30 thoughts on “Wednesday Open Thread

  1. I’ve sworn off KruggieKolumns for a while but I saw the title of this one and just had to check it out. It’s a howler:

    On election night 2016, I gave in temporarily to a temptation I warn others about: I let my political feelings distort my economic judgment. A very bad man had just won the Electoral College; and my first thought was that this would translate quickly into a bad economy. I quickly retracted the claim, and issued a mea culpa. (Being an old-fashioned guy, I try to admit and learn from my mistakes.)

    Bwahahaha! Then, being the world’s foremost prognosticator, he really goes out on a limb:

    Sooner or later, something will go wrong, and we’re very poorly placed to respond when it does. But I can’t tell you what that something will be, or when it will happen.

    Thank you, Captain Obvious Krugtron the Invinsible!

  2. According to the report, the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more increased by 165 percent between fiscal 2010 and 2016. Federal employees making $150,000 or more grew by 60 percent, with the number making more than $100,000 increasing by 37 percent in the same time period.

    The group put its figures in context by comparing these plush payment packages with those of America’s governors.

    “Nearly 30,000 rank-and-file federal employees who received more than $190,823 out-earned each of the 50 state governors,” the report said.

    Currently, the top gubernatorial earners are Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who makes $190,823; Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who makes $187,500; and California Gov. Jerry Brown, who makes $182,971. The lowest-paid governor is Maine Gov. Paul LePage, making just $70,000, according to numbers from Ballotpedia.

    According to the “Mapping the Swamp” report, a total of 406,960 federal employees made six-figure incomes in fiscal 2016 – that’s roughly one in five federal employees.

    This data comes from the Mapping the Swamp report I featured over the New Years’ weekend. If you didn’t save the link for future use of their database, here it is.

  3. Dan Mitchell quoting the NYT on the rape of taxpayers for the huge subway project in Manhattan.

    The budget showed that 900 workers were being paid to dig caverns for the platforms as part of a 3.5-mile tunnel connecting the historic station to the Long Island Rail Road. But the accountant could only identify about 700 jobs that needed to be done, according to three project supervisors. Officials could not find any reason for the other 200 people to be there. …“All we knew is they were each being paid about $1,000 every day.”

    and,

    Mr. Roach, a California-based tunneling contractor, was…stunned by how many people were operating the machine churning through soil to create the tunnel. “I actually started counting because I was so surprised, and I counted 25 or 26 people,” he said. “That’s three times what I’m used to.” …documents reveal a dizzying maze of jobs, many of which do not exist on projects elsewhere. There are “nippers” to watch material being moved around and “hog house tenders” to supervise the break room. Each crane must have an “oiler,” a relic of a time when they needed frequent lubrication. Standby electricians and plumbers are to be on hand at all times, as is at least one “master mechanic.” Generators and elevators must have their own operators, even though they are automatic. …In New York, “underground construction employs approximately four times the number of personnel as in similar jobs in Asia, Australia, or Europe,” according to an internal report by Arup, a consulting firm that worked on…many similar projects around the world.

  4. I read this one a couple of months ago and enjoyed it. The author makes $250,000 a year doing high end executive relocations. His company charges $60K plus for a turnkey move.

    I can feel the sweat running down my arms, can feel my hands shaking, can taste the bile rising in my throat from the greasy burger I ate at the Idaho Springs Carl’s Jr. (It was the only place with truck parking.) I’ve got 8.6 miles of 6.7 percent downhill grade ahead of me that has taken more trucks and lives than I care to think about. The road surface is a mix of rain, slush, and (probably) ice. I’m one blown air hose away from oblivion, but I’m not ready to peg out in a ball of flame or take out a family in a four-wheeler coming to the Rocky Mountains to see the sights.

    I downshift my thirteen-speed transmission to fifth gear, slow to 23 mph, and set my Jake brake to all eight cylinders. A Jake brake is an air-compression inhibitor that turns my engine into the primary braking system. It sounds like a machine gun beneath my feet as it works to keep 70,000 pounds of steel and rubber under control. I watch the tachometer, which tells me my engine speed, and when it redlines at 2,200 rpm I’m at 28 mph. I brush the brakes to bring her back down to 23. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen now. My tender touch might cause the heavy trailer to slide away and I’ll be able to read the logo in reverse legend from my mirrors. It’s called a jackknife. Once it starts, you can’t stop it. In a jackknife the trailer comes all the way around, takes both lanes, and crushes against the cab until the whole thing comes to a crashing stop at the bottom of the abyss or against the granite side of the Rockies.

  5. 27 in my driveway on the truck thermometer, 25 under the bridge at EYE10 and Hwy 6. Gotta go say goodbye to a man I have known all my life, Uncle Joe. He was not a blood relative but a dear friend of my father. The man was strong like a bear but unbelievably gentle. I watched him one time when he was in his late 60s effortlessly pick up the back end of an electric golf cart, with my dad still in it, and move it over a foot or so because it was stuck. Blew my mind. He was one of a kind and will surely be missed.
    Joe Steele, may you rest in peace.

  6. Philip Klein on Mitt Romney:

    In his 1994 Senate race in Massachusetts against Ted Kennedy, Romney presented himself as an “independent during Reagan-Bush” who had been in favor of legal abortion for decades. In 2001, when he was rumored to be a candidate for governor of the conservative state of Utah, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake City Tribune in which he declared, “I do not wish to be labeled pro-choice.” Yet the following year, he ran for governor of Massachusetts as a protector of abortion rights. Then, in 2005, as he set the stage for his first run for the Republican nomination as a full spectrum conservative, he publicly declared himself to be pro-life. He went on to run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and attack his GOP opponents for being insufficiently anti-abortion.

    and,

  7. Anatomy of a Witch Hunt

    Part 1: The indictment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was procured through deception.

    No matter how groundless or transparently malevolent, in the right hands any charge can launch a witch hunt. Thus, the trumped-up TPJ complaint — based on a trivial paperwork violation dating back to 2011 and 2012, unrelated to Paxton’s public duties as a then-legislator, and for which he had already paid a $1,000 administrative fine — was seized upon by Paxton’s political opponents in Collin County to conduct an investigation, appoint two Houston-based criminal lawyers in private practice as mercenary prosecutors (at the rate of $300 an hour, with no ceiling), and then convene a grand jury. Not surprisingly, given the ease of indicting a proverbial ham sandwich, on July 7, 2015 the prosecutors emerged with a felony indictment against Paxton.

  8. Morning, everyone. Doesn’t look like we had a freeze at Chez Harp. Hubs was up long before sunrise and said it was 32 then. But why is it still only 33 degrees, when there has been bright sunshine for almost 3 hours?

  9. Well, I use Linux exclusively now days. Being the contrarian that I am, I also use AMD chips rather than Intel. So, I don’t know if I will be affected by this or not. They will probably slow my system down in order to fix the Intel users systems. Seems like it usually happens that way. But I still won’t join the Apple ecosystem, and my flip phone doesn’t care either. Happy New Year you all.

  10. Paul Sorvino was interviewed in LA yesterday about Harvey Weinstein blackballing his Oscar-winning daughter, Mira Sorvino. Paul reacted about the same way I would if it had happened to my daughters.

    Hell hath no fury like the father of a woman blackballed.

    TMZ caught up with Paul Sorvino on Tuesday in Los Angeles, and asked him what his response was to reports that Harvey Weinstein trashed his Oscar-winning daughter Mira to directors including Peter Jackson after she refused his sexual advances.

    ‘He better hope that he goes to jail. Because if we come across I think he will be lying on the floor, somehow,’ said Sorvino.

    ‘He’s gonna go to jail that son of a b****. And good for him if he goes, because if he not, he has to meet me.’

    He then added: ‘And I will kill that motherf*****.’

  11. Join America in laughing at Oregonians

    January 1st, 2018 was a terrifying day for many residents of Oregon, because on that day a law went into effect that stated that Oregon counties with 40,000 or less people would be allowed to let normal, mouth-breathing citizens pump their own gasoline right into the gas-holes of their cars, like they were rocket engineers or something.

  12. NYT look like fools again.

    So much for the New York Times theory that, thanks to Trumpian and Saudi bellicosity, the Iranian people have closed ranks behind their rulers. In November, the paper’s Tehran bureau chief, Thomas Erdbrink, devoted an extended feature to making this case, and it proved wildly popular with the pro-nuclear deal crowd in Washington.

    “After years of cynicism, sneering or simply tuning out all things political,” wrote Erdbrink, “Iran’s urban middle classes have been swept up in a wave of nationalist fervor.” He went on: “Mr. Trump and the Saudis have helped the government achieve what years of repression could never accomplish: widespread public support for the hard-line view that the United States and Riyadh cannot be trusted.”

    Erdbrink’s argument echoed rhetoric from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Responding to October’s announcement of new U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Zarif tweeted: “Today, Iranians–boys, girls, men, women–are ALL IRGC.”

    Or not.

    This week, tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to register their anger, not at Donald Trump or the House of Saud, but at the mullahs and their security apparatus. It was economic grievances that initially ignited the protests in the northeastern city of Mashhad. But soon the uprising grew and spread to at least 18 cities nationwide. And the slogans shifted from joblessness and corruption to opposition to the Islamic Republic in toto. These included…

  13. Perhaps she was inebriated?

    Doctors Find Ketchup Packet Stuck In Woman’s Intestine For 6 Years.

    It turned out that the 41-year-old somehow swallowed a ketchup wrapper that lodged in her small intestine. The packet had actually cut into the woman’s stomach, which caused the Crohn’s-like symptoms.

    “This case highlights that an inflammatory mass in the small intestine caused by the perforation of ingested foreign body can mimic Crohn’s disease,” the report reads. “To our knowledge, this is the first report of a synthetic plastic packaging causing ileo-caecal junctional perforation mimicking Crohn’s disease.”

    The doctors went on to say that once the six-year-old condiment pouch was taken out, the patient’s insides began to return to normal. The woman reportedly said she has no memory of using a ketchup packet and can’t remember a meal where she may have accidentally swallowed one.

  14. Reports of a fire in Bill and Hillary’s place in Chapaqua. While some outlets are saying the flames erupted from heat of their passion, I think it was that running the shredder and burn barrel at high volume simultaneously is the more likely cause.

  15. Manafort strikes back with this suit against the Justice Dept, Ferris Meuller and Rod Rosenstein. I really hope this suit progresses to the discovery phase where the guilty SOBs have to start coughing up evidence to their own destruction. Let’s hope Strzpqk on Consonants and a few others get caught in the net.

  16. I think it’s time to investigate D.C. water system.

    Every stinking one of them has lost their mind.

  17. I’m seeing we will barely dip below freezing here, why is the news still all about frigid weather and dying?

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