August 16, 2011 archive

“Once a nation of homeowners…”

From Reuters…

“Once a nation of homeowners, U.S. turns to rentals”

The percentage of people who own a home dropped to 65.9 percent during the second quarter — the lowest since the first quarter of 1998. That was down from a peak of 69.2 percent reached in late 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, when lax lending standards were fueling home sales.

The change appears to be gaining momentum.

“Even in cases where it might make more financial sense — or it might actually be cheaper on a monthly basis to own a home rather to rent one, a lot of people are not making that purchase,” said Oliver Chang, head of U.S. housing strategy at Morgan Stanley.

“The trend that we’re on is going to continue,” he added.

Next… “Once a nation of renters, U.S. turns to tents.”

And next… “Once a nation of campers, U.S. turns to cardboard boxes.”

And… “Once a nation of shanty towns, U.S.turns to litter boxes” or whatever.

Lookin’ forward to four more years of Obama and his Republican playmates!

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Remember Neville Thurlbeck?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Oh my yes.  You remember Silverstone don’t you?

Things are not happy in the Formula One Teams Association, there’s also the fact the Concorde Agreement has expired and is extended only through a letter, not a contract, through 2012 following a heated dispute that led many teams to threaten to go CART.  While nominally guided by Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren and Ross Brawn of Mercedes the FOTA is widely viewed as a tool of Bernie Ecclestone who has a distinct conflict of interest and a hazy history of influence on the FIA itself with his cozy relationship to Max Mosley the fifth columnist Nazi’s son who got the boot for his sexcapades.

Interestingly enough this was the scoop of the recently deceased and unlamented News of the World who published sick Nazi Sex Orgy by Neville Thurlbeck so who knows what to think?

Well, Neville’s in trouble again-

Rupertgate Friday – “For Neville”

By Gordonskene, Crooks&Liars

July 22, 2011 03:58 PM

As was reported yesterday, there are now growing questions over the honesty of the testimony given by James Murdoch during the Inquiry hearings on Tuesday. One centers around Neville Thurlbeck, who was a registered unpaid Police informant and has been a key suspect in the phone hacking scandal and an e-mail and attached file that carefully listed transcribed hacked messages.

Murdoch denies any knowledge of the e-mail, however former NoTW editor Colin Myler and former head of legal affairs for News Of The World Tom Crone claim the younger Murdoch had full knowledge of the “For Neville” e-mail and file and has been lying to the Commission. If this winds up being true, and Murdoch is found to be lying, it tosses an enormous question mark over the entire testimony on Tuesday and puts James Murdoch in the position of being arrested and held for further questioning.

Well today…

Former NOTW Employees: James Murdoch Knew Another Reporter Was Involved In Phone Hacking

Jillian Rayfield, TPMMuckraker

August 16, 2011, 12:56PM

The e-mail, from 2005, contained transcripts of 35 hacked phone messages from Taylor’s phone, and identified them as “the transcript for Neville.” The Guardian identified “Neville” as News Of The World reporter Neville Thurlbeck.

According to (James) Murdoch’s testimony to Parliament, he gave the go-ahead for the settlement without knowing about the “for Neville” e-mail, and believed the phone hacking to be limited to “rogue reporter” Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who had both already been convicted.

But Crone and Myler allege that in a June 2008 meeting, they told Murdoch of the e-mail. Crone, who wrote the letter to Parliament, said that he does not have any notes from his meeting with Murdoch at the time, but the “sole reason” for the meeting was to explain the reason for settling — which was the e-mail. “My invariable practice when seeking authority for settlements would be to take a file of the relevant documents with me to such meetings so that, if asked or if necessary, I could illustrate whatever I was saying by reference to something in writing,” Crone wrote.

Letter Suggests Hacking ‘Widely Discussed’ at News of the World


AUGUST 16, 2011, 12:41 P.M. ET

LONDON-News Corp. came under fresh attack Tuesday as new, written evidence submitted to a U.K. parliament committee suggested that voice-mail interception was “widely discussed” at its News of the World tabloid and showed several former executives bluntly contradicting recent testimony by Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch.

Mr. Murdoch said Messrs. Crone and Myler briefed him on the case during a meeting on June 10, 2008. He said he doesn’t recall receiving any briefing before this date, and doesn’t recall either Mr. Crone or Mr. Myler showing him any documents during the meeting. He said the executives recommended settling the case because “there was evidence” that Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator, “had carried out this interception on behalf of the News of the World.”

“Let me reiterate that I have no recollection of any mention of ‘Thurlbeck’ or a ‘for Neville’ email. Neither Mr. Myler nor Mr. Crone told me that wrongdoing extended beyond Mr. Goodman or Mr. Mulcaire,” a private investigator on the tabloid’s payroll, Mr. Murdoch said.

The new evidence comes as the latest twist in a scandal over allegations that the News of the World tabloid paid bribes to police and intercepted the voice mails of celebrities, politicians and crime victims. News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal.


Roman Legion Hare

Hedge Fund Manager: US In Need Of Massive Stimulus

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Back in July, Barton Biggs, a hedge fund manager for Traxis Partners, said that the U.S. needs to invest in a massive public works program, and rich people and corp’s should pay more taxes. Perhaps President Obama, Secretary Tim Geithner and all those who think that spending and tax cuts are the right path should listen to this.

On This Day In History August 16

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

On this day in 1896, Gold discovered in the Yukon.

While salmon fishing near the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory on this day in 1896, George Carmack reportedly spots nuggets of gold in a creek bed. His lucky discovery sparks the last great gold rush in the American West.

Hoping to cash in on reported gold strikes in Alaska, Carmack had traveled there from California in 1881. After running into a dead end, he headed north into the isolated Yukon Territory, just across the Canadian border. In 1896, another prospector, Robert Henderson, told Carmack of finding gold in a tributary of the Klondike River. Carmack headed to the region with two Native American companions, known as Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie. On August 16, while camping near Rabbit Creek, Carmack reportedly spotted a nugget of gold jutting out from the creek bank. His two companions later agreed that Skookum Jim–Carmack’s brother-in-law–actually made the discovery.

Late Night Karaoke

More Economic Gloom On The Horizon

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

With states and cities struggling to balance their budgets with lay offs of workers, cuts to benefits and wages, as well as, reduction of aid to schools, hospitals, clinics, and other agencies, states government desperate for revenue are looking to on-line gambling but may run up against the obstacle of the Justice Department:

It’s an idea gaining currency around the country: virtual gambling as part of the antidote to local budget woes. The District of Columbia is the first to legalize it, while Iowa is studying it, and bills are pending in places like California and Massachusetts.

But the states may run into trouble with the Justice Department, which has been cracking down on all forms of Internet gambling. And their efforts have given rise to critics who say legalized online gambling will promote addictive wagering and lead to personal debt troubles.

The states say they will put safeguards in place to deal with the potential social ills. And they say they need the money from online play, which will supplement the taxes they already receive from gambling at horse tracks, poker houses and brick-and-mortar casinos.

“States had looked at this haphazardly and not very energetically until the Great Recession hit, but now they’re desperate for money,” said I. Nelson Rose, a professor at Whittier Law School, where he specializes in gambling issues.

When it comes to taxing gambling, he said, “the thing they have left is the Internet.”

Meanwhile the Obama administration is mulling over whether to take a tougher approach to economic issues:

Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors.

But others, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas like tax incentives for businesses that hire more workers, according to Congressional Democrats who share that view. Democrats are also pushing the White House to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

Even if the ideas cannot pass Congress, they say, the president would gain a campaign issue by pushing for them.

“The president’s team puts a premium on being above the partisan fray, which is usually the right strategy,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate. “But on this issue, when he knows what the right thing to do is, and when a rather small group on one side is blocking any progress, you have to be willing to call that group out if you want to get anything done.”

While Obama drags his feet staying with his bipartisan tick that has made matters worse, the housing market continues to sink under the weight of 4.6 million homes with delinquent mortgages and real estate owned sitting empty and the jobs market stagnates with the U3 at 9.1% mostly because 193,000 people dropped out of the labor force and weak jobs growth. There were only 117,000 jobs created in July not nearly enough to even keep up with population growth.

Calculated Risk has two great graphs that illustrate the two problems:

Click in images to enlarge

It well past time for Obama and the Democrats to stop whining about the obstructive Congress. So whatsoever the White House puts forth won’t get passed, at least make it a fight you can take to the street to say you at least tried to do something. Pragmatic won’t get it done, it hasn’t for the last three years.

Civil Rights and Comic Books: What’s on YOUR Laptop?

The Beauty Platform and Sequential Art

First they came for the guys and gals

   with skeevy comic books.

But I don’t buy skeevy comic books,

   so I shut up and kept my head down.

Then they came for the guys and gals

   with graphically violent comic books.

But I don’t buy comic books with graphic violence{1},

   so I shut up and kept my head down.

Then they came for the guys and gals;

   with “adult” gay and lesbian comic books.

But I don’t buy adult gay and lesbian{1} comic books,

   so I shut up and kept my head down.

Then they came for the guys and gals

   with “excessively” adult comic books of any sorts.

But I don’t buy excessively adult adult  comic books of any sort,

   so I shut up and kept my head down.

Then they came for the guys and gals with politically and socially radical comic books.

And the legal precedent was already set, so it was an open and shut case.

And that’s what I’m in for.


That is, in any event, the dystopian future scenario. Right now we are still in a position to push back against the “North American Taliban”, and that is what the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund aims to do.

{1. OK, ok, on some of these sites my sig says otherwise with respect to yuri manga, and some science fiction dystopian manga has some pretty graphic violence, but stick with me here for dramatic effect}

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