May 6, 2011 archive

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Another Warning for Third Way Democrats

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Not that anyone noticed much, but last night Britain held local elections.  Guess who took a “Shellacking”?

Ed Miliband: Voters have withdrawn permission for Clegg to back Tory policies

Labour leader says people do not want ‘relaunch of coalition’ as desperate night for Lib Dems leaves them with only 15% of vote in local elections

Polly Curtis, Whitehall correspondent,

Friday 6 May 2011 13.21 BST

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, indicated that the coalition had lost its mandate to govern after the Liberal Democrats suffered a disastrous night in the local elections, seeing their vote collapse across the north of England, Scotland and Wales.

Miliband told reporters in Gravesham, a key council in the south won by Labour: “The Conservative party does not have a majority in parliament and has only been able to govern because of the Liberal Democrats’ willing participation in a Tory-led government.

“People who once voted Liberal Democrat have withdrawn permission for Nick Clegg to back Tory policies on the NHS, on living standards and cuts that go too far, too fast.

“People do not want a relaunch of the coalition but real change. David Cameron and Nick Clegg must listen to the people.”

But will they listen?

Coalition ministers insisted the Lib Dem-Conservative government would refocus on its work – next week Clegg and David Cameron will launch a coalition document marking its achievements in the year since it was formed.

Coalition ministers vowed to plough on with their plans after a desperate night for the Lib Dems left them with just 15% of the local election vote – their lowest for nearly three decades – and came ahead of the AV referendum result, which they have acknowledged is almost certain to go against them.

The American people have voted for change in the last 3 elections- 2006, 2008, and 2010.

And we’ll keep on voting until we get some.

Random Japan



The justice ministry put the number of “flyjin”-foreigners who left Japan after the March 11 earthquake-at 531,000. Go on, everyone, take a bow!

The government is rethinking the draconian power-saving measures it had planned for the summer after TEPCO said it could crank out 52 million kilowatts of electricity by the end of July, instead of the previously stated 46.5 million kw.

Kevin Maher, who was canned as head of the US Office of Japanese Affairs because of comments he allegedly made in December, denied he ever called Okinawans “lazy.” He also claims he never said they are “masters of manipulation and extortion.”

Not everyone was resting up during Golden Week. Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto was scheduled to go on a six-day blitz of the US, Europe and Africa starting April 29.

Surprising absolutely no one, the Japan National Tourism Organization announced that the number of foreigners who traveled to Japan in March was half the number compared to last year.

The Public Security Intelligence Agency said that the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult still has about 1,500 active members.

Nine Japanese universities have clubbed together to found a Japanese public high school in Shanghai-the first ever such school to open overseas.

In what is being described as the largest per person donation from any country since the earthquake and tsunami, Taiwan has offered Japan ¥13.9 billion, which works out to ¥600 per capita.

Housing – Da Dip

If you only listen to the talking heads you may find it surprising that the housing correction is still ongoing. Quite simply put, with all the efforts of the US government, the Federal Reserve, and various agencies the best they have accomplished is to delay the decline. Now that all the capital is spent, all the programs finished, the decline ensues. The only thing left in the bag is MOPE (Management of Perspective Economics).

What is MOPE? In a nutshell its a pathetic attempt to ‘talk’ people into an action. The theory goes that if you say its sunny outside, and its a torrential downpour, yet everyone leaves the house without an umbrella then the concept works.

For housing the concept is the same. Is everyone telling you that its sunny and “now is a great time to buy” and the justification they use is “look how much prices have come down” as evidence? The first thing I always ask these people is “Can you tell me when when would be a bad time to buy?”. In hindsight they will all mention a few years ago … but when the mania was at hand they were the very same touting the “housing never goes down in price” mantra.

What is left is wishful thinking and its pretty pathetic.

D.R. Horton’s Donald Horton:

“Market conditions in the homebuilding industry are still challenging, with high foreclosures, significant existing home inventory, high unemployment, tight mortgage lending standards and weak consumer confidence. However, housing affordability remains near record highs, interest rates are favorable and new home inventory is still very low,” Horton said. “We continue to focus on providing affordable homes for the first-time buyer while having product available for move-up buyers, further adjusting our cost structure relative to our current sales pace.”

Translation: We’re still in the dumps, but we’re lowering prices, so come on and buy.

Pulte’s Richard Dugas: “Over the near term, we expect the industry will continue to face low levels of demand and that overall operating conditions will remain highly competitive.” Dugas then said he expects a return to profitability in the “back half of the year.”

Translation: Still bad, but it has to get better, right?

Meritage‘s Steven Hilton:

“The market has obviously softened since the federal home buyer tax credit expired in April last year, as reflected in total U.S. home sales as well as our own sales and closings. As a result, we have offered larger incentives in some of our communities, resulting in lower margins that offset the improvements we are achieving in our new higher-margin communities…the spring selling season for the last few months is off to a tepid start, and we have not produced sales at the pace we would have hoped this far into the 2011 selling season. We believe the housing market in general is still bouncing along the bottom, with pockets of strength in certain of our markets.”

Translation: We’re lowering prices, throwing in upgrades, and it’s not really working.

News that serious delinquencies are on the decline suggesting that those left standing in their homes will remain. Kyle Lundstedt of LPS Applied Analytics aka Dr. Doom reports that mortgage delinquencies, down more than 11 percent month-over month, are at the lowest level since 2008.

The Osama Bin Laden File

The National Security Archive at George Washington University has been releasing numerous Government documents and reports the past couple of days on bin Laden, our Government as related to him and that region especially Pakistan. The criminal cronies, both in and out of the Government at the time they took over from the Clinton administration to 9/11 and beyond have been coming out of the closet, including their talking heads, trying to justify their policies, especially as to torture, illegal by our laws and the international laws we help establish, that they should share in the take down of bin Laden or should receive the glory from.

Frankly they’re raising more questions by their tactic, questions that have been there the whole past decade some being answered with hard evidence that has leaked out and coming from the Iraq War Inquiries.

If their torture tactics, which caused greater damage to the soldiers sent into these two theaters in blowback, worked so great Why were they not taking any little leads, like the one the press keeps running to and following them to establish better intelligence?

Why, after greatly increasing the billions sent to Pakistan that that country wasn’t much much more involved in seeking out bin Laden and al Qaeda?

Why did bush stop the Tora Bora operation?

Why did bush admit he rarely thought about bin Laden?

And one real big question, Why were they seeking to take down Saddam and talking about doing so before 9/11, on 9/11 and directly after 9/11, leading to abandoning Afghanistan to fester and grow and destroy Iraq and it’s people?  


Daffy Duck Slept Here

Six In The Morning

In Libya, a long-dead hero rises again in east

Omar Mukhtar, a resistance fighter executed by Italian occupiers 80 years ago, has become the spiritual leader of the Libyan revolution.

By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times

May 6, 2011

Reporting from Benghazi, Libya- In eastern Libya, the spectral image of an elderly, bearded man in a skullcap or Bedouin cloak is everywhere – on bumper stickers and posters, military vehicles and checkpoints, even press IDs issued by the rebel government here.

“He is the godfather of all of us,” said Salim Ismael, a retired army officer now training rebel recruits. “He is our inspiration, the spiritual leader of the Libyan revolution.”

The figure is Omar Mukhtar, a 20th century resistance hero executed by Italian occupiers 80 years ago – and, improbably enough, depicted in a 1981 Hollywood all-star epic, “The Lion of the Desert,” starring Anthony Quinn as Mukhtar. A box-office flop, the film has a devoted cult following here.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat any time and be yourself.

–Hermann Hesse

Connecting the Dots 7

Late Night Karaoke

First Republican Presidential Debate Open Thread

It’s awfully hard to get excited about an event that AP will not cover at all and Reuters will pay scant attention because of restrictions that Faux Noise and the Republican Party have placed on it to avoid making their candidates look stupid.

Sorry, that Taggart Transcontinental has already left the station.

Still, at 9 pm ET in the grossly misnamed (at least on this occasion) Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina, the 5 dimmest bulbs in the half candlepower constellation that is the Republican field this cycle- former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, Representative Ron Paul, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, will take the stage.

It would be a lot more fun pointing and laughing if it weren’t for the fact we already have a Republican President.

I’ll be watching Stanley Cup action (Canucks @ Predators), King of the Hill, or napping, all of which are far more restful on the eyeballs, but if you care to comment there’s a space for that below.