would be impossible) or just make the best of the situation.

However, the 35th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) which is used in the thought experiment would probably be a formidable power in the Ancient World. I can see Kings and Emperors trying to curry favor with them just to get their knowledge and expertise let alone access to their magic exploding devices. They would probably marry into the local Thracian population and create a fairly decent homeland for themselves. I can see the local Thracian King sending his daughter into the Marine camp to marry their General ASAP.

In fact I can easily see the Roman Emperor turning to a Marine general to lead his forces against the Picts or whomever the Empire is trying to conquer. Marines would probably eventually be hired for jobs in all parts of the Roman world. I could see them using their modern knowledge to reshape the Empire and maybe give it a bit of an American flavor as well. 
It wouldn't be long before a rudimentary electric plant sprouts up on the Palatine Hill. Or the Romans will be watching Team Jimmie Johnson against Team Tony Stewart racing chariots in the Circus Maximus. I could see Romans snacking on corn chips and hotdogs at the Colosseum exported from American Thrace. In fact I could see rock and rap music being written for Lyre or Tibia (roman double flute) or a Roman play that has a plot very similar to Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. The Romans were good at soaking up other cultures and America has one of the most soakable.