Saturday, November 03, 2007

So, How'd This Go?

Only $30k or so more to go...


Emily's List comes out to support Donna Edwards.

You can support her too!


Apparently CNN doesn't quite understand it.

The Civilized Investor Class

A bit touchy.

Meredith Whitney, the analyst who prompted a $369 billion (£177 billion) plunge in the value of US shares on Thursday by issuing a negative note on Citigroup, hit out at Wall Street’s culture of intimidation yesterday after receiving several death threats from investors in the bank.

Ms Whitney, a CIBC analyst who is married to the former World Wrestling Entertainment champion Death Mask, prompted a near 7 per cent drop in Citigroup’s shares on Thursday, after suggesting that the bank needed to raise more than $30 billion to restore its capital cushion.


Am I really watching a movie with Christina Ricci and Scott Baio?

Hillary Clinton Has Lady Parts

All of this conversation just serves to reinforce the obvious state of things in this country: white males are the most aggressive practitioners of so-called "identity politics" and always have been.


No one could have predicted that an unelected dictator who took power in a military coup would behave just like that.

The Great Porn Controversy of Aught 7

I think many secular liberals have come to the conclusion that hangups about sex and sexuality are the problem. Whatever negative aspects there are about porn and the porn industry - and of course they exist - they're far outweighed by the fact that so many people are raised with weird hangups about sex. And given the ubiquity of imaging devices these days, suggestions of banning the creation of pornography are almost indistinguishable from suggestions of banning the sex acts themselves.

Time for the Victorian era to end in the US. It really doesn't matter all that much what peoples' genitals are rubbing against.

Media Matters

Clenis obsession edition.

The Villagers are messed up people.


Rock on.

Friday, November 02, 2007


John Dean says we have all been here before.

Update: Partial Drowning Interrogation is a better term for it.

Not Atrios

Bye Chucky

All gone.

Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Charles Prince is planning to resign at a board meeting Sunday, according to people familiar with the situation, as the bank faces big new losses from distressed mortgage assets.

The move would end the four-year tenure of Mr. Prince, a longtime lawyer and loyal lieutenant of former Citigroup chief Sanford Weill, who assembled the financial giant that stands as America's largest bank by assets.

Did I Forget Something?

Oh yes. I forgot to tell you to give all your money to Donna Edwards.

Since we started the fundraiser this week, 256 fine Atriots have contributed about $8500. Overall getting close to $60K, I believe. On track to $100 grand...

Fretting and Caving

Well, Schumer and Feinstein are going to support Mukasey. I never had a strong opinion that the guy should be opposed, but I really don't understand what the point of this elaborate "maybe we'll oppose him" ritual that the senators do. It's like they think they're playing tic tac toe instead of chess.

Citigroup Board to Hold Emergency Meeting

May chuck out CEO, may announce more writedowns (translation: actually admitting worthless assets are worthless).

Afternoon Thread


Merrill Fun



The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into deals Merrill Lynch & Co. undertook to allegedly cloak its vulnerability to risky mortgage debt, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The Journal reported Merrill Lynch struck deals with hedge funds to take certain positions that did not transfer risk, but merely delayed when Merrill Lynch would have to disclose its exposure to that risk.

For example, the Journal said, Merrill engaged a hedge fund to lend a "Merrill-related entity" $1 billion. This normally means the hedge fund would assume the risk of the Merrill-related entity failing to repay debt. However, Merrill guaranteed it would buy the loan a year later. Thus, Merrill assumed the risk without reporting the company's exposure on its own books.

The Journal reported Merrill has been seeking help from hedge funds in shifting as much as $5 billion in bonds backed by mortgages under a "mitigation strategy."

What Ezra Said

Really, this "gender card" stuff is absurd.

Wanker of the Day

Chris Wallace.



None of this is to say that he ought to be confirmed. There very well may be a benefit in finally taking even some kind of a symbolic stand against these radical policies. But if these Senators announcing their opposition to his confirmation were authentic in the convictions they are espousing, they would have been doing -- and will continue to do -- a lot more than simply opposing this single nomination.

It seems that the senators want Mukasey to declare numerous acts of the Bush administration to be violations of law, constitution, and treaty, without taking the next logical step... which is calling for the investigation, prosecution, and imprisonment of those who authorized and committed those illegal violations.

Shell Game

In moments when there's a severe liquidity crisis efforts to delay judgment day make sense, but if you're just sitting on a pile of shit you're just delaying the inevitable...

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Merrill Lynch & Co Inc's credibility is coming under increased attack after an analyst said the biggest brokerage sought to mitigate write-downs by parking subprime-related assets with hedge funds.

Shares of Merrill (MER.N: Quote, Profile , Research), which ousted Chief Executive Stan O'Neal earlier this week, sank to a two-year low on Friday, falling 9.3 percent to $56.44 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares are down 38 percent this year.

Friday's decline came after the Wall Street Journal reported that the brokerage may have used deals with hedge funds to delay losses on billions of dollars in troubled assets.


Clinton does get treated differently because she's a woman, and Obama gets treated differently because he's a black islamofascist. Politics is largely a "boys' club," especially the Tim Russert led media side of it.

Friedman's Just Another Word For Nothing Left to Lose

Clap Hanson, six months ago:

The war will be won or lost, like it or not, fairly or unjustly, in the next six months in Baghdad.

A New Chew Toy

A permanent blogger ethics panel! Go have fun.

Your Liberal Media

Amazing how it works.

As Media Matters for America documented, a November 1 article in the print edition of The Hill newspaper falsely claimed that "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) skipped an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Wednesday [October 31] that she called for earlier this year" and that Clinton "was nowhere to be seen at Wednesday's hearing." The same day, The Hill posted a correction on its website, acknowledging that Clinton had, in fact, "attended and asked questions" at the hearing.

The article, by reporter Alexander Bolton, quoted what it said was a "strong rebuke" of Clinton's absence by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). However, as Media Matters noted, the Inhofe quote was identical to a quote attributed to Inhofe by the Las Vegas Review-Journal on July 26.


And the overs win. +166K new jobs.

Morning Thread

A simile is like a metaphor, you know.
--Molly I.

(Oh, and support the Blackout, even if you're as pale as me.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Because only I, increasingly tempted to refer to myself in the 3rd person, remember.

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution.


Monthly report out tomorrow. I'll take the under (<80K) bet.

...the under is under the supposed "consensus" forecast, which varies from month to month. It's like beating the spread.

Looking for Work

Josh is making a joke here, but it's actually kind of a serious point. It is true that cable news bookers will label you as a generic "[insert party name here] strategist" if they lack any better title to give you. It's pretty absurd. Still, who am I to question the standards and ethics of that noble profession known as "journalism.'

Donna Edwards, Objectively Pro-Kitten

Very important.

Nobody Comes to Visit Anymore

An important bit of context for this:

The number of foreign visitors to the United States has plummeted since the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington because foreigners don't feel welcome, tourism professionals said Thursday.

"Since September 11, 2001, the United States has experienced a 17 percent decline in overseas travel, costing America 94 billion dollars in lost visitor spending, nearly 200,000 jobs and 16 billion dollars in lost tax revenue," the Discover America advocacy campaign said in a statement.

Is that the dollar has declined about 40% with respect to the pound and the euro and the loonie (very rough number).

What They Do

Obviously we all understand why the Speaker of the House raises money for incumbents. It is indeed what they do, and it of course makes sense from their perspective. But the fact that it is the way things are done doesn't actually make it... right.

Rumor is Al Wynn is targeting another innocent kitten... no photos yet, but you know what to do just in case.

Fresh Thread


Foreclosure Issue Resonating

I'm not surprised. Anymore, anyway. I follow this stuff quite a bit and I was shocked a few months back at a presidential candidate forum hosted by ACORN when it seemed like literally every person in attendance was having serious predatory lending/bad mortgage/foreclosure issues. It's a problem for people. They don't know where to turn for help. I know various things are worming their way through Congress but they aren't going fast enough.

Plenty of people getting hit by this should have known better, but for understandable reasons most people didn't previously expect their mortgage brokers to act like corrupt car salesmen.


Market tanking despite all the money being showered from Ben's helicopter.

Will Citigroup go tits up?

Oh Noez

You saved that kitten, but now this kitten has found himself in a financial black hole and will likely lose his house because Al Wynn made it impossible for him to get bankruptcy relief.

Help kittens everywhere.

This is Terrible News for Democrats

It always is.

Save the Kitten, Save the World

If Donna Edwards doesn't get 41 more donors in the next 3 hours, Al Wynn will feed this kitten:

to this dog.


For some reason I find cable business news to be fascinating and therapeutic. Anyway, I just learned that bank stocks are cheap and we should be buying them because "the banks can't all go bad."


Oh My

This could be fun.

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office charged today in a civil lawsuit that the nation's largest mortgage and property services corporation, its home appraisal subsidiary and the nation's largest savings and loan giant conspired to inflate the value of home appraisals, earning higher profits for the bank but leaving homeowners holding potentially risky debt loads.

And the attorney general says his office has the e-mails to prove it.

According to civil court papers filed in New York City, at least 50 e-mails between executives from the mortgage and property services conglomerate, First American Corporation, its wholly owned subsidiary, eAppraiseIT, and Washington Mutual document a "raise the value" scheme.

Bad Democrats

Al Wynn claims that the horrific Bankruptcy Bill is good for you.

Al Wynn is a very bad man.

Donna Edwards is a very good person.

Give all your money to Donna Edwards.

Donna Edwards is kitten approved.

Cowardly Little Boys

Commenter fluffy writes:

TR wasn't masculine for the simple reason that he wasn't a man. He was a boy.

All "national greatness" types are essentially adolescent boys.

That's because they don't really dream of national greatness. They dream of personal greatness, with greatness being defined as being the star of their own comic book. I don't think you can underestimate the impact of the "Buffalo Bill" style popular culture of newspapers and pulp magazines in the second half of the 19th century, and their role in producing Hemingwayesque personalities like TR and, well, like Hemingway himself.

They wanted to grow up and have people write pulp stories about them, like the stories they read about Custer and Wyatt Earp. All of the rest of it is rationalization to that end.

But at least TR and Hemingway actually... did some stuff.

As I wrote before, once upon a time the Glenn Reynolds types wished they were Captain Kirk. Now they wish they could live on the holodeck.

Tiny Penis Syndrome

Sadly it does explain a lot.

Social Security

Josh's take is exactly right. There was something I was going to write the other day but the post got too long so I didn't. It was going to be something like this:

The one reason to "fix" Social Security, that is come up with some long term funding plan which closes the "actuarial gap" until the end of time, is too shut Fred Hiatt and the gang up once and for all. But we'd be naive to think that such a fix would do anything like that. As long as the social security haters argue that the trust fund isn't "real," adding more money to the trust fund does nothing to further that goal.

But, anyway, Josh put it better. So go read the link.

But Why?

People are unhappy.

One year before Election Day 2008, most Americans are dismayed by the country's direction, pessimistic about the Iraq war and anxious about the economy. Two of three disapprove of the job President Bush is doing. Nearly a year after Democrats took control of Congress, three of four Americans say it isn't achieving much, either.

In all, 72% of those surveyed in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Oct. 12-14 say they are dissatisfied with how things are going in the USA while just 26% are satisfied. Not since April have even one-third of Americans been happy with the country's course, the longest national funk in 15 years.

My question isn't meant to be flippant. I don't really think the right answer is easy to tease out of the answers to various poll questions. People aren't happy, and I'm really not sure I have a handle on why. I can't certainly come up with various little reasons, but there seems to be an overriding national narrative which people don't like. I want to know what it is.


Hopefully that coffee finishes brewing soon.

Early Morning Thread

Back to the stuff that is actually scary.

For those of you wanting a link...behold the Iraqi Army in training!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Evening Thread

I'll give you all my Smarties if you give me all your Reese's cups.

--Molly I.

110 Days

All the way to the bottom someone finally asks the question that's been on mind. They say Atlanta may run out of water in 110 days.

`It doesn't seem like people are concerned enough,'' said Mickey Mellen, 31, who tracks the water situation on a blog, ``What happens when we run out? Nobody has a real answer.''

Ahmad, I Missed You So!

I am so happy you walk with Jesus now!

Free Music

Because you need some stuff to listen to while you're sending all of your money to Donna Edwards, the All Songs Considered podcast has free full concerts from The New Pornographers, Bishop Allen, Gogol Bordello, Stars, Rilo Kiley, Spoon, and other fun stuff...


Among the denizens of the fever swamps, there's always quite a bit of enthusiasm for the concept of primaries. So, put your money where your mouth is. Donna Edwards almost won last time. With a bit of help she can win this time.

Color of Change PAC says:

Black Americans have long relied on Black elected officials like Al Wynn to represent their interests in Washington, and far too often, they find those leaders unaccountable and compromised. Al Wynn has repeatedly worked against the interests of his Black constituents, siding instead with big business and the wealthy special interests that fund his campaigns.

Today, we're saying enough is enough. Donna Edwards, Wynn's opponent in the Democratic primary, has been a powerful advocate for policies that benefit the Black community, especially low-income Black folks. She has an excellent record of public service, and we are confident that once in office she will serve her constituents with integrity and accountability.

While Nancy Pelosi holds a fundraiser this weekend in support of one of the least accountable members of the Congressional Black Caucus, we're asking Black folks to stand up, demand better representation, and support Donna Edwards for Congress.

Better Democrats

Look who's raising money for bad Democrat Al Wynn.

That's ok. We can raise money for good Democrat Donna Edwards.

As Stoller says:
Progressive hero Donna Edwards nearly beat Al Wynn in 2006 as a first time candidate running an underfunded campaign, losing by just three points. This cycle, she's going to win. But this is not just another Congressional race, it's about what kind of party the Democrats will be in the majority. Will we continue to knuckle under to lobbyists and the Bush administration? Or will we stand up as proud progressives?

Color of Change, MyDD, Swing State Project, Americablog, Dailykos, Firedoglake, Atrios, and Openleft are coming together in a special project to raise $100k for Donna Edwards for Congress. We want to send a message to the Democratic leaders in Congress, to the corporate lobbyists, and to the Republicans that Congress belongs to the people. Over the next four days, we're going to show you exactly who Nancy Pelosi is raising money for, and we're going to cap it off with Donna blogging at Americablog, Dailykos, and Firedoglake for Saturday afternoon during the Wynn fundraiser.

You can help do your part here.

Not Just Going Forward

Mukasey can't say that any of the barbaric things the Bush administration has done is a crime because it would be his job, as Attorney General, to prosecute them all for having done them.

5 to the Noggin

One funny thing about Fox News is that they have this arbitrary system of imagined rules they apply to other journalists and news outlets but which they themselves feel free to violate.

The Strangest of Holidays

Why oh why are there sculptures of Tim Russert everywhere? I share Paul Waldman's fantasy:

I have a fantasy that at one of these moments, a candidate will say, "You know what, Tim, I'm not going to answer that question. This is serious business. And you, sir, are a disgrace. You have in front of you a group of accomplished, talented leaders, one of whom will in all likelihood be the next president of the United States. You can ask them whatever you want. And you choose to engage in this ridiculous gotcha game, thinking up inane questions you hope will trick us into saying something controversial or stupid. Your fondest hope is that the answer to your question will destroy someone's campaign. You're not a journalist, you're the worst kind of hack, someone whose efforts not only don't contribute to a better informed electorate, they make everyone dumber. So no, I'm not going to stand here and try to come up with the most politically safe Bible verse to cite. Is that the best you can do?"

But we shouldn't hold our breath waiting for a candidate to say that, particularly not to Russert, who stands atop the insider media establishment. And like every skillful and experienced Washington hand, Russert knows that the way to the top is to pretend that for all the Georgetown cocktail parties you attend, for all the money you make, for all your heart flutters when the powerful treat you with deference, in truth you may be in Washington but you're not of it. No, deep down you're just a regular guy from the wrong side of the tracks, standing up to the effete swells of the ruling class.


Never take investment advice from me. Helicopter Ben cut the rate by .25, though judging from the reaction of the stock market, THE STREET was expecting .5.


Judging from a couple of comments, some people seemed to think I was claiming that people like Dowd are somehow representative of their generations. I wasn't. I just was trying to say that their own special form of gender issue weirdness seems very alien to me and I was wondering if it was something specific to a particular generation. I don't mean all people of that generation are like that, just that their very special worldview seems to be of, though not representative of, a different time.

And, to restate, there's obviously plenty of messed up gender stuff from younger people as well, it's just different.


This is exactly right, and they imagine they're the strong ones when they're big losers who get pantsed over and over again.

Blue Dogs actually seem like the most scared people in all of Washington, D.C. as a result of this article. They are afraid of Republican attacks. They are afraid of conservative pundits. They are afraid of their constituents. They are afraid of motions to recommit that are meaningless in terms of actual policy. And they are protected by Emanuel and Hoyer, who seem petrified of all the same things. They seem to all operate in a perpetual state of fear, despite their surface machismo. And yes, it does seem like fear, rather than simply conservative beliefs in this case, because otherwise why would they be in favor of a meaningless procedural motion that has nothing to do with policy? The widespread fear in the tough guy wing of the Democratic Party is one of the great ironies of modern American politics.

Anybody But Teresa Carr Deni

A big problem with judges being elected positions is practically everyone who walks into the voting booth is a low information voter. I have no idea who I should vote for, but I know who I'll vote against.

A city judge who reduced a rape charge to "theft of services" in a case involving a prostitute assaulted at gunpoint was harshly criticized yesterday by the head of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni's handling of the case was an "unforgivable miscarriage of justice," said Jane Leslie Dalton, the bar association's chancellor. "The victim has been brutalized twice in this case: first by the assailants, and now by the court."

Dalton's criticism came just 28 days after the association recommended that voters Tuesday retain Deni for a third six-year term.

Generational Gender Stuff

While messed up gender issues in general terms certainly haven't gone away, am I right to suggest that the specific flavor of fuckedupedness put on display by people like Tweety, Tim Russert, Maureen Dowd, and the rest of that gang is a bit antiquated? When I'm confronted with their various layers of gender weirdness it really seems like some sort of anachronistic parody.

That's not to say I imagine that the younger folk have transcended all of this stuff, just that it at least seems to be different. I find these people bizarre.

Goodnight Ladies

Please remove Maureen Dowd from my New York Times.

And then tase her, bro.

She is a deeply messed up person.


Frankly, the dude managed to get a lot more coverage than he probably "deserved" by any reasonable metric. Early on in the primary contest I think the media should be pretty open to long shot candidates, but at some point either they managed to draw a significant base of support, as measured by donors and polls, or they don't.

I don't think the bar should be set obscenely high, but if you can't manage to rake in a million bucks by this point then you really haven't gotten anywhere.


Aside from everything else, the dude is really weird. Still, given his attachment to Jesus General Petraeus, it's illegal for me to criticize him.

Elite Runners

I really have a hard time comprehending this kind of training.

The runners start their day at 7:30 a.m., meeting at a duck pond beside a packed-dirt trail. Most end up running 120 to 140 miles a week. Brian Sell, the team’s best hope for making the Olympic team, runs 160 miles a week.

The Last Gasp of the Reagan Democrats

It's not too surprising that they're obsessed with the brown hordes. With immigration, as with many issues, Democrats have an opportunity to get out in front and lead or follow the bouncing poll numbers. It's actually possible for good leaders to influence public opinion, and since everyone in this election seems to be obsessed about "leadership" it'd be nice to actually see some.

Tony Harris

Please remove him from my television set.

And then tase him, bro.

Wanker of the Day

Jay Rockefeller.

Heckuva Job, Karen

Nobody could have predicted that her ignorant condescension would piss of the entire world.

WASHINGTON - Karen Hughes, who led efforts to improve the U.S. image abroad and was one of President Bush's last remaining advisers from the close circle of Texas aides, will leave the government at the end of the year, she told The Associated Press.

Hughes said she plans to quit her job as undersecretary of state and return to Texas, although improving the world's view of the United States is a "long-term challenge" that will outlast her.


Will Helicopter Ben really lower rates with 3.9% growth?

Wall Street sez yes! Atrios sez no!

Should probably listen to Wall Street.


Pay up and shut up.

Not Atrios

And Overnight

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Wave them like you just don't care.

Open Thread

Enjoy -- avoid Tweety, if at all possible.

Evening Thread

Off to drink liberally.

No Bruce For You

Clear Channel sends out memo telling stations not to place new Springsteen.

Doesn't need my - or their - help, but in any case.

Fresh Thread


Deep Thought of The Day

Our very serious policy debate is driven by impotent racist old men.

Blog of the Year

Speaking of Time's Blog of the Year, I keep forgetting to bring this one back.

I'm hearing that the White House presented three names in its consultation with Sen. Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committtee. They were Ted Olson, Larry Thompson (the number two man under John Ashcroft), and George Terwilliger. Specter preferred Olson, whom the White House also views very favorably, and he likely will be the nominee.

They Weren't In On It

After years of being an amateur anthropologist studying the ways of Live Villagers In Their Native Habitat, I've concluded that the simplest explanation for their horror at the mighty Clenis was simply that they felt excluded from the party during his presidency.

From 1969 to 1993 there was almost uninterrupted Republican dominance of Washington. And by dominance I don't just mean control of the levers of power, but dominance of the social circle and the village customs. Carter was a brief aberration, and he was treated similarly as some out of town freak.

We've learned that the Villagers don't mind lies as long as they're in on them, don't mind criminal behavior as long as it's done by their pals, and don't mind jawdropping levels of corruption as long as everyone's getting along nicely while munching on quail at David Broder's place. They don't like outsiders, and the Clintons were outsiders.

Some more from Sally:

And then we have Sally Quinn, the self-appointed arbiter of Washington's social scene. Since the White House scandal story broke in mid-January, Quinn has gabbed on the networks and cable channels, passing judgment on the president and hissing at first lady Hillary Rodman Clinton.

"If you consider the life of Bill Clinton," she said on "60 Minutes," "whenever he leaves the White House, he's going to get on a plane, and where is he going to go?"

"What do you mean?" a baffled Mike Wallace asked.

"Well, he -- he doesn't even have a home," she sniffed. "I mean, when you think about it, he's homeless. I mean, they've lived in sort of government properties all their lives."

What Quinn really means is that from her elitist perch, President Clinton is poor white trash -- a homeless, rootless Bubba. No doubt this helps explains why he goes for women with big hair, and it allows Quinn to convince herself that he and Monica did unspeakable things in the Oval Office, even though there is as yet no proof.

But Quinn reveals her truly witchy ways when she talks about the first lady. She paints Hillary Clinton as a sad case, trapped in a lousy marriage, "floundering around in the last couple of years to try to find some project for herself."

Actually, it could be said that Sally Quinn has been floundering around for the last couple of decades, when she failed first as a journalist, then as a novelist, before emerging as a hostess in a Washington society that even she admits is in its death throes. Which brings us to a central question: Who appointed Quinn as the mouthpiece for the permanent Washington establishment, if there is such an animal? A peek into Quinn's motives reveals a hidden political agenda and the venom of a hostess scorned, and ultimately, an aging semi-journalist propped up by a cadre of media buddies, carping at the Clintons because they wouldn't kiss her ring.


All of this reporting and writing prepared Quinn for her true calling: being a hostess and party girl. "She would go to the opening of an envelope," says one socialite. She positioned herself as the Perle Mesta of the 1990s. She reveled in inviting the usual suspects in the political and media world to her Georgetown manse, then leaking gossip from the parties to reporters at the Post. It was a cozy relationship that depended on Quinn's ability to reel in big-name guests, especially the biggest of all, the first couple -- which brings us to the root of Sally's beef with Hillary.

According to society sources, Sally invited Hillary to a luncheon when the Clintons came to town in 1993. Sally stocked her guest list with her best buddies and prepared to usher the first lady into the capital's social whirl. Apparently, Hillary didn't accept. Miffed, Sally wrote a catty piece in the Post about Mrs. Clinton. Hillary made sure that Quinn rarely made it into the White House dinners or social events.

In return, Sally started talking trash about Hillary to her buddies, and her animus became a staple of the social scene. "There's just something about her that pisses people off," Quinn is quoted as saying in a New Yorker article about Hillary.

More Discontinuities

I think some people assume that an inevitable result of lower oil supply/rising oil demand is disruptive supply shortages. Widespread persistent supply disruptions would indeed be a big deal, but they just aren't an inevitable result of peak oil concerns. Arguably political instability caused by the economic pain of higher oil prices could lead to such disruptions, but there's no simple cause and effect there.


I, too, generally get a bit puzzled about Kunstlerish views about the future of America in a world of rising oil prices. Certainly rising oil/gas prices, over time, might impact peoples' behavior in terms of what kind of car they use and how much they use it. Over a longer time horizon high prices might impact to some degree our land use and transit policies, and the relative desirability of certain locations. Obviously high oil/gas prices would cause economic pain for lower income people with a heavy reliance on automobile usage, and potentially tip the economy into a nontrivial recession.

But when I think through how various levels might impact behavior, and I've done informal polling on this blog about it before, it's just hard to see how any realistic scenario leads to the kind of of economic and social Armageddon that some authors predict. Even if there was a major price discontinuity, with gas shooting up to $10/gallon tomorrow, I just don't see the country going through a sudden wrenching overhaul. People would be pissed. Stuff would be more expensive. But I really don't see it in revolutionary terms.

Nothing to Worry About

The impenetrable force field around Georgetown is being constructed as we speak, and so our Village Overlords will survive long after the rest of us are gone.

Chemo Brain

We should remember that Fred Thompson has indolent lymphoma, has received treatment for it, and such treatment can reduce mental acuity. I'm not one who actually thinks that presidential health is all that important, and certainly don't think that such illness/treatment should in any way be a disqualifier. Still, given the attention paid to such things in other people it's a bit odd that no one seems to be discomfited by Fred's illness.


So I just learned on CNN that the State Department offered immunity to the Blackwater guards. That they don't have the power to do it. That they did it anyway. That senior State people didn't sign off on this thing they didn't have the power to do. This thing they didn't have the power to do will inhibit any efforts to prosecute them.

I hope someone at the State Department offers to give me Martha's Vineyard! They may not have the power to do it, but once they do any efforts to take it away from me will be inhibited!

Interest Only

I don't know what the national numbers are, but the proportion of recent loans in California which have been interest only loans (pay only the interest for the first few years, leaving the principal intact) is stunning.

This problem ain't going away no matter what Helicopter Ben does.


Colonel Boylan denies sending the email to Greenwald.

Very hard to believe.

Here's your 'Butterick Pattern'

Make your own sheets.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Arab Spring

Oh God I'd forgotten about this one.

One can only imagine the Republican wrath and utter ridicule—the Rush Limbaugh fulminations—if, say, John Kerry had proposed a similar policy: Let's pin our Middle East hopes on the statesmanship of Hizballah and Hamas. But that is where the democratic idealism of the Bush Doctrine has led us. If the President turns out to be right—and let's hope he is—a century's worth of woolly-headed liberal dreamers will be vindicated. And he will surely deserve that woolliest of all peace prizes, the Nobel.

Social Security Memories

The social security battle was actually a lot of fun, primarily because we (good guys) triumphed against a whole mountain of stupid coming from the elite political class.

Here's just one example of the kind of thing I'm talking about...

There Is No Crisis

I imagine some readers who haven't been hanging around these parts for all that long might have justifiably been puzzled at the reaction to Obama's decision to try to make dealing with Social Security his signature attack on Clinton. It's true that Obama didn't assert that there was some huge crisis. But the fact remains that he put the idea out there that Social Security had a "problem" which needs to be fixed and that any serious presidential candidate needs to address the issue in clear detail.

So what's the big deal?

Beating back George Bush's plan to kill social security was probably the first major victory for the broadly defined netroots movement. I say that not really knowing if things would have been different if blogs and the like didn't exist, but it seemed like a victory. And while we never got together in a dark smoky room to plot our strategy, it basically ended up being a two-pronged one. The first was to beat back against the "social security crisis" frame much beloved by every very serious pundit in Washington. The second was to beat back against the idea that since George Bush had a "plan" (which he never actually did in any form until very near the end of the whole debate) the Democrats needed to have a "plan" of their own. The first part of this is a perpetual game of whack a mole, necessary on just about every day the Washington Post is still publishing. And the second was a very necessary emergency tourniquet which needed to be applied very quickly.

Beating back the steady stream of misinformation about the nonexistent crisis was done throughout the blogs, on Media Matters, etc. And trying to stop the Democrats from coming up with their own crackpot plan was done through a combination of bloggers trying to explain repeatedly that people like social security, they don't want to change it, opposing changing it is a political winner, and most importantly that once the minority party proposes their own plan they've guaranteed that something will happen. And that something would have been very bad. In addition, Josh Marshall especially kept an eager eye out for any wavering Democrat in Congress who decided that his/her awesome social security plan must be unveiled to the grateful public in order to beat them back with phone calls and whatever bad press could be created.

Tt worked. Again, absent blogs it may have played out just like that anyway. Nancy Pelosi realized at some point that the "no plan" plan was indeed the best one, and she likely doesn't spend much of her time looking at my pictures of ponies. In any case, somehow George Bush's social security monster was driven back into its cave and it was done in just the way the liberal blogosphere and netroots more broadly orchestrated it to happen, in a very decentralized way of course. We're not members of any organized political party, remember.

So, anyway, having someone suggest that Social Security is a problem which needs to be dealt with by any serious candidate is like the bat signal for people like me. There is no problem with Social Security. None at all. Whatever broader fiscal time bombs exist have absolutely nothing to do with Social Security. Once you get Fred Hiatt and the gang opining about the need fix that Social Security problem, you've increased the likelihood of something very bad happening.

Evening Thread

Be excellent to each other.

Political Journalism '07

So he like totally dissed her and then she was like "nuh uhhh!" and then he totally said "uh huuhhh!'"

Wanker of the Day

Chris Shays.

Fresh Thread


Anti-Gay Bigots for Social Security Reform

Josh expands a bit on the point I made previously. It's simply wrong to perpetuate the false notion that Social Security is some pressing crisis that needs to be dealt with. There just isn't any need to talk up the issue.

So, Obama's week so far: Fake social security issue, and telling gay people they need to have a "dialogue with" (translation: listen to) people who say that they're killing America's children.

Strange constituency to pursue in the Democratic primary.

...Stoller provides video of the Shrill One.

Arrest John Aravosis

Before he kills more of our nation's children, please.


I can't get quite as excited as the S,N! folks about the civil war in Eliminatia, but it is rather amusing.

The Slate Series I'd Like to See

Is how a three-way with Mickey Kaus and a goat named Cherub transformed Melinda Henneberger forever.

Please make this stuff stop. Somehow. The presidency isn't some celebrity marriage reality show. It like matters and stuff.

The Audacity of Homophobia

I could spend all day unpacking this Obama statement, but I'll try to stick to my usual terse self.

Part of the reason that we have had a faith outreach in our campaigns is precisely because I don't think the LGBT community or the Democratic Party is served by being hermetically sealed from the faith community and not in dialogue with a substantial portion of the electorate, even though we may disagree with them.

Aside from the adoption of right wing frames, this kind of statement is incredibly insulting to both the LGBT community who are apparently "hermetically sealed from the faith community" and to the "faith community" which is apparently defined as nothing more than a bunch of anti-gay bigots. Not to mention the Democratic Party, which apparently includes no actual religious people.

It's really just insulting to everyone, with a touch of "shut the hell up I know best."

One thing you learn very quickly when you blog is that no matter how smart and knowledgeable you are (or imagine yourself to be), some of your readers are going to be smarter than you and literally every one of your readers knows more than you do about something. It's humbling at first, but then quite liberating. The "shut the hell up I know best" stuff is what grates me the most about politicians and other elites in our system because the truth is that quite often... they don't.

The Petraeus Gambit

The point of putting him on the ticket is that our political class has already agreed that it's actually illegal to criticize him or anything his magic fingers have touched and turned to gold. Pretty much takes Iraq off the table for the election.

Well played, Demcorats.

Nod and Wink

A fascinating thing about Democratic politics is that progressive activists, especially those in marginalized groups, are expected sit down and shut up and take it because they're supposed to be smart enough to know that nods and winks to bigots are just crass political maneuvers that candidates make to court votes.


Thanks for all of this, oh wise men of Washington.

BAGHDAD, Oct. 29 — A suicide bomber on a bicycle killed 28 policemen in Baquba today as they prepared to do their morning training routine, Iraqi authorities said. The blast also wounded 20 other people, including seven policemen who were severely injured, and a woman and her baby, the authorities said.

Values Voters

The paragon value seems to be the abuse and suffering of other people.

Shame us atheists aren't capable of morality.

Courting the Bigots

This is just gross.

Are There No Republicans Left?

Unless he becomes president, we won't have Tom Tancredo to kick around anymore.

Maybe Tom, Michelle, and Lou Dobbs can travel around the country for "HATEFEST '08!!!"

Props for Car Share

In the Inqy:

In the five years since that meeting, the nonprofit they founded has grown from a spindly legged foal of an idea to a racehorse of a business, generating $10 million a year. The revenue pays for a small staff, the purchase and maintenance of the fleet, expansion and, when possible, a reduction in rates.

This month, the 30,000th member signed on, making Philly CarShare one of the most successful, fastest-growing programs of its kind in this country.

The five founders did it by digging into their own savings. They applied for a grant, flew to California to see how San Francisco ran its program, wrote up a membership contract, installed a software program, leased a Prius and a Toyota station wagon, and - on Nov. 7, 2002 - opened for business.


Word spread. After the first year, there were 570 members and 13 cars. They negotiated with community associations, the city and businesses, and either rented or were given designated parking where the cars could "live." The Union League, Whole Foods and the Parking Authority gave them space. In Queen Village, someone donated a driveway.

At its hip new offices at Ninth and Sansom, a white-haired woman is asking the receptionist how to sign up.

"I happen to be 69 years old. Do I need a doctor's note?"


In 2004, it awarded Philly CarShare a contract that allows multiple departments to share cars, and then frees them up at night and on weekends for use by city residents.

As a result, Philadelphia was able to sell off 329 vehicles. Since the program started, the estimated saving in lower insurance costs, less use, and less abuse is $6 million, according to Jeff Friedman, a consultant for the city's Office of Fleet Management.

"Independent Democrat"

Before Joe Lieberman, there was Lyndon LaRouche.



Ooops, someone forgot to tell Chris Dodd that Bush was breaking the law before 9/11 (and wasn't the least bit interested in terrorism).

Not Atrios


Rock on.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Studs Speak

You listen.

And Fred Hiatt can blow steve simels.

Evening Thread

Have fun.


Dollar sinking.

The dollar fell as low as $1.4426 per euro, the weakest since the introduction of the 13-nation common currency in 1999, before trading at $1.4420 as of 6:29 a.m. in Tokyo from $1.4393 in late New York on Oct. 26. It may drop as low as $1.4530 this week, Gibbs said.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

That this will end in a black hole of corruption, hardship, and misery. Ahmad, I have missed you!

BAGHDAD-Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial, ubiquitous Iraqi politician and one-time Bush administration favorite, has re-emerged as a central figure in the latest U.S. strategy for Iraq.

His latest job: To press Iraq's central government to use early security gains from the surge to deliver better electricity, health, education and local security services to Baghdad neighborhoods. That's the next phase of the surge plan. Until now, the U.S. military, various militias, insurgents and some U.S. backed groups have provided those services without great success.

That the U.S. and Iraqi officials are again turning to Chalabi, this time to restore life to Baghdad neighborhoods, speaks to his resiliency in this nascent government. It's also, some say, his latest effort to promote himself as a true national advocate for everyday Iraqis.

Chalabi "is an important part of the process," said Col. Steven Boylan, Petraeus' spokesman. "He has a lot of energy."

Interesting Ideas, Wrong Numbers, Tone That Makes Me Want to Eat Glass

Aside from Dean Baker's criticism, I find I can't stand reading the unsigned NYT editorials because even when I agree with them their default tone is that of the archetypal elderly schoolmarm lecturing all of us children about the proper path through life, which inevitably includes deference to our elite overlords.


Shows Sitting On My Tivo

Nice thing about a Tivo with a big hard drive is you can tell it to record episodes of new shows and you can delay watching them until you figure out if a) the show will avoid being cancelled and b) it's worth watching.

Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Chuck, Journeyman. Any good?

The Case of the Ambiguous Colonel

This whole exchange is pretty fascinating. I really don't think any reasonable person can, given the evidence, conclude anything other than the Colonel tried to weasel out of ownership of an email he did in fact send, but...


Over there.

(AP) BAGHDAD Iraqi police say 10 sheiks allied against Al Qaeda have been kidnapped.

The group was made up of both Sunni and Shiite tribal leaders. Police say they were traveling home to Diyala province after a meeting with a government official in Baghdad to discuss coordinating efforts against Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Facts Are Stupid Things


Just a few months ago, the one-time front-runner for the GOP nomination had hit rock bottom, with financial, political and organizational problems so severe that many in the world of politics had written him off.


Initially considered the clear front-runner for the GOP nomination, McCain is now behind in national polls, and trails in the early primary states as well.

I suppose it all depends on how we define "initially," "considered," "clear," and "front-runner" but the idea that McCain was ever the clear front-runner anywhere but in the NBC green room and the Georgetown cocktail weenie circuit is a bit of a stretch.

Looking at national polls one has to go all the way back to 2006 to find polls which show McCain in first place - and then we're basically talking about ties with Giuliani. You have to go all the way back to 2005 to get polls which really show him out in front of a hypothetical matchup which includes people like Condi Rice.

McCain's never done well in Iowa, which is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVAH except when it interferes with the script, and even in New Hampshire he'd been swapping spots with Rudy! until the Mittster took the lead.


Glenn gets a truly creepy email from Col. Steven A. Boylan.

It's obviously designed to intimidate, and would probably work on some.

The War Against Bathub Gin

Frederick of Hollywood's early days:

But a review of the 88 criminal cases Thompson handled at the U.S. attorney's office in Nashville, from 1969 to 1972, reveals a different and more human portrait -- that of a young lawyer learning the ropes on routine cases involving gambling, mail theft and, in one instance, talking dirty on CB radio.

There were a few bank robbers and counterfeiters. But more than anything, Thompson took on the state's moonshiners and a local culture, rooted in Tennessee's hills and hollows, that celebrated the independent whiskey maker's battle against the government's revenue agents.

Twenty-seven of his cases involved moonshining -- more than any other crime.

"Hell, I made whiskey and was violating the law, but I didn't do nothing wrong," said one of Thompson's many moonshining defendants, Kenneth Whitehead. "I would do it again if I had a still. I can't afford a still now."

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.


CNN's "Late Edition" — Nabi Sensoy, Turkish ambassador; Mohamed ElBaradei, International Atomic Energy Agency chief; Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Trent Lott, R-Miss.; former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.

Word association





Not Atrios