Friday Afternoon Open Thread

Here's a question, who thinks Citigroup is solvent? Please find "experts" not named Geithner or not working for Citi who think it.

This is an Open Thread.

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    Coleman trial entertaining again today (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by magster on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 01:42:39 PM EST
    Apparently Franken's lawyer unearthed another of team Coleman's shady trial prep and which contradicted statements made by Coleman's lawyers in arguments on Wednesday.

    Dobson resigns as chairman of Focus on the Family (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:00:00 PM EST
    Doesn't sound like much will be changing though...


    It feels weird linking the Denver Post instead of the Rocky.

    I didn't realize how old he is. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Fabian on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:22:39 PM EST
    (72 years old) I thought he might be making a career change instead of stepping down.

    Apparently Focus on the Family wants to "broaden" its appeal, which sounds more like soften its rhetoric to me.  Perhaps the anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-women (whoops - did I say that out loud?) spiel doesn't appeal to the younger audience as well as it did to the previous generations.

    Dobson stepping out of the spotlight at the same time FoF says it wants to broaden its appeal - coincidence or not?


    The faces may change... (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:27:02 PM EST
    ...but no doubt the hate will remain the same.  It's far too entrenched in the organization...

    Assets are clearly overstated... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:01:08 PM EST
    it's very-super-extremely as in "go to definitely and subtract one" obvious that it is insolvent - though to be fair it can meet it's debt obligations on schedule in the immediate future and in that regard passes the test.  So technically you cannot say the bank is insolvent until there is proof that the value of the assets is overstated in the form a revaluation.  By the same definition it'd be fair to argue that the US government is insolvent.  

    Nonetheless I'd say the case for insolvency is convincing (as with the US gov as well).  As long as both these entities are experiencing positive cash flows they still can technically be differentiated from non-positive cash flow, insolvent entities.

    What's with the question though?

    Are you certain that Citi can meet (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:04:54 PM EST
    it's debt obligations on schedule in the immediate future?  I'm throwing the BS flag down on that one.  

    Why? (none / 0) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:07:19 PM EST
    Fricken please (none / 0) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:07:57 PM EST
    I'm about to own up to 40% of a bank that can pay it debt obligations on schedule and the current administration is doing everything possible to not nationalize banks?  Please, please, and ficken please.......where is the evidence that Citi can pay is debt obligations on schedule before I came in to own about 40% of it?

    Where Is Your Evidence That Citi... (none / 0) (#89)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:23:22 PM EST
    is not able to meet its current obligations?

    I think most people believe that its assets and equity are less than its debts but that it is currently able to meet its obligations.

    The action of the Treasury has been to shore up Citi's capital position, if necessary.  I don't think that the actual conversion of preferred stock to common has taken place.


    Fine......you win (none / 0) (#93)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:33:41 PM EST
    We'll see

    Common sense (5.00 / 3) (#125)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 06:08:11 PM EST
    is missing in these "Citi is solvent" discussions.

    The question of why we needed a a TARP and why did Obama set aside 250B in the budget seems to not cross their mind.


    True... (none / 0) (#126)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 06:54:53 PM EST
    perhaps without the many different types of government intervention, many of the large and complex financial institutions would be out of business.  But the government has signaled for now that it intends to plug capital deficiencies in these large banks.

    The question is whether taking them off life support now is a good idea.  


    Temporary takeover (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 10:25:57 PM EST
    is the opposite of what you describe.

    When you throw a BS flag. (none / 0) (#92)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:31:46 PM EST
    You need incontrovertible proof to overturn the ruling on the field.

    Same to you Samuel (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:34:34 PM EST
    If we have enough transparency, time will tell the tale.

    I'm just gonna snap the next play. (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:52:14 PM EST
    Then you can't challenge.  

    That would be your best play with me (none / 0) (#119)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 05:21:56 PM EST
    I can be distracted.

    Fricken this fricken that (none / 0) (#100)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:40:52 PM EST
    please, please, please to you too also.


    It was a genuine question.  What information do you have that the rest of us don't that makes you so utterly certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that it can't?

    If you're just flailing and letting off steam, fine.  But you've just stated something as if it were fact, and it's not a fact I'm aware of, anyway.  So I asked about the statement of fact.


    What info does Samuel know beyond the (none / 0) (#103)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:45:23 PM EST
    rest of us?  And I already gave my info, I am completely completely completely unconvinced upon the reality of owning about 40% of Citi that they could have paid their obligations next month even after I already own 25% of it.  

    And you are right about me steaming at ya (none / 0) (#108)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:49:54 PM EST
    and I'm sorry.  Denial isn't helping the current situation that we are in, but a lot of persons will use a lot of jargon in hopes to save the system they understand and that is on life support and has no hope of survival without radical alterations.

    Hysteria helps even less, MT (none / 0) (#136)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 11:34:07 PM EST
    If you have some proof that's invisible to the rest of us that Citi can't make its monthly debt obligations, cough it up.

    And Samuel has proof he can cough it up (none / 0) (#144)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:10:43 PM EST
    Random banking related issue that annoys me (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:05:58 PM EST
    If you're a retail establishment and put lots of credit card acceptance stickers on your door and advertising, don't get pissy when I actually try to pay with a credit card. Yes, I know Amex charges you 3% or whatever, but there's a good chance that I wouldn't have even walked in the door if you didn't have the sticker up. I hate spending cash.

    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:10:19 PM EST
    If they accept credit cards, they CAN'T refuse you (and despite some establishments that put signs up saying "$10.00 minimum charge") they can't do that either.  All someone has to do is call the credit card company and they can pull the company's credit machine.

    Try pointing that out to the manager sometime. :)


    I know that's what their merchant agreement (none / 0) (#18)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:14:56 PM EST
    probably says, but I don't really have any standing to threaten them with it. In any case, they usually accede after I make a sour face back.

    It's you! (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:11:03 PM EST
    Are you the person in front of me at 7-11 holding up the line putting a cup of coffee on your credit card?

    You drive me NUTS!!! just kidding, but seriously:)


    I've been known to charge a pack of gum (none / 0) (#20)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:16:11 PM EST
    to a credit card. And at a place like 7-11, that's faster and easier than breaking a $20.

    If I wanted to use a CHECK, you could complain.


    Not at my 7-11... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:25:39 PM EST
    their terminals must suck because it seems to take ten minutes and three swipes...or I'm just cursed and always end up behind a real winner on line who can't work the machine.

    For me it's fast (none / 0) (#25)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:26:37 PM EST
    Most small purchases don't even require a signature. Just swipe and run.

    Swipe and run ... (5.00 / 7) (#30)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:40:10 PM EST
    was how I used to get gum too.

    But it had nothing to do with a credit card.



    heh (none / 0) (#33)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:42:55 PM EST
    Pun intended.

    Ever question... (none / 0) (#29)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:38:21 PM EST
    why you're giving the bank a couple pennies on the dollar of all your transactions?  I'd understand if you didn't have the money and we're borrowing it from the bank via your credit card...but you do, why give it to the bank when it can stay with you or the owner of the 7-11?

    Just curious...


    I'm not borrowing (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:42:35 PM EST
    aside from the several-week (interest-free) float between when I make a charge and pay my balance (in full).

    It costs businesses a little bit to take my plastic, but I find it convenient, and I hate carrying coins. Plus, Amex gives me a yearly summary that shows where most of the money I spend goes.


    carrying coins (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by CST on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:51:52 PM EST
    that's what the tip jar and the coin jar at home are for.

    Every year I come up with a good chunk of money I had forgotten about this way.  It's almost as good as finding a $20 in your winter jacket after the summer.  Except a bit more work is involved to turn it into cash.

    For some reason, I get super paranoid if I don't have cash on me.  I know "everywhere" takes cards now, but you never know when you might need it.  Besides what happens if you get mugged and you've got nothing to give?  I dunno why, that question always bothered me.  Not that I've ever been mugged.


    I do always carry some cash on me (none / 0) (#37)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:57:53 PM EST
    but I hate going to the ATM, so I don't like to spend it.

    Thanks andgarden... (none / 0) (#38)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:58:41 PM EST
    I happen to love my coins....I've got my console in the card filled and also a jar at home.  On weeks I run tight on my budget it comes in real handy for a pack of smokes or a cup of joe the day before payday....so I don't have to make a withdrawal from Sealy Postuerpedic Savings.

    Plus, its nice to have coins for panhandlers at traffic lights...I always tell 'em as I'm grabbing a handful "I promise its not all pennies, there are some quarters in there!"  Always gets a smile out of people with too few reasons to smile.


    Add... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:02:30 PM EST
    though the pack of smokes takes a lot more coins than it used too...went from 9 quarters to 26 quarters awfully fast...god damn tax man!...:)

    I'm the object of scorn at 7-11 when I'm paying for Marlboros with quarters and dimes...what goes around comes around:)


    Now keeping your money in the mattress, (none / 0) (#42)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:04:53 PM EST
    that's a practice that I don't understand. You and I seem to have entirely different money philosophies.

    As to panhandlers. . .I just don't give them money. I think it's a very bad way to do charity.


    I have no standards (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:06:13 PM EST
    I just give panhandlers money.

    That we do.... (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:22:33 PM EST
    the banking industry just turns me off in so many ways, I don't wanna be party to it.  I might not be gaining any interest, but I'm not getting nickel and dimed with fees either.  When I feel like investing I go to the casino or the track.

    Of course I sometimes wonder if the panhandler is off to buy drink or a fix....but it is more about me than about the panhandler...it feels good so I do it.  I have more reservations about giving to organized charities actually...how much actually makes it to those in need of every dollar I give...that isn't a concern when I give direct to those in worse shape than I am.


    I hope (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by CST on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:24:27 PM EST
    For your sake, you never have a fire in your house.

    That is the biggest reason not to keep it in your mattress.  The FDIC doesn't insure Sealy-bank.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#53)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:27:02 PM EST
    At the least (none / 0) (#54)
    by CST on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:27:03 PM EST
    you should get a fire-proof safe.

    I should confess... (none / 0) (#55)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:27:30 PM EST
    it isn't literally under the mattress, it's in a little fire-proof (at least I hope it is really fire-proof..lol) safe.

    Theft is a risk...but my roll survived one break-in...thieves didn't find it.  


    And, funny you should mention this, (none / 0) (#60)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:35:34 PM EST
    but my dad just bought a house that has a big-arse fire-proof safe in the basement left there by some previous owner...

    My brother was messing around with (none / 0) (#58)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:29:05 PM EST
    the washing machine in his basement one day a few years ago and found about 5K in old bills hidden underneath it from some previous owner.

    Nice score!... (none / 0) (#62)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:38:29 PM EST
    When my great-grandfather died my family was sure there was a stash of cash in the house somewhere, but my great-grandfather went senile before anybody could get a straight answer.  I remember ripping up floor boards in the attic with my old man...we never found nothin' though.

    Probably very common among depression-era folks.


    kdog, you just added credibility to my (none / 0) (#57)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:27:57 PM EST
    comment yesterday that the most generous people are often the ones with the least amount to give.

    I also give to the panhandlers, but I'm afraid the coins will drop and roll all over the road, so I had them a bill or few depending on how full my wallet is.

    Sorry, andgarden, there is no type of charity that is worse than any other kind. I once heard that it isn't truly charity unless you give until it hurts just a little.


    love of coins alert (none / 0) (#120)
    by DFLer on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 05:36:56 PM EST
    Hang on to any of the new
    Minnesota Quarters you may have or acquire. They may be worth MUCH
    MORE than 25 cents! The US Mint announced today that it is recalling
    all of the Minnesota quarters that are part of its program featuring
    quarters from each state. This action is being taken after numerous
    reports that the new quarters will not work in parking meters, toll
    booths, vending machines, pay phones or any other coin operated
    devices. The problem lies in the unique design of the Minnesota
    quarter, which was designed by a couple of Norwegian specialists, Sven
    and Ole. Apparently the duct tape holding the two dimes and the
    nickel together keeps jamming up the machines!

    Funny. (none / 0) (#122)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 05:54:24 PM EST
    Actually, I do love coins. I just hate carrying them around.

    Jeez Andgarden (none / 0) (#137)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:08:00 AM EST
    you're organized for retirement.  

    Works great, actually started doing this several years before retirement.


    I do it for the points... (none / 0) (#138)
    by suzieg on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:03:34 AM EST
    I used to do that (none / 0) (#91)
    by sj on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:29:53 PM EST
    Back when my bank was quasi-locally owned and I had a free checking account because I used direct deposit.  I wrote many a check for less than $2, and yes, most were at the 7-11 down the street (it was probably me, kdog).

    But in fairness, writing a check was also faster than breaking a $20.  

    Not that I actually had a $20.  Why do you think I was writing a check for less than $2?  :)


    I heard recently that Amex is (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:15:04 PM EST
    asking for its card back from some of its cardholders, and offering them a cash incentive - $300 - to do so.  Apparently, it is looking to reduce the risk of defaults, which have been on the rise.

    Catch is that you have to pay the entire balance by April 30th - am I the only one who thinks that someone who can pay off their balance is less likely to default than someone who is behind and probably cannot come up with the cash to pay off the card?

    I understand less about all of this every freakin' day.


    Interesting (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:18:37 PM EST
    I never ever carry a balance. If I needed a loan, I'd like to think that I could get a better rate than what any credit card company could offer.

    I'm what they call a "deadbeat" in the industry.


    Tax refunds. (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by liminal on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:55:59 PM EST
    Note the timing.  They're hoping that by offering the potential defaulters an extra $300 that those folks will use their tax refunds to pay off their AMEX balance rather than their other debts.  

    Amex is probably thinking... (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:03:15 PM EST
    that someone will go out and do a cash advance on another credit card in order to pay off the Amex card.  Amex has probably read the tea leaves and wants to limit its exposure in a hurry.

    In the good old days of August, 2007 someone would have borrowed against the equity in their house inn order to take advantage of this offer.


    Jeez (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:06:36 PM EST
    Here's a tip: never, ever, ever, ever get a cash advance!!! You might as well go to a loan shark.

    I thought you couldn't (none / 0) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:31:26 PM EST
    carry a balance with Amex, that you have to pay it all off every month or they yank your card.  Dunno.  I haven't had an actual credit card in many years and never had Amex.

    The thing with Amex that gets me is when they were trying to cut people off who were shopping too frequently at places like Wal-Mart and TJMaxx, figuring that was a sign of financial distress.  Gah.


    Amex has had revolving balance cards (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:34:55 PM EST
    since the 80s or 90s. Remember Optima? Today it's the blue card.

    I have one of their traditional charge cards too, but that's just because I'm a snob. Every time I look at the annual fee, I decide to cancel. But when I call to cancel, they waive they fee. . .


    Restaurants especially hate the AMEX (none / 0) (#59)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:34:42 PM EST
    card. You are giving AMEX the only profit made in that transaction and the restaurant loses.

    Yes, they do have a choice not to accept the card, but they take it because they hope the people will return when not on business and use a card that doesn't take all of their profit.

    Credit Card companies should be obligated to disclose everything about themselves. The smaller the company, the bigger the % of gross charges they take from the merchant.


    So if I want to write them a check (none / 0) (#63)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:40:13 PM EST
    they'll be happy to take it, right????

    Restaurant service is a premium product with a large markup. If they can't make a profit while accepting Amex, then they're doing something wrong.

    I tend to suspect businesses that don't take plastic at all are evading taxes in some way or another (though one of my favorite chinese restaurants in Philly is like this. . .)


    My Business Doesn't Take Plastic (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by daring grace on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:12:14 PM EST
    In our funky, fledgling days (1970s) we proudly set up with all the cards at the time (Amex, Visa, Mcard) and felt so much the grown up business folk :) but found people didn't mind paying with checks which had been our old MO. So we canceled all the plastic accounts, and in the meantime (32 years) only ONE person ever griped about it.

    We design and build a high end custom product so in that it's not like wanting the convenience of buying a pack of gum. On the other hand, all the credit card purveyors who call or drop in to get us signed up are AMAZED with a business like ours that we don't want their service. Thankfully, have never needed it. if it ever seemed like we would lose a sale over it, we'd probably get it again. But it's never come up.


    I should have said (none / 0) (#85)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:17:45 PM EST
    "retail service and restaurant" business. I wouldn't expect a building contractor to take cards, for example.

    But All of Our Peers (none / 0) (#105)
    by daring grace on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:46:34 PM EST
    in the straight retail end of our business do accept credit cards.

    No, I wasn't addressing your credit card use, per se.

    Just illuminating that in a niche of the business world where the overwhelming norm is to take plastic, we have managed not to. That's probably because we offer a very specialized and unique service and product and therefore (I guess) our clients are motivated to write checks rather than slap cards down to buy precisely what they want and could not (quite0 get elsewhere.

    Still, it's given me insights into the reality of how it works in my real world vs the CW of what 'you'd better do if you expect to stay in business.'


    I take it (none / 0) (#65)
    by CST on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:42:46 PM EST
    you've never worked at a restaurant.

    Most of them fail in the 1st year.  It is very hard to make money unless you are very high end or high volume fast food.

    The cost associated with running a professional kitchen is huge.


    I do know that most restaurants fail (none / 0) (#66)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:44:24 PM EST
    but I very strongly suspect that taking credit cards has never alone caused a restaurant to fail.

    scratch that (none / 0) (#68)
    by CST on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:46:04 PM EST
    3 years not 1.

    Probably not, but it doesn't help much either.


    Most resturants fail (none / 0) (#116)
    by Fabian on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 05:09:02 PM EST
    because the people who open them aren't cold, calculating investors.  People open eateries with the best of intentions without realizing they are entering into an often saturated, highly competitive market and that they need to find their customer base quickly and keep it.  

    I went to a new Japanese restaurant that had opened without an alcohol license - the owners had assumed they could get one readily.  Obviously they hadn't done a lick of research or they would have known that permits to serve alcohol are allocated by location and they had just opened up near the OSU campus.  There's almost never an available liquor license on campus.


    I wouldn't assume that... (none / 0) (#67)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:45:12 PM EST
    they might just think like me, why give banks our hard-earned dough?

    Because they want my business (none / 0) (#70)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:47:53 PM EST
    and I value the convenience of using plastic.

    I know thats how you feel... (none / 0) (#73)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:53:08 PM EST
    the owner of that Chinese restaraunt might fell differently, I wouldn't assume it is some kind of tax scam.  Maybe they don't value credit card business...us cash and carry oddballs are few in number, but we are out there.

    That (none / 0) (#74)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:57:05 PM EST
    Chinese restaurant makes the best soup in Philadelphia. I strongly suggest you try it if you ever visit the city.

    I love that tacky place so much that I'm willing to overlook the fact that they don't take plastic.


    There you go.... (none / 0) (#75)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:59:37 PM EST
    when you're the best, you get to be picky about who you do business with.

    Good for them for not allowing the banks to leech off their hard work.


    Barbeque Spare Rib Noodle Soup! (none / 0) (#83)
    by daring grace on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:15:30 PM EST
    Never saw that before.

    Chicken corn chowder soup makes me think it's the SE PA influence...

    Quite a soup repertoire...


    What I order (none / 0) (#86)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:20:42 PM EST
    is noodle soup with shrimp dumplings (the best you'll ever have) and barbecued pork. One bowl is enough for two people for lunch, so that place is CHEAP.

    I tend to stay away from the americanized dishes, most of which seem to come from the microwave, but I love the way they prepare Peking duck.


    Almost Makes Me Wish (none / 0) (#107)
    by daring grace on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:49:50 PM EST
    I was still married to that boy from Lancaster so I'd have more occasion to pass through Philly.

    I DID have the best Vietnamese meal I've ever had there, though, in a layover on a train ride back to New York. And we have great Vietnamese up here.

    And talk about cheap! I think four of us ate enormously (and diversely) for under $15. (This was about ten years ago...)


    Sorry, andgarden, you are very wrong (none / 0) (#69)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:46:23 PM EST
    on that.

    My sister owns a fine dining restaurant in affluent Chapel Hill, NC. I hear about these issues all the time.

    You don't impress the merchants when you toss an AMEX card on the table to pay for anything.


    If I ever get down there, I would be happy (none / 0) (#71)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:49:34 PM EST
    to visit. I'd almost certainly pay the likely 3000% markup on diet Coke.

    Let me be clear, having a card is for my convenience, not to impress anyone.


    There is no 3000% markup on food (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:13:23 PM EST
    in restaurants. You need to research your facts. It has a very low markup.

    I doubt (none / 0) (#72)
    by CST on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:51:10 PM EST
    andgarden cares about "impressing" them.  From what it sounds like, it's more a matter of convenience.

    But yea, the restaurant industry is a very tough way to scrape a living.  And credit card companies sure don't make it easier.


    AMEX is weird... (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by gtesta on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:12:51 PM EST
    Back in the late 80's, I saved up $2K for tickets to Greece for our upcoming honeymoon trip. My wife-to-be then charged the tickets to her AMEX card.
    We got a call from them asking if the charge was ours since it was much higher than normal and that they were putting a hold on the card.  I remember her saying, with pride, that yep the charge was hers and she was going to pay the bill off as soon as they sent it to her.
    They replied, we'll keep the hold on until you pay your bill.
    Needless to say, we sent in a check for the full amount along with the cut up credit card when the bill came.  
    It's always given me great satisfaction throwing away every AMEX mailing that they've sent to me over the years since then.

    You can find a story like that (none / 0) (#49)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:16:06 PM EST
    about almost any CC company. A credit limit is nothing more than a suggestion the company makes to itself and will sometimes share with you.

    Actually, andgarden, AMEX is (none / 0) (#61)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:37:02 PM EST
    much, much more abundant with stories like that than any other card. I've watched business after business have to deal with AMEX on their corporate cards. You keep your card long enough and you'll have a story to make people cringe, too.

    I'm fully prepared to take my business (none / 0) (#64)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:41:28 PM EST
    elsewhere if Amex causes me trouble.

    Some good news... (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:10:02 PM EST
    ...for a Friday afternoon:

    The Obama administration is moving to rescind a federal rule that reinforced protections for medical providers who refuse to perform abortions or other procedures on moral grounds, an official said Friday.

    A Health and Human Services official said the administration will publish notice of its intentions early next week, and open a 30-day comment period for advocates, medical groups and the public. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official notice has not been completed.


    If you want to discuss (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:41:35 PM EST
    whether Citi is insolvent or not, you might as well start with defining insolvency.

    Insolvency means the inability to pay one's debts as they fall due.
    This is defined in two different ways:

    Cash flow insolvency -

    Unable to pay debts as they fall due [because cash flow is inadequate.]

    Balance sheet insolvency -

    Having negative net assets: liabilities exceed assets; or net liabilities.

    A business may be cash flow insolvent but balance sheet solvent if it holds illiquid assets, particularly against short term debt.

    Conversely, a business can have negative net assets showing on their balance sheet but still be cash flow solvent if ongoing revenue is able to meet debt obligations, and thus avoid default - for instance, if it holds long term debt.

    Insolvency is not a synonym for bankruptcy, which is a determination of insolvency made by a court of law with resulting legal orders intended to resolve the insolvency.

    By either of those definitions, Citi is currently (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by steviez314 on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:59:18 PM EST

    Citibank is as Solvent as the ... (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:05:36 PM EST
    US Government.

    Banks have a different definition. (none / 0) (#118)
    by wurman on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 05:21:15 PM EST
    Dictionary of Banking Terms
    inability to pay debts as they mature, or as obligations become due and payable. A person may still have an excess of assets over liabilities, but be insolvent if unable to convert assets into cash to meet financial obligations.

    A financial institution, such as a bank, generally is considered to be insolvent if its ratio of capital to assets is at, or close to, zero, or if its capital assets, including common stock, are of such poor quality that its continued existence is uncertain.

    Most people mis-understand a bank's financial position.  For example, money in customers' savings accounts are a liability to a bank--they owe the money, so all time deposits are negatives.

    The money owed to the bank by borrowers is an asset.  But the money must be owed by "quality" lenders who are almost assuredly going to pay the loan in time or could pay it if the note were called or the bank could foreclose on the note & recoup the loan.

    Most USA banks are now upside down because there is doubt that they will get back the money they've loaned.  So they're insolvent.  And this is especially so if the outstanding stock (even at $10 per share) is worth more than the bank's assets.

    It doesn't appear that just meeting payroll or handling the electricity bill are the nature of the problems for banking.


    but it doesn't seem like a heck of a lot more...

    Are the banks solvent?

    There are several definitions of solvency, here is a list:

    Definition 1: Regulatory Solvency. Does the bank have adequate capital to meet the solvency tests imposed by regulators?

    Definition 2: Positive net worth under GAAP. Does the bank have positive net worth under GAAP accounting?

    Definition 3: Positive economic value of an operating entity. If the bank is allowed to continue to operate it will be able to pay all its debt and replace its capital?

    Definition 4: Positive liquidation value. If you liquidated it today at current market prices it would have positive value.

    Definition 5: Liquidity. Does the bank have adequate liquidity to operate on a day to day basis?

    How Do You Square This With ... (none / 0) (#123)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 05:55:02 PM EST
    what Sheila Bair of the FDIC is saying?

    She said this week that most banks are solvent.


    I agree with Bair (none / 0) (#143)
    by wurman on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:07:25 PM EST
    The solvency issue is very different than the lame stream media reporting.

    By the definitions listed in sarcastic's comment, they are solvent.

    My comment clearly indicated that there is a different standard for banks & that they, even CitiGroup, may actually meet them--if you don't look to closely at the ability of the borrowers to repay their loans.


    I'll say it: (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:43:53 PM EST
    "Citibank is solvent."

    I always like a good joke.

    Judge:Suits against illegal wiretapping by Telcos (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by jawbone on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 10:44:36 PM EST
    can go forward--against wishes of Obama Justice Department.

    AP reports (via The Agonist):

    The Obama administration has lost its argument that a potential threat to national security should stop a lawsuit challenging the government's warrantless wiretapping program.

    A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Friday rejected the Justice Department's request for an emergency stay in a case involving a defunct Islamic charity.

    Yet government lawyers signaled they would continue fighting to keep the information secret, setting up a new showdown between the courts and the White House over national security.

    The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, claimed national security would be compromised if a lawsuit brought by the Oregon chapter of the charity, Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, was allowed to proceed.

    Now, civil libertarians hope the case will become the first chance for a court to rule on whether the warrantless wiretapping program was legal or not. It cited the so-called state secrets privilege as a defense against the lawsuit.

    Earlier reports in this comment.

    Here's a clue.... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 01:47:03 PM EST
    we don't have to worry about offending shareholders of solvent banks.

    I'm getting the message...I booked a Caribbean cruise last night.  If my car should go busto this year Uncle Sam will buy me one...responsibility is for suckers.

    BTD...where is the best place to tie a bag on in San Juan?

    And sorry Mile...Carribean waters beat out the Rockies this year...one of these days man.

    The Paradors are decent and affordable (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 01:51:15 PM EST
    If your budget is bigger, let me know.

    I don't know how long you're in port in PR (none / 0) (#5)
    by magster on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 01:53:48 PM EST
    but my family and I just spent a week there, and the best days were visiting the rainforest, and touring Old San Juan (not to mention just plain beach days, which I imagine you'll have other opportunities to do on your cruise).  

    I think its only for 12 hours.... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:00:42 PM EST
    planning on just walking around San Juan a little, dinner and getting loaded...save the beach and snorkeling for the other stops.

    Thanks BTD...I'll check it out...I like cheap:)


    If only 12 hours (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:11:51 PM EST
    then forget the parador. Now a good place to eat and people watch in Old San Juan, but not cheap, is Dragonfly.

    a little prciey, but good food and beautiful people.


    Thanks again... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:21:31 PM EST
    and to you too magster.

    I see how you are!11! (none / 0) (#6)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 01:57:17 PM EST
    Hopefully, I'll still be kicking whenever you decide to come out West.  

    Soak up some of that tropical sunshine and good salt air for me, OK?


    Will do sir... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:02:48 PM EST
    And you better keep kickin' you son of a gun:)

    Obama admin (none / 0) (#4)
    by CST on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 01:51:48 PM EST
    pulling out of the Durban conference.

    citing concerns of anti-semitism.

    A few days ago, I read that the Obama admin had (none / 0) (#132)
    by jawbone on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 10:32:30 PM EST
    taken some strong steps in support of the Durban conference (or something like that), but the writer suggested this was a set up for Obama to subsequently pull out of the conference on the grounds that too many Arabs (Semitic people) are anti-Semitic.

    And so it happens.

    Now, where did I read that??


    can't see the talkleft masthead in mozilla. (none / 0) (#12)
    by DFLer on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:08:54 PM EST
    however it shows up fine in explorer. Anyone else see the same?

    nevermind..it shows fine on another puter here (none / 0) (#17)
    by DFLer on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 02:14:16 PM EST
    teching to be done arggh

    Question: Assuming Citi is... (none / 0) (#52)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:26:57 PM EST
    insolvent in both senses and the US Government "nationalizes" Citi, what steps should the US Government then take with regard to Citi?

    Sell the consumer banking ops right away (none / 0) (#56)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 03:27:48 PM EST
    and then auction the bad assets.

    Perhaps A Good Start... (none / 0) (#76)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:04:32 PM EST
    and then what?  Do you engage in capital markets transactions?  Do you enter into interest rate hedges and credit default swaps?  Or do you simply shut the doors?  What would you do if could get a better price for assets if you waited for a year?  Would you sell anyway at fire sale prices?

    You're suggesting that the Federal Government (none / 0) (#78)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:07:27 PM EST
    doesn't employ banking experts who can figure out those details?

    Tell me why (none / 0) (#88)
    by Steve M on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:23:15 PM EST
    "banking experts" would be lining up to work for civil service pay instead of making a million bucks working in the actual banking industry?

    Actually, I've met people like them. (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:27:07 PM EST
    They believe in public service above all else.

    I'm kind of surprised that you asked that question Steve.


    Be surprised if you like (none / 0) (#104)
    by Steve M on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:45:47 PM EST
    Such people are quite rare.

    I'm not saying they don't exist, I'm saying there's not nearly enough "banking experts" in the employ of the federal government to run Citibank.

    Empirically, the vast majority of people who are qualified to run a major bank are going to be found in the private sector, not toiling away in the depths of the Treasury Department.


    Well, if it turns out that you need their help (none / 0) (#111)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:58:52 PM EST
    then hire them. None of this seems to me to preclude temporary nationalization.

    No need (none / 0) (#124)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 06:04:28 PM EST
    to put them on a civil service scale.

    Run it as a private entity.

    think Fannie and Freddie.


    A fair point in general. (none / 0) (#98)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:38:55 PM EST
    Although, to be sure, one of my good friends and the probably the brightest guys I went to college with, who has more degrees than a thermometer (accounting, finance, law) and made a couple bucks working on Wall Street in the banking industry back in the day before he married his DC-based civil servant attorney wife, has been running part of some Fed Gov agency that oversees either Freddie or Fannie (or maybe both, I don't remember) for about 7-8 years now.

    So I think the civil service does have some banking experts, but by any practical analysis, I agree with you, they don't have near enough and aren't sufficiently attractive to gain many more.


    This is a larger problem (none / 0) (#106)
    by Steve M on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:49:36 PM EST
    with the theory of "we just need to do a better job of regulation" that many of us are prone to espouse.

    When you take a really complicated financial instrument like the kind of stuff that got us into this mess, how many people in the world truly understand that instrument, the risks involved, and how best to regulate it for the common good?  Heck, I heard Alan Greenspan on CNBC last week saying how he didn't understand some of this stuff until 2005 or so.

    If you're capable of a deep understanding of truly complex financial instruments, the odds are very strong that you're going to be using that knowledge on Wall Street to make millions of dollars, not drawing $70k as a regulatory examiner.  So unless we're going to start paying people millions of bucks to regulate the financial industry, how do we ever expect to have a regulatory body that can keep up with the highly-compensated financial wizards?


    One Possible Solution Is... (none / 0) (#113)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 05:02:37 PM EST
    to have a capitalization requirement commensurate with the complexity.

    When I was bank counsel, I tried very hard to make sure that the regulators understood me because I knew that if they didn't they'd come up with some stupid regulation.  So the burden should be on the people who want to use the complex financial instruments to explain them to the satisfaction of the examination team.  Or suffer the consequences.


    was working on WS and was asked by the DC guys about what sort of "program" my friend would suggest that would assist the DC guys in overseeing Fred/Fan, and when they liked his answer enough to say "We want you to build and run this program. How much do you cost?" his answer was far above $70k, again, in general, I think you're right that in general the salaries are almost assuredly non-competitive in almost all instances and the depth of knowledge and experience necessary in taking over something the size of Citi would be extremely problematic for the gvt.

    Tell you what, I'll email my friend and let you know what he things.


    Unfortunately, most of the banking experts (none / 0) (#95)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:36:13 PM EST
    who can figure  out these questions are working for the major banks.

    Even if the feds "nationalize" Citi or others, the feds will use the same guys that Citi has now.

    What if the feds believe that there is either a good possibility that Citi can weather the storm?

    What if the feds believe, like many others, that Citi is not viable in the long term but wants to be sure before it puts nails in the coffin?   Or what if the feds know that Citi is not viable but also know that an immediate liquidation would be a disaster and so are looking for an orderly unwinding?  And if this last scenario is the case, what would the feds be doing now that is any different than the scenario under which the feds believe that Citi is not long term viable.


    That would be the fire sale of the century. (none / 0) (#77)
    by steviez314 on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:07:06 PM EST
    I know many people who just made fortunes buying assets from the RTC.

    I think the government would need to hold on to them for a while, and sell them in pieces as economic statistics improved.


    That would be fine with me (none / 0) (#80)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:08:35 PM EST
    just so long as they were totally decoupled from the rest of the business.

    In others words... (none / 0) (#96)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:37:47 PM EST
    the feds would need to buy some time for an orderly liquidation.

    How do we know that the feds aren't doing precisely that?  Or at least setting things up so that they can do an orderly liquidation?


    Wow Ron Paul talked about eliminating the FED (none / 0) (#84)
    by joze46 on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:16:57 PM EST
    Listened to C-Span, it is that convention with all the so called Conservatives. Ron Paul was on at the time making a presentation. Wow, is it something. Here this guy, Senator Ron Paul from Texas, is defending the Constitution just in terms of Libertarians.

    For me a sense at times I feel like a Libertarian, or sometimes Conservative, and sometimes Liberal, please, God blessed me to be here to be able to change because life is change and evolution. Other wise we would never grow old.

    Anyway, a huge issue was talked about that I agree with, it was to eliminate the Federal Reserve Board. Or at least make an audit of it to see what the heck is going on. I found out how the Federal Reserve was created from inception at Jekyll Island by a secret meeting of rich bankers. It is clear it was made as an advantage for the rich and powerful to keep rule. But for Ron Paul to openly suggest eliminating this entity was a powerful leap of change. Actually this would be a bold move for Obama to make because I think these new Conservatives will make that move if Obama does not.

    Another irony is the embedded activities of many of the operators of the Federal Reserve that we know nothing of as suggested by Ron Paul. Libertarian or not I agree. No matter what your believe The Constitution has been breach for almost a century by this Federal Reserve operation but those in Congress refuse to accept this.

    Perhaps a lot other huge, huge, amounts of corruption are woven these past decades with its leadership by Allen Greenspan. Absolutely a dysfunctional system with appointee's by our presidents.

    Huge scandals should surface in the event of just an audit. The irony that exists is going to be flushed and conflicts of interest in power and politics will be exposed. For heavens sake one the most huge conflicts of interest is the wide open connection Andrea Mitchell, Allen Greenspan's wife, has with MSNBC as a new analyst directing political ideals yet was privy to decades in the history trillion dollar deals.

    It all smacks of corruption beyond conception. No doubt the damage would likely be severe for both political parties in America and around the world. But to change for a real free market this appears to be what needs to happen.      

    That happened under Woodrow Wilson (none / 0) (#87)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:22:47 PM EST
    the last time, and he said it was the biggest mistake he made.

    The Federal Reserve was eliminated once before in history.

    If you want a really interesting source on the subject, Zeitgiest, the Movie is found in Google Videos. It's a multi-part documentary and all the sections are extremely interesting.


    NOOOOOOO (none / 0) (#97)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:38:27 PM EST
    Zeitgeist the movie is half accurate and half wildly fabricated.  I have no idea who made it but it serves to discredit the very solid work of all the intellectuals who have spent their lives examining a very important issue.  I cannot stress this enough - movies like Zeitgeist Addendum and the other one are designed to discredit the argument for abolishing the Fed through conflating anti-Fed libertarians with utopian seeking futurists and purely fabricated materials.  

    If you want to learn about the Federal Reserve System - from inception to effects - this book is a great starting point.



    Why do you automatically assume (none / 0) (#110)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:52:24 PM EST
    that people can't judge for themselves what is logical and what isn't? There's some truth in almost everything and the wild fabrications are pretty easy for reasonably intelligent people to spot...

    Your book probably has just as many inaccuracies in it as anything else.


    Because you rec'd the documentary... (none / 0) (#112)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:58:59 PM EST
    and didn't warn him that half of it was fallacious.  

    I'm critical of the film because I've seen it and can actually list multiple lies and inaccuracies (for example, Woodrow Wilson never said anything of the sort).  

    You haven't read the book yet so just give it a look then criticize if you find something you don't think is accurate.

    Is this not a fair way to approach this?


    Equally as important... (none / 0) (#114)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 05:03:40 PM EST
    People are very defensive about certain political subjects.  If you are making a valid argument, they will throw any negative association possible your way before admitting they were mistaken.  People become entrenched and will subconsciously deceive themselves in order to maintain false confidence.  Associating yourself and repeating falsehoods exhibited in this movie will hinder your ability to communicate effectively to those who are intelligent but have yet to be exposed in a productive way to important information you are willing to lend.

    Just check out the book, you'll dig it.


    Zeitgest is garbage. (none / 0) (#99)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:40:01 PM EST
    Watching it will fill you with disinformation which you will repeat thusly discrediting any sound arguments you were making.  Read this instead:



    Rep. Ron Paul, not... (none / 0) (#101)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:40:58 PM EST

    He has a point of view that might be very helpful if we were designing a new system from scratch.  And who knows, maybe we'll get to do that.


    Can we just default already? (none / 0) (#102)
    by Samuel on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 04:44:46 PM EST
    Seriously - what are your thoughts on that?  Eliminate any additional money creation including fractional reserve.

    I Plead Temporary Insanity on That Question... (none / 0) (#115)
    by santarita on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 05:05:49 PM EST
    or maybe diminished capacity.  I don't know what you mean by fractional reserve system.  Sounds like a code for something I'd rather not know.  Kind of like knowing what goes into haggis. :)

    PoliceMEN v. a 15 year old girl (none / 0) (#127)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 07:05:34 PM EST
    Their justification for the brutality is that the girl was calling them "Pigs" and getting "lippy" with them.

    Grown MEN - two of them against a 15 year old girl.

    It's hard to know what to think about this.

    Sticks and Stones (none / 0) (#141)
    by daring grace on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:23:40 PM EST
    I know what I think about this:

    The alleged actions of the prisoner (the teenage girl) sound like the kind of petty nuisance behavior I would expect professional law enforcement people to tolerate with out resorting to excessive physical force in retaliation. Police officers must face this kind of thing every day. Heck, PARENTS face this kind of thing every day.

    I'm interested in the comments of the prosecutor making a distinction between 'just police misconduct' and 'criminal misconduct.'


    "We believe this case is beyond just police misconduct, it's criminal misconduct," King County Prosecutor Daniel Satterberg said. "This is clearly excessive force."

    Is there something characterized as 'police misconduct' that is not 'excessive force'? I wonder what that would be...like, cussing out a civilian, or menacing in a non-physical way? Malicious ticket writing or arrest?

    Perhaps telling that this officer has a history, of sorts:


    "Schene was investigated previously for shooting two people - killing one - in the line of duty in 2002 and 2006. Both times his actions were found to be justified, Goodhew said."


    Police make mistakes, may (none / 0) (#142)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:38:59 PM EST
    misjudge the amount of force needed to control situation.  Not necessarily criminal misconduct.  

    Thanks (none / 0) (#145)
    by daring grace on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:50:14 PM EST
    I was having a hard time with the word 'misconduct', I guess.

    Non criminal police misconduct might get a reprimand or some kind of temporary suspension, I guess?

    I've seen that around here when a police officer is caught drinking on the job or being at his home when he was supposedly on duty...


    Going home in patrol car (none / 0) (#146)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 02:09:32 PM EST
    for lunch or dinner when location is too far per regulations, orders, etc.   Giving a stranded motorist a ride home w/o first notifying sgt. and getting permission to do so.  Responding rudely to persons contacting law enforcement.  

    The Failed Bank (none / 0) (#128)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 08:01:42 PM EST
    streak stays alive today with two more. That's seven straight Fridays now with a closing.

    Closing Today:
    Security Savings Bank, Henderson, NV
    Heritage Community Bank, Glenwood, IL

    Brainy Octopi (none / 0) (#129)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 09:30:36 PM EST
    Or is it octopus? They seem really smart to me.

    If they were (none / 0) (#130)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 09:42:57 PM EST
    working in tandem at the aquarium or in multiples on the ice in Detroit, they would be octopi. If they came with a crust, then octopie ;)

    Eight Slices (none / 0) (#133)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 10:38:03 PM EST
    Warrentless wiretapping case (none / 0) (#135)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 11:07:44 PM EST
    at 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Obama DOJ asks Court to dismiss.


    No (none / 0) (#139)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:34:31 AM EST
    9th ircuit dimissed over Obama's objections.

    Same case? (none / 0) (#140)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 10:38:51 AM EST
    The Obama administration on Friday lost its bid to halt a lawsuit charging that President George W. Bush broke the law when he authorized warrantless spying on terrorism suspects, the only such case to make it to federal court.

    A federal appeals court rejected the Justice Department's bid to halt the lawsuit by a now-defunct Islamic charity over warrantless wiretapping. The failed attempt was the second time this month that Obama officials argued that the presidential "state secrets privilege" trumped federal law in national security matters, a position consistently maintained by President Obama's predecessor. The administration said national security would be compromised if the lawsuit by the Oregon chapter of Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation went forward.