“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."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The World Financial Collapse and the Growing Security Risk

Financial crisis: Countries at risk of bankruptcy from Pakistan to Baltics

A string of countries face the risk of "going bust" as financial panic sweeps Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, raising the spectre of a strategic crisis in some of the world's most dangerous spots.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

10 Oct 2008

Nuclear-armed Pakistan is bleeding foreign reserves at an alarming rate leading to fears that it could default on its loans.

There are mounting fears that Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Argentina could all now slide into a downward spiral towards bankruptcy, while western banks exposed to property bubble across Eastern Europe have seen their share price crushed.

The markets are pricing an 80pc risk that Ukraine will default, based on five-year credit default swaps (CDS) – an insurance policy on a country being able to pay its debts.

The country's banking system has begun to break down after years of torrid credit growth; its steel mills are shutting as demand collapses; and the political crisis is going from bad to worse.

President Viktor Yushchenko dissolved parliament this week in a dispute that risks bitter conflict with the country's Russian bloc. Diplomats fear Moscow could be drawn into the crisis – or even use it as a pretext to occupy territory in a replay of the Georgia invasion this summer.

Ukraine's government seized Prominvestbank this week, suspending payments to creditors. It closed the Kiev stock market, which has fallen 73pc this year.

Emerging market stocks have been tumbling since their peak in October, when investors were still betting that rising stars such as the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) were now strong enough to shake off a US crisis. That illusion has been shattered.

The International Monetary Fund said it is mobilising a "rapid-fire" fund worth several hundred billion dollars to stop a domino collapse across the developing world.

The trigger for the latest round of capital flight has been the lightning implosion of Iceland. BNP Paribas warned clients yesterday that the island is heading for "sovereign default" with contagion risks for other economies that have been living beyond their means on foreign credit.

Hungary had to intervene yesterday to prop up its markets following a run on country's biggest lender OTP. The Budapest bourse fell 13pc. The treasury had to scrap a bond auction.

The most new mortgages in Hungary are in Swiss francs, leaving the homeowners facing a vicious squeeze as the forint plunges against the franc.

In Pakistan, the rupee has fallen to an all-time low. Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's sovereign debt to near write-off levels of CCC-plus. The central bank's foreign reserves have fallen to $4.7bn (£2.73billion).

"The danger of default is hovering," said Professor Kaisar Bengali from Karachi University.

"Pakistan may not be able to re-pay its debt or import anything," he said, adding that the country cannot assume that it will be bailed out for strategic reasons.

Default risk on Kazakhstan's top banks has risen to 70pc as property bubble bursts in the former Soviet republic and reliance in foreign credit comes back to haunt.
The country has mortgaged its future to oil prices, which crashed below $80 a barrel yesterday as the whole nexus of commodities (except gold) buckled in a wave of forced selling.

Analysts warn that it is leading indicator for what could happen if Russia if crude falls much further.


  1. Interestingly, it's looking like everyone that owned Credit Default Swaps on Lehman is getting paid.

    That Might be a bigger deal than it's being given credit (pun, semi-intended) for.

    If most of these "credit swaps" are money-good they can be carried as "assets" on the books at a reasonable valuation. Every one of these bullets dodged helps confidence a lot.

  2. Here's praying that we don't have to get "All Roman" with Pakistan. Trying to run an Iraq-type operation in Afghanistan would, almost certainly, be a Calamity of the highest possible order.

    On the other hand, trying to do a "bombing campaign" on their Nuke facilities, and missing a couple of the "Big Boys," would likely be Armageddon for one, or two American Cities.

    Pakistan has the potential of being a Real Mess.

  3. dang,

    Should have read: running a Iraq-type operation in Pakistan would be a Calamity.

  4. RUFUS!!!


    Spokane River, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

    Thanks deuce.

    It's past time I took a computor class.

  5. The University of Idaho and North Idaho campii are to the back of the picture. The sun sinks yonder o'er the mountains of an evening. Coeur d'Alene Lake is off to the left, out of picture. The girls are all over the place, in the summertime, in bikinis, too!

  6. Pakistan has the potential of being a Real Mess.

    Sat Oct 11, 03:47:00 PM EDT

    A Real Mess, it already is. The key, rufus, is in keeping it from becoming a BFM. Now *that* would be bad. : )

  7. That should read, the University of Idaho Extension Campus
    How many Obamanoids does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    None, they just hold it in place, and let the world rotate around 'em.

  8. Yeah, I just couldn't come up with an "Apocalyptic" enough term to do it justice, I think.

    OK, Bob. Now, if you can just forward a few pikturs of the girls in bikinis I'll be plannin my trip. I'm thinking late April? early May?

    The way this market's lookin I suppose I'll prolly be Hitch-hikin. Guess I need to take the Southern route that time a year, huh? Trying to "hitch" a ride over the Continental Divide in a snowstorm don't sound to sporty, even if there is bikini-clad coeds on the other side.

  9. Sarah Palin's feet have trod that beach, Ruf.

    I'll try to get some bikini pics.

    If you look real close, you can see a picnic table for us to eat on. The benches are out of sight, back in the trees.

  10. The University of Maryland had a large campus in Munich, back in the day. The guys at the 66th MI looked forward to nothing so much as The Return of the Coeds each autumn.

  11. Warm spring days were always my favorite time on campus...tees and tank tops and light filmy blouses...the jiggles were everywhere. And the bikinis on the quad in front of the library.

    Life and lusts renewed.

  12. Bob,
    The easiest way I've found to put up a picture is by using your own blog via blogger. I've tried their (blogger's) suggested routine of opening an image account someplace, and it just frustrated me the same as you. Now I just put "whatever picture" into an image file on my computer. In composing the blog post, click on the add image icon, and use browse to go to your image file. Select it and let blogger do the work. Voila. A posted image.

    May be clutzy, but works for me.

  13. Chez al Bob redux

    Took about 5 minutes, including time to find, scalp, file the first image, and remember my login stuff, etc.

    One might create a blog of images just for this purpose, I suppose.

  14. A British company has delayed publication of a controversial novel about one of the Prophet Muhammad's wives after its offices were fire-bombed, a magazine reported Saturday.

    The Bookseller magazine said on its Web site that Gibson Square publishing has decided to postpone the publication of "The Jewel of Medina."

    The novel's American author, Sherry Jones of Spokane, Washington, also has decided to cancel a publicity tour to Germany to promote the book, the magazine said

    Is this a religious war?

  15. According to Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd, McCain and Palin are dangerously close in inciting the mobs at their campaign rallies.

    ht: Drudgereport

  16. Inciting mobs ...

    That'll win 'em a few votes.

    Why McCain, of all the folk they could have chose?
    Hell, Ron Paul would have run a better campaign than that Pootie proxie, Rick Davis, has managed. All he's managed to do is drive into a ditch.

  17. Name that intelligence official (Reuters). From Pakistan:

    An intelligence official said five militants were killed in the attack on a house in a shanty neighborhood known as Machis Colony. There were foreigners also among those killed and their number and nationality had not yet been ascertained, he said.

    "The mud-walled house has long been used by the guests as their abode," he said, referring to the term used for the militants in the tribal areas.

    Residents said the drones had been flying over Miranshah for hours...

  18. I say without a shred of cynicism: It does help when they're foreigners. And there is no shortage of those.

  19. Residents said the drones had been flying over Miranshah for hours...

    And I always thought the meatbees were a pain in the neck...

  20. Fisher Price "little mommy" dolls.

    Following snipped from an email from a friend.

    Well, campers, I decided to hear for myself and sure enough, every 3rd time they coo, they say 'Islam is the light'.

    They are 'little mommy' and come on a cradle...
    go to your nearest store that sells them and try them out.

    ... I had never heard it but when I walked by I activated many of them. Our manager took them off the shelf but today they were back - the [WalMart] 'home office' said that they had not had any 'real protests' of these dolls.

  21. Meatbees!

    Never heard it.

    Glad to adopt it.

  22. Rufus: Guess I need to take the Southern route that time a year, huh?

    Perfect plan: LSU--Tulane--UT Austin --UTEP--NM State Los Cruces--UofA Tucson--ASU Tempe--Laughlin, NV (to restup), and on to Fresno State. I'll link up with you there, and we'll head on up to OSU at Corvallis (home of them fabled beavers), and then on to Moscow. Bring a frisbee. If Bob's got a dog, I'll leave mine at home with the ex. Dogs are surefire beaver bait.

  23. Meatbees.
    Little waxy yellow and black wasps, a bit smaller than a honey bee. Not like the yellow jackets I grew up to hate back in Illinois. Bane of loggers and other forest dwellers. Most active in late summer/fall. Sting like fire, and angry as hell. Never saw them before coming to the Central Sierra, but they're probably everywhere. Really spoil a picnic.

  24. Whit: According to Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd, McCain and Palin are dangerously close in inciting the mobs at their campaign rallies.

    You're citing Maureen Dowd? As a reporter? There's a word, "Dowdification" which is the practice of inserting ellipses into a quote to make it say anything you want it to.

    Here's an example of Dowd's dirty work. She "cited" the following:

    "Al Qaeda is on the run," President Bush said last week. "That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated. . . . They're not a problem anymore."

    This is the actual quote:

    Al Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they're not a problem anymore.

    You see what she did, she took a quote about just the top al Qaeda operatives not being a problem anymore, and made it sound as if Bush was saying al Qaeda wasn't a problem anymore.

    Now Dowd is telling us that McCalin are inciting mobs at their campaign stops. Right.

  25. Really spoil a picnic.

    Sat Oct 11, 07:30:00 PM EDT


  26. If this article is correct then John McCain is soliciting money under a false flag.

  27. Habu, did you and Rufus work everything out?

  28. A hive of meatbees was plaguing my foundation work here in '78. They'd burrowed up under a tree root sticking out the side of an open trench. Couldn't get water enough to flush 'em out; the burrow was like an old Spanish mineshaft, sloped to drain. Used a mixture of acetylene and oxygen. Filled the hive via a long tube attached to my welding tanks. Torched it off from a distance with a long wand. Blew hell out of the side of the trench, and spilled a hive the size of a basketball to the bottom. An old army engineer trick. Piss on 'em. I hate meatbees.

  29. Linear, what's a meat bee? Is that like what we call a yellowjacket up here? Yes it is, I just looked it up. Your solution sounds like a typical guy thing to do.

    Q. How many chicks does it take to clean out a nest of yellowjackets?

    A. Two. One to open the diet coke, the other'un to call her brother to come get rid of 'em.

  30. Trish calls the exterminators.

    Never fails.

  31. I guess this is the problem with the Countries getting together to insure interbank loans (see: problem with libor spread.)

    It's One thing for the U.S., U.K., Euro Nations, Canada, Australia, and Japan to guarantee "their" banks debts; but, who's going to "guarantee" the banks in Pakistan, Ukraine, Argentina, etc?

  32. trish said: Trish calls the exterminators.

    That speaking of oneself in the third person stuff always reminds me of the Simpson episode when Bob Dole was abducted by aliens, and Bob Dole said, "Whoa! Bob Dole doesn't need this!"

  33. Citing Dowd as a reporter.

    No, a propagandist.

  34. "That speaking of oneself in the third person stuff always reminds me of..."

    those of us who live that way.

  35. Representative Henry Lewis has joined Dowd and Rich and declared that McCain/Palin are like George Wallace .

    I will never forget when Senator Fritz Hollings revealed that a tried and true Democrat get out the vote tactic was to "scare the darkies."

  36. Habu's link is disturbing. Goes back to our Leonard Cohen of last night.

  37. That fits the John McCain you all know and luv, like a glove.

    Which, if it fits,
    will give you the shits.

    What did you all ever expect from the Maverick, anyway?

  38. He's cracking and the real pressure has not even started to build, yet.

    It goes to character, but no one wanted to listen to 26 years of real experience, with regards Maverick McCain.

  39. Habu, I'm in your corner, pal, you and me been through some sheet together.

  40. He's always been a Land Shark

    Fins to the left
    Fins to the right
    You were the only bait in town

  41. ...But as Mr Obama rode out the attacks last week, and the polls failed to budge, Mr McCain discovered that the forces of Republican frustration he unleashed by letting that irritation show could have consequences that effect his own public image as well as Mr Obama's.

    If the Republican candidate does succeed in closing the lid on Pandora's Box, he might be rewarded with more than just respect if Mr Obama becomes president.

    Sorry. I think this is a liberal UK media attempt at late campaign spin-cycle bullshit. If there's a grain of truth in it, McCain won't preserve his "respect", but just the opposite.

  42. Before the election I predict that John McCain will be introducing Barack Obama at Obama rallies, as the next President of the United States.

    This will be in the same spirit of "working for the good of the nation" as he professed when he "suspended" his campaign to go back to DC to figure out waht people who can actually add couldn't figure out (notice there's nothing as hostile as a double crossed supporter)

  43. Ms T,

    You are spot on about anyone identifying Maureen Dowd as a reporter is wrong. I don't think she'd even agree with that.

    Trish, what do you think?

  44. There you go, lineman, seeing through the smoke and mirrors, to reality.

    Just that, you have invested so much hope in the magic man, you then deny your own eyes.

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. Additionally those who buy into the McCain Palin inciting riots simply do not know the history of US Presidential election.

    I recommend a book by Prof Troy Gill. See How They Ran which cover's the history of Am. Pres. Elections.

    I would also say that I predicted many months ago that we could easily see blood in the street before this is over. I stand by that.

    Take one nation where a huge number of people have just lost everything they have ever saved, a contentious election with a Chicago criminal headed to the WH and you've got trouble.

    Throw in the nationalization of our entire economy, running away from capitalism as fast as the illegitimate laws can be passed and you've got trouble.

    I guess the only difference this time will be is when the government opens up on the population a la WACO they won't be breaking the Posse Comitatus Act.

    Let's see how many CHILDREN did they murder at Waco; 21, with 12 being under the age of five.
    The government refused to allow the tanks to be examined; they were immediately loaded on trucks and taken away. Fire consumed the compound and what was left was bulldozed under thus destroying any evidence left for the defense to examine….”Hi we’re from the government and we’re here to kill you”.

    Does anyone out there believe a socialist government will be more benign? If you do you are a fool.

    You don't have to be a weatherman to see which way the wind blows.

  47. Here you go, Bob.


    Nuclear Cost Estimates
    June 23, 2008
    By Pam Radtke Russell

    The rising cost of materials and labor has the potential to put an end to the nuclear renaissance before it ever gets started. Company estimates that have been released show costs for an individual unit could be as high as $12 billion, and one consultant expects those estimates could rise if material prices continue to escalate.

    Florida Power & Light told the Florida Public Service Commission late last year that the cost for building new units at Turkey Point in south Florida could be up to $8,000 per kilowatt -- or $24 billion for two units. Earlier this year, Progress Energy pegged its cost estimates for two new units on Florida's west coast at about $14 billion plus $3 billion for transmission and distribution. While Progress' estimates are lower than FPL's, they are more than twice as much as the $2,000 per kilowatt that industry contractors promised for new nuclear plants just two years ago.

    "There's a lot of sticker shock," says Jim Harding, an energy consultant who helped the Keystone Center develop its June 2007 report, Nuclear Power Joint Fact-Finding. That report concluded that overnight estimates for a new reactor would be $2,950 per kilowatt, or between $3,600 and $4,000 per kilowatt with interest. That estimate, generated with the input of 27 participants, including power companies and nuclear contractors, is already outdated because of the rapidly rising cost of metals, forgings, other materials and labor needed to build a new nuclear unit, Harding says.

    In October, Moody's Investor Service estimated total overnight costs of a new nuclear plant, including interest, would be between $5,000 and $6,000 per kilowatt. But even those numbers are only guesses, Moody's notes in its report, New Nuclear Generation in the United States. "We believe the ultimate costs associated with building new nuclear generation do not exist today and that the current cost estimates represent best estimates, which are subject to change."

    While the Florida PSC ultimately gave FPL approval to move forward with the Turkey Point project and is evaluating Progress Energy's proposal, other companies, such as South Carolina's SCANA, are still evaluating whether nuclear is the right option.

    "It's not an easy decision for a utility to make going forward," says Harding. The decision to move forward with building a new nuclear plant is going to be a real "head scratcher" for companies to determine whether they can finance such a large project and whether it will be the most cost-effective resource, he adds.

    Best Option

    Adrian Heymer, senior director for new plant deployment for the Nuclear Energy Institute, says that many companies are regularly evaluating conditions. He says that new nuclear plants are still the best option for new baseload generation, but expects that not all 17 companies with plans for new nuclear generation will move forward.

    "Some people may run the evaluation and say no, others may say yes, this is for us," Heymer says. Moody's report says it expects only one or two new plants to be online by 2015 -- the target date for many of the companies that have proposed new nuclear units.

    The cost to get firm estimates may turn some companies away from pursuing nuclear power. A company must spend at least six months and several million dollars to get a number it is comfortable with, Harding maintains.

    Despite the cost issues, new baseload generation is a necessity in many places in the country. If new nuclear plants aren't built, other power plants will have to be built.

    "If not nuclear, then what?" asks the nuclear industry's Heymer. Coal, gas and other fossil-fueled power plants all use the same raw materials that are escalating in price. Moody's report notes that the same cost uncertainties facing nuclear plants are also problematic for new coal plants.

    "It's not so much how much the plant costs, it's what's the price of electricity is when the plant comes online and how does that compare with natural gas, that's really the important question," says Heymer.

    Yet consultant Harding says that he estimates that operating cost per kilowatt-hour for a new nuclear plant will be 30 cents per kilowatt-hour for 12 or 13 years until construction costs are paid down, at which point operating costs will drop to 18 cents. Harding adds those costs are a tough sell when concentrated solar power and wind power can be had for about 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. He said he believes that those renewable resources, as well as natural gas, and perhaps LNG, might prove competitive to a new nuclear plant.


  48. Ms T
    How did Rufus and I work things out. We didn't but it's Saturday night so he's probably passed out on the floor in a glob of vomit.

    See, I can be a diplomat.

    10:1 Trish will chime in with a love note.

  49. Bob,

    A little bit over half way through this podcast there's a very interesting interview with Jim Harding, where he talks about the none separation between civilian and military nuclear programs.


  50. OMG That's terrible .. I demand that all my demands are now promoted to commands or I'm out of HERE.

  51. This ones for Doug:

    Sambo = Habu

    There ya go Doug. I saved ya some strokes.

    Palin = Habu
    McCain = Habu
    Gavity = Habu

    The nexus of all evil in the known universe = Habu*

    For confirmation do a 32 track mix of the Beatles Yellow Submarine and Stones, Paint it Black. The playback at 33 1/3 rpm's right there.

  52. The walrus is Paul

    Everybody knows

  53. Deuce, Please take my name off the DL. I'm through here.

  54. have invested so much hope in the magic man, you then deny your own eyes.

    Seems ya gotta have hope in somethings, rat. My hopes are not in McCain, as you and I know him. But, rather in the now tired refrain that the alternative is unthinkable. I give him all the credit due for his military service and captivity, but his performance since is something you and I don't disagree on as far as you might think. I just haven't spoken out on it, hoping to see us make the best of a bad situation. Sarah offered some hope that my faith wasn't misplaced.

    As for blood in the streets, I don't expect it soon. Scattered incidents of quickly suppressed rage? Probably. But nothing that will accomplish what's needed. I often contemplate what the tipping point will be, and haven't come to any conclusion worth expressing. The latest edition of the Insurrection Act gives the president authority to move against states wherein he decides they aren't acting appropriately to enforce federal mandates on behavior.

    Hence I cling to whatever shards of hope I can grasp. If I didn't, my own kids would think me a hypocrite.

  55. Evidence mounts that the Federals are complicent in the financial crisis. How'd all these smart folk miss the derivative crisis, but habu could foresee it, plain as day?

    In the biggest financial power grab since 1913, those that missed the signs are the sameones called upon to fix the problem. The problem they denied existed, 60 days ao.

    Where is the accountability for failure?
    Unless, of course, failure is not the result of their management, but we are watching the fruits of their success.

    But to believe that is to color outside the lines of being taken serious, at least where they bring good things to life and Disney's Fantasyland.

    ... the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Treasury Department are to blame for publicly losing confidence in the very economic system they are supposed to protect.

    The Fed, the Treasury and the SEC appear to be in a state of panic. A crisis mentality led the custodians of the U.S. capital markets publicly to jettison their lifelong commitments to the capital markets in favor of a series of short-term regulatory quick fixes. Even more troubling, for the past several months the doyens of U.S. fiscal and monetary policy have ignored the most fundamental principle of central banking, which is that the primary responsibility of central bankers is to promote stability and to maintain confidence in the capital markets. Our central bankers appear to have suddenly lost confidence both in their own abilities and in the standard tools of fiscal and monetary policy.
    Letting markets work is messy and costly. Nevertheless, the only sensible way to deal with the current crisis is to force the companies who created the mess to bear at least some of the costs of their mistakes. Most of all, if the markets are to get back on track our regulators must put an immediate stop to their current practice of publicly demonizing the markets and work to restore confidence in the system.

    Mr. Macey, a law professor at Yale,

  56. Where is the accountability for failure?

    With Empire there's no accountability, there's only dissociation from reality.

  57. Nice to have an Editor/spell checker around

  58. The Minority Mortgage Meltdown

    Anyway, if you'd asked about how Californians could pay off their monster mortgages, you'd probably just hear that the firm's rocket scientists had taken everything into consideration in their immensely complicated calculations. They've got decades of data on California mortgages! What could possibly go wrong?

    Unfortunately, one little thing had changed over the decades that the Wall Street quant jocks didn't include in their numbers: the Californians themselves.

    The current average resident of California just doesn't have the same human capital as in the old days.
    In the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress test, California's 8th graders came in 49th out of the 50 states in reading.
    A United Way study recently found that 53 percent of the adult residents of Los Angeles are functionally illiterate in English.

    If you stopped and thought about it, you might wonder how they would earn enough to pay back those massive mortgages. But stopping and thinking about the shortcomings of minorities is the road to legal ruin in modern corporate America.
    As of August 2008, California alone, with 12 percent of the national population, accounted for 29 percent of all foreclosures. Add in the two California wannabes, Nevada and Arizona, and states with just 15 percent of the population are responsible for 36 percent of the foreclosures. Add in Florida, and four states with 21 percent of the population are home to half the foreclosures.

    This is not to say that Hispanics account for most of the defaults in those four states. Plenty of white speculators bought homes figuring they could rent them out to all the Latino laborers who had flocked across the border to build exurban homes. And other whites wanted to move to the exurbs to get their children out of public school systems overwhelmed by the children of illegal immigrants. (Notice the circularity of the economic logic of this decade—which Dennis Dale aptly calls “The Blunder Years”?)

  59. This is not to say that Hispanics account for most of the defaults in those four states.



    Just maybe, however, the scheme of adding all the Hispanics to the coalition by promises of open borders for all their relatives and promises of home ownership with no-money-down loans was one additional component that was way too big, complicated and problematical. - Mike Sylwester@BC

  60. At BC for years, they'd compare Euro's Muslim problem to our perfection.
    I gave up trying to get anyone to listen to my comparisons with our Immigration Problem here:
    They saw no problem.
    As if illiteracy and a 50% drop out rate is not a problem.
    ...not to mention the lack of allegiance to this country and other cultural issues.

  61. The Vandals are rising from the dead!


    Vandies made touchdown and two point conversion!

    7 minuites to go!

    Fresno's got the ball.

    Report brought to you by your Northwest Dodge Dealership, from KOZE, The Voice of the Vandals!

    Where losing is a lifestyle!

  62. Where getting the shit knocked outta ya and not complaining is a lifestyle.

  63. U of Idaho--where we put the cheerleaders in burkas!

  64. We're goin'
    for that 0 and 11 this year, and nobody's gonna stop us!

  65. Mat, Doug, at football, we suck, and, that God's aweful truth, and nobody can take it away from us!

  66. Final 45--32.
    Announcers complimentary toward Idaho. "They sure don't look like a 1-6 team tonight, do they."
    Only listened to last few minutes. Sounded like they had Fresno worried for a while. "I can't tell if they're playing to win, or playing not to lose." 4th Quarter. I thought I'd heard a score a few minutes before that when it was 35-17.

  67. Interesting letter from McCain and other Sen warning of mortgage problem on Powerline.

  68. Come on gentlemen..The Florida Gators

  69. Come on gentlemen..The Florida Gators

    Grrrr. I got so damned tired of watching my Cornhuskers go down to the Orange Bowl and get their asses handed to them. Can't remember if they lost to the Gators. Miami took it alot as I recall. Was like Nebraska went down for a holiday.

  70. What about what Missourri did to them this time?

  71. The Next Time I Leave Here, David Mallett

    The next time I leave here
    I'm leavin' for good.
    The show's almost over
    So one of us should.
    I've bought it and fought it
    As long as I could,
    So the next time I leave here,
    I'm leavin' for good.

    aka The Ballad of Rufus and Habu

    Wish I could find a link to video.

  72. Mat, Doug, at football, we suck, and, that God's aweful truth, and nobody can take it away from us!

    If I watch sports, it's to watch the beautiful game.

  73. The University of Idaho, the only team in all of America where the Athletic Director slaps burkas on the cheerleaders, and expects the folks to show up.

  74. Sad, Doug.
    Mizzou was always a tough game, but the last four years or so are the legacy of Steve Pederson and Callahan.

    They had a bar down in Columbia called the Green Door. Long before the movie.

    When I went down on game weekend with the rifle team, we had to stay out in Booneville in a hotel that looked like it hadn't changed since Jesse James rode through.

  75. Your AD at Idaho couldn't be worse than Steve Pederson was at NU, Bob. Fired Solich in an underhanded way by a phone message left with Frank's daughter. Frank's DC, Bo Pelini, took the team down to the Alamo Bowl and beat Michigan. Then Pederson fired him and hired that loser Callahan who had put the Raiders in the cellar one year after they went to the Super Bowl.

    Bo's back and rebuilding. Once a Husker, always a Husker. Go Big Red!

  76. I had a childhood friend from Booneville that would stay w/relatives every summer in the Big City. (Avenal)

  77. Rufus,

    Don't let a little joking around chase you off. No harm ,no foul.

    Look at what you've accomplished here at the EB. You were the first to alert us to the benefits of alternate fuels. Youe were the second AND third to alert us to the benefits of alternate fuel and heck they were only partly responsible for the 17 cents a loaf initial increase in bread prices. and

    How much corn would I need to grow in order to produce enough ethanol fuel to drive my car across the country?

    Stay man, it's just jok'n around...Possumtater wants you to stay.

    Plus you already quit so you'd have to get back and then quit...that's hard work but it's worth it. This blog is a very good blog. Without you it could be great (joke,joke)one.

    Just lend an ear to this song..It'll raise your spirits !!

  78. I tell ya, I'm used to this shit.

    I'm a Vandal!

  79. I had a childhood friend from Booneville...

    I bet he could run like the wind, like the Arkansas kids I grew up with in Illinois. Their folks moved north for good jobs in the fifties, before the area became the rustbelt.

  80. i remember Del Crandell. Caught for thr Braves back in the 50's

    I didn't know he was a Vandal though. But Vandal is a nice handle.

  81. Walkin'

    We got money in our hands
    We got shine upon our shoes
    Liquor in our blood and burnin' up the fuse
    So put the hammer down
    Take a spin around this town
    'Cause tomorrow at this time we could be walkin'

    We are following this deal
    Wherever it may lead
    And from where I'm sittin' we got everything we need
    So pass that thing around
    Put some money down
    Tomorrow at this time we could be walkin'

    It's a rough and rocky road
    It's an awful hill to climb
    It's a hot and heavy load
    Livin' in these times
    But the one reality
    For guys like you and me is that
    Tomorrow at this time we could be walkin'


  82. Habu, we had a guy named Jerry Kramer, that played for the Packers, that could eat ice.

  83. We also had a guy, named Wayne Walker, that could even rip you a new asshole.

    But, they come kinda far and few in between, out this way.

  84. ...

    From the dirty city streets
    To the quiet country hill
    From the rustle of the sheets
    To the clatter of the mill
    Through the great suburban sprawl
    Bound to get us all
    Tomorrow at this time we could be walkin'

    It's a rough and rocky road
    It's an awful hill to climb
    It's a hot and heavy load
    Livin' in these times
    But the one reality
    For guys like you and me is that
    Tomorrow at this time we could be walkin'

    It's a bread and water world
    When the walls come fallin' in
    Don't get too accustomed to this life you're livin' in
    So put the hammer down
    Take a spin around this town
    'Cause tomorrow at this time we could be walkin'
    So pass that thing around
    Put the hammer down
    Tomorrow at this time we could be walkin'

    David Mallett

  85. This is for Sarah. :-)

    The Cremation of Sam McGee

    by Robert W. Service

    There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
    The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
    The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
    Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee.

    Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
    Why he left his home in the South to roam ‘round the Pole, God only knows.
    He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
    Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”

    On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
    Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
    If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
    It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

    And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
    And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
    He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
    And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

    Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
    “It’s the cursed cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
    Yet ‘taint being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
    So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

    A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
    And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
    He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
    And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

    There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
    With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
    It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
    But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”

    Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
    In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
    In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
    Howled out their woes to the homeless snows—O God! how I loathed the thing.

    And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
    And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
    The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
    And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

    Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
    It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
    And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
    Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

    Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
    Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
    The flames just soared and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
    Then I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

    Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
    And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
    It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
    And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

    I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
    But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
    I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
    I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked;” . . . then the door I opened wide.

    And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
    And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.
    It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm—
    Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

    There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
    The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
    The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
    Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee.

  86. Time to stoke the fire and hit the hay.

    Goodnight, Bob.

  87. The Long Road to Slack Lending Standards

    Ignoring the import of such data, federal officials went on a campaign to encourage banks to lower their lending standards in order to make more minority loans. One result of this campaign is a remarkable document produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 1998 titled “Closing the Gap: A Guide to Equal Opportunity Lending”.

    Quoting from a study which declared that “underwriting guidelines…may be unintentionally racially biased,” the Boston Fed then called for what amounted to undermining many of the lending criteria that banks had used for decades. It told banks they should consider junking the industry’s traditional debt-to-income ratio, which lenders used to determine whether an applicant’s income was sufficient to cover housing costs plus loan payments. It instructed banks that an applicant’s “lack of credit history should not be seen as a negative factor” in obtaining a mortgage, even though a mortgage is the biggest financial obligation most individuals will undertake in life. In cases where applicants had bad credit (as opposed to no credit), the Boston Fed told banks to “consider extenuating circumstances” that might still make the borrower creditworthy. When applicants didn’t have enough savings to make a down payment, the Boston Fed urged banks to allow loans from nonprofits or government assistance agencies to count toward a down payment, even though banks had traditionally disallowed such sources because applicants who have little of their own savings invested in a home are more likely to walk away from a loan when they have trouble paying.

    Of course, the new federal standards couldn’t just apply to minorities. If they could pay back loans under these terms, then so could the majority of loan applicants. Quickly, in other words, these became the new standards in the industry. In 1999, the New York Times reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were easing credit requirements for mortgages it purchased from lenders, and as the housing market boomed, banks embraced these new standards with a vengeance. Between 2004 and 2007, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became the biggest purchasers of subprime mortgages from all kinds of applicants, white and minority, and most of these loans were based on the lending standards promoted by the government.
    The Mortgage Mess Began on Main Street

  88. Rachel Lucas:
    After a week like this…

    When your retirement accounts have plummeted almost 20% and a radical socialist is winning in the polls and felonious assholes are committing vote fraud (and getting away with it), you need to either get very drunk or to have a laugh. Both, if you’re smart.

    So I’m about to bust out the Wild Turkey to take care of the drunk part, and reader MHuete sent me some more demotivational posters to take care of the laughing part. I don’t know where he finds these but some of them made me laugh out loud so loudly that Maggie started barking at me as though I were a squirrel. I shit you not.

  89. Doug, post your last two links on the next thread. Thanks.

  90. We try and run the EB using a market approach. By design, we have no revenue. I feel it distracts from the purpose. What do we recieve?

    We live here from psychic income. The coin of psychic income becomes debased if we have to be herding cats, tidying up, taking up and putting down.

    Kudlow's fine site was wrecked because the irresponsible and undisciplined behavior of a few ruined it for others.

    Rufus was a great contributor to Kudlow as he has been here at the EB.

    I make my contribution here because it gives me pleasure. I respect those that contribute in a positive fashion.

    Technically there is no way to block anyone from a blogger site. You can, post facto, remove comments. That would bore me to death. I really do have better things to be concerned about. Posting here does not indicate you support or oppose others on the site.

    You do not have a credible prospect for successfully presenting controversial ideas if it is done in a way thats distracts or intentionally causes disharmony. i have my favorites here because I find their contribution to be interesting and often opposed to my own.

    Conduct should be as civil respectful adults. This is obvious. Kindly respect my wishes and read the banner head of the site. Do not kick the dog or piss on the toilet seat.