Tea Party: Lafayette, Indiana

In which TMQ Fanboy fills us in:

“Here’s a report on a Tax Day Tea Party from Lafayette, IN (home of Purdue University): There was about 1000 in attendance, which surprised me as the local population is well under 100,000. Though, with an announcement as enticing as the one they had, who wouldn’t want to show up. There were lots of older vets in attendance (WWII and Korea). Overall, most attendees were between 50 and 80. I would guess most of the 30-40s crowd got the pink slip at Caterpillar earlier this year.

“Most signs were generic and generally expressed anger, but three reasonably clever ones are attached. The younger crowd was conspicuously lacking. Though I did find two contemporaries dressed nicely (see Guy Fawkes and Colonial babe). Everyone was asked to bring tea bags to put in a crate to be dumped in to the Wabash River. Several hippies in canoes were paddling under the bridge in an attempt to catch the tea, but, well, let’s just say they got teabagged.”

An exercise in propaganda

The Wall Street Journal indicates that the “stress tests” aren’t intended as anything but pure government propaganda:

It isn’t clear precisely what information the government might disclose. It remains possible the data won’t be specific to individual banks. But some within the administration believe a certain amount of information needs to be released in order to provide assurance about the validity and rigor of the assessments. In addition, these people also are concerned that the tests won’t be able to fulfill their basic function of shoring up confidence unless investors are able to see data for themselves.

The entire exercise is nothing more than a bizarre neo-Keynesian spin on “restoring animal spirits”. A serious test of banking stability would simply report the data gathered – which should be made public given the massive taxpayer investment in the banks – which would then allow anyone to decide if the state of the banks merited confidence or not.

But all this hand-wringing over precisely what information can be selectively released without causing more damage than it avoids indicates that the point is simply to convince the gullible that everything is fine and the financial authorities have it all under control. Given how many times people on both sides of the political spectrum have fallen for this line, it’s no wonder they’re giving it another go.

Just in case you’re not convinced that it’s all smoke-and-mirrors, both Calculated Risk and Roubini have been contemplating whether it’s only the “baseline case” for the tests that is invalid or whether the “adverse case” has already been exceeded:

Roubini concludes: “Actual macro data for 2009 are already worse than the more adverse scenario in the stress tests. These are not stress tests but rather fudge tests.”

I agree there is no real stress test, and the more adverse scenario is the real baseline. But I think it is premature to say that the more adverse scenario is meaningless.

I loved this contribution from a commenter: “The containment is spreading at an accelerating rate….”

Tea Party 2009

Yes, I’m skeptical that anything of note will come of it. But it’s nice to see the scope of American discontent even so. And anything that the mainstream media doesn’t want to cover can’t be all bad. If you happen to attend one today, let us know how it went. Glenn Reynolds has a summary in the Wall Street Journal:

The good news for Republicans is that, while the Republican Party flounders in its response to the Obama presidency and its programs, millions of Americans are getting organized on their own. The bad news is that those Americans, despite their opposition to President Obama’s policies, aren’t especially friendly to the GOP.

And, for once, I find myself in complete agreement with Michelle Malkin: “Practice what you preach when it matters. Not after the fact.”

I’d quite like to see a few Republican politicians punched in the face at these events. The damned whores did NOTHING when they were in power, so to see them attempt to coopt a popular movement in order to retrieve what they threw away is particularly disgusting.

The police really are stupid

By choice, believe it or not:

A Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who was barred from the New London police force because he scored too high on an intelligence test. In a ruling made public on Tuesday, Judge Peter C. Dorsey of the United States District Court in New Haven agreed that the plaintiff, Robert Jordan, was denied an opportunity to interview for a police job because of his high test scores. But he said that that did not mean Mr. Jordan was a victim of discrimination.

Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected.

This old link came up in relation to a recent Slashdot article about an arrest based, in part, upon a college student’s suspicious possession of a dual-boot Linux system. If that’s not enough to convict, I don’t know what is; it’s surprising they didn’t shoot him on the spot. It would be amusing to determine who is less intelligent, on average, police or schoolteachers. My money is on the schoolteachers, as we already know that their average IQ is in the vicinity of 91.