Thursday Morning Open Thread

It's a brief writing day for me, so here's an open thread for you. All topics welcome.

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    • "The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles"
      1965 Bob Dylan

    Krugman makes a funny! (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 09:53:39 AM EST
    From his blog:

    Talk like a pirate

    Am I wrong in believing that the final name of the stimulus bill will be the American Recovery and Reinvestment Reconciliation Act, or ARRRA? Arrr!

    lol (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Faust on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:06:23 AM EST
    aweseome. I guess this stuff is finally getting to him. I've never seen him make a joke before.

    You have to love a guy (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by BernieO on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:13:09 AM EST
    who has a Nobel Prize and a silly sense of humor.

    In that case (none / 0) (#163)
    by sj on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:10:31 PM EST
    I know I love at least two of them.

    Hey Happy Birthday Abie Baby... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by desertswine on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:12:51 AM EST
    and Darwin too, a twofer. PBS had a nice program on last nite, "Looking for Lincoln." It went beyond the mythic Lincoln most shows about him stop at. Maybe they'll re-run it soon if you missed it.  

    I watch Fox and Friends... (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:21:48 AM EST
    for the unintentional comedy while getting ready for work...the boob-crew was annoyed that Google decided to customize their page in honor of Darwin instead of Abe today.

    Darwin...still pissin' 'em off after all these years...sun god bless him.  I've been a firm believer ever since I looked a gorilla in the eyes.


    The gorilla (none / 0) (#39)
    by CST on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:28:48 AM EST
    could you "see his soul"? :)

    I bet it was nicer than Putin...


    I saw something... (5.00 / 4) (#63)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:58:15 AM EST
    something akin to a reflection...a purified reflection.

    One of those little silly things you'll never forget as long as you live...that gorilla will haunt me, in a good way, forever.


    I could only go once (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:38:14 PM EST
    Never again.  Like you, I'm still haunted.  Keeping creatures of that level of sentience confined, even if it's in a nicely manufactured "habitat" and not a cage, is simply morally wrong, IMHO.  One of the things I saw in those eyes was terrible sadness.

    I was lucky enough (none / 0) (#146)
    by CST on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:36:42 PM EST
    To see a lot of animals in their natural habitat.  It made me extremely uncomfortable with zoos.  And I didn't even see any monkeys.  But when you see the energy and life in their eyes when they are roaming free, it's pretty hard to be okay with captivity.

    Cows are a little different, in the sense that they don't seem as aware of "loose" captivity (fences, barns for milking, etc...), although even they deserve fields at the least.


    Domestic animals (none / 0) (#189)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:13:52 PM EST
    like cows have long ago had the need for freedom bred out of them (along with anything resembling intelligence, poor things).  That said, I couldn't agree more about the obscene immorality of these giant milk-producing farms that keep the cows confined indoors in a veritable headlock for their entire lives.  Even if somebody could prove to me that the cows "don't mind," it's soul-killing for human beings to do that to living creatures.  Same with mass poultry-raising in tiny cages.

    Very few of Vemont's dairy farmers do that, and those who do provoke disgust and strong disapproval from the others.  What many do, though, is raise the calves in tiny individual outdoor pens, which also seems to me an awful thing to do to a herd animal.  The farmers insist it's healthier for them because illness doesn't get passed around as easily, and of course they save a fair amount on vet bills as a result.  But jeez, even a dumb calf shouldn't grow up like that.  I shouldn't criticize because these small dairy farmers, who mostly love their cows a lot, are barely hanging on by their toenails financially and can use every nickel they can save.  But still.

    Once they're let out into the herd, though, they lead more interesting lives than cows elsewhere, poking around in our hilly, scrubby bits of pasture.

    But I'm at the point now where I don't even think cats should be confined 24/7 in houses, never mind small apartments.


    I am at that point too (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by CST on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:25:23 PM EST
    We have a cat, an outdoor cat.  Wouldn't get a dog because we live in an urban area.

    Used to visit VT a lot as a kid, Cabot.  Hung out with the cows in the fields.  It's hard to go from that to being okay with the mass-produced kind.


    Ah Cows (none / 0) (#208)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:37:14 PM EST
    If you love cows in particular, and animals in general, Animals in Translation is a must read. Written by Temple Grandin whose favorite animals are cows. She has redesigned something like 60% of the slaughterhouses in North America so that cows can die in the most humane and noble way possible.

    Yes - Darwin's Birthday! (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:15:07 AM EST
    Which gives me the opportunity to say...

    check out the National Academy of Sciences symposium in honor of Darwin's birthday:  "Twenty-first Century Ecosystems:  Systemic Risk and the Public Good". It is happening right now. You can view the webcast if you like. Lots of wonderful talks on biodiversity, climate change, and sustainability. Rumor has it Obama's science advisors are in the audience. (And one of his appointees, Jane Lubchenko, is a speaker.) I hope they're listening!



    mmmm thanks (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:16:15 AM EST
    Sometimes PBS lets you watch their stuff on your puter at the website too.

    It was very good (none / 0) (#83)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:25:45 AM EST
    200 - And they don't look a day older than 195 (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:19:31 AM EST
    Interesting to think of them born in the same year.

    As a 'Land of Lincoln' native, I've been to Lincoln's Springfield home a few times, and have learned a lot about the man and the myth. Most of all, I love his writing. It is so clear and graceful it always brings a tear to my eye, just for the sheer truth of it.

    Darwin too, for that matter.


    I listened to.. (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by desertswine on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:32:42 AM EST
    Copland's "A Lincoln Portrait" a couple of days ago. I have a version that's narrated by Adlai Stevenson. It's a wonderful piece of music.

    Is the "left" really going to back (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:14:43 AM EST
    Obama messing with Social Security? Read Digby's  post titled "Pulling Our Leg" if it is no longer at the top (I can never link to her specific posts, for some reason.) Atrios says no way, but I guess we'll see.

    Nouriel Roubini (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by Faust on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:17:46 PM EST
    Made a pretty good post recently IMHO.

    I'm going to copy and paste a fairly large section since it's really annoying to have to sign up for RGE. If posting large blocks of text is against rules then delete away please.

    So why is the US government temporizing and avoiding doing the right thing, i.e. take over the insolvent banks? There are two reasons. First, there is still some small hope and a small probability that the economy will recover sooner than expected, that expected credit losses will be smaller than expected and that the current approach of recapping the banks and somehow working out the bad assets will work in due time. Second, taking over the banks - call is nationalization or, in a more politically correct way, "receivership" - is a radical action that requires most banks be clearly beyond pale and insolvent to be undertaken.  Today Citi and Bank of America clearly look like near-insolvent and ready to be taken over but JPMorgan and Wells Fargo do not yet. But with the sharp rise in delinquencies  and charge-off rates that we are experiencing now on mortgages, commercial real estate and consumer credit  in a matter of six to twelve months even JPMorgan and Wells will likely look as near-insolvent (as suggested by Chris Whalen, one of the leading independent analysts of the banking system).

    Thus, if the government were to take over only Citi and Bank of America today (and wipe out common and preferred shareholders and also force unsecured creditors to take a haircut) a panic may ensue for other banks and the Lehman fallout that resulted from having unsecured creditors taking losses on their bonds will be repeated again. Instead if, as likely, the current fudging strategy - of temporizing and hoping that things will improve for the economy and the banks - does not work and in 6-12 months most banks (the major four and the a good part of the remaining regional banks) all look like clearly insolvent you can then take them all over, wipe out common shareholders and preferred shareholders and even force unsecured creditors to accept losses ( in the form of a conversion of debt into equity and/or haircut on the face value of their bond claims) as the losses will be so large that not treating such unsecured creditors would be fiscally too expensive.

    So, the current strategy - Plan A - may not work and the Plan B (or better Plan N for nationalization) may end up the way to go later this year. Wasting another 6-12 months to do the right thing may be a mistake but the political constrains facing the new administration - and the remaining small probability that the current strategy may by some miracle or luck work - suggest that Plan A should be first exhausted before there is a move to Plan N. Wasting another 6-12 months may risk turning a U-shaped recession into an L-shaped near depression but currently Plan N is not yet politically feasible.

    But with the government forcing Citi to shed some of its units/assets and the government starting stress tests to figure out which institutions are so massively undercapitalized that they need to be taken over by the FDIC the administration is putting in place the steps for the eventual and necessary takeover of  the insolvent banks.

    You can expect a similar path and an eventual government takeover of most financial institutions in other countries - such as the UK - where many banks are effectively insolvent.

    So while Plan A is now underway today's very negative market response to this Treasury plan suggest that it will not fly. Markets were expecting a more clear plan but also a plan that would bail out shareholders and creditors of insolvent banks.  Unfortunately that is not politically and fiscally feasible. It is thus time to start to think and plan ahead for for Plan N ("nationalization" of insolvent banks).

    Look out (none / 0) (#115)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:37:16 PM EST
    Republican heart attacks all the way around.

    Roubini May Be Right... (none / 0) (#127)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:52:58 PM EST
    but I like Krugman's Trojan Horse concept.  As I understand it, Geithner is setting up conditions to nationalize at least some of the banks.  If this is correct, what Geithner is doing is literally buying time.  

    Buying time... (none / 0) (#165)
    by coast on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:11:16 PM EST
    isn't that what all this is about.  The bills passed last year to help homeowners in or near foreclosure, the money given to the auto industry, TARP I and soon to be TARP II, and the stimulus plan itself are all meant to just buy time.  No one knows how or if any of it will work.

    Stress test? (none / 0) (#130)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:59:57 PM EST
    THanks for posting that.  Sounds about right from what I'm reading/hearing.

    Can somebody explain what this "stress test" consists of?   Is it an examination of the books?  The term makes it sounds like something more active than that, but I can't imagine what.


    You can't even get a list (none / 0) (#156)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:53:34 PM EST
    of who the FDIC thinks might be having problems.  You can get a list of who they are currently inspecting though, but that could just be a regular bank audit.  Maybe someone will leak what the "stress test" is :)  We aren't going to be told anything though that would encourage a run on any bank.

    I've read that 100 examiners ... (none / 0) (#159)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:04:15 PM EST
    are already at Citi.  Hard to say what level of stress testing will be done.  If they are stress testing the toxic, (or "challenged" as Citi says) assets, then what it may entail is looking at assumptions and then changing the assumptions for a more worse case analysis.  So if their modelling is based on 80% being performing, maybe see what happens if there is 60% performing.  Also I'd guess they are going to be matching the performance versus the assumptions on a representative sampling.

    But all of this is based on how seriously they are taking the stress testing.


    Hey hey hey (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 09:47:16 AM EST
    I see that Michael Moore is on DK and making a new movie :)  His movies always piss me off so bad.  I took my father to see Fahrenheit 911 When my husband was in Iraq year uno.  It really stirred things up. I was sooooo mad, my father cried.

    Roger and me (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by cotton candy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:05:51 AM EST
    was his best film, imo. It wasn't too political but very human and is very relevant to what is happening now with our economy and the effects it has on our communities.

    Roger and Me, because (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:07:36 AM EST
    skinning rabbits on camera is quite education, and those visits to the woman who does people's colors were priceless.  

    Heh. (none / 0) (#86)
    by cotton candy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:31:21 AM EST
    Besides that! The skinning I almost forgot about--thanks for reminding me. :/

    Pets Or Meat (none / 0) (#87)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:32:38 AM EST
    Meat, as I recall. Can't (none / 0) (#152)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:46:19 PM EST
    believe you missed this flick.

    No Silly (none / 0) (#157)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:56:27 PM EST
    Did not miss the film, but I the sign that the bunny farm had posted on the road. Rabbits for sale Pets or Meat.

    Supposedly that scene is why Roger & Me got an R rating.


    Haven't seen the film (none / 0) (#168)
    by lilburro on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:14:20 PM EST
    but we bought a pet rabbit from a place like that.

    I saw he posted. What is (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 09:53:53 AM EST
    the subject of the new movie and why is he seeking input from DKosians?


    1. Obamamania


    Yer gonna love this (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:05:26 AM EST
    The Wall Street rip off.  Plan to get really really mad watching it.  This will be the most pissed I've ever been at one of his movies :)  This will be ugly!

    Workin on your last nerve. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:06:22 AM EST
    It's a good nerve though, my last one (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:10:07 AM EST
    It's the totally pissed righteous indignation nerve.  Americans need to wake up and find theirs :)

    Oh yeah (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:12:33 AM EST
    and he's looking for folks who worked on Wall Street.  He already has some giving testimony as to what has been taking place but we can always use more huh?  He will protect your identity and you decide how much of yourself you want revealed in the movie.

    Is anyone on DK coming (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:29:04 AM EST
    out to admit they were a cog in the machine that doomed the US economy?

    I didn't look (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:37:00 AM EST
    I figured the responses were a bunch of slobbering all over Michael Moore.  It's still morning here :)

    There's enough blame for all! (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:05:34 AM EST
    I have mixed feelings on the people on Wall St. They were given the green light by politicians loosening regulations and shoddy oversight. Fine. if their actions were criminal, go after them with full force. Otherwise I'll save my contempt for politicians like Phil Graham, who pushed to deregulate the banks and open the flood gates. Or the Republican's, for their continual erosion of government oversight. You can also throw in the Democrat's that followed along blindly.

    Everything has to have checks and balances to function properly. We saw under Bush what happens when those balances are ignored in government. Now we see it again in business. Enron, WorldCom and the likes  should have sent a big red flag up at the time as to how businesses were operating. The Bush administration and Congress treated these incidents as isolated bad apples and nothing really changed. It was still business as usual. Now we find out that there's hundreds of Enron's out there and we're surprised.


    The only one (none / 0) (#8)
    by CST on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:03:09 AM EST
    I have seen was "bowling for columbine" which was I think, a lot better than "farenheit 911", which I heard terrible things about and therefore never saw.  I heard "sicko" was better too.

    "Bowling for Columbine" was a great and a bad movie at the same time.

    Important message, but I will never like his methods.


    Moore makes you think and question... (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:07:56 AM EST
    for that I like him a lot.  Way too socialist big government minded for my taste..but he shines a light on problems and that alone is a public service.  And I believe his heart is in the right place.

    I thought Fahrenheit 911 was very good (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:08:15 AM EST
    I think he got so much flack over it because of our troops in harms way and he was being unpatriotic.  He completely nailed the press for the no hard questions cheerleading runup to the Iraq War.  Sicko was excellent.  Bowling for Columbine was very interesting.

    I loved F 9/11 (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by lobary on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:23:26 AM EST
    The film is chock full of memorable scenes, but the one that's etched into my memory bank forever is the scene with the footage of the protests that took place in Washington on inauguration day in 2000. I was stunned, not by the reality that the presidential limo was pelted by eggs but by the total absence of media coverage. The MSM lauded Bush as the cowboy uniter who would clean up Washington and restore integrity to the Oval Office, a myth this Texan called bullspit on back when Ann Richards was still governor. I knew Bush was just another fratboy failure with the right surname and the righter connections. Who knew there were so many like me that day in Washington willing to exercise their First Amendment rights? I sure didn't.

    I stood on the fringes of one large (none / 0) (#103)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:12:47 PM EST
    protest.  I was very unsure as a military wife back then.  All I knew was that things didn't feel right.  When I married on I knew what this marriage could entail.  Things felt wrong though, socialogists giving professional and expert opinion on what would happen were on page 11 of the newspapers, yellowcake had already been sort of discredited and was still on the front page, and the protest near me was large and required tear gas.  To get to see all the protests in the film that got zero media coverage was astonishing!!!!!!

    gotcha (none / 0) (#34)
    by CST on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:24:58 AM EST
    when you said "really really mad" I didn't know who you were mad at, makes more sense now.

    I just heard a lot of the stuff in that movie was cherry picking and kinda dishonest.

    Bowling for Columbine definitely made me think, in a good way, I just also find him to be somewhat rude and abrasive, and it's hard for me to "get over" that.


    He is rude and abrasive (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:33:22 AM EST
    I've always been able to connect with and laugh with such people when face to face with them.  It is one of the few gifts that God granted me.  So yes, he is rude and abrasive but he addresses our issues in ways we need to be willing to take a look at them.  I'm with kdog in finding him extremely socialist but I wouldn't ever want to be without his input in the social debate.  I think he's priceless.  It is because of his rudeness that he is able to make the headway that he does into issues and for that I have to love the guy.

    Michael Moore is a MUCKRAKER (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by Dadler on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:59:39 AM EST
    We are all socialists, when it gets right down to it, unless you are a laissez faire capitalist, which few to none here are.  Moore, despite my problems with some of his style and technique, is the ONLY mainstream muckraker we have left.  John Stewart and Colbert can't come close, though Colbert did with his incredible correspondent's dinner performance a few years ago.  Sadly, he is essentially the only Eward R. Murrow left, though he obviously uses much different methods, his aim is the same -- to rake the muck and expose the ugly truth.  He may not succeed all the time (who does?), but, unlike others of his prominence, he tries harder than anyone.

    Years ago, I saw Moore (none / 0) (#91)
    by ding7777 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:38:19 AM EST
    on Drudge's tv show - the other guest was right winger Lucianne Goldberg.  

    When Lucianne Goldberg lit a cigarette, Moore chided her for ruining her health by smoking.  Ms Goldberg was too busy coughing to tell Moore his weight might also be a health problem.


    I haven't forgiven MM (none / 0) (#122)
    by robert72 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:46:10 PM EST
    for choosing Obama to support and bashing Hillary when she had the best health care plan and cared a lot more about it than Obama. I gathered that he didn't really have concern about health care..... All just money making movies.

    Geez (5.00 / 0) (#128)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:54:25 PM EST
    Not sure if it is just vanity or real cultism, but it seem silly to cut off your nose to spite your face. Some people on both seem to have turned their favorite pol into an idol and are keeping lists.

    Not so far from what McCarthy did.

    Pol worship is a disease that causes blindness, at best.


    Read closely: That's not pol worship (none / 0) (#161)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:08:15 PM EST
    That's learning to stop worshiping false idols.  Moore destroyed his own credibility on health care -- and sadly so, as we do need the Moores.

    BS (1.00 / 1) (#169)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:14:52 PM EST
    As a certified pol worshiper aka cultist, who else is on your list?

    If you and other cult members would write off Moore because he supported Obama over Hillary, then you are a sorry lot.

    Really not much different from McCarthy lists, imo. It is quite strange behavior for anyone left of center to keep lists like that, be they obots or hiltards. Weird bedfellows this election made.


    Um, no (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:18:56 PM EST
    It's because Moore's movie had some problems, with, shall we say, the whole truth?

    Even Obama's own vaunted economics advisor, Austan Goolsbee, takes Moore to task.


    Big Deal (none / 0) (#202)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:28:55 PM EST
    Moores plan is more radical than both Hillary's and Obama's. I am sure Moore is going to be screaming at Obama for various things as he should. Unlike some here he is no cultist, and does not idealize politicians, no matter who they are.

    And of course Moore is no saint either, he is an activist and does what he feels is best to provoke change.


    Curious - (none / 0) (#175)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:33:21 PM EST
    How did Moore destroy his credibility on health care?  

    By Endorsing Obama (none / 0) (#176)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:34:01 PM EST

    :) Comical, but not the real answer (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:43:06 PM EST
    CC must have some reason for saying that.

    By not backing the candidate (5.00 / 1) (#185)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:08:41 PM EST
    with the plan that Moore said was better.  Duh.

    So a guy who said we need to focus on issues to get better politics didn't do so himself.  Double duh.


    Enough (1.00 / 1) (#194)
    by CST on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:21:58 PM EST
    Maybe he's not a single issue voter.

    The witch hunt has got to stop.

    No, I am not gonna argue about the other issues.

    My mother has spent her entire life working to expand access to public health for the poor, and you know what, she voted for Obama too.  For other reasons.

    She has more credibility to me on health care than anyone on this blog.  She is also for single payer, unlike Hillary Clinton.

    Stop it.


    Moore owns shares in Halliburton (none / 0) (#24)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:15:48 AM EST
    Which irks me.  Even when he's making a noble argument his movies seem structured for divisiveness.  Haven't seen Roger and Me since I was a kid but I remember liking that a lot.  

    Fahrenheit was funny and had good music but missed major points - ie drawing the parallel that we trained Osama Bin Laden specifically in bankrupting imperial powers via creating conditions under which high-ranking officials can take their country into an endless/pointless war for personal profit.  Not that I realized that back then myself.  


    No he doesn't (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by eric on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:55:06 AM EST
    that is a zombie lie.

    Does he really own shares in (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:17:24 AM EST
    Halliburton?  Do you have any linkage?

    Likely to be False (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:38:49 AM EST
    A short google search shows Peter Schweitzer a conservative writer who wrote a book discrediting liberals.

    Moore has denied that he has ever owned stock. Schweitzer also discredited Gore as not being green. It turned out that Schweitzer got $300,000 from Exxon/Mobile and Gore proved all Schweitzer's claims about him to be false.


    Samuel, for shame running around (5.00 / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:46:38 AM EST
    spreading such nasties

    Haha. (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:48:32 AM EST
    Sorry, I saw a picture of a schedule D and thought it was legit!  I have no interest in lying to discredit Michael Moore, I was just being an idiot before posting.

    See the link I posted below. (none / 0) (#58)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:47:12 AM EST
    I got this... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:46:32 AM EST

    A little more digging reveals it's not necessarily contemptuous - it was via a charitable organization and I doubt he picked which shares of what to hold.

    I remember feeling like Fahrenheit 9/11 hurt Kerry's chances more than helped though - but that was 2004 and things weren't necessarily as clear.  Then again, if you're going to make a documentary...


    Jeralyn, I am very impressed with (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 09:52:28 AM EST
    your ability to keep on track workwise and not be diverted by your very own blog.  Impressive.

    Media Narrative... (none / 0) (#3)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 09:52:48 AM EST
    Last night on CNN AC 360 Dana Bash hailed Susan Collins as the one who insisted on more infrastructure spending.   I don't know if that is true (although I doubt it).  If it isn't true then it looks like the media narrative will be that the Republicans protected the American people from the tax and spend Democrats.

    They will anyway (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by BernieO on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:11:50 AM EST
    Since when has a little thing like the truth ever stopped them?

    Just this morning Joe Scarborough was ranting yet again about Fannie and Freddie's "big" part in the financial crisis. Then David Faber, whose documentary on the subject "House of Cards" airs tonight on CNBC told Joe that in '01 Fannie and Freddie had been forced to pull back from holding so many subprime loans. They went from having 70% of these to only 30% with the private sector picking up the other 70%. Faber also pointed out that F&F, unlike many private lenders, always had some restrictions such as always requiring a downpayment and a credit score.

    Joe did not challenge Faber, yet in less than ten minutes he was back to harping on Fannie and Freddie. Clearly Republicans find truth to be no obstacle to their biases. And Joe is one of the more objective ones. Sheesh!


    Republican Media Strategy is ... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:05:37 AM EST
    to find something that can be boiled down into 30 second catch phrases, that can be used to bludgeon "liberals" and that not many of their listeners will take the time to research for accuracy because it is consistent with their beliefs.  "It's Fannie's  and Freddie's Fault" and "CRA Made the Banks Make these Bad Loans" fill the bill precisely.  

    Anyone who can distill the problems so succinctly is pandering and obfuscating.


    I don't watch that show but (none / 0) (#38)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:26:31 AM EST
    It is my understanding that Fannie/Freddie - by existing and allowing mortgage companies to almost instantly sell them their new loans with lax requirements and no fact checking - altered the competitive environment of the mortgage industry.  In other words, if mortgage company x is competing with mortgage company y for customers and mortgage company y is issuing loans to bad borrowers since Fannie/Freddie will buy the loan - mortgage company x will drop it's standards to remain competitive in the industry as they will be missing out an huge profits in the short-term.  

    The existence of Fannie/Freddie was an indication that the home mortgage industry would be bailed out if solvency became an issue - the crisis would be much different if not for them.  Most likely, the Fed's easy money policies would have been funneled into another industry rather than home construction and lending.


    I Suggest That You Do More... (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:58:41 AM EST
    reading on the subject.  Fannie and Freddie didn't make or buy subprime loans.  There is an article that explores the involvement of Fannie and Freddie in the mortgage mess - and the comments to the article are well worth reading.  It can be found at www.econbrowser.com for July 15th and is entitled "Did Fannie and Freddie Cause the Mortgage Crisis?.

    Fannie and Freddie did have a role but not a "but for" role.  Throw into the mix Alan Greenspan's keeping the interest rates artificially low and ignoring warnings that something was amiss in the private lending sector.  And then throw in the failure of credit rating agencies, risk management departments (or their superiors), lax supervision and inadequate laws.  

    The current state of affairs is the result of a systemic failure.  The housing market bubble and crash in itself would have caused serious disruption but not cataclysmic disruption if the checks and balances throughout the financial system were working.


    We disagree on a matter of degree... (none / 0) (#82)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:25:02 AM EST
    That article states that the behavior of the GSE's altered the behavior of private firms and lenders - but was not a major influence.  

    What I had suggested was that Fannie/Freddie buying up bad mortgages from banks lowered concern on rating the borrower.  Banks in competition with these banks would then lower their standards as profits were to be made in the short-term as the debt was being absorbed near immediately.  

    The driving force behind any "boom-bust" cycle that is not explained by natural disaster or invasion or what have you is the expansion of the money supply (as you said).  The question to ask is why did this most recent expansion funnel investment into the home mortgage and housing construction industries as opposed to anywhere else in the economy.  My best guess is that Fannie/Freddie served a giant reassurance to private institutions that home mortgage losses would be socialized.  Otherwise I don't think we'd see the bubble focused just on homes.

    What do you make of this?


    Why Real Estate? (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:38:40 AM EST
    Because after the dot.com bubble burst and the stock market tanked, private money shied away from the stock market.  So it went into real estate and real estate backed securities.  private money was begging for more MBS especially with subprime and alt-A tranches because the yields on those were great.  There was enormous  demand for MBS with high yields and loan originators were pressured to produce.  Once credit rating agencies gave these MBS triple A ratings, the investment community was given a green light to add these to pension funds, mutual funds etc.  Greenspan could have put the brakes on by beginning to raise interest rates.  Bank risk management departments could have (in cases like Wells Fargo did) limit the exposure but they deferred (outsourced) to the credit rating agencies.  The real estate boom dampened the W recession so Bush turned a blind eye to what was happening.  

    Yea I agree. (none / 0) (#98)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:56:25 AM EST
    I'm saying that the reason real estate became the investment of choice was precisely because the prospect of socialized risk altered the market in such a way that maximum profitability was in short term wildly ill advised loans.  

    Businesses will always do the most profitable thing - the question is how did this specific industry become so profitable - I'm just saying it was the Fed plus these quasi-government organizations that explain the presence of easy money and the distortion of profitability in that specific sector.

    I agree - monetary policy is the basis for the cycle.  


    Come on now... (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:13:46 PM EST
    the Credit Rating Agencies gave the triple AAA rating because they looked at the history of housing prices and made an assumption that housing prices would not deteriorate in a way that would make a large percentage of the mortgages backing the securities fail.  They didn't factor in socialization of losses.  This opened the floodgates.  Yes Fannie and Freddie had a role in perhaps setting a looser standard but the large part of the crappy loan underwriting was done by lenders originating loans that would not be sold to Fannie and Freddie.  

    If you want to point the finger at socializing losses look at AIG, Bear Stearns and Merrill.  The concept of "Too Big to Fail" comes into play here.  Look at the big banks for more examples of socializing losses.  


    Ok. (none / 0) (#111)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:23:16 PM EST
    My assertion was that the existence of Fannie/Freddie  served as a reassurance to these private banks that acted as though they expected the losses to be socialized.  They kept buy bad assets after talk of a bubble was all over the news - they somehow expected this to happen.  

    Ignoring the fannie/freddie debate - overall we're agreeing.  The fact the Fed basically insures all bank deposits allowed individual banks to act recklessly by removing any concern from their depositors.  Now I think fannie/freddie had a bigger role than yourself but I certainly do not know this so I'll stop acting like I can show you a percentage of blame.  As long as we're both blaming the government and not the free market the focus is correct in my opinion.

    We are agreeing that fannie/freddie should not have existed anyway correct?


    I Don't Think We Agree On ... (none / 0) (#118)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:38:41 PM EST

    The "free market" (free of government intervention such as laws and regulations) assumes conditions that don't exist except as some hypothetical construct in some Rousseauian state.     The level and kind of government intervention is a more realistic discussion.  

    As to whether to have a GSE that acts as a secondary market for real estate, I think that depends on a number of factors, one of which is how important it is to have people own their own houses.  Whether or not a GSE should be a for profit institution is another discussion.  Personally I think not.


    Wait... (none / 0) (#120)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:44:28 PM EST
    Everyone's loosing their houses and we're facing a huge recession - it doesn't matter how important it is everyone has a house - it doesn't work in the long run.  If someone can afford to own a house they'll get a loan.  If they're being discriminated against unfairly another bank will take their business and the first bank will lose profits for the discrimination.  If someone can't afford a house and enough people care to get them a house, they can put the mortgage in their charitable name - not the US tax payer who doesn't get the choice.

    We do agree!  You mentioned that monetary expansion is the cause of the boom leading the inevitable bust.  This isn't free market.  America did at one time have an economy without these entities - sure - a relatively free market.  So that existed - and it wasn't characterized by this boom-bust cycle.  


    I did not talk about... (none / 0) (#160)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:06:31 PM EST
    monetary expansion.  

    You did.... (none / 0) (#174)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:23:59 PM EST
    "Throw into the mix Alan Greenspan's keeping the interest rates artificially low and ignoring warnings that something was amiss in the private lending sector."

    Lowering interest rates = lowering price money

    Prices go down, demand goes up.  More money enters into the economy - money supply is expanded.


    This is from the web site Calculated Risk (none / 0) (#85)
    by ding7777 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:30:02 AM EST
    The Fannie/Freddie post is by Tanta:

    I think we can give Fannie and Freddie their due share of responsibility for the mess we're in, while acknowledging that they were nowhere near the biggest culprits in the recent credit bubble. They may finance most of the home loans in America, but most of the home loans in America aren't the problem; the problem is that very substantial slice of home loans that went outside the Fannie and Freddie box.

    Unfortunately, Tanta passed away but was eulogized as a "subprime" expert by NYTimes

    More Tanta posts


    Right... (none / 0) (#93)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:41:18 AM EST
    there is a lot of good discussion about the mortgage meltdown on the web.  Calculated Risk is one of my go-to sites although the commenters are sometimes a little too snarky.  Another go-to site for me is "Naked Capitalism".  The commenters are a cut above.

    The 1st time I read Naked Capitalism (none / 0) (#114)
    by ding7777 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:28:20 PM EST
    it was linking to one of Tanta's posts, so off I went to Calculated Risk -

    For absolutely juvenile comments, read The Fly (" a fresh perspective on financial news, and bold opinions on investment opportunities")


    What do you think of this. (none / 0) (#116)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:38:09 PM EST
    When I frame my analysis I'm coming at it from the following angle:

    -Bubbles of this magnitude do not occur in a purely free market as consumer's would have run on free market banks long before they swelled to this size.

    -What about our economy - specifically in housing  is state imposed and not a product of the free market?

    My answers are Fed lending and the quasi-public Fannie/Freddie (and the FDIC).  Now I'm not saying that Fannie actually held or made the bad loans - I'm saying their existence altered the market.  The debate is settled as to what truly caused this mess - interest rates set by a state enforced banking cartel.  I'll bicker all day that I think Fannie lowered the bar and private banks had to follow to remain competitive - now the numbers you site do show that once this process started, private banks got out of control to a greater degree.  I agree with this.


    800 Billion.... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 09:56:38 AM EST
    to whom in China should we address the thank you card for the loan?

    Or should we send it to the guy running the printer at the mint?

    Anybody else have the haunting feeling Congress signed another partial death warrant?  I'm not worried about squeezing out another 30 years of food and shelter and happiness for myself...I just hope my nieces and nephews grow up sharper than we are because we seem about as sharp as a bowling ball.  The nation is being run like Citibank...into the ground.

    After reading around the web today (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Faust on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:13:36 AM EST
    (I've been in partial hiding for a couple weeks) I can only conclude that the country is still fully in the grip of the ideologies that got us into this mess in the first place.

    The Republicans left in congress are all insane, Obama'a PPUS has been proven to be hopelessly naive (if there was ever any doubt), the Blue Dogs are further right than Eisenhower, the American electorate at large is dumber than a bag of rocks, and our Media Elites are 7 figure salary earners that need a teleprompter to tie their own shoes.


    "Reading around the web" is depressing (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by esmense on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:52:03 PM EST
    The ignorance, denial and magical thinking expressed even on sites like TNR and The Atlantic, where you presuppose a fairly intelligent and educated readership, can make you despair. And wonder how we will ever be able to get out of this mess. But I don't think the problem is that people are dumb -- rather they are terribly misinformed. In most cases, their own direct economic experience is limited, their contact with people whose experience may differ from their own is limited, and the sources of information they rely on most often have a self-interested agenda. Corporate America has invested billions over the last few decades in promoting conservative economic myths and dishonest but, to people whose limited economic experience provides no contradictory reality, plausible arguments. Mainstream media routinely provides the nuttiest right wing notions with at least a modicum of respect and acceptability while rarely providing liberal or progressive view a hearing.  Awash in dishonest "common wisdom," accepted widely by people in their own class and circle, presented by sources they consider authoritative, affluent and educated people often have the greatest difficulty rejecting the myths or giving any credence to ideas that present a different reality.  

    Well said... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:24:54 AM EST
    like a racehorse wearing blinkers.

    I Doubt that Obama is .. (none / 0) (#69)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:06:50 AM EST
    naive.  His blind supporters are.

    Well, (none / 0) (#80)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:24:31 AM EST
    so what do we conclude about the efficacy of the 50-state strategy I wonder?

    I think the 50 state strategy is a different ball (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Faust on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:12:01 PM EST
    of wax in some respects (though I see your point).

    My feeling about the 50 state strategy, or at least the version that I think can work in the long term, is that the people that make up all 50 states should be appealed to. In other words, that we who believe in progressive ideas should not be afraid to try and push into territory that we have historically had difficulty making headway into. But this is an appeal to the people of the state and not to the currently elected politicians of a state. Now there are problems with the strategy of course, e.g. that we dillute the purity of the democratic majority with de-facto Republicans etc, and there are other criticisms as well.

    But I think that the complexities of pursuing the 50 state strategy are in a somewhat different box than negotiating with the existing representatives in congress. They have a fixed reality "in the now" as it were, and I do not think this bill was couched correctly to deal with that reality.  


    Yea... (none / 0) (#43)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:30:56 AM EST
    we're really really screwed.  People aren't even discussing what happens to the currency if

    1. we can convince the banks to lend out the massive amounts of Federal Reserve Notes we gave them late last year.

    2. the dollar subsequently stops becoming the international currency of choice and demand for dollars plummets dramatically.  

    You can't fudge the CPI that much when making treasury note payments...

    Many People Are Discussing ... (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:10:51 AM EST
    currency issues.  There is great concern about the impact on the dollar of these various unprecedented actions by the Fed and Treasury.  Perhaps Bush should have thought more about the impact on the dollar when he was planning his war in Iraq.

    Saddam wanted to sell oil on Euro. (none / 0) (#95)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:50:44 AM EST
    So there's an argument it was good for the dollar as the demand for dollars for oil was the only thing keeping inflation on earth since 1971.  

    Not that I'm for any war predicated on imposing on rather than defending a domestic populace's way of life.  


    I remember reading.... (none / 0) (#101)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:05:10 PM EST
    the international drug trade is slowly moving away from the dollar to the euroas well...wonder what the impications of that will be.

    Whenever demand for dollars goes down... (none / 0) (#113)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:27:54 PM EST
    ...prices go up.  It's just a matter of scale and time.  And we're fighting deflation...

    We aren't fighting deflation (none / 0) (#119)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:43:44 PM EST
    If we were fighting deflation this stimulus creating only jobs would have been put through immediately to the tune of 1 trillion.  Maybe you're fighting deflation, you're sort of alone though......good luck.

    Attempting to maintain inflated asset values... (none / 0) (#124)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:48:44 PM EST
    Is fighting deflation.  Getting banks to lend again - against their better judgment - is fighting deflation.  We dumped tons of Fed notes into the banking system - swapping out the assets and asking them to lend...to expand the money supply...reinflate...which is to fight deflation.

    "Maybe you're fighting deflation, you're sort of alone though......good luck." Why are you people mean!?!?


    What? I'm a girl who grew up in America (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:00:02 PM EST
    Why would I be nice unless I wanted tire track imprints on my face :)?  People here are simply pointing out the nuances of reality verses your dogma.  I know dogma is easy.  I go the dogma route whenever I can, muffins are healthy, don't swim after eating, but none of us can afford to go the dogma route on this crisis.  As to addressing the hazards of deflation, at this point only going after the toxic assets is too little too late.  That needed to happen this fall but nobody wanted to talk about unregulated unaccounted for credit default swap when McCain was trying to get elected.  I still don't think we have solid figures on that mess do we?  They are still hiding it aren't they?

    Ok. (none / 0) (#132)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:07:57 PM EST
    It's hard to tell sass in typed word with strangers.  Understood.  As far as dogma being easy - well I don't follow how what I'm saying is a dogma necessarily or at least more so than any other comments on this site - and regardless, it's way easier to agree with people than disagree and present your case.  And what do you mean "none of us can afford to go the dogma route on this crisis"?  

    Regarding our substantive conversation:

    To be more specific:

    Are natural market forces inducing deflation currently?

    Do you think expanding the money supply and forcing demand via fiscal stimulus has inflationary or deflationary results in the short term?


    Yes preternatural market forces are (none / 0) (#134)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:14:32 PM EST
    inducing deflation, I never said they weren't :).  Just wait until the American people completely understand what those "natural" forces are because they are going to deem them unnatural and an unregulated ripoff and the pissed has only just begun.  In the meantime replacing the jobs we are losing at a steep rate is one of the best ways to fight the deflation that threatens us all.

    Oh and in this instance (none / 0) (#137)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:22:39 PM EST
    expanding the money supply by employing middleclass will fight deflation better than anything else we can do.

    Oh and... (none / 0) (#133)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:09:12 PM EST
    your second question - this article has the numbers you're looking for...I think.  http://mises.org/story/3281

    Are you an Austrian? (none / 0) (#135)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:19:08 PM EST
    Look, be careful what economists you admit to reading here.  I read this one Nazi and he's been right about a lot of things but he isn't considered real credible cuz he's pretty fubar on some things too :)  My Nazi was saying a lot of the same things that Roubini is saying though too.  Do you Roubini?  Do you Krugman?

    Oh I'm careful. (none / 0) (#140)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:30:23 PM EST
    That's how I got there in the first place.  They aren't Austrian necessarily - if at all anymore.

    They were however nice enough to write that article.  Tell me what you think.

    Nazis?  I know you're kidding but they're way lest fascist or communist in policy recommendations than Krugman.  

    I used to love that guy when he would talk on the war.  I read Conscience of a Liberal and thought it was great back when I believed in the Phillips Curve.  I voted for Hillary.  Since then my views have changed - but I linked you to mises to help answer your questions - no need to worry about their conclusions.  


    It's standard economic stuff (none / 0) (#143)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:35:27 PM EST
    but it doesn't take into account like I said above.....CDS and all the insolvency that that created.  That is all still being hidden at this time.

    It also isn't taking into consideration (none / 0) (#145)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:36:19 PM EST
    the incredibly steep unemployment spiral.

    Are you an Austrian? (none / 0) (#136)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:20:04 PM EST
    I read this one Nazi and he's been right about a lot of things but he isn't considered real credible cuz he's pretty fubar on some things too :)  My Nazi was saying a lot of the same things that Roubini is saying though too.  Do you Roubini?  Do you Krugman?

    Oops twice (none / 0) (#138)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:23:16 PM EST
    Oh, and last but not least (none / 0) (#149)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:41:32 PM EST
    when things are as broken systemwise as they are right now wealth becomes a concept again and not a tangible.  So can the Fed in my opinion become insolvent? No

    Great concern indeed... (none / 0) (#96)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:51:22 AM EST
    I'm thinking if and when the economy turns around, ten dollar loaves of bread will soon follow.

    Has to right? When you're printing currency with no gold standard (or any other standard) like it is going out of style.


    It could happen that we come (none / 0) (#184)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:03:03 PM EST
    upon a time......not a permanent time.....when it becomes costlier to produce things than what they can be sold for.  That was how our grandparents came to save everything, because it took the system awhile to recover its ability to produce and benefit.  I think I heard a Krugman interview recently talking about such thing and the possibilities, he didn't commit to the notion that we are heading there but he didn't dismiss it either.

    They can't lend for cripes (none / 0) (#121)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:46:09 PM EST
    sake what they must hang onto to prop their insolvent books up.  That was the problem with the TARP solution to freeing credit up all along.

    Prepare (none / 0) (#7)
    by SOS on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:03:02 AM EST
    for Impact

    What really caused the financial meltdown (none / 0) (#23)
    by BernieO on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:15:07 AM EST
    Testosterone poisoning!


    Seriously, it is interesting that this was a topic of discussion at Davos.

    Wonderful summary of studies (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:24:27 AM EST
    in layperson language; thanks.  

    But as for the conclusion, putting one woman on the board of every bank, I bet she's already there.  Look at corporate annual reports; the photo of the officers always has one woman -- Human Resources VP(aka personnel), one of the lowest-paid positions.

    If there actually are two women in those photos, the other is VP of Public Relations.  However, if the position has been retitled Strategic Marketing, it's held by a man.  Women aren't strategic, y'know.

    Really, the gendered ways of corporate America are so transparent that it would be funny, if it weren't so sad, because continuing to hold back more than half of Americans can explain a lot more than, as this article does, why Wall Street went bad.  It explains why we so often are not getting ahead, still being so exclusionary.


    Unfortunately, putting a woman on the ... (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:15:30 AM EST
    board doesn't help much if the culture of the board is to fall asleep during financial statement presentations or if the woman feels that she has to go along to get along.

    But having diversity in decision-making groups, if those groups are functional, is certainly optimal.


    Meanwhile, the BBC suggests ... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:18:45 AM EST
    Hmmmm, gambling addicts (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:25:44 AM EST
    attracted to employment on Wall Street and then Wall Street is full of gambling addicts?  Who knew?

    I did... (5.00 / 0) (#48)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:36:09 AM EST
    I'm a degenerate gambler and we can spot each other a mile away.

    I'd never gamble on Wall St. though...that is gambling with peoples livelyhoods and very lives...I prefer a card game where all the players are willing participants.


    Not sure that really holds up kdog (none / 0) (#51)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:39:19 AM EST
    You think people who play card games don't often have families who aren't "willing participants?"

    I'm sure most do... (none / 0) (#71)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:11:38 AM EST
    have families, I can only hope they are responsible and not gambling the milk money.

    My analogy is flawed on second thought...you're right.  How 'bout this one...cardplayers gamble on the turh of a card, Wall Streeters gamble on the turn of human lives.


    Nice rhetorical flourish, but not really right (none / 0) (#74)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:14:38 AM EST
    Wall street gambles on all sorts of things, most of which are quite boring.

    Betting on whether Acme Corp. will lay off... (none / 0) (#183)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:59:43 PM EST
    a couple thousand people is not boring for those workers....that is what I can't stomach.  Bet on a horse if you've got the jones.

    Is Wall Street still full of heroin addicts, (none / 0) (#158)
    by DFLer on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:57:45 PM EST
    or has that trend subsided?

    I always thought (5.00 / 2) (#167)
    by CST on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:12:50 PM EST
    cocaine was their drug of choice.

    and as far as i know, no it hasn't stopped


    Sort of a... (none / 0) (#37)
    by desertswine on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:26:15 AM EST
    biological imperative gone awry. Then there must be a gene for acquisitiveness(sp).

    That was a fabulously delicious read (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:21:49 AM EST
    for a girl.  I loved it.  You really liked this?  I think I love you too.  This also explains how when the bankruptcy of Lehman Bros was announced an employee got off of his exercise equipment in the executive gym and punched the CEO in the face :)

    Thats a new one (none / 0) (#31)
    by SOS on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:23:53 AM EST
    It's Testosterone's Fault!

    Anything but accepting personal responsibility for ones actions I guess is the ongoing mantra.


    Silly, testerone (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:29:07 AM EST
    is very personal.  

    I'll stick with... (none / 0) (#66)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:03:49 AM EST
    blaming interventionist capitalism and the federal banking system.  Would you really expect the Davos folk to be introspective?  Maybe we need more women choosing policy and running the Fed - but that article just screams deck chairs on titanic.  It was the business environment not the businesses themselves.  The government engineered the environment - knowingly or unknowingly - they created it and profit maximization was carried out under perverse conditions.  

    What Do You Mean By... (none / 0) (#97)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:51:58 AM EST
    "... the business environment not the businesses themselves".?  A well-managed business can operate in just about any business environment.  

    For example (none / 0) (#106)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:14:41 PM EST
    If private banks weren't backed by a central bank - the operators would have experienced bank runs as their largest account holders would be concerned that the bank's policies would leave to insolvency.  

    The reality is that the government installed a central bank that utilizes tax payer debt to insure banks resulting in account holders not concerning themselves with the particulars of their bank.

    One would say "well sure, the bank no longer is forced to act responsibly by it's customers - but surely it can still choose to act responsibly?"

    The answer to this is a giant not exactly.  Banks that took advantage of this were able to loan out much more money to risky borrowers and in turn earn more money and clients.  A bank down the street has to either play along in the rigged market or lose it's clients to the competition.

    You can still say that the bank that goes along with this is still amoral and you could argue this correctly.  Nevertheless, the dilemma would not exist was it not for unconstitutional banking policies which are always the cause of the boom-bust cycle (barring natural disaster and invasion).


    Have You Ever Worked at a Bank? (none / 0) (#125)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:48:45 PM EST
    There are banks that are well-managed - taking into account risks appropriately and setting aside capital, match funding, etc. notwithstanding that their competitors are doing foolish things.

    Absent federal and state regulation how do you think depositors would find out about their bank's financial health?  How do you think Bernie Madoff managed his fraud?  

    You are talking about some ideal state that doesn't exist and in a complex world can't exist.  I'm more interested in reality than some abstract discussion.


    Whelp... (none / 0) (#129)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:54:25 PM EST
    "Absent federal and state regulation how do you think depositors would find out about their bank's financial health?" - Depositors would take their business to a bank that would agree to transparency since there would be no Federal insurance.  Since bank's are profit driven, they will meet consumer demand...kinda like rollover minutes and free roaming.  

    I'm not interested in ... (none / 0) (#166)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:12:14 PM EST
    what might happen in a hypothetically purely free market.  It's abstract to the point of meaninglessness.

    That's not the point... (none / 0) (#171)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:19:14 PM EST
    we're discussing what caused this...it was government regulation on the banks - not a lack of regulation.

    No, you're discussing the (none / 0) (#182)
    by ThatOneVoter on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:45:54 PM EST
    theoretical difference between a hypothetical case which does not exist and the real world.
    The proper comparison is to take federal deposit insurance as a given, and see how lack of regulation in THAT environment has been harmful.
    You follow the Austrian school, right?

    Yup. (none / 0) (#190)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:16:41 PM EST
    I don't agree. Hear me out.  The FDIC isn't a given.  It is a concept that was created and that can be destroyed.  If we find that a concept created and enforced by the government may be the root cause of economic downturn - the discussion should revolve around that concept.  That said, we need to examine why it was put there and ensure that it's removal will not have unforeseen effects as best as possible.

    If I have knowingly added poison to my water every day and when i get sick instead of halting my poison consumption i try to find something that can cure my ailments - wouldn't that seem like a very inefficient solution?  I'm not saying that the comparison is perfect...maybe (and I certainly don't agree but maybe)...there is a real need for the Fed or FDIC and maybe it is worth it...but should we really not be asking those questions right now?


    While you might not be an (5.00 / 1) (#206)
    by ThatOneVoter on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:31:37 PM EST
    Austrian, you share their distaste for evidence-based reasoning.
    Good day.

    Also (none / 0) (#172)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:20:28 PM EST
    That was a direct answer to a question you asked:

    "Absent federal and state regulation how do you think depositors would find out about their bank's financial health?"

    I answer and then you say you aren't interested in the very question you asked me.  


    You answered me with an... (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:45:42 PM EST
    abstraction.  How do you know what would work in a purely free market situation?  Has there ever been a purely free market?  How do you define "purely free market"?  

    Well (none / 0) (#186)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:08:46 PM EST
    I didn't mean to say that I know just as I don't think anyone claims to know what x,y,z policy does.  There's always one reality and people are always comparing it to proposed alternatives.  It's the best possible guess based on logically derived analysis.

    What is this concern with a purely free market?  Let's refine it to just a capitalist market with the Fed and it's regulations on banks and one without the Fed and it's regulations.

    Pretend you are the depositor and there is not Federal banking guide lines.  Would you not demand as a consumer these services?  Or don't you think large depositors at least would demand this?  Perhaps they'd even demand that banks get certified by third party companies.  I admit - this is all conjecture.  But so is anything anyone says about anything that isn't already happening.   If someone is proposing a whole new set of regulations - they are being just as abstract as I am by using logical methods to hypothesize that less regulations would result in better practice.  


    I wouldn't deposit my money... (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:25:37 PM EST
    in your hypothetical bank.

    This is a total red herring. (none / 0) (#187)
    by ThatOneVoter on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:10:32 PM EST
    You might find it interesting to discuss whether there should be a FED  insuring deposits or not, but that is not a question that is being discussed as relevant to the current crisis.

    The relevant question (none / 0) (#193)
    by Samuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:20:14 PM EST
    is what is the cause of this crisis.

    What do you think the relevant question is yourself?


    Los Angeles Times (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:25:49 AM EST
    article re who benefits from the stimulus package:


    Where's incentives for new (none / 0) (#42)
    by SOS on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:30:12 AM EST
    products and services invented, designed, manufactured, marketed and serviced?



    Bandits are targeting trains (none / 0) (#46)
    by SOS on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:35:53 AM EST
    in out-of-the-way parts of New Mexico.

    Rail officials say the train robbers are swiping high end electronics from rail cars, including flat screen TVs.

    It's still not clear where trains are being ripped off or exactly how the bandits are doing it, but thieves reportedly are following the trains with SUVs and are using GPS equipment to communicate with each other.

    Hey.... (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:39:34 AM EST
    we've finally got our own band of domestic pirates....are they hiring? :)

    Mexico is totally... (none / 0) (#60)
    by desertswine on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:53:28 AM EST
    out of control.

    Also much violence around Cancun.


    It's probably (none / 0) (#88)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:35:56 AM EST
    Oh, NEW Mexico... (none / 0) (#99)
    by desertswine on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:01:47 PM EST
    ... I mis-read.

    Cultural alert: Covent Garden (none / 0) (#47)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:35:53 AM EST
    is commissioning an opera on the life of Anne Nicole Smith.  Libretto to be written by the man who brought us "Jerry Springer, the Opera."  (LAT)

    No thoughts... (none / 0) (#53)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:42:39 AM EST
    ...on the Conn. Opera shutting down?  

    I didn't know there was a (none / 0) (#151)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:44:58 PM EST
    Connecticut Opera Company.  Quite indicative of problems in the arts in general though.  San Diego Museum of Art laid off a tenth of its staff due to sharp decline in worth of its endowment.  Historical Society is "letting go" of many preservation-accomplished buildings.  New York City Cpera, of all intents and purposes, is skipping this season all together.  

    Coburn's axe in the stimulus cut money for casinos, golf courses, and museums, as well as stress free loungers (????).  

    Yes, I would like some of my tax money to be used to fuel our arts institutions and artists.


    Good Gawd (none / 0) (#54)
    by SOS on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:43:27 AM EST
    From a country that produced Pink Floyd this is the best they can do?

    I'll Reserve Judgment... (none / 0) (#94)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:48:42 AM EST
    I'm a die-hard traditionalist but found Dr. Atomic very moving.  I'm not sure that there are many hummable tunes but the entire mix was good.  

    I saw Atomic in San Francisco . (none / 0) (#141)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:32:06 PM EST
    Opera didn't really entice me (disclosure:  I like some of John Adams's music but not all).  To me, the most interesting aspect was hearing Peter Sellars talk for about an hour before the opera started.  

    Well, I didn't run out and buy the (none / 0) (#170)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:16:24 PM EST

    But it has made me open to new operas.


    Where did you see the opera? (none / 0) (#173)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:22:45 PM EST
    I'm glad it expanded your opera-going horizons.  I like to see something I've never seen before.  For example:  next week, Don Quixote, by Massenet!!!!

    I saw the Live From the Met... (none / 0) (#188)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:12:29 PM EST
    broadcast at the local theater.  I used to hold season tickets to the Sf Opera but because I don't live in the city, it was always a full day excursion.  The Live from the Met broadcasts allow me to see operas that I would not normally choose to go to because of time and money constraints.  I saw Peter Grimes at the Live from the Met  theater broadcast and loved that one.  Again, I wouldn't run out and buy the dvd.

    More cultural alert...Times is tough... (none / 0) (#178)
    by desertswine on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:40:40 PM EST
    Too bad, especially with a new building. (none / 0) (#180)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:44:22 PM EST
    No charitable trusts/endowment worries about selling?  

    Were They Impacted by... (none / 0) (#192)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:20:01 PM EST
    the Madoff swindle.

    I Was Going To Say Yes (none / 0) (#207)
    by daring grace on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:33:24 PM EST
    because that's what I'd heard.

    But their student newspaper says they were not.


    Nothing to see here move along (none / 0) (#55)
    by SOS on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:44:48 AM EST
    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory in New Mexico is missing 67 computers, including 13 that were lost or stolen in the past year. Officials say no classified information has been lost.

    Know your enemy, he could be your friend (none / 0) (#61)
    by cpa1 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 10:53:56 AM EST
    This came to me from a high school friend who I am very close with.  We obviously have different political views.  I really get infuriated when I see lies and camouflage like this because so many of these jerks stop thinking and make this kind of sh_t their mantra...like the welfare mother.  

    I am sure they will use that imbecile,  Nadya Suleman, who had 8 more kids through implanted embryos, as their next attack against liberals.

    Anyway, read the story I received.

    From Wall Street to Main Street and everywhere in between,
    > stay up-to-date with the latest news.Story of the Little Red
    > Hen
    > Who will help me plant the wheat'? asked the Little Red
    > Hen.
    > 'Not I,' said the cow.>
    > 'Not I,' said the duck.
    > 'Not I,' said the pig.>
    > 'Not I,' said the goose.
    > 'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red
    > hen, and so she did.
    > The wheat grew very tall and ripened into golden grain.
    > 'Who will help me reap my wheat?' asked the little
    > red hen.
    > 'Not I,' said the duck..
    > 'Out of my classification,' said the pig.>
    > 'I'd lose my seniority,' said the cow.
    > 'I'd lose my unemployment compensation,' said
    > the goose.
    > 'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red
    > hen, and so she did.>
    > At last it came time to bake the bread.
    > 'Who will help me bake the bread?' asked the little
    > red hen.
    > 'That would be overtime for me,' said the cow.
    > 'I'd lose my welfare benefits,' said the duck.
    > 'I'm a dropout and never learned how,' said the
    > pig.
    > 'If I'm to be the only helper, that's
    > discrimination,' said the goose.>
    > 'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red
    > hen.
    > She baked five loaves and held them up for all of her
    > neighbors to see.
    > They wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share. But the
    > little red hen said, 'No, I shall eat all five loaves.'
    > 'Excess profits!' cried the cow. (Nancy Pelosi)
    > 'Capitalist leech!' screamed the duck. (Barbara
    > Boxer)
    > 'I demand equal rights!' yelled the goose. (Jesse
    > Jackson)
    > The pig just grunted in disdain. (Ted Kennedy)
    > And they all painted 'Unfair!' picket signs and
    > marched around and around the little red hen, shouting obscenities.
    > >
    > Then the farmer (Obama) came. He said to the little red
    > hen, "You must not be so greedy, Let's re-distribute the wealth!"
    > >
    > 'But I earned the bread,' said the little red hen.
    > 'Exactly,' said Barack the farmer. 'That is what makes our free enterprise
    > system so wonderful. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as
    > much as he wants.
    > But under our modern government regulations, the productive
    > workers must divide the fruits of their labor with those who are lazy
    > and idle.'
    > And they all lived happily ever after, including the little
    > red hen, who smiled and clucked, 'I am grateful, for now I truly
    > understand.'
    > But her neighbors became quite disappointed in her. She
    > never again baked bread because she joined the 'party' and got her
    > bread free. And all the Democrats smiled. 'Fairness' had been established.
    > Individual initiative had died, but nobody noticed; perhaps
    > no one cared...so long as there was free bread that 'the
    > rich' were paying for.  
    > Bill Clinton is getting $12 million for his memoirs.
    > Hillary got $8 million for hers.
    > That's $20 million for the memories from two people,
    > who for eight years, repeatedly testified, under oath, that they couldn't
    > remember anything.

    I know it shouldn't be shocking (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by eric on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:24:50 AM EST
    but yet I just can't believe how they managed to turn a story about the value of the rewards of communal cooperation into this ridiculous story.  Perhaps it provides insight into the conservative's soul - they read the Little Red Hen to mean that if other people don't deserve it, you shouldn't be required to share with them.  Of course, this is completely backwards.  The moral, is it not, is that if you don't contribute, you might get left out of the rewards.

    They read it as a justification of selfishness; I read it as a warning to those that fail to help - one is better off if one helps others.


    absolutely but the f___ing audacity (none / 0) (#154)
    by cpa1 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:52:38 PM EST
    is that they think unemployed people want to be that way and they don't see how is how much an advantage it is to come from stable families where the work ethic was always primary. Nobody wants to mooch off society.  Almost anyone would love to live out their potential.

    Take a scumbag like George W. Bush, what would he have been like if he didn't grow up in one of America's respected families.  I doubt he would have gone to college or maybe not even finish high school because the guy is an idiot that got more help than he deserved every step of the way.


    absolutely but the f___ing audacity (none / 0) (#155)
    by cpa1 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:53:18 PM EST
    is that they think unemployed people want to be that way and they don't see how is how much an advantage it is to come from stable families where the work ethic was always primary. Nobody wants to mooch off society.  Almost anyone would love to live out their potential.

    Take a scumbag like George W. Bush, what would he have been like if he didn't grow up in one of America's respected families.  I doubt he would have gone to college or maybe not even finish high school because the guy is an idiot that got more help than he deserved every step of the way.


    But you can't deny... (none / 0) (#78)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:17:46 AM EST
    there is a shred of truth in the tale of the little red hen.  Not the whole truth...yes, an oversimplified truth...yes.  But still a shred of truth.

    If you look ard enough, (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by cpa1 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:13:44 PM EST
    there is an example proving anything.  

    There are certain kinds of people who sense there will be no reply and because there is no reply or rebuttal they will saying anything to benefit themselves.

    I see it in court all the time from expert witnesses, some of whom are absolute whores.  I am an expert witness and if I have to lie, I don't take the case, no matter how much they offer.

    Republicans know and study the effort it will take to refute their lies and if it is large enough, they'll go ahead and lie lie lie, knowing that Democrats won't have the stomach to retell the story the right way, especially considering the short attention span of the average American.

    Back to the story, for us to give in and say sometimes it's true is giving up.  Of course you cannot vouch for everyone's work ethic but neither can you vouch for the person making the money because of a politician he paid off.  Americans are not lazy and they don't want something for nothing.  Everyone would prefer to be successful and have that great feeling for doing something well.  There are a few exceptions but Republicans want the exceptions to be seen as the rule and we can't let them get away with that.  Incentive is the key idea. You give your legislated gifts to those who have done the work but you make sure everyone has a chance.  This is the welfare mom all over again.


    I read it totally different.... (none / 0) (#144)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:36:13 PM EST
    "Welfare Moms" were the furthest from my mind when I read the little tale...I associated the moocher animals with politicians and bueracrats actually...thought of Orwell's "Animal Farm" too.

    Central planners, intellectuals...people who have never known a hard days work in their lives yet claim to have it all figured out and know how to spend our money better than we do.  


    Hey! (none / 0) (#150)
    by CST on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:43:35 PM EST
    Central planners who do their job correctly can be very useful.

    Unfortunately, too many bought into the whole suburbian cul-de-sac fiasco.

    But GOOD planning I think is indisposable.  It's how you got gridded streets and city parks.  Olmstead is kinda a hero of mine.

    It's not the profession, it's the person in the profesion.


    Traffic planners... (none / 0) (#162)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:09:34 PM EST
    infrastructure planners...agreed, very important jobs.  As long as they don't have too much power...I mean one small group of traffic planners in Washington shouldn't set traffic policy for the whole nation, it should be done at the local level...more efficient and more in tune with local needs.  Lioke Robert Moses here in NY...gifted planner who had too much power and tyrannized people...especially Brooklyn Dodger diehards:)

    I was thinking more of the central planners of our personal daily lives..how much of the fruit of our labor we get to keep, what is taught in schools, what you can or can't smoke, stuff like that.  I tend to think there is a direct correlation between central planning and tyranny, more of the first means more of the second.  I'm more of a free as all hell let the chips fall guy...and when a problem arises you start by dealing with it at the local level and work your way up to the national level if need be...not starting at the national level and imposing on communities and localities who may not even have a problem.


    Yes (none / 0) (#153)
    by cpa1 on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:46:47 PM EST
    but they are talking about the result of what the politicians would do, create a society where only Republican CEOs will want to work.  How the hell could we have built a country like the USA if people did want to work and take pride in the jobs, their lives and their nations.  These Republicans are horrible human beings.  

    My friend has always been like this, even as a kid.  It is his philosophy and it was his father's.  It's the engineer's mentality of black and white without looking beyond the surface.

    I could make up another story with the real story of the Plutocracy but who has the time.  They love to beat us more than we love to fight back.


    I came to libertarian ideas... (5.00 / 2) (#177)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:36:24 PM EST
    from the left, not the right.  I'm from a die-hard Democratic household, where I was taught that Dems are for the poor and Repubs are for the rich so we vote Dem because we work for a living.  

    As I grew older, it all started to look like a big con to pit rich vs poor and right vs left and rural vs urban...while D and R and their beuracrat bandwagon of teet-suckers laugh all the way to the bank.  I didn't wanna play that game anymore.  I thought hard about what I value most and I came up with liberty...not security, not a safety net, not a welfare state...but plain old fashioned freedom to make my own fate and carve out a niche...the freedom to plant wheat and make bread without somebody fatter than I coming for a slice with the authority of a bdage and the threat of the gun.

    I'm what you'd call a poor working slob...total net worth under 5 figures, always a few missed paychecks away from hard times.  I can accept that deal as long as I'm free.  Gladly accept it...it is the way of the world, no choice really.  

    Once again I'm forced to quote my boy Strummer and The Clash....


    I don't believe in lying back and waitin' on Uncle Sam to change your luck either.  


    HarperCollins Another ... (none / 0) (#72)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:11:39 AM EST
    victim of economic downturn.  They're facing major restructuring.  Details here.

    Not great news for me personally.  Did some work for HC in the last year. But I'm sort of glad that I've waited to submit a new book proposal.

    If they were holding it now, I might have become a victim of the long knives.

    Ap has an article about (none / 0) (#142)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:34:48 PM EST
    authors who are upset with the Kindle version, which speaks as well as displays their words.  

    Multiple political parties? (none / 0) (#73)
    by Manuel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:14:33 AM EST
    I have often thought it would be great to have more options in the USA but you have to design the rules carefully.  Just look at the gridlock in Israel (with more to come).  It makes our obstructionist Republicans look like child's play.

    If they had single-member districts (none / 0) (#77)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:15:34 AM EST
    or could set a higher viability threshold, they'd probably be in better shape.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss (none / 0) (#84)
    by lobary on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:29:39 AM EST
    Greenwald won't be pleased about this:

    Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan, President Obama's choice to represent his administration before the Supreme Court, told a key Republican senator Tuesday that she believed the government could hold suspected terrorists without trial as war prisoners.

    I don't think there's any question that we are at war, and I think, to be honest, I think our nation didn't realize that we were at war when in fact we were.  When I look back at the 90s and Tanzania embassy bombings, the bombing of the Cole, I think we as a nation should have realized that at that point we were at war. We should not have waited until September 11th, 2001 to make that determination.

    Well (5.00 / 3) (#90)
    by eric on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:38:11 AM EST
    in her defense, calling them war prisoners at least affords them rights.  The previous administration didn't want them to be called war prisoners, while at the same time didn't want them to be criminal defendants.  Enemy combatants was a convenient limbo to put them in.

    Sadly, calling them war prisoners is a giant leap forward.


    It still may not be enough (none / 0) (#89)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 11:36:46 AM EST
    The Republicans are fixing to filibuster her nomination.

    Let them (none / 0) (#110)
    by Dadler on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:21:13 PM EST
    They're f'ing idiots, and if the Dems aren't imaginative enough to counter it (which is not that hard, Republicans are not exactly creativity machines) then her nomination can die for all I care.  Let the Republicans fillibuster everything.  At least that would mean they had to own SOMETHING -- being obstructionist.  And if they claim they aren't, well, you can easily point to what a mess they've made of the nation for the last 8 years.  And you do it with malice and humiliation.  You laugh at them and say things like "Are you crazy?  This is the party of zero ideas that thinks it's good you are unemployed, that it's just some kind of economic adjustment going on, while you get evicted and try to make ends meet.  They are the party of let them eat cake.  And not even cake, they'd rather you ate stale bread.  The Republican party doesn't think government should do anything but help them line their pockets with money, which, if you've noticed, has left everyone's pockets with big holes in them.  They are a joke and we will treat them like it."  You get very mean and very funny at the same time.  It works.  Always.  Will it happen.  Nope.

    Man, with all the stimulation about stimulus (none / 0) (#100)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:05:04 PM EST
    I almost forgot about the movie Coraline.  I didn't care for The Nightmare Before Christmas, being a mom nobody that cares about kids flicks in this house cares what I like, I'm just supposed to pull my jacket on and get into the car.  I loved Coraline though.  Dad didn't care for it, Josh was intrigued by some of the freudian darkness.  I will likely purchase the movie, and they will probably tell guests it is mine and it probably will be.

    Did you see it in 3-D? (none / 0) (#108)
    by desertswine on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:16:03 PM EST
    Yes, it was kewl (inner child) (none / 0) (#112)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:24:28 PM EST
    I did peek out of my glasses, some frames weren't very discernable without your glasses.  Here is a link to the movie page and the trailer for anyone interested.

    Change you can't find (none / 0) (#107)
    by lentinel on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:15:48 PM EST
    even with a microscope manned by Sherlock Holmes:

    From WashPo:

    "Congressional efforts to impose stringent restrictions on executive compensation appeared to be evaporating yesterday as House and Senate negotiators worked to fine-tune the compromise stimulus bill.

    Provisions to impose a penalty on banks that paid hefty bonuses and to cap pay at $400,000 for all employees at firms applying for additional government funds did not survive the compromise, sources said.

    Business as before.

    Bush stuck us with one last 800 billion dollar fling.
    And now we're in for another round.

    Will there be anything left?

    And, of course, we're still spending incredible amounts of dough every single day in the sinkholes of Iraq and Afghanistan. No change there, either. None. Nada. N O T H I N G.

    I have never been more pessimistic.

    do we know why??? (none / 0) (#123)
    by CST on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 12:47:22 PM EST
    I thought that was one of the few things everyone agreed on... wasn't it already in the senate AND house bills???

    Am I missing something???


    I heard, probably on BBC or NPR, (none / 0) (#147)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:37:36 PM EST
    the reason for not including restraints on executive pay is because confidence in the market would be shaken.  (Seriously.)

    speechless... (none / 0) (#164)
    by CST on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 02:10:43 PM EST
    team obama (none / 0) (#205)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:30:41 PM EST
    didnt want it betcha his plan is declawed and his buds in fortune 500 woiuld frown on it

    he also frakked over the middle class that doesnt get the 13 a week tax break and the housing plan, see comment down below is for poor only via means teting...

    so kmuch for under 250k getting a hand, or even under 80k


    Good News (none / 0) (#139)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:27:02 PM EST
    In a blow to the movement arguing that vaccines trigger autism, three Federal judges ruled Thursday against all three families in three test cases, all of whom had sought compensation from the Federal vaccine-injury fund.


    In his strongly worded decision, the special master, George L. Hastings Jr. ruled that the government's expert witnesses were "far better qualified, far more experienced and far more persuasive" than the Cedillos.


    While expressing "deep sympathy and admiration" for the Cedillo family, he [Judge ruled that they were "misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment.


    I really feel sorry for the parents of these children who have been exploited for purely financial gain by greedy lawyers and physicians. It is shameful.

    And they will appeal. The spread of misinformation by these greedy creeps has already led to an increase in measles in England. 1,348 cases last year as opposed to 56 in 1998 when the autism vaccine brouhaha was started by Andrew Wakefield who had "fixed" his data in order to bolster his case. Two children died last year from measles. Sad.

    BBC reported last night polio vaccinations (none / 0) (#148)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:40:05 PM EST
    in Africa were shut down because Nigerian muslims believed the vaccinations were a plot to sterilize muslim girls.  Today marks the beginning of a new push to get kids polio vaccine in Africa.  Some countries had erradicated it until the rumor wiped out those efforts.  

    Judd Gregg just withdrew (none / 0) (#195)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:23:20 PM EST
    as Commerce Secr.  Not because of some skeleton in his closet discovered by vetting, apparently, but something I couldn't make a lot of sense out of about conflict of interest with the census plus the stimulus bill vote.

    I'll add, this has been one really (5.00 / 1) (#204)
    by tigercourse on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:29:42 PM EST
    incompetent transition. At least Obama now has an oppurtunity to A) appoint a couple of actual Democrats and B) lessen the ridiculous gender disparity in his cabinet.

    It was likely a little humiliating to (none / 0) (#200)
    by tigercourse on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:27:37 PM EST
    be chosen for a Cabinet post and then imediately have the responsibilities of that post lessened because you aren't trusted.

    census (none / 0) (#201)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:27:58 PM EST
    hispanic and black caucuses complained since Gregg previously voted to kill census, so Obama floated moving census to wh under rahm and that made gop wig out.....

    Obama Housing Recsue not f (none / 0) (#198)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:25:45 PM EST
    leavesm out the middle class completely it sounds like, nbut modifies morts for those wiht low income who arent behind, this sucks IMO

    they apparently REJECTED  a plan to let all Americans refi to a lower rate the frakkers

    how does this stop jingle mail from those underwater:

    writeup here

    Under the plan being mulled, homeowners would have to make a case of hardship to qualify for new loan terms.

    Housing policymakers weighed but have for now shelved one plan that would have seen the government stand behind low-cost mortgages of between 4 and 4.5 percent, sources said.

    Here is my hardship... (5.00 / 2) (#203)
    by coast on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:29:25 PM EST
    I have to help payoff a few trillion dollars you guys just ponied up in my name...how is that for hardship.

    by jedimom on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 03:26:27 PM EST
    Betcha census helped kill this deal

    gregg withdraws breaking everywhere, cnbc