Saturday, August 28, 2010


Saturday Evening Thread

Rock on

People With No Income Get Cranky

The deficit can poll badly, but "no jobs" polls even worse.

Keep Talking

Halibut procured, charcoal purchased, fresh torillas from the tortilleria soon.

More Thread

Had colonialism's greatest legacy, the bánh mì, for lunch.

Boring Blogging Day

Weather is nice and I'm not really up for Glenn Beck day.

I'm sure you can go read some of the many fine blogs which can be found on the left of your screen.


I guess it's Beck day. I'll probably go outside and play.

Good morning, campers!

I think I probably laughed out loud when I saw this one.

Not Atrios

Late Night

Rock on.

Friday, August 27, 2010

More Thread

Have fun.

Evening Thread

AND Friday Cat Blogging


I've long said that if the economy fails to turn around, a big reason will be the administration's failure to adequately deal with the housing and foreclosure crisis.

Time to hope that someone decides he needs some new advisers. If only they'd listened to me and backed cramdown....*

*They did in theory but made no effort

Inflation Was Actually Kinda Awesome For A Lot Of People

I've never seen a study, but while the 70s had some economic problems, for large numbers of homeowners inflation eroded the value of their mortgages tremendously. If wages keep up - and that's an if of course - higher than expected inflation is pretty awesome for people with nominally denominated deb and bad for those who lent the money, which is why banksters and their pals at the Fed really really hate inflation.

Afternoon Thread


Progressive Price Indexing Is Really Bad

Someone please forward this to Earl Blumenauer's office.

The Danger Of Appointing GOP Daddies

I can understand why Obama reappointed Bernanke given the circumstances. I also hope people start acknowledging that it was a mistake.

Stay Classy

The greatest senator a few weeks ago.

Some things never change: Birds fly, waves pound the sand and cranky old men complain that everything was better in their own day.

Today's entrant is Jim Bunning who was, of course, a starting pitcher for 17 big-league seasons before becoming a Republican Senator from Kentucky. A reporter from Politico asked Bunning for his thoughts about Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg missing his start on Tuesday with shoulder soreness. Bunning grabbed his arm with a fake exclamation of pain and then decided to question Strasburg's manhood.

"Five-hundred twenty starts, I never refused the ball," Bunning said. "What a joke!"

What a joke.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced this morning that pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg will probably require "Tommy John" elbow ligament replacement surgery.

12-18 months recovery...

Though It Ultimately Was A Mistake

Obsessing too much about possible Republican attacks about "wasteful" spending has crippled some spending initiatives in the stimulus.

And the economy is where it is now.

Oh Well

So much for that.

U.S. economic growth slowed more sharply than initially thought in the second quarter, held back by the largest increase in imports in 26 years, a government report showed on Friday.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 1.6 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said, instead of the 2.4 percent pace it had estimated last month.

We're The Greatest Nation In The History Of The Universe

But some things are just too expensive.
SAN DIEGO — Fire departments around the nation are cutting jobs, closing firehouses and increasingly resorting to “rolling brownouts” in which they shut different fire companies on different days as the economic downturn forces many cities and towns to make deep cuts that are slowing their responses to fires and other emergencies.

Philadelphia began rolling brownouts this month, joining cities from Baltimore to Sacramento that now shut some units every day. San Jose, Calif., laid off 49 firefighters last month. And Lawrence, Mass., north of Boston, has laid off firefighters and shut down half of its six firehouses, forcing the city to rely on help from neighboring departments each time a fire goes to a second alarm

Morning Thread

Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day, weather wise. So there's that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shorter NYT

Hatred of deficit spending when done by Democrats has distracted Republicans who normally spend lots of time hating gay people.

Evening Thread

Rock on.

Even More Thread

Talk amongst yourselves.

Afternoon Thread


For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) called on President Obama to fire former Senator Alan Simpson from his position as Co-Chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in light of Simpson’s recent remarks regarding Social Security. Nadler issued the following statement:

“We cannot trust the integrity of any product or recommendations of the Commission as long as former Senator Simpson is the Chairman. His insulting and outrageous comments reveal his own mistaken belief that Social Security is a) in crisis, b) about to collapse, and c) contributes to the deficit. None of this is true. In fact, the Social Security Trust Fund has a $2.5 trillion dollar surplus, and it will be able to pay 100 percent of benefits through 2037, according to the Social Security Board of Trustees. What’s more, Social Security has not contributed at all to the federal deficit. It is well known that Simpson has tried time and again over the years to raise the retirement age and cut Social Security benefits, and he makes no attempt to disguise his goals and attitude toward Social Security in his most recent comments.

“Furthermore, Simpson demonstrated a total disrespect for women and an unjustifiably contemptuous attitude toward Ashley Carson, Executive Director of the Older Women’s League. His comments were offensive, ignorant, and misleading, and he should be fired immediately.”

Though, admittedly, Simpson isn't the problem. The whole crew is.

Current Governor Haley Barbour Taking Paid Speaking Gigs

Speaking fees. Right.

Crazy even for Republicans.

Glenn Beck Has A Fever Dream

One would have thought that trying to appropriate the civil rights movement and the legacy of MLK, facts be damned, would be problematic. I guess not.


Whatever you think the feds should have done (or not) to help homeowners, what happened is that they set up and endorsed a predatory lending program which has ended up completely screwing people. It's unconscionable.

Base Motivation

Doing it wrong.


The slightly interesting thing Beck is that he appears to be an insane megalomanic who is self-aware enough to be aware of that fact. It's what allows him to be a huckster clown on top of it.

Not Over

Treasury's predatory lending program did not solve the crisis.
The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process declined last quarter to 4.57 percent from 4.63 percent in the first quarter, partially because of lender efforts to ease payments for homeowners and the impact of temporary home purchase tax credits, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in its quarterly delinquency report.

Foreclosures could head higher in coming months, however, as the percentage of borrowers at least one payment behind resumed its rise after easing late last year, the MBA said.

Campaign And The Economy

Judging by all the emails I get from various campaigns and party organizations, the Dem plan for the campaign is to run against social security privatization and then come December vote to cut benefits and raise the retirement age.

As for what they should actually be doing, I'm rather skeptical that there's much that monetary policy can do though that doesn't mean I think it can do nothing. As a matter of politics one would think, as dday says, they should unite around an awesome jobs bill and run with it whether or not President Snowe blesses it.

Though, probably, they think if we give the economy another F.U. everything will be ok. They might be right. But 6 months is a long time...

Silly Krugman

Our capitalist overlords are simply going Galt to protest the coming nationalization of all of the means of production.

Or something.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

473K new lucky duckies.

Still high.

310 Million Tits

No wonder there is so much suckage in the world. Thanks Mr. Simpson for clearing that up for us.

Good Morning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Night

My local sports franchise was not triumphant in its sporting competition.

Evening Thread


Next Steps

Nothing new here yet....

VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass., Aug 25 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama held a conference call with top economic advisers on Wednesday to discuss newly released grim data that has raised fears the economy is at risk of a new downturn.


"The economic team provided an update on the next steps to keep the economy growing, including assistance to small businesses and the extension of tax cuts to the middle class," it said.

Happy Hour Thread


Along Those Lines

Plenty of Dems feel completely comfortable running against Obama and other Dems from the right, as is always the case, and I'm sure the DCCC will help many of them do it. But my question is whether any of them will run against the administration from the left, even on something as basic as 'the economy.'

I Feel Your Pain

Curious if anyone has noticed many Democratic politicians running on the economy? As in, it sucks and we need to do something about it.

Deep Thought

I'm so old I can remember when the running of primary challenges against incumbent senators bordered on treason.

High Broderism

It is ultimately about a desire for a not very competent technocracy run by the people you find to be pleasant when you dine at their table on quail. Paying too much attention to politics over the years as certainly made me cynical about a lot of things, but I don't think I've ever lost my respect for the idea that democracy requires the consent of the governed, even if the masses are often seriously ill-informed.

Lunch Thread


Also, The Tooth Fairy

I suppose we'll never know, but it'd be nice to know who in the administration decided they needed to cower to the nonexistent demands of "the market" and start making noises about the need for deficit reduction. And it'd be nice to know why that person still has a job.

So Surprising

Existing New home sales unexpectedly at 276K, down 12.4%, surprisingly analysts who expected them to increase (!!) to 330,000.

So Surprising

So very surprising.

New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods excluding transportation equipment posted their largest decline in 1-1/2 years in July while overall booking rose far less than expected, pointing to a slowdown in manufacturing.


The Commerce Department said durable goods orders excluding transportation dropped 3.8 percent—the biggest fall since January 2009—after rising 0.2 percent in June. Overall orders rose 0.3 percent following a revised 0.1 percent fall in June.


Anything interesting happen in yesterday's primaries?



Tuesday, August 24, 2010


During the Katrina disaster, victims were perceived as criminal vermin by media, law enforcement, and the military. It was never quite clear how starving people would get very far swimming down the road with big screen TVs, but for a time that concern was seen as more important than people simply trying to eat or drink fresh water.

Tuesday Night


Wanker of the Day

Andrew Malcolm.


Not really, of course, but people had made convincing case that that the housing numbers were going to be much much worse than expected. And they were!

Bringing In The Bucks

An energy innovation hub at the Navy Yard sounds cool. You know what else would be innovative? Extending the subway to the Navy Yard.

Perhaps You Should Start Listening To Some New People

Krugman reminds us of that crucial misstep, when the administration economic advisers were spooked by sasquatch invisible bond vigilantes and pivoted from stimulus to CUT SPENDING OR WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

Maybe some people should recognize that they suck and should retire. Maybe before the election?

Shovel Ready

Yes I'm sure that if the government tried hard enough, they could borrow a bunch of money at 2.5% and figure out some crazy ways to spend it.

Kick Their Ass And Take Their Gas

We should probably just put Pete Peterson and T. Boone Pickens in charge of everything and the rest of us can get back to our lives..

They Ran The World

One of the incredibly frustrating things during the Bush years was that people who were incompetent buffoons at best and transparently evil liars at worst were treated as Very Serious People.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

And on and on...

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes dropped more steeply than expected in July to their lowest pace in 15 years, an industry group said Tuesday, implying further loss of momentum in the economic recovery.

The National Association of Realtors said sales dropped a record 27.2 percent from June to an annual rate of 3.83 million units, the lowest level since May 1995. June's sales pace was revised down to a 5.26 million-unit pace.

The expectation was 4.7 million.

Beware Of The Bond Vigilantes

10-year Treasury at 2.51. As I keep saying, at rates this low it's a crime not to borrow crazy amounts and spend it on SUPERTRAINS and fixing bridges and whatnot.

Only A Stock Market Crash Can Save Us Now

I'm guessing the same people who think the cure for a recession is a long spell of mass unemployment don't actually think that a falling stock market is a good idea. Labor should feel the hangover, but not the mighty capitalists with their Galtian splendor.

No I don't really want any bad news, but some kinds of bad news might spur some action. The kind of bad news that doesn't spur action? 15.6% unemployment among African-Americans.

Decades Of Crazy Right Wingers Appointing Crazier Right Wingers

I don't know, but likely that's the untold story of the Fed.

But they're all very serious people!


Listening to Digby on Virtually Speaking. She has a wonderful radio voice. Also, what Digby said.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Evening Thread

Music suggestion by Mr. Derbes

More Thread

All blogged out.

Afternoon Thread



Like Felix, I actually do doubt (maybe I'm just naive) that people at Treasury wrote down a plan to deliberately screw over lots of desperate homeowners. However, that's their message, not mine. When confronted with a choice between "you guys fucked up" and "you guys are complete and total assholes" they went for option 2.

Any Given Sunday

It's incredible that years later reporters either pretend or misremember that Bush had awesome church attendance habits. But mostly this conversation is dumb, as there's a very simple reason why even the most devout church loving president would decide to skip church: it would be incredibly disruptive for any congregation to have to deal with all of that. So a president would have to find a church that fit him, and one which the Secret Service could approve of, and one which was ok with having snipers on the roof and in the corners every week. It's possible. Bill Clinton did it. But it's obviously problematic.

Their Baby

The reason I focus on HAMP is that it is entirely the administration's baby. They didn't need to get President Snowe or Lord High Everything Else Baucus on board, or reassure Vice President Lieberman that hippies would hate it sufficiently. They used TARP money, and it was the main portion of the TARP funds that were supposed to be used to help people instead of banksters. They could have done just about anything with the allocated funds, and instead they barely even spent any of them. I actually don't believe this was their initial intention, but it's the line that they themselves are running with in declaring victory so who am I to disagree.


We're here from the government, and we're here to screw you.

No They Are Cruel People

Truly awful people.

The conversation next turned to housing and HAMP. On HAMP, officials were surprisingly candid. The program has gotten a lot of bad press in terms of its Kafka-esque qualification process and its limited success in generating mortgage modifications under which families become able and willing to pay their debt. Officials pointed out that what may have been an agonizing process for individuals was a useful palliative for the system as a whole. Even if most HAMP applicants ultimately default, the program prevented an outbreak of foreclosures exactly when the system could have handled it least. There were murmurs among the bloggers of “extend and pretend”, but I don’t think that’s quite right. This was extend-and-don’t-even-bother-to-pretend. The program was successful in the sense that it kept the patient alive until it had begun to heal. And the patient of this metaphor was not a struggling homeowner, but the financial system, a.k.a. the banks. Policymakers openly judged HAMP to be a qualified success because it helped banks muddle through what might have been a fatal shock. I believe these policymakers conflate, in full sincerity, incumbent financial institutions with “the system”, “the economy”, and “ordinary Americans”. Treasury officials are not cruel people. I’m sure they would have preferred if the program had worked out better for homeowners as well. But they have larger concerns, and from their perspective, HAMP has helped to address those.

Conning homeowners by announcing a government program designed to help them when in fact it was designed to help the banksters is, in my world, "cruel."

Extend And Pretend

So the jerks at Treasury have basically decided that as long as the banksters are doing good everything is fine.

Sadly, they'll probably find out soon that unless the rest of us are doing fine, the banskters are still in trouble.


The post-war boom in single-family residential housing, fueled by a complex collection of subsidies, was a huge boon to a couple of generations. But if you are under 55 or so, it is not turning out so well.

Sunday, August 22, 2010



Virtually Speaking

Tonight's guests are Digby and Jay Ackroyd, listen now (8:00 PM Eastern) or later at the link.

Not Atrios

Afternoon Thread

Rain delay

Still Hot

Even after a major thunderstorm.

Someone's Gotta Go To Disney World

There's this weird disconnect in our discourse, where it's expected that people take plane trips, fill hotel rooms, go fill the seats in the local steak house, etc... but that anyone who does such things is spending on unnecessary luxuries.

Kids Today Suck

And it's their fault they don't graduate college debt free and find instant meaningful employment with affordable health insurance.

Where We Are

As Stan Collender says, elites demanded we listened to the bond market up until the point when the bond market started to send a different message, at which point it was "LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU MUST DESTROY LIVES OF MORE PEOPLE LA LA LA".

Nobody Could Have Predicted

It'd be one thing if austerity was truly the only way forward, but austerity was pushed by elites as a way of actually helping these economies to convince them to bail out their creditors.

Sunday Bobbleheads

This Week has Karzai and some people to talk about the not mosque.

Face the Nation has Odierno and Attorney General Graham.

Meet the Press (is this a joke?) has McConnell, Armey, Granholm, Katty Kay, Paul Gigot, Jeffrey Goldberg, and Rick Lazio.

Document the atrocities!



The public and CFR members generally see the world as more dangerous for the United States since the Cold War ended two decades ago. And majorities in both groups say the danger of an attack on the United States with a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon is greater now than a decade ago.

More Detail:

This is insane. Utterly delusional. A demonstration of the power of propaganda even in a society with very open communication systems. The survey itself exhibits the propaganda bias; "No major threat exists" is apparently not a choice.

The only threat that remotely compares to a country aiming thousands of nuclear weapons at US population centers, set to launch on command, is climate change. In some ways it is more insidious because it requires a government looking at generational timeframes. But, c'mon. Pakistani instability poses a threat to the US? 85% of the Serious People say so.

And, wonderin' aloud, the threat from Pakistan is that it will launch an attack against India, right? And the Iran threat involves attacking its neighbors. So, why is Israel, not an NPT signatory, not on this list?