Saturday, November 24, 2007

More Thread

Have at it.

Saturday Night Thread

On the dark side.

As Predicted

Awesome that Social Security is now a central campaign theme. Given that Obama's now ruling out benefit cuts or the raising of the retirement age that leaves... a tax increase.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

The Associated Press asks:

Have We Seen Worse of Mortgage Crisis?


This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

Afternoon Thread


Bye Asshole

Glenn's right that it's almost always a mistake to perceive the domestic politics of another country as having all that much to do with US politics, but it's also the case that Howard was a tremendous asshole and it's lovely to see him being defeated.

Not Over

It's starting to sink in that the "subprime" mess isn't really just about subprime mortgages and more importantly that the whole mess is just beginning.
While many accounts portray resetting rates as the big factor behind the surge in home-loan defaults and foreclosures this year, that isn't quite the case. Many of the subprime mortgages that have driven up the default rate went bad in their first year or so, well before their interest rate had a chance to go higher. Some of these mortgages went to speculators who planned to flip their houses, others to borrowers who had stretched too far to make their payments, and still others had some element of fraud.

Now the real crest of the reset wave is coming, and that promises more pain for borrowers, lenders and Wall Street. Already, many subprime lenders, who focused on people with poor credit, have gone bust. Big banks and investors who made subprime loans or bought securities backed by them are reporting billions of dollars in losses.

The reset peak will likely add to political pressure to help borrowers who can't afford to pay the higher interest rates. The housing slowdown is emerging as an issue in both the presidential and congressional races for 2008, and the Bush administration is pushing lenders to loosen terms and keep people from losing their homes.

Bye John

Bush's BFF John Howard will no longer be Australia's PM, or apparently even a member of its parliament at all.

Wanker of the Day

Richard Perle.

Morning Thread

Freedom toast, anyone?

French Prosecutors Throw Out Rumsfeld Torture Case.

It was the doll, wasn't it?

--Molly I.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Late Night Thread

Some reading, guaranteed to enhance sleepiness.

This Thread...

is open.


Perhaps Booby Woodward should try the Google.

Such Powers

It's really amazing that small groups of Republicans - sometimes as small as one! - have the powers to stop things from happening in the Senate. Wacky.

The House has passed several major housing-relief measures in recent weeks, but the Senate hasn't passed even one. On the eve of its two-week Thanksgiving recess, the House approved by a bipartisan vote the most sweeping reforms of the national mortgage system in more than two decades. Meanwhile, the Senate stalled legislation that would strengthen the Federal Housing Administration's mortgage programs, a key resource for homeowners who need to refinance out of adjustable-rate loans into more affordable fixed-rate ones.


The bill was blocked from a floor vote on Nov. 15 by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) after a hold by Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.). Dole objects to the FHA's plan to begin pricing mortgages based on credit risk starting in January, whether the reform bill is approved or not. Dole is an ally of the private mortgage insurance industry, which would have to compete with a revived FHA in the low-down-payment segment of the mortgage market.

Wanker of the Day

Ricky Santorum.


It's true that subprime has just become shorthand for "shitty loans" which extend far beyond the actually technical category of "subprime." And, yes, it is a buck passing thing. The whole catastrophe is the fault of bad people.


Over there.

BAGHDAD - Two bombs exploded hours apart Friday in a central Baghdad pet market and a police checkpoint in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing 26 people and wounding dozens, officials said.

The attacks were among the deadliest in recent weeks, underscoring warnings by senior U.S. commanders that extremists still pose a threat to Iraq's fragile security despite a downturn in violence since a U.S.-Iraqi security plan began in mid-February.


I do not think that word means what the New York times thinks it means.


Are you doing your patriotic duty?

Morning Thread

Tryptophan hangovers are the worst.

--Molly I.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Give Thanks For This Thread

Radical Leftist Blogs

Gene Lyons.

Lyons is wrong when he says that liberal blogs are not "extremist," though. Of course they are. Very often they say "fuck," which is tons worse than anything Stalin ever did.


I'm done for the day. Even though it's Thanksgiving, don't hesitate to say "up yours!" to any deserving assholes.


Having been around this block several times, I'm well aware of the racist lunacy of racist Will Saletan's patron saint. But for those who aren't click through for some fun.

But increasingly I just find the response of The Hon. Dr. St. Rev. Bradley S. Rocket, Esq, PhD, MD to be the right one when confronted with this stuff.



DNA pioneer James Watson caused a furor recently after saying Africans were intellectually inferior to Westerners. Farai Chideya talks about why the conversation of race and intelligence persists with Phil Rushton, a professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario.

Like Watson, Rushton says people of African descent have a lower IQ and smaller brain size, which he says is "50 percent genetic and 50 percent cultural."

Rushton is the head of the Pioneer Group, an organization dedicated to the research of intelligence and racial differences.

Memories of Thanksgivings Past

Morning Thread

Happy Turkee Day.


Could our elite chatterers even pretend for about 5 minutes or so that anything actually matters?

I mean, Jeebus, at least Dowd occasionally has an insight (very occasionally). Collins can't write, can't think, has nothing original to say, and most of all wants us to believe that none of this is important at all. It probably isn't important to her, but it is to some of us.

Just go away.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Are Black People Stupid? Opinions Differ

Here's how The Bell Curve was handled on PBS's Newshour back when Andrew Sullivan courageous devoted his magazine, the liberal New Republic, to pushing the idea that black people are stupid. 10-28-94.

MR. MAC NEIL: Let's take a look at another issue that has decided public policy implications and political overtones which has attracted enormous attention this past week after the publication of a book entitled Bell Curve [The Bell Curve, Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray].

MR. MAC NEIL: The thesis advanced by authors Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein in The Bell Curve is that IQ is the best predictor of a person's success in life. If you have an average or above-average IQ, you'll do well. A below average IQ, your chances of success are lower. The book further argues that as the economy becomes more and more sophisticated and technological and, therefore, dependent on educated people, the disparity in incomes between those with high and low IQ's will grow.

CHARLES MURRAY, Author, The Bell Curve: [ABC, "Good Morning America" Clip] There is an important factor in understanding what's been going on in this country, and it's called intelligence. High intelligence at the top, low intelligence at the bottom doesn't explain everything, but you are not going to understand unless you understand the role of this factor.

MR. MAC NEIL: This argument is not new, nor all that controversial. What has landed The Bell Curve on the cover of many magazines and Charles Murray on numerous talk shows is that the book also links IQ with race. On Murray's Bell Curve of IQ scores blacks as a group have an average IQ of 85, whites 100, Asians 105. This is why, the book claims, blacks are disproportionately living in poverty and also more likely to commit crime. While many scientists attribute IQ differences to environment and circumstance, Murray argues it is mostly due to heredity.

CHARLES MURRAY: I don't know of any reputable study that doesn't say that intelligence is at least 40 percent inheritable and no more than 80 percent inheritable. Dick and I talked about that range. Probably it's in the order of 60 percent.

MR. MAC NEIL: While Murray and Herrnstein base their findings on various studies and extensive research, many of the conclusions they draw are fiercely disputed. Even the President of the United States has stated his disagreement with the book's findings.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: [Oct. 21] I have to say I disagree with the proposition that there are inherent racially based differences in the capacity of the American people to reach their full potential. I just don't agree with that. It goes against our entire history and our whole tradition.

MR. MAC NEIL: Given The Bell Curve's thesis that intelligence, in large part, is something one is born with and can't be changed, Murray and Herrnstein argue that the current anti-poverty programs such as "Head Start" and affirmative action are ineffectual and a waste of money.

CHARLES MURRAY: ["The Think Tank" with Ben Wattenberg] What has puzzled the people who work in this area is how extremely hard it is to take the environment, enrich it, and then produce the increases in cognitive functioning that you think you ought to get. It's real tough to improve IQ.

MR. MAC NEIL: Ed Baumeister, what's your reaction to The Bell Curve and all the publicity it's attracted?

MR. BAUMEISTER: It runs across a two-centuries-old idea in this country. Whether the founding fathers were drunk on the enlightenment or not, they said in five words, "All men are created equal." And that's infused our politics from then to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is very expensive but it gives people with disabilities access. Man has always taken the measure of other men, from the cave, when they measured strength or the size of the club, so the measuring is, has always been there, and conclusions based on that measuring have always been there. But when you say that you're founding a country on the notion that despite the measures, all men are created equal, then you've put in place a notion that fights with this species-old habit.

MR. MAC NEIL: Lee Cullum, what's your reaction to all the brouhaha about this?

MS. CULLUM: Well, Robin, I'm afraid it can do some harm. If it's not true, I think we can see people damaged unjustly. If it is true, I don't think that's any help either. It's kind of like eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and you get expelled, of course, from the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Eden of American ideals, which Ed was just talking about. So I would like to introduce another idea that has come to my attention, it's a theory called means, not genes, means. I am told that means are psychological carriers of culture. They are inherited in a way, and they are quite susceptible to evolution, susceptible to mutation, and I think they are carriers of hope. And I just wouldn't want the Murray thesis to extinguish hope, regardless of the truth of it.

MR. MAC NEIL: Erwin Knoll, do you think there's a danger of the Murray thesis extinguishing hope?

MR. KNOLL: No. I don't think it's ever dangerous to advance a thesis and debate it, but I do think we should be mindful of the fact that The Bell Curve isn't really a scientific treatise. It's a political track, and its politics I believe are fundamentally racist. I believe the book serves a purpose for those who want to advance its ideology, and that purpose is to, to blame the disadvantaged for their own plight and to make sure we don't help them with it at all. I think though the assumptions of the book are extremely questionable. Spend an evening watching Congress on C-Span, and you can't possibly accept the notion that America's elite is endowed with high IQ. It just doesn't work that way.

MR. MAC NEIL: Cynthia Tucker.

MS. TUCKER: Well, Robin, I don't think much of The Bell Curve at all. I think Erwin Knoll hit the nail on the head. It's not a scientific treatise. It's a political track. Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein are trafficking in some racist ideas that are at least 100 years old. What is particularly disreputable is that the people who first advanced those ideas may not have known much better. But science has become a lot sharper since then, a lot better. Bimolecular scientists now map genes. Those ideas have been discredited. Those people, and the hard scientists who actually look at genes say that there are very few differences among the races. In fact, the very idea of race, itself, is one that many scientists are being to call into question. So Charles Murray has absolutely no excuse for advancing this point of view.

MR. MAC NEIL: Gerald Warren, what's your view of this, and what impact do you think it's going to have on policy debates about education and other policies?

MR. WARREN: I have no idea whether it is a scientific book or not, Robin. I am told by people whom I admire that Charles Murray is a reputable scientist, a reputable social scientist. I question some of his assumptions as well. I question the doomsday ending to the book. I think -- I think people of goodwill can overcome this IQ difference that is probably quite right, that there is this difference between, between these groups, but we don't, we don't deal with people in terms of groups. We deal with individuals, and that's the way we should be. I do know this. I do know that there are successful experiments where young black children are taken out of at-risk situations, neighborhoods, and put into schools with their parents, and both parents and students go to school at the same time, and the reading ability of these children from age three to age six is enhanced immeasurably. So I think over time, with parental involvement, which was left out of this book, the Head Start kids and the Early Start kids, and these kids I'm talking about have an equal chance.

MR. MAC NEIL: Caroline Brewer, what impact do you think it's going to have on the debates about affirmative action and other, other, and education and other policies?

MS. BREWER: Well, I hope that wise and learned people will rise to the forefront as the conservatives have and denounce this book for everything that it is, and it's simply pseudo science. There's nothing remarkable in this man's work. It's, it's like he has come along and with a fresh coat of paint on a very old house. This stuff has been around for as long as humans have been around, and in our recent times, it's the basis for slavery and oppression all across our land. And it is -- if it were not for the belief by a number of Europeans and Americans that they were racially superior to black people, then we would not have had slavery, and we would not have had oppression. And it is simply necessary that they believe in their own natural superiority in order to justify the oppression and, and the enslavement of black people. And so this is just a continuation of that. I don't see a whole lot that's new in it. I don't see a whole lot that's remarkable about it. And I don't think it takes another scientist to look around the world community and see that it is simply untrue, that it simply cannot be backed up. Right now in Russia, you have a situation where a number of families are falling apart. They are getting involved in crime. There are alcoholics, and that is happening because of the economic conditions in that country. And so for him to say that blacks have a propensity to be involved in these kinds of behavior simply because they are black is absolutely ludicrous, when you can look around the world and see environmental situations that contribute to this kind of behavior.

MR. MAC NEIL: Okay. Well, thank you very much, Cynthia Brewer, ladies and gentlemen.

I Forget Where In the Order He Falls

But Will Saletan, no matter what his genetic code says, has got to be one of the top 10 stupidest fucking guys on the face of the planet. Quoth The Racist Fuckwit:

The lowest black IQ averages in the United States show up in the South, where the rate of genetic blending is lowest.

I really picked the wrong week to stop huffing paint fumes. No link as I have no desire to support a business model centered around the courageous notion that black people are stupid.

How To Explain It

I really can't.

Future Cable News Panel From Hell

Are black people stupid? To discuss this pressing issue, from the left we have Will Saletan, and from the right we have Pat Buchanan.

Thanksgiving Eve Thread


Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Big Media Matt asks:


Because he's a racist fuckwit.

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

...adding, this is at least the 5th time we've had a round of this horseshit since I started blogging. It always attracts numerous commenters who are dumber than dirt - even dumber than Saletan is presenting himself as - who do not understand the words they use but know the Very Deep Truth that black people are stupid. God it pisses me off that mainstream publications think ignorant racism is the hottest thing since the Spice girls, but kudos to all of them for their brave embrace of phrenology.

Evening Thread

Rock on.

Holiday Schedule

Posting will be inconsistent over the next couple of days due to this wonderful holiday which was enacted so that everyone has a chance to gave thanks to their favorite bloggers.


Dow down 211. Another exciting day!

Shorter Joe Klein

If the president orders it then it isn't illegal, and anyone who disagrees is an extremist.

And he's Time's liberal!


Better thread than Fred.

Afternoon Thread

Holiday related errands to run...


LA Times:

Countrywide Financial Corp. survived the first phase of the mortgage meltdown this summer thanks in part to a $2-billion investment from Bank of America.

But the Calabasas-based lender suffered a major new setback Tuesday when mortgage giant Freddie Mac posted a big loss and said it needed new capital -- which could curb Countrywide's ability to make loans.

When the mortgage crisis began last summer, Countrywide said it would cut back making higher-risk loans to concentrate on the safer loans it could sell to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the government-chartered buyers of home loans.

That approach is now looking dicey in the wake of Freddie Mac's surprising $2-billion loss and its announcement that it must raise more capital before its regulator will allow it to step up purchases of loans from lenders such as Countrywide, said Fox-Pitt Kelton analyst Howard Shapiro, who downgraded Countrywide shares.

Keep in mind that Freddie can only scoop up supposedly high quality "conforming loans" which have certain characteristics. They're losing on those loans, and aren't able to continue scooping them up.

Social Security

The Villagers will say anything to try to destroy it.
Ruth Marcus shows two things in her commentary today, "Krugman vs. Krugman". First, she hasn't a clue about Social Security financing. Second, she has no problem at all presenting a distorted picture to rationalize her clueless position.

...more here.

Liquidity Put

Thought we took care of all that.

Investment banks are only now disclosing their real losses, and it echoes the accounting scandal that brought down energy giant Enron Corp. in 2001. Many investment banks sold mortgage bonds with a little-known take-back provision — called a liquidity put — that never appeared on balance sheets. It allowed investors to return the bonds if the market sours. Banks are suddenly writing down the value of their assets to the tune of billions of dollars.

"We thought after Enron that we had put an end to off-balance-sheet financing," said Coffee, who added that even directors of some investment banks were unaware of the take-back provisions. "Just six years after Enron we're seeing some of the same problems surface."

Basically the "liquidity put" involved investment banks taking a piece of the shitpile, offloading it to someone, but then promising to buy it back at a given rate if it tanked in value. Because of the Magic of Modern Accounting, they would do this to take bits of the shitpile off their books, even though it meant that the worst of the shitpile - the stuff which would tank - would inevitably return to their books in the future.


Wanker of the Day

Joe Klein.

Paulson Finally Smells It

Discovers there's a wee problem.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the number of potential U.S. home-loan defaults "will be significantly bigger" in 2008 than in 2007, the Wall Street Journal's online edition reported.

"The nature of the problem will be significantly bigger next year because 2006 (mortgages) had lower underwriting standards, no amortization, and no down payments," Paulson said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, according to an excerpt on the newspaper's Web site.

And the OECD:

"We still have not hit the worst point in resets, delinquencies and ultimate losses on mortgages," the OECD said, adding some $890 billion of sub-prime, or poor credit quality, mortgages will have rates reset in 2008 -- with the peak expected about March.

The OECD said a hypothetical 14 percent loss on subprime mortgages being reset in 2008 could result in $125 billion in losses. If so-called Alt-A mortgages are included, cumulative losses in the $200-$300 billion range "seem feasible," it said.

The peak of the subprime rests is in March, with foreclosures presumably peaking a few months later. But subprime loans aren't the only problem, and there's an additional peak in "option adjustable rates" - many of which were likely written in terms the borrowers have no chance of meeting once teaser rates disappear - in 2010 and 2011.


Local news is helpfully telling me where to spend my money on "black Friday."

Morning Thread

Bush knows from Conservapedia what Democracy means:

President Bush yesterday offered his strongest support of embattled Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, saying the general "hasn't crossed the line" and "truly is somebody who believes in democracy."

Bush spoke nearly three weeks after Musharraf declared emergency rule, sacked members of the Supreme Court and began a roundup of journalists, lawyers and human rights activists.



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Biz of the Biz

I admit I've been having fun following the business news lately in part because it's provided a distraction from the presidential primary, which I hate. But aside from its value as a distraction its been an interesting education. Business news is probably even more absurd than our political news. It's hard to imagine how Fox Business News could get any more bizarrely right wing than CNBC, though that's obviously its aim. That isn't to say there are no good business reporters - of course there are - just that the chatter overwhelms the journalism.

More seriously, I really can't see how Big Shitpile manages to get the roses to bloom. Fun times ahead.

Late Night

Rock on.

Business Proposition

For very tiny fees the LLC I am about to create will insure slices of Big Shitpile.

Fresh Thread



ACA's where Big Shitpile would pretend to shift a big bunch of risk so they could grow their shitpiles ever higher while pretending everything was fine. If ACA goes under, all that risk goes on their books and the shitpile does come a tumbling down.

Politics for Really Stupid People

It had been awhile since I heard from my good friends at Unity 08, but I see that they've given out 123,695 Political Capital points which is a very exciting development. And they came through with a Thanksgiving greeting!

Dear Duncan,

What would Thanksgiving be like if we cooked the same turkey over and over, year after year, and served it bland, tasteless, and downright inedible? Well, it would be kind of like Politics-As-Usual, which has been feeding us that turkey for many years now. It's time to cook up a new way to lead the country, as you well know, and Unity08 has the recipe.

For this 10 Minute Tuesday, we ask you to review the cooking instructions below. Then, visit our web site to download the final ingredient, complete the meal, and bring the whole family together for the good of our country.

For your own health, our meal is pork-barrel and mud-slinging free.


1 package of Our Country (divided)
1/2 teaspoon of American Values (hard work, ingenuity, inspiration)
1/2 teaspoon of New Technology
5 cups of Crucial Issues
1 box of Questions to Ask the Candidates
1 handful of Candidates (formed into teams)
1 Online Convention pressure cooker (the largest you can find)

Boil Politics-As-Usual, pour it out, and start anew.
Combine American Values with New Technology (stir vigorously).
Sift and rank Crucial Issues.
Mull over Questions to Ask the Candidates.
Place Crucial Issues, Questions, and Candidate Teams into Online Convention pressure cooker.
Reduce to Unity Ticket.
Serve hot and complement with election of the next President of the United States.
For the final ingredient, download our sign up form so that when you bring your friends and family to the table they can easily join us. After you've added them to the form, simply follow the instructions to mail it back to us.

It won't be easy to successfully execute the cooking instructions above, but it is absolutely necessary for the good of our country. The timing is right for our new recipe despite those that say that it's too late to impact the coming election. In fact, well-known names have been talking more frequently about the likelihood of another option winning the election. Alan Greenspan, Tom Brokaw, Mario Cuomo, Tom Kean, William Weld, and more have realized that the country is desperate for change.

Unity08 is the new recipe to reunite our country.

The Most Popular Threads on the Internets

Always seem to be the ones where people spend lots of time arguing that black people really are stupid. Been true since I started this blog.

Afternoon thread


Big Movers

Countrywide is down 18%.

Etrade is down 17%.

Fannie Mae is down 25%.

Freddie Mac is down 30%.


Calling It By Its Name

Saletan, like Sullivan, is a racist fuckwit.

Wanker of the Day

Ken Pollock.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have sucked on it but, you know, bygones.


Bob Herbert gives us a taste of what some mortgage lenders were up to. Yes plenty of people snared in the mortgage crisis "should have known better" for a variety of reasons, but plenty were victims of fraud and deception.

I think a fundamental issue here is that culturally we've been trained to see banks as regulated beasts which aren't going to engage in bad behavior. So we trust them more than we'd trust a used car salesman. We're not aware that they can engage in corrupt practices and so we assume they aren't.

Oh well.

...adding, plenty of players in this weren't technically banks, but they were engaged in traditional banking behavior and thus seen by people as banks.

The Tragedy of Iraq

Is that all of the dead brown people are making it a little bit harder to go kill a lot more brown people.


Custody issues.

Authorities were investigating the disappearance Monday of three grandchildren of Southern California Rep. Gary Miller.

The children were reported missing at about 1:30 p.m Monday from their Diamond Bar residence east of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said.

Investigators were looking into whether the children were taken by their "non-custodial mother," said sheriff's spokeswoman Deputy Aura Sierra, referring to a parent without custody rights.



Morning Thread


--Molly I.

Monday, November 19, 2007

And Then?

That really is the unanswered question. I have no idea if the Atlanta area drought issue is acute enough to cause a catastrophic water shortage. But it seems people are at least a wee bit concerned about the possibility. Whether or not they should be I really don't know, but there seems to be enough concern about the issue that the "what if?" question should have an answer.

I haven't seen one.

Later Night

Rock harder.

Fresh Thread

Rock on.

O.C. and the Inland Empire

In Orange County about 20% of properties on the market are considered to be distressed properties, either in foreclosure or a short sale.

And we learn a new word: trash-outs.

Foreclosed homes all over the Inland Empire are turning into what Lisa Carvalho calls "trash-outs" - wooden and stucco carcasses with piles of junk left behind by former tenants.

In the big picture, the Riverside-San Bernardino area ranked No. 3 in the United States on the home-foreclosure chart for metro areas, according to a Wednesday report by RealtyTrac, a real-estate data company in Irvine. There were more than 20,600 foreclosure filings during the third quarter of this year, it stated.

It's partially Carvalho's job to get junk hauled out of these abandoned homes.

"There's usually debris and clothing and beds," said Carvalho, co-owner of Casablanca Associates Inc. in Ontario.

The company, among others, has its hands full cleaning out foreclosures in the San Bernardino and Ontario areas.


The High Desert offers even more interesting tales.

The area is full of tract homes in subdivisions that have stacks of furniture piled inside every room, she said.

"These typically look like they're occupied, but they're not trashed," she said about these homes. "(The owners) just walk away and wash their hands of it."

(via hbb)

Scotty Writes a Book

Big Giant Tool of Corrupt Assholes is the title, I think.

The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself.


CBS news writers vote to authorize strike.

Join the pencils for moguls campaign.

Deep Thought of the Day

The Democratic primary campaign is being portrayed as a contest between Democrats. The Republican primary campaign is being portrayed as a contest against Democrats.


It's nice to actually see the refreshingly honest word "wager" crop up in the business press.

The credit default swaps, or CDS, of Citigroup were quoted at a midpoint of 90 basis points versus a close of 81.5 basis points on Friday, Spink said. This means that a buyer of credit protection would have to pay $90,000 per year for a five-year period to protect against default $10 million of Citigroup bonds.

Bear Stearns Cos.' (BSC) CDS were quoted at 175 basis points, versus a close of 155 basis points Friday; Merrill Lynch & Co.'s (MER) were 15 basis points wider at a midpoint of 142 basis points, and Morgan Stanley's (MS) were 18 wider at 122.5 basis points.

The CDS are privately negotiated contracts that allow investors to wager on a company's creditworthiness.

At the heart of the recent turmoil in financial markets has been the billions of dollars of write-downs by big banks and others due to their exposure to subprime-related investments such as collateralized debt obligations.

The worst, however, isn't over. In a conference call Monday, Goldman said it expected writedowns worth $130 billion in CDOs due to subprime exposure.

Failing Upwards

Paulose leaves US Attorney position for job in Justice Department.

(ht reader e)


Dow falls 218.

More bad news from Big Shitpile.

More bad construction news.

Fresh Thread

I got nothing. Was considering trolling my own blog for fun, but didn't even have that in me.

Maybe He's Not Insane

Certainly one looks at Fred Thompson and doesn't really see someone who wants to be the preznit. Maybe he's really running for Veep.

But generally the sad thing is that literally everyone who really wants to be president right now is basically nuts. That's true generally, and it's extra true now.


Great Orange Satan:

I don't know how many times I've written this, and maybe I'm just wasting my time, but rather than talk about leadership, Obama and Clinton could actually shows us what that leadership looks like by fighting to prevent the Senate from capitulating on Iraq.

The unwillingness of Obama and Clinton to use the soapbox of their campaigns to focus attention - and, gasp, lead! - on anything actually going in on the Senate has been very depressing.

Are There Any Republicans Left?

And another one, Mike Ferguson, takes his ball and goes home.

What're You Going to Say 10 Months From Now?

10 months from now we will still be in Iraq, the war will not be "won," whatever the hell that means, US troops will still be getting killed on a regular basis. And that's the optimistic view.

The idea that Iraq will be a popular success story then is about as absurd as thinking that political advice from conservatives and Republican operatives is given in good faith.

The only hope for Republicans in 2008 is that they can make Iraq a bipartisan disaster, something the Villagers in general are desperate to make happen.

Moles and Time Bombs

If a Democrat actually manages to win the White House in '08, they will certainly face tremendous problems dealing with the personnel and other things left in the wake of the Bush disaster.

Gerth Droppings


Are They This Stupid?

The thing about the perpetual attempts to claim that TEH SCIENCE proves that black people really are stupid is that there are two simple fallacies that they are based on.

The first one is that the "intelligence" tests used in the data actually measure some sort of immutable inherent or potential intelligence when in fact people can be educated to do better on the tests.

The second is that race generally or especially as understood in America bears any relationship to the concept of "population" as understood by geneticists.

That these things have been explained to the Saletans and Sullivans of the world over and over and over and over and over again for decades and they still fail to comprehend them tells us... I really don't know. I have a hard time believing that they really are this stupid.

Goldy No Likey Citi


NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs & Co analysts downgraded Citigroup (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research) to "sell" and said the largest U.S. bank may have to write off $15 billion for debt losses over the next two quarters, and it placed it on "Americas Sell List."

The report by analysts led by William Tanona came shortly after Citigroup's own chief U.S. equity strategist, Tobias Levkovich, upgraded the nation's banking sector to "overweight" from "market weight," calling selling pressure "overdone."

Goldman's projection for a Citigroup write-off compares with the $8 billion to $11 billion that New York-based Citigroup on Nov. 4 said it may need to write off this quarter for a $43 billion CDO exposure tied to subprime mortgages.


Optimistically, we'll be there forever.

Still we must remember that there is a Social Security crisis.

Mr. 9/11

Truly a strange thing to want to be.

Morning thread

Must be good news for Republicans.

And I guess Steny Hoyer prefers the quiet stab in the back.

Not Atrios


So many trolls, so little time.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Someone please tell Andy that the "psychodramas" were, you know, in his psyche.

Evening Thread

Don't fear the reaper.

Suck On This

No video 'cause Youtube killed the clip, but here's the world's most important foreign affairs columnist, from Charlie Rose in 2003.

And I'll be on Seder on Sundays at around 5.

Wanker of the Day

Lord Saletan.

Rudy's Their Guy

Apparently his record is irrelevant until after he's the nominee.

The point is, no matter how you interpret it, Rudy's push-back demands aggressive factual scrutiny. Yet here you have a group at the top of the punditry game -- Russert, Chuck Todd, Ronald Brownstein, Gwenn Ifil, etc. -- and none of them even took a tentative step down that path. These folks are so preoccupied with whether Rudy's pushback will work that there's no mental space left to question whether it's true. The irony, of course, is that this wrongheaded focus makes it more likely that Rudy's pushback will work.

This point was driven home when, in the final downer, one of the assembled pundits says: "If he is the nominee, time will begin again, the morning after. We will begin to explore the New York record, and debate it and discuss it in a way that we haven't so far."

Beautiful Loserdom

I'm not on board with all the Clinton boosterism, but I do agree with Wilentz's take on the absurd post-politics Utopian fantasies.

He also wrote a book about the dirty fucking hippies battling the Villagers throughout history.

War Is the Solution to All of Our Problems

And on and on.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

And on it goes...

By all appearances, Aaron Wider is the chief executive of a flourishing mortgage bank in Garden City, issuing more than $33 million in home loans to buyers across Nassau and Suffolk counties over the past four years.

A closer look at his lending practices, however, reveals that many of these loans relied on faulty appraisals and exaggerated loan applications, leaving behind angry homeowners who are struggling to pay mortgages on overpriced homes.

"I trusted him, I felt like he was an honest person," said Robin Fitzgerald, who negotiated with Wider to pay $805,000 for a home in North Massapequa in 2005 that a later appraisal valued at $545,000. Fitzgerald is now facing foreclosure. "I wasn't familiar with the prices of houses here. I'm a first-time homeowner."

Along with a handful of associates, Wider bought and sold houses and issued mortgages for at least 30 properties, pushing the prices of some homes to as much as $300,000 above similar sales in the area, a Newsday investigation has found. Most of the time, the houses were sold twice on the same day.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — A 60-year anniversary retrospective of the show.


CNN's "Late Edition" — Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto; Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda; Edwards.


Rock on.

Child Stars

Perhaps the worst comment thread in the history of the universe is the one attached to this post.