Saturday, February 21, 2009


Bruce McGill at the bar at Fork.


I got nothin' to say.

Not Atrios

Saturday Night Thread


The Summer of the Shark

It really was the best summer ever. I'm so glad we get to relive a bit of it on cable news now.

Deep Thought

I bet a post which not-so-subtly suggests that everyone in the blogosphere except for me is a clueless asshole would be a pretty good way to drum up traffic.

Nobody Could've Predicted

That idiots with no business model would act like idiots with no business model.

I Can't Stop Crying

I feel so bad for these people.

"This is not a great time for anyone to be job hunting, including numerous former political appointees," said Carlos M. Gutierrez, Mr. Bush's commerce secretary. Previously chief executive of cereal maker Kellogg Co., he hopes to run a company again because "I have a lot of energy."

Only 25% to 30% of ex-Bush officials seeking full-time jobs have succeeded, estimated Eric Vautour, a Washington recruiter at Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. That "is much, much worse" than when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton left the White House, he said. At least half those presidents' senior staffers landed employment within a month after the administration ended, Mr. Vautour recalled.

Lunchtime Thread

by Molly Ivors

Took the boy out for lunch after he opened his first bank account. We didn't eat any banks, however.

Deep Thought

I woke up this morning and discovered that Wall Street traders are the underclass.

Your Insane Media

This is what they expect people to pay for?

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Breakfast Thread

Mmm. Banks...


Silver Falls Bank, Silverton, OR gets EATED.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Even More Thread

Waiting for the Vivian Girls.

Friday Night

Out going to see M. Ward. On your own suckers!

Happy Hour Thread


Kinda Dumb

I appreciate that no one, including Gibbs, should be suggesting that nationalization for Citi, etc., is imminent, but anyone who thinks that his discussion of the issue rules it out is a bit dumb. We are going to continue to have a private banking system, and that will be the case after the FDIC likely gobbles up a few banks this evening. It would also be the case if they gobbled up Citi.

"This administration continues to strongly believe that a privately held banking system is the correct way to go, ensuring that they are regulated sufficiently by this government," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday. "That's been our belief for quite some time, and we continue to have that." no one, I mean no one who is in the position to do so.

And Dodd and Schumer

Something tells me the FDIC might have a very big meal soon.

Like Josh (and Schumer) I don't think "nationalization" is the best word to use, but it's also the word that is being used. It isn't about taking over the banking system permanently, it's about wiping out the shareholders, temporarily taking control, and either selling off the assets or selling what's left to another entity.

I see chatter about how it's one thing to do it to some small town bank and another to do it to these large banks. Remember, they did it to Washington Mutual not all that long ago...

Turn The Machines Back On!

CNBC Chyron, discussing speech by Paul Volcker:


In CNBC world all of this somehow seems to be the fault of Obama's mortgage foreclosure amelioration plan, announced a couple of days ago.


If you're a tremendous train geek you can watch this simulation of the Philadelphia train system.

Though it's missing the 101&102 and the 6 trolley lines.

(via Septa Watch)

How Many Banks Will We Nationalize Today?

Once again, it's bank failure Friday, which provides us with an opportunity to restate the somewhat obvious point that the FDIC has been, one way or another, seizing banks and selling them off or taking control quite a bit lately. They aren't doing that because they're commies, they're doing it because they have determined that the banks are insolvent and having a special system to deal with such things makes sense.

Things I Learn On The TeeVee

Larry Kudlow just told me that the Obama mortgage plan "only benefits Freddie and Fannie" which are, you know, wholly owned subsidiaries of the US government.

Mileage Tax

I've written about this before, but just to restate my objections...

The gas tax is already an approximation of a mileage tax. To the extent that it isn't a perfect mileage tax... great! It's also tax on heavy cars, which cause more road damage, and a tax on gas guzzlers, which are, you know, bad.

As for the politics... I don't get why people think that "well, it's politically infeasible to raise the gas tax, but voters will just love it if we set up a costly system to track all of their driving habits and send them a bill for how much they've driven." Just weird.

Newly Common Phrases

"Legacy Loans."

I guess "chunks of big shitpile" isn't family friendly enough.

End Of Days For BoA And Citi?

The all knowing market seems to think so.

Dog Track Follies


Things I Learn From The TeeVee

If Rihanna was a victim of domestic abuse, then she would suffer from the stigma of being a victim and would be remembered for that rather than her recording career.

Please kill me.

Really Stupid Ideas

I really don't know why so many people have broken brains and think taxing mileage using some sort of complicated GPS-based tracking system is preferable from either a policy or political perspective to just raising the damn gas tax.


I don't know, maybe the whole thing was just a fake-out to make sure Bush didn't pardon anyone before they could be investigated.

I wish I believed that.

Not Atrios

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Insert crappy music video here.

Thursday Night Thread


Coatesville is Burning

And hopefully this arrest will make it stop.

A 19-year-old Downingtown man has been arrested and charged with setting nine of the 23 arsons that have terrorized the Coatesville area this year, the Coatesville Arson Task Force announced today.

Roger Leon Barlow Jr., of the 200 block of W. Pennsylvania Avenue, was charged today. Among the fires he is accused of setting is one that destroyed 15 homes Jan. 24 in the 300 block of Fleetwood Street.

...apparently he's confessed to 10 fires.

Things I Learn On TeeVee

Democratic politicians who travel on the government dime are big hypocrites because they criticized CEOs receiving bailout money for flying on company owned corporate jets.

No this makes no sense.

Happy Hour Thread


Politico And Similar

I think all discussions about contemporary journalism are somewhat problematic because news organizations are profit making businesses that also convey the impression that they are important civic institutions that live up to a variety of ethical standards and norms of journalistic responsibility. The thing is, you just have to be a significantly large and important enough organization and you can effectively declare that you embrace these norms without ever being entirely clear about what they are or bothering to try to live up to them. So Politico becomes a serious responsible news outlet simply because it says it is.

Greed is a defense, but it doesn't mean the rest of us have to treat them with any respect.

This Is America

...oops, link disappeared.

You can see here why CNBC is so absurd.

Actually, I Don't Read Any Of Those Things

Unless someone brings something specific to my attention.

Detached Two Story One Bedroom Home

Isn't that a rather strange thing to build?

A Very Hungry FDIC

I guess it's okay to push back on the word "nationalization," as I don't think many people who are using it really imagine that the government is going to start running all the major banks for any length of time.

The FDIC is gobbling up 3 banks per week. The fundamental ways the "big banks" differ are their size and the degree of their political influence. I don't really see how size really matters, so that leaves influence.

If Geithner and the gang really think that putting these institutions in receivership is some sort hideous commie plot, they should call up the FDIC and tell it to stop doing just that.


All the various tentacles of Stanford's empire are being EATED by local authorities.


I appreciate that people get twitchy whenever "entitlement reform" comes up, but I haven't been too worried about the administration's plans in this area. Hope I'm correct!


Watching CNBC allows one to gaze into a parallel universe where the Masters of the Universe didn't just about destroy the country, where people who work in financial institutions are wise and noble and wonderful and not hated by everyone.

Get a clue, people.

Time For Another Blogger Ethics Panel

To me the mystery has long been...just what is the Washington Post Op-Ed page for? Or, more specifically, what does Fred Hiatt think it's for?

Informing readers isn't on the list, obviously.

The Worst Person In The World

Jamie Dimon.

Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, whose bank received $25 billion in bailout funds from the government, refused to tell CNBC anchor Melissa Francis how the bank is performing this quarter.


"I don't think just because someone's underwater they say I don't have to stay there. But they're supposed to pay the mortgage, and we should teach the American people, you're supposed to meet your obligations, not run from them. Because you have a mortgage doesn't mean you should run away as it goes down."

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

Holy crap.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits were a seasonally adjusted 627,000 in the week ended Feb. 14 unchanged from an upwardly revised 627,000 the previous week.

According to department data, new claims hovered close to a 26-year high.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 620,000 new claims versus a previously reported figure of 623,000 the week before.

The number of people remaining on the benefits rolls after drawing an initial week of aid surged 170,000 to 4.987 million in the week ended Feb 7, the most recent week for which the data is available. That was the highest reading on records dating back to 1967.

Morning Thread

by Molly Ivors

What's for breakfast?

Towards the Morning


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Rock on.

Trial Balloons

Sebelius to HHS.

Wednesday Night Thread


Please Remain Calm

This is more observation than criticism, but clicking on the LA Times website you really don't get any sense that California is in seriously deep doo-doo. I'm not saying that no reporter or columnist or op-ed has pointed that fact out, just that it isn't screaming in 48 pt font on the front page.

Evening Thread



They are very stupid things.

Deep Thought

The fact that I don't actually live in Illinois should be no barrier to me being appointed to a Senate seat there.


Roubini and Richardson.

And by the way, if banks want Uncle Sam to buy all those "toxic" assets, the government is now going to do it alongside private capital. These investors aren't going to overpay, so that game is up as well.

Since Mr. Geithner's plan has been unveiled, the stock prices of the financial sector are off about 19%. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The banks were expecting another handout.

While it was not his intention, the reality is that Mr. Geithner is going to confirm the insolvency of the financial system. Once we face this truth, there really isn't much left to do but nationalize.

They're more optimistic than I am about Geithner's ultimate plans. I hope they're correct.

Afternoon Thread


Housing Plan

At first pass it looks ok. Basically it tells Fannie and Freddie to refinance loans they have for certain borrowers at a lower rate, and uses various carrots to encourage other lenders to also do so. I still think bankruptcy cramdowns, which Obama supports but requires Congress to change the law, are necessary and desirable.

Tripling Down On Crazy

California Republicans are all in.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A delicate budget fix crafted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders was on the brink of collapse early Wednesday after Republicans in the Senate ousted their leader. The late-night coup could derail already strained budget talks by requiring them to renegotiate with a new Republican leader.


Republicans replaced Cogdill with Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murietta, whom they saw as more capable of resisting tax increases.

Lazy Day

Because sometimes one should do something other than read the immense amount of stupid that's on the internets.

Uncle Alan

I guess he's capable of being right.

Not Over

Housing starts plunge.

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. builders broke ground in January on the fewest houses on record as a lack of credit and plunging sales exacerbated the worst real-estate slump since the Great Depression.

Housing starts plunged 17 percent last month to an annual rate of 466,000, lower than projected, according to figures from the Commerce Department today in Washington. A report from the Federal Reserve showed industrial output sank in January for the sixth time in seven months.

Happy Birthday!

To atrios. Or so twitter tells me.... confirms.

America: The Ensmartening

J.D. Hayworth makes America look good.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Malkin and Friends

Very cute.

Tuesday Evening Thread

Talk about the weather or something.

Deep Thought

I bet this will be excellent news for Republicans.


Another exciting day at the dog track.

If Only Bloggers Cared About Accuracy

Like those great newspapers.

Geithner's World

I don't know if it took Geithner a long time to realize his plan was a bad idea, or if it just took him a long time to realize that other people knew that it was a bad plan.

Not sure which is better, either.

Sam Seder For MSNBC

Join the Facebook group!


The point in the post below about automobile cost/ownership was not that everyone, no matter what your neighborhood is like, can live without a car. The point is that many people see one car per adult member of housing as an inevitable expense, when in fact in many (not all) places, even pretty automobile-centric ones, you can make choices which can reduce your car dependency. Reducing car dependency is not the same thing as living without a car, it means living in places where a car is less necessary and therefore it's reasonable to consider reducing the number of cars/household. And if you factor in the savings from reducing the number of cars you have your potential location options might expand as you can therefore afford to pay a bit more for rent/mortgage.

For those who perpetually misunderstand, I don't care if you reduce the number of cars you have! I'm for policies (and undoing existing ones) which in various ways reduce car dependency in more places, but live your life however you want!

Can't Make Super Shitpile Work

I'm glad Geithner finally figured that out, although whether he's gotten around to figuring out that there probably isn't any sane way to bail the banksters out is another question.

There was a time when maybe it was reasonable to think that there were at least some liquidity issues with big shitpile, that the assets were actually worth more than the "market" would recognize. But now it's pretty obvious that the financial institutions aren't willing to sell them at market prices because doing so would force them to acknowledge that they're insolvent.

Be An Environmentalist, Move To An Urban Hellhole

This article by Ed Glaeser, who presented some of this stuff at the conference I went to, is worth reading.

Key points: carbon footprints generally lower in cities, though of course carbon footprints depend heavily on local weather. Places with low carbon footprints, such as the San Francisco area, tend to have stringent land use restrictions which restrict environmentally friendly higher density living.

...adding, such places are fairly dense but could be denser is the point.

(via bunch)

While We're On My Favorite Topic

It costs a lot of money to own and operate a car. AAA pegs it at about 7 grand per year (.pdf). That's close to $600 per month. Living in a place where you can reduce the number of cars per household provides significant savings. Minor changes to development patterns which would open up that up as an affordable possibility for more people would be a good thing.

Many people see owning a car as an inevitable expense. It isn't.


Some crazy person in the Phoenix area wants to be able to walk to things.

Phoenix grew into the nation's fifth-largest city through a reliable pattern: Build affordable homes on the metro area's edges, welcome waves of new buyers, and then roads, schools and retail centers follow.

Home buyers relied on that pattern. Buy an affordable home on the edge, watch it quickly appreciate, then sell at a good profit and move again to a bigger home in an established area.


Karen Madison lives in the neighborhood. She shares a car with her husband, who works during the day.

"I feel stranded most days because there's nothing close enough for me to walk to," said Madison, who sometimes walks a few miles, pushing her daughter in a stroller, to fill prescriptions. "We were so excited when we saw the shopping center go up just a few blocks away. But there's nothing there."

This family has violated the "one car per driving age member" rule, presumably because of expense. And it's expensive!

Wanker of the Day

David Rogers.

Deep Thoughts From Bristol Palin

Teen pregnancy is the best thing that ever happened to her and she hopes to devote her life to preventing teen pregnancy.

(she was on the teevee)

Morning Thread

Every village has an idiot -- but what if the entire village is rife with them?

Apparently, their names go into Fred Hiatt's speed dial directory.



Monday, February 16, 2009

Heckuva Job


Reporting from Sacramento -- In an apparent effort to increase pressure on lawmakers negotiating an end to California's fiscal crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is preparing to send pink slips to 20,000 state workers.

Hasta la vista, babies!

Deep Thought

The revolution will not be Twittered.

Your Modern Fiscal Conservatives

Because of the Republicans in California, the state is going to spend a lot of money to shut down public works projects and then, presumably, some time in the future spend a lot of money to start them up again.



Apparently they still can't get 3 Republicans to vote to pass a budget.

Oh well.

Fresh Thread


Nobody Could Have Predicted

That a column which begins by invoking the name of Gregg Easterbrook would end up being utterly full of shit.

Afternoon Thread

Slow day.

Lost the Plot

I didn't think this SNL skit was especially funny, but it was written by someone who gets, more than most pundits, what's going on with the contemporary GOP.


Japan's economy isn't doing very well either.

Locally I haven't really seen signs of downturn, aside from maybe a few more empty retail establishments than usual. Philly usually sort of moves along at its own pace, however, not especially tied to the national economy.

Lying Or Stupid

The endless debate continues.


One point that seems to be largely lost in the discussions about what to do about the banking system is that every week the FDIC is "nationalizing" banks, or more specifically putting them into receivership. This "socialism" is happening regularly. Sometimes the FDIC swoops in and hands off the assets to another bank immediately, sometimes the bank they EATED sits in their belly for awhile. So the question is why, other than the fact that they're very politically connected, the "big" banks like Citi and Bank of AMERICA, are exempt from this standard process.

Deep Thought

I do wish President McCain and Vice President Graham were on my teevee a bit more often.


My brain is empty right now, so have some music I haven't listened to.

[It's so early I didn't even scroll down to make sure that was true, and it isn't.]

Not Atrios

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Late Night

Rock on.

But Cokie's Friends - Real America - Don't Agree

The time is now. (.pdf)

CBS/NYT poll. 49% say gov't health care should cover all medical issues, with an additional 10% saying gov't should handle all emergency health care.

Only 32% say "private enterprise."

Just Say No To Czars

Not sure a panel is necessarily better than one person, but I never did like the One Great Man vision of how to get things done.

DETROIT — The Obama administration has dropped the idea of appointing a “car czar” to oversee the revamping of General Motors and Chrysler and will instead put the politically delicate task in the hands of a presidential panel, a senior administration official with knowledge of the plan said Sunday night.

President Obama is designating the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, and the chairman of the National Economic Council, Lawrence H. Summers, to oversee the group. Mr. Geithner will also supervise the $17.4 billion in loan agreements already in place with G.M. and Chrysler, said the official, who insisted on anonymity.

The official also said that Ron Bloom, a restructuring expert who has advised the labor unions in the troubled steel and airline industries, would be named a senior adviser to Treasury on the auto crisis.

Evening Thread


Raising Home Values

Except for ameliorating the negative externalities caused by foreclosures on neighboring properties, "raising home values" really shouldn't be a policy goal.

The Horror Of The Bush Years

No matter how bad you imagine it to be, it ends up being even worse.

Another Way To Do It

And just what way is that?

The hang-up came in trying to reach the required two-thirds majority in each house, where three Republican votes are needed. The Assembly appeared to have sufficient votes lined up, but the Senate was falling one short.

Debate halted after Republican Sen. Dave Cox told reporters he was against tax increases and would not support the two-year budget fix. Before the Legislature convened on Saturday, it was thought that Cox might have supported the plan.

''You can't help the economy of the state of California by raising taxes. Yes, there's a big deficit. But in the final analysis, you're going to have to find another way to do it,'' Cox said. ''My answer is no, and I'm not looking for additional information. I've made my decision.''

Silly Yglesias

You can only be real reporter if you ask the really important questions. You know, about A-Rod and stuff.

Listening to Newt

That's going to work out so well for Republicans.

Oh Please No

Not Harold Ford. Please.


Mark Zandi was on team McCain during the campaign.

The plan includes tax cuts and government spending worth nearly $800 billion, including about $300 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses; $250 billion in aid to fiscally strapped state and local governments; $150 billion in various kinds of infrastructure spending; and $100 billion in income support for workers who lose jobs. By my calculations, the plan will add more than two million jobs by the end of 2010 to the number that would exist without a stimulus, and the unemployment rate will be more than a full percentage point lower.

Income support and aid to state and local governments will provide quick help to the economy. Without this relief, workers losing jobs have little choice but to immediately slash spending, costing the economy even more jobs. State and local governments struggling with falling tax revenues must in most cases balance their budgets by cutting payrolls and programs and raising taxes, adding to the economy's burdens. Federal help for the unemployed and for state and local governments will thus prevent even worse job losses.

Sunday Bobbleheads

So many Republicans.
ABC's "This Week" — Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Reps. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Peter King, R-N.Y.

CBS' "Face the Nation" — White House spokesman Robert Gibbs; Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

NBC's "Meet the Press" — David Axelrod, senior White House adviser.

CNN's "State of the Union" — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Gibbs.

"Fox News Sunday" _ Axelrod; Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google; Mark Zandi, Moody's

Fresh thread

What does America want? Investigations.

Not Atrios


Steve Simels likes this song.