Saturday, October 22, 2011

Word Find: Locate the 'Profanity'

Sentinel commenting software's not allowing this pretty damn generic comment, on the basis of 'profanity'. Whu?

I'm enthusiastically in support of the OWS movement's presence in Orlando. Good on those making that happen.The discussions being had in these circles are important ones, underserved by mainstream political media.

For my money, these are the right conversations to be having.

Monday, October 17, 2011

'profane' (?) post disallowed by Sentinel commenting software

Huh. I'm a decently wired Grayson-booster, but I've yet to hear the man use the phrase 'war on error'...which is alright. B/c it strikes me as a silly, incoherent way to describe what a NYT reporter has more aptly called our 'forever wars'.

Maybe someone should should lend Mark Matthews a clue: the 'blogosphere' includes these nifty little widgets called 'hyperlinks'. When someone makes a fact claim--esp one few have ever heard of--such a person can just link the supporting evidence right there into the text! Wow! Neat!

The less-elegant comment-section version would be as follows (, which is a link to what google offers when one searches the phrase 'war on error' (note: zero references to Grayson).


Sunday, October 24, 2010

What part of the this article's Orlando Sentinel comment-ghetto submission merits the response, "Comment cannot be posted with profanity"?

"Hey Mike, since yr on a media-commentary kick:

Sam Z and Randy Michaels (betcha those two Manly Men would guffaw right along at those open-carry fashion faux pas jokes...good stuff). Alas...Trib Co. problems are a little too close to home, izzit? Sooo much easier to flick a lazy booger at NPR.

Too bad. 'Cause enquiring minds encounter the arguments of folks like McChesney and Nichols ( and can't help but wonder what a rich and consequential vein of discussion, analysis and debate you have in this subject. And there's zero chance the collapsing of the 'print media' business model isn't front and center in the minds of newspaper columnists-cum-bloggers like yourself."

Maybe the OS doesn't want to talk about it's corporate dirty laundry?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"...She said to me/ 'Hey, why not ask for more?'..."

Regarding Scott Maxwell's comment on the evil-dipshit-fest going on in the FL GOP Gubernatorial primary:

20 million frickin' people in this state...that's double the size of entire industrialized NATIONS like Sweden, Hungary, The Czechs, Portugal.

The Netherlands and Australia are OECD countries in the same ballpark, population-wise.

What's yr best guess as to whether any of these countries mentioned do better or worse than the US as a whole or--for longshot lovers--Florida specifically, in terms of a leading societal-wellbeing indicator like infant mortality? The closest (i.e. 'next-worst') to the US (6.8%), Florida specifically (7.2%), or Orange county (9.1%) would be the Aussies, at 5% & Holland at 4.9%.

20 million people in this sprawling 'megastate', and Meek/Sink/McFlanders/Scott/Greene/Crist is the best set of statewide candidates the political class can round up. Pitiful.

Friday, May 21, 2010

To Kill a Messenger.

The local AM radio's internet storefront, Dubya-Deebie-Yo, has a post up today hyperventilating in it's typical faux-objective-journalistic style about some comment of Alan Grayson's to the effect that the pathological gummint-haters of the GOP have no business being know...elective gummint. That this makes roughly as much sense as hiring jihadis to pilot commercial airliners.

True, the man is not a subtle rhetorician, but I'd insist that criticism belongs frimly in the 'don't hate the player, hate the game' category. Oddly, my fellow commenters on the WDBO piece don't concur.

But really now.

Conservatives act as if there weren't something bizarre about a fully-functioning political party--in a two party system, mind-- that for 30+ years has made a populist fetish out of the slogan that 'Gummint is The Problem'.

Is it 'the problem'? Really?

Then what's with all the GOP incumbents running for office all the time? Forget that they are so often fudged on...why in hell would leaders of such an anti-politics party require any such thing as a 'term limit pledge'? Unless the whole thing is a bullshit story, these guys and gals would be jumping out of their skin to hand the heavy burden of Demon Gummint service off to whichever selfless Red Robin Hood is willing to take one for the 'liberty-loving' team.

Unless the whole thing is a bullshit story.

And what in the Fookin' 'ell could possibly be the problem with an anti-gerrymandering reform like Fair Districts? Unless...

The best one can conclude is that the High Holy Archangel Reagan indeed worketh in mysterious ways. And the other myriad teeth-grinding failures of the otherwise ever-so-superior private sector, from the 'Deepwater Horizon' to 'toxic' securitized mortgage debt to Enron's conning the world with it's shell-game accounting tricks, to the inconvenient truth that charter schools perform no better, all told, than unionized public schools...chalk that all up to those funny 'mysterious ways'.

Because no other explanation makes any sense, where 'gummint is the problem' and is good for absolutely nothing but leaching dry, butchering into salable chunks, and spinning off to the corporate sharktank.

I've never heard of anyone, anywhere on the conservative side repudiate either the influential anti-gummint "Club for Growth" itself, or the famous mission statement of CfG's founder Grover Norquist, that the long term aim of his Reagan Cult termite-ism is to 'shrink gummint to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub'. Has any figure of any stature on the right ever taken issue with that framing of this core goal of the conservative movement?

If not, what's all the outrage about? Why not man up, like machismo-damaged authoritarians really should, and own this fundie 'demolitionist' label? What's Grayson's comment but a sharply-worded pointing out that it's weird to have a political party in this country so dedicated to the idea that government (outside of cops and gummint-issue soldiering to some degree)--as a concept, as an institution of social organization and resiliency, is a failure and a mistake. And one that looms above all other priorities, as a thing to be constantly diminished, demonized, marginalized, and effectively destroyed?

And yet you nevertheless get these kind of pearl-clutching reactions from the AM radio right, where it's portrayed as shocking--SHOCKING!--that anyone would dare suggest that Republicans are carriers of political sledgehammers rather than good-faith stewards of the our democratic welfare state.

It doesn't hold up to scrutiny, fellas. Which is why Reaganoid conservatism deserves to be called out as a kind of fundamentalism.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Corporate Parachutes R Us: 'Right to Rent' v. Obama's Revamped Foreclosure Prevention Initiative

'Nay's mom just this weekend dropped the already-low selling price of her house (houses being where people generally park their life savings, 'cashing out' with, so the thinking goes, a retirement nest egg and enough left over for a modest retirement condo or somesuch)...

...reminding me about the article I read last week via Google News that half (48%) of FL homeowners are now upside down on their mortgages...which is sort of mindblowing.

And so then here's Dean Baker making the sounds-right-to-me point that home values haven't hit bottom yet, and so what's with this new FHA loan-guaranteed Obama anti-foreclosure initiative, that'll incentivize " take advantage of this principal write-down process in markets where prices are expected to fall further"?!?

Honestly, must EVERY single Obama reform also function as a corporate bailout?

Baker's 'right to rent' proposal seems to me--has seemed to me, for the last few years it's been floated (and for just as long apparently ignored)--like a really smart, surprisingly simple idea...and this new program only makes it look smarter by comparison.
The key 'problem' seems obviously to be this:

Baker's idea envisions the banks getting their full servings of post-bubble poo poo sandwich.

Which is clearly not what the Hopemonger came to Washington to do.

I remain squarely in the Bill Maher camp: "I'm glad Obama is president, but the 'Audacity of Hope' part is over. Right now, I'm hoping for a little more audacity."


From CEPR:
Statement on Obama Administration's Housing Initiative: "March 26, 2010

For Immediate Release:March 26, 2010
Contact: Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x115

Washington, D.C. - Dean Baker released the following statement today regarding the Obama Administration's overhaul of its foreclosure prevention program:

The latest Obama Administration initiative aimed at easing the nation's foreclosure crisis may be well-intentioned, but fails to give proper consideration to the state of the housing market. The biggest winners are likely once again to be the banks. In particular, holders of second mortgages are likely to see this program as a huge bonanza.

The program provides a substantial incentive for holders of first mortgages to reduce principal by having the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) guarantee a new loan at 97.75 percent of the current market value. In many cases this would be far more than the holder of the first mortgage would collect if the loan went through a foreclosure process. However, the payment on the second mortgage would be unaffected.

By substantially reducing the required payment on the first mortgage, the program will be creating a situation in which the second mortgage - which would be worth little or nothing in foreclosure - will suddenly again hold considerable value. This will be a huge windfall for second mortgage holders. It is worth noting that the major banks have vast portfolios of second mortgages.

In the current market, the newly guaranteed FHA loans are likely to incur substantial losses. Nationwide home prices remain about 15 percent above their long-term trend. There is an enormous oversupply of housing at present as indicated by falling rents and a record nationwide vacancy rate. In addition, there will be an obvious problem of adverse selection as lenders will be most likely to take advantage of this principal write-down process in markets where prices are expected to fall further.

If the purpose of this modification program is to help homeowners, then any policy must ask two simple questions.

  1. Is the homeowner paying less in ownership costs than they would to rent a comparable unit?

  2. Is the homeowner likely to end up with equity in their home if they sell it in the next 3-5 years?

Both of these questions require an assessment of specific housing markets. If the market is still bubble-inflated, then the answers to these questions will be no and any money spent on modifications will be helping banks, not homeowners.

For some reason there is an enormous reluctance to ask these basic questions about the housing market. The failure to ask these questions in the years 2002-2006 provided the basis for the housing bubble. The government still failed to ask these questions last year as the FHA hugely expanded its role in the housing market. The result was that the FHA lost tens of billions of dollars and fell below its minimal capital requirements. The continuing failure to consider the state of the housing market when designing policy can only lead to further losses to taxpayers in ways that provide no benefit to homeowners.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Article says 'There’s more to Hometown Democracy', then Rehearses the Usual Lazy Narrative

4 or against? There’s more to Hometown Democracy than environment vs. sprawl | Daily Loaf

For a piece attempting to grind a 'politics is complicated' axe, this Creative Loafing article is surprisingly useless in terms of working out what the specific interests and elite political positions actually are. Which is really a shame.

People could use some specifics that cut through the cubic tons of bullshit moneyed interests always dump all over the FHD reform effort.

Taking us ostensibly 'beneath the surface' of the noisy FHD debate, Kate Bradshaw offers what she thinks are telling individual actors...actors whose interests and positions she fleshes out not a tiny fucking bit.

Something about a titty-bar owner...something else about a local politico and "environmental advocate" taking stands we're led to believe are surprising...but what's so surprising?

Is it hard to imagine why a titty bar owner might like the idea of a reform offering possibilities for a nifty bureaucratic disincentive (pricey special elections) as a hedge against any effort at rezoning a particular location out of business? Not to mention the far-from-unbelievable possibility that the guy genuinely supports the reform on its own terms.

And honest to Christ, is there an elected official anywhere in this entire megastate--anywhere in the country, even--who doesn't claim this generic mantle of "environmental advocate" for him/herself? I'd bet money even Mike Bennett, the politico who last session tried (again) to ratf*ck FLs Growth Management agency, would tell you, with big, dewey, alcoholic, puppydog eyes, that he's on the side of the environmental angels. Honest he is.

And to whom is it surprising that FLs moribund unions might side with developers? Not many. Especially, you know, in the middle of a wrenching collapse of the building industry? (Hint: there can be no building trade unions where there's no building trade work.)

Then there's Alex Sink...oh my, is the corporate banker whose premier virtue as a candidate appears to be her ability to get rich people to write her big campaign SHE against Amendment 4 too? REALLY?!? What a mindblower.

Seems to me there are a whole lot of local and state pols who mix a degree of genuine 'environmental advocacy' with a healthy (if not in fact a positively UNhealthy) dollop of 'pro-business advocacy'. Seems to me this is probably the norm.

And of course these (business and sustainablility/livability) are the opposite of mutually exclusive values.

Seems to me kind of obvious that 'pro-business' political rhetoric is even more ubiquitous than 'green' happy-talk...and far more concrete, too, since business lobbies exert infinitely more political leverage than even the more powerful environmental interests in FL. Which is to say it means next to nothing to point to some person or other who claims some vague 'environmental advocacy' for him/herself, even if once or twice they actually mustered the nerve to tell a developer 'no'.

And this is the very asymmetry that gave rise to Hometown Democracy in the first place.