Saturday, October 11, 2008

Late Night



Even with the kids. Ah, Philly.


The biggest problem: when Palin came out onto the Wachovia Center ice Saturday night — greeted by resounding (almost deafening) boos from the Flyers crowd — the two hockey players who had no choice but to appear with her in that photo op were turned into props in a political campaign.

...nasty thing to do to your kid.

Saturday Night Live

Department Of Really Bad Ideas

Palin loudly booed at Philadelphia hockey game.

Saturday Evening Thread


Facts Are Stupid things

Shame on McClatchy for bringing some of them to your attention.

WASHINGTON — As the economy worsens and Election Day approaches, a conservative campaign that blames the global financial crisis on a government push to make housing more affordable to lower-class Americans has taken off on talk radio and e-mail.

Commentators say that's what triggered the stock market meltdown and the freeze on credit. They've specifically targeted the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the federal government seized on Sept. 6, contending that lending to poor and minority Americans caused Fannie's and Freddie's financial problems.

Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis.

Afternoon thread


Beautiful Day

Not going to any Obama-related program activities today, but for those who are it's really an absolutely perfect day here.

Legitimizing Liberal Media

I'm not optimistic that Dems will be smart about that. But, hey, happy to be wrong.

Poll Porn

Obama up by 11. Greg writes:

And 59% say Obama shares their values, versus only 47% for McCain. So McCain's efforts to paint Obama as culturally out of touch, allied with shadowy figures, including terrorists, and different from you and me in a vaguely sinister way just may be proving to be a bust.

Still it isn't a bust with the media, who still treat Obama as "the Other." I think overall Obama has gotten better coverage than Gore or Kerry, except for that 45 day period in which cable news became the Reverend Wright channel, but they still lap up every RNC storyline that's given to them. I mean, Peter Beinart, what the fuck?

Dude, You Fucked It All Up

Thanks, Oh Wise Men Of Washington, for giving us this man.

Now, as he spends his last months in office trying to avert a global economic collapse, Mr. Bush has been telling people privately that it’s a good thing he’s in charge.

“He said that if it was going to happen at all, he was glad it was happening under his presidency, because he had a good group of people in D.C. working for him,” Dru Van Steenberg, one of several small-business owners who met with Mr. Bush in San Antonio earlier this week. The president expressed the same sentiment, others said, during a similar private session in Chantilly, Va., the next day.

“He said that whoever was going to take over in January was going to have a huge crisis on their hands the day they come into office,” Ms. Van Steenberg added. “He thought by this happening now, that perhaps everyone could see signs of improvement before the next president comes into office.”

McCain '08

I try (often unsuccessfully) to resist being an armchair campaign manager. Things which are obvious in hindsight weren't necessarily obvious at the time. Still I do think John McCain's best strategy was to run as a responsible GOP Daddy. The country likes GOP Daddies!

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

More Thread

Because you talk too much.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Rock on.

Open Thread

Please feel free to talk about the greatest vetting of all time.

Or other crap.


Meridian Bank, Eldred, IL and Main Street Bank, Northville, MI.

(ht reader k)

Friday Evening Thread

I am watching my local team compete.

...breaking as I posted this:

WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the administration will move ahead with a plan to buy stock in financial institutions.

Paulson said Friday the program to purchase stock in financial institutions will be open to a broad array of institutions.


From Swampland commenter Flownover:

McCain to Scherer:

It rubs the barbecue sauce into its skin or it gets the hose again.


Another crazy day at the dog track. "Only" down 100+.

That's A Sports Analogy We Can Believe In, My Friends


Maybe we should start educating people to see politicians the way they see athletes. They certainly may have lots of opinions about what a team should do. But even the most egotistical drunk screaming obscenities from the stands doesn't truly believe that he's a better hitter than Manny Ramirez or that the team should hire a bunch of guys off the streets to play in the outfield. They have more respect for the game than that. It would be nice if citizenship required as much respect for the country.

I don't know what it would take to stamp out the dangerous notion of the simple "everyman" politician who has superior virtue and skills due to his/her lack of knowledge but awesome "gut instincts."

The Clinton Years


One thing that has been sort of written out of the mainstream history of politics is the sheer insanity of the attacks on the Clintons — they were drug smugglers, they murdered Vince Foster (and lots of other people), they were in league with foreign powers. And this stuff didn’t just show up in fringe publications — it was discussed in Congress, given props by the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, and so on.

As bad as our media can be these days, it doesn't come close to the sheer crazy that we had during the 90s.

Guess The Weekend Fun

Presumably Hank and pals will announce...something between now and Monday morning. What will it be?

Devil's In The Terms

We'll see.

As the financial crisis threatens to spiral out of control, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is prepared to take extraordinary steps through the extensive authority granted to him under emergency rescue legislation.

With the legislation’s main mechanism—an auction system to purchase bad mortgage-based securities—still weeks away from implementation, Paulson is now expediting plans to inject capital into banks, CNBC has learned.

According to senior government officials, the plan is to offer a term sheet, offering capital injections to all banks. An announcement won't happen for several days.

Heckuva job, Henry. You too, Chris.

Our Stupid Discourse

Sometimes the press covers stories in such a way that it's impossible to believe they're really this stupid. The evil ACORN is the latest example. Voter registration fraud is not voter fraud. In many states people who do voter registration are obligated to turn in forms even they're filled out by "Mickey Mouse." They're a conduit for the forms and don't have the right to determine which ones they turn in.


Taking a break from my "fascinated by the car wreck" pose, we should remember that while the fortunes of lots of people are largely divorced from the fluctuations of the stock market, there are plenty of not extremely wealthy people seeing their retirement funds get a 30% haircut. Not very awesome.

Your Modern Republican Party



As Dean Baker says, the fact that there are smart people who might know how to deal with the economic situation does not mean that said smart people will be in charge of doing so. I get the sense that elites think that there are enough Wise Technocrats in the right places. But, uh, where have they been?

And Connecticut

John McCain can now marry his BFF Charles Keating there. Maybe Joe Lieberman could officiate?

Breaking News 11:39 AM ET:
Connecticut State Supreme Court Overturns Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

On The Teevee

McCain is promising to cut taxes, cut spending, and spend hundreds of billions of dollars to buy up mortgages.

And a pony!

I Keep Hoping

Like Tim, I have this little fantasy that this will be the last Vietnam War election.

Two Worlds

It's interesting flipping back and forth between CNN and MSNBC during the day (I admit I lack the stomach for Fox these days). MSNBC spends a lot more time on politics, and is sort of an expression of the id of the Washington chattering class. CNN focuses a lot on other news - "exciting" local news when not much is going on - and aside from showing campaign events live, largely ignores the political conversation until later in the afternoon.

Local Wingnuts

A bit more transparent and a bit more stupid than the national ones.

That's a Shitty Shitpile

Chatter around the internets yesterday was that this stuff would go for less than 10 cents on the dollar Advantage internets!

NEW YORK, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Sellers of protection on bankrupt Lehman Brothers LEH.N (LEHMQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) are facing losses in the area of 91.25 percent of the insurance they sold, based on the initial results of an auction on Friday to determine the value of the credit default swaps.

Who Were The Suckers?

I wonder if we'll ever know the answer to that question. Some people losing their homes were victims of bad lending practices. Some people, however, saw their houses as ATMs. In some cases people might have been pulling out money to fund emergency expenditures, but given the apparent volume of mortgage equity extraction it's hard not to conclude that lots of people were just enjoying the extra funds. There's a weird psychology to all of this. I stand by my earlier take that people didn't really think they were taking out loans, but were instead essentially selling off a piece of their home to the bank. That's what "mortgage equity extraction" would really be.

Still the question remains if, on the whole, those who were more prudent will come out ahead or if those who are defaulting on their home equity loans ultimately made the right decisions.

"Bush Speaks In Minutes"

Dow only down 200 now. Just wait!

Dow Down 660

Nothing I've written here has been meant to be taken as investment advice. Whatever my take on the economy in general, I really don't know anything about investing. I've never owned an individual stock. Still, whatever the problems with the economy I imagine a lot of this decline is forced selling due to on panicky people pulling money out of their retirement funds. That isn't to say the panic isn't necessarily warranted!

...only another 130 points or so for the curbs! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

But Who Will Annex Us?

The Canadian solution might work well for Iceland, but what about us?

Good morning, campers!

Uh huh.

Not Atrios

More thread

To tide you over until the sun rises.

Friday Cat Blogging


Rock on.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Getting even more fun!!
Gordon Brown has told the Icelandic prime minister that he is considering legal action against the country over the collapse of its national banks. The prime minister said tonight that Iceland's decision not to recompense those with savings in the bank was "completely unacceptable" and the British government would do "whatever is necessary to recover the money". "I've spoken to the Icelandic prime minister, I have told him this is effectively an illegal action that they have taken. We are freezing the assets of Icelandic companies in the UK where we can. We will take further action against the Icelandic authorities where necessary to recover the money.


Apparently my local team has won their professional sports competition.

She's 27?

I'm so old I can remember when Britney Spears was young.


Krugman has a good take on the state of affairs, I think. It isn't 100% clear why Paulson and pals have insisted on misdiagnosing the problem, though I do have a theory. The "it's a liquidity problem" take is a way of saying that the system is awesome, but there's been a very brief and irrational crisis of confidence which has caused things to freeze. In this version, all of Paulson's pals aren't to blame, they're just victims of a silly moment.

What's going on here has led to liquidity problems, but not simply because people are a bit nervous. There are liquidity issues because the money is ALL GONE NOW.


Bad day in Asia...

Fresh Thread

I believe my local team has another professional sports competition this evening.

Evening Thread


Oh Boy

The preznit is going to get on the teevee tomorrow morning and make it all better.


Who Knew?

It seems John McCain gay married a dude long before it was fashionable.


Another exciting day at the dog track.


Due to politics and balanced budget and other state constitution provisions, states tend to be very pro-cyclical in their spending. Times are good, they're flush, they spend. Times are bad, they're poor, they cut. Virginia is cutting.

Sensible people understand that in the US, the federal government therefore has an important role in transferring cash to the states in down times so as not to aggravate recessions. Extending unemployment benefits and adding more money for food stamps would be a nice start, then we can move onto SUPERTRAINS and whatnot.

Deep Thought

Maybe it's time for the 4th bailout package to pass?

Modern PR

Email I just received:

Earlier today, AIG announced an important policy change - one that we wanted to be sure you knew about.

A short time ago, our Chairman and CEO Ed Liddy said that he has ordered the immediate cancellation of all outside meetings, conferences, and recognition events across AIG, except those that are required by law or that are deemed absolutely critical to sustain our ongoing business needs.

Given AIG's commitment to our customers, business partners, regulators, and American taxpayers, coupled with the new and very different challenges our company now faces, we take these responsibilities extremely seriously. Their trust is critical to our success. We recognize the need to be sensitive about all company expenditures.

As we move forward, we will continue our focus our efforts to pay back the $85 billion loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as quickly as possible.

We appreciate your blog's efforts to share this information with your readers.


AIG Blog Relations

Turning Girls Into Sluts

I do hope one day a bigger chunk of this country's population can be comfortable with the simple idea that there's nothing wrong with teenagers - even teenage girls! - having healthy and safe sex lives if they're so inclined. I think we've actually gotten more hysterical about the whole thing since I was a kid, and I grew up in the "if you have sex you will die" era.

They Just Keep Lying

There's not enough liquor in the universe to get me through a McCain/Palin administration.

Facts Are Very Stupid Things

And First Read hates them.

Deep Thought

I wonder if Joe Klein will address the latest revelations about the extent of Bush's warrantless wiretapping.

Make It Stop

Wingnuts who usually spend their time looking for photoshopped pictures in the news are now upset that Newsweek didn't retouch Sarah Palin's cover picture.

27 days to go...

How Sarah Palin Won The Election

They should publish it, and Fox News should just provide a complete alternate reality for its viewers, one in which McCain is president, Obama has been arrested and sent to Gitmo for terrorist activites, Joe Wilson gets indicted, American Carol made a GAZILLION dollars at the box office, etc.

Papa Cox

Explains McCain's fake health care plan.


Others have made this point in various ways, but it should be understood that the biggest uncertainty in the stock market and financial system generally right now stems from the fact that no one has any idea just what the fuck Paulson is going to do.

Oh Noes!

This LA Times article about "flaws in [campaign finance] law" is pretty absurd. The flaw seems to be that lots of people are giving Obama small donations and information about donors giving sub-$200 donations doesn't need to be disclosed. Apparently this is a tremendous problem because nobody could have predicted that someone would ever raise lots of money in such a fashion... and... uh... I don't know. The article also paints small money donors as lacking agency, silly stupid people who impulsively give money.

The rest of the article is basically the RNC press release about how Obama, like every other candidate, has gotten some improper donations which they didn't spot. Oh noes! The Republic might fall!

Coming to Philly

Like Mithras, I didn't really expect Obama to do any big events before the election. We were wrong.

...somewhat related, why the hell is Sarah Palin spending half the campaign in South Philly.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

478K new lucky duckies. Still high.

"The Italians Are Doing It Right"

Free market fairy fan Larry Kudlow is very pleased that the Italian government is planning on buying preferred stock shares of banks with no voting rights and no strings attached.

Bush America

Silly people like me don't want them listening to "terrorists."

Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia.

"These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones," said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA's Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.

Kinne described the contents of the calls as "personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism."

Wanker of the Day

Dean Reynolds.

Early Morning Thread

Rich Lowry action shot!



Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Beers With Senators

I had a beer in bar where Al Franken was present, though I don't remember if he had a beer. Senate candidate Bob Casey was in a bar in my presence while I was having a beer, though I don't remember if he had one.

I think there's only one member of Congress that I've really "had a beer with" in the sense of it not being in any way a campaign type event. I'll protect his reputation and not tell you who it was.

Dance My Monkeys, Dance!

Did I just call for a reckoning? It's a start, I guess. It isn't just Greenspan, however, it was the Greenspan worship in the press.


Joking aside, as I wrote earlier the noises made by Paulson earlier and somewhat fleshed out in that NYT article sound like an improvement over their previous perspective on things. Details and execution matters and I don't know enough to approve or disapprove of the particulars, but at least the concept is better.

Still it'd be nice to see a bit of a reckoning in our mainstream media, which even more than the most right wing academic economists have over the past couple of decades embraced the Magic Free Market Fairy as the answer to all things.

The Washington Consensus: wrong about everything, all the time.

Nationalizing the Means of Production


WASHINGTON — Having tried without success to unlock frozen credit markets, the Treasury Department is considering taking ownership stakes in many United States banks to try to restore confidence in the financial system, according to government officials.

Treasury officials say the just-passed $700 billion bailout bill gives them the authority to inject cash directly into banks that request it. Such a move would quickly strengthen banks’ balance sheets and, officials hope, persuade them to resume lending. In return, the law gives the Treasury the right to take ownership positions in banks, including healthy ones.

The Treasury plan, still preliminary, resembles one announced on Wednesday in Britain. Under that plan, the British government would offer banks like the Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC Holdings up to $87 billion to shore up their capital in exchange for preference shares. It also would provide a guarantee of about $430 billion to help banks refinance debt.

Only Nixon could go to China. Only Bush can finally bring the Marxist Revolution home!

Evening Thread

I got nothin'.



It’s a national phenomenon, but the numbers are especially striking in Manhattan. In the epicenter of the financial meltdown, vacancy rates have spiked to two-year highs.

Those rates are now 43 percent higher than a year ago, according to new figures from the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. Their survey found 18.4 million square feet of empty class-A office space in Manhattan in the third quarter of the year, compared with just under 14 million vacant square feet in the third quarter of 2007. Real-estate brokers have said that those numbers could edge up even further as the demise of Lehman Brothers and the acquisition of Merrill Lynch shake out.


A nationwide survey by Reis, a real estate data service, found that about 13.6 percent of all office space was vacant in the third quarter, the most since 2006. An analysis of the numbers by Sam Chandan, Reis’s chief economist, declared that “the upward trend in the national vacancy rate will continue.”

Early Evening Thread

This felt like a long day for some reason.


For rather obvious reasons I don't trust the Bush administration to do anything right, but Paulson was apparently making slightly better noises today.

Perhaps Not A Good Idea

While I imagine the political slant of hockey fans is, on average, a bit more Republican than the city itself... fans boo anybody here.

Philadelphia, PA – October 8, 2008) Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the nation’s most popular hockey mom, will join the winner of the Philadelphia Flyers regional search for the “Ultimate Hockey Mom” contest and drop the puck at the ceremonial opening face-off as the home team Flyers host the New York Rangers at the Wachovia Center on Saturday, October 11 at 7 p.m.

(ht reader g)

Under Water

And here's the problem.

The relentless slide in home prices has left nearly one in six U.S. homeowners owing more on a mortgage than the home is worth, raising the possibility of a rise in defaults -- the very misfortune that touched off the credit crisis last year.

The result of homeowners being "under water" is more pressure on an economy that is already in a downturn. No longer having equity in their homes makes people feel less rich and thus less inclined to shop at the mall.

This situation is being compounded by credit issues and the negative neighborhood effects of foreclosures, but it's also a problem because not enough people make enough money to reasonably afford houses at the levels we saw at the peak of the boom. It's possible improving credit conditions and moving more people into sensible mortgage terms (30 year fixed at not insane rate) will improve this situation somewhat, but only back to pre-bubble levels/trends.

My Fellow Prisoners


Department of Really Bad Ideas

More free money for irresponsible rich people.


Poll Porn

Obama up 11 in Gallup tracking.

South Street Bridge Actually Closing For Real

This is of no interest to anyone except local people, but it appears that the "any day now" closure/reconstruction of the South Street Bridge is finally going to happen in early December.


As Stoller suggests, undecided voters are a uniquely weird breed distinct from voters who simply might change their mind at some point. Polls change and the people who switch from one candidate to another aren't undecided, they're just people who have changed their choice for whatever reason. People who wear their undecidedness on their sleeves at this late stage in the campaign are weird, as is the focus on them. These aren't the people that should be ruling our political discourse.

Grandma Should Be Poor And Without Medical Care

Though I've watched for years, I admit I've never fully understood the elite contempt for and deliberate ignorance about Social Security.

The Secret Plan To Get Bin Laden

This is something McCain has been repeating for months. He says lots of stupid things, lies, contradicts himself, etc... but this is the one which makes me really question whether his basic narcissism is in clinical territory.


Let's face it, just about anyone who is an undecided voter at this point is... well, not especially bright. Some are genuinely stupid, and some may be smart people who just don't think paying attention to current events is a valuable use of their time. Obviously from the perspective of predicting election outcomes it's useful to know what these people are thinking. However, it's not clear why handing a debate over to 80 of them and letting them write the questions (chosen by Brokaw, of course) is supposed to enlighten the rest of us.

Ignorant, Too!

Erick "Son of Erick" Erickson is a very stupid person. He's made that clear many times. Still I've never been quite sure how ignorant he was. Now we know.

Dance, Monkeys, Dance!

Central banks around the world cut rates.

Yeah, that'll help.

Morning Thread

The overseas markets are tanking, tanking! Maybe we can pool what is left of our 401Ks and buy Iceland?

Yes, even Iceland, that last non-troubled "I" country on earth?

In these troubled times, we need news headlines we can believe in, my friends. And in that spirit I give to you, the following:

"Boyfriend of woman stuck to toilet wins lottery for 2nd time"

(note, last item links to video)


Rock on.

Late Night

Rock on.

...Howard Fineman: "A towel-snapping moment." What's with these people?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008





CBS Denver

Won't Shake


Yes it's stupid. I'll add as I find.


More Debate

Free tea for the tillerman!


My friends, it's almost over.

Debate 5

I saw tears when McCain said there wouldn't be another cold war.

7 years later, he has a secret plan to get bin Laden!

Cranky mad! HULK SMASH!!!

Only 17 minutes to go.

Debate 4

Barack Obama is noisy!


I am convinced that I awesome!

Delaware? shhh..

It. Should. Be. A Right.

Debate Blogging 3

"Gold-plated Cadillac Policies!"

"We need to do the things that are necessary!"

"That one!"


Or sumthin like that!

Thank you [whatever your name is]!

A commission! Yes! They solve every problem!

Bring out the crazy laugh!

Bring out the crazy smile!

My friends!

Finally! A jello reference!

Debate Blogging 2

We're all drunk!

Get outta mah face cranky old guy!

On CNN, Castellanos has awarded Obama 8000 points.

Debate Blogging

My friend!

It's a rescue not a bailout!

I think I liked real Tom Brokaw better.

I wonder if I'll like animatronic Tom Brokaw better than real Tom Brokaw.

Until I get bored. New stuff at the top.

Deep Thought

I didn't realize only 15 people lived in this town.

Deep Thought

Howard Fineman just told me that Sarah Palin is willing to "touch" the dark part of the American psyche. That's hot.

Wanker of the Day

David Gregory.

Poll Porn

Obama up 7 nationally.

Pre-Debate Thread

Time to choose your liquor for the evening.

Viva Capitalism!


The UK government is poised to announce details of a £50bn rescue package for the banking system, the BBC's business editor has learned.

It will include a proposal to use taxpayers' money to invest in banks - in effect part nationalising them.


For some reason we're not getting quite the same panic about the stock market that we did in during the Bailout Sales Pitch period from the media.

Where's Ali Velshi telling me Congress must do something now because retirees are losing their money!!!

Afternoon Thread

It seems I'll actually watch the debate this evening, and then provide you with the approved liberal talking points on the matter as soon as I get them.


Good thing the preznit spent some time on the teevee reassuring the markets today.

Maybe can try some aromatherapy tomorrow.

But Which Lawn?

There are so many to choose from.

Rape Kits

Still a true story.

Freaky Volatility

As Bush has been talking I've seen the Dow bounce between -220 and -360 and back again. Weird.

Why Is Bush On My Teevee?

Nobody likes you. Go away.


While it's hard not to get sucked into following the national/tracking polls, the real good news in recent weeks is that Obama has apparently pulled ahead in places which for awhile seemed strangely close, places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. Kerry states plus a couple more...

Poll Porn

Obama up 15 in Pennsylvania.

Where We Are

I suppose this is good news, but it's also a reminder of the country George W. Bush has given us. From a press release from the Center for Constitutional rights.

Today, for the first time, a federal court ordered the release into the United States of 17 innocent Uighur men who have been imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay for nearly seven years. The men are refugees who would face persecution and imprisonment, if not death, if returned to their native China.


The 17 men currently imprisoned at Guantanamo left China amid increasing political oppression and found their way to Afghanistan, where they lived in small Uighur communities. In late 2001, they were forced to flee the aerial bombardment of the surrounding areas. Eventually, they made their way to Pakistan in the belief that they would be safer there. After crossing into Pakistan, the Uighurs were welcomed and fed by Pakistani villagers who then turned them over for generous bounties offered by the United States.

Last week, after years of litigation, the U.S. government finally conceded that none of these men would be treated as “enemy combatants.” All were cleared for release long ago. However, because of the stigma of their detention at Guantánamo and for fear of offending China, no other country had agreed to offer these men safe haven. Despite this failure to find a third country to take them, the government argued that the court could not release them into the U.S. and, therefore, that the men would have to stay at Guantanamo indefinitely.

Nobel Prize Time

The fact that I had no idea that it was Nobel season suggests that a lot of stuff is going on these days.

I understand this blog has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine. Crossing fingers!


Broder's boy hits new low in Gallup poll.

Viva Capitalism!

Once they start doing this it's hard to know how they'll stop.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Reserve announced Tuesday a radical plan to buy massive amounts of short-term debts in a dramatic effort to break through a credit clog that is imperiling the economy.

The Federal Reserve, invoking Depression-era power under ''unusual and exigent circumstances,'' will buy ''commercial paper,'' a short-term financing mechanism that many companies rely on to finance their day-to-day operations, such as purchasing supplies or making payrolls.

I understand that we've gotten accustomed to world, and adopted practices accordingly, in which free and easy access to cheap credit by everyone all the time is the "norm," but I'm not really sure it needs to be that way.

They Lost The Kids

I'm a member (at the younger end) of the most Republican generational cohort. I think there's probably a pretty interesting story to be told about how Republicans have lost the younger vote so badly. I've got a few theories I'll ponder for a bit. Obviously the fact that everybody hates George Bush is part of it. But party identification aside, this is also about issues. I think at some point the wingnuts stopped having a conversation with the country and started having a conversation amongst themselves. It makes sense to them, but is gibberish to to the rest of us.

Tower In A Parking Lot

I'm just puzzled by the idea that anyone with a reasonable amount of money would want to live in such a place.

Deep Thought

Why do people talk about "the market" as if it's an hysterical irrational child, forever in need of "calming"?

Morning Thread

McCain/Palin taking off the gloves hoods:

Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."



Monday, October 06, 2008

"Hockey Moms Across The Nation"

Just saw a clip of that line from the debate on The Daily Show.

I know others have made this point, but hockey isn't stick ball. It's a sport which requires heavy parental investment of time and money.

Silly Josh Marshall

It's that "angry left" I've been hearing about for years that's a problem, not fine upstanding conservative citizens.

Monday Night


Lies and the Lying Liars

Gordon Smith edition.

Sen. Gordon Smith’s (R-Ore.) campaign said Monday that he incorrectly claimed to have visited every county in the state once a year as a senator.

The Democratic Party of Oregon called Smith on the claim Monday, and Smith’s campaign admitted the senator’s mistake soon after. Smith is being challenged by state House Speaker Jeff Merkley (D) in one of the top races in the country.

Smith said at a press conference last week: “Mr. Merkley is challenging me to go to all of Oregon’s counties once a year. Well, I do that.”

Deep Thought

Is Chuck Todd NTodd's evil twin, or vice versa?


Since she's on my teevee all the time these days I thought it'd be fun to link back to this weird footage of Nooners canvassing for Bush in Florida in 2000 2004. Click the link and then click the "Ground War" video.

Man That Sucked

Was hunting for something and came across this page.

Poll Porn

Obama up 53-45 in latest CNN poll.

Poll Porn

Obama up by 6 in North Carolina.

Frustrated Tirade

Obama campaign on McNasty:

"On a day when the markets are plunging and the credit crisis is putting millions of jobs at risk, the one truly angry candidate in this race kept up his strategy of 'turning the page' on the economy by unleashing another frustrated tirade against Barack Obama. And if John McCain is wondering why he's lost his credibility, he should look no further than the out-of-context quote he took from a 2007 speech in which Barack Obama warned of the subprime crisis we're now facing. Since then, John McCain has called for less regulation no fewer than 20 times, proving that he hasn't learned any lessons from the last banking scandal he was involved in and would give us more of the same failed economic policies as President," said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.

They Lost A Lot Of Money

Spending the day watching CNBC, it's really quite stunning that they're unable to grapple with the real problem underlying all of this instead of the consequences of that problem. There's been a tremendous evaporation of housing wealth as a consequence of the bursting of the housing bubble. Lots of banks made bad loans and that money isn't coming back. Dealing with home foreclosures is time consuming and expensive and a lot of houses are underwater. Other people lost money insuring mortgages. Still more people lost money buying up those mortgages. Still more people lost money lending to people to buy up more mortgages. Even more people lost money insuring those loans. Etc.

All of this babble about liquidity and short selling and blah blah blah just obfuscates all of this. A big reason that there is a liquidity problem is that... people lost a lot of money. All gone!

Dow Politics

If we remember way back to about 2-3 weeks ago, Hank Paulson was promising that there would be NO MORE BAILOUTS. Then, suddenly, we needed a giant BAILOUT RIGHT NOW. The media typically responded by using the Dow as a proxy for the economy/magnitude of the crisis in order to help hype the necessity of a massive bailout. And since the bailout passed, the Dow has tanked.

Poll Porn

Obama up big in Virginia.


CNBC guy:

The 700 billion isn't going to be enough.

Deep Thought

Too early for 3rd bailout?

Health Care

I'm sure most of my readers understand that McCain's "plan" for health care is pretty much The Worst Fucking Idea Since Invading Iraq, but just in case you aren't convinced here's Krugman.

It's Yurp's Fault

Gelling narrative on CNBC seems to be that Europe, unlike the US, has failed to "solve the problem" in a comprehensive fashion.

Clogged Tubes

My email is jammed today. FYI.


Since the point isn't made clearly often very often, the point of congestion pricing is that congestion is an unpriced negative externality. It isn't simply that roads shouldn't be free, it's that traffic volumes, especially at peak hours, are greater than what they would be at a social optimum. The point is that when you get on a highway or enter a crowded city at peak traffic times, you're slowing down traffic just a little bit for everyone else on the road at that time. Because people don't take that extra social cost into account when they get on the road, there are "too many" drivers on the road. Congestion pricing is a way of converting wasted "waiting in traffic time" into money which could be spent on SUPERTRAINS or whatever, along with reducing the excess traffic by aligning private/social costs of driving more closely.

The Grammster

Harold Meyerson:

Gramm was always Wall Street's man in the Senate. As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee during the Clinton administration, he consistently underfunded the Securities and Exchange Commission and kept it from stopping accounting firms from auditing corporations with which they had conflicts of interest. Gramm's piece de resistance came on Dec. 15, 2000, when he slipped into an omnibus spending bill a provision called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA), which prohibited any governmental regulation of credit default swaps, those insurance policies covering losses on securities in the event they went belly up. As the housing bubble ballooned, the face value of those swaps rose to a tidy $62 trillion. And as the housing bubble burst, those swaps became a massive pile of worthless paper, because no government agency had required the banks to set aside money to back them up.

The CFMA also prohibited government regulation of the energy-trading market, which enabled Enron to nearly bankrupt the state of California before bankrupting itself.

The problem with this exercise, of course, is that Gramm's relationship to McCain is not comparable to the relationships that Ayers or Wright have with Obama. The idea that either Ayers or Wright would have any impact on the workings of an Obama administration is nonsensical. But Gramm and McCain do have an enduring political and economic alliance. McCain chaired Gramm's short-lived presidential campaign in 1996; Gramm is co-chair of McCain's current effort. McCain has not repudiated reports that Gramm is on the shortlist to become Treasury secretary if McCain is elected, even after Gramm labeled America "a nation of whiners."

Deep Thought

I guess it's time for another bailout.


Monday's here!

LONDON (AP) -- Asian and European stock markets plunged Monday as government bank bailouts in the U.S. and Europe failed to alleviate fears that the global financial crisis would depress world economic growth.

Investors took scant comfort from Washington's passage of a US$700 billion plan to buy bad assets from banks and other institutions to shore up the financial industry on Friday because of the uncertainty still hanging over the details of the deal and the degree to which it will help.

Morning Thread

My newspapers are full of crises. Some restoration of confidence. 


Crazy month coming.

Obama Dogs

Funny (top pic)

Our Neighbors

So absurd.

SAN FRANCISCO - Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin called Afghanistan “our neighboring country” on Sunday in a speech that could revive questions over her tendency to stumble into linguistic knots.rtx95kp.jpg

Three days after a mostly gaffe-free debate performance, the Alaska governor fumbled during a speech in which she praised U.S. soldiers for “fighting terrorism and protecting us and our democratic values”.

“They are also building schools for the Afghan children so that there is hope and opportunity in our neighboring country of Afghanistan,” she told several hundred supporters at a fundraising event in San Francisco.

In her defense, she probably was including our 51st state, Iraq, as part of our country. In reality's defense, that would still make her wrong.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Tom Brokaw agreed this was ancient history that happened when John McCain was in his 50s.

MR. YEPSEN: This is where the primary has been useful to Barack Obama. We’ve heard about William Ayers. We heard about it from the Clinton people, and we heard about it as part of the rough and tumble there. So it’s kind of an old story to a lot of people. And two can play this game. And this is where I agree with Peggy. This could go on a real bad turn here because we may be starting to hear about Charles Keating. I mean, if we want to talk about...

MS. NOONAN: Oh, of course we are. Of course.

MR. YEPSEN: ...Barack Obama’s negatives, John McCain has some, too. We can start hearing about those. He’s...

MR. BROKAW: John—we have to keep explaining to everyone—that Charles Keating was the Arizona developer with whom John McCain had an, a, a strong relationship, and then he got in a lot of trouble. He was prosecuted by the Feds, and John McCain said, “I made a terrible mistake here.” Yeah.

MR. YEPSEN: And it’s all ancient history, Tom.



And another exciting week begins.

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks fell for a third day, led by financial companies, after the global credit crisis deepened in Europe and the U.S. lost the most jobs in five years.

Even Later Thread

Late Night Thread


Ed Cone explains.

Evening Thread

Another exciting week begins tomorrow.


All not well there, either.

Afternoon Thread

Apparently my local team has just won another professional sports competition.


Just in case you're a Pennsylvanian who has neglected to register to vote, tomorrow is your last day.

Wasn't all that long ago I realized I needed to re-register because I'd moved.


I admit to not really paying attention to this Senate race except to watch the increasing number of polls showing doom for Dole. Politico has a McCain person predicting that she'll lose.

A top official in the McCain camp told us Sen. Elizabeth Dole is virtually certain to lose in conservative North Carolina.

Anyone know how Kay Hagan is apparently pulling this off?

Boffo Box Office For An American Carol

With 1639 screens and a decent amount of marketing (at least in my market), conservatives can't whine that their hilarious vision was censored by the evil liberals in Hollywood.

Life Among The Econ

My experience with economists (as a group) is that they tend to be Democrats who sympathize with Republican rhetoric on economic issues but know that they're full of shit about everything.


...can watch show here.

Poll Porn

Because Minnesota has been a cause of worry.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has opened up a commanding lead in Minnesota over Republican John McCain, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. The poll, conducted last week among 1,084 likely voters, found that 55 percent support Obama, while 37 percent back McCain.

The survey, conducted Tuesday through Thursday by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among 1,084 likely Minnesota voters, shows Franken leading Coleman 43 to 34 percent. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley is supported by 18 percent of respondents.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

•ABC’s “This Week,” 9:30 a.m. on Channel 9, 9 a.m. on Channel 49 — Guests: Gov. Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania Democrat; Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Republican; Sen. Mel Martinez, Florida Republican; Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat.

•CBS’ “Face the Nation,” 1 a.m. Monday on Channel 5, 9:30 a.m. today on Channel 13 — Guests: Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Michigan Democrat; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat; Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican; Rep. Heather Wilson, New Mexico Republican.

•NBC’s “Meet the Press,” 9 a.m. on Channel 41, 8 a.m. on Channel 27 — Guests: Gwen Ifill, PBS journalist and moderator of the vice presidential debate.

•CNN’s “Late Edition,” 10 a.m. — Guests: Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Democrat; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican; Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, author of a new book on Vice President Dick Cheney; Nancy Pfotenhauer, adviser to John McCain; Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York.

•“Fox News Sunday,” 9 a.m. on Channels 4 and 43 — Guests: Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent; Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat; Brooks Jackson, director of, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Good morning!

I rather liked this ad Al Franken is running. And maybe it's working.

Addendum: Musical interlude.

Update: Oh, wait, this ad is even better.

Not Atrios


Sometimes I got stuff to do.