Daily Archive: 03/16/2012

Mar 16 2012

2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship: Round of 64 Day 2 Evening

Seeders did a good job.  Only 2 upsets at all in the first day of play.  UConn out and sanctioned.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted; hope you like that Throwball.

Yesterday Evening’s Results

Result Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
81-66 1 *Kentucky 33-2 16 Western Kentucky 16-19 South
59-62 5 Wichita State 27-6 12 *VCU 29-6 South
77-54 7 *Gonzaga 26-6 10 West Virginia 19-14 East
68-60 3 *Baylor 28-7 14 South Dakota State 27-8 South
77-64 8 *Iowa State 23-10 9 Connecticut 20-14 South
79-66 4 *Indiana 26-8 13 New Mexico State 26-10 South
78-59 2 *Ohio State 28-7 15 Loyola Maryland 24-9 East
64-68 6 UNLV 26-9 11 *Colorado 24-11 South

Tom Izzo is not a troll.  I studied at MSU under Falcone who thought I was hopeless and was right about that.  They held the service for my Uncle who got decapitated in a plane crash at the chapel.  Funny story that, they mis-identified the body and sent it off with another family.  When they got down to the bits and pieces they had a rib and a scrap of lung.  “Did your husband smoke?”, they asked my Aunt.  “No.”  “Then this is not him.”  When they finally got it sorted out they didn’t want her to view the body which was kind of funny because she was a biochemist working in oncology and had seen any number of cadavers.

Tonight’s Action

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
6:30 pm TBS 8 Memphis 26-8 9 Saint Louis 25-7 West
7 pm CBS 2 Duke 27-6 15 Lehigh 26-7 South
7 pm TNT 4 Michigan 24-9 13 Ohio 27-7 Mid West
7:30 pm True 7 St. Mary’s 27-5 10 Purdue 21-12 Mid West
9 pm TBS 1 Michigan State 27-7 16 LIU Brooklyn 25-8 West
9:30 pm CBS 7 Notre Dame 22-11 10 Xavier 21-12 South
9:30 pm TNT 5 Temple 24-7 12 South Florida 20-13 Mid West
10 pm True 2 Kansas 27-6 15 Detroit 22-13 Mid West

ps. Melbourne Qualifying @ 2 am.

Mar 16 2012

Foreclosure Fraud: More Foreclosures

Who could have possibly thought that by giving the banks a pass on foreclosure fraud with the 49 state agreement that there would be an increase in foreclosures? That prediction came from Mark Vitner, an economist with Wells Fargo:

“The immediate results are not going to be all that pleasant,” said Mark Vitner, an economist with Wells Fargo. His bank is one of the biggest lenders in Florida as well as a participant in the settlement. “The amount of foreclosures will actually increase and there will be some additional downward pressure on home prices.”

And foreclosures are on the rise in half of the major metro areas:

February foreclosure activity in the 26 states with a judicial foreclosure process increased 2 percent from January and was up 24 percent from February 2011, while activity in the 24 states with a non-judicial foreclosure process decreased 5 percent from January and was down 23 percent from February 2011.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Half of largest metro areas post annual increases in foreclosure activity

Ten of the nation’s 20 largest metro areas by population documented year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity in February, led by the Florida cities of Tampa (64 percent increase) and Miami (53 percent increase).

The 10 metro areas with increases were all on the East Coast or in the Midwest, while most of the metro areas with year-over-year decreases in foreclosure activity were in the West, led by Seattle (59 percent decrease) and Phoenix (43 percent decrease).

The metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates among the 20 largest were Riverside-San Bernardino in California (one in 166 housing units), Atlanta (one in 244), Phoenix (one in 259), Miami (one in 264) and Chicago (one in 302).

Meanwhile robosigning has still not stopped. Matt Stoller at naked capitalism found according to the HUD Inspector General Report Well Fargo is still using it:

At the time of our review, affidavits continued to be processed by these same signers, who may not have been qualified, and these signers may not have adequately verified certain figures because they accessed a computer screen of data showing a compilation of figures instead of verifying the data against the information through review of the books and records kept in the regular course of business by the institution.

Stollers reaction deserves repeating:

I’m sorry, but WHAT THE $&*@!?!?  I’m so glad Eric Holder has cut a deal with Al Capone while Capone is still on a shooting spree.  And note, this isn’t just robosigning, this is potentially overcharging homeowners with junk fees and just generally not verifying accurate data on who owes what to whom.  There really is no lesson here except “crime pays”.

And they are still stealing homes.

Mar 16 2012

2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship: Round of 64 Day 2 Afternoon

Tear up those Cinderella brackets, yesterday afternoon was a good day for the seeds- no upsets at all.

Yesterday Afternoon’s Results

Result Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
58-41 6 *Murray State 31-1 11 Colorado State 20-12 West
70-64 8 *Kansas State 22-10 9 Southern Miss 25-9 East
69-62 4 *Louisville 27-9 13 Davidson 25-8 West
73-49 4 *Wisconsin 25-9 13 Montana 12-17 East
88-68 3 *Marquette 26-7 14 BYU 26-9 West
72-65 1 *Syracuse 32-2 16 UNC Asheville 24-10 East
75-68 5 *New Mexico 28-6 12 Long Beach St. 25-9 West
79-70 5 *Vanderbilt 25-10 12 Harvard 26-5 East

Today’s Afternoon Action

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
Noon CBS 6 Cincinnati 24-10 11 Texas 20-13 East
12:30 pm True 6 San Diego St. 26-7 11 NC State 22-12 Mid West
1:30 pm TBS 8 Creighton 28-5 9 Alabama 21-11 Mid West
2 pm TNT 7 Florida 23-10 10 Virginia 22-9 West
2:30 pm CBS 3 Florida State 24-9 14 St. Bonaventure 20-11 East
3 pm True 3 Georgetown 23-8 14 Belmont 27-7 Mid West
4 pm TBS 1 North Carolina 29-5 16 Vermont 24-11 Mid West
4:30 pm TNT 2 Missouri 30-4 15 Norfolk St. 25-9 West

Hoyas

The team name is derived from the mixed Greek and Latin chant, “Hoya Saxa,” (meaning “What Rocks”) which gained popularity at the school in the late nineteenth century.

Mar 16 2012

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Paul Krugman: Natural Born Drillers

To be a modern Republican in good standing, you have to believe – or pretend to believe – in two miracle cures for whatever ails the economy: more tax cuts for the rich and more drilling for oil. And with prices at the pump on the rise, so is the chant of “Drill, baby, drill.” More and more, Republicans are telling us that gasoline would be cheap and jobs plentiful if only we would stop protecting the environment and let energy companies do whatever they want.

To be a modern Republican in good standing, you have to believe – or pretend to believe – in two miracle cures for whatever ails the economy: more tax cuts for the rich and more drilling for oil. And with prices at the pump on the rise, so is the chant of “Drill, baby, drill.” More and more, Republicans are telling us that gasoline would be cheap and jobs plentiful if only we would stop protecting the environment and let energy companies do whatever they want.

Timothy Egan: The Other 1 Percent

The yellow banners, the halftime tributes, the bloviating by politicians of both parties – it’s so easy for the 99 percent of us who aren’t serving in the military to act like we support them. We all love the troops, blah, blah, blah.

And then, you see an Army lieutenant colonel accused this week of plotting to blow up the Washington State Capitol and kill his commanding officer. You see, two months ago, a man not long out of his Army uniform gunning down a park ranger in her uniform. You hear of the massacre of children and women in Afghanistan – civilians all – allegedly by an Army sergeant who served four tours of duty.

All of those incidents came from people connected to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Tacoma, Wash., the largest military installation on the West Coast. And all of the suspects had completed combat tours in Iraq or Afghanistan. Is it the base, or the service, or the wars? Who’s failing these soldiers?

Amy Goodman: Terror, Trauma and the Endless Afghan War

We may never know what drove a U.S. Army staff sergeant to head out into the Afghan night and allegedly murder at least 16 civilians in their homes, among them nine children and three women. The massacre near Belambai, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, has shocked the world and intensified the calls for an end to the longest war in U.S. history. The attack has been called tragic, which it surely is. But when Afghans attack U.S. forces, they are called “terrorists.” That is, perhaps, the inconsistency at the core of U.S. policy, that democracy can be delivered through the barrel of a gun, that terrorism can be fought by terrorizing a nation.

“I did it,” the alleged mass murderer said as he returned to the forward operating base outside Kandahar, that southern city called the “heartland of the Taliban.” He is said to have left the base at 3 a.m. and walked to three nearby homes, methodically killing those inside. One farmer, Abdul Samad, was away at the time. His wife, four sons, and four daughters were killed. Some of the victims had been stabbed, some set on fire. Samad told The New York Times, “Our government told us to come back to the village, and then they let the Americans kill us.”

Robert Reich: Why Republicans Aren’t Mentioning the Real Cause of Rising Prices at the Gas Pump

Gas prices continue to rise, which is finally giving Republicans an issue. Mitt Romney is demanding the President open up more domestic drilling; the super PAC behind Rick Santorum just released a new ad in Louisiana blasting the President on gas prices; and the GOP is attacking the White House on the Keystone XL Pipeline.  

But the rise in gas prices has almost nothing to do with energy policy. It has everything to do with America’s continuing failure to adequately regulate Wall Street. But don’t hold your breath waiting for Republicans to tell the truth.

As I’ve noted before, oil supplies aren’t being squeezed. Over 80 percent of America’s energy needs are now being satisfied by domestic supplies. In fact, we’re starting to become an energy exporter. Demand for oil isn’t rising in any event. Demand is down in the U.S. compared to last year at this time, and global demand is still moderate given the economic slowdowns in Europe and China.

Robert Sheer: At Last, Some Decency on Wall Street

By the time you read this, the PR hacks of Goldman Sachs will be vigorously pressing their efforts to destroy the reputation of whistle-blower Greg Smith, a former Goldman executive director whose exposé in Wednesday’s New York Times Op-Ed page was so devastating that the 143-year-old firm might actually, finally, be held accountable.

Smith, a wunderkind who spent the 12 years after he graduated from Stanford University rising through the ranks at Goldman, has revealed the firm’s culture to be so fundamentally venal that were financial industry shenanigans not generally exempt from effective legal regulation, Goldman’s executives could have been rounded up Wednesday morning on organized-crime charges.

John Nichols: Can Harsh Voter ID Laws Threaten Democracy? A Judge Says ‘Yes’

For the last year, the American Legislative Exchange Council and its members have directed Republican-controlled legislatures across the country to enact what critics have rightly decried as voter-suppression laws.

The most aggressive of these have been voter ID laws that place dramatic new burdens on the elderly, students, low-income and minority citizens who want to participate in the democratic process. [..]

Now, however, the wheels are coming off the initiative-not just in the South, where the US Justice Department has significant flexibility to monitor laws that effect voting rights but in swing states of the North.

Monday saw the US Department of Justice extend its previous objections to restrictive voter ID laws in Southern states, where the federal government has the authority under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to block changes in voting procedures that might maintain (or renew) historic patterns of discrimination.

As it did in December, when it prevented implementation of South Carolina’s controversial voter ID law, the Obama administration has now blocked a similar law in Texas.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: Romney Meets ‘Peasants With Pitchforks’

Political revolutions leave chaos in their wake. Republicans cannot shut down their presidential nominating contest because the party is in the midst of an upheaval wrought by the growing dominance of its right wing, its unresolved attitudes toward George W. Bush’s presidency, and the terror the GOP rank and file has stirred among the more moderately conservative politicians who once ran things.

When Pat Buchanan ran for president in the 1990s, the conservative commentator lovingly referred to his partisans as “peasants with pitchforks.” The pitchfork brigade now enjoys more power in Republican politics than even Buchanan thought possible.

Mitt Romney is still the Republican front-runner by virtue of the delegates he relentlessly piles up. But Romney keeps failing to bring this slugfest to a close. No matter how much he panders and grovels to the party’s right, its supporters will never see him as one of their own.

Eugene Robinson: Santorum needs Gingrich in the race

If Rick Santorum wants to keep Mitt Romney from wrapping up the Republican nomination before the convention, he should encourage Newt Gingrich to stay in the race, not drop out.

Not everyone buys this theory, I admit. The doubters include Santorum – who keeps shoving Newt toward the exit – as well as quite a few leading conservatives, including Family Research Council head Tony Perkins and influential blogger Erick Erickson. They want to see a two-man contest between a “Massachusetts moderate” and a dyed-in-the-wool conservative.

I think they should be careful what they wish for. The “throw Newt from the train” people think that the math is on their side, but it isn’t.

Mar 16 2012

On This Day In History March 16

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.

March 16 is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 290 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1802, The United States Military Academy, the first military school in the United States, is founded by Congress for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science.

Colonial period, founding, and early years

The Continental Army first occupied West Point, New York, on 27 January 1778, making it the longest continually occupied post in the United States of America. Between 1778 and 1780, Polish engineer and military hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko oversaw the construction of the garrison defenses. The Great Hudson River Chain and high ground above the narrow “S” curve in the river enabled the Continental Army to prevent British Royal Navy ships from sailing upriver and dividing the Colonies. As commander of the fortifications at West Point, however, Benedict Arnold committed his infamous act of treason, attempting to sell the fort to the British. After Arnold betrayed the patriot cause, the Army changed the name of the fortifications at West Point, New York, to Fort Clinton. With the peace after the American Revolutionary War left various ordnance and military stores deposited at West Point.

“Cadets” underwent training in artillery and engineering studies at the garrison since 1794. Congress formally authorized the establishment and funding of the United States Military Academy on 16 March 1802,. The academy graduated Joseph Gardner Swift, its first official graduate, in October 1802; he later returned as Superintendent from 1812 to 1814. In its tumultuous early years, the academy featured few standards for admission or length of study. Cadets ranged in age from 10 years to 37 years and attended between 6 months to 6 years. The impending War of 1812 caused the United States Congress to authorize a more formal system of education at the academy and increased the size of the Corps of Cadets to 250.

In 1817, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer became the Superintendent and established the curriculum still in use to this day. Thayer instilled strict disciplinary standards, set a standard course of academic study, and emphasized honorable conduct. Known as the “Father of the Military Academy”, he is honored with a monument on campus for the profound impact he left upon the academy’s history. Founded to be a school of engineering, for the first half of the 19th century, USMA produced graduates who gained recognition for engineering the bulk of the nation’s initial railway lines, bridges, harbors and roads. The academy was the only engineering school in the country until the founding of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1824. It was so successful in its engineering curriculum that it significantly influenced every American engineering school founded prior to the Civil War.

The Mexican-American War brought the academy to prominence as graduates proved themselves in battle for the first time. Future Civil War commanders Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee first distinguished themselves in battle in Mexico. In all, 452 of 523 graduates who served in the war received battlefield promotions or awards for bravery. The school experienced a rapid modernization during the 1850s, often romanticized by the graduates who led both sides of the Civil War as the “end of the Old West Point era”. New barracks brought better heat and gas lighting, while new ordnance and tactics training incorporated new rifle and musket technology and accommodated transportation advances created by the steam engine. With the outbreak of the Civil War, West Point graduates filled the general officer ranks of the rapidly expanding Union and Confederate armies. Two hundred ninety-four graduates served as general officers for the Union, and one hundred fifty-one served as general officers for the Confederacy. Of all living graduates at the time of the war, 105 (10%) were killed, and another 151 (15%) were wounded. Nearly every general officer of note from either army during the Civil War was a graduate of West Point and a West Point graduate commanded the forces of one or both sides in every one of the 60 major battles of the war.