Saturday, July 26, 2008
Good morning. I'm John McCain, and this week the presidential contest was a long-distance affair, with my opponent touring various continents and arriving yesterday in Paris. With all the breathless coverage from abroad, and with Senator Obama now addressing his speeches to 'the people of the world,' I'm starting to feel a little left out. Maybe you are too.
This bit is key:
The point isn't, as I must restate again and again, that everyone must move to the city. But hopefully increased demand for amenities like mass transit might lead to some minor land use changes around existing transit corridors (lowered parking requirements, increased residential density). The changes really are quite minor in some sense, and despite NIMBY fears they aren't going to turn your suburban outpost into an urban nightmare. But they can create small town centers around train stops, increase walkability and decrease automobile dependence while still maintaining, for most parts of the neighborhood, the suburban character that many people like.
In urban New York and New Jersey, Kamson Corp.'s apartments are filling up and pushing rents higher, while its suburban ones in Pennsylvania can't hold on to tenants.
"We're finding people asking more questions about mass transit, what kind of services there are in the immediate area," said Mike Beirne, Kamson's executive vice president.
Philadelphia's extensive commuter rail system has long, in most places, not lived up to its full promise due to poor land use around stations.
- WASHINGTON - A Delaware County real estate agent and close friend of former U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon who became a Capitol Hill lobbyist pleaded guilty yesterday to destroying evidence related to the FBI's investigation of Weldon.Cecilia M. Grimes, 43, became the second close Weldon associate to plead guilty and agree to cooperate with the FBI in its corruption investigation of the 10-term Republican congressman, his Russian business associates, and others.
Friday, July 25, 2008
But the obsession with the old, with documents that are outside the public's sight line, with interviews and the promise of off-message moments that they bring, comes out of an underlying worldview in journalism: That politicians are all bullshit artists, that politics is all artifice, and the reporter's job is to cynically expose it as such and then peer behind the curtain to uncover the moments of spontaneity and honesty.
McCain's desginated fluffer in Newsweek:
When John McCain descended on a Bethlehem, Penn. grocery store late yesterday afternoon, the unscheduled campaign stop, meant to highlight McCain's concern over skyrocketing food prices, instead quickly became a theater for the absurd. First, a cameraman knocked over several glass jars of Mott's applesauce, which rolled near McCain's feet as he posed for a bevy of cameras while strolling the grocery aisles. Then, the senator's hastily assembled press conference, held in front of a perishable food case labeled "Dairy Delights," was interrupted by the scream of the store's P.A. system announcing a staffer had a phone call. Finally, there was the fact that Renee Gould, the young mother McCain had an extended chat with about the high price of tomatoes and milk, was not a random shopper, but an area resident funneled to the campaign by the local Republican Party. Gould's admission (a reporter cornered her and asked how she came to be there) was ultimately not all that surprising. Even with the amusing mishaps, the entire event came off as canned, and McCain—whose discomfort with the phoniness required by politics has always been evident—spent most of his time shifting uncomfortably.
McCain stages phony event, is bad at it, and this is evidence of how awesome he is because he doesn't like all that phony political stuff.
Peter Hong, a longtime Republican operative in Minnesota, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a charge of soliciting prostitution in St. Paul.
Hong has been in and out of the Republican side of Minnesota politics since the mid-1990s, when he surfaced as a genial bulldog campaign press secretary for former Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn. He served as a spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign in 2002 and for the Bush-Cheney campaign in Minnesota in 2004.
Most recently, Hong was a point person for presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Gina Countryman, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Republican Party, said Hong is not currently working for any Minnesota candidate.
But MSNBC is on the case with "Obama's missing thesis." The really important news.
But, the next morning, Nagourney awoke to an e-mail from Talking Points Memo writer Greg Sargent asking him to comment on an eight-point rebuttal trashing his piece that the Obama campaign had released to reporters and bloggers like The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder and Politico's Ben Smith. Nagourney had not heard the complaints from the Obama camp and had no idea they were so steamed. "I'm looking at this thing, and I'm like, 'What the hell is this?' " Nagourney recently recalled. "I really flipped out."
Later that afternoon, Nagourney got permission from Times editors to e-mail Sargent a response to the Obama memo. But the episode still grates. "I've never had an experience like this, with this campaign or others," Nagourney tells me. "I thought they crossed the line. If you have a problem with a story I write, call me first. I'm a big boy. I can handle it. But they never called. They attacked me like I'm a political opponent."
Never in Adam Nagourney's career has a political campaign issued a rebuttal to some story he's done without contacting him first? That's really weird, if true.
July 25 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. foreclosure filings more than doubled in the second quarter from a year earlier as falling home prices left borrowers owing more on mortgages than their properties were worth.
One in every 171 U.S. homeowners lost their house to foreclosure, received a default notice or was warned of a pending auction, an increase of 121 percent from a year earlier and a 14 percent rise from the first quarter, RealtyTrac Inc. said today in a statement. Almost 740,000 properties were in some stage of the foreclosure process, the most since the Irvine, California-based real estate data company began reporting in January 2005.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
In his interview with NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, which will air on NBC's Nightly News tonight, McCain questions whether Obama should have given a speech in Berlin before becoming president.
"I would rather speak at a rally or a political gathering any place outside of the country after I am president of the United States," McCain told O'Donnell. "But that's a judgment that Sen. Obama and the American people will make."
However, on June 20, McCain himself gave a speech in Canada -- to the Economic Club of Canada -- in which he applauded NAFTA's successes. An implicit message behind that speech was that Obama had been critical of the trade accord. Also, McCain's trip to Canada was paid for by the campaign.
Not that the "only presidents get to give speeches outside of country" rule, you know, makes any fucking sense at all.
- McCain campaign is criticizing Obama for being overseas while voters at home are struggling.
Apparently, since July 4 not only have we suddenly "won" the Iraq war, but the economy has soured so much that it's inappropriate for presidential candidates to travel. Early July:
CARTAGENA, Colombia (Reuters) - Trade, drugs and immigration will top the agenda of U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain during a visit to Colombia and Mexico this week designed to showcase his foreign policy experience over that of Democratic rival Barack Obama.
McCain, an Arizona senator who has wrapped up his party's White House nomination, was to meet with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and other officials in Cartagena on Tuesday and Wednesday in the first leg of a three-day journey to South and Central America.
But a variety of factors have made Mr. McCain’s chances in Arizona less assured than they ordinarily would seem, which his campaign has acknowledged.
The number of independent voters in Arizona has risen 12 percent since 2004, and those voters have helped send a Democrat to the governor’s mansion and given the party four of the state’s eight Congressional seats — including two in 2006, one in a historically Republican district.
At the same time, Arizona Democrats, like many of their counterparts around the country, have outpaced Republicans in voter registration, adding almost 20,000 voters to the rolls since March, compared with the Republican majority’s 8,600 new voters. The second-term Democratic governor, Janet Napolitano , remains wildly popular.
Nuclear war with Iran is coming! Israel must strike Iran now, before they launch their missiles. All this taunting back and forth is a forerunner of WW III. Whoever makes the first move wins. This country and Israel should wait no longer.
Ed Galing, Hatboro
To be a good critic you actually have to have the capacity to love what you cover, otherwise you're just a cynical curmudgeon.
The troop escalation was announced in January of 2007. Since that time over 1100 US troops lost their lives. Obviously not all of those losses are attributable to the presence of additional troops in Iraq, but they are all attributable to the continuing presence of the US in Iraq.
WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) - The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped 34,000 last week, government data on Thursday showed, reflecting seasonal volatility typical at this time of year.
Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 406,000 in the week ended July 19, from a revised 372,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said. It was the highest reading since late March.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
If we've succeeded why can't we leave? Just who are we at war with and what conditions should we demand before we withdraw? Does any of this make any fucking sense at all?
But prosecutor Timothy Stone, in an attempt to draw a link between Hamdan and the al Qaeda leadership in the first Guantanamo war crimes trial, told the six-member jury of U.S. military officers who will decide Hamdan's guilt or innocence that Hamdan had inside knowledge of the 2001 attacks on the United States because he overheard a conversation between bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania. U.S. officials have never stated it was shot down although rumours saying that abound to this day.
Wonder where those crazy rumors come from.
Philadelphia - As gas prices continue to climb, so does SEPTA ridership.
SEPTA's monthly ridership increased for the 12th consecutive month this June, and total ridership was up 13 percent compared with June 2007.
"These are highs we haven't experienced in 25 years," SEPTA spokesperson Felipe Suarez said.
City- and suburban-transit ridership increased 5 and 4 percent, respectively, in the last year. The regional-rail lines, however, which travel from the suburbs into Center City saw a 12-percent increase. Last month, the regional-rail lines saw a 22-percent boom compared with June 2007 numbers.
I wonder if there will be (or if there has been) somewhat of a backlash against car culture. Back in my young days, in addition to their necessity cars were kind of the ultimate accessory.
Here's one result from the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that will be released tonight at 6:30 pm ET on Nightly News and MSNBC.com... With the news that Iraq's prime minister wants the US to set a timetable for withdrawal, 60% of registered voters believe it's a good idea for the US to set such a timetable, while 30% say it's a bad idea.
America: A nation of dirty fucking hippies.
Oh, and Fred Hiatt? SUCK ON THIS!
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Washington Mutual Inc (WM.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the largest U.S. savings and loan, posted a $3.33 billion second-quarter loss on Tuesday as souring mortgages forced it to set aside more money for loan losses.
The thrift's deteriorating health prompted Moody's Investors Service to say it may downgrade Washington Mutual to "junk" status. Shares of Washington Mutual fell in after-hours electronic trading.
- Ulises Garcia said he was withdrawing cash from a Wachovia Bank and depositing it into a Bank of America so he could pay his bills online. However, the Bank of America teller noticed something funny about 10 of the 36 $100 bills Garcia said he received from Wachovia Bank -- they were counterfeit, Local 6's Tony Pipitone reported. However, the bank has not given Garcia or his fiancé, Joann Rodriguez, any money.
As Jed also notes, once upon a time McCain had some idea what he was talking about.
Even the Hot Soup Press picked up on this:
The problem with McCain's statement — as Obama's campaign quickly noted — was that the awakening got under way before President Bush announced in January 2007 his decision to flood Iraq with tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops to help combat violence.
In March 2007, before the first of the additional troops began arriving in Iraq, Col. John W. Charlton, the American commander responsible for Ramadi, a city in Anbar province, said the newly friendly sheiks, combined with an aggressive counterinsurgency strategy and the presence of thousands of new Sunni police on the streets, had helped cut attacks in the city by half in recent months.
A spokesman for McCain did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
Or maybe, just maybe, if it isn't a parody of Fox & Friends -- because you can't parody parody.
Although putting on Andrea Mitchell and Pat Buchanan does appeal to the younger demographic, I'm sure.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
And I've long thought that many smaller industrial cities had a great potential for revival.
If you listen long enough, you wonder whether there is really such a profound disagreement about what parents want for their children. Culture war by its nature pours salt in wounds, finds division where there could be common purpose. Purity is certainly a loaded word--but is there anyone who thinks it's a good idea for 12-year-olds to have sex? Or a bad idea for fathers to be engaged in the lives of their daughters and promise to practice what they preach? Parents won't necessarily say this out loud, but isn't it better to set the bar high and miss than not even try?
None of this purity ball stuff has anything to do with the question of whether "it's a good idea for 12-year-olds to have sex."
Generally our culture has a tremendous fear, almost revulsion, of the idea of female sexuality and sexual desire. Much of that is channeled to and projected onto teen females, where all sensible people agree that maybe it's not such a good idea for them to have sex for reasons they can't quite articulate but can usually be summed up with "if you were a parent you'd understand." I'm not a parent, but I was a teen, and my opinion is that on balance the problem isn't that teens are having too much sex, it's that they aren't having enough. That's somewhat of a joke, as the issue isn't how much sex they're having it's about having an informed and healthy attitude about sex and sexual desire so they can make their own choices about what's right for them. But demanding abstinence, especially when cloaked in morality, causes people to grow up with messed up attitudes about sexuality.
And, no, 12-year-olds aren't teens.
If Barack Obama has a problem among Jewish voters, then Sen. Joseph Lieberman is in monumental trouble.
Among the most high-profile Jews in Congress, Lieberman is viewed far more unfavorably than the presumptive Democratic nominee, according to a new poll. Only 37 percent of Jews view the Connecticut Independent in a favorable light compared to 48 percent who have a negative perception. As for Obama, 60 percent of Jews view him favorably while 34 percent view him unfavorably.
Wachovia Corp. announced a whopping second quarter loss of $8.9 billion this morning, and outlined a turnaround plan that includes discontinuing wholesale mortgage origination.
The Charlotte bank also cut its quarterly dividend to 5 cents per share from 37.5 cents.
And no more wholesale lending.
Since he says he "knows how to win wars" (which ones those are, I don't know -- favorable divorce terms?) it sure would be nice if he would share some of it.
I know, I know, "victory" means never having to leave, etc.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Nested in bone-dry Oak Flat Valley in the Diablo Range 8 miles west of Patterson and Interstate 5, Diablo Grande was touted as a "world-class destination resort and planned residential community." Among its most desirable features are two golf courses, the most prominent of which was designed by golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Gene Sarazen.
Diablo Grande was to be among the largest land developments in the history of Stanislaus County. Sprawling across some 28,500 acres of ranchland - roughly twice the size of Manhattan - developer Donald Panoz, multimillionaire inventor of the nicotine patch, envisioned 5,000 to 10,000 homes, a resort hotel and spa, six golf courses, an equestrian center, vineyards, a winery and commercial properties, including a high-tech research park.
But today, after Panoz and his partners sank more than $120 million into the project, Diablo Grande is mired in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and is expected to go on the auction block within weeks. The minimum bid is $25 million. If no one bids more, then Housing Source Partners, a Pismo Beach (San Luis Obispo County) condominium developer, will acquire the project, and about $54 million in unpaid debts.
If only they'd gone with El Gran Diablo Anaranjado...
BAGHDAD — After talks with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki reaffirmed that Iraq wants U.S. combat troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2010, a few months later than Obama had proposed.
Ali Dabbagh, the prime minister's spokesman, said Maliki and Obama didn't discuss specifics during the hour-long meeting. But he said the Iraqi government would like to see all American combat troops out of the country by the end of 2010, a bit later than Obama's proposal to draw down all combat brigades within 16 months after he'd become president.
Former CBS3 anchor Larry Mendte was charged today with hacking into the personal e-mail of onetime colleague Alycia Lane 537 times over more than two years and sharing the information with a newspaper reporter.
"This case ... went well beyond just reading someone's email," said a statement from acting U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid, who charged Mendte, 51, in an information with one felony count. He is not expected to surrender today.
Mendte, 51, grossed $700,000 a year as CBS3's marquee newsreader. The station fired Mendte three weeks after FBI agents seized his home computer. His former co-anchor, Alycia Lane, had made allegations that Mendte had illegally hacked into her e-mail account.
An internal investigation by the television station revealed software had been installed on a station computer that secretly captured keystrokes - including passwords.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson have suggested over the past year that an end is in sight. But with each prediction, things have grown worse. For many homeowners, the deep housing slump feels like a drop off a skyscraper. Every time another 15 floors have passed, there seems to be more room to fall.
"I don't think we get strengthening in the housing market until late 2011 or 2012," said Mark Vitner, senior economist for Wachovia, the nation's fourth largest bank and one that this month hired the number-two man from the Treasury Department as its new chief executive officer to shore up its own growing exposure to mortgage debt.
Before bottoming out, prices nationwide should fall 22 percent to 29 percent on average from their peak, according to a report that Wachovia released last Monday.
Once upon of time these kinds of price reduction estimates were considered to be crazy talk, and most of the very serious people were talking as if there would be some momentary pause and then home prices would continue to appreciate at absurd rates until the end of time.
It has since been changed, but once upon a time the caption to the top picture of this Newsweek article read something like "A show of force: Iran displays its military might at the border with Israel."
BAGHDAD - Iraq's government spokesman is hopeful that U.S. combat forces could be out of the country by 2010.
The timeframe is similar to Obama's proposal to pull back combat troops within 16 months. The Iraqi government has been trying to clarify its position on a possible troop withdrawal since al-Maliki was quoted in a German magazine last week saying he supported Obama's timetable.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
It would have been a powerful criticism had he, you know, aimed it at the United States Congress which spent weeks wasting time on this inconsequential issue when people in the country were worried about their jobs, gas prices, health care, etc.
All of this is ultimately due to the fact that the reason we're in Iraq, mostly, is to prop up the egos of George Bush and Fred Hiatt. Because they've defined leaving as failure, and therefore the mission is simply "to say," it's unpossible to insert into the narrative the idea that maybe Iraqis want us to leave no matter how true that is.
Every time I get near the "why did we invade Iraq and why do we stay" question, people always email me the word "oil." I don't deny the importance of oil in all of this, but 5 years later there's really a simpler explanation. Washington elites are simple-minded people with the emotional maturity of toddlers, and they are unable to accept their responsibility for this disaster. And so we stay.
SUCK ON THIS FRED HIATT
- ABC's "This Week" — Pre-empted by coverage of the British Open golf tournament. ___ CBS' "Face the Nation" — Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. ___ NBC's "Meet the Press" — Former Vice President Al Gore. ___ CNN's "Late Edition" — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Paulson.