Word of the Day

Poronkusema

This is a Finnish word for a distance of about six miles, based on how far a reindeer travels without having to stop and pee.  The word literally means reindeer urine.

From “Things You Didn’t Know about Reindeer,” David McDougall,” AP

 

 

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Quick Thought on Unemployment Benefits

All of us have our pet peeves, and one of mine is the “carried interest” loophole, which lets those who get their income from venture capital, private equity, hedge funds, and real estate limited partnerships pay their taxes at capital gains rates (20%) rather than ordinary income rates (39.6%).

With about 1.3 million people (plus the people who depend on them) losing their unemployment benefits as of today, I went back to check what carried interest costs the Treasury, to see if it would have covered extending those benefits for three months.

Carried interest costs the government between $11 and 13 billion a year*, while the unemployment benefits would have cost $6 billion.

So score one for the caviar and Champagne crowd, and nothing for the Ramen noodle and tap water crowd.

See “A Costly and Unjust Perk for Financiers,” Lynn Forester de Rothschild, NYT, February 24, 2013

Why Didn’t We Hear This from Obama?

The NYT has an in-depth, knock-your-socks-off, must-read story about Benghazi  by David Kirkpatrick:

“Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.

“The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi.  And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”

I’m sure Darrell Issa and Fox News will be quick to apologize!

No Soup for You — Unless You Sweep the Floor

Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia is hoping to become Senator Jack Kingston next year.  So you gotta bring out the crazy if you’re gonna win the primary, right?

Kingston wants to abolish the federal lunch program for students from low-income families.  But if he can’t do that, he said today they should have to sweep the floor to get their lunch.

I’m Having a Really Good Day

Michael Steinberg of SAC has been found guilty of insider trading.  I’d love to see Steve Cohen himself making license plates, but I’ll take this.

And the Virginia race for attorney general is finally over, with Dem Mark Herring the official winner and right-wing nut job Mark (“Report Your Miscarriage to the Police”) Obenshain the official loser.  Purple Virginia now looks bright blue  — the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and both senators are all Dems.

Voter Fraud Does Exist — In the Cheney Family

You know how the GOP has been passing restrictive Voter ID laws to suppress the vote of “those people” in the guise of fighting non-existent voter fraud?

Well, it turns out voter fraud does exist — in Liz Cheney’s house.  Liz (daughter of Dick, in more ways than one) is running for Senate in her “home” (of five minutes) state of Wyoming against GOP incumbent Mike Enzi.  But her husband Phil Perry, who is an attorney at the prestigious Latham & Watkins firm, has been registered to vote in both Virginia and Wyoming since last March.  When Perry registered in Wyoming, he signed an oath that he wasn’t registered in another state.

Can’t wait to hear how they ‘splain spin this.