Saturday, February 02, 2008


Domo Arigato

Calling All Critics


Philly and Parking

A commenter in the thread below suggested that any new Philadelphia development requires parking, so developers can't be blamed for putting in stupid ass garages. It's true that this is a widespread belief, a belief so widespread that I even believed it until someone set me straight, and so widespread that many developers even believed it to be true for a time. But someone in the know set me straight and it isn't actually true. Any new development with 5 or more units needs to address parking, but single lot development doesn't.

It's true that you can get community opposition to development which doesn't have parking, though why "subtract one public parking space and replace it with one private one" is something which addresses such concerns escapes me.

More than that, often (though not always) the option exists to put the parking in either a back spot or garage. Just keep them off the front of the buildings.

Slothead Bill

Personally I've never really understood why "donating to candidates" was a high sin for mainstream media personalities, but certainly Bennett should've disclosed his support for McCain given the typical rules of their breed.

Early Evening Thread

Have fun.

More Thread

If you're bored, the debate transcript from last night is up...

Afternoon Thread


Stupid Development Tricks

One of the rather depressing development trends here in Philly, where there has been a lot of rehabs and teardowns/new construction, is the proliferation of street level garages on major streets. I have nothing against people owning cars and understand that people want parking spots, but they really lead to the deterioration of the quality of a block. It takes away what was a public on-street parking lot and takes it private into the garage (some enterprising owners understand that they now have two spaces - the garage and their private space in front of it). They're a pedestrian hazard. String a few of them together and they make an eyesore. Blocks with lots of them tend to be dead zones, and in urban areas dead zones tend to attract crime (less foot traffic, fewer witnesses around).

While I actually think developers overestimate the demand for garage parking in the city - they do take away a significant amount of square footage of a house and on your typical Philly lot make for a rather strange and unappealing ground floor - I'm not against them altogether. Just put them in the back, off an alley.

So you know, Philly residents get cheap permit parking for on street spots, so lacking a garage or other private spot doesn't mean you can't park or require an expensive lot space.

....Visual aids. Here's a particularly ugly example. Remember that these lots are right up against the sidewalk, they usually aren't set back at all.

And here's what happens when you string a few together and completely kill the block.

Just So You Know

I understand and see things that the rest of you couldn't possibly comprehend. Perhaps you would like to subscribe to my newsletter?

Stay Away From Sports

I really wish members of Congress would understand that when they get involved in sports-related controversies to demonstrate their relevance and regular guyness they just make themselves look like idiots.

There are more important things to be spending their time on.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.


Slave state.


And Glenn on the Cave-in Cavalcade, and an interesting quotation from Linc Chafee's book:
The book excoriates Mr. Bush and his GOP allies who repeatedly fanned such wedge issues as changing the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage, abortion and flag-burning. But he saves some of his harshest words for Democrats who paved the way for Mr. Bush to use the U.S. military to invade Iraq. . . .

"The top Democrats were at their weakest when trying to show how tough they were," writes Chafee. "They were afraid that Republicans would label them soft in the post-September 11 world, and when they acted in political self-interest, they helped the president send thousands of Americans and uncounted innocent Iraqis to their doom.

"Instead of talking tough or meekly raising one's hand to support the tough talk, it is far more muscular, I think, to find out what is really happening in the world and have a debate about what we really need to accomplish," writes Chafee. "That is the hard work of governing, but it was swept aside once the fear, the war rhetoric and the political conniving took over."

Chafee writes of his surprise at "how quickly key Democrats crumbled." Democratic senators, Chafee writes, "went down to the meetings at the White House and the Pentagon and came back to the chamber ready to salute. With wrinkled brows they gravely intoned that Saddam Hussein must be stopped. Stopped from what? They had no conviction or evidence of their own. They were just parroting the administration's nonsense. They knew it could go terribly wrong; they also knew it could go terribly right. Which did they fear more?"

Not Atrios


You people talk too much.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I'm too sleepy to have anything to say.

Not Atrios

More Thread

Friday Night Thread

I'm going out. You're on your own.

Evening Thread

--Molly I.

The Internet Fails to Provide

I am unable to find a simple list of the various poll closing times on Super Tuesday.

...but my readers provide!

Full Circle

CNBC's Gasparino is reporting that a few years ago the ratings agencies told bond insurers, who had specialized in municipal bonds, that to maintain their AAA ratings they need to diversify into CDOs, otherwise known as Big Shitpile.

Republican Entrepreneurship?

Wonder what this is about..

The Coming Bush Bounce

You know, if Bush actually wanted to get a poll bounce he could get on the teevee, say he's consulted with all the experts, concluded that the TSA liquid ban is the stupidest fucking thing since the last thing Jonah Goldberg wrote, and proclaim that he was ending it.

Chyron Fun



Moments later:


Anyway, this is about the chunk of Big Shitpile Merrill pawned off on Springfield, Mass., which promptly lost most of its value. Merrill just bought it back for what they originally sold it for.

Al Franken Century

Franken's ahead of Coleman in a poll for the first time I think.

Third Way

A collection of very bad people.

Fortunately they have a contact number.


End the Mindset


Move On Endorses Obama

I suppose my preference would have been for them to sit this out, but who cares what I think about such things. I don't run Move On!

Super Shitpile II: Electric Boogaloo


Source: 8 banks form consortium to seek rescue plan for bond insurers.

Banks working with bond insurers and NYS insurance dept.

Variety of solutions are being considered for rescuing bond insurers.

Kudlow loves it, AND IT IS NOT A GOVERNMENT BAILOUT SO STOP SAYING THAT, so you know it's bullshit.

This is just another ploy to delay the day of reckoning, and it will work as well as the last time the banks got together to try to start a fund to bail themselves out.


Over there.

Two bombs in busy Baghdad animal markets have killed at least 64 people.

An Iraqi official said the devices were attached to two women with learning disabilities, and detonated remotely.

More On Jobs


With today's report, the Labor Department revised the payroll numbers after reviewing more complete tax data not available earlier from state unemployment insurance programs and making adjustments to its estimates of seasonal hiring patterns.

The revision subtracted 376,000 jobs from the previous estimate for the year ended December 2007, bringing total job growth for the period to 1.137 million.

That's a monthly average of 94,750 for the period, below the 140,000 or so necessary to keep up with the growth in the working age population.

I Took The Under

Mrs. Atrios can vouch for me, though I forgot to post. And the unders win!

U.S. employers unexpectedly cut 17,000 non-farm jobs in January, the first time in nearly 4-1/2 years that U.S. payrolls shrank as fading construction and manufacturing sectors reflected the economy's waning momentum.

The Labor Department report on Friday came in much weaker than anticipated by analysts surveyed by Reuters, who had forecast 80,000 jobs would be added last month. The department revised December's new-job total up to 82,000 from 18,000 but the hiring trend clearly was fading as 2007 ended.

Good morning

Not sure whether you want to think more about the depressing economy or, I dunno, some other stuff.

Not Atrios


Rock on.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Thread

Tomorrow's Friday! Fridays are exciting!!

Rock on.

Juan McCain

CNN should be so proud.

More Thread


That Awesome Bankruptcy Bill

While I do think no-or-little-money-down combined with the general corrupt carnival atmosphere of the whole lending/housing markets in recent years are the major explanations, one certainly can't dismiss the likely role of the Bankruptcy Bill in all of this.

The issue at stake revolves around so-called delinquency rates, the proportion of people who fall behind on their debt repayments. When American households have faced hard times in previous decades, they tended to default on unsecured loans such as credit cards and car loans first – and stopped paying their mortgage only as a last resort. However, in the last couple of years households have become delinquent on their mortgages much faster than trends in the wider economy might suggest. That is particularly true of the less creditworthy subprime borrowers. More­over, consumers have stopped paying mortgages before they halt payments on their credit cards or automotive loans – turning the traditional delinquency pattern on its head. As a result, mortgage lenders have started to face losses at a much earlier stage than in the past.

“In the past, if a household in America experienced financial problems it tended to go delinquent on its credit cards, but kept on paying its mortgage,” says Malcolm Knight, head of the Bank for International Settlements, the central banks’ bank. “Now what seems to be happening is that people who have outstanding mortgages that are greater than the value of their home, or have negative amortisation mortgages, keep paying off their credit card balances but hand in the keys to their house . . . these reactions to financial stress are not taken into account in the credit scoring models that are used to value residential mortgage-backed securities.”

One possible explanation is that it has become culturally more acceptable this decade for people to abandon houses or stop paying in the hope of renegotiating their home loans. The shame that used to be associated with losing a house may, in other words, be ebbing away – particularly among homeowners who took out subprime loans in recent years, as underwriting standards were loosened. Consumers may also be rationally re-evaluating the costs that come with defaulting on different forms of debt, in the light of recent bankruptcy law reforms in America.

All of this cultural "shame" stuff is nonsense. But bankruptcy laws exist largely for the benefit of creditors, not debtors, and if you don't make it a reasonable path for people who are underwater to take then they'll choose another course. And so they send in the keys and walk away from the house.

Maybe They Could Mud Wrestle Instead

I understand there's a debate thing tonight.

Jingle Mail

$7.2 billion commercial real estate edition.

Fresh Thread


Deep Thought

Only 38 US troops were killed in January. At that rate, only 456 US troops will be killed in 2008.


The Many Joys of Blogging

Include the fact that people are always telling you what you're supposed to be doing with your blog.


Make the shitpile higher!

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Credit rating company Moody's Investors Service on Thursday said it raised its assumptions for losses on loans backing subprime mortgages as much as 85 percent in response to deteriorating performance.


The revised estimates will likely result in more negative ratings actions on 2006 subprime RMBS.

Ground and Early Voting

Jane makes some important points here. There's a weird lack of attention to non-teevee strategies by the candidates, and especially when lots of states have pretty widespread early voting those strategies are rather important to understand before presenting us with sage analysis.

Mitt Still In It

Yay Mittens!

LOS ANGELES — Competition between Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney for California’s vast array of Republican delegates was heating up on Thursday, with Mr. McCain poised to receive a major endorsement and Mr. Romney preparing to broadcast television advertisements in California and several other February 5 states.

Mr. Romney, who has done well with fundraising compared to his rivals, but who also has repeatedly dipped into his own deep pockets, will buy advertising time in California’s expensive media markets Thursday, as well as markets in several other states across the country that are still being chosen, Carl Forti, the Romney campaign’s political director, said on Thursday morning.

Wanker of the Day

Jake Tapper.


One thing that's lost in much of the postpartisanbipartisancantweallgetalongisan rhetoric - and media portrayal of the Village generally - is that there are tremendous stakes in national elections. There are trillions of dollars in goodies to be handed out, and much power - economic and otherwise - involved. People do a lot for money and power, and while our national patronage machine isn't quite as easily understood as your typical city's is, it's still a giant patronage machine.

Big Money

The teevee just told me that Obama raised $32 million in January.

Don't think Clinton's numbers are out yet.


Two left. I never thought any of the "others" - Kucinich, Biden, Richardson, Dodd - had any serious kind of chance, though I figured Edwards would stay in until the end. Not a crazy idea given that he said he was going to, but whatever.

A woman or an African-American man will be the Democratic nominee. As is the case with such firsts it's rather important that whoever it is succeeds or it'll be a hell of a long time before there's a second. It puts some additional pressure on the candidates to win this thing.

Hang In There, Mittens!

Tagg can afford to lend you a few more million from his inheritance. You can place some ads!

The Beginning?

New jobless claims jump to 375K. That's a serious number. Shouldn't take too much from one week of data, but...

Billion Here, Billion There


Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- MBIA Inc., the world's largest bond insurer, posted its biggest-ever quarterly loss and is considering new ways to raise capital after a slump in the value of subprime-mortgage securities.

The fourth-quarter net loss was $2.3 billion, or $18.61 a share, raising concern the Armonk, New York-based company will lose its top credit ratings. The loss came a day after FGIC Corp.'s insurance unit became the third company to be stripped of its AAA grade.

Why We Fight

In this difficult primary season, I think it is important that we remember the common values that have brought us together.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Late Night





Make the shitpile higher.

NEW YORK (AP) — Standard & Poor's Ratings Services is considering slashing its rating on more than $500 billion of investments tied to bad mortgage loans, the ratings agency said Wednesday.

The massive downgrade would threaten a broad swath of the world's finance industry, S&P said, ranging from Wall Street's trading desks to regional banks to local credit unions.


I do not think that word means what the WSJ thinks it means.


CNBC guy says he expects downgrade of MBIA and Ambac (bond insurers) today (informed opinion, not necessarily fact).



William Ackman, a hedge fund manager and short-seller of MBIA, is submitting data to the Securities and Exchange Commission and insurance regulators in New York State alleging that bond insurers MBIA and Ambac Financial Group are understating their losses.

In his report, Ackman, of Pershing Square Capital, will contend that both bond insurers have said their mark-to-market losses are less than $1.5 billion, but according to his analysis, the losses for each firm will be around $12 billion.

Ackman has come up with this number through an analysis of the vast majority of the CDOs that have been insured by the company. He will claim that his analysis is conservative, meaning that if there is a question about a particular CDO, he doesn’t assume a worst case scenario.

GOP Daddy Disappoints Again

They always do.

Helicopter Ben To The Rescue

Half point cut in fed funds and discount rates....

Deep Thought

Maybe if Edwards had announced his exit from the race every week he would have gotten more media coverage.

Are There Any Republicans Left

We're up to 28 House Republican retirements.

That's getting close to 15% of them.

Don't Mess With The Mustache


Feingold on FISA

I was at this meeting when this was said.


Since I occasionally knock Jim Cramer a bit, though it's really more just knocking him as a symbol of something larger than anything personal, it's appropriate to point out that he's out there speaking out against the deregulation trend.

Perhaps he should put some of those ideas out there a bit more prominently on his cable show.

(ht reader b)

When The Downgrades Come

For some time now the big question has been when will the ratings agencies pull out the jenga pieces marked "MBIA" and "ABK." Some noise now that it will happen soon, despite a request for a postponement from New York regulators.

What happens then?

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., UBS AG and other banks may be forced to post up to $70 billion in writedowns should bond insurers lose their top credit ratings, according to Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Meredith Whitney.

Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and UBS AG, which have already suffered the biggest losses from the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, according to Bloomberg data, hold 45 percent of the ``entire market risk,'' Whitney wrote in a note to clients dated yesterday. MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc., the biggest so-called monoline insurers, are on review for possible downgrades by Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's.

``The fate of the monoline insurers is of paramount importance to financial stocks,'' said New York-based Whitney. ``When it becomes clear, as we expect it will, that more charges are on the horizon, we believe the market will take another turn for the worse.''

Box Turtle Ben

How could the Washington Post have ever let this tremendous writer and intellect go...

(via lg&m)

Feeling Their Pain

The inability of the Republican lizard brains to even fake the slightest bit of empathy or sympathy for those experience economic troubles, or in fact to even restrain from outright hostility, is rather fascinating.

That isn't to say all of those in foreclosures are victims. But there were a lot of people ripped off by mortgage brokers they thought were acting in their interests who instead were pushing them into crappier loans for bigger commissions. When you hire someone whose job you think it is to get you the best loan possible, and their incentives are actually to get you the shittiest loan possible and you are unaware of that fact, there's a wee bit of a problem in the system.

A Phrase Which Inspires Me To Hit The Mute Button

"Joe Klein of Time Magazine is on the phone with us..."

Edwards Out


America's Mayor

The "serious" point of the Fox News "America's Mayor" video is that Murdoch and crew bet hard on Rudy... and lost.

Billion Here, Billion There

More Big Shitpile.

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG, Europe's largest bank by assets, had a record loss after raising fourth-quarter writedowns on assets infected by U.S. subprime mortgages to $14 billion.

The fourth-quarter net loss of 12.5 billion Swiss francs ($11.4 billion) was almost double what analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were estimating, and brings the total decline for the year to about 4.4 billion francs, the Zurich-based bank said today in a statement. UBS publishes detailed results on Feb. 14.


Digby is on the case.

Not Atrios

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ballot Fun

I realize he's out so it doesn't much matter, but was Bill Richardson really on the ballot as "William Richardson III"?

Wanker of the Day

Al Wynn.

Bye Rudy

Rudy's out, will endorse McCain. Apparently it's a "big endorsement."

More Results

Which you can go and dig up yerselves.


Actually I gotta go out, so find them elsewhere.

Chat away.


It's the big day in Florida apparently. Go Mitt!

Still In

I've been pretty skeptical about the whole "Bank of America to buy Countrywide" thing. I still am. They say they're still in...

The $422 million loss Countrywide Financial Corp. reported Tuesday didn't appear to scare off Bank of America.

"At this point, everything is a go to complete this transaction," Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Ken Lewis said at an investor conference in New York.


House passes 15 day extension of the PAA Act. It sounds like Senate will do same and Bush will sign. We'll see.

Oh My


Federal investigators have opened criminal inquiries into 14 companies as part of a wide-ranging investigation of the subprime mortgage crisis.

CNBC sez they're "looking at accounting fraud, securitization of loans, and insider trading..."

One day they'll stop calling it the "subprime mortgage crisis."

...bit more:

The FBI wouldn't identify the companies under investigation but said that generally the bureau is looking into allegations of fraud in various stages of mortgage securitization, from those who bundled the loans, to the banks that ended up holding them.

So Long Rudy...

A fitting tribute.


It's important to remember that the subprime loans were just the first phase.

Countrywide Financial, the largest U.S. mortgage lender, Tuesday said more than one in three subprime mortgages were delinquent at year-end in the $1.48 billion portfolio of home loans it services.

The comments on loan delinqencies comes as the troubled mortgage lender reported a loss of $422 million, or 79 cents a share, for the fourth quarter, compared with a year-earlier profit of $622 million, or $1.01 per share.

Countrywidesaid borrowers were delinquent on 33.64 percent of subprime loans it serviced as of Dec. 31, up from 29.08 percent in September. It also said borrowers were at least 90 days late on payments on 17.25 percent of subprime mortgages.

The rate of late payments rose to 7.32 percent at year end from 5.76 percent on prime home equity loans, and to 5.76 percent from 4.41 percent on conventional first mortgages, Countrywide said. For all loans, the delinquency rate rose to 8.64 percent from 7.12 percent, it said.

I don't know what overlap there is between subprime and option ARMs - the former is a characteristic of the borrower and the latter is a type of loan - but Mozilo has lots of those.

It seems the CEO of America's No. 1 mortgage lender would have you believe the company is above reproach. But Calabasas (Calif.)-based Countrywide has been among the most aggressive underwriters of option ARMs. As of the end of last year, the dollar amount of option ARMs on its books leaped more than fivefold, to $26.1 billion, or 38% of its total mortgages held, vs. 11% in 2004. Three-quarters of the company's option ARM borrowers chose the cheapest mortgage payment, according to its latest earnings release -- meaning these loans could reset at much higher rates. Yet accounting rules let Countrywide book the full payment as revenue on its books right now.

That was in 2006.


I really need to get wireless mobile broadband of some sort.

Threadbot says...

My cellular phone's got it goin' on.

(Hey, Threadbot is alive if you are willing to believe you heathen bastards!)

And The Good Economic News

Durable goods orders up.

New orders for long-lasting U.S.-made manufactured goods rose by a much bigger-than-expected 5.2 percent in December and a key gauge of business spending also surged, a Commerce Department report showed on Tuesday.

Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a proxy for business investment, rose a much greater-than-expected 4.4 percent. It was the first rise in that category since September, a Commerce Department official said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected orders for durables to rise 1.5 percent and for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft to rise 0.1 percent.

Shitty Shitpile


NEW YORK ( -- Countrywide Financial, the nation's leading mortgage lender, reported a staggering $1.2 billion third-quarter loss Friday that was much larger than Wall Street expected, but predicted it would quickly return to profitability.


Countrywide Chairman and CEO Angelo Molizo said the lender has weathered the worst of its problems and is in a good position to post a profit in the fourth quarter, as well as in 2008. He pointed out out that many lenders have pulled out of the residential mortgage business in recent months due to the upheaval, or have gone out of business entirely.


Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expect the company to report a fourth-quarter loss of 30 cents per share on revenue of $1.71 billion.

And reality.

CALABASAS, Calif., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Countrywide Financial Corporation today reported a net loss of $422 million, or $0.79 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2007, which compares to net income of $622 million, or $1.01 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2006.

Doesn't Anyone Remember Anthrax?


"There has not been another attack on our soil since 9/11" -- anthrax! Anthrax! Oh well. For some reason that whole episode has been officially erased from the historical record or something.

Indeed. And anthrax was what made things like "mobile chemical weapons labs" sound so scary. Not everyone agrees, but I think more than 9/11 the anthrax freaked the country out. 9/11 was horrible, but the anthrax made it seem like we'd reached a new era where some horrible creepy shit was going to happen every day.

And then it was all forgotten.


I feel nearly optimistic after the Dems actually did something right. If they have any brains, they will just let the "Protect America" Act expire, since we don't actually need it.

Don't forget to check how your reps voted and let them know what you think.

Not Atrios


Rock on.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Don't get me started.

Not Atrios

The SOTU Thread

Feel emboldened.

They Get Letters


The food's good and people pretend they like me

Bush is Mr. Empathy, he's a guy you'd like to pour a beer on:

“yeah, there’s a bubble but life’s pretty comfortable inside the bubble.”

He Did It His Way

Are we nearing the end of the Giuliani era?

Could God be so cruel to His angel?

"God sent an angel, his name was Rudy Giuliani," said Voight, adding: "He's kind of a genius."


Extending umemployment benefits is key.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats will move to add to a $150 billion economic stimulus package rebates for senior citizens living off Social Security and an extension of unemployment benefits, setting up a clash with the White House and House leaders who are pushing a narrower package.

As the House planned a vote Tuesday on a plan that would speed rebates of up to $600 to most income earners -- more for couples and families with children -- the Senate was planning to draft its own measure with the add-ons, said senior Senate aides in both parties, speaking on condition of anonymity because the package is not yet final.

Though I'm a bit confused about why the House ran to cut a deal with the preznit before the Senate got involved.


The most trusted name in news.


A bit different than most ads.

I met Novick briefly. Seems like a good guy. Here's more about him.

(Some) Credit Where Credit is Due File


SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones) -- Countrywide Financial said on Monday that Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo, a lightening rod for criticism over the subprime- lending meltdown, is giving up a $37.5 million severance package.

The package is less than a quarter of the money Mozilo collected selling Countrywide stock in 2007 as the company's shares slumped almost 80%.

The Calabasas, Calif., lender said Mozilo is giving up cash severance payments, post-closing consulting fees and continued perquisites that he was owed in connection with the mortgage lender's takeover by Bank of America (BAC).

Our Stupid Discourse

Maybe if Romney would wrestle a pig or something he could prove his Regular Guyness to the world.

Some Earmarks ARE Ok

I do worry that that the war on Congressional earmarks has got a bit out of hand. They seem to have become shorthand for "pointless and irresponsible spending," but there's not necessarily anything wrong with Congress telling, say, the Department of Transportation how they should spend some of the money they give them. The earmark process is an issue, but not earmarks themselves.


New home sales plunging.

That's probably what we'd call "bad."

I Am Brilliant And Gorgeous

Regarding this:

For years, President Bush and his advisers expressed frustration that the White House received little credit for the nation's strong economic performance because of public discontent about the Iraq war. Today, the president is getting little credit for improved security in Iraq, as the public increasingly focuses on a struggling U.S. economy.

But the reason people never gave Bush much credit for the economy was that for most people the economy was never that awesome. While Iraq is something that most people don't experience directly, the economy is. And if they aren't completely thrilled about it, there's probably a reason.

Midday Thread

What's for lunch?

--Molly I.


in one of John McCain's many wars...

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Five U.S. soldiers were killed when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb and then came under small arms fire in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Monday, the U.S. military said.

Morning Thread

Travel day for me, so light posting...


Tom Tomorrow.

Not Atrios

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Asian stock markets crashing again.


Spent the evening at a friend's place getting caught up on The Wire as I lack HBO. I haven't really been reading reviews but from glancing at them I've sensed that there has been disapproval of this season. Or maybe it's just that journalists have disapproved of this season. In any case I think it's pretty good so far.

Try to avoid temptation to put spoilers in comments, aside from the fact that Darth Vader is McNulty's father.

More thread


Not Atrios

PS. Rock 'n' Roll


Or knit, or whatever.

Not Atrios

Deep Thought

The existence of multiple candidates in the Democratic primary race means that the party is hopelessly splintered.


Yes all political junkies dream of the brokered convention. It would be exciting!! But I started to think about how the news media would deal with such a thing if it were necessary. The primaries are early. The convention is in August. Between the primaries and the convention the bobblehead discussion would be unbearable. I don't know how the campaigns themselves would deal with it. They couldn't go dark, but they couldn't campaign as the presumptive nominee either. There'd be calls and pressures from various quarters for one of the candidates to "do the honorable thing" and bow out for the sake of the party, or Tim Russert's Nantucket vacation, or whatever.

The horror.

Mac and Mittens

Rasmussen has McCain and Romney basically tied nationally, with Rudy and Huck floundering. Hang in there, Mitt!

Except For All That Stuff About His Penis

Silly person Mary Katherine Ham on Howie Kurtz's show, regarding Bill Clinton:

When he was president, he was not subjected to quite as much scrutiny, and I think he got a lot of passes, and now he's mad he's not getting them anymore.

The Kids Are Alright

Younger voter turnout up in SC.

On Trolls


I cannot make anyone stop responding to pointless or nuisance comments. You have to want to restrain yourself, because you understand that the only way to get rid of them is to fail to give them the attention they want. A "troll" is not just someone whose comments you disagree with, or even just a nasty or badly-worded comment. A troll is someone who does not, under any possible set of circumstances, care what you think about him or his comments. He merely wants attention. Negative attention will do. The more you disagree with him, the more he is able to tell himself that he is persecuted and victimized or the only voice of reason or one of the elite few who has the God's-eye view of the world or whatever his current delusion is. If he isn't merely a narcissist who thrives on feeling attacked, he's just some putz who enjoys irritating other people. Therefore, you "feed" the troll by paying any attention to him at all. It does not matter what you say in response. Any response to a troll just encourages the troll.

Besides classic trolls, we have a few resident long-winded bores who believe that the rest of us have never been exposed to some trite, shallow, bombastic rant they just heard on the radio or read in Reader's Digest or saw in a vision, and feel compelled to share with the rest of us. These people lack any possible sense of context or audience; they are incapable of noticing that the bulk of our commenting community has been exposed to the world for a while now and is not interested in any comment that starts "there is one simple answer to this the rest of you aren't getting." It does you no good to respond to this type either; they'll just re-write the same comment again, at the same length, saying the same thing, until you "get it." They are bores with no self-awareness. The cool thing about the internet is that you can just scroll down to the next comment without being "rude." So take advantage of the medium.

What's Mittens Thinking?

After her stellar work on the Fred Thompson campaign, Liz Cheney joins team Romney.


I've just started reading this article on the decline of the American empire, so I don't have anything to comment on it specifically, but I do think it's been quite obvious for some time that the neocons who dreamt of American hegemony have basically destroyed it.

Making It Happen

I'll wade briefly into primary-related commentary to say that as in Iowa, Obama pulled off the feat of actually getting a lot of people to the polls. It's a bit weird to judge a candidate by the success of his campaign. I mean, obviously, in some sense that's how all candidates are judged, but part of Obama's spiel is that he's so awesome that he'll get lots and lots of people to come out to vote for him.

The press is overplaying the race and gender stuff, with a little help from the campaigns themselves of course, though that isn't to say there's nothing there. But I agree with Digby that it's the younger people that provide the more interesting story.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.


CNN's "Late Edition" — Gen. David Petraeus; Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson; former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass.; former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.

"Fox News Sunday" _ Paulson and Huckabee.

2 Democrats, 7 Republicans, 1 Jesus Petraeus.


It's as plain as the nose on my face that Ronald Reagan hasn't been "the party of ideas" for "the last 10 to 15 years" - and while I don't expect Chris Matthews to have noticed this, I do expect Hillary Clinton's defenders to know it. How do these people get hired?

Not Atrios

Update: To be clear, the point is that "Reagan" and "the Republican Party" are actually two different things, and referring to the last 10-15 years is not the same thing as saying "Ronald Reagan", especially given that Reagan left office in 1989 already suffering from Alzheimer's and didn't actually express a lot of ideas after that, especially once he died.

Midnight Thread

For Rocking On.