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March 01, 2011 04:41 PM UTC

Tuesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.”

–Dale Carnegie


61 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Thread

  1. A friend sent me this link.


    It’s a blank map of the Middle East. You ID the countries by dragging the name to the right place on the map.  It took me a lot of trial and error at first, but I’m a teeny bit compulsive, so I’ve kept at it, doing it at least daily, and now I can get it all right in one go with only a few mis-drags.

    Try it! Exercise is good for your brain, even if your only prize is being the one in a thousand or so Americans who knows this stuff!

        1. I did great in Africa and Turkey and on east and sucked it bigtime in the Middle East. It took me about 5 tries to get Saudi Arabia.  

        2. And it shows outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Damn the USSR for breaking up!

          I tried to put a couple of the Saudi peninsula countries in neighboring locations, but not too bad.

          The top row of N. Africa went okay, but once I got below that I was lost.

          Unfortunately, the only reason I did as well as I did was by remembering some of the borders, and a lot of that from recent news.  If asked to place the countries on their own without first locating their neighbors, I would have done much worse.

  2. Excellent investigative article today in the Denver newspaper of record about the ongoing scandal in Adams County involving Quality Paving, indicted public officials, and Commissioner Alice Nichol. Involves the sale of Nichol’s mother’s home for a road widening project done by, surprise surprise…Quality Paving.

    Good work by the reporters.

    1. I still refuse to subscribe to the Denver paper, but I saw the first part of that story over the weekend and loved the investigative reporting. Amazing stuff, back to the old school journalism I remember from when I first started reading the paper at breakfast before elementary school.

      Is it just me, or are County Commissions the most corrupt political body in existence today? And it’s all such small-time corruption. So not worth selling your character for the kind of returns they’re getting, especially when most Commissioners actually earn a living wage, unlike most legislators.

      …and, ironically, for totally unrelated reasons, that’s the political entity that most interests me intellectually. Water rights and land use are the two things I can completely geek out on, and they often come before commissions.

        1. But you’re right, I probably should just read online. It’s just harder to get the full impact of the huge infographics they tend to include in this type of story.

      1. Let’s see, we have one that’s above the law – just ask him.  One that aspires to be Colorado’s answer to Sarah Palin, TV personality and all and one that I’ve never known to be corrupt and is nice enough.  The nice one’s problem – he has a hard time standing up to the other two and if he does is so low key as to not be terribly effective.  

        From day to day I cringe at what they might do next.  

        1. No matter what county it’s in!

          I think if I can find the time I may start packing my needlepoint and just sitting in the back and listening to commission and city council meetings whenever possible. It sounds like I’m missing some interesting stuff.  

        1. Not sure if the Post was delivered mornings then or not. We didn’t subscribe. Post has absorbed so many of the Rocky’s writers, though, that I can’t help thinking it’s more than a vague resemblance to the writers I remember from years ago!

          Loved the Rocky. Never liked the Toast.  

  3. (Sorry, I probably should have saved this for Jams, but I’m jazzed . . .)

    Anybody else got plans for next week?

    And, oh yeah . . . the diving’s pretty good too!!

    Vamanos Muchachos!!

        1. To read a story that refers to you by that other name.  Creeeepy.  Has this affected your business in any way?  The next time I am in the city where you operate your business, I will avail myself of your services and/or purchase your product.

          I will wear the Groucho mask and a rose in my lapel, and will identify myself as Zelda.  You never know who will be lurking around….

          1. Your comment just cracks me up.

            Weirdly enough, there’s been a large uptick in business. And even weirder, since this happened, many people have admitted to me that they read this blog but don’t post here. Polsters really are everywhere. My locals have all been super supportive and are still trying to figure out what the big scandal was that the “expose” revealed. That’s okay. I’m still trying to figure that one out, too.

            1. Had you been hurt irl I wouldn’t think it’s funny, but, and I’m sorry, I cracked up through that entire Westword story. It’s fabulous! Everyone gets to see your well written work and now knows that a group may put a lie on our ballot and is instructing people on how to lie for petition signatures. Hurray for both things!

              And yeah, if I lived within reasonable distance of you I’d bring Ms. Puppy over. She’s horribly offended by both the time I spend sleeping and the time I spend working. She needs cuddles. Constantly. L…. Can’t do it! MotR would be great, I just know it. I knew you worked with four legged buddies, but didn’t know you were a day care.

              1. God bless Westword. If Guerin’s motivations for what he did weren’t already clear, they are now.

                I do dog socialization, overnight “camp” and positive reinforcement training. The whole set up here is an alternative to traditional kenneling. I like the newer methods in behavior modification and socialization that reinforce what makes dogs happy. It’s extraordinarily satisfying to see a shy dog learn how to be a dog with other dogs and become more comfortable with the two-legged crowd.

                I’ve been state and city licensed for 9 years and still enjoy the hell out of it every single day.

                If you are ever up in Estes, give me a ring. For Polsters, your code word is Zelda. I’ll quiz you from there. 🙂

    1. Green is, why not include at least one more paragraph about his threatening phone message to another Pols blogger and his excusing the deed as a good journalistic practice?

      1. That’s been covered already.

        What I wrote about was new.

        And that doesn’t mean that I think that his threats to LB weren’t fucked up.  LB is a friend.

        This was simply me posting “What’s New.”

    1. I see Politico saying there’s widespread agreement, but I don’t see Geithner or any other Democrat quoted in that article as saying Freddie or Fannie caused the crisis.

      Of course, since Politico is known to do this kind of journalistic hackery from time to time – followed shortly thereafter by conservatives jumping all over the “facts” – it’s not surprising that you posted it here…

    2. FDIC spent some time chewing through the data – presented last fall.

      Sheila Bair talked about it again in Dec.

      I don’t really expect you to care.  Whatever, however, where ever you learend to study or analyze, actual data doesn’t seem to have figured into the process much.

      But some might.

      BTW- do you have any explanation for how/why you believe FNMA/FHLMC caused the collapse?  I mean besides R talking heads complaining about D’s preventing them from pulling the plug back when a dozen private sector Wall Street players wanted the secondary market to themselves?  (Which they are now going to get anyway)

        1. Which facts? That was the question. Unless you’re actually saying that there are no facts, only R talking heads complaining about Ds. I know that is a fact, I’m merely surprised to see you admit it.

          Technically that’s what you just agreed to.

        2. A) I have data.

          2) I have an open mind to even more data.


          C) The banking collapse was 100%, totally, completely, without doubt my fault. I know exactly why. I know when.  I don’t know where Jimmy Hoffa is. Nor DB Cooper. But I know what happened to Lehman. And AIG. And Bear Stearns. And Countrywide. And JPMorganChaseWashingtonMutual and BankofAmericaMerrillynch. And CitiTravellers. And I understand Glass Steagall, the history of money and banking, fractional reserve banking, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Community Reinvestment Act, Consumer Finance Protection Agency,  and the globalization of the capital market.

          I also understand why anyone would want to blame the consumers who defualted. And the opposition party.

          There’s plenty of blame to go around- but as the data continues to emerge it is increasingly clear that the major players in the MBS secondary market did it to themselves.

          Example (try to stick with this – there is math):

          You have a million dollars to invest.

          You can invest it in an asset valued at a million dollars


          you can invest it in controlling an asset valued at ten million dollars.

          Both investments will go up 10%.

          Which is a better return on your investment?

          And if before the asset appreciates much you sell your invesment to another investor for 10% cash and finance 90% –  and then the increase increases, what is that investor’s return?

          And if that asset is sold to subsequent investors ten times – how much cash is invested? how much debt?  

          Now, how big was the secondary MBS market at it’s peak? How big was the primary mortgage market?

          When you have data, and can understand the MBS market, you will see that blaming the consumers is ridiculous.  Yes, there were casual underwriting standards- but not FNMA and FLMC. The conforming loan portfolios have far out performed anything the “market” produced.

          So when you are open to data, and get some, you will also see that blaming FNMA/FHLMC is also ridiculous.  The MBS players did it to themselves by over leveraging the market.  (look it up) The over leverage was so big, the problem wasn’t even the increased consumer defaults.  The MBS market became so dependent on velocity and volume, that any slow down in the MBS market would have resulted in a tipping point (toppling point) leading to a liquidity collapse. Exactly as the data demonstrate happened.

          By the way- the other thing the data convincingly demonstrates (not for the first time) is that a free market exchange does a remarkably good job at pricing goods and services. So good that no one can think of anything better. But it does a horribly painful job of pricing financial assets. Bubbles are inevitable – and inevitably painful.

          1. Just admit it. Clinton, Democrats, etc. pushed (and actually are still pushing) affordable housing. They pushed lax underwriting standards. The market dealt with it by trying to sell off the bad loans they were forced to take on. Genius strategy by the Democrats though – they crashed the markets and found a way to blame “evil” capitalists for it.

            1. It was all my fault.

              I have no defense.

              I just wanted to make a living, and own a house.

              But it was my fault.  Well, at least as much as FNMA & FHLMC, which is to say totally and completely.



              Clinton had sex with Lewinsky.  BOO!

              What Would Reagan Do?

    1. I mean, come on. How ridiculous is that? Give women a whole year’s supply of their own medication? That’s like saying they might actually understand the symptoms of harmful side effects and go to a doctor if those occurred. Not to mention that it implies women have lives and may be occasionally busy when they’re due to get to the pharmacy. And let’s not even get into your disastrous, immoral implication that having not-entirely-planned sex isn’t pure evil.

      (Says the Cowgirl peevishly, in the direction of those asshats who want to defund Planned Parenthood. Said organization has always cheerfully offered as many pill packs as desired to any woman who asks for them, can pay the modest fee, and is basically healthy.)

    2. It’s quite obvious based on the informed studies recently performed by legislatures in Arizona, Tennessee, South Dakota, and Georgia that women cannot even be trusted to understand the basics about their pregnancy – or of sex in general.

      There’s no telling what they might do if they were given a year’s supply of birth control pills.  And besides, they might turn gay if they took those things – and we wouldn’t want Satan to have any more servants, would we?

    3. This is a shocking idea.  Surely back in the olden days, when contraception was something I had to worry about, there was a Sound Medical Reason why I could only get 2 packets at a time.  I figured they thought I’d commit suicide by OrthoNovum or something.

    1. You will post a list of the best dressed and worst dressed at the Oscars.

      Charlie Sheen is on a manic coke high.  Been there, seen that, sorrier for it.  Doesn’t mean that he needs our attention.

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