Saturday, October 18, 2008

Midnight Thread

How 'bout them Red Sox?

Evening Thread


Convene A Meeting

We're saved!

CAMP DAVID, Maryland (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush said on Saturday he would soon host a summit of world leaders to look at strategies to combat the global financial crisis.

Deep Thought

You'd think c-list celebrity status would provide at least a few extra World Series tickets.

Afternoon Thread


...not bad for one day. If the "netroots" broadly could do that half a dozen times every election cycle that'd a real boost. Surprise money like that is hard to generate, except for parachute drops from the DCCC.

The Real Virginia

It's long been somewhat frustrating that while we all know that liberals are supposed hate America, it's actually Republicans who hate Americans. Lots of them. Anyone not of their tribe gets chucked out of the country.

That's A Crowd

Wow indeed.


This election over yet?

Bad Press

I agree with Glenn that the New York Times story about the McCains really is pretty bad. There are two ways to think about something like this, whether it fits in with the press's usual standards for these things and what those standards should be. As Glenn says, given the treatment of the Clintons by the NYT it apparently does fit within the standards they've set for themselves, but those standards have gotten pretty low.

One thing will be probably be different for this story probably Unlike such stories about the Clintons, this one won't drive cable news coverage for a week. More than that it'll probably be largely condemned and used to accuse the NYT of that evil librul bias.


I don't know how much chance her opponent has, though at least one poll suggests it could be it a close race, but contributing to Elwyn Tinklenberg will probably feel good at least.

Saturday Thread

Light blogging today because, you know, sometimes I want to enjoy the weekend.

Collateral Damage

L.A.'s transit authority getting buried by big shitpile.

The next potential victims of the nation's credit crunch: nearly 1.5 million people who ride buses and trains each weekday in Los Angeles County. Transit officials say riders could soon be facing serious service cuts.

That's because the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority might have to quickly come up with hundreds of millions of dollars to pay investors under terms of deals it made involving American International Group, the troubled financial and insurance giant.

Cuba Has Oil

We'd better invade them before they attack Israel.

Deep Thought

Please stop making me listen to the inane ramblings of undecided voters.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Dawn Threader

Good morning campers.

Friday, October 17, 2008


An important election-related film from Robert Greenwald.

Late Night

Rock on.

No on 8

California's proposition system is awful overall, but Prop 8 this year -- the anti-gay one -- is pure bigotry. No on 8.

By request in the thread:

Evening Thread

by Molly I.

Chat away, you fine liberal foxes.

Deep Thought

It's kind of creepy when I read Andrew Sullivan's blog and it sort of reminds me of my blog.

5 Years

Was a bit surprised this story never really went national. Had all the makings.

Jocelyn S. Kirsch, the former Drexel University student who pleaded guilty to engaging in a bold identity-fraud scam, was sentenced this morning to five years in prison.

"This sentence properly punishes the defendant, provides full restitution and protects the public," said U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno at the close of a two-hour hearing this morning.

The judge said the crimes were serious.

Afternoon Thread


Is This Election Over Yet?


WASHINGTON — An ACORN community organizer received a death threat and the liberal activist group's Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized Thursday, reflecting mounting tensions over its role in registering 1.3 million mostly poor and minority Americans to vote next month.

Build Stuff

As Krugman says, now would be an excellent time to throw some money at public infrastructure. I know Congress is just waiting for this stupid election to be over before they do something, but hopefully they do something smart and do it quickly.

Making National News

While Malkin obviously has a rather inconsistent record on these issues, I actually agree that the media has gone nuts on our friend Joe in ways they shouldn't. It seems as if the guy likes the attention, so maybe it isn't a big deal in this case, but I really don't think the fact that someone talks to a political candidate and then gets mentioned by another political candidate in a debate is license to make every detail of this guy's life national news.

Facts Are Stupid Things

And the New York Times hates them.

Sensible Supremos

Nice to see it.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is siding with Ohio's top elections official in a dispute with the state Republican Party over voter registrations.

The justices on Friday overruled a federal appeals court that had ordered Ohio's top elections official to do more to help counties verify voter eligibility.

Deep Thought

I wonder if Joe Biden is still alive.

Blue PA

A lot of Democrats in this state now, though I really want to flag this sentence for a hint of what's to come.

In Philadelphia, the number of registrants, 1.1 million, actually exceeds the census count of the eligible population. The city has identified 58,000 "duplicate" registrations, and the actual number of eligible voters on the rolls is probably closer to a million, said the election board's Bob Lee.

They trotted this one out in '04, too. Since the media (not this article, really, but generally) has decided that playing stupid on these issues is the right way to go, let me offer a wee rebuttal of the inevitable. When people move, most do not bother to contact their local elections board and ask to be removed from the voter rolls. When people die, most do not bother to contact their local elections board and ask to be removed from the voter rolls. Philadelphia has about 10 trillion polling places, and if you move 50 feet in this city you likely end up having to renew your voter registration. Philadelphia also has a lot of old people who sadly occasionally die.

Even The Liberal

There really was never any doubt about who Fred Hiatt's gang would endorse. The best way to push your center-right agenda is to pretend it's actually a center-left agenda. That's been the racket for as long as I can remember.

Starts Stopped

This isn't especially surprising, and my bet is we're a 2-3 months away from a complete meltdown in the commercial real estate construction sector.


I can understand how it might be a nice breath of fresh air, a novelty in fact. Given that she lives with a long time member of the Alaskan Independence Party, discovering that there are parts of the country that are actually "Pro-America" might actually be kind of enjoyable.

Morning Thread

One day I'll master that high tech gadget, the "alarm clock."

The Big Payoff

by Molly Ivors

Hey, remember the good old days of the US Attorneys scandal? Well, the payoff is apparently in the mail.
"I'm astounded that this issue is being trotted out again," Iglesias told TPMmuckraker. "Based on what I saw in 2004 and 2006, it's a scare tactic." In 2006, [David] Iglesias was fired as U.S. attorney thanks partly to his reluctance to pursue voter-fraud cases as aggressively as DOJ wanted -- one of several U.S. attorneys fired for inappropriate political reasons, according to a recently released report by DOJ's Office of the Inspector General.

Iglesias, who has been the most outspoken of the fired U.S. attorneys, went on to say that the FBI's investigation seemed designed to inappropriately create a "boogeyman" out of voter fraud.

Bastards. But you knew that.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

War Is Awesome


IT BURNS ME!!!!!!!

The Extreme Position

John McCain last night:

That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, "health."

Complete with air quotes.


On Liddy:

Letterman questioned him about Palin's claim that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama "palled around with terrorists," and McCain backed her up, saying his opponent need to better explain his relationship with former Weather Underground activist William Ayers.

"Did you not have a relationship with Gordon Liddy?" Letterman asked about Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy.

McCain said he knew him. Then, after a commercial break, McCain said, "I know Gordon Liddy. He paid his debt, he went to prison ... I'm not in any was embarrassed to know Gordon Liddy."


Debate schedule for 2012 just announced -- first one this December 3.

Evening Thread


Thanks Rahm

Nobody could've predicted a rich Republican asshole would behave like one.

Three years ago the schoolteacher and passionate anti-war activist from Palm Beach County was all set to run for Congress against then-U.S. Rep. Mark Foley. The 54-year-old husband and father opened up a campaign account, started stumping in the 16th Congressional District and thought he had won the blessing of national Democrats.

But then, almost overnight, Lutrin said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began pressuring him to get out of the race and told him it was no longer backing him. Instead it was putting resources, including a check from then-DCCC chairman Rahm Emanuel, behind a political newcomer: Tim Mahoney, a multimillionaire venture capitalist and former Republican, who was mostly unknown within state Democratic circles.

That decision may come back to haunt Democrats.

Facts Are Very Stupid Things

Which is why CNN does their best to hide them.

CNN's Going To Need A New Lunatic

Drudge tells me Fox is taking Glenn Beck off their hands.

There are a number of people in my city who like to stand on streetcorners and shout crazy shit to pedestrians walking by. I'm sure many of them would be happy to take the job for much less than what CNN was paying him.

Nasty and Long

The shrill one predicts a long and nasty recession.

Plumber's Crack

I don't care anything at all about Joe the Plumber. I care about our stupid media who have elevated this registered Republican to represent the everyman undecided voter, even though he isn't even an undecided voter.

It's all so stupid.


While Tony Perkins is apparently on the speed dial, I doubt it occurred to Massimo Calabresi to get a quote from someone who isn't especially troubled by the lack of God talk at the debates.

About Time

Some signs the the recording industry is finally accepting the fact that their business model has changed and they should start figuring out how to give their customers what they want


There's a weird lack of presence of former GOP competitors Mittens, where are you? Fred? Rudy?

Our Stupid Discourse

John McCain at rally:

The real winner last night was Joe the Plumber.

I'm Sorry Your Life Sucks

As always, I get surprised that people get so angry by posts which say nothing more than "these are smart policies which make good urban living better." I don't care if you live in a city. I don't care if you live in my neighborhood. I don't care if you think that raising your children in a suburb is better for you. My liking my choice of location says nothing more than I have expressed my location preferences by choosing to live here. I'm sorry that makes you mad. I'm not mad at you for liking where you live.

We've spent a lot of public money over the years encouraging one kind of development. We've also done a lot of dumb things which have tried to convert urban areas into a kind of horrible suburbs-lite, such as requiring massive amounts of parking for any new development. I'm not trying to take away your suburban existence, or chastising you for choosing it. I just want existing options to be better and for a greater range of them to be available and affordable to more people.

But More Importantly

Having said that, there is a lot that places like DC can do to improve things - exploit and encourage the beneficial aspects of density - without scrapping the height limit. I'm always struck at how big chunks of DC look quite a lot like LA. It isn't the height limit, it's the fact that so much development in pretty dense areas privileges and is centered around automobile travel. You get parking lots where there shouldn't be parking lots, making areas less walkable and appealing.


Ezra's right that the DC height limit is stupid. But that doesn't mean that the only alternative is "build as high as you want anywhere you want." People rightly don't necessarily want 35 stories going up next to them for a variety of reasons. But pockets and corridors of taller buildings/higher density would make a lot of sense.

...adding, since I'm on this topic (and you can't make me stop!), one little goal here is to convince people that there are some potential benefits of higher density. People wouldn't live in cities otherwise. Density has its downsides, but it's also what allows nice walkable neighborhoods with retail and restaurants and bars and supermarkets. High residential density can support a local economy. My "yard" is a small concrete block, but I'm 10 minute walk from 2 major chain supermarkets, several nice restaurants, an outdoor market area, a Vietnamese supermarket, multiple bars, a few coffee shops, etc.

Not The Answer I Wanted

John King last night:

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Those numbers are wide apart, I'm a bit skeptical because of the Democratic slant in the percentage, more Democrats watching the debate. The numbers, significant number of Republicans, and so McCain's numbers are low.

I'm probably the wrong guy to ask this question because I'm very skeptical of these polls taken in the immediate moments after. There's people are watching the debate and your phone rings right after the debate. I'm just very skeptical of these.

I do think heading on to this debate McCain had a much bigger challenge, which is try to take command of the economic argument, which he is losing.

What I would have liked to have seen tonight and I would love to see over the next few day is, what do Independents think? Because, if you look at any polling, any polling and both guys are holding their base; 90 something percent of Democrats are going to vote for Obama, 90 something percent of Republicans with very few exceptions, Virginia one state are going to vote for John McCain. And the question is, what about the Independents.

That will decide who wins Ohio, who wins Missouri, who wins Florida; if John McCain can get back in the game in Virginia and that's what I would like to see.

Read your own damn poll, John. Independents went 57-31 for Obama.

I admit to being quite puzzled by a lot of the instapunditry out there about the debate which seems to agree that at least in the first half McCain did ok. He was horrible. He looked awful and creepy and weird. I don't think he did all that well in any of the debates (missed most of the first one), but in this one he was truly abysmal.

The View From Another Angle

Still trying to figure this one out.


Supertrains need their supertunnels. And it's about time one was built.

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey's state transit agency moved a step closer today to building a new $7.6 billion train tunnel under the Hudson River to speed rail travel to and from Manhattan and improve the rides of thousands of daily commuters.


Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2017. The new passageway, consisting of two side-by-side single-track tunnels, would bring trains into an expanded Pennsylvania Station under 34th Street in Manhattan.

The two current single-track tunnels that carry Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains between Manhattan and New Jersey were completed in 1909, and there is no room for more traffic during peak hours.

Patting Them On The Head

Joe Klein edition.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

461k new lucky duckies.

Good morning

I admit that this photo is unfair. But, still...

Not Atrios



White Riot

Not that big of a deal, but sports revelers in the Great Northeast are apparently getting a wee bit out of hand.

Talking to Insiders

I think Matt's take is correct. To the extent that McCain had any good moments (I thought he was incredibly awful), it was only good for center-right people who pay a lot of attention politics. You know, Fred Hiatt.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Apparently my local team has won their professional sports competition, rendering my tickets to tomorrow's Friday's contest null and void.

Public Agrees

Pundits wrong again.

More Thread



CNN poll.

Pundits all agree: despite the fact that McCain looked like a demented lunatic, he won!

Begala: Grumpy McNasty

Polls if I can find them

Debate The Final

avoidable health care

autism = downs syndrome.

Vouchers made the DC school system as sucky as it is.

The Neverending Debate

Last question. Praise Jeebus.

The extreme pro-choice position is: health!


Patting them on the head. Tumulty:

Substance alert: McCain is flat-out lying about Obama's health care plan.

McCain: I will appoint foreigners to the Supreme Court!

Senator Government!

Debate IV

Sorry, Darcy. had I known, "joe the plumber" would have been your fundraising phrase.

Am pitching Joe the Plumber sitcom to nbc.

Joe the Plumber!

online health care records!

Schieffer: please address my false choice

I think Gergen's watching baseball.

uniliteral bad! good! bad! wuh!

Schieffer: stop babbling little man.

Debate III

autism= Downs syndrome

bomb taxes!


Debate II

who's the crazy guy on the left?

hurt feelings

john lewis made me cry.



Debate I

is he wearing an onion on his belt?

hatchet, scalpel, penis




who let this babbling guy on stage?

hurting and angry and angry and hurting angry and angry. and angry.

new stuff on top.

Debate Fundraising Game

Pledge $x to Darcy Burner for every time John McCain says "my friends."

I'm in for $10 each. Can donate here.

Make your pledge in comments.

Obama Owns All Your Teevees

And MLB too.

WASHINGTON ( -- Major League Baseball has moved back the scheduled start time of any game 6 of the World Series so Fox can also air the half hour Barack Obama spot on Oct. 29.

A network spokeswoman confirmed the buy and said MLB had agreed to the network's request for the delay.

Fox now joins CBS and NBC in airing the half hour program, whose content the Obama campaign has declined to describe. The decision means that the Obama campaign is now spending close to $3 million to air the program from 8 to 8:30 p.m. that night on at least three networks. ABC didn't immediately return a message asking whether it too has now agreed to a buy, a move which would create an unprecedented roadblock of the nation's biggest commercial networks.

Saddam's Role

Apparently Hussein's role in 9/11 is still issue worthy of discussion. Fortunately we have Donald Trump to explain to Wolf Blitzer that he really didn't have anything to do with it.

Obligatory WHEEEEEEEEEEEE Thread

Yet another wild day at the dog track.


Conservatives do everything strangely.


I guess I have to suffer through another one of these things.


I bet this ad shifts some votes to Darcy.

Better Democrats

Hopefully Darcy pulls it off despite the fact that we are likely to destroy her.

Poll Porn


Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- More than three-quarters of Americans say the U.S. faces a ``serious economic crisis,'' and most voters trust Barack Obama to fix it.

Obama leads Republican presidential nominee John McCain 50 percent to 41 percent among likely voters, a Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll shows. That's more than double Obama's advantage from a month ago. The Democrat's lead holds up when voters choose from a field that includes minor-party candidates and independent Ralph Nader.

Smear Politics

Tim Fernholz:

On a related note, I have been wondering recently, as Obama climbs in the polls, if the conventional wisdom after the election might be that Rove-style smear politics are less effective these days.

I think a better term is something like "cable news smear politics." For that stuff to work well, you basically have to get the cable news bobbleheads talking about it nonstop for days and weeks. I think it's been less effective this time around because the McCain campaign has been awful for a variety of reasons, and because important events like the financial crisis force the bobbleheads to occasionally go off message and talk about other things. Too many shiny soccer balls for them to chase after.

So That's What We're Calling Them Now

Neo-Hoovererist Ruth Marcus on "hidden entitlements."

The expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2011 and the continuing, costly headache of the alternative minimum tax create an action-forcing event; the economic crisis provides extra political cover to build a more rational tax code, one that would broaden the base without raising marginal rates to growth-stifling levels. As Concord Coalition chief economist Diane Lim Rogers notes, the tax code provides for as much spending on "hidden entitlements" -- provisions that give special breaks to items such as mortgage interest or employer-sponsored health care -- as all discretionary spending combined.

Amazing how you can just pick out the two things in the tax code which greatly benefit middle class taxpayers.

If I were creating a fantasy tax code for my Sim Nation, I would scrap the mortgage interest deduction and not have an employer based health care system. Instead I'd have very large personal deductions and standard exemptions and some sort of single payer national health care system. However given that we're in a financial crisis which has at its foundations declining home prices, now would not really be the right time to do away with that particular deduction. And I'd prefer that before we scrap the employer based health care system we... come up with something else!

More generally, the weird disease everyone who works for the Washington Post has, causing them to obsess about the idea that maybe middle class people occasionally get a break from the government, is fascinating.


In case you didn't know, California wants to build one.

Wondered Why All The News Copters Were Out


Authorities are trying to find out who sent a threatening letter containing a suspicious substance to one of Barack Obama's South Philadelphia campaign offices.

The office at 15th and Christian streets was evacuated for less than an hour after the discovery about 5 p.m. yesterday.

That's A Drop

Retail sales.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Retail sales fell off a cliff in September, plunging by the largest amount in three years as worried consumers shunned the malls and auto showrooms in the midst of the country's financial meltdown. In addition, the government says wholesale prices fell for the second straight month in September, driven by a sharp drop in energy costs.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday retail sales decreased 1.2 percent last month, nearly double the 0.7 percent drop that had been expected. It was the biggest decline since retail sales fell by 1.4 percent in August 2005.

Look busy!

I've always hated the idea of having to look busy even when everyone knows there's nothing to do, but I sometimes think there is nothing more dangerous than a politician who thinks it's necessary to appear to be doing something.

Not Atrios



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Kids Are Alright

Boss's Day

Saw a display for this special holiday in tribute to the man today. Don't forget your boss!

The Kids Are Alright

See more Hayden Panettiere videos at Funny or Die

Wanker of the Day

David Gregory.


Did good on Maddow just now.. While I do think the Kerry campaign left a lot to be desired, and one can't separate the campaign from the candidate all that much, I do think Kerry the candidate personally was a lot better than many give him credit for. He wasn't my choice for candidate - I was somewhat of a detractor in a primary in which I tried (unsuccessfully of course) to remain fairly neutral - but I think people tend to forget that he almost won. In liberal blog world, Bush and the Iraq war were hideously unpopular in 11-04, but in the actual world that wasn't quite yet the case. Kerry actually did pretty damn well. Not damn well enough, sadly, but he did okay.

Poll Porn


WASHINGTON — Barack Obama leads John McCain by his widest margin yet, according to a new Ipsos/McClatchy poll, as the two men enter their final debate Wednesday night, their last chance to reach tens of millions of voters at the same time.

Obama leads by 51 percent to 42 percent when voters are given a choice of only the two major-party candidates.

The last couple of presidential elections I've been very contemptuous of "how they won" post-campaign pieces. Both of those elections - one more than the other - were in "if a butterfly had flapped its wings" territory and therefore it was pretty stupid to over interpret the reasons behind the outcomes. If Obama does get into landslide territory in the popular vote, I'll be quite curious about how the Roger Simon types of the world explain it. Not that I think their explanations will necessarily be right, but I'll just be curious to see what they are. How will the center right punditocracy adapt?


While I'm tempering my optimism about a tremendous rout generally, it's also important to understand that the majority the Democrats have in the House right now is already greater than what the Republicans ever had in modern history.

My passion has always been with policy outcomes, but my fascination is with the media's coverage of politics. How many seats will it take to beat the basic center right contrarian wankerism out of our media?

Poll Porn

I need a cigarette.

Barack Obama is leading John McCain 53 percent to 39 percent among registered voters with 1 percent preferring someone else and 6 percent answering "depends" or undecided in a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted Oct. 10-13. The "depends/undecided" voters lean to Obama 54 percent to 41 percent. Obama's overall margin over McCain is 2 points less if Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr are factored into the choices. Obama had led by 3 points in this poll at the beginning of October.

More Thread

Got some stuff to do. Back later.

Afternoon Thread


The Editors suggest that now would be the appropriate time to get your official Order of the Shrill t-shirts.

Modern Wingnuttery


Christopher Buckley, the author and son of the late conservative mainstay William F. Buckley, said in a telephone interview that he has resigned from the National Review, the political journal his father founded in 1955.

Mr. Buckley said he had “been effectively fatwahed by the conservative movement” after endorsing Barack Obama in a blog posting on; since then, he said he has been blanketed with hate mail at the blog and at the National Review, where he has written a column.

As a result, he wrote to Richard Lowry, the editor of the National Review, and
its publisher, Jack Fowler, offering to resign, and “this offer was rather
briskly accepted,” Mr. Buckley said.

Vital Functions

Sarah Palin just told me that John McCain would impose a spending freeze on all but the most vital functions of government. She listed two of those "most vital" functions, and one of them was "worker retraining."

I have nothing against a little federal worker retraining funding, but I'm reasonably sure that if you put all of the functions of government which are more vital than federal worker retraining expenditures on the list of vital functions you've pretty much covered about 99.9% of that budget.


Roubini's Mr. Doom and Gloom, but he's also been, you know, proved fucking right so far.

Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Nouriel Roubini, the professor who predicted the financial crisis in 2006, said the U.S. will suffer its worst recession in 40 years, causing the rally in the stock market to ``sputter.''

``There are significant downside risks still to the market and the economy,'' Roubini, 50, a New York University professor of economics, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. ``We're going to be surprised by the severity of the recession and the severity of the financial losses.''


The thing is that the press has had 18 months or so to cover these candidates. Balz doesn't mean that reporters should suddenly, say, take a look at Obama's health care plan and be like, "hey, that's not such a bad idea." What he means is to throw up every potentially bad thing around one last time just in case voters didn't hear it the first 300 times they covered it.

Hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that isn't what Balz means. But consider this paragraph:

It is hard to think of a new president who inherited such a rapidly altered landscape.... How adaptable is Obama to all of this? How willing is he to address these questions in real time, as opposed to later? How much time has he given recently to rethinking the scope and ambition of a possible Obama administration? Would he come to office with a determination to be bold or to be cautious? Is he the pragmatist that allies have suggested -- or committed to a more ideologically oriented agenda, as his critics say?

All of these are personality traits, and basically not even real ones but the kind of personality narratives campaign journalists love to talk about so that they can avoid addressing questions like, "Is Obama's health plan a good idea?" It's the presidency as reality TV show, the only kind most campaign journalists seem to understand. Three weeks before the election it would be nice if journalists spent a few minutes to go to the candidates' web pages and read through their policy proposals and try to explain them to the public. Maybe even compare and contrast a bit without the lens of politics.

Lunch Thread

Because I am eating lunch. RIGHT NOW.

Peak Wingnut

That I still retain the capacity to be surprised regularly surprises me.

...Treason in Defense of Slavery Yankee thinks that a rumor that Obama as a young child may have been (as in, in his fapping imagination) molested disqualifies him from being president.

I can still be surprised. I'm sure his loving Washington Post profile will be out soon, if he hasn't had one already.

How They Think

That Balz article provides a weird window into the minds of Village reporters. It doesn't actually make any sense, but that never stops them.

3 Weeks Until The Superbowl

Kinda weird that soon our long national nightmare might actually be over.

Car Sharing

Adding to the post below, that one of the tremendous but I think largely not understood by most people benefits of having a quality widespread carsharing program is that it substantially reduces the need for parking.

Park This

I think self-driving cars are going to be here some time after flying cars, my jetpack, and Glenn Reynolds' sexbots, but this little thought experiment is useful for highlighting that while we talk about highways and roads and whatnot, the biggest problem with cars generally is parking. They take up space. Lots of it. That space reduces density most places, and reduces the benefits of density in places where it exists.

Reid And Dodd

I just saw an ad attacking Harry Reid and Chris Dodd for... I dunno, eating babies? Housing market? something like that. You can watch it here. But, uh, what a waste of money. I think I have higher name recognition than Chris Dodd.

Sometimes I feel like their side isn't even trying.


I woke up to the sultry sounds of The Hill's AB Stoddard on BBC radio telling me that Barack Obama might have problems with white working class voters because he attended "elite schools."

Weird this elite school attendance was never an issue for the current president.

McCain's Brain

I imagine (perhaps incorrectly)* that running through McCain's head these days is the Lovitz-As-Dukakis "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy." The interesting question is why precisely he can't believe it.

*This post breaks my general rule against mind-reading as punditry.


Rock on.

South Philly For McCain

Wandered by the campaign office randomly yesterday, approximately here. Once upon a time it was the kind of place Chris Matthews always talks about - the "neighborhood" where the "guys" are getting upset that things are "changing" - an Italian-American enclave which, while nominally democratic, would often vote Republican especially if racial politics were in play.

It's still that, somewhat, though I haven't noticed McCain signs around at all. I remember seeing Bush signs in the general area in '04. But it's also an area that's indeed changing, with a convergence of Vietnamese and Latino immigrants, along with yet another burgeoning Philly hipster scene (I think we get a new one every 3 weeks or so).

Months ago I worried that PA would be Obama's hardest "Kerry state." Not really worried anymore.


Also, he's a sucky sucky Democrat anyway.

Monday, October 13, 2008

News Ticker

Saw on the CN8 news ticker on Market St. something like "Palin wrongly suggests US Congress enacted ban on oil exports." That sounded pretty interesting, given that she knows more about energy than anyone in the universe.

A questioner at a town hall-style meeting in Wisconsin said he had heard that at least 75 percent of the oil drilled in Alaska was being sold to China and said, if true, he would like to know why.

"No. It's not 75 percent of our oil being exported," Palin said, suggesting some of Alaska's oil, in fact, may be going abroad but not that much.

"In fact," she added, "Congress is pretty strict on, um, export bans of oil and gas especially."

There's no oil export ban, and natural gas exports (assuming that's what she meant) just need approval.

I Can Haz Tie Game?

Apparently so.

...even better.

Night Thread

Beware of the Moose.


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government is set to buy preferred equity stakes in nine top financial institutions as part of its new comprehensive plan to tackle the credit crisis, according to people familiar with the situation. It's unclear how much would be invested in each institution. The move is designed to remove any stigma that might come with a government investment. Not all of the banks involved are happy with the move but agreed under pressure from the government.


Evening Thread



CNN sez Treasury to spend up to $250 billion to buy stocks in banks.

Afternoon Thread



CNN sez Treasury to spend up to $250 billion to buy stocks in banks.


I've noticed this in a couple of polls lately, that Obama's favorable ratings are high, and quite a bit higher than the percent who say they're going to vote for him.

* Obama's favorable rating are rising (!) while McCain's are faltering. Nearly two-thirds of voters (64 percent) view Obama favorably in the latest poll while 33 percent view him unfavorably. In a September Post poll, Obama's fav/unfav was at 58/36. Compare that to McCain's favorable ratings, which slipped from 59 percent in September to 52 percent now, and his unfavorable ratings, which rose from 36 percent last month to 45 percent now.

I find that to be a little weird for various reasons, but it's nice that there's at least a tiny bit of expressed goodwill even from people who don't count themselves as supporters.


Way back in the dark ages, a few months ago, I convinced myself that I'd do my best to focus on Congressional races instead of just echoing the obsessive presidential coverage elsewhere. Obviously I haven't done that much. I've been thinking about why, and I guess it's in part because this Congress has largely thrown up their hands and said there's not much we can do until Obama is president. It's hard to think Congress is all that important when they don't act like it.

But, of course, Congress is important. Electing more and better Democrats, especially better Democrats, is important. Around now is getting pretty close to near the end of when your $25 is going to do much help for candidates, so consider giving a bit to your favorites. Feel to recommend in comments.

Deep Thought

I'm definitely gonna nominate Bill Kristol for the Nobel Peace Prize in Hackery.


I guess we're going to have to start calling Broder's boy Mr. 23%.

The Comeback Kid

McCain losing 51-41 in latest Gallup tracking.

BFFs No More?

Weird if there's a spat between Kristol and the McCain camp. Though Kristol criticizing the McCain campaign for sucking is pretty hilarious given his heavy promotion of Sarah Palin.

Poll Porn

Obama up 51-43 in Missouri.

That's A Lot Of Simoleons

The wise men of the world sure have done a heckuva job.

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- France, Germany, Spain and Austria committed 1.1 trillion euros ($1.5 trillion) to guarantee bank loans and take stakes in lenders, racing to prevent the collapse of the financial system.

The announcements came as Britain took majority stakes today in Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and HBOS Plc. The coordinated steps followed a pledge yesterday by European leaders to bolster market confidence as the global economy slides toward recession.

``What it should do is stabilize the banking system,'' said Peter Hahn, a fellow at London's Cass Business School and former managing director at Citigroup Inc. ``Will it stop us from having a recession? No, nothing is going to stop us from having a recession.''


The evidence.

Matt Drudge Rules Their World

Look for the media to talk about McCain's "comeback," whether or not polls actually support this Exciting! New! Storyline!

Krugman Memories

Once, a long time ago by blog standards, Krugman mentioned this blog in a column. I knew something weird had happened when I woke up in the morning, turned on my computer, and found that I had gotten A DOZEN EMAILS overnight.

Times change.

Great Moments In Slate History

Ah, memories.

Topic: Memos Sent to Romenesko
Date/Time: 9/5/2003 1:06:35 PM
Title: Slate publisher's memo re losing staff to NYT
Posted By: Jim Romenesko

TO: Brad Smith
Sr. Vice President, Microsoft Legal & Corporate Affairs

FROM: Cyrus Krohn
Publisher, Slate Magazine

RE: Non-Compete Clause & Contractual Interference

Dear Brad:

As per my voicemail earlier today, I would like to bring to your attention an ongoing problem we're experiencing at Slate.

A prominent East Coast newspaper, The New York Times, has been poaching from Slate, taking key writers and editors invaluable to our evolving franchise. Several years ago I viewed these departures as testament to Slate's reputation within our industry. Being recognized by the media establishment as a breeding ground of top journalists was rewarding. But no longer do I hold these egress offenders in such high regard.

Granted the New York Times has been experiencing talent problems of their own lately, but that's no excuse to "brain drain" us. In my seven years with Slate, I've seen the Times make off with no fewer than five Slatesters. And just last week, they tried to hire away our esteemed editor-in-chief, Jacob Weisberg, according to this item in the New York Post. While the opportunity offered Weisberg was beneath his abilities, I'm thankful he didn't follow his former colleagues.

Our mantra at Slate is to support budding journalists growing in their profession. Should a better opportunity present itself, by all means go forward. But this trend must cease. Our staff are bound by the non-compete clause they signed upon employment, and I was wondering if you could spare some time for Slate now that the DOJ case is behind us? This tortuous contractual interference is beginning to have adverse effects on us.

It's improbable we'll be able to recoup our losses. But just in case, we'd like all of them back except for Paul Krugman.

I appreciate your help and look forward to hearing from you.



Trumping Race

The weird thing about things like this is that it sort of embodies our national discussion on race. On one hand we sort of acknowledge that white people might not vote for the black guy, on the other hand we're not allowed to suggest that racism might actually exist in serious ways which negatively impact the lives and opportunities of minorities.


Congrats to the shrill one for winning the Nobel Prize (technically the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel). I'm sure the wingnuts will imagine this is his reward from librul Yurpeans for daring to say bad things about Great And Glorious Preznit Bunnypants, but that isn't, you know, what they give the prize for.

Solo win, too.

Morning Thread

This is awesome news, congratulations -- and don't forget to mention you owe much of it to attending EschaCon!



Sunday, October 12, 2008


Won't be entirely clear what's happening in the UK until 2AM Eastern or so, but Gordon "Pac Man" Brown is hungry.

So Much Crap

Politico swallows one lie, then transmits another one, even as... it's no longer on the table.

No Longer Operative

Another stupid trial balloon shot down.

On Saturday, his advisers were considering a range of economic ideas, one indicated. On Sunday, on the CBS News program “Face the Nation,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a confidant of Mr. McCain, confirmed a report on a Web site, Politico, that Mr. McCain was weighing proposals to cut taxes on investors’ capital gains and dividends. “It will be a very comprehensive approach to jump-start the economy,” Mr. Graham said, “by allowing capital to be formed easier in America by lowering taxes.”

But McCain advisers later said they did not know why Mr. Graham said that. One noted that Mr. McCain’s economic plan already would cut capital gains and dividend tax rates, by extending President Bush’s 2003 tax cuts. At the phone bank, Mr. McCain declined to answer a question from a reporter about what he was considering.

“We do not have any immediate plans to announce any policy proposals outside of the proposals that John McCain has announced, and the certain proposals that would result as economic news continues to come our way,” a campaign spokesman, Tucker Bounds, said. Mr. McCain’s policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said, “I have no comment on anything, to anybody.”

BTW, whatever happened to Carly Fiorina?

Deep Thought

Deliberately throwing the ball at a player's head seems like rather unsportsmanlike conduct.


I think this is in the "stupid" category rather than the "racist" category, but it isn't such a good thing to have preznits saying stupid stuff all the time.

Mitsubishi Gonna EAT Morgan

Some of it, anyway.

Last month, Mitsubishi agreed buy about 21 percent of Morgan Stanley. The investment was to be made in the form of $3 billion in common stock, at $25.35 a share, as well as $6 billion in convertible preferred stock with a 10 percent dividend and a conversion price of $31.25 a share.

Under the proposed new terms being discussed on Sunday, Mitsubishi would still buy roughly 21 percent of Morgan Stanley, these people said. But all of the investment would be through preferred shares, with a 10 percent annual dividend. Many of those shares would be convertible into common stock, but the Japanese bank was trying to set a conversion price far lower than originally proposed.

Evening Thread


Sunday Roof Blogging

Booing Sarah Palin

So much stupid.

Anyway, as everybody knows Philadelphia fans boo everyone. How much Sarah Palin's booing was political (as in, we hate Palin), how much of it was just booing the injection of politics into the game, and how much was simply booing because that's what Philadelphia fans do I have no idea. The point is that from the moment it was announced everyone knew she was going to be booed. Everyone in the media, from sports talk radio to NPR, said she was going to get booed. It was inevitable, like the sun rising, which was why it was such a stupid stunt and why it was really shitty of her to bring her young daughter out with her.

Campaign Porn


WASHINGTON — Barring a dramatic change in the political landscape over the next three weeks, Democrats appear headed toward a decisive victory on Election Day that would give them broad power over the federal government.

The victory would send Barack Obama to the White House and give him larger Democratic majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate — and perhaps a filibuster-proof margin there.

That could mark a historic realignment of the country's politics on a scale with 1932 or 1980, when the out party was given power it held for a generation, and used it to transform government's role in American society.

Baby Boom

Walking around today I noticed that everyone seems to have a baby with them. Clearly no one has told these people that a city is no place to raise children. Perhaps I should call child protection services.

We Have No Manchester

Watching the first episode of the American version of Life on Mars it occured to me that we don't really have an equivalent to Manchester in the public consciousness. Relocating the story to New York makes sense in a conjure up image of gritty city way, but lacks the ability to convey the pecularities of smaller city crime and policing that I think were rather important in the original series. New York is too big of a canvas.

It's what The Wire did with Baltimore, but Baltimore had to be explained to people instead of simply being invoked.

No Slump In My Neighborhood

Fortunately the signs of economic slump in my hyperlocal neighborhood - the closing of the block and a half away from my house coffee shop - have turned around as the cafe has been reopened by new owners.


You have the rare instance of our transit authority asking for slightly less money from a suburban county because increased ridership has reduced the necessity of operating subsidy. The county wants to give them more money for more service, but there are no more buses and trains to deploy.

So far our political leaders (the Democrats, that is) have failed to see opportunity in crisis. Though, admittedly, perhaps they're smart to wait until President Obama wields the signing pen. Food stamps, unemployment benefits, and... SUPERTRAINS!

Wankers of the Day

Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.; Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Former Treasury secretaries James Baker and Lawrence Summers.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Gov. Bill Ritter, D-Colo.; Mayor Doug Wilder, Richmond, Va.; Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla.; C. Fred Bergsten, director, Peterson Institute for International Economics.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — Gov. Jon Corzine, D-N.J.; Former Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.


CNN's "Late Edition" — Forbes Inc. CEO Steve Forbes (McCain supporter) and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich (Obama supporter); Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fla.

"Fox News Sunday" _ David Axelrod, campaign adviser for Barack Obama; Rick Davis, campaign adviser for John McCain; Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Pa.; Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn.

Morning Thread

by Molly Ivors

My internets are slooooow this morning.

So Tired Of Being Right About Everything


Two weeks after persuading Congress to let it spend $700 billion to buy distressed securities tied to mortgages, the Bush administration has put that idea aside in favor of a new approach that would have the government inject capital directly into the nation’s banks — in effect, partially nationalizing the industry.

As recently as Sept. 23, senior officials had publicly derided proposals by Democrats to have the government take ownership stakes in banks.

The Treasury Department’s surprising turnaround on the issue of buying stock in banks, which has now become its primary focus, has raised questions about whether the administration squandered valuable time in trying to sell Congress on a plan that officials had failed to think through in advance.