Apropos of Nothing At All (Open Thread)

Separated at birth?



That’s Ben Bernanke on top, King Hussein (of Jordan) below.

Mon semblable, mon frère — in perhaps more ways than the author of that tag intended.

Got to this from Yglesias’s (merited) slam on Bernanke, pointed that way by the ever-succinct Atrios. What I’ve done with those much more useful posts is evidence of my own brain bubbles.  You should consider this an open thread.


Bernanke via

Hussain via



104 replies
  1. 1
    Ben Johannson says:

    Mr. Levenson,

    There is absolutely nothing of merit in Yglesias’ hit-piece on Ben Bernanke. Yglesias doesnot understand monetary policy or the banking system, and his complete lack of specifics in the article should amply demonstrate that.

  2. 2
    Yutsano says:

    King Hussein wasn’t perect, but he was a decent leader for Jordan. And Abdullah isn’t too terrible either, although he could give more support to the Palestinian refugees in the western desert.

    Ben is just a tool.

  3. 3
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Seeing a picture of King Hussein reminds me of his state funeral. Lots of pomp and ritual. Part of the funeral parade [is that the word?] was his favorite horse, saddled but with no rider. White mare. The most beautiful horse I’ve ever seen.

    [This was on TV, of course. I wasn’t there.]

  4. 4
    eyelessgame says:

    I thought both were Sean Connery.

  5. 5
    Raven says:

    Primary day in Georgia and we have a big ass transportation measure on the ballot.

  6. 6
    Linda Featheringill says:


    Nobody really supports the Palestinians.

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    Another episode of “The Rich are Just Different, Damnit” special divorce edition. Plenty of journalistic snark, including a dollars/sq in for the paintings.

    Calhoun’s 19 paintings averaged $3,082 of appraised value per square inch.
    Larson’s 24 paintings came in at $1,942 per square inch. That lower number is good. It means he can cover more wall space.
    All together, Larson’s paintings will cover 25,505 square inches, or about 177 square feet.


  8. 8
    scav says:

    To be momentarily serious, does anyone think we should point out that GOP rapturously embracing the “It’s the Palestinian Culture!!” argument and ignoring any possible role of economic regulation and restrictions in Gaza and the West Bank does rather fundamentally undercut their Crushing Regulations In The US!! boilerplate. Failing to Thrive in the Manner to which you’d like to become accustomed to Lord CEO? Fix your Culture there mate!

  9. 9
    Michael Finn says:

    While the Fed has been delinquent in it’s regulation of the banking system in recent years, that is hardly just his fault.

    We are in a balance sheet recession which means everybody is slowing their spending because they think everything is going down the tubes which causes people who otherwise would have benefited from their spending to stop. It’s a vicious cycle that we are in.

    To stop the cycle, somebody has to pull the trigger and start spending to get money out as fast possible. Usually that is the government but they have relinquished their responsibility this time. That leaves a lot of money on the sidelines that needs to be spent but can’t be.

    The Fed is doing a lot to keep up the pressure on banks to get their money out of the system with their zero interest savings. They are essentially charging the banks to hold their money with them and this is hurting those same banks it needs to keep afloat.

  10. 10
    Keith says:

    This seems more like one of Sully’s Bear Alerts than something that would come out of Yglesias.

  11. 11

    @Linda Featheringill:

    That is a very colonial thing. The saddled horse without its rider. I was present for the Governor of Hong Kong’s funeral back in the day. The procession was incredibly impressive, all of the troops at reverse arms, the Brits fondness for pomp and circumstance has influenced the entire world.

  12. 12
    Bruce S says:

    Hussein hasn’t been seen in over 13 years. Coincidence?

  13. 13
    cathyx says:

    @eyelessgame: That’s only because you’re eyeless. Sean Connery is so very much more handsome than either.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Yup. But Jordan has the largest Palestinian refugee population outside the West Bank. Rather than try to improve their situation, the Jordanian government leaves them in camps with movement restrictions.

  15. 15
    IowaOldLady says:

    Since this is an open thread, I want to complain about political ads on MSNBC online. I’m in a swing state, so the TV has been flooded with them for a while, but tivo takes care of that. But I catch Rachel Maddow online the next day, and I’m getting political ads. At least they’re pro-Obama, but does anyone watching Maddow online really need to be told the “you didn’t build that” ad is a lie?

  16. 16
    scav says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I swear I’ve seen pictures of somebody official’s funeral in DC with the whole riderless horse, boots reversed in the stirrups thing. I thought it was SOP military pomp. Could be my usual waking delusions.

    Speaking of more of same, haven’t there been rumurs forever that the Palestinians are more useful to many Arab regimes as symbolic refugees than as integrated citizens?

  17. 17
    Andrey says:

    An interesting story about drone/UAV pilots:

    What struck me most was the commentary about drone pilots actually feeling more connected to their targets than ordinary pilots and ground forces, because they spent many hours watching the target ahead of time. It’s an interesting perspective, especially if it’s shared across the Air Force (anecdote, of course, is not data).

  18. 18

    Thanks, Tom. The post that launched a thousand e-mails in Freeperville. And speaking of separated at birth, check out the latest “gotcha” from the right-wing, thanks to the super-infallible magical mystery facial recognition software! Yep, Aurora shooter James Holmes was part of Occupy New York! 96% sure!

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Raven says:


    In the United States, the caparisoned horse is part of the military honors given to an Army or Marine Corps officer who was a colonel or above; this includes the President, by virtue of having been the country’s commander in chief and the Secretary of Defense, having overseen the armed forces. Abraham Lincoln was the first president of the United States to be officially honored by the inclusion of the caparisoned horse in his funeral cortege,[1] although a letter from George Washington’s personal secretary recorded the president’s horse was part of the president’s funeral, carrying his saddle, pistols, and holsters.[3] Traditionally, simple black riding boots are reversed in the stirrups to represent a fallen leader looking back on his troops for the last time.

    Reagan was the last one.

  21. 21
    urlhix says:

    @Raven: My guess, Tsplost is going to fail 70-30.

  22. 22
    scav says:

    @Maude: whew! thanks.

  23. 23
    muddy says:

    @Southern Beale: He looks like the Facebook guy to me.

  24. 24
    Raven says:

    A buddy of mine was buried in Arlington and they had a funeral for a field grade officer next to us with a riderless horse. I have pictures of all the horse shit it laid down.

  25. 25
    trollhattan says:

    Also, too, that Hussein photo reminds me of Billy Bob Thornton.

  26. 26
    Raven says:

    @urlhix: Yea, everybody was bitchin about it. I enjoyed voting against Sunday sales.

  27. 27
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Ben Johannson: I don’t disagree with you about Yglesias’ knowledge of monetary policy.

    But the basic point that Bernanke’s apparent unwillingness to act on at least half of his mandate is hardly unique to him, and is IMHO fair.

    And as for what he says about the pass smart economists give other smart economists is on target. I’ve had conversations with a very prominent econ folks, and until quite recently, they’ve found it hard to grasp, much less express, the realization that many members of their profession are out of their minds, driven so by ideological and emotional commitments completely unconnected to actual intellection about their subject.

  28. 28
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Great story.

  29. 29
    urlhix says:

    @Raven: I enjoyed voting against Sunday sales.


  30. 30
    Waynski says:

    @Linda Featheringill: “Nobody really supports the Palestinians.”

    Me Irish Grandmother did.

  31. 31
    Fluke bucket says:

    @urlhix: And that is a testament to how fucked up and fucked over this entire state is

  32. 32
    SatanicPanic says:

    @trollhattan: Some great snark in that article, very well done

  33. 33
    Raven says:

    @urlhix: Sure, it’ll pass but I don’t give a shit.

  34. 34

    @Raven: It is a wonderful (sad of course) tradition that has filtered down from “little old England” (apologies to “My Cousin Vinny”) I am sad that many other traditions of the UK (the repatriation ceremonies for instance) do not repeat over here. I truly believe that if the US were to see the repatriation ceremonies on a daily basis this war would be over.


    If we do something well in the UK it is honoring our war dead. The US basically says “meh”,

  35. 35
    Maude says:

    It isn’t unusual to see a picture of it. I saw it live and it was so heartbreaking. There’s a poem and I can’t remember the lines, but it starts with Captain, my captain.

  36. 36
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    But the basic point that Bernanke’s apparent unwillingness to act on at least half of his mandate is hardly unique to him, and is IMHO fair.

    I agree. There are many who understand money policy fairly well, like Paul Krugman who was in the economics department at Princeton when Bernanke was chairman of the dept, and of course still is, who level the same criticisms.

  37. 37
    urlhix says:

    @Raven: If you don’t give a shit then why vote against it?

  38. 38
    MattR says:


    @eyelessgame: That’s only because you’re eyeless.

    That’s just his image.

  39. 39
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Ben Johannson:

    Yglesias doesnot understand monetary policy or the banking system…

    Apparently, neither does Mr. Bernanke.

  40. 40
    Raven says:

    @urlhix: I’m a voice crying out in the wilderness of a drinking town with a football problem.

  41. 41
    Origuy says:

    Wikipedia says the riderless horse goes back to Genghis Khan, although in those days the horse would go into the grave beside the rider.

  42. 42
    mamayaga says:

    @scav: Think that was JFK’s funeral

  43. 43
    Svensker says:

    I have interesting news from the wingnut front, courtesy of my male rellies who have gone insane:

    Did you know that it is Obummer’s fault that the Indian power grid failed? Yup. He kyboshed offshore drilling and Keystone and a buncha other stuff I forget and therefore caused the Indians to run out of fuel. It’s TRUE! I swear!

  44. 44
    MattR says:

    @Raven: My sister used to work at a bagel place in Athens (called Zimm’s maybe). She was neutral towards footballl before she began, but that changed to a burning hatred over her time working there.

    @Svensker: Don’t the Indians operate primarily on locally mined coal?

  45. 45
    urlhix says:

    @Raven: So you don’t think that people should be able to buy beer on Sunday?

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Lahru says:

    The world today requires so much money to just operate daily insuring shipments and securing financing for over night deals and insuring shipments against default, it just gow on and on and international trade is everywhere today. The float on international trade is in the trillions,DAILY and just think, you are a tulip producer in Holland selling flowers to a New York comapny and your payment must be insured and the shipment across the ocean must be too. The float on auto sales in this country must be in the billions paying fpor cars sold and loan payoffs in the mail, it never ends and the average person has no idea how mush money it take for the countries of the world to operate together. and then you get into stocks and bonf and credit default swaps and the insurance that that requires.

    remember, someone was on the other side of the trade on Goldman Sach’s 6 BILLION loss and it is not done yet.

    money? the bain of our existance.

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @urlhix: It should go down. Transportation in Atlanta is a statewide issue and should not be tied to a few counties… OMG.. I don’t mean to sound like one of them.. but it is something the state house should debate.

  49. 49
    Raven says:

    @urlhix: I think alcohol should be illegal and ganja should be mandatory and I don’t use either anymore.

  50. 50
    scav says:

    @Maude: It’s more that I have a very erratic brain for remembering things. Names? o help. But, I had another neuron but this one I checked. O Captain my Captain is Whitman and for Lincoln. By the time this hits send, there will be at least 5 posts saying same.

  51. 51
    MattR says:

    @Raven: Heh. Yep. Added that in an edit. Is that the “go to” bagel place in Athens? IIRC, the owners are NY/NJ Jews. My sister worked there around 2002-2004 (or so) (EDIT: And she moved down there after college to be with her boyfriend so she wasn’t tied to the school in any way)

  52. 52
    urlhix says:

    @JPL: I’m with you, JPL. I voted no. There was not enough money for MARTA, for one, and the projects lined up were actually detrimental to where I live and work.

  53. 53
    Raven says:

    @MattR: It’s been closed for a long time but the sign is still up.

  54. 54
    JPL says:

    @Raven: This is an argument that you won’t win. Whether they don’t sell on Sunday or Monday actually is irrelevant.
    My father was a retired Naval Commander and when he died, my mom wanted him buried in Arlington but changed her mind cuz all of us wanted him closer to where we lived. Not one of us lives there now.

  55. 55
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: American military funerals also use riderless horses. In JFK’s procession there was “Black Jack”; the boots were in the stirrups backward. The horse “Sgt. York” was in Reagan’s procession.

  56. 56
    urlhix says:

    @Raven: Totally thought out and reasonable response, thanks!

  57. 57
    Ben Johannson says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Apparently, neither does Mr. Bernanke.

    Actually, I think the evidence is that Bernanke is finally figuring it out. The Federal Reserve does not control the money supply. It cannot generate employment, economic growth or aggregate demand because of this. The Fed can influence the price of making loans, that’s all.

  58. 58
    MattR says:

    @Raven: Oh noez. I wonder if my sister knows. Other than dealing with the football drunks, she liked working there and they gave her flexibility to schedule around her primary job.

  59. 59
    Thoughtcrime says:

    Based on the way they use the “VP coming soon” distraction to change the subject whenever Romney’s in trouble, I’ve figured out the ticket:

    Romney/Squirrel 2012

  60. 60
    Raven says:

    @JPL: I’m not trying to win anything. I probably should even have mentioned it. I know the score, booze is fucking hilarious. The Arlington funeral I mentioned was a direct result of how funny it is.

  61. 61
    JPL says:

    @urlhix: The other votes had to do with state reps and state senators. In my district it was voting for more of the same.. Abortion, contraception and gays bad. ugh.

  62. 62
    Emma says:

    @scav: President Kennedy. Horse with boots backwards on the stirrups. Express order of Jackie.

  63. 63
    MattR says:

    Is all sales of alcohol forbidden statewide on Sunday? So no bar gatherings to watch the NFL? I seem to recall a couple coworkers bitching about that when they got stuck in Cartersville, GA over Super Bowl weekend.

  64. 64
    Raven says:

    @MattR: Yea, it was fun on Sunday mornings. That shopping center is changing, Borders went belly-up and some upscale grocery store is going it,

  65. 65
    urlhix says:

    @JPL: I feel ya. My first republican ballot ever. Gag. And I let the lovely ladies manning the table know that too. Hopefully we’ll get rid of the odious Paul Broun, if nothing else.

  66. 66
    Ben Johannson says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    But the basic point that Bernanke’s apparent unwillingness to act on at least half of his mandate is hardly unique to him, and is IMHO fair.

    Well that’s the crux, isn’t it? Exactly what actions should the Fed take? Invariably the response is “lower interest rates” (as though falling from 5.4% in 2008 to 0.25% today somehow doesn’t count as lower), or “The Fed should announce it supports X” (as though Americans give a damn what the Fed says. I will guarantee 95% of your countrymen have never, ever heard of the Federal Open Market Committee and don’t take its actions into consideration.

  67. 67
    Raven says:

    @MattR: It’s by county. Thgey have had by the drink for quite a while here so this is just another step. All my young hipster friends are just giddy.

  68. 68
    Maude says:

    I’m lucky I remember my own name. Tanks for the poem info. Wasn’t sure about the O Captain.
    All the studies say that names are the hardest things remember. I’ve gotten very good at side stepping using someone’s name.
    I’m also proficient at side stepping when I run into someone that I have no idea who it is.
    Also, a lot of people aren’t worth remembering.

  69. 69
    Raven says:

    @urlhix: It’s really close right now on the Clarke ballot.

  70. 70
    JPL says:

    @Raven: My father was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked and stationed in the Meditteanrian Sea during the early years of Israel. In hindsight.. my mom should have had her wish. He did teach me a lot about the middle east though. He died in 1971 and I still miss him.

  71. 71
    urlhix says:

    It’s actually by municipality. ACC is different because they are a unified government. And yeah, it’s always been stupid that you can’t buy booze on Sunday. F the Baptists and teetotalers. Lighten up, Francis.

  72. 72
    Raven says:

    @JPL: Ah, he was pretty young. My dad was on a destroyer and standing outside the Y in San Diego when the word came. They went to sea the next day and he was in the Pacific until the end.

  73. 73
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Ben Johannson: My “countrymen”? I live in France, so you’re possibly right, but I doubt that’s what you meant.

    I should also mention that you’re quoting Levenson while responding to me, but I would venture to respond for him that “lowering interest rates” is not the recommendation critics of Bernanke are focused on, since they’re already pretty low. There are other measures to be taken, and not all of them are seen as effective only in their ability to create encouragement in the public mind but in their having actual economic impact.

  74. 74
    MattR says:

    @Raven: @urlhix: Ah thanks. Personally, I think that as long as alcohol is legal it should be sold every day of the week. But then again, I lived in NYC where last call is more of a suggestion.

    Raven – My sister informs me that Zim’s closing is old news to her.

    @Raven: I understand. I voted for Nader in New York in 2000 because I knew Gore was safe

  75. 75
    Raven says:

    @MattR: Yea, like I said, I knew it didn’t matter how I voted. If I thought it was going to be close I probably would have voted for it.

  76. 76
    Svensker says:


    Don’t the Indians operate primarily on locally mined coal?

    Yes. But it’s Obama’s fault that can’t get enough. If you can figure out why, let me know.

  77. 77
    JPL says:

    @Raven: My little brother who is 4 years older but only 6 feet was put on a bus to join the military at 18 and served in Nam.. He was heading down a path that wasn’t acceptable. My older brother bombed Hanoi..
    Both are right wing zealots to this day. Fighting a war that should have never happened.

  78. 78
    Raven says:

    @JPL: I was put on the train the morning of my 17th birthday to go to the induction station in Chicago. The judge said he wasn’t sure WHERE I was going but I was going. I was too good lookin to go to Charlie Town.

  79. 79
    Baud says:


    Having been around BJ for almost a couple of years now and reading your comments, I would like to see a movie of your life.

  80. 80
    Raven says:

    @Baud: It would be a fucking horror story!

    eta did you see my fish? :)

  81. 81
    MattR says:

    @Raven: See, it has a happy ending.

    @Svensker: I can’t seem to find my super duper decoder ring.

  82. 82
    Baud says:


    I smell an Oscar!

    Is that the fish you caught in Hawaii. I think I did see it.

  83. 83
    Raven says:

    @MattR: Not yet!

    I helped a guy move a refrigerator up some really steep steps today and I thought it might be all over for a while!

  84. 84
  85. 85
    JPL says:

    @Raven: hmmm.. I moved ten loads of clay packed soil yesterday and I’m not as young as you.. Actually I said to myself.. omg.. there is someone in the neighborhood who would enjoy this for a few bucks.
    BTW The garden I am trying to prep.. I want raised beds, not as fancy as Johns but still raised. I have lots of landscaped timbers but the ass of the ex said not to use those cuz they are treated. Do you have any ideas?

  86. 86
    Ben Johannson says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: You quoted Levenson, I quoted your quote as to be specific in my response. I’m sorry you prefer generalities.

    Describe the other “measures”, please.

  87. 87
    urlhix says:

    As long as you don’t plant within 3″ of the edge of the bed you should be fine. The new treatments for treated wood are not as bad as in the past. There are studies online if your wife is concerned.

  88. 88
    Raven says:

    @JPL: I’m the wrong one to talk to about treated lumber. Our beds are made from big ass 2×12’s that are treated and we are using the sludge compost from the county. I’d use landscape timbers in a heartbeat. There are 12″ nails that you can drive through several if you use a drill but a little smaller than the nail and pre-drill.

  89. 89
    Svensker says:


    If the treated lumber is the old type it is full of arsenic and you don’t want to use it for gardening. If it’s the newer treated wood, what urlhix said.

  90. 90
    Raven says:

    @urlhix: Hmm, I think JPL is/was the wife.

  91. 91
    Svensker says:


    No wonder you don’t want to drink on Sundays — you’re already glowing! :)

  92. 92
    Raven says:

    Bill Doss, singer for the Olivia Tremor Control and co-founder of hugely influential indie collective the Elephant 6 Recording Company, died Tuesday (July 31). According to his rep, Doss was 43.

  93. 93
    Raven says:

    @Svensker: If I die from the impact of treated lumber I’ll be happy as a clam. (Doc Martin had an episode about a lady going bonkers from arsenic)

  94. 94
    Linda Featheringill says:


    Supporting the Palestinians:

    Individuals, yes. Even groups, political and otherwise. Nations, I don’t think so.

    While the individuals and/or groups of supporters might be morally correct, they really can’t make much of a difference in the lives of ordinary Palestinians.

    Do you disagree?

  95. 95
    MattR says:

    @Raven: That is terrible news. My brother in law (the guy my sister moved to Athens to be with) played in Elf Power which is an Elephant 6 band. First Vic and now this. So sad.

  96. 96
    Raven says:

    @MattR: Yep, we know a bunch of the Elf-Power folks. Bill’s wife worked for REM and we know most of the staff there too.

  97. 97
    MattR says:

    @Raven: So you’ve probably met my brother in law Jimmy. I’ve had the Elf Power guys crash here a few times when they tour through NYC. Nice folks.

  98. 98
    Raven says:

    @MattR: Yea, we know Laura best, have known her and her mom for years. They are a great asset to this burg. Your sis go out to Orange Twin?

  99. 99
    MattR says:

    @Raven: Not sure if she went out there or not during her time in Athens. I think Laura was the only one from the band at my sister’s wedding (though I really can’t be sure since that whole day was quite the blur. I do distinctly remember being very nervous as I filled out and signed the marriage license – I ordained myself online so I could officiate the ceremony. EDIT: I quickly learned that “officiated the ceremony” is a much better choice of words than “married my sister”).

  100. 100
    Raven says:

    @MattR: Nice memory. Small world.

  101. 101
    JPL says:

    @Raven: yup and this ex wife wants a guy who moves ga clay. Is that to much to ask? Mowing would be nice also.

  102. 102
    dead existentialist says:

    @Tom Levenson: The thought of you teaching writing terrifies me.

  103. 103
  104. 104
    Anniecat45 says:


    This — the riderless horse — was done at President Kennedy’s funeral too.

Comments are closed.