Morning Report: Housing starts jump

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 3376 6.25
Oil (WTI) 52.86 0.95
10 year government bond yield 1.58%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.69%

 

Stocks are higher this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are down.

 

Mortgage applications fell 6.4% last week as purchases fell 3% and refinances fell 8%.

 

Housing starts rose 21% on a YOY basis to 1.57 million, according to the Census Bureau. Building Permits were up 18% YOY to 1.55 million. Housing may turn out to be the economic surprise of 2020, and if that is the case, GDP estimates are way too low. Check out the chart below, and note the highlighted jump in starts over the past two months. Remember we are just going to back to historical averages, which doesn’t take into account population growth.

 

housing starts

 

Speaking of homebuilding, the NAHB Housing Market Index slipped from record levels but is still historically very strong. Separately, Tri Pointe reported that orders grew 52%. Interestingly, they hiked their stock buyback. If the housing market is really that strong, why not invest in the business as opposed to buying back stock?

 

Producer prices rebounded in January after a soft December. The headline number rose 0.5% MOM versus expectations of 0.1%. On a YOY basis, inflation remains close to the Fed’s target rate.

 

The minutes from the January FOMC meeting will be released at 2:00 pm EST. They shouldn’t be market-moving, and the interest seems to be on the balance sheet side of things.

 

Lots of merger activity in the financial space. Asset manager Franklin Resources is buying Baltimore stalwart Legg Mason.

 

Lending Club, a fintech that makes personal loans, just bought a bank in order to gain access to a cheaper source of funds. “What a bank charter does for LendingClub is it allows us to take what is the leading digital loan provider online and combine it with a leading digital deposit gatherer,” Scott Sanborn, CEO of LendingClub, said Tuesday on CNBC. “It totally changes the earnings profile of this business.”

 

Speaking of mergers, Ally is buying CardWorks in a $2.65 billion deal. The street doesn’t like it as the stock is down 10% pre-open.

73 Responses

  1. From a CNN Town Hall last night.

    Pete Buttigieg, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Tuesday he’s ready to debate President Donald Trump and his allies about family values if they continue to attack his marriage.

    Speaking at a town hall event in Nevada, Buttigieg was asked about a series of homophobic remarks made last week by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who claimed on his program the country wasn’t “ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage.” Moderator Erin Burnett noted Limbaugh appeared to defend the remark earlier that day, claiming the president had urged him not to apologize.

    “I mean, I’m sorry, but one thing about my marriage is, it’s never involved me having to send hush money to a porn star after cheating on my spouse with him or her,” Buttigieg said during the event in Las Vegas just before the next Democratic debate. “So, they want to debate family values? Let’s debate family values. I’m ready.”

    The retort brought wild applause from the crowd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is the debate they are going to get instead:

      “In the footage taken during a March 2019 event in New York, Bloomberg had been trying to explain why certain social issues, such as transgender rights, could pose challenges for presidential candidates hoping to appeal to a majority of the American public.

      “If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people,” Bloomberg said in the video, which was first reported on Tuesday by BuzzFeed News.”

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/02/19/bloomberg-transgender-video/

      Like

      • You could be right jnc, I’m curious about it for sure. Everyone here knows I’m very liberal on social issues but I realize I’m in the minority no matter how you look at it.

        Like

        • I’m pretty liberal on social issues. I don’t have a problem with abortion, even forced abortion. Though I do acknowledge life begins at conception but that rights attach post birth. I also support equal rights for gays and trannies, as well as property owners and employers.

          Like

        • McWing:

          …as well as property owners and employers.

          And therein lies what makes you not so “liberal”.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I also support equal rights for gays and trannies, as well as property owners and employers.

          Me too! I used to consider myself liberal and still would be if equal rights was actually a liberal/progressive issue. And things like freedom of expression were still a liberal value. Although I’m beginning to think we need to start talking about progressives, liberals, and conservatives as it seems like we have 3 largely distinct ideological groups now.

          I was–and can still be talked in to–limited affirmative action.

          Where “equal rights” has evaporated and been replaced with identity politics of the most extreme and often racists and segregative sort, I’m less sanguine. When we start endorsing segregation and special privileges for all sorts of groups (except white people), I gotta kind of see that as a negative.

          I believe in a strong military but don’t like our military adventurism. I was willing to accept the Iraq war was a net good and that the Afghanistan war was necessary at the time, but I’m walking those positions back. I just don’t trust the government to initiate military conflicts, any more than I trust them to create a green energy revolution.

          I completely reject the New Victorianism of the progressive left these days. Totally. The desire to restrict speech and freedom of expression, to censor unappealing ideas–this is simply anathema to me. When I was a young liberal, I mocked and derided the Edwin Meese commission on pornography and Tipper Gore’s PMRC. Now it’s the left wanting to censor and cancel everything left and right based on their personal moral compass, and I reject that completely.

          I’m down for drug legalization. I’d even be willing to legalize the hard stuff–especially with a requirement that buying your heroin requires drug counseling, easy access to methadone, etc. I’m for allowing individuals to make bad decisions in their life, but I’d also like to ensure those decisions are fully informed.

          I want safe and legal abortion. I want it by congress passing an explicit law legalizing it and defining the terms of its legalization. I personally would prefer those terms be liberal (basically, a woman can get an abortion for any reason) but limited (no partial-birth abortions, nothing past 2nd trimester). But whatever the final terms, I would like to see it be an actual law rather than an invisible right discovered by judicial fiat.

          I want gay people to be able to get married. I want legal adults to be able to enter into whatever kind of marriage contract they want–this would include polygamy. I’d like to see legal adulthood for marriage contracts be set to the same level, nationally, as legal adulthood for alcohol and cigarette consumption. I also think 21 should be the absolute minimum for defining adulthood. For the coming generation, I think 25 might be a better age to demarcate adulthood. And even then, a lot of those people aren’t going to emotionally be adults. But at least by then you’ve got a fully developed brain. For what that’s worth.

          I want it possible for people to form groups or clubs that cater to specific people, so that we can have Boy Scouts and Girl’s Clubs. The government shouldn’t do this, but private groups should be able to do this. This should be limited to groups formed to cater to the group (so golf clubs couldn’t discriminate, but there could be Men’s Golfing Groups meeting at the club, that sort of thing). I think recognizing that there needs to be a balance between equal access at the right to association.

          And I’m all for the government funding scientific research. And the Interstate system. And NASA.

          I would like to end all agricultural subsidies. I think the FDA needs to be roto-rooted and completely rethought, but that’s a longer discussion.

          I could go on but that’s enough examples of where I lean to the left. Basically, I’m for Big Government when Big Government works for the citizens (really, not just in theory or because of the good intentions) and when the programs are sustainable. I’m for smaller government or no government when that works better.

          Like

      • “If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people,” Bloomberg said in the video, which was first reported on Tuesday by BuzzFeed News.”

        Bloomberg is right on that but, generally, you can’t say that kind of stuff if you’re a Democrat. But we shall see how it goes!

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    • Pretty obvious that Republicans are more interested in advancing their agenda than winning value debates. Not sure that tactic is as effective in converting Obama to Trump voters.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m curious why you think it’s obvious McWing. One of the reasons I like to hang out here (albeit I stayed away for a long time) is because most of you actually agree with me on at least some of the social issues I care about. Remember I even voted for the Libertarian last election?

        Liked by 1 person

        • lms:

          Remember I even voted for the Libertarian last election?

          Wasn’t that the “libertarian” who thought that it was ok for the government to tell a baker who he has to do business with?

          Liked by 1 person

        • To be honest Scott, I don’t even remember his name anymore………….LOL

          I couldn’t vote for Hillary so just picked the lesser of two evils I think.

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        • lms:

          To be honest Scott, I don’t even remember his name anymore………….LOL

          Hahahahah…..Gary Johnson.

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        • If it was Gary Johnson, his VP selection Bill Weld endorsed Hillary!

          Liked by 1 person

        • It’s obvious (well, to me at least) because Trump was the nominee and President with arguably the highest intraparty approval rate of any Republican. Trump is the embodiment of Milton Friedman’s quote:

          “I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or it they try, they will shortly be out of office.”

          From a Republican, nationalist standpoint, Trump is the wrong person doing the right thing because it’s profitable to him electorally.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I probably agree with you on most social issues, and I imagine a lot of folks here do as well–we may disagree on the government’s proper role in those issues. But nobody agrees on everything!

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    • lms:

      Speaking at a town hall event in Nevada, Buttigieg was asked about a series of homophobic remarks made last week by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who claimed on his program the country wasn’t “ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage.”

      Is that what constitutes “homophpobic” these days, fact claims about how Americans will react to something?

      So, they want to debate family values? Let’s debate family values.

      Did Limbaugh actually say something about “family values”?

      Like

      • i think homophobic these days is used to describe anything short of attending the pride parade and clapping enthusiastically the whole time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • More of the quote from Limbaugh……

        “They’re looking at Mayor Pete, 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of South Bend, loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage,” Limbaugh said. “And they’re saying, OK, how’s this going to look, 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to Mr. Man Donald Trump? What’s going to happen there?”

        If what Rush says is true that Trump told him not to apologize then I think we get a hint of how this is going to play out in the media. Trump allies will make the most out of appealing to people’s fear of gays. It should be an interesting side to the campaign if Pete takes the nomination, which even I doubt will happen.

        Oh and “Mr. Man Donald Trump”, that cracked me up!

        Liked by 1 person

        • lms:

          Trump allies will make the most out of appealing to people’s fear of gays.

          I don’t know a single person who “fears” gays. Literally not one. I doubt there are many out there. However, I don’t doubt that there are a lot of Americans who will have a visceral, negative reaction to seeing their (male) potential president kissing another guy on stage after a debate. In fact, I suspect that one of the Dem’s primary, most necessary demographics makes up an oversized portion of those Americans.

          Is it homophobic of me to make this observation?

          Oh and “Mr. Man Donald Trump”, that cracked me up!

          Yes, it is funny. But there is a real point in it.

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        • Doesn’t Mayor Pete have to kiss his husband on stage now? To not do so is an admission that he is afraid of Democratic voters.

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        • This may be a nuance but Rush was referring to Trump’s “Never Apologize” philosophy, not on any specific remark Rush made. As a rule, Rush doesn’t apologize either.

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        • Scott:

          I don’t know a single person who “fears” gays.

          I don’t fear people who pick their nose in public, but that doesn’t mean i want to watch them do it either. For that matter, nose-picking is normal and I certainly don’t want nosepickers erased from society, oppressed, made illegal, or prevented from earning a living.

          That doesn’t mean i want to watch trump digging for gold on national TV either. And if Dove Products puts out an ad prominently featuring nose-pickers it may well earn plaudits from the Alliance of People Who Believe Nosepickers Should Be Affirmed, but it isn’t gonna make me wanna buy whatever they are trying to sell.

          Does that make me rhinotillexomania-phobic?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Only if you object to booger eaters.

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        • Brent:

          I don’t fear people who pick their nose in public, but that doesn’t mean i want to watch them do it either.

          That made me laugh.

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        • I don’t know a single person who “fears” gays.

          This is weird. I’ve been uncomfortable around gay guys when I was much younger and they were kind of coming on to me–but even then “afraid” is not the word I would use. If you were very young and a much older gay man was pushing you into an inappropriate situation, I can see it happening in a situation–just as a young girl might be threatened by a large man trying to push her to do something sexual.

          But I’m not afraid of gay people. I know lots of them. Gay people may be afraid of coming out of the closet and many, I’m sure, never do (this would apply to my dad, I’m 100% sure, but it’s not something he was ever going to admit to). I didn’t even figure out he was gay until I was almost 40. I didn’t not suddenly begin to quake in fear.

          People aren’t afraid of gay people. There’s isn’t any kind of homophobia per se–I think that’s a term that’s been strategically used rather than descriptively used (as in, let’s make manly-men feel like it’s weak to not embrace all aspects of the homosexual agenda).

          There is discrimination against gay people, and that would be a big problem with the African American community and the Democrats if Mayor Pete got the nomination.

          Which is my other problem with this. They talk about Mayor Pete like his being gay is going to be a problem with Republicans and Trump-fans and all sorts of other right-of-center people who would never vote for any of the Democrats. That’s not where it’s going to be a problem. It’s going to be a problem amongst minority constituencies of the Democrats.

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        • KW:

          They talk about Mayor Pete like his being gay is going to be a problem with Republicans and Trump-fans and all sorts of other right-of-center people who would never vote for any of the Democrats. That’s not where it’s going to be a problem. It’s going to be a problem amongst minority constituencies of the Democrats.

          I wholeheartedly agree with this.

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      • the country wasn’t “ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage.”

        I don’t know that this is 100% true, especially of the people liberals and progressives tend to think about when Rush says “the country”. I’m sure there are plenty of evangelical white Christians who don’t want to elect a homosexual, but there’s a huge swath of the conservative right and even alt-right that loved Milo. And would happily vote for an out-and-proud gay guy who wanted to cut taxes and build a wall on the border and reduce government red tape.

        The problem is really, I think, the size of important ethnic minority demographics in the Democratic coalition that will not vote for a gay guy. While this includes some progressive White Christians (typically those where the family has voted Democrat since Woodrow Wilson), there’s far more in the African American, Muslim, and Mexican-American communities that aren’t going to vote for a gay guy or gal. Not openly gay, anyway.

        And the DNC knows this. Lots of Democrats know this.

        A Buttigeig nomination could still happen. Typically, these “homophobic” Democratic coalition folks aren’t going to vote in the primaries except on rare occasions, but will turn out (or refuse to turn out) in the general election. IMO.

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    • @lmsinca: ““So, they want to debate family values? Let’s debate family values. I’m ready.””

      People on both sides may talk about it, but I think the influence of “family values” on elections–primary or national–are very small. Trump’s election tends to indicate they are irrelevant.

      Which I think they are. They may influence who gets backs (due to electability concerns) but when people are voting? They don’t give two-sh**s if Bill Clinton got a hummer or was a horndog or if Trump diddled a porn star while married to his mail order bride of the decade. That’s not what most people vote on.

      Even voters who might not want to vote for a gay guy for president aren’t really voting on family values so much as how they feel about their own identity group in terms of religious belief or community.

      Like

  2. Brent, I’m wondering if you know any behind the scenes information (not inside info) about the OXY buyout of Anadarko. My daughter now works for OXY because of it. She’s happy with her position in the company and mostly happy with the opportunities it’s presented, but business wise things haven’t gone as expected. Apparently the CoronaVirus has affected the oil industry and prices have dropped and OXY has been unable to sell some of the assets they expected to unload. How long do you think this virus will continue to affect business?

    Like

    • I haven’t followed the OXY/APC situation that closely, but Carl Icahn isn’t happy… If there was an approach and management not only ignored it but concealed it from the shareholders, that is a pretty hefty breach of fiduciary duty…

      https://carlicahn.com/open-letter-to-occidental-petroleum-stockholders-5/

      I am not sure why Coronavirus would impact a US domestic E&P company unless it is supply-chain related.

      Like

      • I think that is the issue. It surprised me as well and my daughter wonders if it is even true. I’m sure Icahn isn’t happy. It’s my understanding there was an approach and it was initially just denied and not shared. Who knows what’s true though? Lots of rumors floating around internally at the time. Kasi tried to ignore most of it because it was very difficult to tell truth from fiction.

        Like

        • Who knows how serious the approach was. It may have been informal. Generally speaking a Board isn’t going make an announcement unless the buyer puts something in writing, something concrete.

          The fact that the buyer didn’t disclose anything to the market makes me think it never really got that far. Buyers who are getting rebuffed by the Board will generally issue what is called a bear hug letter, where they disclose what they are willing to pay for the company, which will force management to the negotiating table.

          So there may have been an approach, but it might have not been serious enough for anyone to go further.

          Carl may be trying to smoke out a buyer as well.

          Like

  3. I don’t have time to address all of your responses to “homophobia” individually this morning. I think you’re using the term too literally as “fear of”. Perhaps I should have actually used the word homophobic rather than fear in the context of my comment but it’s such a volatile term that I chose fear……………….wrongly I guess.

    Here’s the Mirriam-Webster definition of Homophobia.

    “: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals”

    I know a lot of people who fit into this particular phobia. I live in a very conservative, white middle class, religious area of So Cal. Our Rep here has been Ken Calvert for as long as I can remember. I come across this “phobia” all the time………………literally.

    I agree that there are segments of the Democratic party who will not be willing to vote for a gay man. I doubt that Pete B will get the nomination but you never know. I would prefer seeing two men or two women kissing each other than watching anyone but a 2 year old to pick their nose. I have a great pic of my grandson, who is actually two, doing it.

    Like

  4. how are we defining “aversion to?”

    so even you support marriage equality, non-discrimination, etc you are still homophobic if you don’t want to watch two dudes making out?

    what if you are someone who doesn’t like watching a hetero couple carry on in public. Does that make you heterophobic?

    Like

    • Brent:

      how are we defining “aversion to?”

      Exactly. If, as the dictionary definition supplied by lms suggests, “homophobia” encompasses “aversion to homosexuality”, then quite literally all heterosexuals are by definition “homophobic”.

      Personally I think it is a nonsense political pejorative that most people who use it haven’t spent any real time thinking too seriously or deeply about, just like other overused political insults like “fascist” or “nazi”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think it also represents the same over-generalization that lumps everybody and everything into one giant bucket to where it makes the whole discussion meaningless.

        If I object to homosexuality on moral grounds, then I am homophobic.

        If object to homosexual marriage–but not homosexuality–on cultural or legal grounds, then I am also homophobic.

        If object to an agenda that favors homosexuals over other groups, I am homophobic.

        If I object to my favorite superhero being retconned as homosexual despite having been married to someone of the opposite sex in the source material, I am homophobic.

        If I think Brokeback Mountain was a terrible and tedious movie, I am homophobic.

        If I object to movies that glorify homosexual male relationships between old men and minors, I am homophobic.

        And so on. Yet these are very different and specific things. I can be all for gay marriage yet object to the glorification of may-September relationships between a thirty-five year old teacher and his sixteen year old student. The idea seems to make all these objections into exactly the same thing, but I’ve known folks who are fine with homosexuality generally but object to gay marriage. I know people who are okay with gay marriage but queasy about gay adoption.

        These things shouldn’t all be considered the same thing.

        Like

        • That is why i said above that to hear the left tell it,
          anything short of attending the Pride Parade and clapping enthusiastically the whole time is homophobia..

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    • you are still homophobic if you don’t want to watch two dudes making out

      To some on the far left, you’re actually transphobic if you won’t have sex with a guy who calls themselves a girl. So, I’d say the answer to that is–to some people–most definitely!

      Like

    • Also, I have an aversion to anyone making out in public, though perhaps I would regard homosexual doing it and heterosexuals doing it differently–one would just irritate me and make me want to tell them to go home and do that. The other would make me jealous and irritate me and make me want to tell them to f**k off and get out of my face and go home if you’re going to do that kind of bulls***. I’d actually react more strongly to the heterosexual making out, because frankly resentment is more powerful than aversion.

      Like

  5. I don’t think I accused any of you of being homophobic. You don’t need to defend your aversions.

    I hate the way Trump puckers his lips when he speaks……………….I literally cannot stand watching him speak. It’s like a gut wrenching aversion I have to him.

    We all have things we dislike about others but I think we’re comparing apples to oranges a little bit. I know people who are homophobic but just because you don’t like watching two men kiss in public doesn’t necessarily make you one. I never said it did. I’m fairly certain you’re not alone in this and it is one reason I’m doubtful he’ll get the nomination even if he might be the better “man” for the job. Referring to Trump as somehow being more manly is a mistake though. He’s talking about a Veteran and comparing him to someone who avoided serving because of bone spurs.

    I also think it’s a mistake for Democrats who like his message and prefer not having a 78 year socialist in office, to discount him because he kisses his partner in public. It’s a sad commentary on people’s attitudes I think. Just my opinion. I realize none of you would vote for him for other reasons though so don’t misunderstand me.

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    • I don’t think anyone thought that. I think we are discussing the MW definition in general.

      Also the left has complete control over the administration of language, so we are pointing out the various ways they use it to their political advantage.

      Like

    • lms:

      I don’t think I accused any of you of being homophobic.

      Agreed. I was just questioning your premise that people have a “fear of gays” that will be exploited by Trump. I don’t think many people, if anyone, has such a fear.

      What I think a lot of people have is a natural, instinctual, and negative reaction to seeing sexual interplay between 2 men, and despite the fact that the culture-makers have essentially stigmatized and shamed any public expression of this natural reaction, it still exists and is likely to hurt Buttigieg. Even among, and perhaps especially among, certain segments of loyal Democrats.

      I know people who are homophobic…

      I still don’t know what this means, unless you mean simply “people who don’t hold the same attitudes towards homosexuality and especially the politics of homosexuality that I hold”.

      Like

      • I agree that it hurts his chances Scott, among Dems especially, since that’s the constituency he’s hoping to capture. I doubt he cares what conservatives think about him kissing his partner in public unless they directly mention him the way Limbaugh did. I think he’s entitled to a response in that case.

        I don’t have any way of proving to you that I know people who are not only afraid of homosexuals but also have an extreme aversion to, and will discriminate against them if given the opportunity. We had a very talented and well thought of school principal here who was essentially run out of town. He was a friend of my daughter in laws. No one ever saw him kiss anyone in public but they found out he lived with his male partner and that was enough for people in this community. He didn’t advertise that he was gay but he didn’t hide in the closet either. People seemed to fear for their young children. It might seem inconceivable to you guys that there are still people in this world who have that kind of irrational fear but unfortunately they do exist. Hopefully not in large numbers

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        • lms:

          It might seem inconceivable to you guys that there are still people in this world who have that kind of irrational fear…

          I am sure there are people who don’t like homosexuals, and people who discriminate against them, and people who don’t want their children exposed to them. I just don’t think it derives from “fear” of them, any more than an objection to nosepickers derives from a fear of them. (hat tip, Brent).

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        • Scott,

          Then I beg to disagree. It’s a fear of the unknown or fear of someone who is different from us. If people don’t want their children exposed to them what is that if not fear? Why discriminate if there’s nothing to fear? There are still people out there who don’t want their children educated by gay men because they fear it’s a perversion that may be visited upon their children as though they are sexual predators. I heard it with my own ears regarding this young man. I can’t just unwind my own experiences and observations because you don’t believe it.

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        • lms:

          If people don’t want their children exposed to them what is that if not fear?

          It could be any number of things…contempt, disgust, disdain, or it could be simply a belief that a homosexual lifestyle is morally wrong, and a desire to instill that same belief in their kids. Do you think that objections to anything and everything must be driven by “fear” of that thing, or is it just homosexuality?

          Why discriminate if there’s nothing to fear?

          Because you may simply not like something. I discriminate against certain kinds of food all the time, and it isn’t because I “fear” those foods.

          I heard it with my own ears regarding this young man.

          If you have heard people literally say “I fear homosexuals”, then I guess we should believe them, although I suspect that is fairly atypical.

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        • Scott, of course objections to things are not always driven by fear………….I’m really not that dense. You assume too much by my words which are not always perfect and sometimes tinged with emotion………I admit that freely.

          I’m trying to fit back in here but obviously I’m out of practice………..LOL, or maybe I never fit in. Who knows?

          But to answer your question………..yes, I was at a school board open forum meeting where more than a dozen people attending expressed fear for their children being molested because the school had a gay principal.

          The school board could not remove him legally and so he left willingly. It was actually a very sad event in my community.

          Do you remember at one of McCain’s town halls when that older woman (probably my age) suggested that Obama was an Arab (not even really knowing what that meant)? I could feel the fear radiating off of her. Luckily McCain, being a patriot and a stand up guy tried to put her fear down.

          I warned you I live in an ultra conservative small town in So Cal and believe me it’s probably worse than Midland, TX in many ways. Luckily, the surrounding areas aren’t quite so awful and the weather is great! 😉

          Perhaps it is atypical, how would I know?

          Like

  6. Here are the latest polling numbers if anyone is interested. I doubt anyone can actually beat Trump but Trump himself. 🙂

    https://news.yahoo.com/nbc-news-wsj-poll-sanders-220000327.html?.tsrc=daily_mail&uh_test=1_02

    Like

  7. Has anyone else ever heard the term “cold civil war”? I heard it for the first time tonight and I really like it. I think it actually a very apt characterization of what is going on in the country today.

    Like

  8. This is a really interesting pick.

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-to-name-loyalist-richard-grennell-to-acting-director-of-national-intelligence

    I have doubts he’ll be confirmed. Though it would be awesome if he kissed his partner at the confirmation hearing!

    Like

    • I hope he does. it would restore my faith in something…………Trump is smart to make this move right now. Ambassador isn’t quite the same as president but smart move anyway!

      Why do you doubt he’ll be confirmed?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think they may be trapped into confirming. 4-dimensional chess and all. Gonna have a hard time not confirming him, I think. I know there are anti-Trump people all over but I’m not sure how many of them will want to die on that Hill. Eh, if Mittens has a vote, maybe.

      Like

    • McWing:

      This is a really interesting pick.

      Check out the NYT article on this.

      https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/02/19/us/politics/dni-national-intelligence-director-grenell.amp.html

      They mention that he is gay in a single sentence in the 9th paragraph. If this was an Obama appointee, his homosexuality would have been in the headline and would have been the frame for the entire article…Obama appoints first openly gay Intelligence chief!

      These are the characterizations we get:

      Sub-head: “loyalist”
      First paragraph: “quickly antagonized the establishment”
      Second paragraph: “little experience in intelligence or in running a large bureaucracy”
      Third paragraph: “extraordinary intervention into domestic affairs that diplomats typically avoid”
      Fourth paragraph: “…Mr. Grenell told Breitbart, a far-right website”
      Fifth paragraph: “an ideological advocate” who might “color the intelligence he presents to Mr. Trump rather than present an objective assessment.”
      Sixth paragraph: “doesn’t have the kind of background and experience we would expect”
      Eighth paragraph: “bare-knuckled approach”
      Ninth paragraph: “thought to be the first openly gay cabinet member”

      The NYT is really beyond parody.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The NYT is really beyond parody.

        It’s definitely not in the news business, nor are any of the people writing for it reporters or journalists.

        They are catering to a niche market. From a pure news point of view, what’s the most interesting thing (especially to the general public) about this appointment? And Trump–a Republican–is going against the stereotype of Republican presidents and appointing an openly gay cabinet member! That would seem to be absolutely burying the lead.

        So–why? Why would they do that? I mean, what would be most damaging to Trump in an election? You’d think it would be all those votes he’d lose from homophobic conservative voters aghast that Trump had betrayed them an appointed an openly gay man to his cabinet.

        That would seem to be the better approach, if you really believed that Republican voters hated gay people. But apparently the writers at the NYT don’t really believe their own stereotypes about conservative voters, when the rubber meets the road.

        Which I find just as fascinating as the fact the New York Times has given up all pretense of reporting news or doing journalism and has become a full-time progressive activist organization.

        Like

        • as with so much of the progressive left, watch what it does not what it says.

          Liked by 1 person

        • KW:

          That would seem to be the better approach, if you really believed that Republican voters hated gay people. But apparently the writers at the NYT don’t really believe their own stereotypes about conservative voters, when the rubber meets the road.

          Exactly!

          Liked by 1 person

        • @scottc1: Look for the fringier (but still mainstream on the left) progressive pundits and members of talking-head panels start saying this guy “isn’t really gay”. If his appointment becomes a big news story, this guy is going to get accused of being “practically straight” or “not authentically gay” or a sex-preference-traitor. Or a gay Uncle Tom. Something.

          Like

        • KW:

          Or a gay Uncle Tom.

          That cracked me up.

          Like

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