Saturday, May 03, 2008

Late Night

When I am your benevolent dictator, I will outlaw the use of any and all sports metaphors in our political discourse.

...and while I know nothing about Cazayoux other than the fact that he has a (D) after his name, it appears he just hit a game winning home run in the bottom of the 9th.


Obama wins. Just.


The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

Not Atrios

Top Issue

CNN just showed a poll showing that of economics issues, "inflation" is of most concern for 47%.


Deep Thought

I wonder where I should go for my gas tax holiday.

They're Born That Way, Jake


SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE: This morning I e-mailed the Clinton campaign to find out more about this pledge. I wrote: "Am interested in learning more about the senator's plan to give residents of Guam the right to vote in presidential elections. Would that mean making Guam a state? Bestowing citizenship upon these US nationals? Same with Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa? Would they get Senators and full voting members of Congress? How about DC? Wouldn't this require major constitutional changes?"

People born in PR, the US Virgin Islands, and, yes, Washington DC are born US citizens, though people from American Samoa are not.

...adding, since it wasn't crystal clear in the post: People from Guam are born citizens too.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.

No Renting For You

Not the kind of thing most people think much about when they're buying a place.

Susannah Moss's trendy one-bedroom Adams Morgan condo, in a converted warehouse, has become a potential money drain.

Since Moss contracted to buy the unit in early 2005, she has married, had a child and outgrown the space. She is trying to sell the condo but has been hampered by the housing slump. Three months after putting it on the market, she has yet to receive an offer.

Now Moss, 33, wants to find a tenant for her condo while she waits out the economy. But the condominium association allows only 20 percent of the units to be leased at once, so Moss is on a waiting list. If she tries to rent the unit without permission, she could face a $500-a-month fine.

Deep Thought

Does Guam count?

Expensive Stuff We Need To Do

But can't because Huggy Bear wants to stay in Iraq until people stop shooting at us so we can stay there forever.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A state transportation official says it would cost $11 billion to fix the nearly 6,000 bridges in need of repair in Pennsylvania.

The official emblem of the 2008 GOP convention:


Some more awesome straight talk from huggy bear.

But then when specifically asked by an Associated Press reporter if, when he made the statement, he was “thinking about the first Gulf War,” he said no.

“No, I was thinking about- it’s not hard to- we will not,” McCain stumbled. “By eliminating our dependency on foreign oil, we will not have to have our national security threatened by a cut off of that oil. Because we will be dependent, because we won’t be dependent, we will no longer be dependent on foreign oil. That’s what my remarks were.”


I'm sure glad paid journalists are so much more informed than bloggers.

Not Atrios

Friday, May 02, 2008


Here's a clip from the 20th anniversary performance of the Arcaderists, a supergroup ceated by former members of The Arcade Fire and The Decemberists.

Late Night

Rock on.

Every Time I Try To Get Out...

Huggy Bear lets a little straight talk out.

My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will - that will then prevent us - that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.

So Much Stupid

One of those stupid days on the internet. I think for sanity's sake I'm off for the evening.



Why wreck a perfectly successful company? Because it makes all the others look bad.

Not Atrios

I Wish I Could Do This

Sounds like BoA is planning to take over all the good stuff and abandon the bad stuff. How they can legally do this is a bit of a mystery to me, but there you go.

May 2 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp., the second- biggest U.S. bank, said it may not guarantee $38.1 billion of Countrywide Financial Corp.'s debt after taking over the mortgage lender, increasing the likelihood of a default.

``There is no assurance that any such debt would be redeemed, assumed or guaranteed,'' the bank said in an April 30 regulatory filing, adding that no decision has been reached. Investors had grown more optimistic the bank would back Countrywide debt, and Standard & Poor's said this week it may raise Countrywide's rating to match Bank of America's.


``This confirms how tenuous this transaction is,'' said Christopher Whalen, managing director at Institutional Risk Analytics, a banking research firm in Torrance, California.

Whalen expects Bank of America to absorb the best assets, including Countrywide Bank, while the debt remains with a new company created by the merger, Red Oak Merger Corp. Red Oak may then file for bankruptcy, shielding Bank of America from liability, Whalen said.


CNN is the most trusted name in news.


New York Daily News, June 30, 2003.

Sen. Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said as many as 60,000 extra troops are needed to bolster the 170,000 coalition forces already there - and predicted they will stay a decade.

The Delaware Democrat, who recently returned from Iraq, said NATO allies France, Germany and Turkey should participate in the peacekeeping force.

"That's one way to communicate to the Iraqi people we are not there as occupiers. The international community is there as liberators," Biden told "Fox News Sunday."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said U.S. troops ill-equipped to maintain order have grown "very tired" and suggested forces from India, Pakistan and Europe should step in to help set up a new Iraqi army.

'Straight talk'

McCain, an Armed Services Committee member, faulted the Bush administration for fueling a "growing sense of unease" in the American public.

"They need some straight talk about what the plan is, how long we're going to be there," McCain told CBS' "Face the Nation."

100 years, thousand years, million years...


[bumping because this got lost in the stupid]

This week it was the ill-timed "Mission Accomplished" banner that the White House hung behind Bush five years ago when Bush declared major combat operations over in Iraq.

"I thought it was wrong at the time," McCain said in Cleveland Thursday, proceeding to criticize Vice President Dick Cheney's various comments over the years that the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes" with "a few dead-enders" all that was left.


CAVUTO: ... Senator -- after a conflict means after the conflict, and many argue the conflict isn't over.

MCCAIN: Well, then why was there a banner that said 'mission accomplished' on the aircraft carrier? ... the conflict -- the major conflict is over, the regime change has been accomplished...


Watching Bush speak you realize he's a really dumb person who thinks everyone in the room is even dumber than he is.


More Kantor

Okay, I think I've figured this out. The YouTube clip is crap. I was going to ignore it until Drudge posted it, but stupid me anyway.

I'm not going to try for a complete transcript, but basically Kantor gets polls from Indiana. They're close. He says even if they don't win the White House has got to be shitting themselves. Then what I think he says is something along the lines of "how would you like to be beaten by a worthless white n*****," presumably meaning Bill Clinton himself and referencing the Bush I campaign team's likely view of Clinton.

....from HuffPo:

"I've never used that word in my entire life, ever, under any circumstance, ever," an angry Kantor told The Huffington Post, citing his and his parent's work fighting for civil rights. "I have listened to [the video] and so have you. You can't tell what it is I'm saying in that second sentence, you can't decipher that."

Indeed, a review of the original copy of the 1993 film The War Room, from which the excerpt was taken, is virtually inaudible. The sound suggests, if anything, that instead of saying "How would you like to be a worthless white n****r?" Kantor says, "How would you like to be in the White House right now?"

In the YouTube clip it does sound like the "white n*****" is said, but even if it is it isn't directed at the people of Indiana.

Anyway, dumb fake controversy. Apologies for even linking to it.'s the original war room. about 4:20 in. The offending phrase is certainly less audible than in the bullshit Youtube clip, and most likely is just something along the lines of "how would you like to be working in the white house" though it's hard to hear.

Freak Show

[bumping after update]

I'm not really sure if 16 year old comments by Mickey Kantor are especially relevant to the question of whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama should be the Dem nominee for president, but since Matt Drudge rules their world I suppose they're now "out there."

But one would have thought they would've been relevant to, say, whether Mickey Kantor was confirmed as Commerce Secretary once upon a time. Searching reviews of the War Room, where this clip is taken from, no reviewer thought the comment worth mentioning.

...putting on the headphones and cranking it up, the first quote from Kantor is incorrect. He says these people have got to be shitting, and he's referring to the White House. The 2nd quote doesn't really make any sense in context, so it's possible it's doctored.


Retail woes.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Home goods retailer Linens 'n Things has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to close 120 underperforming stores, the company said on Friday.

The struggling seller of textiles, housewares and other home goods also said it had secured $700 million in financing from General Electric Co's GE Capital affiliate to ensure it can stock its stores with merchandise for the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.


Just who are those superdelegates again?

Don't Know Nothing

George Will, elite pundit extraordinaire:

• You favor eliminating the cap on earnings subject to the 12.4 percent Social Security tax, which now covers only the first $102,000. A Chicago police officer married to a Chicago public-school teacher, each with 20 years on the job, have a household income of $147,501, so you would take another $5,642 from them. Are they undertaxed? Are they rich?

I'm not even sure Obama is proposing this, but in any case lifting the cap above 102,000 on this couple wouldn't impact them at all as the cap is on individual incomes, not joint incomes. They're already both being taxed on their full salary, and lifting the cap wouldn't impact them at all.

This in the magazine about how out of touch Obama is.

And The Overs Win

Only 20K jobs lost, less than expected.

Though I highly doubt the 45K made up construction jobs predicted by the birth/death model actually exist.

Morning Thread

Ever think that Charles Krauthammer read Billy Budd and rooted for Claggart?

He Walks Away

Jose Canseco lets his house go.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Short term price elasticity of demand for gas is pretty low. Medium term it might be a bit higher.

DETROIT — Soaring gas prices have turned the steady migration by Americans to smaller cars into a stampede.

In what industry analysts are calling a first, about one in five vehicles sold in the United States was a compact or subcompact car during April, based on monthly sales data released Thursday. Almost a decade ago, when sport utility vehicles were at their peak of popularity, only one in every eight vehicles sold was a small car.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.

Jam and thread

Not Atrios

Evening Thread

Baseball for me, if the rain stays mainly on the plains.

Happy Mission Accomplished Day

CAVUTO: ... Senator -- after a conflict means after the conflict, and many argue the conflict isn't over.

MCCAIN: Well, then why was there a banner that said 'mission accomplished' on the aircraft carrier? ... the conflict -- the major conflict is over, the regime change has been accomplished...

It's A Complete Mystery

Apparently these people who are on the teevee night after night find it impossible to rectify the problem they identify.

GREGORY: Let's move on to another email, Terri in Maryland, who writes the following: "Now that Barack Obama has categorically separated himself from Reverend Wright, when can we expect John McCain to reject and denounce Pastor Hagee? If some people can't see that there is a blatant double standard going on here, I'm afraid that America will never be able to bridge the racial divide that still haunts our country."

Richard Wolffe, that's Pastor Hagee, who has endorsed John McCain and has been very critical of the Catholic Church and has been called out on that.

WOLFFE: Absolutely. And look, we've all heard evangelical ministers, white ministers, condemn America and damn America for abortions. And so, yeah, I don't think there's an equal balance of criticism and focus here. In some ways, John McCain is getting a free ride. But of course, that doesn't take away from the offensive nature and the outrageousness of what Reverend Wright has said. But at some point, that scrutiny will come.

None of them seem to know how this state of affairs came to be.

Paging Cliff Schecter

Huggy Bear:

Audience member:
This question goes to mental health and mental health care. Previously, I've
been married to a woman that was verbally abusive to me. Is it true that you
called your wife a (expletive)?

Now, now. You don't want to... Um, you know that's the great thing about
town hall meetings, sir, but we really don't, there's people here who don't
respect that kind of language. So I'll move on to the next questioner in the


I think we need one.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A new poll suggests that George W. Bush is the most unpopular president in modern American history.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that 71 percent of the American public disapprove of how Bush his handling his job as president.

"No president has ever had a higher disapproval rating in any CNN or Gallup poll; in fact, this is the first time that any president's disapproval rating has cracked the 70 percent mark," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.


The war is still over.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Two suicide bombers killed 30 people and wounded 65 others when they detonated explosive vests in a busy market in a town northeast of Baghdad on Thursday, Iraqi police said.


For some reason I'll never stop being surprised by the number of people who read a post which says something like "maybe it'd be a bit better if suburban developments didn't have a single access point" or "maybe it'd be a bit better if people could actually walk to the shopping center which is half a mile away but on the other side of the highway" and interpret it as "ATRIOS IS TELLING ME I HAVE TO LIVE IN MANHATTAN!!!"

Newer Suburbs

Yglesias day here at Eschaton. Those who built - and bought in - newer suburbs with limited access and no through traffic thought it was a feature, not a bug.

Aside from separating people from retail and other commercial activity, it increases traffic problems by removing spillover alternate routes. The model means you have to get on the freeway or other major artery to get anywhere, and if the freeway is congested or there's an accident there aren't any other options.

But as I said this has long been sold by developers as a feature, as it reduces through traffic and minimizes the presence of strangers who are going to steal your children.


Young Yglesias fails to understand that when we do it then it is by definition a good thing and not torture.

It's All A Mystery

In the Swampland comments, Karen's saying that how can you suggest that the mainstream media ignored this story when it was front page of the Washington Post.

It is a mystery, though, isn't it. Some stories land front page of the Washington Post and then just sort of disappear, never to be heard from again. Some light up the Drudge siren, get talked about nonstop on cable news, breathless Politico reports, follow up stories, editorials, coverage in weekly news magazines.

And no one in the press quite understands how this happens. Some stories magically take flight, and some don't. It's all very strange.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Regarding the resignation of Lurita Doan, Karen Tumulty asks:

What took so long?

Answer here.

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

Jeffrey Goldberg Files


That is obviously a campaign of deliberate state violence. What it is obviously not is a collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Rather, it was a campaign conducted by Saddam's own operatives. Goldberg says Saddam was "a supporter of terrorism." What he's hoping you're too half-awake to realize is that there's a difference between generic "terror" groups and Al Qaeda. The report, as I wrote in my piece, does not say, at all, contra to Goldberg's misleading implication, that Saddam collaborated with Ayman Zawahiri. It says that around 1993, a memo from one of Saddam's apparatchiks noted, "In a meeting in the Sudan we agreed to renew our relations with the Islamic Jihad Organization in Egypt." Years later, that organization would merge with Al Qaeda. Nowhere in the report does Joint Forces Command substantiate that Saddam and Zawahiri's group actually, you know, did anything together. To the contrary: it refers to a memorandum, "dated 8 February 1993, asking that movement to refrain from moving against the Egyptian government at that time."

Goldberg has misled The New Yorker's readers for years. Now he's misleading Slate's readers. And, when you think about it, why shouldn't he? After all, he rode his misrepresentations all the way to a great job at The Atlantic. All the incentives have aligned for him. Why stop now? It's not like 4,000 Americans have died or anything.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

And 380K more lucky duckies. That's a pretty high number.

Monthly jobs report comes out tomorrow. Consensus forecast is -75K jobs. I'll take the under bet.

Happy Mission Accomplished Day

Has it already been 5 years?

MATTHEWS: What do you make of this broadside against the USS Abraham Lincoln and its chief visitor last week?

LIDDY: Well, I -- in the first place, I think it's envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man. And here comes George Bush. You know, he's in his flight suit, he's striding across the deck, and he's wearing his parachute harness, you know -- and I've worn those because I parachute -- and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those -- run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman's vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn't count -- they're all liars. Check that out. I hope the Democrats keep ratting on him and all of this stuff so that they keep showing that tape.

Morning tread, aka "Want some wood?"

Happy 5th Anniversary of what Chris Matthews considered emission accomplished.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Deep Thought

I am shocked that Americans are more concerned with George Bush than Reverend Wright. Apparently my imaginary cab driver lied to me.

Oh Thank God

The stupid bloggers versus journalists conversation comes to sports journalism.

I had no idea Buzz Bissinger was such a wanker.


Oh Jeebus.

I feel like we've gone backwards from the days when we understood that even Richie Cunningham went to inspiration point to go "necking."

Mo' Thread




Ezra's trying to restart the great sammich war of aught '06.

Best I've had in Philly are at Pumpkin Market on the 1600 block at South and the Banh Mi at Cafe Nhuy at 8th and Christian.

I'll stay out of the great cheesesteak wars, but Locust Bar has a pretty good chicken cheesesteak.

Deep Thought

Only 49 US troops died in Iraq in April.

The Heloc Years

Even though I've seen quite a few of these, I just continue to be stunned at the amount of fake equity people were pulling out of their homes. "They put in $15,600 and took out $599,800. "



Deep Thought

I wonder if Bill O'Reilly had falafel for lunch today.

The Jeffrey Goldberg Files

We finally found the ponies.

Yet Goldberg enjoys a sterling reputation. The Atlantic's wealthy owner, David Bradley, reportedly sent Goldberg's children ponies in order to convince the reporter to leave The New Yorker for the prestigious magazine. "He's incredibly persistent and makes you feel like you're God's gift to journalism," Goldberg said of Bradley. The Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz approvingly referred to Bradley's pursuit of "top talent."

But it seems as though, despite Goldberg's ability to escape accountability for his journalistic malpractice, he can't help smirking to attentive readers. The cover story of the January/February edition of The Atlantic featured Goldberg's meditations on the post-Iraq Middle East. It featured, of all things, a discursion into "a decrepit prison in Iraqi Kurdistan" where "a senior interrogator with the Kurdish intelligence service" tortured an Arab prisoner. Goldberg mentioned not a word of what his last dalliance with Kurdish intelligence yielded. To anyone who read his 2002 and 2003 pieces, it appeared that The Atlantic writer was returning to the scene of the crime.

Nearly 4,000 Americans and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and counting, will not have the same opportunity.

The Jeffrey Goldberg Files

A little walk down memory lane.

There is not sufficient space…for me to refute some of the arguments made in Slate over the past week against intervention, arguments made, I have noticed, by people with limited experience in the Middle East (Their lack of experience causes them to reach the naive conclusion that an invasion of Iraq will cause America to be loathed in the Middle East, rather than respected)…

The administration is planning today to launch what many people would undoubtedly call a short-sighted and inexcusable act of aggression. In five years, however, I believe that the coming invasion of Iraq will be remembered as an act of profound morality.

Profoundly moral deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

Women's Voices

Uh...this is pretty bad.

Whiny Ass Titty Baby Of The Day

Tim Russert.

Wanker of the Day

Brian Williams.



April 29 (Bloomberg) -- About half of recent subprime and Alt-A borrowers may soon owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth or hold minimal equity, putting $800 billion of debt at greater risk of default, according to Barclays Capital.

Subprime loans from 2006 and 2007 that exceed the value of the homes jumped 5 percentage points to 19.8 percent in the fourth quarter, and may reach 26 percent by midyear if prices drop at the same pace, Barclays analysts wrote in a report yesterday. Alt-A loans, a grade better than subprime, would grow to 23 percent from 16.3 percent.

Objective Analysis

CNN brings on a guy from Cato to talk about the gas tax. Did you know we had an awesome state highway system before the Feds started building the interstate system?

Why does Cato hate Eisenhower and, by extension, America?

Elevating Assholes

It appears the Atlantic has hired a pretentious commentless blogging git whose gullible advocacy led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. How he manages to live with himself is a mystery, and why The Atlantic thinks we should live with him is a deeper one.

Still I look forward to to a lively discussion with fellow Atlantic blogger Yglesias.


Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

SuckOnThis Friedman is back in town.

Fast and Easy

Countrywide had a pretty wide stance.

Countrywide Financial Corp. reported an $893 million loss for the
first quarter, amid mounting evidence of serious problems with its
underwriting of many home loans.

A federal probe of Countrywide, the nation's largest mortgage lender,
is turning up evidence that sales executives at the company
deliberately overlooked inflated income figures for many borrowers,
people with knowledge of the investigation say.

Some of the problems are surfacing in a mortgage program called "Fast
and Easy," in which borrowers were asked to provide little or no
documentation of their finances, according to these people and to
former Countrywide employees. Both Countrywide and Fannie Mae, the
government-sponsored company that bought many of the loans, classify
the loans as "prime," meaning low-risk.

Fast and Easy borrowers aren't required to produce pay stubs or tax
forms to substantiate their claimed earnings. In many cases,
Countrywide didn't even require loan officers to verify employment,
according to an October 2006 presentation by Countrywide's consumer-
lending division. That left the program vulnerable to abuse by
Countrywide loan officers and outside mortgage brokers seeking loans
for customers who might have been turned away if their finances had
been more closely scrutinized, according to three current and former
Countrywide senior executives and to several mortgage brokers who
arranged loans through the program.

Always Ahead of the Curve

CNN has discovered that video games aren't just for children.

Morning thread

My Disgust-o-meter says my level of disgust this morning is really high. And that's just one little thing.

Not Atrios

Tuesday, April 29, 2008



Other Countries Don't Understand Us

Just watched the first episode of the UK show Spooks, shown locally under the name of MI-5. A central plot premise was that in the post-9/11 era, the US government would have such a hardon for catching terrorists that they'd put extreme pressure on the British government to get the capture and extradition of an anti-abortion terrorist.


The Devil Says Wait

Still waiting...

This thread is dedicated to


Big Shitpile Needs Food

Feed it!

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc., the U.S. bank hit with writedowns on subprime mortgages and bonds, is selling $3 billion of stock two weeks after reporting its second straight quarterly loss.

The shares are being sold in a public offering, New York- based Citigroup said today in a statement. Citigroup already has raised more than $30 billion of capital since December. After posting a first-quarter loss of $5.1 billion on April 18, Chief Financial OfficerGary Crittenden said he couldn't rule out additional rounds of capital-raising.

Worst Person in the World


Sign of the Times

Man on the street just asked me if I knew where the nearest pawn shop was.

Deep Thought

CNN has become an infinite loop of Obama.

Rambling and Strident

Something just wasn't right for a certain generation of science fiction authors.


This election is going to be much much stupider than the last time. Last time much of the stupid was at least nominally about serious issues, this time it's just all about the stupid.


Anyone living through the impeachment era would've been unlikely to believe that uberhack Bob Barr could evolve into a somewhat principled civil libertarian.

Barr for president!

Life Is Unfair

What has long set me off more than other things is a sense of injustice. Obviously I'm me so perceived injustices to me tend to matter quite a bit, but it's difficult for me to even think about this kind of thing. It gives me a sick feeling inside.

A Dallas man who spent more than 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit was freed Tuesday, after being incarcerated longer than any other wrongfully convicted U.S. inmate cleared by DNA testing.

There are two bits to this kind of injustice. One is that you've put an innocent man in jail for a very long time. That sucks. The other is that the actual perpetrator of the crime is walking free. That sucks too.

The Audacity To Be Different

The answer is that it's elitist to do anything but conform to the prevailing social norms. It's elitist to believe that you can do things differently.

Somewhat related, I've long been struck how the standard flavor of internet glibertarianism* we see also has a giant conformist streak in it.

*internet glibertarianism being somewhat distinct from actual libertarianism.

Real Journalism


Kudos to Sam Stein for writing this up. Checking the record by using Nexis doesn't count as "reporting" under the fairly arbitrary rules governing "real journalism" but it sure can be valuable.

It is a weird thing how so much of the concept of "real journalism" involves getting people on the phone and getting them to talk to you, especially when there are plenty of other ways to obtain and communicate relevant and necessary information to the public.

It's especially weird as the journalist-as-intermediary is an increasingly unnecessary role.

Walking Away

This article goes a bit beyond "I hear people are walking away" and provides people who actually walked.

Elizabeth Levensohn walked away from her Mount Dora home about six months ago -- before You Walk Away existed -- and says it was the best thing she has ever done.

She bought the house for just more than $100,000 a little more than two years ago.

"It was the only house I could afford," Levensohn said.

At the time, it seemed like a good decision. She thought she'd be able to pay the mortgage on her salary as a school director at an Orlando church. Commuting wasn't that expensive. The cottage was less than 700 square feet, just enough room for Levensohn and her daughter, Isabella, 12.

Within a year, she knew it was the biggest mistake of her life.

When she and Isabella were down to eating ramen and beans and rice, she knew something had to give.

She decided to walk away from the house and let it go into foreclosure.

Now she rents an apartment and lives a car-free -- and, she said, relatively stress-free -- life in Orlando.

Keeping It Classy

Governor Easley:

Easley concluded his remarks saying Clinton -- "makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy".

2 a usually disparaging : a weak or effeminate man or boy b usually disparaging : a male homosexual


One of the weird things about the Clinton campaign is that their win-by-superdelegate strategy was somewhat at odds with their "most states don't matter" strategy. A lot of supes, you know, come from those states that don't matter.

His campaign also just announced a 50-state voter mobilization. That reflects another pitch to nonelected party officials: That Sen. Obama would work to build the party even in Republican "red" states, and has the money to do it, while Sen. Clinton focuses only on Democratic "blue" states and battlegrounds such as Ohio.

Interviews with party officials suggest this appeal has effectively exploited lingering resentments that the DNC, under President Clinton, abandoned the red states. "Obama has made it absolutely clear he's committed to the 50-state strategy, and the Clintons obviously aren't," says Nebraska party chairman Steve Achepohl, who endorsed Sen. Obama last week. "That's a major factor for all the party people in smaller states."


Bush up at 10:30. These things just get more and more comical. He at least used to try, was heavily prepped. Now it's just nonsensical babble.


Not over yet.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Home foreclosure filings jumped 23 percent in the first quarter from the prior quarter, and more than doubled from a year earlier, as more overextended borrowers failed to make timely payments, real estate data firm RealtyTrac said on Tuesday.

One of every 194 households received a notice of default, auction sale or bank repossession between January and March, for the seventh straight quarter of rising foreclosure activity, RealtyTrac said.

Foreclosure filings were far-reaching, rising on an annual basis in 46 states and in 90 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, to a total of 649,917 properties. The first quarter filings surged 112 percent from the same period last year.

The People Versus the Press

That's what this campaign is about.

Morning Thread

So, what are today's outrages?

--Molly I.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Late Night

Funk to funky.


I've always assumed they were a bit easier than children, though lately I'm not so sure. One demands to sit on my lap for hours each day, and not the "passive take a nap" kind of way, but in the claw comes out if you dare to try to type instead of pet me kind of way. Currently kneading my thigh. The other one, though more content with more passive contact usually, comes running when he hears me putting on my socks. Why? Well, when I'm putting on my socks my hands are at cat level. And shoes are next, so there's a bonus. And if he just wanders back and forth while I'm putting them on he inevitably gets petted. Never mind that in that process I'm likely to accidentally boot him in the head. Or that somehow in that process I managed to sprain and/or break one of my toes.

And then there are the early AM wakeups...

George Clooney?


Welcome to Nixonland

Okay, I promise to read Before the Storm next so I can then enter into this nightmare.

Evening Thread



Over there.

At least 44 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in April, making it the deadliest month for U.S. forces since September.

The U.S. military said three soldiers were killed in eastern Baghdad by indirect fire, a reference to mortars or rockets. The statement did not give an exact location for the attack, but the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City has been the scene of intense fighting recently with Shiite militiamen.

A fourth U.S. soldier was killed by a shell in western Baghdad, the military said.

But they can stay there until people stop shooting at them so that there will come a time when they can stay there without people shooting at them.

Different Now


I remember being a kid and having nowhere to go and nothing to do, no public spaces and no conception of what one would be like. TV was TV, I wasn't allowed to watch it on the weekdays, but what else was there? Now you see Wookiepedia for Star Wars fans and an entire ecosystem of fan sites and communities for every show out there, as well as every hobbyist subculture, of which politics is in many ways just one.

Despite always thinking that the internet was a very awesome thing, I've been rather skeptical about some of the more extravagant enthusiasm of some of its boosters. I've seen it as a tool to do a lot of things, and quite a wonderful tool. And while it's certainly affected life in a lot of ways, I never quite saw it as transformational in a revolutionary sense.

But when I start thinking about what it must be like to grow up with the internet, I realize that I was probably a bit too skeptical. The internet generation is going to grow up with a fundamentally altered sense of their relationship to information and knowledge, to each other, and to the world generally. It's going to be a new generational divide.

Smartbike DC

I did not know Clear Channel was behind this stuff.

I saw this in action in Barcelona, and was surprised at how well it actually seemed to work.

Looks like DC will need quite a few more locations before it's really useful, but it's a start.


What fun.

Jack O’Leary has seen foreclosed homes where ex-owners put paint on the carpets, anti-bank graffiti on the walls or took everything but the kitchen sink - then stole that, too.

“I’ve gone into houses where the light fixtures are gone, the toilets are gone, the kitchen is gone. And when I say ‘gone,’ we’re talking stripped down to the bare walls,” said O’Leary, a Brockton Re/Max real estate agent who specializes in foreclosed homes.


Agents say that while they can’t condone vandalism or theft, they sometimes understand the frustration - or desperation - that leads to such acts.

“Some of these homeowners were victimized (by scam mortgages) and have legitimate gripes,” O’Leary said.

But the agent also recalls one case where a foreclosure “victim” had two new SUVs, a 25-foot boat and a 45-foot motor home parked in the driveway.

Free Ride

Paul Waldman visits with KO.

Exciting New Records

To be fair, one of those homes is mine so I'm part of the problem.

April 28 (Bloomberg) -- A record 18.6 million U.S. homes stood empty in the first quarter as lenders took possession of a growing number of properties in foreclosure.

The figure is 5.7 percent higher than a year ago, when 17.6 million properties were vacant, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report today. The vacancy rate, the share of homes empty and for sale, rose to 2.9 percent, the highest in a series that goes back to 1956. About 2.3 million empty homes were for sale, compared with 2.2 million a year earlier, the report said.

Deep Thought

Nobody could have predicted that Republicans would attack a Democrat as being effete, elitist, and unpatriotic.

Consensus Estimate

Wasn't so long ago that this was considered to be crazy talk.

April 28 (Bloomberg) -- Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn said he's ``pessimistic'' on the outlook for financial markets and predicted losses from the global credit turmoil may climb to $1 trillion.


``It does seem to be a major adjustment on any level,'' Wolfensohn said, after addressing the European Pensions and Savings Summit 2008. ``There may be a $1,000 billion worth of losses in it somewhere.'' He said he ``cannot recall anything similar, certainly in the last 30 to 40 years that I've worked.''

The International Monetary Fund predicts that losses from the crisis, including those tied to commercial real-estate, may total $945 billion and says global economic expansion may be the slowest since 2003 this year. Wolfensohn said the fund's loss forecast of about $1 trillion is now a ``consensus estimate.''

Stupid Story of the Day

Apparently I'm supposed to be outraged over Hannah Montana's naked shoulder, so outraged that I'll refuse to buy the Hannah Montana rock bikini for my daughter.

Or something.

Walking Away

NPR has another story on the Florida real estate market.

Even some buyers who can afford their mortgages are opting to quit paying because they owe too much, Speronis says. With prices falling, some amazing deals are now on the market, and owners figure they can better themselves by purchasing another home and walking away from their existing properties, she says.

These people are a staple of housing stories, but it's really hard to know how many people are just abandoning their properties because they figure there's no reason to be stuck with negative equity if they don't have to. I'm sure these people exist, and I don't have any problem with what they're doing. Once upon a time for various reasons we could have seen the 30 year fixed mortgage as part of a special kind of social contract, but once the exotic mortgages and dishonest lending practices proliferated that got chucked out the window.

Still I wish reporters doing these stories would try to actually get some hard numbers or evidence of people walking away, rather than just passing on unsupported claims of their existence.


Times were good while it lasted.

The party's over.

Crazy Talk

There's this guy on my teevee talking about how our government supported Apartheid and the peasant-killing Contras using money gained by selling arms to Iran. Oh and 4000+ US troops died in Iraq over a lie.

Going Backwards

It's 2008 and apparently there's an outrage campaign about a show and its ad campaign which features teenagers drinking, having sex, and taking drugs.

Rock Star Endorsement Watch

Roger Waters goes for Obama, while the world waits for guidance from David Gilmour.

But Waters' biggest prop was an inflatable pig the size of a school bus that emerged while he played a version of "Pigs" from 1977's capitalism critique, "Animals."

The pig, which was led above the crowd from lines held on the ground, displayed the words "Don't be led to the slaughter" and a cartoon of Uncle Sam wielding two bloody cleavers. The other side read "Fear builds walls."

The underside of the pig simply read "Obama" with a checked ballot box alongside.

As Waters drew the song to a close, flame bursts exploded on the sides of the stage and the swine floated into the night sky. Waters said sadly and comically, "That's my pig."

Morning Thread

I make my blog posts, like the press corps dates Republicans.

From the distant past.

Thread From The Future

I posted this tomorrow.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


A request from Steve in Sacramento.

Out For A Bit

But with FUTURE POSTS you may not even notice.

Deep Thought

Remember when Obama was going to win the New Hampshire primary and end the race?

Capital Gains

This post follows from a discussion about a Media Matters item that hasn't been posted yet, but I think we should all be armed with the information so we can put a silver bullet into this zombie lie's head.

With talk of raising the capital gains tax in the air, you're going to hear a lot of conservatives and mainstream media folks blather on about how much this kind of thing is going to be so bad for the "middle class" or "even working folk" because everyone is invested in the stock market through 401K plans, etc. But the capital gains tax rate will never apply to that money. More than that, any capital gains from those plans will be, upon withdrawal, taxed at the income tax rate which for most people will be higher than the current 15% capital gains rate. So wealthier people who have direct investments in stocks and whatnot get to pay 15% on their capital gains, while the rest of us in lowly 401K land will likely be paying a higher rate.

High Comedy

I love Ron Paul supporters.

Outmaneuvered by raucous Ron Paul supporters, Nevada Republican Party leaders abruptly shut down their state convention and now must resume the event to complete a list of 31 delegates to the GOP national convention.

Outnumbered supporters of expected Republican presidential nominee John McCain faced off Saturday against well-organized Paul supporters. A large share of the more than 1,300 state convention delegates enabled Paul supporters to get a rule change positioning them for more national convention delegate slots than expected.

Now I Really Can Just Phone It In

Blogger finally lets one schedule posts to be published in the future.

Test to see if it works.

Republican Hissyfits

These days nothing seems to inspire the Republican hissy fit more than bringing up McCain's 100 years in Iraq comments. A gusher of incoherent "MISREPRESENTINGOUTOFCONTEXT HEDIDNOTMEANWHATYOUSAYHEMEANSBBLUUUUUUUURG" streams out of their mouths. Even now I have no idea what their problem is.

Rather Important News

Dean Baker is right that this is quite the disturbing bit of information.

Shortly before leaving Goldman to head up President Clinton’s National Economic Council, Mr. Rubin says, he met with Richard B. Fisher, the chairman of Morgan Stanley, to discuss the idea of imposing stricter margin requirements on futures trading. Mr. Rubin says the idea died after the Chicago Board of Trade told him “we will make sure Goldman Sachs never trades another future on the C.B.O.T. if this went ahead.”

So when he went to the Clinton administration he changed his policy because of a threat made against his former company?

The Last Word In Sunday Talk

It isn't the most important thing in the world, but when I lived in California I was struck by how much cable news is in tune with the eastern time zone, and how strangely off-kilter the world seemed when watching it 3 hours earlier. CNN's Sunday show with Wolf Blitzer has long billed itself as "the last word in Sunday talk," though it comes on at 8am California time.

McCain Plane

Regarding the NYT story about McCain using his wife's plane for campaign purposes, what took so long? I mean, all of the members of the press's sycophant express have been following him around like needy puppies for months, as commonly repeated reports about McCain "flying coach" floated around.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's “This Week” — Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.); former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.); Reps. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas).

CBS' “Face the Nation” — David Axelrod, campaign advisor for Barack Obama; Howard Wolfson, campaign advisor for Hillary Clinton; Roger Mudd, author of a book on CBS News.

NBC's “Meet the Press” — Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Panel discussion.

CNN's “Late Edition” — Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.); Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.); Steve Coll, author of a book on the Bin Laden family; James Rubin, a Clinton campaign advisor; Susan Rice, an Obama campaign advisor.

“Fox News Sunday” — Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

And The War Is Over

The other one.

KABUL, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai survived an assassination attempt at a military parade in central Kabul on Sunday, when suspected Taliban insurgents fired mortars and bullets at the dignitaries assembled in the spectator stand.

One person was killed and 11 injured in the incident, Gen. Zaher Azimi, a military spokesman, confirmed soon afterward. Two parliamentarians in a section of the stands not far from the president were seen falling from their chairs on television footage as gunfire rang out. Loud explosions could be heard some distance from the parade ground.

Sunday morning thread

Is there really anyone who lies awake in terror that there might be an anti-gay law missing?

Not Atrios