“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."

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Tectonic Plates of Freddie and Fannie

Did he make it? 

UPDATE: Shares of US mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in a freefall Friday on heightened concerns the trillion-dollar firms may face insolvency or a government takeover.
Freddie Mac plunged 48 percent to 4.10 dollars at the Wall Street open following a 22 percent slide on Thursday and Fannie Mae lost 46 percent to 7.07 dollars after a 14 percent drop in the prior session.

Washington dithered. The doctrinairia pontificated. Confidence withered and now a problem that could have been resolved with billions will cost trillions.

Articulation matters.

One well argued sentence from a smart politician can rally opinion and save an empire. It did not come.

Back in March, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called for additional relief and urged lenders to help distressed owners by lowering the amount of their loans.

"This situation calls for a vigorous response," Bernanke said in a speech to a banking group meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Derisive howls came from the "let them take their medicine" crowd.

A cacophony of shallow men shouted down the messenger. No point in naming names now, but they won the day. Now we all will take our medicine.


U.S. mulls take over of troubled mortgage giants
By Chris Oliver
Last update: 2:47 a.m. EDT July 11, 2008

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Senior Bush administration officials are considering a plan that would see the U.S. government take over mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae if they continue to deteriorate, according to a published report in the New York Times Friday, which cited people briefed about the plan. The plan, which could see the government take over one or both mortgage companies, would entail placing the companies under a conservatorship if their financial health worsens. If that were to happen, the shares of the two companies would be worth little or nothing and any losses on mortgages they own or guarantee would be paid by the U.S. government. The Bush officials are also considering a plan that would offer an explicit government guarantee on the $5 trillion of debt owned or guaranteed by the companies, the Times reported. The report cited officials as saying no action was imminent and neither mortgage company is in a crisis situation.


  1. The report cited officials as saying no action was imminent and neither mortgage company is in a crisis situation.

    Just how many home buyers are in trouble?

  2. 12 step Program for compulsive talkers:

    "On an on an on an on"

  3. That about sums it up. (The trouble with Fannie Mae).

    Bob to your question, how many buyers in trouble...
    It is not much difference than being on a crowded ship and speculating about how many passengers have cholera. Enough to infect the whole ship.

    I fear that Bernanke was right in March.

  4. I remember a line from an old book, may have been "Grapes of Wrath" where a family lost the farm and was packing up, heading West, the stunned farmer wondering how a failed bank in New York could have affected (infected) him.

  5. Odd thing was, a lot of those Okies did great when they finally got to California, many became rich, I read one time.

  6. And, they learned you don't seed the clouds by plowing the ground black. Great Dust Bowl ytube

  7. Bobal: Odd thing was, a lot of those Okies did great when they finally got to California, many became rich, I read one time.

    There's no where to pick up and head to, anymore. When you light out for the territories, you find strip malls and Starbuckses and cranked out little cookie-cutter gray houses so close together you can hear your neighbors when they knock boots and everything looks awfully similar to the place you done left.

  8. I'm not sure what the truth of that is,that old tale that the farmers in the mid-west thought you could bring rain by plowing the ground black. A teacher back in high school mentioned it, and I've read it a couple times, but it seems so unlikely, like a belief in Santa Claus, or a cargo cult. With the coming of the tractor though, they put a lot of it under the plow, the results not so good. I've read some places in the midwest if you dig down you can find sand, meaning much of it was a lot drier in the distant past.

    I quess the native Americans would have said, you reap what you plow.

    There's no where to pick up and head to, anymore

    Alas, and the neighbors bitch about every last thing.

    Yet, every patch of prairie used to look like every other, and their was a prairie madness that would sometimes grab people, driving them nuts, unable to take the sameness of it and the lonliness. No Creative Institue For Positive Sexuality around, or whatever the name of it was, that Sam mentioned the other day.

  9. Bobal: Yet, every patch of prairie used to look like every other, and their was a prairie madness that would sometimes grab people, driving them nuts, unable to take the sameness of it and the lonliness.

    Over there in North Dakota, for increasing numbers of people, this loneliness is being mitigated by royalty checks from the oil companies who put wells on their property.

  10. Those royalty checks can buy you a boarding pass on a jet plane, to Las Vegas.

  11. The frozen chosen in Congress will act now. Maybe someone will get George out of the gym, to crank out one of his doctrinaire bromides.

  12. Maybe not:

    WASHINGTON - Struggling homeowners who can't afford their mortgages and banks facing big losses would get government help under a foreclosure rescue that has broad bipartisan support.

    The plan is headed for Senate passage Friday, but faces a bumpy road, with the House planning a rewrite and the White House threatening a veto without major changes.

  13. Thomas Sowell had an article awhile back where he pointed out that a lot of this 'housing crisis' was at least indirectly caused by the 'government' in the first place, basically by lowering lending standards. Government to the rescue. Out this way, it hasn't seemed to affect things much, one way or the other. Home prices have drifted a little lower, maybe.

  14. More on Economics of Mass destruction:

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will make a statement on Fannie Mae (FNM: 7.53, -5.67, -42.9%) and Freddie Mac (FRE: 4.19, -3.81, -47.6%) later Friday, the White House said, following media reports that the government has been weighing contingency plans for an emergency bailout of the two mortgage giants. Shares of the two companies plunged in early trades Friday.

    On Thursday, Paulson said the two companies were adequately capitalized.

  15. smoke indeed. Like Whit says, "time to hunker down."

  16. FYI:

    The pair, freddie and fannie, hold or guarantee around $5 trillion worth of mortgages. That's roughly half of the $9.5 trillion debt of the United States.

  17. It's gonna be interesting to see where all of this $$ is going to come from to cover all of this.

    Who's ready for 300% inflation?

    It'll be neat to use a million dollar bill to buy a beer.

  18. Remember guys, the object of the excercise is to bring mortgage lending under the control of the Federal Reserve and its' member banks and owners.

    Won't be long until "mission accomplished"
    Just do not look forr any banners, the money boys not nearly as ignorant of media induced perceptions as politico staffers and Admirals.

  19. It'll be neat to use a million dollar bill to buy a beer.

    When dad came back from Italy, he was amazed. He said, 'Robert, everybody there is a millionaire'.

  20. The latest snapshot of the national mortgage market, released yesterday by the Mortgage Bankers Association, showed the percentage of mortgages that fell into foreclosure jumped to 0.99 percent in the January-March quarter. The previous high of 0.83 percent was set in the last three months of 2007.
    The report found that more homeowners nationwide fell behind on their monthly payments.

    The national delinquency rate jumped to 6.35 percent in the first quarter, compared with 5.82 percent for the three months earlier. Payments are considered delinquent if they are 30 or more days past due.

    Kentucky's delinquency rate was 5.72 percent, down from 6.81 percent. Delinquencies in Indiana amounted to 7.05 percent, down from 8.35 percent.

    The national rates of new foreclosures and late payments were the highest on record going back to 1979.

    Carter redux, the Bush legacy.

  21. So what is 1% of 5 trillion?

    That is what's in default, half of which is insured by Freddie or Fannie.

    The underlying value of the properties is not zero, no matter the state of the market.

  22. 1% Maybe it's just me but that doesn't sound all that bad. But, I don't have much to compare it with, historically. I'll bet that 1% of farm loans, or any loans, have been bummers, over the years.

    50 million? Is that right? 100 $500,000 homes.

  23. President George W. Bush allowed Friday that these were "tough economic times" for Americans, but insisted his administration was working to improve conditions.

    "These are tough economic times for the American citizens but there is a way forward to help relieve some of the pressure on their pocketbooks," Bush said.

  24. 50 billion US dollars is the answer gentlemen

  25. Mission
    Fannie Mae is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workforce, the workplace and the marketplace. We strive to create an environment where employees -- our greatest resource -- can fully engage and contribute their diverse ideas and perspectives towards innovative solutions that meet the company's goals...

    ...Workforce - Our People
    Encouraging both diversity and inclusion within our workforce, across all levels, is the most important element of our workforce strategy...
    Offering career development opportunities that are uniquely relevant to our diverse workplace...

    ...Workplace - Our Culture
    Fannie Mae's mission is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the mortgage industry. Our culture -- how we do our job -- enables us to succeed at our mission. And valuing diversity and inclusion is one component of building a high-performing culture. That culture, enabled by our already rich diversity, provides an array of solutions and strategies to meet real-world challenges...

    ...These solutions, which come from fully respecting and engaging every employee, will drive our success as a company.
    Offering tools and resources, such as diversity learning, to develop people managers as more effective leaders....

    ...Using a Diversity Advisory Council, headed by our CEO, to obtain feedback from a broad spectrum of employees about the impact and challenges the Office of Diversity and Inclusion's programs and initiatives have or may have on Fannie Mae's business...

    Marketplace - Our Business
    The current housing market crisis is having a disproportionate effect on communities of color. Recent estimates indicate that minorities, including immigrants, will account for 68 percent of household growth over the period 2005-2015...

  26. In my simple understanding, it's not the 50B USD that is the problem. Tis the lack of confidence in the US banking system that is the problem. This could put the dollar in a death spiral. Then what?

    Thank God we can count on the elder statesmen in Washington to pull our collective danglers out of the fire.

  27. Diversity is more important than making money and protecting your shareholders. hard to understand the failure.

  28. "Rich diveristy" instead of plain old "rich"

  29. "communities of color"

    umm...dear God in heaven help us!

    I think the communities of color are probably a big part of why Fred and Fannie are going bust.

  30. There is no deficit in "diversity"

    a yahoo search:
    1 - 10 of 384,000,000 for diversity (About) - 0.27 s

    Another legacy from the Kennedy's and the sixties.

  31. In my "communities of color" we have a "diverse family" that bought a nice home a couple years ago.

    Yard gets mowed three times a summer, fence is laying down in the yard, mailbox has been lying on the curb for six months but...

    the owner replaced the front glass door with one of those prison bar types. Only one in the "hood". Wife thinks maybe it makes em feel at home. Just like the slammer.

  32. I didn't think 50m sounded right. Always you a calculator. Still, 1% of the loans doesn't sound like the end of the world to me.

    By the way, some guy on a city council somewhere got ticked off when somebody in the staff said the parking tickets were going 'into a black hole', and couldn't be found, and collected, which was racist. Got to watch what you say these days. What about the 'black robes' on the Supreme Court. In a lot of ways our country has descended into the inane.

  33. yup bobal

    Atlanta said those "MEN AT WORK" signs gotta go. They are insulting to women. Wreck their fragile self esteem and all.

    Atlanta gonna replace em for a few million bucks.

    Aye, inane indeed!

  34. It's actually $500B bar mates.

    Total market cap of Wachovia, WaMu and Countrywide combined is (was) $48B.

    That was a week or two ago. Their stocks have really dropped today.

    The socialist mortage lenders - they are in deep doo-doo.

  35. Whoops. My math was wrong. Forgot an extra zero after the decimal.

    It IS $50B.

  36. Bobal: By the way, some guy on a city council somewhere got ticked off when somebody in the staff said the parking tickets were going 'into a black hole', and couldn't be found, and collected, which was racist.

    But the lack of parking fine revenue explains why the city was so niggardly about fixing potholes.

  37. Gentlemen, we ought to be running the banking system. What's a zero, here and there.

  38. Doesn't the use of "niggardly" result in immediate loss of Bar privileges?

  39. The "Immigration" problem in miniature.

    Stupid "Business" over law and order mindset.
    (as tho businesses can't thrive w/o lawlessness)
    Hispanics of questionable allegiance.
    Racist Hispanics.
    Drug Trade
    Politically correct morons, projecting and denying.
    Self-loathing Citizens.
    Cops fear Calif. isle is turning gangster paradise -

    AVALON, Calif. - It seems even 22 miles of open ocean might not be keeping gangs off Catalina Island, a mist-shrouded outpost of Los Angeles County best known for its Hollywood history and crystal-clear harbors.

    Deputies on the isle say a fledgling gang called the Brown Pride Locos has gotten a foothold among the beaches, coves and tourist shops. A stabbing, burglaries and graffiti are being blamed on the gang, and deputies last month surprised teenagers practicing moves with knives on a dark bluff above Avalon's crescent-shaped bay.

    A swift crackdown has netted at least six arrests and led to a pair of police raids — but it has also caused an uproar in the tiny community, where residents leave their doors unlocked and putt around in golf carts.

  40. "I think the communities of color are probably a big part of why Fred and Fannie are going bust."
    Enabled by Congress several years, but neither W nor McCain demonstrate the ability or willingness to articulate any of the substantive issues of the day.
    Spineless Morons.

  41. Doesn't the use of "niggardly" result in immediate loss of Bar privileges?

    Nah, just a good pun. It seems the root of the word has nothing to do with race or color.

    Online Etymology
    1366, nygart, of uncertain origin. The suffix suggests Fr. origin (cf. dastard), but the root word is probably related to O.N. hnøggr "stingy," from P.Gmc. *khnauwjaz (cf. Swed. njugg "close, careful," Ger. genau "precise, exact"), and to O.E. hneaw "stingy, niggardly," which did not survive in M.E.
    "It was while giving a speech in Washington, to a very international audience, about the British theft of the Elgin marbles from the Parthenon. I described the attitude of the current British authorities as 'niggardly.' Nobody said anything, but I privately resolved—having felt the word hanging in the air a bit—to say 'parsimonious' from then on." [Christopher Hitchens, "The Pernicious Effects of Banning Words,", Dec. 4, 2006]
    "niggardly, penurious, tight-fisted," 1659, possibly a dialectal alteration of earlier stingy "biting, sharp, stinging" (c.1615), from sting (v.). Back-formation stinge "a stingy person" is recorded from 1914.

  42. Shouldn't imagery of patron's
    " Collective Danglers"
    hanging in the fire also result in loss of privileges?

  43. Doug, what you tryin' to do, empty the bar?

    Besides, there are 'privileges' like in driving, and then there are 'rights' like in Constitutional Bar Rights. Once you are a member of the Bar, you can't get kicked out.

  44. Term Black Hole Called "Racially Insensitive" RUSH:
    Do you remember, time flies here, but a number of years ago in Washington, DC, at the city council, whatever they call it there, there was an uproar during a meeting because somebody used the word niggardly to describe the spending habits of the town council.

    The race industry in this country blew up and this guy got fired!
    Now, if you look up niggardly, it means miserly.
    It means you're a tightwad.
    But niggardly was eradicated from the language.

    Now, from Dallas: "A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon. County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.

    Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections 'has become a black hole' because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.
    Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud 'Excuse me!'

    He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a 'white hole.'

    That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy."

    This is just amazing.
    Do you know what a black hole is? A black hole is a star we can't see because there's so much mass, so much gravity, not even light can escape it. The only thing that's been known to escape it is the USS enterprise, captained by William Shatner. Other than that, nothing's ever gotten out of one. A black hole is nothingness.
    So when a bunch of papers get thrown away that nobody can find, it's a black hole.
    This guy was forced by a judge to apologize for the racial insensitivity. So we've gone from "yuck" when your kid doesn't like Chinese food, to a black hole now being racist.

  45. If you have a cell phone like I do, don't get yourself receiving any text messaging. Somehow, I got signed up to receive the Idaho Lottery text messages, and soon found it being added to my bill, and went through hell getting it removed. Since I use maybe 20% of my minutes each month I thought a text message or two wouldn't make any difference. Not so. Should have known better. Separate charge, that text messaging.

  46. Bobal: Besides, there are 'privileges' like in driving, and then there are 'rights' like in Constitutional Bar Rights. Once you are a member of the Bar, you can't get kicked out...Only shunned.

    At this point in time, and from my point of view, I do believe it is only you and me in the Elephant Bar, bobal, despite the heights of oak leaf clusters I had attained prior. Something to do with being a flip-flopping Obamacon.

  47. What none of you peckerwoods understands is, we crackers don't mind being called gringos, if it's polite.

  48. What I don't understand is, how come I'm charged for an incoming text message, when I'm 80% away from using up my minutes? I call that niggardly, on the phone company's part.

  49. You think all we palefaces look alike, too.

  50. Bobal: Since I use maybe 20% of my minutes each month I thought a text message or two wouldn't make any difference. Not so. Should have known better. Separate charge, that text messaging.

    On the positive side, when I went to Kansas City to learn to program a test stand we have at work, I must have saved a hundred dollars or more in long distance charges for all the phone sex I had with my sweetie. Most of my relatives don't even have a land line anymore.

  51. I'll let you use my remaining minutes, if I can listen in.

  52. SMS data rate is 4x more expensive than data from the Hubble

    You know how the mobile carriers charge you a couple cents to SMS a few characters' worth of text over their network?

    When you add it up, you're paying about a zillion bucks a meg for that traffic -- seriously!

    A space scientist from Leicester has calculated that SMS data is four times more expensive than receiving data from the Hubble space telescope.

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. ASCCI Sex for the truly Geeky

  55. (cf. Swed. njugg "close, careful,"

    A tight assed Swede, like one of my cousins, is a "njugger". And she really is too, tight as the bark on a tree, as dad used to say.

    That's amazing, Doug, I believe it too, $9.99 they wanted for four little messages.

    Wouldn't that be Text Sex?

    Going by the book?

    Or, coming by the book?

  56. A space scientist from Leicester has calculated that SMS data is four times more expensive than receiving data from the Hubble space telescope.

    But in the poverty of the Philippines it has evolved into the primary means of communication. Every couple three days children would come up and say, "Tata, I need 20 pesos (44 cents) for a load"...and then they'd be good to go, sending 128 byte message back and forth all day. So they may not be sending megabyte chunks or voice messages, but they have their own little piece of the 21st Century good life.

  57. The Zen of NOT Fighting Fire with Fire.

    Holdouts save monastery

    They have said they didn't believing in fighting fire, but managing the relationship, taming it as it came closer. Augmenting that philosophy has been an extensive fire preparation system, including wide trenches surrounding the property, ad hoc sprinkler systems, foil wrapping of buildings and an array of fire response drills for staff.

    Paradise Firefighters Hold Line

    Meanwhile, Hwy. 1 north of Big Sur to reopen at 6.

  58. How did you come by the book?

  59. ER on the Road
    Ex-ER doc charged in LA cyclists crash

    A former emergency room physician has been charged with felony reckless driving for a crash that injured two bicyclists on a Los Angeles canyon road.

    The district attorney's office filed charges Friday against 59-year-old Christopher Thompson for the July 4 incident.

    Prosecutors contend he became angry with the cyclists and braked in front of them, causing one to fly into the rear window of his car, nearly severing the rider's nose. The second rider hit the pavement and will need shoulder surgery.

    Thompson is charged with reckless driving and battery with allegations of causing great bodily injury.

    He now runs a medical documentation company in Woodland Hills. Earlier this week, his attorney called it an unfortunate accident.

  60. List of Submarine Companies For Home or Office or Smuggling

    Travel from Maui to the Big Island on the true scenic tour, avoid the tourist hassle.

  61. I will remind the esteemed patrons that no one has ever been thrown out of the Bar.

    All elevated to being a director have total amnesty and like most American academics, full tenure.

    You cannot be thrown out of the directorship except by unanimous vote.

    A unanimous vote in here in highly improbable.

    A director can resign and all resignations are accepted without rancor or prejudice.

    Anyone can be recommended and seconded by a sitting director.

    Time in grade, and continued active participation is recognized. We will in short time and on our third anniversary be bumping up to gold.

    We have set no limits on the amount of directors.

    The directors make the blog what it is for better or worse. There is no question of richer or poorer because our advertising revenue consistently is zero since we do not advertise.

    We have a spittoon, a new "urinoir" in honor of our multi-lingual presidential candidate and a make shift first aid station, but no tip jar. Jarring as that may be.

  62. Oil hits a new high. I don't want to think about what these high energy prices must be doing to some developing economies. Congressional approval rating across the board now hovers around 10% Bush is a popular man in contrast. If Obama gets elected he's going to be hit by so many problems as to almost make one feel sorry for the guy.

  63. A submarine with a small exercise room and a snorkel might come in real handy in the future. If it had some way to catch and process fish.

  64. Bobal: Congressional approval rating across the board now hovers around 10%

    Possibly because they just rubber-stamped Bush's bill to let telcoms off the hook for breaking the law. They expect that from Bush and it's baked into the ratings cake, but they don't expect that from Obama and the other hacks who were sent there ostensibly to block that sort of thing.

  65. It's a complex bill and situation, T. Doesn't it apply to incoming from overseas? I think I can call my wife and not be worried. And there is a court involved too, right? Granted, like a bad citizen, I haven't read the bill. But the messiah voted for it, covering his backside.

    But, now that we know jihadis have constitutional rights, maybe the whole thing will get thrown out.

    No one yet in my neighborhood has disappeared into a white hole, though there are one or two I wouldn't mind seeing go.

  66. Any hole in the storm, aye, bob?

  67. Black holes terrify me. I've read that they make everything very long and skinny.

    I have a strong personal preference for and much experience with pink holes. They're comforting.

    I avoid brown holes...always.

    I just don't have any experience with white holes so I'll withhold judgment. Would those involve albinos in any way?

  68. This comment has been removed by the author.

  69. This comment has been removed by the author.

  70. There's a man hole down the block, but we're supposed to call it a person hole now.

    My dog fell into a person hole years ago, stayed there a month, before being rescued by the city crew, and said it should be called a dog hole. He said it was a dog's life, being in there.

  71. hmmph--Talking about the Dust Bowl, I was just listening to the auther of "The Forgotten Man' whose name I didn't catch. Anyway, she was saying some of it was government caused, as government had raised the support prices and the farmers were farming all out, then things changed and prices fell, some then abandoned lots of the land, some of it very marginal. "It was an economic event" she says. Well, I think it was a complex event, maybe that was part of it. There was a heck of a dry spell too, I think. She was talking about this in relation to the current government monkeying around in ethanol, etc. She was saying Obama has no energy policy at all, other than to ween us off cars, and to tax us into prosperity. Both of these seems really dubious to me.

  72. An albino hole is some kind of a mutant black hole, which we'
    re not supposed to talk about.

    I must have a hole in my head, judging from all the mistakes I'm making.

  73. I haven't heard Sheperd Smith so hysterical since Katrina hit.

    His big breaking news of the day is the Fed take-over of IndyMac Bank.

  74. I've read that if you go into a white hole, you might actually be in a worm hole, maybe even a
    Giant Palouse Earthworm hole, and you might come out in an entirely different universe, or perhaps back in time somewhere. I try to avoid them too, seeing as how I'm almost to the point of paying off the last of my debts. I don't want to go back to 20% interest rates, and yearly payments.

  75. What's that Joe Scarboro say about all this? Haven't seen that guy in an age, and used to think he was good.

    MLK Family In Big Family Fight

    It's always the same, black or white. Family corporations only work for one generation.

  76. Bobal: I've read that if you go into a white hole, you might actually be in a worm hole, maybe even a Giant Palouse Earthworm hole, and you might come out in an entirely different universe, or perhaps back in time somewhere.

    There's something to that wormhole business, and in about ten thousand years we might be smart enough to start making a galactic mass-transit network using wormholes, at least until we build our lines out to the ones that someone else has already built, so we can get on the Grid. But no dice on the back in time business. There is no time, Bobal. We live in an eternal now which changes. There's no future, and the only past which endures is in our records and memories.

  77. Time's the changing image of eternity, they say.

    Nothing is lost, all retained, said Walt.

    Some of the Greeks, in the day of the city/state, when citizenship still amounted to something, maintained that your actions on behalf of the city went into a permanent structure. A little like Blake's idea that heaven's abuilding, even now, brick by brick. All positive acts go to build up this structure, all negative acts vanish.

  78. Newsweek: Obama's Lead Slips

    Posted by TOM BEVAN

    Newsweek turned heads with a poll two weeks ago touting a massive 15-point lead for Obama. Their newest survey has heads turning in the other direction, showing Obama's lead dwindling to just 3 points over McCain:

    Obama 44 (-7)
    McCain 41 (+5)
    Undecided 15 (+2)

    In the Newsweek poll, Obama's support among Republicans and Democrats was basically unchanged, but his support among Independents dropped 14 points, to 34% from 48% two weeks ago.

  79. Those who love the world, the flesh and the Devil -- not God turn into a Pillar of Salt.

    Their Souls:
    Burned in the Fires of Hell!

    al-Dougal has spoken.


  80. Another Morton's Philosopher!

  81. Lugh,

    Though you're deep in black & blue,
    You will see a ray of light creep through,
    And so remember this, life is no abyss,
    Somewhere there's a pink hole of happiness.

  82. 15% undecided, Doug, that's a lot.

    Showing again, never listen to me, as I thought there was about 2% undecided, counting Rufus.

    We are the salt of the earth, but if the salt lose it's flavor, what good it it?

  83. Let this be said as well
    When you're in the depths of swell
    There's no telling the difference

  84. May you forever swell in the depths.

  85. An update on issues important to
    Idaho, the West, and our Nation
    from U.S. Senator Larry Craig enews July 11, 2008 Volume VII, Number 13

    Energizing Idaho

    You may remember that this May, a French company named Areva selected Bonneville County as the future home of a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant, its first such plant in the United States. Understanding that something of this magnitude has never been brought to Idaho before by the private sector, and already hearing questions from Idahoans about this proposal, I recently traveled to France to get a firsthand look at Areva's nuclear facilities and the Georges Besse II enrichment plant. Since Georges Besse II is well under construction, it provides an idea about what to expect when Areva starts construction in Idaho.

    The Georges Besse II enrichment plant uses state of the art technology that maximizes efficient use of power and water resources to operate the plant. Throughout the plant, Areva uses the most modern design features to ensure the highest degree of safety and reliability. For example, Areva has installed a floating concrete floor that can absorb seismic shock from earthquake activity, thereby protecting the centrifuge technology and ensuring more than 30 years of successful operation. I'm convinced any concerns that Idahoans might have about the safety of an enrichment plant will be addressed by Areva's dedication to safety.

    I was also very impressed with Areva's openness and willingness to engage in a frank dialogue with the public at large. This proactive approach clearly comes from a long and comfortable history with nuclear power and key leaders within the French nuclear industry. From innovation to safety to community involvement, I am happy to report back to Idaho that we can all look forward to a great relationship with our latest business partner, Areva. READ
    my recent editorial, "Nuclear Tour de France"

    More news from the U.S. Senate:
    • Craig Committee Gives Green Light to Idaho Transportation and Housing Projects -07-10-08
    Craig Supports Compensation Bill For Destruction By Wolves -07-10-08