“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, January 27, 2010

Lest we forget about about the real cause of the housing crisis.

The beat goes on:

"A group led by Tishman Speyer Properties has decided to give up the sprawling Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town apartment complex in Manhattan to its creditors in the collapse of one of the most high-profile deals of the real-estate boom.

The decision comes after the venture between Tishman and BlackRock Inc. defaulted on the $4.4 billion debt used to help finance the deal. The venture acquired the 56-building, 11,000-unit property for $5.4 billion in 2006—the most ever paid for a single residential property in the U.S. The venture had been struggling for months to restructure the debt but capitulated facing a massive debt load and a weak New York City economy that has undercut rents and demand for high-priced apartments." WSJ

American Thinker
January 24, 2010
Barney Frank's flip flop on Fannie and Freddie oversight
Ethel C. Fenig

That was then:

Six years ago, in September 2003, when then President George W. Bush (R) proposed placing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the supervision of a new agency within the Treasury Department because of deep concern whether its $1.5 trillion mortgage debt was properly run and because of charges of accounting irregularities, Rep Barney Frank (D-MA), head of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees these two government backed agencies, retorted, as reported by the NY Times:

''These two entities - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

This is now:

Less then a week after Senator elect Scott Brown (R-MA) overturned politics in Massachusetts (yes, even I can spell it without spell check although I don't live in the state and am not running for office there), including capturing Barney Frank's district , Jordan Fabian of The Hill informs us that Frank now proposes:

"I believe this committee will be recommending abolishing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their current form and coming up with a whole new system of housing finance," he said at a committee hearing. "That's the approach, rather than the piecemeal one."

As Fabian so delicately explains:

Frank's words cast doubt on the future of two two (sic) mortgage giants, which have received over $110 billion in government assistance after they nearly failed during the flood of defaulted mortgages during the housing crisis.
The Massachusetts Democrat earlier this month said that Fannie and Freddie are now serving as a public policy arm of the government.

Is that Bush's fault also?

Grab those tea bags and tea party on! The revolution has begun!
Change so many of us can really believe in.


  1. Do you start talking like Elmer Fudd if you steep teabags in your mouth?

  2. Filmmaker Who Targeted ACORN Arrested in Alleged Senate Phone Scheme

    The independent filmmaker who brought ACORN to its knees last year with an undercover expose was arrested this week along with three others, including the son of a federal prosecutor, and accused of trying to interfere with the phones at Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office.

    If convicted, each suspect faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up $250,000 and three years of supervised release following any prison term, according the Justice Department.

    O'Keefe said "veritas," Latin for truth, as he left jail Tuesday with suspects Stan Dai and Joseph Basel, both 24. All declined to comment.

    "There will be a time for that," Dai said.

    As he got into a cab outside the jail, O'Keefe said, "The truth shall set me free."

    Bill Flanagan's office confirmed his son was among those arrested, but declined further comment.

    "It was poor judgment," Flanagan's lawyer, Garrison Jordan, said in a brief interview outside the courtroom. "I don't think there was any intent or motive to commit a crime."

  3. Megadeal: Inside a New York Real Estate Coup
    December 31, 2006
    Tishman Speyer Properties’ $5.4 billion deal for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan was both a record-breaker and a leap of faith.

    N.Y. Housing Complex Is Turned Over to Creditors

  4. This was a strategic default. The borrowers looked at the numbers and concluded that short of financial suicide, there was nothing to do but to hand over the keys and walk away.

    This deal was so big that the investors/creditors include the Church of England and the State of Florida Pension Plan.

    Two of the biggest headaches for Florida lawmakers right now are trying to fund Medicaid as well as The State Employees pension plan. I'm sure Florida is not alone.

  5. A lot of big government, demand side types are making a pro big government, anti-business argument. The Fannie/Freddie/Barney/Chuckie/Maxine Waters/Congressional Black Caucus videos ought to be thrown in their faces at every opportunity.

    What does it mean to dissolve Fannie and Freddie and start over?

  6. They have to do away with community lending laws started under Carter.

    They have to return lending to regional banks, preferably community banks.

    If you are really serious, you get banks to loan their own money, with their own lending forms.

    Why does the government have to buy mortgages or guarantee them? Let the market do that.

  7. Wind Freddie and Fannie down and don't start over.

  8. Govt started off not actually buying but "guaranteeing" low down payment (FHA) mortgages. When I was young and first starting out in life, I took out FHA backed mortgages.

    The Ownership Society started under Bill Clinton. The idea was that neighborhoods and communities and peoples lives would improve if they owned their homes. Unfortunately, what started as a "noble" idea began a free for all. Almost literally, "free for all." Fannie and Freddie gamed the DC politicians and became their revolving door as one Democrat power player after the other left plundered Fannie and Freddie as Board Members or Consultants. Corrupted and bankrupt.

  9. Want to know how it is done ask your landscaper.

    He is probably from Mexico, working sixty hours a week, saving 65% of what he earns and sends it Western Union to Mexico.

    He does this until he gets a 30-50% down payment and buys or builds a home with a ten year mortgage.

    An extended family will move into the modest house which will be mostly rebuilt or built on weekends with his friends and family.

    The bank holds the mortgage until it is paid. There is almost no real estate tax and he will never use his house as collateral for anything.

    When he dies, it will stay in his family.

    His neighbors will do the same thing or they will not get a house.

    Such a housing strategy will never build a McMansion and never crush the world financial system

  10. Doug: Do you start talking like Elmer Fudd if you steep teabags in your mouth?

    I wezent wacist and homophobic wemarks by wight wingers like you. Now be vewy qwiet, I'm chasing the HIV viwus. Hahahahahah!

  11. Doug: Bill Flanagan's office confirmed his son was among those arrested, but declined further comment.

    Other than to say it was a third-rate burglary attempt. But that's only the modified limited hangout. What did he know, and when did he know it?

  12. My Dentist is from Whittier, CA. birthplace of RMN.
    Says 20 years ago when he would visit his folks, water pressure would go way down at certain times of the day.
    Seems so many houses had been turned into dorms for multiple Mexican workers, legal and illegal, that the water mains, designed for single family homes, could not maintain the required flows.
    The combination of these folks and the NEA's methods of dealing with their children, have resulted in a similar decline in educational quality, from first in the nation to near last.
    Large areas of California approach third World living standards, including literacy rates in English.
    Brave New World, indeed.

  13. Wed Jan 27, 07:08:00 AM EST
    LOL !

    Now you can do a Speedy Gonzales critique of my Xenophobic
    Wed Jan 27, 07:20:00 AM EST

  14. Doug: Large areas of California approach third World living standards, including literacy rates in English.
    Brave New World, indeed.

    On the other hand, in large swaths of suburbia, people don't even know their neighbors after years of living with them. Family and good friends help.

  15. No Camrys or Corollas for sale no more.
    ...all over a floor mat.
    Aka known to those in the know as a faulty GDamned fly by wire throttle system.

  16. Toyota's runaway-car worries may not stop at floor mats

    The 2009 Lexus ES 350 shot through suburban San Diego like a runaway missile, weaving at 120 miles an hour through rush hour freeway traffic as flames flashed from under the car.

    At the wheel, veteran California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor desperately tried to control the 272-horsepower engine that was roaring at full throttle as his wife, teenage daughter and brother-in-law were gripped by fear.

    "We're in trouble. . . . There's no brakes," Saylor's brother-in-law Chris Lastrella told a police dispatcher over a cellphone. Moments later, frantic shrieks filled the car as it slammed into another vehicle and then careened into a dirt embankment, killing all four aboard.

    One obvious line of defense is to simply shut off the engine, a step that may not be intuitive on the ES 350. The car has a push-button start system, activated by the combination of a wireless electronic fob carried by the driver and a button on the dashboard.

    But once the vehicle is moving, the engine will not shut off unless the button is held down for a full three seconds -- a period of time in which Saylor's car would have traveled 528 feet. A driver may push the button repeatedly, not knowing it requires a three-second hold.

    "When you are dealing with an emergency, you can't wait three seconds for the car to respond at 120 miles an hour," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety.

  17. These deaths brought to you by the wonders of electronic workarounds to totally reliable mechanical systems.
    (somehow, they claim it costs less to manufacture and install the electronic system)

  18. What a nightmare...What about putting it into neutral or downshifting to first?

  19. I always felt that way about electric windows without a mechanical back-up.

  20. New poll says voters blame Democrats AND PUBS, for wasting time on healthcare fight, rather than jobs.
    Thank you, MSM.

  21. Kid says neutral is the answer:
    He actually did it already.
    I contend that only drivers with thousands of hours playing Grand Theft Auto, and it's derivatives, retain the reflexes and pressence of mind under such circumstances.

    Son won't give credit to vid game addiction, takes it all himself.

    Possible Presidential Material?

  22. My sister used the master control
    (4 switches on the driver door)
    to strangle me in the back door window of our family's 55 Buick.

    Brain damage has served me well as an excuse ever since.

    Avant Garde victim Doug.

  23. In 2003 Barney Frank was not the Head of the Finance Committee, but the Ranking Member, though today what with the Bush mismanagement, he is now the Chairman.

    Again, to blame the minority for the troubles of the majority, it's like blaming the Pubs for Health Insurance Reform failure.

    Mr Bush made one, half-hearted attempt at "reform", one that went no where in the GOP dominated Congress of 2003.

  24. I am told that map reading and orienting capabilities are way down, and not being taught to our troops.

    We're beyond that, now.

    Or so they thought

    Last week, General Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, the service responsible for operating the GPS system, advised the U.S. military to reduce its reliance on GPS. He said the system remains vulnerable and war planners and commanders should not expect it to function during a war. Schwartz’s warnings come after many decades of proliferation of GPS receivers across the military, which now seem present on every airplane, ship, boat, vehicle, soldier, missile, and bomb.

    There goes the JDAM.

    In a real war, against real adversaries.

  25. Let's just stipulate, the damage done to this country by George W. Bush is incalculable at this time.

    No George Bush and there never would have been a Barack Obama.

  26. Simply centralize command and control of troops and JDAMs under CENTCOM.
    Rufus says if centralized medicine can work wonders, war damn sure can too.

  27. "No George Bush and there never would have been a Barack Obama."
    Had Gore been POTUS after 9-11, the Pubs would have forced him to secure the border, and he would have instituted his computerized profiling of air passengers, rather than promoting Normie Minetta to ambassador of Multiculti Flight Roulette.

  28. Any attempt to isolate either of the politicos, from either Party, from the debacle of the last 4 or 5 years is to miss the point of the whole thing.

    There is no difference is the ideologies of the Party's. Both favored growth in Government. Despite any rhetoric other wise.
    Federal power and authority even grew under the "conservative" leadership of Mr Reagan.

    An expanding Federal role is either what the "people" want, or the entire infrastructure of Government has been corrupted by life long "civil servants".

    A consequence of removing the "spoils system" from Federal employment. A move that resulted in a new, permanent and unchecked or balance branch of government.
    Whether an intended consequence, or not, hard to tell, this far removed from the action.

    But it was another of the progressive Republican reforms, post Civil War.

  29. "Federal power and authority even grew under the "conservative" leadership of Mr Reagan."
    With Democrat dominance of House and Senate.
    Any assurances given by the Dems not carried out, to be blamed on Reagan.
    By some.

  30. Our best not being good enough,
    for some.

  31. Women's Media Center says Tim Tebow should have been aborted.

  32. A woman's right to choose.
    A baby's right to die.

  33. Blame?

    Not blame, dougo, but an acceptance of the realities of the Federal government and history.

    The "Parties" are not ideological enemies. They differ only on the margins, not the content.

    Even Reagan, as you admit, could only change the liner notes, not the music being played.

    By focusing upon the elected officials, the electorate misses the impact of the permanent government on society.

  34. Reagan, at best, slowed the tempo of growth.

    At worse he busted the budget, with the biggest Keynesian spending spree ever seen, then to date.

    Which Obamamerica is trying to duplicate, now, in an ass backwards way.

    If Mr Volker is really the new Econ Czar, as touted for the past few cycles, we are in for what will be a tough two year slog through the wilderness, if things "go well".

  35. I'm not sure I want to use "Mexico" as a model.

  36. As for Obama's proposed tax policies spurring investment, it has been announced here, by two of our consistent posters that that is the case.

    Both bob and wi"o" have made the case that they have increased their investment activity, to avoid paying taxes on the funds involved.

    bob going forward with his real estate rezoning and development, while wi"o" is expensing electrical generators and other business related expenditures.

    In both cases the perception of an onerous tax bite moving them to double down their economic efforts, in an attempt to forestall paying the piper.

  37. Volcker will last about as long as a fart in a hurricane. This crew (nor, very many other crews) doesn't have the stomach for any of that gut-wrenching Volcker "Medicine."

  38. Not with all the money to be made cranking the CDO market up again.

  39. Recession? What recession?

    ”According to a recent analysis by USA Today, federal workers making six-figure salaries - not including overtime and bonuses - “jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent of civil servants during the recession’s first 18 months.’’

    At the Defense Department, for example, the number of civilian workers making $150,000 or more quintupled from 1,868 to 10,100.

    At the recession’s start, the Transportation Department was paying only one person a salary of $170,000. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees were drawing paychecks that size.

    In Ohio, …“one expense government leaders have not cut is pensions for their workers.’’ The annual public pension tab in Ohio, currently $4.1 billion, is growing by around $700 million per year.”

    No Income Angst for Public Employees

    Obama will reportedly call for a three year spending freeze on non-security based discretionary spending ($11 - $15 billion per year). This after increasing that same discretionary spending by 24% in his first year as president.

    Government: currently the only growth industry in the US.


  40. I was amazed a few years back when I ran the numbers (it's amazing how few people actually do that) and realized that the economy grew about the same in real tems under Carter as it did under Reagan, Clinton, Bush, or anyone else.

    In the Seventies we worked half a day, and spent half a day trying to figure out how to not give the grubbrmint 78%. BUT, those "tax avoidance" schemes always ended up with you "Buying" something. (Remember the "Great Grain Barge Leasing Loophole?)

    Anyways, it all matters less than you think. You just gotta be in the Right business, at the Right time.

  41. As I get older I realize more, and more, how big of Cruds ALL politicians are, and how Truly Awesome our Constitution is.

  42. The ability to "Clean House" every TWO years is a wonderful Safeguard.

  43. Blogger whit said...

    "A lot of big government, demand side types are making a pro big government, anti-business argument. The Fannie/Freddie/Barney/Chuckie/Maxine Waters/Congressional Black Caucus videos ought to be thrown in their faces at every opportunity."


    Blogger rufus said...

    Volcker will last about as long as a fart in a hurricane. This crew (nor, very many other crews) doesn't have the stomach for any of that gut-wrenching Volcker "Medicine."


    I dunno rufus...I hope you are wrong. It does seem that Volcker has gained ascendancy in the Obama admin. on economic matters. We shall see if they manage to follow through.

    For example, following along Whit's idea cited above there is the proposals on the banks. The fact that banks are taking 'our deposits' to the casino and doing 'proprietary trading', FDIC guaranteed deposits that is. This is akin to the guvmint guarantees behind Fannie and Freddie though worse. These FDIC guarantees are not implied but rather explicit. Will we see support here for Volcker inspired Obama moves on stuff like this? I doubt it because it sure seems like the Obama hatred blinds many to anything remotely related to 'Obama'.

  44. There's really not a heck of a lot you can do when you have an "effective" unemployment/underemployment rate approaching 20%. Except, try to figure out what's causing it, and get people back to work.

    We, basically, have Two problems:

    1) Inadequately trained work-force working on outdated assembly lines, and

    2) High cost of Transportation.

    The second will be easier to fix than the first.

  45. The Unions would rather have 3,000 members making $14.00 than 1,000 making $42.00/hr. And, so would the Dems.

    And, Ford went for it. As will GM, and Chrysler.

    And, they'll constantly be in "crisis," because Chinese workers can do what these $14.00/hr workers are doing; but they'll do it for $2.00.

  46. ...actually some other Dutch guy that I can barely understand

    Should replay this evening on KRLA

  47. The Wilders trial: Torquemada would be proud

    "It is irrelevant whether Wilder’s witnesses might prove Wilders’ observations to be correct”, the ‘Openbaar Ministerie’ stated, "what’s relevant is that his observations are illegal”.

    Unexpected and breaching court procedures the detailed indictment of 21 pages, which Wilders received on the 4th of December and sums up in verbatim all of his Islam and Koran critique in interviews and Fitna, was amended with new accusations of racism against muslims and Moroccans. On top of this, Paul Vellerman, the public prosecutor of the Amsterdam Court decided that the Wilders trial had to be regarded as "an ordinary trial open for public and with a normal procedure, which doesn’t deserve the Department of Justice’s highly secured bunker. His is a normal case and we’ll treat it as such”.

    It’s sad to note that Mohammed Bouyeri, the murderer of Theo van Gogh, and Volkert van der Gaag, the assassin of Pim Fortuyn, were tried in this specially designed bunker, but that Wilders has to rely on his personal bodyguards and full metal jacket to ward of terrorists. No safe room for him, which recently secured Kurt Westergaard and his granddaughter, but for months on end the vulnerability of a sitting duck.

    Stop the Trial of Geert Wilders

    A Dutch court is forced to compare Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' and the Quran.

  48. For Rufus:

    83. RWE:

    Matt #73:

    Yes, and aside from the engines themselves there are other considerations. Fiberglass and aluminum fuel tanks do not do well with alcohol. But probably the most immediate problem is that alcohol acts as a cleaner. All the accumulated deposits from years of gasoline use will come out of the tanks and gum up the entire system – and this is true with even small amounts of alcohol, such as a half gallon.

    I also understand that two cycle engines don’t like alcohol in the fuel.

    Thus, to separate the alcohol you dare not simply pour it in the tanks, add a suitable amount of water and drain the sumps until the water comes out. Instead, you need a suitable clear container in which you can pour the fuel, add water and then invert the whole thing and wait for the separation line to appear. Then you can drain it from the bottom down to the separation line and what is left is just the gasoline.

    The question is, where to get suitable clear containers? Old fashioned glass dewars would work well but I don’t know where to get them. Those 5 gal plastic bottles that water coolers use might work and I have a couple to try.

    And of course, the left over water/alcohol mix is theoretically drinkable, so we may end up creating a new breed of moonshiners. If nothing else, it should be possible to set up solar-powered distillers and use the pure alcohol as lamp fuel.

  49. Transformative change happens when industries democratize, when they’re ripped from the sole domain of companies, governments, and other institutions and handed over to regular folks. The Internet democratized publishing, broadcasting, and communications, and the consequence was a massive increase in the range of both participation and participants in everything digital — the long tail of bits.

    Now the same is happening to manufacturing — the long tail of things.

    The tools of factory production, from electronics assembly to 3-D printing, are now available to individuals, in batches as small as a single unit. Anybody with an idea and a little expertise can set assembly lines in China into motion with nothing more than some keystrokes on their laptop. A few days later, a prototype will be at their door, and once it all checks out, they can push a few more buttons and be in full production, making hundreds, thousands, or more. They can become a virtual micro-factory, able to design and sell goods without any infrastructure or even inventory; products can be assembled and drop-shipped by contractors who serve hundreds of such customers simultaneously.

    The Next (Current) Industrial Revolution

    Fascinating little read.

  50. Did they make dresses out of Nitrocellulose?
    (Rufus's ancestors probly required women to wash their dresses in Moonshine)
    Oscar Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin - now home of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College Dublin. He was the second of three children born to Sir William Wilde and his wife Jane Francesca Wilde. The other siblings were an older brother known as Willie and a sister named Isola.

    His father's extramarital affairs produced three other children: Henry Wilson, born in 1838, and Emily and Mary Wilde, born in 1847 and 1849 respectively. Emily and Mary died in a horrifying accident in 1871 when the dress of one caught fire; her sister rushed her out of the house and down the steps to roll her in the snow, but her dress also took fire, and both died.

    Isola died aged eight of what appears to have been meningitis. Wilde's poem Requiescat is dedicated to her memory: "Tread lightly, she is near/ Under the snow... All my life's buried here/ Heap earth upon it..."

    When William Wilde died in 1876, Henry Wilson supported the family until his own sudden death a year later.


    Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest "celebrities" of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest. As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years' hard labour after being convicted of homosexual relationships, described as "gross indecency" with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry, never to return to Ireland or Britain.

  51. Doug, I don't have a clue what he's talking about (and, I'm pretty sure he doesn't, either.)

    My flexfuel chevy has a "fiberglass" lined fuel tank. I think.

  52. You ain't no rocket scientist, Ruf:
    He is!

  53. Rocket Food

    Thot I remembered V-2 ran on Alcohol:

    Here it says Ethanol.

    Wonder why, when the rest of the country ran on Methanol?

  54. Might be, but I use the stuff, he don't.

    Give me some context; what was he talking about?

    I mean, the part about 2 stroke engines? They "like" ethanol just fine. Unless, you're talking a really, really old one that has cork floats, etc. Then you just replace the one or two little parts (needle valve, float) that need replacing.

    If you're going to run straight ethanol, or E85 you need to drill out the jets a bit.

  55. And, rocket sintist, or not, the tank at the filling station where he buys his E10 has a Fiberglass liner.

  56. Ethanol has more btu/gal than methanol, Doug.

  57. "Alcohols were commonly used as fuels during the early years of rocketry.

    The German V-2 missile, as well as the USA Redstone, burned LOX and ethyl alcohol (ethanol), diluted with water to reduce combustion chamber temperature.

    However, as more efficient fuels where developed, alcohols fell into general disuse. "

  58. Sometimes you just have to use common sense, Doug. Do you remember long lines of cars broken down on the side of the road when your local filling stations went to E10?

  59. I ain't been real big on sintists of Any variety since they stated trying to sell me on "Global Warming, Tipping Points, Catastrophe, and Climate Change by See Oh Too."

  60. Alan Shepherd, Blasted into space with Alcohol, soaked in Urine:

    The name "Freedom Seven" was Alan Shepard's choice. "Freedom" because it was patriotic and "Seven" because it was the seventh Mercury capsule produced. It also represented the seven Mercury astronauts. To help relieve any tension Shepard might have built up before his flight, Glenn pasted a little sign on the spacecraft instrument panel, reading "No handball playing here." This bit of levity hearkened back to their training days.

    At T-15 minutes it was necessary to hold the count again to make a final check of the real-time trajectory computer. A small electrical part had a problem and this resulted in an hour and twenty six minute delay. Shepard was on top of the Redstone for so long now that he had to urinate. "Gordo!" he said, talking to Gordon Cooper, a fellow Mercury Seven astronaut and principal prelaunch communicator. "Go, Alan."
    "Man, I got to pee."
    "You what?"
    "You heard me. I've got to pee. I've been up here forever."

    Shepard wanted to be let out but there wasn't time to reassemble the White Room.

    Thinking that he could be up there for hours, he told them he was going to do it in his suit. Unfortunately, there was no urine collection system and the medics were concerned he would short-circuit the leads.

    "Tell 'em to turn the power off!" Alan snapped. Cooper, with a chuckle in his voice said, "Okay, Alan. Power's off. Go to it."

    Shepard couldn't hold back any longer and the liquid pooled in the small of his back. His heavy undergarment soaked up the urine, and with 100 percent oxygen flowing through the suit he was soon dry. The countdown resumed.

    At T- minus two minutes and forty seconds and counting, Shepard heard that dreaded word again, "Hold". There was a little computer problem. Getting frustrated, he yelled, "I've been in here more than three hours. I'm a hell of a lot cooler than you guys.

    Why don't you just fix your little problem and light this candle?"

    They fixed the problem and the countdown proceeded until liftoff at 9:34 am EST on 5/5/1961. Because of his excitement, Shepard said he failed to hear much of the closing countdown, with the exception of the firing command. During this period his pulse rate rose from 80 per minute to 126 at the liftoff signal. "You're on your way, Jose!" Deke Slayton shouted. "Roger, liftoff, and the clock has started," Alan called out.

  61. I once made a float out of balsa wood and epoxy for my brother's "Whizzer" Motorbike.

  62. Remember Rufus declaring healthcare dead a few days ago?

    92. Richard:

    Ot Just in House close to an agreement to approve the Senate health bill with few changes the Senate will agree to before vote by House.

  63. Health Care
    President Obama will reiterate his commitment to a comprehensive overhaul, an aide said.
    NY Times

  64. Although, it might just be gas.

  65. A Dem gas attack.

  66. It's been remarkable, really.

    We started out with a Very popular President, sporting a filibuster-proof Majority, and a topic (health care) to which the American people were, generally, well-disposed.

    Had the Media running interference. Gave away, or promised, Billions. And came away with Bumpkis.

    You just don't see that every day.

  67. I don't think so, Doug. I looked around, and it sounds like, much ado about nought.

    nap time. tell me what happens.

  68. Time will tell.
    Just wish the time was sometime in the 1950's.
    Back to carpentry for the Doug.

  69. I believe the credit crisis may have finally affected local consumer psyches. Retail sales in my traditionally recession proof/resistant area seem to be way down for January. More businesses are folding. Commercial rents are dropping as desperate landlords bite the bullet. This is an anecdotal observation but I know my area pretty well. So, in other words, consumer confidence is going down.

  70. Doug

    Thanks for the links in your 02:56 comment. Others should take the time to read them if they already haven't.

    There are two main threats to the U.S. Constitution: Socialism and Islam. Both are committed to its overthrow.

    Of the two, I believe Socialism is the greatest threat to the U.S. unlike Europe where Islam is the greatest threat.

    Reading these links I am, perhaps surprisingly to same, somewhat heartened. Both of these movements, if I might characterize them this way, are full of "true believers" who cannot fathom that others are not of the same mind.

    This is almost always their undoing. Their maniacal zeal leads inevitably to political overreach.

    This is what is happening to Obama and Co. and it is what will happen to the Islamophiles in the Nether-regions.

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