Saturday, January 26, 2008


I know I'm repeating myself, but have you all seen my favorite instruction video of Republican-style bipartisan negotiation and compromise?

Not Atrios

Michael Scherer Unemployment Watch

Questions the straight-talkingness of Saint McCain in Time.

Some Results

Timmeh sez exit polls have Obama up by 30.


I hear there's a primary today. I'll be out eating and drinking with my decadent coastal enclave elite friends, so you can look elsewhere for coverage.

Still I think we can all agree that whatever the results, they'll be excellent news for Rudy Giuliani and/or John McCain.

...MSNBC says Obama won.

Eschacon '08: The Eschaconing

Registration available now!

Speaking of Teen Sex

And on and on...

(CBS) A Utah retailer of family-friendly tapes and DVDs - Hollywood films with the "dirty parts" cut out of them - has been arrested for trading sex with two 14-year-old girls.

Orem police say Flix Club owner Daniel Dean Thompson, 31, and Issac Lifferth, 24, were booked into the Utah County jail on charges of sexual abuse and unlawful sexual activity with a 14-year-old.

Afternoon Thread


Groundhog Day

May 2006.

The reality is that more Marines probably will die here. Half of all U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq during March gave their lives in Ramadi, now the last major stronghold of the Iraqi insurgency.


The massive explosion in Mosul on Wednesday and the suicide attack assassination of a top police official the next day have prompted obvious concern among Iraq's leaders.

On Friday, the government said it would dispatch several thousand more security forces to Mosul in a "decisive" bid to drive al-Qaida in Iraq from its last major stronghold.

Naked Butts and Naked Teens

We're really going to have to rethink our understanding of things like "photograph," "publication," "distribution," "commercial use," etc. Teens have cameras in every device they own. Teens get naked and have sex with each other. Teens will, stupidly, take pictures and videos of each other and, even more stupidly, send them around the world. Whatever laws we have should have related to this stuff it isn't "child pornography" and in the case of a photo of a "bare breast" it isn't even pornography, just nudity. I'm not saying there aren't genuine issues here, but they're more in the "behavior problem" category than in the "ZOMG EVERYONE WHO SAW THE BOOBY MIGHT GO TO JAIL FOR 30 YEARS CATEGORY," or at least they should be.

And this is even stupider.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Awful Night

I read this post before going to bed and then Santorum plagued my dreams.


George Soros strikes again!

Not Atrios


This one's for Thers.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Late Night

Jerry Bruckheimer's Armageddon works surprisingly well as an interpretive dance piece.

The Candidate

Yeah, why not Chalabi for the GOP nomination?

Evening Thread

On your own.

Ritual Humiliation

And they fall for it every time...

High Stakes Slots

Bill Bennett is probably jealous.

Seeking to reassure investors and the public, Bank of France governor Christian Noyer insisted that Societe Generale "is stronger today" after it had "cleaned" up its accounts.

But a top French presidential advisor revealed that Kerviel had positions of more than 50 billion euros (73 billion dollars) -- more than the bank's current market capitalisation of 35.9 billion euros.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Can this possibly make sense?


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

The Dream Is Over

I imagine that not all of the pressure to keep prices high comes from clients. Real estate agents have an incentive to keep sale prices high as low sales prices of comparable homes will drive down their commission. Still I suppose they have to give up the dream at some point, too.

TAMPA - Real estate agent Tony Rojas loves his job. But there's one thing that drives him crazy: unrealistic sellers who insist on asking buyers to pay boom-year sales prices despite profound drops in area home values.

So he has decided to walk away. In essence, he's firing them.

"We as Realtors have two choices," said Rojas, of ReMax Realty Associates in Tampa. "We can tell clients what they want to hear. Or we can tell them the truth: Values have dropped.

"Some clients get so mad when I tell them what their home is really worth that they won't even call me back. I have 40 to 50 listings. I have to get really serious about selling."

That's a lot of listings.

How They Fall

From the "Letter From Birmingham Jail" to this.

I'm Dreaming Of A Billionaire Dictatorship

Oddly that isn't what the country wants.

With an immense amount of free press, Draft Bloomberg has gotten a whopping 3136 signatures.

I'm feeling the Mikementum!!

The Tax Whisperer

This is odd.

(ht reader s)

Are There Any Republicans Left?

Dave "Not Curt" Weldon (R-FL) to retire.

Partisan gloating aside, while I'm no fan of term limits, an institution like Congress benefits from having a decent amount of churn.


There are certainly elements of our modern political system that we can all object to, but contempt for the wishes of voters by elites is something we should all shun. Voters may not always be as perfectly informed as we would like them to be, but this democracy thing is rather important as the alternative is probably, you know, a Bloomberg Plutocracy.

Somebody Really Wants a Pony

My inbox:

HELOC Heaven

Lending standards have been crazy.


If were not a little mad and generally silly
I should give you my advice upon the subject, willy-nilly;
I should show you in a moment how to grapple with the question,
And you'd really be astonished at the force of my suggestion.
On the subject I shall write you a most valuable letter,
Full of excellent suggestions when I feel a little better,
But at present I'm afraid I am as mad as any hatter,
So I'll keep 'em to myself, for my opinion doesn't matter!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Later Night

Rock harder.

Late Night

Rock on.


Okay, I flipped on the debate for a bit. Mitt's making the others seem crackpottish and weird.

...Giuliani looks forward to the Rise of the Machines: "We need to get us to the point where those technologies can take over."

...Andrea Mitchell: "I thought John McCain did really well... Reaganesque..."

...Chris Matthews grunts, slobbers, gropes for the Clenis...

Debate Thread

In case any of you enjoy watching Republicans.

I, for one, don't like to waste my beautiful mind with such things.

That Sounds More Like It

While I have no special knowledge of the exact amount, the tiny numbers being thrown around as possible lifelines for the monolines were absurd. They're currently the ones holding the bag.


I recognize that Craigslist is taking over the world of classified advertising, but is it really the right place to advertise $3+ million homes?


Bush America.

FLORENCE, Ariz. — Thomas Warziniack was born in Minnesota and grew up in Georgia, but immigration authorities pronounced him an illegal immigrant from Russia.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has held Warziniack for weeks in an Arizona detention facility with the aim of deporting him to a country he's never seen. His jailers shrugged off Warziniack's claims that he was an American citizen, even though they could have retrieved his Minnesota birth certificate in minutes and even though a Colorado court had concluded that he was a U.S. citizen a year before it shipped him to Arizona.

During a deportation hearing Thursday morning, pleas by Warziniack's family and lawyer to release him, as well as a copy of his birth certificate proving his citizenship, did little to deter the government.

NToddler Suicide Watch

Dennis K. drops out.

Conforming Loan Limit

This has been announced in various ways today, but the latest from CNBC is that the conforming loan limit would be raised to 125% of median home prices in local markets in the version being drafted by Barney Frank.


Nancy and Boehner are on my teevee patting each other on the back for their bipartisan awesomeness. It's sort of mysterious why there needs to be bipartisan awesomeness in the House. I recognize that for such a thing they need to make nice with the president, because of his veto power, and with the Senate, because of ability of the minority to block things. What should happen is that the House comes up with some Democratic dream legislation, the Senate passes something a bit worse, and then the compromise in conference is something in between. Instead what happens is that the House compromises when they don't have to, the Senate compromises further, Bush stamps his feet about something, then the further compromise is even worse.

...adding, I actually know the answer to this. The governing coalition in the House is the Republicans+Bush Dogs, despite the nominal majority of the Dems.

Conforming Loan Limit

This is, I think, a very bad idea. While it's true that entry-level property prices are much higher in certain parts of the country, that's largely due to the fact that the housing bubble was much bigger than in the rest of the country. Prices need to come down, and this will prop them up.

I'd be okay with it if lending standards were raised substantially - such as 20% down - for people to qualify. otherwise....

...adding, the issue is how big of a loan Fannie and Freddie are allowed to take off the hands of lenders. Right now the limit is at $417K, which isn't a lot in high cost areas. The practical effect is that loans above this limit, "jumbos," go for a point or point and a half higher than loans under this limit.

...supposedly "the deal" has this limit going up over $700K in high cost areas. Pumping some more helium into the bubble...


There is fraud here, sort of, but only in the sense that the guy was hiding what he was doing to avoid detection. He wasn't stealing.

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Societe Generale SA said unauthorized bets on stock index futures by an unidentified employee caused a 4.9 billion-euro ($7.2 billion) trading loss, the largest in banking history.

France's second-largest bank by market value plans to raise 5.5 billion euros from investors after the trading loss and subprime-related writedowns depleted capital, the Paris-based company said today. The Bank of France, the country's banking regulator, said it's investigating the situation.

The trading shortfall exceeds the $6.6 billion Amaranth Advisors LLC lost in 2006, and is more than four times the $1.4 billion of losses by Nick Leeson that brought down Barings Plc in 1995. An offer by Chairman Daniel Bouton to resign after the trades were discovered this past weekend was refused by Societe Generale's board, the bank said.

CNBC bobbleheads speculating that the big market crash on Monday was due to SG dumping all of their crap onto the market, which led to Ben firing up the helicopter...


The stimulus bill will likely be bad, and likely be worse than whatever is negotiated in advance, as the Republicans will complain, the Blue Dogs will side with them, and Bush will accuse the Democrats of preventing people from getting their rebate check...


Such a lovely little war.

(CBS/AP) A suicide bomber struck officials fleeing an ambush in Mosul, northern Iraq on Thursday, killing the provincial police chief and two other officers and wounding U.S. and one Iraqi soldier, the military said.

The attack occurred at the site of a blast that killed at least 34 people and wounded 224 the day before. The toll was raised Thursday from a previous total of 18 killed.

The Thursday attacker was wearing an explosives vest under an Iraqi police uniform when he struck, killing Brig. Gen. Saleh Mohammed Hassan, the director of police for Ninevah province, of which Mosul is the capital, according to the statement.

Super Shitpile Revisited

I doubt this will work, but whatever.

an. 24 (Bloomberg) -- New York regulators are pushing the biggest U.S. financial institutions to rescue bond insurers, led by MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc., and avert credit- rating downgrades that may further disrupt financial markets.

Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo, who met with industry executives yesterday, is trying to bolster the bond insurers' ratings with help from banks and securities firms that posted $133 billion of writedowns and credit losses tied to mortgage securities. He's received encouragement from Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Timothy Geithner, said a person with knowledge of the matter.

The insurers may get fresh capital of as much as $15 billion, the Financial Times said on its Web site yesterday. The figure may be smaller, said a person familiar with the talks. The infusion would help stave off credit rating downgrades of MBIA and Ambac, the industry's two largest companies, and the $2.4 trillion of debt they guarantee. Banks would avoid billions more in writedowns on the value of subprime securities they had insured.

The whole system's been corrupt for a long time, courtesy of the ratings agencies and the Masters of the Universe in Wall Street.

Morning Thread

"He tried to kill me with a forklift."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

If Copland Composed A Concerto For a Punk Bluegrass String Trio...

Jennifer Higdon's Concerto 4-3 was pretty awesome. Those local folk who are free for a Friday matinee should check it out.

Are There Any Republicans Left

Jim Walsh (R-NY25) is retiring.

They Make Statements

Edwards calls out his opponents on FISA.


In case Chris Dodd has to filibuster, he might need things to read. I thought this would be good.

Not Atrios

All That Money

It gets more expensive every year.

War funding, which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120 billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007 and President George W. Bush has asked for $193 billion in 2008, the nonpartisan office wrote.

Good thing we have those fiscally responsible Blue Dogs to...oh wait, never mind.


Dow soars on rumored government bailout of bond insurers.

I love capitalism.


Feeling the Mittmentum in Florida.


Harry Reid whining that Chris Dodd might prevent them from jetting off to Davos is pretty disgusting.


Bush just spoke briefly after meeting with various mayors. He really just sounds like the crazy uncle in the corner who keeps belting out nonsense.

Teen Sex

I guess I missed the memo where we all agreed that teens should abstain from sex to make William Saletan happy. Or something.

But, no, I don't think the ideal amount of teen sex is zero. I think the ideal amount of teen sex is whatever amount of safe and consensual sex between people who have a reasonable understanding of what they're getting up to want to have. We freak out about teen sex because we freak out about sex generally, and more specifically female sex drive, and we screw up a new generation of people by convincing them that "waiting" is the "right" thing to do and sex is somehow wrong, especially because, but not limited to, the fact that we set up women to be the "check" on male sex drive.

Still Wanking

Apparently Michael O'Hanlon is going for the record for longest wank in the history of wanking.

De-Baathifying the Healthy Forests Under the Clear Skies

The degree to which our elite press still swallows administration bullshit, even when it's transparently bullshit, is truly depressing.

Hard To Get Excited

Indeed the failures of the leadership candidates to actually try to use their existing power to do anything positive has been a big disappointment of the campaign. They're probably doing the smart thing by focusing on their campaigns, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.


Over there.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A bomb attack on a residential building in Iraq's northern city of Mosul on Wednesday killed at least seven people and wounded more than 70, police said.

Witnesses said it was one of the biggest explosions they had ever heard in Mosul, part of a region where al Qaeda in Iraq militants have regrouped after being pushed out of Baghdad and western Anbar province.

The Sunni Islamist militant group is blamed for most major bombings in Iraq.


CNBC bobblehead giving opinion:

I'm telling you somebody went to the Fed over the weekend, and knocked on the Fed's door, and said, "Listen. I am big. I'm someone big. And I have a contagious disease and I slept with the world."


Finally someone with the courage to tell the truth.


Even when he loses, he wins.


Europe down, US futures in the tank again...

Morning Thread

I got nuthin'.

--Molly I.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reporters Needed

Right now there is probably a lot of behind the scenes stuff going on between the Fed, the Treasury, and various big financial players. Some non-stenographic updates on this stuff would be nice.


Bernanke the pessimist.

People wondering why Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suddenly moved to reduce the bank borrowing rate by three quarters of a point should know that in private he has expressed growing pessimism about the economy. Whispers has learned that has told people in recent weeks that the economic situation some see falling into recession will be much worse than he has admitted to publicly.

We're told by those who've heard him that he says the first six months of this year will be "bad," an adjective that some interpret this as signaling there is better than a 50-50 chance for a recession. Even worse, the former Princeton prof believes the ensuing recovery will be "weak" because of persistent problems in the housing market that will result in subdued consumer spending.

Housing market problems will persist for the next two years minimum, at least in many areas. Just how much that spills over into the rest of the economy is somewhat of an open question.

Met a guy tonight whose job it was/is to bundle up pieces of big shitpile and sell them off to suckers financial wizards. He certainly couldn't say anything to make me feel any better about all of this.

Evening Thread


The Tweety Effect

It is encouraging that occasionally "The Left" can make some noise and actually get a response. A few years ago it just felt like we were just screaming into the vacuum.

Fresh Thread



CNBC bobblehead now cheering on bailout of MBIA and Ambac (bond insurers). "A public/private bailout that has to be monumental in nature..."

The Inevitable Financial Apocalypse

Just kidding. A few people are confused about my "not sure there will be a bad recession" assertion combined with my obsession with documenting various indications and predictions of total financial meltdown.

I don't think the apocalypse is a likely event. I think that, going forward, there will be a continuing decline in the labor market over the next few months. The foreclosure crisis will continue, with foreclosure levels increasing somewhat. States and local municipalities are going to have big problems dealing with the costs of this, especially in areas where there was a lot of speculation. There will probably be more homebuilders going belly up.

The Feds will do what they have to do to prevent, say, a major bank from going under, for better or for worse.

...adding that I do think moderate to serious economic pain is coming, and that it won't be quick. It might be a long and drawn out period of little-to-no-growth, and there might be an actual recession in there. Certainly there will be regions which are in recession territory if not the economy as a whole.

Wasn't Holtz-Eakin Available?

Indeed it's a bit frightening that McCain has decided to exhume the corpse of Phil Gramm.

Bye Fred

We won't have Fred Thompson to make fun of anymore.

Jingle All The Way

I know some will find walking away from homes morally unsettling somehow, but I don't see what's wrong with people behaving as businesses would. It's the fault of lenders for not ensuring that people had skin in the game by requiring reasonable down payment levels.

...and, adding, if the banks hadn't lobbied for the awful Bankruptcy Bill more of their customers might be choosing that route instead.

A Really Bad Word

Ah, our elite media, so in touch with the common people.

Even a modest recession will end up hurting a lot of people, and will likely be quite deep in some regions/cities even if the national picture isn't that bad.


I agree with Krugman that while I don't know how bad a recession will be - or even if there will technically be one - I do think there will be a long period during which it feels like one.

Fresh Thread



I doubt this.

Painter said when Town Homes of Cape Haze "originally came out, guys were talking about selling units for $500,000. Now the price is in the $250s -- and not a single resale yet."

Most new condos, he said, were purchased to generate rental income.

"They're getting $1,200 a month in rent, tops," Painter said. "It's hard to keep a cash-flow property when you paid $500,000 and can only get $1,200 a month rent."

Plenty of condos might be rental units now, but I seriously doubt most of them were "purchased to generate rental income." Rents remained low as prices skyrocketed and no one thought rents would cover mortgage costs. They were bought by flippers who thought they'd cash out quickly.

The Country's Gain

We can all be thankful for Rudy's implosion. A Giuliani administration would be like Bush's without all the good stuff.

Up Is Down

Erin Burnett on CNBC:

"Right now we are up 455 points..."

At Least The War Is Over

And the dead are all living.


Helicotper Ben to the rescue! Fed drops the rate .75, my old Professor Poole lone dissenter....

Stock futures still way down.

...CNBC guys fighting with each other. Funny.

Morning Thread

To paraphrase a commenter over at Firedoglake:

How's that plan for putting social security into the hands of Citibank, Merrill Lynch and the other financial ‘wizards’ as President Bush had so strongly urged looking now?

Fake Empire


Monday, January 21, 2008

Late Night

Rock on.


After a pause for lunch, Nikkei at -659.



I still love him though, even more than Tagg loves him.

Debate the Second

2nd part of the transcript was much less depressing.

Nikkei plunged down -587 again, however.


Not watching, but I just read the first chunk of the transcript which arrived in my inbox.


Fresh Thread

Nikkei soaring to a whopping -455...

And It's Morning in Japan

Nikkei down another 480 587 612 625 points...

They Are What They Are

Digby gives us a sobering reminder of how things are in Democrat land.

Cramer's World


Cramer: My Lightning Round Recommendations Are Not Meant To Be Taken At Face Value.


And It's Morning In Australia

Market's open.

Australian shares resumed their slide this morning, with investors joining counterparts around the world to dump their holdings ahead of an expected slowdown in global growth.

In early trading, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 share index had shed nearly 3.7 per cent, down 205.9 points to 5374.5 points, placing the market on course for a record 12th day of declines.

Going South

Tomorrow will be very exciting indeed!!

More Happy Talk

From billionaire Mort Zuckerman.

Zuckerman: I don't think it's an exaggeration. It's an understatement. You've heard me say here I think we are facing the worst financial crunch and crisis since the Great Depression. You have the entire banking system now that is virtually frozen and there are not just the sub-prime mortgage thing. There are other things called credit default swaps where they're going to lose as much money, 250 billion dollars on. The banks are frozen. They're not making loans because they have such huge debts that they have to take onto their balance sheets and nobody knows how to deal with that because you had a had two bubbles that have burst at the same time. The housing bubble which has collapsed in this country. The first time since the Great Depression that housing values have gone down for a year since the depression and it's going to go down even more next year. The credit crunch, you've just exploded the whole credit system in this country. We were way over leveraged. The banking system was over-leveraged. People didn't even know about it. The bankers didn't know about it. They didn't access the risk. Now that risk is piling in and every body's going to pay the price. Uh it's going to stimulate nothing other, I mean it's going to destimulate the economy. Nobody has money to lend. They're saving all their money to pay off their debts. They're borrowing money or looking at uh the rest of the world to enhance their capital and it's still not going to solve their problems.


Hold on...

University of Maryland economist Carmen Reinhart and Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff agree. They say the current crisis appears on track to be at least as bad as the five most catastrophic financial crises to hit industrialized countries since World War II.

If those past experiences are any guide, the economy is in trouble, they argue in a recent paper. Indeed, "if the United States does not experience a significant and protracted growth slowdown, it should either be considered very lucky or even more 'special' than most optimistic theories suggest," they write.

As I've written before, while there were some regional pockets of doom, the national economy just hasn't experienced a protracted downturn in quite some time. The Bush I&II recessions were slight, and the Reagan recession was painful but relatively short.

Asian markets open in a few hours...


I don't think there's anything wrong with this kind of religion-based identity politics. It certainly doesn't appeal to me, and it isn't designed to. But it isn't in any way outside the rules which our grand and glorious Villagers set up until they decided they didn't like Mike Huckabee.

To be clear, I'm not saying you have to like this stuff, I'm just saying that I don't think it's in any way out of bounds. We've been told for years that politicians should embrace religion, and now a couple of them have in a very explicit fashion. Like any identity-based tribal politics, as a strategy it runs the risk of being exclusionary. And I'm much less likely to push the Obama button in April because of it. But it isn't somehow wrong. In fact it's much better than the be-very-religious-without-any-actual-religion "faith based" rhetoric we previously dealt with. If you think religion is important, and you think voters will respond to that positively, run with it.

No Other Voting Bloc

I imagine if CNN's Randi Kaye thought a bit harder she could come up with at least one more.

Recent polls show black women are expected to make up more than a third of all Democratic voters in South Carolina's primary in five days.

For these women, a unique, and most unexpected dilemma, presents itself: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?

No other voting bloc in the country faces this choice.

National Ad

Obama ad mystery solved. It's national.


Fun times.

an. 21 (Bloomberg) -- ACA Capital Holdings Inc., the bond insurer being run by regulators after subprime-mortgage losses, won a month's grace to unwind $60 billion of credit-default swap contracts that it can't pay.

ACA, under the control of the Maryland Insurance Administration, extended an agreement that waives collateral requirements, policy claims and termination rights until Feb. 19, the New York-based company said in a statement on Business Wire late yesterday.

The insurer said it's working with trading partners ``to develop a permanent solution to stabilize its capital position'' after losses of $1.04 billion in the third quarter.


``The monolines are dead, their business model is dead,'' said David Roche, head of investment consultancy Independent Strategy in London. ``The government is going to have to recapitalize this industry or there will be communities in the U.S. where they can't even flush their toilets'' because they can't afford the services.

Jim Cramer is pushing for the government to step in.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

From the "media should stop pretending that nobody could have predicted the housing bubble" file, I give you this from Nov. 2005 from Baker and Rosnick (.pdf).

More Edwards


It's not clear to me which candidate his withdrawal would help most at this point. And depending on what your judgment of that question is, I can see supporters of Hillary or Obama wanting him to get out. That makes sense to me.

But I don't see any reason that Edwards is under any obligation to get out of the race as long as his supporters are willing to fund his campaign.

Right. I mean, as I said I can come up with arguments for why Edwards should drop out, but those arguments require some sort of goal. I want him out to help Obama! I want him out to help Clinton! I want him out because I'm tired of looking at his face! Or, maybe even I want him out because that way it'll be more likely he'll get a position in the Cabinet!

But increasingly it seems that John Edwards should drop out... because, well, he just should that's all! Um, why? The honorable thing? WTF?

The Honorable Thing

Julian Epstein just told all 5 of us watching MSNBC that "the honorable thing" for John Edwards to do would be to drop out if he does poorly in South Carolina.

Could anyone explain the details of this particular code of honor to me? I mean, there are certainly arguments that can be made for why John Edwards should drop out, but I have no idea how any of them include a concept of "honor."

The End of the HELOC Era

What happens when people can no longer finance their lifestyles by pulling fantasy equity out of their homes?

We're going to find out.

Obama Ad

Since Pennsylvania's primary is in 2010, or whatever, it's a bit surprising to see a Obama ad which I just did.

...yeah, as people point out that ad was probably intended for New Jersey. Still it shows that digital cable has really failed to do the kind of ad targeting it's capable of doing. Ad was on CNN, and it's pretty stupid that Comcast wouldn't allow Jersey-only ads.


Krugman explains the basic textbook reasoning for why an economic stimulus should be focused on lower income individuals.

Another good thing to do would be to fund productive public infrastructure projects. The downside of doing so would be that such projects can take time to plan before the money already gets spent, though there are plenty of projects that are essentially just waiting for funding. The upsides are: presumably a lot of jobs being lost are in residential and commercial real estate construction, and increasing public infrastructure expenditures would provide a jobs cushion for those people; there are a lot of crumbling bridges which need to be repaired as there's been a lot of absurd and ultimately costly "deferred maintenance"; smart projects will have later benefits.

Along those lines, Fred Hiatt is shocked that insane conservative free market ideologues like the ones his paper publishes on a regular basis actually mean the things they say!

People I Don't Bother To Listen To

Self-proclaimed moderates, independents, centrists.

Self-proclaimed truth-tellers.


Fun times in the European markets.

US markets closed today, but Dow futures are down 350+...

Nobody Could Have Predicted


WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is beginning its last year in office by quietly scaling back its foreign policy ambitions as it struggles with new obstacles and rapidly dwindling influence.

Only a few months ago, senior officials predicted that before their exit, they could deliver the Middle East peace deal that had eluded so many predecessors. But this month, as President Bush toured Israel and the West Bank, officials made it clear that the deal he's now talking about is not a long-awaited final agreement, but a preliminary pact to set the terms for talks.

In addition, the administration's efforts to get North Korea and Iran to end their nuclear programs have suffered deflating setbacks in recent weeks. And although the administration's greatest foreign policy undertaking, Iraq, has seen encouraging security improvements, the goal of Iraqi political reconciliation remains distant.

The upshot is that the Bush administration is going to be spending the next year managing crises and tidying up messes until the next president takes over, rather than reaching legacy milestones, as officials recently had hoped.

Morning Thread

Have we ended the season of Favre love, only to see it replaced with McCain love?

If only there was a picture that went with this post?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Late Night

Rock on.

Trouble in the OC

This article on people with housing issues is interesting.

365 366 To Go

I wish us all luck.


Fun times at the Tokyo stock market...

Evening Thread

I'm glad I don't have to run around in 0 degree weather.

The Surge Is A Glorious Success


In only one respect has the surge achieved undeniable success: It has ensured that U.S. troops won't be coming home anytime soon.

Hundreds of billions of dollars gone and hundreds of US troops dead so that George Bush and the Villagers can continue to have their wonderful war.

Fresh Thread

I understand there are some football contests today.

Beauty Contests

I think the above chart from CNN shows the problem with the coverage of these races Apparently Obama won New Hampshire and tied in Nevada (not sure if anyone's definitively figured out that last part)! Although Clinton gets the little red check signaling victory.

Perhaps now the coverage will actually start focusing on the delegate counts and how they're ultimately what matters. Some voters might actually be interested in finding out just what these "superdelegate" things are, too.


I really can't imagine what it must have been like to grow up in Tim Russert's world. Women just freak them out completely.

So Super

For all the obsession of with the horserace, it's been surprisingly focused on the Horse Race Right Now Based On Prevailing Press Narratives, instead of actually talking about stuff which might actually be a bit more interesting. Obviously Super Tuesday matters for candidates who are trying to collect delegates, otherwise known as candidates not named Giuliani. I assume the various campaigns have strategies for which states they intend to focus on, try to win, etc., but I've heard basically nothing about it.


Like so many others, that story just faded away.

* BAGHDAD - The U.S. military said the final death toll in multiple truck bombings targeting Iraq's minority Yazidi sect in northern Iraq last August was 796.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

“Fox News Sunday,” Guests: Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, a Republican presidential candidate, and Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat.

•NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Guest: Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian.

•ABC’s “This Week,” Guests: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican presidential candidate, and Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat.

•CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Guests: Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, a Democratic presidential candidate; David Axelrod, strategist for Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign; Howard Wolfson, communications director for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

•CNN’s“Late Edition,” Rep. James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat; Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a District of Columbia Democrat; Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat.

McCain's Base

I think McCain is easy to beat as a candidate, but I don't think my mental health will survive the press fluffing of him for all these months.

Morning Thread

Honestly, it's almost as depressing when MoDo actually writes about the issues, since it shows that her Heather persona isn't her only trick. It's just the one she likes best.

--Molly I.