William Butler Yeats Comments on 9/11

1:  On The Day Of

ONCE more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on.  There is no obstacle
But Gregory’s wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind.
Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.

– from A PRAYER FOR MY DAUGHTER

2: Six Months After

THEY must to keep their certainty accuse
All that are different of a base intent;
Pull down established honour; hawk for news
Whatever their loose fantasy invent

–  from THE LEADERS OF THE CROWD

3: On The First Anniversary

NOW that we’re almost settled in our house
I’ll name the friends that cannot sup with us
Beside a fire of turf in th’ ancient tower,
And having talked to some late hour
Discoverers of forgotten truth
Or mere companions of my youth,
All, all are in my thoughts to-night being dead.

– from IN MEMORY OF MAJOR ROBERT GREGORY

4: The Poet Remembers What Matters Most

MY dear, my dear, I know
More than another
What makes your heart beat so;
Not even your own mother
Can know it as I know,
Who broke my heart for her
When the wild thought,
That she denies
And has forgot,
Set all her blood astir
And glittered in her eyes.

– from TO A YOUNG GIRL

 

Star Wars, Murdoch, Oprah, the economy, My Little Pony, Google+ and the FDIC are just a few of the things I have been writing about

Come check out these and many other topics at my new blog for BNET, Fun & Games.

 

Where the hell has he been?

Astute readers may have noticed a dearth of new material here at CD and I can’t help but notice at the lack of complaints over this development.

So where the hell have I been. I’ve been cheating on you with another blog. I’m not ashamed to say it. This one loves me. How do I know? It pays me.

Wait, that doesn’t sound right.

Anyway, I now have a nearly full-time paying blog gig over at BNET. I cover Fun & Games – which is the kind of topic description that lets me cover pretty much everything.

Items so far:

Don’t know when I will be back posting here. Will try. Thanks to all, one way or the other.

If you want to follow me, my blog feed is here, the RSS feed is here and if you want to get an email whenever I post, go here.

Obama goes back to Bush playbook and declares war on “price gouging” oil companies

"I’m concerned about higher gasoline prices. The government has the responsibility to make sure that we watch very carefully and investigate possible price-gouging, and we will do just that." — George W. Bush, 4/17/2006

Congress is vowing to take actions that it believes will reverse runaway crude and gasoline prices. Oil rose above $136 a barrel on Monday – more than double what it cost a year ago – and gas hovered around $4.07 a gallon.” – CNN, 6/24/2008

"We are going to make sure that nobody is taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain." – Barack Obama, 4/20/2011

gasprices21Whenever the price of gas spikes the call goes out from Washington to investigate price gouging. Unfortunately, this leads to one of the great intellectual challenges of capitalism: Defining price gouging. Problem is no one can separate “taking advantage of consumers for short-term gain” from what is usually called profit taking.

To quote Collateral Damage Sr.: "In a society that has a free market fetish, if not a religion, what is price gouging? Is nine percent profit gouging the price? Or 15 or 50 percent? At what price point does profit change into gouged profit?"

Well, here are a few samples from people who have tried to split that particular hair.

First, former Rep. Bart Stupak, (D-Mich), from 2006:

When we were doing the Energy Policy Act last fall, in the town of Midland, right by my district there, gas went up 90 cents in one day. Now, is that not gouging?

If you take a look at it, from September 2004 until September 2005, refineries have increased their prices 255 percent. Isn’t that gouging?

I mean, I think we all know what gouging is. What we need is a federal standard so we can hold the oil companies’ feet to the fire and make sure we know what factor goes into every gallon of gasoline, so at least the American public will have some transparency and get a fair shake on what goes into a price of a gallon of gasoline.”

Next up:

New York State law prohibits price gouging during a state of emergency. The law specifically provides that, in order to prevent any party from taking unfair advantage of consumers during an abnormal disruption of the market, the charging of "unconscionably excessive" prices is prohibited.”

I like that one the best because it is by the former Attorney General/Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer. Did he wonder about price gouging as he paid all those ladies of negotiable morality?

And finally this one from the very accurately named blog, Neutral Source:

There is no objective definition. Economists–who specialize in price theory and the behavior of markets and can study these things ad nauseum–have no definition for it, either. In fact, economists have avoided the term as if it were a social disease. A review of all the microeconomics textbooks on Neutral Source’s bookshelf reveals that none have as much as an index entry.”

Price gouging, like porn, is in the eye of the beholder. One thing everyone agrees on about it is that it is always committed by someone else.

For businesses price gouging is "when my competitor gets away with charging more than I thought to charge."

For the general public, price gouging is when a company that I don’t work for or have investments in is charging me too much. Profits are when my company is making enough money to not lay me off.

Actually addressing this problem would involve fundamental changes in our system that are much needed but which no one is willing to actually contemplate. Instead we will get more of this Kabuki Theater. The next act will come when the oil companies declare their quarterly earnings. This will be followed by bi-partisan denunciation of  their “excessive profits” and a number of bills will be proposed which will go nowhere.  Then the oil companies will attempt some sort of PR move to show that they are really nice guys and that will be that.

 

WikiLeaks is at the cutting edge of irony

From Glenn Greenwald’s piece in Salon:

WikiLeaks suggested the “other source” was Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former WikiLeaks associate who WikiLeaks claims took, without authorization, many WikiLeaks files when he left.

I am a fan of what WikiLeaks does but not so much of Julian Assange.

I’m sure he’s very upset about this.

penguin-seal

Two personal anecdotes to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War

Fort_Sumter_storm_flag_18611) About 25 years ago I’m sitting in my living room reading Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: A Narrative, when my roommate Gil walks in. He asks what I’m reading.

“A three volume history of the Civil War. It’s much better than the six volume one I read last year.”

“What, did the ending change?”

2) Earlier this year I’m playing the online version of a World War II strategy game called Memoir ‘44 with an Irish guy who lives in Germany where he spends many weekends re-enacting battles from the American Civil War.

Other:

  • Gen. Sherman was judged crazy and relieved of command when he said the war would take years and cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
  • Medal of Honor recipient Gen. Joshua Chamberlain died in 1914 at the age of 85 from wounds sustained at The Battle of Gettysburg.