Thursday Morning Open Thread

Open thread.

Go Yanks!

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    Yankees $uck big time (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:22:33 PM EST
    Go Tigers!

    On another note - here are a few photos of the Anti-War / OWS rally that is taking place outside my office as we speak.  I'm not the greatest photographer, and it would have been better if I was on a balcony taking pictures of the crowd, but there are some interesting signs over there. There are a few hundred people over there - Veterans for Peace, union groups, immigrant groups, etc.

    My favorite (which I didn't get a picture of) is from a co-worker. It says, "Citizens United Against Citizens United".  (Ah, lawyers.....)

    finally (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by CST on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:38:39 PM EST
    something we vehemently agree on.

    I loved the sign: (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by NYShooter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:18:40 PM EST
    "Its my money, and I need it now"

    I need it now too! (none / 0) (#18)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:23:41 PM EST
    One I really liked from yesterday... (5.00 / 5) (#36)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:01:38 PM EST
    that a vet was rockin'...

    "They sent me to Iraq, and when I got home they sent me the bill."


    steve jobs (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by CST on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:29:50 PM EST
    not the only giant who died yesterday.

    "Rev. Shuttlesworth died yesterday at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham."

    Some very powerfull stuff in there.

    Agree (none / 0) (#20)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:28:24 PM EST
    Police bust up Occupy SF camp (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Dadler on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:31:39 PM EST
    You Would Swear... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:43:36 PM EST
     ...not a cop in this country has ever read the Constitution, even though I would imagine most swear in some form or another to defend it.

    The very first Amendment:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    You'll love this Scott... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:11:21 PM EST
    check photo 1 in this slideshow, made the cover of the NY Daily News...talk about a beedy little evil eyed macing motherf*cker!  That one is worth well over 10,000 words.

    The editorial writing in today's issue is heavily pro-protest, a noticeable change in tone for the NYDN.  Even pro-everything police Denis Hammill is on point today, pointing out how police union protests have used the same tactics without mass arrests being necessary. Different rules, different fools common ground...sh*t common ground in strange places popping up all over the place.  Haven't been this high on hopium since...since, err ever!

    OWS, the gift that keeps on giving...and it's only just begun.  

    BTW all, autumn chill is coming, the occupiers are gonna need blankets, lots and lots of blankets.  I'll be raiding linen closets of friends and fam to bring some downtown.


    I envision a very large no. of (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:28:35 PM EST
    law suits under 42 U.S.C. section 1983.  Assuming favorable factual basis.  See L.A.

    Speak English please:)... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:34:19 PM EST
    Meant to get back to you about the theater...afraid I can't really commit to anything, got several concerts lined up that will dominate the fun budget...Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jon Fogerty, Bella Fleck & the Flecktones & others.

    But a pint or 3 o' the Guiness and a visit to OWS is a given if you're down!


    Civil lawsuit for violation of civil rights. (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:36:58 PM EST
    Federal law.  Prevailing plaintiffs are entitled to attorney fees.  

    Oooh.. Bella Fleck and the Flecktones (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:38:13 PM EST
    I accept your offer.  Not inclined to camp out at demo and will be decidedly in the back of the crowd!

    November 12th... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:45:47 PM EST
    out here in Stonybrook LI, let me know I'll score you a ducat, I forget what day you arrive, and had to delete my text inbox.

    I don't expect ya to camp, I think they're at camper capacity actually...but ya gotta check it out.  I insist:)  Don't worry, I'll be your human shield should the NYSE Private Security Force try and get cute.  Can't say if I'm ready to get locked up for the movement just yet (I really hate them cages!), but I'll be damned if they lay their greasy swine hooves on my pal oculus...that I'd bite the 6x8 bullet for:)


    I arrive Nov. 28, and leave the following Sun. (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:57:18 PM EST
    My ex and I went to an anti-war protest in front of St. Francis Hotel in SF.  An effigy of Nixon hung from lamp post.  Pretty soon the mounties showed up and just started moving the crowd back.  Not fun.  Big horses.  

    The News (none / 0) (#44)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:32:16 PM EST
    I just saw a clip in which it's like the crack of dawn and the reporter couldn't resist taking a swipe at the 'late to rise campers'.  Also noting they don't get motivated until 9:30 - 10:00.

    That is so pathetic on at least 3 different levels.

    And Chicago, the idiots at the exchange with their "We are the 1%'ers" signs in the windows.

    Much respect for these people not getting violent, because when I see this non-sense I wanna bust some heads.


    I hear ya... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:40:55 PM EST
    so tempting to show the 1%'ers what ruthless capitalism looks like on the street, when there is no corner office mahagony desk to hide behind...but we must strive not to be what we despise.

    Not to mention... (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:13:19 PM EST
    the idiots in Chicago who think they're one percenters?  Ha!  The Koch brothers would jump off a bridge if their net worth tumbled to theirs...who could rule the world on that chump change?

    The Koch brothers are $35,000,000,000'nairs (none / 0) (#75)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:57:02 PM EST
    Only a few tens of Americans have that much money.

    The Eyes (none / 0) (#45)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:36:48 PM EST
    If only cameras could capture laser light, there would be a focused lasers coming out of that clowns head.

    Pepper spray is go fricken weak,  It must kill the 'real' cops to have to use a little bottle instead of some good old fashion baton-skull-crackin'.


    From the looks of... (none / 0) (#49)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:44:33 PM EST
    Officer Tubby O'Malley, I doubt he could handle bustin' more than a head or two before getting winded.  Mace is perfect for his fat arse.

    hey kdog (none / 0) (#53)
    by CST on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:55:48 PM EST
    I won't be able to make it this weekend.

    In the irony of ironies I will be occupied by Wall Street this weekend (my college roommate planned an impromptu visit - will be interesting to hear her take on this - her political positions are sometimes very confused/ing).

    The next weekend my mom is turning 60 and the weekend after that I'm throwing my sister a babyshower.  So I won't be able to make it down before Halloween.  Will keep you posted though if I do end up heading that way.


    Please do... (none / 0) (#55)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:06:05 PM EST
    the impression I got from yesterday, barring any severe jackboot tactics on the part of the NYSE Private Security Force, d/b/a the NYPD, Subsidiary of 1%ers LLC...the OWS crew is in this for the long haul.  

    Occupy Portland march happening (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by caseyOR on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:53:57 PM EST
    downtown right this very minute. Local news media very concerned and baffled because the Occupy PDX people declined to file for a parade permit, so nobody knows the exact route through downtown the march is taking. For some reason this really bothers the reporters yakking on my TV.

    Occupy PDX person said basically, hey, we saw what happened in NYC and on the Brooklyn Bridge, and we see no reason to give the police a big heads-up on our route so that they have time to set up barricades and bring in the plastic fencing and plan how to trap and arrest us.

    Portland mayor Sam Adams has said the city and the police will work with the marchers to keep it peaceful. Supposedly, no arrests will be made unless things get "out of hand." That phrase is, of course, open to interpretation. So, we shall see.

    I was planning to be down there today, but my arthritic and crumbling knees have taken to just giving out on me, the result being that I find myself unexpectedly crashing to the floor.  This is the first time since my political awakening in the '60s that I have had to take myself out of the game. I have to say, it is killing me to have to sit here at home. Occupy Portland will be camping out in the main downtown park, so I hope to get down there at some point to show support.

    I don't know how this will end, what will result from the Occupy Wall Street uprisings, but for the first time in more than 30 years I feel a spark of hope taking hold. As we used to say back in the day, "Power to the People!"


    Estimates are that 5,000-6,000 people (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by caseyOR on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 08:50:42 PM EST
    showed up today for the Occupy Portland march. They marched through downtown, rallied at Pioneer Courthouse Square, and are now settling in for the night at two downtown parks.

    The city has temporarily suspended the no camping ordinance so the Occupy PDX people can bed down without fear of being rousted and arrested. No word on how long the city will allow the camping, though.

    Excellent showing, Portlanders. Keep it up.


    The Pics (none / 0) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:50:24 PM EST
    The MobileMe Gallery pics pics aren't loading.

    I really wanted to see them.


    My cell phone pics of Occupy SF march (none / 0) (#93)
    by Dadler on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 06:03:14 PM EST
    Occupy Boston (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by CST on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:37:29 PM EST
    is also going on.  Went down there yesterday for an hour and today again at lunch.  You certainly have your younger college crowd but they are not the only ones.  There were also a lot of older people.  I can't say enough how big of a difference getting the unions involved is.  They definitely lend an air of credibility to the whole scene, and they are much more effective at organizing.  Although my favorite anecdote is the "mike check".  Where one person makes an announcement and everyone who can hear him repeats it lounder for the crowd.

    Lot's of stuff happening yesterday, students walked out of class and the nurses union joined in.  So far the only stand-off with the police happened when 50 kids tried to shut down Atlantic Ave.  But they eventually moved with no arrests.  The Boston police I've seen so far have been very subdued, just hanging out.  Cornell West came down for a visit too.  Maybe I'll take/post some pics if I go out there again tommorow.  They are camped out and probably staying for a while too.

    These kids are great (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by NYShooter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:28:30 PM EST
    They keep on coming up with brilliant ideas. The rule forbidding electronic mic devices (like bullhorns) is but one.

    Dd you see the other day when Nobel economist, Joseph Stiglitz, addressed the crowd? He would speak a half sentence to a small group of 4 or 5 people in front of him, and they would turn around and repeat it to the several hundred behind them. The look, the uncontrollable smile on Stiglitz's face, told you all you had to know that something unique, something wonderful, is taking place there.


    Well, the mystery of why there have been (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Anne on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:40:00 PM EST
    no prosecutions in connection with the foreclosure fraud mess has been solved: it's the loopholes, stupid!

    David Dayen:

    For perhaps the first time, President Barack Obama was forced to explain why there have been no prosecutions of Wall Street executives for their fraudulent actions during the run-up to the financial crisis. Asked by Jake Tapper to explain this behavior, Obama basically suggested that most of the actions on Wall Street weren't illegal but just immoral, and that his Administration worked to re-regulate the financial sector with the Dodd-Frank reform legislation.

    "Banks are in the business of making money, and they find loopholes," the President said. Apparently forging and fabricating documents to prove ownership of homes that are subsequently stolen from borrowers is now a loophole.

    Many of the practices on Wall Street "weren't necessarily against the law but they had a huge destructive impact," said the President. The work of Bill Black, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and a host of other official studies, analyses, and even court cases cut against that. Just the other day, a new whistleblower lawsuit against banks for setting illegal fees against military personnel wasn't joined by the Justice Department.

    It all makes sense now - thanks Barack!

    And now, for some icing on that cake:

    Obama also added this, approximately: "I expended a lot of political capital to keep the banks afloat, and I have the scars to prove it. And I still think it was the right thing to do, because otherwise our economy would have been worse off." This is the President taking ownership of TARP, which did not pass under his Presidency but which he whipped as a candidate for President in 2008. He took ownership of the extraordinary financial support given to banks as they teetered on the verge of collapse. And this is a central grievance of the protesters on Wall Street and across the country.

    My hero...sigh.

    I particularly appreciated (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Zorba on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    this sentence that David wrote: "Apparently forging and fabricating documents to prove ownership of homes that are subsequently stolen from borrowers is now a loophole."
    Yep, that says a lot.  Maybe Obama doesn't know the difference between a "loophole" and "illegality."  He did attend law school, didn't he?  

    And just ignore that FBI moment (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:24:03 PM EST
    when they told some leaders that mortgage fraud was epidemic.

    I'm sure it was legal for Goldmann Sachs... (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Dadler on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:17:30 PM EST
    ...to sell a trillion dollars worth of junk, knowing it was junk, telling their clients it was gold, then turning around and betting against it, directly in conflict with their clients' interest.  Sure that's legal, B.O.  

    And I'm sure it was legal when Goldmann, again, just decided to erase an entire month from their financial records.  Oh no, no fraud there.

    "Then there's case of Goldman Sachs' missing month. On Apr. 13, the bank reported eye-popping profits of $1.8 billion for the first quarter. Not bad, but Goldman switched to a calendar year from a fiscal one ending Nov. 30. That meant December, and its $780 million loss, was an orphan--omitted from the results for both the full fiscal year of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009." From Business Week...two years ago.

    What a phucking piece of nothing he proves himself to be over and over again.


    Just a slight correction (5.00 / 0) (#86)
    by NYShooter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 05:03:12 PM EST
    or, rather, adjustment:

    "...knowing it was junk...'

    of course, they knew it was junk,

    They specifically designed it to be junk.

    And that's why Goldman's actions were criminal, not just immoral, odious, and rotten.

    My hair erupts on fire every time I hear one of those Limbaugh butt lickers say, "hey, nobody put a gun to those applicant's head and forced them to take out a mortgage." Goldman beat their brokers bloody, admonishing them to sell, sell, sell more & more junk. And, the same to their "underwriters" (or whatever they're called) to design more and more $hitpile derivatives to hide the crap they were pushing.

    You know, the public has a pretty good idea that what those banks did was bad. But, if they only knew how bad they really were they might have reacted a little stronger. You would think the media would've jumped at the chance at exposing that "breaking story," instead their line was, "mistakes were made by both sides."



    Suskind highlights one turning point (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Anne on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 06:06:06 PM EST
    that had a direct effect on where the financial industry went: it was when Michael Milken broke new compensation ground by making $125 million the year after the next-highest paycheck was "only" $3.1 million.  That was when the greed virus broke out as never before, and the race was on to find newer, more profitable products that would make everyone else that kind of rich.

    The pressure reached down to the mortgage market - lenders wanted in on that action - so they lent more and more to less and less qualified borrowers - they simply didn't care if any of them ever made a mortgage payment, because that wasn't their end game.

    My daughter and her boyfriend are looking for a house to buy; they met with a lender that their real estate agent uses, and you know, they are still pushing people to borrow up to the max.  I told the kids, in no uncertain terms, that they are the only ones who know what they can really afford, that they have to be able to sleep at night, to know that if something unforseen happens, it won't mean losing their house.  

    Because, the truth is, these lenders still don't give a crap; they will turn around and sell the mortgage, get their money out of it, and move on to the next borrower.

    Really too bad there wasn't a comprehensive investigation, that people weren't held accountable, that lines were not drawn, because it's going to happen all over again - it's just a matter of time.


    You are exactly right (none / 0) (#124)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:34:52 AM EST
    The mortgage companies don't give a crap and won't give a crap. There are two ways to over come this.

    1. As you are doing, instill an awareness in the buyers that they must be cautious and never over extend. The rule of thumb use to be your house note should not exceed 25% of take home and include taxes and insurance.

    2. Establish credit guidelines that say the lender must check and must not lend if these  guidelines are not met. Prosecute lenders who violate the law.

    Also prosecute lenders that over-appraise (none / 0) (#127)
    by ruffian on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:54:31 AM EST
    the value of the home.

    Just because my neighbors and I can afford a loan does not mean we are not getting ripped off by the industry.


    Yup. (none / 0) (#100)
    by ruffian on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 07:54:55 PM EST
    Thank you all in this thread for saying al I did not get a chance to today.

    and for reading the Suskind book for those of us that don't have the iron stomachs.


    I watched the whole thing (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:22:01 PM EST
    The only thing more painful would be trying to open my veins with a butter knife.

    He kept bringing up Dodd-Frank too but failed to mention to anyone that his Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has failed to implement 90% of the legislation that was passed.  It should be a phucking outrage, but I feel like I rage alone.  Just me and my butter knife


    You are not alone... (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:30:09 PM EST
    you do not rage alone...we are 99%.  You just know more of the nasty nuts and bolts of it than the rest of us.

    Occupy Birmingham, Occupy Tuscaloosa up and running kid!  


    Question (none / 0) (#59)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:11:20 PM EST
    What is the difference between cops in blue and the ones in white in NYC ?

    White shirted are sgts., per news reports. (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:14:04 PM EST
    But, why are the sgts. dealing (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:15:48 PM EST
    w/OWS?  Did the rank and file refuse to go?  Unlikely.  Show of force?  Then put your jackets on.  Puzzling.  

    Word in the occupation zone is... (none / 0) (#67)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:23:56 PM EST
    there is a lot of sympathy for them with the flatfoots, the white shirts may well be there to make sure the blue shirts aren't getting to friendly with the 99%.  fwiw

    otoh, if I had a nickel for every bullsh*t summons I ever got with a quasi apology along the lines of "if my Sgt. wasn't standing over there I'd give ya a break", I'd have at least a quarter.


    I think (none / 0) (#65)
    by Jackson Hunter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:16:03 PM EST
    the ones in Whites are Supervisors, at least the ones in the white shorts, if that what you meant. Of course, I read that on a blog, so it's not certain.



    Tracy, the deeper I get into Suskind's book, (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Anne on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:06:38 PM EST
    the worse I feel, no kidding.

    I just finished the sections on the auto bailout, Obama's meeting with the Gang of 13 (WS and banksters), Geithner's blase approach to the Citi situation (Sheila Bair was the "real" problem), the WH stonewalling of those in Congress intent on financial reform, and the Alan Krueger disclosure that Tim and the Treasury Boyz didn't think Obama understood the situation, or that they believed Obama to be wrong and Tim right, and were required to save him - Obama - from himself.

    No wonder the WH hated this book; Obama comes across as being in so far over his head as to be drowning, and of a WH that brought new meaning to the term "disarray."

    I had a feeling it was bad, but this bad?  Pass me the butter knife.


    It made it worse today (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:10:22 PM EST
    watching him being asked some very pointed economic questions and how he stuttered and stuttered and stuttered through it all.  I always thought he had an idea of what was happening until I read the book.  I still don't think the guy understands.  I think he thought and still thinks he will hand this horrible situation and all these horrible problems to a bunch of brainy sorts and Wall Street sorts and it will cure itself, and he just needed to avoid hiring names that made his big donors hackles begin to rise.

    And the image of hours and hours (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Anne on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:37:59 PM EST
    and hours of him sitting and listening to advisors, searching for the sweet spot of common ground rather than have a clearly defined opinion one way or the other about what he wanted to do or believed best - this is what made him so susceptible to being outmaneuvered by the Brain Trust.

    And, oh, how removed they all are from the lives of real people...that it took someone shouting that if they shut Chrysler down, there would be hundreds of thousands of people who would never find work again, and Robert Gibbs, of all people, to distill the consequence into a bumper sticker ("What are we going to do when a guy walks out of the plant after we've shut it down, and he's holding a sign that says, `I Guess I Wasn't Too Big To Fail.'"), to get Obama to change his mind, is the stuff of nightmares.

    If you hear any screaming off in the distance, it will probably be me, when I get to the section on the health whatever "negotiations."


    How quickly they turn. (none / 0) (#56)
    by NYShooter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:06:22 PM EST
    I watched an interview with Larry Summers; it sounded like a CYA attempt after Susskind's book came out. Anyway, I was struck by his comments regarding Obama's approach to decision making. As you've pointed out he spends an inordinate amount of time trying to get consensus from those with divergent views. But what was surprising was Summer's revelation that Obama also has a stubborn side of him that was inexplicable.

    If Obama held a position before his advisors did their back and forth arguments, and then came to an agreement, Obama stuck to his prior position. So you ended up with the bizarre situation whereby his experts with opposing views were able to come to a consensus, yet Obama rejected their advice anyway.

    The look of puzzled contempt on Summer's face told you all you have to know about why so many decisions coming from the White House make no sense whatsoever, and satisfy no one.  


    That's true. Obama had made up his (none / 0) (#70)
    by Anne on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:38:23 PM EST
    mind, for example, that health care reform was going to be his #1 priority, and in spite of his economic team running around with their hair on fire - and justifiably so - he stuck to that decision.  

    Summers did his share of manipulating, both on policy and internally, in terms of who had or didn't have the upper hand.  To a significant degree, the dynamic duo of Emanuel and Summers were Obama's gatekeepers - which is not to say that the president's schedule doesn't need to be managed, it does - but I'm getting the impression that often, Obama didn't even know who wanted to see him or why.

    There were -and still are - a fair number of people inside the administration who seem not to know that it is their job to carry out the president's will, not to be deciding what that will is, but to an extent, this president has been lacking in direction and will, which means there was always fear that this person or that group would get to Obama and change his mind about something those in the inner circle had already maneuvered Obama into.

    It's a horror show.


    a little clarification (none / 0) (#90)
    by NYShooter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 05:28:24 PM EST
    I should have explained Summer's comments a little better.

    What he was saying is, here we have two experts on the subject, with two opposing views. Obviously, one was correct, the other not. By the end of their debate, one of the experts was able to convince the other, through logic, reason, mastery of the topic, to change his mind and agree with him.

    Then, with unanimity in the room Obama shocked everyone by rejecting their decision and insisting on his predetermined view. Now, what I can't express well using a keyboard was the look & sound of exasperation Summers had when looking into camera. There was no question about the disdain he felt as if he had said, "You've got the two pre-eminent experts on a complicated subject, and they both agree on a solution, but then along comes a no-nothing schmuck holding his breath and stamping his feet to have his own way.

    Summers went on to say (It may be in Susskind's book) that his staff had many, many meetings in the hallway after a staff meeting where Obama had made ridiculous claims or decisions. He said it was becoming increasingly difficult to carry out good policy when you had an erratic, and inexperienced President. And, while everyone knew about Obama's publicly stated opinion about conducting "open & strenuous  debate," Summers looked into the camera and said, "but, he is the President, and he never let anyone forget it."

    I know those guys sucked, Anne, but you have to have at least a little bit of sympathy for them as the President made their lives miserable.


    Honestly (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by lilburro on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 07:56:00 PM EST
    Summers is not exactly a "reliable narrator."  I find his perspective to be interesting and insightful, but Summers' ego and own bizarro authority issues make me take what he has to say with a grain of salt.  His attitude seems to be that he could make a better President; he is probably the one former Admin figure that thinks that about himself.

    Where was this interview? (none / 0) (#117)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:02:51 AM EST
    I think it was Chas. Rose (none / 0) (#121)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:04:27 AM EST
    maybe, oh, 2-3 weeks ago.

    If you want an even better one, see if you can get Rose from last night, Wed. 10/5.

    His guest was Jeffrey Sachs.

    If you don't know who Sachs is just Google his name and be prepared to see what a progressive genius looks like.
    A truly wonderful person. An economics professor from Colombia, he specializes in advising impoverished countries and has been credited with having performed nothing short of miracles in transforming desperate countries back to health and prosperity.

    And, oh yeah, he was sucked in like many of us by Obama, and now speaks with a very loud voice in pointing out how easy our solutions are, and how paralyzed Obama is in doing them.

    Check it out; there are good people out there.


    The message (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:50:36 PM EST
    that I keep walking away with from these discussions about the book is that experience DOES matter. Obama have very little experience has basically left him with the only thing he knows to do: hand if off to someone who is a "supposed expert".

    I probably won't read this book because I'll be like Ann asking something to please pass the d*mn butter knife.


    I am so sick and tired (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by NYShooter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:34:22 PM EST
    Of this kind of crap. Whether it's "bankers find loopholes," or the treasonous Valerie Plane outrage, "these kind of prosecutions are so hard to prove," you wonder if arresting people smoking pot are the only Ironclad laws Congress can pass

    Or the only thing (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:35:43 PM EST
    law enforcement can manufacture evidence on....OH..now I've gone too far :)

    "bankers find loopholes" (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:03:14 PM EST
    They don't "find" loopholes.  They exploit the ones their lobbyists (lawyers every one) wrote into the law to begin with.

    Looks like ESPN (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by brodie on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:42:43 PM EST
    has dumped Hank Williams Jr for good from MNF.

    Good news.  Now I can finally -- after many years -- un-Mute the sound during the opening of the broadcast.

    Never understood how anyone could like a rather unmemorable and unstirring song that's being shouted rather than song by some overweight, full-of-hisself redneck wearing shades.

    Looks like it's on to the senate race in TN for this RW idiot, something in the footsteps of a far saner country singer of yesteryear, Tex Ritter, who also ran for the senate from that state in 1970 (unsuccessfully).  Let's hope it turns out even worse for Williams.

    Have to ask, I've never watched him. (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:19:30 PM EST
    Does he purportedly know a lot about football?

    No (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Jackson Hunter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:13:58 PM EST
    He just sang the opening theme song, he wasn't an in-booth commentator. It was a very traditional song for many years, of course I can't watch it here in China anyhow, so it's not like I'm going to miss it. He is obviously quite stupid, but that goes without saying.



    Nonetheless his song was a heck of lot better (none / 0) (#96)
    by DFLer on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 06:13:13 PM EST
    than the lame song  for Sunday night football (?)
    that completely wasted the talents of Faith Hill

    Both are weak songs (none / 0) (#132)
    by brodie on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:53:43 AM EST
    But at least Faith Hill tries to sing it rather than shout it as the awful Williams did.  She's also a lot easier on the eyes than HW and adds a small but needed female presence to what is already a broadcast that is overly male- centric.

    No question though, they need to hire a professional songwriter to kick-start things with something musically more robust.  


    How (none / 0) (#134)
    by CoralGables on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:31:10 PM EST
    about they just let Barry Sanders do an open without the song?

    Oh thank goodness! (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:42:39 PM EST
    Geithner denies that WH wants to cap banking industry profits.

    Think of the children if they capped profits!

    Have I mentioned lately (5.00 / 0) (#50)
    by sj on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:45:36 PM EST
    How much I hate these people?

    Seriously (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:48:42 PM EST
    It's like the oil companies.  I'm not against a company making profits - more power to them!  But couldn't they live with $5 billion / quarter profits instead of $10 billion / quarter profits and drop the price of gas a bit?  Will they really be hurting if they only make a $5 billion proft every quarter?

    Yes you have (none / 0) (#123)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:19:22 AM EST
    But say it again anyway

    I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when (none / 0) (#54)
    by Anne on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:03:39 PM EST
    I read that Bank of America's CEO's thinks BoA is the best bank in the world - seriously, he said that.

    And, just so you know, it isn't just that the bank is allowed to make a profit, it's that he has an inherent responsibility to get a return for "his" shareholders.  And it's so much harder to do that these days, you know.

    So, between the new debit card charge and the 400,000 employees they plan to let go, the shareholders and the board will be thrilled and he will no doubt be handsomely rewarded at the appropriate time.

    Remind me again - what is it that OWS is all about?


    Our "Heroes" (none / 0) (#63)
    by NYShooter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:15:00 PM EST
    Don't you just get a lump in your throat thinking about how many "heroes" we have on Wall Street, and in Congress? Every time you hear them speak, having just fired thousands of workers, or denied help to those in need, those multi-millionaires just have to let you how "tough" the decision was, or how it took "guts" to rip the guts out of simple people just trying to survive.

    OccupyAmerica (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Jackson Hunter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:10:11 PM EST
    I know it's not as important as the Yankees (sorry for the cheap shot, I'm a yankee hater, lol), but have you all seen the new proclamation by Anonymous. I think this sh*t is getting real. I haven't told you all yet, but I am now in China teaching English. I'm having a ball, and the Chinese are great people, but now I wish I were home to contribute at least another body to the cause. Remember, "An Idea cannot be killed by an Army."-Thomas Paine, the dirty little Atheist. ;)

    Below is the text, I haven't found the clip through the backdoor means yet (You Tube is blocked in China, as is Facebook, but there are ways around that.) Someone march for me, okay, and let the 1% have it for me!


    Citizens of the United States:
    This is a message from Anonymous.

    This is a message to the 99%.

    This is a message to what is becoming the American Autumn.

    This is a message to the whispers of the revolution beginning to stir in every major American city and in the heart of every afflicted member of the youth.

    It is becoming obvious that due to certain technical difficulties the revolution will not be televised. It will not be broadcasted.

    This is quite all right, media, you serpents of the elite for we will go under you.  We will go around you.  We will go over you and we will go beyond you.  You no longer control the floodgates.

    The era of the internet has arrived and it will consume you.

    This movement will be downloaded.  It will be streamed.  It will be circulated and it will spread like a wildfire, without direction, unpredictable, vast and devastating.

    Look around you, America. The leaves are beginning to sour. Cracks are appearing in them. They are falling from the branches, dead and rotting.

    So are our politicians.

    So are our banks.

    So is our media and so is our society.

    This country has never seen  a movement from our generation.  They have never seen a movement from the children of the internet.  

    They haven't the slightest clue what we are capable of, we masters of information, we conductors of thought.

    The tipping point has arrived.

    We have reached critical mass.

    This is the point of no return.

    Carry this movement through the winter.

    Carry this movement through the bitter cold and into spring.

    Shake off your morning dew, youth, for you are many, they are few.  


    We have no bombs.

    We have no weapons.

    We have no threats.

    But behold the power of the quill and ink.

    Members of the military:

    You took an oath to defend this country from enemies both foreign and domestic.  

    Walk with us. Among us as one of us.


    You have a score to settle.

    Walk with us. Among us as one of us.


    Move the movement. Stoke the flames.  

    We are all the 99%.

    We are all Anonymous.

    We are all legion.

    We will never forget.

    We will not forgive.

    Expect us.

    very moving (none / 0) (#66)
    by NYShooter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:18:03 PM EST
    very good

    Isn't it though? (none / 0) (#68)
    by Jackson Hunter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:26:52 PM EST
    I guess in the you tube video it is spoken by a computer synthesizer over a slew of images and it is really impactful. There's a diary up at the Orange Satan if you are so inclined as to want to see it, I only have the words, but they are powerful.



    I may check it out, but (none / 0) (#92)
    by NYShooter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 05:36:16 PM EST
    I like Shakespeare's take on it, "The play's the thing."

    Meaning, you can have lousy actors, but if the story is great, the play is great regardless. And, conversely, if an actor is great, the actor is great (even if the story sucks)

    Anyway, thanks, I'll check it out.


    A link (none / 0) (#109)
    by sj on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:20:13 PM EST
    to the video.  Thank you for telling us about this.

    Friday morning Astana bulletin: (5.00 / 4) (#107)
    by observed on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:00:33 PM EST
    Several interesting things to talk about.
    My actual work starts today. I'll be substitute teaching in two caculus classes. Also, yesterday I got my main assignment. I took  the option of not teaching this term, to work on curriculum development instead. I'm not sure how much time this will be, compared to teaching, but having a change is nice. I will also have contact hours with students.
    I mentioned to the chair at lunch yesterday that I am a strong chess player, so joining the chess club is another assignment.

    I had kefir yesterday for breakfast, and today as well. I must remember to order the sweetened version, because the plain kefir is too strong for me, and the taste cannot be ameliorated by simply adding sugar. The sweetened version is quite pleasant, and seems to have a bit of rice in it as well.

    I went shopping again yesterday. This trip was also to the Khan Shatyr; I suspect this is because new faculty are always taken there, and there was a Japanese math professor with us.
    I bought a cheap new razor at "Shulpak", the electronics store. This place has more employees than any store I have ever entered---it seems that there is at least one employee per section of an aisle. Actually purchasing something requires the services of at least 3 employees.
    The air here is quite dry, and I wanted to buy a humidifier for my bedroom. The lowest priced option was a fancy digital machine which cost 36,000 tenge, or about $250. I can stand dry sinuses, for that price.

    Lunch yesterday was interesting. I was with my chair, my dean, the dean of students and a couple other professors. A lot was said about politics and employment in the US. I just want to mention one interesting thread. Many of these people have industry experience, and were complaining of how hard it is to fire incompetent people, even in industry, and even in right-to-work states.
    One guy told of the following incident at Bristol-Meyer.  A research Ph.D decides to tidy up the lab in another area (not hers). She throws about 100 petri dishes which were lying out.
    Point 1: these were special dishes, made with gold, and cost $50,000 each.
    Point 2: She destroyed 6 months of research of another team.
    She was NOT fired.
    My thinking is that the concerns these people have about industrial and academic hiring and firing are really pretty far from the experiences of the vast majority of working Americans, yet obviously can have some legitimacy for certain sectors.
    I didn't think of this at the time, but I should have asked about, say, Japanese and German industrial workers, their contracts and unions, etc.

    Lots more going on. The recital last night was jazz and improv, and fun, but I don't feel that I can say anything perceptive about the music. I was mildly entertained, and certainly enjoyed the chance  to experience my first Astana night life.
    Speaking of which, I just learned that a black leather jacket is de rigeur for night life.
    I will look into that, but  probably won't buy until my first paycheck, which will be on Nov. 10.

    One last tidbit: Astana has the nickname of "mini-Dubai", which I would say is quite apropos.
    The new Japanese professor was just teaching in Dubai, by the way, and is going to ship his car to Astana. This may cost $15,000, because the direct route through Iran is not possible.
    Ouch.. must be a nice car!.

    Thanks, very interesting indeed (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by Dadler on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:39:17 PM EST
    The electronics store experience, for some reason, reminds me of those photos of North Korean traffic cops directing non-existent cars in Pyongyang.

    I'd splurge on the humidifier, but then again I get so dried out my skull practically starts to crack.

    And I have to say, the thought of a "mini-Dubai" is unsettling, only because the real one is so truly friggin' awful as it is.  

    Stay warm and don't you dare buy that black leather jacket (humidifier money!).  Break the mold.  ;-)

    Good luck with the chess club, and keep up with the updates.  


    I will probably get a humidifier, but (none / 0) (#116)
    by observed on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 12:40:45 AM EST
    I should be able to get something less expensive elsewhere. You're right, "mini-Dubai" is a little bit scary. Given the cold here, the effect really is a bit like being on Mars.

    Hey, observed, sounds like you (none / 0) (#119)
    by caseyOR on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:16:59 AM EST
    are starting to settle in. I second Dadler's advice to buy the humidifier ASAP. Also, maybe try a neti pot (do they have neti pots in Astana?) As an aside, I do understand the allure of a black leather jacket, especially as you try to fit in.

    Are all the faculty members at your school foreigners? Is this a major Kazakhstan college? And so, are your students primarily Kazakhs (is that correct?)


    The students are ALL Kazakhs. (none / 0) (#120)
    by observed on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:05:21 AM EST
    These are the top 500 students in KZ.
    I just finished my second hour of substitute teaching. They are very sharp.
    I don't know if I said this on here before, but the number one draw of this job was the chance of teaching some really good students; in addition, I should have time for research, although possibly not right at the beginning.

    'm sure I should know this (none / 0) (#122)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:04:07 AM EST
    but I sure can't remember. What subject matter would be the basis for your research?

    mathematics. (none / 0) (#125)
    by observed on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:51:52 AM EST
    It is a shame that you had to (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:40:43 AM EST
    go out of the country to achieve your career goals when we desperately need good mathematics teachers here.

    I'm glad that things are looking positive for you there and I look forward to your updates.

    I don't know if it is feasible time wise or if Jeralyn would have an interest, but it would be nice IMO if you could write occasional diaries about your experience.


    Definitely not politics! (none / 0) (#126)
    by observed on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:52:58 AM EST
    I can't remember when I have gotten anything right in political analysis or prediction.
    I enjoy trying though!

    It will be interesting to see how well (none / 0) (#130)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:31:47 AM EST
    I do in 2012. The things that I believe I got right in 2008:

    1. Obama would not win Missouri.

    2. Obama's rhetoric and policies would help rehabilitate the Republican Party.

    3. Obama would pursue Republican and corporate centric agenda items and Bush's assaults on civil liberties.


    There is (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by CoralGables on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:43:47 PM EST
    still joy throughout the land.

    Somewhere I heard people shout, tonight we are all Detroiters.

    Soooo true. Love it. (5.00 / 0) (#114)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:06:18 PM EST
    There was much rejoicing! (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by jbindc on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:30:24 AM EST
    Once again, turn to page 37 in your hymnals and join us brothers and sisters, in singing a rousing chorus of "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead".

    Go Tigers - beat the Rangers!


    Poor Atrios, has no concept of moral hazard (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by ruffian on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:56:41 AM EST
    You can give free money to the banks, or you could give free money to everyone else assuming some of that money would be deposited in banks and/or used to pay down debt owed to those banks. You could also, say, just add $10,000 to all the bank accounts, giving the banks more reserves and many people more cash.

    The point is, if you're handing out free money to save the banks you can do it in a way that saves the rest of us, too.

    Firmly against... (none / 0) (#129)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:24:30 AM EST
    adding 10k to bank accounts...we may be a dying breed but the cash and carry crew still remains!  Not to mention giving banks more money to gamble with is probably a bad idea.

    I guess I'll settle for a check payable to cash:)


    Texas vs Okalhoma (none / 0) (#4)
    by jetrink on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:32:34 PM EST
    Who will win Saturday?

    Go OU! (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:34:54 PM EST
    As the Yankees $uck, so do the Longhorns.

    With a handle like your'n, I don't (none / 0) (#34)
    by brodie on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:55:13 PM EST
    have to guess who you'll be a-hollerin' fer.

    Me, I haven't cared much about this matchup in recent times since both states went full-bore Redneck for Republicans.  Back in the day though, when OK could be repped by decent mod-lib Dem senators like Fred Harris and TX by mod-lib Dem senator Ralph Yarborough and neither state was quite as politically extremist to the Right as they are today, I didn't mind spending a few hours watching them and throwing my support behind one team (usually OK) or the other.

    But that's how I evaluate these distant regional rivalies outside my bailiwick -- the political animal in me has never developed a solid wall between politics and sports and I doubt I'll ever change.  


    Absinthe (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:36:38 PM EST
    A couple weeks ago I was in New Orleans and there was an lounge that served absinthe in the traditional way.

    I did some research and turns out it's been legal in the US since 2007.  My local liquor store carries about 10 brands, with maybe 7 being authentic (made w/ grand wormwood).

    It packs a punch, around 140 proof and tastes like black liquorish.  Mostly you get drunk, but there something behind it, real light, beyond the alcohol, real mellow.

    There is even a distillery in Philadelphia that makes what others consider a pretty respectable absinthe.  See Here

    I can not believe I didn't know this.
    Just thought I would pass it along.

    My husband is Czech (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:06:02 PM EST
    So have been told, don't know if it is true...but our Absinthe has no thujone in it which is supposedly the psychoactive part of drinking Absinthe.  I have a lot of black walnut in my yard though and it kills my vegetables that I plant in the ground because of the thujone so I suppose we could drink and lick the branches.

    You might become mad poets. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:17:19 PM EST
    I can only become a poet :) (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:20:52 PM EST
    Put down the butter knife, m'am, or (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 02:22:54 PM EST
    I gotta taze ya.

    The Grand Wormwood Palnt... (none / 0) (#57)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:08:13 PM EST
    ... has thujone, and something to do with the European ban being rescinded on production, it can only have so many ppm of thujone.  One of the reasons it became legal here as well.

    The stuff at your liquor store has it, but you have too look because some brands simply flavor grain alcohol/vodka.  If it has Grand Wormwood it has thurjone.

    They have tested thurjone and it doesn't have psychoactive properties, they think bootleggers were mixing methanol alcohol with ethanol alcohol, and as one would image, people did some really dumb stuff after drinking wood alcohol.

    Plus the 'refer madness' propaganda campaign wine makers waged on absinthe had the same effect.  People thinking you will go mad from it or cut off your ear, or whatever other non-sense they use to scared us all straight.


    Not entirely true (none / 0) (#99)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 07:46:08 PM EST
    Just part of the propaganda around the current safety of the current absinthe.  Thujone is a toxin.  When my husband works with the wood he has to do it outdoors and with a mask on.  Inhaling the thujone will jack you up, some people more than others.

    In olden absinthe days, absinthe usually contained a great deal of thujone, we don't really know what it can do.  We didn't have ongoing studies back then.  We do know that it caused some people to have seizures though.  Who knows what it did to everyone else?


    Artemesia absinthium (none / 0) (#104)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:07:20 PM EST
    A curious phenomenon known as the "doll-house" effect is one of the more distinctive wormwood effects. Users describe perceiving objects as idealized representations of themselves or as simplified copies of the real objects, as though they belonged in a doll house. This effect is often experienced along with wormwood's other common effects. Objects may be perceived with a striking clarity of definition and color, however, wormwood only serves to enhance perception and has no hallucinogenic properties.



    Heard about half (none / 0) (#12)
    by lilburro on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:04:28 PM EST
    of Obama's press conference today.  What I heard was excellent.  I thought the framing of the jobs bill as an "insurance policy" against a worsening of the recession was brilliant.

    Excellence... in Hot Air (none / 0) (#105)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:07:53 PM EST
    Who's paying federal income taxes (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:16:43 PM EST
    and who isn't?  The answer may surprise you.

    Amid complaints that nearly half of tax filers in the U.S. won't pay federal income taxes this year, this has been lost: Those making $75,000-$100,000 a year are the fastest-growing share of people who don't pay federal income taxes.

    Not working poor people -- but those who are firmly middle class.

    They still make up less than 1% of the total number of income tax filers who pay no tax at all, but their overall number has exploded, from fewer than 5,000 not paying taxes in 1996 to nearly 500,000 in 2009, the most recent year of available data.

    The lowest-income Americans -- those who make less than $25,000 a year -- account for the largest number of those not paying any federal income tax: 76% as of 2009. But that share has been decreasing for years. Meanwhile, the percentage of nontaxable returns has been growing for people with higher incomes. As of 2009, more than 20,000 filers making more than $200,000 a year -- 1,470 of whom had adjusted gross income of more than $1 million -- owed no income tax, a Free Press analysis showed.

    Frankly (none / 0) (#27)
    by sj on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:34:31 PM EST
    Not buying it.  
    "Mathematically, you're not going to pay taxes" if you have a modest income and qualify for a lot of those breaks, Stretch said.

    Did you see that list?  If you have kids in college, make charitable deductions (I notice they don't say how large they would have to be), had medical expenditures large enough to qualify AND have earnings from capital gains (again, no mention as to how much income comes from those earnings as opposed to wages).

    This sounds like the tactic of putting a billionare in a room with 20 working stiffs to distort the "average income" calculation.

    And then they have the call to headline it with Soaring?  as in

    Soaring number of middle class are exempt from federal income taxes

    Nope, not buying it.


    er... (none / 0) (#30)
    by sj on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:37:35 PM EST
    "have the Call" was supposed to be "have the gall"

    Good luck with those customers (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:34:06 PM EST
    Brian Moynihan.  Crap is hitting the fan fast and furious now, but the elite just can't stop acting like a bunch of entitled elites.

    Even the Unions are Struggling (none / 0) (#69)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:29:11 PM EST
    to determine how to respond to OWS.  The movement's strengths (grassroots, untamed) are also its weaknesses.

    "Several union leaders complained that their own protests over the past two years had received little attention, though they had put far more people on the streets than Occupy Wall Street has. A labor rally in Washington last October drew more than 100,000 people, with little news media coverage.
    Behind the scenes in recent days, union leaders have debated how to respond to Occupy Wall Street. In internal discussions, some voiced worries that if labor were perceived as trying to co-opt the movement, it might alienate the protesters and touch off a backlash.

    Others said they were wary of being embarrassed by the far-left activists in the group who have repeatedly denounced the United States government."


    I think OWS is a net positive, but even the hard left establishment is struggling to get their heads around it.

    Maybe that is a good thing, but at the end of the day, I hope that the unions are on board 100%.  We need them.  That will require some level of focusing of the goals.

    "Hard Left Establishment?" (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by MO Blue on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:39:37 PM EST
    in the U.S. Pure fantasy.

    Agree. "A movement without a leader (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by KeysDan on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:54:43 PM EST
    or a leader without a movement."     Let's give the former a try for we know the results of the later.  

    Took the words right out of (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:07:23 AM EST
    my mouth.

    If only...


    You bring new meaning to the term (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Anne on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:43:46 PM EST
    "concern troll."

    Go read Matt Stoller at naked capitalism; he has an excellent post up there that should enlighten you as to what OWS is all about.

    Here's one excellent paragraph for you:

    One of the most constant complaints one hears in DC about #OccupyWallStreet is that the group has no demands. Its message isn't tight. It has no leaders. It has no policy agenda. Just what does "it" want, anyway? On the other side of the aisle, one hears a sort of sneering "get a job" line, an angry reaction to a phenomenon no one in power really understands. The gnashing of teeth veers quickly from condescension to irritation and back. Many liberal groups want to "help" by offering a more mainstream version, by explaining it to the press, by cheering how great the occupation is while carefully ensuring that wiser and more experienced hands eventually take over. These impulses are guiding by the received assumptions about how power works in modern America. Power must flow through narrow media channels, it must be packaged and financed by corporations, unions, or foundations, it must be turned into revenue flows that can then be securitized. It must scale so leaders can channel it efficiently into the preset creek bed of modern capitalism. True public spaces like this one are complete mysteries to these people; left, right, center in America are used to shopping mall politics.

    I don't expect you to get it.


    It strikes me that all this hand-wringing (5.00 / 5) (#76)
    by caseyOR on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:01:22 PM EST
    and baffled brow-furrowing about "what do they want?' is very reminiscent of the classic "concerned" man lament about "What do women want?"

    because you know if they (OWS, women, whatever) would just calm down and tell us what they want, well then we (men, politicos, whatever) could either solve their little problems for them or show them why what they want just isn't possible or practical.

    But NOOOOOOO, they have to go being all independent and, well, emotional, and they just flat refuse to understand how things are done. How can we (men, politicos, whatever) fix this if they won't tell us what they want?


    I find it interesting that they (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by nycstray on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:10:43 PM EST
    even have to ask the question. Seems pretty f*cking obvious to me . . .

    Bingo! (none / 0) (#87)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 05:05:51 PM EST
    Upton Sinclair nailed it...

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something , when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

    Even union leadership and other establishment institutions on the "left" are subject to becoming beholden to the current way...the current uber-corrupt cronified way.


    "Even?" (none / 0) (#88)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 05:13:42 PM EST
    Touche my friend... (none / 0) (#91)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 05:33:29 PM EST
    I need an editor:)

    We need small business owners down with this thang too...the hoops guys like you gotta jump through without the ability to write your own rules and regs, or just ignore them at will...thats gotta suck.

    Sh*t the hoops ya gotta jump through to own a hot dog cart for gods sake.


    Very true, but... (none / 0) (#83)
    by Dadler on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:33:40 PM EST
    ...another truth remains.  The longer you let OTHER people define who and what you are about, especially in the media environment we live in, the more time you spend having to refute that categorization.  My only concern is the longer you go without any fundamental goals, the longer those goals are misidentified by outsiders to your detriment.  I get what we're against, but if we can't articulate the route to that better future, I don't know, it's very easy for the opposition to keep labeling you and those labels, in our society, tend to stick.  In Wisconsin, they knew what they were for, keeping their union strong and viable.  In Vietnam protests, it was clear, end the war.  The Civil Rights movement, it was clear, equal rights for all.  

    Clarity is not a vice.

    That said, it's only my opinion, and I am happy to march with them and join the cacophony of voices.


    Let the opposition label (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by sj on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:46:44 PM EST
    I think this is fine.  Let it seep through society like water through a garden.  It doesn't need to be burst dam to be effective.  

    But that's only my opinion. :)  And while I have not [yet] marched with them,  I too will join the cacophony of voices.

    The kids are alright.  They're doing fine. We haven't done such a hot job, let's give them the room to find their way and support them along the way.


    I heard... (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 05:24:43 PM EST
    exactly that debate on the street.  Fundamental goal is there I think, or almost there...an economic system and government that serves all people, a meritocracy with basic needs met for all, with a lesser negative enviromental impact on our planet.

    How to achieve that goal?  

    Soak the rich? Not with this government, pointless excercise.

    Vote a better government?  Another tough nut.  And this is a globalized problem now, ya need quality government in all the world and unprecedented cooperation.

    Overthrow the government?  That would get so ugly, and until we evolve a little the next won't be any better.

    This is a challenge of unprecedented proportions, right now all that needs to be done is putting the ruling class on notice that the jig is up.



    This is a serious phenomenon (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by NYShooter on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 06:09:21 PM EST
    and yet I can't stop laughing.

    These kids (and, yes I'll continue to call them kids, though I realize its not just kids) are so much smarter, so much further along, and so wonderfully in-tune, that I wish I held a "mute" button in my hand to block out the, oh so irritating noise, coming from so many places.

    If you go there and say, "I want to donate $1000 to your cause," they actually have a committee to decide if they'll accept it. Because, in the end, what they want is you, and your good heart. The $1000? "we'll check it out."

    Did you hear about the nurses who took time off, or on their lunchtimes, came and offered their services? So, and this is becoming customary, they held a discussion. Of course nurses would be welcome to come and treat those who needed medical services.  (and here is what I mean be breaking out laughing) But, the value added which evolved from the discussions was the decision to set up training sessions where the nurses would teach everyone, or anyone, first aid, cpr, and things like that.

    There are so many things I feel like saying, then I stop and ponder a minute, nah, silence, a smile, and observing a thing of beauty so trumps anything I've got to say, and the decision is done.


    Some pics from Occupy SF yesterday (none / 0) (#97)
    by Dadler on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 06:16:11 PM EST
    Good story regarding (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by MO Blue on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 06:43:09 PM EST
    Occupy LA.

    Every night at 10pm the camp moves all tents onto the sidewalk to comply with local laws. Earlier this week around move time, a guy and his girlfriend showed up and asked what they could do to help.

        What are you good at?

    asked Media Lisa (who volunteers her webcasting, media and producing skills and has been involved in planning and coordination since September 24). The guy responded

        Do you need trash hauled? I could do that!

    Media Lisa pressed further:

        Yes, but what would you like to do? What can you do?

    The guy replied:

        I'm an actor.

    He then helped lug tents, signs and equipment from the lawn to sidewalk. As the couple were leaving, they stopped by the finance department's table where he wrote a check for $5,000. Until then, no one knew the helpful guy was Lucas Neff from the Emmy-nominated series Raising Hope. link

    major concern troll (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by sj on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:40:49 PM EST
    Although some of that concern might be genuine.  He sounds concerned that the unions ("we need you" a/k/a "where else are they gonna go?") might have actually found somewhere else to go.  Those who think as he does have been so smug about the Dems [former] base and our options.  

    Stepping completely outside the bounds of electoral politics was unexpected and could only have been done by the young.  That the growing power and force is subtle and cannot be subdued by scorn and jackboots must also be alarming.  So naturally more scorn and concern [trolling] is necessary.

    Just watching him squirm is rather like a barometer or microcosm.  From dismissive to patronizing to sneering to now trying to position himself as a logical leader.

    As if.  LOL


    If President Obama had only (none / 0) (#81)
    by KeysDan on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:12:27 PM EST
    found his "comfortable shoes" in time to join the seismic and prescient protests at Madison, WI, he would be perceived as being a part of the solution rather than a part from them.  His apparent reluctance to  alienate Republicans/Independents by coming down on the side of his supporters and friends and speak out at a rally on behalf of collective bargaining and the injustices proposed by the Republican governor and cohorts was, in my view, a mistake.  Now, the president has a tiger by the tail---the movement will not be an easy one to dismiss or co-opt.  Indeed, the linked NYT article does illustrate the "struggles" of those behind the curve, including, the NYT itself, as it now, finally, is front page, above the fold news with photos.