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Posted at 8:07 AM ET, 02/13/2011

Sunday Open Thread

By Greg Sargent

Enjoy.

By Greg Sargent  | February 13, 2011; 8:07 AM ET
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Comments

To everyone watching the Republican nomination this far out in advance, just remember four years ago at this point, McCain had lost his mojo and HILLARY was considered the shoe-in for the Democratic nomination.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 13, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

12Bar:

How does supporting the interests of the rich protect the unborn? You'll have to connect the dots on that one.

Talk about pulling teeth.

OK. You see, politician A holds many policy positions, some on economic matters, some on matters non-economic. On economic matters, his policy positions are what you would call supporting the interests of the rich. On one particular non-economic matter, his position is what I (and I suspect even you) would call protecting the unborn. So person X, who is not rich, but who is both content with his economic situation and has an interest in protecting the unborn, votes for politician A. 12Bar then accuses X of voting against his own interests, but in fact all he has done is voted against 12Bar’s narrow and uninformed opinion of what X’s interests are.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Cao:

In response to one of your comments about me, I posed some questions to you above at 4:11pm on yesterday's open thread.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Cao:

""This is a dodge.""

No, it’s not. It is a direct response to your (and ruk’s) characterization of me.

""But in the discussions of *public policy* and such issues as the tax code you consistently exhibit a markedly cold indifference to the effects on human lives…""

Well, I suppose I could accuse you of the same with regard to discussions of such issues as abortion. But in any event, I think you are simply wrong. Perhaps could provide an example of this “cold indifference” rather than leaving it as an unspecified, and hence non-falsifiable, accusation.

""what I will loosely call a social conscience, in fact you can't conceal your contempt fir the idea.""

I don’t know what it means. It seems to me to be nothing more than a rationalization for forcing other people to do what you want them to do. But maybe not, so perhaps you can explain what it means.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:21 AM | Report abuse

jp:

""ScottC3 gets annoyed when you bring this up.""

I do? Does that mean you get annoyed every time I ask you why you don’t make the same point to people who want to reform our health care system, or raise taxes, or otherwise alter the state of the nation more to their liking?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

McWing:

""How badly do you think food safety will be compromised if it's rolled back to, say, 2008 levels?""

Or how about 1955 levels? A lot of people here keep pining for a 1950’s economy, 1950’s tax levels, 1950s wealth distribution. Well, if we’re going to do it, let’s go whole hog.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

The NRO piece by Robert Costa on CPAC's straw poll is kind of interesting for the results, for who discounts them and who doesn't and why.

First, looking at the poll, Ron Paul wins at 30% with Romney second at 23%. Everyone else is 6% or lower.

" CPAC brass played down the results. “The straw poll is not a poll; the straw poll is entertainment for the people that are here,” says David Keene, the former president of the American Conservative Union, in an interview with National Review Online. “He won it last time because he was the only one running. Even I could win it if I was the only one running. He is the only one who seems to focus on it exclusively.”

Last time? What about THIS time, Keene? And Costa's final graph reads...

"The ballot box was also closed on Friday afternoon, hours before two prominent GOP governors, Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, spoke, so Paul’s win, though newsworthy, may not carry too much weight in the run-up to 2012."

For a lot of obvious reasons, nobody at NRO (nor anyone tied into the party establishment) want Paul to gain much influence. But Grover Norquist, smart as ever, actually describes in a fairly honest manner what value is to be found here...

"Grover Norquist, the influential taxpayer advocate, tells NRO that Paul’s win is far from meaningless. “If you are running for president, you need to be able to connect with the activists,” he says. “This is a measure of how connected you are to activists, especially the young activists. *Some people talk about the money primary — this is the activist primary.*”

Paul’s growing following on the right, Norquist predicts, could shake up the 2012 race, especially on issues championed by the Texas congressman, like monetary policy. *“It’s like 1988, when Pat Robertson ran for president,” he observes. “Robertson brought a whole collection of people into the Republican party.”*

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/259633/ron-paul-runs-away-cpac-straw-poll-robert-costa

Posted by: bernielatham | February 13, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

@Scott...

"No, it’s not. It is a direct response to your (and ruk’s) characterization of me."

I'm still working on my "characterization" but not of you...of your posts. I don't remember all the slander I may have hurled your way in a fit of snark...and indeed I'm sure you could go back through the archives and find something that was clearly directed at you personally...or at least implied something about you personally. That was simply sloppy posting on my part.

I want to be perfectly clear...regardless of any errors on my part that directed a response to you personally, what I'm really addressing are your posts.

I realize that you already know this but I simply wanted to make sure there is no confusion. As you have pointed out on numerous occasions...I do not know you. You may be tithing to your church which might have a very impressive "community outreach" kind of like "community organizers". :-) You might be giving half your income to the St. Vincent DePaul Society. I'm in no position to make ANY judgments about you personally....ahhh but your posts...that's a different matter.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""I can't recall now what her profession had been but I doubt she'd been a derivatives trader.""

Ouch! A personal dig like that from the champion of civil discourse? Who would have believed it.

Have you ever known a derivatives trader, Bernie? I'm guessing not, if you actually believe that it is an avenue to "status and power".

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

The insatiable hunger for demons you just know must be out there (am I not yets at God's side? I must find out what is still wrong) will be satisfied...

"In a panel on "The New Nuclear Threat: China and North Korea" conservative activist hero Phyllis Schlafly warned: "We better start worrying about an attack from North Korea, China, or Iran." During that same panel, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) called China "the worst potential enemy we have in this world." "We need an alliance against China, and that alliance needs to include Russia and India," he said."

http://www.salon.com/news/cpac/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/02/12/cpac_fliers

Posted by: bernielatham | February 13, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Tao asked yesterday why Progressives vote for Democrats when Democrats so often fail to pursue and implement Progressive policies. Tow answers. Fist, not all Progressives do; I won't, I'm voting Green from now on. Second, if Obama sings a budget that undermines the welfare state even more Progressives will abandon the Democratic Party. And if Obama backtracks on having EPA regulate carbon dioxide then even more will desert the Democrats.

However, we all know what the Democrats will say in response: the GOP wants to dismantle the New Deal and doesn't even acknowledge the reality of global warming. So how can anyone with a heart and a brain provide assistance -- even indirectly -- to today's John Birch Society GOP? Which is also a fair point.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 13, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the typos.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 13, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't characterize "derivatives trader" as an avenue to "status and power" so much as I would as an avenue to "other people's money."

Posted by: JennOfArk | February 13, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

To any of my business oriented friends here...

May I claim personal privilege as we often do on the open threads to ask a question that effects only me personally.

This Wednesday I fly into Cincinnati. I shall immediately pick up a rental car from Thrifty and drive over and pick up my mother.
We immediately head back south so she can visit us here in sunny St. Pete. I'm kind of excited for her...it was 20 yesterday morning in Northern Ky...it's forecast to be in the mid 70's this week here in St. Pete.

Here is my question. I'll be driving the rental car from Cincinnati to Florida and back again. I do not wish to read the fine print in my Geico policy. I could call Geico and if that is the recommendation that comes from the bloggers I shall do so...

But I'm simply wondering about whether to pay for insurance on the rental car or typically will my current policy cover me?

My gut instinct (obviously far from scientific nor necessarily accurate) tells me to simply buy enough protection to cover any damage to the rental car. Of course like most rental companies they offer three levels of protection...the third seems like a riduculous example of over insurance...but the first bare bones coverage of just Thrifty's property does seem appealing. Even if my insurance did cover it...do I really want to get between my insurance company and Thrifty...if a fender gets banged up..or heaven forbid something worse happens I'd like Thrifty to have to deal with it completely and leave me out of the mix.

Any thoughts?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Scott - Are you a derivatives trader? Hilarious. No, not personal.

The significant question is why some will be motivated to the end of personal wealth, social status, power or dominion over others (not identical things nor necessarily conjoined, obviously) while others are motivated in the direction of helping others?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 13, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Jenn:

""I wouldn't characterize "derivatives trader" as an avenue to "status and power" so much as I would as an avenue to "other people's money." ""

Really? Perhaps you could explain how that works.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Any thoughts?

ruk: I never get the extra insurance b/c I've been told it is unnecessary. But I've never had to test that so you probably want to hear from others who are more knowledgeable.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 13, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

""what I will loosely call a social conscience, in fact you can't conceal your contempt fir the idea.""

I don’t know what it means. It seems to me to be nothing more than a rationalization for forcing other people to do what you want them to do. But maybe not, so perhaps you can explain what it means.

==

If I need to explain what it means then for some reason you lack the capacity to understand it. Unlike others here, I don't think you're trolling or putting on an act. I do believe that you are, like Ayn Rand, simply mystified about why people should be kind to one another.

This whole right wing notion of caring for other people as tyranny is merely tiresome and no I'm not interested in the distinction of "forcing you to pay for" caring for other people.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 13, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly arguing about Egypt and the Caliphate and unions and the Green Movement and proofs for god's existence - "I eat, I have a bowel movement...you can't explain that" (ok, last bit made up)....

http://www.salon.com/news/middle_east/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/02/12/glenn_beck_egypt_bill_o_reilly

And these two freaking morons have HUGE audiences on the right. Murdoch and Ailes - making America really stupid.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 13, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly arguing about Egypt and the Caliphate and unions and the Green Movement and proofs for god's existence - "I eat, I have a bowel movement...you can't explain that" (ok, last bit made up)...."

Why did Obama submit to an interview with O'Reilly for Fox? Isn't that validating a propaganda outfit? Why didn't he get interviewed by a reputable news outfit, like McClatchey or PBS? Or Al-Jazeera.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 13, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""Are you a derivatives trader?""

Come, come, Bernie. I have explained a couple of times here about the business I am in. I am quite sure you were aware. If you forgot, it is obviously your unconscious working its thing.

""The significant question is why some will be motivated to the end of personal wealth, social status, power or dominion over others (not identical things nor necessarily conjoined, obviously) while others are motivated in the direction of helping others?""

It takes all kinds.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

bernielatham, I'm not trying to "discount" anything. The fact remains that a significant number of Palin supporters could have shown up to cast 11,000 votes and SHE would have won the "poll, entertainment" or whatever else you want to call it, with 50% of the vote. Even real polling is all over the place. Keep in mind for instance that Christie, who didn't speak at CPAC either (although he says that he will not run for President) polled better than 8 candidates who did speak.

Again, HILLARY Clinton was the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in February of 2007. Obama hadn't even announced four years ago.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 13, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""If I need to explain what it means then for some reason you lack the capacity to understand it.""

So, then, it is much like the religious faith that many people claim to have in God.

""I do believe that you are, like Ayn Rand, simply mystified about why people should be kind to one another.""

I am not at all mystified about why people should be kind to one another. I am routinely kind to lots of people, and I appreciate their kindness to me. I just don't think that forcing Peter to pay Paul is an act of kindness. Nor do I think it is the role of government to force people into expressions of "kindness".

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

@Scott - I have time to read maybe one thirtieth of what is written here. I've never seen a comment from you on your profession other than banking and time in England.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 13, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Let me give you a very simple example, Scott.

I don't litter. Ever. Unless I'm holding purely organic waste like a shrimp shell I look around for a trash can. And I live in a country where everyone litters and styrofoam junk is everywhere. I gain nothing by taking the extra effort; there's nothing in it for me to be s conscientious. But I am.

I do this because I know that if everyone did it the city would be a nicer place to live. Even in the USA it's a decidedly subjunctive benefit, I'll never look at a roadside that's pristine because of my effort. There will always be other people littering, but not me.

I'm challenging you with this abstract example because something like donating to animal causes or volunteering in soup kitchens would be more direct, the reward more tangible.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 13, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

@Troll

OK my "jarhead" friend...it's time to tackle your posts from last night.

The basic conversation was why would anybody in the bottom 95-98% of America's wealth holdings ever vote Republican.

Of course Scott gave an obvious answer...perhaps they are really single issue oriented. Abortion quickly comes to mind.

Troll you said perhaps because folks perceive the Dems will raise their taxes and the R's won't.

12Bar posited the "fantasy" argument..."maybe someday I'll be wealthy too" and I think there is a lot of that as well.

Obviously we could toss in F.P. Many insecure folks love the hubris of the neo cons and remain in a state of denial about just how disastrous their ideas have been for this country.

I wish to point out the folly of your thoughts about Dems versus R's economically Troll. You have been watching too much Faux fake news. I know it's fun to listen to BS that reinforces your stereotypical beliefs but you are getting bad info.

My office manager is married to a former minister. They are stridently anti-choice which lead them to the R's and Faux. During the 08 election she shared that same canard you try to float Troll..."but our taxes will go up"..she and her mainly unemployed ex minister hubby combined, do not earn more than 1/5th the $250,000 Obama talked about. When the stimulus included the "largest middle class tax cut" in our nation's history..I showed her the first pay stub and just how much in actual $$$ Obama's win meant to her and hubby. She was almost shocked as if she had been lied to...Faux lie or distort? Nah. This year when the cut in her FICA contribution provided yet another raise in her net pay...Well Troll voting for R's believing they are going to help cut YOUR taxes is only true if you are in the magic top 2%.

Again, sticking to economic reasons...a middle class or poor person would have to be really uninformed to vote R. Since the "Reagan Revolution" our country has been dragged very far to the right of it's former self as evidenced by comparing the REPUBLICAN 1956 platform. There were numerous planks that stated R support for labor..and even "organized" labor as in UNIONS! And what has happened since Republican ideas have held sway since the "Reagan Revolution? (fueled in large part by the misinformed voters or strident anti choice single issue folks who put them in power)

The worst economic collapse in more than 50 years...1 out of 7 living in poverty...no jobs with endemic U.E....CEO's jumping from earning 35X their workers pay to 300X their workers...a truly alarming amount of bankruptcies due to our inadequate health care system...

The R's and "supply side" have been abysmal failures by virtually every metric..except the incredible wealth gain of the richest amongst us.

In short Troll voting for R's after the record is by Einstein's famous definition...INSANE!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Slight edit: Obama had just announced his bid on February 10, 2007.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 13, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Leave it to you to see tyranny and force.

My version: it would be irresponsible for government to permit needless suffering when it has the capacity to alleviate it without seriously inconveniencing anyone.

You're usingnthe language of confiscation for what amounts to a trivial amount of money.

I give up. This is like trying to explain music to the deaf.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 13, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""Let me give you a very simple example, Scott.""

I cannot imagine what I have written that could possibly have given you the impression that I don't, or I don't think other people should, take personal actions (such as your refusal to litter...a refusal I share, BTW) to make the world around them a better place.

Nor can I imagine what I have written that could possibly have given you the impression that I don't, or I don't think other people should, volunteer their time and money (I do both) towards helping others.

Utterly mystifying.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

ScottC3, consider yourself LUCKY that he has finally given up. The trillions of dollars spent for our War on Poverty are "trivial" to them. Just imagine how much more good that money donated directly to churches and other charities would have been.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 13, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Taxes are collected and distributed for purposes of the general welfare, however that might be understood of constituted by the community itself at any given point in time.

Perhaps defense, perhaps emergency relief to a particular community or state, perhaps civic institutions (like fire, police, education) perhaps to encourage a business or enterprise, perhaps to keep citizens healthy, perhaps to equalize a previously disadvantaged sector, perhaps to keep farmers producing after an extended drought, etc.

There are very many rational reasons that money will go from Peter to Paul as a function of providing for the "general" welfare - which is inevitably often in conflict with the individual's welfare.

That's not complicated (as a principle) nor is it somehow un-American or outside of historical traditions.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 13, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

@12Bar

Re your comments last night about preferring $10 of your money going to a child in need as opposed to Bill Gates this is close to what finally brought me over to the Progressive side.

Conservatives..and especially libertarians tend to be a very negative lot...looking at all that is wrong with human nature and therefore their governance. I used to spend lots of time worrying about "welfare queens" and people "getting over" on the system. Finally it dawned on me that nothing is perfect. People "get over" on EVERY system..free enterprise..socialism...a combination of the two..communism...there is graft, corruption, and cheating in EVERY system because alas human nature (I'll let shrink address the why) seems to mean that a % of us are simply anti-social on some level..as in stealing from our neighbors.

But as I viewed the world from even that negative perspective I thought...whoa..whose getting over more...the person abusing food stamps...or the Koch Brothers...the scumbags like Blankfeld...Stu Sternberg...and let's be bi partisan here...the crooks like Joe Kennedy. The food stamp fraud is despicable...but does it really compare to Rick Scotts' heinous corrupt hospital system. He not only cut services to the sick..he stole from the government taxpayers. Medicare and Medicaid fraud are partly to blame for all the conservative caterwauling about the evils of Gov't management...here is scumbag Scott cheating the taxpayers and then turning right around and criticizing that same Gov't because thieves like him game the system.
And his punishment? 300 million...take 100 million of that and BUY the Florida Governor's mansion...earn 10 million a year in "reported" income and pay 15% in taxes. I thought....wow R's are really stupid or really selfish. They spend all this time worrying about poor people gaming the system at the same time they are enabling the wealthiest amongst us to do the same thing legally...and even when it's illegal and the wealthy are caught..with a few very visible exceptions...the wealthy are not punished.

That was the beginning for me...it was also about the time that I shifted to a more positive viewpoint. Instead of spending all my time pointing out "poor people gaming the system" I started looking at the majority of Americans who do the right thing...or at least try to...and what can we do to help the MAJORITY of Americans..not the minority..the top 2% of wealth owners in our nation.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I cannot imagine what I have written that could possibly have given you the impression that I don't, or I don't think other people should, take personal actions (such as your refusal to litter...a refusal I share, BTW) to make the world around them a better place.

==

Go read some of your own posts.

Thanks, warmly, for not littering, and for helping people.

Now if only you would stop posting like some sort of Randroid

Posted by: caothien9 | February 13, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

The Republican paranoid style is misanthropic. Put differently, many people, especially the downwardly mobile, can be led to vote their fears (Wille Horton, Axis of Evil, etc.). In this regard, Reagan was different, but Republicans with national office aspirations either never knew or seem to have forgotten how to inspire optimism.

It is ok or at least it works to win local and House seats on an angry backlash platform, but it will not work to get them back in the White House. Barring catastrophe, Obama is a shoo in 2012, as I said soon after (our) defeat of The Clintons. The Republicans just don't have a platform, no party, no natural leaders and they drove their base way too far to the right to stoke the anger needed for the mid-term effort. Tacking back to the center is going to alienate as many people who followed them out there as it will attract former Obama supporters.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Egypt just suspended their Constitution - Obama just called an Emergency Meeting of all his advisors and asked them all "Can I do that ???"


Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

At the Emergency Meeting about Egypt suspending its Consitution, which Obama called this morning

After Obama asked "Can I do that?"

Obama's advisors all replied "Haven't you done that already ?????"

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I cannot imagine what I have written that could possibly have given you the impression that I don't, or I don't think other people should, take personal actions (such as your refusal to litter...a refusal I share, BTW) to make the world around them a better place.

==

Sorry, but that's wrong. Flat out incorrect. The benefits tooth individual in living in a society that cares for it's members have been demonstrated overhand over. Even in software simulations.

Some people are just too short-sighted to see it.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 13, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@Scott

"forcing Peter to pay Paul is an act of kindness."

And now we get to the crux of the failure of your argument. Nobody is forcing anybody to pay anything. There is a choice.

I once used the example of a mortgage payment as "confiscation" or forcing me to pay them.

You responded that it was voluntary and I didn't have to purchase whatever required the mortgage. Indeed!

But your taxes are also as voluntary as a mortgage payment. Nobody is forcing you to enter America's world of commerce. If you do there are prices to be paid for the privilege of participation in that system.
Mark in A, Jenn, Cao and others have already enumerated the benefit that accrues to our "commercial beneficiaries" in very specific terms.

I will simply add that Scott you are not forced to participate in American commerce...if you voluntarily enter our marketplace there are going to be costs associated with that experience.

I'm not a "love it or leave it" type..and while many have correctly pointed out you could always move and choose a "marketplace" with less "cost" for doing business; I would like to add as an American you also have another choice. You can voluntarily opt out of our market and simply live on the Govt's dime. Anathema to you perhaps but still an available choice. And btw according to many conservatives on this blog a nice living...free housing...free food...free medicine...go for it Scott..it's your CHOICE. You can either pay Paul or let Peter pay you. Grab the golden ring of living on the public dime..it's a wonderful time for all.

No one is confiscating or taking your money to pay somebody else. You are making a fine living in a "somewhat compassionate" nation that chooses to ameliorate "some" of the suffering of the less fortunate amongst us. You can vote against every tax you wish, but if our "community" or society at large decides otherwise...again you have a couple of choices...nobody is forcing you to earn money in America...but if you do CHOOSE to earn money in America there is a cost associated with that. It is no more an involuntary choice as in someone TAKING your money to give to someone else than participating in the housing market means paying for the property.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

The questions are Has Obama disrespected the Constitution?

Was Reconciliation disrespectful of our Democracy?

Was Reconciliation offensive to Democracy?


Why weren't the vacancy rules in effect when Ted Kennedy used - instead of passing a new law? Somehow it is offensive to Democracy again. If the Massachusetts legislature wanted to change the vacancy law, they should have done it before the term of office, or at least before the vacancy was created. That smacks of Ex Post Facto.

What recourse do the American People have when this happens? Obama seems to disrespect the Constitution on a regular basis - of course lashing out on account of the 3/5 compromise.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Well done, ruk.

I refer to the "scaffold" that society provides as a rationale not only for the safety net but also for progressivity in the tax code. People can make money in America by taking advantage of roads and education, all of which are paid for by the public dime; the more money one makes, the more he has taken advantage of the collective. Therefore the more he should pay back, and not linearly.

And keeping all this running, keeping the weak fed and sheltered, helping up the fallen, is too important to leave to the inconstant caprice of charity. Choosing to see it in terms of force is ridiculous; living in a society is to implicitly accept its contract, and force is what happens when people break contracts.

Set up the most draconian, harsh, grim, and unforgiving libertarian dystopia you can imagine and there will still be Men With Guns to enforce contracts.

And you can always refuse the contract, yeah, declare disability, or live in an acontractual society, but it won't be very clean, nor very safe.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 13, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

So while we may have figured out why people vote for politicians whose interests' are inimical to their own, we have never figured out why AllSpendingRFRHaironfire37th&O keeps on posting the same thing, over and over. The two main theories are meth and he gets paid. The idea that there is a dorm room full of Schmendricks has been debunked, he is one person.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Wow, talk about misanthropy and paranoid politics...

"Malaysia has stepped up a campaign to stop Muslims celebrating Valentine's Day - labeling it a "trap" that could encourage immoral behavior. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Monday's celebration of romantic love was "not suitable" for Muslims.

Several Malaysian states are planning to carry out checks on hotels to stop young couples having premarital sex. The anti-Valentine's Day campaign by the country's Islamic authorities goes back to a fatwa issued in 2005."

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

There should be Congressional Hearings on Obama's disrespect for the Constitution.

Reconciliation included.

All these items should be recorded and spelled out - the American People deserve better than just allowing everything with Obama to just slide.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Shrink

Again you are wrong on all accounts. I wonder if you really are a professional. If you are, your patients are in trouble.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Shrink

If you care about civility or the rules, complain about Cao. Until you do that, no one can help you.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I am eager to hear more responses to ruk's question about rental car insurance. I always thought it was a scam if you had your own coverage. Guess I'm more excited about practical info today than about theories.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm going with the meth, shrink. Nobody would pay someone to copy and paste that unintelligible dreck around the clock.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 13, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Ok, you don't want to talk about the manifest Evil that is Valentine's day, fine. Progressive says my (ordinary policy) coverage covers me according to the deductible limits, no problem.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@shrink...

I'm going to play on your generous heart and compassion for the less fortunate...in other words I'm about to hit you up for some free advice...LMAO...How often does that happen? My wife the Dentist frequently gets asked for free advice about oral health at cocktail parties and family gatherings....I can only imagine how many people hit you up for "free" therapy for themselves or friends when you are out in the general public.

So let me simply be the latest...
My major at U.Cincinnati...like most..required only one course on Psychology. By and large I was peoed at how it was handled. I joined 500 fellow freshmen in a large auditorium for our Psych 101 class. The "instructor" a PhD entered on the first day along with his "grad assistant". He handed out a syllabus that provided very specific instructions as to the timing of the required reading..and when midterms and finals would be conducted. We never saw the PhD again. At first I considered it a total ripoff...after a few years out of school I realized there was ONE bit of info that did influence my life greatly..especially as I assumed some managerial positions.

Now you can disabuse me of knowledge I thought I had acquired or perhaps confirm it.

The one thing I remember from that freshman psych class was B.F. Skinner's famous 1947 experiment with rats re the effects on behavior of positive reinforcement versus negative reinforcement.

While learning from positive reinforcement takes longer than negative reinforcement it also last longer i.e. the learned behavior from positive reinforcement takes hold much more effectively than negative reinforcement.

Rightly or wrongly this has impacted my life. I now try to catch employees doing the right thing and make a huge deal out of it...conversely if they are doing something wrong I try to contain the criticism to something in proportion to any possible damage...ie..if they're jeopardizing a piece of equipment that is worth thousands of dollars I have to stop that behavior as quickly as possible through some form of negative reinforcement...as in screaming you stupid sh&t...just snarking a bit there...but you get the idea. Along the same lines I also believe the old Zig Ziglar saying..that the person who knows "what" to do will always work FOR the person who knows "why".

And so that has become my credo..at work an in interpersonal relationships...save the negative reinforcement for essential required occasions....be free with praise when I see something positive taking place.
Hence my "obsequious" nature. LOL
At work I never train by simply showing "what" to do without making sure the person also completely understands "why".

If you decide to clarify my thinking shrink you can stop by Bernie's place and drop off the bill. Bernie you know you can "trust" me to reimburse you if you'll simply pay shrink for me. ;-

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Things get murky if you rent the car and someone else driving it (your family member, colleague, etc.) has an at fault accident, in particular if that person has no insurance coverage of his/her own. You, the one who rented the car are liable for the actions of others, but your insurance won't cover them in a car you don't own.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Funny reading down the thread .. finding oneself reading a clawrence post, the sudden drop in IQ, actually does feel like stepping into a hole or missing a stair.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 13, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Is this a fun game or what?

It takes how many posts before we realize that 37th is back with yet ANOTHER sock puppet?

We all are getting pretty used to the telltale signs...the meth influenced thoughts to which shrink and Cao have alluded.

There used to be the telltale white space.
But sometimes the virus returns a little more subtly. But again there is generally that frenetic pattern of posting and always a multi-syllabic moniker.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Hair on Fire

Your pants are on fire.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Shrink

Do you have to go through re-certification periodically? One has to wonder. Why in the world would any competent board re-certify you to anything?

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@shrink,wbgonne, and ABC

Thanks for thoughts on rental car insurance.
I have always been lead to believe as wbgonne and ABC that it's a bit of a scam.

You shed light on possible liability Shrink.

Even though I shall be the only one driving the car, I'm of a mind to take the cheapest form offered by Thrifty simply to take the onus of any damage off of me.
I suppose I could categorize this as a "convenience" purchase not a fiscally prudent decision.

Unless I'm mistaken I can return the car and worry about nothing but the deductible should there be any damage. I really do not wish to be a go between Thrifty and my insurance company in the event of a fender bender.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

One thing only...there is such a thing as too much positive reinforcement. It is seriously annoying to hard working, especially highly competent people (those who know much more about the work product than the boss ever could), to have cheerleader managers.

If some managed care suit stops by to tell me what a "great job!" I am doing caring for the patients, I say thanks, but inside I just laugh at him; he couldn't know good care from bad care, he is terrified of psych patients. He is just doing morale boosting that he learned at his last team building/motivational speaker junket.

And so the positives are taken much more seriously if they are focused, specific, relevant and most important, intermittent. As I said a day or so ago, politicians know this all too well, intermittent sugar is the best way to keep the rats focused on the lever. Don't let 'em take you for granted, worse, mistake your personal style for obsequious. Everyone hates Bartleby.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

@shrink,

Thanks for the great advice. I'll definitely keep it in mind in the future.

Now stop by Bernie's with your bill for services rendered...have him compensate you and assure him I shall repay him at "some" future date.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"So how many easily preventible deaths are you ready to accept to stroke your distrust of government?

"Flippant" doesn't begin to cover it."

Hi Cao!  I hope you had a great day and a pleasant evening.  You may have missed my comment where I wrote that I'm not in favor of eliminating food safety functions from government obligations.  What I was advocating, based on imperfect knowledge, was that a rollback to, say, 2008 levels may not be a calamity.  We don't have any evidence that food safety funding now is providing an increased benefit. I hope that clears that up.

And on a personal note, if my apparent "flippancy" offended you, I apologize.  I regret the phrasing I used and am sorry if it put a pall on an otherwise (for me at least) pleasant and productive conversation.

I hope you have a restful night.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm embarrassed to admit how late in life I was beforeni realized that saying nice things to people once in a while made co-existing with them so much easier.

No I'm not obsequious or -- choke -- sporty about it, but I should have figured it out about two generations sooner.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 13, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"I'm embarrassed to admit how late..."

No, no, no, cao, the default is set on blame your parents. Otherwise, arrested development is society's fault. Never take responsibility for your shortcomings. All blame must be externalized, bullies at school, new math, anything.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I forgot food allergies, nowadays we know brats' nastiness is caused by food allergies.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

http://www.mixx.com/videos/13836997/youtube_kris_kristofferson_blame_it_on_the_stones

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@Troll

I left a somewhat lengthy post for you at the end of yesterday's open thread. It was more military oriented..personal..and too long to bring forward but if you're of a mind to reminisce about your Marine days perhaps it will interest you.

@shrink

"No, no, no, cao, the default is set on blame your parents"

Bingo. I had a horribly dysfunctional childhood. My father was a "criminal" not violent just a "bookie" but it made for some interesting quandaries when childhood conversations turned to Daddy's occupation.
Worse still was the fact that I recall hiding under the bed while my father literally beat my mother's head against the wall in a heated "argument". I was five..at least that's as far as my memory goes..I do not have Cao's majestic memory..I remember several things about this incident in particular...first the primal fear..is he coming for me?...then the fear of what's happening to my mother...shouldn't I be out there trying to defend her..and finally the embarrassment of pissing myself under the bed. I didn't realize that I needed to deal with this dysfunction until I saw a news report of five year old children hiding under their beds in fear during the bombing of Beirut.

This lead me to some serious dysfunction...it was simply a learning process..I needed to volunteer for war zones, race cars motorcycles, jump out of planes, ride a bull (yeah a real live one) and many other "macho" attempts to prove my "manhood" and that I wasn't actually a coward for not "rescuing" my mother.

But your line about blaming "parents" struck a real familiar chord in my life.
When I hit my lowest point my mother sent me some tapes (would be CD's now days) of Wayne Dyer and Scott Peck. Listening to these during an hour commute each way to the job lead me to an epiphany.

Scott Peck talks about the dysfunction passed on from one generation to the next.
We can either wallow in the self pity, use it to justify our own dysfunction, or we can simply say..."I choose not to pass this dysfunction on. It stops right here, right now with me." Such a simple but profound revelation for me.

My mother later shared a story with me about my father. His brother was only 18months older than he and was the apple of my grandfather's eye. Consequently my Grandfather would pick up Uncle Jack play with him, all the things a man can be expected to do with his oldest son. My father was largely shunted aside. It seems he never recovered from the slight.
Alas he shared some of that dysfunction with me...but I have made the conscious choice to not share it with anyone else...at least on purpose...I am the proverbial work in progress.

My sister has yet to forgive our late father she retains a lot of bitterness. I on the other hand have forgiven my father of his weaknesses, which were manifest...and I love him in memoriam.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

ScottC3: ""I do? Does that mean you get annoyed every time I ask you why you don’t make the same point to people who want to reform our health care system, or raise taxes, or otherwise alter the state of the nation more to their liking?""

No. It means that I've seen that response coming from your side of the political aisle for all of my life, and it's just as valid for my side to use it as it was for yours.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | February 13, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"I choose not to pass this dysfunction on. It stops right here, right now with me."

Shhhh, you keep up that noise, therapists are going to be out of work, then what are they supposed to do hang sheet rock, flip burgers? They worked hard to earn the right to tell people (in exchange for lots of money) that they don't have to be broken anymore if they choose to be well.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

ruk, I am drawn to your detours today. You've reminded me of one of my favorite classroom experiences--in the seats, not at the desk/podium. When I was in college, the school I attended had a well known psychology department that leaned heavily toward behaviorism. A psychology course was a requirement, but most of the students weren't enthused about the offerings. The department, deciding to be responsive, came up with a new course on personality based on the work of people like Freud and Jung and gave it to a full professor who was primarily interesting in things like the sucking response in infants. He was seriously out of his element and, in short, the course soon became little more than an annoying joke.

Unlike you, I don't remember one bit of acquired knowledge from the lectures. However, I do remember the last day of class for the professor's refreshingly stupendous honesty. He took the podium in front of the hundreds of us who were still there (also a requirement), looked out at us, and said, "I have no elusions about the quality of this course. It has been a disaster for both you and for me."

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

From the latest Harpers:

The Defense budget has increased 80% since 2000. *Not* including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 13, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

jp:

""It means that I've seen that response coming from your side of the political aisle for all of my life, and it's just as valid for my side to use it as it was for yours.""

And how valid might that be? Not at all, in either case, it seems to me. Perhaps you disagree.

BTW, whatever my "side" has done all your life, I can assure you that I have never told you or anyone else who has expressed opposition to some aspect of the status quo to essentially love it or leave it. So it is odd that you get some sense of satisfaction or payback out of saying it to me.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

@ABC

"I have no elusions about the quality of this course. It has been a disaster for both you and for me."

Wow! Such refreshing honesty for someone in academia! I truly respect education, but at the same time have some reservations.

It's one of those many "inner conflicts" that Scott correctly pointed out I deal with...conservatives...and especially (C)onservatives don't "seem" to have much doubt. Everything appears to them clearly in black and white. We chide them for their lack of nuance, but in their lives they really don't need nuance.

Me...I see life in an almost infinite variety of shades of gray...rarely in black and white. But that is what makes life so interesting for me...so much to learn and so little time.

BTW ABC I just received "The Age of Grief"
Only completed the first few pages and already I am an admirer of Smiley's prose.
I'm anticipating the actual story. I think I have lots of stories to tell but I lack prosaic skill...I'm not really a very good technician as is evidenced by my posts. :-) I do thank you for your recommendation! I've had several excellent books recommended by folks on this blog...again another reason I enjoy coming here. My Tuesday night writers group and this blog are the places I attend to feed my need for mental stimulation from folks I by and large respect.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

cao:

""Go read some of your own posts.""

Believe it or not, I've read them all. And your claim is still mystifying. Again, perhaps you could provide specific examples of what has led you to believe these patently false things about me.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

ruk: "" He not only cut services to the sick..he stole from the government taxpayers. Medicare and Medicaid fraud are partly to blame for all the conservative caterwauling about the evils of Gov't management...here is scumbag Scott cheating the taxpayers and then turning right around and criticizing that same Gov't because thieves like him game the system.""

As someone who worked for said company while Scott was CEO, and was regularly involved in boardroom IT presentations there after he left, it's an over-simplification to call Scott the thief. He was more of the "theft-encourager" than the actual thief. He was certainly no choir boy, and I have no doubt that he knew that his compensation policies for hospital execs were leading to these crimes, but like most good capitalists, you get away with as much as you can as long as you can.

The whitewashing of corporate ethics that happened in the wake of the scandal were the real shocker. The company paid, at the time, the largest ever fraud settlement to the DoJ, and immediately saw its stock prices skyrocket. Investors laughed at the ~$2B settlement. A change in corporate behavior? Yeah, riiiiight.

That's not to say they didn't make a good show of it. They set up an Ethics & Compliance department. When I was told to facilitate theft (not from the taxpayer, but from another private firm) and resisted, I went to them. Oddly, my glowing performance evaluations stopped -- I was no longer a "team player," and I didn't last a whole lot longer. And I was not the only one.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | February 13, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Brutal...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/us/13thomas.html?hp

"Justice Thomas routinely issues sweeping concurrences and dissents addressing topics that had not come up at argument."

My favorite, that everyone on the rest of the court, not Clarence!, had sent the message that school girls' panties are the best place to hide stuff. You see, no one had ever thought of that before, so Justice Thomas had to dissent.

"Justice Thomas said the decision provided the nation’s students a court-sanctioned hiding place. [Even though she didn't, the strip search revealed...well, a lot, but no Motrin pill, which is what they were looking for, allegedly] "Redding would not have been the first person to conceal pills in her undergarments,” he wrote. “Nor will she be the last after today’s decision, which announced the safest places to secrete contraband in school.”

Don't let his silence fool you, this guy has a lot on his mind.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""There are very many rational reasons that money will go from Peter to Paul as a function of providing for the "general" welfare - which is inevitably often in conflict with the individual's welfare."

Perhaps. But there is no rational reason for thinking that forcing Peter to pay Paul an act of kindness. Which was what we were talking about.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@jprestonian

Thanks for that "inside" report on Rick Scott. And you are correct you are far from the only one! The Florida newspapers documented many stories such as the one you just posted. For the first time in my adult life...EVERY major newspaper in the state ran editorials supporting Scott's opponent, the first time for some of these publications they supported a Dem.

Don't know if you remember jprestonian but NBC, perhaps other media outlets..ran a scathing investigative report of Scott's hospitals before the Medicare Fraud case consumed the story. Their point...that Scott's cost cutting moves actually were effecting patient care. Is it your experience there was some truth to this...that is aside from Scott's questionable ethics re kickbacks to Docs, Medicare coding etc...that he was also cutting the quality of care when he gobbled up yet another hospital for his chain?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

ScottC3, I just re-read every one of your posts on this thread and none of them gave me the impression that you don't personally, or you don't think other people should personally, take individual non-governmental actions to make the world around them a better place. As I even noted LBJ's War on Proverty cost TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS that would have been much better spent through churches and private charities; it has completely failed (unless it was intended to create a permanent lower class dependent on Democrats). Keep up the good fight!

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 13, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

ruk: ""Their point...that Scott's cost cutting moves actually were effecting patient care. Is it your experience there was some truth to this...that is aside from Scott's questionable ethics re kickbacks to Docs, Medicare coding etc...that he was also cutting the quality of care when he gobbled up yet another hospital for his chain?""

Well, bear in mind that any contact I had with the clinical side of the business was relatively tangential -- I worked at corporate HQ in IT, and my piece of it wasn't even clinical systems. So, my contact with actual caregivers (as anything other than a patient) was effectively zero. But I know that one huge project we worked on concerned the recruitment and **especially** the retention of nursing staff. The rumor was that they were notorious for keeping the bare minimum level of nurses on a shift to keep the Medicare/Medicaid dollars flowing, leading to high turnover rates in the nursing staff.

This goes back to the egg inspectors, and the notion that there are levels of regulation that truly are required to keep the greedheads from trading short-term personal gains for long-term sustainability, and to encourage them not to eat the seed corn.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | February 13, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

ruk--I hope you enjoy the read. And a spelling apology. Illusions not elusions. Brain spellchecker turned off.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@Scott

"But there is no rational reason for thinking that forcing Peter to pay Paul an act of kindness. Which was what we were talking about."

No that's not what we were talking about.
Unless you are referring to the massive transfer of wealth that has taken place in the U.S. over the past three decades.

What we were talking about is "helping" those who are less fortunate than we, not "paying" them. What we were talking about is "investing" in our human capital to improve the "greater good" of society.
I realize that you do not accept "greater good" arguments you believe in your "theoretical" individual liberties.

No "rational" person as you refer to them could look at the U.S. and describe "perfect" free markets, nor perfect safety nets...your libertarian concept of "individual freedom" is a fantasy, not a reality.

I used to believe your posts represented a very selfish and greedy attitude..ala Gordon Gecko's greed is good. But while that remains one possibility it's far from a certainty. At minimum your personal good fortune...and believe me Scott..regardless of your intellect and effort a HUGE portion of your "good fortune" is just that...fortunate...fortunate to be blessed with your brains, race, upbringing and place of birth, is at minimum a conflict of interest that influences your posts. Bully for you for making the most of it! Congratulations.

Your posts reek of anti-social behavior as in..."opposed or detrimental to social order or the principles on which society is constituted: antisocial behavior."

Anybody who accepts all the stats I provided yesterday and still posts as you do is if nothing else anti-social. Indeed talking about the "rest" of the nation feeling the "pinch" when you combine these facts...well look in the mirror dude...or at minimum I should say...look at your freaking posts!!

"The incomes of the top 400 American households soared to a new record high in dollars and as a share of all income in 2007, while the income tax rates they paid fell to a record low, newly disclosed tax data show.
In 2007 the top 400 taxpayers had an average income of $344.8 million, up 31 percent from their average $263.3 million income in 2006, according to figures in a report that the IRS posted to its Web site without announcement that were discovered February 16. (For the report, see Tax Analysts Doc 2010-3372 .)"

"The number of people living in poverty in America rose by nearly 4 million to 43.6 million in 2009 — the largest figure in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available — the Census Bureau said Thursday.
The bureau said in a statement that the official poverty rate was 14.3 percent, or 1 in 7 of Americans, the highest proportion of the population since 1994."

How you juggle those last two tidbits without some overwhelming cognitive dissonance is a mystery to many on this blog.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Governors are maybe the people to watch--Scott in Florida, certainly, but also Scott Walker in Wisconsin. It appears he's trying to devastate unions and public employees in one huge move. It's breathtaking.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

@ABC

BTW I think it was you who as a Minnesotan took justifiable umbrage to my snark about TPaw and Bachmann.

Sorry :-) As someone who spends a month or two on Michigan's U.P. I AM aware of the incredible folks who inhabit the Upper Midwest. Perhaps it was simply a relief to "pick on" another state. As a Floridian we are humiliated by our Governor who makes TPaw look compassionate and caring. And Allen West of S.E. Florida, our newest Tea Party member takes a back seat to nobody when it comes to certifiable wack jobs.

Have to run to do some Sunday work. Yeah I can't believe it. My employees have the weekend off yet here I am going in to change some outside lights and a few UPS boxes. And to think I pay more taxes than those shirkers enjoying a sunny 65 degrees in St. Pete. Ohhh the humanity...I pay more taxes and yet I have to in? snark snark.

In the spirit of having some snarky fun and not really agitating anybody...can I pivot from my snark about Minn and start a contest here. Which state has the looniest pols representing them?

Speaking from personal experience I have to nominate my own Sunshine State...but I'm not sure we take the trophy. Indeed I think the state with the wackiest politicians is a tie between Florida and Texas...and DDAWD don't feel insulted because I certainly give LA a close second. :-) Any other nominees?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

For you investor types...here is some free advice, get out of stocks until the coming technical correction is over, perhaps later this Spring. Well what does a psychiatrist know about that? Psychology baby, forget Mad Money, this is all about trained rats and levers, sugar water and shocks.

"Volume hit its lowest levels so far this year on Tuesday with just over 7 billion shares traded on the NYSE, Amex and Nasdaq compared to last year's average of around 8.5 billion."

Translation, the market keeps slowly drifting higher on tiny volumes because people are ditching bonds and over-priced commodities and frankly, there is not that much to invest in that seems like a good idea (real estate, anyone? no one wants to bet this is the bottom of that market, because obviously, it isn't).

"Credit Suisse Fear Barometer Index, a measurement of how much investors are paying for put options compared with call options, hit new highs on Thursday due to continued put buying in S&P 500 options." Reuters

Translation, the psychology is all set for a correction.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Memorable quote:

[Speaking of the newly released Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report]

Michael Lewis, author of “The Big Short,” was far more favorable about the report but scarcely less fatalistic. “I feel like we’re living in a house built on sand because we didn’t reform the system,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Noting that banks have returned to huge profits while helping themselves to zero interest loans, Lewis concluded that we still have “socialism for capitalists, and capitalism for everybody else.”
----------------------------------------------

“socialism for capitalists, and capitalism for everybody else.”

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

ruk: ""Speaking from personal experience I have to nominate my own Sunshine State...but I'm not sure we take the trophy.""

When fark.com has a tag for your state... well, you know... ;)
.

Posted by: jprestonian | February 13, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm in the Houston area and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Is as loony as they get. Loonier. I'm sorry that the first response ended the contest. She once asked, during a Congressional Committe hearing with NASA, if the Mars Rover could go to where the astronauts planted the flag.

Game Over.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, Darrell Issa is adding to the general mayhem and misdirection by starting government hearings on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

Issa, a California Republican, has pledged to look into the group’s spending and also wants to investigate why its members were unable to come up with a unanimous conclusion for the final report.
--------------------------------------------
The Commission goes out of business today, 2/13/11, and responded to Mr. Issa: “The document requests contained in your letter are quite expansive and production would require resources beyond the commission’s staff, financial and computer capabilities,” Angelides, a Democrat, wrote in the letter dated Jan. 31.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

ScottC3, don't worry about them. I just looked up the latest figures, andjefe War on Proverty cost over $17 TRILLION inflation-adjusted, but not even taking into account our interest payments on any of that debt. Instead of the federal government giving States that money in grants, it would have been much more effective to not take the money in the first place and encourage that citizens have spent through churches and private charities. Not to mention as a part of the Great Society, Johnson's belief in expanding the government's role in social welfare programs from education to health care was a continuation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.

Keep up the good fight!

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 13, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

More on financial reform, or lack of it:

And where is the S.E.C. today? Caught in the federal budget freeze — and bracing for further cuts by the antigovernment, antiregulatory Republican House — the agency can’t hire the employees needed to enforce existing security laws, let alone new ones created by the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul. It must use archaic technology to chase high-tech trading systems that operate “at the speed of light,” as Mary Schapiro, the S.E.C. chairwoman, put it. The agency’s new whistle-blower office — created precisely to welcome informants like Markopolos — has been put on hold.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/opinion/13rich.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

----------------------------------------------------------
Markopolos--remember he is the guy who kept going to the SEC to report Bernie Madoff.

Bernie Madoff--remember he is the only headline figure of the crash who did go to prison.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Poor Yemen, literally. No oil, no tourist $$, no money from America to pretend you like Israel. The "president" Ali Saleh has been the dictator since '78. Mubarak was just a piker. After all, Gaddafi has been the military dictator of Libya since his coup in '69. His title? President is silly, Prime Minister pathetic, no he is "Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya"* Anyway, Saleh says he'll quit in 2013, but has made those promises before.

*From the not as stupid as he looks department:
Gaddafi's 40-member bodyguard contingent, known as the Amazonian Guard, is entirely female. All women who qualify for duty supposedly must be virgins, and are hand-picked by Gaddafi himself. Wiki, so it must be true

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if this qualifies as loony, but I found it interesting, that the Ahnold is entertaining movie roles again now that his governorship is over.

It's just like he took a sabbatical, did the governor-thing, and has now gone back to his first love--show business.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

""No that's not what we were talking about.""

Yes, it was, although the "we" I was referring to was cao and I. You were not involved. To recap...

cao said: I do believe that you are, like Ayn Rand, simply mystified about why people should be kind to one another.

I replied: I am not at all mystified about why people should be kind to one another. I am routinely kind to lots of people, and I appreciate their kindness to me. I just don't think that forcing Peter to pay Paul is an act of kindness. Nor do I think it is the role of government to force people into expressions of "kindness".

It was this that seemingly prompted Bernie's off-topic contribution (note his use of the Peter/Paul metaphor).

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Today, on Meet the Press, Speaker Boehner pointed out the fight that's looming: Obama is "going to present a budget tomorrow that will continue to destroy jobs by spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much." The White House budget director Jack Lew claims the cuts will reduce the deficit by $1.1 trillion over ten years. Republicans are pushing for even more cuts.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 13, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Now this, Bernie, is the Shelby AC Cobra of propaganda. Valerie Jarret should have gotten a byline:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/world/middleeast/13diplomacy.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

It will be studied by future Bernies for a great long while.

Posted by: tao9 | February 13, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Jarrett, 2t's, my apologies Ma'am.

And nice story!

Posted by: tao9 | February 13, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

shrink, if you're around anymore today, I wonder if you've read the New York magazine piece about our broken soldiers-- http://nymag.com/print/?/news/features/71277/ --and if so, what your take on it is. It's always been my sense that most societies conclude that some wars are necessary at some times, but tend to look away from the aftershocks that ripple through in the aftermath. It may be extreme now with all the multiple deployments and the nature of urban warfare. But I've spent a lot of time in pension files from the Civil War, and it's all there too--the broken bodies that never really healed and the psychological impact on the veterans and their families. In a way, when we make war on others, we make war on ourselves.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Speaker Boehner is the ranking elected Republican in the USA, but he perseverates Obama is "going to present a budget tomorrow that will continue to destroy jobs by spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much."

Is that it? The same rendition of the same talking points, again and again. Now even as I grant that part of it is true, we all, both parties anyway, spend too much and borrow too much and the federal government, Republicans and Democrats support policies that in the main destroy American jobs...still don't Republicans realize they have to be inspirational to win the White House? They have to get past the party of No campaign, that was to win the lower House. To win the White House, they have to get people optimistic about their prospects.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

shrink2, that's Sarah Palin's job. You don't make the place kicker play quarterback either.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 13, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

cao:

BTW, I just realized that I never saw a response from you to my questions about foreign policy. To remind you:

Do you think the US should be attempting to make the world a better place, and if so, how should it go about doing so? Is there a nation the example of which the US should be following in this regard?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

12Bar:

""I don't know if this qualifies as loony, but I found it interesting, that the Ahnold is entertaining movie roles again now that his governorship is over.""

Far from loony, I think it is fantastic. I wish all politicians viewed elected office as a temporary sabbatical rather than a lifetime career.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

shrink2, that's Sarah Palin's job.
--------------------------------------------------
Then, why does she spend her time claiming that everyone from Katie Couric to her next door neighbor to Bill Kristol is out to get her and make her look bad. If I didn't know better, it would sound like it's all about her rather than the American people who she is trying (according to you) inspire.

It's called message discipline, but of course, discipline is something that Mrs. Palin seems to lack. If she would buck up instead of being the Biggest Victim Ever Born, she might, might get her unfavorables going in the down direction.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Interesting and thoughtful opinion piece re: Egypt's immediate future:

"Some political analysts conclude that, thus far, changes have been cosmetic. Nothing has been achieved apart from the departure of one man and his powerful family, they say. It’s true that some of the more hated ex-ministers are being investigated for corruption and the constitution has been dumped along with the current Parliament. It’s true that the military rulers have promised the lifting of emergency law and transition to real democracy but they seem unable to assure the youth movement of their sincerity. This is why a group of hard-core revolutionaries are determined to stay in Liberation Square until all their demands are met — release of political prisoners and prosecution of those behind the killing of the martyrs — provoking tense confrontations with military police trying to move them out. It’s my feeling that both sides need to apply some lateral thinking to effect this historical transformation in the best possible way."


http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article259892.ece

Posted by: wbgonne | February 13, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

ABC

"In a way, when we make war on others, we make war on ourselves."

As a vet myself may I say that is perhaps the most prescient insight of the day!!!

If you don't mind a slight edit to your profound observation, I'd lose "in a way" and simply say...

"When we make war on others we make war on ourselves."

I wonder if that thought may have been espoused earlier, perhaps in different words by Christ...Buddha..(insert your own spiritual leader)?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

ruk, your edit is fine. (I'm a girl. We do hedges. Or to make my point, we often do hedges,)

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm a girl. We do hedges. Or to make my point, we often do hedges,
-----------------------------------------------
Bwahahahaha!!!!!

Ain't it the truth, or nearly always anyway.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Far from loony, I think it is fantastic. I wish all politicians viewed elected office as a temporary sabbatical rather than a lifetime career.
-----------------------------------------------------------
However, we have to be honest as to why Ahnold is leaving politics. It is because, while he is very much liked, his governorship is considered a failure. Had that not been the case, perhaps he would not be going back to show business.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

ABC, "the broken bodies that never really healed and the psychological impact on the veterans and their families. In a way, when we make war on others, we make war on ourselves"

Yes and I feel so strongly about this topic, I can't really get into right now or I don't want to. I'm having a good day.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"... Katie Couric to her next door neighbor to Bill Kristol is out to get her... "

Well, do you think Katie'd would turn down a "gotchya" interview?  Do you think that freak who rented the house next door intended to do a glowing
piece on how wonderful she is?  And, ala Bernie, Kristol's gunning for her.  It may seem, or actually be unseemly to acknowledge those that are "out to get her". (including Time most recently, for publishing fake quotes, claiming that they were real. Even after they'd been discredited.)

"... discipline is something that Mrs. Palin seems to lack."

You think Palin lack overall discipline as well as "message discipline?" If so, what evidence is there for that assertion?

Another thought provoking post 12bar.  I don't know how you keep 'em coming.  Many thanks. :-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

RUK - Car Rental & Insurance
If someone has already answered, apology for redundancy. I just skimmed through the above. It gets a bit tedious reading some of the drivel posted here. As I know nothing about GEICO's policy forms, I emphasize the word PROBABLY in the following. (Also, laws vary from state to state.)

You have two concerns: 1) Liability - covers damage you do to other persons and/or their property. Thrifty's coverage certainly protects them but not you. Of if they do cover you it's likely only for minimum statutory limits. Your personal auto policy probably covers you for this. 2) Damage to rental vehicle. You are responsible whether or not your fault. If you have comprehensive & collision coverage on your personal policy it will probably cover the rental vehicle. There's also a chance your credit card will provide secondary coverage, meaning whatever your ins policy does not, e.g. the deductible. If you have either, the so-called damage waiver cost is beyond exorbitant. If you have neither, buy the damage "waiver." (They don't call it insurance; you must be licensed to sell insurance).

I won't speculate on the chances of who answers the phone at GEICO giving you the correct answer. You're a smart guy. It'll take about a half hour for you to read and understand your policy. Check with your credit card co, too.

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | February 13, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"...we often do hedges..."

Are you piling puts on your equity positions?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Ok, now we have Troll joining Mrs. Palin in her conviction that people **are** out to get her.

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you”

Kurt Cobain

Ok, maybe that's the message instead of the inspirational message that claw says is "her job". Or she could pulse messages:

1) they're out to get me, 2) USA USA!

Repeat.

Bwhahahaha!!!

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

'...changes have been cosmetic..."

Sure but nothing will stay the same. This is a form of chaos. Now even the police (!?) are protesting in support of the revolution, screaming, "We are the people too!"

Now everyone wants to get paid. No one knows what will happen, but those ancient generals got theirs and their days are numbered. A coup, a real one, is very possible, when the junior officers realize what is in front of them...no one.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

claw and Troll, are you saying Sarah Palin is the leader, the quarterback (not the coach) of the Republicans?

She does not call the plays, but she runs them, in business she would be the COO? Is that right?

Wouldn't Boehner be more like a running back? The place kicker seems to me to be someone in a protected position, vulnerable (or just out of shape), but who can score critical points if s/he has skills and ice water instead of blood. Barbour?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Bwhahahaha!!!"

That was funny! Thanks for lifting my mood, I was bouncing along the bottom and you just put a smile on my face and a guffaw on my lips!
;-P

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

12BarBluesAgain, it's called working the refs. If you ever watch an NBA game, let me know so I can explain the analogy in more detail.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 13, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"claw and Troll, are you saying Sarah Palin is the leader, the quarterback (not the coach) of the Republicans?"

Great question shrink! It was claw that mentioned the quarterback thing. Truth is, for me, I'm awful at 'running the ball' vis a vis sports analogies, or metaphors, or, er... Simile's?

Anyhoo, I think her role is to be the terrifying outsider that not only deeply disturbs (and disrupts) the Republican nomenclatura, but drags the other Republican candidate as far right as possible and forces them to commit to things like, for example, Paul Ryan's Roadmap. If she wins, so much the better. Her mere presence on the Right ("They're After Me! USA! USA! [guffaw ;-)]) accomplishes a lot. 'Course, others differ. But as I say, Spice of Life!!

But again shrink, very penetrating question. Thanks for asking it!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The same people who run their mouths about Sarah Palin's supposed victim complex admire(d) Hill and Bill.

Now that's funny.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 13, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

shrink2, it is the "off season" right now as we prepare for the draft picks. Will Palin forgo her last year as an amateur?

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 13, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"The same people who run their mouths about Sarah Palin's supposed victim complex admire(d) Hill and Bill.

Now that's funny.".

Cheeky!! ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"shrink2, it is the "off season" right now as we prepare for the draft picks. Will Palin forgo her last year as an amateur?"

Wait, I thought she was Redshirted? (See what I mean shrink? Pathetic! ;-) )

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Per Intrade, Mrs. Palin contracts:

1. Sarah Palin to formally announce a run for President before midnight ET on 31 Dec 2011 ............................................ 63%

2. Sarah Palin to be Republican Presidential Nominee in 2012
............................................. 11%

USA USA!

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

It's a vast left-wing conspiracy!

MSNBC and Andy Sullivan and Greg Sargent can say whatever they want 24/7, and no one comes on afterward and says that wasn't true! There's no truth detector!

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 13, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

shrink--Like I said the other day, a lot of what we do is just guessing. But if you're guessing I have enough money to understand all that financial market lingo, you'd be wrong. Or probably wrong.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@abc,

Since we're into hedging, we could hedge being short by selling covered calls.

How do you like that shrink? Hedging for the faint of heart and truly indecisive.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

O.K.?

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Per Intrade, Mrs. Palin contracts:

1. Sarah Palin to formally announce a run for President before midnight ET on 31 Dec 2011 ............................................ 63%

2. Sarah Palin to be Republican Presidential Nominee in 2012
............................................. 11%

USA USA!"

Priceless!!! Two belly laughs in one day! I owe you! ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Yes (speaking of the nomenclatura), I'll never understand why just short selling is called hedging. Selling covered calls, so... parsimonious.

ABC we are talking about options, which are contracts between two gamblers who pick different sides of a specified price for some commodity or stock, or even something intangible. The put people are betting short, that the price will come in below the reference point in the time period of the contract, the call people bet it will be higher, called going long.

They have to pay somebody (like a bookie) to set the market for these bets and that party has to deliver the product at the specified price (minus shipping and handling of course, called a premium) if either of the parties decides to exercise their option (by winning the bet).

Make sense?

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

12Bar:

""Had that not been the case, perhaps he would not be going back to show business.""

Alas, probably not.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Selling covered calls, so... parsimonious.
------------------------------------------------------
Parsimonious? Bwahahaha!!! Spoken like a true trader. Covered call selling is for the chickens, but I may still do some. Cluck, cluck.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

@abc,

Taking up the baseball sports analogy, selling covered calls is like bunting. Buying puts is like swinging for the fences.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Troll

If you catch the end of the last thread you'll get my salute to the "Corps"

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Well since we've been discussing the latest buzz about the R candidate in 2012...how about the front page of the St. Pete Times...

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/when-jeb-bush-says-he-wont-run-for-president-in-2012-it-makes-republicans/1151122

Enter Jeb Bush, the authentic, can-do conservative whose last name no longer seems as big an albatross as it did when his brother was still in the White House or just out of it. He has a vast fundraising network and a knack for winning Hispanic and swing voters crucial to general election success.

Bush, who turned 58 Friday, did not respond to an e-mail about the latest presidential speculation but has said repeatedly he won't run in 2012. He has not closed the door on a presidential run in the future — he would be 63 in 2016 and 67 in 2020 — but since ending eight years as Florida's governor, he has been busy giving speeches and consulting, making money while keeping a high profile in advocating for education reform.

"I would love nothing more than for Jeb Bush to run for president one day and I would do anything I can to help him get there, but he's not running in 2012," said Republican strategist Mandy Fletcher Fraher, a former Jeb Bush aide. "All the talk about Jeb is a reflection of the lack of a clear leader, or two or three clear leaders, in the field.''

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Derivative financial "instruments" (such a perfect semiotic position) are one mechanism by which rich people loot the economy.

Awhile ago we were trying to get through to some conservatives about how the word 'looting' does not only apply to thugs hauling someone else's TV down the street after a breakdown in social order.

Derivatives in general, like options, are the vehicle for inside trades. People who know more than you can bet the value of your money, your asset, bet it will be worth more or less than it is now. And the key is, they can make the market. Your good old pension investor over at the bureaucrat building, they read the Wall Street Journal and think they are good for the day. That person controlling your money, is the mark.

Your money, other people can and do take it away from you. You can "put" it in your mattress.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

So is it hedging to sell the contract for Palin being nominated? If she wins the nomination, Obama can pretty much stay in DC for the campaign. If she loses, at least I win a dollar per contract.

Are there any for her to win the 2012 general? That might be a good buy.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 13, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

""Derivatives in general, like options, are the vehicle for inside trades.""

OK. Explain to me how an interest rate swap is a vehicle for inside trades please.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@ddawd,

The Palin contract at 63% that she will announce her candidacy is just for that. If she announces, the contract will go to 100% probability. If she does not, it goes down to zero.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

My fellow progressives...

Sometimes after a weekend of reading posts that completely lack in compassion and empathy I need to recharge myself. Perhaps you too...simply remember time is on OUR side. The arc of history is clear and it's the progressive agenda that always comes out on top and people do not REALLY want to go back to the harsh conservative times...end SS..read Eisenhowers thoughts on that...Medicare..
we are moving inexorably to universal health care coverage and eventually even the tax code will be adjusted despite the Koch suckers as Liam calls them.

And then I just remember perhaps the most pressing issue of my lifetime...with all due respect to the ladies...I admit the feminist movement was just as important for ladies as civil rights for black folks.
But racism was such a constant thread throughout my life..from my 3rd grade buddy Narvel..brought him to my house only to have my father's friends ask why...an N?
He had to drink at a separate water fountain..ride in the back of the bus..well all of you know this whether from your history books or having lived through it as I have. Just as ABC pointed out correctly that "When we make war on others we make war on ourselves." Racism diminishes us all, not just the victims.

When you need a pick me up perhaps you'd like to do as me...like shrink I go to youtube for songs I want to hear...and when you consider the time..the mid 60's...the height of racial tensions and where we are now...well the positive conclusion to this Sam Cooke classic simply sends me...but then that was another of his hits eh....Simple but prescient..these words of the late great one...

I was born by the river in a little tent
And just like that river I've been running ever since
It's been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
Cos I don't know what's out there beyond the sky
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

BRIDGE:

And then I go to see my brother
And I ask him to help me please
And he just winds up knockin' me
Back down on my knees

There were times when I thought I couldn't last for long
But now I think I'm able to carry on
It's been a long, been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will"

If Sam Cooke could "carry on" in the mid 60's..2011 is an easy year for progressives. 2012 is going to be even better..a prediction..the two endless wars will finally end.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"The Palin contract at 63% that she will announce her candidacy is just for that. If she announces, the contract will go to 100% probability. If she does not, it goes down to zero. "

Yeah, I was talking about the contract for her to win the nomination.

Looks like Romney is the favorite to win, at least among individual candidates with 24%

I actually like the Palin contract. Getting 9-1 that she will win the nomination? Seems like a good deal.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 13, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Hi ruk!

Sorry that I didn't comment on it before. Good stuff! Good reading!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

admittedly, I'm a guy, but I can't see how the abortion issue comes close to civil rights. I don't want to be seen as diminishing the significance of reproductive rights, but to put it up there with civil rights? (which is just as much as a women's issue as a minorities issue)

Posted by: DDAWD | February 13, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

I have to step out for a while. Be back in a few hours. I look forward to your explanation, re interest rate swaps as "inside trades" and a mechanism for looting the economy.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

@Troll

Glad you know the "jarhead" is actually a term of respect coming from me. Yeah I'm an Army guy but I really get "Semper Fi"!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

@ddawd,

I think that women's rights (equal pay, opportunity, etc--not necessarily abortion rights) is up there with civil rights. But I will admit as bad as women had it, they didn't have it nearly as bad as blacks had it. Not.even.close. Just my opinion.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 13, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Well I guess it's great that all my hedging took us down this financial track. I totally got bookies, swinging for the fences and bunts, and the rest should make good bedtime reading tonight. Thank you.

And to ruk, I don't know how other women feel. For me, the civil rights movement was always the huge deal, women's movement not as personal for me though I'm a woman and not African American. Bernie and I discussed this once. Since women are half the population and have the ear of the important men in their lives, once they had reliable birth control and were ready to focus on life in addition to the home, it was only a matter of time before there would be more equality of opportunity. I know it's still a work in progress, but it's a different thing from one race being walled off socially from the other. It takes knowing the "other" for there to be a chance that doors open. And I could go on here about all the wonderful black athletes who helped make the notion of "other" go away, but this is maybe enough. Probably.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"I think that women's rights (equal pay, opportunity, etc--not necessarily abortion rights) is up there with civil rights. But I will admit as bad as women had it, they didn't have it nearly as bad as blacks had it. Not.even.close. Just my opinion."

Yeah, I agree. Though I think there is a perniciousness to gender inequality that makes it harder in some aspects to deal with.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 13, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD

I'm also a guy. :-) My life has been dramatically effected by my country's racism.
And so I don't wish to diminish it's effects even a scintilla...

But it's not just abortion...the ladies really have a right to b+tch too...in fact just look at what we call them when they do speak up...I can't remember hearing a man being called a b+tch, unless it was used a slur to connotate his feminity or weakness. Strong women are b+tches...weak men might be called the same.

Sometimes I feel like the youngest 63 year old in the nation..especially after a spinning class or yoga...but sometimes when I realize..really think back to how it was as recently as my high school days for blacks AND women...I am truly dumbfounded! You had to be there DDAWD to know what the ladies went through...and again like you I'm a man and so a poor spokesman on their behalf. I listen to Sam Cooke and think of blacks and women It's then I realize what TRUE American exceptionalism looks like. That our nation could come this far in my lifetime...and hopefully I got another 20 or so years or so..:-) I mean when you've lived it and felt it...it's just astounding!

I hope this is something our conservative brethren can agree with us on...our nation is incredible not for it's invasions, F.P., military posturing, economic success, it is amazing for it's ability to reconstitute itself into something better...as our inspirational President likes to say..a more perfect union.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

What a wonderful weekend thread, insightful, thoughtful. I rarely participate, but I read both days and want to thank you all for your comments.

Posted by: mjohnson1116 | February 13, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

@ABC

Thanks for the insight into women's issues and thoughts. As a white male I've always lead the relative life of privilege...not born with the silver financial spoon..but upon reflection I realize just how much easier it was for me than DDAWD's parents, or my wife.

One point you brought out though that got me thinking...the birth control pill might have done as much for women's liberation as the heroes of the movement, although I certainly would never suggest that Steinem et al were not heroic in their own right.
Or as we guys used to call them back then b+tches.

Ironically I was a "male chauvinist" for far longer than I was a racist. Again my 3rd grade experience with Narvel perhaps informed my open mind on race relations while I had no similar epiphany about ladies. I just know looking back on my broadcast journalism career which took place late 70's - early 90's...ladies were not given their proper respect in my industry. Glad that has all changed!

BTW ABC re your earlier point about the real cost of these futile wars in terms of vets and the future. You are correct! And if your opinion results from your reading of Civil War material...my I love history but you've certainly outdone me...just realize that battlefield medicine has increased exponentially since the MASH days of Korea..to Vietnam..to today. Because of speed of evacuation and modern medical miracles we are keeping troops alive who would have certainly died in the last war..much less WWII. Now we are going to have to take care of them...and while I've wimped out on forming a group to protest these awful wars..if I EVER think we are shortchanging the Vets who gave limbs, parts of their brains, their mental health...well then I shall go nuckin futs...and I'm sure even the righties like Troll will join me on the barricades. We MUST take care of these brave men and women!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Interesting take:

"Many notable things have emerged from the 18-day sit-in by Egyptians to oust President Hosni Mubarak:

1. Egyptians and for that matter Arabs are seen to be more savvy than we were led to believe. Even when provoked by government— supported thugs and security personnel, their focus or mission didn’t falter. The very fact that the Egyptian youth spearheaded the movement means that there will never be dictatorship or oligarchy in their country — the same situation when East European governments were swept aside leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

2. The demonstrations exposed the lies, mischief and hypocrisy of Israel. There was no democracy in Egypt and other Arab countries and Israel always played this card — that it is the only democracy in the region and so a natural ally of the West, sharing similar values. But while the struggle for democracy was unfolding in Egypt, Israel was urging the US and EU to keep supporting Mubarak arguing that we should work for evolution rather than a revolution. Israel did not realize Egypt is an ancient civilization and it was the rulers that Israel favored and befriended who delayed Egypt’s march toward progress.

3. This peaceful overthrow of a regime should be a lesson to both Hamas and Hezbollah in the power of nonviolence and civil disobedience. Palestinians should take cue from this, and insist on better, transparent and accountable political leadership. No human being has monopoly of ideas. What we witnessed in Tahrir Square and other places was the extension of the Islamic principle, where the rich and the pauper, the educated and the illiterate, the powerful and the voiceless all stood shoulder to shoulder in a jihad for social justice, freedom, pride, dignity and, above all, participation in the affairs of the nation.

4. Swiss authorities have announced the freezing of ex-President Mubarak’s assets. Does this imply that if Mubarak had died a natural death in office, these ill-gotten assets wouldn’t have been frozen? Such a banking system is curse on humanity; it serves as safe haven for anyone who acquires wealth illegally. While the West, especially the US was providing Egypt with annual aid, the same Western system was encouraging the illegal flight of scarce public resources!

5. There is no threat to Israel from democracy in the Arab world. But now Israel will have to deal with those democratic leaders who will say the same thing in private and public. There will be no lies or secret agreements, and no leader will have that power to bind a whole nation to unfair agreements. There will be checks and balances on executive authority and no unfair treaties will ever be signed or honored. The honor and pride of every Egyptian would be paramount."

http://arabnews.com/opinion/letters/article258184.ece

Posted by: wbgonne | February 13, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

"I think there is a perniciousness to gender inequality"

I wonder what Sally Hemings thought, Thomas Jefferson's wife's half sister. We'll never know.

"As a white male I've always lead the relative life of privilege..."

It is our God given right.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

"I look forward to your explanation, re interest rate swaps as "inside trades" and a mechanism for looting the economy."

Huh?

I was talking about the people who have installed themselves in a position to obligate other people's money in deals about which they (the ones who earned it) know nothing and of course, over which they have no control. You don't get to opt out unless you are a mattress stuffer.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

TMW, Sheila Jackson Lee is as dumb as you say, but I think she is also ethically challenged. Do you know if she ever gave a CBC scholarship to any of her constituents? After Eddie Bernice Johnson got caught with her hands in the till, the Houston Chronicle began asking about SJL. Did a story ever develop?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 13, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

"So is it hedging to sell the contract for Palin being nominated?
...head scratching...

"I actually like the Palin contract. Getting 9-1 that she will win the nomination? Seems like a good deal"

As the Orbit White Chick says: nomattowhut.
I've got the money...I've got the confidence,,,nah.
Not today.

So many would have bet everything against Obama, they did. They lost.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

ABC

I've been reading "The Warmth of Other Suns", thanks BTW. Since everyone seems to be in a somewhat reflective mood, I'll share my best friend's story as one of those migrants from Mississippi all the way to CA. They took the western route rather than the northern as her father could not get far enough away, fast enough.

She was born in 1952 and her father was one of the few really exceptional black mechanics in a small town. As such he had the occasional white customer. In 1954 one such customer decided he didn't need to pay for the work and kept putting her father off. They were barely scratching out a subsistence and her dad was pissed. The bully ran a business frequented by black and white citizens and as such was ripe for a boycott. Several months went by and the guy was pretty angry but still wouldn't pay up. Instead he went gunning for my friends dad with the very truck that was running again because of the work he'd done.

One Sunday afternoon, while father and daughter were playing in the front yard the guy drove right through the picket fence aiming for the mechanic. Unfortunately, he didn't see the little girl playing just on the other side of the fence with her dolls and ran her over instead. Three months later she woke up from a coma partially paralyzed on her right side.

Her father told me the rest of the story 20 years ago. While she was struggling to survive he was contemplating his choices. There was no legal recourse, not back then, and he figured he had two choices kill the bastard and find himself hanging from a tree or run. He ran.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 13, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

The next book I'm planning to read is "Deadly Spin" by Wendell Potter, the health insurance whistle blower. It's all PR all the time with these guys and the tobacco industry wrote the playbook.

""Potter reminds us all these industries learned their craft from Big Tobacco’s relentless decades long efforts to avoid going to jail, even though their products contribute to the deaths of over 400,000 people every year. As Wendell puts it, in a section entitled, “Our products kill, but we’re socially responsible,” we live in a PR world dominated of Big Tobacco’s “Playbook,” the anti-Bible of PR men. “The tobacco industry has, in effect, injected its negative, manipulating DNA into corporate culture worldwide.”

So how can we become smarter and fight back? Potter tells us to watch for the signs of the tobacco “playbook.” Here’s a sample of how corporations manipulate the public debate behind the scenes:

• Hire a big and well-connected PR firm, preferably one that has established a reputation not so much for public “relations” as for public “deception.” . . .
• Set up and operate a coalition or front group, which, if at all possible, should have words like “American” or “freedom” or “choice” in its name. You can launder your money through your PR firm . . . The PR firm will also:
• Recruit third parties to list as members of your front group. [who] can range from mom-and-pop bodega owners and motel operators to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, . . .
• Write letters to the editor and op-eds and place them in local and national publications. In fact, the PR firm will do all the writing and placing. . . .
• Cultivate close relationships with editors and publishers. . . . to influence the tone and content of articles that those reporters write about your company and your industry . . .
• Conduct a bogus survey or slice and dice data with the intend of misleading or “lying with statistics.” . . .
• Feed talking points to TV pundits and frequent contributors to op-ed pages. . . .
• Develop and carry out a duplicitous communications campaign. . . . Behind the scenes, your firm will be using the front groups and their devious tactics to do the necessary dirty work for you.""

Posted by: lmsinca | February 13, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Scott said: "But there is no rational reason for thinking that forcing Peter to pay Paul an act of kindness. Which was what we were talking about."

From Peter's point of view, if he is "forced", it likely wouldn't be considered that way simply as a function of the verb you've used. But his isn't the only viewpoint. And there are other verbs.

What if Peter feels morally compelled as a consequence of his religious commitments? Or as a consequence of an order from his priest? What if, as a matter of contractual obligation, he is lawfully mandated to pay? What if his own moral code operates in such a manner as to make him feel so guilty in not paying that he finally must? What if he lives in a pioneering community where there are no formal laws nor police but merely rough agreements on sharing and the hoots, hollers and social ostracism drive him to the conclusion he must pay to live at peace in the community (the charivari carried from Europe to early North American communities)? What if he lives in a modern state where the social contract and institutions have evolved such that taxation is set by elected officials in a progressive manner to aid those less fortunate?

Peter may well be pissed at his taxation rates but he lives within a communal context with a history and with countless reciprocal benefits from his presense in such a community. If he's "forced" to pay (as we all are), tough luck that HE doesn't find this a kindness.

But it is obviously going to be perceived as a kindness by those disadvantage that the community is organized in this manner. Perhaps more to the point, if circumstances drive Peter himself into destitution, then the "kindness" equation gets altered considerably, doesn't it?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 13, 2011 7:53 PM | Report abuse

THE CHALLENGE HAS BEEN SET

ULTIMATE MATCH-UP

Chris Cillizza v. Greg Sargent

Winner keeps his blog, loser has to LEAVE WASHINGTON

Mud wrestling would be good


How about jello?


Can you imagine these two guys in one-piece tights going at it in a jello match?

The video could be on simul-cast on both blogs.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

tao said: "Now this, Bernie, is the Shelby AC Cobra of propaganda. Valerie Jarret should have gotten a byline"

Cannot figure out what you are pointing to here. Do you see some statement(s) from Jarret somewhere that are false and intended to deceive in the manner in which we understand the term propaganda to mean? (note: differentiate "spin" where the aim is to focus, validly or truthfully on one aspect rather than another - eg "the glass is half full" rather than "the glass is half empty")

Posted by: bernielatham | February 13, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

"TMW, Sheila Jackson Lee is as dumb as you say, but I think she is also ethically challenged. Do you know if she ever gave a CBC scholarship to any of her constituents? After Eddie Bernice Johnson got caught with her hands in the till, the Houston Chronicle began asking about SJL. Did a story ever develop?"

Mark, there was either no "there" there, or the Chronicle did not pursue it.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Lots to get brains churning in this bit by Pinker...

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/02/what-we-say-and-what-we-mean.html

and damn I love this animation plus voice learning method!

Posted by: bernielatham | February 13, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse


Obama's problem in Egypt is policy, not "conflicting signals"

Obama simply does not know what he is doing.

Obama started last week with one policy - BEFORE he listened to the experts. Then the experts started sinking through his THICK EGO, and other considerations began to finally cause Obama to think about the actual CONSEQUENCES.

So, now the policy is in limbo.

Clearly, Obama simply did not understand American National Security INTERESTS in the MIDDLE EAST until this week. The statements coming from the Obama people even up to mid-last week reflected a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of the region.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

It was ONLY when Obama realized that if he messed up there would be domestic political implications did he change his tune.

The liberals have imposed on this nation an UNQUALIFIED AND INEXPERIENCED THICK-EGO of a person who is a DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN.

Obama may have averted a major disaster this time. However, the country keeps getting closer and closer to Obama making a major mistake.

This time, by encouraging the protestors who were aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama almost caused ANOTHER WAR in the Middle East.

If Obama continued down that road, the Muslim Brotherhood would have taken over the Egyptian goverenment, and who knows how many other countries in the Middle East. This surely would have caused another war - either during Obama's term or soon after.

Obama should resign immediately. If this nation had a Board of Directors, Obama would have been FIRED last year.


Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

ASTONISHING BREAKING NEWS

From the Times of London last week:

"Saudi Arabia has threatened to prop up President Mubarak if the White House tries to force a swift change of regime in Egypt. In a testy personal telephone call on January 29, King Abdullah told President Obama not to humiliate Mr Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the US withdrew its aid programme, worth $1.5 billion annually. America’s closest ally in the Gulf made clear that the Egyptian President must be allowed to stay on to oversee the transition towards peaceful democracy and then leave with dignity. “Mubarak and King Abdullah are not just allies, they are close friends, and the King is not about to see his friend cast aside and humiliated,” a senior source in the Saudi capital told The Times. Two sources confirmed details of the King’s call"

_________________


To wbgonne and Liam and all the liberals:

In response to your baseball analogies from last week, you can not hit a home run if you have already been benched by the King of Saudi Arabia.

And that is precisely what happened. Obama was benched and his lame-duck status indicates how the rest of the world will treat him for the next two years.

The whole world is now waiting for the next President - so they can deal with someone who knows what they are doing. The rest of the world doesn't care if the liberals refuse to recognize reality, or they know it and they are just lying to protect Obama.

Yikes Really going some when the Saudis have to step in and protect American Interests in the Middle East.

The Saudis basically told Obama, if you don't do it, we will.

The Saudis are going to be around after Obama's term (singular) and they understand what they are doing.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 8:24 PM | Report abuse

"But it is obviously going to be perceived as a kindness by those disadvantage that the community is organized in this manner. Perhaps more to the point, if circumstances drive Peter himself into destitution, then the "kindness" equation gets altered considerably, doesn't it?"

What if it's the government that drives Peter into destitution? Let's say he loses his job because his employer's business, deep water drilling off the Gulf Coast for example, is banned by the government and his company goes bankrupt. Further, the economic impact of that In that increases the economic downturn along the gulf and he's unable to find a new job. How should Peter perceive the government's "kindness" in the instance where it forced him into unemployment and inhibited, or even prevented him for obtaining another job?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Shrink:

"Huh?"

Well, you said, and I quote: “Derivative financial "instruments" (such a perfect semiotic position) are one mechanism by which rich people loot the economy” and “Derivatives in general, like options, are the vehicle for inside trades.”

Interest rate swaps are derivative financial instruments. So I am curious how it is that an interest rate swap is a mechanism by which rich people loot the economy and is a vehicle for inside trades.

As someone who has a little experience with fixed income derivatives, I am extremely interested in your explanation.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Last week, the liberals were talking like Obama hit a home run - the reality is that Obama took a knock-out punch and was pushed to the sidelines by the King of Saudi Arabia.

Obama has lost his influence.

It is sad and pathetic that a major party in the world's only Superpower can not advance a competent leader who knows what he is talking about. The situation proves that the liberals are incapable of governing.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

That's quite a story, lmsinca. The particular horror of it is that it wasn't atypical for the times.

Picking up on a couple of earlier points on this thread, while it's true that modern medicine has meant soldiers are surviving injuries that would have killed them in the past, innovation in medicine seems always to be a step behind innovation in weaponry. In the Civil War, a minie ball in the leg could mean a lifetime of true disability, an amputation or a wound that never stopped draining. Now the equivalent disability might be two legs blown off and prosthetics for life.

And about the whole idea of otherness. I wonder how many eyes were opened in America with all those young Muslims and their peaceful revolution to try to establish democracy. And there's the bonus that this uprising may take some of the shine off of Al Qaeda when it comes to recruiting.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, "Further, the economic impact of that In that increases the economic downturn along the gulf and he's unable to find a new job." should read:

"Further, the economic impact of that ban worsens the economic downturn along the gulf and he's unable to find a new job."

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 8:32 PM | Report abuse

ScottC3 at 8:27 PM

The whole thing has become a giant skimming operation

Yes, there are legitimate trades mixed in

However, the ups and downs of the markets are manipulated. Everytime new money comes in, the ups and downs allow the traders to skim.

Interest Rate Swaps - are basically transferring the risk of interest rates going up or down from one party to another

The key is the price - what price are they charging to assume the risk, or take away the risk. Traders take on risk knowing that the risk is not as great as the other party believes. Actually all parties are supposed to have a level playing field in information. In reality, they know what is going on and you don't.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 13, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

lms:

""The next book I'm planning to read is "Deadly Spin" by Wendell Potter, the health insurance whistle blower.""

I read it, on Bernie’s recommendation. At one point Potter details a list of standard “propaganda” tactics engaged in by the insurance industry. The list reads like a description of Bernie’s posting tactics here on this board. That was very amusing.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca

I saw the author of "The Warmth of Other Suns" on being interviewed by somebody...think it was MSNBC..can't remember but the book did sound informative and very touching. I'm glad you brought it up I've been meaning to read it as well.

ABC has all kinds of good recommendations, I've just started "The Age of Grief" by Jane Smiley.

As I mentioned earlier this blog one of the pleasures is finding book recommendations.

And in the spirit of the Grammys and Sunday night open thread...has anybody read Keith Richards new bio? After the serious literature I'm ready for a little "brain candy" and from all the reviews I've read Keith's life has translated into an entertaining bio. It's always a relief to read about somebody who has had a more decadent and misspent youth than me. lol

Keith may not be a great guitarist or musical genius but he did have something...whether it's that riff from Satisfaction or those power chords to open up Brown Sugar...his music could grab the pop audience. Looking forward to Mick later tonight on the Grammys.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

SC3, I am not an idiot. You aren't either. There, that was easy.

If you want to talk about made markets, that would be fun.

Here is a question for you. Do you think the retirement money of the American middle class is being traded? Specifically, do you think its value is transacted by professional gamblers all day every day?

It is a simple question. Yes or no.

If you say no, show your work. If you say yes, we can talk.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Ask the steelworkers and machinists in the Mahoning River Valley in Ohio about just such a situation Troll. While we certainly wish there were the thousands of jobs that used to be in Youngstown/Warren belching black smoke into the air and filthy water into the lakes and rivers, we also appreciate that our drinking water is now safe and the air is breathable. It's called progress .. it's hard and some people do end up suffering in the short run.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 13, 2011 8:43 PM | Report abuse

ruk

Please read it, growing up in the south as you did during Jim Crow, it will feel very familiar to you. I have spent untold hours with my friends family, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. and I never get tired of hearing their stories of those times. It's a great reminder of how far we've come. It's also a reminder that things weren't always that much better in the north or the west.

scott

""At one point Potter details a list of standard “propaganda” tactics engaged in by the insurance industry.""

Are you suggesting that it's untrue or that I shouldn't bother reading it?

Posted by: lmsinca | February 13, 2011 8:48 PM | Report abuse

ASMBC:

""The whole thing has become a giant skimming operation""

Is that so?

""However, the ups and downs of the markets are manipulated. Everytime new money comes in, the ups and downs allow the traders to skim. ""

In the context of interest rate swaps, what does it mean when you say "new money comes in"?

""The key is the price - what price are they charging to assume the risk, or take away the risk. Traders take on risk knowing that the risk is not as great as the other party believes.""

Well, as I am sure you are aware, market makers make prices and are willing to execute trades going either way, ie paying fixed vs floating or receiving fixed vs floating. So the key is not actually the price, but is rather the bid/offer spread. Again, as I am sure you are aware. So what is the typical bid/offer spread that a market maker will make on a collateralized interest rate swap? (You understand why collateralization is important for this analysis, I assume.) And what bid/offer spread would, in your estimation, indicate that traders are not taking advantage of a lack of knowledge on the part of their customers?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:51 PM | Report abuse

"or a wound that never stopped draining."

ABC Can you explain the phenomenon of a wound that never stops draining. I'm thinking of a historical figure that predates even the Civil war by about 400 years King Henry VIII who by all accounts also had a wound on his leg that never stopped draining and caused him extreme discomfort most of his adult life. Not to mention what it did for his many wives as it reportedly also omitted a horrible odor.

My medical knowledge is indeed limited but I just thought a wound that never healed would eventually become gangrenous or so infected that the patient would eventually die. How is it possible that Henry and these Civil War survivors continued living with such and affliction?

DDAWD we need your medical expertise.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

""If you want to talk about made markets, that would be fun."

I want to talk about your claims re derivatives. You see, I actually have some knowledge of derivatives, and, based on what you say about them, I don't think you have any idea WTF you are talking about. But I may be wrong. So I want you to detail for me exactly how a fixed income derivative, an interest rate swap, is a vehicle by which rich people loot the economy.

I await with bated breath.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

"Further, the economic impact of that ban worsens the economic downturn along the gulf and he's unable to find a new job."

I'm not sure I follow your point here Troll.
It would be the oil companies inability to safely drill that caused the ban not the government's enforcement of safety.

Unless of course you're prepared to totally crash the Gulf economy. As somebody who actually lives on the Gulf we literally watched our economic futures flash before our eyes during the Deepwater Horizon incident. I feel for the poor fisherman...but you know what..scr&w the oil riggers...they can find new jobs. Sorry to be so blunt, but my wife literally has friends up in the panhandle of Florida who feared for the future of their dental practices...some are still right at the edge.

The oil industry threatens far, far, far more jobs in and on the Gulf than it provides.

Watching the story tonight of the Chilean miners on 60 minutes as they described the horrors of the lack of safety or oversight in the mine that collapsed I couldn't help but think of last night's thread and discussions on regulations re safety of workers. Ahhh but whatever we do let's not disturb the life of some yachting robber baron who must interrupt his sailing to respond to a crisis that quite literally could have bankrupted my wife and I just two years before retirement.

In short Troll don't be bringin' no oil drilling goons around us here on the gulf...we consider them a curse not benefit. Drill baby Drill....all over the great state of Alaska...let's drill that state to smithereens those folks don't mind a little environmental disaster.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Scott, are you saying that derivative trading regulation is unnecessary or are you trying to convince that derivative traders are doing God's work.

Or are you simply trying to show how much you know about derivative trading?

Maybe you're just demonstrating some of that kindness you mentioned earlier?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 13, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

lms:

""Are you suggesting that it's untrue or that I shouldn't bother reading it?""

Neither. Please do read it if you are interested. I was only suggesting that you will find many similarities between what Potter says are standard propaganda techniques and what Bernie posts here every day.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

"In short Troll don't be bringin' no oil drilling goons around us here on the gulf...we consider them a curse not benefit. Drill baby Drill....all over the great state of Alaska...let's drill that state to smithereens those folks don't mind a little environmental disaster."

Thanks for the comment ruk, and for your's as well Prag, they are much appreciated. :-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 9:09 PM | Report abuse

pramatic:

""Scott, are you saying that derivative trading regulation is unnecessary or are you trying to convince that derivative traders are doing God's work.""

Nope.

""Or are you simply trying to show how much you know about derivative trading?""

Nope. Trying to find out how much shrink knows about it.

"'"Maybe you're just demonstrating some of that kindness you mentioned earlier?""

Maybe. Then again maybe not.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Troll -- Yglesias had a good post on this awhile back -

Coming and going on vacation through DCA over the past week, I had occasion to see a bunch of ads about the 9.6 million jobs in the oil and natural gas industry.

This is, in fact, a good illustration of why progressive reform is hard. Dirty energy doesn’t just have a lot of money behind it, there are tons and tons of people working in the field and they don’t want to lose their jobs. And the same is true of health insurance, banking, and any other sector you might want to take on.

But as an argument on the merits, it’s a huge fallacy. Suppose someone invented a Magical Energy Device tomorrow, a cube that costs about $1,000 to build and provides enough energy to power a city the size of Philadelphia. Even better, the cube has no operating expenses and causes no pollution. What should we do? Well, obviously, we should start building MEDs! A lot of them. We’d need somewhere between 300-400 of them to power the whole country, and we’d want more than that since with this new source of basically free, zero-pollution electricity we’d want to pursue electrification of our automobile fleet very aggressively. This technological breakthrough would be an enormous step forward for mankind. And not because of the jobs that would be created in the MED-manufacturing sector. Even if all the MEDs were built in China, America would benefit, and even if all the MEDs were made in the USA the benefits would be modest since the total size of the global market for MEDs would be pretty modest in dollar terms.

The MED would be a boon to humanity, in other words, just because an unlimited supply of cheap pollution-free energy would be a great thing to have. And yet, just like all forms of dramatic technological progress it would, in fact, disrupt a lot of people’s careers.

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2011/02/the-trouble-with-jobs/

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 13, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Why is what shrink knows about derivatives important?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 13, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

ruk, I can't speak to the medical reason for a wound continuing to drain, just the phenomenon. You sent me back to my notes on pension files and an affidavit related to the wounds of a cousin of my great grandfather. Michael McShane, was wounded in 1864 at Spring Hill near Franklin, Tennessee. He received no treatment as he was enroute to the POW camp at Andersonville for two months and then in Andersonville itself for five months. The person giving the affidavit says that at that time Michael's leg had large blue veins like a railroad map and that, when he saw him again in 1875, he still had a running sore and his foot at times stunk "worse than a pole cat."

And as long as we're talking about books and war's impact, here's something from Ian McEwan's Black Dogs: "It seemed as though he had never thought about the war before, not about its cost. He had been so busy with the details of his work, of doing it well, and his widest view had been of war aims, of winning, of statistical deaths, statistical destruction, and of postwar reconstruction. For the first time he sensed the scale of the catastrophe in terms of feeling--all those unique and solitary deaths, all that consequent sorrow, unique and solitary too, which had no place in conferences, headlines, history, and which had quietly retired to houses, kitchens, unshared beds, and anguished memories."

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

lms,

"Here’s a sample of how corporations manipulate the public debate behind the scenes..."

You need to add buying a future US Senator from NY.

http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-02-11/columns/gillibrand-learned-how-to-defend-tobacco-s-dirtiest-secrets-as-a-young-lawyer/

Posted by: tao9 | February 13, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

prag:

""Why is what shrink knows about derivatives important?""

Only because he earlier he proclaimed that "Derivative financial "instruments" (such a perfect semiotic position) are one mechanism by which rich people loot the economy” and also that “Derivatives in general, like options, are the vehicle for inside trades.”

One would hope that such provocative claims would be backed by at least some semblance of knowledge about the thing being talked about. I'm trying to find out if that is the case. I don't think it is.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Prag,

Your comment is thought provoking. I agree there is such a thing as "creative destruction" and have seen my career disrupted not only by somebody else's innovation but also by government action. I was lucky the number of times these disruptions occurred in that I was in a growing, dynamic market. I'd hate to find myself in the opposite.

And thank you for the link.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 9:35 PM | Report abuse

All the acid Yglesias took at Harvard kicks back on occasion.

That and the Philosophy degree that affords him the deep expertise with which to comment on tech and econ.

Posted by: tao9 | February 13, 2011 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Bernie,

"But it is obviously going to be perceived as a kindness by those disadvantage that the community is organized in this manner."

You're kidding, right? Gratitude from the recipients of govt largesse?

e.n.t.i.t.l.e.m.e.n.t.

Posted by: tao9 | February 13, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I asked, do you think the retirement money of the American middle class is being traded? Specifically, do you think its value is transacted by professional gamblers all day every day?

Your answer,

"I don't think you have any idea WTF you are talking about."

Got it. Thank you. We should move on.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Surely the end is nigh when the best act of the Grammy's is CeeLo, Gwyneth Paltrow and Muppets. How much time do we have left? Is tomorrow's WAPO Headline gonna be: "World to End Tomorrow, Women and Minorities Hit Hardest"?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

tao:

""All the acid Yglesias took at Harvard kicks back on occasion.

That and the Philosophy degree that affords him the deep expertise with which to comment on tech and econ.""

Makes me wonder if it's a similar thing that affords shrink, with his vast experience in psychiatry, the expertise to pontificate on the evils of derivatives.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

tao

You won't see me claiming clean hands on either side of the aisle. We're all being worked. And I hate to tell those tea party persons, the health care industry doesn't want the law repealed, so it won't be. Doesn't mean it's a good law, we got a few crumbs, but the loaf is being carried out the door by the ants.

The answer to the riddle is money.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 13, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Glad they put in a shot clock in college basketball because the 4 corner offense sure was boring even if it did allow the weaker team an opportunity to compete in the big game.

Kinda like when the righties are trying to change the subject.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 13, 2011 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Troll, you made me laugh. Wit works.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, poor people are such dirty, smelly ingrates. Lettem rot.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 13, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

""Your answer,"

Wrong. That was not the answer to your questions. I didn't bother to answer your questions, primarily because you didn't bother to answer mine, and I wasn't going to indulge your transparent effort to evade them. As you sagely pointed out earlier, you are not an idiot, so I think you understood perfectly well what I was referring to when I said I didn't think you knew WTF you were talking about, this most recent disingenuous post of yours notwithstanding.

Since you seem reluctant to defend your claim about derivatives being a mechanism for looting the economy, let me ask you an easier one. Could you describe for me how a currency swap (another form of fixed income derivative, as you surely understand) actually works, and why a corporation might want to transact one? That might be a good start in helping me to understand how such an instrument helps the rich "loot the economy" and is an "inside trade".

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

"Makes me wonder if it's a similar thing that affords shrink, with his vast experience in psychiatry, the expertise to pontificate on the evils of derivatives."

Yeah...kinda like a libertarian derivative trader pontificating on morality! LMAO

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

"Makes me wonder if it's a similar thing that affords shrink, with his vast experience in psychiatry, the expertise to pontificate on the evils of derivatives."

Well, we all can't be the Smartest Conservative In The World.

But, please, since you clearly immerse yourself in Studies, feel free to share your vast knowledge gained from these Studies.

But if you're like...too busy or something, I think we all can understand.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 13, 2011 10:11 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, poor people are such dirty, smelly ingrates. Lettem rot."

Deliciously biting and, as per usual, well-timed! Touché, my good Doctor! ;-). The pleasure in reading your comments is mine.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

SC3, you can say nasty things about me all night. We are not going to have a fight. I think you are a smart guy, you probably know a lot about derivatives. But you are all loaded up, dug in, lobbing insults, trying to fight. No thanks. You are ok in my book.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 10:19 PM | Report abuse

ABC

Thanks for sharing from Ian McEwan's Black Dogs. Some very nice prose and views.

I've shared with you about a former poster, also a writer, named BG in Chi. He was a great guy, reminded me a bit of shrink except from a writers perspective not a shrink's. He could communicate effortlessly with folks on both sides. Even though he was clearly progressive Tao enjoyed him as much as me. Tao and I miss him. I bring him up because he recommended a book to me called "Matterhorn", a novel of the Vietnam War.

I'm not necessarily recommending it to you..although Troll if you're still hanging around you should definitely read it. It doesn't reflect the sweeping view you just quoted from McEwan's book as it is much more personal. However if you really want to know what Vietnam was like for guys on the front lines it is THE best book on the Vietnam war I have ever read.

Marlantes is truly a renaissance man. A graduate of Yale and a Rhodes Scholar he honored his ROTC committment serving as a Marine (Semper Fi Troll) in Vietnam. He was awarded the Navy Cross, The Bronze Star, as well as two Purple hearts and more medals that I shan't detail here.

The book is for obvious reasons incredibly authentic and it deals with the misguided Generals and Field Grade officers who were consumed with body counts. It also deals with the controversial topic of "race relations" among the soldiers in Vietnam.
Great book but only if you want the gritty details of what it was like in Vietnam.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 10:25 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, poor people are such dirty, smelly ingrates. Lettem rot."

You know DDAWD, that's exactly what people said sbout my grandfather when he landed in Boston.

He spent the next seventy years proving those bast@rds wrong, and was most grateful for the opportunity afforded him to do so.

I suppose I'm just a hopeful romantic.

{{{Your entire schtick here seems to be putting words in people's mouths}}}

Posted by: tao9 | February 13, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

"You know DDAWD, that's exactly what people said sbout my grandfather when he landed in Boston."

Good thing he got the help that you'd see him denied.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 13, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

"the health care industry doesn't want the law repealed, so it won't be"

Truth ends discussion. Politicians fool the voters for a living. Republicans pose as if they were serious about repeal, Democrats pose as if the ACA was about something other than feeding the people who wrote the bill. But wasting money in Rick Scott's industry is better than wasting it, for example, "rebuilding Iraq."

When we waste money at home, at least it cycles back through our economy.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

""lobbing insults"

I haven't lobbed an insult at all. That is simply not true...just like your nasty claims about derivatives looting the economy. But I guess this latest is the closest I can expect to an admission that you launched your bomb without having the slightest clue what you are talking about. So fine. I'll drop it.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 13, 2011 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Troll

Did you pick out your name in my last post to ABC? :-) It was to simply recommend a great book on the Vietnam war written by a Marine who also happened to be a Yale Grad, a Rhodes Scholar and winner of the Navy Cross, a Bronze Star and two purple hearts!

His name is Karl Marlantes and his book is called "Matterhorn...A Vietnam War Novel"

Imagine a Marine and a Rhodes Scholar...and to think we call you guys "jarheads"...perhaps a misplaced metaphor...although in your case Troll......LOL

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

DD
I told you the Smartest Conservative in the World is Reihan Salam. He's young, accomplished, highly educated and thoughtful; he steals Ezra's lunch money every day:

http://www.nationalreview.com/agenda

Ephatha! Doc.

Posted by: tao9 | February 13, 2011 10:38 PM | Report abuse

@tao

"he steals Ezra's lunch money"

Perhaps...but he gets embarrassed on Maher's HBO show...but it's really hard to defend failure now isn't it. Just sayin'

BTW Whatever happened to BG in Chi. I leave for 3 months and when I return you guys have run him off...wuht happened?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

DD

"Good thing he got the help that you'd see him denied."

The guy never took a nickel. Made a modest living. Gave away much more than most to those that followed.

What a chump.

Posted by: tao9 | February 13, 2011 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Ruk, it's been a while, but the last couple of books I've read about Vietnam were Halberstam's and David Hackworth's autobiography. I'll check it out though, thanks!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 13, 2011 10:44 PM | Report abuse

ruk, BG was one of my favorite posters as well. I liked his book recommendations and his Plum Line after Dark posts. I missed The Matterhorn rec. Vietnam was big for me too, so I'll take a look. Thanks.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

AmerIsrael's Trump: Arabs can't find their Buttocks, not with either hand...

"Palestinian ministers are due to submit their resignations on Monday as part of a cabinet reshuffle. President Mahmoud Abbas will immediately ask Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to appoint a new cabinet.

On Saturday, the Palestinian Authority led by Mr Abbas said it seeks to hold presidential and legislative elections by September [that sounds vaguely familiar]. On political source told Reuters that it would result in a "massive change" in the composition of the government.

Mr Fayyad, 58, will be asked to stay on in the post he has occupied since 2007 [what a surprise].

An aide to Mr Abbas on Saturday said the PA planned to hold long-overdue elections before September. The BBC's West Bank correspondent Jon Donnison says the election pledge seems intended to show that Palestinian leaders are responding to events in Egypt and Tunisia [no wait, really?].

However, Hamas, who are in control of the Gaza Strip, immediately rejected the plan, saying Mr Abbas had no legitimacy. "Hamas will not take part in this election. We will not give it legitimacy. And we will not recognise the results," spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said."

...another shocking development...


Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Troll

Halberstam is a great historian with a sweeping view of the event...and overall pic so to speak. Am unfamiliar with Hackworth's book..the Marlantes book is much more personal and specific to one company with a little bit of that company's relationship to the division...it's a very intimate look at the war closeup and personal as they used to say on the Wide World of Sports.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow...I am an old fart...I like Katy Perry and Gaga...but Aguilera..yecch..and now out comes Babs to blow all their doors off...

Really...like buttah! She can still bring it.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Who wouldn't be embarrassed to be on Mahar's show? I wouldn't use tv as a benchmark...mostly cuz I don't have one ;>).

I miss BG alot. He mentioned the Marlantes book awhile back and I never thought to jot it down, the books I read that he recommended were wonderful. Glad you mentioned it.

Posted by: tao9 | February 13, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD

ABC and I need your medical expertise. We're trying to understand the concept of an open wound that just goes on for years.
The example I'm thinking of is Henry VIII who had an open draining wound most of his adult life. ABC has some incredible Civil War pension papers and they contained this description of an open wound as well..

"He received no treatment as he was enroute to the POW camp at Andersonville for two months and then in Andersonville itself for five months. The person giving the affidavit says that at that time Michael's leg had large blue veins like a railroad map and that, when he saw him again in 1875, he still had a running sore and his foot at times stunk "worse than a pole cat."

And so DDAWD...why didn't those wounds get gangrenous and kill Henry VIII or Michael?
Wouldn't an open wound especially pre antibiotics get infected and kill someone.

How did these dudes stay alive with open draining wounds?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 10:54 PM | Report abuse

TMW, thanks for the update on SJL. For the sake of her constituents, I am glad there was no "there" there.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 13, 2011 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Tao...

No TV? You are a mountain man! My wife and I are having a mild dispute about our summer cottage tucked away on a very private cove of Lake Superior. It's very remote..two miles west of the little town of Copper Harbor.

No cellphones...and we don't have TV either.
Alas we "could" get TV through "Direct" or Dish" My wife claims she misses such total cutoff from the outside world. I LOVE it. And so I'm trying to hold off on TV for as long as possible. As long as we're only able to make couple of weeks at a time I'm OK...but I'm afraid when we retire and start spending months at a time she'll put an end to my intransigence.
I know you get it...why spoil nature with TV.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Fistulas are the body's way of draining the waste of war.
Abscess is bad, pus under pressure will find a way out.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Shrink...yeah but why don't they eventually get infected? An open wound for more than a decade seems really gross, painful and smelly.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 11:00 PM | Report abuse

oops edit...my wife misses contact with the outside world not being cutoff.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 13, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

War? The body creates and destroys upwards of 2 billion immune system cells ever day. They are in constant conflict, we are in constant conflict with The Other. There is no way something like us could exist unless there was an extraordinary, fantastic complexity to how it decides what cells are our own and what are not, since of course, there are lots of things that have evolved to eat us. We die and we start to bloat and stink almost immediately. Anyway, a fistula, a draining would, was the way the body walled off and fought internal infections to a truce, in the 99.99% of our days before antibiotics.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

"An open wound for more than a decade seems really gross, painful and smelly."

Absolutely. Most people, like, just now Karl Marx comes to mind, lived with them their whole short, nasty lives. Recto-vaginal fistulas...fistula tracts can move through fascial planes and end up in the darnedest places.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 11:10 PM | Report abuse

RU,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU09SmpTDHM&NR=1

Gaga, meh.

Good ole American cosmic. Got Joplin in her soul.

{{{Daughter of old friends, known her since she was a baby}}}

Posted by: tao9 | February 13, 2011 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Salam Fayyad is brilliant, honest, and the closest thing to an indispensable man in the Palestinian Fatah. He has reversed the kleptocracy of the Arafat years. If West Bank could stand alone as a small country it would be, largely, because of Fayyad.

I have met him, briefly, and heard him speak. You might want to read about him before you dismiss him as just another Arab you do not know or trust.

PhD from UT. Hook 'em Horns!

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 13, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

shrink--um, wow.y

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/why-salam-fayyad-is-israel-s-public-enemy-number-one-1.322552

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 13, 2011 11:14 PM | Report abuse

IPad added that y.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Mark, the Palestinians are famously educated and each in turn could or should be something more. But if he is all that, Fatah is not. You said, "He has reversed the kleptocracy of the Arafat years." Prove that and I will give money to the Palestinian charity of your choice. Hamas is obviously a menace.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 11:22 PM | Report abuse

shrink--um, wow

Never heard of that eh? One night for hours a surgical resident and I pulled and pushed iodine soaked gauze strips using hooked wire like devices through fistula tracts, like a river delta...oh, well you don't want to know...

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 11:38 PM | Report abuse

And that's why you picked psychiatry over surgery? Good enough reason if it was. Personally, I like it that the body keeps a lot of its secrets.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 13, 2011 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile over on the Persian front...

The Iranian leaders who cheered the popular overthrow of an Egyptian strongman last week have promised to crush an opposition march planned for Monday in solidarity with the Egyptian people.

“These elements are fully aware of the illegal nature of the request,” Mehdi Alikhani Sadr, an Interior Ministry official, said of the permit request for the march in comments published Sunday by the semiofficial Fars news agency. “They know they will not be granted permission for riots.”

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was blunt. “The conspirators are nothing but corpses,” Hossein Hamadani, a top commander of the corps, said Wednesday in comments published by the official IRNA news agency. “Any incitement will be dealt with severely.”

I think that may be an overstatement. The "conspirators" couldn't be corpses and still inspire that kind of enmity.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 13, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

"And that's why you picked psychiatry over surgery?"

I'll never forget that night and too many others like it. The smell is incredible. The sights and sounds...nicht für Jederman...as Hesse wrote in Der Steppenwolf.

At least in psychiatry you get paid (a lot less but so what) to think, not to not think. I was sewing skin grafts onto the back of a little kid one night, my shoes filled with blood (from harvesting the his skin for the graft off the back of his legs) and I thought I was not going to be able to focus, to concentrate on tiny perfect stitches any more. I did, but I think surgery is for autistic specialists, it is all about operational reliability through standardization, perfecting small movements, stuff like that.

They care, don't get me wrong. They just have a capacity I don't have. But they say the same think about me and no one envy's the pediatric heme-oncologists. I could never do that.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 12:04 AM | Report abuse

@Scott:

Should America try to make the world a better place? Absolutely. That should be a top priority and in the forefront of mind for every living person and organization.

How should America go about this? How shall I count the ways? I an think right off of a number of things America could *stop* doing .. such as supporting Israel. America has the power to pressure Israel into curtailing and making illegal the settler movement, an ongoing line of serial atrocities that does much to inflame political instability.

America could pass laws that multinational corporations doing business in its borders have to operate ethically everywhere they do business. And no I'm not interested in a discussion of the definition of ethics.

America could encourage moderate Muslim movements instead of, as with Israel and Iraq, inflaming anti-western passions and emboldening radical movements.

Inside its borders .. America could catch up to so many other wealthy nations and make healthcare a human right. It could make the education of its citizens an esteemed magnanimity instead of a deprecated niggardly operation.

But the best thing America could do to stop making the world a worse place is get on the stick with carbon emissions. Mother of God do we have some terrible times ahead.

And by the way, your Peter Pail arg is bogus

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 12:50 AM | Report abuse

"Surgery is for autistic specialists." Interesting comment. Surgeons always have the reputation of being like fighter pilots, but that actually fits--the need to do exacting things under great pressure with very limited space and no room for error.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 14, 2011 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, I assert he is honest and I have never read any accusation against him. Instead I read how he has modernized the West Bank and is proceeding with his plans that rely on spending on infrastructure and the needs of the people. If you read the Ha'aretz article I posted, you know he is behind the rebuilding of east
Jerusalem as a modernized Arab quarter. He will make the case for west bank sovereignty later this year. Here are some articles of recent note:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/opinion/17friedman.html?_r=1

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/715feb10-4643-11df-8769-00144feab49a.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6757273.stm

I see I made an error - he has never been a member of Fatah or the PLA.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 14, 2011 1:32 AM | Report abuse

"no one envy's the pediatric heme-oncologists. I could never do that. "

Yeah, that's one of the areas I'm strongly considering. I'm not sure if I could stomach working with sick children.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 2:24 AM | Report abuse

ruk, shrink probably knows this stuff better than I, but I'm guessing that the infection doesn't spread because the person has good circulation to the site of the wound, so immune cells can fight off any bacterial growth. This is contrast to someone with diabetes who has poor circulation and so when he gets a small wound on his toe, immune cells can't get to where they need to get to and if an infection forms, the only way to get rid of it is to lop off the affected area.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Infection? Are you talking about the liberals?


Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 14, 2011 4:45 AM | Report abuse

Scott I'm trying to understand your position without simply passing the evident value judgment, and you're not making that easy.

When I stir your Peter Paul grousing in with your position on the flat tax, which is frankly absurd, a pattern emerges ... it seems to be that you want th vdistribution of income left in some pristine, untampered state. Is this it? Do you have a fundamental issue with redistribution? Have you ever unexpurgated this imperative and examined it?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

re Peter and Paul

I think you've missed the point. I have been accused by cao of lacking in empathy and having a "mystifying" absence of kindness. But he is seemingly basing this (I say seemingly because he refuses to provide specific examples, so I have no way of really knowing) on nothing more than my objection to particular tax policies. So, again seemingly, cao sees the advocacy of particular tax policies as a measure of "kindness", and indeed perhaps the only measure. This makes no sense to me. Wanting someone else to pay more taxes is not an indication of kindness, nor, alternatively, is a failure to want someone to pay more taxes an indication of an absence of kindness.

BTW, this:

""But it is obviously going to be perceived as a kindness by those disadvantage that the community is organized in this manner. ""

...is not so obvious to me. Indeed precisely the opposite seems to be the case. The more that such help is perceived to be an obligation of the state, the less likely it is that it will be perceived to be an act of kindness by anyone. An act of kindness occurs when someone goes out of their way to do something to help another, something that is above and beyond what they were obligated to do.

As tao pointed out, the word "entitlement" is instructive here.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 14, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

"The next book I'm planning to read is "Deadly Spin" by Wendell Potter, the health insurance whistle blower. It's all PR all the time with these guys and the tobacco industry wrote the playbook."

Ims: The Tobacco Industry propaganda is the template for all the Con jobs including, especially, Global Warming. What the Con propagandists said for years about whether smoking causes cancer: "Doubt is our product." Sound familiar? Hertsgaard's book, "Hot" discusses this in some depth at pp. 258-261.

These people aren't just Capitalists or Free Market Zealots, they are vile people who knowingly inflict great harm through deception. Why do you think it was so easy for Bush to trump up the Iraqi War intelligence? It is what these people do. They manipulate and distort reality for their own selfish aims. They are liars. They are criminals. They are evil.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Way above shrink said:

"Derivatives in general, like options, are the vehicle for inside trades. People who know more than you can bet the value of your money, your asset, bet it will be worth more or less than it is now. And the key is, they can make the market. Your good old pension investor over at the bureaucrat building, they read the Wall Street Journal and think they are good for the day. That person controlling your money, is the mark.

Your money, other people can and do take it away from you. You can "put" it in your mattress."

"Looting" is just vague value judgment about markets, I suppose, but this use of "inside trading" is off base. Insider trading is a legal term referring to trading a security based on material nonpublic information (i.e., company info).

You could be guilty of insider trading trading or exercising stock options, but it has essentially zero to do with the nature of the options. Insider trading is typically just trading of stock -- X happens to work at BigCorp and knows about a new but secret tech breakthrough its scientists made, so he goes to E-trade and buys BigCorp stock before everyone else knows. That's insider trading.

Generally speaking, "derivatives" have essentially nothing to do with insider trading. There are other ways for people to engage in market manipulation, which seems to be more what shrink is talking about, but his description really makes little sense to me. Market manipulation doesn't depend on derivatives at all, and as Scott points out the manipulations shrink describes don't seem to apply to swaps.

Securities market manipulation existed long before modern derivatives and is illegal under very broadly stated and enforeced antifraud provisions of federal law.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 14, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

BTW: I have mentioned this before but anyone interested in the legalized thievery that is the derivatives market should read Matt Taibbi's series of articles in Rolling Stone. Or get his book, "Griftopia."

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""America has the power to pressure Israel into curtailing and making illegal the settler movement, an ongoing line of serial atrocities that does much to inflame political instability. ""

So you do think, then, that America should use its power to direct other nations to behave in certain ways more to its (your?) liking, is that right? What power should it use? Just economic power? Military power?

And this implies that you think maintaining power (economic, military) superior to other nations such that it can be deployed to such ends is also something the US should do. Do you?

BTW, are there any other nations the example of which the US ought to be following in this regard?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 14, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

"Obama Budget Pivots From Stimulus to Deficit Cuts"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/us/politics/15obama.html?_r=1

Good thing the recession is over and all Americans care about is the deficit.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne

All the new pharmaceutical commercials sort of remind me of the old tobacco commercials. It's weird that people would actually go to their doctor and ask for the "new" miracle cure once they've listed all the side effects. We're a gullible lot.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the health insurance industry and how they were literally able to write the bill they largely wanted. Potter is interesting because he's an ex-insider. I get the propaganda stuff, we see it everywhere, everyday, but why are so many of us so susceptible to it?

Posted by: lmsinca | February 14, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

So companies could never bet against the value of their own securitized products, a value they just happen to know something about since they built it...because that would be illegal. Keep dreaming fellas. One of my favorite made markets happening today, traders buy T bonds on the open market and then some schnook from the fed buys them back, on the open market. There is a little sign out front, your tax dollars at work.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"Rolling Stone" magazine??

Is that the magazine the "Rolling Stones" started way back when?? Is it still published??? Sex, perversion, drugs, and stoned rock is not what it used to be, that's for sure.

Just look at "Lady" GaGaMaggot.

Yechhh!

Or that rappin' retard with tattoos all over it's body that just got out of prison. It don't even look human. Looks like a werewolf from the hood.

As for that phony "Grammies" awards show.........

........don't get me started on that!

Posted by: battleground51 | February 14, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

""America has the power to pressure Israel into curtailing and making illegal the settler movement, an ongoing line of serial atrocities that does much to inflame political instability. ""

So you do think, then, that America should use its power to direct other nations to behave in certain ways more to its (your?) liking, is that right? What power should it use? Just economic power? Military power?

==

Ignoring the relativist goad (how desperate) the settler movement is morally and legally illegitimate and profoundly provocative. If you want to debate this, find another partner. They are a movement of violent and racist squatters engaged in the routine theft of others' property. I seem to recall you being real big on defending property.

The US can stop vetoing UN resolutions condemning Iseaeli atrocities, can stop supplying money and military materiel, can close its embassy I Israel and withdraw its ambassador, and can arm the Palestinians in their own defense.

This would enhanced US security by dampening Islamic radicalism, the only cost being a relationship with a dubious ally that spies on us and wages organized interference in our politics.

Win-win.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

"My fellow progressives...

Sometimes after a weekend of reading posts that completely lack in compassion and empathy I need to recharge myself. Perhaps you too...simply remember time is on OUR side. The arc of history is clear and it's the progressive agenda that always comes out on top and people do not REALLY want to go back to the harsh conservative times...end SS..read Eisenhowers thoughts on that...Medicare..
we are moving inexorably to universal health care coverage and eventually even the tax code will be adjusted despite the Koch suckers as Liam calls them. . . ."

That's a lot of self-congratulation and self-righteousness packed into one post, ru. :-) (If I include a smiley face, does that signal that I'm not trying attack you?)

It's a perfect example of what Scott was talking about above -- the apparent need of progressives to publicly proclaim their moral superiority based on their support for particular policies, which always involve bigger and more government and depend on other people for their funding.

You like to refer to the Bible and Jesus to claim the moral superiority of progressivism, ru, at least when you think you are debating a person who believes in them. But of course Jesus never said anything about big government, taxes, etc. as being a fulfillment of Godliness. (To the contrary, "render unto Ceasar" means the opposite, if you study it.)
Jesus condemned public displays of righteousness (self-righteousness), including public displays of charity.

You go on to equate conservatism with racism. The progressive movement, whose name and spirit the modern left has re-adopted, had deeply racist aspects. Now it is the champion of unfettered abortion. I wouldn't invest to heavily in all this self-righteousness. You can believe that human nature and society are on an inexorable march of improvement, but history has a strange way of proffering conflicting evidence.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 14, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

"I get the propaganda stuff, we see it everywhere, everyday, but why are so many of us so susceptible to it?"

I suppose Shrink could offer a more technical answer but the reason the Con Propaganda is so successful is that they have devoted enormous energy and resources to studying it and developing strategies and techniques. They took the marketing techniques of Madison Avenue and applied them to spread disinformation in other areas. Once they revile the science and the scientists -- "Doubt is our product" -- it is just marketing pure and simple. When done correctly, propaganda works. Advertising and marketing work. And without any serious counterweight on the Left, it has been clear sailing for the Cons for many years.

And here we are.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

"I get the propaganda stuff, we see it everywhere, everyday, but why are so many of us so susceptible to it?"

I suppose Shrink could offer a more technical answer but the reason the Con Propaganda is so successful is that they have devoted enormous energy and resources to studying it and developing strategies and techniques. They took the marketing techniques of Madison Avenue and applied them to spread disinformation in other areas. Once they revile the science and the scientists -- "Doubt is our product" -- it is just marketing pure and simple. When done correctly, propaganda works. Advertising and marketing work. And without any serious counterweight on the Left, it has been clear sailing for the Cons for many years.

And here we are.

P.S. Wendell Potter is quite good: I've seen him interviewed many times though I've never read his book. Please let me know how it is.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"I'm still trying to wrap my head around the health insurance industry and how they were literally able to write the bill they largely wanted."

Tom Daschle knows how. I'll never forget when I read the first drafts of the bill percolating through Congress a couple years ago.
I thought to my self, self I thought, this isn't reform, this is a bill written by and for the insurance industry.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

You go on to equate conservatism with racism.

==

Well it's not liberals carrying signs showing the president with a bone in his nose.

And the people carrying the signs don't seem to be getting any heat from their fellow Conservatives.

Face it. The shoe fits.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"So companies could never bet against the value of their own securitized products, a value they just happen to know something about since they built it...because that would be illegal. Keep dreaming fellas."

You would have to be more specific, since it's impossible tell what you mean.

People do things that are illegal. But again I just can't tell what you are talking about.

"One of my favorite made markets happening today, traders buy T bonds on the open market and then some schnook from the fed buys them back, on the open market. There is a little sign out front, your tax dollars at work."

It might not be a good move by the government, on either end or both, but I don't see what it has to do with insider trading or market fraud.

Market making isn't fraudulent or manipulative. Securities and commodities markets wouldn't exist without it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 14, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

For instance, if you try hard enough you might even convince some people that Jesus Christ was a selfish capitalist pig. Didn't he say: "Do unto others before they do unto you?"

Are you SURE he didn't say that?

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

As for exotic market trading: the question is whether government should regulate the markets, not whether they should exist.

As for Israel: I will have no problem with the U.S. not bossing Israel around just as soon as we stop writing the checks.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Krugman gives us the inside track on the Republican slash and burn budget cuts and how it works. It seems that no one, left or right. wants cuts to the spending that improves their own lives or maintains the status quo, so they've simply taken the money from future spending and let someone else deal with the results.

There's a lot of spending cuts in Obama's budget as well, but also some investment in the future and a rollback in some tax breaks. Anyone notice the budget deficit went from 1.1 T to 1.6 Trillion thanks to the extension of the tax cuts plus a few new ones to boot.

""If you didn’t understand that logic, you might be puzzled by many items in the House G.O.P. proposal. Why cut a billion dollars from a highly successful program that provides supplemental nutrition to pregnant mothers, infants, and young children? Why cut $648 million from nuclear nonproliferation activities? (One terrorist nuke, assembled from stray ex-Soviet fissile material, can ruin your whole day.) Why cut $578 million from the I.R.S. enforcement budget? (Letting tax cheats run wild doesn’t exactly serve the cause of deficit reduction.)

Once you understand the imperatives Republicans face, however, it all makes sense. By slashing future-oriented programs, they can deliver the instant spending cuts Tea Partiers demand, without imposing too much immediate pain on voters. And as for the future costs — a population damaged by childhood malnutrition, an increased chance of terrorist attacks, a revenue system undermined by widespread tax evasion — well, tomorrow is another day.

In a better world, politicians would talk to voters as if they were adults. They would explain that discretionary spending has little to do with the long-run imbalance between spending and revenues. They would then explain that solving that long-run problem requires two main things: reining in health-care costs and, realistically, increasing taxes to pay for the programs that Americans really want.

But Republican leaders can’t do that, of course: they refuse to admit that taxes ever need to rise, and they spent much of the last two years screaming “death panels!” in response to even the most modest, sensible efforts to ensure that Medicare dollars are well spent.

And so they had to produce something like Friday’s proposal, a plan that would save remarkably little money but would do a remarkably large amount of harm.""

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/opinion/14krugman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

Posted by: lmsinca | February 14, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/the_morning_plum_186.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 14, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"In a better world, politicians would talk to voters as if they were adults."

That is what I so loved about Candidate Obama. Why he lost his faith in the American People baffles me.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Hey I am all there on the decadence that is the American star culture, I agree, I'll second your yechhh and raise you an eeewww. But if you think the American business model is a crucible for "free" enterprise which generates wealth for all Americans, you can't see what happened awhile back. Those days are gone.

Now we have a system in which no (real gdp) growth has occurred in more than a decade, the S&P just recently wobbled back to where it was in the Spring of 2001, investment capital (= jobs) keeps flowing out of our country and yet, income disparity just keeps on widening. The financial markets exist for the benefit of the people who manipulate them, fast money. You can talk all you want about what is legal and what isn't, the results speak for themselves.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

@troll: I remember when Rolling Stone was a rock magazine. I was a subscriber.

I also remember when rock wasn't complete crap, and when there was music on the radio that didn't give me a headache in three seconds.

Rolling Stone had nothing to do with Jagger/Richards. When they started reviewing politics I'd dipped it long ago.

Rock peaked in 1971 and plunged downhill the next year. On afterburners. From bands to vocalists, ugh, ugh, ugh.

NP: Steve Roach "Immersion Five"

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne

I've put off Potter's book for awhile because I was so heavily invested in my sister's legal case against one of the big ones I figured it would be somewhat unhealthy for me to add to my stress level. Now that the case is settled, never very satisfying but it's over, I can go back to trying to understand the process without such a jaded eye, theoretically anyway.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 14, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

The oil and gas industry has an on-going campaign claiming that thousands of jobs will be lost if they lose their billions in subsidies. Does anyone actually believe they will stop drilling if the government doesn't pay them to continue?

On the other hand, the GOP is proposing, rather than ending the O&G subsidies, to force the layoff of thousands of teachers, police and firefighters through massive budget cuts.

Which of these policies will be worse for the economy?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 14, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Why he lost his faith in the American People baffles me.

==

Maybe he went to a mall

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Why he lost his faith in the American People baffles me.
==
Maybe he went to a mall

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Good one!

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Cao:

IMO, RS currently does the best investigative reporting in the MSM on major and complex issues like Wall Street and Afghanistan. Matt Taibbi is fearless and funny to boot.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

@wbg: I'll take your word on it. I haven't even seen a copy in over 30 years.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne

I have largely taken your advice from last week and begun ignoring some of the righties.
I don't call them trolls because they are here because they truly believe what they espouse. Of course there are exceptions..37th & his sock puppets are the classic example of trolling.

I'm pretty SURE Jesus did say that..as well as forget the other cheek hit theirs before they hit you..as in the Bush Doctrine...and of course the Prodigal Son parable was misprinted..what Jesus REALLY meant to say was the father in the story told the wayward son to "get lost you deadbeat" and of course the Good Samaritan actually raced by so he could cash his latest check..well the list could go on.

I think what convinced me wbgonne of the hopelessness of engaging them is the series of statistics and info I posted over the weekend that was not disputed.
And so we have the spectre of the top 400 wealthiest folks in our country who earn over 300 MILLION ANNUALLY..watching their incomes increase by more than 25% while their taxes actually went down.

Contrast this to the largest number of Amnericans falling below the poverty line in decades..we are now at 1 in 7 in poverty..I mean think of this..it's amazing to me that against this backdrop the Bobbsey Twins were apoplectic about raising the marginal tax rate a few % points. Truly astounding that these folks cannot see how obscene their arguments look to a rational person...

And all in the name of let charity do it..it's not Government's purview. I'm a pragmatist...charity has obviously not worked...historically Gov't intervention with the safety nets has ameliorated some of that suffering.

To talk about making sure the rest of society feels the pinch of our profligate spending on Georgie and Dicks' not so excellent military adventures is so obscene to me it's hard to even comment at this point. Feel the pinch? Really? 1 in 7 below the poverty line is not enough "pinch" for the Bobbsey twins!!!

It begs the question..WTF is enough "pinch"? How many AMERICANS do they wish to see in poverty...how small do they want the middle class to contract in AMERICA?
Feel the "pinch"...they're all heart aren't they?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 14, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Cao:

I was never an RS subscriber but somehow(?) I ended up with a trial subscription which I only bothered to look at b/c I'm a music fan. The political and investigative journalism blew me away. Don't take my word for it: take a look at Taibbi's archived RS articles on Wall Street (I assume they are available). They are magnificent. Tim Dickinson is quite good as well. Now I get it primarily for the news articles (same with Playboy and Penthouse (does that still exist?)).

Gotta run.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

Don't let the b*stards grind you down.

We all know Jesus would smite today's Conservatives.

Keep the faith.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 14, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"I mean think of this..it's amazing to me that against this backdrop the Bobbsey Twins were apoplectic about raising the marginal tax rate a few % points. Truly astounding that these folks cannot see how obscene their arguments look to a rational person..."

Good grief, you can't even get your basic facts right, let alone resist ridiculous hyperbole.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 14, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I keep looking at your ridiculous post, ru. In disbelief at your comments, like this:

"Feel the pinch? Really? 1 in 7 below the poverty line is not enough "pinch" for the Bobbsey twins!!!

It begs the question..WTF is enough "pinch"? How many AMERICANS do they wish to see in poverty...how small do they want the middle class to contract in AMERICA?
Feel the "pinch"...they're all heart aren't they?"

I wasn't even part of your discussion, but you have no problem pretending I was and attributing your distortions to me.

You simply aren't honest. Time to tell it straight. You can't engage "the other side" because you are unable to be honest. You've packed so many lies into just those few lines that it isn't worth even trying to unpack them.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 14, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Q.B.

If you are trying to suggest that you were NOT in support of extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% in this nation...

Then my memory has failed me completely and I apologize for lumping you in my observation...if you did indeed argue FOR those tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% then I meant EVERYTHING I posted! As far as the word "pinched" I concede that you were not as forthright as your conservative twin but it doesn't change the mind boggling selfishness involved in such total concern over a few % increase for the wealthiest amongst us while 1-7 are below the poverty line!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 14, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

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