Good news! The oil leak cap has so far held. Oil is not pouring out into the ocean. It is too soon to start cheering however. The new cap has to withstand the pressure.

More good news–the Fincical Reform Bill has passed Congress. Next stop, the Prez’s desk for signature.

What else is happening?

36 Thoughts to “Open Thread: Friday, July 16, 2010”

  1. Censored bybvbl

    The earth moved, the dog yapped, and the cats ran around 5 am. The WaPo is saying our earthquake measured 3.6.

  2. Did you feel it? I think it woke me up. Something did and I was dreaming about a sink hole right as I woke up. Strange.

  3. Need to Know

    Here’s an interesting link regarding earthquake mapping from the US Geological Survey:

  4. PWC Taxpayer

    Over 2,000 Federal employees respond to survey on the AZ law. Question: Do you agree with the Administration’s decision to sue over Arizona’s immigration law?
    Here are the results:

    yes: 11.5%
    no: 87.3%
    undecided: 1.2%

    That is wild for the most politically correct trained group in America. There is something going on out there and the Feds, who are more apt to be highly educated and informed on these kinds of issues are getting it.

    1. Why would federal employees be any more informed than anyone else unless they worked for an agency that directly dealt with immigration issues?

      I would be more interested in seeing a survey seeing what lawyers thought of the impending law. Just out of curiosity, how and why were feds surveyed?

  5. George S. Harris

    @Need to Know
    Thanks for the link NTK. Even Arkansas had a little shake.

  6. George S. Harris

    Take a look here for the 10 states with the worst “pain” index; i.e., more taxes and cuts in services. Note that Virginia is NOT on the list. Despite all the bitching that people do about how bad it is here, we have a $200 million surplus, our unemployement rate is around 7.5% vice an average near 20% across the nation and much, much higher in some place. Maybe it is time we count our blessings.

  7. Censored bybvbl

    M-h, yes, we felt it. The dog usually acts as an alarm clock and will start whining between 4:30 and 5 am. This morning she yapped as though the hounds of hell were just outside her window. Dh took her out for a quick walk and saw nothing, but when they came back in, we felt the quake so she must have sensed something beforehand.

  8. I remember the tremors we had in 1997 or 98. I was working at the Prince William Journal and we all ran outside to see what happened. Everyone was stariing at us, as if we knew! We went in and called the geological survey folks in Reston.

    Here’s news from Unity in the Community for this Sunday:

    PWC Police Chief Charlie Deane expects to join us at the regular monthly meeting of Unity in the Community on Sunday, July 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the McCoart Government Center, Occoquan Room. Chief Deane will update us and discuss the country’s 287g agreement and other issues. Anyone is invited to be present for this discussion.

  9. Thanks for the info, Cindy. This is a good opportunity to find out more about the 287(g) program.

    George, we definitely have much to be thankful for as far as misery index goes.

    I saw Gov. McDonnell on TV yesterday. He was honest about why we have a surplus. I fear the ‘news station’ tried to misrepresent why we had the surplus. They acted like the previous governor had left a deficit. The current governor corrected that.

  10. George S. Harris

    Want to have something to really worry about? Not only are the Taliban killing our military personnel record levels–so far July is the worst month in the nearly10 years we have been in Afghanistan–but our military personnel are killing themselves at record levels. Thirty-two soldiers killed themselves in June 2010–the highest one month level since Vietnam. Including the June numbers, 145 soldiers have killed themselves this year, more than half of the total number for all of 2009, according to Army statistics. In 2009, a record-breaking year for suicides in the service, 245 soldiers killed themselves.

    Although the Army (and the other services) are working to reverse this trend, it apparently is not working. One of my neighbors is on a Pentagon suicide prevention task force and admits things are not going well. While people admit that the personnel tempo is unsustainable and that this lies at the heart of the suicides and PTSD, no one is willing to talk about the root cause–that is, getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I am still trying to figure out what our goals are for these countries. It is something like–democracy, equal rights for females, the ability to defend themselves against al Qaida and the Taliban and a chicken in every pot. Iraq is still not able to put a stable government in place despite “democratic” elections several months ago, some girls are now attending school but equal rights for females does not exist–stoning for adultery still exists, they have been unable to train and maintain sufficient police or military forces AND we have tied the hands of our miltary personnel when it comes to fighting the Taliban.

    Non wonder soldiers are destroying themselves in record numbers–they see the futility of all of this while our leaders continue to dither and simply throw more money and people into the maw of the war monster. Not to mention, they are cutting back on the number of personnel which increases the personnel tempo, discharging people who are entitled to disability but not receiving it based on some trumped up pre-existing medical diagnosis and fretting about not having enough money to buy more killing toys.

  11. Extremely tragic state of affairs you have shared, George. What can be done?

  12. Hey Moon,

    Why is passage of a “Financial Reform” Act a good thing when its been written by the very people that were instrumental in the last disaster and actually does not protect the nation’s financial system? Is it because “something, anything, must be done?” This act gives the President and the Sec Treas. the power to determine if a financial institution needs to be taken over. It gives the Sec Treas the power to use money without appropriating it through Congressional channels to “assist” financial institutions. It protects the bigger companies while hanging the politically unconnected out to dry.


    Dodd-Frank is a full-employment act for regulators that addresses everything but the root causes of the financial collapse. It serves up a dog’s breakfast covering proprietary trading, consumer financial protection, derivatives trading, executive pay, credit card fees, whistle-blowers, minority inclusion and Congolese minerals. Dodd-Frank also mandates 68 new studies of carbon markets, Chinese drywalls, and person-to-person lending, and many other irrelevancies.

    None of this deals with the central problem–Wall Street’s ability to hide behind claims of proprietary information to facilitate the production and sale of trillions of dollars in securities whose true values are almost impossible for outsiders to determine.

    This policy of “systematic non-disclosure”–the absence of complete transparency about what financial firms really owe and are owed–left only its CEOs and their top consiglieres in a position to know what their companies really owned and owed. Consequently, the valuation of Wall Street firms came down to trusting the bank’s senior executives–those who often had the greatest stakes in the non-disclosure system.

    Dodd and Franks, like before, and like the President, are LYING again.

    1. I don’t agree that Dodd was a root cause of the financial collapse.

  13. Dodd was the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. He oversaw the Fannie/Freddie collapse. He was the largest recipient of Fannie/Freddie $ in Congress. His committee sets the rules for banking. HE was the “lax oversight” everyone talks about, but no one names.

    Dodd was tight with the mortgage businesses. He and Franks set up rules to demand that race count towards the amount of loans that banks originated and now its in the new law. This law will repeat the past. But now, instead of regulations, its actual law.

    1. Its hard to keep up with who has gotten the most from Freddie and Fannie, Dodd or Obama.

      The collapse was a run away train. If he was the lax oversight no one names, he is the first person someone hasn’t tried to point out. Being a chairman of a senate committee doesn’t mean you do the who job by yourself. There are agencies that do that job. I think that is an unfair accusation and have thought so every time someone tried to dredge up a Democrat to blame.

      @ Rez, that is a great story. I am not sure what the depth of the earthquake has to do with it all or what the base is. Can you explain it?

  14. PWC Taxpayer

    Cargo is right and there is a lot – a lot more information about Dodd’s – and Frank’s – involvement in this disaster than one would ever try to go over here. He (they) put the grease on the rails and acted as switchman. Frank Raines did too, but I think in his case he was really trying to spread opportunity to minorities, and it simply got away from him – without as much of the conflict of interest. Prosecution will not happen while the House and Senate are in jeapardy. Investigations – not while the democrats control both houses.

  15. We are never going to agree and I haven’t read the same right wing reports that you all do…and I won’t. It now becomes a question of when I stopped kicking my dog….

    I like and respect Chris Dodd. There are enough people in my life, some of them Republicans who deal in finance for a living who like and respect Chris Dodd. We will just have to agree to disagree.

    Meanwhile, I have to ask….where were all the Republicans when the dam broke in 2008? I am perfectly willing to give Pres. Bush credit for pushing the TARP through. (and much of that money has been paid back)

    I understand now that with some of you, everything Democrat is toxic and everything that is even moderate is [nasty sneering voice] RINO. I might as well save my breath. The bill passed. Should I be thanking Scott Brown, that fair-haired child of the tea party?

  16. e

    We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word many mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.

  17. e

    in regards to the war effort: the purpose of a military is to kill people and blow things up. if you dont have the stomach to do that, then get the hell out.

  18. Rez

    Wolfie, I think you were responding to a post I made in a different thread :). Depth is important because most of the destructive earthquakes occur less than 50 miles down or the shallow focus. Of course, most earthquakes we have are less than are closer to the surface and can cause the most vibration.

  19. e

    Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. (ronaldus magnus)

  20. Another happening, and you are all welcome to attend and give your input on:

    The Prince William County Continuum of Care’s Community Forum on the Draft Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness is Tues., July 20, 10 a.m. to noon at Westminster at Lake Ridge Retirement Community, 12191 Clipper Dr., Woodbridge and again on Mon., July 26 from 7 to 9 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 9325 West St., Manassas. Questions? Contact Frances Harris at 703-441-8606.

  21. Both of our US Senators, Warner and Webb who are both fiscal conservatives were pleased with the financial reform bill.

  22. George S. Harris

    I wrote a long reply and lost it–but it is sufficient to say that the answer is obviously very complicated since we have not discovered it yet. Much of it has to do with no understanding of the people, their politics and how they have lived of at least a millenium. Not to mention the fact that we have yet to properly resource the war despite spending billions of dollars each month. We say we want Afghanistan to have a standing police force of somewhere around 134,000 and an Army of 260,000 yet they do not have the capability to train or maintain forces of this magnitude not to mention that at least 1/4 of them drop out within a year of training. Rampant corruption, an 80% illiteracy rate, equipment theft and a lack of discipline all mitigate against every reaching these goals any time soon (any time soon=50 years or so–maybe). Although Afghanistan may have the potential of great wealth in newly discovered minerals, it will be decades before they are developed and then it will be some outsiders who do this–probably China–and between greed and corruption, nothing will trickle down to everyday Joe Tribesman.

    The troops understand this. Military morale is fueled by victories. When was the last time that happened? I think it was September 2, 1945 aboard the U.S.S. MISSOURI. The troops see the futility of this war and self-destruction seems to be the only way out for way too many.

  23. Lafayette

    I hope something can be done to bring these numbers down.

    The U.S. Army reported Thursday a record number of suicides for a single month – 32 in June – between both active and non-active soldiers.

  24. @Moon-howler
    The reports that I read came from the Washington Post, Wall St. Journal, and other financial sources. You may like and respect Dodd. Ok. Does that mean that he should get a free pass? As was said, a comment area is not a place that the entire situation can be described. Since you refuse to investigate our claims and close your ears to Dodd’s possible involvement to the financial collapse, there’s no point in discussing things that you seem to take on faith.

    Apparently, for you, there is no Democrat involvement in the financial collapse. Ok, then.

  25. @ George,

    Not every county can sustain democracy or anything that approaches it. I don’t see why we try….instituting democracy in some of these countries is not worth one American life, in my opinion, much less thousands.

  26. A free pass to what? re Chris Dodd

    I have been reading about Chris Dodd since I first heard him accused. I haven’t held my ears. I don’t think the case has been made. If our financial system were such that one or 2 people had that much control, I would be very concerned.

    As for financial collapes, I don’t think it happened because of Democrat or Republican. You left out Republican. The financial collapse was global in many respects. There were many different causes for what happened. It all came to a head. Banking practices, real estate practices, unregulated hedge funds that control way too much money, etc etc.

    The financial crisis didn’t happened overnight.

  27. @Lafayette
    The short and most obvius answer is to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. But it is far more complicated. We have yet to mobilize this nation and imbue some sort of spirit to win. Today I read through the entire WaPo and the local fishwrap News and Messenger and there is not ONE WORD about either war. NOT one word. American apathy and the Taliban are killing our military personnel–5,521 as of June 27, 2010. And July is the worst month for deaths in the entire time we have been in Afghanistan. Yet we are sitting on our hands doing absolutely nothing. The PERSTEMPO AND OPTEMPO continue to increase as we pour more and more troops and resources into Afghanistan. PERSTEMPO=how often troops are away from their home base. Many of our military personnel are now on their FIFTH tour of duty in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. OPTEMPO = how long troops are deployed and the pace or intensity of combat operations. Both have increased exponentially since we are unwilling to increase the total number of forces we have (no draft) plus we are downsizing in many instances. Fewer troops = increased PERSTEMPO. More operations and greater resistance on the part of the Taliban = increases OPTEMPO.

    We still don’t have enough MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles–probably half of what are needed. There is no standard design, there are multiple manufacturers with their own ideas, etc, etc, etc. Meanwhile, troops are still have to rely on Humvees with Rube Golbergian armor. My grandson’s CB unit, which is getting ready to deploy, is armoring up Humvees even though we know they are not effective agains IEDs. Why–lack of MRAPs. In WWII, we manufactured more tanks in one year than we have manufactured MRAPs in the three years the program has been around. As I said–our civilian and military leaders have not mobilzed the nation and continue to try to to this on the cheap. We are spending billions of dollars per month with little or any return on our investment.

    You are right Moon–not every country can sustain a democracy–particulary a country with 80% illiiteracy and a very tribal history that is older than anything we know or understand in this country. Sometimes a benevolent dictatorship is not all bad. That has never been the case in Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran (or in ancient Mesopotamia). Despite their tremendous wealth, our “friends” in Saudi Arabia are little better–they still stone people, whack off hands for theft and heads for adultery–in public executions. The illiteracy rate in all of these countries is exceedingly high. Much of this is the result of Islam and Islamic law (Sharia). We are litterally pissing in our own well by continuing to pour resources into this.

  28. I mention American apathy killing our troops–just scanned the online NYTimes–nothing about the war that I could readily find. We are aiding and abetting the Taliban through our apathy. America, you need to get pissed!!!!!

  29. The Democrats were the ones in charge. Bush tried to reign in Fannie and Freddie, but were rebuffed multiple times by the Democratic Congress. Dodd and Franks made the policies, the regulations. Not laws, but regulations. Since we were talking about Dodd, I did leave out the GOP. Many GOP members were complicit in the overall problem. This problem was years in the making. But it came to a head under the policies promulgated by a Democratic Congress. And Bush was an idiot to sign anything by them.

    1. What happened before 2007? Why didn’t Bush try to get to Freddie and Fannie before 2007. He had a clear shot then. R-R-R.

      Dodd and Frank could not make national policy that brought down the country in 2 years single handedly. Even I am not going to buy that one. Let’s get real here.

  30. George S. Harris

    @George S. Harris
    I stand corrected–I did find casualty figures in today’s WaPo–buried on page A-7. What does that tell you?

  31. George S. Harris

    @George S. Harris
    I stand corrected–I did find casualty figures in today’s WaPo–buried on page A-7. What does that tell you?

    You obviously know nothing about the role of the military. But I suppose ignorance is bliss.

  32. George S. Harris

    @PWC Taxpayer
    Where did you come up with these numbers? From some undisclosed location?

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