Open Thread for Wednesday, September 23, 2015


A few things to chew on…

  1. In D.C., pope weighs in on climate, poverty, immigration — He also gave POTUS a bit of a homily on respecting religious liberty, so it wasn’t all hugs and kisses.
  2. Volkswagen CEO Resigns, Saying He’s ‘Shocked’ By Emissions Scandal — He was also distressed to learn that there was gambling going on at Rick’s.
  3. Carly Fiorina in Columbia — There’s video at The State’s site.
  4. Yankees Catcher With a Wit All His Own — Yogi Berra’s dead! Oh, say it ain’t so…

These aren’t great talkers, not that I look back over the list. Maybe y’all have some better ideas…


18 thoughts on “Open Thread for Wednesday, September 23, 2015

  1. Norm Ivey

    #2: VW made an incredibly bone-headed move. This wasn’t something that slipped their notice or a defect in manufacturing. This was an outright attempt–a successful one–to cheat not only the EPA and other emissions testers, but to defraud their buying public by claiming something that just isn’t so. Their CEO at least has taken some measure of responsibility in stepping down, though I suspect he’ll land elsewhere quickly enough.

    And this wasn’t the action of a single person. It was a collaboration. They had to collect data on how vehicles are tested for emissions and design software the intentionally caused the vehicle to behave differently during a test. In other words, the vehicles were capable of passing the tests! And they still committed fraud. Was there no one in the room who said, Um, guys…is this with sullying VW’s reputation?

  2. Harry Harris

    I suspect the company (VW) and its stockholders will suffer the consequences here when some jail time – not fines, for the perpetrators would be more appropriate in my view.

    On another matter, Fox News hosts have already started after Pope Francis, and unsurprisingly taken swipes at Prez Obama ranging from the way he greeted the Pope (agreeing on issues) to passing healthcare expansion. Interestingly, Sheppard Smith on their network blasted the critics at the core of their charges of Francis being “political.”

      1. Doug Ross

        Will does have some valid points. Pope Francis speaks in bumper sticker/fortune cookie pronouncements without being direct and specific.

        It’s also quite hypocritical to speak of helping the poor while keeping what has been estimated by the U.N. to be several BILLION dollars of gold as well as:

        ““The Vatican has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with the Hambros Bank, with the Credit Suisse in London and Zurich. In the United States it has large investments with the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank of New York, the Bankers Trust Company, and others. The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, T.W.A., etc. At a conservative estimate, these amount to more than 500 million dollars in the U.S.A. alone.”

        I wonder if God’s financial advisor likes the balance sheet of the Catholic Church?

        1. Doug Ross

          From an article regarding the Pope’s trip:

          “(As a footnote, the dirty little secret of papal travel is that the press corps actually subsidizes the pope’s movements, since the roughly 70 reporters on the plane are asked to pay business class airfare in order to fly in coach. Since the 30 members of the pope’s entourage who fly in business aren’t paying anything, this means the cost of the charter is borne almost entirely by the people in steerage.)

          (This time, the Alitalia fare from the Rome-Cuba-Washington part of the trip is roughly $3,200 while the Washington-NewYork-Philadelphia-Rome part on American Airlines is $2,300, for a grand total of $5,500. That means 70 reporters are contributing $385,000 to the cost of the trip.)”

        2. bud

          Doug, those are valid point. But I will give the Pope some credit for his austere lifestyle. The Fiat isn’t the only inexpensive item he uses. Apparently he also lives in a tiny apartment.

  3. Lynn Teague

    George Will. Sigh. “Poverty has probably decreased more in the past two centuries than in the preceding three millennia because of industrialization powered by fossil fuels.” This may or may not be true. However, Will seems to think that success of this sort precludes the possibility that short term beneficial effects are never offset by long term catastrophic effects. (I’m an archaeologist, and two centuries is VERY short term for such massive change.) if there are catastrophic long term effects they are apparently irrelevant because Will is currently doing just fine, thank you.

    He goes on to say: “For most of mankind, however, nature has been, and remains, scarcity, disease and natural — note the adjective — disasters.” Hmm. My many generations of family who have lived as farmers (not wealthy farmers, although not subsistence for quite a long time) have often had the contrary experience, that of a satisfying and life-sustaining return for their work in an environment that they loved deeply, despite occasional bad years. As an archaeologist and anthropologist, I know that even subsistence farmers in particularly harsh environments, like the Hopi who have lived since the 1300’s on the mesas of northern Arizona, have experienced nature as nurturing and beloved, despite the need to plan for occasional catastrophic events.

    I’ve never been an admirer of George Will. Nothing here to change my mind.

  4. bud

    Will is making obvious points about the past that tell us nothing about the future of the planet vis a vis global warming. The entire article was pretty much a non-sequitur.

  5. bud

    As for the VW thing, that was one of 3 stories this week that demonstrate the foolishness of relying on laissez-fair capitalism to work for the people in the absence of government regulation. Imagine if we lived in a world where the noxious tailpipe emissions were governed ONLY by the give and take of market forces. We wouldn’t be able to breathe!

    Then there’s the peanut guy. Imagine how much salmonella we’d have without government inspections.

    And finally the drug guy. A hedge fund manager with zero experience in pharmaceuticals discovers how to purchase a useful drug without generic competition then cravenly hike the price 5000%. This for a drug that has been used for 6 decades!. And apparently this was quite legal. This is an obvious failure of capitalism.

    Anyone who thinks government is too meddlesome needs to realize the huge value we get from regulations of our capitalist system. Without government capitalism would be unworkable.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Pharma bro

      The drug guy! The Pharma Bro. That little creep…

      You see a picture of this guy, and you can be forgiven for thinking it goes with a story about the misbehavior of USC fraternities…

      Check out this video at the WashPost.

    2. Doug Ross

      ” This is an obvious failure of capitalism.”

      Blame the FDA and government created patent laws where pharma lobbyists have paid off politicians to protect their profits.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Not following your reasoning here at all.

        In a world where there was no FDA or indeed no government — a libertarian “paradise” — this guy would be doing the same thing.

  6. Karen Pearson

    Lynn, it seems to me that too many people on the conservative side are unconcerned about what their own offspring will have to face. Yes, many of them will have more money than most, which makes it a lot easier to avoid the most unpleasant realities, but, at least so far, no one can find an off planet island however rich they might be, and if people are oppressed/marginalized/desperate enough they tend to revolt. These revolts may be stopped, but they cost lots of lives, lots of money, and cannot be well controlled.

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