Weekend Animules In Nature Interacting With Man Open Comments

Much has been said over the years of how humans are negatively impacting native fauna. One notable example if the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest of the US. It was The Most Important Thing Ever to spare old-growth forests so these very real estate-concious birds could find sufficiently swanky digs in which to… um… err… uh… have hanky-panky and issue forth with cute little fuzzy spotted owls.

Thing was, the owls were focused more on the hanky-panky than where said hankying and pankying occurred. This was brought into sharp focus when a breeding pair and its children were found in a sign at a Target department store.

Bonecrusher brings us another example of local native fauna adapting to human activity:

Tuesday Dead Computer Open Comments

I had a late night and a late morning. I woke up to find my computer was being a total slacker. Then I looked at my cord – and the little green light is off again. My computer battery is deader’n a doornail.

I bought a cheap cord over the internet a few years ago. It’s had a short in it, and if I hold my right leg up, cross my eyes, stick my left thumb in my right ear, and pray to the Heavens, I can get it to work. It sometimes takes me 20 minutes to find the right configuration to get it to work.

So, from my little netbook, I throw up this thread. The Couch is waiting, albeit a little messy. I haven’t had time to clean it up. And pardon while I find a store with an appropriate cord. I have an errand to run…

Monday “No Fed” Open Comments

The Ludwig von Mises Institute has an interesting question: Do we even need to have a Fed?

For all the Fed’s imposing grandeur, Ben Bernanke is running our third (albeit longest-running) try at a central bank. This country has lived without a central bank before and, if given the chance, could do so again. Most every American (led by Paul Krugman), though, would be horrified at the thought.

I don’t know that I would be “horrified,” but as someone who has never known a time without a central bank, this seems strange to even consider.  Who would manage the money supply?  Well, the Institute introduced me to the Suffolk System:

…private individuals acting outside the bounds of political control have proven entirely capable of providing much the same functions as a central bank, and at a far lower cost, no less.[1] Such was the case with the Suffolk banking system, operated out of Boston from 1824 to 1858.

/snip

..a consortium of seven Boston banks formed the Suffolk banking system, and they invited every city and country bank within the New England area to join.

Operations commenced on March 24, 1824, with every member bank required to maintain a permanent, non–interest bearing account at Suffolk, along with an additional account with enough of a balance to clear all paper bank notes presented for redemption. Eventually (and much to the profit of Suffolk) the notes of member banks would be cleared against each other, and loans would be granted for “overdrafts.”[2] The system accepted paper notes from all member banks of good standing at par. All paper notes of nonmember banks were immediately sent back to the issuer for redemption in gold.

/snip

There are some historians who claim Suffolk cannot be labeled a central bank, due to its “lack of quantitative control” over the money supply, but this is not correct.[4] The system most certainly did have control over the money supply; else it would have been entirely ineffective. Unlike the modern central banks, though, the Suffolk system was specifically designed to restrict excess circulation of paper bank notes.[5] The directors would frequently threaten any member bank with redemption of their paper notes for the promised gold if they believed that bank to be inflating beyond the bounds of safety. They were aware of an important economic truth — it is the quality rather than the quantity of money that matters.

It’s an interesting concept. Could we do this today? What would the effects of decentralizing our money management system do to the local and global markets? Without gold backing up each note, could we do what they did back in 1824?

I do not even claim to be smart enough to have answers to any of these questions. Doing anything to the money supply right now would be such a crap shoot that I don’t think anyone in power would be brave enough to suggest such a thing, much less get any bills passed. But the prospect of removing this source of power out of government hands is a tantalizing thought.

Tantalizing…but not to Krugman. His head would probably explode. Without the benefit of some splodeyhead doing it for him.
 

Weekend Build A Story

Let’s try a different game this week. A while back, the crazy one tried, with moderate success to get you people to build a story paragraph by paragraph.

Let’s bite off smaller chunks. We’ll go one sentence at a time. Rules:

  1. One sentence at a time
  2. After you submit a sentence, another player must submit before you may submit again.
  3. Try to maintain at least a minimal flow (i.e. no complete non-sequiturs).
  4. Granny Hamous is watching – do not disappoint her.

I’ll give you a start.

“In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.” (Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929))

Fast & Furious Scandal Compendium

I am posting this for any readers who are interested in the full complete story, as it is now known, of the Fast & Furious project and the ensuing and unfolding disgrace.  The first indications of a government covert project seriously gone awry seeped out in 2010 on a discussion board website named CleanUpATF.org whose goal is set forth thus:

Managers, Counsel, Internal Affairs  and staff of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE or “ATF”) have repeatedly given false testimony, concealed substantial waste, fraud and abuse, abused their lawful authority, and waged systematic campaigns of reprisal  against their own employees that dare to speak out. This website is intended by members of the ATF community  to promote  restoration of integrity, accountability and responsibility to ATF’s leadership, and regain the trust  of the American taxpayer.

Mike Vanderboegh, publisher of the blog Sipsey Street Irregulars, and David Codrea, a writer for Gun Rights Examiner, began to correspond when they developed whistleblower contacts inside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms there.

Codrea and Vanderboegh continued to coordinate their separate investigations and sources over a period from late 2010 to early 2012.  Vanderboegh summarizes the Fast & Furious scandal as:

The Gunwalker Scandal Made Simple

There are five key accusations against ATF and DOJ made by ATF whistleblowers and other sources within FedGov:

1. That they instructed U.S. gun dealers to proceed with questionable and illegal sales of firearms to suspected gunrunners.

2. That they allowed or even assisted in those guns crossing the U.S. border into Mexico to “boost the numbers” of American civilian market firearms seized in Mexico and thereby provide the justification for more firearm restrictions on American citizens and more power and money for ATF.

3. That they intentionally kept Mexican authorities in the dark about the operation, even over objections of their own agents.

4. That weapons that the ATF let “walk” to Mexico were involved in the deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE agent Jaime Zapata, as well as at least hundreds of Mexican citizens.

5. That at least since the death of Brian Terry on 14 December, the Obama administration is engaged in a full-press cover-up of the facts behind what has come to be known as the “Gunwalker Scandal.”

Codrea and Vanderboegh have compiled all of their research and relevant links at Gun Rights Examiner under their title for this fiasco, The Gunwalker Scandal.  It is a thorough and lengthy report comprised of eight parts.  The links to A Journalist’s Guide to Project Gunwalker are as follows:

Click here for the Part One chronology from Dec. 28, 2010 through March 8, 2011

Click here for Part Two, beginning on March 9, 2011 and ending on April 15, 2011

 Click here for Part Three, beginning on April 17, 2011 and ending on June 19, 2011

Click here for Part Four, beginning on June 20, 2011 and ending on July 27, 2011

Click here for Part Five, beginning July 28, 2011 and ending September 8, 2011

Click here for Part Six, beginning September 9, 2011 and ending on October 22, 2011

And click here for Part Seven, beginning October 23, 2011 and ending on December 18, 2011

Click here for Part Eight, beginning December 19, 2011, and ending January 26, 2012

Here is a link to the winning entry of CBS reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, for Video Investigative Reporting at the Edward R. Murrow Awards sponsored by the Radio Television Digital News Association in Washington, D.C.  Attkisson fought a valiant battle to be allowed to report on this government sponsored gunrunning operation.  She has been the only MSM reporter to do so.

CBS News: Gunwalker

UPDATE via Hamous

This is a Youtube video from C-Span of an interview with CBS reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, that covers much of her investigation.  It is not the award-winning entry I reference above, but it is very informative nevertheless.

UPDATE #2

Mark Hemingway at the Weekly Standard covered this episode of Laura Ingraham’s interview of Sharyl Attkisson on her radio show.  I had forgotten about the hysterical, unprofessional screaming fits they were throwing in the White House after Attkisson’s initial reporting.

Ingraham: So they were literally screaming at you? Attkisson: Yes. Well the DOJ woman was just yelling at me. The guy from the White House on Friday night literally screamed at me and cussed at me. [Laura: Who was the person? Who was the person at Justice screaming?] Eric Schultz. Oh, the person screaming was [DOJ spokeswoman] Tracy Schmaler, she was yelling not screaming. And the person who screamed at me was Eric Schultz at the White House.”

Finally, Attkisson notes that the White House is claiming that a thorough investigation of the scandal is unwarranted:

[The White House and Justice Department] will tell you that I’m the only reporter–as they told me–that is not reasonable. They say the Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, the New York Times is reasonable, I’m the only one who thinks this is a story, and they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing it.

Audio here: