Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Walmart Banking: Pro and Con

Good Idea:
Wal-Mart’s move into banking may seem odd, but if the behemoth is looking to serve its customers, bank accounts are a natural product. There are more Wal-Mart stores in areas where a higher percentage of the population is unbanked< — that is, without a checking or saving account. According to the most recent National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) in 2011, an estimated 8.2 percent of U.S. households are unbanked, or about 10 million households.

Bad Idea:
For years, big retailers smelling opportunity have been trying to figure out ways to offer banking services to low-income people as a way of boosting in-store sales. Walmart has been pushing hard to get into the banking business, but the retail goliath has been held back from obtaining a U.S. bank charter by a combination of banking industry players, union leaders, activists, political opponents, and experts who have warned that allowing Walmart to bank is a dangerous abandonment of the separation of banking from other forms of commerce, and that it opens the door to too-big-to-fail issues and potential taxpayer bailouts.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bill Moyers: "It's Been a Good Run"

Bill Moyers:
The third and final year of Moyers & Company comes to an end on January 2 and I am writing to assure you that this time it’s the real deal.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

GOP and the Old Folk

"What happened to my America?" these folks find themselves asking. They're not wrong that the America of their youth, at least as they perceived it when they were young, has disappeared, even if they may not realize that even back then America was always changing.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Climate March Continued

By the way—as of September 16th:

The First 100% Green Grid Is Online...
[Clean Technica]
Europe’s largest commercial battery power plant was connected to the grid today in the presence of Vice-Chancellor and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Minister-President Erwin Sellering. The 5 megawatt lithium-ion unit was designed by the Berlin-based grid and storage specialists Younicos for WEMAG, a supplier of green electricity based in the northern German city of Schwerin. The commissioning of the fully automated unit marks the first time in Europe that a stand-alone battery is stabilizing fluctuations in grid frequency, thus helping to safely integrate wind and solar energy into the existing grid.
Huffington Post has more photos of the People's Climate March today. Some of the close-ups are keepers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

People's Climate March

This was my favorite poster among the examples at Occupy. It emphasizes the child and it reminds me of childhood, when I looked at the cars parked in front of the house and wondered why we needed so many cars. We lived in a small town where everything was in walking distance. Why did we need all these cars? And how could all of this work out? If everybody needs a car, I asked, and if all these cars burn gas, where does all the smoke go? "Stop asking so many questions," they explained.

Update: Photos

Massive Crowd (MSNBC)

Hundreds of Thousands (Think Progress)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ignorant, uneducated athletes

They are worshipped as football superstars even though they are ignorant, uneducated brutes in real life.

Ray Rice's PR handlers hold a press conference so that Rice can express regret at getting caught on tape while knocking his girlfriend unconscious. He says:
One thing I can say is that sometimes in life, you will fail. But I won’t call myself a failure. Failure is not getting knocked down; it’s not getting back up.
 Adrian Peterson's reported text messages, before he was arrested for beating his four-year-old son, which included injury to the child's scrotum:
Peterson also acknowledged injuring the child’s scrotum, noting, “Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!”

According to police, Peterson also texted , “Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has the biggie heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right.”
P.S. from Salon:
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted late last week on a charge of beating his young son with a switch.

So what did this fan, spotted at a Vikings game today by Kim Johnson, a Minneapolis TV anchor at WCCO, decide to wear to the stadium?

That’s right: A Peterson shirt and a switch.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nine Eleven

[Charles P. Pierce]
What happened in New York 13 years ago deranged a nation that was almost begging to be deranged. The Soviet Union was gone. Grenada, Panama, the First Gulf War, the Balkans, in all these places where we made war, we had what were essentially walkover victories. We had no geopolitical enemies, no country strangling our trade, or impressing our seamen, or bombing our Pacific fleet, or pointing nuclear missiles at our cities any more. Then the planes hit the towers, and the towers came down, and we had an enemy again. We declared war on a tactic. We declared war on "terror." The concept was so patently absurd that dozens of other absurdities naturally flowed from it, the most glaring of which was the preposterous and mendacious case made for our invasion and occupation of Iraq. We jumped at shadows, heard voices in our heads, ducked and covered and lost our minds, and there were people in positions of power who were happy to oblige us for their own political and economic benefit.

This really happened.