Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Obamacare hypocrites

Hypocrites: Teachers union pushes Obamacare on all of us. Then asks for - and gets - a waiver. It would be a burden for NY United Federation of Teachers to be under Obamacare, so they got a waiver. Oh, you didn't? Sucker! NY Post
The United Federation of Teachers -- one of President Obama's key political backers -- is the biggest beneficiary of a White House sweetheart deal that will exempt certain outfits from complying with new health-care rules, officials revealed yesterday. The quietly approved federal waivers for 30 companies, health insurers, unions and other groups across the country means the UFT doesn't have to gradually phase out caps on annual health coverage like everyone else. The UFT was concerned that could have been a major financial hit on the union.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why do we endure TSA? Update

I flew Saturday and endured the grope. It wasn't as bad as I feared in the most private parts, but overall it was invasive. HOw many people saw me being treated like a suspect and have every inch, but one or two, of my body touched? Dozens. That sort of search should only be conducted with just cause. Flying to Mexico from the US without other indicators is not just cause. But why does our government which rules by the consent of the people add invasive procedure to ones of limited sense (take off your flip flop)? First, they at the airport they are not looking for terrorists who would blow up an airplane. They are looking for things - liquids, shoe bombs, underwear bomb. Why? Because they/we won't face up to what the threat is. We need to identify what people, what groups, would want to blow up an airplane? Then figure out the profile of one of their attackers. Mulitiple groups and multiple profiles per group. Then look for them. You can even stop them from getting to the airport. Break up their rings, etc. Charles Murray of American Enterprise Institute agrees. American.com blog
Long before the new TSA policies were announced, it has been evident that Americans who fly are required to endure harassment because the U.S. government hasn’t the honesty to deal with threats to airplane terrorism sensibly. In conversations, I’ve suggested a thought experiment: Give people a choice between two airlines. One airline is secured by the current system. The other airline has its passengers walk down a corridor, at the end of which sit a couple of retired New York homicide dicks who occasionally point to someone and say, “You—I want to talk to you,” and pull him out of the line. Everyone else walks onto the plane. Which airline would you choose? Now make it a little more realistic. It’s not a couple of retired homicide dicks eyeing the people walking down the corridor, but many experienced law enforcement agents with special training on terrorist profiling, backed up by the unimaginably extensive real-time, anti-terrorism databases that U.S. intelligence maintains, linked with passenger lists and the same requirements for passenger identification that exist now. That’s good enough for me. I bet a large majority of passengers would agree with me, especially if the extent of the intelligence available to screeners were known.
SeaTac airport can kick out the TSA and contract directly for airline passenger security. Sound Politics Added 11/30: Demo in Congress shocks. Congressional audience had to look away when TSA groped two staffers. Politico I am in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in an internet cafe on the harbor promenade.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snow to Cabo

We have four dark, wet months. Got to get away, even if only for a couple of weeks. Tomorrow we are off to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico, again for the third winter.

It's a beautiful place. But complex, being in Mexico. So you either spend a lot of money or figure things out on your own. I have been studying Spanish for a year now, so I have lots of words, verbs, and phrases swirling around my head. Some combination of them might come out in a coherent fashion. Last year our Spanish was so minimal it was almost funny.

The blue photo [has been removed] is the arch at the end of Baja California, which is less than a mile from our resort. Orange photo is Playa Grande, our resort, with its warm colors highlighted by the sunrise on the beach which is on the Pacific Ocean. Being on the Pacific side between the rocks is beautiful. But the water of the Pacific Ocean is not safe for swimming. The Sea of Cortez is safe. But from Playa Grande, even though the harbor is within a few blocks, the nearest swimming beach is a 4-mile drive or $5 boat ride across the harbor. This year I am going to explore the rumor that Lovers Beach, near the arch, can be reached by some elementary rock climbing.

Click photo to enlarge.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mac OSX is now unstable

Max OSX has been stable as a rock for ten years. But the latest version, 10.6.5, has frozen up on me three times in the last three days - twice in the past 34 minutes.

Apple built OSX on a very stable version of Unix. But it looks like they let the kids play with it this year and they broke it

Unstable OSX.   I will hesitate to do the updates Apple insists are required right now!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Global warming? Cool It!

Bjorn Lomborg is not skeptical about global warming, but he has some questions. Does the value of doing drastic things exceed the costs? For example (choose one) to make drastic reductions in CO2 emission, to get everyone out of their cars and on public transit, reduce the standard of living of everyone in the US, or .... What is the gain versus cost? That's the arena Lomborg is playing in, not arguments and data about global warming. Is it worth it? Watch his movie: Cool It! in theaters now. It is showing in Seattle at the AMC Theater downtown.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Obama's minions and top congressmen skip naked scanners and the grope

Obama's minions and top congressmen can walk past the naked scanners and the grope. Yes, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. [George Orwell's Animal Farm] Sec Def Gates, tax evader Timothy Geithner and Janet Napolitano have a very good reason for not wasting their time on security measures of marginal or less value. But the reason they have for you and me to be humiliated every time we fly makes no sense. Janet Napolitano's people missed 6 (six) warning flags on the Christmas Day, 2009, bomber. They didn't need their naked scanner to keep him off that flight. They had the data, but didn't do what they were supposed to do. Follow your own procedures, Janet! No. Instead she victimizes you and me. But she exempts herself, of course. AP News at Yahoo
Cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details. Aviation security officials would not name those who can skip the controversial screening, but other officials said those VIPs range from top officials like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and FBI Director Robert Mueller to congressional leaders like incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who avoided security before a recent flight from Washington's Reagan National Airport. The heightened new security procedures by the TransportationSecurity Administration, which involve either a scan by a full-body detector or an intimate personal pat-down, have spurred passenger outrage in the lead-up to the Thanksgiving holiday airport crush. But while passengers have no choice but to submit to either the detector or what some complain is an intrusive pat-down, some senior government officials can opt out if they fly accompanied by government security guards approved by the TSA.

Three-to-seven-hour commute. WSDOT not concerned

You might have been concerned about taking forever to traverse Seattle in the snow. But it was no big deal to your state transportation officials. We took almost five hours to get from downtown Tacoma to Lake Forest Park, north of Seattle. But we lost much of it on the Alaska Way Viaduct; its tunnel was closed which slowed traffic so the climb from the surface to elevated got all frozen; that stranded about ten vehicles on the incline, making it treacherous to every car that passed - single file. No big deal - First, State DOT Director Linda Hammond says she caused much of the mess by not reversing the Seattle I-5 express lanes to northbound, as is done every day. Why? Because it would take a crew 60 to 90 minutes to de-ice on ramps, etc. And furthermore, they would just have to reverse them at night for the morning commute. Why bother? That's their reasoning to hugely cut the highway capacity out of Seattle. Why bother??? Because it cost thousands of people hours of their time. Duh. Seattle Times quotes their official position:
... Kris Olsen, a spokeswoman with the DOT, said Monday afternoon that officials weren't too concerned about affecting the evening commute because it seems many people are out of town for the holidays.
Read the comments there to learn of 3.5 hours commutes within the city limits, seven hours to Lynnwood and more.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Al Gore only forced ethanol for his personal gain

A rare speck of honesty from Albert Gore, Jr., who grew up in Washington, D.C. He admits that forcing ethanol on you and me was a mistake. But he did it for a reason - his personal gain. !! Believe it; he said it himself. Reuters
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was "not a good policy", weeks before tax credits are up for renewal. [That's now.] U.S. blending tax breaks for ethanol make it profitable for refiners to use the fuel even when it is more expensive than gasoline. The credits are up for renewal on Dec. 31. Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year according to the International Energy Industry, which said biofuels worldwide received more subsidies than any other form of renewable energy. "It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol," said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank. "First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small. "It's hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going." He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions. "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Napolitano considers excluding Muslim women from TSA feelers - correction

Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano is very sensitive to people's sensitivities. While you are being looked at naked and/or groped by TSA agents, Napolitano is going to allow considering allowing Muslim women to grope themselves. [corrected] If that doesn't make sense then ask Janet Incompetano, she can explain any hare-brained policy. Greeley Gazette [Correction: Islamist organizations have requested this policy change and Napolitano is considering, but not yet announcing if there will be a change.]

Friday, November 19, 2010

Attorney for Colton Harris-Moore threatens Island County government

How to get rougher treatment for your defendant? Attorney John Henry Browne threatened two of the many jurisdictions where he has charges pending. He will bankrupt them, he brags. Real smart.

Seattle Times

[Some cities and counties are waiting to see the outcome of federal charges]

... Others — in particular Island and San Juan counties — have balked at a consolidated resolution to the case, he said.
Browne said that if Island and San Juan counties insisted on going to trial, "they will go bankrupt" because of the trial costs.

"In Island County, they have budgeted $1,500 for the year for jury fees — for the year," Browne said. "I'll bankrupt them, that's fine with me."

Reached by phone, Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said, "He will bankrupt us? This guy is amazing. I think that's a preposterous statement."

Banks said the county prosecutes 300 to 350 felony cases a year, along with about 1,800 misdemeanor cases. He said it could handle the Harris-Moore case.

Browne said Harris-Moore would not take any of the money if his story was sold in a book or movie deal.
The young man who stole several airplanes and boats, stole firearms and transported them across international frontiers is so pure. He doesn't care about little things like money. Believe that!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We can kick TSA out of SeaTac - update

Update at the bottom. Janet Napolitano's Transportation Security Agency has assigned its agents to look at an image of you naked or to feel down your body and not miss one square inch. The feel down is for those who decline the naked image plus those who set off an alarm. I have a hip replacement with a huge amount of stainless steel, so every time I fly I get their hands on my body. People are reacting. John Tyner in San Diego. Odessa, Texas. Why did Napolitano do this on Obama's behalf? Because last Christmas her TSA people ignored six indications that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a threat. (He was flying to Detroit in winter without a coat; on a one-way ticket; his father contacted the US to warn that he had become a jihadist; and three more) But, even if they ignored those six indicators, this intrusive pat down would have caught him with explosives in his underwear. Therefore, you have to be insulted every time you fly. But local airports can kick out Janet Napolitano's feelers. They can provide their own security. Screening Partnership Program (SPP) at TSA's web site
The Screening Partnership Program, also known as SPP or Opt-Out, is a unique approach to providing security screening services for air passengers and baggage. Under the program, an airport operator may apply to have security screening conducted by personnel from a qualified private contractor working under Federal oversight. The program was designed to meet the requirement of the "opt-out" provision established by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, or ATSA. Airport operators have been able to apply to SPP to use private screeners since November 2004. Private contractor screeners are currently in place at nine airports across the country, combining private-sector operational expertise with TSA's technology, experience and resources. When a contract is awarded to an SPP airport, TSA works with the airport management and a qualified screening company to make a cost-effective and seamless transition from using TSA Transportation Security Officers to using private security screeners. Once the transition is complete, TSA's Federal Security Directors ensure all security standards are met and maintained
So the Port of Seattle that owns and operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport can send Janet Napolitano and her feelers away, far away, and hire their own people or hire a contractor to provide security. Will they have to do the same thing? If Janet Napolitano has her way. I fear it's one of "... ensure all security standards are met," but I don't know. But having them work for our elected Seattle Port commissioners would make them more accountable. Update: Congressman Ron Paul introduced legislation to remind TSA that Americans have rights. HR 6416, the American Traveler Dignity Act at Economic Policy Journal. It reminds TSA that they are subject to the law also. 2d Update: Thomas Lifson at American Thinker says Orlando's second airport, Orlando Sanford, is kicking out Janet Napolitano's feelers and going with private security. IBTraveler

Improper payments increased to $125 billion

That is an improvement President Obama is proud of. What? Yes. Improper payments from government entitlement programs increased to $125 billion and Slow Joe Biden claims it is an improvement. At the White House, paragraph six:
Now, because many of the targeted programs – such as Unemployment Insurance and Medicaid – are paying out more benefits as the economic downturn creates more demand for these benefits, the total number paid out in improper payments increased to $125 billion last fiscal year even though the overall error rate declined. This is an unfortunate result of the recession and of basic math: the more that is paid out, the more paid out in error even if the overall rate declines.
Now they need a tax increase to cover the increased costs. Pay up. More at American Spectator.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Farm implement parade

Don't miss the farm-implement parade in Sunnyside, Washington on December 5. That is, the Christmas parade of lighted farm implements. Unique.

You have time to plan to be in the Yakima Valley on December 5.

Sunnyside, WA

Photo from Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

Hugh and Dennis back on the air

Two of my four favorite talk-radio hosts disappeared last year with the repurposing of KOL 1300 to business programming. But starting yesterday they are back: Hugh Hewitt - 3 to 6 pm - and Dennis Prager - 9 am to noon - are back on KLFE: KLFE AM 1590 And some other very good hosts: William Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Miller and Mark Levin. All the programming is national hosts, no locals. Third-tier AM stations often don't have good signal coverage. KLFE has online streaming and IPhone and Blackberry apps for listening online! It was very hard to have KVI disappear two weeks ago. A good local host is worth two excellent national ones, despite my complaints about Bryan Suits spending too much time with ABC reporters who were overly safe and uninteresting. The local talker can put the heat on local issues, point out nonsense, like Nickelsville becoming McGinnville this week, and generally help focus the heat on elected officials and the unelected ones.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Remembering George Shangrow

George Shangrow was a leader and key inspiration of/to the Seattle music community for over 40 years. We attended a memorial concert for him, since he died in a traffic accident in July while on his way to speak at a concert in the Methow Valley.

George had a broad knowledge of music, was an excellent performer and accompanist on harpsichord and the inspiration and driving force for the orchestra/chorus he founded:

Orchestra Seattle - Seattle Choral Society

His enthusiasm moved many people. My long-time work friend Fritz Klein has been the concertmaster of Orchestra Seattle for decades, working closely with George. He greatly enjoyed working with George, calling him The Energizer Bunny!

Tonight's concert was in the huge main hall of Benaroya Hall. How could OSSCS afford that? Because it was donated, since George filled it many times. The program was a sampler, because everyone wanted to do everything. With so many short pieces it was disjointed. Fortunately for the second half they focused on just two pieces.

I was astonished to learn that George died at age 59, because a year ago I went to the first concert of OSSCS's 40th season. 40 years! The only was to do that was to start it - at first just the chorus - when he was 18 years old. And he did.

The photo: George Shangrow with his concertmaster and my friend Fritz Klein in the background. From Seattle Times. Click to enlarge.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sajak appologizes for Olberman's crass act

Pat Sajak appologized for getting Keith Olberman his start on national TV. LA Times Pat Sajak is finally taking full blame for giving Keith Olbermann his start on national television. Historians note that civil discourse has never been the same in American politics. Sajak clearly feels guilty about launching the liberal lamenter into the nation's thought process like a virus. On his blog, the good-natured Chicago native and host of "Wheel of Fortune" says he liked the mustachioed Olbermann of the late 1980s, then one of those local hey-there sports guys in LA. Sajak found him entertaining and had Olbermann on his short-lived national talk show several times. Then, the noted TV barker notes, Olbermann moved on but "tended to wear out his welcome at stations and networks." He landed in several places before squatting over at MSNBC, where he found success ranting against the man who was the nation's president during 9/11. As everyone knows, however, that success has faded in more recent years, with Olbermann getting his keith kicked nightly by the ratings masters over at Fox News Channel. As one result, Olbermann has raised his hyperbolic volume. ... Sajak expresses puzzlement over Olbermann's transition to ranter. "I’m not sure how he morphed into the bitter-sounding, hate-mongering name-caller he’s become," Sajak writes, "but I’m sorry he did. I liked the guy, and he was always a good guest. Maybe it’s just show business and trying to find a place in it and building an audience."

Bill Gates wants government to fix capitalism

The most successful capitalist says capitalism failed. Bill Gates, are you still drinking your father's cool aid? You didn't succeed in getting the huge tax increase you wanted for other people; wouldn't hurt you but a speck. CNS News The CEO and Chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates said that capitalism’s “systemic" problems are not doing enough for research and “the needs of the poorest.”  “In general, the world underfunds research because the person who takes the risk of doing the research doesn’t capture the full benefit of having done it; and so you know, capitalism does amazing things but it has one systemic problem in terms of research -- that it won’t do enough,” Gates said at the mHealth summit in Washington on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Northwest Maritime Heritage

A resource site for Washington' maritime heritage sites and resources. But I just discovered that it is stagnant, so stagnant that they are going to shut it down. It is the [temporary] master link site to help us find the little ones, as well as the big ones - museums, ships, some historical sites/markers, lighthouses and "others." Temporary NW Maritime Heritage For the future: Fyddeye Washington State Dept of Archaeology, etc. Lake Union Park I will investigate these later. This is a placemarker for now.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Urban seals and deer

In the past 24 hours I have seen two baby harbor seals hauled out of Elliot Bay in West Seattle and a young buck deer on our own street in Lake Forest Park.

Mother harbor seals leave their babies on the beach, or on the rocks as as the second one I saw yesterday, while they goes fishing. It's not that rare to see a baby out of the water here. Of course people who know nothing about seals decide the little guy needs to be rescued and do stupid things to "help." But the wildlife lovers have gotten pretty organized in the past few years and get to the scene to put up signs and even yellow police tape to help people know it's hands off.

The deer is a first. There are wilder parts of LFP, but this is not one of them. My wife has lived most of her life within 3 blocks of where we are, but has never seen a deer here.

He was last seen traveling north on 39th Place NE, north of NE 165 St., which is just west of Bothell Way/Highway 522 and south of the LFP mall.

Click to enlarge.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

IMAX movie Legends of Flight

Legends of Flight 3D is an IMAX movie about developments in flight featuring the Boeing 787. It goes back on development to the albatross. gliders and biplanes. Spends some time on the Airbus A380. Then contrasts Boeing's development of the 787 (not the Sonic Cruiser).

It centers its 787 coverage on Chief Test Pilot Mike Carriker from concepts to flight. Its coverage of flight testing was simplistic - just the pilots driving the plane. But a flight test (except the first few flights of a new airplane type) has a couple dozen engineers and technicians onboard and all sorts of sensors and data gathering equipment set up for each flight plus lots of data crunching both during and after the flight.

The 3D is a lot of fun. A couple of times I thought I could feel the wind off the wing tip of a bird. Gimicky, yes. But it also adds a lot.

It's showing in the Boeing IMAX theater - at 60 by 80 feet, the larger of the two - at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

Friday, November 05, 2010

$200 million PER DAY so Obama can celebrate - correction

Correction: The White House says the report by the India press is incorrect: the trip is not costing so much. Question, White House: How much will this 10-day trip cost? They won't say. But I have no correction on the trip's purpose: I quoted his own PR people. Yes. That's $200 million per day for 4 days. NDTV
Barack Obama, who became the first US president to personally celebrate Diwali in the historic East Room in 2009, wanted to "specifically" celebrate the festival of lights with Indians, the White House has said. "He (Obama) specifically wanted to have an opportunity to celebrate Diwali and to do so with the Indian people, getting beyond simply his official business,"
Isn't that nice? They want to party. At our expense.

Fed printing money will hurt international monetary system

Interest rates are 0.25% - pretty close to zero. So the Fed has announced it is printing $600 billion over the next eight months in order to LOWER long-term interest rates. OK, long-term is not the same as short-term. But does this make sense. One of China's leaders says this might help the US, but will hurt everyone else, except China. Daily Caller
... The Fed announced this week that it would sink $600 billion into government bonds over the next eight months to lower long-term interest rates in an effort to revive economic growth “If the domestic policy is optimal policy for the United States alone, but at the same time it is not an optimal policy for he world, it may bring a lot of negative impact to the world. There is a spill over,” Zhou said. “We have to solve this problem by reforming the international currency system,” Zhou said, who gave no details on policy reforms. Some governments have expressed concern that lower U.S. interest rates will result in more money flooding into their markets seeking higher returns, pushing up exchange rates and hurting exports by making their goods more expensive.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

$200 million PER DAY so Obama can celebrate

Yes. That's $200 million per day for 4 days. NDTV
Barack Obama, who became the first US president to personally celebrate Diwali in the historic East Room in 2009, wanted to "specifically" celebrate the festival of lights with Indians, the White House has said. "He (Obama) specifically wanted to have an opportunity to celebrate Diwali and to do so with the Indian people, getting beyond simply his official business,"
Isn't that nice? They want to party. At our expense.

Brit says US reversing decline

Nile Garner says the US in our election yesterday rejected decline due to over spending and defeatist foreign policy. Telegraph UK
Tonight’s emphatic conservative House victory in the US midterms is a powerful rejection of President Obama’s handling of the economy and his Big Government agenda, including his controversial healthcare reform plans. The conservative revolution has been largely spurred by disenchantment with the federal government, and a strong belief in limited government, lower taxation, and reduced public spending, as well as a desire to return to America’s Founding principles. It is also a powerful rejection of American decline, currently being fueled by massive debts at home, weakened defences and a defeatist foreign policy. The federal debt has jumped from 40 percent of GDP in 2008 to 62 percent by the end of this year, the highest percentage since World War Two.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Grizzly chasing buffalo - Yellowstone NP

Incredible photos of a grizzly bear chasing a buffalo/bison. The buffalo went into the woods and avoided the bear. BTW, the buffalo looks a bit strange because he is burned from falling into one of Yellowstone's thermal pools.

Great Falls, MT, TV

Monday, November 01, 2010

Voters saw what Obama's senior economists missed

We yokels understood that government getting much larger and taking much more of the economic pie is a problem. No big deal to Larry Summers and Christina Romer. They made a mess larger. Michael Barone Obama's Economists Missed What Voters Plainly Saw
Heading into what appears to be a disastrous midterm election, the Obama Democrats profess to be puzzled. The president's record, they insist, is moderate, accommodating -- if anything, overcautious. So why do most American voters seem to be angrily rejecting it? That's one way of looking at it. Another way is to say that the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress have increased government's share of gross domestic product from 21 percent, where it's hovered for the last several decades, to about 25 percent and have put the national debt on a trajectory to increase from 40 to 90 percent of GDP. Voters have noticed -- and don't like it. But, say the Obama Democrats, shouldn't ordinary people -- in particular, shouldn't the blue-collar working class -- be grateful to a government that tries to "spread the wealth" (Obama's words to Joe the Plumber) in difficult economic times? They used to be, the argument would go. In post-World War II America, voters regularly moved toward the Democrats in recession years. There's a difference, however, that has escaped Obama Democrats but perhaps not ordinary voters. In recessions caused by oscillations in the business cycle from the 1940s to 1970s, voters were confident that the private-sector economy could support the burden of countercyclical spending on things like unemployment insurance and public works projects. That spending would stimulate consumer demand, the thinking went, and once inventories were drawn down, manufacturers would call workers back to the assembly line. The recession would be over. But it's been a long time since we've had a major business cycle recession. The recession from which we've technically emerged, but which seems to most voters to be lingering on, is something different, the result of a financial crisis. And financial crisis recessions tend to be a lot deeper and more prolonged than business cycle recessions, as economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff argue in their 2009 book, "This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly." "The aftermath of systemic banking crises," they write, "involves a protracted and pronounced contraction in economic activity and puts significant strains on government resources." ...