Saturday, February 09, 2008


Bill Schneider on the Louisiana vote: "His fellow seniors are voting heavily for McCain..." (young voters went heavily for Huck)

Because I've Been Watching Jeeves and Wooster

Stephen Fry has a blog.


Huck may get the hat trick for the evening...


More Elections?

Obama appears to be winning Washington and Nebraska.

More Thread

Molly & I & watertiger saw these guys last night. They were more fun than trolls or aggravating primary hyperpartisans who Have Seen the Light.

They're "inalienable", remember?

Since I've said it myself a number of times, I feel obliged to enthusiastically agree with Jim Henley about foreigners and people, even though he is not a dirty hippie at all but in fact his hair was way too short last time I saw him.

Not Atrios


It's nice that people are actually participating in this participatory democracy thingy.

In 2000 the press told a pleasing story about how it really didn't matter all that much who was president, or who ran Congress. In 2004 it was all about who had the bigger codpiece, and not much else. This time around I think people understand that, like it or not, this politics stuff kinda matters.

Evening Thread

I got nothin'.


Kansas hearts Huckabee.

Gimme Shelter

There just aren't enough people who have enough income to afford million+ residences. Though you feel bad for these owners, who will be losing their money and not the bank's.

6 Weeks in Philadelphia

Obviously this is of particular interest for me given where I live, but it will be truly bizarre if this thing lasts until the April 22 primary. There's just this giant gap in the primary calendar. Candidates won't have anything else to do but beg for votes here. I'll get a taste of what it's like to live in Iowa.


Just want to thank the regulars and other commenters for managing to not turn this place into a nonstop candidate flame war. It's been a problem on other sites, but for the most part not so much here.

Everyone Is Not You

Overall I just wish people would stop feeling the need to justify and defend basic lifestyle choices. Don't like being a single mom and wish you had some help? Fine! It's just weird to write elaborate and absurd lectures to others in order to justify that feeling.

But I'm sympathetic in that our society does elevate simple lifestyle choices - marriage, cohabitation, fertility - into moral ones, causing people to construct defenses of their own choices.

It's What They Do

And the Villagers don't think it's a problem. Sure Fred Hiatt might tut-tut it now and again, but what really annoys the Villagers is that anyone else actually gives a shit.


On the march.
The images in the Basra police file are nauseating: Page after page of women killed in brutal fashion -- some strangled to death, their faces disfigured; others beheaded. All bear signs of torture.

The women are killed, police say, because they failed to wear a headscarf or because they ignored other "rules" that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce.

"Fear, fear is always there," says 30-year-old Safana, an artist and university professor. "We don't know who to be afraid of. Maybe it's a friend or a student you teach. There is no break, no security. I don't know who to be afraid of."

Via Moxiegrrrl.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Thread



I haven't been supportive of a rhetorical strategy of linking the economy with Iraq for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I didn't think people would like the message, but perhaps I was wrong.

Go Donna

It would be awesome if we got rid of Al Wynn. Let's hope Donna Edwards pulls it off, and if you're in or near her district consider volunteering.


While the "pimped out" comment was bad, in and of itself it's the kind of thing I could give a pass on based on the fact that sometimes stupid shit comes out of your mouth on live TV. It wasn't something he should have said, obviously, but there probably wasn't real animosity behind it. Just dumb.

But what I find worse is that it's part of a general pattern of taking perfectly normal political activities - in this case a family member helping out with a campaign - and talking about them as if they're unseemly, or corrupt, or inappropriate, or seedy, or sleazy, etc... The press has a long history of doing this with the Clintons, holding them to a weird standard that no one else is held to.

Fresh Thread


Friday Cat Blogging

Gizmo, unaware of the fact that he's about to be mashed.

No One Gives A Shit Who You Vote For

As the season progresses and I read my 4 millionth "I CAN'T POSSIBLE VOTE FOR AND/OR SUPPORT CANDIDATE X" post/diary it's useful to remind us all that presidential politics is not a contest to woo your little narcissistic self, it's a contest to get 50%+1 of the electoral college votes.

And most people do little to "support" any of the candidates. Many do, of course, give money and time. But most don't. It takes away from all that time spent bitching about the world online.

That being said, you are free to stay home and not vote. You are free to withhold what time and money you may have otherwise been willing to give for a different candidate. But nobody gives a shit. It's not about you.

Reality Is Controversial

The endless joy of the Bush years.

Crony Capitalism Heaven

Reader s reminds us of New Bridge Strategies.

Nobody could have predicted that this was a horrible idea, hatched by horrible people, with horrible intentions, and a horrific inevitable outcome.

Gaze with awe.


The war is still over.

* BAQUBA - Gunmen in police uniform stormed a house and killed five people including a woman and then blew up the house on Thursday in central Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

* NEAR BAQUBA - Police found a grave containing eight bodies including three females just north of Baquba, police said.

Horrible Moments in Eschaton History

Every now and then, usually by chance, I come across something which brings back that truly traumatic time leading up to the Iraq war. It's hard to try to recapture those time. A nation had gone truly mad, our discourse was run by warmongering fools and Very Serious Liberal Hawks, and any attempt to oppose the Iraq war was marginalized 3000 different ways. All of us dirty fucking hippies were truly marginalized, despite the fact that we were, you know, fucking right.

A few weeks back I came across this passage from Kevin Drum from back in the day. I don't exhume it to pick on Kevin, but I thought it captured something from that time well.

If your opposition to war is based on the idea that Saddam does indeed possess illegal weapons but it's best to leave him alone anyway, well and good. But if it's based on the idea that the administration is lying and none of this stuff exists, you should tread carefully. I think it's pretty likely you will be proven wrong shortly.

Those who opposed the war were constantly being told that they'd better be careful, both in why we opposed the Iraq war and how we expressed that opposition when those views had a complete media blackout... what if Saddam really is dangerous! Then you'll be sorry!!! And, you know what? It's true. If they'd found the nuclear warheads, and the long range missiles, and the massive bioweapons programs, and the deadly drones of mass destruction, or whatever, people like me would've been drummed out of our discourse 4ever. Stupid dirty fucking hippie!

But, hey, if you supported a pointless war which has lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths there was no need to "tread carefully." Bombs away, baby! Bygones.

Great Moments in Eschaton History

While many think of this as a politics blog, it really grew out of an obsession with just how stupid our elite discourse is. And there's no one more elite than Tom Friedman, the nation's premier foreign affairs columnists. And, perhaps, no one more stupid, except maybe Gregg Easterbrook. Oh and Will Saletan. Oh and... okay, there's a lot of stupid out there I admit.

Our own Janeane the Acerbic Goblin had, a few times, suggested I track down a horrifying Tom Friedman moment in Charlie Rose. I admit that I didn't quite believe that even little Tommy Friedman, age 9, could have said something so profoundly awful, and besides the transcript wasn't in Nexis. But then I did find it on google video.

This is the very serious thinking that got us into Iraq. This is the very serious thinking that influences the Villagers. 3 Pulitzers, baby!

About 2:45 in.

I think it [the invasion of Iraq] was unquestionably worth doing, Charlie.


We needed to go over there, basically, um, and um, uh, take out a very big state right in the heart of that world and burst that bubble, and there was only one way to do it.


What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, "Which part of this sentence don't you understand?"

You don't think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we're just gonna to let it grow?

Well Suck. On. This.


That Charlie was what this war was about. We could've hit Saudi Arabia, it was part of that bubble. We coulda hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.


Broder's boy bounces to new low in AP-IPSOS poll.

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's almost as if people can barely stand the thought of President Bush and Congress anymore. Bush reached his lowest approval rating in The Associated Press-Ipsos poll on Friday as only 30 percent said they like the job he is doing, including an all-time low in his support by Republicans. Congress' approval fell to just 22 percent, equaling its poorest grade in the survey. Both marks dropped by 4 percentage points since early January.

(ht pony boy)

In The Beginning

It's so quaint, now, but we should remember that in the early days Republicans dreamed of an Iraq which was a libertarian paradise giant patronage machine for their donors.

But back in Washington, D.C., the focus had already turned from the needs of Iraq to the bottom lines of a select few corporations. "The battle for Iraq is not over oil," said one Defense Department official involved in communications. "It's over bandwidth." And no one was fighting harder for a piece of the spectrum than the consortium led by American cellular giant Qualcomm with such business partners as Lucent Technologies and Samsung of South Korea. They wanted to follow U.S. troops into Iraq with Qualcomm's patented cellular technology, called CDMA, a system no nation in the Middle East had yet been willing to adopt. Even as the bombs fell over Baghdad, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), whose district includes many Qualcomm employees, had tried to wrap his favored company in the flag. He denounced the cellular system used by Iraq's neighbors as "an outdated French standard," and proposed a law that would effectively mandate Qualcomm on Iraq. "Hundreds of thousands of American jobs depend on the success of U.S.-developed wireless technologies like CDMA," Issa wrote in a March 26, 2003, letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. A swarm of lobbyists rallied to the companies' cause, including William Walker, a former protégé of Rumsfeld from the Ford White House, and Stacy Carlson, who ran President George W. Bush's California campaign in 2000.

Work ethic

Just for the record, I have never in my life met anyone who quit working because their taxes were too high, nor have I ever even heard of someone who suddenly wanted to work harder because of a tax break.

Not Atrios

Whining Douche

To be clear, I certainly understand why the comments section can be overwhelming at times. I've shut them down here, too, previously. Even if you have a pretty hands off light moderation policy, comments are something you always have to pay attention to.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Deep Thought

It's so disappointing that Rudy won't be president. I really hoped that every day could be 9/11.

Wanker of the Day

Lamar Smith.

Bill Kristol's Boy

Those of us who can remember back longer than the past 3 days remember that in 2000, John McCain was the neoconservative candidate of choice. The Weekly Standard was basically an outpost of the McCain 2000 campaign. Bill Kristol likes war. McCain likes war.

But he's a maverick!

Such a Shitpile

Caught this earlier.

Shares of bond insurer Ambac (ABK 11.20, +0.26) spiked on news that Bank of America (BAC 42.87, +0.54) has a 7.1% stake in the company.

BoA likely owns a lot of big shitpile still, and it owns a lot of a company which insures big shitpile.


It suddenly occurs to me that I'd been assuming that all this primary nonsense would be over by now and I could stop reading posts by hysterically over the top supporters, accusations about my motives and honesty, etc...

Long hard slog.


An impressive showing for their Act Blue knock off. 26 donors!


Too much treadmill.

Afternoon Thread

[insert link to discussion of your pet issue here]

In Case We've Forgotten

Bush and his GOP Daddies continue to maintain we live in an electoral dictatorship, where the president and his people are above the law.

And the Villagers don't care.

Neutron Loans

Exploding Option ARMs.

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Joe Ripplinger took out a $184,000 mortgage in 2006 and makes his payments every month.

Now he owes $192,000.

The 66-year-old Minneapolis house painter has a payment- option adjustable-rate mortgage. It allows him to write a check for $565 a month even though he owes $1,300. The difference is added to the mortgage, and when his total debt reaches $212,000, or after five years have passed, he said his monthly minimum could jump to about $2,800, which he can't afford.


``We call them neutron loans because they're like a neutron bomb,'' said Brock Davis, a broker with U.S. Express Mortgage Corp. in Las Vegas. ``Three years later the house is still there and the people are gone.''

A million of these things out there...

Mittens Doesn't Disappoint


If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

What are the 5 brothers going to do now? They certainly need to find some other way to serve their country.

A woman at an Ask Mitt Anything forum earlier today in Iowa raised the question again, asking whether any of Mr. Romney’s five sons are serving in the military, adding pointedly, “If none of them are, how do they plan to support this war on terrorism by enlisting in our U.S. military?”

Although his campaign said his remarks were taken out of context, Mr. Romney’s response is drawing criticism, because he said, in part, “one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected.”


Reading lots of primary-related commentary on the internets, I'm struck by a perception that people, on the whole, are much more bothered by the idea that women might vote for Hillary Clinton, in part, because she's a woman than by the idea that African-Americans might vote for Obama, in part, because he's black.


This Is Bad News For Democrats

It always is.


Tell me it isn't true, Mittens... Please don't drop out...

Deficit Problems

I'm not balanced budget fetishist, but roughly speaking in good economic times the government shouldn't be running more than a modest deficit. We may find out soon why this is sound advice. Bernanke can keep lowering interest rates, but long term rates are set by the magical market (short term rates can affect, but no control, long term rates). Any stimulus package is going to involve more deficit spending, and though I've been holding my breath for years waiting for this to happen and it hasn't, more government borrowing could lead to higher interest rates.

In other words, when there's too much deficit spending in good times your actions are somewhat constrained in bad times.


The Glamorous Life

suggests this illustration of my life from the New Yorker.

And while Mrs. Atrios generally understands, it's always a blast when I meet new people at social gatherings. Since this is the U.S., "what do you do?" generally comes up fairly quickly in conversation.

The script is something like this:

Them: So, what do you do?

Me: I, er, write about politics and media on the internet.

Them: [quizzical look]

Me: I'm a blogger.

Them: [facial expression reflecting the thought "this guy must be a Total Fucking Loser"]

Them: Oh, uh... that's interesting... Umm... you do that for a living?

Me: Yes, mostly.

Them: So, uh... how do you make money doing that?

Me: Advertising, mostly

Them: Oh, so, uh, that actually makes money?

Me: Yes, it isn't bad.

Them: Oh. I see. [backs away slowly]

I've had dozens of these conversations and they almost always turn to money very quickly. People want to know if I'm as much of a loser as they think I am, and they only way I can convince them I'm not is if I convincingly claim that I actually make money doing what I do.

Blogging Is Hard Work

Sort of anyway. It does take a lot of time. One time consuming part of the "job" which I left off the original fundraising post is dealing with the community. While the comments section has largely become a world in and of itself, it still takes up quite a bit of my time. People regularly question whether I read the comments, and the answer is that I do read most of them. I don't get up in the morning and see what I missed overnight, but generally throughout the day I keep track of what's being said.

While I don't do active moderation, I do try to gently nudge things one way or another at times and of course there are posts which need to be zapped fairly frequently, which I do if I see them. And when the kids squabble people sometimes email Dad to step in to stop the fighting.

But, admittedly, mostly I read the comments because they're fun, informative, and entertaining. Commenters provide a check on me when I write something stupid, and of course provide me with lots of material which I liberally borrow and steal. While it's an incredibly time consuming part of what I do, it's also the most rewarding. If not for comments I would've gotten bored with this blogging stuff a long time ago. Not really sure why bloggers without comments bother.

Thanks to all who have contributed to FEBRUARY FUNTASTIC FUNDRAISING so far. People have been very generous. The soft push will continue until my birthday, when there will be cake, and then the begging bowl will go back into hibernation for a long time. Haven't yet taken in as much as Obama has, but it's not over yet!


It is a bit weird worrying that things are going to be messy going forward. There might be a fight over the Michigan and Florida delegates. There will issues with superdelegates.

I guess my basic take is that MI and FL delegates shouldn't be seated, though if they want a do over with another caucus or primary that'd be fine. As for the superdelegates... well, I guess I'll be a bit annoyed if they swing this one way or another, but not that annoyed. I'm annoyed by the system. There are just too many superdelegates relative to the total. But that is the system.


While Obama's taken in over $7 million, Clinton has received $4 million online since the polls closed on Tuesday.


New jobless claims down a bit, but still high.

New applications for unemployment benefits fell by 22,000 last week, but the number of workers remaining on jobless aid rose to its highest level in more than two years, government data on Thursday showed, pointing to a weakening labor market as the economy slows.

The number of workers filing first-time claims for state jobless aid fell to a seasonally adjusted 356,000 in the week ended Feb. 2, from an upwardly revised 378,000 for the previous week, the Labor Department said.

Morning Thread

I loves me some pissed off Fez Boy.

--Molly I.


Monkeyfister is right: the storms in the South were a disaster that is getting ignored but would be blaring everywhere except for the focus on the primaries.

Red Cross here; United Way here, phone might be better: (901) 433-4300.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Rock on.

The Zell Miller Legacy

A positive one after all.

Whatever happened to that dude?

Giving It All AWay

Tagg says goodbye to his inheritance.

Mitt Romney is committed to barreling ahead in his bid for the Republican nomination, despite the odds being stacked against him, said his son, Tagg, a senior campaign adviser, in an interview today.

Mr. Romney delivered a pep talk to his staff this morning, he said, and his advisers are looking into buying airtime to broadcast television commercials in some of the upcoming states that are voting.

“They’re making phone calls tonight,” said Tagg Romney.

Tagg Romney also seemed to allude to his father’s continued willingness to pour his own money into his presidential bid, saying the campaigning hope is that conservative alarm about Mr. McCain continues to grow, allowing the campaign to still “fund-raise outside as well as from my dad and make this a real battle.”


The question really is about why Obama can raise $5 million in a day and (presumably) Clinton can't.

I actually don't really have an answer. Thoughts? Both of them are capable of getting lots of people to vote for them.

Evening Thread


They Write Books

What do you know, it seems The Editors have returned. And they wrote a book! I'm going to buy one.


She is, perhaps, the worst human being operating in the media-industrial complex. And yes I realize that's saying quite a bit. But, sadly, I doubt her editors actually care.

The good news is that I think the age of Dowd has passed. That isn't to say she won't influence the way the blue collar boys from NBC talk about things, but once upon a time informed and sophisticated people would pass on her bon mots. I can't remember the last time someone said "did you read Maureen Dowd today?" except to trash her.

Tears of a Tagg

That's gotta hurt.

Inevitably, there was speculation among Republicans that Romney was contemplating a withdrawal. He offered little hint of his plans, announcing only that he would appear before conservatives and make a speech to Maryland Republicans on Thursday.

The wealthy former businessman has spent an estimated $40 million to $50 million in personal funds to finance his campaign, but he ran something of a scaled-back effort in several Super Tuesday states.

Not Cold, Not Yet Dark

I know it's just a tease, but nice to see winter beginning to fade.


Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million.

Interesting. Not sure if it's been clearly established whether that # is part of what they reported raising or not.


Tweety really has issues.


Progressive is an awful term for a variety of reasons and it's about time to reclaim the word liberal.

And Speaking of Money

Your chosen candidate, if you have one, probably needs some now.





Great Moments In Eschaton History

It wasn't the most important thing ever, but it was certainly a hell of a lot of fun when the Washington Post hired conservative idiot Ben Domenech to "balance" Dan Froomkin. Domenech's previous contribution to our discourse was penning this line for a speech for Senator Cornyn, though Cornyn was sadly smart enough not to actually deliver the line.

It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right. . . . Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife.

Poor Ben left his job after numerous incidents of plagiarism were discovered, but not before Erick "Son of Erick" Erickson wrote one of the funniest things in history.

And the Box Turtle line? Apparently he borrowed that, too.

Ah. Good times. I spent days laughing.

Construction Economy

These parts of Arizona aren't representative of the nation as a whole, but they aren't unique either. Growing regional economies were essentially feeding themselves.

PHOENIX -- When residents of Maricopa, Ariz., south of Phoenix, vote in the presidential primaries Tuesday, it will be against a backdrop of vacant storefronts and sprawling, terra-cotta-roofed subdivisions that are studded with for-sale signs as far as the eye can see.


And while the region counts the aerospace company Honeywell International and computer chipmaker Intel among its largest employers, housing is the biggest component of the local economy, with construction accounting for nearly one in 10 jobs, or about 50 percent more than the national average.

"Our economy out here is based on residential growth. That's our engine," said William A. Gosnell, a principal in Lee & Associates, one of Phoenix's largest commercial real estate firms. But with housing inventories and foreclosures up and prices down, residential construction slowed to a crawl, crippling the overall economy in the process.

Money Makes The World Go Round

I was looking for actual recent numbers about candidate fundraising and small donors to compare Clinton and Obama's success with such creatures, but I couldn't find them. Anyway, the story seems to be that Obama has had a lot more luck with them than Clinton, and that this gives him a big money advantage going forward.

Too often conversations about the disproportionate influence of big money in politics quickly evolve into a general hostility about the unseemliness of any money in politics. There will be the inevitable newspaper articles about how BILLIONS OF DOLLARS were spent on campaign-related stuff and how gross all of that is.

But campaigns cost money. We'd all prefer it if less of that money was spent on television advertising, but even if that was the case campaigns would still cost a lot of money. Staff costs money. Offices cost money. Rallies cost money. Fliers cost money.

It'll be pretty interesting if Obama wins the race in part because of his small donor success. It would be a game changer in politics, telling future candidates that this is something they need to duplicate in order to be competitive. Those $2300 checks are great, but campaigns shouldn't depend solely on them.

And speaking of fundraising, we're still in the middle of Eschaton SUPER FEBRURARY FUNTASTIC FUNDRAISING. Think of the kitties.

Tagg's Money

I guess the big question now is whether Mittens spends more of Tagg's inheritance or not.

Life Not Like The Internets


That’s what I see when I talk to actual Democrats, particularly those who don’t spend all their time on the Internet. Not only do Democrats like both candidates, not only do they think they are going to get to vote FOR someone instead of AGAINST the Republican this year, but the primary is improving that view.

I had a bunch of people over last night to watch the results, and while they were obviously all people who thought going to a Super Tuesday party was a reasonable thing to do, I don't think most of them were "obsessively following politics all day long on the internets" types. I think the room leaned Obama, though Hillary had her supporters, but no one seemed to care all that much.

Having said that, I think there are sufficient differences between the candidates that their supporters can make the case. Obama and Clinton are genuinely different. But I think it's pretty much impossible to make the case to most of the public that The Other Candidate Is Teh Suck. Most people seem to like both of them.

Freakouts Past

Following up the post below, if we remember all the way back to 6 weeks or so ago movement conservatives were completely freaking out about the possibility of... Huckabee. Fast forward to today and they're freaking out about the possibility of... McCain.

I know Hugh Hewitt's been giving his manlove to Mittens for a long time, but maybe the rest of them should've joined in?

...and yes I know they were dreaming of Rudy and Fred, but give me a break.

Pick A Candidate

What's weird about the movement conservative freakout about John Mccain (Brendan writes in to say that Glenn Beck had a complete breakdown this morning on the radio) is that they can't bring themselves to choose one of the alternatives. I mean, maybe individually various conservative pundits have, but the message one hears from movement conservatives is "ZOMG DON'T VOTE FOR JOHN MCCAIN!!!!!!!" Um, ok, but tell me, who should I vote for? Mittens? Huck?

Those are the choices.

Primary Commentary

Other people do it better so I'll outsource it to them, but it seems that this thing isn't over.

Coming up:

* February 9: Louisiana, Kansas (R), Washington (D caucuses)
* February 10: Maine (D caucuses)
* February 12: District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia
* February 19: Hawaii (D), Washington (R primary), Wisconsin

MARCH 2008

* March 4: Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont
* March 8: Wyoming (D)
* March 11: Mississippi

APRIL 2008

* April 22: Pennsylvania

Note to campaigns: the price of renting my roof deck out goes up by the day. Just sayin'

Close to a Tie

It's gonna come down to Pennsylvania.

(CNN) -- With Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton almost even in delegate counts, the two Democratic presidential candidates will focus on several weekend contests and then a trio of primaries in the Washington area next Tuesday.

Morning Thread


What does it all mean?

--Molly I.


We can wake up tomorrow and figure it out what it all means.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tim Russert is Really Sexy

Someone had to say it.

Hilarious Analysis

Haley Barbour, who looks like he's been passed through the bowels of a palm civet, said the Democratic party was seriously divided because a bunch of people didn't vote for Hillary Clinton in a contested primary.

Obama Wins Kansas, North Dakota

Losing track here. Anyway, the real issue is delegates and we won't really know that until detailed results are officially in.

GO MITTENS. Or Huck. Or whoever.

...Obama wins CT too.

Where's Huck?

Whatever his ultimate chances, from what I can tell the story of the night is that Huck overperformed quite a bit. Not everything's been called yet, but he's kicking ass in a few states.

CNN's blurb:

Republicans: CNN projects McCain as winner in New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Delaware and New Jersey and Oklahoma; Romney takes Massachusetts and Utah


Go Mittens! does Obama.

Clinton Wins NJ


So Far


NBC projects: Arizona senator wins Conn., Illinois, N.J.; Romney takes Mass.; Clinton wins Tenn., Okla.; Obama claims Illinois, Ga.

Kodos wins Guam.

Primary Fun

Illinois goes to Obama, Oklahoma goes to Hillary.....

NBC Calls Georgia for Obama

Not exactly a shocker given polls. MSNBC has Matthews and Olbermann running things.

Exit Poll Fun

Josh has them. If the final results deviate even slightly, then we have undeniable proof of overwhelming fraud.

Super Tuesday SUPER FUN

I'll try to keep up with results and whatnot as best I can tonight, though with so many contests it'll probably be hard to keep up with it all.

Get some booze and snacks and join the party.

History's Greatest Monster

Quite possibly it's Chris Hayes.


Krugman has a pretty picture up. What it suggests is that there's a pretty strong relationship between the ISM services index and the change in monthly employment. The index number from this morning suggests a likely sizable employment drop this month.


Another exciting day on Wall Street.

If I were to guess, I'd say today's the day people decided the recession is on its way.

And tomorrow?!?!


I can honestly say that if I had to pull the lever today I wouldn't quite know what to do. I find myself cheering on Obama somewhat, but most of that is just my knee-jerk tendency to support the underdog. As he becomes less of an underdog, my support wanes.

Gravel on the ballot anywhere?


NBC says Huckabee wins West Virginia convention, which is apparently how they're allocating delegates.

Colin Powell Day: A Look Back In Horror

Greg Mitchell:

CNN’s Bill Schneider said that “no one” disputed Powell’s findings. Bob Woodward, asked by Larry King on CNN what happens if we go to war and don’t find any WMD, answered: “I think the chance of that happening is about zero. There’s just too much there.” George Will suggested that Powell’s speech would “change all minds open to evidence.”

The Washingotn Post's liberal columnist, Mary McGrory, wrote that Powell “persuaded me, and I was as tough as France to convince.” She even likened the Powell report to the day John Dean “unloaded” on Nixon in the Watergate hearings. Another liberal at that paper, Richard Cohen, declared that Powell’s testimony “had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool—or possibly a Frenchman—could conclude otherwise.”

Click through for the rest of the horror show.

What did dirty fucking hippie Atrios say? I called it "Powell's dud," referred to his "dissolving case," made fun of the vial of mass destruction,and desperately tried to bring attention to the UK's plagiarized "dodgy dossier" story.

No one listens to Atrios...

PA Budget

Not sure what will happen to it as it sails through the legislative meatgrinder, but this sounds ok.

HARRISBURG - Gov. Rendell unveiled his $28.3 billion 2008-09 state budget proposal before a joint session of the legislature today, calling it a "tight" document but one intended to continue Pennsylvania's economic growth even as the nation appears headed toward a recession.


The cornerstone of the governor's spending plans is a call to issue within eight weeks rebates of up to $400 to low-income Pennsylvanians. Those rebates, he said, would be used by 475,000 families to meet monthly bills, keeping them from growing deeper in debt while also stimulating the economy.


Rendell's stimulus plan seeks to create jobs by directing $270 million to replace and repair the state's crumbling bridges, airports and dams.

He's also pushing for a 10 cent/pack cigarette increase to fund an affordable insurance program which I don't know much about.

Pennsylvania is generally fairly acyclical, not really booming or busting with the rest of the economy. Other states will likely have a lot of revenue problems if this does indeed trend towards a recession.


No one is buying and selling big shitpile.

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Buying and selling of collateralized debt obligations based on mortgage bonds, high-yield loans or preferred shares has ground to a near-halt, traders said at the securitization industry's largest conference.

``We're definitely in a period of very low liquidity at the moment, which has actually been dropping precipitously in the last few weeks,'' Ross Heller, an executive director at JPMorgan Securities Inc., said yesterday during a panel discussion at the American Securitization Forum's annual conference in Las Vegas. ``It's a challenging time.''

You can believe that potential buyers have an irrationally low view of the value of these things or you can believe that potential sellers won't sell them for what they're worth because it'll reveal that the rest of the big shitpile isn't worth much.

You can guess what I think the case is.

And CNBC is discovering that ratings agencies have a wee conflict of interest. They're paid to rate these things!


Campaign '08

I suppose when future historians desperately try to make sense of this moment in history they will return again and again to this MoDo passage from a few weeks back.

When I walked into the office Monday, people were clustering around a computer to watch what they thought they would never see: Hillary Clinton with the unmistakable look of tears in her eyes.

A woman gazing at the screen was grimacing, saying it was bad. Three guys watched it over and over, drawn to the “humanized” Hillary. One reporter who covers security issues cringed. “We are at war,” he said. “Is this how she’ll talk to Kim Jong-il?”

Nickel and Dimeing

When you're traveling you really don't want to deal with all these additional hassles all the time. It's already difficult enough.

Saint McCain

Mark Schmitt explains how he'll wriggle out of the public financing system.

Blogger Power

As I wrote before, thinking about holding a pledge drive provided an opportunity to navel gaze about what blogs - and this blog - do and what role they currently play in our discourse. Without taking away from the activities other left wing media and interest groups, I think the lefty blogosphere has managed to create something which previously did not exist, a sustained and consistent liberal perspective on and critique of American politics and media.

It's weird imagining the history of the last few years without blogs. I'm not sure how different events would actually be, but it certainly would've been a lot more lonely. During the runup to the Iraq war, blogs and other internet news sources were practically the only places where most people could find people saying, basically, that this was bullshit, that Saddam was not a threat to the US, that Colin Powell's vial was filled with talcum powder, etc. The only Village-approved critique of the Iraq war was about how we went - with UN approval, with enough allies - not whether we went.

Anyway, it's been a long strange 6 or so years.

Help make the pie higher!

Services Crater

If you're wondering why the market is tanking again, this is it.

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. service industries unexpectedly shrank in January at the fastest pace since the last recession as the housing slump deepened and consumer spending cooled.

The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index, which reflects almost 90 percent of the economy, fell to 41.9, the lowest since October 2001, from 54.4 the prior month, the Tempe, Arizona-based ISM said. A reading of 50 is the dividing line between growth and contraction.

``This is a stunning fall,'' said Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Securities America Inc. in New York. ``If accurate, it's dire news on the economy.''

The worst housing slump in a quarter-century is spreading throughout the economy, hurting businesses such as builders, retailers, wholesalers and mortgage lenders. The report adds to concern Americans are spending less as job losses mount, raising the risk the economy may tip into a recession, economists said.

The data was released an hour early "because of concerns about a possible 'breach'."

Bill O Attacks Vets

Even worse, he attacks... Xanadu!

Eschacon '08

Philadelphia. March 28-30.

Be there or be square.

Presenters include many fine liberals such as Joe Klein, Richard Cohen, Bob Kerrey, and Marshall Wittman.*

*Not actually true.

Happy Colin Powell Day

Thanks for everything, asshole.


CNN just had a Mittens supporter:

I think Iraq's going to take care of it self... the surge is working.

Must be nice living in Republican pony land.

Deep Thought

Most Americans eat all their meals in a traditional diner.


I long for a return to the days when this kind of thing was completely illegal.

Not Atrios

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Mayor Of Boston

Is not who Jay Newton-Small thinks it is.

Late Night

Rock on.
...damn, not working.

...okay try now.


Laguna Beach, approx. Feb. 2002.

More Thread

Evening Thread

Tomorrow is Tuesday... but will it be a SUPER TUESDAY??


I don't know how they overcome their shame enough to leave the house every day.

"Affirmative Action Election"

It's quite the mystery how Michael Savage stays on the air.

Well, not really I suppose.

Straight Talk

Sam Seder goes to a McCain campaign event.

All The Way Until The End

Clinton's people think it might go to the convention.

I'm not sure if this is a "good thing."

Nevertheless... exciting!!


I think Jane's too kind here, though I appreciate it. When thinking about whether I should do a fundraiser, I had some time to think about just what it is this blog offers. Something, other than the booze and snacks, keeps people coming back. Once upon a time it was a hub of sorts for the liberal blogosphere. There was even a mapping study which showed I was the sole bridge between the political/activist side of the blogosphere and the academic/wonk side of the blogosphere. But now there are just too many blogs, too many parallel conversations going on. No one blog can really manage to provide a synthesis for all of them, and so there are multiple hubs.

Throw some change into the pot. Who knows, maybe Gizmo and Wiley will reappear at some point...


CNBC's Gasparino is reporting that a consortium of banks my step in to bail out the municipal bond business of bond insurer Ambac. Not sure precisely how they'd split off the muni business from the shitpile business, but in any case that won't do much for the owners of big shitpile.

Campaign Heaven, Campaign Hell



Absolutely nothing for six weeks until Pennsylvania on April 22. Shit. Atrios and Booman may actually have a say this primary. How scary is that? And those 188 delegates will loom large. In fact, this is the only contest of significance (not including Guam) for an entire two months. It'll be huge.

I was discussing this with a friend last night. While we've been assuming that our little primary votes won't be especially important, due to the calendar if it actually does drag on that long the national campaigns will essentially pack up and move to PA for a month or so.

That'll be really weird.

Panama Jack

I hadn't realized that the fact that McCain was born in Panama was causing some hysterical reactions in some quarters.

Because I'm Curious

Poll time.

Bobby Milk

I have no idea if celebrity endorsements move voters, but they can be fun!

And is this really Robert DeNiro's myspace page?

Being A Landlord Is Work

One thing lost in those exciting housing market days when we were all suppose to buy multiple investment properties is that being a landlord is a big responsibility and requires a nontrivial amount of work.

That's what happened to homeowners Carmen Nuñez and her husband, Raymond Ordoñez. Almost four years ago, they bought a nice home in a nice neighborhood near 35th and Northern avenues in Phoenix. They kept the house as an investment property when they later moved to Laveen and in August rented it to a young, unmarried couple.

The tenants stopped paying the $1,200 rent in December, instead dodging Nuñez's phone calls and giving lots of excuses.

"I'm spending money I don't have to pay the mortgage on that house, my house, to the courts for the eviction," said Nuñez, a real-estate agent. "It's affected me really badly, and it's just plain ridiculous."

On Wednesday, a team of constables descended on the home to evict the tenants, who weren't home. The house was trashed: Half-eaten hamburgers and moldy bowls filled with cereal and milk sat on a table. Christmas decorations, dirty clothes and toys were scattered through the living room. The carpets were stained, the place smelled like rotten food and dirty diapers.

It isn't clear how much damage was really done here, but tenants can do a lot of damage if they're so inclined.

Not everyone wants to or should run a business, and even having a property or two "on the side" means you're doing just that.

They Write Books

AJ from Americablog wrote a book and it just came in the mail. I'll probably even read it!

Too Many Superdelegates

I see concern being expressed in various places that the nominee could in some sense be decided by the superdelegates. I don't really have the problem with the existence of superdelegates, I just think that the Democrats have way too many of them.

The primary system is already a bit of a farce, a kind of fake vote. With the timing issues, the caucuses, the various methods of allocating delegates, etc... it's hardly a pure exercise in democracy. The inclusion of some superdelegates on top of that system isn't particularly problematic. But since they're almost 20% of the total delegate count, I think that if they were to tip the balance there'd be a pretty big backlash. Candidate supporters give a lot of time and money to their chosen candidate, and they'll rightly be a bit annoyed to discover how much power the superdelegates wield.

If they constituted 5% or so of the delegates this would be less of an issue.

Crazy People Email

One of the delights of this gig is being placed on numerous email lists. One of my favorites is ALIPAC. From their latest email:

In defiance of the polling data on illegal immigration and GOP voters, the nation is led to believe that John McCain is poised to win a close race against Mitt Romney in tomorrow's primary voting on "Super Tuesday", in what will be heralded as a public mandate for amnesty, if McCain wins.

Geraldo Rivera and Juan Hernandez, two of the most flagrant supporters of illegal immigration and amnesty in the media, have both announced their support for McCain. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) also known as the Council of the (Hispanic) Race has announced their positive feelings for McCain, while labeling any group or personality in the media opposed to amnesty as an ally of the KKK.

Even Ruben Navarrette, a CNN columnist, who constantly rants in support of illegal immigration, while slinging mud at anyone who stands up for immigration enforcement, loves John McCain.


What's kind of weird about Rice's incompetence is that it's so profound and so obvious and yet it doesn't seem to concern her at all. If I were offered the job of, say, Secretary of State, I would politely decline because it's a pretty important job and I would suck at it.

And if I had been the National Security Adviser on 9/11/01 it might occur to me to resign for symbolic reasons at the very least.

Fundraiser Going Really Well

It sure was nice to get this little note just now.

Please bear with me for sending this letter to you surprisingly. My name is Miss Pauline george, a young woman originally from Liberia in west Africa. My sole purpose of contacting you is for you to assist me in selling in your country or elsewhere of my rough (uncut) diamonds which weighs 8,220 carats,from (6-45 carats),(2kg gross) on the scale, all rough and Worth's about(US$3Million). and some subtantial cash of 1.7 million dollars which was deposited by my late father in a holding firm and it is waiting for my order to be transferred as I am the "NEXT OF KIN" to the deposit as it is indicated in all the depositional documents.I am presently living in Dakar Senegal.
I Wish to hear from you soon.
Bye and God bless.
Miss Pauline george.

Pretty awesome!

More seriously, thanks to all who have contributed so far.

The Very Serious Lindsey Graham

Lindsey was also hanging out with John and Joe. One does wonder if it would be too much to ask for some intrepid reporter to ask him what he plans to do now that several of his "If the Iraqi government doesn't do what I want them to do in 90 days..." periods have passed us by.

Creepy John and Slummy Joe

I saw this earlier, though I had to hit the mute after not very long.

Februrary Fund Drive

Long time readers may remember that it's been about 4 years since I've made a fundraising request, though since then plenty of generous readers have hit the tip jar which has always been much appreciated.

I'm not poor. I'm not asking for charity. But this blogging thing takes an immense amount of time, and will take even more as the election season progresses. It's the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I do before I go to bed. Much of the time "blogging" isn't actually writing posts, it's reading the immense amount of email, reading an immense amount of news/other blogs/etc..., corresponding with various people, and various other activities which have become a necessary part of the "job." I wake up to 80 new emails, and if I leave the house for a couple of hours during the day (lunch, an errand or two) I'll come home to 200 more. It's become rather impossible to take a break because a break is simply deferring work.

Keeping this thing running, combined with other related obligations and activities, really is a 14 hour/day 7 day/week thing, and it makes it difficult to do anything else.

I prefer the advertising supported model to the extent that it works, but ad revenues, while not horrible, haven't been stupendous over the last few months either. Doing this blog is fun and rewarding in plenty of ways, but it isn't compatible with doing much else and I do have to keep my financial future in mind.

Anyway, if you're feeling generous consider hitting the paypal button below. If your personal finances are less than stellar, please don't and don't feel guilty about that. If you think this blog is a sucky one, consider throwing some change to a superior blogger instead.

I'll occasionally bug for cash over the next couple of weeks, culminating in my Celebrity Birthday Extravaganza, where such figures as Michael Chabon, Erica Jong, Lindsey Lohan, and Ron Silver will conduct a telethon on my behalf.*

*Not actually likely to happen. Though my birthday is coming up!

Losing the Argument

Spending all day on the internets as I do I come across plenty of candidate supporters. While I've never really chosen a candidate - at various times I've leaned towards all of the big 3 (now 2) - I certainly don't have a problem with those who have. My rough neutrality isn't some "I'm above it all" pose, it's genuine ambivalence combined with a bit of the sentiment that Roger Ailes (the good one) expresses here.

I am still open to being persuaded, not that my April vote is likely to matter much. And I do read the cases made by supporters with interest, even the zealous ones. But the worst supporters are the ones who are essentially saying, "If you don't support my candidate there's something wrong with you." You're stupid, or naive, or misinformed, or cowardly, or racist, or sexist, or immoral, or frightened, or whatever.

These twin editorials by Michael Chabon and Erica Jong are two representatives of this genre. Of the two Chabon's is less insulting, but it isn't ultimately that much different. Both suggest that if you can only manange to overcome your personal shortcomings and failings, then the choice is obvious. A failure to make that choice isn't simply a bed decision, but a reflection of personal flaws.

It's really a poor way to sell a candidate. More than that, both fail to understand that people actually do have different sets of priorities, and those differing priorities, combined with subjective yet informed judgments about the candidates, can lead perfectly sensible people to come to different decisions.

What Was The Independent Doing Until A Few Days Ago?

Oh, yes, supporting Rudy!

The Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee today announced that Ron Silver is supporting Mayor Rudy Giuliani for President. As an advisor to the Mayor’s campaign, Silver will help promote the Mayor’s 12 Commitments to the American People and aid the effort to continue growing strong support across the country for Mayor Giuliani.

Silver, a veteran actor, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and on the Board of Directors for the United States Institute of Peace.

"Rudy had a tremendous impact as Mayor of New York City, a place I am proud to call home," said Silver, a native New Yorker. "His record of accomplishment is extraordinary and his vision will serve America well. He is committed to keeping our nation on the offense in the Terrorists’ War on Us, and I am proud to support him."

Our discourse is so stupid.

Indie Talk

Because what the country desperately needs is the same old shit. Emailed press release:

NEW YORK–February 4, 2008- SIRIUS Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI) today announced the launch of Indie Talk, an exclusive, groundbreaking talk radio channel that will serve as an uncensored, unfiltered forum for independent thought and opinion. The channel will feature veteran actor and political maverick Ron Silver, among others. Indie Talk will give an equal voice to individuals from any affiliation or background, target the blogger generation, and be a platform for listeners across the country to react to breaking news, issues and buzz.

Indie Talk will launch Wednesday, February 6, 2008 – the morning after Super Tuesday – on SIRIUS channel 110 with Ron Silver’s daily call-in talk show, which will air Monday-Friday from 9:00 – 11:00 am ET.

Silver, like Indie Talk, represents the intersection of liberal and conservative, and the intersection of entertainment and politics. In addition to a storied Hollywood career and serving as president of Actors’ Equity Association, Silver has been politically active for many years – most recently as a member of The Council on Foreign Relations. A one-time Democrat, Silver spoke at The Republican National Convention in 2004.


I know all serious people think "mandates" are the only way to get universal health care in this country, but "garnishing your wages" sounds a hell of a lot scarier than "taxes will pay for it."

WASHINGTON - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday she might be willing to garnish the wages of workers who refuse to buy health insurance to achieve coverage for all Americans.

The New York senator has criticized presidential rival Barack Obama for pushing a health plan that would not require universal coverage. Clinton has not always specified the enforcement measures she would embrace, but when pressed on ABC's "This Week," she said: "I think there are a number of mechanisms" that are possible, including "going after people's wages, automatic enrollment."

This isn't a knock on Clinton, it's just that the whole concept is flawed. "Raise your taxes" is actually more politically palatable than "make you buy it."

Zombie lies

Life is strange. Jake Tapper's stupid misrepresentation of What Bill Said has made it to ABC - and even right-wing blogs are criticizing them for it.

Which doesn't mean, of course, that it's stopped making the rounds....

Not Atrios

Sunday, February 03, 2008

No, Really?

Apparently it's somewhat surprising that people are unwilling to throw their money away.

Leading private equity firms are unlikely to participate in any recapitalisation of Ambac and MBIA, increasing the pressure on banks to come up with a rescue package for the troubled US bond insurers.

A number of firms, including Bain Capital, Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and TPG, have looked at investing in the cash-strapped groups, which guarantee the value of everything from municipal bonds to the most complicated mortgage securities. These investors have all concluded that the risks are too great, according to people familiar with their thinking.

Men in Tights

I understand there was a contest involving a football and the less-favored team won.




Jints D looking good.

Go to EschaCon, dammit, or you will Miss Out.

More Thread

Deep Thought

Hundreds of thousands of people are dead in Iraq, but what's truly heartbreaking is that people on the internets were mean to Lee Siegel and forced him to stoop to their level.

Dirty Fucking Hippies

At least Lipinski could've given the blogosphere some credit for not passing on the widely circulated rumors about his goat blowing proclivities.

Maybe Saddam Was Developing Something Like This?

Apparently not a joke.

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - An 18-year-old Elizabethtown man is charged with possessing a weapon of mass destruction and other offenses over a plastic egg explosion.

Police say he ignited a plastic egg filled with plastic air-gun pellets in a flea market, hitting at least five people and causing alarm. It happened Saturday afternoon at a Saturday's Market in Londonderry Township, Dauphin County.

"White Women Are A Problem"


Afternoon Thread

If you're going to be looking at porn, you should get a room.

Or at least register.

--Molly I.

His Name Is Rod

Poor Rod Dreher, spending his time looking for pornography that you, dear reader, should stay away from.

And an update here.

Deep Thought

The failure of the liberal blogosphere to elect Markos Moulitsas as dictator for life is proof that they are teh suck.


Trends seem to favor him.

Super Tuesday could be exciting! Damn time zones.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton; Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

CBS' "Face the Nation" — Republican presidential candidate John McCain; Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

NBC's "Meet the Press" — Republican strategists Mary Matalin and Mike Murphy; Democratic strategists Bob Shrum and James Carville.

CNN's "Late Edition" — Romney; Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee; consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who is exploring another run for the presidency.
"Fox News Sunday" — Presidential candidates Clinton and McCain.

Wake-up call

How newspapers fail.

(Sorry for the delay.)

Not Atrios