Did Intervention/"Socialism" Avert a Depression?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Two economists, who did and an extensive study, think they can prove that intervention averted a second great depression.

(Neither of them is Paul Krugman.)

See New York Times article.


Kegs Galore

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sunday evening, after the kids were in bed, I was joined by a few good friends from my neighborhood as well as Bob from ATK's neighborhood in tapping my new kegs of beer.

A while back, my wife agreed to get me a 2-tap kegerator for my birthday. Fantastic. It is a lovely piece of gear that holds 2 5-gallon homebrew kegs. I had to swap out a few parts and pieces because the kegerator, while boasting a 2-keg capacity, comes with parts for commercial kegs. Homebrew kegs require different hook-ups. But some simple swaps of a few inexpensive widgets later, I am pumping kegs!

I currently have a British Pale Ale and a Scottish 80 Shilling Ale (the heaviest of the lighter Scottish beers) on tap right now. This weekend, I plan to get an Irish Red in a fermenter so that when one of the kegs blows, I should have another beer finished and ready to go. And this is my goal; two beers in kegs, one beer in a fermenter. Always fresh beer on tap!

I still plan to bottle some beers, especially my bigger beers like the Russian Imperial Stout that need to be bottle conditioned and aged. But for the most part, I plan to serve-up pleasant, drinkable "session beers" out of my taps.

Having now disassembled and reassembled the kegerator and all of its parts, it is a very intuitive, easy-to-use and easy-to-clean appliance. Between batches, I can partially fill a keg with some cleaner, put it under pressure, and force cleaner and rinser and even sanitizer through the lines. And once every few batches I can easily take apart the whole thing and clean it; it is exceedingly easy.

Though Mrs. Smitty tried not to show her unbridled excitement at having a fine Scottish beer whenever she wants it, I caught beaming grins when she thought I wasn't looking. I just want to point out to people: Mrs. Smitty likes beer, likes my homebrewing hobby, bought me a kegerator, and likes hockey. I won. Game over.

The little makeshift kegerator I made just to get used to kegging and what all goes into it is slated for the dump, unless one of our esteemed readers wants it.


Whitewashing the Bush Years

Friday, July 23, 2010

Do you need some ammo to win debates with your conservative "friends" over who caused the current state of our economy? 

Memorize this Krugman column.


Mish Mash

No beer review yet again this week. Bob and I are making some tweaks to the labels at the bottom of each review. Soon, by clicking the Beer Review button, you will be able to view all the beer reviews on this site by either their layman's terms (dark, light, bitter, sweet, etc) or by their actual "official" designation through the Beer Judge Certification Program (Bock: Doppelbock; Light Hybrid: Kolsch; etc.). This is taking a lot of time to sort through, so bear with us.

A couple random notes:

First of all, in the true spirit of the Dark Side, Darth Vader was caught on camera recently robbing a bank. Good to know the Dark Lord of the Sith likes it keep it real.

We all know and hate the Westboro Baptist Church (note: if you Google their web site and click their official home page link, Google tells you the link is broken...heh...). These are the idiots who protest things like Marines' funerals with their "God Hates Fags" and "God Hate America" signs.

Well, it turns out they decided to protest Comic-Con in San Diego. They were met by the most immense counter-protest of Nerdly Power ever witnessed. It was a thing of beauty. A small collection of Fred Phelps' family members and incest victims on one side of the street, a line of 3 or 4 cops with huge face-splitting grins, and a few hundred nerds with signs that read "God Hates Kittens," "God Hates Jedi" (wielded by a guy in a Star Trek costume) and "All Glory to the Hypno-Toad."

Go here to witness the Power of Dorks. Nerd Power!!


A Successful Bailout?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I ran across this article. Auto industry payback may surprise U.S. taxpayers, this morning. Looks like the auto industry really was serious about paying The People back. From the article:

A Free Press analysis suggests that taxpayers could get back about $74 billion of the $86 billion the government made available in 2008 and 2009 to save General Motors, Chrysler and Ally Financial, the former GMAC.

So far, the industry has paid the government $18.3 billion in debt, interest and dividends, and the prospects for payback have improved thanks to a rebound in vehicle sales and profits at the three companies. That includes the $1.5 billion Chrysler Financial has paid off and a $5-billion aid plan for suppliers that turned a profit.
I am sure Bob, our Senior Auto Industry Correspondent, will have some more comment, but I'll leave it with this graphic depicting how much has been paid back...and how much more there is to go.
I also posted this because I just couldn't stand to look at that Michelle Bachmann pic any more.


I fail to see how this will help

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In the past, I have made some minor efforts to defend the tea party movement. I find some of what they have to say persuasive, but for the most part, they come across as being a disjointed, angry, illogical mob. Some of the critiques of them are unfair, and in some cases, fraudulent. As a mostly independent voter, I love to see viable third party movements. In a perfect world, the tea party would dump the nutball rhetoric and find some think tank or intelligent conservative to act as a spokesperson.

In our not-so-perfect world, their biggest fans are Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. Add to that mix, Michelle Bachmann. She has formed the Tea Party Caucus. Michelle is a prolific fund raiser and is very popular among some right wingers. Occasionally, she says something that I agree 100% with, but this is overshadowed by the dozens of ridiculous things she says. I am sure that most ATK readers are familiar with her work, but if you aren't, google "michelle bachmann quotes" and absorb the cognitive dissonance.

I don't know enough about Bachmann's District to say whether this will help her. I ill go out on a limb and say that I have a hard time seeing how this will improve the image of the tea party movement.


Around the Keg: The Upgrade

Saturday, July 17, 2010

As you can see, we have launched a new and improved Around the Keg. (ATK) We have a new look and are pleased to announce two new accomplished contributors to the site.

In coming editions you will read original content by Noble Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. We are also thrilled to finally add conservative balance to the blog with commentary from right-wing pundit and former member of the American Enterprise Institute, David Frum.

Actually, the above paragraph is completely fabricated, but we really did buff this turd to a high-luster sheen.

You will see some improvements here at ATK.  In addition to the snazzy new logo at the top, we are adding some navigation aids to improve your reading experience.

Did you know that Smitty has over one hundred beer reviews? Of course not, they were impossible to sort through. It’s a fucking nightmare. Above, you will now find a handy link in a navigation bar.  The link will take you to a dedicated beer review page. In the coming days, this page will enable readers to sort by beer type to find a review of a beer they might enjoy, or maybe avoid. As Smitty re-labels his beer reviews, you will see more and more links added to the page to enable him to spread the gospel of good beer.

We also have additonal improvements coming in the coming weeks.

Of course you will continue to hear from the rest of us political hacks. From time to time we might actually discuss some public policy or legal experience worth reading. We will be leaving the beer reviews to Smitty though, because “cuts cotton mouth” is not an official BJCP characteristic of good beer



I Kan Rite!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hat Tip to Balloon Juice, here is a writing analyzer.

For the result below, I entered by most recent Golden Cap Saison review. Good thing I really like Neil Gaiman!

I write like
Neil Gaiman

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

My review of my Sam Adams Triple Bock yielded an Ernest Hemingway. Depressed and verbose??

I am dying to know who this widget thinks Rickey writes like...


Who would have thought driver error...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I know that Toyota is not the favorite car manufacturer on this blog, but I found this article to be thought provoking. I am all for slamming some company for a bad product, but I wondered if some of those people weren't fabricating stories to cover up their own mistakes.

"In spite of our investigations, we have not actually been able yet to find a defect" in electronic throttle-control systems, Mr. Smith told the scientific panel, which is looking into potential causes of sudden acceleration.

"We're bound and determined that if it exists, we're going to find it," he added. "But as yet, we haven't found it."


Who Could Have Guessed?

Gosh. Who could have guessed this could happen given collective freak-out about immigrants?

SALT LAKE CITY – State agencies are investigating whether any of their employees leaked Social Security numbers and other personal information after a list of 1,300 people who an anonymous group claims are illegal immigrants was circulated around Utah.

The anonymous group mailed the list to several media outlets, law enforcement agencies and others this week, frightening the state's Hispanic community. A letter accompanying the list demanded that those on it be deported immediately.

The list also contains highly detailed personal information such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, workplaces, addresses and phone numbers. Names of children are included, along with due dates of pregnant women on the list.[emphasis added]
A group of well-meaning concerned citizens fear-mongering lunatics circulates a list of people they suspect are undocumented workers. Gee, what could go wrong here?

IMO, this is the kind of stuff that the Arizona law, and support for it, leads to. There are people who are predisposed towards personalizing the type of political statement made by laws similar to that one. They take the "it's our only option to meaningfully control illegal immigration" line and make it their vigilante cause because "the gubment just ain't doing enuf. Also, too, Obama's a socialist."

And now this same "gubment" is in the untenable position of possibly having to defend lives because the names of kids and pregnant women's due dates have been published. I recognize that this list was "only sent" to government agencies so they could act on it...but the problem is that some group of dangerous vigilantes also has this list. What are they going to do with that list when the government fails to apprehend everyone on this list that the shadowy group has deemed ought to be? It's clear, in fact, in the quote from Utah Immigration and Customs Enforcement, that they probably won't:
"As a matter of policy, we don't confirm we are investigating an allegation or possible violation unless the inquiry results in some type of public enforcement action," [Agency spokeswoman Virginia] Kice said.

She noted that because ICE has finite resources, it focuses its efforts "first on those dangerous convicted criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, not sweeps or raids to target undocumented immigrants indiscriminately[emphasis added]."
Just for added measure:
"My phone has been ringing nonstop since this morning with people finding out they're on the list," said Tony Yapias, former director of the Utah Office of Hispanic Affairs. "They're feeling terrorized. They're very scared."
Gee, why? I mean, if they're truly legal, then what do they have to worry about? Certainly some gun-crazed self-proclaimed investigator won't kick down their door, demand proof, and hurt anyone, would they? Or send them threatening letters in their mailboxes? Or threaten their unborn children? Or harass their kids at school?


Broken Record

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Enjoy. Discuss.


Combat Bibles??

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I saw this over at Balloon Juice:A combat bible??

I asked The Google about combat bibles. The paid link was this. Am I alone in being fascinatedly worried about the fact that there are 13+ bibles with camouflage and American Flag covers on them? Remember yesterday's post about the unfortunate confluence of biblical and constitutional literalism...well, here it is in cammies, ready to fight.

I also came across this link. It goes into a bit of detail about the "problems" this company had with "spearation of church and state" issues and being able to put military logos on bibles. But they are proud to distribute them to service-members for free. Another fun part:

Each Holman Christian Standard military Bible features:

--Special Presentation, Dedication and Records sections for Military Personnel
--Words of Christ in Red
--An Introduction to the Holman Christian Standard Bible
--Explanatory Notes
--The Plan of Salvation
--The Pledge of Allegiance
--The Star Spangled Banner
--The Oath of Allegiance for Enlisted Personnel
--U.S. Armed Forces Code of Conduct
--Battle Hymn of the Republic
--America the Beautiful
--Onward Christian Soldiers
--Where to Turn (Scripture Readings for all Occasions)
--So Great a Faith (The story of Jesus and the Centurion)
--The Apostle's Creed
--The Nicene Creed
--Testimonials and Encouragement from Officer's Christian Fellowship
--History of the Armed Forces
--Symbols & Logos
--Quotations, Prayers and Inspiration from:
D.L. Moody
George Washington
President George W. Bush
General George S. Patton
Captain Eddie Rickenbacker
Jimmy Stewart
and others
--Plus Additional Material Specific to Each Branch of the Armed Forces
Wait a minute. Did I read that right? Among what I would expect (Jesus' quotes in red, the Nicene Creed, etc.) there are also clearly American- and service-oriented pieces in there. In and of itself it's no big deal. But in the bigger picture of our discussions in the last few posts here and on Streak's blog, this is clearly a part of a pattern.

I am not banging on religion, especially in the service ("...no such thing as a foxhole atheist..."). When I was deployed, we didn't get bibles and nobody gave them to us. The Chaplain was someone you saw when you had a personal problem. Services were Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish, not Catholic and 79 different protestant services.

Something has changed, culturally, within the military. Prayer used to be personal. A couple guys had bibles; one was about to enter a seminary. We didn't have daily prayer circles. Our officers, when they hung with us enlisted guys, had plenty of other stuff to talk about. But when did the military become the enforcement arm of the evangelical wing?


Setting It Straight

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Over the weekend, I got one of those gawd-awful "patriotic" emails that gives us a little-known lesson in American history and ends with an admonishment (followed by a thousand exclamation points) that I am not a real patriot if I don't send this along because the damn Liberals are taking over the country.

I usually hate these and can see right away that they are urban legends of sorts.

This one was about the fates of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. It is as follows:

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

--Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,and tortured before they died.
--Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
--Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
--Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

--Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

-- Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

--Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

--At the battle of Yorktown , Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

--Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

--John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!

I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many people as you can, please. It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.
As always, Snopes to the rescue. Turns out that much of the email is dramatic and creative license of true facts. Sure, some guys lost property; we were invaded by the Brits and they tended to burn shit. Not so much "targeting" DoI signers as just generally being dicks. And sometimes, it was the Continental army that did that stuff.

Now, the end lesson in all of it are that the early Colonials made huge sacrifices to get us where we are today. Like the end of the Snopes article says: "The hardships and losses endured by many Americans during the struggle for independence were not visited upon the signers alone, nor were they any less ruinous for having befallen people whose names are not immortalized on a piece of parchment."

Also, I got the very funny "Letter of Revocation from John Cleese." It's not actually from John Cleese, but it is a snarky and funny letter hereby revoking our standing as a country and reinstating us as a British colony. Hilarious stuff.


Happy 4th!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Have a great Independence Day! In the finest of American traditions, we will grill some dead animal carcass over a fire and blow stuff up.

God Bless us.


Where Do You Stand Politically?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Take the Nolan Test.

In a comment over at Streak's Blog, Steve mentioned the Nolan Chart. This a political test that I had never taken until now. For those unfamiliar, it rates you politically, but not just along a left/right scale. Instead, it rates you on 2 axis as seen below. While my answers to the multiple choice questions did require some compromises, I cannot say I disagree with my results (pasted below) which shows me as a left of center, centrist.

Bob's Results:

How do you rate? Take the survey here.



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