Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mas Hilo

Come back inside & have a rotten time.

Saturday Night Thread

Go out and have some fun.

Evening Thread


Run Run Rudy

Our media loves them some Giuliani, so they're already pushing the Governor Rudy idea. Don't think the voters will support that effort.

Afternoon Thread



Sadly no mention of SUPERTRAINS in Obama's address.

And Citi

Eschaton World Industries is also too big to fail.

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government may step in to rescue Citigroup Inc. after a crisis in confidence erased half the bank’s stock-market value in three days, according to investors and analysts.

Citigroup’s $2 trillion of assets dwarfs companies such as American International Group Inc. that got support from the U.S. government this year. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may favor a rescue to avoid the chaotic aftermath of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy in September.

“Citi is in the category of ‘too big to fail,’” said Michael Holland, chairman and founder of Holland & Co. in New York, which oversees $4 billion. “There is a commitment from this administration and the next to do what it takes to save Citi.”

And on and on...

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.


I'm having a bit of a festival in my speakers, I don't know about you.

Not Atrios


PFF Bank and Trust, Downey Savings and Loan, and The Community Bank get EATED.


You have a well-known liberal bias.

Not Atrios

Friday, November 21, 2008

Deep Thought

Who amongst us does not deserve a bailout?

Evening Thread



I've been waiting for someone to bring this up. Remember that whole WTO thing which makes subsidies a no-no? Them neither.

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- A U.S.-triggered spate of global carmaker-bailout proposals may spark trade disputes over whether the Americans are unfairly trying to subsidize their industry or just making up for state aid foreign rivals already enjoy.

As the U.S. considers a lifeline for its automakers, officials in Europe, Canada and Asia are considering their own aid packages -- even as the European Union threatens to lodge a complaint against any U.S. bailout to protect manufacturers from Renault SA in France to Fiat SpA in Italy.

The Failed Obama Presidency

Why hasn't he fixed everything yet?

October State Unemployment Data

Was released today, comes out a few weeks after the national data. Find out how your state is doing!


Apparently that thing goes up, too. I guess the investor class is glad that the adults will be taking over soon.


I don't really care, but I'm finding the whole "has she/hasn't she accepted" stuff about Clinton to be a bit weird. A lot of it's media driven, but there are supposed sources in there somewhere too.


Bernanke has lost his monetary superpowers.

Need a big stimulus bill. Soon. Yesterday.

On the Road

On my way to the Big Apple because, well, why the hell not.

More Rope



Citigroup down another 18%... Probably gonna get EATED one way or another.

But He Liberated All Iraq!

And in Bushworld, the freeance and peeance has been spreading magically ever since.


That's some negative forecasting, my friends.

Crazy Talk

Apparently Wall Street has decided that announcing you're laying off a bunch of people is probably bad news.

Morning Thread




Thursday, November 20, 2008


No privacy for you, even if you're president-elect.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Records from a cell phone used by President-elect Obama were improperly breached, apparently by employees of the cell phone company, his transition team said Thursday.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs said the team was notified Wednesday by Verizon Wireless that it appears an employee improperly went through billing records for the phone, which Gibbs said Obama no longer uses.

Slaughterhouse Live

Oh Lordy.

Why Not Him?

Franken down by 136...

Not An Especially Deep Thought

Given the urgency of current events, along with a desire to downplay the issue during the campaign, I really think there's actually been a shortage of people expressing, in better ways, the basic "holy fucking shit we just elected a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama" point.

He won Indiana!!

Evening Thread

Gotta do some cooking.

Deep Thought

Buy and hold.

Still Going On

About a year go I met a mortgage broker who told me that all the action had just moved to the FHA.

As if they haven't done enough damage. Thousands of subprime mortgage lenders and brokers—many of them the very sorts of firms that helped create the current financial crisis—are going strong. Their new strategy: taking advantage of a long-standing federal program designed to encourage homeownership by insuring mortgages for buyers of modest means.


For generations, these loans, backed by the Federal Housing Administration, have offered working-class families a legitimate means to purchase their own homes. But now there's a severe danger that aggressive lenders and brokers schooled in the rash ways of the subprime industry will overwhelm the FHA with loans for people unlikely to make their payments. Exacerbating matters, FHA officials seem oblivious to what's happening—or incapable of stopping it. They're giving mortgage firms licenses to dole out 100%-insured loans despite lender records blotted by state sanctions, bankruptcy filings, civil lawsuits, and even criminal convictions.


Not pretty there, either.

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Mortgages on offices, shopping malls and hotels that were based on projections of soaring income during the real estate boom are roiling the bond market.


``These kinds of loans written during the height of the real estate boom could be the first to have problems,'' said Christopher Sullivan, who oversees $1.3 billion as chief investment officer at United Nations Federal Credit Union in New York. ``They were underwritten with outlandish expectations on rents and property appreciation that will turn out to be fiction.''

Probably just all the loans ACORN forced the banks to make to poor and minority commercial real estate developers.


Dog track's just a little bit too exciting these days.

Changed His Mind

Nice to see that's possible.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- With weekly jobless claims benefits at a 16-year high, the White House said Thursday that President George W. Bush would quickly sign legislation pending in Congress to provide further unemployment benefits.

Even nicer that soon it won't matter.

Afternoon Thread

I'm running errands...

Congestion Pricing

I admit I'm somewhat less than enthusiastic about London-style congestion pricing as I think much of what such a system would accomplish can be achieved by simply jacking up the price of parking everywhere and increasing automobile registration fees. Those aren't perfect solutions, but they're roughly comparable and don't require setting up a complicated monitoring and collection system. My understanding is that simply increasing parking fees wouldn't have worked well in London because a lot of the excess peak period traffic was due to the "school run," parents dropping off and picking up their children at school. No parking necessary.

Do Not Want

This is rather ominous:

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Gleaming new Mercedes cars roll one by one out of a huge container ship here and onto a pier. Ordinarily the cars would be loaded on trucks within hours, destined for dealerships around the country. But these are not ordinary times.

For now, the port itself is the destination. Unwelcome by dealers and buyers, thousands of cars worth tens of millions of dollars are being warehoused on increasingly crowded port property.

And for the first time, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Nissan have each asked to lease space from the port for these orphan vehicles. They are turning dozens of acres of the nation’s second-largest container port into a parking lot, creating a vivid picture of a paralyzed auto business and an economy in peril.

And there's some sort of metaphorical awesomeness about the fact that Long Beach's largest single export is recycled cardboard, which we send to China so they can use it to box up electronics and ship them to us.

Everybody Hates Republicans

As they should.

PRINCETON, NJ -- The Republican Party's image has gone from bad to worse over the past month, as only 34% of Americans in a Nov. 13-16 Gallup Poll say they have a favorable view of the party, down from 40% in mid-October. The 61% now holding an unfavorable view of the GOP is the highest Gallup has recorded for that party since the measure was established in 1992.

Free Parking

I agree with Matt that conservative (and libertarian) thinkers, to the extent they exist, should spend some time dealing with local zoning, regulation, and transportation issues. But as one of his commenters points out, conservative voters aren't likely to embrace any of this stuff.

One of my guilty pleasures is reading local forums and the comments at the local newspaper. There is a set of people out there who become absolutely enraged when presented with a situation such that there isn't a free or cheap parking spot available to them. I assume they must come into the city at times or they just wouldn't care, but they're absolutely livid that it isn't Disney City with Unlimited Free Parking Everywhere. That isn't to say the city is perfect - of course it isn't! - but whatever problems it has won't be solved by increasing the number of spaces available for New Jersey SUV drivers.

Senatorial Courtesy

What I saw of this was quite gross. I appreciate you don't just abandon people you've known for decades, but you don't have to throw a public party on national teevee for them either.

Riding The Bus

Amanda's right that there's a degree of social stigma attached to bus riders, but it's also the case that short distance buses aren't... awesome. They're slow. They stop and start a lot. It isn't a comfortable ride. You have to pay attention so you don't miss your stop. Schedules aren't always followed very closely. They just aren't an extremely pleasant way to get around.

But the general issue - do people stick with public transit - has a lot to do with whether people have the potential to reduce the number of cars in their household. Much of the costs of using an automobile are fixed - insurance, payment/lease, etc... - and aren't reduced (or not reduced by much) if you start commuting with mass transit. Maybe you save a bit relative to your gas cost, but those savings for most people aren't going to be tremendous. You also might enjoy the train a bit more than driving, but the real savings come when you can actually get rid of a car. And in most places in the country, that doesn't come close to being an option. Still, I highly recommend looking for places where it is! But I won't force you to. Not yet, anyway. Not yet.

...addding that while I live in a zero car household, that likely wouldn't be the case if not for a quality local car sharing program. Cars are very useful things! Even in my urban paradise they come in handy quite frequently.

Waxman Beats Dingell

Takes gavel of Energy and Commerce Committee.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

Holy crap.

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits surged last week to their highest level in 16 years, Labor Department data showed on Thursday, as a harsh economic environment forces employers to cut back on hiring.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits were a seasonally adjusted 542,000 in the week ended Nov. 15 from a revised 515,000 the previous week. That was higher than analysts' forecast for a reading of 505,000 new claims.

Morning Thread

This usually wakes dad up. His Spidey-senses start tingling when we lowly ones post a thread.

--Molly I.



Suck On This, Tommy Friedman

His wife's family biz might go BK.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Late Night


Facts Are Stupid Things

And the ones Bill O'Reilly makes up are even stupider.

More Thread

You talk too much.

Evening Thread


The Bloggers

I've been amused by the frequency at which "the bloggers" has become a new journalistic shorthand for "slightly unreasonable and noisy people on the internets" who the journalist can then courageously disagree with.


Another exciting day at the dog track.

Bring Back The 23 Trolley!

Sadly, they probably won't.

Forget the Bridge to Nowhere. How about the Trolley to Nowhere?

The federal and state governments have just spent about $3 million for new trolley tracks, new trolley wires and new trolley poles along newly reconstructed Germantown Avenue in Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill. But will the iconic green-and-cream trolleys, which were "temporarily" removed from service there in 1992, return?

Don't count on it. SEPTA, which prefers buses, says it has no plans to use the new tracks and wires, much to the dismay of local residents and merchants.

Afternoon Thread


Daschle to HHS

Not especially surprising.

This Crisis Just Appeared Out Of Nowhere

As Dean points out, it's quite amazing how no one in this administration is ever responsible for anything that happens. Nobody could have predicted, blah blah blah.

CEOs and Health Care

One of the enduring mysteries... well, maybe not so mysterious... is the fact that more big companies haven't pushed hard for a national health care system. It's really quite impossible to see their failure to do so as acting in the interests of their shareholders in any way, unless they're health insurance companies, of course. Obviously it's just ideological and part of the rich asshole culture. I doubt Rahm's plea to them will be heard.

Facts Are Stupid Things

And all reporting about the Clintons takes place in fact free wonderland.

Deep Thought

Bloggers will never be taken seriously unless they agree with my position on X.

No New Houses For You

Record low for housing starts.

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. housing starts and permits for future construction both dropped to record lows in October, signs the housing downturn may extend into a fourth year.

Construction starts on housing fell 4.5 percent in October, less than economists forecast, to an annual rate of 791,000 that was the lowest since records began in 1959, the Commerce Department said in Washington. Building permits, a sign of future residential projects, dropped 12 percent to a 708,000 pace, the lowest since at least 1960.


That's a nice number.  59 is a nicer number, prime. And 60 with all those factors is a really nice number. Not likely to be the relevant number this cycle.  But  I can dream.

Please talk among yourselves.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Night Thread



First, what Matt said. Apparently the AP sent out a misleading correction earlier, because while Merkley did speak out against Lieberman in the meeting he didn't want to actually reveal what his vote was in a secret vote and the AP went all "does not compute" and got confused.

Merkley was one of the 3 people who spoke out against Lieberman retaining his important gavel in the meeting.


WASHINGTON - Six weeks before taking office, Oregon's senator-elect Jeff Merkley gained some notice on Capitol Hill Tuesday by forcefully expressing disappointment bordering on anger with Sen. Joe Lieberman's vocal support for John McCain during the presidential campaign.

Merkley made the comments during a closed-door meeting of all incumbent Democrats and those elected on Nov. 4 to determine what action to take against Lieberman. The Connecticut senator who is an independent who votes with Democrats abandoned his traditional allies during the campaign and strongly questioned Barack Obama's fitness to be president.

``Sen. Lieberman's choices for this last election cycle were very difficult for me personally. I felt a lot of personal pain,'' Merkley said.


`I expressed these sentiments because I felt that citizens who work in a grass-roots capacity should share their voice and my voice on this,'' he said.

Merkley stopped just short of saying Lieberman should be stripped of his committee chairmanship. But he suggested that chairmen are party of a party's leadership and should be held to higher standards.

``Folks who are priviledged to serve as a chair are part of the leadership of this team and much is expected of them,'' he said.

...and here's the AP in an updated update:

Senator-elect Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., was critical of Lieberman at the caucus and said afterward in a statement that he was "very personally disappointed by his conduct during the campaign." He wouldn't say how he voted on the resolution.

"Serving as a committee chairman is a privilege, not an entitlement and I expressed those views during today's meeting," Merkley said. "Beyond that, I hope we can move forward as a caucus to do the work we were elected to do."

Deep Thought

Wonder which door God will open for Sarah Palin next.

Down The Tubes

Begich up over 3000 votes now.

...AP calls it. HULK SMASHED.

Civil Rights

Remember, as long as no one is actually cracking his skull, Huckabee's civil rights are not being violated.

Night thread

It gets dark early, lately.

Early Evening Thread


Deep Thought

There's definitely a shortage of old white guys in Obama's rumored Cabinet appointees so far.

No Matter Who Wins

On Sundays, the Republicans explain what it all means.

Better Democrats

I think Jeff Merkley gets points today.

Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Pat Leahy, D-Vt., and Senator-elect Jeff Merkeley, D-Ore., spoke against allowing Lieberman keep the Homeland Security and Government Affairs post.

Don't Misunderestimate Them

I'd say there's a 20% chance Time does make Sarah Palin person of the year.

No Beaux

I think many believed that it was obvious that Beau Biden would be appointed to replace his Dad, but apparently he's saying no.

Own Goal

There's really no helping profoundly stupid people.


I don't think I'm going to be able to worked up about Obama's personnel decisions generally, but I agree that the idea that Hillary Clinton might go "rogue" or need to be fired is just absurd. The Clintons just drive the media insane.

Does Lisa Miller Have Sex With Goats?

It's a widely held belief. The people who hold it may be jumping to conclusions, but they're not nuts.


All kinds of nasty budget cuts going on around the country. Some of these might be strictly necessary, absent federal help, as state and local governments have limited borrowing capabilities. Still, on top of that, there's a strain of "belt tightening is good for us" which runs through elite punditry, as if misery in bad times is just a little bit good for us.

To them I say: suck on this.

Deep Thought

Today is a lovely day to eat some shit.



Monday, November 17, 2008

Deep Thought

Normally it'd be a bit puzzling that Chris Hayes can simultaneously be a child actor on the Sarah Jane Adventures:

And be an all growed up adult writer for The Nation and regular MSNBC guest.

But once time travel is an option, many strange things become possible.

Deep Thought

I pray every day that the internets forever ban the word "BREAKING."

More Thread

Featuring Heartwarming Moments in Parenting.

--Molly I.

Evening Thread



Dick Polman is more Sensible Centrist than Dirty Fucking Hippie, and even he thinks Joe should lose his gavel.

Sadly, the Dems' "strength through weakness" plan will likely continue.

Suck On This, Dealers

And the fun begins.

DETROIT - Cash-strapped General Motors Corp. said Monday it will delay reimbursing its dealers for rebates and other sales incentives, an indication that the company is starting to have cash-flow problems.

Company spokesman John McDonald said payments due Nov. 28 will be delayed for two weeks until Dec. 11, while those due Dec. 4 will be paid Dec. 18. The normal weekly schedule will resume after that. He would not say how much money the company will save from the delays.

Gay And Secular Fascism

Ah, Newt. I hope he stays with us forever.


Maybe the Iraq war was worth it after all.

Might have to rethink.

Okay, We'll Quit While We're Ahead...

Paulson says he'll take his $350 billion ball and go home.

Afternoon Thread


How About We Take Health Care Off Their Books?

As Josh says, if we're throwing around billions and trillions of dollars we might as well get something good. Instead of writing a big check to the auto companies or loaning them money we could, you know, enroll all their employees in the new national health insurance system.

Going Around And Around

One day generous liberals will finally get that while there are a variety of anti-abortion people, the anti-choice movement is also anti-contraception and generally hostile to female autonomy.


aimai celebrates her grandfather's life. Go read the whole thing, as they say.

It's amusing that it seems many journalists are still stuck in the whole 3 years ago blogger vs. journalists debate. I suppose they're largely reacting to something perpetuated by right wing bloggers, though why anyone ever pays any attention to them I have no idea. Reporters also think the internet has destroyed their business model, and bloggers are somehow the personification of that.

I'm always fascinated that when journalists talk about their profession they do, as aimai says, talk about some Platonic ideal of it rather than the reality. It makes it easier to sniff at the riff raff, but also suggests an amazing lack of awareness about their own profession.

This contempt-for-bloggers stuff is basically contempt for their readers and potential readers. I obviously don't agree with Rupert Murdoch about everything or even everything he's reported as saying in this article, but he's right about this.

"The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly--and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted. The condescension that many show their readers is an even bigger problem. It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product. Newspapers are no exception."

For many years, in most places newspapers basically had a monopoly. Owners and publishers and editors convinced themselves of their importance in civic life, an importance they simply assumed rather than proving it every day. Now that they face increased competition, they tend to cling their self-importance rather than trying to adapt.

I do worry that there won't be a business model which will sustain quality local reporting, but I don't weep for institutions which have long condescended to their readers.

Deep Thought

Support for a GM bailout is negatively correlated with your distance from Michigan.

Joking aside, this is one of those subjects I don't have especially strong opinions about. I think a bad approach to policy is to lurch from crisis to crisis, using each one as an excuse to DO SOMETHING. We should have a general framework for dealing with companies which are too big to fail, as apparently there are a lot of them

Tom Friedman's War

Just echoing Matt, it's fascinating to read everybody who has suddenly become an expert on the auto industry, and write as if a government bailout would put them in charge of that industry. More than that, it appears we're all fans of government industrial policy now.

Truly strange times.

That's Crazy Talk

Only insane liberal bloggers say stuff like this.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Saturday that Congress was not told the truth about the bailout of the nation's financial system and should take back what is left of the $700 billion "blank check'' it gave the Bush administration.

"It is just outrageous that the American people don't know that Congress doesn't know how much money he (Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson) has given away to anyone,'' the Oklahoma Republican told the Tulsa World.

"It could be to his friends. It could be to anybody else. We don't know. There is no way of knowing.''

More Thread

Putting this up should generate the first Atrios post of the morning.

Obama on The Teevee

Having a reality-based  President is  a start.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008


The General leaves the church.

Evening Thread




These people say that as of Saturday afternoon the exact size of the cuts is not known, but it's expected to be higher than the 23,000 cuts the firm made as of end of the third quarter to its workforce of approximately 350,000 worldwide. These people say the overall size of the cuts that Pandit will announce during a highly anticipated town hall meeting could add up to close to 40,000 depending on the number of asset sales, such as spinning off businesses the firm could pull off in addition to additional planned layoffs.

These people add that during the meeting Pandit will likely cite a specific number of job cuts and say these cuts will occur a relatively short period of time, such as over the next five or six months.

Automatic Stabilizers

Back when I was a young economist in training, we learned that certain programs - such as unemployment insurance and welfare - would kick in to offset the impact of an economic downturn. Such programs aren't nearly as big or generous as they once were, so... not so much anymore.

Fuck Michigan, They Don't Vote For Us Anyway

I'm not especially surprised that the Republican senators oppose a Big Auto bailout, though I am a bit surprised at the harshness of the rhetoric.

WASHINGTON — Top Republican senators said Sunday they will oppose a Democratic plan to bail out Detroit automakers, calling the U.S. industry a “dinosaur” whose “day of reckoning” is coming. Their opposition raises serious doubts about whether the plan will pass in this week’s postelection session.

Democratic leaders want to use $25 billion of the $700 billion financial industry bailout to help General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler.

Teatime Thread

Afternoon Thread


Putting The City In The Suburbs

I haven't seen this area so I don't know exactly what it's like, but you see this kind of thing popping up all over the place, where mixed use development gets plunked down in, say, an existing mall parking lot.

The situation a lot of places face is that they've gotten too dense for the imagined nice aspects of suburban sprawl development to exist. Getting around by car isn't easy anymore; it's hard. There's really no going backwards, so the question is whether they can understand that density, if done right, can actually have advantages too.

And Dorgan

Naughty boy Joe has engaged in unacceptable behavior.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's ''This Week'' -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif.


CBS' ''Face the Nation'' -- Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.; Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.


NBC's ''Meet the Press'' -- Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Shelby; T. Boone Pickens, chairman of the energy investment fund BP Capital.


CNN's ''Late Edition'' -- Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez; Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Ted Turner, CNN founder and author of a new memoir.


''Fox News Sunday'' -- Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.; Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn.; former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, R-Md.

Sunday Thread

by Molly Ivors

What TBogg said.

The kind of person who contributes money to deny their fellow citizens their civil rights are not someday magically going to be part of the solution: they're the problem. These are not people to be reasoned with; they're ignorant, they're haters and they're bigots and the only thing people like that understand is power.

So when they stick their noses in other people's affairs, they forfeit the right to be considered just another "ordinary person". They're involved and they would be foolish to expect that those other people in whose private affairs they have meddled wouldn't return the favor. As they say: you pays your money and you takes your chances.

You don't get to heaven above by trampling someone else's heaven on earth.

Morning question

"How did Iceland go bankrupt?"

Not Atrios

Eschaton After Dark

Rock like you've never rocked before.


Gypsy Shit!