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March 02, 2009 04:50 PM UTC

Monday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“When I am abroad, I always make it a rule to never criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.”

–Winston Churchill


56 thoughts on “Monday Open Thread

    1. Do you think Obama’s “courtesy phone call” to GW, prior to announcing his Iraq withdrawal plan, may have included these words…” George, if you don’t already have a lawyer, may I suggest you get one.”

    2. Those historically amnesiatic, economically illiterate, constipated, gun-totin’, hypocritical harbingers of dissolution and impoverishment….

      But I love ’em, god bless their soulless, hollow-chested, echoing brain cavities! I love ’em the way Batman loves the Joker, the way Superman loves Lex Luthor, the way Spiderman loves the Green Goblin, the way Luke loves Darth…. Okay, you get the idea.

  1. $30 billion more to AIG, the DOW headed to 6,500 and government employee defined benefit programs that will never meet their obligations.

      1. If there’s a national interest in AIG not failing, then nationalize them, because they’re clearly not doing well on their own. If there’s no national interest, then let them fail on their own.

        Libertad’s right about this, even if his stuff about the Dow or entitlements is nonsensical.

        1. I think it was Bernanke who said if organizations like AIG fail, we won’t refer to the Great Depression as all that “Great” anymore…  He’s wrong about plenty of stuff, but dead right about this.

          Nationalizing is the answer…just a question of how much longer we pretend it’s not.

        2. I called the 6500 number last fall/early winter. I’ll revise that DOW prediction. Lets just go with 1/3 of its 200 day trading high … somewhere around 3,900-4,100. My target timeline on this is by Aug ’09. Unemployment will cross 13% nationally by Christmas.

          For equity (IPO firms) owners doomsday is just around the corner. I moved what I could to bonds, but have yet to go down the gold investments route.

          We have put our nation into a position that we need to hit the rest button; and Obama is just the one to do it.

          1. Imagine a huge, and I mean huge…..LONG train. Or better yet, imagine a huge ship….like the Titanic…with forces way beyond your feeble comprehension….having a parabola (look it up)…that adheres to laws beyond almost any of our compehension….Now imagine changing those forces on a dime….say, November 5, 2008.

            Any asshole here that thinks Obama has the fulcrum (with apologes to Archimedes),to have either prevented the forces put in place over the last 8 years of disastrous (notice the AS in the middle of that word….friend of yours?)Republican policies, or to correct them overnight….is just too fucking stupid to waste much time on.

            Thank you.

            1. is that they have taken solipsism one step further: They only exist in their own imaginations.

              Though they’d make a great comedy team: “Libby an’ Ass.” We can just refer to them, collectively, as “khadafy” for short.

        3. http://articles.moneycentral.m

          AIG’s situation also raises broader questions about the stability of the markets, because the company is the world’s biggest insurer and does business in nearly every country. If AIG goes under, the failure will have ripple effects around the globe.

          If AIG ‘failed’, there would be an absolute shitstorm. Almost every bank has a huge exposure to them. They are a massive issue of credit default swaps – an instrument that allows the banks to reduce their liability against a particular holding. However, if the insurance company (AIG) can’t pay out, or the rating of the CDS is reduced (by the ratings agency – which happens if the overall rating of the issuer is reduced), the bank needs to hold more regulatory capital to show that it is solvent. But, what happens if the bank doesn’t have that capital? – It is no longer considered solvent from a regulatory point of view, even if it has enough money to operate.

          Also, AIG insures Municipal bonds. No bond insurance means higher interest rates paid by Muni’s. That would be your tax dollars.

          While I harbor no sympathy for AIG, there are many other culprits here. Like, why is Standard and Poor’s or Moody’s still allowed to rate anything? there the ones who rated everything under the sun as AAA.  

          1. So OK, take them over. If the private sector cannot be trusted to insure or rate investments honestly, and the various conflicts of interest due to specifically written banking regulations has apparently ensured that, then the government should do it.

            As is, many people don’t seem to want the AIG shareholders or executives punished. Of course they should be punished. They should lose all their money and never be allowed to work in the industry again, respectively.

              1. Presumably if AIG refuses a friendly takeover, all the people who have contracts with AIG will be looking for someone to replace them. The government offers them that insurance, and the big clients simply migrate.

                Based on the various discussions even Republicans are having, I’m guessing nobody particularly cares about strict adherence to the Constitution right now as far as trying to save the economic system from meltdown.

            1. Nationalize, yes. Bankruptcy, no.

              I heard an interesting piece this weekend on NPR. the interviewee basically said that if this were any other country, the World Bank and the IMF would insist that the country temporarily nationalize the banks, before any aid was forthcoming.

              So, nationalize the banks. Fire the managers and anyone that was remotely connected with CDS’s. Ban them from working for any federally or state regulated entity. Let them learn how to push a broom for a living.  

        4.  I don’t understand the details of credit default swaps well enough to explain it properly, but apparently AIG is the insurer of a ton of CDS and related financial instruments.  If those instruments are no longer insured, a lot of bad things happen all at once.  Things that were rated investment grade no longer are, meaning that by law a lot of institutions can’t hold them but must sell them immediately.  Further, banks would be no longer capitalized as required by law and must conserve cash (stop loaning entirely).

          Yeah, all of this unwinding needs to happen.  But TPTB have decided that it really can’t happen all at once if we want a financial systems that operates at all.

  2. Populist revolt against the U.S. government is all the rage in the Republican Party, these days.  As they tell the story, the public is so outraged by the recovery and reinvestment efforts of the Obama administration that Americans everywhere are turning out to overthrow the tyrannical king of the federal government by re-enacting the Boston Tea Party.

    Funny thing, though: it turns out this whole “populist” movement was a planned PR stunt funded by big-money right-wing backers of the GOP who specialize in faking grassroots movements to drum up opposition to Barack Obama.

    Everything about this so called “Tea Party” movement was pre-planned–from the supposedly “spontaneous rant” of CNBC stock market reporter, Rick Santelli, to the presumed ground-level organizing of protests all over the country.  Fake, fake, fake–like a product launch staged covertly to look like a spontaneous trend.

    So it looks like the only spontaneous thing about our little slice of fake revolt was Obama-Swastika guy…

      1. …if you look at the movement Republicans efforts to change American’s thinking their way, they are probably paying a lot per vote.

        Since the 1960’s all of the think tanks, the talk radio shows, Faux “News,” how many b-b-b-billions of dollars to convince Americans that up is down?  To vote against their own best interests?

        And yet, they still lose elections rather handily, especially now that many Americans have resumed consciousness.  

      1. he’s not wearing one of his knit shirts that cling to his C cup man boobs so fetchingly.  

        GOP Chair Steele claims that he’s in charge of the party and Rush is just an entertainer.  But how many Republicans even know who Steele is and how many Republican pols are afraid of him?  

        Seems to me if Rush is the one they fall all over themselves apologizing to when they slip up and say anything that might offend the ditto heads, then he’s the one with real power. The power to make R elected officials cower and toe his line, not Steele’s, whatever Steele’s line is.   Translating failed policy into Hip-Hop? Trickle down for the peeps?

  3. With all the discussion of all the problems we face – and we do face really bad problems, it’s not the end of the world. Most of the economy is still bouncing along pretty well. I think once they bite the bullet and have the FDIC take the broke banks into receivership, that things will start improving.

    And we’re now 4 weeks of trying to find a sales admin to hire and having no luck. This is like the .com crash – highly qualified people are still very very hard to find.

    1. attitude is nice. However, the “fundamentals of the economy” are still not strong. A landscaping position advertised this year in Thornton had 1,000 applicants! 3 years ago maybe 50 would have applied. Most of the economy is NOT “bouncing along pretty well”. You and I live in the same congressional district and we share the same party affiliation, but when it comes to the reality of this horrific recession we are obviously not witnessing the same reality. I am tempted to break my anonymity and drive you around Colorado so that you can see for yourself the thousands of foreclosed homes, the huge croud of people who stand outside the homeless shelters downtown because there are no more beds. I would also drive you to several of the day labor offices around the metro area (maybe you can interview some of those folks). Drive down 92nd avenue in Federal Heights between Federal and Pecos and count the number of vacant strip mall spaces on the south side. 3 years ago business was good and there were NO vacancies. Today, when I drove by, I counted 6. We live in the same congressional district, but, are we living on the same planet?    

      1. UPS had three times the normal number of apps.

        I did one online and despite three seasons driving and one stretch of throwing boxes in the barn at night, nary a call.

        And it’s worse now, the economy, I don’t know about UPS.  

    1. …I’d like to point out that the Fat Guy Movie Critic blasted Blade Runner when it came out…and then fell all over himself to revise his statements once the rest of the world got it.

      It probably comes down to this – if you haven’t read the graphic novel, this movie will make your brain hurt with the density of the storyline.

      If you’re an obsessive fanboy/fangirl of the comic, you hate it sight unseen because of the thing that changed. (No spoilers from me!)

      From what I’ve seen, this is a freakin’ BRILLIANT movie that supposedly couldn’t be made. I know I’m going at Midnight on Thursday, with my trenchcoat, hat and weird changing rorschach mask…

      1. but looks aren’t everything.  I think it’s biggest problem is that a lot of people won’t be able to get their minds around the “alternate history” idea.  And of course the “you can’t change a thing” crowd will call this another League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

        Alan Moore is such a great storyteller that transferring what he wrote to the screen is not a task for lesser talents.  We can only hope this is somewhere as good as V for Vendetta.

        And believing that the original is always better than the imitation, I’ll have my Question outfit on.

        1. From the few reviews I linked to on Metacritic, the problem seems to be that the script was written by fans and tries WAY too hard to stick closely to the comic, thus alienating everyone who’s never read it. I imagine it’ll please the fans but not many other people.

          Have there been other comic book movies where the fans loved it but everyone else hated it? The Punisher, maybe?

          1. Others (like me and I assume you) enjoy a good “what if”, especially when written by someone with a good knowledge of the era written about.

            Anything by Harry Turtledove and the Eric Flint Ring of Fire books are great examples of the genre.

            I do think this will be more of a fan movie rather than a popular one.  In part because as SSG Dan said, it’s a very dense storyline but also it’s a very dark one.  Outside of fandom this is not a well-known story and the characters aren’t household names.  Not a lot of people who never heard of the Watchmen will want to see a heavy super-hero movie.

            As to the Punisher, hated the Dolph Lundgren version, was okay with the Thomas Jane, haven’t seen the Ray Stevenson yet.  There will always be the fan who is convinced that the writer/director/actor screwed up their favorite character.

            And for those here who have read the comic (and there seems to be a few) a little fun:


            1. It has nothing to do with its fealty to the comic (er — graphic novel, don’tcha know) or difficulty grasping the alternate history — it’s just a sprawling mess, poorly written and flaccidly executed. Any one or two minutes of it are very cool — brings WATCHMEN to life — but strung together, not so much.  

            2. The Ray Stevenson version has been bagged by the critics, but it is the best one IMHO.  But that could be a statement about the first two as opposed to the strength of this one.  This last one is either the best “B” movie or a bad first tier movie.

              Speaking of movies, I saw Gran Tarino and it is a dang good movie!

        2. That movie was a piece of shit. C’mon, the dialogue was terrible. “What they did to me was monstrous.” “Then they made a monster!” Puh-LEEZE…..

            1. The rest of my post is…

              I don’t know anyone who read V for Vendetta, whether they are a hardcore comic geek, a Moore specialist, or someone who just checked it out, who thought the film was any good in comparison.

  4. I’m Polis ambivalent at best, so no one should take this as picking.

    That being said,

    U.S. Rep. Jared Polis… gave a shout out to the blogosphere Saturday, giving it – and himself – credit for the “demise” of traditional journalism.

    He does understand the difference between bloggers and journalist, right?  I could see harping on this as a good thing if only paper circulation had stopped, but I think we only have a shot at reporters actually reporting something important without heavy spin, we now have half the chance.  Yep, you’re right, Polis.

    “The media is dead and long live the new media.”

    Who needs fact facts?  We have crazy bloggers now.  Does that mean Polis actually does touch young boys?  I’m so confused!

    1. endorsed Will and the Camera endorsed Joan last summer. Maybe you can win an arguement with folks who buy ink by the barrel? However, I bet Jared would have won by 10pts instead of 4 pts if he had the endorsement of those 3 newspapers. Newspapers have a greater influence on voters in a statewide Gov. race. Papers have much, much less influence on voters in congressional races. The primary last year in CD2 broke all the congressional state records in fundraising and spending and it still got very little attention. The presidential and Senate races got most of the attention.  

  5. …..where they destroy something like 100 videotapes to hide the evidence of their immoral and illegal behaviors? Is this what you want?:

    “The New York Times reported in December 2007 that the CIA “destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody” in 2005. The videos in question included the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, and remain the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.

    As it turns out, “at least two” was a dramatic understatement.

    New documents show the CIA destroyed nearly 100 tapes of terror interrogations, far more than has previously been acknowledged.”

    Why would anyone hide anything? Ask yourself that question. Why do you hide anything?

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