Fedhead Concerned About Low Interest Rates Suggests Everything But Raising Interest Rates As a Solution

You know, I haven't been up the Fed's butt much over the last, oh, few months or even years, but when the following statement by San Francisco Fed President John Williams happened across my Twitter feed, I couldn't help but crawl out of my hole and say something.

Perhaps it's because his comments reminded me of a now-dormant but still disgusted distaste I held for his predecessor in the before time when I was still a San Franciscan and Janet Yellen was still president of my friendly neighborhood Fed bank. Or perhaps it's because this is one of those head-scratching moments when the average knuckle-dragger like me wonders what other crazy ideas these economic geniuses come up with if this is what they're suggesting publicly.

Back to those comments. Reuters reports:

Central bankers and governments must come up with new policies to buffer their economies against persistently low interest rates that threaten to make future recessions deeper and more difficult to avoid, a top Federal Reserve official said on Monday.

Setting higher inflation targets, tying monetary policy directly to economic output, instituting government spending programs that automatically kick in during economic downturns, and boosting investment in education and research are all policies that should be considered, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said.

Bruh. The one suggestion missing from his list of things that don't include, I dunno, raising interest rates to avoid low interest rates clearly didn't even get so much as an honorable mention.

We haven't even clawed our way out of this recession (get back to me when interest rates are back in the 'normal' range and the stock market has finally detoxed off all that free money the Fed pumped into it) and we're already looking forward to the next one?

Now, I'm fully on board with governments getting their shit together and perhaps even some kind of 'bonus' system in exchange for healthy economic output but come on, what good does any of that do now?

Williams thinks the Fed's 2 percent inflation target is too low, which I'm sure might upset a bunch of grandmas eating Alpo who have seen both their savings and purchasing power get pissed off the back of a certain roof on Constitution Ave for years but it's cool they'll be dead soon anyway.

You know, maybe we could get that inflation rip roaring if we figured out how to get the massive number of labor force dropouts who gave up looking for work forever ago back into the workforce. Again, that seems too obvious to make sense, so better we focus on government spending and funding education because reasons. Yeah OK, let's go with that.

BTW, grandmas, I got a sponsored ad on FB the other day that you may be interested in.


Congressional Candidate Accidentally Facebooks His Porn Preferences, Everyone Loses Their Shit

So, you may have heard but wannabe 8th District of Virginia Congressman Mike Webb made a fatal Internet error earlier today: sharing without double-checking. Never, NOT EVER, do you take a screenshot of your desktop without checking the entirety of said desktop. Personally I wouldn't give a shit if a stray xHamster tab popped up on one of my shares but hey, I'm not running for office.

Here's the offending post from the Mike Webb for Congress Facebook page:


Call it "serendipity," but around August of last year, I was still in the process of looking for a new job, as everyone certainly knows. So, when I received a telephone call from Curzon Staffing Agency in Alexandria, home of the incumbent, I was all too anxious to learn about an invitation to an interview. Having to depart work in DC for the scheduled 11 AM interview in Alexandria, I called back the number on my cell phone to confirm the location at which I was to report, but the receptionist answered. And, lo and behold, was I surprised when I arrived on time and was told by the receptionist that the party with whom I had spoken about an interview and made arrangements was not employed by that firm.

Just paranoia, right? This happens to everybody all the time. I have to admit, personally, none of this stuff ever happened to me until I decided to think about running for office in this town. Maybe I should call Matt Wavro and, as he describes, beg him to allocate party resources to help me with this. That's okay, Matt, I think we got this.

I am Mike Webb, and I am running for U.S. Congress. Honest.

He then attached a screenshot -- or rather, what appears to be a PDF of a screenshot, which somehow makes this worse.

See the upper left hand corner of his Internet Explorer (LOL) tabs? Well, it's porn. Yup, homeboy likes to get his fap on between talking shit about Matt Wavro, and who can blame him since he's unemployed so he has tons of time and Matt Wavro is so cute if you're into that whole Law & Order child abduction suspect look.

In an update on his Facebook page, it seems Mr. Webb may be -- as we in the South like to say -- a couple sandwiches short of a picnic, bless his heart. But I believe he's saying the porn was just an experiment, which would be entirely logical if he hadn't shared his experiment with the entire world:

Curious by nature, I wanted to test the suggestion that somehow, lurking out in the pornographic world there is some evil operator waiting for the one in a gazillion chance that a candidate for federal office would go to that particular website and thereby be infected with a virus that would cause his or her FEC data file to crash the FECfile application each time that it was loaded on the day of the filing deadline, as well as impact other critical campaign systems.

Yoooakay, bruh.

Here's the thing: it's only porn. We've all seen porn. Say it with me: WE HAVE ALL SEEN PORN. If you want to pretend like you haven't, either you are underage or you are a big fat fucking liar. We're so damn uptight in the U.S. we won't even let mothers feed their kids in the presence of other kids (what will the children think about that BREAST!), porn really shouldn't be that big of a deal. And it isn't.

I'm more worried about the fact that he uses Yahoo in Internet Explorer. Do you really want your grandma representing you in Congress? Next he's going to tell us he lost his life savings trying to invest in a complex Dinar exchange program with a nice young man from Nigeria.

But let the porn thing go. Make sure you're not so blinded by schadenfreude you don't forget what your own browser history looks like. That's all I'm saying. Pervs.


Libertarians Now Slightly More Smug About Constantly Being Right All the Time: Poll

This is the moment we've been waiting for. Waiting patiently, not forcing our will on anyone, just waiting. Like quiet little mice. Quiet little mice growing tired of the cats and dogs beating the shit out each other for no reason.

This is happening, people.

Come on over to the dark side! We have cookies, drugs, and sweet sweet FREEEEEEDOM!!


Come Get Your Fix of All Things Crowdfunding Fraud

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 , , 0 Comments

Hiya! Long time no see. How's everyone doing? Anyone seen any new Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer memes? Economy still fucked? Yeah? Good, good.

So hey, I wanted to check in and direct you over to this fantastic new website. I may kinda sorta know the person behind it and let me tell you, she's incredible.

Gofraudme is a one-stop shop for news and views on crowdfunding fraud, scampaigns, and general GoFundMe fuckery. There's even a super cool GoFundMe fraud tracker map of just about every publicized GFM scam in the last few years. That resource may have kinda sorta taken forever to put together, so you better use it and like it.

Head over, take a look, and give a shout if you have any feedback. I will, uh, pass it along to the awesome person who put all of this together. Or something.


Louisiana Cop Shop Warns Meth Users of Very Dangerous and Definitely Not Fake Ebola-Tainted Meth

When it comes to social media and cops, tools at their disposal have led to some pretty unhappy criminals in custody over the years. Most recently in my neck of the woods, Henrico cops were able to identify a robbery suspect within 12 hours of posting CCV shots of her face all over teh Internets. And yes, you read that right, it was she. And white! OMG.

A little more well-known case is that of Donald "Chip" Pugh of Ohio, who wasn't feelin' his mugshot (who ever does?) so he went ahead and sent cops a better pic.

Pugh was arrested 10 days after Lima, OH PD posted his updated, "not terrible" selfie.

Now, back to the issue at hand. Criminals aren't the only ones getting creative with social media, as evidenced by the clever bastard behind the screen at the Grayson Police Department in Grayson, LA. The minuscule town of just 525 souls must have one hell of a meth problem if this trick is even necessary:

Breaking News: Louisiana Meth Supply Possibly Contaminated With Ebola.Meth recently brought in from Texas as well as...
Posted by Grayson Police Department, Grayson, LA on Monday, March 21, 2016

For those with script-blockers or Win 3.11 OS or Carrier Pigeon 2.4, the Facebook post reads:

Breaking News: Louisiana Meth Supply Possibly Contaminated With Ebola. Meth recently brought in from Texas as well as the ingredients used to make it could be contaminated. If you have recently purchased meth in the Grayson area, please bring it to the Grayson Police Department so it can be screened with a special device. Do not use it until it has been checked for possible Ebola contamination! 
Unsurprisingly, the public service announcement did not manage to entice a single concerned meth addict into the police department for a meth safety check. Boo.

Now, I'm no chemist but I've watched enough Breaking Bad to know that it's pretty likely any contaminants in meth ingredients would be obliterated in the cooking process, ignoring the fact that the ingredients and resulting product are pretty much one giant contaminant in and of themselves. But whatevs.


So Just When Was America Great, Again?

I'm making a promise here and now: I will not spend the next several months wasting my breath on Trumpisms or the election at all really because as a libertarian I don't have a dog in this fight anyway. Plus it's stupid, stupider than elections before it that were pretty stupid. But I digress. Let's talk about America.

Rather, let's talk about the phrase in question: Make America Great Again

I am of the belief, as a born and raised American citizen, that despite its numerous issues and problems, America is pretty great. In fact, I identify with America in that respect -- like my beloved country, I too am kind of fucked up sometimes and don't always make the best choices but at the end of the day, I am pretty amazing. I'm kind of an asshole but I mean well, and in that way me and America are 100% kin.

I'm what you'd call a new-ish American in that my people only found their way here in the last 100 or so years. None of us came over on the Mayflower, nor owned slaves or put their names on buildings that have stood on street corners in Manhattan since the 1800s. I could be wrong about that and I'm sure a relative who hate-reads JDA will email me later to tell me just how wrong I am but as far as I know, we're somewhat late adopters of this whole America thing. Still, I'm glad we got here and I'm pretty into being an American. It's pretty rad. I'm all about doing my own thing; I'd surely be dead by now if I had been born in, say, Syria. So yay fate, good lookin out.

That said, I don't entirely grasp what greatness we would get back to should certain word-vomiting hot air factories somehow become president of the United States.

I am reminded every day when I hike along the James River in scenic Richmond, VA which I currently call home just how ungreat America can be. The river walk I take to the grocery store has markers for the Richmond Slave Trail all along the way -- a reminder that human beings were once bought and sold on the very streets I now trot along in workout gear on my way to get craft beer and frozen pizza. My neighborhood held the port that made Richmond the largest source of African slaves on the east coast from 1830 to 1860; it's now a growing, trendy riverside hive of loft apartments and art galleries.

I don't want to see America made "great" like that again. I'm ashamed that kind of ungreatness is part of my history as an American even if my people had no part in it.

Obviously no one wants to return to slavery days. We have offshore operations in China to handle that for us. So what else is great about America?

To me, it's that little girls like I once was can still tell our Montessori school teachers "I'm gonna be whatever I want to be" when we're asked -- at age 3 -- what we want to be when we grow up. I mean seriously, who the hell asks a 3-year-old what they want to be when they grow up and expects a serious response? According to my mother, may she rest, I was the only one who didn't say fireman or nurse or policeman. I said whatever I want to be and to me, that right there is the American spirit. That a 3 year old believes she can and will be whatever she wants to be in a long-distant future she can't possibly imagine when she grows up. I wish I could go back in time just to give that little girl a big high five, as she was more right than she could ever possibly know at that young age.

That would have been about 1984 which probably wasn't that good of a year for any of you who remember it. Thankfully I don't, only the parts my mom repeated back to me.

I have brief flashes of the 80s. I remember my single mom working her ass off to provide for us, with a little help from social services which served as a safety net. I remember powdered milk and weird cans of government food that lacked any graphic design integrity whatsoever but who cares, we ate that day. I remember when Challenger blew up but mostly I remember seeing it blow up again on Punky Brewster. I remember Hands Across America and being happy it got us out of class for an hour or two as we lined up outside of our inner city Milwaukee elementary school. I remember weird ass Slim Goodbody with his creepy fro telling us to be active and I remember Nancy Reagan, may she rest, telling us all to Just Say No which of course led to an entire generation of drug users.

And then I remember the Internet. The first time we fired up our brand new Windows 3.11 computer in 1994 that I think my mom paid $1500 for (in 1994 money and on Best Buy credit, natch), it was like the world had suddenly opened up. As an angry, too-smart kid from Wisconsin, it was incredible to know I now had the entire world right before me. Up until then, I'd hide in the local library and read Hume while lamenting the fact that I was just an angry, too-smart kid from Wisconsin.

Is that the great America we want to get back to? Kids like me stuck between Gen X and a hard place trying to find our way in the world on the Internet while our idol Kurt Cobain was finding his way out via shotgun to his head? Ugh, no thanks.

Is it the 50s ideal my grandmother subscribed to? Because that wasn't so great either as far as I can tell. Did any of you watch Mad Men FFS? The 50s and everything that came after kinda sucked. Though I really dig their idea of "the future," the fruits of which I am still fucking waiting for *coughcough* flying cars.

The thing is, all this talk of getting back to some mystical place we never actually were is ignoring just how far we've come. Again, I relate to America in this way. America used to be kind of shitty and oppressive but over the years, it has matured and come into its own.

I like the America that allows gays to marry. I like the America that is embracing free speech in ways it never thought it would. I like the America that extends me the right to protest the Fed with my kid and then take him out for ice cream after while giving him a lesson in monetary policy by saying we can get ice cream but the Fed is going to take a cut because they're printing our money so we can only afford a $2 ice cream even though we have $4 as the Fed took the rest so our bank could loan out money on the money actually in our account.

I kind of like America how it is. I get it, we have some major issues. But how exactly would we even start to make it great "again"?

When exactly was it great? Please tell me. I'm dying to know. It was good. It always has been. But when the fuck was it great?


No Donald Trump Is Not a Nazi and You're An Asshole for Saying So

OK. Allow me to preface this by saying I think Donald Trump is a toolbag. But seriously, stop with the Nazi references.

I'm just going to say it. Nazi is the new faggot. Nazi is the new nigger. Yes I said it. Nazi is what you call someone who doesn't agree with you, because what's worse than a Nazi? Nothing. STOP IT.

Mike Godwin wrote in WaPo late last year:

My Facebook timeline and Twitter feed have been blowing up lately. And whenever that happens, it’s almost always because someone’s making comparisons to Hitler or Nazis or the Holocaust somewhere. Sure enough, as Trump pontificates about immigrants or ethnic or religious minorities, with scarcely less subtlety than certain early 20th-century political aspirants in Europe did, people on the Internet feel compelled to ask me what I think about it.

Why? Simple: Because 25 years ago, when the Internet was still a pup, I came up with Godwin’s Law. In its original form, Godwin’s Law goes like this: “As an online discussion continues, the probability of a reference or comparison to Hitler or Nazis approaches 1.” 

This guy is an ass. Must be a Nazi! Do you people not watch MSNBC Lockup? There are some serious legit Nazis on that show and some of them are even endearing what the actual shit but OMG.

Do you assholes even know what a Nazi is? Have you ever met one? I have, and the funny thing is they aren't terribly awful people except for the whole white supremacy thing plus they generally have felonies so they can't vote but I digress.

Will you just stop with the Nazi references? Nazis = bad. Trump = bad. That doesn't mean they are the same thing. That's like me saying cat shit = bad. Nazis = bad. Therefore my cat shitting on my floor = Nazis. My cat just shit in my bathtub because he's an asshole so therefore Nazi? Some guy looked at me funny earlier, he must be a Nazi. RuPaul eliminated Kandy Ho from Season 7 of RuPaul's Drag Race before I wanted so therefore RuPaul must be a Nazi!

NAZI NAZI NAZI! Seriously. Stop. You are minimizing what generations before us actually lived through, a truly horrific reality involving dickheads way worse than Trump. Are you people really that stupid? Actual people died. Has Trump killed anyone? Pretty sure no.

Jesus H Christ, get it together. You're disrespecting the bad ass WWII survivors who came before us by trying to pretend like some dick on Twitter is as bad as Josef Mengele sticking your twin with viruses while you rot away in a concentration camp. FOR REAL, people died FFS. As bad as Trump is, as far as I know he hasn't experimented on twins or gassed Jews in ovens. Stop.

And yes I said it. Someone had to. Is that what this election is coming to? If so, count me out.

Trump is not a Nazi. He is a dick and there is a difference. Get your shit together. This is all I am going to say about it. I just want this to be over.


The Fed is Pulling Out Slowly and That Should Turn You On, Or Not

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 , , , , 0 Comments

OK, first of all I need to apologize. I insisted the Fed wouldn't pull out from ZIRP until not a day before my 60th birthday in the year 2040 and obviously that didn't happen. Yay FOMC, you found some balls!

That said, I don't think anyone should be surprised by today's announcement. This pulling out isn't a big grand pulling out, it's more like a slow, slow, slow, super slow pulling out. And that is definitely the way to go given that these fools have no idea WTF is going to happen once they pull out for real.

You've all read the announcement by now but let's revisit anyway:
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace despite the global economic and financial developments of recent months. Household spending has been increasing at a moderate rate, and the housing sector has improved further; however, business fixed investment and net exports have been soft. A range of recent indicators, including strong job gains, points to additional strengthening of the labor market. Inflation picked up in recent months; however, it continued to run below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run objective, partly reflecting declines in energy prices and in prices of non-energy imports. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance, in recent months.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee currently expects that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market indicators will continue to strengthen. However, global economic and financial developments continue to pose risks. Inflation is expected to remain low in the near term, in part because of earlier declines in energy prices, but to rise to 2 percent over the medium term as the transitory effects of declines in energy and import prices dissipate and the labor market strengthens further. The Committee continues to monitor inflation developments closely.

Against this backdrop, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1/4 to 1/2 percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting further improvement in labor market conditions and a return to 2 percent inflation.

OK seriously not even being a smug asshole here, I'm good with this. Take it slow, baby. Many of us expected absolutely nothing before 2075 so really, any move is better than the Fed sitting there like a limp noodle while the economy blows a load on its ass.

The 2 percent inflation target is what matters here. The Fed has clearly tried every trick in its book over the last several years to fire that baby up, and inflation remains a frigid lover. Poor Fed. Here it is flouncing around, making romantic dinners and scheduling date nights but that damn inflation just doesn't give a shit.

From Business Insider:

On why the Fed lowered its rate-hike expectations, Yellen said the committee felt that achieving its desired economic outcomes would require a lower path of interest rates than what it saw in December.

She said the Fed could overshoot or undershoot on its 2% inflation target, and its tolerance for doing so in either direction is equal. She noted the divergence between survey-based measures of inflation (which have been low) and market-based expectations (which have been on the high side.)

Overshoot? Girl, please. Y'all haven't overshot anything since 2006 when Bernanke said housing prices couldn't possibly fall. Don't get ahead of yourselves now.

Personally, I'm down with the Fed taking it slow. Slow like a slow jam from the 90s. That slow. With some Cool Water and those fancy light switches that adjust yaknowwhatimsayin.