Saturday, January 19, 2008

Late Night Thread


Joke Line is a hero in his own mind.

And beside all that, he wrote Primary Colors.

Not Atrios

The Dream is Over

Duncan... Hunter is dropping out.

Evening Thread

On your own tonight. Got some bunnies to boil.'s a shot of Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann anchoring MSNBC's election coverage.

NBC Calls Nevada For Clinton

Schmidt calls South Carolina for Tancredo.

...project 38 delegates for Clinton, 37 for Obama...

Deep Thought

The result in Nevada is excellent news for Rudy Giuliani.

...MSNBC just said that their entrance polls - showing big Clinton win - didn't include the strip locations. FYI

Media Matters

Because I accidentally linked to the wrong one this morning.

Deep Thought

There are several viable Republican candidates, despite the fact that many of them haven't won anything, but only two viable Democratic ones.

Delegate Strategy

It's amazing the degree to which the actual mechanics of winning the primary contests are ignored in favor of how various outcomes impact press narratives that the press is somehow powerless to control.


Romney wins Nevada, unsurprisingly. Onward to South Carolina!

Apparently There Are Some Elections Today

Go Huckabee!

Saint Petraeus

The absurdity of everything continues. It's just impossible for common sense and facts to penetrate our contemporary discourse anymore. I have no idea whether weapons are coming from Iran - whether from inside its borders or as some sort of organized plot by the Iranian state or elements of it - but this notion that any IED which is an EFP comes from Iran, which is how Saint Petraeus and his press stenographers portray it, is just flat out false. But he's Joe Klein's source, so we know he wouldn't lie. Just like Pete Hoekstra.

"During the first half of January there were as many IEDs (improvised explosive devices) as there were in all of December," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters aboard a plane after a visit in Charleston, South Carolina.

Gates' military adviser, Peter Chiarelli, said later the secretary was actually referring to explosively formed penetrators (EFPs), which US officials say Iran has been supplying to insurgents in Iraq.

General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in Iraq, said Wednesday that EFP attacks had dropped in recent months but increased at the start of January.

"The signature attacks that employ Iranian-provided weapons have decreased substantially," he told a small group of reporters accompanying him on his visit to the Iraq-Iran border post at Zurbitiyah.

"Signature attacks." Because those stupid Arabs who until recently had Weapons of Mass Destruction which were an existential threat to the United States couldn't possibly make these bombs. Only the wily Persians could, as directed to by their leader Mullah Hitler VI.

Except, you know, not.

Bleichwehl said troops, facing scattered resistance, discovered a factory that produced "explosively formed penetrators" (EFPs), a particularly deadly type of explosive that can destroy a main battle tank and several weapons caches.

Still if someone's killed by a bomb that's Al Qaeda. And if it's a "special" bomb it's Sunni Al Qaeda being armed by Shia Iran, because al Qaeda, the Greatest Enemy Ever, can't make bombs and has to get tem from Shiites who are happy to supply them with bombs that AQ uses to kill Shiites. If none of this makes any sense it's because none of this makes any fucking sense. All hail Saint Petraeus!


Over there.

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Members of an obscure messianic cult fought pitched battles Friday with Iraqi security forces in two southern cities, leaving at least 80 people dead, injuring scores and spreading panic among worshipers marking Shiite Islam's holiest holiday.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Morning thread

Have a linky post I just saw. (I think I may have to write something about language and race, but I'll probably do that at my place.)

Not Atrios


The dude has issues.

Midnight Ranting

I'm going to second Avedon: call your senators.

Especially if (like me) one of your senators is running for president. Leadership, Hillary & Barack, leadership. Show it. NO on retroactive telecom immunity for domestic spying.

NO. Yelling at these people helps. And if Hillary's your senator, go here. And if Barack's your senator, go here.

Be polite but be heard. NO to retroactive immunity: YES to the Constitution.

This really is a major issue, and a chance for two of the major candidates for the Democratic nomination to show their mettle in a fight over something that matters -- not just a soundbite joust. Let them know we're watching. Very, very closely.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Night Thread


I was going to rant about this, but you need a new thread more than I need to vent. Just remember to call your Senators, okay?

Not Atrios

Fresh Thread




If Ambac and MBIA lose their top ratings, billions of dollars of muni bonds will be downgraded, and the guarantees that have been sold on mortgage-related securities such as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, will lose value.
"The destruction of the bond insurers would likely bring write-downs at major banks and financial institutions that would put current write-downs to shame," Tamara Kravec, an analyst at Banc of America Securities, wrote in a note Friday.
Kravec cut her rating on Ambac and MBIA on Friday because she thinks that ratings downgrades are "highly probable" now.

And Ambac is downgraded.

Ah, Capitalism




From blogofascists to blogocommies.

I guess as with Lee Siegel's intellectual peer, Jonah, it's all the same to him. stupid is our discourse that you can successfully pitch a book proposal based on the notion that people on the internets were mean to you after you acted like the biggest tosser in history.

Worst. Campaign. Ever.

While not quite as bad as Rudy's campaign, one should also remember a certain Democratic frontrunner who threw it all away...

WASHINGTON - Sen. Joe Lieberman — stalwart supporter of the invasion of Iraq — as the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee?

Unthinkable? In retrospect, yes, but according to the Gallup Poll of 438 Democrats in April 2003 — at a point about where we now are in the 2008 presidential campaign cycle — Lieberman was the Democratic frontrunner.

He got 23 percent of Democrats in the Gallup survey, defeating Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who placed second, and an array of other Democrats.

That article's from last Spring, so we aren't at the same point in the campaign now.


Over there.

BAGHDAD — For the second time in two days, a suicide bomber struck outside a Shiite mosque in Diyala Province north of Baghdad on Thursday, as worshipers prepared for one of the most important days in the Shiite calendar. The police and witnesses said at least 11 people were killed.

The bomber attacked a civilian checkpoint near the Shafta mosque in Baquba during the ceremony of Ashura, which commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and a revered figure to Shiites.

Witnesses said that moments before the blast a policeman named Baseem seized the bomber and began shouting, “stranger,” but was too late to stop the explosion, which killed both men and at least nine other people. Fifteen people were wounded.

Weak Tea

Really. Mitt is utterly full of shit about everything, but a press corps which gets angry because a politician promises to deliver jobs? WTF?

Lucy, Football

Call me cynical, but I'll be very surprised if the White House doesn't spend a few days telling the country everyone's gonna get an $800 check and then demand some bullshit in the bill which the Dems, frightened, will cave on...

Lifted Up By 3000 Corpses

Team Rudy's making sure he loses with no dignity left.


John Hardwood said the proposed stimulus would involve checks cut to people and the checks would be a "credit against the payroll tax."

Wonder if he was being precise. If so, the money's coming out of those social security file cabinets instead of general revenue.

Just A Little More Time...

This really is getting absurd.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Struggling bond insurer ACA Financial Guaranty Corp is set to ask trading partners for more time to unwind its insurance contracts, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Standard & Poor's in December cut ACA Financial Guaranty's credit rating to junk.


Friday's report, quoting people familiar with the matter, said ACA is likely to announce an extension to give it more time to work out arrangements.

One possible solution would be a rescue plan giving the counterparties stakes in a restructured bond-insurance company, while another was a capital infusion, it said.

Essentially this would mean that those who bought insurance would fork over money to the insurance company to maintain the fiction that they're actually insured.

It's akin to bailing water from the port side of the boat to the starboard side in an attempt to prevent it from sinking.

Your Moment of Zen

G. Gordon Liddy, May 7, 2003, Hardball:

LIDDY: Well, I -- in the first place, I think it's envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man. And here comes George Bush. You know, he's in his flight suit, he's striding across the deck, and he's wearing his parachute harness, you know -- and I've worn those because I parachute -- and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those -- run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman's vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn't count -- they're all liars. Check that out. I hope the Democrats keep ratting on him and all of this stuff so that they keep showing that tape.

The Rest Of Us


One thing that doesn't get talked about enough is that people in Washington are pretty out of touch with the basic economic picture in the United States. Not in the usual, pat, pseudo-populist "oh you're out of touch" sense but in a pretty literal one -- the DC metro area is both quite affluent and economically unusual; much of our region is experiencing a war-driven boom that doesn't have much to do with the experience of other areas (though parts of the southwest are, I believe, the same way).

This true, but it's even worse than this. Aside from general cluelessness about those lovable "heartland"* voters they claim to speak for, part of the long-running conservative campaign to trumpet the myth of the liberal media has been to go on the attack every time a news outlet actually writes about poor people or economic misfortune. Economic difficulty just isn't covered in a comprehensive sense.

*I use the term heartland not in its geographic sense but in the amorphous "real Americans who live somewhere outside the Beltway but probably not NYC or California" sense that reporters mean when they throw it around.

... CNN just now: "It's not the people in autos and steel like past recessions. We've got financial services people being laid off, people in the retailing sector and everything that flows out of housing...

...this is a time when there are still jobs, so even though you're a young executive, you might want to go out and get a weekend job as a waitress, in the evening, something like that..."

More Layoffs


Sprint Nextel, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service, said it would cut about 4,000 jobs within the company, close 125 stores and reduce its use of outsourced services to improve its financial performance.

Default Odds

Bond insurers:

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc., the two biggest bond insurers, have a more than 70 percent chance of going bankrupt, credit-default swaps show.

Prices for contracts that pay investors if Armonk, New York- based MBIA can't meet its debt obligations imply a 71 percent chance the company will default in the next five years, according to a JPMorgan Chase & Co. valuation model. For New York-based Ambac, credit-default swaps show the odds are 73 percent.


The bond insurers place their AAA stamp on $2.4 trillion of debt sold by thousands of municipalities across the country, as well as subprime-mortgage securities. Losing those rankings may cost borrowers and investors as much as $200 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Morning Thread

I'm melting! I'm melting!

--Molly I.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Late Night

Rock on.


I now declare this

Not Atrios

Deep Thought of the Day

It would be wrong to discuss Mitt Romney's actual religious beliefs, but perfectly fine to discuss Barack Obama's fictitious ones.

Pissy Chrissy

Must see bizarro teevee.

Saint Petraeus

I'm sure Joe Klein has an explanation for this.

Fresh Thread



Another exciting day on Wall Street.

What was weird watching CNBC today is that it sounded like all of the things that doom and gloomers like me have been talking about (housing crash matters and is going to get worse, bond insurers are going to go tits up causing broader financial system problems, it isn't a credit crunch liquidity problem but a solvency problem, etc...) are finally sinkning in for all of the financial bobbleheads.

I don't make predictions about the stock market because, well, what do I know, but the degree of optimism from supposed experts over the past year about the broader economy has been somewhat amusing. I think today's the day it died.

Wanker of the Day

Roger Cohen, who quite often makes Jonah Goldberg seem intelligent by comparison.


How when you design your "cute li'l smiley Hitler" book jacket about three years before you write the book people seem to end up having problems with your end product's central thesis.

Think Progress has video of the Doughy One -- may be dangerous to Sentient Beings and Non-Sentient Celiacs.

Pissy Chrissy

The dude has issues.


The big question is whether commercial real estate lending standards became as absurd as residential mortgage lending standards.

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Nevada's foreclosure crisis claimed a high-profile victim on Wednesday, as investment bank Deutsche Bank took the first step toward foreclosing on the $3 billion Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino project.

Developer and owner Ian Bruce Eichner said his company, 3700 Associates LLC, was working with Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch to find new investors. The construction loan from Deutsche Bank of $760 million went into default Wednesday, the company said.

"This action by our lender comes as no surprise," Eichner said in a statement to The Associated Press. "With the current challenges within the real estate and debt capital markets, which are out of our control ... we both anticipated and planned for this.

Bernanke Not Nuts

To elaborate a bit, Bernanke's basically saying-without-quite-saying that any stimulus package that Congress passes shouldn't include making permanent the Bush tax cuts. He's not taking a stand on the tax cuts per se, but instead saying that whether or not it's a good idea is a separate issue from any short term stimulus package. They're two different issues - short term stimulus and long run structural - and they should be seen as such.

More Bad News

Philly Fed index.

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region contracted more than forecast in January to a six-year low, adding to evidence factories are throttling back as the economy slows.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's general economic index declined to minus 20.9, the lowest reading since October 2001, from minus 1.6 in December, the bank said today. Negative readings signal contraction. The index averaged 5.1 in 2007.

The figures indicate that the housing recession, entering its third year, is dragging down other industries. At the same time, a weaker dollar and stronger growth abroad are boosting demand for U.S. exports, keeping factory output from collapsing.

This is a regional index, but one of the two, along with Chicago's, which is considered to be a good predictor of national trends.

Helicopter Ben

Listening to his speech. He's not nuts, which after years of Greenspan is refreshing.


Problems for bond insurers.

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- The risk that bond insurers including MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc. will default rose to a record after ratings firms increased their scrutiny of the companies as the value of mortgage-linked securities they guarantee plunge.


Ambac may lose its AAA credit rating after reporting larger losses than the company previously indicated, Moody's said in a statement yesterday. S&P is examining all bond insurers after increasing its predictions for losses on subprime mortgages.

Ambac and MBIA are the two Jenga pieces which will pull the whole shitpile down. They insure all of the shitpile, allowing everyone to pretend that all of the risky stuff they own isn't risky at all. But that insurance is most likely a complete fantasy as it seems Ambac and MBIA don't have the cash to pay out claims. I should've gotten into the bond insurance business. Lower their ratings, you destroy their businesses. More than that, you wipe out the insurance fantasy, forcing everyone who insured with them to admit they have all this risky stuff on the books. Recognizing, of course, that in this context "risky" is just a euphemism for "shitty."

Ambac is currently down 64%. MBIA is down 26%.


New housing starts plunge.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Construction on new homes fell 14% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.01 million, the slowest building pace in more than 16 years, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Good news is that new jobless claims were down quite a bit.

I Missed Hot Soup So Much

But now I feel better.

NEW YORK Mitt Romney talks about changing a “broken Washington.” Barack Obama built his entire platform around the word “together.” According to the 2008 presidential candidates, this election is about redirecting American politics and mending a polarized America. And the country seems to be embracing this idea.

Now, proponents of unity and bipartisan discussion have a place to get together. The E.W. Scripps Company launched, a Web site for readers to come together, offer their views, and debate them in what the site's creators insist is a truly non-partisan forum.

“There was a real need for a place where people thought they were getting points of view from both sides,” said John Temple, the site's founder and Scripps' vice president/news for the newspaper division. “A lot of intelligent people want to test their ideas and have them challenged by people who think differently.”

“Is there any common ground?” the Web site asks on its About Us page. “Fox or CNN? Wall Street Journal or New York Times? Free Republic or DailyKos?” RedBlueAmerica, he adds, fills this void; it is designed to be a meeting place that is completely unbiased.

Our discourse is so stupid.


Mitt Romney Defends Himself Against Allegations Of Tolerance

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Late Night


Conservatives and Glibertarians

Cultural conservatives are horrified that anyone lives differently than they do. Cultural glibertarians (a distinct species from libertarians) think anyone who lives differently than they do will be an economic failure. It's an odd "freedom encourages conformity" worldview.

But these are just different ways to describe the same type: assholes.

If You Put Your Hand Up Their Asses

They'll say what you want them to say.

The success that Camp Rudy! has had in getting all serious pundits to marvel at his Wacky Smart strategy of not campaigning anywhere until Florida has been pretty astounding even by the standards of these things.

Rudy for obvious reasons did put a lot of resources into New Hampshire. Until all that campaigning drove down his poll numbers because he's really creepy. And then he stopped bothering. And then they announced this bold strategy of competing in Florida only. And all of these people whose full time job it is to cover this stuff magically forgot the prior 9 months or so and agreed, solemnly, that Rudy has a plan. A cunning plan.

Don't Bother

I really can't see much that would really be necessary actually passing this Congress, and the demand to ensure rich people don't ever have to pay much in taxes by the Republicans kills whatever short run benefit might exist.

Quite often doing nothing is better than the compromise the whiny ass titty baby Republicans will demand.

Though what's weird is that while all of this is utterly predictable, it seems that once again the Dems are unable to predict it. Can't they game things out 2 or 3 steps ever?

On The Side Of Torturers

Which, if you think about it, makes perfect sense.

Congress has reached a compromise with the White House over a defense authorization bill provision that had drawn complaints from the Iraqi government.

Those complaints prompted President Bush to veto the defense bill last month. He complained that a provision in the bill that allowed victims of terrorism to be awarded compensation from frozen foreign assets of state sponsors of terror could have crippled the fledgling Iraqi government with billions of dollars in liability.

Under the compromise, Iraq is excluded from the provision, but other state sponsors of terrorism, such as Iran and Syria, could see frozen assets used as compensation. The compromise is likely to leave American victims taken hostage and tortured by Saddam Hussein’s regime during the first Gulf War without recourse in U.S. federal court.

Facts as Dirt Clods

Roy reads Liberal Fascism: Please, Please, Stop Picking on Me, I Will Give You a Quarter.

Republican American Dream

Everyone gets to work 2 jobs. Lucky Duckies!

Things Which Probably Need More Explanation

Wonder what this is all about.

By LARA JAKES JORDAN – 10 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.

The former Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark Deli Siljander, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.

A 42-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., accuses the Islamic American Relief Agency of paying Siljander $50,000 for the lobbying — money that turned out to be stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Double Taxing

Yes in addition to everything else the stupid massive national sales tax would effectively wipe out 30% of your savings.

Brilliant idea.


Ari seemed to be pretty pissed when he said this.

Ari, do you count it interesting that Mr. Romney mentioned Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush, but not George W. Bush?

FLEISCHER: Well, I couldn't help but wonder if that was just a mistake. I'm really not sure that it's -- when you have an incumbent president who is popular in the Republican base of the party, you mention this predecessor, obviously, Ronald Reagan. And I think that was probably a mistake. He meant George W.

And here's the follow-up.

L. KING: And Ari, you're saying John is right?

FLEISCHER: Yes, John -- Larry, since we've -- on the last show you had, you asked me why Mitt Romney said George H.W. Bush, not George W. Bush. I said I thought it was a mistake. I got in touched of one of Romney's top aides and he told me it was not a mistake. It's not a slight to George W. But when Mitt Romney cites Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

L. KING: So he has done that before then?

FLEISCHER: That's correct. That's what the Romney people have told me. He meant to say it and he said it the way he wanted to say it. It was not a mistake.

Poor Ari doesn't realize that the boy king will remain one of the most unpopular figures in America...forever.


We all know that Tim Russert is truly awful. An enduring mystery to me is whether beltway journalists who regularly praise him actually mean it - truly frightening - or if they're just kissing ass due to their own career concerns. If it's the latter we'd better convene a blogger ethics panel.

TeeVee on the TeeVee

Those who, like me, generally aren't thrilled about watching substantive video clips on your computer screen instead of the teevee, should know that if you have a Tivo you can subscribe to and download TPMTV (and other things) to your Tivo and watch it on the television screen.

Our Bastards

Spreading freedom by distributing high tech weapons to brutal oligarchies and dictatorships. It's the Bush way.

Wanker of the Day

John King.

That's some high quality wanking.


While Richard Cohen obviously deserved to be exiled to some distant moon of Saturn, I actually think his "fog of a man" meant something quite different. What Cohen means is that he doesn't personally know Obama, that Obama has never run in his social circles, that he has never dined on quail at Obama's table. Obama's biography, record, and everything else aside from Newsmax smears, are pretty much irrelevant to Cohen. What Cohen's pissed about is that someone outside his circle, someone he hasn't yet had the opportunity to personally appraise and bless, is succeeding in politics.

Saint Petraeus

Maybe Joe Klein can explain why his BFF would do this.

Highly promising figures that the administration cited to demonstrate economic progress in Iraq last fall, when Congress was considering whether to continue financing the war, cannot be substantiated by official Iraqi budget records, the Government Accountability Office reported Tuesday.


As Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, and Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador to Iraq, prepared in September to report to Congress on the state of the war, the economic figures were a rare sign of progress within Iraq’s often dysfunctional government.

But in its report on Tuesday, the accountability office said official Iraqi Finance Ministry records showed that Iraq had spent only 4.4 percent of the reconstruction budget by August 2007. It also said that the rate of spending had substantially slowed from the previous year.

The reason for the difference, said Joseph A. Christoff, the G.A.O.’s director of international affairs and trade, was that few official Iraqi figures for 2007 were available when General Petraeus and Mr. Crocker went to Congress.

So the administration, with the help of the Finance Ministry in Baghdad, appears to have relied on a combination of indicators, including real expenditures, ministries’ suggestions of projects they intended to carry out, and contracts that were still under negotiation, Mr. Christoff said. But actual spending does not seem to have lived up to those estimates for spending on reconstruction, a budget item sometimes called capital or investment expenditures, he added.

Ari and Mitt

I'll have to check the transcript to be sure, but I caught Ari Fleischer on a bit later last night and he was blasting Mitt Romney for comparing himself to Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush, apparently because he was slighting junior. He referred to this as a "mistake." At first I thought he just meant a "mistake" as in it's politically a mistake to throw young George under a bus like that. Then I realized he quite literally meant it was a mistake, as in Mitt Romney must have made a mistake and he must have meant W instead of HW.

Anyway, I'll try to find a transcript... Ari was angry.

Good morning

Apparently, people in Michigan kept hearing in the media that there were no Democrats on the ballot other than Hillary, so a lot of people just stayed home. Hillary declared victory. And Giuliani just managed to beat Kucinich.

Not Atrios


Fun times in the Asian stock markets.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Barack's Black, Hillary's a Chick

I admit I get surprised when clearly deliberately absurd statements, meant to mock prevailing establishment media sentiment, attract hate mail. Our stupid discourse tells us that we are all race- and gender-blind until women and minorities dare bring up the issues and make the rest of us feel icky inside. My point was that Hillary is a woman, Barack is black, and those facts are generally in evidence even if it isn't an explicit subject of conversation. Any reaction to those facts by voters and our pundits is going to happen regardless.

Big Shitpile, UK Edition


Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his clearest indication yet that Northern Rock Plc may be nationalized, said the U.K. is considering acquiring the mortgage-lender and reselling it when market conditions recover.

``Because stability is the issue, we will look at every option and that includes taking the company into public ownership and then moving it later back into the private sector,'' Brown said in an interview with ITN's News at Ten program last night. ``So that is, yes, one of the options that has got to be considered.''

The U.K. Treasury said it may nationalize the bank in order to recover more than 25 billion pounds ($49 billion) in loans it made to Northern Rock and to protect depositors.

Northern Rock was bailed out by the Bank of England in September, when the collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage market drove up market credit costs, triggering the first run on a bank by depositors in the U.K. for more than a century.


For the record I'm probably somewhat alone in my opinion that Mittens will be the hardest one for a Democrat to beat, and I certainly know that polls don't currently support that view.

Still I cheer him on. I cannot help myself.

Razor-Free Huckabee

I like that Huckabee really needs a shave.


Mittens talks over McCain's concession speech.

...Ari Fleischer: "Great news for Rudy." (Currently in sixth place at 3%)

...Gloria Borger: "Just the scenario he [Rudy] wants..."

Great Moments in Graphic Presentation

Some genius at CNN decided that the best way to present results - both on the pie charts and on the map - was to make Romney deep red, McCain light red, Giuliani orange, Huckabee light orange...

Schmidt MSNBC Calls it for Mittens!!!!!!!!!


Pissy Chrissy

Chris Matthews, this evening.

...Michigan primary results are here and here.

...Rudy's currently in 7th place... behind Uncommitted!


Did he win yet?

...early signs point to yes!!

It seems Mr. 4% Giuliani's new strategy is put everything into the Pennsylvania primary... On April 22.

Evening Thread

Off to drink liberally and destroy whatever good that gym visit just did for me.


SurveyUsa did a bunch of Bloomberg polling. He loses badly nationally. He loses badly in every individual state they polled.

He does come in 2nd... ahead of Rudy Giuliani.. in New York City.

And it appears he consistently pulls more Republican votes than Democratic ones.

It's a good thing Unity08 is there so we can all unite behind our new billionaire overlords.

Hugo Chavez is a Tyrannical Menace to Civilization

And the Saudi royals are delightful tea party guests.

And that's pretty much how the Villagers see the world.

You'll Have To Pry My Bacon From My Cold Dead Hands

But, yes, strangely enough all of the people who think there should be more religion in politics... weren't kidding!


Somebody shoved a hulk tie into my intertubes again.

Deep Thought

If only Hillary Clinton would stop reminding people that she has lady parts and Barack Obama would stop reminding people that he's black then we could finally get beyond race and gender issues in this country.


Unity08 officially relaunches as a pro-plutocracy movement.

Two founders of the bipartisan Unity08 effort launched a new campaign to draft independent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg into the presidential race Tuesday, saying he is the right candidate to overcome bitter partisanship and oncoming economic problems.

Former Republican consultant Doug Bailey and Gerald Rafshoon, a former communications director to President Carter, argued that Bloomberg is the answer to a “severe economic recession” that is threatening the country.

They said Bloomberg would be a non-ideological candidate, in large part because the billionaire business mogul can self-finance his entire campaign.

Which is really what it always was.


While it's wrong to imagine that Pinch and Andy would ever regret their decision to hire Kristol, it's also the case that we're basically stuck with him because what frightens our media more than anything is being accused of being liberal and how better to "prove" that than by firing Bill Kristol for being an asshat?

One thing our side does too much is assume that the people who run the New York Times are probably actually somewhat liberal at heart but that they're bending over backwards to pretend otherwise. They're defenders of the establishment as they see it, and given that they're nepotism beneficiaries you can imagine how they see it. Not quite conservative in a Bill Kristol kind of way, but hardly liberal.

Coming Back To Reality

Watching a 3 bedroom condo fall in listed price from $610K to $449K I'm inspired to make the obvious point that housing prices will come down until they hit the point where "average" housing units are priced such that typical potential homeowners can afford to make the monthly payments with typical mortgage terms.



More layoffs.

NEW YORK ( -- Sprint Nextel plans to eliminate several thousand jobs as its new CEO Dan Hesse tries to cut costs and increase efficiency, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.


Hesse and other Sprint executives are also reportedly examining a plan to consolidate Sprint's (S, Fortune 500) headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas, the company's headquarters before it purchased Nextel Communications in 2005.

The company's current headquarters in Reston, Virginia, employs about 4,500. Sprint has an operational presence of 13,000 employees in Kansas. If the headquarters is consolidated in Kansas, only a few hundred managers and other top-level employees may be moved, says the Journal.

Feeling The Mittmania

Michigan Democrats: don't forget to vote for Mitt!

Are There Any Republicans Left?

Another one down.

WASHINGTON - The dean of Louisiana's congressional delegation, Rep. Richard Baker, has decided to step down from Congress after 22 years to take a job in the private sector representing investors he has spent a career regulating.

The announcement by the Baton Rouge Republican was not unexpected and makes him the third member of the state's seven-member House delegation to resign or announce plans to resign in the past two months.

Heckuva Job

Punch's son hires Abe's son who hires Irving's son. Hilarity ensues.

As soon as Punch's son hires Saul's son, Norm's son, and Lucianne's son, the circle of life will be complete.

Citi Finally Visits The Confessional

And here it is.

Citigroup announced a steep cut in its stock dividend and another big investment by foreign investors on Tuesday after taking another big write-down related to subprime securities and posting a $9.83 billion loss for the fourth quarter.

Beginning what is expected to be a grim week for financial company earnings, Citigroup said it was writing down $18.1 billion because of soured mortgage-related investments.

As part of a plan to shore up Citigroup, the chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit, said the company would eliminate 4,200 jobs and cut its dividend by 41 percent, to 32 cents from 54 cents a share.

Citigroup also turned to wealthy foreign governments again and announced the sale of a $12.5 billion stake to the Kuwait Investment Authority and several others, including Prince Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. In November, the company sold a $7.5 billion stake to a Middle Eastern fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.


Broder's boy bounces to new record.

Beset by growing economic concerns on top of the long unpopular war in Iraq, President Bush starts the last year of his presidency with the worst approval rating of his career.

Just 32 percent of Americans now approve of the way Bush is handling his job, while 66 percent disapprove. Bush's work on the economy has likewise reached a new low. And he shows no gain on Iraq; despite reduced violence there, 64 percent say the war was not worth fighting, 2 points from its high.

Morning Thread

Oooo, someone just forwarded me the "Barack Obama is a secret Muslim" email! I'm somebody!

--Molly I.

Monday, January 14, 2008

D to the K

I've previously written in support of media outlets setting up objective criteria to exclude candidates who haven't met objective fundraising/poll/vote totals as the primary season develops. I still stand by that. But from what I understand Kucinich met the established criteria, was invited to debate, and was then disinvited. No particular sense of how the judiciary should weigh in here, but it seems that the debate organizers should let Dennis in.

I Make Predictions

Election day, 2012, there will still be 80,000+ US troops in Iraq.

Creative Conflagration


STOCKTON - Can't make your auto payment? Light your car on fire, and tell the insurance company you were a victim of theft.

That's what a local prosecutor says he's seeing more of these days. But instead of chasing down a phantom arsonist, oftentimes he charges the car owner with insurance fraud.

Your Moment of Zen

Members of the high school graduating class of '08 were in 7th grade in 2003 when the Iraq war began.


Sounds about right.

Wanting to Shoot the Messenger

CR reminds us that Meredith Whitney received death threats after having the nerve to downgrade Citigroup.

Her warning then:

Whitney began work on the report in early October, after Citi reported a dramatic decline in earnings and took a third-quarter writedown of $6.5 billion. She issued the report to coincide with the Fed's Oct. 31 meeting, which warned of slowing economic growth. That was bad news for banks, which already have reported huge writedowns related to subprime mortgages.

Whitney reasoned that given the current economy, the bank didn't have the means to boost its capital ratios through organic growth. She argued that cutting the dividend or selling assets was the only quick way to raise cash. She predicts that "in six to 18 months, Citi will look nothing like it does now. Citi's position is precarious, and I don't use that word lightly," she says. "It has real capital issues." Citi is likely to report an additional $8 billion to $11 billion in writedowns for the fourth quarter.

And now:

Citigroup Inc. is expected to announce a sizable dividend cut, cash infusion of at least $10 billion and write-down of as much as $20 billion in mortgage-related investments as part of its fourth-quarter earnings report, people familiar with the plans said.

"Race Card"

Can we banish that phrase?


Fresh Thread


A Man Finds His Home


WASHINGTON, DC - The Washington Times today announced the appointment of John F. Solomon as executive editor to succeed Wesley Pruden, who is retiring after 25 years in The Washington Times newsroom. Solomon brings to the newsroom's leadership over two decades of journalism experience, with a strong background in investigative reporting and managing interactive digital content.


I Have Nightmares Like This


...the other day I ran into Hugh Hewitt at our local Ruby's...

Big Pharma

Oh well.

A clinical trial of Zetia, a cholesterol-lowering drug prescribed to about 1 million people a week, failed to show that the drug has any medical benefits, Merck and Schering-Plough said on Monday.


The results will also add to the controversy surrounding a long delay in releasing the results of the trial, which was known as Enhance. Merck and Schering-Plough completed the trial in April 2006 and had initially planned to release the findings no later than March 2007. But the companies then missed several self-imposed deadlines, blaming the complexity of the data analysis from the study and saying they did not know when or if the data would be ready for publication.

Last month, after several news articles highlighted the delay, they finally agreed to release the results soon.

But Will He Smash The Game Board?


He may be an inarticulate dunce, but he surely ranks as one of the great egomaniacs to hold the presidency.

The question we should all be pondering is what happens when after you place a mediocre narcissist quite literally at the center of the world for a while, the clock ticks inevitably to the time when that will no longer be the case. How will he behave?

Hard To Be A Blogger

Have I mentioned I hate primary season? If I had a real favorite candidate and I felt like a supporter I'd enjoy it a bit more as a blogger. Presumably my candidate would lose, but at least I'd feel like I was fighting the good fight.

Aside from the occasional vanity issues we pursue, political blogging is largely reactive to news and events. The primaries dominate everything, so unless I want to spend my time writing about the candidate back-and-forth or the horse race there just isn't as much to talk about.

There are issues too, of course, but at this point in the campaign it's all about posturing, really. The two frontrunners are senators, and I wish they'd show us some of those leadership skills by engaging in a little Senatoring, but I've long given up hope that any of that will happen.

I do appreciate that there are those who have chosen a candidate and are enthusiastically supporting them. Unlike some, I actually think it's a good thing that supporters can still "fall in love" with a candidate instead of being the cynical jaded old man I've become. Sure some supporters can be annoying - those who fail to understand that some people simply have different priorities, and therefore a different candidate, than they do - but candidates and the process need them.

Maybe I'll write about biofuels more.

Vote Mitt

I do hope Michigan Democrats who have seen the light and realized that they want to be Republicans take the time to vote for Mitt. The longer he is with us, the more fun all of this will be!

Vote Mitt! If for no other reason than to shrink Tagg's inheritance a bit more.

And Merrill


Merrill Lynch is seeking about $4bn in a second capital raising, as the hole in the US investment bank’s balance sheet continues to grow.

The Kuwait Investment Authority is expected to be a significant investor in the new deal, which could be announced as soon as midweek, according to people familiar with the matter. Other investors could come from Europe.

KIA, which may also invest as much as $2bn or $3bn in Citigroup, is emerging as an large source of rescue finance on Wall Street. Once among the most conservative of sovereign wealth funds, KIA is changing its strategy in order to move more quickly than competitors and seize opportunities amid the turmoil in the US credit markets, these people say. Both Merrill and KIA declined to comment.

It isn't necessarily problematic to have foreign governments invest in our major financial institutions, but people who know more than I do should at least be thinking about all of the potential ramifications. Banks aren't simply widget makers; they have a rather special role in the economy.


The latest progress in Iraq is anything but.

So then the question becomes whether US payments to various Sunni muckety mucks and their militias is enough to keep them happy. For eternity, apparently.

Losing Our Mojo

I continue to be pretty astounded by the right track/wrong track poll numbers, at 19/75 in the latest NYT poll (.pdf).

(ht pony boy)


Fun at Citi.

Citigroup could write down as much as $24 billion due to subprime and credit-related losses, CNBC has learned. In addition, an estimated 20 thousand layoffs will be part of a comprehensive plan to slash costs and raise capital.

The plans will be unveiled Tuesday, when it reports fourth-quarter earnings. At the same time, Citigroup could also announce that it is cutting its dividend payment.

Deep Night Thread

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Late Night

Rock on.

More Thread


Robert Johnson

I'm not going to get into the candidate back and forth, but couldn't Hillary get some better pals than Robert "the 'death' tax is racist" Johnson?

Clippity Clip Clip


So Tired

Spent 5+ hour wandering around Philly without a break today so I'm beat. What's going on? Joe Klein do anything stupid today?

Wanker of the Day

Tony Snow.

Thread, Thread, Thread

Is It Over Yet?

I'm really looking forward to the end of primary season. Just in case I haven't made that clear.

Iraq Logic

People shot and killed are victims of sectarian violence.

People killed by bombs are victims of "al Qaeda."

"Sophisticated" bombs are all built by Iran.

"Al Qaeda" are Sunni.

Iranians are Shiite.

And only stupid bloggers notice this stuff.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

“Fox News Sunday,” Guest: Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani of New York.

•NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Guest: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

•ABC’s “This Week,” 9 a.m. on Channel 49, 9:30 a.m. on Channel 9 — Guests: Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat; Newt Gingrich, a Georgia Republican and a former House speaker.

•CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Guests: Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.

•CNN’s “Late Edition,” 11 a.m. — Guests: Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Fred Thompson of Tennessee; Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards of North Carolina; Abdul-Qader al-Obeidi, Iraqi defense minister.

3 Democrats, 7 Republicans.

1 woman.

0 African-Americans.

[adding that rountable and panel guests might change the ideological/gender/racial composition of the shows. don't have the list]


At least I'm not the only one who doesn't believe it's the Bradley Effect.

Not Atrios

Smarter David Ignatius

The genius of our goofball primary system is that in its moronic crucible we forge heroic super-lunatics who can succeed in our dopey mess of a political system. Can I have that gum you were chewing?

(Update: Did we win one? Go Dodd? Can it be?)