Thursday Open Thread

8 states may vote to legalize marijuana this year. Is yours on the list?

Gallup says President Obama's approval ratings are up the past few days to 49%.

From The Nation: A Brief History of Drones.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    I knew my state... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 02:23:57 PM EST
    wasn't on there...Golden Boy Andy Cuomo s*cks on this issue.  And no ballot initiatives allowed.

    It's a sad day in the Empire State when Nebraska makes us look like a stupid dinosaur.

    Here's Yves Smith with some more on (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:33:28 PM EST
    the foreclosure fraud settlement:

    Settlement Breakdown by State Plus Other Official Propaganda

    I especially love the template letter for all the public information offices of the state AG's to release - just fill in the blanks!

    I can pretty much guarantee that the more you read about the settlement, the worse you will feel; no one's ever going to go to jail over this entire debacle, and, as Yves said in an earlier post:

    We've now set a price for forgeries and fabricating documents. It's $2000 per loan. This is a rounding error compared to the chain of title problem these systematic practices were designed to circumvent. The cost is also trivial in comparison to the average loan, which is roughly $180k, so the settlement represents about 1% of loan balances. It is less than the price of the title insurance that banks failed to get when they transferred the loans to the trust. It is a fraction of the cost of the legal expenses when foreclosures are challenged. It's a great deal for the banks because no one is at any of the servicers going to jail for forgery and the banks have set the upper bound of the cost of riding roughshod over 300 years of real estate law.


    As we've said before, this settlement is yet another raw demonstration of who wields power in America, and it isn't you and me. It's bad enough to see these negotiations come to their predictable, sorry outcome. It adds insult to injury to see some try to depict it as a win for long suffering, still abused homeowners.

    Kind of galling to remember that over a year ago, Tom Miller, the AG of Iowa, said of the foreclosure fraud mess:

    "We will put people in jail."

    Who knew that Miller would end up being the administration's stalking horse on a sweetheart deal for the banks?

    Good Lord, it's just disgusting.

    Just from (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:44:41 PM EST
    listening to friends of all political persuasions NOBODY likes this garbage bill.

    FYI, it's not a bill (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:23:50 AM EST
    it's a legal settlement of a civil case with state AGs primarily.

    Settlement (1.00 / 3) (#6)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:50:06 PM EST
    "the settlement is narrowly focused on foreclosure malfeasance only, and doesn't preclude additional settlements, lawsuits or criminal penalties.
    "It does not -- it does not -- prevent state and federal authorities from pursuing criminal or civil action," Attorney General Eric Holder said at a joint press conference earlier Thursday with Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray to announce the details of the deal."


    This deal was signed off on by the Justice Department and 49 state AG's and somehow still it is a horrible act and a travesty and absolutely no justice for anyone?

    Saying that this is a small bit of good news doesn't preclude you from crapping on every other bit of good news that comes out if you break the pattern just once.


    So, do you think getting a check for (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:59:29 PM EST
    maybe $2,000 - that you might not get for three years - would adequately compensate you for being wrongfully foreclosed on because of the fraud committed by your lender?

    Do you think it's good news that the banks really are going to pay very little of their own money in this settlement?

    Do us a favor, will you?  Before you come shilling the usual pap, try looking beyond the headlines, the public information releases and spin and see if there isn't a whole lot more that's worth knowing before getting out your pom-poms and waving them madly in our faces.

    And yes, I do think you are woefully lacking in the facts, the details, the consequences and implications of this deal - but then again, you're the guy who's comfortable as long as the "vast majority" of people think drone killing of US citizens is just peachy.


    I think (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:22:39 PM EST
    that everyone getting a check for what it really cost homeowners would bankrupt all of the major banks and throw the economy into a depression.

    In class action type cases like this, individuals are never made whole.  It is just impossible and the targets would go under before anyone is paid.

    You try to get a settlement that hurts the target and conditions that prevent it from happening again.

    I know a great deal about this settlement Anne.  In your attempt to paint everyone who disagrees as knowing little about the topic, you have stumbled upon one of the topics that I am fairly confident I know more than you about.

    It's in your best interest to just make your points as opposed to relying on the incorrect statement that I know little about this settlement.


    Adequate compensation (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Dadler on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:36:36 PM EST
    The idea that adequate compensation for illegal acts committed would "bankrupt" the nation and send us into a "depression" requires society to sit passively while money, a wholly inanimate object of no intrinsic value whatsoever, attacks them like an invading army.  The only thing that will bankrupt us or send us into a depression is, quite simply, how we fairly and equitably treat each other.

    The bankruptcy and depression you are speaking about is nothing more than mass hysteria orchestrated by the people who control the greatest amount of those inanimate objects.

    IOW, when it comes to money, and their relationship with it, modern humans live in a state of quite vital absurdity.


    That should read (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Dadler on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:38:46 PM EST
    The only thing that will bankrupt us or send us into a depression is, quite simply, how we fairly and equitably treat each other OR DON'T treat each other.

    The real benefit (none / 0) (#34)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 07:23:44 PM EST
    concerns the people still in their underwater homes.  Clearly, the $2,000 is more a statement and a token in that regard...and, as ABG & others on PBS & other broadcasts note, it does not in any way foreclose action at state, local level (& may be evidentiary help.)

    A dilemma surely...but, help...a step (yoiks, here I am being the incrementalist again!) Seriously, of course it stinks since the early days of the housing bubble & its aftermath. But, what we have here...at last...is a step, a bit of relief.  What is helpful to me is that: Some of the AGs note that if the situation proceeded along the litigation path further, the result could have been better or they could have been worse. Contrary to Romney's thinking, real people--that is, human beings & not corporations--may well have been in much worse straits by waiting another 4 or 5 years estimated to have been involved in full litigation pursuit.

    The settlement was a good step (STEP.)


    The banksters should (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by kmblue on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:49:15 AM EST
    be taking perp walks for their crimes--just like ordinary people do.  The problem is, banksters are not subject to the same justice.

    Nothing good (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 07:47:19 AM EST
    about abandoning the rule of law.  Criminal liability is so much harder to establish, and puts the onus on the already financially pressed borrowers.  

    This is not a "step" toward anything good.  Just one more nail in the coffin of the republic.  


    Sorry (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 07:49:35 AM EST
    Onus, in effect, on state AGs who are agreeing to this disaster.  You really think they or any federal officials are going to pursue criminal charges?  

    More importantly (none / 0) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:11:59 AM EST
    there are few, if any, people who were actually foreclosed upon falsely, and those few have abundant legal avenues for genuine recourse.

    Almost all of the cases in question were where banks failed to have their paperwork in order for otherwise entirely legitimate foreclosures, and were rightly challenged legally on it.

    I'd like to have seen them whacked for more than $2,000 per case on that, but it's not like these are people who lost their homes for no reason.  I hope the $2,000 compensates most of them for their legal expenses at least.


    The number of false foreclosures is (none / 0) (#57)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:10:39 AM EST
    much greater than you think. Banks are foreclosing on people who have paid off the mortgage, as well as people who have never had a mortgage. People are losing their homes because of bank errors inputting information.

    Mortgage servicers have misapplied payments, have secretly hit homeowners with unnecessary insurance costs, have run up penalties that exist only because of servicer errors.

    Thousands have been wrongly foreclosed on. It sounds like you have fallen for the banks and the governments PR. Well, both the banks and the feds lie.

    People are being screwed on a massive level. This settlement is just another bail-out. It does almost nothing for homeowners.
    Those who were wrongly foreclosed have very few avenues for recourse. In most cases they cannot get their homes back for one.


    If you are uninterested in the many details (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:07:54 PM EST
    The quickest figures to look at to judge the potential benefit to homeowners and thus the economy are these: Lost wealth from homeownership since the crash is about 750 billion. This settlement MAY help with 26 billion of that, if people know  how to navigate the paperwork correctly to make claims.

    This is not going to do much to help the economy. sure, maybe a little, if you are happy with that.


    What do you think would happen (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:24:49 PM EST
    If the banks were required to pay $750 billion (even assuming as you do that the banks alone are liable for 100% of the lost value in housing since this started, which is completely untrue and the reason that the $750B number is wrong).

    Again, this settlement relates only to a narrow set of actions and is not the end all settlement for everything a bank has done wrong related to mortgages.


    Yeah, it just phucks the people (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:30:32 PM EST
    who are the easiest to phuck, the people who now have nothing, mostly the children of this country too if you go by the stats.  In a country that brags it is a nation of laws, how pathetic.

    Fatcats are still fat and not in jail, even when the scum deliberately did this to the economy for their own profit and broke the law.


    Here is a good, short (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:06:32 PM EST
    analysis of the settlement from a progressive viewpoint at huffpo:


    I don't think people realize that the window of things that the banks are released from is very narrow.  There are a ton of suits that can and are moving forward.  The CA and NY AGs signed off only when they were comfortable that the banks could still get hit in later suits.


    Just a comparison number to show (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:06:00 PM EST
    the little impact this will have on the economy.

    That said I think they could have handled 100 billion with ease. and better enforcement mechanisms would make everyone feel better. Perhaps a neutral administrator like the 911 settlement and the BP spill had, instead of self-enforcement.

    I don't think those were pie in the sky goals.

    And I see it only worked because the CA AG got a side deal for California. Good for them. All of the big state AGs should have fought as hard, including my worthless one, Pam Bondi. But she was fighting on the banks' side.  

    Anyway I will say that I am glad that there were not as many blanket immunities as I was afraid there would be. There are still avenues for states,  other groups, and individuals to pursue some form of justice.  I am not a stickler for perp-walks - it could be that the crimes committed were so well covered that they would take more money to prosecute than it would be worth to see some guys in jail, as satisfying as that would be.

    All in all I just wish this was going to help more people, and help the economy more.


    Boy, Bondi is a real (none / 0) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:17:36 AM EST
    piece of work, isn't she?  Whew.

    Truly horrible (none / 0) (#63)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:45:07 AM EST
    FL got about half as much as CA in this deal, because she was essentially MIA in protecting the people of her state.  That is one reason I am against this settlement - it is the only chance the people of FL had. There will be no action on the state level.  She fired the states attorneys that were going after the banks.

    It is specifically (none / 0) (#81)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:10:55 AM EST
    and expressly not the only chance the people of Florida have.

    That's simply not true.


    ABG, where are we on the (none / 0) (#50)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:16:23 AM EST
    non-bank mortgage lenders and brokers, who were, as I understand it, responsible for most of the outright mortgage fraud the banks turned a blind eye to that brought us to grief?

    I'd sure like to see those people brought up on criminal charges.  Most of them are probably as busted as their one-time marks, so civil action wouldn't get much from them, I wouldn't think.


    We have to figure out a crime (none / 0) (#82)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:11:37 AM EST
    that fits first.  But my understanding is that there are ongoing investigations into all of them.

    Do you understand (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Towanda on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:40:29 PM EST
    how the big-bucks banks and others in the industry see this settlement?

    Latest headline:  "Agreement Will Spur Foreclosures."  

    I'm not sure that's a good thing for all involved.


    It might spur foreclosures (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:48:29 PM EST
    Like it or not, there are a lot of empty houses with no one in them that banks have been powerless to flip because of this case.

    It allows us to begin clearing the market. It will also allow banks to proceed with foreclosures of people living in houses that have been on hold for months.

    The issue: even if you had a much higher settlement amount, the settlement would spur these forclosures.  The banks can't move on many properties until they settle, so the obvious outcome of any settlement (even a great one) is the restart of forclosures.


    Regardless if foreclosures increase (none / 0) (#31)
    by BTAL on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:39:17 PM EST
    (which I agree they will) the moving of all the shadow inventory properties onto the market will have its own negative effect on house prices.  Simple supply and demand.

    True, but (none / 0) (#53)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:23:03 AM EST
    it has to happen sooner or later, no?  Seems to me at this point that the stalling and postponing on this whole issue is just making the situation worse because so much is still in complete stasis.

    Depends (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 03:43:27 AM EST
    "..Seems to me at this point that the stalling and postponing on this whole issue is just making the situation worse....."

    Worse, for whom?

    Certainly not for the (as our foot-in-the mouth, ABG, so aptly puts) poor, wittle "helpless" banksters.


    Ever think that the stalling and (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 07:07:40 AM EST
    postponing was about waiting until they could see how much leeway they would get, how little it would cost, how weak the recourse by homeowners would be and how insignificant the consequences would be for whatever "irregularities" already exist in mortgages written and in lender/servicer dealings with homeowners on the precipice of foreclosure?

    Because that's what I thought as soon as I heard that, with the deal done, a flood of new foreclosures is expected.

    Anyone who thinks this deal will bring a new day of accountability, honesty, transparency and fairness in the foreclosure arena doesn't understand that all the deal did, really, is tell banks/lenders/servicers that they don't have much to fear from the legal system - they can buy their way out of trouble, and keep the lid on just how bad they've really acted.

    It's the New American Justice.


    This isn't palm palms (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:46:03 PM EST
    But when every AG, including those looking for blood like in CA and NY sign on, it probably isn't a terrible deal OR it is the best deal that could be had without incurring a mountain of state expenses to get more.

    Sometimes the best deal you can get isn't a great one.

    People seem to think that this settlement is the one that reimburses everyone who had their home placed in foreclosure.

    The reality is that most people whose homes were illegally placed in foreclosure would have had their homes foreclosed on correctly with an additional few weeks. In other words, the fraudulent actions targeted weren't, in the overwhelming majority of cases, taking homes from people dutifully paying their bills.  These are people who were going to lose their homes but might have lost them 2-3 months sooner than they otherwise would have due to the servicers' issues.

    Given that, a payment of 2-3K per homeowner makes sense and was a basis for the settlement amount.  That represents 2-3 months worth of mortgage for the median mortgage value of those targeted and gives them a level of indemnification.

    If you believed that this settlement was the one designed to give a guy who lost his home his house back rent free somehow, no wonder you are mad.  But that's not a remedy that would ever be an option because that is not really the damage that this fraud caused.


    I agree to a point (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:22:06 PM EST
    The MERS debacle and the foreclosure fraud came well after the original problems. I am more interested in the mortgage origination and securitization aspects, since those are what artificially inflated the price bubble and led to the huge problem of underwater mortgages, which the settlement in part seeks to address. But does not go near far enough in my view.

    Boy, oh boy (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by NYShooter on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 10:21:29 PM EST
    I can't wait for the release of the list itemizing those Bank executives who profited to the tune of billions of dollars through their derivative schemes. You know, those "insurance policies" they sold to unsuspecting investors which were to pay off if the underlying mortgages defaulted. Yes, yes, those "credit default swaps,"  where they sought out mortgage customers who normally couldn't qualify for a mortgage, and knowing they would default, they placed their huge bets, "going short." (betting that the loans would go into default) and profiting immensely from the pain and agony they themselves designed and marketed.

    Just wait for the list where Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, etc. will be forced to return all their ill-gotten billions in bonuses they got for destroying the world economy.

    Boy, oh boy, I can't wait for the moment Barack Obama goes on the TV, and announces: " My fellow Americans, tonight I have instructed the Attorney General to................."

    Yes Sir, can't wait for the look on their faces.


    I'm more interested in (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:20:19 AM EST
    the ratings agencies that rated this utter junk AAA investment grade when they clearly absolutely had no clue how to evaluate them.

    That's the core crime in all this, seems to me, yet they seem to be getting off totally scot-free.


    Yes, Gyr (none / 0) (#58)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 03:05:46 AM EST
    The rating agencies were certainly as culpable, maybe more, than their clients, the major investment banks. Just like illegal drug transactions; who's more guilty, the buyer, or the seller? Doesn't really matter, does it? they're both guilty as sin.

    The point is, most people think of banks as lenders of money, making their profits in the form of interest, covered by collateral, namely the home. Fair enough; the banks are entitled to charge a fee for the risk they're taking. And, for most of the time, as modern economic finances work, the system worked just fine. Interest rates were low, inflation was low, and failures (foreclosures) were rare.

    So, what happened? The answer to that is better put to psychologists rather than economists. Greed? Greed has always been with us, and yet civilizations weren't destroyed by it. No, it wasn't greed, at least not by the definition we're accustomed to using. It's not even avarice. It's a mutation of avarice, supercharged by a corruption of a type more akin to sociopath than to mere gluttony.  

    And, as the 1000 year Reich taught us, it's 100% legal. But, it's not only fatal, it's suicidally fatal.


    Oh yes, what a happy day that will be (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:49:03 AM EST

    As horrible as the MERS thing and wrongful foreclosures are, I really think they have been a convenient shiny object to distract from the real crimes.


    I am so over your straw men (5.00 / 4) (#33)
    by sj on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:59:25 PM EST
    I don't think anyone was looking for a settlement that would be "designed to give a guy who lost his home his house back rent free somehow".  Most people are looking for acknowledgement and address of that word no one in the administration will say.  F-R-A-U-D.  Most people want it stopped.  And want criminals to be treated as such.  You know, those mandatory minimum prison sentences that will never be constructed for the banksters.

    SJ (none / 0) (#83)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:13:25 AM EST
    That is a different case which is being addressed in other suits and investigations.

    Again, this settlement addressed a narrow issue.  When people assert that the banks are now off the hook for the real issues related to the mortgage industry failure, they are saying that they don't understand what this settlement does.

    There is a deep misunderstanding of the facts about this.


    Please get the point (none / 0) (#92)
    by sj on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:44:06 PM EST
    I am over your straw men.

    I don't think there's a ladder tall enough (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:56:28 PM EST
    for ABG to get even close to getting your point; he doesn't want to get it, because it spoils his sparkly-pony dreams.

    I've thought about asking him to tell us what he believes the settlement calls for, what it takes off the table, what is still open, what it means going forward, and so on, but you and I both know that there isn't a snowball's chance in hell he would do that.

    We are, I think, wasting our time responding to someome who eats headlines and talking points and regurgitates them all over the straw men who are always at the ready, and thinks he's settled the matter; maybe that passes as convincing argument in some people's minds, but I don't think it will ever get much traction here.  

    At least we can be glad for that much, huh?


    In what universe, on what planet, (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 10:04:54 PM EST
    do settlements come before investigations?  How is it even possible to know the full extent of the fraud and deception without a thorough investigation?

    Who in his or her right mind, with any sense of justice or the rule of law at all, agrees to a settlement with the parties at the heart of the problem, before knowing or understanding the full extent of the wrongdoing?

    With every comment you make on this subject, all you do is reveal just how little you actually know about it.  And you can keep telling us that you know "quite a bit" about it, but there is nothing in your comments that supporst that assertion.

    There isn't a soul here, myself included, who believed or expected that anyone who had his or her home taken illegally, was going to get that home back, rent- or otherwise-free.  What we did expect, what we should all expect, is that the people with the power, the duty and the responsibility to enforce the law would take that responsibility with all the seriousness it deserves.

    I realize that it doesn't work for you to get any of this, that "getting it" means having to crawl out of your pretty little Obama bubble, and that must be avoided at all costs.

    But, honestly, the more you try to rationalize and excuse, the more embarrassing your comments become.


    Aw, Jeez, Anne (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 03:33:53 AM EST
    There you go again, living in the past. Don't you listen to the President? "We're not going to wallow in the past, we're going to move forward." Let those "doom & gloomers"   live in the rear view window, we're going to live for the future.

    I know it's fashionable to blame all our problems on the Bankers. But, they're no different than you and me. They love their families, and they want what's best, at least for themselves. But, that's what makes America great. By wanting what's best for themselves they elected a Democratic President.

    If it wasn't for the Rich, we'd have Republicans running the show. And, where would that leave us? By exercising their first amendment rights we now have a Progressive in charge.

    Just imagine if the republicans were in charge. We'd have high unemployment, and a deterioration of benefits, at least like those enjoyed by most of the modern world. We'd have endless war, and an all out assault on our personal freedoms. With their bumper sticker form of communication, elections would be so expensive that some experts claim could run as high as a billion dollars. Ordinary Americans could never hope to take part in the election process like they could when elections only cost a few hundred million dollars.

    So, c'mon Anne; you can do it. C'mon. let's hear you say it, I know you can. Go on, I can almost hear it....a little more, Chug, chug, chug, I think you've got it. Can I hear it?

    Yes, I can!!


    Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 07:15:04 AM EST
    put up a post backing off his initial support for the settlement, and I found a comment to that post that pretty much sums things up for me:

    Rich Jensen |17 hours, 11 minutes ago

    No prosecution for tainted elections. Too divisive and costly.

    No prosecution for a war based on lies. Too divisive and costly.

    No prosecution for secret detention and torture. Too divisive and costly.

    No prosecution for operating a rigged casino economy. Too divisive and costly.

    Why? Because crime is something only poor people do. Rich people have careers.



    Anne, Question (none / 0) (#90)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:06:10 PM EST
    What do you think is significance of NY AG Schneiderman's retaining authority to proceed with pending suits against banks on mortgages -- at least that's what is reported....?

    Schneiderman's going after MERS, (none / 0) (#91)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:41:13 PM EST
    and three big banks who used the electronic registry system; the MERS suit is, as I understand it, a carve-out from the settlement.  Here are a couple of links that may help:

    Schneiderman Sues Three Big Banks, MERS for Deceptive Practices, Illegal Foreclosures

    Link to the Schneiderman announcement of the suit.

    Yves Smith, at naked capitalism, has been doing some excellent writing on this whole mess.  Do read her post, The Top Twelve Reasons Why You Should Hate the Mortgage Settlement; it's enlightening, if nauseating.

    Other state AG's who had suits pending have, I believe, had to drop them as part of the settlement.  Also not a good thing.

    What's left open for the legal system to go after are origination and packaging - the servicing end, which was in many instances what pushed a lot of people into foreclosure, is now pretty much off the table in exchange for promises to clean up their act.

    I don't think those promises are worth very much.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#101)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 04:24:37 PM EST
    I've been following the main issues, but wanted to know the impact of NY's carveout.  Will pursue your links.  Thanks again.  And, by the way, yes, revolting.

    Thanks for the drone link, Jeralyn (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Dadler on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:28:42 PM EST
    Very interesting and disturbing little history.

    nukular terrorists (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Edger on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:56:54 PM EST
    TEHRAN--Amidst mounting geopolitical tensions, Iranian officials said Wednesday they were increasingly concerned about the United States of America's uranium-enrichment program, fearing the Western nation may soon be capable of producing its 8,500th nuclear weapon. "Our intelligence estimates indicate that, if it is allowed to progress with its aggressive nuclear program, the United States may soon possess its 8,500th atomic weapon capable of reaching Iran," said Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi...


    So far there has been no discussion of pre-emptive bombing attacks to allay the schizoid paranoia...

    What is he, 12 years old (5.00 / 4) (#55)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:24:44 AM EST
    from the looks of him?  What could he possibly know about my uterus?

    if something might possibly give you a bit of (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by cpinva on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 05:23:57 AM EST
    relatively safe pleasure, than va will definitely NOT be legalizing it. more likely, our nutjob state government will attempt to pass draconian laws against it. that's just how we roll here in the Old Dominion.

    Smarten up... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 05:42:12 AM EST
    Cancer drug reverses Alzheimer's in mice: study | The Raw Story

    Mice treated with the drug, known as bexarotene, became rapidly smarter and the plaque in their brains that was causing Alzheimer's started to disappear within hours, said the research in the US journal Science.

    "We were shocked and amazed," lead author Gary Landreth, a professor in the Department of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio, told AFP.
    Soon after taking the drug, mice began performing better in tests, showing that they were able to remember things again, were more social and were able to smell again, a sense that is commonly lost in Alzheimer's.

    Clinical trials are planned to determine if it'll work on the rats in congress and the obama administration, as well as on obama supporters and two party system evangelists, and also to see if it holds any promise for treating people people who watch television.

    re the foreclosure deal (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by DFLer on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:45:43 AM EST
    the worse aspect is that the banks will be safe from being sued.....win win for them.

    Poker rule: if you can't spot the sucker at the table, you're it. (cartoon)

    And... (none / 0) (#79)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:48:38 AM EST
    Ouch! (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by DFLer on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:51:16 AM EST
    Ouch, indeed (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by sj on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:55:53 PM EST
    And at DKos, no less.

    The banks are not safe from being sued (none / 0) (#84)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:14:11 AM EST
    That was a joke, right? (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 01:13:47 AM EST
    And who said you didn't have a sense of humor?

    Not surprised (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:17:40 PM EST
    about the approval ratings. It's going to be a nail biter in November.

    I'm a long time defender of California... (none / 0) (#7)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:54:19 PM EST
    but this, plus kdog's post about the 'no frisbee throwing on LA County beaches' is putting me over the edge....

    Don't know the context, but (none / 0) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:06:48 AM EST
    VT had the wisdom to pass a very strict law a couple decades ago about signage, and it was maybe the smartest thing anybody ever did.  When you cross the border between VT and NH, the difference is almost blinding.

    It's taken so seriously by Vermonters that the very moderate Republican who was running nearly even against Bernie Sanders when the Senate seat opened up absolutely plunged in the polls when his extremely ugly and glaring yard signs started popping up along roadways.

    Maybe it's too late for Santa Barbara, but I'm in favor of major restrictions on the blight of commercial signage, especially in areas that get a lot of tourism.


    I actually do agree with that (none / 0) (#65)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:53:14 AM EST
    and Santa Barbara has done a very good job too, as have many areas of California. It is one of the things I defend. But look at the picture in the link. I hardly think that sign on an otherwise blank bland concrete wall is a blight.

    Agree it's a minor infraction (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by brodie on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 08:18:39 AM EST
    and not worthy of a major boycott but there's the negative precedent if this is allowed to go unchecked and other businesses want to be treated equally.  And it's no burden at all for a major Corp like Starbucks to go back and conform to the rules.  In some towns it can be a matter of inches and businesses come to these areas knowing the guidelines are tight.

    I'm in favor of strictly enforcing the sensible and long established local law on this one.  More towns in this country would look a whole lot nicer if such strict anti-visual pollution laws were in effect.

    As for the LA beach law, I'm not sure I caught the rationale.  Is it to protect and privilege volleyballers?  That one seems
    stupid.  LA needs to focus on improving its own visual blight so maybe they should some copy some of the SB ordinances, then spend more time working on their awful, dysfunctional transportation situation which has been bad for about 40 years.


    LAT's FAQs for homeowners: (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:57:05 PM EST

    Not particularly informative and/or reassuring.  

    What did Obama say to Dolan? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Towanda on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:38:43 PM EST
    What did Obama say to the top Catholic leader in the U.S. regarding the White House stance on insurance coverage of contraception for employees of Catholic-affiliated institutions?  Hmmmmm.

    Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, who is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called on Obama to back off from the rule and said it contradicted assurances Obama gave him during a White House meeting in November.

    Dolan, who has been designated by Pope Benedict for elevation to cardinal, said he now questions if he can work with Obama to settle concerns about the rule. . . .

    Dolan said [this and much more about the conversation] on CBS's "This Morning" program.

    I wonder if he talked about his concerns (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:10:05 PM EST
    about the death penalty too? Funny I don't see the Catholics up in arms about that.

    He probably told him (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:46:15 PM EST
    that this was the law under Bush and if he was OK with life under Bush, he should be OK with life under the same rule with his administration.



    High stakes negotiation (2.00 / 1) (#38)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 08:42:52 PM EST
    What I expect is a series of claims, understandings, etc. in a series of leaks over the coming months.  That's what high-stakes produce...so, I partially file-it until the participants get seious. Here, I'll be looking at reports of/talk about the "how to" in the financing via a third party or something like it.  Why? Because its either win-win or lose-lose if not.

    Huh? The Archbishop is serious (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:08:32 AM EST
    I am sure.  As for the rest of your post, it makes no sense in relation to mine.  Financing?  A third party?  Are you speaking of collection baskets and the Holy Trinity?

    Third party insurer (none / 0) (#72)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:07:59 AM EST
    the Hawaii resolution with some variation.  I think the approach stems from the idea that if a diverse society can make the outside insurer approach work, our broader society--in demographics & beliefs--can adapt it for everyone's benefit.  

    It could work, with or without the current Bishops blessings, for a lot of reasons...not the least of which is the perception & reality of a President trying to work things out rather than act like the Republican No (or the Bishops' No for that matter.)


    You're right, Obama is (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:26:34 AM EST
    definitely going to cave on this.

    He is definitely (none / 0) (#71)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 08:57:53 AM EST
    Going to look like the person attempting to reconcile destructive wedge-issue differences.  If the Bishops & now-associated  Republicans continue to insist on their way-or-the-highway, they will be the ones boxed in & they will be the ones losing important good will.  Set up, volley, & spike by the expert, President Obama.

    Look, the real test is whether the final rule promulgated by HHS ensures ready, affordable access for all women.  If that is the result, most Americans will conclude that the resolution was fair, good, and in accord with their beliefs.  If that is so, most peole will view what some might call "cave" today the definition of a good accommodation.  The Big Issues always involve negotiation if they are to succeed ultimately.


    Heh - add a few ... (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by Yman on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:14:40 AM EST
    ... life-sized chess pieces, and I bet "the expert" could play a round of 12-dimensional chess while simultaneously volleying, setting and spiking.

    What a multi-tasker!


    I'm guessing (5.00 / 0) (#89)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:04:40 PM EST
    Yman, that you have experience in large-scale strategizing.  If so, I take your comment about multiple-tasking as a compliment toward the President.  Call it what you will...he may be lucky or he may just make his own luck.  

    One of his most effective strategies in getting results like full, no-additional-cost access for all women to contraception is setting the table in such a way that baits opponents to overreach so that he holds the high, reasonable ground and the opponents become increasingly isolated...in the eyes of the public.  Sort of like the struggle with the Republican No that is the Congess with its , um, 12 percent approval rating. Once in a great while, there comes a superb counter-offensive practitioner in law & in government.  (Since I don't play chess--no patience for it--I can't comment on chess


    True, but ... (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Yman on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 05:12:04 PM EST
    Once in a great while, there comes a superb counter-offensive practitioner in law & in government.

    ... it sure as he// ain't Obama.


    Now, why does your comment not surprise me! (none / 0) (#105)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 05:21:55 PM EST
    And why (5.00 / 5) (#108)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 05:55:04 PM EST
    do all of your pious, sanctimonious, I-know-more-than-you-do, holier than thou, pseudo-oh-so-reasonable obfuscations not surprise me?  I'm pretty much done with you, lady.

    Zorba, honey, responding to christinep (5.00 / 3) (#109)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:09:06 PM EST
    is most often an exercise in futility. Condescension is her stock in trade. And when you add to that christinep's insistence that her years as a government employee provide a special insight that renders all other views moot, well, geez, life's too short to waste any on arguing with chronic apologists, especially the ones with the snotty overtones.

    Save yourself the grief, Zorba.


    Some of y'all do have a problem with (5.00 / 0) (#117)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:35:42 PM EST
    Disagreement.  Seriously. A hint:  my perception of the rigidity & almost clannish behavior by some here (who just can't stand others with a view supportive of President Obama) may well lead to the sense of condescension that you feel.  I wish that the fraternity/sorority approach displayed by some would relax a bit.  But, that is your decision.

    No need to undercut each other's character.  What good does that do!  I can tell you this:  it would be all around better if some of us "outsiders" were genuinely included.  Not a whine; just a comment on my part. Clearly, it is apparent to those outside the closed-group that Obama is viewed by some here as viewed by Republicans.  While that is fine to some extent, the conversation cannot advance if the operating premise remains "I don't like or believe anything Obama says...so whatever it is can't be good.". What's the point of any conversation if we can't move off that???

    I'll leave it at that.


    Yes, casey, (none / 0) (#113)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:31:57 PM EST
    You're right.  But I have a bad cold right now and my patience with chronic BS is at an absolute end.  Let us just say that she has more than gotten on my one remaining nerve.  I'm going off to make myself a cup of tea.   ;-)  

    Sorry to hear you are ailing, Zorba. (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:47:34 PM EST
    Maybe a hot toddy is in order. :-)

    The feeling is really quite mutual, dear. (5.00 / 0) (#116)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:15:35 PM EST
    The comment (5.00 / 2) (#110)
    by sj on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:14:51 PM EST
    was more surprising than yours.  Do you ever tire of being sanctimonious and patronizing?  This was a totally unnecessary thing to say.  But, again, unsurprising.

    Let me tell you a secret (5.00 / 0) (#118)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:41:43 PM EST
    If your comment, sj, was addressed to me about my brief remark to yman....my comment was meant as a gentle, jining joke.  In all honesty.  But one, with Zorba expressing anger and you too.... Heck, lighten up.  Give &take should be okay (Let us "others" in a bit, and we might find some common ground and expand the conversation at the same time.)

    Ah, I see (none / 0) (#132)
    by sj on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 11:25:47 AM EST
    YOU make "gentle, jining joke" (whatever "jining" is -- other than a Chinese dynasty).  OTHERS make "short, drive-by snide remarks".

    I really do see.


    I'm not sure you completely get it, sj. (5.00 / 2) (#135)
    by Dr Molly on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 12:01:36 PM EST

    your SENSE of her condescension is really not her BEING condescending, it's your SENSE of it, and the problem is that YOU elicited it, not that SHE is actually condescending, preachy and sanctimonious.

    And, see...

    you're part of CLAN here, but she ISN'T part of one.  

    Really priceless.


    I can't believe I'm going to say this, but... (5.00 / 2) (#137)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 06:11:11 PM EST
    without the benefit of hearing someone's tone of voice, seeing the expressions on his or her face, we all read into what someone else writes, and sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we don't.

    Clearly, there are a number of us who read christine the same way - but - in a pure sense, that still doesn't mean that she meant it the way we took it.

    I, too, get tired of feeling like she is lecturing us from the depths of her vast experience, and treats us as if we all just fell off the turnip truck yesterday.  And I get just as frustrated as anyone with the incrementalist approach she favors, and the constant reminder that we should just be grateful for the little bit we do occasionally get from the powers that be.

    But while christine can and does get a bit snippy now and then, she doesn't generally act like an a-hole like some others here do; I do think she cares, I do think she comes from a place of good intention - which is more than I can say for others.  She's entitled - as are we all - to hit back when she feels unfairly responded to.

    While I don't agree with her often, christine does put some thought into her comments, I think she does take the time to educate herself on most issues, and she is willing to engage in rational debate - which can't be said for everyone.

    In the end, we have no control over how others perceive us, or how others "read" us, but we all should feel able to express our opinions, defend those opinions and know that, ultimately, there may be no right or wrong for everyone, just a right or wrong for us, individually.


    Wev (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by Dr Molly on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 06:38:56 PM EST
    I don't she's that hard to comprehend.

    Does that apply to you too (none / 0) (#142)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 08:42:33 PM EST
    I call it a mob (none / 0) (#141)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 08:39:09 PM EST
    Molly the issue is yours (none / 0) (#143)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 08:43:53 PM EST
    Your little mob acts alike to expel and rip those who do not agree with you.

    MKS, how would you describe the (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by Anne on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 09:32:31 AM EST
    meeting of the minds, the confluence of opinion, that regularly exist between and among you, ABG and christine?  And which results in you all variously taking shots at those on the other side of those opinions?

    "Not a mob," I would guess.  I'm sure you see it as just a matter of self-defense, right?

    I mean, you couldn't possibly be excusing and rationalizing christine's often passive/aggressive and condescending comments, or ABG's complete mischaracterization of others' comments just because you agree not just with their overall views, but because you also get a little tingle up your leg when they deliver a zinger at people whom you clearly dislike, could you?

    And let's not leave you totally out of this: you just flat-out bully people.  Yes, "bullying" is what I call it when, in spite of credible explanations, you take every opportunity to label people as something they have stated they are not.  Those are cheap shots that substitute for something, shall we say, more "pithy," that would also be more in the spirit of true debate and engagement.  Maybe if, once in a while, you went "pithy" instead of "pissy," people would be able to see you as more than the bullying button-pusher you often appear to be.  

    Yeah, I know I have my faults.  I think in paragraphs, not sound bites, I can be sarcastic and snarky, and I can condescend when I feel like I am being baited.  But here's the thing, MKS: if you want Molly to be part of some mob, then I think you're going to have to accept being part of a gang - should we pick our colors now, or should we just admit that we are people who disagree and don't see things the same way very often?

    The latter seems like a more mature way to go, but it's not for everyone.


    All three of us, a mob? (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 10:57:31 AM EST
    And Anne, just look at your post.  You dish out self-righteous judgments and have extensive and deroragotry evauluations of people here.  I do not.  Nor does Christine or ABG.

    That is how you and your cohorts bully.  Throw out nasty personal evaluations because the people you scold do not accept your "correction."

    I am direct.  And I am not going to acquiesce to your view of the world.


    No, it's true (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by sj on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 12:52:54 PM EST
    that you don't try to understand the motivations of others.  You (all, actually) just call just call people Republicans because they don't agree with you.  You ARE direct.  And inconsistent.  and think you are the final arbiter of what constitutes a "substantive" comment that deserves to be engaged "on the merits".  All while doling out insults and talking trash.  Which you call "free wheeling" and "no holds barred".

    And that's how you and your cohort bully.  You should have used the singular on "cohort".  If we were cohorts we wouldn't be in the same cohort.  Which "we" really aren't anyway.  Though you like to think so.


    The inconsistency is there on purpose, I think (none / 0) (#153)
    by Edger on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 01:23:07 PM EST
    It's a tactic. They don't care what kind of response they get as long as they get a response. Any kind will do. Hence the inconsistency. It's a time wasting strategy. they want you to waste your time because it takes time to do it and takes your focus away from real things.

    After all, none of them are stupid enough to actually believe that anyone else is stupid enough to think they make any sense most of the time.

    And the one thing they cannot stand is being ignored unless they make sense.


    And out of curiosity (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by sj on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 12:58:04 PM EST
    How many does it take to constitute a mob?  An ad hominem of which you took proud ownership.

    A bully? (none / 0) (#145)
    by Edger on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 09:41:52 AM EST
    Lol. I don't know about that. For me the word "insecure" comes to mind re all three of them.



    Well. Edger, I think a lot of (5.00 / 2) (#146)
    by Anne on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 10:09:17 AM EST
    bullying is rooted in insecurity, not in strength, so perhaps we are both right... :-)

    Yeah (none / 0) (#147)
    by Edger on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 10:12:52 AM EST
    Ah, ad homimen (none / 0) (#149)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 10:59:42 AM EST
    I suppose insecure is perhaps a derogatory way of saying I care.....

    But you wouldn't phrase it that way, would you?


    See... (none / 0) (#150)
    by Edger on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 11:00:46 AM EST
    Isn't that something Edger (none / 0) (#156)
    by christinep on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:28:09 PM EST
    --and, I'm not being "passive aggressive" when I say that I deduced from your writings (and what at first seemed to be overstatement fueled by a type of undifferentiated anger at us others) that , underneath it all,  your protestations struck me as coming from insecurity.

    "...to see ourselves as others see us.". It may be that we are all insecure, all of us who blog. An interesting thought.  But, if stipulate to that, then we can move to issues & positions rather than lobbing out psychological diagnostics.  I'm game.


    Anne (none / 0) (#154)
    by CoralGables on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 01:31:02 PM EST
    in your own way I see you as finding some middle ground there. Just remember that your exact words could be used, but replacing your choice of names with several from the other side of the fence, and everything you say is still valid.

    Pushing buttons? (none / 0) (#155)
    by christinep on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:18:36 PM EST
    The way it works is thus: (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:29:28 PM EST
      (1) Someone engages on the merits contrary to the norm here:

       (2) The uusual crowd lambastes personally the person giving the out of the norm opinion.

        (3) Any pushback on No. 2 is "pushing buttons."  You are supposed to take the lesson by your betters in humble silence.

    I frankly think the vitriol thrown your way is among the more contemptible commentary here.....

    When people come rushing onto the court throwing elbows my way, I tend to react.  I will say you have more patience than I with the hatred here.


    Anne, the way to read your posts (none / 0) (#158)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:42:14 PM EST
    is to go to the geographic center of them.  There, clothed in paragraphs above and below, and esconced in nice reasonable sounding language, is the nasty dig.

    An honest approach would be to just fling your insult without pretense of reason.

    Let's look at your entry above.  In the middle.  There it is--the dig about the tingle up the leg.  A twofer.  You get to slam Tweety because he, well......you know.....and you toss it my way too.


    Don't know (none / 0) (#119)
    by Yman on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:49:43 PM EST
    Don't care.

    Oh he makes his own luck (none / 0) (#93)
    by sj on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 02:49:06 PM EST
    That's for sure.  The rest of us?  Not so lucky.

    Cute...and cutting. (none / 0) (#96)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 03:04:11 PM EST
    christine, what is being guaranteed (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 03:31:39 PM EST
    is that women who work for religious-affiliated institutions will have the same exact right to no-cost, no co-pay, contraception as women who work for secular employers.

    Obama hasn't gotten any more for these women than what the ACA already mandated, building on the existing almost 12-year old EEOC mandate that any employer who provides a prescription drug program cannot discriminate on the basis of gender.

    That it appears a way has been found to preserve the benefit is a good thing for the women affected, assuming the next year is not spent in figuring out ways to override it; as we've seen, when you allow for a fairly long transition time, all that generally does is give opponents time to organize against whatever is being transitioned.

    The optics are that Obama is left appearing to have appeased the Catholic Bishops without endangering the coverage; what I don't understand is why, with some 98% of Catholic women using or having used contraception, it was even necessary to grovel to get what the law already called for.


    Because he's an expert (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 03:57:49 PM EST
    at playing both sides against the middle.  There are certain Obama-positive commenters who will say that this is what he should be doing, compromising, threading the needle, getting a positive result in the end even if not perfect, blah, blah, blah.  And maybe they have a point, unpleasant as this stance is to me.  I'm not much for groveling, myself.  I prefer people who take a clear stance on something and then fight for it clearly and with everything they have.  But then, that's just me- I'm not a politician.

    Viewpoints (none / 0) (#106)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 05:28:05 PM EST
    I was taught--and the lessons were reinforced by life lessons over the years--that advancing a situation to mutual benefit was a good.  Even my work, many times as a negotiator for the government, predisposed me toward resolution. And, in political philosophy, I took the words (which I was fortunate enough to hear personally at about 19) of Saul Alinsky as a guide in that one needs to know where one is temperamentally in a change-movement and to compromise to get there.

    To me, the word "compromise" is a good.


    To me, (none / 0) (#107)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 05:50:53 PM EST
    it isn't always.  It all too often means moral or ethical compromising, as opposed to political compromising, which is a different thing entirely.  And which is not in my comfort zone. YMMV.    

    I accept & respect your position. (none / 0) (#120)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:51:50 PM EST
    My approach is different.

    Families all have very different views. So do friends. So do work associates.

    I don't want to say anything that demeans your position...because I don't mean that. Both positions are legitimate; and, neither of us are wanting of anything nor verging on immoral because we differ.  


    The optics that so many see (none / 0) (#102)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 05:11:48 PM EST
    is that the President--in spite of wedge-trap pressure from the righties--found a way to protect women's health right (esp in the matter of contraception) and that he did so with regard as well to religious sensibilities. (Frankly, it appears that by mooting out the existing legal challenges on the contraception proposal based upon First Amendment claims, he saved us all a lot of time & money.)

    Oh, Anne, the man did good by us all.  (The funny part is where do the Santorum & Boehner & Romney righties go now that he pulled the rug out from under them while deflecting their oh-so-clever challenge.  They'll come up with something.  But, will it sell? Not at this point.)


    Addition (none / 0) (#104)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 05:20:39 PM EST
    When I hear about last summer's theoretical polling on the subject--well before the pressure from the clergy in the reading of the letter, etc.--I'm reminded of all those queries occasionally asked in the past about whether people would be willing to pay extra $$$ for gas, goods, etc. if the air or the water or the land would benefit environmentally. Guess what? People say yes to what they know to be right or what is abstract etc (yet, we all experience what happens after theory stops & reality begins.)  Oh, every time we started down the path of reforming health care over the years, the polls proclaimed that the vast majority of people supported all kinds of change...until the issue was joined, fought, and the scare tactics came out.

    Just an observation.  (There are all kinds of factors at play in the usual government world: multiply that complexity and duality when dealing with all of us vulnerable people in the religious world.)  Many writers in the mainstream and a bit beyond were stating that Obama was "boxed in" and other words to that effect, etc.... In fact, today the President met & surpassed that challenge...and that appears to be how it is being written and disseminated in the broader world.


    "cute" (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by sj on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:24:24 PM EST
    uh-huh.  You're almost outdoing yourself with your attempts to diminish the viewpoints of others.  But then, it's still early.

    sj, everytime christine says something is (none / 0) (#115)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 07:11:22 PM EST
    "cute,"I am reminded of the Seinfeld episode where the whole gang went out to Long Island to "see the ba-by," and the pediatrician kept referring to everything as "breathtaking."  When he referred to Elaine that way, she was all giggly over it - but when he also called the - apparently not very attractive - baby "breathtaking," she wasn't feeling so good about him calling her that...

    Lighten up. (none / 0) (#121)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:57:02 PM EST
    Hey, sj.  When you dish it out, aren't you supposed to take it too (and you do dish it out.). Who is trying to "censor" whom?  Maybe the deal is that you say what you want & I say what I want...we are both mature enough to live with that.

    christine, you know what it is? (5.00 / 0) (#122)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 10:42:49 PM EST
    It's your constant explaining-how-the-world-works lectures, as if we all aren't living in it, experiencing it, and just quite possibly having insights and perspectives that are equal to or even trump yours.

    And I think another source of friction is that you approach the issues in much the same way that the politicians we have been so unhappy with do, always trying to explain why things can't happen this way or that way, or why we have to be grateful for the crumbs that get occasionally tossed in our direction.  You just don't seem to get that people are tired of being told why something can't be done - and you always seem to be right there with that message.

    There's no energy in your perspective, christine, and your wistful recollections of the fights of 50 years ago, while interesting, don't seem to want to make way for others to fight in their way.

    Don't get me wrong - there are lessons to be learned from history, and from those who were there when it was being made, who helped make it.  Maybe you could consider allowing people to make their own history, now, instead of insisting that it be shaped and strategized the way you did it.


    Well, Anne, that is who I am (none / 0) (#123)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:38:18 PM EST
    Since I assume you are not asking me to alter my personality, I won't be so presumptuous as to ask you to alter yours.  Now, beyond that, you & I have similarities of explaining or giving explications of our differing positions.  And, I rather like that you take the time to do those explications...even tho I usually stand on another side.  What I really ls that you don't do the short, drive-by snide remark (what I call "cute")....usually.  When I get past my long-winded explanation and you get beyond what-can-feel-like a moralizing lecture, we can communicate.

    Differing styles can be tough on two who would talk...especially when someone like me uses experiences to re recall personal learning (and I can drift off in so doing) and when I read you as disregarding what is in favor of lovely dreams.  Those points of emphasis are not impossible to reconcile; but, it does make it difficult.

    To me, it is mostly about respect.  We either have it for each other or we don't. IMO, breakthroughs & encouragement are always possible.  Even from or because of dissimilar positions.

    I'll offer a little toast of sorts:  Tomorrow is the annual Dem Dinner here...I'll listen during the interminable speeches for a sentence or so that you might second, and-- if I hear one--offer a silent toast (may even wear a string of pearls.)


    "Mostly about respect" (none / 0) (#131)
    by sj on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 11:22:37 AM EST
    That's cute, coming from you.  As is the "short, drive-by snide remark".  Which one would think you wouldn't deign to use.  If one had never read the thread, that is.

    If that offended you, sj (none / 0) (#136)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 05:43:23 PM EST
    Please consider a lot of your earlier comments to me. Please.

    Oh, I have (none / 0) (#139)
    by sj on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 07:55:31 PM EST
    My comments have been extremely pointed.  But I don't make a denigrating comment to someone about THEIR "lovely dreams" as opposed to YOUR "personal learning" and then say that I'm the one being respectful.  I know darn well I'm pushing back.

    I know you're trying to dismiss me.  And that's fine.  You'll go on thinking you're being all reasonable and sh!t as you waft from person to person talking about your "personal learning".  And I'll go on calling 'em like I see 'em.


    And by the way (none / 0) (#140)
    by sj on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 08:07:07 PM EST
    I'm not PERSONALLY offended by that.  I don't base my sense of self-worth on things said by an anonymous commenter on a public blog.  So don't worry on that score.  I'm fine.  The comment(s) just slammed down hard on the hypocrisy meter.  And, being me, I felt compelled to point that out.  I know you'll feel free to do the same.

    I often wonder why (none / 0) (#74)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:21:46 AM EST
    obama shills never think of trying to find arguments that would actually work? ;-)

    All they seem to think of is how to drive people away from obama. And all that would do is get a republican elected.



    I do not think it is fair or good that (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:30:31 AM EST
    women employed in Catholic-affiliated institutions will have to pay for something that those employed in the secular workforce will not.

    The administration has been looking at several state laws that let religious employers opt out of covering birth control in their insurance packages, so long as they refer women to a provider that will offer the benefit at low cost.

    I don't think it's fair or good that women employed by religious-affiliated institutions will have to take more steps and jump through more hoops than women employed in secular workplaces.

    So, the provider will offer the coverage at low cost - wasn't the mandate supposed to require the employer to include the coverage at no additional cost?  How is this fair?  Isn't there already a federal EEOC mandate that requires all employers who offer preventative coverage to also offer contraceptive coverage?

    In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn't provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today--and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that don't offer prescription coverage or don't offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally--but under the EEOC's interpretation of the law, you can't offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too [...]

    Not even religious employers were exempt from the impact of the EEOC decision. Although Title VII allows religious institutions to discriminate on religious grounds, it doesn't allow them to discriminate on the basis of sex--the kind of discrimination at issue in the EEOC ruling. DePaul University, the largest Roman Catholic university in America, added birth control coverage to its plans after receiving an EEOC complaint several years ago. (DePaul officials did not respond to a request for comment.)

    With an existing federal mandate in place, why the need to waffle and accommodate?

    And if a woman wants the coverage, what other hoops is she going to have to jump through with another provider?  How will she be guaranteed the same no co-pay coverage that other women will have the advantage of?

    The Catholic Bishops are, in my opinion, beginning to sense weakness; they have already stated that they are opposed to the so-called "Hawaii Compromise," which is what the administration was looking at as a solution.  

    Why can't Obama be the secular advocate he's supposed to be?


    Congress, not happy with their 10% approval (none / 0) (#26)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:14:12 PM EST
    rating, seeks to break the Osama Bin laden low bar.  Go for it Marco!

    Even better (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 11:33:30 PM EST
    we get to receive national lessons in morality from the upper tier hierarchy of the Catholic Church- perhaps the single most discredited institution in the nation.

    ESPNU at 8 p.m. Pacific Time tonight (none / 0) (#35)
    by Dadler on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 07:57:58 PM EST
    You can catch glimpses of my son and I in the fifth row behind the vistor's bench for tonight's USF vs. Santa Clara game. (LINK)  Two underperforming teams this year, but it's the rivalry game for my Dons.  Supposed to be a free t-shirt whiteout night, so we'll see if they can pack the crackerbox known as War Memorial Gym.  Peace.

    I wish (none / 0) (#45)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 12:56:08 AM EST
    USF needs a decent new facility badly, War Memorial is a glorified high school gym.  But a great place to see D1 ball up close and cheap.

    My question (none / 0) (#37)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 08:35:17 PM EST
    How would those who seem so offended by this first step of $25Billion have acted at the point of negotiation stalemate? Not theoretically, but in practice? Is it better to pursue the whole thing without the compromise inherent in negotiation but with the likelihood of several more years, etc.? What is the most useful to a 50 year old (or 55 or 45 or whatever)...wait it out & risk it all or take something together with the acknowlegment & pursue one's own course?

    Clearly, those who have not lost the house and managed to hold on may be better off with the settlement? Those who lost their homes...what would you have done?  (And: As an old-time fed who occasionally had to make resource distribution decisions about enforcement full-throttle, settlement, the one big case or the several smaller cases for deterrence...ah well, this situation here is multiple, multiple times more significant in reach & reality than I've seen. That's for sure.)

    Yep, every settlement could be better on the federal level...in theory.

    Social Issues are back (none / 0) (#39)
    by MKS on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 08:44:37 PM EST
    Or they never left.

    Republicans don't care about unemployment (the jobless are just lazy) and don't care about the deficit (as Cheney famously said, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter.")  These are just tools to use against Democrats.

    What really motivates conservatives? Social issues, which come packaged as religious issues or issues about culture.  Cultural resentment.  Southernors with huge chips on their shoulders.  Mormons in the Mountain West who hate the Federal Government due to its response to polygamy.

    It has never really been about the economy.

    Agree AND (none / 0) (#40)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:01:15 PM EST
    the Culture War (attempted) Revival is the means by which Repubs seek Power.  The Deficit discussions were last year's means; the Culture Wars--wrapped around the packaged religious wedge issue--is this year's new fashion in their thirst for a return to Power.

    BTW, that is why my approach to the "contraception skirmish" takes a cue from VP Biden's "we'll work it out" comment.  In that area, we need to not be divided in the electoral states that can make the difference...and, my nightmare is Ohio 2004 & the wedge issue Rovian usage then. We don't need to fall for a reprise. This is about being smart.


    Let the back pedaling begin (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:28:44 AM EST

    The White House will announce a retreat from its controversial rule requiring religious organizations like charities and hospitals to include contraception in their healthcare plans.

    President Obama has come under heavy criticism from the Catholic Church and other religious organizations, Republicans and even some Democrats over the issue, and Vice President Biden has suggested a compromise could be worked out.

    A White House official on Friday confirmed an announcement on changing the rule would be made Friday. The White House is referring to the change as an accommodation.


    According to ABC News, the White House will allow employees to secure birth control as part of their health insurance by going through a healthcare provider, and not directly through their employer.

    It's unclear whether such an offer would appease critics of the rule, who have portrayed it as an attack on religious freedom since it would force religious organizations to offer something that goes against their beliefs.

    "Your mittens", jbindc? (5.00 / 3) (#86)
    by Yman on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:42:03 AM EST
    You're supporting Romney, now?  :)

    Democrats were opposed (1.00 / 1) (#85)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:21:24 AM EST
    including John Kerry.

    If women still get birth control with no co-pays, then it is  good resolution.

    And, Rasmussen has Obama up by ten over your Mittens.


    Now, now Dr. Molly (3.00 / 2) (#87)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 11:52:28 AM EST
    Need to stop this kind of thing..

    Agree with you, MKS (1.50 / 2) (#88)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:46:24 PM EST
    The cheap-shot ratings routine to which you refer gets stale after awhile.  Ah well, there will always be the anon critics...such is bloggin' life.

    Keep at it, MKS.  You do good!


    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 03:38:09 PM EST
    tomato, tomahto. The

    cheap shot, IMO, wasthe last line of MKS' comment and his stale hassling of jbindc. I'll call 'em as I see 'em, thanks very much, so y'all can lecture me all you want.

    It's all in the eye of the beholder, eh?


    You go, Doc! (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 04:00:07 PM EST
    This "beholder's" eye agrees with you.

    Double standard (none / 0) (#126)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 01:36:49 AM EST
    If I were to troll rate you, the whiners here would come howling.

    "Double standards" are easy, ... (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by Yman on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 07:07:56 AM EST
    ... particularly when they're only imagined.  Who cares enough about troll ratings to "whine" about them?


    ... sorry.


    I actually prefer the free wheeling (none / 0) (#129)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 10:23:32 AM EST
    no holds barred discussion.

    But too many here want to fire shots behind the protective skirts of mama bear.


    Lions and tigers and bears ... oh my! (none / 0) (#130)
    by Yman on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 11:00:10 AM EST
    Imagined whining, imagined skirts, imagined bears ...

    If you don't like "Mama Bear" (none / 0) (#134)
    by sj on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 11:30:04 AM EST
    (And I am interpreting your comment to refer to Jeralyn?) There is always DKos. I invite you to visit.  They'll love you there.

    The cheap shot (none / 0) (#112)
    by sj on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 06:28:45 PM EST
    ratings routine to which you both refer is one at which MKS excels.  And yes, it does get stale.  And I fully expect to see his heavy hand applied to this comment and probably others as well.

    Why do you only comment (none / 0) (#127)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 01:43:39 AM EST
    in opposition to me?

    Or maybe your other posts are not so memorable.


    Or maybe (none / 0) (#133)
    by sj on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 11:27:47 AM EST
    you don't read.

    Heh, the mob is giving your grief (none / 0) (#125)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 01:35:31 AM EST

    It's only civil, though (none / 0) (#46)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 01:01:27 AM EST
    Whether anybody will actually go after these jerks criminally, I don't know but rather doubt.

    Reading In the Garden (none / 0) (#77)
    by brodie on Fri Feb 10, 2012 at 09:31:04 AM EST
    of the Beasts by Erik Larson about the Nazi era experiences of US Amb to Germany Wm Dodd and his family.  Highly recommended n-f account which almost reads like a novel.  

    Also has anyone here read the recently published Grey Wolf:  The Escape of Hitler, by researchers Dunstan and Williams, which I recommended here several months ago.  Impressive case they make even if not a complete one.  Right now I'd say the ball is in the court of those advocating for the traditional line, but it would seem they are down to one jaw bone with questionable provenance, and one dubious bunker witness whose story has changed significantly over the years.

    At this time I suspect to about 60% certainty that AH and Eva did escape to SA, with the Fuehrer living on for another 17 years.  Allegedly he died nearly 50 years ago on Feb 13, 1962, demented and long since abandoned by Eva and the Nazi aide Martin Bohrmann who had been the major player in planning the escape.