“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We are so very very sorry.

Were so sorry uncle albert
Were so sorry if we caused you any pain
Were so sorry uncle albert
But theres no one left at home
And I believe Im gonna rain
Were so sorry but we havent heard a thing all day
Were so sorry uncle albert
But if anything should happen well be sure to give a ring

Washington- Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Apologizes For Calling Gays "Immoral"

Despite an announcement that he had no plans to apologize early Tuesday, Gen. Pete Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered his apologies for offering his personal opinion on the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell policy."

Montana- State House Democrat apologizes for "bull" remark

An already contentious legislative session became even more rancorous Tuesday with yet another demand for an apology for behavior by members of the House of Representatives. House Speaker Scott Sales, a Republican, was upset with fellow Bozeman lawmaker Brady Wiseman, a Democrat. Sales said that while he was talking to reporters after a news conference, Wiseman walked past and said, loudly, “bull.”

“And,” said Sales, “I won’t disgrace this body by saying the final four-letter word he used.”

Wiseman issued an apology on the House floor.

Washington- Rep. Platts apologizes for badly behaved aide

About 3,000 Irish citizens and Irish-Americans came to Capitol Hill last week to lobby members of Congress on immigration. Dressed in T-shirts bearing the slogan “Legalize the Irish,” they plodded around Capitol Hill in groups of six to eight to visit congressional offices.

Not all offices were friendly, however.

“We were turned away by a few,” remarked Michael Campbell, an Irish-born Philadelphia resident looking to become legal. For instance, he said he and his group were not greeted kindly by a staffer for Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.). “Just opened the door and didn’t let us in,” Campbell said. “[The aide] said he’d already met with some Irish.”

Platts spoke with ITK yesterday and admitted that his office behaved inappropriately.

“We strive to treat everyone who visits our office in a courteous and mannerly fashion,” the congressman said. “Apparently that didn’t happen, and I take responsibility for that and apologize for that. I take how we treat others very seriously. I would say my staff understands that. Clearly a mistake was made here.”

Platts said he plans to speak with the aide who behaved badly. “I’ll definitely have a conversation about conduct,” he said. “I’m not planning on disciplinary action.”

Among the lawmakers who were friendlier toward these Irish visitors were Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.),

Pennsylvania- Supervisor apologizes for remarks

A Newberry Twp. supervisor apologized tonight to township residents and his supporters for an expletive-laced tirade against a neighbor that put him under court supervision.

Stephen Pancoe was placed on accelerated rehabilitative disposition Feb. 27 by York County Judge Penny Blackwell for a July incident during which he allegedly called a neighbor "crippled," "worthless" and "white trash."

Pancoe was ordered to serve a year on probation, perform 35 hours of community service, have no contact with his neighbor and write a letter of apology to him, among other requirements, according to reports.

Given news coverage of the decision, Pancoe said he felt compelled to make a statement to the people he serves.

"If my conduct as an elected official is a problem to any of the citizens of the township who have supported me, I am sorry and I apologize," Pancoe said, reading from a prepared statement.

New Jersey- Short apologizes for e-mail

MIDDLETOWN - Democratic Committeeman Patrick Short apologized at last week's Township Committee meeting for off-color remarks he recently made to a fellow committeeman via an e-mail.

Following a meeting last month, Republican Committeeman Thomas Hall sent an e-mail to Short offering his assistance concerning township business, since Short only started his service on the committee a few weeks ago. In his response, Short told Hall, via e-mail, to "put your ***** back in your pants" and to "quit being a control freak." The e-mail was received by all three of the other committee members.

"My intent was to speak to Tom Hall about what went on, and I absolutely want to apologize for my choice of words. It was very inappropriate," Short said.


  1. Looks like all them folk have been takin' lessons from old habu.

    Insult folk, then apologize.

    Then take offense when the apology is not "adequately" appreciated.

    As if the original words had no meaning to begin with. Was it not Mr Limbaugh who would tout:
    Words have meaning.

    So should apologies.

  2. As Wretchard Hernandez says

    "In any case their status entitles them to a special grade of marijuana when going on extraordinary perilous beating missions"

    I hope against hope that this is a wake-up call to America just how SPUTNIK was. American foreign policy slops about like a formless mop, while it could be animated by shrewd biochemistry into a Sorcerer's Apprentice mop force worthy of the Great White Fleet.

    How many years has it been since John ONeill, without any drugs and only a cell phone, laptop and badge, went to Yemen and failed to conceptualize the crime, let alone remote view his way to bin laden. Who will apologize for that? Maybe someone should tune out and remote view their way over to May's Landing. Hop the river stix and play some hardball with Mr. P O'Neill.

    Who will apologize to Habu, for giving his claim of 300lb benchpress less importance than it actually demanded?

    Who will apologize to Teresita for norm of heterosexuality?

    Who will apologize to Desert Rat for saying he's not man enough to sell quaker oats and liberty medical diabetes supplies?

    Will Doug apologize to his Commander-And-Chief, a bilingual businessman who has to politick with Mexico so it can crack down on its drug lords? How come he cannot see this obvious game at work? Its obvious Bush has to offer something to Mexico as Mexico embarks on the difficult problem of what it calls its 'rebellion'

  3. Everyone derides the left but its drug-enhanced organizational prowess have made it formidable indeed. They can dialectalize and deconstructify anything and everything that stands in their way, like a Heidegger transformer robot that goes from bombastic german philosopher to towering mech-warrior with whirring woodchippers for hands: anything he/it touches is ground to compost, relics of exploitative civilization made sustainable and proper as soil once again.

  4. My anger management class really pisses me off.

  5. I'll be first to apologize.
    My oversight can only be explained by my surroundings.
    Previously, I was regularly reminded that POTUS was the master poker player, and I, in my ignorance and naiveté, was forgetting to take that into account when reading the tea leaves.
    Leave that to the MPP, they would say, whereas 'Rat casts aspersions, bottle caps, and whatnot at such folk.
    Always good to have a reality check.

  6. Sam,
    True story:
    In Honolulu a guy teaching an anger management class killed the student, I think!
    I'll see if I can find it, might have been student killing teacher.
    Either way, it would be a graphic learning moment for everyone.

  7. The GUF of Life
    In 1995, in Honolulu, a teacher in an anger-management class got so upset when one of his students showed up for class drunk that he beat the student, leaving him brain dead.
    That was one serious attitude adjustment you gotta admit.
    A Real Head Trip.

  8. "The US officials say hardline Islamists have usually not done well in elections in Pakistan and that if General Musharraf were removed, a doomsday scenario would not necessarily follow."
    We can always say:
    So Sorry!

  9. Pace is becoming a eunuch!

    ... a new requirement for military officers, esp. generals and admirals.

  10. One must admit that the morality of the Federals does not match up with the morality promoted in the Bible, tiger.

    Indeed, the US is not the Christian Repubilc of the US.

    If it were, how could it be allied with so many of the Isalamic Republics out there in the world?

    General Pace, merely a General that cannot figure how to win in Iraq, one who wants to change the subject, from unwon Wars to the sexual preferences of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

    A little deception, on his part. Misdirection perhaps.

    He didn't really mean it, or he'd not have apologized. A man of Honor and Integrity and all things Marine. Instead, like any lying bureaucrat, he backed down when confronted with DC discomfort.

    And people wonder why Wars are unwon, by the present Team. Men that do not say what they mean nor mean what they say.

    "Oh what a tangled web we weave
    when first we practice to decieve"

  11. Who will apologize to Teresita for norm of heterosexuality?

    No apology necessary, unless you are ashamed of that norm, in which case I ask, why?

    (Teresita, away on business travel)

  12. Now Robert Robb is not my favorite columnist, in fact he does not rate in my top 100. He works for the local Gannett paper and usually takes a line different than mine. Not today, though.

    The business community and others supporters of a liberal immigration policy say that illegal immigrants are taking jobs that Americans won't do. Without the illegal immigrants, they contend, the United States would be facing chronic labor shortages.

    A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center about Latinos and the construction industry offers an opportunity to put these claims to the test.

    According to Pew, 60 percent of new construction jobs between 2004 and 2006 went to foreign-born Latinos. Forty-six percent went to those who have arrived since 2000. Pew estimates that two-thirds of recently arrived Latino immigrant workers are illegal.

    That means that, at a minimum, about 30 percent of all new construction jobs went to illegal immigrants. ...
    So, what's been happening in the construction labor market overall?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been nearly a 30 percent increase in construction jobs over the past 10 years. That's considerably above the increase in total employment and in production workers in all industries, both of which only expanded about 10 percent.

    So, demand for construction labor increased three times as fast as for labor generally. Wages for construction workers must have gone up more than for other workers, right?

    Well, that's not what happened.

    During the decade, the average hourly wage for production workers in all industries went up by 33 percent. For construction production workers, the increase was only 28 percent.

    In fact, despite a 30 percent increase in demand, construction wages barely increased faster than inflation during this period, which was 25 percent.

    The same phenomenon of stagnant or declining real wages can be found for other jobs heavily impacted by illegal immigration, such as farming, cleaning and food preparation.

    Nowhere has the demand for construction labor increased faster than in Arizona. Yet, most construction jobs in Arizona now pay below the state's median hourly wage, which was not the case in 1990.

    A stagnant or declining price of something is not an indication of a shortage of it.

    Contrary to the contention of immigration liberals, in almost all cases illegal immigrants do compete with native-born workers.
    the percentage of the workforce illegal immigrants represented in various job categories. The highest was insulation workers, at 36 percent. That means in virtually all job categories in which illegal immigrants are prominent, at least two-thirds of the workers are legal.
    In construction, it's clear that illegal immigration is displacing legal workers and depressing wages. Construction used to be one of the bridges to the middle class for native workers who didn't go on to college. Illegal immigration has washed away the bridge. ..."

    I know that rufus & buddy larsen will disagree, as they always have.

    But they never have facts to present that sway opinion, just emotional calls to "fairness" and tales that the nigrant workers are "good people" just looking for a job. Economic refugees is what they are, not a catagory of refugee that the US accepts, by Law.

  13. Construction labor costs are distorted by the Davis-Bacon Act and union activities that would not be tolerated in any other industry. The unions seem to tolerate the use of illegals as long as their members are all working.

    In some areas they are trying to bring the illegals into the unions. Amnesty or unionizing the illegals will quickly result in a rapid increase in construction costs.

  14. AZ is a "right to work" State.
    Mr Del Webb broke the construction unions, in the residential market, decades ago. They have never recovered, here.

    If the illegals were unionized in California, real estate sales in AZ will stay strong.

    Intersting thing I've noticed, In Texas, outside of Fort Worth, nice homes are available on multi acre lots for under $100 per square foot. Here in AZ construction costs are higher than that.

    What $200,000 will get a guy in Texas costs twice that here. If only Texican property taxes were reasonable. ...

    Seems to be four or five times what they are, here in AZ.

  15. DR,

    Not sure if this article corroborates Robb's facts (don't have time to check right now), but it suggests that the underlying reason for construction boom/job growth since 2001 has been subprime lending. Personally, I think the entire mortgage lending industry is at fault and provides yet again a lesson in why easy credit always results in disaster (corollary: bankers are just plain stupid). Speaking of seeing the signs, I went on the record regarding the eventual result of easy mortgage credit in 2003.

    Anyway, if subprime lending/easy credit has indeed been the underlying stimulant to job growth, all those jobs will soon disappear. Where will all those "construction workers" go then? What happens to crime rates when they can't find work? Etc.

  16. Sorry, forgot the link - here it is.

  17. I'm not sure it is the bankers who are the fools for they don't seem to be left holding the bag. It seems the problem stems from mortgage brokers writing whatever paper they can then sending the contracts off to be bundled and sold off as mortgage securities on wall street. All the sellers, bankers ect. have reaped wonderful fees pushing the paper to the 'investors'.

  18. 500%, I do not think so, rufus.

    Pre surge month 1440 civilians KIA
    Post surge 265 civilians KIA

    265 is 18.4% of 1440
    Deaths are down 81.6%, based on those figures, not 500%.

    I agree with you about the sub-prime being allowed to participate in the American Dream. Not only do they pay a higher interest rate, there is also PMI, which most of the sub-prime are required to buy, since most do not make the 20% downstroke that avoiding paying it requires.

    Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), also known as Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), is insurance payable to a lender when taking out a mortgage. It is an insurance in the case that the mortgagor is not able to repay the loan, and the lender is not able to recover its costs after foreclosing the loan and selling the mortgaged property. The annual cost of PMI varies between 0.19% and 0.9% of the total loan value, depending on the loan term, loan type and proportion of the total home value that is financed.

    The sub-prime pay for their increased risk to the lender.
    Both upfront and in the back.

  19. Will Sudan regret?

    Judge rules against Sudan in [USS Cole] bombing

    “Four experts on terrorism, including R. James Woolsey, CIA director from early 1993 to early 1995, also testified in person or by deposition Tuesday to support the families' position that al-Qaida needed the African nation's help to carry out the attack.”

    It is a “Long War”.

  20. why say things??? when in the end you're just going to apologize anyways??? such cowards!!! i have more respect for people who, despite the criticisms hurled their way, can stand their ground & keep their credibility intact. they mean what they say & they say what they mean!!!! maybe gen. pace just want his 10-min of fame????????

  21. J Willie
    Wed Mar 14, 11:09:00 AM EDT
    Great point!
    We need illegal workers to support a bogus bubble built on bogus loans based on lies.
    Rufus's cheerleader Kudlow then gives all credit for the bogus bubble (calling it a great economy [which needs more illegals]) to tax cuts.
    No different than giving Clinton credit for the economic boom supercharged by the Internet Bubble.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Ash,
    Bear Stearns and the like reaped profits by rating Companies like New Century as great buys long after all the warning signs were in place.

  24. I hate disagreeing with Rufus. But that is the wrong sound track. This is the Elephant theme, if not a song

  25. Deuce,
    The Elephant functions as the truth squad for all the BS the GOP Hides under the rug.

  26. Rufus says,
    "The sub-prime deal is a fart in a whirlwind. "
    Just happens to be a larger market than T-Bills.

    Foreclosures in regular Mortgages are now starting to rise also.

  27. Nobody got hurt in Enron?
    New Century's stock tanked faster than Enron's!

  28. As one analyst said, the House is in for a surprise when all the dirty linen gets aired by the Subprime Collapse.

  29. To summarize Rufus at
    Wed Mar 14, 12:18:00 PM EDT
    "Nothing wrong with people making windfall profits based on lies, selling property and securities based on lies.
    Nothing wrong with Rating services getting paid to lie to advise people to make investments against their interest."

    Summing up
    Rufus, Kudlow, Larsen:
    Hear no evil
    See no evil
    Speak no evil

  30. The Macro economy was not influenced by the McCain Savings and Loan affair?

  31. Rat,
    Motto should be:
    All's Fair as long as their are Cheap Tacos for All!

  32. Lawbreakers are just fine, whether immigrants, bankers, contractors, stock analysts or CIC's.

  33. "however the price of the mortgage should vary with the creditworthiness of the borrower. "
    How is this determined when all involved are LYING?
    (Kudlow will tell us)

  34. Bush Upset Over Flawed Attorney Firings...
    Six years after NEGLECTING TO DO standard housecleaning, he's upset!
    Poor Baby!
    Maybe he cries in a NEW TONE?

  35. When banks used to loan their own money they would have capital requirements that equaled maybe seven percent of their assets. When they took a hit on a loan that would reduce their capital base by the amount of the loan. The problem is that they had so much leverage, in the 7% example, 14:1, that would have a bif impact on their balance sheet and future lending ability.

    Home lending will not be a total loss because the homes have some value. If they sell all the loans to foreign buyers, do the buyers have recourse to the banks that sold them?

  36. an atmosphere of lawbreaking overseen by a Lawbreaking leader, corrupts, Bobal.
    "No one is hurt when..."
    No one is hurt when someone loses a job to an illegal.
    No one is hurt when schools become dysfunctional because of illegals. 
    No one is hurt when someone is rundown by an unlicensed, uninsured, Mexican Illegal.
    No one is hurt when someone loses a job to an illegal.
    No one is hurt when schools become more dysfunctional because of illegals.
    No one is hurt when someone cannot receive timely emergency care because ER's have been shut down by Illegals.
    No one is hurt when someone is murdered by an Illegal Drug Dealer, Coyote, or Gang Member.
    and on another front:
    No one is hurt when a Marine is cut down by a terrorist previously caught and released.

  37. Bush doesn't have to be sorry:
    He's saved.
    (in his own mind)
    ...and like Algore, he's looked out well for number 1 while preaching his BS to the numberless masses.

  38. The man with a 20,000 sq ft house (among others) chides us on being gluttonous re energy!

  39. Different flavors of Snake Oil, Bobal.

  40. Off to an early start, Bobal:
    Teen has over 100 Felonies

    Andrew Riley faced 128 felony charges Tuesday that included theft, vandalism and intimidation, but he is no adult; he is a seventh grader.

    Riley, 13, is accused of burglary, theft, stolen property and vandalism. It stems from a crime spree that the Athens County assistant prosecutor said lasted a year.

    "He's so young, we need to try and get him rehabilitated through the system," said Assistant Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.

    Blackburn said the Full Brooks Cafe was one of his many targets. Owner Miki Brooks said the restaurant has been robbed twice.

  41. My problem isn't with subprime lending per se. Risk and reward usually balance out. If a lender wants to make that higher risk loan for a higher interest spead, more power to him. Same for the borrower. The systemic problem, as the WSJ has noted for years, lies w/ Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which underwrite all this securitization based on an implicit govt guarantee for which there is no explicit contract or risk "premium". That's where risk is mispriced, as the buyers of those firms' paper assume that if Fan/Fred get in trouble, dear old Unc Sam will bail them out. Effectively, the shareholders (and management to an even larger extent) of Fan/Fred are subsidized by the de facto guaranty. Who pays for that risk - taxpayers, and it is not a wash. It's an economic loss, just like the bank bailouts (Coninental Bank, eg) were some years back. Furthermore, there's all sorts of accounting shenanigans going on at Fannie Mae, which recently announced that it would not be completing its 2005 AND 2006 financial reports until the end of 2007! What do you suppose is under that rug?

    When the bottom of the pyramid is shaky, how can you expect anything above it to be on solid footing?

    I don't buy Kudlow's optimism - at a minimum there'll be a shakeout of the residential mortgage sector. Hopefully it will be contained within that industry, but if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac begin unravelling, it could get a whole lot worse.

  42. J Willie,
    One feature pushed in subprime shops destroys the connection between rates and risk:

    The "Stated Income" loan.

    90% Overstate
    60% Overstate by over 50%!

    No way to determine how shakey a scheme gets funded there!

  43. In India they've done variable risk loans for centuries.
    Part of the culture.
    Here, too often a corrupt scheme.