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Saturday Morning Dithers

New and improved! We have turned on a new feature that allows for threaded comments 5 levels deep.  So, if you’ve been waiting to tell someone off, personally, here’s your chance!

If you’re looking for a topic, try the newest podcast from Planet Money on mortgage renegotiations.  Bottom line:  the Obama proposal is designed to help homeowners with their interest.  It won’t address principal on a house that was overvalued when it was bought in the first place.   (Another Obama proposal that misses the point until it’s too late) The mortgage industry has fought hard against principal renegotiation clauses in the past for good reason.  But in this current economic climate, that may cause strapped homeowners to walk away from their homes with underwater equity.  It’s a short podcast and there’s some “twitter” stuff too.  Is anyone interested in twittering The Confluence?  Let us know in the threads!

In other news:

“First you say you will, and then you won’t.  And then you say you do, and then you don’t.  You’re undecided now, so what are you going to do?”

The AP reports this morning that Obama did not say he was going to nationalize the banks.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Friday insisted it’s not trying to take over two ailing financial institutions, even as stocks tumbled again. On Wall Street, talk of nationalization of Citigroup Inc., and Bank of America Corp., prompted investors to continue to balk, worried that the government would have to take control and wipe out shareholders in the process.Citigroup fell 20 percent, while Bank of America fell 12 percent in afternoon trading but also came off their lowest levels.

“This administration continues to strongly believe that a privately held banking system is the correct way to go, ensuring that they are regulated sufficiently by this government,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said when asked about nationalizing the banks.

“That’s been our belief for quite some time, and we continue to have that,” Gibbs said

When a reporter suggested Gibbs could do that by saying point bank that Obama would never nationalize banks, Gibbs would not make that statement, but emphasized: “I think I was very clear about the system that this country has and will continue to have.”


This reminds me of the comments that Bush and Cheney made about Americans and their propensity to buy large, oil guzzling vehicles and how this was a uniquely American cultural thing and that no long-haired, hippy type, pinko fag, treehugger (and by this, I think they meant *us*, Oh Best Beloveds), was going to change us.  And how did that work out?

Paul Krugman writes about the fear of nationalization in his blog, The Conscience of a Liberal:

We are not talking about fears that leftist radicals will expropriate perfectly good private companies. At least since last fall the major banks — certainly Citi and B of A — have only been able to stay in business because their counterparties believe that there’s an implicit federal guarantee on their obligations. The banks are already, in a fundamental sense, wards of the state.

And the market caps of these banks did not reflect investors’ assessment of the difference in value between their assets and their liabilities. Instead, it largely — and probably totally — reflected the “Geithner put”, the hope that the feds would bail them out in a way that handed a significant windfall gain to stockholders.

What’s happening now is a growing sense that the federal government, in return for rescuing these institutions, will demand the same thing a private-sector white knight would have demanded — namely, ownership.

Yes, it seems like the thing that bankers fear most from nationalization is that they aren’t going to be saved by the white knight.  They are going to have to eat $@%! and die and the American people will own them, at least for awhile until they can be restructured and sold again to private investors.  THAT’S what’s sending the stock market down.  Some very rich people are going to see the end of the gravy train.  It is most certainly not what they paid Obama to do.  And Obama dithers because he knows he can’t count on $600 million for his next election if he screws his backers, er, bankers.

Verily I say unto you, President Obama, you cannot serve two masters.  You took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution of the US “to the best of [your] ability”.  The fact that you have no experience, insight or coalitions earned over time to help you does not excuse you from fulfilling your oath.  You may be a weak president, by design (thank you David Broder and Karl Rove), but this is something you will have to overcome or you will be a one term African-American president who will have a worse legacy than George W. Bush.  Your new freshness ties your hands.  Too bad for you.  Do the right thing. Promote the general welfare already.

But what’s this?  Obama is holding a fiscal summit to reduce the deficit? I thought that putting the brakes on deficit spending is exactly what one does not do during a deflationary cycle.  (Hey, I’m not an economist so correct me if I’m wrong here)  Is this the same fiscal responsibility summit that is designed to cut social security benefits?  Because Social Security is practically the only government program that is working fine all by itself with little excess overhead and a record of outstanding value to the taxpayer?  Ohhhh, right.  It’s sitting on a big wad of cash, that surplus I’ve been paying into my entire working life (thank you Ronald Reagan for raising my payroll taxes).  Yes, let’s give that money to the bankers to play with.  We’re not going to just throw the baby out.  We’re going to harvest its organs first.  Nice going.

It sounds like Obama is Ok with The Shock Doctrine theory of cultural change.  Or he’s desperate for the money.  Or both.  Aren’t we all lucky to be living through such interesting times?  And we couldn’t have Hillary why, exactly?

Hillary Clinton in Indonesia (note all of the happy faces)

(Note:  Funny thing about that picture above.  It used to be attached to the NYTimes article on her stop in Indonesia but it was replaced by another one which shows her pretty much in isolation without the adoring crowds.  That was no accident.  The original picture above is stunning.  She *looks* like The Foreign President.  Well, we can’t have that.)

230 Responses

  1. testing, testing…
    Is this thing on?

    • Whoo-hoo! I can talk to myself!

      • Get a bluetooth ear piece, and people will just think you’re on the phone.

      • How does five threads deep work? Replies to replies?

        • We can only check it, right?

        • Honestly? I hate it.

          Even though there’s an advantage to being
          able to reply directly, I think it will change
          the “soul” of TC. Or the energy.

          Judging from other blogs that do this, it
          becomes more competitive. The idea becomes
          to get your comment on earlier, more than
          thoughtfully replying to the substance.

          I like the way it is now, where you have to read
          other comments first, call people by name.
          Reading others’ comments gives more context,
          so you’re not jumping on impulsively, before
          knowing what others are saying.(The way I
          just did). It also includes more people, so
          there’s more direct contact, but inclusive. New
          way becomes more narcissistic, more focused
          on hearing your own comment, than being part
          of a community, as it is now.

          Aside from all that, the new way is great. (Joke).

      • I love it! It’s kinda like the Cheeto before it went off the rails.

        • Is there an options setting? Or does everyone get threaded comments whether they like it or not?

          • It’s like a game. We’ll have to gamble on who starts first, if we’re aiming to have the last word. : )

          • That would be awesome . to have options … because I reply to several comments at once somtimes …

          • MIQ, It’s a blog setting that affects all posts. I guess we could turn it off for special posts and then turn it back on.

            hmmm – I like addressing people by name. But, is it necesarry now?

        • I love it, too, BB! Been wishing we’d adopt the TL model for a looong time now. Nesting comments gives those who enter a thread late in the game a chance to respond to the thoughts of others. It means astute/provocative comments will have a better chance at prompting discussion.

          • I’m modifying my above comment.
            Though now no one will read it, because
            they’re all down at the bottom.

            I like it as a variation – because it’s fun.
            But for serious discussions, it becomes
            too confusing and disjointed. You have
            to keep rereading, lose track.

            Also, why is my box smaller and moved over
            so all my sentences get broken up? Is
            it my punishment for writing too long

            I caaaannnnnn’t help it.

            (Edited by katiebird because there is no “reply” button for your comment)

            Speaktruth, do you hit the Enter key at the end of each line of your comments. Or do you let the line wrap around automatically? Hitting the Enter key would create those shortened lines.

          • kb,

            I started hitting the enter button after just
            allowing the line to wrap around. When I let it
            wrap around it goes out of the box so I can’t
            see it or edit. Is that how it should be?
            I just tested that again and it never comes
            back into the box. Is there something wrong
            with my box? (God, I hope not.)

            (edited by katiebird)

            It’s weird, You can reply to my comments but I can’t reply to yours…. And I have wordwrap and you don’t. What browser do you use and does wordwrap work in other text boxes (at other sites?) Send me an email at katiebird@gmail.com — we don’t have to do this publicly.

        • i love it..hat tip….

      • Will be interesting. No harm trying.

        – Will be more difficult for the mods, I’m sure
        – Wouldn’t want socialization at TC to become cliquey
        – Don’t like collapsing/decollapsing, so glad that’s not here
        – The collapsing feature I also find a hassle on portable devices

        TC commentors post fast and in real time. The number one challenge for me will be keeping up with new comments upthread. If there could be some kind of icon saying “new” next to new timestamped posts on a thread since the last refresh, that would help for keep up.

        One final thought. If every primary level post in a thread could begin with an on topic headline or at least a clear statement of view upfront, would help me scan the full threads faster.


        • Three Wickets,

          The comment box is the same one we’ve always had — it just shows up under the comment we’re replying to instead of at the bottom of the page — so no Subject Line.

          This is still very much an experiment so we will go back if it doesn’t seem to be working (although I’m not sure how that would be determined…. maybe a rising level of crankiness?)

          I’m concerned about the cliquish thing too but, we’re accused of that off and on anyway so maybe commenting on blogs just IS cliquish?

          Maybe it will actually reduce cliquishness. It WILL be easier to see if a comment is getting replies. And maybe “regular commenters” could try to “visit” comments that are all alone? Under the old way, it was pretty much impossible to tell if someone’s question/comment was left hanging.

          As to how it works, we’re totally at the mercy of the WordPress administrators. But, we did expand the Recent Comments section and brought it higher up in the sidebar.

          • Thanks katiebird. On the refresh issue, hadn’t seen the longer Recent Comments. That’s a good solution. I’m now opening up a new window (not tab) just for Recent Comments, then minimize sizing it into a vertical bar that just covers Recent Comments, and placing that vertical window at the far left on top of the regular thread window (and/or tab). That way I can see both thread and new comments at the same time. Seems to work for me.

          • Not sure possible, but what would be cool is if WordPress could make the Recent Comments ride (stick to) the left margin of the Comments page wherever in the blog you are or wherever in the thread you scroll to. Just for the Comments sections, not the original posts. And everytime the Comments section was refreshed, the Recent Comments list at the left margin would be refreshed as well. Then you could see both recent comments and the thread on the same screen all the time. That would make tracking upthread or cross-thread comments easier.

    • it.s on..

  2. ‘Locker Man’ Saves Day For Cash-Strapped Tourists

    by David Greene


    I have to admit I had a hard time working up empathy for a family that flies to Disney 3-4 times a year and – “When we used to come down here, we’d make a trip to the grocery store and spend two or three hundred dollars,” she said.

    It could be an ecological thing as well as money saving for some.

  3. Love the threaded comments! I just answered one in the last night’s discussion.
    As for homeowners, we didn’t think they’d adopt HOLC, right? That’s not what they were funded for.
    Also, I registered more horrified shock from believers

  4. Now everyone will know that nobody reads my comments!

  5. This is gonna make following threads from the admin screen surreal

  6. Good morning Joanie in Brooklyn!

    • Good morning, B.B!!! and a beautiful morning it is, cloudless blue sky. No one in my house is up yet, so it’s nice and quiet. You have to get up pretty early in the morning around here to have quiet time; two teen-agers in the house.

      About the housing proposed fix. I keep thinking who will oversee the appraisers. I don’t think there’s an honest appraiser out there. (except for maybe the one who got fired for doing a realistic appraisal of BHO’s Hyde Park manse. But a lot of what happened i.e. the over valuation can be laid squarely @ their door.

      • On NPR the other day they were saying that appraisers were basically bullied into inflating the value of houses. They were told if they didn’t do it the real estate people would find somebody else.

        • “I didn’t want to lie for money – they made me do it!”

        • Only NPR would swallow an idiotic defense like that. I’m sure the real estate people told them they would find somebody else; and they would — in a heartbeat. But the bullying thing, it doesn’t work. Feds don’t buy it. trust me, I know.

          When the Feds come to get you, they pretend like they don’t know the whole system is rigged and the appraisers, real estate lawyers (like me) can’t do a damn thing about it; we’re in over our heads. The people want their American Dream House. AND THEY WANT IT NOW!!!!!! Tell them they can’t afford the house, they should look for something more affordable; they reply you’re jealous, you don’t want them to live as well as you do. This from a client who has no idea how you live.

          Tell them the house was poorly built, it was put together yesterday with tape and cardboard, they’ll say: but it’s a brand new and everything is so shiny and, like, you know, new; and no one’s ever lived in it, Tell them you think this is not a good idea and they’ll say maybe we need to get another lawyer. That’s why I see another boondoggle coming from the mortgage bailout fix. Some people can’t afford houses it’s just that simple. But until that message sinks in, we’re just whistling in the dark.

        • I’m not sure I believe that, being involved in the
          real estate business. (Not that NPR would ever
          lie. Or distort or anything).

          Appraisals are inherently so subjective, though
          they pretend to have objective standards.
          They go by sq.ft. (objective), but evaluations
          of which comparables to use, are subjective.
          I’ve had appraisals redone on same house, with
          differences of $100,000 from different appraisers.
          My opinion, after getting comps, was that the
          higher one was more accurate.

          Usually the banks pressure them to underappraise.
          None of the appraisers I know were told to
          overappraise by banks, maybe by mortgage
          brokers or sales agent, who want a deal, of
          course. But that’s always part of the job, to
          make a deal work.

          The problem with conservative appraisals
          becomes that you can’t buy or sell a house at
          its current value.
          Who does that work for? People with money, of
          course. In a good market, appraisal comes in
          lower than the sales price, sale is off. Someone
          comes along with big down payment (eg. 40%,
          on 300K house, they need 120K). You get
          rid of all those pesky poor people trying to buy
          houses. Let them eat cake.
          Or rent forever. Paying same amount monthly,
          with no control, no tax breaks. Suppose we told
          rich people to forget about owning, renting is better.
          Or just forget about owning till you save $100K,
          owning is not for you.

          Be careful about accepting the spin coming
          from the media now. NPR is owned by the same
          right-wing interests as other media. The goal now
          is to blame everyone but Wall St.

          I think people should be
          able to buy houses with little or no money down.
          That’s what the FHA is about, begun by Dems.
          People have to live somewhere. Difference is
          when they rent and don’t pay, landlords get
          screwed. When it’s a mortgage, it’s the banks.

          There’s no simple answer. But the problem is
          simple. More money going to the rich,
          less going to us.
          How about having a government that helps poorer
          people buy, instead of demonizing them?

          • I’m sorry, I can’t agree with you. I live in a poor neighborhood; look it up, Flatbush, Brooklyn is officially classified by the govt as a poverty area. Now let me tell you this I practiced real estate law in this area for a decade. In that time 99% of the loans were through “mortgage lenders” , the big commercial banks, Citibank, Chase don’t do much in these parts. The savings bank couldn’t compete with the mortgage lenders who were more nimble and had less onerous terms.

            The houses are overvalued; mean price right now for a 1-family $350,000; average income $45,000. The result has been destruction of the community. People buy one family homes then find they can’t afford them, so they turn their basements into illegal rentals. Garage doors have been taken down and the garage turned into a room. So cars that used to be in garages are now on the street. It’s impossible to find a place to park. The parking situation drove my neighbor away after fifty years on the block. ‘The population density has more than doubled to the point where my daughter’s elementary school no longer has a playground. They’ve brought in trailers to house the exploding student population.

            There should be some correlation between the price of the houses in an area and the income of the people living there. Yesterday I saw on the news a woman who was being foreclosed on who was sold a one-family house for $500,000 and her income is $27,000; she also had 2 young girls to support. Now lets say she’s not the brightest bulb on the tree for thinking she could make the payments. But the house was in a community that she should have been able to afford.; and the house ( they showed it) was tiny.

            I’m not demonizing people, but some people’s are so low that they can’t afford a house. After all it’s not just the mortgage, but the taxes, upkeep, utilities. Many people are not prepared for it. I once had a first time buyer client call me after a closing to say he needed lightbulbs. This person had lived in public housing his whole life and didn’t know that people in houses buy their own light bulbs.

            I could go on and on but suffice it to say valuation is critical and in this neck of the woods the appraisal always seems to support the loan.

  7. I still have an account at MyDD but I seem to have lost my commenting privileges.

    Oh the humanity! Those jack booted fascists have stolen my freedom of speech!

    • I was never able to comment at MyDD. I registered and got the confirming e-mail, but could never log it. Not really a big loss though…

      • I never was that much into MyDD, but I do miss Bitter Polics though. I registered but I still can’t get on. Liked to read William’s posts.

      • I’ve always figured MYDD is under some kind of gag order – it’s always good for a gag reflex.

    • Shouldn’t that be “Oh the inhumanity”? ha ha ha

    • I don’t know if I would count that as much of a loss….

      You probably save a bundle on using less sanitizers now.

  8. Myiq,

    You petulant clowns had a lot of fun last night. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t stay awake. But I’m reading the comments now.

    • We had a couple concern trolls at the end of the thread. They thought I should act mature and ignore insults.

      They seem oblivious the the whole Captain Spaulding thing.

      I didn’t pick Gandhi as my avatar, I picked a deranged clown for a reason.

      • That’s not the way we roll at this “sewer called The Confluence,” as CL called us.

        • I get a kick out of strangers who don’t even have a blog coming in here and telling us we’re doing it wrong.

        • We’re a cesspool, not a sewer!

          • I didn’t realize I missed comedy gold last year – Chuckles was really freaked out about getting flashed some boobage huh?

          • there was the comment about being flashed, and several other times he made references to “lady parts” making him feel ill. when I was in my 20’s and deeply immersed in the shallow, immature, gay party scene I came across many gay men that feigned disgust at the thought of sex with women. I thought it was immature and sexist then, and I still do. Most of those guys grew up and got over that idiocy. Poor Chuckie got stuck back there I guess.

  9. RD: I love the new threaded comments. I’ve often wanted to agree with a comment, but had to scroll all the way down to the bottom, an dthen quote the comment to do so. This is kewl. Thanks!

    • staunchwoman,

      The only bad part is if you want to read the updated replies you have to go all the way back to the top. At DK you could close up a thread and decide which ones you wanted to read. But one thing I’ve always liked about TC is that you can see everyone’s comments.

      • Hey, bb — I read your comment s (despite the fact that you think no one reads them) 🙂

        seriously, i think no one reads my stuff either. usually, though it’s my own fault — i’m not up as late into the evening as most of you are, and by the time I read the post, the thread is dead.

        I just want to say how grateful I am for this community of dissenters. For me it’s the only sane spot in the midst of the tom-tom beating Obots. I am surrounded by goose-steppers at work (a large midwestern university) and the only person I can talk politics with is a totally right wing republican who thinks Bush was an “honorable man”. Although she and I are on the same page about Obama, I have to keep reminding her that we are there for different reasons, and that we got there through different pathways.

        That’s okay, though. It still beats trying to deal with the glassy-eyed Opologists as they explain away and outright ingore the fact that their hero is a sham.

        • Opologists…that’s a good one, hadn’t seen it before!

          • see, Gary, you did the thread thing even though you were afraid you couldn’t! It’s not so hard…listen, if a bunch of die-hard democrats can come together in dissent against a “democratic” potus it proves that we old dogs can learn all sorts of new tricks. Which is good, because I have a feeling we’ll have to just in order to survive the New Order.

  10. I miss a lot of comments this way…oh well. Will we be scolded if we don’t reply to the correct comment? I’m getting to that age where change is scary, especially after what Obushma did to the word….lol

  11. I’m nosy, I like to read other peoples conversations 🙂

  12. So will we have to keep checking up thread for trolls?

    • If someone replies to comment upthread. But the trolls are probably too stupid to do that…

  13. Great….I ask a question about moderation and end up in moderation..

    How ironic. Please release me

  14. According to this Chuckles never graduated from Stanford

    • It looks to me like he has a bachelor’s and master’s degree, but he doesn’t actually list a graduation date. I wonder why he is listing his job on the internet. I thought he was so worried about people finding out who he is?

      • He may have attended school at The Farm, but if he had a degree from Stanford he would list it.

        He’s like that.

    • From the link…

      “Free-lance political writer and consultant”

      I guess that means we’re all consultants now, at least to ourselves. 🙂

    • Edge, did you see the article by the AP blasting Hillary for ignoring China’s human rights abuses, as if she’s the one setting the foreign policy?

      • Wasn’t it Hillary who called China out on human rights while actually in China?

        The Bobot selective memory at work again. . ..

  15. If there was anything that could make this even MORE addictive, you all have gone and done it. Now you have to reread every comment from the top everytime you refresh! Oh, and seriously, can you turn this off on a fast moving thread like a live blog or the like. It seems like it would be a nightmare to try to keep up with everyone. Although I suspect that as with other wordpress options its either on on all the threads or off…

  16. . Is anyone interested in twittering The Confluence?

    I would answer if I knew what that meant.

    • yeah. what is twitter? I mean, i’ve been to the site, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
      but then, i don’t ‘get” the purpose of facebook or myspace, either.

      • he he. thank GOD I never got a facebook page, now that they’ve decided that they will hold onto your info FOREVER BWAHA HAHAHA!!!!! Even if you delete your page. I guess later they took that back, but you know they’re lying.

    • It’s Twitter . Some blogs also twitter. Like, I could let you know what I’m doing every minute of the day. When I’m at home, when I’m at work, when I’m taking a shower, when I’m reading a book, when I’m having sex. Stuff like that. And you could reply and ask me questions. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Planet Money has a twitter account if you want to see how it works. I don’t find it all that much different from blogging but there must be an aspect of it that is useful. It’s one of the technologies that I talked about last summer. We need to examine our options.

      • Twitter sounds like big brother on steroids

        • Yes, but YOU choose to have Big Brother checking up on you all the time. That makes it better.
          I have a twitter account but so far, the few regular followers. It kinda creeps me out, which is why I never use it. But if The Confluence wants a twitter of its own, we could try it.

      • Does that mean we could look in on each other
        whenever we want? Taking a shower, having sex?

    • Gary – ya know any 9-year-olds? They could explain it to you. 🙂

      I am told by my IT colleagues that it’s like micro-blogging. You can “follow” what a site is doing by putting it on Twitter. Apparently it’s like a headline summary – limited to 150 characters.

      • I don’t have an iphone or a blackberry, so I guess it wouldn’t do much for me then. It doesn’t make sense that you would use it on your computer, because why wouldn’t you just visit the blog. I guess you could be twittering like ten blogs at once, but I can barely deal with threaded comments!

  17. It looks to me like RD changed the setting to three-deep. I’d like to be able to reply the the third level. We’ll have to have a group vote to see how many levels we want. Or maybe the post author can decide?

  18. I really liked this picture that I saw on Hillbuzz. She looks fabulous. On another note, I somehow ended up on huffplop and saw the pic of her with her glasses and they had some article going on and on about the “rare” glimpse of her with her glasses on, the implication that she is too vain to wear them and that she looks like a geek with them. I hate those assholes.

    • Yeah, but they get called on in the Presidential press conferences now. That is a great picture, Gary.

    • that story got blown from the headlines by 9/11. When I lived in DC there was always the story that there was a serial killer on the loose. I believe Levy was one of several women killed in Rock Creek Park. I wonder if the guy they got is responsible for those killings too.

  19. HilllllaaaaRRREEEEEE!

    Haven’t had a good wail lately – thanks for the pic, RD!

    Also…I saw Holbrooke on Charlie Rose last night. Can I just say, Wow. He is just as wonky as Hillary, and so based in reality. I can see why she chose him as her Special Envoy.

    I do wish they didn’t have to back up Obama’s asinine “surge” in Afghanistan. OTOH, Holbrooke & team are doing a strategic re-evaluation of the whole occupation because they know that we the people have no idea why our troops are dying over there.

    • i thought Move On told us he was the peace president?

    • You know, I was really pissed at the hit piece that RealClearPolitics did on Hillary as SOS. They made it seem like she was overwhelmed and that’s why she handed the reins over to Mitchell and Holbrooke. It seems to me that some guys do not appreciate the way some women manage. It’s more consensus driven and thrives on delegation. What it isn’t is micromanaging, authoritarian hierarchy like Obama likes. I work for a woman with Hillary’s management style and I adore my boss. She’s going to do it her way based on the way she perceives the terrain and I suspect it’s more holistic than a male POV. Maybe some people will see that as not tough enough. But results speak for themselves. Let’s see what happens before we condemn her.
      And that crap about her running a lousy campaign is utter BS. It was Obama’s campaign that needed to be rescued by cheating and sweetheart deals that circumvented the voters. He couldn’t win any other way.

      • I agree, RD. Did you see my piece on the Welsh National Assembly in The New Agenda? You can see the exact principle you are describing working in real time. And it’s scientifical, too!

      • Yes, well, if you have people working for you who are competent and you can trust, rather than people who are just payoffs for getting you elected, you can delegate and work by consensus. They can trust you not to throw them under the bus, and you can trust them not to stab you in the back. Both of you end up spending a lot less time in snake-pit political manuevering, and a lot more time doing the actual work.

      • Do you really think he micromanages? I don’t see him personally giving a rat’s @ss about anything beyond taking full advantage of Ruffles and Flourishes and preening for the crowds.

        • It does appear to be a ‘micromanaging hierarchy’ but I don’t think obama is holding the reigns. He is speachifying and somebody else knows what is really going on. I think that accounts for his different answers to the same questions.

        • That’s what I’ve read (can’t find the links). He is a “hands on” manager, which is employee speak for “micromanager”. He wants to know what everyone is doing and he wants to be involved. Whether the actualities of the job frustrate this impulse in him is another question. But I am sure that a person who likes to be that involved is going to quickly burn out in the White House. You have to delegate and trust your people. It also helps to have a political philosophy and be able to see how all the mechanisms work together. That’s why I think Obama is going to be a disaster as a president. He came in without a philosophy and is being pushed around by people with more political will. In the end, Hillary may well be his best appointment.

          • Well, he did say he’s going to be checking up on every mayor and governor to see how they are using the stimulus funds.

          • Even an Uberwonk like the Big Dawg working 16 hour days can’t micromanage the federal government.

            It’s just way too big.

          • Wouldn’t that be kind of hard to do while extensively traveling the US? I think the hands on line is a load of BS myself. A hands on manager would in my opinion be staying in DC to micromanage rather than traveling to Colorado and Arizona and every other place. It’s artifice so it will take us a bit longer to figure out who the puppetmaster is.

    • Just testing this out. Read your play from yesterday.

  20. Is there any option for seeing which comments are new? I love threaded comments but sometimes when the number of comments gets really high it’s helpful to see which were the most recent.

    • you can look at the list on the left of the screen that says “recent comments” it has a list of about the 5 newest comments with the commenter and their avatar. that’s how I’ve been keepin g up

      • thanks, but on a fast moving thread, isn’t it hard to keep up?

        • yeah, that’s why I was saying it might be nice to be able to disable it on a live blogging post, or something like that when there are like 10 comments coming in per second.

    • I forgot to add, if you click on the link of the name of the post under their avatar it takes you directly to that comment.

    • There is a way to see which comments are new. But I think that sometimes isn’t fair to people who posted really good comments early on. But if there is a strong opinion on this, we can give it a trial run and see how it works out.

      • Thanks. This could be really interesting, to see how most people read the blog. I didn’t really think of that bc if I read a thread, I read the whole thing, and I’m sort of a slow reader, so if I end up going back over all the comments to see new ones, I fear I’ll end up in an endless loop of rereading and never manage to comment. But, I’m possibly rather weird in that.

      • Call me a linear thinker, but I usually start at the top of the thread and work my way down … i’m going to have to get use to this, I used to ignore a lot of threaded comments at NQ because they got hard to follow … although there’s have little boxes around them. This is just a series of indents.

        • Me too – but the nice thing is if I join a thread that already has over 100 comments and I see something I’d like to reply to… well if it is very far upthread, I don’t comment.

          It also might reduce the misunderstandings that happen by mistaking the context of comments.

      • When I come on a thread late, I always read the new ones and then go backwards to figure out what everyone is talking about–so I would still read the old comments.

      • I think they both have advantages and
        disadvantages. How about mixing it up, some
        fun posts this way, more serious posts the old way.

        If I had to choose one, though, I choose the old way.
        Threaded comments are one of the things that
        stopped me going to NQ. In addition to their new
        right-wing slant.

  21. Oh crap-this is making me dizzy!

  22. BTW – I’ve heard from some oif my bloggy friends that the lack of threaded comments is why they don’t comment here. I think you’ll get more readership.

  23. What is this? I am confused.

  24. How does this manage a tr0ll infest?

    • The trolls will we too stupid to figure it out. Plus we can look at the new comments on the dashboard or the sidebar.

      • boomer I may also be too stupid to figure it out!
        (see, we ALL read your comments! 😉 )

        • Catarina, It is getting more complicated now that there are so many comments. We may need that new comment ID thing.

    • “Menage a tr0ll” sounds really preverted and disgusting.

  25. I sort of prefer the old fashioned way, but I can see that i will end up reading the entire “thread”. I have tended to read threads as carefully as I have the time, and enjoy going back and rereading when I can. I think I can live with this either way.

  26. Hi everyone, it is like Christmas and we all get to play with the new toy at once. I agree that a new comment indicator would be great. Usually, I read all the way through, but then when I refresh it would be great to see what has been added. RD- probably the really good posts would have replies, so they would draw attention to themselves that way.

    • That’s why I would like it too, Honora. That way I can see right away the comments that are replying to threads I’ve already read–an to my comments!

      • Thanks for hearing me. I am so used to talking to my kids and getting no reply, this is so exciting. 😉

  27. How do you get your own avatar here? Just wondering.

  28. I am kind of with Heidi. But then change is kind of difficult to adjust to in the beginning.

    • I can understand why we would all have an aversion to “change”.

      • Ugh, it’s worse than you think. The new CEO of my company is either an Obot or is channeling his campaign narrative as his new management style. I kinda liked it when the French socialists were running the show. The guy might have some cool and groovy new ideas, like breaking R&D into smaller, nimbler units so they can act like biotech startups. I’m totally on board with that concept. But if I hear “change” one more time in a presentation I’m going to hurl.

  29. Is it polite to comment on the main post without replying to anybody? That’s what I’m about to do: re Secretary Clinton. The woman is one shrewd politician. She realized full well that if she weren’t going to be president but would be in the cabinet the absolute best job for her skill set and for her was as Secretary of State. She doesn’t get associated with the Obama’s handling of the economic association; she gets to make the State department (rather than Defense or the V.P.’s Office) the center of our foreign relations, and to reintroduce diplomacy and development as two equal counterparts (to defense) in foreign affairs.

    What is interesting about this to me is that the storyline was that if Obama became president the world would love us and so no need to worry about messy spots like Afghanistan. Of course, folks like the Taliban do not care in the least what the skin color of the president; and the people with whom a President or Secretary of State can work with are delighted to have Hlllary Clinton as a partner.

    • By all means. I would love to hear what you think of what’s going on.

    • Indeed Heidi….it was a bad sign for us citizens when Hill left the Senate , but did not go to 1600 Pa Ave . either . The one person whose got our back on domestic issues was gone! …..However the world is delighted and frankly I doubt the Obama administration could function at all without her telling the world it’s alright .

    • Excellent point, Heidi. I would like to add that takng SOS position liberated her from the domestic MSM and all the yakketty yak. Foreign press is more balanced and sometimes can be adoring to her and then the domestic MSM has to follow grudgingly,
      as we have seen this week. Compare her Asia coverage vs Obama’s coverage in Canada. Obots must be stewing. And she has only just begun. Imagine how it would be when they are together, say at G-7 conf. She is a better copy for foreign press and more substantive.

      I really think that the Japanese Empress by welcoming Hillary so publicly and warmly was making a statement that she should have been the President.

  30. OT: i wanted to put this link up for e1, it’s to a harvard research institute project that tests if we have any biases to people, many of the links have to do with r@cism, but there is also a test for homophobia … anyway, thought you might be interested in taking the test.


    • I just saw an article yesterday that some university (michigan maybe?) did this sort of aversion test and were using it to say that white people have become less averse to black people since obama was elected. whatever…. I think these kind of tests are a little bit of quackery personally.

      • yeah, i saw this mentioned in the NY TImes today as a point to discussing Holder’s comments. I was thinking of doing a thread, but that’s not my area of expertise … so I thought i’d just throw the link up

    • this is the article I saw:

      Racial prejudice among whites decreased following Barack Obama’s groundbreaking presidential candidacy, according to a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Florida State psychology professors.

      Patricia Devine, a UW-Madison psychology professor, and E. Ashby Plant, a Florida State psychology professor, conducted the study that examined President Obama’s influence in the way whites perceive blacks.

      According to a university release, the professors found a decrease in racial prejudice among participants following Obama’s nomination.

      I think they’re really trivializing racism yet again. this is as bad as the “men can’t help it” study imo.

      • Sharpton will have a fit! His bread and butter depends on divide and conquer and seeing r*cism everywhere even when it is not.

      • IMHO, I think they are misinterpreting the data. The decrease in racism occurred prior to his election. Otherwise, he couldn’t have gotten elected. MAYBE there was less overall racism than what was previously perceived just like there is less overall resistance to a woman president. The difference is that Barack Obama had the backing of his party’s hierarchy while Hillary Clinton did not. But the attitude of the public was receptive to either. I am absolutely convinced that Hillary would have won in a landslide. I think it would have been bigger than Obama’s win because not only would it have been a bigger historical change but we would have been voting in the person who had the knowledge to perform well in her office from her first day. After the economy tanked in September it was the Democrat’s election to lose. Hillary would have soared.

    • Took it. I have a slight positive preference for homosexuals. (Does this mean in social interactions?) Go figure.
      I don’t really know what it means but it’s probably within the margin of error. Personally, I am 95% straight. I know, I know, to some that would seem like a disability but I have come to terms with it.

    • I tried it and like all online research I take the results with a grain of salt. I took the test about hom0phobia first and about r@ ce second and it was interesting to learn that the results were that I have no strong preference for or against gays or straights or African-Americans or Caucasians. I would have been surprised at another outcome. The problem is however that I might just be a good testtaker, although I do think the need to coordinate quick physical reaction with “answering” controls for that to some extent. Thanks for the link, Dak.

      • I showed a strong preference for straight. I wonder what this actually means. How much do the follow up questions actually figure in to the results. I grew up and live in a rural area in Oklahoma, obviously not a hot bed of gay rights. Does this just mean I associate more with straights or does this indicate an actual aversion to gays.

        As a caveat I will say I support gay marriage and gay rights. I don’t categorize my friends or associates by their sexual preference. At least I never thought I did. Now I wish I had never taken the test.

      • Heidi:

        The textbook I use for my employment discrimination course recommends this test. Apparently the “key” to the result is not how fast a test-taker you are, it is whether you answer SOME of the questions more quickly than others. So it is possible to manipulate the test by taking it veeeery slooowly and taking the exact same amount of time for each question.

        • Adding comment to clarify — text recommends the test as a teaching tool to accompany course material on subconscious stereotyping.

    • took it on r@ce- I was surprised, I had always wondered if I had some sort of sub sub r @cist attitude in disliking Barack Obama, but it gave:
      a moderate automatic preference for Black people over White people.
      Your data suggest no difference in your automatic preferences for John McCain vs. Barack Obama

      Even tho I said I preferred McCain…

      Guess ABG should try it too 8)

  31. Wishing Teddy all the best but if he does step down I believe in MA we have a special election to fill his seat. If so, I would love to see Martha Coakley go for it. A sharp attorney general and a big time Hillary supporter who was one half of the MA delegation to hold out at the convention and refused to bow to the Obama “let’s make this unanimous” vote.

    If they bypass this in favor of Vicky Kennedy I don’t think it will go over very well.

    • I’d be very surprised if Vicky can win the special election. Ted couldn’t get his niece appointed in NY. Martha Coakley all the way!

  32. The “progs” are not very happy with The One according to HuffPo. Seems they see him carrying on too many of the Bush policies.

    Really? We here got that hint sometime last year. Must be the snail mail that is keeping them uninformed.




    click the link to listen
    or copy paste it into your player where it says play url . then sit back and let the Goddesses of Independent Music work their magic on your heart soul mind and body …
    There is no shortage of great music from women of independent artists …

    EVA CASIDY set in progress as I type this

  34. More kool-aid from the local media. The Atlanta Journal Constitution (ajc.com) is quoting the Harris Interactive Poll from Politico.com:

    “When asked who they admire enough to call a hero, more Americans named President Barack Obama than any other figure. Even Jesus Christ”.

    The ajc claims membership with Politico.com. I’m familar with the name but not who they really are.

    Like the format!

  35. I have to admit I am getting a little dizzy here. So accustomed to reading downward. Having to go back and capture the “reply” section to already posted comments is taking time. But then again, I often refer to jeans as “dungarees” so don’t mind me.

  36. Hillary looks great in that blue dress!

  37. Riverdaughter,

    The one thing I would rather we never have is comment ratings.

    • I second that

    • BB: I think you are absolutely right. This site will never have comment ratings. It is too easy for a bad actor to manipulate. I’m sure you can write a thesis about how it can be corrupted and consensus reality twisted to suit someone else’s narrative. We saw it happen with our own eyes.
      Of course, sites like Alegre’s corner can do what they want but she is probably aware that she will have to keep a very close eye on it to make sure that no one attempts to take over.

  38. Swan ! Love Eva’s cover of Dolly’s coat of many colors! Thank you!!

  39. RD, I really like the new format where you can reply directly to someone’s post. Ingenious. Although, I must admit, the first time I saw it I had a flashback to DU. Bad times, bad times. Cyberbullies made that place uninhabitable.

    Anywho, help me out here re HRC as foreign president. Since I’m too lazy to research, I’ll ask some of the more informed here if it’s typical in past administrations to assign emissaries to other nations when you have a perfectly fabulous SoS on board? We have HRC (thank fucki*n’ god) as SoS but we also have these other folks assigned to help out in the middle east, etc. Is this typical?

    • I don’t know whose Idea it was to appoint Mitchell and Holbrooke but I actually think it’s a pretty good idea. The Bushies left foreign relations in such a shambles that no one person can keep up with it. Both envoys are Clinton people. I am assuming she proposed the idea to Obama and he bit. That way, it satisfies his desire to micromanage and hers to have two people she trusts to handle these two hot button areas.
      Seriously, it’s fucking brilliant when you think about it. Her department actually seems to be functioning where Obama is still dicking around with appointments to Commerce, Labor and HHS. She’s on top of her game making his administration look good from a foreign policy perspective. What’s not to like? Hence all of the hit pieces against her.
      No good Hillary deed goes unpunished.

      • It was Hillary idea. She was the “MC” at the St Dept. introduction of them. Obama went to offer approval (& get some good press). Bill even addressed this politely in his (?) Larry King interview.
        Hillary is just proving you can’t “fight fate”. It was her (& our) time to be Pres.
        This direct replay option; seems like a nice addition to the we-site.

        • Thanks RD and Tpt/ny,

          It all makes sense that HRC would initiate this move. How could I not have seen this?! She is blowing the doors off of diplomacy while BO is stuck in first gear.

      • A post in NQ says Holbrooke was on Charlie Rose last night and said he set up a joint meeting w/ foreign ministers of Afghanistan and Pakistan for Hillary next wk in Washington. He apparently made a point to say that he was constantly on phone with Hillary in Asia in setting this meeting up. No mention about Obama.

    • Cyberbullies will have to deal with the site moderators.

      Even Captain Spaulding is scared of Katiebird.

      • Nice one. Captain Spaulding, boy, that brings back memories. Sometimes I wander over to DU and see BlackVelvet and the other good folks that formed Capital Hill and miss that connection. But, there’s no way to handle DU.

    • If I remember right Mitchell was there for Northern Ireland under Bill Clinton.

  40. When the heck did I get old and set in my ways????

  41. Breaking, breaking: Chuckie Lemos makes the NYTimes Opinionator column!

    Here’s what one astute reader had to say about Chuck’s pontifications on the l’affaire Santelli:

    Mr. Lemos, the tactic of demonizing those you disagree with is losing its power. You come across as more bigoted and intolerant than the people you condemn. And I and many others I know totally reject, now and forever, any accusations of racism. You do not know us. How dare you judge us.
    — margaret Duck

    Three cheers for discerning reader Margaret.

  42. I like it more than I thought…. But, I think MyIQ is right — moderating is going to be weird.

    I wonder what happens to the replies when we delete a troll? Does the whole thread get deleted or is it left parentless (like TalkLeft)

    • I’m noticing that now that things have slowed down and I’m caught up on the comments that it’s MUCH nicer to stay in the moderation window to watch for new comments.

      But, maybe that isn’t totally unfair (thinking out loud) — because now that things have slowed down we everyone can keep an eye on the “Recent Comments” box.

      As an experiment, I just expanded the “Recent Comments” to 10 and moved it up to right under the badges. Does that help?

  43. Riverdaughter, Thanks for the beautiful picture of Hillary–it’s awesome!!!

    • it’s a great picture! she’s in color and everyone else is black and white

      • The problem is that she looked *too* good. That picture just says it all. She’s a confident, well liked and respected American politician. It must have just *killed* the Obot brand unit. That picture just upstages him.

        • She doesn’t need the title; you can see everyone there thinks she’s the real leader. This is her world tour and while the celebrity fans gathered to see citizen-of-the-world Obama, Clinton is talking with the leaders who will shape tomorrow’s world. This is the most respect we’ve seen from foreign countries since JFK “accompanied Jackie Kennedy to Paris”.

          And where’s Obama? Still trying out all the presidential perks like a wealthy jet setter flitting from vacation spot to vacation spot.

  44. I suppose the nested comments format will work well for the regulars who are in more or less perpetual dialogue on this site .

    But as a regular reader who only occasionally comments, I would appreciate the usual option of an on/off setting for threading comments. My principal interest in Cfonfluence is in the posts, and while I scan the comments, my western time zone does not make commenting in real time much of an option.

    So if there is no non-threaded option I will probably skip the comments.

  45. Funny thing about that picture above. It used to be attached to the NYTimes article on her stop in Indonesia but it was replaced by another one which shows her pretty much in isolation without the adoring crowds.

    How incredibly petty. I hate the NY Times.

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