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Monday Morning Open Thread

Since we all read Krugman, I'll put the link here and quote the part I think most important:

As I read it, this dismissal [by Obama of concerns about the Obama approach to the financial crisis] together with the continuing failure to announce any broad plans for bank restructuring means that the White House has decided to muddle through on the financial front, relying on economic recovery to rescue the banks rather than the other way around. And with the stimulus plan too small to deliver an economic recovery ... well, you get the picture. Sooner or later the administration will realize that more must be done. But when it comes back for more money, will Congress go along?

The moment of truth fast approaches. Bold or timid? FDR or Jimmy Carter? Obama must choose. And soon.

This is an Open Thread. The opinions expressed above are mine alone.

< How Much Longer Can Obama And Geithner Avoid Dealing With The Financial Crisis? | Is "Obama The Indecisive" A GOP Meme? >
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    Whether it's too late or not (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by dk on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:02:07 AM EST
    depends on whom you ask, I suppose.  For the hundreds of thousands of people who have already lost their jobs since Obama signed onto TARP last fall, and the hundreds of thousands more who will continue to lose their jobs while he dithers, the moment of truth has already come and gone.

    When I ask myself (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:15:01 AM EST
    whether what team Obama is doing wrt banks is any bolder than what Bush did or would have done, I have to conclude that the answer is no. That's depressing.

    "there is no way for a fast climb up." (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Dadler on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:18:01 PM EST
    And this is only because we cannot, for anything it seems, give up our self-evidently inadequate and inequitable paradigms about money.  Change the paradigmns, money changes with them.  But to change these paradigms requires exactly the kind of bold economic and social leadership that Obama has still fallen well short of.  Mostly, I fear, because he does not believe, or hopes not anyway, that this type of action is necessary.  He is choosing hope over logic.

    The truth about money, obviously, is that it is entirely worthless in and of itself.  It's not livestock you can raise, it's not a seed you can plant.  It is merely an idea.  And for some time, it has been an idea abused and poorly remodeled.  Held up far too much, and weakly it turns out, by the largely delusionary notion of "wild wealth could be just around the corner for me!"  If we tweak that paradigm a bit, to be more about living in safe and secure and fully employed neighborhoods, while in no way eliminating opportunities for wealth through achievement, innovation, imagination, etc., we would quite quickly see a turn in everyone's "fortune".  

    We invest money with value through our belief in its worth -- and until we really sit down as a people and have a long conversation about what money is, what we want it to do to serve the nation, what can we do to genuinely and permanently prevent these types of greedy runs and crashes, all of it, then we will just be rearranging those deck chairs on the doomed ship.

    Brass balls, brass boobs, all are needed and, right now, are in very short to nonexistent supply in DC.

    Parent

    The Republicans (none / 0) (#37)
    by Fabian on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:35:39 AM EST
    can cut loose with their criticisms - that's a difference.

    Poor GOP.  When they had a chance to do something bold and daring, they shut their mouths and followed Bush meekly.  Even if they didn't follow meekly, they still fell in line when it came time to vote.

    They can't salvage their sinking party, but maybe their real strategy is make loud noises so they have good sound bites for their reelection campaigns.

    Parent

    On TARP, that's not true (none / 0) (#58)
    by lambert on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:25:46 PM EST
    The resistance came from Republicans, who are no doubt setting themselves up for a right wing populist campaign in 2012.

    Parent
    On most Bush policies (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Fabian on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    it was indeed true.  The results of the 2006 elections should have shown them that Bush and his policies were damaging the GOP.  A squeaker of an election in 2004, losing seats in 2006, suffering badly as the perfidy in the DOJ was exposed...and yet the best the GOP could do was to force the Attorney General to resign.  

    And now, after not holding their own party or their own president accountable for anything, they come out swinging.

    Parent

    Obama is (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by talesoftwokitties on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:41:11 AM EST
    Obama:  A Pol.  At a time when we need action, not more words.

    We need another Historic Speech! (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Fabian on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:38:27 AM EST
    Yeesh.  If this Obama administration doesn't get into gear, we'd better hope there's another McCain to run against in 2012.  

    Parent
    Didn't we just have a speech (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:45:16 AM EST
    about how times are tought, don't be discouraged, get out there and innovate.

    Parent
    Is that before or after... (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by lambert on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:28:00 PM EST
    ... the shared sacrifice part?

    Parent
    It's before (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by talesoftwokitties on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 02:31:00 PM EST
    the shared sacrifice, but after we go out and buy some stocks.

    Parent
    My takeaway (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Faust on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:23:26 AM EST
    IMO the better quote is:

    So here's the picture that scares me: It's September 2009, the unemployment rate has passed 9 percent, and despite the early round of stimulus spending it's still headed up. Mr. Obama finally concedes that a bigger stimulus is needed.

    But he can't get his new plan through Congress because approval for his economic policies has plummeted, partly because his policies are seen to have failed, partly because job-creation policies are conflated in the public mind with deeply unpopular bank bailouts. And as a result, the recession rages on, unchecked.

    (only 9%? Krugman is quite the optimist!)

    Really it's about the public sentiment. If, for whatever reason, you have 60%+ of the public in favor of X and you want to do X then you'll be in good position to get to do X. Among Krugman's many legitimate worries, it's the worry about the public's interest in the right solutions that he seems most worried about. He is concerned, for good reason, that public sentiment en masse is not rational, and is currently only with Obama for reasons that have to do with post election euphoria and honeymoon capital, relief over Bush's departure etc. That might well be right.

    When I talk to people about the economy people are stone cold nervous, even terrified, but it's not clear to me what will happen as time goes on. In an atmosphere of of fear, which will certainly only increase as things continue to get worse, I see no reason to think that people will not stampede herd-like to whomever they think can get them out of this mess. Will they run back to congressional Republicans and free market ideology? I'm not convinced that they will.

    None of which is to say that Krugman is wrong about the lack of boldness in the administration. I'm cynically inclined to think that they (administration) are willing to let this crisis get worse so that they can exploit it for more political leverage. Sort of like an economic 9/11 that they can use to drive their agenda. Big risk because you need to the public on board to do that, but Obama has the hubris to run that course I think.

    the public mind (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by DFLer on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:01:46 AM EST
    This part

    partly because job-creation policies are conflated in the public mind with deeply unpopular bank bailouts.

    is absolutely true, on the street. (main, that is)

    The first part of any conversation for me is always, "but you have to separate the bank bailouts from the stimulus spending" Then the complainer backs down a little.

    Parent

    I love your last paragraph (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:39:07 AM EST
    and agree completely.  

    Parent
    About that 600,000 (none / 0) (#67)
    by cal1942 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:41:51 PM EST
    rate per month. As time goes by that rate can increase simply because more unemployment causes the economy to decline at a faster rate. Obama's talk about 3 to 5 million jobs in two years is not facing up to the reality of a situation that's deteriorating at an ever increasing rate.

    As unemployment goes up, people still working could be forced to take pay cuts and/or get fewer work hours as happened in the early 30s. I wouldn't be surprised if some public employees are forced to work periods of time for nothing as happened to me and thousands of others in 1982.

    Dithering or responding meekly now on any front is foolish because the rate of decline can excelerate and make the hole deeper and more costly to scale.

    I like Krugman but I think he's an optimist.

    Parent

    Working for zero $ (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by Amiss on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 06:53:30 PM EST
    I wouldn't be surprised if some public employees are forced to work periods of time for nothing as happened to me and thousands of others in 1982.

    Already happening with teachers in Florida.


    Parent

    Nope. Not quite. In my state (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 07:54:26 PM EST
    we state employees all are taking pay cuts -- in take-home pay, with no raises for the next two years . . . but yet again, much higher health care payments in a state with among the highest such paycheck costs already.

    And our workloads are to increase, according to the latest memos.  That's okay; we're working out creative ways to do so.  We're glad to have jobs.  And the creative ways, as I've seen before, include some ideas that might become permanent.  So there is always that upside.

    But the idiocy that can occur is just amazing.  My group already had to register a mild protest when it was time to begin our annual peer review process -- for raises.  Huh, we said?  What raises?  Is this really the time to create more make-work?! (I have served on such groups, and it means many meetings for many hours.)  Why are we getting this memo?  Didn't the higher-ups get the memo about not getting raises for the next two years?  Does the phrase "rubbing salt in wounds" resonate at all?

    The stupid, it hurts. :-)

    Parent

    How about "c" (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Pacific John on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:29:45 AM EST
    ... neither FDR nor Clinton, but all of the above, a muddle that comes from trying to be all things to all people?

    Guess I'm not a "We" (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by SOS on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:42:18 AM EST
    Look, none of these banks are going to survive another six months anyway, so the basic blackmail motif that the whole money system will collapse if ransoms are not paid is a bluff that has to be called sooner or later.

    Look who's criticizing Ann Coulter (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:53:28 AM EST
    Meghan McCain

    And she blasts Coulter for helping to "perpetuate negative stereotypes" about Republican women. "I straight up don't understand this woman or her popularity," says McCain. "I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time."

    She concedes that Coulter seems to be followed by a "cult that cannot be denied," and was a popular headliner at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, but adds that "when your competition is a teenager who has a dream about the Republican Party and Stephen Baldwin, it's not really saying that much."

    It's not Coulter's politics, says McCain -- it's her personality. "Maybe her popularity stems from the fact that watching her is sometimes like watching a train wreck," she says.



    I know nothing about Meghan McCain, (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by tigercourse on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:56:04 AM EST
    but right now I like her.

    Parent
    She voted for Kerry in 2004 (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:04:10 AM EST
    But she supported her father this year because. . .he's her father.

    Parent
    Blood is thicker than water. (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:12:19 AM EST
    I'd vote for my sister or brother in law if they ran... maybe.

    Parent
    My Father (5.00 / 4) (#48)
    by cal1942 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:51:14 AM EST
    worked our precinct for Harry Truman.  His mother (Ella Dewey) was furious.

    Parent
    Coulter (5.00 / 8) (#27)
    by Steve M on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:00:59 AM EST
    is so anti-woman she makes Rush Limbaugh look like Gloria Steinem.

    Parent
    I really used to despise Anne Coulter (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:50:03 AM EST
    Not so much these days, I suppose it is because she isn't on my News station 24/7 these days.  Meghan does not show up Coulter in emotional intelligence though when she continues on and ends up dissing persons in her own party by the name of Stephen Baldwin and Jonathan Krohn (who can't even vote yet).  I happened to catch that kids speech and I was startled by his intellect and his ability to communicate his ideas.  Why was Coulter still the headliner?  My spouse and I talked about this the other day and with Rush and Coulter being headliners among the Republican party base it seems that the Republican party has become the party of a$$hole bullies and little else.  They don't like people who think before they make decisions and they feel best led by someone who steps on peoples faces and then laughs about it later.

    Parent
    Relax Meghan (none / 0) (#33)
    by ruffian on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:16:00 AM EST
    The last thing anyone thinks Ann Coulter is is the stereotypical Republican woman.

    Parent
    NPR's top of the hour news summary on Obama's stem (5.00 / 5) (#31)
    by jawbone on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:11:59 AM EST
    cell research announcement: Mentioned the signing of the executive order, snippet of Obama's speech, then, in describing stem cells as coming from embryos, added "a practice which some consider immoral." (Or very close to those words--my memory is not that great. The quoted phrase was correct, I'm pretty sure).

    And I wondered...has that phrase ever been added to other news stories? Such as:

    State X today executed Prisoner Y, "a practice which some consider immoral."

    An alleged Taliban leader was presumed killed, along with other persons, when a Predator drone fired missiles into a Pakistani village, "a practice some consider immoral."

    The US invaded Iraq, "which some consider immoral."

    It might be interesting if the news copy writers were to include that for any number of issues in the news, right? Why then do only a narrow range of topics get that treatment?

    I have never understood why (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:49:16 AM EST
    the media find it necessary to inject that little tidbit into their reporting, but find it maddening that they do it, and no one calls them on it in any kind of public way.

    What should be interesting, now that the ban on federal funding on embryonic stem cell research has been lifed, is whether it will be possible to actually appropriate federal funds for it.

    Knowing the Dems, they won't offer a straight-up bill on it, but will attach it to something that "has" to pass, at which point the GOP will stop the whole thing in its tracks and blame the failure of passage of some massively important legislation on the Dems because of their "stunt."

    This is getting as bad as the bad shows PBS recycles four weeks out of every three months for "pledge week," with similar results: seen it more times than I can count, not interested in seeing it again, and it doesn't make me want to send in a check.

    Parent

    great point. (none / 0) (#52)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:06:21 PM EST
    A very fair question! (none / 0) (#61)
    by Steve M on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:28:05 PM EST
    Don't forget... (none / 0) (#66)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:36:09 PM EST
    "Joe Blow from West Bubblef*ck was arrested for allegedly growing marijuana, which some consider immoral and tyrannical".

    I could get used to this kinda reporting:)

    Parent

    KDog, enjoy: (none / 0) (#76)
    by easilydistracted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:10:11 PM EST
    DFW police see rise in more potent, expensive brand of marijuana

    The arrest of three people last month with about 200 pounds of high-dollar marijuana outside Dallas' W Hotel is another sign that the more potent pot continues to grow in popularity in the region.

    http://www.star-telegram.com/local/story/1244054.html

    Parent

    I love how they try... (none / 0) (#79)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:21:08 PM EST
    to scare people with the "3-5 times stronger" bit, when that is actually a good thing if you're worried about the health risks from using marijuana.  Stronger pot means you smoke less for the same effect...it's better for ya!


    Parent
    I know and BTW (none / 0) (#82)
    by easilydistracted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:30:59 PM EST
    the "3-5 times stronger" remark is a load of crap for this stuff. Two times..maybe.

    Parent
    I don't know.... (none / 0) (#85)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:39:51 PM EST
    last summer went gas went crazy I actually went back to the "regs" for a short time...it was awful:)  I was smoking a ton and basically negating any savings.

    I used to make fun of reefer-snobs, then I became one.  Strictly high-end for me:)

    Parent

    My wife, too. Reefer snob deeeeluxe. (none / 0) (#89)
    by easilydistracted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:44:17 PM EST
    Premo and nothing less. Keeps me broke. She needs to get her rear back to work teaching K-6.

    Parent
    well (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by CST on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:36:38 AM EST
    they may be worried about how it's spent.

    But I doubt they're worried about the same things you are.

    More worried it might get spent on the poor.  Probably just fine with it being spent on cops.  Some poor schmuck might try to rob them!

    But that may be my liberal bias kicking in...

    Hmmm (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by cal1942 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:06:21 PM EST
    But rich pricks own private prisons and the more activity that's labelled a crime the more business.

    True... (none / 0) (#62)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:28:06 PM EST
    but rich "civilian" pricks don't right the law...at least directly:)  But point taken.

    Parent
    Really? (none / 0) (#70)
    by cal1942 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:52:45 PM EST
    rich "civilian" pricks don't right the law...at least directly

    What about legislation written by lobbyists?

    A not uncommon occurance even at the state level.

    Parent

    Thats what I meant by... (none / 0) (#72)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:57:14 PM EST
    directly, they have influence indirectly to write law, no doubt.

    But until they have arrest powers, Uncle Sam still scares me more:)

    Parent

    Rich pricks? (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by jondee on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 10:11:45 AM EST
    Last time I looked there was a goodly amount of crossover traffic between Uncle Sam and rich pricks. According to the Center for Public Integrity, the average net worth of the top 100 officials of the outgoing administration was between 3.7 and 12 million. Not exactly a bunch of retired cops, country parsons and socialist do-gooders who never read The Fountainhead.

    And aside from the obvious influence the aforementioned pricks have over who gets arrested, they've also been known to wield some influence over who gets clusterbombed, renditioned, tortured, refugeed etc etc overseas.

    Personally, if I weren't so positively Gandhiesqe,
    I'd say we should "make the Bush tax-cuts permanent" by giving 'em all one somewhere in the vicinity of the carotid artery. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

    Parent

    REALLY bad news from George Bush's Supreme Court (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:25:15 PM EST
    It involves the voting rights act:

    The Supreme Court ruled Monday that electoral districts must have a majority of African-Americans or other minorities to be protected by a provision of the Voting Rights Act.



    Who would have guessed back in (4.76 / 13) (#5)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:39:21 AM EST
    the early fall that Obama would be shrinking from taking bold action, or showing real leadership?

    Well, er, there were a lot of us, actually, who never saw anything bold or courageous in Obama's political/legislative history, never saw evidence of the kind of leadership that isn't safe (getting people to vote for you is "safe" leadership).  Just never saw it.

    I know it's only been less than two months, but if there was ever a time to take the opportunities the office provides to evince true, bold and fearless leadership, it has been in the last seven weeks.  If ever there was a time to take control, instead of allowing events and circumstances to gain ground, it's been in the last seven weeks.

    It's not like the writing wasn't on the wall long before he took the oath, not like this just hit him in the back of the head on the afternoon of January 20th.  He's had people working on this for months, and it scares the bejesus out of me that instead of being prepared with bold plans, all we are getting is dither, fiddle and muddle - the next great law firm name.

    You know, they (whoever "they" are) say that in times of crisis, leaders emerge, that the presidency is so large that some have to grow into it, and rise to the occasion.  I think my deepest fear is that, in this time of crisis, Obama is revealing who he really is - and there is not likely to be much that will change him into who we need him to be.


    Well in fairness (none / 0) (#83)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:32:37 PM EST
    There weren't any viable Dems who would have pushed nationalization- the most mainstream Dem who one could see doing that was Edwards and somewhat hypocritically his extramarital activities would have killed him (hypocritical due to McCain) unless he pulled on some sort of amazing event (see: Bill in 1992 on Flowers, Obama on Wright or Nixon vis a vis Checkers)

    Parent
    Dow (none / 0) (#2)
    by SOS on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:10:43 AM EST
    ^DJI 6666.60    

    Doesn't get any sicker then that.

    Wanna bet? (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by cal1942 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:57:07 AM EST
    Monday Morning Funnies... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:16:13 AM EST
    found on Fark.

    Australian Drug War jumps the shark...note to Australian authorities, we don't bring dope to music festivals just to throw it all away, that would be stupid....kinda like your drug war.

    And on the domestic front, we've all dealt with pre-employment drug tests, now a knuckleheaded bueracrat in Fla is proposing unemployment drug tests...as if being unemployed wasn't humiliating enough.

    Just what the good folks of Florida need-- (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by easilydistracted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:47:39 AM EST
    another governmental agency to further drain an already dwindling coffer, which would be the case here given the magnitude of this program. 10% of the pool for the third week in February would have resulted in approximately 470 screens (47,500 unemployment claims processed that week according to information I found on the web). These programs are not cheap to administer if done fairly and according to standards established by the Department of Transportation.

    Parent
    Seriously.... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:58:37 AM EST
    I tend to be more interested in the liberty/tyranny aspect, but the waste of dough is certainly nothing to sneeze at, especially these days...unless their calling it a stimulus for the tyranny industry or something...these are strange days we live in:)

    Bad enough you have to submit your bodily waste for examination to get a job, to have to submit your bodily waste to not get a job is just too rich.

    Parent

    I, too, used to base my objection solely in the (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by easilydistracted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:24:10 AM EST
    aspect of personal liberty. That is until I realized, no matter how much I objected, drug testing ain't going away. I decided to shift my focus on ensuring to the extent possible complete fairness within a particular drug testing program.

    Parent
    The unemployment game (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:52:17 AM EST
    is amazing. It's a nightmare being under the watchful eye and control of that group even when all goes smoothly and you don't get singled out for an exam.


    Parent
    Not to mention... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:34:05 AM EST
    that unemployment is a benefit we all pay for through payroll taxes...we ain't even talking about welfare, which would be bad enough.

    Parent
    Don't Know About Other States, kdog (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by daring grace on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:10:09 PM EST
    But in the Empire State, unemployment is funded through employer payments only. At least, that's the way it's always been for me as a small business employer. I've never withheld anything for unemployment from an employee's wages.

    Social security and medicare and straight withholding come out of an employee's pay, but not unemployment insurance.

    Parent

    I stand corrected.... (none / 0) (#59)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:26:32 PM EST
    Thanks grace.

    Parent
    On The Other Hand... (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by daring grace on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:56:35 PM EST
    As far as I'm concerned, unemployment INSURANCE is something I, as an employer pay, like worker's comp and disability, which is also my dime alone, because my employees earn this benefit.

    Believe me, my leftie sympathies with the worker have certainly gotten a workout when I became an employer and found out all that entailed for a struggling small business person. But, ultimately, I'm pleased to say, my better angels won out in my attitude.

    And, hey, small business owner and leftie got to join hands in their shared contempt for banks, insurance companies, gov't...

    Parent

    That we do.... (none / 0) (#73)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:03:05 PM EST
    My view of the owners of the small business I work for have changed dramitically over the years I've been employed by them...I went from foolishly thinking we were adversaries, lumping them in with the banks and assorted corporate giants worshipping greed...to realizing we're on, or should be on, the same freakin' team.

    Parent
    Ah, A Valued Employee (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by daring grace on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:40:33 PM EST
    when they realize this!

    It's funny, though. I just had a conversation with a guy who has worked alone in his own business and has been struggling to hire someone to do pretty dull, repetitive work--scraping paint off window sashes--for his retrofitting/weatherizing biz.

    He's offering a decent wage, but has had trouble finding/keeping anyone. Now, first off I should note I find this guy kind of annoying so maybe that's the problem for his potential workers as well.

    But he kind of laughed/grimaced when I told him of our business' thirty+ year history of hiring/firing. We started out in the seventies collectively running another business of hippie (like us) workers with a daily lunchtime management meeting and an 'Agenda' everyone had to discuss and come to agreement on. Oh, man...

    When my partner and I bought out that business and established our own we retained elements of that collaborative style for a looong time and it cost us and everyone who worked for us big time in terms of collective angst.

    We finally 'got it' that we could have an open and collaborative culture in the place but that setting up some hierarchy (I'm the boss. Do it my way, please.) made everyone a lot more comfortable. I told him people like to come to work and have the roles and the duties clearly defined. We were confusing people asking their input on everything and were also demanding they do things outside their job description by making them part of management in the mistaken notion they would welcome the chance to have so much of a say.

    He referred to this (somewhat jokingly) as totalitarian, and I thought...whatever.

    Parent

    I like my bosses... (none / 0) (#92)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 02:12:54 PM EST
    to be the bosses, but also to be receptive to feedback and the like....which sounds like the kinda outfit you're running.

    My main beef is that they pawn-off ownership level decisions on me and other staff because they're too busy or preoccupied with something else...which is fine, but then they second guess the decisions I/we make...gets on my last nerve.  If you wanna trust me with it, trust me with it all the way...or you make the call. Especially when I/we reach out for guidance or feedback only to be told "handle it", then a week later its "why did you do it that way?".

    As for the guy you know...where was he when I was digging ditches in Fla in August for 35 a day...I woulda killed for that job then!  I know a few guys that would kill for it right now...but only till something better came along...nature of the game I guess.

    Parent

    My Soon To Be Ex Partner (none / 0) (#96)
    by daring grace on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 03:00:19 PM EST
    who is already my ex husband is a lot like your bosses in that. Well, half the time...But, yeah, it's beyond annoying. And more so because he can't see that he's doing that and STOP IT. It's an equation for driving your best people away and driving everyone nuts.

    We employ two classes of worker essentially: highly skilled, initiative takers and low skills workers we train and then try to promote to a middle ground that never seems to hold.

    At this point, my partner is doing most of the in house work and we're farming out everything else as we're in a major transition with me about to be moving on and him re-imagining his own firm.

    Parent

    Did I miss (none / 0) (#7)
    by Maryb2004 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:41:18 AM EST
    the promised post on the Thomas opinion in Levine?

    No (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:55:55 AM EST
    I may get to it today.

    It is an interesting and complex issue.

    Parent

    David Savage, Los Angeles Times: (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:15:13 AM EST
    I only hope (none / 0) (#9)
    by SOS on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:50:53 AM EST
    a new generation of risk takers and responsible entrepreneurs with big ideas comes forth soon who take charge and start making things happen.

    There was (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:06:46 AM EST
    this guy, and this guy...but they got or are getting locked up.

    Parent
    What is the incentive? (none / 0) (#22)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:44:40 AM EST
    Higher taxes?  Class warfare?  Increased gov't interference?

    Parent
    Right (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by Steve M on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:00:15 AM EST
    34% tax on income above $250,000 = innovate away!

    39% tax on income above $250,000 = why even bother?

    Yep, yep, yep.

    Parent

    Coupled with (none / 0) (#30)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:11:32 AM EST
    increased state taxes coming down the pike.  

    Parent
    Axelrod wields lots of power (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:20:58 AM EST
    Interesting story from the NYT on Axelrod.

    Not surprised. n/t (none / 0) (#41)
    by Fabian on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:42:13 AM EST
    Barbie is 50! (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 10:46:38 AM EST
    And with that, a surprising revelation about her - she was based on a German cartoon character who used her <ahem> charms to get what she wanted from men.

    The now-legendary doll was conceived by Ruth Handler, a daughter of Polish immigrants, said Gerber, author of the newly published "Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her." She and her husband, Elliott, owned Mattel until a scandal involving accusations of cooked books drove them out in 1975, Gerber said.

    Handler, who died in 2002, used to watch her own daughter, Barbara, play with paper dolls. Then, on a trip to Europe, Barbara became fascinated with a buxom doll that Gerber said was based on a female German cartoon character, named Lilli, who used sex to get what she wanted.

    "My guess is she didn't know what it was when she bought it," because at that point, four years after the Lilli doll's release, it had landed in European toy stores, the author explained.Handler took the doll back to the states and insisted Mattel designers get to work.

    "Who would have thought," Gerber said. Barbie was thought up by a woman and modeled on a cartoon character "who was essentially a prostitute."

    Link

    Not a revelation for readers (none / 0) (#44)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:47:58 AM EST
    of Forever Barbie -- a book you must see, not just read, as ads for Lilli were horrifying).  

    I have so enjoyed for years sharing this history of Barbie with students . . . and then their stories of what they do next, when they go home to trash their old Barbies, try to get younger sibs to do the same, etc.  Recently, some instead had fun in "punking" their Barbies, as they put it; they cut the hair into Mohawk-style and used markers to put tattoos on the blasted dolls.

    I always bring alternative dolls to that lecture, like Susan B. Anthony dolls, and some students do get those for their little sisters.  Pass it on.:-)

    Parent

    Poor Ken.... (5.00 / 0) (#56)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:24:17 PM EST
    he shoulda shacked up with the Susan B. Anthony doll years ago...Barbie is a gold-digger:)

    Parent
    GOP image makers (none / 0) (#78)
    by jondee on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:15:19 PM EST
    supposedly based the Mitt Romney character on Ken.

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    If true... (none / 0) (#87)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:42:53 PM EST
    they certainly nailed that plastic-sheen like quality...they could be brothers.

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    Btw, Forever Barbie was published (none / 0) (#88)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:44:09 PM EST
    in 1995.  A marvelous example of how lagging the media can be -- or perhaps how few books media folks actually read?  It does make me wonder about the "author" listed in the link, the one milking the publicity on this "breaking news."  That is not the author of Forever Barbie. . . .

    Parent
    Struggle for Republican Leadership.. (none / 0) (#34)
    by santarita on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:25:03 AM EST
    The last part of yesterday's Meet the Press had an economic roundtable with Erin Burnette of Stockmarket Cheering Section Network, Mort Zuckerman, Liaquat Ahamed (who wrote an interesting op-ed in yesterday's NYT about the coming collapse of Eastern Europe) and Newt Gingrich.  It was more painful than usual to watch because Newt turned every question on the economy into a political hit piece while the other three tried to get a word in edgewise.  At one point, after Newt spouted the Republican mantra about tax cuts not spending as the way to get out of the economic slowdown, Mort said flatly, "I disagree with Newt".  Newt was so off topic and so domineering that I wondered why would MTP have selected him for this particular panel.  My guess is that Newt probably begged to be on so that he could be seen as the spokesperson for the Republicans rather than Rush.  Then McCain and Shelby pop up with their populist approach of euthanizing Citi.  So are they following Rush's lead or trying to steer away from Rush?  

    They put Newtie on (none / 0) (#68)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:43:25 PM EST
    precisely because he does what they want, he creates some fireworks and "livens things up."  They DO NOT want to have a thoughtful discussion of these issues because in their minds, it's just too bor-ring.

    Fareed Zakaria on CNN Saturdays has been doing some pretty good discussions, as as Charlie Rose from time to time.  I assume the Newshour on PBS, though I don't remember to watch it regularly.  I've also seen some good discussion on the Fox Business Network, certainly vastly better and more thoughtful than the CNBC circus.

    Parent

    Yup (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by cal1942 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:08:01 PM EST
    They DO NOT want to have a thoughtful discussion of these issues because in their minds, it's just too bor-ring.

    It all makes sense when we understand that the news media morphed into the entertainment business sometime in the 80s.

    Parent

    Jim Cary the Mask and a bundle of money (none / 0) (#35)
    by joze46 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:32:00 AM EST
    Watching MSNBC talking about the economy, and Mr. Buffet saying that we, America ran off the cliff. Yikes, how about that, I still think its pretty funny to try to blame the stock market daily dive on Obama and his policies.

    Heck, anyone who knows a little about money knows the first monthly statements about amortization, credit cards; banking and such are just first to be calculated within Obama's administration window.

    It's only been one full economic "month" since Obama took office and guys like Hannity, and Limbaugh on hate radio along with all heads of the Republican Neo-Con Tyrant" Party pound out heated hate conversations on Fox say this is Obama's fault. Hello, stuff as bad as this take years to establish.

    The pirates of the Republican Neo-Con tyrant Party that funneled tax money through secret accounts or off shore tax havens are scared yet have no recourse but to rant on a daily basis that Obama is at fault.

    When in reality America has had legions of pirate profiteering for the last eight years kept under cover of Bush and Companies National Security Secrets. The alarms are off all over the Republican Tyrants take your Republican Pirated money and spider holes it like Saddam Hussein. Hey no money trails, little if anything to worry about right wing dings politics. Just don't hide the money in a freezer. Too liberal.

    USA! USA! USA!.... (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:48:05 AM EST
    We may not know how to self-govern efficiently and/or righteously anymore...but at least we can still play some baseball. The US team is now 2-0 after pounding on Venezuela last night....good job boys!  

    Such a feel good comment. (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:55:34 AM EST
    The game led to a debate... (none / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:16:16 PM EST
    between a friend and I as we were watching it...he commented that for someone so down on the US, its institutions, and its government most of the time, I get all apple-pie patriotic over national sports teams and wrap myself in the American flag.

    I couldn't really come up with an explanation...it's difficult to put into words, but its got something to do with relative purity I think.

    Parent

    Got to believe in something, I guess. (none / 0) (#63)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:28:34 PM EST
    P.S.  I don't think it is such a bad idea to do random drug tests of recipients of unemployment insurance.  

    Parent
    May I ask why? (none / 0) (#64)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:31:43 PM EST
    Does the contents of their urine concern you in some way?  I have no interest in the contents of yours or anybody elses, your bodily waste is your business, fwiw.

    Parent
    According to one of my offspring, (none / 0) (#65)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:35:11 PM EST
    a person collecting unemployment may show "due diligence" by applying on line for job openings listed by EDD.  Also, may collect unemployment w/o ever interacting w/a real live person.  Seems to me random drug tests might assist in determination of due diligence.  

    Parent
    If due dillegence (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:46:27 PM EST
    is all your worried about, how 'bout making those on unemployment trek down to the unemployment office to prove they're actively looking for work, like the old days...that seems less an intrusion or privacy, and cheaper, than collecting bodily waste randomly from the unemployed.

    Keep in mind a urine test is something that any stoner can beat as simple as visiting their local GNC...unless your trying to imply that getting high inherently means you don't wanna work, in which case I find that ludicrous.

    Parent

    My god kdog (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by cal1942 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:13:43 PM EST
    I actually agree with you wholeheartedly.

    Parent
    I don't know which is harder, Cal'... (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by easilydistracted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:24:11 PM EST
    Agreeing with kdog or admitting that one is in agreement with Kdog.

    Just havin some fun Kdog. I've been sorta quiet lately.

    Parent

    A first... (none / 0) (#81)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:24:59 PM EST
    and hopefully not a last cal:)

    Parent
    Actually kdog (none / 0) (#91)
    by cal1942 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 02:03:06 PM EST
    it isn't the first.  I can't remember the exact comments but it's within the last month or so.

    And it'll probably happen again.

    Parent

    Cool.... (none / 0) (#93)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 02:17:26 PM EST
    and you've certainly made me think even when we don't see eye to eye...like taxes and the role of government:)

    To be honest with ya I have a hard time figuring out what the hell I believe sometimes...so much doubt, so little certainty in this mad, mad, world.

    Parent

    As the mom of one of the unemployed (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:50:40 PM EST
    and the future mil of another, this would not be a good idea.  It would require a lot of their time to stand in line (I did this under the old rules, when I once was laid off) at understaffed agencies, unless we want to pony up the huge amount it would cost to staff them sufficiently and well.  All the standing in line did was take away my time from job searching, plus cost me more in child care -- except for the times that my kids still can recall of having to come along to see their mom treated like dirt by substandard gummint employees who owed their jobs to my many years of employment and paying taxes.

    And gas wasn't as costly then; today, it would require the unemployed whom I know to drive a lot to get to the offices, as they live where there is not good public transit.

    They all are having to file, every week, but online, lists of the jobs for which they have applied.  And they all really, really want work, believe me.  I don't get why the fact that there must be a few lazy folks makes some people think that all "those people" are the same.  You're talking about my kid.

    It's just lazy commenting.  

    Parent

    Fair enough... (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 02:19:34 PM EST
    then certainly standing in line to pee in a cup is also a waste of time that could be better spent job searching...I could live with not checking up on the unemployed at all, just give them their benefits until they find a job or the time runs out works fine for me.

    Parent
    Agreed, you bet. (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 04:18:54 PM EST
    Let's leave that lovely task to expectant mothers.  Ah, that brings back more weird memories. . . .

    Parent
    Obama floats talking with the Taliban (none / 0) (#84)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 01:37:14 PM EST
    Is this really a good idea?

    President Obama says the United States is open to reaching out to some moderate voices in the Taliban, but critics say that's not the right approach.

    In an interview published in the New York Times this weekend, Obama said some military leaders believe that part of the success in Iraq has come from reaching out to Sunni militants there.

    The president said while the situation in Afghanistan is much more complex, there may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    "I don't want to prejudge the review that's currently taking place. If you talk to Gen. [David] Petraeus, I think he would argue that part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists, but who were willing to work with us because they had been completely alienated by the tactics of al Qaeda in Iraq," he told the Times.

    The Obama administration is reviewing the U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, with hopes of finding a new strategy.

    Asked if the United States is winning the war in Afghanistan, Obama said "no."



    Sure, why not? (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by eric on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 03:09:07 PM EST
    What do we have to lose?  Talking to people is free, nobody dies, and maybe something good comes out of it.  At a minimum, you are going to learn something.

    Parent
    GOP Talking Points (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 03:12:53 PM EST
    We don't talk to terrorists, or you are either with us or agin us.

    Not sure why it is a question for some. Seems like a no brainer to me that diplomatic solutions are far more effective, and longer lasting, than military "solutions".

    Parent

    Exactly (none / 0) (#99)
    by eric on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 04:18:23 PM EST
    and even if there is no solution reached, at least you know where you stand.  You may well come away thinking that the other party is even more crazy or unwilling to compromise than you thought, but at least you know that.

    Parent
    Don't we know (none / 0) (#101)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 04:47:58 PM EST
    they are crazy and unwilling to compromise already?

    Parent
    It's fun to read... (none / 0) (#102)
    by aeguy on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 05:10:39 PM EST
    many of the Kossacks getting upset over Krugman being too mean to Obama. They're arguing "Clinton wouldn't have been better!". Pathetic argument. I'm liberal, but I can't stand these goofballs.

    Ha (none / 0) (#109)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 01:52:41 PM EST
    Whenever you can't discuss a topic based in reality, you resort to the old standbys of "Republican troll, "PUMA", "BushCo lover" etc.  

    OK (none / 0) (#110)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 02:20:41 PM EST
    I will cease to point out your support of BushCo black and white positions regarding diplomacy when you stop supporting them.

    Parent