Saturday, October 20, 2007

Late Thread

The Editors, they may have a point.

It's Simels' birthday. Here is a song to celebrate.

Fresh Thread

Saturday evening edition.

"Not Really An Economist"

Our elite discourse is so fucking stupid.

Buy the book, make the illiterate haters cry.

The Problem

I hinted once that my discussion of Shailagh Murray with someone caused me to begin referring to her as "The Devil." Let me elaborate a bit.

The scene: a bar, having drinks.

The conversation (about blogs and journalists):

Person who is not me: For example, Shailagh Murray of the Washington Post is an excellent reporter and a very good friend.

Me: (jaw on floor, in almost hysterical voice) but...but...but.. Shailagh Murray is the devil!

The punchline: Person who is not me is a not insignificant Democratic campaign manager type person.

Joke's on all of us.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Margin Debt

Ultimately, this is what can both help cause and lead to catastrophic consequences of even a modestly falling stock market. Margin calls force people to liquidate stocks, further driving down prices, and people who borrow multiples of the amount of cash they invest stand to lose more than everything.

Defying Conventional Wisdom

Well, hanging out with gay haters is one way for Obama to defy conventional wisdom.

Call me when "values voters" stop obsessing about genitals touching each other and the Christian value of torture.

Refugees From the Khyber

Went to see Spoon last night. Everybody loves Spoon!

Anyway, there seems to be a thing about bands who hit it bigger joking about the bad old days when they played the Khyber when they come through Philly.

The Khyber isn't a bad place to see a band, but it's probably an awful place to perform as a band. There's a tiny little stage, and it seems you have to sneak through a little panel door out the front to get your equipment in.

The Decemberists made the same "joke" when I saw them. That would have been interesting. Almost as interesting as seeing Gogol Bordello at Tritone.


As I said previously, these potential catastrophic drought conditions fortunately never seem to materialize. Perhaps, at least in the "potential" version, they serve as a welcome wakeup.

But even if an agreement is reached soon, the mayor said her city, which has doubled in population since 1980, needs to do a better job of conserving water.

Franklin also admitted that the Atlanta area did little to add to storage facilities during years of recent explosive growth, but says the city has now purchased a stone quarry to be developed into a new reservoir.

Atlanta is spending $4 billion to fix the city's water infrastructure. According to Franklin, 14 percent of the city's pipes, many of which date back to the 1890s, leak. Though the mayor says the percentage of leaky pipes has dropped each of the last six years.

But the remaining repairs will take four to five years and won't address the current crisis. Atlanta may soon have to resort to drastic action like some other Southeastern towns have already taken.


Character actors are not lead actors, and screen actors are not stage actors.

Wanker of the Day

Howie Kurtz.

Morning Thread

Because Katie Couric is a vapid cheerleader. Plus, she's an adult named "Katie."



Part of a balanced breakfast.

Over The Night

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Night Fun


Wanker of the Day

Shailagh Murray, aka the Devil.


Standing up for what's obviously right has its benefits.

Flying Pigs

Negative word said about Dear Leader by one of the Beltway Boys.

Evening Thread


Fred's Inspiration


"Believe Me, I've Tried"

If there's a charitable way to read this I'm not coming up with it.


Network began on Monday. Market since Monday:

Coincidence? I report, you decide!


Dow surge!


I have no opinion about the guy, but it must be said that certainly no one that Bush is going to appoint to the position of Attorney General is going to admit, at his confirmation hearing, that in his opinion the Bush administration has spent the last several years engaged in rampant lawbreaking. This is certainly not a defense of him, but an acknowledgment of reality.

The failure to hold the Bush administration accountable for their numerous admitted crimes has its roots deep in the culture of Fred Hiatt's Village, in David Broder's Town. At least, as far as we know, little George has never gotten a blowjob.

Document Dump


Police are investigating how the personal files of 1,200 Ameriquest Mortgage customers turned up in a dumpster at an Atlanta apartment complex. Police say the 40 boxes of records contain sensitive financial information, including customers' credit histories, bank account information, tax and salary records and social security numbers.

Management of the Montego Apartments complex immediately alerted police after the abandoned boxes were discovered last month.


An Ameriquest representative has reviewed some of the documents, and spokesman Chris Orlando says the company believes they were stolen from Ameriquest in late 2002.

According to Orlando, "We take the security of our records very seriously...and have been working to locate the person or persons responsible for the theft. We are pleased that the files have now been secured by authorities in DeKalb County, and we are working with local law enforcement to determine what information is contained in the files and who stole them."

Deputy Chief Burrows says so far his department has uncovered no evidence that the files were stolen from Ameriquest.

Won't Have Mel Martinez to Kick Around Anymore

Well, as head of the RNC, anyway. Resigning from that position. Still a senator.

First Real Filibuster

As opposed to the fake "threaten to filibuster" filibusters might come from a Democrat.

Awesome leadership, Harry Reid.

Bad Democrats

Al Wynn:

In campaign finance reports that cover the period ending Sept. 30 and made public on the Federal Election Commission's website this week, Wynn said he had raised $592,602 for his campaign and had $400,286 on hand to spend. Edwards, meanwhile, reported raising $214,365 but spending almost half, leaving her $100,511.

Both sides declared themselves pleased with the numbers. Edwards noted that almost half of Wynn's contributions came from political action committees rather than individuals. The two are more evenly matched in the number of individuals donating--with 121 giving $200 or more to Edwards in the last quarter and 189 donating $200 or more to Wynn. Wynn's campaign manager meanwhile notes that much of Edwards' money comes from people who don't live in the 4th district--or even in Maryland.

Wynn's $290,000 from PACs include contributions from several telecommunications companies, natural gas and propane interests, the Nuclear Energy Institute Federal PAC, Wal-Mart's PAC and other industry groups. They also include donations from unions, like the AFL-CIO, the Communications Workers of America and airline pilots and flight attendants. By contrast, Edwards has taken in only $2,100 from PACs (the Feminist Majority, the Friends of the Earth and Moderates Against Corruption.)


"The vast majority of our money comes from individuals in our district, in Maryland," said Wynn campaign manager Lori Sherwood. She said Edwards' money seemed to come from "individuals and organizations she's been affiliated with" as executive director of the Arca Foundation. "Our opponent has special interest. She's receiving money from Barbara Streisand, Hollywood money and New York money. I'm not sure if Barbara Streisand knows what the policies are in the 4th district."

translation: "Jew money."

It's only 4 months until the primary. While the fundraising ability of the netroots is in some sense impressive, I don't think it's quite been tapped and directed as well as it could. No hard sell here, but having Donna Edwards in Congress would be great.

Fix Rates

This is a good approach, and echoes what I've suggested in the past. It won't help everyone who's about to experience a foreclosure - and nor should it - but it should stabilize things for those who have a reasonable chance of covering their mortgage if it doesn't have insane rates.

THERE have been many proposals to deal with the problems in the mortgage market. But the best place to begin is by looking at the poor lending standards and weak consumer protections at the root of the problem — in particular, the troubling loans called 2/28 and 3/27 subprime hybrids. They have starter interest rates of 7 percent or more for the first two or three years, and “resets” that raise rates to as much as 12 percent, causing monthly payments to increase by at least 30 percent.


So subprime servicers should take a more standardized approach: restructure all 2/28 and 3/27 subprime hybrid loans for owner-occupied homes in cases where the borrower has been making timely payments but can’t afford the reset payments. Convert these to fixed-rate loans at the starter rate.

This would be no bailout. These borrowers would still be required to make their monthly payments — at rates higher than what prime is today. Billions in savings would be generated by avoiding the administrative, legal, marketing and other costs of foreclosure, which can run to half or more of the loan amount. And avoiding foreclosure would protect neighboring properties and hasten the recovery of markets burdened by an excess supply of houses.

As Dean Baker reminds us, resets aren't the only problem. Lots of people were given mortgages under terms they couldn't afford even before a rate reset. But they are some of the problem, they certainly represent a big chunk of the mortgages granted under absurd lending terms..


As I said previously I honestly don't know who I support or who I plan to vote for. This honestly isn't just a matter of deliberately maintaining a pose to keep this blog relatively "neutral." I really don't feel like a supporter of any candidate. Still it's useful to use the power of my mighty blogs to nudge the candidates one way or another, if possible, and so I appreciate the 217 of you who demonstrated your support for Dodd's actions by contributing $11,861 to his campaign.

As Glenn Greenwald keeps saying over and over again, the Washington conventional wisdom is that spying on Americans without warrants and locking them up indefinitely without charges are the Very Serious Positions. This is a deeply sick political culture in a deeply corrupt and deeply sick city, composed of people who have turned their backs on everything most of us grew imagining this country stood for, and it's important to support and be inspired by those who "dare" to stand up for what we all thought were American values.


Unlike Ann Coulter, I'm no constitutional scholar, but I have been a wee bit puzzled why the prohibition on ex post facto laws would't prevent this telecom immunity bullshit. Of course there's a prohibition on suspending Habeas Corpus, too, so what do I know.


John McCain's all class, a credit to the greatest deliberative body in the history of the universe.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate John McCain took one look at a nursing school's training mannequin and asked if the dummy's name was Hillary.

Campaigning Thursday at the University of South Carolina Upstate nursing school, McCain couldn't resist a swipe at Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"I was very glad to meet the dummy, named 'Hillary,'" McCain said to laughter after a tour of the school. "Is that the name?"

It wasn't. The dummy, or human simulator, doesn't have a name.


Thursday, October 18, 2007


Some are more important than others.


Both Derbyshire and his wife are immigrants.

Evening Thread

Behave or more Eurovision for you.

Wanker of the Day

Hugh Hewitt.


While Senate rules are confusing to mere mortals, the basic point is that if one senator wants to, she or he can force the Senate to take a lot of time to do anything. They can't stop it without more support, but they can make it painful and time consuming.

And Kagro explains the consequences of the hold, including retribution.

If you're in the mood reward good behavior with cash.

Or, at least, consider signing a petition with your support.

Browback Memories

I'd forgotten about this one.


And Chris Dodd comes through.

I'm not supporting anyone - and that's being honest, I really haven't decided who I'm going to vote for - but I always believe in rewarding good behavior.

Republicans Hate Kids

Unsurprisingly, SCHIP override fails in House.

Libertarian Stalinism

A rather strange movement, to be sure.

Hissy Fit

House Republicans are currently throwing their usual hissy fit over this statement from Pete Stark.

First of all, I'm just amazed they can't figure out, the Republicans are worried we can't pay for insuring an additional 10 million children. They sure don't care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where ya gonna get that money? You going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement. This bill would provide healthcare for 10 million children and unlike the President's own kids, these children can't see a doctor or receive necessary care. [...]

But President Bush's statements about children's health shouldn't be taken any more seriously than his lies about the war in Iraq. The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up. In Iraq, in the United States and in Congress.

It's so easy to get them to throw hissy fits and reveal themselves to be the WATBs that they all are. I don't know when Dems fail to understand and exploit this more often.


I've not quite figured out if the Fed really only focuses on "core inflation" or if it's just some concept that the press, reporting on the Fed, can't get its arms around. The reason to focus on so-called "core inflation," something which excludes trivial things like food and energy costs, month to month is that food and energy costs are volatile and tend to bounce around a bit. The core inflation number, which excludes this stuff, is thought to be less volatile and therefore a better measure of short term inflation. In other words, over a short time horizon, one can tease out trends from the core inflation number more accurately than one can tease out trends from the overall inflation number. But longer term the core inflation number should be ignored as food and energy costs aren't actually trivial things. So if over a period of 6 months or more food and energy costs consistently rise it isn't because they're volatile, it's because they're rising.


One of the dirty little secrets of Washington is that a substantial number of the members of the very serious Republican party are pretty much lunatic buffoons.

Hastert to Retire Early

Plans to "spend more time with his legal team."


The decline in US casualties over the last couple of months (especially, so far, this month) appears to be real and therefore something to of course applaud. But it hasn't achieved any political progress. If the goal is to reduce US casualties in Iraq the simplest way is to, you know, get US troops out of Iraq .

Take It to the Campaign

If you think it's important for Dodd to place a hold on any crappy telecom immunity bill that the Senate comes up with, call Dodd campaign headquarters and request they do it. Ask to speak to the policy director, Amos Hochstein.

Dodd campaign headquarters telephone number:


Be polite.

The issue is that (bizarrely) placing a hold is the best way to muck things up in the Senate. And it only takes one senator.

Doddmania's been bubbling up for awhile now. This could be its moment.


One frustrating thing about the current crops of senators-as-presidential-contenders is that there's been a real lack of leadership in the actual senators. This was a bit more understandable when they were in the minority, but one would like to see them take it up a few notches. One thing I think Democrats have lost is the ability to get out in front of an issue and try to persuade people that their position is the correct one, and then use their position in Congress to make it happen. There's a kind of "everything is a behind closed doors deal" from which a compromise emerges dynamic, which is fine when it achieves something but not fine when it fails.

Greenwald writes:

Dodd's emphasis in his campaign on constitutional issues -- along with his excellent voting record this year -- has generated significant positive feelings towards his campaign. But demonstrating real leadership on this incomparably important issue would almost certainly generate real, tangible support for his campaign in many circles.

Telecom amnesty implicates not only all of the issues raised by warrantless surveillance and the rule of law, but really calls into question the basic fairness of our entire political system, i.e, whether the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in Washington can literally buy their way out of lawbreaking. Anyone who boldly impedes what would be this bipartisan travesty -- and a "hold" on an issue of this magnitude would, in the context of Senate customs, be very bold -- is someone who will have demonstrated genuine leadership on a truly critical issue. There has been precious little of that thus far in the presidential race.

Dodd's uniquely placed to do something. He isn't a current frontrunner, but he is respected enough and enough of an insider that he can get on the teevee a bit. He has made these issues a relatively central part of his campaign. And, what do you know, he's actually in the Senate.

He can put a hold on this, and then take the case to the public. I don't know why Democrats think they need to stand with Mr. 24%, but it's time for other Democrats to make them defend why they feel the need to do so.


Big Tent Democrat explains how to make Doddmania go prime time.

Any senator can put a hold on a bill, making it a big pain in the ass for the rest of the Senate to deal with it if they want to.

Brownback Out

Awhile back at a CAP State of the Union event with Sam Seder, when asked what the biggest threat to the Republic was, I said "President Sam Brownback." Amy Sullivan said it was a nuclear Iran. While I'd probably change my answer to "President Rudy Giuliani now," CNN sez the AP is reporting that the looming Brownback threat has been beaten back and we can rest easily until 2012 at least.

Panty Sniffing Freak Phill Kline At It Again

Oh boy.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Planned Parenthood clinic was charged Wednesday with providing unlawful abortions and other crimes by a county prosecutor who had engaged in a high-profile battle with the clinic when he was Kansas attorney general.

Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline charged the Overland Park, Kan., clinic with 107 counts, 23 of them felonies. Besides 29 misdemeanor counts of providing unlawful late-term abortions, the clinic is charged with multiple counts of making a false writing, failure to maintain records and failure to determine viability.

A review:

WICHITA, Kan. The attorney general of Kansas wants to know the detailed history of the sex lives of nearly 90 women who received late-term abortions.

Court documents show that Phill Kline wants to search the documents for evidence of crimes under laws that limit late-term abortions and require mandatory reporting of suspected child sexual abuse.

Under the order signed by a judge, the attorney general would get records that would include each patient's name, medical history, details of her sex life, birth control practices and psychological profile.

One sick puppy.

Senator Pants On Fire

And the fallout continues.

So Sen. McConnell was deliberately untruthful the next day, when he told WHAS-TV's Mark Hebert, "There was no involvement whatsoever." The senator will object to any suggestion of lying, but what else is it when you knowingly misrepresent facts?

It's clear what Mitch McConnell knew and when he knew it. It's clear he deceived the public when he answered Mr. Hebert as he did about the e-mail sent by his press agent.

Mr. McConnell is so used to Washington-style gamesmanship and inside-the-beltway rules that he has forgotten what constituents back in Kentucky want: the simple truth.


What fresh hell awaits?


Good morning, campers. Go play in the blogroll.

Not Atrios


This blog needs more Eurovision.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Evening Thread

--Molly I.

"Dems Cave On Genocide"

Well, that was the lovely chyron on CNN for about 20 minutes.


...adding, I'm not criticizing CNN here. It was a stupid resolution, a stupid fake showdown with Bush, and then to top it all off they lost the showdown.

Obviously one question is whether or not it should have been out there to begin with, but why they feel the need to lose on such things is beyond me...

Late Afternoon Thread



It really doesn't make all that much sense to put tolls on long distance roads. There's an existing revenue collection mechanism in place - the gas tax - to roughly toll people based on distance driven and it isn't clear why long distance roads should have special treatment. I suppose there are arguments about dedicated funding sources for key bits of infrastructure - say, a bridge - but I'm just not sure why we bother for turnpikes.

There are reasons to toll stretches of road, especially at peak hours, in order divert travel and reduce inefficient congestion. But long distance roads generally seem to be the wrong roads to bother with.

Having said that, I'm glad that there might actually be some additional funds for our inept beloved SEPTA. Whatever their faults, they need them.


Something tells me they aren't going to see them.

The developer of Seasons on Lanier is not having a good financial season, according to information released by the firm’s parent corporation. The news apparently has brought activity at the Gainesville development to a halt and left the company’s future in doubt.


A design center also was closed. A sign indicated it had merged with another Levitt facility in Atlanta and provided a phone number for that location, which also did not answer calls on Tuesday.

The gates to the gated community were open and houses sat in various stages of completion.

No work was taking place at the site. Only one truck, belonging to a cabinet company, was loading materials from a house onto the truck on Tuesday.

Not gonna happen:

One buyer, Eileen Behrens, 68, had been looking forward to moving into the Seasons community next month.

She said she put $42,000 down on the house, including luxury upgrades.


Yes we should be afraid.



A defensive President Bush insisted that he was still relevant this morning in a news conference dominated by his bitter complaints about the Democratic Congress.

Asked how he found himself vetoing a children's health insurance bill that had passed Congress with bipartisan support, Bush insisted that using a veto is "one way to ensure I am relevant."

When a reporter followed up and asked Bush if he felt he was losing leverage and relevance, Bush replied: "I've never felt more engaged and more capable of getting the American people to realize there's a lot of unfinished business."

Which, let's be blunt, is hard to believe.

Too Much Music

Between emusic and the various much appreciated promo CDs I get in the mail I'm rather overwhelmed and can't mentally keep track of new bands I like.

Much improved situation than my previous music-listening era when I rarely found something new I liked, but still.

Praying for a GOP Daddy

TPM Muckraker is covering the AG confirmation hearings. I'm actually one who thinks that the president should be given reasonable deference about his appointees, though the flip side of that is that Congress should be given deference in their oversight duties...


A little sanity for DC cabs.

A zone system with a bit more transparency wouldn't have been so bad, but the unreadable non-North facing zone maps weren't designed with transparency in mind.

More Press for Senator Pants On Fire


WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell knew last week -- at a time when he was denying it -- that his staff had sent e-mails encouraging reporters to look into the background of a 12-year-old boy used by Democrats to support expansion of a health-care program.

In an interview Friday with WHAS-TV reporter Mark Hebert, the Kentucky Republican said his staff had not been involved in trying to push reporters to look into the financial situation of the boy's family.

But McConnell's communications director, Don Stewart, said in an interview Monday with The Courier-Journal that he had told McConnell about the Oct. 8 e-mails sometime around Thursday, the day before the interview with Hebert.

[Full Drama Queen Huckleberry Graham] But hee laahhhhhhhhd to the Amerrrriicuun peeeeple!!!![/huckleberry]

Do Not Want

I don't really like any shield law which attempts to define journalism as a class rather than an act, I don't like that such law uses an income test to define that class, and I certainly don't understand why the emphasis is on protecting the journalists from testifying rather than the whistleblowers who need protecting.

Yay whistleblower protection. Boo defining journalism based on whether it makes you money.


Housing news not good.

Meanwhile, a separate government report showed that U.S. home construction starts fell 10.2 percent in September to their lowest level in more than 14 years while building permit activity, a sign of future construction plans also dropped to a level not seen since mid-1993.


Separately, the Commerce Department said housing starts set an annual pace of 1.191 million units in September, lower than the 1.285 million units expected by economists. It was the lowest pace for housing starts since the March 1993 rate of 1.083 million units.

Building permits fell 7.3 percent, the sharpest decline since January 1995, to an annual rate of 1.226 million.


Broder's boy bounces all the way to 24%.

Bush's job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month's record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month's record low.

"There is a real question among Americans now about how relevant this government is to them," pollster John Zogby said. "They tell us they want action on health care, education, the war and immigration, but they don't believe they are going to get it."

(ht a demanding pony boy)

...pony boy also points out that this ties Nixon's 24% low in the Gallup poll then.



Overnight Boogie Thread

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Our Absurd Discourse

Cliff May on Hillary Clinton:

MAY: At least call her a Vaginal-American, as opposed to --

CARLSON: Is that the new phrase?

MAY: I think that is, yeah.

Wolf Blitzer on Cliff May:

BLITZER: But he's a respected guy, Clifford May.

JOHNSON: Well, he's respected by some people. I don't respect him, because I...

BLITZER: I have known him for many years...


BLITZER: ... going back to when he was a reporter for the "New York Times."

Mickey Porn

Someone went and filmed one of Mickey's erotic fantasies.

Feeling the Doddmania

The question is how far he, and other senators, will go to stop it. There are always ways to muck things up in the Senate if someone wants to badly enough.

"Today's report that Verizon provided the Bush Administration with personal information of American citizens absent judicial authorization is deeply troubling. We must be told the full extent of Verizon's activities and what other private information they have provided to the Bush Administration.

"More troubling still is that the United States Senate would sanction those telecommunications companies that have violated the law and the privacy of our citizenry, enabling this Administration's assault on the Constitution."


Senator pants on fire:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- It appears Senator Mitch McConnell may have misled WHAS11 News when he told us nobody on his staff had anything to do with an effort to dig into the background of a 12-year-old boy.

An aide to McConnell has admitted he sent an e-mail to Washington reporters, urging them to look into Graeme Frost, the boy who urged Congress to override the president's veto of an expanded child health care bill. He's been a target of conservative bloggers ever since.


As Bill says, it's a stupid concept anyway, but Hillary isn't the most "polarizing" candidate except in Andrew Sullivan's fever swamp of a brain. Majorities say they definitely wouldn't vote for Romney or Frederick of Hollywood, and more reject Giuliani and McCain than Clinton, Edwards, or Obama.

Republican Politics, Colorado Style

State Rep. Debbie Stafford just became a Democrat.

Tipping point?
Rep. Stafford,

Was there a tipping point or issue that ultimately caused you to decide to switch parties?
by: Kerri Rebresh @ Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:07:35 AM CDT
[ Reply ]

thanks Kerri
Yes, a series of issues. I voted to support the concerns of citizens in my district in the homebuilder construction defect bill. I was lobbied heavily to vote no on the bill but chose to honor the citizens of my district. It escalated as I confronted the heavy handed lobbying tactics. It culminated with anger that I voted yes on the bill against one of the major funders of the GOP.

In June, 8 democrats and myself had a frivolous campaign finance complaint filed against us. Mine was $208 thank you ad in the newspaper. The complaint was filed by the homebuilders and a republican attorney that now represents the house minority.

I was told that they wanted to make it look bipartisan and that's why they harrassed me. The Republicans then hired another GOP attorney to defend me against the complaint. I was later told that it was an action by my own party's leadership to bring the complaint against me. I was then told my atorney, if I poke my finger in the eye of our major donors I will have a problem.

I made up my mind that I was no longer an accepted member of the Republican party. I don't mind if somebody is mad at me but get over it.

It reminds me of the book "Battered into Submission" and I don't respond to battering.

Daddy Government

Perhaps someone else has made this observation, but it occurs to me that George Bush has completely undercut the Republican party's war on government, a key pillar of their brand. You can't spin a story about how the all powerful macho gov't, headed by commander codpiece, is going to take care of everything and keep you safe while simultaneously disparaging government in every other way. The narratives collide and become incoherent. So, yes, attacks on "socialized medicine" or whatever just don't resonate like they used to.

Keep it Coming

The crazy Right continues to think that attacking people with jobs and families who can't afford health insurance is an excellent political tactic.

Silly Lara Logan

She still won't tell us anything about the lovable cyberpets that female troops are keeping! Such a gloomy gus.


Potential regional catastrophic water issues always seem to be lurking in the realm of possibility but never quite materialize. We'll see...

ATLANTA, Oct. 15 — For the first time in more than 100 years, much of the Southeast has reached the most severe category of drought, climatologists said Monday, creating an emergency so serious that some cities are just months away from running out of water.


Officials in the central North Carolina town of Siler City estimate that without rain, they are 80 days from draining the Lower Rocky River Reservoir, which supplies water for the town’s 8,200 people.

In the Atlanta metropolitan area, which has more than four million people, worst-case analyses show that the city’s main source of water, Lake Lanier, could be drained dry in 90 to 121 days.

Think Bigger

Young Yglesias obviously lacks strategic vision as he fails to contemplate just how awesome war with Russia would be!

How Rusty Limbaugh Takes Care of Things


I've had journalists tell me this. "Well, we're journalists." Why are you immune? Why are you immune to the same kind of destructive reporting and behavior that you dish out? You know, we have practiced -- I've practiced it once. I am not going to tell you the story because I'm don't want to give it away, and I would have to mention names, and I'm not going to mention names. But there was a cover story on me coming out of one of the big news magazines, and it was going to totally mischaracterize me and what I do and how I do it. And we found out who was writing it and made a couple phone calls to the person writing it. And we said, "You know what? We're going to find out where your kids go to school. We're going to find out who you knocked up in high school. We're going to find out what drugs you used. We're going to find out where you go to drink and do -- we're gonna find out how you paid for your house. We're going to do -- and we're going to do exact -- and we're going to say that, you know what? You are no different than Al Goldstein. You both masturbate. You're no different than Al Goldstein, and you're both journalists, and so forth."

And the guy started screaming on the phone, just went -- "You can't do that." We said, "Watch us." And it changed the tone of the story by about 60 percent, I would say, from what it was going to be. But nobody does that to these people. Nobody does it to them. And that would be so much fun. But I'd need to be wearing body armor every day. Oh, no question, these people are playing for keeps.

More Finance Fun

Yves at naked capitalism highlights another problem with the super-bailout shell game. The lack of liquidity is due to the fact that no one really knows what these shitty assets are really worth. The fund promises to chisel off the least shitty of the shitty assets in order to give it a bit of respectability, but by doing so they're basically labeling everything else as complete garbage. Or, in LOLCat speak, DO NOT WANT.

Super-Bailout Shell Game

Nouriel Roubini looks at recent actions to prop up the various mortgage-related assets market. Let me try to do a summary of his take:

  • By itself, the creation of this self-bailout fund isn't really a federal bailout
  • But the feds were involved by seriously loosening certain lending regulations, which while not exactly a financial bailout still creates a moral hazard issue.
  • While such a fund may marginally help with liquidity issues, the problems aren't simply about liquidity. The problem is that that they bought a bunch of shitty assets.
  • None of this is likely to work anyway, so attention should be paid to subsequent action by the feds.
  • Rather than providing the needed transparency, this is just adding to the opacity which led to the problems in the first place.

Oppo Shop

So, McConnell aide pushed reporters to attack Frost family. Reporters, always drawn to wingnut chum, were after it. Aide then realized that Stalkin' Malkin's gang were off on one of their irrational rage-driven snipe hunts and called his reporters off.

Wanker of the Day

Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni.

More Phony Soldiers

Probably all staff pukes.

U.S. forces, responsible for too many objectives and too much "battle space," are vulnerable targets. The sad inevitability of a protracted draw-down is further escalation of attacks -- on U.S. troops, civilian leaders and advisory teams. They would also no doubt get caught in the crossfire of the imminent Iraqi civil war.

Iraqi security forces would not be able to salvage the situation. Even if all the Iraqi military and police were properly trained, equipped and truly committed, their 346,000 personnel would be too few. As it is, Iraqi soldiers quit at will. The police are effectively controlled by militias. And, again, corruption is debilitating. U.S. tax dollars enrich self-serving generals and support the very elements that will battle each other after we're gone.

This is Operation Iraqi Freedom and the reality we experienced. This is what we tried to communicate up the chain of command. This is either what did not get passed on to our civilian leadership or what our civilian leaders chose to ignore. While our generals pursue a strategy dependent on peace breaking out, the Iraqis prepare for their war -- and our servicemen and women, and their families, continue to suffer.

There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.

America, it has been five years. It's time to make a choice.

Too good to be true

Maybe she just knows her audience.
What I do know, is that I heard her say that she would end the Iraq war immediately upon taking office. Lots of heads snapped up when she said that (and there was plenty of applause, even a little whooping) and the very politically plugged in person sitting next to me remarked that the statement was “completely new”. She went on to say that the troops had already done everything they had been asked to do: got rid of Saddam, created a situation where elections could take place, surged to create political stability so the elected Iraqi government could do some legislating and work out a political solution (which she said they have not done) and that it was unfair to ask our troops to stay in Iraq and “play referee to an Iraqi civil war.” She said there is no military solution.

Not Atrios

Monday, October 15, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.

Billy Gate Progresses

I can't remember if Mickey's failure to adequately address these charges is proof of his guilt, or if his addressing these charges is proof that there are no limits to the degree to which he'll slime his opponents. All I know is that apparently he's a goat blower.

Stalkin' Malkin's Victims

All you need to know about her crowd.

Still, Howie Hearts Michelle!

Gerth Droppings

Who knew that the spouse of a presidential contender, in 1992, could get the FBI to record phone conversations of political opponents.

Republicans plan to seize on an allegation from the 1992 presidential campaign to tarnish Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on the red-hot issue of government surveillance.

Government surveillance will be at the forefront of the political debate this fall as congressional Democrats and President Bush square off over legislation allowing electronic spying on U.S. soil without a warrant.

Republicans are focusing on an allegation in a recent book by two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, which suggests Clinton listened to a secretly recorded conversation between political opponents.

In their book about Clinton’s rise to power, Her Way, Don Van Natta Jr., an investigative reporter at The New York Times, and Jeff Gerth, who spent 30 years as an investigative reporter at the paper, wrote: “Hillary’s defense activities ranged from the inspirational to the microscopic to the down and dirty. She received memos about the status of various press inquiries; she vetted senior campaign aides; and she listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics plotting their next attack.

And the Clinton rules roll on...

CBS Has A Wee Problem

Cribbing an article from World Nut Daily.

Fast Money

Not sure the Republicans should even bother in Virginia.

RICHMOND, Oct. 15 -- Democrat Mark R. Warner raised more than $1 million for his bid for the U.S. Senate in less than three weeks, according to reports filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

Warner, a former governor, entered the race for the seat of retiring Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) on Sept. 13.

Between his announcement and Sept. 30, the close of the latest federal campaign finance reporting period, Warner collected about $1.1 million, with no major organized fundraising events. He has about $1 million in the bank.

15 months from now there will be two Democratic senators from Virginia.


I recently got an email which was something about a "PR is the new advertising conference." Or something like that, anyway, don't quite remember.

But indeed it is. I get so many goddamn "promote my crap for free" emails every day it's driving me crazy. Sure some of them are liberal do gooder stuff which at least fits in with the topics of the blog, but plenty of them aren't even close.

Buy a blogad.

Wanker of the Day

Howie Kurtz.

Fresh Thread


The Page

Because the world really needs another news outlet with a full time case of the Drudges.

This Should Be Fun

Boehner claiming Republicans will have plan giving "high quality health insurance" to "all Americans."

Given the quality of media coverage of policy debates they're probably making the right move. There are different plans, and, hey, who can tell which will work. It's all so confusing and boring. Hillary cackled!!!

Bush World

Cronies fail upwards:

While the mortgage company he founded is in shambles and many of its customers facing foreclosure, Roland Arnall continues to enjoy a life of prosperity as the United States ambassador to the Netherlands with an estimated fortune of $l.5 billion.

"If you're building a 'Mount Rushmore' of people who should be on the face of the mortgage lending crisis, I think Roland Arnall has a distinct place in that litany," said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

Ameriquest has fired thousands of its employees and closed its sales offices after settling a lawsuit brought by 49 state attorneys general over alleged deceptive and predatory lending practices. The company has since been sold.



The Bullshit Maneuver

Republicans, as they often do, are going to rely on that tried and true rhetorical technique known as "lying." The Democrats can:

a) Use this to show how genuinely serious they are by pointing out that, once again, this administration is dangerously incompetent.

b) Use this to show how "serious" and "tough" they are by caving in to a bunch of lying bullies and handing the dangerously incompetent administration even more unchecked power.

Bailing Themselves Out

It seems the big players in the financial world are getting together to set up a fund which would essentially be there to prop up the prices of financial assets that no one wants to buy.

This could work if they simply had a temporary liquidity problem, but that really doesn't seem to be what's going on here.

Quietly Summoning


Rep. Henry Waxman, considered the meanest dog in town by the GOP, is still sniffing around the White House for proof the president lied when making the case for going to war in Iraq. We hear that he's been quietly summoning former Bush aides, especially speechwriters, to testify behind closed doors about what they knew and how they phrased his words on the issue.

(via tp)


I've long been warning against people taking out ARMs. Every time I have there have been people who had gotten them and were happy. And of course there were. The point was never that ARMs were never ever a good deal for people, the point was that there was considerable risk that they would end up being an extraordinarily bad deal. Most people reasoned that either they weren't planning to stay much or any beyond that initial locked in rate, or that as long as home prices were continuing to rise they'd be able to refinance fairly easily.

That probably worked out for lots of people. But not so much anymore.

We Won, Or We Think We Did

Some good news:

The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a declaration of victory over the group, which the Bush administration has long described as the most lethal U.S. adversary in Iraq.

Oh, wait, there's always a next phase:

But as the White House and its military commanders plan the next phase of the war, other officials have cautioned against taking what they see as a premature step that could create strategic and political difficulties for the United States. Such a declaration could fuel criticism that the Iraq conflict has become a civil war in which U.S. combat forces should not be involved. At the same time, the intelligence community, and some in the military itself, worry about underestimating an enemy that has shown great resilience in the past.

What only I and my dear readers seem to understand is that even if we find the pony in Iraq we aren't leaving. Everything is designed to ensure we stay.

Morning Thread

Another Republican caught with the drugs and the underage boys? Damn, people. We're in the wrong party, clearly.

--Molly I.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Names and Authority

One component of blogging is the quality of your bullshit detector and the degree to which you'll defer to the authority of other people. I'll admit I've realized that my willingness to grant authority to others is in part related to their names. I haven't quite figured out a precise pattern, though I think I'm influenced to some extent by the WASPyness of names. I have no idea why.

Are There Any Republicans Left?

And another one bows out.

Lee Siegel Is The Smartest Man in America

Lately I've come to understand that there's this culture of backslapping morons, centered around TNR, who actually imagine that they're truly intelligent, think very smart and original thoughts, and whose utterances, when generously given, enlighten the rest of us poor rubes.

The fact that they've never really gotten past the level of marijuana enhanced late night freshman dorm conversation (a lovely thing, but not the final path in our intellectual journeys) seems to not dissuade them from their belief in their importance.

Truly weird people. And truly stupid.

All hail blogofascism!


Now that photographic evidence has emerged, Mickey must provide the truth.

You Know You've Been Blogging Too Long When...



According to an anonymous source, Mickey Kaus regularly blows goats. Either he fails to deny this strongly enough, in which case his goat blowing proclivities are assuredly true, or his denials will impugn the integrity of my source which makes him a tremendously bad person. And, of course, a goat blower.

Thanks, Slate, for all you've done for our discourse.


The most awesomest war ever continues.

BAGHDAD (AFP) - A wave of violence across Iraq, including the bombing of a minibus filled with Shiite worshippers and a suicide truck bomb attack on a police station, has killed 32 people, officials said Sunday.

Dozens of people were wounded in the attacks, which came as Muslims were celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival that ends the holy fasting month of Ramadan, the officials said.

Ten people, including three women and two children, were killed on Sunday when a car bomb exploded next to their minibus as they were heading towards a Shiite shrine in northern Baghdad, Iraqi military officials told AFP.

Times Change

First Little Debbie and now Kevin.

It's just absurd to think that a newspaper should put any priority on holding off on printing because baseball scores aren't yet in when anyone who wants baseball scores can find them out through numerous other ways. Catering to the habits of their increasingly elderly readership in rather costly ways prevents newspapers from focusing on other things which might actually attract an audience to their print editions.

Does Candidate X Doom the Democratic Party?

I hate the primary season.


Unless They're Destitute Quadraplegics

They should just stop whining.

Well, even if then they should probably just shut up.

Your conservative movement.


Lindsey Graham, Face the Nation 6 weeks ago.

In a matter of weeks, we're going to have a major breakthrough in Baghdad on items of political reconciliation -- the benchmarks -- because the Iraqi people are putting pressure on their politicians.

I didn't see, but an emailer said that on MTP Lindsey now says that if there isn't progress in Iraq within 90 days that Iraq will be a failed state requiring regime change.

That 90 day period ends January 12.

Unsurprisingly, he said the same thing to David Broder about one month ago. That 90 day period would end about December 15.

I'm sure he'll be back pushing another 90 days in a few weeks.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

CBS's "Face the Nation." Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., presidential candidate.

NBC's "Meet the Press." Comedian Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint, co-authors of the book "Come on, People."

CNN's "Late Edition." Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz; Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater USA; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

"Fox News Sunday." Reps. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and John Boehner, R-Ohio.

My grandparents were Armenian

...and I approve this message.

Much as it pains me to have to agree with Bush about anything.

Not Atrios