Saturday, June 14, 2008


Be excellent to each other.

Deep Thought

It takes a long time to figure out which cool places will actually deliver to you.

Deep Thought

I don't actually want the parade to be rained on, I'm just not quite sure why we're having one at all.

Wanker of the Day

John McCain.

You See Deep Truths No One Else Does

I appreciate smart people. I appreciate experts. I appreciate that there are people who are smarter than me and more expert than me in every subject. I appreciate that I have plenty to learn from others, and am glad when it happens.

What I don't appreciate are people who assume that many people in the room are much stupider than they are and deliberately or inadvertently make this clear. As in, "I bet a lot of you think X, but in fact you're wrong!" when most likely not all that many people actually thought X to begin with because X was a pretty stupid thing. I'm talking about people who have a speaking, writing, or lecturing style which is always about projecting a bunch of misconceptions onto the crowd and then doing them the service of correcting their errant thoughts.

Afternoon Thread


Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Rape Is Like The Weather

For the most part I don't like holding politicians responsible for the people who give them money. We could spend the whole campaign season doing nothing but combing through donation lists, finding people who had past criminal records or whatever, and then demanding ritual denouncing and renouncing and returning. But there is a difference between random person who sends check and a major fundraiser who hosts, or intended to host, a major event.


Often it's quite hard to figure out just where various bits of wingnuttery comes from. Dick Cheney got his from George Will. From which orifice did Will get it?

Deep Thought

I'm just going to pretend I still don't have a teevee for a couple more days.


Over there.

BAGHDAD, June 13 -- The Bush administration's Iraq policy suffered two major setbacks Friday when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki publicly rejected key U.S. terms for an ongoing military presence and anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a new militia offensive against U.S. forces.

Old Trains

Gonna need to spend some money.

Four major Metro disruptions in 10 days underscore the strains facing the region's largest transit agency as the system ages. Its infrastructure is old and needs to be replaced. It is the nation's only major transit system without a significant source of dedicated funding. And its two-track design, comparable to a two-lane road instead of multi-lane superhighway, gives transit officials little flexibility when trains and other systems break down, as they are doing with greater frequency.

Two track fires yesterday in the heart of downtown Washington, on Metro's highest-ridership Red Line, and blackouts at several key downtown stations from a Pepco power failure ended a difficult week for Metro. The fires and blackouts yesterday followed a derailment and a heat-related track problem that caused disruptions and delays earlier in the week.

The system lacks redundancies that the New York Subway has. It took awhile, but Washington managed to become a much more public transit-oriented and transit-dependent city. Now it has to keep the trains running.


Midwest flooding donations: Feed the Children, or here.

Friday, June 13, 2008



...Rudy! has a new gig:

WASHINGTON — With the Republican Party in need of money for the November elections, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has offered to appear at fund-raisers around the country for G.O.P. candidates. But there is a catch: He wants some cash out of the deal.

Mr. Giuliani’s aides have told the National Republican Congressional Committee and Congressional candidates that if he makes an appearance, he wants the candidates to help him get rid of his presidential campaign debt.

The unusual request underscores the financial predicament Mr. Giuliani finds himself in, after he ended his presidential bid this year with roughly $3.6 million in campaign debt. Traditionally, prominent party figures help lower-tier candidates by headlining fund-raising events in return for good will and future political alliances, but do not receive funds themselves.

Mr. Giuliani’s debt includes a $500,000 personal loan that he made to the campaign, according to his latest campaign finance report.

If only I'd thought of that...


Another country heard from - the Labour Party has moved so far to the right that the Tories have nowhere to go but left, I guess. We could use some of that kind of thing.

Not Atrios

Wankers of the Day

The Associated Press.

Friday Night Thread


Fun With Small Sample Sizes

Really atrocious.

Holy Crap

Tim Russert is dead.

Condolences to and respect for grieving friends and family.



I suppose I'm in the against column when it comes to Obama's donut hole plan for Social security taxes. When it comes to the general Social Security issue I suppose on the liberal side there are two broad camps. One camp includes people like me who think the system is financially sound and it isn't a pressing problem. More than that, no matter how fiscally sound it's made to be long run, conservatives and the Right won't stop trying to destroy it. Then there are the group of people who believe the system is something to worry about, at least a bit, and that the way to end the Social Security debate forever and destroy prevailing "IT'S DOOOMED" Beltway conventional wisdom is to put enough more money into the system so that's 100% sound 4evah.

Certainly I think if we are going to increase Social Security taxes doing it Obama's way is the right way to do it. A case can also be made that this is just a kind of back door way to raise taxes on the rich; they've gotten tax breaks by raiding the Social Security trust fund and it's time for them to pay it back.

So on balance I lean against, but it's not without merit.

...adding, I also oppose because I worry that any opening up of this door provides opportunity for mischief. A desire to win leads to bad Broderesque compromise with awful consequences.

Laura Ingraham: Silenced!

While Red Staters are typically playing the victim game here, and Laura herself is (now) being somewhat coy about this, it seems much more likely that this is just a standard contract negotiation which she's trying to milk for publicity.


Obviously there are people who are having a less enjoyable day than I am.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A city already deluged by record-breaking floods was pummeled with more rain overnight, swelling the Cedar River enough to require the evacuation of a local hospital and the closing of a major highway. Forecasters predicted that the water would crest by the end of the day and begin to slowly recede over the weekend.

Officials at Mercy Medical Center hospital, fearing they would lose power, decided to send its 176 patients, including babies in intensive care and nursing home residents, to other facilities. On Thursday morning, the hospital had switched to backup generators, which were threatened by floodwaters hours later.

Bit out of the loop about all this, lacking a teevee at the moment.

The Blogopticon

It controls everything.

Inqy Gets One Right

Good for them.

Listen. What you are about to hear is the sound of John McCain flip-flopping his position on one of America's most cherished ideals.

A top McCain advisor says the Republican presidential candidate agrees with President Bush's outrageous program of wiretapping Americans' overseas conversations without warrants.

McCain previously had been critical of the Bush administration's unilateral decision, following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, to let the National Security Agency eavesdrop on untold numbers of citizens.

Before, McCain talked of the need for presidents to obey the law, just as other Americans must do.

But now he suggests that a McCain White House would pursue the same unchecked spy powers as Bush.

His flip-flop isn't as significant as the fact that McCain has gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick.

The State of the Economy

I'm stealing this line from something I read months ago but can't remember where: inflation in the things we need, deflation in the things we want.

Fresh Thread

I hope your day is more enjoyable than mine.

Dead End

Sovereignty? Wuh?
AMMAN, Jordan - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says talks with the United States on a longterm security agreement have reached a "dead end." Al-Maliki says the talks slumped because each side refused the other's demands.

He says the initial framework agreed upon was to have been an accord "between two completely sovereign states." But he says the U.S. proposals "do not take into consideration Iraq's sovereignty."


A lot.

WASHINGTON -- The number of U.S. homeowners swept up in the housing crisis rose further last month, with foreclosure filings up nearly 50 percent compared with a year earlier, a foreclosure listing company said Friday.

Nationwide, 261,255 homes received at least one foreclosure-related filing in May, up 48 percent from 176,137 in the same month last year and up 7 percent from April, RealtyTrac Inc. said.

Deep Thought

Having central air changes things.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

That's Mavericky

McCain lies to Fox about who is going to attend his town hall. Funny.

I reported at the top of this hour that the campaign had told us at Fox News that the audience would be made up of Republicans, Democrats, and independents. We have now received a clarification from the campaign and I feel I should pass it along to you. The McCain campaign distributed tickets to supporters, Mayor Bloomberg, who of course is a registered Republican, and other independent groups.

Deep Thought

Apparently cats don't really enjoy being shoved into little pet carrier bags only to emerge in some strange new place.

Some More Mavericky Straight Talk

Otherwise known as "lies" from Saint John McCain.

Thursday Night Thread


Was It Ben Stein?

Why yes it was.


Lots of moving-related program activities over the next few days, so I may be in and out.

Run, Lou, Run

The thought of Lou Dobbs being subject to the media scrutiny which comes with the territory makes me smile.

Afternoon Thread


Thursday Is Barack Obama Day

You know what to do.

Proud To Be An American

Where we have the best frat boy antics.

LONDON (AP) — The U.S. government has photographic evidence that a Guantanamo Bay inmate was tortured with a knife after being taken to Morocco by U.S. forces, a British human rights group said Tuesday.

Reprieve said their client, Binyam Mohamed, had his genitals slashed repeatedly with a doctor's scalpel while in custody in Morocco after he was flown there from Pakistan by American officials in 2002. It also said his U.S. captors later took pictures of the abuse to show authorities that his wounds were healing.


"When she saw the injuries I had she gasped. She said: 'Oh, my God, look at that!' Then all her mates looked at what she was pointing at and I could see the shock and horror in her eyes," Mohamed was quoted as saying. "Later, when I was in Afghanistan, they took more pictures. They were treating me, and one of them explained that the photos were 'to show Washington it's healing."'

Reprieve said Mohamed's account was confirmed by an unidentified journalist it says spoke with a U.S. intelligence agent who saw the photographs. The group has urged the United States not to destroy them.

Will no one tell us of the lemon chicken? No one?


David Broder's the Dean.

How Do You Know When Dick Cheney is Lying?

If his mouth is moving it's a pretty good clue.


Democracy hangs on a 5-4 thread.

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has ruled that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the U.S. Constitution to challenge their detention in civilian courts.

The justices, in a 5-4 ruling Thursday, handed the Bush administration its third setback at the high court since 2004 over its treatment of prisoners who are being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

One of the Good Ones

Hopefully many of you remember giving some change to help Donna Edwards win a primary. Hopefully you remember that she won against incumbent Al Wynn, and that she's going to win a special election on Tuesday to finish out his term before winning the "real" election in November.

For her supporters, many of whom are wildly optimistic that the 49-year-old represents a new face of progressive politics, her self-assurance is often borne out.

That was true on the football front in Glenarden. After shaking hands and addressing the crowd briefly, Edwards approached a group of young boys lined up on a playing field. "I want to see who can catch this pass, okay?" she called out before sending the football spiraling and soaring over the heads of the younger children to the older boys in the back.

"She got arm!" whistled a man watching the pass.

Her 22-point victory against Wynn in the Feb. 12 primary was so resounding that it has been hard for many residents in the 4th Congressional District, which encompasses parts of Prince George's and Montgomery counties, to remember that the win formally earned her only the Democratic nomination.

Baby Mama

So it wasn't a dream.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

CNBC ticker says 384,000 lucky duckies. That's a big number! More when I find info on the full release.

...continuing claims up too.

In the week ending June 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 384,000, an increase of 25,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 359,000. The 4-week moving average was 371,500, an increase of 2,500 from the previous week's revised average of 369,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent for the week ending May 31, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate of 2.3 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 31 was 3,139,000, an increase of 58,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,081,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,099,250, an increase of 16,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,082,750.

Comfort Zone

CNN just informed me that McCain is in his "comfort zone" giving "town hall" style meetings.

Um, have you actually watched one of them? He sucks there, too.

Librul media

When you think of it, it's pretty ironic that the only network that thought the National Conference for Media Reform was even worth mentioning on the air was Fox, and that's the only reason Keith Olbermann mentioned it at all. For the rest of the media, it was only of interest back in the Business pages, because to them, it's a threat.

Not Atrios


Rock on.

Deep Thought

Music really does sound better with a decent pair of headphones.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Deep Thought

Nothing is more fun than moving.

Obama's Baby Mama

This is going to be an awesome election.



McCain, he said, “doesn’t have the temperament to be the president of the United States. Everyone who’s ever worked with John McCain knows of his temper. It’s explosive to say the least.”

Reid went more macro and accused Republicans, in general, of using “Orwellian dialect.” “Whatever they say, believe the opposite,” he said.

Wanker of the Day

Bill O'Reilly.

Up 6

I guess now that we're in general election mode I can mention polls again. Obama up 47-41 in latest WSJ/NBC poll.

I doubt McCain will ever go much below that, the question is whether the Obama can gain with the undecideds and others.


Carville says it should be Gore.


Outsourcing Congress

Bush wants to get the Iraqi parliament to give him permission to attack Iran so he doesn't have to get permission from Congress.

Should've impeached him when you had time.


Too University of Chicago. Too South Side Chicago.

Too rich. Too poor.

Crazy Curt Weldon

Was wondering what was up with him.

(via Susie)

Fresh Thread

Spending my afternoon at Target. Lucky me.

Why Stay In Iraq?

Because there was never a clearly defined military or political mission, because John McCain wants "victory," and given the ambiguous purpose of being there victory involves...being there.

No it doesn't make any sense, but John McCain has serious foreign policy experience, whatever the hell that means.

Actually Kind of Important

I think in 2008 computer use and understanding of the internet should be part of the basic skill set we expect from people in positions of prominent public leadership. It's pretty much impossible to have any kind of understanding of how people in the modern world go about their lives and work without that. The internet is not a fad or the playground for 17 year olds.

I don't mean it's important for someone running for president to spend his/her days on Facebook or becoming immersed in all of the various internet subcultures. But how can you have any genuine sense of contemporary life unless you at least have some clue?

Exactly Right

The liberal base has been right about pretty much everything over the past several years.

Another Trip To The Confessional?

Worries for Goldy:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Standard & Poor's 500 financial sector <.GSPF> sank to a five-year low on Wednesday, led by declines in investment bank shares on a rumor that Goldman Sachs would report large writedowns when it reports quarterly figures next week, market participants said.

"There's been rumors of a large write-off to be announced at Goldman Sachs, which has caused a lot of the financial stocks to swoon a little bit. That's been the major driver, is increased fear of financials," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Bad Ideas With Predictable Consequences

Voter ID laws prevent some seniors from voting.

Enemies List

This Times story is pretty stupid, like the last version published by some other outlet (Politico?). Yes I'm sure there are people around the Clintons who are pissed off and hold grudges. Shocking!

And no mention of Chris Bowers?

Deep Thought

Sam Nunn is the most popular man in America.

Don't Leave The Children On Their Own

Huggy Bear doesn't think it's important to bring the boys (and girls) back home.

Oh My

Wasn't clear what this was about yesterday when it was first reported.

ALBANY — Federal law enforcement agents have raided the offices of an influential lobbying firm in Albany as part of the latest investigation connected to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal in Washington.

The raid was part of an investigation of former Congressman John Sweeney, an Albany-area Republican with ties to Mr. Abramoff. During the raid on Friday, about 10 F.B.I. agents spent several hours collecting computers and files from the office of Powers & Company, the lobbying firm.

The company is run by the former chairman of the state Republican Party, William D. Powers. Mr. Sweeney’s ex-wife, Gayle, worked for Powers & Company until early last year, and Mr. Powers was a longtime political patron of the congressman.

Uh, Marc?

Rodney Alexander switched parties and became a Republican in the summer of '04, so it isn't too surprising that he wasn't on board with Kerry.

It's a Series of Tubes

I've long read with fascination the Bush administration obsession with "competition" on Amtrak. Anyone who has thought a few minutes about this gets that you actually can't have the kind of competition they suggest on a congested set of tracks. What they really mean, if not say, is that they want competing firms to bid for the right to own a government sanctioned monopoly so they can join the expanding patronage system that our federal government has become.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is threatening to veto legislation that would fund Amtrak for the next five years.

The Bush administration says House members didn't include language in the bill making the railroad more accountable for its decisions.

The legislation would authorize more than $14 billion dollars and set up a program of federal matching grants that states could use to set up or expand rail service.

But the White House says the measure provides little opportunity for competition on existing Amtrak routes and doesn't include provisions that would condition Amtrak's funding based on the progress of reforms.

Early Morning Thread

Enjoy this before McCain's web administrator (a retired "Abacus Industry Magnate") figures out what pressing the "any key" means.

Some examples here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Deep Thought

If I were important and successful like Stephen Colbert, Apple would send me a free iPhone.

Transit Mysteries

A mystery to me, anyway:


Why can’t the M.T.A. do something, anything, to prompt bus riders to exit through the rear door only? I understand that drivers would resist enforcing this (and know they have a strong union and so would likely succeed in resisting), but why can’t M.T.A. start some educational campaign or something? I have to believe that if more people exited properly it would improve traffic congestion significantly, and that if most did so, the improvement would be major.

— Posted by Eric Rudolph

Most riders should use the rear door on buses; when they do so it speeds up bus service. There have been suggestions that M.T.A. New York City Transit conduct an educational campaign with posters and reminders from drivers. That makes sense. However, the drivers are not to blame. There are many reasons why riders exit through the front. These include disability and age. Indeed, the seats towards the front door are priority seating for these individuals. Also, it can be plain physically difficult to try and head backwards through densely crowded buses, as opposed to through the front.

I'm assuming it's not "the" Eric Rudolph asking the question.

The mystery is that here in Philadelphia, despite prominent signs in every bus instructing you to exit via the rear door, this is not what bus drivers want. If you try to exit through the rear door you usually have to yell to get them to open it, and often they just motion for you to come to the front.

Oh My

Not staying in Vegas.

You know that unidentified estranged wife of a Reno doctor that the governor of Nevada is not having an affair with?

Well, during one month last year he exchanged 850 text messages with her phone from his official state phone, at 15 cents per.

Car Share Everywhere

Under 3000 when I joined.

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As gasoline rises to more than $4 per gallon across the nation, PhillyCarShare, North America’s largest regional car-sharing organization, has signed up its 50,000th member continuing to reach historic milestones in the car-sharing industry.

PhillyCarShare has pioneered other "firsts" including implementing the first “free rail to car share” program (worldwide), partnering with SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) in offering “free” (reimbursable) rides to members taking public transportation to car pods; large-scale municipal car-sharing (worldwide); free memberships (worldwide); service to any drivers aged 18 to 20 (U.S.); and child seats (U.S.).

Robert Diemer, Partner, AKF Engineers, located at 1500 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, has signed up as the 50,000th member of PhillyCarShare. Diemer is a dual account holder, maintaining a corporate membership through AKF Engineers - a group of approximately 20 drivers - along with his individual membership. Additionally, AKF Engineers is the 1,527th organization to sign up for PhillyCarShare, with each business account representing up to 150 drivers.

Evening Thread

Bob Novak's teeth are a wonder of equine dentistry.

Deep Thought

It'd be nice if there was a gathering of liberals in a venue which served cold beer right about now.

Deep Thought

It's hot.

Deep Thought

Acceptable to journalists: quoting anonymous source describing private conversation at which journalist was not present.

Unacceptable to journalists: "citizen journalist" bypassing actual journalists and using her own platform to tell the world what happened at public campaign event.

Begging For Help

And this is how the last honest man in Washington repays those who help him.

Afternoon Thread


Oh My

Though, admittedly, it isn't quite as much fun to gloat about the legal problems of the NY GOP as it used to be.

ALBANY -- FBI agents removed files last Friday from the State Street offices of William D. Powers, a lobbyist and the state's former Republican chairman.

Powers, of Chatham, has been a lobbyist since he stepped down as state GOP chairman in 2001 after holding the position for 11 years.

Wanker of the Day

Anne Applebaum.

Could You Tell Us Where They Are?


Inspectors from UNMOVIC and the IAEA were back on the ground in Iraq, saying their findings didn't confirm American suspicions. The administration pushed back. So UNMOVIC and the IAEA sensibly asked the Americans to share intel with them and they'd check out whatever leads Bush wanted them to check out. But there were no leads to check out! The press not only managed to completely ignore this, but to continues ignoring the fact that this ever happened up until this very day.

I'm sure if one would look back into the archives of the leading lights of the blogosphere one would find elaborate explanations for why This All Makes Perfect Sense. Probably something involving the IAEA being in league with Saddam, or whatever. But of course it didn't make any sense. The Bushies were just, you know, making shit up. I know every time someone says that a little part of Fred Hiatt dies inside, but oh well.

Dumb Analysis

Greg Anrig writes basically what I would've.

As for the Social Security retirement age, 67 is old for people who don't work sitting at desks in nice air conditioned rooms. Sure plenty of people, even ones who work more taxing jobs over the course of their lives, are healthy and spry at 67. But plenty of people aren't.


Key sentence:

"Imagine that!" Bailey says. "Without the Internet, I don't know if I could have gotten this involved."

I remember early on in internet politics that the overwhelming feeling of people was that they wanted to do... something... but had no idea what to do. I know I tried contacting my local Dem party only to realize they mostly seemed to exist to fundraise for an annual scholarship for some college bound local student. Since then the activist internet base has found ways to get involved, both online and the real world. New kinds of activism have been created, and people have found ways to get involved in traditional kinds. But I definitely remember a time when there was an overwhelming sense of impotence, a desire to do something but no idea what that something was.

Anyway, we've come a long way. It's good.

Terrorists Everywhere

This is truly frightening!


John McCain: "I will veto every single beer."

This Modern World

The week that was.

An Idiot

It is true. While the "lying or stupid" question will long be with us for many players, I think with Fred Hiatt the needle falls pretty neatly on the "stupid" line. Sure there's a bit of mendacious blame shifting and CYA as for the Hiatts of the world it'll always be mostly about them, but really he's just a profoundly stupid person who has tremendous, if declining, influence over our stupid political discourse.

Fuming Lobbyists

I'm usually not one to advocate unilateral disarmament in politics, but I'm quite pleased that Obama is refusing money from Washington lobbyists and think this is a grand state of affairs.

"I'm curious how much [the Obama campaign] thought about this decision," said one Democratic lobbyist. "I take Obama at his word that he's serious about changing the culture of Washington. But he's also got to realize that right now, he's the Babe Ruth of politics. You've got a lot of other people out there who are AAA ballplayers; they don't have the ability to do what he's doing in terms of raising money and wowing crowds."

Another Democratic lobbyist said Obama's ban effectively tars everyone who can't live up to it. "Now you're implying that the House and Senate Democrats - and Republicans - are scumbags that take lobbyist money," the lobbyist fumed.

Lobbyist money is part of the general incumbency protection racket in Washington. Candidates can benefit from the small donor revolution, it just requires they adjust their focus and schedule a bit. We know that enough people are willing to give, you just have to find ways to reach them. The AAA ballplayers need to learn to play the game a different way.


Exciting day in China!

HONG KONG — Chinese stocks plummeted 8.1 percent on Tuesday, their biggest single-day drop in nearly 16 months, leading a broad downturn in Asian stock markets.

The plunge in the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets followed an increase in Chinese bank reserve requirements, increased worries about high food and oil prices, and fears about exports to the United States. The Hong Kong stock market also fell 4.1 percent.

Speaking of Expectations

The Republicans certainly have high hopes for this year.

NRSC chair John Ensign has moved the goal posts, according to the Savannah Morning News, saying that the GOP will have succeeded if they don't lose more than eight seats.

Ensign pointed out that if the Dems win nine seats they'll get to the filibuster-proof magic number of 60 -- at which point, Ensign warned, "they will be able to do pretty much whatever they want."

Things Changing?

People don't expect gas prices to come back down.

After more than five years of petroleum price increases, American consumers appear to be expecting the worst. A CNN poll taken last week showed that 59 percent of Americans believe it is very likely that they will pay $5 a gallon for gasoline before the end of the year and that an additional 27 percent say it is somewhat likely.

Economists say these expectations make it more probable that people will change behavior rather than simply wait for a turn in the traditional up-and-down cycle of commodity prices. "People now realize that prices may come back down, but they're not going down to where they were," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's "We're going to have to live with higher energy prices for a while. And that's affecting their behavior and what they buy and don't buy."

For Rusty Davis, a handyman from Arlington, the high cost of gasoline is changing the way he runs his business. He has started to refuse jobs outside the county. When he does travel to jobs, he now takes his fuel-efficient car and leaves behind his work van, which gets only 12 miles to the gallon. He also used to do free estimates in person. Now he does them over the phone.

Fresh Thread

Dad must be sleeping in.

Monday, June 09, 2008

No Deal

I admit I've never quite understood why this nontreaty was 100% no takebacks binding while every other constitutional international supreme law of the land agreement was more in the if we feel like it category. But, anyway...

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is conceding for the first time that the United States may not finish a complex security agreement with Iraq before President Bush leaves office.

Faced with stiff Iraqi opposition, it is "very possible" the U.S. may have to extend an existing U.N. mandate, said a senior administration official close to the talks. That would mean major decisions about how U.S. forces operate in Iraq could be left to the next president, including how much authority the U.S. must give Iraqis over military operations and how quickly the handover takes place.

The official said the goal is still to have an agreement by year's end. And the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, said he feels no pressure from the U.S. political calendar, and that Dec. 31 is "a clear deadline."

Not Necessarily High On Cocaine

Riding the rails.

Spurred largely by soaring fuel prices, ridership on commuter rail lines is up here and around the country.

On SEPTA Regional Rail, that's 2.8 million more trips, or an 11 percent increase, over last fiscal year. And on the 14-mile PATCO High-Speed Line, average weekday ridership is 35,138, up fron nearly 33,000 a year ago.

For some riders, that means finding a seat also might be problem.

John Kopesky, a lawyer who makes his way to Center City on SEPTA's R6 from Norristown's Elm Street Station, said parking has not been a problem for him because he takes the first or second train train out in the morning.

But, he said, he has noticed that as soon as the train crosses into the cheaper inner zone, ridership soars.

What An Excellent War

So awesome.

BAGHDAD -Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed "status of forces" agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.

Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the United States and Iran.

"The points that were put forth by the Americans were more abominable than the occupation," said Jalal al Din al Saghir, a leading lawmaker from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. "We were occupied by order of the Security Council," he said, referring to the 2004 Resolution mandating a U.S. military occupation in Iraq at the head of an international coalition. "But now we are being asked to sign for our own occupation. That is why we have absolutely refused all that we have seen so far."

Other conditions sought by the United States include control over Iraqi air space up to 30,000 feet and immunity from prosecution for U.S. troops and private military contractors. The agreement would run indefinitely but be subject to cancellation with two years notice from either side, lawmakers said.

Back Home

West Virginia was, again, lovely. Bird highlight was the chestnut-sided warbler.

Editorial pages still ripping Cheney's incest remark.

Evening Thread


It's Best To Always Follow The Sound Policy Choices of Adolf Hitler

I do love Republicans. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)

I think the people that elect us deserve to know what our plan is. The Republican side has come out with a plan. They say, "Look, we're gonna take advantage of our natural resources. We're gonna take advantage of the things that we were God-given in this land. We're gonna take advantage of our oil reserves, of our natural gas, of our abundance of coal." We're gonna take advantage of those things, and we're gonna use the technology that we've been so good about coming up with. We're gonna take and convert this shale to oil, which Hitler did in the late '20s. In the late '20s. And we don't think that we can do that today?

Mocking Huggy Bear


As late as December, John McCain told a newspaper in New Hampshire that he’d love to offer a solution to the housing crisis, but he just didn’t have one. It took him three different tries to figure it out, and in the end, his plan does nothing to help 1.5 million homeowners who are facing foreclosure, even as he supported spending billions to bail out Wall Street. President Bush told the American people he thought the biggest danger arising from this housing crisis was the temptation to do something about it. Now Senator McCain wants to turn Bush’s policy of ‘too little, too late’ into a policy of ‘even less, even later’. That’s not the change we need right now. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place.

Terrorist Fist Jab

Everyone's doing it!

Afternoon Thread


Issues Not Political

One constant refrain during the Free Press's National Conference on Media Reform was that they were a nonpartisan entity and they could not endorse candidates in federal elections. This was meant to prevent speakers and panelists from doing the same.

Due to the various constraints from tax and campaign finance law, you have a lot of organizations that are unable to take the step of linking outcomes to politics. They can't say "vote for Obama, so we'll get media reform." While in isolation it isn't that big of a deal, I think it's another thing which contributes to the lack of issues and policy in politics. A lot of people doing good stuff on policy just can't intertwine the policy with the politics, even though unless the right people get elected none of the good stuff is going to happen.

Thinking About The Cost Of A Trip

During my peak driving life (from age 16-30 or so) the price of gas was basically not much more than a dollar per gallon for most of the time. Even in my relatively poor years, except for very long trips it was never a high enough price that I'd factor it in when considering to make a car trip. Sure I might grumble when it was time to fill the tank, but I never thought in terms of "how much will it cost me to make this trip."

At $4.50 per gallon in many places I guess that changes. If you're getting 20 mpg, a 50 mile round trip commute will cost you $11.25. The 13.2 mile trip from downtown Minneapolis to the airport, which you can do on the train for $1.50, costs 3 bucks by car.

The point I'm trying to make is that when gas was cheap, people thought in terms of the cost of filling the tank rather than the cost of making a trip. People didn't really make a marginal cost/benefit calculation because they didn't really perceive the cost for short trips. That's changing.

Thanks For Noticing Ana-Marie

The thing is, McCain is like this on several issues, it's just the usually reporters hear what they want to hear or allow his flunkies to spin everything away.

Elizabeth Edwards

As Greg says, it's interesting that Obama is pairing up with Elizabeth Edwards over health care given that she wasn't exactly a fan of his approach.

This Is Much More Fun

Obama's on the teevee making fun of Huggy Bear.

I think I can start paying attention to this crap again.


Or will unless Mark Begich drops Tubes Stevens into a dump truck, something which is looking quite possible at the moment.

GI Bill

Father of soldier awarded posthumous medal of honor thinks Bush should support GI Bill.

Just some focus group.

They Make Corrections

Drudgico regrets Steve Simels' error.

The Power of Attaturk

Attaturk was discussing the awesomeness of cottage cheese and lime jello, not me.


Maverick straight talker John McCain lies to Newsweek, and neither Newsweek nor Drudgico notices.

Newsweek has an interview with McCain in this week's mag and they've posted excerpts from the Jon Meacham and Holly Bailey chat online.

I missed this, but McCain apparently killed a line at the start of his speech Tuesday in which he was to say of Hillary Clinton that, "The media often overlooked how compassionately she spoke to the concerns and dreams of millions of Americans, and she deserves a lot more appreciation than she sometimes received."

As commenters point out, McCain did in fact say it.

So Many Dicks

I'm shocked.

The most traditional location to reach the political establishment, the Washington Post opinion section, is brazenly male-dominated. Seventeen of the 19 columnists are men; only three of the columnists are racial minorities. Guest op-eds could present more voices, but they rarely do. This year, only 12 percent of the Post's guest pieces came from women, according to a May count by ombudsman Deborah Howell. At the New York Times, eight of the ten weekly columnists are men; one is black. (The Times also recently created a bimonthly graphics column, a post filled by a black commentator.) And in an industry review last year, about one out of four columnists were women at the largest syndicates around the country, according to Editor and Publisher. As Times columnist Nick Kristoff lamented last month, even as reporting staffs diversify, white men dominate American punditry "from newspaper columnists to television talking heads."


According to a recent, two-year study of the four major Sunday talk shows by Media Matters, out of over 2,000 guests, 77 percent were men and 82 percent were white. The top rated show, "Meet the Press," also led the pack in male representation, at an embarrassing 85 percent. Latinos were almost completely absent, comprising one percent of the guests. Latinos make up about 14 percent of the population, and the study ran through 2006 and 2007, when immigration policy was often in the news.

...Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post's editorial page editor, jumped in the fray by declaring, "there ought to be more women on op-ed pages in general. Over time, I intend to make that happen." (Apparently he did not have a three-year window in mind.)

At least we have Anne Applebaum, America's Stupidest PunditTM.

When You Don't Even Have To Read The Article

And I didn't! But the headline given to Fred Hiatt's latest bowel movement is "Blaming Bush for Iraq Is Too Easy." And that's true! I also blame Fred Hiatt!

Morning thread

Five months until the election...

Let the right-wing smear jobs commence in earnest:

the barack obama campaign site is designed to be like an online community. anyone can come by, create an account and start a blog there. so a guy named brother nathanael kapner sets up an account at and writes an inflamatory post about the jewish lobby. a couple of hours later, the obama campaign notices and deletes the post. but not before the rightwing blogosphere latches onto the post and goes nuts about it...

brother kapner is not affiliated with the campaign in any way. he's just a guy who used the open source nature of the obama site to write something there that the campaign publicly disavows. kapner is not even an obama supporter; check out this anti-obama rant that kapner wrote just a few days ago.

BTW, The McCain Campaign has similar issues.


Oskar Eustis

Linking mostly just to say that perhaps the two most memorable theatrical productions I've seen were his Music Man and his Angels in America (in Providence, not LA).

At the Eureka Theater Company in San Francisco in the 1980s he commissioned Tony Kushner to write “Angels in America,” which he later directed as associate artistic director at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Having established a reputation for dedication to new work that drew comparisons to Papp, dramaturgical strengths that outshone his directing abilities and his brash leftist politics, he was hired in 1994 by Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, R.I. Mr. Eustis turned Trinity from a money loser into a healthy regional theater known both for new works and traditional musicals like Mr. Eustis’s own production of “The Music Man.”

Sunday, June 08, 2008

All Gassed Up

I admit I'm pretty surprised about how much $4 gas might actually lead to changing behavior.

TCHULA, Miss. — Gasoline prices reached a national average of $4 a gallon for the first time over the weekend, adding more strain to motorists across the country.

But the pain is not being felt uniformly. Across broad swaths of the South, Southwest and the upper Great Plains, the combination of low incomes, high gas prices and heavy dependence on pickup trucks and vans is putting an even tighter squeeze on family budgets.

Here in the Mississippi Delta, some farm workers are borrowing money from their bosses so they can fill their tanks and get to work. Some are switching jobs for shorter commutes.

Hopefully this simply doesn't result in economic pain for people, but actually leads to some better policies.

Normal Open Thread

The Atrios Has Landed

Normal blogging will resume shortly...

Afternoon Thread



In addition to the fact that Diane Sawyer is awful, these events should not be proprietary for any single media entity.

NeW YORK - Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama rejected an offer by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and ABC News to host the first general election town hall meeting because they do not want it limited to one network, their campaigns said Sunday.

McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, had asked his Democratic counterpart last week to join him in 10 meetings with voters in the coming months, and campaign managers for both sides had agreed in spirit to schedule some type of joint appearances.

But the campaigns said no to a formal offer outlined in a letter from Bloomberg and ABC on Sunday envisioning a 90-minute primetime broadcast moderated by Diane Sawyer to kick off the town hall series in New York City. The campaigns said the candidates intend to make the town hall meetings open for broadcast on all television networks or on the internet, rather than sponsored by a single network or news organization.


Broken plane. And the day had been going so smoothly.


Over there.

BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomb exploded near an American patrol base Sunday in northern Iraq, killing one soldier and wounding 20 other people, the U.S. military said.

Eighteen of the wounded were American soldiers and two were Iraqi contractors working at the base in Tamim province, according to a brief statement from the military.

Gonna Play Everywhere

If nothing else it'll mute the defensive crouch narrative that plagued the last two elections.

WASHINGTON — Senator Barack Obama’s general election plan calls for broadening the electoral map by challenging Senator John McCain in typically Republican states — from North Carolina to Missouri to Montana — as Mr. Obama seeks to take advantage of voter turnout operations built in nearly 50 states in the long Democratic nomination battle, aides said.

On Monday, Mr. Obama will travel to North Carolina — a state that has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 32 years — to start a two-week tour of speeches, town hall forums and other appearances intended to highlight differences with Mr. McCain on the economy. From there, he heads to Missouri, which last voted for a Democrat in 1996. His first campaign swing after securing the Democratic presidential nomination last week was to Virginia, which last voted Democratic in 1964.

More Coming

Long before the housing/financial crisis hit I was warning people against taking out adjustable rate mortgages. Inevitably people would email me and explain their circumstances and why they had an ARM which made sense. Some of them were probably right, or at least lucky enough that it worked out for them, but all of them essentially assumed that if there was any problem they'd just be able to refinance or sell and move and all would be fine. For many people that isn't going to be possible.

I don't claim perfect foresight in this. I thought we were in a housing bubble and I thought a lot of people were taking out loans which were stupid for them personally, but I had no idea that the banks had basically stopped having any kind of lending standards so that they were making loans which were stupid for them, too. But I do think the institution of the 30 year fixed rate no prepayment penalty mortgage is one of the few great things which are really on the consumers' side. It's a good deal. If rates go up, you're protected. If rates go down, you can potentially refinance. Sure it's tempting to shave a bit off an intro rate to save some money, but it's important to recognize that you're taking on a big chunk of risk when you do so. In an age where risk is being shifted back onto us as various forms of social insurance fade, it's a bit of a sanctuary.

American Roots

I was not born in this country, spent time living outside of the country, and also have an immigrant parent. No mudblood though!

But I, too, opposed the Iraq war, so I can haz preznitsee!

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities:

ABC's "This Week" — Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.; Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.; Howard Wolfson, campaign adviser for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — Journalists round table.


CNN's "Late Edition" — Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Feinstein; Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S.; Wolfson.

"Fox News Sunday" _ Govs. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn.


Richard Clarke:

CLARKE: Well, there may be some other kind of remedy. There may be some sort of truth and reconciliation commission process that’s been tried in other countries, South Africa, Salvador and what not, where if you come forward and admit that you were in error or admit that you lied, admit that you did something, then you’re forgiven. Otherwise, you are censured in some way.

Now, I just don’t think we can let these people back into polite society and give them jobs on university boards and corporate boards and just let them pretend that nothing ever happened when there are 4,000 Americans dead and 25,000 Americans grieviously wounded, and they’ll carry those wounds and suffer all the rest of their lives.


Is it wrong of me to feel that if the media persists in giving Tom DeLay exposure for more of his rubbish, they should be required to have Maru give the response?

Not Atrios

Deep Thought

I think I only go to these conferences to make sure that some of my virtual pals are real.