“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."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Percentage of Equity in US Homes is the Lowest in 65 Years

Falling home prices have shrunk the equity Americans have in their homes to nearly the lowest percentage since World War II.

Average home equity plunged from more than 61% at the start of 2001 to 38% in the January-March quarter this year, the Federal Reserve said in a report Thursday. That drop comes as home prices in big metro areas have reached their lowest level since 2002.

Prices fell 33% in 20 cities through March from their 2006 peak, reaching their lowest level since 2003, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of U.S. home prices on May 31. The decline signaled a "double dip" as the index fell below its previous post-housing-bubble low set in April 2009. Prices more than doubled from 2000 to July 2006.

Further declines in home prices are likely.

Robert Shiller, the economist who co-founded the S&P/Case-Shiller index, said a further decline in property values of 10% to 25% in the next five years "wouldn't surprise me at all."

"There's no precedent for this statistically, so no way to predict," Shiller said Thursday at a Standard & Poor's conference in New York.

A backlog of foreclosures poised to hit the market means prices may stay depressed, dissuading builders from starting new construction.

Unemployment, which rose to 9.1% in May, and stricter lending conditions are signs that any recovery in housing may take years.

Shiller's comments paint a more pessimistic possibility for home prices than other forecasts. Additional declines will be "incremental," Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said last week..

While it would be a surprise to see prices fall steeply, it's possible for homes to lose more value if inflation picks up, Karl Case, co-founder of the index, said Thursday.

"You could have flat nominal prices but still have it go down 20%," Case said during an interview at the conference.

"If house prices stabilize, they could still go down in real terms. If we had inflation, it'd be great, because it'd mask a 25% decline."

The Fed report showed that household debt fell in the January-March period at an annual rate of 2% from the previous quarter.

That drop was due entirely to a decline in mortgages.

Auto loans, student loans and other consumer credit rose 2.4% — the second-straight gain after nine consecutive declines. ABC News


  1. I bet they've only been keeping track for sixty five years. I'll bet it's the lowest in history.

  2. Well, there's not much that can be done about it, other than trying to get people back to work.

  3. It was not the 3rd building, at the World Trade Center, it was Building #7.

    Your ignorance is amazing.

  4. Man, we need a leader, right now, so bad.

  5. from the last thread...

    Anonymous said...

    From this Pastor’s assessment its obvious he is uneducated and a racist with a missing brain. It is not Islam that is the major enemy, it is the Jesuit Order, Masons 33rd degree; 13 Illuminati families, and Political Zionist who are fake Jews living in Israel. Muslims are certainly an enemy of Christianity; but the CIA uses Muslim extremist to foment this war. The real enemy is the New Age Movement or the Universalist Movement, Calvinism, and the rest of the religions that are based on the Masonic/Luciferian order.


    bob states:

    That almost sounds as if it came from the mentation of rat, who once even went so far in his conspiracy mongering to speculate as to how the third building at the World Trade Center was brought down with planted explosives.


    then the rodent says: It was not the 3rd building, at the World Trade Center, it was Building #7.

    Your ignorance is amazing.


    I think Bob was saying it was the 3rd building to come down... Of course the Rodent being the expert at all things in the known universe has to comment and correct.

    Let us all thank the dear rodent for his wisdom on all subjects great and small, after all where would the world be without our "rodent", to give the unlearned and the un-educated a glimpse of his genius.

    It's amazing how a life time governmental worker such as rat could be as smart as collective wisdom of the entire world....

  6. We need investment in state of the art factories. But, all of the large corporations have their money ($2 Trillion, or so) parked overseas. If they bring it home they have to pay 35% income tax on it. It's staying where it's at, obviously.

    When Microsoft wanted to spend $6 Billion on expansion, it borrowed the money even though they had $36 Billion sitting offshore earning virtually nothing.

    We, also, need workers trained for the 21st Century. The Pubs are holding up the FTAs they claim to want, because the agreements contain provisions for "worker retraining."

    We desperately need lower fuel costs, and the Pubs are trying mightily to kill what biofuels (that lowered the price of a gallon by $0.89/gal last year) production we have.

    The Administration's answer is to gaze longingly to the year 2050, and the arrival of their rapturous age of wind-driven electric cars.

    Neither party wants to do anything about the few jobs available to lower-skilled workers going to illegal aliens.

    Wot a freakin' mess.

  7. We've transferred 20% of our jobs to China, and we're turning around and borrowing the money from them to run our government. How do you suppose that will work out in the long run?

  8. Las Vegas is the worst of it, I've read.

    bwaaaa --

    Good old American initiative--

    Search On For bin Laden's Body

    heh, this must certainly be 'un-koranic' I'm guessing.

    How bad will the muslim riots be world-wide if he's pulled up from the deeps?


  9. With that many Americans losing their so-called savings, half the country will have impaired credit. That is when they will have to take their scorecard and shove it.

    Can you imagine a returning worker being told he can't have a job because his credit score is too low?

    "Say what mother fucker?"

  10. This cheery news to someone losing their home: An investor will buy the reduced priced of your lost home for cash, rent it and have a positive cash flow. You on the other hand, eat shit and die.

    CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — As home prices fall and rents rise, some investors are plunking their money into real estate, chasing the cash flow that comes along with becoming a landlord.

    “For the first time in a long time, you can buy that home and can get a cash-on-cash return immediately,” said William King, director of valuation services for Veros Real Estate Solutions, a supplier of housing data to the country’s largest banks, as well as government organizations. “There are a lot of places in the country where an investor can buy a single-family home, rent it, and get a positive cash flow.”

    See the entire MarketWatch Guide to Real Estate
    In fact, investors bought 20% of all the homes sold in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. Some of them are buying with cash.

  11. Where did these investors get all that cash?

  12. Now, it looks likely the stock market will tank again.

    We could have one dangerous as hell situation developing.

    And, I mean, literally, Dangerous.

  13. They haven't had to pay any taxes for awhile, now.

    And, weirdly enough, all those middle/lower middle tea-partiers are running around protesting that the Super-rich should pay even less.

    Things can get strange in bizarro-world.

  14. The cheery article continues:

    Best markets

    Many investors sink their money into properties not far from where they live. Those are likely the communities they’re most familiar with, and from a management perspective, you’re never far from the tenants you’re dealing with.

    But some markets are better than others to invest in right now.

    A recent report from Inman News, an online real-estate industry publication, named the 10 best markets for home investors. These are markets with traits including high affordability, low prices, high share of foreclosure sales, high population growth, improving unemployment rate, and high return on investment in the next 10 years.

    The following are their top 10 markets:

    Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.

    Winchester, Va.-W.Va.

    Gainesville, Fla.

    Tucson, Ariz.

    Tallahassee, Fla.

    Hagerstown-Martinsburg, Md.-W.Va.

    Salt Lake City

    Richmond, Va.

    Gainesville, Ga.

    Winston-Salem, N.C.


    The top ten markets look like they are all "right-to-carry" states.

  15. Idealogues, and Preachers will kill you in a really true, honest to God, Financial Crisis. And, we are right in the middle of one.

  16. I love the smell of vulture capitalists in the morning.

    Why we could end up with dozens of little Palestine's, with the dispossessed looking in at what used to be their legacy merrily generating a positive cash flow for some investor. The true beauty of the free market massaging its soothing salve over the wounded and savaged housing wreck.

  17. The scariest scenario, to me, is dick-heads like Demint, and Coburn pandering to the "teapartiers."

  18. There are many references in books on the decline of the Roman Empire of Ex-Legionnaires returning to find their farms had been taken by the tax collectors/politicians/elites, and ending up "sleeping under the bridges."

    One observation was: When the elite class becomes the parasite class the jig is up.

  19. All of this to save the shit-birds that caused the fiasco in the first place.

    The banks will be lining up to put financial packages together for investors.

    We will be treated to midnight seminars on how to own 100 houses with positive cash-flow and no money down, from some porcelain-white toothed dick, toned, tanned and bling bedazzled, sitting on his yacht.

  20. I think it was DeTocqueville that said, "The U.S. will do fine until the unproductive realize they can vote themselves the wealth of the Productive," or something like that.

    Well, he was wrong - an unusual circumstance for him.

    An old Mo farmer would tell you that everything works until the Republicans manage to get all the money locked up, and then it's hard times until you can start to pry some of it loose.

    There's no sniffy Frenchman in the world as smart as an old Mo. farmer.

  21. Our investor class no longer produce legionnaires. The closest our children of privilege get to foreign service is Costa Rica on a surf board.

  22. Except, this time, he'll be speaking with a heavy Chinese accent.

  23. And, speaking of which, what if That fucking bubble decides to pick "right now" to Pop?

    Holy Moly

  24. It will not be fixed by either the Republicans or Democrats or by our jerk-off Rulers and Masters returning from internet sexual therapy sessions. Of that you can be assured.

  25. No, the Legionnaires are the same people, today, as they were then.

  26. Fuck the banks, pull the cram-down trigger and let the the banks have a real look at their capital, not the dream-sheet they hand the FDIC.

  27. It does the least amount of damage. One giant flushing sound.

  28. If a house is underwater for $90,000 then the bank has a non-collectable unsecured loan of $90,000 above and beyond a secured mortgage on 80% of the market value of the house. Let them reserve the $90,000 or capitalize it; Just get it over with.

  29. I, honestly, haven't heard Anybody say Anything that gives me the slightest hope for a good outcome. Not One.

  30. I just wonder how many of those banks could survive that?

  31. If it was done all at once, I mean.

  32. I must have turned white as a ghost when I heard that they were peddling those sub-prime ARMS as AAA. I would have never dreamed in a hundred thousand years that they were allowing them to do that.

    I still can't get over it.

  33. And, the One thing you can't do is allow the banks to go down. And, to have to prop up the dirty, crooked sonofabitches, and see'em prancing around on tv like nothing had happened still makes me crazy.

  34. John Thain had a solid gold toilet in his office.

  35. I'm more afraid of a Depression, right now, than I was then.

    I guess I just hadn't thought it all the way through.

    But, some of our problems really aren't all that complicated.

    Getting that Corporate money back home is pretty simple. But, even though the R's, and D's, both, seem to understand the problem they can't even get together to solve that one. And, that's the easiest one of them all.

  36. And, any moron can see we've gotta drill ANWR, but nothing gets done there.

  37. There have been numerous Academic Studies like This One: Effect of Ethanol on Oil Prices - Iowa St. Univ

    That show that the price of a gallon of gasoline would be much higher without the presence of ethanol in the marketplace.

    But, McCain, Demint, Coburn, et al are introducing bills, right now, to completely dismantle the industry.

    I'm telling you, this is scaryl.

  38. Well, the sooner I go to bed, the sooner I'll get to witness the next train wreck. G'nite.

  39. Foreclose on the Banks.

    They shoveled money at the banks and required nothing out of them. The banks took hundreds of billions from the government and a trillion more of FDIC deposits. They pay savers nothing and the Federal Reserve erodes their savings with needless inflation. The banks loaned their money back to the Federal Reserve.

    If the big money center banks have a problem facing capital reality, let them close branches and community banks will fill the gap. Big corporations don't borrow from banks and banks don't loan to small business. The big banks gouge consumers with outrageous and usurious credit card and retail bank transactions. Let them crash and burn instead of allowing them to heal at the Federal Teat and at the expense of taxpayers and savers.

    Show them the same mercy that the banks show troubled borrowers. The same banks that support payday lenders, the same banks that US government money to take troubled properties off their balance sheets and park them in related real estate holding companies.

    The good banks will survive. Cram them down.

  40. I wonder how Obama is doing with his golfing scores?

  41. I understand, now.

    It is a necessity that the surfers fly to Costa Rica, instead of drive.

    Just as it seems more than clear that the "Ownership Society" was another complete and utter failure at social engineering by the Federals.

  42. After a decade of attempting to increase home ownership in the US, the "Percentage of Equity in US Homes is the Lowest in 65 years".

    Complete and utter Federal failure.

  43. Some 4.2 million mortgage borrowers are either seriously delinquent or have had their cases referred to lawyers to pursue foreclosure auctions, according to LPS Applied Analytics. Of those, two-thirds have made no payments at all for at least a year, and nearly one-third have gone more than two years.

    These cases can go on and on. Nationwide, it takes an average of 565 days to foreclose on borrowers in default from their first missed payments to the final auction. In New York, the average is 800 days and in Florida, where the "robo-signing" issue is particularly combative, it's 807.

    If they want to fight evictions hard, borrowers can remain in their homes even longer while their cases are being worked through.

  44. 10 dirt cheap housing markets

    Five of the ten, they are in Ohio.
    Two are in Michigan.

    Little wonder, then, that the Story is on edge all the time.

    Watching that equity erode.

  45. Who'd have ever thought ...

    Missing Iraq money may have been stolen, auditors say

    U.S. Defense officials still cannot say what happened to $6.6 billion, sent by the planeload in cash and intended for Iraq's reconstruction after the start of the war.

    If they are not even sure it was stolen, well then, they are a far ways from figuring out who may have stolen it, aren't they?

    Even further from proving it, beyond a reasonable doubt.

  46. The Iraqis are amateurs at ripping off the government:

    WASHINGTON — A few weeks before announcing his re-election campaign, President Obama convened two dozen Wall Street executives, many of them longtime donors, in the White House’s Blue Room.

    The guests were asked for their thoughts on how to speed the economic recovery, then the president opened the floor for over an hour on hot issues like hedge fund regulation and the deficit.

    Mr. Obama, who enraged many financial industry executives a year and a half ago by labeling them “fat cats” and criticizing their bonuses, followed up the meeting with phone calls to those who could not attend.

    The event, organized by the Democratic National Committee, kicked off an aggressive push by Mr. Obama to win back the allegiance of one of his most vital sources of campaign cash — in part by trying to convince Wall Street that his policies, far from undercutting the investor class, have helped bring banks and financial markets back to health.

  47. The bastards don't even attempt to hide it

    ...“The first goal was to get recognition that the administration has led the economy from an unimaginably difficult place to where we are today,” said Blair W. Effron, an investment banker closely involved in Mr. Obama’s fund-raising efforts. “Now the second goal is to turn that into support.”

    The president’s top financial industry supporters say they are confident that the support Mr. Obama needs will ultimately be there, despite the financial industry’s unhappiness over his efforts to tighten regulation of their businesses. But it is clear that those supporters will have to work much harder to win over the financial services industry than they did in 2008, before Wall Street’s bust, the subsequent clashes over policy and the sometimes bitter personal differences that lingered afterward.

    Executives at large investment banks, a group that gave generously to Mr. Obama in his last campaign, are remaining on the sidelines for now. Only a small handful of such donors have appeared in Mr. Obama’s joint campaign filings with the Democratic National Committee, though officials there said more would appear in the coming weeks.

  48. Picture some carpenter that hasn't worked in six months going to his local congressman with an envelope of $1000 cash asking him to see what he can do.

    The same carpenter takes another grand to a bank branch manager and sees what he can do.

    The banker and congressman both take the cash.
    Now that would be a federal indictment, but not in The White House.

  49. Chances are, Deuce, that it was not the Iraqi that stole that $6.6 billion USD.

    OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A Marine Corps pilot accused of stealing $440,000 in Iraq reconstruction funds will spend a year in federal prison under a plea deal.

    U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell, a federal judge in Phoenix, Ariz., sentenced Maj. Mark R. Fuller, of Yuma, Ariz., to one year plus one day in prison after the officer pleaded guilty to two counts of structuring financial transactions stemming from a federal grand jury indictment last spring. Fuller, who initially was charged with 22 counts, also must pay a $198,510 fine and $200 court assessment, said Special Agent James P. McCormick, an Internal Revenue Service spokesman in Phoenix.

  50. Fuller had deployed to Iraq with 5th Civil Affairs Group and worked at Camp Fallujah as a project purchasing officer handling CERP, or Commander’s Emergency Response Program, funds. Federal prosecutors alleged the officer took money from the program and made 91 separate deposits totaling more than $440,000 into personal bank accounts from October 2005 to April 2006.
    The case is among the latest in military fraud cases tied to Iraqi reconstruction programs being investigated by the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction and federal agencies including the IRS, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Those programs included the $180 million CERP, a cash program that local units and commanders used to manage and fund local contracting and reconstruction.

  51. And there you have in a nutshell, why our government is broken and the haze being over, it's all true to form. The hypocrisy is breathtaking but there is going to be change ahead. There has to be.

    The change will not come from the inside. Obama's Justice Department has not zealously gone after those responsible for the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. Instead they are feted at the White House.

    it's long been obvious for whom the President works, and it ain't you and me.

  52. Thanks for the link, Bob. It didn't really sound like something DeTocqueville would have said. Especially, considering the time in history.

    An Industrialist does sound more likely.

    Anyway, as I said, he was wrong. Great Civilizations are either conquered, or are destroyed by the Greed, and Arrogance of the Elites.

  53. .

    Missing Iraq money may have been stolen, auditors say...

    This should be an object lessons to those who think the whole Iraqi fiasco was a well planned operation.

    I remeber at the time, pallets full of cash arriving and then quickly disappearing. I would have to google it as I can't remember which general said it but when asked how the money could disappear he said that things were happening too fast at the moment and they would have to worry about it later.

    They offered the same rationale for when all those small arms diappeared and ended up in the hands of the insurgents.

    The small arms, that's the military's problem. But I have said before there is no justification for the militry handing out walking around money to the locals no matter what.

    It should be handled by a different organization altogether, preferably outside the military but at a minimum with strict procedures, a robust audit function, and clear-cut responsibility and authority so that when this shit goes south someone has to pay for it.

    That's not to say the general can't be the guy who actually hands over money to the locals if he needs to enhance his rep. However, there should be an independant group authorizing the actual transfer, it's amount, and to whom.

    $6.5 billion and who the heck gives a damn, certainly not the military. It's not their job.

    This is probably the root cause of much of the corruption ineffectiveness in the aid program in Afghanistan also.


  54. I remember Wolfewitz (sp?) testifying the whole operation would cost a couple billion. :)


  55. Falling Home Prices In Las Vegas

    Unless we are going into a full blown depression, would seem to be a good time to buy in Sodom.

    Alright, ladies and gentlemen, when did The Desert Inn close, and in what city is it?


  56. Peterson declared bankruptcy in 2009 and moved out of his $353,000 Helens Pouroff home. He loved the house — 1,800-square-feet with a tile courtyard — but not the $3,000-a-month mortgage for an asset declining in value.

    1800 sq ft

    Shit, those people are nuts.


  57. Pay anything for a damned crowded piece of sand.


  58. Romney 24, Palin 20, Giuliani 12, Cain 10, Paul 7, Gingrich 10, Pawlenty 3, Bachmann 4, Perry , Santorum 1, Huntsman 1



  59. .

    Unless we are going into a full blown depression, would seem to be a good time to buy in Sodom.

    Intersting point on the wages of sin.

    In April, when things started to kind of drift in the market, I put stop limit orders on all my stocks so as to preserve what gains I'd picked up. It was on probably 15-20 pretty well diversified stocks.

    Over the next 4-6 weeks I got stopped out of all of them with the exception of one which I still have.

    It's for the big MO, Altria Group. They continue to project higher earnings. Tobacco sales may be off in the US but they are up in the rest of the world and going gangbusters in Eastern Europe and Asia.


  60. desert rat said...
    10 dirt cheap housing markets

    Five of the ten, they are in Ohio.
    Two are in Michigan.

    Little wonder, then, that the Story is on edge all the time.

    Watching that equity erode.

    Now that's FUNNY.....

    Unlike you Rodentboy, I could care less what my house value is on paper....

    I aint planning to sell for at least 30 years....

    and then?

    I'll be dead anyway!

    I got me a nice home could care less what the market says it's worth. I am just in a rush to pay it off...

    In a odd sort of way this devaluing of the dollar is GOOD for my business, I see an increase in gross dollars being churned JUST because on inflation.....

    So my "static" debt is decreasing...

    Which means I am flush with cash....

    Paying down any and all debt....


    cant wait to by 200 acres in good ole Ohio with mineral rights....

    shopping for it as we speak...

    will have woods, stream/water, hills and flat areas..

    hopefully natural gas too!

    gots to LOVE the clusterfuck we are in....


  61. I've wondered about the mineral rights on my wife's place, which has Ohio River frontage. Somewhere I read there are little wells being dug all round. Her area is flat and has a meadow too.

    Time is up on my question -

    The Desert Inn closed in 2000, and it was technically in Paradise, Nevada.


  62. from letters to the editor-Lewiston Morning Tribune

    Wolves Not So Pure

    I retired from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in 1994. Sometime about 1985 or so, a study paper came across my desk. It stated that all wolves less than halfway up Canada were interbred with coyotes. The red wolf of North Carolina was 80% coyote, and the Mexican wolf was half coyote. If my memory serves me right, all wolves in the U.S. were part coyote. This information was about DNA testing about 25 years ago.

    I was the last person in the office to get these reports and was told to put them in the trash when I was through with them, and I did so. Not knowing anything about the upcoming reintroduction of wolves into Idaho, I have kicked myself many times for not saving said study. There seems to be no surprise in this latest study.

    James Crawford
    Kooskia, Idaho

    This goes along with what I have thought, we didn't have these huge Canadian gray wolves here in the firstplace. We called the ones here, Lobos.

    So we have "reintroduced" a species that wasn't here in the first place.

    And wiped out our elk herds.

    Fucking Brilliant.


  63. Why o why didn't they just listen to ol' Bob and his friends?

    Cause all these agencies need sumptin ta do, and, the environmental groups are filled with nitwits from back east, Detroit, Philly, places like that.


  64. But boob, you want the DC elites to preserve the "Heritage" of Idaho.

    That is why you support the status que, so vehemently, no?

    You did not want anyone in Idaho to participate in the ownership, thus the management, of that ground.

    You support the DC nitwit management.

  65. .

    And wiped out our elk herds.

    And talk about nitwits.

    Bob and his friends never saw a wolf in the wild in their lives yet they balame the elk herd thinning (if there even is one) on wolves. Hunters have absolutely nothing to do with it. Right.

    Dhwr sounds like one of those frightened peasants you see in the Dracula movies blaming everything on the 'children of the night'. You know the ones that rather than get out their pitchforks and go out to check on what is actually going on intead lock their doors, pull the shutters, and cringe in their huts until morning comes.

    Dhwr, Wayne, and a few brewskis are all it takes and the stories start.


  66. .

    This goes along with what I have thought...


    Hey, when did you start thinking?

    Don't you imagine that's a little dangerous? Isn't it a little late in life for you to be taking up practices quite so radical?



  67. Bob and his friends never saw a wolf in the wild in their lives yet they balame the elk herd thinning (if there even is one) on wolves. Hunters have absolutely nothing to do with it. Right.


    O Quirk, don't wade in the water, you will get wet.

    Yes, I have seen five wolves in Idaho, all in either Clearwater or Kootenai counties, and have heard one howl, in a small bowl like valley off of Cleland Bay, Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, an unforgettable experience that only awed me but you Quirker, city slicker, your very balls would have been sucked up into thy cavities and thy eyes would be wild with fear.

    Yes, the hunters have had nothing to do with it. The Idaho Commission has set reasonable regs over the years and we had the herd in Lolo over 16,000. We also feed the noble critters in the winter if the snow pack is too much and it is feasible.

    The blame is on you moronic easterners, who voted in the Endangered Species Act, over our objections, under which any shithead in the USA, and we all agree we have an abundance of shitheads in the USA, can petition for some review or other.

    It is nitwits like you Quirk, and Deuce, and most all easterners who are at fault.

    I thought the gray wolf was not native here.

    We have REINTRODUCED! into the middle of our fine elk herd, a true killer from Canada, that was NOT EVEN NATIVE!!!! to our area.


    I have never shot an elk, but I'll be wolf agunning this fall, I promise you.

    And I'll send his testicles to you, Quirk, and you can hang them from the rear view mirror of your car, like some did dice in the old day.


  68. The rating agency reduced the long-term rating on Greek sovereign debt from B to CCC – only four notches above default. It added that in its view the country's credit outlook was "negative".

  69. On Monday, Germany became the 13th country to recognize the Transitional National Council (TNC) as Libya's legitimate government, foreign minister Guido Westerwelle said during a visit to Benghazi.

    "The [TNC] is the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people," Westerwelle said after meeting council officials, including the rebel "foreign minister" Ali al Essawi.

    "We want a free Libya, in peace and democracy without Khadafy," he said.

  70. .

    Yes, I have seen five wolves in Idaho, all in either Clearwater or Kootenai counties,...

    Do they have zoos in Clearwater and Kootenai? Or were they stuffed samples at the local reservation to attract tourists?

    Are you sure they weren't cayotes?

    I have never shot an elk, but I'll be wolf agunning this fall, I promise you.

    Dhrw, aka wolfbane, great white hunter. The wolves probably choked over their elk balls after hearing that one.

    No doubt they will move back to Canada for a while till Search and Rescue rescues you from out of their woods.


  71. Iraqi officials say the US was responsible for safeguarding the money -- which came from Iraqi oil sales, seized Iraqi assets and the United Nations' oil-for-food program -- under a 2004 legal agreement it signed with Iraq.

    "Congress is not looking forward to having to spend billions of our money to make up for billions of their money that we can't account for, and can't seem to find," Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) told the Los Angeles Times.

    The United States has spent $61 billion on reconstruction and development in Iraq since the US-led invasion.

  72. Corruption has made many officers and government employees rich. You can get an Iraqi passport for $1,500.

    When you go to any government ministry, nothing is done for you unless you pay them. The taxi driver handling some government staff said, “You need to understand that especially in the passport department, the officer tells you that you can’t get a passport and then he gets up and goes to the toilet.

    You need to follow him and give him some money; toilets are where the bribes are given.” He added that this is true for every government establishment, not just for passports.

  73. A lady in Farm Service Agency measured a gray wolf foot print out by Deary, Idaho. Was about as far across as a dollar bill - the long way. And it was a new print.

    They are a magnificent animal.


  74. Health Minister Abdul Karim Rasei, who visited Saleh in Riyadh on Saturday, said that the embattled president would "very soon speak directly through the media to the Yemeni people," the website reported.

    The president, who was wounded June 3 in an attack on the mosque in his palace compound in Sanaa, was "improving each day and is in good health," the minister said.

    Saleh, who has faced four months of protests calling for his departure, was flown to Riyadh for treatment a day after the explosion, prompting conflicting reports about his condition. A Yemeni source said Saturday that the 69-year-old leader was in poor condition and suffering breathing problems.

  75. Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said the earthquake felt at least as powerful as the Feb. 22 quake but was much shorter in duration.


    New Zealand prime minister John Key said the aftershocks had not lessened the government's resolve to rebuild the shattered city but that they were a blow to residents already struggling to cope.

    "Quite frankly, I think they're all over this, and they want the sense of normality to return ... my heart really goes out to them," he said.

  76. But Khadafy's oldest son, Muhammad, with whom he also played, is a "serious player who knows the theory of chess."

    Ilyumzhinov said that he found Khadafy to be "calm ... normal and adequate. We played chess and we talked," AFP reported.

    Ilyumzhinov described his trip as a "working visit" and pointed out that he had recently been in Afghanistan and would soon visit Iraq. He presented Khadafy with a chess set made in Kalmykia, the Buddhist region he headed from 1993 to 2010.

  77. Then there's the troubling fact that payroll taxes fund Social Security and Medicare -- two entitlement programs that are cash-challenged and in need of a fundamental fiscal makeover.

    But with Team Obama desperate for something -- anything -- that might tick those unemployment numbers lower as the president seeks re-election, it's not surprising that the White House is ready to consider this.

    In the end, though, it's a Hail Mary scheme unlikely to inspire much confidence in the business community, which is looking for long-term solutions -- not short-term fix-its -- to the nation's mounting economic woes.

    Tax Cut

  78. Looks like the Corn Ethanol Subsidies are Going Away in 17 Days.

    I wish they could have kept the subsidy for E85. It would have been a miniscule amount, but the constituency just wasn't there.

    They saved the "cellulosic" credit, though.

    I guess Exxon, and Saudi Arabia's sockpuppets will have to find something else to whine about now.

  79. No, what's really embarrassing to Big Media -- or would be, if it had any shame -- is the contrast between the Palin frenzy and the lap-dog lethargy with which it covered the details of Obamacare, the administration's near-trillion-dollar stimulus package or economy-killing regulatory decisions by the EPA or National Labor Relations Board.

    You know, legislation and agencies that actually affect the livelihoods of millions of Americans every single day.

    But obviously what Sarah Palin was doing three and four years ago is more important to the country's well-being than what Barack Obama is doing now.