Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for April, 2009

Third wave of the crisis

Posted by Charles II on April 30, 2009

Via Atrios, some ugly reality on the economic situation from Kevin Hall of McClatchy. Fortunately, commercial mortgages are a much smaller part of the market than residential. The bad news is that the Alt-A/Prime crisis is rising now, so there’s going to be prolonged downward pressure on the economy, lasting probably through mid 2010.

Thousands of commercial mortgages valued at hundreds of billions of dollars are approaching their renewal dates, and by some estimates, two out of three no longer will meet the original loan conditions and won’t be able to refinance. With prices for commercial properties expected to plunge, a vicious cycle could unfold, much as it has in the nation’s housing market…

A commercial mortgage meltdown is likely to prolong the nation’s economic recovery. Falling prices of commercial real estate would lead to additional bank losses at a time when banks already are sapped by home mortgage defaults and soaring credit card defaults. This could lead to future additional taxpayer assistance for the banks.

Posted in financial crisis, mortgage crisis | Comments Off on Third wave of the crisis

Very cool!

Posted by Charles II on April 30, 2009

A film showing the Mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, Hazel McCallion.

She’s 88 and still plays hockey. No body checks, though.

Posted in Good Things, government, Just for fun | Comments Off on Very cool!


Posted by Charles II on April 30, 2009


Via Ritholtz, Google has made it possible to get graphics of unemployment nationally, by state, or by county simply by typing unemployment rate divisionname and then expanding the resulting graphic. It comes with a graphic roller ball so you can get data for a given time period. And this will very likely be extended to things like GDP.

This is very, very good for troll snuffing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Tortuous Route to an Investigation of Torture

Posted by MEC on April 30, 2009

I was listening last night to Keith Olbermann and Richard Wolffe parse President Obama’s answers to questions about torture. They expressed frustration that he didn’t come right out and say that the Bush Administration sanctioned torture.

And suddenly I remembered something. I once had a Bad Boss. She was a Very Bad Boss. She was so bad, her underlings took the risk of complaining about her to the über-boss. The über-boss expressed surprise, thanked us for our candor, deflected the complaints and promised us nothing.

And about a month later, the Very Bad Boss abruptly left the company to “pursue other opportunities”.

A few years later, I watched the same thing happen with another Very Bad Boss.

From these incidents, I learned that when the People In Charge have to deal with a serious problem, they don’t let on that they’re dealing with it until it’s time to take action. They may even specifically give the impression that they don’t see any problem that needs to be dealt with. They take time before applying the solution, in order to make sure the solution is successful and effective, and there’s no blowback.

I’m thinking that this is what’s going on with the torture issue: We don’t see the Obama Administration preparing to do the right thing, but that doesn’t mean they’re not doing it. They just know enough not to let on until they’re ready to take action, because there will inevitably be political repercussions and they don’t need the political attacks undermining their efforts.

Obama’s response to another question reinforces that impression. When asked why Obama’s Justice Department pursued the “state secrets” argument in the case before the Ninth Circuit Court after promising to not to continue Bush’s policy of claiming “state secrets” to evade accountability, the President replied that the case came up too soon for his new Administration to change the direction. The direct implications are that the case in question is not a precedent for the Obama Administration’s future actions, and that the Obama Administration won’t take hasty (and therefore ill-considered) action, no matter the calls for immediate action.

As President Obama said in a previous press conference, “I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak.”

So we shouldn’t let up the pressure for an investigation, but we also shouldn’t assume the worst.

Posted in Barack Obama, torture, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me There Was A Wingnut Ditz Derby Going On?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 30, 2009

Geez, did I miss a memo or something?

For the past few weeks, it looked like Michele Bachmann was going to win the Harris-Chenoweth Golden Cuckoo Trophy in a walk. I mean, let’s just look at her output from the past forty-eight hours: Not only did she conflate gays and pedophiles, but she also tried to link swine flu to Democratic administrations (which is especially hilarious as the last major swine flu outbreak occurred during the tenure of Republican president Gerald R. Ford). But as Spencer Ackerman shows, she’s now got some serious, elbow-throwing competition in the form of Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who trashed Matthew Shepard.

Perhaps this is why Michele’s upped the wackaloon ante by reaming out FDR over the “Hoot-Smalley” tariff. (It’s good enough, it’s smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like it!) Even better: That legislation was enacted before FDR was president.

Posted in gay rights, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, Silly Republicans, WTF? | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

The Hunt for Gollum!

Posted by Charles II on April 29, 2009

Via Avedon Carol (who else?), The Hunt for Gollum!


The Hunt for Gollum (plus a 30 minute documentary about it) will be released (for free) on SundayFan flick goes bigtime May 3rd at 4pm, simultaneously with our premiere at SCI-FI-LONDON festival. It will be streaming in HD on


BONUS find from commenter Mike at The Sideshow, from Improbable Research, US Patent on Bra Convertible into Two Gas Masks.

And the money to pay for it:
 The new Mexican peso note

Posted in Just for fun | Comments Off on The Hunt for Gollum!

Switching Parties

Posted by MEC on April 29, 2009


A Minnesotan friend just reminded me that the Republicans didn’t object to politicians switching parties when Norm Coleman did it.

Posted in Silly Republicans | 3 Comments »

The Republicans’ Tent

Posted by MEC on April 29, 2009

Hard on the heels of Arlen Specter’s announcement that e’s giving the Senate Democrats a veto-proof caucus [in theory], the Republicans of Kent County, Michigan have abruptly withdrawn an invitation to Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., apparently because he doesn’t think gays should be second-class citizens.

The Republicans have a “big tent”, but Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson take up so much room nobody else can fit in.

Posted in Silly Republicans | Comments Off on The Republicans’ Tent

Special Prosecutor

Posted by MEC on April 29, 2009

Blind Justice

Jerrold Nadler and John Conyers have formally requested a special prosecutor “to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute torture committed against detainees during the Bush administration.”

Their letter to Attorney General Holder is at the link.

(H/T Jason Leopold, via Compound F in Daily Kos)

Posted in Democrats with spines, torture | Comments Off on Special Prosecutor

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Posted by MEC on April 29, 2009

There is an Official White House Photostream in Flickr.

Last year, I discovered that Barack Obama’s campaign had an official Flickr photostream, and went looking for other candidates. I found a few, but Obama’s photostream was the only one that was constantly adding new photos. That was one of the reasons I supported him: it showed he truly understood how to communicate, and he was willing to devote the resources to go where the people are. Though it was a small thing in terms of resources and effort, it was significant.

Besides, it’s cool.

Posted in Barack Obama, Just for fun | 4 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: