Friday Afternoon Open Thread

Open Thread.

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    RIP Daniel Schorr (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:24:24 PM EST
    Any enemy of Richard Nixon is a friend of mine. I'll miss him on NPR Saturday mornings.

    On the foreclosure crisis (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:48:51 PM EST
    Still in full bloom. This from The Housing bubble Blog:
    WEWS 5 in Ohio. "Fifty percent of Cleveland mortgages are underwater according to Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis. `In the Gulf of Cuyahoga County you can't clean up the foreclosure mess until we cap the gusher of foreclosures. There's no BP in sight trying to lower a cap on this gusher. It flows freely,' Rokakis explained."

    "Rokakis heads to Washington Tuesday and hopes to talk with Obama Administration officials about potential solutions, so homeowners don't just walk away from their mortgage. He believes the treasury needs to start an incentive program to force mandatory principal reductions. This would reduce loans to their current values, instead of having a $150,000 mortgage on a house valued at $100,000."

    "Rokakis would like the second component of that program to give bankruptcy judges the authority to reduce primary residential properties to their current value. It would be a cost to taxpayers, but Rokakis feels we're already footing the bill for these programs on the back end."

    "`The taxpayer will pay just as they paid for TARP, just as they paid for the bank bailout. But when mortgages go bad and at record numbers, eventually those properties come back at a much lower number and banks reflect those losses. We're going to pay for those anyway. The difference is if we accept the loss now, we can save what's left of the equity and more importantly we'll save neighborhoods,' Rokakis said."

    Maybe coming from a 'battleground state' like Ohio, Rokakis will be listened to in an election year.

    aint just Ohio (none / 0) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:58:33 PM EST
    Ouch, that headline of yours (none / 0) (#46)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 06:06:18 PM EST
    read differently to me today, at ground zero in a city where hundreds of homes literally are still underwater -- some of it sewage water, ugh, -- after our record rains and floods yesterday.  

    For pity's sake, we even have sinkholes -- one with an SUV in it, just fueled up, so I know some of the several hundreds evacuated and still without power as the utility companies try to figure out how to keep from blowing up our neighborhood, too.

    That storm felt like the endtimes!  And some of it hit your town, too?  And now -- we have relatives visiting your town, so I have been watching the temps -- you're coping with almost 100 degrees?

    This has been one weird, wet summer here in the hinterlands.  I let the weeds win weeks ago.


    I was going to ask you if you were affected (none / 0) (#54)
    by ruffian on Sat Jul 24, 2010 at 01:24:19 PM EST
    It really did sound like end times on the news. Not the southern Wisconsin I grew up next to, that's for sure! Hope you and yours are high and dry.

    We got just a little of Bonnie our way. Actually very little rain this summer so far. The retention pond behind my house is really low. Could use a good soaking. Guess I better be careful what I wish for.


    And more storms last night, and (none / 0) (#57)
    by Cream City on Sat Jul 24, 2010 at 05:49:22 PM EST
    more on the way.  We're still okay, with just a bit of seepage (and no sewage backup) in our basement.

    But we're just back from going to help friends, in the burbs about a mile north of us.  Devastation all up and down their block, curbs stacked to the max.  They lost everything in their (finished, family room, exercise room, etc.) basement, including heirloom Christmas ornaments, etc.  They had water six feet high in their basement -- both water from outside when basement windows shattered from the flood and . . . the dreaded sewage backup from the floor drains.  Disgusting.  They will be staying with us some of these nights; they are moving around night to night.  Btw, these are folks in their '60s who were to retire and sell and move a few years ago but have been through the economic wringer already.

    Oh, and they lost three cars, too -- in the driveway, but the flood went above the floorboards and into the electronics in the engine, so the insurance company says Do. Not. Drive. (after the Toyota electronics mystery).

    At least they have their lovely lawn and yard.  Many of the lawns are half washed away -- one guy's lawn there washed into his basement, ugh.

    And basements still are weakening and washing out by the hundreds, in addition to the many thousands of homes still standing but still with standing water, too.  

    It was the record rainfall ever, since measurements began in 1850 (and good measurements, done by the founder of the U.S. Weather Service, who lived here!).  Officially almost eight inches in less than two hours, and unofficial measurements around the city were a foot of rain in less than two hours.  It was astonishing to see.


    Wow...horrible figures (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jul 24, 2010 at 09:40:28 AM EST
    And how underwater in our mortgages we are isn't going to improve.  Everything indicates more deflation coming our way.  The only way to prevent people from walking away from their homes is to enact a new HOLC, but nothing preemptive will happen.  Nothing will be done until we reach an excrutiating level of pain.  It is a strange new undefined stacked deck squatters inducing world we go barreling into.

    I see it as the key to the whole economy (none / 0) (#55)
    by ruffian on Sat Jul 24, 2010 at 01:33:14 PM EST
    Who is going to spend any extra money if they are 100K underwater on their house?  (Well, me, apparently, going off to Venice like I had not a care in the world, but I'm crazy. And done spending for the rest of the year)

    The way I see it, the banks and the homeowners together made the bad investment, but since TARP it is mostly the homeowners losing their shirts. I think it is fair to ask the banks to split the difference of the underwater amount with the homeowners by reducing the principle. The banks still make a lot more than that on the interest payments on the loan.


    Eh (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by jbindc on Sat Jul 24, 2010 at 05:13:01 PM EST
    It's only money - can't take it with you, so go enjoy yourself in Venice!

    If you don't spend it on yourself (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jul 24, 2010 at 06:25:20 PM EST
    the banks are happy to nickel and dime you death for it now.  I just paid our mortgage and there is a cramdown link now, but I don't need to cramdown because I didn't over buy.  With each passing day, we will end up with fewer assets for being so responsible.  Really makes me furious.

    Fallujah Illness Worse than Hiroshima (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 07:32:34 PM EST
    The Iraqi city of Fallujah continues to suffer the ghastly consequences of a US military onslaught in late 2004.

    According to the authors of a new study, "Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009," the people of Fallujah are experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than those recorded among survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the years after those Japanese cities were incinerated by US atomic bomb strikes in 1945...

    The assault on Fallujah, a city located 43 miles west of Baghdad, was one of the most horrific war crimes of our time. After the population resisted the US-led occupation of Iraq--a war of neo-colonial plunder launched on the basis of lies--Washington determined to make an example of the largely Sunni city. This is called "exemplary" or "collective" punishment and is, according to the laws of war, illegal.

    The new public health study of the city now all but proves what has long been suspected: that a high proportion of the weaponry used in the assault contained depleted uranium, a radioactive substance used in shells to increase their effectiveness.


    I am not the least bit surprised, yet still I am horrified.

    Read it and weep (none / 0) (#1)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 02:42:52 PM EST
    Sirota explains the WH's "pundit Delusion"

    I can't think of anything much more disgusting than checking your grade with David Brooks every week.

    Couple that with this dissection of Politico.

    I know I nag about the press a lot, but I don't think it can be said enough. I do applaud CNN for starting to take a critical look at the other networks. If they carve themselves a niche in that area, we would all benefit.

    (Sorry for the repost - I put this on the Thurs open thread as BTD was creating this one. Had to make sure I spoiled everyone's Friday. )

    The pathetic thing is (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 11:59:53 PM EST
    that at least some part of their problem is their determined refusal to explain themselves on policy choices in anything but the most superficial and general terms.

    Fawning over pundits doesn't get you very far. Convincing them that there's serious policy thought behind what you're doing does.  This is where Clinton, I think, was just head and shoulders over Obama.


    Just to be clear (none / 0) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jul 24, 2010 at 12:01:53 AM EST
    I'm talking about Bill Clinton here.

    it is incredible to me (none / 0) (#3)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 02:46:33 PM EST
    that a group of people can be so good at campaigning and so tin eared inept when it comes to governing.

    Is it possible that perhaps they weren't....... (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by trillian on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 02:54:16 PM EST
    ....all that fantastic at campaigning. Perhaps it was more the Media loving him so much that it just looked like his team was whiz bang?  

    they beat the Clintons (none / 0) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 02:56:44 PM EST
    the most formidable democratic machine in a generation.

    they were good at it.  did the media love help.  of course.  


    Well, "formidable democratic (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:38:59 PM EST
    machine" is a tad too muscular for a prez who never won a majority, and for his spouse who couldn't get past a 2-yr senator fresh off the IL lege backbench.  How about the Clintons were two of the most talented Dem politicians in a generation?

    Formidable Dem machine ... hmm ... maybe the last powerful and effective one was Dick Daley's.  The Clintons?  They had to rely on borderline types like toe-sucking swamp-infested Dick Morris, then Hillary's corporatist small-ball/big expense acct guy Mark Penn and the incompetent and disloyal PS Doyle.  Some machine that one ...


    it was responsible (none / 0) (#25)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:46:19 PM EST
    for the only two term democrat since FDR.
    and possibly even more to the point, in spite of all that was thrown at Bubba he left office with a very respectable approval rating from the public.

    formidable.  absolutely.  good at communication.  obviously.


    Formidable compared to (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 04:14:14 PM EST
    Mondale, Dukakis and Gore, yes.  

    But I think Bill would acknowledge that he lucked out getting the elderly, cranky Bob Dull as an opponent -- particularly when a year earlier the political threat had been Colin Powell.  Compare with the unlucky Carter, who got Reagan as an opponent.

    Good, even very good communicator, Bill definitely was.  But with all his skills, and however good or competent his WH political team was -- at times, on some matters -- for all that talent that WH still struggled mightily just to get their message out daily.  Such is the power of the MSM when they eagerly team up with the GOP.


    well (none / 0) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 04:18:49 PM EST
    that was job one for the opposition, right.
    throw enough $hit at the wall something sticks.

    and if I am honest I have to admit that without Ross Perot there might have been no president Clinton.

    on the other hand, I also believe that without the financial collapse there might very well have been no president Obama.


    Very well observed (none / 0) (#35)
    by BTAL on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 04:33:29 PM EST
    Perot split the R vote and hurt more than GHWB "read my lips" statement.

    McCain stepped on his crank in Oct with his insane "put my campaign on hold" nonsense.  IIRC, he had a slight poll lead at the time.

    Bottom line, ANYBODY with a D could probably have been elected in 08 due to the backlash sentiment towards GWB.

    And relating to the OP topic, IMHO, HRC would have governed better than what we all are experiencing now.


    one more (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 04:42:42 PM EST
    thing we agree on

    HRC would have governed better than what we all are experiencing now

    Faith (none / 0) (#38)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 05:00:27 PM EST
    It must be comforting to believe in a god.

    I think 92 was a year (none / 0) (#37)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 04:58:22 PM EST
    for the incumbent to be defeated, with or w/o Aitch Rauss.  But Perot did help keep Poppy's numbers down.  I think Bill or Carville later admitted that his candidacy and outspokenness tended to keep some of the pressure off Bill and onto Poppy (or Perot when he was shooting hisself in the feets) at times when Bill's campaign internally was faltering.

    As for 2008 and no financial collapse, consider the dynamics and excitement of a Hillary/Obama ticket running against the inept McCain and hapless Palin, plus the overwhelming eagerness out there for change from Repub rule.  Possibly a closer final result -- maybe 52% majority instead of 53 -- but a solid win nonetheless.


    Perots (none / 0) (#39)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 05:08:06 PM EST
    biggest impact was allowing him to win with 40 whatever percent.

    great that time but I wont say I liked it when Nader did it.


    Was it a certain that HCR would have (none / 0) (#40)
    by BTAL on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 05:09:28 PM EST
    picked Obama as her VP running mate?  

    Nothing certain (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 05:17:26 PM EST
    in politics (except maybe that Nixon would always mount yet another comback, and that Bushes will always be lurking around to run yet another for president).

    But in that scenario, hard fought HIlary win over a surprisingly tenacious and popular Obama, well a Hill/Oh ticket would have been a no-brainer.  Need to keep all the key D constituencies in the tent, sooth the lingering discontent from the primaries.  

    Yes, it almost certainly would have been Obama in the Veep slot.  And a very dynamic team that would have made, alas, both in the campaign and in governing.


    it seems Obama (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 05:23:49 PM EST
    is doing Clintons first term as governor.  when he thought everyone would just love him because he was so damn good.  and all he wanted to do was good for the people.
    he had to be defeated and humiliated to understand that there is a lot more to politics than good intentions.

    he learned that and came back to win, what, 5 more terms.


    State Gov. Mansions (none / 0) (#44)
    by BTAL on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 05:28:08 PM EST
    are a far far cry from the WH.

    And the ..... (none / 0) (#14)
    by trillian on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:08:12 PM EST
    ......media hate of the Clintons was icing on the cake.

    it absolutely was (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:11:01 PM EST
    and it would have played as much a role in a Clinton campaign for the white house as it played in the Obama campaign.

    but in an entirely different way.

    Hillary was my candidate but I had to admit eventually that she might not be able to run against the republicans and the press.
    as it was McCain had to run against the press.  I do not misunderestimate how important that was to victory.


    I think Hillary (my (none / 0) (#34)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 04:20:33 PM EST
    candidate in the primaries) almost certainly would have done roughly about as well as O did against McCain, and despite probably getting more hostile press coverage than O got in the fall.

    Also, it was McCain for the most part running against McCain (his own missteps and blunders) rather than against the press.  I didn't see any huge disparity in the overall coverage, certainly not as when Hillary and Obama were fighting it out in the primaries and 93% of the MSM and blogs were against her.

    McCain constantly shot himself in the foot.  Then the Palin pick, which after a week began to look bad.  Then running around panicky like a headless chicken after the financial crisis of September.  Several awful debate performances.

    All of these would have happened with Hillary in the race.  And with Obama as her VP, everyone in the party is kept in the tent and happy as they go off to vote in Nov ... well, what might have been ...


    It does help (none / 0) (#52)
    by jbindc on Sat Jul 24, 2010 at 08:39:56 AM EST
    When you have a media ready to make excuses for your mistakes and to blow up the mistakes of your rivals.  The problem is that just recently, the media is not as accommodating with glossing over the boo-boos and the WH hasn't quite figured that out yet.

    I guess it should not be so surprising (none / 0) (#7)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 02:55:56 PM EST
    They really are two very different skill sets. Take the Bush Administration (please!).

    I dont think the have to be (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 02:59:37 PM EST
    it was not said for nothing that the Clinton white house was in constant campaign mode.
    I am not saying that is good.  but it worked for them.

    the Obama administration seems determined to be the unclinton whitehouse.  I am reading that he objects to using catch phrases.  
    or soundbites.
    excuse me?  earth to Barry.
    "principals" are great but like Bubba said, if you dont win it doesnt matter what you believe.


    I see what you mean now (none / 0) (#11)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:05:32 PM EST
    'governing' in terms of explaining and 'selling' your actions to the public. Yes, the constant campaign mode of the Clinton WH was good at that. Obama, not so much - and I would have expected them to be a lot better.

    I was thinking more along the lines of good policies.


    exactly (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:07:59 PM EST
    Clinton understood the need for constant communication with the rubes.

    Obamas aloof thing is not cutting it.


    Agree though about Obama (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:57:25 PM EST
    running the increasing risk that he's too aloof and emotionally detached from every day people's needs.  

    You know, Bill had Hillary around to confer with and counsel about maybe taking a step back and looking at some of the WH personnel and whether they are working out.  Jackie even helped her husband with evaluating people honestly and brutally.  Nancy with Ronnie (Don Regan time), too.

    Is Michelle performing a role in this area?   I have no idea.  And if not her, who?


    And I thought he was starting out well (none / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:11:51 PM EST
    in that respect, until he started tlistening to people like George Will and David Brooks saying he was 'overexposed'. That was only 7 months in to his term. How insane.

    But Clinton had no choice (none / 0) (#27)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:51:58 PM EST
    but to try to constantly communicate. Recall all the pseudoscandals the RW and the MSM were cooking up and repeating nearly every day.  The WH needed their campaign's Rapid Response Team just to put out the smaller fires that threatened to become, if not attended to immediately, conflagrations.

    But how effective was the WH generally in getting people's attention about substantive things other than pseudoscandals?  Not always very, imo.

    At times however he was good enough -- or favorable circumstances allowed the message to get out, bypassing the hostile MSM, particularly as people by 1996 couldn't help but notice that the economy was beginning to hum along nicely.

    In general though, did Bill Clinton have a better overall natural talent of connecting emotionally with avg people compared to Obama?   Without question.  Twice as good at that as his wife, in fact.


    sorry (none / 0) (#28)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:57:03 PM EST
    that makes no sense.

    if he had not been spectacular at communicating he would have been impeached.

    and how much would it have hurt the holier than thou Obama administration to have a war room or a rapid response team.

    there are lots of us who saw a lot of stupid crap non issues coming from the right during, oh say, the healthcare debate that would have been good to answer rather than ignore.


    BC avoided the fatal blow (none / 0) (#31)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 04:04:49 PM EST
    in the senate because most people liked his job performance on the two things that mattered -- economy and peace.  It also didn't hurt that they tended to like him  and understood his missteps were all too human.  They also tended really really not to like his most vocal Gooper adversaries.

    As for the Obama admin needing a rapid response team -- didn't they seem to have one over at Ag?  And a rather too rapid response team at that.

    No, what this admin needs is cojones and the willingness to step up and speak out for what's right and try for the high-risk/big score once in a while instead of settling for the easy low-risk play.  That and maybe some new personnel advising Obama -- say a few no-nonsense actual libs not connected to Goldman and eager to push forward a bold progressive program.


    Didn't Reagan do the same (none / 0) (#47)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 06:34:49 PM EST
    thing?  -- And with great success?  

    Actually, quite predictable (none / 0) (#19)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:16:52 PM EST

    I think you are missing 12 (none / 0) (#20)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:18:00 PM EST
    years there

    oops (none / 0) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:26:31 PM EST
    16 years

    I was pointing out (none / 0) (#48)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 07:04:28 PM EST
    those whose White House performances were unpredicted by their campaigns.

    Bill & Poppa B. not spectacularly different.


    one thing (none / 0) (#4)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 02:48:50 PM EST
    this administration is amazingly lucky in their enemies:

    TANCREDO: The case for impeachment


    OMG (none / 0) (#10)
    by lilburro on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:00:05 PM EST
    that article about Brooks...yikes.

    Yeah - abandon all hope if Brooks is really (none / 0) (#12)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:06:29 PM EST
    the yardstick.

    I refuse to (none / 0) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:09:00 PM EST
    think about this on friday afternoon.



    Sorry I could not bear the pain alone (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:12:48 PM EST
    Mega Whale vs. Tiny Sailboat (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 02:44:46 PM EST
    have we seen this amazing video?

    maybe the whales are tired of being "watched"

    One more link to the memoir blog (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 02:50:02 PM EST
    The Early Daze, pt. 13 is up.

    Take a peek, always interested in reactions.

    Have a good weekend, my friends.

    Poor BP, it needs to be helped, (none / 0) (#41)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 05:10:51 PM EST
    and the Senate is doing its part.  At a Homeland Security Subcommittee meeting yesterday, the senators got after BP's partners in the blown-out Macondo well for not anteing up for repayment to BP for their share of the oil spill clean-up.  Anadarko Petroleum and Mitsui Oil own 25 percent and 10 percent of the well, respectively.  BP has already billed their partners for over $1 billion.

    The partners, however, are not paying yet, claiming that the contract says that BP, as operator (and 65 percent owner) would pay for clean-up and other costs up-front and then seek contributions from the non-operating partners, and since BP is paying, taxpayers are not harmed. Senator McCain did not like it and Senator McCaskill, said that deferring payments made the companies look bad.-imagine that, an oil company looking  bad.  Of course, Anadarko and Mitsui have claimed that their responsibilities, according to their operating agreement, is voided in the event of BP's gross negligence and willful misconduct.  It would seem a little more appropriate for the Senate and other investigators to inquire of Anadarko and Mitsui what evidence, if any, they have of negligence and misconduct.  A good time to do so, while still at odds, before they, inevitably, settle partner differences.  Transocean, owner of the rig leased by BP, is not looking so good, based on testimony heard by the Marine Investigative Board. Seems that warning alarms were bypassed --too many disturbing false alarms.  Maybe, Senator McCain can give a hand to these guys, too. Accidents do happen.

    OMG PPJ's Worst Fears Realized (none / 0) (#45)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 05:57:42 PM EST
    A loose network of Mexican-American women, some of whom may be illegal immigrants, have been responsible for helping numerous Afghan military deserters go AWOL from an Air Force Base in Texas, FoxNews.com has learned.

    Many of the Afghans, with the women's assistance, have made their way to Canada; the whereabouts of others remain unknown. Some of the men have been schooled by the women in how to move around the U.S. without any documentation.

    The Afghan deserters refer to the women as "BMWs" -- Big Mexican Women -- and they often are the first step in the Afghans' journey from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, to Canada, a diplomatic official told FoxNews.com.

    via digby

    Don't forget to check under your bed