Thursday Morning Open Thread

After a morning spent in high dudgeon, I am out for the rest of the day. Talk to you all tonight. J, TChris and Ethan will no doubt be around.

This is an Open Thread.

< Lessons In "Journalism" From Mike Barnicle | Obama Says He'll Stop DEA Medical Pot Raids >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    CNN Reports (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 09:59:37 AM EST
    "President Obama's newly revamped Office of Faith Based Initiatives is reigniting a contentious debate across the ideological spectrum over whether religious organizations that accept funds from the government should be allowed to discriminate when hiring."

    As I read the order, churches can still discriminate in hiring but not if the money is used for charitable functions. How can they effectively monitor this double standard?

    It's not (none / 0) (#24)
    by eric on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:05:36 AM EST
    a double standard.  This is a fake controversy.  The law has long recognized that churches may take religion into account in hiring only for positions that are integral to the religion.  In other words, they can't take religion into account when hiring the janitor, but they can when hiring the minister.

    No (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:12:33 PM EST
    THat is not the case.

    It used to be as you say that religious institutions can hire their own for federally funded projects no matter what they were doing, now that is illegal.

    Obama promised to change that rule which was in violation of title VII and that is why all the religios are screaming.

    IOW a orthodox group cannot hire only orthodox people who are working under federally funded programs. THat is new.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#71)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:15:43 PM EST
    That clarification helps, and makes sense- it'd be  abit irrational to demand creed-blind hiring for a father, priest,rabbi, or iman. "I'm Father Donnelly and I would like to announce that sacremental wine is no longer Haram."

    Sometimes a job has to be (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:57:45 PM EST
    for someone from another faith.

    An orthodox synagogue on our block, very strict for lots of our immigrant Russian Jewish neighbors, has to hire caretakers who are gentile to do turning on and off of lights and other machinery on the Sabbath.  (When the caretaker gets a vacation or can't be there for personal reasons, some of us neighbors are on call to do so for the synagogue, our neighbors, etc.)


    The Honeymooners (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by BarnBabe on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:06:26 AM EST
    I had gotten out of watching Jon Stewart for a while now but this week I happened to check in on him and he really had some funny deliveries. One of them was showing every network, every newcaster, every MSN person saying Is the Honeymoon over? In the background was Obama in the moom aka Ralph Cramden. It struck me funny. Last night he pointed out the expressions being used by the current Press Secretary Gibbs were also exactly the same as Scotty, Dana, and Ari.
    So nothing has changed afterall. I guess Jon is back on my list of 15 mins of daily news with chuckles.  

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:23:44 PM EST
    I said the exact same thing about Gibbs in a thread a couple days ago.  Watching my third or fourth Gibbs briefing on TV, the phrase "new boss same as the old boss" came unbidden to my mind.  The only difference is that he has no discernible personality, whereas at least Ari and Scotty and Dana and etc. had some stuff.

    I'm pretty sure - (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by liminal on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:07:33 PM EST
    - I read that comment of yours, and thought of you when I saw Stewart do his "Same as it ever was..." montage of Presidential pressers!

    Um (none / 0) (#72)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:18:00 PM EST
    Aren't all press secretaries like that I mean its kind of their job right? Seriously, I'm 26 and I can't remeber a press secretary in my lifetime who didn't spin.

    Absolutely. (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by brodie on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:04:08 PM EST
    Press sec'ys have to convey info accurately, but not necessarily fully, and need to do so in ways favorable to the admin.  Everyone on both sides understands this.

    My only problem with Gibbs is that I find it hard to listen to what he's saying as I note how much he looks like two Randys -- Quaid and Newman ...


    Of course they spin (none / 0) (#94)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:09:14 PM EST
    But some of them -- Clinton's, for example -- manage also to be fairly forthright, actually provide useful information, and don't drone on with the same frequently off-the-point lectures over and over and over and over again like they're talking to children instead of addressing the question that's been asked.

    Well, it depends re Clinton (none / 0) (#97)
    by brodie on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:24:20 PM EST
    admin PS's.  Bill had, what, four of them?  And the first, one George Stephanopolous, was a disaster.

    Dunno what happened with his one woman PS, who left the admin kinda bitter, iirc.

    As for addressing the Q asked, sometimes, if it's a dicey one, a good PS is just like a good pol -- they have to be skilled at dodging it.


    Stephanopoulos (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:33:01 PM EST
    wasn't good, and neither was Dee Dee Myers, but not for those reasons.

    Interesting, as I watched it then (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:47:14 PM EST
    that Myers was much hailed by the White House as the first woman press secretary -- and then had to answer to Stephanopoulos, a layer of distancing her from the President that had not been there before.

    Funny how that happens.


    She was also (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by CST on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:55:32 PM EST
    The lowest paid press secretary...

    Much to my surprise (none / 0) (#137)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:01:37 PM EST
    I learned this a.m. while packing my suitcase that CNN Europe carries Jon Stewart.  

    Why am I not surprised (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by scribe on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:49:23 AM EST
    FEMA emergency meal packs may have included peanut butter from the peanut-butter-with-salmonella plant in Georgia.  The one they can't seem to close down....

    Heckuva job Brownie still has his hires on the payroll it would seem.

    Forget FEMA... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:11:10 AM EST
    if there is ever a local emergency I'm seeking out the Amish for assistance...they don't need no stinkin' FEMA.

    In what possible way (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:27:55 PM EST
    is it FEMA's fault that a peanut plant in Georgia turns out to have been criminally negligent?

    Please explain this to me.  Seriously.


    Not all FEMA's fault... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:48:00 PM EST
    just highlights their general ineptitude...their name is the one stamped on the bag containing the potentially poisonous peanut butter after all, the buck stops there.

    I'm tellin' ya, all we need to know to survive an emergency can be learned from the Amish and their self-sufficiency.  We'd think everyday in the life of the Amish is a national emergency, but as we can clearly see it ain't...it is just life, hard yet rewarding life.  Have you heard the Amish community ever ask for anything except to be left alone?  I certainly can't recall an instance.

    Bottom line, if you value your life, don't count on FEMA...count on you. Maybe not the way it should be, but most definitely the way it is...plan accordingly.


    That's quite a stretch (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:52:59 PM EST
    Have you seen the huge list of food manufacturers who bought from that place?

    And they all are responsible... (none / 0) (#69)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:00:24 PM EST
    for who they buy from, no?  Especially FEMA.

    Utter absurdity (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:05:36 PM EST
    The buck for the peanut butter problem stops first at the company that produced it and secondly at the Bush admin's general gutting of food safety rules and procedures.

    FEMA is no more at fault than Keebler, Whole Foods and Trader Joe, all of which -- and many, many, many more -- have had to recall products that used this stuff.  As far as FEMA or any of these other companies ever knew, this was a reputable company with no safety problems.


    If I was in charge of FEMA, (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:39:37 PM EST
    Keebler, or Whole Foods, and my company name was stamped on something people were gonna consume, I'd take it upon myself to ensure the safety of the product I was providing...wouldn't you?

    How exactly would you do that? (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by Fabian on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:28:18 PM EST
    Other than being in charge of the process from harvest to finished product, you have to rely on your suppliers and whoever is providing oversight for those suppliers.

    Da gubmint has the authority to do things like site inspections and testing.  If a buyer were to do their own testing, they would have to test every shipment and delay using the product until the tests came back.  That's testing every shipment of every ingredient.

    Who would pay for that kind of overhead?


    And the money and personnel (none / 0) (#147)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:59:05 PM EST
    to do this are what, going to come out of the stimulus bill?  Give it up.  It's nonsense.

    And if a hurricane (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by cal1942 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:19:15 PM EST
    destroys your entire community?

    It's far easier to restore a life not dependent on modern necessities. The rest of us don't have our own land for self-sufficiency.


    You bet (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 12:01:42 AM EST
    Actually, it's one major reason I moved to the country, where at least I have a wood stove for heat and the ability to grow some of my own food, and worst comes to worst, pasture a horse.

    But if you live in the city or even the suburbs, you're totally dependent on the infrastructure for everything.


    Urban Self Sufficiency (none / 0) (#151)
    by daring grace on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 10:07:58 AM EST
    Well, sort of...

    I live in a medium sized city in upstate New York and in the last several rounds of ice storms, we never lost power in my neighborhood thanks to underground power lines and medium sized city maples that--even when they do come down or drop limbs never threaten anything much. While people in lefy suburbs and more remote rural areas were disabled for days and weeks without light or the capacity to cook or heat.

    Also some of my neighbors have gardens and even raise chickens and bees--permissable in our city. A neighboring city allows people to raise goats for food after a cultural contretemps about it a few years ago.

    In addition, even without cars or mass transit, we can still walk and bike to most of the things we need (or desire). No problem.

    And I'm with you on wood heat. I have a very small stove that keeps my apartment over my work place toasty most winter days/nights except when it starts to go into the single digits--like the last two nights...brrrr.

    Don't have any place to raise horses though, unless we sod the parking lots...hmmmm...


    Underground power lines! (none / 0) (#152)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 12:08:41 PM EST
    Oh, that is truly fantastic.  How did that happen?  Did the city mandate it at some point, or was it built that way?  They don't do that out here, which seems to me really dumb since it's much, much easier to do in a rural area and would save everybody so many problems.

    Curious what kind of stove you have, though.  Mine is also very small (too small), a Hearthstone Tribute, and like yours, it just can't keep up when it gets down to single digits and below, so I'm glad I have the oil burner in the basement.  Last night we were down to -7 again.  It's been a much colder winter than the last two.


    In the Last 50 Years (none / 0) (#153)
    by daring grace on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 12:52:02 PM EST
    our city--even its more suburban neighborhoods changed to underground power lines--except there are places that still have aboveground poles. THAT'S where the problem usually is when we occasionally lose power. That, or some larger grid-wide problem in the whole state or Northeast.

    Wikipedia has a piece about underline power transmission.

    I think my stove is called a Hearthwarmer or something like that. It was an inexpensive steel stove we bought about 27 years ago. It is tiny tiny tiny, and has been mended a couple times by my friend, the ironworker.

    But it is amazing how warm it can keep my place. It might be that it has an extra baffled chamber over the fire burning area that helps circulate the heat longer.

    My business uses native hardwoods and I've generally never had to buy firewood as a result because I have all these great seasoned pieces of oak, ash, cherry, maple and walnut.

    Being small though, it is a LOT of work to keep getting up and feeding it all day or night before bed when the comforters and cats kick in!


    Envy (none / 0) (#154)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 02:33:56 PM EST
    you the hardwood scraps and the free firewood.  And you're so right about the constant tending.  I work from a home office, so I'm around all day to take care of that, but it's really getting tedious by this point in the winter, especially in the coldest weather, when I don't dare let it die down beyond that certain magical point at which you can throw stuff on it and get it going easily again.

    I sleep with three cats myself, and though there can be a disruptive squabble at bedtime for the best spots under the covers, I could sleep through the end of the world with these guys all snuggled up and purring and broadcasting endorphins!


    Good One (none / 0) (#155)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 02:57:16 PM EST
    Broadcasting endorphins. Poetic..

    I Work Downstairs (none / 0) (#156)
    by daring grace on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 03:02:17 PM EST
    Where we have natural gas space heaters. (This used to be a fish market.)

    It's an old old building which, even with upgrades on windows, insulation, etc. manages to be pretty drafty.

    At the end of the day, settling into a chair, I find it increasingly hard to feed the fire. And you're right: Around freezing, I can stoke it pretty high for about an hour or so and then let...it...drift...a little. But this winter has been fierce and demands much more vigilance and it can be a constant chore.

    Good for you with the three of them in the bed. I have a friend who sleeps in a queen size bed with her 3 dogs--a choc lab, a beagle and a terrier mix. I don't know how she does it. I have two cats--only one gets in bed so far. But the comforters are heaven--down and 'down alternative'. No matter how cold it is, I ALWAYS end up sleeping with only one by the morning. Too hot otherwise.

    The purring is a tremendous comfort on cold, dark nights, oh yes.


    My 2nd floor (none / 0) (#157)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 12:40:13 AM EST
    has no heat except what comes up through the floor from the woodstove, so it's pretty cold, especially on those -20 nights.  But my attic has great insulation and I think my metal roof helps, too.  It's never quite been cold enough up there to see my breath, but cold enough that I put the little space heater on for five minutes or so before sliding down and going under.

    My goose down comforter is one of the best purchases I ever made in my life.  Heavenly sleeping conditions for me are a cold nose and toasty warm rest of me buried under a big heap of covers-- with extra-warm spots from the cats here and there, of course.


    A big, big headache... (none / 0) (#67)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:58:12 PM EST
    ...for food banks as well.  As if they weren't having enough trouble keeping their shelves stocked, now they have bad peanut everything to worry about.

    Though if I was starving... (none / 0) (#81)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:32:26 PM EST
    I'd eat peanut butter anything...unless you're very old, sick, or a young child there is little risk from the salmonella in the peanut butter.

    Hope they ain't just throwing it all away...if you're belly is empty, potential salmonella exposure doesn't rank on the problems list.


    That's a good percent... (5.00 / 6) (#83)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:40:08 PM EST
    ...of the people they help though--the young, the old, the sick.  Not just the food banks either--same with the meals-on-wheels providers like Project Angel Heart

    A mild case of salmonella would probably do me in.  I imagine there's a lot of people in that boat with me.


    Absolutely right... (none / 0) (#87)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:53:31 PM EST
    though I'd bet the food banks are seeing an increase in healthy able-bodied adults in need of assistance....hope they like peanuts:)

    Harry Markopolos ... (5.00 / 7) (#15)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:54:10 AM EST
    gave stunning testimony yesterday before the House Financial Services Committee.  He is the man who tried to get the SEC to pay attention to Bernie Madoff.  He said that the true amount will never be known because of all of the iilicit money from the criminal underworld and tax evaders in the offshore feeder funds.  The "victims" of those funds won't complain to the authorities.  His overall assessment of the SEC is that it is inept and incompetent - too many lawyers and not enough accountants and economists.  And the youth and inexperience of the staff shows.  The SEC is basically the farm team for the industry - many go to work to the SEC with their eyes on lucrative jobs on Wall Street.  And he thinks that FINRA is just corrupt (I think this is where Mary Schapiro, the SEC Chairman nominee was the head of that.)  The testimony is riveting.  

    He was hot! (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Fabian on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:19:28 AM EST
    Maddoff reminds me of Pratchett's "Going Postal" where a superb con man takes a lot of very (formerly) rich people to the cleaners.  It's merely embezzlement done on a massive scale - from banks, but the whole acceptance of the con man, Reacher Gilt, as a man of brains and substance by those in the upper tiers of finance and society is certainly familiar.

    I hope Markopolos writes a book... (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:52:47 AM EST
    the truth is more compelling than fiction.  Madoff, Greenspan and Paulson will be the icons of the financial meltdown.

    More thanks (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by cal1942 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:26:11 PM EST
    to Ronald Reagan for junking the place. The risk we're exposed to by conservative small government advocates is truly staggering.

    yes!!! (none / 0) (#18)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:59:38 AM EST
    he feared for his life

    yes Mary the head of the SEC is the person who RAN FNRA when it was busy being corrupt..



    Her Confirmation Hearing Should Be... (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:46:18 AM EST

    I'm beginning to think that Obama needs to find that she was dodging taxes.  

    Markopolos didn't mince words.  He thinks the whole senior level at the SEC should be tossed out.  I didn't see much of the second panel which comprised SEC senior staff but apparently they confirmed Markopolos' belief that they should all be tossed out.  One interesting statistic that Markopolos came up with was the number of SEC enforcement actions in 1999 versus the numbers during the Bush years - the disparity was telling.  But then we knew that the regulators were asleep at the switch.


    Baucus and Leverage (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:54:22 AM EST
    on the floor discussing the three aspects of the plan

    1, the jobs
    2 the housing
    3 the consumer demand (which of course is driven by 1 and 2)  thats me not Baucus :0)

    he talks about the housing bill coming after the stimulus

    now this is very interesting, he indicates the crisis is due to overleveaging by banks, consumers America in general, how 40x leverage is too much

    yes totally

    Jamie Dimon BTW also said two days ago it was the leveraging that created the crisis..


    They do not learn even the lesson they claim to have just learned they are ignoring as we speak...

    take a look at any chart of the Fed Reserve balance sheet, after this new treasury plan as described by Bloomberg piece above, it will be a perpindicular line to the baseline, in fact I wouldnt be surprised if it fell over backward on the chart and made a loop de loop before breaking above the box of the chart..

    scary shxt, that WILL be inflation later, I say 2011-2012 it begins...if Obama is lucky it wont hit him until after 12 elections...

    deflation (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:58:33 AM EST
    and before anyone raves at me about deflation, yes that is in the no shxt sherlock files now, we are in a terrible deflationary crisis, I agree,we all know :0) some of us knew in 2005 a-hem...

     but by failing to put any backouts or funding mechanisms (aside from tobacco tax in schip), in any of the plans being implemented in this bill, it leaves the inflation tiger unchecked and when it hits it hits fast and furiously,

    Look at the moves the 10yr has made this week in the face of deflation . it is actually rising fast, it is the money we are printing...

    we are having the largest debt offering EVAH too..BEFORE the stimulus passes

    I dont want to see my son grow up in Carterland the way I did...ugh

    back out the spending, put sunsets in...


    This is not the same problem (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by BernieO on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:52:21 AM EST
    that Carter faced. He had to deal with stagflation. The economy was bad because Volker raised interest rates really high to break inflation, but most economists agree it was necessary.

    Volker (none / 0) (#76)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:23:06 PM EST
    doesn't get enough credit outside of economist circles- all that boom stuff that Reagan is fetishized for by the GOP- yeah that's all Volker (there's a reason even whackadoo "Voodoo Economics" converts wanted him kept on in 1980).`

    TARP II Hearing Just Concluded... (none / 0) (#45)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:56:16 AM EST
    Henry Paulson has come in for a lot of criticism.  TARP II will look a lot different, I think.  

    Over-leveraging is probably at bottom of BSP*-- (none / 0) (#103)
    by jawbone on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:49:45 PM EST
    The Big Sh$t Pile, as Atrios coined the term, was not just the funny exotic financial instruments created out of mortgages, but also the CDSs (credit default swaps) and all their exotic financial instrument Frankenstein offspring.

    See Bernhard at MoonofAl for one among many who've been Cassandras about these problems. Been right, been ignored. There's a pattern here! And Obama does not seem to have noticed it -- or isn't sure enough of what he thinks to be able to withstand the pressure from the Big Bankster Boiz crowd.

    Check out my comment thread about recent Bernhard comments.


    Relax (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by SOS on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:27:59 AM EST
    our fearless multi millionaires are going to fix everything.

    fear mongering (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:43:23 AM EST
    "This recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse," Obama wrote in the newspaper piece titled, "The Action Americans Need."

    As bad as the Carter years is pretty scarey.

    Hey (none / 0) (#37)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:45:26 AM EST
    The Obama Administration thought about sending us all debit cards - seems like that would have been easier and cheaper!

    And Obama aides say they are open to adding some tax cuts that specifically encourage spending. They looked into the possibility of sending debit cards to all 150 million American households, but decided it was not yet logistically feasible. Instead, the final package may include some smaller programs, like a home-buying subsidy the Senate began discussing on Tuesday.

    But targeted tax cuts -- in effect, a bribe for households to spend more money -- bring their own problems, officials say. One of the economy's big weak spots right now is consumer indebtedness. Additional spending will help the economy this year, but it could also lead to more credit card and mortgage defaults -- which would undermine the Treasury Department's efforts to revive the financial system.

    Forget debit cards.... (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:49:50 AM EST
    send cash...some segments of the economy in need of stimulus don't take debit cards, and why give Visa a penny or two of every dollar spent?  Let the retailer keep it all.

    Here's what mystifies me. (5.00 / 5) (#40)
    by dk on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:51:14 AM EST
    As long as I'm worried about losing my job (thus losing both income and health insurance), why would I even consider buying a house, even with a 15,000 tax credit.

    The silliness of these people boggles the mind.  If they created single payer healthcare, I wouldn't have the same fear regarding my job, and might actually be willing to spend more.  But of course, that would require Democrats to act like Democrats, and with the Democratic party in Obama's hands that is obviously not going to happen.  At least that's what he promised during the campaign with his Harry & Louise ads.


    decided it was not yet logistically feasible" (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by jawbone on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:59:41 PM EST
    If direct fiscal stimulus to consumers is not feasible now, when do they think it might be?

    I mean, once the Mongo Obama Stimulus Bill is passed, it is not going to be easy to get any more money out to actual little people. Will be very, very, very difficult, if not impossible.

    (It was so helpful of Obama to tell Sen. Gregg he could have a Repub for a replacement in the Senate. Wasn't that nice of our Dem president?)

    This bill may be Obama's only chance, which is why it's so important he not mess it up with all this bipartisanship selling out to Repubs. To discredited Repub econ ideas! Wow.

    Who'd a thunk this would be happening after the mess the Repubs made, that they get to call the shots on the fix for the mess made on their watch!

    Gotta hand it to Obama, giving them a leg up like that.

    Unfortunately, what may be handed to him is the blame for the recession/depression. Repubs are not going to be bipartisan in accepting blame, believe me.


    How about (none / 0) (#58)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:40:24 PM EST
    And Obama aides say they are open to adding some tax cuts that specifically encourage spending.

    How about some tax cuts that specifically encourage hiring.


    Amir (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by cal1942 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:36:45 PM EST
    People aren't hired because of business tax cuts. They are hired when demand for a given product or service increases.

    You people never seem to recognize reality and continue to run on with total nonsense.


    Justice Ginsburg (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:16:46 PM EST
    has pancreatic cancer.

    I wish her the best.

    Ouch (none / 0) (#59)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:41:52 PM EST

    Thats really bad stuff.

    Sad news but not (none / 0) (#90)
    by brodie on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:00:19 PM EST
    entirely surprising given her recent health record.

    Odd though, there was a piece published earlier today at Slate by Dahlia Lithwig talking about the need to replace the next retiring "liberal" Justice with someone intellectually muscular, to balance the heavy-footprint RWer Scalia.

    If Ginsburg does indeed step aside in the near future, and is the first Justice for O to replace, he'll probably be looking only at the available female replacements.

    And if that happens, O would still be under some pressure to have the next nominee be a woman too, since the one sole woman seat on the Court seems rather an outdated and underrepresentative concept today.


    If the reports are true about (none / 0) (#109)
    by hairspray on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:14:25 PM EST
    finding only a small cancer, she at least has the luxury of staying on for a while knowing that Obama will name her replacement.  I keep waiting to hear that Justice Stevens will be leaving this year. He is 89 years and while he is spry and wily he should really consider leaving soon so Obama can name a replacement.  In fact I hope that the 4 who usually vote as a group would be replaced during Obama's tenure if they are suffering any health issues.  I also would like Obama to take a page from the GOP and name younger justices.  

    That does sound dumb.... (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:17:02 PM EST
    isn't fast easy credit part of what got us into this mess?

    Passed by voice vote, so Repubs have deniability! (none / 0) (#116)
    by jawbone on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:30:48 PM EST
    easily passed by voice vote two measures that were popular on both sides of the aisle.

    The swift passage of a tax deduction for homebuyers and a small business provision was yet another sign -- like the car-buying incentive passed last night -- that the types of items attracting strong Republican support are those that put money in consumers' pockets or provide tax breaks to persuade them to spend. (Related article by David Herszenhorn.)

    Since the Senate began debating the stimulus in earnest on Tuesday, Republican senators have been balking at the size of the stimulus package and the way that it is weighted (in their view) toward spending versus tax cuts. This morning, in opening remarks on the floor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell began by ticking off amendments that passed on Tuesday night, proposals that added at least $17 billion to the bill. "Unfortunately, Democrats just keep throwing more money on top of an incredibly bloated bill," Mr. McConnell said earlier today.

    Now, here is an intersting dose of reality from the Times reporter. Give credit where due!)

    (Although $11 billion of the money he mentioned is the estimated cost of the car-purchasing tax deduction -- one that received broad G.O.P. support. And $6.5 more billion went toward additional money for the National Institutes of Health, which Republican Senator Arlen Specter backed.)

    The language says the $15K is for new house purchases: Does that mean it applies only to "new" houses, not resells of existing houses? Which would mean taking some of the surplus unsold NEW homes off the market, but not helping those who had bought a new house and can't hold on to it. Or does it mean any first time purchaser? Which limits the possible beneficiaries,I think.


    The C-SPAN scroll (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:18:33 PM EST
    tells me that Reid is going to accept a 60 vote requirement for passage.

    Stupid, spineless, Dems.

    Well (none / 0) (#79)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:29:00 PM EST
    Sen. McCaskill disagrees with you, andgarden. And we know that she is the sage of the Senate.

    "Where I live in Missouri, the notion of doing nothing is not an option," said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). "At the end of the day, this notion that we are going to put this on a shelf, are you kidding me? If we don't do something, we're going to have some explaining to do."

    heh (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:31:35 PM EST
    She's totally useless.

    Yup (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:38:19 PM EST
    Her kids probably texted her that line.

    I was going to make a texting joke (none / 0) (#85)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:41:42 PM EST
    but let it go.

    Saw McCcaskill pontificating (none / 0) (#141)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:10:39 PM EST
    this  a.m. on CNN.  First thought:  bad outfit.  Second thhought:  I'm really sick of her.

    More from the C-SPAN ticker (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:55:51 PM EST
    After shaving $100B off of the already prenegotiated bill, Reid expects that he'll get 60 votes.

    This isn't going to work, but I is probably better than nothing.

    You're right to point that out... (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by santarita on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:05:53 PM EST
    his testimony provides a look at many aspects of the systemic failures that caused our perilous economic state - regulators at sleep at the switc and  a code of silence (omerta') among the denizens of Wall Street, including the credit rating agencies and the press.

    Courtesy of Los Angeles Times: (5.00 / 2) (#149)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 02:12:34 AM EST
    "If you started the day Jesus Christ was born and spent $1 million every day since then, you still wouldn't have spent $1 trillion," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

    That Explains (none / 0) (#150)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 04:14:48 AM EST
    How his 3 trillion dollar stimulus plan cost less than the 800 billion plan of Obama's.

    I am really worried about (none / 0) (#3)
    by CST on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:13:58 AM EST

    Something has got to be done about the cost of college.  At least the public schools.

    The fact that (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:17:31 AM EST
    you generally can't discharge student loans is a big problem for some people these days. You might as well go find another county to live in.

    yes!!! (none / 0) (#6)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:29:23 AM EST
    boy you aint kiddin!! Hillary had a lovely plan to discharge them after 10 years

    as Michelle would say, can we get something over here?

    I distinctly remember MO in OH complaining about their student loans.,.

    no doubt Team O will want ivil service first, that is his raison d'etre for everything...working adults cant take much time off for that sadly....


    I remember that too (none / 0) (#48)
    by BernieO on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:58:51 AM EST
    She complained to a group of working class women in about that and about the fact that they "had" to pay $10,000 a year for lessons for their kids.  Those women could not have afforded any dance lessons for their kids let alone ones that were so expensive, yet Michelle thought she was empathizing with them. Probably in her Jimmy Choos.

    I was suprised that the Republicans did not make more of that. Clearly Obama did not face the typical Republican slime machine during the election. Unfortunately it is rearing its ugly head now to fight the stimulus bill.


    Peace Corps (none / 0) (#77)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:25:38 PM EST
    Will Cover basically all student loans taken out for 4 years of instate public tution- now admittedly if you go private, or out of state you're going to end owing 100 grand+.

    They won't do anything (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:19:12 AM EST
    I can't see us making any progress in education or healthcare until we wake up and realize we can't sustain the spending we do on the military. We don't need to be able to blow the world up 50,000 times. One time would do it. But there isn't anyone in a leadership role willing to attack the sacred cash cow that the military provides.

    I don't know CST... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:29:54 AM EST
    we've been saying for a generation that "you have to go to college", I wonder if we don't have a gluttony of college grads over-qualified for the little work that is out there.  

    I can sympathize with the couple mentioned in the article, but how could they not realize that their is gluttony of lawyers in this country, and maybe going 60k in debt each to become lawyers wasn't the wisest investment?  People need to take a little responsibility to see through the hype...a college degree is not the golden ticket it once was, and maybe an apprenticeship in the trades is the new golden ticket.

    And if enrollment went down, especially at the high-priced schools, the tuition would come back down to earth.


    Oh I absolutely agree (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by CST on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:39:05 AM EST
    They didn't realize because everything they've read has lied to them.  Not going to college is not an option that people ever mention when you are in h.s.  I have said for a while that we need more alternate options for people.  Obviously the couple in the article is the extreme case (it is forbes - they would pick lawyers).  But the fact is, it's true for a LOT of people who just don't know what to do with their lives so they go to college b/c it's what they're "supposed" to do.

    Unfortunately, enrollment isn't going down it's going up.  Young people out of work don't know what else to do so they apply for grad school thinking it's their ticket out.  Unfortunately, it's also a ticket to huge amounts of debt.

    My one friend in "good" financial shape is the one who dropped out of college after a semester, went into construction, and now owns a house that he can actually afford.


    I know it.... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:46:47 AM EST
    I d*cked around for a few semesters because I had no clue what to do with my life besides getting as much enjoyment and leisure out of it as possible, and college was what everybody said you are supposed to do...so I went.

    I'm glad it dawned on me that I was just wasting money and time and dropped out before I dug myself a big hole.

    The liars and people with agendas like loan sharks aren't cool...but the youth need to not be so god damn gullible either.  Don't go to college and pile up a debt unless you have a purpose and a plan...don't go through the motions and end up back where you started only 50 grand in the hole.


    I did that (none / 0) (#78)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:28:25 PM EST
    until I lost a scholarship, now I'm back in after 2 years and on Pell grants and student loans- its tough I work around 20 hrs a week and go to school full time but I should be able to graduate from the Main State school in my state with a debt load around 20-25k, which will be mostly erased with Peace Corps service and should set me for post-grad stuff (at least that's the plan).

    skilled trades (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:59:43 AM EST
    agree!!! that is why we need a manufacturing base and skilled trades in America not an economy based solely on financial paper- the export of our half axxed financial products that brought down the global economy

    oops ranting again

    **blushes fiercely**


    No need to blush jedimom (5.00 / 1) (#146)
    by cal1942 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:52:51 PM EST
    when you're right.  

    It also hasn't helped that the finance industry became the master instead of its proper role as servant. Sure helped destroy, along with foolish trade agreements, a lot of our manufacturing base.


    Enrollment is going down (none / 0) (#30)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:24:12 AM EST
    at the undergrad level in college.  It's not quite visible yet, but wait until seniors start to graduate this year.  At both big campuses in my town, frosh enrollment this year was down as much as 15 percent.  Demographics somewhat, economics a lot.

    As a college prof, I'm the first to agree that it isn't for everyone.  One of my kids finally is over the message from high school about anything less than a four-year degree and, not having finished hers -- and now laid off again -- she is happily enrolled now in a great two-year program (at much lower tuition, too -- and with transfer credits, it will take maybe a year) to train her for a field she always wanted to do.  

    It took ten years, but she finally is not hearing her snooty counselors and peers whispering in her ear -- and is listening to her mom who is the first to say: do what you love, and don't go deep into debt for what others say you ought to do.


    What we should be telling kids (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by BernieO on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:06:31 PM EST
    is that they need to be educated, not that they need to go to college. Education includes job training programs not just college.

    The Europeans have a much better system by having a lot of vocational training options. Also they do a good job of making sure all kids get a good, basic education by the time they graduate from high school.

    Just heard Justice Ginsberg is having surgery for pancreatic cancer. It was discovered early, but this survival rate at that stage only 10-30%. How terrible.


    Enrollment IS going down (none / 0) (#129)
    by DXP on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 04:58:19 PM EST
    at private colleges, but not at state universities. Even more pronounced is the explosion of applications to community colleges. In my state the community college system is excellent and offers a quality education, as do the state colleges and universities where students can transfer after two years. Networking is now a facebook thing which will increase pressure on the expensive private schools.

    We need to start a whole new (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by hairspray on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:17:53 PM EST
    effort in technical education geared to place workers in those manufacturing jobs we must replace.  I taught at a junior college for a while and believe me some people are not college material.

    oh noes (none / 0) (#41)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:52:08 AM EST
    now you tell me!!! I just finally got my BA Magna Cum Laude and everything and I will turn 40 this summer!!!!


    Ahh man what r ya gonna do? the Baby Boomers have fxxked my GEN X again..


    see I went to work right away at age 16 and only finally did hubby make enough starting last few years where I could afford to go to school and now, well, like I said

    what r ya gonna do? My grandpa God Bless him, would tell me to pick myself up dust off and get back to work

    so thats what I will do

    the American Way


    although (none / 0) (#47)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:57:28 AM EST
    I should say I LOVE school, I really really do. I had my daughter VERY young so I choose in a round about way not to go when I was 18, but I really love it and would love to be there all day every day learning things

    I kept changing my major and falling in love with new things

    religion, history, geography of culture, film studies, were it not for the pesky money part I would learn all the live long day..

    when my mom went public colleges were FREE of course she choose to go to NYU instead (where ironically I had a scholarship but choose instead to marry the love of my life at age 18 cough cough dont ask how that ended)

    anywho I think public university should be subsidized by the state, like it is in countries where H1B visa holders get THEIR education and then come here for the jobs we are too ignorant to do..


    sorry ranting away the day, will stop

    must... stop.... ranting....

    feel... like..... Capt... Kirk...


    "Damn it jedimom.... (none / 0) (#65)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:56:31 PM EST
    I'm a doctor".

    hey! (none / 0) (#9)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:31:10 AM EST
    you know who knows a LOT about private student loan sharks, TOM DASCHLE!

    ROTFL!!!! ahhh they slay me :0)

    eduloan jets flying to some warm climate right no betcha...


    new new TARP Two... (none / 0) (#5)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:26:46 AM EST
    The latest on the financial rescue plan!!

    to follow up on my post in the thread below, Frank told Team Obama and Treasury NOT to come to Congress for another 2 trillion in TARP, an idea they had been floating in the media reports..yeah there is NO stomach for it

    THIS is what I as worried about THIS is why HOUSING should have come FIRST!

    So here it is and sadly it likely IMO wont help:

    The plan will be "smaller" than originally expected, said the industry source, and centered around government guarantees and insurance of troubled assets, what's called a "ring fence" concept....Under the emerging plan, the government will buy toxic assets below the banks "carrying value," which is basically market value, but not at fire sale levels, the source said.

    That approach will likely placate both taxpayer and Congressional concerns about the government over-paying for the assets. But, the source noted, it could "trigger an accounting problem for the banks," presumably because the institutions will have to report a loss on the transactions.....The current plan is expected to be smaller in that it will be paid for out of the remaining money in the original TARP plan, which is about $350 billion. Some of that money, however, will remain earmarked for home foreclosure relief.

    Experts estimate there are some $1.5-$2.0 trillion in such bad assets, either of the non-performing or illiquid variety.

    fyi (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:33:14 AM EST
    for those who may not know, this ring concept is what was done with CITI and BofA,

    it is backed by Geithner who designed it, Sheila Bair at FDIC wanted the bad bank like the RTC we did once before...this wont be the end of it...if they dont fix housing the assets will keep deflating....


    It's not just housing--the banks have toxic assets (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by jawbone on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:15:31 PM EST
    based on CDSs (credit default swaps) which are weighing them down much more than the mortgage sliced, diced, pureed exotic financial instruments.

    The mortgage mess just hurts people...a lot. I love that Rep. Marcy Kaptur is telling people to just stay in their houses if the banks can't produce the title!

    However, the banks will not be trusted, by other banks especially, until they clean up their books. The shadow accounts are what's keeping them on eggshells. They know they haven't exposed/written down all their toxic assets, so they sure don't believe other banks have done so. Thus, they don't really trust other banks.

    They also feel they need to get their capitalization up so they can cover their own toxic asset exposures. Thus, lending goes only to the very best credit risks.

    Krugman, among others, says there are two ways to handle this: Let the bad banks go down, take over their good assets in rehabilitated or "Good Banks," and reprivatize after things settle down and the economy's on an even keel.  Or, buy up the toxic assets at the rates the Banksters think is fair, and let the taxpayers eat the losses. It's either protect the banksters and their shareholders or protect the taxpayers. Presently, the banks do not want to sell at the market rate for their toxic assets, bcz it is so low. They're holding out for another bailout.

    Also, apparently, now, Geithner wants to preserve the banks as we know them.

    "We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

    In light of our new Sec. Energy saying that (none / 0) (#7)
    by tigercourse on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:29:50 AM EST
    California is essentially turning back into a dessert, wouldn't now seem like a good time to include desalination plant and pipeline constructuin money in the stimulus? That has to be something that would create a lot of jobs and, you know, keep one of our most important states (and indeed the whole West) from going all to heck.

    What is the recipe for that dessert (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by scribe on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:47:12 AM EST
    called "California"?

    I kinda know how to make a Baked Alaska (and, no, moose meat is not an ingredient), and a Bavarian, and Creme Anglais, but I never heard of a "California".


    I'm not completely sure of the recipe, (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by tigercourse on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:05:15 AM EST
    but I know the first two ingredients are granola and sushi.

    With 40+ inches of water (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Fabian on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:03:15 AM EST
    Ohio can pick up some of agriculture loss.

    Desal might be good for keeping people alive, but it won't do much for any water intensive enterprise like agriculture or dairy operations.  It's hella energy intensive/expensive too.  Toss in the cost of piping water uphill and it won't be cheap.

    Certainly not cheap enough to use to grow strawberries.


    The way I see it, it would have been (none / 0) (#26)
    by tigercourse on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:11:10 AM EST
    expensive to fix the New Orleans leeves as well. But money upfront would have saved alot spent later on.

    We can't afford a collapse of the West.


    Could we have afforded (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by Fabian on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:36:49 AM EST
    the collapse of Detroit?

    Living in the Rust Belt gives one a certain perspective on things.  No one ran around going "OMG!  We can't afford the loss of all that manufacturing!".  They just let it happen.

    And the loss of those manufacturing jobs and that income?

    It led to this great country relying on an unsustainable housing bubble that helped get us into this fix.

    People are very adaptable critters.  If they want to stay in California, they'll find a way to do it.  Anything with less flexibility in resource requirements may have to move.

    Mass human migration is a predicted result of Climate Change/Crisis.  The housing bubble collapse was predicted as well.

    Be proactive, not reactive.  Figuring out what arable lands may become unproductive is proactive.  Predicting which areas will become more productive is proactive.  Planting your very own victory garden is proactive.  Howling about crop failures and high food prices is reactive and doesn't feed the hungry.


    Just checked. (none / 0) (#84)
    by Fabian on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:40:11 PM EST
    A large chunk of California is already a desert.
    Annual Precipitation Map

    Yes, but... (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:47:31 PM EST
    the irrigation projects, from the Imperial Valley in the south, through the levees north of Sacramento make this desert pretty darned important for food production.

    Same with Arizona's Valley of the Sun... but when I lived there, more farmland was being covered in houses than any other crop.

    Now, my question to any geologists out there, what was it that made this desert so fertile? Not rhetorical, I haven't seen Cadillac Desert in some years, and don't remember... old age and CRS, I suppose.


    I used to think that irrigation (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by Fabian on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:42:54 PM EST
    was a miracle - deserts to lush farmland!

    It turns out that if you don't flush the soil deeply on a regular basis, the soil salts build up and the fields become infertile.  So you can micro or drip irrigate in the short term and take advantage of centuries of stored nutrients (no rain to leach them from the soil), but in the long term you need more water than that.


    Geez, I forgot about that. (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 04:58:02 PM EST
    We usually don't have the salt problems in the southeast, our perc rate and precip, long-term, is too high. We do still use microirrigation, in some cases thaose gigantic water-givers... but plenty of rain, in normal years.

    When I was growing pecans, however, el ni~no reared its ugly head for about three years running...

    I know from experience that salts are a problem at altitude in Argentina, also-- the inland areas.

    Mess with Mother Nature...


    . . . and you get the Dust Bowl (5.00 / 2) (#136)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:01:13 PM EST
    if you mess with Mother Nature's thousand years of building what may look just ol' prairie grasses.

    baucus ss (none / 0) (#19)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:00:33 AM EST
    baucus talking about ss on cspan2 now on the floor and entitlement reform and solvency...

    ss (none / 0) (#20)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:02:03 AM EST
    max says ss is fine for 3 years and we can tackle it then, another hike for GEN X no doubt, we get frakked every frakin time,

    he says MEDICARE needs to be addressed now
    I agree, which is why it is IMO INSANE to add medicare/medicaid for P/T unemployed workers which is in this frakin bill....


    It's fine for longer than three years (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by sj on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:52:32 AM EST
    And I guess I have no problem with him pushing that line at this point.  If it tables the current discussion and gets reform/gutting of SS out of the conversation during the crises (yes, that's plural), it has served a useful purpose.

    We can't afford to NOT have single payer universal (none / 0) (#112)
    by jawbone on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:20:42 PM EST

    Should be part of the stimulus/recovery plan.

    If banks are going down, mfring, businesses, why not the Big Insurance leeches?

    Time to act and do something which make this a better nation going forward, not just niggling little changes.

    FDR, please channel your strength, confidence, and courage through our current Dem president. Please?? And, clear those St. Ronnie cobwebs out of his brain, OK? Bless you.


    Is a "niggling little change"? (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:40:40 PM EST
    President Barack Obama signed an expansion of the government's children's health insurance program into law Wednesday, calling the measure a "down payment" on his plans to provide coverage for all Americans.

    "I refuse to accept that millions of our children fail to reach their full potential because we fail to meet their basic needs," Mr. Obama said at a White House signing ceremony. "In a decent society, there are certain obligations that are not subject to tradeoffs or negotiation, and health care for our children is one of those obligations."


    Unfortunely, UHC (or whatever you want to call it) is going to take awhile--it sure as heck isn't going to happen over-night. Just ask Hillary.  

    A step in the right direction is better than a step backwards or no step at all.  



    SCHIP is not part of the Obama Stimulus, is it? (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by jawbone on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:55:58 PM EST
    SCHIP is not a "niggling little change"; but it does cover only children and not their parents -- who are the breadwinners. Some of the items in the Mongo Obama Stimuls Bill are, to me, in the niggling category--or if not small, huge mistakes.  Like accepting discredited Repub ideas on the economy! Yikes!

    And, since Conyers has House 676 ready to go (Hey,shovel ready, babeeee!), why not fold it in?

    Obama did say during one of the presidential debates that healthcare is a right, right? And he knows the power of words, right?

    The Brits instituted their National Health Service, universal healthcare, right after World War Two, kind a biggy thing in terms of damaging the economy, destroying the nation's infrastructure and housing stock, and killing and maiming many people. The economy was in a mess after the war, but Labour of the time had leadership which asked if not now, when?

    And they got it through.

    There was food and other rationing in Great Britain into the 1950's, btw. It was not a walk in park recovering from a real war, on their own soil. But they did it, gave their citizens national healthcare.

    Kudos to Britain's Labour Party of yesteryear!


    Steps in The Right Direction (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by daring grace on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 04:44:17 PM EST

    I listened yesterday to the BBC news on the local public radio station and there was the story about how Interior secretary Salazar voided oil and gas leases on 77 pieces of public land in Utah which would have been in environmentally sensitive areas.

    And then I heard the story about the SCHP bill  Obama (finally) signed after Bush wouldn't.

    I breathed a contented sigh of relief.

    There are things I am NOT happy about these days with the way Obama is governing (so far). But this is SO MUCH BETTER than what we got used to the last eight years where--if I even listened to the news--it was always cringe-fully. Now, more often than not, there's news of a new move on the part of the Executive Branch that is in line with my own values.

    What a relief!


    Those Utah leases... (5.00 / 3) (#126)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 04:50:38 PM EST
    ...are in some of the most beautiful and fragile country that we have in the US.  I was elated about that!  Hopefully, he'll do the same for his home state (i.e., the Roan)...

    Of course, the Gop'ers are up-in-arms, as to be expected with their "drill here, drill now" mantra.  But with oil prices being low right now, the industry is slowing way down.  Lay-offs are happening on the Western Slope here.  


    Speaking of Healthcare (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by CST on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 05:05:22 PM EST
    Ted and Max are still on the ball.

    Although if you really want to be depressed, read the attatched comments...


    Great Letter (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 05:21:43 PM EST
    Couldn't go to the comment section though, bad enough here..

    HHS Secretary? (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by caseyOR on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:19:55 PM EST
    The rumor here in Oregon is that our senior senator Ron Wyden is now on the short list for HHS Secretary. Ron has his own healthcare reform plan that he has worked on in the Finance Committee. It is not single-payer.

    If Wyden were to move to HHS, ( I have only heard this rumor here in Oregon), the governor would NOT appoint his replacement. A special election is required. In fact, Wyden was first elected to the Senate in a special election to replace Bob Packwood after he was forced to resign in that sexual harrassment dust-up of his.


    It's a baby step (5.00 / 3) (#139)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:03:47 PM EST
    but yes, it's good to do something about our babies in a country with an extraordinarily high infant mortality rate, considering our "advancement."

    But to really work well, it needs to be tied to working in maternal mortality, too.  We didn't really even start studying how to reduce it until the 1930s, and we've still got a way to go to be sure those babies have mothers and healthy ones.


    Well Yeah (none / 0) (#113)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:24:53 PM EST
    Except the downside to attaching UHC to the stimulus bill is that it will fail in the Senate, 80-20 and that is a generous estimate.

    FEMA sent salmonella food to KY? (none / 0) (#21)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:02:58 AM EST
    Oh good gawd, they think the peanut butter they sent KY for the crisis has peanut butter contaminated with salmonella

    good gawd

    Ohoenix Mayor telling us we are unsafe (none / 0) (#25)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:06:12 AM EST
    this is just frakin wrong

    Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon on the radio telling us the longer this goes on without the stimulus the more unsafe we become, we are losing police and fireman....

    I call BS, he just came back from meeting with TEAM OBAMA in the capitol, I think it is fraked up to scare the country into supporting your stimulus bill, if it sucks fix it, dont scare us, we are already scared

    what happened to FDR and only fearing fear itself...

    well I am maxed out for the day got to work :0)

    Arizona (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Fabian on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:25:10 AM EST
    is one of the states who bet big on the construction boom, right?

    The mayor may be partly right.  However, the reality may be that construction boom is now over and Phoenix needs to start finding a new industry to invest in for the future.

    Yup.  A quick google finds that AZ is only second to CA in drop in housing prices.  [Only a single data point, but it's a doozy.]


    yes but it gets even worse than that !! (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:40:21 AM EST
    in addition, we are a non recourse state, we had laws this way so that it would discourage flippers, basically you can do jingle mail, return the keys walk away from your mortgage and they cant come after you here

    but the flippers under greenspans free money policy came anyway from all over America to buy flip sell, drove our prop taxes sky high then left us like a smoking frakin crater rivalled only by perhaps MI and CA for debt trouble

    cause now people are just walking away....

    see here on our schools being closed now: and I poor me, in my same house on my 30 yr fixed rate for 15 yrs and now I am underwater b/c of these damn morons, arrrgggle!

    To Our SUSD Family,

    Please click on the following link to view an important video message. The video will present information regarding the current state of the budget for Scottsdale Unified School District, a Capital Override update, facts on the K-3 Override and the process for addressing possible budget decisions.

    We will be visiting every school site soon to give further information and answer questions.

    Video Link:

    basically they eliminated free pre k and all day k, are gutting the bidgets and leaving us to close schools, and we are already 49th out of 50 in education spending..


    and these children will get the tax bill to pay for the stimulus and the interest on the debt...

    frankly I am incredibly pixxed right now at my GOV NAPOLITANO who left us, dumped us to the curb to go serve in washington leaving us with our GOP SoS to do this damage after all the promises she made our children...

    grrrrrrrrr, I can take a lot but dont mess with my kids, grrrrrr


    Everything I saw made it look like AZ was (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:51:27 PM EST
    catering to the "flippers".

    I lived there nearly 2 years. Got out just as the market started the downward spiral.

    While I was there I worked as personal assistant for the owner of 1 of the only 2 large privately owned homebuilding firms. He lost his business a few months ago. I bought my own home from the other, and don't know if he's still in business. I started planning my departure as soon as I moved into my new home and realized what the builder had done to the community.

    The builders were seriously involved in the trashing of AZ. For the short 2 years I was there, it was pretty obvious what was going on.


    Gen. Zinni feeling snubbed by Obama (none / 0) (#35)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:40:58 AM EST
    I'm with you (none / 0) (#56)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:30:33 PM EST
     For one thing, this won't inspire enough homebuying to prevent further decline in home values. It is almost criminal to entice people into buying houses in this market - the value of the house will probably decline by at least the 15k they are getting back.

    Better to give it to the people that are underwater on their mortgages to keep them from walking away from their houses.

    MY PONY CAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (none / 0) (#57)
    by lambert on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:40:20 PM EST

    Now is the time to protect health insurance for the more than 8 million Americans at risk of losing their coverage and to computerize the health-care records of every American within five years, saving billions of dollars and countless lives in the process.

    I"M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    NOTE Do you see the words "universal health care" in there? And what about the people who've already lost their insurance?

    maybe it's a word search puzzle (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:58:15 PM EST
    Now is the time to protect health insurance for the more than 8 million Americans at risk of losing their coverage and to computerize the health-care records of every American within five years,

    Well, almost!


    Another great Republican idea, though (none / 0) (#60)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:44:03 PM EST
    Well, how can they deny care efficiently..., (none / 0) (#61)
    by lambert on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:47:38 PM EST
    ... if the records aren't computerized? Let's be reasonable, here, people!

    Oh, I'm not disagreeing (none / 0) (#70)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:01:44 PM EST
    I'm just saying it will be hailed as his Oliness' great idea, when in fact, it wasn't.

    It DEFINITELY needs to be done.


    What about the ones (none / 0) (#66)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 12:57:34 PM EST
    who already lost theirs a year ago and still haven't found work?

    Decrease the surplus population? Scrooge's idea... (none / 0) (#117)
    by jawbone on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:32:39 PM EST
    Things to watch (none / 0) (#74)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 01:18:53 PM EST
    1:  Is it possible that the census will be stripped out of Commerce and given to Rahm Emanuel to alleviate fears of blacks and Latinos that Gregg would downsize it?


    2:  Politico is reporting that Ted Kennedy and Mike Enzi issued a joint statement announcing further delays in Hilda Solis's confirmation. (No link yet.

    Very intriguing re census; thanks (none / 0) (#96)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:12:54 PM EST
    and I rec the book Who Counts? Here is a bit about one of the coauthors, a historian of the census and its political, economic, etc., impacts.

    Solis confirmation delayed (none / 0) (#98)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:32:21 PM EST
    Kennedy and Enzi give no reason, but it has come out that her husband had unpaid tax liens in the amount of about $9600 (some 16 years old) that he said he was unaware of. He has paid the liens.

    Considering the number of letters (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by coast on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:48:53 PM EST
    I receive on behalf of clients, I find it laughable for him to say he was unaware of the outstanding amounts due.  Again, no mention of any penalties being paid.

    I know nothing about such liens, apparently you do (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by jawbone on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:41:33 PM EST
    The articles says there were numerous small liens, for equipment in his auto shop and some permits, also, some sales tax payments. The husband says he's going to appeal.

    If you do know about these things, perhaps you could help us understand the issues?


    It seems this is all related to the husband's business, which sounds like an auto repair shop.


    I don't know the (none / 0) (#128)
    by coast on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 04:58:04 PM EST
    details of his situation, but it sound as though he failed to file and/or pay his business personal property tax and sales tax.  Most states make you pay a tax on the equipement and furniture and fixtures used in your business.  In addition, you generally have to file a sales tax form monthly, at least in my state.  In my state, if you fail to file the form the state will estimate what you should have reported and then add penalties and interest for failing to file.  They will inform you of this through several letters.  It will usually take awhile before they take the step of putting a lien on the business.  This would only happen after numerous letters were send.

    Was Geithner worth it? (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:53:11 PM EST
    Looks like the tradeoff for getting the Senate to look the other way on the Treasury guy was that the other guys and girls, even Kelliher whose error was minimal and paid up eons ago, will not get their posts.

    Let's watch and see whether Geithner was worth it.  Why do I somehow doubt it. . . .


    Schumer AGAINST HOLC (none / 0) (#107)
    by jedimom on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:04:07 PM EST
    I want everyone to know Schumer is on CSPAN2 right now talking AGAINST A HOLC type plan

    against the Ensign Amend. which allows all ameircans to refi at 4%,

    Schumer said then the govt would own 3 trillion in homes, we cant have that, where do we get the money? the dollar will collapse, we cannot add that to our dent, how do we know the loans wont fail..


    this sucks I am pixxed

    what are we going to say when we want to do it??

    Schumer is saying it should not be skewed to refis it whould be new homes only..what??? he is giving away ammo for free to the GOP to use against any HOLC attempt

    I am so sad now, this was my hope that they were doing holc next, every word form schumer proves that is wrong

    they have abandoned us

    As it took Jon Stewart to point out (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 04:02:19 PM EST
    politicians are very wary of moral hazard when it comes to the average citizen, as opposed to the banks and CEOs. They were never going to do HOLC.

    I'm not aware Schumer every supported HOLC, even (none / 0) (#118)
    by jawbone on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:35:30 PM EST
    when Hillary was pushing it very hard during her primary run--and afterwards.

    Schumer is very Wall Streety--seems it a a major consituent.


    For those interested... (none / 0) (#114)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:27:29 PM EST
    Done (none / 0) (#130)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 05:01:11 PM EST
    ...Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, after saying they have the votes for the bill:
    Frustrated Senate Democratic leaders dispensed with calls for bipartisanship on the stimulus package Thursday, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying that he won't let anyone "hold the president of the United States hostage."


    Despite concerns from some centrist Democrats, Reid said his 58-person caucus would be unified in support - and that he could pick up two Republican votes to get to the 60 he'll need.


    So, do we hold Obama to this? (none / 0) (#133)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 05:24:42 PM EST
    Or will there be more excuses from the apologists?

    During the campaign, and on his campaign website, Obama promised:

    As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.

    However, the Ledbetter and SCHIP bill were not posted for 5 days for public viewing.  Do we hold Obama accountable for his promise only on the things we don't like, or do we hold him accountable across the board?

    good question. (none / 0) (#134)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 05:38:50 PM EST
    I don't remember reading the comment, but good question...

    campaigns say a lot, though, all of them.


    See this CNN video on that promise (none / 0) (#140)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:07:51 PM EST

    I read a response from the White House.  The excuse is that they're still trying to figure out how to do it technologically.  Wasn't this the gang that was supposed to have won because of being so whiz-bang great at such websites?  Of course, now it turns out they couldn't get the email to work for days.  Methinks I'm hearing silly excuses.


    Denver Alert (none / 0) (#135)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 06:36:45 PM EST
    This looks like it will be a great show in the Denver Museum.
    Hope it travels east.


    Denver, Colo.) January 23, 2009 -- The Denver Art Museum (DAM) gives a nod to the social revolution that celebrated free love, rock music and experimental design in The Psychedelic Experience: Rock Posters from the San Francisco Bay Area, 1965-71.

    The exhibition will feature approximately 300 works from the DAM's newly acquired collection of posters promoting dance concerts and other gatherings that have become iconic symbols of 1960s and `70s youth culture. In addition, album covers, underground newspapers and comics, and other material will round out the presentation, accompanied by music, film and activities to evoke the era.

    Organized by the
    DAM and curated by Darrin Alfred, DAM's AIGA assistant curator of graphic design, the exhibition will be on view March 21 through July 19, 2009.

    Denver Museum (PDF)

    Very cool... (none / 0) (#138)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:02:54 PM EST
    ...thanks for the heads-up!  I haven't been to our recently expanded DAM as yet, so that's a great reason.  

    Some people get very dizzy due to the design I hear, so that will be interesting as well.