Wednesday Open Thread

Is it time to close your Google account? Here's how.

MegaUpload read for today: MegaUpload Meet Morrison. More here. The media has gone wild with its coverage of Kim DotCom's personal life, I'm only interested in the legal aspects of the case. MegaUpload lawyer Ira Rothken is interviewed here.

I've got court today, so here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    More on the new Unit on Mortgage (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:31:09 PM EST
    Origination and Securitization Abuses from Obama's speech last night:

    It will be folded into the Financial Fraud Task Force that has been in existence since 2009, and was created by the Congress.

    David Dayen:

    The task force has had a mandate to investigate and prosecute financial fraud for well over two years. So what has been done? They've done some work on insider trading. And they've gone after a number of small fish who engaged in penny-ante mortgage fraud schemes. Has one Wall Street banker at the top been prosecuted? No. And in general terms, most of the civil fraud prosecutions have ended with these no-fault agreements, where the guilty party doesn't have to admit "alleged" wrongdoing and can just buy their way out of the problem. This is the practice that Jed Rakoff rapped the SEC for partaking in.

    But more important than that, who is on the Financial Fraud Task Force? The same people who will be co-chairing the Unit on Mortgage Origination and Securitization Abuses with Eric Schneiderman. Take a look at the heads of the working groups on mortgage fraud and securities and commodities fraud:

    The Mortgage Fraud Working Group, co-chaired by Ben Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, Michael Stephens, Acting Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sharon Ormsby, well as representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Association of Attorneys General.

    The Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group, co-chaired by Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Robert Khuzami, Director of Enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the David Meister, Director of Enforcement for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

    West, Breuer and Khuzami are all co-chairs on the Unit on Mortgage Origination and Securitization Abuses. What's more, they all had duties in these working groups substantially similar to this new fraud unit. And they did nothing of consequence.

    Still think this new division, of a task force that has done nothing to speak of on the mortgage mess, has teeth?  

    It's far more likely that this is part of a strategy to push along the settlement deal that neither Tom Miller, its nominal head, nor Barack Obama have been able to close; this may be an attempt to undercut the so-far staunch resistance of more than a few state attorneys general by co-opting one of the settlement's strongest opponents: NY AG Eric Schneiderman.

    It ought to inspire a healthy dose of anger and disgust at yet another phony initiative - how many "programs" do we have now to "help" homeowners in foreclosure or underwater on their loans? - designed to bamboozle people into believing that this president give's a rat's ass about getting to the bottom of, and holding to account those responsible for, this mess.

    Surely (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:42:16 PM EST
    no one believes Obama is going to do the right thing w/r/t mortgages.

    We shall (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:15:31 PM EST
    see. These AGs are the only reason that Obama hasn't done what Geither and the banks wanted already. I cheer them but Obama always seems to what Obama wants to do not necessarily what's best for the rest of us.

    Can you explain to me why (5.00 / 0) (#86)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:28:47 PM EST
    any settlement should be brokered, especially one that provides immunity to the banks involved?  And with that - a settlement and immunity, among other things - the plan for over a year, how we are supposed to take seriously the president's latest attempt to address the situation?

    But, you asked "why not?"

    Well, consider the following:

    First of all, this becomes part of a three year-old Financial Fraud Task Force which has done approximately nothing on Wall Street accountability outside of a few insider trading arrests. So that's the context of this investigative panel, part of the same entity that has spun its wheels. Second, the panel would only look at origination, where there have been plenty of lawsuits and where the main offenders are all out of business, and securitization, which may aid investors (that includes pension funds, of course) but not necessarily homeowners. Third, let's look at the participants on this 5-member panel, which sounds to me like the absolute worst way to handle an investigation (you put an independent prosecutor in charge with a budget and subpoena authority if you really want to get something done, not a committee).

    You have Lanny Breuer, last seen telling 60 Minutes every excuse in the book to justify the lack of prosecutions out of the Justice Department. He's the co-chair of the panel who will "get tough" on the banks. Breuer was also a partner at the white shoe law firm Covington & Burling, which actually provided the legal underpinning to create MERS. Reuters was out just last week questioning whether Breuer should recuse himself from all financial fraud-related investigations; now he's co-chairing one of the major ones!

    Let's move on. You have Robert Khuzami, who has turned enforcement into such a pathetic joke at the SEC that a judge stopped the no-fault settlements they were throwing at the banks left and right. Khuzami was also a former general counsel at Deutsche Bank, one of the leading trustees in securitization, precisely the area where this investigation would be aimed. John Walsh is unfamiliar to me (though he comes with decent credentials), and I know two things about Tony West: his previous experience has little to do with financial fraud, and he's the brother-in-law of California AG Kamala Harris, one of the holdouts on the foreclosure fraud settlement (more on that in a minute).

    That's why people are skeptical, why they have little confidence that this new "investigative" unit is going to be for any real purpose other than to undermine opposition to a settlement.

    This is kabuki, Donald; as many times as we've seen it from Obama, we ought to recognize this as more of it.


    It's not just David Dayen, Donald; (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 10:16:12 PM EST
    it's Yves Smith and Marcy Wheeler and a number of others who have been on this from Jump Street.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but your condescending diatribe seems pretty short on actual facts, with little attention paid to the ones offered to you, or the ones out there for anyone with some time to explore them.

    You did this on the Paterno thing, and you're doing it again - lecturing us all, me in particular, about your vast experience, as if it alone had some pertinence to this particular situation.

    Look at what has been happening in California and Nevada - go see what Beau Biden has been saying.

    Those directly involved in the mortgage/MBS debacle have lied under oath to Congress about the robosigning, they have agreed to settlements they have failed to live up to.

    How nice it must be to sit on your lofty perch and preach to me and others about how we're the problem.  Really, Donald?  We're the reason for the dearth of honest and forthright people in public service?

    Maybe it's people like you, who keep finding excuses for the ones we have, and enabling them to keep shining us on.

    Bite me, Donald - and check back in when you've decided whether we're a needed voice, as you keep lecturing ABG, or a pain in the ass, like you keep lecturing me.  Or whether you just have a need to be the loudest voice no matter what's being said.


    I hope you're right, Donald (none / 0) (#66)
    by sj on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:14:43 PM EST
    that would be wonderful.

    Personally, I'll hold off forming an opinion (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by BTAL on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:03:26 PM EST
    until the totally awesome title with the requisite acronym is assigned to this new initiative.

    Gotta have the cool and inspiring name, ya know.


    Here's what gets me: (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:27:43 PM EST
    The Bankers who, A. caused the financial disaster, and, B. profited to the tune of countless Billions of dollars, merely have to say, "o.k. how much?" All they have to do is settle on a number, and no matter how large it is, with the levels of money they deal in they`d make it up in no time, and this whole problem would disappear.  

    But, Tim Geithner, Obama's indispensable Svengali, will not budge from his "not one penny" pledge that the Banks should not suffer in any shape, manner, or form for the damage they've caused.

    You know how they say, "one death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic?" I believe that by shielding the banks so totally from the magnitude of their crime the Obama Administration hopes to hoodwink the Public into thinking, "oh well, so it goes," and move on.

    And, that's why, no matter how many fantastic speeches he gives, no matter how many accolades tossed at him by voters (suckers)(some right here at T.L.) no matter how many times he's lied on these very same topics before, we still have folks walking away, saying, "Wow! The greatest speech evah!!"

    What bull crap!


    It's definitely time, IMHO (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:47:25 PM EST
    for people to back away with sharing their whole personna on Facebook and Google/+! They need to protect themselves by being anonymous!

    I heavily participate on both networks, but...

    On Facebook, I'm my dog! ;-) and anything I share is from Darla's perspective.  The advertisements I get are hysterical...many of them for senior retirment centers, since Darla is 80-something in dog years!

    On Google+, I share my photographs. From those, people might glean that I like flowers, hiking, chocolate, silly things, etc.  I want the world to see my pics, so I don't care.  The ego food far outweighs any detriment in sharing them.  They are small sized, so if someone wanted to steal and print/make money from them, they'd be limited in their ability to do so.  My name is pretty much a John Smithian type of name, so I doubt any real info will be gleaned from knowing it.  I DO NOT put a picture of my face on the internet.

    Google email is used for nothing except Google+ and Facebook communication, which means for pretty much nothing.

    I DO use the Google search engine, but henceforth, my goal is to confuse data analytics by spending a lot of time searching for things I don't care about....just googled Newtie's hobbies ;-).

    But people REALLY need to stop and think about how sharing their whole lives on blogs, social networks, etc benefits them.  All of the arguments that Facebook execs make about the benefits of being out here non-anonymously are FARRRR outweighed by the detriments.

    I really hope that someday people clue in and social networking goes the way of the dodo bird...but hopefully the day comes after I quit thinking sharing photography with my fellow photogs is so much fun.

    I like how you roll... (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:54:51 PM EST
    thats how we beat 'em...rendering their algorithms useless by using our uniquely human imaginations.

    I'm gonna go do my part and google "investment opportunities" or "bank account" or something else very out of character for me, to keep the hounds off my scent too.  Brilliant!


    Exactly (none / 0) (#85)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:22:18 PM EST
    Exactly my point!  Always keep em guessing!

    But make sure and google "Newt Gingrich hobbies".  The Newtie paper dolls you'll see are hysterical!


    Disclaimer (none / 0) (#8)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:48:06 PM EST
    I am the typo queen ;-).

    Being anonymous may be impossible if you (none / 0) (#91)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:48:07 PM EST
    live in the US.

    The personal data acquisition by Facebook and Google isn't a new thing for marketing firms. In a previous life I worked for Meredith Corp, and we had a pre-web database of over 150M people. We knew your age, gender, educational level, political leanings, religion, marital status, number of children, the size of your house, eating preferences - just about any demographic you could think of, Meredith tried to track it.

    Why? So you could be targeted for advertising, same as Facebook & Google. You mail order a book, and along comes a Book of the Month invite. You have a kid, here come the magazine subscriptions. The analysts had a pretty good success rate at targeting potential customers for clients like Kraft, General Foods, both parties, etc.

    We had one huge misfire, though. Philip Morris came up with the idea of a cigarette of the month club. Samples were sent to sample households, based off of the data. Within days the phone calls and angry letters started to arrive. "How dare you! I've been trying to quit for years!" was one of the big themes, the other was, "You jerks! My Father/Mother/beloved family member just died of lung cancer! Rot in Hell!" Needless to say, that program was cancelled immediately.


    Then why do I keep getting the ad (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 07:25:58 PM EST
    on facebook with the cute 40 something guy and it says loyal women wanted?  I'm married, and I'm loyal, but if I answer that ad I'm obviously no longer loyal :)

    Decades ago I was out shopping with a woman (5.00 / 3) (#115)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 09:03:21 PM EST
    from my dorm. She wanted to get a dress at Lane Bryant, but they refused her credit card. So I put it on mine as a favor until she could pay me back.

    I still get their catalogs from time to time - and a raised eyebrow from my wife.


    Yep (none / 0) (#92)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:56:35 PM EST
    They already have plenty of data about all of us that way....but hey, the more we can redirect them toward bogus-ness, the better.

    But the anonymity I speak of is at least as much about preventing identity theft than anything.  


    Well, on the bright side, Geithner has (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:30:46 PM EST
    indicated that he won't serve in a second Obama administration.

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday that he does not plan to serve if President Barack Obama wins a second term in November. Geithner said he was confident that Obama would be re-elected but added that he was also "confident that he is going to have the privilege of having another secretary of the Treasury." The comments came in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

    As opposed to what?  Obama deeming Geithner so irreplaceable that he'd be forced to do without one?

    I'm sure there's someone with Goldman Sachs in his resume who will have enough ego to believe he can fill Timmy's big shoes...

    Let the speculation begin...this should be good.

    Hooray for small happiness. (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:56:04 PM EST
    4 years of Geithner's incompetence, and what recovery that has occurred did so despite his efforts.

    Heard this afternoon on the news, another drop in housing markets in December...

    Glad I'm back for a week or so, but glad I'm leaving, also.


    Please stay (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:44:26 PM EST
    Your voice is an important (and sane) one around here!

    South America and Romania call, (none / 0) (#126)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 05:14:46 PM EST
    not necessarily in that order.

    A scene from a great movie, "The Magnificent Seven:"

    Vin- l heard of a job shooin´ some flies away from a village, but l don´t know the pay.
    Chris- Twenty dollars.

    Vin- A week?
    Chris- Six weeks: the whole job.

    Vin- Well, that´s ridiculous. You heard of anything?
    Chris- Yeah. Shooing some flies away from a little village. Their village.

    Put a human face on something, it makes a difference, whether it's suffering, learning, teaching, or caring.


    Yoda (5.00 / 0) (#63)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:11:10 PM EST
    has taught the young master well and feels he is no longer needed I guess.

    Maybe I'm older than you are, (none / 0) (#94)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:01:23 PM EST
    But I can't help but think of the TV series Kung Fu.  Geithner as "Master Po" and Obama as "Grasshopper" Kwai Chang Caine.   ;-)

    No I (5.00 / 0) (#102)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:38:46 PM EST
    remember that show when I was in junior high and high school.

    Hooray hooray!!! (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 07:28:02 PM EST
    And Jon Corzine can't be hired now to replace him!!!  Hooray hooray!!!

    Pretty pathetic desperate happiness though


    businessinsider.com (none / 0) (#46)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:42:27 PM EST
    Does This Mean There is a God ? (none / 0) (#58)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:58:02 PM EST
    For us Pastafarians, (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:08:10 PM EST
    there was never a doubt. Just sectarian squabbles about the real meaning of 'al dente.'

    Nice to See You My Man... (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 11:20:54 AM EST
    The specific points of the SOTU, (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:10:22 PM EST
    will fade quickly, and more than likely its only parts to live for another day will be those I dislike. Moreover, in this election year we may hear more lefty talk and see a righty walk.  However, the undergirding of the speech will not lend itself to easy retreat by the president's pattern of on-the-one hand, but on the other".   The Lincoln quote was intended to do so, but the president's statements provided a significant counter to the misguided yet entrenched  "government is the problem, not the solution" of  Reagan and even the "days of big government are over" of Clinton. The infusion of OWS into the content and context of the speech was foundational and it, too, will be memorialized.

    Nice picture, but it's lacking (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:34:14 PM EST
    a "You are here" arrow.

    Why did all the robo-signing happen? (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:33:37 PM EST
    Interestingly, countries with strong public-sector banking systems largely escaped the 2008 credit crisis. These include the BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - which contain 40 percent of the global population and are today's fastest growing economies. They escaped because their public-sector banks do not need to rely on repos and securitizations to back their loans. The banks are owned and operated by the ultimate guarantor - the government itself. The public-sector banking model deserves further study.

    Why All the Robo-Signing? Shining a Light on the Shadow Banking System

    How to (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:08:56 PM EST
    start an argument online...

    The best and most effective way that Obama supporters can grow support for Obama and increase his re-election prospects is to guarantee him that he has their votes if and only if he gets to work and produces real progressive populist effective working policies before the November election, and not otherwise.

    In other words, do everything possible beginning now to drive his polling numbers and approval rate into the basement and make it is clear as a club on the head to him that he will lose in November otherwise.

    Then you will see some results from him. And THEN you will see his support increase.

    Its an interesting approach (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by ZtoA on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 11:10:54 AM EST
    in principle.

    But this seems to me to be an unusual time and a dangerous one. It was odd and funny to watch Boehner look so sour each time Obama out republicaned the republicans. I pictured a little talk bubble above Boehner saying "how dare you praise the military? That's our territory". So Obama bipartisans himself into taking both the dem and repub rhetoric, and the repubs have only one place to go which is insane, cruel, insulting and reactionary. After all, this is a binary country and the parties feel they must be different than each other.

    So, practically, I don't think dems can influence Obama with approval ratings. And, watching the repubs, I'm not willing to let them gain an inch, even temporarily.

    Nevertheless, that is just my view, and I really appreciate the views of those who simply do not fit into the binary system. Its important and healthy. I don't think it is "bashing" or "hating" or whatever. Some people simply are not party players and that does not mean they cannot at times be allies.


    My Suggestion (1.00 / 0) (#33)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:25:24 PM EST
    Obama supporters should not take advice on how to get Obama elected from those who bash Obama constantly.

    Edger, why don't you stay on your side of the aisle with the foxnews folks and others who believe Obama is the root of all evil and let the rest of us handle this.

    I think we'll somehow manage to get elected without taking your advice to drive his polling down to help him get elected.

    We got him elected last time and I feel pretty good about our chances this go around.


    I think Edger's point was that pledging (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:42:35 PM EST
    one's vote on an unconditional basis provides no incentive to an incumbent to be responsive to the voters.

    "But I'm going to vote for ___ anyway" is a hall pass for any politician to serve only those who take seriously the quid pro quo basis for support.

    I'm sure we could all relax and let the rest of you handle this if only we didn't also have to live with the result.

    News flash: we're not required to fall in love with politicians, and those who invest to that emotional extent are going to get their hearts broken.


    Well, there are people (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:47:15 PM EST
    who simply don't care what Obama's policies are.

    As long as they can get him re-elected, they don't appear to care if they have to lose to "win", or what the effect of that on their country is.


    But blasting (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:27:46 PM EST
    the fire out of a candidate constantly and unmercifully can result in the candidate losing and an even worse alternative taking power.

    There is a fine line between pressure to change policy and self destructive attacks which only serve to help the real bad guys in the room.

    What Edger advocates is doing the bad guys' work for them.

    My thought: Newt is doing a really good job of highlighting tax issues and income inequality.  How about we let him do that instead of taking the attention off of their mess to remind the world that Obama didn't fulfill every single promise he has ever made.


    I'm glad you are in such awe of my power, abg. (5.00 / 0) (#83)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:10:32 PM EST
    Tell B he can give me a call anytime.

    Him and Timmy can try to buy me off with a few trillion - about what they gave wall street fraudsters would be a fair price I think you'd agree? Plus a few little policy tweaks here and there of course.

    The Pentagon, the 'defense'(sic) industry, and wall street won't be overly thrilled with the tweaks, but they'll squeak by somehow.

    Small price for a guaranteed re-election, wouldn't you say?


    Perhaps you can enlighten us as to (5.00 / 3) (#84)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:17:33 PM EST
    what unconditional support gets us - that's something you haven't addressed; what effect does pledging support, no matter what a candidate does or fails to do, have on the responsiveness of that candidate or incumbent to the voters?

    In my opinion, there is no pressure at all to deliver changes in policy when you signal that well, you don't like this, or you wish he would do that, but, golly, even if he keeps doing things you don't like, or won't do things you do, you're going to vote for him anyway, because, hey, don't you know - that other guy is even worse!

    I think you are still operating under what is now a largely antiquated construct where the candidates regard our votes as an instruction to govern or legislate in a certain way, when what seems to be happening is shameless pandering to get the votes, followed by going his or her way once victory is in hand.

    I don't know, ABG, maybe you are comfortable wearing "WELCOME" tattooed on your forehead, but I'm not going to be anyone's doormat, nor will I willingly enable any candidate or politician to take my vote for granted.


    Are you actually worried, ABG? (none / 0) (#127)
    by kmblue on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 05:23:12 PM EST
    About O's re-election?  That surprises me.

    Haven't ya heard Don? (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:44:09 PM EST
    If you don't support Obama's re-election, you must be a tried and true GOP'er.

    And if ya don't support one of the 3 GOP "Legitimate Candidate" Stooges, ya must be a tried and true DNC'er.

    There are only two kinds in politics...and no in betweens.


    GOPer? no... (none / 0) (#56)
    by CST on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:57:16 PM EST
    unreasonable, yes :)

    Just kidding... sort of.

    Truthfully, I think for 90% of us, who we vote for in a presidential election is meaningless.  So as a fellow-blue-stater, I say protest vote to your hearts content!

    The only real problem I have is the spin that tries to sell Romney/Newt/etc... as a semi-acceptable or comparable alternative.  They aren't.


    Unfortunately... (none / 0) (#59)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:01:02 PM EST
    they are all far too comparable for my taste.  Not the same, but similar...and on big issues.

    newt gingrich (none / 0) (#68)
    by CST on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:18:46 PM EST
    actually tried to pass a bill to give pot dealers the death penalty.

    And this isn't just him running his mouth, he actually had that legislation written.

    Just as an example, on one of your big issues.


    I happened (none / 0) (#71)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:25:59 PM EST
    to run across that today too. More proof Newt is a nut bag. Any thoughts he had of gaining the libertarian wing of the GOP to vote for him just went buh-bye.

    Death, cages... (none / 0) (#123)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 10:47:40 AM EST
    like I said, not the same but similar;)

    I know (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:24:52 PM EST
    But he seems to share their passion for hating the man.

    The Hannity's of the world are not very different than the Edger's of the world to me.  People are either good or evil.  Everyone wears a black hat or a white hat.  I have no problem with conservatives who dislike Obama's policies or liberals who do the same.

    It's the folks who dislike every single thing about every single statement on every single issue.

    There is common ground between Edger and the right on that. To be honest, I had problems with those on my side who declared that nothing Bush touched could be positive.  

    That's just not the way the world works and you are either in the "there are shades of gray camp" or you are in the "absolute evil v. absolute good" camp.

    I like my camp.  Edger can like his as well.  But he shares it with those folks over at Fox.


    Don't you realize (5.00 / 5) (#81)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:49:44 PM EST
     how stupid your comments make you sound? Or how idiotic are the basis of your arguments?

    You're wrong empirically, and you're wrong conceptually. Every time you open your mouth thinking you scored some kind of victory in your slavish game of Obama One Upmanship you damage your cause further.

    You simply are incapable of intelligent conversation. Why didn't you just say, "I hear where you're coming from, Edger, but I've got a better idea." No, you had to smear him with some insane connection to Fox.

    I very rarely respond to your comments, hoping to find some tiny opening where a coherent dialogue could begin.

    I'm still waiting....and hoping.  


    and as Obi-Wan said (none / 0) (#75)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:31:10 PM EST
    My dog is a "protective" barker (none / 0) (#111)
    by christinep on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 07:21:07 PM EST
    Yep, dogs bark.  But, Donald, sometimes iwhe one hears the sound of a hyena...it is a bit much.  A colleg dorm? A coffee klatch bravado?

    not popular to some here, but folks like me can only clench or grimace so much without saying to the edger personas "enough.". Ludicrous, IMO, is not strong enough to respond to the let's-just-drive-the-numbers-down-to -get-attention approach.  This is real...not college BS sessions or other acting out theatre.

    Yes, Donald, I am well aware that it is better to ignore the angry comments of one such as Edger, but...every so often my reaction is "oh, give it a rest, because you are either indirectly or deliberately helping the Republicans.  And, to tell you the truth, to me  it feels like BS that anyone could be so obtuse to make the argument of the "cut off your nose to spite your face"  argument that Edger continues to expound.  It doesn't ring true.

    People are entitled to their say. Now, I've said mine.


    You are correct...she says after counting to ten (none / 0) (#119)
    by christinep on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 10:25:51 PM EST
    And having two scoops of ice cream with chocolate sauce.

    sounds much better (none / 0) (#120)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 10:37:59 PM EST
    two scoops is a far better option than I would pursue if I had to deal with non-stop bitch and moan personalities in real life. I'd quickly resort to gambling as a strong advocate of Roulette (the Russian kind).

    I like a Newt (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:17:03 PM EST
    because he drives Ann Coulter crazy

    Ann Coulter. . .(thinks) . .  they are morons--or even worse in the world of Coulter, she thinks they're Democrats!
    . .  saying she thought it best to not hear from the so called "peanut gallery."

    Is Ann becoming an elitist herself?

    And are we seeing the right-wing media elite starting to act and think like the left wing media elite did? That THEY know more than the rest of America as far as what it means to be conservative, and who will best be in a position to beat President Obama.

    I mean, why bother going through this whole election thing?!

    LOL (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:38:33 PM EST
    I just saw the clip of Newt being compared to the sta puft marshmallow man.

    SOTU Approval (none / 0) (#6)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:46:08 PM EST
    An overwhelming majority of Americans approved of the overall message in President Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night according to a CBS News poll of speech watchers. 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals. Only nine percent disapproved.

    Forty-four percent of viewers polled were Democrats and 25 percent were Republicans... And by my own count 9% were members of the Tigger Party.

    I would (none / 0) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:57:51 PM EST
    expect that because most of the people who watch the speech are probably people who approve of Obama already.

    Um (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:59:55 PM EST
    that was from last year's speech, unless they are recycling the same words.

    Cehck the date:

    January 25, 2011 11:08 PM


    Updated: Jan. 26, 12:31AM ET with Final Numbers

    An overwhelming majority of Americans approved of the overall message in President Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, according to a CBS News poll of speech watchers.

    According to the poll, which was conducted online by Knowledge Networks immediately after the president's address, 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals Mr. Obama put forth during his remarks. Only nine percent disapproved.

    More (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:00:56 PM EST
    Americans who watched the speech were generally more Democratic than the nation as a whole. Forty-four percent of viewers polled were Democrats and 25 percent were Republicans. (Historically speaking, that is not an unusual statistic: a president's supporters are more likely than his opponents to watch State of the Union addresses.)

    Indeed you are right (none / 0) (#20)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:06:51 PM EST
    having an update of January 26 listed should have been a dead giveaway even for someone that has a hard time knowing what year it is.

    dont know about your in box (none / 0) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:10:12 PM EST
    but Taegan Goddard has a post dated today that says exactly that

    Then she's posting bad data (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:13:56 PM EST
    Also, if you look at the "update" (after midnight) , it's dated the 26th.

    Today is the 25th.

    Facts suck, don't they?


    a comment from the post (none / 0) (#28)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:18:51 PM EST
    I don't understand why so many people keep citing this article!  I've seen so many journalists posting this and it's from LAST YEAR! This years speech would have garnered him 100% approval

    Ah to be naive! (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:23:36 PM EST
    Even many of his cheerleaders in "real" media outlets like some of the speech  but weren't bowled over.

    well damn (none / 0) (#15)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:03:57 PM EST
    if that's true I'm getting old stuff sent to my inbox from Politico. Those SOB's are going to make me work harder to trust them.

    Look on the bright side (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:10:29 PM EST
    Maybe that exact same thing happened this year!

    Too funny. (none / 0) (#18)
    by BTAL on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:04:18 PM EST
    Probably makes some wish there was an edit post feature here.

    No need (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:24:37 PM EST
    I'm always happy to admit a missed call. Old age is a bitch but one thing learned from old age is always admit a screw up fast.

    Sorry, didn't mean to come across so (none / 0) (#36)
    by BTAL on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:30:36 PM EST
    harsh.   Been there, done that in regards to missing things myself, albeit I vainly want to avoid blaming age - for the time being.

    after your mention of WI in the other thread (none / 0) (#65)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:14:09 PM EST
    I checked MI

    holy cow
    this is actually from Dec.  which is the newest I have found so far but still. wow. I wonder what they are now.  this is the one they have been talking about that he would win easily.

    Poll Watch: Strategic National (R) 2012 Michigan Republican Primary Survey

        Strategic National (R) 2012 Michigan GOP Primary Poll

            Newt Gingrich 30.75% (10.2%)
            Mitt Romney 28.74% (24.4%)


    In which thread did you post (none / 0) (#89)
    by Towanda on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:35:03 PM EST
    Wisconsin polling?  I've looked at your recent comments, CoralGables, and don't see it.

    I saw one survey's report today, and the pollster has credibility, although he tends conservative -- but I have concerns, as he is doing the work for a sponsoring law school that harbors some rabid  conservatives.  And the report was printed in a very conservative newspapers.

    So if it's that poll that you cited, I'd be interested in seeing if it was reported by some other media that are more trustworthy and may have raised questions about the survey design.  I looked at it, and I can see reasons for problems.

    Or if it's another poll, even better -- to test whether both find the same results, or not.


    Towanda (none / 0) (#95)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:03:07 PM EST
    I didn't have one on Wisconsin. It was a GOP poll from Minnesota.

    Oh. (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by Towanda on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:22:50 PM EST
    Well, then, perhaps it was just a typo in his comment.  

    Or perhaps it was not fact but was opinion.


    you mean like twisting (none / 0) (#98)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:28:19 PM EST
    pretzel like to get to the point of suggesting Newts campaign spending money on dry cleaning is the same as spending money on advertising?

    like that?

    it was an understandable mistake all those northern states look the same to us.


    "Us"? (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by Towanda on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:37:35 PM EST
    You used to say that you were in the Chicago area.

    Perhaps that was opinion!

    Whatever the reason for your mania again this week:  Please, you have been asked by others to stop slowing down their reading of the site with the repetitive, nigh-unreadable posts, and you refused and attacked another commenter, too.  You have even been asked by Jeralyn to limit your posts or at least condense your one-liners into longer and more coherent comments.  

    It's clear that you get on off on attacking other commenters, but it is not cool to defy her on this?  It's her blog.  Please do as she asks -- and if you stop attacking me, I can stop having to post replies to you.  Not that my comment above was a reply to you . . . but again and again, you have to intervene with attacks.  There is a name for that.  Don't do it, or we all will have to miss your more cogent contributions.


    make you a deal (none / 0) (#103)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:40:41 PM EST
    you stop attacking me

    Or perhaps it was not fact but was opinion.

    I will stop responding.

    and save your pious lectures


    it is not (none / 0) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:07:09 PM EST

    January 25, 2012

    I guess they liked it last year too.


    Yeah, it really is (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:12:15 PM EST
    Follow the CBS News link in your own link.

    It's from last year.


    Following the topic from (4.00 / 3) (#34)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:29:31 PM EST
    yesterday's thread, in which you said that Obama did not write Dreams From My Father....the comments were closed because the 200 threshold was reached.

    Your assertion that Obama did not write Dreams From My Father comes from the birther/Trump crowd.  There is no evidence to support such a theory--other than the books is too good to have been written by Obama, or someone of his ilk.

    It really surprises me the outright (irrational)harted of Obama that exists out there....

    And, the same people say they cannot believe he was President of the Harvard Law Review.

    Here are the facts:
      1.  Obama graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School.
      2.  Laurence Tribe, a venerated liberal scholar, has said Obama was one of the two best law students he ever had at Harvard.
      3.  Obama became President of the Harvard Law Review, the most presitigous position that any law student could ever have.
      4.  Obama writes Dreams From My Father, which has received universal praise for being such a good book.

    Given all this, what do people do?  Say it is all bogus.  Affirmative Action run amok.  Obama certainly could not have done so well in Law School unless someone was bribed.  Obama is not smart enough to have written Dreams From My Father.

    Why do people doubt this?  Perhaps Occam's razor should be applied here.  Obama is a very, very smart guy--gifted.  That explains why he did so well and wrote so well.....But people cannot believe that somebody like him could do it.  Why?

    It smells, this adoption of the birther slime....

    Shame on you.


    Actually, (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:41:46 PM EST
    I didn't say he didn't write it.  I said he had help writing it - like an unnamed coauthor?

    What does Trump have to do with anything?

    But wow- stalker boy. Again you prove that you don't have basic reading comprehension skills.  I bet there are classes at the local adult - Ed where you could get help.

    Good day to you.


    Oh (none / 0) (#74)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:30:39 PM EST
    jbindc you are one of the "he couldn't have written it" people?

    Wow is that disappointing.  Just completely made up with no evidence.


    Oh dear (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:49:12 PM EST
    ABG also has reading comprehension problems.

    Maybe you and MKS can get a group discount on a remedial reading course together.


    do you have any evidence he (none / 0) (#82)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:51:33 PM EST
    he had help. or is opinion=fact the new norm?

    crickets (1.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:31:58 PM EST
    is an answer I guess

    Too bad it's one you aren't familiar with... (5.00 / 3) (#90)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:39:13 PM EST
    you are getting really good (none / 0) (#99)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:30:13 PM EST
    at commenting without a pious essay.

    although I have to confess I really dont understand it.

    but I like the brevity


    Anne, you haven't gone (none / 0) (#105)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:44:34 PM EST
    dumpster diving in sites that say Obama isn't smart enough to have written the book, have you?

    Not smart enough? (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by nycstray on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 07:02:02 PM EST
    I find that one a stretch even for the batsh!t crazy, especially after GWB.

    I do think it's quite possible he did have help with his first book. Nothing to do with smarts, but everything having to do with a first book. Those pesky publishers, editors, creatives, etc . ..  ;)


    that what endless bitterness (none / 0) (#130)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 02:40:02 PM EST
    and blind rage do: make people batshit crazy.

    What do people mean by "help" here? (none / 0) (#128)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 02:35:57 PM EST
    there isn't a writer of any salt in history who didn't have some trusted friend, fellow writer, or editer read their work and give their impressions - and sometimes corrective suggestions - before it was submitted for publication..

    If anyone those of any historical exceptions to rule, lets hear about them. In less than two hundred words, if possible.



    knows of any.. (none / 0) (#129)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 02:36:44 PM EST
    No it's not. (5.00 / 5) (#114)
    by cymro on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 07:31:21 PM EST
    Why do you assume that argumentative posts on a blog like this must be answered within 40 minutes, or an hour, or two hours, or any set time period?

    Some of us have a lot more important things to do that to write comments every few minutes. I wish you did.


    I have not seen (none / 0) (#93)
    by Towanda on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 05:59:53 PM EST
    discussion of any ghostwriting.  However, there has been some confusion that arose, I think, because of Obama's own statement in the book that he did fictionalize to an extent.  He talked of creating "composite characters" to hide some identities of real persons, for example.

    Now, that's not acceptable in journalism -- it was seen as a form of plagiarism and the reason for a famous firing at the Washington Post, for example, and others since -- but it is acceptable in autobiography.  It's hardly plagiarism to make up stuff about your own life.  (Not to say that plagiarism does not occur in autobiographies; just to say that there is no evidence that he did so, only that he resorted to some fictionalization for the reasons that he stated.)

    That said, his need to do so well may make some historians go bonkers trying to figure out which parts are fiction and which parts are not.  Then again, if there still is a Wikipedia for them, they can look at the guide there (at the link on the book) that lists guesses as to the identities of the "composite characters" and others given pseudonyms by Obama.  That must have been fun.


    That book reads A LOT different now (none / 0) (#96)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:11:23 PM EST
    Three years into his actual Presidency.  Methinks some of those fictions included his grasp, at the time, of his own psyche and personality instincts.

    historians (none / 0) (#131)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 02:44:53 PM EST
    you would think, would have better things to than to forensically parse Obama's autobiography.

    actually I just did (none / 0) (#26)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:16:27 PM EST
    Goddard is not dumb and politico is not known as republico for nothing.  seems someone screwed up.

    that that post is being reposted everywhere.


    Sloppy but not surprising (none / 0) (#29)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:21:31 PM EST
    Of course, I figured it with one click andreading comprehension.  

    Seems to me the cheerleaders were too eager to spin a message without checking the facts.


    The comments in Howdy's linked (none / 0) (#27)
    by BTAL on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:17:57 PM EST
    page are ridiculing the site for linking to last year's CBS article.

    The meta data from the CBS article says:

    meta name="published" content="Tue Jan 25 20:08:00 PST 2011


    actually it doesnt even work (none / 0) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:22:53 PM EST
    I must have screwed it up

    this is the link I dont see any ridicule


    Your link in #21 works just fine (none / 0) (#39)
    by BTAL on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:31:50 PM EST
    That is where the comments are located and the link to last year's CBS article are.

    if you say so (none / 0) (#44)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:39:24 PM EST
    it doesnt work for me.  and second link does.  and does involve ridicule.

    how about relinking I would like to see it.


    Both are feeding off the same mistake (none / 0) (#57)
    by BTAL on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:57:20 PM EST
    Your #21 link goes to here at PoliticalWire

    Your second link at article.wn.com is displaying a RSS headline feed from the politicalwire article.

    An infinite loop.


    btw (none / 0) (#37)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:30:40 PM EST
    if you dont think people are linking to it see for yourself.

    which is not surprising.  that site is linked to a lot for political news.


    still (none / 0) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:04:16 PM EST
    every republican who could get in front of a camera since the speech is calling it every thing from disgraceful to socialist and railing (unbelievably to me) about how we cant raise taxes on the 1%.

    who do they think their audience is?  I mean I get that Newt and Romney are in a primary and sort of have to do it but what is the point or excuse of all the sitting congress members to do this?  it honestly seems a little suicidal.


    how about a real 2012 poll? (none / 0) (#42)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:38:07 PM EST
    Dial testing and follow-up focus groups with 50 swing voters in Denver, Colorado show that President Obama's populist defense of the middle class and their priorities in his State of the Union scored with voters.[1] The President generated strong responses on energy, education and foreign policy, but most important, he made impressive gains on a range of economic measures.  These swing voters, even the Republicans, responded enthusiastically to his call for a "Buffett Rule" that would require the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.
    These voters overwhelmingly liked what they heard from Obama- even those who voted against him in 2008 appreciated the address.  
    This was not the easiest audience for Obama; although slightly more participants voted for him than McCain in 2008, it was a significantly Republican-leaning group (44 percent Republican, 32 percent Democratic).  At the outset, these voters were split 50/50 on Obama's job performance and just 50 percent gave him a favorable personal rating.  But the President gained ground after the speech; his job rating rose 8 points and his personal standing jumped 16 points, to 66 percent favorable.

    Wow - 50 swing voters in Colorado! (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:42:55 PM EST
    spin harder (none / 0) (#50)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:44:47 PM EST
    spin harder

    I have little doubt polls will be coming out on this speech that you will need to spin so you need to stay in practice.


    Type faster - you're slacking today. (5.00 / 5) (#51)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:47:03 PM EST
    Anne wins best comment of the day (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:49:33 PM EST
    and points to you (none / 0) (#60)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 04:02:14 PM EST
    for no excruciating essay

    I'm sure people liked it (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:52:01 PM EST
    But it means squat because it is a rah-rah speech.

    Have you ever heard a President come out and say, "The state of our union is weak and we suck?"


    Yep, Romney and Mitch Daniels (none / 0) (#106)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:48:06 PM EST
    just did....

    I just saw a very funny exchange (none / 0) (#107)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:51:01 PM EST
    on Al Sharptons show.  he had some republican house member on and was trying to get him to talk about fairness.  it went on for minutes and minutes.

    he couldnt get him to say the word.

    its probably not up yet but you should check on the MSNBC site tomorrow.  it is worth the time.


    I am on West Coast, so I can catch it later.... (none / 0) (#108)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:56:28 PM EST
    Of course (none / 0) (#110)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 07:03:28 PM EST
    he's not going to say the word "fairness". It would guarantee opposition in the GOP primary.

    Nice! Beautiful, as a matter of fact... (none / 0) (#19)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:05:25 PM EST
    A warning would be good though - it's a 16.4 Mb file - uses a lot of memory to open

    Firefox gives me a message saying it cannot open the file because it contains errors - but right clicking and saving it, and then opening it with an image program like irfanview works fine...

    So I re-sized it and uploaded it to photobucket as a 156Kb file, which is much less memory intensive and wont crash anyone's computer ;-)

    It's here...

    My pleasure (5.00 / 0) (#41)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:36:32 PM EST
    It is a really nice shot!

    I think the reason for the error message Firefox gave me is that it may be a .gif image saved with a .jpg extension, too...


    Also it's good for illustration (none / 0) (#43)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 03:38:53 PM EST
    of what pollution and climate change can do.

    That very thin blue line around the edge of it is our 100 mile or so thick atmosphere....


    A scorcher (none / 0) (#104)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 06:43:30 PM EST
    on Newt from the National Review

    Among the highlights:

    Newt said "Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire's challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing.

    he called Reagan's meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev "the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with
    Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich."

    Pop the popcorn!!

    Financial Crisis & Prosecutions (none / 0) (#121)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 10:39:27 PM EST
    (or lack thereof)

    Some context around current proposals to go after those that many believe committed fraud and increase regulation to prevent same in the future.

    The [Justice] department began pulling back from a more aggressive pursuit of white-collar crime around 2005, say defense lawyers and former prosecutors, after the Supreme Court overturned a conviction it won against the accounting firm Arthur Andersen. That ended an era of brass-knuckle prosecutions related to fraud at companies like Enron.

    As Wall St. Polices Itself, Prosecutors Use Softer Approach, July 7, 2011

    Leading up to the financial crisis, many officials said in interviews, regulators failed in their crucial duty to compile the information that traditionally has helped build criminal cases. In effect, the same dynamic that helped enable the crisis -- weak regulation -- also made it harder to pursue fraud in its aftermath

    In Financial Crisis, No Prosecutions of Top Figures, April 14, 2011

    Correction to link (none / 0) (#122)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 10:55:53 PM EST