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'The incentives made them dumb'

I'm going to take a momentary break from what has been a full-time job of gloating about my incredible NCAA hoops picks -- I am so euphoric I can barely put words together here in any sensible fashion (I mean you've SEEN how I'm killing Wilbon and Cillizza and Steinberg and all those folks, right?) -- and will now take us all back to Thursday night and the Michael Lewis Politics & Prose book event.

"The Big Short" is going straight to No. 1 on any bestseller list, and then probably beyond, to, like. No. 0.5, if you can imagine that. Anyway, it was a very crowded event, and my job was to ask questions and banter a little. I also took notes, and want to share a few of Michael's insights:

"The incentives made them dumb." The central mystery of the financial crisis is why Wall Street did not realize that it was in the midst of a giant bubble. Free markets are supposed to be good at finding the true value of things. Why didn't the Wall Street folks see that these bonds were toxic? Why didn't they sniff out the coming disaster. Well, as one banker in the audience noted during the Q&A, a fair number of people did know that it was all going bad, but they were overpowered by the complacent majority. And Michael's book is about the handful of folks who made fortunes by explicitly betting that the house of cards was going to collapse. But how about the people who ran the big firms? What were they thinking? Answer: They were thinking about their next quarterly statement. The rewards were all for short-term performance. The incentives made them dumb.

"Capitalism does not work without rules -- rules imposed from outside." The book shows an astonishing incompetence in the financial markets. But that doesn't mean we should abandon free markets. Financial reform means putting in place new rules that will de-incentivize stupidity. And you can't trust the firms to police themselves. As one exec, John Mack, put it, "We can't control ourselves."

Reform of Wall Street "requires that people who don't have money but have votes to trump people with money but not that many votes."

On the question of whether the blame really lies with ordinary people who took out whopper loans to buy houses they couldn't conceivably afford: "In the financial system, you really can't be asking the borrowers to be the brake."

A final thought: Someone pointed out that there have been many financial crises before, and that at some level this is just the latest in a series. But Michael noted that previous crises have typically been triggered by external events -- the outbreak of a war, for example. This one was a purely financial event that came out of the clear blue sky.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 20, 2010; 8:28 AM ET
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Next: Health-care reform: the long view


Too many people were subscribing to the Greater Fool Theory all at once.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like another rowdy night at the P & P. I mean I've heard stories.

I like the "Capitalism needs rules" observations. All competitive systems need rules to prevent chaos.

Like, for example, basketball.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

And I find that bit about this crisis arising from internal forces extremely profound. Yet another example of "I Have Seen the Enemy and It Is Us."

Or, if you don't like getting your philosophy from Pogo, consider the "Tragedy of the Commons."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Goo morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Thank you for taking notes at the book event, Mr. A. I'm glad it was well attended.

I do disagree with a few of the points.
a) Incentives: Virtually all incentives handed out in Corporate America are based on short-term measures of progress. So why would it be the financial markets that collapse due to the incentive structure rather than some other sector(s) of the economy? I think the incentive structure played a role, but other reasons come into play.
b) Borrowers: Each borrower, whether an individual, family, corporation or country, HAS to police itself to some degree. Guidelines and regulations obviously play a role here, but the larger system works better when the smaller parts understand and practice the basics of financial responsibility. They may not be the brake, but they certainly help avoid 'pedal to the metal' syndrome.

c) The clear blue sky: As you mention earlier in your kit, this didn't come out of the clear blue sky. A number of people sent up warning flares, but were largely ignored. And it wasn't purely financial. It was a convergence of imprudent borrowing, overspending, rising fuel and food prices, a stock market that had been stalled for several months, AND the goings-on at several financial firms.

Congrats on your first-round showing. Very impressive.

Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

RD, one of the important subtexts of the tragedy of the commons is that when we truly live close to the commons and truly comprehend this closeness (read we rely on the resource for our lives and livelihoods), we tend to use the common wisely. Most of the work on the TofC concerns environment and economics. I am not sure how to consider the market thusly, but like bandwidth, the market is an abstract and very real human endeavor, so this is a resource that belongs to all of us.

Read a bit about Elinor Ostrom, last year's Nobel prizewinner for economics. Ostrom, the first woman to win this prize, worked with Oliver Williams on how community institutions can prevent conflict; one finding is that given enough information (science!) uses of the commons tend to use the resource well. Government regulation does not always improve the shared use. For examples, farmers and pastoralists tend to use the land wisely, given enough science (think Cooperative Extension programs at land grant universities). Fisheries, however, usually require regulation to avoid collapse (and, even so, we have spectacular collapses underway now).

I guess the "science" about markets (business, human behavior, microeconomics, macroeconomics, risk attitudes, etc.) cannot help us fully. Therefore, the case for regulation....

In environment circles, TofC abstraction explains in part the atmospheric problem. The atmosphere is a commons, hard to see in terms of borders and health (air -- see through!).

Shall stop now, with the nugget of knowledge. Thanks, RD, for making me think again about this. And, Elinor Ostrom's work is fine and Nobel worthy. Great that she makes history as the first women econ-Nob-prizzie.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 20, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I do wish I had been able to attend, but my back got overly worked up from the night before at P&P. I did, however, use my P&P membership to buy his book. I should probably get to it before the next house of cards blows down.

Don't forget that all these people are tremendously narcissistic. Nobody else exists except to serve them in one way or another. Yep, so happy that they got all that money, indeed, but what are they gonna do with it? Take it with them to the next life?

Completely crazy, stoopid and unproductive. Well, I guess yacht and private jet dealers have to eat, too.

*muttering expletives*

Off to the farmers market and subsequent Saturday errands. Cya later.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 20, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

March 15, 2010

A special update from

Don C. Kendrick
Regional President
Central Texas

Dear Customer:

We Want to take this opportunity to thank you for your byusiness and to welcome you to Wells Fargo. Your relationship is very important to us, so we are writing to give you a preview of what to expect when Wachovia becomes Wells Fargo in Texas later this year.

[skipping three paragraphs...]

To show our appreciation for your support and to help celebrate our continuing commitment to our Texas communities, we'd like to ask you to help us selct local charities to which we will make a donation. You can vote for your favorite organization by completing and returning the enclosed ballot.

[paragrpah omitted]


Don C. Kendrick

P.S.: Last year, Wachovia and Wells Fargo supported over 1,800 Texas charities with $9.2 million in dionations and 57,861 volunteer hours. Please help us slect local charities for future contribution by voting for your favorite organization today with the enclosed ballot.

The enclosed ballot contained choices for the Battered Women's and Children's Center, the Fallen Heroes' Fund, local Habitat for Humanity, one or two others that I cannot recall as I immediately returned the card in the mail, and the San Antonio Food Bank. I chose the Food Bank because the need is so great.

I also chose the Food Bank because a week ago Thursday my husband's very close coworker, the Asian-Anerican woman that has been with World/Wachovia/Wells for 10 years, was laid off. She gets a compensation package for a handful of months. This is the woman, you may recall, who called on a Saturday morning to find out how my husband was feeling becaue he had missed work on a Friday night, work I put a stop to because my husband was near nervous exhaustion. She also cooks for San Antonio's homeless through her church.

Add to this that about the very same time that she was fired, our neighbor in the subdivision, who made the move to Texas from California in '94 for World Savings, when we did, and who took the severanace package two or so years ago and since played lots of golf and sailed his boat, has now been hired back as a contractor. We wonder between this neighbor and my husband who fared better. Since my husband had malignant melonoma and required surgery, I can't help but think of not having insurance when my husband needed surgery.

Some things I just do not understand.

Posted by: laloomis | March 20, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I saw Texas ugly last night, and I guess it shocked me.

I have a headache this morning as I type this, had it through the night, and when I finish here, I intend to go downstairs and swallow some aspirin or other painkiller. No doubt, the headache stems from the Texas ugly incident that I both saw and heard last night.

As I mentioned, my husband and I went to see Damian Gillen perform his "The History of One Darn Easy Lesson!" He began a riff about lawyers, which prompted a heavyset, jowly Mexican-American in a red, zip-front sweatshirt to shout out, "Kill Obama!" Where's Frank Luntz's call for civil discourse?

To hear Gillen (who hails from New York City) tell it, the true enemies of the state of Texas are Gore, Clinton, Obama and Pelosi. This comedian was extremely loud volume-wise, boorish, his act full of trite cliches.

As the review in the paper by San Antonio Express-News writer Deborah Martin explained, the original show called for a cast of three, and now it's just Gillen himself. She says Gillen "cooked up a crowd-pleaser"--I'd argue with that assertion vehemently.

The people with whom we sat, the Glessners, retired, the husband having been career Air Force, had the common sense to leave at the very end of Gillen's first act. They were expecting something completely different than what was delivered from the stage last night. Interestingly, their son formerly worked for the Austin American-Statesman, but now writs for the state's Ag. Dept, and pursues his love of heavy metal music by freelancing. His parents said their son is known on 6th Street in Austin by his nickname of "Metal Dave."

Dinner was supposed to be served at 6:30, the show to begin at 7:30, with a 15-minute intermission between acts. Dinner was at 7:30, the show began at 8:20 and the comedian took a 35-minute intermission.

I consider the evening to have been a colossal waste of both money and time--how I wish we could recoup the dollars! Our paper says the comedian plans to take his show to Fort Worth, where, I hope, Fort Worthers avoid his show like the plague.

I hope the the Little Italy Restaurant at 824 Afterglow and the Brown Paper Tickets agency think twice about working with a funny man whose words are so incendiary. The oddest thing about the entire evening was that the small theater dinner seating was in The Big Apple Room of The Little Italy restaurant. On the wall was an oversized diorama of New York City, the Twin Towers dominating the scne's night sky. Only once, and briefly did, Damian Gillen mention George W. Bush.

Unfortunately, the scene of Texas ugly colored the rest of my Friday night.

Posted by: laloomis | March 20, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I've so far managed to have only one small, rather harmless skin cancer, a basal cell carcinoma. Melanoma is always serious.

I wonder about what must be a lost generation of Princeton graduates who took up financial engineering. Maybe they're now re-engineers.

I recall that World Savings set up a branch in our corner of the world a few years ago, then disappeared. So many vanishing banks. I think the legislature is considering setting up a state-owned bank. Not that the legislature has any money to start a business.

The report on Lehman came out just about the same time as Michael Lewis's book. I think I now understand why Lehman didn't get a last-minute bailout. Looks like there's still some interesting memoirs to be written.

It's looking as though the Catholic Bishops will bring down the health care bill because the Senate language on abortion leaves a minuscule possibility (in the style of a homeopathic remedy) that an occasional cent or two of taxpayer origin might be applied to conducting an abortion. I wonder what Aquinas might think.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 20, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

That's a hypocrisy as great as theoretically refusing to run soup kitchens just because it might feed alcoholics, murderers, or worsen diabetes.

Those people need to get a grip. This is health care, not moral fascism.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I'm not sure that this financial crisis came out of the clear blue sky (much like the one over Washington DC and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic today).

I'd agree that there may not have been a single event to attribute to it, but when I consider the series of events beginning with the Tech bubble and meltdown, the mess of the 2000 election followed by 9/11, and then the real advent of lowered lending/credit standards (done in order to create a supply stream of securitzable finanical instruments/products for the growing financial markets) and socio-economic situation of difficult wars dragging on and on, and a percieved threat of increasing terrorism worldwide, our government and others would naturally be happy that their domestic situations are relatively quiet. That easy credit allowed for nice new houses, new cars and other products as well as high employment for folks engaged in building/creating, selling, managing/maitaining those products. Easy to reduce income taxes when sales taxes are up, too.

Easy credit usually equals domestic tranquility, and when those bills come due, watch for a rise of the Democrats in subsequent election cycles.

And for them to implement tough measures to try to right the ship, which quickly become unpopular as things get better.


Posted by: -bc- | March 20, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

In the WaPo "Myths, Hypocrisies, and Distortions of the Big Dance" editorial,
my favorite blurb is by John Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
"Around the country, employers are up in arms about what March Madness means for productivity, as some workers take longer lunches at the sports bar or spend work time watching games online, which can affect the productivity of the company as bandwidth-hogging video slows everybody's Internet connection. My firm undoubtedly contributes to the anxiety through its annual estimate of the cost of March Madness in wages paid to unproductive workers. (The latest estimate was $1.8 billion for the first week of the tournament.)"

But then he goes on to say,
"Instead of lamenting March Madness, employers should embrace it. Those who organize free tournament pools, for example, are likely to see a positive effect on long-term productivity, morale and loyalty. These benefits far outweigh the short-term impact March Madness may or may not have on the workplace."

Is that not a bit short-sighted (and maybe hypocritical) of him and his firm to, on the one hand, bemoan the short-term productivity losses but then say at a different time and place that it's worth it in the long run?

Full disclosure: I went to high school with the guy. He's brilliant.

DotC: My favorite 'new' bank is Ally, which is actually GMAC dressed up as a federal bank so it could qualify for TARP. According to Brainflation,
Ally is using some its TARP money to pay higher-than-sustainable rates on their financial instruments in an attempt to gain market share.

Michael Lewis, are you listening?

Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Words generally come easily for me, and I'm not usually at a loss for them. But having been outside this morning running my usual Saturday morning errands, there is no word in my vocabulary, in any language I know, to describe the greater outdoors right now.


Do forgive me for shouting, but it's indescribably and incredibly drop-dead BEEEEEEYOUUUUUUTIFULLLLLLLLL out there. I've gotten (in order) a crocus high, definitely a daffodil high and a succession of early tree-bud highs. And I'm not sneezing (yet) or coughing too much (yet).


Faxing all that to the Boodlers who are experiencing rain and snow at the moment.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 20, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, ftb. TWC had that kind of day yesterday and now it's snowing.

Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Hello All; Spring greetings from Vermont.
I do not claim academic street creds. The markets where speculation is the only value added DO collapse. No, they were not made dumb by incentives; is the naked emperor fable all over. As with health care accessibility, the discourse is plagued by stale propaganda. Of course markets need regulation. The latest crisis required massive influx of cash from the USA taxpayers; that is, intervention folks. Our personal budgets require a larger portion for health maintenance every decade, hence the need for cost controls. Bankruptcy as a side effect of medical care is barbaric. Short term planning, quick profits and blame shift; is this world class leadership?

Posted by: RUBENMORTIZ | March 20, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

And since there can never be enough talk about plants, IRIS will grow nicely in the shade -- but they won't bloom!

Shifting shade patterns, or the iris growing into a shady place, will stop the blooms.

Posted by: nellie4 | March 20, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Well, then, MsJS, I'll fax you even more. Can't get enuf, eh?

We're promised rain starting tomorrow night sometime (or late in the afternoon), through Monday and into Tuesday. I'm getting up at 5:00 Ayem on Wednesday to pick up my Zambian brother at the airport, so he can give a speech on Thursday and go home on Friday. As I was beginning to spiff up (so to speak) the guest room, I found a bunch of papers he left the last time he was here (I don't go into the guest room often). Earlier he has left his toothbrush and toothpaste. I'm the more compulsive one -- he's definitely not! But leaving something somewhere means that one will return, and I always look forward to his visits.

But 5:00 Ayem (*yawn*).


Posted by: -ftb- | March 20, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. It is snowing here, sometimes hard, and with some wind, but the predicted Blizzard has not come. Perhaps it stayed in northern climes. Thanks to you Northern Plains states for being so hospitable.

I look forward to reading The Big Short now that we have it, but I had already picked up Gaiman's "American Gods" so must finish it first. This might be a good day for making some headway on that.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 20, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I am so tired of everything always being about abortion. I have my own firmly-held position on the question, and I respect others' firmly held positions on the question, but those on both sides who think that this is the only thing that matters need to get a grip. Or at least be ignored. Babies and bathwater, folks. (I don't know if the expression really fits, but it's about babies, so I feel the need to use it.)

Posted by: -bia- | March 20, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Real Cincinnati chili for virtual lunch, in honor of Error.

Hot dogs, rolls, spaghetti, cheese and onions standing by.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 20, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

So, no one at the bond-rating firms had any idea, all the smart people "knew" history would never repeat itself, there was no conspiracy to commit widespread fraud, and all their motives were not really criminal at all! They just made "mistakes."

Of course Greenspan wanted to legalize fraud - said the market would self-correct. The point is, it WASN'T legal. And the correction happened.

I guess I'll have to read the book to see if Lewis himself really believes no laws were broken. It sure seems that way from the reviews.

I think if laws were broken, there would be huge pressure by powerful men to cover up evidence of it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes indeed, a simply fantasmagorical day out there!!!

I can see it quite clearly through the windows of the car dealership service dept. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Rose had Michael Lewis on his show the other night:

From what I remember, I think he's saying the people he wrote about, who profited by being right about the collapse, did not break any laws. The firms which cooked their books to appear to be in better shape than they were, probably did break laws. Lewis also says that these insiders thought that the CEO's of the firms were more deluded and foolish than criminal.

What irks me is that the Wall Streeters who caused the collapse were not the ones who paid for it. I suppose that's not the first time that's happened, but it's on such a large a scale, and affected so many people who had done nothing wrong (like me and so many of my friends). It's not right.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 20, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The real crime is often what is perfectly legal.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

seasea: A loooooong time ago, I once worked for a person who eventually became one of the CEOs who played a part in the mortgage meltdown.

My personal view then was that this person should never be allowed rise to positions of responsibility. But his career took off. His performance was, to be kind, mixed. Yet after controversial tenures with companies, he continued to find a new president or CEO position with another outfit.

So my question was always who are these people who, time after time, company after company, continued to hire him despite his tumultuous track record?

In my mind, those are the folks who should be sitting on the hot seat.

Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Spring!!! :-)))))

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

seasea, but what do we expect, being the little people and all? :( As it always was, chiefs and serfs; only we don't know now that we are serfs. As BC notes, credit allowed for the trappings of affluance....hidden inside was something really not right in the state of Denmark....our should I say, Iceland. I have friends there who say it is very bleak, yet the social fabric there is working to redo their in how would it be to kick people out -- on an island! -- with nobody in place to buy the newly cheap houses?

I think the industrial psychology and behavioral economics people have documented quite well the trait of narcissism in some classes of business sectors, particularly in finance and corporate governance. People with that trait 1) always blame others and 2) move in ways -- conscious and unconscious-- to protect themselves completely.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 20, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, folks. I'm intrigued enough to order The Big Short, for my own edification and to allow me to argue intelligently with my Republican brother who says it was all started by Bill Clinton.

We have traveled to Mr. T's home community to feast on pulled pork barbeque with mustard slaw and hushpuppies. We also brought home 15 pounds of barbeque, which is already in the freezer, and slaw, which is now in the fridge. We will survive the next six months.

One of Mr. T's cousins had found color slides of a barbeque held in 1958 and printed enlarged photos from them. One photo was of a blond boy with a buzz cut and a blonde girl on the fire department's original truck. He wasn't sure, but we all surmise that the boy was Mr. T.

Posted by: slyness | March 20, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Capitalism does not work without rules -- rules imposed from outside."

Keeping Capitalism running requires Mandarins, but nobody likes them or much appreciates what they do. I think the secret is to keep your Mandarins small but keep the focus of their attention smaller.

When I was a child, Indiana had a rule: No state bank could operate across county lines; i.e., state banks could run branches but not in other counties besides where their home office was. Back then banks (at least in Indiana) were devoted to the needs of their communities and not at all distracted by investment opportunities abroad.

That changed. First they were allowed to open branches in adjacent counties. Then, after the rule was abolished altogether, most all were bought out by Marion County banks and ultimately by much larger entities.

It wasn't that the state ran out of Mandarins to regulate state banks -- to go over the books occasionally; there were always sufficient within beck and call, but their attention shifted from the welfare of citizens of counties to that of the citizens of the whole state: It became unfocused. Whereas in the past they could afford to p_ss off the citizens of one county to help out citizens of neighboring counties when a single bank was behaving badly, the Mandarins couldn't bring even the whole power of the state to bear on banks behaving badly all over to the detriment of all citizens and perhaps even their own account holders.

The idea is a little ludicrous that we can fix bank regulation with Federalization. We have this notion now because banks operate not only across state borders but also beyond national borders. Instead what we need to do is to downsize banks so the geographical range of their constituencies is much smaller than that of the Mandarins set to oversee them, and it wouldn't hurt either to have the Mandarins report at the state level.

The same can be said of insurance companies.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 20, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

That's an interesting point of view, especially regarding insurance companies (I don't disagree about banks, but we're so used to debit cards and ATMS without fees that it'd be hard for people to like that restriction, especially when people may live and work in more than one state.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, to be specific, CpQ, I think there were many things that contributed to the problems - Wall Street wanted to package and trade debt instruments (and tranches/deriviatives thereof), banks & lending institiutions tried to provide a stream of loans for WS to do so by offering all kinds of credit and loans, we consumers took advantage of that by taking that credit to buy stuff, the housing and consumer goods folks had to produce and sell stuff that we were taking credit out on (which drove up the emplyoment rates *and* the stock markets, too), and the government had no incentive to put the brakes on or govern any of it since everyone was happy and they were getting sales and other taxes along the way.

My $.02 anyway.


Posted by: -bc- | March 20, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Listen, don't kneecap me, I got money coming in tomorrow from this guy I made a bet with, so here's his phone number and this letter proving he owes me more than I owe you, you go collect instead. Keep the difference, it's on me. And if he doesn't pay up, kneecap him instead. I'm out of it."

How is this... ethical and legal?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, your scenario could be legal depending on how the loan agreements were structured and/or what sort of arrangement the first two parties agree upon when one come to collect. Not likely, but possible.

As to ethical, well I'm from Ill-In-Oys and therefore not really in a position to speak about ethics.

Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

After more reading I see my general desire for heads to roll, prison sentences served, fines levied on powerful individuals; are seen by some as just the rantings of conspiracy theorists. Said so many of the movers and shakers (shapers?) lost their own money, too. Oh well. It wouldn't surprise me to find out some individuals hedged heavily offshore, however.

One reviewer pointed out Lewis's thesis seems to have it both ways: corruption (knowing) AND foolishness. That may be a valid criticism.

Too nice to stay in. The Bradford pears are worthless except for this time of year. Some plums join in.

I will sit outside and look at my census form. The dogs are frisky and life looks better than it did yesterday.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

What, corrupt people are never fools to fall from the straight and narrow of life? A lot of crooks are dumb. I see no reason why a MBA and a tie should disqualify a crook from the "dumb" category (as in unable to think through the consequences of their actions.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Wilbrod.

I have an MBA from an upper tier school. I could point to a number who would fall into that category.

Being a CEO is hard. We all make mistakes, and CEO's mistakes cost a lot more than yours or mine. All CEO's have to delegate and there's a lot of variability in the ethics and/or ability of the delegatees.

There's also the element of risk. Many CEO's got to where they are because they were willing to assume more risk than your average person.

It turns out that the downside risk of some of the more complex financial instruments was largely ignored or underestimated.


Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Right, they don't audit the books of every company they deal with. There has to be a mimimum presumption of business ethics between partners.

Which is why I think using debt as collateral is shady at best, since there's no guarantee the new loan owners will be fully aware let alone comply by the argeements made.

I suppose I can sue the new loan owners for violating the contract terms, but if they can sell that contract tomorrow, where am I at, then? (Let's say the agreement wasn't just for a loan, but say, financial advice, and the cost of that was factored into the loan...)

I just don't think it should be legal to sell contracts without the NOTIFICATION and consent of all parties involved in the contract.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Well, those of you who guessed Villanova would be in the Final Four guessed wrong.

St. Mary's beat them 75-68.


Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

JA's still atop the leaderboard, however.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

You know what? You can click on the link on the kit to get to the rankings, and then click on the "Achenblog" link in the rankings to get back to the kit. Then you can, like, do it all again.

I am easy to amuse.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

A reviewer claiming to be a Lehman alum said:
(of Lewis) "clear that what he was talking about was what audiences of Shakespeare's time called 'claptrap to catch the groundlings.' This is a perfect yadayadayada book for sensibilities that pay good money for products endorsed by celebrities, but for the real story of the subprime short, turn to Zuckerman (The Greatest Trade Ever) or Yves Smith's ECONned."

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I tried to post this a couple of hours ago, but it got et. So I'll try again.

Approximately 5 years ago, I wrote and published an article about a particular theory I had on the then pretty new Sarbanes-Oxley Act (affectionately known as SOX). I dropped a footnote early on which opined as follows:

"Although the case was filed in advance of the enactment of SOX, the first domino has tumbled, in the form of Bernard Ebbers, former CEO of Worldcom, proving that while abject ignorance, gross detachment and even stupidity might enable you or even qualify you to be a CEO, it may not save you any longer from SOX's reach."

Well, that was about 5 years ago, and nothing's changed much. I am, however, reminded of Les Miserables, wherein Jean Valjean got a hefty prison sentence for stealing a loaf of bread, and nothing's changed much in that respect, either.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 20, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh, I'm outside getting work done, and there's all of these cool sports on TV - the 12 Hours of Sebring (Peugeot Diesels running 1-2), NASCAR Nationwide at Bristol, and of course, fabulous NCAA Tourney basketball, and instead of sitting down and watching it, I'm going to relax on my deck with an iced coffee and a book.

Hail St. Mary's!


Posted by: -bc- | March 20, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Grey and cooler here, but not cool enough for snow. Just stepped outside and there is a symphony of birds in my neighbourhood, many varieties of birds all singing and chirping - major migratory period? Do not have a large enough zoom lens to take pictures though. Some pretty little birds around.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 20, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Simply beautiful day here, the last warm one for a while. Went to #2's house to bring her some things and go for a walk with the dogs. #2 is in the middle of a housecleaning, painting and new rug frenzy. Another week or so and her house will look decent again.

I may have to get Lewis' book after all, if I can control my anger while reading it. I am now reading Lunatic Express, which Joel recommended last fall. The author had a blog about his travels that was fascinating. This book is quite good, makes me appreciate life in this country as I read how so many people in the world live in constant commotion, squalor and the pursuit of money enough for necessities.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 20, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm frenvious, badsneaks. Hoffman's book isn't available in Canada yet. I've followed his blog for a couple of years, though I don't comment there. His stories of India hit a real chord with me.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Kansas is down, which in the chaos sports theory means I need to keep doing what I've been doing. That would be making a second batch of Dr. G's microwave potato chips (with jerk seasoning). Ok by me.

Not everyone was dumb. My former employer played until about a year before it all went south. While they walked away from the short-term value of that year, it put them in great position to move up in financial institution ranking. Bought an even larger institution with TARP, which they'll be paying off shortly. No doubt, they're b@$t@rd$ and while I'm happy to have moved on, their greed did have bounds when it grew unsafe.

Wilbrod, that's why companies demand SAS70s from other companies.

Have a good evening, all!

Posted by: -dbG- | March 20, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Attention, bracket-watchers.

In a Midwest region match-up, #9 seed Northern Iowa leads #1 seed Kansas by 8 at the half.

Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

*Quietly noticing that Mr. A has dropped into a second place tie.*

Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Well. I heard from a Swedish friend that tonight (their time, which was hours ago) the start of the Millennium trilogy was going to play on Swedish television. So, I went to the web site and took a look. The television series is in 6 parts, 90 minutes each, and will be available through maybe April 20th. Each book has two episodes, so if you haven't yet read the second or third books, you may want to skip those. And, well, there are no subtitles, either. So you may want to take a crash course in Swedish.

As it turns out, and according to the site, the television series is longer than the film(s) by about 90 minutes, as the TV series goes more into the background and is much deeper.

And all I can say is WOW. Noomi Rapace is magnificent as Lisbeth Salander, and I can't imagine anyone else playing her. Geez. Just incredible. Makes me wish, yet again, that Larsson hadn't died when he did so he could write more, although I understand that he left more that he had written in his computer.

Let's make some dinner.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 20, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Let's! What's for dinner?

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Butler killed Murray street in the conservatory. Whatever that meansé

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 20, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Northern Iowa still up 9 on Kansas with about 10 minutes left...

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

The Northern Iowa lead is now only 3 with 2 minutes left.

#11 Washington leads #3 New Mexico by 20 with about 12 minutes to go.

Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Carolina won, Mr. T was happy.

Dinner! Filet on the grill, baked potato, roasted asparagus, salad, an ice cream sandwich for dessert. I only ate half of the potato and the filet, so I have them to look forward to.

We've had a lovely day, Mr. T managed to dig his trench and put BOTH cables in it, and now I need to close the windows I've had open all afternoon.

Posted by: slyness | March 20, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

This cracked me up. From Finslippy on March 12:

"I have another tip for you: start a website called "Forgetsy." I don't know what it would be. That's up to you to figure out."

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

The mighty are falling.

Northern Iowa beats Kansas.

Posted by: MsJS | March 20, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Luvvin' the underdawg! Just saw the last couple of minutes of the No. IA - Kansas game. Holy Cow! Good for them! They may not make it all the way to the finals, but wowie-zowie, can they feel proud!

Posted by: -ftb- | March 20, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Yoki -- well, my dinner was some defrosted sockeye salmon with a buncha veggies, nuked to perfection in the nuke-machine. Then I had a banana and a wee bit of dark chocolate. Sooooo pleased to know that dark chocolate is good for one.

What was your dinner?

Posted by: -ftb- | March 20, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Ha! In one of my brackets, I had Kansas taking it all.

I think I can write that one off.

Oh, never mind, it just burst into flames in my hand.


Posted by: -bc- | March 20, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

ftb (forgive me for eating animals); mine will be, eventually, two chicken thighs grilled Peruvian-style (vinegar, chili powder, cumin, olive oil, oregano, cilantro marinated) and a salad of corn/black beans/tomatoes/onions/red Bell peppers/cilantro/lime/jalapenos.

It is OK.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

In honor of the snowy day, the Ivansclan is having a late supper. Cuban black beans with ham (adapted from a recent NYT recipe), cornbread and green rice. Ivansdad made up the green rice recipe some time ago, for chile verde, and it has served us well - regular white rice cooked with chicken stock, parsley and cilantro all mushed up. That's a technical term.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 20, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh! Oh! Ivansmom! I made those Cuban black beans and rice from the NYT for Himself the other day! He doesn't love beans (he suspects it is a subversive attempt to get him off the meat), as a rule, but was very happy with that meal.

Today I tried Bittman's fries. They behaved as he said they would, but weren't worth the effort. It was a small disappointment.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

And don't you just love the title of that blog? "Cooking with Dexter" Dexter is, like, 6 years old, and has a palate! And somebody in NYC named his little boy Dexter. Fabulous.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Every time I see the "Cooking with Dexter" title I get a "Silence of the Lambs" vibe.

On the Kansas thing, Yes!

Posted by: -dbG- | March 20, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh my! I need to see more movies.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

We still have warblers in the oaks.

Nothing official to report, but Florida seems to be suffering a snake deficit. A herpetologist at Florida Atlantic University commented that you used to see rat snakes, rough green snakes, corn snakes, and of course racers as a matter of course. No more.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 20, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the pythons ate all the smaller snakes. Or scared them into Alabama.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 20, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Yoki. I too find the Dexter angle charming. My primary modification for the recipe was to use a bunch of leftover cooked ham that was in the freezer, instead of the ham hock. There was really a lot of it; it was almost Cuban Ham and Black Beans. Very tasty, though, for all of us.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 20, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I had Kansas reaching the championship game but losing to Kentucky and Duke respectively. Our only solace is that about 50% of the entrants had Kansas cutting down the nets.

Since GT and MD are in the same bracket, an all ACC Final Four is impossible.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear. A lack of snakes is very much like a lack of frogs. Not a good indicator for the environment. Also, cross-gendered fish, and missing bees and bats.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

A lack of snakes hasn't hurt Ireland. Makes it preferable, if you ask me. (But I take your point.)

Posted by: seasea1 | March 20, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Ya, seasea, but that was divine proof, not a natural die-off. Still not sure I approve. I like snakes and spiders and bats and bees and coyotes and wolves and bears and yetis. Because they are useful engines of balance. I don't object to any animal that eats another.

I am a pagan, a witch, clearly.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

the shack has an operable loo. rooting for wake. kansas and 'nova lost?!? wow.

Posted by: -jack- | March 20, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

So, my mouse died. Bought a new mouse, the computer won't recognize it. I've tried all the hardware updates tricks I know. I'll have to return it, I guess. I am in sore mouse withdrawal, as I don't like touchpads very much-- too centralized for ergonomics.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I spent the afternoon strolling around National Harbor since it was such a pretty day. I'm glad we avoided the Capitol Hill area where a Tea Bagger Protest resulted in a racial incident when John Lewis and Emmanuel Cleaver arrived for a vote.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, plug and play mouse from Logitech.

Cheap, easy, durable.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Too big for my hands, Yoki, but that was what I have used in the past, and I agree it's dandy. It wasn't available in the store, more's the pity.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I have a really nice small sized wireless mouse from Microsoft (I know, I know) but the size suits. Its has the smallest wireless thingy (advanced technical term) that I have ever seen.

Changing topics completely. Please pass your health care bill. Sometimes you have to look at what is good for everybody.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 20, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

From here it sounds like the plug at the computer is bad, not the mice. Mouses.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse




Posted by: Ivansmom | March 20, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

If that's a Moose, I'd hate to see their Rats!

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

We're trying, dr.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 20, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

As opposed to Joel, Obama is doing miserably. He had Kansas winning the tournament and Villanova in the Final Four. He better stick to playing hoops instead of picking them.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Nature in tooth and claw in my back yard.

Lots of birds shrieking and tumult disturbed my reading on the porch.(Go Spring!) Then my neighbor burst out of her house to yell at something in her back yard. (She hates cats and is constantly running them out of her yard.) Major commotion followed. Then a red tailed hawk flew over my yard and landed between some trees and hollered like I've never heard before from a bird. It was very hard to to find the source of the noise, but my eye finally allowed me to find the bird on the ground. Its noise went on for some time, and I thought I'd have to call some animal control agency, but finally it burst out of the bushes and flew away.

I identified it as a red tailed hawk because of a W.Post article I read this morning. It was rather thrilling.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | March 20, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I get nature red in tooth and claw in my backyard every Spring, ros. I hate it. I just wish my large, stupid dog would either leave the bunnies and squirrels and birds alone, or decently eat them. I can always tell when I get home that there is something wrong because the smaller, beta dog cowers in his room, afraid to go out. If he goes out the alpha dog (the killer) thinks he's after her kill, and gets fierce. I have to remove the dead animal before peace is restored. Yuck.

Once I decided to be more environmentally friendly and took the dead thing back to the woods behind our fence and left it there, since a very scrawny coyote lives there. Unfortunately, the neighbor's special little yippy dog got into it the next day, causing the neighbor to go into hysterics. She said he would become "ray-bid."

This is all too much information, isn't it?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 20, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I tried all my USB ports. The first mouse flickered to life dimly for a brief moment of time, (when wire was moved) but I was unable to revive it for good.

This new mouse got a "USB device malfunction; unknown device" message-- and I tried it in all my ports.

On the other hand, my camera loaded in all three ports just fine, no problem. Checked again just seconds ago.

It's not the USB ports or drivers.

I was actually thinking maybe it was a recent Windows Vista bug or something that just blocked use of touchpad and mouse simulatenously (I don't deactivate the touchpad when the mouse is in use, sure wouldn't with this malfunction right now.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

No! Not at all.

Dogs are, like, sometimes, predators. I just love them. A dog with high prey-drive will find a way. I adore that they are true to themselves.

They are not family-members. They are dogs.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

A running joke in my house was how inept our dog was at chasing the rabbits in our neighborhood. That is when he could see them. On the other hand, he had an uncanny knack for sniffing out discarded bread and dinner rolls.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, have you tried power cycling the 'puter with the new mouse plugged in? Power cycling is my answer to everything. I used a mini-mouse with my laptop - loved it.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 20, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

And one of my rescues (a part Spaniel, part Golden Retriever, part under-achiever) once ate his way through the pantry; a bag of salt, a bag of dry rice, some cooking chocolate... and a whole bucket of water.

He was a fool, and a beautiful boy.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

On my bike ride this morning, I saw three vultures in the woods about ten feet from the road. They were picking clean a deer carcass and my bike didn't even make them look up.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Basket muzzle for the yard, Wheezy?

I turned Wilbrodog off chasing the critters by always making him obey before release (and also giving the darned bunnies a head start), so he would come up dry every time.

He still has his eye on squirrels, but he gives up fast once they're treed. But he has very moderate to low prey drive.

It sounds like your alpha dog is very high prey drive and probably would need to be exercised, trained, and redirected to games that recapture the thrill of the chase-- retrieve, chasing rabbit fur on a string, agility, etc.

It might be easier to live with the furry corpses, but the "prey guarding" is definitely a problem-- and exercise just might help the arousal issues involve.

Yoki can weigh in, but generally high prey drive dogs are very high energy dogs and nearly impossible to exhaust.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Forgive me seasea.

I've been watching US channels this evening (Castle is on ABC Detroit)and watching local news clips makes me sad.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 20, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Stewart Udall and Liz Carpenter both passed away today. WaPo has a story on Udall, but not Carpenter yet. This is from CNN:

Posted by: seasea1 | March 20, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

dr, that's fine. It makes me sad too, especially the bit about the Tea Partiers disrespecting Congress people, especially John Lewis. I hope the bill finally makes it to Obama this week.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 20, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes, very high energy. And the owner *must* work hard, to make the tired dog into a good dog. But, also, no, I don't think so. It is a matter of training, hard. Giving a smart high-energy dog a good job. Working every day to teach the dog that it can trust our leadership (not harsh), but just, we get to say what it can do or not do. This was my Lucy, a very high-prey-drive Alberta Heeler (mostly Alsatian, a bit Pit-Bull, almost a sight-hound predator off the reserve).

She wanted to take birds out of the air, puppies off their mothers, and walked-dogs off the leash. She wanted to eat them all. I had to work with her to the point that she could trust my guidance. At the end, when Luce was tempted, she looked to me (hoping for permission) and I just shook my eyes at her. And then she relaxed. And walked softly beside me. She was a good girl, in spite of herself.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, this dog is 7 now - old enough to be over this, but nooooo..... If a squirrel is unwise enough to enter our yard and she trees it, she'll dance around under the tree for hours, literally. Sometimes she tries to fool the squirrel by going somewhere else and pretending not to watch, but she's really totally fixated on watching. High prey drive is an understatement. Once, on a walk, she saw a baby skunk in the woods and took off, literally. Until the leash reached its limit. At which time her rear end continued on towards the woods while her head and neck stopped, until she collapsed on her back on the ground, with an audible clunk.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 20, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

John Lewis who was briefly my congressman while I finished college is a true American hero.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

John Lewis is one of the last original civil rights leaders. He was physically beaten in Selma and Montgomery leading anti-segregation marches.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks yello.

Posted by: Yoki | March 21, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

No seventh championship for my alma mater.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 21, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Yoki | March 21, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

my brain is locked
in iambic pent
what can I do
to break the block


I try i try i


oh pithy mock

On Monday I said 'It will stop raining tomorrow'.
She said 'Oh I hope so' I said 'trust me, I know. I'm a water sign'

World  Poetry  Day

Posted by: omnigood | March 21, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

I have to laugh at your story about the vultures.I was hiking up Buzzards rock at the park earlier this week.And the trail up is pretty steep and is a quick elevation climb.When I got to the top,I was out of breath and sweating pretty good.There were 5 or 6 vultures or buzzards flying overhead and I yelled at them "I aint dead yet".but they followed me up the trail.

I lost track of them after a pretty girl walked by.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Jacqueline Du Pre, Yoki. I read her Wiki page to my kids - imagine owning two Stradivarius cellos in your life! And such a short life.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 21, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse


Not only do I miss a line break, I don't finish a word

in iambic

Five lines of four, breaking all the rules

I try

Posted by: omnigood | March 21, 2010 1:41 AM | Report abuse

I need a dog who takes issue with squirrels. My dog doesn't "see" them. They take my pecans. Maybe I need a territorial carnivorous monkey patrolling the trees. Something.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 21, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

I kinda liked "in iambic pent," omni.

Couldn't hold my head up, went to bed at 10 (very unusual for me). Woke at 1:40 for a call of nature. Now completely awake (and got the munchies). As Jimmy Durante used to say, "What a revoltin' development."

OK, who's still up and will keep me company will I browse the channels and do some writing?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 21, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Ah, you know what Mudge, You are right. If I can't break my own rules what right do I have...

Take it back to the orig

And Yoki, You just had to make me cry

I didn't catch your link till after my post, but apropos, Jacqueline Du Pré, was a rule breaker in how she played

Posted by: omnigood | March 21, 2010 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Match link and link

Yoki...this is for you:

she has a rose

Posted by: omnigood | March 21, 2010 2:33 AM | Report abuse

"We're so used to debit cards and ATMS without fees that it'd be hard for people to like [setting limits to banks' geographical range], especially when people may live and work in more than one state."

Yes, Wilbrod, in ye olde days of which I speak ATMs were not unheard of, yet they were exceedingly scarce because bank branches were few and far between. Many depositors lived nearer a large town in an adjacent county and did their banking there instead of at more distant branches of a bank chartered to do business where they lived. Some people thought this (and the lack of ATMs) was silly. Other people appreciated the modicum of anonymity they achieved by banking across county lines.

In the current milieu of Mastercard and Visa the cost of operating ATMs has surely been leveled out geographically, and extending no-fee cash withdrawals to tourists (non-depositors) must be more beneficial to local banks and their depositors than limiting withdrawals to depositors only. Far from being a necessary result of fragmenting the market for banking services, ATM fees ought to be considered an unreasonable barrier to commerce and thus a target of regulation if not legislation.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 21, 2010 2:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh carp and then some

I really should edit my self and then some

one elses help, Mudge is this better?

my brain is locked
iambic pent
what can I do
to break the block

I'll keep working on it, forgive me Boodle

I think it needs the in

Suddenly I feel like a TV phone book. 555-44444

I'll try sleeping again.

Posted by: omnigood | March 21, 2010 2:45 AM | Report abuse

I’ve decided I won’t read The Big Short because it’s not going to be good for my health. If I were to apportion blame, Greenspan would get the biggest share of it.

Another contribution to the melt down is that CEOs are fixated with their company’s share price. They go into a panic mode when the share prices drop. They’ll do anything to prevent it from dropping.

Posted by: rainforest1 | March 21, 2010 2:56 AM | Report abuse

Still there, 'Mudge? "Brazil" is on one of the Encore channels, I think.

WaPo's take on the racist morons (I won't mainstream their idiocy with a pop culture tag, even if it is a decent double entendre):

What a surprise to see some demago... I mean, opposition lawmakers doing their best to bring mob rule back to Capitol Hill. *SIGH* Would anyone besides me be interested in the true demographics of that mob? Oh wait, I'll bet they're refusing to fill out Census forms...

Speaking of which, all that marketing hooplah over something that takes less than five minutes to fill out, even if your house is packed to the rafters? Yeesh!

And going back a Kit or so, my informal review of WaPo comments (for the 90 seconds or so that I can stand them) shows about a 10-1 ratio of "frothing at the mouth" to "rational discourse."

Fire meets ice in Iceland:

*anticipating-another-showstoppingly-gorgeous-day Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Once, a Florida State Parks biologist visited a beach park on a peninsula near Ft. Lauderdale and saw eyes, lots and lots of them, glowing in the light of his headlights. Raccoons. A control campaign ensued, and lizards, rabbits, and a number of plant species promptly proliferated. The raccoons had been eating everything.

I dunno about dogs, but cats seem to do that to birds.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

We are anticipating rain this afternoon. Mr. T is out in the yard, working to fill the trench he dug yesterday. But it's spring!

When I was on maternity leave with the Elderdottir, our dog cornered a rabbit and killed it. She ate on it, came inside, and promptly threw up on the foyer carpet. I managed to get the mess up and flush it, but the memory still makes me gag. This happened around 9 ayem, so I couldn't leave it for the husband when he came home.

Cassandra, are you up and going yet? I hope you have a pleasant day!

Posted by: slyness | March 21, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone! Looks to be a beautiful day indeed. An excellent opportunity to get the yard into shape so that this year it will be the envy of the neighborhood.
You know, a day to be delusional.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 21, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I am very grateful that Mr. F and I follow the family tradition of re-picking after the sweet 16 -a tradition started when Frostson was young and continued for the dott so they wouldn't lose interest if their favored team was out early. Not that I'd lose interest mind you, but Kansas really did me wrong.

Thanks to all for showing me that I am not ready to get a dog. Have had some serious puppy envy lately but this boodle reminded me of my worst dog day ever. Our Brittany would occasionally maintain her attention span long enough to catch something. This particular day I got a toad out of her mouth in time to save it, but while doing so was stung on the ear by a wasp. I looked like a Ferengi for days. Worse than that was losing my indifference to stinging insects. It takes a bit of the relaxation out of gardening.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 21, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Rosie O'Grady, best dog ever, used to sit in the sun. Like a statue. She would wait for the starlings or grackles to alight. Then, she neatly denuded them of their tail feathers. So, she did not kill them, but rendered them vulnerable to crows and other predators.

She also would follow bees with her eyes, then head, until snap! Eaten and swallowed before the bee could sting. Never once did did she have a venom dose.

In her last years, she lay in the puddles of sun and let the bird and bees simply be.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 21, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you today.

It struck me last night that 32 million people currently have no health care coverage in the US. (according to the news bit I saw) There are 34 million people in my entire country.

I'm sure someone noted this on the boodle before (the boodle doesn't miss much) but with my hit or miss reading of the boodle lately, I confess that it wasn't something I noted before. I can't help but feel that there is an entire disenfranchised nation there somewhere.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 21, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

DR, thanks. And, even more numbers who worry about losing their insurance, or hitting the lifetime cap, or especially now, the job=insurance connection. No job? No insurance. And, good luck later with a job, getting back on the insurance train: pre-existing conditions. Blech!

Some of my close relatives do not understand this, even with the barely insurance among their close flock. This notion of "i will take my chances and SO TO WILL OTHERS" refuses to lie down. I sometimes think that the bold audacity and righteous individualism of our country is traced to the first citizens. How can communitarian be a bad thing? Well, in Amurica, it smacks of godless communism.

I swear that Jesus IS a communitarian. Read the beatitudes, (you know who you are)-people, sheesh. Twice! Pop quiz this week.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 21, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Beck? Row 4, aisle 5. My EYES ARE ON YOU, Sir.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 21, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Enough of that. Just as I used to with my boys, when they woke up grumpy or sad and morning wasn't a good place to be, I'm putting myself back to the start of my day and will do it over.

I'm off to find another coffee and something cheery to knit. Good coffee, good knitting and spring weather makes for a splendid day.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 21, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

CqP, that was not aimed at you. Boodle happy my dear, though I know this is a subject very close to your heart.

I was fast putting myself into a sorry frame of mind at the beginning of 3 days off. To have 3 days off and not start cheery with a good direction would just be a crime.

CqP and co., if you are out looking at pretty spring flowers today, please think of me and fax me a hint of the loveliest spring scent of all, that of freshly worked soil.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 21, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

I'm not going to read "The Big Short" either. Based on the reviews, I've decided Mr. Lewis' story is, well, incomplete. That and the fact I can't physically manage a book or an e-reader.

Nothing else to add to the boodle.

Posted by: MsJS | March 21, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I just watered my indoor plants, dr, which include African Violets. Will that do?

Posted by: -ftb- | March 21, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I do *heart* you, CqP!

Posted by: -ftb- | March 21, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Oh, come back to boodle love! No offense, Dr. I had the same cleansing thought and went outside to peer and stoop down at the spring beauties! Ice follies daffies up for two days. The begin in bright two tones of yellow and now fade into a silvery-moonglow. Tiny clusiana tulips up in leaf and stem. And, magic lilies that I rescued from demolition last August: fully strappy leaves but then fade to nothing to launch full bore pink lilies -- often called nake-ed ladies -- in late July.

Spring: heals all. Thanks ftb.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 21, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Why yes, it will ftb. I am partial to African Violets at this time of year.

That is exactly what I need. I do believe that I will stop at the green house and get some. They will be bright indoor spring things and will grow nicely on my deck once the warmer weather arrives.

I almost hate this time of year. Its warm enough to carry a winter coat for emergencies, but its too warm to wear it. There is still lots of snow on the ground, but it looks rotten and sinks a little everyday. The earliest of the pussy willows are out and geese have arrived and are usually found standing on frozen ponds.

Everything within me wants to hear spring is here. Winter isn't here anymore, that is for sure, but it isn't quite spring.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 21, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Worth posting today: one of two posts that display the beatitudes in both Gospel version. I begin with Luke, that dear and glorious physcian, whose nativity story is the best of the synoptic books:

Luke 6:20-26 (New International Version)

20Looking at his disciples, he said:
"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

23"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
24"But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 21, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Matthew 5:2-10 (New International Version)

2and he began to teach them saying:
3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 21, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I happened to have a phone conversation yesterday with my close lifetime friend in Bakersfield and learned the following, from her invitation to the event. The article about the event (the one I chose to link to, below) is written by a liberal political science professor at California State University, Bakersfield:

...It looks like we’re going to find out at this year’s Bakersfield Business Conference, to be held Oct. 9 on the campus of California State University, Bakersfield.

Traditionally, the BBC has been a conservative cheerleading-fest. This year’s BBC is no different. Rudy Giuliani, Michael Steele, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and more shadow talkers are scheduled to appear.

This link seems to be the official one with the entire roster of speakers listed, the Bakersfield gathering titled "The Event of the Decade."

Posted by: laloomis | March 21, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Following a series of small earthquakes in Iceland during the last several weeks, a small volcano has erupted. Fears are that a more dangerous volcano in Iceland, with the potential to create a great deal more damage, could erupt soon. So much seismic activity around the globe lately!

Posted by: laloomis | March 21, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Very quick theo-sociology lesson. The Lucian beatitudes are often NOT the memorized ones. Look at how much easier the verses are in Matthew's version. Luke, however, clearly places the speaker Jesus within the community. The apostles and disciples are really timeless, so what he said to them eons ago, he SPEAKS to us today.

Now, quick segue to St. Augustine. Augustine's notion of the City on the Hill, or the City of God, comes into play. A central tension between Catholic and Protestant (writ broadly) world views concerns the temporal reality of that City. Do we build it now and bring IN THE KINGDOM as writ in the beatitudes? Or do we wait for the second coming -- the parousia -- and take residence in the after life.

My take on this is that Jesus is speaking about both, with emphasis on the here and now. Recall that Jesus is Jewish, with the rabbinic tenant of justice for the oppressed NOW (widows, orphans, deptors, etc.) The build/repair/recreate the world idea of tikkum olam applies here too. Very much a communitarian view.

Back to the US -- we are founded on the more individualistic view; we are also founded more on the idea of that City will come into being later.

I just put this out there to remind us of where we come from. And, that other interpretations of these precepts are quite possible.

And, to end: the nuns and sisters who continue to offer direct service to the poor, often in hospital settings, came out strong for health care reform. This action is incurring huge risks for them. I hope that Senate and House members will think principally on their moral courage.

Done. Back to the flowers.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 21, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Oh! You have a squirrel dancer, Wheezy!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 21, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Thinking of nuns and sisters, Dowd's column today is a classic.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

All of these stories about their dogs hunting reminded me of our family dog in my teens. I'm fairly sure I've mentioned her in th Boodle some years back -- blue-eyed female husky mix (we always half-joked that the other half was wolf), she was utterly territorial about our yard. Woe betide any animal that had the misfortune of wandering or alighting in it, because they found they were being stalked by 75 pounds of furry fury. Opossums, racoons, rabbits, birds, cats, mice, whatever -- fuggetabout it. We buried so many animals in the yard, I hesitiate to think what some forensic investigators would think of the impromptu pet cemetary in the yard there.

Never went after people, but did corner a few strangers who came into the yard (a locked gate with a BoD sign - what were they thinking?). Kept them there - fur up and teeth bared and growling - until someone came out of the house to see what was going on.

She'd check on everyone during the night, too -- push the bedroom doors open with her nose (or give a little scratch if the handle was latched) and hop into each bed for a little while, then curl up in the hallway between the rooms where she could keep ears and eyes on everything.


Posted by: -bc- | March 21, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I second the Dowd column. I was going to mention it earlier but was online with my nose buried in other activities.

Of course, one should also read Rich (who gives strong nods for "The Big Short" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"--I'm tempted by these two reads), Friedman ("America's Real Dream Team"), and Kristof, who, like Dowd, tackles the subject of health care.

Such a cold weekend, jackets required last night. Awakened yesterday morning by lots of small lightning strikes, hail dinging the windows for a short amount of time, loud thunder, very fierce winds, and heavy rain. Fire last night in the fireplace, another planned for tonight. Next weekend, it's projected to hit 80. Can't wait!

Posted by: laloomis | March 21, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure I should have realized this before, but emailing a senator or rep from PA through their regular website is impossible unless I'm a member of their district (or lie and put in an incorrect address). I checked a few other elected officials, other states, same story.

While I really dislike this practice, I've found a use for all those leftover long-distance minutes I have. Health Care now!

Posted by: -dbG- | March 21, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Little critters dead,
Growling at people just 'cause...
I'll date Goldens, thanks.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 21, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Woody said it best

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 21, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

That was good, Jumper. One of the comments caught my attention, though, referring to what he/she heard that the poorest of Mexico, Central America and Latin America had three things in their homes: (1) a crucifix, (2) a picture of the Virgin Mary and (3) a picture of Che Guevera.

If that isn't prophetic, I don't know what is. Says it all.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 21, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Both of the local CBS affiliates went to the Maryland game as soon as it tipped off. So in order to watch the Tech game, I had to take my wife's MacBook and connect it to the TV. The picture is a little grainy and jerky, but it will do. Oddly, the commercials come in fantastic.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

That GT-Ohio St. game is pretty low-scoring, yello. Whoever wins is going to need to shoot more often with better accuracy to beat Tennessee in the next round.

Posted by: MsJS | March 21, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Believe me, yello.

In my opinion, you're not missing anything in the MD vs. Mich St. game. MD's having a tough time dealing with Mich St's size, and their shooting percentage is not very good at the moment. I'm glad they're keeping it within 10 or so.

MD's "Beat Duke" Calvert yellow (I'm just guessing about that) jerseys aren't working so well against the Mich St. green.


Posted by: -bc- | March 21, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Loved that Woody tune, Jumper. I had been feeling not-so-kind after reading the Beatitudes, and you changed my perspective. See, I'm an atheist with a very strong sense of social justice, and when I read the Beatitudes (though I love the sound and poetry and rhetoric of them) I get an immediate sensation of disgust, because it seems to me to be a slave philosophy - don't fight your oppressor now, just endure, and be comforted, because he will be punished and you will be raised in the by-and-bye. But I was startled by Woody's Christian take on it, the other side of Christianity, that you are obliged to help the poor and work for justice. It's really a revoluationary religion. In addition to comforting the slaves.

Oh, btw, you can have the vigorous defender-of-yard dog if you want to come get her (not really).

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 21, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

As a midwesterner, I'm enjoying the Michigan St.-Maryland game and the GT-Ohio St. game. Cornell-Wisconsin, hmmmm, not so much, though it's kinda fun to see the Ivy League rep do well.

Posted by: MsJS | March 21, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Looks like I was wrong about the prospects for health care passing.

I assume the protesters at the Capitol won't go completely bonkers.

re: Matthew. The Gospel's sternly internalized morality comes across as almost impossible to live by. Hypocrisy isn't good, but in small doses, it does operate as a social lubricant. Luke writes more palatably.

A fierce line of thunderstorms will arrive here shortly. Yard cleanup, tomorrow.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Ooohhh!!! Maryland is out! That was amazing buzzer shot by Mich. St.!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | March 21, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll catch up on this boodle later... but for the time being, as a Terps fan, I can only say... ARRRGHHH! I knew the Terps had a run left in them; the only question was, would it be enough of a run soon enough. And it was! And.... arrgh!

(The long scoring run to come from behind and win is almost an ACC tradition. Against a good ACC team, when you're ten or so points ahead with a few minutes to go, that's when you should be scared. So I knew Md might still win when they were behind by 15. But.... Sigh!)

Posted by: woofin | March 21, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Stupak is voting yes. Looks like a done deal.


Posted by: rashomon | March 21, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Boston beat New York 2-1. Satan was on the Bruins' side, as usual.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 21, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Leonard Pitts wrote a column on the social justice issue, and uses the beatitudes to start:

Hope Congress votes sometime today...then on to the Senate...

Posted by: seasea1 | March 21, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

seasea, as I understand it, they actually don't have to go on to the Senate to get this into law. Since the health care reform bill and the reconciliation bill are now separate, "deem and pass" having been abandoned, President Obama will be able to sign the reform bill into law this week. The Senate will still have to take up the reconciliation package, but the reform bill is not contingent on that.

Posted by: rashomon | March 21, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

But isn't that what the House Democrats were afraid of, passing the Senate bill and then the Senate doesn't pass the amended bill? Oh well, I don't care, as long as something passes and we move on. Times like this make long for a dictatorship (just kidding).

I love this picture of Nancy Pelosi with the really big gavel:

Posted by: seasea1 | March 21, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

That's exactly what the House Dems were afraid of, and it could still theoretically happen, but 51 Senate Democrats have supposedly signed a letter guaranteeing that they would vote for the House reconciliation bill.

Posted by: rashomon | March 21, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

bad news: I found a typo in my short short child bed time story, despite rereading a dozen times

really bad news: I wrote the prologue to a short story idea I've had in my head for years

Good News: Ficka 2

Horsy movies are always goodies

Nhaey, yeah

Posted by: omnigood | March 21, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Been watching the House debate. What a sad, sad farce. What is the point of these one-minute speeches? No minds are being changed. Nothing is being accomplished.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 21, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching Pulp Fiction instead.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 21, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I have been watching the women play today and staying away from any men's bracket updates. Studying up on appealing mascots for next March while watching the silly speeches. Some of those folks would make more sense if they had a really big wolverine head on and could only make hand gestures. Come to think of it, I have a hand gesture for some of them.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 21, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Listening to C-SPAN. A California Republican is denouncing the totalitarian communist health bill.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Checked on the House debate and heard some Congressman from CA say this is about socialized medicine and decided to watch the new series Life on the Discovery channel. It's the 'sequel' to Planet Earth. So far lots of animals.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 21, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I checked just to see if they had passed that damn bill yet. I saw one speech by a Republican and a Democrat and I couldn't stomach either. I better avoid any documentaries about sausage making as well.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching the 1970 version of Julius Caesar. Charlton Heston is currently hamming it up over Caesar's body -- I've often wondered if he and Shatner had the same drama coach. But, compared to some of the Republican Reps, he seems like a model of restrained acting.

Posted by: rashomon | March 21, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Life sounds like a fine idea. I'm wondering whether the US could arrange for a nice corner of Alaska to secede, becoming an independent homeland for disgruntled Republicans.

I want to be awake when the House passes the Senate bill.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I ought to be watching "Shinsengumi: Assasins of Honor" with Toshiro Mifune leading a doomed defense of the collapsing Tokugawa Shogunate. Mifune has to be better than Tom Cruise in samurai mode. Or was that Cruise in Avatar mode?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Reminder: Part Two of "The Pacific" is coming on in 8 minutes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 21, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I've been watching John Adams. Way better then watching politicians vote.

Even when it is an important vote.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 21, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Boodle dead?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 21, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

A little musical relief

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 21, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Everyone was watching the Pacific it seems.

Boodle not dead. Boodle sleeping.

Including me. It is early but I was up early

Posted by: --dr-- | March 21, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Still listening to the House. Not much twilight separating the midnight ruin of the Republic and a glorious new dawn when, among other things, "being a woman is not a pre-existing collection". Pelosi's delivering quite a final argument.

Could the Congress perhaps do Texas and Oklahoma the courtesy of granting permission to secede and serve as sanctuaries for the millions of Americans seeking to flee Socialism?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Hi all.. I've been away on a wild getaway weekend with 31 women in the far off land of... Washington DC. Had a wonderful, relaxing time and even though I was only about 15 miles away from home it felt like a true vacation.

Daughter and I are staying up to watch The Vote. We've hit the mute button often this evening, but I did call my congressman to tell him I was proud of his little speech and to thank him for his support.

What'd I miss? I will probably spend a good part of tomorrow morning backboodling. Any highlights I should look for?

Posted by: -TBG- | March 21, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

They just hit 216 votes. Thank god.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 21, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

219 to 210. That was to approve the Senate Bill. Now they have to vote again for the reconciliation thing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 21, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

The Capitol Police were wearing short sleeves. It must be spring. Rioting flowers, no doubt.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know where Pelosi has been all day?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 21, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Now they're voting to knock down a GOP last-ditch effort to reconsider.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 21, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of us are watching the vote.

Dave - before succession, can you get them to centrifuge the inhabitants of both states to sort us out. Don't know about Oklahoma, but about 30% to 40% of Texans aren't red staters.

When we drove the Boy back to college today, we stopped at a Whataburger for a snack. It had a sign in the window -- "One Nation, Under God, Indivisible". Was struck by the irony of 'indivisible' in the current political climate, and by the thought that they really should also have included "with liberty and justice for all".

Crazy weather here - spring earlier this week, up to the high 60's with sun, etc. Then the Northwester came through here last night and today dawned with redbuds and pear trees blooming in the snow. And the temp is supposed to be in the low 70's tomorrow! I hope the little red lettuce and spinach plants I put out came thru OK. Couldn't wait to plant something, I am so ready for it to be spring.

Posted by: km2bar | March 21, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Sullivan reports the vote is 219 to 212.

Posted by: km2bar | March 21, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Gotta like Stupak's standing up there and taking a swing during Hoyer's time. Some nasty shout-outs - I'm sure they'll get to the bottom of it at some point.

Looks like the motion to reconsider failed, so -- as much as we'd like to think it's done, somehow I don't think this is quite over yet.


Posted by: -bc- | March 21, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

You know what's cool? My daughter and her friends are all still up watching this vote. And her friends are kids who aren't usually very political. I love seeing them chatting and tweeting madly about it.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 21, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Just trying to get an understanding of what the passing of this bill means, so I went to a graphic on Wapo, I hope the year of implementation for this portion is a typo - 2104?

Posted by: dmd3 | March 21, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, dmd... no one said anything moves fast in this country!

Actually... it's 2014.

Did anyone else notice that Nancy Pelosi is wearing the periwinkle suit she wore to the State of the Union address?

Posted by: -TBG- | March 21, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Like I said, I think that even after tonight, this thing's a long way from over.

A *lot* can happen between now and 2014.

A couple of elections, and possibly the nomination and confirmation of a Supreme or two.


Posted by: -bc- | March 21, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

busy with laundry and dogs to the point where i'm logging in to check on the vote. milbank's take on the proceedings doesn't flatter the demonstrators, nor certain members of the House.

if the demonstrators are to be taken at their word, i expect to be awakened by the rumbling of tanks.

Posted by: -jack- | March 21, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi's been in the House - probably threatening recalcitrant Congresscritters with that big gavel.

A lot of the major changes don't start till 2014, but there are lots that kick in right away that will be difficult to repeal because people will like them.

As rashomon noted earlier, this means the Senate bill becomes law when Obama signs it. The Senate has to pass the amendments - otherwise the House will have a big hissy fit. But it's essentially done


Yes We Can!

Posted by: seasea1 | March 21, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I'd be happy to see Austin set up as a US National University and Sophisticated Commerce Zone. With an adequate watershed to keep the springs running.

Oklahoma City has a great rowing and kayak racing center, so it must be a decent place.

The President is sounding articulate and alert as usual. He has the right to be a bit groggy by now.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Limbaugh say he'd go to Costa Rica if the bill passed? Buh-bye, Rush.

Posted by: rashomon | March 22, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Thank goodness! I hope the people who are so against this will come to understand the positives changes this health care bill brings. Interesting side note, I heard on NPR yesterday that in a study done on abortion rates in MA after our healthcare law was passed, the rate went down. The assumption is that access to birth control info and counseling may have been the reason. That would seem logical to me. Of course logic and reason don't seem to be in great supply among the rabid Rightwing.

I am hopeful that eventually we can expand health care to something more like what other civilized countries have, but it's a start. And Yes We Did!

Posted by: badsneakers | March 22, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

It was my Congressman waving a "Don't Tread on Me" flag for the teapartiers. I told you he was one of them. Now to send him an email noting that teabaggers aren't exactly supporters of NASA.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 22, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Ftb, Yoki-- I'm reading the Ghost Sonata, and I was wondering if ghosts (spook in the original Swedish) had a punning translation to guests or something like that; I sense more connotation to the meaning of ghost than the English translation allows.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 22, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm back from Savannah, and while there did my part for Michael by using a leftover-from-Xmas/Chanukah Barnes & Noble gift card to buy "The Big Short."

And I guzzled a beer and gabbled a limerick. Or two.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 22, 2010 3:41 AM | Report abuse

Thought I would drop by and greet the dawn patrol.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 22, 2010 5:57 AM | Report abuse

If they say that watching Congress is like watching sausage being made, then I guess we have sausage for breakfast. Maybe that comparison is a good one. We have the trimmings of a number of initiatives that has survived this process. "Fixes" or seasoning will be added. Hopefully, this is the structure onto which our more responsible Congresspeople can hang the appropriate systems to take care of the health of America.

As Americans we have to stop believing the baloney that we have been fed by that guy from Australia.

Above all, I would actually like to formalize the scare rumor that anyone who has Medicare and says anything like, get the government out of my health care should indeed lose their Medicare for at least 2 months, just for stupid awareness efforts.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 22, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning you all and hip hip hooray, something to cheer about for those of us who support Obama and those who voted for Health Care Reform. My husband and I went to GMU Friday morn to hear him speak and to see him up close and we did and his speech was as good as ever!

Hello rt, hello dawn patrol. Yes, when your time comes, be sure to include a supplimental with your medicare, you never know when you will need it.

Posted by: VintageLady | March 22, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Love Savannah, it's our stop over place on the way to Florida.

Posted by: VintageLady | March 22, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, it's a great day in America!

The reason I was able to retire at 53 was that my employer allows retirees to keep their insurance, although at a higher cost. Last year, the rule was changed so that employees hired after July 2009 wouldn't have that option. I hope this vote makes that moot.

Hi Cassandra! I hope you will have a pleasant week. Nice temperatures here, but rain in the night. Maybe Mr. T can mow the lawn this afternoon. He hasn't mowed the front yet, which is highly unusual; normally he has to start in February. I hope we don't get the snow Wheezy was talking about earlier.

Posted by: slyness | March 22, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

It would appear that Mother Nature is lamenting the end of the weekend as much as we are -- drizzly and dank here. *SIGH*

Apparently the carpet fairies didn't get to enjoy the weekend -- the office now sports a lovely shade of "pumpkin puke" on its floors. Not sure what the color selection committee was smoking.

*feeling-a-fume-based-swoon-on-the-way Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 22, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

So glad to see Vintage Lady here this morning! Was thinking about you.

TBG, my kids were much more aware of the voting last night than I was to begin with, too. They're more tuned in, less cynical. Don't want to see them get jaded.

Good morning everyone!

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 22, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I see that after the end of two rounds of NCAA picks Joel has fallen into undisputed second place behind, ...wait for it, Roxanne Roberts. Who knew that following gossip gave one such prognosticating powers? Jen Chaney is tied for fifth.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 22, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

oops, welcome to a new me

reading about republican house members actions yesterday leaves me feeling a little embarrassed

Posted by: omni3 | March 22, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I just back-boodled enough to see Wilbrod's post on Ghost Sonata. The title in actual Swedish is Spöksonatan. I'm not aware of any double meaning, but I'm not a Strindberg afficianado anyway. Haven't read him, but I do have a compendium of his works (in Swedish) somewhere around. He comes after my future forays into Shakespeare (which keeps on getting pushed back).

Great about health care reform. Hey, Your Vintage Ladyship! Wonderful that you and hubby got to see Obama. Wish I could take part in all of that, but the back simply wouldn't hear of it. Or the knees. But the heart was with you all in spirit.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 22, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. Slyness, getting ready to hit the tub. Have the dance with the doctor today. Prayers would be highly appreciated.

And it is good news this morning. And yes, the Republicans made one want to cover their eyes, but that's their true form. If anyone doubted it before, they have proof now, don't they?


I saw your post about animals eating other animals, and I thought about what animal could eat the huge possum I saw this morning while taking the g-girl to school. That thing had to be the size of a dog, and not a small dog. And not far from where I live, the next street over. I, too, thought about how they keep certain vermin from over populating, but, ugh, it was one nasty looking thing.

Good to see you Vintage Lady, russianthistle, and everyone have a great day. Keep the prayers going, they work. Thanks so much.

I can't believe those basketball teams. Number one seeds dropping like flies. What's up with that? No, I'm not looking at the games.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 22, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

omni, at least Colby King tells it like it is:

'Morning, Boodle.

Yup, a great victory. And one which ought to cast some doubt on the 37 stories the Post ran saying the Dems were in trouble, the bill was going to fail, and that they didn't have the votes. Some people just never seem to learn the foolishness of predicting political outcomes.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 22, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Reform of Wall Street "requires that people who don't have money but have votes to trump people with money but not that many votes."

This statement is no longer operative now that the SCOTUS has ruled that people are in fact not required. All you need is money.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 22, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

I didn't stay up to watch the vote, but saw the results all over the internet this morning. To quote Mr. Carroll, "Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" I shall chortle all day.

Our snow from Saturday lasted 24 hours and TWC is now back in "waiting for spring" mode, which tends to last until about April 10.

Sending "good day" mojo to all.

Posted by: MsJS | March 22, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Everyone.

I'm feeling sorely in need of extra-strength coffee this morning. (You know, the good stuff raised from premium seeds on that private island near Guatemala.)

Stayed up way past my bedtime both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday because of a Most Excellent Party, and yesterday, of course, because of the house vote. (I am sure that Pelosi and company were counting on me to watch.)

I'm still amazed that the Dems pulled this off. Maybe the system isn't completely dysfunctional after all.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 22, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Carpet fumes:
(not including any glue used)

Too much coffee is too much these days. This fine rant functioned nicely (in politics, functional illiterates decide):

Looks like I'm a gadget after all (crowdscourcing accrues some heavy cred):

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 22, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

kguy, some guy once said:

"Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, the people, if well informed, may be relied on to set them to rights."

Our biggest challenge is to keep from being misinformed and demagogue'd. I think that we have been totally confused by our pathetically bad state of the press.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 22, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: -dbG- | March 22, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

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