Open thread and random notes

A number of semi-related items. How taxes subsidize oil companies:
[in the 1950s] the U.S. State Department, eager to keep the Saudi government happy and the oil in the hands of U.S. companies, negotiated a deal whereby the governments would raise their royalty payments the companies had to pay them, but to reclassify them as income taxes. In the end, these governments collected more money from the oil companies, but the oil companies got a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their U.S. tax liabilities, so that the net effect was a reduction in U.S. tax revenues -- to the tune of $15 billion total in just the years between 2002 and 2008 -- while the oil companies themselves came out no worse, or perhaps slightly better off. What Obama should know about ending oil subsidies
Solar technology improves also from Grist.

And willing to do it relatively cheaply. Southern California Edison noted in its submission letter that the 20 projects -- which will generate between 5 and 20 megawatts -- will produce electricity at a cost below what utility industry wonks call the "market price referent." The MPR, as they call it, represents the levelized cost over 20 years of a combined cycle gas turbine like those typically found in natural gas power plants in the Golden State.

So in plain English, the developers of these solar farms have told the utility that they can produce electricity cheaper than a fossil fuel power plant.

And another gem from the Financial Crisis Inquiry
Our examination revealed stunning instances of governance breakdowns and irresponsibility. You will read, among other things, about AIG senior management’s ignorance of the terms and risks of the company’s $79 billion derivatives exposure to mortgage-related securities; Fannie Mae’s quest for bigger market share, profits, and bonuses, which led it to ramp up its exposure to risky loans and securities as the housing market was peaking; and the costly surprise when Merrill Lynch’s top management realized that the company held $55 billion in “super-senior” and supposedly “super-safe” mortgage-related securities that resulted in billions of dollars in loss
The President's speech to the Chamber of Commerce and my comment as published in the DailyFox

FDR would never have made this wimp speech FDR would have swollen with anger, his clothes tearing away and his wheelchair exploding as his massive musculature flexed. Raising the Red Flag with one hand, he would have leaped through the oval office window scattering glass fragments at supersonic speed and smashed into the Chamber of Commerce building, crushing it beneath his righteousness. His thunderous voice would have shaken the Capital as he held the hapless CoC President up by his scrawny neck and waved him opposite the Red Flag. Breaking into the IWW's One Big Union song, FDR would have then opened the armory and handed out weapons to the Peoples Revolutionary Soviet and led the masses towards the Supreme Court Building.

Fucking Obama, he's nothing like FDR.

/True Progressive