Open Thread

Put on clean sheets today, so you know what that means:

She loves clean sheets. Not sure what is up with that ear action, though. Meanwhile, resident EVIL is underneath the chair in my office alternating between gnawing on and guarding an everlasting treat ball. Tunch is in his bedroom. That’s right, we no longer call it the spare bedroom. He wins. I give up trying to keep him out.








Base, How Low Can You Go?

Lower still, it seems:

For real estate, some economists say, an end to the seemingly endless decline in housing values might be in sight.

Not immediately. At the moment, prices are still dropping. In 20 large cities, prices fell 0.8 percent in March from the previous month, according to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday. That pushed the closely watched index below its level of two years ago to a new post-bubble low, and put it 33.1 percent under its July 2006 peak.

Few analysts expect housing prices to rebound anytime soon. But quite a few are predicting that the market is close to the moment when things will stop getting worse, which will be a major improvement all by itself.

“By far the bulk of the downturn of housing prices is beyond us,” said Paul Dales of Capital Economics. He expects the market to slip 5 percent further, slightly more than he was expecting a few months ago.

“There are some amazingly favorable signs. Housing is the most undervalued it’s been in 35 years,” Mr. Dales said. “At some point, it’s going to do very well.”

Peter Muoio, senior principal of Maximus Advisors, says he thinks the market has already bottomed, although he expects it to bounce around in a narrow range for a few years rather than recovering. And James F. Smith, chief economist for the investment firm Parsec Financial and a rare housing bull, is predicting a 25 percent climb from here by mid-decade.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand for housing and someday it will be unleashed,” Mr. Smith said, adding: “Your guess is as good as mine when it will come.”

I honestly think you would need to have your head examined to buy a house right now. No one has job security, no one is making any money, as soon as you buy there is a good chance that the value of your house will drop still, no one has any faith in the mortgage industry and for good reason- who knows who will even own your mortgage? Can you trust the fine print? But basically, a lot of people are broke as shit and have no hope for future employment, so we have wiped them out of the market. No wonder prices are plummeting.








Strange What Desire Will Make Foolish People Do

At this point, can anyone actually claim that the point of cable news is to inform? Does anyone even pretend that is what it is all about? It’s nothing but a game, and a wicked one at that.



Open Thread: Good News from Wisconsin

Greg Sargent, at his Washington Post blog Plum Line: Wisconsin Dems 6. Wisconsin Republicans 0.

… Today the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board announced that they have now approved the signatures required for recall elections against the following six GOP senators: Rob Cowles, Alberta Darling, Sheila Harsdorf, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, and Luther Olsen. That means these six elections are definitely moving forward.
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Meanwhile, the board has also announced that they are not prepared to approve the signatures gathered by Republicans for the recall of their three Democratic targets. Dems have alleged that the signature gathering by Republicans is fraudulent, and now the board has explicitly claimed that their reason for not approving the recall elections against Dems is that the signatures “have raised numerous factual and legal issues which need to be investigated and analyzed.”
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Translation: The fraud allegations just may have something to them.
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What this means: While Dems only need to net three recall elections to take back the state senate, it is now within the realm of possibility that even as twice that number of Republicans face recall elections, no Dems will. That’s a pretty sizable advantage for Dems…



They Come to Snuff the Rooster

Considering they haven’t created one job since taking office, and haven’t so much as advanced one plan to create jobs since they took office, and, mind you, presided over the worst economic collapse since the Depression, it’s pretty clear the Republicans are very serious about killing the economy:

In a symbolic vote to send a message to budget negotiators, the House on Tuesday defeated a measure to raise the national debt ceiling without any accompanying deficit or spending reduction provisions.

The Republican-controlled House voted 318-97 on the legislation that would have raised the federal government’s debt limit by approximately $2.4 trillion.

Under rules for the vote set by the GOP leadership, the measure needed at least two-thirds support to pass, ensuring it had no chance for approval.

The vote was scheduled by Republican leaders to show that any attempt to divorce an increase in the debt ceiling from spending reduction efforts — a move initially favored by the Obama White House — cannot win congressional approval.

Democrats called the move a dangerous political stunt that could rattle financial markets.

Not sure why the markets care. If shit crashes, they’ll be made whole again by the taxpayers. Just like the last time.

Gotta love the 80 or so Democrats who voted with the nihilists.

Also, I blame Obama.



Who’s that woman on your arm, all dressed up to do you harm?

I can’t deny that I find myself fascinated by the pictures from Lady Starburst’s latest publicity stunt.

All the jokes about the Palinese Liberation Army have never seemed more true to me. It’s a cross-country bus tour with Hell’s Angels types, how much more reverse ’60s can the whole thing get? All we need is for the motorcycle guys to stab a fan to complete the circle.



I don’t know why sometimes I get frightened

This is a few days old, but this “Meet The Press” exchange was one for the ages:

GREGORY: So, Ruth Marcus, what wins here: bold leadership on Medicare and the argument that the Democrats won’t do something courageous, or the Democrats who say, “Hey, those guys want to take away my Medicare”?

MARCUS: I regret to inform you that I think it’s the latter. And I think when you were asking Senator McConnell if Medicare was the new third rail of American politics, I think the question was wrong in a sense because it’s the old third rail of American politics.

[….]

MARCUS: This play has been run time after time. If you go back and look at the quotes from President Clinton back when he needed to win re-election, they sound a lot like the quotes from Democrats today about don’t let those Republicans take away your Medicare. The difference is that the debt is bigger, the deficit is bigger, the gap is bigger, and the situation is more dire. But I think that, sadly, the lesson of New York 26 is “mediscare” works.

(bold mine)

I’ve said this a thousand times: what’s dire here is rising medical costs, not Medicare specifically. Moving from a more efficient public model for senior health-care to a less efficient private market only exacerbates this problem.

What gets me, though, is that we’re supposed to think it’s sad that American citizens are scared by the idea that they will be deprived of access to health care. We hear all this shit along the lines of “you like it when the bully punches you in the face don’t you dirty fucking hippie” whenever anyone opposes a new war, but when Americans refuse to bend over and take it from the Beltway-corporate complex, it’s sad. Don’t they know that big Bobo will always look out for their best interests?

If you’re not scared by the idea of letting the people who brought you the Iraq War redesign your health care system, you’re not paying attention.