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

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Obama throws girlie pitch on economy, "Give it to me!" he says.

Obama's opening pitch was not inspiring. At the two minute mark on the video, you will see that Obama barely made the plate. Obama's attempts at getting the economy moving is not doing much for the home team either. Jim Kuhnhenn argues that the economy now belongs to Obama:

Analysis: Obama takes possession of economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — With four simple words — "Give it to me!" — President Barack Obama took possession of the economy.

For months, the White House and Obama's economic team have laid the economic crisis at the feet of President George W. Bush. But there comes a point in a presidency when inheritance becomes ownership. Obama made that pivot Tuesday in Michigan, the state suffering the worst unemployment in the nation.

"I love these folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, 'Well, this is Obama's economy,'" the president said in a pointed deviation from his prepared text. "That's fine. Give it to me!"

It was a defiant moment, reminiscent of Bush's own "Bring 'em on!" taunt in 2003 to militants in Iraq.
Like Bush's brash challenge, Obama's could haunt him, too. It's a calculated risk that confronts his critics head-on and casts him as an activist, on-the-job president.

"My job is to solve problems, not to stand on the sidelines and harp and gripe," he said Tuesday, his sleeves rolled up, barely disguising his targets as congressional Republicans.

Still, most economists and Obama's own advisers foresee a slow economic recovery. The president himself conceded Tuesday that unemployment, already at a 26-year high, will likely "tick up for several months." Republicans see the economy as Obama's Achilles' heel come next year's elections, and they have found a political vulnerability in the continued rise in unemployment despite a $787 billion economic stimulus that Obama pushed through Congress in February.

In choosing Michigan to attach his name to the economy, Obama picked a state whose 14.1 percent unemployment rate could linger as evidence of policy failure. As home to the U.S. auto industry, it could also stand as a symbol of one of his first economic successes. Both General Motors and Chrysler have emerged in surprisingly swift fashion from bankruptcy protection proceedings that were imposed by the Obama administration.

"Remember, folks said there was no way they could do it?" Obama told his audience in hard-hit Warren, Mich. "They've gotten it done already, in record time, far faster than anybody thought possible."

After a week spent overseas, the feisty, confrontational approach aims to regain the agenda from his critics. In one bold step this week, the Obama administration singled out Sen. Jon Kyl, a member of the Senate Republican leadership, for calling for an end to economic stimulus spending. Using Obama's Cabinet members as muscle, the White House on Tuesday made public letters from four department secretaries listing transportation, housing, Indian education and other projects in Kyl's home state that they said would be eliminated if the senator had his way. The letter was addressed to Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer.

At the same time, Obama is appealing for patience. In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday and in a newspaper opinion piece, Obama argued that the stimulus program was designed as a two-year plan and that it had already halted the economic free fall. It hasn't helped Obama, however, that the jobless rate now stands at 9.5 percent, even though his economic team initially predicted that the stimulus would prevent unemployment from going higher than 8 percent.

Obama and his advisers say the recession turned out to be worse than anticipated when they made that forecast in January. Still, 2 million jobs have been lost since Congress passed the stimulus package.

"I want the president's economic stimulus to work, but guess what? It's not happening right now," Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., said Tuesday, voicing a common GOP refrain. "I don't even think we have Wendy's jobs anymore. Where's the beef? Where's the jobs?"

Obama's unflinching embrace of his economic policies means he now is responsible for their consequences. If the free fall is now in check, as he claims, then the economy can no longer be Bush's legacy alone.

What's more, even amid indicators that show the economic plunge is slowing, unemployment in recent recessions has been slow to recover as quickly as the rest of the economy. And jobs are the clearest yardstick by which the public measures success. For Obama and his fellow Democrats, the danger lies in unemployment rates that remain high in time for next year's congressional elections, or in a slow recovery that peters out and leads back into a recession.

Obama has already taken ownership of the nation's foreign policy. In March, he announced a new approach in Afghanistan that included sending an additional 17,000 combat troops. Marines have just kicked off an offensive in Taliban strongholds in the south of the country. And two weeks ago, American troops in Iraq handed over security urban areas to Iraqi security forces, the first step toward meeting Obama's pledge to end an unpopular war.

Now, just days shy of the symbolic six-month anniversary of his presidency, Obama has laid claim to the full measure of the job. When it comes to the economy, no one — certainly not his Republican critics — is going to keep him from taking it.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ Jim Kuhnhenn covers economics and politics for The Associated Press.

Just for the record.


  1. There is nothing presidential about Obama in his pseudo gang banger jeans and his zipped up tight White Sox jacket. Smiling uncomfortably, he threw like Katie Couric.

    The mugging could not hide that he simply looked as if he did not belong there. Americans handed the ball to someone that they thought was a major leaguer. The opening inning has not been inspiring, and no relief is on the way.

    Play ball.

  2. He's a lightweight. And, a Punk. No doubt about it. Dangerous times.

    And a "Commie." Oh, my.

  3. Seven months into his first term ...

    RCP Average 6/23 - 7/13 --
    Approve 57.6
    Disapprove 36.0
    Spread +21.6

    Mr Holdren's story has made it to the Denver Post.

  4. Now, back in the day we argued the validity of the different polling firms techniques and results.
    Rasmussen was always on the 'outs' with the other pollsters, and his results concerning Obama are far from the average, in the disapprove catagory. His approval numbers not being far from the norm, at 53%.

    Rasmussen Reports 7/11 - 7/13
    Approve 53
    Disapprove 46
    Spread +7

  5. dragged up from the last thread for your entertainment here. Re. Honduran Constitution:

    A Constitution that does not allow the citizenry to amend it is not a good foundation for rule of law. It is more of a strait jacket. Take the situation in Iran, would you support the Mullahs if they cited (as they probably do) that their rule is underpinned by the constitution which the citizenry cannot amend? In their view I think that they view the Koran as the equivalent of their constitution, as the underpinnings for their monopoly on power. The two principles are similar - rule of law that the citizenry cannot alter. That is bad.

  6. "However article 102 of the Honduran constitution expressly prohibits the removal of a Honduran citizen from the country.",_2009

    hmmm, which article has more force?

  7. The Hoduran Constitution is often 'reformed', ash.

    The reformers though have to pay a price for advocating change. A ten hiatus from electoral politics.

    So that the 'reform' is just not a power play on the part of the reformers.

    If a politico, in Honduras wants to institure "reform" of their Constitution they can follow the process outlined. Resign or be removed from office, so as to eliminate any selfserving reasons, for the reforms.

    If Change is really good for their country, it was decided, it should not be partisan change.

    Whether this idea is intellectually valid or not, something to mull over, but the Honuran Constitution is amendable, as I understand the situation. It just is a career at the public trough ender, for those advocating reform.

  8. The link provided, ash, does not provide any substance to your claim, there is nothing there.

  9. "Article 373 of the constitution states that the constitution can be modified by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly. Article 374, however, specifies that several articles are entrenched; that is, they cannot be modified under any circumstances.[37] The entrenched clauses include those on the system of government that is permitted, and the process of presidential succession.[29]

    Micheletti went on to insist that even to announce such a referendum privately is a crime (" . . . porque eso, incluso, anunciarlo privadamente es un delito.") Article 239 which was designed to prevent continuismo, forbids presidents from serving multiple terms.[3] Honduras’ Supreme Electoral Tribunal reafirmed the lower court's decision that such a poll would be illegal, as it could lead to changing or superseding the entrenched articles of the constitution.[38] The poll was also ruled illegal by the Supreme Court and attorney general.[39]",_2009

  10. Always thought the exiling Mannie was a poor tactic, but hey, it's their country.

  11. Your link is still empty of the content you are quoting, ash.

    What's up with that?

  12. hmmm, I tried copying and pasting the whole link into the address bar of my browser (firefox) and it worked.

    Here is the links again, clickable

    2009 Honduran constitutional crisis

    It is a wiki article that both quotes came from. I remember awhile back that 2164th posted a good portion of the constitution but I don't remember a link. I was peering at it through my phone on the road though so a link might of been there. I was struck by how certain portions specifically were unchangeable.

  13. The bedrock of principles upon which their Republic is built and cannot be easily, if ever, changed.

    Better that, it seems to me, than an unending string of 'President for Life' aspirants.

    They have had lots of experience with Presidents for Life and see the dangers, there. Regardless of the politics or ideology of the various current aspirants.

  14. The blue link provides depth of content, ash.

    Thank you.

  15. sure, I can understand resistance to Presidents for life but an un-amendable constitution is fundamentally flawed, from a democratic perspective.

    Functionally a government that can only rule for one term leaves much power to entrenched institutions. I did some further research and came up with this article. I haven't finished reading it all but this excerpt was interesting and the article appears to contain many links (I think to the current constitution:

    "The current Honduran constitution was written and promulgated under pressure from the Carter administration to make a transition to civilian rule. For decades, the country had been lorded over by this or that general or junta: under Gen. Policarpo Paz Garcia, the army moved to install its own version of democracy, which allowed elections to take place, set up a tripartite constitutional system – with an executive, a national legislature, and a Supreme Court – and yet maintained the near-complete autonomy of the military.

    The 1982 constitution says that the chief of the armed forced is to be picked, not by the president, but by the Congress, from a list of candidates supplied by CONSUFFAA (Consejo Superior de las Fuerzas Armadas), the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (made up of senior military officers trained in the U.S.). Dismissal of the army chief requires a two-thirds vote of Congress.

    Furthermore, Gen. Paz insisted on a number of conditions before he allowed the constitution to go into effect: the army demanded of the two presidential candidates veto power over cabinet appointments, complete control of the internal security apparatus, and – perhaps most importantly – a ban on investigations into military corruption.

    The de facto military dictatorship was given a cosmetic makeover, but the real power continued to be held by the armed forces, which ran much of the country’s economic infrastructure as well as overseeing its political institutions. This was a slight improvement, however, over the previous constitutions, which explicitly stated that the military had the right to ignore presidential orders!"

    History Haunts Honduras

  16. We cycled lots of Hondurans through Fort Gulick, Panama, while the School of the Americas was there.

    Their Army was an extension of US, during the Carter years.
    I was witness to that.

    I knew Panamanians that referred to the SoA as the School of the Dictators, but that was a warped though commonly held perspective amongst the younger, educated folk, there.

    One fellow that thought so went to Cuba for some reason. Before he left he was an anti-US nationalist with leftist leanings.
    When he returned he was a pro-capitalist and pro-US.

    A dose of Cuban reality and he was awakened.

  17. A system of government that is built on a bedrock of term limits may work out well, for a country of eight million.

    It is not fully democratic, true, but Honduras is a representative republic, not a democracy.

    Bedrock term limits are an improvement, ideologically from juntas and PfLs. The permanent infrastructure remains, regardless. That can be seen here in the US, easily enough.

  18. Though our President is limited to two four year terms, rather than one four year term.

    The Hondurans afraid, ideologically, of a powerful executive branch created a more legislative centric system.

    Hip, hip hooray!

  19. The notion of "Hondurans chose" led me down the path of wondering how the current constitution came to be, who's interests helped form it, particularly the parts that cannot be changed.

    kinda 'follow the money' sorta.

  20. They have succeeded with it, for 27 years now.

    If Mannie thought that an extended Presidency was best for the country, he could have finished his term and then worked towards reform. If it was the future of Honduras that concerned him, not the future of Mannie.

    Seems to me.

  21. That wiki link suggested it was even forbidden to talk about changing term limits in private. I'm not sure what Mannie motives are nor how much power he would have to effect change once out of office but, man, that constitution sounds like it vests the power behind the scenes as opposed to in the peoples hands.

  22. THeir military expeditures, one of the lowest in the whirled.

    0.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
    country comparison to the world
    : 154.

    There only being 173 countries on the list. Their Army may have influence in Honduran life, but they are not exploiting the taxpayers.

  23. The politcal power is vested in the legislature. The cultural power is in the oligarchy.

    As Mannie told US all.

    Honduras blames poverty on oligarchy.
    Tue, 16 Sep 2008 22:48:24 GMT

    The Honduran President shares the blame for the dire economic crisis and poverty faced by the Central American nation on business leaders.

    President Manuel Zelaya who has joined with other Latin leaders to form a unified front against the US hegemony, on Monday criticized the business leaders and the nation's oligarchy in his Independent Day address.

    ''Business leaders and the local, corrupt oligarchy are responsible for the country's backwardness for the past two centuries, because they have promoted an unjust, neoliberal economic system,'' said Zelaya in his speech commemorating Central America's independence from Spain.

    Zelaya said the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, a trade bloc advertised as a socialist alternative to US-backed pacts, will mark Honduras' ''true independence.

  24. Val is concerned about free speech in Honduras, but not in her homeland, Canuckistan.

    Heaven forefend one should entertain a non-PC, or anti-jihadist thought, from Dr. Laura to Mark Steyn.

  25. An oligarchy in Honduras that Mannie was a member in good standing of, say three, four yers ago.

  26. Honduran GDP
    $33.63 billion (2008 est.)

    .6% = $201,790,000

    A sizable chunk of change, but not outlandish for the region:

    18 El Salvador 5.00
    32 Cuba 3.80
    37 Colombia 3.40
    130 Venezuela 1.20
    112 Belize 1.40
    138 Panama 1.00
    157 Nicaragua 0.60
    161 Mexico 0.50
    164 Costa Rica 0.40
    165 Guatemala 0.40

    Salvador, at 5% is right up there with those countries in a state of perpetual conflict.
    Their GDP:
    $43.94 billion
    5% =$2.17 billion, greater than the Honduran spending by a factor of 10.

    The Army that Danny Ortega is sending to the border ...
    Nicaragua GDP
    $16.83 billion
    .6% = $100,980,000

  27. Against Danny's boys, in Honduras, bet on the Hondo Army.

  28. We have our own little term limit turmoil right here in River City. Between Tegucigalpa and Bogota, makes for a rather awkward situation.

  29. The decision by Bashas' Supermarkets to close three Food City stores illustrates how much businesses that cater to the Hispanic community are suffering as the economy and immigration crackdowns have driven Latinos out of Arizona.

    No one knows exactly how many Latinos have left the state, but advocates, business owners and experts who track the Latino market believe the number is significant. The collapse of the state's economy eliminated many labor jobs tied to growth industries.

    Edmundo Hidalgo, chief executive officer of Chicanos Por La Causa, a non-profit social-services and community-development organization that primarily serves working-class Latinos, said the number could be as high as 200,000.

    Chandler-based grocer Bashas', which filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday, says it will close two Food City stores in Phoenix and one in Glendale next week. Its Food City was among the first supermarket chains to target the surging Latino population in Arizona

    Walmart beat Eddie Basha soundly about the head and shoulders. Eddie should have stuck to business, rather than perpetually running for Governor.

  30. I was peering at it through my phone on the road though...

    One of them. Getcha arrested in California, Ash.

  31. heh heh, not literally while driving but up north at a cottage with no internet other than through my phone device...

  32. In recent years, Food City has faced fierce competition from California-based Pro's Ranch Market, which has opened six supermarkets in the Phoenix area. In 2006, Fry's Mercado supermarket opened in west Phoenix, primarily aimed at Latinos, and in June, Walmart opened Supermercado de Walmart, a supermarket tailored to Hispanics on the west side.

    Bashas' Supermarkets is closing 10 stores next week: the three Food City stores and seven Bashas' stores. The stores that are being closed are all "underperforming," said Kristy Nied, a spokeswoman for Bashas' Family of Stores.

    Nied said the main factors that led to the closings are the economy, the credit crisis and a protracted battle over unionizing workers with the United Food and Commercial Workers
    Sales at GP's Fine Furnishings next door to Food City have dropped 45 percent in the past two years, said Gilbert Presciado, who has owned the store for 14 years.

    Presciado said his business was thriving two years ago.

    "(Now), a lot of people have moved out," he said. "There are a lot of empty houses in this area."

    Presciado walked to the back of his store and opened a door that overlooks the neighborhood behind.

    "This one is empty. That one is empty. That one there is empty," Presciado said, pointing at the houses. "There are five houses I can see that are empty."

  33. The humane thing to do would be to give the address of that cottage to Bob. He needs a break from the internet, with no phone. A rest. Some fishing. A few good books. A notebook to begin writing his memoirs. Tales of Gene. He'd be a new man upon his return.

  34. He does seem stressed. I had a good time myself with a week up in northern Canada and a week in the Colorado Rockies fly fishing.

  35. A sign up in the cabin in the Rockies said "I ain't seem a man yet who can worry and fish at the same time." Or something to that effect.

  36. Speaking of Colombia:

    Will Mexico need ‘Los Pepes’?

    Last Saturday, Mexico’s federal police and army paid the price for arresting Arnold Rueda Medina, a lieutenant in Mexico’s La Familia drug cartel. La Familia gunmen first attempted to spring Medina from custody. After that failed, they went on a revenge spree against federal police and soldiers that the Washington Post described this way:

    According to the article, five were killed and a dozen wounded.

    President Felipe Calderon has had to send in the army and federal police because in most cases the local police, prosecutors, city governments, judges, and jailers have been either bought by the cartels or intimidated into passivity. La Familia’s weekend counterattack is an indicator of the force one of Mexico’s smaller drug cartels is able to muster.

    At the depth of the Escobar crisis, Los Pepes appeared.
    ... When the police finally gunned him down, Los Pepes had reduced Escobar’s imperial entourage to a couple bodyguards holed up with the boss in a downscale apartment.

    Who were Los Pepes? Loyal Colombian police or special forces soldiers? Cartel rivals of Escobar, quietly assisted by police intelligence? Or foreign mercenaries?

    Los Pepes were ruthless killers, even terrorists and in no way represented the rule of law. But in Bowden’s reckoning they saved Colombia when there was no other way to stop Escobar. Will Mexico require the same salvation?

    Posted by Robert Haddick

  37. Watching the Mercado recycling in Arkansas, I'd say it parallels the Bashas' experience. A gringo market will close, to be replaced by a mercado, which will appear to survive for a while, and then close itself. One seems to be surviving, and I hope they make it. Good place to get spices and chiles that I can't find at Wal*Mart. All the items labeled in Spanish with small English translations underneath. Some mom and pop tiendas seem to flourish, but that might change. The neighborhoods have a lot of recently vacant homes.

  38. Linear, is there any switch on the computer keyboard where I can touch it, and posts by Ash and Rat just don't appear?

    That's what I really need.

    I've tried just scrolling past, but then Rat calling Trish DenMother or some such other shit hits my eye.

    Rat the name caller. Rat the myth in his own mind, as Habu said.

    I haven't read a word of all the posts above, it ain't worth it, till I came to yours, this morning.

    If there is such a button to hit, kindly let me know, would ya?

    Thanks, bob.

    Got to run again today.

  39. Rat's been quite civil this morning, Bob. Until now.

    My first thought was that someone slipped some Valium into his bowl of milk, but that's not a kind thought upon which to begin a new day.

    Just scroll faster, only cure I know.

  40. heh, if there was such a button, then I could carry on a conversation with a good Lady like Trish, without knowing that some oaf was trying to interject himself.

    Out of the shower, into the car....

  41. If President Uribe does not decline to run, there will be no FTA. (View expressed is my own, not that of the USG.) At a minimum. How important is the FTA to President Uribe, one wonders? How important a continuing, comfortable political relationship?

    Will those who expressed satisfaction with events in Honduras raise alarm at the near prospect of three consecutive terms, gained by referendum, in Colombia? Will those disturbed by the same events register their gratification at the notion of a twelve-year stint in the presidential palace in Bogota? One wonders that, too.

    BTW: Escobar's runaway hippo was killed. Outrage expressed.

  42. The Colombians did in extremis a lot of things they would not, openly or otherwise, countenance now.

    So have we.

    It's an old story, the world over.

  43. See, there he goes, again.

    Caused by me, his affliction?

    I doubt it.

    Recall if you will that irrigated farm, in southern Idaho.
    70 acres or so, if I recall, for $70,000. We were told that, being irrigated, it had better production rates per acre, than boobie's.

    We've also been told that the remnnents of the Federal homestead grant produce $30,000 per year. Split 50/50 with the real farmer working the land.
    Also have been told that the cash thrown off by the farming efforts pay the property taxes of the farm, at the subsidized ag rates.

    So there is very little "free cash flow" from the property. As a business, the remaining acreage of the Federal homestead grant has little value. Under the $70,000 that the irrigated Idaho farm was offered at.

    Now he has committed himself to battling the City, in Court. For some reason he foresees a short exchange and that the City will then back down.
    Which has never been my experience, with City Attorneys on civil matters referencing revenue streams.

    If the property is taxed under the published rates that apply to its' newly approved use those taxes could double, or more. Developers not held in the high esteem extended to farmers, by the tax man.

    As boobie's Jewish lawyer advised, he should not have moved forward with the rezoning request. Now he has a new lawyer and a partnership in a lawsuit, where success is not victory, but merely returning to the previous unsatisfactory status que.

    If the City Attorney likes the lady lawyer, too, she'll be in a City generated paper blizzard, requiring Gene and boobie to pay for all those snow blowing hours.

  44. Los Pepes wasn't enough, however. It was a stop-gap. Once the cartels were broken, FARC picked up the business. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. What was required was a plan to expand the government's reach and efficacy (made more daunting in a nation with a tradition of a weak central government) and the will and wherewithal to carry it out.

    Toward that end, probably no more stunning a turnaround has ever been achieved in so short a time.

  45. Den mothers are a 'good thing' boobie.

    Every frat house and band of boy scouts needs one.

  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. You have a problem, Rat.

    Stop thrusting your miserable personality on others.

    It's the reason Buddy left and the Bar is not the better for it.

  48. Rat, on going out the door, I just read your last post.

    You, truly, don't know what the hell you are talking about.

    There is not one thing said there that matches the reality here.

    It's pure gibberish.

    But, honest to Christ, I don't have the energy to explain it to you.

    Suffice to say, you're not the genius you think you are.

  49. Like Mr Bush bestowed, most everyone gets the nickname they deserve.

    I am a Rat, self described.

    You are boobie, a nattering na-bob of negativism.

  50. Will those who expressed satisfaction with events in Honduras raise alarm at the near prospect of three consecutive terms, gained by referendum, in Colombia?

    Not I. To wit:

    The largest recipient of U.S. aid outside the Middle East and Afghanistan, Uribe's government has sharply reduced violence, overseen an economic boom and aggressively attacked drug production...and Uribe's performance has won deep admiration from Bush administration officials, who see the Colombian government as a bulwark against Venezuelan President Hugo Ch¿vez, a populist Washington opposes.

  51. A genious, me?

    Never my claim, I just read the lines, that others write.
    Observe the scenes that are viewable. Then make my observations known.

    The Bates Motel at a cool million.
    There may be something in the water, there.

  52. You'd think though, lineman, that out of the 46 million Colombians there should be another capable fellow amongst them, no?

    Or are 46 million people really dependent on the "Strongman" and not a strong government, one that transcends the individual at the helm?

    Kinda like what we've got.

  53. Was that not the genius of George Washington, that for the Republic to prosper, he had to walk away?

    Leaving the future to the ever present dangers of transition and change. That being the price of avoiding institutional tyranny.

  54. Just goes to show, Linear, that for many it isn't fundamentally about the Latin American legacy of President-for-Life. It IS about politics and where you sit in that regard.

    However, the last admin didn't want him to run for a third term either. And precisely because we have no more important ally in the region. Colombia is our anchor in that respect. And given the aforementioned legacy which is still quite vivid for many Latin Americans and others around the world, legitimacy and appearances of same matter.

    The mystery of it at this point is that there is no shortage of spectacularly able, and unburdened (so to speak) individuals to run in Uribe's stead. The two obvious: Santos and Padilla. And either would win.

    I was thinking a month ago that Uribe would necessesarily decline, with the referendum being a very nice vote of the country's satisfaction with his policies as a parting gift and reassurance of continued progress; and that Santos would then announce.

    I think maybe I was wrong.

  55. The wife went down to get gas.


    I'm the guy that has stood up for the Mormons, who assert in their theology you too, even Rat, can go on and become divine, an interesting thought.

    I'm the guy that has stood for Whitman, and Theodore
    Roethke, Christ, I've quoted them enough I'd think people might get sick.

    I'm the guy that loves William Blake, and Plato, and our divine Jesus Christ, rightly understood (in my view).

    I'm the guy always pointing out Joseph Campbell, and the hopeful myths of all the world.

    I'm the guy stands up for the Jews, wonderful people, from whom everyone can learn much.



    I'm the guy that pointed out that absolutely beautiful passage in Pale Horse, Pale Rider by our wonderful woman writer, from her own life experience.

    I'm the guy that has suggested a reading of all the near death literature might be healthful.

    There is even a word for it--bibliotherapy.


    Not me.

    Life can be, is, grim, but there is Hope.

    And knowledge, too.

  56. ...Leaving the future to the ever present dangers of transition and change. That being the price of avoiding institutional tyranny.

    Their future held more dangers than "transition and change," and probably still does. Would you prefer the Stalinist "democracy" of Chavez and FARC to the risk of "institutional tyranny" under Uribe?

  57. Wed Jul 15, 01:24:00 PM EDT

    nicely said trish!

  58. Buddy left, because his opinions were not based upon realities, and when he did return for a moment told us that I had been mostly right.

    Not 100% right, but mostly.

    That you do like the Desert Rat style, matters not much to me. Skip the posts, do not repond. I do not care, it's not about you. I do this for myself, I read the morning paper, cut, paste and comment on it.

    I try to be polite, until others choose a different course for the discussion. Read today's thread, the situation is clear as to who brought the battle forward.

    No appeasers, here.

  59. A little further reading supports Trish's comment re Santos or Padilla, and (choke) rat's suggestion, too.

    Fascinating place you work in, Trish.

  60. No, I'd prefer that the Colombians could field another man of Uribe's caliber. That their, and our, success was not based upon the "Cult of the Individual", centered around Mr Uribe. Competent as he may be.

    But a government built upon strong social institutions. There is good precedent for the Executive stepping away, amongst successful democratic republics.

    If Colombia's future is dependent upon the "Man on Horseback" instead of the institutions of good government, the gains made will not be long lasting.

    Is the Government of Colombia so weak that it is fully dependent upon Mr Uribe? I would hope not.

    But better him than FARC or Hugistas, to be sure.

  61. Would you prefer the Stalinist "democracy" of Chavez and FARC to the risk of "institutional tyranny" under Uribe?

    Wed Jul 15, 01:30:00 PM EDT

    These are false alternatives in Colombia's case, however.

    As I said, Uribe's own right-hand men, extremely talented in their own right, are more than capable of extending the President's hard-won, unprecedented achievements and ensuring that the country proceeds on its present path.

    Bonus: You finally get the long-awaited and very popular FTA.

  62. Good discussion, y'all. I've learned a bit this morning. Time to get on with my day.

  63. Yeah, I think the subject's been beaten to death for the day.

    My last two cents: Colombia isn't just our most important ally in the region. They're a no-dickin'-around, damn good one. Sometimes we really do know how to pick 'em.

  64. Colombia has come far enough, Rat, for another man to step in. They've earned that breathing space. And I have no doubt, would make good use of it.

  65. Um. *That* was my last two cents.

  66. Organizational Chart of House Democrats Health Plan.

    Impressive chart.

    I can't find the "Patient".

    Now I see. There is no "Patient".

    There are "Consumers". From whom the taxes flow.

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  68. Or Lady Hatchet, I really can't remember which.

    It don't matter, much.

  69. When is the return of Son of Shah, piece of crap/rat.

    You were predicting that, as boobie recalls.

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  72. I'm doing you a favor, bob. Take a break, give it a rest.

  73. Via Drudge Someone is going to pay...
    A group of Senate Democrats called for the insurance industry to submit to new fees to help pay for the reforms, which they said could raise up to $100 billion over a decade.

    The pharmaceutical industry has already agreed to measures that would raise $80 billion over 10 years for reforms and hospitals have agreed to $155 billion.

    They came for the gypsies...

  74. Thank you, Whit, for deleting the awful truth.

    Sensitive minds can't handle it, I agree.

  75. FWIW, Real Clear Politics now has Obama at 56/37.5. To push the baseball analogy even further, somebody's going to have to hit it (the economy) over the fence to avoid getting sent to the showers in 2012.

  76. Politicians hardly ever "walk away," Trish. Life is Too Good at the "Top." Too easy to rationalize "finishing the work."

  77. It appears the opposite is true in the US, at least if you are interested in making money.

  78. ...mind you the wealth seems predicated on taking a spin through the revolving door.

  79. bobal,

    You are a good man, thoughtful, compassionate, erudite. You do not exhibit the tirad of meaningless modernity: depression, aggression, and addiction. Keep on truckin'!

  80. Goin' off the deep end, aye.

    Got me in your stuck in your head, or just your craw, boobie?

    The Son of Shah fell short.
    Mr Bush failed to live up to expectations, sorry about that.
    Wanna blame that on me, as well?

    Didn't bet much on Son of Shah's return, to Tehran, did you?
    I never put more than an Amero, maybe two on his success.

  81. Too easy to rationalize "finishing the work."

    Wed Jul 15, 07:42:00 PM EDT

    Well, the godawful thing is that that's how Chavez explicitly rationalizes it. He must stay until his Bolivarian revolution is complete. And it'll never be complete, of course, because Colombia is the missing chunk.

    How nice it would be, on the other hand, if Uribe did not run, demonstrating well-placed confidence in the country's ability to soldier on in the same fashion. Unlike his neighbor. It would be a wonderful moment in Colombia's and the continent's history.

    It's still possible.

  82. Treasury’s “investment” programs are making hash of what was once comprehensible.

    Did you miss the “good news” on May 12?

    The Treasury Department, led by Tax Cheat Tim Geithner, retroactively reduced the deficit through March 31, the first six months of Uncle Sam’s fiscal year, by over $175 billion.

    Here’s the evidence. March’s Monthly Treasury Statement showed a year-to-date deficit of $956.8 billion — but (voila!) April’s statement showed that the deficit through March was only $781.4 billion (items in red and October-March total box added by me):

    What Treasury did in April was to convert the TARP “investments” it began making in October in the country’s financial institutions, General Motors, Chrysler, and who knows what else to NPV accounting. That accounting change reduced the previously reported March deficit by $175 billion.

    As you might have noticed, Barack Obama and Tim Geithner are not done “investing.” There are hundreds of billions of dollars in outlays yet to come that I anticipate Geithner will handle using NPV, including additional TARP “investments,” the toxic asset program, and perhaps the ever-expanding mortgage relief efforts. At some point, Geithner might even decide that the tens of billions disbursed to prop up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac thus far also have “investment” value.

    Mixing hundreds of billions of dollars of NPV into what has essentially been a cash flow report turns the Monthly Treasury Statement, and deficit reporting in general, into an exercise that will become not only become ever more difficult to comprehend, but one that will also be routinely subject to political manipulation.

  83. Phenomenal rise of India's savings
    In India, amid all the news of the dogged rise of the nation's foreign currency reserves, the obduracy of inflation, and the waxing and waning of the Sensex (not to mention Shilpa Shetty's moods), what has gone unnoticed is the phenomenal rise of the savings and investment rates.

    These now stand at 32% and 34%, respectively.

    "Don't stretch your feet beyond your sheet."

  84. I'd happily shut up if you'd just be polite to the womenfolk around here, Rat, and not call them names.

  85. Kyl versus the Crooks
    Sounds like your new Guv is better than the last, 'Rat?

  86. Maybe, he'll "walk," Trish. You never know.

  87. Have to see how she trys to close the budget gap, doug.

    Last I heard they were going to float a tax increase in the next election, the legislature not having the balls to pass one on their own.

    No, boobie, you can be polite or not, but not based upon my behaviour. You are on your own.

    Your guidance is rejected. If you are waiting for a change of style on my part, none will be forth coming.
    Count on it.

    Den mother trish will remain just that, the den mother. Linearthinking will remain lineman, 2164th is still duece.
    You are and will remain the boobie, without a prize.

    If you want to rant, have at it.
    Want to play the fool, be my guest.

    Makes no difference to me.

    You bring the tit, I'll supply the tat.

  88. Me, I've been the Joker, Captain America and now, the Zorro Master.

    Because I take it all, oh so seriously.

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  90. But as for you, boobie, I've just started pulling your strings.

    Or you can stand down.

    Either way, I'm happy to give it a go.

    It's all entertainment for me, either way you choose.
    But you do get to choose, once more time.

    Choose wisely, the chalice you drink from.

  91. CIT GROUP, a lender to hundreds of thousands of small and mid-sized US businesses, said bailout talks with the government had ended, a development that could ultimately drive the company into bankruptcy.


    Prior to a trading halt in US trading overnight, CIT shares last traded at $US1.65, up 4 cents. CIT's 5 per cent notes maturing in 2015 traded around 60 cents on the dollar, yielding 16 per cent, before the company's announcement, according to MarketAxess.

    The bonds could be worth less in bankruptcy.

    Bankruptcy Looms

  92. Rat, everyone here has it figured it out.

    You're nuts, basically.

    Take a vote.

    Hi Sam, glad to see you back.

    I'm selling the house here, and getting something in fish country, a little further to the south, for my old age.

    If you ever want to run the Salmon, or something, I'm happy to help you out. You can stay here.


  93. One is wise to plan ahead.

    And, we here, don't put our women in sacks, but, rather, send them off to law school, whence they come back, the best of them, with an appreciation of what some of us old farts have been through.

    God Bless these young Lady Lawyers from around here.

    Bright, capable, on the job, some of the very best!

    And, a delight to talk to.

  94. Hey Rat and Bob,

    Yeah, really good, thanks. Started off in Penang. Went for a drive to Genting Highlands. Casino/Resort/Theme Park about an hour north of Kuala Lumpur. 6,100 ft. elevation. Built by some Chinese dude in the '70's. Everybody smokes in the casino. Full of cigarette smoke. Kinda made me feel ill. Bad ventilation. So I didn't spend much time at the casino. Took a trip into Kuala Lumpur from there instead. Skyway down from the casino, bus to Gombak, train into downtown. Tried to get up the Petronas Towers but they only allow 1,600 peiple/day. Too late. So took the train an monorail into Golden Triangle. Pretty cool there. Lots of shops. Stopped into the Hard Rock Cafe and got a beer and mandatory t-shirt.

    Nice and warm, humid, tropical. Coconut trees, beaches, warm water, thick green jungle, great food.

    I'm ready for another vacation.

  95. Bob,

    Thanks for the offer. I will probably take you up on it.

    You're going the wrong way 'though. You should be going north to Priest. That's the place to be.

  96. 56. gokart-mozart:
    22 whiskey

    What accounts for the widespread antipathy of white women to white men? From the extreme (Johanna Rytel’s essay “I will never give birth to a white man”) to the ridiculous (any network TV show), this seems to be the muse of the moment. And yet, even in Europe, marriages of white women to Muslim men are surging.

    When I was in college (all men), the travails of getting a date for the weekend were legendary. Except for BT. BT was an average looking guy with an average car and average money. Every weekend, he had a ten – all different, all amazing. They used to cry because he beat the sh*t out of them.

    Maybe women really like men who slap them around, or worse.

  97. Rush had high praise for
    "Core New Orleans" Ideehoe
    or whatever it's called.
    Took a tour of a bunch of the golf courses with the guy that designed them.

  98. Heh, you young folk, Sam!

    Never mowing the lawn, always going off some wheres.


  99. California Approaches a Deal on Budget Cuts

    Looks like California is finally starting to nibble on the bullet.
    Too bad the Feds don't have to do that.

  100. Nice and warm, humid, tropical. Coconut trees, beaches, warm water, thick green jungle, great food.

    What about the wimmen?

  101. This is where California spends its money:
    (via Noisy Room).

    * California Academic Performance Index (API)
    * California Access for Infants and Mothers
    * California Acupuncture Board
    * California Administrative Office of the Courts
    * California Adoptions Branch
    * California African American Museum
    * California Agricultural Export Program
    * California Agricultural Labor Relations Board
    * California Agricultural Statistics Service
    * California Air Resources Board (CARB)
    * California Allocation Board
    * California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority
    * California Animal Health and Food Safety Services
    * California Anti-Terrorism Information Center
    * California Apprenticeship Council
    * California Arbitration Certification Program
    * California Architects Board
    * California Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board
    * California Arts Council
    * California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus
    * California Assembly Democratic Caucus
    * California Assembly Republican Caucus
    * California Athletic Commission
    * California Attorney General
    * California Bay Conservation and Development Commission
    * California Bay-Delta Authority
    * California Bay-Delta Office
    * California Biodiversity Council
    * California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists
    * California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors
    * California Board of Accountancy
    * California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
    * California Board of Behavioral Sciences
    * California Board of Chiropractic Examiners
    * California Board of Equalization (BOE)
    * California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
    * California Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind
    * California Board of Occupational Therapy
    * California Board of Optometry
    * California Board of Pharmacy
    * California Board of Podiatric Medicine
    * California Board of Prison Terms
    * California Board of Psychology
    * California Board of Registered Nursing
    * California Board of Trustees
    * California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians
    * California Braille and Talking Book Library
    * California Building Standards Commission
    * California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education
    * California Bureau of Automotive Repair
    * California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair
    * California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation
    * California Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine
    * California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
    * California Bureau of State Audits
    * California Business Agency
    * California Business Investment Services (CalBIS)


    This is a small fraction of the listing...see the rest at the link, if you need to.

  102. No wimmen, Linear.

    I'm married now and was with my wife.

    Although I did talk to a couple of nice young Malay girls on the beach in Penang. They were up on vacation from Kuala Lumpur for a birthday party for one of them.

    Had it been different circumstances...

  103. Hey Sam, if you ever come down to Singapore, gimme a hoot. I'll treat you to chilli crabs!

    However, time may not be right; I'm flying off to Hangzhou, China, on Sunday for a music competition.

    BTW, about the defense spending link? I see Singapore as 20th, and probably the highest spending 1st world/newly industrialized economy. Interesting...