“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."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

McCain on Offense Over Freddie and Fannie?

This ad is a start, but is too timid. Crank it up.


A Federal Probe of Fannie and Freddie
The mortgage giants have received grand-jury subpoenas on accounting and governance matters as the FBI widens its financial investigation

by Keith Epstein


There's nothing quite like a crisis to draw investigators looking for criminal action.

So it is now for the latest targets of various investigations: Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), the residential financing powerhouses whose accounting and disclosure records are being examined by a federal grand jury in New York. They join a corporate who's who of players swept up in the cascading economic crisis that also find themselves the subject of scrutiny by the FBI and others, from Lehman Brothers and insurer American International Group (AIG) to failed IndyMac Bancorp and mortgage lender Countrywide Financial.

In Freddie's case, the grand jury is focusing on "accounting, disclosure, and corporate governance matters" since January 2007, the McLean (Va.)-based company confirmed Sept. 30. Freddie said it received a subpoena on Sept. 26 from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan, as well as a notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission informing it of a separate inquiry. In both instances, the company was asked to preserve documents.

"Freddie Mac will cooperate fully," the company said in a statement. Fannie disclosed it had received a subpoena as well, in filings with the SEC.

Altogether, in the past year, some 26 companies with roles in the financial crisis have come under investigation, often because of suspected fraud. The SEC and Justice Dept. have declined to comment on the investigations. The FBI appears to have expanded its investigations not only to mortgage lenders but also investment banks, especially those that bundled home loans into securities. Among the current cases is one involving Bear Stearns; two former managers were arrested in June on securities fraud and other charges.

As long as 10 months ago, press reports suggested that Fannie masked potential losses on bad loans by using new accounting procedures. Both Fannie and Freddie have had to restate earnings in past years, following discoveries by federal regulators of irregularities on the companies' books.

A number of members of Congress, including several on the Senate Judiciary Committee, have urged the FBI to be more aggressive in pursuing possible criminal charges against major players in the crisis. "If people were cooking the books, manipulating, doing things they were not supposed to do, then I want people held responsible," said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee's chairman, at a Sept. 17 oversight hearing on the FBI. "And I suspect every American taxpayer—I don't care what their political background is—would like them held responsible."

Presidential candidate John McCain is doing his part to leverage what he considers Democrats' responsibility for the failure of Fannie and Freddie. In a new national TV ad, McCain blames Democratic rival Barack Obama for failing to take action as the companies floundered. "John McCain fought to rein in Fannie and Freddie," the ad states. "Obama was notably silent."

The ad makes no mention of the McCain campaign's own connections to Freddie and Fannie. The lobbying firm of McCain's campaign chairman, Rick Davis, received more than $2 million since 2000 from Freddie; starting in late 2005 or early 2006, Freddie paid $15,000 a month. Both Freddie and Fannie paid Davis some $30,000 monthly from 2000 to 2005 for running an organization promoting homeownership.


  1. I want some Reverend Wright ads. I want some William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn ads. I want some he's endorsed by Castro, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Kadahfy, Putin ads. Where are the Swift Boat folks? Am I just missing it out this way?

    Time is awasting. Crank it up, is right.

  2. "The goal is, everybody who wants to own a home has got a shot at doing so. The problem is we have what we call a homeownership gap in America. Three-quarters of Anglos own their homes, and yet less than 50 percent of African Americans and Hispanics own homes. … So I've set this goal for the country. We want 5.5 million more homeowners by 2010—million more minority homeowners by 2010. (Applause.) … "

  3. "I'm going to do my part by setting the goal, by reminding people of the goal, by heralding the goal, and by calling people into action, both the federal level, state level, local level, and in the private sector. (Applause.) …

    “And so what are the barriers that we can deal with here in Washington?"

  4. "Well, probably the single barrier to first-time homeownership is high down payments. "

  5. [...]

    Last June, I issued a challenge to everyone involved in the housing industry to help increase the number of minority families to be home owners. And what I'm talking about, I'm talking about your bankers and your brokers and developers, as well as members of faith-based community and community programs. And the response to the home owners challenge has been very strong and very gratifying. Twenty-two public and private partners have signed up to help meet our national goal. Partners in the mortgage finance industry are encouraging homeownership by purchasing more loans made by banks to African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities.

    Representatives of the real estate and homebuilding industries, through their nationwide networks or affiliates, are committed to broadening homeownership. They made the commitment to help meet the national goal we set.

    Freddie Mae -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- I see the heads who are here; I want to thank you all for coming -- (laughter) -- have committed to provide more money for lenders. They've committed to help meet the shortage of capital available for minority home buyers.

    Fannie Mae recently announced a $50 million program to develop 600 homes for the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. Franklin [Raines], I appreciate that commitment. They also announced $12.7 million investment in a condominium project in Harlem. It's the beginnings of a series of initiatives to help meet the goal of 5.5 million families. Franklin told me at the meeting where we kicked this office, he said, I promise you we will help, and he has, like many others in this room have done.

    Freddie Mac recently began 25 initiatives around the country to dismantle barriers and create greater opportunities for homeownership. One of the programs is designed to help deserving families who have bad credit histories to qualify for homeownership loans. …

    There's all kinds of ways that we can work together to meet the goal. Corporate America has a responsibility to work to make America a compassionate place. Corporate America has responded. As an example -- only one of many examples -- the good folks at Sears and Roebuck have responded by making a five-year, $100 million commitment to making homeownership and home maintenance possible for millions of Americans. …


  6. " us meet this dream of 5.5 million additional families owning their home..."

  7. trish, you keep quoting GWBush, w/o attributing those remarks ...

    Gonna piss habu off, again.

  8. Oh, bob, you expected a McCain campaign that had victory as its' Goal ...

    Funny stuff, that.

  9. Republicans Admire Bill . . . McKinley, That Is

    By David Von Drehle
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, July 24, 1999; Page A1

    To be cutting edge in this presidential election, you have to learn the lessons of the '96 campaign.

    1896, that is.

    Republicans from K Street to Austin are dusting off their history books and boning up on bimetalism. At the headquarters of Texas Gov. George W. Bush, over cocktails with former GOP party chairman Haley Barbour, in the corridors of rightward think tanks, the party of Lincoln and Reagan has gone dizzy over William McKinley.

    Why? Marshall Wittmann of the conservative Heritage Foundation explains: "1896 was the year that McKinley and [political booster Mark] Hanna tried to redefine the Republican Party. Instead of rehashing Reconstruction and the Civil War, McKinley offered an appealing image to new immigrants, rising entrepreneurs and working folks.

    "The theory of the Bush campaign," Wittmann continues, "with the slogan of 'compassionate conservatism,' is to similarly expand the base of the Republican Party, specifically by appealing to minorities and more centrist voters."

    McKinley Mania has captured the Democrats as well. This week, candidate Bill Bradley drew his own lessons during a speech on campaign finance reform. "McKinley sat on his porch in Ohio," Bradley said, "carefully spinning soundbites that positioned him as a 'new Republican,' while Hanna promised the financiers and titans of that era that their interests would be protected."

    Love it or hate it, you can't escape 1896.

    The swami of McKinley Mania is Bush strategist Karl Rove, who got hooked two years ago during a class at the University of Texas. A tenacious student of political history, Rove dug deeply into the story of a canny, soothing heartland governor whose party was riven by tactical and religious squabbles. Raising money on a scale previously unimagined, while scarcely leaving his front porch, McKinley remade the party in his own charming image -- inclusive, pragmatic, noncontroversial.

    Republicans dominated Washington for the next 35 years.

    Rove liked the sound of that.

    Soon he was drawing the parallels in conversations with friends and reporters, and the cult grew. By November, despite the disastrous midterm congressional elections, Barbour could be found rattling the ice cubes in his bourbon and sketching a hopeful future. The 2000 campaign, he declared, could be about "much more than one election -- there is the chance to make the Republicans the majority party for a generation. Just look at 1896."

    More recently, brief mentions have popped up in the work of such influential commentators as Fred Barnes, E.J. Dionne Jr. and the team of Jules Witcover and Jack Germond. Last month, conservative columnist Paul Greenberg used 1896 as a stick to beat Bush for lacking substance. McKinley, he wrote, "mouthed respectable niceties, neither impressed nor frightened anyone, and was elected."

    "In some ways," Greenberg wrote, 1896 was "the beginning of the modern, issueless campaign."

    If Bush wins the White House, he will be the first incumbent Republican governor elected president since . . . 1896. If, as some have predicted, he raises in the neighborhood of $70 million to finance his campaign, he'll approach the war chest (measured in constant dollars) of the trailblazing McKinley.

    "McKinley was a superb politician," says Rove. "He saw that all the old issues of the Civil War were worn out. He understood the new economy. It was a period of rapid industrialization. He also understood the changing demographic. Immigrants were now providing the manpower."

    For nearly a century, McKinley has languished in the Hall of Forgotten Presidents. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich tried, without much success, to revive his memory three years ago, suggesting that McKinley was a lot like Republican presidential nominee Robert J. Dole.

    A poor boy from a large Ohio family, McKinley was the last president of the Civil War generation. Known widely as the Major, in honor of his military rank, he rose through Congress to head the crucial Ways and Means Committee where, in the early 1890s, he passed a strong and popular tariff bill.

    "He was very masterful at harmonizing competing positions," says H. Wayne Morgan, professor emeritus of history at the University of Oklahoma and the author of an admired biography of McKinley. "You don't make a tariff bill without having an awful lot of conflicting issues to accommodate."

    That success caught the eye of Mark Hanna, a Cleveland industrialist with a passion for politics and an ambition to help make a president. Democrats would complain that McKinley was a mere puppet of moneybags Hanna -- indeed, that was Bradley's thesis in his campaign finance speech this week -- but historians generally believe they were a well-matched team of two strong men.

    "Together, these two people made one great politician," says Morgan. "McKinley was out front, masterful with the public, while Hanna was in the back room."

    With Hanna's help, McKinley was elected governor of Ohio -- a constitutionally weak position at that time, much like Bush's spot in today's Texas. Then, in 1896, they swept away all rivals to win a first-ballot nomination.

    Faced in the general election by the great orator William Jennings Bryan, Republicans adopted a "front-porch" strategy, hoping to make a virtue of McKinley's vanilla personality. Hanna paid for it with $3.5 million -- at least $70 million in today's dollars -- from big business, with oil baron John D. Rockefeller writing the biggest check.

    Thousands of citizens from across the country were brought to McKinley's home in Canton for a handshake and a few words. "To have delegations of Serbo-Croatian laborers, German tanners, Polish ironworkers -- imagine it!" Rove says with enthusiasm. Even some leading Catholics endorsed McKinley, an amazing circumstance for a Republican at the time.

    A terrible depression was on. Rabble-rousing Bryan preached the forgiveness of farm debts and a more abundant money supply backed by silver as well as gold (hence "bimetalism"). Calm McKinley, on the other hand, ran as "the advance agent of prosperity" and became the first candidate in a generation to win a majority of the popular vote.

    He was a pretty good, and very popular, president. Pushed reluctantly into the Spanish-American War, McKinley started America on the path to global power, and he was reelected by a landslide. In 1901, after delivering a speech in Buffalo, he was shot to death by an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz.

    McKinley was, characteristically, shaking hands at the time.

    Bush backers see various similarities: the harmonizing influence (Bush has appealed to many sorts of voters in Texas), the ability to put a pleasant face on his fractious party, the gift for person-to-person politics.

    Others add further comparisons: the ocean of money, the undistinguished oratory and the front-porch campaign (during the first half of this year, Bush was visited in Austin by delegations from dozens of states, all begging him to run).

    But there are differences as well, as Rove is the first to admit. McKinley was challenging a party that had presided over an economic collapse. "The ins were going to be outs and the outs were going to become ins. It was almost inevitable," says Morgan.

    Moreover, "Governor Bush -- who may be a wonderful person -- doesn't bring to this campaign the kind of legislative experience that the Major had," the professor adds. "McKinley paid a lot more dues. His views were perfectly well-known."

    The half-life of a political theory in Washington can be measured in minutes, and already, some Republicans have begun to move past McKinley Mania. Wittmann, of the Heritage Foundation, is one.

    "Remember," he says, "that McKinley's apple cart was upset when he chose Theodore Roosevelt as vice president. Roosevelt became president and redefined the party all over again. What if Bush meets his own version of Teddy Roosevelt in the primaries instead of a few years down the road? A reformer, a war hero, a tough, plain talker . . .

    © 1999 The Washington Post Company

  10. Crime & Federalism
    As Legal As They Wannabe.

    September 25, 2008
    George W. Bush Caused the Market Meltdown?

  11. "There are several steps we can take to ensure that America's fastest-growing and most conservative voter bloc joins the GOP. …Home ownership has always been an important element of the American Dream, and Hispanic-Americans have made enormous progress thanks to the hard work of many families and the innovative policies of the president. Hispanic home ownership is at an all-time high with 50 percent of Hispanics owning their homes." "There are several steps we can take to ensure that America's fastest-growing and most conservative voter bloc joins the GOP. …Home ownership has always been an important element of the American Dream, and Hispanic-Americans have made enormous progress thanks to the hard work of many families and the innovative policies of the president. Hispanic home ownership is at an all-time high with 50 percent of Hispanics owning their homes."

  12. Fun? Yes, if you're a masochist or a sadist.

    It is interesting though to see the howls from each side as the various oxen are gored.

    I do believe that it was Madam Pelosi who first claimed that the Democrats had absolutely nothing to do with this mess.

  13. It's also interesting (morbidly) to see the sourpusses and the embittered who snidely delight in first one foible and then another. Tiresome though to read nothing but negative remarks from the same people day after day.

  14. It is obvious that White America is for Barack Obama because they are the ones that propelled him to his current position in this tight presidential race. Many radio stations and media outlets have now reported that many White and Hispanic Americans will not vote for him because of race.

    I guess that those Americans do not really believe in the U.S. Constitution, the true principles and teachings of Christianity, and the America Dream because all of these make up the foundation in which American was supposedly built upon. I call those Americans hypocrites, envious and jealous.

    Those Americas can not accept that Obama has achieved and represents the “true” American Dream as an African American.

    Letters to the Editor

  15. African-American? He's only 6.5% black.

  16. I'm not either of those, but I didn't say it's not guilty fun.

  17. To have a time-bomb like this go off in such close proximity to a general election, when partisan feeling and maneuvering is at its keenest, has been instructive, to say the least.

  18. c'mon lads and lassies, sing the blues away---

    Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile smile smile

    If you've a lucifer to light your fag smile boys that's the style

    What's the use of worrying it never was worthwhile

    So pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile smile smile!!!

  19. The fiercely loyal Stevens gave no indication he even saw former fishing and drinking buddy Bill Allen enter the courtroom, and the two men barely looked at each other as Allen testified about the expensive gifts he gave Stevens during their 26-year friendship.


    Prosecutors are moving quickly through their witness list and said they could rest their case as soon as Thursday. Stevens would begin presenting his defense Monday and his lawyers have said they may call several sitting senators as character witnesses.

    While Stevens has been tied to the courtroom in Washington, Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich has been campaigning back home to oust Stevens from his Senate seat. Stevens is hoping for a speedy verdict that will send him back to Alaska victorious in time for Election Day.

    Stevens Trial


    The thing is, whit, it IS a crisis. A credit crisis, which is fundamentally a crisis of trust; the very thing - credit - that this administration, by no means alone but nevertheless diligently, sought to extend and expand beyond reasonable bounds, it has grievously imperiled.

  21. Stevens would begin presenting his defense Monday and his lawyers have said they may call several sitting senators as character witnesses.

    Por Dios, that's the last thing McCain would need, to be called as a witness in the Stevens trial. Let it not be so.

  22. But as you've noted, compassionate conservatism - pragmatic, cynical, genuine, or an admixture of all three - isn't all it's cracked up to be.

  23. We all are on the wrong page of the song book somedays. We all have bad days once in a while.

  24. I will say, whit, that Mr McCain is far from an ideologically conservative bedfellow.

    But his actions are his own resposibility.

    We just get to watch.
    There is no delight, in chronicling the demise of the GOP, and the humbling of our Republic, just watching reality, as time goes by.
    As most everything that can go wrong, does.

    The Election is in 35 days
    Win, Lose or Draw.
    Obama is up, two out of the three.

    Performance counts, always does.

  25. Linear:

    I've planned three times now to get my ass over to Hooters and events have intervened. So you'll have to trudge on manfully awhile longer sans the doubling of your wardrobe.

  26. Compassionate conservatism.

    Isn't that the same thing as Democrat?

  27. Palin proposed teaching creationism alongside evolution during her campaign for governor, but has not pressed on that front while in office, a shift she seemed to adhere to in the interview. Evolution "should be taught in our schools.

    I won't ever deny that I see the hand of God in this beautiful creation that is earth," she said. "But that is not part of a policy or a local curriculum in a school district.

    Science should be taught in science class."

    Personal Views

  28. The bailout bill is going to the Senate for a vote, Biden, Obama, McCain all to be there.

  29. I agree that we're in a hell of a state. Sure, there's a credit crisis but as Trish and Rat just pointed out, the real shame, the real travesty is the crisis of trust in our politicians. The straw has finally been placed on the camel's back. Now, we trust neither party and that is a dangerous position for the nation to be in. On top of that, the commonly held human trait of greed has brought us to a point where we now doubt our free enterprise system. The danger now is that more sinister figures will try to captialize on the ensuing chaos. We'll have to very closely scrutinize every new, charming sincere, self-proclaimed leader with all the answers. (Which we should have been doing all along.)

    As if all that wasn't bad enough, the only profession in the country afforded constitutional protection, the press, has failed miserably.

    The end result is that we no longer know who or what to believe.

  30. “The results of disorderly transactions are not determinative when measuring fair value,” the statement said. “The concept of a fair-value measurement assumes an orderly transaction between market participants.

    An orderly transaction is one that involves market participants that are willing to transact and allows for adequate exposure to the market. Distressed or forced liquidation sales are not orderly transactions, and thus the fact that a transaction is distressed or forced should be considered when weighing the available evidence.

    Determining whether a particular transaction is forced or disorderly requires judgment.”

    Relaxing Rule on Assets

  31. On the positive side, maybe everyone will see that D.C. is not to be trusted with their tax dollars and the Feds will be pared back to Constitutional levels.

    I said years ago that the only way to reform Washington is to take away so much money that the corrupting crooks no longer descend on it.

  32. If the people are against the bailout by 2 to 1 or more, as seems to be the case, and the dems can pass it on their own, I fail to see why any republican, or McCain in particular, should support it. If the voters are against it, with an election around the corner, and most seem to be, why get in there and try to claim ownership of a bill nobody wants?

    Let the democrats, Pelosi Dodd Franks Obama let 'em have the bill. The people may not have caught on that they caused the problem in the first place, but they don't seem to like the fix. Hang the fix around the dem neck.

  33. Tonight, it sounds as if the bailout bill will be miraculously transformed into something palatable to everyone. Seems to me it's still essentially a nationalized bailout scheme which says "damn the moral hazard."

    Someone should pay. Wall street execs, government regulators and politicians alike. I would start with Paulson, Chris Cox, and Barnie Frank and I would get a pound of flesh one way or another.

  34. Put Barney in jail with Bernie.

  35. "Someone should pay."

    We'll work that out later. ; )

  36. Contrasting the two candidates.

    Today, McCain urged everyone to work together to pass a bipartisan bill.

    Obama, on the other hand once again voted present by urging everyone to "do the right thing."

  37. "Many of us feel that the national interest requires us to do something which is, in many ways, unpopular," ... "It is hard to get political credit for avoiding something that has not yet happened"


  38. The presidential debate on foreign policy was held on Friday night, Sept. 26. It began with a discussion of the current financial crisis and then turned to foreign policy, and as with most debates, there was no clear winner.


    But 2 percent to 3 percent is going to be a very important number for this election, for there is every indication that this will be a close race, perhaps on the order of the 2000 and 2004 votes. This view is driven by the single most important fact of this election.

    Last week had to be the worst week yet for the Republican Party, as a financial crisis ripped through the nation on Republican watch. That had to shake confidence in the ruling party, and it did — Barack Obama opened a lead over John McCain in most tracking polls.

    Friedman on the Debate

  39. "That had to shake confidence in the ruling party..."

    Whatever that means.

  40. Obama will have to vote tomorrow. He's been playing it pretty good though, seems to me, as he's benefiting, so he kinda is hanging back, letting it roll on.

  41. You can't expect people to tear away from 'Dancing with Stars' and 'Days of Our Lives' over stuff like this. It hasn't hurt yet. And anyways they just blame Bush. They've been trained to do so.

  42. He warned about F and F, couldn't get action.

  43. I don't think there's been near enough Bush-blaming over the past eight years.

    If I had to do it all over again, I'd do a hell of a lot more.

  44. "If our nation continues on this course the economic damage will be painful and damaging"


  45. Classical economists like Adam Smith and David Ricardo referred to their discipline as “political economy.” Smith’s great work, “The Wealth of Nations,” was written by the man who held the chair in moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow.


    Three Views of the Financial Crisis

    There is a first group that argues the current financial crisis already has outstripped available social resources, so that there is no market or state solution. This group asserts that the imbalances created in the financial markets are so vast that the market solution must consist of an extended period of depression.


    A second group argues that the financial crisis has not outstripped the ability of society — organized by the state — to manage, but that it has outstripped the market’s ability to manage it. The financial markets have been the problem, according to this view, and have created a massive liquidity crisis.


    There is a third group that argues that the state mobilization of resources to save the financial system is in fact an attempt to save financial institutions, including many of those whose imprudence and avarice caused the current crisis. This group divides in two.


    The first group thus views the situation as beyond salvation, and certainly rejects any political solution as incapable of addressing the issues from the standpoint of magnitude or competence. This group is out of the political game by its own rules, since for it the situation is beyond the ability of politics to make a difference — except perhaps to make the situation worse.

    The second group represents the establishment consensus, which is that the markets cannot solve the problem but the federal government can — provided it acts quickly and decisively enough.

    Economic Crisis

  46. You only got about 3 months left, Trish. Best let it out now, like a primal scream. eeeeoooowwwwwBushshitlereeeeeeoooowwwwww


  47. Karl Ockert phoned me yesterday about quitting time and said the president of the Czech Republic was on his way to BridgePort and I should show up...thanks, Karl, for a fun story and the greatest excuse ever: "sorry I'm late hon, but the President of the Czech Republic and I were having a beer..."


    "My grandmother Marie was Czech and she lived to 96," Ockert said. "She could eat like two men and she loved beer --- and whiskey highballs.

    That's where I learned my appreciation for good beer. I wish she was still alive, I'd make a phone call tonight: 'guess who I just had a beer with?' "

    Czech Republic

  48. I don't see he's been all that bad, taken all in all, except for the southern border, a biggie. And he should have attacked Iran. So there.

    You are going to see what bad is, next game, it looks like.

  49. Voting fraud begins in Ohio.

  50. Oh I know he's worse - far worse - than "not that bad."

    I can hold that thought - and the thought that he was never as bad as the left ever imagined - in mind at the same time.

    That's how good I am.

    : )

  51. ElRushbo In Good Form Today

    That's the mark of a very intelligent woman, to hold two contrary thoughts in the mind at the same time, and show no anxiety. I think Fitzgerald said something like that.

    Or, it might be you're just a schizophrenic bag lady. :)

    But, I know you're not that.

  52. Why or why does the McCain/Palin campaign agree to have an Obamanoid moderate the Palin/Biden debate? Maybe Rat's right, they're trying to lose.

  53. "That's the mark of a very intelligent woman..."

    No, that's the mark of a very intelligent person.

  54. Well, yes yes of course, an intelligent personcitizenofneutralgender.

  55. Or, it might be you're just a schizophrenic bag lady. :)

    Or, it might be you're just a schizophrenic bagpersoncitizenoralienofneutralgender. :)

  56. I know the answer.

    Why not give everyone a million bucks each and say, 'here, go pay off your debt'.

    Wouldn't that be a lot cheaper than 700 bil?


  57. Congress has increased funding for low-income consumers in New York State to help them pay heating bills and Gov. David Paterson is urging President George Bush to approve the measure.

    In commenting on the increase, Paterson said “The federal government’s commitment of $476 million in Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds to New York will enable New York’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to deal with what is expected to be a winter with significantly increased demand for aid in home heating bills for low-income families, senior citizens and the disabled. Congress’ action will significantly boost efforts to provide relief to cash-strapped New Yorkers unsure about how they will afford to heat their homes this winter heating season.


    Changes to New York’s 2008-09 HEAP program being implemented by OTDA include:

    - Increasing income eligibility to the maximum level permitted by federal level (for example, $45,312 per year for a family of four);

    - Increasing regular and emergency benefits to $800 for delivered fuel customers, to enable them to purchase a minimum delivery of fuel given price increases, and raising the maximum regular benefit to $585 for all other customers;

    HEAP Funding

  58. Sam, ElRushbo talks along your line there, though the figure is lower.

    ATTAPERSON, bob.

  59. Ms Palin is being subjected to the power of the vortex, up in Red Rock country.

    It's a real twister, that Sedona vortex.

    Palin Seeks Serenity in Sedona
    September 30, 2008 7:57 PM

    ABC News' Kate Snow and Imtiyaz Delawala report:

    Gov. Sarah Palin secluded herself today at the Sedona ranch home of Sen. John McCain, using the sprawling estate’s “relaxed environment” to prepare for her critical vice presidential debate with Sen. Joe Biden Thursday in St. Louis.

    "The Governor's debate prep today is taking place outdoors near a creek on the scenic McCain ranch in Sedona,” a campaign official said. “The serenity and beauty of this setting has contributed to what can be characterized as a relaxed environment.”

  60. I believe Attaboy has reached the prominence of gender neutrality.

  61. We met at a restaurant on the Upper East Side, where he proceeded to interview me.

    Newman: “What do you know about nuclear disarmament?”

    Dowd: “Ummm.”

    Newman: “How can you justify The Times’s editorial position on the moratorium?”

    Dowd: “Ummm.”

    He was deeply uncomfortable at getting adulation for playacting, acknowledging that “there’s something very corrupting about being an actor. It places a terrible premium on appearance.”

    Cool Hand Paul

  62. On this one I have to come down on the side of Trish. Objectively, how much more of a political and leadership failure could their be than that of the past eight years?

    How do you measure that? Turn back the clock and imagine reading this on a blog:


    dated, September 2000

    Here is my prediction for 2008:

    1. The US will have a $10 trillion deficit.

    2. We will have 20 million illegal immigrants and hardly a federal response.

    3. Bin-Laden will kill three thousand in NYC, take down the WTC, successfully attack the Pentagon and will never be caught.

    4. We will be in two land wars in Asia and the Middle East. We will spend $700B bringing Ddemocracy to Iraq.

    5. The US will be importing $700B per year for imported oil.

    6. Venezuela will be conducting war games in American waters with Russian war ships.

    7. Venezuela will enter into $4 Billion in weapons deals with Russia.

    8. We will have a $200 billion trade deficit with China.

    9. China will steal US technology at will and have men doing space walks.

    10. North Korea will have a nuclear weapon.

    11. Iran will be building a nuclear weapon, and the Iranian president will be making deals with Nicaragua and Venezuela.

    12. Chinese influence will spread through Latin America and there will be Chinese industrial parks at both ends of the Panama Canal.

    13. All major Wall Street Investment Banks will collapse or be taken over or merged with other banks.

    14. A street hustler from Chicago, born in Kenya, to a black Muslim father and some radical American hippy, and who sat in a black liberation church for twenty years, whose claim to fame was a community organizer would get the nomination to be POTUS because a Republican President demoralized his party and 70% of the American people.

    15. At the end of his term, this Republican president will have to go hat in hand to a Democratic House and Senate to ask for a $ 700 billion authority to recapitalize the American financial system.

    I could go to 100. Trust Trish, it is far far worse.

  63. Holy crap, 2164th. We're fucked!

  64. I stayed in a time-share one time at Bachelor years ago. Great skiing weekend.

  65. No Sam, we got fucked. We will get out of it but baby we didn't just get fucked. we got blued, screwed and had a great big "W" tattooed on our collective dumb fat ass, and as I have said before, I voted for the man twice.

  66. I could argue a lot of those with you deuce, but not all of them.

    Do you think Kerry would have been better? Gore?

    Recall Bush was stymied on a lot of things by the Democrats in the Senate.

    But, I'm not in an arguing mood.

    Let's focus on a real villain named Obama.

  67. Pundits and political observers all over the world are looking at predictors for the 2008 election. In past years, the Dow has been a predictor, with a down year meaning bad news for the incumbent and his party.

    An annual fall of 10 percent or more has meant victory for the challengers. Given that the Dow is at its lowest point in almost three years and fell 7 percent (778 points) just on Monday, the incumbent party should be nervous.

    Book sales have also been known to predict election winners. has set up an interactive map showing what election-related books folks are reading.

    Crystal Ball

  68. And that villain, Obama, will ride roughshod over the Republicans in that same Senate, aye, bob?

    How could it be that Bush was stymied, but Obama it is said will ride triuphant?

    I mean, really, how can that be realistic?

  69. Bush is toxic to anyone at this point.

    It's his own damn fault.

    Open to all comers.

  70. Bob, it gives me no joy, but I was taught a long time ago as a young data analyst, report the data, draw your conclusion later on what you see and not what you expect or hope to see.

    I had a vendetta against Kerry since I first laid eyes on him, as a civilian wearing parts of a class B uniform, fatigues, testifying in front of Congress.

    I could never have voted for him as I considered him unworthy. I still do.

    Gore. That is all you have to say: Gore.

    The data on Bush is what it is.

    I have used and abused this blog to do everything to stop Obama, but even the outrage of motor-voter and what is now happening in Ohio could of and should have never been allowed to happen.

    I happen to go into a small town quite often that is loaded with liberal arts colleges. Every day at the train station there are young radicals with clip boards signing up voters and explaining how to do an absentee ballot. Who do you think they are voting for?

    Why was that ever allowed to happen? Absentee ballots were setup for US military men overseas, not voter fraud. they are not checking to see if these people are eligible. these are official registration forms. It is wholesale fraud.

    If you cannot take the responsibility of maintaing your party standards and leading, don't do it. How such a man as Bush became president is astounding. He pretended to be something he was not.

    I see Obama as the same. I will do everything to stop Obama.

    I believe I have at least thirty people lined up to vote against him, but I have never seen a Republican in the streets and malls like the Democrats have. Why are they not there?

  71. Dan would have gone down in history had he responded, "Senator quite true, I am no Jack Kennedy, the only Marilyn I ever slept with was my wife."

  72. Anyone who votes for Obama as a vote against Bush is masochistic.

  73. You are on fire today, dude.

  74. I have never seen a Republican in the streets and malls like the Democrats have. Why are they not there?

    Wed Oct 01, 12:44:00 AM EDT

    Do you think they should be?

  75. Yes I do because as the old R&B song says keep on pushin...

  76. Because Obama wants to win the White House, while Maverick wants the prestige of running and the Federally supplied cash flow.
    Free Money.

    Which has been his life's work, expanding that Free Money pool.
    While limiting access to it.

    In all the months, there has not been one thread that promoted McCain and his Maverick Policies.
    Not on immigration, health care, campaign finance, NATO expansion, Iraq or any other that I can recall.

    Even on Energy, McCain rejects drilling on the pristine coastal plain of Alaska, that other "Grand Canyon".

    Obama, on the other hand, well, as duece noted he has: used and abused this blog to do everything to stop Obama
    Successfully, I shall not vote for that urbanite, either.

    Leaving US with Nader or Barr.

    That choice is simple, as Ralph is unsafe at any speed.
    Which leaves the ideological choice.

    Barr '08

  77. As soon as and to the extent that you can figure out "For what?" they'll be there.

  78. Well, George didn't pass the Ohio voting statute. Nor could he veto it.

    As for Obama and the Senate, I hope like hell that the Republicans have enough fire power there to put a brake on things.

    Republicans ought to be doing more to get out the vote. Though I get stuff in the mail from the pubs every day about voting. But, they don't have the foolish young people out running around, like Obama, who's got most of the youth vote.

    The way it's shaping up, close in Ohio and Florida and other places, all hell is going to break loose about vote rigging and fraud when the counting gets going.

    I'm against all this really early voting, motor voting, all that stuff. And same day registration. If you really need to vote absentee, say you're in the hospital, you should be able to do so, about a week before the election. And the military and diplomatic corp and so on should be able to vote earlier if need be, even if they are at the bottom of the sea in a submarine.

    McCain might still win, but he needs some break to counter this economic story.

    Don't get upset. It's just the end of the world.

  79. I appreciate your efforts, deuce. I hope somebody is reading the blog other than just us regulars.

  80. I served in a liaison capacity on a US Army post in Germany that had hawk missiles and a shit load of tanks, and what we in our unenlightened ways, referred to as animal outfits. The EM club had a soul night about every third Friday and brought in pretty good entertainment. They had a German band with a kid who could sing like Curtis Mayfield. You could not keep the black guys off their feet when he started belting out "keep on pushin."

    old white guys unite...keep on pushin baby...strut yo stuff.

  81. RCP's got Obama +64 in delegates.

  82. Listen to Joun's famous storyline, he's been using it for at least a decade

    "My opponent would rather lose the _______ and win the election,
    I'd rather win the _______ and lose the election"

    He has publicly used "War" as the fill in the blank, but any strongly held conviction will do.

    The Honor Candidate

    Public finance, above the down and dirty.
    Losing with Honor.

  83. we make our little dent bob, trouble with us is that we are a kennel of alpha dogs and many a folk just read, but we get them from all over the world. a lot of our stuff gets out there and spreads to the other blogs and once and awhile it gets on the megablogs....keep on pushin albob..

  84. 'Without immediate action by Congress,' President Bush warned last week, 'America could slip into a financial panic.' Instead, Bush wanted a political panic.


    The issue has hurt John McCain in more obvious ways as well. The Wall Street bailout focused voters' attention on the economy, an area where, rightly or wrongly, they trust Barack Obama more.


    Instead of heeding these warnings, Obama and McCain listened to the likes of White House spokesman Tony Fratto, who said failing to approve the bailout by the end of last week was "unthinkable." "We have to get something done," one of the candidates insisted on Sunday.

    Blind Bipartisanship

  85. I send stuff from here to my friend Dale, who has a contact list a block long, so I know some is getting out.

  86. On more than one occasion I have seen headlines on Fox News website that read the exact same as what you had put here a day or 2 earlier, 2164th.


  87. You are a digital dude rat. The digital part of it is binary. You is bi. Two will have to do. That is all there is, two, in the bi-world.

    Binary, and I prefer binary to bye now and in doing so must say buy now. That means, bi man, that it is Obama or big mac. Now I know you have a visceral mac attack when his name comes up, but u still is a binary dude. Barr none, buy now, my guy and in every way I am a mac guy, I ask for your vote, vote mac.

  88. I can't remember what they were now. Hasn't happened for awhile. But there was a time a few months back that it occurred a couple, three times.

  89. McCain has not really run for election, outside of New Hampshire, for 26 years.

    He is a shoe-in incumbent, here.

    He has no organization, no staff.
    Just some Rovian retreads and that lobbiest for Fraudie and Fattie.

    Mama types his e-mail correspondence.
    Not even an aide or secretary

  90. sam, we anticipate, they participate.

  91. The thing is Sam, we are not lazy bloggers around here. The EB never closes. We are on the cutting edge with a dedicated cadre of BUI's, fearless in the face of any subject, wired baby, tuned in, never tuned out , except for bob when he is star-struck and even then he is a mean and lean blogging machine.

  92. No, it is not a binary game.

    Not at all. It is a game of perseption and realities. The reality is that McCain will win AZ, without me.

    There is no reason to vote for him, other to ratify his positions as those I could support.

    But because I do not supoort any of his policy positions, down the line I think he is wrong as can be, on matters large and small.

    His victory will be a defeat for the principled I believe right and true.
    McCain will not be elected in my name.

    Obama, on stated policy, is more right than wrong. That his positions are bogus, no doubt there, either.

    Two wrongs do not make a right.

    First Rule
    Do no harm

    Barr '08

  93. Do us all a favor and give up the race gig, dear host.

  94. The idea drawing the biggest support was to raise the federal deposit insurance limit, now $100,000 per account, to $250,000. Several officials, including presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama, endorsed the change.

    So did the agency that runs the program.

    Within hours of the candidates' separate statements, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairwoman Sheila Bair asked Congress for temporary authority to raise the limit by an unspecified amount. That could help ease a crisis of confidence in the banking system, Bair said.

    Rescue Plan

  95. The most cosmetic of the proposals

    Funny stuff

  96. There are no runs of deposits, not that I've heard of.

    At the banks siezed by the FDIC, here, Mutual of Omaha Bank got the one, National Bank of AZ got the other. Some depositors may have taken a clipping, but not enough to cause a run at any other small community banks.

  97. Rasmussen Tracking 09/27 - 09/29
    Obama 51, McCain 45, Obama +6

  98. In the late 1930s, Jesse Jones, known around town as "Mr. Houston," said President Herbert Hoover had been too slow and cautious in confronting the Great Depression. The inaction cost America its prosperity.


    Then as now, critics charged socialism even though Jones — much like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Bernanke — had proved himself an ardent capitalist.


    Today, many of the troubled assets are complex debt instruments that exist only on paper and whose value, even upon close examination, may be impossible to determine.

    Credit Crisis

  99. sam, we anticipate, they participate.

    no No NO!

    I can't stand it no more!!!!!

    My wife has driven me nuts with that "anticipate, participate, dear" whenever I screw up.

    That, and that lefty loosey, righty tighty crap out on the farm.

    Makes you forget what day it is after while.

  100. On Monday, the state Supreme Court and two federal judges upheld the ruling by Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner that allows new voters to register and cast an absentee ballot on the same day from Tuesday through Oct. 6. Republicans argued that Ohio law requires voters to be registered for 30 days before they cast an absentee ballot.

    The Ohio GOP asked the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Tuesday either to stop same-day voting or require elections official to separate those ballots so the registrations can be verified. But Brunner already has instructed election officials to segregate those ballots and verify the registrations before counting them.

    A three-judge panel of the federal appeals court denied the request later in the day.

    Presidential Voting

    Read the comments. Great stuff.

  101. Well here we have an honorable citizen of Ohio--

    by blackbubba [Oct 1, 2008 1:39:47 AM] Yo --- All you Repugnantins out there .. Double Dippers and Poll Slammers are coming to you're Bush -- Votin' state of rich whiteys. We got 30 days to vote in Ohio ... Over an' Over ... and Over again ... No more need for tripple-slams and dippin'. You wanna defeat the whitey's and paint the rich house Black? Go to Ohio RIGHT NOW ... and register with a brother ... We've got lots of space and you can register and vote in one county ... and next day go stay with anotha brother and register and vote again. And again .. and Again ... "Vote early ... and Vote Often" ... MAKE SURE THAT THE REPUGNANTINS are DEFEATED ... RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bush-Whack them all out of OFFICE ... Don't take no chances ... VOTE as many times as you can. Theres your answer regarding if this election is going to be fair or not. I feel like we are in the soviet union. I thought this was a democracy. I guess not anymore. youre right, bdriskill ....... next step socialism.

  102. Yeah, that's what I meant, Bob. :)

  103. I noticed a couple mentions in the article that the early turnout wasn't what the Obamanoids would have liked.

    blackbubba there, he's what we're counting on as the backbone of our coming society.

  104. If that guy keeps monkeying around with those mushrooms, Mat, you soon might have some growing out of your ears and between your toes.

  105. In South American news, Ecuador Places A Poison Pill Squat In The Middle Of A New Constitution

    ah, jeez, this 'Constitution' is a farce anyway, but they add in a provision that 'Nature' is a person, and any fool Eduadorian can go to a court on behalf of 'Nature'. Since what wealth they have comes from oil exploration, this doesn't seem all that bright. Eduador goes the way of Venezuela, without regard for its primary export.

    Good luck, amigos.

  106. Trish,

    I'm very patient in my dotage. Patience, it's been said, is the last of my virtues.

    Dotage: mental infirmity as a consequence of old age; sometimes shown by foolish infatuations.

    Most recently, Veronica.

    Take your time, hon.

  107. If that guy keeps monkeying around with those mushrooms, Mat, you soon might have some growing out of your ears and between your toes.

    They say seven is a lucky number. :)

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