Daily Archive: 03/18/2012

Mar 18 2012

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

Time Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
5 pm 3 St. John’s 22-9 14 Creighton 20-12 West
5 pm 7 Vanderbilt 22-9 10 Middle Tennessee 26-6 West
5 pm 4 Penn State 24-6 13 UTEP 29-3 East
5 pm 3 Delaware 30-1 14 Arkansas-Little Rock 20-12 Mid West
7:30 pm 5 LSU 22-10 12 San Diego State 26-6 East

Mar 18 2012

Rant of the Week: Tim Carney

Government Loans at Taxpayers’ Expense

Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner offers his Daily Rant against one particular government agency, the Export-Import Bank, that is rolling out loan guarantees to mega-corporations while placing risks on the shoulder of tax payers.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States federal government. It was established in 1934 by an executive order, and made an independent agency in the Executive branch by Congress in 1945, for the purposes of financing and insuring foreign purchases of United States goods for customers unable or unwilling to accept credit risk. The mission of the Bank is to create and sustain U.S. jobs by financing sales of U.S. exports to international buyers. The Bank is chartered as a government corporation by the Congress of the United States; it was last chartered for a five year term in 2006. Its Charter spells out the Bank’s authorities and limitations. Among them is the principle that Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private sector lenders, but rather provides financing for transactions that would otherwise not take place because commercial lenders are either unable or unwilling to accept the political or commercial risks inherent in the deal.

Mar 18 2012

2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship: Round of 32 Day 2 Afternoon

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
Noon CBS 3 Georgetown 23-8 11 North Carolina State 23-12 Mid West
2:30 pm CBS 1 Michigan State 28-7 9 Saint Louis 25-7 West
5 pm CBS 1 North Carolina 30-5 8 Creighton 28-5 Mid West
6 pm TNT 7 Florida 23-10 15 Norfolk State 26-9 West

Mar 18 2012

On This Day In History March 18

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 18 is the 77th day of the year (78th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 288 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1766, the British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act

After four months of widespread protest in America, the British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act, a taxation measure enacted to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. However, the same day, Parliament passed the Declaratory Acts, asserting that the British government had free and total legislative power over the colonies.

The Stamp Act of 1765 (short title Duties in American Colonies Act 1765; 5 George III, c. 12) was a direct tax imposed by the British Parliament specifically on the colonies of British America. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London and carrying an embossed revenue stamp. These printed materials were legal documents, magazines, newspapers and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies. Like previous taxes, the stamp tax had to be paid in valid British currency, not in colonial paper money. The purpose of the tax was to help pay for troops stationed in North America after the British victory in the Seven Years’ War. The British government felt that the colonies were the primary beneficiaries of this military presence, and should pay at least a portion of the expense.

The Stamp Act met great resistance in the colonies. The colonies sent no representatives to Parliament, and therefore had no influence over what taxes were raised, how they were levied, or how they would be spent. Many colonists considered it a violation of their rights as Englishmen to be taxed without their consent, consent that only the colonial legislatures could grant. Colonial assemblies sent petitions and protests. The Stamp Act Congress held in New York City, reflecting the first significant joint colonial response to any British measure, also petitioned Parliament and the King. Local protest groups, led by colonial merchants and landowners, established connections through correspondence that created a loose coalition that extended from New England to Georgia. Protests and demonstrations initiated by the Sons of Liberty often turned violent and destructive as the masses became involved. Very soon all stamp tax distributors were intimidated into resigning their commissions, and the tax was never effectively collected.

Opposition to the Stamp Act was not limited to the colonies. British merchants and manufacturers, whose exports to the colonies were threatened by colonial economic problems exacerbated by the tax, also pressured Parliament. The Act was repealed on March 18, 1766 as a matter of expedience, but Parliament affirmed its power to legislate for the colonies “in all cases whatsoever” by also passing the Declaratory Act. This incident increased the colonists’ concerns about the intent of the British Parliament that helped the growing movement that became the American Revolution.

Mar 18 2012

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

Yup. That Liberty University.  Now you know whom to root against.

Time Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
Noon 4 Georgia 22-8 13 Marist 25-7 South
Noon 8 California 24-9 9 Iowa 19-11 South
Noon 8 Ohio State 25-6 9 Florida 19-12 Mid West
Noon 5 Georgetown 22-8 12 Fresno State 28-5 Mid West
2:30 pm 1 Baylor 34-0 16 UC Santa Barbara 17-15 Mid West
2:30 pm 4 Georgia Tech 24-8 13 Sacred Heart 25-7 Mid West
2:30 pm 1 Notre Dame 30-3 16 Liberty 16-2 South
2:30 pm 5 St. Bonaventure 29-3 12 Florida Gulf Coast 29-2 South

Mar 18 2012

Foreclosure Settlement: More Reasons To Hate It

The more the experts and analysts look into the Foreclosure Agreement the more reasons are found to hate it and why, to Yves Smith‘s descriptive word, it “sucks”:

Not only are the banks getting away with fraud they are still going to be allowed to systemically overcharge homeowners and wrongly take their homes.

Remember that the Administration also trumpeted that enforcement would be tough, even as Abigail Field has shown that idea to be a joke. For instance, the servicing standards allow for the astonishing concept of an acceptable error rate. Banks aren’t permitted to make errors with your checking account and ding you an accidental $10,000 and get away with it. But with people’s most important asset, their homes, servicers are allowed a certain level of reportable errors, and many of them can be serious as far as borrowers are concerned.[..]

She also points out that wrongful foreclosures at a 1% rate are acceptable. Procedures around real estate are deliberate because any error of this magnitude has devastating consequences. But this new provision means that 1%, or over 33,000 erroneous foreclosures since 2008 would be perfectly OK as far as the authorities are concerned.

Field also points out in a separate post that this deal is in no way done. Key points remain to be resolved, in particular, how the Monitor will supervise the pact. That’s a huge item, and leaving it unresolved shifts the power to the banks (if you don’t believe me, I refer you to what is happening to Dodd Frank).

Field also wonders “how did all our meaningful law enforcers do this deal?:

I hate the term Too Big To Fail because it’s a loaded premise presented as fact. But looking at the weasel parentheticals, maybe we should start asking if the banks as too big to be competent. I mean, why do the banks need a ‘hey, we tried but didn’t have enough time to stop the sale’ exemption? If the B.O.Bs (bailed out bankers) want their lawyer or trustee to call off a foreclosure sale, all they need is two things: a) to contact their agent and b) have a competent agent.

What does “took appropriate steps to stop the sale” mean, anyway? Does it mean that someone at the bank left a message or two with foreclosure counsel? If the B.O.B.s made a real effort to stop the sale but their agents did it anyway, why isn’t that the B.O.B’s fault for having incompetent agents? Doesn’t giving the B.O.B. a pass remove any incentive to have competent (and thus more expensive) agents?

Wrongfully selling someone’s home should be a strict liability issue. Strict liability is, well, strict: no one cares what you were trying to do, what your intentions were, what you did or didn’t do. Did the harm happen? Then you’re responsible.

Before you give me any, hey, let’s be reasonable here, a business needs to operate and we’re so big some mistakes will happen, remember what we are talking about: homes; property rights; land records; fundamental fairness. How can the B.O.Bs be held to any standard other than strict liability when it comes to wrongfully selling a home?

Neil Barofsky, the former Special US Treasury Department Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and Matthew Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute give a good overview of why this settlement really “sucks”

There is no accountability, no punishment for what has to be the largest fraud ever perpetrated in this country.  

Mar 18 2012

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Chris Hayes: MSNBC political analyst and Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) will guest-host Up w/ Chris Hayes again. Joining Ezra will be the following guests: Alexis Goldstein (@alexisgoldstein), member of Occupy the SEC and former Wall Street bank information technologist.; William Cohan (@williamcohan), author of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World and contributing editor at Vanity Fair; Antonia Juhasz (@antoniajuhasz), author of ; Noam Scheiber (@noamscheiber), author of The Escape Artists: How Obama’s Team Fumbled the Economy and senior editor at The New Republic.; John McWhorter, Columbia University professor of linguistic and American studies and a contributing editor at The New Republic and TheRoot.com; Jared Bernstein (@econjared), former chief economist and economic policy advisor to Vice President Biden and senior fellow at the Center for Budget & Policy Priorities; and Dan Dicker (@dan_dicker), author of Oil’s Endless Bid, CNBC contributor, and a licensed commodities trade advisor.

The Melissa Harris-Perry Show: Sunday’s guests have not yet been announced.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: ABC News senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl goes one-on-one with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. This week’s roundtable guests are ABC’s George Will, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Priorities USA co-founder Bill Burton, Washington Post national political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, and Washington Post columnist and associate editor David Ignatius debates all the week’s politics.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and senior Obama campaign adviser, David Axelrod. The panel guests are former Republican National Committee Chairman and Mitt Romney supporter, Ed Gillespie, National Review editor and Time Magazine Columnist, Rich Lowry and CBS News Chief White House correspondent Norah O’Donnell.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent; Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast Editor, The Dish; Liz Marlantes, The Christian Science Monitor; and David Ignatius, The Washington Post Columnist.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Mr.Gregory’s guests are Mitt Romney supporter and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain (R-AZ) and actor and activist George Clooney on his mission to Sudan.

The roundtable guests are Author and Afghanistan War veteran Wes Moore; author of the bestselling book “Where Men Win Glory” about the death of Pat Tillman, Jon Krakauer; Founder and Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff; the Washington Post‘s Bob Woodward; and the New York TimesHelene Cooper.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms, Crowley has an exclusive interview with Afghan Ambassador to the United States, Eklil Hakimi. Other guests are GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum; former Obama White House Communications Director Anita Dunn and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.

Mar 18 2012

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

U.S. Faces a Tricky Task in Assessment of Data on Iran

By JAMES RISEN

While American spy agencies have believed that the Iranians halted efforts to build a nuclear bomb back in 2003, the difficulty in assessing the government’s ambitions was evident two years ago, when what appeared to be alarming new intelligence emerged, according to current and former United States officials.

Intercepted communications of Iranian officials discussing their nuclear program raised concerns that the country’s leaders had decided to revive efforts to develop a weapon, intelligence officials said.

That, along with a stream of other information, set off an intensive review and delayed publication of the 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, a classified report reflecting the consensus of analysts from 16 agencies. But in the end, they deemed the intercepts and other evidence unpersuasive, and they stuck to their longstanding conclusion.




Sunday’s Headlines:

The secrets of Saif Gaddafi’s jail: chef, satellite TV and a basketball court for just one

An IoS investigation: To the Chinese and the Indians, the spoils of a terrible war

Search for Identity Reveals World War II Crime

Africa Union fails to break leadership deadlock

Syrian surgeon: Why I’m risking my life to treat protesters

Mar 18 2012

Formula One: Alberta Park

Apparently Hispania Racing Team failed to Qualify and will not start at Albert Park.

“Ooo, our Drag Reduction System isn’t working and the Power Steering is out.”

Pobrecitos.

So only Marussia (Virgin) will be flying the Cosworth flag which I’d be more disappointed about if Cosworth were any good.  Renault and Mercedes are the plants of choice if you care about contending and like any Billionaire Boy Toy if you’re not going to spend the money to stay at the table you should get out of the game.  Sympathy for the not Yankees is misguided; professional sports isn’t a money making enterprise, it’s showing off, and if your penis isn’t large enough to cash the checks your trash mouth signs you deserve the pointing and hooting in the sauna.

Red Bull is showing vincibility which is a pleasant anomally and Scuderia Marlboro UPC continues to suck which is simple justice for both those union busting scabs.

Speed will be re-broadcasting @ 2 pm today and noon on Tuesday.

A surprising (and pretty) table below that will probably become all too familiar.

Mar 18 2012

Dealing with People Who Lie 20120317

This is a very difficult topic for me, because I have now realized that I have to do that.  I wish that I did not, but I do.

Before I go on any further, let me say that I used to lie.  That was in my cheating days, and I really regret the cheating.  It destroyed my marriage, and I was married to one who still remains one of the most wonderful people in the world.

I lied to spare her feelings a bit, but honestly, to keep my ass from being trouble for the most part.  That is how liars work.  They lie to avoid the consequences of their actual actions.  But I really did, at least for some part, to spare her feelings.